John Helmer: Autopsy of MH17 Crash and the Dutch Report

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears


The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) reported yesterday that its evidence for concluding that a single ground-to-air Buk missile caused the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was an explosive blast of sound on the cockpit voice recorder lasting 2.3 milliseconds; a spray pattern of damage to the cockpit area of the fuselage; three distinctively shaped metal fragments (lead image) found in the bodies of the cockpit crew; a chemical analysis of explosive residues missing 2 out of 3 warhead explosives; and a match of paint samples collected up to 4 months apart.

The fine arithmetic of this evidence has convinced the Dutch to pinpoint the source as a Buk missile type 9M38, with a warhead model 9N134M. The larger arithmetic of the area from which the DSB has calculated the missile was fired – 50 square kilometres of crash area; 320 square kilometres of launch area – has proved to be inconclusive for a judgement of who fired the missile, and thus who is responsible for the crash and for the deaths of the 298 crew and passengers on board. That said, aviation lawyers close to the MH17 case now believe there is no evidence of a crime – a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a crime of terrorism — that would meet international prosecution standards. For what lawyers have done, or not done, to examine the case for evidence of a crime, or evidence of civil negligence, read this.

Just how circumstantial and inconclusive the newly reported Dutch results turn out to be was revealed two days before the release of the Dutch report, when the Australian Federal Police (AFP) released unusual criticism of Australian Government officials. According to the AFP, public Australian Government interpretations of the crash evidence and assignments of blame cannot be supported by the evidence the AFP’s officers had collected themselves at the crash scene in Ukraine, in the autopsy process in The Netherlands, and in the subsequent forensic testing of what was found in the bodies of the MH17 victims.

In the 279 pages of the DSB report, released yesterday, just 3 pages provide the autopsy evidence on which the conclusiveness of the fresh identification of the missile model and warhead type depends. The crucial autopsy evidence, according to the Dutch agency, comes from the bodies of the three cockpit crew – the Captain, the First Officer, and the Purser. They, the DSB has concluded, “sustained multiple fatal injuries associated with the impact of metal fragments moving at high velocity”. The DSB report says there were “hundreds of metal fragments” in the Captain’s body; “over 120 objects (mostly metal fragments)” in the First Officer’s body; and “more than 100 objects” in the Purser’s body.

This is new evidence. Earlier reporting of what Lailatul Masturah, sister of MH17 flight captain Wan Amran, said she saw of his body, and was told at the Hilversum Army base when his body was released to her, suggests nothing of the sort. Read her testimony here.

The DSB report now concludes there were no shrapnel wounds or metal fragment impacts in the “majority of the occupants of the cabin”. They died from decompression and related effects of the break-up of the aircraft, after the cockpit had been severed from the cabin fuselage. Although the DSB doesn’t say so, its report corroborates findings published in November and December of last year by the Victorian State Coroner Ian Gray and Australian pathologists working in The Netherlands. Read their testimony, before it was recently classified.

Eight pages of the DSB report – pages 88 to 95 — focus on the metal fragments. The number of these starts at “over 500 recovered from the wreckage of the aeroplane, the remains of the crew members and passengers.” Many, apparently most, of these fragments turned out to be “personal belongings, aeroplane parts or objects that originated from the ground after impact.” According to the DSB, “many were metal fragments that were suspected to be high-energy objects.” Of these just 72 were investigated further because they were “similar in size, mass and shape.” 43 of this 72 were “found to be made of unalloyed steel”. The term “shrapnel” may be a synonym for “unalloyed steel fragments”, but the word doesn’t appear at all in the DSB report. According to the DSB, “no unalloyed steel fragments were found in the remains of the passengers”.

Of the 43 steel fragments investigated thoroughly — all of them recovered from the bodies of the cockpit crew or in the wreckage of the cockpit — 20 were found on analysis to include layers of aluminium or glass. The DSB’s explanation is that the external explosion of a missile warhead had propelled these fragments through the cockpit windows and aluminium panels of the fuselage, fusing with the glass and aluminium before striking the three crew members in the cockpit at the time.

