Journalists Held, All Materials Seized
Introduction by Kennedy Applebaum
January 9, 2017
Updated January 9 & 10, 2017 (See Conclusion)
Two Dutch investigative journalists, Michel Spekkers and Stefan Beck, traveled to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics this past week to investigate the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Flight MH17. The passenger plane, having been directed over the war zone by Kiev air traffic controllers, was downed on July 17, 2014 near the border between the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts. Spekkers and Beck were accredited by the DPR and LPR and traveled freely in the area, talking to the local people. They were accompanied during the first few days of their visit by well-known British video journalist Graham Phillips.
Upon returning to Amsterdam after a week in Donbass, the two journalists were detained by Dutch officials and all of their notes and materials were seized. When they asked which law they were breaking, the officials refused to comment.
This adds to the already massive evidence of the Dutch coverup of the cause of the MH17 crash. It is particularly noteworthy that Spekkers and Beck, who speak Russian, were free to talk with the local people, many of whom, as we know from videos and news reports, were eyewitnesses to one or more fighter jets having shot down the Boeing. This scenario points to Ukraine as the guilty party, a scenario denied by nearly all Western sources, and conveniently dismissed in the Dutch Safety Board Crash Report without substantiating evidence.
The two articles below tell the story.
For Quemado Institute’s detailed analysis of the DSB Crash Report see: Quemado Institute Rebuttal: MH17 Dutch Investigation Weak, Inconclusive For other Quemado Institute MH17 reports see: https://quemadoinstitute.org//?s=MH17
Dutch Journalists Detained, Material Confiscated, after Returning from Donbass
By Janus Putkonen
January 9, 2017
Two journalists from the Netherland, Michel Spekkers and Stefan Beck, were detained by Dutch officials when they were returning back to Amsterdam from working trip in Donbass people’s republics. Officially accreditated journalists were collecting materials for over a week about downing of the MH17 in 2014, and making other documentary materials about the life in Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
The official DONi News Agency in Donbass confirms the information, that Spekkers and Beck had valid documents and official support to conduct investigative journalism in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republic. They had also made an interview with DONi News director, Janus Putkonen, while they were visiting Donetsk during New Year holidays.
All of the equipments, personal and working materials, flaptop’s, phone’s, camera’s, memory sticks were confiscated from the journalists by Dutch security officials immediately on their arrival. They were informed, that “such documentary material from the MH17 issue is illegal”.
“The NJV (Dutch Journalist Union) has succeeded in sealing the data. This means that without court order it is impossible for police to get an access to the material. However, it is not clear yet what court will decide,” said Stefan Beck to DONi News Agency on Monday.
All of the material collected by Michel Spekkers and Stefan Beck about the MH17 crash in Donbass, and other materials, for example street interviews, has been confiscated by the police on their arrival to the Netherlands, Beck said.
“I hope the discussion will turn to what should be addressed: that the Dutch investigation into the MH17 has neglected to extract material, even though it is easily accessible. And that the Public Prosecuting Service gives false arguments concerning the reason why the investigation cannot continue in the area: the area where the MH17 crashed is not as dangerous as the PPS wants outsiders to believe,” Beck stressed to the DONi News Agency.
The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) claims that it could not collect this material because the region where the plane has crashed is too dangerous. “However, during our stay in the area we noticed that this was not the case,” Beck said.
“Another claim of the OM is that it is impossible to collect all the materials of the wreckage because it has been spread over such a large area. It should therefore be impossible to find it all. This is a valid claim, however the OM also neglects to collect material which is collected in warehouses,” he continued.
“The incorrect reasoning of the OM and the confiscation of the material (including image material), gives rise to doubt about the auditability and reliability of the investigation,” Beck said.
MH17 DOCUMENTARY MATERIAL “ILLEGAL”?
Law enforcement agencies of the Netherlands failed to explain the reason for confiscation of journalistic materials on the Malaysian Boeing MH17 tragedy in Donbass, told to Rossiiskaya Gazeta one of the reporters detained by police at the airport of Amsterdam, Michel Spekkers, who had just returned from Donbass.
“The police told to media that my actions – I collected and took with me objects from the MH17 crash site – were illegal. But they haven’t explained why it was illegal,” Michel Spekkers told RG. “I was only told: it is illegal, it is forbidden. But when I asked them to specify the law article in which it had been stated, they didn’t answer. And nothing was told about it so far,” he said.
The Dutch journalist told that he was going to protect his rights and to insist on the return of the materials collected in Donbass. “We intend to protect our rights,” noted Spekkers. “Last night we managed to achieve with the Dutch journalist union’s assistance a judicial ban on access to the information we had collected. It means that the police has no right either to touch the materials, or to examine them without a special permission. But, nevertheless, before this, they had several hours of open access to the collected materials. Also we can only guess what was going on during those several hours,” Spekkers said to RG.
DONi NEWS DIRECTOR COMMENTS – ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA (RG)
The director of the Donbass International News Agency DONi, Janus Putkonen, who had been accompanying the Dutch journalists during their trip to Donbass, told the RG reporter what a unique material on circumstances of the Malaysian passenger plane’s crash they had collected near Donetsk:
“Journalists Stefan Beck and Michel Spekkers spent nearly a week in Donbass. They obtained in advance all the necessary accreditations for work on the territory of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republic as journalists in accordance with the established procedure,” said Putkonen to Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Monday.
“Beck and Spekkers are reporters, famous in Europe. They have launched an impressive number of reports and analytical programs. I will note that both Dutches have a command of the Russian language. In Donbass they needed almost no help and were working independently: came into contacts with the right people necessary to them, were moving around the region freely and communicating with their interlocutors without a translator,” Putkonen said.
