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Quantum of Obfuscation

October 16, 2015

By Christo Grozev

Deutsche Version.

On the day the Dutch Safety Board released its final report into the causes for the crash of Flight MH17, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that the “report is flawed, as the Russian findings were not taken into account”. This statement followed numerous assertions by Russian diplomats that Russia “is kept out of the loop of the investigation” and that the investigation is “not independent, not comprehensive, and not truly international”. Similar sentiments were expressed during the pre-emptive press conference by the state-owned Buk manufacturer Almaz-Antey preceding the report’s publication, as well as in the follow-up press conference by RosAviation, the Russian air-safety agency.

However, as becomes evident from Dutch Safety Board (DSB) 835-page report, the Russian Federation was one of the more active contributors to the joint investigation team, and on many occasions was more successful in influencing the content of the final report than other involved parties, including the Netherlands’ own Foreign Ministry (none of whose suggestions were honored in the final report). At the same time, the report and its appendices makes it clear that Russia withheld vital information from the investigation, despite explicit requests for its disclosure. Most importantly, the sequence of inputs provided implies a mid-way change of heart in Russia’s position relating to the MH17 investigation.

Most of this comes to light from the 50 page consultation matrix – a summary of the requests for changes to the draft report, as proposed by each involved party, and the corresponding reaction by the Dutch Safety Board. The consultation is a legally required step of public safety inquiries, under both the Chicago Convention and Dutch law, which must take place between the delivery of the draft report to the concerned parties, and the publication of the final version.

Degrees of Involvement

Despite Russia’s complaints of isolation from the progress of the investigation, it participated in all three interim-progress meetings held by the DSB and provided a total of 74 written comments in the consultation process between the draft and the final report. Nineteen of these comments resulted in amendments of the report’s text, with varying degrees of significance. This puts the Russian Federation at the top of the “amendment contributors” list, both in absolute number of inputs and as success ratio. In comparison, the Netherlands provided 38 comments, with zero success in influencing the DSB to change the draft text, while Ukraine provided 46 comments, and was able to achieve [largely stylistic] changes in only 3 cases.

There were far fewer comments from the other involved parties, with Malaysia providing only 3 comments.

Russia’s comments significantly differed from all others not only in quantum, but also in scope. The Dutch comments largely referred to the safety and liability aspects of the report. For example, the Dutch Foreign ministry sought to remove the language on the responsibility of Ukraine over not closing its airspace, as it thought there was not sufficient evidence of presence of separatist-held weaponry that could reach into commercial airline altitudes. The DSB snubbed this request. Ukraine also attempted – unsuccessfully – to soften the report’s language on its moral responsibility, but mostly sought to change the vocabulary used throughout the report: it insisted on Crimea being referenced as “Ukrainian territory under temporary occupation,” and the “rebels” being referenced to as illegal armed groups. The DSB was not sympathetic to any of these requests, insisting that it will use politically neutral language.

Armed Factions, No Russians.

Russia was more successful than Ukraine in modifying the political vocabulary used in the report. From the consultation matrix, it becomes clear that the original draft report included references to “Russian armed forces” as a third party active in the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine[1]. Russia not only requested the deletion of this reference, but required that the reference to “separatists” be replaced with the Russian-preferred term “rebels.” The DSB honored both of these requests, and modified the text accordingly. In a snapshot of the appendix below, the first image shows the Russian-requested changes to the text, and the second image shows the DSB’s reply to the Russian request.

q_1_1 q_1_2

At the same time, requests by the Dutch Foreign Ministry to make explicit Russia’s military role in stirring up the events leading to the annexation of Crimea were declined. The first image shows the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s request.

q_2_1 q_2_2

Aside from political stylistics, Russia’s comments were much more far-reaching than any other consulted party, as they sought to modify the substantive conclusions of the DSB as to the cause of the crash. In particular, Russia wished to make the report much less deterministic than the draft report it had seen in July. To this end, Russia even changed its position on issues it had already subscribed to during the first and second interim progress meetings.

Ambivalent Parallelism

During the first progress meeting, held at the Gilze-Rijen airbase February 16-25 2015, accredited Russian representatives too part in a review of the Boeing’s wreckage. At the conclusion of the week-long investigation, a plenary meeting of all parties – including Russia – reached consensus that “the aeroplane was most likely downed by a missile that was launched from the ground”.[2]  Before adjourning, all parties agreed on the aspects requiring further investigation.

The second meeting was held on May 6-7, and the Russian delegation attended again. After another review of the wreckage, and following up on the previous meeting, the parties focused on the possible types of weaponry used, and its likely ballistic trajectory. During this meeting, two contradicting simulations were presented as to the possible trajectories of the missile: one by the Dutch Aeronautics Institute (NLR), and another by Almaz-Antey. Both presentations assumed a Buk missile, but differed in trajectory simulation, due to the different assumption regarding the angle of approach of the missile to the airplane. Yet, this progress meeting ended with yet another, consensual conclusion that the Boeing had been hit by a surface-to-air missile. The sole dissenting opinion, by Russia, took exception only to the Dutch reconstruction of the trajectory, but not to the type of weapon.

A day prior to Almaz-Antey presenting its simulation results in the Netherlands, its report was leaked to the opposition Russian paper Novaya Gazeta (not infrequently used by the Kremlin as a leak platform). The full presentation of the Almaz-Antey analysis was officially published by TASS nearly a month later.

At this point, the Dutch investigation team assumed that Russia, indeed, had conclusively subscribed to the “ground-to-air” hypothesis. The DSB then proceeded to present its draft report to all parties concerned – including Russia – on June 2nd. The draft report elaborated on the consensual “ground-to-air” hypothesis, and included the Russian dissenting opinion as to the missile’s trajectory, accompanied with a copy of the Almaz-Antey report, as appendix. Furthermore, sources familiar with the draft report confirmed that it addressed the impossibility of Almaz-Antey’s assumption about the missile’s approach angle, based on – inter alia – triangulation of ultrasound peaks captured by the  cockpit audio recorders, which confirmed the missile’s direction of approach.

Following the receipt of the draft report, the Russian position changed. During the third and final progress meeting, held August 11-12, 2015 in Gilze-Rijen, Russia surprised the joint team with an unannounced presentation of a “Russian ballistic study,” which sought to turn back the investigation’s clock to a far less deterministic stage. In particular, Russia presented the results of an empirical experiment, conducted by Almaz-Antey on bow-tie shaped shrapnel fragments, which sought to prove that one fragment found by the Dutch team and weighed by the Russians during the first meeting,was too light (at 5.5 g), compared to those shot by Almaz-Antey through aircraft-type metal plates in their empirical test (at 7.2 g). The Russian ballistic presentation continued to conclude that based on the evidence, flight MH17 might have been shot down by either a Buk ground-to-air missile, or by an air-to-air missile.

The DSB team rebuffed the Russian re-introductions as being unverifiable, unannounced, and conducted outside of the official investigation process. More substantively, the DSB stated that it is improper to compare ground-based experimental results to expected outcomes at an altitude of 10 km, with different air-density and a non-stationary airplane.

q_3

From the content of the consultation matrix, it appears that Russia attempted to remove all traces of its prior endorsement of the ground-to-air hypothesis. Russia insisted on a complete removal of all references to the Almaz-Antey presentation made during the second meeting. It stated that the Almaz-Antey report and trajectory computation had had the relevance of a tentative scenario; i.e. “only in the event that it were a ground-to-air missile, would the trajectory had been such and such.”

The DSB consented to treat this as a misunderstanding and to remove the original Almaz-Antey presentation and references to it.

Two Russian trajectories?

