Last week, the Dutch government published a series of replies by Security and Justice Minister Stef Blok, who explained to a parliamentary commission why radar data provided by Russia did not show any objects approaching the MH17 flight, including a Buk missile.
The radar, according to Blok, could simply miss a missile. The minister compared the radar to a lighthouse, claiming that a missile could slip through during its “turn” and therefore leave no trace on Russia’s Utes-T air route radar system. Blok also claimed that the radar could not register such a relatively small object as a Buk missile.
“It is inappropriate to say that a radar station could miss the missile,” the head of Russian aviation regulator Rosaviatsia, Oleg Storchevoy, said Tuesday, commenting on the latest Dutch claims.
The Russian Utes-T air route radar system is able to detect far smaller objects than a Buk missile, according to Storchevoy, and while its turn time is 10 seconds, Utes-T could not miss any object approaching the plane.
“If a projectile was moving along the trajectory described in the version of ‘launch on a head-on course,’ as the Dutch party claims, its flight time would be about 35 seconds. Accordingly, the radar would register at least two or three clear ticks – the so-called echo-signals from an object, moving towards the plane,” the official added.
While the MH17 black box data indicate that the tragedy took place at 13:20:03 GMT, Utes-T last registered the aircraft at 13:20:01.87, less than in a second and a half before the disaster, the Russian official added.
“There were no ticks [on the radar] near the MH17 trajectory, neither 1.5 seconds before the catastrophe, nor earlier – during three-to-four [radar] turns nothing was registered,” Storchevoy said. “This allows us to state that nothing approached the plane from the east side ahead of the disaster, as the official investigation is trying hard to present it.”
Last fall, a Russian radar producer reportedly discovered radar equipment that had been replaced during a scheduled maintenance shortly after the MH17 tragedy, and still held raw data from the day of the crash and handed it over to the Dutch investigation team.
The investigators appeared to be initially reluctant to decode it, citing its “unusual” format, while Russia has offered its assistance in decoding the radar data. At that time, Storchevoy suggested that such “stalling indicates the Dutch side’s wish to mislead the public.”
In September 2016, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of aviation experts and investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine stated that Flight MH17 was shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft missile, which was allegedly launched from a rebel-controlled village and approached the plane from the east.
The report also alleged that the Buk missile launching system, which allegedly shot down the MH17, was delivered from Russia and was returned back to Russia after the tragedy. Moscow has repeatedly disputed the findings, criticizing the investigation for its careless approach to MH17 debris, a significant part of which was left behind in eastern Ukraine, a lack of basic evidence, such as air control logs, and general political bias toward Ukraine.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, with 298 people on board, crashed over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, amid an armed confrontation between the Ukrainian military and paramilitary forces, and rebels who rejected the armed coup in Kiev earlier that year. Western media immediately pinned the blame for the tragedy on the rebels and, ultimately, on Russia.
Ex-PM David Cameron & Prince William implicated in World Cup corruption scandal – FIFA report
The investigation into corruption allegations and other wrongdoings by bidders to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was carried out in 2014 by the former chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee Investigatory Chamber, US prosecutor Michael Garcia.
Until now only a brief summary of an over 400-page document was available to the public. However, after its contents were allegedly leaked to German tabloid Bild, football’s governing body officially released the document in its entirety late Tuesday, “for the sake of transparency.”
The report alleges that the fate of England’s 2018 FIFA bid was decided at the highest level of the British government, with former Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William being personally implicated in breaching FIFA ethics code by colluding with officials from South Korea, which sought to host the tournament in 2022.
Cameron reportedly met with then-FIFA vice president Mong-Joon Chung not long before the December 2010 vote and “asked Mr. Chung to vote for England’s bid.” Chung allegedly promised to cast a vote for England on condition the English delegation returned the favor and backed South Korea as 2022 World Cup host.
The clandestine conversation is said to have taken place in Prince William’s room at a posh Swiss hotel, with the Duke of Cambridge himself reportedly having been present at the meeting.
Prince William is not the only British royal to be featured in the report. According to one of the most eyebrow-raising allegations cited there, the former president of the South American Football Confederation, Nicolas Leoz asked the English delegation if it was possible to be bestowed with an honorary knighthood.
Witnesses to discussions between the English delegation and Leoz’s representatives claim that at one of the meetings the latter hinted that “it would be nice if at some point Dr Leoz would get to meet the Queen.”
The report, however, notes that the chief executive of England’s bid, Andy Anson, “was never a party to any conversation where Dr Leoz personally asked anyone connected with England 2018 for a knighthood, or indeed for any award or honor.”
A separate section of the report exposes a series of outlandish demands presumably made to the UK delegation by now disgraced FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who was banned from football for life by FIFA for “various acts of misconduct” during his time as its official in 2015.
For instance, Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago native, is alleged to have pressed the English bid officials into providing the man who Warner called his “adopted son,” with a part-time job at England’s top football clubs.
Warner also reportedly asked England bid team “for favors and benefits related to a Trinidad & Tobago football team he owned.”
One of the most bizarre requests concerns his home village of Longdenville, which he wanted to be “twinned” with an English village to boost its international prestige.
Garcia came to the conclusion that “in many cases England 2018 accommodated or at least attempted to satisfy, the improper requests” made by senior FIFA members mentioned in the report.
Meanwhile, the report appears to clear Russia of the allegations that it had won the right to host the 2018 World Cup by bribing officials for votes.
“There is no evidence in this record to suggest that the Russia Bid Committee attempted to exert undue influence on any FIFA ExCo [executive committee] Members in order to secure their votes,” it states.
“I am so disappointed, I am so angry as an Englishman that my home association, the country that I played for proudly, is now dragged through the mire and that tonight on social media all of those journalists and sports broadcasters that were very quick to put the boot in to Russia and Qatar are now suspiciously silent,” award-winning sports broadcaster Stan Collymore told RT.
Another analyst, Mike Cernovich, pointed out that “Russians get scrutinized for doing the same things even when they don’t do it.”
“Even when they are not guilty, they are going to be blamed for things that other countries actually do… Russia is now the world’s boogeyman and all the corrupt people are trying to say: ‘Look at Russia!’ It’s a diversion that corrupt people are using to get people distracted from their own [wrongdoings],” he told RT.