The Malaysian airliner

 

The sudden deaths of the passengers on the airliner over the Ukraine has come as a dreadful shock. If it was mass murder we need to know who did it and why. The families of those who have lost loved ones have our deepest sympathy.

The first requirement is for the establishment of an authoritative and independent enquiry to see if the airliner was shot down as most assume and if so how it was shot down and by whom. If not we need to know why it crashed.

This is a dangerous situation which will only be made worse if states comment and act on rumour or suspicion before we know the truth of what happened.

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53 Comments

  1. ian wragg
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    As the world gets a more dangerous place it highlights the folly of your parties devastation of our armed forces. All CMD’s foreign aid will not protect us from rogue states even if it does give him a buzz pledging our children’s and grand children’s wealth.
    Your government led by one of the most devious people on earth has never been more wrong on practically every issue of the day.
    As he continues to align us with that failed experiment (the EU) we become sorely unprepared to defend ourselves or render assistance to weaker states.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      An appalling tragedy or outrage my sympathies go out to anyone connected.

      @ian wragg:

      On defence do not worry the government and Ed Davey now free of the sane Owen Patterson must have plans for planes and ships driven by lithium batteries recharged from wind power, PV cells or seagull poo and with a range of over 100 metres between recharges. Aircraft carriers without aircraft are clearly much greener and there is little point in attacking them (in a war) anyway as they are useless already. All will be well so long as it is sunny and windy during any war and it is only 100 metres away. They will also have some Boris bikes converted to pedalo/canoes as a back up I’m sure.

      Cameron does seem to have a talent for being wrong (in his actions) on nearly every issue. Just do the complete opposite and we would be heading right every time. I assume he was in favour of the ERM disaster too, wrong on taxes, energy, waste, the NHS, education, wars, uncontrolled immigration, the EU, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya is looking pretty dreadful too.

    • Hope
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Who created the instability in the Ukraine in the first instance? This must be the starting point because it was a peaceful place befor EU expansionism, led on by the US. It appears to me those who started this horrible mess, leading to this tragedy, ought to hang their heads in shame, resign and be grateful they are not subject to the law for their actions.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted July 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        One of the starting points was a bomb in a box of chocolates which killed the Ukrainian nationalist leader Konovalets in 1938. It’s worth reading Pavel Sudoplatov’s fascinating autobiography. He carried out the assassination and describes it in detail in his book.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Well done Hope.

        It IS the EU’s fault. It provoked tension in the region. Such things happen where there is conflict.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        No. The people responible are those who shot down the plane. Let’s see who that was and then make comments.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Martin – No.

          Even if there is a link to Putin. Then what ?

          We cannot have people choosing to ignore why there is a war in Ukraine in the first place and why there was a war zone to ‘mistakenly’ fly over.

          The EU caused the destabilisation of a region that was none of its business. We know this already and the best way to avert an escalation in this crisis is to start from this premise rather than when soldiers already in combat fired a rocket.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 20, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            Sorry Richard. My comment to ‘Martin’ was to you.

  2. Stephen Berry
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Dangerous indeed.

    We know how the sinking of the Lusitania and death of hundreds of civilians was a powerful motive force behind the American entry into the First World War.

    Already last night I saw a couple of American commentators on the BBC blaming the crash of the Malaysian aircraft on the Donbas separatists and calling on the West to toughen its response in the Ukraine. Remarkable that 100 years after that incident in Sarajevo, people don’t have the sense to see how events in Eastern Europe can spiral out of control. The main aim of the British government, ably supported by our more intelligent MPs, should be to stay out of this Ukrainian mess.

    Amazing that commercial airliners were still flying of a war zone where planes had already been shot down by missiles.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Lets remember that the EU and its expansionist plans via trade and then eventual membership started this conflict. It was a threat to the Russians but won’t be reported like this via the legacy media.

    • oldtimer
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It was reported that commercial flights had been banned below 31000 ft, beyond the range of hand held missiles. If a missile was the cause then it would have come from a more sophisticated launcher. Malaysia Airlines was not the only commercial airline still using this same flight corridor yesterday, but it was most certainly the unlucky one if a mssile was indeed the cause of its destruction.

