Why the US intelligence services is cautious in sharing its data with JIT

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John Kerry, minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the US had intel on the trajectory of the missile that shot down MH17.

However, the US seems to be very cautious about sharing that data. Recently a spokesman of the US government refused to tell what data was handed over the the Dutch investigation team.

Fred Westerbeke, the Dutch prosecutor and lead of the Joint Investigation Team, told that all requested data was handed over by the US to the Dutch Military Secret Service.

You might be wondering why the data was not handed over the the JIT. One of the reasons could be the participation of the Ukraine Secret Service SBU in the JIT. SBU not only has a secret service branch, it also has an investigation branch.

This article of an Ukraine news agency states SBU is involved in the JIT as SBU staff attended a meeting in which the JIT agreement was extended.

There are still officers working at the SBU whose sympathies lie with Moscow according this article in Irish Times. For that reason, the US is known to be highly selective about the intelligence it shares with Ukraine in case it falls into Russian hands. Satellite images, for example, are degraded before they are shared with the SBU.

Mashable had a story titled Ukraine’s top intelligence agency deeply infiltrated by Russian spies

This could be a valid reason to not directly share information with the JIT.

 

 

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49 Comments on Why the US intelligence services is cautious in sharing its data with JIT

  1. > the US had intel on the trajectory of the missile that shot down MH17. However, the US seems to be very cautious about sharing that data

    Here we go with this chew again. Trajectory of a missile is a start point, an end point and a line in between. We know the end point. What sort of secret can be associated with the start point? No, please, just think about it. The US had already said that the start point was near Snezhnoe. What sort of additinal secret can be had about this? None. Except, perhaps, that the start point was not there but somewhere else. But even in this case what’s the point in making the launch location secret? Unless, perhaps, it is actually at the territory controlled by Ukraine.

    If the US don’t want to share the resolution capabilitiy of their sattelites (presumably with SBIRS camera), then they can always downsample the data to match the resolution of the images already made public. So this is no argument, really.

    The Ukraine SBU has a share of unrealiable people sympathising Russia, true. And Russian intelligence probbaly does know a lot from SBU insiders. But this does not invalidate the argument I presented above – there is no logical reason to make a secret out of the missile trajectory.

    Now, here is an interesting speculation of mine for what might have happened. The US spy sattelite did detect the trajectory that seemeingly originated from Snezhnoe. So, intially the US State Department trumpeted about the “enormous amount of evidence” they had about the launch location. Then, under a closer inspection, the trajectory appeared to be not from a BUK but from a warplane. The difference between a Buk trajectory and an AAM trajectory is that the former does an initial climb, while the latter goes along a prety much straight 3D line. Upon discovering this the US had gone completely silent, not recalling the “enormous amount of evidence” ever again.

    Now, the following picture neatly describes what has been happening. I know of no facts contradicting the following scenario.

    A Ukraine Su-27 (not Su-25) was hovering somewhere above Torez at an altitude somewhat above the clouds (in order to not be visible from the ground) but below 5k m (not to be visible by Russian radars). The plane shot 777 with an Ukrainian made fragmentation based missile R27. Then fled going supersonic at some point (this might explain the so far unexplainable loud bang above Torez, which could not be atributed to the 777). Then Ukraine simply planted the Buk bowties, while making sure that its own Buks are withdrawn from the area for the day and documented somewhere else.

    Unlike Buk, the R27 has about the right properties to explain the observed damage on Mh17. If placed in a correct point of detonation
    it would produce a very similar damage pattern to what we saw on Mh17:
    – Correct density of holes (the DSB had to rig the detonation point to match the density of Buk)
    – Correct scratch directions (the DSB simply chose to ignore the directions of scratch marks, they had to)
    – Matched damaged and non-damaged areas (the “official” detonation point allows the shrapnel to reach areas on the plane body which were not reachable on the 777 judging by the observed damage)
    – Correct hole sizes (the holes on Mh17 were a bit too small for a Buk, statistically )
    – No bow-tie shaped holes

    Note, Ukraine made a lot of loud claims about their warplanes being shot by Russian AAM’s. At the same time Ukraine withdraws the Buk baterry from Kramatorsk. Is there anybody in here who sees a logic in such actions? Unless, of course, Ukraine wanted to make sure that it had no Buks near the crash site, so the planted bowties would unequivocally point towards Russia.

