Questions by Dutch parliament for government after Bellingcat report on Russian disinformation campagne assisted by blogger Van der Werff

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Two members of Dutch parliament sent in questions to be answerd by Dutch government after Bellingcat reported a Dutch blogger took part in a Russian disinformation campagne on MH17 targeted at Dutch audience.  Blogger  Max van der Werff collaborated with a former Kremlin paid RT journalist on producing several videos and attending pressconferences in which a lot of disinformation was spread.  Bellingcat discovered Yerlashova, who accompanied Van der Werff on trips to Eastern Ukraine, had intense contact with an officer of Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU.

Lawmakers Koopmans and Van Wijngaarden of government party VVD requested answers to the questions below.

The text below was translated by Google Translate

Questions from the members Koopmans and Van Wijngaarden (both VVD) to the Ministers of Justice and Security and of Foreign Affairs about the article “The GRU’s MH17 Disinformation Operations Part 1: The Bonanza Media Project”.

1. Are you familiar with the article “The GRU’s MH17 Disinformation Operations Part 1: The Bonanza Media Project”? 1)

2. Do you agree that it is undesirable that foreign intelligence services can set up campaigns for disinformation in cooperation with the Dutch?

3. What legal options are currently available to take action against this, and what gaps are there in legislation?

4. Would criminalizing espionage – in which the performance of work for a foreign intelligence agency may include identifying or recruiting new sources or agents, intimidation or disseminating disinformation – more legal options for action?

5. Would mandatory registration for individuals, companies, educational institutions and other organizations that promote the interests of other countries openly or behind the scenes, help to uncover disinformation campaigns involving foreign intelligence services and Dutch people working together, and offer a legal occur when such activities take place covertly?

6. What experiences have countries with a mandatory registration of foreign influence agents, such as the United States and Australia, have with this?

7. Are you willing to contact these countries to see what the Netherlands can learn from their experiences?

 

1) Bellingcat, 12 november 2020, “The GRU’s MH17 Disinformation Operations Part 1: The Bonanza Media Project”, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2020/11/12/the-grus-mh17-disinformation-operations-part-1-the-bonanza-media-project/

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1 Comment on Questions by Dutch parliament for government after Bellingcat report on Russian disinformation campagne assisted by blogger Van der Werff

  1. In the mean time these questions have been answered by Minister Grapperhaus: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/kamerstukken/2020/12/16/antwoorden-kamervragen-over-het-artikel-the-grus-mh17-disinformation-operations-part-1-the-bonanza-media-project (December 16th, 2020). Personally I would have an additional question, which is if the government can act against the slander and defamation for the parties in the MH17 court case, by types like Helmer and the co-authors of his book. Well, maybe the answer is that it it is the best policy to ignore them, to avoid promotion of their crap.

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