A Graham Newsletter (#31) Russophobes at Cambridge – Fake Research, Buzzfeed – Fake News – Mariupol Adventures, and More!

Ever wonder why the mood, on an official level, from the UK is so entrenched, endemic anti-Russian? Could it be that public figures in the UK are being conditioned, from a young age? Have a look at my new video!

And here on the Truth Speaker – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/03/cambridge-university-fake-research-rory-finnin-anti-russia-propaganda/

But it’s not all bad news from the UK, British photographer Dean O-Brien recently visited the city of Mariupol, and did a good job of work there – read more about that here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/07/the-adventures-of-a-british-freelance-photographer-in-mariupol/

Mariupol still shows signs of anti pro-Ukrainian feelings amongst the population

A post shared by Dean O'Brien (@deanobeano1) on

Speaking of visits, a French delegation recently visited Donetsk, I covered that, here – 

And here – 

With more, plus encore, to come, on that!

I was pleased to present my new film from Donbass, with full English subtitles!

And having earlier had a look at fake research, from Cambridge, here a look at fake news, from Buzzfeed –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/04/mariupol-myself-and-buzzfeed-fake-news/

To real news, I brought you breaking updates from Donbass, with video – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/07/terrorist-attacks-strike-lugansk-today-full-details/

And special reportage from the war-torn village of Nikishino – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/03/nikishino-special-reportage-from-a-donbass-forgotten-village/

And more real news, debunking of fake news, coming up soon! Thanks for being with me, Graham

Mariupol, Myself and Buzzfeed Fake News

In May of 2014, Buzzfeed wrote an article about me – https://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/how-a-british-blogger-became-an-unlikely-star-of-the-ukraine?utm_term=.fcpgVZ7AD#.myRGd7Yyk – I wrote about my reaction to it here, in early 2015 – because basically, I’d been done over.

However, there were a few factors to take into account at the time – I was extremely busy working, on the scene, in Donbass, and the article was just ‘one of these things’, one of a number of articles written to try to take me down.

Also, a strong reaction from my side would have simply seen Buzzfeed go for me more, and I actually felt that the long phone calls I’d had with Max Seddon has somewhat taken the edge off what Buzzfeed really wanted to do – a full takedown. (Photo from article, here)

However, it’s an article people, who want to have a go at me, bring up even now as a first offering to ‘slap me down’. It shows up high in the google rankings. So, here, in a few points, I’ll go through what was clear fake news by Buzzfeed, before people even really used that term.

Mariupol, May 2014 (after shooting on May 9th)

Buzzfeed fake: But how many people were killed? Local news reported two deaths. Ukraine’s interior minister said 21 people died in the fighting. Human Rights Watch could only confirm seven deaths after visiting all four hospitals where the wounded were taken.

None of that seemed right to Graham Phillips, a roving Ukraine-based British blogger who films guerrilla field reports from the conflict’s hot spots for his own YouTube channel and has become a growing star on Kremlin-owned media. So he set out to investigate in the way that has made him a cult micro-celebrity in east Ukraine’s crisis: by interviewing angry people on the street for 90 seconds at a time.

Some people told him that more than 100 people had died in the fighting.

Reality: Actually, I was committed to finding out how many people had really been killed on May 9th. Indeed, I interviewed some locals who told me that the figure was 100 – and I put those interviews up unedited, as with all my interviews –

And what issue do Buzzfeed have with putting up unedited interviews with locals, from the scene? In any case, this was just a part of my Mariupol reportage, I wanted to cover every side, even interviewing Ukrainian soldiers about what happened –

I explored all over the police station, at the centre of events on May 9th, just 2 of those videos here –

I interviewed people on the scene there – 

More, from a local I obtained real, first-hand events on May 9th – just some of those videos here – 

More, I visited city morgues, several times, to confirm the number – 

I questioned those who had told me the figure of ‘100’ – 

So, to another, Buzzfeed fake:  In Phillips’ version of events, Ukraine’s army was eager to cover up the massacre and so it bypassed morgues and hospitals and hid the bodies in the woods. Relatives of the dead were too terrified of reprisals to claim them missing, he said. Phillips’ interlocutors, whom he described as “well-informed local sources,” provided no evidence for these claims. He has yet to corroborate them. Nonetheless, Phillips soon appeared on Russian television promoting the unverified figure of 100 dead.

