About Bellingcat’s claim: “Russian sat pics fake”

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June 1, 2015

Preliminary review about Bellingcat’s newest report ‘Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images Released by the Russian Ministry of Defense’. (Link to Bellingcat)


This review is written By Charles Wood B.Sc MIEEE MACS.

Mr Wood is an experienced forensic expert with one specialisation being
forensic analysis of digital images and metadata. Mr Wood has over 20 years years experience in digital media and 10 years experience in digital media forensics for criminal and civil cases. Additional experience includes formerly working in applied physics (meteorology, climate research, toxic gas research, and oceanography) and also 5 years parttime service in the infantry.

Executive Summary

This report is on the quality and validity of the Bellingcat report. This report makes no assertion that the images were or were not faked; it simply points out the almost completely fallacious basis for the Bellingcat report and its conclusions.
The Bellingcat report is hopelessly flawed from the very start. It relies on unsophisticated use of a (free) online ‘image checker’ to detect ‘evidence’ of forgery and relies on Google dates for imagery dates. Neither reliance is at all justifiable and any conclusions made from them cannot be used by any serious party.

They also rely on EXIF data as evidence of manipulation without addressing the very simple point that images have to be prepared for publication and so will naturally be processed by photoshop or equivalent to trim and enhance and annotate.

Image Error Analysis Failure

The error analysis program they use is incapable of detecting forgeries in any but the most obvious cases. They rely on vague patterns well below noise level that are expected in any image with a small object on a relatively plain field.

Their first error is resorting to (free) fotoforensics.com to do the analysis rather than a tunable command line tool that can perform more intelligent analysis.
They then submit the images to fotoforensics without knowing what algorithms are being used and what the precise meaning of the error image is.
Practical experience says that Image Error Analysis produces remarkably odd results for even the most mundane of images. This is affected to some degree by the image source and preprocessing and is affected significantly by high frequency changes in the image. That is if you have say a black bird on a blue background you will get a spike in the error levels around the bird. This can be seen clearly in the alleged BUK launch photos also on Bellingcat which for Bellingcat chooses to not denounce as an obvious forgery (neither do I by the way).

Without wasting too much of my time I suggest interested people submit known unforged photos to fotoforensics and see what ‘forgery’ signatures they produce. However I’ll illustrate with some photos from a randomly selected source that ‘show’ signs of tampering using the Bellingcat criteria.

Charles01Original picture


Charles02Original picture


Charles03Original picture

Google Earth Date Failure

Bellingcat rely on Google Earth dates when practical experience shows that many of the dates are aggregate and simply do not apply to parts of an image or image tile. This is a result of the Google imagery provider performing all sorts of manipulations to present an aesthetically complete set of images without tagging each part of the image precisely with different dates. Even Google doesn’t know the exact dates of many of its imagery picture elements.
Bellingcat as per usual practice did not point this out in their report – though they surely must have known of this issue. The effect this date uncertainty has is that every conclusion they made as to when images were released is flawed. They simply have no idea of the precise date

EXIF Data Relevance

Bellingcat reports adversely on the EXIF tags in images showing the last editor was a variety of photoshop. This may be factually correct but is completely irrelevant. The images were prepared for publication including annotations, cropping, and rescaling. They will of course have the last editor listed in the EXIF data. There is nothing sinister about it at all.

Phrase “Highly Probable”

The Bellingcat report uses the phrase “highly probable” when attributing malevolence to unnamed Russian authorities. It’s extremely clear that there is no high probability at all. There is simply wishful thinking by the anonymous Bellingcat author. There is no hard evidence of any sort to show deliberate tampering of images no matter how much Bellingcat wants there to be.

Bellingcat Investigators

There is no evidence that any of the ‘investigators’ or ‘team’ listed in the report have any qualifications to do this type of analysis.
For certain Mr Higgins has no qualifications or training in any relevant discipline. A temporary job in haberdashery does not make the grade. The other names are a puzzle. The ‘forensic’ investigator appears linked to a company specialising in computer gaming and creating false identities.
The ‘team’ has not provided any qualifications or experience for any of its members which is a pretty good indication they are simply a bunch of people off the internet pushing – badly – some agenda


In conclusion I reiterate the main issues

– Bellingcat ‘investigators’ are unqualified
– Their use of Error Level Analysis is incompetent
– Their reliance on dubious imagery dating is incompetent
– They have no idea about publication processes for digital
– They make totally unjustified guesses at ‘probabilities’ and
present them as fact
– Their conclusions are unsound.

I say again about the purpose of this document. It’s not about
proving or disproving or rebutting anything. It’s about showing
how Bellingcat is fundamentally incompetent at best and quite
possibly malevolent at worst.

*Comment webadmin*: see also first analysis from Russia
May a fruitful open sourse debate begin.

**Comment webadmin*: see also See also: Bellingcat photo ‘proof’ = spoof (February 2015)


Lev Aleksandrovich – MH17 eyewitness

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.
SAM_0063My name is Bulatov Lev Aleksandrovich, a pensioner, former miner.

Max: What is your address?

Lev: Petropavlivka, Komarova street, 1, where we are standing now.

SituatieMapLevMap below: Petropavlivka is located in the green zone, in the little orange circle not far from the last FDR point. (source: Dutch Safety Board)

MeteoDutchSafetyBoardIf you don’t speak Russian, no problem. Most Western journalists don’t. They use ‘fixers’. You can watch the original recording from April 17th 2015 and concentrate on Lev’s facial expressions, body language and sounds he makes. Or instead you read the full transcription below and watch the video after.


M: So you are a pensioner, former miner?
L: Yes, I was a miner.

I testify that I saw with my own eyes how a SU fighter jet attacked Boeing. There were 3 claps. I saw everything from the beginning to the end.

M: Are you sure it was a fighter jet?
L: I saw it with the optics [of the monoculars]. It [the jet] started from about 700-1000 metres.

M: Can you show the optics you have please?
L: Using this binoculars, monoculars to be precise, I saw it [the jet] clearly. I could have even remembered its number, but I did not consider this at that moment.

M: So why were you outside your house?
L: I am not afraid of anyone, I am not afraid of shelling, so I was never hiding.

M: And is your monoculars always outside?
L: No, it is always in a place where I can quickly grab it while leaving the house.

M: And so what happened next?
L: The fighting started. I heard SUs flying over the surface, hitting Torez and Shakhtersk. And than I saw… The fighter jets were actually three. And later I saw that one jet sharply accelerated in that direction [pointing with his arm] to the north and went up.

M: How did the sky look? Was it cloudy or sunny? How was the weather?
L: It was very sunny and a bit cloudy. Weakly cloudy, I would say 4 [out of 10] for clouds. Anyway, it is all subjective, but visibility was perfect. I saw the silhouette of this rook (fighter jet) with my monoculars as I can see my own fingers. And when it accelerated, I heard the roar of turbines and it sharply went up. After some time I heard 3 claps:

bah-bah—bah (the last one followed after some time).

M: So you heard 3 claps?
L: Yes, bah-bah—bah, short, exactly as I am saying. The last one after some time. I saw the plane [MH-17] started to crash. But! the central part started falling in that direction [showing with his arm], in the direction of Grabovo. The cockpit was separated, as well as one wing with a turbine and tale. Everything else was intact.

M: So at that moment the plane was already hit?
L: Yes it was hit and there was a loud roar of turbines.

M: So it was hit, but the turbines were still working?
L: Yes, there was a “sad” roar of turbines, I would say “heartbreaking”, really strong roar. And when it [the plane] started to fall and the wrecks were fuzzing already, the plane was falling with back end down. Like this (showing with his arm).