The DSB conclusion is that these fragments came from a missile warhead, but not conclusively from a Buk missile warhead type 9N134M. The evidence for this Buk warhead comes, the DSB reports, from 4 – repeat four – fragments. These, “although heavily deformed and damaged, had distinctive shapes; cubic and in the form of a bow-tie”. The DSB’s exact count is two cubic shapes, two bow-ties. One bow-tie was recovered from the cockpit wreckage; one from the body of a cockpit crew member. Both cubic fragments were found in the bodies of the crew members.

Because Buk shrapnel is understood to have such cubic and bow-tie shapes, there are just four fragments to substantiate it. If the autopsy evidence is regarded as the only source that could not have been contaminated on the ground, or in the interval between the crash and the forensic testing in The Netherlands, there are just three fragments which fit the Buk bill.



Source: -- page 92

In addition, the DSB says it has examined chemical residues of the warhead explosive, and paint particles from the surface of missile parts reportedly recovered from the ground. Exactly where, when, and by whom the purported missile parts were found the DSB does not identify. In Section 2:12:2:8 of the report, the DSB says that “during the recovery of the wreckage, a number of parts that did not originate from the aeroplane and its content were found in the wreckage area. The parts found appeared to be connected with a surface-to-air missile. The parts that were suspected to be related to a surface-to-air missile were transported to the Gilze-Rijen Air Force Base [in The Netherlands; also reported as the Hilversum Army Base] in the same way as the aeroplane wreckage was. On arrival the parts underwent the same examination as the pieces of aeroplane wreckage.” By failing to identify the location of these parts, the finders, or the dates on which they were sent to Holland, the DSB does not rule out that this evidence may have been fabricated. At page 53 the DSB admits that “many pieces of the wreckage” were either not examined physically “until four months after the crash”, or not recovered for examination for up to nine months after the July 17, 2014, downing.



Source: -- page 81

The final DSB conclusion on missile parts is: “the shape and form of the parts recovered is [sic] consistent with a 9M38 series surface-to-air missile.” This, according to international legal sources, is circumstantial, inferential, indirect – and for a courtroom, inadmissible.

The DSB acknowledges also that its chemical evidence of explosive residues and paint is unlikely to be admissible because it is likely to have been contaminated on the ground. A total of 126 samples were reportedly swabbed from parts of the plane wreckage. Just 30 of these tested positive for two types of explosive – RDX and TNT.A “few” are now reported to have shown traces of the explosive PETN. However, on the missile parts which the DSB claims to be proof of Buk, “traces of RDX was [sic] found. On the missile part [sic] TNT or PETN could not be identified.”

The significance of the missing explosive evidence is left unexplained. But the DSB report concedes that “the objects from which the swab samples were taken had been exposed to the elements for a long period of time.” Just how long from crash to recovery the Dutch don’t say. “The possibility of contamination during transport and by the fact that the wreckage lay in an area of armed conflict is a concern for the explosive residue analysis.” This Dutch concern is an understatement.

As for the paint matching, the DSB says it tested “missile parts found at the wreckage area” with “fragments recovered from the aeroplane”. It concludes : “the paint samples taken from missile parts could not be distinguished from those found on the foreign objects extracted from the aeroplane”. How and when the two sets of samples were found, and by whom, is left unsaid.

The inconclusiveness on the part of the Dutch officials has been clarified by officers of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) who were assigned to both the victim identification process and to the forensic operations of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of Dutch, Ukrainian, Malaysian, Belgian and Australian investigators. For more details of the Australian participation in the JIT, read this. A Dutch spokesman for the JIT said just hours before the DSB released its report that no report on the criminal evidence is scheduled in the next four months; and it is “still too early for any final conclusion.”

On October 11 and 12 the AFP released direct interviews and a video clip in which officers who had worked at the crash scene in Ukraine and at the autopsies and forensic analysis in The Netherlands criticize the version of the crash publicly promoted by the former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and the current Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. An AFP source confirmed yesterday that the material published this week by a Sydney newspaper has been authorized. Four AFP officers were confirmed by the source as participating in the official information release: Detective Superintendent Andrew Donoghoe, who has headed the AFP team in The Netherlands for two tours over the fifteen months since the crash; Senior Sergeant Rod Anderson who is still serving in The Netherlands; Dr Simon Walsh, the AFP’s chief forensic scientist and head of the agency’s disaster victim identification (DVI) team; and Dr Sarah Benson, who succeeded Walsh in The Netherlands. Benson has a PhD in chemical criminalistics. Detective Sergeant John Giles has also been confirmed as participating “at the head of the Australian line” during the body identification and autopsy process.



