Eliot Higgins - The Bellingcat group


The Living Force
The biography of Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins "also raises many questions"

Oct. 16, 2018 - Russian Embassy in London says Bellingcat may be linked to special services
Russian Embassy in London says Bellingcat may be linked to special services

The Bellingcat group may be linked to special services, judging from the nature of information they publish and their non-transparent structure, the press secretary of the Russian Embassy in London said.

"Bellingcat's connections with special services are apparent if one takes into account the circumstances surrounding this group," the press secretary said. He named several factors that serve as evidence to this: the group was established "several days before the MH17 crash," it publishes information that combines "features of intelligence data and high-quality fakes," its activities are directed against Russia.

The press secretary also drew attention to the fact that Bellingcat publishes its materials "at a moment that is especially convenient for NATO countries."

The biography of Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins also raises many questions, as he "turned from a video gamer into an 'icon of independent journalism' practically overnight," he noted adding that "non-transparent structure and funding" only add more questions. "If Bellingcat can provide a plausible explanation of such a combination of factors, they should present it to the public," the press secretary said.

Oct. 15, 2018 - Russian diplomat accuses Bellingcat of leaking special services’ misinformation
Russian diplomat accuses Bellingcat of leaking special services’ misinformation

According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Bellingcat’s experts failed to provide evidence that Petrov and Boshirov were linked to the Salisbury poisoning case.

British investigative journalism website Bellingcat is leaking misinformation of special services under the cover of investigations, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

The Russian diplomat commented on Bellingcat’s report that the group’s experts found out using the Russian Federal Migration Service’s data that two suspects in the Skripal poisoning case, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were linked to the Russian military intelligence service GRU.

Zakharova noted that she has no doubt that Bellingcat is tied to special services. "Moreover, it is most likely that this is a special agency, which is leaking misinformation under the cover of investigations."

According to Zakharova, Bellingcat’s experts failed to provide evidence that Petrov and Boshirov were linked to the Salisbury poisoning case.

Zakharova also recalled that earlier this website almost monopolized the right to the truth in investigating the MH17 crash in Donbass in 2014. "They provided such details, which could not have been collected by the entire scientific and research institute, not to speak about a private company."

On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later on, London stated that this agent had been developed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption.

Moscow refuted all accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union, nor Russia had any programs for developing this agent. Experts from the British chemical laboratory in Porton Down failed to identify the origin of the agent that poisoned the Skripals.

Oct. 16, 2018 - Bellingcat linked to Western special services, says Russian foreign minister
Bellingcat linked to Western special services, says Russian foreign minister

Lavrov recalled that the Western reporters "openly write about this".

Bellingcat, a UK-based open source and social media investigation site, is linked to special services, which use it to "dump" information aimed to sway public opinion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated in an interview with the Euronews channel.

"As we know, and it’s not a secret for anyone, as Western journalists openly write about this, Bellingcat is linked to special services. It is used to dump information that may have some influence on public opinion," the minister said.

Earlier, Bellingcat published the results of their investigation, which names Russian GRU officers allegedly involved in the Skripal poisoning.

On March 4, ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the incident. The Russian side flatly rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.


The Living Force
Patrick Henningsen‏Verified account @21WIRE Nov 22

Just as we said earlier - Bellingcat's war room is now based in The Hague, right next to all of the other phony 'international justice' constructs...https://twitter.com/bellingcat/status/1065538238239186944 …
Patrick Henningsen added,

BellingcatVerified account @bellingcat
Bellingcat is Hiring – Business Director via @bellingcat Bellingcat is Hiring - Business Director - bellingcat


The Living Force
Oh, this is just - too funny!

November 16, 2018 - Move over Wikileaks, there is a new sheriff in town
Move over Wikileaks, there is a new sheriff in town

Remember WikiLeaks, the initiative led by Julian Assange that shook the world by publishing 1000s of leaked U.S. embassy cables back in 2010? The group that once had the promise to bring transparency? Eight years later and it has been made redundant by Bellingcat, as the latter fulfilled the promise of what WikiLeaks was hoped to achieve for global politics in a digital age.

