The crash of flight MH17 in July 2014 was of crucial importance in the series of events that ignited the tensions between the West and Russia even further, leading to Cold War 2.0. October the 13th the Dutch Safety Board, commissioned to investigate the cause of this crash, issued their report. Political guidance was attached too. At the same day Russian BUK manufacturer Almaz-Antei showed competitive findings. When these were used to review the DSB report, it followed the results of the official investigators were not as conclusive as was claimed they were. Biggest losers were Ukraine, US and the pro-NATO “citizen investigators” of Bellingcat
The MH17 crash is one of the most relevant events that played a role in igniting the tensions between the West and Russia leading to Cold War 2.0. In this political sensitive environment on October the 13th the Dutch Safety Board issued their final report on the causes of the incident.
The presentation of the report showed optimism and politics. There were reached ¨conclusive¨ results, according to DSB chair Tjibbe Joustra, adding to this after his presentation a BUK missile was fired from ¨rebel controlled area¨ (Snizhne and surroundings).
Alarmed by its initial draft, the Russians – in fact BUK manufacturer Almaz-Antey – set up their own report showing competitive results. Though dismissed by the DSB, at further inspection it seemed the company´s results could tell a lot about the merits of the official investigation.
The company performed two field-experiments. In one experiment a BUK missile was fired at a Ilyushin IL-86 cockpit from a Snizhne compliant detonation point. In a slideshow they presented their results, among others:
– The cockpit hull showed many butterfly (¨bow-tie¨) shaped entry holes (not seen on MH17), of which a substantial amount entered the skin near the captain´s seat (only one recognizable bow-tie was found in his body);
– The right side of the outer cockpit canopy showed various penetrations from high energy shrapnel parts (not seen on MH17);
– The mainframe wasn´t hit in a way the cockpit would break off like the MH17 cockpit did.
Their visual assessment of the damaged parts of MH17 differed in three major respects from the one the DSB performed:
– The left wing, stabilizers and engine were severely hit by preformed fragments, inconsistent with a Snizhne launch site;
– They assessed important parts of the roof of the cockpit with signs of perforations, grazing and ricochetting, which were not assessed by the DSB to model their damage pattern simulations;
– They researched the inner parts of the cockpit, not assessed by the DSB, and found perforations alongside the longitudinal axis (axis from nose to tail), inconsistent with a Snizhne launchsite.
Also third parties showed serious points of criticism in social media discussion.
It seemed the models the DSB worked with were designed based on (too) limited damage assessments.Their model was not supported by BUK hardware (including Ukrainian), used faulty and unknown classified NATO parameters and seemed to be optimized for a south-of-Snizhne launchsite, compliant to a strategy of ¨mounting evidence¨ piling up against the eastern Ukrainian rebels.
Update: According to official sources the JIT did field tests with Finnish Buk missiles, see here.
A few parties – the US, Ukraine, Bellingcat – seemed to fail in handing over relevant material that could be used for the investigations. Hence, in this political spectacle set up to reiterate the message of guilt established hours after the crash by the US and Ukraine, they were factually the biggest losers. Nevertheless, in the information war the damage to the collective consciousness of (pro)western audiences was already done. The faulty report will be forgotten, but its message will live on in the kangaroo courts these countries are eager to set up.
The most disturbing part of the MH17 report the Dutch Security Board (DSB) issued on the 13th of October 2015 will definitely be appendix N, concerning itself with ¨the background of occupants exposure¨, a fairly blunt legal expression for the agony a lot of passengers probably have gone through. As is established only the three crew attending the cockpit at the time a missile exploded near the left window, were dead at once as their bodies sustained massive injuries from shrapnel.
The rest of the people, not directly affected by fragments, must have experienced the break-off of the cockpit, followed up by pressures resulting from sharp deceleration and acceleration, decompression and lack of oxygen. Furthermore there was a wind at a strength of 4 times a hurricane at a temperature of minus 50-60 degrees Celsius going through the remains of the plane, a very dense fog of moisture and of course loud noises and flying objects.
Coming to think of that some stomachs will turn upside down when envisioning some people may have experienced all this for at least seconds, as the only thing the DSB states that is certain, is that nobody survived the impact on the ground. Reading this will cause deep feelings of pain in many next of kin. For some of us it will spur a need to further investigate who was behind this horrible act, which is a crucial event in the international political realm as well.
The report, the media and politics
Notwithstanding these horrible conclusions the presentation of the report and its aftermath were full of optimism and politics. A kind of relic symbolizing this was the reconstruction of parts of the plane displayed, supposedly made for purposes of investigation. In fact the building of the construction was started only in July 2015, as the report itself claims (See pdf About the investigation p. 58), weeks after the initial draft was sent to all participant nations. So it seems a tragedy based on Christian inspirations was played out, in which the remnants of death were displayed to suit as a compelling image for an impressed audience. In front of that the head inquisitor, DSB chair Tjibbe Joustra.
