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The Strange Story of the Ten Million Dollar MH17 Investigation

July 29, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

For most people, the website Joker.buzz is totally unknown. The site, which offers users the chance to broker information anonymously using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, has in recent weeks come to the attention of those who have taken a close interest in the shooting downing of Flight MH17 in July last year. At the start of June a new auction was posted online, asking for 10,000 Bitcoins (approximately $3 million at current exchange rates) for evidence collected as part of an investigation by a “private detective agency” into the events on July 17th 2014. It claims to include over 20 sets of evidence, including videos of witness questions, a forensic examination of the wreckage, results of autopsies, and much more.

To bolster these claims two videos were posted on the site, the first showing footage filmed inside a Buk missile launcher, likely part of the 15 minutes of Buk footage listed on the site:

The audio seems to suggest this is the Buk missile launcher that fired at Flight MH17, but it’s impossible to establish if the audio is authentic, or if the video footage is from July 17th. A second video released on June 22nd contains an audio recording, this time between what appears to be a pilot in an aircraft and a second person.

Today audio was released by Life News in an article in which “experts” claim MH17 was in fact downed not by a jet or Buk missile, but by a bomb on board the plane. The audio in the article is claimed to be a conversation between a Ukrainian SU-27 pilot near MH17 and his controller, and includes a claim by the pilot the explosion that downed MH17 was possibly on board. What’s particularly interesting about this recording is it appears to be the same one being sold on the Joker.buzz auction. As pointed out elsewhere, not only does the audio in the Joker.buzz video appears in the Life News video, but the playback device is identical, even down to the precise position and alignment of the smallest screws. The experts who provided the tape said they had to pay $250,000 to purchase the recording, so it is possible they did in fact purchase the tape from the same people selling it on Joker.buzz. That does raise the question of how can it still be part of the Joker.buzz auction if it has already been sold, including the playback device, to the experts featured in the Life News article.

Since the publication of the audio on Life News on July 29th Joker.buzz has announced the price of the information will be raised to 35,000 Bitcoins, $10 million at current exchange rates, justifying the price increase due to the availability of “irrefutable evidence” in the MH17 case.

Another curious audio recording also appeared today, after going unnoticed on a website since July 17th. The article posted on the site Pressbox.co.uk, a site for posting press releases, claims the following:

David L. Stern, a citizen of the USA, working as a CIA agent under cover in international media, in particular in GlobalPost and BBC, in the middle of July of 2014 was near Grabovo village of the Donetsk region of Ukraine where the Boeing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17) was shot down.

The given transcripts of David L. Stern’s phone talks partially clarify the events preceding the air crash on July 17, 2014 in Ukraine.

Audio files were provided by people of the ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko after his resignation.

For confirmation there is a phone talk with David Stern attached, the audio file is available on: http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=89052498329097996975

The article then has the transcripts of six short phone calls reportedly recording in the days before July 17th 2014, including calls where “David Stern” is discussing the movements of a Buk missile launcher, and preparations of a nefarious sounding plan. The clear intent of these transcripts are to claim David Stern was directly involved with organising the shooting down of Flight MH17 with a Buk as part of some sort of conspiracy.

The Pressbox article went unnoticed until today, when it was identified by users of several forums and social media sites, and it was soon picked up by the Russian media. The Russian articles claims the author of the Pressbox article is Caleb Gilbert, a “British columnist”, but it appears that apart from the Pressbox article itself Caleb Gilbert has no British media presence at all, nor is it possible to find any journalist named Caleb Gilbert. Other Russian sites go further, claiming David Stern has been involved in other CIA conspiracies, with claims of activity going back as far as the 1996 Russian presidential elections.

