Caitlin Johnstone: On Russians ‘Raping Babies’

You can be sure that these obscene, unverified charges against Russian forces won’t attract the social-media censors who are supposedly rooting out “disinformation.” 

Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian Parliament building. (Jennifer Boyer, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream Western press.

The latest story making the rounds is a completely un-evidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business InsiderThe Daily BeastThe Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government with every incentive to lie.

“A 1-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo! News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”

At the end of the fourth paragraph, we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press: 

“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”


In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion:

“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights.” 

The one-and-only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:

“I appeal to the U.N. Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!

The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!”

This is what passes for journalism in the Western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against U.S. enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” bit.

We cannot say definitively that these rapes never happened. Nor can we say definitively that the Australian government isn’t warehousing extraterrestrial aircraft in an underground bunker in Canberra. But we don’t treat that like it’s an established fact and publish mainstream news reports about it just because we can’t prove it’s false. That’s not how the burden of proof works.

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Obviously, the rape of children is a very real and very serious matter, and obviously rape is one of the many horrors which can be inflicted upon people in the lawless environment of war.

But to turn strategically convenient government assertions about such matters into a news story based on no evidence whatsoever is not just journalistic malpractice but actual atrocity propaganda.

As we discussed previously, the U.S. and its proxies have an established history of using atrocity propaganda, as in the infamous “taking babies from incubators” narrative that was circulated in the infamous 1990 Nayirah testimony which helped manufacture consent for the Gulf War.

Atrocity propaganda has been in use for a very long time due to how effective it can be at getting populations mobilized against targeted enemies, from the Middle Ages when Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian children to kill them and drink their blood, to 17th century claims that the Irish were killing English children and throwing them into the sea, to World War I claims that Germans were mutilating and eating Belgian babies.

Atrocity propaganda frequently involves children, because children cannot be construed as combatants or non-innocents. It generally involves the most horrific allegations the propagandists can possibly get away with at that point in history. It creates a useful appeal to emotion which bypasses people’s logical faculties and gets them accepting the propaganda based not on facts and evidence but on how it makes them feel.

And it’s working. If you search social media for this bogus story that’s been forcibly injected into public discourse you’ll find countless individuals expressing their outrage at the evil baby-raping Russians.

Democratic Party operative Andrea Chalupa, known for her controversial collusion with the Ukrainian government to undermine the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, can be seen citing the aforementioned Daily Beast article on Twitter to angrily admonish The New York Times editorial board for expressing a rare word of caution about U.S. involvement in the war.

“Before writing this, the members of the New York Times Editorial Board should have asked themselves who among them wanted to have their children, including babies and infants, raped by Russian soldiers, because that is what’s happening in Ukraine,” Chalupa tweeted.

See that? How a completely unevidenced government assertion was turned into an official-looking news story, and how that official-looking news story was then cited as though it’s an objective fact that Russian soldiers are running around raping babies to death in Ukraine? And how it’s done to help manufacture consent for a geostrategically crucial proxy war, and to bludgeon those who express any amount of caution about these world-threatening escalations?

That’s atrocity propaganda doing exactly what it is meant to do.

Now on top of all the other reasons we’re being given for the U.S. and its allies to send Ukraine more and more war machinery of higher and higher destructive capability, there is now the story of t Russians raping babies to death willy-nilly over there. Which just so happens to work out nicely for the U.S.-centralized empire’s goals of unipolar domination, for the Ukrainian regime and for the military-industrial complex.

And that wasn’t even the extent of obscene mass media atrocity propaganda conducted on behalf of Ukrainian officials for the day. Newsweek’s article, “Russians Targeting Kids’ Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team,” informs us that:

“The leader of a Ukrainian bomb squad has said that Russian forces are targeting children by placing explosive devices inside their rooms and under their beds.”

Then at the end of the second paragraph we again find that magical phrase:

“Newsweek has not independently verified the claim.”

The Newsweek report is based on part of an embarrassing ABC News Australia puff piece about a Ukrainian team which is allegedly responsible for removing landmines in areas that were previously occupied by Russian forces. The piece refers to the team as a “unit of brave de-miners” while calling Russian forces “barbaric.”

