Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo 580

Bellingcat’s attempts to gild the Chepiga lily are now becoming ludicrous. The photo they published today is a very obvious fake.

Many people have noticed that the photo of Chepiga on this wall appears to be hanging in completely different lighting conditions from the others. That is indeed a good point.

But there is a more important point here, and that is to do with sequencing. Except for Chepiga and Popov, who according to Belligncat also became a Hero of Russia in 2014, all of the people here are indeed openly and officially listed Heroes of Russia or, in the majority of cases, Heroes of the Soviet Union.

What is more, they are, as you would expect on a military honours wall, ranked in date order. ONLY CHEPIGA IS OUT OF DATE ORDER. The order runs top row let to right, then second row left to right, then bottom row left to right.
The bit of the bottom row we can see runs:
Karpushenko (2000), Ribak (2005), Maclov (2012), Popov (2014).

So why is Chepiga in a row of much earlier Heroes of the Soviet Union? Next in sequence in fact to Grigory Dobrunov who got his award in 1956!!!! The pictures are definitely otherwise all in date order.

The glaringly obvious answer – in line with the reflections anomaly – is that Chepiga’s “picture” has been photoshopped onto this wall. The military do not suddenly insert photos out of order and at random on an honours board. Bellingcat, however, have a track record of image manipulation.

None of which proves or disproves the Boshirov identification. It is however an important reminder to take Bellingcat as a source with a pinch of salt.

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580 thoughts on “Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo

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  • Baron

    Do you know what sort of precautions does one have to take handling nerve agents in laboratory conditions?

    The laboratory room should be separated from other working areas.The CWMRL has to consist of three main areas: a dressing room, an enter room, and the main laboratory.

    There should also be at least two large observation windows. The location of the observation windows should allow researchers inside the laboratory to be in view of a coworker outside.

    Laboratory bench space, eye wash stations, emergency showers, fire extinguishers, gas connection, a glove box, a gas chromatography area, a high performance liquid chromatography apparatus, and a fume hood should also be available in the laboratory area.

    Decontamination System
    A separate shower system, decontamination system, and dressing area should be provided.

    Alarm System
    There should be an alarm system available to provide safety against spills, accidents, and system failure detection.

    Air-Lock System
    Chemical agents and related equipment should be treated through a well organised air-lock system.

    Ventilation-Exhaust System

    A ventilation-exhaust system is one of the most important design features of any laboratory. An emergency-purge ventilation system is also necessary, which would be activated in a toxic leakage alerted by an alarm system. The balance of air flow is adjusted to provide a negative pressure. Most of the air is supplied through the main building service.

    This is by any means everything that’s needed to protect anyone handling nerve agents in a lab, click on the link to read the whole paper.

    Could anyone explain how the two GRU guys were able to handle the Novichok, immeasurably more potent than a nerve agent, without contaminating and eventually killing themselves?

    • SA

      ‘The Bellingcat website then exposed Chepiga’s real identity, along with photos of him during his time in the Russian military. ‘
      Did they really? The Bellingcat website got a picture which they alleged was found on a passport application if Chepiga which they then said looked like Borishov. That this has never been independently cooroborated by other sources nor the fact that the youthful Chepiga is really who he says he is.

      • Manfred Neuhaus

        The identity has been confirmed by several sources involved with the official investigation, at both the UK and EU level. The actual identities have been known for a long time, it’s just that due to the investigation still going on, they weren’t revealed to the public.

        That’s why you saw that tweet of the UK politician disappear – it was a little too early for the official confirmation.

        • FD

          Boshirov iand Chepiga are definitely not the same person on the basis of images presented to the media. I know this because I have basic photoshopping skills and fiddling with opacities have ascertained to my own satisfaction they’re not only not the same person. They’re not even a close facial match.

          • Manfred Neuhaus

            “Boshirov iand Chepiga are definitely not the same person on the basis of images presented to the media. I know this because I have basic photoshopping skills”

            No disrespect for your basic photoshopping skills, but I’d rather look at what someone with a bit more experience has to say on the subject:

            “Professor Hassan Ugail is a mathematician and a computer scientist. He is currently working as a Professor of Visual Computing at the School of Engineering and Informatics; the University of Bradford. Prof. Ugail’s principal research interests are in the area of Visual Computing particularly in the area of 3D geometric design, 3D imaging and computer based simulations. Prof. Ugail is a leader in the field of Visual Computing and has greatly contributed to the development of the field by successfully delivering a number of high-profile research and innovation projects, publications and international lectures. He is a member of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) peer review college and also a peer reviewer for several related journals and conferences in his field of research.”

            Due to his vast experience and outstanding reputation in the field of Visual Computing, Mr. Ugail was approached by a journalist to perform an analysis of the published photographs, and along with members of his research team came to the following conclusion:

            “We can confidently conclude the image presented for Anatoliy Chepiga and that presented for Ruslan Boshirov indeed belong to the same individual.”


