VIPS Offers Advice to Candidates

Former Secretary of State Clinton, whose campaign is brimming with establishment foreign policy advisers, has chided Democratic rival Sen. Sanders for lacking a roster of experts. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says an untapped resource for any candidate is the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

By Ray McGovern

A Memo to: Dr. Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein, and Donald Trump

The media brouhaha over naming your campaign advisers on foreign policy prompts this reminder of a unique resource available, gratis, to all of you. That resource is our nonpartisan group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). If we were into self-promotion, we would add to our (virtual) letterhead: “serving satisfied customers since 2003.”

We are about apolitical analysis; we are into spreading unvarnished truth around; we do not shape our analysis toward this or that debating point. Thus, we eschew the moniker “campaign adviser.” But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t provide apolitical and unvarnished advice to anyone who seeks it.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern

Unique? We are on the outer edge of atypical in the sense that we are a fiercely nonpartisan, tell-it-like-it-is group of professionals with long experience in intelligence and related fields and with no policy or personal axes to grind. We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Abundant proof that party preference plays no role in our analysis can be seen in our enviable record in the substantive work we have produced over the past 13 years both before and after the ill-advised attack on Iraq in March 2003.

Also distinguishing us from “campaign advisers,” none of us in VIPS lust for a high position in a new administration; none are heavily invested in arms industries; none of us ask for a retainer. In other words, there are no strings attached to the substantive analysis we provide to all our readers and listeners. If objective, disinterested analysis is your cup of tea, we suggest that you check out VIPS’s record, to include the multiple warnings we gave President George W. Bush in the months before the attack on Iraq.

In fact, VIPS was founded by a handful of former CIA analysts, including me, for the express purpose of warning President Bush that his small coterie of advisers, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, was adducing fraudulent not mistaken “intelligence” in promoting the war on Iraq.

Indeed, in recent years VIPS has been accused of naiveté in failing to understand that Bush, to whom we addressed most of our pre-war memos, was fully aware of how Cheney and his cunning co-conspirators and conmen were fabricating the false pretenses for war. We plead guilty to believing that U.S. presidents deserve unspun analysis and to trusting that honest assessments will help presidents act responsibly on behalf of the nation.

Call us old-fashioned, but we just found it hard to believe that any U.S. president would justify war on “evidence” made out of whole cloth. Equally difficult to believe was that our former colleagues would acquiesce in the deception.

So, despite the doubts that Bush really wanted the real story, we rose to the occasion, nonetheless, and issued three corporate VIPS memoranda before the attack on Iraq: (1) “Today’s Speech By Secretary Powell At the UN,” February 5, 2003; (2) “Cooking Intelligence for War in Iraq,” March 12, 2003; and (3) “Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth: A Problem,” March 18, 2003.

Our commentary on Secretary of State Colin Powell’s UN speech went out on the AFP wire and was widely read abroad. Foreign media followed up with us; U.S. media not so much. (This is the primary reason you may be learning all this for the first time).

During that critical pre-war period we took pains to use whatever entrée we had to influential people. For example, I personally sought to reach then-Sen. Hillary Clinton via a key person on her staff, who assured me that the senator was being given our op-eds and our analyses to read.

In our memorandum of Feb. 5, 2003, we told President Bush we could give Powell “only a C-minus in providing context and perspective.” As for input from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, we told the President: “Your Pentagon advisers draw a connection between war and terrorism, but for the wrong reasons. The connection takes on much more reality in a post-U.S. invasion scenario. [Emphasis in the original]

“Indeed, it is our view that an invasion of Iraq would ensure overflowing recruitment centers for terrorists into the indefinite future. Far from eliminating the threat it would enhance it exponentially.”