Joustra, in the presentation hiding behind a juridical cloak, took the direction over the political message by carefully picking trusted news shows afterwards. He gave a few interviews in which he moved out of the legal boundaries the assignment had given to him to purport that the calculated launch area from which the deadly missile arrived, was ¨rebel controlled¨. Its not our job to say this, but even so we do (See this interview in Dutch). His remarks contained a full political payload towards the rebels and their Russian helpers.
In the report, fig. 65 on p. 146 (see above), a misleading representation of ¨rebel controlled area¨ is given, for as the designated area is in fact including positions of the Ukrainian forces conducting Anti Terror Operation. The image in this pdf (Saur Mogila Frontline July 17; image credit: Andrew) represents the front line according to battle reports. Furthermore its advisable to keep in mind Ukrainian forces could pass some positions there if needed.
In this way the presentation complied with the Ukrainian/western strategy of ¨mounting evidence¨. In this strategy a frame of guilt is immediately set to strike first in a predicted information war, based on trust in official state spokespersons. Then (manipulated) information is released bit-by-bit to prove them right. So from the late hours of 2014/7/17 we know who did it and why it happened – US secretary of state Jim Kerry said it , Ukrainian officials said it too and there was some crafty fabricated evidence ready to support their claims as well, for example discussed here and here.
Then this first impression was reconfirmed over and over again, i.e. by heavily promoted propaganda conduits like the pro-NATO research team Bellingcat, copied instantly by uncritical warmongering news outlets. This provided a reinforced frame that guilt was already established and that it only had to be proven for court, which would merely be a technical question. Of course this left no room for any other narrative or counter evidence.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), the international organization commissioned to investigate a possible criminal case, showed this by following the Ukrainian secret service provided 7/17 Russian BUK trail through rebel controlled area. They said it was their ¨main scenario¨, though in fact this narrative has all characteristics of a constructed tale of fraud . After the DSB report all the JIT has to do is to proceed on the path envisioned right from the start by the US and Ukraine. Joustra and his team provided full back-up.
Unfortunately it is this atmosphere of political sensitivity the findings have to be reviewed. Nevertheless the report has to be assessed by its merits, as, by the way, should be done with the competing report BUK missile manufacturer Almaz-Antei also issued on October the 13th. In this way overlap in both reports guide the way to examine the questions what weapon was used, from where it was used and by whom.
Two investigations, one method
To reach a conclusion both DSB and Almaz-Antei used the same method for their investigation into the mentioned questions above. Actually this method comes down to a comparison of a visually performed assessment of the damage done to the plane with a damage pattern resulting from a simulation, using among others parameters about weapon performance.
Key variable is the detonation point from where the missile exploded relative to the plane, because it is related to the geographic origin on the ground from where the payload was fired.
The detonation point, fixed by position (x,y,z coordinates) and incoming angles of the missile (towards the horizontal and vertical plane), can be derived from damage assessment and other methods. This can be used in a simulation to obtain an optimum value, reached when the simulated impact damage matches the visually established one.
Then, by putting in this point and different locations from where the missile could have been fired, the calculated damage is matched to a best fit with the actual damage as established visually. This process can be repeated using different parameters for the model (i.e. missile and plane velocity, type of weapon and others), until the results show an optimal outcome. In this way the DSB calculated an area from where the missile was launched (fig. 62, p 144; see below). Joustra called these findings ¨conclusive¨.
So two things are very important here: 1. the visual damage assessment; how it is done and what conclusions are drawn from this, and 2. modeling of the ¨Black Box¨; how the simulation is designed, i.e. how weapon performance is modeled (payload qualities, fragmentation dispersion, velocity profiles, trajectory adjustment, etcetera). It is obvious the procedure mentioned first can be assessed more easily by an outsider than the latter.
Furthermore has to be added that though the methods are the same in general, Almaz-Antei also performed field experiments to back up their claims and validate their own models. Though it was suggested by Joustra, Dutch secretary of state Koenders (read here) and a lot of others, the Russians were involved in an attempt to sow doubts and to add confusion, reading these experiments actually shows more insights in the way the results of the final DSB report should be reviewed.
Here a video of the Almaz-Antei presentation
Here the slides of the slideshow showing their results.
The company carried out two tests. In the first one (31 July 2015) they fired a 9M38M1 missile using a 9N314M warhead (the only type containing preformed butterfly shaped ¨bow-tie¨ fragments) to reach conclusions about ¨submunition¨ trajectory, its penetrating capabilities and the damage done. For this they used aluminum plates and wooden logs as targets (¨traps¨). The results showed, according to AA, the bow-ties and other fragments had deeply penetrated the traps. Besides, the experiments validated predictions based on their damage pattern simulation model (slides 23-33).
