OK

Not a long diary, just a note that stage one of the Malaysia Flight 17 investigation is set to be published within the next few days. This is emphatically not an investigation into whodunit, so barring one aspect of the report, it will probably not merit much news coverage.

That one aspect has to do with the nature of the plane's downing. Even without a criminal investigation, if the plane is found to have been shot down by another plane, it would give credence to Russian claims that the separatists were framed, since only Ukrainian military is alleged to have been flying in the area. It's a possibility, but it doesn't seem to jibe with most of the circumstantial evidence, nor with other Russian theories about the crash.

If the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, as nearly everyone suspects, this report will not likely give us any new information, since it shouldn't tell us much about the provenance of the missile. I'm sure that, in turn, while likely fuel the next few cycles of theories until the criminal investigation is completed - hopefully by spring, depending on whether investigators can get open access to areas around the crash site.

The process has been slow, no doubt because of the nature of the evidence and the difficulties in securing it: as of yesterday, only a few more than half of the bodies have been positively identified. We should know more in a few days, at least.

I'm posting this because people keep asking why they haven't heard anything about this in a while.

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