Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, Who is He? Everything You Need to Know…

This is part of the series, Who’s Who in Ukraine Propaganda (#3) 

Graham Phillips

In 2016, I’ll be returning to my country of the UK, and there’s a man I’d certainly like to meet for an interview. While I was working on the scene from the war in Eliot Higgins 2Donbass, Eliot Higgins, of Bellingcat, was the man sitting on a sofa taking, and manipulating, YouTube videos (including my own) of Donbass, MH17, Syria, using them to disseminate misinformation, lies, to the world.

However, he’s unlikely ever to agree to an interview with me, because, you see, Higgins, from the UK, born 1979, avoids sources who may raise uncomfortable questions much like critics have accused his work of avoiding basis in science, or fact (see below for more on that).

So, who exactly is Eliot Higgins? The man western media fawn over to the extent you may think it’s Eliot’s own mum writing the press, with headlines like ‘Putin’s Fullscreen capture 28022016 123353.bmpMH17 Nemesis‘ and ‘One-Man Intelligence Unit‘ (and that, enthusiastically promoted by the UK government in Ukraine, and not only them – US, Estonian government sources and more, open fans of his work).

Well, this is how a standard Eliot Higgins piece, and they are manifold, begins, in the western press – As rockets fell in Syria Eliot Higgins was asleep at his house 2,300 miles away, in Leicester. He woke a few hours later, roused his toddler daughter, Ela, and padded downstairs to make her porridge.’

That from the Telegraph, March 29th, 2014. Higgins affectionately portrayed as a kind of Winnie the Pooh meets a Beautiful Mind as he goes on to crack the enigma which had eluded the world etc etc.

Here, the Independent from January 18th, 2015 – 

Eliot Higgins 1‘Any of us can pause a YouTube video or find an old friend on Facebook. But only one man has used these simple online tools to expose the world’s darkest secrets. No wonder everyone from the police to Google wants a piece of the blogger from Leicester.’

Newsweek –  from June 2015 – 

‘Sipping a can of beer and devouring french fries in a Brussels hotel room, Eliot Higgins doesn’t look like the type to get involved in armed conflicts. The Englishman has a baby face, slumped shoulders and a soft Midlands accent. But over the past three years, the 36-year-old former administrator and obsessive gamer has spent hundreds of hours scouring the Internet to find out the truth about faraway wars – from the use of chemical weapons in Syria to Russian troops invading Ukraine – all from the comfort of his couch.’

But what if it’s not really like that, at all?

What if the ‘Founder of Bellingcat. Visiting research associate at King’s College London. Nonresident Senior Fellow – New Information Frontiers @AtlanticCouncil.‘ (his own Twitter description), isn’t really that?

Chauncey GardinerWhat if Eliot Higgins is, at best, a latter day Chauncey Gardiner , (pictured, the Peter Sellers character  from film ‘Being There’ who rose to success on the back of mental limitations mistaken for genius)? Or what if it’s even worse – what if Higgins is actually a liar, a faker, a fraud?

Let’s have a look at a 10 Higgins bullet-points –

Higgins is from Leicester in the UK, born in 1979, He never finished college, dropping out of the Southampton Institute of Higher Education. When asked for interview what he studied at university, his answer was , “Media . . . I think.”

He once worked as payments officer at a women’s underwear company. (“I’m more interested in lingerie than asylum seekers,”)In 2012, the hardcore online gamer (a World of Warcraft addict), Higgins was laid off from his job as an administrator at a non-profit providing housing for asylum seekers, turns to blogging, under the pseudonym ‘Brown Moses‘, from a Frank Zappa track.

Сredited, by some, with uncovering chemical weapons in Syria in 2013. Whether he actually did this, is the subject of debate (what he is documented as doing is agreeing to suppress information that the rebels had chemical weapons, Eliot Higgins Bellingcatand were behind chemical weapon attacks on Aleppo which had killed civilians). In any case, Higgins’ chemical weapons revelations were enthusiastically disseminated across western media, the US, UN, glowingly endorsed by western governments, but comprehensively debunked by Theodore Postol, a professor in the Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group at MIT –

It’s clear and unambiguous this munition could not have come from Syrian government-controlled areas as the White House claimed.”

