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The Second Aircraft

Was Malaysia Flight 17 Shot Down?

by MIKE WHITNEY

“From start to finish, the Ukraine crisis has been instigated by US imperialism. Every action Washington has taken has been directed at exacerbating and intensifying this crisis. The longer this crisis goes on, the clearer it becomes that US policy is directed not so much at Ukraine as at Russia itself. Ukraine, it would seem, is meant merely to provide the pretext for a war with Russia.”

— Bill Van Auken, “Does Washington want war with Russia?“, World Socialist Web Site

German pilot and airlines expert, Peter Haisenko,  thinks that Malaysia Flight 17 was not blown up by a ground-based antiaircraft missile, but shot down by the type of double-barreled 30-mm guns used on Ukrainian SU-25 fighter planes.  Haisenko presented his theory in a widely-circulated and controversial article which appeared on the Global Research website titled “Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile….”  (“Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile””, Global Research)

Haisenko notes that the munitions used on Ukrainian fighters–anti-tank incendiary and splinter-explosive shells–are capable of taking down a jetliner and that the dense pattern of metal penetrated by multiple projectiles is consistent with the firing pattern of a 30-mm gun.

The fact that Russian radar spotted a SU 25 in the area where MH17 was attacked, has persuaded many that Haisenko’s analysis is credible.  Adding to the controversy, international monitor Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to reach the crash site and who spent more than a week examining the ruins–also appears to be convinced that the ill-fated jetliner was not hit by a missile but downed by machinegun fire consistent with the myriad bullet-holes visible on the fuselage.  Here’s what he told on CBC World News:

“There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pock-marked. It almost looks like machine gun fire; very, very strong machine gun fire that has left these unique marks that we haven’t seen anywhere else.

We’ve also been asked if we’ve seen any signs of a missile?

Well, no we haven’t. That’s the answer.” (“Malaysia Airlines MH17: Michael Bociurkiw talks about being first at the crash site“, CBC News. Note: The above quote is from the video)

The idea that MH17 was downed by a surface-to-air missile (from a BUK system) is a theory that originated with the US government and spread by the western media.  The theory has been repeated thousands of times in thousands of newspapers and TV programs without a shred of corroborating evidence.  Needless to say, the repetition of a fable, does not make it true. The public needs more facts to determine what really happened. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has been stonewalling the investigation, preferring instead to use the tragedy to advance their own narrow political agenda by attacking Putin and smearing Russia. This strategy has clearly backfired as we can see by the fact that Haisenko’s analysis has caught on like wildfire convincing many that the missile theory is a fake.

The burden of proof now falls on Washington to produce whatever hard evidence they may have via radar or satellite imagery that will persuade the public that their story is credible.  The best way to do that, would be to provide whatever relevant information and data they’ve compiled but refused to release for the last two weeks.

What we know about the crash so far, is that MH17 was rerouted from the flight-path that other Malaysia “Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur” flights had been taking for the two weeks prior.

Why was the flight path suddenly changed? Why was MH17 rerouted through a war zone? Why was the pilot told to fly at a lower altitude instead of the 35,000 ft he had requested?  Why was the flight path suddenly adjusted 14 kilometers north just as the plane entered the war zone? Was MH17 outfitted with Boeing’s Uninterruptible Auto Pilot (BUAP), and if so, was the system engaged when it suddenly flew off course and began to lose altitude? (And why hasn’t Boeing sent an investigative team to the crash site which is what they do whenever one of their planes goes down?)

The Obama administration hasn’t answered any of these questions. They’ve chosen instead to use the tragedy to bash Russia and blame Putin  without providing any solid evidence or data to support their claim that MH17 was downed by a missile launched from a BUK system. As a result,  public confidence in their allegations has steadily eroded. This situation can only be remedied by taking concrete steps to show the administration is serious about the investigation and genuinely wants to get to the bottom of what happened on July 17.

Here’s what Obama should do.

First, he should demand that the Kiev government hand over the Air Traffic Control cockpit tapes that were recorded on the day the flight went down. That’s number one. That will clarify why the pilot veered  “off course” 14 kilometers and why the plane suddenly lost altitude. (Once again, we ask: Was the Auto Pilot override system engaged or not?) The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) seized the recordings shortly after MH17 crashed and they haven’t been seen since. Why? Why hasn’t this critical piece of  evidence been handed over to the proper authorities, the EU’s team of investigators? Does anyone really believe that Kiev’s US-backed lackey regime made this decision by themselves or that Washington ordered them to grab the tapes to prevent the public from knowing what really happened in the final minutes of the flight?

