History shows passenger plane shootdowns often mistakes. Shootdowns of passenger planes are rare and usually reflect confusion over whether the target was military.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Who could have shot down plane?
Huffington Post United Kingdom July 17, 2014
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Just minutes after reports emerged that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 had crashed in Eastern Ukraine, speculation and accusation began about who could be responsible for downing the flight.
Malaysian 777 shot down over Ukraine updated
Gordon Duff with Jim W. Dean Veterans Today USA July 17, 2014
Jim comment: Corporate North American media reports are pure war-time propaganda. Who shot down the aircraft, and why, remains unknown. But there are a number of theories outside the Western Axis ‘party-line’. Several are offered in this round-up.
Despite hysteria on Malaysia Airlines MH17, little solid evidence
Jason Ditz Antiwar.com News USA July 18, 2014
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Shock over the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in eastern Ukraine, and speculation about whether it was shot down, has morphed into outright hysteria, not so much about the 298 people who died on board, but about who was responsible.
There is a shocking amount of speculation at this point, and a lot of it is based on incredibly flimsy evidence, with the assorted players in the region all crossing their fingers and hoping the blame eventually falls on someone convenient for them.
Right now, everyone is denying responsibility for the shoot-down, and the desperate array of dubious evidence pointing in a million different directions makes it impossible to know the truth. That investigators from Ukraine et al. seem focused primarily in shifting the blame to a politically convenient target only adds to the difficulty of getting an honest assessment of the incident.
Below: Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.
MH17 and Ukraine’s dilemma
Binoy Kampmark CounterPunch USA July 18-20, 2014
It’s the sort of thing that would see any airline liquidate and vanish. Two lost aircraft in the course of months, one that has yet to be found, having veered off in a fit of perverse mindedness; another, shot down allegedly by militants in a contested area of a country where air traffic is heavy.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777, had 295 people on board. (Some figures suggest 298.) It was on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, explaining the vast bulk of the victims being from the Netherlands. Australia came in second, with 27. It was packed specialists and sages on the treatment of AIDS. The aircraft was shot down, in all likelihood by a surface-to-air missile emanating from rebel-held areas in Ukraine.
The first baffling thing about the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was that it showed that airliners were making use of eastern Ukrainian airspace, notably the eastern portion. This bore eerily similar reminders of previous jetliners which had suffered the fate of being identified as a target with military profiles. In 1988, the USS Vincennes notoriously shot down an Iranian liner over the Strait of Hormuz. It had, according to the crew, the profile of an F-14.
The fact that heavy international traffic continued in eastern Ukrainian airspace may well suggest more than a mere slipup in aviation awareness. Profits and continued convenience matter in the world of aviation travel. It also suggests a near negligent sense of the dangerous conflict in eastern Ukraine that has now moved into aerial operations and engagements. (Only on Wednesday, it is alleged that a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by Russian forces.) Allegations issue from both sides about inflicting loss on aircraft.
Some airlines immediately suspended using the routes. A spokesperson for Lufthansa suggested that east Ukrainian airspace would be avoided “by a wide margin”. A dramatic emptying of the routes, evidenced by radar tracking, followed. But such bodies of aviation as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had made it clear some three months prior that dangers were genuine. Its order under the “special rules” section of its site outlines the prohibition relevant to American pilots, airlines, charter carriers, and those under the umbrella of FAA jurisdiction.
It specifically references various parts of southern Ukraine. “No person described in paragraph (A) may conduct flight operations in the portion of the Simferopol (UKFV) Fir within the following lateral limits…” Critics of this will naturally point out the fact that this is a reference to Crimea, an area distinctly outside the reference of the crash zone. But that would be letting the air liners off easily. The FAA were, remarkably, on to something.