On 7 October 2015 the second test took place. A 9M38M1 missile was placed at a detonation point matching a south of Snizhne launch site (slides 34-54), corrected to simulate dynamic conditions (i.e. to take into account the velocities of both missile and plane in this static experiment). As targets they used a IL-86 cockpit and an aluminum plate to simulate the position of the left engine of the plane.
Reviewed was the damage pattern and – again – the penetrating impact of the preformed fragments. Then a comparative analysis was carried out to compare the damage done to the test targets (slides 55-71) and the actual damage as was assessed visually on MH17 (slides 3-14). Also a comparison was made between the damage pattern resulting from the model and the one assessed in the experiment (slide 72).
Visual damage assessment
A BUK 9M38M1 missile with a warhead containing bow-ties (9N314M type) was fired from rebel controlled area, according to Joustra. To review the accuracy and certainty of the conclusion reached by the DSB, it is advisable to show similarities and differences between their report and the results from the Almaz-Antei experiments.
Of course, these similarities are there as well. Nobody contests the missile blew up at a point left at the upper side of the cockpit, which will entail the exclusion of large parts of the plane unharmed by fragment spray (i.e. the main part of fuselage, especially at the right side, tail sections apart from the stabilizers, but also the cone shaped nose of the aircraft). Having said this, the boundaries between affected and non-affected areas play an important role in the damage assessments.
To get some grip maybe its advisable to keep in mind these images, visual representations of the 2-dimensional model Metabunk.org administrator Mick West built to show the impact of a BUK missile. On top a south of Snizhne launch site, below a Zaroshchenskoye launch site. It shows across the horizontal plane (elevation = zero degrees) what parts of the plane could be damaged most. See here.
Damage boundaries cockpit and longitudinal axis
So here already start the differences. Dutch organization TNO performed the damage assessment (appendix Y) commissioned by the DSB and reached a dubious conclusion about the damage boundary on the roof of the plane (section 3.2.2; STA stands for station, which is a designation for the distance from the nose of the plane):
¨(…) fragment damage has also been found in a panel from het cockpit roof. The fragment damage is restricted to an area. No fragment damage has been found on the recovered left panel between about STA 220 to about STA 410 (see Figure 3.2) and more remotely located panels (higher STA numbers).¨
Most salient observation is that TNO did not assess the most important roof parts (fig. 5.2, p. 18; see below), as they were not available for research because they were not recovered at that time (see here). It were just these parts that showed many shrapnel perforations, grazing and ricocheting. This was obviously introducing large uncertainty in their damage pattern model calculating a detonation point, which TNO implicitly acknowledged too in their recommendations.
The Russian issued a formal complaint (p. 6 appendix V ):
¨Meanwhile, the full objective picture of the damage on the whole of the outer skin is not provided (up to 30 % of damage is not considered) as well as the damage to the inside cockpit equipment and aircraft structure bodywork .¨
Almaz did some research on these roof parts, based on photos from the sites they were found (slide 8) and also performed an inspection of the damage done to the inner side of the cockpit (slide 9-10). The latter wasn´t done by TNO either, but it showed nonetheless very valuable information. According to Almaz there were a lot of perforations visible along the longitudinal axis of the plane (the axis from nose to tail).
Bow-ties and penetration rate
A fundamental difference between both damage assessments was located in the observation established by the Almaz-Antei test with the IL-86 cockpit there was a high penetration rate of preformed elements in the left cockpit parts. They showed bow-tie fragments perforated the skin of the plane, leaving clearly recognizable butterfly shaped holes. From MH17 there were none reported in the report.
Criticism to this finding was threefold. First, there were found 2 bow-ties. Also RTL4 journalist Jeroen Akkermans would have found some parts of the debris showing a few bow-tie shaped holes, see here . Third, some people argued that because of the chaotic spray bow-tie fragments could rotate in such a way they wouldn´t leave butterflies after impact or ricocheted at the hull.
Almaz-Antei reiterated their conclusion a 9N314M warhead could not have been fired, because the bow-tie perforation holes were absent in MH17 (slide 69: penetration, no ricocheting as DSB suggests).
Furthermore they showed they retrieved quite a few recognizable bow-tie fragments from the IL-86 cockpit (slides 73-75) after they had fired their own bow-tie containing missile from a Snizhne launch position.
From MH17 out of the nearly 2000 bow-tie shaped preformed fragments a 9N314M warhead has, two had been recovered. One was located in the body of the captain, one in cockpit debris. In total there were (only?) 4 preformed elements found, the other two also in the bodies of the crew . Crew not attending the cockpit and passengers didn´t sustain shrapnel injuries, though some showed metal parts of other origins, even jewels, in their remains.