ABC uncritically reports all the nefarious ways the evil Russians have been planting explosives with the goal of killing Ukrainian civilians, including setting mines in children’s beds and teddy bears and placing them under fallen Ukrainian soldiers. Way down toward the bottom of the article we see the magical phrase again:

“The ABC has not been able to independently verify these reports, but they back up allegations made by Ukraine’s President.”

Ahh, so what you’re being told by Ukrainian forces “backs up” what you’ve been told by the president of Ukraine. Doesn’t get any more rock solid than that, does it? Great journalism there, fellas.

The Ukrainian government stands everything to gain and nothing to lose by just saying whatever it needs to say in order to obtain more weapons, more funding and increasingly direct assistance from Western powers. So if it knows the Western media will uncritically report every claim it makes, why not lie? Why not tell whatever lie you need to tell in order to advance your own interests and agendas? It would be pretty silly of them not to take advantage of the opening they’re being given.

This is something the Western press know is happening. They know full well that Ukraine is waging a very sophisticated propaganda campaign against Russia and seeding disinformation to facilitate that infowar. It’s not a secret. They are participating in that campaign knowingly.

The mass media have been cranking out atrocity propaganda about what’s happening in Ukraine since before the invasion even started, like when they reported in February that Russia has a list of dissidents, journalists and “vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons” who it plans on rounding up and torturing when it invades. Funny how we just completely stopped hearing about that one.

And this is all happening at the same time the Western political/media class continues to shriek about the dangers of “disinformation” and the urgent need to strictly regulate its circulation on the internet, even after U.S. officials came right out and admitted that they’ve been circulating disinformation about Russia and Ukraine. I guarantee you none of these completely evidence-free claims will be subject to censorship by the “fact checkers” of social media platforms.

The fact that both Silicon Valley and the mainstream news media have accepted it as a given that it is their job to manipulate public thought about this war tells you everything you need to know about how free and truth-based the so-called liberal democracies of the Western world really are. We are being deceived and confused into consenting to agendas that could very easily lead to nuclear Armageddon, and if we ever raise our voices in objection to this we are branded Putin propagandists and disinformation agents.

It’s getting very, very bad. Turn around, people. Wrong way.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar onPatreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone andWoke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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30 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: On Russians ‘Raping Babies’

  1. Gerry L Forbes
    May 25, 2022 at 14:27

    Is Karla Homolka writing Ukraine’s propaganda now?

  2. Realist
    May 24, 2022 at 14:05

    Apparently American exceptionalism has rubbed off on the Ukies since becoming our very bestest friends forever and all time. Once admitted, you too become omniscient, omnipotent and infallible. Beyond reproach!

    Welcome to the Empire of Lies, fellas! Membership is like being a “made man” in the outfit. Split a baby witcha? Then we go blame the Russkies. They are so dumb. We are so kool. Amirite?

  3. Alan
    May 24, 2022 at 12:34

    That picture of the crying little girl could have been taken at any funeral in any country, including Ukraine. However, the chance that it is from the funeral of a 1 year old boy who was “raped to death” by Russian soldiers is as close to zero as you can get.

  4. Tom
    May 24, 2022 at 11:18

    Are they throwing babys out of incubaters yet?

  5. JonT
    May 24, 2022 at 08:05

    “The ABC has not been able to independently verify these reports, but they back up allegations made by Ukraine’s President… ”
    I laughed out loud when I read this, even though the topic is not in the least bit funny. If the Ukraine President made the allegations then they must be true! The MSM just treats its readers/viewers as idiots most of the time, I think.

    • Tobysgirl
      May 24, 2022 at 15:09

      And the problem is that many readers and viewers ARE idiots! They don’t want to think, they don’t want to investigate, they just want to eat that day’s MSM swill.

