July 19, 2014

Russia's GRU (military intelligence) and MH17 Shootdown

Pictured is Lieutenant Colonel Igor Bezler of the Russian military intelligence directorate GRU, who commanded the separatists who shot down MH17. He has probably been recalled to Russia in the last few days - to a quiet desk job or shoveling snow, in Siberia?

Where MH17 was shot down. (Diagram credit). Also see http://www.flightradar24.com/data/airplanes/9m-mrd/#3d6095b .

The "Buk" SA-11 [other synonyms "Gadfly" 9K37] surface to air missile (SAM) system that was very likely used by the Russian military directed separatists. It shows the 25 km ceiling-altitude of the missile - which was more than enough to shoot down MH17 - hence murdering those aboard.
(Diagram credit )

Thanks MHalblaub for providing many of the links, some comments, in the hours immediately after the shootdown. 

Note that it is a Russian News Agency that reported the capture of a Buk missile system by pro-Russian separatists just less than 3 weeks before the shootdown. That short training period would have given the Russian rebel Buk missile operators sufficient time to learn how to fire the missiles - but, as it transpires, insufficient time to learn the procedures for identifying targets - like MH17.

http://en.itar-tass.com/world/738262 :

"Donetsk defence forces take control of army unit equipped with missile defence systems"

"World  June 29, [2014] 19:30 UTC+4"

"No details are available about the number and condition of the missile systems taken over by the self-defence forces."

"DONETSK, June 29, /ITAR-TASS/. Self-defence forces [pro-Russian separatists] of the Donetsk People’s Republic have taken control over a missile defence army unit equipped with Buk missile defence systems, the press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

So far, no details are available about the number and condition of the missile systems taken over by the self-defence forces. The press service refused to comment.

The Buk missile defence system is a mobile medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system designed to defend field troops and logistics installations against air threats in conditions of heavy electronic countermeasures and intense enemy fire." ENDS


On July 15, 2014 I, using my pseudonym "plantagenet" on On Line Opinion wrote http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=16493&page=0#288071 :

" - Crimea and now eastern Ukraine . I hear the FSB will soon purge the GRU itself because the GRU is doing too well in terms of oppression. See "Crimea crisis brings Russian military spies back in the game" http://intelnews.org/2014/07/09/01-1510/ 

Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 8:41:04 PM "

It was just an educated hunch. The GRU had risen too quickly in the Russian intelligence pecking order, due to its early-mid 2014 successes in collecting intelligence in Crimea-Ukraine and in deploying special forces troops in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Internally, Putin will blame the GRU for the shootdown mistake - a grievous public relations disaster for Russia. Putin will use his main enforcer and old workplace, FSB, to punish the GRU. 


"When You Mess With Civilian Airliners, You Mess With the World: MH17 shootdown takes the war beyond Ukraine

On July 17, someone shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 people.
Ukraine blames Russia. Russia blames Ukraine. No one is sure yet exactlywhat happened. But the available facts point to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as being responsible.

It’s the latest tragedy in a conflict the international community can no longer contain with sanctions and rhetoric.

Minutes after the crash of MH17, a popular Russian social media page bearing the name of the seperatists’ military commander bragged about downing an aircraft near the village of Torez. The post was later deleted and the site now claims to have received the information from forums and notofficial channels.
“It does seem pretty conclusive that Strelkov did comment about shooting down a plane,” Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at New York University, told War is Boring via email. “That fits with my working assumption, which is that this was an insurgent missile—provided by the Russians—launched at what they thought was a Ukrainian government aircraft.”

The rebels do have the weapons to take down an airliner like MH17. We know because they told us. On June 29, the press office of the separatists reported they had taken control of a 9K37 Buk anti-air missile system.

The Buk is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile system developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It’s a popular export—both Ukraine and the rebels are using the missiles.

This is the context of an escalating air war in eastern Ukraine. On June 17, Kiev claimed a Russian jet shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane. On Monday, a separatist missile downed a Ukrainian An-26 transport plane. Earlier in the month, separatists downed an An-30. On June 13, the rebels shot down an Il-76 transport.

