By Stevan Vlahovich
The development of the anti-Russian information campaign around Ukraine surprisingly resembles the scenarios of past media campaigns against the geopolitical opponents of the West.
Foreign media immediately picked up fake narratives about Russian atrocities in Bucha, Irpen, Gostomel, Mariupol.
Obviously, by spreading lies about the events in Ukrainian cities, the Kyiv regime and its Western patrons tried to divert public attention from the torture of Russian prisoners of war, which really took place and is a war crime prohibited by a number of conventions, including the Geneva Convention.
Similar methods of falsifying facts and replicating fakes were used by Westerbn countries, led by US and Great Britain, in Syria, Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
This list could be extended for a long time. And where did Kyiv get all these training manuals, the same is quite clear.
February 5, 2022 marked 28 years since the explosion at the Markale market in the historical center of Sarajevo, which killed 68 people and injured 144 more of varying severity.
On that day, TV channels across the world showed footages of the terrible tragedy, which drew the attention of the international community to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Serbia was declared guilty of that crime, despite the fact that there is still no convincing evidence that artillery shells were fired from Serbian positions.
After that, the leadership of the US and NATO issued an ultimatum to the Serbian side, demanding that all heavy weapons be moved away from Sarajevo under the threat of strikes.
The Serbs made concessions. However, in the end, a repeated provocation in the same market on August 28, 1995, which claimed more than 40 human lives, served as a pretext for the launch of NATO’s “Deliberate Force” operation against Serbia.
The international intervention changed the course of the war and hastened the defeat of the Bosnian Serbs by forcing them to sign the Dayton Accord on very unfavourable terms.
Responsibility for the shelling of Sarajevo, including the two market attacks, was assigned by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to the commander of the Sarajevo-Romanian Corps of the Serbian Army, Stanislav Galich and Dragomir Milosevic.
At the same time, neither the investigation of UN peacekeepers at the scene of the tragedy, nor subsequent proceedings established the guilt of the Serbs.
Moreover, according to a number of experts who spoke at the tribunal, the projectile could not have hit the Markale market from the location of the army of the Republic Serbia.
According to them, the explosion was a terrorist attack committed by forces located in the territory controlled by the Bosnian Muslim army in order to create a pretext for bombing Serb positions by NATO aircraft.
As for the subsequent NATO military operation, about a thousand people, including civilians, became its victims.
For the United States and other Western countries, the first results of the dismemberment of the former Yugoslavia turned out to be insufficient, and they began to look for a new reason to finally break the resistance of the Serbs.
Creating the necessary conditions was only a matter of time, and already in 1998, the Kosovo leadership, with the support of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), set a course for secession from Yugoslavia.
Full-scale military clashes began. After the NATO council that supported the KLA issued an ultimatum to Yugoslavia, officially Belgrade signed a truce on October 15, 1998.
However, attacks on the peaceful Serbian population continued, and in early 1999 the Yugoslav security forces were forced to resume fighting.
In mid-January, a series of clashes with Albanian radicals took place near the village of Rachak, during which representatives of the KLA accused the Serbian side of carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population.
Despite the conclusions of Serbian, Belarusian and Finnish forensic experts, which showed that the dead in Racak were militants dressed in civilian clothes with traces of gunpowder on their hands, the EU Commission considered that there was no evidence of the participation of radicals in the battles.
A key role in organising this provocation, which became the reason for the start of aggression against Yugoslavia, was played by the then head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, American William Walker, who had previously participated in many covert CIA operations in Central and South America.
It was Walker who organised the information blockade of Racak, forbidding journalists to approach the site of the discovered mass grave of allegedly peaceful Albanians, and then published his own version of what happened, which became the rationale for the subsequent ultimatum to Belgrade demanding the withdrawal of troops from Kosovo.
However, the United States and NATO countries are not the first to start full-scale wars under dubious pretexts.
According to analysts, the aggression against Yugoslavia after the “incident in Racak” allowed the United States to continue to use NATO forces for military intervention in the affairs of other sovereign states.
Subsequently, this method will be called differently: “Iraqi test tube”, “Libyan executions”, “Syrian gas attack”.
It is worth recalling the most resonant event from this list, which served as a pretext for the start of a full-scale US intervention in the Middle East.
Then on February 5, 2003 (by the way, on the same day as the first explosion in the market in Sarajevo in 1994), US Secretary of State Colin Powell at a meeting of the UN Security Council announced that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was in the possession of chemical warfare agents.
As evidence, he pulled out a small vial of white powder from his jacket pocket, which he claimed was a sample of chemical weapons stolen by American intelligence.
