MH17 – Haunt the BUK

September 11, 2015

In anticipation of the Dutch Safety Board’s final report expected to be released October 13, it can’t harm to publish the latest research conducted by Michael Kobs and others dissecting social media ‘proof’ a Russian Buk supposedly downed MH17.

PMproblems

From the very beginning this blog has published and integrated all MH17-research Michael Kobs has produced the moment it became available. Two important examples:

Origin of the ‘Buk smoke plume’.
PDF 88 page with calculations (5.8Mb) here

BukPICcompare
Correctiv’s ‘launch site’ debunked.
Included update May 29 Analysis Michael Kobs (53 pages, 7.6Mb )

Snizhnex
New research: “Haunt the BUK”

“This paper is the preliminary result of joint effort and ongoing discussion of an international group of investigators, including engineers, forensic scientists and lawyers.
All findings are based on publicly available sources and are verifiable.”
(Michael Kobs)

Some of the important claims the analysis addresses:

– The Paris Match photos are demonstrably false.

– ‘Sightings’ in social media repeatedly reported details that contradict the facts, leading to the conclusion that social media have been used specifically to create a track in advance.

– Contents of intercepted telephone calls are contrary to the actual events.

– Presented telephone recordings show indications of manipulation.

Complete 85 pages PDF-version* download 9.34Mb here

Project ¨Haunt the BUK¨ is also discussed here:
Paris Match BUK-photo decisively debunked

Compare:

The official investigation’s presentation “call for witnesses”

“An international joint investigation team, in which Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine take part, is conducting a criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 on the 17th of July 2014 and is examining different scenarios. The focus of one scenario is that the MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile system.”

JITvid*) Version September 10, 2015

Дымовой след от Бука – только в голове у фотографа

27 июля 2015 –  Перевод: Сергей Мастепанов

English Version

image019Отредактированное изображение, загруженное в интернет спустя три часа 
после катастрофы.

Прошло больше года с тех пор, как был сбит малазийский Boeing MH17, но мы всё ещё ждём публикации “неоспоримого доказательства” вины России. Единственное визуальное доказательство того, что ракета “Бук” была запущена с территории, подконтрольной ополченцам, — это фотография, загруженная анонимным пользователем Твиттер спустя три часа после катастрофы. Я писал насчёт этой фотографии, например, здесь и здесь. Также ведётся дискуссия на русском форуме.

Виден дым с места, где упал самолёт, но где столбик дыма от ракеты Бука?

Фото-0068Снято 17 июля 2014 г. в 16:28 камерой Samsung

Эта фотография раньше не была загружена в интернет, и она интересна по нескольким причинам:

1) место, где была сделана фотография: Саур-Могила;
2) фотография была сделана анонимным ополченцем;

SAUR3D3) недалеко расположено место “запуска Бука” по версии Bellingcat;

SAUR3D2
4) Саур-Могила — самая высокая точка Донбасса с отличным обзором всего региона. На фотографии хорошо видно место крушения в Грабово, находящееся на расстоянии 23 километра от этого места. Расстояние до места “запуска Бука”: шесть километров. Если бы столбик дыма от ракеты Бука на самом деле существовал, то он должен быть виден на этой фотографии, снятой в 16:28.

SAM_0251Вид с места "пуска ракеты" в сторону Саур-Могилы. Автор фото: Макс ван дер Верф


Как рассеивается столбик дыма от ракеты Бука

bukANGLEСтолбик дыма от ракеты Бука почти сразу после пуска имеет диаметр около 10 метров. Поперечное сечение столбика дыма: π52 = 78.5 m2

330px-Circle_Area.svg








Площадь круга с радиусом πr2

Т.к. место “запуска Бука” находится на расстоянии более 12 километров от фотографа, то в реальности диаметр запечатлённого столбика дыма должен быть 100 метров.
Если бы спустя минуты после пуска диаметр действительно бы увеличился до 100 метров, то поперечное сечение столбика дыма стало бы: π502 = 7,850 m2. Плотность столбика дыма уменьшилось бы до 1% от оригинального, и он не был бы таким заметным.


7 июня 2015 г.: Ещё одна фотография “запуска Бука”

ContrastBukjune72015Автор фото: Яна Ерлашова. (Контраст немного увеличен)

Если мы посмотрим на источник столбика дыма в этой новой фотографии, сделанной 7 июня 2015 г., то мы заметим, что он в том же самом месте, где источник столбика дыма на фотографии “запуска Бука”, загруженной в интернет через 3 часа после катастрофы. Только скорость и направление ветра было разное 17 июля 2014 г. и 7 июня 2015 г. В целом Яна сделала 11 снимков, где виден столбик дыма. Фотографии были сделаны на балконе 6-ого этажа в том же самом здании, где была сделана фотография “столбика дыма от ракеты Бука” (9-ый этаж). Я загрузил все оригинальные фотографии с высочайшим разрешением:


Яна также была любезна предоставить мне видео:

 

Что на самом деле является источником дыма?

Михаэль Кобс определил, что расстояние от фотографа до столбика дыма приблизительно 4600 метров (источник: 40 МБ PDF-файл, стр. 67 и дальше).

GEaleynikovMINElaunchsiteRTL

Если провести линию от фотографа к точке “запуска Бука” (12 километров юго-восточнее фотографа), то можно найти несколько кандидатов:

Есть угольная шахта или хранилище на расстоянии около 4,6 километров.

ChimneyWideСуществует дымоход, который находится в поле зрения фотографа, но дымоход не виден на фотографии, т.к. он ниже видимого горизонта (из-за высоты ландшафта рядом с фотографом). Является ли это источником дыма?

chimneyФотография, сделанная под другим ракурсом, на которой виден дымоход (c1), здание с крышей и три дерева (T1, T2, T3):
3_93224582Может ли поезд, запечатлённый на фотографии, быть источником дыма? Некоторые предложили, что источником дыма может быть шахта “Воскресенская”, расположенная в 5,5 километрах от фотографа.

Voskresenskaya mine
Может, недалеко есть другие возможные источники? Будем надеяться, что местные люди предоставят больше информации, чтобы мог быть установлен истинный источник дыма.

Correct!v заявляет, что они нашли реальное место пуска ракеты Бука

Удостоенный наград Correct!v и Bellingcat утверждают, что нашли реальное место пуска ракеты Бука. Но место предполагаемого пуска по версии Correct!v на 9 километров севернее места пуска по версии Bellingcat. Никто из них не пытался объяснить причину такого существенного различия между их же версиями. Статью “Рейс MH 17: в поисках правды” группы Correct!v можно прочитать здесь.

Алмаз-Антей: пуск ракеты из Снежного физически невозможен

32m03
Представитель компании, которая выпускает комплексы Бук:

“Если бы ракета гипотетически стартовала из любого района недалеко от населённого пункта Снежное, то в любом случае условия встречи ракеты с самолётом были бы на встречных курсах, т.е. ракета в итоге подошла бы к самолёту практически параллельно.”

33m14
Если бы ракета стартовала из района недалеко от Снежного, то должны были быть повреждены правый двигатель и правое крыло, а правая часть кабины должна была иметь множественные выходные отверстия, чего не наблюдается.

Намного больше информации, а также ссылку на пресс-конференцию можно найти здесь.

Почему “столбик дыма от ракеты Бука” состоит из двух разных следов?

2colorPlumeЕсли бы пуск ракеты был причиной чёрного дыма (изображён зелёным), то белый дым (изображён красным), пересекающийся с чёрным, должен был переместиться с ветром с самого начала.

Эксперт-“фотокриминалист” д-р наук Нил Кравец: “Изображение было изменено”

Ни украинская служба безопасности (СБУ), ни некоторые стороны (фотограф, Bellingcat, RTL Nieuws, Сергей Пархоменко), никто из них не хочет предоставить оригинальные снимки, имеющиеся в их распоряжении. Поэтому д-р наук Нил Кравец мог тщательно исследовать только публичный BMP-файл. Но его критика всё равно разрушительная:

1) “2.bmp изображение с дымом изменено цифровым методом”. (источник)
2) “Плотность цветов имеет 20-градусную линию далеко справа от дыма. Там ничего не должно быть = изменено”. (источник)
3) Высокая энтропия, но низкого качества = искусственный шум был добавлен, чтобы помешать выполнить анализ. (источник)

Д-р наук Нил Кравец в нескольких словах уничтожает вывод Bellingcat, где утверждается, что фотография не была изменена. Пару месяцев назад эксперт-криминалист Чарлз Вуд уже выявил множество других фундаментальных ошибок в анализе Bellingcat.
Д-р наук Нил Кравец также прокомментировал насчёт того, как Bellingcat использовал его программу по “фотокриминалистике” в статье Bellingcat, где утверждается, что российское министрество обороны подделало снимки со спутника:

“Открещиваюсь? Мягко сказано. Я ничего не имел общего с их ошибочным анализом.” (источник, а также Spiegel)

Теперь мы имеем:

1) альтернативное объяснение происхождения чёрного дыма
2) объяснение происхождения белого дыма (отредактировано цифровым методом)
3) доказательство, что ракета не могла быть запущена с так называемого “места пуска Бука”

Так какова же история фотографа?

witnessRTLГолландский журналист года Олаф Кунс и "анонимный" фотограф

“Я хочу, чтобы справедливость восторжествовала… Я хочу… чтобы люди… которые это сделали, были наказаны”, говорит фотограф.

Олаф Кунс в 7-минутном выпуске новостей в прайм-тайм сказал:

“Во-первых, нужно относиться скептически ко всему, что публично показывает украинская служба безопасности. В прошлом украинцы нам уже указывали неверный путь, и во-вторых, вы должны спросить себя: кому это выгодно?”

Анонимные свидетели имеют огромные пропагандистские преимущества

– становится сложнее проверить показания свидетеля
– анонимность под предлогом “жизнь в опасности” демонизирует политического оппонента
– можно укрыть возможные мотивы свидетеля

Как потребитель новостей, я понимаю, что иногда нужно не разглашать личность свидетеля, но я, безусловно, хочу, чтобы журналисты сообщили мне о сильной про-киевской позиции свидетеля, когда он обвиняет анти-киевских повстанцев и Россию, в то же самое время утверждая, что “его единственная цель — это справедливость”.

Павел Алейников, “анонимный” фотограф:

pavelBLOCKГравитация и количество нестыковок в заявлениях “анонимного” фотографа и то, как их укрывают другие, будет темой второй части этой статьи.

– Прогноз: фотографии столбика дыма голландским советом безопасности в финальном докладе не будут использоваться как доказательство, т.к. на фотографии нету столбика дыма от ракеты Бука.

– Выводы

I) Украинские власти не только показывают, но и создают поддельные доказательства и используют своё положение в текущем расследовании, чтобы искозить и препятствовать честному расследованию.

II) Голландский прокурор Фред Вестербеке: “Нету признаков того, что Киев что-нибудь от нас скрывает. Они дают нам всю информацию, которую мы хотим иметь.” (источник). Очень сильно тревожит то, что господин Вестербеке не говорит обществу о предоставленной Киевом поддельной информации самому крупнейшему криминальному расследованию в истории Нидерландов.

Большое спасибо юристам, экспертам-криминалистам, инженерам и людям, которые часто мне помогают собирать и оценивать информацию и которые пожелали, чтобы их имена не были разглашены.

MH17 – ‘Buk plume’ burns witness – Part I

July 26, 2015

Русская версия

image019Digitally altered image posted within 3 hours after MH17 crashed.

More than a year has passed since Malaysian flight MH17 crashed, but we are still waiting for the publication of “overwhelming evidence” of Russian culpability.
The only ‘visual proof’ a Buk missile was fired from rebel controlled territory is a photo posted by an anonymous Twitter account three hours after the crash. I wrote a lot about this photo, for example here and here. There’s an ongoing debate on a Russian language forum too.

Crash site smoke, but where is the Buk plume?

Фото-0068Time setting 7/17/2014 - 4:28pm with Samsung camera

This photo has not been posted on the internet before and is interesting for a couple of reasons:

1) Position from where the photo was made: Saur Mogila
2) Photo made by anonymous rebel

SAUR3D3) The proximity of the position to the ‘Buk launch site’

SAUR3D2
4) Saur Mogila is the highest point of Donbass with an excellent view over the entire region. The Grabovo crash site plume 23 kilometers away is clearly visible on the photo. Traces of a Buk plume at a distance of just 6 kilometers should still be visible at 4:28pm if the plume on the ‘Buk smoke’ image ever existed and was clearly visible moments earlier.

SAM_0251Saur Mogila, view from 'launch site' - Photo: Max van der Werff


How does a plume go up in ‘smoke’?

bukANGLEThe plume of a Buk missile just after it’s launched has a diameter of about ten meters. The cross section of this plume covers π52 = 78.5 m2

330px-Circle_Area.svg








The area of a circle with radius πr2

With the ‘launch site’ >12 kilometers away from the photographer the smoke plume on the photo in reality must have had a diameter of one hundred meters.
If minutes after the launch the diameter really grew to 100 meters the cross section of the plume would have become π502 = 7,850 m2. The density of the smoke would be reduced to only 1% of its original and the remaining haze wouldn’t be recognizable as a clear smoke plume anymore.


2015 June 7: Another ‘Buk launch’ image

ContrastBukjune72015Photo credit: Yana Yerlashova. (Contrast slightly enhanced)

If we look closely at the point of the horizon where this plume starts, we notice it is exactly at the same spot as in the Buk plume photo. Only wind speed and direction where different on July 17th 2014 and June 7th 2015.

In total Yana took 11 photos showing the plume. Photos were taken from a 6th floor balcony in the same building as the ‘Buk plume’ photo (taken from the 9th floor). I post all photos unaltered and in the highest resolution available:


Yana was so kind to give me a video too:

 

Where does the smoke really come from?

The distance between the photographer and the smoke plume has been calculated by Michael Kobs and established at approximately 4,600 meters. (source: 5.8Mb PDF-file page 67 onwards can be downloaded here)

GEaleynikovMINElaunchsiteRTL

Following the line of sight from the photographer to the claimed launch site twelve kilometers South East we find a few candidates:

There’s a coal mine or stash at around 4,6 kilometers.

ChimneyWideThere’s a chimney in the line of sight of the photographer, not visible on the photos, because it’s just below the visible horizon (due to the elevation in the landscape closer to the photographer). Is this chimney the source of the smoke?

chimneyA photo taken from another perspective shows the chimney (c1), the building with the roof and the 3 trees (T1,2,3)
3_93224582Could a train as in the photo cause the smoke? Others suggested the most likely source of the smoke is Voskresenskaya mine about 5,5 kilometers from the photographers point of view.

Voskresenskaya mine
Maybe in the vicinity there are other possible sources? Hopefully local people will come up with more information so the exact source of the smoke can be determined with absolute certainty.

Correct!v claims to have found the real Buk launch spot

Both award winning Correct!v and Bellingcat claim to have located the real Buk launch site. Provided no new story is disseminated claiming two Buk missiles have been fired, the distance of more than nine kilometers between their locations is a strange anomaly. Neither Correct!v nor Bellingcat have bothered to come up with an explanation. Correct!v’s ‘Flight MH17 – searching for the truth’ can be read here.

Almaz Antey: Snizhne area as launch location physically impossible

32m03
Spokesman of the company that produces Buk missile complexes:

“We identified that if the missile could have been launched from any location near to Snizhne the contact point of the plane and the missile would be on parallel courses.”

