An Alternative Track Trail: Another BUK, Another Day

¨The most important scenario¨, according to the Joint Investigation Team´s call-for-witnesses: the ¨track-a-trail¨ narrative.

¨The most important scenario¨, according to the Joint Investigation Team´s call-for-witnesses: the ¨track-a-trail¨ narrative.

It seems pro-Kiev investigators and crowdsourcers choose to suffer from a ¨tunnelvision¨. Actually, it is really not that hard to come up with a completely different story regarding their 17th July ¨track-a-trail¨ narrative, based on the same evidence they are using to blame the separatists for downing MH17.

UPDATE 6 December 2016

Until this day I still support the idea the Buk track-a-trail evidence through the Donbass is a narrative that raises a lot of red flags. Nonetheless, because this alleged evidence is there, we have to deal with it one way or the other. One could, for example, suppose the images and videos have all been faked, as Sergey Mastepanov proved they could have been in studies in which he remade the existing visual evidence of the Buk transport with his own hands (see here and here).

Another way to use the imagery and supporting evidence available to attack the weakness of the standing narrative is by thinking about alternative scenarios in which these pieces of the puzzle also could fit, although telling another story. I tried to do this in this blogpost from May 2015 by assuming that – although the photos and videos of the Buk transport were real (for an important part) – they were not made on the day of the shooting nor showed the murder Buk.

With this method I tried to show foremost how organizations like Bellingcat work. They don’t evaluate the information, as they work from cherry picking unclear, unspecified, undated information from unknown sources that seems suitable to build a desired narrative around.

However, more visual “evidence” of the trail surfaced when time passed by, always solving an important question about the trail. The Makeevka satellite imagery supported the Makeevka video of a Buk transport (both released in the beginning of May 2016, 22 months after the crash). These two new pieces of evidence (though not included in an animation the JIT showed of the alleged Buk trail) bolstered the meager evidence of the start of the 17.7 trail in Donetsk.

The new Torez video, released by the Dutch police after the 28.9.2016 JIT presser, showed the important right side of the Buk, with clearer visibility than all other imagery before, ready to be used in a matching process to link a Russian delivered Buk to the alleged Buk that was responsable for downing MH17.

Anyway, somehow an alternative scenario has to deal with all this.

Also other information was made available, e.g. by reports and website from which could be derived (in general terms) what had happened to the ATO Buk units from air-force bases in contested area and which Buk could have been used by rebels to move around the Donbass to account fo the imagery published.

At the bottom of this article there is an update in which I will test the hypothesis brought here, with more information about the ATO Buks whereabouts and possible candidates that could have been trailed through the Donbass earlier than July 17th.

—————————————————————————-

At this moment the ¨track-a-trail theory¨ (=the theory which states a Russian crew dragged a Buk system on a Volvo truck through rebel controlled territory to Snizhne to shoot down MH17 by mistake) has been appointed by the Joint Investigation Team as ¨most important scenario¨ regarding the origins of the MH17 disaster. This theory is supported by a trail of photos, videos and eyewitness accounts published at social media, allegedly showing the transport of a Buk installation to a launch site and back over the Russian border.

truck

Dutch state television NOS promotes Joint Investigation Team video in which is called for witnesses and the “track-a-trail theory” is depicted as being the “most important scenario” they are investigating.

The theory is not indisputable. Several severe doubts arise when taking a close inspection at the evidence [1]

In this article I want to propose a scenario of an alternative trail pivoting on the idea rebels transported another BUK on another day. They could have been followed by SBU agents in the field and from positions in ¨safe houses¨ along the road, taking pics and vids. When MH17 was downed this stuff could be used in a very convenient way.

Update, extra information on the visual evidence of the Buk trail:

One of the most remarkable things about the first pieces of imagery and sightings building up the Buk trail is not only that they arrived for the most part through conduits of trustworthy pro-Kiev relays/reconnaissance volunteers or the SBU and its spies, but also that geolocation efforts were made simple because clear information was added ready to be picked up.

The Zuhres video was posted by the original videomaker, pro-Kiev nationalist Andrey Andryushin, with exact coordinates.

tweet-zuhres

 

The Luhansk video was first set at Krasnodon in a tweet by minister for the Interior, Arsen Avakov, but in replies he revised it himself. First he located the video in Luhansk mentioning there also was GPS information, then later he also provided exact coordinates.

avakov-posting-coordinates

 

The publication of the truck with Buk in the Paris Match issue on July 25th was accompanied by a reply from someone named “Andressen”, who – again – gave away clear clues and the exact coordinates:

location-clues-pm

(Actually the geolocation was done a day before by Ukraine-at-war. At least, this he wrote. Though Paris Match had said it was taken in Snizhne, Ukraine-at-war got another idea. Founded on the existence of trolly wires and someone who jumped in a car and drove from Donetsk to Torez, Ukraine-at-war managed to get the exact location).

 

The photo of the Buk at Karapetyan street was copied by infowarrior @GirkinGirkin with clear clues for geolocation. GirkinGirkin had written:

#Snizhne About the Russian gunners and Buk in Snizhne “its from a house of 50 years October [street], it [intranslatable], near coal [restaurant] and Furshet [market]”

With these clues a simple geolocation effort was executed by someone from the same investigative network as Bellingcat.

 

The photo of the Buk in Torez only was accompanied with the information it was driving from Torez to Snizhne, which would allude to a site on the N21 highway/Lenin street. It was not hard for Bellingcat’s Aric Toler to get the exact location on this main Torez-Snizhne connecting road by picking dashcam videos of cars moving on Lenin Street.

 

Geolocation of the Snizhne T0522 Buk video was spurred by Eliot Higgins, who promised his twitter followers a gold star for clues to get the actual site from where it was taken. In a blogpost he explained it was a piece-of-cake to come up with the exact location after his “crowdsourcing” efforts were followed up with clear leads.

higgins-geolocation-method-snizhne-vid

Higgins tweeted the results of geolocation already on 21:32 EEST (17 July), only 23 minutes after he had tweeted he was in possession of this video. And this was only some 40 minutes after it was first posted on an obscure Vkontakte portal. So within the hour the video was posted AND geolocated by trustworthy third party experts!

Strangely enough, InfoResistance, a Kievite propaganda channel, issued the exact same coordinates of the Buk location in this video to account for an escape of the murderweapon in a column over the border by Marinovka at midnight. However, this story reached a dead end soon, after the publication of the Luhansk video by Avakov, leaving question marks about the original meaning of this alternative Buk flight story.

coordinates-nightly-buk-flight

Coordinates of an alleged Buk escape at midnight posted by InfoResistance (0:32 AM, 18 July), exactly matching the coordinates of the Snizhne T0522 Buk video. Also Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko posted the information and coordinates, adding to it the Buk convoy was only 10 km. away from the Russian border. See also my blogpost “Lies, disinformation and ever changing stories: The Ukrainians”.

 

The photo of an alleged Buk launch plume, tweeted by WowihaY at 19:23 local time, also was posted by Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko. The advisor of Avakov posted the plume at 20:45 local time on Facebook and did not forget to give clear leads for geolocation.

According to him – as he obviously had been in contact with @WowihaY and/or photographer @rescuero – the photo was taken from a building in Microrayon 3 in Torez, a place not difficult to find. This info was ready to be used for a “first line” to conduct a geolocation effort with.

As a matter of fact renowned blogger Ukraine-at-war performed the task as he came up with the result in a 21 July blogpost, a result now even officially recognized by the JIT.

Even @WowihaY himself immediately had spurred himself to geolocate the exact launch site, which he finished during the early night by using an unknown witness that could perform the important task of a “second line”. In the evening of the 18th he tweeted he even had found a third corroborating witness.

wowihay-geolocation-plume

WowihaY midnight geolocation. Its not clear if the origin of the second line matches the actual whereabouts of the unknown witness. He/she may also have resided closer to the alleged plume site on this line.

 

Anyway, geolocation was secured by Ukraine-at-war, like geolocation of the other imagery also was established without much difficulty. This way the trail was set on track, using carefully published information.

 

Precise date evidence: Unknown
The unique truck with low-loader, carrying the BUK to its destiny, pops up four times in the track-a-trail theory. Immediately it becomes clear in none of these cases an original date is verifiable.

  1. Photo Paris Match in Donetsk: source unknown (allegedly a freelance photographer who wants to stay anonymous); time of day set by analysis of shadowcasting;
  1. A copy of the video showing the truck in Zuhres: original was posted at Youtube but deleted half an hour afterwards
  1. Photo of the truck with BUK at a crossroads behind the Stroi Dom market in Torez: source unknown, time of day calculated with the help of shadowcasting analysis;
  1. SBU (Ukrainian secret service) Youtube video of a fleeing BUK “missing one missile” made in Luhansk: according to an unverifiable and questionable statement made by the SBU, timed at 4:50 AM at the 18th of July.

Trailer-comparison

The unique truck in the Bellingcat report. From upper left and clockwise: Paris Match photo Donetsk; still from Zuhres video; SBU video Luhansk; photo Furshet market Torez.

 

UPDATE December 2016

So at this day a lot more information purportedly supporting the track-a-trail narrative has surfaced, so there is a lot more available – or, to put it otherwise, to be reckoned with – than 1,5 years ago, when I wrote this alternative story. I.e., another video came up, 22 months after the crash, which allegedly showed the Buk transport driving through Makeevka near Donetsk, a video supported by publication of the only satellite imagery of the transport available.

This satellite image, first issued by private intelligence firm Stratfor a day after Bellingcat disseminated the Makeevka video to the larger audience, showed the Buk transport almost at the same time and the same site, the Avtotransportna street in Makeevka.

The JIT made also available two more videos after their 28.9.2016 presser, one from which the Paris Match stills had been extracted and one showing a heavily edited video of a Buk transport going through Torez (this last one was inaccessible shortly after). Of course, these show confirmation of already publicly known evidence, but nonetheless especially the Torez video had some qualities to take notice of.