            You can of course contact Mr. Ugail yourself and share with him your concerns about his obviously flawed methodology, and how subjective impressions from “Photoshop” are an obvious way to improve upon established computer based face recognition algorithms.

          • Igor P.P.

            BTW, the Ugail nonsense above has been debunked in previous comments. All he’s done is ran the photos through some undescribed untested experimental algorithms of his own design “at media request”.

            Meanwhile, a legal effort is afoot to ban state-of-the-art facial recognition used by UK police because it wrongly matches too many people:

          • Manfred Neuhaus

            “BTW, the Ugail nonsense above has been debunked”

            No, it has not, and it’s everything but “nonsense”. If you want to discuss the findings with Prof. Ugail and/or his research team, they are open to your questions anytime.

          • Igor P.P.

            Manfred Neuhaus: do you know Mr. Ugail personally to give such assurances? I would actually ask them a few things about their experiment if I was reasonably confident that they will bother answering.

            By nonsense I mean any alledged identity proof based on an unpublished and unverified algorithm. It is just not possible to gauge the rate of false positives in such cases.

          • Manfred Neuhaus

            Igor, no, not personally, but my email enquiry was answered rather swiftly.

            Unlike some anonymous armchair experts on the internet, the man is highly regarded in his field and has a real reputation to lose. The idea that he’d put some out some “nonsense” (that would spectacularly backfire) is patently absurd.

        • Cass Dean

          What is being “involved with the official investigation” at both or either the UK and EU level supposed to mean?

          Is it a guaranty of credentials as a forensic investigator or analyst? Of integrity? Of competence? Of independence?

          Involvement with the “official” investigation is hardly a credential.

        • Jo Dominich

          Manfred, having an ‘international reputation’ neither makes someone an expert or reliable. It is merely that they have managed to get the world’s attention. It is well known that many of these so called ‘experts’ are anything but and many have been found out. Igor is right, evidence is not an unverified and unpublished algorithm. I have looked at the photos and studied the comments here and read various opinions and I agree with the statement that they are not one or the same person.

    • tip

      Wikispooks comment

      Higgins had stumbled into a potentially profitable (in terms of media exposure and possibly pledged funding) publishing venture. If it clearly wasn’t primed to be a mega-publishing opportunity, it nonetheless held the promise of some tempting liaisons with the Spooks for one so young. And so it has turned out, with Higgins very well knowing the expectations of those whose support he depends on. His output has been nothing if not consistent, viz: Consistent with what one would expect from promoters of the Anglo-US-NATO Official Narratives of geo-politics and the War on Terror, but done in a slipshod and blatantly partisan fashion that those who quote him (the Commercially-controlled media) are wary of claiming their own; which is to say in a way which is quotable but can not be made attributable to those who ultimately control the narrative – ie the Spooks.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights serves an analogous purpose.

      • Manfred Neuhaus

        “In review, “Wikispooks” is a place to find poorly sourced information and many conspiracy theories.”

        I know it’s easier to copy-and-paste than to make it up yourself (as so many here do), but you might be better served studying what the people at Bellingcat actually do, and how they do it. You could even contribute to their efforts, and you’d learn that they’re doing a terrific job over there, and that the high praise they’re earning from the most respected journalists all over the globe is not a coincidence.

        • Cass Dean

          There he was, unemployed and unemployable, when he read a “booster book” that advised people in his situation “Figure out what people want to buy and sell that.”

          “Journalist” does not describe anyone with education or a particular expertise. The people who do have that, who invented the processes Bellingcat claims to use, say he doesn’t describe their processes accurately, doesn’t seem to understand them, and doesn’t use them correctly.

    • georgk

      I think it is quite clear now that the two guys were on a mission, FSB or GRU or whatever.
      The fake interview with the fake “hidden gay haircut, model Justin Bieber ca. 2009” and the “travelling salesman in supplements” story – all BS.
      But it is also clear that they were not poisoning Skripal.
      “Officer Chepiga, your mission: Travel from Mosocow to London for a weekend with your colleague, make two short visits to Salisbury, where on the second trip you will spray a highly potent nerve agent to a doorknob (‘pfffft pfffft pfffft pffft pfffft’) from a flimsy perfume bottle with a tripping valve using hardly any protection (oh, here’s a pair of rubber gloves) and in broad daylight. Make sure you stroll around the neighborhood to be captured on as many surveillance camera as possible. Good luck, comrade!”
      For sure, they were on a mission, probably trying to make contacts with someone (which would explain the strolling around and the repeated visit). They probably already had been on the monitors of western intelligence for their numerous travels.

      Bad luck they ran into a set-up. Really bad luck.

