Excellent News!! – No Ukraine at the World Cup 2018!

Despite the fact that I spent over 3 years in Donbass, much of it reporting on Ukrainian forces shelling civilian areas of Donbass, with mass loss of life, I still try to stay objective about Ukraine.

In 2012, when I worked at What’s On magazine in Kiev, I would write articles defending Ukraine from what was unjustified western attack. Here, for example, as in early 2012 I address the western campaign to trash Ukraine ahead of Euro 2012.

Of course, it’s a different world now, a different Ukraine. But even after covering events like this, where Ukraine had shelled civilians in Donbass –

And many, sadly, similar instances, I remind myself that these are people who claim to represent Ukraine, but are not Ukraine. Ukraine in the prism of those ‘ambassadors’ exists in a monstrified, maniacal form of its earlier self. A country of which a small minority overthrew a democratic government in early 2014, then set about attacking anyone who didn’t accept their actions. Whether that be shelling civilians of Donbass, who rejected their version of Ukraine, or doing as much mischief in Crimea as they are able to. 

But, from Crimea, where I write this, I’ve met many decent, nice Ukrainians, this year –

However, sadly, they are not the ones running the show in Ukraine at the moment. And whether they even represent the majority of Ukrainians anymore, is a moot point, with many in Ukraine having full-scale swallowed their own propaganda, that ‘everything is Russia’s fault‘, they must ‘hate Russia‘, ‘Putin is to blame‘ for all their own problems, and so on. Don’t just take my word for it, look at these Ukrainian fans, at Euro 2016 – 

They are whipped up, agitated into this baying, mob-mentality state in no small part by Ukraine’s bonkers president Poroshenko. Poroshenko came to power off the back of the Maidan coup which ultimately amounted to a few thousand ultra-national Ukrainians in Kiev, forcing then president Yanukovych to flee for his life. So he knows full well that the erstwhile latent but potentially ever-ready to rock radicals must be appeased, kept at bay.

Poroshenko does this by telling them just what they want to hear. It’s all ‘Slava Ukraina‘, a nationalist chant strongly associated with WW2 Ukrainian Nazism, endless glorifying of WW2 Ukrainian Nazi Stepan Bandera, and considerably more in this canon.

Of course, Poroshenko’s favourite refrain, and one which plays particularly well to a home crowd struggling with a country beset with problems only becoming worse, is that Russia is the root of all Ukraine’s problems. Poroshenko’s Twitter is awash with the kind of apropos of nothing abuse, vitriol directed at Russia of the kind one may more commonly associate with a one of the football fans in the above video – this just a sampling –

And of course, Poroshenko loves nothing more than combining his hatred of Russia with his love of creating a public spectacle. So, we have his brandishing a bit of a bus he claimed Russia was responsible for the destruction of, at the start of 2015 at the Davos Economic Forum, in Switzerland –

Waving Russian passports, as ‘proof of Russian involvement in war in Ukraine’, at the Munich Security Conference, also 2015 –

And the list really does go on, and on, and of course, western media loves it all, always happy to let Poroshenko turn any event into the ‘Poroshenko vs Russia’ show. Last night, before the match, Poroshenko tweeted his support for the Ukrainian team, as they faced Croatia in the final match of qualifying, Group I, for World Cup 2018. If Ukraine had won, they were in the play-offs, and in with a chance of making it to Russia.

And this, would have been all Poroshenko’s christmases (which he wants tomove the date of, by the way – the existing January 7th date ‘too Russian’), coming at once. The opportunities and possibilities presented by Ukrainian qualification for the World Cup 2018, would have been simply mind-blowing. Boycott? Ok, that’s one. Or what about go to Russia, and take every opportunity with the eyes of the world on Russia, to create scandal, drag politics into sport, cause scenes, conflict, agitation, provocation, make the football a sideshow to the Poroshenko show, with him using the World Cup as a platform to boost his bid for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections. Pause for a moment, just imagine the opportunity afforded by a World Cup to do what one will, at one’s will, in the full knowledge a sympathetic global media will be cheering you on….

But, it wasn’t to be. 2 decent, but defendable goals by Andrej Kramarić, and Ukraine won’t play any part of 2018’s World Cup, apart from the inevitable trolling and attempts to capitalise on the attention, now reflected, anyway. But, that will meet with limited success. Sore losers. Ghosts at the feast. They had a winnable match against a Croatia side on a slump, with a new coach, in their own backyard, and they turned a performance so limp as to suggest some of the players themselves didn’t much fancy being a part of the Poroshenko spectacle of Ukraine at the 2018 World Cup.

Ukraine blew it. For all the good Ukrainians who support their national team, it’s bad news. For all the other Ukrainians who couldn’t wait to go to Russia, and delight in causing as many problems as they can with the ‘get out of jail card’ of knowing what an image a Russian police officer arresting a Ukrainian would present, no matter what they’d done, it’s worse news. For Poroshenko, it’s a major blow, suddenly the world stage Russia 2018 presents has no place for him to go and, figuratively of course, piss all over it.

For fans of football, it’s truly excellent news. It means we can look forward to a World Cup 2018 of sport, of high-octane clashes between the world’s best players, at some of the world’s best stadiums, devoid of all the drama that would have cast black clouds over proceedings. There will be other issues, and scandals, of course there will. But, none to hold a candle to what Ukraine was going to unleash.

It’s a reminder that in sport, there is an innate fairness. Invariably, the best team wins. Ukraine’s footballers were taken apart on their own turf last night. The trojan horse that Ukraine’s footballers would have brought to Russia 2018 didn’t get over the last hurdle. A victory for Croatia in Kiev, a victory for football fans all over the world. A rare instance where Ukraine must actually admit their own failings have nothing to do with a Russia on which they will look on in 2018, but with few looking back at them.

On a purely footballing level, as a football fan, from me – it’s a like!! 

A Graham Newsletter (#35) Misinformation, Disinformation, and how to fight all that.

Recent weeks have seen many developments, including the blocking of my YouTube channel, for 2 weeks, for a video from Donbass, from 2014, of which I’ve written about here – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/07/fighting-censorship-and-the-future-of-my-18-videos/

The actions of YouTube have forced me to remove all 18+ video material – from the war in Donbass, from my YouTube channel – I’ve written about that here, and will be posting the material here.

In removing this material, I removed an archive of over 100 videos, much of it documenting Ukrainian war crimes in Donbass. Millions of views, new views every day. Of course, people need to know this, to see this. I’ll be using this site, the Truth Speaker, where there’s no censor at all, to present these videos in the correct format. This video, result of Ukrainian shelling of Lugansk, August 2014 –

And here, information about, and context of this video – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/09/18-donbass-war-when-ukrainian-shelling-hit-lugansk-august-2014/

Not able to use YouTube, which holds an effective monopoly for videos, means we need to try that bit harder to get the word, the truth, out. Please, share, repost, like, do what you can – we need to be together in this goal, of more people knowing the truth! 

This was the video which started the problems with YouTube, with them removing this, then content featured in the video (already on YouTube for years)

I’ve now taken the necessary steps to bring my account in line with ‘YouTube Community Standards’, but the problem is that the ‘standards’ have changed – a video that was approved by them in 2014, and on the site for years, is now a ‘violation’. That video, my first to pass 2 million views, and rising all the time, one which had a real impact in showing people the realities of war in Donbass

Of course, it can be hard, emotionally, for me to remember these thing. I’ve written about that here. 

Censorship is just one of the issues facing journalists. There are the dangers inherent with the profession, for which some journalists have made the ultimate sacrifice. Here, I’ve written about US journalist Christopher Allen, killed while covering conflict in Sudan –

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

And Kim Wall, recently killed while reporting on a homemade submarine, off Denmark. 

May they both rest in peace, and be remembered for their work. 

I’ve written about them both here, and about the role of a journalist, to go to where there is either the least information, or the most misinformation – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/14/the-role-of-a-journalist-to-go-to-where-there-is-the-most-disinformation-or-no-information/

The world has several current key epicentres of mis, and disinformation. North Korea is certainly one of them. I was very pleased to present an exclusive interview, on the Truth Speaker, with the guys who made this indie documentary, The Haircut, well worth a watch:

And the exclusive interview, with Alex and Aleksa – here! 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/09/15/exclusive-interview-with-the-haircut-north-korea-documentary-guys/

As for me, I’ve written here, about moving on from Donbass, but staying with Donbass, when I’ll return there, and more. 

For now, I’m in another of one of the world’s disinformation capitals, Crimea!!

That began with, a simple, but effective, tackling of the constant rhetoric from Ukraine that the beaches in Crimea are ’empty’, ‘everything is bad’ etc... How better to do that, than to let Ukrainians in Crimea themselves, speak for themselves –

Full interviews here! 

And look out for much more reportage to come! Fighting information, and disinformation, on the beaches and on! 

Interviews with Ukrainians on Crimean Beaches…

All of the propaganda about Crimea this summer, and yet how was it, really? Here, the words of Ukrainians, on holiday in Crimea, Russia:

Here, a ‘pro-Ukraine’ lady, from Kiev, on holiday in Crimea, gives her view:

Here, ladies from Kharkov:

The words of real people, real Ukrainians, versus the wall of western, Ukrainian propaganda…

One Year on from my Interview with a Ukrainian Terrorist

Almost exactly one year since this interview, after which I received thousands, really thousands of messages, comments, threats, death threats, a bounty put out to kill me, by Ukrainian government-backed Mirotvorets. It was shown to committees, governments, and more. What a fuss!

For me then, as now – simply a standard interview with a Ukrainian terrorist.
 

My 3-Year Ban from Ukraine Has Now Expired: Statement

My 3-year- ban from Ukraine has now expired, and I’m legally free to enter Ukraine again.

I have no current plans to do this, the radicals and terrorists there are unlikely to pay much heed to my having served the ban, and even obeyed it – I did not once go into Ukrainian territory in this time.

However, it can’t be used to ‘discredit’ my work from Donbass any more by the BBC, other propagandists.

I am now not banned from Ukraine, and work in Donbass just like any other journalist.

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Because I see this video coming up, used ‘against me’ all the time, will give my statement on it here:

With terrorists, as here this Ukrainian terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov, September 2016, you have to take a tough line. I’d do it exactly the same again. And I’d add to that, that despite a robust approach, I kept within reasonable boundaries here.

And that’s that. Graham

Cambridge University, Fake Research, Rory Finnin, Anti-Russia Propaganda

Ever wonder why the mood in the UK is so entrenched, endemic, anti-Russian? Well, where are a huge number of politicians, business leaders and more, educated?

Fake News
is now in the zeigeist, and a number of media outlets have been accused of producing fake news over the last year. However it looks like even that mighty bastion, Cambridge University – 2nd oldest university in the English-speaking world, along with Oxford arguably the most famous, has been implicated in a Fake News spin-off – Fake Research.

Dr Rory Finnin, is the Head of Slavonic Studies at Cambridge University. Actual biographical details of Finnin are not readily available. In a world of biographies laid out with full details, Finnin’s gives only the scantest of details, but an internet search shows he has been at Cambridge in a senior departmental capacity since at least 2010.

Finnin is not one to even make an attempt to be impartial as an academic, here he is, on Al Jazeera in 2014, accusing Putin of ‘flat untruths, really bad strategic policy‘. Finnin entirely defends the coup power put in place by Euromaidan, making no reference at all to the terrorism behind that coup. Finnin goes on to accuse Yanukovych of shooting ‘at least 94’ of ‘his own people’ – something so preposterous even the BBC had to debunk it. Watch the interview with Finnin here –

01:47 – “The Ukrainian people legally took power.” Ok, I was at Euromaidan, and filmed there. This is the ‘Ukrainian people legally taking power‘, then…

