World Cup 2018: Information War against Russia, Game ON!!

In less than a year, Russia will host the 21st FIFA World Cup. The eyes of the world will be upon Russia.

So, what’s the western media of the world doing? Of course, long before the first whistle is even blown, they’re sticking the boot right into Russia:

July of 2017 has the New York Post blaring:  FIFA’s rewarding bad actors by letting Russia and Qatar host World Cups, in an article which goes on to tear into Russia from every conceivable angle.

Screenshot (2714)The same month has the Economist blasting: The cost overruns on Russia’s World Cup stadiums are staggering – They have become a symbol of corruption under Putin’s rule

That article goes on to similarly rip into Russia, including the line ‘Western newspapers report that the builders made extensive use of forced labour by North Korean workers.’ Well, that’s authoritive then, ‘western newspapers’.

March had the Sun coming out withTHUG ARMY  Russian footie hooligan ringleaders warn England fans could be KILLED at Russia 2018 World Cup after Euro 2016 violence

One gang leader reportedly warned: “You think it was bad in France – wait until Russia. This is our home fixture”

The Daily Mail joined the offensive with‘If you thought France was bad, wait until the World Cup’: Russian football ultras warn England fans they could be KILLED at 2018 tournament in a repeat of Marseille violence last summer.

Screenshot (1302)What’s the UK government’s position on the World Cup 2018, by the way? Well, we can discern that by looking at the documentary the BBC came out with in February about the ‘secret world of Russia football hooligans‘, and all the predictable ‘scary men in masks’ that went with that, and a raft of other articles on the theme. The Sun carry the party line forward with their article of the other day based on a convenient ‘freedom of information request, to the Foreign Office’. HARD SELL – Chiefs at the Foreign Office believe the 2018 Russian World Cup will flop because of the country’s football yobs

There’s always doping to fall back on, of course, as in June we read: The drug squad: The Mail on Sunday reveals every member of Russia’s World Cup team is under investigation in a doping probe that shames football

That this claim was actually branded as ‘nonsense’ is something the western media weren’t quite so keen to impart.

But if, piercing this wall of negativity, some positive perceptions about Russia, or Russia western mediaRussia’s hosting of the World Cup 2018 may penetrate, there’s to stamp that out is the fall-back (Daily Mail, June 2017): Russia is ready for the World Cup that it desperately can’t afford – £20bn has been spent but there are still pitfalls

Ie, a western journalist goes to Russia, takes a few photos of things in a poor state, and frames it all in the context of ‘so, ok, the World Cup may be ok, but all the money spent on the stadiums means the rest of the country’s in ‘crisis’.

In the western media, the result of the World Cup in Russia, 2018, has already been decided – a home loss. And they’re going to do everything possible to make sure that comes to pass…

The Sunday Times today: How they Faked News: Exclusive

A little while ago, I was contacted by the Sunday Times to give comments on my involvement in the Anna Ziuzina / Barry Pring case. I don’t trust the Sunday Times, or their ‘journalist’ James Gillespie – just a standard western prostitute of the press, and it was clear they had already decided the narrative of their article.

I was sure that Gillespie (pictured) would simply take the parts of my answers which suited his pre-set script, so this is how I replied – we’ll have a look at it, then the Sunday Times fake news.

My reply in full: 

Thanks James, sorry I was just busy and didn’t get around to it, am out of the country now in any case. Let me answer these for you – please either publish my answers to all your questions, in full, or do not include or mention me in your article at all. If you edit or abridge any of my answers below, you will accept a claim of £100,000 damages against the Sunday Times for misrepresentation, and defamation of character. I will donate this all to a children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass.

Just to be clear, James – your publishing anything apart from everything I have written to you below accepts liability from Sunday Times to pay £100,000 to a children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass – of which I will give you full details. I will not benefit from this transaction in any way, the funds will be transferred directly to the children’s home.

All my answers are below. If you misrepresent me, I will publish them in full, for public record, in addition to the above damages.

On 27 July 2017 at 22:51, Gillespie, James;james.gillespie@sunday-times.co.uk>

Hi Graham,

Sorry we haven’t been able to speak, I guess you’re busy.
I’m writing a piece for the paper on Sunday about the Barry Pring inquest, specifically focussing on how flawed the hearing was. As you know the verdict was quashed in the High Court and a new inquest ordered.