During the trip to the DPR and LPR the Dutches were accompanied by a British journalist Graham Phillips they were well-acquainted with and considered to be a trustworthy person.
“Nobody controlled Beck and Spekkers in Donbass, and no exact reports were required. I know that from the very beginning of the trip they set the task to visit the site of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft’s crash, to talk to eyewitnesses of the accident, and to those who had been working at the place of the tragedy. Their interest is quite clear: the air crash which occurred on July 17, 2014 near Donetsk, the majority of passengers onboard being residents of the Netherlands, continues disturbing the Dutch society. Investigation of the causes of the tragedy is still not completed and people know little about it,” said the director of DONi Donbass News Agency.
“Beck and Spekkers wanted to give new details to the public and set off to Donbass particularly for this purpose. They had a meeting with all the people they had planned to talk to. At that they were mostly talking not to officials, but to the eyewitnesses and rescuers who had been working on the airliner’s crash site, i.e. to those who had touched the plane’s fragments with their own hands and saw the perished passengers’ bodies with their own eyes”, Putkonen continued.
“I was also interviewed by the Dutches on the airliner’s crash subject. I told them about the information war waged by the West, as well as unscrupulous and dishonourable coverage in the European media of circumstances of the tragedy which had happened to the Malaysian aircraft near Donetsk. Journalists were raising sensitive issues. They were interested in Donbass residents’ opinion on the investigation of the causes of the aircrash. They have collected an impressive amount of photo and video records, as well as analytical data and interviews. I don’t know for sure which information those materials contained.
We don’t control the work of journalists. We only give them help and assist in performance of their professional duties,” noted Putkonen.
“Before flying back home The Dutches looked quite satisfied with the work done during the trip and left Donbass safely with all their luggage,” Putkonen continued. “Everyone was shocked in Donetsk by the news that the Netherlands’ authorities had detained Beck and Spekkers and confiscated all their videos, and other journalistic materials.”
Dutch Journalists Ordered to Shut their Mouths on MH17 Disaster
The police of the Netherlands detained two Dutch journalists Stephen Beck and Michel Spekkers in Amsterdam, upon their return from the Donbas. The police confiscated all the materials that the journalists collected in the south-east of Ukraine.
The journalists visited the Donbass to examine the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing that crashed over the region on July 17, 2014. According to the journalists, they found fragments of the liner on the crash site, even though all the fragments of the airplane were supposed to be collected long ago. The police of the Netherlands confiscated all the fragments of the aircraft that the journalists had with them, along with all the video materials from the Donbas, including interviews with eyewitnesses of the disaster.
Stefan Beck and Michel Spekkers spent eight days in the Donbas. They came to the southeast of Ukraine to conduct a series of interviews with local residents, who showed them the place, where Flight MH17 of Malaysia Airlines crashed. The journalists were amazed to find out that many pieces of the aircraft were still on the crash site.
“There are still a lot of materials to collect there, and it is not as dangerous there as representatives of the Dutch Public Prosecutor say. Apparently, we are dealing with serious negligence,” the journalists said.
Even though Beck and Spekkers had informed the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs of their visit, they were arrested at Schiphol airport upon their arrival home, one of the journalists wrote on Facebook. “Officials with the Dutch Public Prosecutor Office claimed that they could not collect the material because the region where the plane crash occurred was too dangerous. However, during our stay in the region, we could see that it was not the case,” the Dutch journalist wrote.
He also questioned the credibility of arguments of Dutch prosecutors: “The facts of incorrect argumentation from prosecutors and confiscation of materials (including images) gives every reason to cast doubt on the transparency and reliability of the ongoing investigation.”
The Dutch journalists fear that the confiscated materials could be delivered to employees of the Security Bureau of Ukraine who may prosecute those who agreed to speak to the reporters. Stefan Beck said that the police detained and searched them prior to customs clearance. He thereby refuted the statement from the prosecutor’s office that assumed that the journalists could conceal the collected materials.
Russian specialists handed over the data related to the crash of the Malaysian Boeing to the Dutch authorities in October 2016.
The preliminary report from Joint Investigation Team (JIT) claimed that the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by Buk missile system. The Buk complex, the report said, arrived from Russia and then returned back.
Representatives of the the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the results of the investigation into the crash of the Malaysian Boeing were biased, because the report was based on the information received from the Ukrainian side only.
Almaz-Antey, the maker of the Buk missile system, conducted a series of experiments that proved that the Boeing was shot down from a territory controlled by the Ukrainian army.
The Boeing 777-200ER of Malaysian Airlines, Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region. The crash killed 283 passengers and 15 crew members – citizens of ten countries.
Update by Kennedy Applebaum, January 9, 2017
Apparently, from further reports, it seems Beck and Spekkers had taken actual debris from the site of the crash, which according to some, is illegal. It seems fair to assume the journalists did not know this.
Their detention raises several questions. Why was the site not marked with sufficient warnings? Why is debris still lying there two and half years later, if taking it is illegal? Whose law has been violated? What are the penalties? Have other Dutch journalists sympathetic to the Dutch Safety Board ever taken crash debris? And has this law been enforced in the past?
Graham Phillips cites at least one case where the law was not enforced: “I would also add that fellow Dutch journalist Jeroen Akkermans took multiple items from the crash site in 2014, and was applauded for doing so in his own country.”
Graham, unfortunately, feels compelled to distance himself from the event, as is clear from his article, Dutch Journalist Michel Spekkers, and MH17 Confiscation in Netherlands, my Statement
Update January 10, 2017:
For a description of events written by the two Dutch journalists themselves, see On the Confiscation of our Material at their website Russia’s Invisible Border: