#MH17 Criminal Probe Points to Social Media Tracking of Rebel Missile That Downed Boeing 777 Airliner
An international criminal investigation team releases findings of its probe into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Nieuwegein, Netherlands on Wednesday, September 28, 2016. The criminal investigation outlines the exact location whereat Malaysia Airlines flight MH17's Boeing 777-200 was blown out of the sky on the morning of July 17, 2014, while en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by a Russian Buk computerized ground-to-air missile, which is determined inside the criminal report from social media tracking as launched by separatist-controlled territory rebels fighting in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
The JIT, consisting of inspectors from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, is charged to produce evidence that could be used in criminal prosecutions in these countries for the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash, including "truth finding and its ultimate goal is tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators," says the JIT website. Led by Fred Westerbeke, The Netherlands' chief prosecutor, said on Wednesday, "the investigation had ruled out all other possible explanations for MH17's crash, which killed all 298 people on board," including 80 children and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew members.
"On basis of the criminal investigation, we can conclude that Flight MH17 was downed on July 17, 2014, by a rocket of the 9-M-83-38 series, fired from a Buk trailer, and that this Buk trailer came from the territory of the Russian Federation and returned to the territory of the Russian Federation after the launch,” Wilbert Pualissen, the head of the Dutch police investigation, told the press conference.
Westerbeke also said the JIT had made “several requests” for information from the Russian government during its two-year investigation and had received “partial answers to some of them.”
In July 2015, Russia used its United Nations Security Council veto to block a resolution aimed at creating an international MH17 tribunal, saying that doing so would be “counterproductive.”Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices in ICAO Annex 13. The state of of occurrence (Ukraine) has delegated the investigation to the Dutch Safety Board. International agreements have been established inside a Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and The Netherlands, and in an agreement between the Ukrainian National Bureau of Incidents and Accidents Investigation of Civil Aircraft (NBAAII) and the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board is leading the investigation and co-ordinating the international team of investigators.
“This meant that the preliminary report would shed some light on the causes of the tragedy but many questions would remain open,” Vernooij said.
Due to war-torn conflict in the eastern Ukraine region, the international safety investigators have not visited the Hrabove, Ukraine MH17 crash site enough as they would wish in order to fully complete their careful work. However, Vernooij said “there was no acute need in that visit, as experts could do a careful investigation and draft the final report without it, although a study of certain fragments of the jet lying on the ground and getting confirmation of certain data might still be desirable.”
- Why was Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 airliner performing its flight MH17 precisely across the much-troubled war-torn Harbove, Ukraine region?
- Why wasn’t the passenger manifest released sooner in the aftermath of the MH17 crash event and during the early investigation period of the MH17 aviation disaster by the international safety team of investigators?
The Dutch Safety Board anticipated that it was able to answer these essential questions inside their final investigation report released last year.
MH17 was traveling on routes that were closed at lower elevations. Referring to the New York Times, “Flight MH17 was flying on a route that had remained open and active at higher elevations throughout the conflict in Ukraine. It had been closed up to 32,000 feet, but the Boeing 777-200ER airliner was traveling 1,000 feet above that. Hours before the crash, Russia had announced its own airspace restrictions near eastern Ukraine, closing below 32,000 feet the route Flight MH17 would have taken through Russia.”
Path of Flight MH17. The plane was on Airway L980 (shown below in red), which has remained open at elevations above 32,000 during the conflict in Ukraine. Before Flight MH17 took off, Russia closed more than a dozen airways at various elevations. The A87 route (shown below in black) that Flight MH17 would have followed was only open above 32,000 feet. The MH17 crash site location near the Russian-Ukraine border is shown below.
Sources: Eurocontrol, Federal Aviation Administration, Restricted flight areas before the July 17, 2014 crash by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (shown directly above in red) and Eurocontrol (shown directly above in blue).
Before MH17, some airlines avoided Ukraine. “A survey of flights to Asia from Europe in the last week found that some airlines had been flying over eastern Ukraine and some had been avoiding the area,” reports the New York Times.Where the MH17 wreckage fell. “Witnesses reported that Flight 17 broke up in the air near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine. The wreckage from the crash was strewn across farmland in an area as large as six square miles,” the New York Times shows.