      Now both sides are lying. Nothing new, in intelligence you lie even if you defend the truth, because real facts would reveal too much information.

      Maybe Juliya was a tool to get her father out of the house (unintentionally) at the right time. Maybe it was planned for saturday first at her arrival and did not work out as expected. Anyway, if Chepiga et al. were intended to poison Skripal in a well-timed effort, this would imply regular information exchange between Chepiga and his HQ to be up-to-date on Skripals location. How would this work – through email or cell phone?

      What I want to say: It would have been a breeze for any western intelligence service to make sure that two low-rank guys from Russia are at (roughly) the right place at (roughly) the right time and then to poison Skripal by themselves, while it would have been very, very risky and complicated for the Russians. And: Cui bono?

      The more I think about it, the less sense everything makes. But we see only 1% on the surface, while 99% of the Skripal story takes part in the world of secret intelligence. So we will probably never understand it.

    • Bayard

      “Of course this suggests Murray was wrong all along about Boshirov/Chepiga as well:”

      No, shit, Sherlock.! If Bellingcat is telling the truth, then Murray is wrong to say he was lying. Almost as good as sylvan defecating bears.

    • Igor P.P.

      Identifying suspects is a job of the police, a part of the executive branch of power. Why is it being done by a blogger to the legislative branch?

      Either the police is worse at its own job than a blogger. Or this is an effort to mislead the public by creating a false impression of UK state backing for these claims without accepting any responsibility by the UK state.

    • Yeah, Right

      Well, we are now well and truly past the “next Tuesday”.

      Did “MP Bob Seely, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee” hold that meeting in Parliament, there to proudly stand alongside Higgins in front of the press in a jointly-issued “disclosure”?

      I know that Eliot Higgins blew his own trumpet, as he always does.
      Did MP Seely also shove the trump to his lips and toot out a tune?

    • Hefaistos

      GRU must believe in the ‘open society’.
      Yeah, now they will have to give (some of) those junior operatives new identities. New passports will be issued.
      Probably they will all be in the same series numbers 🙂
      So that Bellingcat can reveal also their new identities, eventually.

      • SA

        It seems a brilliant ploy. Give your secret agent’s addresses as the HQ of the spy organisation and put it out on the internet and of course hidden in open view nobody will ever notice. However these GU guy’s never reckoned with the cunning of Eliot Higgins and his outfit, sponsored by the non-biased Atlantic Council.

        • Paul Taylor

          and the National Endowment for Democracy. indeed the alleged bungling of the agents could only make sense if the story has been faked with the usual cookie crumb ‘ evidence’

    • Manfred Neuhaus

      Can’t wait for the next revelation on Tuesday!

      Russia’s response is sure to be hilarious.

        • Manfred Neuhaus

          It’s not earth shattering, but the latest excuse from the Kremlin was that they won’t comment on names if they don’t come from official government sources. So this should be fun:

          “Mr Seely has said he will unveil the real identity of the second Skripal suspect – hitherto known under the pseudonym Alexander Petrov – in a joint event with Bellingcat in Britain’s House of Commons on October 9.”

          So I guess this time they will have to own up to who these two guys really are. And I’m sure the excuse this time will be just as hilarious as the lie about the “civilians” on RT.

          • Yeah, Right

            “So this should be fun”

            Indeed. The Russians have been egging on the May government to give their backing to Bellingcat’s claim. They have been quite insistent about it.

            “So I guess this time they will have to own up to who these two guys really are.”

            Well, you just keep on thinking that.

            But what if they “own up” that everything that Bellingcat thinks it has discovered about “Chepiga” is misinformation that they have been force-feeding to Eliot Higgins, and he has been just lappin’ it up.

            Which would mean, of course, that “Mr Seely” has hitched his star to a bunch of gullible, talentless rubes who can’t tell their arse from their elbows.

      • SA

        I tell you what. Why don’t they just approach this through normal civilised deplamatic channels and discuss this calmly. Megaphone deplomacy is just propaganda if they have the truth get the Russians to cooperate and stop playing games. Bellingcat in the HO?
        What next?

        • SA

          Come to think of it , the Atlantic council has already sponsored meetings in the HP defence committe and invited Victoria Nuland to advise on how to f**k the EU something close to the heart of Brexiters.

    • Andrew H

      “Bellingcrap has unmasked 305 GRU spies! According to this publication:”

      I’m not so sure this is such a big deal. Not everyone who works for GRU is a spy let alone a spy who is likely to travel overseas on operations. Bellingcat and others were also showing how various pentagon/NSA employees were giving away their identities through fitness trackers. Alan Turning probably put his home address as Bletchley Park – many of these people are nerds and are not obsessed with hiding who they are.

      • Yeah, Right

        True. The GRU is a much bigger and broader organization that just a “spy” outfit. It even fields its own combat troops (8 brigades).