Bellingcat’s revelations of the true identities of the Russian suspects involved in the chemical attack on former spy Sergei Skripal have enraged the Kremlin. “Bellingcat is linked to special services. It is used to dump information that may have some influence on public opinion”, said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov angrily.

This is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black: the irony here of course is that this portrayal of Bellingcat is exactly how the Kremlin used WikiLeaks during various elections meddling campaigns. Hackers linked to Russian military intelligence attacked the server of the U.S. Democratic National Committee and the email account of now French President Macron. After successful hacks the information was released through Julian Assange’s platform in order to give it an air of ‘neutrality’, as such whitewashing campaigns by an authoritarian government to steer the course of election in favour of preferred candidates.

For most outsiders following WikiLeaks in recent years it has become evident that this group is far from neutral. It has no interest to bring transparency to global politics by revealing state secrets, but instead has become a front in the global public opinion arms race. It claims to “open up governments” but only those that Julian Assange disagrees with. But why limit yourself to opening Western governments? Why not work to reveal the inner circles of power in China, Russia, Egypt, Iran or other authoritarian governments.

Some have argued that Assange carries a personal vendetta against Hillary Clinton and, consequently, positioned himself to help Donald Trump during his election campaign with information stolen by the Russians, as well as through promoting conspiracy theories about Clinton. WikiLeaks also repeatedly posted tweets supporting Russian interference in Syria, whilst criticising Western foreign policy in the region.

Meanwhile, Bellingcat has not only been more transparent about its methodology than WikiLeaks, it has also not picked sides in the current information war. Whilst it is being criticised as a front for NATO by pro-Russian sources, its analyst Christiaan Triebert revealed how the U.S. was responsible for bombing a mosque near Aleppo during evening prayer killing up to 49 civilians. Other open source investigations by the group incriminated the Saudi military campaign in Yemen. Bellingcat is by all standards a relatively neutral party.

First and foremost, the collective of open source investigators is interested in conflicts across the globe, working in networks and tracing the Internet for evidence to reveal what truly happened on the ground. Its methodology is replicable and its findings are published, no matter which side the culprit belongs to.

Open source investigations are also used by intelligence agencies. I was lucky to meet the former CIA officer who set up the first Open Source Center at the agency in 2005 as he recognised the potential of publicly available information for intelligence. In more recent years, open source intelligence (OSINT) has become a discipline for agencies such as the CIA, MI6 and others. They too, however, did not expect that a network of individuals that largely communicated via Twitter would become the real masters of this game.

Bellingcat’s methods and practices are best understood as the interstice of intelligence gathering and analysis and online journalism. But they do this not to serve the national interest of a state, like an intelligence officer would, but instead to reveal the actions of states, insurgencies and terrorist groups alike. The group has revealed war crimes and identified states, battalions and individual officers responsible for these acts. Whilst this form of transparency does not guarantee justice for victims of MH17 or the bombed mosque in Allepo province, it does bring transparency to the dirt that governments prefer to keep a secret.

Through its tireless work of often unpaid members Bellingcat has become what liberals once hoped Wikileaks would become. A platform to advance transparency to global politics in a digital age.

Move over Wikileaks, there is a new sheriff in town.


The Living Force
What is the internet? It is where people connect and share information about collective concerns. So, on its own the internet is a intelligence service 'in the wild'.

So, whatever the affiliation of groups who assemble for common interests, they are exercizing persuasion on the consumers of their perceptions, and attempt to get others to be influenced.

But since it is about perceptions, all their concerns are self serving and above all impractical. And so it doesn't matter what side is doing what because both are fighting over perception, because perception leads to power.

Back to 'in the wild' intelligence... for those who try to influence us, they must first narrow the scope to their drama - as if we are onlookers, sitting on the fence. But we are all influencers now, at a grass roots level, and they up the drama so that the stage omits all but the sphere where the drama takes place, and we are but spectators to be influenced, aside from the issue, we are the prize.

