Germans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case

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A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

Exclusive: For months, Western governments and media have accused Russia of supplying the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 people. But now German intelligence has reportedly determined the missile came from a Ukrainian military base, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry, Consortiumnews

The West’s case blaming Russia for the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last July appears to be crumbling as the German foreign intelligence agency has concluded that the anti-aircraft missile battery involved came from a Ukrainian military base, according to a report by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The Obama administration and other Western governments have pointed the finger of blame at Russia for supposedly supplying a sophisticated BUK missile system to ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine who then allegedly used the weapon on July 17 to shoot down what they thought was a Ukrainian military plane but turned out to be Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 people onboard.

The Russians denied providing the rebels with the weapon and the rebels denied shooting down the plane. But the tragedy gave the U.S. State Department the emotional leverage to get the European Union to impose tougher economic sanctions on Russia, touching off a trade war that has edged Europe toward a new recession.

But now the narrative has shifted. The German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, asserted that while it believes rebels were responsible for shooting down the plane, they supposedly did so with an anti-aircraft battery captured from a Ukrainian military base, according to Der Spiegel.

The BND also concluded that photos supplied by the Ukrainian government about the MH-17 tragedy “have been manipulated,” Der Spiegel reported. And, the BND disputed Russian government claims that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to MH-17 just before it crashed, the magazine said.

None of the BND’s evidence to support its conclusions has been made public — and I was subsequently told by a European official that the evidence was not as conclusive as the magazine article depicted.

Der Spiegel said the information given to members of a parliamentary committee on Oct. 8 included satellite images and other photography. What’s less clear, however, is how the BND could determine the precise command-and-control of the anti-aircraft missile system amid the chaotic military situation that existed in eastern Ukraine last July.

At the time, the Ukrainian army and allied militias were mounting an offensive against ethnic Russian rebels who were resisting a U.S.-backed coup regime that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February, touching off what quickly became a nasty civil war.

Spearheading Kiev’s summer offensive were pro-government militias, some of which were filled with neo-Nazi extremists and financed by Ukrainian billionaire oligarchs including Ihor Kolomoisky, who had been appointed governor of the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Region. The ethnic Russian rebels also were a disorganized lot with poor command and control.

Rushing to Anti-Russian Judgment

Yet, the Obama administration was quick to pin the blame for the MH-17 crash on Russia and the rebels. Just three days after the crash, Secretary of State John Kerry went on all five Sunday talk shows fingering Russia and the rebels and citing evidence provided by the Ukrainian government through social media.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory asked, “Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?”

Kerry: “There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Kerry’s Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment.”]

But some U.S. intelligence analysts offered conflicting assessments. After Kerry’s TV round-robin, the Los Angeles Times reported on a U.S. intelligence briefing given to several mainstream U.S. news outlets. The story said, “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector,’”]

A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that some analysts had concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appeared Ukrainian government forces were to blame, although possibly a unit operating outside the direct command of Ukraine’s top officials.

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MH17 Verdict: Real Evidence Points to US-Kiev Cover-up of Failed False Flag

 

  • Until this past Monday, the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17th, 2014, was a potential game changer for global geopolitics and the New Cold War. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin…

  •  By 21ST CENTURY WIRE

    In this report, we will lay out the facts based on a wide breadth of available information and data surrounding MH17. We will also present and give critique to Washington and Kiev’s “mountain of evidence” that has saturated US and European-based media coverage since the incident took place. 21WIRE has compiled this report with the help of many contributors and references from English-speaking media, as well as material translated from Russian and Ukrainian media sources, along with other historical references to provide context. Our objective is to get as close to the truth as possible. Although many revelations will appear to be self-evident, we still encourage the public to draw there own conclusions regarding this pivotal event.

    There are other well-known anomalies surrounding this event which have been covered at 21WIRE, as well as connections to MH370, but for the purposes of this investigation we will focus on both factual and speculative evidence brought forth by the US, Ukraine and Russia

    As we will clearly demonstrate, the only wild conspiracy theories being pushed right now, are those coming out of the US State Department, and the government in Kiev, Ukraine, which are being repeated by CNN, BBC, FOX-NewsCorp, ABC, CBS and NBC…

  • The Brink of War 

    Last Monday morning was not a pleasant one for the US State Department. Russian officials surprised Washington and its NATO partners when it released all available satellite imagery and air traffic control data which was recorded in and around the final minutes of Flight MH17 – and presented it to the world media on live television. The data painted a very different picture, drawing contrasting conclusions to what Washington and Kiev officials had been disseminating via western media since July 17th. Following their presentation, Moscow handed its findings – air traffic data and time stamped satellite imagery – to European authorities. We will review those findings in detail later in this report. In stark contrast, US officials have been reluctant to do the same. Is Washington willing to share any object data or evidence to the public, or is it only interested in sharing that which somehow fits into the same predetermined narrative it stood by on July 17th, one which already assigned guilt to both rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine and Russia?We hope that political leaders and media organizations in the US and Europe will take the time to consider all available information, rather than simply repeat and spin what is bouncing around the media echo chamber. It’s also crucial to understand the geopolitical context in which this incident has occurred in order to discover who really possessed the motive, and the means to destroy this passenger aircraft, and which parties stand to benefit most from such an international incident.

    After reviewing the evidence, all indicators points to the downing of MH17 as a highly coordinated, but failed false flag event.

    MH17: A Doomed Flight Path

    A Malaysian Airlines spokesman has already confirmed that, for some unknown reason, Kiev-based Ukrainian Air Traffic Control (ATC) ordered MH17 off of its original flight path along the international air route, known as L980.

    Most likely, this order was given to pilots while MH17 was still in Polish air space. L980 is one of the most popular and most congested air routes in the world, as well as a key link between major international hubs in Europe, like London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol, and Frankfurt, and Asian destinations, like Singapore, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

    MH-17-FLight-Path

    As MH17 moved into Ukrainian air space, it was moved by ATC Kiev approximately 200 miles north – putting it on a new course, heading directly into a war zone, a well-know dangerous area by now – one that’s hosted a number of downed military craft over the previous 3 weeks.

    Robert Mark, a commercial pilot and editor of Aviation International News Safety magazine, confirmed that most Malaysia Airlines flights from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur would normally travel along a route significantly further south than the route MH17 was diverted onto. Data on all airline flight records can be found here.

     

    The BBC reported on July 17th: “Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.”

    Independent investigators are worried that ATC audio records of the MH17 flight appear to have been confiscated by the Kiev government. No reason has been given for this loss of transparency, but not a word from Washington regarding this cover-up of crucial evidence.

    Did this order to change the flight path come from the Ukrainian authorities? Was the pilot instructed to change course? To be sure, the order to change the flight path did not come from Eurocontrol, but rather from ATC in Kiev.

    Clue: British media run interference by conjuring a “Storm”

    Soon after the incident, British news outlets began floating the story – without evidence, that MH17 was diverted to “avoid thunderstorms in southern Ukraine”. This was also placed on Wikipedia at the same time. Nico Voorbach, who is Dutch, is president of the European Cockpit Association, and was the man used to nudge out this talking point. Voorbach casually slides this crucial fabrication out there, telling The Guardian of all papers, “”I heard that MH17 was diverting from some showers as there were thunderclouds”.

    The only problem is that Malaysian Airlines immediately refuted this in a report from Malaysia News:

    “MAS operations director Captain Izham Ismail has also refuted claims that heavy weather led to MH17 changing its flight plan.

    “There were no reports from the pilot to suggest that this was the case,” Izham said.

    What is significant, however, is that the Western media acknowledged that the change in the flight path did occur, and the that “heavy weather” narrative is a fabrication.

    Global Research clarifies this confusing issue:

    “The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.”

    “What this statement confirms is that the MH17 ‘s “usual flight path” was similar to the flight paths of some 150 international flights which cross Eastern Ukraine on a daily basis. According to Malaysian Airlines “The usual flight route [across the sea of Azov] was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions (that approved flight path is indicated in the maps below).”

    The regular flight path of MH17 (and other international flights) over a period of ten days prior to July 17th ( day of the disaster), crossing Eastern Ukraine in a southeasterly direction is across the Sea of Azov.

    The Times of India reported this: “Minutes before the crash caused by a missile strike, the AI pilots had also heard the controller give the Malaysian aircraft MH17 what is called “a direct routing”. This permits an aircraft to fly straight, instead of tracking the regular route which is generally a zig-zag track that goes from one ground-based navigation aid or way point to another. “Direct routing saves fuel and time and is preferred by pilots. In this case, it proved fatal,” said an airline source.”

