Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: Debunking the Conspiracy Theories

(Getty)

(Getty)

Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down on Thursday, allegedly by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists. Conspiracy theorists immediately jumped on the event, hypothesizing outlandish claims. Here’s a look at why most of these couldn’t possibly be true with evidence why.

1. Flight MH17 was Carrying Dead Bodies

Instagram Video Taken By Passenger On Flight MH17 Before DepartingRepost from Passenger Mohdalibin MdSalim (Passenger 135 on Manifest) or otherwise known as Halu Satonaka (@masa1777 on instagram). **FAQ** Q: How does this footage exist if everything in the crash was destroyed? A: The passenger Mohdalibin MdSalim (masa1777 on instagram) uploaded this video to his instagram before departing. Q: This is fake! Where is the evidence that this is MH17? A: Mohdalibin MdSalim is a passenger of MH17 you can look him up as Passenger 135 on the MH17 Passenger Manifest. He uploaded this to his Instagram account: masa1777 **PASSENGER MANIFEST** http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/content/dam/malaysia-airlines/mas/PDF/MH17/MH17%20PAX%20AND%20CREW%20MANIFEST%20200714.pdf **VIDEO DESCRIPTION** The last glimpse of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was captured by Malaysian passenger Md Ali Md Salim moments before departure. The 14-second video, which was uploaded on his Instagram account, showed other passengers stowing their luggage in the overhead compartment. In the caption of the Instagram video, the 30-year-old seemed to have expressed his jitters flying home. "Bismillah… #hatiadasikitgentar (In the name of God… feeling a little bit nervous)", read the caption. An announcement, believed to be the voice of the pilot, could be heard in the background. "At the moment, we are on the final stages of boarding and cargo loading. Once again, please ensure all your phones are off for the flight to…" said the pilot, before the video ended. Md Ali, a psychology PhD student at Erasmus University Rotterdam, was reported to be heading home to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya in Muar, Johor. Flight MH17 disappeared from radar screens in eastern Ukraine at around 1415 GMT, hours after the Boeing 777, bound for Kuala Lumpur, had taken off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. It is believed to have been accidentally shot down 50km from the Ukraine-Russia border. Malaysia Airlines, in a statement, confirmed that there were a total of 298 passengers and 15 crew members on board. Among them were 43 Malaysians including the crew members and two infants.2014-07-18T03:04:23.000Z

If you aren’t aware, this outlandish theory is actually pretty common amongst conspiracists, especially those who fall under the “New World Order” school of thought. The most recent example in the United States is that the government staged the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. If you want to read more about this, you can read “Top Ten Reasons: Sandy Hook was an Elaborate Hoax” on Veterans Today, with reasons like:

[Sandy Hook] parents were not even allowed to view their children’s bodies to identify them. Instead, they were reportedly shown photographs of the deceased. This was done, according to the Medical Examiner, Wayne Carver, in order to “control the situation.” But what was there about the situation that required “control”? No parent of our acquaintance would have agreed to accept the death of a child without viewing the body.

A similar theory was advocated by some regarding MH17, but the most damning piece of evidence for this was the fact that an Instagram video was uploaded by a passenger on the flight before takeoff. According to Free Malaysia Today:

Md Ali Md Salim, 30, a Malaysian passenger onboard the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, had uploaded a video on his Instagram account while seated in the plane moments before take-off.
The 15-seconds video was uploaded under his account name “@masa1777″ at noon (Amsterdam time), with the caption: “Bismillah…#hatiadasikitgentar” (In the name of Allah…feeling slightly nervous).

You can watch the video above.

And as you can see, all the passengers around him look very much alive.


2. Ukrainian Jets Were Escorting MH17

17.07.14 Крушение самолетаoriginal http://vk.com/n.snezhnogo?z=video84089760_169374023%2F109764b63b1d78fe752014-07-17T16:52:32.000Z

Conspiracy sites like Global Research are claiming:

What is notable is the fact that there are emerging reports that the Malaysian flight was actually being escorted by Ukrainian military jets only 3 minutes before it crashed.

However, video of MH17’s impact with the ground shows no jets in the air. You can watch the video above.


3. Separatists Didn’t Have a BUK Launcher/They Couldn’t Operate One Without a Radar Station

malaysia airlines flight 17, conspiracy theories

(LiveLeak)

According to LiveLeak:

On the 29th of June, DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] has captured the 9K37 BUK SAM from a Ukrainian air defense base.

A BUK launcher is what likely shot down MH17. In the tweet above, you can see that the DNR was happy to promote their collection of the weapon on social media.

As for its inability to reach a target without a radar system, that’s untrue.

According to Janes.com:

Downing an airliner flying at normal cruise altitude would require a mobile SAM system such as a Kub (known to the West as the SA-6 ‘Gainful) or the ‘Buk’. Both are in Ukrainian service.

…a Buk launcher can also operate in stand-alone mode. Its built-in radar is normally used to track the target being engaged, but can be operated in a target-detection mode, allowing it to autonomously engage targets that were present in the radar’s forward field of view.

Simply put, it was and is completely possible to shoot down a jetliner with a BUK missile.


4. The Plane was Purposefully Flown Over a Conflict Area to be Shot Down

malaysia airlines flight 17, conspiracy theories

Bussiness Insider

MH17 was not operating under any historically abnormal flight pattern when it was shot down.

However, it is true that it did change its course to avoid a thunderstorm, but storms were persistent all over eastern Ukraine on July 17, and even if it did slightly deviate its course to avoid one, it would have still been in the conflict area.

As Business Insider reports:

The airspace over eastern Ukraine has been and still is a no fly zone. The FAA issued a ban on operations over the area, however that ban only applies to planes flying between the altitudes of 26,000 and 32,000 ft. At the same time, the Ukranian Government reportedly shut down all civilian flights in the region under 7,900 meters or 26,000 ft. Ukrainian air traffic control assigned MH17 an altitude of 33,000ft, which complied with both no fly orders.


5. There Was No Missile

Even the Russians have admitted there was a missile.