So, as noble as some causes may be, they should never be so noble that you can't question them, and the manipulative forces try to skirt scrutiny by creating their own opposition that both reinforces their influence and belittles intelligence by omission. And it comes back to persuasion, in which there are myriad ways to get people to do something. And until goals are met by those that attempt to manipulate us, they stage dramas - where our role is as spectators, but we are expected to fall in line to the narrative where we are - again - the audience, and not the intelligence.

But we all are connected and aware, so their old strategies must attack us at a very fundemental level. They can't simply lie no more as information is quickly verifiable, and so they must skirt the truth. And that's why we live in dramatic, antagonistic times. Because it captivates us, and makes us accepting spectators.

But as their concerns are self serving, ours can as well just by acknowledging that their lust for power is their own, and their dramas are diversions from the truth that they want to represent as all our desires.


The Living Force

Syria October 29, 2018
ShamiWitness: How Bellingcat and Neocons Collaborated with the Most Influential ISIS Propagandist on Twitter
ShamiWitness: How Bellingcat and Neocons Collaborated with the Most Influential ISIS Propagandist on Twitter - Grayzone Project

How some of the best known Syria regime-change hustlers and “experts” helped transform the @ShamiWitness account from a cretinous troll into a credible “ISIS expert.” By Mark Ames

Who remembers @ShamiWitness? At the peak of ISIS’s power, @ShamiWitness stood out as the genocidal militia group’s “most influential Twitter account” according to a Channel 4 exposé and a Kings College report. The @ShamiWitness account was followed by some two-thirds of foreign jihadis. But it went further than propogandizing Islamic State’s massacres and rapes: @Shamiwitness also actively recruited foreign jihadis and helped lead them through the ratlines in Turkey, into the ISIS killing fields in Syria and Iraq, as a George Washington University report revealed this year.

But I want to talk about the western “experts” in Washington and London who cozied up to @ShamiWitness — especially since all of them are still around, many of them bigger and more influential in our political discourse than ever. They’re the ones who built up @ShamiWitness’s social media capital, making his account so popular, and so effective, in recruiting ISIS murderers. Some of the best known Syria regime-change hustlers and “experts”—Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and the Saudi-funded Atlantic Council; Charles Lister of the Saudi-funded Middle East Institute, former CNN “Syria expert” and Atlantic Council fellow Michael Weiss, all major figures promoting today’s RussiaGate hysteria—together helped transform the @ShamiWitness account from a cretinous troll into a credible “ISIS expert”. They validated and lent credibility to ShamiWitness as someone with deep, local insider knowledge, boosting ShamiWitness’s social capital their countless retweets, #FF’s, #Pt’s, and their numerous public interactions.

As it turned out, @ShamiWitness was a fake “Syria expert”. The millennial yuppie who ran the ShamiWitness account was as much an insider expert on ISIS as the western Syria hacks who boosted him. It wasn’t the “experts” like Bellingcat who unmasked ShamiWitness — quite the opposite, Bellingcat’s team played a major role in building him up as a credible expert.

Rather, it was a Channel 4 report exposing ShamiWitness as a fake — but a very dark and dangerous fake, with very real world consequences. @ShamiWitness was run by a 24-year-old Indian marketing executive named Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who tweeted out ISIS and Syria “expertise” from his bachelor pad in Bangalore, India.


And just like that, the London and Washington Syria regime-change neocons who’d been boosting @ShamiWitness suddenly looked like fools — as well as ISIS accessories. Contrary to what they had all assumed, @ShamiWitness wasn’t the expert Syria insider he pretended to be. He spoke no Arabic; he was nowhere near Syria.



The ShamiWitness account was every bit as sick, sectarian and vile as you’d expect from ISIS’s leading Twitter account. In its brief gory heyday, ISIS was responsible for slaughtering somewhere between 50,000 – 100,000 people in Iraq and Syria, enslaving, raping and exterminating untold thousands of Yezidis and other minorities in the region. Which makes it all the more shocking how these western experts, most of whose careers are still thriving today, bigger than ever in fact, were able to get away with being accessories to ISIS propaganda and recruiting efforts. It wasn’t as though they couldn’t have known ShamiWitness was a monster. A year before ShamiWitness was unmasked, Michael Kelley called out reporters (including himself) for being accessories to ShamiWitness’s social media influence, but he was practically alone in that.