It’s a bit strange you’re writing this six months after the event. And you are leading with a deliberately biased narrative. Who has paid you to write this? It sounds a lot like the narrative the Ziuzina family pay their lawyers and representatives to circulate…

Part of the reason for this finding was that the coroner had allowed “hearsay evidence” including your written and verbal accounts.
I just wanted to give you the chance to have your say about those findings.
Do you accept that the material you gave was “hearsay” and not based on proven facts?

My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The coroner’s ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths, which I set out in a letter of the time. The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed – this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations. And you can call my evidence ‘hearsay’, but not one part of it was disproved, whereas I disproved the entire basis for the ‘quashing’, in my document of the time.

What evidence do you have for your claims that Ganna Ziuzina was involved in her husband’s death?

The evidence presented in my 58-page report, fulsomely praised by the coroner at the time, after she had been in possession of it for around 4 years, and studied it extensively in that time. Yet in one month, something suddenly happened to change that, and then it was ‘hearsay’. The coroner’s verdict, concrete at the time, was clearly compromised by external UK ‘interests’.

Why has your book on the case been withdrawn from sale?

Because Amazon do withdraw books when they are aggressively threatened by expensive lawyers, as Ziuzina did here.

Do you maintain that the evidence you gave to the inquest was true and accurate?

You’re repeating yourself here, all answered above. In any case, absolutely true and accurate.

Do you accept that you are known as an opponent of the Ukrainian government?

I’m an opponent of anyone who tells lies.

Will you seek to give evidence at any future inquest into Mr Pring’s death?
What kind of facile, wantonly (trying to be) provocative questions are these? If I’m asked by the coroner, I’l (sic) give evidence. If not, then I won’t. There isn’t an ‘open questions’ part of an inquest…
The Anna Ziuzina / Barry Pring inquest verdict was overturned because it was inconvenient for the UK government’s position on Ukraine. Look out for my further videos and reportage on the theme, all entirely factual, truthful, accurate, as all my work.
 

Best, Graham

Sunday Times today: (my comments in bold)

Crucially, the coroner admitted she had not realised there was an alleged commercial interest of a “witness who provided hearsay evidence”, a reference to Graham Phillips, 38, a vlogger — video blogger — who described himself at the inquest as an “investigative journalist” and who had written a book on the case.

So the Sunday Times have clearly just picked a term to belittle me ‘vlogger’, and the second is just a lie – I didn’t describe myself as an ‘investigative journalist’ at the inquest, the coroner herself did. (I describe myself as always, a journalist.)

The book has been withdrawn from sale after legal warnings of defamation but the material formed a central part of the evidence at the inquest.

There is also another element to Phillips’s work. He often reports on the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and is known for his pro-Russian views and opposition to Ukrainian authorities.

The BBC reported last week that from 2014 to 2015 Phillips was employed by Zvezda, a media channel run by the Russian defence ministry, and freelanced for the state-operated television network RT.

Again, the Sunday Times just selecting perceived negative aspects of my work to attack me. Any chance of something neutral to form a balanced picture? Of course not – this is a hit piece, just like the BBC’s was. 

In May 2014 Phillips was banned from entering Ukraine for three years on the grounds of “national security”. The Ukrainian government even took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to the UK condemning Phillips’s actions.

Just more negative about me, just in case you may have entertained any other notion, going into the ‘business part’. 

Apart from her lack of knowledge about Phillips’s activities, Earland also admitted she did not realise that hailing private cars in Ukraine rather than booking a taxi was a regular sight in the location where Pring was killed.

“Both strands of evidence are material and relevant and raise the potential of a different inquest conclusion being reached,” court documents record.

So you mean the coroner has claimed, or the Sunday Times are claiming, that in the 9 years the coroner had to work on this case, she didn’t do one Google search about me? A Google search would have thrown up all of the above negatives of the Sunday Times, because that’s what the western press do – write negative things about me, to attempt to discredit my work, because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

However, the coroner would have also found some ‘non-negative’ information – that I’m the journalist who has reported on the Ukraine crisis, then war in Donbass from the start. Thousands of videos, real reportage from the scene, first to the scene, risking my life to bring the truth, showing both sides.

And there are entire parts of my work which have nothing to do with ‘Ukraine’, for example my extensive Brexit reportage.

