You can watch goons not be able to discern the difference between SIGINT and HUMINT and fail to understand why there would be a possiblity that MIT (Turk intelligence) could smuggle sarin into Turkey undetected to a point yet still be caught celebrating on phone calls after as the Hersh article claims. Western agencies are excellent at SIGINT and pretty shit at everything else as they face sequestration, complacency, and a tendency for shit to float to the top in the IC. (The cold warriors can't die soon enough as far as I'm concerned.)
At this point they're impressed with bloggers comparing pictures to pictures. Every hour Eliot sits in front of that screen and writes articles and posts pictures is an hour they don't have to pay him to do it, an hour someone doesn't have to get hired, get clearances, etc. And if he's wrong, then it's not really anyone's fault is it, it's not like he understands Arabic or knew who the Druze were before all of this, right? As it becomes increasingly unlikely that any of Qatar's, Turkey's, or the West's proxy forces in Syria will best Assad, Eliot will likely struggle for more attention and relevance unless more red lines are crossed.
However, he's a bit of an NGO darling now and I would love to know who exactly is writing his checks for these "consultancies" and "speaking engagements." I'm nearly certain that were the trail followed, a handful would be receiving money from Qatar and Turkey. Human Rights Watch, which I believe he has said he has done work for, is little more than a glorified front for market liberalization efforts in countries that resist it, and thrives on "expert" opinions which can be purchased for bottom dollar prices. The UN ends up with these problems too, though generally if someone is totally full of shit they'll eventually be replaced, possibly with someone full of shit, maybe even more.
It boils down to the fact that BM is a lot less important and a lot more expendable than he believes himself to be. He's bolstered by the graces of his strongly anti-Assad contacts for now but if none of these people can dislodge him then what's the point of Eliot? Eliot is a cipher for these people. It's unpalatable to have a bunch of jihadis and losers from power struggles dating back to Hafez al-Assad appear in Western media and insist that they be installed in power. It's a lot more effective to have a sympathetic, easily manipulated Western mouthpiece to put these opinions and views out for them, because without Eliot Higgins, who will save the poor, suffering Syrian people? Take up the white man's burden, from the comfort of your couch.
I've got plenty to say on BM and his narcissism, but I'd like to touch on a couple other posters in that thread.
Sergg is a really fucked up guy who had a really fucked up E/N a few years ago. If I'm not mistaken, he had a girlfriend, and this girlfriend wanted to sleep with other guys, and Sergg didn't really want this, but then he said ok, so she started doing it, and I think it ended as well as you can imagine. Sergg probably knows less than anyone in that thread but is the most vocal on calling Assad a stupid dumb bitch who is the personification of evil and he just can't wait until everyone in Syria is dead so there can be freedom and democracy. I think he's a school teacher now, and probably shouldn't be around children.
suboptimal I think was in the US Army or something and likes to burst in nearly every thread with "YOU THINK YOU'RE TOUGH? I BET I GOT SHOT AT MORE THAN YOU, I HAVE PTSD." That's great and all, take it to E/N or the VFW. A lot of people have been shot at, believe it or not, many of them don't live in the First World so I don't see this being as special as he thinks it is. He sort of acts like BM's bodyguard in that thread, "OH YEAH, ELIOT'S NEVER BEEN TO THE MIDEAST OR BEEN SHOT AT? WELL I HAVE!" I don't really see the point of it.