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26 September 2016


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Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant analysis. Thank you.


Bellingcat is financed by the British government, at arm's length. He does this kind of analysis to support the British political position. He started off, under the screen-name Brown Moses, writing comments which supported the British position during Libya in 2011. He was unemployed, but someone among the Brits thought he was worth financing, and that seems to be continuing.

Patrick Armstrong

I know that. What interests me in this case is that his stuff used to be very involved and complicated and took quite a lot of work to expose (see for example any of the stuff on the MH17 Buk videos) This is really sloppy. In general, the Borg is losing its touch. See also http://thesaker.is/why-the-recent-developments-in-syria-show-that-the-obama-administration-is-in-a-state-of-confused-agony/ in which the Saker introduces this interesting word “недоговороспособны” “not-agreement-capable” to describe the state of complete incompetence the USG is in today.

Balint Somkuti

The hole on the roof looks significantly bigger than the diameter of the bomb (even with fins).

Why such a "dumb bomb" did not go off when hitting the above steel reinfirced concrete surface (ie the ceiling?)



Thanks Patrick, I forget the context of my puzzlement when Bellingcrat surfaced as legitimate "research" on our public channels news. Seems they have learned, TV, that is, but I have to watch this. ;)

I was pondering around rumors around the White Helmets, what's your take that they recently received the "alternative Nobel price"?

Glen Shackleton

Bellingcat's latest report reads: must do better.

Patrick Armstrong

White Helmets also a fake. MofA does a good job of covering it. See, for example, http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/06/the-usuk-financed-white-helmets-shtick-fake-child-rescued-videos.html


Higgins has been heavily hyped by CorpsMedia. Wonder if he is being set up to be discredited then rehyped as an example of the unreliability of "unofficial" Internet sources.

The Beaver

@ Laguerre

He is also being financed by someone or some organisation inside the beltway. He is a buddy of the pseudo-journo and so-called Freedom fighter Matthew VanDyke (who is silent these days since the death, by the hands of ISIS, of two of his friends whom he convinced to go to Syria for in situ in visu reporting)


Balint, they can be equipped with delayed fuses, no high tech involved. Those type of fuses allow for penetration of the first obstacle (wall, roof, ceiling) and then explosion of the weapon's primary explosive. On a kinetic basis, if the bomb was a dud, it would still cause much more damage and debris than the picture shows.


The hole in the roof still has intact reinforcement bars crossing it(see pic in second tweet here: https://twitter.com/Malinka1102/status/780350645157126144/photo/1). Even parts of a bomb, like the one on the ground, would have difficulties going through there.

Pretty obvious fakery.


(Former) NATO commander Breedlove once retweeted on his official account a donation request by Brown Moses - says all one needs to know.


I prefer this post of mine.

"Dramatic Rescue! Man With Kid Runs Towards Camera!" - 44 Staged Pictures

I since collected another dozens of the White Helmets "brand" photo. All of the same theme. There is certainly no "natural" explanation how a warzone could created so many alike pictures.

Obviously they are (almost) all staged.

Patrick Armstrong

That was actually the one I was looking for but the search turned up the other one.

Balint Somkuti

Ah did not know thanks.

The Beaver

@ b

I nearly chocked whilst watching the French news last night (France 2) . They were showing the unibrower Hisham (or Hashim ??) telling the West how bad the bombing is in East Aleppo.

Yep he must be rich to have houses in every town and city that the govt/Russians are bombing.


I recently read "Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell concerning the Spanish Civil War. One of his "throw away" observations was that the men who evacuated KIA and WIA were notorious for pilfering any items of value off the dead and wounded.

Historically this seems to be a pretty standard practice in many wars. I would not be surprised if the White Helmets did the same to survive in rebel held Syria. If they do, I wonder if they have to remit a portion to the local rebel group as the price (tax) to operate in the area. If also supported by international NGOs, I wonder if their money to the White Helmets also goes to the rebels as "tax". Any one know if Médecins Sans Frontières pays local rebel taxes to be allowed to operate?



Glad you put that out there but there is more.
Al Jazeera (not the most reliable of news agencies considering they're owned by Qatar) videoed the location and Bellingcat has seen it because they tweeted about it.
If you go to 1:00, you'll see a wide image of the bomb crater, and if you go to 1:04, you'll see a close up of the bomb with what looks like the rest of the casing present.
Bellingcat kindly provides screen captures from the video:
Wide image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtC9T0uWEAABKL2.jpg
Close-up: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtC9VSYWcAA1iPL.jpg
It doesn't look like Bellingcat have used the new images to update their report. Playing "Spot the difference" with the images in the Bellingcat report is quite amusing.