While the western media fell in love with tale of the ‘expert who exposed Syrian chemical weapons from his bedroom‘, other, real, experts (and Higgins has always been completely open about his lack of expertise) were less convinced. Higgins, Postol said,has done a very nice job collecting information on a website. As far as his analysis, it’s so lacking any analytical foundation it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about.”

In January 2015, Bellingcat published a report into events in Mariupol, Ukraine, May 9th, 2014, when Ukrainian forces entered the city, opening fire, resulting in a death count given by Ukrainian sources as over 20, but by some sources as high as 100. Bellingcat took the figure down to 13. Despite video of Ukrainian forces opening fire on unarmed civilians, Bellingcat entirely exonerated them, described them as ‘acting with restraint’.

This exoneration of the actions of Ukrainian forces, and others of its kind, has allowed Eliot Higgins MH17western governments to continue their unconditional support for Ukraine, in the war in Donbass, without question.

Through 2015, Higgins’ Bellingcat rises to become one of the key agents in the MH17 investigation, with Higgins himself frequently trumpeting his appearances across the world’s media. This is despite Bellingcat’s frequently being caught out in fabrications – those MH17 videos which formed the bedrock of Bellingcat’s claims, comprehensively debunked here. Then there was the humiliation of Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s largest publications … issuing an apology for using Bellingcat’s work as a reliable source.  German image forensics expert Jens Kriese tore Bellingcat apart here –

‘From the perspective of forensics, the Bellingcat approach is not very robust. The core of what they are doing is based on so-called Error Level Analysis (ELA). The Bellingcatmethod is subjective and not based entirely on science. This is why there is not a single scientific paper that addresses it. Contrary to what Bellingcat claims, Error Level Analysis does not provide clear results.

The conclusion is always based on the perspective of humans, on their interpretation.’This, along with stringent criticism from a range of sources – from the ‘Off-Guardian‘ site -‘Even casual conversation with him reveals the embarrassing truth that his “research”, so lauded in the popular media, consists of entry-level computer skills and an awful lot of smoke-blowing. You or I or literally anyone over the age of seven with internet access could do it. If we thought it was worth while.’

The criticism hasn’t just been limited to text, this German satirical programme did a quite unerring take-off of Higgins –

Higgins is actually becoming rather an internet joke –

These have done the rounds –

Eliot Higgins internet joke Eliot Higgins

And just have a look on Twitter with the search #Bellingcrap

Higgins either vehemently hates, or has been told to hate Russia, and Russia’s president Putin. Have a look at his Twitter timeline, of some 127,000 tweets, and it can read at times like one man trolling an entire country. A stream, a barrage, of anti-Russian tweets, retweets, and Higgins doesn’t even try to hide that he despises Russia, or has been told to – this just from a quick ‘Russia‘ search of his recent tweets, and just a small sampling –Screen CapturesWith this taken into account, what conclusion was Higgins’ Bellingcat ever going to come to, apart from that it was Russia, indeed Putin himself, responsible for the tragic downing of MH17? And for the ‘expert’ on Donbass, Higgins has made his feelings similarly clear –Fullscreen capture 28022016 163501.bmp

Higgins hates RT now, never missing a chance to tear into them. Typical tweet –Fullscreen capture 28022016 145812.bmpBut, he used to be proud of their endorsement – this, from 2013 – a list of media he was happy to advertise his connection to.Screen Captures1 So what happened there? I’ve worked for RT, and will say this with all due respect, they are quite modest in the payment they offer. It’s not hard to find channels, and outlets, who pay a lot more.

