Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Crashes in Ukraine


The Living Force
Archiving the latest installment from John Helmer as carried on SOTT. He concentrates on the issue of the satellite images the Americans claim to have and the fact that the presiding judge now has accepted -despite a court order to procure and reveal those images- that they will not be provided. In stead, there's only a memorandum from someone who has verified the source under condition of secrecy. The defense lawyers have not yet reacted to this state of affairs, which he deplores.

MH17 court cartoon: Dutch judge presents bombshell, US delivers dud - no satellite evidence of Russian shootdown --


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Aanklagers: geen immuniteit voor verdachten van de MH17-ramp

DeepL Translator said:
NOS News - Interior - Today, 15:26 - Updated Today, 16:47

Prosecutors: no immunity for suspects of the MH17 disaster


Image: ANP

The four suspects in the MH17 trial cannot invoke the so-called combatant immunity. The Public Prosecutor's Office argued this at the trial of the suspects Girkin, Dubinsky, Poulatov and Chartshenko.

Combat immunity is a legal immunity from prosecution for combatants in an international armed conflict between states. Since the People's Republic of Donetsk and the Russian Federation itself have invariably denied the existence of an authorized relationship, they cannot now invoke this form of immunity. After all, the combatants were not in the service of a state, says the PPO.

Another important criterion, disciplinary supervision, has not been met either. "However, we do see large-scale violations of the law of war, such as summary executions, torture, looting and the placing of prohibited landmines," prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse said.


The prosecution said that the suspects were identified mainly on the basis of the tapped phone calls. Although they use different names, the Public Prosecution Service was able to identify the suspects on the basis of public sources and with the help of witnesses in the area. It also became clear what the hierarchical relationships were like: Girkin was clearly the highest man. Under him were respectively Dubinsky, Poulatov and Chartshenko.

Oleg Poulatov is the only suspect represented by Dutch lawyers. Partly because of the corona crisis they haven't been able to meet him yet. The Public Prosecution fears that the trial could be slowed down as a result.

But, according to the Public Prosecutor's Office, Poulatov himself doesn't seem to be showing much effort either. Prosecutor Thijs Berger: "Poulatov hasn't tried to communicate with his counselors about the case and hasn't used the possibilities to organize his defense. It seems to be Poulatov's choice to keep contact with his lawyers only superficially and through intermediaries."

Separate treatment

The Public Prosecutor believes that the cases of Girkin, Dubinsky and Chartshenko are ready for substantive treatment in the fall. If the Poulatov case takes more time, the court may have to decide to deal with that case separately, Berger suggested.

"It's not Poulatov's unwillingness not to communicate with us," his lawyers responded. "We don't want that because it's not safe." They're referring to the risk of eavesdropping on digital communications.

The defense is also annoyed by the increasing pressure: "We boarded a train headed by the Public Prosecutor's Office as a steam locomotive and behind it three wagons with about a hundred Public Prosecutor's Office employees. In carriage 4 the court is seated, and the lawyers follow in carriage 5 which was only attached four months ago. That train is moving faster and faster, which is why we are pulling the handbrake", says lawyer Van Eijck.

The hearing will resume on Monday 22 June. Then Poulatov's lawyers will tell what wishes for further investigation they have, before the trial can really be dealt with in substance.

Flight MH17 of Malaysia Airlines was shot down over Eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014 by a BUK missile from Russia. A fierce war was raging in Eastern Ukraine at the time between Russian-minded separatists and Ukrainian government troops. Flight MH17 was on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and had 298 people on board. Among them were 196 Dutch. All occupants died.

Translated with (free version)

Other coverage in Dutch:
Advocaten 'trekken aan de handrem' in MH17-proces: 'OM moet geduld hebben'
Alles, echt álles is onderzocht bij ramp MH17 - met steeds dezelfde conclusie

Other coverage in English:
MH17 accused 'can't claim immunity' because they weren't fighting for a recognised state
US may have photos of MH17 missile: court


The Living Force
SOTT now carries a new article by John Helmer (June 10, 2020) in which he analyzes the prosecutor's presentation of two main data sets: radar data and satellite images.

Russia did not hand over satellite images, MH17 court told, the US and China also --

Two snippets:
In a surprise conclusion, Berger told the court the radar evidence from all sources was inconclusive, short of proof beyond reasonable doubt of the alleged Russian-fired BUK missile. He acknowledged that in proving his case that the missile had been fired at MH17 by the defendants from a location they prepared in advance, there was direct conflict of evidence between the Dutch Safety Board and European consultants hired by the prosecution on the one hand, and on the other, the evidence of the Russian Defence Ministry and the missile builder, Almaz Antey.

