Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, interviewed Vanessa Beeley, a British independent journalist and blogger who has been living and covering the political situation in Syria for more than three years. The head of the Foundation found out from Beeley what the countries of the European Union are ready to do to silence independent journalists who attended the referendums in Donbass, how the European media are connected with the special services and how the United States is trying to prolong its geopolitical dominance at the cost of civilian lives.
Mira Terada: Hello, Vanessa. Thank you for joining us today. Recently EU Parliamentarian called for sanctions against you and other journalists who were covering the Donbass referendum. Why do you think EU tries to sanction journalists?
Vanessa Beeley: I think, first of all, the actual MEP who called for my sanctioning personally is abusing her power to conduct a personal vendetta against me because of my work exposing her fraudulent support of the Syrian Douma chemical attacks in 2018 that has now been completely discredited of course by the actual inspectors who were on the ground in Syria who disagree with the corrupted final report. Nathalie Loiseau was responsible for largely sanctioning and providing the evidence that is now disproven and that led to the unlawful aggression by France, the US and the UK against civilians in Damascus effectively. I was in Damascus when it was bombed. Oh, thank God for the Syrian air defense. So, this is number one. So, this is a personal vendetta. It’s very clear because although she mentions the sanctioning of all the observers, so we were there in effect, not as journalists so much, but as independent observers of the referendum in Donbas and of the refugee communities in Russian territories. So she does mention the other observers, but she mentions me by name. And this is someone that has a history of covering up crimes of the French diplomatic corps. She’s a staunch supporter of Macron’s, so she has governmental ties to the French government, to the French regime. And she also has a history of, as I said, covering up other cases of whistleblowing against the French government or the French Foreign Office. So, this is not someone without a past, a very shadowy past. And she has connections, of course, to all the organizations that were involved in the media support and the PR support for the armed groups, the terrorist armed groups inside Syria. She, in my view, has made a very big mistake by making this attack so personal.
At least 133 observers from all over the world attended the referendum in Donbas. If the EU wishes to put itself in a position where it is going to sanction 133 independent global observers, it will become a fascist entity and it will be described as such by each one of those observers.
So, in my view, this is part of the information war, but they have made a very big mistake in the way that they have handled it.
M.T.: It is reported that you may be added to the Interpol search list after the referendum. What do you feel about it?
V.B.: I haven’t actually heard that, but I’m not surprised. Look, at the last time I tried to go back to the UK, I live in Syria, I’ve been here for three years, when I tried to go back to see my family two years ago, I was detained for 6 hours at Heathrow Airport as a Russian agent under the Terrorist Act Section three, on the basis that I was providing a secret information to foreign intelligence agencies. Now, this information could only have come from either the MI6 or from the BBC, and I don’t make any separation between the BBC and MI6.
By the way, the BBC, in my view, is an extension of intelligence agencies and Foreign Office agendas.
So, I don’t make any kind of differentiation between the two. So that was two years ago. So that was before the special military operation and before the referendum in Donbass. I’m really not surprised that they would go so far as to put me on an Interpol list. But I also believe that this shows the level of desperation from the Western power bases. They know that their narrative is crumbling. They know that militarily Ukraine is losing.
West knows that however much support, the billions of support that has been given to Ukraine, they know that Russia has so far only deployed a tiny percentage of its armed forces.
For me, I see it as a sign of desperation. I also see it as an opportunity to publicly draw attention to their hypocrisy, to their fraudulent narratives and statements and the sheer hypocrisy on a terrifying global scale. I mean, they are effectively pushing us towards nuclear war. So all of us have a responsibility to prevent this, whatever the consequences.
M.T.: I’m with you on it. The sanctions we were previously talking about are aimed at alternative journalists. In your opinion, what will be the consequences for journalism in general and freedom of speech?
V.B.: If the West has its way, freedom of speech, they’re killing it. Because there was a recent gathering in Ukraine basically sponsored by the US State Department, during which we were described, we were to be labeled as information terrorists and we were to be targeted as war criminals for providing diverging views. If this becomes the norm, then we all become Julian Assange, as we’ve been saying for a very long time.
The Assange case has been the precedent upon which the West bases now its persecution of people who are challenging its narratives.
And this is where now I’m saying what is more important than anything is that we push back both from a legal perspective, because what they’re doing is completely illegal under Geneva Conventions, under any kind of freedom of speech and thought acts, even under, I’m sure, even under EU human rights laws. We need to now be taking this to the next level. Okay. We don’t have the resources, but we have public sympathy, and we have public backing. You know, this is clear from Twitter, from social media, from the support for independent journalists like ourselves, right? So, it’s a war, and we need to stand in solidarity together and fight it together.
M.T.: Besides that, is there any way journalists can protect themselves from this unlawful prosecution?
V.B.: This is a really difficult one. I think the best way we can do it, because we tend to be fairly isolated, because they isolate us anyway. We’re all over the world and different areas. And I think what’s important is to not necessarily to create organizations, but to, as I said, further solidarity between us, support each other. If one of us is coming under attack whether we agree or disagree with that journalist’s views, he or she should have the right to have those views. And that’s what we should be protecting at all costs, because the survival of all genuine journalists is at risk now.
M.T.: In your opinion, why NATO countries do not want international audience to know the truth about situation in Ukraine and Donbass?
V.B.: I think when you talk about NATO member states, of course, what you’re talking about is the central power structure, which is the United States.
United States now is fighting for its supremacy. It’s not fighting for its survival. It’s fighting for its supremacy. And that includes the destruction of EU member states.
When it comes to hiding information that can damage its narratives, and we also have to go back to 2014 where the US and the UK engineered the regime change coup which led to the massacres in Odessa and Mariupol, and then eight years of ethnic cleansing of the Donbass regions. They are also at risk of being put on trial as war criminals, which they should be. It’s not only in Donbass, it’s globally. They have instigated aggressions, and wars, and infiltrations, and destabilization of entire sovereign nations that have led to the deaths of millions. They are fighting to retain their supremacy and to be able to continue with their murderous, unipolar regime globally without any challenge. So as I said, we’re at a very pivotal time in history where in all honesty, if we don’t win this war, we’re lost. That’s really how important it is. And when I say we are lost, I live in Syria, a country that for 11 years has been targeted and destabilized, where people are living without electricity, without fuel, without water, because the US is occupying their resources, Turkey is occupying their resources in the northwest, Israel in the south. And it’s the people that have really lost hope. So, this is what the world will look like, if we don’t win this war on every level. It’s an existential war.