In the early, Brown Moses, 
days, Higgins used to make frequent appeals for finances, with support links prominently displayed. However, the current Bellingcat site doesn’t even appear to have a ‘donate’ / ‘support’ option. And Fullscreen capture 28022016 154321.bmpBellingcat has grown to an operation which lists itself as being run by ‘eight volunteers’ but is clearly far in excess of that – a professional website which is updated sometimes with several articles a day, on which extensive research has been expended. But when it’s Bellingcat, all the evidence shows that the research is done to back up a conclusion already arrived at, rather than arrive at a conclusion based on research.

Higgins now works not from home, but from an office, in his hometown of Leicester. So where’s the money coming from for Bellingcat, clearly now an operation requiring considerable financial support?That’s unclear, Higgins has yet to publish any record of where the finance comes from, all the ‘About‘ section of the Bellingcat site says is -‘Bellingcat uses open source and social media investigation to investigate a variety of subjects, from Mexican drug lords to conflicts being fought across the world. Bellingcat brings together contributors who specialise in open source and social media investigation, and creates guides and case studies so others may learn to do the same.’

For a lot of people, it’s highly convenient that Eliot Higgins is an ‘expert’, and his agency Bellingcat taken seriously. This is a man who, with his agency Bellingcat, will absolutely always back the position of western governments, and powerful western organisations. And they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Eliot Higgins expert 1he’s taken seriously, lay on all the the trappings, auspices of highbrow, on trend terms like ‘open source investigation’ and ‘error level analysis‘, be sure he’s given awards, plaudits, made a ‘fellow’, ‘expert’, at sympathetic organisations, appears at the right seminars, conferences, everything to apply the sheen of credibility.

When it comes to defending himself from criticism, Eliot is adept at deflecting criticism of himself onto the seemingly ‘too cool to criticise ‘open source investigation’, of which he is a leading practitioner. These tweets, from today, in response to his being told this article would be coming out –

Fullscreen capture 28022016 144044.bmpFullscreen capture 28022016 144338.bmp

Yet, what if behind the new, buzz ‘open source’ investigation of Higgins lies just plain old falsification?

This recent, absolutely comprehensive, article makes the point, one yet to have penetrated the public perception of ‘open source Fullscreen capture 28022016 152434.bmp
investigation’, that all this new jazz can be used as the respectable front for one of the oldest scams, falsification – see this tweet on the theme.

Creating social media accounts to post misinformation, free of all the source checks, verification of other sources as this is ‘citizen journalism’ and all things cool, which can’t be questioned because a lot of people don’t really know what they are. This, then passed off, and on, into Bellingcat, and up it goes higher into the food chain of mass media, unquestioned, unchecked.

So you can see why a lot of people really have an interest in making Eliot Higgins out to be an authority, a Fullscreen capture 28022016 153608.bmpreputed source, an expert. Have a look at his profile on the Atlantic Council site, an agency funded by governments across the world (25, no less), to promote their position under the guise of being a ‘think tank’. Higgins now works with them, and they call him ‘

Eliot Higgins – Nonresident Senior Fellow, New Information Frontiers, Future Europe Initiative, Expertise Topics, Digital Forensic Research and Open Source Intelligence.’

There’s a real convenience about Higgins. He’s positioned himself as one of the foremost exponents of the still-being-defined ‘open source’. Higgins himself has shaped and defined what we currently know as ‘open source investigation’. And he’s made one of the tenets of it never, ever, needing to go to the place in question.

Eliot Higgins expert

Higgins has never been near the MH17 site, Syria, or anywhere else on where he’s an apparent ‘expert’. Higgins may not go to any of the places he ‘investigates’, but he does travel the world being an ‘expert’ at various conferences, receiving awards – all of these used (and used by Higgins himself, who doesn’t shy from self-promotion , making extensive mention on Twitter of his own participation at conferences, using a photo from such for his profile) to propagate ‘Higgins, the expert.