Here are a few gruesome examples of ShamiWitness’s Twitter account in action:
  • In 2014, responding to reports out of Kobane that ISIS attackers were raping and mutilating female Kurdish soldiers, ShamiWitness gleefully tweeted:

  • As his Islamic State heroes were posting selfies of their Kurdish female trophies [WARNING GRAPHIC]:

  • …ShamiWitness tweeted out sick ISIS jokes about murdered Kurds like this:

  • shamiwitness-kurds-pigs1-465x249.png

    ShamiWitness swooned over ISIS’s murder porn, relentlessly promoting and tweeting out ISIS execution and beheading videos on Twitter. ShamiWitness repeatedly tweeted out ISIS videos of American hostage Peter Kassig’s beheading execution within minutes after they were first posted, feeding bloodlust to his thousands of foreign jihadi followers.

    And he did his best to inflame sectarian hatreds, gearing up ISIS foreign recruits for the killing fields:


    Despite thousands of vile tweets like that, ShamiWitness was a popular figure among the Syria regime-change “expert” crowd.
  • One of those experts who’s been in the news a lot lately is Eliot Higgins of the Atlantic Council/Bellingcat cyber-sleuth group. Bellingcat have made themselves darlings of the western press — and western intelligence agencies — with their investigative reports targeting NATO’s adversaries, primarily Russia and Syria.

  • After making headlines for tying Russia to the downing of Malaysian Air Flight 17, and unmasking the alleged GRU poisoners in Salisbury, Higgins and his crew have received unanimous glowing press in the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere — along with funding from the Saudi-financed Atlantic Council, and the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a regime-changefront set up by Reagan’s ghoulish CIA chief, Bill Casey. (The NED’s first chief, Allen Weinstein admitted to the Washington Post, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly twenty-five years ago by the CIA.”)

  • Here is Higgins throwing out a big #FF — or “FollowFriday” — recommending the ISIS propagandist to his followers:

  • And again (For the mercifully uninitiated, “#FF” is how you recommend other accounts to your own followers to follow. #FF is a key part of any brand-building strategy. You #FF someone who you think will make you look good, and who you hope will #FF you back to their followers. This is how ambitious Twitter propagandists build brand following):

  • Here’s the Bellingcat founder promoting some ISIS slaughter porn tweeted out by ShamiWitness—in this case, an ISIS video
  • gloating over murdered Kurdish women:

    • Here is the Bellingcat sleuth engaging in what passes for witty Twitter repartee with ShamiWitness, joking about devastating ISIS suicide bomber vehicles that have killed and mutilated untold thousands in Syria and Iraq. But for Bellingcat and ShamiWitness, there’s a Gallagher joke in it:
  • eliothiggins-shamiwitness-joke-friends1-465x288.png
    • And here’s Higgins offering helpful Twitter tips to ISIS’s top recruiter on how to deal with ISIS’s online critics:
  • eliothiggins-shamiwitness-troll-advice1-465x261.png

    Higgins began his “open source intelligence” career under a misleading avatar — “BrownMoses” — as if Higgins, a doughy pinkish Midlands gamer, was some kind of swarthy Middle Easterner whose friends’ and relatives’ lives were at stake. Oddly reminiscent of a Mehdi Masroor Biswas pretending to be a ShamiWitness (Shami meaning “Syria”).

  • How could ace sleuths Bellingcat not know that ShamiWitness was a fraud, let alone a propagandist for mass murder and enslavement? As online open source experts, they should’ve had no problem unmasking ShamiWitness. Slate reported how it was “fairly easy to doxx” ShamiWitness after all, based on his giant dumb social media footprints under his real name and real life in Bangalore, accounts which were carelessly linked to his ShamiWitness accounts.

Nevertheless, Higgins and his Bellingcat boys were gobsmacked when the ISIS “expert” they’d been #FFing and conversing with for two years turned out to be a fake. And when ShamiWitness was unmasked, rather than owning up to it and trying to understand how he’d been duped, Higgins tried to turn it all into a fatuous joke, in a strangely transparent attempt to minimize the whole scandal and make it go away:


(Article continued in next Post.)


