‘MH17 report: No clear answers, means there’s no smoking gun evidence’

Wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. © Michael Kooren
The Dutch report on the MH17 crash is as close as investigators could come with a US diplomatic gun to their heads, said political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch, adding that if they had any solid evidence, they would have used it.

After the release of the report by the Dutch Safety Board on the MH17 crash, the US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner claimed investigators found the plane was shot down from rebel-held territory. The Dutch Safety Board said it is not able to pinpoint the launch location.

 “[The Dutch report on the MH17] is being spun by the New York Times and all these other Western mouthpieces as a victory, but if you look closely at anything, they fall far short of saying they know what happened. They say they’re sure that it was shot down by a BUK, but they can’t say for sure exactly where it came from, and therefore they can’t say for sure exactly who did it. This is nothing like the slam-dunk that Washington wanted and I think there is a reason for that,” says political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch.

The fact that the US doesn’t want to hand over its evidence on the plane crash “proves that they are lying and have been lying all along,” political analyst Daniel Patrick Welch told RT.

READ MORE: MH17 shot with BUK missile, Ukraine failed to close airspace

“The bigger issue for me is that the DSB more or less soft pedals the conclusions that they could have come to if they were more rigorous in seeing both sides and if they had come to a conclusion based on the facts. Since they can’t come to that conclusion based on the facts and they are required by their American overlords to come to this conclusion, it has to be a very kind of soft one and one that is vague, and kind of pretending to be impartial where they can’t really say, and this is outside the preview of their investigation, etc.,” political analyst Welch said.

According to Welch, the investigators could have been more direct in their report and it is the missing evidence what makes him think so.

“They seem to have disregarded the Russian raw data [radar data]; they didn’t say anything about why the same raw data was missing from the Kiev side and why the ATC tapes also went missing mysteriously; why the flight was diverted south directly over the warzone, etc. I think that this is as close as they could come with basically a diplomatic gun to their head to doing what the Americans want,” he said. “They don’t have the evidence because it didn’t happen that way. Otherwise, they would clearly have said so: they have political motivation, they have economic motivation, they have diplomatic motivation with the Americans pressing them. They didn’t – which means they don’t have any smoking gun and what I think that this represents is a strategic retreat on the part of the West to just kind of let this settle.”

Where is US evidence?

Retired US Air Force Lieutenant Karen Kwiatkowski said this report does play very carefully and very precisely into the US government story that was put out in the media within days of the MH17 crash.

RT: The US State Department is adamant that missile was fired from rebel-held territory. But we know that the report doesn’t actually say this. Why do you think the US is talking this position?

Karen Kwiatkowski: I think they are looking at this report - that has taken quite a long time to produce and quite a small amount of real new data. They are using this report to justify what the US government said just a day after it happened or so. Where’s the US input; where is the US intelligence, where is the NSA satellite; where is the evidence that we, as a global military power with a global surveillance system – it is very known we’re very proud of our global surveillance system; where is the data that we had, that we helped with this particular Dutch group that studied it or offered into the domain of information, where is our help in finding out what exactly happened? This report does play into, very carefully and very precisely into, the US government story that was put out on the media within days of this MH17 crash.

READ MORE: ‘It remains our belief’: US insists rebels downed MH17 with BUK missile, ignores Dutch report

RT: There is a criminal investigation coming up to. What are your thoughts on that? How do you think that will go given what we’ve heard from the US State Department?

KK: I’m sure that the agenda of the US government in this case has been from the beginning to blame Russia. They were at the time putting pressure on European countries to sanction Russia. This shoot down played into that. Now we see increased anger at Russia out of Washington, because of what Putin and its military is doing in Syria. So we have lots of reasons to want to point the finger away from the US’ foreign policy disasters towards Russia, to kind of frame modern Russia as a real problem, as an enemy, as a country to be contained and limited – that kind of thing. So I think any criminal investigation that might follow this, particularly the Dutch report … will certainly be playing to the US agenda which is to point the finger at Russia. I would think that a criminal investigation would require more evidence than what we’ve seen so far about what actually happened on that day.

RT: A report has sort of emerged that Tjibbe Joustra, who is in charge of the Dutch Safety Board, went to journalists afterwards and said that the missile was fired “from rebel-held territory”. Are you surprised he would actually say something like that when he presented the report that they couldn’t reach that conclusion?

KK: I think it reveals the extent to which that particular individual and certainly the Dutch government is dependent on the US. It is very much a propagandistic approach, the results are loosely framed - they don’t have a lot of detail in this report, but when they go out to the media, let’s use it. How do we use it? Well, we use it by saying the things that the US has been saying for a long time without offering any evidence or proof as to why we are saying it. I don’t know this individual in particular - the Dutch government certainly is dependent, and has a relationship with the US. I know Ray McGovern [retired CIA and political activist] called them vassal states. I don’t know if that is the case, but certainly it reflects a dependency and an agenda that maybe shared.

RT: The report said that there was sufficient reason for Ukraine to close its airspace, but it didn’t. How much of the responsibility do you think does lie with Ukraine?

KK: That government was aware more than anybody else what territory it controlled and didn’t control. I certainly see a case for them to be held responsible for not closing their airspace. It is interesting that other airlines did make the decision to avoid these areas on their own without waiting for the Ukrainian government to advise them so much. So there is some sense that there is a shared responsibility. I don’t know why Malaysian airlines were flying there. Certainly the Ukrainian government has responsibility. I don’t know if that is the only place you can put it.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.