The experiments pointed out a related question. If a warhead with bow-ties was fired then the amount of typical bow-tie entry holes near the left window at the pilot seat (slides 59-65) would be relatively large. Implicitly this meant also the captain´s body would have sustained much more injuries caused by bow-ties, which accordingly should also have been found in his body. They found one.
The Russians criticized the DSB for not having tested the composition of the unalloyed (steel) properties of the found shrapnel parts, since different types of payload would entail different densities of the preformed steel elements involved (appendix V, p. 4 including reply DSB). In this way the experiment and the Russian officials implicitly put forward the 2 found bow-tie fragments could have had another origin than the fragments from the missile warhead that would have hit the plane .
In another article in Novaya Gazeta Almaz responded again to the bow-tie question, see here. And here for an English translation). The found bow-tie elements showed, they reiterated, too less weight and weren´t metallurgically researched.
In this way they pointed out a clear forensic mistake, also confirmed in the TNO recommendations: Why had the DSB refrained from this?
Left wing, left engine, left side cockpit
The windows at the left side of the cockpit that were shattered, were the ones at the back towards the edge, not the windows in front with the wipers. The right side windows were recovered largely intact.
According to Almaz-Antey the fragments at the left were moving partly along side the body of the aircraft (slide 5-7). TNO found evidence of a payload existing of multiple sized fragments (so cubic shaped fragments and bow-ties; appendix Y, p. 8 and p. 11). Again both observations fit the respectively suggested detonation points confirmed later on by the simulations.
One of the most crucial visible assessments would be the research to the damage on the left wing and stabilizers and the left engine for establishing the orientation of the incoming missile. A Snizhne launch (DSB) would predict the left wing would only be harmed by parts from the exploding missile itself, going in the same direction as the missile (large holes from so-called ¨secondary fragments¨, appendix X, section 6.16). A Zaroschenskoye launch (Almaz-Antei) would entail severe damage done by the sidewards spreading payload itself, so by the preformed fragments (¨primary damage¨, holes of about 6-14 mm).
Not surprisingly this was exactly what both parties found, which obviously will lead to a conclusion one of them is absolutely derailing here. According to the NLR (appendix X, section 2.11, fig. 28) the left wing of the plane was targeted by ¨secundary fragmentation¨ and the engine ring showed only 5 non-penetrating holes made by preformed fragments.
According to Almaz-Antei the left wing and stabilizers and left engine sustained heavy damage with clear perforations made by preformed (cubic) elements. ¨The left wing and engine ring bore brunt with fragments¨, as they claimed. For example the left engine ring rear side showed various full 14 mm penetrations (slide 13). It seems the NLR/TNO investigation missed these completely.
The right side of the plane
One of the most remarkable recoveries was that of the cockpit section, showing the right side was still relatively intact compared to the left side (appendix X, fig. 17, p. 21). Seeing this part of the damage it is certain the detonation was located at the left side of the plane, as all parties confirmed.
When the payload exploded at this left side, and above the cockpit area, maybe also some fragments would reach the right wing section, though it is shielded for a substantial part by the fuselage of the plane. However, the right side wing area wasn´t recovered in full, so could not be assessed. The right wing tip, though, didn´t sustain damage by preformed fragments.
Though a missile is designed to lose much of the kinetic energy of the fragments once a ¨trap¨ is hit, some fragments or parts will eventually reach the other side of the target (here, the right side of the cockpit) and even penetrate a second time. As mentioned before, TNO/NLR only researched the outer parts of the cockpit. In section 2.8 of appendix X NLR states that “The right hand side of the cockpit shows no high energy impact damage”.
The Snizhne approach Almaz-Antei took to perform their second experiment, the one with the IL-86 cockpit, showed the right side sustained a substantial amount of outward perforations, also from high energy elements. Slide 57 of their presentation is titled “Holes in Starboard side” and slide 58, “Damages”, shows “Exit holes on the right-hand side”. MH17 didn´t sustain these damages.
NLR/TNO found visually a detonation point by extrapolating found impact angles into one point of origin, i.e. by tying up strings of rope. They also performed sound wave analysis based on an evaluation of a 2.3 millisecond sound peak recorded by the 4 microphones that were located at different positions in the cockpit .
A third lead came out of measurements of the socalled ¨regular intervals¨, the distance between two penetrations of a linear damage pattern. The smaller this interval, the closer the detonationpoint had been located towards the plane.
Almaz-Antei seemed to have taken a detonation point consistent with their knowledge of weapon performance in relation to the found damage pattern. In each case, not surprisingly so, their detonation point showed consistency with a distance and incoming angle from a Zaroshchenskoye launch site.
