Ukraine War! What Is It Good For? Propaganda (Part 4)

Ukraine War: Propaganda

By Iain DavisIn This Together, April 6, 2022.

Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine has been presented to us in the West as unprovoked and unjustified. We have not been told about Russia’s legitimate security concerns in the face of NATO expansionism. Nor has Ukraine’s significant Nazi problem been honestly reported. Some Western mainstream media outlets have even promoted slick neo-Nazi propaganda.

The Russian government claims that its recognition and defence of the Donetsk and the Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) are born of “compassion” for the people who have been under siege for eight years. That may be so, but Russia also needs the new republics as satellite states, providing a foothold for its own national security as it opposes NATO’s advance.

It should be noted that Russia’s military actions, in trying to oust Nazis from their strongholds in Mariupol, Kharkiv and elsewhere, have led to the near-destruction of many cities and towns in eastern Ukraine. As of the 19th of March, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) estimated that 847 civilians were killed in three weeks, primarily as a result of shelling.

The OHCR said the “actual figures are considerably higher,” but the numbers could not be verified. Credible eyewitness reports and video evidence indicate that the Nazis in Mariupol and other besieged areas had been stopping civilians leaving through humanitarian corridors opened by Russia. There are many reports of Nazi (Azov) atrocities, including the murder of fleeing civilians.

NATO has courted Ukraine as a future alliance member for decades, along the way taking firm steps toward the altar. This has never been acceptable to Russia, whose national security concerns NATO has consistently ignored.

Only days prior to the Russian attack, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference in which he threatened Russia not only with a nuclear-armed Ukraine but with a NATO nuclear power on Russia’s southwestern border.

Ukraine is a pinch point for Russia’s natural gas trade with the European Union. The purpose of the Nord Stream pipelines, constructed in partnership with Germany, was for Russia to circumnavigate that problem. The pipelines raised the potential for greater EU independence from the US and, with an EU commitment to defence union, presented a possible threat to the US dominance of NATO.

Consequently, the US applied unrelenting pressure on the EU, including enforcing sanctions on German companies, to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In response to Russia’s official recognition of the DPR and the LPR, German Chancellor Olaf Sholtz immediately announced that Germany would not certify Nord Stream 2 for operational use. Russia began its military operation in Ukraine three days later.

Please read Parts 1–3 of this series for an exploration of the evidence that informs the analysis in Part 4. This background reading provides us with what we might call the “official – unofficial” explanation for Russia’s aggression. It is an appraisal founded upon the established, accepted concept of international relations.

Let us be clear, however, that any such investigation is necessarily incomplete. It fails to describe the globalist forces that are both ripping Ukraine apart and propelling Russia to act. We will explore these forces in Parts 5 and 6.

Before we do, though, it is important to appreciate just how far we, who live in supposed democratic societies, have seen our nations stray from our ideals. This departure can be understood when we consider the extreme propaganda and censorship that our governments are using to hobble our ability to discern reality.

The Propaganda Environment

There is little chance that the issues we have already discussed will receive fair coverage in the Western mainstream media and none at all that the MSM will cover what we are about to consider. The propaganda the West has spewed in this rapidly evolving conflict has at times been absurd.

Immediately following the launch of Russia’s military operation, the Western MSM reported the unbelievable bravery of the Ukrainian border guards defending Snake Island in the Black Sea. They stated that 13 died in their valiant defence against a Russian “air and sea bombardment.” Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said he would award the guards posthumous medals for gallantry. It soon emerged that the elaborate account was a fabrication. None of the border guards had died, and Russia had taken the island without harming anyone.

The MSM reported that Russian forces deliberately targeted a mosque in Mariupol, where civilian woman and children were said to be sheltering. The Turkish media later revealed that the mosque had not been struck by anything.

The BBC was among a large number of Western MSM outlets that reported an alleged Russian airstrike on a maternity hospital in Mariupol. This apparent outrage, deliberately targeting pregnant women and their babies, led the BBC to report the comments of the Deputy Mayor who said:

We don’t understand how it’s possible in modern life to bomb a children’s hospital. People cannot believe that it’s true.

Indeed not — and there’s considerable evidence to suggest as much. When the claimed airstrike occurred, the Russian state officials engaged in some ham-fisted disinformation themselves, alleging that the whole thing was staged using “crisis actors.” They also noted that the hospital had been occupied by the Ukrainian forces, thus presumably making it a military target and undermining Russia’s own propaganda.

