Alex Rubinstein Media Criticism The Grayzone Ukraine

Zelensky and Media Lackeys Caught in Most Dangerous Lie Yet

With Kiev exposed for a lie that could have triggered a third world war, it is time to examine past deceptions that Western media promoted.

By Alexander Rubinstein / The Grayzone

A missile that exploded on Polish soil on November 15 killed two civilians and destroyed farm equipment. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Western corporate media rushed to blame the explosion on Russia in apparent hopes of triggering NATO’s Article 5, which requires NATO states to defend one another militarily when attacked by a hostile force.

Polish and NATO members including US President Joseph Biden have since confirmed the missile that struck Poland was, in fact, a Ukrainian S-300 anti-aircraft missile. Yet Zelensky is sticking to his line, blaming Russia for the strike, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg still insists that “Russia bears ultimate responsibility.” Meanwhile, the media outlets that reflexively pointed the finger at Russia have been forced to take a step back from their initial reporting.

“Russian missiles hit Poland, the territory of our friendly country. People died,” Zelensky insisted on November 15, the night of the attack. “The longer Russia feels impunity, the more threats there will be to anyone within reach of Russian missiles. To fire missiles at NATO territory! This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a very significant escalation. We must act.”

Zelensky held firm the following day, despite mounting evidence that his own country’s air defenses were responsible, declaring “I have no doubt that this is not our missile… I believe that this was a Russian missile, based on our military reports.” By this time, most analysts rejected the Ukrainian president’s assessment, including the founder of the US government-sponsored intelligence cutout Bellingcat, who wrote “At this point I think it’s fair anyone saying that a Russian missile hit Poland based on the current evidence is being irresponsible.”

A Russian attack on NATO member Poland could have triggered Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which compels its member states to consider “an attack against one Ally” to be “an attack against all Allies.” Such a mobilization would have amounted to World War III.

Despite the clear risk of such a catastrophic escalation – or perhaps because of it – Western corporate media immediately blamed Russia for the strike, never even posing the question of why Russia would consider Polish farmland such an important military target that it would be willing to risk a full-scale war with the 30-member NATO alliance. 

Initially, the Associated Press ran with the headline “Russian missiles cross into Poland during strike on Ukraine.” The article cited a “senior US intelligence official,” and later, “a second person.” 

On November 16, AP began redirecting the link to its original article to a correction that stated, “The Associated Press reported erroneously, based on information from a senior American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland and killed two people. Subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.”

Time Magazine ran with the headline, “Russian Missiles Cross Into Poland During Strike, Killing Two,” and cited the AP report.

Fox News similarly announced, “Russian missiles cross into NATO member Poland, kill 2: senior US intelligence official, citing the Associated Press. MSNBC also blamed a “Russian missile” for the strike in its headline.

Then there was CNN, which reported, “Poland says Russian-made missile killed two, will consider invoking NATO Article 4.” NATO Article 4 deals with the meetings between NATO states that are to take place in the event one of them is “threatened” and would theoretically precede any invocation of Article 5. Like CNN, Reuters cited the Polish Foreign Ministry and ran the headline, “Poland says Russian rocket hit its territory as NATO weighs response.”

The New York Times stated in the second sentence of its report on the missile strike that “the blast came as Russia fired roughly 90 missiles into Ukraine.” Two lines later, the Times stated “local media suggests a Russian missile strike.” Readers of the paper of record would have to scroll down several times to even read that Russian officials denied responsibility.

Earlier in the war, in an article on “Ukraine’s online propaganda,” the New York Times sought to downplay the Ukrainian government’s penchant for pushing fake news, arguing that Kiev’s information war merely “dramatize[s] tales of Ukrainian fortitude and Russian aggression.” The article quoted an unnamed Twitter user, who wrote, “Why can’t we just let people believe some things? … If the Russians believe it, it brings fear. If the Ukrainians believe it, it gives them hope.”

The US media’s support for Ukraine’s propaganda efforts meant that it covered some of the most suspicious events without a hint of skepticism, and thereby encouraged more. 

