Caitlin Johnstone: Paul Mason Says Bellingcat Launders Information for Western Intelligence

The best propaganda is generally a mixture of truth with half-truth, distortion, lies by omission and the removal of context and perspective. 
Nina Jankowicz

By Caitlin Johnstone
Listen to a reading of this article.

The Grayzone has published leaked email communications between faux-left British commentator and aspiring parliamentarian Paul Mason and a shady intelligence contractor named Amil Khan which plainly show the two plotting to use state power to subvert anti-imperialist media outlets like Consortium News and The Grayzone, as well as “far left rogue academics” and the broader left more generally.

Mason has obliquely authenticated the contents of the emails with a weird, rambling Medium post claiming to have been victimized by a “Russian hack-and-leak operation.” The post does not deny the veracity of the emails. Instead, Mason bizarrely claims that they “may be altered or faked,” as though they are not his own personal communications whose accuracy he could instantly deny if they were altered or faked in any way.

This is the same as verifying the emails and then yelling “But look over there! It’s Putin!”

It would take a very silly person indeed to look at a bunch of authenticated emails showing a major British media figure conspiring with an intelligence contractor to subvert the antiwar left and then conclude that the correct response to this would be to get angry at the Russians.

There will probably be a lot written about these leaks in the coming days, but for now I’d like to focus on the fact that, in these private communications between a media insider and an intelligence insider, the “independent investigative journalism” outlet known as Bellingcat is described as a “proxy” for Western intelligence agencies and is said to receive “a steady stream of intel” from them.

“Just as Bellingcat get a steady stream of intel from Western agencies, I suspect the attacks on you and others are fed by Russian and Chinese intel,” Mason is seen telling Khan, who has been the subject of a previous Grayzone exposé.

On the team of spinmeisters Mason and Khan were plotting to assemble to undermine anti-imperialist media, Mason said that “what it really also needs is intel service input by proxy — eg Bellingcat.” Which certainly reads like an explicit call to work with Western intelligence agencies to take down his perceived enemies on the left.

“Khan — a long-time advocate and associate of [Bellingcat] — did not once challenge Mason’s repeated characterization of the supposed citizen journalist collective as a clearing house for friendly spy agencies,” write Grayzone’s Kit Klarenberg and Max Blumenthal.

As of this writing there has been little in the way of denial from Bellingcat of those claims the closet C.I.A. fan Paul Mason made when he believed he was communicating in privacy. The Twitter page of Bellingcat’s executive director and founder Eliot Higgins tweeted, “I see the Gray Zone has acquired even more hacked emails, I wonder who keeps providing them with those, hmmmm.”

When asked by a commenter if intelligence agencies leak information to Bellingcat, Higgins replied, “No and never,” which he then immediately retreated from when pressed, saying instead, “Well if we use sources that aren’t open sources we’ll use multiple independent sources to acquire the same or related data and triangulate the data to confirm its authenticity.”

Which is a mighty long pace from “No and never,” if you look at it. It’s saying well if we do get information from someone who might work for an intelligence agency, we’ll use “related data” from other sources (who themselves may or may not also have intelligence ties) to “confirm” it.

People would be well advised to take anything Higgins says about his operation with a large grain of salt. In 2016 he dismissed the suggestion that his operation is funded by the CIA cutout known as The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) with a “Stop reading conspiracy websites.” Less than a year later he admitted when pressed that Bellingcat does indeed receive funding from NED.

This is not the first time it has been claimed that Bellingcat operates as a proxy for Western intelligence information laundering, nor the second, nor the third. As Alan MacLeod documented last year for Mintpress News, there was already a mountain of evidence that the “independent” narrative management firm celebrated and beloved by the Western political/media class operates as a proxy of the Western intelligence cartel. Mason and Khan’s communications are just one more piece on the pile.

Western intelligence agencies have numerous pathways through which they can get information, misinformation and disinformation into the mainstream press without people noticing that the news media are publishing government propaganda. Mason’s emails are yet more evidence that Bellingcat is one such pipeline for intelligence cartel psyops.

If there’s something the cartel wants published, they launder it through proxies like Bellingcat and then the news media run it saying it’s been verified by an “independent” “OSINT” (open-source intelligence service). And presto, you’ve got yourself some good old-fashioned Langley-cooked spook propaganda.

