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“How could we check it?” a Russian “expert” said when confronted with glaring mistakes in the image. “It came to us from the internet.” UPDATE — The original source for the image told BuzzFeed News that he found it online and never expected to see it on Russian TV. “Those guys are either desperate or totally unprofessional.”
The front page of the local newspaper calls on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to apologise as relations between Australia hit an all time low after the downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine, at the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane on Nov. 14, 2014. © AFP.
KIEV, Ukraine — The man whose email was used as ‘proof’ that Ukraine shot down MH17 told BuzzFeed News that he had found the image on a forum and was upset that it had been used so widely on Russian TV.
George Bilt—who said he is an MIT graduate and aviation expert with 26 years experience, but would not provide further biographical details—said that he had come across an earlier report by the Russian Union of Engineers (RUE) blaming a Ukrainian fighter jet for the crash, and thought that it concurred with his own amateur findings. When he saw the picture online, Bilt wrote to Andreyevsky, the “expert” from the broadcast, with a link to the forum where the image was posted, clearly stating that he had found it there.
“I had no knowledge or means of proving and researching if this was an authentic satellite photo or not (it was clearly available online since mid October – not really such a new discovery too),” Bilt said. “RUE seemed to possess such research means and resources. I do not know if this was my mistake in evaluation.”
Bilt said that he was shocked to see his email, which he thought that he had written to Andreyevsky in confidence, used on Russian TV as proof of the Kremlin’s claims, citing him as a source. “I am quite unhappy that my bona fide informal attempt possibly became a source of yet another battle in a media war,” he said. “This was definitely not my intention. I am also not looking for a cheap fame. This tragedy is simply too awful to gain from it.
“I am sorry for all those people I might have indirectly and unintentionally misled or disappointed by this unexpected mess in anyway,” Bilt added. “Personally and professionally, I will not continue with this amateurish investigation effort due to the rather insane highly confrontational situation prone to escalation and with the elements of media war.
“Those folks are either desperate or totally unprofessional,” he said.
On Friday, Russia’s Channel 1 published what it said were satellite photos proving that a Ukrainian government fighter jet shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July.
Host Mikhail Leontiev, who is also a vice-president at state oil giant Rosneft, said that the pictures were sent to the Russian Union of Engineers by an MIT graduate named George Bilt.
Leontiev quoted an email from Bilt in which he said that the plane “was shot down in a classic jet fighter attack from the rear semi-sphere.”
The Kremlin has suggested a Ukrainian Su-25 could have shot down the plane — despite a wealth of evidence rebels shot it down with a Russian-supplied Buk missile system, most likely by mistake.
There are numerous inconsistencies with the Russian official versions of the downing of the MH17, even without taking into account the evidence to the contrary.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed simultaneously that the Boeing could also have been shot down by a Ukrainian Buk, even though Kiev denies having any active systems within range.
A list of 10, mostly rhetorical questions the ministry prepared for Ukraine included references to tweets by a Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev who quickly turned out not to exist.
Russian bloggers, however, quickly took the claim to pieces. Photographer Rustem Adagamov found that part of the image came from the Google Images cache dating back to August 2012.
Journalist Sergei Parkhomenko found several other pictures taken from Yandex.Maps, a Russian site.
Another Russian photographer, Ilya Varlamov, pointed out that the fighter in the picture appeared to be a MiG-29 — and not an Su-27.
On top of all this, the Su-27 can only fly to 23,000 feet — far below the altitude of 33,000 feet MH17 was cruising at when it was shot down. zyalt.livejournal.com
The Boeing in the picture turned out to bear a suspicious resemblance to the first Russian-language Google Images result for “Boeing view from above.”
Интересно, изображение Боинга они прямо загуглили тоже? Или совпадение? Первая картинка в выдаче «Боинг вид сверху» http://t.co/e5MyH07UWQ—
Максим Кац (@max_katz) November 14, 2014
It had the Malaysia Airlines logo in the wrong place.
In fact, it just looked like an ordinary Boeing 777 with the company’s own logo.
I may be wrong but proportions suggest the satellite 777 MH17 has the old Boeing house livery without the "777" title http://t.co/x57KNlxVAb—
Ross Hallam (@MrRossHallam) November 14, 2014
And it was shown at a distance of 31 miles from MH17 — not 250 miles, as Bilt claimed in his email.
The image also said that the Boeing was shot down at 1:19 a.m. London time — a full 12 hours before the disaster actually happened.
In fact, the photo dates back to at least October, when it appeared on a conspiracy theory forum attributed to “enthusiasts of Rusian [sic] Wikileaks.”