Reality: This was never my ‘version of events’. I simply uploaded videos of what people on the scene had said. And as for my ‘going on Russian television to promote the unverified figure‘, that’s just an outright lie. Here you can see me on RT at the time – 

From 1:27, I say ‘The official figure killed is 9, the Ukrainian figure is 21, some say much more.’

What happened next? I continued going to Mariupol to confirm figures – here, just one morgue confirmed 11 dead –

I carried on investigating in Mariupol until Ukrainian forces seized me, and deported me from there, on May 20th, 2014 –

And that’s reality for you, versus Buzzfeed fake news. 

A Graham Newsletter #29 – Serbia, Back in Donbass, and More

I’ve written a lot here on the Truth Speaker about my recent, fascinating trip to Serbia. I’ve not even released most of the reportage filmed there, as it was a documentary project about NATO’s campaign there in 1999.

However, I’m working on that now, with journalists Katerina and Dmitry Lane, and looking forward to releasing it soon. This will be the first documentary series of its kind looking at what is still a ‘war’ about which so many details are still unknown to a western audience.

It’s a very exciting project, with the potential to really bring a lot of new information to the world, and re-evalaute how that entire situation is viewed. And the way that the NATO 1999 situation is generally perceived, has sadly perpetuated many such situations since…

Speaking of conflict, and war, but not only that…

I’ve been back in Donbass for around 3 weeks now, and it’s been a hugely eventful time, have a look over that here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/05/30/10-key-pieces-of-reportage-since-my-return-to-donbass/

In my reportage in Donbass, I always aim to show the real, and full picture. That means going to places like the DPR frontier village of Kominternovo, to capture Ukrainian shelling as it hit –

It also means covering events like this, a youth football tournament in Donetsk – 

This school graduation in Lugansk – 

And it means covering everything exactly as it is, showing you the facts, as they are. 

And when there’s fake news, which there often is, taking issue with that –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/05/30/more-western-fake-tank-news/

It’s really great to be back in Donbass, I’m really in the mood to do a lot here, at this hugely important time. So, be sure you are following me for updates from the ground, be sure I’m always very happy to hear from you, and always so grateful for your support – that’s what makes everything possible! 

3 Reasons Never to Trust the Kyiv Post…

When living in Kiev (2011, to early 2013), I used to read the Kyiv Post, the longest-established English-language newspaper, in fact the only one of real note in all that time (I worked at magazine What’s On, but that bit the dust after Euromaidan, and I’d long left by then anyhow). I even wrote some articles for them, in 2012. 

Pre-Euromaidan, the paper had its issues, but it was generally a good source of English-language news out of Ukraine. Euromaidan time, the publication went full-on pro-Euromaidan, and it’s been propaganda ever since. But, don’t take my word for it, here’s 3 reasons never to trust the Kyiv Post:

  1. The Kyiv Post does not care who it employs, as long as they write pro-Ukraine propaganda. Their Donbass correspondent for over a year, was Dutchman Stefan Huijboom – now convicted as a conman, serving time in a Dutch jail. He was engaged in this activity throughout his Kyiv Post time – they turned a blind eye at that time, and haven’t issued any statement since his 2016 conviction.
  2. They employ former members of the Ukrainian armed forces, active supporters of the Ukrainian military, to write for them as journalists, click here for more on that – https://twitter.com/GrahamWP_UK/status/853876800132448256
  3. When they are not employing conmen or soldiers to write for them, the Kyiv Post write about Donbass on the authority of never having been there during the conflict. Check out this tweet by editor Euan MacDonald – making excuses for not having been, but still writing about it all the time – https://twitter.com/Euan_MacDonald/status/701717517350338560 

    Euan, of course, happy to lie and falsify about Donbass to make Ukrainian, western propaganda. 

