The Washington Times reported in “Shot out of the sky: Jet Downing stokes tensions between Ukraine, Russia” that on Thursday:
“The Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet, near airspace deemed dangerous, when . . . a surface-to-air missile blew the Malaysian jetliner out of the sky over war-torn southeastern Ukraine on Thursday . . . The plane reportedly was off course because of weather.
“Kiev and Moscow blamed each other for the deaths of the 298 passengers and crew.”
It’s Friday as I write this. So far, except for the persons who actually fired the missile, no one knows who’s responsible for destroying the Malaysian jetliner.
In fact, no one knows whether the only possible suspects are Ukraine and Russia. It’s possible that some third party (other than Ukraine or Russia) intends to aggravate the Ukrainian hostilities by attacking civilian aircraft and knows that the attack will be blamed on Ukraine or Russia.
Who might that mysterious third party be? Well, depending on your personal preferences in conspiracy theories, it could be the CIA. It might be Israel. It might be the Sunni rebels under ISIS. It could even be the New World Order.
More, so far as I know, it’s not even certain that the Malaysian jetliner was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. It’s at least conceivable that someone placed a bomb on the aircraft when it left Amsterdam and timed the bomb to detonate in the vicinity of Ukraine where the explosion might be blamed on Ukraine or Russia.
To understand who’s responsible for destroying the aircraft, it may be necessary to first understand who, if anyone, was on that jetliner who wielded sufficient wealth or power to be thought dangerous to some government, agency or political movement.
•The New York Times article continues:
“An adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said the plane was brought down by a Buk surface-to-air missile. The Ukrainian Military said it had intercepted communications proving that the rebels were responsible.”
That might be true. Perhaps the plane was shot down by a “Buk surface-to-air missile.” But how could anyone already know what kind of missile was responsible?
Did the Ukrainian military intercept a radio transmission where some rebel said, “Hi Igor, this is Ivan Ivanovich. Don’t tell anyone, but I live at 44 Gorky Park Lane and I’m going to fire a Buk missile (that was made in Russia, and given to us by Russian President Vladimir Putin) at an innocent Malaysian airliner this Thursday”?
Intercepting an incriminating rebel communication is surely possible. Still, it’s hard to imagine that any rebel group with sufficient sophistication to acquire and fire a Buk surface-to-air missile would make incriminating statements into any form of electronic communication that could be intercepted by Ukraine’s military.
More, the Buk missile is not something small like a shoulder-fired Stinger missile. The Buk is a large, medium-range missile that weighs about 1,500 pounds. The Buk is typically fired from a mobile, tank-like vehicle and typically relies on radar guidance provided by a second tank-like vehicle.
“Rebels” fight “hand to hand” in the shadows. They use Kalashnikov automatic battle rifles, RPG grenade launchers, Molotov cocktails, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), sniper rifles, Stinger (shoulder fired) missiles, and hand grenades. Virtually all of their weapons can be carried by hand. When was the last time you heard of a legitimate group of “rebels” who had access to a weapons system like the Buk missile and mobile launcher?
It’s not impossible, but it’s hard to believe that:
1) The rebels in Ukraine have been supplied with Buk missiles by Russia—complete with mobile launchers and radar support;
2) That the rebels in Ukraine have been sufficiently trained to operate those mobile launchers and radar support vehicles in just a the past couple of months;
3) That the rebels could successfully hide the Buk missiles and their mobile launchers from the Ukrainian government and military over a period of weeks or months; and
4) That the rebels would “waste” a Buk missile on a Malaysian jetliner.
• More, according to a report published in Russia Today, the Russian rebels aren’t the only forces that might have access to Russian-made, Buk missiles. According to that report,
“The Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed, Russian Defense Ministry said.”
Given the size and sophistication of Buk missiles, it strikes me as unlikely that the rebels have any Buk missiles or sufficient knowledge to know how to fire one accurately. While it appears unlikely that Ukraine rebels might have access to Buk missiles, it seems certain that the Ukraine military definitely have Buk missiles—perhaps several hundred of them.
Assuming that the Malaysian jetliner was brought down by a Buk missile, it’s unlikely that the rebels had access to such missiles and sufficient training to launch one. It’s clear, however, that the Ukraine military did have access to scores of Buk missiles and certainly has soldiers trained in how to launch such missiles.
“Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations pointed the finger of blame directly at Moscow and its support of the Russian-speaking rebels. “It could not have happened if Russia has not supplied the terrorists with sophisticated weaponry, with tanks, with artillery and with this missile system,” Yuriy Sergeyev told The Associated Press.
“But Alexander Borodai, the separatist leader in eastern Ukraine, said the aircraft was shot down by government forces. Another rebel leader said separatists don’t have weapons capable of shooting down a plane at such a high altitude.”
I think it’s true that the rebels have no access to weapons able to shoot down aircraft at 33,000 feet (over 6 miles high). It strikes me as very unlikely that the Ukrainian rebels could successfully acquire, hide and then use the Buk missile system.
However, it’s conceivable that, if Russia supplied Buk missiles to the Ukraine rebels, that Russia would also supply Russian technicians able to operate those missiles.
But, if Russia supplied the rebels with Russian technicians able to fire Buk missiles successfully, those technicians would be kept on a very tight leash. Those Russian technicians would not dare to launch a Buk missile unless the target was expressly approved by the highest levels of Russian power.
If so, why would Vladimir Putin agree to shoot down a Malaysian jetliner?
That makes no sense to me.
• I certainly don’t know:
1) If the Malaysian 777 was brought down by a missile or a bomb;
2) If the cause was a missile, whether it was a Buk missile; and,
3) Who was responsible to firing that missile.
But, for the moment, to me, it appears least likely that the Malaysian jetliner and 295 lives were destroyed by the Ukraine rebels.
For me, the most decisive bit of information to emerge thus far is seen in The New York Time’s report that:
“The Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet, near airspace deemed dangerous, when contact was lost. The plane reportedly was off course because of weather.”
How could the Ukrainian rebels know that a Malaysian 777 flying at 33,000 feet altitude had been driven by bad weather into the “dangerous airspace” over Ukraine? Do the rebels have some air control technology that helps them follow the paths of every jet at any altitude near Ukraine? Did the rebels’ air controllers notice that an unknown jet was in Ukrainian airspace and determine to shoot it down? Did the rebels mistake the Malaysian 777 for a Ukraine bomber and, fearing that they would be bombed from 33,000 feet, determine to shoot it out of the sky?
Why would the rebels even care if a jet plane was flying by at an altitude of 33,000 feet (6.25 miles)?
The rebels have an interest in spotting Ukraine solders sneaking up through the brush. The rebels have an interest in spotting Ukraine military troop carriers approaching with a truckload of Ukraine solders. The rebels have an interest in spotting Ukraine helicopters and perhaps even Ukraine fighter jets. But does anyone believe that rebels have any technological capacity or interest in searching the skies at 33,000 feet for Ukrainian soldiers or warplanes?
• It makes better sense to me that the Ukraine military would be have the technology and technicians to follow every aircraft entering Ukrainian airspace. It makes better sense to me the Ukraine military would be terrified by the thought of being attacked by Russian bombers. It makes better sense to me that the Ukrainian military saw a large jet aircraft in Ukrainian airspace that wasn’t supposed to be there, mistakenly assumed the plane was a Russian bomber, and overreacted by firing a Buk missile at the unknown intruder.
It wouldn’t be the first time Ukraine military had downed an innocent civilian jet aircraft. In A.D. 2001, the Ukraine military reportedly shot Siberian Airlines Flight 1812 out of the sky killing 66 passengers and 12 crew.
So, who shot Malaysia flight 17 out of the sky?
We shall see . . . perhaps.
Maybe evidence will emerge to identify those responsible for the plane’s destruction—or maybe not.
Most likely, all of the accusations and allegations over the destruction of Flight 17 is simply more evidence of the validity of US Senator Hiram Johnson’s observation in A.D. 1918 that, “The first casualty of every war is truth.”
Once war breaks out, everyone starts lying.
For me, for the moment, and until I see evidence to the contrary, the persons least likely to have destroyed that Malaysian 777 jetliner are the Ukrainian rebels. Most likely, if Flight 17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, that weapons system was operated by the government of Ukraine, the government of Russia, the government of Israel, or the government of the United States. It was not operated by bunch of ragtag “rebels”.