M: How quickly was it falling?
L: Hmmm…. How quickly I cannot say… It was so frustrating, I could not fix the time. Wrecks were fuzzing and the central part fell there (pointing with his arm). I had to dodge from the wrecks, so that they do not fall on my head . Here the hatch fell as I understand. Some blocks fell here, one bounced and broke the window glass. Knifes and teacups fell in the yard. What else… The smell of perfume! The strong smell of expensive perfume… Like Chanel… Very strong smell. I even felt sick of it.

M: May be it was kerosene?
L: Kerosene split there on the trees (shows with his arms). The foliage fell. On the wires as well…

M: Here?
L: Yes, yes, exactly here.

M: Is it North or West?
L: North, exactly North. I was surprised why Boeing changed its usual route a bit.

M: And why?
L: Most likely to be hit later. The flight controllers are deciding on the route… The sky was clear, it was not night. Here [points] – this is the usual international route. When a “Caravel” (Boeing-777) is flying, I can see it very well with the monoculars … 2 turbines… at 10km, 12km… It is seen very well, even the windows. And here I got very surprised – this one [fighter jet] accelerated up and that one [Boeing] was just there.

M: So you were thinking the route is unusual?
L: Yes, very unusual.

M: You never saw it there before?
L: No, never saw a plane going there. Always there, roughly talking, over Shakhtersk. The international route. Hmm… perhaps… No, never saw planes here. Only there [over Shakhtersk]. Of course sometimes they deviate a bit. But here – never.

M: Were there any other civilian airliners or just the Boeing?
L: Before there were some there, as always.

M: How many fighter jets were there?
L: One fighter jet attacked, I saw it with my own eyes.

M: Are you sure it was attacking? Perhaps it was just flying back to its base?
L: Here is Boeing and here is the fighter jet approaching it. So why did the fighter jet go up and attack the Boeing?

M: I am just asking, I do not know anything. Perhaps it was flying back to its base, the rocket was aimed at it, but hit MH17…
L: The rebels do not have this… They only have MANPADS. As I have heard they just have 5km range.

M: Though there are many photos and videos of BUK missile system in Torez and in Donetsk.

L: (laughing)

M: There is also a photo of a trail left after the BUK rocket was launched near Snezhnoe…
L: This is just “trep” [talkie-talkie in Russian], if you understand what it means in Russian. Firstly, when the boeing was flying [over this area] I have always been here. If the BUK was launched there would have been a loud roar and a huge trail in the sky. If the rocket was launched either from Torez, here (shows the direction), or Shakhtersk direction, it is not even 99%, 100% I would have seen the trail. Moreover, I am saying it once again it [fighter jet] came and attacked [the Boeing] above. There was nothing else. I saw a fighter jet attacking the Boeing: bah-bah—bah. This is what I saw.

M: So I will repeat it – firstly you saw the jet and then heard the sound.
L: Yes, yes, yes. I saw with my monoculars, how it [the fighter jet] was approaching it [the Boeing] and attacked it not reaching it.

M: Was it attacking with bullets or a rocket?
L: I cannot say what it was. Perhaps there were the separate claps or a cannon was working.

M: I do not understand, were there 3 claps?
L: Bah-bah—bah. These I will remember for my whole life. The situation is that there was a fight, here and there were explosions, but this sound I have heard perfectly from here – this bah-bah—bah.

M: So the Boeing was falling. What happened next?
L: So when it started to fall, the fighter jet went to the North, towards Debaltsevo. Then went down. But I did not see it too much, only saw it when it descended. Later I did not see it. It went away and wasn’t hit. These [other 2 fighter jets], I saw them being hit and falling.

M: So what about the other jets?
L: There were 3 in total.

M: 3 fighter jets?
L: There were 3 fighter jets. As I was saying, there was a fight and they were attacking the rebels’ positions, bombing towns and mines.

M: So could you tell me please, where were the other jets going?
L: 2 jets fell. One fell in the direction of Shakhtersk, I was not there, but approximately saw the direction. And the other one somewhere near Torez. This is all approximately, as you understand. Just what I can see with a monoculars.

M: Understood.
L: I cannot estimate the distance. I saw it was falling. There was a trail behind it and it was falling. And then the explosion. There was a fight.

M: Here in the Netherlands our government thinks it certainly was a BUK. And they are looking for people who saw the BUK in Torez.
L: I heard all of this.

M: And nobody is looking for those who saw the plane. Perhaps they do not believe you?
L: (laughing) As it is said – if they want to see something, they will see it. I was telling them – look, I am a witness, do you think I would not have seen the BUK launch?

M: If the government will ask you to undergo the lie detector test, will you agree?
L: No problems, but I need to travel somehow. Also, I had a heart attack three years ago. If this will not harm my health, I am always ready to confirm my words. This is it.

M: Thank you very much, I need to think about your story.
L: I am ready to swear, I do not believe in God, but I believe in justice. Even taking into account the fear of being killed (the forefront was here [in the summer]),

I was telling and proving what I saw. But nobody wanted to listen.

The French were here, I showed them around.
M: So, the French were here, the Germans were here…
L: Everybody – from Poland, New Zealand, China, again from France, from the Netherlands several times, from Canada – everybody. I have not seen the Malaysians, I would have told them.

M: Thank you very much.

Lev’s wife had gone inside the house. I hadn’t noticed. Lev gave me the knife and souvenir she had just picked up from inside the house. He gave both objects to me. His wife said:

“Maxim, these are for you. As a present. Because you are the first who really wanted to listen to us.”

I felt tears coming. Nine months I spent behind my laptop looking for clues, now, here in the huge crash area things were totally different. I have had dreams one of my…..thoughts went through my head which I will keep to myself. I started crying, crying…….
Two people had come together with me, a curious villager showed up and Lev and his wife……I couldn’t stop the tears…..some people had told me they saw десантики (parachutists), but their chutes never opened.

“Maxim, maxim, cry. Don’t worry. All of us cried a lot. For days we all cried.”

Later Lev gave me a piece of paper with his telephone number on it. Please call me when all this is over and finally the truth known to everybody.




See also: November 3, 2014 Who cares for eyewitnesses?

L: (laughing) As it is said – if they want to see something, they will see it.

MH17 – ‘Buk launch photo’s’ are cheats

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.

Nederlandse versie
Русская версия

May 20, 2015

One of the reasons I visited the MH17 crash area in April 2015 was my desire to verify the authenticity of the only two existing photos showing a smoke plume claimed to be generated by a Buk missile.

This picture posted 3 hours after MH17 crashed shows an almost completely blue sky. On social media many people immediately questioned the authenticity of the picture because the weather in and around Snizhne was cloudy with 8/8 overcast at that moment.

More than four month’s later, on December 22nd 2014, Dutch RTL News presented another picture of which the photographer claims it was taken moments before the picture published on July 17th 2014.

Second BUK trail photo
How odd, in this picture that supposedly was made only seven seconds earlier the sky is cloudy and has a totally different colour….

Daniel Romein of the Bellingcat research team explains:
“On the original published photographs the color settings were adapted to make the white smoke trail more visible, the result is that the grey smoke is lighter on the first picture and darker on the second.” (Source)

The anonymous photographer explains:
“My camera was near the window. I grabbed it and ran upstairs to the roof to take a picture. I took my first picture but saw I had electric cables right in the middle, so then maximized the zoom and took the second. Then I turned round and on the other side, to the north, saw a trail of dark blue smoke. I decided that the missile must have hit a petrol station. I climbed to another part of the roof to take a picture from there. It took me three minutes, and I took the third picture. I had no idea that my third picture was the smoke from the just crashed plane.”

