Information Warfare From Pre-History to Ukraine

The Ukraine war is rife with information warfare from both sides, rising to a ubiquity and sophistication perhaps never seen before, says Joe Lauria.

Lions from Babylon’s Ishtar Gate. (Jami430/Wikimedia Commons)

The following is an update of an address presented last Thursday to an academic conference organized by the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation (IPATC) and the Centre for Media, Democracy, Peace and Security (CMDPS) at the Rongo University in Kenya. The topic was “The Uses and Abuses of Information Warfare.”

By Joe Lauria

The first thing to keep in mind is that information warfare is war. War by other means, but war nonetheless. The object is to win. To defeat your opponent. Information Warfare, as it is now called but known as propaganda earlier, has been around in rudimentary form from the beginning of humanity, evolving over millennia largely by the advancement of technology, political systems and the education of populations.

In pre-history, we can see a kind of information warfare in the culture of war, sending a message both to the domestic group and to the enemy. This took the form of beating drums, for instance, which remains with us today in the expression of “beating the drums of war.” But also in dance, and chant, and decoration of the warrior. All this prepared the people for war and was intended to instill fear in the enemy.

With settlement in cities, and the development of writing – the start of so-called civilization – new technologies were used in what we call today information warfare. Architecture played an important role to inspire awe in both the ruler’s subjects and in his enemies. The lions on the gates of Babylon, the pyramids at Zoser and Giza and the triumphal arches of Rome sent messages of grandeur and power to friend and foe alike.

During the European medieval crusades against Islam, Christian ideology and iconography, as well as anti-Muslim propaganda preached from the pulpit, played a major role in mobilizing the masses to support the wars of conquest in what would later be called the Middle East.

Detail of a miniature of Philip Augustus arriving in Palestine, after 1332 , before 1350. ( Mahiet, Master of the Cambrai Missal/British Library Royal MS/Wikimedia Commons)

The Printing Press & Information War

Modern information warfare in Europe began with the development of the printing press and increased literacy. Rulers no longer had to rely only on visual arts or public speeches to prepare populations for war and to send messages to the enemy. They would soon have pamphlets and then daily newspapers to shape information in a time of war.

This is still made possible by newspaper proprietors’ closeness to governing circles with whom they shared common interests, commercial or political. Central to the history of war and information from the 19th century until today is how governments have used the supposedly independent press to conduct information warfare against foreign enemies and reluctant populations at home.

The press played a critical role building support at home for European colonialism abroad, in both glorifying empire and dehumanizing its victims. It still performs this function as the voices of victims of U.S. targeting, such as Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians, are rarely heard in U.S. media. It makes it easier to go to war against a people whom Americans know next to nothing about.

Deception is an essential part of information war, mostly of the enemy, but also of the domestic populations if the motives for war are hidden; for instance America’s claims that it goes to war to spread democracy rather than for economic and political dominance.

By the end of the 18th Century and in the 19th, intelligence gathering closer to the battlefield and its dissemination by governments through the media became an increasingly sophisticated part of information warfare. The Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz warned that “many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain […] the reports turn out to be lies, exaggerations, errors, and so on. In short, most intelligence is false, and the effect of fear is to multiply lies and inaccuracies.”

And yet these lies and exaggerations made their way into the newspapers and later radio, television and today on social media.

Radio and Cinema

Still from Reifensthal’s Triumph des Willens.

A major breakthrough in information war technology was the wireless radio, which could broadcast the voice of human speakers over vast distances, way beyond outdoor gatherings in city squares to hear a ruler speak from a balcony. Nazi Germany made tremendous use of the radio in its information war to rally its own people and to demonize the Allies. It made English language propaganda broadcasts just as the Japanese did.

The Nazis and the Americans made the cinema a major part of their information war efforts as well, with the propaganda films of Leni Riefensthal in Germany, and with Hollywood, which produced particularly racist films that depicted the Japanese as subhuman, much as the Nazis in their films had portrayed Jews. Newsreels in cinemas spread each side’s narrative of the war to their domestic audiences.