    • BobE
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      “Amazing that commercial airliners were still flying of a war zone where planes had already been shot down by missiles.”

      That is the true crime. Why wasn’t that airspace closed after the first aircraft was shot down?

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    my family were on MH3 the London to KL flight in the air at the same time, I was watching the flightpath live at the time, MH3 was only slightly behind and to the South of the downed flight it could easily have been them.

    the flight also, for instance, goes straight through the middle of Afganistan

    I think the assumption that people on the ground cannot fire this high is clearly out of date now, and all routes need to reviewed with this in mind.

    Thanks for your kind words John, we need to get to the bottom of this asap.

  4. Gary Jones
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Agreed, anti aircraft missiles that can down an airliner are pretty sophisticated, most insurgents only posess weaponry to attack helicopters and low flying craft.,but yes caution is needed.

  5. Elliot Kane
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    With so many politicians and media figures rushing to condemn anyone in the region they don’t like before the facts are even close to being known, thank you for keeping a cool head and a sense of proportion, John.

    It’s nice to know at least one British politician is more interested in finding out what really happened than in strutting for the press.

  6. Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The chances of finding the perpetrators are remote. Does anyone expect that those responsible will be in any position to implicate Putin? The Russians will not risk their being captured.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      The perpetrators are probably already face down in a ditch.

  7. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I fully agree

  8. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    A lesson for Warmongers ie Cameron Blair and the Russians that ‘arming the rebels’, in whatever situation is a very stupid idea. We don’t know who the good and bad people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and what is good today my well be bad tomorrow, especially in a war situation.

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        I agree Logic unfortunately the supremely naive David Cameron seems blind to this argument. It was he that wished to arm Syrian ‘rebels’ until he was forced into a U turn by a commons vote.

        Arguably David Cameron is one of the most dangerous men in Britain such as is his capacity for causing harm by hazard of his poor judgement and position of authority.

        Who in their right mind would consider giving an untrained and unknown group. David Cameron backed by the political correct BBC.
        They like Cameron fall for the lazy PC line of dividing groups into victims (who can do no wrong) and oppressors (evil).

        Quite how a man can rise to the highest office in the land and not understand that the boundary’s between ‘rebel’ and ‘terrorist’ are hazy and can shift is beyond me.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I too echo the view that commercial flights over the Ukraine were risky to say the least . The relationship with Russia is already at an all time low and there is now a grave danger that it will get worse . The lack of strong leadership in all the leaders of the West shows .

  10. Roger Farmer
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I suspect we the general public will never know the complete truth of what happened and who was responsible because it would give away just how detailed the intelligence survey is of this conflict area. I imagine the intelligence overview to be largely American and they would not wish the Russians or by default Islamic terrorists to be aware of just how extensive and comprehensive it is.
    Churchill only allowed selective use of Ultra information during WW2 for fear that Germany would realise just how much we knew. The Americans will apply the same principal.

  11. Robert Taggart
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    As you intimate Johnny – cool heads be needed right now.

    But – one hopes this outrage will eventually be linked to ‘Mother Russia’ (whether The Russian Federation or its insurgents) – if only for the wider world to wake up and take action (non combative to begin with) against ‘her’.

    The only language the Russkies understand is power / might / force. Ergo – it may come down to a bare knuckle fight – eventually.

    • formula57
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Too true Robbie – but with our own dear Foreign Office now bereft of the direction offered by William “let’s bomb Syria” Hague, can we rely upon a sufficiently belligerent response being made to scare the naughty Russkies into submission, thereby to protect our own vital interests?

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Well Formy…
        Hammond be ‘his own man’ – perhaps he could bring the all too emollient FCO mandarins to order ?
        Just hoping he does not go the way of ‘Billy Boy’ – native !

  12. Roger Farmer
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    To my above comment I would also add that it was not very clever on the part of aviation authorities to allow civilian aircraft anywhere near this war zone where missiles were known to have been used. I hope that the Israel/ Gaza area is also out of bounds.
    Guilt for this act needs to be established so that compensation can be paid to all those who have suffered a loss, inadequate though this will be.

