The Western Media Disinformation Campaign: Fall of Bakhmut, a case in point

Our language is in constant evolution. Partly this is bottom up, from the inventiveness of creative personalities or writers for commercial advertising. Partly it is top down, from the powers that be as they seek to manipulate and control the thought processes of the broad public.

My brief essay today addresses the latter phenomenon and the introduction of the word “disinformation” into common parlance. There is a charming freshness to it, unlike the stale and repugnant word “propaganda.”

The word “disinformation” has a specific context in time and intent: it is used by the powers that be and by the mainstream media they control to denigrate, marginalize and suppress sources of military, political, economic and other information that might contradict the official government narrative and so dilute the control exercised by those in power over the general population. It is to remove “disinformation” from public life that the United States and EU member states ban RT and other Russian media outlets from the internet, from satellite and cable television channels. The censorship here in Europe varies from country to country and is probably most drastic in France and Germany. One would think that these European states are truly at war with Russia, not just giving a helping hand to Kiev.

In reality, it is these censorious states and the mass media that carry their messages with stenographic precision into print and electronic dissemination who are the ones that day after day feed  disinformation to the public. It is cynically composed and consists of a toxic blend of ‘spin,’ by which is meant misleading interpretation of events, and outright lies.

The many months long battle for the provincial Donbas city of Bakhmut, or Artyomovsk as it is known in Russia, has been described variously from on high in Washington, London and Berlin. When the likely outcome was unclear, the defense of Bakhmut was called heroic and demonstrative of the brave fighting spirit of the Ukrainians.

Casualty figures issued by Kiev and then trumpeted from Washington suggested that the Russians were stupidly throwing away the lives of their fighting men by using WWI style human waves of attackers who were decimated by the defenders. Russian lives are cheap was the message. The fact that Russian artillery on site outnumbered and outperformed Ukrainian artillery by a factor of five or seven to one was freely admitted by the Western propagandists as they pleaded for increased supplies to Kiev. They,  nonetheless, issued casualty reports for the Russians that inverted the force correlation. It was assumed, obviously with reason, that the public was too lazy or too uninterested to do the arithmetic.

At one moment, the spin doctors in Washington, London and Berlin said that Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut made sense because it was pinning down Russian forces and giving time to the Ukrainians to train and position their men for the heralded “counter offensive” during which they would overrun Russian positions at chosen points in the 600 mile line of combat and drive a wedge through to the Sea of Azov, opening the way for recapture of Crimea. Those were grand words and ambitions to justify continued and ever rising Western military assistance to Kiev.

At another point, the spin doctors said it would be better if Ukraine stopped losing men in Bakhmut and launched instead that much vaunted counter-offensive. Now we were told that Bakhmut is just a Russian fantasy, that it has no strategic value.

In the past couple of weeks, the Russian command has issued daily reports on the progressive capture by Russian forces of Bakhmut, square kilometer after square kilometer. We were told they controlled 75%, then 80% and most recently more than 90% of the city proper while artillery bombardment of the remaining blocks of high rise residential buildings that were being used by Ukrainian defenders for their sniper attacks and intelligence reports on Russian troop movements pulverized everything in their path.

At this point, the attention of Western media defending truth against Russian disinformation was directed at the Ukrainian “successes” in recapturing settlements on the flanks of Bakhmut.  Just three days ago The New York Times was telling its readers that these “breakthroughs” by the Ukrainians put in jeopardy the Russian forces holding the city proper: they might be surrounded and compelled to surrender or die. The possibility that the offensives on the flanks were only intended to facilitate withdrawal of remaining Ukrainian soldiers from Bakhmut and were tolerated by the Russians to avoid bloody fights to the death – that possibility crossed no one’s mind at the NYT, it seems.

Midday yesterday, 20 May, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group which did most of the fighting for Bakhmut on the ground, claimed total victory.  In the evening, President Vladimir Putin announced to the Russian public that Bakhmut was taken. Joyous messages of congratulations filled the internet message services in Russia as the broad public celebrated a victory as iconic as the Battle for Stalingrad.

Meanwhile, the defenders of the Western public against Russian “disinformation” were hard at work, straining their brains to find what to say. This morning’s New York Times still speaks of the battle for Bakhmut as undecided, pointing yet again to the Ukrainian hold on the flanks.

Given their losses in men and materiel defending Bakhmut, the surrender of the city to the Russians will be a great blow to Ukrainian fighting morale when it is finally admitted. So will the fate of their Commander in Chief General Zaluzhny who, according to Russian sources, has been hospitalized for the past two weeks and remains in critical condition after falling victim to a Russian strike on a provincial command center which killed most of the high officers around him. If nothing else, this speaks to the amazing success of Russian military intelligence directing their firepower.

Meanwhile, Western media attention to Ukraine is conveniently redirected at the nonstop travels of President Zalensky who went from his European tour on to the Middle East, where he attended the meeting of the Arab League, and thence via French military jet to the G7 gathering in Hiroshima where he held talks with fellow heads of state and joined them for the obligatory group photos. All the talk was about when the U.S. will formally give its consent to the dispatch of F16s to Kiev. For the disseminators of Western disinformation this is a wonderful distraction from a war that clearly is going badly for Kiev and in particular a distraction from the counter offensive that looks less likely with each passing day of Russian military strikes on the command centers and weapons stores of the Ukrainian side.

The plume of radioactive smoke and ash that rose from the Khmelnitsky store of British depleted uranium artillery shells in Western Ukraine after a Russian missile strike, just like the extensive damage to the Patriot air defense installation near Kiev by a Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile tell us all what will be the fate of future Western arms deliveries to Ukraine. It is an interesting question how much longer the Ukrainian military or politicians will put up with their high flying, good life President while the country is well on its way to hell.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Translations below into German (Andreas Mylaeus), French (Youri), Spanish (Hugo Guido) and Brazilian Portuguese (Evandro Menezes)

Die Desinformationskampagne der westlichen Medien: Der Fall Bakhmut, ein typisches Beispiel

Unsere Sprache befindet sich in ständiger Entwicklung. Zum Teil geschieht dies von unten nach oben, durch den Erfindungsreichtum kreativer Persönlichkeiten oder von Autoren für kommerzielle Werbung. Zum Teil geschieht dies von oben nach unten, von den Machthabern, die versuchen, die Denkprozesse der breiten Öffentlichkeit zu manipulieren und zu kontrollieren.

In meinem heutigen kurzen Aufsatz geht es um das letztgenannte Phänomen und die Einführung des Wortes “Desinformation” in den allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch. Es hat eine charmante Frische, im Gegensatz zu dem abgestandenen und widerwärtigen Wort “Propaganda”.

Das Wort “Desinformation” steht in einem bestimmten zeitlichen und inhaltlichen Zusammenhang: Es wird von den Machthabern und den von ihnen kontrollierten Mainstream-Medien verwendet, um Quellen militärischer, politischer, wirtschaftlicher und anderer Informationen zu verunglimpfen, an den Rand zu drängen und zu unterdrücken, die der offiziellen Darstellung der Regierung widersprechen und so die von den Machthabern ausgeübte Kontrolle über die Bevölkerung verwässern könnten. Um “Desinformationen” aus dem öffentlichen Leben zu entfernen, verbieten die Vereinigten Staaten und die EU-Mitgliedstaaten RT und andere russische Medien aus dem Internet, von Satelliten- und Kabelfernsehkanälen. Die Zensur hier in Europa variiert von Land zu Land und ist wahrscheinlich in Frankreich und Deutschland am drastischsten. Man sollte meinen, dass diese europäischen Staaten sich wirklich im Krieg mit Russland befinden und nicht nur Kiew unter die Arme greifen.

In Wirklichkeit sind es diese zensorischen Staaten und die Massenmedien, die ihre Botschaften mit stenografischer Präzision in gedruckter und elektronischer Form verbreiten, die die Öffentlichkeit Tag für Tag mit Desinformationen füttern. Sie ist zynisch zusammengesetzt und besteht aus einer giftigen Mischung aus “Spin”, d.h. einer irreführenden Interpretation von Ereignissen, und offenen Lügen.

Die monatelange Schlacht um die Donbass-Provinzstadt Bakhmut oder Artjomowsk, wie sie in Russland genannt wird, wurde von höchster Stelle in Washington, London und Berlin unterschiedlich beschrieben. Als der Ausgang noch unklar war, wurde die Verteidigung von Bakhmut als heldenhaft und als Beweis für den tapferen Kampfgeist der Ukrainer bezeichnet.

Die von Kiew herausgegebenen und dann von Washington verkündeten Opferzahlen suggerierten, dass die Russen dummerweise das Leben ihrer Kämpfer wegwarfen, indem sie wie im Ersten Weltkrieg menschliche Wellen von Angreifern einsetzten, die von den Verteidigern dezimiert wurden. Russische Leben sind billig, lautete die Botschaft. Die Tatsache, dass die russische Artillerie vor Ort der ukrainischen Artillerie zahlenmäßig überlegen war und diese um das Fünffache oder Siebenfache übertraf, wurde von den westlichen Propagandisten freimütig zugegeben, als sie für mehr Nachschub für Kiew plädierten. Dennoch gaben sie für die Russen Verlustberichte heraus, die das Kräfteverhältnis umkehrten. Man nahm an, offensichtlich zu Recht, dass die Öffentlichkeit zu faul oder zu uninteressiert war, um selbst nachzurechnen.

In einem Moment sagten die Spindoktoren in Washington, London und Berlin, dass die ukrainische Verteidigung von Bakhmut sinnvoll sei, weil sie die russischen Streitkräfte in die Enge treibe und den Ukrainern Zeit verschaffe, ihre Männer für die angekündigte “Gegenoffensive” zu trainieren und in Stellung zu bringen, in deren Verlauf sie die russischen Stellungen an ausgewählten Punkten der 600 Meilen langen Kampflinie überrennen und einen Keil bis zum Asowschen Meer treiben würden, der den Weg für die Rückeroberung der Krim ebnen würde. Das waren große Worte und Ambitionen, um die fortgesetzte und ständig steigende westliche Militärhilfe für Kiew zu rechtfertigen.

An anderer Stelle hieß es, es wäre besser, wenn die Ukraine keine Männer mehr in Bakhmut verlieren und stattdessen die viel gepriesene Gegenoffensive starten würde. Nun wurde uns gesagt, dass Bakhmut nur eine russische Fantasie sei, dass es keinen strategischen Wert habe.

In den letzten Wochen hat das russische Kommando täglich Berichte über die fortschreitende Einnahme von Quadratkilometer für Quadratkilometer von Bakhmut durch die russischen Streitkräfte veröffentlicht. Uns wurde gesagt, sie kontrollierten 75 %, dann 80 % und zuletzt mehr als 90 % der Stadt, während Artilleriebeschuss auf die verbleibenden Hochhausblöcke, die von den ukrainischen Verteidigern für ihre Scharfschützenangriffe genutzt wurden, und Geheimdienstberichte über russische Truppenbewegungen alles in ihrem Weg pulverisierten.

Zu diesem Zeitpunkt richtete sich die Aufmerksamkeit der westlichen Medien, die die Wahrheit gegen die russische Desinformation verteidigen, auf die ukrainischen “Erfolge” bei der Rückeroberung von Siedlungen an den Flanken von Bakhmut. Noch vor drei Tagen erklärte die New York Times ihren Lesern, dass diese “Durchbrüche” der Ukrainer die russischen Streitkräfte, die die Stadt halten, in Gefahr bringen: Sie könnten umzingelt werden und gezwungen sein, sich zu ergeben oder zu sterben. Die Möglichkeit, dass die Offensiven an den Flanken nur dazu dienten, den Rückzug der verbliebenen ukrainischen Soldaten aus Bakhmut zu erleichtern, und von den Russen geduldet wurden, um blutige Kämpfe auf Tod und Leben zu vermeiden – diese Möglichkeit kam bei der NYT offenbar niemandem in den Sinn.

Gestern Mittag, am 20. Mai, erklärte Jewgeni Prigoschin, der Anführer der Wagner-Gruppe, die den größten Teil der Kämpfe um Bakhmut vor Ort geführt hat, den vollständigen Sieg. Am Abend verkündete Präsident Wladimir Putin der russischen Öffentlichkeit, dass Bakhmut eingenommen sei. Die Internet-Nachrichtendienste in Russland wurden mit Glückwünschen überschwemmt, und die breite Öffentlichkeit feierte einen Sieg, der so symbolträchtig war wie die Schlacht um Stalingrad.

In der Zwischenzeit waren die Verteidiger der westlichen Öffentlichkeit gegen die russische “Desinformation” fleißig am Werk und zerbrachen sich den Kopf darüber, was sie sagen sollten. Die New York Times von heute Morgen spricht immer noch davon, dass die Schlacht um Bakhmut unentschieden sei, und verweist einmal mehr auf die ukrainischen Stellungen an den Flanken.

