West’s ‘propaganda war for public opinion’

Men walk past the wreckage of MH17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane, at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region.(Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
The West, particularly NATO states, have launched an aggressive and sophisticated propaganda war accusing Russia for the Ukraine crisis in order to get public support, Patrick Heningson of 21 Century Wire.com, told RT’s In the Now.

READ MORE: Ukraine media falsely claim Dutch prosecutors accused Russia of MH17 downing

RT:Why don’t facts seem to go anywhere in this Ukraine crisis?

Patrick Heningson: Well the main thing to understand is that most of what’s constructed regarding Ukraine that is going back twelve months or more, is really constructed and it’s focused towards a US audience and European audience. It’s a really a sophisticated war propaganda, it’s a war for public opinion because whatever the case may be on the ground Western leaders, specifically NATO-countries, they really need public opinion to be backing whatever moves they are making around the world. In the case of Ukraine this is quite an aggressive move by NATO allies led by Washington DC. So it requires a lot of very sophisticated media and public opinion forming, and I think that’s what we are seeing. This is an ongoing battle to get into people’s minds to say that Russia is the aggressor, Russia is responsible for this, Russia shot down MH17 and that justifies a sort of escalation, if you will, along the rim of Europe surrounding Russia.

RT:Many people do believe that Russia is the aggressor. But what happens if the investigation from the Netherlands into MH17 doesn’t fall into the idea of what happens according to the State Department?

PH: I don’t think it will because at the end of the day you are talking about a criminal investigation, you are talking about forensic evidence and the forensic evidence doesn’t lie. You can have as much hyperbole speculation, wild conspiracy theories which is what I would like to refer to, what was being put out in the initial aftermath of MH17, there was a lot of wild conspiracy theories that Russia shot it down or rebels shot it down with a Buk missile system which is clearly not true, because the evidence doesn’t support that. So these are conspiracy theories and they are coming from government, they are coming from the US ambassador’s office in Kiev.

READ MORE: US boosting ‘anti-propaganda’ budget, mulling ‘increase of lethality’ for Ukraine support – Nuland

RT:But the investigation is not over yet, how can we know that the evidence doesn’t support that?

PH: I can say that just by the fact that the information that was released at the time from all the different authorities beyond the hyperbole, there is nothing there to say that specifically that was a Buk missile launcher; it is more likely to be something else. And many other people have categorized this in the same way. So this investigation is more about public relations, it’s more a part of the PR war. I don’t think it’s going to net very much in the end. And also we’ve got two flight recorders, boxes with important information; they’ve been sitting under wraps in Great Britain for quite a long time now. And certainly a lot of the information that we’d like to get answers from is probably sitting in those black box recorders. And are they classified? I don’t know there hasn’t been a complete disclosure with what is on these recorders and that’s a big thing.

RT:It seems to me that there are good people in the governments that want facts to come out about MH17 though.

PH: There are. There are good people in governments everywhere, the only problem is there is an agenda, and we can see that imbued in the words of Victoria Nuland [on Wednesday]. And basically she is undermining what’s been accomplished in the Minsk peace agreements a few weeks ago. So she is undermining the work of Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Vladimir Putin, even Petro Poroshenko because he was a party to this agreement as well. But we all know what Victoria Nuland thinks of the EU by now... But this is what we are dealing with, this is a public relations war of the highest order, this is a Cold War if you will, maybe it’s getting a little bit warm but these are the sort of games and chess maneuvers that we are going to be seeing down the road, it’s not going to finish any time soon.

READ MORE: ‘We should absolutely consider lethal aid’ to Ukraine – US Gen. Martin Dempsey

RT:What about her statement that there are thousands of Russian soldiers in Ukraine?

PH: I think the language within the Minsk agreement specifically said that Russia is not a military party to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. So what Victoria Nuland is saying is undermining what Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have said at the table and agreed upon. She is trying to transform the language. This is again because Minsk was a huge failure for Washington not least of all because they weren’t there, but also because of what came out of the Minsk agreement which is a part of some sort of peaceful resolution. And it seems to me like Victoria Nuland represents a faction within the State Department that doesn’t want to see a peaceful resolution. They want to escalate the conflict, they want lethal aid…This is an ongoing thing, this is a faction within the State Department they really wants to escalate the military confrontation, they want to raise tensions in the region, and there are others who don’t. But unfortunately the dominant voices right now are ones that want to raise the game a little bit with Russia.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.