As for the nonsense about ‘hailing private cars’ I wrote of that yesterday even.Ziuzina with her new husband Ivan Lister, a Briton. She is now living in Spain

Which is exactly what Ziuzina wants. She is now living with a new husband, British businessman Ivan Lister, 48, in Spain and uses the name Julianne Moore.

“Despite the fact that I was the only witness to what happened, I was not told about the hearing,” she said in a Ukrainian newspaper. She also said reports that she had refused to give evidence were a lie and “the main witness of my ‘accusation’ was the famous pro-Russian propagandist and blogger Graham Phillips”.

She added: “For me, the death of my husband was a tremendous shock. Twice I went to a psychiatric hospital. Then there was a long way to rehabilitation, including being on antidepressants.”

Asked if she knew what had happened, she replied: “Whether he had enemies, I do not know. I can only say one thing: I am not involved in the death of Barry.”

All of this, of course Ziuzina’s side, sympathetic photo of her (but a key detail, see below), and having a go at me again. 

Phillips is still convinced she was involved. Approached by The Sunday Times, he accused the newspaper of being biased and said: “Who has paid you to write this?” He demanded £100,000 if all his answers to questions were not published in full, saying he would donate the money to a children’s home in Ukraine.

As above, I did indeed ‘demand’ £100,000, as above, to help the children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass, which I have been helping for a long time. I knew the Sunday Times would lie, as they indeed did, so wanted to give the opportunity that something good may come from their deceit. 

“My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The . . . ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths . . . The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed — this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations.”

Ok, so here’s what they’ve missed out from my answers, in bold: 

It’s a bit strange you’re writing this six months after the event. And you are leading with a deliberately biased narrative. Who has paid you to write this? It sounds a lot like the narrative the Ziuzina family pay their lawyers and representatives to circulate…

My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The coroner’s ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths, which I set out in a letter of the time. The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed – this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations. And you can call my evidence ‘hearsay’, but not one part of it was disproved, whereas I disproved the entire basis for the ‘quashing’, in my document of the time.

He said his book had been withdrawn for sale on Amazon because the website had been “aggressively threatened by expensive lawyers” and accused this newspaper of asking “facile, wantonly (trying to be) provocative questions”.

And so what else been missed out? A lot. It was a Sunday Times ‘pick n’ mix’ of what suited them. Nowhere to be seen, my answer to the question about my being an ‘opponent of the Ukrainian government’ –

I’m an opponent of anyone who tells lies.

Other answers, they’ve picked and chosen from, but they’ve completely ommitted all of this –

The evidence presented in my 58-page report, fulsomely praised by the coroner at the time, after she had been in possession of it for around 4 years, and studied it extensively in that time. Yet in one month, something suddenly happened to change that, and then it was ‘hearsay’. The coroner’s verdict, concrete at the time, was clearly compromised by external UK ‘interests’. 

When told The Sunday Times could not agree to his demand for £100,000 Phillips said he withdrew his comments.

The Sunday Times lawyer, Kirsty Howarth, had contacted me:

Your email exchanges with James Gillespie have been passed on to me. Your comments will be taken into account and fairly represented in any article.  They will not be published in full and there is no basis for any suggestion that The Sunday Times would then have to pay £100,000.

And I’d replied: 

I gave my comments exclusively on the basis they would be published in full. If not, I revoke all permission to use them, and the Sunday Times will therefore accept my claim for liability, defamation, misrepresentation, as previously stated, if they use part of them, incurring the stated amount, a charitable donation for Donbass.

Graham

And we go from there. Lies, fake news, misrepresentation from the Sunday Times, as I knew it would be. I wrote on the theme yesterday here. 


And an absolutely key point here: 
A spokesman for the chief coroner said: “The High Court has ordered that the chief coroner should arrange for the fresh inquest to be heard by a different coroner.” Earland and Ziuzina declined to comment.

So they didn’t even have an interview with Ziuzina?? They just republished her remarks from a months-old interview in Ukrainian media?? All her comments are taken from this interview, April 1st… 

So, a months-old interview with Ziuzina dug up, dressed up as ‘journalism’ in the Sunday Times, to further aid the UK government’s position (that it all just goes away so as not to cause problems), and adds to the recent attacks on me by UK media…. welcome to the world of our ‘great British press’…

I’ll look at the legal options to see if this time, something good may come out of more Sunday Times lies and fake news.

