Just connect the dots from Donetsk to a site south of Snizhne and a trail of guilt could easily be shown. But from the socalled realtime Buk sightings on the 17th of July 2014 oozes a funny smell. It seems parts of the Ukrainian state could have been involved in preparing a ¨terrorist¨ Buk convoy at the 17th that never was there.
Contrary to the arrogant posture the guardians of the ¨rebel Buk trail¨ evidence display the edifice of their constructed narrative about a Russian crew dragging a stand-alone Buk through rebel controlled area in order to shoot down flight MH17 by mistake, is falling apart in front of their eyes. Footage and images of the ¨unique truck¨ with Buk seem to stem from earlier dates and also the written testimonies found on social media show apparent inconsistencies.
Now more information is coming through, although at low pace, a likely alternative reconstruction of the events can be made. It seems Ukraine has been preparing a ¨terrorist¨ Buk convoy at the 17th that never was there.
Buk and convoy
A few hours after the disaster Ukrainian official Dmitri Tymchuk, head of ¨Information Resistance¨, states on Facebook that a convoy with a Buk installation had been seen at 13:30 EEST in Snizhne.
The Tymchuk facebook message, translated by a sympathizer. They convoy allegedly consisted of 3 tanks, 2 armored personnel carriers (or Russian BTR’s), a cargo truck with insurgents (maybe an Ural) and a cargo truck with a mounted heavy machine gun (likely the KAMAZ). And of course the non-driving Buk loaded on a low-loader.
This convoy lead would play a dominant role in the framing of the official Ukrainian state sanctioned evidence that built up the ¨track-a-trail theory¨ to point to the rebels and the Russians as perpetrators of the downing of flight MH17. Renowned blogger Ukraine-at-war and citizen investigators Bellingcat, both never reluctant to pick up an anti-Russian story, used this frame to depict a trail of the Buk on the day of the crime from Donetsk to the Snizhne launch site, putting in geolocated footage, images and social media testimonies to make their case solid.
For example the video of the truck with Buk moving through the outskirts of Zuhres at the N21 highway came up shortly after the disaster to imply the rebel BUK was part of a larger rebel convoy . According to Ukraine-at-war: ¨The convoy consisted of 3 tanks, 2 BTRs, a truck with militia, a truck with a heavy machine gun and a loader transporting the BUK¨, fairly closely resembling the content of the Tymchuk transport. To support this lead the blogger posted a still from the Zuhres video – on which next to the truck with Buk only two cars could be seen and factually no larger transport – together with some pics of a rebel convoy, showing a truck with separatists and one tank.
Intermezzo: Ukraine@war (now Putin@war) and the Zuhres video
On the 17th Ukraine@war (aka Dajey Petros, @djp3tros) received a tweet written by @3Andryu (Andrey Andruyshin as later came out, see also my blogpost “Problems of the track-a-trail narrative”), with the Zuhres video attached to it.
Petros didn’t use the video, but posted a blogpost dated still on the 17th, using a still from the Zuhres video – displaying the truck with Buk – and two stills from the Vostok movement at the same site. Below the pictures is claimed he got the info from InfoResistance, a hardline propaganda network founded by Ukrainian politician Dmytri Tymchuk.
As a matter of fact this blog was dated on the 18th, a day after the Ukraine@war blog. But as the Ukraine@war blog with the link to InfoResistance already was archived in the evening of the 18th. Possibly his blog was actually written on the 18th, but he also could have received the stills straight from the SBU (as InfoResistance did) and later sourced it as received from InfoResistance.
Top: screenshot original InfoResistance article with the still from the Zuhres video. Bottom: Ukraine@war blog with the same still and the link to InfoResistance, however dated a day before.
Apparently, as Petros hadn’t disseminated the entire video, @3Andryu deleted his tweet handle and sent the video again to Petros on the 22nd, using his twitter handle @m_a_s_h_ua.
Through some helper it also arrived at the desk of Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins, who discussed it with Petros (see screenshot below).
Remarkable enough, Petros now said he thought the video was possibly forged because of artefacts spotted around the cars. Nevertheless, he caved in easily after he was convinced by Higgins it actually did match the timeline (sort of).
Question remains why he hadn’t used the video immediately but instead only showed a still, as it does not seem plausible he did not recognize the Zuhres still belonging to the Zuhres video. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact the Zuhres video does not show the “large terrorist convoy”.
This suggestion was effective. Also in other media was stated the Buk belonged to this larger convoy, using the Zuhres vid, the truck with separatists and the tank – posted on the SBU (Ukrainian secret service) website as well – as evidence.
Apparently the convoy that needed to be implied was a convoy of the ¨Vostok¨ battalion, a battalion consisting of different nationalities helping the rebels in their strife against the Kiev regime. In fact part of this convoy (3 tanks and an armored truck with insurgents) was on its way from Donetsk to Marinovka, a site where heavy fighting was going on on the 17th.
To back up the suggestion the Vostok convoy was on the road (and maybe also in the BUK transport), 2 hours before the crash took place Tymchuk re-uploaded at Youtube a video made by Vostok militia men themselves on July the 10th. If people needed a frame to rearrange their thoughts about the upcoming events or possible sightings they might have had during the day, here it was.