Television

Post-war conflicts, such as in Vietnam, made use of the more powerful tool of transmitting images through television in information war, though critical war reporting bringing the violence into American homes helped turn the U.S. population against the conflict. This was remedied, from American rulers’ perspectives, by the embedding of the media into the military in the 1991 invasion of Iraq.

Presentation of the bombing of Baghdad, particularly on CNN, and televised briefings by Pentagon officials about the course of the war (including some of the earliest cockpit videos of bombs striking buildings) became a vital weapon in the information war against Iraq.

This was repeated with more sophistication in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, in which the U.S. media was used to whip the American population into a frenzy of war enthusiasm, surpassed only by the current mania over the war in Ukraine, fueled in large part now by social media.

Social Media

The Ukraine war is rife with information warfare from both sides, rising to a ubiquity and sophistication perhaps never seen before. Once again, technology plays a leading role. Beyond the powerful tool of television in information warfare, the internet, and particularly social media, has changed the game, though newspapers and TV still play their part.

In fact, the conflict in Ukraine may be said to be the first major war in the social media era. It has opened new opportunities to steer the public’s perception of a war. Social media has introduced new forms of information warfare:  bots, trolls and troll farms. Social media has allowed citizens to enter the fray, many of whom have been turned into individual propagandists regurgitating official deceptions from either side of a war. Social media helps propaganda spread faster than radio, television or newspapers ever could. 

The technology of facial recognition has teamed up with social media to form what The Washington Post reports as ““classic psychological warfare” in Ukraine. The newspaper said: “Ukrainian officials have run more than 8,600 facial recognition searches on dead or captured Russian soldiers in the 50 days since Moscow’s invasion began, using the scans to identify bodies and contact hundreds of their families in what may be one of the most gruesome applications of the technology to date.” The aim is to stir dissent against the war in Russia, the Post reported.

While the internet and social media began with great promise for the democratization of information, it has become an arena of government-by-proxy control, with the enforcement in the West of a single narrative of the Ukraine war. Twitter users who challenge the Western government and media telling of this war are being increasingly kicked off the service, while pro-Western messaging is amplified.

Total control of the narrative is being sought and the word “total” is in totalitarian.

Remember information warfare is war. It is about winning. It is not about being truthful or even factual. It is about convincing your domestic populations and damaging your enemy.

The Importance of Ignorance in Info Wars

(CNN screenshot)

There is fertile ground to wage information warfare in the U.S. on Ukraine. In all of America’s wars, ignorance of foreign affairs plays a big role. Americans’ lack of knowledge of other countries is compounded by the fact that the U.S. has never been invaded, except briefly by the British in 1812, and that the U.S. itself began as an invasion by Europeans in which they wiped out the indigenous population, and then later invaded Mexico and then Spanish possessions and frankly, have never stopped invading other nations.

The lack of knowledge of this history makes Americans vulnerable to propaganda cloaking American expansionism. In the context of the Ukraine war this ignorance plays an important part in the susceptibility of the American public to war propaganda.

Americans generally don’t understand the psyche of Russia, which was invaded numerous times, particularly by the biggest European powers in the 19th and 20th centuries. They generally do not know, because they are never told, that the Soviet Union destroyed 80 percent of the Wehrmacht in WWII. They do not know what a revival of Nazism means to the Russian people or even that there is a revival of Nazism in Ukraine because it is whitewashed out of the corporate media story.

Under the guise of respectability and objectivity, the news media of the U.S. and Europe, which is closely aligned with their governments, has played an important role in the information war by deliberately omitting three crucial facts from their Ukraine war narrative, which completely changes the picture.

Media is leaving out the role of U.S. in the 2014 coup in Kiev; that an 8-year civil war has been fought in the eastern Donbass region against Russian-speaking Ukrainians who resisted the coup (Russia’s help at the time was falsely portrayed as an invasion); and that Neo-Nazi fighters, now incorporated into the Ukrainian state military, played a big role in the coup, in the civil war and in the current fighting in the Russian invasion.

