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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO ARTICLES IN BOTH THE GUARDIAN AND RUSSIA TODAY

The fact is that most of the solid information we have and many suggestive bits point directly to Ukraine as responsible for downing the airliner. We do know to a certainty that some very important evidence has been suppressed.

Clearly, we all knew from day one that some form of anti-aircraft missile was used, so this discovery, vaguely described in the press, is not much of a discovery.

We need to know which kind of missile was used and from which source it came. The Russians have some pretty good leads suggesting a Ukrainian fighter was near the airliner. They also have the statement of a ground serviceman that a fighter took off loaded with air-to-air missiles – not an everyday event – and returned without them. We even have the name and a photo of the pilot said to be involved.

The Russian BUK ground-to-air missile system, an older version of it, was in the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces, and the design is significantly different to the design of the current BUK system.

But there are many good reasons to believe it was not this kind of missile that was used. There is a very revealing photograph of the pilot’s seat, only the metal frame left, on the ground after the crash. That photo clearly shows a couple of almost precisely round holes in the metal, not the kind that can be made by an exploding missile warhead, but the kind made from the standard cannon on a fighter jet. Importantly, the holes were roughly perpendicular to the seat’s side frame.

Of course, there are also many pictures of missile fragment rips in the plane’s body, so the strong hypothesis emerges of a fighter attack, using both canon and air-to-air missiles. By the way, the Dutch kept the Malaysian pilot’s body an unnecessarily long time, and when it was released to his family for burial, the widow was ordered by Malaysian authorities not to open the coffin. Why? Was the body full of bullet holes?

The Dutch investigators are lax beyond description. There are dozens of pieces from the crash still on the ground today, some being found quite regularly by locals. Yet the Dutch have shown virtually no interest in them when informed of them. Why, you have to ask?

The original site clean-up was positively careless, absolutely nothing like what we’ve come to expect in such investigations. Remember the infinitely patient search for the tiniest bits in Scotland? Remember the recent crash in the French Alps with stuff littered for a huge area, and it was patiently picked up.

The Dutch methods of operation suggest to me perhaps they already knew what happened and knew they had little to investigate. Indeed, this announcement of vague missile parts is highly unprofessional. Are such matters to be settled in the press? A trip to Russia’s manufacturer of BUK systems, a company which indicated its readiness to help, is what was called for. At least one of the things because a visit to Ukraine’s air force is also required and examination of pilot logs and armaments records, but, no, we have none of these.

But the Dutch sure have used an extraordinary amount of time so far, announcing virtually nothing of consequence yet. In such matters typically, especially where the black boxes have been found, it is a matter of a few weeks to come to a conclusion. At most, a few months. Why not in this case which actually seems fairly straightforward?

I am sure the Dutch are deliberately delaying, and they are doing so under the hot breath of the United States which has a lot it is hiding here. The United States is hoping that if enough time passes, people will forget their interest.

The United States has never produced its radar data for the area, radar data which must certainly exist in a region of such intense strategic interest to America. After all, here they are accusing the Russians of aggression and they do not even keep watch on them? Impossible.

Also, the United States has never produced any data from its Keyhole spy satellites, each of which has many sophisticated imaging capabilities, including cameras not unlike the Hubble Space Telescope. We know to a certainty that one of these was overhead at the time since the Russians naturally enough track them all and they have said that was the case.

Finally, Ukraine itself has made public none of its data from its own radars, and the same with recordings of conversations of aircraft control.

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