Another key concern for Russia was the inclusion in the report of the results of a trajectory simulation conducted by Almaz-Antey at the request of the DSB. This computation, which used, as a starting point, the explosion location and impact dispersion data compiled by NLR, reverse-projected a ballistic trajectory to an identical  launch site as the simulations ran by the 3 other parties engaged by the DSB – all inside a separatist-held polygon south of the village of Snizhne. Almaz-Antey presented this trajectory simulation during the second progress meeting in early May. At this point in time (before seeing the definite conclusions in the draft report), it appears that the Russian side was less concerned with presenting this “counterfactual” scenario, as it still insisted on its main hypothesis, i.e. a different angle of approach, a different Buk type, and a different launch location.

However, due to its subsequent change of position and its own request to remove the original Almaz-Antey presentation from the report, Russia was left in the awkward position to have a final report with only one reference to an Almaz-Antey trajectory simulation: one pointing a finger at separatist-held territory. This was the reason Russia requested the DSB to remove the reference to the second simulation by Almaz-Antey, calling it “based on false assumptions about the location of the detonation and the weapon type.”

The DSB, however, declined Russia’s request to remove this reference.

q_4

Russia’s attempts to substantiate a missile trajectory leading to Zaroshchenske (approx. 20 km to the west of the polygon, computed by the 4 other simulations) was essential to the official Russian narrative. Four days after MH17 was shot down, the Russian Defence Ministry published satellite imagery, allegedly taken on the day of the crash, which purported to show two Buk units in the immediate vicinity of Zaroshchenske. The authenticity of the imagery has been disputed both by Ukraine and by Bellingcat, among others. Furthermore,  Novaya Gazeta  interviewed residents of the village of Zaroshchenske (currently – and at the time of the interviews – under separatist control), who confirmed that there had been no Ukrainian military presence in or around the village at any time after May 2014.  (On June 8th I spoke with several Zaroshchenske residents by phone as well, they told me the same thing). Cartography experts interviewed by Novaya Gazeta alleged that Zaroshchenske, at the time of the crash, was “6-7 km within rebel territory” None of the interviewees had seen or heard anything resembling a missile launch on July 17th. Yet, keeping consistent with its early narrative, Russia has insisted that the only conceivable trajectory of a Buk might have come from a narrow square near that village.

The missing radar data

In keeping with its non-deterministic strategy, as of the third progress meeting Russia re-introduced the “air-to-air” missile hypothesis. This hypothesis had been first introduced during the Russian Defence Ministry press conference on July 21st, 2014, when Russia declared it had radar data proving that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter had been flying up towards the altitude of the MH17 airliner at 16:20 local time.

“Russian system of air control detected the Ukrainian Air Force aircraft, purposed Su-25, moving upwards toward to the Malaysian Boeing-777. The distance between aircrafts was 3-5 kilometers.”

Diagram shown by Russian Defense Ministry on 21.07.2014

Russia claimed that the alleged Su-25 flew without active radio self-identification (a switched-off transponder), thus it could be registered only by Russia’s primary, active scanning radar system. At the July 21st, 2014 press-conference, the Russian Defence Ministry displayed a video recording of a radar screen, purported to show the Ukrainian fighter.

From the DSB final report, it becomes evident that when Russia re-introduced the air-to-air hypothesis, it no longer referred to the alleged observed presence of a Ukrainian fighter near the Malaysian Air Boeing. Furthermore, Russia declined to provide the raw data from its radar locator sites near the Ukraine border to the DSB. Russia’s argument was that international requirements under ICAO aviation rules did not specify what type of radar data it is obligated to keep for 30 days, and that its presentation of a video screen recording of the radar satisfies such legal requirement. This refusal forced DSB to inquire with ICAO, which confirmed that, to the contrary of Russia’s claim, all raw data must be preserved for a period of 30 days [the alternative interpretation is untenable, as no authentication of a video screen recording can be performed].

q_5_1 q_5_2

During the second progress meeting in May 2015, the Russian delegation announced that the raw radar data was no longer available. Russia said it had “not saved this information, because it was not obliged to do so since the crash had not taken place on Russian territory.” From this point onward, Russia no longer referred to a particular, observed Ukrainian plane near the Boeing, but to the hypothetical scenario that there may have been a plane, and it might have shot an unspecified air-to-air missile with a similar (also unspecified) shrapnel payload.

A multi-variant truth

Russia’s extensive, and often fluctuating, inputs to the Dutch Safety Board may appear haphazard and stochastic – the natural artifact of a system not used to structured, deterministic processes. Or it may be the actual strategy: one of deferral of the truth through obfuscation. Truth, it appears throughout the Russian inputs to the DSB report, is too complex to be known. MH17 may or may not have been hit by a ground-to-air missile, but it may have well been an unknown other type of an air-to-air missile. And even if it were a Buk, from the evidence at hand, it is impossible to ever ascertain the specific type of Buk that may have been used. The launch site, too, may have been under Ukrainian or under separatists control.

This position is more reminiscent of a criminal defense lawyer’s strategy than of a proactive participant in an investigation – one which, this very participant claims, has taken too long to complete. At the same time, it consistent with the sincere response that Almaz-Antey’s CEO Jan Novikov gave to a Chilean reporter during a press conference several hours before the presentation of the DSB report.

“Why does Russia’s hypothesis always change?” asked the reporter.  Novikov replied:

“Russia’s position has always been one of retaining multi-versionality of scenarios, until the very end, when we can choose namely that scenario, which….which actually happened”

___________

Footnotes:

[1] It is not clear whether the original reference was in the context of the undisputed Russian involvement in the Crimean events, or it made an explicit assumption for involvement in the Donbass conflict]

[2] “About the Investigation”, page 9, par. 5, http://cdn.onderzoeksraad.nl/documents/report-mh17-abouttheinvestigation-en.pdf

 

Christo Grozev

Christo Grozev for many years supervised the radio operations of a public US company in CEE and Russia. Currently owns and operates national radio stations in the Netherlands and Ukraine. Christo is a senior researcher at Risk Management Lab, a think-tank with a focus on security threats at New Bulgairan University (Sofia). He joined Bellingcat as author in 2014, and has since been a lead researcher in a number of investigations. Christo focuses on Russia-related security threats and weaponization of information.

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145 Comments

  1. Randy Dread

    Andrea – October 17th, 2015
    little presumptuous ignorant…
    Do you know that some of the eastern countries of europe and all over the world are full of soviet/russian military hardware…ukraine will produce spare parts for them…

    it already does offer maintenance of that equipment.

    no change there.

    Reply
  2. Robertm

    Very similar to the Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by the USS Vincennes, an Aegis type cruiser, on July 3, 1988. No punishment for the captain. In fact he got a medal! 290 innocent civilians killed. If Putin gives the crew of this missile battery a medal would that put an end to the fuss?

    Reply
    • boggled

      Very different actually Robertm,
      And shows how little you know or how little you want to tell about the truth of the incident.

      Iranian flight turned off its transponder or was using a F15 transponder signal.
      So ordered by someone in Iran.
      The captain after vigorous investigation determined it was a fighter jet coming into attack his ship.
      He made numerous attempts to contact the plane and all failed.
      He tried to contact Iranian ATC, that failed also.
      All in all, they made a great effort to distinguish another inbound bogey while they were getting attacked from another source.

      Mh17 was broadcasting normally as the sky is blue.
      BUK has many safeguards built into it to test the target and it would have come up civilian, I believe even the crew could have told the transponder code.

      Completely different scenario.
      vova faces a hangman’s noose.
      RF faces a lot worse for its future generations.
      About the only thing that could save RF for future generations is for vova and his organized criminal henchmen falling on their swords and admitting guilt and accepting punishment.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
      • Andrew

        boggled:

        “Iranian flight turned off its transponder or was using a F15 transponder signal.”

