Independent Journalists: the new faces, though old methods. Who ‘throws dead cats on the table’ today?

Information war has become an integral part of the present-day world. The influence of mass media (in the broad sense of this word) on society is enormous now. The one, who has control over information, is controlling public opinion and makes a significant impact on policymaking circles.

In such authoritarian countries as Iran, Russia, Syria and North Korea political propaganda, which can’t have or involve interpretation of events that differs from official line, is perhaps the only source of information. Our task is to help our readers (including those ones who can receive truthful information only from the Internet) form an objective opinion about what is happening around them in the world. In democratic countries it is normal thought process to have different and even polar points of view.

In recent years, the independent citizen journalists assume increasingly greater importance in presenting detailed picture of reality because they are people who deliver their material from events’ center, who are not involved with conservative corporate policies, editorial line, policy templates and other stereotypes of ‘professionals’. They are independent and have forcibly expressed civic awareness. Their word is realistic outlook on life.

But still we need to perceive the differences between those who work for conveying truthful information to the readers, and those who only grandstand in the quest for fame and high ratings.

Osama Ali Suleiman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), who uses the name of Rami Abdulrahman in his blog posts, is a good example of the second type of ‘citizen journalists’, for his actions bring discredit on all non-indifferent people. With the start of Syrian civil war SOHR became one of the main information sources that focused on civilian casualty figures. But eventually it came out that SOHR was only a one-man show and this man was Suleiman who lived in the UK and confirmed his ‘play-by-play bulletins’ with messages from social networks accounts, whose ownership is rather questionable. Moreover, it became known that Suleiman was engaged in juggling with facts and descended to fake, which threw discredit upon SOHR competence in the quality of the information office.

Eliot Higgins, a former finance worker, is another telling illustration. He specializes in making investigation through using open-source information on the Internet.

Higgins also embarked upon his career during the war in Syria. Despite the fact that all blogger’s beliefs about warfare and weaponry, according to his own statement, were based on video games and blockbusters, Higgins gained the character of weapons expert and made interest with leading media companies. He was the first person who reported that Assad’s regime made use of barrel and cluster bombs as well as chemical weapons against own people.

On 15 July, 2014, exactly two days before (!) the Boing 777 crash near Donetsk, he founded Bellingcat project. The investigation of this catastrophe was the main task of his group there, though it has not been finished up to now. You should direct attention to the fact that the whole time no one in Bellingcat group visited the Boing crash site. However, this fact could not care less either the researchers, or the media, or public institutions that use Bellingcat reports. Meanwhile, many so-called ‘facts’ that experts use to draw their conclusions on are estimated questionable.

For instance, Dutch journalist Max van der Werff found out that Bellingcat used photos of the launch of ADMS Buk missile that was counterfeited. In addition, Bellingcat experts stubbornly ignore statements of the locals that were published, for instance, in The Telegraph or BBC, where it is said that they had not heard or seen anything like surface-to-air missile launch either on the day of the tragedy or ever yet.

There is also doubt in the authenticity of the famous photo of ADMS Buk that was claimed to had been taken in the town of Torez (picture 1). According to some experts in graphics, this graphical proof was created from two different images (picture 2).

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Bellingcat report shows that, according to the photo, the Buk vehicle’s size is 9 meters (picture 3) but it should be equal to almost 12 meters. Thus, the photo’s creators made a mistake either in the distance to the operator or in the size of the truck together with the Buk (picture 4).

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In addition to that, detail loss of some places in the image seems rather strange. When you rotate a draft of the truck in the photo, the cabin of the Volvo perfectly fits the front of the Buk vehicle while the image of its back fades, and vice versa (pictures 5, 6, 7).

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Furthermore, there are no shadows of the tree in the photo (picture 8) that should be easily visible here (pictures 9, 10).

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According to experts, such discrepancies that point at possible deception of images, are on other photo and video evidence represented by Bellingcat group’s researchers.

The two Paris Match photos showing area inside Donetsk city. Paris Match published the first (top) photo on July 25, 2014. The full version of the second photo (bottom) appeared on the Internet in January 2015.

There are a number of areas in these Paris Match photos that suggest they are a product of a photo manipulation software like Photoshop. Take a close look at them (open their higher resolution versions by clicking on Picture 11 if necessary). The first impression is that they look ‘strange’, they look unlike any normal photos or even stills from a low resolution video. Compare the back of the truck’s white cabin with the Buk vehicle (these areas are marked in Picture 12). The back of the cabin looks sharp, as if it was taken from an excellent quality, high resolution source, while Buk looks fuzzy everywhere you look. No effects like motion blur or camera’s low resolution can explain this difference in picture quality. The cabin’s picture quality should be just as bad as Buk’s or Buk’s quality should be as good as cabin’s. You can see this startling difference in picture quality between the Buk vehicle and the truck’s cabin in both photos.

