Flight MH17, the unanswered questions (Part 3)

The USA and Russia have developed advanced technologies for surveillance from the ground, the air and the orbital atmosphere. Satellites, airborne early warning systems, radar and radio monitoring are common technologies which both countries deploy at will. With the conflict raging in Eastern Ukraine, it is safe to assume and naive not to assume that both countries have deployed their intelligent electronic eyes and ears in the region.

Both countries have made statements about having data related to Flight MH17 without actually revealing the details and sources of this data. This data might provide conclusive evidence about the downing of Flight MH17 in which all 298 innocent civilians on board the commercial aircraft were killed.

Criminal investigators have a rule of thumb:

Don’t expect the information to be delivered to you, you have to search for it especially when this information can incriminate the owner of the information or their partners.

The question to which there is no answer is which efforts did the Government of The Netherlands undertake to obtain information even when this could incriminate the owner of the information or their partners. Determining which weapon was used and who owned this weapon at the time of the crime is among the highest priority in every criminal investigation.


Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain telemetry from the authorities of the Russian Federation?

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation presented data of which it believed it could be one or more fighter jets in the proximity of Flight of MH17, directly after the crew stopped responding to the ongoing communication with ATC. It was stated that these objects were tracked for a period of around 4 minutes which exceeds the fall time of debris from the given flight height.

The radar type capable of detecting such movements by either a fighter jet or falling debris could according to experts also be capable of detecting a fast climbing missile in the same area. An active radar observation would also reveal where the aircraft or missile came from and in the case of an aircraft, where it wend to. Given the attention for the conflict by the USA, it is very likely that the USA also had the capabilities of making such observations.

  • Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain the telemetry behind the observation reported by the authorities of the Russian Federation about what could be a or more fighter jets?
  • When not requested, why did the Government of The Netherlands not request this information using the binding UNSC Resolution 2166 which was supported by the Russian Federation?
  • When requested, was this information obtained and why is this information not mentioned in the preliminary report?
  • Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain the telemetry for the same period and area from the authorities of the USA?
  • When not requested, why did the Government of The Netherlands not request this information using the binding UNSC Resolution 2166 which was supported by the USA?
  • When requested, was this information obtained and why is this information not mentioned in the preliminary report?
  • When none of the available information was requested, how does the Government of The Netherlands consider to perform a thorough criminal investigation when key information is not available?
  • When none of the above information was provided, when will the Government of The Netherlands reports this breach of UNSC Resolution 2166 at the UNSC?
  • To which extend does the mutually binding exclusive non disclosure agreement which the Government of The Netherlands entered with the Government of Ukraine hinder The Netherlands in requesting and obtaining this crucial information?

Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain all information about air defense systems in the area at the moment of the incident?

The USA and the Russian Federation both provided unconfirmed and contradicting information about the amounts and locations of air defense systems capable of attacking an aircraft above 30.000ft. Both parties contradicted each other in types, locations of deployment and ownership of some of these shipments.

The first stage of investigating the probability of the usage of a SAM system to down Flight MH17 would be to obtain detailed information from Ukrainian and militia authorities about the amounts, types and locations of air defense systems in their respective armed forces. Validating this information can be supported by satellite images, reconnaissance images, deployment logbooks, communication recordings and even stock inspections.

As investigators say, it isn’t only the answer to a question that matters, it is also the way that the answer was given and when. Related to the availability of air defense systems capable of executing the attack of Flight MH17, it is most valuable information that both parties only provide information about the weapon systems in the possession of the party which the accuse of the cowardly attack. Neither actually deny or confirm the information provided by the other party, nor do they reveal the source of their own information. Key indirect information to investigate according to experienced investigations.

  • Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain the telemetry behind the observation reported by the authorities of the Russian Federation and the USA about air defense systems?
  • Did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain the locations of air defense systems at the moment of the downing of Flight MH17 from the Ukrainian and militia authorities?
  • When not requested, why did the Government of The Netherlands not request this information using the binding UNSC Resolution 2166 which was supported by the Russian Federation, the USA and Ukraine?
  • When requested, was this information obtained and why is this information not mentioned in the preliminary report
  • When none of the available information was requested, how does the Government of The Netherlands consider to perform a thorough criminal investigation when key information is not available?
  • When none of the above information was provided, when will the Government of The Netherlands reports this breach of UNSC Resolution 2166 at the UNSC?
  • To which extend does the mutually binding exclusive non disclosure agreement which the Government of The Netherlands entered with the Government of Ukraine hinder The Netherlands in requesting and obtaining this crucial information?

Where were the satellites of other countries?

Besides the Russian Federation and the USA, many other countries have smart satellites orbiting earth and it is very unlikely that at the moment of the downing of MH17 and the time frames of 24 hours before and after the incident, no other satellite has been collecting information about the area in which MH17 has been brought down.

The basic principle of a criminal investigation is to collect all related information from all available sources to ensure no information is excluded. In a case as horrible as Flight MH17, no effort should be spared to find the guilty parties, or to quote the Minister President of The Netherlands:

The last stone will be turned until the guilty ones are brought to justice!

  • From which other countries did the Government of The Netherlands request and obtain satellite data?
  • When this first and basic step was not made, how does the Government of The Netherlands intend to “turn the last stone” to find and prosecute the guilty ones?

In all questions and questioning, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I have the highest respect for the people in the field, doing their work under very difficult circumstances and regularly risking their own lives while doing their job. For the majority of the time since the downing of Flight MH17, the frontline of the conflict wend straight through the crash site in which the experts had and have to do their job. My respect also goes to the enormous efforts by local emergency services who worked around the clock after the crash, in the middle of the war.

Kind regards,

Pavel

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