Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently asserted in calls with his British, French, Indian, Turkish, and U.S. counterparts that Ukraine is planning on deploying a “dirty bomb” on its own territory and then blaming the act on Russia. Shoigu did not publicize any of the intelligence on which he based this allegation.
Ukraine, of course, alleges the opposite—that it is Russia who is planning to detonate. And the Pentagon, for its part, has announced that if a dirty bomb were to be deployed, there would be immediate consequences for Russia—an ominous threat that many experts believe signifies nuclear retaliation. How do Americans feel knowing that this faraway turf battle could, at any moment, fake its way into a global war?
Sadly, it’s nothing new for us. These types of media narratives, leading up to major “happenings” with violent or ruinous fallout, have become a regular part of our daily lives. Our federal agencies routinely announce dangerous domestic terror attacks in the works, the rise of hate crimes against Asians and blacks, or Russia-linked cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. All we civilians can access is the primitive logic of cui bono—who benefits? It’s the same dilemma we face upon every mass shooting, every international act of sabotage or WMD threat, every high-profile prison suicide.
We never get to see the evidence to make informed assessments, but breaking news, or even the appearance of newsworthiness, can drive public opinion at crucial moments. Mass shootings are often followed by new gun control pushes. Corporate or government leaks, real or fake, can spur social-media crackdowns or impeachment proceedings. Supposed escalations or new threats in foreign conflicts can serve as a pretext for the war lobby.
A few days ago, ABC broke the news that Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was allegedly attacked in his home by a man with no pants, wielding a hammer and yelling “where’s Nancy?” Democrats and RINOs like Liz Cheney and Dan Crenshaw were quick to use the incident to clutch pearls over Republicans’ “dangerous rhetoric” and “extremism” just weeks before the election. Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger tweeted, “This is why the Jan 6th Committee is so important.”
Just hours after the story broke, police dispatch recordings emerged showing that Pelosi’s alleged assailant did not break and enter, and was identified as a “friend.” Some have speculated that the circumstances suggest an illicit affair or that it was a fabricated incident intended to shock the nation with “right-wing violence.” In any case, though the details are still coming out, it seems there is ample reason to distrust the narrative constructed around the initial ABC report.
Who really knows which side of the disaster known as the “Russia-Ukraine War” plans on detonating radioactive material and blaming it on the other? This war has produced nothing but obfuscation and propaganda since day one. But if there is any truth to Russia’s warning, if the dirty bomb really is an attempt to fake victimization on Ukraine’s part, it would mean the Jussie Smolletization of wars between nuclear powers has finally arrived.
The global propaganda machine has apparently brought us to the brink of annihilation. How far will the liars and manipulators go?