In a war already rife with misinformation, why spread more?
Warning: Some links in this piece may contain videos and photographs that are distressing.
Feb 24th, Catturd posts a tweet alleging that there are no updates of any kind on the war in Ukraine. The tweet, which has been viewed over 9.5 million times:
“With every war going all the way back to Vietnam, the Press has been heavily integrated with the troops and there’s thousands of hours of live video footage.
In Ukraine, nothing.
We get no footage, no detailed updates, no graphs explaining how the war is going, who has control of what land, etc.
All we get is Biden fake air raid sirens and one famous actor or politician a day happily prancing around Kiev with Zelenskyy with no helmets or body protection offering him 100s of billion of dollars.
Or, Zelenskyy jet setting around the world to walk red carpets, get praised by the global elite, and pose for national magazine covers.
If you questions this – you’re called a Putin puppet.
We taxpaying citizens are sick and damn tired of these blatant lies from these evil, globalist worms. Call us whatever names you want – we know ******** when we see it.”
Twitter has already provided, courtesy of its user context provisions, evidence refuting this. I am going to further engage with this tweet and dismantle its accusations in detail. I will verify and debunk in detailed measure each of Catturd’s allegations.
“With every war going all the way back to Vietnam, the press has been heavily integrated with the troops and there’s thousands of hours of live video footage.”
This is true. A pretty bang on assessment on the way the media in the US has approached most conflicts. There are no US soldiers with boots on the ground which could explain the lack of detailed data being provided to the US public as there is not an emotional investment in the livelihood of the troops. Photojournalists like Catherine Leroy and Horst Faas highlighted the visceral reality of the combat American troops were facing in Vietnam.
Alongside work by Seymour Hersh, Daniel Ellsberg and others to highlight US military failures during events like the My Lai Massacre and Ellsberg’s work on the Pentagon Papers highlighting an enlarged scope of the Vietnam War activities. There are also thousands of hours of archival footage present on many websites.
Fast forward to the present and focus on some wars that are a bit more prevalent in the minds of the US population. We find ourselves focusing on Hersh again, this time he exposed the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib during the Iraq War. There were even articles written about the effect Iraq had on war reporting.
Basically, Catturd is correct here. For decades the reporting on war has been a priority for the American media when their own troops are involved. It has been front and centre at many of the most influential and often times sickening realities of wartime actions.
“We get no footage, no detailed updates, no graphs explaining how the war is going, who has control of what land, etc.”
The Ukraine War could end up being the most filmed war in history. There are thousands of hours worth of combat footage. In footage from The Battle of Hostomel Airport the Antonov AN-225 can be seen; it was the largest plane in the world and was subsequently destroyed during the battle. This battle took place over the Feb. 24th and 25th. This article from the American Associated Press details the defiant Putin and his warnings to the US. For a more recent upload, PBS News Hour on YouTube released a nearly 150-minute video detailing “1-year of War” between Ukraine and Russia, for the one-year anniversary.
There are many detailed updates present throughout social media and various OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) platforms. The OSINT page Bellingcat has an entire section of their website dedicated to detailed analysis of vehicles being used in Ukraine and how to identify what tanks are being used etc. There are accounts on Twitter dedicated to analysing videos and footage uploaded to social media. These include OSINTtechnical, CaucasusWarReport and OSINTDefender, all three accounts cover detailed analysis of weapons systems, territorial gains and losses and analysis of combat footage.
There is a New York Times article that features an interactive map which tracks the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Any interested party does not have to look far to identify the horrific footage being churned out of the trenches in Ukraine. There is an entire community on Reddit called CombatFootage that showcases some of the horrific injuries and close quarter battles taking place during the war.
Here are some examples from the subreddit. Here is footage of a Ukrainian soldier killing a Russian soldier advancing on their trench position. People who have seen this footage likened it to many first-person shooter games because of how close-quartered the fighting is. This footage was submitted to the subreddit 9 days ago. Other footage posted to the subreddit shows the Ukrainian medics tending to badly wounded soldiers, this shows first-hand the gruesome injuries those fighting on the frontlines are experiencing and the work that goes into patching them up. More footage shows Ukrainian forces clearing trenches of Russian opposition, another example of what must be terrifying close quarter fighting. All these videos were submitted over the past 30 days. To deny that Ukrainian soldiers are going through this level of terror is terrible. Even if Catturd is unable to see this footage, it is there if they truly put in the effort to look for it.
“All we get is Biden fake air raid sirens and one famous actor or politician a day happily prancing around Kiev with Zelenskyy with no helmets or body protection offering him 100s of billion of dollars.”
This particular criticism relates to Biden’s recent unannounced visit to Ukraine to meet with Zelenskyy. The main talking point here is the fake air raid sirens and CNN seemed to verify that no sirens had been sounded, after one of their reporters stated that they “had been there for 5 days and heard no air sirens until about half an hour ago when President Biden arrived in Kiev.” If this was the case and it has yet to be verified, pushing propaganda is part and parcel of war politics whether you agree with it or not. It is surprising that someone sharing misinformation is alarmed at the US and Ukraine potentially releasing footage to make both leaders appear tough in the face of Russia.
“Or, Zelenskyy jet setting around the world to walk red carpets, get praised by the global elite, and pose for national magazine covers.”
Zelenskyy is rustling up support for his country. Whether you agree with the decision to keep funding the war is not important here, having some nuance in your analysis of these events is crucial.
“If you questions this – you’re called a Putin puppet.”
Catturd is being called a puppet for repeating baseless claims on his Twitter page which is followed by almost 1.5 million people and his tweets are seen by nearly 10 million people.
“We taxpaying citizens are sick and damn tired of these blatant lies from these evil, globalist worms. Call us whatever names you want – we know ******** when we see it.”
All in all, Catturd’s claims are baseless. They have no place in established fact and seem to exist outside the reality of the thousands of hours of combat footage, countless pages, tweets and photographs of vehicles, weapons, territory and civilian casualties. The public are not being denied the horrors of war, they are privier to it than ever before. To claim that the vast majority of the public are being fed blatant lies is a ridiculous statement. There are real questions that need to be asked around continuing the war and “a lack of footage” is not one of them.
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