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BellingChat Episode 1 – MH17: Past, Present, and Future

June 5, 2020

By Bellingcat Podcast

In this inaugural episode of Bellingcat’s new regular discussion podcast, BellingChat, Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins talks to Bellingcat’s lead MH17 researchers, Aric Toler, Pieter van Huis, and Christo Grozev, about the MH17 trial, discussing the first court sessions in March, developments in Bellingcat’s MH17 investigations since the March sessions, and what we expect to see in the court sessions starting on June 8th.

Some of the articles discussed in today’s episode:

Key MH17 Figure Identified As Senior FSB Official: Colonel General Andrey Burlaka

Identifying FSB’s Elusive “Elbrus”: From MH17 To Assassinations In Europe

The MH17 Trial Part 1: New Material From The Four Defendants

MH17 Suspect Admits ‘Moral Responsibility’ for Downing Jet

In the next episode Eliot Higgins will be talking to Robert Evans and Nick Waters on their work on the recent protests in the US against police violence, including the targeting of journalists covering the protests by US police. We’ll also be talking to Natalia Antonova and Christo Grozev about RT’s bizarrely leaping to the defence of its editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, after she shared a blatantly racist post about the US protests on her personal Telegram account.

You can support our work and podcast with Patreon, where we’ll be sharing additional BellingChat content that didn’t make it into the episode.

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  1. Sean_Lamb

    Dutch Hypocrisy Watch:

    It turns out the Finnish army was uncooperative in terms of producing the “inside-outside” pattern (ie. holes in the cockpit made by an internal explosion), so the JIT had to return to Ukraine to do further “experiments”

    Of course Almaz-Antey did experiments – everything unmistakably captured on film – where such magic artefacts weren’t produced.

    JIT science – works if only the Dutch and Ukrainians are present….

    • Sean_Lamb

      And I know people are going to say “Oh, of course Russia are going to say that”, but there is very limited scope for fraud here. Stick a Buk missile beside a plane, detonate it and then take a photograph

      No wonder the JIT had to scamper out of Finland and back to Ukraine

    • Jeroen

      Russia finaly admitted MH17 was shot down by a Buk, its warhead exploding near the cockpit. after It concluded no one bought their “Sukhoi” fighter jet and other fake cause stories any more.

  2. Sean_Lamb

    A few other things on day 1 resumption that struck my attention.

    On the phone calls – verifying metadata doesn’t go very far to validating the authenticity of an intercept because it would be very easy to take genuine metadata and insert a recording of your choice. I haven’t seen any phone calls that are of particular significance to date, so it isn’t something worth spending time on. But in general, when you know how a system works, you also know to cheat it.

    This one I found interesting:

    “Prosecution answers two truthist challenges. One is that only 300 out of 800 shrapnel fragments were recovered. This is logical given the omnidirectional dispersal of fragments. ”

    There should be two locations of shrapnel.
    1) That which didn’t enter the aircraft – that should be travelling east-west at mach speed.
    2) That which did enter the aircraft – which would be travelling west-east at close to mach speed.

    It would be extremely surprising if 300 out of 800 shrapnel pieces were recovered from the wreckage, because you wouldn’t expect more than 20% (25%max?) to have struck the aircraft in the first place. Now maybe the JIT are including shrapnel that was collected several kilometres further west where the Buk exploded.

    But the big surprise was the lack of any rocket fuel residue in the soils from the supposed launch site. And the “experiments” that the JIT claimed proved that you would expect none to be found.

    This is the alleged launch site a year later

    Does anyone really think that burning large quantities of ammonium nitrate and ammonium perchlorate a few meters above the ground would really leave no residues capable of being detected by modern MS systems?

    I wonder if the JIT’s “experiments” are really reproducible by anyone that doesn’t have a massive vested interest in the outcome?

    Lot of dogs that aren’t barking in this case: no rocket fuel residue in the soils, no Buk primary radar signal on the radar screens…..

    • Jeroen

      That picture of the lauch site was taken in July 2014, not 2015, one year later as stated here above “the alleged launch site a year later” either mistakenly or willfully deceiving.
      The field with the launch site was visited by JIT in 2014 but much later.

      So the tactic here seems to be some lazy questioning of some things the JIT examined but could not proof definitly yet, or find or proof completely, just disregarding all the other proof there is?

      So the JIT collected a lot of parts from the Buk missile, but because Russian radar date presented to JIT did not show any of the expected 4 radar reflection during its flight time, what does that proof anyway? That there was no Buk?
      That the radar was not capable doing so? That some deleted that data?
      That that same Russian radar was tracking a Russian Orlan-10 drone, and got only 5 reflections/detections out of 15 known radar rotations?
      Does that proof no Orlan-10 was flying?
      Seems to me someone is falsely barking here.

    • Ferrie

      Dear Sean_Lamb and “Jeroen”,
      Despite your nonsensical deluding attempts and repetitive spreading of useless disinformation, it is already very clear and proven what has happened.
      Though by logical reasoning combined with available information in time, sequencing off events by parties (especially like Russia) and in early time applying “occam’s razor” for the sane it was already clear in relatively short time what happened, it is now also literally proven by evidence what has happened. The current trials will strengthen this even more.
      Sorry for you, you probably would have to find another job soon or will be ordered to spread disinformation on another subject or something.

      • Ferrie

        Sorry Jeroen, did not read your post in reaction to Sean_Lamb well enough before posting my other message. Good response!!
        And Bellingcat, thanks for your quest on truth!

  3. Jeroen

    Excellent that so much people watch the Dutch!
    That so many people want to learn and see the thruth as it was and is meticously uncovered and presented by the Dutch prosecution during the MH17 trial.
    The judges will see into it all.
    Everbody can see into it.
    Like today, continuing tomorrow.
    And make up his or her mind who were lying all the time, who were non cooperative, who tried failingly and still try to mislead.
    Futile attempts to obfuscate here.
    It is not at stake here, but today it became obvious why Russian’s role as agressor in and against the Ukrainian republik is unmistakenly part of this trial.
    It is never about anti-russian sentiments, though some play that card all the time.
    It is about Russian state actors and Russian state killers who are acting against the benefit and interest of the Russian people.
    And also against the people living in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, the so called “Peoples Republics”, the Crimean Tartars, Greek and Ukrainian living on Crimea peninsula, have dearly experiended all those new “freedoms” since 2014, just read all the cases of imprisoned political prisoners and people who have disappeared since, read the reports from human watch organisations.
    The passengers and crew killed by that Buk from the 53th Air Defence brigade from Kursk are not the only victims here.
    But the trial is all about them.
    So Pulatov played a minor role, let us name those who were in the chain of command.
    The defence today called those killers possible “combattants”.
    So who organised that (orbat) order of battlethen, who controled it?
    For sure not the “Finnish Army”.
    Finland was in 1939 among Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania/Moldavia one of those States suffering from Soviet/Russian aggresion, USSR being one of two major players who colluding through signing Ribbentrop-Molotov, who attacked, invaded, raped their neighbour countries, killing so many in the two years before 22 June 1941!
    Soviet Russia started World War 2 in September 1939 together with Nazi Germany attacking and invading Poland.
    And still ly about it today. Pretending to be victim only??
    Lie(d) again about Katyn/Smolensk killings.
    Lie about over 4000 Polish officers executed.
    Lie about almost 300 people killing in MH17.
    They damage the Russian state.
    Russian people are strong.
    They have suffered so much during WW2.
    They can live with the thruth.
    So why is Russian television and major part of Russian press lying to the Russian people?
    Russian are smart people.
    The know when people lie (against them).
    The knew that what was presented to them in soviet times and papers was partly not true.
    They knew it then, they know it now.
    So shooting down MH17 was probably a mistake.
    Iran admitted they made a mistake shooting down a passenger plane.
    Russian people are strong enough to live with it, or aren’t they?

  4. M

    You are invincible, from the morning you work as a court reporter, in the evening you still have the strength for a little tearful, sentimental and corny column.
    PS I see , you agree with me that Pulatov will be found innocent in about two years :).?

