MH-17: Reconstruction of a Disaster

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming investigation into the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. This reconstruction is based upon credible and verifiable news sources from around the planet…

Inside the cabin, the stewards and flight attendants were busy with meal service. The passengers were contented with in-flight entertainment. The flight so far has been routine, even mundane. There were still more than 8 hours remaining to Kuala Lumpur. The passengers were thinking of their final destination, making connections, seeing loved ones, business meetings and sleeping in their own beds again.

Far below, others are animated for war. Ten miles to the south of quiet little Hrabove a convoy of military vehicles rumbled through the town of Snizhne, one of them was recognized as a SA-11 surface to air BUK missile launcher. A June 29th post by the rebels bragged about being in possession of at least one captured BUK missile system after overrunning an airbase.

Local reports put the convoy in the town around lunchtime. Atop the tracked vehicle four missiles, each18 feet long, were unmistakable for a group of Associated Press journalists covering the war. A man in fatigues cautioned the journalists against filming before the convoy rumble west out of town. Dressed in desert camouflage, unlike the rebel soldiers green uniforms, he spoke with a distinctive Russian accent.

Movements of the missile launcher that day are confirmed in eyewitness statements, video and photographs. In November 2014 the Bellingcat Group of investigative journalists published a detailed inquiry of the vehicle and its movements. That report can be found at

The missile launcher and its crew, now near the town of Torez, as well as their command and control support were expectant of an enemy incursion. They were blinded by that perspective, which betrays a complete and criminal negligence at every level in the chain of command. If Russia, in fact, supplied the vehicle then the responsible authorities share substantial culpability for allowing trigger happy, irresponsible and ill-trained rebels such a dangerously sophisticated weapon.

Initially the crew filed a flight plan which would have taken them farther to the south at an altitude of 35,000 feet. Instead they were diverted north, ostensibly for thunder storms brewing to the south, and ordered to 33,000 feet for traffic. Slowing to 490 knots, MH-17 descended 2,000 feet.

In June, despite safety assurances, both British Airlines and Lufthansa decided against risking East Ukrainian airspace. Emirates suspended flights to Ukraine altogether, according to Reuters. As pointed out in a previous chapter the routine of war balanced against marketing and business concerns, it had become normal business practice for International airlines to fly over war zones simply to save money on fuel.

Ukraine was no different. Commercial airlines regularly flew over Iraq and Afghanistan during the wars there, comfortable that insurgent forces lacked the capability to threaten them. When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced: Ai-ya-fyatla-yoy-katl) erupted in 2010 disrupting air travel between North America and Europe and ground more than 100,000 flights, the cost to airlines and more than 6 million stranded passengers was in the tens of millions of Dollars. The costs to the bottom line are powerful drivers in the equation when left to airlines alone.

While indications are abundant and clear that the rebels assumed the incoming aircraft was a Ukrainian military transport there seems to have been a blatant disregard for protocols which would have allowed them to identify the plan as civilian. Visually it may have proved difficult, even with binoculars, to make a proper identification but the BUK system hardly relies on antiquated technology for identification. But while NATO member countries rely on the International Friend or Foe, IFF, the BUK radar has its own IFF system. According to HIS Jane’s Missiles and Rockets editor Doug Richardson:

“Although it has it own Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, this is only able to establish whether the target being tracked is a friendly aircraft. It is the electronic equivalent of a sentry calling out “Who goes there?” If there is no reply, all you know is that it is not one of your own side’s combat aircraft. It would not give you a warning that you were tracking an airliner.”

The BUK’s acquisition radar, deployed some thirty miles to the southwest in the village of Styla, allowed the rebel fighters to identify, track and target the aircraft. Whether they believed they were once again targeting a Ukrainian transport, or simply took advantage of a ready target remains unclear. Protocols, IFF, known civilian over flights, flight path, altitude, command structure and time on target removes the specter of the accidental and indicates at the very least negligence if not intention.

Once launched the fate of MH-17 was sealed. The system is highly accurate. According to, in association with Defense and Security Systems International the BUK Air Defense Missile System maintains a high kill rate at target:

A single missile can destroy tactical aircraft and helicopters with a probability between 0.9 and 0.95, while the kill probability against tactical ballistic missiles ranges between 0.6 and 0.7. The missile can operate continuously for one day with refueling and has a tear-down time of five minutes. The missile can destroy tactical ballistic missile within the range of 20km and can kill cruise missiles at 100m altitude and within the range of 20km. It has maximum target g-load of 10g and can destroy aerodynamic targets with a maximum speed of 830m/s flying at an altitude between 0.015km and 25km, and within 3km to 45km range. The missile system can operate in temperatures up to ± 50°C and wind speeds up to 30m/s. Its maximum operating altitude above sea level is 3,000m.

