BBC Hit Piece, My Response To It …

I’ve been pretty vocal over the last week after becoming aware of the BBC’s intention to do a piece on me, and what that would be (given it’s the BBC):

Here’s the piece, and my comments in bold. I’ll deal with the part of the article (by Sam Bright) about myself, Texas and Patrick are more than capable of answering for themselves, and have done just that. Texas here. Patrick here. Photos added for reference.

Bentley isn’t a one-off. Other Westerners have been using online crowdfunding to finance their activities in eastern Ukraine since the conflict started.
Among them is 38-year-old Graham Phillips from Nottingham. Since November 2013, Phillips has been covering the conflict, broadcasting amateur videos from Donbass, often in the midst of tearing bullets and toppling buildings. His daredevil style has drawn the attention of audiences, and he boasts 86,000 subscribers on YouTube. From 2014 to 2015, Phillips was employed by Zvezda – a media channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defence, and he also freelanced for the state-operated TV channel RT.

No mention of my ending my own contract with Zvezda, and my oft-mentioned grievance with RT over how they cut me off in Poland, after 2nd deportation, nor actually, that at the start of the conflict, before I realised what they were like, I even did some freelance work for … the BBC.

Actually I wrote for the New Statesman, Politico, Newsweek – before coming to similar conclusions about them.

Not that it’s even an issue, working for Russian media – they allowed me to report the story the BBC don’t want you to hear, and not one thing I ever reported while working for Russian media was disproven, but working for Russian media represents way, way the minority of my output as a journalist.

Phillips is highly critical of the Ukrainian government and appears to back the break-up of the country. Speaking on camera to Bentley in September 2015, Phillips accuses the Ukrainian government of “lies and propaganda”, before adding: “I absolutely believe that we’ll win in the end.”

The old trick of taken out of context. This was clearly said in the context of the ‘fight for truth’ winning. And one line, taken from the thousands of things I’ve said … and, taken out of context. As for the rest, of course I’m critical of the Ukrainian government, how can one not criticise a government which has set about shelling civilians? Not that the BBC article makes any mention of that at all, of course, and in any case most of my reportage is actually letting people in Donbass speak for themselves. 

Since May 2014, Phillips has been forbidden from entering Ukraine, on the grounds of “national security”. The Ukrainian government even took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to UK authorities, condemning Phillips’ actions.

This is technically factual, to point. However, there are two sides, and no attempt to balance the negative about me with another side. Nor mention that this attempt by the Ukrainian government was dismissed by the UK government. 

Phillips says that he’s an independent journalist and claims that he has financed his activities entirely through crowdfunding from January 2016 onwards – although existing records indicate he’s raised less than £7,500 through crowdfunding campaigns during that time.

I’ve raised a bit more than that, as I also crowdfund using Paypal, and my Russian card. But, yeah, it’s tough to cover costs as an independent journalist, contribute if you can!

A screenshot from Graham Phillips’ latest crowdfunding campaign. Phillips is currently crowdfunding for a new period of reporting in eastern EuropeImage copyright.

That’s actually not true, this campaign closed a couple of weeks ago, and there are none currently active.

At least three of his campaigns have been created to fund work in Donbass, and despite being banned from the country, he’s travelled to the region frequently since May 2014. On his blog, he says he enters the region via Russia, although travelling to the area via separatist controlled border crossings is currently illegal under Ukrainian law.

And that’s Ukrainian law. So really, so what? Hundreds of Europeans, people from across the world have entered, enter the DPR and LPR that way...

Because of his actions, the crowdfunding website JustGiving removed one of Phillips’ appeals in July 2015. After the company was notified that Phillips was unable to legally re-enter the region, JustGiving refused to release the £2,000 that Phillips had raised through his campaign.

Actually this is really pretty disingenuous. The campaign on JustGiving was purely for humanitarian aid, for Donbass, and not for my work at all. No mention of this whatsoever, by the BBC

Although Phillips also declined to speak to BBC Trending, he has disputed the company’s actions, and his campaigns remain active on Indiegogo.

I actually had quite a lot to say to the BBC in my replies to Sam, see here:

Unlike Bentley, Phillips has not engaged in combat, although he has been filmed navigating a drone with the help of soldiers in Donbass and has interviewed Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Pre-empting what the BBC would write (along with the narrative, etc), I already dealt with this point here –

Graham Phillips on Twitter, saying that he chose not to apply the Geneva Convention to his workImage copyright@GRAHAMWP_UK

Out of my over 47,000 tweets, encompassing all themes, Sam chose this. Ok, as he wishes, I don’t have a problem with it. I know that I always work with good faith, sincerity, integrity. And there are plenty of tweets stating this, again, not of interest to the BBC. 