        To claim that Bellingcat has outed GRU “spies” is laughable.

  • John Jones

    Put up or shut up, should be our motto here. Tourists on the face of it, and on the face of it is all we have. Historically, MI5 has killed British and foreign citizens with impunity, planted false evidence, and forcing politicians to adopt its US-driven cold-war propaganda strategies. Miserable bunch of liers, that’s who we are.

    • Jo Dominich

      Well said John Jones. Once again, as this Government is making a monumental mess of Brexit, out they trot the Salisbury case again. Yet another pack of lies as you say!

  • Cass Dean

    You lot have it all wrong. They did not set up Bashirov and Petrov.

    The little bit they leaked about the hundreds of investigators was that they were scrutinizing all major points of arrival.

    This is not a useful investigative technique if you are looking for a secret agent. They tend to use minor points of arrival.

    It’s a great way to through out a net and catch somebody who has a possible profile. Look for somebody who arrived from Russia, was or may have been in Salisbury on the Saturday. Sort by background. We’re giving you months to find your candidate.

    Quite an after the fact (if there was a fact).

    So far there is no evidence that the Skripals were exposed to Novichok at all. They turned out not to have the symptoms they were at first said to have, the lab report does not uphold it, the first responders thought it was fentanyl, the town emergency services guy said nobody had been poisoned with nerve gas. He may not have been in on it, but the doctors would talk to him, surely? At least at first.

    • Blunderbuss

      Where did the claim about Novichok come from? As far as I can remember it was first aired in Parliament. The OPCW has never confirmed that it was Novichok.

    • Andrew H

      Who is ‘you lot’? Do you mean normal uk citizens in general? (implying you are not from the uk), or do you mean those contributing to this forum – who I can assure you have come up with a variety of alternative theories including the one you are trying to spin.

      You claim that it is not Novichok, but, is there any doctor who treated the Skripals + Dawn/Charlie who would agree with you? Any person with any kind of medical qualifications who has spoken to one of these doctors? How about any person with any medical qualifications, period? Of coarse not – given the patients were in hospital for quite some time, I think it is fair to say the doctors had time to examine the patients, do tests, and come to a conclusion. (and indeed they did and one of the doctors gave an interview in which he made it quite clear that some kind of nerve agent was involved, and explained the basic treatment). Any suggestion that there was no Novichok and the whole thing is just a fanciful creation is one of the least plausible theories being peddled, but don’t worry you are not alone.

      • wendy

        it is very odd that everyone has left the investigation to bellingcat , that no other investigative journos have even thought about checking the identities of those alleged gru operatives.

        why havent the police , who would have all of the resources of govt and uk/usa etc intel available not made these findings public.

        its almost as if a narrative which cannot be verified by any one of us is being sold to us and written to tie up the glaring holes from the beginning.

        military grade deathly novichok, in a perfume bottle but was prepared in the local park public toilet. no sign of protective clothing. it wasnt gel but liquid but then it became gel. and on a door handle but no evidence of the skripals returning home to coat themselves in this deadly substance. except it wasnt deadly in the first instance.

        a d-notice against pablo miller, orbis and steel.

        add to this two hapless perpetrators who have loud sex, buy new footwear, spray novichok on their hostel room walls (the owner who is never told of contamination) and travel in full view after of course having being british officials whilst applying for a visa.

        i wish i had your faith in this nonsensical narrative.

        • Manfred Neuhaus

          wendy, the investigation is still ongoing, so you’ll naturally get a lot of “no comment” at this stage, that’s common practice.

          However, photographs, aliases and the fact that these two are GRU agents had already been published long before Bellingcat joined the party. It had also been announced long before Bellingcat that the true identities of the two had been uncovered by investigators. But governments usually don’t publicly unmask foreign spies for obvious reasons, and I’d expect the investigators to keep most of the details under wraps.

          As for the rest, maybe you should rely less on UK tabloids (by the sound of it) to source your information. I’ve primarily followed the case in top quality media, and there is no “nonsensical narrative” there at all. It’s very straightforward, logical and rather easy to follow (motives etc.).

          • JCalvertN

            Could you please enlighten me as to what you mean by “top quality media”? I have been searching in vain for the last couple of years, and have concluded that “top quality media” is an oxymoron.

          • Keith McClary

            ” I’ve primarily followed the case in top quality media, and there is no ‘nonsensical narrative’ there at all. It’s very straightforward, logical and rather easy to follow (motives etc.).”

            Like the Times’ “Bikini Girl” investigation?

