Saturday, November 15, 2014

New MH17 satellite photos - a warning

by Alexander Mercouris

I have deliberately helped back on the story about the satellite photos that supposedly show a Ukrainian fighter shooting down MH17 to see what the response would be, whether any more evidence would come to light and what the Russian government and military would say about them .

In the event the Russian government and military have ignored them as I notice to a great extent have Russian media organisations like Sputnik,TASS and RT.

The photos have been widely ridiculed as fakes and I am afraid I tend to agree. My reason for thinking that these photos are almost certainly fakes is not because of the specific criticisms that have been made of the photos (persuasive though some of these criticisms are) but that the photos are quite simply too good to be true. Until and unless we know the actual provenance of these photos (ie. whose satellite supposedly took them - we only know it was not the Russians') we should pay them no attention.

I would make two more points about these photos:

1. It seems that these photos were part of the evidence used by a body known as the Russian Institute of Engineers that published a report on MH17. I don't know much about this body but I was frankly unimpressed by the report. If the report did draw on these photos, then I am afraid that is another reason to treat that report with skepticism.

2. From literally the day MH17 was shot down it has been clear to me that an organised attempt is being made by someone to spread the story that MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter. There was the story of the mysterious Spanish air traffic controller for instance that circulated within hours of the tragedy and which effectively got the theory going. Note that we have heard little or nothing from this person since then, which makes his evidence look even more like someone's fabrication.

It is possible that those behind this operation are the Russians, possibly because they know that that is what happened and they want to draw people's attention to the fact. However if that were the case then I would have expected them to say as much publicly and to make their evidence public since they have no conceivable reason to keep it secret.

I have to say (and I have been worrying about this for some time) that It seems to me frankly more likely that whoever is behind the campaign to circulate this theory is doing so deliberately in order to create a false trail in the full knowledge that the theory is false and that it will eventually be proved to be false, leaving those who believed it feeling foolish and appearing discredited.

Let me assure people that I know both from history and experience that these sort of provocation tactics really do happen in the world of intelligence and there most definitely are people working in intelligence agencies around the world who really are capable of concocting and carrying out operations of this sort. The fact that these photos appear to originate with a western source strengthen these concerns. .

Let me remind people of my previous comment: we should not let ourselves be hustled into a false binary where fighter=Ukrainians and BUK=NAF. As of today we know for a fact the Ukrainians had both and we do not know for a fact that the NAF had either. That is as far as the facts so far go.

Commentary by the Saker: while I do not have the expertise to state so categorically, I continue to believe that this is a fake.  What I am sure of is that it shows a Su-27 and not a Su-25 (or even a MiG-29).  The difference between a Su-27 and Su-25 is immense, and if we accept the notion that a Su-278 might have attacked MH-17 then we need to completely revise our model of the flight envelopes of the two aircraft and of the engagement.  I am not saying categorically that this is impossible, but only that I am extremely dubious.

The Saker