  • Flight-Path

  • UPDATE TBC: A number of bloggers have reported that the past flights on FlightRadar and FlightAware were changed between July 24-25th, the new “old flights” were placed over the Donetsk People’s Republic instead of the flights going further south. This does not jibe with what was reported last week by researcher Vagelis Karmiros using data from flight-tracking website Flightaware and published on a number established sites like Zero Hedge. Stay tuned here for updates.

    The Event

    The fatal event occurred somewhere in the interval between 17:21:28 and 17:22:30 Moscow Time. The exact time of the crash is believed to be at 5:23pm. The last available geographic coordinates can be found here on Flight Radar24:

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Last positions of directly from Flightradar24 database. Signal was lost around 13:21 UTC at 33,000 feet.

Weather and Visibility Factor

Kiev-based air traffic controllers not only led MH17 right over its alleged ‘target zone’ in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, but also helped make it visible.

Although weather data online is all but unavailable for the area of Donetsk, Ukraine for July 17th, conditions are evident by numerous videos depicting the crash and crash site in the aftermath – it was cloudy and overcast, with more visibility above the cloud canopy. This factor is important because at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), the airliner would not be visible from the ground in the rebel-held area where Washington is insisting a SAM missile was launched. Why Kiev air traffic controllers order MH17 to suddenly drop its altitude, from 35,000 feet to 33,000 feet, just before the plane’s demise is unknown for sure, but it would have been near impossible for the alleged rebel gunman occupying this relatively small rebel-held patch of land to make a visual sighting of MH17 and acquire the target during the 1-2 minute window they would have had (assuming they were even in possession of the BUK missile system).

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was cruising just 1,000 feet above restricted airspacewhen it was struck by a missile in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, according to aviation and intelligence officials.


To date, Kiev has refused to acknowledge or explain why the plane was moved into position in this way. Moreover, Interfax news agency reported that Ukraine’s SBU security service confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew immediately after the incident.

The probability that this is all an ‘unfortunate coincidence’ reduces to near zero when one considers the air traffic data and Kiev’s denial of the close proximity of its Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet in pursuit of MH17 minutes before the crash (see ‘Aircraft in the Vicinity’ below).

Small Rebel Target Window

Much has been made by the US and its media of MH17 being shot down and crashing in “the rebel-held area”, but few are aware of just how small the said area actually is. The Ukrainian military had already isolated the rebel area which Kiev and Washington insist a rebel-controlled BUK SAM missile battery had fired on the passenger jet. The actual size of this rebel-held patch is only 40-50 miles wide, with MH17 approaching on a southeastern route over Horlivka, the frontline of this rebel-held zone, towards Snezhnoye (Snizhne). Cruising at 58o mph (933 kmph), MH17 would have only been visible for a very short time – just over 1 minute (if Kiev had not ordered MH17 to alter its course and altitude then it would not have been visible at all), from the vantage point of the alleged rebel firing position. According the Jane’s Defense, the alleged cluprit – an SA-11 (NATO code name) or ‘BUK’ missile system, requires 5 minutes set-up active targeting, followed by an additional 22 seconds ‘reaction time’ for target acquisition and firing. As the MH17 was only visible for 70 seconds above this rebel-held area surrounding Grabovo, unless the alleged rebel firing position was specifically tracking MH17 long before it entered the rebel-held airspace and could distinguish it from other military civilian aircraft also in the general vicinity, Washington’s theory and Kiev’s accusation – that rebels shot down this aircraft becomes even weaker.

Considering these factors, the probability increases greatly that targeting MH17 would have had to be premeditated far in advance of the 70 seconds it was visible above this particular rebel-held area.

Russian Satellite Data and Public Presentation

On Monday, the Russian government, with almost every major global media outlet in attendance, released all of its air traffic data and satellite imaging data (in fact, only part of it) – all verifiable, including time stamps and supporting data. The entire content of the presentation was also handed over to the European authorities. The conclusions to be drawn from this are stunning, to say the least. Despite the public release of this information, US and British media outlets did report back to its people on these findings. They are as follows:

Minutes before the downing of MH17, the plane made a mysterious ‘Left Turn’ as it flew over the Donetsk area at approximately 5:20pm Moscow time, making a sharp 14km deviation, before attempting to regain its previous course before dropping altitude disappearing from radar at 5:23pm. As we previously pointed out, air traffic controllers in Kiev had already diverted MH17 200 miles further north into the target zone, so the question remains: was Kiev ATC also responsible for this final, fatal diversion, or is there another reason for this unusual turn (see ‘Mysterious Left Turn’, below)?

