MH17: Malaysia Airlines crash victims robbed of their dignity by rebels

Robert Mendick By Robert Mendick, Patrick Sawer and Tim Ross
Telegraph
19 Jul 2014

Moscow-backed rebels accused of removing some of the corpses, taking their possessions and destroying evidence

International anger was intensifying on Saturday night over the treatment of victims of Flight MH17, amid claims that bodies had been left to rot among the wreckage, at the mercy of looters.

As Moscow-backed rebels were accused of removing some of the corpses, taking their possessions and destroying evidence, Philip Hammond, the new Foreign Secretary, said the “world’s eyes” were on Russia and demanded that the victims be treated with “proper dignity and respect”.

The plane was shot down on Thursday, apparently by pro-Moscow separatists backed by the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It emerged on Saturday that two British fathers and five of their children were killed in the attack as the last of the 10 British victims was named.

On Saturday, independent investigators were again denied proper access to the scene by masked and armed separatists, who control the crash site in eastern Ukraine. One source suggested some of the rebels were “intoxicated”.

It emerged that bodies were being left to rot amid the wreckage in temperatures of 85F (29.4C), and Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the investigators at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said after being given partial and temporary access: “Some of the body bags are open and the damage to the corpses is very, very bad – it is very difficult to look at. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parlimen akan bincang MH17, juga perlu lihat kes MH370

KOMENTAR THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
20 July 2014

Penggubal undang-undang di Malaysia dari kedua belah pihak akan berpeluang pada Rabu ini membincangkan dan mengutuk serangan peluru berpandu yang meletupkan kapal terbang MAS MH17 bersama 298 penumpangnya Khamis lalu.

Amat berbesar hati apabila ahli politik sudi mengenepikan perbalahan mereka dan bersatu menentang sesuatu yang boleh dikatakan pembunuhan beramai-ramai manusia tidak berdosa di zon perang Ukraine. Tetapi bagaimana pula dengan pesawat MH370?

Sementara Malaysia menumpukan kepada tragedi kedua menimpa negara dan syarikat penerbangan negara Malaysia Airlines dalam jarak tempoh empat bulan, adakah kita lupa tragedi pertama itu masih menjadi misteri hingga sekarang?

Kita akan jadi sebuah negara yang lalai kiranya kita buang jauh MH370 dari ingatan hanya kerana pesawat Boeing 777-200ER dengan nombor pendaftaran 9M-MRO bersama 239 penumpangnya itu tidak dapat dijejaki. Read the rest of this entry »

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Experts: Whoever brought down Malaysian jet had extensive training

By David Willman
Los Angeles Times
July 19, 2014

Whoever fired the surface-to-air missile that brought down a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine would have needed extensive training to execute the mission, according to military experts.

Taking down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, traveling about 600 mph at an altitude of 33,000 feet, required vastly more expertise than, say, firing a shoulder-braced rocket-propelled grenade at a slow-moving helicopter. A crew of at least four would have been needed to accurately fire the truck-mounted Russian-made SA-11 missile, also known as a Buk missile system.

“You’ve got to have people who are technically competent,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Stephen V. Reeves, who served as an intelligence officer in Western Europe.

The SA-11 is a 1972-era weapon system, and is not as technologically advanced or easy to operate as more modern weaponry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parliament to discuss MH17, also needs to look into MH370

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
20 July 2014

Malaysian lawmakers from both sides of the political divide will have a chance this coming Wednesday to discuss and condemn the missile attack that blew flight MH17 with 298 people on board out of the sky last Thursday.

It is heartening that the politicians are leaving aside their quarrel to unite against what is essentially a massacre of innocent people over the Ukrainian war zone. But what about flight MH370?

While Malaysia focuses on the second tragedy for the country and flag carrier Malaysia Airlines in four months, are we forgetting about the first one that still remains a mystery until today.

We would be remiss as a country if we file away MH370 to some distant memory just because there is no trace of the Boeing 777-200ER and the 239 people on board. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine, rebels agree on security zone at crash site

Filip Warwick and Doug Stanglin
USA TODAY
19.7.14

HRABOVE, Ukraine — Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists agreed Saturday to set up a security zone around the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet to allow the orderly removal of the bodies of the 298 people killed in the shootdown of MH17 over eastern Ukraine two days ago.

