German TV Documentary Exposes The Ukraine Volunteer Battalions Links to Arms Smuggling, Organised Crime and The Islamic State

German TV Documentary Exposes The Ukraine Volunteer Battalions Links to Arms Smuggling, Organised Crime and The Islamic State

In Midst of War, Ukraine Becomes Gateway for Jihad

By Marcin Mamon The Intercept

“OUR BROTHERS ARE there,” Khalid said when he heard I was going to Ukraine. “Buy a local SIM card when you get there, send me the number and then wait for someone to call you.”

Khalid, who uses a pseudonym, leads the Islamic State’s underground branch in Istanbul. He came from Syria to help control the flood of volunteers arriving in Turkey from all over the world, wanting to join the global jihad. Now, he wanted to put me in touch with Ruslan, a “brother” fighting with Muslims in Ukraine.

The “brothers” are members of ISIS and other underground Islamic organizations, men who have abandoned their own countries and cities. Often using pseudonyms and fake identities, they are working and fighting in the Middle East, Africa and the Caucasus, slipping across borders without visas. Some are fighting to create a new Caliphate — heaven on earth. Others — like Chechens, Kurds and Dagestanis — say they are fighting for freedom, independence and self-determination. They are on every continent, and in almost every country, and now they are in Ukraine, too.

In the West, most look at the war in Ukraine as simply a battle between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government. But the truth on the ground is now far more complex, particularly when it comes to the volunteer battalions fighting on the side of Ukraine. Ostensibly state-sanctioned, but not necessarily state-controlled, some have been supported by Ukrainian oligarchs, and others by private citizens. Less talked about, however, is the Dudayev battalion, named after the first president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, and founded by Isa Munayev, a Chechen commander who fought in two wars against Russia.

Ukraine is now becoming an important stop-off point for the brothers, like Ruslan.

In Ukraine, you can buy a passport and a new identity. For $15,000, a fighter receives a new name and a legal document attesting to Ukrainian citizenship. Ukraine doesn’t belong to the European Union, but it’s an easy pathway for immigration to the West. Ukrainians have few difficulties obtaining visas to neighboring Poland, where they can work on construction sites and in restaurants, filling the gap left by the millions of Poles who have left in search of work in the United Kingdom and Germany.

You can also do business in Ukraine that’s not quite legal. You can earn easy money for the brothers fighting in the Caucasus, Syria and Afghanistan. You can “legally” acquire unregistered weapons to fight the Russian-backed separatists, and then export them by bribing corrupt Ukrainian customs officers.

“Our goal here is to get weapons, which will be sent to the Caucasus,” Ruslan, the brother who meets me first in Kiev, admits without hesitation.

WITH HIS WHITE hair and beard, Ruslan is still physically fit, even at 57. He’s been a fighter his entire adult life. Born in a small mountain village in the Caucasus, on the border between Dagestan and Chechnya, Ruslan belongs to an ethnic minority known as the Lak, who are predominantly Sunni Muslim.

The world that Ruslan inhabits — the world of the brothers — is something new. When he first became a fighter, there wasn’t any Internet or cell phones, or cameras on the street, or drones. Ruslan joined the brothers when the Soviet Union collapsed, and he went to fight for a better world, first against the Russians in Chechnya and Dagestan during the first Chechen war in the mid-1990s. He then moved to Azerbaijan, where he was eventually arrested in 2004 on suspicion of maintaining contact with al Qaeda.

Even though Ruslan admits to fighting with Islamic organizations, he claims the actual basis for the arrest in Azerbaijan — illegal possession of weapons — was false. Authorities couldn’t find anything suspicious where he was living (Ruslan was staying at the time with his “brothers” in the jihad movement) but in his wife’s home they found a single hand grenade. Ruslan was charged with illegal weapons possession and sent to prison for several years.

In prison, he says he was tortured and deliberately housed in a cell with prisoners infected with tuberculosis. Ruslan took his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, accusing the authorities in Azerbaijan of depriving him of due process. The court eventually agreed, and asked the Azerbaijani government to pay Ruslan 2,400 euros in compensation, plus another 1,000 euros for court costs.

But when Ruslan was released from prison, he didn’t want to stay in Azerbaijan, fearing he would be rearrested, or even framed for a crime and again accused of terrorism. “Some of our people disappear and are never found,” he says. “There was one brother [who disappeared], and when he was brought for burial, a card was found showing that he was one of 30 people held in detention in Russia.”
In Russia, a warrant was issued for Riuan’s arrest. Returning to his small mountain village was out of the question. If he goes back, his family will end up paying for what he does, anyhow. “They get to us through our families,” he says. He condemns those who refused to leave their own country and fight the infidels. This was the choice: either stay, or go abroad where “you can breathe freedom.”

“Man is born free,” Ruslan says. “We are slaves of God and not the slaves of people, especially those who are against their own people, and break the laws of God. There is only one law: the law of God.”

After his release from prison in Azerbaijan, Ruslan became the eternal wanderer, a rebel — and one of the brothers now in Ukraine. He came because Munayev, now head of the Dudayev battalion, decided the brothers should fight in Ukraine. “I am here today because my brother, Isa, called us and said, ‘It’s time to repay your debt,’” Ruslan says. “There was a time when the brothers from Ukraine came [to Chechnya] and fought against the common enemy, the aggressor, the occupier.”

That debt is to Ukrainians like Oleksandr Muzychko, who became one of the brothers, even though he never converted to Islam. Muzyczko, along with other Ukrainian volunteers, joined Chechen fighters and took part in the first Chechen war against Russia. He commanded a branch of Ukrainian volunteers, called “Viking,” which fought under famed Chechen militant leader Shamil Basayev. Muzychko died last year in Ukraine under mysterious circumstances.

Ruslan has been in Ukraine for almost a year, and hasn’t seen his family since he arrived. Their last separation lasted almost seven years. He’s never had time to raise children, or even really to get to know them. Although he’s a grandfather, he only has one son — a small family by Caucasian standards, but better for him, since a smaller family costs less. His wife calls often and asks for money, but Ruslan rarely has any to give her.

In the 17th century, the area to the east of the Dnieper River was known as the “wilderness,” an ungoverned territory that attracted refugees, criminals and peasants — a place beyond the reach of the Russian empire. Today, this part of Ukraine plays a similar role, this time for Muslim brothers. In eastern Ukraine, the green flag of jihad flies over some of the private battalions’ bases.