Second, Obama should come clean and provide whatever radar and satellite data he has that will shed light on how the plane was downed. Most of what we know so far, has been provided by Moscow from a news conference that was moderated by Russian air force chief Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev. Naturally, the western media blacked out most of what Makushev had to say. Surprisingly, however, the right wing Wall Street Journal published an excellent article on the press conference which covered most of the important details. Here’s a brief excerpt from the article:

“On Monday, Gen. Makushev said that the two Russian radar stations near Russia’s border with Ukraine observed the presence of the second aircraft over a period of four minutes on the day of Flight 17′s crash….

Gen. Makushev said that Russian radars could only spot the aircraft at the point of its ascension because the on-duty radars only detected objects at above 5,000 meters. Russian radars spotted the unidentified plane patrolling in the vicinity of Flight 17, “controlling the development of the situation,” he said….

The defense ministry also said it registered the Su-25 fighter jet ascending within close range of several civil aircrafts, including the Malaysia Airlines jet….

Another top military official, Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, said at the same news conference that the jet came as close as 1.8 miles to Flight 17, which is well within the range of the air-to-air missiles it is usually equipped with…

The suggested version of events echoed much of what has been reported on Russian state television in recent days, which has suggested that Ukraine could have shot down the plane, possibly via one of its fighter planes.

U.S. officials dismissed the Russian government’s claim that a second plane was present when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down last week as “desperate” propaganda.”   (“Russia Presents Its Account of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Crash“, Wall Street Journal)

Russia’s findings appear to support the Bociurkiw-Haisenko theory that MH17 was gunned down by Ukrainian fighters.  It’s up to the Obama administration to prove otherwise.

Here’s more from the WSJ:

“Similarly, Gen. Makushev said the Malaysia Airlines plane deviated from its course by close to 9 miles near Donetsk but then attempted to return to its course, crashing shortly after. Russian radars spotted the Flight 17 rapidly descending 32 miles away from the Russian border, Russian officials said…..He said Russia is prepared to hand all of the information it has to the European authorities, which included satellite imagery and data from its own radar.” (WSJ)

Why? Why was the pilot driving the gigantic 777 through a warzone like an intoxicated high-schooler out on a joyride? Does any of this sound suspicious to you, dear reader?

So far, the Obama administration hasn’t even admitted that they had a satellite overhead, preferring instead to stick with their pathetic propaganda strategy. Fortunately, CounterPunch has published an invaluable article by journalist Andre Vltchek that provides a translation of the Russian press conference to which the WSJ refers. Here’s an excerpt:

“According to our records from 17:06 till 17:21 Moscow time on the July 17 over the Southeastern territory of Ukraine, a US space satellite flew overhead. This is a special device of the experimental space system designed to detect and track various missile launches. If the US party has photos made by the satellite, please let us ask them to show them to world community for further investigation….(NOTE: The US satellite system MUST work, because just days later it detected the launching of  three ballistic missiles by the Ukrainian government.)

Is it a coincidence or not? However, the time of the Malaysian Boeing-777 accident and the time of the observation done by the satellite over the Ukrainian territory are the same. In conclusion, I would like to mention that all the concrete information is based on the objective and reliable data of the different Russian equipment, in contrast to the accusations of the US against us, made without any evidence…” (“The New Cold War–MH17 – Sacrificed Airliner“, Andre Vltchek, Counterpunch

In other words, Moscow caught the US “red handed”. They spotted the US satellite, they know the US saw what happened, and they’re calling them out on it.

Where are the photos, Obama? Where is the satellite imagery? We KNOW you have them, so pony up!

Now ask yourself this: Where does this line of inquiry lead? And does it really matter if the Malaysia 777 was shot down by a warplane or blown up by surface-to-air missile?

Of course it matters. It makes all the difference in the world. If MH17 was shot down by an Ukrainian SU 25, then we need to know who gave the order and whether the people who stand to benefit from the incident were directly involved or not. And who does benefit from the downing of MH17, that’s what we need to establish. Just like we need to know why the Obama team has been so cock-sure that Moscow was involved in the incident. Why all the fingerpointing? Why the need to make Putin look like a homicidal maniac? How does that help to reveal the truth?

Finally: Was the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 an accident, a premeditated act of murder or a false flag operation?

We need to know.

Addendum: On Sunday, BBC reports:  “Fresh fighting in eastern Ukraine has forced an international forensics team to halt operations in part of the vast crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. Observers had to withdraw from one village when they heard artillery fire although work is still continuing across much of the area.” (“Ukraine crisis: New fighting hampers MH17 crash probe“, BBC.)

Kiev has restarted hostilities realizing that if the Dutch inspectors find any shell casings or fragments that can be traced back to the SU 25s, the administration’s missile theory will collapse.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.