The Malaysian airliner — en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 183 passengers and 15 crew members — crashed into rebel-held territory on Thursday after being hit by what U.S. officials say was a SA-11 surface-to-air missile. There were no survivors.

Ukrainian Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko said in televised remarks Saturday that trilateral talks, involving Russia, had agreed on a 7-square-mile security zone “so that Ukraine could fulfill the most important thing — identify the bodies (and) hand them over to relatives,” Ukrinform reports.

The announcement of an agreement followed charges by Ukraine that local militia in the restive eastern Ukraine region near the Russian border had removed at least 38 bodies from the crash site near the village of Hrabove. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukraine rebels ‘destroy MH17 clues’

BBC News
19.7.14

Ukraine has accused pro-Russian rebels of trying to destroy evidence of “international crimes” at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane.

The government said the rebels led by Russia were preventing international representatives and its own experts from starting their investigation.

It is believed flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from a rebel-held area in east Ukraine on Thursday.

All 298 people on board died. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH17 air crash: Battle for control of disaster inquiry

BBC News
19 July 2014

The investigation into the MH17 air disaster is fraught with difficulties.

The crash site is in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Jurisdiction and control over what emerges as the full account of what happened will be contested fiercely. Even beyond the human tragedy, the stakes could scarcely be higher, with the future direction of the Ukraine crisis seemingly in the balance.

As global anger and shock mounts over the apparent shooting down of the passenger aircraft, here are some of the key issues surrounding what could be a highly contentious air crash investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Emergency Parliament on Wednesday should have two separate motions to discuss not only Thursday’s MH 17 disaster which costs 298 lives but also the MH 370 disappearance 133 days ago with 239 lives on board

Members of Parliament have received the notice for an emergency meeting of Parliament on Wednesday, 17th July 2014, by the Parliament Secretary Datuk Roosme binti Hamzah by email timed 5.40 am to debate the MH 17 tragedy.

Malaysians are still reeling from the unspeakable and indescribable horror of a second air disaster in less than five months to hit the country and the national airline Malaysian Airlines, claiming a total of 537 lives from over 10 different countries.

There are great differences between the MH 370 disaster of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and the MH 17 disaster of July 17 with 298 passengers and crew on board, firstly, the latter is an atrocious crime against humanity representing inexcusable and unpardonable war crimes while the cause of the latter remains a great mystery despite the largest and longest (and continuing) multi-national land, sea and under-sea search in history; and secondly, the bereaved families, relative and friends of the victims of the MH 17 disaster can have closure although still demanding for justice against the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity in downing the civilian aircraft from the skies while the bereaved families, relatives and friends of the victims of MH 370 disaster are still looking for a closure, as the announcement by the Prime Minister on March 24 that the Malaysian airline “ended it journey in the South Indian Ocean” proved to be “a closure without closure”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop blaming Malaysia Airlines for downed MH17

by Jahabar Sadiq
Editor
The Malaysian Insider
19 July 2014

No words can take away the great pain that all of us feel for flight MH17. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened on July 17 as much as nothing had prepared us for flight MH370′s mysterious disappearance on March 8.

No country, no airline and no one deserves a single or double tragedy that has struck Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia and Malaysians. And those who died or vanished in either MH17 or MH370.

It goes without saying then that we should not add words to deepen the pain in our hearts for these two tragedies. Malaysia Airlines – one of the world’s safest carrier – lost 510 passengers, 27 crew member and two planes in the space of 131 days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Downing of Jet Exposes Defects of Flight Precautions Over Ukraine

By KEITH BRADSHER, C. J. CHIVERS and NICOLA CLARK
New York Times
JULY 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — As this Southeast Asian nation mourned the loss of scores of passengers aboard another lost Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, the precautions instituted by the aviation authorities and flight planners to protect commercial aviation along the Russian-Ukrainian border have been shown to be catastrophically insufficient.

The downing of the passenger plane over eastern Ukraine on Thursday occurred shortly after the authorities in Russia and Ukraine, citing dangers presented by the conflict around the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, closed air space up to 32,000 feet along the passenger jet’s planned route. Ukraine made the changes on Monday, the same day a Ukrainian AN-26 military cargo plane was destroyed by a missile while flying at 21,000 feet. Russia followed with similar restrictions effective at midnight on Wednesday, hours before Flight 17 took off from Amsterdam.

