World Cup 2018! It’s On! Information War is On! And my massive World Cup 2018 plan (with your support)

No sooner had the World Cup draw been dusted off yesterday from Moscow, than the British press started laying into the destinations England will play –

Not that they’d waited for that of course, just a few days before, blaring all over western media, here represented by the Guardian: 

Gay fans warned holding hands at Russia World Cup will be dangerous

And of course, the information war against Russia’s World Cup began long before that even, of which I’ve written here. 

So the information war is truly on. My plan – to visit each of the 11 host cities in Russia, and make a film from there, in English, and Russian. Not a promo-film. Real, factual reportage, showing you the reality of each city. As you know, all my work is completely crowdfunded, so if you support it, it’ll happen!

And this, my 3rd World Cup by the way, so there’s something to compare!

Sochi Youth Festival and the Missing Western Media

Last week, the southern Russian city of Sochi hosted the World Festival of Youth and Students, with 25,000+ participants (a new record), and some 5000 volunteers, from 180 countries across the world taking part, in this epic event.

The regional part of the youth festival ran from October 14th to 17th, in 15 Russian regions, during which delegations visited 15 cities where participants took part in wide-ranging discussion, cultural and sports programs.

President Putin was there, speaking English even, there were concerts, mass events, and more.  All in all, it seems to have been an epic event. I was sorry not to be able to cover it myself, but, committed to Crimea, and finishing my film, it just wasn’t possible. I was more sorry upon learning that seemingly not one other western correspondent had made the perfectly accessible journey to Sochi – a 2 and a bit hour flight from Moscow.

And we all know there is a veritable mass of western correspondents in Moscow. Because they all, for want of a better expression, crawl out from under their stone whenever opposition figure Alexei Navalny (maximum of 10% in the ratings, btw, despite the 100% positive western media coverage) so much as blows his nose. His gatherings typically have about 100 attendees, and 100 western correspondents covering them.

Yet Sochi, seemingly, with little prospect of finding anything negative to report there, the masses of Moscow-based western correspondents clearly didn’t deem it worth the plane fare. I can only apologise again myself for not going, if I’d really thought that not one western correspondent would go to cover this, I’dve had to go. But, live and learn, in this case not to expect even the minimum of the western press in covering Russia.

World Cup 2018: Information War against Russia, Game ON!!

In less than a year, Russia will host the 21st FIFA World Cup. The eyes of the world will be upon Russia.

So, what’s the western media of the world doing? Of course, long before the first whistle is even blown, they’re sticking the boot right into Russia:

July of 2017 has the New York Post blaring:  FIFA’s rewarding bad actors by letting Russia and Qatar host World Cups, in an article which goes on to tear into Russia from every conceivable angle.

Screenshot (2714)The same month has the Economist blasting: The cost overruns on Russia’s World Cup stadiums are staggering – They have become a symbol of corruption under Putin’s rule

That article goes on to similarly rip into Russia, including the line ‘Western newspapers report that the builders made extensive use of forced labour by North Korean workers.’ Well, that’s authoritive then, ‘western newspapers’.

March had the Sun coming out withTHUG ARMY  Russian footie hooligan ringleaders warn England fans could be KILLED at Russia 2018 World Cup after Euro 2016 violence

One gang leader reportedly warned: “You think it was bad in France – wait until Russia. This is our home fixture”

The Daily Mail joined the offensive with‘If you thought France was bad, wait until the World Cup’: Russian football ultras warn England fans they could be KILLED at 2018 tournament in a repeat of Marseille violence last summer.

Screenshot (1302)What’s the UK government’s position on the World Cup 2018, by the way? Well, we can discern that by looking at the documentary the BBC came out with in February about the ‘secret world of Russia football hooligans‘, and all the predictable ‘scary men in masks’ that went with that, and a raft of other articles on the theme. The Sun carry the party line forward with their article of the other day based on a convenient ‘freedom of information request, to the Foreign Office’. HARD SELL – Chiefs at the Foreign Office believe the 2018 Russian World Cup will flop because of the country’s football yobs

There’s always doping to fall back on, of course, as in June we read: The drug squad: The Mail on Sunday reveals every member of Russia’s World Cup team is under investigation in a doping probe that shames football

That this claim was actually branded as ‘nonsense’ is something the western media weren’t quite so keen to impart.

