Reconstructed cockpit of mh17. Image: dutch safety board
Malaysia was not wanted from the beginning. Confirmed a marching order of 53. Air defense brigade of june 2014 their involvement in the shootdown?
In the case of the downing of the malaysian passenger plane mh-17, everything went according to plan. The narrative that russian-backed separatists or russia directly were responsible for the shooting down seemed to be confirmed step by step, especially since russia offered various hypotheses that hardly held up, and for the time being no radar images either. Then the joint investigation team jit determined that the buk missile that shot down mh17 came from russia, truncated largely to bellingcat. Shortly thereafter, the dutch and australian governments directly accused moscow of being responsible for the shootdown. However, no charges have yet been brought against those allegedly responsible in a court of law.
On 17. July 5 years ago the mh17 was shot down. In ukraine, there is a new president who seems to want to somehow try to reach an understanding with russia, while the ukraine conflict, which continues to smolder, has not been a top ie for a long time. The question is increasingly what conclusion the jit will reach, if there is any legal evidence at all.
Ukraine was conspicuously quickly removed from the field of fire, although kiev, despite knowledge and presumably for reasons of not losing income, did not close the airspace above the contested area. The fact that ukraine was included in the jit at all was already critical, with the consequence of being able to influence the investigation, especially since kiev claims that no radar station was active on the very day of the shooting down, which is disputed. Accusations of the separatists were initially based mainly on information from the ukrainian intelligence service sbu, which is anything but objective. Most importantly, different possibilities were not pursued or even considered, but only after indications of responsibility of the separatists and russia. There is some evidence of this, but alternatives were not even included in the investigation in the first place.
Malaysia’s role in the jit
So far, only russia and some journalists and bloggers had raised doubts about the narrative, even though it was clear that the jit was split, after all, only the netherlands and australia have stepped forward to directly accuse russia, not belgium and malaysia. Ukraine blames russia anyway, that the netherlands and australia did not include them, may have had only tactical reasons, so as not to be accused of acting in an interest-driven way (mh17: what do the netherlands and australia want to negotiate with russia about??).
It was striking that malaysia was not included in the joint investigation team, even though the plane was malaysian and 46 victims were malaysian. Ukraine, on the other hand, was involved from the beginning. At that time, the netherlands, belgium, australia and ukraine signed a non-disclosure agreement, according to which there must be a consensus on the information to be disclosed. It was not until four months after the downing that malaysia was included in the jit, following protests from the government.
It was not until months after the crash that investigative teams were allowed to visit the accident site, and they only took parts of the plane wreckage with them. Security concerns were cited, but journalists had apparently been able to visit the site and take pictures without danger. It is said that the reason was that the dutch did not want to negotiate directly with the separatists. The dutch ministry did not want to disclose later agreements after a request by rtl. The withholding of information is gross with the dutch government.
Criticism from the head of the malaysian government, mahathir mohamed
The current malaysian president mahathir mohamad, who was already until 2003 and had sharply criticized the u.S. War on terror and the war in iraq, had called for the handover of the wreckage from the opposition in december 2015 and criticized malaysia’s reluctance to be included in the jit. He also criticized the fact that the black box, which was initially handed over to malaysia after negotiations with the separatists, was then handed over to the netherlands and great britain for evaluation: "as far as i know, the black box contains recordings of the conversations and noises before the crash. Can it be that the malaysians are not capable of listening to the records? Are only the dutch and british able to do this?"
The u.S. Government immediately claimed it was a russian missile, it said: "how did they identify the missile so quickly and even those who fired it??" the government at the time also stressed, according to transport minister datuk seri liow tiong lai, at least with the dutch safety board report, that it did not show who was responsible for the shootdown.
One must ame that the us government could have been behind the initially attempted exclusion of malaysia. Malaysia was and still is accused of having too good relations with russia, moreover the country and especially mahathir made himself unpopular, criticizing western democracies, saying that the jews would rule the world, claiming that the u.S. Government could have had a hand in the 9/11 attacks and then condemning the iraq war in particular. After the execution of saddam hussein, mahathir declared george w. Bush and tony blair were also war criminals, they had killed more people than hussein.
Now, however, the re-elected malaysian head of government mahathir has again challenged the narrative. He said that malaysia had been left out of the investigation, that other possibilities had not been looked for, that evidence of russia’s responsibility had not been found. This had initially "only" the new transport minister said, but which mahathir now confirmed and can no longer simply be brushed aside (is malaysia to be pilloried?).
Besides, it becomes interesting not only why malaysia was not initially involved in the investigation and, in contrast to the netherlands, australia and ukraine, remains skeptical about the results of the jit, which point to russia. It is also interesting why belgium became part of the jit, but not, for example, germany, which has to mourn just as many victims. Indonesia and great britain are also not part of the jit, but ukraine, which is a conflict partner, is, but none of the victims were ukrainians (fractures in the joint investigation team).
The dutch government has reportedly written to mahathir asking him to justify his comments. So far he has apparently not responded. Dutch victim advocates also called on mahathir to explain himself: "his comments are not only bizarre and depressing, they are also counterproductive to the hunt for the truth about the murder of 298 people, including 43 malaysians", so werkgroep waarheidsvinding mh17. They condemn his rebellions, which "all victims and their grieving families" were betrayed. However, this is also a strange line of reasoning, when what might have been legitimate doubts are condemned as counterproductive and treasonous.
Marching orders for 53. Air defense brigade
According to a report last week in the russian newspaper novaya gazeta, newly discovered unclassified documents indicate that two days before mh17 was shot down, russian soldiers were flying the 53. The air defense brigade, commanded by sergei mukhkaev, had been moved to the ukrainian border. Lieutenant colonel vitaly ryzhov and colonel alexei egorov were responsible for the coordination.
The jit had stated in the last report in may 2018 that the buk missile was believed to have come from this same brigade. The convoy departed from kursk and arrived at millerovo on the 15th. July 2014. There are said to have been more than 170 soldiers at the border where they received dry rations for 5 days. Although the newspaper cannot prove a direct connection with the transport of the buk missile from russia to eastern ukraine, it writes that the marching order of 22. June, "strengthened suspicions and justified questions asked by investigators last year".
The list of vehicles also included a kamaz transporter with the number 4267 an and the driver a.N. Butikov confessed. According to bellingcat, such a transporter is also said to have transported the buk system with the number 332 at the end of june, which is also said to have appeared in photos and videos in eastern ukraine. According to vovaya gazeta, another vehicle of the brigade was spotted on the ukrainian side of the border.