Berger summed up for the court the prosecution's "intermediate conclusion. A lot of effort was made to access all relevant satellite data... The prosecution believes that in this respect it has made all efforts that can reasonably be expected to have been made."

In Dutch criminal law the onus on the Dutch prosecution is not reasonable effort but proof beyond reasonable doubt. According to Berger, the prosecution is not claiming its radar and satellite evidence satisfy this onus.


The Living Force
Archiving the latest contribution (June 12, 2020) by John Helmer as carried on SOTT.

He now describes the Dutch judiciary system as a relic of the Roman Catholic system of law, following a review of it by Prof. Stijn Franken.

After that, he continues his analysis of the presentation by the prosecutors of their evidence, mainly the tapped telephone calls and other sworn evidence of anonymous witnesses as procured by the SBU, the Ukrainian Secret Service.

He concludes his article with a short analysis of the combatant immunity question and gives ample emphasis on the inner contradictions within the prosecutors' reasoning.

The farce grinds on: MH17 trial includes Ukraine Secret Service telephone tapes, witness tampering, hatred for Russians --

Two snippets:
Dutch procedure is archaic, a leftover of Roman Catholic canon law.
In the Netherlands, however, truth finding is considered to be primarily and predominantly the task or duty of the presiding judge.
In Dutch jurisprudence the judge occupies a religious role. "One has to have faith in judges when giving them the task of finding the truth", according to Professor Stijn Franken's review. It is a relic of the Roman Church role of grand inquisitor.

it was clear the show the Dutch are putting on in Amsterdam has been scripted entirely in Kiev.
Berger explicitly pinpointed the SBU as the sole source of this evidence. "The investigation into the different roles of the different persons, the conversations that were intercepted in the Ukraine by the SBU [Min 27:47] became very important at very important points of time...we could quickly the accused talked about their BUK that had downed an aircraft" (Min 28:01).
The conditions in which these witnesses gave their evidence has not been disclosed, nor the way in which they had been recruited by the SBU. Berger gave the court no details of whether they had been prisoners of the Ukrainian Army, what rewards or what sanctions had been offered or threatened in exchange for their testimony against the names the SBU had identified in the telephone tapes.

Berger also did not tell the court the witnesses had been identified, recruited, rehearsed, and then presented to the Dutch by the SBU.


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Advocaten MH17-proces vinden jarenlang onderzoek ‘onbetrouwbaar’

DeepL Translator said:
NOS News - Interior - Today, 13:21
Lawyers MH17 trial find years of research 'unreliable'


Lawyers Sabine ten Doesschate and Boudewijn van Eijck arrive at the Court - Image ANP

Remco Andringa
Police and Justice editor

The defense in the MH17 trial today crushed the criminal investigation conducted into the shooting down of the passenger aircraft in 2014. According to the lawyers, the investigation is unreliable. During a hearing in the extra secured court at Schiphol Airport, the lawyers said that the Public Prosecutor wrongly concludes that the MH17 was shot down from a field in Eastern Ukraine with a Russian BUK missile.

"The BUK scenario is being upheld at all costs", said lawyer Boudewijn van Eijck. He believes that the Public Prosecutor's Office relied too much during the investigation on information and witnesses from Ukraine which would have an interest in pointing out Russia as the culprit.

According to Van Eijck, there are indications that Ukraine used passenger planes as 'human shields' for their fighter planes. "As unlikely as this may sound, it must be investigated. In order to avoid a Ukrainian-designed framework, looking at the case."

The defense showed footage of people who would have seen two fighter jets when MH17 was shot out of the sky. The lawyers want these witnesses to be heard.

130 reports

The file on the downing of MH17 has expanded enormously. It consists of over 40,000 pages and includes six years of research. Yet, that's no guarantee of success, Van Eijck said. According to him, important information is missing.

"There was no forensic investigation at the crash site and the site remained unattended for four months. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that evidence has disappeared, been manipulated or even added."

The file also contains 130 expert reports. Van Eijck wondered whether these investigations were carried out properly and whether the experts had enough knowledge and experience to draw reliable conclusions.

'The Public Prosecutor was too hasty'

The public prosecutor suspects three Russians and a Ukrainian of knocking down MH17 with a BUK missile and the murder of all 298 occupants. The plane flew over an area where pro-Russian rebels fought with the Ukrainian army.