          • Borncynical

            “It had also been announced long before Bellingcat that the true identities of the two had been uncovered by investigators”. We were told by the MSM that it was ‘believed’ that the true identities were known to investigators. That isn’t confirmation by any stretch of the imagination. And if that were the case, how come Gavin Williamson saw fit to tweet his congratulations to Bellingcat on “uncovering the true identity of Boshirov”? Does it not strike you that he was instructed to delete his tweet twenty minutes after posting it precisely because it implied that the Government/investigators didn’t actually know Boshirov’s ‘true’ identity?
            “maybe you should rely less on UK tabloids”??? It’s your interpretation of events which is consistent with the nonsensical narrative of UK tabloids and the mainstream media in general.

          • dave

            This Bellingcat is amazing, all on his own he researches MH17, the Skripal poisoning, Syrian chemical attacks. Bellingcat is even the lead researcher (detective) for the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (this according to their representative).

          • dave

            “From the start, the Russian side appealed to the UK with a request to provide information on nature, circumstances of that case and any other details. No information has been provided through official channels. We cannot use information that comes from the media and we don’t want to do so. Moreover, we will not engage in any explanations or comments on the topics that are thrown into the media,” Peskov told reporters.

          • wendy

            the investigation and narrative make no sense.
            why would a govt use a military grade million dollar research programme to murder an insignificant bit player and ensure that the weapon of choice and perpetrators are in full view?
            as a warning?
            well a bullet to the head or suffocation in a suitcase would be a warning too.

            what is important is what we are not being told about skripals activities, involvement with 4 intel agencies and the russian mafia across europe.

            what do you know of his activities as reported by the top quality media (the same media that warned us of iraqs wmds etc).

            the truth is we dont know who these men are. we dont know if they are gru. but we know they werent carrying the necessary safety equipment for the very toxic military grade novichok , since all they had was a small (day) backpack.
            and why not dispose of the perfume bottle in to the water, since water is a antidote to its toxicity.

            so tell me youre gru, you go to brit embassy for a visa, give them biometrics and your links to gru offices. and you travel on ‘spy’ passports and you make certain you are visible to cctv and then ensure that an armchair sleuth can seemingly identify you from military records .. so youve outed yourself and contained your future within russia for the rest of your life. all for on the face of it an actor who left the limelight a decade ago.

            this is the narrative that your high quality press is telling you and which you think is plausible.

          • Igor P.P.

            It is reported that they have now been charged and European arrest warrant has been issued (or so UK authorities want us to believe). Are you saying that they were charged under fake names despite their real names being known to prosecutors? The Chepiga theory originated directly from Bellingcat, nothing on it was published before them.

    • Yeah, Right

      Manfred, can you explain why Bellingcat has smudged the passport serial number on that “scanned copy of Alexander Mishkin’s passport”?

      The “city code” is visible (40 = St Petersburg) as is the “year code” (01 = 2001). But not the passport serial number which, obviously, is unique to each passport.

      Clearly Higgins has no interest in respecting Mishkin’s privacy, so what would be the purpose of making that serial number illegible?

      That is, other than to prevent it being outed as an obvious forgery.

      And according to a quick google it would appear that on Russian passports the inked seal should have a six-digit seal number.
      That number is very conspicuous by its absence in the scanned image that Belligcat has produced.

      Without those two sets of numbers then that passport looks to be a crude forgery.
      So crude that one could suspect that someone is playing a very crude prank on Eliot Higgins.

      • wendy

        why is it impressive?
        was colin powells un presentation pre iraq war impressive too?
        or tony blairs 45 minutes?
        or camerons 70,000 moderate jihadis in syria?

        all of the worlds intel agencies but bellingcat is the only ‘Columbo’.

        • Manfred Neuhaus

          “why is it impressive?”

          You’ve answered your own question in your post and didn’t even realize it.

          And now we wait for Russia’s denial…

          • Rowan

            @Manfred Neuhaus
            “And now we wait for Russia’s denial…”
            They can’t be bothered to deny you, Manfred. You ain’t nothing.

          • wendy

            because bellingcat is the fictional character ‘columbo’?
            who needs intel agencies eh .. whilst we can rely on cartoon sleuths.

            and iraqi wmds .. and irans stockpiles of nukes

          • Manfred Neuhaus

            Brilliant detective work indeed. Most impressive is how they corroborated their initial findings through all the means that have become available/known to them since their Chepiga revelation just weeks ago. They’re learning so quickly, it’s amazing to see!

      • Yeah, Right

        Manfred, can you please explain why the passport serial number has been deliberately made illegible?

        And can you also explain why the ink seal lacks the six-digit code that all valid passports must have?

        Because unless you can explain those two facts – and they are facts – then the Bellingcat report is not at all “impressive”.

        • Igor P.P.

          I have repeated some of their steps. I can confirm that the driving license number and owner (Chepiga) details are stored and connected in the car insurance database. This implies that the license details are genuine or the database has been tampered to mislead (unlikely, I think). The insurance contract connection to the driving license and car license plate is still there too. It looks proven to me that Chepiga owned this car. The connection to Petrov (Mishkin) is harder to verify because it is based on some leaked databases floating on dark web.

