“Boshirov” is probably not “Chepiga”. But he is also not “Boshirov”. 994

UPDATE: The Kommersant Evidence
Kommersant publishes interviews with people from Chepiga’s home village. The article makes clear he has not been seen there for many years. It states that opinions differ on whether Chepiga is Boshirov. One woman says she recognised Boshirov as Chepiga when he appeared on TV, especially the dark eyes, though she had not seen him since school. Another woman states it is not Chepiga as when she last saw him ten years ago he was already pretty bald, and he has a more open face, although the eyes are similarly brown.

Naturally mainstream media journalists are tweeting and publishing the man’s evidence and leaving out the woman’s evidence.

But the Kommersant article gives them a bigger challenge. Kommersant is owned by close Putin political ally, Putin’s former student flatmate, Chariman of Gazprominvestholdings and the UK’s richest resident, Alisher Usmanov. That Russia’s most authoritative paper, with ownership very close to Putin, is printing such open and honest reporting rather belies the “Russia is a dictatorship” narrative. And unlike the Guardian and BBC websites, on Kommersant website ordinary Russians can post freely their views on the case, and are.

One thing this does stand up is that Chepiga definitely exists.

The evidence mounts that Russia is not telling the truth about “Boshirov” and “Petrov”. If those were real identities, they would have been substantiated in depth by now. As we know of Yulia Skripal’s boyfriend, cat, cousin and grandmother, real depth on the lives and milieu of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” would be got out. It is plainly in the interests of Russia’s state and its oligarchy to establish that they truly exist, and concern for the privacy of individuals would be outweighed by that. The rights of the individual are not prioritised over the state interest in Russia.

But equally the identification of “Boshirov” with “Colonel Chepiga” is a nonsense.

The problem is with Bellingcat’s methodology. They did not start with any prior intelligence that “Chepiga” is “Boshirov”. They rather allegedly searched databases of GRU operatives of about the right age, then trawled photos in yearbooks of them until they found one that looked a bit like “Boshirov”. And guess what? It looks a bit like “Boshirov”. If you ignore the substantially different skull shape and nose.

Only the picture on the left is Chepiga. The two on the right are from “Boshirov’s” Russian passport application file, and the photo of “Boshirov” issued by Scotland Yard.

Like almost the entire internet, I assumed both black and white photos were from Chepiga’s files, and was willing to admit the identification of Chepiga with “Boshirov” as valid. But once you understand is that – as Bellingcat confirm if you read it closely – only the photo on the left is Chepiga, you start to ask questions.

The two guys on the right and the centre are undoubtedly the same person. But is the guy on the left the same, but younger?

Betaface.com, which runs industry standard software, gives the faces an 83% similarity, putting the probability of them being the same person at 2.8%.

By comparison it gives me a 72% identity with Chepiga and a 2.1% chance of being him.

There is a superficial resemblance. But if you take the standard ratios used for facial recognition, you get a very different story. If you draw a line between the centre of the pupils of the two guys centre and right, and then take a perpendicular from that line to the tip of the nose, you get a key ratio. The two on the right both have a ratio of 100:75, which is unsurprising since they are the same person. The one on the left has a ratio of 100:68, which is very different.

To put that more simply, his nose is much shorter, and less certainly his eyes are further apart.

It is possible this could happen in photos but it still be the same person. The head would have to be tilted backward or forward at quite a sharp angle to alter these ratios, which does not seem to be the case. The camera could be positioned substantially above or below the subject, again not apparently the case. And the photo could be resized with height and width ratios changed. That would hard to detect.

But the three white dots across the bottom of the nose are particularly compelling (the middle one largely obscured by a red dot in the Chepiga photo). They illustrate that Chepiga has a snub nose and Boshirov something of a hook. Again, the software is reinforcing what they eye can plainly see.

However, there are also other ratios that are different. Chepiga has a narrower mouth compared to the distance between the pupils than the two photos of “Boshirov”, and that is measured on the same plane. The difference is 100-80 compared to 100-88. It is a ratio that can be changed by facial expression, but this does not seem to be the case here.

Professor Dame Sue Black of the University of Dundee is the world’s leading expert in facial forensic reconstruction. I once spent a fascinating lunch sitting next to her, while I was Rector. I shall contact her for her view on whether the guy on the left is the same person, and if she is kind enough to give me an opinion, I shall pass it on to you unadulterated.

This website is less definitive, but gives a nice clear result, and you can repeat it yourself without having to subscribe (unlike Betaface.com).

Again for comparison, I tried two photos of myself 12 years apart and got “from nearly the same person”.

It is worth repeating that the only evidence that Chepiga is Boshirov offered by Bellingcat is this photo. The rest of their article simply attempts to establish Chepiga’s career.

This is gross hypocrisy by Bellingcat, who have argued that scores of photos of White Helmets being Jihadi fighters are not valid evidence because you cannot safely recognise faces from photographs.

Yet Higgins now claims his facial identification of Chepiga as Boshirov as “definitive” and “conclusive”, despite the absence of moles, scars and blemishes. Higgins stands exposed as a quite disgusting hypocrite. Let me go further. I do not believe that Higgins did not take the elementary step of running facial recognition technology over the photos, and I believe he is hiding the results from you. Is it not also astonishing that the mainstream media have not done this simple test?

The bulk of the Bellingcat article is just trying to prove the reality of the existence of Chepiga. This is hard to evaluate, but as the evidence to link him to “Boshirov” is non-existent, is a different argument. Having set out to find a GRU officer of the same age who looks a bit like “Boshirov”, they trumpet repeatedly the fact that Chepiga is about the same age as evidence, in a crass display of circular argument.

This unofficial website does indeed name Chepiga as a Hero of the Russian Federation and recipient of 20 awards, as Bellingcat claims. But it is impossible to know if it is authentic, and by contrast there is no Chepiga on the official list of Heroes of the Russian Federation, for the stated 2014 or for any other year, which Bellingcat fail to mention. Their other documents and anonymous sources are unverifiable.

The photo of the military school honours arch, with Chepiga added right at the end and not quite in line, looks to me very suspect. My surmise so far would be that most likely Bellingcat’s source of supply is Ukrainian, and trying to tie the Skripal affair into the Ukrainian civil war via Chepiga.

My view of the most likely explanation on presently available evidence is this:

Boshirov is not Boshirov, and the Russian Government are lying.
Boshirov is not Chepiga, and Bellingcat are lying.
The whole Skripal novichok story still does not hang together, and the British government are lying.

I will continue to form my opinions as further evidence becomes available.

UPDATE Incredibly, at 13.15 on 27 September the BBC TV News ran the story showing only the two photos of “Boshirov”, which of course are the same person, and not showing the photo of Chepiga at all!

BBC News at One

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994 thoughts on ““Boshirov” is probably not “Chepiga”. But he is also not “Boshirov”.

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  • Gary

    Having checked some, at least, of what is still being shown of this story I see that the same ‘errors’ are still being made. They are showing the older passport pic of ‘Boshirov’ next to the ‘Chepiga’ reference. Although they are NOT saying that the pic is of Chepiga, they are not saying it’s an older picture of ‘Boshirov’ either.

    I was reminded of the ‘Moron in a hurry’ test used on Trademark cases. This certainly wouldn’t survive that test, as neither would much of what our media reports these days. Journalism is at best lazy and at worst little better than outright lying (thinking particularly of the infamous Nick Robinson questioning of Alex Salmond which PROVED outright that Robinson had lied in his piece)

    Whilst I can understand, although not condone, journalists exaggerating stories to make them more interesting (we see this any time the wind gets up a bit – as an aside I was in the Blackpool Hilton looking out across the promenade to the sea and, whilst on TV, a reporter who was across the street was barely able to stand due to the gale force winds a pensioner walked by on the other side with no more protection than a ‘jerkin’ and seemed not to be terribly worried by the ‘stiff breeze’) I can’t understand when they try to manufacture news that doesn’t actually exist, and that is what is being done here.