  5. Jeroen

    The court will judge “Holy Stalin”‘ alias “Gyurza”, “Viper”,”Khalif” for his role in directing AD systems and other weaponry like that Buk in order to shoot down aircraft over Eastern Ukraine, or kill Ukrainians.
    As a Russian citizen, former Russian officer (reportedly until 2008), organising a violent armed conflict in a neighbouring country this MH17 suspect is definitely not innocent.
    What his actions were resulting in loss of other life, wounding or killing people, destroying properties in Ukraine, apart from MH17, during his mission there 2014-2018, are not subject at this trial.
    Neither if he committed any (war) crimes in Afghanistan or Chechnya before 2008.
    Interesting is what guidelines he received and from who doing all this.

  6. Jeroen

    Day 2 of the notes of the prosecution.
    One can not escape the impression how meticulously the Dutch prosecution and JIT examined, examined and thoroughly examined all possible lines of enquiry.
    And as a second remark of today one can not escaped the impression how sloppy some other parties tried to influence the opinion about this case for the last 6 years,
    The Ministry of Defence of Russian Federation, be it Andrei Karapalov or other (air force) officers who prepared press conferences or executed them.
    First “process”-showing during the first press briefing how a target with id nr 3505 allegedly flying at 5000 meters with 400 knots or km/hrs was detected by russian radars flying “near MH17” and was later seen climbing to 10.000m roughly the height MH17.
    Moreover to depict the target 3505 “intercepting MH17” in their graphics the RF MoD used a picture of an American USAF General Dynamics EF-111A Raven electronic warfare plane, withdrawn from use many years ago!
    As if they did not have a proper picture of a Sukhoi 25 or 27?
    Why did they do that?
    Nobody noticed within MoD that that was incorrect?
    Was it done on purpose?

    When caught lying plainly in later press conference Russian MoD stated that those blips seen flying at the height of MH17 were noticed after it was damaged and were wreck parts flying/falling in the same direction as MH17 mistakenly identified as “that fighter plane”

    So what happened than to that wreck piece that Russian radar notices flying at 5000m and climbing to 10.000m they had seen on there screens in July 2014.

    Either some officers in Russian MoD, Air defence and ATC are incompetent or willfully lying, or both?

    The same seems to be applied to Almaz Antei and some guys from the Russian Union of Engineers who calculated the launch site.
    Dutch calculations gave the proper site who corresponded with eye witness acounts and photos taken by eye witnesses.
    Moreover it corresponded with USA satelite data.
    Amlez Antei presented an own sett od data, but “calculated” a completely other location allegedly “more fitting” with a manipulated satelite picture provided with RF MoD.
    Now a Belgian institute calculated again now with the Almaz Antei data set.
    Their conclusion an area just south and partly overlapping the Dutch identified suuspected launch area.

    But now comes the interesting part.
    Not only Bellingcat showed that satelite picture wss manipulated, and others showed the area of the “so called position of allegedly 2 Ukrainian Buks” was factly controled by separatist that day.
    So the suggestion “Ukraine did it” won’t work here.
    As was beautifully shown today by prosecution.

    A telephone call between a local separatist warrior and a self promoted local major near/at Shakhtarsk. Totaly surprised after seeing a RF MoD press conference the call each other.
    But we controlled that area, there were no “ukrops” (bad word for Ukrainian troops).
    There was no missile launched then from our area at that location.

    So if the Russian MoD and Almaz Antei and RUE did want to believe others a Ukrainian missile launched from an Ukrainisn controled area was responsable they did a very very sloppy job.
    So they are either willfully and blattantly lying to the Russian people or they are very incompetent, or both.
    One could not escape the thought when Russian calculations are of the same quality for constructing road bridges beter not drive over them.
    But I do not I believe Russian engineers are very competent.
    Just watch their space program.
    So why lying then?
    Lying all the time for 6 years?
    Lying today?
    And lying tomorrow and the days to come?
    Some people just like to consume there own excrements.

    But if one wants to see proper research and its outcomes, look at MH17 process day 3 from this week tomorrow.


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