Eliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, has been twittering and twittering like a songbird for the last couple of weeks about a new report opening up the Navalny novichok poisoning case. According to Higgins, this is the biggest, most important research project Bellingcat has done yet.
If you don’t know who Navalny is, he’s a Russian nationalist. Russian nationalists want to exclude the other over one hundred nationalities in the Russian Federation from participation in civil life. Their idea of democracy tears Russia apart as it exists today and creates classes of people. In a political career spanning over 18 years this one point may be why he’s never been elected to a political position as meager as town dog catcher and is largely ignored inside Russia.
As you’ll see below without much fanfare is that the Bellingcat report fell apart before it got out of the gate.
What you may not know is Bellingcat was instrumental to the DNC narrative building against President Donald Trump early on. Higgins’ group made headlines after Information Operations company SCL landed a contract with Canada to clean up the MH17 story and another for building Syria narratives.
Higgins’ crew worked with APT28 and APT29 better known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, or simply the DNC hackers, on many of the projects Bellingcat landed. These two groups were identified as Ukrainian IO groups working under the Ministry of Information Policy. Other than APT28 & APT29’s close friend, Dimitry Alperovitch, they remain the only groups to possess the tools that make positive identification of Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear possible.
The image below is a phishing email Dimitry Alperovitch sent to APT28 (RUH8) leader Andriy Baranovych for analysis.
APT28 and APT29 were recruited by Alexandra Chalupa as oppo-researchers for the 2016 election campaign. After the DNC email leak occurred, “Alice” the most trusted of these trusted researchers was sent to find out who leaked the files. The “mistake” Alice made which developed the hate campaign against Donald Trump further was using state sized tools to find the leaker instead of administrative tools on the DNC server.
That’s why Crowdstrike while adamant about the intrusion testified no files were taken in the hack. The hack was simply an administrative task to find a leaker.
According to Bellingcat’s Navalny analysis, author Christo Grozev made the proof positive identification of the FSB’s involvement based on a single byte of information when the FSB agent who poisoned Alexei Navalny turned on his personal cell phone for a complete second.
Yes I know, it sounds like Matrixy movie stuff, and it is. But, what looks great as a movie FX doesn’t always work in real life.
This is the same Christo Grozev that had to check in with Ukraine’s Deputy of Information Policy Dmytro Zolotukhin, ie, APT28 & APT29’s manager to see if his computer was hacked.
Bellingcat’s researchers along with other Ukraine contractors spent 3 years trying to locate me, a static target, to no avail.
The mojo Bellingcat needs to make the Navalny story work just isn’t there even with the resources the Atlantic Council brings to bear. When I asked Grozev if he works with Ukrainian IO and the SBU his answer was an emphatic no. Then I showed him this casual conversation to remind him.
The biggest problem with Bellingcat and Navalny’s story is Navalny’s team video of them collecting evidence directly after the poisoning. If that part doesn’t work the rest of the Bellingcat fantasy story is only filler content writing.
Navalny’s reality is some of his team were more concerned about catching COVID-19 than they were dealing with a deadly nerve agent that gives off fumes, soaks through clothes, and doesn’t dissipate. A couple of them wore COVID quarantine masks.
Why would the FSB leave a deadly toxin for the hotel cleaning lady? I asked Elliot Higgins, Christo Grozev, and Navalny himself if they notified the hotel of the toxin’s presence. It didn’t happen. Where are the casualties you would expect? How many of Navalny’s team died in the process?
Where did Navalny’s team decontaminated? Again, no answers from Navalny, Grozev, or any of the parties writing this important part of the story.
The team’s clothes, cameras, and phones would all be toxic waste. The bags they put the toxin soaked items in were only 1 or 2 mil thick and tear if you look at them the wrong way. If they knew they were dealing with a toxin, why weren’t they worried? Why didn’t they use 5 mil hazmat bags? How did they secure the toxin from leaking?
Most importantly, how did they get a toxic substance across international borders? If the story was true, where is the INTERPOL warrant?
While it’s easy to say Navalny’s team threw caution to the wind, would the same FSB they say poisoned Navalny do the same? They didn’t clean up the site or block Navalny’s team from returning to the hotel room. The same people weren’t blocked from leaving Russia or searched for the items they want blind acceptance for even if Novichok is one of the most deadly nerve agents known.
At the end of the day, if Novichok was handled this carelessly, some bodies would have piled up in Russia and during transit in every country these people touched down in.
That’s how credible this story is and how incredible the fantasy that followed it became.
When you look at the images above you see the people, that are the basis of internet censorship and relegating Donald Trump to a social media ban and media blackout, working together in combined efforts stretching from 2013 until today.
They are behind the fake news and fact checking which are the reason almost half of the US and western countries only see sound bites from strategic communicators while the real news is buried.
At the end of the day, all of this is to create a world where they are free to create any news their customers want.
The fact the Bellingcat story is timed to drum up Russia-Trump feelings again among Democrats should be enough to warrant a much closer inspection since Bellingcat and its partnering groups were the ones that designed that story.
- POINT/COUNTERPOINT 1/2: “If It Hadn’t Been For The Prompt Work Of The Medics”…FSB Officer Inadvertently Confesses Murder Plot To Navalny
- Russians Marvel At American Bolsheviks And Give Fair Warning To The Consequences