This doesn’t mean that everything Bellingcat publishes is entirely false. The best propaganda is generally a mixture of truth with half-truth, distortion, lies by omission and the removal of context and perspective. It just means it’s generally untrustworthy because it operates at the direction, knowingly or unknowingly, of sociopathic government agencies whose only interest is in domination and control.

If the term “information laundering” sounds familiar to you, it might be because you heard it used in the news, like during the George W. Bush administration when the inner circle of then Vice President Dick Cheney was leaking false claims about Iraq to The New York Times, “verifying” that information when contacted to confirm it, and then citing those false news reports when continuing to make the case for invasion.

The term might also sound familiar to you because information laundering was the subject of the much-ridiculed Mary Poppins jingle sung by notorious imperial narrative manager Nina Jankowicz, who also featured in The Grayzone report. Apparently Mason contacted Khan in outrage over a Consortium News piece disputing the official imperial Ukraine narrative and Khan reached out to Jankowicz for advice on what to do.

Jankowicz told Khan that Consortium was a case of “useful idiots rather than funding,” meaning it’s not paid by the Kremlin it just publishes things that empire managers don’t like. Khan then told Mason that there was a highly suspicious gap in Consortium News publications between 2005 and 2011, which, as Consortium Editor Joe Lauria explained in The Grayzone piece, was apparently the result of Khan not doing basic fact checking and not understanding how the internet works.


Sing it with me now:

“It’s how you hide a little, hide a little lie! It’s how you hide a little, hide a little lie!”

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar onPatreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone andWoke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Help Us Beat the Censors!

Donate to Consortium News’

2022 Spring Fund Drive

Donate securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:

17 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Paul Mason Says Bellingcat Launders Information for Western Intelligence

  1. michael888
    June 12, 2022 at 14:29

    The Establishment is no longer subtle. As anyone knows who has followed Ukraine’s recent history since at least the Maidan Coup of 2014, the Biden-supported “Nationalists” (white supremacists, neoNAZIs) have been a problem and a powerful force in US puppet state Ukraine since then: hxxps:// (Indirectly they contributed to the Christchurch shooter’s massacre, whose manifesto in turn influenced the recent Buffalo shooter; so Congress gives them $40 billion? Funding white supremacy?)

    However, officially “there are no NAZIs in Ukraine”. Just as with ISIS, the US always aligns with the most vile and reprehensible parts of society (Maybe the basic character flaw of American foreign policy?)

  2. LeoSun
    June 12, 2022 at 14:25

    “What’s your preference, slow-boiled or pan-fried?”

    HOW do, “We,” collectively, organize to effect a “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” against the wolves @ the door, Economic Warfare & Sanctions, executed on Independent “Online” Newsrooms, “anti-imperialist media outlets,” w/o being crushed?

    Like many people, I’ve emailed & phone called my State’s Senators, Governor, Mayor, Newspaper, Democrats, Republicans asking, “WHERE IS YOUR VOICE?”

    The Duopoly’s response is an “ask” for dough. NOT one email or phone call returned about Investigative Journalists’ “livelihood” being adversely affected by Economic Warfare & Sanctions, in effect!!!

    even tho’ their Home Page & Voice Mail boxes note, “will be answered.” Bull-$hit.

    I’m convinced, the Powers’ that Be email boxes have Rules written that “trash,” upon receipt, everything that opposes ‘the narrative,” fueled by operative words/phrases, Algorithms.

    “Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, when they come for you?”

    “For the benefit of the flowers, water the thorns, too.”

  3. Bubba Rogowski
    June 12, 2022 at 13:54

    Bellingcat is also sponsored by Adessium Foundation, that’s a Dutch secret service ‘investment’ company. Adessium co-sponsors journalist trainingcenters in Europe, the Dutch Ombudsman of the Public Broadcasting (its a woman Margo Smit) has her spiderweb in these journalist trainingcenters too.
    The West ‘thinks’ they have independent Journalists but they haven’t, so the journalist education is one way or another involved too.
    Wikispooks .com can tell you a bit about Adessium. Good Lucky with it.


  4. Black Cloud
    June 12, 2022 at 13:47

    A half-truth is the darkest of all lies. — Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  5. Curious
    June 11, 2022 at 17:33

    Re: Paul Mason

    Caitlin, I would suspect by now you have seen a George Galloway rebuttal to Pauls’ supposed ‘take down’ of GG in his graph.

