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Thread: Crowdfunding war

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Crowdfunding war

    Charity donation websites, often used to support victims of violence, are being employed by a number of Westerners to finance their personal war efforts.

    Fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, as pro-Russian separatists battle Ukrainian government forces. More than 10,000 people have died since the conflict erupted in April 2014, and recently a rebel leader declared a state called "Malorossiya" (Little Russia) in Donetsk.

    Among the separatists are a number of Westerners, drawn to the country by the conflict and financing their adventures using charity crowdfunding websites - sometimes in apparent violation of website rules and Ukrainian laws.

    One of the most prominent is Russell Bentley, a Texas native who describes himself as a pro-Russian communist. When the conflict started, Bentley was working as an ordinary lumberjack in Austin. Yet by December 2014 he had reached the epicentre of the conflict - armed with a rocket propelled grenade launcher and tasked with repelling Ukrainian forces at Donetsk airport, a key strategic position.

    From the start, Bentley has relied on crowdfunding websites to finance his exploits. Crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe, JustGiving and Indiegogo are typically used for charitable purposes - including to raise money for the victims of tragedies. People can donate money in exchange for small gifts or 'perks'. For example, the Manchester Evening News raised over £2.5 million through JustGiving for the families of those killed and injured in the recent Manchester terror attack in the UK.

    However, Bentley and others have been using these crowdfunding websites to fund their own personal war efforts in Ukraine. In November 2014, Bentley launched a GoFundMe page to finance a "fact finding mission" to Donbas, the conflict zone that includes the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Bentley raised $2,000 and hasn't returned to the United States since.
    After spending six months fighting with separatists on the front line, Bentley was reassigned and now works, he says, as an "information warrior" - producing regular pro-separatist propaganda videos on the Ukrainian war.

    Bentley is affiliated with the Essence of Time movement - a Russia-based communist group which seeks to create "USSR 2.0", involving the break-up of Ukraine. Bentley's videos are hosted on the group's YouTube page, which has 25,000 subscribers.

    In the videos, Bentley encourages fellow Americans to join him in eastern Ukraine. One of his recommendations is for volunteers to raise money via crowdfunding before they travel. Bentley states in one video: "Don't show up here broke… You can do a crowd fundraiser - a GoFundMe or an Indiegogo. Say you're coming here to help. Say you're coming here to find the truth. Don't say you're coming here to fight."

    But most crowdfunding websites - including GoFundMe and Indiegogo - strictly prohibit campaigns designed to raise money for violent purposes.

    Despite the site's rules, Bentley's most recent campaign, hosted on Indiegogo, features a video of him touring the conflict areas with an automatic weapon - at one point firing at a Ukrainian military drone. He talks about his time on the front line, while encouraging armed resistance against "Ukrainian Nazis".

    Bentley's current crowdfunding effort is raising funds to publish a self-authored book about his war experiences in Donbas. The Texan offers military shoulder patches and T-shirts for donations of between $100 and $999. Before BBC Trending contacted Indiegogo about Bentley's campaign, "secret" perks were offered for larger donations.

    These perks could only be revealed by emailing Bentley directly, though he did disclose that a donation of $15,000 would have earned contributors a tour of Odessa and Kiev "after we liberate them". Bentley is asking for a minimum of $9,000 for the book project, and at the time of writing has raised more than half that amount.

    BBC Trending approached Bentley for an interview and he declined to talk to us, but after contacting him and Indiegogo, all mention of the secret perks on his campaign have now been removed.
    The communist soldier using charity sites to fund his war - BBC News

    Russell Bentley, known among most separatist fighters simply as "Texas" is a fucking legend in Donbass, at this point





    He is reportedly a bomb expert, and I had heard him admit to making IEDs for the rebels on occasion, in some of his interviews.

    He has also showed himself as a very decent sniper


    But, of course, his biggest value, as a bona fide American, is in propaganda; these days, he spends much more time on camera, for various separatist and Russian media, than in battle



    He is fluent in Spanish, here, he talks with another foreign fighter, from Colombia, on separatist TV


    He also has a pretty good singing voice and some country talent, not unexpected from a Texan, his guitar has become famous in Donbass in own right

    I do wish he'd stick to singing in English though, he absolutely BUTCHERS Russian lol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVwc54WnPdM

    He is a citizen of the Donetsk People's Republic now, has their passport


    I think he even found himself a local girlfriend


    Doing very well for himself over there hehe

    But, as far as using charity to fund his activities there... Not sure just how appropriate that is, honestly...

  2. #2
    Real MeBelle's Avatar
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    How come these aren't being reported?
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    Above the FRAY Friday13's Avatar
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    He needs to lose his American citizenship...NOW.
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    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Why do so many of those guys wear kneepads?

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    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeBelle View Post
    How come these aren't being reported?
    You mean to the admins of the charity site? Or in the media?

    Quote Originally Posted by Friday13 View Post
    He needs to lose his American citizenship...NOW.
    I don't think he is coming back to America anyway. Probably would go to prison if he did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spookycolt View Post
    Why do so many of those guys wear kneepads?
    Because when you kneel down to shoot at other guys, the pads help, a lot. US troops wear them too, for same reason

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    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    You mean to the admins of the charity site? Or in the media?



    I don't think he is coming back to America anyway. Probably would go to prison if he did.



    Because when you kneel down to shoot at other guys, the pads help, a lot. US troops wear them too, for same reason
    Is that a new thing?

    I've studied plenty of wars and can't remember this being a thing.

  7. #7
    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    And kneeling has no impact on accuracy unless you are using a stabilizer like a fallen tree or a rock or something.

    You either shoot standing up or go prone.

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    Veteran Member Moorhuhn Wanted Champion Hollywood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookycolt View Post
    Why do so many of those guys wear kneepads?
    Look at the environment they are fighting in.
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  9. #9
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    It's not about accuracy, per se; but about protecting the health of troops

    They have to operate in all kinds of environmental conditions and spend plenty of time kneeling and crawling around in battle



    Pads protect the knees and elbows from wear and damage.

    Same reason carpenters and such workers, who also spend much time on their knees, wear the pads too



    Many Russians used to say Americans are wusses for relying so much on gear lol

    But, then their own forces finally started issuing those knde and elbow pads, especially for Syria

    Nobody refused them

  10. #10
    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood View Post
    Look at the environment they are fighting in.
    What's special about it that changes the rules of firing a weapon?

    I think what it shows is that you have a lot of people that don't know how to shoot.

    Or they give lots of sexual favors or something.

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