One year since the MH17: an analysis of the mainstream media discourse

Posted: August 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

This entry is a back-up copy of my Facebook post that I originally made on 23.07.2015. For better user experience, please read, like and/or comment the original post on FB.

It’s been over a year since the day the MH17 tragedy took place. I was watching news reports on Channel Ten and SBS for two days (last Friday and Saturday) to see how discourse is constructed here amid the One Year Anniversary of the event. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of anti-Russian hysteria and finger-pointing this time. Unlike last year coverage of this tragedy, the reports were far more moderate, without explicitly blaming rebels and Russia. Sadly, they were still working within a very narrow narrative, deliberately omitting and completely ignoring all the other information that is now known and could easily be found in open sources. Many important issues weren’t brought to light.
The aim of this post is provide links to information the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about.

Let’s begin with that “newly emerged”, “exclusive” video footage that shows rebels being on the crash cite shortly after the plane was brought down, the video that began circulating in the Australian media early in the morning on 17.07.2015. First of all, it’s not newly emerged. Neither it is exclusive. The footage was produced by a rebel fighter who goes by a nickname “Zhuk” (Beatle) and given to the media last year. BBC aired it on July 20, 2014, three days after the crash. In an interview to BBC’s Joh Donnson, Zhuk explained that the rebels were collecting documents of the victims and other items that contain information to hand it all to the investigators. When asked why he gave footage to the media, Zhuk replied that he hoped it would assist the official investigation. Here is this report by BBC:

But that’s not the most interesting bit. What the Australian mainstream media also failed to report is what the rebel fighters are actually saying in this video. What they can be heard saying is that the plane was brought down by a jet-fighter (that’s such a small and insignificant detail all the major news outlets omitted, isn’t it?):

But okay, Australian mainstream journalists are human beings too, not all of them are able to understand Russian language (especially when it’s spoken with a Southern/Ukrainian accent), and certainly not all of them are professional enough to check the existing media archives. Misreporting happens. Let’s assume it wasn’t done for implicitly evoking anti-rebel/anti-Russian moods amid One Year Anniversary of the Tragic Event, and that it was an honest mistake made in rush for sensationalism. Okay. But are there any particularly strange things about the MH17 investigation that should be discussed by public, yet the mainstream media just roles with it, as if there is nothing wrong? Yep.

For example, why the hell is investigation done in secrecy, with everything we see being vague, inconclusive reports coming out once a year, or so? Well, it could be argued that it’s done to allow a coherent investigative team to be focused on their work, without disruptive pressure by numerous third parties. Okay, fair enough. But there is one big “but”. When you watch news reports on TV or read mainstream news outlets, you get an impression that the Dutch Safety Board is unbiased, and that the investigation is being conducted with the help of the global community experts, but that’s not really the case. It’s a four-party comity, all the members of which have signed a non-disclousre agreement, the agreement that prohibits the release of findings until the consensus on the results is reached (a very shady thing to do to begin with). Who are the four members? They are the Netherlands (a leading NATO member, which is one of the most anti-Russian organisation imaginable), Belgium (also a NATO member), Australia (a member of the ANZUS Treaty, which obliges it to construct its foreign policy within the US interests), and (wait for it!)…. Ukraine:
This, so called, international comity is, kinda, one-sided, don’t you think so? And Ukraine being involved in the official investigation, while being one of the primary suspects, doesn’t add to its credibility either. It’s the same as having a murder case, with five primary suspects, in which investigators decide to assign some investigative duties to one of those five suspects (with the condition that the results won’t come out if he doesn’t like them). How freaking insane is that? They should get the DNR and LNR rebels involved in the investigation too then. Why won’t they allow Russian experts to join this secret investigation? Make it truly international, invite aviation, ballistics and forensic experts from China, Iran, North Korea. Make it a proper, UN-led investigation, for f*ck’s sake! What kind of results should we expect from closed investigation conducted in secrecy by a comity of four nations, all of which are explicitly anti-Russian and one of them being a primary suspect?
You can already hear some very disturbing bells ringing:
Should the public be aware of these issues? Hell yeah! Have you ever heard SBS, Channel 7, BBC, CNN, etc., raising these questions? I haven’t.

