Piers Mellor and the Bellingcat Exposure

By Graham Phillips

A few days ago, I announced an event to be held in London, a charity event to raise funds for Donbass/ Novorossiya. After a hate campaign, online, calling the establishment with threats etc, by pro-Ukraine supporters, the venue due to be hosting the event cancelled due to security concerns.

Subsequent to this, I was contacted on Facebook by a friendly man, named Piers Mellor, offering advice on finding an alternate venue. I met Piers again today, at a nice little pro-Donbass/Novorossiya gathering in London. Even this small gathering had taken place against the backdrop of threats from the pro-Ukraine side.

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In the event, they didn’t materialise, everything passed off nicely, calmly, and I tweeted about it upon return. What happened next chiefly concerns Piers Mellor, pictured, the bald man with the ‘UK Stop Supplying Weapons to Ukraine’ placard – 1Don 1Don1

And Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, tweeting about me for several hours while keeping me at the disadvantage of having me blocked, due to an earlier disagreement, meaning I was unable to reply –

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Now Bellingcat are an agency perhaps best known for having, through incompetence or design, passed on, passed off, incorrect MH17 information – this on the MH17 Bellingcat piece written by Daniel Romein –

Checking on timeanddate.com using the visible time stamp also comes out as 19:23, not 18:23 as claimed. This is an error that is repeated in the Bellingcat report and indicates there were no internal checks at Bellingcat.

It continues –

The basic flaws in the Romein piece are

  • No provenance for the image files
  • Basic checks on authenticity not performed
  • Unjustified assumptions made from the checks they did do
  • Writing on areas completely outside their expertise – weather conditions, rocketry, satellite image interpretation, image forensics
  • Failure to use publically available data to verify the images
  • Failure to release image data to support their claims
  • Failure to have effective internal checks before publication

This analysis will show that the skills and methodology of the ‘Bellingcat Team’ fall way below any accepted standard, and in the process they may have caused destruction of evidence.

Bellingcat was started on 15th July 2014, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, just 2 days before the MH17 tragedy by Higgins, formerly known as Brown Moses, has a long track record for selling his ‘citizen journalist reports‘ to anyone willing to Eliot Higginspay. Who exactly pays is something Higgins has always been tight-lipped about, from 2013 he received a’£5,000 donation, which he says is from an anonymous source‘. Back when he called himself Brown Moses, Eliot, from South Wigston, near Leicester, the United Kingdom, was advertising what £250 could buy –

– The £100 reward, and a video blog dedicated to you, or an individual/organisation of your choice, with a 10 second dedication at the start and end of the video. Also, a note of personal thanks sent from me to you, as well as inclusion on the page of thanks. I reserve the right to exclude offensive organisations or individuals.

That ‘Diamond Moses’ well below the £1000 ‘Ultimate Moses’, how much Higgins can be ‘bought’, the subject of the argument between us which led to his blocking me back in January. That heated argument resulted from myself, who was in Mariupol on May 9th, reacting to the whitewashing report of Eliot’s Bellingcat by accusing that such a report, an ‘altered reality’ could only have been written at the behest of a paymaster with a vested interest. Higgins was unable to offer an alternative explanation to my satisfaction, blocked me, then tweeted

Here’s the article that sent Graham Phillips crazy – A Reconstruction of Clashes in Mariupol, Ukraine, 9 May 2014

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Back in 2013, before the war in Donbass, Eliot was covering the war in Syria, despite neither speaking the language, or ever having been there, as is the case with Ukraine/Donbass. He covered Syria, and covers Donbass as a ‘citizen blogger’, analysing video evidence, despite admitting to having no expertise in the sphere – ‘before the Arab spring I knew no more about weapons that the average Xbox owner. I had no knowledge beyond what I’d learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo’. In 2013, pre-Bellingcat, Higgins, who dropped out of a media studies course at university before being employed as a finance and admin worker prior to his being made redundant, would try to sell his findings on. As this leaked conversation with one Matthew VanDyke (of whom more later), from 2013, shows, Higgins was always touting for work –

