⚡ Exclusive Interview with Mike Barson from Madness! Russia, Skripal, Putin, Donbass, More!

Those who know me, or knew me growing up would tell you one thing – I was Madness‘ number 1 fan, going to every concert I could, buying every Madness record I could – even if the cost of one, if a rarity, could be most of what I earned in a month on my paper round.

(Myself in a Madness t-shirt, right, 1994)

In 2014, while working in Donbass, I began receiving messages, on Twitter from a ‘Mike Barson’, saying how much he supported my work, and on (read all the messages here). 2014, 2015 was an extremely busy, intense, stressful time – I remember just running the whole time trying to either film something in Donbass, usually the scene of shelling, or the frontlines, or the MH17 site, and more.

(Mike Barson, in an early incarnation of Madness, the Invaders).

I remember briefly having a look at his Twitter page, but did I believe that one of my childhood heroes was really writing to me, supporting my work? Not for a moment, I thought someone who knew what a Madness fan I was, was having some fun at my expense. I wasn’t biting, hardly replied to his messages.

In 2016, I had a bit more time, and decided to look into it. And, well, it turned out really to be Mike Barson. And this here really is his Twitter account. Mike graciously agreed to forgive my reticence of 2014, and give me an interview. Here it is.

GP: I have to ask on a personal level, when you first started supporting my work, and even wrote to me, you are aware that I couldn’t believe it was the real Mike Barson. Does this happen to you a lot, and how do you respond to that?

MB: With great patience 🙂

GP: On Twitter, you have your own account, and seem to chat with all your fans. In the 90s, I recall sending off quite a few letters to fan club addresses, perhaps you never got them. How do you feel about this new accessibility?

MB: Yeah we got a lot more ways to keep in touch these days! I try to answer a few things when I have time tho it’s not always possible.

GP: When fans and so find you on Twitter, they may be surprised that your views are not what we may expect of a celebrity, I say this in my own sphere of Donbass, and Russia. How would you define your views, broadly if so, and how do fans, and others respond to them?

MB: Well I’m not a fan of injustice and hypocrisy and not sure if I’m a celebrity (whatever that is?) but whatever one is in this day and age I feel its one’s duty to speak out as Einstein apparently said…

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”

It seems now more than ever this is a pertinent statement.

What happened in Ukraine was anything but democratic – a violent coup (my picture from Maidan, left) such as took place in Kiev would never in a month of Sundays have been allowed in a European or American city and yet it was cheered on by the so called ‘international community’ and in particular by many American government officials. It lead to a dangerous schism throughout the country.

This illegal undertaking has been the cause of much suffering for the people of Ukraine and many many innocent people being killed (many of which you yourself have documented) the tragic shooting down of a civilian aircraft above Donbass (why was air traffic not stopped above a war zone??? – obviously because it was a war they were pretending wasn’t happening) and then finally having voted Crimea was returned to the Russian federation.

(My photos from MH17, above, and Crimea in March 2014, below)

It’s difficult to argue that this was not other than Russia’s responsibility-duty to protect the historic Russian people of Crimea and the naval base from the danger arising in the aftermath of the coup which was made vividly apparent by the military attacking their own people – a scandal of grotesque proportions that was hardly reported in western mainstream news. One cannot but notice how the coup in particular is very rarely mentioned which skews the whole question of the situation there.

So seeing this injustice, seeing the results the shelling/killing of –
old ladies in their apartments/houses, going about their ordinary business, shopping etc, and young kids playing football etc and seeing it all ignored in the west is shocking and makes one wonder.

When looking into these affairs also those such as the ghastly Odessa Massacre (picture, right) it’s apparent how these ‘far off places’ are treated very differently in the western press. I could only conclude a kind of racism was taking place against the people in Donbass.

They didn’t matter and yet we destroyed Libya because Gaddafi we were told ‘threatened’ his own people – in Donbass we didn’t seem to have the slightest interest they were being killed by their own army.

So my views are that these events expose an enormous hypocrisy in the western press that is very concerning leaving aside the fact it is totally lacking in any kind of morality. When people are dying as a result of this hypocrisy I feel it is ones duty to call it out if one has the opportunity.

To say nothing of the fact there seems to be a program of demonisation against Russia (Newsweek cover, December 2017) in play that has been repeated many times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya & Syria even leaving aside the ugly immorality of such subversive propaganda exercises the danger that the world is being pushed into and for the benefit of whom should be of great concern to all rational people.

Do we need WW3? For whose benefit? I’ll be happy when Tony Blair, Bush (pictured) and Cheney are in the dock for previous war crimes committed and country’s work together for their own people and abide by international law.