For many Muslims, like Ruslan, the war in Ukraine’s Donbass region is just the next stage in the fight against the Russian empire. It doesn’t matter to them whether their ultimate goal is a Caliphate in the Middle East, or simply to have the Caucuses free of Russian influence — the brothers are united not by nation, but by a sense of community and solidarity.

But the brothers barely have the financial means for fighting or living. They are poor, and very rarely receive grants from the so-called Islamic humanitarian organizations. They must earn money for themselves, and this is usually done by force. Amber is one of the ideas Ruslan has for financing the “company of brothers” fighting in eastern Ukraine — the Dudayev battalion, which includes Muslims from several nations, Ukrainians, Georgians, and even a few Russians.

The brothers had hoped the Ukrainian authorities would appreciate their dedication and willingness to give their lives in defense of Ukrainian sovereignty, but they miscalculated. Like other branches of fighters — Aidar, Azov and Donbass — the government, for the most part, ignores them. They’re armed volunteers outside the control of Kiev, and Ukraine’s politicians also fear that one day, instead of fighting Russians in the east, the volunteers will turn on the government in Kiev. So ordinary people help the volunteers, but it’s not enough. The fighters associated with the Ukrainian nationalist Right Sector get money, cars and houses from the rich oligarchs.

Ruslan has a different plan. He’s afraid that if they begin stealing from the rich, the Ukrainian government will quickly declare their armed branch illegal. He’s decided to work in the underground economy — uncontrolled by the state — which the brothers know best.

Back in the ’90s, the amber mines in the vast forests surrounding the city of Rivne were state-owned and badly run, so residents began illegally mining; it was a chance at easy money. Soon, however, the mafia took over. For the right daily fee, miners could work and sell amber to the mafia at a fixed price: $100 per kilogram. The mafia conspired with local militia, prosecutors and the governor. That was the way business worked.

As a result, although Ukraine officially produces 3 tons of amber annually, more than 15 tons are illegally exported to Poland each year. There, the ore is processed and sold at a substantial profit. The Rivne mines operate 24 hours a day. Hundreds of people with shovels in hand search the forest; they pay less to the mafia, but they extract less amber and earn less. The better off are those who have a water pump. Those people pump water at high pressure into the earth between the trees, until a cavity 2 to 3 meters deep forms. Amber, which is lighter than water, rises to the surface.

At one point, Ruslan disappeared in Rivne for several weeks. When he returned, he was disappointed; he’d failed to convince the local mafia to cooperate with the brothers’ fight for an independent Ukraine. But now, he has other arguments to persuade them. His men are holding up the mines, by not allowing anyone into the forest. Either the local gangsters share their profits, or no one will get paid.

Ruslan doesn’t like this job. He knows it won’t bring him any glory, and could land him in prison. He would have preferred to be among the fighters at the front lines, where everything is clear and clean. He says he can still fight, but he’s already too old to really endure the rigors of battle, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He may still be physically fit, but fighters don’t usually last longer than a few years. Then they lose their strength and will to fight.

He has other orders from Munayev: he’s supposed to organize a “direct response group” in Kiev. The group will be a sort of rear echelon unit that take care of problems, like if someone tries to discredit the Dudayev battalion. It will also collect debts or scare off competition. There’s no doubt the new branch will work behind the lines, where there isn’t war, but there is money — as long as you know where to get it. If need be, the direct response group volunteers will watch over the mines in Rivne, or “will acquire” money from illegal casinos, which operate by the hundreds in Kiev.

Ruslan sends me photos of the group’s criminal exploits: they came into the casinos with weapons, and broke into the safes and slot machines. They disappeared quickly, and were never punished. The money went to food, uniforms, boots, tactical vests and other equipment necessary for the fighters. The mafia knows they can’t beat them at this game. The brothers are too good, because they are armed and experienced in battle. The police aren’t interested in getting involved either. In the end, it’s illegal gambling.

I told Ruslan that it’s a dangerous game. He laughed. “It’s child’s play,” he says. “We used to do this in Dagestan. No one will lift a finger. Don’t worry.”

Ruslan eventually drove me to see his “older brother,” to Isa Munayev, and his secret base located many miles west of Donetsk. Riding in an old Chrysler that Ruslan bought in Poland, we drove for several hours, on potholed and snowy roads. Ruslan had glued to the car one of the emblems of Ukraine’s ATO, the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation, which includes both soldiers and volunteers in the fight against separatists.

The bumper sticker allows him to drive through police traffic stops without being held up — or if he is stopped, they won’t demand bribes as they do from other drivers. The ATO sticker, Ruslan’s camouflage uniform, and a gun in his belt are enough to settle matters. Policemen salute him and wish him good luck.

He drives fast, not wanting to rest, sleep or even drink coffee. If he stops, it’s to check the compass on his belt to check the direction of Mecca. When it’s time to pray, he stops the car, turns off the engine, places his scarf in the snow and bows down to Allah.

Asked whether — after so many hardships, after so many years, and at his age, almost 60 now — he would finally like to rest, he answered indignantly, “How could I feel tired?”

There’s much more work to do, according to Ruslan. “There’s been a small result, but we will rest only when we’ve reached our goals,” he says. “I’m carrying out orders, written in the Holy Quran. ‘Listen to God, the Prophet.’ And I listen to him and do what I’m told.”

On the way into the city of Kryvyi Rih, we met with Dima, a young businessman — under 40 — but already worth some $5 million. He’s recently lost nearly $3 million from his business in Donetsk, which has been hit hard by the war. Dima worked for Igor Kolomoisky, one of the oligarchs who had been funding Ukraine’s volunteer battalions. Dima and Ruslan have only known each other for a short time. Ruslan claimed Dima owed him a lot of money, although it’s unclear from what. Ruslan kept bothering him, threatening to blackmail him. Finally, he got $20,000 from Dima.

That’s not nearly enough to support the Dudayev battalion. But Ruslan had something bigger to offer Dima: amber. Now, Dima was ready to talk. He came up with the idea to find buyers in the Persian Gulf, including wealthy sheikhs. They would like to sell an entire house of amber: furniture, stairs, floors, and inlaid stones. It only takes contacts, and Ruslan has them. The brothers from Saudi Arabia like to help the jihad in the Caucasus and the Middle East.

The next day, Ruslan was behind the wheel again. The old Chrysler barely moved, its engine overheated. A mechanic with an engineering degree and experience working in Soviet arms factories connected a plastic bottle filled with dirty water to the radiator using a rubber hose.

“I don’t know how long I’ll last,” Ruslan says suddenly. “It depends on God. I’ll probably die on this road. But I don’t have any other road to take.”