‘I’m trying to get some full time employment with a NGO, currently I’m doing part time work for HRW on cluster munitions’

In this conversation, Higgins refers to an invitation from a ‘counter terrorism’ company which may lead to a job, with a company named Allen Vanguard. In our Twitter conversation, Higgins stated – yes, they offered me the job as an analyst but said I had to give up the blog, so I said no. I’ve spoken about it in interviews – however, when pressed on facts, Higgins is evasive, quick to take recourse in abuse – (from tweet dialogue, March 15th) –

you’re awfully slow, as I said I didn’t accept their job offer, can I make it any simpler for you?

even spoke about it in my New Yorker interview, so much for research, eh Graham? t.co/zOriburNI9

those are two unrelated events, I never worked for Allen Vanguard as I said. Not very good journalism, Graham, must try harder

and – you do realise not everyone believes everything they are told without doing some fact checking first?

A pertinent point raised by Higgins, especially in light of his earlier tweets today, which came after pictures of Piers Mellor circulated, then pro-Ukrainians sent them onto Eliot on Twitter, accusing Mellor of being ‘far right’, ‘neo-Nazi’ etc.

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Eliot was quick to take the photos, come out with

Turns out one of @GrahamWP_UK fellow attendees at today’s Donbass protest is the far right’s Pier Mellor, oops

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Eliot, warming to the theme, went on to post numerous tweets in this vein, taking delight (as many on the pro-Ukraine side did) in my own opposition to the neo-Nazism of the Ukrainian forces and now apparent consorting with a ‘neo-Nazi’ at a meeting in support of Donbass, in the UK –

I wonder if Mellor (pictured below) nodded politely when @GrahamWP_UK told him about those awful Ukrainian fascists?

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An article extensively circulated in the debate, referenced (retweeted) by Higgins, on a site called ‘Hope Not Hate’, under the title ‘The nazi law man‘ , from October 2014, referenced Mellor’s alleged numerous ‘nazi’ connections, it must be said without listing references, links, just 2 photos of Mellor – one with Der Stürmer – a Greek band with Nazi ideology, another with controversial Holocaust ‘revisionist’ David Irving.

So, what’s the real story with Piers Mellor? To give you the basics before politics on him – almost 36, from Perth, Western Australia, in London since 2008, Business Development Manager for a law firm. Piers and myself chatted in person for a few minutes about general subjects at the good-natured demo, then parted ways. He seemed a perfectly nice, polite man, said or did nothing untoward. Of course, I was surprised to read these things about him, so via Facebook, I brought the matter to his attention, asked for his side of the story –

GPwhat’s the deal here?

PMBasically it’s due to the fact I once organized a black metal concert (in 2012) with a Greek band linked to Golden Dawn (far-right / neo-Nazi Greek party).

GP – what about all this linking of you to far-right groups?
http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/nick/the-nazi-law-man-4034

PMThe thing is, I’ve never actually been a member of any of the groups they mention in that article.
i need to issue some sort of statement on it
but not get bogged down in it
David Irving etc

OK, the photo of me with the Greeks is from that concert I mentioned, the pic with Irving is from a talk he held. He is an important historian of the WWII, to call him a “holocaust denier” is not accurate.

He doesn’t deny that mass murder of Jews etc took place.

GPand your links to far-right groups in the UK?
EDL etc?

PM – I’ve never been a member of the EDL, I was involved with the BNP circa 6 years ago.

Since then my views have changed on many subjects.

GPwhen was the last time you went to a far-right demo?

PMThing is I was never a member of any of the groups mentioned on HnH, I admittedly was a member of the BNP but never stood as a candidate or anything.

GPare you a member of any groups now?

PM – No I’m not a member of anything now.

GPand last time you went to a far-right demo?
position on fascism?