The Living Force
Higgins’ efforts to downplay ShamiWitness were deliberately misleading as well as childish. He was trying to cover his own ass over having been duped by a Bangalore dweeb with blood on his hands. We now know from detailed terrorism studies that ShamiWitness was not on “toilet cleaning duty” as Higgins quipped—he very literally led foreign jihadi recruits into the Syrian and Iraqi killing fields, and inspired one of ISIS’s most gruesome foreign terrorist attacks, in Dhaka.

You had to try really hard not to know what you were getting involved in with ShamiWitness, and in case you were trying too hard, ShamiWitness boasted what he was up to, such as this tweet to another chummy Washington regime-change operative and former Vice guy, Danny Gold:


Mere boasts about ISIS terrorism did not cause Gold any hesitation in brand-building with ShamiWitness:



For now, let’s move on to more familiar names in the DC-London regime-change swamp.

  • Here is ubiquitous regime-change hack Charles Lister, of the Saudi-financed Middle East Institute, logrolling with Higgins and ShamiWitness like something out of a “how to build your social media brand” workshop:

  • Here’s a string of Lister-ShamiWitness-Bellingcat logrolling episodes:

See, this is how you cross-build a community of “experts” on social media: tagging and referencing your circle enough times to create an impression of something happening, a self-validated “community of Syria experts.” All of them benefited from it, including ShamiWitness. Only the Syrian and Iraqi people suffered.

But “Jihad Lister” (as Special Forces vet Jack Murphy calls him) went further than logrolling with ShamiWitness, blowing kisses to the ISIS propagandist/recruiter in ways that are downright sickening:


Here, for example, is Lister yukking it up with ShamiWitness over a particularly brutal Saudi-led militia group, Suqur al-Izz, an ally of both ISIS and Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra — and which carried out savage massacres of hundreds of minority Alawite civilians in Latakia province (documented in a Human Rights Watch report). To Lister and his ISIS friend, it’s all good for an ironic laugh:


To which ShamiWitness reminded Lister:


…prompting a “right back atcha” from his chum Lister:


Naturally, this sordid ISIS-neocon Twitter orgy features serial Thesaurus-abuser Michael Weiss, the Daily Beast’s tenured regime-change hack. There’s a lot of love going back and forth between the two. Perhaps most astonishing is ShamiWitness declaring Michael Weiss as his favorite journalist, Weiss going wobbly at the knees in gratitude, and the ISIS recruiter blowing him a smiley:


  • Weiss blows a smiley back at the ISIS recruiter:


Incredible as it may seem, around the time of this ShamiWitness love-fest, this same group—Weiss, Zelin, and Bellingcat—soon ganged up on another and far better Syria analyst, Aymenn Al Tamimi, accusing him of—are you ready?—being too friendly on Twitter with ISIS. The think-tank neocons accused Tamimi of having turned into a terrorist. In fact, Tamimi’s real sin was debunking an inane Michael Weiss conspiracy article that claimed Iran and ISIS were “secret allies” in Syria.

(Article continued in next Post)


The Living Force
Weiss was of course wrong—being consistently wrong is what Weiss is paid to do for a living.


This is the same Michael Weiss who posted a similar conspiracy theory claiming Russia secretly served as ISIS’s air force in Syria. Weiss gets things wrongs as a rule, because being wrong is his career. It’s a job not many people are willing to do, or capable of doing without triggering a gag reflex. Michael Weiss gargles made-to-order shit without so much as a chaser. He is, quite literally, a tenured failure. There’s a lot of dark demand for this kind of work, and very few willing takers. You need to believe you’re some kind of evil genius, pulling a fast one on all the honest rubes, to get off on this kind of work.

Weiss also struck up all sorts of sleazy relationships with Syrian jihadis, and even posed for selfies in a jihadi-controlled section of Aleppo in 2012:


As Max Blumenthal reported, the jihadi on Weiss’s left was believed to be Syrian rebel commander Yousef Ajjan Al-Hadid, who was killed shortly after Weiss’s selfie. And the other guy with the AK, the one who looks like Harold Ramis, is Mahmoud Sheikh al-Zour, who ran his own rebel training camp in northern Syria, and worked in Al Qaeda-dominated Idlib as well as Aleppo.

So you’d think Weiss and his crew would be a little more circumspect about accusing a far more serious Syria analyst like Tamimi of being a jihadist sympathizer—but hypocrisy never bothered a neocon. And anyway, their gang hit on Tamimi’s reputation had nothing to do with jihadi sympathies, and everything to do with making Weiss look bad. So the syndicate took a break from brand-building with ShamiWitness, to try to sink Tamimi’s career by smearing him as a terrorist symp. The job was handed to an aspiring young neocon larva named Armin Rosen — previously known for defending a racist hate-group leader’s use of “Islamo-fascism” — who published the hit piece in Business Insider, headlined “The Remarkable Story of a Rising Terrorism Analyst Who Got Too Close To His Subjects”.

Rosen’s article begins with the goal reported as fact:
Aymenn Al Tamimi’s career came apart in public last week.​
A couple paragraphs down, the article explains how:

almost from the beginning, his links to known jihadis — including members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), arguably the most ruthless of such groups — and a habit of firing off tweets and social media posts appearing to sympathize with their cause raised eyebrows among his colleagues in the tightly knit, scholarly community of Western-based terrorism analysts.​
Next paragraph comes the bombshell evidence, in the form of a non sequitur:

On July 14, Al Tamimi, who had been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post and had appeared on BBC News, published an article attempting to debunk journalist Michael Weiss’s evidence that Iran was aiding ISIS, which now controls a roughly Belgium-sized slice of Iraq and Syria.​
This is where the “tightly knit” syndicate comes in—it’s not about evidence or expository logic; the evidence is what the self-appointed “community” decides is evidence. In this instance, it was Bellingcat that pulled the pulled open the trap door:
[Tamimi’s] article was cross-posted to Bellingcat, the online publication launched by Eliot Higgins, the renowned investigative journalist most famous for helping to prove the Syrian regime’s responsibility for the August 21, 2013, chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

But within days the article had been pulled from Bellingcat and Tamimi had been dropped as a contributor to the site, a development Higgins confirmed for Business Insider by email early last week.

Higgins cited serious accusations that had surfaced on Twitter after fellow terrorism analysts had aired evidence suggesting that Tamimi was discomfortingly close with some of his sources in the jihadist world.

Weiss linked to a conversation in which Tamimi told an apparent ISIS supporter that it was “best not openly tweeting” pro-Caliphate sympathies, and that his “bro,” the pro-ISIS Twitter user Shami Witness, “suggested I should stick to objectivity on Twitter.”

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called the exchange “pretty disturbing.”​
That would be this Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:


This is a classic neocon smear strategy—activate the network to create the impression that the character smear is a consensus opinion by experts from different backgrounds, and drive the stake in the heart with a retraction. In this case, Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins played executioner in the Tamimi smear. Higgins and his Bellingcat crew have come a long way since this smear on Tamimi. These days, Bellingcat are media celebrities, fronting for western intelligence agencies’ information wars against Russia and Syria. Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat have positioned themselves as a “pro-NATO Wikileaks” exposing the lies and crimes of NATO’s adversaries, racking up lucrative grants from Google, the Atlantic Council, and Bill Casey’s old regime-change front, the National Endowment for Democracy, along the way.

To Tamimi’s credit, he was one of the very few Syria analysts or journalists who publicly owned up to his own role in lending credibility to ShamiWitness’s Twitter account. Unlike Weiss, Zelin, Lister, Higgins or any of the other Bellingcats, who never owned up to their own role as accessories to ShamiWitness, Tamimi had the integrity to write about and explore his own mistakes, and to try to learn from those mistakes. And despite Bellingcat’s best efforts, Tamimi is still around, blogging at Syria Comment—a site edited by one of the very few American Syria experts to actually get the Syria war right—Professor Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at U. Oklahoma, and who appeared on Radio War Nerd early this year.

