MH17 disinformation: back in the headlines
This week, one of the most infamous of disinformation stories in the pro-Kremlin echo-chamber made it back to the headlines: the tragedy of flight MH17. As we have shown before, some key disinformation narratives often come back after a time in the shadows. And, as we have also highlighted before, pro-Kremlin disinformation often follows certain patterns which we can see again in this case.
This time round, we learn that some new documents supposedly prove that it was the Ukrainian Secret Service that was responsible for the downing of the plane – another one of the many theories spread by pro-Kremlin outlets. Yet the whole process of planting the story, echoing it and multiplying it by state-owned media shows typical signs of a state-sponsored active measure. For example, this “scoop” was first presented in a small pro-Kremlin paper, then, after being translated into English, travelled to hundreds of websites prone to conspiracy theories, pro-Kremlin narratives and anti-establishment stories. In the course of 3 days, the article was translated into 24 languages before it landed on the main pro-Kremlin outlet Sputnik, presented as a question rather than a statement. For a track record of Sputnik’s skills in investigative journalism, see this.
Also a Czech outlet claimed this week that the downing of the plane was a false flag operation designed to discredit Russia. This is again a favourite claim aimed at sowing confusion, which we’ve identified before. Now, Bellingcat has presented further evidence to support their conclusion about the truth regarding MH17.