The Pot-Smoking Gun

Immediately after the tragedy with MH17, Putin’s first public reaction was to ask for a minute of silence (after which he proceeded to accuse Ukraine of being responsible for the deaths of the 295 passengers).

The “moment of silence” was perceived by the Kremlin propagandists as a coded directive from Mothership: to await further instructions before continuing with their agipop war.

Thus, for nearly 24 hours, traditionally logorrheic propagandists like Dmitry Rogozin, Alexander Dugin and British self-proclaimed “journalist” Graham Philips, kept totally silent. Then, about 24 hrs later, they came back to life with a coordinated bundle of messages.

One talking point that at least two of them got was to promote the laughable conspiracy that Ukraine had planned the MH17 destruction as a ploy to discredit the separatists – and by extension, Russia.

The “smoking gun” that Kremlin had was the alleged date and time of creation of the intercepted calls, in which terrorists acknowledged having shot down the Malaysian airliner by mistake.

Kremlin employee Graham Philips’s first tweet after the day of silence was a hyper-link to a conspiracy theorist’ YT channel, where “proof was presented of the origin of the tape a whole day before the actual crash”.

Later on the same day, on Russian TV’s most watch weekly debate show, terrorist ideologist Alexander Dugin claimed that he had “personally conducted a technical experiment, proving the video tape was made 1 day before the crash, thus proving it was all planned by the Kiev junta”.

I would not have spent even a second on this ludicrous theory (contradicting basic principles of logic that even my 7-year old daughter was quick to spot). Yet,  the TV show was watched by 33% оf ALL Russians, while the conspiracy YT video has already been seen by more than 150,000 people. I keep get questions on twitter about “how can [you] explain the pre-dating of the video?”. So I feel I should break it down here.

Here is what the Kremlin conspiracy pushers are claiming as “proof”:

The YouTube video, released by the SBU, was published late in the evening on July 17th 2014. published

Yet,  when you download the original file from YT (using any of the non-YT approved plugins or apps), and run an analysis of the underlying video file with, for instance, video tools like ffmpeg, you see that the date of creation of the video is, indeed, July 16th.


So is this the smoking gun? Sadly for the Kremlin, not.

Here is why. Yesterday noon I recorded a short video using YT’s built-in webcam tool. Thus, there is no question that the creation date could have been earlier, as the webcam tool records in real time, and does not take an already produced file.

Here is the date on which YT confirms the video was recorded AND published:created3

As you can see, the date/time is July 18th, 2014, 12:55 PM local time. (My time-zone currently is the same as Kiev. And as you can also see, my video content is of amazing quality)

Now let’s do the “Dugin experiment” on this video. I downloaded the file using the YT downloader plugin for Firefox, and ran a file analysis using ffmpeg. Here’s the result:


As you can see, the creation time of the video is exactly 14  26 hours earlier than the actual, local-time upload time. This is simply because of the difference between the YouTube’s server time, and the user’s (in this case my) time. (Why YouTube has such a weird time setting, which has already caused more than a few conspiracies, is another story: I have emailed this question to Google and will publish their response)

Case closed. Another pathetic Kremlin lie debunked.

Yet, a bitter feeling lingers on that so many people in the world may have such a deficiency of critical thinking that they may fall for a trick that so contradicts pure logic….

UPDATE: Literally 10 minutes after I published this post, Graham Phillips posted another tweet claiming the same fabricated conspiracy:

. And from what you can see, random people seem to fall for it. Thus, please re-post this post so we can prevent as many people as possible from falling for this Kremlin fabrication.


5 thoughts on “The Pot-Smoking Gun

  1. Good analysis, but it still doesn’t add up according to my math.

    The creation time of the original video is 2014-07-16 19:11:19.

    14 hours plus this time equals 2014-07-17 08:11:19 EEST (East European Summer Time).

    According to what I can deduce from available information and correcting for EEST, MH17 took off at 2014-07-17 13:14 EEST and crashed at 16:15 EEST.

    Thus, even with the 14 hour differential we should expect based upon your research, it still appears the video was created at least five hours before MH17 took off and 8 hours before the plane crashed.

    Don’t get me wrong….I believe Russian intelligence is behind the MH17 disaster, but this is more so because Ukraine remains a puppet for the Kremlin.

    What’s interesting is that RT is not running with this piece of information that indicates Ukrainian foreknowledge of the shoot down. What we might have here is a loose end in a strategic deception the Kremlin can’t work around.

    -Spirit Of Truth Blog

    1. Correctly spotted my math typo: the time difference that I showed in the two examples is NOT 14 (12+2) hours, but 26 hours (24+2). Please refer to the screenshots for verification. Apologies for my own bad time/date calculation in the blog; now correcting.

    2. On your latter point: I think RT can’t afford the reputation price of this apparently flawed argument; and thus Kremlin is using a network of proxies with lesser reputation costs to disperse this (and other conspiratorial and inconsistent) stories.

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