State Department Secrecy: Sinister, or Pointless? A Brief Parlor Game
On March 17, claims began circulating that a US citizen had been killed in Ukraine. This information was first sourced to “Ukraine police” by way of a Ukrainian government media outlet — the US State Department then subsequently “acknowledged the death but did not release further details,” as the Washington Post explained.
Media reports soon emerged purporting to identify the decedent — a man named James Hill. US outlets not typically known for their exacting journalistic standards, such as the local CBS TV affiliate in Pittsburgh, quickly declared that Hill had been “killed in a Russian attack.” How did the local CBS TV affiliate in Pittsburgh know the circumstances of this death? Did the station have brave correspondents on the ground that day in Chernihiv, Ukraine?
Nope: the discerning reader will note that this cause-of-death claim in the CBS report derives from an “advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister” — one of countless examples whereby US media outlets simply repeat what Ukraine government officials have told them, and then cast that as objectively verified news. Even though those same Ukraine government officials have been engaged in a furious “information warfare” campaign — otherwise known as propaganda — since the invasion started last month, coupled with their equally furious lobbying campaign demand further US military intervention, including the “Close the Sky” refrain. Theoretically, what would be one clever tactic to cajole the US into launching their desired military action? Generating reports of US civilian casualties in Ukraine might just do the trick.
Please note: I’m not asserting that this death was fabricated, or part of some consciously coordinated PR effort to trigger a No Fly Zone, or otherwise connected to any conspiracy. I will simply report that on March 26, I asked the State Department the following question: “Did the State Department ever confirm the identity of the American citizen killed in Ukraine on March 17?”
And I received the following answer: