Wikipedia as Propaganda Not History — MH17 as An Example

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Eric Zuesse

Wikipedia articles are more propaganda than they are historical accounts. And, often, their cited sources are misleading, or even false.

On 15 August 2007, the BBC headlined “Wikipedia Shows CIA Page Edits,” and Jonathan Fildes reported that, “An online tool that claims to reveal the identity of organizations that edit Wikipedia pages has revealed that the CIA was involved in editing entries.” I.e.: What the CIA doesn’t like, they can (and do) eliminate or change.

More recently, on 25 June 2015, an anonymous reddit poster, “moose,” listed and linked directly to 18 different news reports, in such media as New York Times, Washington Post, Telegraph, Mirror, Guardian, and Newsweek, reporting about wikipedia edits that were supplied not only by the CIA but by other U.S. Government offices, and by large corporations. That person opened with a news report which implicated Wikipedia itself, “Wikipedia honcho caught in scandal quits, defends paid edits,” in which Wikipedia’s own corruption was discussed. Most of the other news reports there concerned unpaid edits by employees at CIA, congressional and British parliamentary offices, the DCRI (French equivalent of the U.S. CIA), large corporations, self-interested individuals, and others. One article even concerned a report that, “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 [flight MH17] was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers’.” Basically, wikipedia has been revealed to be a river of ‘information’ that’s polluted by so many self-interested sources as to be no more reliable than, say: “New York Times, Washington Post, Telegraph, Mirror, Guardian, and Newsweek.”

And that’s not reliable at all. For example, everybody knew in 2002 and 2003 that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMD “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” because they had read it in such ‘news’ sources as that. Consequently, even when wikipedia links to those sorts of articles, it can be propagating lies. After all, The New York Times and Washington Post were stenographically ‘reporting’ the lies from the White House as if those lies were truths (not challenging them at all); so, the fame of a publisher has nothing to do with the honesty (the integrity and carefulness) of its ‘news’ reporting. Stenographic ‘news’ reporting isn’t news-reporting; it is propaganda, no matter how famous and respected the ‘news’ medium happens (unfortunately) to be. Some of the most unreliable ‘news’ media have top prestige.


As an example: wikipedia’s English-language article about the 17 July 2014 shoot-down of the MH17 Malaysian airliner is a shameless propaganda-piece by the U.S. Government and its agents. Its (at present) 320 footnote-sources don’t include any of the many reports (virtually all in the foreign press) that present evidence the Ukrainian government shot down this airliner. Among the important issues that aren’t even raised, are: why was the Ukrainian government given veto-power over any final report which will be issued by the official four-nation MH17 investigating team: Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Ukraine? Why was Ukraine even included in this team to investigate a crime in which one of the two main suspects is the Ukrainian government itself?

Why was the presence of 30mm bullet-holes in the side-panel next to the pilot not mentioned in this lengthy wikipedia article? (If this plane had been brought down by only a missile, such as wikipedia assumes, there wouldn’t be any bullet-holes — much less, hundreds of them, as there are.) Why was the first analysis of that side-panel — which is the best and most reliable piece of evidence that exists about how this disaster actually happened — ignored altogether in the wikipedia article? After all, that analysis of the side-panel has subsequently been further confirmed by other reliable evidence, all of which the article also ignores.

I have edited some wikipedia articles, but I won’t edit the one on MH17: it’s too thoroughly rotten with speculative and other bad sources, so that it would need to be entirely rewritten — and bogus ‘evidence’ removed from it — in order for the article to present an account that’s based upon the best evidence regarding each of its particulars. Wikipedia’s article is thoroughly based on anti-Russian propaganda; it might as well have been written by the CIA (like the case that was presented about “Saddam’s WMD” was).

Here is the wikipedia article, so that you can see what U.S. propaganda says about the downing of MH17.

Here is my latest article about the downing of the MH17.

Here is my most comprehensive article reconstructing, on a best-evidence basis, how and why and who shot down this airliner.

The core of my case there is the same item of evidence to which Haisenko first called the public’s attention: that side-panel. I basically accept his reconstruction of how the plane came down, but I supplement it with additional evidence. Please click onto any link in the article, to see the evidence more fully analyzed, in the given linked-to source, wherever you have further questions that aren’t directly addressed in the article.