The Paris Match video shows the same problems Micha Kobs brought forward – the time issue, the issue of the incorrect shadows and the issue of perspective. Buk vehicle side-skirt comparison, the technique Bellingcat used to show this Buk matched a Buk from the Russian Kursk brigade, would entail constructing a “pixel salat”, as Kobs dubbed it. The above mentioned issues and other features resulting from the bad quality of this footage render the video useless for forensic comparison with known Buks.

The new Torez video at least showed itself consistent with the Torez photo, that is, obviously both displayed the same Buk. Actually, even the flaps of the netting did not show any movement by the wind along the way of the transport through Torez (see image below).

buk-torez-vid-is-torex-pic

Left: Buk on JIT released Torez video. Right: Buk on Torez photo, disseminated in the evening of July 17th, 2014. According to weatherforecasts the wind blew with 5 Beaufort through Torez, but did not manage to displace the foldings of the netting (yellow circle).

Interestingly, an implicit confession was made by a leader of the ultra right-wing militia “Tornado”, a group connected to minister for the Interior Arsen Avakov, implicated in criminal actions like kidnapping and torture. According to this source men from Tornado had taken the imagery of the Buk in Torez. So this would confirm the initial assessment that the way the Torez Buk photo was captured, possibly was the result of a special surveillance operation.

SBU counter-intelligence chief Nayda already had confirmed the use of spies to collect information about the 17 July Buk trail:

Ukraine immediately blamed the rebels for the shooting. In an interview in Kiev this week, the Ukrainian counterterrorism chief, Vitaly Nayda, gave the AP the government’s version of the events of July 17. He said the account was based on information from intercepts, spies and resident tips.”

More important than source, the heavy edited video shows a strange aspect, raising some doubts about its veracity. The Jeep UAZ, a feature of the transport used to verify, seems to drive with the door open. One could imagine this part of the video might have been founded on an animated photo of a Jeep standing idle. Then maybe the rest was too.

problems_torez-vid-open-door

Still of the heavily edited video of the Buk transport through Torez, published by the JIT. The Jeep UAZ is driving with its door open. Or isn’t it driving at all and do we have to assume some picture of this vehicle standing idle was used to make an animation?

 

Of course, even now the date of capture is far from certain. Furthermore, if the video is genuine and captured by a special op. team, at least the question is raised how long the Ukrainians knew of the Buk presence in the DPR and why they had not done anything against it.

Finally, from some visual evidence metadate became available. Though the maker of the Zuhres video stated in front of the cameras of “MH17 Inquiry” he would have made the video on the 5th of July, the metadata disseminated showed the exact same time and date as were tweeted: 17 July, 11:40 local time.

It was a big mystery why the convinced pro-Kiev infowarrior @3Andryu aka @m_a_s_h_ua would switch sides all of a sudden and came up with another date. Questions I asked the makers of the video did not provide any more information to unravel this. More importantly, the weather forecasts of both dates – 5 and 17 July – don’t match the actual wind direction on the footage as seen by Ole (a southern instead of a north-eastern direction).

weatherforecast-zuhres-5-july

Weather forecast Zuhres 5 July: clouds with now and then sunshine, but north-eastern wind at 4 Bft. The wind on the 17th was forecasted as eastern, see below. The actual wind on the Zuhres video seemed southern.

 

weer Snizhne 17 juli

Summarizing, there is still a lot of doubt about the day at which the Zuhres video was captured (as the wind only matches forecasts of 30.6, 11.7 and 14.7 but not 17.7 or 5.7); About the veracity of the Donetsk movie and stills (was the Buk digitally inserted?); And about the actual day the Torez footage was taken.

Of course, also of the Donetsk video time of capture surfaced after the JIT published it, as Aric Toler tweeted. It would have been filmed on July 17 at 10:23 EEST, which, by the way, is not supported by the shadow-casting analysis Micha Kobs made based on the two extracted stills (11:05 local time). Time and date are still an issue.

Because also the new picture of the alleged launch plume showed some remarkable qualities, matters stayed more or less the same. This new plume was triangulated with “the impossible launch site”, as Kobs calculated , founded on the first launch plume photos. And logic provides us with the conclusion that if one plume matches an impossible launch site, then there is also something wrong with its matching twin (See also here).

Aric Toler showed indirectly in a 2015 report how circular referencing re-enforces weak evidence by referring to each other:

¨Though each piece of social media evidence described in this article is not conclusive on its own, a clear pattern emerged and matches the widely accepted narrative of July 17.

Though the Buk trail on itself is immersed in lots of weak, questionable evidence which reinforces itself by circular referencing, its is still my belief there is no strong case it really existed as is advocated. There are just too much irregularities – and also the sourcing raises doubts, as, for starters, all evidence has been relayed by staunch pro-Kievites fed by unknown sources or by the SBU itself. (See also Section I, “Problems with the videos and photos” and Section II “Problems of the sightings on social media”, in a report about the saliencies and problems of the track-a-trail evidence here.)

So actually, seen this way things have not changed much since May 2015.

 

Other evidence doesn´t show the unique truck, like the picture of a part of an offloaded BUK @GirkinGirkin took in Snizhne.

Neither does the footage that shows a self propelling ¨tankish¨ construction driving itself to the launch site somewhere on the road from Snizhne to Pervomaiske. Of course the truck doesn´t appear visually either in the eyewitness accounts tweeted at social media (see p. 5-8 Bellingcat report)

So in theory an alternative scenario is possible. Maybe this transport took place under rebel control, but with another BUK on another date.

A new start
Of course some issues have to be resolved to give some solid basis to this idea. Obviously the rebels must have had a BUK launcher in their possession to start with. Well, they might have had after they ran over Ukrainian Donetsk airbase A-1402 on the 29th of June:

Donetsk militia seized the military defense unit A-1402. Point defense is a division of missile troops which is equipped with the self-propelled anti-aircraft missile systems “Buk”. This is the second unit of the Air Force which passed under the control of militias in recent days. One of them surrendered voluntarily, with the second there were many hours of fighting, according to RIA “Novosti”.

Although this victory had been celibrated all over the Russian media – though without putting a BUK at hand, working or otherwise [2]– some sources claimed the Russians had disseminated disinformation in order to get the opportunity for providing the heavy anti aircraft missiles themselves.

Other sources contested. In October 2014 the German secret service BND stated in the German parliament they had clues which would indicate the rebels seized a BUK complex from army base A-1402. Also The Interpreter Magazine, owned by Putin foe Khodorkovsky, used the news as an opportunity to put a ¨smoking gun¨ in the hands of the rebels, after the MH17 crash had happened (¨Evidence of separatist possession of BUK system before downing MH17¨, 2014/7/27).

In fact, before Bellingcat issued its report blaming the Russians directly for handing over a deadly weapon, in november 2014, the scenario of the seized BUK was paramount.

So the ¨terrorists¨ do have a BUK!
In the period prior to the disaster Ukrainian officials made contradictory statements. When on an international stage Russian involvement in the civil war had to be pointed out, it appeared to be convenient to deny the rebels were in possession of a self captured BUK complex. Of course in that case they would have obtained their weapons directly from the Russians.

But according to Ukrainian media the claim the rebels had seized a BUK was corroborated by some Ukrainian officials. For example ATO (Anti-Terrorism Operation) chief Alex Dmitrashkovskiy would have stated a BUK had been lost. But at the same time he soothed the Ukrainian public with the phrase it was a ¨non-working, broken installation¨, actually ¨junk¨[3]

According to a Russian source national security advisor Andriy Lysenko also stated the seized BUK didn´t function:

¨And yesterday, the representative of the information center of the National Security and Defense of Ukraine Andriy Lysenko also confirmed the capture of anti-aircraft missile regiment. He said: “(…) By decision of the commander all the equipment had been taken out of order and was not working… “

Even the chief of the counter-espionage department of the SBU, Vitaliy Naida, was fully informed, according to the Wall Street Journal:

¨Ukrainian rebels boasted on social media on June 29 that they gained control of a Buk-M1 system when they overran a Ukrainian armed forces base in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported. Mr. Naida said that Ukrainian armed forces made that system nonoperational back in March, around the time when the fighting in the area kicked off. The core of the missile system remains on the base, but there are no warheads to arm it, he said.¨

Now that has been established the rebels may have had possession of a (broken) BUK from the moment they had raided Ukrainian army base A-1402, the question arises if they did something with it.

UPDATE:

It is not likely the separatists actually seized Buk units on air-force base A-1402, as the Buk units from the 1st battalion of the 156th regiment were kept on sister base A-1428, as satellite imagery corroborates. This base probably was still held by ATO troops at the time (see more in Update December 2016 at the bottom of this article).

As the sources speak about raiding a second air-force base in short time, they probably allude to air-force base A-0194 Metalist, near Luhansk. At that base 2 TEL reloaders and 1 TELAR Buk had been left behind, so must have fallen in rebel hands.

Possibly Dmitrashkovsky and other officials talk about these units as been destroyed and left as junk. If these vehicles really were demolished by ATO troops is unknown.

 

Maybe they moved it, for example to have it repaired, as a statement by the Russian scientist Sergey Kurginyan possibly might explain:

¨But, our very talented and even brilliant electronics experts will of course repair — I think they’ve even already repaired, it seems to me — the Buk system seized from the Ukrainian bandits — the Banderaites — I don’t want to say ‘the Ukrainian people’ but the bandits and the Banderaites and in the very near future, I simply know a brilliant electronics expert who has flown there — precisely as a representative of civil society who will help the fraternal people. In very short time it will get it back working. It will be fixed, yes? It might even turn out there are even several systems.”

In each case according to the owner of the truck, the unique white Volvo FH-13 with the blue striping and the red low-loader, had been requisitioned by the rebels at the 8th of July [4]. In any logical evaluation the possibility exists the BUK installation could have been moved from/to Luhansk or Russia between the 8th and 16th of July. Or even earlier after the air-force base raids, if the truck was rented legally before the 8th..

One may assume the Ukrainian secret service kept an eye on this BUK, following the transport with an agent in the field and ¨assets¨ from ¨safe houses¨ along the expected route. Probably they made some photos and videos, stuff that appeared to be useful after the MH17 crash.

