MH-17 Probe Trusts Torture-Implicated Ukraine

Exclusive: The floundering inquiry into who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 has relied heavily on a Ukrainian intelligence agency that recently stopped U.N. investigators from probing its alleged role in torture, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Ukrainian intelligence service that has been guiding the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down of July 2014 recently blocked a United Nations inquiry into alleged torture sites under Ukrainian government control.

The U.N. inspectors called off their torture investigation late last month because Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service, the SBU, denied the team access to detention facilities where human rights groups have found evidence of torture.

A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.

A photograph of a Russian BUK missile system that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt published on Twitter in support of a claim about Russia placing BUK missiles in eastern Ukraine, except that the image appears to be an AP photo taken at an air show near Moscow two years earlier.

“The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has suspended its visit to Ukraine after being denied access to places in several parts of the country where it suspects people are being deprived of their liberty by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU,” a U.N. statement said, with Sir Malcolm Evans, head of the four-member delegation, adding:

“This denial of access is in breach of Ukraine’s obligations as a State party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. It has meant that we have not been able to visit some places where we have heard numerous and serious allegations that people have been detained and where torture or ill-treatment may have occurred.”

Ukraine’s deputy justice minister Natalya Sevostyanova said the U.N. team was denied access to SBU centers in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, frontline towns in the simmering civil war between the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and Russian-supported eastern Ukrainian rebels.

SBU director Vasyl Hrytsak said the reason for barring the U.N. team was to protect Ukrainian government secrets, adding: “If you arrive, for example, in the United States and ask to come to the C.I.A. or the F.B.I., to visit a basement or an office, do you think they will ever let you do it?”

But the relevance of this SBU secrecy to the MH-17 case, in which the airliner carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, is that the SBU is an integral part of the Dutch-led multinational Joint Investigation Team that is trying to determine who was responsible for the attack.

The obstruction of the torture inquiry suggests that the SBU also would steer the JIT away from any evidence that might implicate a unit of the Ukrainian military in the shoot-down, a situation that would be regarded as a state secret which could severely undermine international support for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev. Among the SBU’s official duties is the protection of Ukrainian government secrets.

A Breezy Report

Earlier this month, the JIT investigators published a breezy, notebook-style report on their progress, revealing how dependent they have become on information provided by the SBU and how they have grown to trust the Ukrainian intelligence service.

Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube video)

Far-right militia members demonstrating outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev. (Screen shot from RT video via YouTube)

According to the report, the SBU helped shape the MH-17 investigation by supplying a selection of phone intercepts and other material. But the JIT seemed oblivious to the potentially grave conflict of interest, saying:

“Since the first week of September 2014, investigating officers from The Netherlands and Australia have worked here [in Kiev]. They work in close cooperation here with the Security and Investigation Service of the Ukraine (SBU). Immediately after the crash, the SBU provided access to large numbers of tapped telephone conversations and other data. …

“At first rather formal, cooperation with the SBU became more and more flexible. ‘In particular because of the data analysis, we were able to prove our added value’, says [Dutch police official Gert] Van Doorn. ‘Since then, we notice in all kinds of ways that they deal with us in an open way. They share their questions with us and think along as much as they can.’”

The JIT report continued: “With the tapped telephone conversations from SBU, there are millions of printed lines with metadata, for example, about the cell tower used, the duration of the call and the corresponding telephone numbers. The investigating officers sort out this data and connect it to validate the reliability of the material.

“When, for example, person A calls person B, it must be possible to also find this conversation on the line from person B to person A. When somebody mentions a location, that should also correlate with the cell tower location that picked up the signal. If these cross-checks do not tally, then further research is necessary.

“By now, the investigators are certain about the reliability of the material. ‘After intensive investigation, the material seems to be very sound’, says Van Doorn, ‘that also contributed to the mutual trust.’”

But would SBU turn over data that might reveal the role of a Ukrainian military unit in the shoot-down? Under the security agency’s secrecy mandate, could it even do so?

Further, the collegial dependence on the SBU has not led to a quick resolution of the MH-17 mystery, with the JIT’s investigative report now not expected until after the summer, i.e., more than two years after the shoot-down, and even then the report is to be kept secret.

In this month’s update, the JIT would not even endorse last fall’s finding by the Dutch Safety Board that MH-17 was likely brought down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile system fired somewhere in a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, territory that was then partly controlled by the rebels and partly by the government.

Nor does the JIT update address last October’s findings of Dutch (i.e., NATO) intelligence that the only operational anti-aircraft missile batteries capable of bringing down a plane at 33,000 feet on July 17, 2014, were in the possession of the Ukrainian military.

“For the investigation into the weapon system that was used, the well known seven questions need to be answered are: who, what, where, when, which, how and why,” the update said. “In this investigation only the question of ‘when’ has been established irrefutably: flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014. The remaining questions require intensive investigation, according to Gerrit Thiry (team leader) and Susanne Huiberts (operational specialist) of the National Criminal Investigation Service.”

Punishing Russia

The MH-17 case also has relevance to the decision later this month by the European Union on whether to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months as the U.S. government wants. The E.U. imposed the sanctions amid a frenzied rush-to-judgment in late July 2014 blaming the Russians and the rebels for the deaths of the 298 people on MH-17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavarov during an international conference in Malaysia on Aug. 6, 2015. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during an international conference in Malaysia on Aug. 6, 2015. (State Department photo)

Immediately after the shoot-down, the U.S. government sought to pin the blame on ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and their Russian government backers. However, after CIA analysts had time to evaluate U.S. satellite, electronic and other intelligence data, the U.S. government went curiously silent about what it had discovered, including the possible identity of the people who were responsible. The U.S. reticence, after the initial haste to blame Russia, suggested that the more detailed findings undercut the original claims.