My articles present far fewer items of ‘evidence’ than does the wikipedia article, because I exclude all but the most-reliable evidence about any given detail. There is so much speculation that’s published, and so much bogus ‘evidence’; my guiding principle is therefore to rely only upon the least-speculative argument that refers to only the most-reliable, assuredly untampered-with, items of evidence. This is what one is supposed to do in a court of law; it’s the reason why judges are authorized to exclude from being presented to jurors any ‘evidence’ that fails to meet modern legal/forensic standards of authenticity and reliability. It’s the only way that an unprejudiced verdict can even become possible. It’s the prerequisite to history, as opposed to mere myth.

That’s the contrast between my articles about the MH17 disaster, and the 320 articles from which the wikipedia article about MH17 is constructed. And it also separates my articles from wikipedia’s article itself about the subject, “Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.”

What’s especially wrong about the wikipedia account is that it doesn’t even refer to the 30mm bullet holes in that side panel — evidence that is inconsistent with the U.S.-Ukrainian account (wikipedia’s account) of how this airliner was shot down. (Wikipedia’s article is instead obsessed with “a Buk missile launcher” — the theory of the case that’s pumped by America’s and Ukraine’s governments, and which is entirely inconsistent with such bullet-holes. You don’t get bullet-holes from 33,000+ feet away.) And the wikipedia article also doesn’t refer to Peter Haisenko, the brilliant former Luftahansa pilot who first pointed out those bullet holes in the side-panel, and who noted that there wouldn’t be any, much less hundreds of, bullet-holes firing directly into the pilot’s body, if the only thing that had brought down this airliner were shrapnel from some missile fired from 33,000 feet below. You simply can’t target the pilot’s belly and pump perhaps a thousand bullets into it from 33,000 feet down. This side-panel decimates the American-Ukrainian theory of the case — and so decimates wikipedia’s propagandistic article.

And why wasn’t the autopsy on the pilot made public? Everyone needs to know what was inside that corpse. But wikipedia and the ‘news’ media show no interest in that crucial question, either.

We don’t live in a democracy. This is a dictatorship. The ‘news’ media cannot be trusted by any intelligent and open-minded person. To find the truth, one (unfortunately) needs to investigate on one’s own and take the attitude that only the most solid evidence and the least speculative argument constitutes authentic history, on anything. All else — any casual trusting of the ‘news’ media — is merely accepting lies and myths, which are designed to manipulate people (like when we invaded Iraq), instead of to inform them. There is more than ample reason to distrust the ‘news’ media. And wikipedia is just as manipulated as the rest.

We live now in a culture where lies and myths drown out truth. In other words: we live in a dictatorship. That’s today’s USA. This is the reality, in which we live. And the Big Lie is: it’s not so. But the evidence sadly proves: it’s so; it clearly is the case.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • ICFubar

    We can always count on Eric Zuesse to see what the plutocracy is up to and then to reveal the truth along side their lies in vivid contrast. Thank you.

  • sirgiyan

    Please explain to me, how a SU-25, that has shot down that Boing (according to you) could possibly do that considering it doesn’t fly over 7000 meters (Boing was flying at 10000) and also keeping in mind that Russia itself has revealed their official investigation (performed by the BUK producers themselves) confirming that Boing was indeed shot from BUK. The only this Russia still denies is that BUK belonged to them.

    Personal disclosure: I’m Russian and your fairy tales make me sick. Frankly, stop it.

    • Edmund burke326

      You clearly accept a version of events which you consider are ‘not’ fairy tales but Russia’s evidence is.

      There is no evidence to suggest that Russians or East Ukrainians would risk shooting down President Putin’s plane (similarly coloured with red, white and blue) which was en route at the time back to Russia. Ukraine and Russia collaborated for years on military equipment, Ukraine has BUKs, tanks etc…, The Boeing plane was redirected by Ukrainian air traffic control, no one else. They alone have primary responsibility.

      The ceiling height quoted is irrelevant, in any case, as there is nothing to prevent this plane climbing to increased height, accuracy suffers, that’s all.

      The cure for your nausea regarding fairy tales relies on the Ukrainian and US authorities releasing as much evidence as possible, including air traffic records. Then there will be no need to speculate and the relatives of the deceased can have justice.

      • sirgiyan

        The only responsibility of Ukraine is that they did not close their skies over the combat zone. No argument here – they are guilty on this. That’s all.

