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Shadow of a Doubt: Crowdsourcing Time Verification of the MH17 Missile Launch Photo

August 7, 2015

By Aric Toler

While much open source investigation is done through crowd sourcing, the administrator of the MH17 webtalk.ru forum has taken a unique approach: a single-blind poll to collaboratively determine the timing of a photograph. While this experiment does not have the scientific rigor of a pharmaceutical trial, the methodology of administrator “bootblack” is worthwhile of some examination.

The photograph in question is the infamous MH17 launch image, which was posted by @WowihaY after he received it from a friend shortly after the downing of MH17 (4:20pm local time). The photograph shows a missile contrail south of Snizhne and southeast of the photographer’s location. Significantly, the EXIF data on this photograph shows that it was taken–according to the camera’s internal clock–at 4:25pm local time, July 17, 2014. This time places the photograph at just five minutes after the downing of MH17; however, the internal clock’s time was likely not perfectly synced and accurate the same way a cell phone would be. The circumstances of this photograph have been hotly debated online, even though the photograph has been verified as true by multiple international experts. The Dutch criminal investigation into the downing of MH17 have interviewed the photographer, and are taking the photograph into account in its investigation. Needless to say, this image is a very important piece of evidence into the tragedy’s investigation, and a more accurate time-frame for the photograph (other than the camera’s internal clock) would further confirm its value.

BswldgYIUAAV7A_

The brightened version of the smoke trail photograph. The original photograph was darker, while this one was retouched by the photographer to better depict the smoke trail in question.

Bootblack, the administrator of the popular MH17 forum of webtalk.ru, acquired numerous photographs from a local of the shadow on a particular rooftop in Torez. The administrator also received the exact time each photograph was taken. This roof in question is the same one that appears in the photograph above (bottom-left/center, to the left of a tall pole). The purpose of Bootblack’s experiment is to crowdsource the opinions of the forum to select which of the photographs most accurately depicts the angle of the rooftop shadow when compared to the July 17 launch photograph. As anyone who has ever seen a sundial will know, the time can be determined by a shadow once various factors (angle of object casting shadow, azimuth, etc) are determined.

The administrator received the time of each photograph, but chose not to share them with the forum, hoping for unbiased assessments of which photograph was the most accurate. Theoretically, with some adjustments with the azimuth and the exact conditions recorded for the day of the MH17 shootdown, we would be able to know–down to a very narrow time-frame–when the launch photo was taken without relying on the reading of a camera’s internal clock in the EXIF data. We probably cannot get the exact second of the photograph with this shadow angle method, but we would be able to refute an argument that the photograph was actually taken in the morning or early afternoon.

house

The house and shadow in question from the launch photo

Bootblack set out the following procedures for the thread:

1) In a joint effort (poll and comments) we will select a photo with the shadow that matches the shadow in the [photographer’s] photo. If someone’s eye fixes upon an intermediate position, just tell me.

2) Knowing the recorded time of the selected photo, we will calculate the azimuth of the shadow. The EXIF has already been deleted to eliminate subjectivity.

3) We will recalculate the obtained azimuth to July 17, 2014 and from that we will calculate the exact time the photographer shot the shadow.

One of the photographs provided by the forum administrator

One of the photographs provided by the forum administrator

For three pages, the forum users debated which of the twelve provided photographs best matched the shadow on the launch photo. Different users, including the administrator, threw their lots in to different ones, with various creative uses of overlaying lines over the given photographs to judge the correct angles:

8-5-2015 6-54-14 PM 8-6-2015 5-07-14 PM 8-5-2015 6-52-46 PM

 

Eventually, the administrator revealed the time of the photograph numbered 4328, which was in between the two leading vote-getters (4325 and 4330). This photograph was taken at August 1, 2015 at 4:35:46pm with the azimuth of 260.52, which corresponds to a July 17, 2014 time of 4:21:29pm. The administrator later calculated what he saw as a more accurate time based on the line alignment in the two photographs: 4:22:40pm on July 17, 2014.

If the results of the “shadow poll” experiment are trusted, the camera’s internal clock was about 3 minutes fast. It is difficult to conclusively say the exact minute–let alone the second–that the launch photograph was taken due to the margin of error in the shadow exercise and the impreciseness of the camera’s internal clock. However, this exercise in tandem with the self-reported EXIF data demonstrates that the launch photograph was indeed taken soon after 4:20pm, the time of the MH17 downing.

Aric Toler

Aric Toler has been an employee at Bellingcat since 2015. Some of his focuses are in verification of Russian media, the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian influence in the American/European far-right, and the ongoing investigation into MH17. Have a question, want to bounce a story idea, or want to write for Bellingcat? Email me at arictoler@bellingcat.com

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77 Comments

  1. Jim Dobbin

    I see no mention of the views of Dr Krawetz, a photo forensic expert, who stated clearly the plume image is a fake. Why haven’t Bellingcat made a single attempt to contact this expert for confirmation of his claims?

    Reply
    • Sean Lamb

      With respect Jim, Dr Krawetz has a blog and has never put forward a considered argument that the image is fake. He has raised the suggestion in a couple of 140 character tweets, but gone no further.
      I would suggest it is unwise to put forward such an unambiguous claim on the basis of a few tweets. You should either ask Dr Krawetz to commit one way or the other and if he wishes to dispute the authenticity of the image to write an article or blog post in that direction or else stop using him these tweets as an authoritative judgement

      Reply
      • Jim Dobbin

        He won’t write up anything on the matter as he hasn’t been approached to do so, that’s the point. Oddly enough Higgins et al used his FotoForensics software in one of their investigations and this was the first he had heard of Bellingcat. He was that appalled at how Bellingcat used his software he tweeted “This is how not to carry out image analysis”.

        He was asked in a tweet to take a quick look at the plume image and he did. He noted that data had been added to the image. Considering that Higgins attempts to challenge anyone that disagrees with him I find it oddly bizarre that he hasn’t contacted Dr Krawetz to dispute his findings in the air of fairness and impartiality to the MH17 debate.

        Dr Krawetz never invited himself to the debate and has no horses in this race. He was asked a question and he responded. Why hasn’t Bellingcat even attempted to contact the man?

        Reply
        • John

          So he was asked to take a “QUICK LOOK” at the image? One would think that if Dr Krawetz believes his tools are being used inappropriately and photo was faked, that he would definitely “have a horse in the race”. Those tools are representative of his processes’ reliability and validity. He knows about Bellingcat at this point. If he found it worthwhile to comment on his own tweet/blog one would find it highly likely that he would have read these posts. One does not need an invite when your tools are being used and you already are known to tweet/blog. He chose not to comment for some reason. If he now gave a definitive reason that he feels the image is fake or altered or whatnot, he should explain exactly why in detail and outline how his tools were used inappropriately I would think that would be a scientists highest calling – to find out the truth. Especially when using tools that he himself created!

          Reply
          • Phil Grant

            You are confusing two separate issues. One issue is the faked plume image and the second is the incorrect use of FotoForensics by Bellingcat in a separate investigation.

            Considering Bellingcat are using the plume image as a cornerstone of their MH17 theories would you not agree it makes sense that they would contact an international image analyst who has cast doubts on the images authenticity?

          • Jim Dobbin

            Why don’t you tweet him your concerns?

            My question remains suspiciously unanswered. Why hasn’t Bellingcat contacted Dr Krawetz if they dispute his expertise?

            A simple question that seems rather hard to get an answer to.

        • Sean Lamb

          “He won’t write up anything on the matter as he hasn’t been approached to do so, that’s the point”
          Why? Is Dr Krawetz too lordly and superior person to make a contribution to a matter of great public importance unless he is specifically by a bunch of internet nobodies?
          Did someone approach him when he wrote some very informative posts regarding Bellingcat’s claim of forgery on the Russian satellite photos. Why can’t he do so for the plume photo?

          In my view it is destructive to the debate for Dr Krawetz to raise the issue of forgery in 140 characters without following this up in a more detailed manner. Because he is being definitively used as an authority when he has yet to give an authoritative opinion on the matter and as such may result in people being mislead as to the extent and significance of his comments to date.

          Personally, I think it is a genuine photo taken the day before but I am certainly open to correction. As such I would welcome it if Dr Krawetz where to put together an argument as to fabrication. But as a matter of obvious public importance, the ball is in his court and the idea he is under some maidenly restraint from making a contribution has no basis in reality.

          Reply
  2. Peter Hermann

    Dr. Krawetz obviously never bothered to do some serious research on bellingcat findings but one of his tweets says
    “I did basic checks, image size matches. My only other thought was pixel quantization sig? – out of my competency though”
    So that is out of his compentence huh? And where does he say its a fake? And since its out of his competence, how would he even know?