A subsequent account from the most famous eyewitness, Mariana Vishegirskaya, who the Associated Press (AP) publicised as the face of the alleged Russian war crime, paints a very different picture. There were certainly explosions but no evidence of an airstrike, as no one heard or saw any planes. The hospital had been occupied by the Azov regiment three days earlier. Tellingly, Mariana stated that the Azov Nazis wouldn’t allow people to leave the city through the humanitarian corridors agreed to by Russia.

There have been widespread Western reports of the destruction of Mariupol and other cities by Russian forces. However, civilian witness testimony from Mariupol notes that Ukrainian forces, too, shelled Mariupol, causing much of the destruction. Mariupol civilians reported that Ukrainian forces placed their defences in civilian areas, occupied their homes and other municipal locations, including kindergartens, hospitals and office buildings, and even blew up some of these buildings with tanks.

Even the Western MSM acknowledged that the Ukrainian military (including the Nazis) were effectively using the civilian population as human shields by placing their assets in civilian areas. The Washington Post noted:

French Military Map (27th of March 2022)

Increasingly, Ukrainians are confronting an uncomfortable truth: [. . .] Virtually every neighbourhood in most cities has become militarized, some more than others, making them potential targets for Russian forces trying to take out Ukrainian defences.

Analysis by French military observers clearly showed that Russia had secured significant military control in eastern and northeastern Ukraine. On the 29th of March 2022, during ongoing peace talks between the Russian and Ukrainian authorities in Turkey, Russia announced that it would withdraw its forces from around Kyiv as a sign of “good faith.”

A few days later video evidence emerged from the town of Bucha, lying west of Kyiv, appearing to show the aftermath of an alleged Russian war crime. The horrific footage showed apparent carnage in the body-strewn streets of Bucha. The Ukrainian government blamed this butchery on the retreating Russian forces. The Western MSM immediately reported everything they were told, accusing Russia of the Bucha massacre.

There were some suspicious anomalies in the footage that require explanation. An unusually high percentage of the bodies were lying face down, ruling out identification, and there was an inexplicable lack of blood or other signs of obvious injury on the corpses. Most of the victims’ hands were bound behind their backs, and many were wearing the white arm bands that Russia gave to civilians so they wouldn’t be confused with combatants.

In one of the four main videos that were unquestioningly accepted as evidence of the Russian atrocity, an alleged corpse appears to get to its feet and is observed in the wing mirror of one of the filming vehicles. It is possible that mirror distortion accounts for the walking dead. However, these unexplained inconsistencies weren’t the primary reason to doubt the Western MSM’s account.

The mayor of Bucha gave a video interview, which aired on April 1st, in which he appeared happy and was praising the Ukrainian forces for the liberation of the town. He noted that the Russian forces had vacated Bucha prior to March 31st. As of the 31st there were no Russian troops left in Bucha. The mayor said:

March 31st will go down in the history of our settlement, the entire territorial community[,] as a day of liberation from the Russian orcs [. . .] a great victory in the Kyiv region.

Reporting his statement, the local media claimed that Russian forces had left unexploded mines in a local factory. Neither the mayor nor the local news reports had said anything about a massacre. Two days later Reuters quoted the same mayor, Anatoly Fidoruk, who was now alleging that Russia had engaged in the mass slaughter of civilians — something that two days earlier he was either unaware of or had forgotten to mention.

This unfathomable oversight by the entire populace of Bucha, none of whom posted anything on social media even hinting at the supposed mass slaughter during the Russian occupation, casts significant doubt upon the story presented by the Western MSM. The “Bucha-Live” Telegram channel didn’t mention the massacre until the story broke internationally.

Initially it was reported across the West that 400 bodies were scattered throughout the streets and basements of Bucha. We know that Russian forces completed their withdrawal on the 30th of March. Yet the Western reports of the killing spree didn’t emerge for a further four days.

Following the agreed-upon Russian exit, on the 31st of March it was reported in Ukraine that the first Ukrainian forces to enter Bucha were Ukrainian special forces (the SAFARI). They posted a video of their operation on the 1st of April. One body was observed in the video, but neither executions sites nor any evidence of mass killings was filmed.

These “specialist units” were said to be tasked with clearing Bucha of “saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces.” Again, in the further reports published on the 2nd of April, there was no mention of a massacre.

On the same day, the 2nd of April, The New York Times reported:

Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov battalion walked through the remnants of a Russian military convoy in the recently liberated town of Bucha. [. . .] For the past five weeks, photographers with The New York Times and other news organizations throughout Ukraine have chronicled the invasion.

Yet none of these reporters or photographers “chronicled” the Bucha massacre that allegedly occurred at least three days before they arrived in the town.