  2. John Kerry’s Interview With David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press can be found on the State Department’s website:

    “QUESTION: Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?

    SECRETARY KERRY: There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here. But even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing, and it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar. We also know from voice identification that the separatists were bragging about shooting it down afterwards.”

    http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/07/229507.htm

    • Hector Reban // March 21, 2016 at 8:08 am // Reply

      Its very interesting Kerry leans very severly on that “circumstantial evidence”, of which we may assume its the SBU/Bellingcat trail of images, few realtime sightings and manipulated telephone taps.

      Then his tongue slips, probably to bolster this weak case, with his trajectory statements.

      We know from Westerbeke, again through his february letter to the next of kin, there are no images or direct data from the launch. No Ukrainian, Russian nor American radardata, no video/film footage, no SBIRS from launch to cloudbase.

      Kerry talks about seeing what happened on radarscreens. But they haven’t provided radarimagary nor did the JIT ask for them. What could be a logical explanation to this?

      Very interesting are the phrases in Westerbeke’s letter about the American help:

      ¨De Amerikaanse autoriteiten beschikken over data, afkomstig van hun eigen veiligheidsdiensten, die mogelijk informatie zouden kunnen geven over een raketbaan.¨

      Translation:

      The Americans own DATA coming from their own security services, which POSSIBLY could give information about missile launch trajectory.

      So its “data” now instead of (radar)imagary, which in fact means nothing. Data could mean everything, so also nothing. Moreover, it could “possibly” say something, but it could obviously also “possibly” say nothing.

      Also the JIT claims in the Westerbeke letter that without all these important radar information they can come up with a launchsite, i.e. from “visual material”, “telephone taps” and calculations done by the NLR.

      Well, the first two allude to the discredited Bellingcat/SBU circumstantial evidence and the last one to the very flimsey based and doubtful work the NLR already reported in appendix X of the DSB report.

      So my hunch is Kerry probably mentioned Snizhne and the DSB/NLR also calculated towards this particular site *because* of the already existing “circumstantial evidence”. So the Snizhne launchsite seems to be the starting point instead of the conclusion of the investigations.

      • Sergey Tokarev // March 21, 2016 at 11:25 am // Reply

        ‘No Ukrainian, Russian nor American radardata’ – would you clarify? You are a serious researcher, judging by your other posts. Russia claims that she gave radar data in format she keeps it. DSB disregards this data as not credible because of format. What do European aviation authorities say about this? Does Russia usually keeps data in such format? Is it consistent with European rules? If yes, why DSB disregards this data?

        • Hector Reban // March 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm // Reply

          Sergey, I was referring to the raw primary data as far as it can be stored and processed in order to render information about a possible launch.

          Parties, including the Russians, gave “regular radardata”, according to Westerbeke’s letter (also the DSB preliminary report said the Russians handed over radardata), but that could only be used – says Westerbeke – to gather information about “movements in airspace” (and apparently no launch).

          The format Russia kept radardata was, as far as I recall correctly, in a video merging processed – not raw – primaryand secundary data.

          No I believe I once read some translation from a Storchevoy interview, in which is said the Russians DO have the data (and obviously still have) and also wanted to hand it over, but it wasn’t asked by the prosecutor. I posted it on this site too, but haven’t cached it myself unfortunately.

          The JIT says in the Westerbeke letter thye are still are negotiating with the Russians to get (more) radardata. It seems obvious they couldn’t do that if those data were deleted, I guess.

          Conclusion: there is a lot of confusion about this topic, maybe admin – who has a database far larger than mine – knows more…

          • Hector Reban // March 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm //

            Well, this is what was said in the letter Storchevoy wrote to the DSB:

            “As for primary radar data, we hereby officially maintain that Russia provided the Dutch Safety Board with all available primary radar data tracing Flight MH17 as early as August 2014, which was right after the tragedy. We did not impose any conditions or restrictions regarding further use and disclosure of radar data, records of phone conversations and other data we submitted to the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) at its request. Moreover, Russia has stored all that data to this day, and is willing to provide it once again to the relevant authorities.”

