The conflict in Ukraine is horrific. Innocent people, including children, are being slain for political purposes. This short article is not about who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It is about our need to be careful with what information we are being given.
In every debate, every contest, every election and sadly every conflict and war, each of the parties involved use hyperbole and propaganda to support their case and endeavours. We need to be aware of this or we run the very real risk of being manipulated and/or deceived.
I use as an example the capture yesterday of the Ukraine power station at Zaporizhzhia by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
What we have been told
- The Russian forces are now in control of the site.
- A building on the site, a training block, was hit by Russian armaments and was on fire.
- The fire was extinguished by the Ukrainian emergency services.
- The plant operators remained at their posts and no operations were compromised.
- The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the attack could have caused destruction equal to six Chernobyls and could have been a disaster for the whole of Europe.
- The US ambassador to the UN security council, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, stated, “By the grace of God , the world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe.”
- Radiation levels are normal, there was no release of radioactive material, and the plant is operating normally.
Relevant factual information
- There is widespread conflation of electrical power generation by the use of nuclear fission processes, and nuclear weapons. The distinction between nuclear fission and fusion is even less well understood by the general population.
- There is no way an attack on a nuclear power site can lead to a thermonuclear detonation (i.e. a nuclear bomb), even if the core was hit and destroyed by (conventional) explosives. It would indeed be very messy, and a wide geographical area would be contaminated with radioactive isotopes, but the threat of a thermonuclear detonation is pure hyperbole, and nonsense.
- The Russian armed forces are not stupid;
- The Russian government does not have a ‘scorched earth policy’ and radioisotope contamination of Ukraine or elsewhere is not in their interest;
- The Ukrainian president is, quite understandably, using this incident to try to get NATO and others to help directly with the conflict.
Why did I write this?
In times of war reliable sources of unbiased information are scarce. Each of us need to use our critical thinking skills to evaluate what we understand to be the case.
We saw in the Brexit referendum and other elections, how the media, politicians, and vested interests have spun, deceived, manipulated and lied. Many people were taken in and many continue to do so.
Trust is earned. Think about what those who have not gained your trust are saying. And why.
Ironically, I suppose I am asking you to trust me on this!