Recording of public hearing Eurocontrol

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The Dutch Parliament Commission for Foreign Affairs interviewed IATA and Eurocontrol at Thursday January 28 to find out more on MH17.

This is the video recording of the interview with Eurocontrol.

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at Rutube

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10 Comments on Recording of public hearing Eurocontrol

  1. For the second time I listened to the video conference between Dutch members of Parliament and Mr. Joe Sultana of Eurocontrol. Especially important is how Eurocontrol handled whatever information about the safety of the airspace of Ukraine.

    Mr. Sultana said Eurocontrol had neither the means nor the mandate to take decisions on the situation in Ukraine.

    (41:37) Mr. S.:
    Means: The ability to access of information by which we could make a judgment as to whether the airspace was save to fly or not.

    (40:45) Mr. S.:
    Mandate: Even if we had that information we would not have had the mandate to close the airspace.

    (40:13) Mr. S.:
    This concerns any information we would have received which somehow could have made us act differently from that we have had.

    (39:56) Mr. S.:
    It does not mean that if we had information that we felt what is considered impacting safety of flight that we would not inform the authority of the State concerned of that information. The information would have been shared should we have, had we have had that information.

    (38:00) MP Pieter Omzigt refers to an article in the Sunday Times of December 7, 2015:

    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Ukraine/article1492579.ece:

    [UKRAINE was urged to close the east of the country to civil aviation days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July but ignored the warning, The Sunday Times has learnt.
    Sources at Eurocontrol, the organisation that manages Europe’s air traffic, said its experts spoke privately to their Ukrainian counterparts about the potential threat after more than 20 Ukrainian military aircraft were destroyed by Russian-backed rebels.
    The Ukrainians continued to let planes fly over the affected area, however. The sources said Eurocontrol did not have the power to interfere with countries’ decisions.
    The revelation looks certain to fuel the anger of the families of the 298 passengers and crew — 10 of them Britons — who died when the plane was shot down on July 17.]

    (38:00) MP Pieter Omzigt refers to the article in the Sunday Times:
    What was the nature of those talks and how did the Ukrainian side respond at that time to the worries that were expressed by Eurocontrol?

    (37:15) Mr. Sultana:
    We have also seen this press reports, but at senior level we have no knowledge of this contact between any Eurocontrol expert and the Ukrainian authorities. So, I cannot give more information as to whether this encounter took place and what was exchanged. Following this press report we have looked in our daily contact and the staff who has had this meetings – if there was such a meeting – and we have not been able to identify anyone (…) and I was a bit surprised about this report because as I mentioned we do not have access to the information that could have indicated that there was more than we had from the public media.

    Let’s have a better look on what has been said so far:

    This is the official statement of Eurocontrol:

    https://www.eurocontrol.int/press-releases/response-sunday-times-article-7-december-2014

    Brussels, Belgium – With regard to the story published in the Sunday Times on 7 December 2014 regarding the downing of MH17, EUROCONTROL has the following statement to make:

    “Decisions about opening or closing national airspace are solely the responsibility of national authorities and, as it is not EUROCONTROL’s mandate to advise them in this regard, we would not have made such a recommendation.”

    Here is not stated nobody from Eurocontrol has contacted Ukrainian Air Traffic Control on a personal level and private basis. It even might be there was consensus within Eurocontrol that this contact had to stay private but compelling.

    Now MR. Sultana said the following:

    (37:15) We have also seen this press reports, but at senior level we have no knowledge of this contact between any Eurocontrol expert and the Ukrainian authorities. So, I cannot give more information as to whether this encounter took place and what was exchanged.

    Eurocontrol again is not saying nobody had contacted Ukrainian Air Traffic Control. They could have also said the following: Eurocontrol can tell with a high degree of certainty that none of its employees had been in contact with Ukrainian Air Traffic Control just before the downing of MH17.

    But they did not.

    And Mr. Sultana also said the following and 1+1=2:
    (39:56) It does not mean that if we had information that we felt what is considered impacting safety of flight that we would not inform the authority of the State concerned of that information. The information would have been shared should we have, had we have had that information.

