DSB chair Tjibbe Joustra beside the reconstructed forward section of MH17
DSB chair Tjibbe Joustra beside the reconstructed forward section of MH17

If Tony Abbott ever had the guts to take on the real findings of the Dutch Safety Board’s inquiry into the MH17 atrocity, he’d also be seeking justice for the victims from a airline that ignored the most basic of safety considerations in choosing to use disputed airspace over eastern Ukraine on this day two years ago.

The Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER had 298 people on board when they were all murdered by the detonation of a Russian made BUK missile close to its cockpit.

Just who murdered them is the subject of a Dutch criminal inquiry that is expected to report this year, and perhaps soon. Any reasonable person following the atrocity would lean, very strongly, to the conclusion that it was launched by a Russian unit operating against Ukraine separatists from inside the contested Ukraine claimed territory.

But with a complete disregard for the actual findings of the Dutch Safety Board inquiry into the technical and operational aspects of the disaster, dangerously unsafe decisions about using that airspace made by Malaysia Airlines, and others who should have known better than to cross it on July 17, 2014, have been almost completely ignored in pursuit of Russian culpability for the missile launch.

There were two things wrong with airlines choosing to fly a part of Ukraine skies over which the country demonstrably didn’t have control on that fateful day according to the DSB report.

The first was self evident. The airlines had elected to fly over a war zone in which there had been at least 16 aircraft shoot downs in the preceding weeks. And they had ignored the consequences of an airliner losing altitude in the event of an engine failure in accepting air traffic control advice not to fly over that area at less than 32,000 feet.

(In such an event the various twin engined jets that used that airspace on that day would have descended to around 26,000 feet, and had the operational crisis been a cabin depressurisation, they would under the rules have needed to drop to 13,000 feet or less.)

The reason the media overwhelmingly didn’t report these findings was that it relied upon an evasive sound and light show presentation by the DSB that starred the reconstructed forward section of the shattered Boeing 777 and never mentioned matters that were explained in blunt detail in the actual documentation.

It seems that almost none of the media actually read or understood the report that was issued by the DSB. They were suckered, and they suckered their readers or viewers.

That report also said that Malaysia had refused to fully cooperate with the inquiry, specifically in relation to intelligence as to what was going on in the skies of eastern Ukraine and just over the border in Russia.

A detailed look at the DSB report, which remains readily available in English, can be found here, and in this subsequent post.

Mr Abbott says in the media today that he ‘yearns for justice’ for the victims of MH17. We can call that a cowardly lie, or that the very least, a persistently ignorant crusade.  But what was more cowardly than his insistence in October 2014 that he would ‘shirt front’ Russian president Vladimir Putin at the following month’s G20 summit in Brisbane?

He did no such thing. He posed for photos with Vlad hugging koalas. He leveraged the sufferings and loss of the victims of MH17 for a baseless political claim that he was going to take on the Russians. This was a similar humiliation to his telling China, in April 2014, that expert analysis of ‘pings’ by a seemingly non-existent centre for underwater acoustics excellence in the RAN had located signals from the black boxes of MH370.

How many silly if not cruel and nationally embarrassing statements is the member for Warringah going to make in relation to the disasters that occurred to Malaysia Airlines flights?

With a bit of intestinal fortitude, Mr Abbott, and the Australian government, might better explore the real possibility that there is a case for criminal negligence to be made about the MH17 atrocity for Malaysia Airlines having put their passengers in harms way over eastern Ukraine.  The fact that some other airlines were just as willing in this matter is beside the point.

It’s all in the DSB report. It’s something Canberra needs to read and consider most carefully.

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