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<nettime> A Picture is Worth...
Michael Gurstein on Sun, 17 Jul 2016 14:56:40 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> A Picture is Worth...


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/16/world/europe/malaysia-airlines-flight-17-russia.html

MOSCOW — A group of arms control researchers have determined that two  <http://archive.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/ECD62987D4816CA344257D1D00251C76> images released by the Russian government, ostensibly to help clarify why a civilian airliner was shot down two years ago, were digitally altered using Photoshop before being posted online.

Parts of one Russian military satellite image simply vanished, according to researchers at the  <http://www.miis.edu/> Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, in California, behind a suspect-looking cloud.

In another image, two chunky, tracked antiaircraft weapons appear in sharper focus than the surrounding landscape, the researchers said in  <http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1201635/mh17-anniversary/> the report posted online on Friday.

“It is clear the images have been modified or altered,” the researchers said, after running the photographs through a suite of professional software used to detect fake digital pictures, in court proceedings in Europe.

The finding is hardly the first to  <http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/europe/100000003974542/dutch-report-on-malaysia-flight-17.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMalaysia%20Airlines%20Flight%2017&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=collection> debunk important elements of the Russian government’s narrative of who shot down  <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/a/airplane_accidents_and_incidents/malaysia_airlines_flight_17/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people aboard, in the worst atrocity of the war in  <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/ukraine/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> Ukraine.

At the time,  <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/russiaandtheformersovietunion/index.html?inline=nyt-geo> Russia’s state news agency, RIA, initially reported that Russian-backed separatists had shot down a Ukrainian military aircraft, but quickly backtracked once it became clear a civilian airliner had been brought down.

Russian state television devoted considerable airtime to conspiracy theories, including assertions that the Ukrainians were trying to shoot down President  <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/vladimir_v_putin/index.html?inline=nyt-per> Vladimir V. Putin’s plane, that the plane had been filled with dead bodies and crashed in an elaborate ruse to embarrass Russia, or that the  <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org> Central Intelligence Agency was behind the attack. Ukraine and Western governments say that none of this is true, and that active-duty Russian soldiers backing the rebels fired on the airliner, perhaps mistaking it for a military aircraft, as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.

The photographs were published on the websites of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense just days after the crash. They were presented as having been taken by one or more Russian spy satellites on  <http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/18/world/europe/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17-q-a.html> July 17, 2014, as war raged in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian presentation asserted that “according to our information on the day of the accident the Ukrainian armed forces deployed three to four artillery battalions of Buk-M1 missiles, and provided two satellite images to support the claim.

The anti-tampering software, though, found that a cloud obscuring a portion of one image had at one point been saved using a different form of data compression from the rest of the picture.

In the other photograph, showing a pair of rocket launchers in a field with a road looping through it, the launchers are inexplicably in sharper focus than the surrounding field, according to the report. Along with Photoshop, other programs may also have been used, the researchers said.

“It’s hard to be certain about what they have done,” Jeffrey Lewis, one of the report’s authors, said of the manipulation of the images. “It’s possible they enhanced the missile launchers that were there or that they cut and pasted them in.”

The researchers focus on using open-source information to study nuclear nonproliferation. They originally bought the specialized software to analyze North Korean propaganda photographs, but have found other uses for it.

“It’s wonderful — you can see who touches up their wedding photos,” Mr. Lewis said. “It turns out people touch up photos quite a lot.”

Asked on Friday about the allegations, the Russian Defense Ministry said it would require three days to respond. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred questions to the Ministry of Defense.

Earlier, Bellingcat, a citizen-journalism group using open-source information like social media posts to analyze conflicts, had identified the cloudy photograph as likely altered to obscure the date it was taken.

“Anything short of the original and unaltered images, given the manipulations evident in the slides released online, will naturally give rise to concerns Russia deliberately fabricated evidence to evade legal responsibility” for the deaths of the passengers and crew,” the Monterey group said in its study.

A version of this article appears in print on July 16, 2016, on page A3 of the New York edition with the headline: Images of Malaysian Jet Were Altered, Report Finds.  <http://www.nytreprints.com/> Order Reprints|   <http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html> Today's Paper| <http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/Multiproduct/lp839RF.html?campaignId=48JQY> Subscribe

 

See also

 {AT} MikePence

Busy weekend in NY! Enjoying a quick dinner with the family at  <https://twitter.com/Chilis>  {AT} Chilis. Looking forward to getting back to Indiana.__._,_.___

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CniVB8lWcAAcEQW.jpg:large

 

So what happened to the image of Pence’s daughter in the mirror… Various speculations, but the most plausible seems to be that she is a vampire… (who makes no reflection…

 

M

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