        Do you have any proof of this at all to offer us?

        Reply
        • boggled

          * TN 4131 was reported to be increasing in speed and decreasing in altitude.
          * TN 4131 was on a constant bearing, decreasing range to USS VINCENNES and USS ELMER MONTGOMERY.
          * TN 4131 was reported by USS VINCENNES’ personnel squawking Mode II 1100, which correlates with an F-14.
          * No ESM was reflected from TN 4131, however, F-14s can fly “cold nose” (no emitters).
          * F-14s have an air-to-surface capability with Maverick and modified Eagle missiles.
          * The aircraft appeared to be maneuvering into an attack position.

          search for – Case Study Vincennes Incident

          Fare thee well

          Reply
          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “TN 4131 was reported by USS VINCENNES’ personnel squawking Mode II 1100, which correlates with an F-14.”

            You are full of it. You create as much obfuscation as the lying American sailors on the Vincennes did.

            “Contrary to the accounts of various USS Vincennes crew members, the shipboard Aegis Combat System aboard Vincennes recorded that the Iranian airliner was climbing at the time and its radio transmitter was “squawking” on the Mode III civilian code only, rather than on military Mode II”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

            http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/18/opinion/witness-to-iran-flight-655.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

          • boggled

            Andrew, that was part of the recorded items.
            It was not all.
            The plane descended initially then was rising in altitude.
            The plane had turned to a different squawk.
            Then returned back to another.

            When your a captain of a vessel that has been threatened, you make your decisions with the information you have.
            He gave the order to fire with the info he had.
            Do I wish he waited longer for confirmation before firing?
            Of course I do.
            He made judgments assuming a F14 was attacking on retaliation for the incident in International waters when a request came in for help to a tanker that was getting attacked by Iranians.
            He was wrong in identification, however some F14s were scrambled in Iran at the time.
            There was a retaliation coming from Iran but the civilian plane got destroyed first and F14s were given new orders and a search mission was commenced.

            Fare the well

      • Andrew

        Christo:

        “Four days after MH17 was shot down, the Russian Defence Ministry published satellite imagery, allegedly taken on the day of the crash, which purported to show two Buk units in the immediate vicinity of Zaroshchenske.”

        The image was taken by the Russian satellite RESURS-P1 exactly at the time (Moscow time) and date stated. I cannot take credit for this, the identification was made here:

        http://novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/forum/forum12/topic14351/?PAGEN_1=26

        RESURS-P1 and KOSMOS-2486 took all of the photos released by the Russian Ministry of Defense and correctly passed over the relevant places at the stated times and dates.

        “Furthermore, Novaya Gazeta interviewed residents of the village of Zaroshchenske (currently – and at the time of the interviews – under separatist control), who confirmed that there had been no Ukrainian military presence in or around the village at any time after May 2014.”

        Ukraine invaded north into Shakhtersk on July 26/27, 2014 partly by way of the road next to Zaroshchenske. Interviews of the villagers by Novaya Gazeta confirmed this. Ukraine also held a position south of Dubove to their west:

        https://twitter.com/audrius1977/status/496307732476342272

        And also Shaposhnykovo to their south, and Bolshaya Shyshovka to their east.

        https://vk.com/wall-70279965_75821

        http://warsonline.info/ukraine/novorossiya-operativnaya-svodka-za-16-iiulya-2014-goda.html

        “(On June 8th I spoke with several Zaroshchenske residents by phone as well, they told me the same thing).”

        Thank you for confirming this. I agree that Zaroshchenske was on the border between Ukrainian forces to the south and rebel forces to the north and that no one was in the town but the residents. That seems to be what all the interviews said.

        “Cartography experts interviewed by Novaya Gazeta alleged that Zaroshchenske, at the time of the crash, was “6-7 km within rebel territory” ”

        I’m not sure what the experts (who are they?) base that on. Ukraine had a checkpoint on the T0517 highway just south of Bolshaya Shyshovka built on July 16 and another on the road from Shyshovka to Shaposhnykovo and a third south of Shaposhnykovo. The nearest rebel positions were to the north on the H21 highway at Hirne and Zachativka and to the west at Shakhtne and Stepano-Krynka.

        Google Panaramio has a wonderful view of what could be seen from the Ukrainian position at Shyshovka:

        http://www.panoramio.com/photo/68622317?source=wapi&referrer=kh.google.com

        It certainly was a superb location for Ukraine to monitor everything going on to the north.

        Reply
        • Christo Grozev

          “The image was taken by the Russian satellite RESURS-P1 exactly at the time (Moscow time) and date stated. I cannot take credit for this, the identification was made here:

          http://novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/forum/forum12/topic14351/?PAGEN_1=26

          RESURS-P1 and KOSMOS-2486 took all of the photos released by the Russian Ministry of Defense and correctly passed over the relevant places at the stated times and dates”
          Most of the photographs released by MoD on 21 July are proven fakes. The link you post does not contain evidence that the Zaroshenske photo was genuine; simply that on that minute and that day, a RU satellite did pass over that location. Thus, we have to trust the single source: Ru MoD – that that photo is from that date and time, and not tampered.
          However, for the other photos dated same day and same satellite, included in the same presentation, we have now evidence they are fabricated and/or antidated. Therefore the credibility of the source is gone. You could have verified yourself the inconsistency in the MoD photos by simply comparing the open-source data from GoogleEarth from 2 July and 21 July 2014. Without a shadow of any doubt it shows the [old, unusable] Ukrainian BUK on the same spot, carefully airbrushed on the MoD image for July 17th.
          Thus, I think I was too soft on the RU sat photos in my piece.
          Furthermore, Russia did not provide satellite photos to the DSB. Instead, it pointed them to a dead link on the Ministry of Foreign affairs website [which originally had only the MoD presentation from July 21st 2014]. If RU had *authentic* sat photos, would it NOT have delivered its smoking gun to the DSB?
          Regards

          Christo

          Reply
          • Andrew

            Christo:

            Thank you for your reply.

            “Most of the photographs released by MoD on 21 July are proven fakes.”

            That is a very strong claim with I think little to back it up, especially as regards Zaroshchenske.

            “The link you post does not contain evidence that the Zaroshenske photo was genuine; simply that on that minute and that day, a RU satellite did pass over that location. Thus, we have to trust the single source: Ru MoD – that that photo is from that date and time, and not tampered.”

            Yes we do, because no American satellite owner could be bothered to release a photo of the same area on July 17. Digital Globe’s GEO-1 passed over Donetsk and Lugansk and took photos of both and obviously could have taken a picture in between of Zaroshchenske, but it is not released to the public.

            “You could have verified yourself the inconsistency in the MoD photos by simply comparing the open-source data from GoogleEarth from 2 July and 21 July 2014. Without a shadow of any doubt it shows the [old, unusable] Ukrainian BUK on the same spot, carefully airbrushed on the MoD image for July 17th.”

            The satellite image does not show that BUK 132 is unusable in July. That comes from a ground image taken in September after the base had suffered months of shelling. You can tell it is that time of year by the height of the weeds and comparing to the satellite photos.

            And on the contrary, if we first assume that the same BUK is always at this location, which cannot truly be demonstrated from the satellite photos, we note that from April 28 to July of 2014, the missile launch shoe of the vehicle is rotated from 90 degrees to closer to 45 degrees, which means it was not “unusable”. Further, the other three BUK’s on base show sign of movement because they change their parking spots. We cannot show with any certainty that all of these vehicles did not shuffle their positions during this time, as from a satellite, they all pretty much look alike in fuzzy images. Between July 2 and July 21, tracks appear on the Donetsk Bypass showing that heavy vehicles went to and from the base side of the Bypass to the Optyne side. After July 21, additional vehicles appear on the base or leave the base, showing it is still an active site into September.

