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Related Categories: U.S. | Anti-War
Criticism of US/Nato policy is extremely censured
by Glenn Greenwald
The U.S. goal was to "weaken" and punish Russia in order to deprive it of the ability to invade other countries...The benefits of endless fighting in Ukraine are as immense as they are obvious. The military budget is skyrocketing. Archenemies Russia and Putin are punished. They remain embroiled in a war from which Ukrainians suffer the most.
Ukraine: "Criticism of US/Nato policy is extremely censored"

by Glenn Greenwald
[This article published on 5/9/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Ukraine: «Kritik an der US/Nato-Politik wird extrem zensuriert» - infosperber.]

It's hard to ask who benefits from the proxy war and who pays the price, says journalist Glenn Greenwald.
UPG. When there is war, media sometimes face heavy-handed and often sophisticated propaganda and misinformation. It starts with the choice of words and ends with covert operations and (even military) deception. Accordingly, the media should report with caution and always with accurate sources - on statements and actions of all sides. The propaganda war also includes suppressing information from the other side and defaming unwanted voices. Infosperber assumes that its readers are already familiar with the reports of major media. Most appreciate that we take supplementary contributions like this one by Glenn Greenwald* and put them up for discussion.

Comprehensive censorship regime of Western states and corporations

If one wants to learn news, information, or perspectives that contradict the prevailing U.S./Nato view of the war in Ukraine, one must search thoroughly. [Red. Via satellite and cable TV, the state TV channel RT is no longer available. Only on the Internet]. And there is no guarantee that this search will be successful. This is because the censorship regime of states and corporations introduced in the West regarding this war is breathtakingly fast and far-reaching.

Almost daily, news outlets, independent platforms, and individual citizens who do not play by the rules are banned from the Internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Union banned Russia's state-run RT and Sputnik news channels from Europe, citing "disinformation" and "public order and security." In what Reuters called an "unprecedented move," all television and online platforms were barred by law from broadcasting content from these two channels.

Even before this government censorship order, Facebook and Google had already banned these channels, and Twitter immediately announced it would do the same to comply with the new EU law.

But what was "unprecedented" has now become commonplace, even normal. Any platform dedicated to offering news or alternative perspectives that are inconvenient for NATO is guaranteed a very short life expectancy. Less than two weeks after the EU decision, Google announced it would voluntarily ban all Russia-linked media worldwide, meaning that U.S. and all other non-Europeans will now be unable to view these channels on YouTube if they so choose.

This censorship regime is so prolific that it is virtually impossible to count how many platforms, agencies, and individuals have been banned for the "crime" of expressing views deemed "pro-Russian." Meanwhile, Twitter, as usual without explanation, suddenly banned one of the most informative, reliable and careful dissident accounts called "Russians With Attitude." The account was founded in late 2020 by two English-speaking Russians and has exploded in popularity since the war began, going from about 20,000 followers before the invasion to more than 125,000 followers at the time of Twitter's suspension. A related podcast with the same name also enjoyed great popularity and can still be heard, at least for now, on Patreon

A need for information would exist

There is a clear, demonstrable hunger in the West for news and information that is banned from Western news sources. The Washington Post acknowledged as much when it reported on Big Tech's "unprecedented" banning of RT, Sputnik and other Russian news sources: "In the first four days of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, viewership of more than a dozen state-backed Russian propaganda channels on YouTube soared to unusually high levels."

Note that this censorship regime is one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and lies since the war began. A New York Times article from early March summed it up very aptly in its headline, "Facts and Mythmaking Mix in Ukraine Information War." Axios acknowledged this fact with similar understatement: "Ukraine misinformation is spreading - and not just from Russia."

Members of the U.S. Congress gleefully disseminated fabrications that went viral among millions of people without censorship-happy Silicon Valley companies doing anything about it. This is no surprise: all belligerents use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Censorship and fact-checking go in only one direction

Yet, there is little to no censorship of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda, and lies - either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies. Censorship and fact-checking go in only one direction: silencing all voices deemed "pro-Russian," regardless of whether they spread disinformation. The Twitter account "Russians With Attitude" became popular in part because it sometimes criticized Russia, in part because it was more careful with facts and viral claims than most U.S. media groups, and in part because there are so few media outlets willing to offer information that undermines what the U.S. government and NATO want us to believe about the war.

Their offense, like the offense of so many other banned reports, was not disinformation but skepticism about the U.S./Nato propaganda campaign. In other words, it is not "disinformation" but rather a false view to be silenced.

One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants, as long as it serves to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine. What one cannot do, however, is challenge the Nato/Ukraine propaganda framework without running a very high risk of banishment.

Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley corporations exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the U.S. government's foreign policy interests. Many of the major tech monopolies, such as Google and Amazon, routinely seek and obtain extremely lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including the CIA and NSA.