 

The game is on
Almost an hour after the disaster a dispatch appeared on a pro-rebel page on Vkontakte (Russian Facebook), in name devoted to the Russian commando leader Strelkov. An AN-26 had been shot down near the mine Progress, the message said based on the perception of citizens in the area of the disaster.

The editors, like the people in the neighbourhood of the crashsite according to their social media postings, assumed too early and too eager an AN-26 was downed. Probably they were merely jumping to conclusions because the same event had happened three days before (14 july an AN-26 had been shot down by the rebels). They claimed a ¨success¨ without knowledgde of all the facts and official briefing from men in the field. When it became known MH17 had been victimized, the message was deleted.

Update:

For social media research on the origin of the myth founded on retraction of this message, see here

Strelkov guilty

People on the other site also got the wrong idea. This deleted message with Strelkov´s name attached to it could be interpreted as evidence the rebels had taken out a civilian plane by mistake. Not only the citizens from Torez and Snizhne initially thought an AN-26 was downed, which were the original sources the ¨Strelkov¨ Vkontakte adiminstrators had used. The rebels and their chief themselves, obviously still clinging to their previously fired weapon, assumed that too when they were targeting the plane.

The suggestion that Strelkov was in any way connected to this VK.com site, was fallacious. But it was very expedient. With the speed of light the internet was fed by Ukrainian war dispatch services, pro Kiev activists and the western media pundits with the suggestion it was the commander in chief himself who thought he had shot down an Antonov.

The SBU rose to the occasion. Within a few hours a nicely edited, translated and finished up video clip with intercepted phone calls was spread on Youtube in which rebels ¨confessed¨ their mistake. From a computer of the secret service were popping up the photos and videos that were taken when the rebels moved the broken BUK with the Volvo truck and low-loader.

Maybe the SBU had anticipated by creating fake evidence, maybe they made it useful when expedient. In each case the trail theory could be set on track. The Zuhres video was uploaded (though only a still from it was used by the SBU and their partners), the video of the lone BUK on the T0522 suth from Snizhne too. It was made sure these videos arrived at Bellingcat and other pro-Kiev channels.

The photo of the BUK parked in front of the Stroi Dom market in Torez was planted at a military portal and in a local chat community (¨Overheard in Torez¨, chat soon deleted) and from there on spread via Vkontakte and Euromaydan. The morning after the SBU posted the Luhansk video on its website.

Conspiracy theory or serious clues?
Of course, the scenario of an alternative track trail on another day with another BUK is kind of speculative. Nevertheless after a initial superficial inspection can be said there are some clues which could give this theory more credibility.

In an article on the site of the renowned American think tank in the field of military strategy IISS, dated 18 July, Joseph Dempsey reports some social media proof had been found the rebels had possesson of a Buk before July 17th

¨Pro-Russian separatist access to medium-range surface-to-air missiles (…) Prior to 17 July 2014 IISS analysts had seen limited evidence of the self-propelled launcher in separatist hands. Whilst images on social media have been noted which claim to show Buk, the actual date, location, ownership and/or operational status could not be verified.”

The picture below, attached to an alleged tweet from the militia, would suggest the militants of the DPR would have seized a working BUK. Apparently the pic is only an illustration, for as it already surfaced in social media way back in 2011 [5]. Nevertheless, if we assume the message is real and posted like a kind of trophee, it seems to be capturing some of that ¨limited evidence¨ the IISS guy spoke about.

Citizen researcher Max van der Werff, who has an extensive blog about the MH17 disaster, made a trip to the region in which the plane crashed, looking for evidence. According to a tweet he spoke to a witness who had a very interesting explanation. This witness, living across the StroiDom Market in Torez where the BUK had been photographed at the crossroads, said (s)he saw the BUK all right, not at the 17th though, but at a previous date.

tweet-max-tores

Ukrainian official from the Interior Anton Gerashchenko reported in a facebook message within two hours after the disaster that local citizens in Torez had seen a BUK complex moving ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨. Curiously enough, there are hardly any solid records and reports of the many journalists on the spot in Snizhne, on a day when fierce battles on the front line south of the city were expected.

One AP journalist would have seen the BUK, but attempts to get his identity stranded.

Update:

Witness probably was Dmitry Lovetsky, who took photos for AP in Snizhne that day. Lovetsky does not responds to questions about his possible sighting.

oplot-14-08-southern-sky

Like is the case with the Paris Match pic not even the original journalist source behind this testimony could be disclosed to the public. Anonymous journalism seems like a fine complementary profession to the new astroturf citizen-investigating phenomenon.

 

Inconsistent twitter testimonies
Supportive evidence for the track trail theory allegedly arises from some messages at social media, i.e. Twitter and the Russian Vkontakte:

@WowihaY (12:07 EEST) sees a covered BUK with four missiles in Torez; https://twitter.com/WowihaY/status/489698009148837888

Roman/@MOR2537 sees (probably at 12:10 EEST) a ¨covered wheeled missile system on a tractor and two cars through Torez to Snizhne¨
https://twitter.com/MOR2537/status/489702736766586880

@WowihaY (12:16 EEST) sees the ¨BUK moving from Torez to Snizhne¨;
https://twitter.com/WowihaY/status/489700047215685632

@Buzzing_Rook, answering @WowihaY (12:32 EEST), says the alleged BUK had been in Donetsk, on its way to Makiivka;
https://twitter.com/Buzzing_Rook/status/489704260045910016

@Spice4Russia (12:41 EEST) sees 3 tanks and a netted BUK in Shakhtarsk;
https://twitter.com/spice4russia/status/489706440899432449

Anna Reshtanenko and a friend (13:14 EEST, VKontakte) see a convoy consisting of ¨three tanks¨ in Torez on its way to Snizhne;
http://vk.com/wall-70279965_83186?reply=83441

Update:

It is clear the only non-nationalist source, Anna, actually only saw the three tanks the Vostok battalion was moving by Torez towards Marinovka that day. According to the videos available of this transport also an armoured truck with separatists joined this small column. Neither Anna nor WowihaY, who also reported the three tanks at about 13:00 local time in Torez, saw this “Ural”. This situation was also confirmed by a tweet at 13:10 from another infowarrior, Buk sighting tweeter Roman, who only reported 3 tanks.

ural

From the Associated Press witness we know he saw 7 tanks in Snizhne. AP freelancer Lovetsky photographed the Oplot tanks, which were on the road in a column of 4, at 14:00 local time at the gas station in Snizhne. Though on none of his photos on the AP databank the Vostok tanks are visible, the 4 Oplot tanks and the 3 from Vostok would make 7. Also in this case the Ural – “the 8th vehicle” – was missing from the entire picture.

Though the Ural was seen after Snizhne in the column again, looking at Anna’s account the AP testimony gets some credibility. The reporter could actually have seen 7 tanks, if Vostok just had passed by Lexus Gasstation at the moment Oplot was photographed there and the Ural, the 8th vehicle, somehow lagged behind.

Of course, Bellingcat’s credibility is lowered. They depict Anna’s Vostok sighting as if it was a Buk sighting. Apparently for them anything goes.

 

Update:

After more than 1.5 yrs. Bellingcat managed to dig up a few written accounts of a Buk sighting in Donetsk. As the three that were timed the latest were obviously copies, only the first one was pretty interesting. It had appeared on a Vkontakte site “Donetsk is Ukraine!” with a photo that was uploaded at 10:40 AM, so this was again a posting on a staunch pro-Kiev channel. It read:

Bad news. Around 9am, a hauler was going along the Makeevka highway from Makeevka in the direction of Donetsk. On the platform was a BukM1-M2? This AAMS proceeded to the intersection with Shakhtostroiteley Boulevard. The system was accompanied by a convoy that was composed of 1 gray Rav4 SUV, a camouflaged UAZ, and a dark blue Hyundai van with tinted windows. As of 9:15am, the vehicle was located at the intersection of Shakhtostroiteley and Ilycha. The militants got out of their cars, blocking 2 of the far left lanes. Obviously, they were waiting for logistical guidance.

Many things are remarkable about this message.

It showed a sighting of at least 15 minutes, from 9 -9:15 AM. Was the transport under surveillance and followed for some time?

It showed three accompanying cars closely resembling the ones on the Paris Match video and the Makeevka video, which both came out much later than all other trail imagery.

It entailed a stay of about 2 full hours on the Makeevka Highway between Donetsk and Makeevka, from 9 AM until 11:05 AM when it was filmed by the Paris Match “freelancer”.

It showed a sighting that ended near a crossroads that was mentioned in a two other sightings too, most notably the one from Buzzing_Rook aka Occupied_Rook:

In the morning, it was written that it stood at A[venue] Shakhtostroitelei the intersection with Ilyich [Avenue], in the direction of Makiivka. They were most likely waiting …

As it says: ¨In the morning it was written…¨ Occupied_Rook could have read the information written in the posting from VK.com group ¨Donetsk is Ukraine!¨, as Bellingcat infered. However, the direction he points to contradicts this. The Vk.com posting mentioned the transport in the direction of Donetsk, Occupied_Rook says “in the direction of Makeevka”.

occupied_rook-tweet

Both discribe the same crossroads, but apparently the transport was parked at the other side of the road. So was there another written account? Then why didn’t this WowihaY friend point Bellingcat to this source?

Its my personal impression from all this information may have been fed to a few trustworthy sources, for example through a telephone network of informants pro-Kiev locals maintained (as WowihaY shows screenshots from this on his twitter timeline on several occasions as well).This might explain why probably all postings showed second-hand accounts disseminated by pro-Kievites.This way “sightings” were constructed, sightings that may have depicted events that did not exist in reality.

By the way, Occupied_Rook alludes to Buk use about ¾ hrs after the crash, tweeting: ¨Fits a Buk. I think it [the plane] flew over 4000 meters¨.

