John Helmer: MH17 Evidence Tampering Revealed by Malaysia – FBI Attempt To Seize Black Boxes; Dutch Cover-Up of Forged Telephone Tapes; Ukrainian Air Force Hid Radar Records; Crash Site Witness Testimony Misreported

Yves here. Hoo boy. The idea that eastern Ukrainian insurgents or Russia would target a passenger plane never made any sense (unless the plane had high-priority targets or cargo), although it’s always been possible that the downing of MH17 was an accident, and some efforts to explain what happened are based on that idea. For Malaysia, starting with Prime Minister Mahathir, to stand up and say the US tried to cook the record to pin the crash on Russia is remarkable.

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

A new documentary from Max van der Werff, the leading independent investigator of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster, has revealed breakthrough evidence of tampering and forging of prosecution materials;  suppression of Ukrainian Air Force radar tapes;  and lying by the Dutch, Ukrainian, US and Australian governments. An attempt by agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to take possession of the black boxes of the downed aircraft is also revealed by a Malaysian National Security Council official for the first time.

The sources of the breakthrough are Malaysian — Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamad Mahathir; Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the officer in charge of the MH17 investigation for the Prime Minister’s Department and Malaysia’s National Security Council following the crash on July 17, 2014; and a forensic analysis by Malaysia’s OG IT Forensic Services of Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) telephone tapes which Dutch prosecutors have announced as genuine.

The 298 casualties of MH17 included 192 Dutch; 44 Malaysians; 27 Australians; 15 Indonesians.  The nationality counts vary because the airline manifest does not identify dual nationals of Australia, the UK, and the US.

The new film throws the full weight of the Malaysian Government, one of the five members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), against the published findings and the recent indictment of Russian suspects reported by the Dutch officials in charge of the JIT; in addition to Malaysia and The Netherlands, the members of the JIT are Australia, Ukraine and Belgium. Malaysia’s exclusion from the JIT at the outset, and Belgium’s inclusion (4 Belgian nationals were listed on the MH17 passenger manifest), have never been explained.

The film reveals the Malaysian Government’s evidence for judging the JIT’s witness testimony, photographs, video clips, and telephone tapes to have been manipulated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), and to be inadmissible in a criminal prosecution in a Malaysian or other national or international court.

For the first time also, the Malaysian Government reveals how it got in the way of attempts the US was organizing during the first week after the crash to launch a NATO military attack on eastern Ukraine. The cover story for that was to rescue the plane, passenger bodies, and evidence of what had caused the crash. In fact, the operation was aimed at defeating the separatist  movements in the Donbass, and to move against Russian-held Crimea.

The new film reveals that a secret Malaysian military operation took custody of the MH17 black boxes on July 22, preventing the US and Ukraine from seizing them.  The Malaysian operation, revealed in the film by the Malaysian Army colonel who led it, eliminated the evidence for the camouflage story, reinforcing the German Government’s opposition to the armed attack, and forcing the Dutch to call off the invasion on July 27.  

The 28-minute documentary by Max van der Werff and Yana Yerlashova has just been released. Yerlashova was the film director and co-producer with van der Werff and Ahmed Rifazal. Vitaly Biryaukov directed the photography. Watch it in full here.

The full interview with Prime Minister Mahathir was released in advance; it can be viewed and read here.

Mahathir reveals why the US, Dutch and Australian governments attempted to exclude Malaysia from membership of the JIT in the first months of the investigation. During that period, US, Dutch, Australian and NATO officials initiated a plan for 9,000 troops to enter eastern Ukraine, ostensibly to secure the crash scene, the aircraft and passenger remains, and in response to the alleged Russian role in the destruction of MH17 on July 17; for details of that scheme, read this.

Although German opposition to military intervention forced its cancellation, the Australians sent a 200-man special forces unit to The Netherlands and then Kiev. The European Union and the US followed with economic sanctions against Russia on July 29.

Malaysian resistance to the US attempts to blame Moscow for the aircraft shoot-down was made clear in the first hours after the incident to then-President Barack Obama by Malaysia’s Prime Minister at the time, Najib Razak. That story can be followed here and here.

In an unusual decision to speak in the new documentary, Najib’s successor Prime Minister Mahathir announced: “They never allowed us to be involved from the very beginning.  This is unfair and unusual. So we can see they are not really looking at the causes of the crash and who was responsible. But already they have decided it must be Russia. So we cannot accept that kind of attitude. We are interested in the rule of law, in justice for everyone irrespective of who is involved. We have to know who actually fired the missile, and only then can we accept the report as the complete truth.”

On July 18, in the first Malaysian Government press conference after the shoot-down, Najib (right) announced agreements he had already reached by telephone with Obama and Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian President. “ ‘Obama and I agreed that the investigation will not be hidden and the international teams have to be given access to the crash scene.’ [Najib] said the Ukrainian president ‎has pledged that there would be a full, thorough and independent investigation and Malaysian officials would be invited to take part. ‘He also confirmed that his government will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site,’ said Najib. He also said that no one should remove any debris or the black box from the scene. The Government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, as well as a medical team. But we must – and we will – find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone can be left unturned.”

