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An essay on the MH-17 verdict

On my Dutch language blog I wrote extensively about the MH-17 disaster previously. After years of court-procedures taking place in a special fortified courthouse, with non of the accused present, but a truckload of prosecutors and judges, as well as the media, and people who lost loved-ones in that tragedy, the presiding judge passed a ‘guilty’ sentence on three of the defendants, with life in prison sentences, and the payment of a considerable amount in ‘damages’. The verdict was greeted in the media as a relief for the people who lost loved ones, since they now knew who the guilty people were. Even though there is no chance that they will ever serve their sentence, or pay for the damages. Unless NATO succeeds in ‘Changing the Regime’ in Russia, to install a puppet to their liking, like they did in Ukraine in 2014, but I consider that a remote possibility. 


I’m convinced that the media did not speak for all the people who lost loved ones, since my own skepticism is not limited to just me, myself and I. Contrary to some people who offer various alternative scenarios from the one presented as an accurate description of what happened on that horrible day, presenting them as if they have proof, I only have questions and suggestions. Yet I feel uneasy to vent them again at the conclusion of this rather unusual ‘criminal case’, since I understand the importance of finding ‘closure’ for that particular group of people who lost someone they loved. I cannot begin to imagine what they went through since that horrible day. 


It is certainly possible that ‘rebels’ fired this Buk-missile which took down this commercial airliner, killing all the passengers and crew, irrespective of the question whether it was a ‘refurbished’ launcher gained from Ukrainian stock when Porochenko declared war on its own citizens, as NATO warned member states that this had taken place in June, or that it was indeed, somehow, shipped from Russia. But there is no direct evidence, only circumstantial evidence, the bulk of which was delivered by, or through Ukrainian security services, and their friends at ‘Bellingcat’, operating on a license of NATO as their preferred ‘cutout’, according multiple analysts, while Ukraine was a suspect itself. It had multiple Buk-launchpads on high alert in the area, with crews fearing the arrival on the scene of Russian fighter-bombers to come to the rescue of their brethren in the ‘Donbas’, which were bombed and shot to smithereens by the assaulting forces ‘Kiev’ unleashed, under instructions of Porochenko, himself installed through a proces designed by Victoria Nuland and her team after a violent coup, and sham-elections. Certainty of what went down required the identification of the crew of the launchpad which actually fired the missile, and their testimony of what they thought they were shooting at, and why. An important question, since the system presented in this trial lacked the command-and-support structure, comprised of additional vehicles, and crew. Instead, the prosecution presented the names of three Russians and a Ukrainian citizen from the ‘Donbas’ region who were fingered by the Ukrainian secret service, because they would have been ‘involved’ with making this Buk-launcher available. 


In a war, weapon systems are made available to the warring parties, and NATO is delivering all kinds of weapon systems to Ukraine, which are used to target civilian objects, like market squares in Donetsk, as well as military ones. Elsewhere, in other wars, NATO delivers tons of weapon systems to ‘rebels’ fighting their government. Now, what measure of ‘closure’ could be derived from ‘publicity stunts’ sentencing underlings in the logistical proces ‘involved with making weapon systems available’ to warring parties? I’m no psychologist, but my guess would be ‘None’. If I would have lost loved ones in such a horrible tragedy, I would demand to know two things:


1. Why did nobody close the airspace over that part of Ukraine, or advise civil aircraft to avoid it, while it was known that aircraft at above-manpad-reach had been shot down already? Which authorities were informed about that, and why didn’t they act to prevent such a tragedy?


2. Who pulled the trigger, and what was he or she aiming at? Based on what kind of information?


Going around these questions to offer scapegoats for political purposes is simply not acceptable. 


Though it sounds like next to impossible to find the crew of this launchpad, that effort would stand a better chance if it is accepted that accidents do happen, and certainly in a war. Consider the shooting down of flight Siberia Airlines 1812 over the Black Sea by Ukrainian forces in 2001, using an S-200 missile during a training mission. It took years to uncover the truth, since Ukraine kept lying about it, but ‘subtle pressure’ delivered the goodies, and a path to real ‘closure’. Even this ‘trigger happy’ crew of the USS Vincennes which downed Iran Air flight 655 in 1988 in peace time ‘came clean’ after president Bush made it clear he did not even feel like apologizing. And even Iran came clean after it shot down a Ukrainian airliner by accident, as they were anticipating an American strike, after retaliating in response to the cold blooded murder of their envoy to Iraq by the Americans. To understand what went wrong is far more important than having a trial with some remotely connected people who were ‘somehow’ involved with transporting this system, if at all. Slamming that door shut in the early stages by promising prosecution, which was not in the best interest of the victims seeking ‘closure’, and only served to direct the entire investigation into a rabbit hole, which also set the stage for ‘overlooking’ this big question with regard to preventing this horrible disaster in the first place. 


Since we have no confessions, no uncontested witnesses, and none of those with regard to the actual launch, to say the case is ‘closed’ is a slap in the face of any curious mind, or professional interested in making civil aviation safer still. You can’t avoid accidents, but you most certainly can avoid dangerous airspace and manipulative people. Avoiding dangerous airspace is the final responsibility of the crew of an airliner, but they need to be provided with accurate and trustworthy information, which has to be provided by the governments who are aware of those dangers. Not advancing that knowledge to crews is criminal neglect, or something even more nefarious.

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