It’s very handy for some people, having a guy who doesn’t need to be sent anywhere, who, from his sofa, can quickly come up with the conclusions so beloved of western press, and governments. He’s also clearly a hard worker, dogmatic, persistent, the man who used to spend endless hours gaming now happy to spend that time on Bellingcat ‘investigations’. Higgins took part in the official  MH17 investigation, and even boasted about knowing the result of the MH17 report before it was released – so sure was he, he even challenged me to a bet over it (I declined).

So, make your own mind up.

Who is Eliot Higgins, and Bellingcat, really? Are they indeed the experts the western media would have us believe? Or are we

Eliot Higgins Bellingcrapbeing stitched up by a man either of limited abilities plunged into the limelight, making the most of all that goes with it – fawning western media write ‘He often doesn’t finish sentences, as if his mind is racing elsewhere‘ – but could it be, that Higgins is actually rather simply rather a dim man, being used, and fine with that, by higher powers?

Or is Higgins actually an intelligent calculating individual, who has exploited the opportunity to make a name for himself, make a lot of money? One thing about Higgins is sure. He’s a liar. A conman. A charlatan. And whatever associations the name ‘Higgins’ and ‘Bellingcat’ have now, the future can surely only be these names associated with fabrication, fraud, a scam. All that will be debated, is whether Higgins is a latter-day Donald Crowhurst, a hapless man forced into a web of deceit, or a Bernie Madoff, who knew just what he was doing all along.

Ukrainians get their say on EU-Ukraine agreement in Dutch Referendum

By Stefan Beck, a full-time teacher, involved in the ‘No’ campaign for Dutch referendum based in the Netherlands

While war was raging in his country president Poroshenko signed an agreement to closely ally Ukraine with Europe (note – November 2015). Despite the Poroshenko Ukraine Netherlands Agreementsensitivity of this agreement between Ukraine and the EU, there was little opportunity for Ukrainians for voice their opinions. Now there might be a last chance to stop the Agreement and Poroshenko’s plans to integrate Ukraine into the EU, namely by a referendum being held in the Netherlands this April. This referendum might not only let the Dutch be able to voice their opinions on the agreement but also the Ukrainians.

The events the agreement set in motion are already numerous. Back in 2013, Yanukovychpresident Yanukovich’s refusal to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement resulted into the Maidan protests. These protests in turn were eventually able to overthrow the government of Yanukovich. Shortly after the civil war in Donbass erupted. Eventually Ukraine’s new president Poroshenko would sign the association agreement in June 2014 while the Ukrainians were fighting each other, amongst others on whether or not to closer relate to Europe.

The agreement mainly focuses on trade but also has strong consequences for other fields. For example article 322 states that any dispute relating to the interpretation and application of obligations contained in the agreement about
trade barriers, services, establishment e-commerce and public procurement should be settled in the court of justice of the EU. Hence the effective control of the Ukrainian economy is placed into the hands of the EU, not of the Ukrainians.

Poroshenko Ukraine tradeBut even if this agreement was only judged by its impact on Ukraine’s economy based on a change in trade relations with the EU the results prove to be very severe. By signing the agreement Ukraine pledges to a free-trade zone with the EU and to produce goods in accordance with EU regulations. Russia felt like it had no other choice than to cancel its own free-trade agreement with Ukraine and has announced further measures. This deterioration of trade relations with the Russian federation will have dramatic consequences for Russian-oriented industries, especially in the east of the country.

Although originally no referendum on the Association Agreement was planned, the people of the Netherlands forced the Dutch government to organize a referendum on the 6th of April. Polls are now indicating a minor lead for the people voting against the agreement. However the campaign is still in full swing and the supporters of the agreement are slowly gaining ground.

One of the arguments used by the supporters of the association agreement is that all Ukrainians look towards Europe for support. There is little to no mention of the fact that the pro-EU Association Agreement led to the Maidan protests and partially to the war in Donbass. Supporters of the agreement are silent about any Ukrainians that feel more related towards Russia. The obvious is kept hidden: Ukraine propaganda BBCUkraine seems to be deeply divided on whether or not to engage in closer relations with the EU. (Photo, from BBC article of October 2015, given as typical example of how Ukraine is portrayed in western media)

All in all the Ukrainian voice in the debate prior to the referendum seems to be dominated by supporters of an EU-oriented Ukraine. A primary reason for this bias is a lack of more neutrally- or Russia-oriented contacts with the Dutch press. This results into a very one-sided coverage on what Ukrainians think about the European Union and its Association Agreement with Ukraine.

