The Role of a Journalist: To Go To Where there is the Most Disinformation – or No Information

I recently released this video, from Crimea, where I’m reporting from just now:

And I’ve written more about Crimea, one of the world’s hotspots of disinformation, here on the Truth Speaker –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/10/graham-and-crimea-the-story-the-work/

And that’s why I’m in Crimea, because I believe it’s the role of a journalist to go to where there’s no information, or misinformation. Here, I must mention the US journalist Christopher Allen, recently killed while reporting from Sudan.

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/07/christopher-allen-kia-a-journalist-is-a-journalist/

I will also mention the journalist Kim Wall here, tragically killed in August, by Danish inventor Peter Madson, as she reported from his homemade submarine, Nautilus. This, moving tribute to Kim, here.

Here, my recently completed documentary from a place you’ve most likely never heard of, but with some real significance – Belval – 

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5018&v=mj62MxKjVdM]

Belval was a place to go for me because of a deficit of any information from there. A place from which there is plenty of information is North Korea. But, how much of it is disinformation?

I’m pleased to announce I’ve just completed an exclusive interview with the makers of North Korea documentary, The Haircut: 

And that’s the role of a true journalist, to go to where there’s no information, or misinformation!

Coming soon on the Truth Speaker!

Graham and Crimea: The Story, the Work

If you follow my work, you will of course about my connection with Donbass – over 3500 videos, 50+ million views on my channel of reportage from Donbass.

But, there is also my reportage from Crimea: 300+ videos, well over 3 million views.

My work from Crimea has always been hugely important to me. In fact, in March of 2014, of my own volition, I went to Crimea to capture the moment in history, do reportage from there. From my first time in Crimea, March 1st: 

Actually, as you may gather from that, I wasn’t really doing video at the time, and was focusing on photos. Here’s some from that day, Sevastopol, March 1st, 2014, as a large-scale concert, and gathering, was held in the city’s central Nakhimova Square –

Returning for the referendum, on March 16th, 2014 – 

Crimea election posters

A look at, inside, a polling station – as it really was: 

The mood on the streets:

And reportage the west would never show you, like this Crimean Tatar, who’d voted for Russia:

And lots more reportage from that time, in fact you can find all of my Crimea reportage, in English, by clicking on this link.

I returned to Crimea in summer of 2015, for a month of reportage (all my reportage, as ever, completely crowdfunded, independent), which saw over 120 videos, including this, from Yalta beach, over 700,000 views, full English subs: 

This, also from 2015, an English interview with Maria, from Dnipropetrovsk:

And Dima, I am a Crimean – 

I returned in April of 2016, for another month of work, which culminated in a film ‘Crimea: Victory Day 2016’.  Highlights in that time:

An interview with Natalya Poklonskaya – couple of extracts here: 

Evpatoria, and what needs done to improve Evpatoria – in the words of locals:

Showing you exactly what it’s like at the border between Crimea, and Ukraine: 

And much more. In 2016 I also filmed the first part of my upcoming film a ‘Brit in Crimea’.  In 2017, I’m now back in Crimea completing filming of that, as well as working on a host of other reportage projects.

Here’s just a selection of what I’ve released so far:

A video showing you the western false narrative on Crimea:

And the Ukrainian false narrative:

Interviews with Ukrainians in Crimea, telling you the reality of how it is here. 

And there is lots, lots more to come!!!

 

The Benefit of my 2 Week Ban from YouTube?

Never to say there’s a benefit to my current 2 week block from YouTube, but it feels like the period will represent a transition from one period to the other in my career.

Have been looking over my videos, and am happy with some of the work, but would really like to do everything a lot better. A lot of times I just uploaded material.

Going on, I’d like every video to have some real resonance, the potential to make a real difference. The next period of my career is the biggest, most ambitious yet. To go all over Russia, to show the world the truth about Russia, before the World Cup 2018.

I’m in a fantastic, fighting mood to do it all better, make better videos, set the world to rights. Thanks for being with me!

Here, Artek, Crimea! Lots more to come from here, and indeed all over Russia, before the 2018 World Cup!

How the Western Press Got, and Get, it So, So Wrong on Crimea (A Brief Guide)

Where to begin? Well, where they began, with the BBC blasting in March 2014 –

Why is Crimea so dangerous?

Here’s a couple of my videos from Simferopol in March of 2014, where it was less dangerous, and more just friendly, and optimistic.