Another massive issue with the MH17 case is that both the Dutch Safety Board and the mainstream media completely ignore the multiple eye-witness accounts.
For instance, here is a report done by Graham William Phillips. He messed up with the technical aspect here, as the sound channels are mixed at the very beginning, and the subtitles become desynchronised with the video in the middle of the report. But, nevertheless, it’s a valuable piece of evidence as it contains interviews with the residents. The interview with those who were on the scene during or shortly after the plane was taken down can be seen at 11:17, 22:10 (they say they saw fighter jets), 24:13, 26:45, 33:21 (says he saw a jet firing a rocket), 38:30, 55:33, 1:02:35 (that woman who had a dead body falling on her house and penetrating her roof; she was shown by the Australia media a couple of times, yet, the majority of the stuff she says here has never been broadcasted by any mainstream media outlet), 1:11:11 (one of the guys says that he saw two jets). All the interviews are worth watching, many interesting details are given:

In general, pretty much all the people interviewed say that they heard two loud claps. Those who were indoors didn’t understand what was happening at first, they thought they are being bombed by the Kiev army.
Here is another eye-witness interview:
BBC was also interviewing local residents, who were saying that they saw fighter jets, but that report got censored because it didn’t meet the “editorial values”:

Going back to the Graham Phillips’ report, there is one very interesting detail the very last interviewees mention. The guys say that they saw the news reports about “Russian-supplied BUK shooting down MH17” popping up in the Ukrainian media within the first 15 minutes (!!!!) after the plane got taken down…
Just think about it. The plane just crashed loudly, there is panic, everyone is confused, the residents in that area haven’t figured out what happened yet, but the Ukrainian media and their blogosphere are already posting detailed reports, blaming rebels and Russia, who allegedly supplied BUK to them.

This information is consistent to what Anatoly Sharij, a Ukrainian journalist in exile, famous, among other things, for debunking the initial SBU (the Ukrainian Security Service) lie about the BUK system, said in his interview to a Dutch journalist about the Ukrainian media being anomalously fast with reporting on the MH17 tragedy. Here is the fragment from his interview (I will post a FB link to the full interview in the comments section):

I was surprised and extremely worried that Ukraine gave its version VERY fast, almost instantly. As if it were prepared, as if the version had been written before the preliminary conclusions got out.
But even before a visit of the first official representative of the government to the crash site (by the way, I do not know if they visited it at all), the Prime Minister, as well as the President, revealed such strange details and made statements that were not backed by anything.
5) Now look. The Ukrainian mass media started reporting that the separatists had weapons to shoot down planes at high altitudes from the very morning. Where did this information come from, who provided it to the media? It’s unclear.
Before the information about the plane crash appeared at dispatchers’, it, again, has been provided to the Ukrainian mass media [!!!]. I know Ukrainian media very well, it takes them often from five to ten hours to publish the news that I’m aware of.
Such a sudden efficiency. Isn’t it suspicious?
Isn’t it disturbing, that the mass media even knew the flight number and the number of passengers? It did put me on my guard in the first minute. Because it is UNTYPICAL for the Ukrainian media…

The interview was never published. Did it also fail to meet the “editorial values”, as all the other stuff that doesn’t go along with the mainstream media narrative? Seems like it. Frustrated, Sharij decided to just post it on his FB page (again, links to all the FB content can be seen in comments section; give it a read).

