An appeal to Bellingcat to investigate events around the shotdown of MH17

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The team of Bellingcat and others helping them did an amazing job in geolocating the route a BUK TELAR took from Donetsk to Snizhne. The BUK could be a Russian supplied BUK as it has similar characteristics of a Russian BUK photographed and filmed as part of a convoy heading towards the Ukraine/Russia border.

While the most likely scenario is  this BUK shot down MH17, this is not the complete part of the story.

There are many questions like:

  1. Why was MH17 shot down? Was it a mistake, was it on purpose?
  2. Could Ukraine have shot down MH17 using a BUK?
  3. What happened in the 30 minutes before and after the crash?

The first question is very hard, maybe impossible to answer without detailled knowledge about the BUK and intelligence on communications.

So far there are no indications Ukraine was involved although there are many suspicious elements. Like the missing radar recordings.

The third question is hard to answer , but certainly not impossible. There are some social media conversations available which can provide a better view on the events around the time MH17 crashed.

What we have?

  1. At 13:18 the transponder data of MH17  data became unreliable (avherald)
  2. There are many eyewitness who saw one or more fighterjets flying in the area.   (source)
    To be sure, there is not a  single indication one of these jets shot down MH17. However we need to know for sure if there were aircraft, what altitude etc.
  3. A photographer took two photos of a white smoke trail from his house in Torez. This could be the trail of the BUK missile which shot down MH17. We still do not know the exact time the photos were made. This because the time of the camera appears to be incorrect. What is the correct time?
  4. There are reports about sirens heard in Torez at July 17 indicating fighter aircraft in the area. Did this indeed happen?
  5. What are the explosions which triggered the Torez photographer to grab his camera and make the two photos from his balcony? Was it a sonic boom of the BUK missile, was it a sonic boom caused by a fighterjet, was it the impact of the main fuselage near Hrabove? We do not know.

I am sure Bellingcat wants to find the complete truth just like almost everybody else. Bellingcat has the funding, has the knowledge how to explore social media and some of the teammembers understand the Russian language.

This blog is an appeal to Bellingcat to continue its investigation  in MH17 and find out  what happened shortly before and after the moment MH17 crashed killing 298 people on board.

Obviously Bellingcat is not alone. There are many people like me who are willing to help. Together we can make steps closer to truth.



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25 Comments on An appeal to Bellingcat to investigate events around the shotdown of MH17

  1. As for “unreliable transponder data” since “N48.28 E38.08”, I believe this came from (published here: ). At around 13:18Z this tracker likely switched to an unreliable source (such as a “predicting” local home server which processed data from a receiver and passed the results to the tracker), that predicted MH17 track for yet 2+ min after MH17 flew out of the operating zone of its receiver. So Avherald (or its source) simply drew the wrong conclusion.

    • Wind Tunnel Man // July 20, 2016 at 5:16 pm // Reply


      But the point is why was this issue of, or cause of, unreliable transponder data not mentioned in the DSB report. Admin quoted from the avherald that there was unreliable transponder data and avherald, without a full explanation, just reported that information. I don’t see avherald drawing any conclusions from that information regarding MH17 other than giving it’s position at the time when the transponder data became unreliable and the duration of that unreliability. You mentioned reasons for that unreliability and are you suggesting that avherald came to the same conclusion as to why there was unrelability without stating it?

      • Have you understood what I wrote? Some undisclosed (amateur?) flight tracker received extrapolated data from a home server software, because since 13:18Z MH17 flew too far away from the respective home receiver. The Avherald wrong conclusion was that MH17 transponder began transmitting unreliable data. The same thing occurred with fr24: the last 2 positions were extrapolated by (the same?) local home server software and passed to fr24 server.

        • Wind Tunnel Man // July 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm // Reply


          OK, in your opinion avherald considered your stated reasons for the unreliable transponder data and thought it undesirable to publish those reasons or the source of those reasons? And from those reasons avherald concluded wrongly that the “transponder began transmitting unreliable data”?

          • Slozhny // July 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm //

            I don’t want to make guesses about Avherald’s motives not to explain their statement. I think they did not realize that “raw” data in the tracker they used might be actually extrapolated by home server software of owners of receivers. Fr24 did not realize that even in 2015 (as their posts on forums suggest).

        • Wind Tunnel Man // July 20, 2016 at 6:55 pm // Reply


          Yes I’ve used the Fr24 site on occasions and aircraft movements can sometimes be poorly plotted. However we don’t know whether or not avherald or it’s sources used fr24 data to conclude that the transponder data was unreliable.

          • Slozhny // July 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm //

            They used “raw” data from the same source which used here: did. Look at coordinates, and where it came odd (same coordinates but different speed). It’s not fr24.

          • Wind Tunnel Man // July 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm //


            Sorry if I misunderstood your references to Fr24 but I’m still not clear about how you assert that avherald’s conclusions regarding the unreliable transponder data is wrong if we don’t know the source of the information received by avherald.