There is abundant evidence that the U.S. was behind the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically-elected president in 2014, especially a leaked phone conversation between a high-ranking State Dept. official and the American ambassador in Kiev discussing weeks before the coup who would make up the new government. There is more than abundant evidence about the influence of neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

There was also little emphasis in the media’s information war on diplomatic moves that could have prevented the Russian invasion: namely the seven-year-old Minsk accords that could have ended the civil war if the U.S., Germany and France pressured Kiev to implement it.

Also deemphasized were the draft treaty proposals Russia presented to the U.S. and NATO last December that would have rolled back NATO troops from Eastern Europe (where NATO broke its promise not to expand) and removed missiles from there to create a new arrangement in Europe taking Russia’s security interests into account. Russia threatened a “technical/military” response if the treaties were rejected. They were and Russia invaded.

By ignoring diplomacy, the U.S. appears to have wanted the invasion in order to unleash their information and economic war against Russia, with the aim of overthrowing Vladimir Putin, which Joe Biden admitted to. By leaving all this out of the Ukraine story, the West has portrayed Putin as simply a cartoon character madman.

Another term in vogue for information war is psychological operations, or psy-ops, such as the Ukrainian facial recognition offensive. The U.S. government through its compliant private media can be said to have performed a psy-op on the American people. The same can be said for Europe. Virtually none of the context for this war has been explained to them. How can it be with former intelligence and defense officials now working as TV analysts?

It has been the role of independent media, such as Consortium News, which I edit, that have tried to fill the gaps. 

On the Battlefield

Former NATO Supreme Allied Supreme Commander Gen. Wesley Clark explains what Russia’s objectives are in eastern Ukraine and how Ukraine can stop them. (CNN screenshot)

Where the information war is most intense is about events on the Ukrainian battlefield. It has become impossible to tell what is going on there. Two totally different stories emerge. In the Western view, Ukraine is winning the war. Russia says their operation is succeeding as planned.

Western governments and media, relying almost entirely on what Kiev and Washington are telling them, said for weeks that Russia was “stalled” on its way to conquer Kiev and then was defeated there and had to withdraw. Russia said it never had any intention of attacking Kiev and had parked its forces near the city as a diversionary tactic to keep Ukraine forces defending Kiev while Russia attacked Mariupol, seat of the Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment. Russia says it has now moved those forces to the Donbass.

Ukraine and the Western media blame high profile attacks in Mariupol on a theater and a maternity ward, a massacre outside Kiev and the bombing of a crowded railway station on Russia, while Russia says Ukraine was responsible for all those attacks. A U.N.-led investigation is needed. But we may never know the truth about these incidents.

Ukraine and the West say Russia is deliberately killing civilians, while Russia says it is deliberately avoiding targeting civilians and only returns fire to attacks coming from civilian areas. So far the U.N. reports as of Monday only 2,072 civilian deaths since the Feb. 24 invasion, seven weeks ago, ignoring a Ukrainian official who said last week that 10,000 people were killed in Mariupol alone. Of course both sides fire in a war but in the West it’s only the Russians who are killing people.

Very rarely a dissenting voice comes through. A Pentagon official told Newsweek magazine that Russia had frankly not killed many civilians and could have killed many more if it wanted too.

The Neo-Nazi Azov Regiment has claimed that Russia had used chemical weapons in the war. Western media dutifully reported it, without mentioning Azov’s Nazi affiliation. Now the story has gone away.

The Pentagon by the way has been acting as something of a brake against the U.S. info war.

The Pentagon said it couldn’t determine who was responsible for the Bucha massacre, even though Biden said Russia was; it said it could not confirm the Azov’s tale of chemical weapons use; and it firmly opposed a no-fly zone and sending Polish jets to Ukraine, even after Secretary of State Antony Blinken supported it — all to prevent a NATO-Russia war and the unimaginable consequences that could bring. The Pentagon is saving us. So far.