This lead fitted generously with evidence that came out later, the socalled Khmuryi tapes, tapped conversations of deputy commander of the DNR forces ¨Khmuryi¨ (Gloomy), alias of former Russian GRU officer Sergey Petrovksy. In this conversations Khmuryi orders the Buk, dropped by the Russians in Donetsk, to go with the Vostok battalion on its way to Marinovka (see screenshot below).
In this way the framework had been set on track. The Buk had been brought in by the Russians and moved, with Russian crew on a rebel truck with low-loader, in the Vostok battalion somewhere from Donetsk to the east until it finally made its lonely and deadly stop at Snizhne.
Because Snizhne as delivery site was never mentioned directly in the tapes, more evidence leading the way to the perceived launch site was necessary. A remarkably large part of the sources behind the Buk trail took care of this job.
The ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨ soundbite
Tymchuk´s re-uploading of the video of the Vostok convoy before the disaster took place, maybe planting the story of the Buk containing convoy in advance, was more or less sustained by social media messages and sightings. Euromaydan, consistently in the frontline when dissemination of useful information was needed, put a
message on Facebook at 12:17 (opening text box)/13:15 (first posting) EEST claiming:
¨In Torez in the direction of Snizhne drives a Buk. Information from local residents¨
Posted 2 minutes later an updated version appeared, adding to the original message: ¨Accompanied with machines and terrorists¨, clearly alluding to a convoy.
Another minute later the message was edited again. Now it said: ¨In Torez *towards* Snizhne….¨ which is a more precise assignment. Obviously Snizhne was the place to be. To make the convoy more imaginable, and probably after receiving an order, Euromaydan re-uploaded the same Vostok vid Tymchuk had done too.
Video ID: UHpbO9v9aoQ
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC):11:58:53 (= 14:58:53 EEST)
When people in the thread were asking who was driving the Buk, Euromaydan answered four times in very superficial language, formulating only soundbites within the boundaries of the fed information: ¨not ours¨, ¨movement accompanied with terrorists¨ (2x) and ¨installation goes with terrorists¨. So it should be clear it was a rebel BUK moving in a rebel convoy.
Three hours after the crash of MH17 they added a final update. This last addition probably was based on a presser National Security Advisor Andrey Lysenko gave at 17:00 EEST, in which he had claimed (allegedly still not knowing about the crash) the rebels had possession of a Buk. Though it wasn´t formulated explicitly, the suggestion should be obvious. So now you all can see we had it all right. There was a Buk and there was a convoy. And now a plane has been downed too.
After the disaster Euromaydan didn´t forget easily they had to plant the Buk in a convoy moving from Torez to Snizhne. When they re-uploaded the video of the lone Buk moving to the launch site , the soundbite ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨ popped up again:
Установка Бук террористов перемещается с Тореза в Снежное.
Remarkably enough the text message accompanying the vid claims: ¨AA [anti aircraft; HR] BUK vehicle Pro-Kremlin fighters going from Torez to Snizhne¨. But in fact the Buk allegedly drove itself from Snizhne to Pervomaiske. Maybe this mistake is what you get when you are just following orders.
A second source who repeated the Tymchuk frame before the crash, was conveyed by a tweet from someone named ¨Yasya¨. She wrote she saw an article at a website mentioning a Buk moving ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨, ¨accompanied with machines and terrorists¨ according to ¨information from local residents¨. A reply confirms the website.
Immediately it became clear this message contained exactly the same information in the same buzzwords as was used in the Euromaydan posting. Furthermore the pic attached to the message, showing a Buk launch installation, was also exactly the same as the pic used in the Euromaydan message. The time the internet article displayed in the Yasya screenshot is 13:36 EEST. Probably it was copied from the Euromaydan posting.
Roman en Yasya: https://twitter.com/MOR2537/status/472123645528375296
Pavel Aleynikov en Yasya: https://twitter.com/VasMark/status/471731499415658496
Yasya and some of her twitter contacts, BUK witness Roman and launch plume photographer Pavel Aleynikov.
Also other sources of evidence conveyed the soundbite ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨. Ruslan Nasadyuk, who posted the first known copy of the pic of the Buk at a crossroads in Torez, says threaddown on Український Мілітарний Портал (a military portal on Vkontakte, Russian Facebook) he picked up the picture from the local chatgroup ¨Overheard in Torez¨. Accompanied with it appeared a message claiming, in Nasadyuks words:
¨в пабліку “Подслушано в Торезе”пишуть що вони їхали через Торез в сторону снежного.¨
(¨It was written in the group ¨Overheard in Torez¨ they drove through Torez in the direction of Snizhne.¨)
When people see a picture of a Buk at a crossroads in Torez, they won´t instanteneously think of Snizhne as the place to be. But with the text message attached to it, they will. One may assume this message was carefully planted in ¨Overheard in Torez¨, maybe in a coordinated effort to disseminate the right soundbite to eventually place the Buk in Snizhne and connect the dots.
At 12:07 EEST WowihaY tweeted a Buk with 4 missiles was located in Torez. Doubts came up immediately when reading this. First, it is beyond any discernment how someone could see 4 missiles when the Buk was covered with a netting, as seen at the Paris Match picture
From new footage of the transport driving through Torez, as published by the JIT, can been seen the netting is not quite covering completely. It is in fact possible to recognize the amount of missiles mounted.
Having said this, still mentioning the exact amount raises a red flag in relation to the information released with the Luhanks video, see below.
Second, if he reported this sighting and others later that day from his home address  it was very doubtful he had seen the transports himself. The N21, the highway the truck drove on, was several blocks away from the low-rise appartment WowihaY was living in at that time.