          • Christo Grozev

            Dear Andrew,
            “That is a very strong claim with I think little to back it up, especially as regards Zaroshchenske.”
            I did not refer to the Zaroshenske photo per se as provenly fake. The ones that can be proven (beyond reasonable doubt) to be fraudulent are the ones showing the “departed” BUK. There is no reasonable explanation that might provide rationale for the missing BUK reappearing in exactly the same spot and position, and at that prior to the MoD conference of the same date; unless one believes in a conspiratorial scenario that the Ukrainians actually planned a false-flag op, marked the location of the BUK before departing, and returned it to exactly the same operation after the op. Occam’s razor kind of puts that scenario out of the chart of my interest.
            My reference to [old, unusable] is not based on the photo; I put it in parenthesis because it’s been discussed at length elsewhere on this site and thus I thought you would be aware of that strong hypothesis. But let’s forget about that for the moment – it’s irrelevant to my single argument here: at the Mod presser, at least two key ingredients are proven to be fake – the missing BUK photo, and the radar data for a Ukrainian ascending plane. [Bellingcat argue and provide pretty convincing details of other photos also being faked or postdated, but here I am arguing only based on my own research]. To me, these two are sufficient to discredit all evidence presented at the presser.
            Regarding the actual Zaroshenske photo, it carries zero info to me. First, it is likely [but not proven] to be fake/post-dated, given the above. Second, it is more pixelated than the other photos [makes you wonder why], and cannot even be subjected to any review of authenticity. I am still working on that, but I have serious doubts its authentic/correctly dated [missing tracks compared to pre- / post- sat photos], wrong relative dimensions of the “BUKs”, etc] but to avoid misunderstanding, I am not yet calling it a “proven fake”.

            Last, you do not address my other question: why would RU not provide the original sat photos to DSB, if they do exist? Actually the fact they are pointing DSB to an online article *about* their evidence, instead of submitting the evidence itself, is telling enough: they did not *choose* not to make this evidence relevant, they probably just did not have the evidence itself.
            Any convincing alternative explanations you may have: I am ready to listen.

          • boggled

            Andrew, the image of BUK launcher 132 was published or uploaded to the FB account on August 8 2014.
            That makes your claims of September a flat out lie and denial of simple facts.

            Fare thee well

          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “Andrew, the image of BUK launcher 132 was published or uploaded to the FB account on August 8 2014.”

            What Facebook account? Would you provide a link? I was guessing based on weed height vs. weed visibility on Google Earth.

            “That makes your claims of September a flat out lie and denial of simple facts.”

            Do you know how tiresome, childish, and annoying you are when you call everyone a liar every time they disagree with you? Do you have a problem communicating in a civil manner?

            If they are simple facts, please point me to the original source for the picture. on Facebook The only place I have seen it is on a VK group dedicated to bases A-1428 and A-1402 and it was posted in December 2014.

            One simple fact remaining is that even if you can demonstrate August 8, that is still later than July 17 and after significant artillery shelling of the base.

          • Andrew

            Dear Christo:

            “There is no reasonable explanation that might provide rationale for the missing BUK reappearing in exactly the same spot and position”

            Sure there is, the vehicle was assigned/directed to be parked there by the military because it is in front of an assigned bay in the blue roofed building which appears to be a running repair facility from ground level pictures. If you look at these bases you can see that vehicles have very clear and orderly places they are supposed to be put and the vehicles move and return to the same spot over and over.

            “Occam’s razor kind of puts that scenario out of the chart of my interest.”

            Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest explanation is the BUK was moved under the blue roofed building.

            “you would be aware of that strong hypothesis.”

            Yes, I’ve read the theory here that this vehicle was somehow already broken some months previously There is of course absolutely no proof of this at all unless you’ve found someone from the 156th Regiment with ground photos who can demonstrate it.

            It is indisputable that a number of BUK’s were taken and moved west through Karlivka and Krasnoarmieysk from this base and that a BUK was also moved on base from the base deployment parking location to the immediate southwest and parked in that location in March/April of 2014 and then a vehicle (maybe the same one) had its launch shoe rotated between April and May of 2014. The launch shoe rotated 45 or 90 degrees seems to be a common way to park the vehicles – there are lots of pictures of them like this.

            “at least two key ingredients are proven to be fake … the radar data for a Ukrainian ascending plane.”

            As the DSB just admitted there is no primary radar data provided by Russia or Ukraine based on the most farfetched excuses from each of them, I’m not sure how that is proven at all. On the other hand, the eyewitness evidence of warplanes in the sky between 2:50 pm and 4:35 pm is overwhelming, including a Reuters report of a rebel named “Igor” claiming that they fired a BUK at an SU-25 ~30 minutes before the MH17 downing.

            “To me, these two are sufficient to discredit all evidence presented at the presser.”

            That’s certainly a fair position, but I don’t agree with your certainty.

            “Second, it is more pixelated than the other photos [makes you wonder why],”

            The Russians said that they purposefully reduced the resolution to hide the capabilities of the satellite. The RESURS-P1 model shares some design and equipment with KOSMOS-2486. I have seen one reference that claims a sub-13 cm resolution capability of KOSMOS-2486, while RESURS-P1’s capability is stated to be 1 m for commercial purposes, but undoubtedly is better for images provided to the Russian Ministry of Defense. These are two of Russia’s most modern spy satellites. Further, the KOSMOS-2486 had experienced software difficulties and was only made re-operational in June of 2014. Possibly one reason for releasing the photos was to demonstrate (presumably to the US) that Russia had modern imaging capabilities in service and watching the Donbass conflict.

            “and cannot even be subjected to any review of authenticity.”

            Obviously the same statement applies even more to the Snizhne launch Power Point slide released by the US purporting to be based on top secret/classified space information that the public is not allowed to see.

            “wrong relative dimensions of the “BUKs”, etc]”

            How do you see this? I have the image scaled in AutoCAD and the pixels representing the BUK’s dimension out to roughly 8.3 m by 3.3 m which is the correct dimensions.

            “why would RU not provide the original sat photos to DSB, if they do exist?”

            It is pretty obvious Russia does not trust the DSB. A possible reason is that the request of Russia to include the photo in the report was not accepted. With it not being accepted, there was no point in providing the original or even a better quality image to the DSB.

            “they probably just did not have the evidence itself.”

            Their comments in the July 21 and August 1 2014 presentations/articles in speak about the requirements of providing images that could be used in a court of law and the need to tie them correctly in astronomical time and to a specific device. Russia did this. They have also tripled down on these images – first they presented them on July 21, then they defended publicly them on August 1 from proxy accusations made via Ukraine’s SBU, then this year they insisted on them being included as evidence in the DSB report.

            On the other hand, you are suggesting when you say they don’t have the evidence that although Russia had imaging craft pass over the Donbass at the stated times on July 17, they couldn’t be bothered to use pictures from that date but instead selected pictures they took (because they certainly aren’t off Google Earth/Digital Globe) that were days or weeks older, manipulated them, and thus created something that would be easily disproven. This seems far fetched.

          • boggled

            We have discussed this.
            Link is here
            http://ukraineatwar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/ukraine-destroyed-buks-that-were-at.html

            Look at the date.
            If you did not look at that before when the link was posted, not my fault.
            It has been stated repeatedly in various discussions you were part of.
            And also you could have done a search yourself for earlier images, they are out there still.

            And yes, I have seen the other images posted at sites such as –
            http://lostarmour.info/armour/item.php?id=5360
            That group was posted October 20.
            Same as the U at W page posting date.