The new film reveals in an interview with Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the head of the Malaysian team, what happened next.  Sakri’s evidence, filmed in his office at Putrajaya, is the first to be reported by the press outside Malaysia in five years. A year ago, Sakri gave a partial account of his mission to a Malaysian newspaper.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/

“I talked to my prime minister [Najib],” Colonel Sakri says. “He directed me to go to the crash site immediately.” At the time Sakri was a senior security official at the Disaster Management Division of the Prime Minister’s Department. Sakri says that after arriving in Kiev, Poroshenko’s officials blocked the Malaysians. “We were not allowed to go there…so I took a small team to leave Kiev going to Donetsk secretly.” There Sakri toured the crash site, and met with officials of the Donetsk separatist administration headed by Alexander Borodai.

With eleven men, including two medical specialists, a signalman, and Malaysian Army commandos, Sakri had raced to the site ahead of an armed convoy of Australian, Dutch and Ukrainian government men. The latter were blocked by Donetsk separatist units. The Australian state press agency ABC reported   their military convoy, prodded from Kiev by the appearance of Australian and Dutch foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Frans Timmermans, had been forced to abandon their mission. That was after Colonel Sakri had taken custody of the MH17 black boxes in a handover ceremony filmed at Borodai’s office in Donetsk on July 22.

US sources told the Wall Street Journal  at the time “the [Sakri] mission’s success delivered a political victory for Mr. Najib’s government… it also handed a gift to the rebels in the form of an accord, signed by the top Malaysian official present in Donetsk, calling the crash site ‘the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.’…That recognition could antagonize Kiev and Washington, which have striven not to give any credibility to the rebels, whose main leaders are Russian citizens with few ties to the area. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a briefing Monday that the negotiation ‘in no way legitimizes’ separatists.”

The Australian state radio then reported the Ukrainian government as claiming the black box evidence showed “the reason for the destruction and crash of the plane was massive explosive decompression arising from multiple shrapnel perforations from a rocket explosion.” This was a fabrication – the evidence of the black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, first reported six weeks later in September by the Dutch Safety Board, showed nothing of the kind; read what their evidence revealed.

Foreign Minister Bishop,  in Kiev on July 24, claimed she was negotiating with the Ukrainians for the Australian team in the country to carry arms. “I don’t envisage that we will ever resort to [arms],” she told her state news agency, “but it is a contingency planning, and you would be reckless not to include it in this kind of agreement. But I stress our mission is unarmed because it is [a] humanitarian mission.”


In Kiev on July 24, 2014, left to right: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop; Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. Source: https://www.alamy.com/ The NATO intervention plan was still under discussion, but the black boxes were already under Malaysian control.

By the time she spoke to her state radio, Bishop was concealing that the plan for armed intervention, including 3,000 Australian troops, had been called off.  She was also concealing that the black boxes were already in Colonel Sakri’s possession.

The document signed by Sakri for the handover of the black boxes is visible in the new documentary. Sakri signed himself and added the stamp of the National Security Council of Malaysia.

Col. Sakri says on film the Donetsk leaders expressed surprise at the delay of the Malaysians in arriving at the crash site to recover the black boxes. “Why are you so late”, [Borodai] said…I think [that was] very funny.” Source:  https://www.youtube.com/Min. 05:47.

Sakri goes on to say he was asked by the OSCE’s special monitoring mission for Ukraine to hand over the black boxes; he refused. He was then met by agents of the FBI (Min 6:56). “They approached me to show them the black box. I said no.” He also reports that in Kiev the Ukrainian Government tried “forcing me to leave the black boxes with them. We said no. We cannot. We cannot allow.”

The handover ceremony in Donetsk, July 22, 2014: on far left, the two black boxes from MH17; in the centre, shaking hands, Alexander Borodai and Mohamad Sakri.

Permission for Colonel Sakri to speak to the press has been authorized by his superiors at the prime ministry in Putrajaya, and his disclosures agreed with them in advance.

Subsequent releases from the Kiev government to substantiate the allegation of Russian involvement in the shoot-down have included telephone tape recordings. These were presented last month by the JIT as their evidence for indictment of four Russians; for details, read this.

Van der Werff and Yerlashova contracted with OG IT Forensic Services,  a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, to examine the telephone tapes.  The Kuala Lumpur firm has been endorsed by the Malaysian Bar.  The full 143-page technical report can be read here.

The findings reported by Akash Rosen and illustrated on camera are that the telephone recordings have been cut, edited and fabricated. The source of the tapes, according to the JIT press conference on June 19 by Dutch police officer Paulissen, head of the National Criminal Investigation Service of The Netherlands, was the Ukrainian SBU. Similar findings of tape fabrication and evidence tampering are reported on camera in the van der Werff film by a German analyst, Norman Ritter.


Left: Dutch police chief Paulissen grins as he acknowledged during the June 19, 2019, press conference of JIT that the telephone tape evidence on which the charges against the four accused Russians came from the Ukrainian SBU.   Minute 16:02 Right: Norman Ritter presented his analysis to interviewer Billy Sixt to show the telephone tape evidence has been forged in nine separate “manipulations”.  One of the four accused by the JIT last month, Sergei Dubinsky, testifies from Min. 17 of the documentary. He says his men recovered the black boxes from the crash site and delivered them to Borodai at 2300 hours on July 17; the destruction of the aircraft occurred at 1320. Dubinsky testifies that he had no orders for and took no part in the shoot-down. As for the telephone tape-recording evidence against him, Dubinsky says the calls were made days before July 17, and edited by the SBU. “I dare them to publish the uncut conversations, and then you will get a real picture of what was discussed.” (Min. 17:59).  

Van der Werff and Yerlashova filmed at the crash site in eastern Ukraine. Several local witnesses were interviewed, including a man named Alexander from Torez town, and Valentina Kovalenko, a woman from the farming village of Red October. The man said the missile equipment alleged by the JIT to have been transported from across the Russian border on July 17 was in Torez at least one, possibly two days before the shoot-down on July 17; he did not confirm details the JIT has identified as a Buk system.

Kovalenko, first portrayed in a BBC documentary three years ago (starting at Min.26:50) as a “unique” eye-witness to the missile launch, clarifies more precisely than the BBC reported where the missile she saw had been fired from.

BBC documentary, “The Conspiracy Files. Who Shot Down MH17” -- Min. 27:00. The BBC broadcast its claims over three episodes in April-May 2016. For a published summary, read this

This was not the location identified in press statements by JIT. Van der Werff explains: “we specifically asked [Kovalenko] to point exactly in the direction the missile came from. I then asked twice if maybe it was from the direction of the JIT launch site. She did not see a launch nor a plume from there. Notice the JIT ‘launch site’ is less than two kilometres from her house and garden. The BBC omitted this crucial part of her testimony.”

According to Kovalenko in the new documentary, at the firing location she has now identified precisely, “at that moment the Ukrainian Army were there.”

Kovalenko also remembers that on the days preceding the July 17 missile firing she witnessed,  there had been Ukrainian military aircraft operating in the sky above her village. She says they used evasion techniques including flying in the shadow of civilian aircraft she also saw at the same time.

On July 17, three other villagers told van der Werff they had seen a Ukrainian military jet in the vicinity and at the time of the MH17 crash.

Concluding the documentary, van der Werff and Yerlashova present an earlier interview filmed in Donetsk by independent Dutch journalist Stefan Beck, whom JIT officials had tried to warn off visiting the area. Beck interviewed Yevgeny Volkov, who was an air controller for the Ukrainian Air Force in July 2014. Volkov was asked to comment on Ukrainian Government statements, endorsed by the Dutch Safety Board report into the crash and in subsequent reports by the JIT, that there were no radar records of the airspace at the time of the shoot-down because Ukrainian military radars were not operational.

Volkov explained that on July 17 there were three radar units at Chuguev on “full alert” because “fighter jets were taking off from there;” Chuguev is 200 kilometres northwest of the crash site.  He disputed that the repairs to one unit meant none of the three was operating. Ukrainian radar records of the location and time of the MH17 attack were made and kept, Volkov said. “There [they] have it. In Ukraine they have it.”

Last month, at the JIT press conference in The Netherlands on June 19, the Malaysian representative present,  Mohammed Hanafiah Bin Al Zakaria,  one of three Solicitors-General of the Malaysian Attorney General’s ministry,  refused to endorse for the Malaysian Governnment the JIT evidence or its charges against Russia. “Malaysia would like to reiterate our commitment to the JIT seeking justice for the victims,” Zakaria said.  “The objective of the JIT is to complete the investigations and gathering of evidence of all witnesses for the purpose of prosecuting the wrongdoers and Malaysia stands by the rule of law and the due process.” [Question: do you support the conclusions?] “Part of the conclusions [inaudible] – do not change our positions.”

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56 comments

  1. Jeff

    I always come back to the same three questions:
    1. If all civilian and military radars were out of order, why was the flight not redirected out of the Ukrainian airspace and into some territory with radar?
    2. Why is the transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder kept a secret (see e.g. here for others)?
    3. Why is no journalist raising these questions?
    (I got a partial answer to 3. “because only Kremlin trolls and conspiracy specialists doubt the official/Bellingcat version”)

    Reply
    1. vlade

      Re 1) active radar is not used that much in civilian flight control anymore, it’s basically a back-up for passive transponder pick up. Dnipro Control was monitoring the flight using passive (that’s for example how they knew they were off their approved airway L980 and asked them to get back, which, if there was no radar, they could not do). Passive (civilian) radar is no use in tracking missiles or military planes with no transporder on.

      So the question 1) is irrelevant.

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        Bellingcat? The fellow using the pseudonym is called Eliot Higgins and hails from the Midlands, not far from the Jihadist masquerading as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights above a take away shop. He was a regular BTL commentator at the Grauniad before being paid to spout BS. Nice work if one can get it, eh?

