In attempting to find answers to questions about Flight MH17, the first thing one notices is the total information blackout from official channels in The Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. Russia at first provided the information available to them and after that urged others to do the same. The USA made a statement about detecting the launch of a missile and from thereon reverted back to sanctions. Ukraine made many statements on this and other topics of which some can be qualified as incorrect to put it mildly.
In the midst of this total information blackout are the families and friends of the victims on board of Flight MH17. 15 crew members and 283 passengers, the majority of which were citizens of the Netherlands, left a group of devastated people behind who just want to know and want to be informed by their government about the progress, about the actions, about efforts. None of that is happening!
The only way to gets answers is by asking questions. My father.
After the first part of unanswered questions about Flight MH17, this is the second and most certainly not the last part of unanswered questions.
Why did the Government of The Netherlands, in its role of leader of the investigation and repatriation, not call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after ongoing violations of UNSC Resolution 2166?
On 21/07/2014, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolutions 2166 which shows the following important clauses related to the investigation and repatriation mission led by The Netherlands:
- Demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site, including by refraining from destroying, moving, or disturbing wreckage, equipment, debris, personal belongings, or remains, and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and representatives of other relevant international organizations according to ICAO and other established procedures;
- Demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation;
- Calls on all States and actors in the region to cooperate fully in relation to the international investigation of the incident, including with respect to immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site as referred to in paragraph 6;
These demands translate into immediate ceasefire in and around the crash site, no tempering with evidence and immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site. In reality, fighting continued every day that the investigation and repatriation attempted to reach the crash site and during their work in the fields. The risks for the experts increased when fighting intensified in and around the crash site, which was further enhanced by Ukraine’s push to gain access over the crash site. A clear violation of UNSC Resolution 2166. The fighting became so intense that the team and the government came to the very understandable conclusion that it was irresponsible to risk the lives of the experts and the mission was aborted.
The fighting in and around the crash site included shelling with mortars and artillery, which formed a great risk for the experts at the crash site but also the risk of damaging the wreckage of Flight MH17 by detonation and shrapnel of the shells. Besides the question if this was done on purpose or not, this clearly represents an attempt at tempering with the evidence and integrity of the crash site. Yet another violation of UNSC Resolution 2166.
Various press statements by the leader of the investigation and repatriation mission, officials in The Netherlands and OSCE were made in which restrictions of access to the crash site were reported. This forms the third kind of violation of UNSC Resolution 2166 related the execution of the investigation and repatriation mission, for which the Government of The Netherlands accepted the responsibility and leadership.
- Why did the representative of The Netherlands at the United Nations not call for an emergency meeting on these violations?
- Was the mutually binding exclusive non disclosure agreement, signed with Ukraine, prohibiting The Netherlands from taking such steps?
- Did the Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands at least file a formal complaint at the Ukrainian authorities?
- If so, what as the response?
Are the Air Traffic Control recordings prior to transfer to Dnepropetrovsk made available to the investigators of the DSB?
During a press conference on 21/07/2014, the Ministry of Defense of The Russian Federation presented information in which it stated that Flight MH17 was diverted northwards from its original course by KIev ATC prior to the transfer after which it was set on the course straight over the conflict zone and the area in which Ukraine had deployed Air Defense Systems capable of reaching the flight level on which Flight MH17 was directed. On 17/07/2014, claims were made that Ukrainian Security Forces has confiscated the ATC recordings minutes after the crash of MH17. The statement by the RF MoD and the statement by a person known as “Carlos”, claiming to be an ATC operator in Kiev ATC at the moment of the crash of Flight MH17, could be indications of an active role in the incident or coincidence and standard procedures. Something to be investigated in any professional investigation in which 298 innocent civilians were murdered.
The preliminary report by the DSB mentions the availability of ATC recordings but not to which extend and there is no mentioning of any other ATC communication and direction other than the last minutes before the incident. This leads to the logical question what ATC recordings are available.
- Did the DSB request and receive the ATC recordings for the whole passage through Ukrainian airspace?
- When not requested, why does the DSB not need such important information, even if serving the purpose of excluding influence on the incident?
- When requested but not received, which actions did the DSB undertake to obtain these recordings and which escalations did the Government of The Netherlands put in motion to obtain the requested information?
- When available to the DSB, why was this not mentioned in the preliminary report?
- Did the Government of The Netherlands and the DSB request information about the deployed Air Defense Systems from the Government of Ukraine?
- Did the Government of The Netherlands and the DSB receive this information and was it validated?
- Did the Government of The Netherlands and the DSB request the Government of the Russian Federation to provide details substantiating their statements made during the press conference on 21/07/2014?
- Did the Government of The Netherlands and the DSB request the Government of Spain to provide information about “Carlos”?
Why was only a part of the wreckage recovered for investigation in The Netherlands?
After long back and forth and political driven negotiations in which Kiev refused to accept that the militias would be a partner in the agreements, and thus delaying (yet another violation of UNSC Resolution 2166) the recovery of the wreckage, the recovery of the fuselage finally started. The surprise was immense when the recovery was declared to be completed but significant parts of the fuselage were still in the fields of the crash site. Even the cockpit component of which the DSB used an image in its report was left behind.
Researching the recommendations of aviation disaster experts and crime scene investigations make it very clear that all components can contain significant clues, indications and evidence and therefor the common recommendation is to recover all available parts and components based on which a reconstruction and forensic analyses can be made with high probability of success. Despite these common recommendations and experiences, the decision was made not to recover all parts of the wreckage.
- Why were not all parts recovered to be included in the investigation?
- Who made this decision?
- On which criteria was decided which parts were to be recovered and which weren’t?
- Is there any intention of recovering the remaining parts?
- Is the DSB aware that the impact of the armed conflict imposes the risk that shrapnel and arms not involved in the attack on Flight MH17 might now have impacted the remaining parts?
- Is there an agreement with the authorities of the areas in which the remaining parts are about how to handle and store these?
- Are there parts which the DSB wanted to have recovered but were no longer available when the recovery finally started?
More to follow based on the discussion with family members, experts in various fields and what the people in The Netherlands call simple logic. Logic which leads to questions, which when not answered, will lead to new questions and new theories. That is what we human beings do when we don’t know and don’t understand and our Government is not informing us.