There has been much commentary concerning the downing of the MH17 plane in Ukraine. Strangely enough, whenever the US position is presented it is not backed by credible evidence, but presented as fact nonetheless. The opposite view – that it was not the Russians who shot down the plane, as the actual evidence suggests – has not been presented so often, and when it has action has been taken against those who say it – reports are pulled, journalists have their communications intercepted, etcetera.
Here William F. Engdahl, political expert, who has taken the effort to study the evidence available, beyond social media accounts. He list what is not, shares his opinion of what happened to the Malaysian Airlines plane and gives insight into possible motivations and why the unsubstantial claims do not hold water.
Mr. Engdahl, what have you deduced from examining the evidence concerning this flight?
“The mainstream Western media coverage of the MH17 event is totally lacking the sort of serious, cautious investigative journalism which used to exist only a few years ago. Rather than err on the side of caution before rushing to judgment in a situation that could easily trigger a new Cold War or worse, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and most EU media outlets have simply quoted Kiev government officials as if they were the only credible sources.
“Real journalism would address a number of unanswered questions. According to the initial reports of FlightAware.com, which tracks all civilian aircraft online, on Thursday, July 17 the Malaysian Airways Boeing 777 Flight MH17 from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Kuala Lumphur in Malaysia deviated significantly in altitude and trajectory from all other commercial flights, which since the outbreak of the civil war in eastern Ukraine in April have flown south of the conflict region. So the key questions we need to ask before apportioning blame are:
- Why did the pilot divert from his usual flight plan?
- Why did he fly over restricted airspace?
- What, if any, instructions, did Kiev air control give the pilot in the minutes before the tragic explosion?
Source: screenshot images from FlightAware.com compiled by from Vagelis Karmiros who collated all the recent MH-17 flight paths as tracked by FlightAware and shows that while all ten most recent paths pass safely well south of the Donetsk region, and cross the zone above the Sea of Azov, it was only July 17 MH17 tragic flight that passed straight overhead Donetsk.
“What is curious is that after the FlightAware data was initially published the site changed its version of the trajectory of MH17. Were they pressured to do so? If so, by whom? NATO? Washington? It’s implausible to imagine it could have been pressured by an isolated Russia.”
So what other evidence is available which could provide answers to these questions?
“In a July 21 Washington press briefing, State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland’s press spokesperson, Marie Harf, was asked why, if Secretary John Kerry and the US Government possessed “irrefutable” evidence of Russian and rebel involvement in MH17, were they refusing to make it public, as had been done in earlier instances such as the 1962 Cuba Missile Crisis? Harf merely referred to July 20 statements by Kerry, saying that “our assessment is that this was an SA-11 fired from Russian-backed, separatist-controlled territory.” When pressed again for proof she said that “we saw it in social media afterwards, we saw videos, we saw photos of the pro-Russian separatists bragging about shooting down an aircraft…” She did not explain how she had seen a talking photograph however.
“A day later, on July 22, CNN, a loyal mouthpiece of the State Department, announced that the US Government had now published satellite evidence. It was the drawing below, which any photo-paint novice could have made, showing nothing which could be proven in any independent evidential inquiry:
CNN photo claiming to be US Government satellite image of how and where “pro-Russia rebels” in Ukraine hit MH17
“When this too failed to persuade doubters the Obama Administration went into frantic “damage control” mode. At 5:57 pm Washington time on July 22, they decided to organise an anonymous press briefing by “unnamed senior officials.” This term usually refers to very high level cabinet, or assistant secretary level, officials. These admitted that “the US had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.” They then added that they didn’t know whether any Russian operatives were present at the missile launch and were “not certain” that the missile crew had been trained in Russia. In terms of who fired the missile, they stated, “We don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality…” 1
“The curious thing is that not only do the US agencies have satellite data on the MH17 flight, they also have precise images of the likely rocket battery that fired the missile that destroyed it. But those images clearly show soldiers wearing Ukrainian uniforms. Award-winning former Newsweek journalist Robert Perry had already been told the same by one previously reliable source.
“The burning question is why the US Government has not released the exact tracking images for flight MH-17, which show precisely where it flew and from precisely where it was hit? Could it be they are afraid to reveal what they have because it shows exactly the opposite of what they are saying it does?”
But none of this actually disproves that Russia or the rebels shot down the plane. Why should we not accept the US version, if it can only be suspected, not disproven, on the basis of the evidence available?
“Most of the Obama Administration arguments about who was responsible for downing the MH17 derive from statements made by Kiev government officials. Yet they have lied repeatedly since their US-backed coup d’etat on February 22, 2014 brought them to power.
“Just hours after the news of the downing of the plane, Ukrainian Secret Intelligence released what it claimed was “proof” that the MH17 was shot down by Russian-trained separatists, “militants of the Bes group” using a Russian anti-aircraft missile under direct orders from Russia. This was backed up by what it alleged were recorded conversations, first of all between a pro-Russian separatist and his coordinator Vasyl Geranin, said to be a colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
“That recording shows the two men talking about the “downing of a jet.” But there is no distinction made between civilian and military jet, and they may well be referring to the Ukrainian Su-25 shot down some hours earlier. There is no way to prove the audio is genuine – it could equally be two actors in a studio reading a script given them by Kiev or the CIA.