Because a missile part was found in the side frame of the left cockpit window, it is suggested the detonation position would not be consistent with the missile´s incoming angles from a south of Snizhne launch site, see remarks made by German engineer Ole here and here. Furthermore Ole claims, according to the visual impact angles he detects, the detonation spot DSB calculated is too high (see thin green lines in figure below).
¨I suggest that the actual spot of detonation was different from the spot the simulations predict, and thus the simulations are wrong.¨
Appendix X, section 2.10, p. 22-25 shows the trajectory analysis the NLR made. According to Ole:
¨For their computer graphic they cherry pick 6 impacts (out of 290). Then they come to the conclusion: “Based on the analysis of the direction of both the penetrating and the non-penetrating high-energy object damage, all objects appear to originate from a general area to the left of, and above, the cockpit.” No statistical analysis, no error limits, no analysis of how precise (or imprecise) the spot can be determined, nothing that looks halfway according scientific standards¨.
CEO Yan Novikov of Rosaviation (The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency) told at a media conference in Moscow:
“In the course of the experiment it became absolutely evident that if the Malaysian Boeing was downed by a BUK missile, it was done with an old BUK model which does not have double-T iron strike elements [bow-tie fragments; HR].”
This opinion was based on two conclusion. 1. The experiments had shown there had to be butterfly shaped holes in the outer parts of the left cockpit canopy, but MH17 didn´t show these. 2. The 9N314 warhead that must have been used, thus not containing those special bow-tie preformed elements, could not be armed to the new type 9M38M1 missile. So an older warhead had been used on an older missile type (9M38), according to the Russians.
Of course the first conclusion is fair with respect to the experimental results, but is contradicted by the findings of two bow-ties (see also ). Its unclear how significant it is that two out of 2000 bow-tie elements have been recovered largely intact, though Almaz-Antei suggested many more should have been found (slides 73-76).
The second conclusion is more difficult to accept, because it was suggested before old as well as new warheads were interchangeably used on older (9M38) and newer (9M38M1) missiles. Of course it would be politically convenient for the Russians if it were true only 9M38 missiles could have been used, as they phased them out themselves after 1985.
The TNO damage assessment results, see appendix Y, fig. 5.2, p. 18, shows the organization really did the best they could, but lacked raw material to perform a credible assessment.
The recommendations they listed at page 24 of their report could almost be read as an implicit admission to three accounts of criticism made by Almaz-Antei and the Russians:
1. Visual damage assessment done by TNO/NLR missed for example important parts of the left roof cockpit canopy, but they modeled the simulation based on a damage boundary at a position on the roof, from which they didn´t know sufficiently at that moment of time.
2. Metallurgical characterization, as mentioned before, i.e. to establish the density of the found unalloyed steel parts to get to know more about which warhead they are looking for to build their model with.
3. Damage assessment WITHIN the cockpit, which is completely left out of the damage assessments done by TNO/NLR.
With respect to the damage analysis the assessments of the Dutch reports show omissions that seem to follow a preconceived view on a possible detonation point and a matching launch area. Questions in this direction Almaz-Antei already stated in their first report, issued at 2 June 2015. The Snizhne launch site hypothesis is, according to the Russian BUK manufacturer, not able to predict (see image below):
1. Severe damage done by primary fragments to the left engine; The damage of high and low density preformed fragments to the left wing and tail stabilizers;
2. Absence of damage on the right side of the cockpit windows;
3. Absence of outward perforation damage at the right side of the cockpit canopy;
4. Absence of damage done to the right wing (not fully recovered).
A formal comment confirming this criticism, was conveyed by the CEO of Rosaviation, Novikov:
“The main proof that the aircraft was shot down from the direction of Snezhnoye [Snizhne] was [the Dutch commission’s] modeling of that process and interpretation of the damage to the fuselage. It does provide a quite visual imagery of how a missile on a head-on course could damage certain areas, yet this kind of modeling does not explain at all the real-incidence angles of striking elements [hitting the aircraft].”
Simulated damage assessments
With the actual damage pattern established, models to simulate this pattern, putting in different values for detonation point (TNO, appendix Y, section 5) and launch site (NLR, appendix X, section 6), were build for comparison until a favorable match came up. Because of clear interests on both sides these models could not be adequately evaluated by independent scientists leading the way for the general public, journalists or politicians with few security clearances. From here on the report of the investigators followed a path of leading faith and trust through a kind of Black Box, which would show outcomes one could believe or not.
So the DSB arrived at conclusions based on computer modeled simulations for which the parameters (i.e. especially about weapon performance) had come from open sources, but also from classified NATO origins. This way they retrieved data about a BUK 9M38(M1) missile to construct a model, but apparently no country (i.e. Finland or Greece, owning BUKs themselves) was willing to provide them with a missile from their arsenal.
