In Manufacturing consent, Media bias, Roger Annis, Russia, Ukraine

Russian military delivering civilian aid at frontline in Mariupol, April 18, 2022 (Patrick Lancaster video)

Western media is continuing to wage a massive propaganda barrage alleging widespread and indiscriminate killings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian military forces. The barrage is intense and without letup, intended to mold support for the military threats and economic sanctions against Russia by NATO that led to the conflict in Ukraine in the first place.

By Roger Annis

Published on A Socialist in Canada, Apr 19, 2022

Western media is continuing to wage a massive propaganda barrage alleging widespread and indiscriminate killings of civilians in Ukraine by Russian military forces. The barrage is intense and without letup, intended to mold support for the military threats and economic sanctions against Russia by NATO that led to the conflict in Ukraine in the first place.

Is the propaganda barrage effective? Without doubt. It is all-encompasing, consisting exclusively of claims by the governing regime in Kyiv and by the governments of the NATO countries. No views from the Russian side or from independent observers are permitted.

An editorial in the Washington Post on April 19 is headlined, ‘The scale of Russian atrocities in Ukraine is staggering’. It writes, “The atrocities revealed after the Russian retreat from Kyiv’s suburbs shock the conscience… Some 900 civilian bodies have been found, most of them shot dead at close range, according to local police.”

The Post editors continue: ” The mayor of Mariupol has estimated that at least 21,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege.”

Back on April 11, The Guardian (UK) wrote: “… Zelenskiy said ‘tens of thousands’ of people had probably been killed in Mariupol. No independent verification of the death toll in the besieged south-eastern city is possible…” [emphasis added]

Canada’s Globe and Mail reprinted a Reuters news agency report on April 11 that opened: “Ukraine said on April 11 that tens of thousands of people have likely been killed in Russia’s assault on the southeastern city of Mariupol… Reuters has confirmed widespread destruction in Mariupol but could not verify the alleged crimes or the estimate of those killed…: [emphasis added].

There is one source to which Western media could turn for casualty information, but it rarely does so declines because the information is inconvenient. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued the latest of its near-daily reports of civilian casualties in Ukraine, on April 19. Its latest numbers show that casualty claims by NATO governments and their allied media cannot be true.

The OHCHR reports that as of midnight, April 18, 2,104 civilians have been killed and 2,862 injured in Donbass and Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s military operation on February 24. In the past three days, 172 civilians have died and 273 have been injured. Of the total civilian deaths and injuries, 739 and 1,390, respectively, have taken place in the Donbass region, including the city of Mariupol.

These are tragic numbers, but they flatly contradict the claims by the NATO/Kyiv regime/Western media nexus of mass killings by Russian soldiers causing ‘tens of thousands’ of civilian deaths.

Furthermore, the fact that many more Russian soldiers have been killed and injured compared to civilian casualties underlines another truth, which is the Russian military’s stated objective of avoiding civilian casualties. This is an inconvenient fact that contradicts the claims by the Western nexus, and so it is censored.

The deaths and injuries in Ukraine are a result of the sabotage by the Kyiv regime and its allied, far-right paramilitaries, backed by NATO, of the ‘Minsk-2’ peace agreement of 2015. That agreement provided for measures of political autonomy from Ukraine for the two Donbass republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. But instead of implementing Minsk, the Ukraine/NATO side launched a low-intensity war against the people of Donbass that has killed as many as 14,000 combatants and civilians during the seven years since.

Kyiv and NATO were preparing in late 2021/early 2022 to intensify their war in Donbass. The U.S. and NATO were already boosting weapons shipments into Ukraine, or were preparing to do so. This is why Russia launched its military operation and it is why the Russian government decided that nothing less than a ‘denazification’ of Ukraine can bring peace to both countries.

An editorial in the Globe and Mail on April 19 has, coincidentally and inadvertently, underlined this truth. The editorial is headlined ‘The mistake the West made in Ukraine’. It writes: “Western countries are now racing to send ever greater quantities of weapons to Ukraine… How differently might things have played out if Ukraine had received all these weapons in the years after 2014 rather than in the weeks and months after the 2022 invasion…”

Tragically for the political left in the world, many left-wing and alternative media outlets are echoing the false accusations of ‘Russian atrocities’ in Ukraine. They are calling for withdrawal of ‘all’ foreign military from Ukraine. They describe Russia as ‘imperialist’ but do not offer a shred of scientific analysis to prove it. Instead, the word is used as a mere epithet.

NATO is not leaving Ukraine until and unless enough pressure comes to bear on it from the populations of its member countries. This is how lasting peace can come to Ukraine. Calls for a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine in today’s circumstances, on the other hand, amount to calls for Russians (and Ukrainians) to bow and surrender before NATO’s militarization of Ukraine, its continued expansion into eastern Europe including deployment of missile systems ever-closer to Russia, and its abrogation of treaties limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Effective and truly antiwar action by left-wing, working-class forces in the world must begin with campaigning for the dissolution of NATO. Blaming ‘both sides’ for the conflict in Ukraine and calling for withdrawal of ‘all sides’ is a propaganda trap that favours the NATO side.

The military situation in Ukraine: An update, by Jacques Baud, published in The Postil Magazine, April 11, 2022  (This essay was originally written in French for the Centre Français de Récherche sur le Renseignement(Cf2R) in Paris. The Postil Magazine is a magazine of Christian faith. Jacques Baud is a former Swiss military officer who served in NATO and UN missions. He writes as a political/military analyst.)

Russia entered the fight with the West for the future of the world, commentary by David Narmania, translated from the Russian original by A Socialist In Canada and published on March 28, 2022

*  For the dissolution of NATO, for a federated and democratic Ukraine, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, Feb 28, 2022


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