    VERY strange that all the media has jumped on a story broken by a blog. Especially strange when it’s evidence without any corroboration whatever.

    When I watch TV news I always find it odd that the same stories are run in the same order with the same amount and type of interviews. Are they simply copy-pasting from AP??

  • Josh

    Comment from Russian news: “Information that the alias “Ruslan Boshirov” allegedly hides the cadet of the Far Eastern Higher Combined Arms Command School (DVOKU) Anatoly Chepiga, “smacks of outright schizophrenia,” said former commander of Chepiga Alexander Borzhko. “In 2001, I released a student named Chepiga. I myself am a military man and I can say that the information in the media about his alleged involvement in the story with the Skripals smacks of outright schizophrenia “, – quotes RIA Novosti Borzhko, who now heads the regional department of DOSAAF in the Amur Region. He noted that army officers were trained in the DVOCU, and Chepiga really fought in Chechnya. “But he did not get any training for covert operations,” he said. Borzhko joked that now British intelligence will add him to the “lists”, and he will have to “do plastic surgery.”

    • Jack

      Important post, the moles on forehead and side of his left cheek seems about right,
      Media got hoodwinked by Bellingcat disinformation?

      What a witch hunt!

    • Node

      Ed, did you read the discalimer that Elena Evdokimova added?

      Disclaimer: there is no names on DVOKU website,so I used the same logic as Bellingcat-found a similar to Boshirov person that matches villagers’ description
      But at least I used the right military academy for Chipiga and the right graduation year,on the contrary to Bellingcat?

    • N_

      The page at the DVOKU website that Elena Evdokimova shows in her Twitter post is here.

      Left (“Chepiga”) looks more similar to middle and right (“Boshirov”) than he does to the man she has picked out (eyes, lips, nose, shape of cheeks).

      For what it’s worth, I think it’s reasonable to believe the GRU in Britain spied on Toxic Dagger. That’s what the GRU do. The expelled “officials from the military attaché’s office” in London were probably GRU.

      I would also be amazed if the GRU didn’t have an organised presence in the world of Russian international athletics, and this is probably a large part of the reason for the sporting bans. (Athletics around the world is full of doping. Usually when a British athlete gets caught, the local media refer to them as having taken e.g. a cough medicine that the poor innocent soul didn’t know contained a banned substance.) Last week the ban on the Russian anti-doping agency Rusada was lifted and the Russian athletics federation Rusaf has now filed a case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport calling for the ban on its athletes to be lifted too. How the court case goes will be a measure of the extent to which Theresa May’s “GRU rollback” promise is fulfilled – or anti-fulfilled.

      Interestingly, the court is based in Switzerland. Didn’t Boshirov and Petrov visit that country on a number of occasions? Before some twit tells me that he too has been to Switzerland and so he “must be a spy” according to my logic, I will clarify that I am saying that in my opinion the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Lausanne, is a target for both the GRU and British intelligence. Even if Boshirov and Petrov are only “fitness supplement importers who travel internationally for both business and pleasure”, they will know this very well.

    • Yeah, Right

      Evdokimova is not claiming that this man is the “real Chepiga”.

      What she is claiming is that when she uses Higgins’ own methodology then that is the photo she came up with. As in, if she uses:
      The “correct” military academy (unlike Bellingcat).
      The “correct” graduation year (unlike Bellingcat)
      Then that is the closest visual match she can come up with.

      The point she is making is that Higgins had to violate his own methodology in order to arrive at a picture that more closely resembles the person that Higgins is looking for.

      • Jack

        Yeah, Right

        But where did Bellingcat get his photos, that is the big question, he didnt just found them like Elena on the net..

        • Yeah, Right

          Jack, I have no doubt where Higgins got that photo.

          He had it handed to him by his “investigative partners” at that oh-so-mysterious outfit called “The Insider – Russia”.

          His task then became one of working backwards from there to invent a semi-plausible means of getting to that photo using only open-source methods.

          You can see it throughout that bellingcat article, which is rife with preposterous leaps of logic disguised as “deductive reasoning”.

    • Yeah, Right

      Just curious, but Higgins claims his big breakthrough came when he stumbled upon this web site:

      It was there that he claimed to first set eyes on the name “Chepiga Anatoly Vladimirovich”

      Plenty of photos , and definitely nobody there that resembles the passport photo of Chepiga.
      But I’m curious about the guy in the middle of the first photo, the guy with the blue tie.

      Anyone think he might be the same guy that Elena Evdokimova found from the DVOKU yearbook?

      If it is – and I’m not saying it is – then that’s Chepiga.
      In which case Elena is correct, and Higgins is selling a lie.

      • SK

        The man in the middle with blue shirt and tie is Glevinsky V.G. He is referred to in the text.

  • George Brennan

    About 40 minutes in Thursday’s Politics Live. Neil bollocked his team for not displaying the crucial photo, the 2009 photo, the one that foreshadows the line of the moustache seen in the 2018 photo. The team had put up the apparently snubnosed 2003 photo next to the apparently hooknosed photo of 2018 The fact that any man can resemble his earlier self is for Neil “compelling” evidence. He then turns to Yaroufakis and asks him to defend the decision of the Greek government not to break off diplomatic relations months before this “compelling evidence” came to light. Smearing people in absentia is a favourite trick of ANeil when chortling with his kindred spirits. Much chortling today at the expense of “Our Ambassador” and other unnamed conspiracy nuts.
    Skripal was enemy of the Russian state, which therefore has to be a leading suspect. If truly compelling evidence does emerge that it was Putin what dunnit Craig Murray will deserve great credit of questioning the not so compelling evidence to have emerged so far. He will not of course get that credit. MSM pundits cannot grasp that Knowledge is more than true belief.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I have yet to come to a conclusion, re all the British Intelligence Services, all The Mainstream Media, all The UK Government and Opposition Parties (ie the entire Political Class), with virtually no exceptions whatsoever, actually go along giving the distinct impression, that they actually believe that all this complete and utter farce is true.

    Why are they completely discrediting all of thesmelves, even to the vast majority of people who read the Sun, The Star, The Daily Telegraph, the Times, The Express and The Daily Mirror?

    Have they all been poisoned. Have they put something in the water supply, and the beer in Westminster?

    Or have The Tavistock Institute been working on the lot of them in a mass brainwashing campaign?

    How come it doesn’t work on Daily Mail readers, who judging by the comments can tell its all a load of bollocks?


    • Rhys Jaggar

      It does not work on DT readers, nor on Spectator readers either.

      The thing is that everyone reads the headline, most read the body text and only some read the comments.

      I often nowadays read the headline, then click straight through to comments to see what they all say before actually reading the article.

      • N_

        Then there are the picture and its caption. They are read less than the headline and more than the article.

      • Paul Greenwood.com

        Your last sentence is so true……..I then flick to Unz.com or global research.org for an alternative take

    • Screaminkid

      Didn’t take a genius to work out that Chepiga was not a young Boshirov- just an artist’s eye? This Skripal script is getting more into the realms of James Bond than ever?

  • Jack

    I dont understand how no one in Russia has been able to leak to social/media what name these people have. Isnt that weird? Imagine your face is all over the world in the media, people would leak directly and it would be known within hours but with these guys its dead silent?

    • Agent Green

      Depending on what is going on leaking could either be seen as treachery or just impolite. Would you leak the names of one of your countrymen to a foreign power in this situation?

