Exclusive: Australia’s “60 Minutes” claimed to do an investigative report proving the anti-aircraft battery that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last July fled into Russia and pinning the atrocity on Russian President Putin. But the news show did a meaningless “stand-upper,” not an investigation, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
In TV journalism, there’s a difference between doing a “stand-upper” and doing an investigative report, although apparently Australia’s “60 Minutes” doesn’t understand the distinction. A “stand-upper” is the TV practice of rushing a correspondent to a scene to read some prepared script or state some preordained conclusion. An investigation calls for checking out facts and testing out assumptions.
That investigative component is especially important if you’re preparing to accuse someone of a heinous crime, say, mass murder, even if the accused is a demonized figure like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such charges should not be cast about casually. Indeed, it is the job of journalists to show skepticism in the face of these sorts of accusations. In the case of Russia, there’s the other possible complication that biased journalism and over-the-top propaganda could contribute to a nuclear showdown.
We are still living with the catastrophe of the mainstream media going with the flow of false claims about Saddam Hussein and Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Now many of the same media outlets are parroting similar propaganda aimed at Russia without demonstrating independence and asking tough questions although the consequences now could be even more catastrophic.
That is the context of my criticism of Australia’s “60 Minutes” handling of the key video evidence supposedly implicating Russia and Putin in the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. It is apparent from the show’s original, much-hyped presentation and a three-minute-plus follow-up that the show and its correspondent Michael Usher failed to check out the facts surrounding an amateur video allegedly showing a BUK anti-aircraft missile battery missing one missile after the MH-17 shoot-down.
In the days following that tragedy, killing 298 people, Ukrainian government officials promoted the video on social media as supposedly showing the BUK battery making its getaway past a billboard in Krasnodon, a town southeast of Luhansk, allegedly en route toward Russia. That claim primarily came from Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, considered one of the regime’s most right-wing figures who rose to power after a U.S.-back coup in February 2014.
From a journalistic standpoint, Avakov and the other Kiev authorities should have been considered biased observers. Indeed, they were among the possible suspects for the shoot-down. Moreover, the Russian government placed the video’s billboard in the town of Krasnoarmiis’k, northwest of Donetsk and then under Ukrainian government control. To support that claim, the Russians cited a local address on the billboard.
Further, the German intelligence agency, the BND, has challenged some of the images provided by the Ukrainian government as “manipulated,” according to a report in Der Spiegel, which added that the BND had concluded that the eastern Ukrainian rebels had obtained the BUK missile battery not from Russia but by capturing it from Ukrainian government stockpiles. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Germans Clear Russia in MH-17 Case.”]
While it’s not clear which images the BND had debunked, this reference to the Kiev regime’s alleged manipulation of photos should have added another layer of doubt for the sleuths from Australia’s “60 Minutes.”
Yet, based on what “60 Minutes” has revealed about its recent “investigation,” Usher displayed little skepticism. He consulted with British blogger Eliot Higgins to get a traffic-camera shot and coordinates of an intersection in the Luhansk area showing several billboards, which Higgins suspected was the location of the “getaway” video.
So, by traveling to Luhansk, Usher and his crew could have performed an important function by matching up the shot from the video with the scene of the intersection, either confirming or dismissing the hypothesis.
In the initial program, you see the “60 Minutes” team doing exactly that on some videos of lesser significance by superimposing some of its own shots over amateur footage. However, when it came to the key piece of evidence the “getaway” video the program deviated from that pattern. Instead of matching anything up, Usher just did a “stand-upper” in front of one of the billboards.
Usher boldly accused the Russians of lying about the location of the billboard and asserted that he and his team had found the real location. Usher gestured to the billboards on the intersection in rebel-controlled Luhansk. He then accused Putin of responsibility for the 298 deaths.
But none of Usher’s images matched up with the “getaway” video. The scene in the video was clearly different from the scene shown by Usher. After several people sent me the segment on Australia’s “60 Minutes,” I watched it and wrote an article noting the obvious problems in the scene as presented.
My point was not to say where the video was shot. As far as I know, it might even have been shot in Luhansk. My point was that Usher and his team had failed to do their investigative duty to verify the location as precisely as possible. Under principles of English-based law — and of Western journalism — there is a presumption of innocence until sufficiently corroborated evidence is presented. The burden of proof rests on the prosecutors or, in this case, the journalists. It’s not enough to guess at these things.
But Usher and his team treated their job like they were just doing a “stand-upper” putting Usher in front of some billboards in Luhansk to deliver his conclusions (or those of Higgins) not as an investigative assignment, which would have skeptically examined the assumptions behind citing that location as the scene in the video.
Usher offered no details about how he and his team had reached their conclusion on where the video was shot beyond referencing their meetings with blogger Higgins, who operates out of a house in Leicester, England.
Though there was no dispute that the images of the “getaway” video and Usher’s “stand-upper” didn’t match, an irate “60 Minutes” producer released a statement denouncing me and defending the show. The statement did, however, acknowledge that the team had not tried to replicate the scene in the “getaway” video, saying:
“We opted to do our piece to camera as a wide shot showing the whole road system so the audience could get the layout and see which way the Buk was heading. The background in our piece to camera looks different to the original Buk video simply because it was shot from a different angle. The original video was obviously shot from one of the apartments behind, through the trees, which in in summer were in full leaf.”
Those claims, however, were more excuses than real arguments. The wide shot did nothing to help Australian viewers get a meaningful sense of the “layout” in Luhansk. There was also no map or other graphic that could have shown where the apartments were and how that would have explained the dramatic discrepancies between the “getaway” video and the “wide shot.”
After the public statement, there were other rumblings that I would be further put down in a follow-up that “60 Minutes” was preparing. I thought the update might present out-takes of the crew seeking access to the apartments or at least lining up a shot from that angle as best they could you know, investigative stuff.
Instead, when the update aired, it consisted of more insults references to “Kremlin stooges” and “Russian puppets” and a reprise of earlier parts of the program that I had not disputed. When the update finally got to the key “getaway” scene, Usher went into full bluster mode but again failed to present any serious evidence that his crew had matched up anything from the original video to what was found in Luhansk.
First, Usher pulled a sleight of hand by showing a traffic-camera shot of the intersection apparently supplied by Higgins and then matching up those landmarks to show that the crew had found the same intersection. But that is irrelevant to the question of whether the “getaway” video was taken in that intersection. In other words, Usher was trying to fool his audience by mixing together two different issues.
Sure, Usher and his team had found the intersection picked out by Higgins as the possible scene, but so what? The challenge was to match up landmarks from the “getaway” video to that intersection. On that point, Usher cited only one item, a non-descript utility pole that Usher claimed looked like a utility pole in the “getaway” video.
However, the problems with that claim were multiple. First, utility poles tend to look alike and these two appear to have some differences though it’s hard to tell from the grainy “getaway” video. But what’s not hard to tell is that the surroundings are almost entirely different. The pole in the “getaway” video has a great deal of vegetation to its right while Usher’s pole doesn’t.
And then there’s the case of the missing house. The one notable landmark in that section of the “getaway” video is a house to the pole’s left. That house does not appear in Usher’s video, although “60 Minutes” partially obscured the spot where the house should be by inserting an inset, thus adding to a viewer’s confusion.
Yet, one has to think that if Usher’s crew had found the house or for that matter, anything besides a utility pole that looked like something from the video they would have highlighted it.
Some of the show’s defenders are now saying that the pole was shot from a different angle, too, so it’s not fair for me to say it doesn’t line up. But, again, that’s not the point. It’s “60 Minutes” that is making an accusation of mass murder, so it has the responsibility to present meaningful evidence to support that charge. It can’t start whining because someone notes that its evidence is faulty or non-existent.
So, here’s the problem: As angry as “60 Minutes” is with me for noting the flaws in its report, it was Usher’s job to check out whether the “getaway” video matched with the intersection identified by Higgins as the possible scene in Luhansk. Based on what was shown in the first show and then in the update, Usher’s team failed miserably.
That, however, doesn’t mean that the video wasn’t shot someplace nearby or somewhere completely different. It just means that Usher and his producers performed irresponsibly.