Though it went unheeded 13 years ago, the final paragraph of VIPS’s first Memorandum for the President seems quite relevant to the current discussion regarding “campaign advisers” on foreign policy. In our same-day memo to the President on Powell’s UN speech we noted that he had described what he said as “irrefutable and undeniable.” Our final paragraph started with an allusion to those words:

“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion beyond …  those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Our VIPS memorandum of Feb. 5, 2003, was sent to the President more than two years before the London Times published the minutes of a July 23, 2002 briefing at 10 Downing Street, during which Richard Dearlove, the head of British intelligence, reported to British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Dearlove’s talks three days earlier with his U.S. counterpart, CIA Director George Tenet, at CIA headquarters. According to those undisputed minutes, Dearlove said the following:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” [Emphasis added]

Our warnings to President Bush also came more than five years before the completion of a five-year investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee on pre-war intelligence, the results of which were approved by a bipartisan majority. On June 5, 2008, the date of its release, committee chair Jay Rockefeller commented on its findings:

“In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”

Just So You Know

One presidential candidate is said to have “an army of several hundred, perhaps even more than a thousand, foreign policy advisers;” another has been criticized for having no “talent pool” of “trusted experts.” Little is known about those advising other candidates or, for example, in which campaign headquarters erstwhile advisers to dropout candidates like Jeb Bush are now hanging their hats.

The purpose of this open letter is merely to ensure that you know that you are welcome to dip into a different and unique “talent pool” Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). This pool is now several hundred years deep in collective experience and brimming with the kind of knowledge that flows from senior-level work in intelligence and related fields. Our record of memoranda, averaging three per year, speaks for itself.

If nonpartisan, fact-based analysis is your cup of tea, have a look at those memoranda, which we believe are second to none in terms of candor and tell-it-like-it-is analysis. Our work reflects the ethos that earlier guided the work of intelligence community analysts at CIA and elsewhere, a commitment to both objectivity and scholarship.

That was before Director Tenet decided to welcome frequent visits by Vice President Dick Cheney to make sure CIA analysts were finding or fabricating enough “intelligence” to “justify” the launch of an unnecessary war. We take no pleasure in having been correct at the outset, in predicting “the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Ray McGovern served for 30 years as a U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then an analyst for CIA, where he prepared and conducted the early morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief and also chaired National Intelligence Estimates.  He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

 

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22 comments for “VIPS Offers Advice to Candidates

  1. John H. Hopkins
    February 26, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I first became aware, of your site, on Alex Jones Show, this afternoon. I’m sorry that he’d cut your commentator off. Mr. Jones gets such excellent guests, and then doesn’t allow them a chance to develop their train of thought. Plugging in, on your ‘Contact Sheet’, revealed the site, to be an unsafe form. Thank-you for your time.

  2. Abe
    February 26, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Of particular concern is the use of the “Government Assessment” to disseminate propaganda and disinformation.

    As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015)

    “The key difference between the traditional “Intelligence Assessment” and this relatively new creation, a “Government Assessment,” is that the latter genre is put together by senior “White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an “Intelligence Assessment” often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an “Intelligence Assessment” suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia – just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this “Government Assessment” arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    The primary source in both “Government Assessment” episodes — both the 2013 chemical attack in Syria and the 2014 crash of MH-17 in Ukraine — the one person in common who generated the “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was British blogger and media darling Eliot Higgins.

    In March 2012, using the pseudonym “Brown Moses,” Higgins purportedly began “investigative” blogging on the armed conflict taking place in Syria, claiming this to be a “hobby” in his “spare time”.

    A mainstream media darling, Higgins “arm chair analytics” have been continuously promoted by the UK Guardian and New York Times, as well as corporate sponsors like Google.

    Higgins’ “analyses” of Syrian weapons were frequently cited by mainstream and online media, human rights groups, and Western governments seeking “regime change” in Syria.

    Higgins’ accusations that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack were proven false, but almost led to war.

    Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed that “although he has been widely quoted as an expert in the American mainstream media, [he] has changed his facts every time new technical information has challenged his conclusion that the Syrian government must have been responsible for the sarin attack. In addition, the claims that Higgins makes that are correct are all derived from our findings, which have been transmitted to him in numerous exchanges.”

    Despite the fact that Higgins’ accusations have repeatedly been disproven, he continues to be frequently cited, often without proper source attribution, by media, organizations and governments.

    Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target.”

    A “deception target” is defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” of MH-17 propaganda are key “policy makers” and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous “open source” method for rapid propaganda dissemination.

    This new capacity for “open source” deception was demonstrated in Syria-Sarin attack.

    As noted by journalist Phil Greaves in “Syria: Media Disinformation, War Propaganda and the Corporate Media’s ‘Independent Bloggers’

    “The working relationship between Higgins and the corporate media became almost uniform during the course of the Syrian conflict; an unsubstantiated anti-Assad, or pro-rebel narrative would predictably form in the corporate media (cluster bombs, chemical weapons, unsolved massacres,) at which point Higgins would jump to the fore with his YouTube analysis in order to bolster mainstream discourse whilst offering the air of impartiality and the crucial ‘open source’ faux-legitimacy. It has become blatantly evident that the ‘rebels’ in both Syria and Libya have made a concerted effort in fabricating YouTube videos in order to incriminate and demonize their opponents while glorifying themselves in a sanitized image. Western media invariably lapped-up such fabrications without question and subsequently built narratives around them – regardless of contradictory evidence or opinion. Yet such media, and more importantly, the specific actors propagating it fraudulently to bolster the flimsiest of western narratives has continued unabated – primarily as a result of the aforementioned ‘old media’ organs endlessly promoting it.

    “Following award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s groundbreaking essay in the London Review of Books, which exposes the Obama administrations intelligence surrounding the alleged chemical attacks in Ghouta as reminiscent of the Bush administrations outright lies and fabrications leading to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, Higgins took it upon himself to rush through a rebuttal, published by the establishment media outlet Foreign Policy magazine – a predictable response as Higgins represents the principal source for the ‘Assad did it’ media crowd. Accordingly, the ‘old media’ stenographers that originally promoted Higgins became the vanguard force pushing his speculative Ghouta theories above Hersh’s – to hilarious effect.

    “A particularly revealing example of Higgins’ unwillingness to depart from mainstream discourse came shortly after the alleged Ghouta attacks. The findings of a considerable open-source collaborative effort at the WhoGhouta blog were repeatedly dismissed as ridiculous or unverifiable by Higgins. The bloggers at WhoGhouta drew more or less the same logical, and somewhat scientific conclusions outlined in the Hersh piece, but in much greater detail. Yet Higgins chose to ignore WhoGhouta’s findings and instead rely on his own set of assumptions, dubious videos, and an unqualified ex-US soldier that seems determined to defy both logical and scientific reality. The estimated range of the rockets allegedly used in the attack, with the alleged azimuth that pointed to Syrian army launch points breathlessly promoted by Higgins and his patrons at Human Rights Watch (HRW), and of course corporate media, were convincingly debunked mere weeks after the attack at the WhoGhouta blog, yet Higgins chose to stick to his orchestrated narrative until the bitter end, only revising his wild speculation on rocket range once the obvious became too hard to conceal.

    “As Higgins is a self-declared advocate of ‘open source investigative journalism’, it is perplexing that he attempted to marginalize and dismiss the many findings from independent observers and instead concentrated on bolstering the dubious narratives of the US government and western corporate media. Unless of course, he is tied to a particular narrative and desperate to conceal anything that contradicts it.”

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/syria-media-disinformation-war-propaganda-and-the-corporate-medias-independent-bloggers/

  3. M.
    February 26, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    You are a real think tank. You put all of the others to shame.

  4. IT--II--IT
    February 27, 2016 at 12:22 am

    5 decades underway – – –and the RED CHINA set up and handover
    MASTER OP has been PULLED OFF.
    *
    And NOW time for AMERICA and the WEST to be PULLED.
    *
    KEEP ‘diss–cussing’ that TROJAN HORSE – –in this, the 11th HOUR.

  5. Dr. Ip
    February 27, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Your analysis is always spot on. Thank you and the other VIPS.

    Even the trolls [if their attention span allows] can listen to your concise analysis on Sounds of Dissent:
    http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/84563

  6. John B
    February 27, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Certainly the VIPS would be good advisers. But executive groupthink is the principal problem in US policy errors, and will often occur when the admin is led by a handful of advisers.

    I prefer the idea of founding a federal College of Policy Analysis to rigorously investigate every culture and region and explore what policies can really bring public benefit, a large institution with experts circulating with the universities, designed to protect unpopular and even “enemy” ideas, and rigorously analyze viewpoints and ideologies. It should be a branch of the federal government, independent of government and DC and money influences, to which politicians and judges and officials should be accountable in detail for their policy statements and actions. This College of Policy Analysis would have prevented every US misadventure since WWII. No doubt the VIPS and the security agencies would be valued and regular contributors.

