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Did a Russian Missile Strike Kill 200 NATO Officers in a Ukrainian Bunker?, by Ron Unz

For properly over 40 years I’ve learn the print version of the New York Occasions virtually each morning, making an attempt to maintain myself knowledgeable on necessary world issues. Till just lately, I learn it very fastidiously, however in the previous few years I’ve seen such an incredible decline in its high quality that nowadays I often simply look at many of the articles, saving myself near an hour a day. Different educated individuals appear to have reached comparable conclusions, even together with former Occasions editors.

With our main mainstream retailers having turn into so unreliable, many people now draw our info from different sources, however sadly these are sometimes simply as unhealthy if not worse. In consequence wildly exaggerated or incorrect tales can simply propagate throughout the Web, together with outright hoaxes.

Our personal very flippantly moderated web site attracts many agitated commenters, and some weeks in the past a few of them started claiming {that a} hypersonic Russian missile strike on an underground army bunker in Ukraine had killed dozens of NATO officers together with American generals, a vastly necessary story that was being suppressed all throughout the Western media. This report struck me as typical Web-nonsense and I paid completely no consideration to it.

Nonetheless, a few weeks later I used to be discussing international coverage points with a highly-regarded mainstream tutorial whom I do know, somebody who will surely be thought-about a member of the American elite institution. He shares my opinion of the overall dishonesty of our mainstream media so he intently follows Ukraine struggle developments on numerous Telegram channels and he occurred to say the missile strike, being certain that it had truly occurred even after I expressed my very own sturdy skepticism. Subsequently, I made a decision to research what is perhaps a exceptional story.

With a little bit of Googling, I rapidly situated the blogsite of Dr. Gilbert Doctorow. On April fifteenth, he had offered an in depth account of the supposed missile assault.

With respect to a nonetheless completely different information story of nice significance, Western media are nonetheless deaf and dumb greater than a month after its prevalence. I take into consideration the alleged Russian strike on an underground bunker close to the Western Ukrainian metropolis of Lvov on 9 March. In response to a report in another information company in Greece that was then amplified by Russian information wire businesses shortly after the ninth, we had been instructed that 200-300 NATO generals and excessive officers along with their Ukrainian counterparts had been killed by the strike of a Russian hypersonic missile Kinzhal in what was referred to as a “revenge assault” for the murderous incursion of Ukrainian saboteurs within the RF’s Bryansk province every week earlier. Practically all Western media imposed a blackout on this information. The few pro-Washington web information portals that talked about it did so solely to blacken the sources of the report.

Now the Russians have as soon as once more placed on their information tickers experiences on the assault whereas giving some extra particulars. See the Russian language article entitled “Disaster for NATO forces in Ukraine: in a single blow of its Kinzhal in opposition to a secret bunker Russia postponed the Ukrainian Armed Forces counter-attack.” The subtitle goes on to say “Russian Kinzhal hypersonic rockets destroyed a secret bunker with 200 NATO and UAF officers.” The article appeared within the on-line model of the pretty respectable Komsomolskaya Pravda: https://www.kp.ru/each day/27490.5/4748875

We’re instructed now that two, not one Kinzhal had been employed to do the job of blowing up a bunker situated greater than 100 meters underground and guarded by a bolstered concrete defend in-built Soviet instances and meant to withstand a direct hit by a nuclear bomb. Every of the rockets carried 500 kg of excessive explosives.

The Polish, British and American officers felt so assured of their invulnerability on this shelter the place they conferred each day with their Ukrainian counterparts on the conduct of the struggle that they carelessly parked dozens of their automobiles close to the doorway to the bunker, a truth which didn’t escape the discover of Russia’s air and satellite tv for pc reconnaissance.

The Kinzhals had been fired by a MiG-31 fighter jet so far as 2,000 km away from the goal, which means properly out of attain of Ukrainian anti-aircraft installations. Its accuracy was confirmed to be inside one meter of the goal.