I don’t know what people expect of a ‘celebrity’ but concerning people who ‘look the other way’ and neither say anything nor engage their brains I guess Mr Einstein spoke on that subject already.

GP: Do you chat about political matters with the band members? If so, how do they respond to this.

(recent promo photo of Madness)

MB: Yeah sometimes, but when the press is giving blanket wall to wall coverage that Putin & Russia is to blame for everything its difficult for people not to be effected as Goebbels said “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”.

GP: Madness are a British institution now, but early on in your career, you got a rough ride from the press. There’s even a scathing Madness song about journalists ‘Don’t Quote Me on That’, which slams into the lies, and lack of ethics of the trade.

Has journalism changed much in the almost 40 years since this song was written? And what made you start following, supporting my work?

MB: Yeah that was an example of where the press used to have a very unfair advantage, they can say what they like and you have no means to respond, these days it seems one has the possibility to respond within social media which is possibly why the mainstream press is going thru hard times?

These days newspapers seem to be rather removed from ordinary people and their concerns though its encouraging that people are reporting independently I guess like yourself.

(Madness in the early days)

Well that’s quite a point actually what I think has changed is that in that time if someone wrote something that wasn’t true in a newspaper…. (the infamous ‘fake news’) you had very little means to respond, its like someone slapping you in the face and you can’t do anything back.

But now with social media people are able to respond to things that are said that are not true and there is suddenly an accountability for journalists and some of them don’t seem to come out in such a great light.

(recent photo of Mike Barson)

As Glenn Greenwald pointed out a while back, in the political world many of them are simply stenographers repeating what they’ve been told – not really journalism. Also it seems that the variety of news stories and opinions have been very diminished where they now act like one big echo chamber.

For example when MH17 was tragically shot down (I used to live in Amsterdam) it was astonishing how all the western press blamed Putin almost before the aeroplane hit the ground – and they blamed him personally.

(The Week, UK magazine, right)

To me this was not logical or rational – (unless you suffer from a deep bias) – Most people were not following the news from East Ukraine so didn’t know there was a war going on and that many military planes were shot down in the preceding weeks. It was clearly not safe.

The worst case rational scenario is that MH17 was mistaken for a military aircraft ie they were defending themselves in a war and mistakenly shot down the jet? There is no sensible rational reason to blame Putin yet that’s exactly what all the press did. Again avoiding the bigger picture of who was actually attacking who.

(Infamous Sun headline, pictured)

All these newspapers were all carrying the exact same illogical argument which makes you question how, why? Either they are full of bias.. or else there is a less savoury reason there was an intention to blame it on Russia for other reasons.

I became interested and started following your work after the overthrow of the government in Kiev. When the troops and tanks started heading east how western governments backed it all when it was so obviously wrong.

(One of my early videos, Slavyansk, April 2014, a local militia blockpost attacked by Ukrainian forces)

I was pretty shocked to see how the EU who were supposed to be guarantors of the agreement between Yanukovych (pictured) and the opposition simply ignored the agreement signed… European values? That incident really put me off the EU. They actually supported a coup – just look how they treat Catalonia now for a taste of hypocrisy.

You were one of the few people reporting on the situation so I started watching your videos. When the Crimea stuff started happening and everyone started talking about the infamous little green men “were they or were they not Russian soldiers” thing was it didn’t really have any relevance to what was happening, a coup had taken place in Kiev! Why was that ok?

(My video from Kiev, January 19th, 2014)

The lack of any greater unbiased perspective in the news (BBC speciality?) shows the narrowness of the debates in MSM these days.

Slowly it became apparent that the US was involved in the overthrow with things like the release of the Pyatt/Nuland tape (below) in which American diplomats were heard discussing who would be allowed in the new Ukrainian government! These facts was totally excluded from the western press not even recognised let alone discussed.

This injustice was racism, not for black people but for poor East Ukrainians. Such a bias in the press and with such disastrous results. Women going shopping killed in their own flats, kids playing football hit my mortar shells, dropping bombs on town halls blowing up innocent women and all these people were simply dropped by western press like Untermenschen. It was reprehensible and no one seemed to care.

So you were one of the few who was recording these events, I consider you did some kind of service to those poor people who died so unjustly in registering what happened to them. One had to cry seeing some of that shit.

(My video, Donetsk, January 2015)

GP: Your music has been an ever-present in my life for about 30 years. During some of the tougher times in Donbass, I remember listening to the song ‘I’ll Compete’.

It’s maybe one of Madness’ lesser-known numbers. Do you have any personal favourites among the perhaps not so well-known Madness canon? And, btw, Michael Caine, the subject of a classic Madness song is also noted for views differing from his contemporaries, do you ever chat with him?

MB: No I never heard Mr Caine was not following the status quo! Unfortunately never got to meet him. We recorded him at an airport for the track Michael Caine – “I think we got it there don’t you” and that was that!

Strange you were playing ‘I’ll Compete’ in that difficult time!

Personal favourites… not so well known songs… “Never Ask Twice” I guess which we played recently at our House of Fun weekender in Butlins in Minehead, and also I like “Around and Around” which is a number that kept its head down thru the years, a sardonic look at ’success’ which I wrote with Mr Lee J Thompson lyricist supreme, that was a b-side from ‘Lovestruck’. There was an old track called ‘Crying Shame’ I have fond memories of –

I remember playing it in Belfast back the 80’s when life was still… full of promise! 🙂

Also Mr Speaker was not bad.

GP: Many have written to me from Russia saying what massive Madness fans they are. Can you tell the story behind your Red Square gig in 1992.

Last year, notably, Robbie Williams pulled all his Russia gigs – would Madness gig there? How do you feel about your Russian fans?

MB: That’s nice to hear we have some fans out there! Red Square 1992, we did a gig that was to be streamed live to Top of the Pops. We stayed in the Rossiya Hotel, biggest hotel in Russia so they said where we stayed had seen its best days.

We had a stage set up right in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral that was pretty cool. Unfortunately there was no audience and it was bloody cold! We did a radio show or two as well while we were there, It was just after the disintegration of the Soviet Union a very historic period but when Yeltsin was implementing western economic shock therapy they were difficult times.

We also played at the Kubana Festival in 2014 a stones throw from Crimea which I invited you too but unfortunately you gave me a blank at the time (as explained above, and again, sorry – Graham). We flew along the border close to East Ukraine over the clouds on the way back which was very close to where MH17 was shot down and only a month later which was weird and very sad.

GP: I think it was Suggs who said that he couldn’t imagine doing it all when you’re 30. Now, you’re almost 60 yourself Mike (actually, Mike is 60 today, April 21st!), and on a creative high – Can’t Touch Us Now is an incredible piece of work. When some bands come and go in a year, how have Madness stayed going for 40 years? What’s next?

MB: Yeah indeed who would guess all that time ago. I remember seeing a teacher at school who was 40 years old back in the 70’s, i was about 11 thinking what an old git! verging on the end of the road! who could have guessed life begins at… 59! 🙂

I suppose we lasted as we were mates before we formed a band and always got on – even to this day it remains a congenial bunch! ha ha.

(Single from ‘Can’t Touch us Now’, Mr Apples)

We don’t work as full on as we did in the early days (which drives you round the bend). We just finished a tour of Scandinavia and had a most enjoyable time.

Thanks for the kind words regarding the latest album, I think as long as one doesn’t lose touch with ones inspiration and love of music then all those years only improve ones talent like a good wine 🙂 !

We gained a lot of experience over the years so I think were in a good place at the moment.

GP: Apologies if this is indulgent, but I attach a photo of my collection of Madness singles. How would you rate it? (We can do albums another time 🙂


MB:
10 out of 10 for the single collection!

GP: I’m sure people will read this, and come away with things they didn’t know about Mike Barson. They may not also know that you can tell jokes in Dutch.

Is there anything else to know? 🙂

MB: Without a doubt.

As a post-note, I asked Mike his opinion about the Skripal situation: 

I think its horrible what happened to the Skripals, especially his daughter and I hope they will both fully recover.

Regarding the government handling of what happened I find it painful to see British MP’s failing so completely to apply the basics of law in this country – That one is Innocent until proven guilty. Its ugly seeing people baying for revenge without any proof – and then attacking Jeremy Corbyn for posing a rational civilised question simply asking for proof first. Are MP’s barbarians these days? – rather more like clowns!

In a fast-moving situation, Mike has been vocal with his opinion on the Skirpals, Syria, and other themes, find him on Twitter here – https://twitter.com/MikeBarson108

MH17 – In Defence of Spekkers, Attention, My Reaction, and on…

Graham Phillips

I was pretty strong in criticism of Dutch journalist Michel Spekkers for taking parts from the MH17 site, despite Spekkers being a colleague, and friend. However, as I go to write this, one Jeroen Akkermans has been tweeting, criticising Russia for their reaction, in support of Spekkers, and his colleague, Beck.

Jeroen AkkermansThe same Akkermans (pictured) who is, in no small part, responsible for the situation we have today, which has unfolded into quite the mess, with Dutch police confiscating not only MH17 items from Spekkers and Beck, but also all their equipment, memory cards, phones the whole kit and caboodle.

When Akkermans waltzed off in November 2014 with parts of what was later claimed, by an unofficial investigation, to be a BUK rocket, he walked back to a hero’s reception in the Netherlands, and western media. Hailed across the world as the ‘man who solved MH17’, no one really stopped to ask some key questions

  • Why hadn’t he notified the investigation of his findings, before taking them?
  • When did it become ok for journalists to take it upon themselves to remove parts from crash sites, and submit them to their own investigations?
  • These ‘magic’ ‘BUK’ parts, that Akkermans ‘chanced up’, unseen by the hundreds of investigators, and journalists (including myself) who’d spent extensive time on the site before that?

    michel-spekkersFast forward to January of 2017, and Dutch freelance journalists Michel Spekkers, and Stefan Beck visit Donbass for a week of reportage, which includes Spekkers visiting the MH17 site. There, he removed parts, including likely human remains, put them in a bag, even did a survey on Twitter about what he should do with them (for which he later apologised), and took them back to the Netherlands.

Here, Spekkers explains his actions, in his own words –

When I arrived in the area I found, to my surprise, recognisable fragments of the MH17 at various places. After a somewhat longer consideration I decided to take a spekkers-mh17selection of pieces with me. The majority of the pieces involved aluminum and plastic parts. I wanted to take these things with the purpose of research, to transfer them to the authorities and to make a strong point that there are still things to be found after 2.5 years.

Among the parts I found fragments that reminded me strongly of bone remains. Earlier there where skeletal remains discovered, some were found not to be human but animal. I’m not a forensic investigator, but did not ruled out the skeletal remains could be human. I decided to take one part of the skeletal remains for further investigation in The Netherlands. The consideration for me: if it are human remains there, they do not belong there but need to get returned to The Netherlands.

Following his tweets, Spekkers states he was contacted by the MH17 investigation team, and agreed with them to hand over what he had collected, on a voluntary basis. Yet when they returned to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on January 7th, Dutch authorities met them and took not only the MH17 items, but, against their will understandably, all their equipment, cameras, memory cards and phones.

screenshot-703A sizeable scandal then erupted in the week, commented on by all from the OSCE, to Russia’s FM spokes, Maria Zakharova.  The Dutch journalist union intervented, to assist Spekkers and Becks, with the fate of their materials then deferred to court hearing which took place yesterday. Here is the statement of Stefan Beck on the result of that –

The Judge (Rechter-Commissaris) has decide that Spekkers en Beck should be present at identifying which parts should be relevant to MH17-investigations but gives no guarantees that other material will not be copied. Also, images that were shot at Amsterdam airport showing Michel Spekkers being held, and that can prove our innocence should be deleted by order of the judge.

The Ordination of the judge contains a lot statements we hold untrue. For example, the judge motivates his decision, amongst others, by claiming the investigation team get the cooperation it has asked for. Claiming that the investigation is being conducted in very difficult circumstances. We would like to stress that the area where the MH17 came down is currently rather safe and that earlier statements made by the (Dutch Public Prosecuting Service) OM concerning the danger in the area are nonsense. Also the judges claims that the sources which Spekkers and Beck try to protect are ‘cap drivers and translators.’

In cooperation with our lawyer we have decided to suggest the following compromise:
1. We do not agree with deleting any images made by either of us.
2. We agree on blurring the identity of investigators of the PRIMO. (Investigation into MH17)
3. We agree on sharing the images of the MH17 on the condition that the veto on what ends up at the investigation lies with Michel Spekkers.

Background: Material was previously confiscated in Amsterdam Airport by authorities. After the intervention of the Dutch Journalist Union (NVJ), the authorities were denied use over the material, until a judge (Rechter-Commissaris) would judge otherwise. With today’s Ordination material will be accessible to authorities.

Spekkers – https://twitter.com/spekkers
Beck – https://twitter.com/MES_Beck

My new MH17 video – 

Dutch Journalist Michel Spekkers, and MH17 Confiscation in Netherlands, my Statement

Graham Phillips

michel-spekkersDutch journalist Michel Spekkers (pictured) has just returned to the Netherlands, after a week of working in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Upon his return into Schiphol airport, after having been contacted initially by, as I understand, the MH17 investigation team, after having tweeted about having removed items from the crash site, he was questioned by Dutch police, and all the MH17 items, plus equipment pertaining to his work – camera equipment, cards, even phone, was seized – against his will, naturally.

Michel has written about this on his Twitter account (in Dutch).

As I would with any journalist wanting to come to report the truth from Donbass, I helped Michel, and colleague, Stefan Beck, with advice on accreditation etc, and when they arrived here, we spent the first few days together – in Donetsk, and Lugansk, even seeing in the new year with Michel.

However, I didn’t go with them to the MH17 site, and I’m, to say the least, surprised, at Michel’s actions. It wasn’t something I was aware of until seeing his subsequent posts on Twitter, and reading the articles about this, it having caused a considerable scandal in the Netherlands. Had I been there, I would have been against this, in the strongest terms. I’ve spent some 75 hours on the MH17 site, and never once removed anything. One part, given to me by a homeowner (it had fallen on his home), I did everything to try to submit to the MH17 investigation, they didn’t want it.

I understand that Michel strongly felt, as many of us who have worked on MH17 do, that it is both inexplicable, and unacceptable, for parts, including personal items, to be on the site 2 1/2 years after the tragedy. I understand he wanted to contact the relatives, return such items as he felt were of value, submit what else could be, to DNA investigation.

However, whatever the intentions, I can’t support Michel’s actions here. I can, however, say that I worked with Michel, all around Europe, on my reportage trip in June of 2016 – he was a reliable colleague, a nice guy, we got through a few tough spots together, and I was happy to see him wish to come to report the truth from Donbass.

I believe Michel’s actions were those of a journalist in Donbass for the first time, at the MH17 site for the first time, overawed, wanting to do it all. And to add, Michel is a Dutchman, and this, the worst aviation catastrophe in his nation’s history.

I would also add that fellow Dutch journalist Jeroen Akkermans took multiple items from the crash site in 2014, and was applauded for doing so in his own country. I have written frequently in opposition to this, and my sentiments are the same in the situation of Michel Spekkers, despite our good working relatonship, friendship.

I can’t comment on the actions of the Dutch police, in terms of confiscating Michel’s items, against his will. However, Michel put himself in a position where he faced the police in a compromised position, due to his actions.

And it puts me in the position of, of course, defending a colleague with whom I’ve been through a fair bit with, had some beers with, done some important work with, but being unable to defend his actions in this instance.

I believe that, with an apology from Michel, and acknowledgement this was an error of judgement, this matter can be resolved without any considerable harm being done. There is no question in any way of his having ‘compromised’ the investigation etc, and I hope this will be a lesson Michel will learn from, and move forward.

Thoughts, as ever, with the victims of MH17, and their families, and loved ones.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump, on MH17

Dear Mr. Trump,

Your election has raised hopes that easing of tensions, between U.S. and Russia, and peacemaking in Europe in general is achievable. Settlement of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine and lifting the sanctions against Russia which is vital for the world community has a realistic chance now. With this in mind, there is also hope for a higher quality investigation into the disputed downing of MH17, as you expressed your doubts in an October 2015 interview, regarding the proof of Russian guilt:

“They say it wasn’t them. It may have been their weapon, but they didn’t use it, they didn’t fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you’ll probably never know for sure.“ (MSNBC)

mh17Indeed, we agree with you, we will never be sure, with the kind of investigation we have seen over the past two years. The official investigation of the “Dutch Safety Board“ (DSB) and the “Joint Investigation Team“(JIT) was neither independent nor convincing. This kind of investigation forms a huge burden particularly to the families who lost their loved ones in the downing of MH17. They need to know the truth.
WE ARE ASKING YOU, TO PLEASE PUSH FOR A NEW INVESTIGATION. This could happen within an international framework like the U.N. comprising the following aspects:

(1) A team of international, independent scientists who would be able to exclude veto power for any government. This exclusion of veto is especially important, due to the overwhelming role of one of the involved parties, Ukraine. The main source of information to the DSB and JIT used for their official investigations was SBU, the Ukrainian secret service.
(2) Keeping all scenarios on the table.
(3) Declassifying and releasing “available satellite images” claimed by Secretary of State, John Kerry, on 20th of July 2014; or (if not) disclaiming their existence.
(4) Conducting forensic examination of impact holes (for metal residues) in the MH17 wreckage and reproducing the same pattern of damage by shelling tests (as usually done in crime cases). Completing key information fields, such as body forensics, voice recorder, radar data etc.
(5) Prior construction of, a clear path to an international, objective trial in the U.N. framework with judges from countries which are not connected with the crash.

FURTHERMORE, WE ARE ASKING YOU TO PLEASE INITIATE PEACE TALKS WITH ALL PARTIES CONCERNED (including but not limited to Russia, Ukraine, and the EU) aiming at settling the dispute and establishing a reconstruction plan for Eastern Ukraine including the compensation of the MH17 families.

Thank you so much in advance, for your attention to this matter.
– Independent journalists & experts on MH17 –

* Media spokesman – Mr. Billy Six
e-mail Billy@six-newhagen.de
facebook BILLY SIX
tel. 0049 152 269 27 443

– MARK BARTALMAI, journalist & Ukraine documentaries producer, GERMANY
– DR. THIERRY BAUDET, journalist, publicist & initiator of Dutch referendum on EU/Ukraine association agreement, NETHERLANDS
– BERND BIEDERMANN, missile defense colonel ret., military attaché ret. & book author, GERMANY
– CHRISTOPHER BLACK, international criminal lawyer, CANADA
– NORBERT FLEISCHER, investigative journalist, GERMANY
– PROF. DR. ELMAR GIEMULLA, lawyer of German MH17 victims, GERMANY
– DR. HERMANN HAGENA, airforce general ret. & author of MH17 military study, GERMANY
– PROF. DSC. OTTO-FRIEDRICH HAGENA, physicist, GERMANY
– PETER HAISENKO, journalist, publisher & former “Lufthansa” pilot, GERMANY
– JOHN HELMER, longest-serving foreign correspondent in Russia, UNITED STATES
– FRANK HÖFER, journalist & film producer, GERMANY
– DIETER KLEEMANN, airforce colonel / trainer ret. & book author, GERMANY
– PATRICK LANCASTER, investigative journalist with 100s of hours on MH17 site from day one & U.S. Navy veteran, UNITED STATES
– DR. JAMES O´NEILL, barrister on human rights & geopolitical analyst, AUSTRALIA
– JOOST NIEMÖLLER, journalist & MH17 book author, NETHERLANDS
– GRAHAM PHILLIPS, investigative journalist, UNITED KINGDOM
– PROF. DR. KEES VAN DER PIJL, political scientist, peace activist & author, NETHERLANDS
– HECTOR REBAN, political analyst & blogger on MH17, NETHERLANDS
– NORBERT K. REISBERG, Lt.-Col. ret., airforce pilot ret. & military scientist, GERMANY
DAN SHEPPARD, private MH17 researcher, AUSTRALIA
– JOACHIM SIEGERIST, journalist, publisher & author, GERMANY
– BILLY SIX, investigative journalist & book author, GERMANY
– MAX VAN DER WERFF, blogger & private MH17 investigator, NETHERLANDS
– PROF. KAREL VAN WOLFEREN, journalist, political analyst & book author, NETHERLANDS
– MOHD AZAHAR ZANUDIN, technician, supplier for army/police & blogger on MH17, MALAYSIA

Notes on my Recent Trip to Germany…

The summer of ’94 – for me, all Volkfests, Weißbier, Deutschmarks, and memorable moments on my school exchange trip to Aschaffenburg.

Flatbed-8.BMP(1)

Fast forward 22 years, a different world, a different Germany, my 37-year-old self, and a very different reason for visiting. In principle, I went to Germany to work on my MH17 documentary, having agreed to interview the rather mysterious private investigator Josef Resch.

But, something rather strange happened there, having spoken on the phone, with Resch telling me he knew of myself, and my videos, out of the blue he cancelled with a one-line email. 

I already had a plan to interview German journalist, and MH17 expert Billy Six, so before that turned my attention to filming reportage in Munich, about recent events there – it was an interesting time to be in Munich, and I enjoyed filming reportage there, albeit would have of course rather the circumstances were not so tragic –

From Munich, it was up to Berlin, where I head along to film the anti-Merkel demonstration that the German ‘on message’ media and commentators either ignore, or tell you is only for ‘Nazis’, but the truth is actually more complicated, there are indeed some of the far-right there, but there are also lots of normal Germans – I filmed them all –

I then spent a highly interesting, informative couple of days with German journalist Billy Six, who’s spent extensive time both on the site, and researching MH17, tweeting about that here.

