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What are your thoughts about this? Why is it that certain news outlets are reporting that the plane was shot down, while others are insisting that it wasn't? Most of the claims that it was shot down are coming from outside the US. I'm not one for conspiracy theory, but there were 2 very conflicting stories within minutes of each other. I need a better news source that isn't influenced in any way, thoughts?

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I did see a story on BBC America this morning about an audio tape released by the Ukranian govt. It purports to give a conversation between a pro-Russian rebel, and a Russian security officer and adviser about shooting down the airliner. The rebels and the Russians deny the veracity of the tape. 

If true, and this may well be a big IF, Russia may come out of this with a massive black eye, and even further diminished world standing. Prime Minister Tony Abbot had some choice words for the Russian ambassador when the latter tried to blame the crash on the Ukraine.

Very interesting. Original reports I read were saying that the Russians called it in saying it was Ukraine, while boasting in another media that they had take down a transport plane previously. I have not had a whole lot of time to look into this story further. I'm very happy you all are showing interest in this!

This reminds me of the civilian airliner Iran Air Flight 655, with 290 people on board, that the USA shot down in Iranian airspace in 1988, killing all on board. The missles were fired by a US destroyer. The US never admitted culpability.

What I'm now hearing on this is that International peace keepers went in to investigate the crash site but were held at bay by forces already on the scene. They were only allowed to be there for about an hour. These forces claim to have everything under control, but appear to be Rambo type pro-Russian sepratists headed up by a man called Igor the Rifleman. A second black box has been found also, but these have been whisked away, apparently back towards the Russian border just like the FA-11 missile launcher that supposedly shot down the airliner. Investigators have found audio that claims they shot down a cargo plane a short time ago, and now claims not to understand the wreckage as they investigated the downed airliner. Voices were saying that only clothes, bags, toilet paper, etc. were found along with 181 dead bodies. They asked themselves if this was replacements being sent in? It was right after this that the pro-Russian sepratist group put it all together and took over the crash site, covering the grave mistake here that was made. Putin continues to say that the Ukraine must be held responsible while the needed evidence of this crime is silently being whisked away.

Loren, that puts your hypothesis of this event right on target.

There's still the matter of the ELINT (electronic intelligence) which has been gathered about this incident, particularly the tracking information on the ground-to-air missile and any heat signature data that may have been recorded as well.  If there is enough of that to be gathered and correlated, you have a smoking gun almost as good as video of the interceptor being launched, if such a thing existed.

Suggestions that the Ukrainian government is responsible for this shoot-down is ludicrous.  Putin and his pro-Russian thugs are on the hook for this and they know it, and they are due for a spanking the likes of which I doubt they anticipated when some dumb fuck pressed that button.

Edited Postscript: from the Associated Press and published on cleveland.com:

"Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel. Thus, we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems," [US Ambassador Samantha Power] said.

Interestingly on Thursday (before this story came together)  Igor Girken posted that they had shot down an AN-26 . When news of the airliner hit, that post vanished.

Perhaps Putin thought by arming these guys they'd do his dirty work (what other super power is known for that?). This got out of control really really badly (the actions of the rebels at the crash site bear this out)  and he's going to have to turn on his 'freedom fighters' or face complete loss of international credibility.

I don't think Putin wanted them to do something really stupid like this, I believe they probably thought they were taking down a Ukranian military plane. But when you give weapons to undisciplined rebels, this crap can happen.

Putin sure as hell didn't want something this stupid to happen ... but when you put high-tech equipment in the hands of people who haven't a full appreciation of what can go wrong, this is PRECISELY what you get.

Putin may not have pushed the button, but with any sort of luck, he will catch the full splash of the impact ... and it is WAY past time he did!

Rachel Maddow has done a bit of serious journalism on this matter.  Have a look at her report here.

When America's NSA could be recording calls from passenger airliners, especially those in or near the world's hot spots, they are recording almost every call made by almost everyone, including lovers.

NSA could have recorded calls to and from the Malaysian plane that went down in the Indian Ocean.

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