            “For the sake of clarity, I must specify that Russia submitted primary radar data to the DSB in the form of a video recording capturing a Russian air traffic controller’s display. It should be explained that primary radar data can be stored in the form of videos, which is consistent with ICAO standards. It should be explained that Russian air traffic authorities store primary radar data exclusively in the form of videos, which is consistent with ICAO standards. That said, the Dutch Safety Board’s final report does not suggest that this fact might have somehow affected the findings of the technical inquiry into the circumstances and the cause of the crash.”

            https://www.rt.com/politics/official-word/331834-mh17-russia-storchevoy-letter/

  3. Obviously, John Kerry is telling us a lie because he has no choice.

    Do you really expect him to tell us: “Our satellites did not see a BUK Launch. Apparently the separatist must have used another weapon to bring down MH-17.”?

    Ukraine shot down MH-17 using one of their fighter jets and that’s the reason why no imagery of a BUK Launch exists. And no eye witness ever saw a BUK launch, by the way.

    • sotilaspassi // March 21, 2016 at 2:40 pm // Reply

      >Ukraine shot down MH-17 using one of their fighter jets

      IIRC Ukraine fighter jets do not have BUK warhead caliber of warheads, so that is impossible.
      And we know there was no f-jet because RU radar proved there was not (not above 2..5km).

      >And no eye witness ever saw a BUK launch, by the way.
      There are tens on eye witness and a few photos of the launch.
      (I hope JIT can reveal some interview results soon…)

      • If there are tens of eye witnesses and even photos of the launch, why are the launch site and the missile’s trajectory still unknown?

        Can you please provide links which support your statement?

        • sotilaspassi // March 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm // Reply

          “why are the launch site and the missile’s trajectory still unknown?”
          Witnesses need to be brought out of Ukraine before they can speak out about the launch. The soil samples need to be analyzed on the launch site. etc…
          We know the approximate missile trajectory, the one from DSB material.

          • Really? 20 months later. The cause of the shotdown of the Siberia Tu154 was made known in less than two weeks.
            Either the US does not want to reveal Ukraine did it, or the US does not want to reveal who did it to keep Russia in a cooperative mode.
            It is highly political.

            Remember DSB did the investigation on the trajectory with many parts of the cockpit roof missing.

          • sotilaspassi // March 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm //

            People should ignore US info as no-one can verify any of it.

            >Siberia Tu154
            btw. US told similar amount of info about MH17 as about Tu154.
            + it was not above war zone
            + it was above US backyard (near the oil?)

      • I am also interested in those ‘few photos of the launch’.
        What we have so far are two photos showing a smoke plume which could or could not be the trail of a missile. These two photos were taken by a single person.
        Also those ‘tens of eyewitness’ are interesting. So far I found very little.

        That reminds me of a future blogpost to list all the known eyewitness of a BUK vehicle and/or BUK trajectory.
        Hope you can help me with that.

        • sotilaspassi // March 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm // Reply

          >>There are tens on eye witness
          >Also those ‘tens of eyewitness’ are interesting.

          IIRC:
          -one or two person reported seeing/hearing it on zello (or whatever that chat thing there is)
          -at the village of “Red October” there were two confirmed eyewitness (must be many more)
          -on crash site there seemed to be at least one saying rocket flew to it
          +there just must be hundreds more that we have not heard of, because MH17 was shot with a BUK, that is a fact.

          >and a few photos of the launch.
          I meant about the launch smoke (launch is over before anyone can take photo).

          • This story from Reuters on those witnesses from Red October, was rather odd. The most outspoken witness withdrew his statement. And another pointed in a direction the reporter forgot to mention. There was also a rebel named Igor, who said they had a Buk there, but they only launched a missile half an hour before the crash. Let us not forget all those witnesses, who said there were one or more Ukrainian fighters. Were they telling truth, did they all lie, or did they see something different?