Despite all these wild accusations there is one fairly major problem with the Pressbox recording. If you actually listen to David Stern speak (for example, in this BBC video), it’s clear his accent is different from the stilted British accent that the speaker in the audio recording has, and that’s ignoring the rather unnatural way the participants in the conversations are talking. But how does this tie to the Joker.buzz auction? In addition to the Pressbox audio file, a 2nd audio file was added to the Joker.buzz auction, and the conversation in this audio file matches the transcript of one of the six conversations on the Pressbox article. It seems these two audio recordings, and the 6 transcribed recordings on the Pressbox article are all most certainly the six “records of mobile phone conversations made by foreign intelligence agents” listed on the auction.

This raises the question why evidence from the auction is seemingly being released bit by bit? If it’s an attempt to drum up interest in the auction why is none of this information being linked to the auction when it’s published? Could it be someone has manufactured a set of evidence pointing to conspiracy around the downing of Flight MH17, and after failing to sell it is now trying to get it into the open piece by piece? It seems that with the continual leak of the information from the auction it’ll only be a matter of time until more is published online.

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

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47 Comments

      • boggled

        First of its global research, and that has about as much credibility as the Russian MoD, RT, LieNews, or Sputnik.
        Nice try Darring
        The impossible story of a SU25 has been refuted so many times people are blue in the face, it wasn’t a SU25.
        They found cross shape holes and many of them which only come from a BUK missile.
        Quit being such a foolish person and a Kremlin propaganda teller of lies.
        Or is that just your job?

        Fare thee well

        Reply
    • Lukas

      Globalresearch is not a source for credible information. Sorry that you have been relying on a biased blog like this.

      Reply
  1. boggled

    First of its global research, and that has about as much credibility as the Russian MoD, RT, LieNews, or Sputnik.
    Nice try Darring
    The impossible story of a SU25 has been refuted so many times people are blue in the face, it wasn’t a SU25.
    They found cross shape holes and many of them which only come from a BUK missile.
    Quit being such a foolish person and a Kremlin propaganda teller of lies.
    Or is that just your job?

    Fare thee well

    Reply
    • Darrin

      Can’t have another narrative can ,oh no..take.the.blinkers off there are more cleverer people than Bellingcat out there.

      Reply
      • boggled

        Your definitely not one if you quote globalresearch as a factual and give it any credit.

        Fare thee well

        Reply
          • boggled

            Daring, what is it going to be next week?
            So far it has been the Kyiv neo-nazi junta that threw out a democratically, albeit corrupt, President.
            It has also been the Jew’s, the CIA, the Zionist’s, the PravySector, a Su25, 2 SU25, 3 Su25, a Ukrainian BUK, a Su25 with Israeli rocket, a CIA agent that planted 2 bombs, a combination of terrorist BUK and 2 UA SU25s working at the same time on the same aircraft, a UFO, a butterfly flapping its wings in South America, a plane full of dead bodies, zombies, UA shooting 300 mm cannons from ground and in the air, and finally a dog that speaks French that took over the aircraft and flew it into the ground.

            What is on schedule for next week? Or since your rehashing a COMPLETELY debunked SU25 story, your going to make us go through all of that again?
            Not anything new from the Kremlin defenders?

            Know what the global community has said all along?
            A Russian BUK firing from terrorist held territory.

            Do I have to keep listening to your same old lies over and over again until vova is in the Hague?

            Fare thee well

  2. Darrin

    Lol debunked okay what by bellingcat haha tell you what when real truth comes it’s bellingcat that’s going to have egg on its face…:)

    Reply
    • Gabriele Gordon

      @ Eliot Higgins:

      Where do you see a connection between this auction which you state as having taken place in June, 2015:

      https://joker.buzz/item/18

      and the release of an SBU-intercept of the talks between a SU-27 pilot and his ground control on July 17, 2017 while being directed to MH 17?

      According to this article the Russian official organization bought the tape from a bribed SBU officer for 250.000,- dollar in 2014.

      http://www.sott.net/article/299625-Sott-Exclusive-Voice-recording-suggests-MH17-brought-down-by-bomb-on-board

      What about your journalistic standards conserning David L. Stern? Did you ever confront him with the allegations against him?