These questionable incidents included the following:

  • On March 8, Western media reported that a Mariupol maternity hospital was attacked by Russian aircraft. Zelensky claimed the attack was evidence of Russian “genocide” against Ukraine. However, a key witness – a pregnant woman in the hospital photographed by AP – stated that no such airstrike occurred, and that nearby explosions were caused by Ukrainian artillery shells.
  • On March 16, the Ukrainian government blamed a targeted Russian airstrike for destroying the Mariupol Dramatic Theater and causing anywhere from 300 to 600 deaths. Western corporate media promoted the Ukrainian narrative of the event despite a total absence of footage showing a missile strike, no images or evidence of large numbers of dead civilians inside, no images or evidence of any attempted rescue, and testimony by Mariupol locals asserting the Azov Battalion fighters that controlled the theater’s grounds staged the explosion to provoke NATO military intervention. Photographic evidence showed that Azov fighters removed all vehicles from the theater’s parking lot one day before the explosion.
  • The Kramatorsk train station bombing that was blamed on Russia despite the fact the Tochka-U missile responsible for the blast contained a serial number matching others in Ukraine’s arsenal and originated from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

As the war grinds on, elements in the Biden administration appear to be growing impatient with the tall tales of their Ukrainian clients. “This is getting ridiculous,” an unnamed NATO official told the Financial Times on November 16. “The Ukrainians are destroying our confidence and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

Alexander Rubinstein
Alexander Rubinstein

Alex Rubinstein is an independent reporter on Substack. You can subscribe to get free articles from him delivered to your inbox here. If you want to support his journalism, which is never put behind a paywall, you can give a one-time donation to him through PayPal here or sustain his reporting through Patreon here.


    1. Do you consider a reporter’s job to be reporting facts as best they can be determined? Or to express “love” for a particular contingent in a conflict? Curating facts one considers unpleasant or distasteful is the purview of ideology rather than empirical analysis.

    2. Isn’t it crazy how brainwashed people are? I really don’t know if the general population has the capacity for logical understanding. Love for Putin? Where did he say anything like that? These people have water on the brain, and they are the majority.

  1. There were also many false reports of “mass graves” – as well as the total coverup and down the memory hole of the extensive Nazi influence in Ukranian history and current culture, society, politics, and military. The media reports on this, prior to the Russian invasion, are all now down the memory hole.

  2. Ukraine is at war. Are you seriously expecting Zelensky not to use propaganda where possible? Do you seriously think Zelensky would not want more direct participation by other countries?

    BTW, invoking NATO Article 5 does not lead to automatic retaliation.

    The real problem is, if Zelensky is proven to be continually crying wolf, it could come back to haunt him.

  3. Lies,lies and damned lies are the source of almost all violent conflict.The more suckers that Zelensky drags in the better for him and the worst.for everyone else.Does any reasonable person believe that Putin would destroy his own pipeline,his major source of income?

  4. When the goal is mass death of “the enemy”, truth is the first casualty. Instead of calling out the lies, why not condemn those who are blocking peace (for profit)? After all we live in a world of mass deception, that is nothing new. Behind all the lies are the greedy corrupt war profiteers and puppet masters who could not care less about the “exposing of lies”, as long as they remain unchallenged.

  5. What is of course missing is any meaningful reforms of ‘the press’ that would prevent such lies in the future, or more limit the press to the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I’m not sure what those reforms would be. I’m just pointing out that there is no attempt at meaningful reform. The people who lied to kill millions of sentient beings in the Bush/Cheney Iraq Wars paid no substantial penalty. They were not shamed, disgraced and imprisoned. Mostly, they are still around, but now promoted for their past efforts.

    So, if there are not mass firings of offenders, if there are not major changes in management, if there are not new, strict rules against things like using ‘unnamed sources’, if conflicts of interests are not forced to be prominently disclosed, why on earth would anyone believe that these proven liars are not lying still?

    I see no reason for listening to proven liars. All you do is to make more work for yourself tracking down their lies and clearing your mind of the lies that have seeped into it unnoticed. It is far better just to turn them off, and don’t listen to their lies. Who cares what a known liar says? What value do you place on a known and proven liar and what they say today?

    Don’t get fooled again.

    1. Are you even aware that Obama did away with our domestic anti-propaganda laws (“modernization” of Smith Mundt) to allow the State Dept/ CIA to control all important Official Narratives?
      We are (always) on war footing and the Federal Government MUST control all information. Just remember that the Stasi and Gestapo were amateurs relative to the NSA and CIA.
      Don’t blame the journalists. Their careers depend on being stenographers for our lying government agencies. Otherwise they will be censored and demonetized like many alt media sites.

  6. Abraham Lincoln once said “you cannot fool all the people all the time” in his famous Senatorial campaign debates with Stephen Douglass, his pro-slavery Democrat opponent in that race.

    Modern American mind control is showing that you can fool 99% of the people all of the time, and that this is enough to control the society.

    In the last election, there was one antiwar candidate among the two officially approved corporate parties, and she barely had the support of 1% of the voters. For 99% of Americans, the mind control was strong enough to get them to select suicide in a global nuclear war.