In the course of our conversations, I came across concrete evidence Billy had, that German self-declared ‘news agency’ Correctiv had told major lies about MH17. With Billy accompanying me, I decided to go to their offices, in central Berlin, to confront them about this –

That reportage caused a huge fuss in German media, with their press hysterically blasting that we’d ‘stormed’ the offices in a ‘pro-Russian’ attack

Screenshot (298)

And despite my having stated now countless times that not only have I not worked for RT since mid-2014, but I don’t even like the channel, the inevitable ‘Russia Today journalist‘ was thrown out there, which RT themselves even corrected –

Screenshot (305)

To the question as to why I legged it from the police at the end of the piece. Quite simple, I knew that at the least, even if I’d not done anything wrong, I’d have my footage deleted. And more – I spoke with Billy (pictured) (who received deaths threats subsequent to our visit) and many, while in Germany, and tell you how the system works. Why were Correctiv so keen to call the police, press a ‘trespass’ Billy Sixcharge? Standard tactics – you get charged with that, nonsense, but which can be made to stick, it goes to court, which costs hundreds, or even more than a thousand Euros, your costs only.

And they make sure the system isn’t fast either, meantime the police will pay a visit to your home, make sure the neighbours see, that kind of thing. Meanwhile you spend your time not working, rather worrying about your upcoming case, money, etc.

And that’s why there’s almost no alternative media in Germany, there’s a well-honed, teutonic system to keep it that way, which perhaps even includes death threats, just to really get the message across. Keep it to just Goebbels style propaganda in Germany. If you wondered why there’s practically no alternative media in Germany, wonder no more.

Luckily for me, I’m British, and thanks to that 1994 trip to Aschaffenburg, even speak some German. I can’t wait to get back reporting there, on MH17, as well as other topics of interest, of which there are many, and clearly a real need for independent reporting from Germany.

And, on MH17 (on which my work continues), watch this sensational new video from Billy Six, of the questions we wanted to ask Correctiv, and see just how much the German media is lying – so much so, there’s even a word for Germany’s press ‘Lugenpresse‘ (lying press) –

Hallo meine deutschen Freunde! Und wer ist Graham Phillips?

Hallo meine lieben Freunde! Ich sehe das eure liberalen Medien an meinem Besuch in Deutschland sehr interessiert sind, besonders Correctiv in Berlin.

Und warum habe ich mich bevor die Polizei kam entfernt? Es ist ganz klar, dass ich hätte meine Filmaufnahmen löschen müssen, auch wenn von meiner Seite kein Fehler begangen wurden ist. Ich habe gehört das die Deutsche Polizei sehr die Autoritäten unterstützt, und meine Arbeit ist hier, eher Antiautoritär, aber ich betone, ich mache nichts illegales. Also ganz einfach, wenn ich mit der Deutschen Polizei nichts zu tun haben muss, dann meide ich sie. Ihr könnt es einen Brexit nennen!

Natürlich bin ich überrascht, dass in den deutschen Medien war dies ein “Sturm” ein “Pro-russische Attake”. Ich ging einfach in dieses Gebäude, und ich bin British!
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Die deutschen Medien schreiben jetzt schon ganze Artikel über mich ‘Who the fuck is Graham Phillips?’. Ich werde euch jetzt die Wahrheit erzählen. Ich bin ein 37 jähriger, Britischer Journalist. Ich war 2012 wegen der Euro 2012 in Kiew und entschied mich eine Zeit lang dort zu leben und arbeitete als Journalist bei einer Zeitschrift, What’s On.

Doch dann Anfang 2013 änderte sich die Situation dort, die Radikalen und Euromaidanukrainischen neo-Nazis wurden immer mehr. Ich kehrte erstmal nach England zurück und später entschied ich mich nach Odessa zu gehen und dort zu leben. Als der Euromaidan (foto) begann, hatte ich eine andere Sichtweise der Dinge, als die meisten westlichen Korrespondenten, da ich das Land und die Leute schon gut kannte. Es waren sehr viele Nationalisten und Radikale in Kiew auf dem Maidan. Nicht alles – aber sie waren in der Steuerung.

Zu dieser Zeite arbeitete ich als freier Journalist und reiste überall in der Ukraine und der Krim umher, und machte Filmaufnahmen. Ich arbeitet auch etwas für Kanal RT, die mir dann auch ermöglichten Anfang April 2014 im Donbass zu arbeiten.

Mit RT (Russia Today) ist es etwas kompliziert. Ich bin der Meinung, sie machen stellenweise guteArbeit, aber RT haben mich nicht ganz so gut behandelt und mich einfach abgeladen mich in Polen 2014 nach meiner zweiten Ausweisung. Wegen dieses, und nicht nur, tatsächlich, ich hasse RT wirklich aufrichtig, und wir haben mehr als 2 Jahre nicht mehr zusammengearbeitet und auch in Zukunft werde ich dies nicht mehr tun mit RT!

Es ist so interessant, dass deutschen linksgerichtet Medien möchte, dass Sie denken, ich noch für RT arbeite!

Screenshot (304)Eigentlich sich Russia Today korrigiert dies!