RTL News and Bellingcat refuse to publish the Exif data of the photos

Motivation: it would jeopardise the safety of the photographer. Unfortunately no ‘open source social media’ this time and we earthlings have to do our own research with completely useless BMP-files.
By the way, isn’t it strange this photographer trusts blogger Bellingcat and yet is worried about his anonymity and safety? And if “as part of this investigation, Bellingcat contacted the photographer who took the smoke trail images”, how difficult can it be to find this ‘anonymous’ person if a blogger can do it?

I first checked the geolocation performed by Ukraine@war verified by Bellingcat. While they estimate the location from where the photographer took the pictures vaguely in the green circle I was pretty sure

FLATgroupthe red circle must contain the exact building,

because the GSM-antenna on the third photo the photographer took is clearly visible on the sat pic and the direction of the MH17 crash plume matches too.

Location from where pictures were taken: Torez. Microrayon 3, Building 2

Trying to get access to the roof of building 2 in Microrayon 3

During my stay in Donbass most people were very friendly. However, as I asked an inhabitant of building 2 to give me access to the roof he insisted I show my passport plus a document proving my legal status. After I did just that and explained the purpose of my request only then the man relaxed.
Then I showed him both plume photo’s. “These photo’s are fake”, he said. “Everybody knows that”. We took the elevator to the top (ninth) floor.

“Here, this is Pasha’s apartment”, the man said. “He is a master photographer. A real expert. Unfortunately he chose to join the wrong side and left.”

After spending more than eight months behind my laptop trying to find out the truth about the plume pictures I was excited being so close to a reality check. After climbing two stairs and a small metal ladder attached vertically to a concrete wall I finally reached the roof……


The video is clear proof of the fact there are no cables on the roof as shown in the ‘cable picture’ which RTL News on December 22nd presented as scoup and new “crucial evidence” in the MH17 case. And these cables were never there because on the part of the roof from where the trees in the foreground are visible there is no higher point to which the cables could have been attached.

Conclusion: The first of three pictures the photographer claims to have taken is a fraud.

Who is the lying anonymous photographer?

Just hours after the sunny ‘Buk plume’ picture was posted on Twitter account @Wowihay the name of the photographer was circulating on Internet: Павел Алейников. In Latin script his name is spelled Pavel Aleynikov.

In Torez I have spoken to people who live in the same building as Aleynikov did, spoke to a former classmate who joined the rebel forces and I talked to two of his former colleagues. They all regretted ” ‘Pasha’ went to the other side” and expressed disappointment he took part in what they regard as faking evidence smearing the rebels and Russia.
What struck me most however was the complete absence of verbal aggression. I would expect cursing and foul language from people who felt betrayed by him. None of the kind.
Aleynikov’s apartment on the ninth floor was neither raided by the new authorities nor violated by anyone. Not the kind of behaviour one would expect from ‘terrorists’, would you?

Anonymous witnesses have huge propaganda advantages

– claims made by witness become harder to verify
– anonymity because of ‘life in danger’ demonises the political opponent
– possible motives of witness can be covered up

As a news consumer I understand that sometimes it can be necessary to keep the identity of a witness secret, but certainly I want journalists to inform me about the strong pro-Kiev stance of a witness when he incriminates anti-Kiev rebels and Russia while he claims “my only goal is justice”.

In a previous article I’ve accused RTL News of hardcore Dutch war propaganda. Today I add it is unforgivable that RTL News decided to deliberately keep the political agenda and real motives of their ‘anonymous’ witness hidden for the Dutch public.

More lies made by the ‘Anonymous’ witness

Having identified the witness it becomes easy to do an online quick scan. Turns out on different dates Aleynikov gave at least four interviews to various media. In chronological order:

Business Insider – July 17, 2014, published the same day
RTL News – published December 22, 2014 (English translation)
Meduza – blog of Russian journalist Parkohmenko, published March 17, 2015
Daily Mail – published March 22, 2015

This Tweet from July 17th 2014 at 4:46pm (local time) prompted Aaron Gell from Business Insider to contact Aleynikov:

В Торезе сбили самолет! Упал в районе квартала!”
[In Torez a plane was shot down! Fell in the area of Kvartal!]

Aleynikov later deleted the tweet, but others had already stored it.

Excerpt from the Business Insider article:
“Although he did not see the plane crash, he said he ran to his window after hearing the sound of an explosion after the plane fell to the ground. He could not see the situation from his balcony, so he climbed to the roof of his house and “saw the smoke on the horizon.”
And later, he “learned that the terrorists shot down a civilian plane,” he said. The man added: “I’m in shock! The terrorists must answer for their actions!” Regarding the passengers on the plane, he said (again, translated from Russian): “According to the information of the local residents, all the passengers on the plane died. And X [amounts] of bodies are thrown over the field next to the poultry farm settlement Grabovo.” He said, “I anxiously await the arrival of Ukrainian legal power!”

Well, well, well. At 4:46pm local time Pavel Aleynikov surely knew “In Torez a plane was shot down“, but many months later he tells Daily Mail: Then I turned round and on the other side, to the north, saw a trail of dark blue smoke. I decided that the missile must have hit a petrol station.”

Why months later the witness changes his story and suddenly claims he thought not a civilian plane, but a petrol station was hit?

Why didn’t he tell Business Insider about his earlier pictures with the “missile trail”?

Few hours after MH17 vanished from radar, Aleynikov is absolutely sure a civilian plane crashed, yet he does not mention to his interviewer at Business Insider that prior to the crash plume picture he took two pictures of “a white trail” at the horizon. He says in the same interview: “The terrorists must answer for their actions!”, but the thought did not occur to him that the very unusual “white trail” he photographed might be the contrail of a missile that was fired by the ‘terrorists’.

I’m convinced the official Dutch investigators don’t buy Aleynikov’s lies and surely repeated professional interrogations and a polygraph test would expose many other inconsistencies in his bogus stories.

Witness claims he handed over the pictures to his friend.

His friend Владимир ДюковVladimir Djukov runs the @wowihay Twitter account and is also involved in the pro-Kiev propaganda site Torez.info 
Djukov has been very busy the evening MH17 crashed.

1 4:40pm Djukov tweets the third picture Aleynikov says he took after the crash. On the tweet photo a moiré pattern is clearly visible. Why? Moiré patterns can occur when a photo is taken of an image on a computer monitor or TV-screen. If Aleynikov really physically handed over a flashcard with the picture why would Djukov take a picture of a picture? Also notice less then fifteen minutes passed from Aleynikov taking the picture and Djukov tweeting it. Not much time to go down the elevator, move to another part of Torez, hand over the data device and then have his friend tweet the picture.

26:38pm Djukov rushed to the crash site and posted a picture showing a dead baby. Or did somebody else take the picture and Djukov as spider in a web of ‘friends’ took care of redistribution? I blurred the corpse. If you wish unblurred footage, here is the original tweet.

37:23pm he posted the famous picture with plume but not before he first altered the colour settings “to make the white smoke trail more visible” as Bellingcat already explained. Or did not Djukov but another entity Photoshop the picture?

42:27am July 18. Djukov has been very busy geolocating the origin of the “white trail”.

It’s more than obvious Djukov is an info warrior serving a pro-Kiev agenda and possibly an asset of the Ukrainian secret service SBU. Not just a friend of a photographer who claims his “only goal is justice”.

RTL News conducted smoke plume and photo analysis

The 28 page report (in Dutch) “Summary Smoke Plume Analysis” is written by reputable Dutch institutes TU Delft and NEO and can be downloaded here.