  13. Max Dunbar
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    A certain irony that a British armoured division is marking its move from Germany to the UK with a march-past on the very day that tensions in eastern Europe mount. An urgent re-appraisal of our armed forces’ capabilities and possible future deployments would be in order. One point that is obvious even to the uneducated military observer must surely be that part-time soldiers are no substitute for regulars no matter how tempting the cash cost savings may appear.
    It may also be worth considering the fact that Russia still occupies enormous swathes of territory belonging to Poland, Germany and Finland to this day.

  14. mickc
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    When you say “we”, do you mean the UK?

    If so, why?

    Surely this is a matter for countries concerned?

  15. Observer
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Who was the luckiest/unluckiest? William Hague or his successor at the Foreign Office?

  16. ian
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    So that”s the usual flight plan of of a dozen airplanes a day, right over the top of a war zone like donetsk. I don”t think so. I think the airplanes ground controller which gives flight path instructions to the flight crew is the first place to look .That plane had no business flying over that town. If that is the official route then there”s some think wrong. That a dozen suicide mission a day. The people on the ground there are not professionals so if you do not see airplane flying over your town everyday, what are you going to do

    • bigneil
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Go on to website “Flightradar24″ – shows flight everywhere -realtime -tracked a friends flight recently all the way from Rhodes to EMIA. no subscription if you only want a short time.

  17. Mark B
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Indeed. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

    I agree that this is the time for cool heads and fact based statements. Whilst there is evidence that this maybe a result of hostile action, too many unanswered questions need to be resolved before any actions, of whatever nature, are made.

    Remember, we have been here before and, we need to take stock.

    Dr. Richard North does indeed give a balanced and thoughtful analysis of the matter. I would like to share a link with others to the story, and hope that our kind host allows it. Should he not, then it can be found on Brietbart London website.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/07/17/Passenger-Plane-Shot-Down-Over-Ukraine-The-Possible-Culprits

  18. Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your reticence but there doesn’t seem much doubt as to who and what brought this plane down.

    There is only one missile system in the area capable of bringing down a plane flying at 10,000m and the voice intercepts that have been released claim to be of named individual separatist commanders and Russian officers discussing the specific unit and individuals who were responsible. It seems extremely unlikely that these could be faked at such short notice and their accuracy has not been denied.

    Our contempt for Putin should be absolute since he has gone on record to blame the Ukrainian Government because the plane was brought down on their land rather than the separatists who he supports and to whom he clearly supplies both arms and military manpower.

    Europe countries, and Germany in particular, have very unwisely allowed themselves to become dependent on Russian oil and gas which can be cut off at a moment’s notice. They are therefore largely going to keep quiet.

    Once again it will be down to the US and our allies like Australia to make a strong response.

    Britain is increasingly tied into the discredited and ineffective EU Foreign Service which has to take into account the cynical interests of all 28 member states. As a result any statement or inaction is based on the lowest common denominator and will therefore be weak and certainly extremely couched in bland diplomatic language.

    Far from membership of the EU increasing our influence in diplomatic circles, as people like Clegg claim, it seems to me that, by being associated with the EU’s hopelessly named “Action Service,” in incidents like this, our global reach and influence is greatly diminished.

    Reply There is as yet no proof and we need to await the results of a proper investigation. I doubt Russia would want to bring down an international airliner.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Maybe not John but that doesn’t mean to say they would object to one of their client states doing the dirty work.
      When you give rebels sophisticated missile systems, they would probably use them.
      It may very well be Russia telling the EU to back off, but of course our leaders in Brussels are more stupid than home grown ones with their expansionist policies.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Russia as a nation will blame it on the Chechens. Why? Because they are the historic and recent enemy of Russia and thats enough. A good scapegoat. The reality is that is most likely Russian separatists with the technology stolen from Ukraine, but little intelligence or knowledge of how to use it. A mistake of wild shooting.

  19. Atlas
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Let us hope the truth will be found.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      About much chance of that a getting hold of the black boxes intact. How are we all getting on with our secret admiration of the Russian state?