The New York Times (NYT) then tried to double down on their incomprehensible failure to spot the biggest story in the world — by changing the facts. They published purported US satellite images that allegedly pinpointed the position of the bodies. The newspaper claimed the bodies had lain there for more than three weeks.

It seems extremely unlikely that the NYT’s story is true. The bodies had supposedly been lying in the streets undisturbed for three weeks, and yet there was no sign of decomposition. The article implied that neither human nor animal activity had disturbed the location of a single body for the best part of a month. It also required readers to believe that US officials and military personnel knowingly ignored an alleged Russian massacre, without saying a word, not just for four days but for weeks.

Regardless of which version of the story people choose to believe, there is yet another incongruous aspect. The Russian military, having committed a war crime either four days or more than three weeks earlier, left the scene without trying to hide any of the evidence. If the NYT’s second version of events is to be believed, the Russians also exposed their own troops to the severe risk of disease for practically the entire period of their occupation of Bucha.

Reuters reported that Pentagon officials said they could not confirm Ukrainian reports of the alleged massacre. Therefore, Reuters concluded it had no reason to doubt the Ukrainian claims. Reuters didn’t report it had no reason to doubt Russian denials either.

While there is no evidence that the Azov Nazis staged the alleged bloodbath, circumstantial evidence suggests that possibility. It is notable, for instance, that no one reported the massacre prior to the Azov regiment’s arrival in Bucha. It has also been noted, by the Western MSM outlets who promote them, that the Azov Nazis are adept propagandists. In an article published on the 30th of March, the London Times wrote:

Azov has been active in the last month. In particular, its well-oiled PR machine has been producing Ukraine’s arguably best-quality war videos[.] [. . .] Azov, which takes its name from the Azov Sea, first joined the fight against separatists around the city of Mariupol and has been based there since then. [. . .] The battalion has enjoyed patronage of Ukraine’s controversial minister Arsen Avakov and several Ukrainian oligarchs, some of them of Jewish descent.

On the 3rd of April mainstream news suddenly regaled the world with fresh tales of Russian barbarity. It would be good to know what happened to the suspected “saboteurs and accomplices of Russian forces” that were “cleared” from Bucha by SAFARI and Azov troops.

Granted, Russian military actions have included heavy bombardment of cities like Mariupol and Kharkiv. There is no doubt that they have killed many Ukrainian citizens. However, if we discard the NYT’s rather silly claims, unless Russia commanders lost control of their troops in Bucha, the indiscriminate slaughter of unarmed civilians identified as non-combatants following a planned withdrawal makes no sense from either a military or a propaganda perspective.

It served only to undermine the peace negotiations. As we will discuss in Part 5, prolonging the conflict is in the US-led NATO alliance’s interests, but not in Russia’s.

The possibility that Russian troops were responsible cannot be ruled out, but further investigation is certainly necessary. This appeared to be the position of the Russian government, which, having strenuously denied the Bucha allegations, requested an emergency session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the matter. For some reason, the UK government blocked Russia’s request.

Initially it seemed the US-led NATO alliance was less eager than Russia to discuss the evidence. Then, in her position as president of the Security Council, the UK’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward announced that the UK would convene a session on the 5th of April to discuss Bucha.

According to Woodward’s account, 800 people had been murdered in Bucha. Prior to examining any of the evidence and relying solely upon videos provided by the Ukrainians, Woodward stated that the footage was evidence of war crimes. Yet this had in no way been established. No one could prove what the videos were evidence of. Since Woodward clearly implicated Russia and predetermined the outcome of the discussions, there wasn’t really any point in holding them.

This illustrates a problem we have discussed previously. The institutions, mechanisms and rulings that combine to form so-called international law are worthless. There is no justice to be found anywhere within a system that is shaped by nothing but hard-nosed realpolitik. International law is just another weapon to be used in a global power struggle. As it stands, it is no law at all.

Russian War Rape

The Western MSM was littered with claims that Russian troops were using rape as a weapon of war. The BBC ran with “Russian Soldiers Raped me and Killed My Husband;” the Guardian published “Men and boys among alleged rape victims of Russian soldiers in Ukraine;” CNN reported that “Ukraine has accused Russian soldiers of using rape as a tool of war. these two women say justice is hard to come by;” the New York Post informed their readers that “Ukrainian mom repeatedly raped by Russian troops and son sobbed nearby” and Time Magazine printed “Ukrainians Are Speaking Up About Rape as a War Crime To Ensure The World Holds Russia Accountable.”

