Did the Ukrainians shoot down flight MH17?

sbu

In the mainstream media there never was any competition between theories about the causes of the disaster with flight MH17 of Malaysian Airways . The official story claims ¨separatists¨ made a fatal mistake. Nevertheless there are some serious leads that point to Ukrainian involvement. Ironically it is the Ukrainian secret service itself that puts us on track.

 Updated with more information: 24.11.2016

Sometimes some very interesting ideas emerge from the infowar that started after the disaster with flight MH17 took place. A nice example of this appeared when the Ukrainian government issued a statement in which was claimed the Russians were responsable because they had deployed a ¨False Flag Operation¨. By downing the Russian flight AFL-2074 from Moscow to Larnaca and blaming the Ukrainians for it, they would have been able to fabricate their so needed casus belli for invading Ukraine. When they hit MH17 instead, that was by mistake.

cynical-plan

Screenshot from SBU website mentioning the Russian army had devised a false flag operation, which went wrong. See here.

 

Regrettably from the point of view of the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) no one believed their story and so it did not enter the competition between acceptable narratives about the causes of the crash. As long as the results of the investigation led by the the Joint Investigation Team are leading the media attention, the room for speculation will be bolstered in favour of that other narrative about a fatal mistake. The ¨separatists¨ would have downed the Malaysian plane, with on board 298 people, thinking it was an Ukrainian military transport aircraft.

Though the dubious origins of this story can be detected and debunked really swiftly (see here and here) this propaganda myth seems to dominate very persistently investigation and reporting alike. Actually there are enough clues able to push the answer to the whodunnit question in a whole different direction, clues that get more weight in the light of the SBU conspiracy theory.

Ill doers are ill deemers…
As it happens one could easily turn upside down this ¨cynical terrorist scenario¨ – as the SBU named it. Couldn´t the SBU, maybe in cooperation with some ultranationalists of the Interior and semi-autonomously operating rightwing extremists or private troops coordinated by some oligarch, have concocted such a scheme themselves? After all ill doers are often ill deemers, as they say.

In July last year investigative reporter Robert Parry put forward an anonymous source, who didn´t rule out Ukrainian complicity in this hideous crime. The source, member of the American intelligence community, had been briefed by the CIA about the assessments that were being made when studying the satellite images of the launch site.

¨What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site

Though the US put blame on the rebels, neither State Department nor White House conveyed any evidence about their claim. Parry noticed back in april 2015 the intelligence community hadn´t even refined their initial assessments with additional research after their 22 july press conference. The official point of view the Americans propagate is an obvious one, but the chance their leads are in fact still ambiguous, doesn´t take away any amount of suspicion about possible Ukrainian involvement.

A few known false flag operations performed by Ukrainian forces in 2014.

A.The Maidan Square massacre, 20 Februari 2014. Several scolars studied the shooting at the Maidan Square and came to the conclusion snipers connected to the opposition had launched an attack at protesters and the police to lay down a path for a forced removal of president Yanukovich from office.

See Ivan Katchanovski, ‘The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine’. Paper, American Political Science Association annual meeting, San Francisco, 3-6 September 2015 (online), summary;  John  Hall, ‘Estonian Foreign Ministry confirms authenticity of leaked phone call’. MailOnLine (5 March 2014, online). The same account in Hahn, ‘The Ukrainian Revolution’s Neo-Fascist Problem’.

B. The Dmytro Yarosh (commander Right Sektor, a right-wing extremist militia force) businesscard, see commentary by Liane Theuer here.

On 21 April 2014 Yarosh’ men attacked a checkpoint in Slavyansk, killing five. Though immediately separatists were accused of launching this attack to foment strife, Yarosh himself told staunch ultranationalist medium censor.net 2 years later he was behind it.

 

Russian flak
Though the Russians seem to stick to their SU-25 story (some Sukhoi type 25 jetfighters were present when MH17 was downed), they never renunciated the Ukrainian Buk scenario. At their press conference at the 21st of july the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) issued satellite imagery which would allegedly show two Ukrainian Buk installations that were placed at a site a few miles south of Zareschenskoye village. They suggested one or both of these Buk complexes had arrived from army base A-1428, 5 kilometers north from Donetsk, and/or from army base A-0194, 6 km northwest from Luhansk.

The British pro-NATO investigating collective Bellingcat put a lot of effort in proving these satellite images were fake, but the report they issued at 31 May, was criticized heavily [1]. After a crowdfunding mission they bought new, high-resolution satellite imagery and issued a second report at 12 June. In that report they had, remarkably enough, to leave the Russian Zaroschenskoye images by itself (the Luhansk base SAT image didn´t even appear in the first report).

So to this day they haven´t proved convincingly these particular images were manipulated in such a way the Russian claims about these Buks overthere could be falsified. In the words of forensic analist Jens Kriese: ¨Bellingcat didn´t prove anything¨.