Re-examining the Luhansk video

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
- Aldous Huxley
Sometime ago Marcel asked me to contribute to his blog with one or more guest blog posts.
It’s a nice opportunity to focus on some topics here – so thanks, Marcel!


In this first contribution I’d like to discuss the Luhansk video and the way it has been dealt with by Bellingcat.
In the Western mainstream media the Bellingcat storyline of events around MH17 has become the major scenario for what happened on July 17th. Many links within their chain of events however may be questioned for authenticity and coherence.
The Luhansk video is one of these.
Regarding authenticity and coherence in general: my main objection to Bellingcat’s demeanor is that they present photographs and videos without questioning their authenticty or the context in which they surfaced. The materials are taken for granted, as long as they make up a stirring narrative, leading to a seemingly obvious conclusion.
In (proper) research one always needs to assess competing facts or observations and evaluate alternate views. Also one needs to make a sturdy restriction on any conclusion when proof is not decisive yet.
Nonesuch with Bellingcat. The way Bellingcat presents the results of their investigations reminds me of what Daniel Kahneman described as “What You See Is All There Is” – resulting in bias by neglect or omission.
There are several indications that the Luhansk video is not what the Bellingcat report published in November 2014 suggests it is: a video of the BUK in Luhansk, on the way of returning to Russia, after having launched one missile, with which MH17 was downed (

Avakov posting the Luhansk video

The Luhansk video was first presented by the Ukrainian minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, in a Facebook post on July 18th at 10:32 UTC ( as well as in an official statement (
In that post the video of the BUK was situated near Krasnodon, on its way to the Russian border, and it was claimed to have been made at 4:50 in the morning of the 18th, which is very shortly after dawn.
(Some people have quibbled that the Avakov-post should not be translated saying “near” Krasnodon but “in the direction of”. However, Anton Gerashchenko published a Facebook post shorly after Avakov and he uses the word “near” very clearly. See:
A day later Avakov, in a comment to his Facebook post, added that the video was made in Luhansk:
This comment was scarcely noticed though by the many bloggers who had started trying to geolocate the video in the first days after its release, suggesting several places.
Again a few days later, on July 22 – one day after the Russian Ministry of Defense held its press conference on MH17 in which it had claimed the video had been made in Krasnoarmeisk – Avakov released the coördinates of an intersection in the southwest area of Luhansk:
Since the video was made by a “covert surveillance” unit of his own ministry, as Avakov stated in his initial post, why then was it situated near Krasnodon instead of Luhansk?! Why provide incorrect information on this?
The only sensible explanation seems to be that in order to deliver the BUK back to Russia from Shizhne, the BUK would have to pass Krasnodon, regardless whether it would follow a route through Rovenky and Swerdlovsk or a route past Lutuhyne or Volukhyne. So, Krasnodon was the most obvious place to pick as the BUK would certainly have to pass there to get to Russia.

Why go to Luhansk?

But, following either route, the BUK would also not have had to travel through Luhansk, as that city is a detour from any escape route. Now, if the video was made in Luhansk as it turned out, could it be that it had been made earlier than claimed by Avakov?
Pondering on this I recalled a screenshot from the Ukrainian Pravda website, published some time ago by Anatolii Sharii. Sharii pointed at the striking coincidence of a headline of a message on the downing of MH17 preceded by a headline of a message in which it was revealed that the separatists had possession of a BUK.
At the time I hadn’t given much attention to it, but now I became curious.

Another Luhansk video? – the Lysenko press conference on July 17th at 17.00 hrs

On April 18th I did some searching and found several short articles which summarized a press conference by Andrej Lysenko on the 17th in which it was mentioned that separatists had a BUK. But it also mentioned that this BUK was sighted in a convoy in Luhansk and that a video had been made!  See: and also e.g.
That same evening I wrote Marcel about my discovery. I also provided some links on statements by Pavlo Klimkin, proving he did have knowledge of the separatists’ possession of a BUK, in reaction to a tv interview broadcasted that same day by the Dutch news programme Een Vandaag in which Klimkin denied this knowledge.
(See my tweets of April 18th: + + +
Marcel digested the links on the Luhansk convoy video and on Klimkin’s earlier statements into a blog post:
Later on I did some additional searching on the Lysenko press conference and I found an official summary at This item also contained a link to a YouTube video of the press conference: (in Ukrainian).
I discovered that on the 17th Lysenko gave 2 press conferences, the first at 12.00 and the second at 17.00.
In the latter the information on the separatists’ possession of BUKs was discussed, during a questions round. At the time Lysenko was not yet informed on the downing of MH17, forty minutes earlier.
The statements regarding the BUK(s) start at around 21 minutes, during the questions round:
[21:04] Question: On social networks, info is shared about BUK rockets, spotted near Snizhne. They are not Ukrainian ones. Can you comment on this?
Lysenko: We’ve got info, not only about this rocket system. We realize that it’s a very serious weapon and our Air Force and Intelligence will do their best to destroy these systems, so let’s wait and see. We have this information.
[21:41] Question: I would like you to clarify. So, can you confirm about this BUK, that it can hit airplanes ?
Lysenko: We’ve got information that some rockets complexes have passed into Ukraine territory, which can hit planes from high altitude. There was even a video how these BUK rockets drove through Luhansk. We know this.
[22:48] (Another question on another subject)
[23:18] Question: On social networks there is also information, that near Rozsypne, near Torez, maybe a Ukrainian plane was shot down.
Lysenko: When did this happen?
Question: The news appeared an hour ago, maybe less.
Lysenko: I can’t give an answer now, I have no information about this, but we will inform you later about the plane. All our fighter jets are operating, except yesterday’s case. Thanks for your attention.
On May 15th I provided these new links and the previously mentioned links to Vincent Verweij of Brandpunt Reporter, an investigative tv programme, as he was preparing two new documentaries on MH17. The first of these will be broadcasted this evening, the second on Tuesday evening.
What’s important about the statements made by Lysenko in this press conference is that:
- Ukraine knew separatists were in possession of BUKs
- the video referred to by Lysenko may very well be the same as the Luhansk video presented by Avakov and thus would have been made before or on July 17th, instead of the early morning of the 18th.

Contradicting statements by Anton Gerashchenko and Vitaly Naida

There are even more indications that the Luhansk video was not made early on the 18th, due to statements by Anton Gerashchenko and Vitaly Naida.
Just after midnight, on July 18th, Anton Gerashchenko reported that the BUK had been seen just a little earlier that night, near Shizhne, fleeing towards the border: “Ten minutes ago a row of military machinery including the above mentioned “Buk” has passed the point 48.011623, 38.763036 on the road T-0522. It is only ten kilometers left to Russia.” See: and also, later that day, His post was confirming a tweet by @euromaidan:
If the BUK was spotted at Shizhne around midnight, then it would still have quite a journey ahead going to Luhansk first, so it could be filmed at 4:50, and after that heading for the border.
But this was not the case at all – that is: according to SBU’s Vitaly Naida’s statements during a press conference on the 19th!
Several press articles cover this presser.
(E.g. + + And also on the SBU website itself:
The Naida press conference was also captured on video and released in Ukrainian and, with a spoken translation, in English: (Ukr.) and
From 4m18s on a slide is shown with a picture of a BUK (that would later be identified as Ukrainian BUK 312…) and next to that a screenshot from the Luhansk video is shown.
At 5m14s Naida says Russia ordered the separatists to withdraw all BUK systems from Ukraine: “There were many of them, not one”.
Naida continues telling that at 02.00 in the morning of the 18th 2 trucks with BUK systems passed the border, one BUK with 4 missiles on top, the other carrying three missiles. The latter being the BUK that allegedly downed MH17 from the area of Shizhne.
At 04:00 another 3 trucks passed the border, Naida continues, one empty, one with a BUK system with four missiles, and a third with a “direct guiding” vehicle (probably a TAR unit).
Further on in the video Naida confirms the separatists had “at least” 3 BUK systems and that Ukrainian intelligence was aware of BUKs to be transferred as of July 14th. And at 23m00s he says there were 3 Russian military who accompanied the BUK system.
The statements made by Naida clearly contradict the earlier cited statement by Avakov: if the BUK with 3 missiles on it passed the border at 02:00, how then could it be filmed at 4:50 in Luhansk?!?!
That the BUKs had come into view of the SBU on July 14th was already suggested by intercepted phone calls released earlier on July 18th:  These calls were later reused, anonymized, in the JIT video calling for witnesses:
The fact that the separatists had more than one BUK had been mentioned earlier by Anton Gerashchenko in his post on the sighting of a BUK in Shizhne in front of a super market (which turned out to be in Torez though):

Uhh, what about the other BUKs?

Very recently, in what seems to be another hagiographic sketch of Eliot Higgins, a Ukrainian deputy chief of the air force was cited mentioning the locations of the other two BUKs. To my knowledge this is the first time any statements on the whereabouts of these BUKs have been made.
According to his testimony they arrived a lot earlier than July 14th: “In June, three Buks arrived, situated near Donetsk, in Torez and to the north of Novoazovsk,” says Oleg Zakharchuk, deputy chief of Ukraine’s air force. “[Our planes have] a radar warning receiver system, and our pilots on patrol were exposed to the radar’s activity from time to time. The pilot could see in his cockpit that he was within the area of a Buk’s activity. That was exactly the area the Boeing went down.” ( )
If this testimony is correct, it would mean that Ukraine had noticed the BUKs in separatist held area already back in June, yet they did not undertake any efforts to eliminate them.
Anyway, even the statement is incorrect, they knew for certain BUKs were (arriving) there as of June 14th, but nevertheless did not act decisively.

End of story

It is apparent that the different statements by Lysenko, Avakov, Gerashchenko, Naida and Zakharchuk do not fit nicely.
We do not know which accounts are correct, but we can conclude that they do not make up a straight story – unless we abandon Avakov’s claim that the Luhansk video was made at 4:50 on July 18th.
It is also obvious that the storyline Bellingcat presented since its November report is quite selective, to put it mildly.
Even though “the Bellingcat team” did mention the statements by Naida in their report on Russian convoys published on May 13th, they do not reflect on their earlier assessment that the Luhansk video was made at 4:50 on July 18th.
(See p. 43-51 of the report: )
Thus Bellingcat keeps repeating the same old story. No reassessing or nuancing of their earlier conclusions in November.
No reflection on Naida’s claim that there were 3 BUKs present in separatist held area.
No reflection on the contradicting time frames of Avakov’s post on the Luhansk video and the Naida press conference statements regarding border crossing.
Just ignore all that and stick to the story. Just keep telling the story, over and over again.

Did Bellingcat And Associates Waste Many Hours Of Research And Money By Ignoring the Snizhne Anchor?

Did Bellingcat And Associates Waste Many Hours Of Research And Money By Ignoring the Snizhne Anchor? Ever since the downing of MH17, Bellingcat and associates have been building a case to blame Russian-backed rebels. The only anchor they had was a cartoon depiction of US SBIRS data and Bellingcat's famous plume image, both claiming the alleged BUK was launched from Snizhne in East Ukraine.

For the past 10 months or so, Bellingcat have used this anchor as a point of reference for a massive search for corroborating evidence. It has proved to be a mistake. By using Snizhne as the anchor and attempting to prove a stolen lorry carried the alleged BUK to Snizhne then back to Russia, they exposed the weakness of such a circular dependency on Snizhne.

With 100,000 residents within earshot of the alleged launch and 250,000 within eyesight of the resulting plume, it is no surprise that the only photo handed to Bellingcat came from Ukraine's Security Service. It stretches one's imagination to believe that only one person from 250,000 witnessed the alleged launch.

It would be churlish to suggest that Bellingcat and associates lack necessary expertise. Their geolocation and research skills are to be admired but they are blinded by Russophobia and fail to understand differences between facts and evidence. It is often said that facts speak for themselves, but with MH17 they seem to get in the way of evidence.

For example Bellingcat claim they can prove a BUK launcher was parked in Snizhne. If so, then it would be a simple fact, but one that proves nothing. If a BUK was not launched from Snizhne then all is irrelevant. All in all, Bellingcat have wasted many hours of research and money by ignoring the Snizhne anchor. Maybe they should start investigating 911 instead?