PM – Tbh I went to a demo connected to Golden Dawn year before last, it was just because of some people I knew who were organizing though. I think fascism died in 1945 and today sits in the dustbin of history along with other statist ideologies!

GPwhy do you support Novorossiya?

PM – I support Novorossiya as I think they are at the forefront of the struggle against the US-led, globalized world order. I also have strong personal sympathies for Russia, I train in Russian martial art Systema for some years, also my long term ex-girlfriend is a Russian from Estonia.

GPthe story behind this photo?

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PMThat’s a Saxon fylfot! It’s not a swastika! We actually got pelted with missiles that day by EDL members!  I’m a practitioner of Norse pagan religion hence the fylfot symbol.

Well I think it’s to be expected when you take a stand against the New World Order – they try to cut you however they can.

GP – how have your views changed?
what changed them?

PM – Well, I got disillusioned with the far-right movement partially because so many people involved were the total opposite of the ideals they claimed to represent.

Well, my views are that no part of one’s life is wholly positive or negative. It’s all part of a learning curve.

GPare you into football?
what team?

PM – Yes mate I follow Chelsea.

GP – are you a football hooligan or so btw?
what is your football participation?

PMI have had those connections in the past, not today.

GPwhat about your being at a White Power event? (speculation online had linked Mellor to this)

PM – “White power event”, meaning the Steadfast thing? It wasn’t in any way a “white power event”… we were all having a laugh remembering things we were involved with back in the day. Some reporter covered it as if we were a bunch of extremists on the verge of bringing down the government.

GPyour support for Golden Dawn? 

PM – I supported them because I believed they are a party that stands for ordinary Greek people against the international bankers and EU-bureaucrats.
Golden Dawn have always opposed Pravy Sektor and supported Novorossiya since these things started, BTW.

GPbtw, has Eliot Higgins contacted you today?

PMNo he hasn’t. Who is he, btw?

Higgins was not only aware of Mellor, but aware of his actual Facebook account – tweeting that I had ‘friended’ Mellor –

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Higgins, on Facebook himself, made no effort to contact Mellor, no effort to ask his side of the story. I friended Mellor specifically for that purpose, to ask his side of the story. Any proper journalist should do that, get both sides, yet Higgins has never really hidden his taking sides, his ‘Facebook friends, like you are with Piers Mellor‘ refers to his own friendship with Matthew VanDyke, an American sometime journalist most noted for becoming a combatant in the Libyan civil war, then openly assisting in the Syrian uprising against Bashar-al-Assad in 2012. In leaked dialogue, VanDyke infamously asserted that it would be acceptable for the rebels to kill children, if it led to US intervention.

It’s clear they were much more than ‘Facebook friends’ from the matey exchanges between the two, as they discuss variously getting work (the two actually have a ‘mutual donor – one Anthony Salvo), and the most notorious incident, where Higgins agrees to suppress information that the rebels had chemical weapons, were behind chemical weapon attacks on Aleppo which had killed civilians. Higgins, working for HRW, continued to maintain it was the Syrian government, despite being aware of this. When pressed on this in our Twitter conversation, Higgins was evasive –

as I said, it was an off the record claim with no evidence when other incorrect claims were being made on CW regularly

Graham, I know this must seem all new and exciting to you, but this has been well covered by other nuts & conspiracy theorists

Higgins, who went so far as to post a photo of Mellor’s bookshelf, then launched into an attack on myself, repeatedly asking me to ‘@GrahamWP_UK do you reject the far right political views of your new friend Piers Mellor?’

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I didn’t answer these, because I wanted to speak to Piers to confirm just what those views are. To ask for his side, something Eliot never did. I’m a person, journalist, opposed to far-right politics, extremism, neo-Nazism, on every level. I believe politics must be defined by intelligence, tolerance, respect.

To accuse someone of being ‘far right’, a ‘neo-Nazi’, extremely serious allegations, without adequate verification is unprofessional, sloppy, shoddy work. The photos of Piers don’t look good, but there’s a story behind every photo worth asking, even essential to ask, if you’re a professional journalist.