      • JCalvertN

        “Impressive”. Only you say so yourself
        Charlatans usually are “impressive”. It’s charlatan SOP.

    • Manfred Neuhaus

      So by now, five different journalist teams have travelled to the place where Mishkin grew up (international as well as – surprisingly enough – Russian media) and have corroborated Bellingcat’s findings about Mishkin, in detail (even added additional details).

      It certainly helps that he still has a relative there that he visits occasionally (so it’s not like he hasn’t been there for a decade), and that he’s a bit of a “star” of the town due to him being awarded the Hero of Russia (just like Chepiga), so people recognize him instantly (there are even photographs of him, and children learn about him at school).

      So this one is done and dusted, now the question is what the next step is. Russia’s rebuttal (through RT and others) has been to try to discredit Bellingcat, rather than the facts they found, which is an understandable tactic when you’re out of other options and even Russian papers start confirming Bellingcat’s findings.

      Let’s see what’s next, but this one is done.

  • The Novichockle Brothers

    I take it Russia isn’t a big fan of secrecy anymore? Dr Death and his Colonel have really dropped the ball on this one, along with the 4 chumps who were booted out of the Hague.

    Expect more names over the next week, the support network…… and perhaps every other member of this “secret” organisation, the GRU.

  • Yeah, Right

    I note that Bellingcat has now “revealed” the “real” identity of Petrov as being Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin. As proof they show his internal passport from 2001.

    Three things immediately stand out:
    a) The photo is very clearly of the same man who UK authorities are seeking. It is almost as if whoever is feeding Eliot Higgins his info (I take it no thinking person believes that Higgins is doing his own research) has grown weary of the arguments about eye-lines and ear-size and has decided to throw caution to the wind.
    b) The serial number of the passport has been deliberately made illegible. This is incomprehensible – I can see no reason why Bellingcat would want to do this. But done it most definitely is, and it has most definitely been done deliberately.
    c) The ink seal is missing the six-digit code that is supposed to identify the status of both the issuing body and the person who is the recipient of the passport. Without that code the passport is invalid, yet this passport is very obviously missing that code.

    Now, so sorry, but Bellingcat must know that the illegibility of the serial number and the absence of the six-digit code means that the most likely explanation is that this is a very crude forgery.

    So either Eliot Higgins has a really good explanation up his sleeve or he is a gullible fool.

    Time will tell, I suppose, but I suspect we are soon going to find that it is the latter, not the former.

  • Yeah, Right

    I just noticed something else that is very wrong with the passport phot that Bellingcat has released for “Alexander Mishkin”, and it relates to the red border that you see on the left and top of the passport photo.

    I am certain that this red border is printed on the passport page itself i.e. it is a feature of the passport, and is used as a guide to align the photo when it is glued into place.

    But look at the “Mishkin” passport, and you can clearly see that the red border is on the photo itself – his head even protrudes into the border at the top!

    This latest passport is a very crude forgery. So crude that it looks as though it is deliberately made to be debunked.

    I am more and more convinced that Craig’s source within the UK Foreign Office is correct: the Russians are feeding misinformation to Eliot Higgins, and he is proving to be so gullible and so incompetent that they are now toying with him.

    • Yeah, Right

      I’ve had a look online at other Russian passports and I suspect now that the red border is a stencil, used to detect when another photo has been superimposed over the original.

      In which case it needs to span both the passport page and the edge of the photograph (obviously, otherwise it does not serve its purpose). But note that the stencil in the “Mishkin” passport is entirely on the photograph.

      So my original point still holds – the fact that the red border is ONLY on the photograph is more than enough proof that this is a crude forgery, precisely because that’s its purpose i.e. if the red stencil doesn’t span both the edge of the photo and the page behind it then the passport has been altered.

    • Igor P.P.

      This border is a part of the lamination film glued over the photo, I just checked it in my own passport. In Bellingcat’s picture it is correctly placed over the photo though I had to zoom a lot to see it.

      • lusit

        So I have also checked in very high zoom, so the darker egde of the picture itself seems not fully covering the white mounting frame, at the right side the photo seems to be abnormally tattered. The red frame normally overlap not only the photo but also the mounting frame, which is clearly not the case in the upper part of the BC passport. On the left side the situation is unclear because of the low resolution (it seems to overlap the mounting frame), on the lower part of the passport frame you can see some strange crinkles

        The stencil is normally very strong and clearly overlap all photo (dark) backgrounds this isn’t the case with the BC passport on the upper part (the stencil can hardly seen above the head), the photo seems to be scanned, cut, and then later mounted in
        Interestingly the signature of Mishkin differs from his signature of his driving license
        Follow Eva Evdokinova on Twitter, she’s done a convincing job for me debunking BC passports