    The list could go on, but those 3 are enough in themselves. The Kyiv Post is never to be trusted. It’s fake news.

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.

The Latest ‘Russian Tanks in Donbass’ Nonsense

Graham Phillips

Graham Phillips tank1I could have written this a couple of days ago, but was working on other projects. And do I really need to be an ‘instant response’ unit every time nonsense western propaganda comes out?


Graham Phillips tankComing up to a year since the liberation of Debaltsevo (and I’ll be doing a special series of video reportage, with English subtitles on that), it’s inevitable that western and Ukrainian media will bring up the ‘that time Graham Phillips showed Russian T72 B3 tanks‘ thing.

Here’s what I think about that –

1. I’m not bothered about it. I don’t think anyone in Russia is bothered about it, no one’s ever said anything to me about it.

2. They think I’m really bothered about this – let’s show there was a ‘Russian invasion’ in Donbass, and really wind up Graham too‘.

3. I’m very proud that in my work in Donbass, I always reported and filmed everything there.

T72B34. Is that really all? Almost 2 years of reporting in Donbass, and the most they can find is 3 tanks, which they say are Russian.

5. Where’s the evidence that these tanks are ‘Russian’? I mean real evidence, not just arrows pointing at things. There is absolutely none, it’s pure speculation. What happened to Bellingcat (main proponents of the T-72 B3 nonsense) actually doing their own, real, investigation? Serial numbers? (The OSCE checked all of this stuff by the way, no report of Russian tanks in Donbass).

No, not one Bellingcat representative has even set foot in the Donbass they claim to be ‘expert’ on. Instead we have the the trendy ‘open source‘ tag, making out that making stuff up from screenshots is somehow something more than that.

6. Ok, let’s imagine that the tanks I filmed are T-72 B3s (above). Where’s the evidence that they were sent into Donbass in time of war? I keep asking Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat that. He never answers.

Fullscreen capture 10022016 143211.bmp

7. You do know that Bellingcat, so keen to spread this ‘fitting the Western narrative’ story everywhere, are funded by Western agencies, and governments, to generate material to fit the Western narrative?

8. It’s clearly a personal vendetta with the main purporters of this nonsense – Eliot Higgins has taken pains to include this in as many of his presentations, articles, tweets, as possible –

Fullscreen capture 10022016 004152.bmpFullscreen capture 08022016 180047.bmp
Likewise, Julia Davis, a pro-Ukrainian fantasist (more on her, and her fantasy world of Hollywood ‘friends’ to come, you can read Irina Galushko’s article on her here).

Fullscreen capture 10022016 145334.bmp

Davis calls me ‘Fiblips‘ by the way, because that’s clearly how rational, serious ‘journalists’ behave…

9. It’s a real shame, that some people actually believe these lies, and these lies are spread on by people representing (unfortunately) widely-believed sources. Jumping to major conclusions based on some screenshots … it’s not journalism, it’s warmongering propaganda.

10. And this all ties in to the latest western attempt, a mishmash of screenshots, extensively from social media, various geo-location, a watch, and enormous, extraneous conclusions derived from each of the fore-mentioned, to Fullscreen capture 10022016 152323.bmpshow that apparently Putin himself ordered the operation on Debaltsevo.

This attempt to expose myself, ‘Russian involvement in Donbass‘, instead exposes the desperate tactics deployed by western, and Ukrainian propaganda. All, of course, carried off with ‘expert’ affectations, and lots of shiny screenshots to lure the gullible into believing that indeed this is something more than 21st-century snake oil.

Sadly, some have fallen for this, some who should know better. On any reading more cursory than that on a smartphone as one exists a tube train, this ‘expose’ exposes itself for what it is – deceptive, manipulative, malevolent propaganda, perpetrated by the dishonest, believed by the easily deceived.