            As far as who posted this images and his FB or VK account, you will have to either search for the images or ask Dajey.
            After June 20 -21 attack blue roof in good shape or repaired.
            After later major attack in October the blue roof was shredded.
            You can see the differences in these links.
            This one has both just after June attack and after October attack.
            http://lostarmour.info/armour/item.php?id=5360

            And Yes, I believe it is sometime between first week of June 30 (when DNR announced they captured a bunch of them) and Early July, maybe mid July. when the image was taken when compared to the satellite images and comparing weed sizes around the base and other vehicles.

            Regardless, that BUK did not move.
            And if you look closely at the post October images at lostarmour, you will see an image or two that looks almost exactly like the same BUK after that October attack which means I think it was still there.

            ➡ And look at the BUK 132’s crawler tracks Andrew.
            Look at how high it sits on the back end.
            gosh, would would think a BUK sits on an angle on level ground.
            OMG, BUK 132 must be photoshopped just like the PM image, RIGHT ANDREW?
            There is no way it could possibly sit on level ground like that, RIGHT ANDREW?

            This is a video after the October attacks.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZBaBrP9r80

            Fare thee well

          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “reread through this again as well Andrew.”

            For giggles, I re-read through it.

            Since I have now identified for you the Russian imaging craft used to make the pictures if we take Russia at face value for the times and dates, I will pose the following questions to you or any others at Bellingcat.

            Lets ignore whether or not anything was added to the photos. The base image Russian pictures are not from Digital Globe and certainly not from NSA spy satellites, therefore they are from Russian satellites.

            Can you provide alternate dates you think that these satellites passed over these locations and possibly took pictures that were used and get the times and shadows to match?

            Can you explain which cloudy day you think the July 18 radar image of Zaroshchenske was taken on if it was not July 18?

            If you reject RESURS-P1 and KOSMOS-2486 as the source of the images, can you name cite the satellites you think were used?

            Its all well and good to play games claiming people are lying, but real accusations that will stand up to scrutiny require proof of the assertion of falsehood by demonstrating when the images actually were captured. Therefore, provide times and dates and satellites that took the images if they were not done when Russia said – complete your alternate story.

          • boggled

            Andrew,
            First off, I have comment in moderation due to links, Aug 8 can be found by searching – Proof that Ukraine destroyed the BUKs that were at risk to be captured.

            you ask – Can you provide alternate dates you think that these satellites passed over these locations and possibly took pictures that were used and get the times and shadows to match?
            me – between June 23-25 approximately 10.30 – 11.00

            you ask -Can you explain which cloudy day you think the July 18 radar image of Zaroshchenske was taken on if it was not July 18?
            me – probably same day, clouds were put into the image artificially.

            you ask – If you reject RESURS-P1 and KOSMOS-2486 as the source of the images, can you name cite the satellites you think were used?
            me – Kosmos-2491
            A fairly comprehensive article about a few are here, but this is the one I believe from other sources I base my theory on.

            can be found by searching – During the Soviet period, it was up to independent observers around the world
            go to russianspaceweb

            Fare thee well

          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “me – between June 23-25 approximately 10.30 – 11.00”

            Based on what?

            So in your theory, the Russians are too stupid to use recent photos that they obviously have the capability to take?

            “you ask -Can you explain which cloudy day you think the July 18 radar image of Zaroshchenske was taken on if it was not July 18?
            me – probably same day, clouds were put into the image artificially.”

            There are no clouds in the Zaroshchenske image of July 18. It is a radar image.

            “me – Kosmos-2491”

            And what dates and times did it pass over the sites in question?

          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “We have discussed this.”

            I guess you have better memory of that than me.

            “Link is here”

            Thank you.

            “I believe it is sometime between first week of June 30 (when DNR announced they captured a bunch of them) and Early July, maybe mid July. when the image was taken when compared to the satellite images and comparing weed sizes around the base and other vehicles.”

            I’m glad you are consistent in your opinions. In my opinion, there are no weeds visible in the July 2 image on Google Earth. So there we are. In my opinion, the weeds only become visible south of the BUK around August 9 in GE, so I suspect the image was uploaded the same day it was made.

            “And look at the BUK 132’s crawler tracks Andrew.
            Look at how high it sits on the back end.
            gosh, would would think a BUK sits on an angle on level ground.”

            There is a very slight angle in the suspension of the BUK that causes the geared drive wheel to be lower than the front drive wheel, thus tilting the front end of the BUK (the end with the missile engines) upwards.

            “OMG, BUK 132 must be photoshopped just like the PM image, RIGHT ANDREW?”

            In the Paris Match image, the rear portion of the track and wheels of the BUK clearly do not sit on the trailer bed, which is visible. They are at completely different angles by about 10 degrees in the picture which shows the rear of the BUK (which interestingly is not obscured by the fold-up ramp). You can see the 6 support wheels of the BUK and the last one is much higher relative to the trailer than the first one.

            When I scale the photo on my computer the distance from the base of track to the top of skirt grows from 2 cm to 3 cm from the forward most of the six wheels to the rear most, and the distance from skirt to bottom of launch shoe and radar does likewise. On the other hand from bottom of trailer to bottom of support wheels goes from 0.8 cm to 2.2 cm, so the perspective between the trailer and track does not match, which is why the visual lines of the truck and BUK do not converge at the same point.

            Similarly, a perspective line drawn at the top of the tractor cabs wheels and extended back crosses a perspective line drawn under the support wheels of the BUK between the 3rd and 4th support wheel. This should not happen – the wheels of the BUK and its track should be in almost identical a perspective line as the tractor trailer and its wheels and trailer bed.

            Lastly, the trailer bed of the trailer sits roughly at the height of the top of the hub of the wheels of the tractor cab. A perspective line drawn back from the top of the hubs intersects the track under the front most BUK support wheel and then misses lying under every other support wheel because they are at different angles. If the BUK were sitting in the same perspective as the trailer, its support wheels should fall on the same perspective line as the top of the tractor cab wheel hubs. This is easily seen when you use engineering drawings of each vehicle and take a true non-photographic side view.

          • boggled

            My statement then stands true and correct.
            me – Andrew, the image of BUK launcher 132 was published or uploaded to the FB account on August 8 2014.
            That makes your claims of September a flat out lie and denial of simple facts.

            ➡ September is impossible.
            you – For giggles, I re-read through it.
            You admit you have read it before and the August 8 2014 date is shown there.

            For the rest, lets look at these two images when we look at the rest of your current statements, which I believe you accept as non manipulated images.

            https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRu8N17ZZ8DW1tXyAPEk5KEuBpAMAckzVmiVdKJ_FY85ZC1Oakd
            https://wp4553-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Separatist-and-low-loader.jpg
            And my previous link.

            you – There is a very slight angle
            me – that is between a 6 – 12 inch offset. Large angle relatively.

            you – You can see the 6 support wheels of the BUK and the last one is much higher relative to the trailer than the first one.
            me – IF you look at my second link, you can see the 4 rear wheels sit significantly higher then the front ones that are visible.

            you – which is why the visual lines of the truck and BUK do not converge at the same point.
            me – you can look at the second link and do the same test and lines of perspective you name do not mach up.

            you – the wheels of the BUK and its track should be in almost identical a perspective line as the tractor trailer and its wheels and trailer bed.
            me – they should be if the Tractor trailer driver to the time to level everything out.
            You can see this when you compare both images links above and take the time as you have done to blow up and compare.
            Many of the angles and measurements are identical.
            There are a lot of adjustments the trailer driver can make.
            With a BUK being loaded that is at the limits of that semi and trailer ~ 40 tons.
            It was near the front of the trailer and that changes some other items.
            My guess is they tried to get the missile’s rocket engines (toward the front of the trailer) as low as possible to go under various overpasses and wires.

            you – the trailer bed of the trailer sits roughly at the height of the top of the hub of the wheels of the tractor cab.
            Look at the first link again and repeat that lie.

            you – If the BUK were sitting in the same perspective as the trailer, its support wheels should fall on the same perspective line as the top of the tractor cab wheel hubs
            me – look at the second link and at the top of the fender skirts on the rear wheels of the semi (parallel to the hubs of those tires), and draw a line from there back.
            It falls through the hub of the rear three crawler axles but not through any of the others.
            IF you use the first link and do the same thing, it falls along the top of the top of the wheels of the destroyed troops carrier which is plainly not sitting level on the bed of the trailer.
            Lines of perspective cross if you went along the bed of the trailer and the center of the hubs on the semi, about a 50 yards or so behind the trailer.

