By Wolfgang Effenberger
The events around Bucha remind the last Yugoslav foreign minister, Živadin Jovanović, of William Walker’s indictment of Serbian security forces for the “massacre of civilians” in Racak, Serbia’s Kosovo Province, and Metohija, in January 1999. Racak was the trigger for NATO aggression against Yugoslavia in March of that year.
An international forensic team led by Finnish doctor Helen Ranta could find no convincing evidence of a massacre, and William Walker, the U.S. head of the OSCE mission, was appalled by Ranta’s professional attitude. Years later, the ICTY dropped charges against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević for the “Racak Massacre”, confirming the forensic team’s assessment.(1)
But before that, the 40 dead persons at Racak could be instrumentalized to such an extent that, on March 24, 1999, German fighter jets also took off from Piacenza, Italy, for the 78-day war mission against Yugoslavia. The bombing was carried out according to the five rings of former US Colonel John A. Warden III: first the country’s top leadership, then key production facilities, followed by infrastructure (bridges, electric plants, sewage systems…). Then the population was attacked, and lastly the deployed military forces. Armor-piercing ammunition made of depleted uranium (DPU) was also fired, which still today has a strong impact on the incidence of certain cancers such as leukemia.
On November 16, 2010, German TV channel ARD broadcasted the documentary “It began with a lie.” After several years of research, the authors Angerer and Werth had succeeded in creating a study object for war propaganda – made in Germany – about the first war deployment of German soldiers after 1945.
“In the battle for public opinion, Scharping played a decisive role,” NATO spokesman Shea attested to the German minister after the war.(2) And indeed: numerous new witness statements and previously unpublished secret situation reports from Scharping’s authority turned important “pieces of evidence” into a farce. Accordingly, the title of the documentary “It began with a lie” could not be challenged.
German soldiers should have been used exclusively to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Was there ethnic cleansing before the war in 1999?
War in Kosovo to serve NATO’s eastward expansion
Norma Brown, a former close associate of OSCE chief William Walker, states: “The humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo did not occur until the NATO air strikes. That these would trigger the catastrophe was known by everyone at NATO, at the OSCE, and at our observer group.”(3) There is no denying it: The war waged in Kosovo in the name of humanity served solely to usher in NATO’s eastward expansion and to show the red card to the Chinese in Europe (bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade).
Only 27 days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan, although no Afghan’s participation in the attack has yet been proved. The only reason was that the main suspect according to George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, who had been granted asylum in Afghanistan, was not extradited quick enough.
As a war partner, the U.S. made use of the Junbi militias and their shady warlord Rashid Dostum. With U.S. support, Dostum recaptured Mazar-e Sharif from the Taliban in November 2001; that same month, Dostum ordered an egregious war crime. Irish journalist and documentary filmmaker Jamie Doran documented these events following the fall of Kunduz, the last Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan, on November 21, 2001.
War crimes in Afghanistan
According to the report, 3,000 of the 8,000 Taliban captured were initially taken to a prison facility in the town of Shibarghan. There, local Afghan truck drivers were conscripted to transport 200 to 300 prisoners at a time in unventilated containers into the desert, where the still-living victims died agonizing deaths under the eyes of U.S. forces. (4) As early as May 2002, the New York Times reported on the mass killing of captured Taliban. (5)
Doran’s documentary, in which six witnesses recounted the massacre, was shown at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on June 12, 2002. (6)
The witnesses – truck drivers, Northern Alliance commanders as well as Dostum soldiers – wanted to repeat their testimony – according to Doran – before a commission of inquiry or a court. One even wanted to confirm that everything was “under control of the American commander”. (7)
But in times, when Washington strictly rejects participation in an International Criminal Court, who is interested in clarification? Already on May 24, 2002, the House of Representatives had overwhelmingly approved the so-called “American Service Members’ Protection Act” (ASAP) as an annex to a supplemental budget bill, H.R. 4775. The ASAP, also known as “The Hague Invasion Act,” allows the U.S. President to “free” American defendants before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, including by military force. (8)
At the end of August 2002, the news magazine “Newsweek” ran the headline: “The Afghanistan Death Convoy: Is the United States partly responsible for the atrocities committed by its allies?” (9) In response, an international commission of judges wanted to investigate this war crime and examine the events in Mazar-e Sharif. The U.S. discreetly pointed out that in the event of an investigation, the safety of the members of this commission could not be guaranteed – a veiled threat.
The remaining major U.S. media followed the general trend of “not focusing too much on the casualties and misery in Afghanistan,” as stated, for example, in a memo to correspondents of the CNN news network. (10)
In July 2009, the New York Times exposed U.S. inaction after Taliban P.O.W.’s Died (U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died) (11) and denounced the Bush administration’s obstruction of the investigation into the alleged war crime.
The German parliament should have made it its business to enforce an investigation of this heinous crime in the German area of operations and to demand appropriate consequences, and for a sovereign and responsibly acting German government this should have been a matter of course. But the Schröder/Fischer government remained silent. In the context of the Petersberg process, Dostum was even appointed deputy defense minister in December 2001 in the interim government led by Hamid Karzai – who had built up a restaurant chain in the USA from 1979 to 1989 (12).
To date, those responsible have remained unchallenged.
From bombing Dresden in World War II to “shock and awe” in Iraq: causing widespread misery in the population to push it to rebellion
In 2003, the “unsuccessful” search for alleged weapons of mass destruction led to the war against Iraq, which was also not sanctioned by the UN.
Here, the U.S. switched to the strategy of “shock and awe” (S&A) with the goal of paralyzing the enemy through one or more military measures designed to have a shock effect, so that no significant defensive measures are taken. This explains the low U.S. casualties in wars since 1999. In this approach, strategists hope to encourage the population to revolt against those in power or the dictator. This was also the strategy during World War II, when German cities such as Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden were bombed. The misery of the population is not taken into account in this geopolitical chess game.
It is striking that since the ICJ came into existence, no war criminals from the US or its allies have had to answer to the court.
Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange have been responsible for the publication of a large number of secret U.S. documents containing allegations of human rights violations and war crimes. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in a military trial in 2013, but was freed in 2017. Currently, Julian Assange is in a British prison awaiting extradition to the United States. There he is to be charged with publishing secret documents under the Espionage Act. He faces 175 years in prison. (13)
One thing is undoubtedly certain: In order to curb such aberrations in the future, all those who are responsible for a war of aggression in violation of international law must be brought to justice (in Nuremberg this was punishable by death!) and receive their just punishment. This must also apply to those who emotionalize people for war with their propaganda.
Bucha seems to be now again such a key experience. Instead of having the events investigated conscientiously by a neutral party, the escalation screw is being turned ever further.
On April 6, Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned in the Bundestag: “It must remain our goal that Russia does not win this war”. He said that was behind the German government’s activities “when it comes to arms deliveries, financial and humanitarian support, taking in refugees, or the sanctions packages that are being agreed globally and worldwide.” (14)
According to this medieval logic, war will drag on for a long time and bring endless suffering to the people. For a peaceable future, there must be no winners and losers, but a peace negotiated by all sides. And that is only possible if both warring parties realize their mistakes.
This realization will probably come only when all warring parties lie exhausted on the ground.
On April 8, 2022, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made it unequivocally clear in an interview with the British radio station BBC 4 that NATO countries are ready to “supply Ukraine with weapons in the fight against Russia for years to come.” (15) How many dead will have to be counted, how high will the destruction be quantified? The suffering will be endless. A foretaste of it is given by the plaques of the fallen of 1914/18 and 1939/45 in the cemeteries. Europe will gradually become impoverished, while a few will be able to increase their wealth. Almost everyone will be a loser – only a small circle will win.
As in almost all wars, the reasons for going to war are presented in such a way that it is considered morally inevitable. This strategy was clearly recognized by the Italian philosopher and one of the most important state philosophers of modern times, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). He stated: “It is not he who first takes up arms who is the instigator of disaster, but he who compels it.” (16)
Ten “commandments” of war propaganda
The Belgian historian Anne Morelli subjected war propaganda to an analysis and worked out the ten “commandments” of propaganda.