  20. Jagman84
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Wise words indeed, Mr Redwood. I hope that they are taken on board by all the Honourable Members of the HoC. Ill-judged comments could have far-reaching consequences.

  21. NickW
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    There is such a pervasive level of distrust within and outside Ukraine, that regardless of the truth, there will be a large body of public opinion which refuses to accept it, if it does not suit their prejudices.

    The international focus has to be on the building of a lasting, just and secure peace in Ukraine.
    Any loss of life is a tragedy whether it is protesters killed in Maidan Square, separatists killed in Eastern Ukraine, or innocent airline passengers.

    We want our international leaders to pursue peace, not war; and for both the USA and Russia to fully and intelligently commit themselves to a peaceful outcome.

  22. zorro
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, these immediate cries and accusations are text book neo con language. It is necessary to be dispassionate and properly investigate how the airliner was brought down. There are a number of possibilities. As John intimates, a good place to start is ‘cui bono’ ……

    I seem to remember another country’s forces shooting down a civilian airliner but they were not punished…… Sauce for the goose?…… What is not right is to push political advantage from a devastating incident……. There is another country which is currently bombing a neighbouring province to the Stone Age…… Not hearing much condemnation there either……

    zorro

    • forthurst
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      We also need to know the flight plan filed by the pilot before entering Ukraine airspace and what instructions were given by ATC in modification; we know that MH17 was flying 200km North of its prior flightpaths over Ukraine and that it was ordered to reduce its altitude by 500m from that filed in the flight plan. Ukraine is responsible for deciding what flight paths are safe/not safe; apparently they declared altitudes of 8000m as ‘safe’. Would you fly at 2000m above a declared battlefield with missiles flying around? Would you wish to rely on ground operatives being able to read the altitude of potential targets if they actually had radar in use?

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know who fired the missile and I don’t wish to speculate, but I am worried by the attitudes demonstrated by some in the USA which have followed. They seem determined to bring Putin down and gain control of Russia somehow. And the UK shouldn’t attempt to talk tough, we’ll deserve to be laughed at.

    Separately, I wonder how much money is saved by the airlines when they fly over Ukraine instead of going round. Is it not negligent and complacent to have done so?

  24. ian
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Why has the ukraine government not released recordings of conversations between air traffic control and the flight crew of the airplane, it should.be out by now.
    I wonder why. So we live in a world where governments care about you. The chess game go”s on as usual.

  25. JoeSoap
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Another one of those strange anomalies of modern life. We can be fined for allowing our employees to gaze at a computer screen for too long or at the wrong angle. We get fined for describing the weight of what we sell in kilos not lbs so as not to confuse the customer. Yet multinational airline companies can fly their aircraft through warzones to be shot down without warning us beforehand.
    Weird.

  26. Bazman
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Russia Today. RT. I know many off you see this as a reliable news source and truth teller. How are you finding their truth on this one. As reliable and truthful as western corruption and banking scandals? Which I have to say was insightful, truthful and a embarrassment to the western coverage of this. Lets hope they are as thorough on the shooting down of a civilian aircraft with nearly 300 on board. About as thorough as they are on Russian human rights abuses and state corruption commonly know as theft. I’ll tell you the Russian attitude to this catastrophe. Shouldn’t have been there. Don’t put western values on Russia. You are way off the mark in this massive brutal country.

    • Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      They’re quite open about it. One of the first lines on their website states that they use the same facts to give an alternate view.

      This sort of approach is very useful – whereas our media tends to focus on the ‘cuddly toy’ human interest angle RT tends to be more detached and hard-edged. They actually appear to have reporters on the ground.

      But you’re right, most of their coverage is loony lefty – they’re pro-Palestinian, anti big business, anti fracking and they certainly dislike the US – but that’s what they’ve deliberately set out to be, a counterbalance to the western media.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        RT’s modus operandi is to undermine the west with the truth, but never to tell the truth about Russia. The loony left is what you see the truth as, telling the world about the many problems and questionable viability of fracking and the problems caused by big business such as banks in the west for example.

  27. Gary
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    If you never believed the mainstram media was owned and co-ordinated, then this incident should dispel any doubts. As one, they rushed to judgement ,predictably blaming Russia even before we knew exactly what happened.

