Administrative Notes on my YouTube Channel

A few administrative notes, about my YouTube channel. Last year, I received 2 ‘strikes’ against my channel from YouTube, for videos from 2014, Donbass, 18+ in content. Under threat of a potentially terminative third strike, I removed around 200 videos from my channel, 18+ in content, from the war in Donbass.

These videos are in my archive, and I publish them here on the Truth Speaker, when relevant.

Further to this, my YouTube channel has recently passed 100,000 subscribers, and from my end, there’s a real drive to ensure that every video there is real quality. Earlier, I used to use it as a video blog, put up all sorts, and lots of videos. In recent times I’ve gone through, and removed videos which are, to be blunt, just not up to the standard I want to see there now.

Now, I want to see there only reportage and films of real quality, which change the world.

For video-blogging, such as is, I upload videos here to the Truth Speaker, and social media.

Again, any videos removed are in my archive, and I publish them when, and if necessary.

That’s all

Pressure on YouTube RT, and My First Reportage outside of Donbass, to pass a Million hits – Germany, 2016

Just a few hours ago, I read an article on the liberal Boston.com website, basically trying to ply pressure on YouTube to do something about RT’s popularity on the site. I was interested to see myself in this context, as supposedly some sort of YouTube hotshot RT had brought in to boost their presence on the platform.

Actually when I began with RT I was right at the start of doing videos, and in many of my early videos from 2014, there was an all-over-the-shop quality due to my trying to do videos, photos all at the same time.

Anway, it does also note my channel has more than 60 million views, and actually that would have been more still had I not had to remove all my 18+ content recently. 

Anyway, more than 60 million it is, and I’m happy to say that also includes, as of yesterday, my first video outside of Donbass, to gain more than a million views! Here it is, Germany, August 2016 – 

18+ The Donbass War Video with 2+ Million Views, Removed by YouTube

YouTube recently removed this video from my channel. This video, approved by their own ‘Community Guidelines’ in October 2014, now, almost 3 years later, with over 2 million views rising all the time – a video which had let people from all over the world see the reality of the Ukraine war, now ‘in violation’ of those ‘Community Guidelines’.

This, the result of Ukrainian forces shelling of the city of Donetsk, Donbass, October 2014 – 

I appealed about this to YouTube, but they rejected that. It’s a real shame when a site which should be a window to events in the world, slams that window shut….

Fighting Censorship, and the Future of my 18+ Videos

I’ve written recently about the action YouTube have taken against me, for a Donbass video from 2014, showing the effects of war, and Ukrainian shelling of civilian areas:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/06/youtube-and-my-18-2-week-technical-break/

For the next 12 days of my ban from YouTube, there will be more articles here on the Truth Speaker. And, once I’m back uploading video reportage to my YouTube channel, things will be a bit different.

– There will be no further 18+ content on my YouTube channel.

Such 18+ content as there is, I’ll put here on the Truth Speaker, in the correct context as to when it was, and what it was.

On the Truth Speaker, my own site, I’m able to bring you reportage with no censor. And to make sure that it still reaches the audience it needs to, I’ll flag it up with a link on YouTube.

And of course, there’s always your help in liking, sharing, retweeting and more. Together, we’ll beat censorship, and get the truth out!

YouTube and my 18+ 2-Week ‘Technical Break’

Sorry to say I won’t be able to bring you any video reportage for the next 2 weeks. YouTube have penalised me twice in two weeks – for old videos from the Donbass war.

The videos were indeed 18+ but that’s war, sadly, and they’d been on my channel for a long time, marked as 18+. So, why now?
 
Well, I don’t know, but if I get one more strike against my channel, YouTube will terminate my account, deleting the near 5000 videos there. And, it’s YouTube, they do that.
 
I’ve also got a 2 week ban from posting video material. Of course, I could post it elsewhere, but it never has the same impact, good reportage gets lost. Better to focus all attention, energy, on doing even better reportage after the return!
 
I’ve now removed all 18+ material from my YouTube account, so there should be no further problems after this 2-week period, the first of its kind in near 4 years.
 
As for the 18+ videos, I’ve saved them all, and will think what best to do with them.

Graham Phillips – Who Is He? (Who Am I?) – A Brief Biography


graham-phillips

To support my work, click here. 

I read a lot of conflicting information about myself, so would like to set a few things out. We will deal with criticisms here also.

I’m a completely independent, crowdfunded correspondent, unaffiliated to any company, or country. My YouTube channel, with around 2500 videos, over 65 million views, over 110,000 subscribers, can be found by clicking here.  This is a brief bio of myself.

