It has long been clear that the countries represented in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) are not equal in their rights. It has long been stated that the investigation involved not only those countries whose citizens were killed in the crash, but also Ukraine. This is unacceptable because it does not guarantee the independence of the inquiry. Ukraine is a party to the conflict, it is charged with complicity in the Malaysian airliner's catastrophe because it has not closed its airspace over the combat zone despite the warnings. This is what Ukraine is particularly accused of by the citizens of Germany, whose relatives were killed in the plane crash.
Back in the middle of last year it became known that the Ukrainian intelligence service tapped into the Dutch diplomats and military, as well as employees of intelligence services and prosecutor's office. This fact alone demonstrates the mutual distrust of parties involved in the investigation.
According to the latest JIT report presented at a press conference in May this year, the Malaysian airliner was shot down by a Buk missile delivered by a towing car from the Russian army's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade. The governments of the Netherlands and Australia accused Russia of the tragedy. This viewpoint was shared by the US government and then Germany, as well as NATO and the EU. What caught the eye was that Belgium and Malaysia stayed out of this game. Ukraine's failure to join seemed to have tactical reasons – it was necessary to make the investigation appear adequate and balanced.
Malaysia has long been skeptical about the Joint Investigation Team's performance. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in Japan that his government was waiting for firm evidence that it was the Russian side who shot down the MN17. "They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence? We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian-type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine. You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians. It could be by the rebels in Ukraine; it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile."
Malaysian Prime Minister believes that the Russians are out of the picture. They knew that the MH17 was a passenger plane, he said, adding the following: "I don’t think a very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile." He also pointed out that Malaysia had not participated in decoding the flight recorder, despite the fact that the aircraft belonged to Malaysia and the victims were nationals of that country. "For some reason, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened." The head of the Malaysian Cabinet also sharply criticized the involvement of too many politicians in the probe: "The idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it on the Russians. This is not a neutral kind of examination. Had a neutral party examined and made the conclusion, Malaysia is willing to accept the findings but here we have parties with political interests in the matter."
Fragments of the Prime Minister's speech reveal not only the contradictions among the JIT countries involved, but also imply accusations of pursuing certain political goals. The investigation team, which is dominated by anti-Russian Western countries, failed to assemble an overwhelming evidence base of what had happened. International investigators inexplicably refused to study the US-possessed data from American satellites. For some obscure reason, Ukraine was easily forgiven, even though it failed to provide radar footage – allegedly due to an outage of all the Ukrainian radars that very day. In addition, the JIT entirely believed some materials of Bellingcat, a politically motivated group of individuals whose "head" Elliot Higgins, not educated in the field of forensic medicine, had actively cooperated with the Atlantic Council and even got funds from it.
Malaysian allegations of a biased probe could certainly "play into" Russia's hands, the more so because it is considered to have a fellow feeling for the Russian Federation. However, the fact that Malaysia has been denied direct access to the transcript of flight recorders is a news that only enhances distrust of the Dutch-led investigation. It is noteworthy that so far neither the government of the Netherlands nor other countries bringing charges against Russia, have responded to Malaysian claims.
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