Read more about the satellite war in “Misleading the crowds: Bellingcat infowar mercenaries clean up SBU stuff again“. Below a part from its November 2016 update:

“The situation regarding the two Buks south from Zaroshchenskoye – also shown on 17.7 Russian satellite imagery – is even a bit more complicated. The first attempt Bellingcat launched to attack these images failed enormously, as mentioned in the above article.

They also launched a second attack, or to be more precise, people from @Armscontrolwonk (Jeffrey Lewis) in the same anti-Russian “citizen” network tried, summer 2016. With another tool, Tungsten, they allegedly showed a lot of inconsistencies, that is, digital alterations that showed the imagery was forged. Also this attempt failed, as – again – results from analysis were misinterpreted and showed a lot of bias. And again, Photoforensic expert dr. Neal Krawetz wrote a devastating blog about it.

Another attempt was made by dr. Marco Langbroek, expert in satellite technology and tracking. Langbroek claimed that, though he was not an intelligence expert in assessing satellite imagery, the angle at which the Zaroschenskoye Buks were shown on the imagery, did not match the angle the satellite was positioned towards the perpendicular axis on this spot on earth (the so-called “off-nadir” angle).

A social media poster Masami Kuramoto, also known for his knowledge of satellite technology, contested. He wrote a few blogposts in which he stated Langbroek had misinterpreted the imagery. In fact, a model of the Buk would fit nicely on top of the Buks on the 17.7 Russian Zaroshchenskoye satellite image (see below).”

buk-model

Supporting evidence for the Russian claims arrived through a non-suspicious source, actually from the Putin critical newspaper Novaya Gazeta, that ran a very interesting scoop. A secret report had been leaked to them in which Russian technicians ¨related to the Russian Military-Industrial Complex¨ (in fact to defense contractor Almaz-Antey as later on came out) had certain convictions about the origins of the disaster. Their calculations and thoughts pointed to a Buk missile being fired from a site south of Zaroschenskoye.

Maybe Almaz-Antey, the Russian manufacturer of the Buk missile complex, had been put under pressure by this leaking, maybe some other interests lurked under the surface. In each case at the 2nd of June the company gave an official press conference in which it conveyed its findings concerning the origins of the disaster with the plane of Malaysian Airways.

According to their presentation the missile had encountered the plane from beneath at the right side (= from the southwest) and then exploded 3-5 meters in front of the left side of the cockpit. Technical evaluation of the damage that was done to the plane and a deep knowledgde about their own product lead to the conclusion that cause of the incident would probably be a Buk missile type 9M38-M1 fired from an area south of Zaroschenskoye. So their calulations proved to be consistent with the disputed MoD satellite images.

Update:

On October the 13th, 2015, Almaz issued new calculations contending the DSB final report. They refined their initial assessments founded on field-experiments and claimed an older type, a 9M38 missile using a 9N314 warhead without preformed bow-tie elements, was fired near Velyka Shishyvka, a site a more to the east from Zaroshchenskoye.

See also my blogpost here, “The 13 Ocotber verdict: DSB versus Almaz-Antey“.

Interestingly the JIT showed in an animation on its website (see from 3:00), issued after their 28.9.2016 presser, they had come to the conclusion the weapon used had been a 9M38 series Buk missile by showing a missile fragment stuck in one of the frames of a cockpit window. Actually the position of this part in the frame seems to match a launch location more to the (south)west – say: north from Amvrosievka – than south from Snizhne.

missile-part-in-windowframe-2

JIT, Snizhne launch. But what missile trajectory would match the position of the found missile part in the window frame?

 

missile-frag-wndow-frame

Buk must have come from a site kilometers to the south-west from Snizhne to get a part in the cockpit window frame at the investigated position.  Image credit Bootblack on webtalk.ru

 

eugene-launchsite

Simple representation of a missile launch site compliant with most salient features from a damage pattern assessment, showing impact of the fragment spray of a missile fired from somewhere west from the officially endorsed launch site. Image credit: whathappenedtoflightmh17.com contributor “Eugene”.

 

Micha Kobs issued a report in which he casts doubts about the found missile part in the window frame. According to his reasoning it would be very unlikely the part was deformed like a small ball and pushed into the frame the way it was shown. (By the way, in their animation 2 the JIT shows the windowframe upside-down from its real position).

Also modelling of the spray of fragmentations coming from an explosion of a BUK warhead leads to the conclusion this particular site ¨cannot be ruled out¨ as possible launch site, as the admin of the informative website , whathappenedtoflightmh17.com, concludes:

¨Various parts of the aircraft show damage which indicate a missile launch from Zaroschenskoye.¨

Mick West, admin of metabunk.org, developed a 2 dimensional model for the explosion of a BUK missile (see here for the latest version). Depicted below are on top (A) a Snizhne launchsite, and below (B) a Zaroshchenskoye launchsite.

