As fighting interrupted international investigators from working on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site, the internet's premiere armchair detective claims to have tracked down the rocket launcher that shot down MH17.
First, on Saturday, there were reports that fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels once again kept the full crash site from being investigated. This follows a series of delay related to fighting and interference by pro-Russian rebels, including the Ukrainian allegation that the rebels had planted mines around the crash site. From the BBC:
Alexander Hug, the deputy chief monitor with the Ukraine mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told Agence France-Presse a visit to the village of Petropavlivka had been agreed with the rebels and Ukrainian forces.
However, he said: "We heard at a distance of approximately two kilometres incoming artillery from where we were and that was too close to continue."
The main area of focus was reportedly not impeded upon by the violence. Elsewhere, a massive rally in support of the pro-Russian rebels was held in Moscow.
The bigger news of the day may be that blogger Eliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses, claims to have tracked down the rocket launcher reportedly used to shoot down MH17.
Higgins was the subject of a New Yorker profile last year after he confirmed that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people in Syria last year from the comfort of his couch in Leicester, England.
Higgins' method is to use open source information, mostly social media photos and accounts, to make links between various pieces of evidence. (And who says the surveillance culture is a bad thing?)
His musings (with some photos and evidence) were run on Saturday by the Daily Beast, where Higgins followed a rocket launcher thought to be used in the attack that shot down MH17 on its journey from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine to Luhansk, where it is believed the fatal missile was fired on July 17.
Based on the above information alone it seems impossible to deny that the rebels were transporting a Buk Missile Launcher through the region on the same day as the downing of flight MH17. It also demonstrates the Buk was transported from Donestsk, through Torez, while still on the transporter... Finally, we know a Buk missile launcher, minus at least one missile, and the netting seen in other locations pre-launch, was spotted in the rebel held town of Luhansk, and it seems reasonable to assume this was after the downing of MH17.
He's also got a Kickstarter here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.