          • Slozhny // July 20, 2016 at 9:03 pm //

            Wind Tunnel Man:

            If you accept Averhald’s own explanation only, why are you asking me? I did some research into that matter long ago, my version seems pretty convincing to me, and I couldn’t care less if you don’t agree.

          • Wind Tunnel Man // July 20, 2016 at 10:29 pm //


            “I did some research into that matter long ago, my version seems pretty convincing to me, and I couldn’t care less if you don’t agree.”

            I’m accepting avherald’s statement that the transponder data became unreliable. Until that statement is either revised or corrected I believe that information should be taken seriously but it is of course your right to challenge it.


  2. Liane Theuer // July 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm // Reply

    About the exact camera time :
    Pavel said that he had handed over the camera to the DSB.
    So it should be easy to find out the difference between real time and camera time. Unless Pavel has changed the camera time before he gave it to the DSB.

  3. James O'Neill // July 21, 2016 at 12:24 am // Reply

    I do not understand why Bellingcat continues to receive the coverage it does in your web pages. It has long since been discredited as a reliable source on anything. It starts with an assumption that the Russians are responsible and then cherry picks to try and confirm that view. It’s links to the Atlantic Council and other US propaganda outlets is well established. I suggest you link to Robert Parry’s latest post (19 July) for an update on Bellincat’s latest dishonesty.
    If you want to be taken seriously as a source of information about the truth on MH17 then you should discontinue any further references to this fake “intelligence”.

    • @James: I do not understand why you believe Robert Parry makes sense. He doesn’t. He writes a lot of nonsense, repeated all over again in each and every blog. “one of my sources states he saw a satellite image with people wearing what could be ukraine uniforms”

      Parry is the guy just discrediting people as amateurs without mentioning facts. Why Perry does not mention this Donetsk army BUK which was erased by Russia was a derelict BUK which was spotted standing at the same location all the time?

      I could not care less if people who do not like the results of Bellingcat do not take me seriously.
      I care about truth.

      If you do not like what I write, stay away!

      • Daniel Been // July 21, 2016 at 7:57 am // Reply

        Admin, I still don’t believe we can speak yet about absolute “facts” when it comes to “erasing a BUK from satellite imagery”. There are question marks, obviously and some interesting observations being made. But if we take the eyes for a moment from all the interpretation of visuals, it would still be lacking a proper motive, considering that at the time the Su-25 story was being pushed even more so it didn’t seem crucial to “make it true” and the Russian MoD would know very well there would be many other images to compare this with. Of course one could say it was only for short-term memory Russian digestion, sure. But the overall message of the Russian MoD seems to be “Ukraine was moving BUK installations and they were active those days, why would it need to be us?” This is a reasonable assessment in itself considering the public statements of Ukraine before the 17th about increasing threats from the Russian air force.

        Proving something needs various lines of confirming evidence, not just circumstantial or interpretive. Can we be *sure* the BUK wasn’t moved from its place on the 17th? Can we be *sure* commercial pan-sharpened imagery show all terrain features the same as a panchromatic versions from an unknown spy satellite? When it comes to it I tend to doubt the people who still think their use of ELA was appropriate despite overwhelming indication that it was not.

        • Daniel:
          As explained, it is extremely unlikely that derelict BUK was moved as the Russian MoD suggests by its satellite photo.
          The manipulation was one in a series of denial, manipulation and lies in the first weeks after the downing of MH17.

          Combine this with video, photos and eyewitness stories of people who saw a BUK travelling on July 17 2014.

          Combine this with the veto on the United Nations tribunal on MH17 by Russia, the erasure of the raw primary radar images, the nonsense the Russian press still presents today like Peter Haisenko his story, the hack attacks on the DSB servers etc this can only lead to a conclusion Russia is the most likely state responsible for downing of MH17.

          I am fully aware of all kind of attempts by supporters of Russia to tell a different story. So far these have failed to present any reasonable evidence. The best what has been presented: “it is fake, this is not an expert, Bellingcat sucks and is part of NATO, here we have documents dropped in a mailbox of a detective”

          Now, having said that, Ukraine is to blame for not closing its airspace. And maybe somehow they managed to provoke the BUK crew to launch a missile.

          • If it helps in any possible way: i was online that day and i understand russian/ukrainian. I remember seing an article in one of ukrainian online newspapers, it was published in the morning and said that ua authorities warn that separatists had an antiaircraft weapon much stronger than manpads. I didn’t make a printscreen, it didn’t came close to my mind it could be useful and now i’m sorry.
            Besides that there were many notes on twitter, vk and some other sites about downing another ua military plane that all dissapeared soon after it bacame clear it was a civilian plane. To be fair, at the time there was an aboundance of such messages, according to them all ua airforce should have been destroyed 🙂 The impression i got from all the information at that time was that it was a ru buk, downing mh17 by mistake, following ruthless indiscriminative bombing of mostly civilian targets in Donbass. It is possible ua intelligence had something to do in misinforming the rebels but impossible to confirm. But it is without doubt they knew about buk and did not close the airspace thus contributing to the tragedy of mh17.