Now, let’s look closer at the Western mainstream theory of MH17 tragedy, the theory that suggests that the plane was taken down by the rebel forces who used sophisticated BUK system that was, allegedly, provided to them by Russia.
If it was a BUK missile, it would have left a trail in the air for everyone to see and document it. The problem is that, to date, only two photos of this smoke trail exist in the public domain. The photos came out from an anonymous photographer more than 4 months apart from each other:

The first photo, the one that shows clear blue sky, was immediately criticised by people on social media because, as documentation and eye-witnesses tell, it was cloudy on that day. Those who propagated this photo as evidence explained that the photographer had his camera settings adjusted so that the smoke trail would be more visible, hence the sky looks blue. The second photo (again, it was released more than 4 months after the first one) shows the sky colour and the clouds that were reported seen on that day by multiple sources. The image is blurry because, reportedly, the camera auto-focused on the wires…. Bugger! The blurriness makes it impossible to analyse the smoke trail image pixel by pixel to tell whether it was photoshopped or not.
An independent investigative researcher Max van der Werff​, the creator of, has travelled to the crash site to interview residents and to check the veracity of these photos. And guess what! There are no wires that obstruct the view from the roof, and there could never be any, because the roof of that 9-storey building is the highest point in the area. The wires were photoshopped in to justify the image blurriness that hides the traces of digital manipulation. The photos are fake.
Moreover, residents who live in that building say that they knew the photographer. They say that he faked the photos, and that “everyone knows that”. Here is the full report:

That’s the “evidence” from social media for ya!

The same kind of “evidence” that the US State Department and NATO chiefs often rely on:

But what about those photos and videos of the Russian BUK system that are all over the Internet and have been shown by the media multiple times? Well, there are only 3 (three) videos and 4 (four) photographs that have been shown to public to date (plus one picture from Twitter, which served as illustration to a tweet and turned out to be from 2011), all low quality, hardly verifiable, with some of them provided directly by SBU (Ukrainian Security Service). Some of the photos appear to be photoshopped (but then, again, they are all conveniently low resolution images).
This excellent analysis by Sergey Mastepanov explores each piece of, so called, “evidence” from social media in detail (it’s 44 pages long, I strongly suggest you find some time to go through it; it’s excellent at addressing the issues with the social media evidence on concrete MH17-realted examples, including the infamous “the rebels themselves bragged about taking a plane down”; the guy does what the professional journalists suppose to do; if only they had any professional integrity):
Here’s a PDF copy:

Here is another article by van der Werff that explores the exact sources of all the BUK evidence (in short, most of it was anonymously posted on the Interned via now-deleted accounts that were only created to upload the material, yet someone made sure that the Ukrainian Security Service, anti-Russian bloggers and the Dutch Safety Board would notice and quickly save and repost it):

That’s it. That’s all the evidence there is for the “Russian BUK” theory. Three unverifiable videos and a couple of low quality pictures (some of which have obviously been photoshopped, as with the “missile trail” photos). Yet the mainstream media and various politicians have been asserting that there is an “overwhelming amount of evidence” for Russia’s involvement in the tragedy. If you look at it all carefully, the “Russian BUK” theory starts to look like the “CIA planted explosives in the Twin Towers prior 9/11!” type of allegations (with the only difference that the CNN and BBC weren’t covering those conspiracy theories, and the official investigative comity didn’t focus on them, desperately trying to find the evidence that would support those allegations).

I sometimes see reports in the mainstream media mocking Russia for propaganda, saying that Kremlin confuses its own narrative, Putin can’t keep his lies straight, etc. That only shows that those who write such pieces consider their audience brainless sheep. The Russian government never had an official version of the MH17 disaster! Couldn’t have, in principle (unlike the Western politicians and the mainstream media), because the investigation hasn’t been conducted yet and it’s too early to make any definitive conclusions. The Russian government has only been presenting different kinds of information to the public. E. g. there was a Ministry of Defence conference a few days after the tragedy took place, during which satellite, air traffic and radar data was released, all showing that the plane got deviated from its normal flightpath, that there were a number of Ukrainian BUKs on the ground in the region and that there was a military jet in the MH17’s vicinity shortly before the crash:

Then there was a press conference conducted by Almaz Anty (a weapon manufacturer; so, not exactly the official voice of the Russian government), during which they presented their own analysis and expressed their own theory based on the data available, concluding that it might have been a Ukrainian SAM that brought it down:

