Briefing wars on Ukraine

The Guardian is briefing that Russia has already put in place a plan to stage a “false-flag” operation in Eastern Ukraine. Apparently they already have special force assets in place to attack “Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine” in order to blame Ukraine and use this as a pretext to “stage an attack”. CNN carries the same story.

Both outlets attribute the story to an unnamed “US official”. We are not even told what department they work in. No source for the intelligence is given; the anonymous official simply says “We have information…”

Firstly; this shows the media working hand in glove with the US State Department to wage an information war. Since information wars are an integral part of war we see here the Guardian and CNN essentially taking part in war preparations on behalf of the State Department. Of course; actual journalism would be asking questions; who is this anonymous official? Why are we being used to disseminate this information in this way? What is the source of the information? But, no. The Western media is the PR arm of the war machine and fulfills its role by simply transmitting this information as required rather than questioning it.

The source of this information is likely to be Ukrainian intelligence. It is just as likely (I would guess more so) to be either a complete fabrication or a distortion of some reality. The idea of Russian special forces attacking their own forces – or the forces of the LPR and DNR – in order to create a pretext for a war is of course reminiscent of the claim that Putin (personally) ordered the FSB to carry out the apartment building bombings in Southern and Central Russia in 1999 to create a pretext for the second Chechen war. This claim which is unlikely and for which there is no significant evidence * is widely circulated in the anti-Russia industry. The problem is: either Russia is an evil country prepared to e.g. kill hundreds of its own citizens in order (rather bizarrely) to justify a military operation which it had/has every right to undertake anyway or these are claims made by deluded people who for some reason find it important in life to believe that Russia is an evil country. From the strict point of neutral observation it is arguably difficult to know given the lack of evidence. It may depend on your preconceptions. Alternatively; you can ask for evidence and until it is forthcoming believe the most likely explanation; for example Putin did not personally have hundreds of women and children killed in order to justify a second bloody war in Chechnya and thus win an election; indeed that he would not be capable of it. He would have to be a complete monster. (The allegation is itself immoral).

The claims about Russia planning a “false-flag” operation in Donbass being disseminated by the Guardian at the behest of the State Department cannot be assessed in any meaningful way and should therefore be dismissed. However – that the State Department is leaking in this way and are so closely following the lines coming out of Kiev is alarming. (Kiev has been trailing the “false-flag” line by Russia for some time).

The cyberattack

Apparently some Ukrainian government web sites have been hit by a cyber attack. The attackers left childish threatening messages. The Guardian gives the report a url address which allocates blame “by-suspected-russian-hackers”. There is no evidence and no one knows who is responsible. The EU’s “High Representative” (a medieval churchy title if I ever heard one) Josep Borrell says “It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof. But we can imagine.” I don’t know either but if Ukraine wanted to stir up trouble and get NATO and the EU on their side this (staging a cyberattack on their own government websites and pointing the finger at Russia) would be a definite option. It is striking that the Western media and political classes seem to believe implicitly everything that Kiev says. They don’t even, apparently, consider the possibility that they are being crudely manipulated by Kiev in its battle with Russia. It is difficult to know; is this naivety or deliberate naivety? It could be naivety – remember that these people are overschooled corporate types – without a lot of practical savvy about how the world works outside of the world of clean reports which land on their desks written by yes-men. Or it could be deliberate naivety; it suits them to have a steady stream of anti-Russia stories so they will just ‘believe’ them because they are convenient.

One final point about this current standoff. Russia recently floated the idea of locating weapons in Venezuela or Cuba. A US National Security Adviser replied in stringent terms “we would deal with it decisively”. The naked and unpleasant imperialism is there for all to see. Russia’s demands that NATO not come right up to its borders and that they pull back their weaponry are a “non-starter”. But if Russia did the same it would be met with a “decisive response”. The media will let this glaring imperialism and “double-standards” pass without comment while continuing to promulgate the myth of “Russian aggression”.

* The people who want to claim that Putin personally ordered these massacres of his own people have one fact to support them. Local police in Ryazan arrested FSB operatives and linked them to a bomb or purported bomb. A subsequent non-official Duma inquiry found that this was an operation to allow the FSB to “discover” a bomb and claim credit to compensate for their earlier failures. The official version was that it was a training exercise.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer