Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Did Vladislav Voloshin (UA) shoot down MH17?

A month ago, I mentioned a photograph purportedly showing a Ukrainian SU-27 or Mig-29 that is just shooting down the Malaysian aircraft in Donbas. The picture could have been shown to be fake – too many details were wrong – and some readers helpfully provided us with links to the relevant evidence.

I am hoping that a similar response may emerge now. The new accusations don't come with any high-resolution photograph – it's just an eyewitness – but they are more concrete because they name the boy who is claimed to have shot the airplane by accident.

Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian, TV version, an English translation) published the interview with the alleged eyewitness, a former employee of an airbase in Dniepropetrovsk. I am not sure about his or her name – it may be Yuri Shevtsov, the guy who gave this testimony in August, or someone else, like Alexander someone. Most sources say that he is still a "secret witness". Who knows.

We are told that this deserter claims that he saw 3 planes leaving the Dnietropetrovsk airbase in the morning, and only one returning in the afternoon. This aircraft, an SU-25 (the same model that was discussed in the early accusations against the Ukrainian Air Force), did have missiles in the morning but no missiles in the afternoon. Its pilot, Captain Vladislav Voloshin, a young guy decorated by Poroshenko etc., would be very nervous and talk about a "wrong plane" and a "plane that was at a wrong place, at a wrong time".

If the testimony is accurate, and it is a big If, of course, it would follow that Voloshin has shot the Boeing by an unlucky accident. The same "unlucky accident" description is rather likely to apply even if MH17 were downed by the local militias. No one is likely to help his side's cause if he shoots down an aircraft from a completely different country.

Russia is investigating the allegations now. See RT for a story in English.

What I find rather powerful about this story is that it names a real person who is actually out there. This guy has his own Ukrainian Wikipedia page, older video interview with him, and lots of pictures.

Please, just to be sure, I am not releasing any verdict, in one way or another. You are kindly asked to calm down, whatever your expectations are, and provide us with some rational thoughts or data on the matter.

The first Malaysian Airlines plane

Meanwhile, the world media (The Daily Mail was among the first ones) are full of the assertions by a former CEO of Proteus Airlines that the MH370 flight was shot down by the U.S. Air Force as it approached the Diego Garcia base. The American personnel were afraid of the 9/11 scenario.

It's the same base that was mentioned in the (hopefully fake) story about the iPhone stored in a passenger's buttocks that was taking almost black pictures (later leaked) of the base after the U.S. Army kidnapped everyone on the airplane.

Update on Wednesday: the witness account was "confirmed" by a lie detector but because I think that polygraphs are mostly bullšit, it doesn't affect my opinions.


  1. Hoping you will cover the new claim that wave/particle duality is just the uncertainty principle:


    Is this arXIV.org or other sophisticated site good for physics laymen to read a higher level discussion than the crap I find on Phys.org? In biochemistry, nanotech, and medicine I cant look up the chemistry structures involved and geometry alone is enough to grok the interactions, but physics is too full of crackpot hacks spouting off about perpetual motion and cold fusion on popular science sites and their is never reducible to molecular structure.

  2. Dear Nik, apologies, I probably don't know what to do with the claim. Both uncertainty principle and wave-particle duality are two philosophically sounding concepts that can either motivate the discovery of quantum mechanics, or that can be used to summarize its spirit.

    They highlight something about the quantumness which is shared, but they also have some differences, at least in the focus. When converted to the mathematically precise language, they melt and merge into the skeleton given by the postulates and the equations.

    At any rate, the relationship between these principles around quantum mechanics has been understood since the 1920s, too. It's silly that there is a new discovery about these matters.

    Things are more complex because the paper actually makes some technical claims that might go beyond the superficial claim about the equivalence in the media. But in reality, they make the situation even more muddy than what is in the media by linking "entropy" into these questions.

    I don't want to drown in this stuff where nothing is really correct, everything is slightly confused with everything else, but nothing important is "completely sharply wrong", and potentially all of physics is involved.

  3. How can 10^4 legitimate scholarly papers be submitted each month and not solve all the world's problems within a year? One would naïvely imagine there must be a pony in there somewhere. Here's a thought! There isn't.

    Doing the job.