Clement Townsend 

ARD, ZDF: Programmbeschwerde wg. MH17-Falschmeldungen

Letzte Woche berichtete die Lügenpresse in großen Aufmachern über angebliche Beweise, dass Russland in Sachen MH17 Satellitenfotos gefälscht habe. Im Nachhinein stellte sich die "Bellingcat"-Nummer als als plumpe Propaganda ohne Beweise heraus. Während SPIEGEL & Co. anschließend im Kleingedruckten zurück ruderten, wartet man auf eine Gegendarstellung bei ARD & ZDF bisher vergeblich. - Ex-Tagesschau-Redakteur Volker Bräutigam erstattete nun Programmbeschwerde. Ob's hilft?

via Volker Bräutigam

Verstoß gg. NDR-Staatsvertrag §§ 5,7 u. 8 seitens ARD-aktuell Berichterstattung am 01.06. 2010 über russische Dokumentenfälschung btr. Abschuss der MH17 über der Ost-Ukraine

Sehr geehrte Frau Vorsitzende Pohl-Laukamp,
lieber Herr Marmor,
erlauben Sie bitte, dass ich mit meinem Standardsatz beginne: „Hiermit erhebe ich Programmbeschwerde gegen ARD-aktuell wegen Verstoßes gegen den NDR-Staatsvertrag“ (Konkretes s. Betreffzeile).
Die beklagten Verstöße kamen nicht nur in der Sendung „Tagesthemen“ vor, sondern auch im Internet-Portal und in nachfolgenden Sendungen. Als Tatsache behauptet wurde, und zwar beweislos und offenkundig unüberprüft, Russland habe Fotodokumente über den Abschuss eines Flugzeugs der Malaysian Airlines gefälscht.
„Nach dem Absturz des Malaysia Airlines Fluges MH 17 über der Ostukraine verdichten sich die Hinweise, dass die Russische Regierung Beweismaterial manipuliert hat. Das russische Verteidigungsministerium hatte Satellitenbilder präsentiert, die nahelegen, dass die Maschine von einer Flugabwehrrakete der ukrainischen Truppen abgeschossen wurde. Nach den Erkenntnissen einer investigativen britischen Rechercheplattform waren einige der Aufnahmen digital bearbeitet und falsch datiert. Bei dem mutmaßlichen Abschuss waren im vorigen Sommer 298 Menschen getötet worden. Einen ausführlichen Bericht zum Thema und weitere Hintergründe finden Sie auf (…)”
Auf „“ hieß es zwar im Titel noch halbwegs vorsichtig„Russland soll Fotos gefälscht haben“, doch verzichteten die Autoren bereits im Vorspann auf jegliche journalistisch notwendige und sachlich gebotene Zurückhaltung:
“Mithilfe von Satellitenfotos wollte die russische Regierung belegen, dass die Ukraine für den Abschuss des Fluges MH-17 verantwortlich ist. Die Recherchegruppe Bellingcat hat nun nachgewiesen, dass die Fotos manipuliert worden sind. (..)”
Bereits lange vor der fraglichen Tagesschau-Sendung war im Internet nachzulesen, um welch einen windigen Verein es sich bei “bellingcat” handelt, der von der Tagesschau zur “investigativen britischen Rechercheplattform“ stilisiert und als (im übrigen einzige) glaubwürdige und zuverlässige Quelle für die abenteuerliche Meldung ausgegeben worden war:
Amateure, querfinanziert möglicherweise von anglo-amerikanischen Geheimdiensten sowie u.a. von dem internationalen Großspekulanten George Soros, der sich mit mehreren hundert Millionen US-Dollar in der Ukraine engagiert hat. Es war auch von vielen Seiten darauf aufmerksam gemacht worden, wie unseriös und hergeholt die Behauptungen waren. Quellenhinweise und Belege dazu hier weiter unten.
Unter dem Titel Abschuss (1): “Der Westen mauschelt weiter” hatte schon am Morgen dieses 1. Juni der vormalige ARD-Journalist Christoph Hörstel vorexerziert, was erste Pflicht einer sauber arbeitenden Redaktion gewesen wäre: Er hatte sich die Quelle der Nachricht etwas genauer angesehen.
Und u.a. geschrieben:
„ (…) Statt dessen angebliche Belege jetzt durch “bellingcat”, ganz wie zuvor bei CORRECT!V, zwei seltsame Einrichtungen, die schon durch ihre Gemeinsamkeiten im Namenslayout auffallen und stutzig machen müssen, bis dann Jahre später irgendein US-Oligarch als Geldgeber auftaucht – oder eine CIA-Frontorganisation, die Grenzen verschwimmen zusehends. Jedoch bleibt anzumerken: Letztendlich müssen diese Angaben allesamt nicht so stimmen wie dargestellt – und können möglicherweise auch ganz anders interpretiert werden. Kurz: WANN ENDLICH schweigen die Lügenmedien und kommen die angeblichen Untersucher-Institutionen in Großbritannien und den Niederlanden mit einem tatsachengerechten und verlässlichen Ergebnis? (…)“
Hörstels Seite führe ich hier nur als Beispiel an, es gab viele um Seriosität und Distanz bemühte Veröffentlichungen, die ARD-aktuell zu äußerster Vorsicht vor der britischen Tataren-Meldung hätten bewegen müssen: Der “bellingcat”-Autor der kindischen Behauptung, Russland habe Satellitenfotos mittels Photoshop-Funktionen gefälscht, um damit die Weltöffentlichkeit über den MH17-Abschuss zu täuschen, verfügt ebenso wenig wie seine Mittäter über nennenswerte Expertise für die Auswertung militärischer Satellitenfotos, noch hat die Gruppe das entsprechende Equipment.
Zum „international anerkannten Waffenexperten“ wurde er lediglich von der Boulevardpresse hochgejubelt, seriöse Nachweise für seine Fachlichkeit sind nirgends zu finden.
Nicht nur dank des Kollegen Hörstel sondern auch dank vieler anderer Quellen war schon im Lauf des Tages bekannt, wie äußerst fragwürdig die “bellingcat“-Nummer war. Jede halbwegs sauber arbeitende Redaktion hätte bei Eintreffen der “bellingcat“-Boulevardmeldung als erstes nachgeprüft, was diese Quelle überhaupt wert ist.
„(…) Bellingcat versucht sich an einer Geschichtsklitterung, was angesichts seiner allgemeinen Vorgehensweise, nämlich der Bemächtigung unkritisch rezipierter Social Media-Bilder, die nach Belieben auswertbar sind, nicht allzu schwer fällt. Bilder lassen sich so und so auswerten. Sie sind schlicht irrelevant ohne kritische Einbettung in einen Kontext. (…)“
Die Kriminalbuchautorin und vormalige Staatsanwältin Gabriele Wolff belegt auf ihrer Internet-Seite, dass sie genau weiß, mit was und wem sie es zu tun hat.
Eine sauber arbeitende Redaktion hätte überprüft, wer hinter “bellingcat“ eigentlich steckt und wäre u.a. auf diese Quelle gestoßen:
Freilich, eine sauber arbeitende Redaktion hätte … Meine Beschwerde richtet sich jedoch gegen die Arbeit der ARD-aktuell-Redaktion.
Eine gesonderte Würdigung verdient deren hinterhältige und den Zuschauer zu Trugschlüssen verleitende Formulierung
„ (…) verdichten sich die Hinweise, dass die Russische Regierung Beweismaterial manipuliert hat (…)“
Die Tagesschau behauptet damit unausgesprochen das Vorhandensein weiterer, als seriös anzusehender Hinweise auf russische Dokumentenfälschung, die sie jedoch weder präsentiert noch deren Quelle sie mitteilt; vielmehr bleibt die Redaktion jeden Beleg schuldig. Der Schaden ist ja schon angerichtet, die Zuschauer sind indoktriniert, der propagandistische Zweck dieser Hinterhältigkeit ist erreicht.
„Es haben sich Hinweise verdichtet“
Mit solchem Sprachmüll garniert die Tagesschau ihre Portion Gerüchtedreck aus den Giftküchen der Geheimdienste und serviert das ihrem Millionenpublikum. Schändlich – und jedenfalls auch staatsvertragswidrig, wie ich weiter unten noch explizit darlege.