33m14
In case a missile was fired from direction Snizhne there had to be damage to the right wing and right hand side cockpit must have been very heavily perforated. Both is not the case.

Much more detailed information including a link to the entire press briefing here.

Why the ‘Buk smoke plume’ consists of two separate trails?

2colorPlumeIf a missile launch would be the cause of the black smoke (green) the overlapping white smoke (red) must have moved with the wind from the very start.

Fotoforensics expert Dr. Krawetz: “Image is digitally altered”

Ukraines’s secret service SBU and other parties (photographer, Bellingcat, RTL Nieuws, Sergey Parkhomeno) all refuse to open source the original images they possess. Therefor Dr. Krawetz could only scrutinize the public BMP-file. His judgment is devastating nonetheless:

1) “2.bmp” smoke picture is digitally altered. (source)
2) Color density has 20-degree line far right of smoke. Shouldn’t be anything there = alteration. (source)
3) High entropy yet low quality = Artificial noise added to deter analysis. (source)

Dr. Krawetz in a few words destroys Bellingcat’s assessment the photo is not manipulated. Months before forensics expert Charles Wood already exposed many other basic flaws in Bellingcat’s analysis.
About another claim “Russia’s Ministry of Defense manipulated satellite images” Dr. Krawetz comments on the way Bellingcat used the Fotoforensics tool developed by him:

” ‘distances itself’? Understatement. I had nothing to do with their faulty analysis.” (source + read Spiegel)

We now have:

1) alternative explanations for the cause and origin of the black smoke
2) an explanation for white smoke (digitally altered)
3) proven that the claimed ‘Buk launch site’ is impossible

So, what’s the story of the photographer all about?

witnessRTLDutch journo of the year Olaf Koens & the 'anonymous' photographer

“I want justice to prevail…..I want….the people…the ones who did this will be punished,” the photographer says.

Olaf Koens in a seven minute prime time news broadcast:

“First of all let’s be clear about the fact that anything the Ukrainian secret service makes public must be taken with a big pinch of salt. In the past we have been put on the wrong track by the Ukrainians and secondly you have to ask yourself in regard to such happenings as these: who benefits?”

Anonymous witnesses have huge propaganda advantages

– claims made by witness become harder to verify
– anonymity because of ‘life in danger’ demonizes the political opponent
– possible motives of witness can be covered up

As a news consumer I understand that sometimes it can be necessary to keep the identity of a witness secret, but certainly I want journalists to inform me about the strong pro-Kiev stance of a witness when he incriminates anti-Kiev rebels and Russia while he claims “my only goal is justice”.

Pavel Aleynikov, the ‘anonymous’ photographer:

pavelBLOCKThe amount and the gravity of the inconsistencies in the ‘anonymous’ photographer’s statements and the way they are covered up by others will be subject of another article: ‘Buk plume’ burns witness – Part II’

– Prediction: plume photos will not be part of the evidence presented in the Dutch Safety Board final report simply because they are not showing the smoke plume of a Buk missile.

– Conclusions

I) Ukraine’s authorities not only present but even produce false evidence and use their position in the ongoing investigations to distort and obstruct an honest search for the truth.

II) Dutch head prosecutor Westerbeke: “There are no indications that Kiev is not absolutely open towards us. They give us all information we want to have” (source). It is deeply troubling that Westerbeke does not inform the public about Kiev supplying falsified information to the largest criminal investigation in Dutch history.

Huge credit for the competent team of legal& forensic experts, engineers and others who constantly help me to collect and evaluate data but wish not to be mentioned in person.

MH17 – another BUK on another Day

Mainstream media start to acknowledge Kiev lied about not having jet fighters in the air. Good moment to look at alternative Buk narratives.

Broken BukBroken Buk at Ukrainian airbase A-1428 in Avdeevka (source)

*****************************************************************
Written and originally posted by: H

An Alternative Track Trail

At this moment the ¨track trail theory¨ (= the theory which states a Russian crew dragged a Buk system on a Volvo truck through rebel controlled territory to Snizhne to shoot down MH17 by mistake) has been appointed by the Joint Investigation Team as ¨most important scenario¨ regarding the origins of the MH17 disaster. This theory is supported by a trail of photos, videos and eyewitness accounts published at social media, allegedly showing the transport of a BUK installation to a launch site and back over the Russian border.

The theory is not indisputable. Several severe doubts arise when taking a close inspection at the evidence. [1]

In this article I want to propose a scenario of an alternative track trail pivoting around the idea rebels transported another BUK on another day. They could have been followed by SBU agents in the field and from positions in ¨safe houses¨ along the road, taking pics and vids. When MH17 was downed this stuff could be used in a very convenient way.

Precise date evidence: Unknown

The unique truck with low-loader, carrying the BUK to its destiny, pops up four times in the track trail theory. Immediately it becomes clear in none of these cases an original date is verifiable.

1) Photo Paris Match in Donetsk: source unknown (allegedly a freelance photographer who wants to stay anonymous); time of day confirmed by analysis of shadowcasting.

2) A copy of the video showing the truck in Zuhres: original was posted at Youtube but deleted half an hour afterwards.

3) Photo of the truck with BUK at a crossroads behind the Furshet market in Torez: source unknown, time of day calculated with the help of shadowcasting analysis.

4) SBU (Ukrainian secret service) Youtube video of a fleeing BUK missing one missile made in Luhansk: according to an unverifiable and questionable statement made by the SBU, timed at 4:50 AM at the 18th of July.

trailer-comparisonThe unique truck in the Bellingcat report. From upper left and clockwise: Paris Match photo Donetsk; still from Zuhres video; SBU video Luhansk; photo Furshet market Torez.

Other evidence doesn´t show the unique truck, like the picture of a part of an offloaded BUK @GirkinGirkin took in Snizhne.

Neither does the footage that shows a self propelling ¨tankish¨ construction driving itself to the launch site somewhere on the road from Snizhne to Pervomaiske. Of course the truck doesn´t appear visually either in the eyewitness accounts tweeted at social media (see p. 5-8 Bellingcat report)

So in theory an alternative scenario is possible. Maybe this transport took place under rebel control, but with another BUK on another date.

A new start

Of course some issues have to be resolved to give some solid basis to this idea. Obviously the rebels must have had a BUK launcher in their possession to start with. Well, they had after they ran over Ukrainian Donetsk airbase A-1402 on the 29th of June:

Donetsk militia seized the military defense of the A-1402. Point defense is a division of missile troops which is equipped with the self-propelled anti-aircraft missile systems “Buk”. This is the second unit of the Air Force which passed under the control of militias in recent days. One of them surrendered voluntarily, with the second there were many hours of fighting, according to RIA “Novosti”.

Although this victory had been celibrated all over the Russian media – though without putting a BUK at hand, working or otherwise [2]– some sources claimed the Russians had disseminated disinformation in order to get the opportunity for providing the heavy anti aircraft missiles themselves.

Other sources contested. In October 2014 the German secret service BND stated in the German parliament they had clues which would indicate the rebels seized a BUK complex from army base A-1402. AlsoThe Interpreter Magazine, owned by Putin foe Khodorkovsky, used the news as an opportunity to put a ¨smoking gun¨ in the hands of the rebels, after the MH17 crash had happened (¨Evidence of separatist possession of BUK system before downing MH17¨, 2014/7/27) In fact, before Bellingcat issued its report blaming the Russians directly for handing over a deadly weapon, in november 2014, the scenario of the seized BUK was paramount.

So the ¨terrorists¨ do have a BUK!

In the period prior to the disaster Ukrainian officials made contradictory statements. When on an international stage Russian involvement in the civil war had to be pointed out, it appeared to be convenient to deny the rebels were in possession of a self captured BUK complex. Of course in that case they would have obtained their weapons directly from the Russians.

But according to Ukrainian media the claim the rebels had seized a BUK was corroborated by some Ukrainian officials. For example ATO (Anti-Terrorism Operation) chief Alex Dmitrashkovskiy would have stated a BUK had been lost. But at the same time he soothed the Ukrainian public with the phrase it was a ¨non-working, broken installation¨, actually ¨junk¨. [3]

According to a Russian source national security advisor Andriy Lysenko also stated the seized BUK didn´t function:

¨And yesterday, the representative of the information center of the National Security and Defense of Ukraine Andriy Lysenko also confirmed the capture of anti-aircraft missile regiment. He said: “(…) By decision of the commander all the equipment had been taken out of order and was not working… “

Even the chief of the counter-espionage department of the SBU, Vitaliy Naida, was fully informed, according to the Wall Street Journal:

¨Ukrainian rebels boasted on social media on June 29 that they gained control of a Buk-M1 system when they overran a Ukrainian armed forces base in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported. Mr. Naida said that Ukrainian armed forces made that system nonoperational back in March, around the time when the fighting in the area kicked off. The core of the missile system remains on the base, but there are no warheads to arm it, he said.¨

Now that has been established the rebels may have had possession of a (broken) BUK from the moment they had raided Ukrainian army base A-1402, the question arises if they did something with it. Maybe they moved it, for example to have it repaired, as a statement by the Russian scientist Sergey Kurginyan possibly might explain:

¨But, our very talented and even brilliant electronics experts will of course repair — I think they’ve even already repaired, it seems to me — the Buk system seized from the Ukrainian bandits — the Banderaites — I don’t want to say ‘the Ukrainian people’ but the bandits and the Banderaites and in the very near future, I simply know a brilliant electronics expert who has flown there — precisely as a representative of civil society who will help the fraternal people. In very short time it will get it back working. It will be fixed, yes? It might even turn out there are even several systems.”

In each case according to the owner of the truck, the unique white Volvo FH-13 with the blue striping and the red low-loader, had been requisitioned by the rebels at the 8th of July [4]. In any logical evaluation the possibility exists the BUK installation could have been moved to Luhansk or Russia between the 8th and 16th of July. One may assume the Ukrainian secret service kept an eye on this BUK, following the transport with an agent in the field and ¨assets¨ from ¨safe houses¨ along the expected route. Probably they made some photos and videos, stuff that appeared to be useful after the MH17 crash.

The game is on

Half an hour after the disaster a dispatch appeared on a pro-rebel page on Vkontakte (Russian Facebook), in name devoted to the Russian commando leader Strelkov. An AN-26 had been shot down near the mine Progress, the message said based on the perception of citizens in the area of the disaster.

The editors, like the people in the neighbourhood of the crashsite according to their social media postings, assumed too early and too eager an AN-26 was downed. Probably they were merely jumping to conclusions because the same event had happened three days before (14 july an AN-26 had been shot down by the rebels). They claimed a ¨success¨ without knowledgde of all the facts and official briefing from men in the field. When it became known MH17 had been victimized, the message was deleted.

People of the other site also got the wrong idea. This deleted message with Strelkov´s name attached to it could be disseminated as evidence the rebels had taken out a civilian plane by mistake. Not only the citizens from Torez and Snizhne initially thought an AN-26 was downed, which were the original sources the ¨Strelkov¨ Vkontakte adiminstrators had used. The rebels and their chief themselves, obviously still clinging to their previously fired weapon, assumed that too when they were targeting the plane.

The suggestion that Strelkov was in any way connected to this VK.com site, was of course fallacious. But it was very expedient. With the speed of light the internet was fed by Ukrainian war dispatch services, pro Kiev activists and the western media pundits with the suggestion it was the commander in chief himself who thought he had shot down an Antonov.

The SBU rose to the occasion. Within a few hours a nicely edited, translated and finished up video clip with intercepted phone calls was spread on Youtube in which rebels ¨confessed¨ their mistake. From a computer of the secret service were popping up the photos and videos that were taken when the rebels moved the broken BUK with the Volvo truck and low-loader.

Maybe the SBU had anticipated by creating fake evidence, maybe they made it useful when expedient. In each case the trail theory could be set on track. The Zuhres vid was uploaded, the vid of the lone BUK too. It was made sure these vids arrived at Bellingcat. The photo of the BUK parked in front of the Furshet market in Torez was planted in a local chat community (¨Overheard in Torez¨, chat now deleted) and from there on spread via Vkontakte and Euromaidan. The morning after the SBU posted the Luhansk vid on its website.

Conspiracy theory or serious clues?

Of course, the scenario of an alternative track trail on another day with another BUK is kind of speculative. Nevertheless after a initial superficial inspection can be said there are some clues which could give this theory more credibility.

In an article on the site of the renowned American think tank in the field of military strategy IISS, dated 18 July, Joseph Dempsey reports some social media proof had been found the rebels had possession of a BUK before the 17th of July.

¨Pro-Russian separatist access to medium-range surface-to-air missiles (…) Prior to 17 July 2014 IISS analysts had seen limited evidence of the self-propelled launcher in separatist hands. Whilst images on social media have been noted which claim to show Buk, the actual date, location, ownership and/or operational status could not be verified.”

The picture below, attached to an alleged tweet from the militia, would suggest the militants of the DNR would have seized a working BUK. Apparently the pic is only an illustration, for as it already surfaced in social media way back in 2011 [5]. Nevertheless, if we assume the message is real and posted like a kind of trophee, it seems to be capturing some of that ¨limited evidence¨ the IISS guy spoke about.

Citizen researcher Max van der Werff, who has an extensive blog about the MH17 disaster, made a trip to the region in which the plane crashed, looking for evidence. According to a tweet he spoke to a witness who had a very interesting explanation. This witness, living across the Furshet Market in Torez where the BUK had been photographed at the crossroads, said (s)he saw the BUK all right, not at the 17th though, but at a previous date.

tweet-max-toreshttp://www.twitter.com/MaxvanderWerff/status/599862407306092544

Blogging researcher Barry Hamill even believes that the Torez photo would already have been posted on July 16 at the site holywars.ru. It would have been sent by an avatar called ¨Toter Mann¨ (¨dead man¨ in German), who came up rather early with this evidence of the BUK trail through rebel controlled area, according to the calculation of Hamill. The original message would have been deleted but the replies made after the 17th are still there as silent witnesses.

bukintorez16thAccording to Barry Hamill a poster ¨Toter Mann¨ put the Torez photo at the site holywars.ru before the 17th. Others crowdsourcers noticed the same inconsistency too.

Ukrainian official from the Interior Anton Gerashchenko reported in a facebook message within two hours after the disaster that local citizens in Torez had seen a BUK complex moving ¨from Torez to Snizhne¨. Curiously enough, there are hardly any solid records and reports of the many journalists on the spot in Snizhne, on a day when fierce battles on the front line south of the city were expected. One AP journalist would have seen the BUK, but attempts to get his identity stranded. Like is the case with the Paris Match pic not even the original journalist source behind this testimony could be disclosed to the public.

Inconsistent twitter testimonies

Supportive evidence for the track trail theory allegedly arises from some messages at social media, i.e. Twitter and the Russian Vkontakte:

@WowihaY (12:07 EEST) sees a covered BUK with four missiles in Torez; https://twitter.com/WowihaY/status/489698009148837888

Roman/@MOR2537 sees (probably at 12:10 EEST) a ¨covered wheeled missile system on a tractor and two cars through Torez to Snizhne¨
https://twitter.com/MOR2537/status/489702736766586880

@WowihaY (12:16 EEST) sees the ¨BUK moving from Torez to Snizhne¨;
https://twitter.com/WowihaY/status/489700047215685632

@Buzzing_Rook, answering @WowihaY (12:32 EEST), says the alleged BUK had been in Donetsk, on its way to Makiivka;
https://twitter.com/Buzzing_Rook/status/489704260045910016

@Spice4Russia (12:41 EEST) sees 3 tanks and a netted BUK in Shakhtarsk;
https://twitter.com/spice4russia/status/489706440899432449

Anna Reshtanenko and a friend (13:14 EEST, VKontakte) see a convoy consisting of ¨three tanks¨ in Torez on its way to Snizhne;
http://vk.com/wall-70279965_83186?reply=83441

What probably should be clear right away is the inconsistency of these accounts regarding the line up of the convoy. One witness sees only a BUK (WowihaY), one a BUK and two cars (Roman), one three tanks and a BUK (Spice4Russia), another only three tanks (Anna).

