Original in Dutch and English translation, also by Max van der Werff, appear here.
On April 12, 2017, a thousand days had passed since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down above East Ukraine. Up until now, those who did it have not been identified, indicted or arrested, and many questions remain answered.
After publication of the final report of the Dutch Safety Board in October 2015, I summarized the results of my two visits to the crash site and more than two thousand hours of Internet research in the article MH17 – Lying for Justice. Since then, I’ve had four meetings with the members of the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and in total about 6 hours of talks have been recorded. Finally, I handed over 14GB of data to the Dutch researchers with the assurance that only Dutch researchers would have access to the material.Special credits for citizen journalists Marcel van den Berg, alias MH17research and Hector Reban (alias). I frequently used Hector’s blog and Marcel’s blog for writing this article. No other public source can match the information that can be found on both websites.
For numerous topics related to MH17 I would like to refer you to the interview in Café Weltschmerz where I was interviewed as a citizen journalist myself. Purpose of this article
1) Analysis of evidence presented by the JIT on September 28th, 2016.
2) Reporting what was not presented by the JIT (including motive, exact weapon, lies of Kiev).
3) Information on MH17 discussions in mass media.
4) Presentation of plausible scenarios of what might have happened to MH17.
5) Speculating on prosecution and quality of the future evidence.
ChronologyThe entire press conference of the JIT is on Youtube and lasts in total 1 hour and 19 minutes. Left channel is Dutch spoken, right channel is with English translation. I divided the presentation into 74 parts and in an excel sheet [link] topic keywords and direct links are provided. This is useful not only as a reference, but is essential to split the press conference and discuss it in chronological order, the way events must have happened in reality, according to the JIT. Key conclusions drawn by the JIT
– The Buk-Telar was brought to the firing location from the territory of the Russian Federation [26min05s]
– The type of Buk missile which downed MH17 is 9M38 series and Telar after being used is returned to the territory of the Russian Federation. [20min31s]
Reconstruction of the route and the evidence presented by the JIT
Route of 235 Km that the Buk (on a trailer) might have passed during the night of 16/17th of July 2014 from the Russian border to Donetsk.
The JIT doesn’t indicate which border crossing has been used and neither which route exactly might have been followed, but states: “At eight o’clock in the morning a witness has seen the Buk in Yenakiieve ” [33min27s]. Furthermore, the JIT used animated information from an anonymous Twitter account claiming that the Buk was standing at this crossroads in Donetsk [34min52s].
Route allegedly been driven on July 17th, 2014 is N21. I’ve done this route myself several times, both in the direction from Donetsk to Snezhnoye and back.
Volvo trailer in combination with Buk-Telar was filmed at this spot in Donetsk, by an anonymous freelance reporter claimed to be working for Paris Match.
Paris Match published the first photo on July 23, 2014. The second photo was put online on July 25th. That’s one week after MH17 was downed. The freelancer took this picture in the morning and later in the day MH17 was shot down. It immediately becomes the world news that the passenger plane is probably shot down by a Buk missile.
– Why would a magazine like Paris Match wait one week for the online publication of such huge scoop?
– Why does Alfred de Montesquiou, the leading reporter of Paris Match, claim that pictures were taken in Snezhnoye?Only almost two years later, during the press conference of the JIT it is revealed that these two pictures are screenshots from a video recorded by hand.
– Why didn’t Paris Match ever publish the video and why de Montesquiou talked about photos?
Screenshot of one of the videos I took from within a moving bus:
May 3rd, 2016 (meanwhile, one year, nine months and sixteen days have passed) a new YouTube channel appears which is created specifically for placing of one video. The anonymous uploader uses the alias “Ivan Olifirenko. This video, just like the Donetsk video has abonimable quality and moreover is also edited with special software called Cropipic.
On July 15, 2014 a convoy of the fighting unit ‘Vostok’ is passing a petrol station which also appears in ‘Olifirenko’ ‘s video. This video clearly shows that the road surface is damaged by tanks and other vehicles.
But in the video of ‘Olifirenko ‘ that is supposed to be made on July 17, 2014, you can’t see any of this damage.
Thus, this video is from an earlier date than July 15th 2014, or the quality is (made) so bad that it is completely useless as evidence. It is also remarkable that video was put online on the same day as the BBC documentary about MH17 was broadcasted.
Zuhres video and the witness who wished to remain anonymous.
The original video has been removed from YouTube. If we search for “зугрес бук” (“Zuhres buk” in Russian), then we find this video with the upload date July 22, 2014. It’s not possible to check via the public sources when the original video was put online and removed.
Also the quality of this video is so substandard that it was a piece of cake to shop in another vehicle without being noticeable which vehicle is added:
This is the exact location in Zuhres 2 and I have interviewed many people here. On July 17, 2014 or on any other day nobody has seen a Buk on a trailer passing by and no one has heard anything about it from others.
However, I learned something else that is important for finding the truth. Several residents of apartment 31 told me that an alcoholic was living in the apartment where from the video has been recorded. This man passed away couple of months before my visit, in the summer of 2015.
Following information about registered persons at this address can be found:
Anatoli Alekseyevich Andryushin, born October 9, 959 (АНДРЮШИН АНАТОЛИЙ АЛЕКСЕЕВИЧ)
The neighbors indicate that there were often several people staying for a long time in the apartment while the main occupant was absent and many of them had a key. Three persons are officially registered at the same address:
Elena Anatolevna Andryushina, born on July 17, 1986 (АНДРЮШИНА ЕЛЕНА АНАТОЛЬЕВНА)
Tatiana Alexandrovna Andryushina, born on July 30, 1963 (ТАТЬЯНА АЛЕКСАНДРОВНА)
Andrey Anatolevich Andryushin, born on May 22, 1985 (АНДРЮШИН АНДРЕЙ АНАТОЛЬЕВИЧ)
Date of birth: 1985-05-22
Political views: Liberal
Education: Modern computer information technology
Exactly this Andrey Andryushin appears as a witness in a video from June 30, 2016:
Andrey claims that he recorded this video with the Buk-transport on July 5, 2014 and he didn’t put it on YouTube himself. The video was also on his VKontakte (sort of Facebook) page, but out of fear he deleted his entire account.
– Why does Andrey claim he made this video on July 5?
– Where is Andrey now? Is he safe? (See questions 4a/b/c/d)
– Did the JIT have contact with Andrey?
It’s worth noticing that the JIT presents the video for few seconds as evidence, but pays no attention to the statement of the creator of the video that he did not record it on July 17th. Photo of Buk-Volvo combination made at the location ‘Pit Stop’ in Torez.
Unfortunately, the same problems as with the videos:
– Abominable resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording is not an open source
– Metadata unavailable
During the press conference the JIT did not show the pictures, but referred to a until now unknown video supposedly made in Torez [36min03s]. The original link of the Dutch police is removed. Here is a backup.
