Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE)- After four years Dutch prosecutors have issue an interim report on the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner MH17 on the 17th July 2014, in which 298 people died. There were no survivors. Two thirds of those killed were Dutch. The Dutch Safety Board concluded in an October 2015 report that the Boeing 777 was struck by a Russian-made Buk missile. Prosecutors now claim that a Russian military unit was the source of the missile.
This information is apparently based on social media sources from the internet. Investigations continue.
Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the Defense Ministry as saying in a statement. “Not a single air defense missile launcher of the Russian Armed Forces has ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border,”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the findings had been based on fake data presented by bloggers, and that Moscow’s information regarding the case had been largely ignored. “This is an example of baseless accusations aimed at discrediting our country in the eyes of the international community,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Dutch prosecutors allege the airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was hit by “a Russian-made” Buk anti-aircraft missile over territory held by pro-Russian separatists.
“The Buk that was used came from the Russian army, the 53rd brigade,” Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Reuters. “We know that was used, but the people in charge of this Buk, we don’t know.”
The prosecutor made his presentation beside the remains of a missile confusingly described as ‘the missile’ under the photographs but did not say it was the missile that shot down MH17. He said that it was manufactured by the Soviet Union 32 years ago according to the serial number. The manufacturers of Buk missiles Almaz-Antey published the results of their own researches in 2015.[i]
The U.S. State Department said the United States had “complete confidence” in the findings and called on Russia to admit its involvement. “It is time for Russia to cease its lies and account for its role in the shoot down,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
A Joint Investigation Team, drawn from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, is gathering evidence for a criminal prosecution in the downing of the plane. However, the investigation has been criticized for its lack of objectivity and transparency.
As with the Skripal poisoning case, the Russian government has not been given access to the enquiry, whereas the Ukrainian government has had control of much of the information used and what is released. The member countries have signed an agreement not to release information from the enquiry unless all members agree, which means the Ukrainian government can stop the release of any information that it does not wish to see in the public domain.
Confidence in the objectivity of the enquiry has not be enhanced by its strong NATO membership. It is not clear why the interim report was issued now. Critics claim it is part of a coordinated US/NATO media campaign to discredit Russia and make reconciliation with Moscow more difficult for Europe. It came during the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum where French President Emmanuel is currently trying to improve French Russian relations. Japanese Prime Minister Abe is also there and has discussed a peace treaty with Russia. Japan and Russia have not yet signed a peace treaty concerning the Second World war.
The destruction of the aircraft was used by the United States to pressure the European Union into adopting sanctions against Russia, which they had previously been reluctant to do. It also came at a time when the Ukrainian army was in grave danger of total defeat at the hands of the separatists in the Donbass. It had the effect of paralyzing the separatist offensive and giving the Ukrainian army a desperately needed breathing space. Those of a conspiratorial frame of mind therefore have no difficulty in claiming that either the aircraft was deliberately shot down as a Black Flag operation or that it was an accident that has been used to discredit Russia and the Ukrainian separatists.
As with the recent Skripal poisoning case in the United Kingdom, the Russian government and Putin personally was blamed within days by the United States and its allies, well before anyone could possibly have known for sure what had happened.[ii]
Unlike the Russian government the United States has refused to release its satellite based information. Nor has the Ukrainian government released the tape recordings from its air traffic controllers. Those skeptical of the official version of events can only wonder why.
No explanation has been given as to why the aircraft was diverted by Ukrainian air traffic controllers 200 kilometer to the south into a war zone.
There is a bizarre video of an interview with the sulphorous Oligarch Komolkoisky in which he seems to suggest that the aircraft was shot down by mistake by unidentified pro-government Ukrainians.[iii]
There is a sensible discussion of the affair one year after it happened on RT’s Cross Talk.[iv]
[i] Manufacturer of BUK missiles disagrees with Dutch official report on MH17 https://www.rbth.com/international/2015/10/14/manufacturer_of_buk_missiles_disagrees_with_dutch_official_rep_50061.html
[ii] State Department spokesperson 22nd July 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQRvINebeok
[iii] Kolomoysky: ‘Sorry about the MH17 – but it is a trifle’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrfKZUttEwE
[iv] CrossTalk: Remembering MH17 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqj3adOIwg