The journalist Graham Phillips, writes Putin’s useful idiot (or agent of influence, take your pick) at The Mail, is “the first UK citizen to be sanctioned by his own government, without any hearing or trial, and on the vaguest of charges.”
The subsequent 200 words made me wish that the chap himself be subjected to the same punishment, along with the newspaper that lends its pages to enemy propaganda.
For that scurrilous piece, one of many such contributions by the same author, lowers our journalistic standards to the rung previously occupied by such worthy publications as Der Stürmer, Pravda and Putin’s own RT.
It’s indeed propaganda, rather than an argument, for nowhere does the article mention what it was that Phillips was sanctioned for, nor what “the vaguest of charges” were.
That is a glaring omission that I’ll be happy to correct. For Phillips is a tireless propagandist of Putin’s fascism, complementing the Mail chap’s print efforts with even more malodorous effluvia in the broadcast media.
He began to report on Russia and the Ukraine in 2009, and in 2013 became a stringer for RT and Zvezda, a paper later incorporated into Pravda. When the two countries found themselves in conflict, you get no prizes for guessing which side Phillips took.
He has been covering Russia’s bandit raid on the Ukraine since 2014 and, unlike other RT propagandists, he wasn’t at first denied entry into the country. In due course, however, he was captured by the Ukrainian army and released only on the condition that he would leave the country immediately and not return for three years.
However, Phillips kept coming back like a bad penny, blowing the trumpet for the so-called ‘People’s Republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk. In that capacity he routinely overstepped the boundaries of not only common decency, but also of international law.
In 2016 he published a video in which he taunted a Ukrainian POW who had lost his sight and both his arms. With the Russians’ blessing, Phillips also interviewed, or rather interrogated, a captured British soldier fighting in the Ukrainian army. The soldier, Aidin Aslin, wasn’t a willing participant – in fact, he was handcuffed throughout the interview.
That violated the terms of the Geneva Convention that bans coercive interrogation of POWs for propaganda purposes. Already at that time, plans were under way to charge Phillips with war crimes, which is a rare accolade for British journalists.
Lest he may be accused of being a one-track pony, Phillips also does Putin’s bidding outside the Ukraine, both geographically and thematically. Thus in 2018 he was arrested by the British police for disrupting an exhibition at the Georgian Embassy in London, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Russian attack on Georgia.
Phillips was dragged away kicking and screaming that the event was “propaganda”, and everyone attending it was a “Nato zombie”. There was a man ready to take his lumps for a cause.
His masters rewarded Phillips’s loyal service as best they could. In 2015, the Russian Border Service, a branch of FSB, gave him its aptly named ‘Border Brotherhood’ Medal. And he has also received several medals from the ‘People’s Republics’ of Donbas and Lugansk, essentially bandit lands run by Putin’s paramilitaries.
However, I don’t think mere sanctions are a sufficient reward from Phillips’s own government. His colleague and a fellow enemy propagandist William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, was hanged for similar work in 1946.
The charge was high treason, but unfortunately the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 removed the death penalty as the maximum punishment, replacing it with life in prison. Since Britain isn’t officially at war with Russia, even that would, alas, be too harsh for Phillips.
The just punishment for him would be somewhere between the mere sanctions already imposed by HMG and life imprisonment. But his colleague from The Mail sees any punishment as a gross violation of liberty.
“I have not been overwhelmed,” he writes, “in the rush of liberty-loving public figures to defend the blogger Graham Phillips against government oppression.” I wonder how many “liberty-loving public figures” rushed to the defence of William Joyce in 1946. Not many, would be my guess.
It’s true that neither Britain nor any other residually civilised country is at war with Putin. Yet it’s equally true that he is at war with us.
I find it tedious to cite another list of declarations to that effect coming from Putin himself, the highest officials in his government (such as former PM and President Medvedev) and his propaganda channels, including those that have employed Phillips.
I can only ask that everybody willing to listen should take that fascist regime at its word. Unlike democratic politicians, totalitarians say what they mean and mean what they say.
The Ukraine is bearing the brunt of Putin’s expansionist ambitions, and calling for peace at a time when Russia occupies a quarter of the country’s territory is tantamount to touting capitulation – not only of the Ukraine herself but also of the West.
Yet this is exactly what Phillips’s friend at the Mail does: “It is time to end the Ukraine War before it sets the whole world on fire and wrecks what is left of our civilisation.” (Note the term ‘Ukraine War’. That sounds as if it was the Ukraine that started it. ‘Putin’s War’, anyone?)
His concern for our civilisation is touching – and it would be even more so had he not been extolling Putin and his fascist regime for 20 years. Putin’s Russia, according to him, is “the most Christian and conservative country in Europe”. This brings into question his understanding of both Christianity and conservatism – along with his professional integrity.
We are indeed at war, whether or not we acknowledge it. At such times, the standards of liberty have to tighten somewhat. I’d suggest that, to begin with, sanctioning an enemy propagandist like Phillips is par for the course.
You decide whether Putin’s shill at The Mail, along with the paper itself, should be subjected to a similar treatment. Don’t let me affect your judgement – but you know what I think.