Russian Information War

It has become very difficult to understand how Russia is conducting its information warfare because the English language RT television network and Sputnik radio have been banned in the West. The Kremlin and other government websites have been hacked. These are key tactic’s in the West’s info war.

One can only get Russia’s side of the story largely on Telegram, where one can read mundane statements from the Ministry of Defense on the exact number of Ukrainian military equipment destroyed, figures that must be taken with a grain of salt. At home Russia has also crushed dissent, shutting down media outlets, banning protests and even outlawing the word “war” to describe what Russia is doing.

This is where we are in the information landscape of the Ukrainian conflict.

Since the beginning of time victims of war are not only those who are killed but those who are lied to.

It’s an old saying but it’s still true: the first casualty of information warfare is the truth.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

28 comments for “Information Warfare From Pre-History to Ukraine

  1. Gennadiy M
    April 20, 2022 at 21:11

    Greeting from Russia. The government did not ban the word “war”. It banned false information. HUGE difference from a legal point. On our tv its called special military operation as Putin called it, but experts/guests/hosts also openly call it war in Ukraine. War between Russia and NATO, or even WW3. If some idiot comes outside to protest with an english sign saying “stop the war with Ukraine”, yes he will be fined. If some blogger posts false information about Russian losses mirroring Ukrainian lies, yes he will be detained, and also fined. Nato is fighting Russia down to the last Ukrainian, but Russia is not at war with Ukraine. Russia is suffering higher losses on purpose because it is doing everything it can to minimize civilian losses, even at the expense to Russian soldier lives. At the same time providing thousands of tons of food and aid to the cities that Kiev puppet nazi government abandoned. If it was a real war, Russia would have just leveled everything with artillery and air power.

  2. Ricardo2000
    April 20, 2022 at 16:41

    William Casey (CIA Director 1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

    Every part of the Western media cloaca voids lies as part of their profit margin. Right wing media long ago accepted their role as ad sales, junior associates. Extremist media sources deal in sick, sexually deviant, hero fantasies of small, stupid people. MSM journalism can be described by the phrases, ‘Go along, to get along’, or, ‘It isn’t what you know, its who you blow’. As corporate whores, the only job is to moan, wriggle, and scream on cue, or take a vicious beating from their editorial pimps. The ‘Left’, ‘Woke’, ‘Radical Chic’ media believe in fashion. So one month its ‘Baby seals’, the next ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘Extinction Rebellion’, or ‘Occupy Wall Street’. There is no memory, no substance to their support. They aren’t looking to make things better. They’re just looking for the hottest party, and the easiest lays. As the quote below suggests: Western media wants to be ‘embedded’ with murderers, not stand with the tortured or murdered.

    Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir: “Certain unflattering truths: I had felt unassailable behind the walls of power. Society was shifting, and I felt safer inside the empire, inside the machine. It was preferable to be on the side that did the watching than the side being watched.”

  3. Don
    April 19, 2022 at 19:43

    Holy crap, is that a real CNN screen grab?

  4. Realist
    April 19, 2022 at 13:50

    The Western accounts of events on the battlefields have never added up from the beginning of this “war.” The two Donbas republics alone, with but the input of a few armaments from Russia, were able to easily trap and repel every incursion by large forces of the Ukrainian regular army infused with their Nazi minders. Somehow the defenders of Donetsk and Luhansk were able to resurrect and deploy WWII tanks serving as monuments in their city parks whilst the hapless Ukies were continuously caught and released like prize bass in a fishing tournament. Minsk 2 was hastily crafted to prevent the ignominious collapse of the whole Ukie government in that moment of crisis (which, in retrospect, probably should have been allowed to play out).