Seriöse Journalisten hätten den gesamten Stuss in den ARD-aktuell-Papierkorb gelegt, wohin er tatsächlich gehörte. Allenfalls hätten sie erwogen, die Story im Konjunktiv zu veröffentlichen, allerdings mit vielen „angeblich und „mutmaßlich“ davor; sie hätten bewusst gemacht, dass es keine Fakten, keine tragfähigen Beweise und keine bestätigenden Informationen von neutraler Seite für die Behauptung gibt, Russland habe Bilder für eine Weltnachricht gefälscht. Halbwegs noch erträglich, weil einigermaßen distanziert, berichtete in diesem Sinne der Bayerische Rundfunk:
Nach dem Abschuss der malaysischen Passagiermaschine MH17 über der Ukraine sieht sich Russland jetzt mit Manipulationsvorwürfen konfrontiert. Der Kreml soll die Satellitenfotos zum Absturz bearbeitet haben. Bisher macht Russland immer noch Kiew für den Absturz von Flug MH17 über der Ukraine verantwortlich. Doch nun will die unabhängige Journalistenvereinigung Bellingcat bei Analysen herausgefunden haben, dass Satellitenbilder am Computer verändert worden sind (…)“
Nicht so die Entscheidungsträger von ARD-aktuell. Als tags darauf klar war, dass Tagesschau und Tagesthemen einer Angeberei, einer läppischen Ente aufgesessen waren, reichte es bei der Redaktion nicht einmal zu einer Relativierung, geschweige denn zu einer Berichtigung oder gar einer Entschuldigung. Zu der käme es, wenn überhaupt, dann allenfalls hübsch versteckt in einem Blogbeitrag auf, eventuell mit dem abweisenden Konterfei des Chefredakteurs, aber jedenfalls ohne Absicht einer umfassenden Wiedergutmachung des angerichteten Schadens.
Journalistisch schäbigeres Arbeiten ist schlechterdings kaum vorstellbar.

Selbst die rechtskonservativen kommerziellen Medien hierzulande hielten dazumal nachträglich distanzierende Veröffentlichungen für geboten:

Solche korrigierenden Nachrichten nicht gebracht zu haben, ist der Redaktion ARD-aktuell m.E. ebenfalls als Verstoß gegen den Staatsvertrag anzukreiden, denn das gehörte zur „umfassenden Information“ i.S.d. Staatsvertrags; nachdem nun einmal „A“ gesagt worden war, hätte seriöserweise auch „limente“ gesagt werden müssen. Zur Wahrung des journalistischen Auftrags und Anstands.

Was wir Zuschauer von der ARD-aktuell-Chose zu halten haben, hat die Internet-Seite in begrüßenswert drastischer Form zusammengetragen unter dem Titel:

Darf ich Sie sowie die Damen und Herren Ihrer Gremien nunmehr bitten, sich der Mühe zu unterziehen und das nötige Quellenstudium selbst vorzunehmen? Nach meiner Ansicht stellt die hier zitierte „Nachrichten“gebung einen groben Verstoß gegen den NDR-Staatsvertrag und die entsprechend für die ARD geltenden Bestimmungen dar.
§ 8 Programmgestaltung
(1) Der NDR ist in seinem Programm zur Wahrheit verpflichtet. (…) Wertende und analysierende Einzelbeiträge haben dem Gebot journalistischer Fairness (…) zu entsprechen. Ziel aller Informationssendungen ist es, sachlich und umfassend zu unterrichten (…).
(2) Berichterstattung und Informationssendungen haben den anerkannten journalistischen Grundsätzen, auch beim Einsatz virtueller Elemente, zu entsprechen. Sie müssen unabhängig und sachlich sein. Nachrichten sind vor ihrer Verbreitung mit der nach den Umständen gebotenen Sorgfalt auf Wahrheit und Herkunft zu prüfen.
Besonders die hier farblich hervorgehobene Textpassage entzieht sich jeder abschwächenden Interpretation. Die beklagten TS- und TT-Nachrichten wurden ersichtlich nicht gemäß dieser Bestimmung vor der Verbreitung geprüft, sondern nach dem bei ARD-aktuell gebräuchlichen antirussischen Propagandaschema F übernommen und bedenkenlos hinausposaunt.
Es reichte nicht einmal zu schlichter Logik, sonst hätte die Tagesschau nicht den Schwachsinn formuliert, das Flugzeug sei „von einer Rakete abgeschossen“ worden. Erfahrungsgemäß schießen Raketen nicht selbst, sondern werden geschossen … Sprache ist bekanntlich ein Instrument des Denkens. Manifeste Gedankenlosigkeit und grausige sprachliche Schlamperei pflegen längst eine innige Liebesbeziehung bei ARD-aktuell und prägen das Erscheinungsbild dieses „Flaggschiffs der deutschen TV-Nachrichtensendungen“.
Von Belang für meine Beschwerde sind außerdem diese Staatsvertragsbestimmungen:
§ 5 Programmauftrag
(1) Der NDR hat (…) einen objektiven und umfassenden Überblick über das internationale, europäische, (…) Geschehen in allen wesentlichen Lebensbereichen zu geben. Sein Programm hat der Information (…) zu dienen.
§ 7 Programmgrundsätze
(2) (…). Das Programm des NDR soll (…) die internationale Verständigung fördern, für die Friedenssicherung (…) eintreten (…)