Being right about Syria is, as I’ve said, the only sin in this business. So you might not be surprised to learn that Michael Weiss and ShamiWitness teamed up against Landis. Actually it’s worse: Weiss and ShamiWitness ganged up on Landis by making menacing attacks on Landis’s Syrian-born wife and her family, who are members of Syria’s minority Alawite sect, which has been targeted for extermination by groups supported by ShamiWitness, Weiss and the rest of this DC-London regime-change crowd.

Here is the ShamiWeiss-Landis exchange, in which Weiss tags his ISIS pal to attack Professor Landis’s inlaws, many of whom still live in Syria:


After Weiss tagged in ISIS’s top propagandist to attack Landis’s Alawite wife and in-laws, he reached for his trusty Thesaurus to deliver what passes for a witty coup de grace, in what passes for the pen of Michael Weiss:


We’ve spent enough time on these sleazy goons. Let’s name some more western “experts” who boosted and promoted the @ShamiWitness account:

  • Phillip Smyth of AIPAC spinoff the Washington Institute for Near East Studies:




  • Faysal Itani, Senior Fellow at the Saudi-funded Atlantic Council:

(Article continued in next Post)


The Living Force
Here is the Intercept’s Micah Lee, a privacy activist who promotes US government-funded crypto technologies like Tor and Signal, offering to help ShamiWitness conceal his online communications:


  • Borzou Daraghi of the Atlantic Council (another pattern) and formerly Buzzfeed:

  • Liz Sly of the Washington Post:




  • Michael Weiss’s co-author, Hassan Hassan:

But how could they have known? some might ask. Indeed, how—not like our Syria experts could be bothered to read the tweets of those accounts they’ve helped promote or anything:


In fact, they all knew, but only a very few cared to call it out, and got nothing for it. A year before ShamiWitness was unmasked by Channel 4, Michael Kelley of Business Insider (now editor at Yahoo News) published a piece, “One Of The Most Popular Sources on Syria Happens To Be An Extremist Supporter” calling out reporters and experts like himself for being accessories to
ShamiWitness/ISIS propaganda:
“[H]e remains a noticeable voice in the Syria discussion. That is uncomfortable for analysts and reporters (including this author) who have directly or indirectly facilitated Shami’s rise, even if the lift merely involved a citation, a retweet, or friendly banter.”​
After ShamiWitness was exposed in December 2014, Syria journalists and experts who hadn’t been part of the ShamiWitness Dupe Brigade called out the hacks who’d made ShamiWitness a powerful and influential propagandist.

For example, Zaid Benjamin of Radio Sawa bitterly tweeted:


In the months and years since ShamiWitness’s account was unmasked and the young man behind it arrested, we’ve learned that ShamiWitness was more than just ISIS’s most influential propagandist on Twitter.

Two of the ISIS Bangladeshi jihadis who carried out the gruesome 2016 Dhaka attack were avid followers of Shamiwitness. That attack left 29 dead —including 9 Italians, 5 women and 4 men, all of whose bodies showed signs of gruesome torture, punishment for anyone who couldn’t cite verses from the Koran.

Indian authorities also discovered that ShamiWitness helped recruit Areef Majid and his group of ISIS jihadist recruits from Kalyan, near Mumbai. Majid fought for ISIS in Iraq and Syria, before escaping in late 2014—like a lot of foreign recruits who started getting cold feet after the US-led coalition and Kurdish fighters made life harder for the Islamic State’s army of sadists and genocidaires.


And this year, a report by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, titled “The Travelers. American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq” revealed just how intimately involved ShamiWitness was in ISIS recruiting and logistics, guiding foreign jihadis to the ISIS rape camps and killing fields in Syria and Iraq.

The report goes deep into the experience of an American ISIS recruit, “Mo,” who was “one of the first Americans to go to Syria [to fight for ISIS].” In June 2014, the FBI paid a visit to “Mo” after monitoring his online interactions with the likes of ShamiWitness. Shortly afterwards, Mo bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul, and made his way to a Turkish town called Urfa (or “Şanlıurfa” in Turkish). From accounts like ShamiWitness “Mo” understood that to join ISIS, Urfa “was the place to go.”