The last sentence of the report:
“Op basis van de hierboven uitgevoerde zichtlijn analyse en schroeiplek analyse achten wij het mogelijk dat de rookpluim afkomstig is van dit afwijkende tarweveld.”

“Based on the conducted analysis of the line of sight and scorched spot, we consider it possible the smoke plume originated from this differing wheat field.

Internet sources claiming the conducted smoke plume analysis contains proof a missile was fired from the differing wheat field did not read the report or deliberately distort its contents for propaganda purposes.

Fox-IT and NIDF have carefully studied the photo files and according to them there is no indication of post-processing, fraud or manipulation of the three photos”, RTL News writes on its webpage.

This is interesting. RTL News never published these reports. Why not?
I contacted Fox-IT and NIDF with the request to send me their reports. Both declined and told me to contact RTL News. Of course this is the only correct and professional response these companies could give to protect the interests of their commercial client.

I contacted RTL News several times and asked them to show the reports. The news station declined. Why? RTL never published the photo analysis reports. Why not?

Not being able to find out if a photo is manipulated is not the same as being sure the photo is not manipulated.

Years ago the “Russian company Elcomsoft found a vulnerability in Canon’s OSK-E3 system for ensuring that photos such as those used in police evidence-gathering haven’t been tampered with. The result is that the company can create doctored photos that the technology thinks are authentic. To illustrate its point, it released a few doctored photos that it says passes the Canon integrity checks.” (source) Nikon camera’s have similar issues.

Manipulation of digital images can be detected with FotoForensics’ Error Level Analysis – ELA. Here’s a sample with explanation.

Manhattan[No signs of manipulation? Source & credit Michael Kobs]

Governments and their secret services certainly have the knowledge and resources to produce fake images that are almost impossible to falsify.

Charles Wood, a professional forensic analyst and expert witness with specific expertise in digital media, manipulation of images, metadata and micro-meteorology dissects much more issues about the pictures in this article.

The story behind the three pictures – an alternative explanation

3in1July 17th, 2014, Torez, Ukraine. Around 4:20pm local time flight MH17 was destroyed in midair.

Thousands of people have seen the dark smoke plume at Grabovo rising into the sky. Many people took pictures and various videos were posted on social media. A selection can be viewed and among others picture3 is also listed here.

Picture3 was published about fifteen minutes after the crash and its authenticity is undisputed.

– Except Pavel Aleynikov nobody until today claims to have photographed the contrail visible on this picture.
– After ten months not a single video has appeared showing the contrail.
– Although mostly cloudy that day, lateral visibility was excellent. More than 40,000 people live in the area in which people could have seen both the crash plume and a very unusual missile contrail.
– Many pictures and videos were taken of the crash plume in Grabovo. Pictures and videos uploaded shortly after the crash with different angles and many different positions, but none of them showing any trace of a missile’s contrail.

Let these facts sink in for a moment.

a) Possibly this picture2 is real and not manipulated, but shows another event and was NOT taken on July 17th. People claiming they can proof the picture is 100% legit and taken on July 17 do not know what they are talking about.
b) Possibly this picture2 is doctored, for example by Ukraine’s secret service SBU.

We know by now the cables shown in the picture do not exist and cannot have existed.

The following chain of possible events can explain why it was necessary to produce the picture with the fake cables in the first place:

– After publishing picture2 huge criticism on social media appeared the weather as shown in the picture differs too much from the real weather situation south of Snizhne shortly after the crash.
– Anticipating tough questions soon to be asked by official investigators it was decided to produce another picture that would make picture2 more credible.
– Picture1 is carefully Photoshopped. Nice clouds. The white contrail is positioned slightly more left compared to the one in picture2. Exactly what is to be expected due to the wind. An overlay of picture1 & 2 looks like this:

– It all matches, or not? There is one problem for the cheater(s). They had many days to doctor picture1 but it remains hard to pixel by pixel insert a white trail into an image without making the fraud detectable.
– Solution: in the final stage of the production the image was blurred to make signs of manipulation undetectable. To make the blurring ‘credible’ the cables were inserted. Aleynikov’s camera supposedly autofocused on the (non-existing) cables.

Final thoughts

Propaganda is only effective when disseminated by sources that have credibility in the eyes of the information consumer. Secret services know this
all too well and therefore target professional journalists and news channels with carefully crafted fake stories, spins and other forms of disinformation. This targeting of journalists and media can be done directly and indirectly.
To increase the chances of success ‘open sources’ and ‘social media’ are used as intermediates to influence opinion makers and gatekeepers.

Propaganda depends on framing the issue first. No one reads corrections once a false story is disseminated.












MH17 – My Week at the Crash Site in Donbass

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.

This page contains my Facebook postings from 17 until 23rd of April 2015

This object is almost certainly a part of BOEING 777 flight MH17. A person living in the crash area showed it to me. I read: “ANK BACC10KD”. Please look carefully at the video. All sides of the object have been severely dented, most probably under high pressure. Can this be explained by an explosion outside the aircraft?

After 6 days hard work I can report that many people are absolutely sure they saw military jets very close to Boeing MH17 on July 17, 2014. One person showed me an object he claims was part of MH17 and gave me a small piece of shrapnel too.


MH17 Recovery Mission – Photos of my second visit to Grabovo


Some of you ask me directly: “who shot down MH17
I do have a few scenario’s of what might have happened. The photo’s in this post show the destruction of an attack by the Ukrainian Air Force in the town of Snizhne, close to the MH17 crash area. The attack was executed July 15, two days before the crash. A little boy named Bogdan (=Gift from God) survived the attack. You can watch the successful rescue mission in the third video of my article that describes one possible scenario: ‘the Perfect Crime?’


April 20 I visited the MH17 recovery mission at Grabovo. Malaysian & Dutch did not want to talk to me, but the local rescue workers told me a human scalp with hair was found and also small parts of human bones.

Video about recovery mission at Grabovo. No editing. Apologies for bad sound.


MH17 eyewitness gave me these after I interviewed him.
It was an unexpected and emotional moment for me. The figure with boys and girls is a typical Dutch souvenir in style “Delfts blauw”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delftware


From Torez to Perevalsk and back. Photos taken in village Nikishino


Greetings from Torez

Since Friday, April 17, I am in the MH17 crash area. Made a long walk this morning and along the way took some pictures.



MH17 – Dutch investigation compromised by Ukrainian researchers

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.

Русская версия
Versi Malaysia

March 21, 2015

A Ukrainian source published new information about MH17. The source claims shrapnel from a missile fired by a Buk-M1-2, a launcher only used by Russia, was found in parts of the wreckage stored for reconstruction at Dutch Air Force Base Gilze-Rijen.

detail-1-225x300The same source published an article March 11 claiming:
“investigators have enough evidence to determine the cause and identity perpetrators”.

Ukrainian source caught lying

Press officer of the Netherlands Prosecutor’s Office Wim de Bruin, who was quoted in the article, had this to say:

“I am not familiar with these reports; I can say for sure they are not correct. We are still investigating the plane crash. We are not yet ready to take any conclusion.” source with audio

With this knowledge in mind, let’s have a closer look at the source’s new article with the BUK M1-2 shrapnel claim:

“One of Ukraine’s friends in the Netherlands, who sincerely supports
Ukraine’s struggle for independence and is deeply concerned with
killings of thousands of innocent people, was also invited to the tour.
This person provided Censor.NET with exclusive images from the hangar
and pictures of submunitions of the Buk-M1-2, which are involved in the
criminal proceeding.”

Who could this mysterious ‘friend of Ukraine’ be?

The images of the wreckage in the hangar surely look like the real thing.