“Because of the importance to protect the creator of these images, the background is erased,” says the JIT. It remains unclear why the jeep in the video is riding with the door open. Quality of the video is so poor that you can’t see whether the wheels of the vehicle are turning.
Animation JIT: “Around noon, the white Volvo trailer with the Buk-Telar arrives to Snezhnoye. Buk is unloaded from the truck near the supermarket Furshet “[36min24s].
The Furshet supermarket is located on Lenin Street, a major thoroughfare. If there was indeed a Volvo with a trailer standing at this place and Buk-Telar was unloaded there from the trailer, many people would have seen it. Let’s look at the map:
The Buk Telar allegedly drove independently from the red cross on the map to the firing location through the green cross in Karapetiyan Street. In this case, the route that the Telar drove according to the JIT animation (red) can’t be right [36min36s].
Of course, I’ve also been at this location, made measurements and searched for witnesses. Some screenshots of the videos I made on October 19, 2015:
After studying the lines of sight it’s obvious the picture must have been taken from an apartment on the top floor, from building No. 3. An old lady told me that this apartment was not occupied in July 2014.
Also valid for this picture: anonymous photographer, low resolution, original file is not an open source and no metadata.
This photo was taken on June 5, 2015, almost a year after MH17. For better visibility, I increased the contrast slightly. See the original video. (Credit: Yana Yerlashova)
We are sure that no Buk has fired on June 5, 2015 and that it must be another source of the black smoke on the photo of that day.
– I asked the spokesman of the OM three times to confirm that the JIT claims that the presented photo shows the smoke plume of Buk missile which shot down MH17. The final answer was evasive.
– JIT presentation: “The photo is investigated by the NFI. The NFI has no evidence that this picture has been manipulated. “[38min14s]
It is important to know what have been the research questions and what has been studied exactly. That information (just like the original photo itself) is not public. The photo has been investigated by the NFI, the NIDF and FOX-IT. One of the persons who examined the photo wrote me:
“My research did not go beyond determining that these were real RAW files, and therefore in principle, original camera results. About what’s on it, no idea. I haven’t paid attention to that, except being amazed by the value that was tied to the rather obscure images. “
– For more detailed explanation and discussion of other problems with the smoke plume picture, I refer you to this article.
“Painstaking detective work on social media”
“Additionally, in spring of 2016 the research team after painstaking detective work on social media found two new photos.” [38min46s] “From the first picture and testimony of witnesses an analysis of sightlines was made. The direction in which the witness looked when he or she saw or photographed the trace. The place where these lines of sight come together is very close to the agricultural field in question at Pervomaiskyi.” [39min04s]
The displayed image is made at exactly the same location as this one ….
… which appeared on Twitter on July 15, 2014, two days before MH17 was shot down. The coordinates of the recording location were calculated and published on the Webtalk.ru forum.
If we place cutouts of the both photos above each other, we see an exact match. Photos (or video recordings) are almost certainly made with the use of a tripod:
The smoke from the ‘new photo’ is located more to the left compared to the two columns of smoke from the picture of the tweet on July 15:
Having the recording location and the coordinates of the launch site claimed by JIT, we can draw on a map a line of sight (white) and an estimated line of sight (red) for the columns of smoke on the picture of the tweet on July 15:
The red line of sight points to Saur Mogila, the highest point of Donbass. A place where in July 2014 fierce battles took place almost daily. On images from Google Earth of July 16, 2014 two pieces of scorched earth can be seen. Probably the smoke spots were caused by an attack on July 15.
It is clear that the apartment from where the recordings were made, served as an observation post, but why did Andrey Tarasenko twitter a photo of July 15 and not the one of the smoke plume on July 17?
Andrey Tarasenko claims he was walking home from work at the time of the attack:
A Ukrainian miner says that at the moment of the catastrophe with the Malaysian Boeing he saw a white trace shooting from the ground into the air. Twenty seconds later, he saw smoke rising in the distance. Andrey Tarasenko said he and his friend were walking home when it happened. “Do you know how does a trace of a plane look like? It was the same, but this was a rocket launched from the ground,” Tarasenko said. Tarasenko estimated that he was on a 16 kilometers (10 miles) distance from the Boeing 777 crash site. He never saw the plane. (source)
From the firing of a Buk-rocket untill the creation of smoke rising from the crashed MH17, several minutes have passed. Twenty seconds as claimed by Tarasenko is nonsense.
If the rest of Tarasenko’s story is correct, in any case he was not in the apartment when the recording was made. Interesting questions:
– Who made the image(s)?
– Who is the occupant of the apartment?
– How and from whom did Tarasenko get the files?
The main question is of course:
Why was “the long research on social media” necessary and photo (or video?) of the smoke plume from Buk that shot down MH17 wasn’t made public immediately?
Most searched weapon in the world – route back to the Russian Federation
JIT presentation: “Immediately after the launch, the Buk-Telar was discharged. There are almost no pictures available of the discharge route because it took place in the evening and night hours.” [41min27s]
“The Buk-Telar presumably was driving independently in direction of Snezhnoye. There he was put again on the white Volvo trailer in the late evening hours of July 17th.” [41min49s]
What we know:
– MH17 was hit around 16:20h.
– The distance of the route from the ‘launch site’ to the square of the Furshet Market is about 7 kilometers.
– Sunset on July 17, 2014 near Donetsk was at 20:22hrs.
If the assessment made by the JIT is correct, then the Buk-Telar was at least four hours within a radius of seven kilometers from the launch location since the launch of a missile and only after that it was loaded back on the trailer in the center of Snezhnoye for transport back to Russia.
– Statistically speaking, how many witnesses should have seen the Buk-Telar during almost four hours in the neighborhood and in the center of Snezhnoye and how likely is it that no satellite or spy images were made after it was known that MH17 was shot down?
Following the JIT story. In the late evening hours of July 17, the Buk-Telar is again put on the white Volvo trailer and drives through Lugansk to Russia. There are 175 kilometers from Snezhoye to Lugansk. That is, if you follow the route that Telar drove according to the JIT. The shortest route is less than 90 kilometers. Why this huge detour of about 80 kilometers?
JIT-presentation: “In Lugansk in the early morning a video has been made of a Volvo-truck with a loader carrying the Buk Telar. It shows that the installation carries only three missiles. From there the transport drives to the Russian border and crosses the border.” [42min07s]
Arsen Avakov states on his Facebook page that the video is made by a surveillance-team on July 18th, at 04:50 in the morning.
The video displays a lighted streetlight next to the billboard. This is remarkable, as Lugansk was almost entirely without electricity in the morning of July 18, 2014.