AFP lead investigator Donoghoe, in AFP film clip, contradicts Australian Government on crash site, Ukraine conflict.


In their presentation of what they saw, did, and have concluded, the AFP officers are now saying they have no evidence the Novorussians at the crash scene either claimed responsibility for the shoot-down; or acted improperly to withhold or manipulate the crash scene evidence; or stole the victims’ belongings. The AFP is also expressing its “irritation” at public claims of the cause of the crash and the conduct of the Novorussians by the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Tony Abbott. In their presentation to the media, the Australian officers “go out of their way to acknowledge and to defend the humanity of the Ukrainian rebels who were accused of bringing down the aircraft.”

In an unprecedented declaration of its independence from the Australian Government, the AFP’s official version of the investigation of the MH17 crash and the ongoing investigation in Holland has appeared in two reports released this week by a local newspaper — the first on October 11; the second on October 12. No police, prosecutors, or forensic investigators from any of the other national teams working on the MH17 case in Ukraine and The Netherlands have said so much on the record. The only Dutch pathologist to make a public reference to the evidence, Dr George Maat, was fired by the Dutch government for doing so. For Maat’s case, read this.

The AFP’s decision to go public this week contrasts with Victorian Coroner Gray, who has closed the evidence the AFP collected, apparently on advice from Australian government officials. Gray’s spokesman has announced, also this week, “the current state of the investigation is such that [the court] has determined that the report is not for release.” For more on the Australian evidence Gray is trying to suppress, read this. Australian lawyers plan to challenge Gray, who also holds a judge’s rank, for violating the law in concealing the MH17 evidence gathered from the bodies of the Australian victims.




Anderson now says: “The Ukrainians were not uncaring people. It was as much a tragedy for them as for the victims. There was a lot of talk of disrespect for the dead because of the fighting – that was not the case…They were searching within 20 minutes of the crash and recovering remains – that’s a good response, a good job … it was done fairly well … with the level of expertise and equipment that they had, the locals did the best they could do.” According to Donoghoe, “the victims were treated with respect and dignity in difficult circumstances.” Walsh has added: “there was no evidence to suggest otherwise”.

According to Walsh’s version of the behaviour of the Novorussian troops at the crash scene, “what we have established since is that so many victims were successfully identified on the basis of what [the Ukrainians] had collected, and subsequent searching did not reveal huge amounts of human remains that they had missed. The original [Ukrainian] work was done to a high standard in terms of the victims’ human remains being treated with respect and dignity.” Walsh dismisses media reports of looting. “There were cases of the jewellery being present. I can’t say if the presence was high or low; and there were cases of no jewellery, but not sufficient to substantiate claims of a high or extraordinary amount of looting.”

Asked if the Novorussians had behaved as humanely as the victims’ families would have expected, Walsh said: “From what I’ve observed, that’s a fair assessment.”

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    1. EoinW

      Naturally the Anglo-American Empire never has misinformation campaigns. They just outright lie. And the typical fools who support them believe it all.

    2. david

      if that is what you honestly believe, rather than trash Mr. Helmer’s analysis – give the specific reasons for your comment? – I don’t see how you could possibly come to that conclusion

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      This is a classic troll, except he’s not very good at it. Never commented before, apparently with a Google keyword alert so he can be top of the thread (this happened all the time when Scott Walker was union-breaking, anti-union types would come to try to derail the conversation), and a lazy, unsubstantiated diss.

      1. OIFVet

        Nah, I remember seeing the handle under other Helmer articles on MH17, with pretty much the same stock phrase as this one. Straight outta “Stratcoms for big dummies.”

        1. ambrit

          This could be a generic ‘handle’ for a trolling ‘boiler room’ operation. Trolls passing handles around so as to try and fool downstream spam filters. I remember this ‘handle’ too. I think I’ve seen it on another site as well.
          I call these simple ‘temper tantrum’ Trolls, Hasbro Hasbara.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Bellingcat is at best cleaning up US/NATO propaganda and presenting it as its own work and at worst out and out astroturf:

        Now you can argue that Helmer may be overly dependent on Russian-friendlh sources. But this is a PR war, and the West made a VERY large claim early on to try to pin the attack on Putin, that the plane was hit by a Buk and that somehow meant Putin’s fingerprints were directly on it. Even if you accept the former, the latter is quite a logical leap, since particularly in the early days of the conflict, the Russians were providing only wink and nod support (for instance, allowing soldiers to go across the border to support relatives). The idea that the separatists, much the less Russia, chose to target a civilian plane is ludicrous.

        1. Lepsi

          In this economy, you have to hustle for whatever work you can get, and if that work is pretending to find confirmation of the US narrative in youtube videos, well that’s just what you do.

          A short rundown for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention
          He was mostly unknown until he came up with really absurd pinning of the east Ghouta cw attacks on the Syrian gov, claims that are now repeated by western intelligence sources, which came first? I don’t know.

          This is a project by people truly using ‘open source intel’ to investigate the attack.

          Lots of people wondered, “who exactly is paying Elliot Higgins,” and it finally came out.

          “USAID, working with billionaire George Soros’s Open Society, also funds the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP also collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins.”

  1. ltr

    Meticulous and critically important reporting. This series has been excellent, I am really impressed.

  2. EoinW

    Thank you for posting Helmer’s writing. I knew watching the BBC headline last night that it was likely more lies.

  3. Bill Smith

    No mention here from the Dutch report that the pilot had a large number of things (metal?) removed from his body before being turned over to the Dutch. That would have likely removed some of whatever hit the plane?

  4. david

    “The DSB conclusion is that these fragments came from a missile warhead, but not conclusively from a Buk missile warhead type 9N134M. The evidence for this Buk warhead comes, the DSB reports, from 4 – repeat four – fragments. ”

    I would have expected thousands of fragments from the missile – so how do they rationalize (4) – obviously you can – plant / seed / sprinkle – four or 50 but not thousands –

    does this mean on the bodies only or from the entire recovery site?

  5. Carolinian

    It’s worth repeating the info that Robert Parry shared at the time of the shootdown. The Ukrainians had moved one of their own Buk batteries within range of the crash in the days preceding. Parry claimed he had been told by US intelligence insiders that this might indeed have been the source of a missile. Also–as even the Dutch concede–the Ukrainians had routed the plane over a war zone where their opponents had been firing ground to air missiles at high level Ukrainian bombers. So even if the resistance did the fire a missile, possibly one of those they captured from the Ukrainians rather than one supplied by Russia, this could be considered an accident of war with heavy blame going to the careless or deliberate routing of the plane by Ukraine ATC.

    Not that any of the above will deter the propaganda fog emanating from the NYT and the usual sources.

    1. timbers

      Yes, and supposedly the air traffic controller who re-routed the plane into conflict terrority is in prison in Kiev and can not speak. (Read this at Zerehedge. Don’t know if accurate or not.)

  6. Ben

    So in one of his previous articles, Helmer said that it was impossible for a BUK to be the cause because of lack of shrapnel in the bodies of the passengers. I thought at the time that this ignored the possibility that the BUK damaged the plane critically by destroying a wing, causing it to crash without hitting the passenger compartment directly.

    It seems like this is basically what happened, except the BUK hit below the cockpit, so the shrapnel was concentrated in the bodies of the cockpit crew.

    Now Helmer implies that not enough of the fragments look like BUK shrapnel – not considering that fragments may have been lost, or deformed by passage through the cockpit etc. If the alternative hypothesis is that an air-to-air missile hit the plane, is there any evidence that the shrapnel found fits a given air-to-air missile better than a BUK? Otherwise this is the classic conspiracy theory thinking of looking for ‘anomalies’ based on a layman’s understanding of complicated processes, without considering if they fit the alternative explanation any better.

    1. ambrit

      The other hypothesis is that the airliner was strafed by jets.
      There is also the process wherein a ‘conspiracy’ is promoted by interested parties. Such a one being that Novorussians shot down the airliner with an older BUK stolen from the Ukies.
      This can be seen to be a case of anti-conspiracy theory argumentation.