          • There is also a story that shortly before MH17 was shot down a BUk missile was fired at a SU-25.
            So the eyewitness could have seen this one.

            the United States know what happened.

          • The absence of eye witnesses is a clear indication that there has not been a BUK launch.

            A real BUK launch must have been noticed by hundreds of witnesses. This is obviously not the case.

          • sotilaspassi // March 24, 2016 at 8:37 am //

            @H.L.
            By looking at the damage, we know it must have been a BUK or something larger.
            By looking at radar video we know it was not shot from airplane.

            There is a lot of eyewitness to go + get + interview by JIT: https://twitter.com/MH17Live

  4. Liane Theuer // March 20, 2016 at 10:08 am // Reply

    The US shared the data obviously not only with the Dutch Military Secret Service, but with the German BND, too.
    Nobody ever asked with which other Secret Services they shared the data (Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, others ?) and why with THIS countries only.
    I believe, they shared the data only with countries VERY loyal to the US. And they shared them only with the Secret Services, not with governments.

    Ukraine opened short after the coup their whole secret data for the CIA. So the US knows every secret in Ukraine.
    IF Ukraine shot down MH17, the US could keep this secret for an ever lasting pressure on the government. The US loves information which could bring governments down.
    And we all know, that the US is very interested in keeping the „Russia did it“-agenda alive.

    Another piece of the puzzle is the fact, that Australia never declared the MH17 desaster an act of terrorism – much to the annoyance of the relatives.

    Many argue that the United States don´t want to reveal its monitoring capabilities. But there are, for example, the super sharp shots from Syria …

    All in all I see no reasonable reason for keeping the data secret, the only logical reason is : Neither Russia nor the separatists are to blame.

    • sotilaspassi // March 21, 2016 at 2:34 pm // Reply

      >But there are, for example, the super sharp shots from Syria …

      Note that arab countries are far more interesting for US spy/army satellites than eastern europe, because US troops fight in Iraq, Afganistan etc.

      btw. I have not seen any super sharp satellite images of syria, rather normal sharpness instead.

      +better not forget that BUK missile was launched below clouds, so the TELAR was not visible from above at that moment.

      • I have seen a recent satellite of a DigitalGlobe satellite of Syria with enough detail to distinguish the type of fighter jets parked at the airport. So if DigitalGlobe is able to do that, I am wondering why there is not a single satellite photo released maded at July 17 showing the BUK TELAR enroute to Snizhne.
        It was perfect weather that day and many satellites with resolution of 50cm or better passed the area. I am having a hard time these sats passed a warzone without making photos.

        See this article for even better than 50cm resolution pics available for commercial purchase
        http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/14/5809628/us-government-signs-off-on-sale-of-ultra-high-resolution-satellite-imagery

        • sotilaspassi // March 22, 2016 at 11:16 am // Reply

          >I am wondering why there is not a single satellite photo released made at July 17 showing the BUK TELAR enroute to Snizhne.

          Same here.
          + same for those BUK units that disappeared from luhansk.
          + same for UA BUK units around ATO zone.

  5. Liane Theuer // March 20, 2016 at 10:19 am // Reply

    Another question :
    Why the US only provided a “Government assessment” (which is quite unusual)?
    Did their Secret Service refused to cover up the truth?

    The US wanted sanctions on Russia for their geopolitical goal. The truth might have made all their goals to naught.

  6. A video covering impressive capabilities of a spy telescope similar to the one that might have seen the missile launch
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=Fkin0CmBM0k

    • Btw, based on the information from the video the resolution of a SBIRS camera hanging at a geo orbit would be about 10 metres.