Also regarding to this video the following:
– Abominable Resolution
– Anonymous photographer
– Original recording not open source
– Metadata unavailable
Regarding the route the question can be raised once again: why a big detour with a route of about 246 kilometers was chosen…
The JIT claims to have obtained a lot of evidence through wiretaps alongside many pictures and witnesses. Joost Niemöller asked the following question [1u6min32s]
“What is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations?”
Answer by Wilbert Paulissen, head of Dutch Police Investigations:
“These are mainly wiretapped telephone conversations of the Ukrainian service. Thus, these wiretapped telephone conversations are becoming available to the JIT via the court. That is the source of the wiretapped telephone conversations”.
“You say mainly. Are there any other sources?”
“No, these are: wiretapped telephone conversations from Ukraine. To put it simply.”
Ukrainian secret service falsified wiretapped telephone conversations
Almost immediately after it became known that MH17 was shot down, the Ukrainian secret service SBU published some wiretapped telephone conversations that would prove the guilt of the rebels. Here is an analysis of the audio:
The so-called evidence proves something quite different: Ukraine does not hesitate to produce (poorly) falsified evidence.
The fact that the audio was forged is not being denied by anyone. Not even by the top of the Dutch investigation team. However, JIT countries have agreed information is only being made public if no member objects. What this non-disclosure agreement contains exactly is… confidential.
Various wiretapped telephone conversations were played during the JIT presentation. Since it is proven that the SBU forged wiretapped telephone conversations, I limit myself discussing only one tap [43min21s]:
Person 1: “Where is the vehicle now?”
Person 2: “The vehicle is already in Russia for a long time.”
The JIT indicates that the tapped conversation was recorded on July 18, 2014 at 07:44. The Buk, according to the JIT, was filmed in Lugansk the same morning at 04:50 and then still had to travel the entire route to the Russian border.
How is it possible that the “vehicle” at 07:44 was in Russia for a “long time” already?
JIT fails to fulfill its promise to appoint exact weapon
Head of Dutch Police Investigations Wilbert Paulissen:
“Based on the criminal investigation it can be concluded that the flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the 9M38-series.” [20min31s]
The 9M38-series consists of two types: 9M38 and 9M38M1. From the outside the two missiles are almost identical, but according to manufacturer Almaz Antey the warheads of the two missile types contain differently shaped particles. The warhead of the 9M38 contains square particles of two different sizes, while the missile type 9M38M1 contains square particles of two different sizes and butterfly-shaped particles.
JIT: “The warhead of 9M38 is composed of an explosive core with a sheath of preformed particles which are dispersed with great force during the explosion.” [23min35s]
Using the term “9M38” in combination with a warhead of missile type 9M38M1 is at least confusing.
The JIT also shows an explosion of a warhead with butterfly particles in an animation. A missile of 9M38M1 type. And thus, not the 9M38 type.
Why does the JIT say that flight MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014 by a missile from the “9M38-series”, but does not specifically appoint 9M38M1 as the weapon?
Buk manufacturer Almaz Antey during tests has detonated a warhead 9N314M of a 9M38M1 missile near the cockpit of a disused Ilyushin-86 .
After the experiment the aluminum skin of the IL-86 (right) contains many butterfly-shaped entry holes. There are no butterfly-shaped holes found in the skin of MH17. How can this be explained?
Russia claims it has no longer 9M38 missiles in its arsenal. This type of missile is still used by Ukraine, according to the Russians.
Does the JIT use the term “9M38-series” to disguise MH17 has not been shot down by a missile of the 9M38M1 type?
Primary radar data absent, primary radar data present.
More than two years ago Russia claimed the primary radar data had been erased, but six days before the JIT presentation it was reported a copy was nevertheless preserved.
Paulissen: “Regarding the new primary radar images the Russian Federation spoke about last Monday, I can report that they are not yet in possession of our research team and that we were not able to see them yet.” [44min15s]
Ukraine claims it has no primary radar data, because all radars were either under maintainance or had been destroyed before July 17, 2014.
Dutch MP Omtzigt: “DSB report: Russians have deleted primary radar data
Ukraine had them switched off due to maintenance. (So no radar data of the missile)
Westerbeke: “There has been a lot of talk about radar images. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation provided radar data to the JIT.
Recently the JIT has, after intensive research, also traced a video file with relevant primary military radar data from the area. Recorded by a mobile radar in Ukraine. This radar was used at that time to test new software. Though this radar has a limited range, it did detect MH17 and completes the further completes the entire picture.” [14min16s]
Why Ukraine did not immediately make this primary radar information available to the JIT and why more than two years “intensive research” was needed?
Jeroen Akkermans rightfully states the Russians have wasted a lot of time and that the radar data “could obviously have been forged“.
Since we have already established Ukraine has produced falsified evidence, the uncritical attitude of the Dutch researchers and media towards that country is especially noteworthy.
Westerbeke: “The discussion about the radar images in our opinion can be closed. Today we want to emphasize that the material available to us is more than sufficient to draw conclusions in the criminal investigation. [14min55s]
This might be so as per Westerbeke’s opinion, but fact is the wrangling over the radar images is still ongoing after 1000 days. Point of discussion remains if the Russian radar data proves that no Buk was launched from the launch site designated by the JIT or the following applies:
“In this case the absence of evidence does not mean the evidence of absence” [46min06s]
No doubt about motive
Head of Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko:
“Terrorists and militants have planned a cynical terrorist attack on a civilian aircraft Aeroflot AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaka that was flying at that time above the territory of Ukraine.”
[source]According to Ukraine this false flag operation failed because the Russian crew drove to the wrong place Pervomaiske and accidentally did not shoot down the Aeroflot airliner, but MH17 instead. The shooting down of an Aeroflot airliner with Russian citizens on board would according to Ukraine be used as casus belli for an overt Russian invasion of Ukraine.
What was said during the JIT presentation about the motive?
Paulissen: “The research is still focused on this question, but I have started my story deliberately sketching the context in which the event took place. That context, as we have seen it and as I told you, was that there was heavy fighting and that men sought an answer to the many air strikes by the Ukrainian army. Thus, that is an indication in a particular direction. Whether it is so, the further research will have to clarify, but we are attending to this matter.” [1u08min39s]
Westerbeke “Our research is focused precisely on that question. Was it a mistake? Was it deliberate? Who was in charge there? Who gave the order? These are real follow-up questions, and that is exactly what we are going to look for further.” [1u10min26s]
? JIT member Ukraine announced in August 2014 it possesses hard evidence about culprits and motive, but the JIT reports in September 2016 it is still looking for the culprits and their possible motive ?
The (Dutch) researchers have had two years to verify and evaluate the hard evidence collected by Ukraine. The fact that during the press conference both Paulissen and Westerbeke stated the issue about the motive remains unsolved is a strong indication Ukraine also lies about the motive issue.
“We never said that Russians definitely shot them down, but they definitely provided the weapon for it.”
So what is the truth?