    Reply
    • Jim Dobbin

      He did basic checks and found an altered image. I doubt very much he’d rush to that conclusion over a tweet if he wasn’t sure. I a follow up exchange with him he reiterated that the image was altered. If you disagree with him why don’t you tweet him for further clarification? I know he would welcome any serious questions on the matter.

      Reply
      • Max

        The one that can read and understand what he’s reading has a clear advantage over those who don’t. In the article and before, Bellincat authors allready stated, that the picture was altered and by whom:”The brightened version of the smoke trail photograph. The original photograph was darker, while this one was retouched by the photographer to better depict the smoke trail in question.”

        So clearly readable for everyone here, the picture was altered. So there is no reason for suspicion. Bellingcat didn’t say that the picture was not altered. So the expert just mention, what everybody knows. But he did not make a statement that it is a fake or fabrication. So if you see his statement as a fact that the picture was manufactured, you are not able to read or you are not able to understand the meaning of what you’ve read.

        So if you think someone is in charge of giving further proof, that the picure was manipulated further than the brightening, feel free to ask for that proof. But stop blamestorming.

        Reply
        • David

          As much as that is true, Dr Krawetz did actually post an image showing irregularities in the plume photo. There was a sharp 20 degree angled edge to the right of the plume, which COULD be a bad masking job. I still don’t question the authenticity of the photo, but it would be interesting to hear Dr Krawetz thoughts.

          I saw his analysis photo just last week, unfortunately I can’t remember where. I will look for it again and if I find it I’ll post a link.

          Reply
        • David

          This is his color density analysis: http://fotoforensics.com/analysis.php?id=c14998c3a23b2e7ef5e05212c912adaefbd60b63.1733812&fmt=orig

          Note the 20 degree edge to the right of the plume. This could be a result of bad masking when having on image overlaying another. However it’s impossible to verify HIS as authentic unless we’re given the opportunity to replicate the steps.

          One point I agree with him on, though, is that the noise looks too uniform for a raw image. I’m a retoucher by trade, and this type of noise is usually added as a last touch to hide small errors and to give the image consistency.

          Reply
          • David

            As stated by Bellingcat, Dr Krawetz wasn’t performing his tests on an original picture. Thus his findings could actually be a banding artifact caused by image compression.

            The noise, however, is still peculiar. I checked the original BMP provided by Bellingcat and put it next to generated uniform noise, as you can see they have strikingly similar characteristics: http://i.imgur.com/UVdMDXS.png

            This doesn’t prove nor disprove anything. It is unusual for a camera to have this fine uniform noise, but it’s certainly not impossible. Every camera manufacturer/model has its own unique noise “fingerprint”, so the only way to know for sure is to compare the noise with the same type of camera + same ISO. But unfortunately the file didn’t contain any exif data whatsoever.

            Based on the size 4928 x 3264 it’s probably a Nikon D7000 or a D5100.

  3. ttb

    Just an editorial observation. Earlier in this article the expression “the cameras internal camera” is used several times when I think the author meant “the cameras internal clock” -as appears later in the article. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  4. Jim Dobbin

    The question remains for Bellingcat to answer themselves; Why have you not contacted Dr Krawetz to either dispute his findings or ask for clarification?

    Reply
    • boggled

      JimDobbin, as you can see if you read his blog, there is a lot of discussion who is right and who is wrong in the field of photo forensics.
      He claims a lot of tried and true methods taught in Universities are inccorect and a lot of Professors and others who teach it are wrong.
      And he claims to be the only right one in his method of scientific study.
      To me that says a lot.
      Says he is full of himself to be claiming a majority of the people in the field are doing it the wrong way because they are not doing it HIS way.
      I will not say his methods don’t produce correct results, but I think he inflates his ego a little too much.
      His has errors in it just like everyone else.
      He seems to think all the algorithms he uses in his software are perfect, they are not.
      It will produce errors just as much if not more depending on the subject of study.
      If I might be so bold to speak for BC’s crew, You are not getting the Raw data, neither is Max, and neither is the good Dr. any time soon.
      Others do photo forensics and found the photos authentic, so you and the good Dr can cry all you want in jealousy of Bellingcat for not getting a crack at it.
      TS.
      The real photo forensic experts at JIT have the data and can do just fine without Dr. Krawetz help.
      Up to them to decide to ask him for help or not.
      Since many of the people who turned in evidence to DSB and JIT have signed confidentiality clauses, much of the original evidence is in their hands now.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
      • Phil Grant

        That was a rather long response which still managed to dodge Jim’s question. It sounds like a very plausible question under the circumstances. Why hasn’t Bellingcat contacted the expert who has cast doubt on a vital link in Bellingcat’s MH17 chain?