      • Jack

        Agent Orange

        I dont think 100s of people (just a guess of how many that can name these people) would keep silent, perhaps I am naive about this but I wouldnt see that coming.

    • N_

      It’s not you or me, @Jack. Imagine you’re in the SAS and ask whether it would happen. Also consider the power of the FSB.

      • Andrew H

        If you were in the SAS (or other UK covert ops) and your photo was posted online like this – I think you would be outed, for sure. It wouldn’t be considered leaking to a foreign power – there would simply be debate on social media. (treasonous would be to try to contact a foreign government with the information, but saying hay that looks like Jim I used to go to school with on craigmurray.org.uk would not. Otherwise, half you lot would already have your heads on the block – as in good old Elizabethan times)

        • Colman English

          A girlfriend twenty years ago had recently split with a boyfriend in the SBS. They had been engaged at one point, and the relationship had been pretty serious and long.
          It soon dawned on me she had almost no photos with him in them. She explained that he was not happy having his picture taken. Als
          His mates (most also in the service, and of whom she knew many) were exactly the same, apparently, and some of them went to great lengths to avoid or even destroy any pics. Quite weird, or so I thought.
          Did this standard protocol of extreme avoidance of being photographed not cross anyone’s mind on here? Presumably there’s no one posting or commenting on here with such a background. I’m guessing these guy rather prefer to keep such details off Wiki, and the wider Internet hence the dearth of information on this blog too.

          • Radar O'Reilly

            Presumably there’s no one posting or commenting on here with such a background

            True, I’m no David Davis or Paddy Ashdown, but I have seen exactly this behaviour notably at some of the meetings I’ve attended. For example, the international standards development team for retained telecommunications data and lawful interception of telecommunications. there was a hilarious ‘team’ photo, by the sea, after the conference lunch. When the camera came out for the ‘official’ photo there were people shouting “No PHOTO” and diving behind bushes, hiding behind trees etc [this is all public information anyway from the Austrian broadcaster & journalist Erich Möchel]
            more at https://events.ccc.de/congress/2009/Fahrplan/events/3721.en.html or English at https://cryptome.org/spook-wishlist.htm

            it’s not as though this work on retained data & metadata was later ruled illegal and disproportionate by that pesky European Court, was it? Oh it was! How quaint, I presume everything is changed now, back to as before? Oh it hasn’t , how strange. . . https://euobserver.com/justice/136379

      • Jack


        I am thinking of former school mates, neighbours, old friends, anti-putin groups and so on but you guys might be right.

        • Sc

          There’s very little online about that policeman nick bailey who was also poisoned. No human interest stories, photographs, school friends of family saying how awful, neighbours …. And that’s here.

    • S

      If i was Russia (and assuming these are different people) I would wait until a UK government minister acknowledged the “information”, as Gavin Williamson almost did, and then I would show that they were different people, for maximum effect.

    • N_

      They are the same person. You’re kidding yourself.

      You know that if a vertical object rotates by an angle (about an axis tangential to the circle with centre you and circumference through it), it presents a vertical elevation that’s multiplied by the cosine of that angle, while its horizontal span remains undistorted?

      There’s so much rubbish in this thread, as well as in the original post.

      If you want to be a doubter or a sleuth, I advise you to ask 1) where the “Chepiga” photograph may have come from and 2) whether it actually shows him.

      If it does show him, then he went to Salisbury under the identity of “Ruslan Boshirov”. If it doesn’t, then somebody else did.

      Some people here have difficulty with the GRU because they are confused between military special actions and espionage. The GRU does both.

      Remember Toxic Dagger? Does anyone think none of the GRU guys in Britain had an interest in that exercise?

        • Herbie

          Trigonometry is common sense?

          Are you absolutely and positively sure it isn’t simply because you prefer his conclusion you deem it common sense.

          I mean, you haven’t indicated any understanding of his rationale, his trigonometric argument.

          I think it mostly involves bending the shape of things until you get the shape you want.

          Kinda like Trigonometry meets Topology.

      • Ed9

        No, angle difference can’t explain the 30% difference in ratio (0.76/0.58)
        Here angle differs at few degrees at most, the cosine of it is would be about 0.99xx
        I checked this ratio with several photos of the same people, and ratio differs within 5%.
        So 30% mean definetely different people.

        • Yalt

          To be precise, to explain the difference the photo at left would have had to be 40 degrees off from horizontal. We can plainly see that’s not the case; pedants can choose another vertical-to-horizontal ratio and see if it differs by the same ratio, as it should if this were the correct explanation.

          All this measuring and computer-analyzing seems to miss the point. Humans are quite intuitive when it comes to facial recognition; it’s one of our most remarkable pieces of internal software. I’m amazed that people can look at those two black-and-white photos and think they’re the same person. I hadn’t seen or heard anything about this last collection of evidence until I saw this post of Craig’s, and my eye happened to land on this set of photographs before I read the accompanying text. And the first thought in my head was “what’s going on here, the two on the right look like the same guy but the one on the left looks completely different.”

          I had to think a bit to get *why* that’s the case–it’s the shape of the skull at the temples (lots of other reasons too but that’s what jumps out to me)–but it’s bit like figuring out why a sentence isn’t grammatical. You inevitably know it isn’t a fraction before you figure out why.

      • Herbie

        The source of the “Chepiga” photograph is supposed to be some GRU yearbook.

        Is that correct.

        If so, where’s the original source, the Yearbook.

        • Yeah, Right

          No, it is supposed to be a passport photo.

          If you look at the Bellingcat article then you can see the passport application form.

          The photo is blacked out, but if you look at the outline and the shirt it is clear that this passport application is clearly the source of that photo.

          • Borncynical

            “The photo is blacked out” – presumably so we can’t see the ‘dumbo’ ears and other differences before the picture was photoshopped!

      • Andrew Ingram

        “You know that if a vertical object rotates by an angle (about an axis tangential to the circle with centre you and circumference through it), it presents a vertical elevation that’s multiplied by the cosine of that angle, while its horizontal span remains undistorted?”

        You’re talking bollocks.

        • N_

          It’s GCSE-level geometry, Mr Pottymouth. It’s so sad that that’s a high enough level to rile some people and provoke them into throwing insults.

      • Andrew Ingram

        @N_ You use a few geometric terms which might – you think – lend you an air of authority but the way you use them tells me you never got to do trig. Shoddy charlatans are ten a penny nowadays.

          • Garth Carthy

            “@N_ You use a few geometric terms which might – you think – lend you an air of authority but the way you use them tells me you never got to do trig. Shoddy charlatans are ten a penny nowadays.”

            “i agree.. the tone of certainty generally give them away too..”

            Are you completely lacking in self-awareness? You two guys accuse someone of being a charlatan and having a tone of certainty that generally gives them away and yet you rudely dismiss them with the same tone of certainty.
            You may of course be right but I think you really need to explain the obvious differences in the photos to be as cock-sure as you are. For example, the face in the first of the three photos is more pear shaped.

          • N_

            @James, who didn’t like the “tone of certainty”, let’s see if you can state my proposition in your own terms. Then you can tell us when you think it holds true and when it doesn’t.

        • N_

          You’re wrong. You’re spitting at an explanation of a very simple geometric fact that explains why the ratio for the same person can vary. You really are making a big fool of yourself here.

          • N_

            @Andrew and @James – You don’t sound acquainted with the mathematical language of precision at all. I wonder if you actually understood what I said. That would be a starting point. But why bother if you already “know” the photos show different people? The internet is full of rude people who can’t learn – both Andrews who start it off, and Jameses who haven’t mastered capital letters yet and post one-liners, tweet or SMS-style, saying “what he said”. You have both intellectually disgraced yourselves here.

