In March of this year, the first hearing starts in the Dutch court of the MH17 downing case, where among the suspects there are three Russian nationals. So it is not surprising that the Kremlin propaganda machine, which has recently been distracted by many other topics, from Syria to the Munich Security Conference, is returning to traditional information manipulations. And it's not surprising either that some Dutch "independent" journalists, long familiar to us, are joining this game with their "shocking revelations".
But first things first.
Since the early morning of Tuesday, Russian media have been spinning the news that the Military Intelligence and Security of the Netherlands allegedly has data that there were no Buk anti-aircraft missile launchers around the MH17 crash site. Moreover, it is an "independent information platform of independent journalists", Bonanza Media, that refers to Dutch intel officials. Meanwhile, in an interview with Russia's state news agency TASS, Dutch freelance journalist Max van der Verff, one of the founders of this "independent platform of independent journalists", claimed that Dutch intelligence has been aware all along that there were no Buks in the area, but for some reason concealed this information.
So the picture drawn in the report appears to be fine and clear: independent Dutch journalists refer to intelligence data ... How can one doubt this, right? Of course, it probably is difficult to see any ambiguity if you aren't aware some peculiar facts about the "independent" platform and the "independent" journalists who founded it and are now launching this spin.
Firstly, "Bonanza Media" is a platform whose co-founders are the above-mentioned "journalist" Max van der Verff and the former RT propagandist Yana Yerlashova, who left Margarita Simonyan for the sake of "independent journalism" and devoted herself entirely to prove that it was not Russia that shot down MH17, but Ukraine.
But the most interesting part is that it's precisely the "independent journalist" Yana Yerlashova who is the link between the Dutch "independent journalists" and the Russian funding of Bonanza Media.
Secondly, let’s recall the aforementioned "journalist" Max van der Werff, who actually can't be called one. Before the МН17 downing, no one had ever heard of this "independent journalist", especially in the Netherlands, since he hadn't been operating there at all. He was a mediocre blogger who suddenly emerged from oblivion, riding the info tide of the MH17 tragedy to grow into how Russian media puts it "leading independent investigator of the MH17 crash ". Moreover, he released a whole documentary dedicated to the tragedy, which says nothing about who downed the passenger jet, instead blaming the whole wide world, from Ukraine to the United States, for allegedly falsifying the data in order to accuse innocent Russia!
Over the course of all these years, he only dealt with the fact that he spread false facts about MH17, which run counter to the version of investigators, but coincide one with the versions of the Kremlin propaganda. And, what is very important, this “journalist” does not deal with anything else except this topic.
And thirdly, it is important to understand that when Russian media outlets offer loud headlines like "The Dutch media report..." or "The Dutch journalists have learned..." this is not about the actual but a single low-profile platform. And neither it is about "journalists" because the aforementioned figures can't be considered as such, and indeed they aren't, in the Netherlands.
Such players on a pseudo-journalistic pitch as Max van der Verff, or Claudia Zimmerrmann, who is also positioning herself as an "independent journalist" investigating the "truth" about MH17, or Florian Retzer and many others, who are mostly in demand on Russia Today platforms, are mostly ignored by serious publications in their home countries. Global audiences following international news don't really remember these names, which isn't surprising as they could be recognizable pretty much within Russian infospace.
Of course, these spins won't affect the judges because the main version of the MH17 tragedy has been established and all the t's have long been crossed and the i's dotted in this case. At the same time, Russia finds it beneficial to feed conspiracy theories among consumers of its information fast food. And it is extremely important for these type of info consumers besides munching on domestic propaganda junkfood, to also try out from time to time some European "delicacies". But the thing is that both types of media meals are equally bad for people's health.