  4. The ArXiv is for professional physicists to exchange their knowledge, and not for the laymen!

    Even though laymen with big mouths and egos called "science journalists" tend to randomly pick papers from there and misrepresent them in popular media channels these days ...

  5. Hi Lumo,

    do you know if only new papers will be affected by this change, or will it concern all of them?

  6. Robert Hooke wrote a paper on the behavior of bubbles in urine that he observed while, imagine that, urinating. A good scientist with a keen eye for intriguing natural phenomena can find something interesting even in his own piss.

    (In this particular case, I refrained for saying "in his or her", since nature has unfairly made this particular class of observations somewhat more readily accessible to men.)

  7. Dear Dilaton, I am pretty sure that old identifiers are never changed retroactively.

  8. It's quite useful to follow just the tone of professional physics debate even for a layman, since it helps indicate where the mere journalists are being silly as cheerleaders of hype. Also, great insight can be had even by us non-mathematicians into how to think better about the physics guiding the chemical realm, in no other way. It helps us formulate useful questions too.

  9. Yes, it seems a very marginal possibility, an unguided (not locked into air command) SAM working off the built-in system radar in say a Buk captured by rebels at the end of June from base ! 1402 in Donetsk, and reported in RU and UA press seems like a likely possibility. There were soldiers from Odessa, not too happy with Kiev, stationed there (A 1402). UA air traffic control imposed some half-baked ineffective measures after that date (c. 1 July) but about 800 civil flights were flown through the 'Buk-infested' (max. effective range 80 K feet!) until M-17 finally came down, and this after several other kills on Antonov transports at middle to high altitudes. This would explain the present lawsuits against the UA civil aviation authority. Most probably, they put lives in danger for the fly-over fees.

  10. Sorry, slightly

    OT again, but good news:


  11. we'll have to wait to see what is true about this testimony, but it isn't impossible.

  12. They haven't sent any probe to neighboring planets in a while. Used to send them almost as frequently as the US in the old times. I wonder why?

  13. Just one other data point, there was an incident where an Su-25
    fired an R-60 Infrared guided air to air missile at a civil jet, a business aircraft rather than a large passenger jet.
    The missile destroyed one of the engines, but the airframe survived enough to allow the pilot to land the plane. In another case, the commercial flight KAL 902 was shot down over eastern Russia, also with the R-60. That plane, a Boeing 707, landed safely on a frozen lake and the passengers survived.
    Yet that small 3 Kg warhead on the missiles an Su-25 can carry is now blamed for the disintegration of a much larger Boeing 777. Seems a stretch to me.

  14. I think the BUK has been 'tested against large civil aircraft, UA military shot down by accident, in 2001, a Tel Aviv-Novosibirsk flight of a large Antonov passenger jet was terminated quite completely. The UA military desisted from using these SAM there-after, so their won crews will be under-trained in the present conflict, just something to bear in mind along the lines of 'accidents will happen'.

  15. The BUK is a plane killer with a 60+ Kg warhead, 20 times that of the R-60 carried by an Su-25. The BUKs efficacy is not in doubt.
    In this case, I think your idea that 'accidents will happen' is bang on. The problem is various parties trying to exploit this disaster for advantage.

  16. Dear BMWA1, given the frequency of bad news concerning new rocket technology, it's great to hear.

  17. Your failed attacks from SU-25 could have been near misses, couldn't they?

    One can cherry-pick very similar arguments against the BUK theory, too. It needs a highly trained team to be used.

  18. I'm a complete layman in all this but I agree. The technical specifications and numbers don't stack up for it to be an SU-25.

    However, I recall recently seeing something where an SU-27 was mentioned. I didn't bother reading it since most of these 'news' items on this business seem to be almost all pure speculation if not outright disinformation promulgated by all concerned (including otherwise apparently silent Western powers) and I'm all speculation-and-spunned out by now on this. But could it have been an SU-27, or was that a typo? Who knows — I certainly don't. Yawn.

    By the way, what now then about all that 'compelling' evidence that it was cannon/gun fire that brought down MH17? Or was the debris plumped full of lead on the ground? Maybe someone took a pickaxe to it? Or big a pointy stick ... ? Or none of these things? Whatever happened to the blackbox and what it revealed, if anything? Why are they all so schtum?

