As Russia continues to protest one of its fighter planes being shot down by Turkey near the border wth Syria, there are new indications that the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a commercial Boeing 777 that was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 of last year killing all 298 passengers and crew, may have been a Russian operation.
In fact, according to aviation expert and journalist Jeff Wise who published a November 25 article on his blog entitled “Assigning Blame For MH17,” the Dutch investigators in charge of determining how and why the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down will likely point the finger at Russia when they release the findings of their criminal investigation next year.
In October, the Dutch Safety Board — which was charged with determining how Flight MH17 was downed, but not with assigning criminal responsibility for the act — revealed its report stating that the Malaysia Airlines plane was brought down by a Russian-made “Buk” anti-aircraft missile.
While it has been widely presumed that the missile was fired by pro-Russia separatist rebels whose stronghold lies in eastern Ukraine where Flight MH17 went down, the Dutch report did not make any determination as to who fired the missile.
For a more complete explanation of the Dutch Safety Board findings, see the special video report from Britain’s Sky News on this page, above.
Dutch criminal investigators, however, are currently attempting to determine who is actually responsible for the shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and in October, they announced that they have already identified “persons of interest” in the crime — but declined to identify who they had in mind.
The original text of the Jeff Wise article can be accessed at this link, and should be read in full to understand the argument as to why Russia itself, not merely the pro-Russia rebel militias in Ukraine, may be responsible for shooting down Flight MH17.
In brief, however, Wise notes that the sophisticated Buk missile launcher appears to have been deliberately delivered to the Ukraine rebels from Russia — not illegally commandeered by a “rogue militia” who then accidentally shot down the plane after mistakenly identifying it as a Ukraine military plane.
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The independent research group Bellingcat has performed a study of publicly available photographs and video of the Buk system as it made its way on the back of a truck into Ukraine — and then was hustled out of the country back to Russia shortly after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 went down — with one fewer missile than when it arrived.
The Bellingcat research study can be accessed at this link.
The rebels who apparently pulled the trigger on the deadly missile launch, according to claims made by rebels themselves on social media, believed that they were firing at a Ukraine AN-26 military transport plane — but they had no way of knowing what they were shooting at without being told, Wise notes, because the missile launcher that they possessed was not equipped with technology to identify what was flying over them at 35,000 feet.
“If the crew of the Buk TELAR at Snezhnoye believed that they were targeting an An-26, it could only have been because they were told that MH-17 was a Ukrainian Air Force An-26.”
But at the time, Russian air traffic controllers were tracking the flight of MH17, as part of the “air defense umbrella of Russia.” In other words, the incorrect identification of the plane was military and not civilian must have come from the Russian military.
Wise also points out the remarkable speed with which news of the shootdown zoomed up the Russian chain of command — to Vladimir Putin himself. Indeed, Putin was on the phone with United States President Barack Obama as part of a pre-scheduled call because the U.S. had imposed additional sanctions on Russia the day before the Malaysia Airlines shootdown.
“The remarkable speed with which the news about MH17 was gathered, processed, and passed up the chain of command — and the remarkable coincidence that all this was happening at the exact moment that the President of Russia was about to get on a phone call he’d scheduled with the president of the US — become less remarkable if one posits that the bungling-militia scenario is not accurate but instead a counter-narrative assembled beforehand by Russia in order to deflect blame.”
Russia escalated its bombing of ISIS and other rebel militias in Syria last week in response to the downing of a Russian civilian airliner by an ISIS bomb. But according to Wise, Dutch criminal investigators are likely to find that Russia itself was responsible for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, another commercial airliner filled with innocent civilians, which was shot down 16 months earlier.
[Featured Photo via Sky News Screen Capture]