After previous correspondence between myself and the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I sent this email to them on March 19th –
I was rather surprised that, after writing to me, with an open line of communication between us, you didn’t warn me I would be stopped at Heathrow. The police officers sent there to meet me, interrogate me had clear instructions to prepare a full report on me, something which took 4 hours keeping my mum waiting, causing some considerable disruption to travel, and other arrangements.
While I will not complain unduly about the police officers, who were individually polite to me, the job they had been sent to do included accusing me of being ‘brainwashed’, a ‘Russian spy’, a ‘terrorist supporter’ and so on. All utter nonsense, all highly offensive, if I chose to interpret it as such, all a breach of the rights of the journalist, the individual.
It sets an extremely dangerous precedent for the UK if every foreign correspondent who doesn’t cover a government-friendly view is interrogated upon return, all their details taken, put in no doubt they would be ‘monitored’.
Actually I refuse to let any of what happened at Heathrow on Wednesday 4th change my behaviour in any way. Journalism is not a crime. Journalism which does not correlate to the position of the UK government is not a crime. When the position of the UK government is as mistaken, misguided, inimical as it is, it’s actually a necessity.
Which brings me to the point I’d like to make. I have been absolutely appalled following the tweets of the official account of the UK Embassy in Ukraine – https://twitter.com/UKinUkraine
Mindless circulating of inane, juvenile anti-Russian propaganda. Use of facile, jingoistic hashtags such as #CrimeaIsUkraine, retweeting of anything, no matter how tenuous, pro-Ukraine (from March 9th, Shaun Walker) – ‘A few brave souls have come to celebrate the birthday of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in Simferopol -about 30 here’.
Who on earth gives them the liberty to disgrace our country in this way? A puerile troll account representing the United Kingdom – seriously?? What protocol do they adhere to? What is the UK government policy on this? Who is responsible, and to whom do they answer?
Secondly, as I’m the British correspondent with the widest experience of the conflict in Donbass (https://thetruthspeaker.co/2015/03/14/10-of-my-firsts-in-photos/), why has no one from the UK government been in touch to actually hear my side of the story, rather than just interrogate me at Heathrow for dossier purposes?
I’m open to speak to representatives of the UK government, from David Cameron to Philip Hammond. Both of whom have come out with so much misguided drivel on Ukraine it’s hard to believe their knowledge of the country extends to anything more than its capital giving name to a chicken dinner, and the mindless, relentless mantra of ‘Putin is a baddie’, ‘separatists are doing bad things’ in Donbass. I’d even speak to a more junior government representative if it had any hope of permeating the predictable, yet nonetheless deeply damaging pabulum which emanates from above.
My number is (phone number included), I’m in London, available to meet.
I look forward to my invitation, and points pertaining to the UK Embassy’s Twitter account being addressed.