David Habakkuk


Is that ‘retweet’ from Breedlove traceable? I am interested in Higgins in another context, and it would be useful. Sometimes, precisely because people do not think before they write – and can be called on it – sequences of ‘tweets’ can be very valuable evidence indeed.

As it happens, Higgins, in his ‘Brown Moses’ incarnation – along with our old friend Michael D. Weiss – was a recipient of a ‘tweet’ in which Tom Coghlan of the ‘Times’ attempted to refute Seymour Hersh’s claim that tests carried out at Porton Down had established that the substance used at Ghouta was ‘kitchen sarin’.

This generated a fascinating series of exchanges.

The initial ‘tweet’ from Coghlan was sent on the morning of 8 April 2014, the day following the interview on ‘Democracy Now!’ in which Hersh made this claim.

It read: '@michaeldweiss @Brown_Moses Hersh’s claim that Porton Down found it to be “Kitchen Sarin” is completely untrue. We’ve just checked.’

Then the journalist Ilhan Tanir – who had recently interviewed Hersh, and used the ‘Twitter’ name ‘@WashingtonPoint’ asked Coghlan whether Porton Down had ‘sent any statement’.

Coghlan responded: ‘@WashingtonPoint @michaeldweiss @Brown_Moses We think the S. Hersh story is a non-story. For now that’s about it from us.’

However, not long after, Coghlan had second thoughts, and attempted to produce some evidence for his claim in a new ‘tweet’: ‘@WashingtonPoint @michaeldweiss @Brown_Moses ‘MOD sources: no doubts expressed by Porton Down on quality of sarin found in the soil sample’.

This was followed up by the claim that ‘MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory spokesman said absolute confidence that the sarin analysed was from Syrian regime stocks.’

The following day, Gareth Porter responded: ‘The press office of MoD’s DSTL says it did NOT say sarin samples came fm Syrian regime stocks – only that many tested positive.’

Obviously – to adapt Patrick Armstrong’s ‘QED’ – if Hersh had been wrong about the Porton Down tests, Coghlan could have found a spokesman from the laboratory to say so.

Moreover, if they had in fact decisively established the guilt of the Syrian Government, the MSM on both sides of the Atlantic – with the ‘Times’ in the lead – would have been trumpeting the fact to the skies.

So, inadvertently, Coghlan provided confirmation that one of Hersh’s most significant – and in some ways puzzling – claims was true. Effectively, he exonerated Assad in relation to the accusations which came very close to causing Obama to lend the jihadists the services of the American Air Force.

The whole sequence of tweets can be seen at


Also of interest are contributions to the ‘Brown Moses Blog’ by a former British Army CBRN expert called Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.

From his entry on the ‘Military Speakers’ website, and other material, it seems likely that he was instrumental in providing ‘environmental’ samples from incidents prior to Ghouta in which sarin was used to Porton Down. This has quite large implications.

(See http://www.militaryspeakers.co.uk/speakers/hamish-de-bretton-gordon-obe/ .)


"I know that."

I suppose my reaction was that the post needed a little context. Not everyone knows Bellingcat, particularly as he's a Brit.

Patrick Armstrong

Interesting. Where are the cardboard boxes on top of it?


I saw an image of the same hole in the ceiling, but without sunshine impeding the view and there seemed to be straight, undamaged rebar in the hole.


If the site is telling lies, it isn't for the purpose of convincing the "fence sitters."

Most people don't know anything about bombs. We/they can't evaluate bomb damage for ourselves, other than either believe or disbelieve the information sources. Finding alternate sources and evaluating contrary information is difficult, again, because we don't know what the truth even looks like. Most people, I imagine, would dispense with step and simply trust the information that fits with their existing worldview, which, for people whom sites like Bellincat are designed for, would include suspicion and dislike of the Russians and Middle Eastern authoritarians.

I suppose this begs the question: how dumb and/or indifferent can the Borg take these people to be and still get away with it, and I suspect it still has a way to go: the stories are tapping into rather deeply ingrained prejudices and most people are blissfully ignorant of military matters.


Feb 2015
Breedlove pointing to this Bellingcat Ukraine project:
"Phil Breedlove @PMBreedlove

Crowd sourcing is another innovative way to track Russian forces and equipment in #Ukraine. #Russia

https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/2015/02/03/ukraine-conflict-vehicle-tracking-launch/ "

May 2015
Breedlove pointing to a NYT piece about Bellingcat

For a while Bellingcat was funded through a kickstarter by anonymous source. I distinctly remember a Breedlove tweet promoting that Kickstarter campaign of Bellingcat but it seems to have gone from Twitter.

Last I know is that Bellingcat is now financed by Google to promote open source (Google earth) research (and to get some bonus points in the White House)


And the prominent box with the Red Crescent symbol on it half the way up the pile. Also the tail in the report looks quite corroded compared to the one in the video.

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