          • Clark

            N_ is right; if we start by looking horizontally at a vertical object like a face looking straight at us, and then angle the object like the head nodding towards or away from us, the apparent vertical dimensions decrease approximately with the cosine of the angle of tip. Approximately, because (a) our viewpoint isn’t infinitely far from the object and (b) a face isn’t a flat sheet. The horizontal dimensions would remain nearly unchanged; again, they would be precisely unchanged if the object were infinitely distant.

            It’s just hard to put into words; a diagram would help, but this is just a blog. I couldn’t follow N_’s description myself, but I knew what was meant. It’s a fair first approximation, but forehead, cheeks, chin etc. are not parallel with each other; they’re not even planar.

        • Dennis Revell

          What are you ranting about? Whilst very clumsily expressed by N_, it’s absolutely true that there is a COSINE factor reduction in the APPARENT (observed) length of any PROJECTION of a straight line compared to its TRUE length – in other words if you don’t view it ‘straight on’.

          An example for a mathematical ILLITERATE like you: Consider the line between the centre of the line joining the pupils and the tip of the nose – or any damned straight line drawn vertically on a piece of paper. Now tilt the paper so the top edge is further away from you than the bottom edge and at a reasonable distance away from yourself – the MORE you tilt it the SHORTER the line will APPEAR to be. In the extreme when you’ve tilted it so that the paper is edge-on to your line of sight – its plane in the SAME plane as that line of sight, then the line DISAPPEARS – apparent or projected length = ZERO, In that case:-

          Projected length = Actual length X cosine 90º = Actual length X 0 — the cosine of 90º being ZERO.
          More generally, for ANY other angle θº between 0º and 90º : Projected length = Actual length X cos θº

          YOU are the one who IS talking BOLLOCKS. Fan of the odious math-hating Billy Connolly by any chance?


          • Bayard

            OK, say the head in the photo of “Chepiga” is tilted back 10 degrees. It’s probably not as much as that, but unlikely to be more. This the vertical dimensions will be reduced by a factor of cos 10. Cos 10 is 0.98, so the vertical dimensions need to be 2% larger to allow for the tilt.
            The ratio between the distance apart of the eyes of the middle to the left photo is 1:1.03. Since ageing does not move the eyes closer together or further apart, the middle photo needs to be increased in size by 3% for the two photos to be the same man. Thus the ratio of the distances from a line through the centre of the eyes to the tip of the nose, middle to left, has to be increased from 1:0.84 to 1:0.81. Arc cos 0.81 is 35 degrees.
            Now remind me, who is talking bollocks?

          • Dennis Revell


            I said NOTHING about the validity of any conslusions reached using some guess or other for the tilt angle of heads. – I knew anyway without thinking about it – ie: from experience – that an angle has to get pretty significant for the cosine to adopt vaues significantly different than unity. I didn’t have to get the calculator out, as you did.

            My beef was with the Billy Connolly like mathematical illiteracy of pompous arseholes who seem to think that such illiteracy is “cooler” than having the slightest idea of what the fuck it is you’re talking about.

            Here’s the odious anti-Scottish indepencence Connolly appealing quite successfully to an audience of apparently and sadly like-minded morons:-

            – hardly ANYTHING he says is fucking funny -the cues to laugh are in the timing of his delivery, which is pretty good.

      • Martin Elvemo

        There is no chance these are photos of the same person: if the nose lengths should match left person would have to rotate his head way down, but that would flatten the appearance of his eye brows and underscore the clear difference already present. In addition you have clear difference in distance between eyes. But one doesn’t even need any pictures of their faces to establish they are two different persons. Check the slope-shoulders of the guy in uniform and compare to Borisov’s shoulders in the link under. And the guy in the B&W photo at the end is clearly a third person.


        • N_

          The guy in uniform in the group of 10 may not be Chepiga. Agreed the guy in uniform in the group of 5 (where does that photo come from?) looks different from the person (or “persons” as some would have it) in the left, middle and right photos.

          It is interesting that Sputnik say there are no Interpol red notices for Boshirov and Petrov. (Someone who has the time can check that easily.) If they have been charged, I would like to know whether court proceedings have been started and in which court. I asked before whether anyone knows of any other cases in the lasst 50 years when anybody has been charged in absentia in the English jurisdiction? People have been tried in absentia, but have they been charged?

          If someone who is under arrest gets charged, then they must be brought before a court fast. Doesn’t the same rule apply about starting court proceedings if they are charged in absentia?

          • N_

            That got a bit garbled. Obviously a person who is tried has been charged. What I meant to say was that people have been tried in absentia, but have they been charged in absentia? If someone can point to a single case of someone else being charged in absentia in England or Wales in the past 50 years I would be interested.

          • Yeah, Right

            Sputnik News is quite correct.

            Teresa May spelt it all out in her statement to the Commons here:

            She states (twice) that the Prosecutors office have “concluded” that they have enough evidence to “bring charges”, which means that they haven’t actually, you know, “brought charges”.

            She also states that the Prosecutors office “have obtained a European Arrest Warrant and will shortly issue an Interpol red notice” which means, of course, that at the time she stood up to make her statement no such Red Notice has been sought, let alone obtained, from Interpol.

            Over three weeks have past since then and the situation has not changed: no charges have been laid against either man in any British court, no British judge has agreed that there should be a British arrest warrant, and the UK authorities have made no attempt to obtain an Interpol Red Notice.

            The one and only thing the UK Prosecutors Office has done is to obtain a European Arrest Warrant.

            Which, whoopie-do, sounds impressive but is actually not that difficult for the Prosecutors office to obtain because the authority that issues such EAWs is….. the UK Prosecutors Office.

          • N_

            @Yeah Right – Theresa May may well be ducking and diving on the matter of charges. The Met Police statement published on 5 September shortly before her statement ran as follows:

            We now have sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury and domestic and European arrest warrants have been issued for the two suspects. We are also seeking to circulate Interpol Red Notices.

            That is essentially the same as what Theresa May said later, and as you rightly say it suggests that charges had not been issued at that time. But then the police say:

            As you have heard, today’s charges relate to the first incident involving the Skripals and Nick Bailey.

            I read that as meaning that charges had been issued. Certainly much of the mainstream media (including the Independent and the Telegraph) have reported that charges have been issued. Here for example is the Evening Standard saying explicitly

            The Crown Prosecution Service said last week that Mr Petrov and Mr Boshirov had been charged with carrying out the poisonings.

            Perhaps charges were issued and then the order came down to take an eraser out and amend the record? (If this is what happened, then somebody may have discovered that it is not lawful for charges to be issued in absentia. On the other hand, perhaps it is. I have not been able to sort this one out.)

          • N_

            @Igor PP – Thanks for that link. Lugovoy may be an instance of a person charged in the English jurisdiction in absentia. The Guardian say the CPS charged him in 2007. Reuters say the police charged him.

            Interestingly Lugovoi had previously been charged in Russia with trying to break Nikolai Glushkov out of prison, allegedly to frame Glushkov and cause him to receive a longer sentence.

          • Yeah, Right

            N_, all the UK authorities from the Prime Minister’s Office on down have been obfuscating on this.

            They claim that charges *have* been laid, which is true up to a point: the Prosecutors Office has granted itself a European Arrest Warrant.

            They have done that because it is the ONLY warrant that the Prosecutors Office can grant to itself.

            Everything else – a UK arrest warrant, or an Interpol Red Notice – requires the Prosecutors Office to apply to another authority (a judge in the former case, Interpol in the latter) and that brings into play a “test of reasonableness”.

            The UK authorities are NOT willing to have that happen, so there are NO British arrest warrants out for these men. There are ON Interpol Red Notices.

