Deleted Social Media Messages Tell Story About Downing of Flight MH17

Almost immediately after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on Thursday, July 17, messages appeared on the Twitter and VK social media site accounts of the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk Republic (DNR) group, claiming responsibility. But the messages, attributed to DNR commander Igor Strelkov, claimed responsibility for downing an An-26 Ukrainian military plane. The messages were then hastily deleted as it became clear that the plane that was shot down was in fact a civilian commercial airliner.

“We just downed an An-26 near Torez. It is down near the Progress mine,” said Strelkov’s VK page.

Earlier that day, on the DNR’s Twitter account, the DNR announced that they had captured Buk surface-to-air missile systems from the Ukranian surface-to-air missile regiment.

“self-propelled Buk surface-to-air missile systems have been seized by the DNR from (Ukrainian) surface-to-air missile regiment A1402,” said the tweet.

At the time that it was downed, flight MH17 was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet, well within the range for a Buk missile. The Buk missile system can reach targets as high as 80,000 feet in altitude.

Moreover, various recordings of communications that were intercepted between pro-Russian rebels and someone identified only as “a Russian military intelligence officer” that reveal rebels saying “We just downed a plane,” that it was “100% certain this is a civilian aircraft,” and, when asked whether there were many passengers on board, the rebel saying simply “%#(&%@” (Russian expletive), are now on the internet.

According to the International Business Times, one recording, in full, says:

“Major”: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.

“Greek”: Yes, Major.

“Major”: The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first “200” (code word for dead person). We have found the first “200”. A Civilian.

“Greek”: Well, what do you have there?

“Major”: In short, it was 100 percent a passenger (civilian) aircraft.

“Greek”: Are many people there?

“Major”: Holy sh__t! The debris fell right into the yards (of homes).

“Greek”: What kind of aircraft?

“Major”: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.

“Greek”: Is there anything left of the weapon?

“Major”: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.

“Greek”: Are there documents?

“Major”: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.

All of this underscores that on the Internet, just as in real life, once you say something you can’t really unsay it, because if there is anybody interested in what you have to say, they will probably post it on the Internet for others who are interested in what you have to say.

In fact, as Facebook has shown us, sometimes some systems take note of what you say even before you say it!

So, while the DNR was quick to delete those posts, it was still a bit like closing the barn door after the horse had already gotten out, as that cat was already out of the bag {and any other animal metaphors you like}.

social media messages tweets claiming responsiblity for mh17-1

 

You can read the full transcripts of all of the relevant recordings at the International Business Times.

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Deleted Social Media Messages Tell Story About Downing of Flight MH17
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Deleted Social Media Messages Tell Story About Downing of Flight MH17
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Social media messages claiming responsibility for downing an airplane on Thursday were quickly deleted when it was realized that it was MH17.
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