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Obama: Plane shot down by missile, 1 American dead

By Julie Pace

AP White House Correspondent

LAST UPDATED: 06:52 a.m. HST, Jul 18, 2014

WASHINGTON >> The United States began building a case Friday that would pin the blame for the downing of the passenger jet over Ukraine on separatist forces supported by Russia, in a disaster that could dramatically escalate the crisis in Ukraine. President Barack Obama said one American was among the nearly 300 killed and called for an immediate cease-fire to allow for an unfettered investigation.

Evidence indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, Obama said at the White House. He warned that the incident showed the crisis in Ukraine won't be localized or contained to the region.

"This should snap everybody's heads to attention," Obama said.

He identified the U.S. citizen who was killed as Quinn Lucas Schansman. No other details were available on the passenger.

While cautioning that the exact circumstances of the crash were still being determined, Obama pointed his finger at Russia for providing support to separatists that he suggested enabled them to shoot down the plane. He said such an attack wouldn't be possible without sophisticated equipment and training -- "and that is coming from Russia."

"Obviously, we're beginning to draw some conclusions given the nature of the shot that was fired," Obama said in a stern address at the White House. "There are only certain types of anti-aircraft missiles that can reach up 30,000 feet and shoot down a passenger jet."

Officials from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to Ukraine to help determine what happened, Obama said. He warned that evidence must not be tampered with as a United Nations-backed investigation goes forward, and he said, "We will hold all its members, including Russia, to their word" in allowing access to the crash.

At the United Nations earlier Friday, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power delivered an extraordinary speech rebuking Russia and noting that the U.S. could not rule out that Russian personnel had assisted separatists in firing a missile at the plane.

"Russia can end this war," Power said. "Russia must end this war."

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a single investigator to Ukraine as part of a U.S. delegation to assist with the investigation.

The White House has taken the lead in forming the U.S. delegation, according to an official familiar with the effort. A command center has been set up at the State Department, where officials from agencies participating in the delegation gathered Friday morning for a briefing from the CIA on the political and military situation in Ukraine, the official said.

A second U.S. official said all available evidence, including satellite imagery, pointed to the plane being shot down by an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile fired from eastern Ukraine by Ukrainian separatist forces. The U.S. detected three discrete events associated with the shootdown, the official said: the launching of the missile from the Ukraine side of the border, the missile's impact with the plane, and the plane slamming into the ground.

Both officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss U.S. intelligence matters publicly by name.

The attack Thursday afternoon killed 298 people from nearly a dozen nations, including vacationers, students and a large contingent of scientists. At least 189 of the dead were from the Netherlands.

The plane was shot down in eastern, Ukraine, near the border with Russia, in an area where Moscow's support for pro-Russian separatists has alarmed the U.S. and its European allies. The incident occurred one day after Obama announced broader economic sanctions against Russia for its threatening moves in Ukraine.


Associated Press writers Joan Lowy and Robert Burns contributed to this report.

