Taking a stance against political lies

by Karl-Jürgen Müller

The peace researcher Martina Fischer of the church aid organisation “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the World) has observed that “many political and media discourses present the conflict [between NATO and Russia] in a one-sided way and do not tell the whole story”. In Germany, she says, it is “primarily about the narrative that NATO is in the right and Russia is completely in the wrong”.1 NATO officials call it “strategic communication”. “Strategic communication” is “a set of sign-based and usually media-supported activities by which individuals, groups or organisations seek to maintain or increase acceptance of their political, economic, legal or otherwise motivated interests among selected target groups”. I call it political lying – and it mostly troubles us in our countries in a synchronised manner.

The fact that political lies are publicly told in our countries can be observed every day at the moment. In addition, the liars want to be censors at the same time. The German Minister of Education and Research announced on 8 February 2021 that she will spend a lot of money on ten new research projects to fight “disinformation” and “fake news”. The minister wants to “get down to the roots of the ‘fake news’ trouble and advance the fight against disinformation through targeted research funding”.
  The political lie has several variants. They range from the simple misrepresentation of facts to the deliberate omission of important facts and the deliberate misinterpretation of facts up to targeted propaganda.

Five current examples

Here are just five current examples:
  On 10 February 2022, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder commented in a post on Linkedin on an article published in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, “Nord Stream 2: When the gas man rings twice”(“Nord Stream 2: Wenn der Gasmann zweimal klingelt”). Schröder writes: “In its current issue, Die Zeit sets a total of eleven(!) journalists on the SPD in order to construct, with the greatest investigative power, a ‘network’ that allegedly ‘allowed itself to be seduced by Putin and Russian natural gas’. What is regrettable for the eleven authors is the fact that even the simplest facts in the piece are not correct.” Schröder lists these facts and also the newspaper’s false claims.
  On 24 January 2022, the “German-Russian Forum” organised a discussion on the topic “Warning or all-clear – Russia against NATO? Is there a way out of the crisis?”. One of the panellists was Jürgen Trittin, a Green foreign policy expert and former Federal Environment Minister. One of his statements was: Russia had to accept that there had been a “democratic revolution” in Ukraine, with which the country had decided on a future in the EU. Anyone who has in mind the actual events in the winter of 2013/2014 on the Maidan in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine can only be amazed at the interpretive choice of words: “democratic revolution”.
  Since 12 February 2022, many of our media reported that the US government was assuming a Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday 16 February. Wednesday is in the past, there was no invasion. Russia had stated before that Wednesday that no invasion of Ukraine was planned – and continues to do so. Nonetheless, on 17 February, US Secretary of State Blinken took the floor in the United Nations Security Council and spoke again of an imminent attack on Ukraine, saying that Russia was only looking for a pretext: “fabricated provocations”. This time, 20 February was given as the date. On 17 February the British Ministry of Defence even published a map of the Russian attack.
  What our media did not report, however, was that precisely on 17 February, the Russian Foreign Ministry handed over to the US representation its letter of response to the US government’s and NATO’s letters of response to the Russian draft treaties of December 2021. Unsurprisingly, the core of the letter is that Russia considers the negotiation offers of the US and NATO to be completely insufficient so far with regard to Russia’s fundamental security interests.
  At lunchtime on 16 February, Deutschlandfunk interviewed an “expert” from the government-affiliated German Foundation for Science and Politics (Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Politik) on the German Chancellor’s visit to Moscow. The “expert” was very critical of Russia and emphasised several times that after 1990 it had been agreed in the treaty that each OSCE country was free to choose its military alliance. Russia would ignore this. But she underplayed the fact that these OSCE treaties speak of the indivisibility of security in the OSCE area and that no state may “consolidate its security at the expense of the security of other states” – and that this is exactly what Russia is demanding (cf.Current Concerns No. 3/4 of 16 February 2022).
  In his acceptance speech on 13 February 2022, the re-elected German President Steinmeier attacked Russia and its president: “We are in the midst of a military conflict, a war in Eastern Europe. Russia is responsible for this.” […] “I appeal to President Putin: Lift the noose from the neck of Ukraine!” – This is another way to turn reality upside down.