    GG has an interesting take on Mason in his Wednesday night YouTube video from his home on June 8th. He references Masons’ Trotskyite years when George knew him years ago. Whatever one feels about Galloway doesn’t matter, but his retort to Paul Mason was interesting to hear.

    Also, if Bellingcat is still in bed with the Atlantic Council this would be reason enough to avoid anything Bellingcat says and ascribes to.

  6. Vincent ANDERSON
    June 11, 2022 at 16:50

    Great Clean-up hitter, CJ! Maybe a couple of puddles left to mop up. It is hard not to wander into psychiatric categories on this stuff. But it seems more desperate as Russia clearly gets the upper hand in battle. A couple of adds for your ‘Eliot Higgins just keeps popping up’ thesis….

    Such as this CBS Twitter snippet, with now deleted scene of Scott Pelley wandering thru an unidentified site:
    My counter-tweet advises readers to google ‘Bellingcat Syria fraud’ for hints on relevant Intent. Higgins’ various State connections certainly show Whose tool he is.

    Higgins also appears with Luke Harding, Guardian profiteer of his ‘insider’ chats with Julian Assange:

    Back to psycho- analysis. You cite Bellingcat’s links to ‘a steady stream of intel from western agencies,’ as Kit and Max note: ‘Khan…outlined two options for taking down The Grayzone: “some sort of clever John Oliver style stunt that makes them a laughing stock” – “or full nuclear legal to squeeze them financially.” Mason was enthused by the latter prospect, submitting that it should be “combined with relentless deplatforming,” including cutting off The Grayzone from donation sources such as PayPal, in the manner of Consortium News and MintPress, and setting up “a kind of permanent rebuttal operation.”

    ‘Taking down,’ squeeze,’ ‘stunt,’ ‘deplatforming’ etc. are clearly indicia of malevolent intent. While they may be psycho, they clearly are also capable of conscious effort. Not a courtroom defense!

  7. Bob In Portland
    June 11, 2022 at 15:19

    I first heard about Bellingcat following the shootdown of MH-17. It floated a story that Russia smuggled a BUK missile across the Russian border to shoot down an airliner, then snuck it back into Russia. Never mind that it was a Russian-made missile that was long ago taken out of Russian service, but that many former parts of the old USSR still had them, including Ukraine which had seventeen of these systems in the area. Lots of other lies were wrapped around it.

    That false flag was a carefully constructed incident for world consumption. Killing an airplane full of people in order to get the world to hate Russia and Putin, Putin, Putin.

  8. g. fogle
    June 11, 2022 at 14:07

    Find a Russian interpreter and listen to his speech to the young Russian entrepreneurs. Then decide who is the imperialist.

  9. Jethro Clampett
    June 11, 2022 at 01:00

    And “omissions” are really quite useful when you are convincing citizens to support fighters who have a picture of Adolf tatoo’d onto their arm.

    Most westerners are too ignorant to recognize old SS insignia, so that was an easier sell. But, when it comes to tatoos of the image of Adolf Hitler, the wise mind-control expert will often find that ‘omission’ is the best method.

    Which is why you probably aren’t seeing many pictures of the captives from Avozstal on western, capitalist media. They look a lot like the right-wingers you’ll meet on the street spraying bear mace at Black Lives Matter protesters, but tend to have more old German insignia tatoo’d onto them, and of course fewer Confederate battle flags.

    Even the last two brain cells of a Democrat might click together at seeing them, and spark to some unfortunate conclusions. So, omission is clearly the best policy. Followed by increased sedatives.

  10. Jethro Clampett
    June 11, 2022 at 00:44

    I got gray hair, so not only do I like the Gray Zone, (rimshot please), but back when I was young, there was a popular network TV show, where Jim Nabors played a hillbilly Marine recruit named Gomer Pyle. His signature line was to say “Surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE!”. Not at surprise parties, but more often as a punch line when the world turned out to be more crooked than a country boy would suspect, IIRC, which is doubtful as this was a long time ago.

    After regular exposure to this, and at a young, impressionable age, when I read this story’s headline about Bellingcat receiving taxpayer-funded, intel information, I heard Gomer’s voice loud and clear saying “Surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE!”.

    And yes, I am also shocked, shocked I say, about being told there is gambling in the back of Sam’s Place, located just off of downtown Casablanca.