“You confuse the statements in the investigation report of Bellingcat with my personal opinion. Bellingcat is a group of individuals working together. It would be wrong to attribute statements made by one of them to Bellingcat. It is my personal opinion that it is plausible that the BUK installation was operated by the members of the 53th brigade. The Bellingcat reports do not go that far and leave the question open, so that people can draw their own conclusions on the evidence presented in the reports.” [source]
– an incorrect launch site was claimed
– at least one witness testimony was forged
The coverage of AD is based on information from detective buro Correct!v. The factual and demonstrable errors in the analysis of Correct!v have been investigated by Billy Six and myself and Marcel van den Berg discusses not less than eight errors.
Despite all the “overwhelming evidence” spread by (social) media about the involvement and guilt of Russia in the downing of MH17 Westerbeke says:
“We as Joint Investigation Team, on basis of the research, are not going further at the moment than to confirm that the Buk Telar was brought from Russia and that it was transported back. We did not go further in our conclusions and this means we do not comment on the involvement of the Russian Federation as a country or persons from the Russian Federation.” [55min27s]
Marcel van den Berg wrote two orderly posts on it:
This question keeps many people who rely on studying public information busy. What virtually everyone agrees on is the following: Ukraine should have closed its airspace.
Even DSB (Dutch Safety Board) is clear about it. If the responsible authorities claim to be aware of the presence of weapons in a conflict zone that can shoot down a civil aircraft at high altitude and still do not close the airspace, there is at least a matter of gross negligence.
Professor Giemulla has started proceedings at the ECHR against Ukraine on behalf of a number of German family members of the deceased based on this argument. Professor Giemulla describes The Netherlands as “a black hole“, because until now no Dutch family members have joined this lawsuit.
Paulissen of the JIT: “regarding the closure of airspace, we state that the JIT investigation is not focused on this. That was part of the DSB research. Conclusions have been drawn, so we do not focus on it within the criminal investigation”. [1u02min28s] Legal proceedings Ukraine vs Russia
Ukraine has filed a case against Russia at the International Court of Justice. MH17 is part of a complaint against Russia because of “aggressive” and “illegal annexation of Crimea”. According to Ukraine Russia has violated two international treaties by “financing of terrorism” and “racial discrimination”. The Court has not ruled on the case and experts do not know what the Court will finally decide. [April 19th 2017 – first order ICJ]
MH17 is a part of a geopolitical conflict
Main parties in this conflict are the United States and Russia. Netherlands (NATO) and Ukraine are in the US camp. Ukrainian rebels are in the Russian camp.
Opinions about the credibility of the JIT and especially the reliability of the input of the secret service of Ukraine are divided.
Based on public information (and thus not on the basis of information that the JIT claims to possess, but says it does not release due to tactical and strategic reasons), I am not convinced that a Buk coming from Russia shot down MH17. Who doubts the western narrative is being framed as a “useful idiot” and “Kremlin-troll”. So be it.
Back to the question: Which scenario can explain why all stakeholders frustrate and even sabotage getting the truth on the table? It is tempting to speculate on the basis of incomplete information and to fill in the missing pieces as “truth.” The last thousand days I was able to resist this temptation. I did however include a hypothesis of Colonel bd. Rudolph in Lying for Justice. According to Rudolph’s hypothesis, the Ukrainian air defense accidentally shot down MH17 during an exercise. Another hypothesis that also assumes it was an accident:
– Russian-backed rebels captured one or more operational Buks of the Ukrainian army.
– Nevertheless, Ukraine deliberatly did not close its air space.
– MH17 was accidentally shot down by rebels.
This scenario provides an explanation for the following motives:
– Russia does not want it becomes public knowledge MH17 was shot down by rebels backed by Moscow.
– Ukraine does not want to become public knowledge the murder weapon originated not from Russia, but from the arsenal of Kiev itself.
– Rebels obviously do not want to be identified as culprits.
– The Netherlands obediently follows the strategic interests of the United States and is committed to keep Ukraine out of the wind and make Russia look as bad as possible.
* Disclaimer: I still do not know what really happened *
JIT countries claim to know for sure the weapon came from Russia
It is nonsense to think that rebels could have organized a rent-a-buk without the highest authorities in Russia being informed about and having sanctioned it. If the actual murder weapon came from Russia, this claim will have to be substantiated. Eventually The Netherlands will have to initiate a lawsuit against Russia. If this is ever going to happen remains rather questionable.
Less unlikely is one day it will come to trial in which individual culprits with Russian nationality will be accused. (whether or not a trial in absentia).
“Which people were involved in the supply, command, protection, firing and discharging of the Buk Telar? [..] We now have a hundred people in the picture who can be in some way associated with the shooting down of flight MH17 or transporting the Buk. We have been able to determine the identity of these one hundred people.” [45min52s]
At the end of this article a reflection and prediction regarding the type of evidence that will be used in case of such litigation.
1) Tapped telephone conversations, videos and other materials that may have been forged by the SBU and of which the authenticity cannot be determined objectively.
2) Anonymous witnesses.
3) Evidence from classified US sources.
“What we have said is we have gotten access from the Americans to all relevant material they have available and that it contains a significant portion of state secrets. We were given access to the material through the MIVD and through a special officer of the district prosecutor’s office. In combination with that we have received a report from the US with conclusions based on that material. We can use that report in a criminal case, it is a part of the case and therefore constitutes evidence. Especially in combination with the possibility that the officer who has seen the underlying material can make a statement. It remains a state secret and is therefore not declassified, but we can now fully use it in the research. [1u3min50s]
[…] As far as the question about the state of confidential information is concerned, it will be some kind of a legal response, it is also a bit complicated… It can be used as evidence, but in an indirect way, the way it has been agreed on for now. Namely, through a statement that will be given by the national officer anti-terrorism. The latter can then declare in court. However, that does not mean that the underlying material becomes available for the court itself or for the legal defense of any suspects.” [1u15min47s]
Thus, the circle can be closed this way. The United States in the background determines what evidence will or will not be used and which material remains unverifiable for third parties, lawyers of the suspects and even for the judges.
“And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
One can blame the US for overthrowing Kiev but if people like [Yatsenyuk] & Poroshenko had not accepted, Kiev and all of Ukraine would still be safe. In 2012 the US spewed out propaganda in Moscow but most Russians were not fooled and their country was saved. The acceptance of the US and EU proposals invited Hell to Ukraine and the Church was attacked.
The light of God was in Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kiev. He passed away July 5th amid the Ukrainian civil war.
Through his inspiration, on January 22, Metropolitan Antony urged believers in Kiev, “Today, we celebrate the Ukrainian Day of National Unity with a sense of sadness and grief. The country is on the brink of the abyss. … the Church demands a stop to the violence.
People! Come to your senses!” His words are an echo from the past.
In November of 1917, Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow told the Communists.