    None of this hangs together nicely except for the half-arsed emergency/stand-alone BUK possibility.

    So all in all my money would be on it being a BUK and the whole thing being a total fuck-up by whoever was responsible, most likely the anti-Kiev separatists, and, as has been suggested, all concerned trying to distance themselves from or take advantage of the incident. On top of that, the US military is keeping very quiet in not wishing to reveal its capabilities and no doubt following orders to 'accommodate' its hideoid muslime in chief anyway. "Per adua ad diversity", whatever the fucking cost. Way to go.

    Down the demographic drain to oblivion.

  19. Is gravity a string too? Has to be, right? If light is a massless string then everything is a string (or membrane etc.).

    The human brain seems to also be run by pure geometry, based on very consistent reports by users of the psychedelic drug DMT and as we all know, mathematics is universal in many ways at any scale and possibly also at any scale of complexity at least as a fundamental boundary condition.

    Q: is there such a thing as strings or membrane equivalents that are not essentially two dimensional objects in however many dimensions? Do any "string/membranes" expand into SOLIDS and thus actually embodied forms instead of flighty ghosts? Do they ever have interior volume and thus bulk? Or are they always "weightless?"

    If they are always weightless, then they can more easily be said to be a allied with pure mathematics. But then how is time in any way also allied?

    Can a string exist in a single moment of time or is it just a process that sweeps out distance or area like a dot on a CRT oscilloscope? Might all strings be just a point that sweeps out lines or surfaces over time?

    Are strings just probability determinations of some point-like focus of activity that moves in time? Must they always move? Are strings and their behavior probability limits or are they real?

    What is the nature of time?!

    So many damn questions, still ill formed.

    The ghosts of the geometers Plato, Pythagoras, and Archimedes want to know. Their minds are still coded in the epigenetic methylation patterns of our "junk" DNA.

    I'm quite serious. Is something "going on" with geometry/mathematics/time that is a real mystery? You often say no in some way.

    Can chemistry and neurochemistry (complexity) in theory, in some way, "entrain" or at least influence physics in a way that prevents reductionism? And if you have no idea what matter even is, and even though reductionism may work to the 10^16 digit according to tiny particles, isn't that just "noise" when you consider chemistry? Can't there be a disconnect from physics up into chemistry and complexity?

    -=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. in chemistry (Columbia/Harvard)

  20. Dear Nik, the *graviton*, a particle mediating gravity (or the quantum of a gravitational wave), is a string, too.

    Gravity itself is a forced mediated by virtual massless spin-2 strings. I am afraid that I will leave the drugs and solid ghosts to others.

  21. Gravity is a particle. I should have known that, but for the way Einstein said gravity was just space and time was just another ephemeral "dimension." But that means everything is strings. O.K.

    So are there no solid phase "strings" at all? I mean the difference between 1D strings and 2D membranes is just a difference of dimensional kind, so can't there be 3D string theory "solid" continuous objects? And can't one of the dimensions of a string in space just be time?

    My point isn't crackpot stuff or mysticism. It's curiosity about how odd it is that string theory stuff has no body to it. That's curious, especially in 12 dimensions.

  22. The double slit experiment seems to me to be just the fact that physicists can't appreciate that *atoms* can only indicate arrival of a wave-based photon at it's own local position. Yes, it's all spread out in weightless space, but then it actually "wave function collapses" onto a single ALREADY LOCALIZED atom that makes up the photographic plate.


  23. In all online sources it seems highly unlikely that the plane was shot down by an R-60 from an Su-25. In the following article, from July this year, this is discussed: http://scottlocklin.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/can-the-su-25-intercept-and-shoot-down-a-777/

    Given we believe the testimony of the eyewitness, that there were Su-25 planes armed with R-60's, we may presume it had a maximum ceiling somewhere between 20-23,000 feet, at least 10,000 feet or 3,300 meter below the 777. Operational range of the R-60 is 8 km (8,000 meter), but this wiki-article says practical range is 4,000 meter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-60_%28missile%29 ... Looking at the fragmentation damage on the plane, it seems highly unlikely that a single r-60 could have done this damage, unless a barrage of R-60 were fired and they all hit.