It also shows the plane being shot down over the rebel capital of Donetsk — and not the city of Snezhnoe, 50 miles to the east, where it was actually hit. obkon.ucoz.com
The Russian Union of Engineers turned out not to add up either. Ivan Andreyevsky, the “expert” quoted in the show, does not appear to have an engineering education. A quick analysis of his PhD turned up obvious signs of plagiarism.
After seeing the debunking, reporters from the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid asked the union’s head, Vladimir Saulyanov, whether they had checked the image for authenticity. “How could we check it?” Saulyanov said. “It came to us from the internet.” 1tv.ru
Mockery soon ensued. Several users posted photos of a Ukrainian Nazi flying saucer shooting down the plane.
РБ головного мозга (@belamova) November 14, 2014
This picture shows the fighter being flown by Ukrainian World War II nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, reviled in Russian state media for his influence on the Ukrainian far right.
Наш фотограф крупным планом запечатлел момент, когда украинский истребитель сбивал малайзийский Боинг http://t.co/5BLglmWMmR—
Lie News (@Lie_News) November 14, 2014
This one shows the plane painted in the style of traditional Ukrainian vyshivanka embroidery.
ПРАВДЫ НЕ СКРЫТЬ! На снимке видно, что крылья истребителя, сбившего Боинг, раскрашены в цвета украинской вышиванки! http://t.co/VfttMMu72i—
Дядюшка Шу (@Shulz) November 14, 2014
The scandal comes at an awkward time for Vladimir Putin, who is still making bold-faced denials of Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
RuNet Echo (@runetecho) November 15, 2014
The G20 summit in Australia this weekend has fast dissolved into a debate on what to do about a resurgent Russia.
British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the prospect of further European Union sanctions for the recent military columns seen in rebel-held east Ukraine, which NATO says came from Russia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed Putin for the collapse of the ceasefire deal he helped broker in early September.
Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper greeted Putin by saying, “I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you, you need to get out of Ukraine.” according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. Handout / Reuters
Putin’s public comments have been unrepentant. But he’ll have to do more to convince the rest of the world that he didn’t shoot down MH17. (This caption says “Channel 1 published the real group photo from the G20 summit.”)
Первый канал опубликовал подлинное групповое фото с саммита G20. http://t.co/zEvdi6O0MF—
Владимир Терехов (@Geschichter) November 15, 2014
Visit BuzzFeed for more great articles.
Friends in low places … 17-year-old Abdullah Elmir appears to have fallen in with Mohamed Elomar. Source: YouTube
THE wanted Australian terrorist Mohamed Elomar appears to have surfaced in the same Islamic State propaganda video that featured the Sydney teenage runaway dubbed the Ginger Jihadist.
Abdullah Elmir, aged 17, shocked the world on Tuesday when he delivered a depraved threat to world leaders including Tony Abbott, saying the black flag of IS would eventually fly all over the West.
The teenager left home in June after telling his parents he was going on a fishing trip.
A closer inspection of the video has caused speculation to mount about the identity of another man in the chilling video. Intelligence officers are now investigating whether the man to Elmir’s right is the notorious extremist, Elomar.
Elomar, a former boxing champion, joined IS in Syria and has appeared in many propaganda videos holding severed heads.
He became a poster boy for the depraved death cult when shocking images surfaced of his two young sons holding a severed head.
Depraved … Elomar has risen to prominence for gory photo shoots featuring severed heads of IS dissenters. Source: News Corp Australia
Young friends struggle with Elmir’s shock turn:
FRIENDS of the Australian teenager have come out in defence of their former mate.
The former Bankstown schoolboy, Elmir, was branded a “stupid idiot” by family members and a “dickhead” by Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm after he appeared in the IS video.
But his young friends say they “defend his legacy” as they struggle to get their heads around the drastic transformation they’ve seen in the boy.
Speaking to the ABC one of Elmir’s friends said, “his friends were taken by surprise by his sudden departure”.
“It’s causing a lot of conflict on social media,” she said.
“His close friends are trying to get everyone to respect Abdullah’s decision and not cuss him as he was just as normal as anyone else.”
Another friend told the ABC through Facebook, “never make judgements on a situation you’ve never been in. Never make judgements on decisions you’ve never had to make.”
Another also said, “I swear, people get mad because we defend his legacy, he is still our mate and that’s not changing anything.”
Before travelling to the Middle East it has been reported that Elmir had a love of theatre and last year, while in year 10, wrote about looking forward to more great performances.