        Having grown up in a military family and knowing what precautions are taken, I am staggered at how Bell End Cat can track down Russian secret servicemen with such ease and in their homeland.

        Reply
    2. Olga

      If you watch the film, you’d learn that there were back-ups… so not all were out of order. And if we knew the answer to your questions, we’d likely know ‘who done it.’

      Reply
  2. JBird4049

    I am going to have to reread all this, but I have to say it looks like we’re being governed by fools play acting as adults.

    Reply
  3. JerryDenim

    Undoubtedly there’s something quite rotten afoot here, and I’ll be sure to give this film a watch, but honestly the Malaysians have zero credibility when it comes to airplane crashes involving their national airline, especially after they deliberately fed false information to rescue and recovery teams concerning MH 370’s flight path. Whatever they knew or didn’t know they had no interest in helping anyone find that airplane or discover what took place onboard before it vanished. They should spare us all any sanctimony about ‘justice for victims, truth, rule of law, etc.’ It seems the world has a real credibility crisis today, not many state actors I trust to tell the truth or not politicize tragedy. These revelations certainly make it seem more likely Ukrainian forces were to blame for downing MH17, but at this point the mystery will never be conclusively solved. Two warring factions with the exact same equipment/weaponry in close proximity, compromised crash sites, tons of propaganda, lots of interested parties seeking to maximize the tragedy for political gain, corrupt authorities all around. Not an ideal situation for objective fact finding to say the least. With the 1MBD scandal and investigation still ongoing I have no doubts the Malaysians are probably looking for leverage and bargaining chips where ever they can find them, further eroding their objectivity and authority in my opinion. Getting to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination will be easier than MH17, but if the truth does come out it will not be owed to the virtues of the Malaysian government. They’ve already shown the world how much they care about airplane crash investigations.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have to tell you, this is an ad hominem argument, which is a violation of our site Policies. You need to deal with the evidence and not attack the source. With MH370, you had a crash of a plane under the control of the carrier, not as a result of an air strike.

      Reply
    2. Ian Perkins

      Quite apart from the ad hominem nature of JerryDenim’s comment (and I disagree with Yves Smith; I think the credibility of sources is relevant), what motive would Malaysia have for siding with Russia/east Ukraine against the west/west Ukraine? Does JerryDenim know of one, or have any suggestions?

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Occam’s Razor: Mahathir has been shown to act with integrity and may actually want to get to the bottom of what occurred. So we can posit that he is not necessarily “siding with Russia” as you state but genuinely hoping to find the truth.

        And let’s contrast Mahathir’s credibility with the Najib’s: After stealing *>$1B* with the help of Goldman and The Clinton Foundation in 1MDB Najib explained that an Arab sheik had *gifted him $860 million*. With $40M in cash found in his wife’s shoes at their house. And should we remark where said Najib is at the moment: in jail.

        Should we also mention the massive, ongoing, multi-faceted, all-encompassing U.S. effort to discredit Russia in every possible imaginable way?

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Yes, Mahathir may actually want to get to the bottom of what occurred. And I can think of 44 reasons why he would want to do so.

          Reply
  4. vlade

    TBH, I have dire doubts on anything Malaysian government says, due to their handling of MH370 where they continue lying in face of hard facts (that doesn’t mean I believe any governmnets on this).

    I believe that the most likely cause is an accidental shooting down, where an inexperienced and untrained separatist crew messed up (this is what you get when even a semi-sophisticated equipment gets to untrained people who are keen to use it).

    For me it fits Occam’s razor the most, and is the only theory which explains the (documented) boasting of the separatists of a large military plane being shot down immediately after the catastrophe.

    Reply
    1. BrainFart

      For me it fits Occam’s razor the most, and is the only theory which explains the (documented) boasting of the separatists of a large military plane being shot down immediately after the catastrophe.

      RIGHT! – that’s what I believed most of the time till now too… and as written in another post here – as you correctly concur – the most logical and easy to explain …

      With the time – more and more details come to light – which quite credibly show – that a lot of stuff here is extremely manipulated … – and at least to me – that kills the most simple “Occam’s razor” logic.

      If such massive manipulations (voice calls, pictures re-dated etc.) are needed – and a lot of stuff still MUST BE kept secret (blackbox voice/telemetry-recs) – it’s crying quite loud ‘foul’ !

      AND – this is genuinely NEWs to me:
      >> reinforcing the German Government’s opposition to the armed attack,
      >> and forcing the Dutch to call off the invasion on July 27.

      completely NEW to me – raises my eyebrows :-) AND …IF someone could find credible details about THAT!!!! – it would be ‘interesting’ ;-)

      Reply
    2. Joe Well

      >>I have dire doubts on anything Malaysian government says

      But on the other side of the scale is the credibility of the US, Dutch and Ukranian security services.

      >>the (documented) boasting of the separatists of a large military plane being shot down immediately after the catastrophe.

      Isn’t that what the Malaysians are trying to debunk by saying the recordings were falsified? (or were they talking about something else?)