According to clear satellite images provided, on July 16th, the Ukrainian Army positioned 3-4 anti-aircraft BUK M1 SAM missile batteries close to Donetsk. These systems included full launching, loading and radio location units, located in the immediate vicinity of the MH17 crash site. One system was placed approximately 8km northwest of Lugansk. In addition, a radio location system for these Ukrainian Army missile batteries is situated 5km north of Donetsk. On July 17th, the day of the incident, these batteries were moved to a position 8km south of Shahktyorsk. In addition to this, two other radio location units are also identified in the immediate vicinity. These SAM systems had a range of 35km distance, and 25km altitude.

From July 18th, after the downing of MH17, Kiev’s BUK launchers were then moved away from the firing zone.

Unlike rebel fighters, the Ukrainian military is in possession of some 27 BUK missile systems capable of bringing down high-flying jets, and forensic satellite imagery places at least 3 of their launchers in the Donetsk region on the day of this tragedy. Yet, Washington and NATO will not inquire about the possibility that any of these system had targeted MH17.

Watch the official video here:

This is a definitive smoking gun: why did the Ukrainian Army move these short-range anti-aircraft SAM missile batteries into position on July 16-17th – to an interior region of East Ukraine where it’s known that the rebel resistance possess no air crafts whatsoever? Not surprisingly, both the US and Kiev have not answered that difficult question, perhaps for obvious reasons.

In addition, the Ukrainian Army’s radio location traffic near Donetsk peaked on the 16th and 17th, including a total of 9 separate radio location systems active. On the 18th and 19th of July, radio location traffic from these stations dropped sharply, down to 4 stations. If, as Washington/Kiev claims, rebels fired a BUK missile at MH17, then the rebel radar location signals would be clearly noted and verifiable on the day; only, they are not.
MH17-MAP

All Aircraft in the Vicinity

Between 5pm-6pm Moscow Time on July 17th, the following aircraft have been identified in the general vicinity of MH17 on its course heading to its fatal destination of Grabovo:

1. Boeing 772 – traveling southeast from Copenhagen to Singapore at 5:17pm
2. Boeing 778 – traveling southeast from Paris to Taipei at 5:24pm
3. Boeing 778 – traveling northwest from Delhi to Birmingham circa 5:20pm
4. Boeing 777 – Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at 5:17pm
5. Su-25 Ukrainian Fighter Jet appears on radar, trailing MH17 at same altitude, est. 4km behind it at 5:21pm

Note: the pilots and passengers of Singapore Airlines Flight SIA351 were close enough to have visually observed, at high altitude, the demise of MH17.

At 5:20pm MH17 began to abruptly lose speed, eventually slowing to 124mph (200kmph). At this time, a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet appears on ATC radar and trailing MH17 on the same flight path approximately 2-3km behind MH17, and at the same altitude – only minutes before MH17 disappeared on radar. The Su-25 would not have been visible on ATC radar before it broke the ATC long-range standby radar tracking ceiling of 5km in altitude. Civilian ATC radar would not be able to identify this Su-25 as military because no secondary detection system is mounted – typical for military aircraft. Note also that the Su-25 is armed with air-to-air missiles with a range of 5km-12km. Over the next four minutes, the Ukrainian fighter remained in the area.

Another Smoking Gun: Kiev government officials insisted on July 17th that, “No military aircraft were available in the region”. Based on available data detailed above, this appears to be a lie, indicating that a cover-up was taking place.

Again, it’s important to note here that at the moment when MH17 was allegedly was hit for the first time, at around 5:23pm Moscow time, the passenger jet was also within the range of several Ukrainian BUK batteries deployed close to Donetsk and as well as the Ukrainian Army’s BUK system positioned on the day just 8km south of Shakhterskoye, only a few miles from the eventual crash site at Grabovo.

SU-25UB UCRANIA 60 NUEVO CAMO 1

IMAGE: A Ukrainian military Su-25 fighter jet carries air-to-air missiles.

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FLIGHT MH17 – Kiev Flash Mob’s Final False Flag?