A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the CIA’s conclusion pointed toward a rogue Ukrainian operation involving a hard-line oligarch with the possible motive of shooting down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official plane returning from South America that day, with similar markings as MH-17. The source said a Ukrainian warplane ascertained that the plane was not Putin’s but the attack went ahead anyway, with the assumption that the tragedy would be blamed on the pro-Russian rebels or on Russia directly.

Officially, however, the U.S. government has not revised its initial claims that were made within five days of the shoot-down, fingering the rebels and the Russians. I have been unable to determine if the assessment of Ukrainian responsibility represented a dissident or consensus view inside the U.S. intelligence community.

Although Ukraine would have been an obvious suspect in the attack, the Ukrainian SBU was invited to play a key role in the investigation along with investigators from Australia and the Netherlands. Under the JIT agreement, participating governments, which also include Belgium and Malaysia, have the right to block the release of information to the public.

The recent JIT report hails the comradeship between the Australian and Dutch investigators and their Ukrainian hosts, despite some early difficulties.

“An incredible amount of research material; differing legal systems and initial unfamiliarity with each other. Despite this, both Australian and Dutch members working in the Field Office in Kiev have managed to build good relations with each other and with the Ukraine to effectively conduct the investigation into the MH17 crash,” the report said.

“They are professionals who recognize each other’s love for the police work. They understand each other’s circumstances. And they are, regardless of their country of origin, motivated to do their utmost to uncover the truth. …

“‘The thing is to see how you can keep it workable”, says Van Doorn, ‘we like practical solutions. That means ‘poldering’ [the Dutch practice of policy-making by consensus].’”

Yet, the idea of “poldering” – or reaching consensus – with Ukraine’s SBU, an agency that has just thwarted a United Nations investigation into allegations that the SBU engages in the torture of ethnic Russian rebels, raises further questions about the objectivity and reliability of the MH-17 probe.

[For more background on this controversy, see’s “More Game-Playing on MH-17.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

75 comments for “MH-17 Probe Trusts Torture-Implicated Ukraine

  1. Abe
    June 15, 2016 at 22:29

    Dutch government prosecutors investigating the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 have reported that secret US satellite intelligence they have been shown cannot be used in evidence in a prosecution in an international or Dutch court, and that no evidence is currently available to charge anyone for the crime of firing on the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board. The report, in the form of a 5-page letter addressed to families of the victims was signed by Fred Westerbeke, the Dutch official in charge of the investigation

    Dutch Prosecutor Opens Doubt on MH17 Evidence
    By John Helmer

  2. Abe
    June 15, 2016 at 13:14

    It is known that there were three US satellites overhead the Donbass region at the material time. They had the undoubted capability of determining exactly what was fired at MH17, from precisely where, and by whom. US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed as much in an interview with NBC shortly after the tragedy.

    The American refusal to publically release the data leads to the very strong inference that it is being concealed for the reason that it does not support the “blame Russia” meme so favoured by the western media.

    The incuriosity of the Australian media was again on display when they gave extensive coverage to the report of the alleged claim being filed in the ECHR […]

    The overwhelming weight of evidence is that only the military units of the Ukrainian armed forces had the means, motive and opportunity to shoot down MH17.

    As a recently joined member of Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s “advisory council” former Prime Minister Tony Abbott would be in a difficult position if the shoot down was declared to be a terrorist act and the JIT investigation put the blame where it rightly belongs, on the Ukrainian government. It is not surprising that the announcement at the recent ASEAN-Russia meeting that Malaysia and Russia were cooperating in an investigation of the MH17 tragedy caused concern in US and Ukrainian circles. (5)

    Although the current Australian Prime Minister Turnbull has been more circumspect than his predecessor in making ill-conceived allegations against Russia and its President, he will not wish to expose himself to a finding by the JIT that does not fit the propaganda meme so assiduously pursued by the western media.

    MH17: The Continuing Charade
    By James ONeill

  3. June 15, 2016 at 13:02

    “The MH-17 case also has relevance to the decision later this month by the European Union on whether to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months as the U.S. government wants. The E.U. imposed the sanctions amid a frenzied rush-to-judgment in late July 2014 blaming the Russians and the rebels for the deaths of the 298 people on MH-17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.”

    It is clear to me from reading Parry’s articles (and Paul Craig Roberts and Stephen Cohen and Gilbert Doctorow and Ray McGovern) that the sanctions and the sabre-rattling at Russia are based false or non-existent information and propagated in order to demonize Putin and, so it appears, provoke a military confrontation, since it is clear that Putin is not going to back down. This must be stopped, and I applaud Ann Wright and Ray McGovern for traveling to Moscow (now!) to deliver this message:
    It is also extremely important for this message to reach European readers so that their govts might develop enough backbone to stand up to the US, rescind the sanctions, and stop the military provocations along the Russian border (in which Germany, unfortunately, is also participating).

    • Knomore
      June 17, 2016 at 03:05

      I agree with the concerns you have expressed; they extend to Hillary Clinton’s possible election to the Presidency… a truly frightening specter that hangs over US/us and the world. However, I’ve also been listening to some YouTube analyses of attenuating factors around Obama’s endorsement of Clinton’s nomination. This suggests that he understands the nature of the investigation which is criminal and that she will probably not succeed in her single-minded quest to rule the world. But we must all hold our breath until we’re sure it’s not going to happen…

      Re the MH17 investigation, Newsbud, this time with Sybel Edmonds as commentator, has raised again the question of the special investigation performed by a German citizen for which he was paid millions of dollars to discover if there is an ongoing cover-up of evidence. Edmonds says that the Dutch raided this man’s house and belongings twice, apparently to retrieve whatever information he supposedly garnered and for which he was clearly paid lots of money. Hopefully, this evidence will be made public and will show why the Dutch are so concerned about its implications.

