Saturday, May 31, 2014

How many people in Donetsk REALLY are pro-Russian?

Today (31-5) there is a pro-Russian rally in the center of Donetsk.

There seems to be u huge number of people supporting the separatist ideas?
Jean Valleyon asks the right question:

But we don't need an aerial photo. We can count them just like this:

There are 325 red dots on the photo. Maybe there are really 350 people there. And there might be a total of 400 people including the ones not on the photo.

In a city with 1.000.000 people, are 400 people single-handedly going to decide it's future?

Also see this article which shows that paid actresses are among those 400.
Also see this article which shows that the majority does not dare to speak out anymore.

Help spread the message. Retweet this:
There is more to retweet: you can find my Top Ten here.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pro-Russian-used undetonated NONA mortar-shells found in residential areas of Slovyansk

Have a look at this:

Now have a look at this:

Are these the same?
Of course.

The first screenshot is taken from this video:

It shows how the NONA self-propelled mortar uses these shells as ammunition.

The (pro-)Russian militants in Slovyansk are using a NONA mortar. You can see it firing here.

The second screenshot is taken from this video:

These are found in residential area's in Slovyansk but did not detonate.

Guess who was shooting these?

(It is unclear why the boy in the video says they are 110 mm, because these are 120 mm.)

Here is a mortar Ukraine is using:

Taken from this video.

This is the same ammunition they are using for their NONA as can be seen in this video:

Conclusion: the (pro)Russians had been shelling residential areas themselves.

Also see: A hospital being hit by a mortar.
Also see: Nona firing from residential area.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

(GRAPHIC) Did the Ukrainian army shoot at civilians in an ambulance and not allow the dead to be taken away?

An awful video with dead bodies and cars in front of Donetsk airport can be seen here:

Screenshots from the video:

The location is here: 

On Google maps:

Some people say the Ukrainian army does not let anybody near those dead to take them. Yet this is untrue. The cameraman was able to film the situation and got safely home.

What must have happened is that Vostok battalion only took their own dead and left the civilian looking people at this place. Further down the road they made a scene with their own dead. They left THIS scene here.

They used the ambulance not for taking wounded people, but as a firing position. You can see here how they use an ambulance to transport troops.

In this video you can see how Russian soldiers are taking defensive positions in front of and behind an ambulance.

Notorious Vostok battalion with no respect for the dead does such things in order to make Ukrainian soldiers look bad and to try to win the information war.

The fight took place on May 26th. For a report look here.

Here is another example of how the pro-Russians use ambulances for their actions. This happened on May 9th when the Police HQ in Mariupol was besieged by the army. A crowd showed up and harassed and distracted the soldiers. Meanwhile they helped to escape some of the people in the building and drove an ambulance nearby, so nobody would suspect anything. When finally the soldiers noticed what was happening, they opened fire, but the ambulance was able to get away.
Of course this looks bad on video, but this is because the pro-Russians don't 'play by the rules'... 

How to spot a Russian Twitter troll

In the style of war that Putin fights, influencing the public opinion plays a very important role. It means there is a legion of internet soldiers fighting an information war on the internet. Of course there are also regular (pro-)Russian people involved in their internet-army.
These people are called trolls and this is how you can recognize them on Twitter:

level 0 - Software agents
In Twitter it is possible to generate automated responses on tweets on certain keywords. For instance: I tweeted a message with the word 'invasion' in it, in combination with 'Russia'. I got a complete irrelevant to the rest of the context and overall general statement back, that sounded like: "There was no need for Russia to take measures, if the West hadn't messed with Ukraine in the first place." From an anonymous user... lol.

level 1 - Egg Trolls
These little buggers are the front line of irritating Russian trolls. They follow you, they retweet you and favorite you and give you the impression that you have a fan. And then they start to question you in your tweets.
This is an example:

A statement like this means you have to go into a discussion. They try to disrupt, cast doubt, disinform and you name it. When you take the bait, it can keep you busy without getting anywhere for a long time.

When you check their profile you see something like this:

  1. They are anonymous, no Photo, no description
  2. They have very little followers
  3. They only retweet and favorite, they have little tweets of their own
This retweeting they do, is totally pointless, because their only followers are other pawns.

When you look in their replies you can see this:

All they do is question (and irritate) you.
Ban them! They have not even hatched yet!!!