        I notice the only ones responding are Bellingcat’s guard dogs. Strange that the admins continually dodge being drawn into any debate on Krawetz’s claims.

        Reply
        • ttb

          I can scarcely be called anyones guard dog as this is my third or fourth post here so I’ll offer an opinion on this. Elsewhere on Bellingcat someone asked why Bellingcat don’t crowd-fund for some other photograph that may or may not confirm or dismiss a Russian claim that Ukraine had BUKs deployed in shooting range of MH17. You may see where I’m going with this already – anyone who perhaps doesn’t like the directions Bellingcats investigations are taking them could “smother them with softballs” (If I may borrow an expression from Better Call Saul) by obliging them to follow up any counter theory posited, whatever it’s merit, for completeness sake.

          In Dr. Krawetz’ case specifically -if he has concerns regarding Bellingcats, or anyone elses, use of his software it’s actually the JIT he should be contacting to let them know the nature of his concerns. He might also offer to conduct testing himself -perhaps under whatever blind/double-blind conditions could be put in place to keep the results objective.

          As for the photograph itself. It’s neither a ‘vital link’ nor a ‘cornerstone’ of a case against anyone. If it were struck out as evidence tomorrow I can’t think of any other piece of evidence that depends upon it. It’s a piece of a jigsaw and scarcely more. Also, and this is just my humble opinion, it’s improbably understated to be a forgery. That’s to say -if I were to try and frame someone with photoshop -I’d probably try and cook up something a bit more dramatic, conclusive and y’know -‘slam dunk’.

          Reply
          • Phil Grant

            Firstly Dr Krawetz has not been following the MH17 debate or Bellingcat. He was first made aware of BC when a blogger contacted him about concerns he had after BC’s self styled “Photo Forensics” analysis and their use of his software.

            Krawetz responded by saying he didn’t know anything about Bellingcat and that he was distancing himself from their report as it was a good example “of how not to do photo forensics”. He also said that they had used his software incorrectly and therefore their results were incorrect. Bellingcat has to this day ignored his comments and they still push their report as authentic and correct.

            Another person then tweeted and asked him for his opinion on the smoke plume image and as stated above he has concluded it is a fake.

            You don’t believe the image is a vital piece of evidence yet the author of the above report disagrees with you saying that it’s a “very important piece of evidence”. I agree as it’s the only image of the alleged Buk launch. So given how important Bellingcat believes this image to be would you not expect them to have contacted an internationally renowned photo forensics expert who has cast doubt on its authenticity? Would you not have expected Bellingcat to at least tweet him and ask for a more detailed report from him or do dispute his findings? Instead they once again ignore him and continue to push the image as authentic. I find that strange.

            So why would Dr Krawetz take it upon himself to write up a analysis of an image he knows nothing about apart from the fact it’s been altered? He isn’t aware of the story surrounding the image, knows little to nothing about Bellingcat, MH17 and all things alike. But the best way for this to be settled is for Bellingcat or yourself to contact him with your concerns and ask for further information from him. Why has this not been done so far? Why is the Bellingcat team blatantly ignoring the opinions of a renowned expert in the field and instead continually pushing a faked image as authentic?

          • ttb

            Phil, I have to refer you to my previous answer. A couple of other comments and observations. Evidently Dr Krawetz HAS been following the MH17 debate to some extent. Indeed he’d need to be living on Mars to avoid it. I’ll repeat if he has concerns then it’s the JIT he needs to contact and perhaps offer his services or at least explain to them why he feels they’ve been misled. I would not encourage him or Bellingcat to indulge in handbags and happyslaps on the internet. It wastes time and resources.

            I never said the photograph wasn’t an important piece of evidence. I said it was neither vital nor a cornerstone as the latter particularly implies other evidence collapses if the photo is removed. All the photo actually does is add information on the likely location from which the “alleged” BUK launch took place. Such a photo is not required to demonstrate a BUK was launched. A 777 shredded from the nose to the leading edge of the wings does that quite adequately.

        • boggled

          His question was Phil – Why have you not contacted Dr Krawetz to either dispute his findings or ask for clarification?

          I attempted to answer – His work can be just as faulty as others depending on the subject and how thoroughly he looked at it.
          The photo has four other ‘experts’ declare it genuine other then the stuff mentioned in the other article but the guy who got the image sent to him.