Dutch journalist Joost Niemöller was one of the journalists taking part in the organized tour. I asked him a couple of questions:

Q. Joost, did you have a chance to look at all the wreckage?

A. Journalists were not allowed to go the platform from where some of the images of the wreckage in the Ukrainian article were taken.

Q: What could you see on the photo’s on the Ukrainian website?

A: These photo’s from the wreckage in the hangar are made during the investigation. No doubt. The detailed photo’s with ‘Buk parts’ are a totally different story.
First the wreckage photo’s. In the background you see two men. In different positions on different photo’s. They could be researchers. They seem to analyse the wreckage from close by. Some of the photo’s are made from the platform. I was there February 2, 2015 in the hangar at Gilze-Rijen as a journalist  during ‘press day’. We the media were not allowed to stand on a platform in the hangar. From that point you could have an overview. We had to stay behind a fence far at the back of the hangar. To give an example, we couldn’t get close to the engine and no part of the cockpit could be seen. Photographers were not allowed to bring a step stool to get a better view.

I took photo’s from this censored ‘media view point’. For example this one:

j1On the left you can also see a part of the fence. But we weren’t even allowed tot stand there. Somebody I knew asked the people of the investigation board if the next of kin coming on other day’s in the same week were allowed tot stand behind the other fence and the answer was “Yes”. They were also allowed tot stand on the platform. The person said they were not allowed to take photo’s but nobody checked for possession of cell phones. So, it is possible that next of kin took these photo’s secretly so they could be published on the Ukrainian website.

But I don’t think it was made by next of kin. Because on the wreckage photo’s on the Ukrainian website the position of the wreckage in the hangar is different. It’s a different lay out.

Take for example this Photo from the Ukrainian website:

3You can see that the reconstruction from the cockpit is in the middle of the hangar. The Cockpit on this photo is were we on ‘press day’ could see the parts of the engine. So, a totally different situation.

It’s not likely that these photo’s were made in the same week.

This photo on the Ukrainian website looks like the situation I saw during ‘press day’

But, you can also see: There is no fence on the ground, and on the platform you see some metal parts. Not very likely on a ‘next of kin’ day. Also: You see no other people on the platform. I don’t think it’s likely this photo is taken on the ‘open to the next of kin week.’

The photo’s on the Ukrainian website must have been taken on a different moment. They must be taken by somebody from the research team. Probably one of the Ukrainian researchers in the Dutch team. And leaked.

Again. Who could the mysterious photographer be?

Surely journalists nor family members of the deceased had the opportunity to take close-up pictures of shrapnel parts. Therefore, as Niemöller said, the photographer most probably is an insider of the Joint Investigation Team.

Two options:

a) An insider leaked the images and secret information.
b) An outsider had access to off limits locations with stored evidence.

In both cases the integrity of the MH17 criminal investigation has been compromised. Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt already asked the Dutch government for clarification how this could happen. Source (Dutch language)

Another question for Joost Niemöller:

Q. The leaked images of the wreckage in the hangar are not fake. Does that mean the detailed images of the shrapnel are the ‘real thing’?

A: Of course not. They are of a totally different quality, and from a totally different source. No source is mentioned. It could be anything.

On the subject of evidence and opinions

The conflict in Ukraine and the downing of Flight MH17 is covered by 24/7 attention in media and online platforms. The amount of information coming through all channels in an incredible pace is overwhelming. Opinions and interpretations are formed and shared with the speed of light, presented under the cover of information and evidence. In all this, it becomes difficult to identify truth, facts and fiction.

Most concerning is the amount of unsubstantiated opinions which are presented as facts and evidence, and are carried by crowds of online users and mass media. If that would not be enough, there is a growing amount of fabricated hoaxes which are mixed in with information.

Thank you Dr. Pavel Slavenko’s blog – I couldn’t express it better.

Not just a website, the Ukrainian state is lying constantly

And that is really a problem for the ongoing investigation, since Ukraine is member of JIT and supplier of information for the final report to be published by the Dutch Safety Board and the future criminal proceedings. Head prosecutor Westerbeke: “Of course this is a problem, but without Ukraine we cannot do the investigation”.

Example of a blunt lie. Second half of November a Dutch delegation under leadership of Dutch FM Koenders visited Ukraine. Ukraine’s secret service SBU claimed it had foiled a Russian-backed attack on the Dutch officials. During a press conference a video was shown of a female suspect said to have been trained by the Russians.

koendersgetuigeShe said that her Russian contact ordered her to carry out an attack on the Dutch delegation during a visit to a building in Kharkov on November 8th, where the remains of the MH17 victims are kept.
In The Hague the report about the possible attack has been dismissed as Ukrainian war propaganda. (Many other examples on this blog)

9N314Butterfly shape shrapnel from Buk warhead 9N314

Next step in the information war: Russia claims the warheads in its modernized missiles only use diamond shaped shrapnel.

M2plusIFor clarification of terminology used, see this table below shows relation between launchers, warheads and missiles types.

marcel22mrt2015*Correction March 22, 2015: old table replaced because previous table (credit) data unconfirmed. This is of huge consequence because in the uncorrected table info was listed contradicting data given by the Russian MoD.

MH17 – Bellingcat photo ‘proof’ = spoof

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.

February 5, 2015 – Honest debate is not possible if Bellingcat deletes comments and responses on its website without informing readers.
Details here.
I’m working on an inventory of pending issues and will publish and update them on this blog as a mirror to Bellingcat’s comment section.

February 2, 2015 

Few days ago I received an email sent by Charles Wood, a professional forensic analyst and expert witness with specific expertise in digital media, manipulation of images, metadata and micro-meteorology.

Mr. Charles Wood comments on Bellingcat article Examining the MH17 Launch Smoke Photographs written by Daniel Romein. I chose to post his entire analysis unedited.

In a follow-up piece I will ask him questions and further data supplied by others will then be discussed as well.


The basic flaws in the Romein piece are

  • No provenance for the image files
  • Basic checks on authenticity not performed
  • Unjustified assumptions made from the checks they did do
  • Writing on areas completely outside their expertise – weather conditions, rocketry, satellite image interpretation, image forensics
  • Failure to use publically available data to verify the images
  • Failure to release image data to support their claims
  • Failure to have effective internal checks before publication

This analysis will show that the skills and methodology of the ‘Bellingcat Team’ fall way below any accepted standard, and in the process they may have caused destruction of evidence.


Romein claims an incorrect upload time of plume photo to twitter

Romein claims an upload time of 18:23 local time (EEST)

Twitter metadata shows it was uploaded at 19:23:38 17 July EEST as evidenced by the Twitter metadata timestamp of 1405614218 (seconds UTC)

Checking on timeanddate.com using the visible time stamp also comes out as 19:23, not 18:23 as claimed. This is an error that is repeated in the Bellingcat report and indicates there were no internal checks at Bellingcat.

Romein claims the 17 July photos were taken ‘hours later’

Note that all of the images on the next page have been taken from a few to 20 seconds after launch, while the 17 July 2014 pictures have were taken hours later. ”

This totally destroys his later argument they were taken within a couple of minutes of the actual launch. They also make no sense. No smoke trail is going to remain for hours.

Edit: Someone who read the article on the website left a comment to that effect and the text has now been altered.

Again this is evidence Bellingcat has no internal checks or incompetent internal checks.

Romein makes incorrect claims on rocket trails

Other type of rockets like Grads or Tornados don’t leave a long white smoke trail in the air,

This is not correct. Different ‘Grads’ have different amounts of aluminium fuel loading depending on mission. High Al loading produces dense white smoke but more power for heavier payloads.

