Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

MH17 report – Brazen censorship by The Independent


Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

I saw my comment disappear from the screen within a minute of it being posted…

An article in this morning’s Independent – stuffed way down the page considering its importance – is headlined “MH17 crash report: Clues mounting into cause, but answers are few”. It opens with the sentence: “The small holes in the cockpit and shards of punctured fuselage only tell the end of the story of Flight MH17. The images from the first report into the crash show the aftermath of the moment “high-energy objects” penetrated the Boeing 777…” .  Apart from the fact the first report into the crash was presented by Russia in Moscow on July 21st, a few days after the event, this is not the only piece of disinformation peddled by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson.

Oddly enough, yesterday’s Dutch report goes some way to support the Russian conclusion that MH17 was hit by small objects travelling at high speed, or by ‘high-energy objects’. In the Russian report compelling radar records showed the airliner being shadowed by another, smaller plane, believed to be a Ukrainian military aircraft. Based on eyewitness accounts, the radar records and photographic evidence, the Russians deduced the plane was shot out of the sky by a Ukrainian fighter jet. The very one they detected shadowing the airliner. The Independent begs to differ. Quoting a blogger, who works from a bedroom in Leicester under the name Bellingcat, the newspaper pretends he is a qualified analyst.

An analysis of photographs and video by investigative journalism website Bellingcat, meanwhile, concludes that the BUK system seen on Ukrainian territory was the same one photographed in Russia on 23 and 24 June as it headed in the direction of the Ukrainian border.

“Investigative journalism website” eh? How impressive is that? Sounds a lot more important than bedroom blogger in Leicester. So let’s do a bit of investigative journalism ourselves. On the Bellingcat site, Iggy Ostanin, author of the piece on the BUK missiles, is called a freelance Russian journalist. More modestly, The Interpreter, a virulently anti-Putin organisation, for which Iggy Ostanin also writes, features a brief profile on Ostanin describing him thus: “Iggy Ostanin was born and spent his early life in Russia and has since lived in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. He is due to study Law at the University of York in autumn”. In other words he is a student. The Interpreter is supported by the anti-Putin Insitute of Modern Russia, which has its offices in New York and Washington. Most of its trustees and funders appear to be neo-liberals. Bellingcat is also chock full of anti-Russian articles. Sort of says it all, really.

My comment on the inaccuracies and disinformation in the Independent article was posted shortly before 9.00am local time. I saw my comment disappear from the screen within a minute of it being posted. Undeterred, I posted a second comment, more or less as I remembered the first. That one also disappeared. This time, before my very eyes. And not just my eyes, my partner witnessed it too. Judge for yourselves, is there anything particularly rude or offensive enough about this to comment to warrant removal? If comments can be arbitrarily removed just because someone doesn’t like, or agree with them, what does that tell you about the articles?

Second attempt at posting. This comment will be posted on my WordPress blog with accompanying information if it mysteriously disappears again.

“The small holes in the cockpit and shards of punctured fuselage only tell the end of the story of Flight MH17. The images from the first report into the crash show the aftermath of the moment “high-energy objects” penetrated the Boeing 777…”

Funny how the rest of the article doesn’t concentrate on this evidence, which seems to support early eyewitness accounts, and comprehensive evidence presented by Russia, suggesting MH17 was shot at by a jet fighter before it went down. Bullet holes can be made out in one of the photos of a piece of wreckage accompanying this article. But why bother with the actual evidence when it doesn’t fit the Kiev narrative?

Of course, I can’t expect the Independent to explain these mysterious disappearances, except to claim they were never there in the first place, but I did post a third comment, which had not been censored an hour later.

Wonder why this is tucked down so far away from the leading headline? Don’t bother taking the trouble of posting if your comment strays away from the official narrative, The Independent is now engaging in brazen censorship.

The most likely reason that one remained is to discourage others from posting. But why waste your time posting an independent opinion in the knowledge it will be censored if it doesn’t fit the Independent’s biased picture of the war in Ukraine? The same can be said of nearly all Western media outlets, which not only ignore other points of view, but have taken to brazenly censoring them.