UPDATE: You may understand that exposing trolls makes them angry. After publishing this page, as can be expected, a mayor discredit campaign has been launched. Volatrader now has completely cleaned his account of propaganda and behaves as the perfect pro-Ukrainian twitterer, so everybody can see how wrong I was. Sigh.
Ok, here is another one then (0 following, 0 followers):
They can make egg-trolls on the fly and by the thousands. I don't want to get bothered by those. Just BAN them as soon as they pop up.

level 2 - Engaging trolls
An engaged troll is an upgraded level 1 troll. He works very similar in favoriting and retweeting a lot, but he does have an identity, does tweet sometimes, simulates to participate with you, etcetera. But in the end the goal is the same: to disrupt, question and get you distracted.

Here is one:

As you can see, there is an image, a description and even a link! But clicking on the link brings you nowhere meaningful. He has a lot more followers and participates.
These level 2 trolls try to work more subtle than the level-1s. He did not immediately start trolling himself, but introduced another troll to the discussion, as if he was helping me find people to convince:

I broke off this pointless discussion (we talked about this page).
Then I started getting messages like this:

He said this in response to my tweet about the woman in Donetsk. It means he knows me, knows what I am doing, and he knows that the level 1 trolls don't work with me, so he has to be more careful and subtle with his trolling. But in the end the intentions are the same.
Of course such trolls are more difficult to spot, but when you have a deeper look into them, you can still recognize them.
Their fate is the same: BANNED!

Level 3 - Wolves in Sheep's clothes Troll
These trolls PRETEND to be pro-Ukraine, they make friends with you, but all the time there is a critical issue they still try to convince you of the propaganda view.
Since I don't make friends with trolls, I can't give you examples :-). But people reading this blog attended me to their existence...
The upgraded version of this troll is the one who gathers information. Basically he is a spy and pretends to be a friend.
Rule of engagement: don't give private or confidential information to twitter accounts/people you actually don't really know nothing about!

Level 4 - Disinformation Agents
These trolls are much more serious ones. They have an identity, a photo, a description. Also they send out true information. But there is always a substantial level of propaganda in it. They don't immediately start an argument with you, but when you go into a discussion with them, they are very rigid.

The goal of these agents is to build a large audience and misinform them with colored, propagandized information. The way they can get many followers is because they somehow always seem to be among the first to send out news about what is going on, links to videos etcetera. And they have an aura of independency around them.

An example of such an agent is this one:
This message looks very reliable. But in reality nobody knows for sure whether this is true. It's just rumors. They refer to and retweet Russian media a lot.

Their goal is not to bug you, but to misinform you.

When you understand the way they work it is not necessary to ban them. I deliberately read disinformation, because the next thing I do, is to ask myself: what is true? Then I investigate and discover and that is how I write my blog :-).
When you are not aware of the level of propaganda these agents send out, it is very well possible you get infected too with the confusion they try to create. In that case: just unfollow them.

It is pointless to go into discussion with them. They will never listen or change. They seldom admit their information was wrong and they never send tweets to correct previous ones.
What you can do is to answer an incorrect tweet with proven and factual information. For instance, when they use an old photo or video from a different country or situation, answer with a link to this old or incorrect information. It means the many unaware followers who read these tweets may slowly start to understand it's not a reliable source.

Also read my public apologies to Brad Cabana for calling him a Russian Twitter Troll.

level 4 - Professional Troll
These trolls have a really professional appearance with many followers, links to a professional website and have everything that makes it look very credible. These are carefully created profiles. Imagine... if they pay millions of dollars to keep an army going, why not spend a couple of thousands on credible looking online profiles to try to disrupt information that is not favorable to them?

After writing this blog (and having only up to level 3 Trolls met and described here) Mike Lee @AgronomyUkraine came along, a level 4 Troll:

Here is the last part of the discussion with him:

He is trolling!!! BANNED! Pointless discussions...

UPDATE 2-6-2014
I have looked deeper into the account of @AgronomyUkraine today and conclude now that he probably is ok. He might have dived too enthusiastically into a sensitive discussion at the wrong moment. And therefore we judged him too quick. Unbanned him :-).
This doesn't mean that such level 4 - Professional Trolls do not exist. Some of them are in scope, but we will need some more time and evidence to expose them.