Stories of Russian sex crimes and the brutal treatment and rape of women, children and men by Russian forces were everywhere. And yet, when these allegations were discovered to be based upon nothing, not a single Western MSM outlet retracted any of their propaganda. Leaving their audiences and readers convinced by their lies.

Many of the stories were fed to the Western MSM by the Ukrainian human rights ombudsman, Lyudmyla Denisova. When concerned NGO’s, seeking the investigate the claims, approached Denisova for the evidence she did not have any. Realising that Denisova had gone too far and could expose Ukrainian propaganda, the Verkhovna Rada passed a vote of no confidence and removed her from her post.

The deputy chairman of the parliament regulatory committee, Pavlo Frolov, said that she had been sacked due to failures to properly oversee the implementation of humanitarian corridors and poorly conducted investigations into the alleged disappearance of Ukrainian citizens from “occupied” territories. However, he added that some of the war rape accounts had “not been verified” and that this threatened to undermine “Ukraine’s reputation.”

War is terrible but sexual violence also happens in peace time. It isn’t less likely to occur in a war. Perhaps the most appalling aspect of this kind of propaganda is that the genuine victims of sexual violence, of which there are surely some, will now find it harder to have their cases properly investigated.

The US Biolab Conspiracy Theory

Initially the Western MSM furiously denied Russian reports of US-controlled biolabs and chemical warfare research facilities discovered in Ukraine. They said Russia’s claim was part of an elaborate plot by Russia to stage a biological “false flag” attack on Ukraine and blame the Kyiv government for it.

The presence of the labs was then ostensibly admitted by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland in a Senate committee hearing. The 2005 signed treaty between the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, establishing the labs, is a public document. It decrees:

Information marked or designated by the U.S. Department of Defense as “sensitive” should be withheld from public disclosure by the Government of Ukraine.

That language indicates that the labs were US-funded and were conducting secret experiments. They were managed by the DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Obviously a partnership between a US defence agency and a Ukrainian public health agency appears, on its face, to be an unusual arrangement. The DTRA’s own training material states that it is “a combat support agency.” Its role includes:

Developing, testing and fielding [using] offensive and defensive technologies[.]

Other documents have exposed years of US-led biological and chemical warfare experiments on Ukrainian soldiers. Yet we are now supposed to believe that US and Ukrainian documents containing statements that confirm the presence of the labs — as well as their funding, their clandestine nature and the objectives of the Pentagon directorate overseeing them — is somehow evidence of Russian “disinformation.”

Perhaps so, but Occam’s Razor would suggest a different conclusion: the Russians have exposed US-funded Ukrainian biolabs engaged in secret bioweapons research. If this claim by Russia is true, then the US and Ukraine have broken so-called international law. Not that it matters.

As we have already discussed, Nazis control Ukrainian national security infrastructure. And, as we will discuss in a later installment, the US-led NATO alliance has a history of working with Nazis to run false flag terrorist attacks in Europe. Thus, if there is a biological or chemical weapons attack in Ukraine and if it is automatically blamed on Russia, all of us should insist upon a thorough investigation before we believe anything we are told about it.

In a fairly typical example of the Western MSM response to this evidence, the UK-based Guardian published How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News. Alleging the claims were Russian disinformation, or part of “far-right” conspiracy theories, the Guardian opined:

The Russian propaganda machine is [. . .] engaged in sowing disinformation[.] [. . .] The conspiracy theory began in seeming obscurity. [. . .] [T]his theory was just a remix of an allegation that Moscow has made for years. [. . .] This disinformation laid the groundwork for the QAnon-linked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian bio-labs.

It may be the case that the evidence substantiating the presence of US-funded illegal weapons programs in Ukraine (and elsewhere) is all just the product of Russian disinformation or of so-called “conspiracy theory.” However, the only way to find out is to examine that evidence and investigate it further.

Nuland Acknowledges Presence of Labs

The Guardian chose not to report any of the facts we have just discussed. Instead, it dismissed all of it as a Russian “propaganda effort.” In an attempt to deal with the documents, which are freely available in the public domain, the Guardian added:

The very core of the story is true: the Department of Defense funds biological research and laboratories in Ukraine. [. . .] Washington insists that it does not fund biological weapons research anywhere.

That assurance from Washington was enough for the Guardian to conclude its investigation and claim that the whole story was just Russian nonsense. Sadly, this is the standard of journalism that epitomises the Western “free press.” But simply repeating a denial from the Pentagon is not journalism. Nor is failing to honestly report the facts while covering them up with a slew of unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo.