Angesichts der Verluste an Männern und Material bei der Verteidigung von Bakhmut wird die Übergabe der Stadt an die Russen ein schwerer Schlag für die ukrainische Kampfmoral sein, wenn sie schließlich zugegeben wird. Gleiches gilt für das Schicksal ihres Oberbefehlshabers General Zaluzhny, der russischen Quellen zufolge seit zwei Wochen im Krankenhaus liegt und sich weiterhin in kritischem Zustand befindet, nachdem er einem russischen Angriff auf eine Kommandozentrale in der Provinz zum Opfer gefallen ist, bei dem die meisten hohen Offiziere in seiner Umgebung getötet wurden. Dies spricht zumindest für den erstaunlichen Erfolg des russischen Militärgeheimdienstes bei der Steuerung seiner Feuerkraft.

In der Zwischenzeit wird die Aufmerksamkeit der westlichen Medien auf die Ukraine gelenkt, da Präsident Zelensky von seiner Europareise in den Nahen Osten weiterreiste, wo er an der Sitzung der Arabischen Liga teilnahm, und von dort mit einem französischen Militärflugzeug zum G7-Treffen in Hiroshima flog, wo er Gespräche mit anderen Staatschefs führte und sich mit ihnen zum obligatorischen Gruppenfoto traf. Das ganze Gespräch drehte sich um die Frage, wann die USA offiziell ihre Zustimmung zur Entsendung von F16-Kampfjets nach Kiew geben werden. Für die Verbreiter westlicher Desinformationen ist dies eine wunderbare Ablenkung von einem Krieg, der für Kiew eindeutig schlecht läuft, und insbesondere eine Ablenkung von der Gegenoffensive, die mit jedem Tag der russischen Militärschläge auf die Kommandozentralen und Waffenlager der ukrainischen Seite unwahrscheinlicher wird.

Die radioaktive Rauch- und Aschefahne, die nach einem russischen Raketenangriff aus dem Chmelnizki-Lager für britische Artilleriegranaten mit abgereichertem Uran in der Westukraine aufgestiegen ist, ebenso wie die schwere Beschädigung der Patriot-Luftabwehranlage in der Nähe von Kiew durch eine russische Kinzhal-Hyperschallrakete lassen erahnen, welches Schicksal künftige westliche Waffenlieferungen an die Ukraine haben werden. Es ist eine interessante Frage, wie lange das ukrainische Militär oder die Politiker ihren hochfliegenden, gut lebenden Präsidenten noch ertragen werden, während das Land auf dem besten Weg in die Hölle ist.

La campagne de désinformation des médias occidentaux :

La chute de Bakhmut, un exemple concret

Notre langue est en constante évolution. Cette évolution est en partie ascendante, grâce à l’inventivité de personnalités créatives ou de concepteurs de publicités commerciales. Le processus est également mené de haut en bas par les pouvoirs en place, qui cherchent à manipuler et à contrôler les processus de pensée du grand public.

Mon bref essai d’aujourd’hui porte sur ce dernier phénomène et sur l’introduction du mot « désinformation » dans le langage courant. Ce terme est d’une fraîcheur charmante, contrairement au mot « propagande », qui est périmé et répugnant.

Le mot « désinformation » s’inscrit dans un contexte temporel et intentionnel spécifique : il est utilisé par les pouvoirs en place et par les grands médias qu’ils contrôlent pour dénigrer, marginaliser et supprimer les sources d’informations militaires, politiques, économiques et autres qui pourraient contredire le discours officiel du gouvernement et ainsi diluer le contrôle exercé par les détenteurs du pouvoir sur l’ensemble de la population. C’est pour éliminer la « désinformation » de la vie publique que les États-Unis et les États membres de l’UE interdisent à RT et à d’autres médias russes d’accéder à l’internet, aux chaînes de télévision par satellite et par câble. En Europe, la censure varie d’un pays à l’autre et c’est probablement en France et en Allemagne qu’elle est la plus radicale. On pourrait penser que ces États européens sont véritablement en guerre contre la Russie et qu’ils ne se contentent pas de donner un coup de main à Kiev.

En réalité, ce sont ces États censeurs et les médias qui transmettent leurs messages avec une précision sténographique dans la presse écrite et électronique qui, jour après jour, alimentent le public en désinformation. Celle-ci est composée de manière cynique et consiste en un mélange toxique de « spin », c’est-à-dire d’interprétation trompeuse des événements, et de mensonges purs et simples.

La bataille de plusieurs mois pour la ville provinciale de Bakhmut dans le Donbass, ou Artyomovsk comme on l’appelle en Russie, a été décrite de diverses manières depuis les hautes sphères de Washington, de Londres et de Berlin. Lorsque l’issue probable n’était pas claire, la défense de Bakhmut a été qualifiée d’héroïque et de démonstration de l’esprit de combat courageux des Ukrainiens.

Les chiffres des pertes publiés par Kiev, puis claironnés par Washington, suggéraient que les Russes gaspillaient stupidement la vie de leurs combattants en utilisant des vagues humaines d’attaquants à la manière de la Première Guerre mondiale, qui étaient décimées par les défenseurs. Le message était le suivant : les vies russes ne valent pas cher. Le fait que l’artillerie russe sur place était plus nombreuse et plus performante que l’artillerie ukrainienne par un facteur de cinq ou sept a été librement admis par les propagandistes occidentaux lorsqu’ils ont plaidé en faveur d’une augmentation des fournitures à Kiev. Ils ont néanmoins publié des rapports de pertes pour les Russes qui inversaient le rapport de forces. On a supposé, évidemment avec raison, que le public était trop paresseux ou trop peu intéressé pour faire l’arithmétique.

À un moment donné, les conseillers en communication de Washington, Londres et Berlin ont déclaré que la défense ukrainienne de Bakhmut avait du sens parce qu’elle immobilisait les forces russes et donnait aux Ukrainiens le temps de s’entraîner et de positionner leurs hommes en vue de la « contre-offensive » annoncée, au cours de laquelle ils envahiraient les positions russes en des points choisis de la ligne de combat de 600 miles et enfonceraient un coin jusqu’à la mer d’Azov, ouvrant ainsi la voie à la reconquête de la Crimée. Il s’agissait là de paroles et d’ambitions grandioses visant à justifier la poursuite et l’augmentation de l’aide militaire occidentale à Kiev.

