Writer and broadcaster Simon Ludgate, author of The Accidental Wizard and Gabriel’s Lyre, is an expert on aircraft crashes. Here he looks at Malaysian Airlines MH17 which is becoming a deepening mystery and worse nightmare as every day passes.
Carnage after the downing of Flight MH17
I wanted to try to find something good to say about the tragic MH17 crash. I have delayed writing this for a few days in order to let things settle a bit and hope some sense would come out of all the blurring horror and pornographic images of the aftermath filling our screens every day. The definition of pornography is “liable to deprave and corrupt” and if this body blow to the free world isn’t exactly that, show me what is.
President Putin must be the most depraved and corrupted of them all then. Doesn’t he control what the Russian Separatists do? Doesn’t he supply them with their arms? I am well aware that ISIS are very likely fighting with US supplied weapons in Iraq, but I doubt Obama is telling them what to do. At least I pray he isn’t.
Putin has had most leaders of countries with teeth on the phone telling him off but I don’t see any cordons being lifted or bodies handed over yet. And if that has happened by the time you read this, it is far too bloody late.
We have moved several steps closer to devaluing life altogether and falling prostrate before international bully states like Russia who we allow to lie and cheat. Every single one of those souls on MH17 were innocent of any wrongdoing or provocation. So why are they all decomposing in railway carriages when they should have been repatriated to their loved ones days ago, their belongings as far as possible intact, their wallets undisturbed, their valuables undefiled.
Suddenly we are back to the very dark days of the Siege of Leningrad where Hitler held siege to Leningrad for months and the casualties mounted in their thousands on both sides as the harsh Russian winter froze them all in minus 50 degrees centigrade. The acts of inhumanity and cruelty which were committed by both sides – the Germans and the besieged Russians – were unspeakable and brutal. And it lost Hitler the war on the Eastern Front and ultimately his entire Demonic plan.
The people in the disputed territories of Eastern Ukraine, the Russian Separatists, have learned nothing in the ensuing 75 years. I saw a short interview with a local Russian fighter who sneered at the reporter at the site of the crash and asked him why it took a plane crash full of Europeans to get him to come. Well, your compatriots appeared to shoot it down for no good reason, and are now holding the corpses of the innocent as a bargaining chip. To what end? To force the Ukrainian Militia to withdraw? To force Putin to provide more protection? No one is coming forward with a coherent answer and they won’t.
Liable to deprave and corrupt? Way, way too late. The avalanche of lies, recrimination and cynical deceit from the Russians beggars belief and asks very serious questions about their humanity.
What message does this give to anyone with a trace of compassion and some vestige of faith in human nature? The men who shot the plane down clearly have none. Can you imagine any other country in the world behaving like that? I can think of one or two, but they are beyond saving. The point is this. As a race, a civilisation, a huge tribe of animals who function pretty much the same way universally, we must stop this slide into a Demonic nihilism. It is destroying us.
We are standing by, sitting uncomfortably and guiltily on our hands, while violence and revenge have each other in a death grip and yet we do nothing except issue statements, resolutions and platitudes. I’m doing it right now. Venting an inner scream of horror and indignation for the human race’s capacity for evil.
And the dilemma is I have absolutely no idea what to do to interrupt what seems like a hopeless spiral into the pit. Why is it that the million small acts of kindness and compassion which are carried out every day seem to count for nothing? And yet it feels like evil and the lust for the blood of innocents is a famished monster which is never sated. What is driving it? What is behind it all?
I work as a healer – I’m a qualified Reiki Practitioner – and I am very sensitive to prevalent energies. Think of the world’s energy balance as a long beach. As the weather and the tides change, the aspect of the beach and my perception changes radically. Often by the hour. That is how the world feels to me. The parallel “sensing” of how things are runs directly next to my professional investigative self. The two inform one another.
I can’t recall such powerful energies since 9/11, the murder of Diana Princess of Wales or the disappearance of MH370 two months ago. This crash is right up there. Because it is so much more than a terrible loss of life. It is a barometer for how we are. And how we are is lost, beleaguered, unempowered, scared and impotently angry.
The irony is we have never been more powerful, more able to wreak terrible revenge, or do it so quickly. We have become terrified of what we are. What we are is 20 minutes from Armageddon – permanently. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s been like this since Robert Oppenheimer harnessed nuclear holocaust and the US dropped two nuclear weapons on the Japanese, some would argue needlessly, to expedite the end of a world war which was killing the world.
We figuratively hold a gun to our own heads the whole time now as we have the power to destroy our world by a few keyboard strokes and two phone calls.
