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Thursday 27 September 2018

Novichok Hitman - Telegraph Shame

[Update at end of post]

Those working at the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph can be forgiven for celebrating when their paper actually ponies up a real and original story. But what they did yesterday afternoon, after the excellent Bellingcat site revealed the true identity of one of the two Russians linked to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning, was beyond shameless.
The claim by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and the various propaganda mouthpieces of his gangster régime that the two visitors to Salisbury were mere tourists, nothing more than civilians, always looked suspicious. As the BBC has reported, “Following the attempted poisoning in March, UK investigators identified one of the two suspects as Ruslan Boshirov … But the website Bellingcat says he is actually an intelligence officer by the name of Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga”. And it got worse.
Eliot Higgins is on the sofa. And the Telegraph isn't

He has served in Chechnya and Ukraine and was made a ‘Hero of the Russian Federation’ in 2014 … British officials have not commented, but the BBC understands there is no dispute over the identification”. And first with the news?
That would be Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat: “Breaking Skripal news from Bellingcat, we've established the real identity of one of the suspects, and he's not a sports nutritional supplement salesman”. Quite so. Along with their investigative partner The Insider - Russia, Bellingcat had concluded that Boshirov was in fact Chepiga.
Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer praised Bellingcat’s work: “More brilliant work from @bellingcat. Skripal suspect not only a highly decorated GRU colonel but to ‘send him back to a field job’ would be ‘extraordinary’. Suggests job may have been ordered ‘at the highest level’”. Peter Jukes of Byline Media was similarly impressed.
To send a highly decorated colonel back to a field job would be highly extraordinary, and would imply that ‘the job was ordered at the highest level.’ @bellingcat on fire at the moment. Amazing work @EliotHiggins and Team”.
Then, out of nowhere, came an intervention from Hayley Dixon of the Telegraph. “Watch the @Telegraph website at 5pm for a major breaking news story….” Her colleague Josie Ensor spelt it out. “Incredible @bellingcat/@Telegraph investigation into Russian poisoners. Looking harder & harder to deny the order didn't came from the top. Skripal 'hitman' unmasked as GRU colonel awarded Russia's highest military honour by Putin”. Suddenly it was a Telegraph joint effort. Or was it?
One unimpressed Tweeter shot back “Where was the Telegraph involvement? It was a Bellingcat + Russia-Insider investigation”. But the Tel this morning claims otherwise.
The disclosure, uncovered by investigative journalism organisation Bellingcat and the Daily Telegraph …” it tells readers in its front page splash. So what’s going on?

My information is that Bellingcat talked to the Tel about the investigation, but the paper contributed nothing to the story. Fortunately, other media outlets have correctly credited only Bellingcat, or given The Insider - Russia a mention, too.

The Telegraph’s desperation knows no bounds. It may also know no partners very soon.
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[UPDATE 28 September 1405 hours: what did I tell you? Press Gazette has now confirmed the Zelo Street story, telling readers "There was no partnership agreement between Bellingcat and the Telegraph over the scoop appearing to reveal the true identity of one of the suspected Novichok assassins, according to Bellingcat’s boss". And there was more.

"Eliot Higgins told Press Gazette: 'I’m a bit unclear on what the Telegraph is doing… seeing [as] we didn’t make any agreements with them.' He added that he 'can only imagine it’s a terrible misunderstanding'".

Mr H is too kind to the increasingly desperate régime at the Tel. Those less charitably inclined would have put it rather more directly - that the paper tried to hijack someone else's scoop.

Number of future "partnership agreements" between Bellingcat and the Tel? That would be zero]


Anonymous said...

I don't believe for a minute Boshirov was Chepiga. It was almost certainly Kanchelskis. Or Kuenssberg. Or George Clooney. Or more likely Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg.

Must try harder, spooks. You lot at Vauxhall Cross and Langley are making utter twats of yourselves.

Meanwhile, what a BRILLIANT SPEECH by Corbyn. I bet that had the spooks chewing at their own livers.

Gonzoland said...

The Telegraph under(bed)cover team.

Sam Best said...

Good grief even the media here in Australia are crediting Bellingcat with this scoop. Why is the Telegraph getting down in the gutter with outfits like MailOnline?. It's simply plagiarism. Do they think people won't notice?.

Ted Bangor said...

Wow,, it's almost like you can't trust the national press in this country to tell the truth about anything.

Jonathan said...

Thought it was Nick Clegg at first, Clegg boy is into a bit of assainations, especially those on benefits and struggling financially.

Mark said...

I see the BBC News conveniently showed two pictures of Boshirov when explaining the story that he and Chepiga were one and the same. Presumably because the picture of Chepiga, when placed next to the ones of Boshirov, casts doubt on the govt's story. Another journalistic highpoint from our beloved and oh so impartial public service broadcaster.

nparker said...

Taking credit for other people's work. Typical for the right wing.

After all, they're the ones going 'I'm self made, I don't need handouts.' Did you build your house, all the roads, your car, the pavements, etc, yourself?

In other things, I knew we'd have an Alan comment, right at the top. Its never, ever Russia or that nice Putin man's fault.

Wildswimmer Pete said...

The "poison" administered to the Skripals and their police minder was not Novichok nor any other organophosphorous nerve agent like sarin or VX. OP nerve agents kill within minutes. The symptom profile of the Skripals: Up to 24hrs before first symptoms appeared, followed by several days of unpleasant illness including hallucinations, then full recovery. The profile of BZ (or to the Russians, Substance 78). The Swiss laboratory who tested samples from the Skripals and the policeman confirmed it was BZ. BZ is intended to be used for area denial and as such is highly persistent in the environment. BZ is stocked by Nato, UK, US(?) and Russia. It's now generally held that BZ was used as a warning to the Skripals.

Bear in mind who was responsible for the claims that Novichok was used, that pathological liar Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Russian Claim or OPCW Tests? said...

'Russia claims the substance used to poison double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was an agent called BZ that has been used by Nato states including the UK and US.' - Daily Mirror 14 April 2018.
'Novichok used in spy poisoning, chemical weapons watchdog confirms'
'OPCW says analysis of samples confirms UK findings about nerve agent used in Salisbury attack' - The Guardian 12 April 2018.