Most remarkable features pointing to the Zaroshchenskoye site are:
1. The damage done to the left wing of the plane by primary fragments (in the Snizhne model mostly parts from the missile itself – secundary fragments – and not from its payload reach this area);
2. The relatively unharmed starboard area of the cockpit (in the Snizhne model the right part will be heavily damaged, but in fact it was recovered by rescue workers with window parts unbroken).

Snizhne 2D model

(A) 2D model of fragment spray if BUK is fired from Snizhne.

Zaroshenskoye 2D model frags

(B) 2D model of fragment spray if BUK is fired from Zaroshchenskoye.

In the Western media only the Buk part received attention, because according to the West and Ukraine the blame game mainly came down to a battle between SU-25 (Russians) versus Buk (Ukraine, West) scenarios. Now it was clear the Russians were also secretly supportive of the correct version, namely that the Buk had been the murder weapon. This could, of course, be automatically linked to the suggestion that the separatists were the perpetrators. So the firing location the report suggested, was soon discarded, in particular by claiming the site south from Zaroschenskoye could not even be seen as Ukrainian territory on that fateful day.

Fluïd front line
Actually the latter was very questionable. The front line on 17 July was approximately 5 kilometers south of the Shakhtarsk-Snizhne axis, say below the N21 highway, and happened to be very ¨fluid¨ in those days.

Also in this case more support arrived from an unexpected source, blogger Ukraine_at_war. He showed to his own surprise that probably on July 28, 2014, a convoy of the Ukrainian Anti-Terror Operation drove right from north to south through rebel controlled area (Dutch RTL4 reporter Jaap van Deurzen was there as a video still shows).

(Of course, at this moment in time the situation was different because of the Ukrainian gains after their post-17 July military operations, but nonetheless).

It could not have been proven more clearly the frontlines weren´t impenetrable and the Ukrainian ATO troops could travel freely (as a well-known military cartographer will explain too, see below). The borders were porous, also for Ukrainian Buks. So when the US officially promulgated: ¨We believe that the plane was shot down by a missile fired from the territory in the east of Ukraine controlled by militias“, this didn´t necessarily implicate it also had to be the rebels who launched the missile.

Maybe the Ukrainians anticipated to this fact. After the crash Ukrainian officials immediately rushed to claim they had no anti-aircraft in ¨ATO area¨ (= area where the Anti-Terror Operation of the Ukrainian army fights against the anti-Kiev rebels). Even so they were exposed by social media researchers with rebuttal. For example, a promotional video was dug up showing the Ukrainian army in that area. The video was made not a very long time before 17 July (in fact on 5 July) and the footage showed an ATO convoy carrying Buk launchers with it (video has now been removed by the Ukrainian channel, see update below).

Update:

The Ukrainian government has deleted this video, but “Andrew”, who studied the whereabouts of ATO Buk units extensively, kept a screenshot accompanied with conclusions he drew about the designation of the Buks (see below). These are Buks from the 3rd battalion, the only battalion belonging to the 156th regiment not likely to be involved in a downing.

However, what it does prove is that ATO had Buk launch units in contested area, contrary to their official post 17 July statements.

ato-buks-3rd-batt-5-july-2014

 

Also news corporations reported the transport of BUK launching systems from the freshly conquered Slavyansk area as this 4 July news item shows. As the main battle field moved from the Slavyansk area to the Snizhne area maybe the Ukrainian BUK installations were redeployed according to this new situation too.

Even more interesting was a video recorded on July 16, so one day before the disaster took place, which showed an Ukrainian convoy with anti-aircraft guns in ATO area as well. From 4:48 both Buk launcher and radar vehicle are clearly visible:

Russia Today already reported this at the day of the crash, but in the course of time it remained unclear where the convoy camped on the 17th July.

Update:

In the meantime the whereabouts of these BUKs have been found, only 19 months after the plane was hit. The BUK units belonged to the 156th regiment, 3rd Battalion, stationed in ATO sector C, around their rearbase in Izyum.

Bellingcat spokesperson Aric Toler triumphantly announced the news because ¨[m]any believed this video footage was damning to the Ukrainians, showing what could be the anti-aircraft equipment that downed the passenger plane.¨, and now they showed them wrong.

But actually the observation these units were in ATO area showed two important things. First, Ukraine had lied there were no BUKs in the area; and, second, the fact these BUKs were present to shield off ATO air-defense sector C gave more credibility to the idea there also were BUK units present in ATO air-defense sector D around rearbase Amvrosievka, south from Shakhtarsk, as stated by the Russians.

Russian-MoD BUK
Map issued by Russian MoD with BUK TELARs (smilies) and Kupol radar vehicles sketched in. Update: this map does not show Kupol presence at Izyum, the site where ATO units had Buks present on 16.7.2014.

Nevertheless, it can be assumed that Ukrainian Buks stood within firing range of MH17 on that black day in July. Moreover, on July 12 ATO spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov issued on facebook a warning that the ¨regular air defence of Ukraine was put on readiness alert No 1¨. Ukrinform confirmed:

In order to reduce the response to possible threats from air space, due to the shelling of the strongholds of the military units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces taking part in the anti-terrorist operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions with BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers from the direction of the Russian Federation near the state border, Ukrainian air defense forces have been put on full combat alert.