Early Years

I’m a British journalist, Graham William Phillips, full name, graduate of Dundee University,  (Philosophy with History) one of the first Guardian Student Brand Managers, a trainee journalist scheme in the late 1990s. At university I did some student theatre, under the name Brandon Reed. Back then, I saw my career either as journalism, or writing for the theatre. However, it turned out that theatre was just a student phase in my case, and journalism was the calling.  (Photo from uni days, right)

Graham Phillips universityAfter graduating, I moved to London in 2001, and with opportunities in journalism limited at that point, looked at other options to build a career. I spent most of my near 10-year career in London working at the (now defunct) Central Office of Information.  I mainly worked in the Website Rationalisation department, reviewing government websites for closure, integration.

In Ukraine

Then, at 30, I fancied a change, a reboot, live in another country, learn a language. Loving football, wanting to experience being in a country in the run-up to a major tournament, opportunities in journalism, and simply liking Ukraine, I moved to Kiev in 2011. Over the next 2 years, I worked at What’s On magazine, did some English teaching in addition, and studied Russian.

In 2013, I left Kiev (read about the reasons why, here), and returned to the UK for several months, contemplating the next move. I decided to go back to Ukraine, to live in Odessa. I was living there in November of 2013 (I’d built up my own company doing corporate English lessons, was working on a book), when Euromaidan began. Due to the time I’d lived in Kiev, and seem the radical elements behind Euromaidan, I didn’t support it. With the western media at the time almost entirely pro-Euromaidan, I took to writing blog posts telling the other side.

In Donbass

My position, differing as it did from western media, brought me to the attention of the channel Russia Today, RT. We started doing Skype interviews, this coinciding with my starting to Graham Phillips Donetsk airportgo out and film things of my own volition, including Euromaidan, Crimea. In early April, RT offered me the chance to go for a week’s work in Donetsk.

I worked in Donbass between 2014 and 2017. At the start, I had a fairly short working relationship with RT, ending after my 2nd deportation from Ukraine.

At this point, RT made it clear to me that they considered me to be ‘finished’. However, as I told them then, it was just the start. Now, my videos frequently get more hits than RT’s videos on YouTube. RT have even used my videos several times – though this is neither with my permission, nor something I like to see. I feel that RT should stick to their words of 2014, and not touch my work. For sure, I’ll never speak to them again. Although, there is no question that I absolutely support their right to exist! And, I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me.

After RT, from late 2014 until early 2015 I worked with the Russian channel Zvezda. Since then I’ve worked for myself, funded by my YouTube channel, and crowdfunding campaigns. I was wounded while covering frontline action near Donetsk in November of 2014.

I’ve reported extensively from the frontlines in Donbass, including MH17 site.

I spent a month, as the only western journalist there, while the city of Lugansk was under siege, and bombardment, in August 2014. 

I like doing interviews, and have filmed interviews with a lot of prominent people, from poklonskayaformer Ukrainian PM Nikola Azarov, PM of Crimea Sergey Aksenov, former Chief Prosecutor of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya and many more!

I’ve been called a ‘war reporter’, and in my time in Donbass, I filmed a lot of reportage, from the frontlines.

Some of my ‘street reportage’ has gained wide popularity. This, from Munich, Germany, well over a million views –

This, from Brexit time, over 200,000 – 

In my time in Donbass, I did humanitarian aid, raising around £100,000, given to helping victims of war there. I’ve made several full-length films while in Donbass, and also reported extensively from Crimea. In March of 2016, I reported briefly from the Baltics, before being deported after a couple of days.

I live in London, love Great Britain, just not the government, been a long term supporter of the England football team. My work in Donbass has seen me awarded several medals.  I speak German, and Russian, to a reasonable level.

You can read more about how I went from being a channel’s correspondent, to a crowdfunded correspondent, here.  In May and June of 2016, I reported on the UK referendum, making around 50 videos on that. The project was entirely crowdfunded.

In August 2016, I went to Crimea to make a film about a British person on holiday in Crimea. We made the film covering the period from 2016 to early 2018! That film was completely crowdfunded, independent, and you can see it here – now with over 50,000 views on YouTube!

My film this year telling the truth about the Georgian war!

This video from Crimea, about the difference between Artek, reality, and BBC propaganda, has been a big hit, approaching 150,000 views!

I did exclusive reports from the Crimea bridge –

In 2018, I began a project to film all over Russia in the context of the World Cup 2018. See here, my film from Moscow!

And from Volgograd!

My recent World Cup project, completed, hugely successful, well over a million views all told. Check out here for example –

Now, I’m back in the UK, doing reportage from here. You can see some recent examples here:

And more videos on my YouTube channel all the time!

***Criticism***

To some, I’ve become an object of hate. I stand accused of my reportage being ‘pro-Russian’, ‘one-sided’, or myself of having some connection with Russia.