    2. jsn

      Actually, Helmer states that the descriptions of the condition of the pilots bodies in the Dutch report do not square with earlier published descriptions from loved ones, with a link provided. He then states that the very low number of “shrapnel” elements recovered does not square with a Buk blowing the cabin away from the fuselage. These discrepancies don’t match with evidence released in Australia but then withdrawn and classified, again with link, while the links and now classified Australian material tell a coherently different story.

    3. Veri

      There are two types of warheads. One warhead is an earlier version and only includes one type of shrapnel, IIRC. These missiles are used by Ukraine and are available to Ukraine. The other warhead is newer and are used by Russia with none being in use by Ukraine.

      Hence, the need to prove that the warhead type is of the newer kind. That would mean that Russia provided a BUK missile launcher from inside of Russia, to the DPR. Bellingcat dot com – you can google – is at the forefront of proving that Russia did the deed, or at least is an accomplice.

      Due to all the inconsistencies between pro-, anti- and neutral – concerning The Russians, no one is going to know for sure until someone confesses.

  7. apber

    Still no explanation for the circular holes in the front of the plane, seemingly directed at the crew. They are exactly like those fired from 50 cal in an air-to-air attack. I saw many in Vietnam. Holes caused by shrapnel damage from surface to air missiles are highly irregular, not almost perfectly round.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        IIRC, they were taken by some Canadians who were among the first outsiders to get to the crash site. I’ll see if I can find t he post.

        1. ambrit

          Generally. Most shrapnel are irregular and tumble, causing irregular tears rather than regular holes. Bullets fly straight and rotate about the line of travel, actually, spin. The spinning makes their line of travel straight. Literally, small deadly gyroscopes.

            1. OIFVet

              What combination of velocity, rotation, etc. would result in any of the three basic shapes making a nice round hole?

              1. optimader

                limited to the prefragged shrapnel in the illustration above, my first choice would be a piece similar to that shown in quadrant 3. More to the point, do you still harbor some doubt that it was a BUK missile?

      2. gamesjon

        I’m not 100% sure that this is the earliest reports on the holes, but it is one of the earliest I think (and from what I would think is pretty non-controversial source.) A CBC news report on July 29 with Michael Bociurkiw, a Ukrainian-Canadian monitor with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He was the first international monitor to reach the crash site, along with one other colleague. The link has a video interview with him and shows the holes, which he describes as, “looking almost like machine gun fire” (starting around 6:05 in the video).

    1. craazyboy

      That one still bothers me. I can put together a 20mm cannon and an air to air missile and explain a lot of different shaped holes that way.

      But the report does have the pic on page 82 showing the missile nozzle, nearly intact. It appears to be maybe over a foot in diameter, which makes it too big for an air to air missile.

    2. brightdarkness

      Problem with your theory is that nobody has used .50 caliber guns in a jet fighter since the F-86 during Korea. Its all 20 mm armor piercing/explosive on up.

      1. Gaianne


        Twenty millimeters is 0.79 inches. We are looking at a photo, taken from yards away, of holes punched in the cockpit. At the level of detail available to us, 0.50 and 0.79 inches amount to the same thing.

        Your argument fails.


    3. Veri

      Russians said that the alleged Su-25 never came within 5km. Try shooting a .50 cal and getting the type of grouping while flying several hundred kilometers per hour while subject to atmospheric conditions. You can however watch this. There is a full Russian briefing about what they believe happened…

  8. JTMcPhee

    Add this incident and the spew of authoritative booolsheeet it engenders to the appropriate cell in the Global Vulnerability Index algorithmic data input… Alongside fracking, all those nuclear (and other, ever-inventively-more-lethatl-autonomous-“smart” weapons and the idiot complexities associated with DARPA-ing, procurement, international-sales-distribution, reman, storage, control etc., massive-money resistance to de-financialization and to any silly notions like “conservation” to halt greenhouse gas emissions, the many columns of entries under “crapification,” industrial pseudo-food, “blockbuster” meds that make the patient sicker or dead, ignition switches and drive-by-wire cars subject to glitches and hacking and data mining, the steady growth of militarizaton and its suppliers, career paths and inbred behavior patterns in CIA/NSA/every-Sneaky-Petery-on-the-Planet, Wasserman Schultz-Pelosi-Boxer-Golda-Mutti-etc. on the distaff side, Arafat-Bibi-Cheney-Petraeus-Murdoch-etc. on the Y-chrom side…

