Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Investigation: Trail of Guarded Secrets

December 10, 2014 Updated: December 10, 2014

The acronym “MH17” has become a symbol of many things since that fateful day on July 17 when the Malaysian airliner crashed in embattled east Ukraine. First and foremost, the scattered bits of aircraft aluminum that littered the cold fields of Ukraine are now a grave marker for 298 innocent souls.

The broken airplane was sent to the Netherlands via rail to be studied. It is prima facie evidence in a baffling, bewildering international mess. Luckily, there are those trying to unravel the mystery. Here’s some revealing testimony about just how botched this investigation is.

Wrecked From the Start

As the pieces of wings, tail, and fuselage of MH17 arrive via train in Netherlands to be examined, the Malaysian Airlines MH17 catastrophe is already being called a “botched investigation.” For some, it was from the very beginning, but now the Netherlands Parliament, and angry families of those killed, they’ve voiced their suspicions over the highly secretive inquiry.

On Dec. 5, Prime Minister Mark Rutte was asked to turn over the investigation to the United Nations. In The Hague, parliamentarians like Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt, have tabled questions for the Dutch Safety Board, the foreign ministry, and the minister of justice. As Omtzigt and others probe the veil of secrecy surrounding this affair, the world court of opinion owes a special attentiveness these efforts.


Five months after MH17 disintegrated, and we only have a messy blame game as evidence of who shot down the plane.

Beneath the watchful eyes of the world’s most sophisticated intelligence, at a spot on the globe scrutinized like no other, 298 lives lay shattered to bits and pieces. It’s all inconceivable to even the layperson, that this case has no solution yet.

With Europe and the world in a spinning diplomacy game that’s spiraling downward, we’ve only a slew of acronyms to quell our curiosities: the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); the once masked Joint Investigation Team (JIT); and other curious outfits like the Eurojust.

As far as anyone outside the investigation know, rumors of CIA involvement and a false flag could be true. Is another acronym to blame—did NATO play a role? Or was the whole affair the fault of a former KGB operative turned president of Russia? We literally know nothing.

So it was when I tweeted Omtzigt and received his reply the other day, a ray of light beamed into an otherwise bleak information vacuum. As it turns out, even the lawmakers don’t know what’s going on.

Four trucks carrying the debris from Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 leave the cargo terminal of the railway station in Kharkiv on December 8, 2014. The wreckage will be examined at Gilze-Rijen airbase in the Netherlands to find the cause of the disaster. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)
Four trucks carrying the debris from Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 leave the cargo terminal of the railway station in Kharkiv on December 8, 2014. The wreckage will be examined at Gilze-Rijen airbase in the Netherlands to find the cause of the disaster. (Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images)

Echoing Dismay

Before I get into mine and Mr. Omtzigt’s conversation, it will help the reader to know how circuitous and confusing the trail the MH17 inquiry is for those who inquire.

You see, most of the official channels into this catastrophe are either officially closed, very far up the food chain, or obscured by a bureaucratic veil hardly anyone can easily see through.

The story of that fateful day is a roller coaster of hype and misinformation not seen before.

A few hours into the news, the Obama administration’s secretary of state essentially blamed the Russian Federation. Then mainstream media mirrored this, even without so much as a satellite image or any verification whatsoever, save for some laced together audio and video via the Internet.

The pro-Russian separatists accused of shooting down the plane denied the implications. So did Russian officials, even though early on, MH17 supposedly succumbed to “Putin’s Missile,” according to headlines.

In the Netherlands, Australia, and Malaysia, where dozens of families were shattered by the loss, shock and speechlessness prevailed. This was supplanted with anger, an anger that has not been quelled, but which has only been refocused on the people in charge of finding the truth.

My own investigation into the event probably resembles most interested parties’ efforts. The fighting on the ground in east Ukraine seemed to be the first roadblock to solving the crime.

Investigators of the OSCE were the first on the scene; their multinational observers probably know as much as anyone. I tried contacting their special monitoring mission head (SMM) on the scene, but never received a reply. I did communicate with OSCE’s spokesperson, Cathie Burton, who was immensely helpful in my understanding the mess their organization has to unravel.

You see the OSCE is an organization born out of the Cold War (her words), one dependent on agreement by all the nations involved as to what the “facts” are in any situation. This is both a blessing and a curse where transparency is concerned. I quote Ms. Burton:

“I understand your frustration: this is a difficult time to find the facts and I have personally never seen so much misinformation spread, either mischievously or innocently.”

Despite Ms. Burton’s candidness and professionalism, and her organization’s super tough job, the reader can glimpse the secrecy and silence that’s taken hold of this tragic event. There’s simply no transparency into this vitally impactful event.

I never tried to contact the JIT made up by the Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine, and Belgium (which no one seems to understand), basically because the group was at first a myth, a very well-kept secret, according to Dutch politician Pieter Omtzigt.

As for me, I am not even sure now if anyone can actually communicate directly with this group. If asked “who’s in charge” of any of its parts, I doubt any national leader would know.

However unknown the JIT’s inner workings are, there’s another entity that interacts with it, Eurojust. I won’t get into exactly what this organization does, suffice it to say it’s a judicial cooperation unit of the EU. Why they’re involved with the JIT, the Dutch Safety Board, and this investigation, matters less than how secretive they seem. I contacted one of their spokespersons over their role with the JIT, here’s the essence of what I got back:

“Eurojust believes that international cooperation on this sensitive matter is best served by silence.”

Next: Goings On Behind Closed Doors

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.