Flight MH 17 – asking the right questions

Parts of the (most likely) shot down Boeing-777 of flight MH-17 are being transported via Kharkiv to the Netherlands for further investigation. While Russia and the separatists accuse the Ukrainian government for shooting down the passenger plane, Kiev and the West accuse Russia and/or the separatists. One totally different question however is not very often asked: Why was the air space over Eastern Ukraine open for civilian aviation at all?

MH 17 site Dutch investigators at flight MH-17 wreck part

Failing intelligence services

During the weeks before flight MH-17 has been shot down, pro-Russian separatists were able to shoot down at least one government helicopters with a so called manpad, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile, such as the “9K38 Igla system“, as can be seen in this video. Also just a few weeks and even days before the shot down of flight MH-17, several Ukrainian military planes have been shot down by the separatists.

Shoulder-fired system can normally not reach passenger planes that fly in high altitude, but other system can. The Ukrainian military planes that were shot down before flight MH-17, were reportedly also flying in high altitude (also see video below).

Knowing that all this happened before the tragic events of July 17th, it is firstly not understandable why Civilian air planes were flying in the region at all and secondly why this topic is not discussed anymore and was actually never intensively discussed. The first Ukrainian military plane being shot down in the region should have ringed all alarms, but nothing happened. One should think about the media hype on Gaddafi’s arsenal of alleged 20,000 shoulder-fired surface-to-air systems that went missing after his subversion. It seemed that everyone (or at least the media) was expecting that these weapons would be used against civilian planes anytime. In the case of Ukraine such weapons and apparently even more dangerous ones were used not only close to Europe with its dense air traffic, but technically in Europe and nobody panicked or at least warned about the threats for civilian aviation.

No (Western) intelligence service warned about the threats for civilian planes – despite all the surveillance and “Big Brother”-style spying on their own people. No insurance company – normally seeing a risk in everything and increasing prices – yelled out. No aviation company changed the route to avoid Eastern Ukrainian air space. Of course flying through Ukrainian air space is/was cheaper. Alternative routes would have increased the costs.

How can civilian air planes be allowed to fly over an area where or where nearby just a few weeks ago planes have been shot down? Why was there no warning? What is actually the task of intelligence services? To protect their people or to spy on them?

The whole discussion on who shot down MH-17 lacks the question who let MH-17 fly over that area.


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