  • Dave Lawton

    I think people are missing a trick here.You need too find out what happens in Salisbury and what goes down.Use your imagination and intelligence. Also from the OffGuardian

    Why Russia would want to murder Skripal at all let alone by use of something as exotic and untested as this still poorly defined substance known as “Novichok”. And why they apparently would do so at a time that dovetailed perfectly with UK/US plans in Syria, including a possible false flag chemical attack in Douma as a justification for a full-scale NATO attack on Damascus
    How the UK authorities were able to be so certain so quickly of Russian state involvement or of the source of the alleged “Novichok” used.
    What form the alleged nerve agent was in; was it gel (on the door knob) powder/gas (in Skripal’s car a/c system) or liquid (in a perfume bottle)?
    How, when or where the poison was allegedly administered.
    How the allegedly super-deadly nerve agent (supposedly many times more deadly than VX) did not kill either of the primary targets, or any of the secondary targets, save for the woman who allegedly literally sprayed it on her own skin.
    Where the two Skripals and DS Bailey are and why they either can’t or won’t speak to the press or appear in public. While fear (either of their “protectors” or of Russian reprisals) may be a possible reason in the case of the Skripals, it’s hard to see why this would apply to Bailey.
    Why the timing of the alleged poisoning does not fit with the itinerary of the two alleged suspects in the case, who did not arrive in Salisbury until several hours after the nerve agent was allegedly applied to the door handle (if indeed this is the one of many versions we are supposed to assume is true).
    Why there is no released CCTV footage placing the two suspects closer than 500 yards from Skripal’s house. No footage of them even in a road adjoining or leading directly to said house.
    Why two alleged GRU agents would behave in any of the ways Boshirov and Petrov behaved, including leaving a visible trail of their visit and browsing Salisbury high street for vintage coins.

    • Jo Dominich

      Dave well put. All true and legitimate questions. There is a deplorable lack of investigative journalism in this country. The truth is not what they want us to know – they just want us to accept the lies as the Tory propaganda machine known as the MSM feed us.

  • Brendan

    Poor Eliot must be foaming at the mouth after the Telegraph took credit for Bellingcat’s latest exclusive. But he can’t say it straight out because the Telegraph is firmly on the anti-Russian side (their common enemy is Russia, plus all of Putin’s puppets). So he has to hide it in a sarcastic remark that only a few people will understand:

    “Credit to the Telegraph who, independently from Bellingcat and The Insider, established the identity of the second Skripal suspect.”

    The article that he links to says that “The Telegraph can reveal” that Petrov is actually Mishkin.
    The only mention of the original publishers of the story is nine paragraphs down:
    “The investigative groups Bellingcat and The Insider reported additional details of Mishkin’s biography.”

    Hmm … B’cat gave only “additional details” to what the Telegraph revealed…

    That article is by the same Chief Reporter who falsely claimed last month that the Boshirov-Chepiga disclosure was done by “Bellingcat in conjunction with The Telegraph”. Afterwards on Twitter, Eliot pointed to that “terrible misunderstanding”. Likewise his colleague Aric Toler assumed that it was “an honest mistake”.

    However the Telegraph did not seem to get the message, given their latest false claim of credit for Bellingcat’s story.

  • Paul Taylor

    i have made multiple videos on my bitchute channel about this issue . there is absolutely no doubt at all that the salisbury Novichok incident was staged by the UK government to create a diversion from Brexit . the idea is that we will be given support from our EU ‘ friends’ in order to deal with the contrived Russian menace . i would ask Craig Murray and anybdot watching to make a note of my ordeal, for 7 years I have been relentlessly stalked by a team of UK based Zionists who have targeted me , they have been working together with cambridge Analaytica and Google on a project to viciously target and smear individuals , I would like to thank Mr Murray for sacrificing his well paid career to go public with the facts that we are being lied to on a daily and industrial level , i would be so grateful if people cou;ld visit my bitchute channel and take a look at whats going on, at the moment trolls who obtained my real name have been targeting me with endless abuse, this violates both the stated terms and conditions of bitchuet and disqus but nothing will be done about it

    hoaxashian channel bitchute

    please nb the Paul Taylor accounts on bitchute are impersonation/troll/abuse accounts

    • Manfred Neuhaus

      And? They better be well-funded in a number of ways (not just their workshops and donations) because their work is pretty time-consuming, and they’re doing a great job right now, garnering global acclaim for their findings and transparency about their processes, constantly encouraging others to follow their example, and teaching them how to go about it.