The decision by government officials to restrict the airspace, rather than close it completely, raised unanswered questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pressure mounts on Putin as British death toll from shot plane rises to 10

Michael Settle
Herald, Scotland
19 July 2014

PRESSURE is mounting on Russia over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as it was confirmed the British death toll among the 298 victims, who included 80 ­children, has risen to 10.

US President Barack Obama described Thursday’s crash, from which there were no survivors, as “a global tragedy.”

Circumstantial evidence ­indicated Thursday’s flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over eastern Ukraine from 33,000ft by a surface-to-air missile fired from near the mining city of Torez, which lies in territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

Mr Obama stressed it was not the first time the rebels had shot down planes in the region, adding that a “steady flow of support from Russia” had included heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twin Disasters Turn 2014 Into the Year of Flying Dangerously

Clive Irving
The Daily Beast
7.19.14

A missile attack over Ukraine and a ghostly disappearance over the Indian Ocean have cast a pall over the whole experience of airline travel.

Was there ever such a luckless airline as Malaysian Airlines? As a human tragedy, the double blow can barely be measured in its horror. As a statistic, it’s unparalleled in aviation history: nearly 600 people lost on one airline in less than five months. And for the airline industry the two disasters, one still inexplicable and the other brutally terminal, cast a pall over the whole experience of flying.

Right now one has to cast aside all the reservations about how the airline and Malaysian officials handled the disappearance of Flight 370. The sheer improbability of the dice rolling against the airline again in the form of a missile strike over Ukraine just heightens the agony.

Of all the airplanes in the sky over Europe that morning, Malaysia Flight 17 happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If another airliner from another nation had been in the crosshairs of whoever controlled that missile battery the result would have been equally appalling, but there it is, lying in a Ukrainian meadow, that familiar Malaysian decal on a shattered tailfin. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: Fateful Errors, Fatal Decisions

Mark Thompson
TIME
July 17, 2014

Common thread in shootdowns is multiple mistakes

It’s looking increasingly likely that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine Thursday by a Russian-built Buk missile, killing all 298 people on board. While that’s yet unconfirmed, U.S. officials, reviewing satellite data and other intelligence, believe a missile downed the airplane, and that pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine are the most likely to have fired the killer shot.

We have seen this horror movie before.

It began with a Soviet warplane shooting down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983. The Soviets initially denied any involvement, but ultimately conceded one of its Su-15 interceptors had shot down the plane, killing all 269 aboard. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flight MH17 – “This is not a disaster. It is Hell”

Economist
Jul 18th 2014

by N.S. | GRABOVO

THE field is filled with bodies. One has on jeans, but no shoes. A second is in a polo shirt and grey socks, one of which is charred. A third wears blue trousers, but your correspondent cannot see the face, smashed as it is under the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Eastern Ukraine has been at war for nearly three months. At first the violence came at a slow drip that few thought could turn into a torrent. Now 298 people—283 passengers and 15 crew—have died in an instant, their deaths seemingly the work of a sophisticated surface-to-air missile.

Passengers onboard Flight 17 had made themselves comfortable for the long journey from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. One, in black leggings, now rests next to a black duffle bag, which is somehow intact. A green luggage strap lies in the grass like a snake. Someone comments on the smell: acrid, heavy. Only death smells this way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia Denies Role in Downing of Airliner

By SABRINA TAVERNISE and KEITH BRADSHER
New York Times
JULY 18, 2014

GRABOVO, Ukraine — As rescue teams slowly converged on the grisly scene of Thursday’s downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet, the Russian defense ministry sharply denied any involvement in the missile strike that Ukrainian officials said ripped the Boeing 777 from the sky and many began openly questioning why the airline had chosen to fly a civilian aircraft over a combat zone.

The crash site was still unsecured by midday Friday, raising questions about who controlled the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and other onboard devices that will help determine exactly how the crash occurred. Rebel spokesmen said they had recovered most of the devices, but it was unclear when and to whom they would turn them over for investigation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some other Asian carriers abandoned Ukraine airspace months ago

The Malay Mail Online
July 18, 2014

SEOUL, July 18 ― The Malaysian airliner apparently shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine was flying over airspace that a number of other Asian carriers abandoned months ago because of security concerns.