Buzzing_Rook´s tweet, addressed to WowihaY, actually seems to elaborate upon those two earlier reports made by WowihaY. Perhaps the observer is interpreting that what he saw, must have been a ¨BUK¨, but actually the precise description of the tankish construction came from the WowihaY message. Moreover, it´s a bit dubious as it is, Wowihay detected a BUK loaded with “four missiles”, since the installation had been covered.

Second, apart from Anna and her friend, the other testimonies arrive from a small group of ultranationalists, or ¨local patriots¨ as the head of Information Resistance Dmitriy Tymchuk likes to call them. Wowihay, Roman, Buzzing_Rook and probably Spice4Russia belong, together with ¨launch plume pic¨ photographer @rescuero and @GirkinGirkin (see below), to a interconnected group of people who knew each other well before the 17th, according to their social media contacts. Taking a first glance at their twitter accounts it becomes clear they all have a preference for following pro-Kiev ultranationalist or even rightwing extremist groups and warriors.

In fact it´s pretty strange only a handful of pro-Kiev ultranationalists said they saw the BUK, a weapon that would be welcomed by the people of Torez and Snizhne because of the heavy airstrikes they were suffering from these days. No pro-separatist sources claimed to have seen it though, where on the other hand from other convoys a fair amount of dashcam vids can be found on social media.

It seems the accounts aren´t very reliable. In each case it doesn´t become clear which convoy actually has been seen, not in the least because at the 17th various convoys (i.e. The ¨Vostok¨ and ¨Oplot¨ convoys) moved to or stayed in the vicinity of Snizhne. So it´s advisable to dismiss these accounts as evidence for the particular BUK transport altogether.

Three smelly videos

The original link of the Zuhres vid was uploaded by an anonymous person who used the Youtube account only once, for uploading this video, and then deleted it. According to Marilyn Justice, writing in a reply on my ¨Over mij¨ page on this blog, the person who posted the Zuhres video had no ‘net presence’ before or after posting the video. So she started asking questions to Bellingcat´s Aric Toller:
https://twitter.com/AricToler/status/550039355080052737

MJ:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OJs1dksRwk [the original URL of the deleted vid; HR] … maybe u can explain where this came from (this is about the 15 sec video now removed)

AT:
Was posted on Youtube and Twitter by “Андрей” on 7/17 with coordinates. That’s all we know.

MJ:
My question – how was it found – zero identifiers by a person with no net presence before or after?

AT:
I actually did find their Twitter account, but it was deleted. Probably created accounts just for video

MJ:
That does not answer how it was found, sorry

AT:
Won’t satisfy you, but here is the person who posted video: https://twitter.com/3Andryu/

So Aric Toller said he found a twitter account, but it is clear this twitter account found him or his boss Eliot Higgins, pointing them head on towards the Youtube vid for a quick download, exact coordinates for geolocation provided in the package too. But then again, because the genuine video has been deleted, it is impossible to say from which date this source originates.

Also from the vid showing a lone BUK on the road from Sniznhe to Pervomaiske on its way to its deadly encounter with MH17 oozes an equally funny smell, as Michael Kobs shows in his well documented report about the track trail evidence.

As occured with the Zuhres video also this video had been posted from an account used only once for this particular purpose before it was deleted. Hence, again, no original date could be established. In his report Kobs reaches a conclusion well fit for the alternative track trail that says all footage and photos could well have been made at another day:

¨Ob das Video überhaupt an diesem Tag entstanden ist, kann selbst Bellingcat nur raten¨
(Whether this video really was made at this day [the 17th] is even a mystery to Bellingcat¨) (page 13-15, see also note 1 for URL).

Fortunately the mysterious person made sure Eliot Higgins could download the evidence. Within the 24 minutes the vid was online it received so many clicks it reached the daily top thirty, which may have got the attention of Bellingcat whisperers.

Nevertheless the poster made very sure the vid was picked up by the right parties. According to the Amnesty International Youtube DataViewer, which guarantees the right metadata of an uploaded video, three copies of the deleted lone BUK video were instantly re-uploaded within minutes by Eliot Higgins, Euromaidan and Torez.info [6]. Torez.info is a local website co-administrated by Vladimir Djukov, alias @WowihaY, the same person of two witness accounts and the first to tweet the incredible important picture of the alleged plume of a BUK launch. Obviously the source knew which way to go to get the right attention.

The Luhanks vid doesn´t smell any better. Journalist Vincent Verweij of KRO Brandpunt (Dutch news show), and others, casted doubts about the SBU Luhansk video of the fleeing truck missing one BUK missile months ago. The road the truck had been geolocated on probably wasn´t even under control by rebels on the particular period in time when the plane was downed. Verweij had access to a map that showed the situation on July 17/18, 2014 in West Luhansk, which was very complicated. Heavy fighting took place in the vicinity of this alleged escape route, so this hardly could be a reasonable way to flee the country (besides, it was a very strange route from Snizhne to the Russian border as it was, because of the inexplicable detour that would have been made).

foto-verweij-zoomLiveUAmap https://twitter.com/vverweij/status/554741270669967361. Green area: the truck with the BUK installation missing one missile drove through Ukrainian army controlled area

Also Arnold Greidanus, who performed much social media research on the MH17 disaster, added doubt to the date on which the SBU claimed it had made the video of the fleeing BUK. For sure it seemed Ukraine had access to the video before the morning of July 18:

¨Then there’s another oddity: earlier on the 17th, before the news on the downing of MH17 had spread, some news stories were published that earlier that day Andrej Lysenko had stated that the separatists had possession of a BUK, and that they had a video of a convoy with BUK in Luhansk! Could it be that the video referred to here is the Luhansk video and that this video was actually made earlier than in the early morning of the 18th?¨

See his elaboration here

That would obviously raise serious problems for the track trail theory. First, there wouldn´t be any evidence left of the flight of the transport towards Russia (by the way, neither was there any proof the BUK had been transported to starting point Donetsk the night before for that matter). But also the theory of an alternative BUK trail would arrive a little bit closer to reality again. When the SBU Luhanks video of the truck with the unique blue lining had been taken before the early morning of the 18th, then – given that uniqueness – all other stuff could also have been made at an earlier date. This is nothing more than reasoning the same way Bellingcat does: all evidence has to stem from the same day.

Summarizing:

1. The photo of the truck with BUK parked in front of the Furshet market in Torez could have been uploaded a day before the MH17 crash;

2. The video of the SBU (Ukrainian secret service) in Luhansk can not be dated; The Luhanks vid is actually from an earlier date as can be deducted from a Lysenko presser;

3. The Paris Match photo and Zuhres footage of the unique Volvo truck can´t be dated either, stem from unknown sources and may be from a previous date as well;

4. Text messages on Twitter and Vkontakte are unreliable or report other (tank) transportation;

5. From the video of the lone BUK that drives itself to the crime scene, the original source and date are unclear. It could well have been made before the 17th.

So was there a BUK transport at all on July the 17th?

The only proof still remaining of the trail through rebel held territory, is the photo GirkinGirkin took, hanging out in an apartment in Snizhne. He apparently saw an offloaded BUK, parked behind a building.

Striking element of this evidence is the text GirkinGirkin tweeted along with his pic, mentioning a Russian crew accompanying the BUK. Would he have heard them? Has he seen them in their deviating uniforms? In any case, given the importance of this testimony, it must have been recorded officially, something that will be proven when the final report of the investigators is issued.

Whether Bellingcat has possession of the original time stamp of this photograph or hasn´t, is unknown to me. However, in their report about the track trail theory the time of the offloaded BUK pic has been determined by performing shadowcasting analysis, as was done in other cases in which metadata about the exact timestamp were missing. The date, therefore, still remains open to speculation, until the photographer or Bcat provides the metadata of the photo. For that matter GirkinGirkin himself didn´t respond to a question from a Twitter user to send him the original image (see replies in link above).

Though it will enhance the status of this piece of evidence, even if the metadata would have been released, the exact date would still be in doubt. Michael Kobs says: ¨Even a bad handy shot has a date and time, but you would need the original file. Nevertheless such a pic is easy to manipulate

Higgins hears no evil, sees no evil

When I asked Eliot Higgins what he thought of my alternative theory, at first he replied that in his opinion it was ¨not convincing¨. Later he claimed to have done research to any previous material (dated before 17 July) but couldn´t come up with anything. Obviously I tried to question Dempsey, the IISS think-tank member, what he thought of Higgins’ statement, but it is still awfully quiet from the United States. Maybe someone would have to get his hands on the scripts, bots, queries and results of those crowdsourcing searches performed by Bellingcat or IISS. But that will probably be a tough job (so much for open source).

Although the alternative track trail is an idea with quite a lot of snags, one could imagine at least the following questions arise:

– What do the separatists claim themselves regarding the Volvo transport?
– What has happened to the broken BUK they allegedly seized on June 29th?
– What do the separatists claim themselves about what happened to this alleged inoperable BUK?
– Is it possible to locate more witnesses or evidence of any transportation previous to the 17th?

Perhaps journalists in the field should look at the BUK trace with a more open, independent view. Perhaps an impartial social media researcher may interfere with the evidence that in any case should exist, according to a US think tank. Candidates will at least find a sympathetic ear with me.

For now it suffices to say one may reach a diametrical opposed position based on the same evidence Bellingcat uses, supported by some other crowdsourcing one could do for himself. In other words, clearly other scenarios than the one Bellingcat peddles are possible as well, even if we act as if this evidence doesn´t have SBU fingerprints all over it. Unfortunately neither Bellingcat nor the officials of the JIT or Dutch Department of Justice seem to be searching in other directions.

 

 

[1]See Michael Kobs report (German) https://www.scribd.com/doc/267001590/Bellingcat-the-Launch-Site
See Report Sergey Mastepanov (English) https://start7mei.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/mh172.pdf
See my article (Dutch) https://www.ravage-webzine.nl/2015/05/28/mh17-bellingcats-missing-link/

[2] It seems two Russian Press Agencies brought the news at June 29th. First, RIA Novosti has been cited by some sources, claiming the rebels gained control over airbase A-1402, which had been armed with self-propelled complexes ¨BUK¨:

17:43 MSK, http://www.mk.ru/politics/2014/06/29/doneckie-opolchency-zakhvatili-voyskovuyu-chast-pvo-s-kompleksami-buk.html

17:45 EEST, http://www.politforums.net/ukraine/1404054892.html

17:45 UTC+3, http://www.vz.ru/news/2014/6/29/693262.html
Небо над Донецком будут защищать зенитно-ракетные комплексы “Бук” http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1741703&tid=105474

19:05 MSK, http://topkvadrat.ru/freestyle/news/doneck-budut-zaschischat-raketnye-kompleksy-buk-32291

19:50 MSK (copy vesti) http://novorus.info/news/events/24449-nebo-nad-doneckom-budut-zaschischat-zenitno-raketnye-kompleksy-buk.html

Later on Press Agency ITAR-TASS reported the raid as well, but their press statement didn´t mention the rebels took hold of a BUK. It claimed ¨the number and condition of facilities, at the disposal of the militias, remained unknown¨.

18:50 EEST Ополченцы ДНР взяли под контроль воинскую часть ПВО с зенитно-ракетными комплексами “Бук”; DONETSK, 29 june. / ITAR-TASS / http://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/1287030

According to Sergey Mastepanov (see report note 1, page 5) the Russian outlets didn´t claim explicitly the rebels seized a BUK when they raided the Ukrainian airforce base A-1402. Even so it was taken for granted, especially in the reports that used the RIA Novosti dispatch, they had taken possession of BUK complexes too. However, the official RIA Novosti website doesn´t show this press release, see http://ria.ru/world/20140629/1014013231.html, so maybe they put it on the telex. So no Russian or rebel sources explicitly claimed to have seized a BUK, broken or working, though obviously it can´t be ruled out they did.

[3] Though some Ukrainian officials denied the rebels seized a BUK at the 29th, others confirmed. At the 29th some Ukrainian news outlets came up with high ranked officials – ATO chief Dmitrashkovskiy was mentioned first – who added to their confirmation the seized BUK was inoperable.

19:19 EEST Боевики частично захватили военную часть противовоздушной обороны в Донецке. http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2014/06/29/7030482/

20:02 EEST http://censor.net.ua/news/292032/terroristy_chastichno_zahvatili_voinskuyu_chast_pvo_v_donetske_pressofitser

22:33 EEST ¨Захваченный в Донецке боевиками «ДНР» зенитный ракетный комплекс «Бук» в нерабочем состоянии (¨By ´DNR´ militants in Donetsk captured anti-aircraft missile complex ´Buk´ inoperative¨) http://www.62.ua/article/565758

According to Sergey Mastepanov this might have been a set-up, though the motives the Ukrainians might have had for this remain unclear.

[4] The original interview of the company owner with a Lithuanian newspaper, claiming the unique truck is his:

http://www.alfa.lt/straipsnis/472203/alfa-lt-isskirtinis-interviu-su-raketas-buk-kuriomis-buvo-numustas-malaizijos-avialiniju-lektuvas-gabenusio-vilkiko-savininku#.U-Ac4vmSx8F

In English: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/mh17-breakthrough-owner-of-volvo-truck-that-transported-missile-fears-for-his-life/story-fnizu68q-1227014149633

[5] See Mastepanov report, page 22.

[6] The Amnesty International Youtube Data Viewer proves the deleted video of the lone BUK moving to the alleged launch site was re-uploaded by three trustworthy parties within minutes from each other. A SBU stench is all over it.

I. Brown Moses, alias of Eliot Higgins (first uploading source known!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiI9s-zWLs4
Орудие убийства малайзийцев Снежное 17 07 2014
Video ID:MiI9s-zWLs4
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD):2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC):18:41:13

II. Euromaidan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkgwxxhJlk4
AA “BUK” vehicle Pro-Kremlin fighters going from Torez to Snizhne (Установка Бук террористов перемещается с Тореза в Снежное.)
Video ID:wkgwxxhJlk4
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC): 18:44:55

III. Torez.info (@WowihaY)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAxpT5AikhQ&feature=youtu.be
Торез Снежное Появились первые кадры виновника смерти 300 пассажиров гражданского самолета
Утановка БУК в Торез Коментарии отключаю. С тупоголовой ватой – только в коментах срач
Video ID:OAxpT5AikhQ
Upload Date (YYYY/MM/DD): 2014-07-17
Upload Time (UTC): 18:45:58

 

 

 

 

MH17: Buk + Air-to-Air missiles R-60?

June 12, 2015 – by Irina Petrakova, journalist from Moscow, Russia.

A week ago Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of Buk, held a press conference. During this very interesting event the engineers of the company explained in detail what is wrong with the Western narratives.
Explicitly not excluded by spokesmen of Almaz Antey: the scenario in which air-to-air missiles fired by fighter jet(s) played a role.