  4. Erik
    June 15, 2016 at 07:46

    Why was Antidyatel’s post deleted? That was an interesting hypothesis.

    • David Smith
      June 15, 2016 at 09:35

      You beat me to it, Erik. Robert Parry can delete as choses(I have been deleted). However, the comment by Antidyatel was valuable as it is the “new look”, that is ” blame Russia directly”, and such propaganda should be examined. Antidyatel’s hypothesis has the credential, and narrative tone, of a bogus Tom Clancy novel, nuff said. Antidyatel had one glaring characteristic of all disinformation on MH-17: avoidance of mentioning UKRAINE as a suspect.

      • Erik
        June 15, 2016 at 15:14

        If that was Antidyatel’s intention, I think his information serves the opposite purpose.

        His claim was that the US has an air-launched drone or missile that can be launched at a military installation to provoke a counterattack, and can fool a SAM to see a phantom SU25 fighter somewhere else. The SAM finds nothing at the phantom location and finds another nearby target like MH17.

        If so, and it was used in E Ukraine that day, then
        1. It was used by the US in civilian airspace to cause a loose SAM targeting other aircraft, with nothing to be gained by attacking Russia or “demonstrating capabilities” in a civilian airspace;
        2. Those who fired it selected a phantom target location to ensure that the launch aircraft, the drone, and the controlling AWACS aircraft were all safe from the SAM, but (at least) did not bother to protect nearby civilian airliners;
        3. They must have chosen to show the phantom target rather close to MH17 if not exactly at MH17.

        So if JIT implicated a Buk SAM fired under Russian control or even from Russia, a likely explanation would be that the Raytheon phantom-target device was intentionally used to create a false-flag operation. That would exonerate Russia and E Ukraine and heavily implicate the US and W Ukraine.

        I don’t know whether there is such a device, although perhaps simpler means could cause such a re-targeting. Simply flying provocative missions and dodging SAMs might have the same effect. If so, this would be a very useful hypothesis.

      • Knomore
        June 17, 2016 at 02:50

        I don’t think he failed to mention Ukraine as a suspect… In fact, he stated that guilt for the affair could probably be apportioned three ways: Ukraine, Russia and the West, i.e., the United States and allies.

  5. rexw
    June 14, 2016 at 23:27

    The fact that the US Ambassador Pyatt, broadcast a false photo is just par for the course. Pyatt, who along with “Doughnut Dolly” Nuland are typical of what the State Department people have become over time, answering to the questionable antics of the Clintons of this world and stretching the truth to suit the corrupt climate.

    Once respected, now suspect and outright disliked. If they purport to represent the United States, God help us. As for the Ukaine, fascistic, almost to the same level as Israel, and that’s saying something.

    Sate Department, therefore America, credibility, zero.

  6. Baldurdasche
    June 14, 2016 at 15:05

    There is no mistaking a Buk launch for anything else either – visually or sonically – and the sole witness who said anything about a missile described “something buzzing by” him that wasn’t a plane. If it was only buzzing it certainly wasn’t a Buk and unless he was blknd, he would have noticed the smoke.

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 18:50

      If the JIT had some witness, they would not disclose that information during the investigation in order to avoid interferences. In fact, I am sure that the JIT possesses much more information that will be disclosed in due time. It is a matter of a few months.

      I am very confident in the professionally of the JIT, because they have a very strong motivation to find the killers of their fellow citizens.

      • Abe
        June 14, 2016 at 19:32

        “They are professionals who recognize each other’s love for the police work… motivated to do their utmost to uncover the truth”
        – JIT ezine

        “I am very confident in the professionally of the JIT, because they have a very strong motivation to find the killers of their fellow citizens.”
        – adoring fanboy

        Argumentum ad nauseam

        • David Smith
          June 15, 2016 at 08:54

          Actually, it is the Fallacy Of Appeal To Authority. Gabriel is least consistent, all his posts make use of that fallacy, even when he expresses incredulity that social media “evidence” might be fake(and it is obviously fake).

        • Abe
          June 15, 2016 at 13:47

          You are correct, David.

          However, since argument from authority, aka argumentum ad verecundiam, is perhaps the most easily recognizable form of logical fallacy, propagandists typically attempt to reinforce it with argument from repetition (Higgins and his adoring fanboys are cases in point).

          “One of the great commandments of science is, ‘Mistrust arguments from authority.’…Too many such arguments have proved too painfully wrong. Authorities must prove their contentions like everybody else.” – Carl Sagan (a noted authority)

  7. Baldurdasche
    June 14, 2016 at 14:33

    The Dutch investigators spent the first three weeks, after the crash, comparing notes with Ukrainian authorities and ‘coordinating’ efforts when they should have been – like the Malaysians and a host of other people – including the family of one Australian victim – at the scene of the crash. The recreated aircraft is still missing most half of its parts which still lie, waiting for investigators in Ukraine.

    It appears, now, that the Dutch were incompetent to adequately investigate this incident. Ukraine should not have been a member of the investigation committee at all – let alone one with a veto on the committee’s report. .

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 18:45

      The incident happened in Ukraine, therefore Ukraine must participate in the investigation. It would be senseless otherwise.

