Chief MH17 Investigator on German Claims 'We Will Need Evidence'

In an interview, the Dutch official leading the investigation of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine addresses reports that German intelligence is convinced the plane got shot down by pro-Russian separatists.

Interview Conducted by Rainer Leurs

Debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine: "If we in fact want to try the perpetrators in court, we will need evidence and more than a recorded call from the Internet or photos from the crash site."
DPA

Debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine: "If we in fact want to try the perpetrators in court, we will need evidence and more than a recorded call from the Internet or photos from the crash site."


SPIEGEL: Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), believes that pro-Russian separatists shot down the aircraft with surface-to-air missiles. A short time ago, several members of the German parliament were presented with relevant satellite images. Are you familiar with these photos?

Westerbeke: Unfortunately we are not aware of the specific images in question. The problem is that there are many different satellite images. Some can be found on the Internet, whereas others originate from foreign intelligence services.

SPIEGEL: High-resolution images -- those from US spy satellites, for example -- could play a decisive role in the investigation. Have the Americans provided you with those images?

Westerbeke: We are not certain whether we already have everything or if there are more -- information that is possibly even more specific. In any case, what we do have is insufficient for drawing any conclusions. We remain in contact with the United States in order to receive satellite photos.

SPIEGEL: So you're saying there hasn't been any watertight evidence so far?

Westerbeke: No. If you read the newspapers, though, they suggest it has always been obvious what happened to the airplane and who is responsible. But if we in fact do want to try the perpetrators in court, then we will need evidence and more than a recorded phone call from the Internet or photos from the crash site. That's why we are considering several scenarios and not just one.

SPIEGEL: Moscow has been spreading its own version for some time now, namely that the passenger jet was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet. Do you believe such a scenario is possible?

Westerbeke: Going by the intelligence available, it is my opinion that a shooting down by a surface to air missile remains the most likely scenario. But we are not closing our eyes to the possibility that things might have happened differently.

About Fred Westerbeke
  • Miquel Gonzalez
    Fred Westerbeke, 52, is the chief investigator with the Dutch National Prosecutors' Office, which is currently looking into the circumstances behind the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17.

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praha7 10/27/2014
1.
Surely by now if the US or anyone else had evidence that the plane was downed by the east Ukrainian fighters it would have been produced by now. The fact that none has been forthcoming suggests that either none exists or that if any does exist it points in a different direction. This would explain why we keep getting reports from so called authorities which, without any apparent evidence, tell us that the east Ukrainians are to blame.
chuckusa 10/28/2014
2. Really?
How long has German "intelligence" had these images? Why have they only now become known? Everything about the Ukraine situation and US-NATO involvement therein stinks to high heaven.
Frenchy 10/28/2014
3.
Lets not forget the RT theory that the US has found, stored, then transported MH317 (yes, 317) to the Donbass and then stuffed it with fresh bodies. Right after the young boy from Slovyansk was crucified, that is. Of course, we could give some credence to Strelkov's own comments on social media (quickly deleted….but not quick enough) that his forces downed the aircraft.
Andrei 10/28/2014
4. proof of the pudding...
... is still in the eating. The BND has effectively drawn the "rebels' Buk" scenario ad absurdum by pointing to it despite Kiev's firm denial that any Buk missile could have gotten into rebels' hands. With the likelihood of that scenario so elegantly multiplied by zero (bravo, BND!), couldn't wait to see the "fighter attack" one (long since outlined by Peter Haisenko) played up. Now this is done with no less elegance: it's a pas-de-bourree-like "not closing our eyes." Bravo, Mr Westerbeke! What's your next step? It's time to make a bolder one 'cause there's little doubt you already know who's shot down the plane.
mucolsmex 10/28/2014
5. MH 17 Black Boxes
Why haven't the Dutch demanded release, not only to investigators but TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC of ALL recordings, unaltered, from the black boxes (cockpit data recorder, etc.) as well as Kiev's control tower recordings? Why would they be kept secret if there's nothing to hide?
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