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krusha wrote:
Putin is learning the hard way that you can't trust rebels with dangerous weapons like that and expect no collateral damage. This incident probably will be the one that will finally force the hand of all involved to find a peaceful solution to this conflict.
on July 18,2014 | 06:57AM
cojef wrote:
Hope so!. However, our imperial President at home, sounded very meek as compared to our Ambassador's address at the United Nations meeting, accusing the Russians of contributing to the downing of the Malaysia Flight 17. The degree of sophistication needed to down a plane flying at over 30,000 feet, at speeds nearing the speed of sound requires specialized training that the newly formed Ukraine separatist could not have developed in such short time frame. This training to fire the missile, our experts indicate requires at least 26 months to acquire the skills to coordinate search, seek, and firing the missile.
on July 18,2014 | 07:34AM
1local wrote:
hanabusa not going do anything.
on July 18,2014 | 12:50PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Neither will Schatz. After all his fellow Punahou alumni and friend is Barry. And as Schatz has said, he is "loyal to my friends in politics". So, he will lip-sync with Barry all the way. Yup, totally predictable lap-dog Chihuahua, Schatz is. He even has those big soulful eyes.
on July 19,2014 | 06:34AM
AhiPoke wrote:
While I think this incident was a bad mistake, I don't think Putin has any significant regrets. The man is on a mission to reassemble the old USSR and probably views this as a minor setback. After all there's very little resistance to prevent him from accomplishing his goal. The world, including the US, has gone soft. Anyone who believes that a reassembled USSR will be a benevolant country will be shown to be badly mistaken. The world will eventually pay a high price for allowing this to happen.
on July 18,2014 | 08:29AM
postmanx wrote:
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
on July 18,2014 | 07:38AM
pcman wrote:
IRT postman. Russia just broke the peace. Now what? Let Russia do what it wants to attack and occupy any country they want to as long as the "Russians" living there want to be part of the Russia (a new USSR). Even if Putin places the Russians where Putin wants them. It's coincidental that the Russian activist leading the Ukraine separatists is a Russian intelligence agent whose home is in Moscow. This type of "Soviet warrior" was called Spetznaz
on July 18,2014 | 12:30PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Aren't there a large number of Russians in the U.S.? Any potential separatists amongst them? But seriously, Putin is as adept as Hitler was in presenting his "story" to the people. At this point in Russian history, they are precisely where Germany was in the 1930's. So, a man like Hitler would appeal to the Russian populace, with his clarion call to a return to greatness and his emphasis on ethnicity. Who knows, Putin may be a reincarnation of the guy.
on July 19,2014 | 06:15AM
lespark wrote:
First thing they need to do is man up. Somebody did it.
on July 18,2014 | 07:44AM
false wrote:
time to draw a pink line...
on July 18,2014 | 08:08AM
false wrote:
Walk loudly and carry a small stick...
on July 18,2014 | 08:09AM
false wrote:
The new u.s. policy... embarrassing!
on July 18,2014 | 08:10AM
Graham wrote:
BREAKING NEWS: President pausing in his fund raising to make statement....
on July 18,2014 | 08:18AM
meat wrote:
"This should snap everybody's head to attention". Really Barry. Where has YOUR head been ALL this time? Didn't you just say "the world is less violent than ever before" and "the world is more tolerant than ever before". How did you come to that conclusion with all this strife going on around the world? People DIED yet you campaigned AGAIN..Yard an outright DISGRACE to the American people.
on July 18,2014 | 08:20AM
NiteMarcher wrote:
"Sanctions didn't work, so let's find another way to bring down Russia." If we look back a pattern was developing...take Iraq for instance, with Saddam and Libya with Gaddahfi. Besieged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was targeted by Western powers not for humanitarian reasons or even for oil. Instead, Gaddafi was in NATO’s crosshairs because of his push to abandon the U.S. dollar to unite Africa and Muslim countries with a gold-backed currency. “It’s one of these things that you have to plan almost in secret, because as soon as you say you’re going to change over from the dollar to something else, you’re going to be targeted,” says Ministry of Peace founder Dr James Thring. “There were two conferences on this, in 1986 and 2000, organized by Gaddafi. Everybody was interested, most countries in Africa were keen.” Gaddafi did not give up. In the months leading up to the military intervention, he called on African and Muslim nations to join together to create this new currency that would rival the dollar and euro. They would sell oil and other resources around the world only for gold dinars. It is an idea that would shift the economic balance of the world. While the struggling U.S. Dollar had rebounded strongly with the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s assassination, precedence for this theory comes from Iraq which was invaded soon after Saddam Hussein announced that Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars. And now we're coming to the present time of the BRIC nations Russia, India, Brazil China and South Africa...doing away with the dependence on the dollar as the world currency.
on July 18,2014 | 09:17AM
HD36 wrote:
Yes, you're exactly right. Funny how this incident occurred shortly after they announced the BRICS bank would soon be up and running. Funny how Russia is blamed right away when the US supported puppet of Ukraine has everything to gain from blame on Russia. Strange it happened right after China and Russia sign a $400 billion gas deal bypassing the US dollar. The dollar is no longer backed by gold. It's backed by the US military. Strange how Russia's Gazprom oil and gas company, the largest in the world, is developing pipelines that run from Iran, through Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria to supply China and Western Europe. These pipelines would compete with OPEC and the US dollar hegemony. It's more than a coincidence. I believe the Central Bankers and the government is losing control of the world's reserve currency. Game over for the government and the economy as China heads the BRICS bank and trillions of dollars come flooding back into America. Interest rates would spike, the bond market would collapse, and we would be on the verge of hyperinflation. It may be true, as some are saying, like the X22 report, that they will create another false flag event and start WWIII in order to blame the economic collapse on the war. Another angle, is if we win, we would repudiate the debt as war reparations.