Crash site and missile launch within area of rebel activity. “Eastern Ukraine has been roiled for months by a violent pro-Russian separatist uprising. A United States official said the missile that shot down the plane was launched from a region near the towns of Torez and Snizhne,” said the New York Times.
Source: Dutch Safety Board, Ukrainian Council of National Security and Defense. Show the approximate area (in red square) of the last flight data recorder (FDR) point after which the Boeing 777-200 was hit by the advanced computerized Russian Buk missile.
Path of MH17. The plane was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when radar trackers lost it. The last know location of MH17 was at 4:21 pm local time.
Source: Flight-path data from flightradar24.com
Brief Summary of the Dutch Safety Board MH17 Crash Reports Findings
Aircraft Type and Registration: Boeing 777-2H6ER, 9M-MRD
Number and Type of Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Trent 892B
Location: Near Hrabove, Ukraine
Date and Time (UTC) 17 July 2014 at 13.20 hours
Type of Flight: Scheduled passenger flight
Persons on Board: Crew = 15 (4 flight deck crew, 11 cabin crew); Passengers = 283
Injuries: Crew = 15 (fatal); Passengers = 283 (fatal)
Nature of Damage: Aircraft destroyed
According to the information received form Malaysia Airlines the crew was properly licensed and had valid medical certifications to conduct the flight.
According to the documents, the aircraft was in an airworthy condition at departure from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, there were no known technical malfunctions.
Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board, MH17 Cockpit Voice Recorder
No evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorders were found.
No aural alerts or warnings of aircraft system malfunctions were heard on the Cockpit Voice Recorders. The communication between the flight crew members gave no indication of any malfunction or emergency prior to the occurrence.
Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board, MH17 Flight Data Recorder
The engine parameters were consistent with normal operation, during the flight. No engine or aircraft system warnings or cautions were detected.
No technical malfunctions or warnings in relation to the event flight were found on the Black-Box Flight Data Recorder data.
Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board, Preliminary Flight Data Recorder Charts
Air Traffic Control and Airspace
At the time of the occurrence, flight MH17 was flying at a flight level of 33,000 feet in unrestricted airspace of Dnipropetrovs’k in the eastern part of Ukraine. The aircraft flew on a constant heading, speed and altitude, when the Flight Data Recording ended. Ukraine air traffic control then immediately issued an emergency that restricted all access to the airspace below flight levels of 32,000 feet.
The last radio transmission made by the crew began at 13.19:56 hours and ended at 13.19:59 hours UTC.
(Note: Ukraine local time – Eastern European Daylight Saving Time – was 3 hours ahead of UTC, that is UTC+3).
- At 13.19:53 hours, radar data showed that the aircraft was 3.6 nautical miles north of centerline of airway L980, having deviated left of track, when Dnipro Control directed the crew to alter their route directly to waypoint RND due to other traffic. The crew acknowledged at 13.19:56 hours. At 13.20:00 hours UTC, Dnipro Control transmitted an onward air traffic control clearance to proceed directly […], no acknowledgement was received.
The last radio transmissions made by Dnipropetrovs’k air traffic control center to flight MH17 began at 13.20:00 hours UTC and ended at 13.22:02 hours UTC. The crew did not respond to these transmissions.
No distress messages were received by the Dutch air traffic control.
According to the radar data, three commercial aircraft were in the same Control Area as flight MH17 at the time of the safety breach occurrence. All were under control of Dnipro Radat. At 13.20 hours UTC the distance between the closest aircraft and MH17 was approximately 30 kilometers.
Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board, Vertical Tail Wreckage of Malaysia Airlines MH17's Boeing 777-200, Registration Number 9M-MRD
Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicated that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft.
The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was not consistent with the damage that would be expected from any known failure mode of the Boeing 777-200 airliner, its engines or systems.
The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area, indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.
Based on the findings to data, no indications of any technical or operational issues were found with the aircraft or crew prior to the ending of the black-box flight data recording of MH17 at 13.20:03 hours UTC.
The damage observed in the forward section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicate that the aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft. It is likely that this damage resulted in a loss of structural integrity of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight break up.