Van Eijck believes that the PPO decided "hastily" to prosecute his client, a Russian intelligence officer who was allegedly involved in the protection of the BUK installation.

"Who fired the rocket, at whose behest and for what purpose, is still under investigation. Whether there will ever be an answer is questionable. How can it be determined that our client was involved as a subordinate as long as the chain of command isn't clear?"

Translated with (free version)

Other coverage in Dutch:
Advocaat MH17-verdachte: vervolging is 'overhaaste beslissing'

International coverage in English:

Defence lawyers play Colin Powell videos in 'bizarre' bid at MH17 trial
Colin Powell video played in MH17 trial
Dutch Defence Lawyers Seek More Investigations Into MH17 Downing

MH17 trial: Lawyers of suspect want to hear alternative versions of crash


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Verdediging MH17 wil duidelijkheid over afstand die buk-raket kan afleggen

DeepL Translator said:
Defense in MH17 trial seeks clarity about the distance a BUK missile can travel

23 June 2020 14:48 - Last update: 2 hours ago

On Tuesday, the lawyers of Oleg Poulatov, a suspect in the MH17 trial, asked the District Court of The Hague to hear witnesses who can provide more clarity about the distance a BUK missile can travel and about the tapped telephone calls included in the file.

It was the second day in the MH17 trial on which lawyers Sabine ten Doesschate and Boudewijn van Eijck were allowed to put forward their investigative wishes.

On Monday, the defense made it clear that it considered the investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office into the disaster in July 2014 involving the Malaysia Airlines aircraft to be unreliable.

Building on this, the lawyers asked to be allowed to hear the general manager of Almaz-Antey, a manufacturer of, among other things, BUK missiles. According to the defense, the BUK missile had a wider range than reported by the prosecution.

The consequence could be that it can no longer be ruled out that MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian anti-aircraft weapons. According to the lawyers, Ukraine had 96 BUK missiles of the type with which, according to the judiciary, the aircraft was shot down.

The Public Prosecutor's Office previously argued that this was not to be assumed, because the judiciary is convinced that the BUK missile was fired from an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi. That area was in the hands of the separatists who were seeking connection with Russia.

Defense is curious about the method of translation

Another tricky point, according to the defense, is the intercepted conversations attributed to the suspects of involvement in the downing of MH17, including Poulatov. These were provided by the Ukrainian secret service SBU.

The lawyers want to know whether the conversations were correctly translated and how Poulatov's voice would have been recognized.

The Public Prosecutor's Office will respond on Friday to the defense's investigative requests. It is up to the court which requests will be granted. It is expected that the court will decide on the investigation requests on July 3.

Translated with (free version)

Other coverage in Dutch:
MH17-advocaten willen meer dan 100 getuigen horen voordat zaak echt begint

Twijfel zaaien, de tactiek van de MH17-verdediging
Verdediging: Aanwijzingen voor gevechtsvliegtuigen in nabijheid vlucht MH17
Verdediging in MH17-zaak betwist het Buk-scenario

Coverage in English:
MH17 trial: Pulatov's lawyer says that plane could have been downed by Ukrainian military
Defence argues MH17 probe may not be fact-based
MH17 probe ‘based on false info’
Defence at MH17 Hearing Suggests Ukrainian Armed Forces May Have Hit Plane by Mistake
Defense lawyers in MH17 plane trial seek more investigations

MH17 defence contests official investigation; Urges closer look into events
Defense Team in Plane-Crash Trial Points Finger at Ukraine
Defence lawyers want wider probe of MH17 theories – The Independent News


The Living Force
Meanwhile, John Helmer follows his own course of action in his latest article (June 22, 2020) as carried on SOTT.

He harks back to statements of prosecutor Thijs Berger, made on June 10, 2020, to present a complex argument full of juridical technicalities exposing for the first time the hitherto rather nebulous strategy of the Public Prosecutor's Office how to guarantee they will get a firm conviction at the ending of the trial.

Dutch prosecution have rigged outcome of MH17 trial on charge that requires no proof --

The Dutch Government has devised an evidence-proof scheme for ensuring the trial of the Russian government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will end in a conviction.

This scheme will work without evidence to prove that the four men accused of the crime of shooting down the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board on July 17, 2014, intended to kill; or even intended to fire the missile which allegedly brought MH17 down.

The Dutch scheme is evidence-proof because no evidence will be needed, not from US satellite photographs which are missing; nor NATO airborne tracking which shows no missile; nor Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) evidence which has proved to have been fabricated, and in the case of Ukrainian witnesses for the prosecution, threatened, tortured or bribed.

