New US allegations over Bucha incident? There’s nothing new under the sun
Published: Apr 27, 2022 08:29 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

There has been much talk and debate about the Bucha incident amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Some US and Western politicians came to a conclusion with full confidence: "It is a massacre." Then sanctions escalated, diplomats expelled, and Russia was quickly suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council. US President Joe Biden even called for a war crimes trial on Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The golden rule of "innocent until proven guilty" is completely put aside. Russia, the defendant, requested a UN Security Council meeting for further discussion, only to be flatly rejected by the UK, which was holding the rotating presidency. But to convict Russia without a full investigation, too many mysteries remain to be solved. It might be true, as some photos and video clips suggest. It could be fake, since some Western media are apt at fabrication. When the truth is still unclear, history may help shed some light.

In 1999, a statement issued by the Serbian Interior Ministry reported that several dozen Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) terrorists, mostly Albanian radicals, were killed in the clashes with Serbian police in the Račak Village of the Kosovo-Metohija Province in the Republic of Serbia of Yugoslavia. Western media soon hyped it as "a bloody massacre of at least 40 innocent ethnic Albanians." Dr Sasa Dobricanin, a Yugoslav pathologist in charge of the autopsy, pointed out that "not a single body bears any sign of execution" and suspected "the bodies may have been mutilated posthumously to make it look as if they had been executed." There was also evidence showing that the damages to the clothing didn't match the wounds to the body, suggesting they were actually dead KLA fighters dressed up as civilians. Yet, in the absence of any conclusive evidence about the incident, US-led NATO conducted a 78-day bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the UN's approval. In the disguise of humanitarian intervention, NATO's shelling killed at least 528 civilians and displaced over 164,000 Serbs and 24,000 Roma, making Serbia home to the largest number of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Europe.

On February 5, 2003, then US Secretary of State Colin Powell took out a test tube of "laundry detergent" at the UN Security Council, calling it the evidence of Iraq's possession of chemical weapons of mass destruction. Again, with no UN authorization, the US went ahead with military strikes against Iraq anyway. Even till this day, the US has not presented any credible evidence to justify its aggression. The "unprovoked and unjustified" war in Iraq killed 200,000 to 250,000 civilians, including over 16,000 lives murdered directly by US troops, and displaced more than one million people. It also seriously violated international humanitarian principles, as evidenced by frequent incidents of prisoner abuse by American soldiers.

In 2018, the US launched airstrikes on Syria purportedly to stop the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. But the evidence cited turned out to be nothing but a fake video footage directed and produced by the White Helmets, a so-called humanitarian NGO funded by intelligence agencies of the US and other countries. According to Vanessa Beeley, a British independent journalist who had been conducting investigation for years, as a multi-million-dollar organization funded by governments involved in the Syrian conflict, the White Helmets were feeding images of "humanitarian disaster" and "war crimes" back to its donors, politicians and media outlets lobbying for US military intervention. According to records available, 33,584 civilians were killed in Syria between 2016 and 2019. Among the victims, 3,833 were directly killed in the bombings by the US-led coalition.

Half of them were women and children. PBS reported that "the most accurate air strike in history" launched by US forces on Raqqa alone killed 1,600 Syrian civilians.

With this 'glorious' track record, the US and its NATO allies are again playing the old trick of condemning and punishing a country for an unverified incident. It only reminds us how the US deceives the world under the pretext of humanity and justice. After all, there is nothing new under the sun.

The author is a commentator on international affairs, writing regularly for Global Times, China Daily etc. He can be reached at xinping604@gmail.com.