The rebels are working hard to control the airspace above eastern Ukraine, but these were low-flying planes and the Buk missile can travel to as high as [25 km]. MH17 flew at [10 km], well within the Buk’s range.
YouTube videos go up and come down. Some claim to show the crash while others show the Buk missile system moving through areas near Torez."



"The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200[ER] flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was allegedly shot down [on July 17, 2014] by a group of Russian-backed Cossack militants near the village of Chornukhine, Luhansk Oblast, some 80 kilometers north-west of Donetsk, [in eastern Ukraine very near the border with Russia - see map above] according to recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence [GRU] officers and members of terrorist groups, released by the country’s security agency (SBU).
One phone call apparently was made at 4:40 p.m. Kyiv time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler, who the [Security Service of Ukraine] SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. He reports to a person identified by Ukraine’s SBU as a [Colonel in Russian GRU military intelligence] Vasili Geranin [on Geranin see last paragraph of text on the Bezler Wikipedia article] regarding the shot down plane, which is about to be examined by the militants.
The second intercepted conversation released by [SBU] was apparently between militants nicknamed “Major” and "Greek" immediately upon inspection of the crash site. 
“It’s 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft,” Major is recorded as saying, as he admitted to seeing no weapons on site. “Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.” 
In the third part of conversation Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin talking to an unidentified militant cynically suggests that the Malaysia Airlines airplane could've been carrying spies, as, otherwise, it would have no business flying in that area.
Read the full transcript of an intercepted phone call below: 
Igor Bezler: We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).
Vasili Geranin on Geranin see last paragraph of text on the Bezler Wikipedia article]: Pilots. Where are the pilots?
Igor Bezler: Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.
Vasili Geranin: How many minutes ago?
Igor Bezler: About 30 minutes ago.
SBU comment: After examining the site of the plane the terrorists come to the conclusion that they have shot down a civilian plane. The next part of the conversation took place about 40 minutes later
40 minutes later.
Major”: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.
"Greek": Yes, Major.
"Major": The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A Civilian.
"Greek": Well, what do you have there?
“Major”: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.
"Greek": Are many people there?
“Major”: Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).
"Greek": What kind of aircraft?
“Major”: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.
"Greek": Is there anything left of the weapon?
“Major”: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.
"Greek": Are there documents?
“Major”: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson. 
Militant: Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one. Fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this.
They say on TV it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?
Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f…cking flying. There is a war going on" ENDS
I'm sure Putin's propaganda mill will persuade the chatterati (known as "useful idiots" in Russia) that it was the fault of Ukraine and the victim (MH17) for being "raped".

Unfortunately captured or bought small and medium SAMs may become more commonly used by insurgents-terrorists elsewhere - especially in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) and Afghanistan-Pakistan, also several countries in Africa.

Israel has already developed an anti-missile laser system for fitting to airliners http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/27/israel-to-outfit-passenger-planes-with-laser-anti-missile-defense-system/ .

See also http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-23/mh17-how-can-airlines-defend-against-missile-attacks/5616674 which ends "Professor Theodore Postal, professor of science technology and security at [MIT indicated] that defending civilian airliners against such attacks "is extremely difficult to do". After all, "combat aircraft have pretty sophisticated electronic countermeasures," Professor Postal said. "And they get shot down all the time."

MHalblaub has indicated: The last position of the aircraft was just 10 km away from the Russian border. The US or some other NATO members probably did detect the search radar of the Buk missile system that shot down MH17. An E-3 AWACS and E-8 Joint STAR had eastern Ukrainian airspace under surveillance. Even some infrared tracks were recognized. Therefore it is likely the military and top politicians knew exactly where the missile was fired from.


http://intelnews.org/2014/07/24/01-1520/ "US spies say incriminating flight MA17 recordings are genuine"



http://intelnews.org/2014/07/18/01-1517/ Ukraine rebels ‘admit downing Malaysia plane’ in phone intercepts


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