Recently an interview with this “infowarrior”, pivot in dissemination of much evidence against the rebels , confirmed these suspicions were right after all:
¨On July 17 at about noon, I “caught” a message that a hauler was pulling some sort of obscure covered-up equipment through Torez. At 12:05pm I received a text “Birdies, beware!” from a person who was well-versed in weaponry. He suggested that they were transporting a “Buk” anti-aircraft missile system. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why a large piece of equipment was riding about close to the hottest point of conflict at that time.¨
From this interview it should be clear once and for all WowihaY never saw the Buk himself, but functioned only as a ¨last link in the chain of information received¨, as he himself said to a BBC journalist in a 18 July tweet.
On 12:16 EEST @WowihaY tweeted his BUK moving ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨ message. We now may claim, based on a pretty solid assumption, this was a relayed soundbite, not stemming from an original sighting made by WowihaY himself, but originating from a dispatch handed out by an unknown pro-Kiev source.
Remarkable observation was the second @WowihaY tweet and the first Euromaydan Facebook timing (of the opening of the textbox) appeared right at the same time, about a quarter past noon. Were they briefed by the same source? Was WowihaY Euromaydan’s source?
Second, also the difference catches the eye. The Euromaydan posting was refined, maybe because of input from another source. So Euromaydan added the ¨terrorist convoy¨ frame to the Buk sighting, whereas @WowihaY reported the Vostok convoy passing an hour later than the Buk transport (see further down the article). As we shall see later on, this was an important division in the framing leading to two separate Buk trails, one with and one without larger convoy.
So eventually it seems @WowihaY put through messages he received from unknown, but well informed sources. Apparently this source felt the fact the Buk drove with 4 missiles would be a detail that could be convenient later on. And it appeared to be so, when the SBU issued the Luhansk video of the truck with Buk, loaded with three missiles. Four minus three is one. So there was missing one missile, obviously the one that was fired at the plane. Now we know this video could well have originated from a date before the crash  and Wowihay was fed with this ¨4 missile¨ information, this tiny detail is becoming even of more interest.
There is more to be learned. In this remarkable franc interview WowihaY claims to be supported by a group of informants “behind enemy lines”, though he himself fled the area already in June 2014.
¨In June my family and I left our hometown Snizhne [corrected to Torez by Bellingcat´s Aric Toler; HR]. But both then and now I know about everything that happens back home. An advantage of our group is that there are local informants who are forging victory behind enemy lines.¨
The question is: Who are these people? And who provides them with information? “Local residents”? Or also people connected to the state?
Well, @666_mancer (¨Necro Mancer¨) is maybe one of them, and looking at his 11,7 k followers he is a top nodge infowarrior too. According to the brandnew Bellingcat witness report:
¨This popular user likely may not have seen any of the scenes himself. A similar pattern will later be seen with @Wowihay, who no longer lives in Torez, but collects witness testimonies from locals.¨
In this way Aric Toler, editor of the sightings report, is almost introducing scientific uncertainty in the otherwise so inpenetrable walls of Bellingcat selfrighteousness.
This rare example of openness is pretty informative too. It can be concluded we have been put up again with an infowarrior, an information relay that disseminates hear-say messages purportedly from ¨local residents¨ but possibly from more informed ¨formal¨ contacts, i.e. the Ukrainian secret service.
Necro Mancer passes on some contradicting and opaque information which Bellingcat promotes to a Buk sighting. At first there is a thing that looks like a Strela (anti-aircraft weapon) in Donetsk, accompanied with 10 ¨normal¨ vehicles, then a Smerch and finally something that resembles a Buk but not mounted with missiles.
In fact a Strela was part of the Vostok convoy appearing on July the 10th for their propaganda display.
Left, next to the KAMAZ, a Strela in the 10 July Vostok convoy, brought by VKontakte website Strelkov_info.
It seems like Necro Mancer didn´t understand what he was supposed to put through – or his source(s) didn´t – but eventually it all came down to maybe, possibly, something that could look like a Buk. Its the only ¨sighting¨ after a year of deep investigation Bellingcat got to add to the ones it already had, and its not a really convincing one.
The rest of the day Necro Mancer has few contacts with other tweeters, certainly not about this great news. He kept on tweeting Tymchuk messages like he was used to do and continued with this work right after the MH17 crash. Not a trace can be found about this event, which would shake world politics. Not even a tiny hint to the message he himself posted that same morning about an anti aircraft weapon moving out of Donetsk.
The WowihaY and Necro Mancer messages make retired German head prosecutor Gabriele Gordon-Wolff conclude:
¨At least Bellingcat admitted that it relies on biased information by pro-Kiev info-warriors who live far away from the Donbass region and just post what unconfirmed trusted sources with the same political view are “reporting”. Especially this new twitterer from Donetsk spreads nonsense. No Buk, no Volvo. Isn’t it telling that all these “sightings” prior to the publication of the MH17 crash are without pictures?¨
More dubious sightings
Spice4Russia tweeted (12:41 EEST): ¨шахтерск камаз тероров, 3 танка.пред этим возможно проехал бук,накрытый тентом #ато (Shakhtarsk a KAMAZ with terrorists, 3 tanks, before possibly a BUK covered with a net #ato). The three tanks and the KAMAZ seem to allude to the Vostok convoy accompanying the Buk, more or less in accordance with the Tymchuk frame and the Euromaydan 12:17/13:15 EEST message. Actually Vostok passed Shakhtarsk at that time, but without the Buk as can be seen on two videos of the convoy made overthere (see report Micha Kobs about the Vostok movements).