Ongoing Further Investigations of Flight MH17 Crash
These reports is still preliminary. The information must necessarily be regarded as tentative and subject to alteration or correction, if additional evidence becomes available. Further work will at least include the following areas of interest to substantiate the factual information regarding:
- detailed analyses of data, including black-box flight data recorders and other sources, recorded on-board the Boeing 777-200 airliner;
- detailed analyses of recorder air traffic control surveillance data and radio communication;
- detailed analyses of the meteorological circumstances;
- forensic examination of wreckage, if recovered and possible foreign objects, if found;
- results of the pathological investigation;
- analyses of the in-flight break up sequence;
- assessment of Malaysia Airlines operator’s and State of Occurrence’s management of flight safety over a region of conflict or high security risk;
- any other areas that are identified during the ongoing MH17 crash investigation and Joint Investigation Team criminal probe into the circumstances surrounding the MH17 aviation disaster.
Additional details inside the complete Dutch Safety Board, Preliminary Report: Crash Involving Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH17, Harbove, Ukraine, – 17 July 2014, is available here. The reports issued by the Dutch Safety Board are open to the public. This preliminary report and all other reports are available on the Safety Board’s website.
“Borat with a Buk?”
Any airliner cruising at 33,000 feet is now vulnerable. Thursday, July 17, 2014 aviation safety breach of a Boeing 777-200ER is ridiculous for the public’s flying security in the 21st century. This video below shows What Can We Do With a Buk? – an advanced computerized Russian missile launcher.
When one looks at this video and also looks at the aftermath of the MH17 unsecured crash site, one cannot help but to think about Borat with a complex piece of machinery that he does not really understand how to use, as he is trying to take down a small fighter jet.
“Borat with a Buk” immediately and suddenly realizes he has made a huge catastrophic blunder using the Russian military launcher. When he looks over and sees a piece of wreckage that says Malaysia Airlines and another piece of wreckage that says 9M-MRD (as indicated in the above wreckage photo), “Borat with a Buk” now comprehends he has mistakenly taken down a commercial Boeing 777-200ER airliner with a Buk!
If “Borat with a Buk” sounds like a Hollywood trailer of a comedy movie, it would be humorous at this point, if we were observing this inside a movie theater.
Except “Borat with a Buk” is not our Hollywood imagination in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster on Thursday, July 17, 2014. This is because Borat alone cannot operate a Buk. It takes a number of people skilled in advanced computerized ballistic weaponry (as a video inside here clearly reveals to us, as we take a closer look inside a Buk).
On the contrary, nonetheless, we all observed Thursday, July 17, 2014, the ridiculous and ludicrous comic strip was actually happening, right before our eyes in completeness of a horribly real aviation disaster of an engineering marvel, like a Boeing 777-200ER, being shot down out of the sky.
What is most troubling is this aviation safety incident may have been an accidental misfire, as Russian-backed rebel and separatist groups, or Russian forces based in eastern Ukraine, or some other hidden national interests with an agenda in the region, allegedly may have been performing practice runs with the Buk missile launcher, shooting at fighter planes or helicopters in the sky.
Earlier in the week, Russian forces may have been allegedly responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian jet.
The Buk, which Ukrainian interior minister Anton Gerashenko has blamed for the attack, has a range of up to 25,000 meters, and can easily down an Boeing 777-200ER airliner cruising by at 10,000 meters, says The Guardian (U.K.). Defense experts believe this may have allegedly happened on Thursday afternoon, as Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 flew her route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military specialist at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said he believed that either Russians or Russian-supported groups in eastern Ukraine were responsible. He said they had been shooting at Ukrainian aircraft over the last week, reports The Guardian (U.K.).
The Guardian further suggests, Kalashnikov-carrying Russian sympathizers in Ukraine would not have had the expertise to use the Buk system and would have needed either specialist, who had “volunteered” their services from Russia or locally recruited experts. Russia is alleged to have infiltrated special forces into Ukraine in the guise of rebels.
Sutyagin, who monitors social media in Ukraine, said a Ukrainian rebel force had been spotted just hours earlier with a Buk system at Torez, a village close to the site where the plane came down.
He added that a Ukrainian transport plane had been flying overhead close to the time that the missile was fired at the Malaysia Airlines plane, suggesting that may have been the original target. The transport plane had been trying to relieve a beleaguered Ukraine garrison, says The Guardian (U.K.).
