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Shooting down of Flight MH17: Lawlessness in the skies

As we fly around the skies with scant thought of the risks surrounding us - there seems to be more concern about security pre-boarding than what safety precuations airlines take as to where they fly over - the focus of safety in our skies is brought into sharp focus with the tragedy of the Malaysian aircraft seemingly shot down with a total loss of life.    Two immediate questions arise, apart from ascertaining the perpetrator of the horror.   Who has access to equipment with the capacity to down an aircraft? -  and no less importantly, why are so-called responsible airlines flying into zones which clearly ought to be avoided?

"According to Reuters:

Two U.S. officials said Washington strongly suspected the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was downed by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile fired by Ukrainian separatists backed by Moscow.

There were no survivors from Thursday's crash, which left wreckage and bodies scattered across miles of rebel-held territory near the border with Russia.

Makeshift white flags marked where bodies lay in corn fields and among the debris. Others, stripped bare by the force of the crash, had been covered by polythene sheeting weighed down by stones, one marked with a flower in remembrance.

The scale of the disaster could prove a turning point for international pressure to resolve the crisis in Ukraine, which has killed hundreds since pro-Western protests toppled the Moscow-backed president in Kiev in February and Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula a month later.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk described the attack as an "international crime" and said the perpetrators should ultimately face an international tribunal.

The Wall Street Journal adds:


U.S. agencies are divided over whether the missile was launched by the Russian military or by pro-Russia separatist rebels, who officials say lack the expertise on their own to bring down a commercial airliner in midflight. Ukraine, which also has sophisticated antiaircraft weaponry, said it hadn't shot any such missiles at any time during the conflict.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur appeared to have been shot down. She said that though it wasn't clear who did so, Russia bore responsibility for events in Ukraine and Moscow "must do its part to calm the situation."


As the Guardian reports, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made some of the most "potent remarks" against Russia, stating in a television interview that there were strong indications that Russian-backed militias were to blame. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Clinton said, must be put "on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by."

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