The Independent editor should read the Institute of Modern Russia’s stated mission: “through its research, advocacy, public events and grant-making, IMR is committed to fostering democratic values, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and the development of civil society in Russia; the promotion of a principles-based U.S.-Russia dialogue; and the integration of a modern and forward-looking Russia into the community of democracies”. Of Course, in common with most Western news outlets these days, that doesn’t necessarily mean the institute feels it is obliged to adhere to any lofty ideals it publishes.

Ín many people’s view the ‘fostering of democratic values’ includes encouraging and maintaining an open and independent press free from censorship and political pressure. Democratic values also include free speech for everyone, not just a rich and powerful elite. By permitting the removal of comments from the Independent on unreasonable grounds, while readers are not  made aware they are being removed, Amal Rajan, the editor, is allowing one of the basic tenets of free speech and democracy to be undermined. Eliminating uncomfortable facts and details is a stark reminder of how the USSR used to do things. Is that the sort of democracy the Institute of Modern Russia means?

Isn’t it about time the Independent started think about the families of the victims of this tragedy instead of publishing bits of controversial articles from dubious sources linked to right-wing organisations that are provably not independent in any real sense of the word?

18th February 2015,

Update: I conclude with the final paragraph of an article entitled: The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’ published by and written by investigative journalist Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s:

“So, it appears that there have been significant disagreements within Western intelligence circles about precisely who was to blame. But the refusal of the Obama administration and its NATO allies to lay their evidence on the table has not only opened the door to conspiracy theories, it has threatened to turn this tragedy into a cold case with the guilty parties – whoever they are – having more time to cover their tracks and disappear.”

The full article can be read here: The Danger of an MH-17 ‘Cold Case’

Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming


7 comments on “MH17 report – Brazen censorship by The Independent

  1. berlioz1935
    September 13, 2014

    The information in your post (Re. Ukrainian jet fighter) is indeed disturbing. It is known that a plane with Putin on board crossed the Ukraine about the same time. Perhaps that was the target and downing MH 17 was a mistake?

    The Russian news conference was declared a stunt in the West. It might have been so, but so are all the news conferences in the West. It is all propaganda.

    The US is watching the whole globe and they can see any rocket being fired and they are being able to calculate its trajectory. They have not published any evidence that a missile, that downed (if at all) MH 17 had been fired in the first place.

    Nobody in his right mind would shoot down a passenger plane, unless it was a mistake or done to blame the Russians.

    What you are pointing out looks like a cover-up by the Western powers in concert with the Western media.

    I’m able to read the German media as well and I noticed a bias, even in the serious press, against Russia and towards a clamouring for tougher action against it. I can not imagine any reason why Russia would want a war, but can see many reasons why the West wants to create a crisis that could easily get out of hand.


    • Bryan Hemming
      September 13, 2014

      Things certainly look very confused, and perhaps the confusion is deliberate. There are too many instances over the last decade or so where the Western media seem to have acted as a tool of governments.

      We are still waiting to hear an apology for the so-called ‘intelligence’ regarding Saddam Hussein’s WMD, which took us into a very long and costly war.

      The Iraqis are still suffering the consequences, as are other Middle East nations, and the situation seems to be getting even worse.

      The families, who lost members, deserve that apology, at the very least, but I don’t think they’re ever going to hear it. Our politicians and leaders have got for too above themselves for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta
    September 13, 2014

    Makes me wonder who is truly ‘independent’. We say one thing and mean another. Brave New World!


    • Bryan Hemming
      September 13, 2014

      What amazes me is how much credibility Western governments and media are still afforded.


  3. colltales
    September 10, 2014

    With a few strokes of your keyboard, you’ve managed to debunk a whole misleading piece of information published by a major newspaper. No small wonder. The time and effort it took them to erase your comments could have been better used by publishing an update on the story, with a refocus on the ‘new’ evidence, as it’s the way respectful news vehicles treat an oversight. It’s the least that U.K. readers deserve. Instead, the ‘Independent’ gives the whole print media a black eye. Shame on them and congrats to you, Bryan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      September 10, 2014

      The least the Independent could do is to link to the site it mentions, so that readers can taste the bias.

      That a newspaper has sourced a large part of its information from a blog is definitely a very interesting about-face. I sense a yet another sneaky new way of not paying writers slinking in.


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