Beginning with the war in Syria, we have seen a rise in so called OSINT accounts. Bellingcat led the way with these, taking still images and extrapolating entire stories from them (which always benefit the overall line of their NED founders) with scant evidence, if any at all.
This war, however, has greatly accelerated that process. Now, the amount of OSINT accounts has spiraled to an absurd degree. Their standard of evidence is, as bellingcat before them, often poor to nonexistent.
One of them (and a rather mysterious outfit I have been investigating for later) is Oryx.
Oryx claims to be operated by Stijin Mitzer (who as near as I can tell, is a pseudonym) and Joost Oliemans. The blog has a consistent and strong pro-Turkish bias to the point where only positive, fawning articles are posted about Turkey, who’s losses and failures are never mentioned, while also making reference to a battle in the second boer war in their name, which is quite the dogwhistle.
An investigation of WHO they are will come later. For now, I will focus on what they do, which is propaganda.
This does appear to be a T-64 tank. It does appear to be badly damaged. That much is obvious.
To examine the rest of the claims, however, we have to start to stretch.
The first argument is that it is a Russian T-64 in the first place. Russia itself has no T-64s in service, so it would have to be DPR/LPR, who do operate at least some of them. Ukraine, however, operates several thousand.
There are NO visible markings on the tank which would indicate it’s of DPR/LPR origin. The famous Vs and Zs are nowhere to be seen. It appears to be sitting in a Ukranian depot, but that is also where any damaged Ukranian T-64 would be kept. Therefore, we cannot say with any certainty who this tank belonged to.
Similarly, the claims that it was captured also cannot be proven. We see only a damaged tank with no markings.
So, we have no evidence whatsoever that this tank is DPR/LPR or that it was captured. Given the number of these tanks Ukraine still operates, the chances of it being Ukranian are in fact much higher.
So what we have here, in reality, is an image of a damaged T-64 tank. We do not know where it was taken, when it was taken, who took it or what happened to the tank. We know only that it is damaged and sitting in a Ukranian depot. I am aware that there is a date listed, however without evidence I am hesitant to believe something that could be done by anyone with MS paint and 30 seconds.
Oryx, however, despite this utter lack of evidence, lists it as a captured Russian tank. They provide no evidence for this claim.
#35 on the list of T-72B losses is this:
This, again, appears to be a T-72B. Oryx lists it as a captured Russian tank.
However, this model is also used by the UAF. We see no markings which would identify it as a Russian tank (again, no V or Z, and no unit markings) in an incredibly blurry image.
This tank is listed as captured. We see three men, none of whom appear to be in military uniforms, crawling around the tank. Captured? Maybe. By who? I don’t know.
Again, we have a date, again, this is something which can be easily inserted by anyone with a minute or two, and without further context is basically meaningless.
So what we have here is a tank sitting in a field. We have no clear idea who it belonged to, why it’s there, where the image was taken or what happened to the tank.
Oryx is simply speculating, once again.
#7 on the list of T-80Us is this:
This is a destroyed T-80U.
Once again, we see the same things. This is a tank used by both sides, yet it has no markings visible. There is no way to tell to whom this tank once belonged.
Oryx lists it as a destroyed Russian tank.
#17 on the list of BMP-1s is this:
Getting serious deja vu here. Listed as a captuired Russian BMP, but the exact same objections apply.
This is a BMP-1, yes. However, there are no visible unit or national markings.
The Russian army does not operate the BMP-1 anymore. DPR/LPR does, but Ukraine operates far more of them. It is worth pointing out that the DPR/LPR would have enormous incentive to mark these vehicles, given as they are in widespread service with the UAF, but not at all with the RF. That means that misidentification, especially under stress and at a distance, would be a very serious concern, yet it is not marked.
This is an image of an old IFV sitting in a field near some buildings. That is it, and that is all. Any further assertions drawn from it are just that.
I could keep doing this all day, but frankly, it doesn’t change. We see example after example of this. These aren’t even the worst examples, some images and videos are so blurry, distant or generally shitty that you can tell basically nothing from them at all. This is not to say that the blog is entirely bullshit, some of it is pretty clear and obviously true. But a large portion of it lacks any verifiable information.
Yet, Oryx dutifully posts it all, seemingly with no real examination, no evidence and no questions asked. Of course, anything that is questionable or unclear seems to be immediately put down as Russian, even if it’s a vehicle the Russian army hasn’t operated in 30 years.
Things like this are quite dangerous. Not only do these hot shot OSINT guys never want to admit when they have no idea what they’re looking at (which is often, even for the most dedicated experts) but they either overlook or refuse to acknowledge that context is as important as the image itself. Everyone lies or omits important information, and no one does it more than armies, who long ago realized that information is a weapon, and it can be manipulated to your benefit.
In practical terms, this lack of rigor and refusal to verify anything means is that anyone with a cameraphone and an agenda can turn Mr. Mitzer into a propagandist, willing or not. You just have to tell him a story he wants to hear, and it will be transmitted to his quarter million followers ASAP.
The only question is, really, is Oryx being manipulated, or doing the manipulation? Are they being fed a line of bullshit from Ukranian sources they simply don’t care enough to verify? Or, are they using the few crumbs of information they have to craft a narrative which aligns with NATO/US policy?