    However, I do not think that one can totally reject the notion that one or more R-60 missiles downed the 777 - fatal plane accidents are known to happen without anyone firing rockets at planes, and a "lucky shot" could have had very large consequences. Therefore I think it is wrong not to consider the possibility of it being an R-60, even if a BUK is very much more likely.

  24. Does it even matter which side did it if it was an accident? It won't change anything and it shouldn't anyway.

  25. The R-60 is infrared guided, so it targets the engines, rather than the cockpit.
    In any case, an Su-25 pilot would need a constant stream of guidance from the ATC system to put his plane into shooting position. He could not do it by eyesight, his plane is too slow and too low. So there would be ample radio intercept evidence available to all parties.
    Separately, a BUK launcher can at a pinch function pretty much on its own, with a small crew. Given that the combatants were all part of the same armed force before the civil war, it is not even possible to say whose side the crew was on.
    Imho, an accident arising out of the chaos of a civil war. The blame should go to those who routed the civilian traffic over a combat zone where aircraft were getting shot down.

  26. The strangest thing though about this international incident that killed 298 passengers and crewmembers is that with the 'West's leading-edge surveillance technology (eyes in the sky that can see the hair on a persons head), that the USA have never released the conclusive evidence from Satellite surveillance systems that the plane was shot down by the Russians or Ukrainian rebels. No-one has ever answered why this evidence is not out there and where then if it was, we would all know the truth, one way or the other. It is either a cover-up in the West or they are keeping the evidence secret which does not help their case either?

    'Another MH17 Cover-Up: Hiding a Key Autopsy' - http://www.globalresearch.ca/another-mh17-cover-up-hiding-a-key-autopsy/5421386

    'Russia to probe media reports that Ukraine military shot down MH17' - http://rt.com/news/216871-ukraine-military-mh17-report/

    But in the West there has always been massive cover-ups and Churchill was no different during and after WW2 when it came to the establishment and where one of them indirectly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers (USA, British, Australian, etc, etc, etc...etc) and millions of civilians throughout the Pacific campaign - 'The ‘Establishment’ Makes Amends but where the ‘Establishment’ does not change its spots when it comes to its own ' - http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-establishment-makes-amends-but_720.html

  27. Just a note regarding MH-370: the INMARSAT data very nicely define the distance from the satellite to the aircraft, and the location of Diego Garcia is simply not a viable solution to the data.

  28. The only group that stood to gain in any way from this atrocity is the Ukrainian government, who could then blame it on the Russians or the rebels. I doubt the Russians would do it and blame it on Ukrainians since they do not want to bring the Europeans into this conflict. Maybe whoever was responsible did not intend to do it.

    In any event, the US is in no position to moralize after what they did to the Iranian airline.

  29. Even if the "mystery witness" were somehow not a piece of russian propaganda bullshit, this wouldnt change the fact that the R60 missile cannot shoot down a 777 in a manner consistent with how it actually was.

    All this story shows is that russians lie.

  30. There is an easy explanation for the lack of surveillance footage from satellites - the systems are simply less capable in reality than they are in your imagination. There is a compromise between resolution, area coverage, and timeliness. Unless the exact location and time is known in the advance, chances are slim that any satellite would be in the right position at the right time to capture high-resolution images of the event.

  31. God save us when the nuclear-armed rockets take off then is all that I can say and where we certainly are not safe even though the USA spends going for $1 trillion on the military industrial complex every year

  32. What you say may apply globally, but along the Russian border? There are launch-detection satellites in stationery orbit and every inch is covered 24/7.

  33. I believe that kind of system detects heat signatures over a wide area, but with rather low resolution. The purpose is to provide early warning of missile launches rather than providing photographic evidence of the launch and the group involved. You would get a rough coordinate and some kind of classification of the event, not a high-resolution photo. Also, if the launch did not match the profile of what the system is designed to track (ICBMs or similar), it might not record a lot of data about it.

    That kind of capability is consistent with media reports about US intelligence detecting a missile launch from Eastern Ukraine just before the crash, but not being able to say anything definitive about who was responsible:


  34. Do you have a link to any of this unsourced description of what is flying and what its capacity is, or did you just make something up that was "consistent with media reports . . ." What is your unfounded conjecture on why a picture of this missile launch, and contrail, has never been seen?

  35. The Wikipedia article was edited the day of the shootdown, lowering the figures.