Western Media Reaction to Victory Days in Donbass

Recent Victory Days in Donbass saw mass turnouts, I filmed in Lugansk where there were around 100,000 people celebrating, amazing entertainment, a concert, and more. 

What was the western media’s reaction to this, mass display of patriotism? Well, beginning with the Atlantic Council funded site Medium, the Atlantic Council itself, funded by western governments – and even Ukraine itself – to promote western, in this case pro-Ukrainian propaganda, it was universally negative.

All they could find to do was pore over the military equipment on display, attemping to connect it all to Russia, in various ways. 

That pumped on into other western media, with Yahoo News, reporting from AFP, declaring Ukraine rebels roll out banned tanks on WWII Victory Day in an article which put great weight on that supposed feature, and only grudgingly, casting the shadow of the Kremlin, mentioned the support shown by locals for the day.

It’s indeed ironic that the western media has absolutely ignored the constant violations of the Minsk agreement by Ukrainain forces ongoing shelling of Donbass, but when a few military vehicles peacefully roll through streets in a traditional parade, it’s all uproar and ‘bad separatists’, ‘Kremlin’ all over…

All about my Medals, by Graham Phillips

I see a fair bit written that I got awarded a medal connected to Russia, supposedly meaning I’m an ‘FSB agent’ and that kind of thing.

Screenshot (58)It’s actually all just the ever mono-directional diatribe of those ‘pro-Ukrainians’ who’d love nothing more than to discredit my work on the purported basis that I have some sort of connection with Russia.

Well, I’d like to answer, and add to that. I have actually been awarded 4 medals for my journalism, and got them mounted today, to display at home, because of course I’m honoured that people have appreciated my work enough to bestow these symbols of recognition.

IMG_20160707_160233
So, from left, actually the above ‘FSB medal‘ in question, was my first, awarded Graham Phillips medalon March 1st 2015, in the town of Chekhov, by Moscow by a (non-state) group for Russian border guards. It was given to me by Pavel Hlyupin, former border guard, and a man I’d known for several months because of his humanitarian work in Donbass, presented in a local council room there, in a small ceremony.

The medal is conferred for ‘real assistance to Novorossiya‘ and reflects gratitude for my work there. Actually, at the time, I’d just left Donbass (Novorossiya the term used by some to mean that, and wider area), having been on the frontline covering the takeover of Debaltsevo – see here –

It was given as a gesture of appreciation, recognition of my, what had been a near 7-month uninterrupted stint of work in Donbass, starting back in the Lugansk blockade in August of 2014 – see here –

There’s no state significance to it, no official connection to any Russian organ. And I’m pretty sure that if Russia’s FSB give out medals of the sort this has been made out to be, they do so in Moscow, not a small town 70km south.

Anyway, it was a nice gesture, and I was pleased to accept it!

Graham LPR MedalFast forward to December 21st, and I was awarded the medal of ‘Merit’, 2nd order, by head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky. This one was a particular honour for me, as I’d been the only western journalist in Lugansk for almost a month in summer of 2014 as the city was under siege by Ukrainian forces, without water, electricity, phone signal, little food, under constant shelling. 

On February 5th, in St Petersburg, I was given the Dmitry Karbyshev medal of military journalism (pictured), this coming at the time when I’d left Donbass, after another Graham Phillips medal Russialong spell there, and was in St Petersburg working on my film ‘Aramis’.

March 24th, back in Lugansk, I was given another award for my Lugansk work ‘from the grateful people of Lugansk’, from the International Community Fund ‘Commandarm‘.

So, there we go! Now, there’s no question that my awards orientate from a Russian, Lugansk Republic direction. However, it’s been these states which have recognised my work – the western media haven’t wanted to show my documentation of Ukrainian shelling, and more, so the western world mostly isn’t aware of my 4000+ video reports.

But none of them have any connection whatsoever to the Russian state. In any case, you can hardly choose who gives you awards. I don’t go ‘chasing medals’, but of course, it’s gratifying when someone values your work, and nice to have a tangible symbol of that. My policy is – accept the medal, be proud of it, but never let it affect, or have any bearing on my work.

Anyway, I’m happy to have them mounted, and set the medal record straight here.