Ich bitte Sie ausdrücklich, Ihre Gremien ohne Umweg mit meiner Beschwerde zu befassen und mich vor allem mit ARD-aktuell-Stellungnahmen im gniffkeschen selbstkritiklosen Aufrichtigkeitskeitsmodus und entsprechendem Sachlichkeitsgehalt zu verschonen; des Chefredakteurs permanent öffentlich hergebetetes Mantra von den Spitzenfachkräften, die angeblich bei ARD-aktuell tätig seien, beweist zwar in der Debatte über fragwürdige Sendungsinhalte gar nichts, erst recht keine Fehlerfreiheit, es ist dafür aber an Arroganz nicht zu überbieten und nervt entsprechend.
Zudem ist mir hinlänglich bekannt, dass der Herr Chefredakteur ARD-aktuell auf Proteste gegen die russlandfeindlichen Fehlleistungen seiner Redaktion nach dem Muster reagiert, er und seine ARD-aktuell-Mannschaft seien sui generis im Besitz der reinen Wahrheit, und demzufolge befänden sich sämtliche Kritiker sowieso im Irrtum.
Ich bin allerdings geradezu versessen darauf, mit den unvergleichlich hilfreicheren Erkenntnissen derer beglückt zu werden, die eigentlich zur qualitätssichernden Nachkontrolle auch des Nachrichtenangebots der Tagesschau und der Tagesthemen berufen wurden, nämlich Sie, die Damen und Herren NDR-Rundfunkräte.
Mölln, 04. Juni 2015
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
gez. Volker Bräutigam

In propagandaspel rond MH17 zijn niet alleen Russen verdacht

In het wespennest dat is ontstaan rond de ramp met vlucht MH17 worden in het westen vaak Russische bronnen als propaganda bestempeld. Toch spelen lang niet alleen Russen het vuile propagandaspel mee.
Het gerenommeerde Duitse weekblad Der Spiegel moest deze week flink door het stof.
Het blad staat bekend om goede onderzoeksjournalistiek op basis van gedegen feitenonderzoek, maar vloog in de berichtgeving over vlucht MH17 toch uit de bocht.
De online redactie van het blad plaatste een opvallendeexcuusbrief naar aanleiding van het blinde vertrouwen dat het tijdschrift had gehad in het burgerjournalistenplatformBellingcat. Dat vertrouwen, zo ontdekte Der Spiegel zelf, was niet terecht.

Wat is er aan de hand?

De meeste analisten gaan er intussen vanuit dat vlucht MH17afgelopen zomer uit de lucht is geschoten door een zogenoemde BUK-raket. Maar wie die raket heeft afgeschoten en vanaf welke plek is allerminst duidelijk. Oekraïne wijst de Russische separatisten als schuldige aan, terwijl Rusland beweert dat Oekraïne de raket afschoot.
Het bewijs voor het Russische standpunt zijn satellietbeeldenwaarop een BUK-installatie op Oekraïense grondgebied te zien zou zijn. Het Russische leger presenteerde deze beelden al daags na de vliegramp vorig jaar.

Valse beelden

Volgens Bellingcat, een website van de Britse blogger Eliot Higgins, zijn die satellietbeelden vervalst. De beelden zouden van een andere dag zijn en bovendien zou er met hulp van Photoshop een BUK-installatie op zijn getoverd.
Als Higgins, een werkeloze hobbyist zonder enige relevante professionele ervaring op dit onderwerp, een Rus was geweest, zou hij door westerse media ongetwijfeld zijn weggezet als een complotdenker. Bellingcat schrijft al vanaf het begin dat de pro-Russische separatisten de Boeing uit de lucht hebben geschoten en komt voortdurend met 'bewijzen' voor dit standpunt. Het is precies dezelfde werkwijze die Russische propaganda-media hanteren en die door het westen zo wordt verafschuwd.

Blind vertrouwen

Maar Bellingcat wordt door westerse media, onder aanvoering van Der Spiegel, uiterst serieus genomen. 'Hoe Rusland het MH17-bewijs manipuleerde,' schreef het weekblad afgelopen maandag nog. Het artikel is volledig gebaseerd op een analysevan de satellietbeelden door Bellingcat. Ook Nederlandse media penden de analyse van Bellingcat driftig over. Slechts een enkeling, onder wie Joost Niemöller, plaatste vraagtekens bij de conclusies.
Waarom dat blinde vertrouwen in dit platform voor burgerjournalisten? Die vraag is kennelijk ook gesteld op de redactie van Der Spiegel in Hamburg. Het tijdschrift vroeg een échte forensisch wetenschapper de analyse van Bellingcat onder de loep te nemen. Het oordeel van de wetenschapper wasvernietigend: de analyse van Bellingcat is niet forensisch verantwoord, en bovendien zeer subjectief. Op basis van het 'bewijs' van Bellingcat kan met geen mogelijkheid worden aangetoond dat Moskou de beelden heeft gemanipuleerd, zo oordeelde de wetenschapper.

Ook westerse propaganda

Der Spiegel besloot Bellingcat maar eens verder onder de loep te nemen en ontdekte dat één van zijn medewerkers een voormalige werknemer van de Stasi is geweest. Het tijdschrift plaatste vervolgens een 'mea culpa' op zijn website. Het blad zegt van deze fouten te hebben geleerd en belooft een betere omgang met bronnen in de toekomst.
Zelfs een tijdschrift van statuur zoals Der Spiegel maakt zo nu en dan een misstap op het mijnenveld van de propagandaoorlog. Ook voor Nederlandse media is dit een wijze les: aan het schimmige spel rond MH17 doen echt niet alleen de Russen mee.

Servaas van der Laan

Servaas van der Laan (1984) werkt sinds mei 2012 als online redacteur bij Elsevier.

German media believe pseudo-experts bloggers about downed Ukraine Malaysian Boeing

Based in their reports on the findings of the incompetent "experts", the German media have become an instrument of anti-Russian propaganda, writes Die Propagandaschau. Accusing Russia of "falsification" of data about the crash an airliner MH 17, self-proclaimed "experts" site Bellingcat admit blunders than discredit themselves and the Western press.

According to Die Propagandaschau, German media continue to spread lies and disinformation about the conflict in Ukraine."The scheme of manipulation of public opinion in the Ukrainian conflict is no different from what can be seen in Syria: there is a one-sided accusations, demonization and harassment against one of the parties to the conflict to hide or justify warmongering its part", - quotes the author InoTV material.