Some of the rebels in question did wonder what, exactly they had shot down. Initial exultation that a Ukrainian transport plane had been downed was followed by bafflement – there was no evidence of military uniforms or insignia, only civilian clothing clinging to remains. “The bird,” claimed Igor Girkin, defence minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, “went down behind a slagheap, not in a residential district. So no peaceful people were injured.” Then came the genuine horror that a civilian craft had been shot down in a moment of misguided enthusiasm. Inevitably, the suggestion of spies was thrown in – what would a Malaysian aircraft be doing in the skies of eastern Ukraine? The combatants could only think in such terms: a foreign aircraft suggested the workings of espionage.
It remains to be confirmed whether the link between the fateful weapon – possibly the Buk weapons system – and the culprit, is established. It certainly does look better for Kiev that the separatists leave their stain on the remains of M17 – after all, the term terrorism and terrorist match the profile of the public relations profile being sought in Western circles. This brings with it the legal trappings – blowing a passenger airliner out of the sky with a sophisticated weapons system would then throw the onus back on possible Russian links of supply, even if it was very possible that the stem might have been obtained in Ukraine to begin with. Both Ukraine and Russia have access to such weapons, but one would not have known it listening to the address by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the Australian parliament.
Below: OrientaL Review is an independent Moscow-based Internet journal focusing on current political issues in Eurasia and beyond. The initiative was launched in February 2010 by a group of freelance bloggers and political analysts concerned with the aggravating security situation in the world.
Who shot down the Malaysian jet over Ukraine?
Oriental Review Russia July 18, 2014
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On July 17, 2014 the madness of three-month-long Ukrainian military conflict in the East has brought the first shocking international consequence. At 3.20PM GMT the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 jet flight #MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur disappeared inside the Ukrainian airspace right above the area of intense military combat in Donetsk region and crushed near Grabovo village, around 60 km to the east from Donetsk. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members have reportedly died.
According to data available the airliner “was moving at the altitude of 10,600 meters on the 350th flight level”. This flight level was opened for international transit flights, despite since July 8, 2014 the Ukrainian aviation authorities “did not recommend” international transit flights in the area below 302th level i.e. 9600 meters due to the “anti-terrorist operation” unleashed in the area involving Ukrainian pursuit aviation and air-defense capabilities in action. So formally the Malaysian company complied with the ruling of Ukrainian civil aviation authority although the security risk for the flight was evident.
The area of the catastrophe is indeed the epicentre of the ongoing fierce fighting between regular Ukrainian army units and rebellious armed militias of Novorossia opposing anti-constitutional February coup d’etat in Kiev. An informed source monitoring operational situation in the area has revealed earlier on Wednesday that a battery of Buk antiaircraft missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was deployed near Donetsk. At present, another battery of the same missile systems is being loaded in Kharkiv. The aircraft flying at the altitude of more than 10 thousand meters might be hit only with weapons like S-200 or Buk. The militias don’t have such weapons, and cannot afford them as it was acknowledged even by the Ukrainian Defense minister Valery Galetey in a statement on another issue two days before the flight MH17 tragedy: …
The Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko argues that the catastrophe in Donetsk was most likely caused by the incompetence and non-professionalism of the Ukrainian operators of the Buk systems during its testing after the battery was deployed in the new location. …
What happened today is hardly the first case of “errant shooting” of the Ukrainian military on civilian air targets. On October 4, 2001 the Russian Siberia Airline flight #1812 Tel-Aviv-Novosibirsk carrying 66 passengers and 12 crew members was erroneously hit by a Ukrainian missile over the Black Sea during military exercises, which was eventually admitted by the Ukrainian side. No one on board survived.
So regardless the flight MH17 incident was caused by the criminal negligence and incompetence of the Ukrainian military or deliberate (and reckless) Kiev’s provocation to put blame on Russia, the strong international commitment to make Kiev immediately halt its punitive actions in Novorossia until all the circumstances of the tragedy are thoroughly investigated is urgently needed.
According to the reports [from flightaware.com, a live flight tracking website], the deviation of the flight MH17 leading to the passage over the combat area was carried out on the request of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk Air Space Control Centre. The key question is whether it was a tragic coincidence or deliberate provocative act.