Certainly China wasn’t convinced by the Guardian’s argument. Seemingly taking a more deliberative approach, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said:

[W]e call on relevant sides to ensure the safety of these labs. The US, in particular, as the party that knows the labs the best, should disclose specific information as soon as possible, including which viruses are stored and what research has been conducted. [. . .] The US has 336 biological labs in 30 countries under its control. [. . .] What is the true intention of the US? [. . .] [T]he US has kept stonewalling, and even dismissing the international community’s doubts as spreading disinformation. Besides, the US has been standing alone in obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification mechanism and refusing verification of its biological facilities [. . .] This has led to deeper concern of the international community. Once again we urge the US to give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification.

The US has declined to engage with any UN-led BWC verification mechanism. For example, the US government blocked attempts to establish one in 2001. Instead, the US has continued to delay the development of an independent UN oversight for more than 20 years. Rather than allow international investigators to rule out the existence of the suspected US bioweapons programme, the US has established its own verification process and has found itself to be in full compliance:

There are processes and controls within the U.S. Executive Branch [. . .] that operate to ensure that plans and programs under those departments’ and agencies’ purview remain consistent with U.S. international obligations. [. . .] All U.S. activities during the reporting period were consistent with the obligations set forth in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). [. . .] Russian accusations are groundless.

While this public statement is more than enough to convince the “journalists” at the Guardian, it is perhaps understandable that the international community, outside of the US-led NATO alliance, still has its doubts. The US government’s behaviour is suspicious, to say the least.

In an amusing irony, the Guardian stated that the Russian news agency, Tass, was “a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.” It’s true, Tass often is a mouthpiece for the Kremlin. What remains unsaid is that the Guardian is often a mouthpiece for the White House, Brussels and Downing Street.

Indeed, the propaganda in the Western MSM, spread by the likes of CNN, CBC, the BBC, the London Times and the Guardian, is just as thick as anything disseminated by Pravda or the Xinhua News Agency. The key advantage the Western MSM had previously enjoyed over its Eastern propaganda counterparts was that Western populations were “educated” to believe they had a free and pluralistic media. However, that advantage is diminishing rapidly.

The so-called “leader of the free world,” US President Biden, announced on the 20th of March 2022 that his Russian counterpart was “talking about new false flags he’s setting up” and was “suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he’s considering using both of those.”

Yet Biden had no way of knowing this. It didn’t appear to come from any US intelligence sources. According to NBC News, three US intelligence officials said they had no evidence at all to substantiate Biden’s claim that Russia was preparing for any biological or chemical weapons attack. Heedless of their protestation, NBC praised Biden’s ingenuity, claiming it was some kind of intelligence strategy that was successfully defeating the Kremlin in the “information war.”

War itself can often be characterised in part as an information war. Propaganda emanates from both sides. But Biden’s statement was not the clever use of “intelligence” as part of some carefully crafted game of multi-dimensional chess. It was simply a lie — an example of the most blatant and basic form of propaganda.

The frankly bizarre attempt by Western leaders and their MSM propagandists to turn Russia’s probable exposure of US biolabs into a suggested Russian plot to justify a false flag attack was encapsulated by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Speaking to Sky News on 10th March, he said:

The stuff that you’re hearing about chemical weapons, this is straight out of their [Russia’s] playbook.

Johnson’s assertion was hardly peculiar to him. It came on the heels of UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace’s remark that he was seeing “elements of the Russian playbook” and of General Secretary of NATO Jen Stoltenberg’s comment that he could “foresee the playbook of Russia.” Josep Borrel, the EU’s High Representative (effectively the EU Defence Minister), also pre-empted Johnson, noting that developments in the Ukraine were part of “the Kremlin’s playbook.”

These four remarkably similar comments, as well as many others like them, indicate a coordinated, scripted narrative. It could be sheer coincidence, but there are other reasons why we might suspect that Western politicians are working from a pre-approved script.

The Rapid Response Mechanism and the Trusted News Initiative

The rhetoric about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine that is pouring out of the Western establishment is a product of the G7’s (including the EU) Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). It is intended to ensure that designated hostile state and non-state “actors” are hit with a rapid and unified response.

The purpose of the RRM was outlined in the 2018 Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique:

We commit to take concerted action in responding to foreign actors who seek to undermine our democratic societies[.] [. . .] We recognize that such threats, particularly those originating from state actors, are not just threats to G7 nations, but to international peace and security and the rules-based international order.

When it announced the RRM, the UK Government noted:

Hostile state activity will be met with a rapid and unified G7 response. [. . .] The move will also see hostile states publicly ‘called out’ for their egregious behaviour – with coordinated international attribution of cyber and other attacks.