A Graham Newsletter (#1) Return to the UK, Referendum Reportage, More

Graham Phillips

Hello, this is the first in a series of short newsletters where I keep you updated on 1kids2what I’ve been up to, am up to, and what comes next. Also, as this is being published on the International Day for the Protection of Children, I’d like to take a moment to remember those children of Donbass, caught up in that terrible war, which should never have been. May no other children in the world see or go through what they have.

After over a year away, in Donbass, Russia, including Crimea, and (briefly) the Baltics, I returned to the UK last week, via a trip to the Donbass frontlines –

The last week I spent with family in Wales, and have now returned to London. Of course, some have said to me I should ‘return to Donbass‘ etc, and that’s very flattering, to have my work appreciated. But being back in the UK, home, I’ve felt things as they really are, spoken with people. Most people here simply don’t care about Donbass. And that’s not because they’re ‘bad people’, or so – it’s almost never on the news here. Marginalised to just another war (or even?) going on in a Graham Donbasscountry just distant enough to be distant.

All the work I’ve done from Donbass, for the last 2 years, the hundreds of reports from everywhere from frontlines, to homes hit by shelling, to concerts to festivals, simply hasn’t penetrated the information blockade. Of course, the main channels won’t show my work here, it doesn’t fit the narrative. And as for RT, who I still get associated with, I’d like to say firstly that I’ve had nothing to do with RT for a long time, and secondly, no one I know here would even think of watching RT.

So I can go back to Donbass, do the same again, the Russian, and a select western audience will know more about what they already know, and again no one (other than the select) in the west will notice. Or I can do reportage in the UK, and EU, to win a wider western audience, and take that audience with me to Donbass, Crimea, to bring the truth from there.

To that end, I’m working on a number of things. Ever more English subtitles on reportage. And I’m planning new reportage from the UK, and EU. I’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon for my UK Referendum reportage, which I’d like to be … unexpected, interesting. Of course, when it comes to the UK referendum, I have an open position in support of ‘Leave’, but I’ll put that to one Graham Phillips Aramisside to bring – with your help – objective, fresh reportage.

I’m going to put on a special film evening in London, showing the 2 films I’ve made in Donbass and Crimea – Aramis, and Crimea, Victory Day 2016, and in my time here be doing new reportage, from London, Europe.

Then, the next big project, as with all my work, fully crowdfunded, will be an MH17 documentary. I’m aiming for this to be the definitive MH17 documentary – based on extensive time on site, witnesses, expert analysis – completely independent, getting through all the myths, lies and misinformation to the truth of what happened.

So, there’s a lot ahead, a lot to do. It’s all to do, and I know we can do it all together. When you come back home, and I’ve been away for over a year, it’s an excellent opportunity for a reboot, to make some changes, and define how best to do things going forward. To this end, I’ve closed the Support Donbass Shop, but not before it made a big contribution to humanitarian aid in Donbass. Read all Graham Phillips journalistabout that here.

Look out for crowdunding campaigns coming soon, giving you a unique chance for involvement in these projects. And be sure I don’t measure involvement purely by finance – every share, repost etc of my work helps to get the truth to a wider audience. And those who do decide to make a financial pledge to make a project possible I consider as partners. To all of you, I’m always very grateful, and more than happy to chat, find me on Facebook here.

Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, Who is He? Everything You Need to Know…

This is part of the series, Who’s Who in Ukraine Propaganda (#3) 

Graham Phillips

In 2016, I’ll be returning to my country of the UK, and there’s a man I’d certainly like to meet for an interview. While I was working on the scene from the war in Eliot Higgins 2Donbass, Eliot Higgins, of Bellingcat, was the man sitting on a sofa taking, and manipulating, YouTube videos (including my own) of Donbass, MH17, Syria, using them to disseminate misinformation, lies, to the world.

However, he’s unlikely ever to agree to an interview with me, because, you see, Higgins, from the UK, born 1979, avoids sources who may raise uncomfortable questions much like critics have accused his work of avoiding basis in science, or fact (see below for more on that).

So, who exactly is Eliot Higgins? The man western media fawn over to the extent you may think it’s Eliot’s own mum writing the press, with headlines like ‘Putin’s Fullscreen capture 28022016 123353.bmpMH17 Nemesis‘ and ‘One-Man Intelligence Unit‘ (and that, enthusiastically promoted by the UK government in Ukraine, and not only them – US, Estonian government sources and more, open fans of his work).