          • sotilaspassi // July 21, 2016 at 10:43 am //

            at tsb
            “I remember seing an article in one of ukrainian online newspapers, it was published in the morning and said that ua authorities warn that separatists had an antiaircraft weapon much stronger than manpads.”

            And Lysenko said around 17:00, before he heard about the Boeing777, that they have video of BUK being transported through luhansk, etc etc…

            (MIVD investigation etc. info confirm medium range SAM devices were on Russia side of the border, on the area where rebel HW was delivered from)

            So, we know airspace should have been closed, before waiting for the MH17 confirmation of BUK presence.

          • at sotilaspassi
            Agree. It will, hopefully be addressed in criminal investigation, unless it is politically biased.
            I think something should be said about brutal indiscriminative bombing by ua airforce too, as it represents a clear motive for introducing a ru buk into the area. but doubt the investigation will go there, precisely for political reasons.

    • sotilaspassi // July 21, 2016 at 7:30 am // Reply

      If one of the 40+ persons of bellingcat has done some “lectures” for Atlantic Council, we still better look at what they have found out.

      Most of their stuff can be verified by third party. I have not found major faults of their MH17 or “RU military attacks” work.
      (at the same time no-one is perfect)

      I love the amount of material they have digged out & geolocated.
      Same for Ukraineatwar/Putinatwar. A lot of enlightening material. Just be carefull not to approve (or disapprove) what they conclude, before looking more deeply into the material.

    • I do not know why connections to the Atlantic Council make BC per se more discreditable than “others” here citing “Pro-Russian” Media? Yes, the grown up people here probably know how to incorporate certain sources, and believe me – people here know that the West can/did also use its propaganda. But that doesn’t make everything a lie or and angel out of the Russian side. So much about “differentiation” – The world is not simply B&W!

      So far I remember countless attempts to discredit the BC narrative as “clear fakes” and yet all these claims were mentioned here by “admin”, discussed in length by the audience and given a fair chance to stand for themselves with facts. I would say “admin” gave a very unbiased chance to every possible narrative and while the BC narrative strengthened more and more over the last month, we still get the same arguments from people like you over and over again. BC certainly does not present the truth, but bit for bit they provided a consistent story backed by strong indications. I think they did a very good (but not also not imperfect) job and can only fully support “admins” request to focus on the interesting questions about what exactly and why things happened. The main questions are still unanswered and it feels we’re not closer to the truth than 2 years ago.

      After ~2 years of all the bullshit theories, SU-25 experts and countless smokescreens I feel the community lost a lot of time. 2 years with frustrating discussions in the net about theories that were clearly politically motivated until we see once again a common ground for looking at the real happenings behind this tragic story. For instance what happened to the crew of the probable BUK. Do they still live? What are they doing now? Was it only one BUK or are we yet missing the other parts of the convoy. Can we follow the BUK convoy in Russia back the same way as BC could when it was brought? Why can’t the Pro-Russians here not come up with Dash cam-videos of an Ukraine BUK nearby – Dash cam videos should also exist in Ukraine, or? So please why not to mimic the efforts and methods of BC and see if they could be applied for Ukrainian BUKs as well?

      There are so many details we still need to complete the picture but I fear we wasted a lot of time.

    • Boris Badenov // July 23, 2016 at 7:33 am // Reply

      @James. Do you have a link to that report. I tried here but could not access it

  4. James O'Neill // July 21, 2016 at 6:23 am // Reply

    It is precisely because I do care about the truth that I am critical of any reliance upon Bellingcat. If you want a reasoned and informed analysis of who had BUK missiles at the relevant time in Ukraine may I respectfully suggest that you read your own (assuming you are Dutch) security services analysis which was summarised in Appendix T of the DSB Report.

    • sotilaspassi // July 21, 2016 at 7:39 am // Reply

      According the investigation (IIRC), there was no indication of BUK being at the hands of separatists before 17Jul.
      Before 17Jul onlu UA had BUK in ATO zone or in near proximity, according to that investigation.
      The investigation does not indicate any BUK unit anywhere near possible launch site vs MH17 damage.
      The investigation does not indicate any BUK unit anywhere near Zaroh..


      (I think the readers of this site have more info on BUK units / threat, than people who did CTIVD report. IMO some Dutch officials worry about being proven to be ignorant vs aviation threat over Ukraine.)

  5. Tony Adams // July 23, 2016 at 7:34 am // Reply

    @James. Do you have a link to that report. I tried here.. but could not access it

  6. Liane Theuer // July 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm // Reply

    It seems the appeal to Bellingcat has died away unheard …

    Meanwhile Bellingcat is busy to help Erdogan :

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