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Troubling Gaps in the New MH-17 Report
By Robert PARRY
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from barnesandnoble.com).
Exclusive: The new accusation of Russian complicity in 2014 Malaysia Airlines shootdown was based on Ukrainian intelligence intercepts that were selectively interpreted while contrary information was ignored, writes Robert Parry.
The key conclusion of the Dutch-led criminal inquiry implicating Russia in the 2014 shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 relied heavily on cryptic telephone intercepts that were supplied by the Ukrainian intelligence service and were given incriminating meaning not clearly supported by the words.
The investigators also seemed to ignore other intercepts that conflicted with their conclusions, including one conversation that appeared to be referring to a Ukrainian convoy, not one commanded by ethnic Russian rebels, that was closing in on the Luhansk airport, placing Ukrainian troops deep inside rebel territory.
That conversation was among five that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) released in seeking the public’s help in identifying persons of interest in the MH-17 shootdown. The callers seemed to discussing information from Moscow regarding the movement of a convoy, but they describe it as a “Ukrops” or Ukrainian troop convoy.
“B: I am saying about the confirmation of the convoy that is going in the direction of the airport… Moscow/Moskva has confirmed… they see it. Is it err… whatsit… Ukrops convoy?
“A: The convoy that is going in the direction of the airport? Yes.
“B: And how did it go through?
“A: Most likely through Sabovka,” which the JIT interprets to be the town of Sabivka, about five miles west of Luhansk and about 92 miles northeast of Donetsk, the two rebel capitals. The Luhansk airport is about 20 miles south of the city center.
In other words, if this intercept from JIT is correct, the Ukrainian military was operating near the highway routes that the alleged Russian Buk missile battery would have been using. The conversation then picks up, referring to a possible battle for the airport:
“B: So, the convoy was confirmed. Where the convoy can be from?
“C: I don’t know where it is going from. It’s from west, isn’t it?
“B: It’s somehow going from west. From west. Fucking one and a half kilometres from the airdrome.
“C: From the airdrome?
“C: It can’t be one and a half kilometres from the airdrome because there is a populated locality there, there are positions there. Probably… I don’t know. Will now try to do something. … I think we will be receiving information soon… our groups have left.
“C: Ok. Well, if they come in the airport, will fight at the airport. What else can we do?
“B: Ok. I got you.”
Although it’s difficult to know precisely what these callers are discussing, the conversation seems to refer to a potential battle for an airport, not the deployment of a Buk missile system.
Also, if Ukrainian forces had penetrated that deep into rebel territory, it is difficult to exclude that a Ukrainian Buk battery might have traveled along the southerly route H-21, which skirts Donetsk and then heads east toward the JIT’s claimed firing site in a field near the town of Pervomaiskyi. H-21 then bends north toward Luhansk airport and the city of Luhansk.
The Ukrainian Buks