The Russians were not amused about the small role that was assigned to Almaz-Antei and at the same time underscored the fact the company had a clear advantage over the DSB investigation, for as they had developed the missile and therefore had sole access to all relevant data (p.6, appendix V):
¨The data on the aircraft structure damage was analyzed by Almaz-Antei on the basis of BUK performance data which were not publicly available and consequently not considered in the simulations accomplished by NLR and TNO. Unfortunately after receiving the information from Almaz-Antei, the data used by DSB (NLR and TNO) were neither considered nor amended.¨
The sample photos of a missile in the DSB report on page 82 are from NBAAI (The National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine), but apparently the Ukrainians were not willing to give away one of their samples either (About the investigation, p.35):
¨The Dutch Safety Board attempted to obtain reference material of the suspected weapon in order to further substantiate the origin of the fragments. The objective was to establish that the chemical composition of the fragments was consistent with that of the suspected weapon. This was not achieved, so this verification could not take place.”
It was, of course, a remarkable conclusion that Ukraine showed to be a reluctant witness in this respect.
Interesting comments of criticism were spoken out on social media, for example on metabunk.org, mh17.webtalk.ru and whathappenedtoflightmh17.com. Number and density of the impacts holes made by preformed elements (other fragments weren´t included in the model) was a parameter caught from visual inspection. The NLR counted 350 hits and extrapolated this to 800, based on assessments of very limited parts of the plane. Furthermore the TNO simulation model showed a strip without impact holes between two damaged areas, which lead Metabunk user ¨Unit0¨ to speculate about the contents of the Black Box:
¨It is looks like a critical bug for MH17 report. The strip without impacts means that an incorrect geometry for warhead surface was applied.¨
Also criticism to the impact boundary the NLR model calculated appeared. In an article on whathappenedtoflightmh17.com the admin of the site showed that a substantial amount of perforations as depicted in the simulation representation, fell outside the visually established boundaries (see here).
Maybe one of the biggest red flags about the DSB calculations was that all of the models working towards a Snizhne launch area (Ia to IIIb, p. 140, DSB report) showed a positive elevation (= angle towards the horizontal plane) of the incoming missile.
According to Almaz-Antei weapon performance data, already shown in their 2 June report  a BUK fired from a distance of 26 kilometers – the distance between point of last contact and a launch from south of Snizhne – could never reach the plane that way. Because the missile would have used up all fuel 10 seconds or more before impact, it would reach its calculated target at a negative elevation (¨from above¨). Therefore the continued propulsion and elevation of the missile the DSB showed (see animation below), was a false representation of reality.
On mh17.webtalk.ru user Ole claimed, as we have seen above, that a detonation point much closer to the plane would predict the visually established damage pattern much better (i.e. a distance of 1.5 meters instead of the 3.0 the DSB finally used). It looked like the TNO model was optimized to show best results for a Snizhne launch area. Therefore it had to consider a detonation point further away from the plane and with a positive elevation, preconceived and fed by the NLR, formally a NATO body :
¨Verification of fragment damage due to variation of detonation point position and orientation of the warhead. Starting point for the matching procedure is the initial position and orientation as determined by NLR.¨ (TNO, appendix Y, section 2.3)
Of course also Russia argued against some difficulties with the TNO/NLR models, many of which could also be concluded after review of the TNO/NLR damage assessments in the previous sections in this article. On page 6 of appendix V the Russians mentioned a few observations, like a faulty design of the fragment spray and the limited area of investigation used to create the model (obviously its also advisable to read the DSB reply):
¨As a result, the warhead detonation and damage models used by DSB (NLR and TNO) are not taking into account the full coverage area of the fragment spay. The models were using the source data acceptable for evaluation of efficiency of battle applications. Such models evaluate only the damage on the outer skin (about 70 % of the surface) and damage degree of the most vital aircraft structure parts.
The main result of such simulation is the probability of hitting (terminated/damaged/did not terminate). Meanwhile, the full objective picture of the damage on the whole of the outer skin is not provided (up to 30 % of damage is not considered) as well as the damage to the inside cockpit equipment and aircraft structure bodywork.¨
But even so the DSB decided to dismiss the AA reports, probably because secret NATO guidelines were trusted (or pushed) over the relatively open and controllable tests (though also with some corporate and national interests behind their back) done by the manufacturer of the alleged weapon involved.
Moreover, for more than a year a south of Snizhne launch site was promoted, supported by unrelenting claims of ¨mounting evidence¨. It would be unwise for the DSB not to follow the path the official narrative was already dependent on big time (JIT advertising the fraudulent SBU/Bellingcat BUK trail in their call for corroborating witnesses 9 months after the crash). So it could be obvious, reading between the lines, political guidance ruled over the well trusted European investigators. This could even be the reason to block the Malaysians from the investigation in the first place and to limit their access later.
