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26 September 2016

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The Beaver

Mr Habakkuk,

Another article on Brown Moses and Ukraine:

https://levantandtheglobe.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/charlatan-higgins-does-a-disservice-to-nato-officials-authority/

Mark

I've been waiting for a piece of a Russian bomb to turn up, in exactly these circumstances, ever since Ukraine sold 2000 of them to Qatar for an exorbitant price - because they were in a hurry for some reason - back in December last year.

http://orientalreview.org/2015/12/08/where-will-the-ukrainian-bombs-explode/

I am frankly surprised they did not stage an ambush of the convoy in which the bombs were buried by the roadside, and simply trigger them off as the convoy passed between them, then supply the usual frightened eyewitnesses to say they saw SU-24's come in low and deliberately bomb the convoy. That would look, to my mind, more realistic than this. But perhaps they suspected the convoy was under drone surveillance while it was moving.

As the author of the referenced piece pointed out, the bombs do not need to be air-dropped; they could be transported to the desired point in the back of a pickup truck and detonated there, providing a ready-made Russian air strike.

It's nice to see Eliot Higgins humiliated like this. Well done.

Matthew

b: There is no chutzpah like Saudi chutzpah. See https://twitter.com/jsiwat/status/779011477424447488

In other news, Jack the Ripper condemns knife violence.

Peter in Toronto

White Helmets are just logistical support for the Nusra Front or whatever other name they have currently assumed to be sold for the Western public consumption. They operate strictly in areas controlled by the roving bands of looters and militants loosely called the FSA and have been recorded assisting death squads by cleaning up after sectarian executions, and other assorted, "humanitarian" activities. I'm guessing it's some Turkish/Gulfie paramilitary type force.

Donald

That's it exactly. I am one of the ignorant masses when it comes to military matters, for the most part anyway, and I simply can't evaluate the truth of what I am being told about Syria in many cases, especially if it involves knowing a lot about bombs and military equipment or the credibility of alleged witnesses or analysts I know nothing about. The New York Times reports it as fact that Syria committed the nerve gas attack a few years ago and now it's a "fact" that Russia bombed the convoy. Maybe it is for all I know. Or maybe not. I suspect most people who aren't alreaady predisposed to be suspicious of our foreign policy would just accept what the NYT says.

David Habakkuk

kao_hsien_chih,

The situation is changing very rapidly, and I find it difficult to get a ‘handle’ on it.

But, a number of points.

1. Characteristically, ‘information operations’ work by creating the impression that ‘evidence’ comes from a range of diverse sources, while in fact, it comes either from a single source, or from diverse sources working ‘in cahoots’.

In relation to Higgins. What happens is that the BBC and other MSM quote him as a supposedly independent ‘citizen blogger’, and also quote de Bretton-Gordon as a supposedly independent expert on CBRN, while he produces voluminous screeds of drivel – some of it actually very revealing – on the ‘Brown Moses’ blog.

2. If one can make this kind of circularity work – as the British did with German intelligence in the Second World War – the results are brilliant. The risk however is that if one link in the chain is called seriously into question, the whole structure collapses.

If German intelligence had not been useless (‘Caesarist’ systems can have problems with intelligence analysis), at least one link in the British deception operations would have collapsed early on, and the outcome of the war might have been somewhat different.

3. In relation to current Anglo-American ‘information operations’, what is patently happening is that there is an increasing body of people, of very diverse social and educational backgrounds, and also political views, for whom at least one, if not more, key link in the ‘chains’ propagated by ‘Borgists’ has totally lost credibility.

And, as could have been predicted, once this happens, a much wider collapse in confidence results.

4. As regards Britain, at least, the numbers involved are only one issue. What is important is that the people who have become sceptical are precisely those who will spend time posting comments on reports in the MSM.

And here, the change over the past couple of years is really quite extraordinary. If one follows comments on diverse sites in Britain – of particular interest to me, precisely because they are so different, are the ‘MailOnline’ and the ‘Financial Times’ – one finds that a kind of ‘peasants’ revolt’ is happening among commenters.

A corollary of this is that you have a class of commenters who have a completely transformed attitude to the papers they read. In a bizarre way, this turns the whole ‘Borgist’ ideology on its head.

For these commenters, it is a point of pride that nobody is paying them.

Likewise, it is a point of pride to search out sources of ‘information’ to which the ‘mainstream Western media’ pay no attention.

This puts the ‘mainstream Western media’, which has been thoroughly complicit in the kind of ‘information operations’ in which people like Higgins are involved, in a bizarre position.

They can – as the BBC and ‘Telegraph’ have done – stop comments. But that is, in its way, an admission of defeat. Or they can – as in general the ‘MailOnline’ and ‘Financial Times’ have done – have to confront, ever day, the fact that the commenters who other commenters like treat them with contempt.

5. Of course, some of the time, the assault on conventional wisdom involves the propagation of one or other form of lunacy. Out of the Borgist frying-pan into the anti-Borgist fire, as it were.

6. However, in relation to comments not simply on the ‘Financial Times’ but the ‘MailOnline’, a reassuring element is that, while there is a lot of nonsense, there is a good deal of well-informed good sense.

7. In his post, Patrick Armstrong – in my view quite rightly – points to the fact that the quality of the ‘information operations’ in which Higgins is involved has deteriorated. In my view, this is an indication of a developing panic.

8. What I am hoping is that at least some element of the ‘Borg’ will realise that the directions in which they have been heading are suicidal for themselves, as well as destructive for others. It has to be said, that the behaviour of Clinton and her supporters, as of the ‘Remain’ people in Britain, has not been reassuring.

9. But, sometimes, ostriches do pull their heads out of the ground. Never say never.

David Habakkuk

Thanks. That is enormous helpful.

I wouldn't entirely believe any claims about how Higgins was funded. I suspect a great deal of 'information operations' effort went into disguising the fact the he was a front for dolts in the British 'Borg'.

These people are beyond belief stupid.

David Habakkuk

Thanks. That is enormously helpful. A lot to think about.

Peter in Toronto

This is all excellent information about Bellingcat.

I'm involved in a subgroup of Reddit focused on the Ukraine conflict where his "analyses" are treated like gospel. Is there any more traceable information to link him to the NATO/Pentagon PR apparatus?

jld

Yes, this is a very important point, given that a HUGE majority of the public is completely incompetent on most matters even piss poor disinformation "does the job" of tilting the public opinion.
We are on track to hell, IMO...

Patrick Armstrong

Interested to hear the reaction on this group to the question why, if NATO/US intelligence is so good, all-seeing and so forth do all the statements about MH-17, Syria, Ukraine etc depend on some amateur guy in the UK? Is that really the best information out there?

pmr9

Although it looks as if at least some of the casing may still be attached to the tail piece, it's clear that those at the site are well aware that this is not an unexploded bomb - they're quite happy to disturb it and excavate to get a better photo

Fred

jld,

"given that a HUGE majority of the public is completely incompetent on most matters"

While that view is what our politicians hope it is patently false.

b

Agree with you that Bellingcat is, like SOHR, a product of British secret services and likely funded by them. Still fun to poke holes into that cover ...

Babak Makkinejad

I think the purpose of intelligence operations is not only to gather information but also to use that information and knowledge to get the other side to do something unprofitable.

There is a story about a Greek (Hellas) spy being caught in the Great King's camp. Rather putting him to death, the Great King had him escorted all over the camp to see for himself the strength of his army. And then he was set free to carry that message of strength back.

It did not persuade the Hellenes, and the Great King, in retaliation of the Hellenes' burning of Sardis, captured Athens and set it on fire.

Peter

The helmets themselves are a dead giveaway. How many combatants on either side in Syria wear helmets? For people unused to wearing helmets, a helmet tightly strapped under the chin is extremely uncomfortable and annoying, yet they all find time to strap the shiny helmets on for photo ops.

kao_hsien_chih

What I fear is that, once the "official" information outlets lose any credibility whatsoever, the powers-that-be will simply lay waste sources of any and all information.

My understanding is that, by 1970s, Soviets just completely quit even trying to raise credibility of the official media. Instead, they sought to undermine any and all information sources, period. So the Russians, by the end of USSR, were either complete cynics who trusted no one or naive and deluded believers in somewhat fringey ideas (among which I include the ridiculous notion that a shock therapy would somehow get a working free market going in Russia--which should have looked as absurd back then as it does in retrospect).

If the Borgist information operation succeeds, which I presume would include seeding a lot of ridiculous stories that are allegedly skeptical of the official story as cover, I fear that we will be left atomized, with very little ability to make sense of the world.

kao_hsien_chih

One question is whom "the other side" constitutes.