    The only thing that actually surprises me a small bit is that there is a ‘transfer’ at all between British Intel and Bellingcat. I’d have thought that Bellingcat was really just a front put up by MI-6, and that there couldn’t be a ‘transfer’ because that requires two participants, and here there was only one. So, I guess I am a just a tiny bit surprised that Bellingcat is actually separate from MI-6.

    But, I guess in this modern world, someone is finding a way to scam someone else, or most likely and ultimately the taxpayers, and thus in the tradition of the Tailor of Panama, Bellingcat is running their own, independent get rich scheme. Surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE!

    • Piotr Berman
      June 12, 2022 at 08:50

      You committed an all too frequent fallacy that we tend to have when we discuss people we do not like: “They are all the same.” They may share characteristics that are important to you, but they may have sufficient differences to disparage, and at times, vociferously or even bloodily fight each other (GOP and Dems, for now, are at vociferous stage). Communication requires “information compression”, thus simplifications like “They are all the same” are useful, but one has to keep in mind that they are shortcut.

      Bellingcat is a quango, and MI-6 is a governmental organization. Pay scale, benefits, stability of the workplace (who can be fired at will?) are all different. Bellingcat is a subcontractor. At times, their paychecks may be higher, but who knows? they seem to be more like el cheapo outside workers, like a janitorial company contracted to avoid union wages and conditions. Surely they are disposable and out of decision loop. Yet someone has to decide what lies and speckles of truth should be disseminated, as a part of a larger plan.

      Some pieces of “the large plan” may be surprising, like the use of Deep State resources to remove Theresa May and build up Boris Johnson. It could be internal squabbling (as they are not exactly the same), or a logical plan to orchestrate British politics with a necessary and diverting assemble of tunes, principal characters, arias and recitation, an opera that could make Gilbert and Sullivan proud. Actually, a cycle of operas.

      However, the libretto is not cast in stone, especially the order of the scenes, times for minor despicable characters to be humiliated and executed and so on. Paul Mason, a minor good character, felt deeply offended by the Grayzone, and wanted to hasten the demise or at least humiliation/defunding of the Grayzone before the finale of the current comic opera, potentially ruining the quality of the plot.

  11. StandingOnYourHead
    June 10, 2022 at 12:09

    “Information laundering is really quite ferocious
    They’re laundering dis-info and we really should take note.”

    Not really they can’t even make rhyming sing-alongs and slogans for their target audience akin to:

    “Information laundering is really quite ferocious
    They’re laundering dis-info while being quite precocious.”

    • StandingOnYourHeadButMaybeSomeOthers
      June 11, 2022 at 09:04

      “Information laundering is really quite ferocious
      They’re laundering dis-info while being quite precocious.”

      Another rendition of wider application is:

      “Datastream analysis is really quite ferocious
      They’re “analysing” datastreams while being quite precocious.”

      thereby facilitating as an almost default iteration, various process of suspension bridge vibrations including:

      ““‘Useful Idiots’

      The amateurs often are of limited facility including perspective, and hence tend to limit perceived derogatory designations including “useful idiots” to others, thereby rendering themselves useful idiots, encouraging leaks by others and the contingent efforts of imagined “protections” against leaks and useful idiots, whilst “The United States of America” branch upon which they sit, are facilitated by useful idiots, which they seek to encourage through “perception management”.”

      perhaps simultaneously with it wasn’t me it was that devil Putin, my sister, the “intelligence” agencies,
      these Ukrainians, that comedian Zelinski, perhaps taking “exceptional measures” in hope of faites accomplis.

  12. StandingOnYourHead
    June 10, 2022 at 05:42

    ” lies by omission”

    Research suggests that omissions are better in catalysing efforts of the target to bridge doubt by belief to attain comfort/certainty on a “subliminal level”.

  13. jack johnson
    June 9, 2022 at 23:43

    Strange how this story syncs up with other independent journalists/contributors getting their PayPal and Venmo accounts shut down. The timing has to be a coincidence.

    Maybe they should feel fortunate, those on the frontlines reporting on the Ukraine war are targeted with death.

    • Philip Reed
      June 10, 2022 at 12:20

      I assume you’re referencing journalists like Eva Bartlett , Patrick Lancaster and Graham Phillips. Heroes all…

  14. d4l3d
    June 9, 2022 at 19:46

    They wouldn’t be making such blundering buffoonish noises if you IJs weren’t hitting a nerve, likely several simultaneously. All you have been around for how long and they’re just now getting around to you?

Comments are closed.