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Jet Fighter Shoot Down of MH 17 Still on Table - Dutch Prosecutor

October 28th, 2014

Michael Collins
A senior prosecutor investigating the MH17 shoot down for the Dutch Prosecutors office, Fred Westerbeke, offered up as many questions as he did answers in an interview with SpiegelOnline yesterday. He's open to the possibility that another plane shot down MH17 and welcomed Russian evidence in that regard. He indicated a less than forthcoming attitude on the part of the Germans when he commented on the new German intelligence (the BND) leak that absolved Russia of any involvement shoot down but blamed "pro Russian militias." Like the Germans, according to Westerbeke, it appears that the United States Obama administration has yet to supply its alleged satellite image evidence supporting the claims that pro Russian militia forces brought down MH17. (Image)

SpiegelOnline headlined the interview:

Chief MH17 Investigator on German Claims: 'We Will Need Evidence'
Interview by Rainer Leurs

Reuters headline was more to the point:

MH17 prosecutor open to theory another plane shot down airliner: Der Spiegel, Reuters, Oct 27

When asked about Russia's claim that the plane may have been shot down by a jet fighter, Westerbeke said:

"Going by the intelligence available, it is my opinion that a shooting down by a surface to air missile remains the most likely scenario. But we are not closing our eyes to the possibility that things might have happened differently." Fred Westerbeke, SpiegelOnline, Oct 27

Shortly after the tragedy, the Obama administration was adamant in its claim that pro Russian militia members (Southeastern Ukraine resistance) fired a missile that brought down the airliner causing 298 deaths. European Union allies echoed the claim. This was the main rationale for US-EU sanctions against Russia and the eruption of Western media attacks on Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The possibility that a jet fighter shot down MH17 represents a major assertion on the part of the Dutch prosecutor. If true, a jet fighter shoot down would clear both the resistance forces and Russia of any complicity in the event. The resistance lacked an air force (e.g., jet fighters) and there is no evidence that Russian military aircraft were anywhere near MH17. The fact that this is still a question in the minds of the key EU investigators demonstrates the rashness of the Obama-Kerry assertions that the resistance and Russia were somehow responsible.

SpiegelOnline asked about the German intelligence claim that it had evidence indicating that a resistance missile crew fired the shot that brought down MH17. Westerbeke responded:

"Unfortunately we are not aware of the specific images in question. The problem is that there are many different satellite images. Some can be found on the Internet, whereas others originate from foreign intelligence services." Fred Westerbeke, SpiegelOnline, Oct 27

A number of conclusions can be inferred from this answer. The prosecutor has seen no "specific images" to support claims by the BND. Westerbeke clearly indicates that the BND has not provided the evidence to support the claim. Why not?

When asked about "high resolution" U.S. satellite images, presumably a part of the evidence the Obama administration used to accuse the resistance and Russia, the answer was even more obvious in its implications:

"We are not certain whether we already have everything or if there are more -- information that is possibly even more specific. In any case, what we do have is insufficient for drawing any conclusions. We remain in contact with the United States in order to receive satellite photos." . Fred Westerbeke, SpiegelOnline, Oct 27

The U.S. production of imagery is such that the prosecutor doesn't know if its been provided. Even if the "high resolution" images have been provided, they are "insufficient for drawing any conclusions."

The Dutch prosecutor didn't give this interview spontaneously and it takes a huge leap of faith to assert the answers offered are simply his opinion. Unless there is some retraction in the short term, this was a planned event to stake out what prosecutors have and do not have at this point.

The following questions come to mind.

Does the U.S. have "high resolution" satellite imagery to back up Obama administration claims that it was resistance forces that brought down the plane?

If so, why is the Dutch prosecutor uncertain that they have the U.S. images?

Can we infer that if the images are in possession of the Dutch prosecutors, they're not compelling enough to make the case against the resistance? It would seem so.

If the images have not been provided by the U.S., why not?

What was the basis of German BND claims that the militia shot down MH17?

It's fair to conclude that the Dutch prosecutor hasn't seen the BND evidence. That's the clear implication from the Westerbeke's statement, "We will need evidence."

The Obama administration, German BND, and others in the EU asserted with certainty that the resistance forces of Donetsk and Lugansk were responsible for the shoot down. This certainty carried over to the mainstream media, which accepted the claim uncritically.

It is absolutely clear that the dangers of a superpower confrontation, the disruptions caused by sanctions, and the hostilities that may last for years were all based on claims that lacked conclusive evidence. Why else would those making the claims fail to provide the evidence to the official investigative body at this late date?

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