Rumors this tweeter had picked up about the presence of a Buk in Donetsk at the crossroads of Ilycha Avenue and Shaktostrotelei Avenue, led after the crash of MH17 to a quick conclusion a Buk had been used to down the plane. Even before Ukrainian officials issued accusations and pointed their finger to Putin’s missile. This shows how sensitive people are for suggestions possibly planted by spreading rumours.

 

 

What probably should be clear right away is the inconsistency of these accounts regarding the line up of the convoy. One witness sees only a BUK (WowihaY), one a BUK and two cars (Roman), one three tanks and a BUK (Spice4Russia), another only three tanks (Anna).

spider Wowi

@WowihaY, connected to much of the trail evidence from the Torez/Snizhne area, also seemed to know about the Makeevka video, issued on the one-time used Olifirenko youtube channel at the same day of the BBC documentary in which he was given air-time.

After the JIT/Dutch police released the video of the Buk transport in Torez, he also might have pointed to this one. In that case it would of course be very interesting to know how he got the info if this video was taken in a secret operation by spies from the Tornado militia.

 

Second, apart from Anna and her friend, the other testimonies arrive from a small group of ultranationalists, or ¨local patriots¨ as the head of Information Resistance Dmitriy Tymchuk likes to call them. Wowihay, Roman, Buzzing_Rook and probably Spice4Russia belong, together with ¨launch plume pic¨ photographer @rescuero and @GirkinGirkin (see below), to a interconnected group of people who knew each other well before the 17th, according to their social media contacts. Taking a first glance at their twitter accounts it becomes clear they all have a preference for following pro-Kiev ultranationalist or even rightwing extremist groups and warriors.

In fact it´s pretty strange only a handful of pro-Kiev ultranationalists said they saw the BUK, a weapon that would be welcomed by the people of Torez and Snizhne because of the heavy airstrikes they were suffering from these days. No pro-separatist sources claimed to have seen it though, where on the other hand from other convoys a fair amount of dashcam vids can be found on social media.

absence Buk cheer

It seems the accounts aren´t very reliable. In each case it doesn´t become clear which convoy actually has been seen, not in the least because at the 17th various convoys (i.e. The ¨Vostok¨ and ¨Oplot¨ convoys) moved to or stayed in the vicinity of Snizhne. So it´s advisable to dismiss these accounts as evidence for the particular BUK transport altogether.

Three smelly videos
The original link of the Zuhres vid was uploaded by an anonymous person who used the Youtube account only once, for uploading this video, and then deleted it. According to Marilyn Justice, writing in a reply on my ¨Over mij¨ page on this blog, the person who posted the Zuhres vid had no ‘net presence’ before or after posting the video. So she started asking questions to Bellingcat´s Aric Toller:

MJ:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OJs1dksRwk [the original URL of the deleted vid; HR] … maybe u can explain where this came from (this is about the 15 sec video now removed)

AT:
Was posted on Youtube and Twitter by “Андрей” on 7/17 with coordinates. That’s all we know.

MJ:
My question – how was it found – zero identifiers by a person with no net presence before or after?

AT:
I actually did find their Twitter account, but it was deleted. Probably created accounts just for video

MJ:
That does not answer how it was found, sorry

AT:
Won’t satisfy you, but here is the person who posted video: twitter.com/3Andryu/

3adryu

So Aric Toller said he found a twitter account, but it is clear this twitter account found him or his boss Eliot Higgins, pointing them head on towards the Youtube vid for a quick download, exact coordinates for geolocation provided in the package too. But then again, because the genuine video has been deleted, it is impossible to say from which date this source originates.

Extra information:

As a matter of fact only on July 22nd Bellingcat seemed to have been made aware of this video.

At this date @3Andryu posted his video for the second time to blogger Ukraine-at-war (@djp3tros, now @Putin@war), but with another handle: @m_a_s_h_ua. Ukraine-at-war says he had dismissed the video, though in fact he had used a still from it in a 17 July dated blogpost.

mash-and-petros

22 July, Zuhres video maker Andrey Andryushin again tries to get attention of Dajey Petros aka Ukraine-at-war with another twitter handle as Petros seems to dismiss the video. Actually in a 17 July dated blogpost he already published a still from this video, probably taken over from nationalist propaganda channel InfoResistance, tied to Ukrainian politician Dmitry Tymchuk.

Another possibility is he got the stills from the SBU (that showed the same ones on their own website) and later sourced them to InfoResistance. As a matter of fact the blogpost in which Petros published the stills was from 17 July whereas InfoResistance only posted them on their website on the 18th. This also would suggest there was direct contact between Andryushin/@3Andryu and the SBU and his attempts to get Petros involved was to inflict social media dissemination.

 

This still, showing truck with Buk, was accompanied with two other stills showing two vehicles of the Vostok convoy at the same site, a convoy that actually was on the road at midday on the 17th. This way it was suggested “a big terrorist convoy” with Buk had been on its way to Snizhne, a story proven false by various videos made from the convoy.

uatwar-zuhres-faked

Part of the same conversation on July 22nd, after Eliot Higgins was made aware of the Zuhres video. Ukraine-at-war seemed to cave in after Higgins told him the video fit the timeline. In fact, Petros already had published a still of the same video some days before.

 

Also from the vid showing a lone BUK on the road from Sniznhe to Pervomaiske on its way to its deadly encounter with MH17 oozes an equally funny smell, as Michael Kobs shows in his well documented report about the track trail evidence.

As occured with the Zuhres vid also this video had been posted from a Youtube account used only once for this particular purpose before it was deleted. Hence, again, no original date could be established. In his report Kobs reaches a conclusion well fit for the alternative track trail that says all footage and photos could well have been made at another day:

¨Ob das Video überhaupt an diesem Tag entstanden ist, kann selbst Bellingcat nur raten¨
(Whether this video really was made at this day [the 17th] is even a mystery to Bellingcat¨) (page 13-15, see also note 1 for URL).

Update:

I tried to date this video in a blogpost from July 2016. It seemed the video, if not faked, could have been made on 15, 16 or 17 July. See here.

cmsysexwiaayvzi

Fortunately the mysterious person made sure Eliot Higgins could download the evidence. Within the minutes the video was online on YouTube it received so many clicks it reached the daily top thirty, which may have got the attention of Bellingcat whisperers.

Update:

The Snizhne T0522 Buk video was first posted by the Vkontakte account of Vita V., who also lived in the apartment from where the video had been made, as was confirmed by investigation on site by citizen-investigator Max van der Werff. She posted the original shortly before 20:33 local time in the local Vkontakte group “Overheard in Snizhne”.

It was funneled a.o. to Euromaydan, who posted the original on a website opened for the purpose to display the trail. They announced existence of the video at 21:26 local time, about an hour after it was posted first on an obscure local Vkontakte portal. Then they posted their own re-upload at 21:44 local time, from which we might conclude the original apparently already had been erased by then.

Eliot Higgins even posted the original video earlier. In a tweet at 21:13 he asked his public for information about the location (This is the way Bellingcat usually “geolocates”. They first go from local information and then confirm this information). Higgins then re-uploaded his own version at 21:41, 3 minutes before Euromaydan. The impression remains there was some kind of coordination involved here.

eliot-geolocates-snizhne-video

Apparently the poster made very sure the video was picked up by the right parties. According to the Amnesty International Youtube DataViewer, which guarantees the right metadata of an uploaded video, three copies of the deleted lone BUK video were instantly re-uploaded within minutes by Eliot Higgins, Euromaydan and Torez.info [6]. Torez.info is a local website co-administrated by Vladimir Djukov, alias @WowihaY, the same person of two witness accounts and the first to tweet the incredible important picture of the alleged plume of a BUK launch. Obviously the source knew which way to go to get the right attention.

The Luhansk vid doesn´t smell any better. Journalist Vincent Verweij of KRO Brandpunt (Dutch news show), and others, casted doubts about the SBU Luhansk video of the fleeing truck missing one BUK missile months ago. The road the truck had been geolocated on probably wasn´t even under control by rebels on the particular period in time when the plane was downed. Verweij had access to a map that showed the situation on July 17/18, 2014 in West Luhansk, which was very complicated. Heavy fighting took place in the vicinity of this alleged escape route, so this hardly could be a reasonable way to flee the country.

luhansk 18 juli

foto Verweij zoom

LiveUAmap. Green area: the truck with the BUK installation missing one missile drove through Ukrainian army controlled area

Also Arnold Greidanus, who performed much social media research on the MH17 disaster, added doubt to the date on which the SBU claimed it had made the video of the fleeing BUK. For sure it seemed Ukraine had access to the video before the morning of July 18:

¨Then there’s another oddity: earlier on the 17th, before the news on the downing of MH17 had spread, some news stories were published that earlier that day Andrej Lysenko had stated that the separatists had possession of a BUK, and that they had a video of a convoy with BUK in Luhansk! Could it be that the video referred to here is the Luhansk video and that this video was actually made earlier than in the early morning of the 18th?¨

See his elaboration here

That would obviously raise serious problems for the track trail theory. First, there wouldn´t be any evidence left of the flight of the transport towards Russia (by the way, neither was there any proof the BUK had been transported to starting point Donetsk the night before for that matter). But also the theory of an alternative BUK trail would arrive a little bit closer to reality again.

When the SBU Luhansk video of the truck with the unique blue lining had been taken before the early morning of the 18th, then – given that uniqueness – all other stuff could also have been made at an earlier date. This is nothing more than reasoning the same way Bellingcat does: all evidence has to stem from the same day.

So was there a BUK transport at all on July the 17th?

The only proof still remaining of the trail through rebel held territory, is the photo GirkinGirkin took, hanging out in an apartment in Snizhne. He apparently saw an offloaded BUK, parked behind a building.

jit-karapetyan-failure

Striking element of this evidence is the text GirkinGirkin tweeted along with his pic, mentioning a Russian crew accompanying the BUK. Would he have heard them? Has he seen them in their deviating uniforms? In any case, given the importance of this testimony, it must have been recorded officially, something that will be proven when the final report of the investigators is issued.

UPDATE December 2016

It has been established “infowarrior” @GirkinGirkin was not the first one to publish this photo. First known posting was on Vkontakte by Vlad Polienko, who was actually in Kiev at the time, so also was not a first hand witness.