The RRM was created to defend the current US-led international rules-based order (IRBO). It has nothing to do with protecting democracy. Quite the opposite, the RRM works to undermine democratic principles. It does this by responding to global events with a fixed narrative that promotes the interests of the G7’s unipolar world order. Through the RRM, Western governments attribute blame to state or non-state actors. Where there is insufficient evidence to support their proclamations, the RRM signals these governments’ MSM “partners” to produce the necessary propaganda and disinformation.

Commercial media is owned by a small handful of global corporations. For example, a 2021 report from the Media Reform Coalition found that just three companies (News UK, the Daily Mail Group and Reach) owned and controlled 90% of the UK national newspaper and 80% of the online news market. Similarly, the US media landscape is controlled by just five media corporations. Often news anchors at local affiliate stations across the US deliver the same single script, word for word.

In 2019 the Trusted News Initiative (TNI) was launched, further consolidating the Western media. The TNI’s members include the UK’s state broadcaster, the BBC, the AP, the AFP, CBC/Radio-Canada, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Financial Times, First Draft, Google/YouTube, The Hindu, The Nation Media Group, Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Reuters, Twitter and The Washington Post.

The TNI demands that readers and audiences trust its members, who pride themselves on being “a unique global partnership” set up to “tackle the harmful spread of disinformation.” In other words, the TNI calls itself the arbiter of all truth. Were he alive today, George Orwell would almost certainly have termed the TNI the “Ministry of Truth.”

As a partnership between the Western MSM and the social media giants, the TNI’s aim is to censor free speech and silence dissent:

The partnership focuses on moments of potential jeopardy. [. . .] Partners alert each other to high risk disinformation so that content can be reviewed promptly by platforms, whilst publishers ensure they don’t unwittingly share dangerous falsehoods.

In July 2020, the UK government’s Select Committee for Culture Media and Sport observed of the TNI:

Resources developed by public service broadcasters such as the Trusted News Initiative show huge potential as a framework in which public and private sector can come together to ensure verified, quality news provision. [. . .] The Government and online harms regulator should use the TNI to ‘join up’ approaches to public media literacy and benefit from shared learning regarding misinformation and disinformation. It should do this in a way that respects the independence from Government.

The last sentence is a misnomer. The TNI has no independence from government. On the contrary, all of its leading members are partner organisations of government.

The TNI: Neither trustworthy nor independent

For instance, the BBC is funded by the UK government and receives further money for its international charity, BBC Media Action, directly from the UK, US, Swedish, Canadian, Norwegian, EU governments and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Like the BBC, Reuters has a long history of working directly with institutions of the state. For example, during the 1960s and ’70s it was paid by the UK government to spread anti-Soviet propaganda.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, is owned by Jeff Bezos (Nash Holdings), whose Amazon Web Services competency partnership works with governments around the world.

Google, another TNI core member, was a start-up funded by the CIA’s venture capital company In-Q-tel and is a UK government procurement partner.

Microsoft, yet another TNI member, proudly pronounces itself a “partner with government” and thus a help to the protection of democracy.

Despite all the flowery prose, the RRM denies the most essential of all democratic principles — namely, the right to question government authority. There is no room in the RRM for the foundational democratic conventions of free speech and expression. It is an anti-democratic project and is no less than a commitment by the G7 and EU governments to destroy democracy and establish totalitarian rule.

Totalitarianism can be defined as:

A political system in which those in power have complete control and do not allow people freedom to oppose them.

The RRM and the TNI are totalitarian. Combining them with censorship legislation demonstrates that the G7 political establishment is pursuing policies of intolerance and despotism and is opposed to democratic accountability.

The TNI is providing the “verified, quality news provision” that supports Rapid Response Mechanism declarations. When, for instance, Russia announced that “denazification” was one of the goals of its military operation, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Russia’s claim a “grotesque lie;” US President Joe Biden said, in regard to the same, that “it’s a lie;” and Emmanuel Macron, President of France, also called Russian denazification claims “a lie.”

The RRM narrative was set. Russia’s stated goals were totally groundless and were nothing more than an excuse for unprovoked, naked aggression. Thus it became the role of the TNI to push this disinformation. This necessitated whitewashing the Nazis and downplaying their control of Ukraine’s national security.

Examples of the TNI doing its job abound:

— The Financial Times (FT) published Don’t Confuse Patriotism With Naziasm: Ukraine’s Azov Forces Face Scrutiny. The FT claimed that the Azov Regiment was a “diverse” crowd whose members had gone “mainstream.” Engaging in Holocaust revisionism, the FT added that Stepan Bandera was a “nationalist figure” who had only been “accused” of collaborating with Nazis.