    There are desperate war mongers behind the scenes and they revealed their hand.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      What was RT’s stance on this Gary? Sara Firth a British journalist working for Russia Today, the Kremlin-backed English language television channel, has resigned in protest at the network’s biased coverage of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet. You are deluded.

  28. NickW
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Some more thoughts;

    I have seen comments elsewhere, (but cannot vouch for their reliability), that separatists have gained possession of Ukrainian anti-aircraft sites, whatever weapons were in those sites, and some of the personnel who have changed sides, (perhaps with good reason). The separatists may well have had access to the more powerful anti-aircraft weapons and trained personnel.

    But why would a pro Russian rebel force shoot down a target moving fast at high altitude into Russian airspace? Such a target would be most unlikely to be a Ukrainian Government plane which would not be in any kind of hurry to enter Russian airspace.
    It is more plausible that the airliner was shot down by the Ukrainian Government forces in the belief that it was a Russian fighter returning to base, and the pressure of time would be to shoot it down while it was still in Ukrainian air space, making mistakes more likely.

    I have Ukrainian relatives who have told me of times when Senior officers in the Ukrainian army were so corrupt that they stole the money intended for buying food for the soldiers who starved to death. Being conscripted into the Ukrainian army could well turn out to be a death sentence even when the country was not at war. There was also the risk of death or serious injury due to bullying.
    If a Ukrainian Government unit did shoot down the airliner there is a very high probability that those who did it or witnessed it have all been shot and the truth will be buried with them.
    There are good reasons why the separatists want nothing to do with the Ukrainian Government, what the EU thought it was doing in trying to bring Ukraine into the EU is another matter.

    Reply I suggest we await a proper enquiry and results of the investigation. There is distrust on both sides in the Ukrainian conflict, so we need evidence of who did this. Both the Ukrainian government and the Russian government deny it. No sane government would want to kill a lot of foreign nationals including Americans flying high above their territory or above the territory of their allies.

    • Ex-expat Colin
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Just trying to imagine a proper investigation there. Think most of thats been concluded by Obama and the UK Gov…from what I hear/read. The UK press seems to think its Putins fault…well, and truly. Back out of that lot if you can?

      Has the EU opened its trap yet?

      I have experience of the Hawk missile system and that has a firing sequence (pre-conditions/safety) and a successful hit is something else.

      Once such systems are out on the road they are up for grabs and it takes little imagination to understand that a crew under threat won’t be driving away from a threat in a launcher. Something faster and abandoning the launcher(s). A crew were likely captured along with the systems.

      When a newly elected president states that hostilities won’t continue in E. Ukraine by the Ukraine military and then it does (strike aircraft) I think a few launchers would be very handy. However, those launchers will have no info supplied about flying objects in theatre, just what the tracker radar shows.

      Having experienced what the new president propels at you and your kin I believe you will fire at anything flying toward you. The earlier the better.

      The question is what was a civilian airliner doing in a conflict zone? And its Malayan – again!

      There are safety issues with such systems…accidents generally land up in somebody’s conservatory etc. or the destruct mechanism fails.

  29. Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    It’s now fairly certain that the plane was shot down by Russian speaking rebels in Eastern Ukraine, using anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Russia, who also provided training in their use. What possible value could there be to the Ukrainian government in shooting down a civilian aircraft containing over 200 EU citizens? There is also the behaviour of the Russian speaking rebels. Why are they denying site access to international investigators? Why is the black box not already in the Netherlands?

    The Ukrainian government has been unable to recover control of the eastern Ukraine. Russia’s objective would appear to be to keep eastern Ukraine as part of the Ukraine (so that its citizens can take part in future Ukrainian elections) but on a federal basis, on which they would negotiate with the Ukrainian government (similar to the Good Friday agreement on the future of Northern Ireland).

    The UK cannot control or predict the outcome. Our own interest lies in vetoing Ukrainian membership of the EU until we regain control of our own borders and the militaristic Lisbon Treaty is scrapped. And in receiving compensation for the loss of our civilian nationals.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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