Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shut 'Em Down!

In these days of false news  and the growing focus on mobilizing 'the grass roots'  to do your revolutions, or demand 'justis', or lock somebody up,  is it much of a surprise when some governments that really can't stand much heat, or dissident viewpoints,  enlist the help of the grassroots to shut down 'propaganda'?  Rather than trying to cope with it?

In Canada the former government - through its self-defined 'grass roots' mandate - took it into mind to have a good look at registered charities. As a result of which a number of charities that had objectives 'at odds' with government policies,  found themselves un-registered or investigated by the tax department or both.  It had a chilling effect on donations and doing much to help, except for 'big charity', or - even better - political parties.

So it's not much of a surprise to see this to-day

BBC News lambastes 'war via charity'.

Of course the BBC has less to do with this than Sam Bright, another freelance journalist who thinks he's found something that Kyiv already knows, and through him,  the 'revolutionary government of dignity' that unseated the last lot. Not only have they been running a fruitless little ATO (anti-terror Operation) in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, they have also been somewhat peeved by a couple  of westerners who simply will not be shut up. Until now, perhaps,  if they can get themselves banned on fund-raising sites.

Britain came out early on the side of the Maidan 'angels', buying into the myth of 'democracy' and the need for Euro-closeness (who would have thought Britain would have reversed its own need of 'Eurocloseness' before the revolution of dignity was completed)?  The Brits are still 'hyper-Euro' for EUkrainia, however. Just last week they sentenced a Brit (assisting terror) , who had foolishly been subject of a BBC piece on Brits fighting against the Kyiv government, to 7 years in the slammer. A simlar piece on a Brit fighting FOR the Kyiv government, got him some public recognition and no penalty at all.

The problem this time is with an American fighter and two newsies who have been known to do some charitable work in the Donbass,  as well as write about the 'war' there.  The subjects of this piece are Americans: anti-fascist 'warrior' Russell Bentley and videographer/helper Patrick Lancaster and British videographer/reporter  Graham Phillips.  All three have little good to say about the technocrats in Kyiv or the army of louts they have unleashed on the 'Russians'.

I don't know how much real fighting Russell Bentley  has actually done - he talks a good game - but his videography is wide-ranging and depicts many facets of life in the 'novorussian' regions,.  He often depicts himself, armed and in military gear,  but is not very often depicted in combat operations. He does give some valuable insights into a lot of things we do not see on 'mainstream' media and,  if the camera lens doesn't lie, it adds to our understanding of the situation,   a dimension we certainly won't get from the 'what war'/ 'Putin Invades' department in Kyiv.

Graham Phillips has been documenting his time in Ukraine since well before the polyankiy went up. He was there for a large amount of the Maidan 'celebrations' and on both sides of the line as a 'good thing' went sour.  Since the actual fighting has started,  his 'slant' has been increasingly anti-Maidan,  to the extent that, now,  he is a marked man,with a price on his head for illegal entry into Ukraine ( all  three have done that) as well as 'inciting violence'.  He is the subject of a couple of attempted government intimidations in Great Britain.   Phillips has done his anti-Ukrainian 'reportage'  in a number of places outside Ukraine. He is a fluent Russian-speaker and often has  an infuriating effect on Ukrainians he interviews, or depicts. Phillips was  wounded during the first year of the fighting and has documented the horrors of war.

Patrick Lancaster is truly a 'oner' with a gut feel for the people affected by this trouble and a willingness to do what he can to help. He not only documents the home front and the little things that give the impression that the people of the dissident regions are truly 'soldiering on', he also reports on,  and has been exposed to,  the fighting itself. At Christmas time last year,  he was visiting the trenches in the Delbaltsevo area - on the occasion of another  failed government 'tooth-breaking' attempted territorial integration.  His reports showed actual artillery and mortar barrages striking within meters of his position -  front line reporting at its best.  Lancaster is one of the three who claims to be running a one-man charitable operation,  as well as reporting. He has done stories on delivering relief supplies  that  he has purchased for civilians with donations of money he has received.

While the initial problem is what these men do, the BBC is carping about how they raise the money to do it.

For all three are 'free lancer' journalists,  who wouldn't be employed (any longer - for at least one was) by western media .  The BBC claims they are using "crowd funding" and 'charitable donations ' to fund their 'war activities'. The BBC claims that "Go Fund Me" or "Indigogo" being two  that Bentley's supposedly recommending. The BBC claims that Bentley  has raised over $2 000,  while pointing out that a similar 'charity' raised $2.5 million for victims of the Manchester bombing (huh?). Last time I looked,  Indiegogo wasn't a charity fundraiser and,  while Gofundme might be used for that purpose, one would have to be able to 'sell' the case for giving. The BBC fails to mention that all of three of them use 'Patreon',  another 'pay site' dedicated to supporting independent writers and artists, a category into which these three definitely fit. At least two of them have been banned by common payment sources like Paypal  but can receive money directly through email addresses and credit card companies.