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 27, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Thanks John B, that sounds like what President Truman had in mind before the Dulles brothers had a better idea on their own.

    • Mike
      March 6, 2016 at 11:30 am

      “a federal College of Policy Analysis to rigorously investigate every culture and region and explore what policies can really bring public benefit”
      This is a great concept.
      I like the idea John B.
      [John Biddle of St Albans,perhaps?]

      I’ll be relying heavily on your”college” to formulate and promulgate policy as ‘Reagan naps and scheduling’
      will be in effect during my administration.
      White House staff will come to appreciate that
      my most intense problem solving brainstorms
      occur during the waking/dreaming/meditation period near dawn and after siesta
      and that the press secretary,chief of staff and all my Cabinet
      Officers do a better job of ‘slingin’ the hash’ and ‘splainin’
      policy nuances,anyway.
      ARE WE READY?
      IS EVERYBODY IN?
      THE CEREMONY IS ABOUT TO BEGIN !

  7. Bob Van Noy
    February 27, 2016 at 10:02 am

    If Alan Dulles was nothing else, he was a great creator of fiction. I like to imagine a “personal advisor” that President Sanders might refer to, rather like William R. Polk, who, on a particularly sensitive matter, would provide personal advice as, say: 50 points, and then follow up with a statement like, “Finally sir, ask for an opinion from The Veteran Intelligence Officers For Peace before making your decision.” Ah, a fantasy world; so much more humane than our current world. Originally, I thought that the President could simply incorporate VIPS into a daily briefing scenario, then I realized that the current model of a vociferous, independent model is exactly right.
    Many thanks to VIPS and to Ray McGovern for your continuing public service.

    • dahoit
      February 27, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Sanders is a Zionist.That means other voices won’t dent his myths.Sorry,they are all living in a fantasy world of self serving BS.

  8. Henk Middelraad
    February 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Ray: Several years ago I communicated with you and introduced you to a technology with which anyone in this world can be reached with the purpose of releasing hostages, catching international criminals and the like. I provided several working examples at that time.

    The technology consists of the selected application of parapsychology targeting the culprit who promotes wars, grabbing hostages or commits international crimes.

    Naturally members of such a team require a higher level of integrity than can be found in the average public servant. The application of the technique is almost cost less.

    A small “para team” would not even show up on the budget for DOD, FBI and DARPA, but would reduce the expanding excessive costs for international military and criminal catching exercises.

    Of course the “establishment” does not want any part of this, until a foreign adversary develops the this technique and creates a similar national disaster like the attack on Hawaii in 1941 and the Two-Tower event in 2001.

  9. M.
    February 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I’ve always found that the “average public servant” is honest, diligent, modest and unsung.

    • Henk Middelraad
      February 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Right you are!! The elites of the Federal public servants have to be watched.

  10. Mike Meyer
    February 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Ray,
    Thanks for your offer.
    Does your group’s “skill-set”
    align with concepts described
    in the following video presentation?
    https://www.nfb.ca/film/whos_counting
    Thanks for any response you might provide.

    PS Did and Do you happen to know Ted Overton and/or
    Ellen Overton …or Mrs. Semler…or Jack Mower..or Dick
    and Dorothy Harza ?
    When a parent[s] takes an oath of secrecy and is unable to
    describe their primary activity to their own children,
    what impact do you suppose this might have on their
    perspective on reality,free speech skills and character development?
    I’ve found that in general the children of people employed under these conditions to be unable to recognize the VALUE of BEING HONEST
    and speaking the truth as they know it !