            None. Zip. Zero.

        • Yeah, Right

          Two points regarding that article in the Sun:
          1) The man circled in that group of five is definitely **not** the man that Bellingcat has fingered, but most definitely **is** the same man that Elena Evdokimova fingered in her twitter post here:

          2) Eliot Higgins does **not** claim that the man circled in that group of ten soldiers in Chechnya is Chepiga. Indeed, he goes out of his way to disclaim that possibility.

          Which should make you ask an obvious question: why did Higgins include that photo if he doesn’t think that’s the man he was looking for?

          The answer is this: Higgins had to come up with some semi-plausible explanation for his big epiphany i.e. the moment when he decided to type “DVOKU”, “Chechnya” and “Hero of the Russian Federation” into Google and see what it spits out.

          As in: he was looking at a photo of a group of nobodies and noticed that the photo caption contains “DVOKU”, “Chechnya” and “Hero of the Russian Federation” so, heck, why not type those items into Google?

          Why not, ya’ never know, what’s there to lo….. oh, gosh!, Bingo!!!!!

          Higgins is either divinely inspired, or the luckiest man on Earth, or he is telling a monstrous fib about how he first heard the name “Anatoliy Chepiga”.

          Call me cynical, but I don’t put much credit on the first two possibilities.

  • JB

    Latest news:

    Kremlin: ‘impossible’ to discuss suspects in Skripal case with mass media

    – Peskov also said he has no information considering media reports on an awards granted by the Russian president to a man named Anatoliy Chepiga.
    “I don’t have information that a man by this name has ever received any award,” Peskov stressed.

  • Hatuey

    The funny thing about this whole Skripal affair is that it really isn’t going to make bit of difference to anything in the medium to long term, regardless of the conclusions any of us reach on these guys or anything else.

    If you look at the sanctions on Russia, they’re very specifically limited. This is the logic of so called “smart sanctions” which only hinder things that aren’t detrimental to “our” interests.

    We all know that the UK— or, to be clear, “The City” — does a lot of business with rich Russians, Russian businesses and investors. If anyone thinks a minor skirmish in Salisbury (even one involving nerve agents) is going to be allowed to jeopardise that, they’ve not been paying attention…

    BP has around a 20% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft too, hence;

    “LONDON (Reuters) – BP (BP.L) has a “very strong” partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) but will steer away from politics, Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said on Tuesday, as Moscow could face new western sanctions.”

    Basically, an atomic attack on Salisbury wouldn’t be allowed to rock or disrupt the Russian apple cart as far as “The City” is concerned. You can take that to the bank.

    And ultimately, at the end of all this, we know that Russia is probably going to go through some process of being brought back into the fold. The EU is already sending out those sort of signals; Europe simply needs Russian gas and the UK does too (around 20% of UK gas comes from Russia).

    The US won’t be too far behind either, especially if there’s a buck to be made (which there is).

    When you get into the rnuts and bolts of Russo-western relations, you really need to filter out all the crap they print for the purposes of selling newspapers. Even in Syria after the Russian plane went down last week, we heard that there was a good deal of cooperation going on in the background between Russia and Israel — I think someone even described them as allies.

    • Paul Greenwood

      If the Americans want to hurt stop Boeing buying titanium from Russia and electronics manufacturers buying rare-earth metals from China.. Maybe US could refrain from importing polonium from Russia to clean its cinematography lenses or rocket engines.

      The sole object of US sanctions is to stop Russia and China becoming more technologically advanced than USA which is way behind in core technologies. Eurozone has grown 0.6% pa over the past decade but still shut itself out of the fast growing economy in Russia to please US/UK

    • Radar O’Reilly

      You might be right Hatüey, some mentioned that the US were even going to allow Nordstream2 to go ahead. Tho’ when I last met Commissioner Öttinger he was muttering “autocracy” a lot about Russia and Turkey. I suspect the pivot east will be slow, hesitant & businesslike – there’s lots of EU/RU sanctions to eventually be dismantled – which mostly resulted in Russian SMEs filling the gaps, with a bit (lot?) of smuggling of stuff through Germany as well.

    • Herbie

      The connections between Trump, Netanyahu and Putin are clear, very clear. Nothing secret about them at all.

      The only question is who do the anti-Trumpers in the US represent, and who do the anti-Putins in the UK represent.

      The problem is that there are indications of relationships between anti-Trumpers and pro-Trumpers at the highest levels.

      So yeah, looking more and more like a distraction from something else.

      A planned shift to the East, but presented as the result of a dramatic struggle.

      We did our best. We lost. You could say the same for the struggle against the the turn to the Right.

    • Rob Royston

      You will get through it very quickly, Tony. I had these thoughts before I started on it but, if I remember correctly, I finished it in a few sessions.

        • Iain Stewart

          I started reading “Sikander Burnes” during a flight from Paris last year and before I’d got through three chapters I was already in Peking. I now understand what Craig meant when he said that his research takes a long time but he writes it up very quickly.

  • Paul Greenwood

    I am sufficiently sceptical about facial recognition and iris recognition to reject the latest iPhones after iPhone 8 which moved away from fingerprint control. The thought of Apple with a customer database of faces is beyond any sane level of telephony. I experience a country where a checkout assistant can take a contactless charge plate out of the hand of the customer and pay for his goods with his cards without his consent or presence.

    That in old legal form this would be an invalid transaction and contract is somehow elided in Modernworld…….so too is the ownership of face. The way the images of human beings are plastered as “guilty” reminds me how much it cost Cliff Richard to defend his reputation from a BBC trashing…….the same crowd that looked after Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall…..but thought “ever-so-pious” Cliff Richard was ready for a drubbing.

    This Orwellian projection of “Enemy of The People No X” is becoming very tedious. Henryk Ibsen would know what I mean

    • N_

      With contactless bank card use, what makes “chip and no PIN” more secure than “chip and PIN”? What other verification is there that replaces the use of the PIN?

      Always be wary when anything is sold on “convenience”.

      Why would anyone carry a microwave tracker about that they keep showing their fingerprint to?

    • Hatuey

      Good comment, Paul, particularly the bbc stuff. The bbc is arguably the most sinister organisation in the history of man.

      • Jude 93

        Hatuey: ***The BBC is arguably the most sinister the organisation in the history of man.*** The only quibble I have with that statement is I’m not sure I’d include the word “arguably”. Hamid Karzai, the former President of Afghanistan, accused the Beeb of rigging the election in his country (with the help of the UN). Of course, defenders of the Beeb might retort, “well, he would say that, wouldn’t he, losers always say the result was fixed”. Only problem there is, Karzai won the election in question…

        • Hatuey

          Jude, I will look into that. Doesn’t surprise me though. In Scotland the bbc basically serves as the opposition to the snp, it plays a sort of leadership role to the unionist parties. It’s disgusting to watch.

          • Jude 93

            Hatuey: RTE (the Irish state broadcaster) serves the same role in Ireland as the BBC does in Scotland – ardently championing the Unionist/Orangeist cause. For example when Ian Paisley Sr died, there was no mention in RTE’s oleaginous eulogies, to his close associations with notorious loyalist terrorist and murderous paedophile John McKeague, or the even more notorious William McGrath (of Kincora infamy) – both men MI6 assets according to the author Martin Dillon. In spite of his reputation as a maverick, Paisley himself could always be relied upon to do the establishment’s bidding, e.g. his strident support for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

            As for Karzai’s allegations re the Beeb, I actually heard this on BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme on April 1 (or 2nd) 2010. I remember the approximate date because the presenter quoted someone at the UN as dismissing his claims as an April Fool’s day prank. However by the Beeb’s own admission, he accused the UN, the BBC and western diplomats of organising vote rigging in the 2009 Afghan presidential elections.