            Your logical, although flawed, assumptions do not take into account the BUK’s location on the trailer, the BUKs own adjustments of suspension, the trailers own suspension, the semi’s adjustments at the 5th wheel, the suspension adjustments available on the semi itself, or the weight of the BUK being near the limits of both semi and trailer.

            Another items of perspective you should consider after looking at the second link.
            Do you notice how far the tank treads extend past the trailer???
            Appears to be 2-3 inches.
            One can only imagine what it is on the other side.

            Now to your comment before this one.
            you – So in your theory, the Russians are too stupid to use recent photos that they obviously have the capability to take?
            me – too stupid? No, just willing to manipulate for there Kremlin approved side of the events.

            you – “you ask -Can you explain which cloudy day you think the July 18 radar image of Zaroshchenske was taken on if it was not July 18?
            me – probably same day, clouds were put into the image artificially.”

            There are no clouds in the Zaroshchenske image of July 18. It is a radar image.

            me – You asked which cloudy day and it was cloudy somewhere in the world.
            Actually, it was an inference to the (other) image posted by Russian MoD that was manipulated, I believe, with the clouds in it.
            My guess is the image was taken about the same time, June 23 – 25.

            you – “me – Kosmos-2491”
            And what dates and times did it pass over the sites in question?

            me- Are you just dense? All images I believe are from June 23-25.
            I do not have exact times because it is a secret satellite that passed over and I have not found posted times anywhere to confirm it, a broad guess due to shadows would assume that time frame of 10:30 -11:00 am.

            My initial statement stands, you had seen many places where the August 8 date was posted and there have been many discussions about it.
            And yet you still lie and say September to give yourself a broader range to work with.
            The BUK did not go anywhere and has not moved from that location since it was sabotaged.

            Fare thee well

          • Andrew

            boggled:

            “you – For giggles, I re-read through it.
            “You admit you have read it before and the August 8 2014 date is shown there.”

            Where? There is no image of BUK 132 in that report that I saw.

            “me – that is between a 6 – 12 inch offset. Large angle relatively.”

            Not sure what you are referring to. 6-12 inch offset of what?

            “me – IF you look at my second link, you can see the 4 rear wheels sit significantly higher then the front ones that are visible.”

            The BTR in the picture has been destroyed and lost its tracks and had its wheel suspension damaged or destroyed. The frame also appears warped given how it sits on the truck. It is in fact resting on its frame on the truck bed. I don’t understand what you think this proves. The BUK in Paris Match is supposed to be a roadworthy BUK ready to go into action that used its crawler tracks to climb onto the trailer itself.

            “me – you can look at the second link and do the same test and lines of perspective you name do not mach up.”

            No, I don’t see that at all.

            “me – they should be if the Tractor trailer driver to the time to level everything out.”

            I take it you have no idea about placing heavy loads on a flat bed. I work in construction and have done this. There is no “level everything out” The flatbed trail is FLAT, hence its name, and the load is heavy and seats itself flatly on the trailer due to gravity. There is never a situation where a bulldozer, for example, does not sit in completely flat contract with a flatbed trailer.

            “Many of the angles and measurements are identical.”

            I described to you how they are not. Anyone can see it once they look.

            “There are a lot of adjustments the trailer driver can make.”

            Please describe them! Apparently you are an expert on loading heavy equipment and tying it down!

            “It was near the front of the trailer and that changes some other items.”

            Feel free to be specific about what is changing.

            “My guess is they tried to get the missile’s rocket engines (toward the front of the trailer) as low as possible to go under various overpasses and wires.”

            Yes, well clearances from Donetsk to Snizhne is a whole other problem Bellingcat has never resolved because it is difficult to see low objects when you don’t go out in the field to find them. Can you describe how moving the load forward on the trailer helps with clearances?

            “you – the trailer bed of the trailer sits roughly at the height of the top of the hub of the wheels of the tractor cab.
            “Look at the first link again and repeat that lie.”

            Sorry, I must be missing something. The picture seems to show the trailer bed maybe two inches above the top of the hubs of the wheels of the tractor cab. I have a scaled engineering drawing of the trailer and cab and I measure 5 cm in my engineering software.

            “you – If the BUK were sitting in the same perspective as the trailer, its support wheels should fall on the same perspective line as the top of the tractor cab wheel hubs
            “me – look at the second link and at the top of the fender skirts on the rear wheels of the semi (parallel to the hubs of those tires), and draw a line from there back.”

            Do you mean second picture? You only have one link. The second picture only shows the trailer wheels, not those of the tractor cab. Not sure how that is relevant to what I was discussing.

            “It falls through the hub of the rear three crawler axles but not through any of the others.”

            I have no idea what you are talking about. I was referring to the level of the top of the trailer’s flatbed and how it is very close to the top of the hubs of the semi-tractor cab.

            “Your logical, although flawed, assumptions do not take into account the BUK’s location on the trailer”

            Is the trailer flat or not in your opinion? If not flat, which way is it sloping?

            “the BUKs own adjustments of suspension,”

            You believe the BUK has an independent suspension that can be manually adjusted?

            “the trailers own suspension, the semi’s adjustments at the 5th wheel,”

            Neither of those would make the trailer not be flat or make a load not sit flatly on the trailer bed. If the bed is sloped 1 degree or 10 degrees, the load will be sloped exactly the same.

            “the suspension adjustments available on the semi itself, or the weight of the BUK being near the limits of both semi and trailer.”

            I don’t see the relevance of weight here causing the rear of the BUK to be higher and not touching the trailer. Please explain.

            “Do you notice how far the tank treads extend past the trailer???”

            What is your point. We know the BUK is wider than a normal trailer and overhangs on each side.

            “me – too stupid? No, just willing to manipulate for there Kremlin approved side of the events.”

            No too stupid to use recent photos they would obviously have.

            “My guess is the image was taken about the same time, June 23 – 25.”

            We aren’t looking for guesses, this is serious business. You can’t just make wild assertions with nothing to back it up.

            “me- Are you just dense? All images I believe are from June 23-25.
            I do not have exact times because it is a secret satellite that passed over and I have not found posted times anywhere to confirm it, a broad guess due to shadows would assume that time frame of 10:30 -11:00 am.”

            heavens-above.com conveniently tracks all objects in the sky and tells you when they passed over different points on the surface of the earth and at what elevation. That includes KOSMOS-2491, which is really a not-so-secret satallite. So please, feel free to make sure your wild guess lines up with reality by showing when the space craft passed over the locations in question and make sure it was also a clear enough day to take the photos.

            “My initial statement stands, you had seen many places where the August 8 date was posted and there have been many discussions about it.”

            No, I had never seen that date before, or any of the links you provided, or the photos at those links. I would have saved the photos if I had seen them before. I save every Ukrainian BUK photo I find.

            “And yet you still lie and say September to give yourself a broader range to work with.”