The creator of this text, Viktor Baranets, goes on to say that latest information releases in Ukrainian media verify the fundamental story in regards to the missile assault. He alludes to the dressing down which the American embassy gave to the Ukrainian command after the catastrophe and in regards to the restoration of 40 our bodies from the wreckage so far whereas excavation work continues to search out extra human stays deep underground. He believes that the lack of this important coordination heart is one main issue within the ongoing repeated delays of the onset of the vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive. And he offers a few explanations of why Western media haven’t lined the catastrophe. First, that the destruction of this seemingly impregnable bunker might occur in any respect is proof of the distinctive effectiveness of the Kinzhal in doing what it was designed to do: destroy army command facilities and thereby decapitate the enemy. The air protection techniques of NATO are ineffective in opposition to an object flying at 10 – 15 mach and its affect is bigger than a nuclear bomb. Second, in the event that they had been to disclose the numbers and duties carried out by the NATO contingent that was killed within the bunker, together with U.S. generals, they might be exposing NATO to prices of direct involvement within the conduct of the struggle, which means cobelligerent standing, one thing which the Biden administration has sought to keep away from in any respect prices.

Doctorow appeared satisfied that the story was true and his identify was barely acquainted to me as somebody educated in regards to the Ukraine struggle. After I checked, his background was strong and credible, with numerous retailers describing him as a long-time Russia watcher with a 1975 Ph.D. in historical past from Columbia College. The late Prof. Stephen Cohen had been an eminent Russia scholar at that very same establishment, and in 2015 Doctorow had labored with him to reestablish The American Committee for East-West Accord, which boasted quite a few distinguished figures on its board, together with Invoice Bradley, Chuck Hagel, William vanden Heuvel, Donald McHenry, and Jack F. Matlock, Jr.

Given Doctorow’s sturdy endorsement, I started to wonder if the story may truly be true. The massive Russian missile strike within the early hours of March ninth had been closely lined within the American media, reaching the entrance web page of the New York Occasions.

If quite a few NATO officers together with a number of American generals had been killed within the assault and our dishonest media was “nonetheless deaf and dumb” greater than a month later, this appeared an outrageous journalistic lapse, as critical as virtually something I’d ever encountered. Maybe we is perhaps on the verge of World Conflict III with the Russians, and our media was stubbornly hiding that actuality. On the very least, the incident would represent an necessary addition to my lengthy American Pravda collection, which paperwork the blunders and omissions of our media.

However as soon as I spent a little bit time digging into the story, I rapidly grew to become satisfied that Doctorow and the others had fallen for an apparent hoax. I defined the reasoning to my tutorial interlocutor, who appeared solely half satisfied, and I quickly forgot in regards to the matter.

Nonetheless, I’ve now found that perception within the obvious hoax appears to have turn into fairly widespread inside different circles. A number of days in the past, a number of commenters described it on my web site, and once I objected, they pointed to quite a few alt-media articles reporting the deaths of these NATO officers. Much more surprisingly, Col. Douglas Macgregor was requested in a latest interview in regards to the NATO officers killed in a Russian missile strike, and though he appeared considerably skeptical and deflected the query, his host appeared certain that it had truly occurred.

On condition that widespread misinformation about such a probably necessary occasion, I’ll clarify why it was in all probability false, particularly as a result of this illustrates the correctly cautious method one ought to take with such issues.


Doctorow’s April fifteenth account had cited an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda, which he characterised as a “pretty respectable” Russian outlet, so I took a have a look at that supply, studying it in automated English translation.

One factor I seen is that though the publication was Russian, the account offered by Victor Baranets closely relied upon international sources, with the author explaining that “Data is more and more leaking into the western and Ukrainian press, in addition to in social networks from numerous sources.” In response to Baranets, Russia’s Ministry of Protection had formally reported a serious missile strike on March ninth—the identical fundamental details lined by the Occasions—however the story of the deaths of the NATO officers got here from a Greek web site referred to as Pronews. And Doctorow had equally mentioned that the knowledge got here from “another Greek information company in Greece that was then amplified by Russian information wire businesses.”