This is easily seen in Syria where the SAA use different motor loads for their Burkan missiles and have different smoke trails.

Romein also does not appreciate that rocket artillery units often fire a sounding rocket nearly straight up to measure atmosphere parameters. These have completely different characteristics to normal ‘Grad’ missiles.

I understand there was Grad launcher activity in the area so it is possible the plume was from a sounding rocket rather than a SAM. Bellingcat does not consider or at least report on this possibility.

Romein claims specific times and dates from unreleased metadata

What we will publish is that the second published picture was taken first at 16:25:41 EEST, and the first published picture was taken 7 seconds later at 16:25:48 EEST. ”

Given Romeins’s inability to get the twitter time correct how much faith do we have in his ability to report image metadata correctly and in particular the correct time zones?

Romein’s claim can only be confirmed by access to the RAW images.

Romein also seems oblivious to the effects of daylight saving. He notes the image metadata times and attempts to relate them to the incident time by assuming the camera clock is out by a few minutes.

Assuming the images were actually written by a camera, it appears the camera has been running long enough for the clock to drift significantly. If so, there is negligible chance the camera was adjusted by the cameraman for daylight saving a few months prior. This leaves us with the lottery of whether the camera actually supports daylight saving and/or was bought in summer or winter and so what time zone/daylight saving it has.

Bellingcat’s censorship of the raw metadata makes checking this impossible.

Romein claims file dates will be changed

Images in a RAW format can be edited in photo editing software and saved as a different format, like BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF, etc., but this will always result in a different file date, namely, the date and time the file has been saved after editing.”

This claim is sometimes true but highly dependent on the operating system and program used to write a file.

Without knowing what device and program wrote the images to the flash card it’s impossible to tell whether file times and dates would be altered.

What Romein doesn’t appreciate is the card itself has no clock. All times and dates are generated by the writing device / operating system / program.

There are several file times and dates recorded by the operating system for a single file. There are also multiple other times and dates recorded internally in images by application software. These internal times and dates may be modified by the operating system or by application software. Windows 7 for instance may rewrite internal metadata times and dates in an image simply from a user viewing it in the file browser.

In the case of images on Flash cards the format is almost always some version of FAT so it’s very easy to modify any file time and date with simple utilities or DOS commands. In addition simple ‘Hex’ editors can change internal metadata without a trace. There is no requirment to use photo editing software.

A basically competent forger can change most image metadata in seconds to minutes. A more competent forger can ensure there are no file fragments or OS data on the storage device that can be used to detect the forgery.

Romein claims photo software can’t create raw images

Photo editing software is not able to save files in a RAW format, because this is not a “positiveimage format. In addition, because pictures can only be edited by photo editing software, changes to the pictures will always result in modified metadata.”

This is incorrect. There are dozens of image manipulaton programs that can write raw image format. They can also be set to write out specific metadata. Even then, as pointed out before, a simple hex editor can subsequently change internal metadata at will.

Romein claims saving data will modify metadata

Also, when the file in RAW format is saved, the modified date of the metadata will be changed.”

Which is partially true assuming the saving program wants to change the metadata. In many cases it won’t – which is quite reasonable with many editing activities where preservation of metadata is desirable. However it’s trivial to edit the metadata after saving and it’s possible to use command line image manipulation tools to set whatever metada you want..

Romein claims to be completely certain

Based on the metadata of the RAW files we received, we can be completely certain that these files are the original files and that the pictures were taken on 17 July 2014 at 16:25:41 EEST and 16:25:48 EEST, ”

This is completely untrue. All he can certain of is the image metadata gives those dates, not that they are true. As an aside he also does not even try to do a comparison of file dates vs internal metadata dates – a basic forensic process. N.B. depending on how the images are packaged they can easily be transmitted with file original time-stamps.

Romein relies on camera times and dates

according to the date and time set in the camera”

This is a completely unjustified claim.

Romein does not know what the time and date was set in the camera; he has no idea what camera actually recorded the images; and he has no idea whether the images were written to the card by a camera or were copied there from a computer. These are the sorts of things that a professional forensic examination looks at with a view to finding inconsistencies.

Romein has not performed any type of forensic examination and has made completely unjustifiable assertions as a result.

For a simple example of well known daylight saving and leap year issues see DST

Romein has not performed image consistency checks

There is no evidence Romein has looked at the metadata of the images to see if it is consistent. For instance comparing the serial number field if present, and software/firmware revisions, let alone the camera model.

From what I have read there are significant differences in image settings between the two images so differences in metadata are of high interest.

There may well be no significant difference, but a failure to report that this was checked is a red flag for the quality of the work.

Romein states incorrect publication time

when we take into account that the first picture was released two hours after the crash,”

This is incorrect. Twitter metadata shows the first image was published on twitter three hours after the crash, not two.

This error affects Romein’s subsequent claims about the time available to alter images.

Romein claims low probability of wrong date

is that the photographer took a picture of a missile launch on a previous date, and his camera date and time was inadvertently set to 17 July 2014 at 16:25 EEST. The probability of this being the case, of course, is close to zero.”

This is simply untrue. The camera could have been out by a day easily – for instance if it doesn’t support leap years. 2012 was the immediately prior leap year so depending on age the camera could have been a day ahead. This would result in images recorded on 16 July presenting as 17 July.

There is also the very simple option that the image was taken on some other date and the metadata altered. Without corroborating evidence – for instance access to the complete flash device – this cannot be eliminated as an option.

Bellingcat claims impossible meteorological effects

We assess, based on the direction of the wind only a few hours earlier, that varying wind speeds at different altitudes caused this sharp turn.”

There is no evidence of microburst activity in the area and the photos certainly don’t support any ground level storm activity.

Absent a storm, the purported wind-shear is only possible in deep inversions which only occur at night. This image is in daylight presumably in summer with overhead cloud. Known meterological data for the supposed time shows a brisk wind from North of East. There is no possibility of an inversion under these conditions.

The only conclusion is that the dark plume is unrelated to the white plume.

The Bellingcat claim regarding the wind direction shift is also completely unfounded. The met record shows a slow change in direction over a period of many hours with a period of calm during the night. This is a large scale regional shift and does not relate to any sharp vertical backing or veering.

Time (UTC)

Dirn (deg from)

Speed (m/s)

2014-07-17 00:00



2014-07-17 00:30



2014-07-17 01:00



2014-07-17 02:00



2014-07-17 03:00



2014-07-17 03:30



2014-07-17 04:00



2014-07-17 04:30



2014-07-17 05:00



2014-07-17 05:30



2014-07-17 06:00



2014-07-17 06:30



2014-07-17 07:00



2014-07-17 07:30



2014-07-17 08:00



2014-07-17 08:30



2014-07-17 09:00



2014-07-17 09:30



2014-07-17 10:00



2014-07-17 10:30



2014-07-17 11:00



2014-07-17 11:30



2014-07-17 12:00



2014-07-17 12:30



2014-07-17 13:00



2014-07-17 13:30



2014-07-17 14:00



This is yet another example of Bellingcat stepping way outside its area of competency to make unsupportable claims.

Romein claims smoke trail has moved because of regional wind

Based on the visual information from the pictures and metadata of the original versions of the pictures, it is clear that the white smoke trail has moved because of the wind coming from the east, and it is our conclusion that the pictures are authentic and not fabricated or manipulated.”

The wind records show it coming from the North of East, not East. Wind behaviour is a vertical gradient in velocity and direction, either veering or backing with altitude and increasing in velocity with altitude. The plume shows no such characteristics. Because of the lack of lateral dispersion, one conclusion is the wind is blowing towards or away from the camera and under nearly calm conditions. Alternatively the images were taken seconds after a launch – which is inconsistent with the cameraman’s statement.