This means that the people in Ukraine oriented against a closer relation with the EU have a final chance to let their opinions be heard. This can be done by contacting the ‘No’-campaign on referendumoekraine@gmail.com, or by using hashtags like #referendumoekraine on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. This way the Ukrainians can influence the referendum by making clear what the Association Agreement means for them. Giving them an opportunity to influence the implementation of the agreement in a way they never had before.

For more information about the agreement, see:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-eu-association-agreement-makes-existing-ukraine-russia-trade-links-impossible/5447286

Гриша – Мои планы на этот год

Грэм Филлипс (спасибо за помощь, русский язык, Наташа Фрайтаг)

Много людей спрашивает меня о моих планах на этот год (и это хорошо :)- так что, чтобы внести ясность (и, конечно, всё может всегда измениться) – ниже репортаж о том, как я вижу этот год. Стоит отметить, я знаю конечно, что ситуация на Донбассе становится всё хуже. Донбасс всегда в моем сердце, и я Aramisдоверяю своим коллегам там – в том числе Патрику Ланкастеру – освещающим новости оттуда. Маловероятно, что я вернусь до сентября, но когда я вернусь, конечно, останусь там надолго.

Вот –

Премьера моего фильма “Арамис” состоится на следующей неделе в Санкт-Петербурге (я надеюсь устроить также показ в Москве), после этого –

Март – поездка для записи репортажей в Прибалтику – думаю это будет интересно!

Graham Phillips at workАпрельпоездка для записи репортажей голландского референдума по Украине

Май – я хотел бы записать несколько репортажей в Германии, по пути обратно в Прибалтику, о кризисе беженцев, и продолжить запись репортажей там, затем –

Июнь – возвращение в Лондон для освещения британского референдума о выходе из ЕС – И я буду организовывать презентацию фильма “Арамис”, на английском языке!

Июль – есть несколько предложений, – посмотрим

Graham at workАвгуст – возвращение в Крым, – продолжу запись моих репортажей оттуда!

Сентябрь – Луганск на День Города 13-го сентября, и вероятно, остальную часть года проведу на Донбассе

Конечно, всё это зависит от моих финансовых возможностей – от сбора средств посредством краудфандинга, для финансирования этих поездок. Но я настроен оптимистично по этому поводу!

Я хотел бы здесь выразить огромную благодарность моим благотворителям на Patreon – и везде, просто обыкновенные, хорошие люди – за то, что Вы со мной, и каждому, кто оказывает поддержку моей работе любым способом!

Я знаю, в этом году вместе с вами мы сделаем большую работу, которая изменит мир!

 

Crowdfunding (#2) My (Crowdfunded) Reportage Plans for This Year

Graham Phillips

Of course, plans in journalism can always change, but with work on my film Aramis drawing to a conclusion – the premiere next week in St Petersburg, here’s how my crowdfunded journalism in 2016 may look –

Graham at workMarchBaltics Reportage Trip

AprilCovering Dutch Referendum on Ukraine

May – I’d like to do some reportage from Germany, on the refugee crisis, en route back to the Baltics to continue reporting there then –

JuneBack to London to cover UK Brexit referendum (and arrange screening of film ‘Aramis’).

July – A couple of proposals for this, we’ll see!

AugustA return to Crimea to continue my reportage there

Graham Phillips at workSeptember – Lugansk for City Day, September 13th, and likely the rest of the year in Donbass, reporting from there, and working on projects.

Of course all of this depends on my raising enough, via crowd-funding, to fund these trips. I’d like to say a huge thanks to my patrons on Patreon, here, for being with me, and everyone who supports my work – in every way!

