This post is about the Associated Press “witness statements” around the day of the downing of the MH17. It forms a small part of the larger investigation into the downing of MH17 which is being covered in other posts. This may be of some interest to people examining the actual evidence for what happened on that day.
With regards to AP’s reporting. There is an AP article which has a time of Jul. 17, 2014 10:51 AM EDT. This would be equivalent to Jul 17, 2014 17:51 EEST Kyiv time (ie after the plane has been taken down) in which AP journalist Peter Leonard writes:
“An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne. In the town, he also observed a BUK missile system, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).”
In a later article on Salon (20.33 EEST) Peter Leonard writes that:
“A launcher similar to the BUK missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists earlier Thursday near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, which is held by the rebels.”
On 25th July on the AP site Peter Leonard adds more detail writing:
“It had been a noisy day in this eastern Ukrainian town, residents recounted. Plenty of military equipment was moving through. But still it was hard to miss the bulky missile system, also known as a BUK M-1. It left deep tread marks in the asphalt as it rumbled by in a small convoy.
The vehicles stopped in front of journalists from The Associated Press. A man wearing unfamiliar fatigues, speaking with a distinctive Russian accent, checked to make sure they weren’t filming. The convoy then moved on, destination unknown in the heart of eastern Ukraine’s pro-Russia rebellion.”
Peter Leonard goes on to write: “Even before the plane was downed, the AP had reported on the presence of the missile launcher in the town July 17.
Here is what that dispatch said: “An Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw seven rebel-owned tanks parked at a gas station outside the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne. In the town, he also observed a BUK missile system, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).”
Of course the time discrepancies probably have a completely innocent explanation and it would be good to know what time the dispatch was actually sent.
However, contacted via Twitter, Peter Leonard is apparently not disposed to clarify that minor issue, or reveal who the one/two journalists are.
The story about the man approaching the journalists and speaking in a distinctive Russian accent could be interpreted in two main ways – as an indicator the BUK in question was at least partly manned by Russians or, on the other hand, that that is the impression that those in control of this BUK wanted to give to the outside world.