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German Image Forensics Expert Scoffs at Bellingcat's Allegations of Doctored MH17 Photos

Even the creator of the forensics tools used by Bellingcat has distanced himself from their faulty analysis

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Der Spiegel actually did its job, for once! The famous organ of anti-Russia hysteria interviewed Jens Kriese — a professional image analyst who runs his own digital imaging forensics lab in Hamburg — about Bellingcat's claim that Moscow had fabricated MH17 sattelite images. Try and guess what Kriese says:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you consider the Russian satellite images to have been manipulation?

<figcaption>"The conclusion is always based on the perspective of humans."</figcaption>
"The conclusion is always based on the perspective of humans."

Kriese: That's not the right question. We are not talking about satellite images here. We only know the version published by Moscow. That is a satellite image that has been prepared for use in a presentation.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Bellingcat has come to the conclusion that they were edited using Photoshop.

Kriese: That's an erroneous interpretation. They claim that the metadata shows that the images were processed using Photoshop. Based on that they are concluding it was the clouds that were likely added in order to conceal something. The truth is that the indication of Photoshop in the metadata doesn't prove anything. Of course the Russians had to use some sort of program in order to process the satellite image for the presentation. They added frames and text blocks in order to explain it to the public. The artifacts which have been identified could be a product of that — or also a product of saving multiple times in JPG format.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Bellingcat says its findings are based on the use of the analysis tool, a website.

Kriese: And its founder Neal Krawetz also distanced himself from Bellingcat's conclusions on Twitter. He described it as a good example of "how to not do image analysis." What Bellingcat is doing is nothing more than reading tea leaves. Error Level Analysis is a method used by hobbyists.

We're starting to think that Bellingcat might be a FSB project used to make NATO bootlickers look like fools. 

Anyway, well done Spiegel. And keep up the good work, Bellingcat!

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