These aviation experts such as Peter Hayzenko or well-known journalists such as Seymour Hersh, do not speak to the media, because their data contradicts Western propaganda, the author writes Die Progandaschau. The statements of witnesses who saw MH 17 near or provide convincing evidence, completely ignored. The "evidence" becomes incompetent "expertise" bloggers Bellingcat site without any special education.

For example, the newspaper Der Spiegel wrote: "These forensic analysis: it is obvious that the Kremlin rigged crash photos MH 17 satellite ... According to experts, the Kremlin used the program Photoshop». June 1 German TV station ARD reported: "After the crash Malaysian Airlines MH 17 in eastern Ukraine there are more evidence pointing to the fact that the Russian government has implemented the manipulation of evidence in relation to the material. The Russian Defense Ministry showed satellite images, according to which the plane was shot Ukrainian missiles. According to the British news site, some of the images were processed and fabricated. " In turn, the German television station ZDF on the same day repeated the words of the ARD "experts" and "Russian manipulation."

As explained by the author DiePropagandaschau, «what bloggers site Bellingcat allegedly found in his" court "analysis - is the usual format data EXIF, which by default inserted into each processed document." "Experts" ignore the fact that the images obtained from the satellite are stored in the format of RAW, which is the usual photo editors can not open. It goes without saying that their size and format are processed, and that if necessary, add comments, and text. "Thus, the" experts "make a scandal out of absolutely normal things," - emphasizes the author of Die Propagandaschau.

In addition, c by the service Google Earth «experts" also try to prove that the date of taking pictures was "faked" Russian. It is doubtful for two reasons, the author of the material: first, Russian would risk immediately be charged by the real experts from the United States, and second, Google Earth images of themselves is not exactly dated.

Dr. Neal Kravets, the creator of the program FotoForensics, which used the site Bellingcat, confirmed that the bloggers have made the wrong conclusions. "Thus, the blog Bellingcat been pure propaganda, and German television channels ARD and ZDF carried very real disinformation, using sources such frivolous" - sums up the author of the material.

Der @SPIEGELONLINE : We waren te goedgelovig met @Bellingcat. Bij Nederlandse media nog steeds doodse stilte.

Was wir aus der Berichterstattung über den Bellingcat-Report lernen

Wer schoss den Malaysia-Airlines-Flug MH17 ab? Seit dem Absturz der Passagiermaschine am 17. Juli vergangenen Jahres suchen Ermittler, Flugexperten und Journalisten nach einer Antwort auf diese Frage.

Ein Recherche-Team von SPIEGEL, "Correctiv" und dem "Algemeen Dagblad" hat deutliche Hinweise darauf gefunden, dass das Flugzeug von einer russischen BUK-Rakete abgeschossen wurde. Die russische Regierung veröffentlicht dagegenimmer neue angebliche Beweise, dass ukrainische Kräfte dafür verantwortlich sind. Das Verteidigungsministerium in Moskau präsentierte dazu am 21. Juli 2014 mehrere Satellitenbilder. Die Aufnahmen sollten Aktivitäten der ukrainischen Luftabwehr am Tag des Absturzes in der Ostukraine belegen.

Nun hat die Investigativplattform Bellingcat zwei dieser Satellitenbilder in einem ausführlichen Bericht analysiert - und ist dabei zu dem Ergebnis gekommen, "dass diese Satellitenfotos falsch datiert und durch die Software Adobe Photoshop CS5 digital verändert wurden." Das stellt die Glaubwürdigkeit der russischen Position in Frage.

Der Absturz des Fluges MH17 ist eine Tragödie, und die Frage, wer dafür verantwortlich ist, beschäftigt auch uns in der SPIEGEL-ONLINE-Redaktion seit knapp einem Jahr. Wir haben viele Artikel dazu veröffentlicht. Auch über die Bellingcat-Analyse haben wir in den vergangenen Tagen ausführlich und an prominenter Stelle auf unserer Startseite berichtet.

Es zählt zu unseren journalistischen Prinzipen, dass wir eine brisante Neuigkeit erst dann als verlässliche Information werten, wenn wir sie aus zwei voneinander unabhängigen, vertrauenswürdigen Quellen erhalten haben. Schätzen wir eine Nachricht als so brisant ein, dass wir sie Ihnen, liebe Leserinnen und Leser, nicht vorenthalten wollen, obwohl wir sie noch nicht eindeutig verifizieren konnten, dann wählen wir eine vorsichtige Formulierung.

So haben wir es bei der ersten Meldung über den Bellingcat-Bericht in der Nacht von Sonntag auf Montag in der Überschrift und im Vorspann getan. Aber im Artikeltext haben wir diese Vorsicht nicht durchgehalten. So endete der Text mit der Formulierung im Indikativ: "Doch nun haben die Experten von Bellingcat eben diese Aufnahme als Fälschung enttarnt." In dieser Eindeutigkeit widerspricht der Satz unseren Prinzipien von journalistischer Sorgfalt. Das trifft ebenso auf eine zweite Meldung zu, die wir am selben Tag auf unserer Startseite veröffentlichten und deren Überschrift lautete "Wie Russland die MH17-Beweise manipulierte"(inzwischen haben wir die Überschrift geändert). Auch hier hätten wir von Beginn an vorsichtiger formulieren und klarmachen müssen, dass es zwar den Vorwurf der Fälschung gibt, dieser aber nicht zweifelsfrei bewiesen ist.

Denn das wurde deutlich, als wir das Thema weiter bearbeiteten - wie wir es immer tun, um einer Sache wirklich auf den Grund zu gehen. Nach den ersten Meldungen führten wir ein Interview mit dem Bildforensiker Jens Kriese, der den Bellingcat-Bericht kritisierte und zu dem Ergebnis kam: Die Analyse der Satellitenbilder lässt nicht den Schluss zu, dass Moskau lügt. Das Interview, das wir gestern Vormittag auf unserer Startseite veröffentlichten, ermöglicht es Ihnen, sich ein differenzierteres Bild des Themas zu machen.

Selbstkritisch müssen wir festhalten: Diese professionelle Skepsis im Umgang mit der Quellenlage, das Hinterfragen der Quelle hätten wir bereits in den vorherigen Artikeln stärker zum Ausdruck bringen sollen. Wir lernen daraus und nehmen uns vor, dies in künftigen Fällen zu beherzigen. Denn wir wollen Sie, liebe Leserinnen und Lesern, so aufrichtig und transparent wie möglich über die Weltgeschehnisse informieren. Und natürlich bleiben wir am Thema MH17 dran.
Zum Autor

Florian Harms ist Chefredakteur von SPIEGEL ONLINE.