Harassment Letter

While in Ukraine, I worked on a book called ‘Ukraine: Men, Women, Sex, Murder’ – part of this involved investigation into the death of Barry Pring. In order to try to stop this investigation, Anna Ziuzina, the prime suspect and then, UK resident, contacted police with claims that I’d been ‘harassing’ her, etc. The police, on her word, issued me with a draft ‘prevention of harassment letter’. I published this online, in the interests of complete openness about everything. I also replied to the police, that all of the allegations made by Zuizina were completely false, and provided evidence to support this. The letter was thus withdrawn, and never officially served on me.

However, I see it used by those against me now, posted online without any context, or fact, to attempt to discredit me….

Only covering one side, Russian terrorist etc

Fullscreen capture 06062016 011716.bmpAs for my reportage, I’ve always done everything to cover both sides, but there are logistics here, deported and then banned from Ukraine, I couldn’t ‘cross to the Ukraine side’ or interview Ukrainian soldiers, in the way I’ve done with DPR, LPR, in Donbass. When it was possible, I interviewed Ukrainian soldiers as I did people’s militia.

As for Russia, I neither have, nor have ever had, any official connection with Russia. Neither the state, nor any state organisation etc, has ever been involved with my work. Quite the opposite, RT actually instructed me not to work in Donbass, after my 2nd deportation, withdrew all visa support. The channel Zvezda may report into the Russian state, but that never impacted on my work with them in any way – I recorded my pieces, sent them to Zvezda, then put them on my own YouTube channel – always my main focus. In any case I quickly ended my association with Zvezda.

There are photos of me holding guns in Donbass. What to say? I took part, as part Graham Phillips gunof filmed reportage, in shooting drills. And I posed for a few photos. Quite often, the militia guys would want you to pose with a gun, a bit of fun in often long hours without action, and I figured ‘why not?’. Building relationships with combatants was what got me to where I always wanted to be – filming at the sharpest end of frontline action. These photos can – and are – taken out of context. I never did, or would, engage in any combat, I took my duties as a correspondent seriously, kept to within acceptable boundaries.

These photos are just a part of war. There isn’t one real correspondent in a war zone who hasn’t at one point picked up a weapon – why would you not, the nature of a journalist is to be interested in things, to want to know how things feel. The difference is, that I show you this side. And the ‘silly selfies’, that’s also a part of war, and I show you that.

I’ve seen myself described as a ‘sex tourist’, ‘sex blogger’ etc. Just, nonsense, I did keep a blog, there were some articles on the subject, but there were just as many articles on abandoned buildings in Ukraine. As for writing about prostitutes, I’ve indeed done that, some years ago. And I always believe in being completely open about everything, and the point I put myself on the line to write these articles was my conclusion, that prostitution is unacceptable. 

I had an incident early in my career where Ukrainian media claimed I triggered a tripwire, then claimed I’d been shot at, RT said a similar thing – and I was working for them at the time. It’s true I made a rookie error, didn’t capture what Graham Phillips tripwireI’d stated on film, but I never claimed whatever it was that went off at my feet was the shot. Even pro-Ukrainian media initially said there was something which sounded like a shot. I based saying that on what I’d seen, a Ukrainian soldier pick up his gun, point it at me, a crack.

However, I hadn’t captured it on camera, I got absolutely caned for it, and it was the last time I reported something I hadn’t captured on camera. It was a rookie error, and a hard lesson, which formed the basis of my career since – facts as filmed, nothing sensationalised. As for RT, they caved under pressure, threw me under the bus. That’s just RT, as far as I’m concerned – an entirely disloyal channel. When the going’s good, your best friend, as soon as the going gets tough –  under the bus you go.

Max Seddon of Buzzfeed wrote a much-read article about me. Some of it was correct, some patently incorrect. It was basically a standard hit-piece – my profile was rising at the time, my position was inconvenient for the western media, and it was written to bring me down. While some of what Max wrote was correct, other parts were entirely fabricated. 

I’m certainly no stranger to criticism in any case, and I accept it that it comes with the path I’ve chosen.

Some may not approve of parts of my work in Donbassinterviewing POWs for example, gets attention. But I always did so reasonably, politely. And more, after my treatment in the two times I was in captivity by Ukrainian forces, including threatening with being killed, kept with a bag on my head for hours, interrogated, I did indeed feel an element of ‘why not’, when it came to my own Graham Phillips gayinterviewing of POWs – albeit I did so, as mentioned above, with decency.

Ukrainian media has accused me of being a Russian agent, an MI5/6 agent, both as untrue as the other. Gay (based on a Morecambe and Wise student theatre tribute photo) – nonsense, not that I’m homophobic. I get accused of being ‘anti-Ukrainian’ – it’s just not true, I was the correspondent writing articles in 2012 defending Ukraine before the Euros. But, I won’t defend the indefensible, and where are all these correspondents who wrote about how dreadful Ukraine was pre-Euro 2012, in any case?

