Serious Conflicts of Interest in MH17 Investigation led by Dutch Safety Board
nsnbc : The Dutch Safety Board which is leading the investigation into the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster in Ukraine published a press release on the status of the investigation. nsnbc asked the Dutch Safety Board for the release of data to independent media and questions about serious conflicts of interest. The answers are not only politically relevant, they are deeply disturbing for the flying public.
The Dutch Safety Board, on August 11, issued a press release pertaining the status of the ongoing investigation into the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) explained that some 5 aircraft accident investigators have collected as much information as possible in Ukraine, so it was not necessary to stay in Ukraine to complete the investigation and write a report.
The DSB announced that a preliminary report would be published in about a weeks time. It states that this report will contain the first factual finding:
“arising from the investigation based on various sources, such as the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder (the black boxes), air traffic control data, radar and satellite images”.
The DSB stated that this data is currently being compared and will subsequently be analyzed. It adds, that it is unclear whether this information could be supplemented with information from further investigations at the crash site, citing the changed safety situation in Ukraine as reason.
It is noteworthy that the military forces loyal to the post-coup government in the Ukrainian capital Kiev have intensified their military campaign in the region since the crash of MAS MH17 causing a state of emergency in several Russian regions due to the displaced, predominantly ethic Russian or Russian-speaking population. The number of Ukrainian refugees who have been displaced and fled to Russia is estimated to be about 480,000.
The DSB adds in its press release that to “date, under Ukrainian supervision, only a few investigators were able to briefly visit the crash site”.
The statement is in direct conflict with previous statements issued by both the Malaysian government, Malaysian air-crash investigators and OSCE observers who praised the local authorities in the rebelling Donetsk People’s Republic for their cooperation.
These statements were both pertaining the handover of the so-called black boxes, access of OSCE observers and air-crash investigators to the 40 x 40 km crash site, and access of an international police force.
Meanwhile Kiev’s sharply increased military operations after the crash and the U.S. and other key NATO members used the death of the 298 on board the Boeing 777-200 to directly blame the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. The propaganda charade prompted Malaysian PM Najib Razak to leash out at “those behind the geopolitical chess game” that led to the tragedy.
nsnbc has contacted the Ukrainian Ministries of the Interior, of Infrastructure, of Defense, and the Foreign Ministry about access to the raw data from Ukrainian air traffic controllers, radar data, and other relevant information such as the deployment of fighter jets and missile batteries; without receiving any response.
nsnbc contacted the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for access to the raw data of the radar images from the Rostov region which showed that a jet with primary radar return only ascended near MH17 shortly before the crash. The radar data also showed that MH17 apparently attempted an evasive maneuver or for other reasons abruptly changed course. nsnbc did not receive any reply.
nsnbc contacted the U.S. State Department about evidence which the U.S. government proclaimed it was in possession of. Evidence which allegedly implicated “pro-Russian rebels”. nsnbc would have liked to know whom to contact to ask for access to this purported evidence. No reply.
nsnbc contacted the Dutch Safety Board before it published its press release and afterwards. The official spokesperson of the DSB, Sarah Vernooij, wrote “Alas, the chairman of the board is not in the opportunity to give any interviews“. She explained that “the chairman was very busy” but answered some of nsnbc’s questions.
nsnbc had previously contacted the DSB and applied for a copy of the “Comma Separated Variable” CSV Files from the flight data recorder of MH17. nsnbc stressed that independent media’s access to the CSV files was important for several reasons.
For one, only an independent analysis of the CSV files can positively identify that the plane in question, or that the flight data recorder was from MAS MH17.
The other reason was that an independent analysis could disclose whether any of the data have been manipulated after the fact.
Finally, it is only an independent comparison of the data from the flight data recorder with Ukrainian and Russian radar data that can disclose whether there was an attempt to manipulate the outcome of an investigation and by whom.
Geopolitical implications set beside, these are questions which should concern all frequent fliers and which according to a professional Danish pilot nsnbc consulted, concern a large number of his colleagues. The DSB’s reply to our questions about independent media’s access to the raw data was:
The first findings will be published in the preliminary report expected in a couple of weeks. All the information that is necessary and relevant to explain what the cause of the crash is, will be published in the final report of the investigation. The original sources will not be disclosed after publication (not after the publication of the preliminary nor after publication of the final report). This is according to the Dutch law which the Dutch Safety Board works to. (emphasis added).
nsnbc asked how the general public and especially frequent fliers shall trust the independence of the investigation, adding that last time nsnbc checked, the Netherlands was both a member of NATO and of the European Union.
The body of evidence that proves that both NATO and the EU are parties to the conflict in Ukraine which may have led to the crash is overwhelming. We stressed that Dutch authorities hardly can be perceived as “independent” party to the situation in Ukraine which may have led to the crash of the plane. As expected, DSB spokesperson Sarah Vernooij responded:
“The investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices in ICAO Annex 13 and the Dutch law”.
It is noteworthy that nsnbc has contacted to ICAO, among others to clarify such conflicts of interests and ICAO regulations in that regard; The ICAO never returned our phone calls as promised. Ms. Vernooij, however, added:
“The Dutch Safety Board is independent of the Dutch government or other countries and organizations”.
We were so kind not to ask Ms. Vernooj where her pay check is coming from but maintain that only full access to all of the available raw data files for independent media can guaranty that the truth about the tragedy that claimed 298 lives comes to light.
CH/L & F/AK – nsnbc 14.08.2014
UPDATE: 22.08.2014. – On Fiday, nsnbc received the English language translation of a statement issued by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB). By that time, the DSB should according to previous statements, already have issued a preliminary report. nsnbc responded to the statement with additional questions and a request for additional documentation.
nsnbc will be publishing a follow-up report soon after we receive a response to our extensive follow-up questions to the DSB, or in the case that the DSB fails to respond in a full or timely manner. Please let us reiterate that we, as editors at nsnbc, prefer quality reports rather than quantity and that we investigate as much as our time and resources allow for (see below).
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