This morning, President Obama convened a press conference to say, "What the fucking fuck?" A Russian official gave his own press conference, saying, "Who, us? No way we did this. Look at this elaborate conspiracy theory we've come up with. We even have images!"
These were horrifying stories to read after a weekend of horrifying stories about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site—about all the naked bodies scattered throughout the wheat fields, about pro-Russia rebels only allowing responders limited access to the victims (75 minutes of access the first day, three hours of access the next day) and at times "taking victims' bodies from responders at gunpoint," about the bizzaro stories being fed to Russian citizens by state media (like the one about how the plane had been filled with corpses before it took off from Amsterdam), about those rebels' looting and drunken mayhem at the crash site. As CBS News put it, "the proverbial foxes have been left in charge of guarding the hen house." According to the New York Times, a small pack of foxes—actual foxes—was running around through the wreckage at night, "attracted by the smell." All weekend long, the pro-Putin rebels, including a drunk guy in a beekeeper's suit and a man who just got off his shift as a miner in a nearby town, were loading bodies into a refrigerated train car. The operators of the train had no idea which direction the train would be going.
The latest news this morning is that some order might finally be descending on all of this. "If the separatists honor the agreement" they just made with Malaysian officials—that's one of the biggest "if"s you'll read all day—the bodies are going to be sent to Amsterdam for forensic inspection (a majority of the passengers were Dutch) and the plane's black boxes are going to be sent to Malaysia (not exactly reassuring, considering Malaysian officials' bungled response to the last airline disaster) and on-the-ground investigators will be given full access to the wreckage. Can you imagine if that had been a plane full of Americans? We would be at war.
The New York Times has profiles of the deceased here, including a Dutch senator and an Australian novelist. Originally, President Obama said "apparently nearly 100" people on the flight were AIDS researchers and activists, but that turns out not to have been correct—the number of AIDS researchers on that plane may be as small as six. The flight manifest can be seen here.