À un autre moment, les conseillers en communication ont déclaré qu’il serait préférable que l’Ukraine cesse de perdre des hommes à Bakhmut et lance à la place cette contre-offensive tant vantée. On nous a alors dit que Bakhmut n’était qu’une fantaisie russe, qu’elle n’avait aucune valeur stratégique.

Au cours des deux dernières semaines, le commandement russe a publié des rapports quotidiens sur la prise progressive de Bakhmut par les forces russes, kilomètre carré après kilomètre carré. On nous a dit qu’elles contrôlaient 75 %, puis 80 % et, plus récemment, plus de 90 % de la ville proprement dite, tandis que l’artillerie bombardait les derniers immeubles résidentiels de grande hauteur utilisés par les défenseurs ukrainiens pour leurs attaques de snipers et que les rapports de renseignement informaient sur les mouvements des troupes russes qui pulvérisaient tout ce qui se trouvait sur leur chemin.

À ce moment-là, l’attention des médias occidentaux défendant la vérité contre la désinformation russe s’est portée sur les « succès » ukrainiens dans la reprise des localités situées sur les flancs de Bakhmut. Il y a trois jours à peine, le New York Times expliquait à ses lecteurs que ces « percées » des Ukrainiens mettaient en péril les forces russes qui tenaient la ville proprement dite : elles risquaient d’être encerclées et contraintes de se rendre ou de mourir. La possibilité que les offensives sur les flancs n’aient eu pour but que de faciliter le retrait des derniers soldats ukrainiens de Bakhmut et qu’elles aient été tolérées par les Russes pour éviter des combats sanglants jusqu’à la mort – cette possibilité n’a traversé l’esprit de personne au NYT, semble-t-il.

Hier 20 mai en milieu de journée, Evgueni Prigojine, le chef du groupe Wagner qui a mené l’essentiel des combats pour Bakhmut sur le terrain, a revendiqué la victoire totale.  Dans la soirée, le président Vladimir Poutine a annoncé au public russe la prise de Bakhmut. Des messages de félicitations joyeux ont envahi les services de messagerie Internet en Russie, le grand public célébrant une victoire aussi emblématique que la bataille de Stalingrad.

Pendant ce temps, les défenseurs de l’opinion publique occidentale contre la « désinformation » russe travaillaient d’arrache-pied, se creusant les méninges pour trouver quoi dire. Le New York Times de ce matin parle encore d’une bataille indécise pour Bakhmut, soulignant une fois de plus le maintien des Ukrainiens sur les flancs.

Compte tenu des pertes en hommes et en matériel qu’ils ont subies en défendant Bakhmut, la reddition de la ville aux Russes sera un coup dur pour le moral des combattants ukrainiens lorsqu’elle sera finalement admise. Il en sera de même pour le sort de leur commandant en chef, le général Zaluzhnyi, qui, selon des sources russes, a été hospitalisé au cours des deux dernières semaines et reste dans un état critique après avoir été victime d’une frappe russe sur un centre de commandement provincial qui a tué la plupart des officiers supérieurs qui l’entouraient. Cela témoigne, à tout le moins, de l’incroyable succès des services de renseignement militaire russes en matière d’orientation de leur puissance de feu.

Pendant ce temps, l’attention des médias occidentaux sur l’Ukraine est commodément redirigée vers les voyages incessants du président Zelensky qui, après sa tournée européenne, s’est rendu au Moyen-Orient, où il a assisté à la réunion de la Ligue arabe, puis, via un jet militaire français, au rassemblement du G7 à Hiroshima, où il s’est entretenu avec ses homologues chefs d’État et s’est joint à eux pour les photos de groupe obligatoires. Tout le monde a parlé de la date à laquelle les États-Unis donneront officiellement leur accord à l’envoi de F16 à Kiev. Pour les propagateurs de la désinformation occidentale, il s’agit d’une merveilleuse distraction par rapport à une guerre qui, de toute évidence, va mal pour Kiev et, en particulier, d’une distraction par rapport à la contre-offensive qui semble moins probable chaque jour du fait des frappes militaires russes sur les centres de commandement et les réserves d’armes de la partie ukrainienne.

Le panache de fumée et de cendres radioactives qui s’est élevé du dépôt d’obus d’artillerie britanniques à l’uranium appauvri de Khmelnytskyï, dans l’ouest de l’Ukraine, après un tir de missile russe, tout comme les dégâts considérables causés à l’installation de défense aérienne Patriot, près de Kiev, par un missile hypersonique russe Kinzhal, nous renseignent tous sur le sort des futures livraisons d’armes occidentales à l’Ukraine. Il est intéressant de se demander combien de temps encore les militaires ou les politiciens ukrainiens supporteront leur président qui mène la grande vie, alors que le pays est en train de sombrer dans l’enfer.

La campaña de desinformación de los medios occidentales: la caída de Bakhmut, un buen ejemplo

Nuestro lenguaje está en constante evolución. En parte, esto sucede de abajo hacia arriba, a partir de la inventiva de personalidades creativas o escritores de publicidad comercial. En parte sucede de arriba hacia abajo, debido a los poderes fácticos al intentar manipular y controlar los procesos de pensamiento del público en general.

Mi breve ensayo de hoy aborda este último fenómeno y la introducción de la palabra “desinformación” en el lenguaje común. Hay una frescura encantadora en ella, a diferencia de la palabra rancia y repugnante “propaganda”.

La palabra “desinformación” tiene un contexto específico en el tiempo y en la intención: es utilizada por los poderes fácticos y por los principales medios de comunicación a los cuales controlan para denigrar, marginar y suprimir las fuentes de información militar, política, económica y de cualquier otro tipo que pudiera contradecir la narrativa oficial del gobierno y así diluir el control sobre la población en general ejercido por quienes están en el poder. Es para eliminar la “desinformación” de la vida pública que los Estados Unidos y los estados miembros de la UE prohíben RT y otros medios de comunicación rusos de Internet, de canales de televisión por satélite y cable. La censura aquí en Europa varía de un país a otro y es probablemente más drástica en Francia y Alemania. Uno pensaría que estos estados europeos están realmente en guerra con Rusia, y no solo dando una mano a Kiev.

En realidad, son estos estados censores y los medios de comunicación que llevan sus mensajes con precisión estenográfica a la difusión impresa y electrónica, los que día tras día alimentan la desinformación al público. Está cínicamente compuesto y consiste en una mezcla tóxica de “giro tendencioso”, por lo que se quiere dar a entender una interpretación engañosa de los eventos y mentiras descaradas.