PHOTO8

At the same day of the Almaz Antey press conference, the Russian Investigative Committee made the identity of a key witness to the MH17 crash public. (Read about the previous anonymity of this witness in Lying by Omission)

Key witness – mechanic Evgeny Agapov

Before fleeing to Russia Evgeny Agapov was a mechanic at air base №A4465 (Nikolaev and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, airfield Aviatorskoe village, about 250 km from the crash site). The witness is a citizen of Ukraine.

Agapov testified that July 17, 2014, three jets went into the air about an hour before MH17 crashed. One of the jets was equipped with two air-to-air missiles type R-60. This particular jet later returned to base without these missiles. The other two jets were shot down. Pilot of the Su-25, captain Vladislav Voloshin, was scared according to Agapov. “It was the wrong plane” (Самолет не тот), Voloshin said as he got out of his plane. Later flight director Dyakiv talked to captain Voloshin. Dyakiv asked: “What happened to the plane?” to which Voloshin replied: “The plane was in the wrong time and the wrong place.” source

 

Kiev denies it had any fighter jets in the sky July 17th

But at least five people reported seeing fighter jet(s) near MH17

PHOTO1
These eyewitnesses are residents living in various villages near the crash site. They were interviewed by journalists from Britain, France and the Netherlands. BBC News broadcasted eyewitness accounts of three women saying they saw a fighter jet near Boeing MH17 and heard the sound of an explosion in the sky.

Eyewitness #1: “There were two explosions in the air. And this is how it broke apart. And [the fragments] blew apart like this, to the sides. And when …”

Eyewitness #2: “… And there was another aircraft, a military one, besides it. Everybody saw it.”

Eyewitness #1: “Yes, yes. It was flying under it, because it could be seen. It was proceeding underneath, below the civilian one.”

Eyewitness #3: “There were sounds of an explosion. But they were in the sky. They came from the sky. Then this plane made a sharp turn-around like this. It changed its trajectory and headed in that direction [indicating the direction with her hands].”

Eyewitness #4 at the crash site told «Paris Match», that he saw an aircraft near the Boeing:

“The big one plane (Boeing) I did not see – it dived into the clouds. Bah!. Then an explosion was heard. A strong explosion and debris began to crumble. Here 37 people dropped. The plane, which went with him (Boeing), then went to the front. Then he went “like this” (shows the front hand) – went into the clouds, and a few seconds later there was an explosion. After that at Hrabovo, six kilometers away, a column of smoke rose up to the clouds.”

Eyewitness #5 Lev Bulatov told Dutch blogger Max van der Werff he saw three jets – one of them attacking the Boeing, he saw it and heard two explosions and another one moments later.

“I heard SU’s flying over the surface, hitting Torez and Shakhtersk. And than I saw… The fighter jets were actually three. And later I saw that one jet sharply accelerated in that direction [pointing with his arm] to the north and went up. I saw the silhouette of this rook (fighter jet) with my monocular as I can see my own fingers. And when it accelerated, I heard the roar of turbines and it sharply went up. After some time I heard 3 claps: bah-bah—bah (the last one after some time). The last one after some time. I saw the plane [MH-17] started to crash. But! the central part started falling in that direction [showing with his arm], in the direction of Grabovo. The cockpit was separated, as well as one wing with a turbine and tale. Everything else was intact.”

PHOTO3 Captain Voloshin told ARD channel, that the events the witness mentions happened July 23, not July 17. But on July 19, two days after the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, Voloshin was awarded the Order of the courage Third Degree. Source

Two other pilots of the 299th вrigade were awarded too: lt. col. Vadim Dzyubenko and colonel Sergey Samoilov. All three flew the modernized fighter jet version Su-25M1 with numbers 06 (Voloshin), 07 (Dzubenko) and 08 (Samoilov) Source. Page of President Poroshenko’s website removed, here is the screenshot.

PHOTO4
Su-25M1 faster than Boeing-777

From 2011 until 2013 Ukraine aviation factory «MiG-Remont» (Zaporozhje) modernized nine Su-25M1 jets for the Ukraine Air Force. The modernized fighter jets have maximum speed exceeding that of the Boeing-777 — 950-975 km per hour. Highest operational altitude: 10,000 meters (33000ft). source & source

PHOTO5
The Sukhoi Su-25 can be equipped with R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) and board cannon GSH-30 or GSH-23. The newest version of the R-60, R-60M (since 1980) was manufactured in Tbilisi (Georgia) until 1990. During the last twenty years the Ukrainian factories «Progress» and «Arsenal» in Kiev have maintained and upgraded these missiles. source

PHOTO6
Ukrainian infrared seekers («Komar») from R-60 and R-60M are cooled by liquid nitrogen improving the performance of the missile. Retired members of the Russian and Ukrainian Air Forces write on their forum that R-60 is equipped with ready-made shrapnel elements and wolfram rods (a similar description of the shrapnel and rod-based warhead can be found on other websites). Link

R-60 with Wolfram shrapnel

PHOTO7 PHOTO8Source

R-60 and R-60M characteristics:
Diameter 120 mm Length 2 m
Weight = 45 kg Weight of warhead 3-3,5 kg.
Type of warhead: wolfram shrapnel and rods
Distance of target – 7- 10 km
Speed of target – to 2500 km per hour
The range of radio controlled fuses – 5m, contact and contactless.
The probability of hitting the target at close range by R-60M – 0,9, two R-60 – 0,8. Link

History: two planes hit by R-60 missiles

Boeing-747 KAL 902 was shot down April 1978 over USSR air space by one missile R-60 fired from a Sukhoi Su-15. The Boeing lost 4 meters of its left wing. One of the four engines and the fuselage were damaged and the plane decompressed forcing it to lower its altitude from 30,000 ft to 5,000 ft. The Su-15 was at distance 1 km behind and right from Boeing. Link

PHOTO9 PHOTO10 PHOTO11 PHOTO12
An F-15A of the Israeli Air Force was hit June 9, 1982 over Lebanon by Syrian MiG-21. An R-60 missile damaged the right wing and engine. On the ground it became clear that the right engine nozzle had a hole of one square meter and the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were hit by about 400 pieces of shrapnel. Link

iraJetOrginally posted picture replaced June 16 2015


Pseudo-rod warhead

Due to translation issues many English speakers mistakenly believe the warhead of missile R-60 is similar to the Western variant AIM-9 Sidewinder and is of the continuous rod type.

About R-60 missiles warhead three sources are of interest:
– Electronic directory «Russia military»
– Website “Military aviation Russia»
Forum of former Russia and Ukraine air force pilots

In descriptions of the R-60M it is mentioned that rods and shrapnel are stacked in the warhead. “Solid wolfram elements forming a tight circle that destroy enemy aircraft” Link
Elements are laid out in triangular shape — the pieces probably have triangular section. “The rod-shaped warhead of R-60M (62М) with wolfram elements would result not in linear but rather in huge delta and diamond shaped holes.
Only R-62 and, starting from the 80s, R-62M were exported. 70% of both missiles had shrapnel (or “pseudo-rod based”) rather than continuous rod based warhead. The space between the case and the rod-shaped sub-projectiles is filled with TNT, which has pyramidal holes next to each semi-prepared sub-projectile in the casing. The sub-projectiles weigh 3 g and reach the speed of 7.5km/s” Link

PHOTO14 Former Ukranian air force engineer Alexander Luzan writes in his blog that the shape of elements in R-60 and R-27 air-air missiles was similar to elements of older Soviet SAM. Link
“The overlapping sub-projectiles made of wolfram, which is twice heavier than alloy steel. The cut the power wing set, airframes, and engines,” — says the description of the R-60M warhead. Warhead R-60 has nearly 1000 elements of shrapnel each about 3 g.

Bah-Bah…Bah: two missiles… decompression

Judging by the traces of soot and edges of the holes in the skin ot he left side of the cockpit, the explosion occurred in the vicinity of the outside of the aircraft cabin.

PHOTO15 PHOTO16
Most of elements exploded on the left side of cockpit: there were about 40-50 holes in the skin of the fuselage and about 50 holes in the floor and the pilot’s seat inside cabin and nose wheel leg.

Various holes in curling of the engine and in horizontal stabilizer.

In the central part of MH17 big holes with size more than 5 cm and diamond holes size more than 10 cm are visible – like in the describtion of newest R-60M missile.

Also we see huge holes near engines in the center of fuselage.

PHOTO46

And big holes at tail side of the Boeing

PHOTO45_1

Cuts in the outer skin and inner frames

PHOTO51

PHOTO53

Summary

– At least five eyewitnesess near the crash site saw at least one fighter jet near the Boeing-777

– Holes in the debris of the MH17 cockpit coincide with damages caused by R-60 missile that hit Korean Boeing in 1978 and fit the description of the use of R-60M missiles: huge diamond holes in central parts of the Boeing.

– Evgeny Agapov, mechanic at air base 299 brigade of the Ukrainian Air Force testified that the pilot who shot down MH17 with two missiles R-60 was pilot Vladislav Voloshin flying Su-25M1 (number 06), a modernized Sukhoi 25.

– Two days after MH17 crashed, July 19, captain Voloshin was awarded for courage and heroism although he claims that he was involved in a fight on July 23.

MH17: Examination of evidence from social media

Sergey Mastepanov – mh17@energia.suhttp://energia.su/mh17

Introduces himself as a 29-year-old computer programmer. A native Russian speaker who has been monitoring the news surrounding Ukraine since Autumn 2013:

“MH17 incident is closely tied to Ukrainian conflict, which is important to me: EU’s sanctions were imposed right after the catastrophe; a certain result of the investigation regarding who shot down MH17 might put an end to the current Ukrainian government and the EU’s sanctions; the conflict might be peacefully settled, saving many lives. “

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Second draft – June 7, 2015

Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: No evidence of rebels possessing sophisticated anti-air systems

Captured Ukrainian air defense base

Chapter 2: No evidence of Buk’s involvement in Ukrainian air casualties

IL-76 destroyed on June 14, 2014

AN-26 shot down on July 14, 2014

Chapter 3: These pictures and videos do not prove that Buk belongs to rebels

Luhansk video released by Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs

First Paris Match photo

Second Paris Match photo

Snizhne video

Zuhres video

Snizhne photo

Torez photo

Buk photo taken at night

Buk from Twitter

The white truck

Chapter 4: Other photos, audio tapes, news sites, and social media posts

The original “Buk trail” photo

Two high-resolution “Buk trail” photos

Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape

Ukrainian SBU audio tapes

Social media account named strelkov_info

Vzglyad article

TASS article

Kurginyan’s words about repairing Buk

Chapter 5: Other information and some online investigations

A report from Buk manufacturer on June 2, 2015

BBC Russian video showing witnesses that saw a military plane at the time of MH17 incident

Kiev denies any of their military planes had missions on July 17 in the “ATO” area

Video of Buk complex in the “ATO” zone

An interview with a whistleblower who was stationed at a base in Dnipropetrovsk

Bellingcat investigation

Correctiv investigation

JIT: Call for witnesses

Chapter 6: Russian Ministry of Defense briefing on July 21, 2014

The briefing

Possible reasons why Russian MoD said the Luhansk video was made in Krasnoarmeysk

Chapter 7: Examination of theories

Ukrainian SBU theory

West’s theory

The other theory

Conclusion

 

 

Introduction

A number of photos and videos exist that show Buk launcher traveling through rebel-controlled territory. What is the story behind each of this material? Does it really implicate rebels? Was some of it digitally altered? What other important but little-known information exists related to MH17? Did anyone benefit from this catastrophe? This paper answers all of these questions.

The language barrier, the complexity of the conflict in Ukraine, and disinformation are just some of the obstacles that one faces when trying to find or verify certain material regarding MH17 incident and Ukrainian conflict. Some pieces of the puzzle would have only been apparent to those who closely monitored the conflict before the catastrophe. This paper includes many links to articles, videos, and to sources that have additional information. In many cases, this allows the reader to verify the provided or translated material. No expert knowledge is required in order to understand the main parts of the paper.

Most of the articles and videos have been archived. This archived data is stored in mh17_archives.zip file that has the following SHA-256 checksum: BA13F0411356D97E830CF35D87C9707E72274A9659BE4B434FDAD39F46DF731A

 

 

Chapter 1: No evidence of rebels possessing sophisticated anti-air systems

No photo or video evidence seems to exist at all (May 2015) that would show: (a) Buk launcher with nearby rebels; (b) just the Buk launcher prior or after July 17–18, 2014 that allegedly belonged to rebels. This makes the likelihood that rebels had Buk and used it to shoot down MH17 very low. What exists is a photo from Twitter of allegedly captured Buk (see “Buk from Twitter”) and the known three videos and four pictures, all allegedly taken on July 17–18. These videos and pictures, which show the Buk vehicle, but no nearby rebels, will be discussed in another chapter.

Here we look at the origin of some of the rumors that rebels had Buk prior July 17, 2014. All of those rumors were of a captured Ukrainian Buk, not of it being provided by Russia. Kiev also denied that any of its Buk vehicles were captured.

Captured Ukrainian air defense base

On June 29, 2014, a number of Russian mainstream news sites (for example, Tass, RIA Novosti), reported, citing rebel representative, that rebels captured Ukrainian base, А-1402, which allegedly hosts air defense systems in Donetsk region, including Buk systems.

Tass wrote that the quantity and the state of the captured vehicles (or if any were captured at all) is unknown. Neither these or similar articles from Russian mainstream media included pictures or videos of the captured base or of captured air defense systems.

On the same day, Alexey Dmitrashovsky, a spokesperson for the “anti-terrorist operation (ATO),” told Ukrainian Pravda that the attackers managed to capture part of the territory of the air defense base, as well as part of the personnel. He said that two trucks were stolen. Answering Ukrainian Pravda’s question, he said there was a Buk complex in the base in a non-working condition, and that all the working ones are located at other strategic sites.

On June 29, a picture of an allegedly captured Buk from this base appeared on Twitter. We look at it in another section (“Buk from Twitter”).

On June 30, Ukrainian Press news site wrote, citing Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, that extremists could not have captured military equipment from air defense divisions. The site also provided a quote from Ukrainian Ministry of Defense: “On June 29, air defense systems from the air defense base were relocated to a certain place. Only old and unusable automotive vehicles were left behind at the base, which the military purposely damaged even more. Later, terrorists entered the base.”

On July 18, Ukrainian attorney general told Ukrainian Pravda that “terrorists” (rebel forces) did not have Ukrainian Buk or S-300 systems. On the same day, Financial Times wrote that Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has accounted for all 60 of Buk launchers that it operates.

 

Chapter 2: No evidence of Buk’s involvement in Ukrainian air casualties

There is a website, which keeps track of, on top of other things, confirmed military aircraft casualties in the Ukrainian conflict. It shows that more than 20 Ukrainian military aircrafts were destroyed: about half of that before the MH17 incident, half later. No video or photo proof seems to exist at all that any Ukrainian military aircrafts were shot down by anything other than MANPADs. It seems rebels did not have problems taking them down without sophisticated air defense systems, such as Buk.

Nevertheless, one incident needs to be looked at more closely. AN-26 was shot down just three days before MH17 near Ukraine-Russia border. What’s peculiar about this incident is that Ukraine President’s site specifically said that it was shot down at 6500 meter altitude and said that a more powerful missile system was used. As we look more closely, no proof that it was shot down at 6500 meter altitude or that a sophisticated system, such as Buk, was used exists.