Unlike for the MH370 aviation tragedy, we all now know for sure what happen at this point on Thursday, July 17, 2014 MH17 aviation disaster?
Avoiding Russian-Ukraine War Zone Anarchy with a Buk!
Three major questions of international security now have a direct bearing on aviation safety and security:
First and foremost, what is happening in the Russia-Ukraine region? Revolution? It is a revolution that is now the most important revolution of our lifetime! United States and United Nations national security community and NATO think-tanks are trying to find its bearings after the Thursday, July 17, 2014 MH17 aviation disaster, including the ongoing MH370 aviation tragedy.
International security interests are also re-thinking their approach in the region, as a result of the world changing so fundamentally in such a short time of two years after the MH17 aviation disaster. These extreme events are happening so fast that we do not have time to be astonished nowadays.
The Russian-Ukraine revolution is analogous with the 18th Century French Revolution. Only now the actors and players are armed with an advanced computerized missile called a Buk! In such revolutionary situations, radically different things can happen, like the downing of a Boeing 777-200ER packed with 298 civilians, cruising at 33,000 feet from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Such revolutionary disaster events cause discontinuous and radically different change.
Above all, the MH17 loss should NOT have happened. The human story irrevocably tied to this newest aviation disaster is how to bring closure to the grieving families for lost loved ones aboard MH17, as well as, for the lost loved ones disappeared aboard MH370.
Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board, Movement of Wreckage of MH17 from War-Torn Eastern Ukraine
Next, what will happen inside the Russian-Ukraine nations? Alternative Futures? Thursday’s downing of a Boeing 777-200ER airliner by an advanced computerized Russian-built Buk is the most serious threat to the international security community. The Russian-Ukraine conflict is not a ‘black-box‘ rather a ‘black-hole‘ that has suddenly blown-back and exploded into our faces much to our astonishment.
The actor and players with an interest in this conflict had two choices: (1) they could make a Buk for billions of dollars, or (2) they could buy it. The Russian-Ukraine region is now the “Home Depot” for buying a Buk!
We all must now be interested in any sovereign state that proliferates these advanced computerized weaponry (including nuclear, biological, and chemical weaponry of mass destruction). The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is clear and irrevocable evidence of how a Buk can be a weapon of mass destruction in a moment of five minutes.
When we now think of the Russian-Ukraine region, we must think of three main aspects of alternative courses of action going forward.
- First, a reformist Russian-Ukraine resolution, as a result of the stunning shock of the MH17 aviation disaster. Here, Russia-Ukraine muddles along in a discontinuous fashion with potential to reach a flash-point of firing all over again, including downing a Boeing 777-200ER. Remember, the Russian-Ukraine governments are facing deficits, hyperinflation (well over 100%), high unemployment, and slow GDP growth.
- Second, a revisionist Russian-Ukraine, under extreme revision of nationalist politics, faces a significant drop in quality of life for its people, a substantial constraint on the Russian-Ukraine economy, and globally-observable anarchy within its military-industrial complex. Thursday, July 17, 2014 MH17 extreme event disaster undermines the region’s authority and control of its advanced computerized military ballistic weaponry.
- Third, a collapsed Russian-Ukraine state is a highly-likely scenario for a regional conflict that has fallen into a ‘black-hole‘ that has erupted into the downing of a Boeing 777-200ER near Donetsk (Ukraine). “Borat with a Buk” is incapable of performing minimum state functions. It has no borders, no law and order, no economic stability, or no legitimate commerce or trade. Most of all, “Borat with a Buk” brings about military anarchy and unrest to civilians and international aviation safety and security.
Finally, why should we care about the Russian-Ukraine conflict? Loose Buks? After the Thursday, July 17, 2014 downing of MH17, it is all about international interests in safer and secure skies.
We witnessed “What can we do with a Buk?“
What we learned on Thursday was how a Buk can ruin your whole afternoon. It sure ruined mine.
What matters most now is everything matters in the Russian-Ukraine region going forward.
We also learned that some things matter more relative to others – like a five minute launch of a Buk!
We also must focus on what matters most. That is, how we globally aviate, navigate and communicate across safer and secure skies of international aviation. That is, safer skies over Asia, safer skies over Australia, safer skies over Africa, safer skies over Europe, safer skies over The Americas, and most of all, safer skies over the Russian-Ukraine region.