“A bird is flying to you,” a spotter told a rebel commander for pro-Russian separatists in Horlivka 15 miles west of the crash sight. He is identified as Igor Bezlor, a mercurial man and a typical character to be found in any conflict who is all too ready to rationalize any moral and ethical transgression to war. In temperament and stature Bezlor reminds one of the late Serbian thug and warlord Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic. His features are pallid and severe, an obligatory cigarette ever present and a black cap that seems costume-like.

“Reconnaissance plane or a big one?” asks Bezlor, from his regional headquarters in nearby Gorlovka.

There is no indication from the rebels that they were firing at anything other than a single target. They are very clearly heard discussing the size of the aircraft. If, in fact, there was a shadowing aircraft below or near the 777 the Buk radar would have indicated, and the battery would have had the capability of hitting both. The rebel leaders in those recordings have never officially acknowledged nor denied their authenticity.

On the ground at around 1:20 that afternoon residents of Torez recalled hearing loud explosions. Rostislav Grishin, a 21-year-old prison guard remembered hearing “two powerful blasts in a row.” The time must be viewed as subjective, though with a forward velocity and possibly one working engine, at least for a time, the descent would have been rapid; certainly faster than a simple freefall.

“First there was one, but then after a minute, a minute and a half, there was another discharge. I raised my head and within a minute I could see a plane falling through the clouds.” The two powerful blasts Grishin heard were undoubtedly the nearby launch of the missile followed by the detonation as the missile found its intended target.

The launch would have been powerful and thundering, followed by the long tearing crrrraaacckkk as the missile streaked skyward. Smoke and dust from the launch would have consumed briefly the massive vehicle. The roar of the launch, as recalled by a number of witnesses, carried for several miles in the rolling hills around Torez and Snizhne.

The 9M317 missile required a radar lock to steer it to the target. It is an awesome weapon when launched, a solid fuel rocket with a total burn time of about 15 seconds that finds it target at speeds of up to Mach 3 four times faster than MH-17 was travelling. A rebel Operator steered the missile in flight until the missiles own onboard system locked onto the airliner. For the crew on MH-17 and the passengers there would have been no warning as the missile streaked skywards at better than 2000 feet per second.

“Malaysian one seven,” instructs the ATC controller, “due traffic proceed direct Romeo November Delta.”

“Romeo November Delta, Malaysian one seven,” Mh-17 replied. The UTC time was 13:16:56. It was the last transmission from the aircraft.

The missile is designed to detonate within 65 feet of its target. From video and photos of the wreckage it is likely that the missile did not strike the aircraft directly. A direct impact wouldn’t have been necessary. With a 154 pound high explosive fragmentation warhead an explosion anywhere near the aircraft would have been devastating. What is certain is that the explosion was instantly catastrophic to the 777.

The missile raced up at the aircraft, passing underneath MH-17’s flight path from right to left at three times the speed of sound. Just below and behind where Captain Wan Amran sat the missile exploded with a blinding flash, probably within 20 to 40 feet of the aircraft and likely above the farm fields between the villages of Tymofiivka and Orlovo-Ivanivka. At the controls, opposite Wan Amran, Eugene Choo Jin Leong would have had no warning and no opportunity to react.

One hour and fifty-six minutes after takeoff Malaysian Airlines flight 17 disappeared from radar screens. It was 9:20am in Washington D.C.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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On today’s show: Rob Poe on “Nature Deficit Disorder,” the Politics of Poaching, & the Lack of the “Commons”

Coming up this morning at 11 a.m. CT, on Que4 radio Chicago, we’ll be speaking with Chicago’s Mushroom Man, Rob Poe on about “Nature Deficit Disorder” in both children and adults, the politics of poaching, the lack of the “commons” and how it relates to Chicago. Rob has a great knack for finding good free food in nearby places, and I don’t mean dumpster diving. He’ll be explaining a lot about foraging and the contradiction of selling his yield to fancy restaurants that service the 1%.

You can find more about all the awesome stuff Rob does at his website:

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Gale Elementary: The anatomy of a CPS school closure, & a strategy to stop it

On today’s show (, we’ll be discussing the conditions of Gale Elementary school with Rogers Park community members and members of Chicago Light Brigade. Earlier this month, due to the hard work & love put in by the community, they were informed of CPS plans to meet their demands. Now the school will NOT be closed, and after years of neglect by the CPS which has lead to plummeting enrollment numbers, the learning environment if these children will begin to improve. Tune into Revolution and Beer tomorrow for a live discussion with about what this school and their supporters have been up against and how to secure the gains they’ve made into the future.

Here’s a quick overview of the situation surrounding Gale Elementary School in Rogers Park, as seen on Chicago Tonight:

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Back Together in the Studio: Reactionary Tendencies, Gender, Polyamory, Violence vs Non-Violence

After a brief pause in our weekly schedule, WC and I were back in the Que4 studio last Saturday. We hit a lot (I guess we had it all pinned-up inside). Listen in to our conversation about white supremacists, working class history, or lack there of, gender, and polyamory. We also got an update on one of the foreclosure cases we’ve been following throughout the last year from Mike Henderson, a man who is fighting an epic battle with his bank in an attempt to keep his home.