After the crash, he tweeted: ¨National Security Council: The Ukrainian side has data on the use of anti-missile system “Buk” by militants and other settings¨, obviously pointing to the Lysenko afternoon presser mentioned above, related to the downing of an AN-26 on July the 14th.
It seems a bit strange he didn´t point to his own eyewitness testimony but instead to a message from the National Security Council to confirm presence of a Buk in the area. Maybe spice4russia, according to the ultranationalist warriors and organizations he followed on twitter and the use of an #ato hashtag in his message , was also an pro-Kiev infowarrior, who only conveyed messages he was fed down the chain of command. One could observe he felt supported by the statements from Lysenko and so had his second-hand account covered, which he proudly, but in a professional way, put forward in his reply to the news of the crash.
Later that evening he got into contact with Yasya in a far more incited way when he tweeted her (19:37 EEST): ¨срочно берем Стрелково и ко живыми.И пусть он говорит где взял Бук¨ (Lets pick up our guns and make Strelkov tell where he has his Buk). That´s the kind of spirit one would expect when someone learns about a disaster that possibly had been caused by a weapon you just witnessed that very same day moving in front of your window. Nevertheless he didn´t mention his sighting.
Roman, a Donetsk based acquaintance of WowihaY, tweeted this: ¨It was wheeled missile system on the tractor cover + two cars through Torez to Snizhne in 12-10.¨
Remarkably enough this looks like another composition of the Buk transport, so without the convoy, but with two cars, as is seen in the Zuhres vid and also partly in the Paris Match Donetsk pic (in this pic a SUV, apparently a silver toyota RAV4, can been seen waiting with the door open in front of the parked unique truck with Buk).
Problem with this evidence was that it probably didn´t exist within the alleged timeframe of the trail on the 17th. The Zuhres video could well have originated from an earlier date as established by Ole in a comment on an article on this blog (¨Alternative Track Trail. Another BUK, Another Day¨). Ole clearly proved the wind on the video came from the south, so almost perpendicular to the N21 in the still below, located from west to east.
On the 17th there was no wind reported with that strength coming from the south. According to Ole´s investigation ¨on July 17th between 10:30 local and 13:30 local [The Zuhres vid is timed at 11:40; HR] the wind was between North and North East!¨ When the Zuhres video has been made on another day, and the Luhansk vid too, this is is a remarkable piece of information supporting the ¨Alternative Track Trail Theory¨ I suggested elsewhere on this blog.
The Paris Match pic had difficulties on its own after Bellingcat bought two slivers of a satellite image Digital Globe made at the 17th at 11:08 EEST. The first sliver allegedly showed, according to founder Eliot Higgins, the unique truck with red low-loader had left the truckyard in Donetsk, on a collision course with MH17 later that day. Because the truck was filmed at 11:00 EEST by an anonymous freelance journalist for Paris Match, it should show up at the second sliver Bellingcat bought, a piece from the satellite image which displayed one third (12 km) of the road from Donetsk to Zuhres.
But Bellingcat tweeted it couldn´t find the transport.
That was kind of weird. The truck had 8 minutes to drive in the direction of Makiivka – from 11:00 tot 11:08 EEST – when it immediately had moved on after it was photographed. To drive of the sliver, so to speak, the truck would have rushed at a speed of at least 90km/h, which is pretty fast for such a heavy transport. Therefore the Paris Match pic didn´t fit the Bellingcat/Ukraine-at-war/SBU timeline, maybe because the pic had been made on another day or was fake altogether [see also report with a debunking of Paris Match stills].
Update: the Stratfor satellite image and the Oliferenko Makeevka Buk transport video
In the meantime this Makeevka route issue has been tackled. On May the 3rd, 2016, 22 months after the crash, a video was uploaded allegedly showing the Buk transport through Makeevka on the 17th of July, 2014. On May the 13th, a day after Bellingcat disseminated the video to the audience, a satellite image was published by private intelligence firm Stratfor showing the same transport at almost the same spot. In my review of the Buk trail evidence you can read more.
Apparently, as the story was revised, the transport had not taken the N21 for some reason, but had proceeded along the Avtotransportna street. Something kept on itching though. Why would Bellingcat buy the “wrong” sliver, whereas it is probable beyond doubt the US intelligence community had studied imagery available from the 17th right a that day or not long thereafter. Do we have to believe Bellingcat is not aided by information from the intel community somehow?
The satellite image from the 13 May 2016 Stratfor publication – later also visible on Google Earth – and the Buk transport.
Not long after the Stratfor publication Google Earth, Bellingcat sponsor and residing under the direction of the State Department, also showed the Makeevka site in their database. What had took them that long to get an OK from the State Department? Why was it only published 22 months after the crash?
So there had been:
- a video upload of allegedly the Makeevka Buk transport on 3.5.2016;
- at the same day, May 3rd, a broadcast of a BBC documentary in which infowarrior vladimir D. aka @WowihaY announced there was another video of the Buk transport available (see illustration below);
- a strange relay of information about the existence of this video to Bellingcat by one of their trolls on May 12th;
- a Stratfor publication on May 13th;
- and a Google Earth publication somewhat later.