But if, piercing this wall of negativity, some positive perceptions about Russia, or Russia western mediaRussia’s hosting of the World Cup 2018 may penetrate, there’s to stamp that out is the fall-back (Daily Mail, June 2017): Russia is ready for the World Cup that it desperately can’t afford – £20bn has been spent but there are still pitfalls

Ie, a western journalist goes to Russia, takes a few photos of things in a poor state, and frames it all in the context of ‘so, ok, the World Cup may be ok, but all the money spent on the stadiums means the rest of the country’s in ‘crisis’.

In the western media, the result of the World Cup in Russia, 2018, has already been decided – a home loss. And they’re going to do everything possible to make sure that comes to pass…

The Sunday Times today: How they Faked News: Exclusive

A little while ago, I was contacted by the Sunday Times to give comments on my involvement in the Anna Ziuzina / Barry Pring case. I don’t trust the Sunday Times, or their ‘journalist’ James Gillespie – just a standard western prostitute of the press, and it was clear they had already decided the narrative of their article.

I was sure that Gillespie (pictured) would simply take the parts of my answers which suited his pre-set script, so this is how I replied – we’ll have a look at it, then the Sunday Times fake news.

My reply in full: 

Thanks James, sorry I was just busy and didn’t get around to it, am out of the country now in any case. Let me answer these for you – please either publish my answers to all your questions, in full, or do not include or mention me in your article at all. If you edit or abridge any of my answers below, you will accept a claim of £100,000 damages against the Sunday Times for misrepresentation, and defamation of character. I will donate this all to a children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass.

Just to be clear, James – your publishing anything apart from everything I have written to you below accepts liability from Sunday Times to pay £100,000 to a children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass – of which I will give you full details. I will not benefit from this transaction in any way, the funds will be transferred directly to the children’s home.

All my answers are below. If you misrepresent me, I will publish them in full, for public record, in addition to the above damages.

On 27 July 2017 at 22:51, Gillespie, James;james.gillespie@sunday-times.co.uk>

Hi Graham,

Sorry we haven’t been able to speak, I guess you’re busy.
I’m writing a piece for the paper on Sunday about the Barry Pring inquest, specifically focussing on how flawed the hearing was. As you know the verdict was quashed in the High Court and a new inquest ordered.

It’s a bit strange you’re writing this six months after the event. And you are leading with a deliberately biased narrative. Who has paid you to write this? It sounds a lot like the narrative the Ziuzina family pay their lawyers and representatives to circulate…

Part of the reason for this finding was that the coroner had allowed “hearsay evidence” including your written and verbal accounts.
I just wanted to give you the chance to have your say about those findings.
Do you accept that the material you gave was “hearsay” and not based on proven facts?

My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The coroner’s ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths, which I set out in a letter of the time. The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed – this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations. And you can call my evidence ‘hearsay’, but not one part of it was disproved, whereas I disproved the entire basis for the ‘quashing’, in my document of the time.

What evidence do you have for your claims that Ganna Ziuzina was involved in her husband’s death?

The evidence presented in my 58-page report, fulsomely praised by the coroner at the time, after she had been in possession of it for around 4 years, and studied it extensively in that time. Yet in one month, something suddenly happened to change that, and then it was ‘hearsay’. The coroner’s verdict, concrete at the time, was clearly compromised by external UK ‘interests’.

Why has your book on the case been withdrawn from sale?

Because Amazon do withdraw books when they are aggressively threatened by expensive lawyers, as Ziuzina did here.

Do you maintain that the evidence you gave to the inquest was true and accurate?