Then there was a report by aviation security experts suggesting that it might have been an air-to-air R-60 missile:

But none of those can be regarded as an official Russian narrative. Those are simply the presentation of available evidence with different theories being made by DIFFERENT BODIES. Yet, instead of discussing the actual content of all these reports and presentations, the Western mainstream media prefers to mock it all as “Kremlin can’t keep its story straight”. No surprise here. We’ve seen multiple times before that these, so called, “journalists” treat all the information that comes out of Russia as if it was written by Putin personally. It appears to me that somebody should tell these imbeciles that this particular article by The Onion News is just satire:–38519

Now, in regards to the Russian Ministry of Defence press-conference, the Western mainstream media ignored it completely last year. This year, however, there was a wave of articles accusing the Russian government of faking their data. Multiple news outlets reported that. All were citing the “independent investigative journalists and forensic experts” from a site called Bellingcat. There were a number of (pseudo-)analytic reports, in which they used open source information to try to debunk the Russian Ministry of Defence data, showing it as fake (e. g. they used pictures from Google Earth to compare them with the satellite data presented, doing shadow casting analysis, looking into the image data, etc). Again, Bellingcat went viral with multiple mainstream news outlets citing them as showing “irrefutable proof” that Kremlin lied to the World community and to the families of the MH17 victims. But not many bothered to report on what real forensic experts had to say about the Bellingcat analysis. For example, here is Jens Kriese explaining why you have to be an idiot to rely on error-level analysis (ELA) in the way the Bellingcat people did it:

Here is a Russian blogger Tymofey Vasilyev taking their analysis apart in two parts (if you’re too lazy to use Google Translate, you can just look at the pictures, they are very self-explanatory; some of the major points include: the file data analysis will give meaningless result if it’s not original raw data, they based their extrapolations on wrong assumptions while trying to date the satellite images, the creators of the digital tools they used themselves have come out and accused Bellingcat of manipulating data (!), Google Earth satellite imagery dates are approximate and, therefore, couldn’t be used for forensic analysis, in principle, Bellingcat people are just a bunch of fraud with agenda):
Part 1.
Part 2.

Interestingly, this was not the first time Bellingcat deceived their audience with faulty analysis. Back in February this year, they wrote a “conclusive” research piece, stating that Russia has been shelling Ukraine within their territory (they based their findings on crater analysis). The “study” was cited by NATO (!) and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Yet, when the real forensic experts, who designed the method of crater analysis, were reached, they said that the method is highly experimental, and that there is no scientific evidence to tell whether it actually works:

It has also been established that the creator of Bellingcat, Elliot Higgins, is a member of CENTRIC, a British intelligence and security organisation that collaborates with Law Enforcement Agencies and intelligence communities in the UK. So much for “independent, crowd-funded, citizen journalism”:

But in oder to understand the true magnitude of what’s wrong with Bellingcat and Elliot Higgins, we have to step in outside the context of the Ukrainian Crisis.

Elliot Higgins is also known as the creator of the Brown Moses blog (although the mainstream media is very reluctant to mention it these days). Back in 2013, he presented a faulty analysis, implicating the President Assad in sarin gas attacks on his own people. Initially, the analysis caused a massive uproar in the mainstream media, with everyone presenting it as “irrefutable proof”, and was about to be used as a pretext to justify military invasion of Syria by NATO and the US forces. But the weapon experts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology had a different view. A team lead by Theodor Postol, a professor of science, technology and international security, published their analysis in which they demonstrated that the gas attack was, in fact, conducted by the US-backed terrorists. As for Higgins, Postol said that “he has done a very nice job collecting information on a website. As far as his analysis, it’s so lacking any analytical foundation it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about”:

So, here we have it – Elliot Higgins, the creator of Billingcat, always pushing the US State Department line, always providing pseudo-analytical pieces for officials and the mainstream media to rely on, yet being constantly slammed by real academics and forensic experts.