La batalla de muchos meses por la ciudad provincial de Donbass de Bakhmut, o Artyomovsk como se la conoce en Rusia, se ha descrito de diversas maneras desde lo alto en Washington, Londres y Berlín. Cuando el resultado probable no estaba claro, la defensa de Bakhmut fue llamada heroica y demostrativa del valiente espíritu de lucha de los ucranianos.

Las cifras de víctimas emitidas por Kiev y luego pregonadas desde Washington sugirieron que los rusos estaban desperdiciando estúpidamente las vidas de sus combatientes mediante el uso de oleadas humanas de atacantes que fueron diezmadas por los defensores al estilo de la Primera Guerra Mundial. Las vidas rusas no valen nada fue el mensaje. El hecho de que la artillería rusa en el sitio superaba en número y en desempeño a la artillería ucraniana por un factor de cinco o siete a uno fue admitido libremente por los propagandistas occidentales mientras pedían mayores suministros para Kiev. Ellos, sin embargo, emitieron informes de bajas rusas que invirtieron la correlación de fuerza. Se asumió, obviamente con razón, que el público era demasiado perezoso o demasiado desinteresado como para sacar las cuentas.

En un momento dado, los doctores especialistas en bulos en Washington, Londres y Berlín dijeron que la defensa ucraniana de Bakhmut tenía sentido porque estaba reteniendo a las fuerzas rusas y dando tiempo a los ucranianos para entrenar y posicionar a sus hombres para la anunciada “contraofensiva” durante la cual invadirían las posiciones rusas en puntos elegidos en la línea de combate de 600 millas y abrirían una cuña hasta el Mar de Azov,  abriendo un camino para la recaptura de Crimea. Esas fueron grandes palabras y ambiciones para justificar la continua y siempre creciente asistencia militar occidental a Kiev.

En otro momento, los doctores especialistas en bulos dijeron que sería mejor si Ucrania dejara de perder hombres en Bakhmut y lanzara en su lugar esa tan cacareada contraofensiva. Ahora nos dijeron que Bakhmut es sólo una fantasía rusa, que no tiene ningún valor estratégico.

En las últimas semanas, el comando ruso ha emitido informes diarios sobre la captura progresiva por parte de las fuerzas rusas de Bakhmut, kilómetro cuadrado tras kilómetro cuadrado. Nos dijeron que controlaban el 75%, luego el 80% y, recientemente, más del 90% de la ciudad propiamente dicha, mientras que el bombardeo de artillería contra los bloques restantes de edificios residenciales de gran altura pulverizó todo a su paso, ya que estaban siendo utilizados por los defensores ucranianos para sus ataques con francotiradores y para proporcionar informes de inteligencia sobre los movimientos de tropas rusas.

En este punto, la atención de los medios occidentales que defienden la verdad contra la desinformación rusa se dirigió a los “éxitos” ucranianos en la recuperación de los asentamientos en los flancos de Bakhmut. Hace apenas tres días, The New York Times decía a sus lectores que estos “avances” de los ucranianos ponían en peligro a las fuerzas rusas que controlaban la ciudad propiamente dicha: podrían ser rodeados y obligados a rendirse o morir. La posibilidad de que las ofensivas en los flancos solo tuvieran la intención de facilitar la retirada de los soldados ucranianos restantes de Bakhmut y fueran toleradas por los rusos para evitar sangrientas peleas a muerte, esa posibilidad al parecer no pasó por la mente de nadie en el NYT.

Al mediodía de ayer, 20 de mayo, Yevgeny Prigozhin, el líder del Grupo Wagner que llevó a cabo la mayor parte de la lucha por Bakhmut sobre el terreno, proclamó la victoria total. Por la noche, el presidente Vladimir Putin anunció al público ruso que Bakhmut fue capturado. Alegres mensajes de felicitación llenaron los servicios de mensajería de Internet en Rusia mientras el público en general celebraba una victoria tan icónica como la Batalla por Stalingrado.

Mientras tanto, los defensores del público occidental contra la “desinformación” rusa estaban trabajando duro, forzando sus cerebros para encontrar qué decir. El New York Times de esta mañana  todavía habla de la batalla por Bakhmut como indecisa, señalando una vez más el control ucraniano de los flancos.

Dadas las pérdidas humanas y materiales por defienden Bakhmut, la rendición de la ciudad a los rusos será un gran golpe para la moral de combate ucraniana cuando finalmente sea admitida. También lo será el destino de su comandante en jefe, el general Zaluzhny que, según fuentes rusas, ha estado hospitalizado durante las últimas dos semanas y permanece en estado crítico después de ser víctima de un ataque ruso contra un centro de comando provincial que mató a la mayoría de los altos oficiales a su alrededor. Por lo menos, esto habla del asombroso éxito de la inteligencia militar rusa dirigiendo su poder de fuego.

Mientras tanto, la atención a Ucrania de los medios occidentales se redirige convenientemente a los viajes sin escalas del presidente Zalensky, quien pasó de su gira europea a Oriente Medio, donde asistió a la reunión de la Liga Árabe, y de allí en un avión militar francés a la reunión del G7 en Hiroshima, donde mantuvo conversaciones con otros jefes de Estado y se unió a ellos para las fotos grupales obligatorias. Todo lo que se habló fue sobre cuándo Estados Unidos dará formalmente su consentimiento para el envío de F16 a Kiev. Para los diseminadores de desinformación del occidente, esta es una distracción maravillosa de una guerra que claramente va mal para Kiev y, en particular, una distracción de la contraofensiva que parece menos probable con cada día que pasa por los ataques militares rusos a los centros de comando y almacenes de armas del lado ucraniano.

La columna de humo radiactivo y cenizas que se elevó desde la tienda Khmelnitsky después de un ataque con misiles rusos y que contenía proyectiles de artillería de uranio empobrecido británicos en Ucrania occidental, al igual que el extenso daño a la instalación de defensa aérea Patriot cerca de Kiev por un misil hipersónico ruso Kinzhal nos dice a todos cuál será el destino de las futuras entregas de armas occidentales a Ucrania. Es una pregunta interesante averiguar cuánto tiempo más aguantarán los militares o políticos ucranianos a su presidente de alto vuelo y buena vida mientras el país está en camino al infierno.

A campanha de desinformação da mídia ocidental: a queda de Bakhmut, um exemplo

Nossa língua está em constante mudança. Em parte, isto é de baixo para cima, da inventividade de personalidades criativas ou de escritores para publicidade comercial. Em parte, é de cima para baixo, dos poderes que procuram manipular e controlar como o público em geral pensa.