on July 18,2014 | 09:28PM
Hawaii5OhOh wrote:
The US and the European nations, through the UN, should ban all flights to Russia until the President Putin recovers all of the Buk anti-aircraft defense systems and the related SAM-11 missles that he gave to the separatist rebels fighting the Ukraine government. Probably what caused this tragedy is what happened in the Cold-War movie, the Bedford Incident, with Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, and James MacArthur. The separatist rebels were probably reading the Buk manual on how to operate the missle system, and something went horribly wrong: Commander Ivan: Now, Vailee, press the Blue Button to turn on the radar. Comrade Vasilee: Blue Button is pushed; radar is activated and shows a jet flying above us. Commander Ivan: Now, Vasilee, press the Green Button to activate the missle. Comrade Vasilee: Green Button is pushed; missle activated. Commander Ivan: Now, Vasilee, whatever you do, don't press the Red Button, because that will fire the rocket. Comrade Vasilee: Red Button is pushed, and rocket is fired. Commander Ivan: You idiot! What did you do, Vasilee? Comrade Vasilee: Ooops. And, that is why the US should not give the rebels fighting Syria's President Assad anti-aircraft missles, because the same thing is going to happen, and another commercial aircraft will be shot down. Comm
on July 18,2014 | 08:55AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
James MacAurthur? Book 'em Danno?
on July 18,2014 | 04:28PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Not likely. Russia is one of the elite five with veto power. Like your comedy routine. Don't think it went that way. It was deliberate. Probably mis-identified the aircraft as something more ominous. A bunch of Russian "separatist" cowboys, eager to try out their new toy. "Hey, guys, there's a target. Looks like ....(removed to avoid censor).
on July 19,2014 | 06:43AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Obama was in Delaware raising campaign funds for Democrats when news broke about the airliner being shot down. Did he rush back to the White House as this major international crisis developed? Of course not. He continued his joke-filled fund-raising speech. And what did he do when our Ambassador and three other Americans were murdered when our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was attacked by terrorists in September 2012? He rushed off to Las Vegas to raise money for his reelection campaign. Yes, the airliner being shot down and the Benghazi attack were terrible disasters, but the worst disaster of all was electing Obama as President of the United States.
on July 18,2014 | 10:23AM
NiteMarcher wrote:
Blame the "military industrial complex" and the CIA (culprits in action) for what's going on. Let's not forget about blaming those elite bankers whose main goal at this time is steered towards accomplishing a "global" world order...with guess who in charge...bingo...the US. All planned on a grand scale...a corporate led future...in other words the conspiracy theory of a one world government or takeover, is no longer a conspiracy but factual when the sleight of mouth gave it a new term "global" --
on July 18,2014 | 10:49AM
DAGR81 wrote:
Well said.
on July 18,2014 | 11:49AM
Skyler wrote:
A friend of mine's son said his dad was supposed to be on the plane but got bumped. Luck him.
on July 18,2014 | 11:41AM
AhiPoke wrote:
That may be true but it sounds a little questionable as the Boeing 777 generally carries more people than the 296 reported aboard.
on July 18,2014 | 12:32PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Maybe he was in first class?
on July 19,2014 | 06:21AM
false wrote:
yeah, and bush brought down the towers... fried!
on July 18,2014 | 12:30PM
false wrote:
can't be mad at barry. after all, the guy's doing what he's alway's done... community organize/agitate.
on July 18,2014 | 12:36PM
false wrote:
barry's police at the star picking and choosing what people post again... sad!
on July 18,2014 | 12:38PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Don't blame Russia, blame Malaysia.
on July 18,2014 | 04:24PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Per CCTV news, "separatist" forces have been forcing investigators from the site. They are probably doing their own search for missile parts and the black box, so they can remove them and maintain their claim it was Ukraine who did it. Their actions bely their claim of innocence.

Barry now has cause to get involved with one (1) American casualty. But the fact remains that the ball is in Europe's court. They have been hesitant to get involved in the Russia/Ukraine standoff purely due to their dependence on Russian natural gas. If as reported by CCTV, Malaysia had been assured the route was safe by Russian authorities, then the Russians were too trusting in the so-called "separatist" forces' ability to follow orders. Unfortunately, this second Malaysian Air incident does not put either Malaysian Air or the Malaysian government in a good light. In the MH370 disappearance, they were too slow, in MH 17 they were imprudent and too trusting.

The incident may have been initiated by Russian troops embedded with the separatists. CNN, in one of their newscasts, had shown photos of Russian special forces in another Russian hotspot. Some of the same individuals appear to be also in photos of "separatist" forces in the Ukraine. As per SOP, the individuals in the separatist photos wore no identifying insignia, but were armed to the teeth with the latest in Russian munitions. Either way, Russia appears to be at the root of this incident. Since there were no mainland Chinese on board, and the overwhelming number of deaths were from European nations, maybe there will be real action and follow up this time by the Malaysian government.

on July 19,2014 | 06:07AM
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