      • Erik
        June 15, 2016 at 07:37

        Obviously false. Ukraine must cooperate like any suspect. That obviously does not qualify them to be investigators, let alone to have a veto over the disclosures.

      • Abe
        June 15, 2016 at 13:31

        Absolutely correct point, Erik.

        It is senseless to have a suspect exercise control over a criminal investigation.

        As a legitimate suspect in the MH17 crash incident, the government of Ukraine should have been compelled to cooperate with the investigation or face international sanctions.

        The fact that this did not occur points to the complete corruption of the JIT investigative process.

        It is important to remember that the Donbass forces were defending the MH17 crash area from an intensive Kiev government military assault in July and August 2014. Kiev never even hinted that it would suspend its attacks to allow Dutch, Malaysian and other international parties safe access to the site. Washington and the EU spun this relentlessly.

        The JIT is a sham.

  8. Abe
    June 14, 2016 at 11:54

    The JIT’s MH-17 probe relies on “analysis” by deception operatives Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat.

    Higgins sent the Bellingcat MH17 “investigation” to the JIT in late December 2015.

    Higgins has repeatedly claimed to have “undeniable evidence” that MH-17 was destroyed by a Buk missile supplied by Russia.

    Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    In Utrecht, Netherlands on 27 May 2016, Higgins gave a presentation titled “MH17 And The End of Secrets” at the Campus Party Europe 2016 technology event.

    Video: view MINUTES 3:08:45-3:48:15

    Campus Party is a week-long, 24-hours-a-day technology event where young fans of Internet and technology come together for networking, workshops, hackathons and other activities.

    The mostly student audience in Utrecht was easily impressed by Higgins “open source” deception and had no substantive questions (typical of the carefully selected public venues at which Higgins speaks). Campus Party NL offered the obligatory Tweet that Higgins’ talk was “chilling”.

    On 1 April 2016, fake “citizen journalist” Higgins collaborated with Maks Czuperski from the Atlantic Council, offering a similar presentation to students at University College Utrecht.

    The Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank, released a 2015 report titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”.

    A key author of the Atlantic Council report, Higgins is listed as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the King’s College in London, UK.

    On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council praises “the ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocation”.

    The Atlantic Council claim that “Russia is at war with Ukraine” and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8 of the report:

    “Separatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26″

    The Atlantic Council’s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled “MH-17: Source of the Separatist’s Buk”.

    On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:

    “It is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.

    “The Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.”

    Higgins’ November 2014 claim of “undeniable evidence” has become the Atlantic Council’s May 2015 claim that “pieces of evidence create an undeniable—and publicly accessible—record”.

    Higgins “fact checks” the disinformation produced by the Pentagon and Western intelligence regime, rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat “digital forensics” seal of approval.

    The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation” to promote the report.

    Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:

    “We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.

    “And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.”

    However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie. The key “pieces of evidence” were supplied by the government of Ukraine.

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 18:57

      Are you supporting the point of view that all the evidence coming from social media is fake? Do you mean that the CIA, NATO, Ukraine falsified all the social media photos and videos?

      This would be a remarkable feat of deception.

      • Erik
        June 15, 2016 at 07:33

        Sure. Real difficult.

  9. David Smith
    June 14, 2016 at 09:44

    Antidyatel is most likely a Langley dude posing as an “East Bloc” type as he lapses into American style English right after some very obvious “Rooski-style” syntax. However, implicating USA, and the obvious pro-Ukrainian bias make me doubtfull, yet that could be very sophisticated CIA style psycho-jujitsu. The core message is what is important: bad stupid Russians done the deed. Unfortunately for Antidyatel, his argumentation is fatally flawed, but the flip techy talk is used as cover. The Russians, if they were providing air defense for Donbass(which they weren’t) would be tracking all aircraft over Ukraine, and would pick up a UK Su-25 on the taxi-way, and would not be fooled by a “phantom” launched from an US aircraft. They would also be tracking MH-17 and could ID it from it’s transponder. The “TELAR’s” Doppler radar would not confuse MH-17 with a “phantom” missle posing as an Su-25. All the premises of Antidyatel’s argument are unsound, it is that simple. The stacking of unsound premises amounts to the fallacy of tortured argumentation, but has a sinister purpose: to directly blame Russian Army personnel. This is a shift from the previous lie: blame the Donbass rebels. Occam’s Reliable Razor gives us the answer to who is guilty: Ukraine changed MH-17’s flight plan on that day then shot it down with a Ukrainian BUK, then blamed first the Donbass rebels, and now the “new model” lie: Russia did it. Given that the Uk party line has always been “Donbass” and Antidyatel follows the USA party line “Russia” then I peg him as “straight outa Langley”.

  10. Gabriel
    June 14, 2016 at 04:58

    There are more than one hundred persons working in the JIT, and according to video releases asking for witnesses they have a clear idea about the culprit:

    • David Smith
      June 14, 2016 at 10:55

      Unless things have changed and UKRAINE is a suspect, then no, the JIT does not have “a clear idea of the culprit”.

    • Knomore
      June 14, 2016 at 12:35

      In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy the Buk missile theory was dropped because Buk missiles apparently produce a large and clearly visible trail of smoke. It was a clear day under blues skies — the plane fell out of the sky around 5:00 in the afternoon and none of the witnesses mentioned the trail of smoke that would have identified a Buk missile. They did talk about seeing a smaller plane (or planes) apparently tracking the jetliner. It was from information provided by on-the-spot witnesses that the theory arose that it was the Kiev government who launched SU fighter jets that shot the plane out of the sky.

      • Gabriel
        June 14, 2016 at 18:42

        A SU fighter is not able to reach the altitude of a commercial airline. A SU fighter has no pressurized cabin. The pilot would died from suffocation.