And do you know what really has got under my skin about this latest insult to what we are as humans, the magnificent, beautiful, complex beings we are? All I have are questions. There are no answers. It is driving me mad. I feel as if I have been forced to the point of despondency by only being left with questions. There is no chance of closure for anyone, most of all those poor people who have to carry on without their loved ones, colleagues, husbands, wives, children or friends.
How dare they take that from us? Not just here but over thousands of years of brutality and sin against what we are, what our contract is with ourselves and God. I’m not religious – religion has a massive debt of guilt for causing much of that blood-letting – but I am acutely aware and connected to a divine energy which created all of this. And the best we can do is to behave like this. It is just not good enough and has to stop.
What makes the situation in Eastern Ukraine so despicable – apart from the obvious criminal miscalculation which led to blasting MH17 out of the sky in the first place – is the sea of confusion it has thrown me into as an observer of plane crash scenarios. Whenever I have researched the history of a crash, and the trail is invariably cold by then anyway, there is a pattern to the way it happened even if the actual accident appeared random and unexpected.
But this crash occurred just a few days ago and all I have are unanswered questions and an increasing number of possible causes and motives. The irony is not lost on me that MH370 disappeared without trace with no reasons or explanations to offer grieving relatives and actually a very involved world at large and just two months later it happens again to the same airline and still there are no answers, even though the world can see the aftermath from a few feet away. This time we are not pointlessly combing thousands of miles of empty ocean. All the debris lies scattered across some patchy fields but is currently untouchable.
And here where is becomes increasingly bizarre and without bodies, wreckage and the flight data recorders to analyse, what actually happened is anybody’s guess.
You are pretty convinced MH17 was shot out of the sky by a Russian-made Buk 11 surface to air missile, right? I shouldn’t have to be asking the questions I am about to, but thanks to Russian Separatist, and Russian Government intractability, reluctance, game-playing or point scoring, I don’t have answers so here we go.
Why, out of the 512 airlines in the world, and 825 commercial planes which overflew that area that week, unhindered and unmolested, did the Russian Separatists pick on that one plane?
The odds of this happening by chance are ridiculously small – 825 to 1 in just that week alone.
Are we even sure it was them and not the Ukrainian Militia who support the official regime who thought they had Putin’s Ilyushin personal jet in their sites? The paint jobs look incredibly similar, although there is the matter of number of engines. Putin’s flight apparently overflew the same area 40 minutes after MH17. It would have been travelling in opposite direction ie east to west on its way back to Moscow from the BRICS economic conference in Brazil.
A Malaysian Airlines 777.
Putin’s private jet which overflew the same spot 40 minutes later. The paint scheme is very similar.
The World Bank established rivals are none too happy about the formation of BRICS which is an alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Would the West have put someone up to it and blamed the Separatists?
So far no one has come forward to say they saw the SAM smoke trail – and those particular rockets leave a big easy to see trail.
Can we be sure it was a rocket at all? The BUK 11 warhead has a proximity fuse like most rockets and shells. This means it explodes before it intersects its target which causes more damage and spreads the shrapnel from the metal jacket band payload wider, causing more damage. Red hot bits of metal travelling at supersonic speeds are even more destructive than an explosion.
Explosions move outwards like the spokes of a wheel. The shockwave can decimate one soldier and leave the next untouched. A friend of mine who was blown up in the IRA Harrod’s car bomb witnessed this phenomenon first hand. The policewoman next to her was blown in half and she was unharmed.
I finally saw some evidence of shrapnel around the cockpit instruments and the forward area of what remained of the fuselage. So the missile may have exploded in front of the aircraft. This would possibly cause an instantaneous disruption to the structural integrity of the fuselage and the plane would have shredded to bits.
I know from previous investigations that there are some really odd things about the way bodies react to explosive decompression at height and the way they end up on the ground. But it struck me as very odd the way there were blackened corpses intermingled with completely unburnt bodies. They looked as if they had been arranged or added. And amongst aluminium plane debris which had been turned to ash by the heat of the fire – generally 1500-1800 deg C – there were piles of passports being filmed which were untouched. Anything could have been moved, several miles possibly, but there was so much of it and I doubt the locals are that inventive.
Pristine passports from the crash
People on the scene were quoted as saying some of the bodies seemed as if they had been dead much longer than others but again, it’s more confusing than helpful.
Buk missiles are radar guided so would not climb up the heat signature of the engines behind the aircraft which infra-red heat seeking missiles do. An explosion behind the aircraft could have been survivable.
It may also have been caused by a bomb on board – and you do wonder why MH17 was curving south slightly 25 kilometres off its approved flightpath. Was the pilot under duress?
Was the shrapnel from an internal bomb in the cockpit?