I recall once when I was a young Associated Press reporter in Providence, Rhode Island, I did a routine police story by calling authorities in a town elsewhere in the state. My dispatch then was sent out to AP member newspapers and broadcast outlets in Rhode Island. That night, when I got home, I turned on the 11 o’clock news and noticed a local TV correspondent reporting from the town on the same story.
I paid close attention in case he had found something that I had missed. But the correspondent simply read the AP dispatch, exactly as I had written it. He had done a “stand-upper,” using the town as simply a visual backdrop. There was nothing wrong with that; he had every right to read the AP copy.
The difference in the case of Usher and “60 Minutes” is that they were presenting their work as an original investigation, not simply a “stand-upper” of a report done by an English blogger. As an investigative report, they should have done all they could to check out and, either, verify or disprove the blogger’s findings.
Instead, on the most important point in dispute one that could push the world closer to a nuclear confrontation and conceivably annihilation Usher and his show traveled halfway around the world to do a “stand-upper.”
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
I just came across an analysis of some of Bellingcat claims by Charles Wood, an experienced forensic expert in digital images and metadata. He has some interesting things to say about the qualifications of the Bellingcat ‘experts’.
The Russians have released the name of the key witness too. http://rt.com/news/264545-mh17-investigators-key-witness/
It may be that the plane was first shot by a jet fighter and then brought down by a BUK as was suggested long ago.
Bellingcat really seem to have blundered this time. But with their claims about their own expertise one can only assume they are deliberately spreading lies.
Phrase â€œHighly Probableâ€
The Bellingcat report uses the phrase â€œhighly probableâ€ when attributing malevolence to unnamed Russian authorities. Itâ€™s extremely clear that there is no high probability at all. There is simply wishful thinking by the anonymous Bellingcat author. There is no hard evidence of any sort to show deliberate tampering of images no matter how much Bellingcat wants there to be.
There is no evidence that any of the â€˜investigatorsâ€™ or â€˜teamâ€™ listed in the report have any qualifications to do this type of analysis.
For certain Mr Higgins has no qualifications or training in any relevant discipline. A temporary job in haberdashery does not make the grade. The other names are a puzzle. The â€˜forensicâ€™ investigator appears linked to a company specialising in computer gaming and creating false identities.
The â€˜teamâ€™ has not provided any qualifications or experience for any of its members which is a pretty good indication they are simply a bunch of people off the internet pushing â€“ badly â€“ some agenda
In conclusion I reiterate the main issues
â€“ Bellingcat â€˜investigatorsâ€™ are unqualified
â€“ Their use of Error Level Analysis is incompetent
â€“ Their reliance on dubious imagery dating is incompetent
â€“ They have no idea about publication processes for digital documents
â€“ They make totally unjustified guesses at â€˜probabilitiesâ€™ and present them as fact
â€“ Their conclusions are unsound.
Bellingcat is fundamentally incompetent at best and quite possibly malevolent at worst.
Der Spiegel is criticising Bellingcats analysis of the Russian images that have appeared in the press.
“Never was the fabric of war so black; that I admit. But never was the black fabric of war so threadbare. At a thousand points the light is shining through.”
– H.G. Wells, Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1917)
Robert Parry and his colleagues founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 as the first investigative news magazine on the Internet.
Over the past two decades, the decline of journalism in mainstream media has metastisized on the Internet.
Waves of well-funded disinformation and Propaganda 3.0 are ever more rapidly recycled via MSM, online media outlets and social media platforms.
As Robert Parry has observed, “the fight for honest information about the past and the present is a battle for the future.”
Consortium News readers can help by sharing Consortium News stories, and by contributing to the Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ).
The quote from H.G. Wells illustrates the very real challenge faced by honest journalists today.
In 1914, Wells had appended his name to the “Authors’ Declaration” http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/unconventionalsoldiers/propaganda-the-authors-declaration/
Fifty-three of Britain’s leading novelists, poets, dramatists and scholars â€” including Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy and Wells â€” signed a manifesto declaring that the German invasion of Belgium had been a brutal crime, and that Britain â€œcould not without dishonour have refused to take part in the present war.â€
Wells’ enthusiasm for the interminable conflict had waned such that by 1916, he penned the satiric phrase, “At a thousand points the light is shining through” in his novel Mr. Britling Sees It Through.
Seven decades later, oblivious to the satire of Wells’ phrase, speechwriters Peggy Noonan and Craig R. Smith twisted its meaning on behalf of Ronald Reagan’s Vice President and the former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency, George H. W. Bush.
In his speech accepting the presidential nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention, Bush affirmed that he would “keep America moving forward, always forwardâ€”for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light.”
Bush repeated the phrase in his inaugural address on January 20, 1989. The reality of Bush’s single term in the White House inspired its own genre of satire.
The rampant propaganda of the mainstream media has inspired an even darker satire of journalism: a burgeoning online Propaganda 3.0 empire, complete with fake “citizen journalists” and teams of “independent investigators” who propagate government and corporate disinformation, and breathlessly promote US and NATO-led wars.
This is what Consortium News and other organizations of honest independent journalists are up against.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Correction — above should read:
The rampant propaganda of the mainstream media has inspired an even darker parody of honest journalism: a burgeoning online Propaganda 3.0 empire…
We’ve seen several YouTube videos which make strong cases to support the theory that Barack Obama could be a secret space lizard, and yet he refuses (i.e. “has failed”) to disprove this allegation. Can you even begin to imagine? The Russian government won’t formally respond to a blog — How preposterous!
The reality, friends, is that nobody knows what the heck happened to MH17. This could be easily remedied if the US released the satellite images it claims to have. But, just like with Syria, it appears that the US feels quite comfortable making serious accusations without providing any real evidence. Because who needs evidence when you have bloggers?
“The question is whether a great army of investigative citizen journalists will follow his lead”
The answer, we hope, is no.
Governments should be required to present evidence when they accuse other nations of blowing up airplanes or gassing their population. How is it even remotely acceptable that people are saying, “Well, the US won’t share any information, but thank goodness we have amateurs combing through Russian Facebook accounts.”
And yet, somehow this is a trendy way to think, in 2015.
We’re in loads of trouble.
Profile of MH17 “Expert”: Eliot Higgins Cracked Nazi Enigma Machine Using Only YouTube and Google Earth
By Riley Waggaman
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b68_1433119999#XYbyL3fzM4JDQWzX.99
i have been blocked from commenting on Bellingact after pointing out the Soros/CIA connections.
Same here. Although I demanded to bring Higgins to international court for crimes against humanity. Faking of chemical attack by Assad forces being the primary evidence
Here is the interview of the Ukrainian soldier that served on the alleged BUK. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d2rRCSNp33IThis
He explains the meaning of numbers 312 and explains why this BUK had to be placed on trouler
Journalism .co .uk described as a news and recruitment site aimed at journalists, focuses on the online publishing industry.
It holds an annual one-day digital journalism conference called “news:rewired”
This year’s conference, set to take place on July 16 in London, features Eliot Higgins teaching a workshop on “Open source investigative tools.”
According to the workshop description:
“founder of open source investigative site Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Syrian arms blog, has carved a new niche in journalism using open source tools and techniques to find stories and uncover the truth.
“His workshop will help attendees do the same, in verifying images using a combination of satellite map and open source imagery, tools and techniques used for in-depth investigations of open source information and social media.”
Propaganda 3.0 — and you can too
Eliot Higgins’ latest exercise in Propaganda 3.0 fun with Google Earth is a new claim that Bellingcat’s “forensic analysis” of Russian Ministry of Defense satellite photos “clearly and undoubtedly demonstrates that the dates of the satellite photos have been falsified, and that the photographs were digitally modified using Adobe Photoshop CS5 software.”
Like elementary school students who grade their own papers, Higgins and Bellingcat always give themselves an “A+”.
As one commenter noted “This analysis isnâ€™t intended to â€œstand up in courtâ€ and has never been presented as such. Why must it? This is all about influencing public opinion as you well know.”