  7. Prior behavior is the best predictor of present and future behavior. The US has for over 100 years started wars, sustained wars and explained wars with lies. This is well documented and an unmistakable pattern of behavior.
    http://www.amazon.com/War-Lie-David-Swanson-ebook/dp/B004BDOVSE/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458475008&sr=1-2&keywords=war+is+a+lie

    The US has evidence, but not evidence of a Buk launch. The rhetoric of US officials has already shifted from the concrete “we know” and “we saw” to the nebulous “we believe”. Think about it. If you have seen an event with your own eyes and confirmed it with multiple reliable sources then you do not shift from the language of certainty to the language of belief. The transition from concrete to fuzzy reflects concern that the facts will emerge while the liars are still living.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/18/statement-president-ukraine
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/07/229509.htm
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/07/229508.htm
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/07/229507.htm
    http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/08/230525.htm
    http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2014/dec/235495.htm
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/06/243134.htm
    http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/statements/kerry-mh17-07162015.html
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/08/245937.htm

    No US intelligence that might leak from the SBU to Russia’s FSB will come as news to Russia, and the US knows this. If not from the SBU then who is it that the US needs to keep the evidence hidden from? It is from you. It is from me. It is from the families of the victims. It is from the lawyers representing the families of the victims. It is from the European farmers and business people who bear the brunt of the sanctions. It is from the Russian people (their leaders already know) and the people in Ukraine.

    The truth will emerge little by little and long after the fact. It will emerge not at once but in stages and with little fanfare.
    First will be the admission that the rebels and Russia had nothing to do with shooting down MH17.
    Next will be the false claim that it was an accident. The groundwork for this misdirection has already been laid.
    http://sputniknews.com/world/20140725/191242509.html
    http://ren.tv/novosti/2015-07-26/smi-ukrainskie-siloviki-priznalis-chto-mogli-sbit-malayziyskiy-boing
    Next will be the admission that the murder weapon was not a ground to air missile.
    Next will be the admission that it was not an accident.
    The final admission will be that some elites and highly placed government officials in several countries have known the facts from the beginning.

    This is not prophecy. This is recognition of an old pattern. It is no more prophetic than a parent who warns children about running in the house. Anyone doubting that history repeats can at least acknowledge that history often rhymes with itself.

    I regret there is no diplomatic way to say it. The premise that the US is concerned about SBU leaks is nonsense. It is worse than nonsense because it rationalizes lies that continue to devour and destroy.

    • Sergey Tokarev // March 22, 2016 at 2:06 am // Reply

      If phone intercept I recently talked about was indeed forged before the crash – which apparently is the case – then it is stronger evidence of pre-planned false flag than pattern of behavior:
      http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d01_1422743355

      • Ha-ha. Quite convincing at a couple of places. I haven’t seen this analysis before. When has this been done?

        • Sergey Tokarev // March 22, 2016 at 11:16 am // Reply

          It was done long ago. There are dates. Behavioural pattern is a kind of evidence, but logically ad hominem fallacy. This phone intercept looks like a smoking gun to me.

      • sotilaspassi // March 22, 2016 at 11:13 am // Reply

        Good analysis of the audio recording. (no real news, though)
        Like Bezler said, his voice is genuine but he was talking about some previous shot down.

        >In other words they knew it was going to happen as they had prepared the recordings in advance.
        >Kiev released this audio 25 minutes after the plane crashed.

        SBU was anyway spying and listening radio conversations, as we knew. No surprise they had suitable audio clips ready, except those few final clips.

        You have a link to metadata analysis?

        • Sergey Tokarev // March 22, 2016 at 11:18 am // Reply

          I think you should talk to bloggers on this liveleak thread about metadata analysis, and better repeat it yourself. You won’t take anybody’s word for it anyway.