    I’ve offered that it should be possible, maybe building on the framework of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, to construct a sort of index that captures the incipient-species-panetary-mortality values and vectors of all the sheeee-it that us humans are up to, off in our little corners where our parochial interests and predilections might, MIGHT, result in personal short-term gain that we hope, even believe, will not end up killing us before we die comfortably, ideally ridiculously exclusively luxuriously comfortably, of truly natural causes, or don’t give a sheeeit about resultants that blow everything up or frog-in-a-cookpot boil us. The financializers have all kinds of complex tensor stuff, and versions for the masses, that happily report one view of “global risk” or another. The insurance industry actuaries have their tools too. All of which might be coalesced into a number or maybe a Cheney-resolution color scale of riskthreat — yellow (in his case) in between green and orange and red, up to ultraviolet and of course fade-to-black…

    1. Nick

      That was poetic. God I love the military industrial complex. After the drawdown in Iraq, budgets were being slashed everywhere, but Putin intransigence has changed all that by reigniting a new Cold War (little Cold War at the moment). The good times are back, and money is flowing.

  9. Vatch

    Page 82 of the Dutch report shows some pictures of objects consistent with a Buk missile. These include an engine nozzle and a stabilizing fin. These are not small pieces of shrapnel, which may or may not have the proper expected shape. These are fairly large pieces of a missile. The presence of these objects refute earlier speculation that MH17 was shot down by a fighter plane.

    We still don’t know who fired the Buk, but we appear to have converged a little closer to whatever the truth is.

    1. craazyboy

      I guess if you have a missile nozzle, the exact size of a BUK nozzle, up your sleeve then that would have made the last year and a half of public speculation a big waste of time. hahaha.

      The shape of the shrapnel supposedly can be used to distinguish whether this is an old style BUK, found somewhere in Ukraine, vs a new style BUK, owned only by Russians. So I guess this is the old style (I haven’t memorized BUK model numbers yet) but I imagine there would have been a big brouhaha already if it was the Russian military version.

      Whether the evidence was planted or not I guess will always be up to speculation considering the players involved and circumstances. Answering the “whodunit”‘ question is never gonna happen, unless we get some more “surprising” damning evidence.

      1. optimader

        At least some of the more fantastic speculation noise trying to fit the outcome with ideological preconception/desires/wishes should be culled from the speculation..

        Crash (accident) investigations are by their nature imperfect exercises, no less in situations like this during active hostilities and adverse seasonal conditions. Frankly I am impressed they were able to put together what they have so far.
        Personally, I am sure I would not have been volunteering to go do the field work in what is essentially a war zone, so delays and less than complete debris collection, I think that is a concession to reality on the ground rather than (implied) evidence yet again another complex conspiracy.

        IMO some of the “analysis” and commenter questions raised lack context:
        How many pieces of missile shrapnel should have been collectible? –Presumably consideration given to the proximity (reportedly very close IIRC I have read as close as 4m) is important relative to the total pieces, their energy and spread in the designed dispersal pattern.

        What explosive residue ppm level should you expect to find if any given the environment the shrapnel was found? Are there weather/ solubility/decay issues to consider? I read Mr. Helmer’s observation that the report correctly states (concedes?) that swab evidence of debris found at the site are not all conclusive. Should we expect them to be? Alternatively shouls we be more concerned/ suspicious if they all were perfect and concusive evidence swabs?

        What is the relevance of the paint smear found on debris (in damage patterns) and a match of paint samples collected up to 4 months apart.? Is he implying it is altered evidence?

        Should there be an expectation of perfectly die cut hole shapes from (presumably) tumbling shrapnel ?

        At time Mr. Helmer’s analysis style reminds me of the lobbyist style in the movie “Thank You For Smoking”

        I will now patiently await Mr. Helmer’s detailed and objective “autopsy” of the Almaz Antay October 13 presentation.