You’re repeating yourself here, all answered above. In any case, absolutely true and accurate.

Do you accept that you are known as an opponent of the Ukrainian government?

I’m an opponent of anyone who tells lies.

Will you seek to give evidence at any future inquest into Mr Pring’s death?
What kind of facile, wantonly (trying to be) provocative questions are these? If I’m asked by the coroner, I’l (sic) give evidence. If not, then I won’t. There isn’t an ‘open questions’ part of an inquest…
The Anna Ziuzina / Barry Pring inquest verdict was overturned because it was inconvenient for the UK government’s position on Ukraine. Look out for my further videos and reportage on the theme, all entirely factual, truthful, accurate, as all my work.
 

Best, Graham

Sunday Times today: (my comments in bold)

Crucially, the coroner admitted she had not realised there was an alleged commercial interest of a “witness who provided hearsay evidence”, a reference to Graham Phillips, 38, a vlogger — video blogger — who described himself at the inquest as an “investigative journalist” and who had written a book on the case.

So the Sunday Times have clearly just picked a term to belittle me ‘vlogger’, and the second is just a lie – I didn’t describe myself as an ‘investigative journalist’ at the inquest, the coroner herself did. (I describe myself as always, a journalist.)

The book has been withdrawn from sale after legal warnings of defamation but the material formed a central part of the evidence at the inquest.

There is also another element to Phillips’s work. He often reports on the Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and is known for his pro-Russian views and opposition to Ukrainian authorities.

The BBC reported last week that from 2014 to 2015 Phillips was employed by Zvezda, a media channel run by the Russian defence ministry, and freelanced for the state-operated television network RT.

Again, the Sunday Times just selecting perceived negative aspects of my work to attack me. Any chance of something neutral to form a balanced picture? Of course not – this is a hit piece, just like the BBC’s was. 

In May 2014 Phillips was banned from entering Ukraine for three years on the grounds of “national security”. The Ukrainian government even took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to the UK condemning Phillips’s actions.

Just more negative about me, just in case you may have entertained any other notion, going into the ‘business part’. 

Apart from her lack of knowledge about Phillips’s activities, Earland also admitted she did not realise that hailing private cars in Ukraine rather than booking a taxi was a regular sight in the location where Pring was killed.

“Both strands of evidence are material and relevant and raise the potential of a different inquest conclusion being reached,” court documents record.

So you mean the coroner has claimed, or the Sunday Times are claiming, that in the 9 years the coroner had to work on this case, she didn’t do one Google search about me? A Google search would have thrown up all of the above negatives of the Sunday Times, because that’s what the western press do – write negative things about me, to attempt to discredit my work, because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

However, the coroner would have also found some ‘non-negative’ information – that I’m the journalist who has reported on the Ukraine crisis, then war in Donbass from the start. Thousands of videos, real reportage from the scene, first to the scene, risking my life to bring the truth, showing both sides.

And there are entire parts of my work which have nothing to do with ‘Ukraine’, for example my extensive Brexit reportage.

As for the nonsense about ‘hailing private cars’ I wrote of that yesterday even.Ziuzina with her new husband Ivan Lister, a Briton. She is now living in Spain

Which is exactly what Ziuzina wants. She is now living with a new husband, British businessman Ivan Lister, 48, in Spain and uses the name Julianne Moore.

“Despite the fact that I was the only witness to what happened, I was not told about the hearing,” she said in a Ukrainian newspaper. She also said reports that she had refused to give evidence were a lie and “the main witness of my ‘accusation’ was the famous pro-Russian propagandist and blogger Graham Phillips”.

She added: “For me, the death of my husband was a tremendous shock. Twice I went to a psychiatric hospital. Then there was a long way to rehabilitation, including being on antidepressants.”

Asked if she knew what had happened, she replied: “Whether he had enemies, I do not know. I can only say one thing: I am not involved in the death of Barry.”