    • tom

      Ironically, you are confirming Eric Zuesse’s case by citing a “fact” that was edited into Wikipedia for precisely that purpose – and at exactly the right time to be used in explaining away the MH17 atrocity. Those who have flown the SU-25, including the aircraft’s lead designer, state that it can easily be flown up to and perhaps above 10 Km. In any case, the service ceiling cited allows for a full fuel and weapons load, whereas the hypothetical SU-25 that shot down MH17 would only have had to hop up to nearly 30 Km, fire its cannon and/or missiles, and then drop down again.

      • sirgiyan

        Eric Zuesse is lying about SU-25. Period. He is either clueless or simply repeats russian propaganda. BUT, the funny thing is that Russia itself has already changed it’s mind and now BUK producing company confirms it was BUK. So Eric is repeating the old version.

        There is a small chance at the moment, that it was Ukrainian BUK untill all reports are published. But please, before revealing your deep knowledge of SU-25 characteristics read this, so you wouldn’t make fool of yourself next time:

        It’s an official RISSIAN version at the moment.

        • cettel

          You are relying upon Alexander Mercouris’s ranking of the evidence, but it’s flawed. Especially his casual disregard of the physical crash debris as being included at the very top of the list for authenticity is false. The cockpit side-panel that Haisenko was reasoning from is an extraordinarily high-resolution photo of it that a local resident took and uploaded to the Internet within just hours of the crash. This was when nobody knew anything, and it’s as virginal a piece of evidence as exists on the subject. Mercouris dismisses it and places at the top some items of evidence whose authenticity, as untampered-with, is far more questionable. His reasoning-process is poor. He is reasoning from shoddy ‘evidence,’ not only from some evidence that is sound but indeterminate, such as the report that was published about the black-box evidence (which raw evidence was never made public).

          • sirgiyan

            So, MILITARY PLANE or BUK? Your version is PLANE, right?

          • tom

            My version is, “I don’t know”. Epoche. All I can say is that, from the evidence I have seen, it was very probably either a military plane or a Ukrainian BUK.

            What I am quite sure about is that it’s unprecedented, and inexplicable, that an international technical investigation of a major airliner crash has been delayed by many months; that no firm date has been set for publication of the report; and that, it seems, the Kiev junta has been given permission to censor any report before it is published. (That would make the report useless for purposes of establishing responsibility and, probably, cause).

            It’s also strange (to say the least) that the US military spy satellites that were directly overhead (by coincidence?) apparently saw nothing – although they are supposed to be able to resolve individual people on the ground. The BBC report that was published immediately (and soon after withdrawn, ineffectually since it’s all over YouTube, etc.) makes it very clear that local witnesses saw no smoke trail from a BUK launch, but several of them did see one or two smaller aircraft in the close vicinity of the airliner.

            Lastly, neither Russia nor the Donbass republics had any interest in shooting down a civilian airliner; quite the contrary, as we have seen. The Kiev junta, on the other hand, had a very strong motive to create a false flag incident; and the US government has a long history both of false flag incidents and of shooting down civilian airliners.

        • tom

          That turns out not to be the case. The link which you give points to an article about how Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of BUK missiles, is bringing a case in the European Court of Justice to have the sanctions imposed upon it lifted.That immediately gives Almaz-Antey a strong motive for echoing the Western official line, in an attempt to appease the hostile court.

          The airliner’s fuselage was apparently peppered with some kind of multiple projectiles, which might either be 35 mm cannon shells or the rods delivered by a BUK warhead. Some experts say the holes are clearly made by cannon; others say they resemble BUK shrapnel. It is the job of the official investigation to decide which, but for some unclear reason the investigation has been stalled for nearly a year, the Kiev junta has been given a veto on the publication of results, and no pictures have been provided from the US satellites that were directly overhead at the time.

          Incidentally, Almaz-Antey stated, first and foremost, that MH17 was NOT shot down by the type of BUK used by Russia. So either it was shot down by a Ukrainian BUK, or by fighters.

      • cettel

        Thanks, Tom, for pointing that out; it hadn’t yet struck me!

    • tom

      If you would take the trouble to read Eric Zuesse’s previous articles on MH17 (linked to in this one) you would find out the exact details of how the Wikipedia article on the SU-25 was edited to misrepresent its service ceiling.