        1. craazyboy

          We do know we have some people in this country, and Europe, that think restarting the Cold War, or worse, is a fine idea for America and our Euro friends. So I welcome anyone that factors that fact into his analysis of the official investigation. Then there is still the question of all the silence regarding other evidence that must be out their (Russia too) like sat & radar, the flight controller and his 1.5 year long holiday, etc…..

          1. optimader

            I’m with you on the lack of transparency and I have zero expectation that any of the military interests will provide any data that may reveal thier capabilities (or lack of them).

            The admission of Almaz Antey, by default Russian authorities, that MH-17 was shot down with a BUK missile move me past alternative scenarios.

            As far as the premise that Ukraine intentionally routed MH17 into position to be shot down IMO is fitting events to an ideological predisposition. It’s reasonable to say the airspace should have been shut down to commercial flights, but the fact is MH17 was one of many commercial overflights. Ultimately the Malaysian and other carriers could have selected longer more expensive flight paths. They didn’t.

            The larger picture is the commercial carriers ultimately have the incentive to minimize fuel consumption and are routed over hostile territories regularly. Hindsite is 20/20. What constitutes too dangerous, well it seems an aircraft getting shot down is a pretty good indication.

            1. craazyboy

              MH17 wasn’t on the “normal” route. The normal route is not over the war zone. Someone? decided to change course to avoid a thunderstorm. At least that’s been the common explanation why they ended up flying over the war zone. But they could have diverted bit more and flew around the other side?

              Still too many unanswered questions. We could ask the flight controller, but he’s still on extended holiday.

              This would make a crappy mystery novel. No one would believe it.

            2. JerseyJeffersonian


              Well, not quite so fast and loose with what Almaz Antey has contributed to the discussion. They did two full-blown simulations of the effects of BUK missile detonations on airplane cockpit areas using actual front ends of airplanes similar to the type flown by Malaysian Airways, and real live BUK warheads. The two simulations were to demonstrate the patterns of destruction produced by a BUK warhead under two disparate assumptions – that it originated in areas controlled on the day of the downing of MH17 by either Ukrainian forces, or by Novorussian forces. The patterns of destruction wrought in comparison to what was seen on the actual wreckage of MH17 were consistent with a launch from Ukrainian-held areas, but not consistent with a launch from Novorussian-held areas when one factors in the approach paths necessarily taken in either instance. Additionally, the damage seen in the cockpit areas was consistent with shrapnel produced by a form of a BUK warhead decommissioned from service with the Russian military since 2011, but apparently still in service with the Ukrainian military at the time of the incident.

              Here is a link to the video documenting these tests and including the sub-titled discussion of the results.

              So, clearly you are correct that Almaz Antey had suggested that the detonation of a BUK warhead could have led to the downing of MH17 on that dreadful day, but there was a whole lot more to their account than your sketchy and somewhat off-handed remark conveys.

      2. optimader

        (I haven’t memorized BUK model numbers yet)
        Presented in graphical form here, but link wont post, Ill try once more remove space and correct “dot”
        what happened to flight mh17 dot com/a-detailed-description-of-the-buk-sa-11-which-could-have-shot-down-mh17/#prettyPhoto/1/

          1. optimader

            If you could direct me to a more credible fact based site on the subject, I’d be interested reviewing it.

            1. craazyboy

              That was the most detailed one I could find, prior to the DSB release. It is an amateur internet compilation, so accuracy is not confirmed.

              Devoureror willing, RT has this real time blog of all the news.

              If you scroll back a little in time, they have the full 20 minute youtube summary of events start to finish done by DSB and it’s a good start.

  10. sid_finster

    NATO has very sensitive missile detection radars in place. If they had evidence that MH17 were shot down by missile launched by junta troops, we would have heard about it a long time ago.

    Actually, the entire report sounds like a case of a dog that didn’t bark.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      You must be channeling Robert Parry’s piece today at Consortium News: “MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking.” I included the link in a comment I posted about 45 minutes ago but it must still be in the moderation queue.

    2. optimader

      NATO has very sensitive missile detection radars in place. If they had evidence that MH17 were shot down by missile launched by junta troops, we would have heard about it a long time ago
      Your assumption on how the military behaves with electronic intel..

