The First Casualty of War

Amnesty International’s General Secretary, is under intense attack for report exposing Ukraine army’s violations of international law
Amnesty International’s General Secretary, is under intense attack for a report exposing Ukraine army’s violations of international law.

By David Sole

It has often been said that “Truth is the first casualty of war.” This is especially true in the case of the conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation which began February 24. The United States government must make sure that the people of the U.S. do not understand the hidden hand of the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department in precipitating this bloody conflict.

Now, six months into the war, cracks are beginning to show in the propaganda machine which has faithfully repeated the “official story.” Of course since the beginning of the outbreak, and even for years before, independent journalists have documented the uncomfortable truths.

The CIA and State Department role in overthrowing the elected pro-Russian Ukraine president in 2014 is no secret. The eight years of Ukraine military attacks on the eastern, ethnic Russian population of the Donbas region of Ukraine was largely ignored in the major media even though over 14,000 people were killed by U.S. trained and armed Ukrainian forces.

The relentless pressure by the U.S. government for Ukraine to be incorporated into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the arming of the Ukraine military to NATO standards for seamless inclusion also went on for 8 years.

But these truths contradict the narrative pushed by the Biden administration, which generates sympathy for the Ukraine people so that people in the U.S. do not turn against the $50 billion price tag for this imperialist proxy war.

It should come as no surprise that plans are progressing to suppress the freedom to speak out against this war at home and overseas.  The Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022, signed into law on May 21 contains an item under Title VI of the Act that gives $25 million to the U.S. Agency for Global Media “to combat disinformation and maintain communication links for independent information for Ukraine.”

The U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) website explains it “is a networked global media agency…[with] a shared mission vital to U.S. national interests.”  This organization’s “…mandate comes from multiple pieces of legislation. We are accountable to six bipartisan House and Senate committees.”

Noted former U.N. weapons inspector and independent military analyst, Scott Ritter, sounded the alarm on August 3 on the danger looming for journalists and others telling the truth about the Ukraine conflict.

He wrote

“Some three weeks after [Representative Chuck] Schumer helped push a bill into law, on July 14, Andriy Shapovalov, a Ukrainian civil servant … convened a ‘round table’ in Kiev on ‘countering disinformation.’

“Shapovalov, in his role as the acting head of Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation, published a list of the names of 72 people whom he accused of deliberately spreading disinformation about Ukraine. Shapovalov labelled them ‘information terrorists,’ adding that Ukraine was preparing legislation so that such people can be prosecuted as ‘war criminals.’

“The ‘round table’ was organized by the U.S. Civil Research and Development Foundation … , an ostensible nonprofit organization authorized by the U.S. Congress … [and] supported by the U.S. State Department, some of whose officials sat in attendance.”

Among those targeted as “information terrorists” are Scott Ritter, himself, other journalists and politicians including former Democratic Congressperson Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

The FBI joined in the suppression of free speech when it broke down doors and confiscated computers and records at the offices and homes of the African People’s Socialist Party on July 29. Absurd reports circulated that the APSP was working as an agent of the Russian government because it opposed the U.S. role in the war in Ukraine.

But, as many have pointed out, “facts are stubborn things.” And the longer the Ukraine war drags on, with mounting casualties and skyrocketing expenses – all due to the endless supply of U.S. and NATO weapons to the Ukraine government – more will be revealed.

The latest crack letting in some light has come from Amnesty International. They report that the Ukraine army has been purposefully stationing troops and command centers inside civilian hospitals and other non-military facilities, confirming earlier, less publicized reports.

According to the Amnesty website on August 4::

Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, as they repelled the Russian invasion that began in February …

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.” …

Throughout these investigations, researchers found evidence of Ukrainian forces launching strikes from within populated residential areas as well as basing themselves in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the regions. The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has analyzed satellite imagery to further corroborate some of these incidents.

Most residential areas where soldiers located themselves were kilometers away from front lines. Viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas. In the cases it documented, Amnesty International is not aware that the Ukrainian military who located themselves in civilian structures in residential areas asked or assisted civilians to evacuate nearby buildings – a failure to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians.

Amnesty has come under fierce attack from the imperialists for daring to issue this report. An August 5 editorial in The Times of London called Amnesty “’Putin’s propagandists’ stressing that the organization decided to shred its credibility in the service of Kremlin disinformation.”

Unwilling to back away from its plan to “weaken Russia” and expand NATO, the U.S. government and its allies may resort to more and more repressive actions to suppress the truth about its imperialist ambitions.

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