    Now we are expected to believe that these same Ukies, more Nazified and Nato-armed and Nato-trained than ever, have become invincible. Regular soldiers straight from the Russian Federation are now the ones claimed by the Western media to be the incompetents, unable to capture or hold cities even in the Russian-majority Donbas–this in spite of recklessly slaughtering and torturing every civilian they encounter, never mind that many of these must include the very people they are trying to rescue from the various Nazi brigades. How in the world could such things flip 180-degrees from their last known status? How could a leader so cautious, judicious and mindful of public judgment like Vladimir Putin, a guy who went the extra mile, practically groveling before the West to get his security concerns even listened to by the exceptional people (i.e., champion of all liars)–and then got slapped in the face by them harder than Will Smith walloped Chris Rock, suddenly become the crazed madman obsessed with mere conquest and carnage as he is portrayed by our Western media, and by all the evidence, believed sincerely by the news-consuming public.

    Aside from from CN, the Saker blog and Caitlin Johnstone’s daily column, show me the forum from any “news and analysis” website where nearly all the respondents are not roundly condemning mad man Putin and praising that war weasel Zelensky as the reincarnation of Churchill and America’s newest best friend forever. When does he get his Nobel Peace Prize? (And the $50 billion in war expenses he is demanding from the US taxpayer.)

    None of us have any idea of what is really going on in the madhouse called Ukraine, which is just as America prefers at this point in time. Like, how does one possibly account for Russia losing its flagship of the Black Sea Fleet to an old outdated Ukie-built missile? An entire watch asleep on the bridge, like all those colliding American warships in the straits near the South China Sea? Perhaps more like an American-delivered state of the art missile which neither side cares to admit to, because that would require immediate implementation of WWIII? The only sure thing is that, based on what reliably transpired for near a decade, it simply cannot be the cock and bull story that Washington, Manhattan, and Silicon Valley relate to us now. As someone suggested recently, just show us the panoramas of extant Kiev, Kharkov, or even Mariupol and compare them with the wreckage left behind by the American incursions into Mosul, Fallujah, Raqqa, Tripoli or numerous other cities that America has visited with “shock and awe” warfare and maybe we can judge the reliability of Washington’s media con job on its public. Reportedly, none of those Ukrainian cities look anything like a bombed out Dresden or Tokyo. They are all even said to still have water, power and even the freakin’ internet. Just maybe Putin is not a psychopathic butcher.

    • April 19, 2022 at 16:35

      Well said, but if I could add to ” both sides are censoring the other side” in the article.
      The west is censoring because you must accept only their version. Russia is censoring to stop western lies from the Russian people. In the west it is well orchestrated propaganda and lies, and the sanctions is the other tool. Both will not work.

      The plan was always to suffocate Russia with sanctions, and promote regime change, much like what was done in Pakistan. Russia will effectively win even this battle and the boomerang effect of both will hurt the west much more than they already know.

      Now the man question to ponder is if they hate Russia so much, as clearly shown; why not attack them directly?
      It is because Russia can destroy the entire west and the Zion USA with conventional missiles, never mind nuclear. China can do the same thing also,but of course we have always been led to believe in the war mongering America.

      P.S. If you can ever have defeated Iran, you would have done it already. Both Russia and China said ” you are playing with fire”. Over the decades I have learnt that both don’t make idle threats.

  5. Frank Lambert
    April 19, 2022 at 13:00

    Thank you Joe Lauria for a brief but educational history of info war propaganda. Great article with much substance on the Ukrainian situation.

    The US Congress never runs out of money for sending armaments to fascist and or dictatorial client states to suppress their populations in various ways, but don’t ever have enough money for social programs , like bigger increases for Social Security and Medicare, or for public schools, etc. The wealthy capitalist investors are making a fortune from the Death and Destruction, Misery and Suffering Budget,” aka the “Defense Budget.”

    And more and more crackdowns and censorship for alternative news agencies is not conducive to a genuine democracy as all the commenters on CN know, but for the willfully gullible, it’s all Russian propaganda which needs to be silenced.
    What a pity!

    All we can do at this point is try and educate our fellow citizens as best we could and hope they’ll read articles like this on Consortium News and other progressive, or “honest (?) websites, rather than the pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro City of London, and City of Brussels (Belgium) detritus of a once, at least partially, honest reporting system in journalism, rather than the one-sided version which today, is SOP (standard operating procedure).

