My comments on the Dutch MH17 prosecutor interview by Novaya Gazeta

At October 16, 2017 Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a lengthy interview with chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke. The interview in english language can be read here. 

While the date of the interview  is not public, it must have been around end of September, early October 2017.

While the interview did not have statements previously unknown, there were a couple of remarkable statements. Westerbeke does not provide names of suspects nor gives the reader an indication of the progress of the investigation.

Westerbeke states:

“But we also made a similar test and gathered quite a few information: photos, videos, intercepted telephone conversations and, what really matters, found the eyewitnesses – individuals who saw the Buk. “

So eyewitness seems to be a major part of the evidence.

Then Westerbeke continues

“Then we established that on that tragic day there were no fighter jets in the area, not a single one.”

So all these 22 people who stated on video they saw one or more fighterjets are incorrect? I am convinced a figher jet did not shot down MH17. Even the Russian Ministry of Defense stated there were no other aircraft near MH17 capable of destroying MH17. But what about aircraft close to the ground? These were below the Russian radar?  And Ukraine did not supply radar data expect radardata found later made by a mobile test radar. Were low flying figher aircraft the reason to launch a missile?

Westerbeke makes clear Russian state is not prosecuted but he is looking for individuals.

“I am only interested in specific individuals involved in the attack: who pushed the button, who gave the order and those who approved the delivery of the Buk to Ukraine”

One of the most interesting statements made is this one:

“Someone in Russia may have a hard time believing it, but the prosecutor’s investigation in the Netherlands is independent. The minister of foreign affairs cannot just pick up the phone and tell me, hey, buddy, here’s the deal… Likewise, I cannot turn to the minister or anyone else with similar offer. This is the advantage of the Netherlands: the investigation is out of reach of politicians and officials”.

The JIT investigation is far from being unrelated to a political agenda. This is proven by the fact that the failure to not close the Ukraine airspace is not part of the investigation. Dutch Safety Board concluded Ukraine should have closed the airspace. The JIT agreement is secret so the public does not know what has been agreed. It is possible Ukraine  refused any cooperation or would frustrate the investigation if failure to close the airspace was included in the criminal investigation.

Westerbeke continues:

 “In fact, the Ukrainians never once disappointed us in the course of joint operation. They provide everything we ask them for, omitting nothing, hiding nothing and doctoring nothing.”

That could be true. However Ukraine did not tell the Dutch Safety Board why all of their primary radar stations were not available at the time of the crash. Ukraine air traffic control organization UkSATSE was well aware of the radar stations was destroyed but this was not reported to DSB. Ukraine cooperation immediately after the crash was also not good. Dutch government noted Kiev did not keep its promises about a ceasefire around the crashsite.

This blogpost has some other examples of Ukraine not being the most honest state on this planet.

Additionaly a lot of information was leaked by Ukraine and was published by Ukraine media. Like the arena test in Ukraine. Or photos of the reconstructed cockpit in Gilze Rijen.

Westerbeke continues to talk about radar.

“Still, I would say, too much attention is given to radars of every kind, whereas there is an abundance of other evidence. There are eyewitnesses. Live people saw this Buk! There is a video of Buk going to Snezhnoye! It all makes me want to cry out, “Enough already! We no longer need anything about the radars! “

This is interesting. Eyewitness are known to be unreliable. The real proof for a judge is forensic. Soil that is contaminated with rocket fuel, a video showing the actual launch, satellite data showing the heath trace of the missile and primary radar recordings.

Dutch Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) at May 15 2017 made public it sent a request for legal assistance to Russia. The request is to provide radar recordings of a radar station located in Buturinskaya. If this was not relevant, why do the request in the first place.

Westerbeke confirms United States handed over satellite data:

“An officer from my department who has clearance for handling the intelligence papers stamped “top secret” and “national security” saw and studied satellite data kept by the United States”.

Eyewitness are very important it seems.

“It is all about the testimony of our eyewitnesses that is worth more than all data from the radars or satellites”.

About when the suspects are brought to trial

“We are doing our best, to bring that day when we hold enough evidence to start the trial. We may need a few months more, maybe a year or so. Or it may be a matter of a couple of weeks, if a couple of witnesses turn up tomorrow and tell us the entire story and offer the evidence”.

I have heard this for a long time. JIT is still looking for the key witness. The witness who can tell “who pushed the button, who gave the order and those who approved the delivery of the Buk to Ukraine” as Westerbeke stated earlier in the interview. This is the kind of information not on satellite data, not on radar recordings.

 

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