The basic operation of Pentagon and Western intelligence “hybrid war” has been:
1) accuse Russia of x
2) release absolutely no concrete information to validate accusation (since officially released purported “evidence” failed so miserably under scrutiny)
3) cast doubt on all information presented by Russia while constantly accusing them of “lying”
4) employ swarming method (“a thousand points of light”) to release the same failed “evidence” as “shared content” that is “publicly available” from Internet “users”
5) use fake “fact checkers” like Higgins and Bellingcat to “verify” it
Bellingcat “investigation” reports can then be cited by NGOs and State “policymakers” to institute more aggressive anti-Russian sanctions and military actions.
It may not be worth the effort, but there is an Australian show that attempts to scrutinise the media.
If you put in a brief submission on these claims by 60 minutes it would be interesting if they decide to run it.
No one, including the Russians, disputes the fact that Russian arms and soldiers, including representatives of special forces and military intelligence, are supporting forces in Donbas and Luhansk.
There is equally no question that American and European arms and soldiers, including special forces and military intelligence, as well as members of international terrorist groups, are directly supporting the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In 2014, after the Washington-instigated coup d’etat in Ukraine, a compliant regime in Kyiv initiated its brutal Anti-Terror Operation against the people of the Donbas region.
To support Kyiv’s offensive military operations, the Pentagon and Western intelligence have used MSM and social media to advance numerous claims:
1) Western intelligence agencies have claimed that Russian troops movements along the Ukrainian border are preparation for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
2) Western intelligence agencies have claimed that Russian training camps along the Ukrainian border served as the staging ground for Russian military equipment transported into Ukraine, soon to join the separatist arsenal, and for Russian soldiers mobilized across Russia to cross into Ukraine.
3) Western intelligence agencies have claimed that Russian soldiers concealed the identifying features of military vehicles, removed insignia from uniforms, and traveled across the border to join separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.
4) Western intelligence agencies have claimed that Russian manufactured arms and munitions not used by the Ukrainian military appeared in the hands of separatists, including shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS), various types of rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, tanks, and mobile surface-to-air missile launchers.
5) Western intelligence agencies have claimed that during key counter-offensives by the Donbas People’s Militia and the Luhansk People’s Militia, covert Russian forces in Ukraine have received cover from Russian territory. Satellite data, crater analysis, and open source materials confirms that many attacks originated in Russia, not in the separatist controlled areas of Ukraine.
Every one of these Western intelligence agency allegations has been evaluated and repeatedly shown to be false by professional journalists, independent researchers, and defense analysts.
Unable to succeed in their efforts to demonize Russia, frustrated by international recognition of the legitimate concerns of the people of eastern Ukraine, and discredited by the exposure of neo-Nazi forces in the Ukrainian government and military, the Pentagon and western intelligence sought to achieve a breakthrough.
A well-prepared Propaganda 3.0 social media disinformation campaign launched into high gear with the destruction of Malaysia Airlines MH-17, starting with information released by Arsen Avakov, the notorious right-wing Ukrainian Minister of Interior via his Facebook page.
The Pentagon and Western intelligence have intensified their disinformation campaign in 2015.
Using a Propaganda 3.0 swarming strategy, disseminating the very same fabrications via an online army of Internet “users” who “share content” that is “verified” by fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives.
The Pentagon has fighting a “Hybrid War” on the Russian Federation for at least two decades using numerous proxies, including Chechens, Georgians, and most recently, Ukrainians and Islamic State terror forces.
The four key themes of Propaganda 3.0 are:
1) Users Share What Really Happened — State Officials Lie
2) More User Contributions Equals Greater Evidence
3) Citizen Journalists Investigate, Assess, And Organize For You
4) Social Media Forensics And Geolocation Is Verification
5) You Can See For Yourself
Propaganda 3.0 applies the military tactic of “swarming” to overwhelm the “deception target” — people seeking information on the Internet.
Western intelligence agencies now disseminate disinformation by making it “publicly available” via large numbers of relatively small agents (“users”) and weapons (“shares”) in synchronized actions.
Twisting the whole concept of “open source” information, Propaganda 3.0 deception operatives like Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat, as well as human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch, permit Western intelligence agencies to hide in plain sight.
The fifth key theme of Propaganda 3.0 is the democratization of deception:
“You Can See For Yourself”
“There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes.”
The most obvious difference between the video and the putative location is the background of the video. It overlooks a gray area, probably a lake or harbor with an irregular dark band that is probably a harbor jetty or peninsula shoreline. The other background is lightly wooded residential area. Apparently the “searchers” hoped that viewers would think that the water area is grey sky (they match on cloudy days), and that the harbor jetty is an odd-shaped power line draped with something irregular. In the video still presented by the 60 minutes group, the harbor jetty has been deleted to make things match better.
Bellingcat have now changed their story yet again.
Here they claim the area was under Separatist control. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2014/11/08/origin-of-the-separatists-buk-a-bellingcat-investigation/
â€œHowever, investigations by Bellingcat have shown this statement from the Russian Ministry of Defence to be untrue, and it has been possible to find the exact location in the separatist-held area of Luhansk where this video was filmed. â€
Now they merely say no source points to it being under government control.
Buk missile would not be destroyed during the explosion, at least it’s engine. Why didn’t Dutch investigators calculate the ballistics, they know exact hit point, and look for that missile engine? That would be the best evidence for them. But I never heard them announcing that “we identified possible locations where rocket could fall and send our experts to search for it”. The could have requested Ukr criminals to pull away their forces from the region. Rebels were cooperating, in spite of MSMs trying to portray otherwise
On May 28, 2015, the Atlantic Council released a report that relied heavily on Higgins and Bellingcat “investigations”.
Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council and co-author of the Atlantic Council report, â€œHiding in Plain Sight: Putinâ€™s War in Ukraineâ€ emphasized the effort to tell a “story”:
“If the international community cannot distinguish between fact and fiction, or chooses not to do so in public, it’s unlikely to coalesce around an effective strategy both to support Ukraine and to deter Mr. Putin.
“This report is our effort to offer some clarity.
“We set out to tell the true story of Russia’s war in Ukraine”
Wilson specifically acknowledged Higgins for support “open source” support for the Atlantic Council “story”:
“We make this case using only open source all unclassified material.
“And none of it provided by government sources.
“And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geo location to back this up.”
A “tech savvie” presenter, brought up to “offer a word about the methodology”, introduced a video segment of Eliot Higgins and Michael Usher (36:00-36:55) from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation”.
The presenter praised this methodology for providing “undeniable proof” (35:25)
Later, another Higgins video segment (41:30-44:45), this time supplied by the UK Guardian, who collaborated with Higgins to provide disinformation about the war in Syria, was presented.
Wilson then summarized the reasons why the Pentagon and Western intelligence are doubling down on Higgins and Bellingcat.
“Social media forensics and geoanalysis.
“It’s a powerful tool. It’s a democratization of intelligence gathering.
“Information once available only to intelligence agencies is now literally hiding in plain sight for anyone to see.
“And this matters because it’s helped us overcome differences among intelligence assessments as we’ve seen around the NATO table.
“It’s overcome some of the healthy skepticism among our public about intelligence after spectacular intelligence failures in the past.
“You don’t need to believe any official.
“You don’t need to believe us.
“You need to actually take a look yourself.
“So it’s a tool that’s out there that we actually don’t control.
“It’s a new reality in which individuals and non-state actors can really play a critical role.”
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Council, a Who’s Who of Pentagon and Western intelligence, is busy peddling Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat “assessments” as flat facts:
Eliot Higgins has now been independently outed as a serious disinformation source by at least three respected journalists:
Higgins also ghost-wrote much of the false claims by HRW over Syrian missile capabilities in the Ghouta gas attacks – which had a high potential to influence the US to attack Syria. Higgins had long before been supporting the insurgency and had close links with the incredibly shadowy “Syrian Support Group” who many say was a CIA front company.
Higgins also had contact with Matthew Van Dyke and discussed insurgent possession of Sarin well before the August 21 2013 attack. This was something he kept secret till he was outed when van Dyke’s internet accounts were hacked and records of his conversations with Higgins published
For a more accurate view on the Luhansk video, check this comment on a biased & incomplete Bellingcat story: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/29/whos-lying-an-in-depth-analysis-of-the-luhansk-buk-video/comment-page-2/#comment-17379
The comment contains several facts (and sources) thus far not well known and ignored by Higgins & his team.