And the famous, ‘little green men’, of which we’ve read so much about in western press – here, of the time, March 2014 – 

“Little green men” or “Russian invaders”?BBC

Selfskies from the frontline: People of the Crimea pose up with the masked Russian invaders – Daily Mail

The Mail headline even by western press standards a mis-step, given that even the Telegraph of the time was writing (while rather amusingly referring to the city of Sevastopol as ‘Sebastopol’ throughout) – Ukraine crisis: ‘Polite people’ leading the silent invasion of the Crimea

Patrolling the streets with the leisurely but deliberate pace of British police constables on the beat, the men with machine guns in Ukraine appear to be there to show their presence − not to fight.

And in case you’re thinking the author of that, Roland Oliphant may have been partisan or something, his subsequent work shows all the standard western media memes on Crimea in place – from March of 2014 –

March 2014 – Ukraine crisis: On Crimea’s new border the Russian Army waits

Ukraine crisis: This is the de-facto annexation of Crimea

Since 2014, there has been a deliberate, and repeated conflation in western media of the ‘little green men’, and ‘self-defence forces’, with the aim being to make out that Crimea was ‘taken’ by ‘Russian forces’, and there was no such thing as ‘self-defence forces’.

The Daily Beast, from 2017 even –

LITTLE GREEN MEN

Putin’s Hidden Insurgency Tore Up Ukraine. Now It’s Coming for Your Inbox.

(Pictured, standard western portrayal of ‘little green men’ – here, BBC). 

Putin claimed ‘little green men’ in Crimea were pro-Russian locals. They were actually Russian forces laying groundwork for invasion—a playbook that’s taking over American media.

However, those of us who were here, know the difference. There were ‘little green men’, and this my GIF here, Crimea, March 2014 – 


They were clearly regular Russian troops, and with their black sea base, Russia was allowed to have 25,000 troops on Crimea. It was never a secret that these guys had been mobilised, so it’s a surprise when the west makes out it’s all surprised they’re Russian – Simon Ostrovsky of Vice, a key exponent of this. 

Yet, a couple of key points here. There were also local self-defence forces, clearly local, clearly not regular Russian military – my video here –

Both groups were perfectly approachable, filmable. And neither of them in any way played any kind of role in ‘forcing people to vote’ in 2014, as the west has led you to believe.

Ukraine crisis: David Cameron attacks Crimea vote ‘under barrel of a Kalashnikov

Britain warns Putin after ‘Kalashnikov referendum’ in Crimea

And on…

The subject of Crimean Tatars and the western press is so voluminous as to warrent its own entry, which will be. This touches on it, the Telegraph, October 2014 – 

Despair and euphoria in Crimea six months after Russian annexationDispatch: Tatars face campaign of repression after opposing annexation, while ethnic Russians rejoice at joining motherland

Other favourite themes in the western press are that building a bridge from one part of Russia to another is some sort of sinister and ominous act:

Two years after annexation, Putin seeks to bind Crimea by bridge to Russia – Reuters, 2015

Focus on the cost of the bridge, linking Russia’s mainland and Crimea:

Russia spends ‘fortune’ on bridge to Crimea –BBC, 2017

Predictions of doom –

PUTIN’S BRIDGE TO CRIMEA IS DOOMED TO COLLAPSE – Newsweek, 2017

Why Kerch May Prove a Bridge Too Far for Russia – Moscow Times, 2016

And the metaphors do go on, and on. 

A favourite new meme of the media is that someone things ‘aren’t going to plan’ with Crimea, it’s ‘not working out for Russia’, etc.

The Annexation of Crimea isn’t going as Planned – Foreign Policy, 2017 – in which there is a beyond tenuous linking of the trial of a Crimean Tatar extremist, and Crimea itself. A real stretch.

Lily Hyde: The annexation of Crimea isn’t going as planned

Another favourite, that Crimea is somehow, ‘hard to access’, is also a theme, see the BBC here, from 2017.

Do a search for flights to Crimea, from anywhere, on any search engine, see for yourself how many hundreds there are…

That Crimea is somehow ‘dangerous’, also a favourite Crimea-meme – even the UK’s official travel advice warns against visiting to Crimea and that ‘tensions remain high’…

Here we have leading New Zealand travel website Stuff.co.nz – in 2017 – telling us that active war is going in Crimea,

Fighting between Ukrainian armed forces and Russian-backed armed separatists is common in both the eastern and southeastern regions of the Ukraine, more specifically, the regions of Donetsk oblast, Luhansk oblast, and Crimea. Civilians continue to get caught up in the fighting.

No kind of war ever took place in Crimea as it rejoined Russia in 2014. I’m in Crimea just now, and don’t take my word for how calm Crimea is just now – listen to some Ukrainains here:

However, one thing’s for sure, the information war wages around, and on Crimea, and the west have chosen their weapon – lies. 