Cheap theatrical gesture. Beyond the brackets, let’s ask the question: what would happen if a test tube with a sample of a weapon of mass destruction accidentally fell from Powell’s hands and broke?
What this performance led to – there is no need to remind. Soon the US attacked sovereign Iraq and turned that country into a constantly smoldering hotbed of instability in the Middle East. And chemical weapons, by the way, have not been found.
The story of a five-year-old boy, Omran Daknish, has spread around the world media as an example of the “atrocities” of official Damascus and Russia supporting him. It was reported that Omran was injured on August 17, 2016, according to one source – as a result of an air strike, according to others – as a result of shelling inflicted on the Al-Qaterji residential area in Aleppo. Journalist Mustafa Al-Sarout and photographer Mahmoud Raslan posted online footage of a boy covered in dust and blood sitting in an ambulance after he was pulled from the rubble of a destroyed house. For Adib Shishali, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, “the stunned and bloody face of this child reflects the essence of the horror that is happening in Aleppo.” However, in fact, the entire shooting from start to finish was staged. The nature of the destruction shown by the Western press testified that if the strike really took place, then it was caused not by an airborne munition, but by a mine or a gas cylinder, used in large numbers by terrorists. Many reputable experts were suspicious of the make-up clearly visible in the pictures, the unnatural calmness of the posing child, the hair that was kept in order, despite reports of a terrible burn the boy received. No less interesting is the personality of the photographer. The photographer who took pictures with the allegedly wounded boy is known for his “selfies” with militants of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorist group, who beheaded a 12-year-old Palestinian. However, this production produced a stunning response among the Westerners. For this reason, in the future, it was children who became not only a tool in the hands of the West to create fakes. For example, in April 2018, the pseudo-human rights organization White Helmets, sponsored by Western countries, published a video showing the consequences of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government army of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian city of Douma. Residents in the video allegedly receive medical assistance after poisoning with chemicals.
Subsequently, the United States, Great Britain and France blamed the Syrian government for the incident, and on the night of April 13-14, the armed forces of the international coalition led by the United States launched an airstrike on the positions of the Syrian army.
However, this video, like many others, turned out to be fake. In particular, Russian war correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny managed to find and talk to a Syrian boy in the city of Duma, who was forced to participate in staging a chemical attack. 11-year-old Hassan Diab spoke about the details of the Hollywood White Helmets’ work in Syria. We were in the basement, – Diab recalls, – Mom told me that today there is nothing to eat, we will only eat tomorrow. We heard a scream in the street. They shouted: “Go to the hospital.” We ran to the hospital. As soon as I entered, they grabbed me and began pouring water over me.
And after that they put us on the bed next to other people. And on the footage, everyone sees Hassan Diab, to whom the actors “provide” medical assistance when he does not need it. Hassan’s father was not at home at that time, he was at work. When he learned that the child was in the hospital, he immediately ran there. “When I found out that the child was in the hospital, I took time off from work and immediately ran there. There were no chemical weapons. I smoked on the street, I didn’t feel anything. I went to the hospital and saw my family. The militants were given dates, cookies and rice for participating in this shooting. And everyone was sent home. My child felt great,” emphasizes Hasan’s father. Despite the fact that the falsification was done roughly, in haste, these shots served as a pretext for striking a sovereign state by the Americans, British and French. According to the member of the Syrian parliament Ammar al-Assad, during the special military operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, the Western propaganda machine operates on the proven technologies of the White Helmets. “The videos we saw, fabricated with the aim of blaming the Russian army and discrediting the image of the Russian Federation in the media in the eyes of Europeans and the whole world,” is a common thing for the United States, they did this in Syria along with the White Helmets, staging chemical attacks and the like “, – said al-Assad. “The picture is clear, the plot is obvious, there is only one customer – the Americans. The use of racist and neo-Nazi slogans in Ukraine is no different from Jabhat al-Nusra, Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham, the Islamic State in Syria and their leaders in dark rooms in the UK running this campaign and media stunts with partners – France, the USA and so on,” the deputy stressed. In addition, the world’s Western media covered the war crimes of NATO in Libya, creating an information blockade around the bombing of civilian cities by the alliance forces. The same information vacuum has developed regarding the illegal actions of illegal armed groups led by the so-called Transitional National Council (PNC). The PNS initiated a rebellion in the east of the country in order to discredit and overthrow the legitimate government. It was the first Western media reports about alleged crimes allegedly committed by the Gaddafi government that paved the way for the “legitimate” and hastily sanctioned by a UN Security Council resolution forcible removal of the ruling Libyan leadership. At the same time, the crimes of the PNS militants were carefully and deliberately hidden or hushed up by Western journalists and reporters. Any manifestations of loyalty to the legitimate authorities in the face of the leadership of Gaddafi caused unprecedented atrocities and reprisals