— The BBC deployed the baseless argument that Nazi influence was impossible without electoral success. They highlighted that the election of a Jewish president was “proof” that the Ukrainian Nazis had no power. The BBC then wheeled out some “experts” who were willing to claim that the Nazis were an inconsequential minority within the Ukrainian military and that their ideology had been “watered down” by new recruits.

— The Guardian produced Is There Any Justification for Putin’s War? It also exploited the Nazis’ lack of electoral success by denying they had any real power in a country that voted for a Jewish president. The Guardian added commentary suggesting that the Nazis were suffering from a reputation problem and that the OUM and UPA were simply “nationalists” who came to be “seen as aligned with the Nazis.”

In order to “protect democracy,” other founding members of the TNI seem happy to promote Nazis:

— Meta (formerly Facebook) banned the Azov Regiment from its platform in 2019 because they are Nazis who publicly incite appalling crimes, such as genocide, on social media. However, Meta has now changed its policy to allow its users to show their support for Nazis. Meanwhile, it condones calls for violence against Russians, including advocating assassination of Russian officials and promoting the killing of Russian soldiers.

— Google, another TNI founder, has censored leading scientists and doctors for questioning COVID-19 policies yet welcomes Nazis to host their propaganda channels on YouTube. The Azov Regiment, which murders Ukrainian citizens and uses them as human shields, can post as many YouTube videos as it likes.

This is not to suggest that lawful content not directly inciting a crime should be censored. We are merely illustrating that the founding members of the TNI are hypocrites who have no moral compass. The TNI is a propaganda and surveillance cartel whose role is to sell Rapid Response Mechanism “truth” to Western populations. It is undeserving of anyone’s “trust.”

Rampant Censorship and the End of Representative Democracy

Democracy is the best form of governance ever devised. Unfortunately, it is not a political system any of us are familiar with. The word “democracy” (demokratia) derives from “demos” (people) and “kratos” (power). Literally translated as “people power,” democracy means governance by trial by jury.

Instead, we have something else called “representative democracy,” which is not democracy at all. Representative democracy is a so-called “democratic system” under which the state permits the people to select political leaders every few years.

Between elections, this tiny group of “special people” exercises executive power and rules over everyone else. An oligarchy such as this is the antithesis of democracy. However, as the vast majority call this oligarchical system “democracy,” that is how we shall reference it here.

People in the West have been told to believe in a system they call democracy and, despite it having little to do with real democracy, have consequently become attached to the idea. The Western model of oligarchy supposedly maintains some foundational principles which are thought to be valuable and worth protecting. These are often referred to as democratic ideals.

Democratic ideals have been shaped over thousands of years by political leaders and philosophers. The British sociologist T. H. Marshall, in his 1949 essay Citizenship and Social Class, described democratic ideals as a functioning system of civil, political and social rights.

Civil rights include the right to individual freedom (liberty), exercised through freedom of speech, of thought, of faith, etc. Political rights enable everyone the opportunity to participate in and exercise political power, from standing for election to universal suffrage. Social rights afford every citizen basic economic security (welfare) and opportunities (healthcare, employment and education).

To erode any of these rights is to undermine representative democracy (nominally democracy). Both Western hegemony and the Eurasian alliance between Russia and China, which we will cover in some depth later on, lay claim to models of democracy. Yet neither practice democracy in any recognisable form. Both operate oligarchical political structures and both rule by force. Neither have any commitment to democratic ideals.

Russia is a representative democracy of sorts, but it is certainly not a democracy. In 2019 the Russian state Duma passed its initial “disrespect” and “fake news” laws. This legislation means that Russians could face a large fine or up to 15 days in prison for showing “blatant disrespect” to the Russian state or its leaders. The “fake news” laws empower the Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) to act as Russia’s “Ministry of Truth.”

These anti-democratic censorship laws, information control systems and suppression of Russians’ inalienable rights to free speech and expression have progressively worsened. Typical examples include the 2020 law effectively outlawing public dissent against Russia’s draconian COVID-19 measures and, more recently, the 2022 law silencing opposition to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

The Russian government’s opposition to free speech and to freedom of thought and expression includes the blocking of social media companies and the expulsion of foreign journalists. Its harsh penalties, including imprisonment of up to 15 years for “inconvenient” journalists, effectively make it impossible for many foreign news outlets to operate in Russia.