The scheme is also evidence-proof because the Dutch Prime Minister has told the Dutch Minister of Justice to order the state prosecutors to tell the state-appointed judge that he must convict the Russians if he finds as proven that MH17 crashed to the ground in eastern Ukraine; that everyone on board was killed; and that the four soldiers accused - three Russians and one Ukrainian - were on the ground fighting.

International war crimes lawyers are calling this a legal travesty. It was presented in court near Amsterdam by Dutch state prosecutor Thijs Berger on June 10. It has gone unnoticed in the mainstream western media. Russian reporters following the trial have missed it. The scheme was first reported in English and Russian by a NATO propaganda unit on June 12.

continued ....


The Living Force
John Helmer continues his painstaking analysis of the court proceedings.

Now he reveals something no one else has hitherto reported, namely that the Pulatov defense lawyers have requested to hear the Russian Ministry of Defense in the person of its spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov.

Point of contestation is the veracity of the attribution of the JIT serial numbers on the BUK 'murder weapon' which would implicate Ukraine rather than Russia as the culprit. This important item was also highlighted prominently by Eric Zuesse in his above article.

The presiding judge Steenhuis will announce his decision on the requests by July 3, 2020.

Russian Maj. Gen. Konashenkov to be called for MH17 trial for the defense --

In her presentation to the court on Tuesday, ten Doesschate reported that "when asked, Ukraine said they had no record of receiving this missile" (Min 29:08). She also reported the prosecution file claimed there are "a number of reasons to question the correctness of the Russian paperwork" (Min 29:26). The lawyer pointed out there has been no Dutch investigation of these claims; no Russian official was ever asked to respond. Instead, the Dutch came to the conclusion that "because the Russian Federation is not deemed to be acting in good faith" (Min 30:17), there would be no further investigation.

This was a plain conflict of evidence, Russian evidence versus Ukrainian evidence, which went to the heart of the prosecution case. Ten Doesschate didn't quite say so. Instead: "we see that the prosecution takes the view that the missile records fail to confirm or disprove whether the BUK missile which the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] believes downed the MH17 was available to the Ukrainian military in July 2014" (Min 30:40).

"We think the prosecution's view that the Russian documents may be false actually does call for investigation" (Min 30:57).

The lawyer then told Judge Steenhuis and his two associate judges that they are formally requested to rule on calling the Russian Defence Ministry to testify.


The Living Force
Archiving the latest installment from John Helmer as carried on SOTT.

In this article he analyzes the court session of June 26, 2020 which went totally uncovered in Dutch written media. A google search has confirmed there are no articles in Dutch about this session which was the reason I couldn't mention it before. During this court hearing the public prosecutors commented on the investigation requests made by the defense lawyers.

The analysis of John Helmer focuses on a loophole in Dutch criminal law concerning the chain of custody of evidence which allows the judges to accept evidence from the Ukraine (SBU) that may be have been tampered with, as genuine. Thereby firmly endorsing the probability of the scenario he previously sketched in post #1,192 above.

MH17 trial prosecutors warn judges not to unravel Ukrainian cover-up, reject calling Gen. Konashenkov to testify --

This Section 344 exposes a loophole in Dutch criminal law: the defence in a criminal case cannot require the prosecution to prove the chain of custody, and the judge can decide to accept the prosecution's claim that its evidence hasn't been faked with no chain of custody record at all.

This is the loophole which makes legal in the MH17 trial of the District Court of The Hague, and the judgements of the three judges, Dagmar Koster, Heleen Kerstens-Fockens, and Hendrik Steenhuis (lead images, 1st, 2nd and 3rd from left), to accept Ukrainian government, military and SBU evidence which would not be admissible in British, American, Canadian, Australian or international courts.

Other international coverage in English (doublets omitted):
MH17 trial: Dutch prosecutors disagree with demands of Pulatov's lawyers
MH17 defendant 'lurking in fog' Dutch prosecutors say at trial
Prosecutors Slam Bid for New Probe in Dutch Plane Crash Trial
MH17 prosecutors warn against delay

Court Denies Defendants Request To Translate To Russian MH17 Case Materials - Prosecutor - UrduPoint
Dutch Prosecutors Agree to Postpone Malaysian MH17 Crash Hearings Until Early 2021


FOTCM Member
Archiving the latest installment from John Helmer as carried on SOTT.

Thanks for keeping the focus on the case, Palinurus. John has indeed been busy, and have missed some of his recent articles - so can check here and link back to SOTT.