  11. OIFVet

    What I don’t get is how is it possible for “hundreds” of high- velocity metal pieces to be lodged in the bodies of the pilots, plus no doubt hundreds more who must have travelled through their bodies, and have their bodies be recognizable as those of human beings instead of being shredded to bits. Not to mention the pilot’s sister cited by Helmer as saying that her brother’s body was only slightly burned. These are incongruous bits of information.

    1. Vatch

      Those are reasonable questions. Because of the long distance of the flight, there were two flight teams. Do we know whether it was Captain Wan Amran who was in the cockpit, or was it Captain Eugene Choo? On pages 84 and 85, we are told that the injuries of one captain were far more extensive than the injuries of the other captain. Even the more severely injured person might be recognizable if most of his injuries were not to his head.

      As for the burns, I can only speculate that people near the fuel tanks would be more severely burned that people in other parts of the plane. Page 86 says that the biggest fire occurred in the center of the airplane.

  12. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Warren Report, suits the need which is to whitewash so they can gin up Cold War 2.0 and then WW III. The truth is a football they play with, they can move it around at will, inflate or deflate it as they please. The real question to ask is why they’re so determined to get as much more new war as possible, if Obomba wanted an actual legacy he could announce an immediate unilateral pause to all American bombing operations and the convening of a Global Peace Summit, the cheers would be heard around the globe. Instead he shoves his nose into this trough of sh*t so a few arms billionaires can add another zero. It’s disgusting.

  13. susan the other

    It’s always possible that Obama has had to fight the neocons tooth and nail. He came out with cogent explanations for why instigating war in the ME and sending in troops was very stupid in his latest interview. The thing about MH17 that gives me encouragement is that in the 80s Lockerbie went relatively unchallenged. An atrocity done with the same Dutch accomplices. But today the blogs and independents are all over this story, proving how apparent it is that the Dutch are accomplices. They will never regain their good name. Ever.

    1. optimader

      It’s always possible that Obama has had to fight the neocons tooth and nail. He came out with cogent explanations for why instigating war in the ME and sending in troops was very stupid in his latest interview
      Link to the interview? I’d be interested in any elaboration on how doubling down has made sense..

  14. Robert

    This whole debate seems to me to ignore the one consideration which above all others is paramount. Namely, how did it come about that an armed conflict has been raging on Ukrainian territory before, since, and on, July 17 2014, when it killed 283 men, women and children who were passengers and crew on scheduled civil-airline flight MH17? People here seem much more interested-in/enthralled-by the detective-work, as if it were just a TV whodunnit.

    Answer:- Because Vladimir Putin flushed with having got away with annexing the Crimea and in consequence with being hailed at home as a Great Russian Patriot, and in pursuit of an irridentist foreign policy having as its underlying purpose to maintain him in autocratic power indefinitely by whipping-up and then pandering to rabid ethnic Russian nationalism, elected to provide military support and weaponry to the Ukrainian separatists, by so doing to de-stabilise – critically if possible – Ukraine in the present and put it under notice of the abiding possibility (likelihood?) of further such in the future. Had he not done so, those 283 victims would still be alive today – as would a great many other unfortunate people now dead.

    One doesn’t need to be an unqualified admirer, still less a sycophantic one, of the Ukrainian regime to prefer it to Putin’s nor to defend its right to put down rebellion, particularly when deliberately fomented and militarily supported by a neighbouring country who’s just annexed a large chunk of your territory.

    I find it rather piquant that apologists (among whom I would include – because of his glaringly-obvious bias – John Helmer (who wrote the laudatory plug for him BTW?)) for Putin and his gangster-regime bend over backwards to exonerate him of all blame, and instead to whitewash him as the innocent victim of “western” malevolence and chicanery. Especially when, as here, many such purport to be “progressives” (Yves, are you listening?). What’s “progressive” about ex-KGB operative Vladimir Putin, may one ask?

    And what for heaven’s sake is the value as evidence of the fact that Putin – Putin mind you – asserted in his conversation with Obama that flight MH17 had been downed by an air-to-air missile? He’d hardly be likely to have said it was a Buk, would he, even less so if it actually had been (and a Russian-supplied one to boot)? Sheesh!

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