“Come back into your senses, you madmen and stop spilling blood! What you are doing can please only Satan.”
In those days Lenin and company were financed not only by Germany but by the Oligarchs from the United States and Great Britain.
They said yes to Satan and Russia fell into the abyss of Hell. Rather, Hell came to earth. The average is about 65 million suffering and dying to their yes. The West scoffs at the figure like Stalin who said,
“One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”
“But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall take wings as eagles” The Russian Church had survived. The death of millions of martyrs was the seed of a renewed faith.
The Faith survived and Communism went down to defeat!
This author has witnessed it and I can truly say, “And I saw them that had overcome the Beast. These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Poroshenko’s [Yatsenyuk] “Yes” has again invited Hell to not only the separatists but to Kiev and all of Ukraine. Protests against the current government continue. Mother’s protest that their sons are being taken away to fight against their own people. These soldiers flee to Russia or take drugs or commit suicide.
Kiev wants genocide in SE Ukraine. They obey their master well. It’s the CIA way of doing things. The Russian Church says it, “is renewing its call for the immunity of holy places and the clergy not to be sacrificed to hatred”. Sadly, I do not hear the western churches protest Kiev. Certainly their governments do not implore Kiev to stop the bombings.
A few days ago a plane came from Canada arrived in Kharkov with $4.5 million worth of equipment for Kiev. Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby admitted he was sending some instructors to Kiev.
Some supposedly to help investigate the Malaysian Crash MH17. I would ask Kirby why investigate since your country blamed Russia a few hours after the attack?
“The [rothschild] American political elite has stolen, perverted and counterfeited the American identity. And they make us hate you and they make you hate us… – the global oligarchy who rules the world using you and smashing us. Let us revolt. Let us resist. Together, Russians and Americans. We are the people. We are not their puppets.”
Dugin is very hopeful, but I am not in this case.
The US will not make peace. After all, making peace is losing money, either in Europe or the Middle East. They says “Yes” most emphatically because of their greed. Their souls are darkened by Sin and cannot comprehend the light. All I hear is Obama claiming it’s Russian propaganda and escalating the war.
BARBARIANS IN SUITSTHE GLOBAL ELITE ACT CULTURED AND REFINED, BUT THEIR POLICIES ARE SAVAGE AND UNCIVILIZED.EXPLOITERS, PLUNDERERS, WARMONGERS AND MASS MURDERERS, THEIR GREED, ARROGANCE AND CRUELTY HAVE CAUSED UNTOLD MISERY.WHILE CHAMPAGNE DRIPS FROM THEIR LIPS, THE BLOOD OF THOUSANDS DRIPS FROM THEIR HANDS.THEY ARE BARBARIANS IN SUITS.THE MONSTROUS WORK OF MODERN-DAY BARBARIANSNANKING (CHINA)AUSCHWITZ (POLAND)HIROSHIMA (JAPAN)VIETNAM
(CLUSTER BOMB)FALLUJAH, IRAQ
(DEPLETED URANIUM)AFGHANISTAN (LANDMINE)GAZA, PALESTINEYEMENSYRIA“One cannot engage in barbarous action without becoming a barbarian.”U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright in his book “The Arrogance of Power”“U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars.
… The United States was also responsible for 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
… The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.”James A. Lucas“Countries we seek to dominate, from Indonesia and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, are intimately familiar with these brutal mechanisms of control. But the reality of empire rarely reaches the American public. The few atrocities that come to light are dismissed as isolated aberrations. The public is assured what has been uncovered will be investigated and will not take place again. The goals of empire, we are told by a subservient media and our ruling elites, are virtuous and noble. And the vast killing machine grinds forward, feeding, as it has always done, the swollen bank accounts of defense contractors and corporations that exploit natural resources and cheap labor around the globe.”investigative journalist Allan Nairn“They have pillaged the world. When the land has nothing left for men who ravage everything, they scour the sea. If an enemy is rich, they are greedy; if he is poor, they crave glory. Neither East nor West can sate their appetite. They are the only people on earth to covet wealth and poverty with equal craving. They plunder, they butcher, they ravish, and call it by the lying name of ’empire’. They make a desert and call it ‘peace’.”Publius Cornelius Tacitus – a historian of the Roman Empire“The barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing America for quite some time.”Morris Berman“I spent thirty-three years in the Marines, most of my time being a hlgh class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.
I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1910-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
In China in 1927 l helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
I had a swell racket. l was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions. l might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents.”General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935“What separates us from the psychopath is our conscience, and our conscience must become the voice of truth. True conscience raises us above the animal behaviour of the pathocrats.”Henry See“U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars.
… The United States was also responsible for 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.
… The United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.”James A. Lucas” It has been true all through history, the way you get a small group of people to be very rich is by getting a lot of other people to be very poor.”Michael Parenti“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 of its population… We cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction… We should cease to talk about vague unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”George Kennan, secret State Department memo, February 1948“The greatest threat to our world and its peace comes from those who want war, who prepare for it, and who, by holding out vague promises of future peace or by instilling fear of foreign aggression, try to make us accomplices to their plans.”Hermann Hesse“How much proof do they want? There is every relation between congenital malformation and depleted uranium. Before 1991, we saw nothing like this at all. If there is no connection, why have these things not happened before? Most of these children have no family history of cancer. I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. It is almost exactly the same here; we have an increased percentage of congenital malformation, an increase of malignancy, leukaemia, brain tumours: the same.”Dr Ginan Hassen, pediatrician in Basra, Iraq, after the first Gulf War“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”Frédéric Bastiat“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?… A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”from George Orwell’s 1949 novel “1984”“Well, we had all those planes sitting around and couldn’t just let them stay there with nothing to do.”Deputy Chief of Mission in Laos Monteagle Stearns, when asked during Senate testimony about the bombing of Laos“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”Hermann Goering – Nazi leaderWEBSITES TO VISITTHIRD WORLD TRAVELERINCONVENIENT TRUTHSPATHOCRACY:THE GLOBAL ORDERREAL WORLD ORDERPLUTOCRACY CARTELBEYOND THE MEDIA MATRIXGLOBAL KLEPTOCRACYCRITICAL THINKERHOW THE WORLD REALLY WORKSMEET THE BARBARIANS (A PARTIAL LIST)Attila the HunIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / British Prime Minister Tony Blair / Secretary of State Henry KissingerPresident Bill Clinton / Vice President Dick Cheney / Senator John McCainPSYCHOPATHS, SOCIOPATHS AND NARCISSISTS“Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, injure, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse.”Kevin Barnett“Within the highest circles of power and wealth, a lack of pity and remorse is practically a prerequisite to success, and only the psychopathic mentality can thrive.”Stefan H. Verstappen“Serial killers ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies and societies.”Robert Hare“What the psychopath considers to be good, has nothing to do with truth, honor, decency or consideration for others. In this way, any violation of the rights of others, any foul, evil deed, can be perpetrated by a psychopath, and he will still sleep like a baby at night.”Laura Knight-Jadczyk“A small proportion of people who suffer from psychologically abnormal personalities have, throughout history, had an immeasurable detrimental impact on our societies, our politics and our world. Enabled by their ruthlessness to readily acquire positions of power, they have long dominated the psychologically normal majority of the world’s population.”Ian Hughes“Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been based on slavery and warfare.”Stuart Hertzog“Interpersonal traits of psychopaths include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility.