  6. I Stevenson
    April 19, 2022 at 04:18

    One can also get the Russian point of view on Novesti. Today it says very little except that Azov is using civilians as human shields ; Russia will not ask the UN for an investigation on Bucha, and quotes the Ukrainians as saying Russia is on the offensive.

    hxxps://www.novosti.rs/planeta/svet/1108480/najnovije-vesti-rusija-ukrajina-rat-rat-ukrajini-uzivo-rat-rusiji-2022-war-ukraine-2022-russia-and-ukraine-news

  7. JMF
    April 19, 2022 at 04:03

    Joe: It took me a minute, but as soon as I looked closely at the CNN “giant hornets” screen shot, I laughed my ass off. There it is, just like I always pictured it — Hong Kong on the east coast of South America! :)

    {I can only wonder how many other Americans would actually notice the discrepancy.)

    Excellent article, as always. If anything, I think you may be a bit too fair regarding US credibility, but I admire that fairness in your reporting. Myself, having observed decades of US government lies and “spin”, I’m incredibly reluctant to take anything emanating from official Washington at face value, especially now. On the other hand, I’m yet to discover any outright deceptions coming from Russian spokespersons.

    As for official Ukrainian sources, they seem a near-perfect negative barometer — lies upon lies upon lies, with Zelensky the charlatan-in-chief. And since the MSM almost exclusively cites Ukrainian sources …

    Ah, journalism: I remember it well, and rejoice that it still thrives here at CN.

    • torture this
      April 19, 2022 at 11:21

      I missed it completely but details are not my friend. As for the rest of it, me too!

  8. Mark Campey
    April 19, 2022 at 03:25

    A useful article providing historical context for the dissemination of propaganda and the drive to war, with social media being its latest form.
    Paul Street seems to have it in for CN being particularly vitriolic accusing its contributors as being useful idiots of Putin. His line appears to be ‘a plague on both your houses’ which was the position often taken by the pseudo left at the time of the Soviet Union.
    The legality of Russia’s action in Ukraine will be contested but morally they are correct in going to the defense of the Donbas working class and preventing their extermination by the Azov nazi thugs.

  9. Elina
    April 19, 2022 at 02:14

    Dear Mr. Lauria. Thank you and other CN contributors for your alternative analysis that help your western readers see a bit further the common place view on us Russians as brainwashed aggressive commies. Here in Russia we still can have access to various foreign sites to get news, some of my friends are even getting news from the Ukrainian side thanks to the VPNs. But besides that a lot of us have family and friends in Ukraine or in the army or both. My own neighbour is from Donbass while part of his family is still over there so the firsthand accounts abound such as Ukrainian artillery firing on to the Ukrainian side and then blaming it on the pro-russian separatists as witnessed in multiple occasions by my neighbor’s family. Or the USA personnel (political and military) that were all over the Ukrainian parliament Rada in 2014 as witnessed by my own relative who lived in Kiev and who’s family felt the horrendous economic decline of that country since then to say nothing of all the armament pumped into Ukraine….But now it is branded as “unprovoked Russian attack”…
    Mr. Lauria and Co. , please keep up your voices of reason that may help us all. As a Russian saying goes: Hope dies last….

    • RS
      April 19, 2022 at 12:26

      Dear Elina:

      I much appreciate the article but find your words more valuable. You are on the ground and see things as they actually are. We in the US, at least those who are brainwashed into believing the media, don’t have Consortium News to set them straight. Sadly, even if they had access, they may not be in a mind-set to believe facts before them. Good luck to you and to Russia.