          With four others why do they need the good Dr.’s analysis of it, they funded and paid others.
          Now the image in in evidence at JIT, so really it doesn’t matter or not.
          They will use it or not, you shall see.
          And honestly it is a striking image, but a USA satellite image would provide more proof and this would just be corroborating evidence if genuine.
          And a feather in the hat of those who got to publish it.

          I am not a BC guard dog, I am a stand up for what is right guard dog.
          I post other place and anyone is welcome to post here.
          I see a comment that is asking for a response, so I respond if no one else is going to.
          That is my prerogative if I see it worth writing about.
          I did not dodge a question that Jim Dobbin has asked repeatedly in an insulting way.
          I answered it.
          He asked why do they not contact him and my answer is – they do not need to, the photo has been confirmed by four other sources at least.
          It is a free world and he is welcome to make a statement on his blog or in his tweets if he sees fit, OR ON THE COMMENT BOARD.
          Or he can contact BC directly or Mr Higgins himself.
          At least the good Dr. is a lot more respectful then Jim Dobbin in the fact Jim asks the same question over and over and OVER again.

          And honestly, this is a striking and important image, but the value to the investigation is minimal at best.
          How much can you tell from it?
          Location, time being shortly after, it looks like a BUK launch.
          It does not tell who was in the vehicle, whose vehicle it was, what they were shooting at, or what exact vehicle it was.
          Do you see a vehicle in the image? I do not.
          Can you see the uniform ?
          But taken together, this is just one part of the puzzle that BC and others have put together by open source data and it fits together with a bunch of other pieces.
          So no I do not think Jim deserves more of a response then that.

          Fare thee well

          Reply
          • boggled

            And didn’t I see Charles Wood aka Jim Dobbins have his Twitter account closes for some other harassing behavior?
            I wonder why?

            Fare thee well

          • Aric Toler

            Boggled,

            Jim has a UK IP address, while I believe Charles is in Australia.

        • ttb

          Hi again Phil, I’ve spent quite a while searching round the place for some substantive commentary by Dr. Neal Krawetz on Bellingcats use of his software and aside from a quip on Twitter where he describes their analysis as ‘incorrect’ he’s a man of few words on the issue. The link to his blog on his own website is dead. Seems more interested in Hertz car rentals for some reason. My tuppence worth as a Joe Soap without a professional competence in the area or an axe to grind with him, Bellingcat, Russia or Ukraine would be he REALLY needs to contact the JIT where he should express his concerns and offer his services. Though he doesn’t actually seem interested enough to do that. Might he be a bit pissed that someone used his gear without getting him in the ground floor?

          Anyway If the picture is a fake I WANT to see it rubbished as it’s then unhelpful in the search for empirical truth. I’ll be straight about my own view and say I suspect it’s genuine* but I’ve already said I don’t think any case against the perpetrators depends upon it.

          *I suspect it’s genuine as there was too little time for someone to be opportunist enough to realise something big was going down, grab a camera, take a photo, and doctor it so as to place it’s creation date in the ballpark timewise.

          I don’t think it’s strange the admins avoid ‘being drawn into debate’ about Krawetz’ claims either -be it with Krawetz himself or with you. If they did it’ll all just go back and forth via third parties with other agendas and quickly spiral into a flame-war about credibility, partiality and professional competence. Better to cut out the middle man and go straight to the JIT and let them ascribe what merit and weight they will to conflicting claims.

          Reply
          • Sean Lamb

            “Hi again Phil, I’ve spent quite a while searching round the place for some substantive commentary by Dr. Neal Krawetz on Bellingcats use of his software and aside from a quip on Twitter where he describes their analysis as ‘incorrect’ he’s a man of few words on the issue.”
            Try this
            http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/676-Continuing-Education.html

            “Bad Analysis
            A few days ago, a group called “Bellingcat” published a report where they tried to do some digital photo forensics. They were trying to show that some satellite photos were digitally altered. They used FotoForensics to evaluate the picture, but unfortunately ended up misinterpreting the result”

            But I have found no substantive commentary on the “plume” photo.
            Again I don’t think this is a mystery. The 17th of July was cloudy, the 16th of July was cloudless and there was a confirmed downing of a Su-25 south of Svizhne.

          • TTB

            Thanks for that Sean. I don’t think the picture can be deemed taken on a date other than July 17th because there’s little cloud in it. July 17th appears to have been a rather Irish summers day in Eastern Ukraine with some sunny spells and heavy showers. The video fourth down in this bbc report with the plane ablaze shows large patches of blue sky as well as patches of thin cirrostratus. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28354856

          • Rob

            Sean, that hackerfactor.com thread focuses on the ELA of a picture that Bellingcat already shows to be from June (based on GoogleEarth/WorldView satellite images). So it is already shown to be faked.

