Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 14.04.2018
The brutal Assad regime, aided by the brutal Putin regime, attacked civilians in Douma, Syria with a chemical weapon on April 7. Russia’s state propaganda responded with a massive disinformation campaign of lies. A coalition of Western powers took action on April 14 to degrade the ability of the Putin-Assad cabal to commit mass murder in the future. Kremlin agitprop responded with a fake video that was actually about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the early morning of April 14, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France bombed targets in Syria connected with the Assad regime’s attack with chemical weapons at Douma. In Damascus, coalition forces struck a scientific research facility that produced chemical and biological weapons.
Residents of Damascus were awoken by the sudden and intense strikes of cruise missiles. There was not much citizen video of the attack itself, but there was some of the (ineffective) launch of Assad regime anti-aircraft missiles.
Knowing that news media would be hungry for video of the bombardment, Russian information warriors put out a fake on social media. It was quickly gobbled up by easily-fooled media outlets like the US’s MSNBC and Iran’s Press TV. The video was actually of a bombardment by Russia of Luhansk, Ukraine, carried out on the night of 12 February 2015.
Most horrifying about Russia’s attack on Luhansk in February 2015 is that it was staged as a provocation for Russian TV. Russian information warriors and trolls on social media ‘forecast’ the timing and the position of the attack. Russian invasion forces were engaged in combat with Ukrainian defenders around the towns of Stanytsia Luhanska and Shchastya, north of Luhansk. At exactly 7 o’clock at night, local time, the Russians turned their guns around and fired back at the city of Luhansk which they occupied. The Russians used BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers. The missiles fell in a residential area of the eastern part of the city of Luhansk. Russian propaganda TV crews had carefully positioned their cameras in downtown Luhansk beforehand, aimed in the direction of where they knew the Grad missiles were going to hit. That is the video that you can see here.
Russian propaganda telegraphed their intention to stage this provocation: I wrote in a tweet on 11 February 2015: “Russian TV [is] vital to Putin's invasion. "Journalists" appear in a Luhansk neighbourhood, and 10 minutes later rockets strike. Blame Ukraine.” The Russian invaders of Ukraine were creating a pretext for a prolonged war by launching a massive missile attack on Luhansk – a city which they already had under complete military control. They calculated that a gullible Western press would believe the “Big Lie” that it was the Ukrainian armed forces who were bombarding Ukrainian civilians in a Ukrainian city, and that the Russian invasion-occupation army had nothing to do with it.
Russia is at war with the West and it lies about everything. A war on the truth is a big part of Russia’s war against democracy, the independence of Ukraine, the unity of Europe, and the power of the United States. Russian imperialistic aggression in the 21st century is mindlessly nihilistic and insidiously evil. Not only did Kremlin propaganda put out fake news about US/UK/France bombardment of chemical weapons facilities in Damascus, but the real news behind the fake was Russia’s bombardment of innocent Ukrainian civilians in Luhansk.