Revelations, secrecy and machiavellians
That what it is not
The first observation that could be made reviewing the fact the DSB has come up with a launch area instead of a clear destination, shows two things: First, there was NO reliable US imaging available (satellite infrared images or otherwise) . Interestingly, and quite shocking, is the observation there actually was ZERO US evidence at all detectable in the full final report. So apparently Kerry and Obama lied or had interests that exceeded the interests of the victims, their next of kin and their landsmen (See also this article by John Parry).
Second, there hasn´t been given any attention to the pictures of the alleged launch plume nor to the corroborating evidence (burnt field, tracks on the ground, images of BUK transported from Donetsk to the launch site). The DSB would have had a clear interest in a fixed launch site just by operating within its legal boundaries. Then there must be concluded they couldn´t use the leads of the SBU, Daily Telegraph journalist Roland Oliphant, blogger Ukraine-at-war, Bellingcat and all the others who fed the public with their fake evidence of a clear BUK launch site.
Furthermore it is also very remarkable there were NO traces leading to a Snizhne launch site handed over by AWACS spy planes, as they lost eye on MH17 half an hour before it crashed. But maybe suspicion arises most from the observation there were also NO Ukrainian radar data conveyed, because, as Ukraine claimed, on the 17th their radar facilities were out-of-service to perform maintenance activities.
Because no country, not even Ukraine, stuffed the DSB Black Boxes with real BUKs, the ¨conclusive¨ results had to come out of self-styled simulation models supported by very secret NATO data. Perhaps that´s why the DSB set a trap trying to validate their simulation model by deceiving Almaz-Antei (DSB report, p. 145).
They fed the Russian models with the preconceived Snizhne compliant data which resulted in a compliant launch area, an event severely criticized by the Russian media.
Re-examining the detonation point
Nevertheless the investigation was based on limited damage assessment. Important parts of the cockpit roof canopy weren´t studied, the right wing was not recovered and only the outside of the cockpit was assessed. Damage along the longitudinal axis of the cockpit inner parts was excluded from the assessments.
There also seemed to be some large discrepancies reviewing the damage done to the left side of the plane, especially to the wing, the stabilizers and the engine. Furthermore MH17 showed that right side damage to the cockpit outside was absent, which is inconsistent with a warhead fired from a south of Snizhne launch site. Evaluating these assessments it is actually rather legitimate to cast some doubt on the DSB results without being blamed to be an agent of the Kremlin agenda.
To make things clear we could opt to watch the Metabunk Mick West model again. It supports a launch area more to the west, as shown in the 2D representation below.
Zaroshchenskoye compliant detonation point in Metabunk model shows some problems with the Snizhne launch site. The detonation spot is positioned right at the nose of the cone (X=0.0) of the plane and very close to it (low Y value). Used is a fairly large fragmentation dispersion (NLR/TNO models included one with less dispersion than Almaz-Antei used).
The following can be seen:
– Movement of fragments along the longitudinal axis; (so a hit in the window frame by an almost parallel moving fragment matches);
– Left wing and engine sustain severe damage from *primary* fragmentation;
– No exit holes on starboard site;
– Front windows with wipers intact; windows behind, further to the edge, totally destructed;
– No damage to the right wing section.
These MH17 findings are all consistent with a launchsite not included in the DSB designated area.
Who can we trust?
Some disturbing things occurred regarding the openness of the investigations done. No questions were allowed at the presentation of the report. Inquiry was halted by issuing formal statements like ¨If it is not in the report, it won´t be made public.¨ (see this article by John Helmer). Malaysians had encountered limited access to the investigations and the Australian autopsy reports were made classified , obviously because these results (no shrapnel found in the bodies) didn´t fit the story of mounting evidence piling up against the separatists.
There seems to have been some political guidance over the simulation modeling too. The NLR brought their detonation point to TNO, which optimized their model to sustain it. Some secret NATO parameters entered the Black Box, the AA experimental results were discarded undeservingly and Ukraine didn´t hand over BUK hardware for further investigation. Of course US interests and claims were guarded thoroughly by Joustra in the interviews he gave. From all this oozes a stench of machiavellian politics.
Joustra´s remarks the report shows conclusive evidence should be dismissed. Of course, the criminal investigation will nevertheless continue unrestrained on its path laid down on that fateful day in July 2014. It´s not hard to imagine though, seeing all this secrecy and tunnel vision, the Russians opted out an International Tribunal after they received the preliminary draft of the DSB final report.
With special thanks to Ole, Andrew, Charles and many others.