  6. Francis Lee
    May 24, 2022 at 07:46

    This is simply crude war-propaganda but with a much improved delivery system. In the fullness of time the truth will hopefully become uncovered. But until this time we will have to suffer the predictable barrage of lies, psychological manipulation and plain evil intent. In a conflict the soldiers at the front had to experience the full horrors of mechanized war and were not enamoured of its ‘glory’. The British novelist Siegfried Sassoon describes the true face of conflict as follows:

    ”It was now six o’clock in the morning, and a weary business it is, to be remembering and writing it down. There was nothing like the Quadrangle, though it was comfortable, from what I heard, compared to the hell which it became a few days afterwards. Alternately crouching and crawling I worked my way back. I passed the young German whose body I had rescued from disfigurement a couple of hours before. He was down in the mud again and someone had trodden on his face. It disheartened me to see him, though his body had now lost all touch with life and was part of the wastage of the war. He and Private Kendal had cancelled each other out in the process called ”attrition of manpower.” Further along I found one of our men dying slowly with a hole in his forehead. His eyes were open and he breathed with a horrible snoring sound. Close by him were two of his former mates; one of them was hacking at the ground with an entrenching tool while the other scooped the earth out of the trench with his hands. They were not worried about ‘souvenirs’ now.” (Memoirs of an Infantry Officer 1930).

    The full horrors of industrialised war were experienced by the soldiers at the front well enough, whilst the propogandists of war, hate and mass insanity sat safely ensconced dreaming up hate propaganda in the rear.

  7. Humwawa
    May 24, 2022 at 07:39

    I don’t speak Ukrainian, but there are so many stories about fantasies of violence being done to children that I have the impression that this could be some sort of perverse twist of the Ukrainian nationalist mind.

    A Ukrainian TV 24 reporter ranted about Goebbels and his own desire for killing Russian children so that the Russian race may be exterminated.

    Poroshendo ranted about children in the Donbas having to hide in the cellar (probably while being bombed by Ukrainian forces).

    The missile probably launched by Ukrainian forces at the Kramatorsk train station bears the writing “for the children.”

    The word children was written on the square in front of the Theater in Mariupol before it was blown up probably by the Azov Nazis to blame the Russians.

    And now the Russians-rape-babies-to-death stories.

    To invent such stories takes a perverted mindset that I shudder to imagine.

  8. Humwawa
    May 24, 2022 at 07:03

    This is desperate beyond belief.

    In Europe, they unearth stereotypical WWII enemy images of the Russian rapist. In my village in the North of Germany under British occupation, they kept on talking about Russian rapists for years after the war even though no Russian had been anywhere near that village. The other day, a Baltic friend of mine, after exhausting all the false arguments for blaming the Russians, said that, “whatever, we all know that the Russians are rapist.”

    How can Europe have sunk so low? Many of those politically correct smart young people today are outing themselves as the died-in-wool racists they really are.

    All that politically correct intimidation of others has been revealed for what it is. Civilization is only skin deep. The beast wants to break out.

    • Tobysgirl
      May 24, 2022 at 15:14

      This IS civilization: hierarchical, violent, exploitative. What’s happening with young people is that we are raising generations of fascists. In Barcelona, young people wanted to burn a book about no one being born in the wrong body, and they also threatened to burn down the bookstore. The authors had to wait in the store until all the “activists” left the area. It’s fascinating how they apparently have no associations with being blackshirts (transactivists dressed in all black with their faces hidden at women’s rally in Manchester, England) or book-burning

  9. Gennady
    May 24, 2022 at 01:03

    I wish i could donate to the author. But i am not able to that since i am Russian.
    Honestly i was kind of depressed at first days of our denazi operation in Ukraine. How people on the west became hating us so fast without a reason and even a willing to understand what is really going on there. Even i was banned from a sailors group on fb. I was foolishy argue with a stranger how said it was OK to burn people alive in Odessa trade union center. How a pregnant women was choked to death with electric cable and raped. It 8s not just a word. But plenty of evidences on internet. The guys said it OK. It all their fault for being tortured and killed because they are separatist. They deserve to be killed. I was very shocked.
    Any how these comments and the author give a hope that world is not a total waste , not yet.

    Thank you. And keep findin information yrself do not rely on any media.
    Sorry for my bad English. I did not practice much

    • Humwawa
      May 24, 2022 at 07:12

      I’m so sorry for what the West does to you. I like many others in the West are with you. The card house of Western lies has become so fragile that it has to collapse sooner rather than later. Lies of such monstrosity cannot prevail. This is worse than the incubator lie for the first Iraq war or Saddam’s WMD lie of the second Iraq war by several orders of magnitude.

      Stay safe!