As for being a UKIP member – indeed I joined them before the General Election of 2015, wanting to send out a message that the United Kingdom needed a referendum on EU membership. That referendum’s been, and I was for Brexit. I’ve not been a member of UKIP for a long time, was never an active one, and haven’t been for a long time, but without their pressure the country wouldn’t have got to the referendum which was clearly needed.

I was criticised for my reportage on Correctiv, and for running from the police, called by Correctiv.  I absolutely defend this style of reportage, it’s a bit confrontational (however there was no ‘trespass’ of any kind here), but there are graham-phillips-correctivmany different forms, styles of journalism, and many different approaches which can be used to illuminate a situation – the point of any journalism. About running from the police – a key imperative of any journalist is to keep the footage you’ve filmed. With German laws as they are, no question the police would have erased my footage, at the very least, and the real possibility of nonsense ‘trespass’ charges against myself. In that situation, I’d always go for a clean pair of heals, and a full set of files.

Then, there was heavy criticism of my interview of Ukrainian POW Vladimir Zhemchuhov, at a prisoner exchange in September, including the Ukrainian consul officially complaining to the UK about me. What to say? I took quite a robust approach with him, but, stayed within ethical limits, as in all my reportage, stand by it, would do it again. You have to take a tough line with terrorists!

In 2017, the BBC did a hit piece on me, my answer to them here – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/24/bbc-hit-piece-my-response-to-it/

In May 2018, the BBC followed up their 2017 attack by referring to me variously as pro-Kremlin.


Despite my repeated requests to them, they have yet to provide any evidence to support that claim. It’s the BBC…

I think that about covers it for now!

Drones in a War Zone – Some Do’s and Don’ts

Graham Phillips

The world of drone-flying is still new, unchartered territory – affordable domestic Graham drone1drones have only really appeared in the last year, now there are hundreds of thousands all over the world.  They’ve quickly become more powerful too, capable of flying kilometres in range, vertically.

Effective mini-helicopters, free of legislation which has failed to keep up with them. So many ‘who knows?’ about drones – can you fly them in cities? Could you fly one in central London say? Will the future, as they proliferate, be drones buzzing and wizzing about all our skies? There are signs of the law starting to reign in the era of the drone ‘free for all’ –

graham phillips droneI was very pleased to see my drone footage featured recently in the Huffington Post. However, it’s not always been plain flying operating a drone in the war zone.

Back in April, I crowdfunded my first drone, a Phantom 2. It’s actually a fairly basic drone, but there are few feelings quite like your first drone – actually operating what’s in effect a mini helicopter. Putting something up in the sky, more something which shows a live feed of what it can see. You can hardly avoid comparisons to a kid at Christmas and so forth.

I returned to Donbass in May so enamoured with my new gadget, I wanted to fly it over everything, everywhere, all the time. Which I did in my previous stint reporting in Donbass, learning a few important lessons in the process.

Do’s – 

A drone can show destruction in a way just not possible for ground-based cameras. It can show more information than ground-based cameras can, instantly, more effectively. Here we can see, by use of drone, clear demonstration that shelling was hitting entirely residential areas, of Donbass –

A drone is incredible at capturing objects hit by shelling, burning, once again conveying the key visual information much quicker than a ground camera, adding more information. So do it carefully, but do it if you can –

It can make event footage absolutely stunning –

Or just really cool –

So these are all Do’s – now to – 

Don’ts

I was so keen to fly my drone everywhere, I flew it everywhere – including over Ukrainian positions, from DPR positions were I was –

There is a fact of flying a drone on the frontline of battle, that you can’t do it without a commander, or soldier looking over you either from curiosity or supervision. This leaves you incredibly open to allegations of ‘spying’ –

Fullscreen capture 21102015 210858.bmpAnd another fact is you have to show drone footage to the commander of the positions from which you’re filming, as protocol. As in the case of the below drone footage, i showed it, got approval for for. But was still accused of ‘revealing’ positions of the side I was filming from – see comments here –

graham drone2So, it’s tempting to want to film from the frontlines, but for all sorts of reasons, one best to resist. So not to drone on (sorry), to wrap up on a (kind of) positive. A drone puts the power in your hands to show something which can change the world.

This recent footage, from Pervomaisk, was featured in the Huffington Post, and, judging from the messages and feedback to myself, to many, it ‘put Pervomaisk on the map’, making people aware of the dire situation there. It was also one of the key reasons for my signing a contract with Broadband TV to more widely distribute my work –

In a war zone, as a journalist, your drone can be your most powerful weapon. Follow the tips above, don’t turn it up yourself, and it take you, and your viewers, to places you’d never imagined possible.