So the Pronews web site was my subsequent cease, and as soon as once more I learn the March twelfth story in automated English translation. Though the headlines described the destruction of a command bunker with “dozens” of lifeless NATO officers, the main points within the article itself appeared extraordinarily sketchy, elevating my suspicions. So I made a decision to see what else I might discover.

Lately, a variety of fact-checking and debunking web sites have appeared, with Snopes being essentially the most venerable, and I used to be hardly stunned to search out that it offered a radical refutation of the alleged assault.

A considerably longer article in Newsweek had equally debunked the supposed assault a number of days earlier

Mainstream publications and fact-checking web sites are infamous for denouncing and debunking all anti-establishment narratives, whether or not these are true or false, so their conclusions shouldn’t be taken very significantly. However they do typically present a helpful compilation of the supply hyperlinks and different “uncooked intelligence,” which one can then independently analyze. This proved the case relating to the missile assault.

The Greek web site had run the story on March twelfth, scary heavy protection on Telegram and different Russian social media simply as Doctorow had recommended. However a considerably comparable story had already run on March ninth on The Intel Drop, a distinct conspiratorial web site, which had additionally sparked a wave of viral Tweets. So apparently that web site had been been the first authentic supply of the missile strike story.

A while in the past I’d already heard that The Intel Drop had been established by Gordon Duff, who’d beforehand spent a few years working Veterans In the present day, a distinct conspiracy-website. Duff has at all times struck me as a really uncertain character, together with his wildly-conspiratorial claims typically having little credibility. In response to a prolonged 2017 article in Politico, Duff had as soon as even boasted of his dishonesty in a 2012 interview:

About 30% of what’s written on Veterans In the present day, is patently false. About 40% of what I write, is at the very least purposely, partially false, as a result of if I didn’t write false info I wouldn’t be alive.

Clearly, the Politico piece was a blatant hit-job in opposition to Duff and his publications, however having listened to 2 or three of Duff’s lengthy interviews over time, the statements relating to his routine promotion of falsehoods rang very true.

NATO was based three generations in the past and throughout all of its lengthy historical past, nearly none of its officers had ever died in fight. If dozens and even a whole lot of NATO officers, together with some American generals, had now all of a sudden been killed in a Russian missile assault, this is able to be a fully unprecedented improvement, an occasion of main historic significance. However we’re compelled to consider that the publication that broke that blockbuster story was a small conspiratorial web site run by a infamous hoaxer.

Certainly, the circumstances turn into much more suspicious upon additional investigation. Snopes famous {that a} earlier story reporting dozens of NATO officers killed in a Russian missile strike on a bunker had truly run greater than every week earlier on March 1st, launched on an ultra-fringe Australian conspiracy-website that declared:

In western Ukraine a Russian Forces Kinzhal struck a bunker extending to 80 metres deep. The RF believes this bunker close to Lvov [Lviv] was a NATO strategic command level used to manage anti-aircraft techniques. It’s nonetheless early days however the RF assumes there have been as much as 300 personnel within the bunker, 40 of which had been excessive rating international specialists, therefore we will count on 40 physique baggage heading west in the end.

That tiny Australian web site appears to closely site visitors in Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and its account of the NATO bunker assault had gotten little traction. However apparently after the Russians had launched an enormous wave of missile assaults the next week, agitated social media accounts conflated the 2 tales—the NATO bunker destroyed on March 1st and the Russian missile assaults on March ninth—and the Gordon Duff web site started selling the mixed report below the headline “Catastrophe: Russian Hypersonic Missiles Wipe Out US/NATO Secret Command in Kiev, Dozens of High US Officers Vaporized” although it claimed that the bunker had been in Kiev moderately than Lvov.

The Greek web site quickly picked up the identical story: “Scary blow 130 meters underground from Russian super-abuse Kinzhal missile at NATO command heart in Ukraine!” They reported that there have been dozens of lifeless NATO and Ukrainian officers, however the creator was apparently unsure whether or not the bunker had been in Kiev or Lvov, cities practically 300 miles aside.