There are many other form of trolls of course. There are real people working behind these trolls, but the real ones are not just 'people with an opinion'. It is their deliberate job within the Russian propaganda machinery to disrupt a truthful representation in social media of what is going on.

Maybe we will meet a level 5 troll soon?

Level 10 - Real life Disinformation Trolls
These are the real life people. Believe it or not, basically all journalists working for Russian media fall into this category.

Here is one:
Nobody has seen ANY airstrike near Slavyansk and Kramatorsk so far, nor has anybody seen Grad launchers ANYWHERE in Ukraine. Yet she tweets such things constantly over the net. Sometimes accompanied by videos from other locations and events.
It is so stupid that it is hard to believe that this is really happening.

Basic rule for dealing with this: don't believe ONE SINGLE WORD they say, until it is verified by reliable sources.
Another rule: if you hear something outrageous, check if the source comes from Russian Media... if so, you can either go back to sleep again or turn to reliable media for trustworthy information.

It's not only what they tell, also what they DON't tell of course (about the 34 Russian Vostok soldiers that were killed during the battle for the airport of Donetsk):

Level 99 - Graham Phillips Troll
Another famous Russian Troll is GrahamWP_UK. He is a Scot working for Russia Today. He is actually more funny than dangerous, although the shortsightedness of many of his statements are mind boggling. He is so unique that he does not fit in any other category, so #99 is for him :-).
He is chasing gossip and rumors all over Ukraine and presents them as 'Facts' and 'The Truth'. But... because he is being cherished by the pro-Russians, he is allowed to come at places where other (more serious and suspicious) journalists can not come. This makes his videos from location quite informative. At the moment he is back in England though.

Just a rather random, funny, totally irrelevant tweet from him, that makes you sigh and laugh at the same time:


This seems to be a leaked payroll for Russian Trolls.
DER SPIEGEL has an interesting article about how Russian propaganda infiltrates German media.

Some more trolls:
No comment :-).
Really? Does Putin have the right to invade the Netherlands because his daughter lives there?

What PR department did invent this line?

He said this in response to the woman asking for help. Wow... why not respect the international boundaries of countries? Especially from the country that Russia calls its brother... If you like Russia so much, move to Russia. Oh wait... you already live there...

I got 8 of these in a row:

Also see: Top of a Russian Twitter Troll network exposed.
Also see: How some Russian Trolls get magically large numbers of followers.

Or look here: Documents show how Russia's troll army hit America

Do you want to help spreading this Guide? You can just simply retweet this:

There is more to retweet: you can find my Top Ten here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Please help, we cannot cope with this ourselves

In an excellent video from VICENews about the battle at the airport of Donetsk, a local woman, knowing that it is dangerous, speaks out:

(Please help to bring the message of this woman out to the world and retweet that last photo to your followers.)

Now that she spoke out, she has to fear for her live... like this woman (GRAPHIC).

If you want to hear a PRO-Russian woman speak out in another VICENews video. look here.

Another good tweet to retweet might be this one:

Geolocations in Donetsk

Here are many positions and events that happened in Donetsk since 26-5

To open the map in a new window click here.

Another interesting project can be found here.
It is a facebook page were they try to keep track of all blockposts from rebels. This is how their map from Donetsk looks like (all colors are rebel positions):

Arrival of reinforcements from Russia into Donetsk 28-5

In this video we can see the arrival of new troops into Donetsk:

The location where they are driving can be seen here:

In Google maps:

As can be seen, they drive INTO the city, towards the center where the SBU building is that they occupy.

We don't know if there might be vehicles before the first one that we see, but this column consists of (at least) the following vehicles (with Vostok battalion logo's):

#1 APC or BTR with infantry
#2 Truck with infantry
#3 White bus full of infantry
#4 small white truck (with supplies/ammo?)
#5 yellow bus with infantry
# green personal car with some soldiers
#7 grey van with anti-aircraft gun behind it
#8 ambulance with sirens and lights on

There are at least 80 people here.
It is clear that these are fresh troops from across the Russian border, because up till now they did not have an anti-aircraft gun like this.
Also notice how they use an ambulance to transport their troops... These people don't care about ethics.

See the interactive map of Donetsk fro more positions and events.
Read more about notorious Vostok battalion here.

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