      • tom

        From the Wikipedia Talk page about SU-25 (about a year ago):

        ‘I would like to correct an error in the article on SU-25. It says that its maximum service ceiling is “7,000 m, or 5,000 m when fully armed”. However, the Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Kartapalov today announced that a SU-25 can easily fly and operate at altitudes higher than 10,000 m. I believe the Russian Chief of Staff trumps Wikipedia when it comes to knowledge about Russian military planes. Thus my humble request to increase the ceiling to 10,000 m, or just in case – to 20,000, to avoid further requests’.

    • cettel

      This is Eric Zuesse, and if you had just clicked onto the links that I provided (especially where I wrote “Here is my most comprehensive article reconstructing, on a best-evidence basis, how and why and who shot down this airliner,” and then in that article click where it says “My last major report on that evidence was ‘Systematically Reconstructing the Shoot-Down of the Malaysian Airliner: The Guilt Is Clear and Damning’,” and click onto that article), you wouldn’t have asked this question, because my articles don’t say that an SU-25 was necessarily the type of plane that brought down MH17. The Ukrainian Air Force has also SU-27s, and Mig-29s, which could easily have reached that altitude. However, Peter Haisenko has further pointed out that some versions of the Su-25 also can. Please do not provide reader comments that are based upon laziness (your not even clicking through to the sources) and on ignorance, and that are nonetheless stated in categorical terms as if you know what you don’t know, and have read what you did not read.

    • Army of Addicts


  • cstahnke

    The CIA always saw propaganda and disinformation as one of its main roles as an Agency. The evidence is overwhelming that this role has been going on since the 1950’s without let-up not just in other countries but inside the U.S. media. Wikipedia is the perfect target for the CIA (and its allies) and they use it to twist reality to the desired shape that fits their agenda. Most of what is in Wikipedia is very good but whenever anything comes near to questioning authority it is crushed. And the fact is, this is what you would expect the CIA (and other agencies) to do–it should come as no surprise. Anyone who has been around power whether you’re talking organized crime, the military, the Corporate world, government knows that the players do not play nice–nice people don’t go into political struggle only warriors do.

  • nakbin

    As a former field service rep for a major aircraft manufacturer and active in aircraft restoration I have seen quite a few aircraft damaged by crash, fire and the elements and frankly the photo of that damaged structure looks like it has been exposed to the elements for many years. I have no opinion regarding the many holes in the structure only that it appears to have a considerable amount of surface corrosion and the appearance similar to what you would find on wreckage from an old WW2 era crash.

  • tom

    My rule of thumb is that Wikipedia is usually reliable, to a degree, on any topic that’s uncontroversial. Tensor calculus, mediaeval history, Japanese art, classical music… mostly OK. (Although even then you shouldn’t accept anything as reliable until you have checked it with other sources). It does make an excellent general-purpose encyclopaedic reference, especially at an introductory level.

    Inevitably, when it comes to more current and controversial topics, Wikipedia’s open editing model leaves it wide open to cynical manipulation. Pity, but although you might imagine that truth will win out when everyone can adjust the account published, there are too many topics about which people are deliberately disinformed or mindlessly partisan.

  • Jul 18, 2014 Exclusive VICE News Footage of MH17 Aftermath

    July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 298 people was shot down over eastern Ukraine — allegedly by pro-Russia separatists. Residents in the area described bodies falling from the sky and landing in their own backyards.


    That the Western Powers, including NATO, have in their possession the satellite imagery, technical data and radar signatures which categorically locates exactly where in the eastern Ukraine the missile was fired from which took down MH17. The unique signatures, in particular, also identify the precise type of missile.

  • Everyone continues to miss one major factor in our propaganda world courtesy of the C.I.A., and the Joint Chiefs and their rule! Do you believe the Joint Chiefs are clueless about this power grab? Not me, and not for one second!

    October 23, 2014 Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency

    WASHINGTON — The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency. Thirty separate emergencies, in fact. An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

  • Howard Remington

    this is why I always laugh when people say other countries control what the population is fed, when the same thing is happening in America, but Americans are so willing to look the other way and point fingers

  • mennie

    Oh Eric, you still spreading your anti-Obama message with Russian propaganda?
    Russia didn’t inform you that they are now blaming the Georgian air force?

  • fuster

    who is Eric Zuesse and is he an outpatient rather than receiving more intensive therapy?