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Ukraine: Unprovoked invasion?

John Y. Jones
John Y. Jones
Cand. Philol, freelance journalist affiliated with MODERN TIMES
MEDIA / What about Ukraine and the media? Here, as with Assange, the point is that we must be assured that the authorities manage the truth.


Prior to Russia's "brutal, unprovoked full-scale invasion" of Ukraine – as it is said in well-directed Western media texts after February 24, 2022, we find a carefully planned, documented, yes, and announced, strategy to "destabilize Russia" (US Rand report from 2019). The Americans today do not even try to hide their plans for regime change in Russia; about deploying nuclear-capable missiles on NATO's border to the east with a short distance to Moscow; expand NATO in conflict with clear promises made to Russian leaders: or its ridicule of Putin as well as of Russia itself. And the Norwegian press is clearly affected. Sometimes it takes on a comical tone, as when NRK's ​​correspondent Simen Ekern in Dagsrevyen on 13 February refers to "the Russians' invasion in 2022", but immediately corrects himself and says "the Russians' full-scale invasion in 2022".

I have not seen a single Norwegian daily newspaper page after 24 February 2022 that contains criticism of NATO, USA or Ukraine. And I invite the reader here to show me one. Nor have I, two years after the Russian invasion, despite diligent searching, found a single newspaper editor who warns against NATO's militarization and rearmament of Europe. I am more than happy to take reprimand.

But the warnings about an aggressive and threatening Russia abound without evidence of who Russia would threaten. The logic seems to be that Russia entered Ukraine and therefore will be able to enter all the other neighboring countries. The Baltic States, Poland, Finland, Sweden. This seems to be the mantra. That Russia has a very special relationship with its Russian-speaking relatives in the eastern part of Ukraine, and feels responsible for the conflict, which has cost 14 lives, being suppressed. That Russia itself has clear security interests, as well.

Three years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the report detailed how the US and NATO would provoke the Russians along their border with NATO, including how to ensure that Germany would break gas cooperation with Russia and switch to LNG imports from the US.

I had the opportunity to discuss with NRK's ​​defense expert Tormod Heier during a book launch in the spring of 2023 and asked about his views on the aforementioned Pentagon's Rand report Destabilizing Russia. But Heier was unaware of the report which, three years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, detailed how the US and NATO would provoke the Russians along their border with NATO, including how to ensure that Germany would break gas cooperation with Russia and switch to LNG -import from the USA. This is just one of the many pieces of evidence we have that the Russians' invasion of Ukraine was by no means 'unprovoked'. But NRK's ​​expert was conveniently unaware of it and continued to talk about the 'unprovoked' invasion.

The so-called independent sources – OSINT

In the last two years, the Norwegian media have found many of their 'experts' in forces that they know are connected to the Norwegian armed forces, people in more or less visible military regalia. These must of necessity follow a strict NATO line in all their statements. That in itself is not disturbing. The dangerous thing is when these are allowed to go unchallenged and thus gain a monopoly on the truth in conflicts where they have clear interests. And it is the media that gives them this authority. This is not journalism.

The mass media need someone to lean on when they have to convince us that they are bringing us 'the truth'. They always talk to experts, must know. It has become a recurring feature that intelligence, despite its billion-dollar investments in high-tech surveillance equipment, satellites and recording technology, refers to so-called OSINT (open source intelligence – or so-called independent, internet-based 'fact checkers') which witnesses of truth. These unofficial narratives eventually solidify in people's consciousness – they become 'truth'.

A typical example is the shooting down of a Malaysian plane in 2014 during the period when the Kyiv government, NATO and the US began their ramp-up with attacks on Donbass and Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine. On 4 March 2022, Aftenposten explains in detail how such OSINT "ensures that the truth does not necessarily become a victim after all. We can use the work to document how the war affects, not least how it affects the civilian population".

But Aftenposten's claim that you can trust OSINT, received a serious shot to the bow recently. Pictures and clips from the boys' room scouting on the internet do not meet the courtroom's requirements for accuracy and source. The UN court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, handed down a crushing verdict:

Let me mention here first NRK, “The downing of MH17 in Ukraine”, summarized 2022/23: “The missile that hit Malaysian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014 was fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, the investigation shows. 298 people lost their lives.” (See

Earlier, on October 8, 2015, the OSINT group Bellincat's founder, Elliot Higgins, was able to state that "July 17, 2014 a [Russian] Buk missile launcher, originating from the 53rd Brigade near Kursk, Russia, traveled from Donetsk to Snizhne. It was then unloaded and drove under its own power to a field south of Snizhne, where at approximately 4:20 pm it launched a surface-to-air missile that hit Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it flew over Ukraine". Higgins filled the article with heaps of pictures and quotes. Apparently impressive in detail and 'documentation'. And the media bought it. For ten years this has been the 'general' understanding of what had happened to the Malaysian plane: It was the Russians who shot it down.

But this year, ten years later, Reuters can report that on January 31, 2024, the UN court ICJ issued a ruling: There was no valid evidence that Russia was behind it.

Many years with Russia as a publicly accepted thug and terrorist in the eyes of the Western media was suddenly forgotten after a thorough review in the legal apparatus. We see that the amateurish OSINTs can appear convenient for the great powers to refer to in order to plant accusations that cannot be proven, but which quickly solidify in the mass media as 'truths'.

Aftenposten actually constantly refers to a case "being fact-checked" by an identified OSINT group. There may be reason to remind that Aftenposten is not a high school Russian newspaper, but one of the country's leading opinion makers. After this ICJ judgment, perhaps they should review their sourcing practices?



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