… If violent offenders are psychopathic, they are able to assault, rape, and murder without concern for legal, moral, or social consequences. This allows them to do what they want, whenever they want. Ironically, these same traits exist in men and women who are drawn to high-profile and powerful positions in society including political officeholders.”Jim Kouri“Achieving power for the sake of having power is the nature of the psychopath.”Robert Hare“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”George Orwell in his book “1984”“Psychopaths are naturally attracted to positions of power, and they will overwhelm anyone with a conscience, who plays by the rules and has good intentions. So you will have people with very dark interior lives, who are controlling channels of communication, controlling finance, controlling industry. And, they will promote their psychopathic “family” values. Psychopathic “values” now permeate all facets of our culture.”Stefan Verstappen“Psychopaths seek positions of power and influence, and politics offers publicity, prestige, and other perks. It also provides positions of ultimate authority over military, industry, and entire populations. In a world where psychopaths are understandably viewed as morally repulsive, often finding themselves at home in the criminal world, politics offers an opportunity to create a new world, to be free from the moral and legal rules of society.”Harrison Koehli“Psychopaths do well in politics. They are ideally suited to the ruthless, competitive, self-promoting and manipulative power games that dominate party politics.”Stuart Hertzog“Many politicians share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate.”John Kozy
Territory is increasingly presented as the only response to the world’s problems. But if territory is the answer, then what exactly is the question?
Inthe 1990s, it was common for us to hear and read about the end of territory. The Berlin Wall had fallen and the remaining pockets of real existing socialism were crumbling fast under the forces of liberal capitalism. As the European Union dissolved its internal borders, the spread of the internet seemed to further de-territorialise our lives. Two decades on, the picture seems to be a rather different one.
From the United Kingdom’s decision to retreat into the nation-state to the construction of border fences and walls in Israel, Hungary, the United States and elsewhere, the control of geographical areas seems to have returned to haunt us. Even cyberspace is now increasingly policed, both by authoritarian and more democratic states alike. Many of those who valorise a territorial world will argue that there is something inherently natural about this return of territory. Indeed, as a way of demarcating power in space, the question of territory may seem as old as mankind — but it is not.
Today, territory is commonly assumed to be a portion of the Earth’s surface, including its subsoil, airspace and adjacent waters, that is controlled by a state. Territory defines the geographical area over which a state has jurisdiction and it allows the state to filter the movement of people and goods into and out of this area. As an attempt to say “this far and no further”, territory may seem inherent to the human condition. But if territory was of natural rather than of cultural origin, we should be able to observe attempts to territorialise politics in all societies throughout history. Divided cities like Belfast, Jerusalem or Nicosia would be the rule rather than the exception. In fact, the logic of territory has its origins only in the 17th century.
“As a way of demarcating power in space, the question of territory may seem as old as mankind — but it is not.”
Rather than an answer to the question of migration, territory was originally a response to the problem of religious warfare. Indeed, it first emerged as a solution to the Thirty Years’ War, a conflict that had wiped out millions of Central Europeans between 1618 and 1648 in the name of both Protestantism and Catholicism. In order to ban such wars in the future, rulers should choose their territory’s denomination without interference from others. Those amongst the population who felt they would prefer to inhabit a territory with a different denomination to their ruler’s could simply leave. From this arose the principles of territorial sovereignty and non-intervention, which remain crucial to the functioning of contemporary world politics.
States have not always been interested in making exact maps of their territories. Feudal states, city states and empires did not govern through territory. The Romans, for instance, may have used the term ‘territory’, but it referred mainly to the land associated with a city. They did not imagine their world to be made up of territorial states. Instead of being governed by hard external borders, their empire was ruled through fuzzy boundaries. Medieval states were systems of rule that were based on inter-personal relations rather than the idea of territory. It was only in the 17th and 18th centuries that the world witnessed an explosion in cartographic activity. For in order to govern their territories, states also had to survey, calculate, and map their boundaries.
If we want to understand why so many of us have come to think of territory as a basic instinct rather than a political institution, we have to travel to the late 19th century, to a time when European colonialism was at its peak and the age of exploration had come to an end. It was in this political climate that the German zoologist-turned-geographer Friedrich Ratzel would come to write about territory as the target of a biological urge that was inherent in all species and nations. He argued that, much like caterpillars and primroses, nations were organisms that needed living space if they wanted to ensure their survival. A nation’s health could be judged only by its territory. This idea of the need for living space would develop a powerful traction in the early 20th century, as a whole range of political movements and regimes started to fetishise territory and sought to expand their living space by force.
“If we want to understand why so many of us have come to think of territory as a basic instinct rather than a political institution, we have to travel to the late 19th century.”
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 aside, straightforward territorial conquest is comparatively rare in today’s world. And yet, borders and territorial questions still seem to structure the way in which our world works. We encounter this territorial world in border crossings, airports, and, if unlucky, in refugee camps and detention centres. In a biometric age, we even have our citizenship imprinted on our bodies — through our iris and fingerprints. And yet it is important to remember that this world of increasingly fortified borders is in fact rather new. Until WWI, it would have been possible to travel through Europe without a passport.
It is similarly vital not to forget that the territorial border remains only one way in which power is exerted over populations through space. There are others. Indeed, the prevention of motion by barbed wire in the 20th century was always accompanied by attempts to channel motion in particular directions. Much of this was — and continues to be — done through the built environment. Think of the forces unleashed by the Autobahn, or the invisible hand that lures us into the temples of consumer capitalism on a Sunday. Territory is never the only game in town. It has to coexist with other perhaps more consensual forms of control.
Territory is also hardly the smoothest form of power. Everyone who has tried to change the behaviour of a child or even a pet by assigning them a territory will know of the resistance that this can provoke. If we look at the responses of European states to the current refugee crisis, the problem soon becomes apparent. Barbed wire, the attempt to control migration by piercing human flesh, is not only imperfect (for the human body will eventually find a way around it), but it is also a powerful symbol of oppression; we only have to think of the iconic barbed wire fences of Auschwitz or Amnesty International’s logo. During the Cold War, the anti-nuclear movement often congregated precisely around NATO’s razor-wired military bases from which a nuclear war was to be waged on the world. So when states put up fences and walls today, this always also exposes the fundamental violence at the heart of the modern state.
