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Tell 60 Minutes to Stop Promoting Killing in Ukraine

On Sunday, Sept. 17th, 60 Minutes ran a Pentagon commercial disguised as a news report.

In the segment titled, “How US tax dollars are being spent, tracked in Ukraine,” a CBS “reporter” embedded herself in the Ukrainian military to sell the US public on the necessity of sending more weapons to Ukraine.

Demand CBS’s 60 Minutes produces another segment on the urgency of reaching a diplomatic solution to stop the killing in Ukraine and avoid a wider war between nuclear powers. Read more and take action below!

CBS’s Motivation?

In August of last year, CBS partially retracted its claim that most US weapons never reach the frontlines in Ukraine. After infuriating the Ukrainian government for airing a documentary revealing only 30% of US weapons end up on the battlefield, CBS tweeted it was removing a video promoting the documentary and adding new information to counter its previous claims.

Apparently, CBS still feels the need to atone to the Pentagon and its surrogate army in Europe.

And what better time than now, when US support for the war in Ukraine is lagging.

A recent CNN poll indicates a majority of the US public surveyed oppose continued funding of the war in Ukraine.

Enter 60 Minutes to the rescue. This is, after all, not just a war of tanks and missiles–with over a hundred thousand dead or wounded–but a war of words, of propaganda, of manufactured consent for endless carnage to maintain a unipolar world with the US on top.

The whole segment screams desperation to marshall US public opinion behind an increasingly unpopular war at a time when 34-million in this country are food insecure, 23 million are steeped in medical debt, over 500,000 are homeless and most live paycheck to paycheck.

60 Minutes episode-Promo for the War Machine

In the recent 60 Minutes segment, CBS’s Holly Williams misinforms her audience out the gate, saying the US has budgeted $70 billion for the war in Ukraine, when the figure is closer to $110 billion.

A starry-eyed Wiliams takes the viewer to the forests of Ukraine where she marvels, “Wow, look at that!” when staring at a US sent Bradley tank. She asks a soldier what impact US weapons are having on the Russian military,’ only to answer her own question, pronouncing, “They’re afraid of American weapons.”

Next she provides a platform for a former US army general, now a NATO advisor, who declares, “Russia is an existential threat to Europe and the United States.” Again, Williams feeds her subject a line, “Sounds like you’re saying America stopping Valadamir Putin directly benefits every American.” A beat later, in a cringe-worthy moment, Williams asks, “Is this a high point for American foreign policy?” The NATO advisor nods in affirmation.

A high point for US foreign policy? A war that sends tens of thousands of Ukrainans and Russians to the graveyard? A war that contaminates the land, air and water, exponentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions with every missile launched? A war that threatens to worsen global hunger as people starve in the Middle East and Africa? A war that risks a nuclear plant meltdown, a war that risks global annihilation between the two most nuclear armed nations on Earth?

Williams never challenges the advisor’s claim that the war in Ukraine is existential for people here–never mentions that the US military budget is greater than the next 10 countries combined or that that US has 750 overseas bases in contrast to Russia’s 21 overseas bases–or that the US promised Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 that NATO would not move one inch eastward.

Williams never interviews any one of a dozen former US diplomats and military advisors–among them William Perry, former Secretary of Defense; William Burns, Biden’s CIA director; and Fiona Hill, advisor to President George Bush–who warned that NATO expansion to Russia’s border could incite a war with Russia. 

Williams conveniently fails to mention that Russia tried to negotiate NATO neutrality before its invasion of Ukraine, but the Biden administration refused to negotiate. Nor does she reference the strategic agreements the US signed with Ukraine months before the invasion, encouraging Ukraine to pursue NATO membership. 

There is no justification for the brutal Russian invasion–bombings, grain blockades, torture, sexual assault, death, destruction, deforestation. There is also, however, no escape from this nightmare unless we better understand the provocations that preceded the invasion.

Instead of offering insights, the 60 Minutes segment showcases Republican Senator Lindsay Graham on the street in Kyiv with Senators Warren (D-MA) and Blumenthal (D-CT), a bipartisan cheerleading team for the US proxy war with Russia. A gleeful Graham assures US taxpayers they’re getting a great deal for their money because Ukrainians, not Americans, are the ones fighting and dying to weaken Russia.

The segment frames the war in Ukraine as an epic battle to save democracy–even as we witness the shutdown of opposition press and political parties in Ukraine, as well as the persecution of conscientious objectors, such as Yuri Sheliazhenko, a Ukrainian pacifist whose home was raided before the government charged him–an opponent of the invasion and all wars–of justifying Russian aggression.

Later in the 60 Minutes segment, Williams flashes back to former US Senator John McCain’s 

2014 appearance in Kyiv’s Maidan Square, the site of a US-backed coup that overthrew the democratically elected president under a hail of bullets. We see a triumphant McCain tell the protesters, “People of Ukraine, this is your moment.”

In reality, this was the moment that triggered a civil war in eastern Ukraine where ethnic Russians were forbidden to speak their language in the public sector workforce, and those who had retired were denied their pensions, where an estimated 14,000 died in the years following McCain’s speech.

Near the end of the episode, Williams provides a platform for an attractive blond haired Ukrainian woman, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, who embeds us, the viewers, in the Ukrainian military by inviting us inside a top secret warehouse of US-supplied Javelin anti-tank missiles. It is here in this dark cave of wall to wall weapons that the woman looking straight at the camera, directly into our eyes, assures us Ukraine is serious about tackling corruption, tracking every US weapon it receives.

Even if such tracking were possible amidst the chaos, the point is there is no military solution to the war in Ukraine, where every Ukrainian victory is met with retaliation from the Russian army, where the much heralded Ukrainian counter-offensive is at a stalemate, where Russia views Ukraine’s membership in NATO–a nuclear armed alliance– as an existential threat it will not tolerate.

Tell 60 Minutes to live up to their branding as hard-hitting investigative reporters and probe the absence of US diplomatic efforts to end a war that threatens a decades-long war or worse – global annihilation. 

Tell 60 Minutes we need the press to ask the tough questions, “How did we get here? Who benefits? How does this war end? Why hasn’t President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken met with their counterparts in Ukraine and Russia to resolve this war? Why hasn’t the White House embraced diplomacy and a ceasefire? What might a diplomatic solution look like?”

These are the questions we need 60 Minutes to raise in its next segment on the Russia-US-NATO war. 

We await that moment of truth and journalistic integrity.

Demand 60 Minutes produce another segment on the urgency of reaching a diplomatic solution to stop the killing in Ukraine and avoid a wider war between nuclear powers. Write a letter now!