            I haven’t had time to do a thorough search of the net, but there are plenty of references there to Karzai’s accusations against the UN and western diplomats (e.g. the April 7, 2010 Radio Free Europe story “Top Afghan Election Officials In Vote Riggin Scandal Resign). Unfortunately his inclusion of the Beeb in the list of rigging culprits appears to have gone down the internet memory hole – if my admittedly very brief search is any indicator.

      • Iain Stewart

        “The bbc is arguably the most sinister organisation in the history of man.”
        That lets those nice people at the Gestapo off the hook then.

        • Charles Bostock

          And the OGPU / NKVD /MGB /KGB !

          Re Karzai – I beloeve that some of the regulars on here have, in the past, called him (variously) a stooge, a facilitator of drug trafficking, a liar and a clown. It is good to see that when it’s a question of slagging off the BBC, his “testimony” is suddenly listened to with respect and belief 🙂

          • Jude 93

            Charles Bostock: Classic Neocon logical fallacy. The fact that he WAS a stooge and a facilitator of western warmongers makes his accusations against them more, not less, credible. Also, nice to see Neocons getting defensive on behalf of the Beeb. There was a time when the armchair warrior tendency tried to make out that the BBC was a hot-bed of anti-war radicals. That was clearly preposterous – the Beeb was and is right up there with the Murdoch rags and the Telegraph in its enthusiasm for endless conflict. In fact even the Daily Mail showed more balance on the Iraq War than the left-liberal Mandelson poodles at the BBC.

        • Hatuey

          The gestapo were just a bunch of thugs. From a moral or intellectual standpoint, thugs present no real difficulty; they’re blatantly in the wrong.

          What the bbc does is much more sinister. The bbc tells you thugs are angels fighting for God and democracy.

          The role played by the bbc today would keep Orwell awake at night.

          • Iain Stewart

            “The gestapo were just a bunch of thugs.”
            But not sinister then. Thanks for clearing up that old misunderstanding.

      • Dennis Revell


        I know what you mean about the BBC, but “most sinister” is a bit strong – a lot strong.

        Amongst others, one well-known organisation’s abbreviation stands head & shoulders above the BBC, links between the two being very likely, one that has its bloody dollar-soaked fingers in almost every pie, from mainstream media, internet to direct serial War-Crimes and Mass-Murder of mostly distant, mostly somewhat duskier, and mostly INNOCENT ‘forriners’:



        • Hatuey

          I think you’re comparing apples and oranges. The BBC provides cover for groups like the CIA though, and many others.

          Nobody would realistically expect the CIA to do anything other than serve the interests of Washington and so in a sense they are pretty straight forward. They might be bigger than say Estonia’s secret service but they really aren’t any different.

          The BBC on the other hand has this bizarre reputation for being an honest and impartial voice in many people’s minds. That’s dangerous and extremely sinister when you know there’s nothing impartial about them.

          I recently bought a DAB radio and something like 14 of the 20 digital channels available are BBC stations. They also dominate TV and online news. Not just in the UK — they have African BBC channels, Middle East, you name it.

          Craig would need to upgrade his web hosting if we were to even try to give a full account of the lies and propaganda that the BBC has pumped out over the last 20 years. We’re talking about umpteen wars, all sorts of corruption from Savile to the expenses scandal, political manipulation and outright corruption of the truth, lies and spin on a thousand levels concerning just about every subject under the sun, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

          You know, it’s so bad that they can’t even tell you what the weather will be like without playing dirty games like making Scotland look much smaller than it actually is — they admit this btw, and claimed it was to give a sense of perspective in terms of the shape of the earth.

          • Iain Stewart

            “You know, it’s so bad that they can’t even tell you what the weather will be like without playing dirty games like making Scotland look much smaller than it actually is — they admit this btw, and claimed it was to give a sense of perspective in terms of the shape of the earth.”

            This is indeed a true example of (literal) belittlement.
            If you ever see a map of Britain on the Franco-German news on Arte TV they seem to overcompensate with a vast Scotland dominating a shrunken England. Cartographical propaganda is nothing new of course.

    • Sharp Ears

      Savile. Just think of the word ‘vile’.

      This is how his Wikipedia entry reads. Unbelievable.
      ‘Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE KCSG was an English DJ, television and radio personality who hosted BBC shows including Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It. He raised an estimated £40 million for charities and at the time of his death was widely praised for his personal qualities and as a fund-raiser. …..’

      Can’t somebody edit it and use just one word. Paedophile.

  • FizzyDummy


    I put the two images (farthest left and farthest right) into Gimp and fiddled with the opacity settings and the markings above the eyes seem to align. I’ve nearly convinced myself that they’re the same person, though I have no idea who the person is (.ie., Colonel, tourist, someone else…).

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I try to think in advance of what can possibly go wrong when travelling outside of The UK. I have travelled a lot outside this country from the age of 9.

    I could list some of the problems I have encountered in no particular order, and their solutions, but it would take several hours. Here’s one:

    Official: Sir, Your son cannot travel. He has been deleted from your passport.
    Me: What do you mean – he’s been deleted from my passport?
    Official: Sir, You see your son’s name in the details. We have crossed him out. We have put a line through his name.
    Me: Why did you do that – he has travelled O.K. on it since he was 18 months old. He is here now – what are we supposed to do. He’s omly 12 years old.
    Official: He can’t travel – but his sister is fine. She can go no problem – and your wife too.
    Me: Why did you delete him?
    Official: Well, earlier this year you applied for a passport in his name.
    Me: Yes, but why did you cross him out on mine, and why didn’t you tell me you did and what are we supposed to do? I told him not to bring his own passport as he would probably lose it and didn’t need it.
    Son: Here’s my passport Dad. Just give it to the lady and shut up.


    • NationalityLawUK

      This is an outline of my passport experience with UK so far… I put it as a link to online viewable text file because even shortened it is long. I’m not asking anyone to sleuth an answer to the problem, which is basically supreme court material… just to read and be aware. I am going to blog up on this and nationality law at some point, I will drop the link at this site when I do:


      Thanks for reading this.

      • Dennis Revell


        The law or rather laws (multiple countries) and international law agreed to reciprocally by those countries is largely a dumbed-down bollocking load of tripe.

        Especially those laws that affect the ‘little’ people.

        Not too surprising, when you look at the fucking coterie of idiots and compromisers who concoct them. And don’t get me started on the UN.

        Another problem is that half the time, or more, the functionaries who are supposed to apply such laws as there are do NOT understand them themselves – you do NOT get to contact the creators of those laws – and the bureaucrats half the time would rather just fob people off with some crap or other relying also on their victims ignorance of the law.

        There are exceptions such as the Good Friday Agreement that helped end the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland (mainly). I took a look at this following Brexit will all the mutterings of the possibility of the Troubles starting up again, and I have to say, it is brilliantly written. Makes the lawmakers who concocted that look almost human.