    Now, do we need more clarity, another hint, maybe? They must have seized those Ukrainians in their necks and have told them right in their face their behavior was utterly irresponsible!!!

    We know enough and the article in The Sunday Times might have been caused by employees of Eurocontrol who missed something in the DSB report. Don’t you think they would have informed DSB privately or anonymously? Of course they did. Don’t you think they were shocked, since nothing was reported in the DSB report?

    Of course they were perplexed:

    – Just like Elena Kolenkina of the separatists who desperately tried to warn the world for the coming disaster.
    – Just like Dutch Deputy Ambassador Gerrie Willems who tried to warn the lazy and completely incompetent Dutch government and who must have been mentally harmed and devastated.
    – Also these employees of Eurocontrol must have been mentally shocked by the disaster which they could not prevent.

    Of course they informed DSB, so, where is this information? These MPs will ask the government in parliament to the truth:

    1: Is the minister aware of the narrative in The Sunday Times of contacts between employees of Eurocontrol and The Ukrainian Air Traffic Control Organization, just before the downing of MH17?

    2: Has DSB got this information before they released their end report?

    3: If DSB was known with this information what kind of action did they undertake?

    4: Can the Minister confirm that the Ukraine UkSATSE Air Traffic Control organization did not allow the Dutch Safety Board to talk to the air traffic controller responsible for the control of MH17?

    At the end of the meeting Pieter Omtzigt came again with a game breaker:

    [This was the moment of glory of our cowboy MP Pieter Omtzigt, since now he posed the brilliant question whether the Ukrainian failure – or whatever – of the primary radar was required to report to Eurocontrol.

    The answer was “yes” because they were not in control of their airspace since a war was going on with (unknown) military aircraft a midst of civil aviation, and Eurocontrol almost certainly has not been notified. Sultana will send Omtzigt all relevant data. That, we hear at the next meeting. This will be a very important legal document.]

    • Basic Dimension, thank you for your report.

      So, what we now know from it?

      First, Eurocontrol had no information whatsoever that would make them alert the Ukrainian aviation authorities;

      Second, if anyone of Eurocontrol staff might have contacted the Ukrainians it was in his or her personal capacity and any possible warnings would be his or her own;

      Third, Ukraine had no reason to take immediate actions because of someone’s private alerts.

      • Prosto:

        [First, Eurocontrol had no information whatsoever that would make them alert the Ukrainian aviation authorities;]

        If it is true that employees of Eurocontrol have sought contact with Ukraine then [they must have thought they had information that made them alert the Ukrainian aviation authorities].

        And it is not the information itself, but the weight attached to the information what is important:

        If an organization as Eurocontrol says 20 military planes shot down in a few months is a risk for civil aviation, this makes more impression than if a civilian says the same, even if they read the same newspapers. Hence, it is not the kind of news as Sultana erroneously stated but the weight of authority what his institution adds to aviation news.

        [Second, if anyone of Eurocontrol staff might have contacted the Ukrainians it was in his or her personal capacity and any possible warnings would be his or her own;]

        In this case the difference between personal and professional is illusory.

        Don’t you see the contradiction in your statement. Such a person has to reveal his Eurocontrol identity in the first place, after which he lost immediately all personal anonymity. The Ukrainians would not give a dime for his personal qualities if he was not from Eurocontrol. So nobody enters in his personal capacity and nobody wants his warnings seen as personal.

        [Third, Ukraine had no reason to take immediate actions because of someone’s private alerts.]

        Well that’s interesting, you think Ukraine saw an impressive employee of Eurocontrol with a well-founded warning, but solely because they perceived him as a private person, they undertook no action to close their airspace for civil aviation. So it’s not just their fault. It is a misunderstanding.

  2. https://www.eurocontrol.int/bio/david-mcmillan

    David McMillan has been involved with transport issues at national and international level for over twenty years. He became Director General of EUROCONTROL, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, on 1 January 2008 and finished his term on 31 December 2012.