I would say Piers has made some poor decisions in the company he keeps, the banners he has been photographed with, certain of his previous choices, affiliations. Yet the story, his story, is clearly far more complex than the simplistic, sloganistic branding of him as ‘far right’, ‘neo-Nazi’ etc.

I don’t support the choices Piers made before I met him, but do support the choice he has made in getting involved with the Donbass/Novorossiya movement, giving his time, effort, as a volunteer, to bring attention to the plight of civilians in that war-torn area.

He has expressed to me, as above, the severing of ties with the far-right, the changing of his views to come round to his current position, where he now stands against the multiple far-right, neo-Nazi groups on the Ukrainian side, even the widely pro-Ukraine Daily Telegraph has written of that.

There was something very interesting about the Ukrainian reaction, the way they seized on this story, as Ukrainian journalist Mikhail Golub tweeted ‘bald propagandist @GrahamWP_UK arranges a meeting in Britain of local fascists‘.

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In this glee, an admission on the Ukrainian side of the ‘fascist’ elements on their own side, a desire for decisive deflection. I’ve covered the Ukraine side for over a year, interviewed Ukrainian soldiers, interviewed civilians who described Ukrainian soldiers with swastikas, challenged Ukrainian soldiers on far-right views.

Higgins hasn’t done any of this. He’s sat at home writing what he’s been paid to write by sources he refuses to reveal. Recently, on Bellingcat, as well as any number of ‘the Russians did it’ MH17 articles, that exoneration of Ukrainian soldiers for their part in events in Mariupol on May 9th, 2014, where the far-right Azov Battalion entered the city, opened fire on unarmed civilians. In the words of Higgins’ Bellingcat, they were ‘restrained’.

But, why, with his supposed desire to work ‘16 hours a day‘ did Higgins spend so much time picking on Mellor? To have a go at myself, a vocal opponent of his, and Bellingcat. But in doing so, in writing this, more on Eliot Higgins, and Bellingcat, was illuminated than I could ever have asked for –

he suppresses information for money (the Syrian rebels chemical weapons information wouldn’t have fitted with the position of Higgins’ employer HRW, so he sat on it)

he takes sides (close friends with Matthew VanDyke, who never even pretended not to take sides)

he doesn’t do research (shoddy MH17 allegations, and in this case of Mellor, with access to him on Facebook just as I, didn’t even contact the man before launching an online smear campaign)

he doesn’t cover both sides of the story (you could actually cite any Bellingcat article for this, but let’s just take Mellor, clearly a man with a problematic past, but one much more complicated than the one side Higgins spent all evening thrusting)

– he shuts up when he’s got no answer –

My question in return @EliotHiggins – did you try to speak to Piers to establish the background, story behind these photos?

If not @EliotHiggins then is it standard practice of yours not to do any research / ask the subject, before making allegations?

Or @EliotHiggins – did you take a few photos sent to you by people with clear bias, and do no research or investigation at all?

And then @EliotHiggins launch an attack on a man, to attack me, without properly verifying or supporting your claims?

From an answer from Higgins every couple of minutes, to a now 4.5 hour wait –

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A proper journalist, or even blogger, always researches, covers both sides of a story. A decent human being gives a person the right to reply before attacking them. Eliot Higgins is neither. He’s a paid liar-for-hire. A falsifier. A coward hiding behind a keyboard who abandons even that when confronted with inconvenient questions.

18 thoughts on “Piers Mellor and the Bellingcat Exposure”

  1. Good work Graham … those puerile accusations did need a reply of sorts.

    Other than that, I wouldn’t waste any more sleep over him. The couch-bound warrior that he is has already done enough to completely discredit himself with anyone that matters.

    The only people left that give him any credence are publications such as ‘The Guardian’, or ‘The Washington Post’, and seriously … with his only remaining friends like that … its not like he has a future in journalism or anything.

    Much bigger fish out there to fry mate.