Finnin rounds off by stating that Russia has ‘invaded’ Ukraine – it’s ‘as simple as that’. If you are, as Finnin clearly is, a pathological Russophone, then it probably is ‘as simple as that‘. However, for the rest of us, it’s really not, and surely, particularly, the finest minds of the UK at Cambridge should not be being taught by a man who believes a deeply nuanced crisis can be summarised by ‘as simple as that’, on a presumably paid-for tv appearance… no mention of the far-right, ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi forces behind Euromaidan which caused Crimea, and the former east of Ukraine to take up against the unelected coup power they put in place so strongly? From Finnin, nothing of the sort…

Finnin pops up again in 2014, on CNN, August, to accuse Russia, of ‘waging a war of aggression against the Ukrainian state’ and the ‘Russian ‘invasion’ of the ‘east of Ukraine’, ‘Russian troops’, ‘columns of tanks’, ‘regular Russian soldiers’… watch for yourself, from 2 minutes on –

Finnin continues with some bizarre faux-concern for these ‘Russian soldiers’, and the ‘backlash’ they supposedly face back home. There is a truly staggering moment after 5 minutes when he positions Mariupol as a ‘peaceful’, city where Russian-speakers had their rights enshrined, and ‘hundreds, if not thousands’, of citizens had protested Putin. No mention at all of Ukrainian forces storming into Mariupol in May, opening fire, and then firing on civilians marking Victory Day – just a couple of videos of that here –

Finnin clearly prides himself as an ‘esteemed academic’, and so forth. Actually his biography on the official Cambridge website states –

‘In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University.’

But there’s no claim even that Finnin has ever done any of his own research on this situation. All his assertions are based on what Finnin has read, and seen, in the media. And given there’s no attempt whatsoever to present a balanced picture, it’s clear that Finnin has simply chosen media to suit his own polemic. As simple as that…

Finnin’s views expressed on his television appearances are exactly those which make it into his ‘academic research’, taught to students at Cambridge (pictured). So, to recap – entirely one-sided, biased, unrelated to facts and entirely dictated by Finnin’s transparent vendetta against Putin, and Russia. Finnin’s piece, with Dr Thomas T Grant (Faculty of Law), from August 2015 – published here on the official Cambridge University site – https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/dont-call-it-a-civil-war-ukraines-conflict-is-an-act-of-russian-aggression

Don’t call it a civil war – Ukraine’s conflict is an act of Russian aggression

A few extracts of that here –

As Ukraine marks 24 years since its independence from the Soviet Union, it is embroiled in the most dangerous armed conflict in Europe – against the Russian Federation.

Wrong. Ukraine is waging a war of self-defence against an international aggressor – the Russian Federation.

Then there’s the matter of Ukraine’s right to self-defence, which of course is a right of all states. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is just about the only case where a UN member state has seized and in effect sliced off whole regions of another UN member state.

Perhaps eedless to say, there’s no attempt to balance any of this with an alternative view to Finnin’s diatribe. So, let’s come to the nub of it – what is Finnin there for, what does he want? Have a look here again – from 7 mins 30 on…

He wants Ukraine to be in NATO, have access to NATO arms. And here – 

It’s not as if the signs aren’t clear. Recent weeks have seen another intense spike in fighting in eastern Ukraine. Given all the prior sabre-rattling, nuclear threats and general rhetorical brinksmanship, it takes little imagination to see the conflict expanding beyond Ukraine’s borders into EU member states.

Rory Finnin is within the hallowed walls of Cambridge, with a role in shaping the minds of future key players in the UK. And be sure, he’s there to shape them entirely against Russia, position Russia as a ‘threat’ in the strongest way possible, incite and cement anti-Russian sentiment, warmonger even.

It’s time to face reality. The continued escalation of the war in Ukraine poses a serious challenge to international public order. Journalists have risked everything to report events from this war, and we need to stop watering down their reports with euphemism and understatement. We need to call this what it is: a war of self-defence against an international aggressor.

So, that’s Cambridge University. Fake Research, feeding into Fake News. Fake Doctors. However a very real answer to the question about why there is so much anti-Russian sentiment in the UK. Some people are making sure it’s kept like that. And be sure, Finnin is far from the only one.