To what extent was all this coordinated and/or planned?
Unless, of course, Bellingcat could miraculously time the pic much earlier. And they did in their new witness report. Without any clarification suddenly the timing of the Paris Match pic was stated at 10:45 EEST:
¨[The truck with BUK on a red low-loader] left Donetsk, eastbound along H21 [N21]: ~10:45am (Kyiv time)¨
With this move they challenged their own method of shadowcasting analysis, which, according to Michael Kobs, showed a time of 11:05-11:15 EEST would fit a lot more .
Update: JIT issues Paris Match video
When the Joint Investigation Team organized a presser to advertise preliminary results of their investigation into weapon and launch site related to the downing of flight MH17, they also published the entire video from which the Paris Match stills were extracted. Though Aric Toler responded triumphically and arrogant now was proven the elaborate work Micha Kobs had done had been futile, the facts told otherwise.
Kobs had made a model of the Paris Match stills for two purposes: 1. to finally establish the right timing – as Bellingcat had published three different times of capture along the way, and 2. to investigate proportions, positions and perspective.
Questions raised by Kobs remained. Time according to the metadata of the video would be 10:23 local time, Toler tweeted, which does not match the elaborate shadow-casting analysis Kobs performed nor Bellingcat’s own timeline. Furthermore, it would entail – as time of capture of a satellite image of the truck with Buk in Makeevka, which was published by private intelligence form Stratfor, was 11:08 – the truck would have stood idle along the road for a pretty long time. The fact no ordinary people nor state surveillance cameras watching this part of the street came up with more footage, could be assessed as a kind of weird.
Second, still or video, an inconsistent strange perspective and shadows remain inconsistent strange perspective and shadows. The video still might be faked, replacing something standing on the lowloader with a blurred Buk. In fact, the frame per second ratio seems to drop to 15 fps right at the part when the Buk is passed by. Is this because too much is happening for the compression algorithm on the cheap camera to keep up with? Or do we have ourselves to ask some other, more profound questions about the veracity of the video here?
So what did Roman actually see, when taken into account the two possible supporting pieces of evidence of what he reported, probably originated from another date? Or is he part of the WowihaY Group of infowarriors, only relaying messages fed to him by pro-Kiev sources in order to plant some sightings to construct a BUK trail?
The WowihaY Group: connection between plume pic photographer Pavel Aleynikov and Buk/Vostok witness Spice4russia. According to their pre-17 July twitter timeline, Roman, Rescuero and WowihaY already had cntacts with each other.
The WowihaY Group: connection between Buk witness Roman and Zuhres video conveyer @3Andryu.
More tanks and convoys
Apparently this BUK had eventually to be located in Snizhne accompanied with tanks, presumably those from the Vostok convoy. Overthere there was an Associated Press (AP) reporter (probably Dmitry Lovetsky as he was in Snizhne that day, see here) who launched the news (17:51 EEST, so an hour and a half after the crash), he saw in Snizhne city a Buk launcher and a convoy comprising 7 tanks:
¨An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne. In the town, he also observed a Buk missile system, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).¨
This source is the only one who connects sighting of a Buk and a convoy both in Snizhne, not far from the launch site, like the Tymchuk framing later on would express and was suggested by the Euromaydan Facebook posting in realtime as well. But at second glance it is surprisingly hard to find out about which 7-machine convoy this source actually is talking.
WowihaY posted 15:08 EEST a message about both Oplot and Vostok convoy:
¨Snizhne #stopterror Tanks with the white flags and “Oplot” inscriptions left the centre and entered the ring area, near “lexus” patrol station. The tanks with “Vostok” inscriptions that arrived through Torez are now in the centre. The warehouse at “Udarnik” today was filled with ammunition.¨
After the disaster Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko posted on Facebook a message in which he described the events of that day. It said that at 10:00 EEST a 5 tank Oplot convoy was in Snizhne and at about 15:00 EEST it was located on the ring – like the WowihaY message had said too.
As a matter of fact the Oplot convoy already was in the vicinity of Snizhne the day before, when on Strelkov_info a message appeared members from Oplot had succeeded in downing a SU-25 with a MANPAD (short range anti aircraft weapon).
Moreover, it didn´t consist of 7 vehicles. Whereas Gerashchenko posted about 5 vehicles, in fact the convoy consisted, as shown in the vid below, of 4 tanks.
The Oplot convoy on the 17th.
On 17 July the Vostok convoy moving to Marinovka consisted of a jeep, an armored truck carrying separatist fighters (Ural), three tanks and a white van with warning lights on closing the convoy. There were no 7 machines and the KAMAZ and Strela, as seen in the propaganda video Tymchuk and Euromaydan re-uploaded that same day, apparently stayed in Donetsk too.
The Vostok convoy on the 17th.
Vostok was on its way to Snizhne that dark day, but the convoy consisted of less vehicles than they had shown in their own propaganda video. Oplot already was there too. Lovetsky from AP took photos from Oplot tanks at the Lexus gasstation at about 2 pm, but Vostok – at 1 pm arriving in Torez and moving to Snizhne – cannot be seen on any of those photos.
Anyway, Vostok comprised of 4 vehicles, three tanks AND the Ural. Oplot drove with 4 tanks. Unless the Ural was out of sight for a moment and Vostok had tanked at Lexus just before Oplot did, there was no 7 vehicle transport.There only was the Tymchuk frame of 7 vehicles and a BUK, disseminated after the crash and more or less alluded to in realtime by the Euromaydan Facebook posting.
When digging deeper there was in fact a seven “tanks” convoy around these days, that is if the statement by the AP reporter could be any combination of tanks, self-propelled howitzers, tracked armored personnel carriers (BMP’s), and rubber tired armored personnel carriers (BTR’s). A convoy of one jeep, a van, 3 tanks, 3 self-propelled howitzers and one BTR-APC (and possibly a tractor trailer carrying ammo and supplies) is seen on July 15 in this video, coming from Lugansk to Donetsk Oblast .
The 7 ¨tank¨ convoy with Russian flags on the 15th.
Maybe not coincidentally the taped Khmuryi conversations mentioned 3 self-propelled howitzers to be moved to the fighting at the Marinovka frontline. This convoy has them, though all sightings stop on the 15th at the Donbass Arena, the soccer stadium in Donetsk.
The 15 July convoy, containing 3 self-propelled howitzers, near the Donbass Arena. After that, the sightings stop.
Interestingly this 15 July convoy fits both the 7 tank convoy the anonymous AP journalist was talking about and the Khmuryi tapes. However, this convoy drove two days earlier than the day the Ukrainians and their helpers would gladly like to see. This would mean that the AP sighting didn´t describe the factual situation on the 17th and neither did the Khmuryi taps.
The Buk didn´t go with Vostok
It is getting even worse for SBU, Bellingcat, Ukraine-at-war and the others. From videos and geolocation can be established Vostok departed much earlier than the truck with Buk allegedly did, as Michael Kobs shows in his latest report. This salient fact raises more doubts about the Khmuryi tapes, intercepted calls from telephone taps about which Dutch head prosecuter Westerbeke said they were “authentic recordings” that “were analyzed through and through”.
On 17 july Vostok has been filmed at the outskirts of Donetsk East (48.045059° 38.015606°), in fact right at the edge of the second sliver Bellingcat bought from the full satellite image Digital Globe made of the region on July the 17th.
The video is filmed at about 10:05 EEST according to shadowcasting analysis performed by Kobs. Hence, the convoy started from Donetsk, 12 km before, at about 9:45 EEST, assuming a pace of approximately 35 km/h. Obviously they went without the Buk, because the Buk was allegedly still standing in Donetsk – setting all inconsistencies aside for the moment – to be photographed at about 11:00 EEST.
From the SBU telephone taps, authentic and heavy analyzed, is known Vostok subcommander Sanych told Khmuryi at 9:23 EEST where to park ¨that beauty¨, namely behind ¨The Motel¨ in Donetsk, a site situated near the Vostok camp. But 20 minutes later Vostok left Donetsk without the BUK. According to the taps Khmuryi ordered a DNR separatist at 9:54 EEST to go to ¨The Motel¨ and organize the BUK transport, but at that time Vostok already was on its way.
An important question comes up. Did the Vostok commander refuse to follow orders from Khmuryi, second in command after Igor Strelkov, and leave the Buk where it was because he didn´t feel the need to escort it? Probably not. Maybe the mystery can be solved easily when taking into account the Khmuryi tapes are forgeries (i.e. tapped conversations of other days spliced and edited to support a story about an event that never happened). In each case, the Tymchuk frame is falling apart as is some of its supporting evidence.
Speaking of evidence, more mysterious things pop up. WowihaY tweeted at 13:12 EEST: 3 танка и бронированный КАМАЗ с зениткой и людьми на борту через #торез на #снежное фото не ложу.запалю осведомителей. (“3 tanks and armored KAMAZ with anti-aircraft guns and the terrorists on board through #Torez to #Snizhne. Photos do not box. I will kindle a whistleblower.”).
Spice4russia reported the Vostok convoy, three tanks and a KAMAZ, and “possibly” a Buk in Shakhtarsk. But in Torez, not far east from Shakhtarsk, WowihaY reported both transports seperately with one hour distance in time. Minutes after WowihaY posted his Vostok tweet Anna R. reported to have seen ¨three tanks¨ (13:14 EEST), confirming WowihaY´s tweet only Vostok moved through town at this time (but without the Ural?). Even so Bellingcat used this as a Buk sighting, which means unequivocally they believe in the Tymchuk framing of a Buk that went with a convoy- even when their top source implicitly claims something different and Anna didn´t see the Buk.
Secondly, Wowihay and spice4russia mentioned things that were not there. Both reported the KAMAZ, which was never on the road on the 17th. The KAMAZ wasn`t with the Vostok-tanks – neither shortly after the start nor in Torez nor in Shakhtarsk. So both accounts described a very unique Vostok-vehicle that appeared in the Vostok Video that was re-uploaded by Tymchuk one hour later, but not on the road.
Strangely enough, Tymchuk and Ukraine-at-war mentioned shortly after the crash a “truck mounted with a machine gun” was trailing the Buk. Actually, although this vehicle was not around, some infowarriors were fed in real time with information it was.
The KAMAZ in the Vostok propaganda vid of 10 July, re-uploaded by Tymchuk and Euromaydan on the 17th, and spotted by “local residents” according to a Tymchuk facebook posting not long after the crash (“truck mounted with a gun”).
Thirdly, Gerashchenko en WowihaY shot down the Vostok connection Tymchuk and Euromaydan provided the frame for. At 18:20 EEST Gerashchenko still mentions in a Facebook posting ¨local patriots saw Buk moving from Torez to Snizhne¨, more or less following the Tymchuk framing in the appropiate soundbite.