            Why is Neal Krawetz spending so much time on an image that has already been shown to be a fake ?

        • Max

          ohh, cmon. are you serious? There are many experts out there. And many out there have different opinions. Now you say the correct proceeding is to contact every honk that differs in opinion?

          Well, let me say it in a polite way. If someone disagrees with something that I say, do, think or whatever, it is not my duty to handle his arguments, especially if he is not making them public. It is his fucking job to proof his arguments on his own. Thats simply the way to do it. If you got something important to say to an important matter, just come up with it instead of sitting in your dark office waiting for the Nobel-commitee to ask you for the right questions. That’s a pretty much redicoulus perspective.

          Reply
      • Max

        Hey Phil, I am shure you personally spoke to Dr. K.? And I am shure you can proof that Dr. K. didn’t know about BC before? And I am shure that you can proof that Dr. K. was not aware about the analysis BC made?

        I think that all might be the case, because you statements here sound like you have spoken to him, and you have proof of his “not knowing” about this. I’m looking foreward to see the protokoll of you talkings and the testimonial of Dr. K.

        otherwise, stop posting something as reality, what is nothin else than an assumption. thanks

        Reply
    • Max

      nope, the question doesn’t remain. As I answered above, if you smell suspicion, feel free to ask that expert on your own. If you get an expert finding, feel free to share that with us. As long as you don’t see that responsebility, stop wasting time.

      Reply
  5. boggled

    Thanks Aric, IPs can be spoofed just like photos, it takes a little forensics to be sure.
    Anyways, his comments follow in syntax and grammar and tone of someone I noticed on Twitter that I thought was removed or isolated away from the MH17 and Ukraine discussions.
    I will leave it to someone more tech savvy and has the needed knowledge to make that accusation.
    I withdraw the accusation and allegation.

    We have made a mountain out of a molehill concerning the Dr.
    He has his own blog, he knows how to contact you and you know how to contact him.

    And it does not have to be on comment boards or twitter for public discussion.

    It is a pity Jim is acting like a fight promoter sitting in the background spreading gossip and half truths wanting to create a conflict where there is just a difference of opinion.

    Fare thee well

    Reply
    • Jim Dobbin

      Refreshing to see that even Bellingcat has its fair share of conspiracy buffs lingering around.

      So now I’m not Jim but Charles and I live in Australia but I’m spoofing that I live in the UK. I’m also spreading gossip and trying to start fights because I dare to ask a rather simple and honest question that has gone unanswered. Again.

      I will let the silent readers of this article make up their own minds on why Bellingcat continues to push the plume image as authentic when a world renowned photo analyst has cast doubt on its authenticity. And why Bellingcat has never attempted to contact this expert to clarify their position or ask him to clarify his. Indeed anyone who asks the Bellingcat team either on here or Twitter about Dr Krawetz’s claims that the image is a fake is meet with complete silence. People can also make up their own minds on why Bellingcat continues to sell its “forensic analysis” of Russian satellite images using Dr Krawetz’s software as correct when the Dr himself has said that Bellingcat used his software incorrectly and their “analysis” was ‘a good example of how not to do photo forensics’.

      As phil said, Bellingcat’s silence actually speaks volumes.

      Reply
      • Oleg

        Why would Bellingcat contact Dr Krawetz if he will demonstrate that Bellingcat are wrong?

        Reply
      • Alex Liveson

        You are wasting your time commenting here Jim, if you pose a question or make a statement that can’t get a satisfactory put down by Bellingcats attack dogs then the admins will just ignore it or as in several cases just delete the post.
        I only read here now to see the latest re-hash of the “evidence”.

        Reply
        • Jim Dobbin

          It’s obvious why Bellingcat haven’t contacted Dr Neal Krawetz. I think quite a number of people reading these comments will see that for themselves. Why would they contact a man who could potentially cause them a lot of embarrassment for a second time? But silly old me still held a small belief that Bellingcat were actually interested in finding the truth for the victims of MH17. I guess I have proven myself wrong.

          Anyone who still pushes this plume image as authentic has very questionable motives.