Malaysia MH17 crash: 10 questions Russia wants Ukraine to answer
RT Russia July 18, 2014
Some Western states and Kiev rushed to find Russian involvement in the MH17 crash having no evidence to back their claims, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister told RT. He invited Ukraine to answer 10 questions to prove their commitment to an impartial probe.
Speaking to RT, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has criticized Western countries for jumping to conclusions just “24 hours after the crash” while there is no evidence.
“They try to show to the whole world that we are responsible for the crash. It is very strange that without any evidence my colleagues from western media would like to find somebody who is responsible for the crash,” Antonov said. “It seems to me that this is part of information warfare which has been started against the Russian Federation and armed forces.”
nstead of using the incident as the pretext for groundlessly blaming one of the sides, the catastrophe over Ukrainian sky should be used as a possibility to restart cooperation to “prevent such tragedies in the future.”
“As for me, I don’t want to use this opportunity to blame anybody. I would just like to raise few questions for my colleagues from the armed forces of Ukraine,” Antonov said. “I hope they try to answer the questions, it will be a good opportunity for us to realize where we are, whether there is a possibility for us to restart cooperation and to find who is really responsible for the tragedy.”
“Answers for these questions could help us find an opportunity to prevent such tragedies in the future,” the Deputy Defense Minister said.
Saturday commentary: Here’s the spin war verdict on the latest Malaysia Airlines tragedy. It’s “terrorism” perpetrated by “pro-Russian separatists” in Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is the main culprit. End of story. Anyone who believes otherwise, shut up. Why? Because the CIA said so. Unlike the United States, Russia will take its time to know the basic facts of what, where, and who, and engage on proving the truth to Washington’s spin. Brazilian investigative reporter Pepe Escobar reviews what has been said so far and explores the question, “Who profits?”
It was Putin’s missile!
Pepe Escobar Asia Times Online Hong Kong July 19, 2014
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The key question remains, of course, cui bono? Only the terminally brain dead believe shooting a passenger jet benefits the federalists in Eastern Ukraine, not to mention the Kremlin.
As for Kiev, they’d have the means, the motive and the window of opportunity to pull it off – especially after Kiev’s militias have been effectively routed, and were in retreat, in the Donbass; and this after Kiev remained dead set on attacking and bombing the population of Eastern Ukraine even from above. No wonder the federalists had to defend themselves.
And then there’s the suspicious timing. The MH17 tragedy happened two days after the BRICS announced an antidote to the IMF and the World Bank, bypassing the US dollar. And just as Israel “cautiously” advances its new invasion/slow motion ethnic cleansing of Gaza. Malaysia, by the way, is the seat of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which has found Israel guilty of crimes against humanity.
Washington, of course, does profit. What the Empire of Chaos gets in this case is a ceasefire (so the disorganized, battered Kiev militias may be resupplied); the branding of Eastern Ukrainians as de facto “terrorists” (as Kiev, Dick Cheney-style, always wanted); and unlimited mud thrown over Russia and Putin in particular until Kingdom Come. Not bad for a few minutes’ work. As for NATO, that’s Christmas in July.
From now on, it all depends on Russian intelligence. They have been surveying/tracking everything that happens in Ukraine 24/7. In the next 72 hours, after poring over a lot of tracking data, using telemetry, radar and satellite tracking, they will know which type of missile was launched, where from, and even produce communications from the battery that launched it. And they will have access to forensic evidence.
Unlike Washington – who already knows everything, with no evidence whatsoever (remember 9/11?) – Moscow will take its time to know the basic journalistic facts of what, where, and who, and engage on proving the truth and/or disproving Washington’s spin.
The historical record shows Washington simply won’t release data if it points to a missile coming from its Kiev vassals. The data may even point to a bomb planted on MH17, or mechanical failure – although that’s unlikely. If this was a terrible mistake by the Novorossiya rebels, Moscow will have to reluctantly admit it. If Kiev did it, the revelation will be instantaneous. Anyway we already know the hysterical Western response, no matter what; Russia is to blame.