IL-76 destroyed on June 14, 2014

Though IL-76 is a big passenger jet that can fly at a high altitude, where MANPADs cannot reach, it was destroyed as it was about to land at Luhansk airport. Ukrainian coordinator of the “Information Resistance” blog, Dmytro Tymchuk, said, according to Ukrainian Press, that three MANPADs were found not far from the airport. Neither side said that it was or could have been destroyed by a sophisticated air defense system, such as Buk or S-300.

AN-26 shot down on July 14, 2014

Three days before the incident with MH17, on July 14, Ukrainian AN-26 was allegedly shot down near Ukraine-Russia border.

The same day, Press Service of the President of Ukraine wrote: “Minister of Defense Valeriy Heletey reported to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the crew of AN-26, which was taking part in the ATO [“anti-terrorist operation”] and shot down, has made contact with the headquarters. It was also highlighted that, taking into account that the plane was flying at an altitude of 6500 meters, it would be impossible to destroy it with MANPADs, therefore a more powerful missile system was used, mostly likely, from the territory of Russian Federation. At the moment, search and rescue operation is taking place to transfer the crew of Ukrainian Air Force back to territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.”

Russian state-owned Rossiya 24 news agency reported about the shot down AN-26, didn’t say what type of weapon was used, but provided a quote from Ukrainian press center of ATO, confirming that AN-26 was shot down. Their article also includes a YouTube video of a damaged plane in the sky and says that, most likely, this is the same AN-26.

Russian Spring published two YouTube links, which allegedly show the damaged AN-26 (one video is practically the same as in Rossiya 24 article).

LNR [Luhansk People’s Republic] leader Igor Plotnitsky told RIA Novosti that AN-26 was taken down by MANPADs, that few people of the crew were captured, that the altitude of 6500 meters would be too high for good air surveillance, troops don’t jump [plane doesn’t unload] at such altitude, and he thinks the aircraft was flying at an altitude not higher than 3000 meters.

Vzglyad website, citing “rebels from social media,” said that this AN-26 was shot down with Buk. Vzglyad editor has omitted certain very important words from that social media post (read “Vzglyad article” section for more details).

No video and photo materials seems to exist that anything other than MANPADs were used to bring this AN-26 down. The use of rockets, such as Buk, would probably destroy the plane in the air along with all of the crew, and the Buk rocket would leave a trail, but as is written on Ukrainian President’s site, some of the crew safely parachuted and contacted the HQ, and no video or photo of the trail seems to exist.

After this incident, on July 14, Ukraine has issued new restrictions in its air space (NOTAM).

It’s unclear why the passenger jets were even allowed to fly in the area of conflict, especially after this incident, where Kiev thinks that their plane was shot down with a “more potent missile.”

Chapter 3: These pictures and videos do not prove that Buk belongs to rebels

Overall, as of May 2015, only three videos (Luhansk, Snizhne, Zuhres) and four pictures (Snizhne, Torez, two Donetsk/Paris Match photos) of what looks like some sort of Buk vehicle, moving allegedly through the rebel territory or being transferred by a truck, are known to public.

The location of each photo and video is known as well. A link to Google map with coordinates is provided under each material in the following sections. Based on this information, we notice an interesting pattern: all videos were filmed practically at the respective cities’ entrances (or at the edge of the city), while all photos were taken deep within the cities.

The Paris Match photos show clear signs of photo manipulations. The other two (Torez, Snizhne) could have been manipulated as well: They are of relatively low resolution and low quality. The objects of interest are of small size, making it hard to verify whether the Buk and truck are real or were inserted with a photo manipulation tool. Another indirect evidence that proves the pictures are most likely fake is the lack of other videos or photos recorded by anyone in the cities, where there pictures were taken (except the very first video that was filmed in Snizhne, but only by the entrance). As of May 2015, no such additional material is publicly available (everything what’s in the official JIT video related to Buk is examined in this paper).

The videos, however, are much harder to fake. They are real. However, an important detail needs to be taken into account: Someone who closely followed the Ukrainian conflict would know that Kiev launched a massive offensive (probably in the beginning of summer, when the new Ukrainian government received more legitimacy), and that rebel-controlled territory was rapidly shrinking. It seems as if Kiev wanted to solve this conflict as fast as possible with force by a symbolic date of Ukraine’s Independence Day. Another detail is rebel forces had much fewer people than they have now.

If we watch one of July 18’s official Ukrainian press conferences, we will see that Kiev showed what looks like a military map of this conflict:

image001Picture 1: A screenshot from a video of July 18’s Kiev's press conference
showing a military map

The territories, marked blue and yellow, show us land that was under the control of Kiev’s forces. The rest was allegedly controlled by rebels. What’s important is that according to this Kiev’s own map, we can see that Kiev’s forces were right by Luhansk, where the most important video of the Buk with a missing rocket was made. We can also see that Kiev controls all territory South of rebel’s. Kiev’s forces are practically by Snizhne, too. Zuhres, where the third video was made, is about 40 kilometers to the West from Snizhne. And as an example, other maps exist showing how rebel-controlled territory changed in July, August, and September. Therefore, it is possible that, when the videos were made, rebels did not control those towns or parts of towns (videos were taken by the cities’ entrances).

The three stars on the following map show exactly where the three videos were filmed:

image002Picture 2: Yellow stars showing the locations of the three known Buk videos
(from left: Zuhres, Snizhne, Luhansk)

As is the case with the photos, the lack of other public videos or photos (as of May 2015) of this Buk travelling, for example, through Donetsk, through Luhansk, from Snizhne to Luhansk, or from Luhansk to somewhere else, suggests that the Buk wasn’t transferred through these territories. There’s not even photo or video evidence at all where you could see the Buk vehicle with rebels being nearby that would prove that rebels had Buk at any point. Therefore, the Buk vehicle was probably moved to these three areas by Kiev’s forces to make short videos. The Buk vehicles filmed in Zuhres, Snizhne and the one filmed in Luhansk are probably different ones altogether. The “unique” truck, as seen in Luhansk and Zuhres videos, doesn’t mean that the Buk is the same (for more info, read “The white truck”).

Let us closely examine each publicly known photo and video that show suspected Buk vehicle, allegedly belonging to rebels.

Luhansk video released by Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs

image003Picture 3: Buk with a covered back and a missing rocket, filmed in Luhansk

image004Picture 4: The location of where the Luhansk video was made

Google map of the building it was allegedly filmed from

On July 18, 2014, Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov made a post on Facebook in Russian and presented a link to a video with the title: “militants are moving ‘Buk’ complex towards Russian border.”

In his post, a full translation of which is available here, he wrote, among other things, that: (a) the video was taken on July 18, at 4:50 am by Ukrainian MIA units of covert surveillance; (b) his wording about the location was such that it would make the reader think that it’s moving through Krasnodon (50 km from Luhansk), towards Russian border; he did not mention Luhansk at all for some reason, but he surely knew the exact location; the true location (Luhansk) wasn’t known to the public at least until July 22 (a day after Russian MoD briefing, which assumed the video is from Krasnoarmeysk; the reason as to why the MoD guessed wrong will be discussed in a chapter dedicated to Russian MoD briefing).

As mentioned in the beginning of the chapter, neither the fact that the video was taken somewhere in Luhansk (this road, parts of Luhansk might have been under Kiev’s control at that time) nor the truck with its “unique” features (see “The white truck”) point directly at rebels.

image005Picture 5: The location of where Luhansk video was made, but more zoomed in,
marked by red balloon; it is right by the town's edge, with a nearby field
that could have been used as a point of entry and exit for the truck with 
the Buk vehicle

In this Luhansk video, we can see that at least one rocket is missing (extra space is visible between rockets, and Mr. Avakov said so in his post). A vigilant observer will notice that the back of the Buk is also covered.

According to Mr. Avakov, this video was filmed almost 12 hours after MH17 was shot down. Thus, a question arises: why this Buk vehicle is being paraded in public, with the driver being fully aware that MH17 was shot down, having Buk’s back covered, but not the missiles, as if advertising the missing missile to the world?

Other issues exist: The lack of HD version of the video (even though it was filmed allegedly by “Ukrainian units of covert surveillance”), no other videos or pictures are available of this Buk travelling later between Luhansk and either Russia or Krasnodon; more possible problems on this page. Why Mr. Avakov misinformed the public regarding where the video was filmed? Daily Mail and Paris Match still write (more than 10 months later) that this video was filmed in Krasnodon, with Paris Match insisting that they have on record Ukrainian source saying Krasnodon is the location.

First Paris Match photo

image006Picture 6: A photo of a Buk vehicle that appeared in the Paris Match article 
on July 25, 2014

Google map coordinates

On July 25, 2014, Paris Match wrote an article that included this photo, which, until then, was never before seen (refer to the article for a bigger size of the photo).

As of May 2015, these Paris Match photos is the only photo/video material available that show suspected Buk with “fingerprints” — features that are unique to a Buk vehicle. However, Buk in this picture looks completely out of place: Buk looks unclear, as if it was stretched out with software, while the truck’s white cabin is very clear. If, in the original photo of Paris Match article, you will look at the place where Buk’s wheels are supposed to be, you will notice an even bigger nonsense, especially considering that it seems to be a bright day. You can read the telephone number, but you can’t see the details, where Buk’s wheels should be? Other than Buk looking out of place, the resolution of the photo is low. Some parts of the photo (Buk, trees) look like they have been significantly stretched out using software, while others (left-most tower, cabin) look much clearer. It looks like a significant portion of the picture has been manipulated (most importantly, Buk). Yet, this picture is being used to convince us that Buk was in Donetsk city and that Buk is from Russia.

If this Paris Match picture would have been a still from a low resolution video, then all parts of the picture would have the same display quality as Buk. Moreover, Buk doesn’t look blurry (the effect that you might get when taking a picture during motion), it looks like it was manipulated/stretched out using software. As an example, the picture below is a screenshot taken from a video of an Ukrainian Buk, paused when the blurring effect is visible, filmed at practically dead night, with low lighting, much further away, with the quality/resolution on YouTube selected as 480p (640 x 480). The picture looks blurry in all places, and this blurring effect is not like the one we see in the Paris Match photo:

image007Picture 7: A screenshot from a video, demonstrating the blurring effect, 
visible in every part of the photo (this is Kiev's Buk filmed in March 2014)

As mentioned before, the Paris Match photo (thanks to “the side skirt fingerprints”) was used by, for example, Bellingcat to link the Buk vehicle with the one that was, at some point, photographed in Russia. The author of the Paris Match photo has probably found a picture of a Russian Buk that was available at that time on the internet (probably of a Buk that was in a specific Russian region). He used it to create this “Russian trace” by bending the photo, as shown in Bellingcat’s article, but in a reverse way. An added bonus is the clearly visible telephone number, and some parts of the photo link the Buk to Donetsk city — a rebel stronghold. The photo manipulator killed three rabbits with one shot: created evidence pointing at Russia, made the telephone number visible, and linked Buk with Donetsk city, producing “stronger” evidence that tie rebels with Buk.

Other issues: (a) the photo was released 8 days after MH17 was shot down; (b) initially, Paris Match said this photo was taken in Snizhne (but it was, apparently, geo-located to Donetsk); (c) Paris Match are not disclosing the name of the photographer; (d) Paris Match has been allegedly caught manipulating photos years ago.

 

Second Paris Match photo

image008Picture 8: Second Paris Match photo, which "appeared" probably somewhere 
in January 2015

Most likely, in January 2015, a second Paris Match photo emerged, looking slightly better than the first one, but still exhibiting clear signs of photo manipulation, due to the reasons mentioned in the “First Paris Match photo.”

Half a year gives plenty of time to create a similar photo to the original. This second photo was probably made to show more details of Buk (for example, the “netting covering” discussed in the Bellingcat article) and to give the original Paris Match photo “more authenticity.”

Snizhne video

image009Picture 9: A military vehicle that might be the Buk launcher is moving in 
Snizhne allegedly on July 17

image010Picture 10: The approximate location of where the Snizhne video was made; 
it is right by the town’s entrance

Google map of approximate vehicle’s location

The video was uploaded to YouTube on July 17, 2014. It was geo-located to Snizhne, not far from Southern entrance. It was also shown by the head of Ukrainian Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichenko on July 18 in a press conference.

The low quality video (360p) shows some sort of military vehicle at a significant distance, not being carried by a truck, but driving by itself. It may be the Buk launcher or the Buk loader. It is hard to see the details: for example, whether it is carrying any rockets or is covered. A car is also seen driving nearby, which looks like it’s escorting the military vehicle.

As discussed in the beginning of the chapter, there are no guarantees that Snizhne or this particular part of Snizhne was under rebel control on July 17, 2014.

Zuhres video

image011Picture 11: A truck carrying what seems like a Buk vehicle, filmed in Zuhres
image012Picture 12: The location of where the Zuhres video was made; it is right 
by the first buildings of the town; the nearby field has roads and could 
have been used as a point of entry and exit for the truck with the Buk 
vehicle

Google map of the truck’s location

This video was made in Zuhres, close to Southeastern entrance of the city. If this Bellingcat article had the original Zuhres video, it has been deleted from YouTube. If we search YouTube for “зугрес бук” (“zuhres buk” in Russian), the earliest video seems to have been uploaded on July 22. This doesn’t mean that the original video wasn’t uploaded on July 17, but most likely, it didn’t indicate that it was from Zuhres and/or was kept under low profile for 5 days. If the mentioned Bellingcat article is correct, this Twitter post (the account no longer exists) brought attention to the video and provided the exact coordinates. If we Google search the link of the Twitter post, the earliest date that we see this post mentioned is July 22. This date is somewhat interesting: both the real location of Luhansk video and the Zuhres video itself were coincidentally discovered a day after July 21 Russian MoD briefing.

If you haven’t done so, I advise you to read the beginning of this chapter as to why this video doesn’t implicate rebels.

Snizhne photo

image013Picture 13: Part of a photo of a Buk vehicle in Snizhne uploaded 
on July 17

Google map

This photo was uploaded somewhere on July 17, 2014 and geo-located to Snizhne town.

Just like in Snizhne video, the Buk launcher or loader here is driving by itself. Hardly any details (for example, rockets, Buk number, etc.) of the vehicle can be seen in this picture. The quality is low and the highest resolution of this photo that seems to be available is 337 x 600. The military vehicle takes up only 1/50 of the photo. These facts alone suggest that Buk could have been easily added there (see “The white truck” for an example).

 

Torez photo

image014Picture 14: Part of a Buk photo in Torez uploaded on July 17

Google map

According to Bellingcat article, this photo was uploaded to a social media site (this link might not be the original source) on July 17, 2014. It was geo-located to Torez.

It exhibits the same kind of flaw as Snizhne photo: the object of interest in the photo is very small, making it hard to verify the photo’s authenticity. In other words, the truck and Buk might have not been in the photo and could have been added using a photo manipulation tool (see “The white truck” for an example).

Buk photo taken at night

image015Picture 15: A picture that Ukrainian SBU (Secret Service) used to have on 
their page

Shortly after MH17 incident, Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) published on their page an image of Buk, allegedly belonging to rebels, photographed at night (bottom-right photo). One of the rockets is clearly seen as having a red tip.

In reality, this photo is of Ukrainian Buk that was moved by Kiev side in March 2014, the video (this is not the original uploader) of which was available online. SBU removed the picture from their page after the public learned of this fact.