That link includes some very interesting news that I hadn’t seen before from soon after the MH17 crash, just when the news was breaking. Two websites reported comments by Ukrainian Intelligence SBU spokesman Andrei Lysenko that day about the appearance of Buk missile systems. Presumably these comments were made well before the MH17 shootdown.
Translation from translate.google.com:
17.07.2014 – 17:37
“The militants appeared zenith rocket complexes capable of shooting down aircraft at high altitudes, including the complex “Buk”. This was announced today during a briefing said the speaker of the National Security Council Andrei Lysenko, the correspondent of RBC-Ukraine.
“We have information that some were installed on the territory of Ukraine, who have the ability to shoot down planes at high altitudes. Among them was the installation of” Buck “- said Lysenko.”
“The National Security Council confirmed the information that went to Ukraine, Russian anti-aircraft missile systems “Buk”. This was announced at a press briefing Speaker of the information center of the NSDC Andrey Lysenko, the correspondent LigaBusinessInform.
“We have received information not only about this complex. We understand that this is a very serious weapon. And that depends on our intelligence, and our aircraft in terms of the destruction of these systems will be done,” – said Lysenko
Specifying whether it is about the complex “Buk” Lysenko said that the National Security Council has information that the territory of Ukraine went to the installation, which can shoot down aircraft at high altitude.
“Among them was the installation of” Buk “, – he added.
According to him, there is a corresponding video, confirming this fact, in particular, the passage of the column of military equipment in Lugansk.”
I can’t understand why we haven’t yet seen that “other” video of the Russian military equipment in Lugansk, including a Buk. Oh wait … couldn’t …? Nah, let’s just stick with the official Ukrainian version of events.
It would be interesting to know the time of that press briefing on 17 July.
There’s another even earlier article from a Ukrainian website, which says much the same thing (17 July 2014, 17:26: http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2014/07/17/7032182/ )
And one in English that refers to that article:
Ok, so here are some things we know that happened in July 2014:
– MH17 passenger jet fell out of the sky at 16:21 local time.
– Within an hour, SBU spokesman Andrei Lysenko gave a press briefing (I’m assuming that the time of the briefing was not earlier because three separate media reports about it were published between one and two hours after the crash).
He announced that equipment, which was capable of shooting down aircraft at high altitude, had entered Ukraine. This including a BUK, he said. He also said that there was video of the equipment going through Luhansk.
– This video, apparently of a Buk in Luhansk on or before 17 July 2014, has not yet been publiclly released or even mentioned in the western media, as far as I know. That seems strange, considering that Buk missiles have been in the headlines all over the world since that very date.
– In the early hours of the next morning, 18 July, Ukrainian authorities released a video of a BUK which, they say, was used to shoot down MH17. They said at that time that it was recorded earlier that same morning somewhere around Krasnodon, which is far from Luhansk.
– On the next day, 19 July, they said that the video was shot in Luhansk.
To summarise, a Ukrainian spokesman publicly reports a video of a Buk in Luhansk and the next morning another Ukrainian spokesman releases a video of a Buk that later turns out to be recorded in Luhansk.
The latter video has received widespread coverage because it was allegedly used to shoot down MH17. The first video was forgotten.
Robert Parry, in a series of articles on the Australian “60 Minutes” television broadcast, “MH-17: Special Investigation”, has shown that the Australians did NO investigation, but merely performed a “stand-upper” to merely present the claims of Eliot Higgins.
The Australian “60 Minutes” broadcast began with Michael Usher’s unequivocal announcement, “I’ve just traveled deep into Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine to conduct our own investigation. We’ve painstakingly piecing together the proof that leads to the very spot from where the missile was fired, and tonight we can tell you who shot down MH-17.”
Robert Parry accurately assessed that the program was a “willful fraud”.
On May 29, 2015, Eliot Higgins published “On Whoâ€™s Lying? An In-depth Analysis of the Luhansk Buk Video” on the Bellingcat site.
Higgins claimed that “it is clear thorough analysis the “60 Minutes” Australia visited the correct location, and that Robert Parry is wrong in his assessment.”
However, whether or not the “60 Minutes” Australia visited the correct location was not the object of Parry’s assessment.
Parry accurately assessed that the Australian “60 Minutes” crew conducted no investigation of their own, but merely presented Higgins’ claims as “evidence”.
Mr Parry has soundly demonstrated that we are yet to see anything at all that even approaches the level of credible evidence, so there is no way anyone can come to any conclusion — even the crazy ones. We have a few pictures of wreckage that have not been verified in any credible way and a plethora of supposition from all sorts of biased and interested groups and individuals. This whole episode has all the fingerprints of an enforced conclusion, rather than even a weak investigation. MH17 instantly went straight from horrendous incident to full-on spin cycle in one giant leap.
There have been multiple non-investigations by the “The Bellingcat MH17 investigation team” — falsely portraying itself as “independent” — that continue running the spin cycle with ever increasing piles of non-evidence.
And then there is the case of the black box still in the hands of the British with its tapes still under tight wraps. This is quite different from that of the plane crash in the Alps where a transcript of those tapes was published worldwide within a very short time.
What is the effect of this constant stream of disinformation and dissembling when it is being effectively rebutted? Simple- one gradually becomes programmed to disbelieve and treat as noise what is emanating from the Brits and Aussies (Pilger and Assange excepted)- and that is why the West is losing their propaganda war elsewhere in the world.
I agree. There are real signs that some euro countries are starting to back away from supporting this American aggression towards Russia. The USA will take any opportunity to bolster support from their allies. They use propaganda to do this. Australia is a very important ally and there were ( conveniently) 38 Australians on MH 17.
If you were to prove that all is not what the MSM would have us believe in relation to MH 17 then you would put a big dent in that support for the USA’s aggression towards Russia.
It’s been a long time since we have heard anything about MH 17, the crash in the alps and subsequent quick information relay to us about what happened ,has got people here asking why we still haven’t heard what the black boxes and air traffic control transcripts have to say in relation to mh17.
That is a massive,massive elephant in the room…hence this 60 mins red herring. Throw the people a bone…or a red herring!
A journalist has posted on bellingcat. Interesting.
i wonder if he’s bothered to visit Luhansk,
3. Date. There is new, circumstantial evidence that this video was not shot on July 18, but earlier. I cannot say much about, because we will reveal it in our tv-broadcast end of June.
no one DownUnder watches 60 minutes or takes it seriously. it is propaganda and infotainment but not news
Sorry I forgot to enter my name again,that was me in the anon post
Robert Parry said :
“In the case of Russia, thereâ€™s the other possible complication that biased journalism and over-the-top propaganda could contribute to a nuclear showdown.”
Could you elaborate on that ?
Why would any words ushered in social media contribute to “a nuclear showdown” in the case of Russia ?
The stakes in a barfight between the US and Russia would presumably be high. Slanted reporting tends to rile emotions in the viewing audience. 60 Minutes has a large viewership. Ergo…
Where did you get the idea that Parry wasn’t talking about 60 Minutes?
In order to go to war ,a general war, a government will always seek to have public support for that war.
Your people aren’t going to be motivated to fight unless they believe in the war.
In the case of Australia, every MSM service has been actively and deliberately cultivating support for war via their anti Russian ant Putin propaganda. This is undeniably the case. Most people I speak to believe Putin to be a baby eating monster, that he murdered all those people on MH 17 , that he is trying to re establish the Soviet Union and is preparing to invade Europe!
The fact that not one single shred of real evidence exists that can substantiate these claims ,means nothing.
If the MSM says it is so, the majority of people will believe it and they do! It is bloody terrifying!
I am no lawyer, but I have pointed out to the ABC several times now that a case could be made against them for abusing their position by cultivating hatred towards a Nation and an individual ( Russia and Putin )
This is indisputable given the current public opinion of both Russia and Putin. That opinion has been formed as a result of the media narrative and that narrative is absolutely one sided. There are a great many highly credible, highly qualified experts who disagree totally with the narrative and they have never been allowed to speak through the MSM.
By doing this the ABC is in breach of their charter that demands that they uphold the highest degree of journalistic integrity. They won’t allow any credible nay sayer to speak, so they are in breach of that charter…cut and dried.
As for cultivating hatred against a nation and an individual, it is almost certainly a breach of the international human rights convention.
Bellingcat and Higginsâ€™ names should be known to everyone, but not because their analysis is worthwhile. Rather, they need to become household names so that those who understand how western propaganda and soft power actually works, will be on the lookout for more of their disinformation.
There Goes the Guardian, Lying About Ukraineâ€¦Again!
by Eric Draitser
Maybe these guys were inspired by the Sandy hoax orchestrators. Or 911 , Boston bombing and that old worn out JFK hoax .
C’mon,Sandy Hook with the others?
Look,the lack of smoke trail and the claim that Putin would order such an atrocity against Europeans(anyone really)is ridiculous,and the total lack of American documentation where we allegedly can read license plates from space leaves this story in fairy tale land.
But never underestimate the witches brew from the Ziomonsters(MSM),they will do anything to throw the wool over our eyes.
Robert, you are really onto something.
Higgins and Bellingcat shoot down their own claim of “undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th”
https://www. bellingcat .com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/19/robert-parry-falsely-accuses-60-minutes-australia-of-using-mh17-fake-evidence/comment [archived]
barry – May 28th, 2015
i dont know how accurate http://www.liveuamap.com are eliot but according to that site the area in western luhansk was under control of kiev from 12th july â€”â€”to 31st july so how if it is accurate how can a rebel buk drive through kiev controlled area
bellingcatadmin – May 28th, 2015
We contacted LiveUAMap, they said it was a rough estimate, and didnâ€™t have anything to indicate that specific location was under government control.
Will Toynbee – May 28th, 2015
@ Bellingcatadmin. Well then if you donâ€™t know who was controlling that areaâ€¦why is Bellingcat claiming it was under separatist control???
ha ha, exactly. Live UA Map is 100% accurate until it becomes inconvenient/
What an absolute joke.
I have to admit, I haven’t watched it. I stopped watching any Australian commercial free to air channels some years ago. It’s all too embarrassing to watch. I don’t even know why anybody would consider their presenters to be journalists. They are paid performers reading their scripts. Breakfast shows remind of monkey enclosures in the Zoo: brainless chatter, screams, giggling – all simultaneously by up to 5 people. Opinions became synonymous with analysis, facts are ignored, “sob sister” stories (meant to show human tragedy or be inspiring) are replacing the real news. Artificial celebrities are created by each channel from their most obnoxious presenters and promoted shamelessly as gurus on everything – from geopolitics to interior design. But according to their ratings, they are loved by the public. Everyone gets what majority deserves.
The last word from my ‘panel of experts’ on the MH-17 shoot-down is:
(Quote) “You’re wasting your time on that BUK-missile business; it’s ‘BUKshot’. A wagon-load of red-herring. Was from the beginning. Stop and think about it: You’re sitting on your porch drinking ice-tea and listening to the music of war in surround-sound around you, rocket-grenades shooting at APC’s, bazookas foopping at tanks, GRADs air-conditioning buildings, man-pads potting at choppers and so on, and then a BUK-size missile, carrying a hardware-store warhead and able to climb thirty-forty kilometres straight up against gravity goes off. Doesn’t have to be next door, anywhere in a two kilometre circle around you, that’s about a mile and a quarter, you are going to sit up and say, ‘Whoopsie-daisy! What the hell was that?!’, and you’ll look, and if you have a two-and a hlaf kilometre ceiling, that’s about a mile and a half, you are going to be able to see that thing going up. And you’re going to remember it, and you’re going to say to them down in the tavern, ‘Did you see that big sucker go up?’
“So, if one of them went up, then there would be people who would remember, and if they can’t find people who remember, then there wasn’t one went up.” (end-quote)
Having settled that, they went on to what could shoot down an airliner flying at 33,000 feet, and pretty much have agreed that they could do it with a Piper Super-Cub with an air-to-air missile hung on underneath. A Super-Cub is a 150 horsepower tube-and-fabric tail-wheel airplane that has a 28,000 foot absolute ceiling (Im quoting their numbers) and could fly at 25,000 feet with the missile, with the missile’s targeting hardware in the front, passenger, seat. They would put a ‘roller-skate’ under the back of the missile for take-off, to not drag the lower fins off, and in the air at 25,000 feet would watch for their target through the ‘plexi skylight’ flying its course, then, when it showed overhead, they would shallow-dive for maximum speed, pull nose up to ‘as near as possible 45-degrees’, holding it there with full power, and hitting ‘Seek’ on the target-box as soon as they saw the target, and, holding it there, hit ‘Fire’ as soon as they had ‘a green’, and then keep holding until the missile was away. Their argument is whether the Super-Cub would ‘power-stall’ before the missile was far enough away that when the nose dropped it would not drop into the ‘blowtorch’, which would burn the fabric off the Super-Cub ‘in about ten seconds’ and make the experiment a suicide mission.
Being of a different generation, which today means of a different world, they don’t recognize that just talking such ideas could get them thrown in jail for being ‘terrorists’.
Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat are deception operatives serving as “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02).
The primary “deception target” is the populations of the United States, Europe, and the Western world.
A compendium of terminology used by the United States Department of Defense (DOD), the Dictionary sets forth standard US military and associated terminology to encompass the joint activity of the Armed Forces of the United States in both US joint and allied joint operations, as well as to encompass the Department of Defense (DOD) as a whole.
These military and associated terms, together with their definitions, constitute approved DOD terminology for general use by all components of the Department of Defense.
conduits â€” Within military deception, conduits are information or intelligence gateways to the deception target. Examples of conduits include: foreign intelligence and security services, intelligence collection platforms, open-source intelligence, news mediaâ€”foreign and domestic. (JP 3-13.4)
deception action â€” A collection of related deception events that form a major component of a deception operation. (JP 3-13.4)
deception event â€” A deception means executed at a specific time and location in support of a deception operation. (JP 3-13.4)
deception means â€” Methods, resources, and techniques that can be used to convey information to the deception target. There are three categories of deception means: a. physical means. Activities and resources used to convey or deny selected information to a foreign power. b. technical means. Military material resources and their associated operating techniques used to convey or deny selected information to a foreign power. c. administrative means. Resources, methods, and techniques to convey or deny oral, pictorial, documentary, or other physical evidence to a foreign power. (JP 3-13.4)
deception objective â€” The desired result of a deception operation expressed in terms of what the adversary is to do or not to do at the critical time and/or location. (JP 3-13.4)
deception story â€” A scenario that outlines the friendly actions that will be portrayed to cause the deception target to adopt the desired perception. (JP 3-13.4)
deception target â€” The adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective. (JP 3-13.4)
I wouldn’t overestimate the the impact of this silly Channel 9 fiction programme. Not one of the other channels or media even the Murdoch media have bothered covering its “revelations” Even they dont see it as having any merit.
The Brown Moses Higgins bloke is well unmasked now as an intel operative.
VIDEO: Statements of two experts Bernd Biederman & Peter Haisenko – ENGLISH SUBS
My letter sent to the 60 Minutes “news providers from Australia
A disgraceful example of ‘anything for a story’
Included below are just further examples of your unprofessionalism in deciding to run with the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s version of events on the MH 17. This is now eighth rebuttal of which I am aware, three from ConsortiumNews.
Such comments around the world have certainly damaged your reputation and made you something of an international laughing stock.
Consortiumnews is possible the most respected of all news sources. Australians should be thanking them for their zeal. In their analysis of this shocking event they have performed a function that was the responsibility of the government in Australia, which again has been found wanting. And how!
Consortium’s pursuit of the real truth is a service to all those who have now seen your version of events as motivated by other parties, for devious reasons, certainly not with Australia’s interests in mind. The US anti-Russian program, alive and well and obvious to everyone. How people like you think they can denigrate the intelligence of the people around the globe is incredible.
I will be forwarding this on to the ‘Australians for Justice’ list, most of whom have followed this ‘beat-up’ since day one. They have observed with some disgust the almost immediate naive reaction by Julie Bishop engaging in orchestrated, excessive tirades against the President of Russia, more than likely acting on the instructions of the USA. This was followed by the “shirt-fronting” embarrassment from the Prime Minister for which he will be judged in the time that he has left in this role. What a performance. What a feckless fool.
