Information War: The West Targets its own Citizens
The West Targets its Citizens
[Image: Alina Lipp, a German independent journalist reporting from Donbas.]
Publication date: 2022-08-13
Update 2022-08-14: Two new sources from Antiwar.
Update 2022-08-18: Tremblay’s interview with Dr. Kozin on the Ukrainian attacks on the nuclear power plant is added to sources.
The old adage that "truth is the first casualty of war" has been playing out in front of our eyes over the last five and half months during the Russian Federation's (RF) Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine.
The European Union laid the path by banning Russian media immediately after the SMO began. Western media, and some governments have been following the trail ever since.
If one ignores the "unprovoked" claim made by Western powers, the USA, NATO and the EU, and chooses to ask why the RF undertook the "invasion", a raft of reasons emerge.
The core story begins with the USA facilitated coup in early 2014 via which the elected government of Ukraine is replaced by hand picked successors. The east of Ukraine rejected the imposed, unelected government. Their initial assessments were proven well founded as the new government banned the Russian language and allowed protesters to be burnt alive in Odessa with no prosecutions forthcoming. Ukraine then launched a civil war against the Donbas region.
Contemporaneously, Crimea bloodlessly ejected the Ukrainian "security forces" from their oblast. Russia filled the security vacuum and the peoples of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation.
The civil war in the Donbas continued for 8 years while Ukraine refused to participate in the Minsk Accords, version 2 of which was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council in February 2015 (resolution 2202).
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been monitoring the civil war for years and a sudden, dramatic increase in shelling by Ukrainian forces into the "separatist" areas of Donbas in mid February 2022 gave credence to Russian intelligence that a large offensive against the breakaway republics was about to be launched. Two bills were put before the RF parliament to recognize the two self-declared republics. The key difference between them was via which government route the Russian Federation would formally recognize them. Both bills achieved massive support. On the 21st of February the RF formally recognized the republics. Their requests for security and aid assistance were signed, and the RF established a diplomatic mission in each Republic. Three days later on the 24th the RF announces the SMO.
This summary briefly documents the "unprovoked" provocation. We now meet the article proper, the lamentable state of recognized western media, AKA the MSM.
Stenographers perform an essential role in multiple branches of a modern government, where the three branches are meant to interplay to check each other's power. Stenography is essential in the parliamentary and judicial branches, providing accurate transcripts of statements made. In a court of law these transcriptions provide judges with access to detailed, accurate records of testimony and arguments to inform their judgement. They also facilitate any appeals process. For a parliament, these stenographers provided the canonical record of statements made by representatives in the people's assembly.
However, stenography does not comport well with journalism. A journalist is meant to assess the veracity of a statement, or at least place it in a wider context, before quoting it. The "he said she said” version of journalism can be both accurate and non-informative. When it devolves to only "he said" or "she said" and no attempt is made to assess the veracity of the statement made, this is not journalism, but stenography in the negative sense. A journalist descending to this level is often referred to as a "partisan hack".
One of the behaviours that we have seen emerge in media since the start of the SMO has been aptly summarized by Vijay Prashad in a recent article.
[Image: Vijay Prashad. The source if Vijay’s twitter account.]
Mr Prashad is too polite to use the term stenographer in a derogatory fashion. This, however, has become an increasing part of what the MSM passes off as reporting or journalism. They are smearing people who write analysis which strays outside of the accepted narrative. In rhetoric this is known as an 'ad hominem' attack whereby the individual rather than their argument is attacked. It is intellectually dishonest.
An illuminating, if horrific, example is The Guardian smearing Aaron Mate. The core of the problem for the "establishment media" is his extensive reporting on the perversion of the report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the alleged chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, at Douma in 2018, as demonstrated by internal whistleblowers.
[Image: Aaon Mate’s portrait from The Grayzone.]
Sadly, this undermining of critical reporting now extends to the MSM self-censoring its own work, as demonstrated recently by CBS. Elements of the media have condemned, or reported that "experts have condemned" Amnesty International for admitting that which has been obvious for months, namely that some elements of the Ukrainian defense forces, particularly the right-wing extremists, have been using civilian infrastructure and civilians as shields. Both of the above are commented upon by Patrick Lawrence in an article in which he laments the current state of reporting by foreign correspondents, a profession which he proudly pursued for for three decades.
[Image: Patrick Lawrence. The source is his website.]
Being Asked to Believe the Incredible
Mr. Lawrence also comments on one of two events in which all of the above stenography and lack of journalism march together.
The first event is the shelling of a prisoner of war camp/prison in Donetsk, south of Donetsk City, at Yelenovka. A summary of the event is that Ukraine asked their captured soldiers be housed at this facility, which was confirmed to them. After testimony began to be gathered of Ukrainian officers ordering war crimes to be committed on Russian prisoners of war, videos of which had already been circulated, the facility was attacked with ordinance which resulted in prisoners being burned alive or very seriously injured. According with Geneva conventions, medical assistance was provided by Donetsk to the injured survivors. An investigation was begun, and journalists were allowed to visit the facility. Russia invited the Committee of the Red Cross to investigate the crime scene.
Reports in western media merely echoed claims by Ukraine that Russia attacked the prisoners of war. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but that is what western media asked their audience to believe. One of the "on the ground" reporters in Donetsk who visited the site was the Canadian reporter, Eva K. Bartlett, whose report is extensive.
[Image: Eva K. Bartlett, from her website.]
A Diplomatic Aside
A second case of asking readers to believe the incredible is the recent reporting on the shelling of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia. The plant, the largest in Europe, was captured by Russia very early in the SMO. Their motivation for doing so was twofold. Firstly, it would guarantee power to some component of regions captured, for example Kherson. Secondly, control of the facility would prevent Ukrainian forces creating an ecological and human health disaster by blowing up the nuclear waste storage. One may have been doubtful that Ukraine would do such a thing early in the war, but with their war crimes against Russian soldiers and their use of their own citizens as human shields it becomes far less implausible.
The current claims by Ukraine, echoed in the media, are that Russia is attacking the nuclear power plant which they occupy and which is supplying power to the residents of the territories which they have conquered or liberated. This makes no sense whatsoever, again. The only party with motivation to attack the facility is Ukraine. Russia has documented the dates and types of their attacks. The CNN report linked above is a classic uninformative “he said she said” piece which leaves an impression of Russian guilt. This is the MSM: obsequious compliance with approved narrative with a patina of balance and no effort to assertain facts, even when the “cuo bono” situation is obvious.
The meeting of the UN Security Council at which the threats to the nuclear power plant, and thus regional ecology and human health, were discussed displayed the all too common lack of seriousness by western powers.
The meeting begins with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency reporting that attacks on civilian nuclear installations are extremely dangerous, and that for now, the situation is under control. Further monitoring is required, he recommends.
Russia then lists a series of very specific attacks against the facility by Ukraine forces, providing dates and types of weaponry used. The USA and other western countries then proceed to declare that the whole thing is Russia's fault because they started the military campaign, completely ignoring Russia's documentation of the Ukrainian attacks. The penultimate comment is by an Ukrainian representative who proceeds to make a series of unverified and unlikely claims. [A video of the meeting, with some time offsets is provided below.]
With apologies, quotes from the UN Security council are provided. Each quote is the first four sentences by the Russian and then USA representatives following the mandatory protocol of thanking the IAEA Directory General for his report.
The differences in focus of the comments is also echoed in the role of the individual who delivers the remarks. Russia is represented by their top UN diplomat, Vasily Nebenzya. The USA is represented by someone this author has never seen before, a Ms. Jenkins, the Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security.
Mr President we repeatedly warned our western colleagues that if they didn't talk some sense into the Kiev regime then it would take the most monstrous and irrational steps, the consequences of which would reverberate far beyond the borders of Ukraine. Unfortunately, that is what is now happening. Kiev [unclear] attacks on nuclear infrastructure are pushing the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe, comparable in scale with Chernobyl. In recent days the Kiev regime has repeatedly used heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems to shell the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
[Image: Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya. The source is a single frame from the video in sources below.]
The United States [of America] continues to closely monitor reports regarding the situation at the Zaporizhzhia facility, noting considerable concern regarding the risk of a nuclear incident that would endanger the people of Ukraine, neighbouring states and the international community. The cause of the situation at the Zaporizhzhia facility is not a mystery. It is another tragic result of the Russian Federation's decision to further invade its sovereign neighbour Ukraine. Russia's full scale invasion has resulted in thousands of civilians killed or wounded to date.
[Image: USA Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security, Ms. Jenkins. The source is a single frame from the video in sources below.]
The difference is between proximate and direct causes.
While the USA may treat the UN Security Council as a stage on which to perform, Russia is actually engaging in the matter at hand. The target audiences of the two differ. The USA is speaking, via a compliant media, to its population and indirectly to the "international community" (diplo-speak for “its allies”). Russia is speaking to international diplomats and via them to governments, worldwide.
Being Misled by Omission
Smearing journalists and writing unverified stenographic pieces is bad enough. To add to that we have significant events which are just not reported on at all.
For two of these, it is again Eva K. Bartlett that has done wonderful "on the ground" reporting. The first case is the use by Ukraine of anti-personnel mines. Thousands of them were launched over Donetsk City. They are coloured green or brown in natural tones to blend into vegetation areas. They are permanently active, waiting for someone to tread on them or otherwise trigger them. Each will maim by destroying a foot and ankle if stepped on. Eva reports that Ukraine signed up to the treaty which outlaws the use of these mines, but that Ukraine failed to destroy most of its stockpile of these weapons. She is not the only journalist to report on this. Indeed, if Europe had not banned RT, there is plenty of reporting by them on this new war crime being visited upon the peoples of Donbas by Ukraine. The peoples of Donbas have been suffering attacks on houses and water treatment plants and all manner of war crimes at the hands of Ukraine "defense" forces since the civil war began in 2014.
Another "unreported" event has two parts. A funeral in Donetsk City for a officer of the Donetsk People's Republic's Militia was shelled by Ukraine. Soon thereafter shells were fired on or very close to a hotel in which many journalists stay because of the stable high bandwidth network connection there. There were casualties, but the majority of journalists were unharmed. Thus, armed with their cameras, microphones and keyboards many a report on the attack was filed. One would think that any journalist would be alarmed by this and wish to publish an article on it. Whether reports were filed in the west and spiked by editors, or those journalists didn't even bother because they knew their story would be blocked is unknown. What we do know is that a deafening silence rang in the western media on a Ukrainian attack on international journalists in Donetsk City. Again, Eva's report is as detailed and as dispassionate as one can be when one is attacked by artillery.
Western Repression of Independent Media
Two reporters have been attacked by their own "western" governments, Graham Phillips by the UK and Alina Lipp by Germany. Graham Phillips was put on his own country's "sanctions list", while Alina Lipp has had money removed from her bank account and faces 3 years in prison.
[Image: Alina Lipp. Cropped from a Der Spiegel source.]
In both cases, these journalists traveled to Donbas years before the SMO began and have been documenting the suffering of the local people at the hands of their, the Ukrainian, government. Following the western hysteria after the beginning of the SMO both of these reporters were attack by their own governments for reporting from "the other side".
This is the ultimate form of "truth is the first casualty". Instead of smearing journalists reporting outside of the uniform narrative, or stenographically repeating unverified and often unbelievable claims by one side of the conflict, or just not reporting war crimes committed by that side, including attacks on journalists, in this case we have governments proclaiming to be "defenders of western democracy" targeting journalists for doing their job.
All of this "unified messaging" would have quietly slipped by were it not for reality. Ukraine is losing the conflict with Russia and the LPR+DPR republics despite the continued supply of arms and funds from the USA, the EU and various NATO member states.
It is this reality which drives the continued "doubling down" of self defeating propaganda by the western MSM. There are, however, principled reporters outside of the MSM who continue to provide accurate accounts of events, even at considerable risk to themselves. There are also analysts prepared to state opinions supported by evidence, sometimes based on these reports, to counter the unified propaganda which is being applied to "the west".
Truth has been a casualty of the MSM, but survives elsewhere.
Security Council Resolution 2202 - UNSCR, United Nations Security Council, UN Digital Library, 2015-02-17
A Rational Conversation about China, Vijay Prasad, Consortium News, 2022-08-12
NATO-backed network of Syria dirty war propagandists identified, Aaron Mate, The Grayzone, 2022-08-01
Experts widely condemn Amnesty International report alleging Ukrainian war crimes, Julian Hayda, NPR, 2022-08-06
CBS Removes Documentary on Ukraine Military Aid After Pressure from Ukrainian Government, Dave DeCamp, Anti-War, 2022-08-08
Ukraine: Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians, Amnesty International, 2022-08-04
Patrick Lawrence: So Far As I Can Make Out, Patrick Lawrence, Scheer Post, 2022-08-11
Russia Accused of Blowing up POW Camp Killing 50+ to Coverup Their War Crimes, Dan Ladden-Hall, Anna Nemtsova, Yahoo! News, 2022-07-29
Who killed the POWs at Yelenovka? All signs on the ground point to a Ukrainian attack, Eva K. Bartlett, In Gaza and Beyond, 2022-08-04
Ukrainian nuclear plant facing 'grave hour,' UN watchdog says, Richard Roth and Jonny Hallam, CNN, 2022-08-12
Nuclear Catastrophe Is Gaining Momentum in Ukraine, Edward Lozansky, Antiwar, 2022-08-12
Ukraine accuses Russia of deadly rocket attacks near nuclear plant, as heavy fighting continues in Donetsk, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) based on a Reuters article, 2022-08-11
The West is silent as Ukraine targets civilians in Donetsk using banned ‘Petal’ mines, Eva K. Bartlett, In Gaza and Beyond, 2022-08-07
Ukraine - Mines, Missiles, Warcrimes And A Warning To Zelenski, b., MoonOfAlabama, 2022-08-02
Ukraine bombed a Donetsk hotel full of journalists – here’s what it felt like to be inside at the time, Eva K. Bartlett, In Gaza and Beyond, 2022-08-04
British pro-Kremlin video blogger added to UK government Russia sanctions list, Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, 2022-07-26
FAILED STATE! Germany Criminalizes Ukraine War Truth-Telling, Harold Saive, State of the Nation, 2022-07-21
VIDEO: Germany criminalizes journalist for exposing Ukrainian war crimes, Max Blumethal, The Grayzone, 2022-07-13
Antiwar News 8/12/22: Danger of Nuclear Catastrophe, Ukraine Threatens Russian Tourists, and More, Dave DeCamp, Anitwar, 2022-08-12
Germany criminalizes journalist for exposing Ukrainian war crimes, The Grayzone, youtube channel, 2022-07-12
Alina Lipp - She's Young, Bright, and Daring - Telling The Truth About Crimea and Donbass, Regis Tremblay interviews Alina Lipp, Global Conversations, 2021-12-15
IAEA calls for mission to assess Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear plant during UN meeting | FULL, Global News, 202-08-11
(Some) Time Offsets:
Ukrainian Attacks on Nuclear Power Plants, Regis Tremblay interviews Dr. Vladimir Kozin, Global Conversations, 2022-08-16
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