        • NationalityLawUK

          There is some very powerful history behind UK nationality law that explains “a lot” . This will go in my blog in detail, but the short of it is this:

          Ancient times “nationality” was clan, that is by descent.
          After the Saxon conquest it became territorial, where the rulers claimed all under territorial right as same. It legitimised the rulers as of that nation and merged them. There were later some difficulties with foreign born heirs, or family of those serving abroad, and small specific rules were created and deleted for those in service to the crown, but as a whole the rule remained territorial ( by being born in the territory itself only).
          In 1709 under Queen Anne this changed so as to include totally all born by descent. You can look at this as a return to natural order ( many other countries are by descent), or as a concession to accommodate the diversity of reality that was reached at that point. I prefer the first view.
          Later, restrictions started to be added due to political and social management choices.So towards the middle of that century it was restricted to male descent only, but otherwise remained the same.
          In the mid 1800s naturalisation was introduced for foreign born not by descent, where previously it had been very difficult and costly requiring exceptional permissions.
          This is the interesting part now, and very difficult to decipher…with the end of Empire obvious around 1900, and royalty under influence of Europe, and according to some a certain finance, choosing openly to turn to Europe… well the door was closed on empire, and this included liability to nationality. So in 1914, and completely independent of the oncoming war, by descent was put aside as a separate category, and later chopped and changed and tailored to the political and social management requirements of the coming decades. Some of these changes, for example for the accession to EEC are so blatant and perfectly timed that it just shows in complete clarity the view the establishment has of its population as far as nationality is concerned – we are a resource to these people in their greater plan. I am not strongly nationalist at all, but traditionalist maybe, however nationality carries a very significant meaning to me beyond simple practicality. I am sure for most other people also, even if it is sometimes of distaste.

          And that is where we are now, with a concoction of different rules and ideas jumbled together being managed by people who have absolutely no idea, or if they do it is only to protect themselves or benefit in some way by adjusting them here and there, using a “for the good of Britain” as excuse, or any other theme that brings political reward.

          It is an abject disgrace, and if anyone understood exactly what the attitude towards own citizens is at this level, they would feel heavily insulted and outraged I think. Fortunately for most it is a only a smaller minority who get completely and openly subjected to this kind of travesty , and so is not noticed except while some scandal or another appears momentarily on the front page, and then dissapears.

  • Lily Steinmetz

    I spent a lot of the summer away. Having returned, I have just been catching up with the first series of Killing Eve (highly recommended) and was delighted to see the Russian lady assassin killing one of her many victims with nerve gas sprayed from a perfume bottle. I can’t imagine that no-one else has commented on this, in which case many apologies.

    I was however disappointed that no door handles – at least so far – have been “slimed”. But maybe this is yet to come.

    Chepiga – I agree with those who suggest that the aim of the Bellingcat exclusive expose is just to give extra legs to the Russia=Chemical Weapons story, whilst that Hideous Strength gets its ducks – and orphans – in a row in Idlib.

  • Muscleguy

    Thanks for this Craig, I was beginning to waver after the media went ‘this is absolute evidence’ on it all. But then that is par of why I read your blog and like you.

  • Mignon

    Cut out a strip of paper just wide enough to lay it across the eyes of the men in the 2 B & W photos, just below the eyebrows. The likeness disappears instantly.

    You see the face shape is different, the eyebrow shape is different, the forehead is different. Apart from the eyes only thing that’s similar is the chin (if you ignore that the guy on the left had a bit of extra puppy fat).

    We give so much weight to eyes and its a 2 dimensional greyscale photo.The illusion is caused because they both have dark, almond shape eyes and the contrast between the iris and the sclera is the most striking thing in both pictures. Boshirov’s eyes are closer together though and more deeply set.

    I bet if you messed with the contrast settings you could more easily see how little alike they are.

  • Scoobie

    Thinking about it, Chepiga has that classic look of someone who had a Cesarean birth or else is the youngest child in his family. I know a couple of adults who were Cesarean births and they have that same wideness about the temples that you see in Chepiga.
    Boshirov is more sculpted at the temples. It’s a different face.

  • Pipedream

    I’m not sure that the photo of Chepiga hasn’t been photo-shopped, especially around the outside edge of the ears, to make them more like the other photos. I also think that the picture has been reduced down laterally. It’s a fairly simple job to use the “snipping tool” to elongate the picture until some of the aspect ratios then match and the head shape then looks similar.

    Once this is done it may be that the picture has been adjusted down to resemble Boshirov. The other point is the absence of the mark above the left eyebrow in the Chepiga photo.

    • Borncynical

      I agree about the ears. To me, the ears in photo 1 don’t look like they belong to the face – I would judge that the original ears have been replaced, not very well, with ears based on the two Boshirov pictures. I have said earlier on this thread that the edge of the ‘person’s’ left ear is too straight to be realistic and the lobe is too square for Boshirov unless he has undergone surgery to have his ears remodelled!

  • JohninMK

    Anyone seen this anywhere else?

    Ellen Barry Verified account @EllenBarryNYT
    10h10 hours ago

    German outlet, FOCUS, reports that Skripal assisted in unmasking three active GRU agents during his visit to Estonia in 2016. This is sourced to a senior NATO counterintelligence official in Brussels.

  • giyane


    Don’t believe anything digital. Not sound, not interest, not visual , not video.

    i’ll say it again. if they could animate dinosaurs in the ’90s why can’t they animate bolshie chess players in the Great Game ? Have you ever played a war game or a car race on Xbox and started to analyse the characters who are shooting you or overtaking you?

    It’s all b*******s and so yawnworthy. I agree with N_. We already have the Tory party playing UK Sink or Swim which they got given 2 years ago and are nor expert at. Push your joystick a little to the right and all value disappears from the pound. Push it a little to the left and all property prices disappear through the ground. Hubris is still expounding himself on mashed up pine trees, but the rest just need to have their BreXitboxes unplugged and told to go to bed.

  • Blunderbuss

    Daily Mail, 6 March 2018:


    “As anti-terror police investigate the suspected poisoning, one line of inquiry is that the former Russian army colonel was ambushed by attackers who sprayed him with a substance in the street”.

    Interesting that the “spray” idea already existed only 2 days after the poisoning, long before the “door handle theory” and the discovery of the perfume bottle.

  • Deb O'Nair

    Look at the eyes of pic A, not around the eyes but into them. You are now feeling sleepy, very sleepy…

  • MaryPau!

    TBH I am no longer clear which one is supposed to be Boshirov and which one Petrov, they are labelled interchangeably in different accounts. What if we are all barking up the wrong tree? Forget the photos they are meant to confuse. Focus on the name we have been given.

    Maybe it is a “leak” planted by UK security services, who have inside info that one of them is Colonel Chepiga? I notice it is assumed he is in active service. Maybe Col Chepiga is? Maybe this is us telling the Russians we know who did it,? Photos are just a smokescreen.

    • Andrew H

      Mary, although I’m a little sceptical about exactly where Bellingcat got their information – certainly it seems to be one of the luckiest journalistic coups of all time (even if its not entirely correct), I’m also doubtful it came from UK or other western security services. You have to ask who loses by the release of this information and those in GCHQ are presumably dismayed by the fact that so much information about security problems in the GRU has been released. [Bellingcat have just spilled all the beans]. Its not just Boshirov and Petrov: how many other agents have faulty passports and their covers blown? I think Putin could accept that this assassination attempt was bungled (it goes with the territory), but that your own bureaucrats have left this paper trail of passport records has got to make anyone livid. (If passport info from MI6 turned up on the internet, we would have some serious questions for whitehall and expect heads to roll – I doubt it can be any different in Russia). We’ve all watched the movies where the agent is given a fake passport, but those movies don’t really explain where the passport comes from.

      • Tony

        When you are relying on sources , there always exist the possibility that those sources are being played.
        What Bellingcat have not stated is that they have the required expert analysts to make a judgement about the information being presented.

      • Blunderbuss

        “You have to ask who loses by the release of this information and those in GCHQ are presumably dismayed by the fact that so much information about security problems in the GRU has been released”.

        Dismayed? Don’t you mean delighted?

        • Tony

          Putting the problems of the GRU into the public domain, results in the GRU becoming aware that the intelligence services are in possession of such knowledge. The obvious response is the GRU will take mitigating actions to render this knowledge useless .