All of this, of course Ziuzina’s side, sympathetic photo of her (but a key detail, see below), and having a go at me again. 

Phillips is still convinced she was involved. Approached by The Sunday Times, he accused the newspaper of being biased and said: “Who has paid you to write this?” He demanded £100,000 if all his answers to questions were not published in full, saying he would donate the money to a children’s home in Ukraine.

As above, I did indeed ‘demand’ £100,000, as above, to help the children’s home in Lutugino, Donbass, which I have been helping for a long time. I knew the Sunday Times would lie, as they indeed did, so wanted to give the opportunity that something good may come from their deceit. 

“My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The . . . ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths . . . The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed — this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations.”

Ok, so here’s what they’ve missed out from my answers, in bold: 

It’s a bit strange you’re writing this six months after the event. And you are leading with a deliberately biased narrative. Who has paid you to write this? It sounds a lot like the narrative the Ziuzina family pay their lawyers and representatives to circulate…

My evidence was absolutely based on proven facts. The coroner’s ‘quashing’ of the verdict itself contained several significant errors and untruths, which I set out in a letter of the time. The ‘quashing’ shows that the British justice system is entirely flawed – this case was quashed because it was inconvenient for UK-Ukraine relations. And you can call my evidence ‘hearsay’, but not one part of it was disproved, whereas I disproved the entire basis for the ‘quashing’, in my document of the time.

He said his book had been withdrawn for sale on Amazon because the website had been “aggressively threatened by expensive lawyers” and accused this newspaper of asking “facile, wantonly (trying to be) provocative questions”.

And so what else been missed out? A lot. It was a Sunday Times ‘pick n’ mix’ of what suited them. Nowhere to be seen, my answer to the question about my being an ‘opponent of the Ukrainian government’ –

I’m an opponent of anyone who tells lies.

Other answers, they’ve picked and chosen from, but they’ve completely ommitted all of this –

The evidence presented in my 58-page report, fulsomely praised by the coroner at the time, after she had been in possession of it for around 4 years, and studied it extensively in that time. Yet in one month, something suddenly happened to change that, and then it was ‘hearsay’. The coroner’s verdict, concrete at the time, was clearly compromised by external UK ‘interests’. 

When told The Sunday Times could not agree to his demand for £100,000 Phillips said he withdrew his comments.

The Sunday Times lawyer, Kirsty Howarth, had contacted me:

Your email exchanges with James Gillespie have been passed on to me. Your comments will be taken into account and fairly represented in any article.  They will not be published in full and there is no basis for any suggestion that The Sunday Times would then have to pay £100,000.

And I’d replied: 

I gave my comments exclusively on the basis they would be published in full. If not, I revoke all permission to use them, and the Sunday Times will therefore accept my claim for liability, defamation, misrepresentation, as previously stated, if they use part of them, incurring the stated amount, a charitable donation for Donbass.

Graham

And we go from there. Lies, fake news, misrepresentation from the Sunday Times, as I knew it would be. I wrote on the theme yesterday here. 


And an absolutely key point here: 
A spokesman for the chief coroner said: “The High Court has ordered that the chief coroner should arrange for the fresh inquest to be heard by a different coroner.” Earland and Ziuzina declined to comment.

So they didn’t even have an interview with Ziuzina?? They just republished her remarks from a months-old interview in Ukrainian media?? All her comments are taken from this interview, April 1st… 

So, a months-old interview with Ziuzina dug up, dressed up as ‘journalism’ in the Sunday Times, to further aid the UK government’s position (that it all just goes away so as not to cause problems), and adds to the recent attacks on me by UK media…. welcome to the world of our ‘great British press’…

I’ll look at the legal options to see if this time, something good may come out of more Sunday Times lies and fake news.

Western Media Reaction to Victory Days in Donbass

Recent Victory Days in Donbass saw mass turnouts, I filmed in Lugansk where there were around 100,000 people celebrating, amazing entertainment, a concert, and more. 