Buk from Twitter

image016Picture 16: A picture of an allegedly captured Buk during rebel attack 
on air defense base on June 29, 2014

A Twitter account named “dnrpress” allegedly made a post on June 29, 2014 showing Buk vehicle and text, implying that it was captured from air defense base, А-1402 (for more information, read “Captured Ukrainian air defense base” section). Without even verifying the authenticity of this account (anyone can create an account with an “official name,” use DNR flag as an avatar, post what seems like official information/news for months, and at the right time, post disinformation) or question the motives of the poster, thanks to this page, we see that this picture was taken from a photo album, dated 2011.

The white truck

The following photo was discovered on August 6, 2014, which allegedly shows rebels carrying their equipment using the truck shown in previous photo and video material:

image017Picture 17: Photo of the famous white truck, allegedly carrying rebel's 
equipment on August 6, 2014

We go to the source of the photo (according to Bellingcat) and learn that the maximum resolution of this photo is 500 x 381 and the objects of interest are small, which make signs of photo manipulations less evident. Therefore, not all the details could be real. To demonstrate how easy it is to manipulate such photos even as a novice Photoshop user, look at the cabin in the next photo:

image018Picture 18: The same photo as before, which has been manipulated for 
demonstrative purposes: blue line is missing and a new tank is present; 
a practically new Photoshop user made this manipulation within 30 minutes

It is alleged that the owner of the “unique” white truck said that rebels have stolen it. He could be either lying, someone told him that rebels stole it, or someone who stole it said he was representing rebels.

The Zuhres video with the truck might have been made on July 17, but the only other known video of this truck was allegedly made the next day in Luhansk, in the early morning, giving probably plenty of time for the truck to get from Zuhres to Luhansk without even entering rebel territory. Another important thing to consider is that all three videos might be showing three different military/Buk vehicles. In case of Zuhres and Luhansk videos, Buks could have been loaded into the truck somewhere nearby.

 

Chapter 4: Other photos, audio tapes, news sites, and social media posts

The original “Buk trail” photo

image019Picture 19: The original "Buk trail" photo uploaded to Twitter around 
3 hours after the MH17 incident

This photo was uploaded to Twitter on July 17, 2014, with a caption “witness shared the photo of the moment the rocket was launched…” It looks like it is presented as evidence on the Ukrainian SBU page (May 2015).

The original photo published by Twitter user was of relatively low resolution (1024 x 678). The date and the time of the photo is hard to verify. When MH17 was shot down, it was cloudy in the region (here is the weather forecast for Snizhne), but on the photo, we see an almost clear sky.

Another indicator that this photo is not authentic (is not of a trail photographed on July 17, 2014 in this area) is the lack of other photos or videos of this trail, taken by somebody else on July 17 showing the trail at this place. Buk rockets are loud, and they leave a trail for a relatively long time.

Assuming the photo itself is real, it was probably taken another day, but the rocket artillery system may have left the trail. As an example, here is a [very loud] video of the use of rocket artillery.

Two high-resolution “Buk trail” photos

The following two high-resolution photos became known about four months after MH17 was shot down:

image020Picture 20: The allegedly original file of a “Buk trail” photo 
(but, apparently, without color enhancement), initially shown on 
Dutch RTL News in December 2014

image021Picture 21: A "zoomed out" photo of the original "Buk trail," allegedly 
taken 7 seconds before the first, initially shown on Dutch RTL News in 
December 2014.

In December 2014, Dutch RTL News interviewed the “anonymous” photographer of the original “Buk trail” photo. Two new photos were presented.

These photos are of very high resolution (4928 x 3264) and are in BMP format (at least those that are publicly available). The first one is allegedly that of the original “Buk trail” that was uploaded on July 17, but with no color enhancement. The second picture (with the wires) was allegedly taken seven seconds before the first.

There are a couple of significant issues with these two photos, questioning their authenticity: (a) they were presented four months after the MH17 incident, giving plenty of time for the photo manipulator to work on the details; (b) if you download the photos and look at the photo with the wires at an actual size (not zoomed out), you will notice that it is blurry (compare it with the second photo); the excuse/explanation for that [not mine] is his camera focused on the wires.

As mentioned before, the original photo of the “Buk trail,” posted on July 17, had a flaw — there were no clouds. So, I think that in order to make the original photo more authentic, another one was produced, but this time with the clouds and which would be as if it’s a zoomed out version of the original.

It is hard to hide evidence that photos were glued up together when working at such high resolutions: many pixels would need to be properly aligned. However, the wires and the blurring effect here coincidentally help make it possible.

Even though the photographer is “anonymous,” this Dutch blogger knows his name, has more details, and he even decided to come to Ukraine and get to the roof of the photographer’s house.

There is no reason why the author of these two new photos waited 4 months and wouldn’t post them on the internet right after MH17 incident, as he did with the one with the “Buk trail” photo that “has color enhancement…” Other than, of course, if they didn’t exist at that time.

Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape

image022Picture 22: The title of Reuters' July 23, 2014 article

On July 23, 2014, Reuters has released an article with a title: “Exclusive: Ukraine rebel commander acknowledges fighters had BUK missile.”

In the article, it is unclear why the author wrote: “Before the Malaysian plane was shot down, rebels had boasted of obtaining the BUK missiles.” There are no videos, audio, or even news from mainstream Russian media of any rebel commander saying/confirming at that time, before MH17 was shot down, that they had Buk. There were random posts on social media (for example, “Buk from Twitter”) by anonymous people and Vzglyad article (see “Vzglyad article”), but it wasn’t said by a rebel commander. The “boasting” was also about a captured Ukrainian Buk on June 29, not of it having been provided by Russia. No photos or video materials seems to exist that would prove rebels captured Buk vehicle on June 29 during the alleged attack on the air defense base. Kiev denied on June 30, 2014 and July 18, 2014 that any of their Buks were captured (see “Captured Ukrainian air defense base” for details).

Reuters cites Khodakovsky, but provides no links to the source: the audio or video of the interview. However, the interview, labeled as “Alexander Khodakovsky’s interview for Reuters agency,” is hosted on a site called Svoboda, which is part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Svoboda’s page also writes that Khodakovsky confirmed that rebels had Buk.

If we look at Svoboda/Reuters video, we see that it’s an audio track that is 2:24 minutes long with a few added pictures. If we listen to it, we notice that at 0:57 the audio quality changes dramatically, and Khodakovsky is suddenly talking about another thing. This part was, without question, glued together. The next glued parts are at 1:13. The words suddenly interrupt here, and he’s talking about something else. Therefore, this 2:24 long audio track is combined from at least three different tracks. How can we be sure that his words were not taken out of context? This could be verified by listening to the full Reuters’ interview, which also probably had a video. However, it looks like Reuters did not release the full interview to the public.

Khodakovsky has denied to the Russian media as having told that rebels had Buk to the Reuters’ interviewer.

Even though the exact words that Khodakovsky said in Reuters/Svoboda soundtrack were probably taken from another interview, you can see in this video interview how open-minded/talkative he is when it comes to the MH17 incident and the possible theories. Reuters probably ended up with a lot of material when they interviewed him after MH17 incident.

Reuters probably interviewed Khodakovsky after MH17 was shot down, took phrases out of context, glued up the tape together, and presented it as an interview of a rebel commander, allegedly taken before MH17 was shot down (the caption under Khodakovsky’s photo in Reuters’ article says, “Rebel commander Alexander Khodakovsky of the so-called Vostok battalion – or eastern battalion – speaks during an interview in Donetsk, July 8, 2014,” confusing/suggesting to the reader that the interview was made on July 8).

Ukrainian SBU audio tapes

On July 18, 2014, Ukrainian Secret Service has released audio tapes of allegedly intercepted calls of rebels.

It is important to verify the authenticity of the tape first. For example, were phrases taken out of context, and it was glued together from many pieces just like the Reuters’ “interview” of a rebel commander?

The difference between the tapes “leaked” by Ukrainian SBU and the ones that, for example, were leaked in early 2014 (Ashton: snipers in Maidan shooting at both sides; Nuland: where she talks about what people should be in Ukraine’s government and who shouldn’t; Tymoshenko) is that, unlike the SBU ones, the last three were confirmed as being real by the people that were on the tape.

Social media account named strelkov_info

A popular social media account named strelkov_info exists with hundreds of thousands of followers. The name “Strelkov” is a nickname for one rebel commander that, until the end of summer 2014, was involved in the conflict in Ukraine. It is unclear who or how many people control this account. They post all sorts of news related to the rebel side. They use Strelkov’s photo as an avatar (he was very popular), but Strelkov did not have an official Twitter, FB, or VK account.

This post by strelkov_info is used as proof by some of rebel’s involvement in shooting down MH17:

image023Picture 23: A post in social media that allegedly was made and deleted 
at the time when MH17 was shot down

The top-most text in blue was the general name/description of the account at that time. It says: “summary/reports from Strelkov Igor Ivanovich.” The post itself writes that the following message is from rebels. The text in quotes starts as: “In the region of Torez, just now AN-26 was shot down, it’s lying somewhere over ‘Progress’ mine. We warned – not to fly in ‘our sky’…”

First, the post doesn’t say “we shot it down,” it says that it was shot down (three days before the incident with MH17, AN-26 was shot down by rebels; there was initial confusion that another AN-26 was shot down when the MH17 debris was falling; see “AN-26 shot down on July 14, 2014” for more info about that incident). Second, the poster could have been anyone, as again, this is not Strelkov’s official account and never was.

Vzglyad article

image024Picture 24: The title of Vzglyad's July 14, 2014 article, saying, 
“Rebels told what they used to shoot down Ukrainian AN-26”

On July 14, 2014, Russian news website Vzglyad published an article labeled: “rebels told what they used to shoot down Ukrainian AN-26.” Vzglyad quoted a post from social network, allegedly belonging to rebels. This is how the website quoted the post: “Today, SAM ‘9К37М1’ (more known as ‘Buk’) was used to destroy AN-26 at the height of 6 thousand meters. Few weeks ago, it was reported that these systems were captured by rebels. Now they were repaired, staffed, and are on active duty. These complexes make it possible to shoot down planes at an altitude higher than 4 thousand meters. Previously, rebel forces were powerless against enemy’s planes that flew at these altitudes, because neither MANPADs, nor anti-aircraft gun work at these altitudes.”

Vzglyad’s article included a link to the post they quoted, but it seems the link is not accessible. Nevertheless, their article includes a comment left by a user named “Кейн Пиллер”, posted on July 14. The commenter writes: “Editors, be vigilant! The message about Buks is not from rebels, but ‘from experts in air defense.’ LNR has published a denial.” Then the commenter provides a quote from head of LNR Igor Plotnitsky, where the head said, on top of other things, that the planes were shot down using MANPADs, and that the planes were probably flying not higher than 3 thousand meters, which allowed rebel forces to use Igla MANPADs. That Plotnisky’s quote, denying the use of SAM (Buk), was also published on July 14 in social media under a VK account strelkov_info (this is not someone’s official account, but a popular place for news “from the front”), as well as in RIA Novosti.

Even though the post/link that Vzglyad is referring to is inaccessible and was probably deleted, Google saves internet’s pages in its cache, providing access to deleted content for a limited time. Someone accessed a cached page of the post after it was deleted and used a website that can save a snapshot of a page. On it, the URL/link matches with the link in Vzglyad article. After reading the post, it becomes clear that Vzglyad omitted key words at the start of the post, which states that the message is from “experts in the field of air defense” and omitted the word “Думаем, что”, meaning “We think that.” This explains the previously mentioned user’s comment in Vzglyad’s article who warned the editors. Another copy of the quoted post exists on this user’s “wall” at the same social media website.

For more information about the shot down AN-26, see “AN-26 shot down on July 14, 2014.”

TASS article

image025Picture 25: A picture taken in May 2015 from Ukrainian SBU (Secret Service) 
website from a page about MH17

This picture is on Ukrainian SBU (Secret Service) page about MH17 (checked in May 2015).

The caption in Ukrainian says: “ITAR-TASS, before and after the act of terrorism.” Then two screenshots are provided of articles from Russian information agency TASS.

The article, dated 06-29-2014, has a title that says: “DNR rebels captured Ukrainian air defense base with Buk complexes.” In this article, it is written that the number and the condition of the Buk complexes is unknown. This article is about alleged captured Ukrainian Buk complexes, and not of Buk having been provided by Russia. Therefore, it’s unclear why SBU still has it on their page, as the Ukrainian and Western narrative is that the Buk was a gift from Russia.

There were reports on June 29, 2014 that Ukrainian air defense base was captured that had Buk complexes. No video or photo material seems to exist of rebels standing by a captured Buk or of the captured Buk itself. Other than the Reuters’ glued up tape (see “Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape”), no rebel commander ever said they had Buk complexes. Kiev has also denied on June 30, 2014 and July 18, 2014 that any of their Buks were captured (see “Captured Ukrainian air defense base”).

The article, dated 07-17-2014, has a title, saying: “DNR’s press service: rebels in Eastern Ukraine do not have Buk complexes.”

Kurginyan’s words about repairing Buk

A political scientist from Russia named Kurginyan has visited the rebel territory in the first half of July 2014. A video exists of him saying: “… our talented electronics engineers, of course, will repair — I think that they already repaired … I have such a feeling — the captured Buk from Ukrainian bandits…”

There were rumors in the media that a damaged/non-working Buk complex was left at Ukrainian air defense base, which rebels allegedly attacked on June 29, 2014 (this Ukrainian source probably was the first who mentioned the non-working Buk being left at the base). Kiev, later, on June 30, 2014 and July 18, 2014, denied that any of their Buks were captured (for more information, read “Captured Ukrainian air defense base,” “TASS article,” “Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape”). Therefore, Kurginyan probably got this rumor about broken and captured Ukrainian Buk from the media and believed it.

 

Chapter 5: Other information and some online investigations

A report from Buk manufacturer on June 2, 2015

After MH17 incident, EU has imposed sanctions against Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey. The purpose of Almaz-Antey’s report/conference was to prove “the company’s non-involvement in the MH17 tragedy” and that EU’s sanctions against the company are unjust.

“The manufacturer’s investigation and comparative analysis of shrapnel revealed the missile to most likely be a Buk-M1 missile, which is used by the Ukrainian military, and fired from an area south of the village of Zaroshenskoye, territory controlled by the Ukrainian military at the time.”

Almaz-Antey said that the analysis was based on data of the debris from the Netherlands. They also offered to make a live experiment/demonstration at company’s cost.

They did not rule out other theories.

Almaz-Antey uploaded a video with English subtitles explaining the theory.

BBC Russian video showing witnesses that saw a military plane at the time of MH17 incident

On July 23, 2014, BBC Russian released a video of correspondent Olga Ivshina that provided accounts of witnesses who saw a military plane at the time of MH17 incident:

[0:21]: Olga says, “People of the nearby villages assure that they saw military planes in the skies, not long before the disaster. In their opinion, it was the military jets that could have shot down Boeing.”

[0:30]: First witnesses: “There were two explosions in the air… and there was another plane, a military… everybody saw it… it was flying lower, because we could see it, it was flying lower than the passenger [jet].”

[0:46]: Second witness: “There were sounds of explosions, but they were in the sky, then the plane made a sudden turn, changed trajectory, and flew that way.”

[3:25]: Rebel commander says that Ukrainian jets used passenger jets as cover: “… as was seen in Slavyansk, they used to fly under passenger jets, then came out and bombed…”

BBC deleted this video within a day. On July 24, they explained the reasons why it was deleted — it didn’t meet their editorial values. They said it is being worked on and will be released again.