From whom Polienko got the photo is unknown. As he did not mention Russian speakers, we also don’t know how this information arrived at GirkinGirkin. See also Section I, “Problems of videos and photoshere.

Furthermore, it established the working methods Bellingcat holds: they pick up the low hanging fruit from a conduit of infowarriors that knows how to get the info around, not doing in-depth social media research.

The probable reason they took this witness in their story of the trail was GirkinGirkin published pretty exact information with the photo about the location it had been made:

#Snizhne About the Russian gunners and Buk in Snizhne “its from a house of 50 years October [street], it [intranslatable], near coal [restaurant] and Furshet [market]”

This information was not attached to the earlier publication found, the one from Vlad Polienko on Vkontakte. How GirkinGirkin had received the info about the location where the photo was made, is unknown.

Whether Bellingcat has possession of the original time stamp of this photograph or hasn´t, is unknown to me. [But as the GirkinGirkin pic is not an original, they won’t have] However, in their report about the track-a-trail theory the time of the off-loaded BUK pic has been determined by performing shadowcasting analysis, as was done in other cases in which metadata about the exact timestamp were missing.

The date, therefore, still remains open to speculation, until the photographer or Bcat provides verifiable metadata of the photo. For that matter GirkinGirkin himself didn´t respond to a question from a Twitter user to send him the original image (see replies in link above).

Though it will enhance the status of this piece of evidence, even if the metadata would have been released, the exact date would still be in doubt. Michael Kobs says: ¨Even a bad handy shot has a date and time, but you would need the original file. Nevertheless such a pic is easy to manipulate

 

Higgins hears no evil, sees no evil
When I asked Eliot Higgins what he thought of my alternative theory, at first he replied that in his opinion it was ¨not convincing¨. Later he claimed to have done research to any previous material (dated before 17 July), but couldn´t come up with anything.

Obviously I tried to question Dempsey, the IISS think-tank member, what he thought of Higgins’ statement, but it is still awfully quiet from the United States. Maybe someone would have to get his hands on the scripts, bots, queries and results of those crowdsourcing searches performed by Bellingcat or IISS. But that will probably be a tough job (so much for open source).

Although the alternative track trail is an idea with quite a lot of snags, one could imagine at least the following questions arise:
– What do the separatists claim themselves regarding the Volvo transport?
– What has happened to the broken BUK they allegedly seized on June 29th?
– What do the separatists claim themselves about what happened to this alleged inoperable BUK?
– Is it possible to locate more witnesses or evidence of any transportation previous to the 17th?

Perhaps journalists in the field should look at the BUK trace with a more open, independent view. Perhaps an impartial social media researcher may interfere with the evidence that in any case should exist, according to a US think tank. Candidates will at least find a sympathetic ear with me.

For now it suffices to say one may reach a diametrical opposed position based on the same evidence Bellingcat uses, supported by some other crowdsourcing one could do for himself. In other words, clearly other scenarios than the one Bellingcat peddles are possible as well, even if we act as if this evidence doesn´t have SBU fingerprints all over it. Unfortunately neither Bellingcat nor the officials of the JIT or Dutch Department of Justice seem to be searching in other directions.

 

 

UPDATE 4.12.2016

Testing the hypothesis

Facts to test my hypothesis were constructed after studies developed from which the general whereabouts of ATO Buks could be derived. This way could be guessed if and which ATO Buk could have been seized and transported through the Donbass by separatists on a day before the 17th, followed by Ukrainian spies to keep an eye on it – in the meantime collecting visual information.

There are not many accounts supporting an earlier transport, if we exclude the known photos and videos. A few people mention it, like in this tweet. On the other hand, nobody ever did an in-depth investigation into this.

But there is more that could be studied, e.g. the following sources:

Lost armour: Ukrainian Buks

http://lostarmour.info/vsu/buk/

Buks in ATO area:

http://zmei-cvdk.livejournal.com/632.html

Andrew’s report on the military situation in the Donbass around the 17th, see here

Bellingcat catalogue

Whathappenedtoflightmh17.com, e.g. here and here

MH17.webtalk.ru:

http://mas17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=168&p=4#p4223
http://mas17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=168&p=4#p4227
Luhansk Base
http://mas17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=168&p=4#p4225
http://mas17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=168&p=4#p4229
Repaired BUK and Oligarchs
http://mas17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=168&p=5#p4230

With these sources we might be able to get knowledge about the possibility of a Buk seized by sepatarists, and if so: which one.

 

Airforce base A-1402 Donetsk and sister base A-1428 Avdeevka

Buks belonging to the 1st battalion of the 156th regiment consisted of 6 TELARs (launchers) and 3 TELs (reloaders).

sergey-pashenko-buk-121

Ukrainian disinformation, spread by affiliated western newspaper Daily Mail, initially depicted Buk 121 from air-force base A-1428 Avdeevka as the Russian murder Buk, but obviously the picture displayed showed the Ukrainian army conscript Sergey Paschenko showing off his machine.

 

After seeing the archive of Sergey Paschenko on VKontakte, Andrew noted that only the following units were removed from A-1428 by Ukraine:

TELAR 121, 122 on March 12

TELAR 111, 112 on March 16

TEL 123 on March 17

CP 100 and TAR 101 on unknown date in March

So four TELARs and 1 TEL were evacuated, i.e. visible on video is BUK 121 on a military transporter with the main convoy, see here. And BUK 122 on a military transporter separated from the convoy, see here.

2 TELs and 2 TELARs were left behind at A-1428. Three of these vehicles were ultimately destructed, but the precise date this would have happened is uncertain. Bellingcat and the SBU claim a Buk already was broken on July the 17th.

In fact, the separatists launched an attack at June 21, 2014, on the radar facilities of A-1428 (see note 41 in the Andrew report), but it was not confirmed also the Buk vehicles on the base were targeted.

Bellingcat shows pictures of broken Buk 132 from August the 8th, see this report at p. 11-12.

broken-buk-132

Buk 132 broken some date before August 8th. According to imagery on Google Earth the vehicle was used up till summer 2014, notwithstanding its seemingly “rusted” caterpillar belts. According to Russian satellite imagery, timed at 11:32 EEST (or Moscow Time) on 17 July, the vehicle was off-base, possibly to be routed towards Zaroshchenskoye to be in firing range of MH17. The SBU and Bellingcat, after its purchase of Digital Globe 11:08 EEST imagery, claimed the vehicle was right at its spot. (see below).

a-1428-buk-132-present

Buk 132, standing on its spot at 17 July, 11:08 EEST. Room for maneuvring is not large. This Buk must have left the base some time between 11:08 and 11:32 (and not have been demolished already to a point it would have been unmovable ) on the 17th to fit in the Russian version of events.

 

However, the broken Buk TELAR 132 on the 8 August photos could have been destroyed by enemy fire, but could also have been made inoperable by other means, perhaps when fear about being overrun by separatists inflicted a state of high alert.

Andrew concludes destruction would have been much later than the 21st of June though, as severe shelling of the base itself can only be proven from late summer 2014. After shelling the state of the Buks was far more worse than in August. For pictures, see here and here.

Fact is these Buks were positioned at A-1428 no less, and not on A-1402, as the many reports from June the 29th suggested.

ria-novosti

Article RIA Novosti, dated 29.6.2014, claiming the rebels raided airforce base A-1402 and possibly captured Buk units.

 

It is not likely, according to the above listed sources and inspections of satellite imagery of this base, there were Buks seized at air-force base A-1402, broken or operative. As a matter of fact, also blogger Ukraine-at-war stated A-1428 was not under separatist control and on A-1402 there never were Buks present. Though this may be right, reading this source must always be accompanied with the notion that the agenda pursued is proving the murder Buk could only come from Russia.

 

A TELAR missing

However, even if destruction took place before July 17th there was still an issue to take note of.

TELAR 132 and TELs 113 and 123 were left behind after a March 2014 evacuation, apparently along with one other, not identified TELAR. “These units were clearly active into the summer as they shift positions on the base and their missile launch shoes are rotated”, according to Andrew, p 23. TELAR 132 and also TELs 113 and 133 were the ones destructed, as can be seen on a Vkontakte account and in a video from March 2015. So were was the second TELAR and what had been its designation?

route-movie-a-1428

Representation of the 2.3.2015 visit of the videomaker after air-force base A-1428 was destroyed by heavy shelling. TEL 123 actually is 133. Courtesy @MH17Report.

 

Deriving the designation of the actual TELAR left behind and not destructed, is not that simple, though the scarce sources available could give more information.

According to Andrew this would be the status after evacuation in March 2014:

Evacuated: TELAR 111, 112, 121, 122, and TEL 123

Left behind: TELs 113, 133 and TELARs 132 and one other TELAR.

Partly destroyed before August 8: 132

Destroyed late summer by heavy shellings and fire: 113, 132, 133

Possibly left behind initially, but not destroyed: 131

 

Satellite imagery of 2014 shows two TELARs on base A-1428 were probably operative in the months May-June.

30-may-ge

Air-force base A-1428, Google Earth 30 May 2014 image. The top left side of the motorpool shows 7 vehicles, of which 1 TELAR and 2 TELs. The other TELAR (132) is located south, next to the shed with the blue roof.

 

avdeevka july 2nd.png

Air-force base A-1428, 2nd of July Google Earth imagery.

 

According to Andrew:

“In the order above on July 2, the vehicles in the image [on the left side; HR] are two tracked anti-mine plows, a wheeled excavator for trenching.TEL 113, a wheeled truck (possibly a missile transport truck or a troop transport), a tracked anti-mine plow, TEL 133.  The tracked mine plow is 28m from the north fence line.  There is no longer a tracked vehicle next to TEL 133 at 32m from the fence.”

A possibility, as Andrew seems to allude to, is that Ukrainian defectors went over to the rebels with this Buk 131. Then it obviously becomes a possible murder weapon too, but without Russian assistance and arrival on July 17th, as the SBU intercepts would prove. Also all kinds of other scenarios are possible – ie. illegal selling to whatever party – unless the Ukrainians give full openness about the post June whereabouts of Buk 131.