      • Lusit

        Please can you just react to the fake-hints of the passport instead of making permanent (and boring) BC promotion. I’m just checking additionally the signature of Mishkin, if it really fits to A. Mishkin”, and I’m checking also the pixel frame around “Mishkin” which seems to disturb the line underneath. You hopefully know that faking a russian passport is quite common, you can even order one in Internet
        PS: As you hopefully knows is that BC alias Elliot is extremely biased (on the same level as CIA/MI6) and I don’t mean only his AC connection but his several documented offender-statements before his research/results (it must have been Russia and I will prove (fake) it)
        PS What is your statement to the Russian Press conference (midst of september) concerning the MH17 BUK video-faking? Are the Russian lying, perhaps or perhaps not, can you or BC give me a counterevidence?
        PS Did you ever ask yourself why all BC “evidence” is (intentionally) in low resolution – in times of high resolution scanners and HD cameras?
        PS The story of the 305 agents, do you really believe that the GRU is the biggest loughing stock in the whole world, have you checked the given adress of the “GRU-barracks”, so tell me (or check it) who is living in this building in reality and where is the GRU-Headquarter in reality?

  • Blunderbuss

    This is my current theory on the Skripal affair:

    1) Sergei was planning to change sides again.

    2) Boshirov and Petrov were couriers taking him a document to sign in connection with this.

    3) B&P came to Salisbury on Saturday, 3 March, and delivered the document.

    4) B&P came to Salisbury on Sunday, 4 March, to collect the signed document.

    5) Something went wrong. Either MI6 found out what was going on or Sergei was double-crossed by the Russians.

    6) The Skripals were poisoned on the park bench around 4pm by persons unknown. It might have been MI6 or it might have been a third Russian agent.

    7) That’s it. Comments invited.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Well, it certainly makes more sense than the GRU who were previously playing in the Premier League, are now supposedly languishing in the Vanarama League, having lost all of their previous skills, the World looking on and sneering at their incompetence.
      If a state was going to bump someone off, and they used two hitmen, wouldn’t those hitmen work apart rather than together?
      I have forgotten when the poison was supposed to have been smeared on the door knob?
      Here is a Google map of where Sergei Skripal lived – Christie Miller Road Salisbury – look at the distance between that road (and how you would walk there) and the area in Salisbury where the Skripals were found.,+Salisbury/@51.0737457,-1.8160239,16.25z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4873ebddd6779af7:0x7e6405be6e5e07e7!8m2!3d51.0765147!4d-1.8148579

      • Blunderbuss

        The time of the door knob smearing (if it happened at all – and I don’t think it did) is being kept deliberately vague because of the difficulty of tying it to the movements of Boshirov and Petrov. I think B&P had already left Salisbury before the Skripals were poisoned on the park bench around 4pm so the poisoner must have been a third person. B&P were back in London by 4.45pm:

        • Andyoldlabour

          but the thing which troubles me (A whole load of things trouble me about this case), is that the press seem to be sticking to the point that the Skripals were killed by poison smeared on the doorknob, then went around Salisbury contaminating everything in sight before collapsing on the bench.
          What happened to the couple (blonde lady/red bag) who were seen on CCTV and by a local witness (I think she works in a gym) approaching the Skripals whilst they were on the bench?
          What about the youngster who was given bread to feed the ducks by Sergei Skripal in the park. Tw2o things very wrong with this, the lad would have certainly been contaminated and I think they got the wrong park, if this article is to be believed.

          • Blunderbuss


            Exactly. Why didn’t the ducks die? This is one of the reasons I discount the door knob theory. If the door knob was contaminated, I suspect it was contaminated accidentally by D. S. Bailey when he went to the house after attending the Skripals in the park. Why the press is sticking to the improbable door knob theory I have no idea.

            The couple (blonde lady/red bag) were quite possibly the poisoners. At an early stage in the investigation it was said that one member of the Russian hit squad was a woman but, as soon as Boshirov and Petrov were identified, the woman dropped out of the narrative.

            There is still a lot we don’t know.

          • Blunderbuss


            “If the Skripals were already contaminated after leaving their house, then why has nobody at the Mill pub or Zizzi been contaminated after touching glasses, plates, cutlery, money, cards etc?”

            That’s another reason why I don’t believe the door handle story.

          • Blunderbuss


            “Could the couple in this Sun article – the man and blonde haired woman with the red bag caught on CCTV camera – be Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess?”

            I think it’s certainly a possibility. If so, it would give the poisoners a motive for trying to murder Charlie and Dawn because they might have witnessed the poisoning.

    • Manfred Neuhaus

      1) You may want to familiarize yourself with what Skripal has actually been doing lately. That’s not a secret anymore. Even Putin made reference to it in his public comments while calling him a traitor to his motherland. Putin has already made it very clear what should (and will) happen to traitors.

      And your idea is that he wanted to change sides again?

      When you start off with a flawed premise, you might as well stop right there.

      • Blunderbuss

        I think it’s possible that Putin might have said one thing to Sergei before the poisoning and a different thing to the public after the poisoning.

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