I know we’ll do some great, world-changing things this year, together!

Aramis the Film, by Graham Phillips – Press Release

 

1AramisI’m very pleased to announce the upcoming premiere, in St Petersburg, of my first film, Aramis, and when I return to London I’ll be arranging a special viewing in my home city.

In August of 2014, I met a remarkable man, while I was filming in Lugansk at the time of the Lugansk blockade. A member of the people’s militia. A parachutist, a furniture maker turned frontline fighter, 34-year-old Denis Somov (call-sign Aramis) was really quite remarkable.

More, he decided not only to be a fighter, joining up with his brother after Ukraine’s bombardment of his home city compelled him to take arms, he also took about filming as much of his experience as possible. War was all new to Aramis filmingDenis, and with his basic, compact camera, he captured a daily record both of how it was to be a fighter in the people’s militia, as the Ukrainian blockade was broken, and a wave of new territory taken, and a period in history otherwise hardly chronicled – a dearth of, at least western, journalists covering this period has meant its realities remain largely unknown to the wider world.

Aramis was killed in action in the operation to take Debaltsevo, sustaining life-ending wounds in open conflict on February 11th, 2015. He left a great deal behind him – a vast archive of video material, his daughters, wife, brother, comrades-in-arms.

The film Aramis – Donbass Musketeer‘ is the story of Aramis. It’s also the story of how the blockade of Lugansk in 2014 was beaten. It’s the story of an amazing Aramis Parentsman, of many amazing individuals, the story of how an unexpected war made a man take arms against what had been his country, and of how life has gone on in the aftermath of the death of Aramis.

I will look forward to meeting you at the film’s showing in London, details to be confirmed.

Effects and production on the film by Aramis’ brother, Oleg Somov.

Арамис – Фильм – через неделю – Пресс-релиз – для СМИ и всех

AramisЯ очень рад говорить о том что премьера “Арамис” будет через неделю. Я приглашаю всех своих друзей в Санкт-Петербурге, все мои друзья в СМИ. У нас будет самая дружественная, народная премьера! Также, у меня есть отличная новость-

Я рад сообщить, что благодаря кампании по сбору средств на прошлой неделе мы собрали около 50,000 рублей для семьи Арамиса. Эти деньги – полностью перечисленные частными людьми, имеют огромное значение – они позволяют мне пригласить семью Арамиса на премьеру (Они все в Луганске).

Aramis ParentsСначала мы думали, что это будет жена Арамиса Алевтина и может дочь Ярослава. Но сейчас замечательная новость – мама Арамиса Галина и дочь Соня также приедут!

Ярослава, 14, мы пытаемся разобраться в документации,он не уверен в том что она IMG_0582может. Отец Арамиса Анатолий, с начало был слишком болен. Но он выздоровел и есть большая вероятность того что он, будет присутствовать. У нас точно будет в Питере – жена Арамиса Алевтина, дочь Соня, 6, и мать Галина. Брат – Олег, его не могут отпустить с рабочего места. Он работает над фильмом в Луганске. Но фильм будет готов, а Вы увидите результат своего упорного труда.

Aramis2 (2)

Вы можете прочитать больше о Арамиса здесь.

Вход на мероприятия бесплатный. Приглашаем всех желающих.

(Совместно с Межрегиональной организацией содействия развитию культуры и спорта «Берег»).

Премьерный показ картины назначен на 3 марта 2016 года и будет проходить в социально-культурном центре «Буревестник» по адресу: г. Санкт-Петербург, ул. Подвойского, дом 38.

Программа мероприятия:

18:00 – Открытие фотовыставки Арамиса, и Грэма

19:00 – Официальное открытие мероприятия.

19:30 – Премьерный показ фильма «Арамис – мушкетер Донбасса». (Место для 220)

Aramis Graham22:00 – Вечеринка (afterparty) в клубе ROUTE 148 (по адресу: СПб, Лиговский пр., д.289).