Picture 12. The area marked orange has significant difference in picture quality in comparison to the one marked blue.

There is a night and day difference between the cabin’s edge and Buk’s edge in terms of their sharpness in the first Paris Match photo (Picture 13). Buk’s edge is fuzzy. It almost blends with the background.

Picture 13. A comparison of picture quality of cabin’s edge with Buk’s edge in the first Paris Match photo.

In the first Paris Match photo, it is incredible how you can clearly see the telephone number, how sharp the back of the cabin looks, but how at the same time, you can barely see even the shape of Buk’s wheels on this normal day (Picture 14).

Picture 14. A part of the first Paris Match photo showing the area of Buk’s wheels.

Another area that doesn’t look possible without the use of tools like Photoshop (Picture 15).

Picture 15. A part from the second Paris Match photo.

The reflection from the car’s dashboard is not the same in both photos (Picture 16). The area inside the orange box should have the same black patches that are visible in the second photo.

Picture 16. A comparison of dashboard reflection between the two Paris Match photos.

The full-sized version of the second photo was not published for 6 months, Paris Match initially wrote that the first photo is from Snizhne rather than Donetsk, and the story is suspicious: Someone is driving in Donetsk city on July 17 at around 11:00 on a car. He takes photos of impossible picture quality, showing a part of a car (visible in the first Paris Match photo), truck and Buk, parked almost in the middle of a large city. He then sends these photos exclusively to a French magazine named Paris Match, all while there is not a single other known picture or video material of a Buk vehicle inside Donetsk city made by anybody else since the beginning of the conflict.

Beyond all doubt, so polar opposite conclusions of different groups that use similar methods of analysis cannot allow an honest man to take any one’s side. However, Bellingcat rejects any other interpretations as some kind of conspiracy. So much like the best traditions of authoritarian propaganda.

Another issue is the level of professionalism and Bellingcat experts’ ability to interpret data adequately.

After Bellingcat research group accused Russia of satellite images’ editing at the aim of showing Ukrainian air defense activity in the area of MH17 downing, German image forensics expert and a founder of IRISPIX website Jens Kriese, publicly stated that Bellingcat ‘Error Level Analysis’ (ELA-analysis) gives almost nothing except developing the group’s PR campaign. As to the ELA-analysis’ founder Dr. Neal Krawetz, he considers that Bellingcat experts’ report ‘is nothing more than reading tea leaves’ and a good example of ‘how to not do image analysis’.

Other experts in graphics and meta data have also questioned the authenticity of the Bellingcat group’s evidentiary material.

The bias of activities of ‘independent’ journalists’ group discredits the idea of the very possibility of obtaining reliable information from open sources. You can treat Bellingcat activities in different ways, but it is a thankless task to trust this group’s experts or others like them because at this stage they have no reliable or un-disproved materials.

Our politicians and well-heeled journalists, who take up any ‘roasted information convenient for them; often take the lead from such messengers of likes and on-line viewings as Suleiman and Higgins. And together they form a virtual reality, which is far out.

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Sponsors of Islamists invest into Hillary

As I’ve been keeping watching the election race, I’ve been coming to understanding that Mrs. Clinton is the most admirable as a woman of character and a nimble politician.

This person is out of any legal or moral rules. She should be a hard-boiled egg so that she could manage to gain support of either Jewish tycoons (Rockefeller, Soros), or Muslim zealots (Fetullah Gulen’s followers).

She is so convincing that an obedient herd of voters have been praising her effusively, but taking no notice of unscrupulous actions of the future U.S. President. Also at first glance such citizens’ and non-citizens’ willingness to donate millions of dollars to Clinton’s presidential race resembles sect or mass hypnosis.

It is noteworthy that in spite her vast political experience Hillary is far short of charisma of Joseph Di Mambro or Jim Jones, the leader of the People’s Temple. That is why Americans are save from mass suicides and signing over all their possessions to Mrs. Clinton. However there was a surge among influential organizations and corporations in love for HIV-positive persons, poor and disaster-affected people, as soon as it became known for certain that Clinton once again would run for the presidency. Notably that not only such American organizations as Friends of Saudi Arabia, Monsanto and ExxonMobile, but also foreign citizens occurred to be among such soft-hearted givers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2014 among those who made donations to the Clinton Foundation were United Arab Emirates, a first-time donor, Qatari government committee preparing for the 2022 soccer World Cup, Oman, Canadian government agency and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a remarkable list. Thus, it is known that the State Department issued rather unfavourable human rights reports about the UAE and Oman. Qatar was also black-booked by the human rights activists because of over 1,000 migrant workers have already died during the 2022 World Cup preparations. The forgoing Canadian agency has been promoting the Keystone XL pipeline’s construction in spite of environmentalists’ and some Congressmen’s harsh attacks.

With regard to Saudi Arabia, this country has been a repeat donor since the foundation’s founding. Also it has a long history of cooperation with Hillary Clinton. It’s no coincidence that George W. Bush calls her ‘his sister-in-law’.

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According to a report published in the Intercept, Clinton made weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia a “top priority”.

In released by the State Department emails concerned the recent scandal Hillary celebrates heartily ‘not a bad Christmas present’. The present had occurred to be the sale of over 80 Boeing manufactured (another one of the most generous sponsors of the Clintons Foundation) F-15 jets. Those very fighters Saudis used during airstrikes in Yemen, when they hit facilities of Doctors Without Borders, a wedding hall, a center for the blind, and also killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

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In 2012 the Saudi king expressed his satisfactions with such effective cooperation by a half a million dollars gift. This price is beyond the reach of reason and good manners (the majority of gifts from foreign establishment have been assessed at $ 450-650). However, they didn’t forget to make a “Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government” note.

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Upon the whole during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the State Department granted increases in arms exports to 17 out of 20 countries sponsoring the Clintons Foundation. Difference for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia totaled 97%, Qatar – 1482%, Oman – 221%, the UAE – 1005%.
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An Algerian case is an illustrative sample of this tried and tested simple scheme. In 2010 Clinton criticized Algeria for violations of democratic freedoms and corruption in the country. In the same year the Algerian government donated $ 500,000 to the Clintons Foundation ‘assist with earthquake relief in Haiti’. The next year the State Department conferred Algeria a one-year increase in military export authorizations, including almost 50,000 items classified as chemical and biological agents and associated equipment. Such items never were authorized for export to Algeria before.

In view of this situation, Clinton’s support of a 9/11 bill has been ever more reasoned. In fact, Hillary together with other politicians has publicly voiced that Saudi Arabia has not only been sponsoring international terrorists. But it IS a terrorist country itself having a straight-line responsibility for mass murders of thousands of innocent victims. The after 9/11 State Department’s logic suggests that Saudi Arabia should become a number-one candidate for the next “Democratic” Spring.

Does the Saudi king bother about it? He hardly does. It is just another hint that it’s about time to make another donation for HIV infected gophers, for the reduced to indigence by the Occupy-movement or for the Mars’ gardening, in other words, into the Mrs. Presidential Nominee’s pockets.

Technically the Supreme Court officially says people can give unlimited money for political campaign donations. Foreigners aren’t forbidden doing that either. However, the moral dilemma about the correctness of TAKING this money arises. For sure a sponsor presumes on the proper response of a beneficiary. As well, politicians enter into an unwritten agreement, while accepting a ‘present’. Formally we’ve become accustomed to call it lobbying. In practice this is a legalized corruption. It turns out that any lawlessness or crimes against humanity could be justified with charity purpose.

In her previous career Mrs. Clinton had been a dab hand at such agreements. President’s services are much multifarious and more expensive than Secretary of State’s ones, of course. Therefore, a new post will grant Clinton greater opportunities of working out money of Saudis and other ‘philanthropists’ by turning a blind eye to barbaric ways of things in countries, religious zealotry and open financing of Islamic extremists.

Terrorist threats at Eurovision 2016

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In early May, the next international Eurovision Song Contest 2016 will take place in Sweden. But info on possible terrorist acts is casting gloom over the festive events. European Union Institute for Security Studies has published a report according to which Islamic terrorists plan to execute several assaults at public gathering places during the Contest. The article includes the opinion of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) experts who believe that security measures of Stockholm are inadequate for the existing threats. The ECTC calls for strengthening of control over migrants who keep arriving in Sweden as well as migrants who are already in the country. Unfortunately, the report is not available via the link at present moment. The Institute officials couldn’t be reached for comments. But according to new information, the report was removed after the request of Sweden’s Foreign Ministry that was dissatisfied with dissemination of the state’s classified data.

It is worth noting that Swedish security services repeatedly came into the focus of scandals lately, involving their failures in the fight against terrorism. Therefore, if the info is true, the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 may become the most tragic event of this year.

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Turkey was about to open second front vs. Armenia

I’ve found a pretty interesting information about Turkish Azeri plans referring to Armenia.

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This text appeared on the website on the first day of Azeri aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh. But after a while it was deleted. Instead of the article the website administration placed an announcement notifying that due to the conflict escalation the information would be updating.