Romein claims the image weather matches actual weather

Based on the original images, it is clear that the weather visible in the pictures matches the local weather conditions at the time.”

That is not correct. The local air navigation data at 13:30 UTC 17 July 2014 were:

Time (UTC)

Speed (m/s)

Gust (m/s)

Dirn (from)

Visibility (km)

















And in particular cloud cover:


Time (UTC)

Sky 1



3-4 Oktas 3300ft

5-7 Oktas 10000 ft


3-4 Oktas 3300ft

5-7 Oktas 10000 ft


3-4 Oktas 3300ft

5-7 Oktas 10000 ft

The combination of at least two levels of significant cloud indicate that little or no blue sky will be visible.

Incorrect claim of cloud density from satellite image

Romein claims visible light satellite imagery shows patchy cloud with large clear areas.

This is a basic error. Visible light satellite images mostly show white where there is high altitude highly reflective cloud – usually cirrus or cirro-stratus at typically 20,000 feet. Very often lower level cloud does not show well or at all as it is not as bright.

As noted in the sky2 data based on local sensors there was significant cloud at the time. In addition eyewitness reports talked of it being cloudy at the time.


Bellingcat may have destroyed evidence

Romein stated

Bellingcat contacted the photographer who took the smoke trail images, and provided the images in a RAW image format. ”

The mere act of reading a device alters time and date data stamps on it. It loses a great deal of forensic value when this is done.

Bellingcat by asking for copies has helped obliterate key metadata on the device.

Bellingcat/Romein uses media of unknown provenance

There is no evidence that the person who supplied the images was the photographer, nor that the images were unaltered.

In legal terms, there is no chain of custody.

What we have is Bellingcat ‘procuring’ a pair of images some time after the event and claiming they are pure and unaltered. There is not the slightest attempt by Bellingcat / Romein / Higgins to see if they could have been tampered with, and in particular no mention whatsoever the various scenarios.

They then proceed to write a large post on the images, forgetting the basic problem that they have zero means of independently verifying their authenticity.

A lot of Romeins’ report is spent trying to justify the images. I note that much of that justification is bad research, bad forensics, and bad science.


End of analysis. To be continued.

This article is connected with MH17 – hardcore Dutch war propaganda



MH17 – hardcore Dutch war propaganda

Attention: 7mei.nl will be discontinued. maxfromthewharf.com is my new site.

1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

In this article I will dissect a particularly vicious piece of propaganda disseminated by RTL Nieuws on December 22nd 2014. For practical purposes split up in four separate sections with transcripts and my comments.

Question not resolved in this article: how could one lying anonymous witness controlled by Ukraine’s secret service be the single source for a seven minute prime time news broadcast in the Netherlands?




Transcript section 1:

New evidence about the attack on MH17. Photos crucial for the investigation.

Correspondent Olaf Koens:
I spoke to an eyewitness who took photographs while MH17 was shot down. He says: “it was a missile, and it came from rebel territory”.


Transcript section 2:

Anchor woman:
Good evening. RTL news has important new evidence about the attack on MH17.

Anchor man:
A series of photos of crucial moments right after the attack. We have the photos and a conversation with the person who made them.

Anchor woman
Based on these photographs we conducted an investigation which confirms that MH17 most probably was downed by a missile fired from pro-Russian separatists controlled territory. Prosecutors confirm that these photographs are part of the criminal investigation. We discuss this with correspondent Olaf Koens in Moscow and research correspondent Hester van Yperen at the Public Prosecution office in Rotterdam. First over to Olaf Koens, Olaf:

Olaf Koens
Last month I visited a man who was eyewitness of the downing of MH17 and he has proof. He fled the area a while ago but he tells his story. On his request we made him unrecognizable and for the sake of his own safety he cannot be traced easily. He explains in his own words what he saw and heard July 17 and after that will never forget.

It was 4:20 pm. We heard an explosion. Not a very loud one. Fifteen seconds later a loud bang followed and all the windows were shaking.

Olaf Koens
Our source lived not far away from the MH17 crash site. He took photographs and here they are [1m40s]. If you look carefully, a white trace can be seen rising straight up in the sky. The trace of a missile. Here’s the trace and we edited the photos to show it more clearly. Five minutes later he made another photograph. This time not the contrail of the missile but the smoke of MH17 that in the meantime had crashed.

Koens asks the eyewitness
What do you think the photos show? What do they proof?

I photographed a white stripe. First I didn’t pay much attention to it. For me it was just a white stripe that went from the horizon in the direction of the clouds and then suddenly stopped. Only later I understood what it was.

For the source it is clear. It was the pro-Russian rebels who shot down MH17, because the area from which the missile was fired is under their control. Now for him it is before and after MH17, he says.

Koens asks the eyewitness
Why have you, despite all risks for your own safety, agreed to give this interview?

I want justice to prevail…..I want….the people…the ones who did this will be punished.

End transcipt 2

Comment 1
Olaf Koens [0m53s]: “Last month I visited a man who was eyewitness of the downing of MH17 and he has proof.”

“Last month”, about a month before December 22nd. Why would RTL Nieuws interview such a unique witness but keep his testimony on the shelf such a long time instead of informing the general public and specifically the family members of the deceased on board MH17 immediately?

Another anonymous witness discredited as fake – same period.

Second half of November a Dutch delegation under leadership of Dutch FM Koenders visited Ukraine. Ukraine’s secret service SBU Ukrainian claimed it had foiled a Russian-backed attack on the Dutch officials. During a press conference a video was shown of a female suspect said to have been trained by the Russians.

koendersgetuigeShe said that her Russian contact ordered her to carry out an attack on the Dutch delegation during a visit to a building in Kharkov on November 8th, where the remains of the MH17 victims are kept.
In The Hague the report about the possible attack has been dismissed as Ukrainian war propaganda.

RTL Nieuws and Olaf Koens reported this:






We go to Moscow, there’s correspondent Olaf Koens…. well Olaf, how do you read this story?

Olaf Koens
Well Rick, it seems like a spy novel written by John le Carré. First of all let’s be clear about the fact that anything the Ukrainian secret service makes public must be taken with a big pinch of salt. In the past we have been put on the wrong track by the Ukrainians and secondly you have to ask yourself in regard to such happenings as these: who benefits?

Motive for RTL Nieuws to delay the unique witness account: better not show two anonymous witnesses in the same period of which one already has been discredited.

Other possible motive: timing. Journalists need stories not necessarily when they happen, but when they are useful for whatever reason. “that’s how it works”, real pro’s will tell you.

Other possible motive: it takes time to verify all information and additional research is needed. In this article the argument of ‘professionalism and accuracy’ will be dissected thoroughly on many counts.

Comment 2
Completely fabricated stories of anonymous witnesses are used in the information war to create false memories in the heads of the target audience (you). People will remember events that never took place. Notorious example is the 1991 Kuwait incubator story. This PR-stunt manipulated public opinion in the United States to support the first Gulf war.

1pic1000wordsIn the MH17 case anonymous witnesses are just as problematic. To understand the structural nature of mass deception it is necessary to understand the concept of PsyOp and Maskirovka, explained in detail in my article Lying by Omission.






Transcript section 3:

Anchor woman
…And that gives us valuable information about where the missile came from.

Anchor man
Our research department has investigated the photos and presented them to experts. Because these photos are probably an important link to the culprits, people that are responsible for the death of 298 human beings.