      Reply
    3. vidimi

      the malaysians are no doubt lying about mh370 to protect a powerful government. that means that that powerful government is also lying about it. and i suspect the same powerful government is on the other side of the MH17 saga, lying about who shot that one down.

      Reply
    4. vidimi

      also, i remember reading on the guardian that the flight was diverted further north by the ukrainians than its initial flight path. while i cannot find the exact article i am referring to, i found a similar one from july 19, 2014;
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/19/mh17-changing-course-storms-pilot

      key passages

      When it was shot down, the doomed jet was many miles north of the flight paths it had used on previous days to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

      the article then speculates that the plane did so to avoid thunderstorms over the black sea, but offers no evidence of this.

      It also emerged that flight MH17 had initially filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft above Ukrainian territory. On entering Ukrainian airspace, however, the plane’s pilots were instructed to fly at 33,000ft by the local air traffic control due to other traffic. Malaysia Airlines said the pilots had to follow the lead of the local authorities.

      :

      this is evidence enough for me to believe that ukraine has at least partial responsibility for the plane going down, and including one of the main suspects on your investigating team fatally compromises any conclusions it will draw.

      Reply
  5. BrainFart

    hmm … definitely worth to read the article SEVERAL times :-) – just to digest everything.
    … as a german citizen – ‘our’ govmnt’s involvment into this case starts to become ‘quite interesting’ …

    I’ve read now enough details for BOTH versions of the story (Russia did it / Ukr. did it) …
    From the ‘simple logic’ – the ‘Russia did it’ version is actually quite simple and logical.
    But all the other details – (like UKR-radar was all OFF, or the phone-record-manipulations) – just don’t pass the ‘smell test’ … Someone’s hiding quite a lot here … waaay, way too much for my cheap brain…

    If we had a usefull and really ‘free’ press – verifying/investigating those details should be a prio-#1.
    …unfortunately – it won’t happen :-( – but there’s always hope for some leaking ….

    Reply
    1. RalphR

      How is “Russia did it” logical? That part of Ukraine was in the hands of separatists, not “Russia”. “Russia” was not directing their activities. Russia does not want to control the eastern part of Ukraine, which is an economic basket case. But it doesn’t want hostile forces parked on its border.

      Reply
      1. BrainFart

        I think there are enough russian photos from russian cemeteries – to debunk that claim.
        Esp. as the bodies were buried in the ‘reserved for war/military’ areas of the cemeteries.
        just google for pictures “gruz 200 ukraine” … – and look for pictures of cemeteries.
        … and yeah – sure – they were all ‘volunteers’ …

        Reply
        1. RalphR

          Sorry, that’s irrelevant even if true. Even if “Russia” was formally providing troops, as opposed to engaged in a massive wink and nod (a LOT of Russians had relatives in eastern Ukraine, a point you forget re motives and numbers), that’s way way way short of any evidence they were in charge.

          Plus I was wrong on the key point, and it renders your argument moot. From Rev Kev below:

          That territory where the missile was fired from was in Ukrainian hands at the time, not rebels, and those launchers were seen speeding rapidly west after the shooting down.

          Reply
        2. Olga

          This response is non-sensical. Have you been to the cemeteries you mention? Any picture can be posted and a caption written – that is no proof of anything.
          Besides the point being irrelevant to the question of who shot down the plane.
          Now that we have the crime and the five-year cover-up, the simplest explanation is actually the one of a likely false flag operation. Asking ‘cui bono,’ how would Russia or the rebels benefit from shooting down a plane with bunch of Dutch people on board? (Russia historically has had good relations with Holland, Malaysia, too.)
          Lots of terrible stuff happened in Ukraine after the govt changed (courtesy of the west). Have we forgotten about the burning of more than 40 people in Odessa? Or the murders of politicians and journalists?

          Reply
          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I suppose if one believes the West’s preferred version of Putin as some Bond type villain who takes great delight in shooting down planes full of civilians, presumably while stroking a large white cat then I suppose the he dunnit version is the one for you.

            Personally I believe that Putin is not an idiot & would likely have been more interested in putting out that fire than throwing more fuel onto it. As for who has any credibility – the Ukrainians under Porkyschenko with their Neo-Nazi element, would I think be at the bottom of my list & that is without mentioning Neo-Cons with their Noble Lie BS.

            Reply
            1. Olga

              And let’s not forget the appearance of (coordinated) magazine covers of VVP as the devil incarnate – almost in unison, right after the shooting of the plane.

              Reply
    2. fajensen

      IF “Russia did it” don’t you think that the RADAR evidence would be proudly and prominently presented on every channel possible?

      Even if Ukraine are in fact allegedly so totally unbelievably incompetent to not run any military RADAR coverage of an active war zone, then NATO for sure would be running their systems at full capacity: Someone that NATO is always paranoid about might try to sneak a cruise missile or two through all the clutter in Ukraine!

      The whole thing stinks!

      In my opinion, we have leadership, media and intelligence services who are so used to just lying with impunity rather than doing any work, that they have become too bloated, dumb and lazy to even do the shirking with any degree of proficiency. Probably they think that we are not worth the effort of a quality coverup, since they got away with Iraq and all.