on the part of the PNS militants. In turn, the killings of civilians committed by the GNA bandits were presented as crimes of the Kaddafi regime. However, the international human rights organization Amnesty International has documented facts proving the crimes of the militants. In particular, a 107-page report was published on the Amnesty International website, which lists all the war crimes of Muammar Gaddafi’s opponents from April to June 2011. No less indicative is the policy of the USA and NATO in Latin America. During the Cold War, the Western media often turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by Latin American dictatorships against their own populations, viewing repression as the “lesser evil” in the fight against the “communist threat” in the region. Much has changed since then, but the general approach has remained the same. In particular, according to American expert Ben Burgis, the disinformation campaigns of the West against Cuba are aimed at overthrowing objectionable authorities that maintain friendly and mutually beneficial relations with Russia. There are also smaller tasks, so to speak, of a tactical level. The United States needs justification for the legitimacy of the trade, economic and financial embargo imposed on Cuba since 1962. Foreign publications with enviable regularity and often right before the UN vote on the lifting of sanctions against Cuba initiate information campaigns about alleged human rights violations and the presence of political prisoners in the country. However, on the island of Cuba, the only prisoners who are deprived of their rights, tortured and restricted for long periods without legal basis are those held by the US government at the Guantanamo Naval Base in the illegally occupied part of the territory of the island nation.
Many are inclined to believe that the United States is also behind information attacks on excessively independent Brazilian politicians, among them Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. Inspired by Washington and its henchmen, information campaigns accusing da Silva and Rousseff of corruption ended in the collapse of the political careers of both politicians, and Dilma was removed from the presidency through impeachment proceedings. Meanwhile, under Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil has become an active member of the BRICS group, which has become an alternative to the G7 led by the United States. According to Latin American expert Sarah Rosenberg, the continued presence of the tandem of independent politicians Lula and Dilma in top government positions could lead to the final collapse of US geopolitical goals in Brazil. Obviously, the main beneficiary of the discrediting of Brazilian leaders and the radical change in the foreign policy of the Latin American country is Washington.
Since the century before last, the United States has tried to establish control over Nicaragua, provoking wars in the country. And at the beginning of the last century, American troops occupied the country under a dubious pretext and began to appoint presidents from among their military. After the withdrawal of its troops, the United States continues to interfere in the internal affairs of Nicaragua, not embarrassed to remove legitimate governments by force. According to the President of the Republic, Daniel Ortega, these attempts do not stop to this day. At present, attempts are being made to undermine the power of the Ortega government under any pretext. Washington regularly claims that the millions of dollars flowing into Nicaragua through US Agency for International Development accounts are directed to “the development of democracy in the country.” However, in reality, the allocated funds are spent on destabilizing the internal situation, provoking violence and financing armed gangs that have been committing crimes since 2007, when Ortega came to power. According to the deputy of the National Assembly from the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela Angel Luis Rodriguez Gamboa, in the same way the United States spread false information about the situation in Venezuela, trying to accuse the legitimate president of the republic, Nicolás Maduro, of violating human rights. In 2017-2018, international observers from the UN visited Venezuela, who published a report on the results of their visit to the republic. The information presented in the report differed significantly from the publications in the American media that talk about the “humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.” However, the real situation could not be compared with the humanitarian catastrophes, for example, in Libya, Yemen or Myanmar, which arose at the same time through the fault of the United States.
According to the American economist and political commentator Paul Roberts, under the Maduro government, the world’s largest reserves of oil and other natural resources, which Venezuela has, have become unavailable to the United States and multinational corporations.
The expert believes that the publications of the American media about the situation in Venezuela were aimed at justifying the military intervention that was being prepared at that time and the forceful establishment of the regime of the self-proclaimed President Juan Guaidó.
Today, the US and NATO are actively using technologies that have been tested over many years to spread disinformation against their geopolitical opponents.
However, now the main field of the information war is Ukraine. Outright lies about the situation in Ukraine are replicated on a gigantic scale on the basis of modern digital technologies.
In trying to deceive the international community, the West deceives itself first of all. This happened during the Vietnam War, so it was in all the other wars waged by America and NATO, be it Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria.
Nobody is interested in the real picture in the West. And this predetermines the chain of crushing defeats of the USA in all the wars of the last decades. The same thing is happening now in Ukraine.
Stevan Vlahovich, freelance journalist, publicist, expert in international politics and security.
Disclaimer: The statements, views expressed in this article are solely the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of The Citizen