        • Knomore
          June 15, 2016 at 01:30

          Here is the dossier of documents produced by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research. He emphatically states that the Dutch are mistaken, misleading people with their investigations. Also included here are the conclusions drawn by a Peter Haisenko who I believe was a pilot with Lufthansa. But see for yourself. He examined the puncture wounds caused by shelling of the cabin right where the pilots were seated and stated that it was SU fighter jets that brought the plane down. If he is correct, any pretense that this was accidental goes out the window.

          • Gabriel
            June 15, 2016 at 05:40

            But Susan, they discovered pieces of a Buk missile in the debris. The SU fighter theory is nonsense.

          • Knomore
            June 15, 2016 at 07:24

            To Gabriel: I gave reasoning why the BUK missile theory is unsound. No witnesses saw anything on the afternoon of the tragedy that would suggest a BUK missile. And you can plant anything in a pile of evidence. It was for a very long time an open, unguarded pile of debris…

          • Erik
            June 15, 2016 at 07:28

            Gabriel, I have heard from no source that pieces of a Buk missile were found in the debris. Highly unlikely that shrapnel would be so identifiable as to source. I think you know that is false.

        • Erik
          June 15, 2016 at 07:31

          Highly unlikely that a fighter would have not even a portable oxygen tank, when even small private planes have carried these for generations.

    • Abe
      June 14, 2016 at 18:52

      On 20 July 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on all five major US Sunday talk shows, including CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, claiming “to a certainty” to have a clear idea about the culprit:

      Kerry unequivocally claimed “We know because we observed it by imagery that at the moment of the shootdown, we detected a launch from that area, and our trajectory shows that it went to the aircraft.”

      The US government has failed to present its “imagery”.

      The “imagery” that the JIT probe is based on was provided by the Ukrainian government and purportedly “confirmed” by Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat.

      Despite the fact that Higgins’ accusations have repeatedly been disproven, he continues to be frequently cited, often without proper source attribution, by media, organizations and governments.

      Higgins launched the Bellingcat website on 15 July 2014, the day of the airstrike on the separatist-held town of Snizhne in eastern Ukraine, just before the August 17 crash of MH-17.

      The United States and the EU used the dramatic 17 July 2014 downing of MH-17 to justify a third round of sanctions against certain sectors of Russia’s economy. Canada, Japan, Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine also announced expanded sanctions against Russia.

      • Gabriel
        June 14, 2016 at 19:02

        The JIT did not disclose the evidences that they are using because this would interfere with the investigation. Therefore you do not know the imaginary that they are using … unless you have a mole in the organization.

        The USA did not disclose the satellite images because this would mean disclosing the resolution of these images, something that is a well-kept secret.

        • Erik
          June 15, 2016 at 07:19

          Bull crap, the old gambit of “too secret to tell the truth.” No one cares about the resolution, and if anyone knows it, the technologists of “enemy” powers already do. If that weren’t enough, they could always fuzz the images to some earlier resolution. You know that excuse is false.

      • Abe
        June 14, 2016 at 22:44

        On 30 March 2016, the Joint Investigation Team disclosed “the evidences that they are using” when they released a video calling for witnesses

        The “evidence base” used by the JIT is primarily sourced from a November 2014 Bellingcat report entitled “Origin of the Separatists’ Buk: A Bellingcat Investigation”

        The JIT is enthusiastically peddling the “investigations” of faux “citizen journalist” Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat, Q.E.D.

  11. Gabriel
    June 14, 2016 at 04:52

    Let me see. Military personnel from USA tortured in Guantánamo … therefore no american witness is reliable in any trial.

    That is going too far, isn’t it.

    • Abe
      June 14, 2016 at 16:26

      Let me see. Military personnel from Ukraine shoot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukrainian airspace… but Ukraine is part of the Joint Investigation Team… therefore no Ukrainian military or political witnesses are necessary in any trial.

      That is definitely going too far, Gabriel, isn’t it?

      • Gabriel
        June 14, 2016 at 18:39

        Ukraine is part of JIT because the plane was shot down in Ukraine. Holland, Australia and Malasia are part of JIT because their citizens died in the incident.

        Russia is not part of JIT because no Russian citizen died, the plane was not Russian and the incident did not happen in Russian airspace. In fact, in principle Russia had no connection with the incident.

      • Abe
        June 14, 2016 at 19:26

        The JIT on MH-17 is compromised by the fact that Ukraine is leading an investigation into a crime for which it is a suspect.

        In addition, the exact same day the JIT agreement was signed, on August 7, 2014, Ukraine’s Secret Service (SBU) published its own investigation report entitled “Terrorists and Militants planned cynical terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft” which blames “pro-Russian rebels”

        The official SBU claims the Donetsk militia (with the support of Moscow) was aiming at a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane and shot down the Malaysian MH17 airliner by mistake.

        Why did Ukraine issue a report blaming the separatists the same day it joined the investigation team? And why didn’t the mainstream press talk about it?

        Russian President Putin has repeatedly stressed that the investigation of MH-17 requires “a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

        • Sojourner Truth
          June 15, 2016 at 00:59

          The head of the SBU at the time of the shootdown and for months thereafter was very close to Pravy Sektor.

        • Gabriel
          June 15, 2016 at 05:37

          Ukraine is not leading the investigation, but Holland, the country with more victims.

          • M
            June 16, 2016 at 10:36

            Gabriel: “Ukraine is not leading the investigation, but Holland, the country with more victims”.