Their new video was uploaded on July 25. These are some of the changes (Olga’s voice actually changes when the new parts are heard/shown):

[0:20]: Removed: “in their [villagers’] opinion, it was the military jets that could have shot down Boeing.” Added: “International experts think that, mostly likely, the rocket was launched from the ground.”

[1:00]: Added: “Official Kiev says that no Ukrainian military aircraft was in that region that day…”

[3:57]: Added: Commentary of “aviation expert” who thinks it is highly unlikely that Ukrainian military jets used passenger jets as cover [flew under them.]

[4:58]: Both versions of the videos say that the rebel commander denies they had any means to take out a plane flying at high altitude. What was added here is Olga saying: “however, some separatist leaders earlier told that they had captured a few Buk complexes.” [She was probably referring to Reuters’ interview; see “Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape.”]

Kiev denies any of their military planes had missions on July 17 in the “ATO” area

A day after MH17 was shot down, official Kiev says, “… at that moment, Ukrainian fighter jets did not fly in the Ukrainian space.” What’s interesting, Kiev said it on July 18, before the Russia’s Ministry of Defense briefing of July 21, before the BBC video showing witnesses who saw the plane, probably before any mainstream media was even talking about a theory involving a fighter jet, and maybe without being asked.

On December 25, 2014, Ukrainian government site also wrote, “… not a single Air Force aircraft was used on July 17th…”

There is a high possibility that NATO was monitoring Ukraine’s skies through AWACS all the time since March 2014. As far as I know, NATO did not provide any official data either confirming or denying that Ukrainian military jets were flying there on July 17.

Video of Buk complex in the “ATO” zone

image026Picture 26: A screenshot of an official Ukrainian MoD video released 
on 07-16-2014 showing Buk vehicle that's allegedly in the zone of ATO 
( “anti-terrorist operation”)

On July 16, 2014, a video was uploaded to YouTube showing a Buk vehicle with rockets, a radar, and a caption that these are Ukrainian forces in the zone of “ATO” (“anti-terrorist operation”). The YouTube channel’s description says, “Official video hub of TV & radio studio of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine.” This is an official channel, because this verified Facebook account links to it.

Since rebels did not have aviation, this Ukrainian air defense system was probably there to protect against possible air attacks from another country.

An interview with a whistleblower who was stationed at a base in Dnipropetrovsk

On December 22, 2014, Russian newspaper/news site named Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP) released a video interview of a whistleblower who was previously stationed at Ukrainian base in Dnipropetrovsk, but who moved to Russia.

He claims to have personally seen Su-25 taking off from a base in Dnipropetrovsk with two R-60 rockets, which are used against aircrafts, and Su-25 returning without them, all on the day when MH17 crashed. This is in contrast to Kiev’s statements. The whistleblower also said that he overheard the pilot say later that the plane [supposedly MH17] was at the wrong time, at the wrong place.

To protect his identity, as he feared for his life and the life of his relatives in Ukraine, his voice was changed and face covered at that time. However, on June 3, 2015, Russian Investigative Committee has released his name — Evgeny Agapov. Russian RT showed scanned copies of his passport as well as part of a video of this witness being questioned by Russian investigators (probably in December 2014, after KP interview; the news at that time said that he was questioned by FSB and passed a lie detector).

In this KP video, he released the last name of Ukrainian pilot who flew the plane that allegedly had R-60 missiles and returned without them. It was Voloshin (Волошин).

On December 25, 2014, Ukrainian SBU (Secret Service) confirmed that this Su-25 pilot exists, that he did take part in the military operations, but said that Air Force wasn’t used that day, and that Voloshin’s jet was under repairs.

Voloshin is also on Ukrainian President’s site in the list of people who have been promoted on July 19, 2014 for “personal courage and heroism, shown while defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

A YouTube user translated the video of the interview with the whistleblower to English and provided subtitles. His translation seems to be accurate.

On June 3, 2015, the day when the whisteblower’s name was announced, Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP) uploaded a much longer version of the previously recorded interview and without the voice changer.

Bellingcat investigation

A website named Bellingcat exists, which seems to be a site of “investigative journalists.”

They published an array of articles concerning MH17. They released a 50-page report (which was translated to Russian by US’ RFERL/Svoboda), where they track a Russian Buk moving through Russian territory. Why Bellingcat thinks this Russian Buk is the same as seen in all those well-known pictures and videos? Because of the first Paris Match photo (July 25, 2014) showing the so-called “Buk’s fingerprints” (Buk’s side skirt damage visible only on Paris Match photos) and because of the second Paris Match photo (which was “discovered” somewhere in January 2015), where now a “netting covering” can be seen. The problem? These Paris Match photos are photoshoped (for more information, read “First Paris Match photo”).

They use all sort of “evidence” with whatever the source, quality, and authenticity, as long as it fits a certain narrative. Bellingcat used this photo of a truck with blue lines as evidence in their article that allegedly proves rebels had the truck on August 6, never mind that it’s an incredibly low resolution material, with objects of interest of very small size, making it easy to manipulate (change details, add vehicles) with tools like Photoshop, and make it look realistic, as was demonstrated in “The white truck” section. At the same time, they dismiss BBC Russian witnesses who saw the plane and Kiev’s own videos that show Buk launchers right in the zone of the so-called “ATO.” This is why Bellingcat’s investigations cannot be taken seriously. However, they do have a good collection of accurate data regarding the locations of those known videos and photos that show Buk vehicle, and some other useful info, not only from their own articles, but also from commenters.

Correctiv investigation 

The results of this “investigation” were revealed somewhere in January 2015: “Over several months the Germany-based non-profit investigative newsroom CORRECT!V has gathered facts, investigated in eastern Ukraine and Russia, and found witnesses to the missile launch.”

Pointing out the flaws in everything what was said about the conflict in this what seems like a novel, translated into three other languages, rather than a fact-based investigation, would be out of scope of this paper. Therefore, I will comment just some of the flaws that are related to MH17:

  • They wrote that Girkin/Strelkov made a post in social media. — See “Social media account named strelkov_info.”
  • They wrote, “Complicating things even more, the BUK’s active radar cannot identify the type of airplane targeted. Fighter jet? Passenger plane? It is difficult.” — A website exists that shows live position of the passenger jets in the sky.
  • “Bellingcat was also able to determine the missile launcher’s origin.” — Bellingcat “investigators” don’t look like an impartial group to me (see “Bellingcat investigation”).
  • “Later on July 17th the same BUK, now with is identification number 3*2 painted over, was photographed by the Paris Match photographer in eastern Ukraine.” — The Paris Match photos are photoshoped (see “First Paris Match photo”).
  • “Just after July 17th he [the rebel commander Khodakovskiy] told a reporter from the news agency Reuters that the separatists possessed a BUK on the day the plane was shot down.” — Reuters’ 2-minute soundtrack/interview was glued up together from at least three parts (see “Reuters’ exclusive interview and the audio tape”).

JIT: Call for witnesses

On March 30, 2015, “an international joint investigation team, in which Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine take part,” released a video, looking for witnesses that “might have information regarding the transport of the BUK missile system.”

Questions regarding the video:

  • Why Ukraine, a side, which should have been considered as one of the suspects, is on this investigation team (and probably receiving all the secret information)?
  • What was this investigation team doing for about 256 days? They should have been looking for any kind of witnesses within days, a week after the catastrophe.
  • Why are they ignoring witnesses who saw the military jet in the sky (in BBC Russian video, villagers told the correspondent that they heard at least two explosions in the sky and saw a military jet at the time when MH17 crashed; see the appropriate section in this chapter for the BBC video)?
  • The video is 11:44 minutes long and is in Russian. I heard that most of the people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are Russian speakers, but why are the subtitles in English and not in Ukrainian?
  • Why are they showing Paris Match photo, which was clearly photoshoped, and the low quality, low resolution Torez and Snizhne photos, which could have been very easily photoshoped as well (see the appropriate sections that examine these photos)?
  • They said that rebels stole the white Volvo truck. What proof there is that the truck was stolen by rebels (see “The white truck”)?
  • They said (on the video at 1:30), “around midnight on July 17, the truck probably was in the area of Sjeverne.” — They show Sjeverne, which is right by the Russian border. Then they say that this Buk has travelled from Sjeverne to Luhansk, from Luhansk to Donetsk (distance from Luhansk to Donetsk alone is about 130 kilometers) and do not show any photos or videos of this journey or of the Buk in Sjeverne. They said, “probably in the area of Sjeverne,” but what do they base this on? The audio tapes, some Twitter text posts, or on “he said, she said evidence?”

Bellingcat mentions that new audio tapes appeared in the video that were previously unknown.  However, was their authenticity confirmed (see “Ukrainian SBU audio tapes”) or were they some actors?

So, after 256 days from the day when MH17 was shot down, one of the official investigation teams releases a video. In it, they show all the photos and videos that I have covered in this paper, which are used to point fingers at rebels and Russia. This probably proves that no other videos and pictures are publicly available of this Buk within rebel territory, and that I didn’t miss any.

 

Chapter 6: Russian Ministry of Defense briefing on July 21, 2014

First, some background. By July 21, 2014, just three days after MH17 incident, the hysteria in the media of certain countries was at a level probably not witnessed ever before. It was as if Mr. Putin personally shot down the plane. By this time, some of the photos of the Buk that we examined were on the internet; Ukrainian SBU has already released audio tapes and the Luhansk video with one missing rocket, pointing fingers at rebels and accusing Russia of supplying rebels with this Buk launcher. Washington Post wrote, “The U.S. State Department, as well as Secretary of State John Kerry during TV interviews on Sunday, reiterated claims that the passenger airliner was likely to have been brought down by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile.” New York Times wrote, “The United States government has concluded that the passenger jet felled over Ukraine was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory and most likely provided by Russia to pro-Moscow separatists, officials said on Friday.” It is only natural that Russia attempted to clear her name.

By July 21, the following evidence was already known: July 17 — Snizhne video, Snizhne photo, Torez photo, original “Buk trail” photo, and photo provided by SBU of their own Buk taken in March, which they removed later; July 18 — Luhansk video, SBU audio tapes. US officials made statements accusing rebels and Russia, but provided no proof. All the mentioned photos and videos were showing Buk allegedly traveling through rebel-controlled territory.

The true location of Luhansk video wasn’t known until July 22 — a day after MoD’s briefing; everybody thought it was in Krasnodon. The Zuhres video itself was either kept under the radar until July 22 or not published, yet; Zuhres video’s exact coordinates were published by a Twitter post on July 22. Reuters’ article with the “interview” of a rebel commander “confirming” that rebels had Buk was published on July 23. The first Paris Match photo was published on July 25. See the appropriate sections for more info about each evidence.

It seems as if Kiev deliberately did not say that the video of a Buk with one missing rocket was made in Luhansk until Russian MoD had a say on July 21. Then suddenly, on July 22, “the internet users” find the true location of Luhansk video and learn about a new Zuhres video as well as its exact coordinates (Twitter account, which has been deleted, released the coordinates on July 22; see the section dedicated to Zuhres video).

One thing to note is MoD’s satellite photos show “satellite data” at the top; they are not just ordinary photos. That data may tell whether the photos are authentic or not. However, there is even one thing for those who think that the information is fake: MoD showed a satellite photo, allegedly made on July 14, of a Buk launcher and two loaders just 8 km North-West of Luhansk city. As was said, the true location of Luhansk video wasn’t known yet, and Russian MoD said that the Luhansk video was made in Krasnoarmeysk. Therefore, Russian MoD didn’t show this satellite photo of Buk near Luhansk to “make excuses” for any evidence that was known at that time to them or to public.

The briefing

Here is the video of the briefing. However, there is also a page on Russian MFA site with all of the photos and text (for some reason, the numbers on the photos that are on that page and on the video are mixed up). There are some mistranslations in the video involving numbers. Therefore, I recommend you to read the page on MFA site as well.

Some key moments:

  • Until Donetsk, MH17 was flying in the designated corridor, then it deviated to the North…
  • July 14 satellite photo of Buk launcher and two loaders just 8 km North-West from Luhansk city; MoD showed this at the time (July 21) when Luhansk video’s location wasn’t known to public (except to certain people in Ukraine).
  • July 14 photo with 60 military vehicles 5 km North of Donetsk city; among them, Buk launcher and radars.
  • July 17 photo of the same area of 5 km North of Donetsk that now has Buk launcher missing.
  • July 17 photo with Buk launchers near Zaroshchens’ke. It is just 20 kilometers to the West, 4 kilometers to the South from Snizhne. This looks like to be the exact place on Google map.
  • July 18 photo of the same area near Zaroshchens’ke, which is now missing previously shown Buk launchers.
  • Video from Rostov ATC showing a detected military plane after MH17 was shot down.
  • Peak activity of Kupol radars was registered on July 17.
  • MoD confirmed that US “experimental” satellite that can determine location of a fired missile was over the area at the moment MH17 was hit with the rocket and asked US to share the data with the world’s community for analysis.

Their satellite pictures include time and other satellite’s dada, which can probably be used to verify their authenticity. If these pictures were fake, US and other nations that track satellites and have their own would have probably officially confronted Russia with it and presented evidence that they are fake long ago.

Possible reasons why Russian MoD said the Luhansk video was made in Krasnoarmeysk

At the end of the video, Russian MoD said that the video with one missing rocket was made in Krasnoarmeysk. They were wrong, and no, they didn’t “read the address on the billboard.”

Kiev’s head of MIA Mr. Avakov released the Luhansk video on July 18 via a Facebook post. The post’s wording was as such that this Buk was moving through Krasnodon towards Russian border. He did not say anything about Luhansk at all. In fact, certain Western news sites still write that the video’s location is Krasnodon (see the section dedicated to Luhansk video for the FB post and other links).

On July 19 – 20, many posts existed on the internet, including in Russian blogs, that said this is a city of Krasnoarmeysk because of the billboard. For example, this page wrote it on July 19, and there are many others if you Google search for particular sentence. [I remember reading that there were two auto companies with similar names in Ukraine; one was indeed in Krasnoarmeysk.]

Therefore, Russian MoD couldn’t find the location in Krasnodon, but wanted to know where it was filmed, and just repeated what the Russian blogosphere was saying so that Kiev would provide the video’s exact location (as coincidentally has happened the next day).

 

Chapter 7: Examination of theories

Ukrainian SBU theory

On August 8, 2014, Ukraine’s head of SBU Valentyn Nalyvaichenko wrote: “Ukraine’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have established during the investigation into a terrorist attack on [MH17] … that on that day, July 17, and at that time military mercenaries and terrorists from the Russian Federation planned to carry out a terrorist attack against a passenger aircraft of Aeroflot en route from Moscow to Larnaca… as a pretext for the further invasion by Russia,” the official said. “This cynical terrorist attack was planned for the day when the [Malaysian] plane happened to fly by, planned by war criminals as a pretext for the further military invasion by the Russian Federation, that is, there would be a casus belli.”

So, according to the head of SBU, Moscow sent the Buk to rebels, who decided to shoot down a Russian passenger jet so that Moscow would use it as a pretext to help rebels by further invading Ukraine, but rebels accidentally shot down MH17 instead of Russian one.

Some of the problems in this theory: (a) rebels would need to be sure that Moscow would invade Ukraine and help them after shooting down this Russian passenger jet; (b) rebels would need to somehow mix up Russian passenger jet with another one, which is probably hard thing to do even if you don’t have the necessary radar equipment, as there are websites that show live passenger jet traffic.