The recordings of Russian Separatist units discussing the attack and the wreckage have been circulating extensively. Seems like pretty damning evidence except both sides are accusing each other and denying the conversations ever took place. They did.
Why were Ukrainian air traffic control computer files seized immediately by the authorities? Again, these have not been offered as evidence. Funny that. And I have heard reports of Ukrainian fighter aircraft shadowing commercial jets in the region to either gain access to aeriel reconnaissance of Russian Separatist military positions and strength or be ready to attack any airborne incursions.
It’s ridiculous that these should even be options with the evidence lying at the feet of investigators. Inspections of the bodies for shrapnel wounds would tell a story. Downloading the flight recorders would tell another. Being able to analyse the shrapnel and explosives residues from the wreckage and the bodies would provide definitive answers.
There is a chapter and verse forensic conclusion about everything hanging over that wreckage and it is being prevented by a rag bag group of drunken and depraved peasants who want to gain coin from the abject, agonising suffering of innocent people from another country who have no involvement or interest in their war.
This story gets weirder when you consider the case of Dutch passenger Cor Pan. Shortly before he boarded MH17, Mr Pan, a musician from Holland, took a snap of MH17 on the stand. He posted it on Facebook with the caption, “This is what the plane looks like if we get lost.”
Every commercial plane carries a two digit identifier on the noseweheel flap and in his picture the two letters read RC. MH17 was 9M –MRD. MRD is clearly visible on the fuselage on the ground. The letters should have read RD. RC on that day was Malaysian Airlines’ flight from Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai, India – the opposite direction.
Cor pan’s photo from his Facebook page. RC designation on the nosewheel of Flight MH17. It should read RD.
Another version alleging to be the same shot. Same RC designation but the pipes below the plane have disappeared. Someone is playing games.
But a little repainting or attaching transfers is a very easy job.
This is already the subject of a great deal of internet chatter claiming things like it’s a trick of the light, Mr Pan was on the wrong flight and weirdest conspiracy theory of all it actually read RD. Which was MH370’s designation.
Pan’s picture looks very much like others I’ve seen of MH17 on the stand at Schipol Airport. I’ve seen claims that the stand, umbilical power lines and the light are different and I agree – versions elsewhere purporting to be Cor Pan’s photo are minus the pipes. But Cor Pan’s picture from his Facebook page complete with pipes is of the plane he was about to get on and the nosewheel says RC – the wrong flight. Apparently the geotag on his picture confirms it was taken at Schipol.
The biggest question mark for me is the picture was taken through the window of another jet. So was he arriving on a connecting flight which happened to park up immediately next door? But he was on MH17 when it crashed so more confusion.
No one can say for sure, probably even a pixellation analyst who studies faked video and stills professionally, but Mr Pan died on MH17 that day and was nowhere near India. But it seems he was taking a picture of the wrong plane which should have been 5,000 miles away.
If you think this through, the story becomes even more tortuous. What if MH370 (remember that?) didn’t crash after all? I have my own theories which I have detailed here before, but what if the total absence of debris from a 500,000 pound plane with 16,000 gals of aviation fuel on board can be explained by the fact it didn’t crash after all? What if it was smuggled across the world via Diego Garcia, the British-owned island occupied by a US airbase in the middle of the Indian Ocean?
There was a yet to be explained sudden ATC radar blackout across a succession of countries from Kazakhstan as far as Germany on June 5th and 10th. Dozens of commercial flights disappeared for as much as 20 minutes at a time along a corridor which stretched thousands of miles in virtually a straight line.
It was as if ATC primary and secondary radar was being jammed by forces unknown. The likelihood of more than one radar system having a problem at once is miniscule – big solar flares can do this but I somehow doubt this was the reason. There were 20 Freescale Semiconductor employees on MH370 who specialised in radar jamming, missile guidance systems and military specification microchips. What if they were put to work on a stolen P3 Sentry or some sort of AWACS (Airborne Warning and Command System) to jam ATC radar before they were killed or enslaved somewhere?
This is straight out of a bad Bond movie script, but enslaving your enemy or its spies is nothing new. Slave labour is an old communist favourite.
What if the forces behind such a plot which had been planned with precision and enormous organisation for months, years even, had a game plan to stab a stolen plane into the best high return target in Europe or Russia to promote or conversely disguise activity?
I don’t need to remind you that two hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Centre towers.
As I write it has been announced the flight data recorders are to be handed over to the Malaysian authorities and the bodies flown back to Amsterdam. Finally. Finally, we should start to get some answers, not more questions.
Cor Pan’s Facebook Page
Uncensored footage of the bodies (graphic)
Missile launcher repsonsible
Russian rebels discussing the attack