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Revolution and Beer Memorial Day Show with Patrick Putze of the National Veterans Art Museum

On this show we’re talking about Art, War, and Memorial Day. We’re joined by Patrick Putze, a veteran and an artist, from the National Veterans Art Museum(NVAM). He’s coming on to tell us about what we can expect to find at the upcoming exhibition “Surrealism and War.” The Memorial Day opening of the exhibit marks the NVAM’s second Memorial Day at their home in the Six Corners neighborhood.

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On Today’s Show: Memorial Day, War, & Surrealism: The National Veterans Art Meuseum

“Surrealism and War” opens Monday, May 26th, in observance of Memorial Day.

This Saturday on Revolution and Beer, broadcasting on AM1680 in Chicago; streaming on, we’ll be talking about Art, War, and Memorial Day. We’ll be joined by Patrick Putze, a veteran and an artist, from the National Veterans Art Museum(NVAM). He’s coming on to tell us about what we can expect to find at the upcoming exhibition “Surrealism and War.” The Memorial Day opening of the exhibit marks the NVAM’s second Memorial Day at their home in the Six Corners neighborhood.

“Surrealism is an attempt to revolt against the inherent contradictions of a society ruled by rational thought while dominated by war and oppression. Surrealism seeks expression of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason and free of aesthetic and moral preoccupation. It is this same absence of control exercised by reason that many combat veterans seek to explore and express after their experiences in war.”

The exhibit, curated by Aaron Hughes, opens on Memorial Day. In addition to Jim Leedy and Aaron Hughes, the show features nine other veteran artists that intentionally and unintentionally use and explore Surrealist processes and concepts. Here’s the facebook event page. Event details are below.

A group exhibition of exquisite corpse drawings by Chicago artists and veteran/artists.Come see the collaboration of Mary Lou Zelazny, Lisa Boumstein- Smalley, and Geoffry Smalley, among many others.
Opening Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014
National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60641
11:00 AM Color Guard, 2:00PM, Artist Talk
Exhibition runs from May 26 to November 1, 2014

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May Day May Day – Cooptation Confrontation – Revolution & Beer Weekend – May 3rd 2014

We had a full studio for this show. Poet and new Que 4 radio host Larry Sawyer sat down with us. We also had our old friend Earnest James, blogger, working dad, and radio personality at WCPT joined us for his take on recent issues.

We talked a lot about the ICIRR/SEIU situation at May Day Chicago this year, and what the dynamics on the street level were for those advocating clashing positions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Brian had just witnessed the arrests of past guest Ze Garcia and his friend Anne Wooten during the May Day Chicago march.

Our friends Sarah Finkel, Rising Tide Chicago, and Ergoat, Occupy CA, enlightened our discussion on street-level citizen rights and the patterns of tactics by NGO protest marshals and police. We covered a lot of ground, and the conversation was very beneficial for everyone involved. One thing that came from it was a very inspired and reflective piece from WC Turck, entitled “Attack of the Suburban Middle-aged White Guy.” This is also well worth a read.

Click here for more shows.

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Interview: Immigrants Have Big Problems with Immigration Reform

Ze Garcia, Moratorium on Deportations, and Stavroula Harissis, ISO, joined us for a very candid and in-depth conversation about immigration reform, xenophobia, and deportations. We also discussed unions, the Chicago Public Schools, and the CTU.

Catch the show live every Saturday, from 1-3pm CST on,, AM1680 Chicago.

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Coming Up on Saturday’s Show: Xenophobia, Nationalism, & Deportation

We have a great show coming up this Saturday. We’ll be talking about deportations with Zé, from Moratorium on Deportations. We’ll also explore the reliance of fascist & nationalist parties on xenophobia with Stavroula Harissis of the Chicago ISO.

If you’re curious about how these all tie together into an inhumane and anti-democratic agenda, then listen in from 1-3pm CST on, AM1680 Chicago.

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A Beer with Tim Meegan, CTU Member and Candidate for Ward 33 Alderman

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Tim Meegan, candidate for alderman in Chicago’s 33rd Ward, joins us for a couple to discuss his vision for the ward he resides in. With his 10 years of teaching at Roosevelt high school under his belt, as well as his experience as a father of two boys, his commitment to the ward where he has lived with his family fuels his desire to make it safe and accessible for people of all types. He also dives into the status of public education in Chicago and outlines many of the main challenges facing our public education system. We love it when informed, working-class people like Tim run for office. We especially love it when they’ll come onto the show and speak openly about what drives them to do so.

Check-out Tim’s Facebook campaign page here.

We also recently interviewed Anne Carlson and Juan Gonzalez, two Chicago Public School teachers from Drummond Montessori about the recent parent/teacher campaign to Opt Out of the ISAT.

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