The reporting of the bio labs in Ukraine

Two stories on the “bio-weapon” labs in Ukraine in the media:

  1. “Right-wing” media host Tucker Carlson discussing the statements from the US, asking questions and doing a little digging. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2cwGscanAg
  2. The Independent producing hysterical propaganda based on the State Department’s lies: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/russia-psaki-us-weapon-labs-b2033209.html

Comments

It appears as a result of journalistic investigation that the US has been running multiple labs in Ukraine. Some of these continued to work on Soviet Era bio-weapons. (Carlson focusses on certain implicit admissions made by the US official in charge of the programme – that some of these substances still exist. The State Department claimed that programme was working on “elimination” of the substances. As Carlson points out – 17 years is rather a long time to ‘eliminate’ some test tubes; it is clear that some of these substances were not eliminated [1]). The State Department is exposed as having tried to lie about this. Even without that startling fact (existence of Soviet Era bioweapons) we can ask – what on earth was the US doing conducting research on dangerous pathogens of any kind in an unstable country in a live border territorial dispute (in fact 2 live border disputes) with the nuclear armed Russian Federation? It is complete madness.

Apart from anything else it is a huge propaganda failure because they are exposed as liars and even if the research into Soviet era bioweapons was ‘defensive’ (in the same way one assumes that the UK’s Porton Down only does ‘defensive’ research into chemical weapons) they have allowed Russia to portray it as an active weapons programme and massively bolster their case for war.

The Independent piece does exactly what Carlson points out is not journalism – they simply repeat and defend the line from the State Department, while portraying anyone who has asked any questions about this story as a tool of Russia.

What is interesting for a media observer is that the state media regulator in Russia requires media outlets to report on the war in Ukraine only from official sources. (A law has been passed to this effect). In the US and UK the media does this (with a few exceptions) even without being told! Such is ‘freedom’ perhaps?

It would seem that the State Department is trying to throw some chafe out to distract from this story – talking about Russian chemical warfare programmes. The Western media reports the State Department misinformation with a straight face while joining in their denunciation of “Russian misinformation”. It is how they tell us the media is in North Korea.

Update

This piece in the Guardian is a sign of the level of propaganda these people will produce. So what if Russian state media picks up on a Western media personality who is critical of the Western position? Does that make what he is saying untrue? This is tribal level thinking.

Also notice the entirely fictitious claim that the US has no involvement in these bio-labs in Ukraine. The State Department has just admitted that they do.

The actual issue is how US involvement in handling old Soviet era chemical weapons in Ukraine is presented. The US says “in process of elimination”. Russia seems to be saying “active weapons programme”. A question of spin. That these substances exist and that there is US involvement has already been admitted by the US. So the Guardian’s story which is a direct replication of the State Department line trying to deflect onto Russia is simply a smokescreen. Meanwhile anyone who asks questions is portrayed as an enemy stooge.

This is war journalism. But this is what they normally do even without an active war.

Notes

  1. https://thebulletin.org/2022/02/us-official-russian-invasion-of-ukraine-risks-release-of-dangerous-pathogens/

Sense on Ukraine

It isn’t just the arms industry of course which boosts wars.

The media industry does too. Sensationalism, controversy, dramatic soundbites make people buy more newspapers. The kind of intelligent, informed, humane commentary here [link above] is what the newspapers should be full of. But – for commercial reasons – it isn’t profitable. It is more profitable to play to people’s prejudices and fan them, than to give people serious ‘food for thought’ – because, unfortunately, more people will buy your newspaper in the former case. Blaring war messages just sells more newspapers.

Suppressing reality – substituting narratives

This is the major task of the Western media. I came across an interesting example today.

One of the Russian narrative lines about their invasion of Ukraine is that the Ukrainian military is a threat to them. That it is saturated by Nazis and ideologically anti-Russian. (Lavrov recently asked the British Minister of Defence, who had just given Ukraine a large amount of anti-armour weapons, “Do you know who you are giving them to?”) Is there any truth to this line? Well; you certainly won’t find it at an editorial level in Western media. It is not part of the narrative.

However, in 2014 when asked why the US was not sending anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine President Obama said:

Can we be certain that any lethal aid that we provide Ukraine is used properly, doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, does not lead to over-aggressive actions that can’t be sustained by the Ukrainians?” Obama told reporters at the White House after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “What kinds of reactions does it prompt, not simply from the separatists but from the Russians? Those are all issues that have to be considered.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/didnt-us-allies-provide-ukraine-better-air-defense-system-rcna17317

That is – there are rogue and unstable elements in the Ukrainian armed forces who, if given high-tech weapons, could take it into their heads to launch “over-aggressive actions” against Russia. This explanation was not offered by a conspiracy-theorist blogger or by RT. It was offered by the President of the United States. And it directly confirms at least this part of the Russian narrative. (Of course the narrative is predicated on their annexation of Crimea and support for Donbas).

While the West has not supplied advanced anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine in recent years they have been increasingly supplying weapons. The Russians will have been watching this and, according to the President of the US, had reason to be concerned.

The point is simple and obvious. Some at least of the Russian concerns in relation to Ukraine are/were valid. Simply rejecting everything was not a good strategy – at least not for Ukraine.

Craig Murray on Ukraine – how can the war end?

At least in the UK there is one intelligent and humane commentator on international affairs. Craig is also a better writer than me. He provides balanced, objective, coverage informed by a knowledge of history and international law. I don’t necessarily agree with every single idea – but overwhelmingly his intelligent balanced analysis is desperately needed. (It is no coincidence that Craig recently spent time in prison for his political writing).

Craig Murray on Ukraine.