West’s theory

According to one of the West’s theories, which is in this video released by an international joint investigation team, in which Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine take part, Russia gave a Buk launcher to rebels on the midnight of July 17 by the Russian border. This Buk on a truck then traveled from Eastern border with Russia to Donetsk city, then to Snizhne, then it probably shot down MH17 by accident, thinking it was Ukraine’s AN-26, then on July 18 this Buk was in Luhansk and then back to Russia.

This theory is not very likely: Russia would need to provide rebels with Buk by midnight of July 17 (what Ukrainian military aircraft did rebels have problems with? What would be the reason for this gift?), then this Buk would need to get to Donetsk undetected, then it would need to shoot down MH17 by accident (and how would this happen when there are even websites showing live traffic of the passenger jets?), then this Buk would need to get from there to Luhansk through rebel territory undetected, then Kiev’s SBU would need to film it showing clearly a missing rocket in Luhansk 12 hours after MH17 was shot down…

This theory is especially problematic if all they have as proof that Buk belongs to rebels are: stitched up Reuters’ audio tape;  photoshoped Donetsk/Paris match photos; low resolution, low quality, photos taken in Torez and Snizhne, where Buk/truck are of very small size; the three known videos, which were filmed by certain cities’ edges (in cities like Luhansk, where Ukraine’s own military map is showing that they are by that city); and some other material examined in this paper.

The other theory

Out of all the evidence that we examined, only the three known videos pass the basic checks for forgery. However, these videos barely show any details of Buk and were made by the cities’ entrances, in cities where Kiev’s own military map is showing that Kiev’s forces are nearby (Luhansk city, Snizhne). The Luhansk video itself, allegedly taken 12 hours after MH17 incident by “Ukrainian covert agents,” by the edge of Luhansk, at a place with a nearby field with roads that can be used as a point of entry and exit, with the back of the Buk covered, but clearly showing the missing missile, tells me that all of this is a false flag operation.

By July 2014, rebels lost significant chunks of territory, and continued losing it until around mid-August or September 2014. Rebels were severely outnumbered at the time of MH17 incident.

According to the FT article, Kiev has 60 Buk launchers, as well as military planes, which at that time in summer made frequent sorties. In addition to that, when you see that there is no proof that rebels had Buk, that there is no motivation for them to intentionally shoot down MH17, that its accidental shot down by rebels would be problematic even if they didn’t have the necessary radars due to websites that show live passenger air traffic, that none of the planes that rebels ever shot down involved Buk, you get to a theory, in which Kiev or a group within Kiev’s forces either accidentally or deliberately shoots down MH17.

But why would someone destroy a civilian jet, frame the rebels, and point fingers at Russia, saying that it gave this weapon to rebels? What would be to gain from all of this? The answer to that is geopolitics that involve US (NATO), EU (NATO, Eastern partnership program), and Russia.

Just about 11 days after MH17 incident, we get the news: “all [EU] 28 member states agreed on the broader economic sanctions, which will limit access to EU capital markets for Russian State-owned financial institutions…”

The trade between EU and Russia is much more significant than it is between US and Russia. US sanctions alone would not be effective. The sanctions that EU imposed on Russia before July 29 were not as severe; they mostly targeted individual people in Russia. The new sanctions made Russian companies/banks unable to get new credits from EU. Russian companies needed to return over a hundred billion euros by the year’s end, and they couldn’t get new, relatively cheap credits.

In June 2014, the price of oil has began steadily falling. This drop in price was probably artificially created (thanks to certain US allies) due to oil’s overproduction. The price of oil plays a big role in Russia’s budget.

The plan of EU’s severe sanctions and the artificial drop of oil price was probably to either force Russia into submission regarding geopolitical issues or to shatter the Russian economy, which could make a lot of citizens unhappy with their government, creating a platform for a “colorful revolution.” December 2014 was the peak of problems that Russian currency has experienced, but it managed to stabilize.

So, what role does MH17 play in all of this? The EU could not have imposed these sanctions without a consensus: all EU member states needed to agree. Before MH17 incident, there was a group of countries within EU who did not want to impose these tough measures. Coincidentally, shortly after the catastrophe, as we see, their opinion has changed.

Thus, the motivation for those that could have intentionally destroyed the plane would be to affect the opinion of a group of EU countries that were, until then, against severe sanctions. This in turn could have crashed Russian economy, creating severe problems for the Russian government and their geopolitical stance involving Ukraine.

Those who shot down the plane would need to have some sort of degree of certainty that this tragedy would be used to punish Russia (and that they wouldn’t be tried in Hague). Did the attackers take a risk or they knew the answer? If the public found out that it was Kiev’s side that shot it down, EU and US citizens would probably be in dismay if their governments would provide financial support to Kiev from that point, which Kiev’s government would need just to stay afloat. However, EU’s and US’ elite want something from Ukraine (covering it here would be out of scope of this paper). US and certain EU countries were not interested in “not blaming any side until investigation would conclude,” they wanted those sanctions on Russia for geopolitical reasons.

Conclusion

We have found out that rebels did not capture any Ukrainian Buk vehicles on June 29. There was a rumor from Ukrainian source about a damaged Buk vehicle having been left at a base that was allegedly attacked by rebels. The rumor of a captured Buk was not confirmed, as on June 30 and July 18 Ukrainian sources denied that any Buk complexes were captured. No photos or videos seems to exist that would prove that rebels had Buk either prior July 17 or after July 18. No rebel commander ever said that rebels had Buk.

There’s no evidence that any Ukrainian planes were shot down with anything other than MANPADs at any point in this conflict as of May 2015. On July 14, 2014, Ukrainian President’s site made a statement that AN-26 was shot down near Ukraine-Russia border at an altitude of 6500 meters and that it can be only possible if a more potent missile was used, which was probably fired from Russia. Videos exist of allegedly the same AN-26 at the time when it was hit in the air. The videos do not show any signs, such as the trail of a Buk, that a more potent missile was used than a MANPAD. Ukraine implemented new restrictions in its air space after the incident with AN-26.

We have examined all photos and videos that allegedly show the rebel’s Buk. A video from the official investigation team, released on March 30, 2015, serves as proof that we’ve covered all important, publicly known photos and videos. The Paris Match photo itself shows very clear signs of it being fake. The Torez and Snizhne photos are of low quality and low resolution, with objects of interest (Buk, truck) of very small size. The Buk could have been easily added there using Photoshop. The three known videos do not prove that it were the rebels driving it, as no other rebels forces are seen, and Kiev’s own military map, displayed in a press conference on July 18, 2014, clearly shows that Kiev’s forces are right by Luhansk city, where the video with one missing rocket was made. The map also shows Kiev’s forces being near the area where Snizhne is located. The third video was made in Zuhres, which is just 30 kilometers to the West from Snizhne.

We have found an interesting pattern. The mentioned photos showing Buk vehicle (two Paris Match/Donetsk, Snizhne, Torez), where the Buk was most likely added to the photo with the help of Photoshop, were made deep inside the cities. While the three videos were made by the cities’ edges, where there is a field nearby with some basic roads. The location of Snizhne and Zuhres videos is also in the Southern parts of towns — the part where Kiev’s map shows Kiev’s forces to be advancing from.

When Kiev’s new government received more legitimacy in early summer, they have significantly stepped up their military operations against the rebel republics and tried to overwhelm them with force rather than solve the conflict through talks. Rebel forces were rapidly losing territories in June and July. Kiev’s own map, indicates that rebels might not have been under control of those particular roads/areas of towns on July 17 where the videos were made.

We have found serious flaws in the “Buk trail photos,” we also found that Reuters’ interview with one of the rebel commander’s (2:24-minute tape) was made using at least 3 pieces, that Ukrainian SBU audio tapes cannot be considered authentic, that a particular account in social media does not belong to a rebel commander.

We have found other useful material, which might be less known to some people: witnesses shown by BBC Russian, who saw a military plane on July 17 when MH17 was shot down; Kiev’s own video showing Buk launcher in the zone of “ATO;” a soldier who was stationed in Dnipropetrovsk, who saw three military jets take off on July 17, one of them having “air-air” rockets and it returning without them; Buk manufacturer presented their analysis in which they concluded that if MH17 was hit by Buk, it would be only possible with specific rocket model and launched from specific area.

We’ve looked at data from Russian Ministry of Defense, presented just three days after MH17 incident. They showed Buk launchers right by Luhansk city, Donetsk city, and Buk launchers in the area about 20 kilometers West from Snizhne and 4 kilometers to the South. They also detected Ukrainian military planes in the area when MH17 was shot down. Their satellite photos show data that probably can be used to verify their photo’s authenticity. If these photos were fake, Western governments would have officially confronted Russia shortly after they were published.

Ukrainian SBU theory as to what has happened is absurd. One of the Western theories is not too far from absurd (considering the evidence that we examined, and which the investigation team showed in their official video): Russia gives rebels Buk on the night of July 17, then someone accidently shoots down MH17 using it, thinking it’s AN-26 due to lack of some radar equipment (all while websites exist that show live air traffic), then Buk moves back to Russia on July 18. However, there are other theories. As we found out in the chapter that examines theories, around July 29, EU introduced significant sanctions against Russia. Before that, EU probably didn’t have a consensus among its member states. Therefore, MH17 incident might have played a role in changing the opinion of those particular EU countries regarding tough sanctions on Russia. Some people in Ukraine were certainly interested in this turn of events, as well as some key Western countries (for geopolitical reasons).

It is not clear what took down MH17: Buk, military jet, or Buk and the military jet. What is clear is that none of the evidence available on the internet, which we explored connects the Buk vehicle with rebels and Russia. The lack of any videos of this Buk travelling within rebel territory, from Eastern border with Russia to Donetsk city, from Snizhne to Luhansk city, and the lack of any video and photo materials where rebels could be seen near any Buk vehicle also indirectly proves that rebel forces had nothing to do with it. The places where the three videos were made, especially circumstances concerning Luhansk video, tell a thinking person that it was a red flag operation — to put the blame on rebels and Russia in order for EU to impose severe sanctions on Russia.

The official investigation is being artificially stalled. For example, NATO did not either confirm or deny that Ukraine military planes were there on July 17, 2014. NATO was certainly monitoring Ukraine’s sky with AWACS, awaiting Russian invasion of Ukraine. The reason for stalling the investigation is geopolitics. If it turns out — and everything is pointing that it is the case — that it weren’t rebels who destroyed MH17, EU’s and US’ financial and other support to Kiev will probably be significantly reduced, and that might be an end to Ukraine’s current government. Moreover, what would these Western governments say to their citizens? After all, they imposed sanctions on Russia shortly after the catastrophe, not on Ukraine.

 

 

 

References

https://www.bellingcat.com/tag/mh17/

http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/tag/mh17/

http://evilmilker.livejournal.com/4379.html

http://levhudoi.blogspot.ru/2014/08/777.html

https://7mei.nl/2015/05/18/mh17-buk-launch-photos-are-cheats/

MH17 – Bad Day for the Putin-did-it-crowd

June 3, 2015

Three weeks ago, a group of anonymous engineers sent a report to the Russian opposition paper Novaya Gazeta. The newpaper published the findings of these engineers in the article “It was Buk-M1”.

This publication drew a lot of attention in Western media and it was interpreted as: finally the Russians admit it was a Buk after all. Some “Russia experts” explained the engineers had to stay anonymous, because if their identity is known, they would be in front of a judge in no time.

29m56
Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of Buk finally speaks

Yesterday it became clear the ‘anonymous engineers’ of the Novaya Gazeta article are almost certainly employees of Almaz-Antey. The sheets and graphics presented by the company were exactly the same as the ‘anonymous engineers’ ones. You can watch the entire press conference here (1Hr31m). Here is a seven minute video that gives a rough idea what was discussed during the press conference.

First thing that caught my attention was the statement of the spokesman:

30m46s “All (missile) elements were moving from the nose to the tail and the majority of the elements was not moving along the skin, but inside the body of the aircraft.”

Sbirs
31m17s “For the majority of you this picture is quite well known.”

The spokesman explains this is the picture the United States presented few days after the crash. It shows the flight path of an SA-11 missile system which started in the area of the town Snizhne.

“We analysed this version”.

32m03

“We identified that if the missile could have been launched from any location near to Snizhne the contact point of the plane and the missile would be on parallel courses.”

32m57See above. The BLACK spot is the damage as would be expected from a missile coming from direction Snizhne. The real damage to MH17 however is marked RED.

33m14There are a lot of mismatches.

34m07
In case a missile was fired from direction Snizhne there had to be damage to the right wing and right hand side cockpit must have been very heavily perforated. Both is not the case.

36 Minutes into the conference:

Almaz-Antey spokesman declares missile from Snizhne impossible

Unless this claim is falsified the United States pointed at the wrong launch location:

John Kerry: “We saw the hit, we saw plane disappear”

“We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory, we saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from and where these weapons have come from.”

It would also mean Bellingcats launch spot never existed and all the video and images of Buk-M1 shown in the 60 minutes documentary are totally irrelevant.

Studying the actual damage of the plane the Almaz-Antey professionals were able to establish the vectors of the missile that hit MH17

38m53Horizontal vector between 72° and 78°
Vertical vector between 20° and 22°

39m41Only with these vectors the damage to the plane can be explained.

With the collected and calculated data it is now possible to establish an area from which the missile was launched.

44m45AlmazThey area is 2.2 x 2.5 Km near Zaroshens’kye.

Further statements during the press conference:

– Only missile type 9m38M1 can have caused the damage
– Ukraine has 991 of those missiles in its inventory

During the Russian MoD briefing of July 21st 2014, almost a year ago, general Kartopolov showed satellite photos of Ukrainian Buk-M1 units in exactly the area Zaroshens’kye and he reports Russian radars detected a military jet, most probably a Su-25 in the vicinity of MH17

Bellingcat strikes back

Coincidence or not, few days before the Almaz-Antey press conference Bellingcat  presents the report:

MH17 – Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images Released by the Russian Ministry of Defence

It doesn’t take long to establish the report is of very low quality. On this blog a debunk was posted and a day later Spiegel Magazine reported:
“Bellingcat operates reading tea leaves”

After being blocked by Mr Higgins for a very long time, recently it seems I keep drawing his attention all the time.

And let’s face it, seems he has a point here, right? Not quite….

Just hours before the Almaz-Antey press conference started I posted an article about an eyewitness who saw a military jet flying straight towards MH17

There you have it. The presentation of the ‘anonymous engineers’ a few weeks ago, the Almaz-Antey press conference and on the same day the name of an anonymous key witness in the military jet story is made public. What we have been witnessing is a carefully prepared and coordinated campaign by Russia.

So let’s wrap up the situation change in 24 hours:

– If not countered with strong arguments, John Kerry is paraded as a liar
NATO’s poster boy Bellingcat is discredited as incompetent
– the Snizhne launch location promoted by RTL Nieuws, Bellingcat and others is off the map. (Same for Spiegel/Correctiv site)
– the 3×2 (?) Buk and the route it followed while fleeing to Russia has been changed into a irrelevant phantom (60 minutes Australia)

Very bad day for the Putin-did-it-crowd. Some straws to hang on to for counter attacks:

1) Russia has 9m38M1 missiles too narrative
2) “Zaroshens’kye was in rebel hands July 17”
3) some new spin or distraction