  10. April 18, 2022 at 22:36

    Superb analysis. However, there is still less suppression of dissent in Russia than in the “West”despite Russia facing, once again, an existential threat. Russians are stubborn and like to argue.But they are also facing an enemy that has a huge and highly sophisticated media apparatus to control the Public Mind – and also the Public Unconscious. The essence of inverted totalitarianism is to create an artificial culture in which people have the illusion of freedom, even dissent, while mandating conformity to the needs of a ruling class. Russian culture is by contrast “stubborn”. Which is why the Russians can make world-class vaccines– which people refuse to take. America is not facing an existential threat from abroad — but rather from the incompetence of its own system. The Russians don’t like the word “war” being used — because by Westerns standards–and also factually, this is NOT a war–but rather a police operation to preserve and protect human life, rather than the opposite. Russia has its own fifth column, Moscow elites who speak English and have traveled abroad and want to preserve their status. These people are dangerous. Still, Russia treats them gently.

  11. Jimm
    April 18, 2022 at 20:29

    Taking what the US did to Iraq as just one example, how are we surprised the the US would lie incessantly about the war in Ukraine? The target is Russia, and Russia knows this. This is about their survival and with it comes the opportunity to break from dollar hegemony. If they succeed the US house of cards falls down on our American heads. If not our ponzi financial system is granted a temporary stay of execution via the plundering of Russian assets and a lot of dead and starving people.

  12. RS
    April 18, 2022 at 20:03

    Thank you Joe Lauria for informative article about propaganda. It appears from my experience that the Ukrainians are winning this battle. Not a day goes by that my daily news and the internet don’t run several articles from the Ukrainian point of view about their prowess on the battlefield or dead Ukrainian civilians that were certainly killed by Russian troops even though they weren’t around at the time. No one has mentioned the twin ironies of this conflict: Russian soldiers won the war in Europe against the Nazis and paid a dear price for the effort without proper recognition. The US and its allies who fought with the Russians have switched sides and are now fighting for the Nazis in Ukraine, at least in support. Hitler fought for the idea of Aryan superiority, to achieve a pecking order of humanity. No one seems to care about the crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza or the citizens of Yemen who are facing a real humanitarian disaster. I guess these people are the new Untermensch.

  13. Humwawa
    April 18, 2022 at 18:28

    The war propaganda is an indispensable requirement for fighting a war. The problem is that the propaganda lies take on a life of their own. The propagandist becomes a prisoner of his/her own lies. The politicians who are responsible for millions of deaths because they lied to their own people cannot admit that they lied. They have to keep on lying no matter how many more people get killed. They have to keep on inventing new lies not to lose face. Once the lies become too obvious, the people will lose faith in their government and in the media. Their whole world will collapse. The rulers cannot let that happen. Thus, the killing has to go on until the house of cards collapses.

  14. jo6pac
    April 18, 2022 at 18:07

    Yep Joseph Goebbels and Edward Barneys would so proud of how Amerika corp. owned press has taken their teaching and improved them.

    I can’t wait to see the spin when ukraine falls. I’m sure the Z man will be off to Virginia for his own talk show;-)

    • Realist
      April 19, 2022 at 14:48

      If there is any justice the Russians would catch that weasel, even if they had to kidnap him from some hideout in Poland or wherever he may be holed up. Just like the West (Washington, really) is doing to Assange, I’d put him on trial for his life….unless the American goons were willing to trade him straight up for Assange. Probably the only way Assange ever sees freedom again. The American people would be fooled, thinking they are getting gold in return for dross, but they are cursed by their government to always getting things exactly wrong.

  15. April 18, 2022 at 17:57

    Thank you once again for giving me the truth, as the propaganda is unbearable!
    I now have a big fat Consortium News record of this war and I m so grateful, as I can t bear to listen
    to BBC News!

  16. Sam F
    April 18, 2022 at 17:50

    A good review of the Ukraine situation, and the even more troubling ascendance of mass media totalitarianism.
    The domestic war to control “the narrative” would be impossible if any trace of democracy remained in the US.