      A German blogsite did it on July 30, 2015.

      http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.com/2015/07/david-l-sterns-telefongesprache-vor-dem.html

      He didn’t react. He doesn’t work in Ukraine no more (a runour will know that he’s working in Turkey right now what would be logical).

      His last tweet until now dates from July 28 (still antirussian):

      Meanwhile, away from #Ukraine – #Russia has seized part of a key oil pipeline running through #Georgia. @stevelevine http://t.co/YzAGmAr9HR
      — David L. Stern (@loydstern) July 28, 2015

      How do you evaluate these scenarios without fleeing to this auction?

      Reply
      • boggled

        Poor little Gabby, won’t believe it is a BUK, so promotes manufactured evidence by her managers in the Kremlin and their sponsored media proxies.

        Yes, Mr. Higgins, I think it is manufactured.

        Manufactured and I think the main intention was to try to get a big bidder to give it some interest by looking at it, like that guy who is talking a 30 million pound reward.

        If he didn’t bite, there must be a reason, and I am sure they would have offered it to him first quietly.
        If he showed some interest, they could advertise and say he is one of the potential bidders and get free publicity from it.
        Now they are trying to get this hoax out to the public and hope some sap gets conned into purchasing it.

        I really think the main concern is money, and it is some small two bit con artist trying to peddle his wares, probably from a bunch of sound bytes collected unawares from Mr. Stern, mashed together, and then a back ground ‘noise’ put in.
        Not all ‘noise’s can be heard with the human ear, it is more of an electronic mask.

        I think it is probably some stupid get rich scheme hashed together probably by this LifeNews journalist and an audioguy there.
        It may also even have an actor trying to pretend he is Stern – poorly, since it has been a long enough time for some low end audio nut to have concocted this and search for and done a lot of auditions for a guy that sounds ‘close’ to Stern.
        That’s my thoughts.

        Fare thee well

        Reply
        • boggled

          The connection Gabby is the two audio devices that are exact in nature being used to peddle manufactured conspiracy theories by Kremlin proxies.
          Two audio devices impossible to differentiate from their appearance, and two audio devices that are ‘rare’ to be seen used.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
    • clay

      real russian truth nr.1, real russian truth nr.2, real russian truth nr.3……? 🙂

      Reply
  3. DCO

    It is worthwhile to compare the Russian and English texts at https://joker.buzz/item/18. Neither appears to be a translation of the other. There is not a 1:1 correspondence between the items listed in both languages. A few items in the Russian list do not appear in the English list. A few items in the English list do not appear in the Russian list. 28 total items are offered, not 23 as seen in the Russian list or 25 as seen in the English list. A more complete understanding of the offer details can be obtained by comparing what is written in each language about identical items.

    Reply
    • boggled

      Baldy, the title mentions 10k Bitcoins.
      Where do you see anything about $10 million?

      Investigators are doing their job pretty fast.
      I am sorry you do not have an arrest yet, but it is coming, regardless of Russia blocking a UN Tribunal.
      The preliminary report by the DSB is out, Correctiv, Bellingcat, Interpetermag, and quite a few have collected the available media and public available evidence and scrutinized it, maybe you should look through some of it IF YOU BELIEVE as your Kremlin sponsored media propaganda video that your promoting does.
      The Kremlin has the official DSB report right now and they are reviewing it and commenting to the DSB about it before it gets released soon.
      Maybe they will have a leak, but I doubt it.
      Most evidence is pointing to a Russian missile that only Russian military has.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
        • boggled

          You say it how you want.
          There are many reasons for it.
          songs by Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez, Burl Ives to name a few.
          Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford did a good rendition I think.
          Also known as Dink’s song.
          Even Bob Dylan took a stab at it.

          Lyrics are usually similar to –
          ‘Fare thee well my own true love
          And farewell for a while.
          I’m going away, but I’ll be back
          If I go ten thousand miles.
          Ten thousand miles, my own true love,
          Ten thousand miles or more,
          And the rocks may melt and the seas may burn,
          If I should not return.
          Oh don’t you see that lonesome dove,
          Sitting on an ivy tree,
          She’s weeping for her own true love
          Just as I shall weep for mine.
          Oh come back my own true love
          And stay a while with me
          For if I had a friend all on this earth,
          You’ve been a friend to me.
          And fare thee well my own true love
          And farewell for a while.
          I’m going away, but I’ll be back
          If I go ten thousand miles.’