    DONINEWS

    https://dninews.com/article/boomerang-comes-back-ukraine-accused-crime-concerning-downed-boeing

    Donbass International News Agency:
    Boomerang comes back: Ukraine accused of crime concerning downed Boeing

    Saturday, January 30, 2016 – 02:58

    The world’s leading expert in the field of civil aviation security David McMillan announced Ukraine guilty of a crime concerning the investigation of the Malaysian Boeing shot down in Donbass.
    It was reported by Vladimir Kornilov, the director of the Centre for Eurasian Studies, a political scientist and historian, on his Facebook page. Vladimir Kornilov reminded that until recently McMillan had been the CEO of Eurocontrol, reports The Antifascist.
    Ukraine is directly accused of a crime related to the investigation of the Boeing downed in Donbass. Yesterday it was openly declared by David McMillan, the world’s leading expert in the field of civil aviation security and the current head of the Flight Safety Foundation. He declared it during a video conference hosted by the Parliament of the Netherlands.

  3. So, a pro-Russian separatist agency reports that a Russian site “Antifacsist” (specializing not in anti-Fascist but in anti-Ukrainian publications) reports that Vladimir Kornilov (well known for his anti-Ukrainian position) claims that an expert has said about an imaginary “Ukrainian crime.”

    So, that’s what Kornilov said on January 29: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10205743595936442&id=1452215322 (in Russian):

    “Ukraine is directly accused of a crime regarding the investigation on the Boeing shot down in the Donbas. I quote today’s De Telegraaf: ‘The fact that Ukraine did not provide DSB with the recordings of the air traffic controller who had controlled the Boeing at the time of the attack is, according to him, a grave crime.’ McMillan said such a behavior should be punishable under the Dutch criminal laws.”

    Now, read the original report: http://www.pressreader.com/netherlands/de-telegraaf/20160129/281560879817957/TextView (in Dutch; clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner you can switch on an auto-translation to English or French though it’s not much useful).

    So, what the expert really said?

    First, he called “a crime” the fact that DSB did not interrogate the Ukrainian air traffic controller who controlled Flight MH17. The expert did not accuse Ukraine of “this crime”! Also he did not say Ukraine had not supplied the controller’s recordings, it would be a lie as Ukraine in fact supplied the data.

    Second, he called “a crime” the fact that Russia had not kept its radar data; according to him, it is this “crime” that can be criminally punishable in the Netherlands! In this case, no other perpetrator than Russia is possible.

    So, the reality is exactly the opposite to what Russian info warriors claim.

    The expert indirectly accused Russia, not Ukraine, of a “crime” which is possibly criminally punishable by the Dutch law.

    As for Ukraine, he also spoke of a “crime” but did not accuse Ukraine of it even indirectly, because it was not Ukraine’s fault that the air controller had not been questioned.

    • Good point! I noticed the same. I am sick and tired of all the clear and deliberate lies in those blogs, Facebook sites and newspapers.

    • Prosto thanks for your additional information and translation; as you have seen I was not able to draw conclusions from the text and I also could not retrieve this passage in the video conference.

      Thanks for the link to the Dutch Telegraaf of January 29, 2016, which I have not seen before and what info I will translate into English:

      http://www.pressreader.com/netherlands/de-telegraaf/20160129/281560879817957/TextView

      Ukraine and Russia punishable:

      The Hague: The Ukrainian and Russian authorities are almost certainly punishable because of the withholding of the radar images in the investigation into the shooting of flight MH17. This said McMillan, the former head of UN aviation organization ICAO last night during a hearing. The fact that the Investigation Safety Board was not allowed to hear the Ukrainian aviation leader who had the Boeing under his care at the time of the attack is a crime.

      Your comment:

      [So, what the expert really said?
      First, he called “a crime” the fact that DSB did not interrogate the Ukrainian air traffic controller who controlled Flight MH17. The expert did not accuse Ukraine of “this crime”! Also he did not say Ukraine had not supplied the controller’s recordings, it would be a lie as Ukraine in fact supplied the data.]

      It is not the same…

      Above it concerns the radar images and the interrogation of the Ukrainian aviation leader.