            Interview with Ex Major-general of Justice Vasili Vovk (SBU), Ex chief of the Central Investigation Department:

            “The leading role in the investigation does not belong to the Netherlands”
            “Anyone who says that the leading role in the investigation belongs to the Netherlands or to someone else, is wrong. All the information – and it has accumulated a huge array, and it is even not yet fully worked out by us – is in the SBU, Ukraine. And no one will publish anything – until they are legalized materials that were obtained by secret operative actions. I mean wiretapping, interception of radio and so on.”

            “International investigation team – just a communicator”
            “To be honest, the closest to the investigation are the Netherlands and Ukraine”
            “So when someone exclaims: “International investigation team is investigating” – it is necessary to understand that it doesn’t investigate. It is just the communicator, codifier, digester – whatever you want to call it”

  12. Realist
    June 14, 2016 at 02:51

    This is the kind of sleazy outlaw country they want for membership in the EU and NATO? Of course, they already have Poland, which served as a torture site for American extraordinary rendition. So, I suppose they do. How immoral and hypocritical the West has become. I am disgusted by the miscreants who “lead” my country from the gutter while posturing as some “shining city on the hill.”

  13. Joe Tedesky
    June 14, 2016 at 02:34

    The one who controls the news, will be the one who delivers the outcome, and benefits thereafter.

  14. June 14, 2016 at 00:36

    It is clear the MH17 investigation is corrupted at its core as the JIT seems to rely on the SBU/Bellingcat ¨track-a-trail¨ evidence from the very start, issueing a ¨call for witnesses¨ video only in March 2015 to invite trail confirming witnesses only.

    To show the tunnelvision JIT is working from, I listed many of the main problems of this chain of evidence in a review linked in this blog post: ¨Problems of the track-a-trail narrative – the photos, videos, witness accounts from journalists and the intercepted telephone calls:

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 05:03

      In the JIT you have a very professional international team with more than one hundred persons. My impression is that they are making a very professional work. Most of then are nationals from Holland, a country with an enormous interest in finding the truth.

      And no, I do not think that the Dutch will manipulate the investigation for political gain. I am sure that they value more the justice with their deceased fellow citizens than anything else.

    • June 14, 2016 at 07:05

      Any theory explaining the behavior of all parties involved has my interest, certainly yours. I can’t say anything about the level of validity, technically of course, as most of us don’t have that much knowledge about weapon systems.

      But there are so many missing links, somewhere hidden in the archives of secret services and ministries for the Interior. Its my conviction the trail is a fraud, including the fatal mistake narrative build on the retracted Strelkov_info posting ans the Bezler “confession” taps. That doesn’t say maye there was a mistake, but I can’t believe in any rationality proposing stupidity of a trained Buk crew.

      So a random fatal mistake is out of sight, as are ludicrous theories about SU-25/27 downings or other A2A missile alternatives.

      A deliberate act, as Ukraine/Putin-at-war is peddling, is a vicious attempt to blame the Russians directly and is founded on irrationalities.

      An Ukrainian false flag may be possible, but weapon-and-opportunity are things that hardly can be explored to match this scenario. Fact is, there is no publically known official summary of Ukrainian launch units, which could have muted any speculations about this scenario immediately.

      Its not inconceivable they had some Buk units moved from airforce base A-1428 Avdeevka, routed them to Mariupol and then back to Amvrosievka. So imho, though the chance is slim the Ukrainians put a Buk unit in the Velyka/Zaroshchenskoye “pocket” to shield of their full-out attack from Amvrosievka up north-east against Russian MiGs. But nonetheless it exists. Its my opinion the damage pattern analysis is matching a Velyka launch better than a south of Snizhne launch.

      But to me also a “provoked fatal mistake” scenario fits best all behavioral issues and other known facts (maybe not even 10% of what there is to know). The Russian/separatist Buk crew must have been distracted somehow, and this scenario takes that as its axioma. How, that is the great question. Your proposition has to be taken very seriously, imho.

    • David Smith
      June 14, 2016 at 10:41

      Antidyatel, you reveal yourself in what you won’t say. You resort to tortured argumentation to blame Russia, but you are silent about an obvious suspect with both motive and capability/opportunity: UKRAINE.

    • Abe
      June 14, 2016 at 17:38

      The primary logical fallacy used by Higgins, Bellingcat, and the JIT is argument from repetition, aka argumentum ad nauseam or argumentum ad infinitum.

      Higgins and Bellingcat have “undeniable evidence” because they say they have “undeniable evidence” in their “investigation reports”.

      Bellingcat fanboy Gabriel obviously heeds his master’s voice:

      The JIT is “very professional” (because Gabriel said so twice).

      The JIT is so very professional because it’s a team of “more than one hundred persons” (and because Gabriel said so twice).

      All usual opinion-endorsement caveats apply.

      • Gabriel
        June 14, 2016 at 18:34

        Abe, did I mention Bellingcat?

        • David Smith
          June 15, 2016 at 09:12

          Gabriel, in a reply to a comment by Abe further down you express incredulity that social media evidence might be fake, so Abe’s calling you a “Bellingcat fanboy” is not undeserved. I believe name-calling in comments should be avoided, and yours have been scrupulously polite, even when fallacious.

        • Abe
          June 15, 2016 at 16:40

          An epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase expressing a quality characteristic of the person or thing mentioned.

          The epithets “Bellingcat fanboy” and “lame troll” are not terms of abuse because they accurately describe quite obvious qualities characteristic of the object.

          Ain’t no name-calling. Scrupulously and politely jus’ sayin’.