She refers to the English Baron Arthur Ponsonby, a diplomat, who already defined ten “principles of war propaganda” after the First World War. They seem to be more effective than ever:
1. We do not want war
2. The enemy camp bears the responsibility
3. The leader of the enemy is a devil
4. We fight for a good cause
5. The enemy fights with unauthorized weapons
6. The enemy commits atrocities on purpose, we only accidentally
7. Our losses are few, those of the enemy enormous
8. Artists and intellectuals support our cause
9. Our mission is sacred
10. Whoever doubts our coverage is a traitor.
Arthur Ponsonby seems to have studied closely the British war propaganda of the “War Propaganda Bureau” established by the government in Wellington House already at the beginning of the war in 1914. (17) Its products gave the impression of independence and objectivity, with the public being informed only to a small extent. German war propaganda in no way approached this level. The propaganda battle in World War I was clearly won by the British and Americans.
Today, the striking similarities between the propaganda accompanying the First World War and the 1999 tune-up for the NATO bombings against Serbia by the then German Foreign Minister Josef Fischer, with big words and references to an impending “Auschwitz,” are nothing short of shameful. The massive TV advertising for the two Gulf wars, the war against Afghanistan, Libya and Syria as a mission of a world-wide “democracy movement”, disguised as a news broadcast, could and should have been seen through. (18)
If during the First World War propaganda was still based on false information popularized by great writers. The Second World War then saw an increased reliance on message repetition, while now all propaganda is conceived as an illusionist act (19). For the French author and operator of the blog Réseau Voltaire, Thierry Meyssan, it is now a matter of “evoking empathy in people in order to distract their attention and hide what they are not supposed to see. They judge what they see with the irrelevant information they are fed. In this way, you manage to get them to take – without lying – an X for a U.” (20)
French General Philippe Lavigne is overseeing the exploration of new propaganda methods of NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT).
Its command has 21 centers of excellence, including one for propaganda, the Center of Excellence for Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) in Riga, Latvia (21). Funding is also provided for related research at Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College London on cognitive capabilities. These cover the entire cognitive domain with diverse applications ranging from bionic soldiers to war propaganda. (22)
Despite the fact that the U.S. has exported more weapons than any other nation since 1945, overthrown so many governments, and bombed and waged war on so many other countries, the narrative of the morally good West is still adopted almost uncritically. The globe is spanned with 6 U.S. military commands, there are secret U.S. prisons as well as bioweapons labs scattered around the world, and after more than 20 years, prisoners still languish under torture at Guantanamo. These connections are largely ignored in the Western world. And where are the protests against killing by drones, which have killed thousands so far? The “accidental” bombing of a wedding party is cynically chalked up as collateral damage. The “Western community of values” must finally stop applying double standards. The rest of the world, which is probably more than 80 percent of the world’s population, will not put up with this arrogance much longer.
1) Živadin Jovanović: Massacre in Bucha. Was It a False Flag? Persönlichen vom 7. April 2022
4) Steinberg, Stefan: Ein Dokumentarfilm bezichtigt die USA des Massenmords an Kriegsgefangenen in Afghanistan. www.wsws.org/de/2002/jun2002/masa-j18.shtml
8) see Steven Geyer: Internationales Strafgericht US-Kongress droht Niederlanden mit Invasion, published on June 12, 2002 in: www.spiegel.de/politik ausland/internationales-strafgericht-us-kongress-droht-niederlanden-mit-invasion-a-200430.html accessed April 21, 2013
17) In February 1917, it turned into a “Department of Information”, in March 1918 to a complete Ministry of Information under Lord Beaverbrook (1879-1964).
19) „Die Methoden der modernen militärischen Propaganda“,Thierry Meyssan, translated by Horst Frohlich, Voltaire Netzwerk, 17. May 2016.
21) „NATO-Kampagne gegen die freie Meinungsäußerung“, von Thierry Meyssan, translated by Horst Frohlich, Voltaire Netzwerk, 5. December 2016.