  8. Liane Theuer // April 7, 2016 at 2:17 pm // Reply

    July 18/2014 REUTERS :
    “Satellite images show a plume of smoke left by the ground-to-air missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight 17. Infrared sensors recorded the moment when the airliner exploded.
    The U.S. assessment, outlined by Ambassador Samantha Power at the U.N. Security Council on Friday, is that the airliner was “likely downed by a surface-to-air missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine.” (..)
    The American analysts have based some of their conclusions so far on technical data from advanced spy satellites whose principal use is to provide early warning of intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
    The satellite data included an image of a plume of smoke left in the missile’s trail that allowed analysts to calculate a launch area near the Russia-Ukraine border which is dominated by pro-Russian separatist fighters, officials said.
    It also included data culled from infrared sensors, which detected the explosion of the jet, they said.
    Although the possible launch area extends to both sides of the border, the most likely location is in rebel-held territory close to where the wreckage of the plane plummeted from the sky, U.S. officials said. (..)
    They said they did not believe the missile was launched by a pro-government Ukrainian and were working on the assumption that it was fired by either a pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist or a Russian national.
    In an indication of the limitations of U.S. intelligence capabilities, officials said they were unsure how the missile arrived in the launch area. There was no U.S. intelligence showing an SA-11 crossing the border into Ukraine, the Pentagon said.
    Power told the Security Council the United States was not aware of any similar Ukrainian-controlled missile systems in the area. “Since the beginning of the crisis, Ukrainian air defenses have not fired a single missile,” she said.
    An official said the satellites used to detect the missile, known as Defense Support Program (or DSP) satellites, orbit the Earth around 36,000 kilometers over the equator, and are operated from a control station at Buckley Air Force base in Colorado.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/19/us-ukraine-crisis-airplane-intelligence-idUSKBN0FO00B20140719

    “Although the possible launch area extends to both sides of the border, the most likely location is in rebel-held territory …”

    As I remember it was never mentioned again that the lauch-site could be in Russia.
    By reading the whole article you will realized that the “government assessment” contradicts Kerry´s statements.

    • Interesting comment.
      “Although the possible launch area extends to both sides of the border, the most likely location is in rebel-held territory …”

      So what about the DSB presented launch area which did not extend to both sides of the border. Who is right, the satellite or some theoretical calculations by closed source software?

      • Admin,
        “Interesting comment” Not really because they also said “close to where the wreckage of the plane plummeted”. Apparently the satellite info wasn’t very accurate. There is no contradiction here. What I find interesting is this remark: “There was no U.S. intelligence showing an SA-11 crossing the border into Ukraine,” There was only one place where a Buk could have crossed the border: Sjevernyi near Donetsk(Ru). This weak spot was already known by the Ukrainian army, days before the crash, and they tried to close it. The Ukrainians claim the Buk crossed the border near Sjevernyi in the morning of the 17th of July. And the US didn’t notice anything? Rather odd, because the US wanted to proof the Russians were providing the rebels with heavy equipment.

        • Liane Theuer // April 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm // Reply

          Rob, it is a question of definition what “close to where the wreckage of the plane plummeted” mean.
          It´s 50 km to Russia. For Americans that is very close.

          • Liane,they are talking about a SA-11, this means Russia wasn’t even close enough. I wonder how they knew it was a SA-11 missile at that time.

          • Liane Theuer // April 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm //

            You’re absolutely right, Rob. The US intelligence contradicts itself.
            Either the possible lauch area could have been in Russian territory – then it could not be a SA-11.
            Or it was a Buk – then it could not have been fired from Russia.

            The Los Angeles Times even spoke of a “heat-seeking missile” – the Buk is not!

            The early reports from July 19 to 22 clearly reveal that US intelligence obviously had no established findings.

          • IsThatSo // April 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm //

            “The early reports from July 19 to 22 clearly reveal that US intelligence obviously had no established findings.”

            US intelligence appeared to be less than certain, but appearances can deceive. I believe that US intelligence had multiple information sources and the manpower and computing resources to sort it out rapidly.

            So why give public statements and a doctored Digital Globe image based on information from a satellite located 36,000 km away? Why not use more exact sources? Because the information from a satellite positioned above the equation is not precise.

            Consider the flip side of that. The less precise the source the more latitude you have to describe what you saw. Such latitude is useful if you need to protect sources and methods. It is useful in the context of information warfare. It provides the most freedom to explain what happened from a perspective that is beneficial to your friends and punishes your enemies. The US is not alone in using intelligence this way.

        • Liane, thanks for that link, I didn’t know that US officials gave those details about the source of their data just a day after the crash. It’s interesting, but not surprising, that Reuters apparently haven’t mentioned that article since it was published.

          Rob: “Admin, “Interesting comment” Not really because they also said “close to where the wreckage of the plane plummeted”. Apparently the satellite info wasn’t very accurate. There is no contradiction here.”