  15. Erik
    June 13, 2016 at 22:39

    Interesting hypothesis. But AWACS would know that it put a phantom SU25 near a civilian airliner, and would know that this caused the shoot-down. The US would have to be strongly implicated to want to conceal such data.

    Why would the US have played decoy games in civilian airspace unless intentional? It seems likely that the US had a false flag operation long planned, found that MH17 was carrying a large group of gays, and sent it over the conflict area deliberately. Whether or not they used the Raytheon decoy weapon, they would release the evidence unless it implicated the US or W Ukraine.

    • David Smith
      June 14, 2016 at 10:09

      You shot yourself in the foot. If Russian TAR/TELAR was used then American AWACS would have ALL signals intelligence and could provide instant irrefutable proof of your thesis. If they had it we would hear it, since we don’t hear it they don’t have it.

    June 13, 2016 at 21:36

    the usa’s national reconaissance office has satellite photos of everything that occurred. why is it that no one is asking for that film.

    after all, the satellite was in fixed orbit over the target zone. and its photographic capabilities are fine to less than one centimeter.

    this is not esoteric knowlege. yet, not a single “journalist” asks for this photographic record. it seems to be a hidden reality.

    • Knomore
      June 13, 2016 at 23:00

      I understood that the US offered, then refused, to supply their satellite data. The Russians, on the other hand, repeatedly offered theirs. Since Russia was incriminated from the get-go by the US, their position in this has been defensive. They have, it would seem, tried to defend themselves honestly and honorably.

      I read and tried to make sense of Antidyatel’s post, but given the fact that the Russians repeatedly tried to exonerate themselves and offered data to prove their innocence, I question the implications that this was a three-way crime and that all three parties, Ukraine, the US and Russia, were guilty. It’s possible that I’m being naive, but I think Russia’s behavior has not been compatible with guilt.

      Because Victoria Nuland was essentially running the country and with help from Hillary the Hellion and Putin-hater (whom she has described as another Hitler–a projection if there ever was one), the likely scenario is that this was a tragedy hatched on US soil by a NeoCon State Department bent on ruling the world and making certain that Russia will never have a hand in that game. The fact that the CFR backed up the premature accusations of Russia’s guilt supports this thesis. We can expect more of this extremely childish and very dangerous behavior if Hillary gets herself elected. God forbid!

      • Knomore
        June 14, 2016 at 12:17

        Obviously you have provided complicated data and your arguments seem sound. War planes and how they work is something for which I have no understanding. The video you provided was an eye opener. If the hypothetical information is correct that the Russians pushed for their own private investigation and paid lots of money to see it performed, your conclusions add another layer of understanding. If the Russians are not in their own right completely innocent, why the need to pursue the truth beneath the “radar?”

  17. TheSkepticalCynic
    June 13, 2016 at 20:32

    The world is quite fortunate that Russia is not “… exactly like us…”

  18. Chris Chuba
    June 13, 2016 at 20:00

    This is a different but related topic regarding Democracy rankings …
    They have Ukraine ranked 88 and categorized as a ‘Hybrid Regime’ and Russia ranked 132 and ranked ‘Authoritarian’ (barely edging out China).

    This feels biased to me. I have to ask, what is could possibly justify ranking Russia below a country which had a coup and then waged a war which excluded at least 15% of its population from voting? I am actually open minded on this. I know that Russia forces political groups that receive outside funding to register as foreign agents, perhaps controversial but that doesn’t make them North Korea in my book. Russia does have regular elections and a divided govt. I actually don’t know all that much about the Russian govt, partly because I am not obsessed by them having to be exactly like us but this ranking really tickled my curiosity.

    Is this pure propaganda or is there some egregious thing in Russia that makes them, not a democracy, not a flawed democracy, not even a hybrid govt but pushes them into the Pol Pot category?

    • Erik
      June 13, 2016 at 22:06

      Wikipedia has right-wing trolls who persistently rewrite articles for an oligarchy propaganda slant. Probably many are paid propagandists. The concept of public editing certainly does not work for a reference work. They have many other biases reflecting the very young volunteer “administrators.” Probably many of those are also right-wing hackers, as well as interested parties.

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 04:55

      How do you rank press freedom in a country like Russia in which a group of female journalism students gives an erotic calendar as a present to Putin in his birthday:,_Mr._Putin!

      • Antidyatel
        June 14, 2016 at 06:42

        Did you just use a trick of creating wiki page and quickly link to it, before moderators delete the page? That trolling technique was exposed quite a while ago, you should update your propaganda manual. Pathetic

        • Gabriel
          June 14, 2016 at 18:30

          Please, check the date of creation of the wikipage … and check the links.

        • tramp11
          June 15, 2016 at 05:09

          From what I can see the Wikipedia page Gabriel links to was created in November 2011 and last modified in January of this year. His link doesn’t work simply because — although it’s shown in his comment — it does not include the exclamation point at the end If you look closely you will see that the exclamation point in his link is not underlined, and it links to a non-existent page without it. When you click on the link you have to add the exclamation point to the address in your address bar. That works for me.

      • Erik
        June 14, 2016 at 11:27

        Even if that were true it would be a foolish remark, nothing but propaganda.

        • Gabriel
          June 14, 2016 at 18:32

          Well, they were female students of journalism, the ones that will make the future “objective” press in Russia.

      • Abe
        June 15, 2016 at 14:41

        Observe the desperation of this lame troll attempting to spin an irrelevant incident as a criticism of “press in Russia”.

        The wiki page notes that LiveJournal is a social networking service based in San Francisco, California, where Internet users can keep a blog, journal or diary. A wide variety of political pundits also use the service for political commentary, particularly in Russia.