Тоже – 

4 марта 2016 года в клубе «ROUTE 148» состоится повторный показ фильма «Арамис – мушкетер Донбасса» в неформальной обстановке.

Программа мероприятия:

17:00 – Экскурсия по экспозиции «Мотоциклисты на защите Родины» (1941-1945гг.)

18:00 – Пресс-конференция. Фуршет для представителей СМИ.

19:00-19:30 – Показ фильма «Арамис – мушкетер Донбасса».

После это, беседа, живая музыка.

(Плакат- Павел Шульженок)

The 5 Main Lies You’ll Hear about Me, Versus Reality, by Graham Phillips

Ahead of my going to the Baltics, Europe, and elsewhere to report, I’d just like to address a few points, before they come up, which, be sure, they will. 

I know, there are certain things people say about me, will say about me. So I’ll quickly deal with What they Say, Why they Say It, and the Reality.

Graham Phillips SlavyanskWhat they Say: That I work for Russia’s FSB etc.
Why they Say It: They want to discredit my work in Donbass, which hasn’t fitted the narrative of western media, or governments. Those who write this nonsense know full well it’s not true. They are liars. 
The Reality: I have absolutely no connection, and never had, with any Russian agency or organisation. At the start of my career, I worked for a while with a couple of Russian channels (RT and Zvezda), that’s it. 

What they Say: That I took part in conflict in Donbass, ‘supported terrorists’, am myself a terrorist, etc. They’ll use photos like this – 

Graham Phillips shooting1Why they Say It: They want to discredit my work, get me arrested, get me killed – just all bad things.Graham Phillips shootingThe Reality: In 2014, at time of war in Donbass, I filmed quite a lot of training drills, and, always looking to get into the spirit of what I’m covering (within acceptable reasons), I took part in shooting practice. As I didn’t have my own Graham Phillips salutefatigues to wear, I was given fatigues to wear during some of this. 

As for the salute photo, on quiet day on the frontlines, some of the DPR fighters in Donbass were filming skits on their cameraphones, pretending to be Rambo. They asked me to take part in one, said it was just for personal use. So it got released on YouTube, which I wasn’t that happy about, but, it was just a 20-second bit of fun, and a bit silly on my part to take part, if I’m  honest. 

I never took part in conflict or combat of any time in Donbass, I’m a correspondent. An objective correspondent.

Graham Phillips medalWhat they Say: I got ‘given medals by Russia’, this means I work for their interests, have some sort of state endorsement.
Why they Say It: The usual – discredit my work, which they don’t like as it doesn’t fit their narrative.
The Reality: I do have one state award – from the Lugansk People’s Republic, for my work in covering events in Lugansk during the time of the blockade there in 2014. The other medals I’ve been given, by private individuals in Russia, as a token of gratitude for my work. They are simple ‘thank yous’, no state connection or bearing. But, see below. 

What they Say: I’m pro-Russian.
Why they Say It: Standard discreditation tactics. 
The Reality: It’s no secret that Russian people (as per the above) appreciate my work, more than, at this current time, people in my own country. However, I’m not IMG_0712‘pro-Russian’, or anything. I’m a proud British citizen, with no connection to any country, other than my own, and of my own, my own government have actually done what they can to obstruct my work in Donbass.

I like Russia, it’s a beautiful, friendly country, but I like a lot of countries, and none of that doesn’t register when it comes to my reporting, I’m only ‘pro’ reporting whatever the truth is, and fighting propaganda. 

Crimea filmingWhat they Say: I’m paid by Russia etc.
Why they Say It: All as above.
The Reality: No one pays me! I haven’t worked for any channel for over a year, and don’t want to either. Western channels can’t be trusted. And if I work for a Russian channel, it’s just used to discredit my work. 

I’m funded by crowdfunding, and my YouTube channel. I make a modest living, but don’t care about money. I live on the road, go to where the interesting news events are, and fight to get the truth out to the world. That’s my motivation.