Waves of viral Tweets started selling the tales on these two web sites, with the situation of the assault and different particulars incessantly altering.

Professional-Russian social media accounts would generally add photographs illustrating the supposed strike website so as to improve the verisimilitude of their claims:

So the near-universal narrative accepted throughout the choice media is that numerous NATO officers had been killed in a Russian missile strike on March ninth. However that very same occasion had initially been reported in a tiny Australian conspiracy-website on March 1st. This strongly means that both conspiracy-activists have gained entry to a time machine or the story is a hoax.


Though it’s unlucky that so many usually wise individuals fully fell for the NATO bunker hoax, it’s hardly stunning. Social media serves as dry tinder and “thrilling” tales can rapidly catch fireplace throughout the Web with few questioning their veracity. In response to Newsweek, the posts on Twitter and Telegram had already collected a whole lot of hundreds of views by the top of March. People who encounter the identical story from quite a few completely different sources are prone to assume it’s right with out contemplating that these may all be in the end traced again to the innovations of a single fabulist. The dishonesty of the anti-Russia mainstream media relating to the battle naturally leads many critics to disregard the acute dishonesty on the opposite facet. I think that many tens and even a whole lot of hundreds of individuals world wide at the moment are satisfied {that a} Ukrainian bunker stuffed with NATO officers was incinerated by a Russian missile strike.

Furthermore, one astute commenter identified that persons are particularly prone to settle for claims they deeply need to consider, and a extreme NATO army setback along with a serious black-eye for the hated mainstream media in all probability falls into this class.

there’s additionally human nature, and for all its foibles, all too typically, (many or most of) we people are prone to it.

The purpose being, that with a narrative like that, I feel a major swath of humanity, (People and Europeans particularly), could be understandably wishing that such a narrative had been true. A lot so, that their very hope that it was, might presumably shade their gullibility, by the very sturdy and comprehensible want that it had been true.

Like listening to that they’ve discovered a remedy for most cancers, lots of people are faster to consider a narrative, if they need, (understandably) the story to be true.

The writers and web sites that promoted this hoax have definitely broken their future credibility, however our personal publication is hardly immune from such comparable criticism.

Though we definitely don’t knowingly publish false materials, we’re another media web site with the mission assertion of offering “Attention-grabbing, Essential, and Controversial Views Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media.” On condition that function it’s inevitable {that a} substantial fraction of our content material could also be factually incorrect as I’ve even emphasised in a web site Q&A:

Q: Does The Unz Evaluate stand behind all of the controversial claims made within the articles it publishes?

A: Completely not! In any occasion, that may be a logical impossibility, since so most of the writers and their arguments immediately contradict each other. Every reader should fastidiously weigh the logic and proof backing the point of view of every creator and determine for himself how a lot—or how little—of the fabric to just accept. Pondering for your self is troublesome however crucial.

I actually have strongly disagreed with most of the numerous Covid and anti-vaxxing articles we revealed. We’ve additionally introduced fairly a number of articles by Larry Romanoff, a few of them very talked-about, however I discovered his materials lower than wholly dependable as I emphasised in this remark of mine from final yr.

Glancing over the contents of this text, I’d say that roughly one-third of the knowledge appears right, roughly one-third appears incorrect, and roughly one-third is troublesome for me to determine by hook or by crook.

On a number of events, I’ve unsuccessfully recommended to Larry that his articles could be a lot stronger if he excluded the wrong parts…

Nonetheless, I do take the effort and time to be extraordinarily cautious in my very own writings, and the overall physique of my work now runs properly over 1,000,000 phrases on this web site, most of it protecting a spread of subjects as ultra-controversial as something discovered anyplace on the Web. I’d stand by nearly every little thing I’ve written, nonetheless believing that 99% of it has been correct, at the very least to the claimed tolerances I’d initially expressed.

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