          What’s interesting is the very fact that the satellite info wasn’t very accurate. According to the Reuters article the info was not from low earth orbit satellites, but from more than 36,000 km away. At that distance, and under cloudy conditions, the accuracy can’t have been great. The comments from the US officials suggest that the launch site could have been anywhere within a distance of tens of kilometers, if you take the local geography into consideration.

          John Kerry painted a different picture a couple of days later when he gave the impression that the US knew exactly where the missile was launched. It could be argued that technically he was not lying because he did not say exactly what “we saw” and “we know”. As a lawyer and a diplomat, Kerry chooses his words carefully.

          Of course, it’s possible that there were other satellites at a much lower orbit that saw more of what happened, but that has not been revealed yet. However the American government assessment could be based on other satellite data that’s far more limited.

          • Brendan, the US have recently repurposed an IR spy telescope for scientific use (WFIRST). By taking some data now available about that telescope I’ve estimated the ground resolution from a geo-stationary orbit to be about 10 metres. Probably over that, but not much greater than say 20 metres. That’s well enough resolution to tell where the launch was from.

          • Brendan // April 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm //

            Eugene, I assume that accuracy is affected to a great extent by cloud cover. The Reuters article suggests that that the launch itself was not observed, that its location was only estimated by tracking back the missile’s trail. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that the missile was only detected when it was above the clouds:

            “The satellite data included an image of a plume of smoke left in the missile’s trail that allowed analysts to calculate a launch area near the Russia-Ukraine border which is dominated by pro-Russian separatist fighters, officials said.
            It also included data culled from infrared sensors, which detected the explosion of the jet, they said.
            Although the possible launch area extends to both sides of the border …”

          • Brendan, IR can see through the clouds a lot better than the visible band (btw, this is also the reason the IR is used for space observations – to see through space dust). Someone here, possibly admin, also pointed out that the whole point of an early launch detection system would be greatly compromised if clouds could hide the early boost phase of a launch.

      • Liane Theuer // April 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm // Reply

        Additional we know that there was a small stripe at the Russian border, where the Ukrainian military was located.
        This stripe could also be the launch-site !

    • Liane, thank you for the link.

      For the sake of anyone who doesn’t know, the article is not about the official US government assessment which was released to selected mainstream media reporters 4 days later, on 7/22/14.

      The official assessment is a white paper that includes a list of weapons provided by Russia to the separatists. The list does not include the Buk missile system or any other missile system that can reach 33,000 feet.

      I apologize that I can’t produce a link to the document. I have searched for it with no success. I only have links to articles about the official assessment. The official assessment does not support what Kerry said on five talk shows on 7/20/14. After all these months the US government officially stands by this assessment.

      http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-ukraine-intelligence-us-20140722-story.html
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-discloses-intelligence-on-downing-of-malaysian-jet/2014/07/22/b178fe58-11e1-11e4-98ee-daea85133bc9_story.html
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-intelligence-states-its-case-on-the-shoot-down-of-mh17/2014/07/22/a2c6ca44-11f9-11e4-98ee-daea85133bc9_graphic.html
      http://www.aol.com/article/2014/07/22/us-no-link-to-russian-government-in-flight-mh17-downing/20935367/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D505510&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript&ModPagespeed=noscript
      http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-present-intelligence-data-plane-crash-0
      https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/15/mh-17s-unnecessary-mystery/?print=print
      https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/22/obama-should-release-mh-17-intel/
      https://consortiumnews.com/2015/08/17/propaganda-intelligence-and-mh-17/
      https://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/03/flight-17-shoot-down-scenario-shifts/

  9. Liane Theuer // April 7, 2016 at 10:17 pm // Reply

    Some more details about the government assessment :

    July 22/2014 Los Angeles Times :
    „U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.
    But U.S. intelligence agencies have independently verified photos posted to social media last week that show an SA-11 launcher driving toward the Russian border missing at least one missile, the officials said.“
    http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-ukraine-intelligence-us-20140722-story.html