Research correspondent Hester van Yperen
These photographs were taken on July 17. We investigate if they are real. Different experts do not see any sign of manipulation. Also Theo Rikken, former missile expert of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, looks at the photos.

Missile expert Theo Rikken:
What you see here, with high probability, is the trace of a missile that has been launched from about here. The missile contrail normally rises straight up, but due to the wind the trail is displaced.

Research correspondent Hester van Yperen
RTL Nieuws wants to know where the contrail started. We get support from satellite company NEO and TNO Delft. They draw a line from the photographer to the missile contrail. That leads us to an agricultural field from which the missile possibly has been fired. Missile systems such as BUK create a strongly burnt area after firing.

Satellite expert Corné van der Sande
On the image before the disaster we see a normal agricultural field with wheat. But on this spot after the disaster we see a black spot. And this black spot could be scorched earth. You can also see a wall of earth. I suspect the farmer tried to extinguish the fire by making this wall.

Missile expert Theo Rikken
In Ukraine they simply put these systems into the fields. So, if a missile leaves, the ignition of the rocket engine causes the grass to burn.

Research correspondent Hester van Yperen
We compare our research with other reconstructions from a journalist who visited the burnt site and a journalist who investigated the convoy of a BUK missile complex. And the agricultural field is located in an area that on July 17 was I the hands of pro-Russian rebels. Our investigation confirms that flight MH17 most probably is downed by a surface to air missile fired from rebel territory.

End transcript 3

Comment 3
Research correspondent Hester van Yperen: “These photographs were taken on July 17.
Really? This is what the witness claims and thus should be checked and  verified instead of simply accepted as fact by RTL Nieuws Research.

Fact: it is extremely unlikely the first photo in a series of three was taken July 17th. That day the weather was cloudy in the entire MH17 crash area.

BUKtrailHAHAHAHAHAMore important, the first photo the witness presented does not show the launch of a BUK-M1missile at all, but the first shot of ground-to-ground missile Grad BM21 system fired any time between March and July 16th as explained in minute detail here.

[Update May 31, 2015 here I myself jumped to conclusions. Recently presented research by @MichaKobs suggests the plume photo is a fake. See here and here]

Comment 4
Research correspondent Hester van Yperen refers to a journalist who visited the burnt agricultural field from where allegedly the BUK-M1 was launched. The journalist she refers to is Roland Oliphant of The Telegraph. His report dated July 22 can be read here and his observations have been analyzed here in detail.

TelarBukM1TrackAbove photo shows the very distinct track of a BUK-M1 stand alone unit. Total combat weight of the unit is 32,400 Kilograms. If you click the photo you can watch a short video and watch how the unit moves in the field.

Oliphant found tracks of agricultural machines but nothing remotely even possibly representing the tracks of a BUK-M1. Neither did he find any other (circumstantial) proof of a missile having been fired from this location.

Nonetheless RTL Research ordered a 28 page ‘Smoke plume analysis’. The scientific report written by NEO and TNO Delft comes to this conclusion:
On the basis of the performed above sightline analysis and scorch analysis we consider it possible that the smoke plume originating from
this abnormal wheat field.”

Instead of presenting Oliphant’s report as accumulating evidence, on the contrary it should be regarded a strong indicator no missile was launched form that wheat field at all.




Transcript section 4:

Anchor man
We continue our conversation with Olaf Koens in Moscow and Hester van Yperen at the Prosecution office in Rotterdam. Olaf, why did it take so long for these photos to surface?

Olaf Koens
Well, our source almost immediately after the crash handed over the photographs to the Ukrainian secret service via an acquaintance. Later in Kiev he also talked to an Australian and Dutch investigator and handed over his camera to the investigation team. But meanwhile he got frustrated. He is angry it takes such a long time for the truth to come to light. Therefore he got in touch with some journalists. One of them the well known Russian journalist Sergei Parkhomenko. Via him we became aware of the existence of these photos. He gave them to us and our research department started to investigate. Our source mostly wants the truth to prevail once and for all.

Anchor Woman
Hester, what are the next steps in the investigation. The aim of course is to find the perpetrators?

Research correspondent Hester van Yperen
Yes, of course the public prosecution is now going to combine all types of evidence and the material we presented today is, well, crucial. The photos were taken by an eyewitness exactly at the moment this terrible tragedy happened. The contrail, but also the images right after the crash. I presume this witness will be interviewed by the public prosecutor. Besides this testimony the prosecution of course also has other evidence such as wreckage parts. Also there’s shrapnel found in the bodies of victims. These could also lead to traces of a missile. The prosecution really needs all this kind of evidence to answer the question: who was responsible for the downing of flight MH17.

Anchor man
Hester and Olaf, thank you both.

End transcript 4

Comment 5
Koens explains the witness handed the photos over to a friend who posted the first and third photo on twitter July 17. This friend has a twitter account and he calls himself ‘Huyevi Torez’ [fucked up Torez].

twitterhtClearly ‘Huyevi Torez’ presents himself as a true Ukrainian patriot and the day of the crash he was extremely active, reporting ‘missile shot down bird‘ , than visited the crash site and photographed a ‘dead baby lying in the field‘, only after that he posts the ‘first photo‘ he got from his friend and finally he makes a ‘calculation with a geolocation map‘ from where the alleged missile that brought down MH17 was fired.

Huyevi also proudly mentions in one of his tweets he as a high tech Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the lens Canon EF 100-400 f / 4.5-5.6L ISUSM. Exactly the type of camera that could have recorded the ‘first photo’ in video mode and the ‘second photo’ in photo resolution.
What a coincidence his friend the witness has a top notch camera with the same capabilities! Or maybe he and the friend is just one and the same person?

RTL Nieuws also having this information should have questioned the neutrality and impartiality of the witness instead of simply accepting he came forward five month’s after the crash purely driven by the motive that “the truth must prevail”.

Comment 6 – The gravest violation of journalistic standards

RTL Nieuws must have considered the risk the witness is a compromised opponent actually supporting the rebels and under extreme pressure forced to work for the other side. Torture is modus operandi of SBU.

“We tortured some folks” Ukrainian style [very graphic 18+]:


Twitter account of ‘Huyevi Torez’ has many pro-rebel tweets in the period March-May. These can be staged by him being a SBU-informant working undercover, but they can also be an expression of real dedication to the rebel cause. Based on information from open sources it is impossible to be sure his friend the ‘witness’ participated in the interview voluntarily.

Comment 7
Ukraine’s secret service has no credibility whatsoever. It is very shameful Western media even dare to quote from this criminal organization.

Instead, why not inform the public about:

1) Ukrainian BUK-M1 near the crash site
2) Many witnesses showing their face in public declaring they saw a military jet in the vicinity of MH17 during the crash.

Frans TimmermansWhy not? Because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

The task of the Netherlands as head of the Joint Investigation Team is to facilitate a cover-up and avoid geopolitical repercussions in case Russia and the rebels are completely innocent.

Question not resolved in this article: how could one lying anonymous witness controlled by Ukraine’s secret service be the single source for a seven minute prime time news broadcast in the Netherlands?

Comment added September 21, 2015:
Max van der Werff wrote this article Januari 24, 2015. since then a lot has happened and a lot of new (mis)information surfaced.*

MH17 – Bellingcat photo ‘proof’ = spoof added Februari 25, 2015 is important because it challenges the dominating narrative in Western media who copy/paste articles written by blogger Eliot Higgins and his group Bellingcat.

Recent information MH17 – News, Scribbles and Notes

* I deliberately leave this paste frozen in time 24JAN2015 for authenticity purposes. If I receive new information that proves mistakes are made in this article then I will report them in newer post.