 Vice-president Joe Biden: ¨Shot down. Not an accident. Blown out of the sky.¨
Secretary of State Jim Kerry: ¨We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.¨
 In fact a complete body of counter evidence is mounting, see reports on kremlintroll.nl. gabrielewolff.wordpress.com, whathappenedtoflightmh17.com and this blogsite. About the fake BUK trail see for example this blogpost and the source used.
 It appears RTL4 journalist Jeroen Akkermans came up with two types of fragments, of which the bow-tie shaped one was recovered from the rear of the aircraft.
There’s no reasonable way how it could have gotten there, for as these parts were not hit by fragments in either scenario.
This is what DSB says about these fragments (page 21 About the investigation).
 Some uncertainty is introduced in the report by some vague formulations. The chemical composition of an amount of found shrapnel parts were researched, but its not clear if the bow-tie fragment showed a ¨chemical fingerprint¨ that matched an origin from outside the plane (so had some glass/aluminum deposits). DSB report, section 2.16 (p. 91):
¨The chemical composition of 20 selected fragments which had either a very distinctive shape (including the two bow-tie shaped pre-formed fragments) or a layer of deposits or both was determined.¨
Its unclear if the inspected bow-tie belonged to the fragments that had both a distinctive shape AND a deposit layer.
 See DSB report, p. 112.
Main issue against this method raised is that the missile killing elements would be supersonic even after penetrating the first hull, so sound would be sourced from their sonic booms as they passed through the cabin well before the sound of the external blast reached the cabin interior. This will seriously affect any triangulation.
 See here, slide 49, the two graphics at the bottom depicting incoming elevation from 16 km (Zaroshchenskoye)respectively 26 km (Snizhne).
 The NLR, The Netherlands institute for airospace- and space technology is resorting under the Dutch Department of Defense, which is involved in full in NATO policy and planning operations.
 Joustra apparently did his best to protect the US in an lengthy interview he had on Dutch state television. Watch from 13:00:
Vanaf minuut 13:00, quoots van Biden en Kerry:
Interviewer Sven Kokkelman: Hebt u deze satellietbeelden gezien?
Tjibbe Joustra: We hebben diverse beelden gezien die staatsgeheimen bevatten.
SK: Ook deze? [refererend aan VS beelden en quotations Kerry]
TJ. Eh, eh… de beelden die wij hebben gezien die staatsgeheim zijn, daar ben ik ook aan gebonden, en daar ga ik ook niet van zeggen welke het precies zijn en wat er precies op te zien was.
SK: De baas, althans de leider, van het Openbaar Ministerie in dit onderzoek, eind vorig jaar meen ik uit mijn hoofd, heeft gezegd dat het een fabeltje, een misverstand zou zijn dat die beelden er zijn.
TJ: Wij hebben, eh, qua beelden gezien wat wij nodig hadden. Dat hebben we gedaan, eh, eh, via de inlichtingendiensten; daarbij is de afspraak geweest dat ikzelf en een ander lid van de raad die beelden zagen, dat we de resultaten daarvan kunnen verwerken in onze rapporten, maar dat wij niet ingaan, eh, op wat wij precies hebben gezien.
SK: Maar u heeft het materiaal gezien?
TJ: Wij hebben materiaal gezien wat voor ons voldoende bevestigde wat er aan de hand was.
SK: Was dat ook over de plaats van de lancering?
TJ: Het was toch staatsgeheime informatie, dus ik ga ook niet op de inhoud van die informatie in.
Translation in English.
13:00 Biden, Kerry quotations
Interviewer: Have u seen these images?
Tjibbe Joustra: We have seen various images containing classified information.
Int: Also these [referring to the ones Kerry mentions]
TJ: Err… err…, the images we have seen that are classified, I am [legally] restrained too, and so I am not going to tell which ones they are exactly and what is shown on them.
Int:The boss, or the leader, of the investigation led by the Prosecutor , at the end of last year if I recall correctly, has said it was a fairy tale, a misunderstanding these images existed.
TJ: We have, err…, with respect to the images, seen what we needed. We have done this, err…, via the secret services; There has been an agreement that I myself and another member of the Board could see those images, that we could use the results in our reports, but that we don´t respond to, err…, what exactly it is we have seen.
Int. But have you seen that material?
TJ: We have seen material which confirmed to us sufficiently what was going on [Joustra seems to phrase his answer as if he is referring to classified material in general of which the US imaging may or may not have been part; HR]
Int.: Was it possible to see the location of the launch on them?
TJ.:Well, it was classified information, so I won´t go further into the content of this information.
 The only officially uttered dissenting view to the investigations that was reported, was the attempt of the AFP – the Australian security agency participating in the JIT in The Netherlands, supervising both the identification and the forensic autopsy processes – to correct the public record of what the evidence shows. In doing so, the AFP directly and implicitly criticized the Australian Government. See here.