SouthFront, and Southern Front, by Declan Hayes

Though MI5 and CIA disinformation is a tiresome distraction to NATO’s killing fields of Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, it must be confronted to help the young volunteers of Crimea, Yemen and Syria save lives.

BBC World’s Disinformation Team latest piece of disinformation from NATO’s Ukrainian front is that a group of young Crimeans operate a “company, whose name translates as Southern Front, [which] makes and distributes pro-Vladimir Putin propaganda across YouTube, social media app Telegram, and through a website that targets areas newly under Russian control”.

First off, as the BBC quickly admits, Southern Front’s content has nothing whatsoever to do with Vladimir Putin but everything to do with the Ukrainian Southern Front, where the BBC not only disputes Southern Front claims that two Moroccan mercenaries were killed fighting in Berdyansk but claims to have interviewed one of the alleged fatalities alive and well back home in Morocco.

The BBC’s Disinformation Unit hangs the rest of its disinformation on that worthless nugget. These are that life is returning to normal in Berdyansk, that Nazi symbols Ukraine’s Nazis left behind them are to be found there, and that Julia Smirnova of MI5’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue has something to say on all of this.


After having Smirnova guess that “Southern Front is likely to be part of the wider Russian strategy to establish control over the occupied territories of Ukraine,” the BBC then spends the next few paragraphs trying to discredit Southern Front by saying “the channel produces a regular news service fronted by young, apparently amateur presenters from annexed Crimea or self-declared separatist republics”.

Although the BBC has the answer right there in front of its nose, they refuse to see it. Southern Front, like all citizen journalists, are supplying information with the best tools they have to hand and the fact that they may get things wrong on occasion make them no different from other citizen journalists or from Jimmy Savile’s BBC for that matter.

The two Moroccans, whether they are alive or dead, mercenaries or not, are of little consequence to the bigger picture. Russian forces have captured mercenaries and killed many more and British intelligence outlets have even interviewed many other mercenaries who fled Ukraine while they still could. There is no mystery in any of that and there is no scoop in the BBC, which has its own disreputable disinformation record, in picking on some young Crimeans for making an honest effort to tell the story of those East Ukrainians who have bled since NATO’s Maidan coup.

Speaking of which, the BBC’s hit piece cites pro-Ukrainian activists, who chillingly promise to exact revenge on Southern Front’s staff. We return to such threats when discussing South Front which has long been in MI5’s cross hairs.

BBC’s Disinformation Team

This non-story was written by Jack Goodman, Maria Korenyuk, Lucy Swinnen and Andrey Zakharov of the BBC’s World Service Disinformation team. They were helped by Sami Hosny and Olga Robinson. Hosney’s previous pieces are that Algerians buy animals online for Eid and (St) Valentine’s Day is very popular in Egypt; although Robinson, meanwhile, claims to be “an experienced Russian media analyst”, a specialist “in information manipulation and disinformation” with an obsession with “the country’s domestic and foreign policy agenda”, she doesn’t display any of those black arts in this pathetic piece.

Korenyuk is a Ukrainian Russophobe, Zakharov is a Russian RussophobeGoodman is a former food correspondent, and Swinnen shares Muslim Brotherhood disinformation about Syria. Smirnova, meanwhile graduated from the MI5 aligned King’s College, before working as a Moscow correspondent for Die Welt, whose smearing of harmless Russian cartoon characters was the subject of my previous article.

The BBC’s Disinformation Team is, in short, a rum crew, who belong more in a GK Chesterton novel than in a modern newsroom. They are a joke.

South Front

When I first read the piece, I confused Southern Front with SouthFront, a group I have sporadically followed for over ten years and which I have been eager to praise, not least because they are, along with this site, in the CIA’s crosshairs. My confusion, addressed hereafter, continues, as the BBC’s Disinformation Unit had not even the professionalism to link to Southern Front.

As SouthFront have produced many videos from Ukraine, including this rather disturbing one of more than 300 dead Azov fighters in Mariupol, I spent some minutes trawling through SouthFront’s videos before I realized (wrongly now, it appears) the BBC was targeting another non MI5-controlled group. Had the BBC simply linked to one of Southern Front’s sites, I would not have wasted my time but, then the BBC’s job is not information but disinformation and misinformation.