"Dissenters" are vilified

But one question remains: Why is it so urgent to silence the few dissenting voices on the war in Ukraine? This war has united the establishment wings of both U.S. parties and virtually the entire media in a lockstep not seen since the days and weeks after September 11. One can count on both hands the number of prominent political and media figures who have been willing to deviate even slightly from this bipartisan consensus in Washington - a deviation that immediately draws denigration in the form of attacks on one's patriotism and loyalty.

Why is there such a fear of even allowing these isolated and demonized voices to have their say?

Profiteers are the power centers in the U.S.

The answer seems clear. The benefits of this war to several key power centers in Washington cannot be overstated. The billions of dollars in aid and weapons sent by the U.S. to Ukraine are flowing so quickly and seemingly indiscriminately that it is difficult to track them. "Biden Approves $350 Million in Military Aid to Ukraine," reported Reuters on Feb. 26; "Biden Announces $800 Million in Military Aid to Ukraine," reported the New York Times on March 16; on March 30, NBC's headline read, "Biden Announces Ukraine Will Receive Additional $500 Million in Aid from U.S."; Reuters reported, "U.S. Announces Another $750 Million in Weapons for Ukraine, Officials Say." By design, these gargantuan figures have long since lost all meaning and hardly elicit questions, let alone objections.

It is obvious who benefits from this orgy of military spending. Reuters reported that "the Pentagon is convening leaders of the eight largest U.S. weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry's ability to meet Ukraine's weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years." Among the participants in this meeting, which will focus on the need to increase weapons production for the proxy war in Ukraine, is the Raytheon corporation, which is fortunate to have retired General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense. He had risen to this position from the Raytheon board.

It is practically impossible to imagine an event more favorable to the arms industry than this war in Ukraine:

Demand for weapons has skyrocketed after the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 triggered arms shipments from the U.S. and its allies to Ukraine. Both supplies and planning for a prolonged war are expected to be discussed at the aforementioned meeting, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Both supplies and planning for a prolonged war are expected to be discussed at the meeting. The White House said it has provided more than $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including more than 5,000 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles from the Lockheed Martin corporation and more than 1,400 Stingers anti-aircraft missiles from the Raytheon corporation.

Boost for the nation's warmongering gang

This permanent power faction [the military-industrial complex] is far from the only one profiting from the war in Ukraine, and its profits increase the longer the war lasts. The lobbies of the U.S. security state, Democratic Party neoconservatives and their media allies have not fared so well since the glory days of 2002. Chris Hayes, one of the Democrats' most vocal supporters on the MSNBC TV network, raved that the war in Ukraine had revived faith and trust in the CIA and the intelligence community more than any other recent event - and rightly so, he said: "The last few weeks have been like the Iraq war in reverse for U.S. intelligence agencies."

You can hardly read a mainstream newspaper or watch a news channel without the nation's most extreme warmongering gang, the neocons - David Frum, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, Wesley Clark, Anne Applebaum, Adam Kinzinger - being hailed as wise experts and heroic warriors for freedom.

This war serves the permanent political and media class in Washington very well. And although for weeks it was taboo to say so, it is now abundantly clear that the only goal that the U.S. and its allies are pursuing with regard to the war in Ukraine is to delay it as long as possible. Not only is there no serious U.S. diplomatic effort to end the war, but the goal is to make sure that doesn't happen. They say so explicitly now, and it is not hard to understand why.

War goal: From "defending Ukraine" to "weakening Russia"

Red. Trita Parsi, co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, wrote on May 6:
Biden's hints of regime change on March 26 ("For God's sake, this man must not be allowed to remain in power"), the statement on 20. April by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki that the U.S. was seeking a strategic defeat of Russia, or Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's statement that the U.S. goal was to "weaken" and punish Russia in order to deprive it of the ability to invade other countries ... are dangerous developments, at the end of which is a direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.

The benefits of endless fighting in Ukraine are as immense as they are obvious. The military budget is skyrocketing. Archenemies Russia and Putin are punished. They remain embroiled in a war from which Ukrainians suffer the most.
*Glenn Greenwald

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional lawyer and is the author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. He received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work reporting on the abusive detention of Chelsea Manning. He received the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting for his 2013 NSA report, in which he collaborated with his source Edward Snowden. The NSA reporting he directed for The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2014. In 2019, he received the Vladimir Herzog Institute Special Award for his reporting on the Bolsonaro government and the pervasive corruption within the prosecutor's office that led to the imprisonment of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva. He resigned from The Intercept in October 2020 to return to independent journalism. Since then, you can subscribe to Greenwald's posts on Substack.

This article appeared on Substack.com. In German, it first appeared in abbreviated form in No.2/22 in "Unsere Welt" (newspaper of the Swiss Peace Movement).
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