        The Moscow State University campus became divided into those supporting the alternative version and the other supporting the original calendar. The head of MSU journalism faculty Yelena Vartanova commented that the calendar was “quite frivolous”.

        Putin’s attitude was reportedly “indifferent”; according to Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, “all these questions have a right to exist and people have a right to ask them”. Peskov also noted that “this situation tells us about natural pluralism of opinions in our society”.

    • Markus
      June 14, 2016 at 04:57

      The list is made by Economist Intelligence Unit, ie. a British business & propaganda outlet. Would you trust a similar list made by eg. “Pravda Intelligence unit”, placing Britain as a dictatorship and Russia as a full democracy ?

      (BTW, I don’t consider Russia to be an exemplary democracy)

      • Chris Chuba
        June 14, 2016 at 08:17

        I am highly suspicious of the list. The fact that it places Ukraine higher made me laugh hysterically. Having a coup and then excluding and entire province from elections would have to reduce your rankings but to these guys, apparently it does not, yet they specifically mention some irregularities in the 2011 Russian elections as a reason to lower Russia’s ranking even more. I found this reasoning absurd. The ‘democracy ranking’ looks more like a ‘western popularity ranking’.

        I was just curious if anyone had a substantive reason why Russia would not be considered a true representative govt. I am old school. If a country has regular elections and they allow opposition parties, and a govt where the President has to answer to an elected Parliament of some sort, I would call it a representative govt, or something close to a democracy.

        In this ranking, they are basically equating the Russia of today to the Soviet Union, I mean that quite literally. they have Russia next to China in the rankings. In the Soviet Union they had regular elections but only one candidate and only one authorized party :-) (now that is what I would call a rigged system).

    • Knomore
      June 14, 2016 at 07:17

      And the US is not a full democracy, a fact which if not made obvious prior to this election cycle, is certainly hard to deny now. We are a very flawed democracy. In fact, some would argue that we are on the verge of becoming a police state, sliding down there next to Russia.

      It’s hard not to wonder about the Orlando affair. In the attached article, Paul Craig Roberts asks repeatedly about the bodies. We have been lied to so many times about so many things that a large dose of skepticism is the inevitable reaction from anyone who doesn’t have an agenda attached to what may or may not have happened.

      My guess is that Russia is in the Pol Pot category because our leaders don’t like Russia — so much for objective appraisal of the facts. Putin has showed us up several times (with respect to Syria, especially), has given refuge to Edward Snowden (which fact alone has damning reflections on the state of our so-called democracy), and has pulled the curtain back on ISIS, showing Americans what our true relationship with this so-called terrorist organization is. As near as I can tell we created ISIS, with lots of help from the Israelis and a few others. The BRICS coalition, one piece of which we’ve helped to detach by working for regime change in Brazil is something else that sticks in our craw. Most importantly, we are out to take over the world and Russia has been a major roadblock to our plans. It is interesting to watch the rather low-keyed way Putin has of putting us in our place. While histrionic V. Nuland is letting loose with swear words on the open media, Putin is quietly putting ships out to sea that knock out our radar and scare the hell out of our sailors.

      Hopefully, the above-mentioned secret investigation will not just disappear into the murk. The outcome and who was behind it might produce for the world some interesting bits of information re the mystery of MH17.

      Putin has an approval rating within Russia above 80% which for us is a huge embarrassment– either that, or it’s bogus. Take your pick.

      Here’s a link to a piece that describes the 14 points of Fascism, worthwhile reading for every American.

    • Gabi
      June 16, 2016 at 02:44

      Apparently the idea of ‘moderating ideas’ in the case of Consortiumnews is to filter unwelcome content
      that puts Mr. Parry to shame.


  19. Knomore
    June 13, 2016 at 19:59

    Thanks for this, Robert Parry. Here is a redacted comment I posted at Consortium News a few days back; it has to do with a secret investigation reported through Newsbud that some party paid a lot of money to try to discover if the evidence in the MH17 affair was being covered up. I hope that you and some of your readers will listen to this and maybe come up with a better sense than I gained of what is going on here. It seemed there was a suggestion of Dutch interference to try to suppress the investigator’s conclusion that Yes, indeed, there was an ongoing cover-up. Moreover, it was suggested that the party requesting the investigation may have been Russia; in any case, someone willing to spend lots of money to find out what exactly is going on.

    A repeat of my thoughts on this:

    The US role in the MH17 affair elicits a great deal of suspicion. They made the accusations and then refused to provide the definitive proof they assured the world they had. Then, at US request, the investigation was shut down and the evidence sequestered indefinitely. Sanctions were then leveled against Russia for a crime that was never solved.

    On the very day the plane went down newspaper headlines in Bangkok shouted “Putin Has Blood On His Hands” — and the CFR’s Journal of Foreign Affairs began to publish very shady, poorly argued articles on the same topic with the same accusatory headline. Finally, John Mearsheimer was brought in to steer the State Department cranks away from a dive over the cliff, ostensibly for no reason other than to frame Putin for something or other. Was Hillary Secretary of State at this time? Certainly, Victoria Nuland was at her post. This was so shoddy it suggested the hand of someone bent on mayhem at all costs. In any case, it’s difficult not to suspect US complicity, or at the very least that this was done by agents/parties who were either known to the US or working on their behalf.

    • Gabriel
      June 14, 2016 at 19:11


      In months the JIT will release plenty of information. Wait and see.

    • Bullwinkle J Moose
      June 14, 2016 at 22:00

      53rd AAM BDE, Kursk

    • Gabi
      June 15, 2016 at 11:12

      Would be good to see a response from the journalist.

Comments are closed.