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By Andrew McKillop, 21ST CENTURY WIRE

The downing of Flight MH17 means that Washington’s gang are on the war path again. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain and even Hillary Clinton – are all insisting that the west has to ‘get tougher’ with Russia. Was this the plan all along?

With little or no evidence to back their claims (déjà vu Syria), the usual suspects and their media moguls are pointing the finger at Russia again. With so much going on in the US and to its special friends in other parts of the world, this crisis event could not have come at a better time. Is this the Kiev Flash Mob’s final card from its dealer at Pennsylvania Ave?

Escalating to War

As any keen observer of the event will tell you, nothing about Washington’s version of events adds up.

Reactions were predictable. Financial markets reacted with a predictable knee-jerk massive gold­ and­ oil price spike, to news of the mid-­air destruction by missile or (theoretically­ only) by an on-board bomb explosion, of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 near Donetsk in Ukraine. The recent ­model Boeing 777 is said to have had 298 persons on board, all of whom died. Known data on the flight, until it suddenly went off-­air, is that the flight was progressing normally at the plane’s design cruise speed (about 0.84 Mach or 1000 kilometres/hour), and its normal cruise altitude of 10,000 metres or 33,000 feet.

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IMAGE: Pristine, identifiable piece of MH17 (Photo: Life News)

Ground­based missiles (SAM) able to completely destroy a plane with a takeoff weight near 250 tons, with more than 100 tons of fuel on board, at 10,000 metres height, flying at 0.84 Mach are unlikely to be in the hands of ‘pro-­Russian’ rebels in eastern Ukraine. So­called MANPADS or shoulder-launched air defence missile systems like the US ‘Stinger’ or French ‘Mistral’ have a maximum altitude around 4,000 metres for destroying or in the case of large airplanes, severely damaging enemy aircraft.Air-­to-­air missiles (AAM) also able to completely destroy large aircraft at high altitudes need highly sophisticated airplanes, pilots and ground radar support, which are totally outside rebel capacities. The only unknown on the military technology side, therefore, is whether the pro-Russian rebels possess sophisticated SAM air defence missiles, or not.SAM systems have been used in the past by Ukrainian military to destroy civil airliners – by error – and include the advanced BUK air defence system, which has been continually developed firstly by the ex-­USSR, then by Russia since 1979 to counter similar materiel in the NATO countries.Incredibly, Kiev spokespersons immediately claimed that BUK missiles had been used by the rebels to destroy the Malaysian plane, set a false flag, and further “up the ante” in the escalating civil war process. There evidence for this claim is less than impressive – a 5 second YouTube video, seen here.

Proving that Kiev, under the direction of the CIA (the CIA have set-up a station occupying the entire top floor of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in Kiev) later the same day, Thursday 17 July, they claimed that Russia had used its aviation and AAM weapons to destroy the jetliner. Normally, this would hurt the credibility of Kiev’s finger-pointing, but this was completely black-out of US media and State Department reports, or ‘memory holed’ for expediency of the prevailing narrative being managed by Washington DC.

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‘An Airborne Lusitania’

The motive for this cynical and criminal act – destroying a civil jetliner – underscores the role of “false flags” to rouse and manipulate public opinion in the supposedly “neutral” US and the EU28 countries. Drawing their political leaderships into the next – international – phase of the Ukrainian civil war is “logical” for the Kiev flash mob government given its lack of success, either military or political, in obtaining full control of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Cynically destroying a large civil airliner and killing nearly 300 people is, to be sure, “war logic” but as the 1915 Lusitania incident showed, these incidents can spark a one­-way process to all­-out international war.Single incidents of deliberate attack on civil transport able to cause or accelerate the declaration of war by previously neutral countries due to the death of their citizens in the attack include the renowned Lusitania maritime incident of May 1915. The British asset Lusitania passenger ship traveling from New York to Liverpool, was sunk off Ireland, allegedly by a German U-­boat with 138 Americans among the 1198 total of persons killed. Following this incident it became politically impossible for US President Woodrow Wilson, who had sought to stay neutral, to avoid declaring war against Germany.As we know today, the US political stance on the Ukrainian civil war is that of outright hostility towards Russia and the ‘pro­-Russian’ rebels seeking some level of either recognition or autonomy from the pro-fascist and NATO-backed regime which came to power by a Flash Mob and paramilitary coup in February.


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