Meu breve ensaio de hoje aborda este último fenômeno e a introdução da palavra “desinformação” na linguagem comum. Há um frescor encantador nisto, ao contrário da obsoleta e repugnante palavra “propaganda”.

A palavra “desinformação” tem um contexto específico no tempo e de intenção: é usada pelos poderes constituídos, e pela grande mídia que eles controlam, para denegrir, marginalizar e suprimir fontes de informações militares, políticas, econômicas e outras, que possam contradizer a narrativa oficial do governo e assim diluir o controle exercido pelas autoridades sobre a população em geral. É para se remover a “desinformação” da vida pública que os Estados Unidos e os estados membros da UE baniram a Russia Today e outros meios de comunicação russos da internet e dos canais de televisão por satélite e a cabo. A censura aqui na Europa varia de país para país e provavelmente é mais drástica na França e na Alemanha. Alguém poderia pensar que essts estados europeus estão realmente em guerra com a Rússia, não apenas ajudando Kiev.

Na realidade, são estes estados censores, e os meios de comunicação de massa que transmitem suas mensagens com precisão estenográfica na mídia impressa e eletrônica, que, dia após dia, fornecem desinformação ao público. Ela é cinicamente composta por e consiste em uma mistura tóxica de distorção, se interpretando os eventos enganosamente, e de completas mentiras.

A longa batalha de muitos meses pela cidade provincial do Donbas, Bakhmut, ou Artyomovsk, como é conhecida em russo, foi descrita de várias maneiras em Washington, Londres e Berlim. Quando o resultado provável não era claro, a defesa de Bakhmut foi chamada de heróica e de exemplo do bravo espírito de luta dos ucranianos.

Os números das baixas russas divulgados por Kiev, e depois alardeados de Washington, sugeriam que os russos estavam estupidamente jogando fora as vidas de seus guerreiros, usando ondas humanas de atacantes, ao estilo da Primeira Guerra Mundial, que foram dizimadas pelos defensores. Vidas russas são baratas, era a mensagem. O fato que a artilharia russa no local superasse em número e sucesso a artilharia ucraniana por um fator de cinco ou sete para um foi livremente admitido pelos propagandistas ocidentais quando eles imploravam por mais suprimentos para Kiev. No entanto, emitiram relatórios de baixas para os russos que inverteram a correlação de forças. Supunha-se, obviamente com razão, que o público era muito preguiçoso ou muito desinteressado para fazer as contas.

Num momento, os marqueteiros em Washington, Londres e Berlim disseram que a defesa ucraniana de Bakhmut fazia sentido, porque estava imobilizando as forças russas e dando tempo aos ucranianos para treinar e posicionar seus homens para a anunciada “contra-ofensiva”, durante a qual eles invadiriam as posições russas em pontos específicos ao longo da linha de combate de 1000 km e avançariam até o Mar de Azov, abrindo assim o caminho para se capturar de volta a Criméia. Essas foram palavras e ambições grandiosas para se justificar a contínua e crescente assistência militar ocidental a Kiev.

Noutro momento, os marqueteiros disseram que seria melhor se a Ucrânia parasse de perder homens em Bakhmut e lançasse aquela contra-ofensiva tão alardeada. Agora nos disseram que Bakhmut é apenas uma fantasia russa, que não tem valor estratégico.

Nas últimas semanas, o comando russo divulgou relatórios diários sobre a captura progressiva de Bakhmut pelas forças russas, quilômetro quadrado após quilômetro quadrado. Fomos informados de que eles controlavam 75%, depois 80% e, mais recentemente, mais de 90% da área urbana, enquanto bombardeavam os blocos restantes de prédios residenciais, que estavam sendo usados por defensores ucranianos para seus ataques de franco-atiradores e obter inteligência sobre os movimentos das tropas russas, pulverizando tudo em seu caminho.

Neste ponto, a atenção da mídia ocidental, defendendo a “verdade” contra a “desinformação” russa, foi direcionada para os “sucessos” ucranianos na recaptura de assentamentos nos flancos de Bakhmut. Há apenas três dias, o New York Times dizia a seus leitores que estes “avanços” dos ucranianos colocavam em risco as forças russas que controlavam a cidade: eles poderiam ser cercados e obrigados a se renderem ou morrer. A possibilidade de que as ofensivas nos flancos visassem apenas a facilitar a retirada dos soldados ucranianos remanescentes de Bakhmut e fossem toleradas pelos russos, para se evitarem sangrentas lutas fatais, não passara pela cabeça de ninguém no jornal, ao que parece.

Enquanto isto, os defensores do público ocidental contra a “desinformação” russa trabalhavam arduamente, esforçando-se para descobrir o que dizer. O New York Times desta manhã ainda fala da batalha por Bakhmut como indecisa, apontando mais uma vez para o domínio ucraniano pelos flancos.

Dadas as perdas em homens e material na defesa de Bakhmut, a rendição da cidade aos russos será um grande golpe para o moral ucraniano para a luta, quando for finalmente admitida. O mesmo acontecerá com seu comandante-em-chefe, general Zaluzhny, que, segundo fontes russas, fora hospitalizado nas últimas duas semanas e permanece em estado crítico, depois de ser vítima de um ataque russo a um centro de comando provincial que matou a maioria dos altos oficiais em seu entorno. No mínimo, isto indica o incrível sucesso da inteligência militar russa dirigindo seu poder de fogo.

No momento, a atenção da mídia ocidental para a Ucrânia está convenientemente redirecionada para as viagens ininterruptas do presidente Zalensky, que partiu de sua viagem pela Europa para o Oriente Médio, onde participou da reunião da Liga Árabe, e daí, via jato militar francês, para a reunião do G7 em Hiroshima, onde conversou com outros chefes de estado e se juntou a eles para as fotos em grupo obrigatórias. Toda a conversa foi sobre quando os EUA darão formalmente seu consentimento para o envio de caças F16 para Kiev. Para os disseminadores da desinformação ocidental, esta é uma distração maravilhosa de uma guerra que claramente está indo mal para Kiev e, em particular, uma distração da contra-ofensiva, que parece menos provável a cada dia de ataques russos aos centros de comando e aos depósitos de armas do lado ucraniano.