 

Air-force base Berdyansk, Mariupol, 2nd battalion

Evacuation on 19 March 2014: 232 with an unknown TELAR (possibly 231), 212 with an unknown vehicle (possibly TELAR 211 or a TEL), TELAR 222. This might add up to even 5 out of the six present TELARs.

Those vehicles were evacuated in March, but their whereabouts after that are unknown. Andrew shows on ps. 25-27 in his report that left behind were two TELARs and 2 of 3 TELs, which eventually were all evacuated by Ukrainians before September the 5th as satellite imagery testifies.

However, because these two TELARs show up on Google Earth imagery of the air-force base, three possibilities remain. One TELAR of the five evacuated eventually was returned or it was replaced by a Buk from another battalion or even another regiment. Or – most likely – one of the two vehicles that could not be seen accurately on the video, actually was a TEL.

From the sources we can derive the following:

Evacuated (in March): TELARs 212, 222, 232, 211 and 231 OR one out of {211 and 231} and a TEL

Left behind: 2 or 3 TELs out of {213, 223, 233}; TELAR 221 and one out of {211 and 231}

 

Air force base Metalist A-0194, 3rd battalion:

ato-buks

Illustration depicting sightings of ATO Buks from the 3rd battalion, evacuated in March 2014 from air-force base Metalist.

 

Evacuated in March from air-force base Metalist, near Luhansk were TELARs 312, 321, 331 en 332, TEL 323, TAR 301. Andrew claims one TELAR (322) and two TELs (313, 333) were left behind. Supporting his claim TELAR 322 was left behind is a video  of a transport of two vehicles, showing TELAR 311 and TEL 323.

buk-311-evacuated

Buk 311 was evacuated as well.

 

In this article it is admitted that ATO left behind three Buk’s, which they claim were disabled, and that Base A-0194 was overrun by the “terrorists”, and so this was not a location with Ukrainian BUK’s in active deployment.

These might have been the captured units ATO had left behind though. On the 16 July there was a message, published by Colonel Cassad, the LNR was in possession of a Buk, combat-ready even. Had it been repaired?

“2. Strengthening of the air defense of the LPR, which allowed to lower the importance of enemy aviation significantly. The destruction of the radar station in April-May wasn’t in vain. The appearance of a combat-ready “Buk” is a significant aid. The operational Su-25 is for now a cherry on a pie, but also not unnecessary.

Of course, there is also that famous 23 July interview Reuters had with commander of “Battalion Vostok”, Aleksander Khodakovsky. According to the commander the LNR supposedly had Buk units in the Luhansk area.

“I knew that a BUK came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a BUK from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR” (…) “That BUK I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence”.

 

Buk 322

So from deduction and verification it is clear the TELAR – the vehicle with the white dome and rotated launch shoe as seen on the 24.5.2015 image below – must be TELAR 322.

metallist-25-4-2014-turned-launch-shoe

Google Earth image from 24 May 2014 of Metalist air-force base (48°36’33.38″N  39°13’58.11″E ), top position Buk 322 with TEL 333 standing behind it. Next to TEL 333 another TEL is visibe (313).

buk-333

Buk 333 slightly slanted behind Buk 322 (photo from lost armour).

 

The sloppyness of – and disinterest in – the work Bellingcat performs regarding studying the whereabouts of the Ukrainian Buks can be illustrated by the unspecified publication of the following information. Bellingact published a video showing TELARs 121, 122, 322 and 331 moving around by Ukrainian troops before September 2014, according to this video. It seems to show a mix of 2 battalions, as it displays vehicles from the 1st and 3rd battalion according to the designation of the vehicles.

Saliently, in this case 322 would have been spotted after 17 July, which would erase the possibility this Buk was transported by rebels after they seized the Metallist air-force base. (Strangely enough, in the caption of this video Buk 322 is not listed by Bellingcat as spotted). However, the transport is very likely organized by the 223th regiment, originally stationed in Stryi, Lviv Oblast. These are TELARs 122 and 322 from the 223th regiment, as the illustration below makes clear.

buk-121-and-122-223th-regiment

The vehicles from the 223th regiment show distinct colors and therefore are clearly recognizable. It seems Bellingcat has no interest in investigating this topic thoroughly.

 

Andrew was right Buk 322 of the 156th regiment was left behind, as could be deducted from the knowledge about the designations of the evacuated Buks. Also a photo of this TELAR left abandoned on the Metallist air-force base was dug up. (Original, see here).

buk-332

Buk 322, standing at Metalist air-force base (fence to north-east is visible). Apparently this photo was taken before June 30th, when LNR soldiers had not rotated the Buk launch shoe in alignment with the vehicle yet.

 

The information was tweeted with a tag from August the 24th. and a geolocation. According to Andrew the tweet photo was taken before June 30, by which time the LPR had turned on the Buk and rotated the launch shoe, as is seen on satellite imagery of this date. From Google Earth imagery is known the Buk vehicles were removed from base some date before 8 August, though they were still present on 17 July. 

Actually this picture fits information from counter-intel chief Nayda in the night of 17 and 18 July the rebels moved a Command Post and three other Buk vehicles to Russia, which says the border obviously was watched very carefully. Of course, in that case, there must have been made video tapes too.

“The SBU established that on July 18 about two o’clock in the Luhansk region state border of Ukraine in the direction of the settlement of the North – Verkhnya orikhivka of the Russian Federation, crossed trucks, each of which carried a launcher “Buk”. At the first there were four missiles, meaning it is not used, the second had three missiles,” he said.

On the same day, about 4 o’clock in the morning three more trailers crossed the border. “One platform [empty], one installation with four missiles and a third carried a battle machine. We do not exclude that it was the control module [CP 300?],” said Naida. According to him, Russia is now trying to hide evidence of direct involvement in terrorist act in the skies over Ukraine.”

Later, when the Luhansk video with the famous Buk launcher carrying only three missiles was published, it was allegedly shown this three missile Buk drove alone to the Russian border at 4:50 in the morning.

From the sources available we can derive the following:

Evacuated in March: TAR 301, TELARs 311, 312, 321, 331, 332 and TEL 323

Left behind: TELs 313, 333 and TELAR 322

Removed from base after July 17 but before August 8: CP 300, TELs 313, 333 and TELAR 322.

ato-buks-evacuated

However, footage from March 2014 exists which shows Buk 311 also was on the road along with command vehicle CP300. Apparently it was not CP300 that could have been spotted by Naida’s men.

CP 300 en Buk 311

Back to the hypothesis

As this air-force base was run over by the separatists it is established they could get hold of these left behind vehicles. In fact, a transport of, for example, TELAR 322 could account for the unknown Luhansk video Lysenko was talking about. The rebels possibly moved 322 to Snizhne or Donetsk to have it repaired or something and then transported it back again to Luhansk. This could at least account for the Zuhres video and the Luhansk video and maybe even also for the Makeevka video.

The Torez photo and video are more difficult to explain, after the wheel issue was rolled out. In a report that was meant to support the claim the Buk from Paris Match stills was in fact Russian Buk 332 from the Kursk convoy, a comparison of both Buks was made. One surveyed indicator was the wheel configuration of the studied Buks.

A Buk can be equiped with two kinds of wheels, a spoked type or the non-spoked, hollow type (see illustration). It is also possible a Buk has both types of wheels attached to the same side. The Kursk Buk apparently had all spoked wheels on its left side, but one hollow wheel – at the second position from the left – at its right side. Not an uncommon configuration, but also not very ubiquitous.

wheel-types

comparison-wheels-torez-buk

Wheel configuration comparison: Torez Buk video (left) and Kursk Buk 332 (right). According to Bellingcat the second wheel of the Torez Buk from the left is hollow.

wheels-one-hollow

Wheel configuration of some Buk. All spoked, except second wheel on the left, which is of the hollow type.

 

When the Torez video was released, it appeared to show the important right side of the Buk, which maybe had that hollow wheel at that particular site. As all other low resolution Buk imagery was too blurred to say anything solid about any indicator, this was a bigger chance to try matching the Buks by their wheel configuration.

To test my hypothesis further I tried to establish what the wheel configuration was the ATO Buks possessed. From the above sources it was clear they almost all seemed to have non-spoked, hollow wheels on both sides.

Right side inspected:

A. certainly hollow wheels 113, 131, 213, 312; 323

B. probably all hollow wheels 121 (low-res), 132, 221 (partly visible), 231 (partly visible.), 322 (1 wheel not visible)

(Only) left side available for inspection:

A. certainly hollow wheels 122 (2011), 132, 212, 222, 223, 312, 321, 322, 323, 331, 333;

B. probably hollow wheels 211, 232 (bad visibility), 332 (bad visibility)

C. 6 hollow, one spoked (most rightwards one): 133

Unknown:

111, 112, 123

233,

311, 313

 

Conclusions:

1. Its unlikely rebels had possession of a Buk, inoperable or not, resulting from seizing air-force base A-1402. What it proves is that pro-separatists outlets had no interest in hiding Buk possession, on the contrary. This casts doubts over the story disseminated by pro-Kiev sources and the AP reporters the Buk tour had to remain secret to account for lack of clear visual evidence.

2. One Buk TELAR of the 1st battalion, which was left behind after evacuation, was not made inoperable nor perished after shellings. Though there is not one single piece of visual evidence available TELAR 131 was the one left behind, it probably was. On July 2nd satellite imagery it seems to be missing from the picture.

What has happened to Buk 131? Was it still under ATO control? Or did it fall in other hands, under rebel control or maybe even under control of an extremist Kievite militia?

3. As it is not certain when Buk 132 effectively was destroyed, its whereabouts in the afternoon of the 17th cannot be fully accounted for. Perhaps the rusty caterpillar belts, as seen on the pictures, would impede moving it around, perhaps not. It is not likely, though also not entirely impossible, it was missing from the air-force base at 11:32 local time, as Russian satellite imagery tried to show.