I have yet to find that out. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Unlike Oryx, however, when I don’t know something, I will tell you.
I want to give a thanks to Armchair Warlord on twitter who inspired me to do this, and who did a much better job at it than I did.
The MDF was founded in 2013 by Jakub Parusinski, Daryna Shevchenko (the two of Kyiv Independent infamy), and Eugene Zaslavsky. It is an organization which, from it’s inception has partnered with the NED, Internews (a US government funded organization, as you can see on page 9 of their tax forms), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NATO itself, along with the far right Ukrainian World Foundation.
As you can see, they carry out “training” seminars for journalists, all funded by NATO governments. They have been doing this for some time, and their extensive foreign backing means that they have a lot to offer to these often-struggling journalists.
The idea, if I am to speculate a bit, is to create an army of US/NATO aligned freelance journalists, who can now be deployed to regional papers all throughout Ukraine.
The Core of it all?
To that end, one of their latest efforts is called CORE. This US funded enterprise seeks to help expand smaller media outfits, which it can then fill with stories from it’s network of MDF trained journalists. Usually, a small paper could not afford to expand, but with MDF’s army of NED trained freelancers, the content mills can create nearly endless amounts of stories. Most will be bland, basic reporting, of course, but you only need to slip in a bit of propaganda here and there to influence opinions.
Then, they offer SEO and advertising support, so this new surge in reporting can be seen by the maximum amount of people possible. This increases revenue for the papers, of course, but also ensures that the propaganda is widely proliferated throughout Ukraine.
You have your NED trained writers doing work for hundreds of papers all throughout Ukraine. This seems like it would be a rather excellent way to spread propaganda, does it not?
The sites are lured in because they understand that there is much money to be made and grants to be won, and all they have to do is publish stories from the NED approved journalists. They have had some significant successes. Ukrayinska Pravda, who’s editor now works for them, is one.
I question, exactly, what sort of consulting work a CIA agent and former NATO news executive producer will be doing?
The influence network
Of course, without any influence, all this would be pointless and theoretical. We must now examine this octopus and see just how much reach it has. I have started the process of finding news outfits associated with CORE.
Prior to that, she worked for Новини України — читати останні новини в Україні онлайн | Слідство.Інфо (slidstvo.info), a “journalistic” outfit which seems to exist mostly to doxx and harass Russians in the name of anti-corruption. This is an offshoot of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a US based NGO which receives more than half it’s funding from the US government, and significant portions from other NATO governments.
Sadly, not related to the original Pravda, this paper was founded in 2000 by Georgiy Gongadze, a Georgian right-wing terrorist (I should REALLY write more about him later.) This paper now has nearly 1 million followers on twitter.
This paper is far right, and openly lauds the OUN, Stepan Bandera, and justifies the massacre of Poles and Commuinists. I’ve been poking around this for a while and I still find it difficult to believe how brazen the Ukrainian right wing can be.
Their executive director, Andrey Boborykin, works for CORE. The editor in chief, and Andrey’s wife Sevgil Musayeva, got somewhat famous back during the Maidan coup for founding Crimea SOS, a NGO founded with NED cash working for the return of Crimea to Ukranian control, mostly by offering what they call “verified information” but given their funding, is likely anything but.
No dramatic NATO ties here, however the CEO, Oleg Horobets, runs papers in Vinnitsa, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Khmelnytski and Koziatyn. Between these cities, there is a population of over 1.5 million greatly expanding the reach of CORE and the MDF, and therefore the NED.
Horobets, and his company RIA Media (they really do like naming their shit after old Soviet outlets) are proudly displayed as clients on the front page of CORE’s site.
There is more. CORE brags about their 100 brands and 15 million users a month. This outfit and therefore it’s paymasters in Virginia, has built considerable influence on the Ukranian press. This rabbit hole goes deeper than I know, and it could be the lynchpin of an entire national scale NED propaganda operation.
This is going to be a major work in progress, however I want to publish now to help get this out as I continue to work on the story.
Beyond simply exposing the NATO propagandists working during this war, I have also decided to preserve as much evidence of their ideology in action as I possibly can.
All the war crimes, the torture, the murder, rape, and devastation carried out by these blood drunk fascists in Ukraine is not a few bad apples. It is not a side effect. It is the inevitable result of fascist ideology.
There has been widespread violence, if not even genocide, towards the Russian people of Eastern Ukraine in particular, but all of Ukraine in general, at least since the NATO backed Maidan coup of 2014. Evidence of this has been, and continues to be, systematically suppressed with the hope of eventually scouring it from memory.
Far too many genocides have gone this way. I was particularly inspired by Iris Chang and her excellent (and heartbreaking) book “The Rape of Nanking”, and learning that after carrying out one of the largest, most brutal and most involved genocides in the history of man, across an entire continent and 2 decades, the perpetrators almost all walked away, with the evidence buried so deep that much of it has been lost.
Because it benefitted the United States government in it’s efforts to rehabilitate the butchers of Asia.
This cannot be allowed to ever happen again. We are seeing a serious effort to purge this information from the internet, with bannings and removals of footage beyond counting at this time. Of course, the mostly imaginary atrocities the Russians are allegedly carrying out are amplified to a silly extent. This is the second front in the war. It is a war of information, a war of perception, a war which started in 1945 when Dulles and Gehlen spread it’s first seeds, and one which NATO has been winning decisively.
I cannot pretend to change that by myself with this one website, nor will I. But I will do as much as I can to preserve both the evidence of Ukranian war crimes, but also the testimonies of survivors so there cannot be another Nanking.
History is a weapon, and we must be prepared to use it.
Today I have some testimony from survivors of Mariupol. I will admit now that I am going to err towards preservation in this effort. Anything that can be proven to be false, I will delete. However, without evidence it will remain for historical purposes. Anything that is violent or disturbing will be tagged as such.
Throughout this war, one of the most prolific voices has been the Kyiv Independent. Through both their website and their twitter account they have been posting a nearly endless stream of unconfirmed and often fantastical pro-Ukrainian propaganda. However, despite never offering even a scrap of evidence, they exploded from a few thousand followers before the war to several million now, with millions more following their individual reporters. Their war “reporter” Illia Ponomarenko has even been on Fox News
I was doing a little legwork on their most odious propagandist, the admitted Azov member Ponomarenko (https://twitter.com/IAPonomarenko) and in so doing I have happened upon what I think is clearly a NATO propaganda operation.
I’ll get back to Illia in a moment, but for now we must turn an eye to the paper he works for, the Kyiv Independent. While it is normal on the surface, when you examine the “journalists” they employ, a certain pattern emerges.
Olga Rudenko, Editor-in-Chief:
According to her Linkedin she worked for three years with an organization called “Objective Investigative Reporting Project” as a grant coordinator for “independent Journalists”
A little digging around finds that she is referring to this, of which no unpacking is necessary given as the sidebar tells us what we need to know.
“Launched in July 2013, Objective is a new media development project and joint venture of Niras/BBC funded by the Danish Foreign Ministry. The project will run for four years in seven countries – Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.”
The question could now be asked of how Miss Rudenko was able to get this grant (and it must have been a significant one, given as it was paying for 3 years of work) so quickly after graduating. Up to this point she was not a particularly distinguished journalist, writing mostly local stories for Kiev papers. Perhaps further investigation would reveal this answer.
She would also at some point, become a fellow of the Wilson Center, another US Government funded think tank for whom she has also written some news articles.
Prior to the Kyiv Post, and later Independent, she would work as a foreign freelancer for a somewhat mysterious, albeit probably mostly benign organization, Associated Reporters Abroad, wherein she wrote stories for various American and overseas press.
Jakub Parusinski, CFO:
The CFO of the Independent, Jakub is a suspiciously young person to be holding such a position graduating college only in 2015. Perhaps he was simply born wealthy, or perhaps he was something else. His training and education seems to be mostly in the field of economics, not media or journalism.
However, a deeper look shows that he also worked for the International Center for Policy Studies. This is a think tank founded in 1994 by the Open Society Institute, and funded in large part by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which was founded by the German government and is currently funded by USAID more than any other donor (view page 20)
He also founded the Media Development Foundation with Shevchenko and Rudenko. The MDF is an organization which seems to exist primarily to spread money from the NED, USAID, NATO and Internews (which is itself 90% government funded) to the so called “independent” press of Ukraine.
As you can see from their documents, they are in up to their heads in NATO regime change cash.
“IREX receives funds from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), other Federal agencies, and private-sector sources. Approximately 86 percent and 90 percent of the funds received in 2020 and 2019 including cost share, respectively, were through awards from the U.S. Government.”
The intelligence ties of Miss Shevchenko have deeper roots than her comrades, she was working for IREX all the way back in 2011. From there, her pattern of collaboration with the US and NATO regime change agencies continues for her entire career as you can see. A quick perusal of her Facbook also reveals some nationalist ties, laying wreaths on monuments to fascist terrorists all the way back in 2011. She also seems to enjoy reading books by nationalist author Vasyl Shkliar.
He then went straight from that into a COO and editor job after only 3 years experience. This man is also VERY young, only graduating college in 2018. His ties to NATO are not as deep as the rest, although we can say they have deepened considerably now.
The university is a strange tale. Formed only in 1991 and, again, openly USAID funded. Their rector Mykola Trofymenko got the job in 2020 at age 34. The university seems to be very much NATO aligned, as we can see here from Illia’s professor.
This little rat is the reason I started on this journey in the first place, being the least credible propagandist since Baghdad Bob.
What is very credible, however, is his ties to and friendship with Azov. He lacks even the shame to scrub this evidence from his twitter before going on Fox news.
In a new low even for him, on March 27th, 2022, in response to widely circulated videos of Ukranian fascists torturing and kneecapping Russian prisoners, Illia not only made apologies for their crimes, but called for further atrocities.
It has become increasingly clear that Mr. Ponomarenko is a violent, dedicated fascist, who advocates for terrorism, torture and murder on the dime of the United States taxpayer.
This is a work in progress, more will be found, and more will be added.