          Reply
          • David Jones

            What i’m surprised about is that they have not retracted the claim that the lower black smoke is from a missile. That same black smoke shows up in other photos from very different dates. It’s probably from the mine there. the 7mei site has details

          • Sergey

            All I can see is just a bunch of accusations and nothing else. I’ve seen this before, in Russia. Dozens of paid commenters who flooded online news resources for easy money.

            Thus I have one very really really really stupid question for you. Why didn’t you contact that Dr. by yourself? Why didn’t you request him to write few words of this case? Do it. Let your dreams come true.

          • Max

            That’s all what it needs to question the motives of the people? An “expert” that doesn’t get the attention you think he needs to get?

            Really really really strange perspective you have on logic and peoples motives…

            That’s all what it takes to put you on my personal ignore list.

          • Max

            @sergey: I have allready asked that really really stupid question. But gues what Mr. Jim Dobbin did not answere… guess why?

  6. boggled

    ttb, The good Dr. has both freeware and a paid program although I am not sure of which the BC team utilized.

    Jim, yippee, you believe what you want.
    Others can have their own opinion too.
    Your making me have one of you, and I think others see it also.

    I can have two different morticians come up with different results in an autopsy.
    Some others will come in and confirm or deny the info.
    There is no use getting into a pissing match about it.

    The Dr made his statements about it in Twitter and his blog.
    More power to him.
    Besides BC using the software to confirm its authenticity to them, there were 4 other checks on it.
    All found it to be authentic.

    The Dr can make all the claims he wants, he might be right, however he has a lot of people to prove wrong if he wants to.
    He made his statements and decided to let it rest, that to me says he probably looked into it a little deeper and decided it might be factual and authentic, but he will not be able to tell more without the RAW data.
    That is in JIT’s hands.

    So if the good Dr wants it, he can run off and email them.
    Provide his credentials and see if they would like some assistance.
    There team has been made already and I think they can do fine without the good Dr.’s assistance.

    Honestly though, the plume is just a small part of the chain of evidence, and if it is as your buffy Max claims, so be it.
    It will not mean a hill of beans with the other evidence.
    It is great for open source to do analysis with before the reports and trials to keep the public aware, but ask yourself, what does it show that would be a necessity in the trial?

    Does it show a vehicle?
    Does it show troops?
    Does it show faces?
    Does it show which missile flew?
    Did it show what missile it is, because the M1-2 launcher can fie a few different missiles?
    Did it show who owned the BUK?
    What did it show?
    A probable location and that a SAM was used, that is about it.
    It does not confirm that that was the launcher and plume and SAM that hit the plane, did it?
    Did you see it hit anything?

    Your trying to get a fight started between the two to try to discredit the Dr. or the BC team.
    Just like Bahgdad Bob Lavrov was doing with the DSB investigation.
    You are trolling by continuing in this fashion.
    You have something new to offer present it, otherwise drop this stupid propaganda trolling.

    Want to be part of the investigation and challenge it yourself with your own theories, fine present them and talk about them.
    Quit trying to whisper in each of their ears.
    To Tom your saying – Ted said your stink and to Ted – Tom said you stink.
    It is childish and immature and trolling to continue with it.
    And to be frank, it is annoying, I grew out of those childish activities a long time ago.

    Fare thee well

    Reply
    • Alex Liveson

      boggled – August 10th, 2015
      “You have something new to offer present it, otherwise drop this stupid propaganda trolling.”

      In which case Bellingcat should have left MH17 alone last year.

      Reply
      • boggled

        Alex, sorry you chose to back a government who own Ministry of Defense went on International media and were made fools over for presenting fake and incorrectly dated satellite images as their evidence.
        That is propaganda, a state government lying to its population and to the world that support them.

        Bummer you cannot accept facts when they are sitting right on the end of your nose.
        Mr. Higgins and crew are well in their rights to run a business as they see fit.
        And they have given a lot of beneficial evidence while the world wait on the official investigators.
        The Russian government makes themselves look by fools by making blatant lies.
        The rest of the world caught them in it.
        It is a shame you fail to recognize that.

        Fare thee well

        Reply
  7. Jay

    All this discussion about the Dr…avoids the main point is that the EXIF time data has been closely corraborated by an analysis on the webtalk.ru site, not by those of us in the west.

    Reply
    • David Jones

      It’s not the time data that is the big problem. Dr Krawetz says the image was manipulated.

      Reply
      • David Jones

        Here are his comments.
        1) “2.bmp” smoke picture is digitally altered.
        2) Color density has 20-degree line far right of smoke. Shouldn’t be anything there = alteration.
        3) High entropy yet low quality = Artificial noise added to deter analysis.