However, if the Russian image was taken at Moscow Time, 1 hr has to be deducted. Then Buk 132 must have been off-base before it was captured by Digital Globe GeoEye 1 standing on its location at base.

If the Digital Globe image is genuine, then the Russian image almost certainly was forged.

4. One TELAR of Metalist air-force base, designation 322, could account for footage retrieved by the SBU before the 17th, as alluded to in a presser in which National Security advisor Andrey Lysenko stated there already was a video of a Buk transport available on the 17th before it supposedly was captured on the 18th. Maybe it was also filmed on a trip through Donetsk (Paris Match, Makeevka) and Zuhres as well.

Matching the Torez imagery to this Buk seems to be more doubtful, as this Torez Buk seems to have spoked wheels and virtually all ATO Buks from the 156th regiment likely had hollow wheels. Regarding this important feature and the sourcing of this material, its imperative the JIT hands over the full video with metadata and source (Tornado?) for public scrutiny.

5. When ATO lost Buks, they may have called in replacements. This would complicate the picture of Buk whereabouts and availability further. For the alternative theory can be said that in this case it is very unlikely an actively deployed replacement Buk under control of ATO troops, i.e. one with spoked wheels as is seen in the 223th regiment and on the Torez footage, had been captured by the separatists to move around the Donbass.

On the other hand, when the second TELAR on base A-1428 left behind, actually was a replacement Buk, the whereabouts of TELAR 131 cannot be accounted for.

 

 

___________________________________________

NOTES

[1]See Michael Kobs report (German) https://www.scribd.com/doc/267001590/Bellingcat-the-Launch-Site
See Report Sergey Mastepanov (English) https://start7mei.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/mh172.pdf
See my article (Dutch) https://www.ravage-webzine.nl/2015/05/28/mh17-bellingcats-missing-link/

[2] It seems two Russian Press Agencies brought the news at June 29th. First, RIA Novosti has been cited by some sources, claiming the rebels gained control over airbase A-1402, which had been armed with self-propelled complexes ¨BUK¨:

17:43 MSK, http://www.mk.ru/politics/2014/06/29/doneckie-opolchency-zakhvatili-voyskovuyu-chast-pvo-s-kompleksami-buk.html

17:45 EEST, http://www.politforums.net/ukraine/1404054892.html

17:45 UTC+3, http://www.vz.ru/news/2014/6/29/693262.html
Небо над Донецком будут защищать зенитно-ракетные комплексы “Бук” http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1741703&tid=105474

19:05 MSK, http://topkvadrat.ru/freestyle/news/doneck-budut-zaschischat-raketnye-kompleksy-buk-32291

19:50 MSK (copy vesti) http://novorus.info/news/events/24449-nebo-nad-doneckom-budut-zaschischat-zenitno-raketnye-kompleksy-buk.html

Later on Press Agency ITAR-TASS reported the raid as well, but their press statement didn´t mention the rebels took hold of a BUK. It claimed ¨the number and condition of facilities, at the disposal of the militias, remained unknown¨.

18:50 EEST Ополченцы ДНР взяли под контроль воинскую часть ПВО с зенитно-ракетными комплексами “Бук”; DONETSK, 29 june. / ITAR-TASS / http://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/1287030

According to Sergey Mastepanov (see report note 1, page 5) the Russian outlets didn´t claim explicitly the rebels seized a BUK when they raided the Ukrainian airforce base A-1402. Even so it was taken for granted, especially in the reports that used the RIA Novosti dispatch, they had taken possession of BUK complexes too. However, the official RIA Novosti website doesn´t show this press release, see http://ria.ru/world/20140629/1014013231.html, so maybe they put it on the telex. So no Russian or rebel sources explicitly claimed to have seized a BUK, broken or working, though obviously it can´t be ruled out they did.

[3] Though some Ukrainian officials denied the rebels seized a BUK at the 29th, others confirmed. At the 29th some Ukrainian news outlets came up with high ranked officials – ATO chief Dmitrashkovskiy was mentioned first – who added to their confirmation the seized BUK was inoperable.

19:19 EEST Боевики частично захватили военную часть противовоздушной обороны в Донецке. http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2014/06/29/7030482/

20:02 EEST http://censor.net.ua/news/292032/terroristy_chastichno_zahvatili_voinskuyu_chast_pvo_v_donetske_pressofitser

22:33 EEST ¨Захваченный в Донецке боевиками «ДНР» зенитный ракетный комплекс «Бук» в нерабочем состоянии (¨By ´DNR´ militants in Donetsk captured anti-aircraft missile complex ´Buk´ inoperative¨) http://www.62.ua/article/565758

According to Sergey Mastepanov this might have been a set-up, though the motives the Ukrainians might have had for this remain unclear.

[4] The original interview of the company owner with a Lithuanian newspaper, claiming the unique truck is his:

http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/472203/alfa-lt-isskirtinis-interviu-su-raketas-buk-kuriomis-buvo-numustas-malaizijos-avialiniju-lektuvas-gabenusio-vilkiko-savininku#.U-Ac4vmSx8F

In English: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/mh17-breakthrough-owner-of-volvo-truck-that-transported-missile-fears-for-his-life/story-fnizu68q-1227014149633

[5] See Mastepanov report, page 22.

[6] The Amnesty International Youtube Data Viewer proves the deleted video of the lone BUK moving to the alleged launch site was re-uploaded by three trustworthy parties within minutes from each other.

I. Brown Moses, alias of Eliot Higgins (first uploading source known!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiI9s-zWLs4
Орудие убийства малайзийцев Снежное 17 07 2014
Video ID:MiI9s-zWLs4
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD):2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC):18:41:13

II. Euromaidan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkgwxxhJlk4
AA “BUK” vehicle Pro-Kremlin fighters going from Torez to Snizhne (Установка Бук террористов перемещается с Тореза в Снежное.)
Video ID:wkgwxxhJlk4
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC): 18:44:55

III. Torez.info (@WowihaY)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAxpT5AikhQ&feature=youtu.be
Торез Снежное Появились первые кадры виновника смерти 300 пассажиров гражданского самолета
Утановка БУК в Торез Коментарии отключаю. С тупоголовой ватой – только в коментах срач
Video ID:OAxpT5AikhQ
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC): 18:45:58

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18 gedachtes over “An Alternative Track Trail: Another BUK, Another Day

  1. In his latest topic “Geolocating MH17 Crash Videos with Checkdesk”, I asked Bellingcat why he needed a photo editing program for if he uses authentic images? Probably he was not that happy about it, it didn’t pass moderation.

    Like

  2. Hi,

    did anyone a research on these photos, which were obviously taken from the same flat as the Zuhres video:

    http://www.tvn24.pl/wiadomosci-ze-swiata,2/tymczuk-kolumna-rebeliantow-pod-sniznem-samochod-z-laweta-a-na-niej-system-buk,450914.html

    or here:
    http://ukraineatwar.blogspot.de/2014/07/russian-transport-of-buk-into-ukraine.html

    or here:
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-crash-we-have-proof-that-russia-participated-in-missile-attack-ukraine-spy-chief-20140719-zuwws.html
    The caption even claims it is the BUK on its way back to Russia:
    A video still of the BUK-M1 system purportedly being transferred in a rebel convoy back to Russia, according to the Ukraine government. Photo: Ukraine Security Service

    IMHO this tears down any value the video might have to the Bellingcrap fraction:
    – obviously the flat was an observing post of the SBU
    – then why couldn’t the Ukraine close their airspace the moment they saw the convoy?
    – why are there photos of vehicles that are not on the video?
    – if it was a convoy of so many vehicles, why are those vehicles not on the other photos of the BUK trail?

    Like

    • Hi Ole,

      Working on the convoy thing.

      We know ¨the BUK should go with Vostok¨, as commander ¨Chmuri¨ tells the driver of the truck on the alleged wiretaps from the morning of the 17th.

      This tap locks nicely into the message head of ¨Information Resistance¨, Dmitriy Tymchuk, spread on Facebook at 19:19 EEST at the 17th, a few hours after the crash, in which he claimed the murder weapon went in ¨a¨ convoy together with ¨3 tanks, 2 armoured personnel carriers (APC´s), a cargo truck with insurgent and a cargo truck with a mounted large caliber machine gun¨.

      So that´s why the – separate – images of the truck with BUK, personnel carrier and tank were packaged as if this convoy actually existed as such, like the sources you show. But there are strong leads the BUK didn´t go with Vostok after all (if the BUK transport existed at all on that day). Micha Kobs wrote about it in his first report, see from page 52- at:

      Ukraine@war (and maybe others) probably was fed with the convoy pics by the SBU, as is Micha´s working hypothesis, and from there on they were spread over the net.

      ¨Erstaunlich ist dann der folgende Umstand: Die Webseite Ukraine@war übernimmt die
      Zusammenstellung des Konvois von Information Resistance (Verteidigungsminister) und belegt dies
      mit einigen Bildern. Als Quelle ist wiederum „Information Resistance“ angegeben. Ukraine@war zeigt
      jedoch ein paar scheinbar exklusive „Extrafotos“66, die sonst bis dahin nirgends erschienen waren.¨

      It seems that certain sources, like Tymchuk, Euromaidan, Ukraine@war and @Wowihay are alluding to the Vostok convoy as the convoy in which the BUK drove. I´m sure the Vostok convoy, sent on its way to battle site Marynovka, went without the BUK. There is enough footage of the convoy on youtube to corroborate this. For example behind the convoy drove a white van with warning lights on: not in the Zuhres vid. (BTW, the Zuhres vid seems to be the only time the BUK drives without netting, though its hard to say for sure)

      Then there was the Oplot convoy. @WowihaY tweets about them too. But this convoy, though according to WowihaY in Torez at the 17th, already stayed in Snizhne at the 16th where they shot down Ukie planes with MANPADs. This is claimed by Strelkov_info that issued at the 16th a briefing by the commander himself about this fact.
      http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.nl/2014/07/igor-strelkov-and-militia-briefings_17.html

      So in what convoy did the BUK go? As you say, there´s no footage that can place the BUK in a large convoy. In fact, at this moment I assume the agent in the safe house in Zuhres, like you say, waited to take snapshots of the Vostok convoy and on another time and/or date filmed the truck with BUK and two cars too from the same spot. Then they glued it together as if there was one convoy.