Well, this is how a standard Eliot Higgins piece, and they are manifold, begins, in the western press – As rockets fell in Syria Eliot Higgins was asleep at his house 2,300 miles away, in Leicester. He woke a few hours later, roused his toddler daughter, Ela, and padded downstairs to make her porridge.’

That from the Telegraph, March 29th, 2014. Higgins affectionately portrayed as a kind of Winnie the Pooh meets a Beautiful Mind as he goes on to crack the enigma which had eluded the world etc etc.

Here, the Independent from January 18th, 2015 – 

Eliot Higgins 1‘Any of us can pause a YouTube video or find an old friend on Facebook. But only one man has used these simple online tools to expose the world’s darkest secrets. No wonder everyone from the police to Google wants a piece of the blogger from Leicester.’

Newsweek –  from June 2015 – 

‘Sipping a can of beer and devouring french fries in a Brussels hotel room, Eliot Higgins doesn’t look like the type to get involved in armed conflicts. The Englishman has a baby face, slumped shoulders and a soft Midlands accent. But over the past three years, the 36-year-old former administrator and obsessive gamer has spent hundreds of hours scouring the Internet to find out the truth about faraway wars – from the use of chemical weapons in Syria to Russian troops invading Ukraine – all from the comfort of his couch.’

But what if it’s not really like that, at all?

What if the ‘Founder of Bellingcat. Visiting research associate at King’s College London. Nonresident Senior Fellow – New Information Frontiers @AtlanticCouncil.‘ (his own Twitter description), isn’t really that?

Chauncey GardinerWhat if Eliot Higgins is, at best, a latter day Chauncey Gardiner , (pictured, the Peter Sellers character  from film ‘Being There’ who rose to success on the back of mental limitations mistaken for genius)? Or what if it’s even worse – what if Higgins is actually a liar, a faker, a fraud?

Let’s have a look at a 10 Higgins bullet-points –

Higgins is from Leicester in the UK, born in 1979, He never finished college, dropping out of the Southampton Institute of Higher Education. When asked for interview what he studied at university, his answer was , “Media . . . I think.”

He once worked as payments officer at a women’s underwear company. (“I’m more interested in lingerie than asylum seekers,”)In 2012, the hardcore online gamer (a World of Warcraft addict), Higgins was laid off from his job as an administrator at a non-profit providing housing for asylum seekers, turns to blogging, under the pseudonym ‘Brown Moses‘, from a Frank Zappa track.

Сredited, by some, with uncovering chemical weapons in Syria in 2013. Whether he actually did this, is the subject of debate (what he is documented as doing is agreeing to suppress information that the rebels had chemical weapons, Eliot Higgins Bellingcatand were behind chemical weapon attacks on Aleppo which had killed civilians). In any case, Higgins’ chemical weapons revelations were enthusiastically disseminated across western media, the US, UN, glowingly endorsed by western governments, but comprehensively debunked by Theodore Postol, a professor in the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at MIT –

It’s clear and unambiguous this munition could not have come from Syrian government-controlled areas as the White House claimed.”

While the western media fell in love with tale of the ‘expert who exposed Syrian chemical weapons from his bedroom‘, other, real, experts (and Higgins has always been completely open about his lack of expertise) were less convinced. Higgins, Postol said,has done a very nice job collecting information on a website. As far as his analysis, it’s so lacking any analytical foundation it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about.”

In January 2015, Bellingcat published a report into events in Mariupol, Ukraine, May 9th, 2014, when Ukrainian forces entered the city, opening fire, resulting in a death count given by Ukrainian sources as over 20, but by some sources as high as 100. Bellingcat took the figure down to 13. Despite video of Ukrainian forces opening fire on unarmed civilians, Bellingcat entirely exonerated them, described them as ‘acting with restraint’.

This exoneration of the actions of Ukrainian forces, and others of its kind, has allowed Eliot Higgins MH17western governments to continue their unconditional support for Ukraine, in the war in Donbass, without question.