        Reply
        • bellingcatadmin

          In that case it’ll be interesting to see if the experts the police consult agree.

          Reply
          • Phil Grant

            Why haven’t you contacted him to challenge his analysis but rather you continue to push an image as authentic that he has cast doubt upon?

            When Professor Theordore Postol of MIT disagreed with your theories on the Ghouta chemical attacks you made a point of contacting him. When ex UN weapons inspector the late Richard Llyod disagreed with you again you contacted him. Recently you went as far as to challenege the Russian Embassy. You even crowd funded to raise money to buy DG satellite images to challenge The Russian MoD as you disagreed with their narrative.

            This seems to be only the second time that Higgins has:

            A. kept very very quiet when his narrative was challenged by an expert &
            B. failed to challenge that experts findings

            The first is when Der Spiegel blasted Bellingcat’s MH17 investigating style as “reading tea leaves”. That was noticably hushed up by Higgins et al.

            So here we have a renowned and respected photo forensics expert who has cast doubt on image you push as authentic and not even a single tweet have you ever sent the man to challenge his views? The man is obviously respected by Bellingcat when they used his own software “FotoForensics”, albeit dreadfully wrong according to the designer, in one of their investigations.

            One would be forgiven for thinking that Bellingcat are actually avoiding Dr Krawetz on the matter. But why would that be? The mind ponders…..

  8. arney007

    my question is why have no locals in the area reported seeing the launch a event like a a missile firing out of a local field ?? Why hasn’t the local farmers or local village people confirmed the launch ?? Why because it probably didn’t happen the picture is a fake without backup evidence from other witnesses

    Reply
  9. Pianoman

    So as we are talking local witnesses and what they saw, why not talk about all of those that saw military jets in the sky as MH17 was shot down…? A year after the event, we now have the Ukrainian TV channel Hromadske for the first time talking to witnesses claiming to have seen this on July 17th last year-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8bo47_Q8Ug&feature=iv&src_vid=6zdJs4lolW0&annotation_id=annotation_698352329

    This has of course been strenuously denied by the Ukrainian authorities, until rather recently, when it was admitted that they had military planes flying that day: http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2015/07/11/boven-oekraine-vond-tijdens-ramp-mh17-een-luchtoorlog-plaats/

    Reply
    • boggled

      Piano man, I would like to see exactly the evidence that ‘anonymous’ editor gained to make those conclusions and for you to make those conclusions from that article.
      Your comment –
      ‘This has of course been strenuously denied by the Ukrainian authorities, until rather recently, when it was admitted that they had military planes flying that day’
      They admitted to sorties on July 16th and prior days.
      Not on July 17th as you allege.

      From your article –
      ‘To prevent the encirclement, the Ukrainian Air Force conducted air strikes continued. Near the disaster took place on July 16 two separatist Ukrainian SU-25’s down. The next morning, reported the Ukrainian Security Council that warplanes had flown 12 missions and attack helicopters 17 times had come into action.’

      That is nothing new.

      I am not sure where that ‘anonymous’ editor got his info, maybe proKremlin manufactured evidence?
      But I do not see anywhere else from the early days just after MH17 was downed that it was stated, –
      ‘Ukrainian SU-25 warplanes bombed targets on the ground, as witnesses reported, and Russian separatists tried to get the aircraft out of the sky, first with the shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles, on 17 July, with the Book M1 reaching much higher.’

      I say BS on the article, BS on the anonymous author, and BS on you for not picking up on that.
      And since he is anonymous, it is impossible to contact him directly on finding out his sources and whether or not they are credible.
      BS meter is near exploding point.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
    • Rob

      Pianman, your reference mentions :

      “Vlak bij de rampplek haalden separatisten op 16 juli twee Oekraïense SU-25’s neer. De volgende ochtend meldde de Oekraïense Veiligheidsraad dat gevechtsvliegtuigen 12 missies hadden gevlogen en dat aanvalshelikopters 17 keer in actie waren gekomen.”

      However, NRC does not mention any reference to their statement that July 16, the Ukrainians flew 12 missions with 17 attack helicopters.

      Can you fill them in ?

      Reply
      • Rob

        Equally interesting is that NRC claims that TWO Ukrainian fighters were downed by “separatists” while in fact only one was downed.

        Makes you wonder where they obtained there evidence…

        Reply
      • Rob

        And NRC forgets to mention that Ukraine stated that they did not fly any missions on July 17.

        Reply

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