Phillips is not the only Brit who has travelled to the Ukraine conflict region. Earlier this month, Benjamin Stimson, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was sentenced by Manchester Crown Court to five years and four months in prison for assisting separatist forces in Donbass.

So, an attempt to tie me in with the recently imprisoned Ben Stimson, that’s clear then.

And a question for the BBC, why did the article start out under this headline: Westerners crowdfunding for the break-up of Ukraine – 

To this, shortly later: The communist soldier using charity sites to fund his war (Texas)…

The adventures of an American in Donbass perhaps not of the greatest interest to a British reader? I have my own view, that the BBC tried to come for me, I saw them coming, called them, and they’ve ended up going a bit soft. One-sided, propagandistic, deceitful – of course, it’s the BBC, but, flaccid. The article they wanted to write, which would give the government the excuse to stop me leaving the country, didn’t happen. It was a clumsy, half-cocked hatchet job.

Gallingly, I, like everyone else in the UK, have to pay for this shit… 

11 thoughts on “BBC Hit Piece, My Response To It …”

  1. Sam Bright is a paid shill as a disinformation officer for the fake news organisation “BBC”. He collaborates in concocting grossly misleading misrepresentations of what it actually the truth. He appears to have read his copy of Orwell’s 1984 while upside-down in a handstand.


  2. “he boasts 86,000 subscribers on YouTube.”
    Cripes, I’d never thought of subscribing to his yt channel. Must do that now. How many others haven’t……


  3. Hey G

    Instead of whining in your own blog about unfair coverage why didn’t you offer them your version instead of insults. Fake news is starting to get old.


  4. Dear Sam,

    I understand and pity the fact that you are under VERY STRICT orders from the BBC to produce a completely biased, preconceived and worthless so-called documentary, intended to deceive your dwindling viewership, by satisfying your bosses in perpetuating the tedious Russo-phobia that generates an amount of click-bait but prevents you from reporting on the issues that you probably should be reporting on if you had any integrity.

    I understand that it’s just a job and that if you and your team don’t deliver this rubbish confection for your so-called managers, then various bullies will place you under career pressure, of course out of their own sheer self-interest and not at all in the interests of getting to the facts of the matters at hand.

    Assuming you are able to contribute just five minutes of your risible precious time to ACTUALLY DOING YOUR RESEARCH, did you perhaps have time to read the Ukrainian constitution that was in force at the time of February 2014, when armed thugs finally managed to illegally drive the democratically elected Ukrainian president/government from office, following three months of well-documented *illegal* terrorism?

    If not, let me help you, there is/was a section (111), in the Ukrainian constitution (since revised by Poroshenko et al) – don’t take my word for it – that requires a minimum quorum of representatives (MP’s) to submit a vote of no confidence in the president, following which, it goes to a PUBLIC VOTE, Sam.

    Not sure if you are fully aware of the Law or the manner in which the so-called Maidan was even conducted?

    Legal it certainly was not.

    Is setting fire to Police officers, or assaulting Police officers with chains, ever legal, Sam?

    Is shooting random people in the street ever legal, except for in situations of genuine self-defense, or by law-enforcement officers (or the armed forces) under a verifiable code of conduct?

    Sam, please do your due diligence, or stay away, unless you want to pay a visit here to interview the real survivors of Donbas, the real population, the ones that have been the subject of illegal (section 111) butchery and incessant bombardment for nearly three-and-a-half years – they are victims of a crime, as you will find out for yourself if you look into the realities.

    It would be a major scoop for you, you would be a famous star, but I guess you aren’t up for it and you want to continue munching on your **** sandwich?



    1. Well said Mark. But unfortunately Sam has already climbed up his own arse and without first reading the necessary instructions on how to get back out.


  5. “time to read the Ukrainian constitution that was in force at the time of February 2014”

    But does Sam have any capability of reading Russian, let alone Ukrainian? That could be inconvenient as he might then notice what nonsense he is participating in!


  6. Thank you, D.O.B., I will absolutely take care of Sam’s problems next time I am in London but for the moment he can swing in the ill wind of his own detritus – it’ll keep.


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