A coluna de fumaça e cinzas radioativas que se ergueu do paiol de projéteis de artilharia de urânio empobrecido britânicos em Khmelnitsky, na Ucrânia ocidental, após um ataque russo por míssil, assim como os extensos danos à instalação de defesa aérea de um sistema Patriot perto de Kiev por um míssil hipersônico Kinzhal russo, nos contam tudo sobre qual será o destino das futuras entregas de armas ocidentais à Ucrânia. É uma questão interessante por quanto tempo os militares ou políticos ucranianos vão aturar seu presidente voador boa-vida, enquanto o país está a caminho do inferno.

36 thoughts on “The Western Media Disinformation Campaign: Fall of Bakhmut, a case in point

  1. Such a shame that so many lives have been lost needlessly. I really thought there was a chance the saner heads in the West would end it. But I think your last statement is key. The decision to end this war will have to come from within Ukraine. The West and Zelensky as well seem incapable of admitting they’ve been wrong and have been lying all along.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There is such a thing as “too much investment to quit”. It is often said the West has delivered a lot of outdated military stuff to Ukraine and this may partly be true (with the obvious corollary that the USA will be glad to sell newer weapons to Western Europe), but in fact the West did send a lot of its “best” weapons too. The Brits do not have a more advanced tank than their Challenger. NATO does not have a better ATGM than the Javelin. The US cannot deliver better anti-aircraft missiles than their Patriot’s “latest version”. And yet, Russia remains very confident. It has learned to intercept HIMARS, it knows now how to protect its tanks against Javelins. And NATO is clearly looking on in a powerless rage. But I don’t see them admitting defeat, until economic circumstances will possibly force them. So will this be another Hundred Years War for Europe, with the same excessive suffering of both civilians and soldiers as in our “dark” Middle Ages?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The lies and conveyed news from the “western allies”, the real warmongers, is an utter shame and horror story with seemingly no end in sight! Topped off by the absence of a real statesman with backbones at the European scene able to counteract and reason both Selensky as well as Biden the main actors in the scheme.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Herr Holzapfel, As you wrote, ‘absence of a real statesman with backbones’ describes the precise problem with the ongoing slaughter. A complete failure of leadership from the U.S. and NATO countries. To find any leadership at all, you have to search far away from the West to Japan, India, the Middle East, Brazil, as well as Russia and China. American voters have failed to elect anything resembling leadership. As have the various nations of Europe with a few, rare exceptions. It could be a symptom of the decline of Western civilization. The result of a Western population that has overall become emotionally needy, ignorant, lazy and obese. The signs of wealth and excess that have historically led to social and economic collapse. It is an even bet if Westerners will have the presence of mind and the fortitude to pull out of the current death spiral.


  4. British depleted uranium artillery shells.

    Now you are just inventing stuff.

    By the way any actual evidence of the big hole in western Ukraine where 200 NATO folks died yet??


    1. Dear Mrs Jones,

      you clearly haven’t followed the news lately.
      About the dead NATO staff, we don’t know and it will take ages before common people can know. But about the delivery of depleted uranium shells there really is no doubt and the appearance of a radioactive cloud has been confirmed by multiple sources. Or if you remain sceptical, please travel to Poland and take a deep breath – not that I recommend it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Good point! Disinformation is a feature of war, the Russians are busy spreading it every bit as much as the Ukrainians (actually considerably more so I would argue). Labelling the Ukrainian leadership as drug-addled Nazis is disinformation. Suggesting the Kindzal is a revolutionary Wunderwaffe rather than just the adapted Iskander it really is, is disinformation. Predicting the imminent collapse of the Ukrainians, as the legion of armchair Russian experts (Ritter, Macgregor and co) have been doing for over a year, is disinformation. I could obviously go on.


      1. They’re probably closer to the truth now, sheerly by default as things go from bad-to-worse for Ukraine/NATO.

        The Ukraine manifestly has a fascist problem. Zelensky was in showbiz, where drug use is ubiquitous & now seems to be aging In dog years which indicates higher drug usage over time (Hitler was the same). The AFU just suffered a notable & heavy losses, and their camera-mug C in C has gone dark & possibly gravely wounded.

        Then there’s all of Joe Biden’s tribulations etc…


  5. “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William J. Casey, CIA Director (1981) This sentence defines the age of information warfare that we live in today. The CIA itself was created for this specific purpose. In the U.S. it has been one massive government sponsored lie after another. The Russia hoax massive government lie was followed by the Mueller massive government cover-up lie. Absolute control of the masses was field tested by Covid measures. In the form of government mandated lockdowns, travel restrictions and forced unwanted and harmful medical injections. Covid was also the excuse for a wide range of 11th hour 2020 election manipulations that resulted in the installation of an oligarch controlled puppet as the leader of the ‘free’ world. Zelensky is at present the world’s most celebrated con-artist. From the outset of his decision to commit Ukraine state suicide, Zelensky has been laser focused on conning NATO countries to sign on to his suicide pact. Watching as Joe Biden is led around by the likes of Nuland, Sullivan and Blinken, Zelensky figured Biden as an easy mark. But Biden’s sole concern is survival, which would require getting re-elected in 2024. After 3 years of constant chaos and epic failure, that is now the longest of long shots. Never the less, Zelensky knows that as the war is being lost, Biden will become increasingly desperate to perfume over the stench of military defeat that has followed Biden from Afghanistan to Ukraine. The cold calculus is that no matter how many more weapons and munitions are sent to Ukraine, there are a finite number of humans who can be sacrificed to save face for Biden and the rest of the sorry faces of European ‘leader’ship. None of this is lost on Putin and Russia. While the impatient West is in a constant state of hysterics for a quick end to the war, Putin bides his time knowing full well that the ideal time to close the deal is right around October 2024. Then the loss can be squarely hung around the necks of the puppet Biden, con-man Zelensky and the rest of the NATO vassal state stooges. Until then, disinformation and slaughter will proceed unabated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The disinformation on the Ukrainian situation I get in my country is the same whether from the state or private broadcasters. For example, virtually every news bulletin on Ukraine begins with the stock phrase “Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine …” Ah, so that was full-scale, was it? And so on and on and on.

    The other side of disinformation is omission of facts. Not once have I heard any mention of the fact that Ukraine is split into two main ethnic peoples, Ukrainian and Russian. You’re thus led to believe all Ukrainians have “suffered’ from Russia’s “full-scale invasion”. I’ve never once heard on my news an ethnic-Russian Ukrainian being interviewd – why, it would spoil the Western fantasy of evil Russia projected on its citizenry if some bright spark of a ethnic-Russian Ukrainian was interviewed and approved of Putin. Can’t have that, now can we? Additionally, 99% of Westerners have never once been told of Ukraine’s daily random shelling of civilians in the Donbass since 2014 that has led to over 12,000 deaths. Omission can be disinformation.