            You sound like you are 5 years old always shouting out “lie, lie, lie”. Can we have an adult discussion here between grown men?

            “The BUK did not go anywhere and has not moved from that location since it was sabotaged.”

            Okay, we’ve established it was sabotaged on August 8. I agree it didn’t move anywhere after that.

            If you want to assert it was sabotaged prior to that time, provide evidence.

            If you want to assert that the rebels had access to Base A-1428 such that there was a fear they might capture this TELAR, rehabilitate it, and use it, then provide evidence of that also by linking to when they overran the base. Are you asserting that in the capture of A-1402, the rebels also captured A-1428 on June 29? I could agree that might be possible, but would need some support to prove it.

            I will note that there are certainly tracks from the base crossing the Donetsk Bypass and heading towards Ukrainian positions in Optyne between July 2 and July 21, so something was moving back and forth from known Ukrainian positions to the base. There are also vehicles which show up and park and then disappear from the base between July 2 and September 6, 2014. There are only three options – Ukrainian vehicles, Rebel vehicles, or fake Digital Globe photo dates on Google Earth. Hard to believe the rebels were driving to the base and parking vehicles behind the front line.

          • boggled

            Andrew,
            Your right, it is not in that pdf file, it is in another of BC’s that I was looking at the same time, I thought I saw it in that one.
            It must be in another pdf or article related to the faked MoD images.

            It was clearly labeled with the date, however the name was under the other two images.
            I will have to ask for Christo or Aric guidance, I can’t find it exactly in my history.
            Oops, I found it –
            https://www.bellingcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/17_july_satellite_imagery_comparison1.pdf

            This was the pdf file I saw, and I am guessing you probably did too.

            you – Not sure what you are referring to. 6-12 inch offset of what?
            me – if you compare front to back of the distances between skirt and ground.

            you – The BTR in the picture has been destroyed and lost its tracks and had its wheel suspension damaged or destroyed.
            me – look in the other link I am mainly discussing the BUK not the BTR troop carrier.

            you – The flatbed trail is FLAT, hence its name, and the load is heavy and seats itself flatly on the trailer due to gravity.
            me – take a straight edge and place it on the BTR trailer image.

            you – I have no idea what you are talking about. I was referring to the level of the top of the trailer’s flatbed and how it is very close to the top of the hubs of the semi-tractor cab.
            I am trying to point out that the way the BUK is situated on the trailer in PM is identical to the one I linked to.

            you – I take it you have no idea about placing heavy loads on a flat bed. I work in construction and have done this.
            au contrar mon frere
            Mining and military loads have to be very specific to pass under bridges and other items and with heavy loads you adjust.
            Even a semi hauler with half a load will adjust many items so that his rear end does not fish tail.
            Balancing a load and other items to prevent the semi from losing traction and control is an important part of being a driver.
            No one would have driven a load with the BUK on the trailer like the BTR as close to the ramps as possible.
            Not without a counterweight up near the 5th wheel.

            you – Do you mean second picture? You only have one link. The second picture only shows the trailer wheels, not those of the tractor cab. Not sure how that is relevant to what I was discussing.
            me – there are two links there, do you see both http?
            That may clear up a lot of your other confusion.

            you – So please, feel free to make sure your wild guess lines up with reality by showing when the space craft passed over the locations in question and make sure it was also a clear enough day to take the photos.
            me – it was a logical guess, not a wild one.
            However I am not a specialist and with them having close to 118 functioning satellites in orbit, I am guessing the later ones would have the better definition and imaging, and those were pretty detailed even though manipulated.

            you – No, I had never seen that date before, or any of the links you provided, or the photos at those links. I would have saved the photos if I had seen them before. I save every Ukrainian BUK photo I find.
            me – you have been around enough and with your wonderful powers of observation and memory recall of petite facts should have picked it up.
            It has been in multiple forums you have been part of and at times you were discussing it, and you admit to even being to the VK account it showed up in with the date.
            I find it hard to believe that you had not noticed that date in any of your forays into internet places where that image was located.
            I will admit your knowledge, memory retention, and broader overall data collection is far wider and more thorough then mine, although I am no slouch compared to others.
            And for that reason alone, I find it difficult you to believe you NEVER came across that date and NEVER picked up on it.

            September was a lie, plain and simple, I believe.

            As far as the base being attack and overrun?
            No, I do not believe it was overrun, but I believe it faced a few long range attacks,
            Nothing significant but DBR was probing.
            Felt the resistance and made a logical conclusion to back off due to superior vehicles and defense.
            I believe there was a conscious decision of Ukraine to keep limited forces there and to relocate the assets it felt were valuable to other areas.
            This link suggests July 4 2014 being over run.
            https://twitter.com/MilitaryMaps/status/485066206752174080

            I believe it was definitely overrun in October though and sustained a devastating attack at that time..

            To me looking at the BUK it appears that one GRAD did make a lucky strike at the lifting arm pivot and for that I am guessing why it was scavenged back in the end of June, early July and left outside to collect dust.
            Hence it has not moved and from what I saw, still sits there today.

            Fare thee well

    • James Hanemaayer

      Actually, in a way he did. The reporters embedded with Russian LifeNews network, the ones who joyfully broadcast the news that rebels had shot down another Ukrainian aircraft (they later pulled the story, but it was indeed broadcast live), were awarded with metals for bravery by President Putin a week after this transpired.

      Reply
  3. Maksym Ponomarenko

    Do we have any answer about why the fragment holes show that the direction of the fragments was from the front to the back. I have a Russian friend and he pointed this out and I need an answer

    Reply
    • boggled

      Maksym,
      I have guess, but others with technical knowledge can confirm or deny.
      MY guess,
      Momentum of missile going at three time speed of sound in one direction. ~ 800 m/s
      Momentum of MH17 going in opposite direction. 250 m/s

      In static (missile not moving as the test of A-A) test the warhead explode like donut (torus).
      In dynamic test (warhead explode moving forward) the warhead explode like cone.
      So in dynamic test missile cloud is moving forward and sideways at same time.
      Sideways at ~ 3000 m/s, but as cloud gets bigger (I think maximum is 17 m for kill or penetration velocity) they slow down in sideways movement to less then 500 m/s going sideways.
      And forward at 800 m/s plus speed of plane in opposite direction of 250 m/s = ~ 1050 m/s.
      Remember from driving school? speed of accident = speed of both cars in opposite directions added together?
      Speed of both cars added together = one car hitting brick wall at combined speed.

      This is why doing dynamic test is important and A – A demonstration with static test does not represent real life simulation of what happen with MH17.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
      • Andrea

        You can find he image of the warhead explosion like a cone at PAGE 54 appendix X of DSB report 😉

        Reply
        • boggled

          Andrea or anyone – Mick West or AD would be helpful,
          I have not seen it discussed other places, I am still not through reading all full reports of A-A and DSB, and I am not sure if it has been stated.

          Does the missile spin fast enough in flight to affect warhead fragment dispersion?
          Or does it attain a flight that is level like an airplane with no spin?
          Thanks

          Fare thee well

          Reply
      • boggled

        This is why placement of detonation point is also very important.
        If detonation point is closer to center of plane axis, more fragments travel in direction of front to rear of plane when they collide with plane.

        I guess good simulation to experiment with would be use Hersey Kiss ( represent dispersal cloud of missile fragments) and a pencil (represent MH17) and compare how they collide with each other.
        Pretend pencil is going 1000 MPH ( or other more correct figure for scale) and crash into Hersey Kiss.
        In real simulation there are many other variables, but this few I point out I hope give you idea of major ones.