    • Piet Fluwijn
      May 24, 2022 at 11:21

      Your english is far better than our knowledge of russian. Be proud to be Russian, it’s a great country with a great history and a bright future !

      • John R
        May 24, 2022 at 15:49

        “Bright future.” None of us has a bright future. A bright future is pure fantasy.

    • Tobysgirl
      May 24, 2022 at 15:17

      What you need to know is that Westerners need someone to HATE. It’s no longer fashionable to hate black people or gays and lesbians, but it’s okay to hate whoever the meat puppets on TV told you today to hate. The depth of nastiness in many Americans is shocking but not surprising considering that we have too much, consume too much, care little for even other Americans’ well-being.

  10. May 23, 2022 at 23:50

    During WWII I recall hearing stories of Japanese soldiers tossing babies up in the air and spearing them with their bayonets, I’m fairly certain that was bullshit, but the point is that atrocity propaganda has been with us a long time and is alive and well today.

    The truly tragic part is that MSM and others will spread this bullshit without even questioning it and the end result is the loss of confidence the public has in the media.

  11. Piotr Berman
    May 23, 2022 at 23:10

    “Doesn’t get any more rock solid than that, does it?”

    Indeed not as solid as granite, or even as cheese curds, but the paradigm on those matters is “soft power”, not “solid power”.

    That said, my heart pains seeing NYT accused of being criminally oblivious to the fate of one year old children merely for writing the most anodyne and vacuous exhortation to have “clarity of aims and strategy”. It is true that demanding “sense” and “cost effectiveness” would shut down the totality of American military+intelligence+foreign affair apparatus if followed to the logical conclusion, arguably treasonous, but without reading, I am absolutely sure that the “offending” editorial was a series of banalities with no desire of hinting any conclusions.

  12. jack johnson
    May 23, 2022 at 20:30

    When you see these outrageous unprovable allegations, you know the side making the claims are losing the war. When you corner a rabid animal expect the unexpected. Russia allows imbedded journalists, Ukraine does not….ask yourself why.

  13. Vincent ANDERSON
    May 23, 2022 at 17:18

    Great reportage. And funny-as-usual, Ms. J. Maybe more generally, not just ‘officials’ but their courts have now enlarged the whole war to Russkie Rape. Get this:


    2 thesis summary sentences: [1] ‘The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office said a Kyiv court had on Monday ordered Yanukovich’s arrest because the Kharkiv Pact [of 2010!] had enabled Russia to increase the number of troops it had in Ukraine and to seize and annex Crimea in 2014. [2] ‘Yanukovich’s actions had violated the constitution and “to the detriment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the defence, state and economic security of Ukraine, provided assistance to a foreign state”.’

    Omitting a few details? E.g., Yanukovich’s rejection of the EU’s perpetual IMF mortgage that had a couple of ‘poison pill’ riders, such as commitment to EU/NATO ascension? RUS had better terms, from then until their 12/21 treaty proposal ignored by Joe & Tony.

    And ‘providing assistance to a foreign state?’ Just what UKR is doing now. Enough said?

    • Humwawa
      May 24, 2022 at 07:22

      Putin and Yanukovych never opposed the EU deal. Yanukovych just didn’t want to strangle Ukrainians with the IMF’s rigorous austerity. And he didn’t want to destroy Ukrainian industry by cutting it from it’s traditional markets in Russia. As Jacques Baud describes it, “Putin and Yanukovych wanted to make Ukraine a bridge between Russia and the EU, while the EU wanted to make Ukraine a wall against Russia.”

      That’s how the EU triggered the Ukraine crisis, which may well destroy the EU in the end.

      • May 24, 2022 at 13:43

        Jacques Baud’s quote about Ukraine being a bridge or a wall with Russia focuses on the key reason this conflict has come about. Those who wanted a wall have caused this conflict. Those who want a bridge will be the key to a peace for the Ukranian people, what they voted for in 2019. Thank you Humawa for pointing this out

  14. Arkady Bogdanov
    May 23, 2022 at 17:11

    To be fair, I think the Russians did indeed say they had a list of names that they were going to be looking for, but the types of people on that list is just a bit different than those western media is using as props here (The Russians are looking for Nazis in general, but they really want those bastards that were involved in the House of Trade Unions massacre, for ex).