What was the western media’s reaction to this, mass display of patriotism? Well, beginning with the Atlantic Council funded site Medium, the Atlantic Council itself, funded by western governments – and even Ukraine itself – to promote western, in this case pro-Ukrainian propaganda, it was universally negative.

All they could find to do was pore over the military equipment on display, attemping to connect it all to Russia, in various ways. 

That pumped on into other western media, with Yahoo News, reporting from AFP, declaring Ukraine rebels roll out banned tanks on WWII Victory Day in an article which put great weight on that supposed feature, and only grudgingly, casting the shadow of the Kremlin, mentioned the support shown by locals for the day.

It’s indeed ironic that the western media has absolutely ignored the constant violations of the Minsk agreement by Ukrainain forces ongoing shelling of Donbass, but when a few military vehicles peacefully roll through streets in a traditional parade, it’s all uproar and ‘bad separatists’, ‘Kremlin’ all over…

All about my Medals, by Graham Phillips

I see a fair bit written that I got awarded a medal connected to Russia, supposedly meaning I’m an ‘FSB agent’ and that kind of thing.

Screenshot (58)It’s actually all just the ever mono-directional diatribe of those ‘pro-Ukrainians’ who’d love nothing more than to discredit my work on the purported basis that I have some sort of connection with Russia.

Well, I’d like to answer, and add to that. I have actually been awarded 4 medals for my journalism, and got them mounted today, to display at home, because of course I’m honoured that people have appreciated my work enough to bestow these symbols of recognition.

IMG_20160707_160233
So, from left, actually the above ‘FSB medal‘ in question, was my first, awarded Graham Phillips medalon March 1st 2015, in the town of Chekhov, by Moscow by a (non-state) group for Russian border guards. It was given to me by Pavel Hlyupin, former border guard, and a man I’d known for several months because of his humanitarian work in Donbass, presented in a local council room there, in a small ceremony.

The medal is conferred for ‘real assistance to Novorossiya‘ and reflects gratitude for my work there. Actually, at the time, I’d just left Donbass (Novorossiya the term used by some to mean that, and wider area), having been on the frontline covering the takeover of Debaltsevo – see here –

It was given as a gesture of appreciation, recognition of my, what had been a near 7-month uninterrupted stint of work in Donbass, starting back in the Lugansk blockade in August of 2014 – see here –

There’s no state significance to it, no official connection to any Russian organ. And I’m pretty sure that if Russia’s FSB give out medals of the sort this has been made out to be, they do so in Moscow, not a small town 70km south.

Anyway, it was a nice gesture, and I was pleased to accept it!

Graham LPR MedalFast forward to December 21st, and I was awarded the medal of ‘Merit’, 2nd order, by head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky. This one was a particular honour for me, as I’d been the only western journalist in Lugansk for almost a month in summer of 2014 as the city was under siege by Ukrainian forces, without water, electricity, phone signal, little food, under constant shelling. 

On February 5th, in St Petersburg, I was given the Dmitry Karbyshev medal of military journalism (pictured), this coming at the time when I’d left Donbass, after another Graham Phillips medal Russialong spell there, and was in St Petersburg working on my film ‘Aramis’.

March 24th, back in Lugansk, I was given another award for my Lugansk work ‘from the grateful people of Lugansk’, from the International Community Fund ‘Commandarm‘.

So, there we go! Now, there’s no question that my awards orientate from a Russian, Lugansk Republic direction. However, it’s been these states which have recognised my work – the western media haven’t wanted to show my documentation of Ukrainian shelling, and more, so the western world mostly isn’t aware of my 4000+ video reports.

But none of them have any connection whatsoever to the Russian state. In any case, you can hardly choose who gives you awards. I don’t go ‘chasing medals’, but of course, it’s gratifying when someone values your work, and nice to have a tangible symbol of that. My policy is – accept the medal, be proud of it, but never let it affect, or have any bearing on my work.

Anyway, I’m happy to have them mounted, and set the medal record straight here.