  11. Bill Bodden
    February 27, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Unfortunately, with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders Ray McGovern will have no more success reaching the other candidates than Cassandra had – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra

  12. Brad Owen
    February 28, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Ray; Your group’s Intel analysis capabilities is awesome. How about turning it upon the candidates running for office? I think Bill Bodden’s right. Only the Bern would be inclined to listen to you. I suspect all of the others (Mr.T and Ms.H) are already committed to an agenda and will work to CHANGE any “facts-on-the-ground” that get in the way of their Agenda.
    What of Webster Tarpley’s analysis:
    Mr.T’s “Know-Nothing” platform of Austerity, Mass Deportations (which, to pull off, GUARANTEES a ferocious Police State apparatus), organized Discrimination, endorsement of Torture violates 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, 14th Amendments. Mr.T’s BLATANT use of Neuro-linguistic Programing and “Mussolini Grimaces” is in evidence. Ms.H’s looming subpoena over secret E-mails will likely knock her out of the running, leaving Mr.T to “take the Crown”, which will be a bloody disaster for us all, since Mr.T’s brand of anti-establishmentism is EXACTLY that of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s railing against, and “Middle-Fingering” of, THEIR establishments of their day. And EVERYBODY thought they could be managed, or didn’t need to be taken seriously. What about Executive Intelligence Review’s retrieval of an event in history where FDR had O.S.S. agents loyal to him, dig up the intel, in 1940, on the beginnings of Europe’s many prominent Fascist/NAZI Movements. They returned with this finding: began fifty years ago (1890’s), was the refined outgrowth of something called Synarchy Movement for Empire (SME) concocted by Napoleon’s Generals and the most extreme regressive Faction in the Catholic Church, seeking to restore a Feudal Empire (along lines of Napoleon’s Empire, or Ancient Rome’s Empire) to Pan-Europa, doing away with Nation-States and any consideration for Commoners as sovereign citizens (reversion to something like “Loyal Subject/Serf Status” within this new “harmonious” re-organization of human society). This SME movement is what is in play, for over a hundred years now. It is the beating heart within the Globalization Movement and the main driver of practically all major World Events. It appeals to all of the Wealthy & Powerful not content to simply enjoy their wealth in a seemingly “haphazard” World, but want to impose their “Better Design” upon it. What really is the big picture Ray, and WHO is the candidate to steer a safe course through World Events. THAT is the intel We The People need, as sovereign citizens of a still (barely) functioning Republic. This may be our last chance to steer events. Who do YOU endorse for President? Or, alternatively, if The Republic is too far gone into Empire, is there any substance to “The Society of the Cincinnati” and which General would you endorse…any Smedley Butlers among the Officer Corps?

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Brad Owen, I too have been very interested in Webster Tarpley’s analysis especially in the similarities between Mussolini and Trump. I was never able to understand how the Italians could support a man like Mussolini until Mr. Trump began his campaign and now it is much more obvious that a public mood can be exploited to advance their popular appeal. It is helpful as we go ahead into uncharted political waters. You are right about Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton too in that they come with an agenda that is solidified and will be implemented. One wishes that that agenda was made clear enough for all to comprehend. Then they would be far less electable, I would hope.

  13. Abe
    February 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    There they go again…

    Just like during the 1990s War in the Balkans,the “humanitarian war” propaganda machine is kicking into high gear with the negotiated ceasefire announcement in Syria .

    Leading the propaganda parade are Elliot Higgins and the Bellingcat site with a new surge of blaming Russia for “war crimes” in Syria https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2016/02/27/russias-strong-arm-diplomacy/

    The fake UK-based “citizen investigative journalists” Higgins and Bellingcat cite fake UK-based “human rights organizations” based in the UK:

    — Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) headed by Fadel Abdul Ghan. SNHR functions as a propaganda arm of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, an assembly of terrorist forces backed by the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

    — Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) run out of a two-bedroom terraced home in Coventry by Rami Abdulrahman

    The propaganda merry-go-round works like this:

    — Fake “human rights” NGOs based in the UK manufacture evidence of “war crimes”

    — Fake “independent journalists” based in the UK cite this evidence in fake “reports”

    — US and NATO governments cite the fake “reports” in “Government Assessments”

    • February 28, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      works just great, it seems. :(( ray

  14. Abe
    February 28, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    On 23 February 2016, the bogus “open-source citizen investigative team” at Bellingcat published its latest “report” https://www.bellingcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/53rd-report-public.pdf

    On 24 February, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Alexei Komarov mentioned the recent Bellingcat report, saying the group’s previous reports “have repeatedly been debunked by bloggers and experts” and its latest amounted to “a bunch of conspiracy theories” – and therefore was not worthy of any “serious comment.”