The Foreign Minister has received many examples of the real story SENT BY ME backed up by scientific evidence clearly pointing to the aircraft having been shot down by a fighter aircraft from Ukraine. She has chosen not to place these in the public domain. One can only surmise as to the reason for her inaction. However, to me and hundreds of others impacted by this event, including relatives of the deceased, the reasons have become quite clear.
It certainly reflects on the irresponsible nature of this government in the handling of this matter. Being associated with such a dismal example of a misleading news story has certainly gained your network no credit at all.
But I doubt if you care.
Excellent comment. Just shows the mendacity of Australian politicians ably supported by our subservient media. Makes you wonder which god these fuckers pray to given their public performances on this subject.
There is something very wrong in the world when this rubbish is passed off as serious journalism.
It is the correct junction but they won’t show it how it was “filmed” in the BUK video because it would show the video is a fake.
The truck appears to travel almost left to right in the video whereas the road recedes away from the camera so when the truck is overlaid onto an image you can see the the truck would be moving as if turning right at that intersection.
Higgins and 60 minutes used the traffic camera pic because it better matches the road direction but is actually taken from a very different part of the apartment block so the angle is totally different.
I made a Sketchup model with the location imported from Google Earth to ensure accuracy, you can see the inconsistency in direction here.
Apart from the road direction how did the camera manage to keep the billboard in shot whilst zoomed in on the power pole?
EDIT forgot to link Sketchup model.
“The truck appears to travel almost left to right in the video”
Not to me it doesn’t. The angle seems about right. If it were going almost left to right, you wouldn’t see so much of the rear of the Buk and of the truck cab.
You correctly point out that Higgins and 60 minutes used the traffic camera picture which has a very different angle to the scene of the original video. They would have been better to ignore that in favour of the Panaramio photo that is used in your link.
The reason they use the traffic cam pic probably has more to do with the fact that they made an error in the exact location on the road. Because they got the location wrong, they got the angle wrong as well.
Take a look at the marker on the satellite photo on the Bellingcat page that also shows the traffic camera photo. It’s not the part of the road that is seen in the Buk video and which you also show accurately in your presentation.
Look at this composite Brendan, it is my Sketchup model , a screen grab from Yandex street maps and the video. http://i.imgur.com/Pr9fzVY.jpg
Does that truck look like it’s going straight on? Note also the gradient that doesn’t seem to be very obvious in the video.
Also take a good look at the loading ramp closest to the camera, it appears twisted and not parallel with the other and here’s how it should look. http://i.imgur.com/YOYlOMi.gifv
Hey Alex, interesting take on the video.
So what exactly do you propose was faked in the video and how? I’m unclear of how you think it;s fake.
Hi Phil , Why I think it’s fake, I was a lorry driver for 18 years, 5 of them on low loaders I also do photo and video editing as a hobby and it just didn’t look right from either point of view.
From a visual point of view see my reply to Brendan and my original post re the billboard. Another point that doesn’t look right, in the BUK video if you look on the edge of the billboard there is a street light that is lit, that light is 138 metres away from the billboard and despite the camera zooming and panning it stays in the same position relative to the billboard.
How , my guess is by using 3 layers, the trees in the foreground , trees, building and sky in the background from either street view and/or photos and an animated 3d model truck, a competent 3d artist could put something of that poor quality together in just a few hours.
And before anybody says “but a bird flies across at the end”
If “60 Minutes” wanted to recreate the original “Buk video” scene, they could have shot something like this:
(source: http://ukraine-truth.com/2015/01/russian-military-guilty-downing-flight-mh17-germanys-correctv-concludes/ )
That photo is far from a perfect match but it does clearly show the billboard, the turnoff and two lamp posts that are seen in the original video.
It was shot from a position very close to the ground which also shows a second billboard and the pretty church in the background. This was presumably done in order to give an overall view of that location. It would have been possible to give an even better illustration of the original video scene if the camera for the photo was further back and held as high as possible. Still far from perfect, but it would have shown the relevant details more accurately.
The “60 Minutes” program, on the other, doesn’t even show any of the identifying features from the video, apart from a tiny part of the billboard. The program shows a number of scenes shot on the other side of that billboard, and confusingly shows a different billboard that was not in the Buk video.
The reason for that mistake is that they got inaccurate coordinates for the location. If they had just admitted that minor error, it would all be forgotten by now. They’ve chosen instead to attack people who pointed out the obvious discrepancies.
A slightly better photo here: https://wp4553-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/5783696.jpg
The angle isn’t as accurate but I think it shows the details clearer than the other photo I linked to above.
The Australian “60 Minutes” program is merely one of many media shills for fake “citizen journalist” and fake “geolocation expert” Eliot Higgins.
Higgins and his website Bellingcat are at the center of a massive Propaganda 3.0 disinformation campaign by the Pentagon and Western intelligence.
The Atlantic Council, a security policy think tank managed by a Whoâ€™s Who of Pentagon and Western intelligence, just released a report titled, â€œHiding In Plain Sight: Putinâ€™s War in Ukraineâ€.
Eliot Higgins, key author of the report, is listed as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the Kingâ€™s College in London, UK.
On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council gratefully acknowledges Higginsâ€™ central role in advancing the Pentagon and Western intelligence disinformation campaign.
The Atlantic Council praises â€œthe ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocationâ€.
The Atlantic Council report claim that â€œRussia is at war with Ukraineâ€ and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8:
â€œSeparatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26â€³
The Atlantic Councilâ€™s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled â€œMH-17: Source of the Separatistâ€™s Bukâ€.
CONSIDER THE SOURCE
On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:
â€œIt is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.
â€œThe Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.â€
Higginsâ€™ claim of â€œundeniable evidenceâ€ (November 2014 report by Higgins) is behind the Atlantic Councilâ€™s claim that â€œpieces of evidence create an undeniableâ€”and publicly accessibleâ€”recordâ€ (May 2015 report by Atlantic Council).
Forget the folksy depiction of the “blogger” on his laptop in Leichester, an intrepid “citizen journalist” indulging in a peculiar â€œhobbyâ€ in his â€œspare timeâ€.
Higgins is a deception operative engaged in “digital storytelling” at the behest of the Pentagon and Western intelligence regime.
Higgins â€œfact checksâ€ the disinformation produced by the Pentagon and Western intelligence, rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat â€œdigital forensicsâ€ seal of approval, and disseminates it via the Internet.
This is what Propaganda 3.0 looks like.
However, Higgins’ vaunted geolocation skills are a sham.
Consider the source of Higgins’ primary “piece of evidence” — the video allegedly depicting a Buk missile launcher.
The video first appeared on July 18, 2014, when it appeared on the Facebook page of Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine:
Avakov stated that the video originated from the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior. He claimed that the video depicted a Buk missile launcher “moving in the direction through Krasnodon, toward the border with the Russian Federation”.
On July 21, 2014, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation presented information that Ukrainian Air Force planes in the sky above Donetsk, and there was increased activity of Ukrainian 9S18 Kupol-M1 radar of the Buk missile system when MH-17 crashed on July 17, 2014.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said, â€œmedia circulated a video supposedly showing a Buk system being moved from Ukraine to Russia. This is clearly a fabrication. This video was made in the town of Krasnoarmeisk, as evidenced by the billboard you see in the background, advertising a car dealership at 34 Dnepropetrovsk Street. Krasnoarmeysk has been controlled by the Ukrainian military since May 11â€³.
On July 22, 2014, Ukrainian Interior Minister Avakov made a new post on his Facebook page.
Avakov posted a set of geolocation coordinates for the video — 48.545760Â°, 39.264622Â° — a location in the town of Luhansk.
On July 24, 2014, using the geolocation coordinates supplied by Avakov, Higgins and Bellingcat triumphantly claimed to have â€œCompelling Evidence Russia Lied About the Buk Linked to MH17â€³.
Higgins got his geolocation information directly from the Ukrainian government, not from some brilliant “investigation”.
Higgins loudly accused the Russian Defence Ministry of “lying” when it identified the video location as the “town of Krasnoarmeisk”.
However, Higgins did not accuse the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Ukrainian Ministry of Interior of â€œlyingâ€ when they claimed the vehicle was â€œmoving in the direction through Krasnodonâ€.
