MH17 Shoot-Down Mystery Deepens since July 17
MH17 piece with apparent bullet holes. by [[smh.com.au]]
By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
"Black Boxes Show Shrapnel Destroyed Malaysia Airlines Plane, Ukraine Says"
That headline in the Wall Street Journal of July 28 creates the immediate false impression that there is new information: shrapnel destroyed plane! Before the headline is over, the WSJ begins backtracking -- "Ukraine Says" -- a reference that yellow-flags a less than credible source. As the story continues, it reveals that there's no actual news here, starting with the sub-head: "Older Flight Recorders on Plane Likely to Provide Limited Data" -- so is there reliable data or not? Then the story reverses direction again, with this riddle-filled lede:
MOSCOW--Ukrainian authorities said Monday that data retrieved from the black boxes aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 showed the plane was destroyed by "massive explosive decompression" caused by shrapnel from a missile.
Moscow? Nothing about the story relates to Moscow, except perhaps the location of the reporter. He does not say where the "Ukrainian authorities" are, and identifies only one: "Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council." The reporter says Lysenko "revealed" the evidence of a missile explosion, although there is little possibility Lysenko has any direct knowledge of the black box contents, since the black boxes have never been in the possession of Ukraine officials.
The reporter admits he has no news, since the black boxes are in the United Kingdom and the investigators have not confirmed Lysenko's claim. In a sentence as slippery as it is empty, the reporter repeats the official American story: "The U.S. has blamed Russia for providing the Buk missile system to the rebels, a claim that Moscow denies." This is a dog whistle to those who say pro-Russians shot down the plane, but the actual accusation here is only that Russia gave the rebels a Buk missile system, which proves nothing. The possibility of an air-to-air missile goes unmentioned.
The reporter also does not mention that the Ukraine government has the same or equivalent air-to-ground missile systems, provided by Russia when the countries had warmer relations. The reporter stops short of embracing the blame-Russia scenario, but offers no alternative. As a whole, his story illustrates what he fails to say: that almost two weeks after the shoot-down, there is less certainty than ever as to who was responsible.
Lacking anything like solid evidence, U.S. media just wing it and pray
The same day (July 28), Time links to the WSJ story as if it was fact. Under the headline -- "Ukraine: MH17 Downed by 'Massive Explosive Decompression'" -- the report begins:
As U.N. human-rights chief suggests downing of the plane may be a "war crime" -- Ukrainian authorities said Monday that black-box data from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 revealed shrapnel from a missile caused "massive explosive decompression" onboard, as the U.N. human-rights chief said the aircraft's shooting down "may amount to a war crime."
[repetition in original]
Unlike the Journal, Time makes an effort to explain what a "massive explosive decompression" is -- "Explosive decompression happens when the air inside an aircraft depressurizes at an extremely fast rate, with results similar to a bomb detonation." Whatever happened, the plane and its 298 passengers came down in hundreds of pieces, from large to tiny, over a crash site of a dozen square miles or more.
Shrapnel, certainly, from any source, could create a condition leading very quickly to massive explosive decompression. So could 30 mm anti-tank weapons fire from a Ukrainian Su-25 jet fighter. This is the explanation for the downing of MH17 offered by a German pilot who examined a photo of the MH17 cockpit on the ground and determined that there were bullet holes, entry and exit, suggesting that MH17 was caught in a crossfire. The pilot's argument is rational and straightforward, and subject to verification by an examination of the evidence. Circumstantially, his argument provides a credible motive for the apparent urgency of Ukrainian forces to secure the crash site before outside forensic investigators can get there.
German media have reported variations of this story, focusing on the one or two Su-25s flying near MH17. The evidence for an Su-25 close to MH17 comes from a July 21 briefing by the Russian military that was widely reported at the time, from the Wall Street Journal to Veterans Today. A week later Time, like the Journal, makes no mention of any Su-25 or of the potentially confirmatory satellite imagery still being withheld by the U.S.