Fort Russ exclusive: Cossack Media Group on the frontline of Donbass journalism

Fort Russ Exclusive –
February 8, 2017 –
By Alexey Degtyarev for Fort Russ – copy edited by J. Arnoldski – 
 
 
 
Alexey Degtyarev is the editor in chief ofCossack Media Group‘s Cossack Radio based out of the town of Stakhanov in the Lugansk People’s Republic. In this exclusive piece for Fort Russ, Degtyarev introduces the origins, mission, and operations of Cossack Media Group, and summarizes the situation on the frontline in Donbass over the past week. – J. Arnoldski 
 
***
 
The History, Founding, and Activity of Cossack Media Group
Cossack Media Group began to form back in 2014, the year that the war began, when events in Donbass began to take a cardinal change and the residents of Lugansk and Donetsk started to fight back against the Ukrainian army. Whereas they lacked a sufficient number of small arms and possessed no heavy military equipment at all, the Ukrainian military had a sufficient number of both. However, the militia forces, which have now evolved into the DPR and LPR Army, were able to repel the superior enemy.
The idea of creating Cossack Media Group appeared quite simply. It was based on the realization that we, the republics of Donbass, were winning in combat but at the same time we were suffering defeat in the information war. In August 2014, it was decided to start Cossack Radio to broadcast and communicate to people the truth of the situation on the front – truth that is distorted by the Ukrainian media. In 2014, a particularly acute shortage of truthful information spread among people in Donbass. We tried to correct this deficiency. Thus, after the start of the broadcast of Cossack Radio, soldiers started bringing video materials to the studio which confirmed the shelling of residential areas in the Lugansk region (for the Ukrainians themselves, “their homeland”) by UAF forces. More and more video material appeared, so we decided to create a channel on Youtube, New Channel of Novorossiya, and start broadcasting it in the city of Stakhanov and nearby towns. 
 
The Youtube channel, in addition to information problems stemming from the situation facing cable and landline TV, was designed for security purposes in order to inform the local population about the shelling by the Ukrainian army. The Youtube channel reported the true situation in the cities, towns and villages of Donbass to the international community. At the beginning, there were also objective reasons that led to the creation of a Youtube channel such as the lack of technical equipment and specialists, etc needed for a real TV channel. The correspondent network of our television was just beginning to unfold. This is an expensive task, so things are going slower than we would like.
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Intercept report on the FBI; massive trove of documents unmask agency’s shady tactics, reveal FBI’s concern about racism in nation’s police forces

From RT

January 31, 2017

FBI ‘secret rules’ revealed: Massive trove of documents unmask agency's shady tactics

Petition: Don’t imprison Amy Goodman or Deia Schlosberg for journalism

From David Swanson.org

October 16, 2016

I’ve started a petition to the State of North Dakota that I would imagine and hope just about everyone would want to sign.

Don't Imprison Amy Goodman for Journalism

Here’s the whole text of the petition:

Drop the illogical and illegal charge of “rioting” that you have brought against Amy Goodman for her commission of an act of journalism. Similarly, drop the felony charges you have brought against documentary film maker Deia Schlosberg who filmed activists shutting down pipelines.

Amy Goodman filmed and reported on violent attacks on protesters of the construction of a new pipeline in North Dakota. The state of North Dakota, in its infinite wisdom, tried to figure out a crime to charge her with. Espionage would have been a tough sell, although Goodman had committed the same offense as Julian Assange or James Risen, namely journalism. Trespassing was originally the offense settled upon. When it became clear, however, that that couldn’t stick, North Dakota’s genius prosecutors simply switched the charge to rioting. After all, what is rioting if not filming and reporting on violence?

Well, Dictionary.com says rioting is “a disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons acting together in a disrupting and tumultuous manner in carrying out their private purposes.” But Amy Goodman is not three or more persons. She didn’t disrupt anybody or do anything in a tumultuous manner. And she was carrying out a public service. In fact it was the one public service protected by the U.S. Constitution (or theoretically protected thereby). The First Amendment states:

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom … of the press.”

That’s supposed to apply to North Dakota as well. But the First Amendment only means anything if it is protected when threatened. That’s why I’d like everyone who thinks journalists who do their jobs in North Dakota should stay out of prison should sign this petition.

Also in North Dakota (as well as in Minnesota and Montana and Washington) five activists recently used emergency shut-off switches to shut down five active fossil fuel pipelines. They notified the pipeline owners, shut the pipelines down in remote locations, and then waited lengthy amounts of time for the police to arrive and arrest them. They believed that in fact the destruction of the earth’s climate constitutes an emergency. They also asked journalists to document their actions.

The activists expected to face criminal prosecution and in fact are facing the possibility of years in prison. Two of them discuss their actions on my radio show this week. Obviously by interviewing them on my show I am not committing any crime. Obviously any listener is free to conclude that they acted morally or immorally, free to remain undecided, free to seek out additional sources of information, free to create their own podcast explaining why I’m a fool, etc.

But in North Dakota, Deia Schlosberg, who simply filmed what happened, was “held for 48 hours before being allowed to speak to a lawyer. The authorities confiscated her footage. She is now charged with three counts of felony conspiracy and faces a possible sentence of up to 45 years.”

If you can’t recognize why this is a dangerous development, let me add an additional concern. If this sort of violation of freedom of the press were learned of in a nation targeted by the Pentagon for overthrow, it would be used by the U.S. media to justify a bombing campaign. With the rapid militarization of domestic police, what if the Pentagon were to forget that it isn’t supposed to bomb North Dakota?

Perhaps that’s a bit unlikely, but let’s not take any chances.

http://davidswanson.org/node/5313

The Pentagon targeted the hotel where journalists were staying in Baghdad during the Gulf War. There have been other attacks on journalists. It’s already happened. It will just get worse until we say “no more” in words and actions.