  7. Clarification: between ‘last’ and ‘election’, insert ‘Presidential’ or ‘national’.

    Although, in the recent statewide Senate and district House races, I am hard pressed to name even one truly antiwar candidate who ran anywhere. None were on my ballot.

    And no, I do not consider belligerent, escalating Republicans who also want to give all of the money to the Generals as being ‘antiwar’. Their only complaint appears to be a belief that God wants Armageddon to begin in Taiwan instead of Kiev. It speaks volumes that such is the only opposition to world war to be found in America.

  8. Considering the amount of info on this subject being circulated on various news sites, I believe the author of this piece could have done a better job. I have not seen evidence that convinces me that the Ukrainians are willfully lying about it.

    For example, there appear to be valid concerns that the missile could have been a’ refitted’ ground to air missile of Russian origin that was fired at a ground target because Russians may be running low on cruise missiles. That would be a covert thing to do.

    There may also have been many missiles in the air at one time ( some say up to 50) which would complicate matters although a Nato intel aircraft supposedly tracked the one that struck Poland.

    I have not seen any reports that indicated that the missile striking inside the Polish border was really confirmed as an S-300 air to air type. Most reports use the term “probably” etc.. Some reports also say that the debris found may have come from a Kh-101 cruise missile.

    I really believe a more thorough analysis is required.

  9. We can add the MH-17 war crime obviously perpetrated by the AFU, along with the Bucha ethnic cleansing committed by AFU Einsatzgruppen plus those committed after the Kharkov and Kherson retreats.

    We are supposed to believe that no US/NATO military intelligence exists regarding the MH-17 incident.

    We are supposed to believe that the US wouldn’t be most interested in Russian air defences. In particular, all communications between front-line units and their Russian commanders would be actively targeted with particular attention paid to anti-aircraft radar and missiles. Hostile militaries the world over routinely approach enemy coastlines, fleets, installations, and field military units. This is done for the sole purpose of activating defensive preparations, most importantly including, scanning and targeting radar. We are supposed to believe that the US military didn’t task every available intelligence asset to surveil their most dangerous opponent’s military is in the field engaged in hot combat, with every system active and broadcasting. The BUK missile system, along with the S-300 and S-400, plus every other civilian and military radar source would have been targeted in real time by every resource available. The opportunity to compare surveillance intercepts with on site observations of Ukrainian equipment would be invaluable.

    It is obvious that this surveillance wouldn’t be missed without Pentagon ranks being thinned afterwards by firing squad.

    That we have had no civilian or military video of rocket contrail, or exploding plane and debris is also telling. But the investigators can find civilian photos of the BUK battery moving through Russia to the alleged launch site. I think a 30000 foot rocket contrail would be visible for 50 to 100 kilometres. I would expect infrared video matched with radar and signals intelligence intercepts of the rockets broadcast telemetry.

    As John Helmer reported in ‘Dances with Bears’ columns, all kinds of evidence tampering including forgery, manipulated crash site witness testimony, and critical radar tape evidence stolen.

    MH17 Evidence Tampering revealed by Malaysia

    So independent evidence does exist in US/NATO hands. It isn’t being released because it shows the Ukrainians shooting down the MH-17 airplane as it was deliberately directed to fly through a combat zone.

    1. Hmm…”something’s rotten in Denmark.” Look the 9/11 cabal got away with the airline crashing into the Pentagon, that every hones military and civilian profession pilot said, it would have had to be flown by an experience pilot, not by an amateur who had little flying experience, if any. And the “missing parts” of that commercial airline? But as others said, 99% of the public believes – I know, it’s a generalization – but still vote for the duopoly of R’s & D’s each voting cycle, rather than giving alternative party candidates a chance to represent, “we, the people.” As of today, the Un-united states had 602 mass shootings this year. Three or more people killed is counted as a “mass shooting.”

      I know, it has nothing to do with the Ukrainian clown with his olive drab tee shirt on – to stay camouflaged in downtown Kiev? – and would love to see WW3 started, and if it does, he better have a good hiding place. But it goes to show how violent Amerika has become.

      More and more people I know have given up watching news on the MSM as they finally realized how slanted and biased the reporting is and read, listen to, or watch alternative news venues such as Bob Scheer’s, and other websites who publish articles by honest reporters and investigative journalists. Whichever website or websites you like, PLEASE help them with financial support as much as you can. If they shut down because they can’t pay the writers and film makers and video producers, then it will be Propagandaville as in Orwell’s “1984.”

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