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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17 667

Posted by samzenpus
from the writing-history dept.
An anonymous reader writes A political battle has broken out on Wikipedia over an entry relating to the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, with the Russian government reportedly removing sections which accuse it of providing 'terrorists' with missiles that were used to down the civilian airliner. A Twitter bot which monitors edits made to the online encyclopedia from Russian government IP addresses spotted that changes are being made to a page relating to the crash. All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) changed a Russian language version of a page listing civil aviation accidents to say that "The plane was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers." That edit replaced text – written just an hour earlier – which said MH17 had been shot down "by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation."
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @06:52PM (#47496681)

    They tried to edit slashdot to make this the first post

    • by TWX (665546)
      Then I'm glad that you were here to take one for the team!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @08:01PM (#47497053)

      Poor shills are on their 3rd straight day without sleep, and over-time pay is reduced to only 6 extra potatoes due to sanctions. Remember to take a rest, comrades. Next week when the satellite and black box data come out you will be needed even more.

      • by Xest (935314) on Monday July 21, 2014 @03:41AM (#47498705)

        I don't think black box data will be much use, they were shipped out to Russia within hours of the crash, Alexander Borodai, a Russian national, normally a resident of Moscow and political leader of the "rebels" claims he has them and is waiting for the ICAO to turn up so he can hand them over, except the ICAO can't turn up because his soldiers are blocking them from doing so. The Russians/Rebels are very clearly stalling the handover (they've also been caught removing bits of aircraft and a number of the dead who showed evidence of damage/wounds that would be caused by Buk missile fragmentation FWIW so the whole crash site has become a forensic nightmare in that regard).

        So the chain of custody of flight recorders now makes them utterly useless for determining anything worthwhile. To be useful they'd have had to have been left in the exact spot they fell until international investigators showed up to properly document their locations and to set up a proper chain of custody.

        Speculation is that Russia would easily enough be able to remove some flight data to make it look like the last location pings from the aircraft came further back to the west than where the aircraft was actually shot down so that they can try and pin it on the Ukrainian military.

        I'm intrigued after MH370 whether MH17 was relaying it's satellite locations though given that the company that handles that said they'd offer it for free. I expect an interesting blame game and arguments about tampering to come up if the temporary Russian held black box data mysteriously does end earlier than the satellite data held by Inmarsat in the UK. I'm sure Putin and his cronies will be accusing Inmarsat of making up data when the reverse is true - that if Putin and his soldiers in Ukraine had nothing to hide they wouldn't be fiddling with evidence, removing bodies, running off with the black boxes, and blockading international investigators.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erikkemperman (252014)

        I am from the Netherlands, where most of the casualties are from: can we PLEASE stop our uninformed finger pointing until at least some evidence turns up?

        None of us know what happened.

        Russia or the separatists in Eastern Ukraine might have done this -- although no-one is sure what they would stand to gain from it. Ukraine's own military might have done it (they've done it before and denied it vehemently until it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt).

        For the moment though, we are doing the victims' families

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday July 21, 2014 @07:53AM (#47499371) Journal

          Russia or the separatists in Eastern Ukraine might have done this

          That's a distinction without a difference.

          although no-one is sure what they would stand to gain from it.

          It looks like they thought it was a Ukraine military plane and were a bit too trigger happy, not realising it was a civilian aircraft until too late.

          Ukraine's own military might have done it (they've done it before and denied it vehemently until it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt).

          Here's the thing: if the Ukraine were responsible, then Russia would have a vested interest in a visibly transparent investigation and be in a position to ensure that it happened. If they could convincingly portray the Ukraine as having shot down a civilian aircraft then that would significantly alter the political sympathies in the current conflict. Instead, they have done everything in their power to block it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @09:10PM (#47497449)

      In Soviet Russia, 'First Post' gets you!

      I went there. I'm not proud.

    • Re:It gets worse... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @10:57PM (#47497877)

      a) The only side shooting at planes are the pro-Russian militants because only the Ukrainian military has had planes in the sky to shoot at.
      b) These missiles were supplied by the Russians. To shoot a plane down from 30000 feet in the sky requires a hell of a lot more than a bottle rocket.

      There is nothing to dispute here. For Russia or the pro-Russian militia to argue otherwise is incredulously sad, pathetic and stupid. Shameful.

      • Re:It gets worse... (Score:4, Informative)

        by amaurea (2900163) on Monday July 21, 2014 @03:50AM (#47498717) Homepage

        I agree that it's most likely that the separatists were the ones who shot down the plane. They had shot down several Ukrainian military planes before, and probably thought they were preventing the arrival of enemy soldiers or bombs. This is also supported by the wiretap evidence released by the Ukrainian central government (though as one of the parts in the conflict, they are not likely to be the most reliable source).

        I partially disagree on the second point. While it may well be that the missiles were supplied by Russia, we should remember that this kind of missile (probably a BUK launcher), has been a part of the standard ground-to-air arsenal in Sovjet since the 1970s, and was inherited by its member states when it split up, among them Ukraine. The separatist-controlled area of Eastern Ukraine apparently contain several military bases and weapons factories that have now fallen under the control of the rebels. This would be an obvious candidate for how they could have gotten hold of BUK weapons.

