Skip to Content

Eliot Higgings. Photo supplied
The Hague

UK war propaganda outfit to move to The Netherlands

The pro-war British research collective Bellingcat is planning to expand into the Netherlands and to open a permanent office in The Hague, DutchNews.nl reported on Friday.

Published: November 3, 2018, 11:41 am

    Founder Eliot Higgins told the NRC daily in an interview on Friday that the organisation has applied for funding from the Postcode Lottery foundation to help establish the first Bellingcat operation outside the UK.

    The organisation will have teams working on Yemen, Syria, and Libya, Higgins said. The office will also host “a team focused on working with local groups on local issues” and more MH17 revelations are on the way, he said.

    The aim is to set up an operation in the Netherlands to support the work of the International Criminal Court in The Hague with open source material, the NRC reported.

    But in his first big scoop, Higgins echoed mainstream war propaganda on Syria about the August 2013 sarin gas attack — blaming it on President Bashar al-Assad. Bellingcat was quickly forced to back down from his assessment when aeronautical experts revealed that the sarin-carrying missile had a range of only about two kilometers, much shorter than Higgins had surmised in blaming the attack on Syrian government forces. Despite that key error, Higgins continued claiming the Syrian government was guilty.

    Bellingcat has not only been embroiled in promoting fake chemical attacks, but also in the MH17 disaster and the Skripal poisoning case in Britain, among others.

    In its report, on the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) blamed Russia, because “[M]any journalists carried out their own investigations, as did research collectives like Bellingcat.” The JIT report has not yet provided definitive evidence to back up its conclusions based on the Bellingcat “research collective”.

    Bellingcat was launched days before MH17 was shot down and quickly expanded its area of study to include Ukraine.

    Proving that MH17 was shot down by Russian forces was a major focus of Bellingcat’s efforts, while the Dutch investigators initially only concluded that the most likely missile was a Buk of the 9M38 series with a 9N314M warhead launched somewhere from a 320 square kilometre area, but made no attempt to draw conclusions as to who controlled it.

    Originally from Leicester in the UK, Higgins is a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab and Future Europe Initiative.

    The Atlantic Council is a leading US geopolitical strategy think tank, which published a document outlining advanced preparations underway for the United States to fight “major and deadly” wars between “great powers,” which will entail “heavy casualties” and “high levels of death and destruction.”

    The document, titled “The Future of the Army,” based the likelihood of such a terrible war in what it calls “Russia’s resurgence”.

    Higgins is also one of five authors of an Atlantic Council report titled: “Distract, Deceive, Destroy,” on Russia’s role in Syria. The report concludes by calling for US missile strikes in Syria.

    But in 2015, Bellingcat’s war propaganda operation became so discredited that the German news magazine Der Spiegel had to apologise for its uncritical recycling of Bellingcat allegations.

    According to Jens Kreise, an expert in digital image forensics, Bellingcat’s technique of “error correction analysis” was “subjective and not based entirely on science”. He added that Bellingcat’s work is “nothing more than reading tea leaves”.

    Despite having no background in weapons analysis beyond that supposedly derived from computer gaming and, in Higgins’ own words, “what I’d learned from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo [films],” he was quickly identified by the international mainstream media as a “credible” source of “independent” research.

    Veteran US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has debunked Bellingcat’s chemical attack allegations, pointing out that numerous forces in the Syrian conflict, including US-backed “rebel” groups fighting the Syrian government had “mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and [were] capable of manufacturing it in quantity”.

    A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists, led by Professor Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology, and international security, said about Higgins that “as far as his analysis goes, it’s so lacking any analytical foundation, it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about”.

    Higgins is married to a Turkish national.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Case to ban ‘racist characteristics’ of Zwarte Piet dismissed

    Anti-Piet campaigners in the Netherlands have lost their case to ban "racist characteristics" from the Zwarte Piet procession on November 14, 2018.

    Democracy in Donbass

    Elections took place in war-ravaged Donetsk and Lugansk Republics which showed that despite all hardships the flame on independence still burns high.

    Gender politics and the sinking of the KNM Helge Ingstad

    OsloReturning from the NATO Trident Juncture strategic exercise, a Norwegian frigate collided with a tanker. Many are speculating that gender politics sunk the vessel.

    Why does Switzerland’s UN representative want open borders?

    Jürg Lauber, the representative of Switzerland at the UN, was instrumental in writing The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, together with the representative from Mexico.

    Orban: ‘Europe without nations will cease to exist’

    HelsinkiEurope would lose its spiritual and cultural identity without its nations, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his audience at a European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki on Thursday.

    Salvini already has a plan to cut Italy’s debt

    RomeThe European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said at Monday's Eurogroup meeting with Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, that Italy needs to cut its high debt, EU sources said on Wednesday. The country's Interior Minister already has a plan.

    Dutch daily exposes cross-border grooming gangs

    AntwerpThe Dutch chapter of aid an organisation dealing with underage prostitution is working together with the Flemish municipality of Antwerp to tackle the increase in human trafficking and grooming gangs.

    Marine Le Pen beats Macron in latest poll

    ParisSovereignist parties secured a combined 30 percent of support in the latest poll with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party for the European Parliament elections.

    French politician attacks UN Global Compact: ‘Time for change!’

    BrusselsNicolas Bay, member of the European parliament and co-president of the group “Europe of Nations and Freedom” gave an exclusive comment to FreeWestMedia on the “Global Compact for Migration”.

    French magazine outlines new hyperviolence linked to immigration

    ParisOne of France’s leading conservative news magazines has highlighted the "denial, abandonment and powerlessness" of the French state faced with hordes of foreigners who do not fit in and do not want to become French.

    Go to archive