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Warum liegen sie? Weil sie so viel Zeit damit verbracht, um RT zu diskreditieren, jetzt hat mich einfach legte zusammen mit RT, und ich bin auch diskreditiert!

Aber – ich habe keine Verbindung zu Russland, in keiner Weise. Ok, ich habe gearbeitet für den Kanal Zvezda für eine Weile – aber sie haben mit meiner Graham Donetsk AirportArbeit nicht stören, und ich hochgeladen sowieso immer alle Videos zu meinem YouTube-Kanal. Aber ich war damit nicht ganz bequem, und ich verlassen sie nach ein paar Monaten. Seitdem arbeiten Anfang 2015, ich habe nur gearbeitet mit Hilfe, unterstützen von Crowdfunding. Ich bin ein völlig unabhängiger, objektiver Journalist.

Und ich werde Sie über meine Arbeit zu sagen, ich bin stolz auf sie! Ich habe mehr als 4000 Videos gemacht, ich der einzige westliche Journalist dort im Jahr 2014 während der Lugansk Blockade war, ich habe mehr als andere Journalisten auf Front gewesen, mehr Zeit in der Donbass warzone, die erste an vielen Orten.

Was sonst? Ich habe keine extremen politischen Ansichten. Ich liebe Großbritannien , den englischen Fußball-Nationalmannschaft. Ich hasse Propaganda. Ich liebe es, Reportage. Also, die Reise nach Correctiv – hier – es war keine Provokation, ich wollte wirklich zu ihnen Fragen zu stellen. Aus diesem Grund. Aber sie weigerte sich, Fragen zu beantworten, hierUnd die Fragen von Billy Six, hier, auch wiegerte.

Nach unserem Besuch, Billy Six erhielt sogar Morddrohungen!

Und hier ist das sensationelle Video Beweis dafür, dass Korrektur gelogen haben!

Mehr hier!

Flatbed-8.BMP(1)Also warum habe ich vor kurzen Deutschland besucht? Ich habe schon lange eine gute Beziehung zu Deutschland, 1994 (foto) habe ich im Rahmen eines Schüleraustausches zumersten mal Deutschland besucht, von daher spreche ich immer noch ein wenig Deutsch, obwohl ich es noch ziemlich verbessern kann. Im Rahmen des Besuches wollte ich Billy Six über MH17 befragen, denn ich arbeite ebenfalls an einer Reportage darüber. Meine Reportagen sind eigentlich keine Provokationen oder Skandale, es läuft meist ziemlich ruhig alles ab.

Ich sehr mag Deutschland und vor allen die Deutschen. Ausserdem ist eine interessante, geschichtsträchtige Zeit momentan für Reportagen in Deutschland, und so könnt ihr sicher sein, ich komme wieder.

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Vielen Dank meinen Freund Daniel Franz, der mir etwas Hilfe gab, dies zu schreiben, mit der deutschen Sprache!

Real Open Source Investigation versus Bellingcat Open Source Investigation

Graham Phillips

Work begins soon on my MH17 documentary (more to come), and integral to it, will be open source investigation.

Screenshot (60)And I’d like to take this opportunity to say – this will be real open source investigation, not that which ‘citizen journalism agency’ Bellingcat (often cited by western media for their MH17 work – right). Their ‘open source’ investigation involves having, or being given a conclusion, then finding ‘evidence’ to back it up. Despite dressing it up as something newfangled, the ‘open source’ investigation of Bellingcat is more akin to the worst policework of previous centuries – get the culprit, pin the blame, then go backwards to find, or falsify if needs be, ‘evidence’ to make it stick. There is a reason Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat has been made a figure of fun on German television –

There is a reason why Bellingcat have been accused of manipulating images, had their entire working practice dismissed as ‘reading tea leaves’ by a leading Graham Phillips MH17image forensics expert. There is a reason why Der Spiegel apologised for using Bellingcat as a source. Because, Bellingcat, is nothing really to do with ‘open source investigation’ – it’s just appropriated the tag to pass off the age-old dark art of fabrication, falsification.

As work begins on my own MH17 documentary, be sure, this is real open source investigation. I have no fixed conclusion whatsoever about what downed the airliner. The evidence will determine the outcome, rather than vice versa. 

I’m always contactable, always interested to see, hear or read anything which may be of interest to my documentary. But, unlike Bellingcat, who have used the tag of ‘open source’ to circumvent proper practices of journalism, everything will be sourced, verified, fact-checked. 

My email address is, as ever – gwplondon@gmail.com

And we go forward on this hugely important project with integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the truth.