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30 Million Dollars Offered to Catch MH17 Culprits

Yes, you read that right, an anonymous benefactor is offering a bounty of no less than 30 million USD for information leading to the identification of those responsible for the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH17.  

The bounty - believed to be the largest ever offered, ahead of the £25m put up by the US for the capture of Osama bin Laden – was revealed by a firm of German investigators

Here's what the PI agency said:

Everyone can be bought, it’s just a question of the price

The reward awaits safely in a bank in Zurich.

Malaysia Airlines to Rebrand?

Malaysia Airlines could change its name in a radical attempt to rebrand and rebuild itself following two disasters in the past four months that have left the business on the brink of collapse.

After MH370 and MH17 and potential faults—or negligence—notwithstanding, a rethinking might be the only way to redeem the airlines in the eyes of the public. The Malaysian government is the majority shareholder, but privatization could be one avenue, as an Iberia-BA style venture. 

Sky News Presenter Looking Through MH17 Luggage

The situation on the ground in Ukraine is sad enough without having to add stupidity—and disgrace—to it. 

Sky News presenter Colin Brazier was shown picking items – including a set of keys and toothbrush – out of the opened luggage before saying: "We shouldn't really be doing this, I suppose."

No, you shouldn't. WTF. Shame on you.

Don't Finger-point Malaysia Airlines

This is a very sensible op-ed. 

Therefore when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe. Legal in much the way that driving 63 in a 65-mile-per-hour zone would be.

And safe, not just for regulatory reasons, but because aircraft at cruising altitude are beyond the reach of anything except strictly military antiaircraft equipment. During takeoff and landing, airliners are highly vulnerable: They are big, they are moving slowly and in a straight line, they are close to the ground. But while cruising, they are beyond most earthbound criminal or terrorist threats.

This is why, even during wartime, airliners have frequently flown across Iraq and Afghanistan. The restricted zone over Ukraine was meant to protect against accidental fire or collateral damage. It didn’t envision a military attack.

FAQ: What Happened to MH17

The NYTimes is doing an excellent job summarizing the questions and answers related to the crash. 

I particularly liked how they're displaying what other airlines were doing in the last week over Ukraine. Air France and British Airways were seemingly already avoiding the airspace, while KLM, Lufthansa or Thai Airways hadn't altered their plans (it has changed since).

Flight paths (image credit: NYT, from FlightRadar24 data)

Ukraine is now a No-Fly Zone

As reported by the WSJ:

Ukrainian aviation regulators Friday fully closed the airspace over eastern Ukraine, following Thursday’s crash there of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which U.S. intelligence agencies say was brought down by a surface-to-air missile.

The agency said the no-fly zone affects the Donetsk, Luhansk and Khakiv areas of eastern Ukraine.

It seems more than sensible. The Ukrainian airspace had been the subject of many warnings in the past already (most notable from the FAA). MH17 even climbed from 31,000 to 33,000 feet upon entering that airspace.

A country without airspace. (image credit: FlightRadar24)

Flying over Ukraine was a risk-opportunity calculation for all the airlines—sorry to be that cold. The route is popular for flights between Europe and Asia and re-routing over Turkey and Bulgaria, as many started doing yesterday, is simply less cost-efficient.

The warnings were probably not strong enough. But, let's be honest, very few would have imagined a civil airliner being shot down like that.

The risk was thought to be too remote.

A Buk missile can hit a target at 49,000 feet. (image credit: WSJ)

The closing of the airspace should also solve the maddening issue that FlightRadar24 raised earlier today:

Airlines shouldn't have been telling their customers they're avoiding the doomed airspace if they ended up doing so. No BS. No excuses.

I'm glad that, as customers, we have access to the technology to witness this. 

Below, an example on how MH reacted, re-routing its following flights ASAP.

MH17, This is Hell

In the wake of the terrible tragedy that happened to flight MH17 yesterday, I'm still in shock. The circumstances and the human cost is above and beyond everything many of us, air travel lovers, would imagine possible.

“This is not a disaster,” says a local commander called Aleksey, “it is Hell.”

Noah Sneider has written a vivid account of the crash site in The Economist. He's been on the ground, tweeting what he's witnessing


Then he saw things that looked like pieces of cloth coming fast toward the earth.

The NYTimes' report from last night is not an easy read either.

I personally know people who lost colleagues on that flight (many passengers were based in Geneva, my hometown, working in multinationals, NGOs and the UN system). That makes it even closer to home for me.

Although there had been many warnings before, airlines are now avoiding the Ukrainian airspace. It's unknown how long this will be the case for.

The Ukrainian airspace is being avoided, not even hours after the MH17 catastrophe. (image credit: FlightRadar24)

In the murky situation that is Eastern Urkaine now, it seems pretty certain that the airliner was shot down. Shot down. God.

US intelligence service reportedly detected a missile launch and are actively tracking its source. Reports are questioning who shot the airliner down, although the NYTimes has given us an intercepted audio that points responsibilities. But was it an error?

The Daily Mail has this transcript of the alledged culprits. (image credit: Daily Mail)

The Daily Mail has this transcript of the alledged culprits. (image credit: Daily Mail)

It seems unlikely that it was a complete "mistake". A surface-to-air system able to precisely hit a target at 30,000 feet needs multiple people to operate. Skilled and trained people. With a civilian aircraft that has distinctive heat traces and transponders—though an IFF system might have been shut down or simply absent here.

They should not fly, we are at war here.


There are bound to be conflicting reports, war of words, finger pointing and behind-the-scenes manipulation. After all, the region is already a war scene. It's even impossible to know if the public will ever get a straight answer.

Poor Malaysia Airlines didn't need that after MH370.

As I was going to grab milk earlier this morning, I saw some of the headlines of the British press: disbelief, anger, sadness.

The Daily Mail seemingly taking what US Senator McCain said on MSNBC yesterday.

[There will be] hell to pay, and there should be
— John McCain

Anger again. 

I love flying. I really love the Boeing 777 too, one of the safest planes around.

I don't want to live in a world where civilian aircrafts become random targets

I don't want anger in the skies.