Territory can also be an obstacle in other ways. It can limit what can be said and done. It is difficult, for instance, to wage a war without having a territorial state as an enemy. When the United States and its allies first embarked on the war against the shady forces of international terrorism in 2001, they saw themselves forced to find a territorial state that could be targeted by the Anglo-American war machine — Afghanistan.
The relationship between terror and territory is a crucial one in other ways, too. Think of the recent mass killings that have been carried out by young men — and they are nearly all men — in places like Brussels, Paris, Orlando and Berlin. Even before the blood has dried, there will be speculation about the perpetrator’s nationality. If he holds a passport from a predominantly Muslim nation or was born in such a nation, then the act is usually declared a terrorist act, no matter how weak his religiosity or his links to terrorist networks. The man may drink and have girlfriends, but he will be branded a terrorist. His motives will be assumed to be public and thus political.
If, however, he is from Western Europe — like the Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who killed 150 in 2015 by downing his plane in the French Alps — then the motive is usually assumed to be private and we will hear about his psychology rather than his politics. If it is terror, then we can see all kinds of exceptional measures brought into force, from detention without trial to the bombing of Islamic State in Syria, as carried out by France after the Paris attacks. If it is “simply” a mass killing, then nothing much happens at all. One of the key differences is the passport.
“This vision of a world in which your passport defines your politics is of course a dangerous one — but it is also one that will likely provoke opposition.”
As xenophobic and nationalist movements and politicians are increasingly swept into power in the global North, we increasingly hear that territory is the solution to our problems. But if territory is the answer, then what precisely is the question? In the early 21st century, the question is perhaps not so much ‘migration’ or ‘identity’, as it is often claimed, but the failures of Western liberalism with its fantasy of a borderless globe of free trade and commerce. Financial deregulation, privatisation, and globalisation have created a world that radiates a sense of insecurity amongst the majority of the population. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, it has become increasingly clear that prosperity and financial security are no longer attainable for large segments of the population, even in developed economies. If we add to this the threat of climate change, then we can even say that the belief in ‘progress’, a notion that has stood at the heart of ‘The West’ since the Enlightenment, itself has been shattered. Suddenly it makes more sense why the timeless truths of a territorial world seem so appealing to many.
If we accept that the recent rise of the new right in the United States and Europe is not so much a response to the so-called refugee crisis, but, much like the rise of fascism in the 1930s, an answer to this fundamental disillusionment and insecurity, then we can see much more clearly that territory is in fact a trick. It tricks us into believing that there is a way to collapse our planetary complexities back into a world of parcelled-up territories. This is nothing less than the fantasy of creating a world in which there are only people who identify with the territorial state, people who desire and fear the same things. This vision of a world in which your passport defines your politics is of course a dangerous one — but it is also one that will likely provoke opposition.
This is an extract from Weapons of Reason’s fourth issue: Power, available to order now.
The rulebook governing all FBI agents’ activities, in unredacted form for the first time. This is the 2011 edition, which remains the baseline document today, although the FBI recently released some updates from 2013.
Excerpts from a guide for agents working on counterterrorism cases, which functions as a supplement to the FBI’s main rulebook, the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. Classified secret. Not previously released. Dates to April 2015.
An unclassified internal FBI document explaining the rules for national security letters, orders that the bureau uses to obtain certain information without a warrant. The document is undated but contains references to another document from November 2015.
Editor-in-Chief: Betsy Reed. Series Editors: Laura Secor, Ryan Tate. Associate Editor: Andrea Jones. Reporters: Trevor Aaronson, Cora Currier, Jenna McLaughlin, Alice Speri. Research: Alleen Brown, Talya Cooper, Danielle Mackey, Eseosa Olumhense, Miriam Pensack, John Thomason. Art Direction: Stephane Elbaz, Philipp Hubert, Nick Simmons. Additional Photo Editing: Soohee Cho, Shaun Lucas, Chelsea Matiash. Development: Tom Conroy, Andy Gillette, Carl Licata, Cacie Prins, Raby Yuson.
The Australian Government refuses to declare the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 a terrorist act, and is withholding state payments of $75,000 to each of the families of the 38 Australian nationals or residents killed when the plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis, has written to advise Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (lead image, left; right image, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko) there is insufficient evidence of what and who caused the MH17 crash to meet the Australian statutory test of a terrorist act. Because the Attorney-General’s legal opinion flatly contradicts Turnbull’s public opinions, Brandis’s advice is top-secret; he refuses to answer questions about the analysis of the MH17 incident which he and his subordinates, along with Australian intelligence agencies and the Australian Federal Police, have been conducting for more than two years.
In public Turnbull said on Monday: “Vladimir Putin’s Russia is subject to international sanctions, to which Australia is a part, because of his conduct in shooting down the MH17 airliner in which 38 Australians were killed. Let’s not forget that. That was a shocking international crime.”
On Wednesday Turnbull was asked to explain why, after so long, the Prime Minister, on the advice of the Attorney-General, refuses to designate the MH17 incident as criminal terrorism according to the provisions of the Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Act. Turnbull replied through a spokesman that he is still investigating. “The criminal investigation of MH17 is ongoing. The outcomes of this investigation could be relevant in determining whether this incident should be declared for the purposes of the Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment scheme.”
Brandis (right) was asked to explain the reason for the legal opinion Canberra sources confirm he has sent to the prime ministry denying the MH17 incident was terrorism. That he has provided the advice on AVTOP is confirmed by a source in Turnbull’s office.
AVTOP is the Canberra acronym for Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment. This is how the AVTOP scheme operates, and how eligibility is decided, according to the Australian social security ministry. It records that the last terrorism incident for which Australians qualify for AVTOP compensation was the Westgate shopping mall killings in Nairobi on September 21, 2013. There were 67 fatal casualties in that incident, and more than double that number of wounded. One Australian was killed. On October 6, 2013, two weeks after the incident, the Australian prime minister issued a formal designation of the terrorist incident for AVTOP compensation. That commenced on October 21, one month after the incident, according to the statutory filing in the Australian parliament.
The prime minister then was Tony Abbott; his attorney-general was Eric Abetz.
In March 2016 Turnbull had replaced Abbott as prime minister; the attorney-general was Brandis. They agreed to designate three bombing attacks in Brussels, at the airport and at a city train station, as terrorist incidents for AVTOP. The date of the incidents was March 22 (pictured below). The date of the Turnbull-Landis designation was May 6 – 45 days later.
There are press reports that Australians were in Brussels, and were anxious; there are no reports of Australians being killed or wounded in the attacks.
Why were successive Australian officials so quick to designate the Nairobi and Brussels incidents as terrorism, before the local police and courts had time to investigate and prosecute, and why have the Australian officials spent two years and eight months refusing to designate the Ukrainian incident? Canberra sources believe the answer is that there is no legal basis in the Australian Criminal Code for doing so because the evidence of terrorism in the MH17 case isn’t there.