      Reply
  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    “Why are you so late”, [Borodai] said…I think [that was] very funny.” That sounds like what happened at the Pan Am 103 site. For some reason yet to be explained over thirty years later, the Royal Air Force air accident investigation team, based at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, found an American military team on site when they landed by helicopter a bit before midnight. The US team took charge even though they were on foreign soil.

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    That was a pretty gutsy move on the Malaysians to send in their own retrieval team for those recorders. I bet that those Malaysian commandos would have a story to tell or two. The danger wasn’t from the rebels however but from the west and their allied Ukrainians. The rebels were more than glad to hand over the records that they found at first opportunity but the information, once in the hands of the west, has been seeping out with all the speed of the translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
    I was following this story very closely at the time and you could see that something was “off” within days. The Russians came out with a press conference and released radar tracks and full & total information. We in the west got – a YouTube link. Seriously. This was just the beginning. There was one clip that came out showing moving trucks that proved that the Russians did it – until someone woke up to the fact that the trees in the background were in the winter season whereas that jet was shot down in high summer. And so it went on.
    There was a very slow walk to stop people going to the crash site. One Australian couple who lost someone went there in spite of the efforts of our government to stop them. Another time an official visit had to be cancelled as the area was being shelled – by the Ukrainians. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that there was a whole pack of dogs that were seriously not barking. A link from this page talks about how there is a silence when MH17 got hit. I have heard recordings of aircraft that went down and there is usually something – a bang, crumpling, warning calls, shouts – but here there was nothing.
    That story about Australia wanting to send 3,000 troops was weird. That is a very large force for Australia and it would have taken weeks to put together a joint US/Dutch/Australian Task Force to go into the rebel area but you would have been talking about heavy casualties and risks of severe escalation with a nuclear Russia. Having said that, Tony Abbott was Prime Minister of the time and Julie Bishop was his Foreign minister and they are both hard right politicians (now both thankfully gone) and may have been entertaining such thoughts.
    My belief is that this was an operation to try and retrieve the situation in the Ukraine for the west. The US alone spent over $5 billion on this coup but Russia grabbed the crown jewels of Crimea (with its naval bases & off-shore gas fields) and eastern Ukraine which has a border with Russia. That territory where the missile was fired from was in Ukrainian hands at the time, not rebels, and those launchers were seen speeding rapidly west after the shooting down. Ask yourself – who benefited from this tragedy and that will tell you where to go looking for answers. Maybe, like happened with the Meuller investigation, Russian legal representations should show up in a court of law and start demanding the discovery process of all the evidence. Now that could get interesting.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Love your work RevKev, but one quibble: Russia did not “grab” the crown jewel of Crimea. They had an election in Crimea that the UN stated was free and open, and when >90% of the population voted to rejoin Russia they did so without a single shot being fired.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Actually you are perfectly correct. That election result was solid and showed that the Crimeans did not want to do anything with the neonazis in Kiev. A major reason for that coup was to turn Crimea into a massive NATO base with tactical nuclear weapons installed plus the benefit of taking the gas-fields off shore from there to get their money back on their $5 billion “investment” in this coup.
        Actually there were a few shots fired. Two sides met up and one or two men were killed but both sides quickly realized that the shots were coming from another direction on the part of someone who was trying to get a firefight going. In a slack moment, I try to envision what it would have been like if US Special Forces had tried to do the takeover instead of the “little green men. Yeah, no!

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  8. Camp Lo

    Rebels were the first to respond to the crash scene, recording themselves with a camcorder. The rebels were convinced they had shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet and were searching for a pilot that would have ejected. The rebels then thought a fighter downed the airliner and they downed the fighter. Their commander speaking in both Russian and Ukrainian tells the rebels to stop filming and clear the area of civilians. The footage was aired by News Corp Australia.

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    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, I remember watching those films. I saw this big, bearded rebel pick up a child’s doll, showed it to the camera as in “Do you see this s***?”, put it reverently back where he found it, and then crossed himself in a Orthodox blessing. So the western media took a screen shot of that rebel holding that child’s doll and put a caption underneath that the rebel was boasting of the plane being shot down. As for that footage, I live in Oz and I am here to state that I would sooner trust CNN or Fox News before would I put any trust in News Corp Australia, especially their propaganda unit “60 Minutes Australia”.

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      1. RBHoughton

        I fully agree with you Your Grace. In fact I’d go further and indict the entire MSM with a handful of exceptions (Reuters, FT and the like). They appear to have abandoned their duty to report the news in preference for circulating opinions of doubtful merit.

        I am reliant on the new digital press for information. The people operating the new digital sites are usually former staff of the MSM who got sacked for economy when owners adopted the new role that the quasi-fascist move of commerce and industry assigned to them – joining advertisers and PR men in creating a new reality for the promotion of their preferred ideology.

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  9. Carolinian

    If memory serves the late Robert Parry of Consortium News claimed to have USG sources who said the missile was a Buk fired by Ukrainian, not separatist troops. And I believe that Russia has said the rocket engine serial number from the investigation’s evidence is for a Buk sold long ago to the Ukrainians.