Then at 19:51 EEST he lists the events of the day, writing the Buk went through Torez at 12:00, and the Vostok convoy at 13:00, like WowihaY had passed on in realtime. In fact this says both transports went separately.
So even between high-ranked officials of the Ukrainian state there are different versions of the events that took a Buk to the Snizhne launch site. In fact a rupture can be detected between Gerashchenko and WowihaY on one side, implicitly proposing the Buk and the Vostok convoy were separate movements, and Tymchuk, Euromaydan and Ukraine-at-war on the other side, peddling the frame of a Buk escorted by Vostok.
In fact this rupture and inconsistencies in the evidence Bellingcat used to construct their Buk trail, are buried silently, meaning every sighting – with or without convoy – seems to fit the narrative a rebel Buk was south of Snizhne that day. In this way it isn´t seen as a very big problem when WowihaY claims in his interview:
¨At 12:16pm I posted a message about this on Twitter. People immediately reacted by writing that they had also seen the Buk and two vehicles escorting it¨.
So all the sightings are laid down in the Bellingcat reports:
Update: 9-9:15 a posting on the pro-Kiev Vkontake site “Donetsk is Ukraine!” claims the truck was coming from Makiivka and stood idle at a crossroads in Donetsk, accompanied by 3 cars (see also my review of the trail evidence).
9:45 Donetsk (Necro Mancer), Buk/Smerch/? with 10 normal vehicles, no unique truck, not mounted with missiles
11:00 Paris Match stills in Donetsk, Buk and a car
Update: the entire movie as issued by the JIT after 28.9.2016 shows 2 following cars next to the Toyota, so 3 cars in total, and a time of capture of 10:23 AM
11:32 Donetsk in the direction of Makiivka, that morning (Buzzing_Rook), BUK, no convoy
Update: 11:08 the Makiivka video shows 5 cars, the satellite image shows 2 or 3 cars
11:40 Zuhres (deleted tweet and vid by @3Andriy), Buk and two cars, convoy attached by Ukraine-at-war and SBU
11:40 From Torez in the direction of Snizhne (Ruslan Nasadyuk pic), Buk, one car (Jeep UAZ)
12:07 Torez (WowihaY), Buk, no convoy
12:10 Torez (Roman), Buk and two cars
12:16 From Torez to Snizhne (WowihaY), Buk, no convoy (in the interview from a year later he claims two vehicles escorted it)
Update: JIT published Torez video, shows Buk, Jeep UAZ and black van; time is unknown.
12:41 Shakhtarsk (Spice4russia), Buk; KAMAZ and three tanks
13:05 AP journalist in Snizhne city, a Buk
(13:12 Torez, WowihaY, Vostok convoy, no Buk)
13:14 Torez, Anna Reshtanenko and friend, ¨three tanks¨, no Buk, no KAMAZ.
13:30 Snizhne Karapetyan street, BUK offloaded (GirkinGirkin pic), no convoy, no cars
13:30 Snizhne (Tymchuk), Vostok convoy with Buk
13:30 Snizhne, video of lone Buk and one car driving to launch site
With this in mind Bellingcat´s Eliot Higgins let go a remarkable statement when I asked him if the BUK did or didn´t go with Vostok, saying: ¨Well it appears there were 3 groups of units sighted on the same route that morning, including tanks, as well as the buk.¨
Oplot wasn´t (at least, not from Donetsk) and neither was the previously mentioned 7-vehicle convoy on that day. A part of Vostok was. Maybe the Buk was too, though in the meantime one might consider a transport on another day for that one. In each case it means Higgins imagines the presence of different convoys, complying implicitly to the WowihaY/Gerashchenko side. So why then is Bellingcat keeping the sightings in their BUK trail that allude to a Buk escorting convoy that never was there?
Apparently the inconsistencies of the sightings and in statements from Ukrainian officials don´t seem to bother them. And why would they if the western media is eating out of your hand without asking questions?
# There are no sightings of a Buk on its long way to Donetsk nor of its escape route from Snizhne to the Russian border (after doubts raised about the dating of the SBU Luhansk video);
# All evidence timestamped before the disaster took place, lacks visual back-up (like pics and vids);
# Most of the sightings seem to be hear-say and consist of information coming from or fed by unknown others, supposedly ¨local residents¨;
# No one responds confirmatively to the messages of Euromaydan, Tymchuk, Gerashchenko or to realtime sightings to claim their own sighting of a Buk, except pro-Kiev ultra and WowihaY acquaintance Buzzing_Rook 2 minutes after the WowihaY tweet;
# The argument Bellingcat gives that ¨posting a sighting is not safe¨ doesn´t hold when reporting a sighting before the disaster even happened and possible consequences aren´t in any way forseeable yet;
# In fact pro-separatist people would probably be welcoming the arrival of a Buk containing convoy. But there are no street vids, dashcams or written sightings from pro-separatist people welcoming an anti-aircraft missile, something that could be expected after the bombing of Snizhne on the 15th. The sightings arrive entirely from a small group of pro-Kiev infowarriors, collecting messages from unknown pro-Kiev sources;
# A relatively large bulk of the information about the Buk is mentioning the soundbite ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨ (towards the proclaimed launch site, see infograph Bellingcat report too). Does Torez accomodate a distinctly large amount of ¨local residents¨ (or ¨local patriots¨, as Gerashchenko likes to call them), who stood at the forefront of the chain of all this information? Or could it be this soundbite has been planted and copied by good infowarriors to create testimonies of a Buk near a preconceived Snizhne launch site?
