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Wednesday, October 07, 2015 1:47 PM

MH-17 Yet Again, Poring Over the Data (and Translations); Serious Factual Errors by Time and Western Media

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For most, the shoot-down of flight MH-17 over Ukraine is a forgotten memory. Western media has continually trumped up one of three stories.

  1. Russian-backed rebels did it
  2. Russia did it
  3. Russian-backed rebels did it with Russia's help

The extent to which Western media fabricated all sorts of lies to make those claims is still not widely known or understood.

Reader Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks and reads Russian, and who works for the US government (but speaks only for himself),  just recently decided to review some video footage and translations offered by Time Magazine on July 17: Russia Is Blocking Justice for the Victims of Flight 17.

Dreizin emailed Time about factual errors in the article a few days ago. He sent this letter to Time.
Dear Sir or Madam,

I have found a serious factual error—in fact, a complete fabrication—in your July 17, 2015 piece titled How Russia Is Blocking Justice for the Victims of Flight 17, which is posted here:


In the piece, your author, Simon Shuster, states as follows:

On the day of the tragedy, the Ukrainian State Security Service, which is known as the SBU, released what it claimed to be an intercepted phone conversation between Kozitsyn and one of his fighters. According to the SBU’s recording, the fighter reports to Kozitsyn that they have shot down a civilian plane by mistake. “There’s a whole sea of corpses, women and children,” the fighter says. The voice identified as that of Kozitsyn does not seem moved by this information. “They shouldn’t have been flying,” the voice says. “There’s a war going on here.”

I am a native Russian speaker and I have listened to this recording, which commences at around 1:50 at the following link:


I can tell you that in this recording, despite the allegations of your author, who claims to be a native Russian speaker (as per his LinkedIn account), at no time does either party to this particular conversation claim to have shot down an airplane.

Rather, as per the SBU's accurate translation, which is shown in subtitles on the YouTube link, and which I confirm is correct, the unnamed alleged rebel speaking with a person alleged to be Kozitsyn merely recounts his observations of the wreckage of a plane that he believes has been shot down.  He takes no credit for shooting it down, nor does he state or suggest who shot it down.

Why, then, does your writer, Simon Shuster, state "According to the SBU’s recording, the fighter reports to Kozitsyn that they have shot down a civilian plane by mistake"?

Mr. Shuster's account substantially departs from his own source material.  Why?

Of course, the SBU's intent is to showcase a number of alleged rebels talking about an aircraft going down and to imply (by way of their interest in the matter) that they were responsible for the MH17 disaster.  Mr. Shuster, like so many others over the last 14-some months, seems to have taken that implication and ran with it, to the point of actually putting words into the recording that are simply not there!

Another point of interest:  In the first recording in the above link, which starts at around 0:18 in the link, the SBU allegedly presents the rebel commander Igor Bezler talking with his alleged Russian handler as to his knowledge of a certain rebel unit shooting down a plane around 30 minutes prior to the conversation occurring.  The SBU translation subtitles also suggest that Bezler can see smoke coming from the crash site, although to me that part is indiscernible.

Given that Bezler's headquarters and main zone of control (the city of Gorlovka) was roughly 25 to 30 miles northwest of the MH17 debris field, it is highly likely that—assuming it is in fact him on the recording—the conversation relates to a prior shoot-down of a Ukrainian combat plane in the Gorlovka area, i.e. something that did in fact take place before the downing of MH17.

In any case, there is nothing within the recording itself to identify a place, date, time, or even the parties to the conversation—we have only the SBU's word as to who these people are and when the conversation is taking place.

Also of interest, the second recording in the link (starting at 0:43) is unnatural in places and, to a Russian speaker such as myself, seems to be either a splice of two or three separate conversations, or else one conversation that has been condensed (i.e. pieces of it have been removed, possibly to present an inaccurate picture of the whole.)

Last but not least, the fact that this diverse montage (totaling three separate conversations) was jumbled together in one video, subtitled in English, and posted to YouTube, not to mention pitched to the media, all just a few hours after MH17 went down (note the date on the link), is suspicious to say the least.  I work for the U.S. Government, and (though I am not speaking for the Government or any of its agencies or offices in any way whatsoever) I have never seen Government move so fast—it is simply inconceivable.

My main point in writing you is to inform you that your writer, Simon Shuster, has made a bold, significant claim on your website that is patently and demonstrably false—and moreover, one that he must have known to be false.

Thus, I request that you issue a public retraction on this matter.

Thank you for your attention.

Jacob Dreizin

Video in Russian - English Subtitles

Link if video does not play: Malaysia Airlines: Phone calls of terrorists intercepted by Security Service of Ukraine.

I commend Dreizin for taking a stand for the truth, and I hope it does not cost him his job.

Bottom Line

  1. Neither the US nor Ukraine is interested in the truth if Ukraine is responsible.
  2. Neither Russia nor the Rebels are interested in the truth if the rebels or Russia is responsible.
  3. Blatant lies and sloppy media reporting by Ukraine and Western media is clearly rampant.
  4. Most have jumped to conclusions believing biased reporting and outright fabrications by their government.
  5. A small subset of us would like to know what really happened, regardless of whom is to blame.

Shortly after the incident, allegations similar to those made by Simon Shuster were widely trumped up as "proof" the rebels did it. The ensuing propaganda campaign was an unfortunate success, at least to the small subset of us who want the truth be known, no matter which side is to blame.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock.

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