I make no apology for returning to this topic. The ugly accusations against Russia are plunging relations between Russia and the West to a post-Cold War low. That was the whole point of shooting down MH17 in the first place, of course.

No mainstream media outlet or politician in the UK or Europe has shown the slightest inclination to get to grips with the truth. The Dutch Safety Board and Joint Investigation Team (JIT) reports are being accepted as gospel, when each is seriously flawed.

The accusations against Russia and the rebels in Eastern Ukraine never made sense. What would they have to gain from shooting down a Malaysian airliner?

In the days and weeks following the shoot-down a determined effort was made by the Ukrainian government and the media to suggest that it was a case of mistaken identity. To bolster this case Kiev fabricated an allegation that the pro-Russian rebels had shot down a Ukrainian Air Force An-26 turboprop transport aircraft, using a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) on 14th July, three days before MH17. They exaggerated the 26’s altitude, putting it at over 20,000 ft, well beyond the range of a Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS).

In fact it turned out that the 26 was at a much lower altitude than claimed and was almost certainly brought down by a MANPADS. The assertion that the rebels fired the SAM which hit MH17 was always fraudulent, as they possessed neither a radar nor the launch codes, as Kiev well knew. 

The claim that the rebels did it hasn’t been the only fraudulent claim by the Ukrainian government, or websites supporting the EU/Dutch government/Ukrainian claims. Another was the entirely false assertion that an Su-25 strike fighter could not reach 33,000 ft, despite the assertions of the Russian Defence Ministry that it could, on combat power. In a further piece of intellectual dishonesty supporters of the anti-Russian conspiracy theory suppressed the point made by myself and others that the Su-25 can easily be lightened by the removal of its armour. If, as I now believe, a Vympel R-73 (AA-11) AAM was used to disable the crew, then the performance of an SU-25 could be further improved by removing the 30mil cannon and its heavy ammunition.

Having shifted the emphasis away from rebels to a Buk TELAR launcher operated by the Russian military there was then a breath-taking piece of intellectual dishonesty, with respect, by JIT. A TELAR unit is a tracked, combined radar and erector/launcher. Unlike the non-operational unit the rebels were allowed to capture, which had no military value, a TELAR has both fire-control radar and launchers for four missiles.  A Buk can only be launched successfully by trained military professionals who would not mistake a target the size of a Boeing 777 flying in broad daylight on a recognised airway at around 500 mph and 33,000 ft, towards Russia, for a military aircraft.

Whilst JIT correctly assert that the monopulse radar fitted to a TELAR has a search as well as a fire-control mode, the radar only has a range of 20 miles and would be useless for a head-on interception against a high-flying, 500 mph target. The aircraft would be overhead before it had been acquired, the radar switched to fire-control mode, the target painted and missile fired.

The TELAR radar is really only useful, in independent operation, in snap-fire mode against low-flying targets or chasing attacks against high-altitude targets. The TELAR is designed to work as part of a battery with an entirely separate Target Acquisition Radar (TAR) vehicle. This uses a sophisticated 9S18 X-Band phased array radar, with 360o azimuth, capable of a 90o sector sweep, with a range of up to 100 miles.

A Buk missile leaves a highly visible exhaust trail, exposing the launch area. If the rebels were to be blamed a chasing attack was out. Target acquisition of MH17 had to be by the specialised, high-performance TAR. JIT must have known this, yet makes no reference to the limited range of the TELAR radar.

China

In another piece of intellectual dishonesty, JIT failed totally to refer to the Chinese Buk systems, designated HQ-16, 16A and 16B. They are effectively copies of the Russian system and use similar or identical technology. I think we can rule out use of a 16B in 2014, but the 16A was fully in operation and, as far as is known, uses a similar fragmentation warhead to the Russian Buks. More to the point, we know that at least one PLA HQ-16A battery was practising high-altitude attacks in the months leading up to 17th July. A Buk has a success rate for high-altitude attacks of about 85%, i.e. a kill is highly probable but not guaranteed.

Given that the rebels were clearly being set up, and had been allowed to capture a useless Buk transporter/erector unit (TEL) weeks before, it is clear that this operation had been in the planning stages for some time. Since Malaysia is a Chinese client state, and the Chinese have been strategic competitors of Russia for decades and it was the PLA which brought down the first Malaysian 777, MH370, China is strongly indicated.

My understanding is that a Chinese Buk unit, with wheeled six-mounted launcher, TAR and command and control unit was flown into a Ukrainian air force base in the days leading up to the attack on MH17. My analysis is that China was responsible for bringing down MH17, working closely with the Ukrainians and the covert German DVD.

The absurd and intellectually dishonest conspiracy theory blaming Russia needs to be demolished. We are looking for a Ukrainian ally, with operational Buk systems and crews current in high-altitude attacks, launching a missile from Ukrainian-controlled territory as soon as Kiev gave the word that the crew had been disabled and the radios jammed. Somebody is trying to push us into a war with Russia. It’s time to push back.

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