A lot of these operations are targeted at publics in Western countries themselves, basically propaganda operations. Russians are not relevant, except as straw men, in these antics.

Peter L

It, is yes. His account Brown_Moses seems to be above any scrutiny. The Reddit itself seems heavily moderated to ensure consistency with the Borgist narrative. Fortunately, it has only a modest readership.

Brunswick

Technically, it's illegal for Western Intelligence Agencies to plant disinformation in their domestic media.

During the run up to the Iraq War, "they" got around this little curb, by planting disinformation in "foreign media", then pointing those articles out to their friends in the domestic media.

By using so called "citizen journalists" like SOHR, Bellingcat, AMC, they can plant all the lies they want.

1664RM

What else would you expect from a 'civvy' nerdy, fat, keyboard warrior type that sits in his basement, the sum of his military knowledge gained from hours of CoD play.

Those of us who have been where iron cuts iron know better & will always smell a red herring when one is near. Sadly the masses have no such point of reference, thus the unbelievable becomes believable & the lies our leadership create continue to perpetuate.

Eureka Springs

@Brunswick That's no longer the case.

In 2013:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans
http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

Laguerre

Effectively as you say, the hole looks deeper in the later photograph, more like a bombcrater.

Andy

My BDA training and experience is almost two decades old at this point, but in my judgment the pictures show pretty clearly a scene where a weapon failed to detonate. All the signs are there. The hole in the ceiling with rebar stripped out is what you would expect from a bomb casing punching through the ceiling. The hole will be slightly larger than the bomb diameter due to shattering from the kinetic energy and the fact that bombs almost never hit targets straight-on. The angle of entry in relation to the crater is consistent with a bomb. The limited amount of frag damage to the boxes is from pieces of concrete/rebar and bomb casing after the bomb penetrated the roof - a cone of debris would be sprayed along the angle of entry. The small crater is consistent with a weapon of this type impacting the ground - The kinetic energy is sufficient to create a small crater (a 250kg weapon at an estimated 250m/s gives a kinetic energy equivalent of about 1.5kg of TNT). The fin assembly shown in the photos is clearly pancaked - consistent with a kinetic impact, not a detonation. Someone in the threat also mentioned seeing parts of the bomb case in the pictures - that's also consistent with a dud weapon, not a detonation.

I doubt very much this scene was staged - even if the bomb parts were planted, the other aspects of the scene would be very difficult to fake, especially given the short timeframe between the attack and photographs. We obviously don't have all the details, but I don't see anything here that is inconsistent with an OFAB 250 impacting the building and failing to detonate.

Ghostship

Now the New York Times and Washington Post prove that Bellingcat's report is garbage, well sort off.
I was just over at The Guardian where they have an article about the current bombing of Aleppoa.
Bunker-buster bomb reports may mark new stage in Russia's Syrian assault
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/26/syria-aleppo-russia-bunker-buster-bomb-reports
One of the commentators there under the monniker NativeBornTexen linked to two articles:
From the New York Times:
"Be careful,” Ammar al-Salmo, a rescue worker.....
“We went from paradise to hell,” said Mr. Salmo, who had been drinking tea on his rooftop a few miles away minutes before the attack, enjoying the relative quiet of the partial cease-fire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/world/middleeast/from-paradise-to-hell-how-an-aid-convoy-in-syria-was-blown-apart.html
From the Washington Post:
That Monday was a warm fall evening. Ammar al-Selmo, a local rescue worker, was making tea in a building across the street. Stepping onto a balcony just after 7 p.m., when it was already past dusk, he said he listened to a helicopter swoop in and drop two barrel bombs on the convoy.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/09/24/why-did-they-wait-to-kill-us-how-the-attack-on-the-aid-convoy-in-aleppo-unfolded/
So which was it? A few miles away or across the street? On a roof or on a balcony?
I know that eyewitnesses can become unreliable quite quickly but just having witnessed such an important event at first hand, you would think that each time he told a reporter what happened, his story would be fairly consistent. That it isn't means either he's lying or the reporters are. On balance, I reckon he is, so why. Because he forgot the script he was supposed to use? And if the rest of the evidence is so overwhelming, why did the rebels need to fabricate this part of it?

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