Political lies create a dangerous dynamic

Political lies can create a dangerous dynamic. It ranges from deliberate deception to the creation of political hysteria to strategic self-fulfilling prophecy – you bring something about by lying. Thus, one must assume that those responsible for the current war hysteria in the NATO states want a further deterioration of relations with Russia; for the hysteria is linked to massive – and mendacious – accusations against Russian policy: Russia is the aggressor – and only the NATO states are doing everything to maintain peace. Do they really believe in the NATO headquarters that they can forget the illegal wars of the NATO states of the last 25 years against Yugoslavia, against Afghanistan, against Iraq, against Libya, against Syria and the victims and destruction – for which so far no one of those responsible has been held accountable?
  In the current confrontation between the USA, NATO and the EU on the one hand and Russia on the other, the USA has been claiming for a few weeks – without evidence – that Russia will launch its invasion of Ukraine with a false-flag operation. Could this not also be a specially twisted political lie? Should, for example, the Ukrainian army – similar to the Georgian army in South Ossetia in 2008 – actually attack the Donbass and Russia thereupon militarily assist its approximately 800,000 citizens in the Donbass, Russia’s justification for this assistance is already being dismissed as “disinformation” as a precaution? Therefore, it must indeed be alarming that Russian reports about the shelling of the Donbass by Ukrainian troops have been increasing since 17 February. Is it all just Russian “disinformation” … or an actual provocation planned by a long US hand?

It is about power and power politics

The multitude of possibilities of political lies should not obscure what it is always about: power and power politics. The unscrupulousness of the power centres and the allegiance of the vassals in the process know no moral boundaries. The 19th and 20th centuries have shown that. And the first two decades of the 21st century do not seem to have brought any change either.

Objection is possible. And necessary!

But objection is possible. And necessary!
  Not because it makes it possible to turn the wheel immediately. That would be an illusion. But raising one’s voice for the truth and against lies corresponds to the social nature of human beings. Living together, on which each of us depends, requires trust. When “good faith” no longer applies, togetherness – in the delusion of power – is disturbed and increasingly disrupted. Not only in international relations, but also among the people in our own country.
  Not only we, but also future generations need role models of honesty and sincerity. The powerful lie creates fear and weakens the human being; only with an honest voice the human being can find a spiritual home. Sick minds submit to the principle of power, healthy souls are aligned with the truth. We Germans, of all people, know that the voices of truth were beacons of light in the darkest period of German history, showing us a way as young post-war Germans.

The truth is stronger than the lie

The truth is stronger than the lie. As the saying goes, “Lies soon catch up with one.” Today we know about so many political lies of the past decades. We owe this to people who unswervingly sought the truth and then also expressed it publicly. “Es began mit einer Lüge” (It began with a lie) was the title of a WDR film from the beginning of 2001, about one and a half years after NATO’s war of aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which violated international law. The lying continued with every further war of the USA and its allies. Courageous people have exposed these lies. Many people are grateful to them for this.

Making public use of one’s reason in all matters

In Immanuel Kant’s prize pamphlet “Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment”, which was first published in 1784 – five years before the French Revolution – there is a statement in the very first part of the text that the public – Kant speaks of the “audience” – can “only slowly acquire enlightenment”. “A revolution may well put an end to autocratic despotism … or power-seeking oppression, but it will never produce a true reform in ways of thinking; instead, new prejudice will replace the old, and become a new leash to control the great unthinking masses.”
  For true enlightenment, says Kant in the following sentence, instead “requires nothing but freedom – and the most innocent of all that may be called ‘freedom’: freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters.”

Recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics

At an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council [on 21 February], the Russian president said the aim of the meeting was to determine further steps on Donbass. The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics had earlier asked Vladimir Putin to acknowledge the independence of their regions
  Putin said Russia had done everything to resolve the contradictions in the region peacefully, but the situation was not changing for the better. Kiev would not want to comply with the Minsk agreements and had emphasised this several times. If Ukraine was accepted into NATO, the alliance would begin to reconquer Crimea and the threats to Russia would increase many times over, the Russian head of state summed up.
  All members [of the National Security Council] spoke in favour of recognising the two republics. Dmitry Kozak, the Russian president’s advisor at the Normandy format negotiations, emphasised that the negotiation process on the Minsk agreements had been at a standstill since 2015. Dmitry Medvedev also said he assumed that Ukraine would not implement the Minsk agreements.
  Other members of the Security Council also argued that a critical situation had developed in the Donbass. After having listened to all opinions, Putin assured that a decision would be made the same day.  •

1 Cf. on this and on “strategic communication”: Trautvetter, Bernhard. “Die (Vor-)Kriegspropaganda und die ‘Strategische Kommunikation’”. (The (Pre-)War Propaganda and the ‘Strategic Communication’”) In: www.nachdenkseiten.de of 15 February 2022

Source: https://de.rt.com/russland/132041-putin-entscheidung-uber-anerkennung-volksrepubliken/ of 21 February 2022

(Translation Current Concerns)

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