British Intelligence Services Have Been Progressively Crafting An Anti-Russia Narrative For A Decade, Using International Events, Either Real Or Staged
Part I - Bellingcat and the western intelligence community
This is a conclusion I have come to, having surveyed the evidence. It leads further to the conclusion that the careful and deliberate cultivation of anti-Russian sentiment by shady government operatives in collusion with the press, was preparation for not just selling the proxy war in Ukraine to a conflict-weary public, but also procuring their enthusiastic endorsement of it. And didn’t it work spectacularly - all those virtue-signalling yellow and blue emoticons on social media accounts and the bloody Ukrainian flags flying in neighbours’ gardens or daubed across their windows! Straight after suspending their critical faculties to embrace the official government Covid narrative, the credulous British public willingly ate up the government and media generated highly skewed narrative relating to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. If you didn’t hate Russians, love Zelensky and open up your house to desperate Ukrainian refugees, you weren’t a decent, moral, upstanding person. In fact, if you questioned the received ‘Russia bad, Ukraine godly, Zelensky saintly’ narrative you were almost as bad as the unvaccinated scum walking the streets infecting grannies with a deadly virus. Having deliberately incited hatred of the granny-killing, NHS-pressuring unvaccinated, the government then went on to incite hatred of all Russian citizens, assumed to be complicit in the Putin-Nazi’s heavy-handed trashing of Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty. Out went the rainbow flags, in came the blue and gold Ukrainian flags.
In a spotlessly clean, polished brass-trimmed and oak-panelled office somewhere in Whitehall, a very senior government official leaned back on a leather armchair, gazed out of the window at the London scenery and smiled wrily, contentedly.
I must thank Azra Dale for inspiring this current essay, whose Substack this morning featured this post:
The Kit Klarenberg article, published March 5th, is well worth the read, as Azra says. Here are some choice quotes from that article, which talks about the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17:
Heavily dependent on information supplied by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the Western government-funded “open source” investigations organization known as Bellingcat, the guilty verdicts appeared to vindicate an established narrative in which Russia and its Donbas allies were solely culpable.
But as this investigation will reveal, much of the news coverage of MH17 was heavily influenced by a shadowy entity called Pilgrims Group, which is closely tied to British intelligence.
Staffed and led by British Special Forces veterans, Pilgrims Group is a private security company offering elite security services to London’s embassies, diplomats, spies, and business interests abroad, particularly in high-risk environments. It also trains foreign militaries and paramilitary groups, and provides protection to reporters and their employers.
It was in the latter context that Pilgrims Group shaped media coverage – and by extension, official investigations – of MH17. The company had maintained a presence in Kiev since the early days of the US-orchestrated Maidan “revolution” in late 2013, shepherding journalists to and from the scenes of major events in Ukraine. In the process, it maintained control over what the reporters under its watch saw and how they understood the situations they encountered.
As such, Pilgrims Group played a pivotal role in the effort by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and British intelligence to convict Russia and the Donbas separatists for MH17’s downing. The operation began while the plane’s wreckage remained smoldering on the ground of rebel-controlled territory, and ultimately prevented the initiation of any genuinely independent investigations.
Pilgrims Group is closely tied to British intelligence, as also is the supposedly “open source” investigative journalism outfit known as Bellingcat. Pilgrims Group submitted a proposal to the Foreign Office in 2016 to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan in an attempt to overthrow the pro-Russian Syrian government, where they bragged about their pivotal role with MH17 in Ukraine:
This proposal was submitted to the Foreign Office by Adam Smith International, a British intelligence cutout with an extensive history of scandal, corruption and collaboration with jihadist groups. As The Grayzone has revealed, the company also funded Bellingcat to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in the 2019-20 financial year. Both organizations have refused to reveal the purpose of this sum.
Bellingcat maintains a much more open and public profile than the shady Pilgrims Group, but it too has its fingers buried deep in the British security state, even though it professes to be ‘independent’ of government. Mint Press News exposed them in April 2021:
AMSTERDAM — Investigative site Bellingcat is the toast of the popular press. In the past month alone, it has been described as “an intelligence agency for the people” (ABC Australia), a “transparent” and “innovative” (New Yorker) “independent news collective,” “transforming investigative journalism” (Big Think), and an unequivocal “force for good” (South China Morning Post). Indeed, outside of a few alternative news sites, it is very hard to hear a negative word against Bellingcat, such is the gushing praise for the outlet founded in 2014.
This is troubling, because the evidence compiled in this investigation suggests Bellingcat is far from independent and neutral, as it is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research.
An alarming number of Bellingcat’s staff and contributors come from highly suspect backgrounds. Senior Investigator Nick Waters, for example, spent three years as an officer in the British Army, including a tour in Afghanistan, where he furthered the British state’s objectives in the region. Shortly after leaving the service, he was hired by Bellingcat to provide supposedly bias-free investigations into the Middle East.
Former contributor Cameron Colquhoun’s past is even more suspect. Colquhoun spent a decade in a senior position in GCHQ (Britain’s version of the NSA), where he ran cyber and Middle Eastern terror operations. The Scot specializes in Middle Eastern security and also holds a qualification from the U.S. State Department. None of this, however, is disclosed by Bellingcat, which merely describes him as the managing director of a private intelligence company that “conduct[s] ethical investigations” for clients around the world — thus depriving readers of key information they need to make informed judgments on what they are reading.
The American intelligence services are in on the act too:
There are plenty of former American spooks on Bellingcat’s roster as well. Former contributor Chris Biggers, who penned more than 60 articles for the site between 2014 and 2017, previously worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — a combat support unit that works under the Department of Defense and the broader Intelligence Community. Biggers is now the director of an intelligence company headquartered in Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington (close to other semi-private contractor groups like Booz Allen Hamilton), that boasts of having retired Army and Air Force generals on its board. Again, none of this is disclosed by Bellingcat, where Biggers’s bio states only that he is a “public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.”
For six years, Dan Kaszeta was a U.S. Secret Service agent specializing in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and for six more he worked as program manager for the White House Military Office. At Bellingcat, he would provide some of the intellectual ammunition for Western accusations about chemical weapons use in Syria and Russia’s alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
All very cosy, and the tendrils of the British and American security state, extending into and from Bellingcat, go even deeper:
THE BELLINGCAT TO JOURNALISM PIPELINE
The corporate press itself already has a disturbingly close relationship with the national security state, as does social media. In 2019, a senior Twitter executive was unmasked as an active duty officer in the British Army’s online psychological operations unit. Coming at a time when foreign interference in politics and society was the primary issue in U.S. politics, the story was, astoundingly, almost completely ignored in the mainstream press. Only one U.S. outlet of any note picked it up, and that journalist was forced out of the profession weeks later.
Increasingly, it seems, Bellingcat is serving as a training ground for those looking for a job in the West’s most prestigious media outlets. For instance, former Bellingcat contributor Brenna Smith — who was recently the subject of a media storm after she successfully pressured a number of online payment companies to stop allowing the crowdfunding of the Capitol Building insurrectionists — announced last month she would be leaving USA Today and joining The New York Times. There she will meet up with former Bellingcat senior investigator Christiaan Triebert, who joined the Times’ visual investigations team in 2019.
What we are uncovering here is a network of military, state, think-tank and media units all working together, of which Bellingcat is a central fixture. This would be bad enough, but much of its own research is extremely poor. It strongly pushed the now increasingly discredited idea of a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, attacking the members of the OPCW who came forward to expose the coverup and making some bizarre claims along the way. For years, Higgins and other members of the Bellingcat team also signal-boosted a Twitter account purporting to be an ISIS official, only for an investigation to expose the account as belonging to a young Indian troll in Bangalore. A leaked U.K. Foreign Office document lamented that “Bellingcat was somewhat discredited, both by spreading disinformation itself, and by being willing to produce reports for anyone willing to pay.”
Thoroughly disreputable and thoroughly entrenched in the British and American deep states whose most fervent desire it would seem is to effect regime change in Russia and Syria:
Bellingcat certainly seems to pay particular attention to the crimes of official enemies. As investigative journalist Matt Kennard noted, it has only published five stories on the United Kingdom, 17 on Saudi Arabia, 19 on the U.S. (most of which are about foreign interference in American society or far-right/QAnon cults). Yet it has 144 on Russia and 244 under its Syria tag.
The way to do this, they have decided, is to furiously propagate the ‘Russia bad’ message throughout the popular press and social media and exploit or even manufacture events on the world stage which cast Russia and pro-Russia Syria in a very bad light.
In Part II, I will be looking at Bellingcat’s nefarious role in the Salisbury Skripal poisonings, an event which was likely staged by the British government for the purpose of promoting Russophobia and justifying political and economic sanctions:
I can remember when Bellingcat was introduced to the general public on the BBC, Andrew Neil's Daily politics show. I found it very odd at first sight, 'citizen journalists' on the BBC... unheard of. They didn't appear on the show, Neil just parroted the 'information' they were providing, I think it was the MH17 event.
A Neil went on to try take down GBNews when it was trying to establish itself. You will never hear Mr Neil question the official geo-political narratives, and you will find an A. Neil on the Epstein flight logs, which may or may not be him.