    The Russian Federation has vehemently denied any involvement in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in July 2014.

    Russia has slammed an earlier Dutch aviation authority report while the Russian manufacturer of the missile systems, Almaz-Antey, has issued its own report it says refutes the Dutch findings, and threatened to sue the EU over the cost of sanctions.

    The Bellingcat “investigation” claimed that “There is no direct evidence indicating if it was Russian or separatist soldiers who operated Buk 3×2 when it was in Ukraine. However, considering the complexity of the Buk-M1 system, it is most likely that the Russian military did not transfer a Buk missile launcher to separatist commanders without some guidance or a Russian crew”.

    Fake “citizen journalist” Higgins’ claims of “indisputable” open source “evidence” that MH-17 was destroyed by “Buk 3×2” missile supplied by Russia have been thoroughly debunked since they first appeared in 2014.

    Higgins is a key author of a report released in May 2015 by the Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank managed by Western military leaders and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Higgins is listed in the report as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the King’s College in London, UK. Page 1 of the Atlantic Council report praises “the 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 geolocation”.

    The Atlantic Council’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 November 2014 report by Higgins titled “MH-17: Source of the Separatist’s Buk”.

    On page 3 of the Bellingcat report, Higgins claims: “It 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.

    “The 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.”

    Higgins’ November 2014 claim of “undeniable evidence” has become the Atlantic Council’s May 2015 claim that “pieces of evidence create an undeniable—and publicly accessible—record”.

    The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation” to promote the report.

    Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:

    “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 geolocation to back this up.”

    However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

    Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    The Higgins and Bellingcat “report” mill is an elaborate deception effort to divert attention away from the most likely suspect in the downing of MH-17: the armed forces of Ukraine. There were Ukrainian Buk missile units and aircraft operating in the area where Malaysian Air flight MH-17 was downed in July 2014.

  15. M.
    February 28, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Good to know. I can’t help but substitute the names of other countries for Russia and Syria, (bombers and bombed and/or droned, even other human rights groups) and it still makes sense. For some time now I’ve felt a need to re-read Orwell.

  16. Abe
    February 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat’s latest propaganda “report” on MH-17 is being promoted by Ukraine Today, a private international satellite television channel broadcasting in English
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuEP2DRyjSw

    Ukraine Today is operated by the UNIAN TV company, run by billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who is also the former governor of Dnipropetrovsk Region.

    A multibillionaire, Kolomoyskyi is rated as the second or third richest person in Ukraine. He has a triple Ukrainian-Israeli-Cyprus citizenship, despite the law penalizing dual citizenship in Ukraine. Kolomoyskyi stated that: “The constitution prohibits double citizenship but triple citizenship is not forbidden.”

    The Ukraine Today channel has its origins in two previous English-language news channels owned by 1+1 Media and its majority shareholder Kolomoyskyi; Jewish News 1, which closed on 22 April 2014, and the intermediary channel Ukraine News 1 which closed in June 2014. Ten journalists of Jewish News 1 then moved over the new channel.

    The network launched on 24 August 2014 — Ukrainian Independence Day. Kolomoyskyi stated that “Ukraine Today is our contribution in support of Ukraine’s European choice”.

    In 2014, Kolomoyskyi is believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion, and also has funded the Aidar, Azov, Dnepr 1, Dnepr 2, and Donbas volunteer battalions, that have been accused of numerous war crimes during Kiev’s brutal “anti-terrorist” operation against the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

    Russia is asking for Kolomoyskyi to be put on Interpol’s wanted list. On 2 July 2014 a Russian District Court authorized his arrest in absentia for “organizing the killing of civilians”.

    In March 2015, after the dismissal of Oleksandr Lazorko, who was a protege of Kolomoyskyi, as a chief executive of UkrTransNafta, Ukraine’s state-owned oil pipeline operator, men reported to be Kolomoyskyi’s personal militia raided the UkrTransNafta’s headquarters to expel the new government-appointed chief from the office.

    On March 25, 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree dismissing Kolomoyskyi from the post of Dnipropetrovsk governor.

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