          The Grateful Dead and I beleive the Allman Brothers had final tours with those names.
          It can also be a saying that means something along the lines of ‘Goodbye and Good Luck.’
          It is also a saying in a few authors I have read of short stories I liked.
          I have adopted it.

          Fare thou well was part of a Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’
          Sorry but he is not my favorite.
          Inside of Anthony and Cleopatra he used ‘Fare thee well’.

          It also tends to remind me of the song in ‘The Sound of Music’, -So Long Farewell which brings a smile to my face and thoughts of a happy time.

          So Frank, thanks for being difficult as opposed to asking me why I use it.

          I learned a few other Artist that performed it.
          The Letterman show with Mumford and Sons is a good one to watch.
          Although I like a lot of Folk Music, it is one of those types of music I can only listen to so much of without a change of pace.
          People love the Grateful Dead, and I spent a while travelling with them, but to be honest I like other bands better.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
          • Frank

            Thee and thou are like tu and vous in French . One is informal, the other formal/polite.

            So if you wanted to bid someone farewell that you don’t know, politely it should be fare thou well. An interesting thing is that in English, the tu/vous informal/polite forms merged into only the polite form ‘thou’, which became ‘you’.

          • boggled

            Regardless, thou and thee are both archaic forms of Old English grammar.
            Such as thy or thine or or Ye – that turned into we or us.
            All of which came from Greek and Hebrew translations into forming Old English and the KJ Bible.
            Not the French contraction you alleged and stated.
            They are still in use in many religious text because the meaning gets changed and less specific when you change to the more modern.
            Between 1450 and 1650 thee and thou were both interchangeable for informal use.
            And yes you are correct, today, one has a use in familiar company, the other in unfamiliar, if you choose to recognize it that way.
            Thou was more along the lines if you spoke to the Mayor of the village, a term of respect and yes, someone you did not know very well.
            Thee was the more general term and used informally between both people you knew and people you didn’t, depending on standing in the community.
            If a preacher was addressing a large crowd, he would use thee, but if the Governor was in the crowd and the preacher knew it he would use thou to address the assembly.
            Thou would generally be used by females at that time as well, respecting men.
            In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet only refers to Romeo once as thee, and many times as thou.
            That is usage of those words.
            NOW, we come to the part of FIXED English phrases.
            Ones that are in use and never used another way, except by mistaken people like you.
            You never use the phrases – Holier then thee or Fare thou well.
            Just a law, Fare thee well is a fixed phrase of parting.
            Fare thou well is never used.
            Thou shouldst do more internet research on thy computer.

            Fare thee well

          • Frank

            Wrong. From you, ‘Fare thee well” is an insult.
            I take it as such, and anyone who understands the grammar, takes it as such.
            The important question today is “who is responsible for the offense?” he who offends? or the offended?
            By the way, whom vs who? Care to explain?

          • boggled

            Oh look, a forum on the term Fare thee well and no mention of Fare thou well.

            http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/fare-thee-well.326245/

            And look here, it describes fixed phrases and Fare thee well being one in terms of Shakespeare.

            https://books.google.com/books?id=KIt9AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=fixed+english+phrases+fare+thee&source=bl&ots=7Jd-znm8VD&sig=_FubS__dAs1HPVjvfAgVdvWz7fQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAWoVChMIrICttfWlxwIVxJ6ACh3vGgrM#v=onepage&q=fixed%20english%20phrases%20fare%20thee&f=false

            Now I wonder why ‘Fare thee well’ is commonly discussed, however ‘Fare thou well’ is almost never?
            Quit being obstinate Frank, I have shown you my reasons.

