Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ukrainian SBU comes with conspiracy theory about MH17?

The Ukrainian SBU comes with a new theory about why MH17 was shot down: it was the wrong plane, because the BUK was send to the wrong Pervomaisk. The intention was to shoot down a Russian civilian plane so it would be 'undeniably caused by Ukraine'. That would have been the right motive to fully and openly invade.

Is this the next quick conspiracy theory?

The SBU released a video that explains their theory. Here are screenshots of the video with explanation:

These are the flight paths of MH17 (purple-yellow) and of the Russian Aeroflot AFL2074 (purple-blue) on July 17th. They cross each other

Here are these flight paths on a larger map:

This is where the debris of MH17 fell, in the middle of Russian (terrorists) occupied territory:

Here are the flight paths of both planes in more detail:

When a BUK is located at the yellow marker (which is in Pervomaisk #2) it could have shot down the Russian AFL2074.
Since it was located at the red marker, it shot down MH17 instead.

@lennutrajektoor explains/translates in tweets what SBU claims:

A quick assessment: does this theory make sense?

Naming of villages
The naming of cities and villages in Ukraine is INDEED a disaster! Every time when a name is mentioned during the war, you have to figure out where exactly that is. It's like ALL oblasts use all the same names. There are even three Pervomaisk in the area:

Non-locals DEFINITELY will have problems figuring out which village is meant and can easily make a mistake.

Route of the BUK
It's absolutely true that the BUK made a huge detour to reach it's destination as my reconstruction of the route into Ukraine shows:

A simpler route (and avoiding known Ukrainian army units) would have been like this:

But when Pervomaisk West of Donetsk is the final destination, the route (again avoiding Ukrainian positions, especially Donetsk airport) would have made a lot more sense:

Positioning of the BUK south of Snizhne has no strategic advantage
As I argued on August 5th, completely unaware of what the SBU would present two days later, the positioning of the BUK in Pervomaisk south of Snizhne did NOT give ANY strategic advantage, compared to having a BUK on Russian territory 17 kms away. See this blog.

I even argued that it would be better to position it a bit East of Donetsk like this:

Positioning the BUK West of Donetsk would make A LOT of sense
Yet positioning the BUK West of Donetsk TOTALLY would have made sense, because that was exactly the area that was out of range of the Snow Drift Radar on Russian territory and an important front line under attack by Ukraine:

Even the spotter on a high building in Horlivka would still make sense as a early warning for incoming airplanes from the North.

Deliberately bringing down a civilian plane?
As I argued on August 5th, Russia must have been deliberately wanting to bring down a civilian plane. They have a radar. They know altitude, IFF, etcetera.
Yet he question remained: what did Russia gain by this? Not much. The whole world turned against them...
But if Russia would have brought down a RUSSIAN plane, that would for sure be a totally different ballgame. They would have gained ALL that they wanted! It would have been very easy to blame Ukraine for this, because why would Russia bring down its own plane?
They would have had a very good argument to invade Ukraine to get access to the crash site. All this would have happened before the world would completely realize what had happened.

Putin had killed Russians before as an argument to invade/punish Chechnya.

Was SU2074 really in range on July 17th?
When we check the AFL2074 flight path of July 17th on it only shows the projected flight path and not the real one. 

But Marcel van den Berg comes with a real smart solution:
So what we will do is zoom in to the Donetsk region and play the flight path. I copied and pasted some of the airplanes into photoshop and since it was flying in a straight line at that point, projected a line over it:

This historical flight path we project over our updated strategical map (yellow line) (front line in previous map was not correct):

Green line = MH17 flight path
Yellow band = range for BUK-M1

The yellow band alongside the flight path shows where a BUK-M1 (SA-11) with 35 km range should be positioned to be able to shoot down SU2074. Even though the front line in this map has not been drawn with the highest accuracy, it can be understood that it is not enough.
Only with a BUK-M1-2 (or '9M317' or SA-17) it could be reached. It would have to be deployed South of Pervomaisk.
So theoretically it seems indeed possible that a BUK-M1-2 could be placed in the middle of Russian held territory with the SU2074 in range.

Russia claimed Ukrainian BUKs were in the neighborhood
When the SU2074 would have been shot down, it would not have been difficult to prove that Ukrainian BUKs were also in the neighborhood, because... they were indeed there.
But with the wrong Pervomaisk, Russia had to quickly construct 'evidence' they had not been able to prepare well:

This satellite image was used to 'proof' that Ukrainian BUKs were near the MH17 route. Yet the shadows of these BUKs have a different direction for all three of them. It means these were pasted into the image...

Questions at this moment

Although a lot of things make a lot more sense, there are still some serious questions and things to investigate.
Here are some:

Accurate front line?
Would it be possible to construct a really accurate front line West of Donetsk July 17th that shows the BUK could be placed in range?

Why does SU2074 regularly divert from its route?
The flight path one day prior shows a strange diversion of the normal route what makes SU2074 come in range of Donetsk:

After reconstructing the flight path of July 17th it turns out it has a similar pattern. Why do these flights divert closer to a war zone?

Russia closed several flight areas hours before the crash 
As can be seen in this article, Russia had announced some airspace restrictions hours before the crash:

How does that relate to or fit with what we know and/or the theory?

Temporary conclusion
This new 'conspiracy theory' of Ukraines SBU is charming and it DOES make a lot of sense to me. It's hard to proof something that did not actually happen, but 'should have happened'. But the best way to do that, is to try to disproof it. If there is any hard data incompatible with this theory, it fails. But if it is impossible to proof that it is wrong, it may very well be true!!!

So this is an invitation to all the trolls: debunk this!!!

But... even if it COULD theoretically have happened, we will need something more substantial to accept that this was indeed the plan. We would want to have leaked emails, conversations, maps and things like that, that indicate the BUK really traveled to the wrong location.
So we are waiting for more (reliable, non-fabricated) things to pop up...

This page will be updated with new info comes in.

If you have any relevant thoughts or information, please let me know on Twitter.

Thanks to all who contributed!! (@lennutrajektoor; @Cbrulak; @HSimbad; @BadScreenWrtr)

1 comment:

  1. Why SU2074 could not be making a bee line is elementary: it had to avoid Crimea air space, banned for international flights because it's not clear who is responsible on the ground.


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