Brainwashed…family members of Elmir, say he has been brainwashed by IS.. Picture: Youtube. Source: Supplied
He ran away from his Bankstown home on June 20, soon after his 17th birthday, with his 16-year-old friend, known only Feiz.
Elmir told his parents that he was off on a fishing trip, but his true motives were much more sinister.
He travelled to Perth, and then flew out to Malaysia and then Turkey before crossing the border into Syria.
Intelligence agencies believe he has been in Syria for the past four months, but he was not considered a priority target by intelligence agencies before the release of the video.
A shocking image has been recovered out of dead jihadists’ phone of a baby girl being beheaded by ISIS militants. Reuters.
Gopi Chandra Kharel reporting,
A shocking image has been recovered of a baby girl moments from being beheaded by the dreaded ISIS militants. The image was one of several other pictures that emerged out of phones retrieved from dead fanatics recovered by Kurdish soldiers in the Syrian town of Kobane.
The image reportedly shows the child being pinned to the floor with a knife held to her throat by the jihadist. It is reported that the baby possibly belonged to a family of Alevi Muslim, a branch of Islam whose followers have been regularly targeted by the so called Islamic State militants. It is also feared that the baby was killed along with her family.
Highlighting the terror of the group, many fighters have circulated the picture on Facebook and have nicknamed the little girl as ‘Melek’, which means ‘angel’.
British tabloid Daily Mail reported that other pictures showing beheadings and jihadists playing football with the severed heads of victims have also emerged from the phones.
A source who reportedly obtained the picture of the girl from YPH soldiers told Mail: “Each time I look at this picture it makes we weep. You can see how frightened she is. I can almost hear her scream. What kind of depraved monsters are they? What pleasure can killing this child bring anyone?”
“The people of Kobane are desperate for the world to see with their own eyes the atrocities inflicted by these filth,” the source, recognized only as ‘Ali’ added.
The report also cites soldiers as saying that the girl, a woman and an older child – thought to be Melek’s mother and sister – were seen being dragged out of a hiding place by the IS militants, during an airstrike in an unspecified date.
“Some have a flicker of hope in their hearts that they might have escaped,” Ali was quoted as saying.
By Anna Dolgov.
Kado Cornet walked barefoot down St. Petersburg’s Nevsky Prospect. Vyacheslav Vereshchagin / Grani.ru / YouTube.
A peace activist has staged an emotive protest against the Kremlin’s policies on Ukraine by wandering blindfolded through St. Petersburg with her hands stained blood-red.
The activist, who goes by pseudonym Kado Cornet, was captured in a YouTube video walking barefoot down St. Petersburg’s central Nevsky Prospect, clad in a red skirt, blue shirt and a white headscarf — the colors of the Russian flag.
Cornet also wore on her wrists the orange-and-black ribbons of St. George — a Russian symbol of military valor — and a blindfold over her eyes, while walking with her outstretched hands stained in red.
“This is my Motherland. Blinded, insane, screaming in agony,” the activist said Saturday on her Facebook page. “It does not know where it is going, but it is sure that everyone should be afraid of its hands, which are stained in blood — others’ and its own.“
Passersby stopped in their tracks to watch the young woman as she staggered forward, emitting screams, witnesses said.
“This action made a most powerful impression on me,” Vadim Lurye from St. Petersburg said on his Facebook page. “Kado walked and screamed, and her scream could not be ignored. People received this action much more readily than any protest sign.“
The action titled “Russia’s Scream” ended after Cornet collapsed near the renowned Yeliseyevsky food store, lying motionlessly on the pavement, according to social media accounts.
While some passersby expressed concerns that the young woman may have fallen ill, nobody appeared willing to approach her except a homeless man, the protester and witnesses reported.
“When Russia falls, it will turn out that nobody except a homeless drunk is able to come to its aid,” Cornet said via Facebook.
A police officer summoned to the scene called an ambulance, Lurye said, though the protester appeared to be in good health, saying later on her Facebook page that she planned to travel around the country and eastern Europe in the coming days.
The artistic action was received positively by a number of Facebook users.
One woman praised the “fragile young woman, who is stronger than a million healthy men who are quietly watching from the side or yapping support for the authorities.”
“Brave girl, well done,” wrote another Facebook user.
The West has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of supplying arms to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, leading to a conflict with government forces that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. The Kremlin has denied the charges.
But Cornet in her Facebook message was keen to underline that her protest was not just directed at those in power: “No one who has tried to turn a deaf ear to this scream will be able to wash off the blood,” she wrote.