South Korea’s two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, as well as Australia’s Qantas said they all rerouted flights from as early as the beginning of March when Russian troops moved into Crimea.

“We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns,” Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min said.

Korean Air re-routed its flights 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Ukraine “due to the political unrest in the region”, an official for the carrier told AFP.

A Qantas spokeswoman said its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed “several months ago”.

Quizzed as to why Malaysia Airlines had not taken similar precautions, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said earlier today that international air authorities had deemed the flight path secure. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ukrainian daily publishes transcript of rebels discussing MH17

The Malaysian Insider
18 July 2014

A Ukrainian daily has published what it said was recordings of phone conversations, firstly between Russian intelligence officers and secondly between separatist commanders, about a downed passenger jet believed to be the crashed flight MH17.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 carrying 298 people on board from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur had crashed in a war-zone in Ukraine yesterday, 50km from Russian border.

US intelligence officials say a missile struck the Boeing 777 jet but no one has claimed responsibility in the area where pro-Russian rebels are fighting Ukrainian forces.

The recordings have not been independently verified, The Daily Mail reported on its online portal.

In the first, Igor Bezler, who the Ukrainians claim is a Russian intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, tells a commander: “We have just shot down a plane about ‘30 minutes ago’.”

In the second, more detailed recording, a rebel nicknamed “Major” says the Malaysian Airlines jet was shot down by “Cossacks from the Chernukhino roadblock” adding: “It is definitely a civilian plane… there was a lot of people on board.”

“Major” tells a comrade with the codename “Greek” it was “100% a passenger (civilian) aircraft”. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH 17 disaster – fully supports Najib’s call for “swift justice” against perpetrators of crime against humanity who blew the Malaysian Airlines plane out of the sky and murdered 298 passengers/crew on board

All Malaysians are united as one people behind the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and fully back his call for “swift justice” against the perpetrators of the crime against humanity who blew MH 17 civilian aircraft out of the sky in Ukranian airspace last night and murdered 298 passengers and crew on board in cold blood.

Before the country has recovered from the disaster of the 132-day disappearance of MH 370 Boeing 777 jet with 239 passengers/crew on board on March 8, despite the largest and longest multi-national air, land, sea and sub-sea search, Malaysians reel with incredulity, shock and grief at another major air disaster to hit the country involving another Boeing 777 jet in less than five months.

Malaysia is in mourning today with Malaysians totally distraught at the senseless and criminal snuffing out of innocent lives, including three infants, as a result of the unspeakable crime against humanity against MH 17 in Ukraine.

All Malaysians extend the deepest condolences to the bereaved families, relatives and friends of the 298 passengers/crew of MH 17. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 298 dead

FoxNews.com
July 17, 2014

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane with 298 aboard was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Ukraine near the Russian border a day after a Ukrainian military jet was downed, Fox News has confirmed.

The Boeing 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down at cruising altitude about 35 miles from the border, according to Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister. He said all passengers and crew members were killed. A Reuters correspondent near the scene reported seeing burning wreckage and bodies strewn across a nine-mile debris field. A Ukrainian Emergency official told the news agency body parts and at least 100 bodies were seen in the area.

Although Malaysia Airlines originally said there were 280 passengers and a crew of 15 aboard the flight, it later upped the number of passengers to 283 to account for three infants.

The flight manifest reportedly included the names of 23 Americans, though State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing Thursday, “we don’t have any additional details at this point on American citizens” aboard the plane. Read the rest of this entry »

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Investigation Into Malaysia Airlines Crash in Ukraine Faces Daunting Challenges

Andy Pasztor And Jon Ostrower
Wall Street Journal
July 17, 2014

Investigators looking into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 face a series of unusually daunting challenges—from accessing the crash scene in the first place to taking possession of the plane’s “black boxes”—that raise questions about whether any probe will be widely considered credible.

The crash site is in territory held by rebels, not controlled by the central government in Kiev. It is unclear the extent of cooperation between the two over access for international investigators who typically flock to the scene, sometimes within hours of a plane going down on land.

Ukraine officials have also said the rebels have taken possession of the plane’s data and cockpit recorders, or black boxes, complicating any attempt by international investigators to take possession of this equipment—one of the most important elements of any aircraft crash probe. Read the rest of this entry »

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