Through 2015, Higgins’ Bellingcat rises to become one of the key agents in the MH17 investigation, with Higgins himself frequently trumpeting his appearances across the world’s media. This is despite Bellingcat’s frequently being caught out in fabrications – those MH17 videos which formed the bedrock of Bellingcat’s claims, comprehensively debunked here. Then there was the humiliation of Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s largest publications … issuing an apology for using Bellingcat’s work as a reliable source.  German image forensics expert Jens Kriese tore Bellingcat apart here –

‘From the perspective of forensics, the Bellingcat approach is not very robust. The core of what they are doing is based on so-called Error Level Analysis (ELA). The Bellingcatmethod is subjective and not based entirely on science. This is why there is not a single scientific paper that addresses it. Contrary to what Bellingcat claims, Error Level Analysis does not provide clear results.

The conclusion is always based on the perspective of humans, on their interpretation.’This, along with stringent criticism from a range of sources – from the ‘Off-Guardian‘ site -‘Even casual conversation with him reveals the embarrassing truth that his “research”, so lauded in the popular media, consists of entry-level computer skills and an awful lot of smoke-blowing. You or I or literally anyone over the age of seven with internet access could do it. If we thought it was worth while.’

The criticism hasn’t just been limited to text, this German satirical programme did a quite unerring take-off of Higgins –

Higgins is actually becoming rather an internet joke –

These have done the rounds –

Eliot Higgins internet joke Eliot Higgins

And just have a look on Twitter with the search #Bellingcrap

Higgins either vehemently hates, or has been told to hate Russia, and Russia’s president Putin. Have a look at his Twitter timeline, of some 127,000 tweets, and it can read at times like one man trolling an entire country. A stream, a barrage, of anti-Russian tweets, retweets, and Higgins doesn’t even try to hide that he despises Russia, or has been told to – this just from a quick ‘Russia‘ search of his recent tweets, and just a small sampling –Screen CapturesWith this taken into account, what conclusion was Higgins’ Bellingcat ever going to come to, apart from that it was Russia, indeed Putin himself, responsible for the tragic downing of MH17? And for the ‘expert’ on Donbass, Higgins has made his feelings similarly clear –Fullscreen capture 28022016 163501.bmp

Higgins hates RT now, never missing a chance to tear into them. Typical tweet –Fullscreen capture 28022016 145812.bmpBut, he used to be proud of their endorsement – this, from 2013 – a list of media he was happy to advertise his connection to.Screen Captures1 So what happened there? I’ve worked for RT, and will say this with all due respect, they are quite modest in the payment they offer. It’s not hard to find channels, and outlets, who pay a lot more.

In the early, Brown Moses, 
days, Higgins used to make frequent appeals for finances, with support links prominently displayed. However, the current Bellingcat site doesn’t even appear to have a ‘donate’ / ‘support’ option. And Fullscreen capture 28022016 154321.bmpBellingcat has grown to an operation which lists itself as being run by ‘eight volunteers’ but is clearly far in excess of that – a professional website which is updated sometimes with several articles a day, on which extensive research has been expended. But when it’s Bellingcat, all the evidence shows that the research is done to back up a conclusion already arrived at, rather than arrive at a conclusion based on research.

Higgins now works not from home, but from an office, in his hometown of Leicester. So where’s the money coming from for Bellingcat, clearly now an operation requiring considerable financial support?That’s unclear, Higgins has yet to publish any record of where the finance comes from, all the ‘About‘ section of the Bellingcat site says is -‘Bellingcat uses open source and social media investigation to investigate a variety of subjects, from Mexican drug lords to conflicts being fought across the world. Bellingcat brings together contributors who specialise in open source and social media investigation, and creates guides and case studies so others may learn to do the same.’

For a lot of people, it’s highly convenient that Eliot Higgins is an ‘expert’, and his agency Bellingcat taken seriously. This is a man who, with his agency Bellingcat, will absolutely always back the position of western governments, and powerful western organisations. And they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Eliot Higgins expert 1he’s taken seriously, lay on all the the trappings, auspices of highbrow, on trend terms like ‘open source investigation’ and ‘error level analysis‘, be sure he’s given awards, plaudits, made a ‘fellow’, ‘expert’, at sympathetic organisations, appears at the right seminars, conferences, everything to apply the sheen of credibility.

When it comes to defending himself from criticism, Eliot is adept at deflecting criticism of himself onto the seemingly ‘too cool to criticise ‘open source investigation’, of which he is a leading practitioner. These tweets, from today, in response to his being told this article would be coming out –

Fullscreen capture 28022016 144044.bmpFullscreen capture 28022016 144338.bmp

Yet, what if behind the new, buzz ‘open source’ investigation of Higgins lies just plain old falsification?