    • Humwawa
      May 24, 2022 at 07:24

      I’m sure the Russians will also want to get their hands on the Azov Nazis that tortured and killed Russian POWs.

      • Tobysgirl
        May 24, 2022 at 15:21

        Well, they’ve got them! What interested me about the surrender of the Ukrainian soldiers and the Azov soldiers in Azovstahl was that the Ukrainians were thin and hungry; the Azov were well-fed and even had food in their luggage. Can you imagine men so low that they wouldn’t even share their food with other Ukrainians? The International Red Cross reported that the Ukrainian soldiers reported they were being treated well and given three meals of good food daily.

  15. Dfnslblty
    May 23, 2022 at 16:56

    >> Which just so happens to work out nicely for the U.S.-centralized empire’s goals of unipolar domination, for the Ukrainian regime and for the military-industrial complex. <<

    It’s okay to blame the messengers.
    It is also useful to look at the govt/mil/corp empire that uses and rewards such stenography.
    Thé usa buys the ink and the airwaves for such fear- and war-mongering.

    Protest Loudly!

  16. Rob Roy
    May 23, 2022 at 15:40

    Thanks again for Caitlin Johnstone. When I make a statement at which friends and family scoff, I often have Caitlin for backup. An excellent article to go with this one is in scheerpost today: “No Way Out But War,” by Chris Hedges.

  17. rosemerry
    May 23, 2022 at 15:32

    Another sad thing is that the cruelty imputed to Russians is what is often acceptable to the Ukrainian soldiers who torture Russian POWs and film this, and mayors and other officials who concoct ridiculous numbers of alleged killed civilians far exceeding the total dead recorded by the UN . Ukrainian POWs held by Russia are surprised at their good treatment in captivity, after the lurid lies their Ukie bosses tell them before they fight.

    • Realist
      May 24, 2022 at 15:33

      I’ve seen lots of photos and video clips of torture victims in this war, both of civilians and soldiers. Also lots of evidence of war crime victims during the eight-year run-up to this specific military operation. And, you know what? In every case the perps were Ukrainians, not Russians. I get the impression that there really is a difference in temperament between the two peoples. It’s the Ukies that seem viciously psychopathic. They and their American minders. That it’s ostensibly “our side” that always seems to line up allied to pure evil truly leaves me with a sense of abject hopelessness. I thought it was wonderful, bordering on the miraculous, that war hawk Ronald Reagan seemed to convert to the light and make peace with Gorbachev. However, every American leader who followed incessantly tried to subvert that peace while America’s culture of war and conquest simply chugged on to increasingly more selfish, cruel and destructive scenarios.

      I’ve got to say that the past 30 years or so of non-stop American wars and all the documented human carnage they have caused leads me to believe that the human race, or at least its Western outpost, has egregiously failed to pass whatever tests the governing forces of the universe have placed before us (if merely in the form of natural selection) to prove that we deserve to exist and ascend to greater heights of being and accomplishment. If anything, we’ve demonstrated we really need to be exterminated. I know, we were indisputably horrible before that ostentatious embrace of peace and cooperation between East and West, with our infamous world wars, which really never ceased as we proceeded along the same path with Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and so forth ad infinitum. But consider that mere practice for sake of argument. The real test began when we gloriously proclaimed the end of the Cold War and the start of a new era of peace, prosperity and justice for all. By gosh, even our pocketbooks would benefit from the expected and promised “peace dividend.” That it all turned out to be just a cruel sham means we failed the test with the opposite of flying colors. Stick a fork in the human race, we should be done as a participant in this universe. Sorry, we didn’t make the cut. This time we shouldn’t get past the population bottleneck.

      Of course, I will give ourselves one more chance if it is offered. Like Putin, I’m a hopeless optimist (if that’s not being utterly oxymoronic).

  18. TonyR
    May 23, 2022 at 15:06

    Andrea Chalupa… Your as useful as a day old Chalupa from taco bell which didnt even taste good fresh! Do they still sell those things? Both of you are horrid

  19. May 23, 2022 at 14:59

    Rape accusations are easy because you can’t demand hard evidence in the form of names, face to face interviews, as you would with any other atrocities. But with a dozen so children seriously injured, surely it should be possible to interview a doctor, anonymously?

Comments are closed.