  17. April 18, 2022 at 17:35

    Thank you Joe; that’s very helpful information, especially the last part where you describe what is going on in the Ukraine war. Without an understanding of what is going on, we (the US and indeed the World) is going to sink into an unsolvable morass of hate and chaos. We are already losing the fight for a livable climate on this planet as a result. If everyone is obsessed with “crazy” Putin, the most evil man in the history of the world according to Zelensky who is our brave ,pure hero, then they can’t pay attention to the fact that our children face an unspeakable future of hardship brought on by the the greed and stupidity of our oligarchs.

    Please keep telling us in as much detail as you are able what the truth is about the Nazis in Ukraine, and the propaganda lies Zelensky is spouting.

    For those of us who have been following this story ever since the Maidan debacle, it has become obvious that the US is responsible for virtually all of it, and if he wanted to, Biden could tell Zelensky to agree to Russia’s very reasonable request regarding NATO , Crimea, and Donbass. That has been true for the past 8 years. America has been essentially calling the shots – which is why, as you point out Joe, that the Pentagon has been trying to to tone things down. If Americans actually understood that this is a war we started and promoted, I think there would be protests in the streets about it, but unfortunately for Democrats, if the truth came out nationally it would mean Biden’s loss at the polls and possibly Trump’s return and no one want’s that either. So what will we choose – the death of the planet by nuclear war and/or climate disaster or the return of the demented Trump? Does the fate of the world boil down to choosing between a demented Biden or a demented Trump?

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      April 19, 2022 at 13:11

      Hear, hear. Particularly your final paragraph. I continue to be shocked at the amnesia on the part of many of my friends and acquaintences about the events of 2014. It was only 8 years ago! I have been scorned by those same friends and acquaintences for not supporting the fascist government of Ukraine. Do supporters of Zelensky, et al., know what they are supporting?Far too many Americans are ignorant of even recent history, let alone history going back 100 years. But a knowledge of history is invaluable in being able to refute lies in the media. Without it, people are just gullible pawns. Thereby democracy disappears.

  18. Fabio
    April 18, 2022 at 17:25

    After rising to power in 1933, Adolf Hitler created the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, headed by Joseph Goebbels. All aspects of German culture were subject to the Propaganda Ministry’s control, including films, theater, music, the press and radio broadcast.
    The actual situation is its amplified copy-paste for influencing the entire societies . The sanctions against Russian athletes and artists are the prodrome .

  19. Frank Munley
    April 18, 2022 at 17:24

    RT on TV and Sputnik on radio might be banned, but every day, I get an email from “RT in English.” It has links to RT articles on their web site. Some of it I find as a useful balance to the US’s MSM propaganda, some of it I don’t like. But I can recommend it.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      April 19, 2022 at 13:14

      I have always gone to RT, particularly for the shows of the likes of Chris Hedges and Afshin Rattansi, to name just two. There is a combination of information and vapid celebrity nonsense, but the nonsense could be filtered out.

  20. Julie Wornan
    April 18, 2022 at 16:25

    You write, “At home Russia has also crushed dissent, shutting down media outlets, banning protests and even outlawing the word “war” to describe what Russia is doing.”

    However, I have observed the word “war” used to describe the war sometimes in RT’s English language news website, rt.com (still available online although the TV version is gone).
    Example,
    “Washington does not want the war to end in a swift settlement whereby Ukraine makes concessions to Russia, because the ideal outcome is to ensure Moscow takes as much damage as possible, which means that a war of increasing escalation is in fact in the US’ interests.”
    – hxxps://www.rt.com/news/553925-west-want-war-moscow/

  21. Tony
    April 18, 2022 at 15:01

    BBC News, 17 April 2022:

    In small writing:

    “Pictures from Azov Battalion”

    The BBC’s relationship with the neo-Nazis seems to be getting even closer.

    This is the second time that I know of in which the BBC has refused to reveal the true nature of this organisation.

    • Ian Stevenson
      April 19, 2022 at 04:25

      The BBC, about ten days, ago examined the video of Ukrainian troops shooting Russian prisoners and suggested it was probably authentic.
      and they address the Nazi connection here hxxps://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0bx9slf/ros-atkins-on-putins-false-nazi-claims-about-ukraine

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