This recent, absolutely comprehensive, article makes the point, one yet to have penetrated the public perception of ‘open source Fullscreen capture 28022016 152434.bmp
investigation’, that all this new jazz can be used as the respectable front for one of the oldest scams, falsification – see this tweet on the theme.

Creating social media accounts to post misinformation, free of all the source checks, verification of other sources as this is ‘citizen journalism’ and all things cool, which can’t be questioned because a lot of people don’t really know what they are. This, then passed off, and on, into Bellingcat, and up it goes higher into the food chain of mass media, unquestioned, unchecked.

So you can see why a lot of people really have an interest in making Eliot Higgins out to be an authority, a Fullscreen capture 28022016 153608.bmpreputed source, an expert. Have a look at his profile on the Atlantic Council site, an agency funded by governments across the world (25, no less), to promote their position under the guise of being a ‘think tank’. Higgins now works with them, and they call him ‘

Eliot Higgins – Nonresident Senior Fellow, New Information Frontiers, Future Europe Initiative, Expertise Topics, Digital Forensic Research and Open Source Intelligence.’

There’s a real convenience about Higgins. He’s positioned himself as one of the foremost exponents of the still-being-defined ‘open source’. Higgins himself has shaped and defined what we currently know as ‘open source investigation’. And he’s made one of the tenets of it never, ever, needing to go to the place in question.

Eliot Higgins expert

Higgins has never been near the MH17 site, Syria, or anywhere else on where he’s an apparent ‘expert’. Higgins may not go to any of the places he ‘investigates’, but he does travel the world being an ‘expert’ at various conferences, receiving awards – all of these used (and used by Higgins himself, who doesn’t shy from self-promotion , making extensive mention on Twitter of his own participation at conferences, using a photo from such for his profile) to propagate ‘Higgins, the expert.

It’s very handy for some people, having a guy who doesn’t need to be sent anywhere, who, from his sofa, can quickly come up with the conclusions so beloved of western press, and governments. He’s also clearly a hard worker, dogmatic, persistent, the man who used to spend endless hours gaming now happy to spend that time on Bellingcat ‘investigations’. Higgins took part in the official  MH17 investigation, and even boasted about knowing the result of the MH17 report before it was released – so sure was he, he even challenged me to a bet over it (I declined).

So, make your own mind up.

Who is Eliot Higgins, and Bellingcat, really? Are they indeed the experts the western media would have us believe? Or are we

Eliot Higgins Bellingcrapbeing stitched up by a man either of limited abilities plunged into the limelight, making the most of all that goes with it – fawning western media write ‘He often doesn’t finish sentences, as if his mind is racing elsewhere‘ – but could it be, that Higgins is actually rather simply rather a dim man, being used, and fine with that, by higher powers?

Or is Higgins actually an intelligent calculating individual, who has exploited the opportunity to make a name for himself, make a lot of money? One thing about Higgins is sure. He’s a liar. A conman. A charlatan. And whatever associations the name ‘Higgins’ and ‘Bellingcat’ have now, the future can surely only be these names associated with fabrication, fraud, a scam. All that will be debated, is whether Higgins is a latter-day Donald Crowhurst, a hapless man forced into a web of deceit, or a Bernie Madoff, who knew just what he was doing all along.

Crowdfunding (#2) My (Crowdfunded) Reportage Plans for This Year

Graham Phillips

Of course, plans in journalism can always change, but with work on my film Aramis drawing to a conclusion – the premiere next week in St Petersburg, here’s how my crowdfunded journalism in 2016 may look –

Graham at workMarchBaltics Reportage Trip

AprilCovering Dutch Referendum on Ukraine

May – I’d like to do some reportage from Germany, on the refugee crisis, en route back to the Baltics to continue reporting there then –

JuneBack to London to cover UK Brexit referendum (and arrange screening of film ‘Aramis’).

July – A couple of proposals for this, we’ll see!

AugustA return to Crimea to continue my reportage there

Graham Phillips at workSeptember – Lugansk for City Day, September 13th, and likely the rest of the year in Donbass, reporting from there, and working on projects.

Of course all of this depends on my raising enough, via crowd-funding, to fund these trips. I’d like to say a huge thanks to my patrons on Patreon, here, for being with me, and everyone who supports my work – in every way!

I know we’ll do some great, world-changing things this year, together!