SouthFront’s site is clunky as it eats up too much bandwidth and must rely on ads and donations to stay afloat. That said, it does a great job, most particularly on Syria, where it first entered the virtual fray. Its Syrian-born founders are well-known, as are their addresses if, for no other reason, than credible death threats have been visited upon them there.

That is no trivial or pedantic matter as the CIA’s report pretends that SouthFront is a Russian front group. It is not and never was. However, given the global ramifications of NATO’s assault on Syria, it is a natural progression and a source of much pride and hard work that it now has sections dealing with Live UkraineIsraelSyriaYemenUSAChinaAfghanistan and Ukraine. No wonder MI5 and their BBC off shoot fear these talented and motivated amateurs.

Putin Is Recruitin’

South Front brings us back to Southern Front and the sudden interests MI5 have in Russian journalistic standards, the well-being of Chechen fighters and the health and hobbies of Russia’s President.

First, as regards Crimea’s young cubs, there is in Russia, of which Crimea is an integral part, a desire to get their side of the story out, to be seen as normal folk, who liked Masha and Mishka when they were kids and want a world where their own kids can enjoy such frivolities. No less a man that Dale Carnegie said as much in his famous tome which begins in a prison where the inmates want their stories to be heard and the world to know that they too are human. The more than 50% of the population of the world the USA currently have under sanctions are no different. The Crimeans of Southern Front and the Syrians of South Front are certainly no different: their harps are strung and they will be heard.

The BBC’s disinformation that they are Putin’s puppets is the type of slur that would not even pass muster in a kindergarten playground; Putin most likely does not even know of or have the time to fret about their existence. But then the BBC’s allies tell us that Putin is dead, that he has not long to live, that his troops have committed more than 100,000 war crimes in Ukraine and that Putin is personally recruiting paedophiles and rapists to replenish his depleted ranks.

First off, Russia’s Ukrainian campaign will continue with or without Putin. That is because Russia’s Armed Forces have a set of objectives and a highly trained force of air, sea and land personnel to achieve them. Russia’s armed forces, like NATO’s or China’s, need highly skilled personnel, not the flotsam of prison cells and British Parliamentary chambers to achieve their objectives and any claims to the contrary are just gutter level BBC tabloid mis information.

There is, in fact, little qualitative difference between the tabloids and the BBC. Though both concentrate on sport for the lads, celebrity gossip for the women and how MI5 continues to take up the white man’s burden in places like Ukraine, Yemen and Syria, the main difference is the BBC gets a massive subvention, levied on every British household, to keep its disinformation circus on the road.

The CIA’s Naughty List

The CIA’s report attacks SouthFront for regurgitating “Kremlin talking points…while going to great lengths to hide its connections to Russia”. But SouthFront is not Russian-inspired. And, contrary to disinformation claims by the Atlantic Council’s resident village idiot, it is not Australian-inspired. Its founders are well-known and they are not only Syrian but a credit and a blessing to Syria.

As regards SouthFront “going to great lengths to hide its connections to Russia”, the BBC Disinformation unit went to great lengths to hide Southern Front’s origins; in their efforts to protect our virginal souls, they did not even supply one hyperlink to allow their readers verify, in either English or Russian, their claims. Instead, readers are supposed to trust the untrustworthy BBC.

Though the U.S. Dept of State’s Global Engagement Center is little better, if we drill down through their dross, we find them using the terms South Front and Southern Front interchangeably and we get links that connect to SouthFront, the Syrian-inspired site. This would indicate that South Front is Southern Front and vice versa and not The Southern Front, which was one of the CIA’s many Syrian terrorist groupings.

Though all this MI5 and CIA disinformation is a tiresome distraction to NATO’s killing fields of Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, it must be confronted to help the young volunteers of Crimea, Yemen and Syria save lives. Those young Russian, Yemen and Syrian patriots are a credit not only to SouthFront but to their homelands and to all of humanity. May they and those they advocate for have the long and happy lives they so thoroughly deserve free from the BBC’s bile. They have more than earned it.

Source: Strategic Culture