So with the air force on full alert also the BUKs present in ATO area would have been manoevered in combat position.

Reading maps
According to a general of the French airforce a site west (in the direction of Shakhtarsk/Zuhres) from were the plane had been hit in the sky, would best fit a possible launch site. On the Russian Sputniknews he promulgated this idea, though with a well thought diplomatic formulation concerning the consequences:

The area [where the plane exploded] cannot be near Torez. It is much further to the west! Although this cannot serve as evidence that the missile that hit the plane, if this is the case, was launched from the west.

Remarkably enough also the initial dispatches concerning the disaster, on social media and on Ukrainian mainstream media as well, spoke of witnesses who thought a missile had been fired from the area of Shakhtarsk. Notwithstanding the official Ukrainian narrative about the origins of the crash put down these kinds of suggestions very soon, it could be a very important fact that has to be taken into account.

Possibly maps of the Ukrainian army the rebels took hold of could corroborate the leads Almaz Antey and the Russian Ministry promulgated. On the 30th of April Russian news networks reported that on two maps the positions of Ukrainian Buk complexes had been sketched in at the time flight MH17 was downed.

¨This is a working map of the commander of the 1st Battalion of the 95th separate airmobile brigade, which dates back to the beginning of July last year. The most notable are marked on the map starting position of anti-aircraft missile systems of medium-range Buk.”

Here you can find part of the most important maps, showing BUK positions at Gruzko-Zoryanske near Ilovaisk and south of Zaroshchenskoye. And here is also a video of the maps as shown at the press conference.

Especially part of the plan that shows the region south of Shakhtarsk is of huge importance. Though the rebel spokesman said at the presser this map depicted the situation at the beginnings of july and the Ukrainians had moved their anti-aircraft missiles a bit since then, the BUK launcher sketched in in the vicinity of Zaroshchenskoye cannot be missed (black icon).

Of course, the question is if these maps are genuine. There is no way to corroborate this.

BUK launcher Zaroshckenskoye
Map showing the position of a BUK launching complex south of Shakhtarsk, allegedly drawn in by the commander of the 1st battalion of the 95th seperate air mobile brigade of the Ukrainian army. It must be said, however, no-one can vouch for its veracity.

Just before 17 July the front south of Snizhne was located around Stepanovka and Saur Mogila, only a few miles south from the alleged rebel launch site Ukraine_at_war and Bellingcat endorsed. (For background of the fighting in this area at this time, see this link). Possibly there were Ukrainian Buk launchers in that area present at that time.

After the 12 july warning the Ukrainians accused Russia of another False Flag, the bombing of an appartment in Lenin Street, Snizhne, on the 15th. So apparently, according to the Ukrainians, Russian airplanes were an imminent threat. The downing of a SU25 near the Ukrainian-Russian border on 16 July, according to official Ukrainian sources by a Russian MiG, made the use of alert air-defense missile system all the more credible.

foto 7 front 11 juli rebellen

Rebel map from 11 july shows tank divisions southwest and southeast from the frontline south of Snizhne. ATO Buk units that could have been present below the line Donetsk-Snizhne originally were located at Donetsk/Avdeevka (1st battalion of the 156th regiment) and Mariupol (2nd battalion). After the March 2014 evacuations from base their whereabouts are not accounted for.

The ¨Zaroshchenskoye pocket¨
The Czech blogger Vladimir Suchan displayed a map [with information provided by Colonel Cassad website, a well informed pro-separatist news service] with the positions of rebels and Ukrainian Army, which showed a bulge of the frontline south of Zaroschenskoye. According to rebels sources this had been Ukrainian controlled area.

Zaroschenskoye pocket

The ¨Zaroschenskoye pocket¨, a bulge in the front line. At the 17th of July this area possibly was under control of the Ukrainian forces.

In each case it was an area where (tres)passing was allowed easily. Dmitry Paramonov, cartographer of the military mappers Kot Ivanov, made some comments about this in a reply to a Novaya Gazeta article:

The Zaroshenske village was not an important foothold for neither side, it is not mentioned in the reports, and it is located on the territory on which Ukrainian armed forces freely travelled. The location of rebel’s air defense systems in this settlement is impossible, but for Ukrainian armed forces it is possible, because it provides a cover for aviation of the Ukrainian army, which was active in the region of Zuhres-Shakhtersk-Snizhne in the period of 10-17 of July.

Even so after their failure with their report about the Russian Zaroshchenskoye satellite images Bellingcat tried to provide back-up for the story this area was under control of rebel forces.

In fact it all came down to the designation of a few villages, whether they were in the hands of the Ukrainians or the rebels. Bellingcat reasoned Velyka Shyshivka (3 km east from Zaroshchenskoye), Dubove (a few km. north-west of Zaroshchenskoye) and Shaposhnykove (3 km. south of the proposed launch site) were under ¨Russian¨ (rebel) control.