But wait, there is more! A pro-Assad hacktivist group known as the Syrian Electronic Army once hacked into the Facebook messenger archives of Matthew Vandyke (another “pro-democracy” paladin and a KONY 2012-style propaganda maker, whose works the Western mainstream media used to peddle while covering the civil wars in Libya and Syria), showing that he, at one point, told Higgins that the anti-Assad terrorists possess a chemical weapon (that demonstrates that Higgins was deliberately lying in his reports):

But how do we know that those leaks are real, and not just some stuff that was made up by Syrian hacktivists? Well, some of his contacts have confirmed that they accounts have been hacked and that the information that was published is true. Matthew Vandyke himself then had to admit that those convos were real, after sh*tting some bricks:

So, it is now apparent that Elliot Higgins has been associated with intelligence/secret services and numerous mainstream media journalists for years, yet he still presents his projects as “independent, crowd-funded investigative citizen journalism”.

Higgins has been discredited multiple times by forensic experts, he has been exposed as a fraud repeatedly, his lies and evidence manipulation has nearly caused a war in 2013, and now he comes back again, with a project that goes under a different name, and begins to produce slander against the Russian government, in the case of MH17 and in the context of the Ukrainian Crisis in general (with his works being, again, repeatedly debunked). But neither the mainstream media nor the Western government bodies seem to care, and are always happy to use his works as groundbase for their accusations. That’s how propaganda works in the 21st century, my friends. I would blame people’s short memory span for this.

Okay, now, what are some other things the Western mainstream media doesn’t talk about when it comes to the MH17 tragedy? There is a couple. I’ll try to be brief.

Kiev still hasn’t released air-traffic control records that would help to understand why the plane got deviated into the war zone and then ordered to lower its altitude minutes before it was taken down. The preliminary report did contain some snippets in text format, but we can’t possibly know whether those dialogs are real or just made up by SBU and presented to the Dutch Safety Board as transcripts (SBU has a long record of fabricating evidence; I’ll link my post about disinformation in the Ukrainian Crisis in the comments section). We need to hear the actual, verifiable audio-logs. The world is that SBU confiscated them straight after the disaster happened.

Kiev lied about not having military aircrafts in the air on 17.07.2014:

Also, it appears that someone manipulated publicly available air-traffic control data 6-7 days after the plane went down, in an effort to make it look like the MH17 was going through its normal flightpath (numerous sources, including pilots and the Russian Ministry of Defence data, indicate the contrary):

We are yet to see the data from the American satellite that was flying over the region on that day, precisely at the time when the plane was shot down, and see their intel in general (the Russian Ministry of Defence has requested it on 21.07.2014, yet nothing has come out yet, apart from accusatory statements that are backed by nothing but the earlier explained “social media evidence”):


Let’s sum up. How come that the mainstream media shows one-year-old footage on One Year Anniversary, trying to subtly implicate the Novorossia rebels in downing the flight MH17 while failing to report that those were the rebels themselves who gave this footage to the international media, and also failing to report the actual content of what the rebels are saying on the video? Why does it happen that the news outlets don’t bring into public discussion the fact that the official investigation is run by a one-sided, anti-Russian coalition, with a government who is a primary suspect being actively involved in the process? Why is it being conducted in secrecy? How come that both the official investigation and the mainstream media refuse to look at anything other than a crazy conspiracy theory that is based on a couple of low resolution, low quality pictures and video snippets that have SBU fingerprints all over them, while ignoring the real evidence? Why do news outlets keep citing a discredited fraud whose lies nearly caused a war a couple of years back? Why aren’t news outlets concerned about the fact that Washington refuses to release its data? And why the hell nobody is talking about the fact that Kiev should have closed its airspace over the warzone in the first place?
Those and many other questions are to be addressed to the News Corp Australia, and other corporations of the same type that control the discourse in the mainstream media. The questions are, of course, rhetorical.