      I got the idea the whole ¨BUK in convoy¨ thing seen by ¨local patriots¨ moving ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨ is a fake ¨meme¨ that has been planted in a few trustworthy news outlets and by some ¨local patriots¨ to construct social media testimonies regarding the BUK trace. But more research is necessary.

      Obviously they feel pressure now. So they have to fit the story to the facts again, an assignment Bellingcat is working on. They will deliver too. Yesterday Higgins told me on twitter they will come up with a report with new testimonies, including statements and evidence from which can be deducted there were actually THREE transport.

      So we have Vostok and the Chmuri/¨Motel¨ wiretaps (the driver had to deliver the BUK behind the Motel to get it in the Vostok convoy). We have the possible refusal of the BUK transport to go with Vostok, because apparently they finally decided to go by themselves (or maybe the tapes are frauds). But what will be the third convoy Bellingcat will reveal?

      In each case very interesting 🙂

      Like

  3. Hi,

    hadn’t read the paper of Micha Kobs before, it’s a good summary.

    Concerning the videos from Zuhres and Shiznhe: If those videos really were made by observers the bad quality is surprising. If the observers were to gather intelligence, one would expect them to take better photos (Aleynykov Style), which help to identify the vehicles, the individual persons, kind of weapons, ammo, what missiles the BUK is fitted with etc.

    But instead they make low quality handy videos, which make it hard to distinguish what kind of vehicle they show. So if the videos were made by SBU observers the purpose was not to gather intelligence, but to create some seemingly genuine videos which could be posted on internet as if they were made coincidentally by local people.

    Like

    • Exactly. Its not ruled out the pics and footage were made by ¨local patriots¨ who were in close contact with the SBU, like @WowihaY clearly was. But they could be official SBU agents too. Yur claim seems plausible. Micha, who´s a filmmaker, also claims for this purpose you don´t come up with high-tech Hollywood material.

      When geolocated, the pic of the Furshet market in Torez is made from the other side of the street, hiding behind a small building. I always wondered why there weren´t more pics from that spot, why the photographer didn´t make more pics from close by.

      As always you have to consider other possibilities. If the small BUK transport was there, it must have passed Vostok on the road. Possibly they moved along a short time, when spice4russia sees them both in Shakhtarsk. But, of course, there is no visual evidence for this.

      Like

      • I took another look at the Sniznhe tank video which Micha describes in his paper on page 13-14. The Brown Moses version (which is the one closest to the original):

        is of extreme low quality, the tank is almost not recognizable.

        Yet Ukraineatwar has a video still with much higher resolution. Can be noted for example in the structures of the roof tiles.

        That means:

        Somebody (the producer or Higgins) chose to publish a lower than original resolution of the video (why?).
        Yet Ukraineatwar was provided with a higher resolution version (by whom and why don’t they publish it?).

        Again it appears this was produced as useful evidence, the flat the video was taken from seems to be ideal to observe the area and the movements towards saur mogylia. The alleged launch site is 4.5 km away right in front of the flat, the observer who made the video had a first class view to that alleged launch site. If he was interested enough to take the video of that tank driving towards the fights in the south, why didn’t he see and photograph the alleged launch of the BUK?

        This panoramio image:
        https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/99535509
        was taken from the same block of flats. The alleged launch site is to the extreme left just slightly outside the field of view of this pic.

        Or this one from a different building in the same block:
        https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/39765873
        The road the tankish think was driving down is to the extreme right, the alleged launch site slightly out of the FOV to the right.

        The observer who took the tank video had a completely unobstructed view to the south (the area where both of the above panoramio images end), so why are there no photos by him of Aleynykovs smoke trail?.

        Like

      • Good thinking! Yeah,some time ago when I only knew about the vid uploaded by Brown Moses I wondered how they could tell it was a BUK. To me it was just a tank, a “tankish construction” as I said in the article. I suppose Ukraine@war and @WowihaY are at least reconnaissance volunteers but maybe even with a more formal function.

        Some say Higgins is going by his contempt for Russians alone, so he is passively fed by the SBU – no questions asked. Others think he is in direct contact with them to play out tactics. Any way, it smells.

        You are right, when the person in the Snizhne flat would have watched things closely the plume must have been photographed. The same is true for a whole lot of other people, say 40.000, who could have seen the launch plume – if it was fired at the alleged launch spot. Zaroshchenskoye is positioned in a far more desolate area (have you seen the new Bellingcat report yet?)

        Maybe you can mail me at hectorreban@gmail.com for your mailadres?

        Like

  4. Hi,

    looking again at the Zuhres video

    two things can be noticed:

    In the first frame there is a car visible driving on the driveway parallel to the road:

    To use that driveway only makes sense for the inhabitants of the neighbouring buildings, so the driver of that car should be easy to identify and could be interviewed what day the BUK passed by. Obviously the video was cut such that the car shouldn’t be visible.

    The second point is much more striking. There can’t be much doubt the wind on the video is from the south:

    In the first seconds one of the birds on the ground behind the blue cubicle takes off to the right (against the wind, as already noted by Otto Lilienthal) but is blown slightly to the left by the wind. Also the branches of the trees are clearly blown to the left. That means the wind is coming from the south:

    The strength of the wind at that moment is approximately 5 on the beaufort scale (8-10 m/s):
    “Branches of a moderate size move. Small trees in leaf begin to sway.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale

    Now on July 17th there never was wind from the south in the region:

    Or more reliable the official data from Donetsk Airport as provided by Charles Wood in this blog:
    http://7mei.nl/2015/02/02/mh17-bellingcat-photo-proof-spoof/

    For the time in question these winds were recorded at Donezk airport:
    Time (UTC) Dir Speed (m/s)
    2014-07-17 07:30 350 5.0
    2014-07-17 08:00 350 6.0
    2014-07-17 08:30 10 7.0
    2014-07-17 09:00 10 6.0
    2014-07-17 09:30 40 4.0
    2014-07-17 10:00 50 5.0
    2014-07-17 10:30 40 7.0

    So on July 17th between 10:30 local and 13:30 local the wind was between North and North East!

    The trees visible in the video are quite close to the opposite building as can be seen on the satellite image. So for eastern winds the trees should be shielded by the building and it is hard to imagine that by some weird tunneling effect the wind was turned from NE to S between the buildings.

    The bottom line is, it appears highly unlikely the video was taken on July 17th.

    A quick research shows that for example on July 14th there were southern winds predicted around noon:
    http://meteo.ua/archive/329/zugres/2014-7-14
    as well as on July 11th:
    http://meteo.ua/archive/329/zugres/2014-7-11

    Like

    • Well researched, Ole! Obviously all clues and evidence corroborating my – at first – very speculative idea will be welcomed with joy 😉 I´m gonna advertise this post on twitter

      So now we know with a fair degree of certainty the Luhansk vid has been made on an earlier date and the Zuhres vid too.

      Today @ArnoldGreidanus has handed over an earlier version of the lone BUK vid, timestamped an hour before the re-uploaded Brown Moses vid mentioned in note [6] of this article:

      Снежное 17.07 Комплекс ПВО БУК
      В подконтрольном ДНРовцами г.Снежном Донецкая область

      Video ID: MM_RVp2NdmA
      Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
      Upload Time (UTC): 17:44:16 (convert to local time)

      What do you say about its resolution?

      Moreover, Ukraine@war tweeted ¨uncropped¨ version of the lone BUK vid. I asked him why he had a version with a so much better resolution than Brown Moses. Look what he said:

      Like

      • BTW, according to Higgins there are Digital Globe images of the Donetsk area of 10th and 11th of July. I wished we had his resources to buy a few slivers with truckyard and/or road to Makiivka at about 11:00 EEST…

        Like

      • The resolution is obviously the same, on youtube the highest resolution to select is 360p. The interesting question is, where is the original of this still, that definitely has a higher resolution:

        Like

  5. After Military Unit A-1402 was taken over by NAF on June 29, a number of photos of BUK launchers were published online. I did a Google image search to see if any of the photos were new. I found out all the photos were old archive photos.

    Like

    • Thanks for your reply, Petri.

      As you say evidence of the seized 29 June BUK is virtually absent, if one disregards the possibility the footage in the Bellingcat track-a-trail could involve this BUK.

      As I wrote the leading pro-Kiev narrative is now this story was disseminated to create a cover for the Russians to deliver a BUK themselves. Hence, to boost credibility, no military truck with low-loader was handed over and no TEL reload vehicle, because that could blow the Russian cover-up story.

      Main argument against this scenario is why the Russians would hand over a highly valued war asset without any logistic back-up. The BUK could fire its 4 missiles and then end up at the junk yard for military vehicles in Lenin Street, Snizhne (right beside the 15th July bombing site for that matter).

      The dissident story is the Ukrainians stepped in to corroborate this story, as I write in the article, but in fact to create the illusion the rebels took hold of a BUK, which showed to be conveniently when MH17 was downed. The Ukrainians issued contradicting statements according to political need. Officially there was no BUK, but evenso the rumour was spread, also by officials.

      We have to remember this scenario was leading until the Bellingcat Kursk convoy scenario – a BUK handed over by the Russians in the morning of the 17th – became paramount. Sergey Mastepanov, mentioned in the notes, supports this line of thought: The Ukrainians covered their false flag by instating rumours about BUK possession of the rebels.

      My hunch is the rebels only had possession of one or more BUK platforms some days before the 17th. It is certain the truck, lowloader and accompanying cars of the small convoy were in their possession. That way the footage, or parts of it, with the unique truck could have been made within days before the 17th. The Zuhres vid is consistent with weather on the 14th and the 11th (and also on the 30th of June, but not on any other day in that period of time).

      Like

  6. Pingback: How BBC pushes propaganda on “Russian propaganda” | Friday begins on Monday

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