    July 22/2014 The Washington Post :
    „The U.S. intelligence officials, who included experts on Russia’s military and its relationship with separatists in Ukraine, said they do not know the identities or even the nationalities — whether Russian or possibly defectors from Ukraine’s military — of those who launched the missile from an SA-11 surface-to-air battery. (..)
    The officials also declined to provide more details on the satellites and other sophisticated sensors that enabled them to trace the path of the missile, citing concerns about compromising secret U.S. Capabilities. (..)
    U.S. intelligence analysts have examined photos from the crash site and identified damage consistent with that caused by an SA-11 missile, the officials said, but they stressed that such analysis is preliminary.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-discloses-intelligence-on-downing-of-malaysian-jet/2014/07/22/b178fe58-11e1-11e4-98ee-daea85133bc9_story.html?tid=pm_pop

    July 22/2014 Associated Press :
    „The intelligence officials were cautious in their assessment, noting that while the Russians have been arming separatists in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia. (..)
    But the officials said they did not know who fired the missile or whether any Russian operatives were present at the missile launch.
    In terms of who fired the missile, “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality,” one official said, adding at another point, “There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here.
    The officials made clear they were relying in part on social media postings and videos made public in recent days by the Ukrainian government, even though they have not been able to authenticate all of it. For example, they cited a video of a missile launcher said to have been crossing the Russian border after the launch, appearing to be missing a missile.
    But later, under questioning, the officials acknowledged they had not yet verified that the video was exactly what it purported to be.”
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/us-evidence-direct-russian-link-plane/

  10. Liane Theuer // April 15, 2016 at 10:38 pm // Reply

    On March 13/2015 the German Government answered questions of the party DIE LINKE.
    http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/042/1804299.pdf

    Drucksache 18/3818
    Kleine Anfrage der Partei DIE LINKE
    48. Gibt es nach Kenntnis der Bundesregierung US-amerikanische Satellitenbilder, die belegen, dass der Flug MH17 durch ein Raketenabwehrsystem BUK abgeschossen wurde?
    Nein.

    Translation :
    Printed Matter 18/3818
    Small request of the Party DIE LINKE
    48. Question : To the knowledge of the Federal Government are there US satellite images, which show that the flight MH17 was shot down by a missile defense system BUK?
    Answer : No.

    This „No“ means „No there are no US satellite images that show a missile defense system BUK” !
    If the German Government does not know whether there are satellite images or not, they had formulated the answer different. Like “As far as the federal government know…”

    Conversely, this answer could mean either :
    a. There are no US satellite pictures related to the shoot down of MH17.
    b. There are satellite images, but they show another weapon system.

    Also interesting is this answer :

    58. Lässt sich nach Kenntnis der Bundesregierung aktuell beweisen, dass Flug MH17 am 17. Juli 2014 nicht vom ukrainischen Militär abgeschossen wurde?
    Nach Kenntnis der Bundesregierung lässt sich die Schuldfrage für den Absturz des Fluges MH17 derzeit nicht abschließend klären.

    Translation :
    58. Question : To the knowledge of the Federal Government is their currently any prove that Flight MH17 was not shot down by the Ukrainian military on July 17, 2014 ?
    Answer : As far as the federal government know, the blame for the crash of flight MH17 can not conclusively be clarified now.

  11. Liane Theuer // June 20, 2016 at 11:07 pm // Reply

    Ray McGovern worked for the CIA under seven presidents. Then he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

    On June 6/2016 he gave an interview in Berlin. Again he stated about MH17 (translation from German) :
    „And ? Who did it ? The Russians, of course, the Russians.
    But my colleagues in the CIA said „no, we don´t agree“. And that´s the reason why John Kerry had to present a very strange assessment, a „Government Assessment“.
    It could not be an „Intelligence Assessment“ because my former colleagues didn´t agree.
    But the government wanted to blame Russia. And now we have the sanctions.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suDflLciHWc

    On August 17/2015 Ray McGovern wrote this article, which is absolutely worth reading :
    Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17
    „“The absence of an “Intelligence Assessment” suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia.“
    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/08/17/propaganda-intelligence-and-mh-17/

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