Update:

The JIT released with its pressconference at 28.9.2016 a video with an intercepted call, showing a DNR fighter asking for verification of the situation around Zaroshchenskoye at 17 july. This would prove it was not under Ukrainian control.

zaro-was-ours

Of course this is not very strong proof, as its only a testimony from one soldier who had to dig deep in his memory to come up with an answer. Besides, as Andrew showed in his report about this topic, the Ukrainian army occupied positions near the presumed launch site only from July 15th (p. 44) until July 21st. On July 22nd the UAF had moved out and started to severly shell positions near Shaposhnykove, a tiny village in the Zaroshchenskoye pocket with no apparent strategic value or rebels presence (p. 64). What could be the reason for this? Were the Ukrainians erasing trails?

It seems JIT thinks, however, the maybe not so reliable dug up information from one soldier’s memory about one week in the distant past is more than enough evidence. The impression remains making public this kind of evidence has more to do with pursueing a political trial in the media than with a juridical trial in an independent court.

But its easy to argue the other way around too. Velyka Shyshivka, a small town of no importance, showed on 16 july Google Earth images some major fortifications and checkpoints. Also Shaposhnykove seemed to be firmly secured, for example by a field encampment. This could point to a major strategic important site nearby, seemingly in the direction of Zaroshchenskoye as the roads from the south and east to the village were thoroughly monitored. One could assume the roads to this little village with no other importance than its strategical position towards the important town of Shakhtarsk were meant to transport a high-valued war asset like a BUK whenever it was needed.

An American engineer issued a full military-historical evaluation of that area around the 17th of July, 2014, stating the above observations and proving them with satellite imagery and social media research. In the first place it debunked the Bellingcat projections completely and, second, it provided a clear vision on the situation, which made it not hard to understand Ukraine had motive and opportunity to position two BUK launchers near Zaroshchenskoye.

Zaroshchenskoye BUK

Study performed by American engineer ¨Andrew¨ that shows the military situation in the Zaroschenskoye pocket around 2014/7/17.

Obstruction of justice

Another issue that raises doubts is the way the Ukrainians behaved after the crime. It didn´t take very long after the crash to launch a fierce military operation aimed at Debaltseve from the north and at Shakhtarsk-Torez from the south, right to the area the debris of the plane had come down.

28 juli ATO campagne crash site

Situation at 29 july after a sudden military operation had been launched by Kiev. Dark blue = separatist controlled cities; Orange = Donetsk Republic; Blue= Luhansk Republic; Yellow = Ukrainian controlled cities; White = Ukraine; Dark grey = not enough information present; Green = area where the debris of the plane could be found.

This operation caused some criticism, because of the fights rescue workers and investigators couldn´t reach the crash site any more and the Dutch government did nothing to impede the Ukrainians to get rid of evidence. Whatever the reason was behind it, it can in fact be seen as a clear obstruction of justice.

Second, Ukraine never issued evidence which could relieve them of suspicion. What they should have done is providing an accurate order of battle of BUK launcher units on July 17 and military inventory control records of BUK missiles from July 16 and any later date after July 17 as well. An audit of the inventory by an impartial observer, or even the OSCE, could simply have put an end to speculations about their involvement. Instead they frustrated investigation by launching an attack at the crash site.

To sum up these conclusions can be drawn:

A. According to an anonymous source from the US intelligence community US satellite images demonstrate that combat units from the Ukrainian army could be involved in the launch. The official explanation the Americans give leaves room for speculation. They did not publish any reliable data leading to a conclusion a Buk was fired from Snizhne as a policy of secrecy prevailed.

Update:

At the JIT presser on 28.9.2016 it was mentioned the US had drawn up a intelligence report with their findings, a report that even would be allowed to be used in court. Next to that, a representative of the JIT was allowed to see some representation of the secret data the US says it has about missile launch from “rebel held territory”. Also his testimony could be used in a trial.

Probably they refer to SBIRS (Space Based InfraRed System) imagery from cloudbase and higher and projections under that base. Of course, as the raw deal will be held secret, no independent experts (or experts for the defense in case of a trial) will be able to investigate these data. Court will have to rely on some Colin Powell like Iraqi WMD presentation of this alleged evidence.

B. The front line was not impenetrable, so Buks could easily be positioned within firing range of MH17, maybe even in what is called ¨rebel controlled area¨. On July 17 the area south-west of Snizhne-Torez, south of Zaroshchenskoye, could have been trespassed or controlled by ATO units.

On July 16 there was an ATO convoy with Buks in the area north of DNR/LNR territory, which begs the question where the Buks from the 1st and 2nd battalion, which were evacuated in March 2014, were deployed.

C. Technical evidence provided by Buk producer Almaz Antey is consistent with firing a 9M38 Buk(M1) missile from an area south(-east) from Zaroschenskoye. This evidence would be consistent with the Russian satellite images of the area on July 17, which show the presence of 2 Buk installations.

