Published on 21 Jul 2014

Searching for the truth about MH17

The nuttiest conspiracy theory I’ve seen so far has it that flight MH17 was full of the bodies of those who died on flight MH370, the aircraft that disappeared over the Indian Ocean back in March.

The pilots ejected by parachute after setting off a bomb, on the orders of their masters in the CIA who wanted to smear the rebels in eastern Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin.

You may think that is so barking that no-one could possibly give it any credence, but as the investigation into how the plane came down stalls before it even starts, it will become difficult to establish any forensic version of events, leaving the way clear for any lunatic or propagandist to launch their theory into cyberspace.

As far as I can tell, no air accident investigators have yet visited the site – just a Dutch team identifying victims, who went to the train where bodies have been taken. A six-person British team from the Department of Transport are in Kiev, consulting with the Ukrainian authorities who do not control the area where the plane crashed.

The Foreign Office points out that their “travel advice” warns against visiting the Donetsk area. The dozens of journalists who have reported from the sunflower fields where the bodies and debris fell do not follow such advice (of course – how would we ever cover anything?) but diplomats and bureaucrats do.


As they dither, armed men are tampering with the evidence scattered across the fields, ensuring that should forensics teams eventually show up it will be far too late to come to any conclusions.

The only evidence is being provided by journalists who are taking photos of wreckage, including what appear to be fragments of the Buk or SA-11 missile believed to have shot down the plane. I presume that the air accident investigators are studying those pictures.

If not, I would recommend they look at a website started by auto-didact weapons expert Elliot Higgins, who is collating all the photos.

It’s not getting any safer, so maybe the air accident investigators will never go to the site. Today Ukrainian forces shelled Donetsk, presumably taking advantage of the rebels being on the back foot. Their aim is presumably to expand the area they control, so they can resupply their brigade on the Russian border.

Further delaying the investigation is an unfortunate side effect.  The west is on their side anyway, so the Ukrainians may calculate that gaining the military advantage is more important.

The internet is a strange and contradictory thing. On the one hand journalists can post dozens of pictures allowing anybody with knowledge to investigate at long distance. On the other, it’s an ungoverned space where any wildcat conspiracy theorist can let rip. People are so overwhelmed by information they will believe what they want.

Either way it unfolds at breakneck pace, while diplomats and traditional investigators are filling in security forms and holding meetings, and politicians pontificate, wondering why no-one listens or believes what they say.

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3 reader comments

  1. Susan Galea says:

    I share your frustration, Ms Hilsum. While there seems to be a preponderance of evidence that the perpetrators are the ‘rebels’, this evidence is not yet solid, and until the truth of the matter is established the political chicanes, and opportunist carrion crow are in full spate. Cui bono is really not good enough; nor is deflection or deliberate muddle. I feel so sorry for the victims’ families, and the level of callous indifference to human consideration for the remains of the victims and the feelings of their loved ones is so dispiriting. To stoop to robbing dead people and their families of money, and memento mori, and simple objects of sentimental value is beyond cruelty…

    It’s also galling that those who could have achieved so much in cementing the answer to this cruel conundrum are stymied by seeming red tape at home- notable in its absence from the crash scene- unless we promote the thugs carrying guns to the role. Nope, it’s not working out decently.

  2. Lawrence Woodward says:

    The theory that the rebels shot down MH17 does not seem to have much evidence to support it, yet it appears to have become accepted by our politicians and the press. The evidence is pointing more to a false flag incident purported by Kiev possibly with CIA assistance.

    Some questions you could be asking:
    1) why was the plane asked to lower its altitude by air traffic control shortly before losing contact?
    2) why were two Ukrainian fighter jets in the vicinity of the aircraft when it crashed?
    3) why did the Ukraine intelligence service need to fabricate evidence that it was the rebels (splicing recorded conversation between rebel commanders and releasing a video clip of BUK supposedly crossing border to Russian, but now identified as in Ukrainian controlled territory)?
    4) why has the US not released any of its satellite data from the time?
    5) why has the Western media, including Channel 4, not reported any of the civilian casualties from the military offensive?
    6) why shouldn’t the Donetsk and Lugansk regions not be autonomous from the rest of Ukraine (as the Scots are having the opportunity to do so from the rest of UK?).

  3. Jeannie says:

    I still can’t think of any logical reason why one of the passengers was completely naked, as seen in this early footage of the crash. Very strange.

    Kind regards

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