Published November 14, 2020
In recent days, reports appeared in the media claiming “Max van der Werff is on the payroll of the Russian military secret service”. As promised my response to this and other absurd accusations:
Question. Are you on the GRU payroll?
Question. Have you ever been paid by the GRU for any kind of services?
Question. Have you ever received money from any other branch of the Russian state?
Question. Why then do almost all Dutch media write that you are trying to sow confusion on behalf of the Russians about the fact that the Russians are responsible for the downing of MH17?
Answer. Because they often rely on one source: Bellingcat.
Answer. Bellingcat has been spreading misinformation about me in the past.
1) I allegedly think MH17 was shot down by a jet fighter. This is a lie.
False claim by @bellingcat from behind a *block*: "Max went to the crash site and still thought an SU-25 shot it down." pic.twitter.com/sNEFwdgyoY
— Макс ван дер Верфф (@MaxvanderWerff) September 13, 2019
2) I allegedly think MH17 was a False Flag operation. This is a lie.
False claim by @eliothiggins from behind a *block*:
"Max still thinks #MH17 was a false flag. #Bellingcathttps://t.co/KJ6oe43291 pic.twitter.com/g621FR9yFq
— Макс ван дер Верфф (@MaxvanderWerff) September 13, 2019
Bellingcat is a club heavily subsidized by NATO states. People and organizations that challenge the existing truth monopoly are systematically targeted.
Question. Well well, some wording you use. So you claim Bellingcat is spreading disinformation with the aim of stifling the voices of dissidents?
Question. Sounds like a conspiracy theory. Do you have evidence for that?
Answer. A few days ago it turned out that Bellingcat used a never-sent draft letter from the OPCW as a stepping stone to denigrate whistleblowers, Wikileaks and free journalists. Aaron Maté of the Grayzone made mincemeat of the Bellingcat lies. Take in this information and judge for yourself what is true and what is misinformation.
Draft debacle: Bellingcat smears OPCW whistleblower, journalists with false letter, farcical claims
Question. Why am I not reading about this in the mainstream media?
Answer. You have to ask the mainstream media about that.
Question. I want to go back to the allegations against you. You say you never received any money from the Russian state. But what about the copy of your passport that would have been sent to the GRU via Bonanza Media?
Answer. Thanks for this question. The crash zone of MH17 has been in a war zone for years. In order to gain access to such an area as a journalist, you almost always have to apply for accreditation. You must enclose a copy of your passport with such an application. Russia determines who will or will not be allowed to cross the border with the apostate Ukrainian people’s republics. It’s a tedious part of doing research on the spot, but you can’t get around it.
Question. But isn’t it illegal to use those border crossings in that area at all without the permission of the Ukrainian government?
Answer. According to Ukrainian law, yes. But for me, traveling to the rebel area via Kiev is not an option. That became clear at the latest after I was put on the Ukrainian blacklist ‘Peacekeeper’ . Some journalists were murdered after being on that list for a few days.
Question. Bellingcat claims that owner of Bonanza Media, Yana Yerlashova, always consulted someone from the GRU before publishing articles.
Answer. I don’t believe that, and I don’t feel like trying to prove otherwise. I’m not talking about what Yana might or wouldn’t have done either. I can say that I am fully responsible for all publications of Bonanza media and I am one hundred percent behind the content of all publications until March 2020. I would also like to add that it is quite normal in the media world that productions by journalists are edited. This is a process in which criticism from third parties is incorporated into the final product of the maker. Things only go wrong when editing turns into manipulation or even censoring. When it comes to making these kinds of choices, I am basically on the line of Glenn Greenwald. Uncompromising.
Question. Why do you say ‘until March 2020’?
Answer. After that I did no more work for Bonanza Media.
Question. But the fact is that MH17 was shot down with a Buk missile from Russia.
Answer. What is your question?
Question. The charge that you are spreading disinformation. What do you have to say about that?
Answer. Read the articles on my blog. Check what I write on Twitter. Watch the Bonanza Media documentary that I was proud to participate in. Then form your own judgment.
Question. Why do you keep sowing doubt about something that has long been proven?
Answer. Six years ago, a week after the crash, I already warned about confirmation bias, tunnel vision, paradigm paralysis and other causes that lead to research failure.
For you and many others it is a fact that Russia is responsible. Then consider that a trial by media has been going on for six years, with a leading role for Bellingcat. But the real truth-finding is far from over, and the legal proceedings have just begun and all the alleged ‘overwhelming evidence’ has yet to be judged by the courts.
Last question. If money isn’t what drives you, what is?
Answer. I have a curious character and like to investigate things. My first major research was about war crimes committed by Dutch soldiers in the former Dutch East Indies. For over sixty years it was a fact that ‘our boys’ had generally behaved well. I only found out late that this picture was wrong. Grants are now available for research into these historical crimes, but during the time I was doing research you were dismissed as a conspiracy thinker and nest polluter.
I am also pro-Russian. That is to say, I see NATO as a major threat to world peace. To my knowledge, this is not yet prohibited. Traitor!