Peace settlement through creation of terrorist cells. Daesh expects aid of Sweden

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The commander of the Daesh (IS) first all-female assault battalion Nada al-Qahtani has turned to Stockholm for aid in establishing of ‘the legal rule of Caliphate’ in Syria. This has become known from the letter written by al-Qahtani demanding that Sweden should render help in recruiting new members for the Daesh all-female battalion, as well as in delivering weapons and munitions for Syrian fighters via Turkey.

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As it follows from the document, at present, in addition to 60 women from the UK, there are also some natives of Sweden in the assault battalion who have undergone training in Al-Hasakeh and are set to join fighting right now. However, despite promises of head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Margot Wallstrom, number of Swedish female volunteers is insufficient to have an upper hand over the Assad’s regime, or, to be more exact, over the government military units and allied forces.

It’s worth noting that the Swedish foreign minister when interviewed on the perspective of the possible Syrian settlement once and again highlighted the female involvement in all the decision making processes in Syria, at all levels, including military activities. Furthermore, according to Margot Wallstrom, she’s been in close touch with the Syrian informal female leaders via on-line conferences and relies heavily on them in dealing with securing safety in the country. It looks like in the letter of Nada al-Qahtani this exactly vision of the way to reach peace and security in the Syrian Arab Republic is actually outlined.

There’s one more amusing aspect of the Swedish assistance to the Syrian opposition represented by Daesh that is reflected in the letter. This is delivery of weapons. Nada al-Qahtani puts it plain that Sweden, being outside NATO, may well supply all the necessary weapons and munitions to the fighters via Turkish lands without any fear that the Alliance would bash it with criticism or sanctions. This assurance of the field commander prompts some possible previously agreed terms, or, perhaps some well worked out scheme of helping the opposition forces in Syria. The words of the US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State Brett McGurk only add meat to this. He said in particular, ‘The single corridor linking Daesh with the outer world is a piece of land 98 km long on the border between Syria and Turkey’. Considering the military potential of Turkey and the presence of American Air Force bases in Adana and Izmir the situation looks utmost strange in the areas bordering the state having terrorist forces on its territory and engaged in full scaled military activities since 2014. It is even more perplexing bearing in mind regular reports by the observers to the International Syria Support Group on attempts to beef up the bulk forces of the militants with the fresh units breaking from the Turkish side of the border.

Amazingly, all the key points in the letter of the terrorist battalion commander fit completely the policy of Sweden and are indirectly confirmed by the words of the Foreign Ministry head.

In order to defend itself, Sweden must render aid, both military and non-military, and accept it. The government sees the challenges it is facing at present in wider terms now. Apart from the military, also in the list there is terrorism, climate, migration, pandemics and human trafficking. Exactly those theses were voiced by Margot Wallstrom in the Riksdag while presenting the foreign policy declaration of Sweden.

Paradoxically, the Swedish government, guided by some personal motives, is undermining the idea of peace and security, on which the foreign policy of the country is allegedly based. It doesn’t matter absolutely whether military, financial, humanitarian, recruiting or other assistance will be destined for Daesh or other fighting units involved in war with the Allied Forces and government units. Strengthening of any organization fighting for establishment of caliphate in this or that form will have an inevitably destructive effect on the peace process in Syria and its neighboring states and, by no means, will be highly beneficial for Daesh fighters. Most importantly, the ones responsible for reasons and consequences of the war and terrorist actions turn out to be the countries not sharing the views of the Swedish political elite. This is actually the quintessence of the foreign policy of the Kingdom. In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs put the blame on Israel striving to defend its citizens from the subversive activities of the armed units. According to this strange logic, battle on terrorists amounts to provoking them, while aid to them is pushing them to the peace dialogue.

Unfortunately, modern history has witnessed lots of examples when so called moderate fighters transform into international terrorist organizations, systematically terrorizing the world community. When the Swedish leadership has some naïve illusions towards the so called ‘acceptable radicals’ it may be merely qualified as criminal negligence. Coordinator of the EU counter-terrorism Gilles de Kerchove made quite a point when he declared that these people, rather strongly radicalized and trained to handle weapons, just can’t be all imprisoned upon their return back home. He meant European mercenaries, about three thousand in all. Add here the flow of terrorist cells’ members penetrating European Union together with migrants to get yet incomplete picture, for it’s still improbable to estimate all those on the spot recruitment cases via Internet resources. Thus, the perspective of ensuring high security standards in European countries seems highly doubtful while the policy of Sweden regarding the armed Syrian radicals is able only to boost the terrorist threat to the western world.

From here