            And you have yet to show a single proof for Fare thou well being used anywhere but in old Shakespeare.
            You have NOT shown an example of a single use of it being used today.

            Why can’t you admit your wrong? Why do you not understand a term like Fixed Phrase or idiom as part of English?
            You just one of those OLD spinster types that argue at everything just for the sake of arguing and you have to get in the last word and will never admit your wrong? A crotchety old codger as they used to say?

            I have done my teaching of grammar etiquette to you, you can look up ‘who’ and ‘whom’ protocols on the net or in a library.
            And argue with them there.
            I am done with your fatuity.

            Fare thee well

  4. Phil

    I think this whole article is nonsense, it’s just bait designed to distract from the fact that someone at Wackenhut may have been killing people in America during the Gulf oil spill. Or at least threatening to kill them, harassing them and setting them up. Chances are very good these were rogue elements with British sympathies acting wrongly and foolishly.

    Chances are good there is also powerful international organized crime / media entity that is just as much a threat to Britain as it is to the United States. It is pulling ten of your strings for every one of it’s strings that you smugly pull.

    But the foolishness did not end with Wackenhut, the cover-up, in the “national interest”, displayed the worst sort of myopia and insanity — seeking to destroy people instead of simply cleaning up your own mess. In other words you are doing what you have accused me of doing. You have become exactly what you imagine you are seeking to destroy. Times a million.

    You also imagine your approach to things as being more “enlightened” but it’s far from that. You foster witch-hunts that produce false evidence — justifying your ‘alternative to murder’ which is your alternative to cleaning up your own mess.

    I also had spoken up about another 12 step leader who had abused his power (in a different organization), plus I had refused to be a “12 step fundamentalist” so I was already being targeted when you showed up and used all available evidence to justify messing with yet another American citizen on behalf of an incompetent oil company. So you tapped into whistleblower retaliation in order to engineer your own whistleblower retaliation. And you engineered your own perceptions in the process.

    And I have news for you — I am not a child molester– I have lived a good life.

    But you are becoming molesters — mind molesters.

    And the United States is catching on to you. Whatever is thought of me, whatever they believe about me, they nevertheless know about you. They are beginning to see you…

    Quietly, eventually, they will free our country from you.

    Reply
  5. Phil

    P.S. My post has nothing to do with Eliot Higgins, he may have no idea that this article is being used for other purposes. And even if he has some idea… he doesn’t know the real purpose.

    Reply
  6. Phil

    P.S. The bait is to draw someone’s attention to American intelligence when British private intelligence is to blame (for BP related crimes in America, I can’t say about the downing of the jet in this possibly baited article– the strangely similar title “The Strange Story of the Ten Million Dollar MH17 Investigation” would be the bait, maybe covertly referencing something totally different– a similar sounding but different “tens of millions of dollars worth of covert investigation in America, with MI6 connections” underway right now in the U.S… and being talked about right now covertly in the U.S. in certain intelligence circles).

    And British government intelligence now knows about British private intelligence going astray and wants to distract and cover all this up. Cleaning up the BP / Wackenhut American whistleblower ruination mess in the “national interest” rather than the national interest, which would require not working with international organized crime to run a democracy-threatening media influence racket that could just as easily wreck British democracy as it begins to wreck democracy in the United States.

    Reply
  7. Phil

    P.S. The bait is to draw someone’s attention to American intelligence when British private intelligence is to blame (for BP related crimes in America, I can’t say about the downing of the jet in this possibly baited article– the strangely similar title would be the bait, maybe covertly referencing something totally different– a similar sounding but different “tens of millions of dollars worth of covert investigation in America, with MI6 connections” underway right now in the U.S… and being talked about right now covertly in the U.S. in certain intelligence circles).

    And British government intelligence now knows about British private intelligence going astray and wants to distract and cover all this up. Cleaning up the American whistleblower ruination mess in the “national interest” rather than the national interest, which would require not working with international organized crime to run a democracy-threatening media influence racket that could just as easily wreck British democracy as it begins to wreck democracy in the United States.

    Reply

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