        The Crimean situation saw large numbers of defectors from the Ukrainian military join the rebels there. If this happened in the seized military bases, then that would also give a natural explanation for how people who know how to operate these weapons came to be among the separatists (assuming they are difficult to use in the first place).

        So I think that there are several sensible hypotheses for where the weapons could have come from. It is too early to say that they must have come from Russia (though that certainly is very possible).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @06:55PM (#47496689)

    One biased side is fighting edits from an even more biased side.

    The first casualty of war is the truth. In this case both sides are trying to pummel truth's dead body into a hamburger.

    • by sinij (911942) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @07:40PM (#47496903) Journal

      False equivalence.
       
      Sides are not equally wrong, and truth is not somewhere in the middle. There is a very clear wrong side - Russian equipment operated by Russian-sponsored terrorists and/or Russian military misidentifying civilian aircraft and shooting it down. Anything else is intentional misinformation.

      • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @08:26PM (#47497215) Homepage

        False equivalence.

        Sides are not equally wrong, and truth is not somewhere in the middle. There is a very clear wrong side - Russian equipment operated by Russian-sponsored terrorists and/or Russian military misidentifying civilian aircraft and shooting it down. Anything else is intentional misinformation.

        "Terrorist" is the wrong word, it's obvious from the intercepts this was a tactical error on someone's part.

        Terrorism isn't defined by actions so much as the reason. For the love of Jebus, it has a well understood meaning folks, look it up.

        • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @09:37PM (#47497565) Homepage Journal

          "Terrorist" is the wrong word, it's obvious from the intercepts this was a tactical error on someone's part.

          Terrorism isn't defined by actions so much as the reason. For the love of Jebus, it has a well understood meaning folks, look it up.

          That may have been true 10 or 20 years ago. Nowadays, here in the US and in many other countries, the common media and governmental meaning of "terrorist" is now "anyone we don't like".

          This is a rather familiar sort of linguistic change that has happened to many other words in the past. There's not a whole lot we can do to persuade people to stick with the original definitions. After all, we can't even persuade people to stop using "literally" to mean "figuratively". What's our chance of persuading politicians that they shouldn't similarly retarget handy insult words to refer to their opponents?

        • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @09:50PM (#47497627)

          False equivalence.

          Sides are not equally wrong, and truth is not somewhere in the middle. There is a very clear wrong side - Russian equipment operated by Russian-sponsored terrorists and/or Russian military misidentifying civilian aircraft and shooting it down. Anything else is intentional misinformation.

          "Terrorist" is the wrong word, it's obvious from the intercepts this was a tactical error on someone's part.

          Terrorism isn't defined by actions so much as the reason. For the love of Jebus, it has a well understood meaning folks, look it up.

          Yes, but they're terrorists for acts outside of this lone incident. If you look at the same groups acts over the past 10 months or so, they are clearly terrorists, independent of this particular accident. They are trying to "Terrorize" the Ukrainian government into giving them sovereignty. Not that the use of that lone word makes much of a difference anymore anyway.

      • by Scott Ragen (3378093) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @08:26PM (#47497217)

        Terrorists? I've seen them called both separatists and I think Militia. I haven't heard them called terrorists until now, and whilst I'm not fully educated on their movement, treatment of civilians in the area and other matters, I don't know if they should morally be classified as terrorists by the international community, that is unless they shot the airliner down on purpose or performed other heinous acts of terror.
        The looting of MH17 on the other hand is a terrible and those doing it should be held accountable

        The way Israel has been behaving lately looks more like a terrorist organisation than the Ukrainian separatists.

  • Protip: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DMJC (682799) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @07:22PM (#47496829)
    The crash scene is a crime scene and all the bodies and bits should be left in place. Russia lost all credibility the second they started moving bits around.
  • Water is wet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @07:31PM (#47496857)
    Putin is a murderous goon. He and his cronies will get what's coming to them.
  • by Jason Coombs, CEO (3755591) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @07:59PM (#47497031)
    Twitter bots that monitor and call attention to things, or future AI tools we develop that provide similar functionality for monitoring what appears to be the cyber behavior of certain groups or certain people, have a downside, too. Everyone knows it isn't very hard for somebody with substantial financial resources (or a sysadmin who works at a particular ISP and has substantial political beliefs or alliances) to spoof the IP addresses that are thought to be associated with certain groups/nations. This evolving condition of intrinsic uncertainty around digital media and Internet communications needs new technical and social solutions. See: http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]
  • Putin the murderer (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @09:10PM (#47497447)

    Putin is a murderer. He is sending Russian Special Forces into Eastern Ukraine, supplying them with weapons, occasionally training them, and when shit happens does the "Russian Bullshit Story"(tm). "I don't know anything about it, its not me, it happened somewhere else, Russia is on the other side of the planet from Ukraine, while this was all going on my dog was eating my homework, ask Baghdad Bob, he will confirm that I was on a fishing trip in Jamaica during this event, along with all of the Russian military. We were all in a rowboat. Two guys got fish (which we all shared). I, being Putin caught one of them. My fish was 75 pounds. It came pre-cooked. Ask any of the thousands of soldiers who were with me. They all agree." Perhaps Putin expects us to believe the bullshit he is pushing. My real question is: do the Russian people believe his bullshit? And a followup: if they *really* believe his bullshit, is there a toxic lead leak in Russian water? Are they all drunk? Is there some mass mental defect somewhere?

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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