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    1. Just an FYI, in Colchester June 2014 I saw him perform a Nazi salute with Stampton. His group then started violence and ended up assaulting 3 women. He refused to act as a witness because then his friends would get in trouble. I previously considered him an OK guy before that.

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  2. Although I understand your need for clarification, I believe you are giving that dullard more words than he is worth. He’s obviously a “know nothing”, cut and paste cretin who formulates opinions based upon bits and pieces.

    In regards to Piers Mellor, I am less concerned about people’s backgrounds and their past as I am convinced that we are on the edge of a turning point in history. Many of us from different backgrounds have come together in support of Novorossiya. Some from the right, some from the left, and some that never really cared about anything until this event struck them in the face. I will be quite dismayed if this ends up getting hijacked by antifas or some other less than savory group.

    The spirit of DPR and LPR is one of self determination and freedom. If the road someone took in life led them to join the NF or be a communist, I am not concerned as long as we are on the same page moving forward. These are quickly changing times and I’ve seen many people find or reveal themselves lately. Let’s try not to get too wrapped up in who was EDL or whatever ten years ago. As long as we avoid being hijacked from within, history will be on our side.

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    1. Are you SERIOUS Graham..??!! TOTAL fail.

      You think you can deflect this whole thing by turning it into an attack on Higgins’ credentials and “fact-checking”, “serious” journalism ??

      Do you realise what you have admitted and claimed ?

      We are supposed to believe that you – a self proclaimed serious journalist, who admits to fears about his security in the UK – accepted advice from a “friendly man”, that you had never met or heard of, about where to hold your (12 PERSON !!!) demo – not from some phone call, or Tweet, etc – but ON FACEBOOK…!! With a facebook page showing enough to the general public to give a clear indication of what his views MIGHT be, and at the VERY LEAST enough to prompt serious enquiries from anyone, but ESPECIALLY from you – and you want us to believe that you never even CHECKED THE PAGE of this “friendly” unknown person giving you info on where to hold your security-conscious demo..??!??

      Graham if that is not just out and out lying, then it is incompetence and JOURNALISTIC FAIL that you couldn’t even make up.
      Either way you lose completely, and only (as usual) dig yourself deeper into the mud in the eyes of anyone with half a brain.

      The only thing you could hold on to was the fact that it was Higgins flagging this up, and try to distract from the facts by attracking him.
      But mate – it DONT WORK. Only makes things more laughable.

      And Ernest Raft – I should open your eyes. It already is and always has been infiltrated and supported by the types you claim not to want. Changing names or moving group to group doesn’t mean much. Such people learn they need secrecy to function.

      There are more “facist” and supremacist groups at work in Russia and “Novorossiya” than in Ukraine. They are just more clever at hiding, and have plenty of tacit and not-so-tacit support from the state. Open the eyes.

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  3. Reality check people! You are talking about a man (Higgins) that has, at every turn, tried to prevent his “work” being scrutinised by experts & science and when experts & science have looked they have been unimpressed, to say the least. From an ex Un Weapons Inspector (Richard Lloyd) to an MIT professor (Ted Postol) to a Cranfield Forensic Institute weapons expert ( Stephen Johnson), to name a few, each time they have rubbished Higgins’ work.

    Higgins himself has acknowledged suppressing information that rebels had chemical weapons (in Syria) and has acknowledged receiving money for advertising from a pro-extremist Syrian group. This in and of itself draws a line under any claim he is impartial in the Syrian affair. He as also praised himself for being quoted by the US imposed government in Kiev and for appearing in the Kiev Post (an anti-Russian propaganda mouthpiece). He has not ONCE questioned the US/western interference in the affairs of either Syria or Ukraine but has, at great length, drafted conspiracy theories targeting any government that is not a friend of NATO. A cursory glance at the event log of BellingCat will prove my claims herein.

    So he isn’t impartial. And less than year ago this ex ladies underwear salesman was unemployed and by his own admission was not an expert in anything. Yet today he claims he is “an academic”though by his own admission he has no qualifications. He claims he is having his work “peer reviewed” and given that his “peers” must also be unqualified, uneducated and inexperienced – one can only guess what they will be subjected to. A quick look at each of his BellingCat articles will reveal how very little debate goes on within the comments section of his articles, sometimes not a single comment appears! How can this be when his writings appear in the MSM? One could easily expect quite a bit of chatter given his controversial claims. Yet at best maybe 8 comments appear within these heated subjects areas. how is this? Well it can be easily explained given that a source close to Higgins confirmed that he (Higgins) was “schooled” in how to deal with “debates….relating to his material and how to control them”. This source confirmed to me that this happened around the time he was “paid” to report on the Sarin attack in Syria. Therefore Higgins stopped participating in online forums under his real name in which he could not control the debate. He continued under pseudonyms however.

    He would only respond to comments regarding his work on his own platform (blog) following his “schooling”. This way he could control the debate (another words censor it). This is why Higgins only always posts that support his work or that are just down right crazy to appear to be ‘fair’. Try and post a response that questions any of his work and it won’t appear.

    Until Higgins offers his work to experts to be independently verified he will remain at best a dubious biased source of information. When all else fails, we should use common sense. It just isn’t plausible that an ex ladies underwear salesman, with no qualifications, no relevant experience, who was a compulsive online gamer, who was a say at home dad whilst his wife went to work can, within a year, become “an expert” in weapons, warfare and geolocation without ever leaving his house. To suddenly appear in the MSM, have pieces written about him in major publications and be the ‘go to guy’ for all things anti-Russian. Think about it. Seriously, think about it. Does that even sound plausible? You decide.

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  4. You can usually measure a person’s worth by the number and calibre of enemies they have. Brian Deer’s campaigning against Andrew Wakefield, and Ben Goldacre’s attacks on Patrick Holford come to mind as two examples. And your pictures speak more than a million words from your opponents ever could.

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  5. Long Story Short: A member of the British Fascists Party, who supports Nazis in Greek and Novorossija can’t be a Nazi, becaue he is a prorussian guy. And Svastikas aren’t Svastikas anymore, when they are used by Brtitish totally Non-Nazis. And it’s all Elliot Higgins Fault, that Graham Philipps now has to defend a British Nazi who is absolutely not a Nazi.

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    1. Eliot is an outright fantasist..he was adamant the badly photo-shopped buk in donetsk which somehow “verified”by paris match was fired at mh17 from just east of torez ..However once i pointed out that this area is an open coalmine and is the source of the smoke trail he changed the launch site to saur mogila. This is just making a bad situation even worse for his story as saur mogila was the scene of a large battle and not one ukrainian soldier ever said that they seen a buk fired from saur mogila

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      1. The veracity of Higgins’ work, which has been the subject of EVERY known opinion, is a COMPLETE RED HERRING here, and its unfortunate that Higgins was one of the first to flag up the Piers Mellor issue [personally, I was still taking in the total of 12 people and 5 tailors’ dummies at the “demo”] – as it gave Phillips a perfect red herring to jump onto and run with, something he does regularly when awkward questions or points are posed.

        That was done to avoid the real issue of course:
        Which is, why was this “serious journalist”, who loves criticising others for supposed lack of research or fact-checking, quite happy to take advice from a complete stranger on where to hold his Demo, (and at a time when talking of threats to his person) – without doing ANY checking on who this person WAS – even though, by his own admission, he was MESSAGED THROUGH FACEBOOK, from someone with more than enough publically available material on his page to AT LEAST raise questions immediately.

        Unless, of course, he was perfectly aware of who this person was.

        But if he wasn’t that, and he didn’t check up –
        then what the hell is he doing telling others about “fact and source checking” ?!?! Total and utter nonsense. Either way, he is just digging a deeper and deeper hole, but I’m sure his fan club will barely notice through their “We Love Graham” spectacles.

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