      • Yeah, Right

        “Mary, although I’m a little sceptical about exactly where Bellingcat got their information”

        Higgins tells you that in his very first sentence: “Bellingcat and its investigative partner The Insider – Russia”…….

        Bellingcat has always been an open-source outfit i.e. their “sources” have always been Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, etc. They have no track record of hacking into databases.

        But the photo of “Chepiga” comes from a passport application, which means that a Russian database had to be hacked to obtain a copy of that application form.

        So take a bow, “The Insider – Russia”.

        If that organization is the source of that photo – and I’m gonna lay that marker down right now – then it should be obvious that Higgins is no more about to vouch for its authenticity than are you and I.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The Learning process takes a few years..It didn’t really hit me in Greece until the next year this kid from Croatia – he was just so young maybe 16 or 17 -and he was jsut so Brilliant with our kids, Whilst we were there the second year during the second week – He was recalled to Yugoslvia – He was only 17

    Even then it didn’t really hit me. I was working really hard doing my job – but then in 1999..We were all Flying Back from The Indian Ocean after 2 weeks no shoes no news

    We got to the plane back – and they passed me the Newspapers for Free on The Plane

    We The UK and The Americans – were Bombing The Shit out of Serbia in Yugoslavia.

    Why The Fuck Are we Doing That

    My Ex’s Family come from Serbia – and they are all incredibly nice

    I didn’t understand it – Then it got worse just after the year 2000.

    The Americans Did It.

    They are not very nice.


    • Andrew H

      Unfortunately Boris right. There are few things that make me more upset than Brexit, but it should be clear by now to all that Michel Barnier has no intent on anything but humiliation for Britain. May should have known better to agree to the divorce bill – there was an empty scam from the get go. The only face saving solution left is to walk without a deal. [Perhaps if we let Scotland, Wales and NI go they could take over as Little Britain and the EU would fast track their membership, and then perhaps see their way to kindly letting England rejoin in a few years]. But really its a lost cause – in order to retain some dignity we are going to have to be poorer.

      • Sharp Ears

        Miliband and Major are both looking well on their fat pensions from the taxpayers.

        David Miliband and Sir John Major join forces to call for second Brexit referendum
        The former Labour foreign secretary and ex-Tory prime minister say Britons voted on a “fantasy” Brexit proposal in 2016.

        The push by the remainers is growing. We should be told what their vested interests are.

          • Blunderbuss

            When the Dissolution of the Soviet Union happened in 1991, I didn’t hear a peep about problems with a Single Market or Customs Union. Why is the EU making such heavy weather of it?

          • Laguerre

            So it’s all just Project Fear, is it, when Toyota say their Just-In-Time processes are going to be disrupted, as is evidently the truth?

          • Blunderbuss


            I think Brexit presents a golden opportunity for companies to drop the ridiculous Just-In-Time process and go back to something more sensible. Make all parts in Britain and keep a warehouse full of stock as a buffer against supply interruptions. The Just-In-Time process is just bad management and I don’t see why Brexit should be blamed for companies’ bad management.

          • Laguerre


            “When the Dissolution of the Soviet Union happened in 1991, I didn’t hear a peep about problems with a Single Market or Customs Union.”

            That’s because you didn’t bother following the news. There was, and perhaps still is, an institution called CIS, which meant there were no external borders between former Soviet Republics. Not very different from the EU free movement in fact. But I haven’t been there in a long time, so couldn’t say for the present.

          • Laguerre

            Why don’t we go back to the Neolithic period, or even better Palaeolithic hunter-gathering? Did you know people worked far less then? No bothersome foreigners, they could just sit around all day when they’d picked their berries. We don’t need any of this annoying interaction with the outside world, or making money, or anything.

          • J Galt


            With respect just who is going to make all this stuff we’re going to pack the warehouses with, in your glorious autarkic UK?

            The workforce of the 1960s, 1970s and even the 1980s has gone.

            40 odd years of de-skilling, degrading, demoralising and dumbing down have left you a population fit mostly only for retailing, distribution and call centres.

          • Charles Bostock


            ” But I haven’t been there in a long time, so couldn’t say for the present.”

            Surely you don’t have to have visited the region in order to say whether the CIS still exists? You could find out by investigating from the comfort of your armchair. Perhaps your sneer at Blunderbuss :
            “that’s because you didn’t bother following the news”
            should be applied to yourself?

        • remember kronstadt

          careful camera work not showing the turnout in south shields presumably intended for a tv audience. as you say the push is happening and i sniff panic is taking over – the gammon faced cons will soon be red faced with anger

        • Charles Bostock

          Sharp Ears

          “Miliband and Major are both looking well on their fat pensions from the taxpayers.”

          Every former public servant gets an occupational pension from the state, ie the taxpayers( in addition to the state pension at age 66).

          That includes former NHS staff (frontline and back office).

          • Bayard

            “Every former public servant gets an occupational pension from the state,”
            but not all of them are fat.

          • Charles Bostock


            The level of the pension reflect the salary while working. Hence the pension of a former MP or Prime Minister is likely to be higher than the pension of, for example, a former NHS secretary.

            As for “far”, well, that word is rather meaningless and very much in the eye of the beholder ; if your occupational pension is half that of someone else’s, you might well be tempted to describe that other person’s pension as “fat”.

            But anyway. let’s not philosophise but instead take a practical case : this discussion started because Sharp Ears said that Miliband’s and Major’s pensions were “fat”. If Sharp Ears would be kind enough to tell us what their pensions actually are (in £s per annum) we could explore this theme further.

  • flatulence'

    Damn Russians are meddling in our elections again.

    $5.6m dollars donated to 4 right wing UK think tanks, from anonymous donors.

    Oh no wait, they’re American anonymous donors. Nothing to see here.

      • flatulence'

        Nope. That may well be the next headline. Russians posing as American donors. Though UK may be made to adopt the China meddling line soon too. The fact that it isn’t already the headline though leads me to believe they are either unable to twist the origin of the donations, or they missed a trick. Nice to dream that the game is up for America though. Particularly liked China pointing out at the UN “the international community is well aware of which country interferes most in other countries’ internal affairs”.

      • Laguerre

        Or maybe Americans posing as Russians. Literally anything is imaginable for conspiracy theorists.

          • Laguerre

            “my comment about Russians posing as Americans was ironic.”

            Really? It wasn’t obvious. Do you have problems in expressing yourself in English?

          • flatulence'

            I agree. Though most people may have an imagination, they are just yet to exercise it with regard to the news because they innocently believe what they are told is unbiased excellent journalism. Those that smell a rat and look deeper realise we are told half truths, spin, and sometimes barefaced lies. So they are forced to use their imagination to try and build a picture of what they think may be closer to the truth. They are of course labelled conspiracy nuts if their version of the truth does not fit the desired line.

            I believe the press is corrupt, therefore I must also believe that we are being taken over by aliens and I’ve been anally probed. Of course Laguerre, your logic is flawless. The main irony here is that Laguerre is named Laguerre.

          • frankywiggles

            It was an expression of good-natured humour, laguerre, or fun. That’s why you didn’t get it.

  • James Dickenson

    “An Israeli expert on international terrorism, writer Alexander Brass, shared his view on the case of the Skripals poisoning in Salisbury. Brass draws parallels between the work of the special services of Israel and Russia – he believes that if to compare the British version with the practice of the special agents, then the absurdity becomes obvious.”


  • J.B.

    @Craig: what’s mildly interesting: if you search the database of Heroes of USSR / R.F., you find no “Anatoliy WladimirovitchChepiga”, but a guy called “Chepiga Yuri Yakoblevitch”:


    I hope nobody took this as an inspiration and hacked the website of DWOKU and forged the memorial picture 😉

    Best, J.B.

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