In one of the most stunning examples of rank hypocrisy written in recent years, the NYT wrote that Russia had taken censorship to “new extremes.” Perhaps Russian government disdain for democratic ideals could be considered “extreme,” but it is no more so than the equal disregard exhibited by Western governments.

Through the totalitarian RRM and TNI, the West operates a propaganda operation unparalleled in human history. While the Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea and other tyrannies have deployed overwhelming propaganda campaigns, nothing compares to the scale of the RRM/TNI. It is transcontinental. It covers print, broadcast and online media. And it is led by private corporations that work in collaboration with governments and exercise their control through the Global Public-Private Partnership (G3P).

The fact is, censorship in the West is just as severe, if not more so, than anything seen in Russia. In 2021 the US Department of State shut down a number of US-based Middle Eastern news outlets. Yet the American so-called free press showed its propaganda colours by not even mentioning this governmental attack on the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

In 2017, the Russian media outlet RT was compelled to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in order to continue its broadcasting and online publishing operation in the US, where it serves a Russian community of around 3 million US citizens. In March 2022, after Russian troops entered Ukraine, US and Canadian cable providers effectively banned Russian media in their respective countries.

Mel Dawes

The censorship in Europe is even more oppressive. The EU has banned a number of Russian outlets outright and is surging ahead with its plans to censor the Internet. Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU will work with its social media “partners” to remove whatever Brussels’ bureaucrats identify as “disinformation.”

The most anti-democratic country among the former liberal democracies of the West is the UK. It has gone further than any other to create a dictatorship.

Having already passed legislation to give itself unlimited authority to commit any crime, the UK government is pushing through with laws to end the right of protest, is removing the defence of “in the national interests” from whistleblowers and investigative journalists, and is planning a new Bill of Rights that will enshrine the authority of the state over and above everything else, including citizens’ inalienable rights.

Like the EU, the UK has banned Russian media. Justifying the decision, the chief executive of the Ofcom (the UK’s broadcast regulator), Dame Melanie Dawes, declared:

Freedom of expression is something we guard fiercely in this country[.] [. . .] [W]e have today found that RT is not fit and proper to hold a licence in the UK. As a result we have revoked RT’s UK broadcasting licence.

Of course, such vacuous platitudes from the nobility are meaningless.

This becomes even more evident when we consider the UK government’s plan to completely shut down freedom of speech online. Ofcom has been appointed as the regulator for the UK’s Internet under the imminent Online Safety Act. It is nothing less than a government plan to control our ability to communicate and freely share information and ideas online. The UK state’s equivocation about protecting freedom of speech is a damnable lie.

The entire Western political establishment has no intention of upholding democratic ideals. Freedom of speech and expression, and the liberty that representative democracy is supposedly based upon, mean nothing to members of the ruling class, who, with the flick of a pen or click of a mouse, cast aside freedoms they consider no longer relevant or convenient.

Representative democracy is itself a sham, though it once contained a vague promise to uphold democratic ideals. We in the West can now put aside any lingering, childish notion that we live in democratic societies.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has not only banned all Russian media but has also outlawed political parties. Clearly, Ukraine is no democracy either. The absurd suggestion, propagated by the likes of Ursula Von der Leyen, that the West is defending democracy in Ukraine from Russian autocracy is pure disinformation. It appears there is no such thing as democracy to be found in any nation-state.

We are seeing a struggle for supremacy between global power blocs in Ukraine. The political structure each power bloc hopes to rule is actually a single, cohesive system of global governance. No matter who wins, its implementation is assured, unless we act on a population-wide scale to stop it.

World War III, pitting the ruling class against the citizens of all countries, started in the US in 2001. Ukraine is the current focal point for this conflict. As we shall discuss later, the year 2030 has already been designated as the first marker along the path to true global governance.

The West is exploiting this worldwide struggle — this stranglehold of the people by their leaders — by deliberately speeding up the planned destruction of its own economy, a process that began in earnest with its policy response to the pseudopandemic. The East is seeking to play its part in the West’s self-destruction establishing itself as the driver for the New World Order.

The globalist forces overseeing this power struggle — a combination of warfare on the people by parasitic rulers and an East-West duel — care little about the outcome. What matters to them is that the war is being fought. For it is the conflict itself that will deliver the global governance the ruling cartel desires. It is this global confrontation that we will explore in Part 5.


Iain Davis

I’m an author, journalist, blogger and video maker (contributing to 21stCenturyWire, UKColumn, the OffGuardian and other leading news sites,) I am able to leap small footstools in a single bound, haven’t been kicked out lately and am occasionally reliable. I really enjoy a jolly good rant. Though many have expressed their wish that I didn’t.

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