“All this Kiev “smoking gun” evidence, presented on You Tube, swiftly vanished when diligent IT researchers discovered that the time/date stamp showed that the video was put online on 2014-07-16 at 19:10 pm Kiev time – a full day BEFORE the downing of MH17. So much for the credibility of the Kiev government.”
So who did shoot the plane down?
“Here the waters get very rough and very ugly. The specific area where the fatal missile was fired is not in fact under control of the “pro-Russia rebels”. It is run by a neo-nazi private mercenary army, raised by Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky.
“Kolomoisky stinks of being an asset of the US and Israeli intelligence services, at minimum. He holds both Ukrainian and Israeli passports and runs his business empire from Switzerland, not Kiev, despite being Governor of Dnipropetrovsk oblast in eastern Ukraine. His mercenary army does possess the BUK missiles allegedly used in the shootdown of MH-17, and he has threatened terrorist attacks on Russian-speaking officials in his oblast, and even assassinations.
“Estimated to be the second-richest person in Ukraine, Kolomoisky also has strong connections inside Kiev’s Borispol International Airport, whose air traffic control tower Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops reportedly stormed shortly before MH-17 was shot down. New Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, formerly wanted by Interpol for fraud, was the man who first designated the east Ukraine rebels as “terrorists,” which ostensibly allows him to commit any atrocity against innocent civilians very much as Israel is doing in Gaza today.
“Furthermore, in a personal interview with the Veterans Today Tbilisi Georgia bureau chief Jeffrey Silverman pointed shared with Engdahl the possible complicity of the Inmarsat Company in the MH17. Inmarsat, which lists the Pentagon and US Government as major clients, controls most international air traffic control communications systems. According to Silverman, during the earlier disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 the flight was “lost” due to Inmarsat turning off their signals, and it still refuses today to release the data it has about this flight.
Inmarsat is key to aviation safety through its 24/7/365 Network Operations Security Center (NOSC), highly skilled and cleared personnel maintain onsite Communications Security (COMSEC) capabilities. It works closely with IA certifiers to ensure adherence to all government requirements. Significantly however it employs (U.S. and NATO cleared personnel in support of its customers’ Authority to Operate (ATO), Information Security (INFOSEC) and IA process requirements.
“In an interview just after the downing of MH17, a Spanish national identified only as “Carlos” told ETN, an online news service, that his private evaluation, based on military sources in Kiev, was that the Ukrainian military was behind this shoot down. He said that Kiev radar records were immediately confiscated after it became clear that a passenger jet had been shot down, and all foreign employees of Air Traffic Control in Kiev were sacked immediately.
Carlos also reported that the very same MH17 plane had been escorted by two Ukrainian fighter jets until 3 minutes before it disappeared from radar. We may never hear any more from Carlos though, because just after his report was posted on the internet he disappeared and his social media accounts were wiped, and no one seems to know his whereabouts.
“Kolomoisky’s forces comprise Ukrainian regular military personnel; neo-Nazi units from west Ukraine; foreign mercenaries, including Georgians, Romanians, and white supremacists from Sweden and Germany, and ex-Israel Defence Force Blue Helmet commandos. Georgians in Kolomoisky’s Army have reportedly been trained in the use of the BUK missile systems that the Viktor Yushchenko government sold to then-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Saakashvili has announced that he has been offering “consulting services” in Ukraine, and Kolomoisky has used these as part of his military and political campaign against the breakaway people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“A serious truth-seeking investigation ought to start with Kolomoisky and his international network. But at this point it is clear that the attempt to pin the MH17 atrocity on Putin’s Russia is a classic CIA “false flag” operation, an attempt to try to blame the enemy for what you yourself have actually done, though this has begun to badly backfire.”
Jeffrey Silverman, Bureau Chief for Veterans Today adds, “Many questions can still be raised and it may take many years for the truth to fully come out. It is hard to say with a 100 percent degree of accuracy, if the pilot deviated from his original flight plan, not from what Malaysian Airlines guy was saying immediately after the crash. It is clear that they changed altitude. But to think the decision to fly that route was because it was the most economical route for them (it saved fuel) is only too convenient an excuse.
The Malaysian Airlines spokesman was defending THEIR decision to fly that way and said that other airlines were also crossing over that territory (as corroborated by the Russian radar evidence – there were two other airliners in the vicinity – one going the same way and one flying the other way).
Silverman affirms with a twist of irony, ‘however asking those questions is just setting a person up for a fall. The real question is whether the cockpit was shot through with a 30mm cannon from an SU-25 Frogfoot (or an SU-27), was the change in altitude requested to facilitate a shoot down like that, and where-oh-where are the Air Traffic Control recording & flight record that Kiev confiscated and why hasn’t anyone in the MSM raised bloody hell about that.
Whether the lead investigator has asked for (and possibly obtained by now) the air traffic controller records is unknown. Someone should be asking them. Preliminary data from the Black Box investigation has been promised for this week….”
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics , exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”