The 2013 and 2016 designations, along with the Canberra sources, identify a terrorist incident according to the Australian Criminal Code. Officials working under Brandis and Turnbull must satisfy the Attorney-General and Prime Minister that the incident comes under the Code’s sub-section 100.1(1). This says a terrorist act “means an action or threat of action where: …(b) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; and (c) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of: (i) coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a State, Territory or foreign country, or of part of a State, Territory or foreign country; or (ii) intimidating the public or a section of the public.”
For background on the debate among government officials, police and lawyers about the impact of Australian law on the MH17 incident, read this.
Canberra sources explain that even if Brandis had told Turnbull there was enough evidence to certify the MH17 shoot-down as a terrorist incident, according to the criminal code provisions, the prime minister still has a broad discretion in deciding whether or not to make a declaration regarding a particular incident.
That Turnbull hasn’t done so for the MH17 carnage means he doesn’t want to do so — and not only because of his attorney-general’s advice. Turnbull was also behind press leaks that as a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Abbott in August 2014, he opposed a scheme of Abbott’s to send 3,000 Australian troops to join Dutch and other NATO forces in a US-backed military operation in eastern Ukraine. Abbott and NATO had prepared the justification for the military operation as Russian state terrorism in downing the MH17. Turnbull arranged for his son-in-law to reveal the cabinet papers and intelligence reports from the time, and to record his assessment that Abbott was foolhardy. For that story, click here.
Australian sources who know Turnbull don’t agree in their interpretation of what he is now saying and doing. Some sources believe that with his political mouth Turnbull is backing the US position against Russia and protecting himself from opposition party attacks that he is “soft” on the Kremlin. With his legal mind Turnbull knows there is no admissible evidence and no prospect of prosecuting terrorism in the MH17 case.
The Australians haven’t realized that their decision that the MH17 is not a terrorist act undermines this month’s proceedings in The Netherlands, where the Ukrainian government has applied to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to convict Russia of financing, arming and aiding terrorist acts, including the destruction of MH17. The lawyers engaged this week at The Hague haven’t realized either.
The 45-page Ukrainian claim against Moscow to the ICJ is dated January 16, 2017, and can be read here. The US law firm Covington & Burling is defending the Kiev government; the advocates for the Russian side include British and French lawyers.
Advocates for Kiev at the ICJ this week: left US lawyer Marney Cheek; right, Olena Zerkal, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine
According to the Ukrainian claim, the destruction of MH17 was an act of terrorism. “When the Russian Federation delivered this deadly surface-to-air missile system to the DPR, it knew precisely the type of organization it was aiding… The Russian government knew or should have known that their proxies would use these powerful antiaircraft weapons in a manner consistent with their previous pattern of disregard for civilian life.”
“By the early summer of 2014, the Russian Federation was well aware that its proxies operating on Ukrainian territory were engaged in a pattern and practice of terrorizing civilians. Yet rather than intervening to abate those actions, the Russian Federation’s response was to substantially increase these groups’ firepower by supplying them with powerful weapons. An early result of this decision was the attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. In July 2014, as part of this escalation of arms supplies and other support, the Russian Federation delivered a Buk surface-to-air missile system to DPR-associated forces. Those illegal armed groups used the Buk system to commit a devastating surface-to-air attack, destroying a civilian airliner transiting Ukrainian airspace and murdering the 298 individuals on board…These perpetrators committed this terrorist attack with the direct support of the Russian government… There is no evidence that the Russian Federation has taken any responsibility before the peoples of the world for supporting this horrific terrorist act.”
“Ukraine respectfully requests the Court to adjudge and declare that the Russian Federation bears international responsibility, by virtue of its sponsorship of terrorism and failure to prevent the financing of terrorism under the Convention, for the acts of terrorism committed by its proxies in Ukraine, including: a.The shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.”
The Russian presentations in open court so far can be read here. Ilya Rogachev, Director of the Department of New Challenges and Threats at the Russian Foreign Ministry, testified in front of 16 judges of the court on March 7. Rogachev (below left) was followed for the Russian side by London Queens Counsel, Samuel Wordsworth (right).
According to Rogachev, “it should be noted that during the summer of 2014 the Ukrainian Army’s anti-aircraft missile regiment No. 156, equipped with ‘BUK-M1’ missile systems, was stationed in the zone of conflict. The regiment’s headquarters and its first division were located in Avdiivka near Donestk, its second division in Mariupol and its third in Lugansk. In total the regiment was armed with 17 BUK-M1 SAMs, identical to the one identified by the JIT.”
He went on to argue that whether the Ukrainian forces fired the BUK missile, or whether the separatists did, there is no evidence that either force intended to do so. “It is enough to note,” said Rogachev, “that neither the DSB [Dutch Safety Board] nor the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] appear to be concluding that the civil airliner was shot down with malicious intent or, which is what matters most for today, that the equipment allegedly used was provided for that specific purpose.”
The JIT, according to Turnbull’s spokesman in Canberra this week, includes Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. The spokesman said they “remain committed to ensuring those responsible for the downing of MH17 are held to account.” On the other hand, the evidence so far produced by the JIT hasn’t satisfied the admissibility and prosecution tests of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers on the JIT staff. The AFP’s Commissioner Andrew Colvin (right, with Turnbull and Brandis in October 2014) reports to the Australian Justice Minister and he, as well as the AFP, are part of the portfolio of Attorney- General Brandis.
In two Australian coroners court hearings, the AFP has revealed serious reservations about the Dutch evidence and Ukrainian claims in the MH17 investigation; for details read this and this.
Turnbull adds through his spokesman an additional qualification. “The outcomes of this investigation could be relevant” in determining whether the downing of MH17 was a terrorist act. In Australian law and in the Prime Minister’s judgement, could means not now – and not at the International Court.
“For the action to fall under the Montreal Convention,” Rogachev testified this week in The Hague, referring to the principal international treaty covering compensation for aircraft incidents, “the intention must have been to shoot down a civilian aircraft…”
Wordsworth told the ICJ judges that for every act alleged in the court papers by the Kiev regime, “there is a separate requirement of specific intent. So far as concerns Ukraine’s allegations with respect to Flight MH17, Article 2.1 (a) incorporates the offences under the Montreal Convention, which comprise the unlawful and intentional destruction of a civilian aircraft. So far as concerns the other allegations of Ukraine, there is a requirement of both specific intent and purpose. Article 2 (1) (b) refers to: “(b) Any other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.”
Wordsworth was repeating in open court what the Australian Attorney-General has already advised the Australian Prime Minister. Because the Australians have decided there is no case for a terrorist act to justify compensating their own citizens, the Ukrainians have already lost their case.