Overall, it is a good deed that John has been delving into the case as he has, and no other from the western press has, from his perspective, done so it seems. Had also looked awhile ago to see what, if anything, Christopher Black has had to say (he can be a thorn in the Bench sometimes). Nothing since March, having been referenced then in John's article then.


The Living Force
Thanks, Voyageur. I quite agree with your assessment of John Helmer's tenacity and expertise.

Snippet from his bio:
Born and educated in Australia, then at Harvard University, Helmer has also been a professor of political science, of sociology, and of journalism, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia.
He is a regular presenter on Russian topics in China, Western Europe, and the United States, and at conferences organized by CRU, Center for Management Technologies, the Vicenza (Italy) Fair, and other industry conventions.

As for Christopher Black, he was last mentioned in the article (June 22, 2020) referenced in post #1,192 above:
Canadian war crimes attorney Christopher Black says the Dutch prosecution is deliberately ignoring Dutch law, as well as international law. "What Berger is stating is a case of criminal negligence, not murder. The general principles of criminal law apply to this case as much as to any case. As for the burden of proof, the court has to be convinced on the basis of the lawful evidence presented that the accused has committed the crime he is accused of." Black is pointing out that the prosecution's evidence from the Ukrainian SBU is unlawful. For analysis of evidence tampering by the SBU, read more.

"'Any person who intentionally and unlawfully' — that's the key phrase in the wording of Article 168. Its use there means specific intent. Specific intent. A general intent to use missiles on something is not good enough in this case. It is telling that [Berger] does not make the distinction between specific intent versus general intent. That indicates the prosecutors don't think they can prove the necessary specific intent. And if the plane had been shot down by the accused thinking it was engaged in an attack on them or masking [a Ukrainian Air Force] attack on them, then the court cannot convict. That's because the facts would show an accident or a justifiable act of self-defence."


The Living Force
Source (Dutch only): Rechtbank: Verdediging MH17 mag andere scenario’s dan Buk-raket onderzoeken

DeepL Translator said:
Mega trial
Court: Defense MH17 may investigate scenarios other than BUK missile

The judges in the MH17 trial allow, at the request of the defense, the hearing of a number of witnesses who may support scenarios other than the BUK missile.

Wendelmoet Boersema
- 3 July 2020, 15:42

The defense is given more time to formulate part of the investigative requests. This will not delay the mega trial any further, but it will last at least until November next year.

The court attaches great importance to a fair criminal trial, according to presiding judge Steenhuis. Four suspects are on trial for the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014, in which all occupants were killed . Only the Russian Pulatov is represented by a Dutch team of lawyers.

The court has therefore been cautious in rejecting the many investigative wishes of the defense. However, the fact that suspect Pulatov has not yet expressed himself nor wanted to explain anything, distinctly plays a role. Also, the defense has not always sufficiently motivated why a certain witness or expert had to be heard again.

Sowing doubt as a tactic

The prosecution previously called most of the defense's investigative wishes 'unsubstantiated'. The lawyers' tactics are aimed at casting doubt on the main scenario of the prosecution: that a BUK missile fired from territory dominated by pro-Russian troops hit the Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines. Alternative scenarios are that it was a fighter plane, or that flight MH17 was mistaken for a (Ukrainian) fighter plane. The Public Prosecutor's Office showed earlier that it also investigated these alternative scenarios separately, with the help of international research institutes.

Among other things, the defense is now allowed to have an expert look into whether visual material has been manipulated and whether the calculations of the firing location of the BUK are correct. It is also allowed to appoint its own expert to examine the reconstruction of the MH17 plane. This was made from the remains found of the aircraft and is on display at the airbase in Gilze-Rijen.

However, in his interim decision Judge Steenhuis also rejected a large part of the requests of the lawyers. According to the Court, these are not necessary for a fair defense or they are 'pointless' requests to provide documents that the Public Prosecution Service has already shown they do not have, such as original radar data.

The trial will continue on 31 August. The defense must submit its further elaborated requests for investigation before the end of September. The court believes that there will then have been sufficient opportunity for consultation with the accused, who is in Russia. Previous contact was, according to the defense, difficult because of corona restrictions. Court sessions are scheduled until November 2021.

Translated with (free version)

Other coverage in Dutch:
Zaak-MH17: Deskundige mag gehoord worden over maximale afstand buk-raket
MH17-proces gaat in augustus verder, extra onderzoek naar wrak en satellietbeelden
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