    Of course Western sources will say the Russians have no credibility but then they don’t either–the fog of propaganda war.

    The good news is that the criminal coup regime in Kiev seems to have been decisively defeated with Sunday’s election according to MOA in Links. Perhaps this particular branch of the New Cold War–which the Obama regime was so very much responsible for–will begin to find peace.

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  10. Mattski

    Wish I had world enough and time to follow this through with all of you very bright, obviously keyed-in people. This is my first exposure to any of this, but it looks like–gleaning from the above–a Ukrainian separatist force accidentally shot down the plane while playing with a new toy, and the US-led expeditionary venture was cobbled up in order to use the misadventure as pretext to thwart Russian expansionist aims, to pretend to thwart them, whatever? Would that be an accurate reading? Under Obama. (God save our liberal former King; clearly, he could do no wrong.) Underlying, I see a frightful coordination of nutjobs from all these countries merrily moving against Russia. . . why again? To keep the arms machine pumping? Why isn’t Gorby on a permanent world tour telling these a**holes off? How much did he cost? Those who say it’s a miracle we haven’t blown one another to smithereens ten times over since WWII are obviously right.

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    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      . . a Ukrainian separatist force accidentally shot down the plane while playing with a new toy, and the US-led expeditionary venture was cobbled up in order to use the misadventure as pretext to thwart Russian expansionist aims, to pretend to thwart them, whatever?

      As The Rev Kev pointed out up-thread, a 3,000 man expeditionary force is a lot for Australia to have mustered together, moved 9,300 miles, and had them ready for action in a matter of hours. This begs the appalling question of whether the troop movement had been in preparation for days or even weeks and the powers that be were aware that some deadly provocation was going to happen?

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  11. Synoia

    Too many parties with agendas for any clarity.

    Why bring this up now, so long after the tragedy?

    Especially if Malaysia had initial possession of the black boxes.

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    1. Ian Perkins

      Why bring this up now? “Last month, at the JIT press conference in The Netherlands on June 19, the Malaysian representative present, Mohammed Hanafiah Bin Al Zakaria, one of three Solicitors-General of the Malaysian Attorney General’s ministry, refused to endorse for the Malaysian Governnment the JIT evidence or its charges against Russia.” I guess that’s partly why. It may have been a long time ago, but it hasn’t gone away as an international issue.

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    2. False Solace

      Maybe because of this: MH17: Four charged with shooting down plane over Ukraine, 19 Jun 2019

      “Although they did not push the button themselves, we suspect them of close co-operation to get the [missile launcher] where it was, with the aim to shoot down an aeroplane.”

      If a tape recording was falsified and various other shady dealings took place, that seems to have bearing on the court case.

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      1. Rhondda

        Thank you for this posting of Helmer, Yves. And thank you for sharing that link, False Solace. The twisted kayfabe seems infinite. The karma, too. One can only recoil in disgust and dismay. Perhaps one day there will be real justice.

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  12. mauisurfer

    Praises to the Malaysian government and its commandos for their courage and integrity.
    Praises to John Helmer for covering this story more thoroughly than any other correspondent.
    Remember, the USA had satellites covering this area, and has pics of everything that happened, but has refused to share them.

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    1. jo6pac

      Amerika also had an AWAC and Navy Cruiser near by that could see everything going on it’s radar screens.

      All we get is silence.

      Thanks for posting this NC

      Reply
  13. Camp Lo

    This conflagration is the result of two incompatible world views that are fraught with friction. The US, and to ever lesser extents, Western Europe, see the world on ideological terms in degrees of individual autonomy. The US takes a “Devil may care” attitude toward the results of such governance so long as allied national gov’t and military stay in their lanes, and trade is conducted with de minimus interference. This type of leadership is novel and is still being beta tested. This is a rejection of the historical 19th and 20th century precedents by which the Russia Federation continues statecraft: spheres of influence. Russia believes there is a geographical center and a periphery, and leadership is duty-bound as custodian of these inherited boundaries. Given the length of Russia’s borders, this is serious business. Order is valued, change and ambiguity are not. Russia is of the position that it has had authority over the Ukrainian people for 200 years and will continue to do so regardless of whether the international community recognizes these levers. However, Russia’s frontiers are becoming more porous, the ethnic authority more heterogeneous. Contrast this with the US’s military dominance in far-off outposts, all the while the US’s political center is dissolving in a media acid bath.

    There’s the rub. Two states, as they live and breathe, that personify each the other’s national security nightmares. Russia is shoulder to shoulder with many different national identities who remember the extent of their historical powers. Yet, Russia’s GDP is ranked just below South Korea, defense budgets amount to bupkis. So, Russia is going to have to get creative by playing all sides. The US’s albatross is that domestic political leadership is loony tunes, the center has not held, and US is rollerblading fist-first in all directions. Just wing’in it from here on in.

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  14. marku52

    The amazing thing to me was 5 years on, pieces of the plane are still laying in the weeds, and in people’s barns.