        ➡ Speed of plane and speed of missile are important for test, and they explain reason for shrapnel moving from front to back.
        Fare thee well

        Reply
        • boggled

          Another thing to keep in mind also, is the largest fragments will be moving with slower velocity, but have more mass. ➡ the bow-ties
          The smaller warhead fragments will have high velocities but less mass.
          On certain armor or metal products, one works better then other.
          That is why warhead designs changed over the years.

          This is demonstrated somewhere.
          I think the A – A latest presentation.
          Killing cloud of airplane is roughly up to 17m.
          BUT a BUK fragment could kill a person up to at most 40m.
          Fragment velocities slow down a lot as the cloud expands.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
  4. Realitybud

    Christo,

    This is lamentably late I know, but there are a few technical points I’d like to clear up in the interests of (at least potentially) maximising the validity of your eloquent and otherwise creditable article.

    Unfortunately I’m not able to devote much time to this so I’ll deal with the points piecemeal in a few comments posted here, each posted as and when I’ve done sufficient homework on each point.

    1. You wrote, “… the impossibility of Almaz-Antey’s assumption about the missile’s approach angle, based on – inter alia – triangulation of ultrasound peaks captured by the cockpit audio recorders, which confirmed the missile’s direction of approach.”

    In the way it’s expressed, it’s simply not the case at all.

    As we’ve been made aware officially, the cockpit audio triangulation analysis helped to establish for one particular moment in time a fairly small volume in space, in terms of coordinates relative to the aeroplane’s axes, in which the explosion very probably occurred. However, that triangulation analysis on its own did not establish the trajectory of the missile; nor did it render any information inherently about the either the missile’s attitude or motion.

    I’ve found no such claim (re the latter) made in DSB’s preliminary or full reports and I’d be very interested to examine the technical basis of any such claim. Moreover, I find it very hard to believe that DSB would have issued any report, draft or otherwise, in which such a claim is even entertained, let alone asserted officially.

    In the “Findings” section on p113 of DSB’s full report, some of the wording probably isn’t helpful or clear to lay readers and I guess could lead to misunderstandings: “Signal triangulation showed that the noise originated from outside the aeroplane, starting from a position above the left hand side of the cockpit, propagating from front to aft.” Here, “propagating” (as a generally recognised term in acoustics) refers to the movement of the abrupt overpressure wavefront away (radially) from its source at the explosion’s origin, as detected by the various cockpit microphones at different moments in time. It doesn’t refer to movement of the source of the explosive noise, ie the missile warhead, nor does it inherently imply anything about the missile’s attitude or angle of approach relative to the aeroplane at the time of the explosion.

    As far as I can tell, neither AAIB Farnborough or DSB have published a report of Farnborough’s audio analysis (assuming it was done by Farnborough), nor have I any clue yet about if or where the full DSB report’s Appendices A through U are publicly available.

    Reply
      • Realitybud

        Thanks boggled. I’d already got the main appendices v-z from that site a couple of days ago but for some reason (probably overly fcuking tired as usual) I didn’t notice that the one labelled “appendices-au-… is actually a-u, AND I’ve already got it in my system. Jesus, great administrator I am.

        Reply
    • Christo Grozev

      Hi. Thanks for this. I double-checked with my [Ukrainian] source, who confirmed that it was *his* understanding at the time that the triangulation suggested direction as well as relative spacial location. Thus, quite likely he misunderstood the results of the acoustic analysis.
      However, even if the outcome of the triangulation was a [limited] space left of the cockpit, this would have also had relevance for confirming or refuting A-A’s hypothesis – as they insist the longitudinal point of the blast was different than the consensual one of the recruited experts. Do you agree with this? I would clarify the language accordingly, if so.

      Reply
  5. le_nen

    Appendix X of the report states, that the orientation an speed of the missile were calculated from the distribution and directional information of the shrapnel holes.

    Reply
  6. Bill McKinnon

    As a newbie to the site, the highest caliber of comments is right here. The level of knowledge and accuracy make the comments a great read…

    Reply
    • boggled

      The articles are highly recommended as well 😉
      Thank you for the support Bill McKiinnon and I am glad you find the site worth reading as well as the comments.
      Some ignore the comments, the article and the sites credibility is enough.
      Many here do make some very good points in their comments and try to share the differing viewpoints.
      If you ever find something you have a question about, feel free to ask.
      If you find something in dispute, make an argument for your point.
      copying and pasting a link is appreciated but not necessary if you can describe what to search for.

      Links will get moderated usually and hold up your comment, but Bellingcat is fairly quick to check the and pass them through.
      Enjoy the articles and comments and education, I do enjoy learning new things as well!

      Fare thee well

      Reply
  7. Mad Dog

    This is a very thoughtful site when not responding to name calling (a sure sign of frustration). Both sides (rather all sides) can have their say, which is a sight better than some other ‘official’ sites. Christo, nice dedicated work…

    Reply
  8. Sean Lamb

    Here in Australia there is some fairly open gloating about the Russian aircraft crashing in the Sinai is being plausible deniable payback for mh17 and intervention in Syria.
    http://www.theage.com.au/world/russian-plane-crash-islamic-state-claims-put-vladimir-putin-in-a-bind-20151101-gko2x8.html

    The article gleefully skirts around saying
    1. Islamists brought down the aircraft as payback for Syria
    2. The cause is going to be obscured as payback for alleged (albeit unspecified) obstruction into the investigation into MH17. Perhaps the Russians bribed the Ukrainians into turning off all their primary radar systems?

    Oh brave new world, that has such people in it.

    Reply
    • boggled

      Sean, I read that many similar articles and Twitter posts like that pretending to be from Ukrainians were coming actually from RF IP addresses.

      Now that is a quantum of obfuscation!
      But one has to ask oneself, how come your not making all kinds of different theories about what happened?
      You jumped on the MH17 bandwagon of Kremlin defenders and SU25 conspiracy theorist real quickly.
      I was hoping to see a few more outlandish ones about this plane from you.
      You have disappointed your fans Sean.
      Come on, you don’t have – a band of Muslim Brotherhood hiding out inside the plane with a bit of ASSad’s Syrian Gas smuggled on the plane that killed everyone almost immediately or better conspiracy theory in you?
      An EMP from a CIA weapon in the desert that the Libyan ISIL members used that shut down everything in the plane?

      Or do you have to wait until RT talks about it so you have permission to make one up?

      Fare thee well

      Reply
        • boggled

          And as a leading paper, it put forth many questions with no answers as of yet.
          It was an informative, yet slightly antiPutin slanted piece.
          But then vova, the Kremlin, and the Russian MoD exposed lies have made many of the international press have a tainted view of vova’s autocratic repressive regime.
          So I can understand a slightly veiled antiPutin piece from a nation that lost a lot of its citizens on MH17 and the Kremlin sponsored media and comment board trolls and the RF government have acted with obfuscation, distraction, and even outright lies in relation to the International disaster.
          All in all, I did not see anything to terrible about the piece, it just put forth a lot of questions and observations that many of the world have.
          It did not put out a lot of additional information.
          In my opinion of the piece it was good to be said, but not a piece of informative journalism.
          Purely a restatement of many of the people of the worlds questions, including Russians.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
      • Mad Dog

        I am waiting with baited breath as well. Of course, Sean has his Qatari theory ready to go on another thread. Sure makes sense to me (well, more sense than blaming aliens or shepherds in the Sinai).

        Reply
      • Sean Lamb

        Hi Mad Dog,
        I don’t have a theory on what happened to the Russian jet, I was just pointing out the distinctly gloating tone coming out of Australia.

        As for the Qataris sourcing sarin gas to the rebels to use the day the UN chemical weapons team arrived in Damascus, the Qataris have supplied plenty of other weapons to the rebels, what is so extra-ordinary that they would go that extra mile?

        Reply

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