Rebels´ ¨fatal mistake¨: how the infowar started

Can the 17 july ¨bragging¨ at the Strelkov VKontakte site be seen as evidence?

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From the moment Malaysian Airways flight MH17 crashed it seemed obvious who was responsable. Separatist fighters had downed the plane by mistake, thinking they targeted an Antonov 26 of the Ukrainian army.

This lead was initiated by rumours on social media about a message posted at the personal website of rebel leader Igor Girkin alias Strelkov, in which the commander himself was bragging about his succes. This message was, according to bloggers and most leading media, ¨mysteriously deleted¨ after the rebels learned a civilian plane had been taken out. When a video was issued by the Ukrainian secret service in which rebels confessed their mix up, the case was settled.

The idea the perpetrators and their motive – or lack thereof – already were known from the start but only had to be proven officially yet, was disseminated within hours after the disaster through social and mainstream media. The fatal-mistake theory became leading ¨meme¨ running in information networks into the heads of the mourning public.

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