    A real investigation would have painstakingly reassembled every single piece, as they are all evidence of what occurred.

    They didn’t bother to do this? It’s not a real investigation.

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    1. mauisurfer

      Please provide a citation for your statement that “pieces of the plane are still laying in the weeds. I believe you are mistaken.
      Suggestion: google “MH17 reconstruction”
      You will find many pictures of the reconstruction.

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      1. The Rev Kev

        Where is the rest of it? All I am seeing is just a part of the forward section. I don’t see the wings or the rest of the fuselage. Certainly the rebels made offers to help the west remove all sections of that plane. At the same time, I note that they were extremely careful to photograph and map every single bit of that plane so that any removed pieces of evidence could not be “modified” afterwards. Shouldn’t such an infamous crash call for total reconstruction?
        I thought it noteworthy, but did not mention previously, that when that second Boeing 737 MAX crashed the Ethiopians absolutely refused to hand over the black boxes to the US for analysis. But now in this article is an account from 5 years ago when again the US was trying to grab the black boxes from a crash site but were thwarted. So the deduction is that years ago that something happened when some black boxes were sent to the US for analysis that became well known in aviation circles and not in a good way either.

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  15. marku52

    Did you look at the video? There were pulling pieces out from all over the place. There is a reconstruction but it is very incomplete, given how much is still laying in the weeds.

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    1. mauisurfer

      I am not here to argue, but I notice that you did NOT provide a citation for your statement.
      I will restate known facts:
      All the pieces were retrieved long ago and assembled.
      You can see the bullet holes in the cockpit, which obviously were not the result of a BUK missile, they had to be from fighter/interceptor plane(s), as seen by witnesses interviewed by BBC.
      (I am not saying there was not a BUK missile attack too.)

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  16. marku52

    Jeez. go look at the video. People are tripping over the stuff.

    Done here until you go look at the video.

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  17. Camp Lo

    I wonder if the Malayasian “National *Sekurity* Council”, whose seal seen in the above document close-up freeze-frame, is related to the “Malaysian National Security Council”, given the forged “National ‘Sekurity’ Council” seal features the Malaysian Coat of Arms, and NOT the actual “Malaysian National Security Council” seal, which features the Malaysian flag? Talk about bunco. Does anybody take pride in their forged paperwork anymore? I believe those identically-sized seals were prefabricated before the paperwork was executed, contrary to best practices and good faith diplomacy, to legitimize Donetsk as a state to avoid criminal liability. The counterparty at this, dare I say, Potemkin news conference, Alexander Borodai, appears to be a Muscovite. This is a case where I was willing to consider Ukrainian culpability, but for having seen in the pipeline this meandering RT-produced “documentary” that just asks the wrong questions so that the liable do not have to provide answers. But today, I have time.

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  18. viscaelpaviscaelvi

    My approach in conversations about this case is as follows:
    You have a plane that goes down and there are two possible culprits: Russia (by interposition), and the Ukraine.
    You have a JIT that works by consensus (i.e. any member has veto power) and that, since Ukraine is one of its members, can’t possibly blame Ukraine for the incident.
    You are left with Russia as the only possible culprit.
    And yet five years after the incident they still haven’t produced their final report.
    Conclusion: they don’t have proof that Russia did it.

    It is easier than going into endless debates discussing Bellingcat-supplied evidence and you can enjoy your desert having left this subject behind.

    Reply
    1. mauisurfer

      Important to remember:
      MH17 was the reason that Obama gave when he seized 2 Russian government diplomatic compounds in USA and expelled 30(?) Russian diplomats from USA. The properties have not been returned.

      Reply
  19. ricardo2000

    We are supposed to believe that NATO and the US wouldn’t be most interested in Russian air defences. In particular, anti-aircraft radar and missiles, and all communications between front-line units and their Russian commanders. Hostile militaries the world over routinely approach enemy coastlines, fleets, installations, and field military units. This is done for the sole purpose of activating defensive preparations, including, most importantly, scanning and targeting radar. We are supposed to believe that the US military didn’t task every available intelligence asset to surveil their most dangerous opponent’s military, while this military is in the field engaged in hot combat, with every system active and broadcasting. The BUK missile system, along with the S-300 and S-400, plus every other civilian and military radar source would have been targeted in real time by every resource available. The opportunity to compare surveillance intercepts with on site observations of Ukrainian equipment would be invaluable.
    It is obvious that this surveillance wouldn’t be missed without Pentagon ranks being thinned afterwards, by firing squad.

    That we have had no civilian or military video of rocket contrail, or exploding plane and debris, is also telling. But the investigators can find civilian photos of the BUK battery moving through Russia to the alleged launch site. I think a 30000 foot rocket contrail would be visible for 50 to 100 kilometres. I would expect infrared video matched with radar and signals intelligence intercepts of the rockets broadcast telemetry.

    So independent evidence does exist in US/NATO hands. It isn’t being released because it shows the Ukrainians shooting down the MH-17 airplane as it was deliberately directed to fly through a combat zone.

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