The fact that Russian government did not correctly identify the location of the Ukrainian government’s video does not prove a â€œclear case of deceptionâ€.
Higgins and Bellingcat spun a potential error on the part of the Russians into a wholesale rejection of the Russian Defence Ministry data — based on geolocation data supplied by the Ukrainian government.
It was the Ukrainian government, at the behest of the Pentagon and Western intelligence, that supplied the video, the images, and the interpretation.
Relying on fake â€œfact checkersâ€ like Higgins and Bellingcat, Western media and government “policy makers” have refused to examine the Russian data.
FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
The Australian “60 Minutes” program was an infomercial for Higgins and Bellingcat’s geolocation fakery.
And now the Atlantic Council is now peddling the Higgins.
Founded in 1961 at the height of Cold War, the Atlantic Council is managed by Western “policy makers”, intelligence officials, and military leaders, including:
Michael Hayden (Board member) â€“ CIA Director 2006â€“2009
Robert Gates (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 1991â€“1993
Leon Panetta (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 2009â€“2011
William Webster (Honorary Director) â€“ CIA Director 1987â€“1991
In February 2009, James L. Jones, then-chairman of the Atlantic Council, stepped down in order to serve as President Obamaâ€™s new National Security Advisor and was succeeded by Senator Chuck Hagel.
In addition, Atlantic Council members Susan Rice left to serve as the administrationâ€™s ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke became the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, General Eric K. Shinseki became the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Anne-Marie Slaughter became Director of Policy Planning at the State Department.
Senator Chuck Hagel stepped down in 2013 to serve as US Secretary of Defense. Gen. Brent Scowcroft served as interim chairman of the organizationâ€™s Board of Directors until January 2014.
The Atlantic Council has influential supporters such as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh (“Fogh of Warâ€) Rasmussen, who called the Council a â€œpre-eminent think tankâ€ with a â€œlongstanding reputationâ€. In 2009, the Atlantic Council hosted Rasmussenâ€™s first major US speech.
The Atlantic Council hosts US policymakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, sitting heads of state and government such as former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and military leaders such as former General George Casey and former Admiral Timothy Keating.
“Geolocation expert” Higgins is a “stand-upper” for Western intelligence.
Nothing less. Nothing more.
Higgins jumped to the fore in support of “regime change” Propaganda 3.0 campaigns against the governments of Russia and Syria.
Higgins’ “investigations” have been repeatedly demonstrated to be false.
Notably, Higgins was thoroughly debunked for his â€œIt was Assadâ€ internet claims about the 2013 sarin attacks in Ghouta, Syria.
Phil Greaves described Higgins in his article, Syria: Media Disinformation, War Propaganda and the Corporate Mediaâ€™s â€œIndependent Bloggersâ€:
“Bloggers such as Higgins promoting themselves as working from an impartial standpoint are actually nothing of the sort and work in complete unison with mainstream journalists and western NGOâ€™s â€“ both in a practical capacity, and an ideological one. As noted at the Land Destroyer blog and others; Higgins was initially pushed into the limelight by the Guardiansâ€™ former Middle East editor Brian Whitaker, a â€œjournalistâ€ with the honour of being a lead proponent of almost every smear campaign and piece of western propaganda directed at the Syrian government, while wholeheartedly promoting the Bin Ladenite â€œrebelsâ€ as secular feminist freedom fighters and repeatedly spouting the liberal opportunist mantra of western military â€œactionâ€, which realistically means Imperialist military intervention. Whitaker and Higgins played a lead role in bolstering corporate mediaâ€™s fantasy narratives throughout the joint NATO-Al Qaeda insurgency in Libya during 2011, with many of the anti-Gaddafi claims they propagated subsequently proven to be speculative at best, outright propaganda at worst.”
Now Higgins is everywhere claiming “It was Putin” — the very “digital story” the Pentagon wants everyone to hear.
More precisely, Higgins is a Propaganda 3.0 “stand-in” for the Pentagon and Western intelligence.
The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous method for rapid propaganda dissemination.
With no credible evidence of the Kremlinâ€™s direct military involvement in eastern Ukraine, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Washington advanced the Propaganda 3,0 strategy that had proven so effective in instigating the February 2014 coup dâ€™etat in Kiev.
The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it â€œpublically availableâ€ via numerous channels, for example:
â€“ Russian anti-Putin oligarch-owned mainstream and social media
â€“ fake â€œreporters on the groundâ€ in Ukraine
â€“ Ukrainian state media and privately-owned media
â€“ information released through US/NATO allies like Poland
â€“ most importantly, â€œanalysisâ€ of satellite imagery by fake â€œcitizen journalistsâ€
These sources are infiltrated to â€œdeny, disrupt, degrade, deceiveâ€, taking advantage of â€œinformation overloadâ€.
A person can have difficulty understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much â€œpublically availableâ€ information.
Information overload arises from the access to so much information, almost instantaneously, without knowing the validity of the content and the risk of misinformation.
Information overload can lead to â€œinformation anxiety,â€ which is the gap between the information we understand and the information that we think that we must understand.
Pentagon and Western intelligence deception operatives such as Higgins and Bellingcat position themselves as â€œcitizen journalistsâ€ helping to organize information to facilitate clear thinking.
The actual purpose of these fake â€œcitizen journalistâ€ deception operatives is to provide a channel for deceptive Western intelligence information to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.
Higgins pimped this “stand-in” strategy in his article, Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/policywonkers/social-media-and-conflict-zones-the-new-evidence-base-for-policymaking/
Citing ” Bellingcatâ€™s MH17 investigation”, Higgins declared that “a relatively small team of analysts is able to derive a rich picture of a conflict zone” using online information and social media.
Higgins extols the virtues of this “new evidence base” of “open source”information — side-stepping the obvious opportunities for deceptive information being planted in these media from not-so-open sources.
The “overarching point” concludes Higgins, is that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”
The Pentagon and Western intelligence definitely have seized the opportunity to use stand-ins like Higgins to disseminate propaganda.
The Propaganda 3.0 strategy of Higgins and Bellingcat is to keep throwing more deceptive Western intelligence information â€” BM (â€œBrown Mosesâ€ by any other name) â€” against the MSM and social media wall and see what sticks.
just pay Higgins for his reports, recycling the very material you have planted in social media.
then you can cite him in the media and government as a respected independent journalist.
I looked in detail at Bellingcat investigation and they cleardy did their job well, unlike the fool, who wrote this article.
Let’s see we have Robert Parry, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and George Polk Award Winning journalist who broke the Iran/Contra Scandal for AP vs. Bellingcat, a blogger â€“Â who to believe. “Cleardy” I believe Robert Parry.
the thing is any fool can look at lamposts on google earth and claim to have proved a video was shot somewhere.
That depends on what job you mean. If you mean their paid job to spread disinformation and anti-Russian propaganda, then maybe yes. But in terms of any real investigative work that, let’s say, would stand up in a court or maybe win the appraisal of real experts such as science and forensics then ALL of Higgins’ work falls very short of these markers.
Show me a single true expert in their field of work with real life experience of their job (YouTube or Twitter surfers don’t count) that has leant any support to Higgins or his pseudo investigations? Name me a single one? Any scientist? Any forensics experts? Any warfare experts? Anyone bar conspiracy freaks, western corporate media hacks or Whitehouse funded NGOs?
How about official Dutch safety board ?
the Dutch safety board makes no reference to Higgins’ investigations.
But everything you can see for now from Dutch investigation is exactly the same as findings on bellingcat.com. And Dutch investigation team did officially approach to Mr. Higgins.
they are just reviewing the stuff thats already available, none of which was provided by bellingcat.
I think the western media is not really interested in doing an investigative Report about MH17, because the result of the investigation (also known as “the truth”) may be “pro-russian”.
So if Eliot Higgins wants to blame the Russians for the shotdown of MH17 he better should have looked for a russian Su-25 somewhere Close to MH17 …
Well for me the fact is that 60 Minutes Australia went to Ukraine with a preconceived and biased point of view right from the beginning â€“ that’s not journalism. If these people were truly journalists then they actually would have went to both Krasnoarmiisâ€™k (Russia’s claim) and Krasnodon (Ukraine’s claim) and tried to match up the image as closely as they could to the video (I don’t think this would be a difficult feat for professionals) â€“ without any bias getting in the way. I also do find it disconcerting that German Intelligence, the BND, concluded that photos of MH-17 provided by the Ukrainian Government “have been manipulated”.