Also modelling of the spray of fragmentations coming from an exploding BUK, and then comparing this with known damage done to the plane, shows the missile could well have been launched from this area.

D. Supporting evidence arises from a full military-historical study into the fights in the area in that period of time, that shows the Ukrainians had access to the Zaroshchenskoye pocket to position two BUK units. Also from initial reports after the crash, with testimonies of local sources, could be derived that the environment of Shakhtarsk was initially adopted as a site from where the missile could have been fired.

E. Ukraine did nothing to shed some light on their military operations involving BUK launchers and missiles. Moreover they obstructed recovery operations and justice being done by launching an military operation right to the crash site.

 

Stench of a conspiracy?
Against some of these leads clear objections can be made, but that´s also true for the evidence that builds up the track-a-trail theory, the theory which states that a Russian crew dragged a Buk system on a Volvo truck through rebel controlled territory.

It can be even said more bluntly. The idea, which purports elements of the Ukrainian army were involved in a False Flag Operation, appears to gain credibility when one looks closely at the way in which evidence has yet been established for this track-a-trail theory. From most if not all this material oozes a suspect smell of SBU manipulation and planting [2].

Maybe a trail of guilt was constructed to show the rebels had possession of a BUK after the July 14 downing of an AN-26, that allegedly flew at an altitude of 6500m. This would make the Ukrainian case against direct Russian involvement in the war way more credible.

Update: Ukrainian officials of the Ministry for the Interior implicated in using fake evidence

A. On august 26, 2014, advisor for the minister for the Interior, Anton Gerashchenko, peddled a story about a golden special operation with a black side. During the special op. a female sniper, Natalia Krasovskaya, would have been killed. On September 7th, 2015, Natalia could be seen on an image being alive and well, see here.

In the meantime Gerashchenko removed the photos he had posted of her after her presumed death. But what had happened? Had a play with fake actors been staged to boost up the story of divine glory and heroism? (Credit: Liane Theuer).

B. Actually, Micha Kobs also found a case in which a photo model/actor was hired to account for the presence of Russian soldiers near a border post (to account for an imminent Russian threat). Atlantic Council, their fellow Eliot Higgins and his right hand Aric Toler were part of this disinformation report.

disinfo-higgins-tarasov-model

Actually, Stanislav Tarasov was a photo-model, according to his Vkontake page not involved in the army. The webpage says he works for Apple. When looking through his many uploaded 2014 pictures, nothing – except from his job at the Ukrainian disinfo op. – points to him being an army conscript.

real-tarasov

C. Another famous case of use of fake social media stuff is of course the attack by Arsen Avakov, minister for the Interior, on former Odessa governor Sakaashvili. There seems to be a strong indication that the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior employ expert(s) capable of making fake videos and photos.

December 2015 an incident occurred between US darling, former president of Georgia and governor of Odessa Saakashvili and Avakov, chief of the Ministry for the Interior. Both were accusing each other virulently of being involved in corruption.

About this time a video appeared on the internet in which Saakashvili is talking with a Russian oligarch, allegedly proving his corruption involving a company in Odessa. Later Saakashvili was telling people on TV that the video was a fake. Saakashvili reiterated that this video was distributed by the Ukrainian Ministry for the Interior, saying: “Do you realize now what sort of fraudsters we are dealing with?

Maybe even something more sinister was going on.

Motives for such a sinister operation Ukraine had too, for as they needed political and military support to eliminate the separatists once and for all and turn the tide of the war upside down. Like someone replied to a Facebook message from Ukrainian official Dmitry Tymchuk an hour after the crash, stating the rebels and Putin were responsable for the attack: ¨Ukraine, tonight, in a cynical way, in this war we have hit the jackpot¨.

alex-kurtov-jackpot
Response from a Ukrainian nationalist to a message posted by Ukrainian politician Dmitry Tymchuk at the night of the 17th symbolizing a false flag motive. The idea that with the MH17 crash a jackpot was hit, received 47 likes.

 

Update: motive, strategic need

After sealing of the “Southern Cauldron” – a piece of land captured between Russia and the DNR/LNR – three ATO regiments with about 5000 troops were enprisoned under desperate conditions a day before MH17 crashed. For MSM reports about the 16 july battles, see e.g. here.

Julian Roepcke, the staunch Kiev supporter from the German newspaper Bild Zeitung, even foresaw an end to the fights and a win for “Russia”.

gamechanger-needed

No need to explain the Ukrainian army desperately needed a “game-changer” to free up their tied-up mates in the Southern Cauldron. Reported is there would be launched an attack from Amvrosievka in North-Eastern direction with full force, including shock forces. (see image below).

attack-uaf-from-amvrosievka-17-7

Map shows shock forces directed from Amvrosievka towards the North-East (blue-yellow arrow) and troops from three Ukrainian regiments captured in the “Southern Cauldron”.

Ukrainian propagandist Roman Burko even was very self-assured it would become allright, as he explained on his Facebook page – also transcripted and translated on other websites – “surprise forces” had come in to make an ATO victory certain. (see screenshot below).

amvrosievka

Under Amvrosievka our forces have got good reinforcements, wrote Burko at the evening of the 16th. Surprise forces, even. Well, of course it would be great to know what he actually meant.

Were it troops from extremist militia Dnipro-1, stationed at Mariupol at the time, helping their brothers in arms from Azov who were fighting near Saur Mogila?

Were it troops from the 156th regiment’s 2nd battalion Buk unit, roaming around somewhere unknown and having some Buks left behind in Mariupol as well?

Or could it even have been Buk units from the 1st battalion, also evacuated in March that year with unknown whereabouts around the 17th?

ato-buks-evacuated

sergey-pashenko-buk-121

Photo of ATO conscript Sergey Paschenko in front of a Command Post (probably CP100), TELAR 121 and another TELAR covered with a netting (possibly 122). According to sources mentioned in Andrew’s report (see from p. 34), it is possible these units were located near army rearbase Amvrosievka, south from Shakhtarsk. Initially this photo was used in (pro-)western media to blame the separatists.

 

At least, Buk units would come in very useful on such a strike, shielding of the Amvrosievka shock forces from Russian MiG-29 attacks. So we know there was weapon (for as the whereabouts of Buk units of 1st and 2nd battalion cannot be accounted for) and there certainly was a very strong strategic need.

Was there also opportunity? We don’t know actually, especially because the JIT obviously trusted the secret information from the US “it just hadn’t been a Ukrainian Buk” and is not inclined to make Ukraine hand over a full report of its Buk inventory. In a court case Ukraine obviously will have to answer to this.

benign-hegemon

JIT follows the secret US directions, no questions asked.

 

It doesn´t arrive out of thin air to suggest Ukraine is looking fiercely for something like a Marshall Plan, i.e. support from the West against its Russian rival in which military-strategic, political and economic objectives could be united.

In a forthcoming book “THE DOWNING OF FLIGHT MH17 – THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE COLD WAR”, written by professor International Relations Kees van der Pijl, this topic will be studied extensively, leading the way for a series of “tolerance factors” which could shed light on the events that led to the demise of 298 people on the altar of a new cold war.

In the short run, Ukrainian conduct leads to believe they looked for an opportunity to engage the US in more direct military assistance against Russian interventions. After the 14 July downing of an AN-26 near Izvarino and the 16 July downing of a SU25 near Gregorievka – both presumably at high altitude – the Ukrainians tried to inflict suspicion on the Russians for these acts.

At their 3rd appeal, when MH17 was downed, Ukrainian official of the Interior Anton Gerashchenko even wrapped it up as a battle between good and evil, always useful when appealing to US exceptionalism. Maybe they even felt a false flag operation of their own could lead to this desired outcome. In each case the Ukrainians – or parts of the state apparatus – had capabilities (BUKs), opportunity (possibly being in shooting range in a state of full alert) and motive. A very strong motive.

Gerashchenko facebook 17 juli
Translation of the Facebook posting from Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko on July 17th, urging for help in the epic battle of good against evil [click to enlarge]

The US and geopolitics

From the days of former secretary of state Zbigniew Brzezinsky’s book “The Grand Chessboard” it is widely known the US will try to impair any attempt made to construct an Eurasian space “from Lisbon to Wladivostok”. Ukraine is a key country in a policy to draw a line, or better: a cliff, between Eurasia and Europe, meant to manage US interests by thwarting the interests of other large nations. Former general Wesley Clark even sees the battle over Ukraine as vital for US interests and a front for the next Big Struggle, the one with China.

In the meantime certain people in the US were trying behind the screens to move president Obama towards a more agressive anti-Russian policy in the Ukraine. Former NATO general Breedlove even “plotted against Obama’s Russia policy”, as leaked emails testified and The Intercept reported. When even the highest ranks in NATO try to pursue confrontation with Russia and we know from history how often the US has concocted fake events to open the route to war, we should not discard the possibility something like this happened in this case as well.

Of course, it has to be emphasized theories without conspiracy plots are preferable. But ironically in this case with its own conspiracy theory about a Russian false flag operation the SBU has been very helpful creating a strong competitive narrative about the cause of the MH17 disaster. It is clear the Ukrainians had a very strong motive, weapons, mindset and probably also opportunity to fire at a civilian plane and should therefore be treated as suspects in this case.

 

Notes:

[1] Forensic analist Charles Wood: http://7mei.nl/2015/06/01/about-bellingcats-claim-russian-sat-pics-fake/

Forensic analist Jens Kriese:http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/expert-criticizes-allegations-of-russian-mh17-manipulation-a-1037125.html

Developper tool Photoforensics, dr Neal Krawetz: http://www.heise.de/forum/Telepolis/Kommentare/MH17-Bildbearbeitungsvorwuerfe-gegen-Russland/Betreiber-von-FotoForensics-com-distanziert-sich-von-Bellingcats-Analyse/posting-14650274/show/

Blogger: http://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=nl&sl=ru&u=http://ntv.livejournal.com/398128.html&prev=search

Blogger:http://life.lanzone.eu/?p=30

Russian scientist:https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/31/mh17-forensic-analysis-of-satellite-images-released-by-the-russian-ministry-of-defence/comment-page-4/#comment-18345

And:https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/31/mh17-forensic-analysis-of-satellite-images-released-by-the-russian-ministry-of-defence/comment-page-5/#comment-18464

[2] A list of all problems with this narrative and its evidence -photos, videos, testimonies and intercepted calls – can be found in my review “Problems of the track-a-trail narrative; a review”.

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3 gedachtes over “Did the Ukrainians shoot down flight MH17?

  1. About the update on motive. Although it’s a well made point, the opposite might be argued as well, using some of the same arguments: that the cornered, isolated ATO forces desperately needed air support and air supply drops to survive or escape. And having one or more BUKs to seal off the zone from the Ukrainian Air Force would have immense benefits for separatists as well. Although for that to make sense, several BUK groups would have been needed for any true strategic plan. And for that there’s way too little evidence. What good would one lonely TELAR do? It would be harassed the moment it would drive into Ukraine unless embedded with other defenses. Not impossible, just less likely. And if there were indeed more BUK vehicles imported, the problem of Ukrainian knowledge might prove to be the real hot potato, something they can’t and won’t admit for many years to come as not to endanger EU integration prospects even further.

    With this in mind, it’s almost insane to realize no information has been released on how the Ukrainians were exactly being cleared. Like verifying all locations and interview soldiers just in case some rogue group would have used them off the record. To me it seems it was all skipped because the answer was already being supplied in advance. The whole inquiry seems to have been started just to prevent having to share sensitive “raw” data which could be discussed (as it would seem the lesson learned from Iraq and the WMD was: if you think you have evidence next time, don’t discuss it at all, just move on with things).

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  2. Something that would speak for the separatist Buk might be the direction of the shooting, towards a north-eastern direction. Of course, from this direction AN-26s would arrive to deliver airsupport for the captured troops. ATO Buks – for example stationed in the nomansland south from Shakhtarsk and north from Amvrosievka – would be directed towards the south-east.

    However, Micha Kobs has done some study into Buk manuals these days and he thinks a standard mode of operation is out of the question. So there was some sort of non-standard approach, an “inprecise launch” which would render all DSB calculations about launch areas useless as it seems to have been founded on a standard procedure. (Not to mention that insane precise study done by the Kiev Research Institute for Forensic Science, which makes you wonder if creating fakery is core business overthere)

    Hopefully he will publish more about this – or I can do it for him (If I can understand and reproduce it). One of his sources was this: http://www.peters-ada.de/sa11_buk.htm

    Actually to me its beyond belief the JIT does not give any statement about presence of Ukrainian Buks other than copying the US point of view. Even more astonishing is they all get away with this.

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  3. A single BUK and especially a single BUK 9N314M is a wrong track.
    This story doesn´t work on different aspects.
    First of all the JIT report, they do not talk anymore about bow-tie frags or a single BUK.
    Second, a single BUK don´t fit to the the BUK system which shoot (always) 2 missiles.
    Third: The DSB was very late with their report, and the DSB final report was made for ICAO standard (in respect to UN SC 2166).
    ICAO reports shall submit reactions to the reason of an attack.
    As the DSB/JIT won´t investigate seriously they used the chance to say it was an error from a SAM unit and submitted a (ICAO) law to prevent flights over regions with combats where high altitude missile system are being used (altitude where civil airliners fly).

    Thats part of the game where all parties can agree with, and so the black jack was in the hands of JIT.
    The JIT needed another year for their preliminary report which is not a standard report, but only some computer generated evidences and press conference and old but still unknown dated videos, audiotapes and images, reports from allegedly witnesses which were never confirmed by date and ownership and origin.

    Back to the BUK scenario:
    Damages to be seen on MH17 debris doesn´t fit to the conclusions and calculations of DSB/JIT scenario.
    And this situation is still alive after 2 1/2 yrs. 2yrs now the wreckage is under investigation and the JIT cannot say until today which weapon system were used?
    That is really crazy.
    They conclude a BUK, because they say it couldn´t have been an air to air scenario for example.
    How they concluded the impossibility of an air to air scenario?
    They say because they didn´t saw a jet on 6 primary radar data.
    OK, on 2 russian radar data there are objects that could be a jet, 2 radar data from NATO were too far away and 1 ukrainian raw data is under investigation but never was published. And then there is the 6th radar data from Russia where russians said they couldn´t see a military jet, but maybe the data was manipulated by the private company (owner of radar) for different reasons in the 2 yrs after the crash and before it was released.

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