      Hence, Ukraine might have the following problems:

      1: Not giving all radar images to DSB.

      2: The possible fact the Ukraine UkSATSE Air Traffic Control organization did not allow the Dutch Safety Board to talk to the air traffic controller responsible for the control of MH17.

      3: The allegation Ukraine hasn’t notified Eurocontrol about their failing primary radar, what is a violation of the rules.

      4: The possibility Ukraine has been warned by employees of Eurocontrol to stop civil flights above their war zone, what warning they would have ignored.

      • Basic Dimension, thank you for your corrections. I tried to do my best deciphering the text in Dutch that I don’t speak with the help of automatic translators and some knowledge of German but could not do it to the end.

        So, most questions now arise as to the factual accurateness of this newspaper report. And the questions about the terminology subtleties are very serious if the authors could not even correctly name David McMillan’s most known former title: he has never had anything to do with ICAO, as the article claims, as he was the head of Eurocontrol.

        Thus said, I doubt very much the correctness of the phrase “DSB *could not* question the Ukrainian air traffic controller” as no one has ever accused Ukraine of making any obstacles for such questioning, beginning with DSB themselves who made several similar accusations against Ukraine and Russia regarding other things (first of all, the radar data).

        And, the 4th point you mention is yours, not having anything to do with the hearing in the Dutch parliament. As far as we know, Eurocontrol denied knowing anything about any such possible warnings.

        And, off topic: I cannot understand what use is there of talking about any pressure on Russia and Ukraine for the radar data. If one country says they have not kept it and let it be erased and another country says they have never had some data as the radar was switched off do you expect that the data will appear out of the blue sky after any pressure?

        • Prosto:

          – Automatic translators are a mess when it comes to cause and effect relations. I immediately saw the problem 🙂

          – [So, most questions now arise as to the factual accurateness of this newspaper report.]

          We need the original tape to see what Mc Millan really said.

          – [Thus said, I doubt very much the correctness of the phrase “DSB *could not* question the Ukrainian air traffic controller” as no one has ever accused Ukraine of making any obstacles for such questioning, beginning with DSB themselves who made several similar accusations against Ukraine and Russia regarding other things (first of all, the radar data).]

          There is a difference between the CVR where we can hear the communication with ATC and interrogating a Ukrainian air traffic controller about other things as the alleged clash with Eurocontrol. Since I cannot trust DSB I do not trust their display of the CVR either. But the possibility DSB could not interrogate the Ukrainian air traffic controller must be seen as an allegation not yet confirmed.

          – [[4: The possibility Ukraine has been warned by employees from Eurocontrol to stop civil flights above their war zone, what warning they would have ignored.]]

          [And, the 4th point you mention is yours, not having anything to do with the hearing in the Dutch parliament. As far as we know, Eurocontrol denied knowing anything about any such possible warnings.]

          Well, I think Eurocontrol was the real subject of this hearing. Eurocontrol and the Dutch government are subordinate to the EU, which wants to make an association deal with Ukraine on behalf of the USA in the first place (Article 57, sub a and b). For DSB another more legitimate reason might be to cover certain conflicts in their report in order not to reveal legal proof of possible offenses, what might already have been delivered to JIT (Article 57, sub c).

          Here is the DSB-law:

          Rijkswet Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid (National Law Dutch Safety Board):
          http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0017613/geldigheidsdatum_21-01-2016

          Article 57:
          The board does not report about gathered information, which is not worthy to report in relation to its importance to the following interests:
          a. the relations of the Kingdom or the countries of the Kingdom with other States or international organizations;
          b. economic or financial interests of the Kingdom, of the public bodies of the countries of the Kingdom, or in Article 1a, c and d of the Open Government Act provided for administrative bodies;
          c. the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses;

          – [And, off topic: I cannot understand what use is there of talking about any pressure on Russia and Ukraine for the radar data. If one country says they have not kept it and let it be erased and another country says they have never had some data as the radar was switched off do you expect that the data will appear out of the blue sky after any pressure?]

          Yes, of course.

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