At this point, I believe that the US, Ukraine, EU, and Russia are all lying about what exactly is happening in Ukraine. But for me, I don’t start the narrative with Crimea but rather a US backed coup, in a long line of coups, using US NGO’s to pull it off â€“ that is where I put the majority of blame for what has ensued up to this point. If anyone is interested they should watch “War on Democracy” by award winning journalist John Pilger who documents US backed coups and insurgency throughout Latin America since WW2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeHzc1h8k7o).
Pilger, a true Australian investigative journalist. As might be expected he departed these shores many moons ago to practice his craft – I wonder why?
American missiles already surround Russia; NATOâ€™s military build-up in the former Soviet republics and eastern Europe is the biggest since the second world war.
During the cold war, this would have risked a nuclear holocaust. The risk has returned as anti-Russian misinformation reaches crescendos of hysteria in the U.S. and Europe.
A textbook case is the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in July. Without a single piece of evidence, the U.S. and its NATO allies and their media machines blamed ethnic Russian â€œseparatistsâ€ in Ukraine and implied that Moscow was ultimately responsible.
An editorial in The Economist accused Vladimir Putin of mass murder. The cover of Der Spiegel used faces of the victims and bold red type, â€˜Stoppt Putin Jetzt!â€™ (Stop Putin Now!) In the New York Times, Timothy Garton Ash substantiated his case for â€˜Putinâ€™s deadly doctrineâ€™ with personal abuse of â€œa short, thickset man with a rather ratlike faceâ€.
The Guardianâ€™s role has been important. Renowned for its investigations, the newspaper has made no serious attempt to examine who shot the aeroplane down and why, even though a wealth of material from credible sources shows that Moscow was as shocked as the rest of the world, and the airliner may well have been brought down by the Ukrainian regime.
(Why did the BBC pull this news video showing witnesses claiming they saw a military aircraft flying beside MH17?)
With the White House offering no verifiable evidence â€“ even though US satellites would have observed the shooting-down â€“ the Guardianâ€™s Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker stepped into the breach.
â€˜My audience with the Demon of Donetskâ€™ was the front- page headline over Walker”s breathless interview with one Igor Bezler, where he wrote:
â€˜With a walrus moustache, a fiery temper and a reputation for brutality, Igor Bezler is the most feared of all the rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine …nicknamed The Demon … If the Ukrainian security services, the SBU, are to be believed, the Demon and a group of his men were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 â€¦ as well as allegedly bringing down MH17, the rebels have shot down 10 Ukrainian aircraft.â€™
Demon Journalism requires no further evidence.
Demon Journalism makes over a fascist-contaminated junta that seized power in Kiev as a respectable “interim government”. Neo-Nazis become mere “nationalists”. “News” sourced to the Kiev junta ensures the suppression of a U.S.-run coup and the junta”s systematic ethnic cleaning of the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine.
That this should happen in the borderland through which the original Nazis invaded Russia, extinguishing some 22 Russian lives, is of no interest. What matters is a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine that seems difficult to prove beyond familiar satellite images that evoke Colin Powell”s fictional presentation to the United Nations “proving” that Saddam Hussein had WMD.
Breaking the Last Taboo: Gaza and the threat of world war
By John Pilger
Hey Abe, the anti West propaganda conspiracy theorist, you go on your tirade about Demon Journalism then you say –
‘ Demon Journalism makes over a fascist-contaminated junta that seized power in Kiev as a respectable â€œinterim governmentâ€. Neo-Nazis become mere â€œnationalistsâ€. â€œNewsâ€ sourced to the Kiev junta ensures the suppression of a U.S.-run coup and the juntaâ€s systematic ethnic cleaning of the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine.’
Who is using ‘ Demon Journalism’ in their comments?
Who is demonizing in that statement?
Could you offer one shred of proof please of ‘ ethnic cleansing ‘ – note correct spelling – targeting specifically Russian speakers and ALL Russian speakers in Eastern Ukraine ?
AS opposed to what actually happened which was targeting groups of terrorists who captured police stations, administration buildings, banks, and military basis with the use of automatic weapons and murdered anyone that got in their way or supported a United Ukraine.
Let me remind you of the videos of parades of Donetsk citizens that were in support of a UNITED Ukraine and they were broken up by terrorists and Russian neonazis that wanted Donetsk and Luhansk to rejoin Moscow by any means necessary since Crimea was able to under a farce of a referendum and Russian occupation implemented by Moscow.
People were beaten there severely, others were kidnapped and tortured, and still others murdered and buried in swamps and shallow graves by people like Girkin with his execution orders – well documented – and Pavel Gubarev who does not hide his connections to the Russian neonazi fascist group RNS.
Demonizing without facts is one thing, LIKE YOU DID, demonizing with supporting proof which the Kremlin’s actions are providing, like MSM and others expressing a problem inside Russian leadership, is another.
Maybe there is a simple fact, and it is not demonetization, putin is evil and guilty of almost everything he is accused of.
Read that story about how the Patriot’s owner lost one of his Super Bowl rings.
Maybe there is something to holding putin to account, and it is not actually demon journalism.
Ever wonder why a majority of global media sees it, but you and the other Kremlin sympathizer’s don’t?
exactly. i am yet to see anyone go to Krasnoneirsk and try and reproduce the video scene.
just because the Russian claim about being able to read t6he sign was false doesnt logically prove the video wasnt shot in Kranomeirsk.
We agree Russia is hiding the deaths of about 200 Russian soldiers, mostly VDV or volunteers, in eastern Ukraine. But Ukraine is hiding the deaths of 14,500+ combatants on its side, while only admitting by the Kyiv Post to around 2,250 combat deaths, while mainstream media refuses to dig into allegations of a cover up from the Ukrainian, not Russian side.
At this point, having been hoisted by his own petard of geolocation and photo analysis, Higgins should probably back off quietly. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from his handlers it is always, always maintain that he’s been right all along even when he gets caught by MIT’s Ted Postol manipulating data like the Syrian free flight rocket ranges to suit his Narrative, rather than conducting proper investigation and only THEN reaching certain conclusions. It is cheap Jedi Mind tricks, razzle dazzle with Google Earth and Streetview magician’s apprenticeship, and sneering at all alternative theories that also have some evidence or witnesses to support them all around.
“These are not the Buks you’re looking for.”
After all the mainstream media lies and distortions a reasonable person would be foolish to approach ANY mainstream media report without a great deal of skepticism.
It is also fair to say that if the mainstream media had told us the truth most wars would have never happened. The global catastrophes that now affect millions would not be happening.
It is tragic that the vested interests in today’s mainstream media help to make so much evil possible and evaded their responsibility by using their power to protect themselves.
Good example is Crimean War where glorious Brits went to fight imperialistic autocratic Russian Empire….. Fine print follows….
In defence of the last country in Europe that was openly practicing international slave trade and that was genocide Balkanization. Plus the “glorious and rightcheous, according to media, war was fought just inbetween two Opium Wars. Wars with a pretext that is hard to to bit in terms of disgust
Well said! That is why my believe is politicians and media should be liable for their actions. Doctors are responsible for negligence, drivers behind wheel and anybody who can cause harm even unintentionally. This professions can influence thousands at once and carry no responsibility.
Great story. Must forward it. About western media in bed with Stalin since the beginning killing. Millions of Ukrainians — and Russians babe sur to read TABOO GENOCIDE Holodomor 1933 & theExtermination of Ukraine, 2vols. Ebook and soon in print
So Ukraine was exterminated was it?
Why does it still exist then?
It’s usually Nazi apologists citing those works.
Wait, it’s Nazi apologists that the US and Germans backed in the 2014 coup.
There’s also a false equivalence being drawn between Soviet government caused starvation in the Ukraine and the holocaust the Nazis directed at Jews and Gypsies.
NIT so great if you remove emotions and unsubstantiated claims and stick to the factual-varified data from the event. Stalin’s speech From 1934 is a good place to start before accusing anyone of cover-up