Where the UK got it All Wrong on Crimea…

The UK followed up on getting it completely wrong about Euromaidan, with … getting it completely wrong about what happened in Crimea, in 2014.

Blanket support for Maidan, meant that the UK’s position was, from the start, against those in Crimea protesting against the coup in Kiev: Maidan – good. Against Maidan – bad. Went the UK’s thinking.

However, there was something interesting in this, the BBC, ever the faithful mouthpiece of the UK government in international affairs, actually veered from the Crimea narrative, in the early days. Fresh from blanket coverage of the sunny side of Maidan, beautiful / heroic protesters speaking about their desire for a ‘free Ukraine’, to ‘be Europeans’ etc etc –

…none of the molotov-hurling terrorists or acknowledgement that the east of the country Daniel Sandford Crimeawas actively opposed to Maidan – the BBC’s Daniel Sandford (pictured) was down from Maidan, reporting from Crimea, on February 25th, 2014, that people there were ‘demanding Russian passports‘… ‘To the people of Sevastopol, it’s not a Ukrainian history, but a Russian one‘…. before adding the obligatory ‘if Russia wants to cause trouble (in Crimea), all the ingredients are there.’

Yet very quickly, even this tokenistic attempt at objectively from the BBC had been ‘corrected’, and their reporting had reverted to script, February 27th: Ukraine crisis: Russia warned against Crimea ‘aggression’

Out went the actually talking to people in Crimea, and by the way I was in Crimea myself at this time, finding people readily disposed to talking, and a very different picture to the one the BBC were depicting –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2015/03/23/crimea-in-march-2014-the-real-story/

Over at the BBC, it was :

‘Russian troops’ guarding Crimean government HQ

Ukraine: Putin signs Crimea annexation

The BBC’s tone, as it invariably does, mirroring that of the UK government, with David Cameron coming out a few days before the Crimea referendum of March 16th, 2014, that it would be:

illegal, illegitimate and will not be recognised by the international community

Cameron of course, later, a few days after the referendum, upped that to that the vote had taken place ‘under the barrel of a Kalashnikov‘. Ridiculous, of course, and even very silly. I was in Crimea, visiting polling stations, on the referendum day.

The BBC, ‘strangely’, nowhere to be seen on that day, an entirely calm, jubilant even, day, where Crimeans, en masse, headed for the polling stations –

Start of the day: 

End: 

Street interviews with people in Simferopol:

Do these people really look like they’d need to be made to vote under the ‘barrel of a kalashnikov’? Was there any evidence at all of that at polling stations. Of course not, it was nonsense from the UK, who even admitted later they got it all wrong:

The British government was left in the dark during the Ukraine crisis because its diplomats can’t understand Russian

MPs says the lack of language skills in the Foreign Office is ‘alarming’

In the years since, neither language, or seemingly any other skills have improved at the Foreign Office. The UK have zoned in on the supposed ‘persecution’ of Crimean Tatars are the latest cause celebre of the day. I was in Crimea in 2016 filming the largest gathering of Crimean Tatars yet, at the Hiderlez festival –

Meanwhile the UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, LGBT obsessed Judith Gough – who’s never once been to Crimea in her time in the role, was tweeting this –

What does Boris do? Well, goes to Ukraine, meets up with Crimean Tatars in Kiev – who’ve been there for the past 3 years, making a comfortable living by speaking about how everything is dreadful in the Crimea they’ve not been to for over 3 years, and who their own people regard as traitors: (this, my interview with an actual Crimean Tatar leader, in Crimea):

Boris meets them, and mouths off a few buzzwords about ‘human rights’ etc, ‘Russian annexation of Crimea’ etc on his travels. There are clear signs of increasingly fewer people believing Boris, or the British position on Ukraine, and Crimea – however this doesn’t deter Britain from just blindly barrelling on with its pre-set polemic from a parallel reality.

What’s the problem then? Is it language skills? Is it mental skills? Or does the UK’s foreign policy bear a lot less relation to reality, than it does to UK business interests? 

Whatever the reason, Britain’s policy on Crimea is mistaken, misguided, deceitful, and mired in the kind of blinkered small-mindedness which currently condemns the UK to the tier of second-league nations.

I’m not the only British person who finds this all deeply embarrassing.

 

How the UK Got it So Wrong on Euromaidan, and Ukraine

The UK, under then Prime Minister David Cameron, made their call from the start about whose side they were taking in the Ukraine situation. In March of 2014, then foreign secretary William Hague was lying to the UK parliament about Viktor Yanukovych having been ‘legimitately’ removed from power. He was actually removed by the violent coup which was Euromaidan.

Meanwhile David Cameron was telling parliament, in March of 2014: What has happened to Ukraine is completely indefensible. Its territorial integrity has been violated and the aspirations of its people to chart their own future are being frustrated.

This European Council sent a clear and united message to Russia that its actions are in flagrant breach of international law and will incur consequences. We agreed on a three-phase approach to stand up to this aggression and uphold international law: first, some immediate steps to respond to what Russia has done; secondly, urgent work on a set of measures that will follow if Russia refuses to enter dialogue with the Ukrainian Government; and thirdly, a set of further, far-reaching consequences should Russia take further steps to destabilise the situation in Ukraine.

It continues…

There was never an attempt to take into account the facts of Maidan:

A maximum of 500,000 (and that’s protesters figures, even) gathered on Euromaidan – that’s around 1% of the population of Ukraine.

But actually (and I was on Maidan), those who brought Maidan’s ‘victory’ (Yanukovych fleeing in fear of his life, government legitimately elected in 2012 just swept away) were not the mostly peaceful 500,000, it was the few thousand radicals, far-right, terrorists on Maidan.

So, take your pick: at best the UK supported the ‘right’ of 1% of the population of Ukraine on Maidan, over the 99% not on Maidan.

Or actually, the 0.01% who actually defined Maidan: the far-right, radicals, terrorists…

And Maidan ‘represented’ not the whole of Ukraine, in any way. Those there were almost exclusively from the west and centre of the country. Donbass didn’t take part, and was actually against Maidan, the South similarly.

So the UK chose to support a violent coup, dressed up as a revolution, in a country which had always had an east-west divide. And one which installed a government with an agenda dictated by ultra-nationals from the west, diametrically opposed to the life, history, culture of those in the east, who’d never voted for a Maidan government, and actually no one voted for a Maidan government. There were no elections, they just seized power. (Key figure in Maidan, and now chairman of Ukrainian parliament, founder of Ukrainian neo-Nazi Svoboda party, Andry Parubiy).

The UK chose to support a coup government, a junta, formed after a violent coup. Yet, all we were hearing about in the time in the UK was the BBC and co’s glowing coverage of the ‘revolution of dignity’ on Maidan, etc.

Most people in the UK know yet little about Euromaidan, the BBC, realising word was getting out, belatedly covered their proverbials with a documentary about the Maidan snipers.

Yet the general perception remains in the UK, is that if people know about Euromaidan, they generally subscribe to the narrative that it was a ‘revolution of dignity’, Ukrainians ‘fighting for their freedom’, etc – rather than a small proportion of the population in Kiev, peaceful maybe but supporting a minute proportion of ultra-nationals and radicals who overthrew a democratically-elected government before wanting to impose their own (unelected) agenda, on the east. And expecting that all to be ok.

If there’s an event about Euromaidan in the UK, be sure it will be universally pro-Maidan, that’s the only permitted position (this, the LSE from February of 2017):

Actually the unconditional support of the UK, US, Europe, was one of the fuelling factors in those on Maidan believing they could have it all their way.

And what happened after? Crimea, Donbass, war, mass loss of life due to war, ongoing misery due to war, which goes on to this day. And the UK? The position has remained set in stone = Maidan = Good. So everything against Maidan = bad.

This, despite the masses of evidence that a re-evaluation of Maidan is required. Because if Maidan wasn’t so good, then maybe all that went against it isn’t so bad…. that is a highly dangerous idea the UK is desperate to eliminate while still embryonic. The UK has remained entirely intransigent.

What have we had over the last few years?

Foreign Secretary William Hague taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Ukraine crisis: William Hague warns Russia

William Hague: Russia faces ‘isolation’ over Ukraine – BBC News

Russian actions over Ukraine may create new cold war – William Hague

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Philip Hammond: Britain not ruling out providing ‘lethal force’ in Ukraine

Philip Hammond: ‘No let-up’ in pressure on Russia over Ukraine

Foreign Secretary denounces Russia’s continued illegal annexation of Crimea

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

UK’s Johnson reassures Ukraine of support after Brexit vote

Boris Johnson demands Russia end its ‘illegal’ annexation of Crimea during a visit to Ukraine

UK will not compromise on sovereignty of Ukraine: Johnson

Ukrinform: Boris Johnson says Britain will continue to provide Ukraine with non-lethal military aid

The position of Prime Minister Theresa May has hardly altered from Cameron’s. Lately, the UK has even been ramping up its support of Ukraine –

United Kingdom Steps Up Support of Ukrainian Army Still Shelling Civilians

A big question must be – why? That’s something I’ll be having a look at in the next Truth Speaker article.