# Various people see various transports, consisting of a BUK (WowihaY, Buzzing_Rook), a BUK and two cars (Roman), a Buk with 10 ¨normal¨ vehicles (Necro Mancer), a BUK with three tanks and KAMAZ (spice4russia), a BUK and 7 machines (AP reporter) or only three tanks (Anna R.);
# The connection between the Vostok convoy and the BUK suggested by Tymchuk and put foward by Euromaydan, Yasya´s website and spice4russia in realtime and the Khmuryi taps afterwards, did not exist in reality;
# The detected differences in the testimonies even appear as a kind of rupture between the Ukrainian top officials Gerashchenko and Tymchuk; In the Bellingcat Buk trail, seen by the Joint Investigation Team as most plausible scenario, this rupture is buried under a pile of silence, using conflicting evidence to construct the narrative of the launchsite south from Snizhne.
# The Khmuryi tapes, about which Dutch head prosecutor Westerbeke said they were authentic, seem to have difficulties to be timed on the 17th. The three Gvozdikas (self-propelled howitzers) Khmuryi says are coming his way, were on the road to Donetsk two days before as part of a 7 machine or ¨tank¨ convoy carrying Russian flags.
# Khmuryi organizing the Buk to join the Vostok convoy couldn´t be followed up because the convoy already had left without the Buk, which makes Khmuryi´s conversations pointless.
# The 7 tanks the AP reporter saw in Snizhne probably did not drive together on the 17th; Vostok (3 tanks and an Ural) and Oplot (4 tanks) were in Snizhne at about the same time (2 pm), though not photographed together, but they make 8 vehicles together;
# Adding the information put through by WowihaY the Buk carried 4 missiles to the 3 missile SBU video (apparently from an earlier date!), suggests this information has been planted with a clear suggestion in mind;
# If the Zuhres video actually has been made on an earlier date, which it seems to be, the person who filmed it from his appartment along the N21 highway, made pictures too of the Vostok convoy (of the armored truck with separatists and a tank) passing his stake-out on the 17th; Vid and pics must have been passed on to the SBU website and infowarriors like InfoResistance and Ukraine-at-war, who bundled them up as if the truck with Buk was part of a convoy. Planning certainly can´t be ruled out.
Bellingcat´s Aric Toler remarks in his latest report about the testimonies:
¨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. A Buk anti-aircraft system was located in Donetsk in the late morning, headed east through Shakhtarsk, moved through Torez at around 12:10, and headed south out of Snizhne later that afternoon.¨
The question is whether the pattern envisioned consists of sightings of a real Buk or just of a constructed phantom. A more profound issue is if this constructed narrative served to give credit to the suggestion the rebels had a Buk (i.e. to shoot down the AN-26 on the 14th, as alluded to by Lysenko on an afternoon presser) or was made in advance with a false flag operation in mind.
With special thanks to Micha Kobs, ¨Andrew¨ and ¨Ole¨.
 see my Alternative Track Trail, Another BUK, Another Day https://hectorreban.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/an-alternative-track-trail-another-buk-on-another-day/ about the origins of the vid.
 see my Alternative Track Trail, Another BUK, Another Day https://hectorreban.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/an-alternative-track-trail-another-buk-on-another-day/ for the backgrounds of the lone BUK vid.
 From a source I obtained the address where WowihaY lived in Torez. With the help of Google Earth (2014/7/16 image) I detected WowihaY probably lived in a street a few blocks away parallel to the N21, in a low-rise appartment – so not in a high-rise one with an overlook over the whole area. My preliminary assessment is he could never see the transports from this spot.
When I confronted him on twitter with this he said he won´t talk about the exact site of his appartment because of problems that could arise for his environment when I would issue ¨personal information¨. Though according to his interview he had moved from the area since June 2014, I have decided not to disclose his home address here.
 In each case doubts about his prominent presence in conveying evidence of the BUK trail (the twitter testimonies, the first issue of the picture of the alleged launch plume, the video of the lone Buk in Snizhne and the Zello conversation with locals allegedly talking about a missile launch) has now been relieved by telling he is only an information collector and not a witness.
 The #ato hashtag is a tag used by pro-Kiev tweeters to inform the Anti Terror Operation of Kiev forces in the area about separatist maneuvers.
 Michael Kobs report ¨Haunt the Buk¨ with much more evidence about the convoys, the Paris Match pic: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jhfdv8hzb060x1d/Haunt%20the%20BUK.pdf?dl=0
 The location is just turned south off the M04-E50 with the convoy headed into Enakievo. 48°16’14″N, 38°13’06″E. The gas station at the end of the video is obvious at the intersection with E50. One could imagine these were the seven “tanks” seen later in Snizhne by AP. The DNR and LNR did not have that much equipment yet at that time. (With special thanks to ¨Andrew¨).
 Not only Euromaydan made a mistake when re-uploading the lone BUK vid. At first Gerashchenko thought the Nasadyuk pic with the BUK in front of the Torez Stroi Dom market had been made in Snizhne, but he was misinformed a bit. It was Torez. Strangely enough also another party thought he made a pic of the Buk in Snizhne: the freelance photographer for Paris Match.