To me, it appears like the investigation is being postponed on purpose, as there is no evidence to implicate the rebels and/or Russia in this tragedy. Remember the Germanwings plane crash that happened earlier this year? The investigators were able to draw all the necessary data and make all the conclusions within mere days after the tragedy, yet, with the case of MH17, everything we have to date is a vague preliminary report, with the investigation, which has been going for over a year now, being continuously extended.

If you go back to the report done by Graham Phillips (the one that I linked earlier in this post), you’ll see that the investigators have been quite slack and lazy, neglecting some of their key duties (e. g. collecting parts of the fuselage that have holes on them and, therefore, should be analysed by ballistic experts, or interviewing the eye-witnesses). It appears that no one really needs a proper investigation now. Why would they? The case has already been made. All those headlines last year, i. e. “MH17 downed by Putin’s missile” or “Putin killed my son” have already been made, days before the investigators arrived at the site. Who needs an investigation if the public opinion has already been formed and economic sanctions against Russia have already been implemented?

And the fact that the investigation is being conducted in secrecy, with all the extensions, makes it 10 times more suspicious. Like, how do we know that they are not just waiting for the United States to research and develop some crazily advanced hi-tech ways to fake satellite data, for instance?

No, really, just think about it, if they really had any proper evidence against the rebels and/or Russia, wouldn’t they release it straight away, without relying on baseless propaganda and some fraudulent “bloggers”? It’s like they need more time to find and/or fabricate the evidence.

I mean, think what would happen if they release their findings and it turns out that they do not implicate the rebels (or, even worse, will show proof that it was the Kiev government that shot the plane down). What would it do to the credibility of all the politicians who have been accusing Russia from the very beginning? Imagine how foolish Tony Abbott would look if it turns out that neither Russia nor the rebels themselves are responsible…. well, okay, I agree, not the best example, but think about senator John Kerry, PM David Cameron, the entire US State Department. All were making pretty strong accusatory statements right after the crash. What would happen to their reputation and credibility? Moreover, if the truth about the MH17 comes out and it turns out that the rebels are not responsible, it might collapse the entire Ukrainian Crisis narrative about “Russian aggression”, and such. It’s really a house of cards. Also, think what would happened if some smartass makes a suggestion that Russia should demand a financial compensation for all the damage to its economy made by the US and EU sanctions that were baselessly implemented after the tragedy…

On a completely unrelated note, back in the 1960s, there was a proposed US military strategy against Cuba codenamed Operation Northwood. It was declassified recently. Here is a snippet from it. Read it:
I’m not implying anything. I just decided to post it here because I think it’s interesting.

Hmm… What else? Aah! The tribunal thing! Well, to me, it appears that the Russian government opposes this idea because it will make the investigation even more politicised. To me, it appears logical to have the forensic conclusions being presented first, so it would become possible to talk about the legal implications later (not that there is much hope for proper forensic analysis, though…).
By the way, if you want to talk about tribunals for those who shoot down civilian airliners, then, perhaps, you should ask yourself why hasn’t George H. Bush been sentenced for shooting down the Iranian Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988:

Either way, here are some additional readings on the topic that are worth going through: (I’ve already cited this article above, but it’s a good read on its own)

A very solid RT documentary on the Dutch-led investigation and the problems with it:

Additionally, here are a couple of articles that explain information warfare on the Web and social networks. I have been seeing various bots and trolls propagating the mainstream narratives on the Internet in an unnatural manner (e. g. there are some Twitter and YouTube users who spend all day arguing about topics such the MH17 tragedy, making 15-20 substantial posts per hour for 12+ hours during a week day; obviously those people are doing their full-time job):


I think you I’ve covered everything I wanted to talk about in regards to the MH17 tragedy.
That’s it from me for now.

Always remember to question and analyse everything you hear, see and read, especially when it comes to the mainstream media. Always seek alternative views.
Don’t let them brainwash you into the WW3.

Peace, everyone!

The materials cited in the comments.

[1] Here is the unpublished Anatoly Sharij’s interview to the Dutch media I was citing (scroll down a little for English text):

[2] My previous post about the Ukrainian Crisis, the mainstream media lies about it and the information warfare: 


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