    Besides the self-identified Cassandra troll above, we are also advised by Ischguet that Russian disinformation is rampant. I have never seen any official Russian pronouncements that the Ukrainian leadership is drug-addled — not once. Links, please. I’d also argue that the premature predictions of the Ukrainian military’s demise by McGregor and Ritter is but personal opinion, and hardly Russian state-sponsored disinformation, so irrelevant. Better luck at trying to fool me next time there, Ischguet.

    My take on Ritter and McGregor is that they would likely have been correct in their early predictions of Uhrainian military defeat, if Biden hadn’t up-ended the US treasury on Zelensky’s head and rebuilt and re-equipped his army twice. All with US boot-licking vassal NATO members rabid barking approval and contributions of their own. Another plonker of a non-argument there, Ischguet. But keep at it, you’ll eventually get something correct.


    1. Yes there are trolls who attack this site from time to time. But it is a matter of indifference whether the offender is a real human or a trained robot: demeaning, ad hominem attacks on anyone in the Comments section are systematically deleted. Trash on the street attracts more trash and so it is with websites. As for Ischguet. he usually gets removed for spreading vile disinformation and his Comment survived this time only because several readers already demolished his remark before I could hit the delete button. So be it. It would be nice if he found someone else’s property on which to put up his tent. Notwithstanding all of the foregoing, I am obliged to correct you with respect to Russian news programs. On a variety of the news shows the presenters have identified Zelensky as a drug user. That is a fact. I also point out that the situation with respect to “Russians” in Ukraine is more complicated than you believe. There are ethnic Russians and there are Russian speakers. Sometimes the two coincide, but sometimes they do not. Before 1991, Belarussians and members of all the other nationalities in the Soviet Union living in Ukraine including ethnic Ukrainians were all Russian speakers. When I visited Kiev on business in the 1990s, it was obvious that nearly everyone on the street spoke Russian as their first language.
      In Crimea, perhaps 99% of the population before 2014 consisted of ethnic Russians. In Donbas before 2014 perhaps 80% of the population was Russian speaking but less than 50% were ethnic Russians. That is one reason why Moscow did not push too hard in 2014 for independence of the Donbas, let alone its incorporation into Russia by way of referendum. There was no way of knowing how the refererendum would turn out. Of course, since the start of the SMO and vast departures of civilian population from the war zone, many to Europe, it is likely that the percent of ethnic Russians in Donbas is now way over 50%, maybe even 90%, matching the results of the refererndums held there last fall. For the moment no one can say.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Mr Doctorow,

        that’s true. But may I stress that the major “internationally oriented” Russian media, be it RT, Sputnik or the very official TASS, never lower themselves to Western-style propaganda. In fact, Margarita Simonyan receives flak for this from some more extremist pro-Russian sources.
        But it’s pervasive: Russian politicians show much more politeness, objectivity and education than Western ones do, even if frustration is clearly growing and Russian diplomacy became much more acerbic in the previous two years or so.
        And the fact that Zelensky is a drug-addict may be stressed. It’s one of the big problems: using cocaine (or, as in Hitler’s case, amphetamines) fundamentally changes your way of thinking, including ethics, leading to disasters as we now see.


  7. In general, I agree that Russian news commentary has been restrained and polite in discussing Western leaders and policies, however let us not get carried away here. The widely watched talk show Evening with Vladimir Solovyov does engage in some pretty aggressive personal attacks on Herr Scholz, Monsieur Macron and of course, on the feeble minded Cold Warrior in the Oval Office. As for Simonyan, she is intelligent, very well informed and performs wonderfully when given the microphone by Solovyov. However, I think she never was the right person to run RT. The whole RT concept was wrong-headed, hiring out of work or out of date American journalists to talk about the problems of American government and society. Quite useless really. If instead the managers of Russian news had had the brains to simply rebroadcast some of thei regular newscasts and talk shows with subtitles in English, they would have performed a much more useful function in exposing Western audiences to other points of view.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “It is an interesting question how much longer the Ukrainian military or politicians will put up with their high flying, good life President while the country is well on its way to hell.” In the words of Falstaff “A question not to be asked,”


    1. Mr. Herschel, There are signs that the fall of Bakhmut was a turning point. Zelensky’s primary enabler, feeble Joe Biden has big problems of his own at home. The Republican house majority has decided that the U.S. can no longer spend our way out of debt. That means clipping Biden’s purse strings at the precise moment that he enters his re-election year. And, God willing, his final year of creating chaos and destruction around the world. Biden has now changed his Ukraine tune from ‘as long as it takes’ with Blinken now saying ‘Ukraine has everything it needs.’ This is the Biden Regime’s way of washing it’s hands of the coming Ukraine defeat. Ukraine has already depleted NATO’s combined stocks of artillery shells and various weapons. Will Europe now shift to a total war economy just to keep Ukraine supplied? Europe skated through an energy crisis with the help of an extremely mild Winter. Food prices keep rising while rising interest rates are cooling economic growth. It is getting harder by the day for Europe’s weak leadership and lying press to censor and prop up the subterfuge that Ukraine is winning. Ukraine is getting closer to Hemingway’s explanation of how he went bankrupt: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” The grim reaping of the Ukraine war has always been about the loss of life. Zelensky has prevented the release of any casualty numbers since the war began. But the people of Ukraine have started to notice that they have lost touch with family members at the front. That is the one finite and precious resource that Zelensky has been unable to pry out of NATO. Despite his relentless globe trotting cartoon hero act and sales pitch for WW3. Shoulder to shoulder, in solidarity, no one is buying that.


  9. I’m not disagreeing that there is plenty of war propaganda about the war in Ukraine, and I would never expect otherwise. Wars always generate lots of propaganda from every fighting side.

    I disagree with your definition of “disinformation”, though. Not all poor information is propaganda, that is, deliberate spin produced by the powerful. Sure, the powerful use the word “disinformation” to mean propaganda from adversaries or other claims that they don’t like. But originally, I think “disinformation” used to mean poor information of any sort, from deliberate propaganda by the powerful, to distorted stories that have suffered from so many retellings they no longer resemble much the original, going through every sort of lie and misunderstanding there is. If we start using disinformation to mean the same as propaganda, we will have to invent another word again to refer to poor information.


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