Here, the George Washington U report describes how Shamiwitness led “Mo” to his ISIS handlers:

“While analysis of @Shamiwitness’ activities to date paint him merely as a propaganda disseminator for IS, it seems that his role may have in fact also been one of direct facilitation for would-be Western travelers. While in Şanlıurfa, Mo used Twitter to reach out to @Shamiwitness, who put him in touch with three local IS facilitators, including a British IS member called Abu Rahman al-Britani. Using Kik, the encrypted messenger of choice for IS travelers at the time, he reached out to al-Britani. Mo was then given a number for an IS smuggler and told by al-Britani that he could use him for tazkiya, a vetting process whereby a known fighter vouches for a new member to other IS members.”​
So people in Syria and Iraq were killed, kidnapped, tortured and raped. And ShamiWitness is rotting in an Indian prison somewhere. That’s not their problem. Eliot Higgins and Michael Weiss have moved on to bigger things now. Their power network is a lot bigger too. And they can prove beyond a doubt that if you question their research, you might be working for the enemy. Why else would anyone question their expertise?


The Living Force
A third man suspected of involvement in the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England last year is a high-ranking Russian military intelligence agent, the investigative website Bellingcat said on Thursday.

February 14, 2019 - Third suspect in Skripal poisoning is Russian GRU agent: Bellingcat

Third suspect in Skripal poisoning is Russian GRU agent: Bellingcat
FILE PHOTO: A police car is parked next to crime scene tape, as a tent covers a park bench on which former Russian inteligence officer Sergei Skripal was found unconscious in Salisbury, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A police car is parked next to crime scene tape, as a tent covers a park bench on which former Russian inteligence officer Sergei Skripal was found unconscious in Salisbury, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Skripal, a former officer in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of spies to MI6, and his daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern city of Salisbury in March 2018 after being poisoned with the Novichok military-grade nerve agent. Both later recovered.

A police officer was also sickened, and a woman who lived nearby died after her partner brought home a fake perfume bottle with what police say was the poison, discarded by the attackers.

Britain has accused two Russian GRU military intelligence officers of carrying out the attack and Bellingcat said it had identified a third Russian agent who was also in Britain at the time and was suspected of being involved.

“Bellingcat can now reveal the true identity and background of this GRU officer, who operated internationally under the cover persona of Sergey Vyachaeslavovich Fedotov,” it said.

“In fact, this person is Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeev, a high-ranking GRU officer and a graduate of Russia’s Military Diplomatic Academy.”

Last September, British prosecutors charged two Russians - known by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - with attempted murder in their absence.

Bellingcat was the first to identify the men as Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, both of whom worked for Russia’s GRU intelligence services.

Two Russians, who identified themselves as Petrov and Boshirov, appeared on Russian TV to say they were innocent tourists who went to Salisbury to see its cathedral, traveling there on consecutive days during a weekend visit to Britain.

The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident, accusing British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it had no immediate comment on the Bellingcat report.

On Monday, Bulgaria said it was investigating a possible link between the Skripal attack and the poisoning of an arms dealer in Sofia in 2015.

Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said Fedotov had visited Bulgaria three times in 2015 and was there in April when local arms dealer Emilian Gebrev was poisoned.


The Living Force
Scotland Yard sources refused to comment on the information.

Feb. 15, 2019 - UK channel identifies third suspect in Skripal poisoning incident

UK channel identifies third suspect in Skripal poisoning incident


© AP Photo/Matt Dunham

UK TV channel Sky News has identified the third suspect in last year’s poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

The channel reported, citing the Bellingcat group, that the third suspect was Denis Sergeev, a senior officer of Russia’s military intelligence GRU who uses the alias Sergey Fedotov.

When contacted by a TASS correspondent, Scotland Yard sources refused to comment on the information.

Sky News also reported that the third suspect allegedly left the United Kingdom on March 4, 2018, the day when the Skripals were poisoned, and headed to Moscow via Rome. However, the Daily Telegraph earlier said, citing own sources, that the suspect could still be staying on the territory of the United Kingdom.
Top Bottom