Reliable sources for war reporting

Why is Western media consistently wrong about war coverage? How does VoicefromRussia inform itself and why are we usually right?

Peter Hanseler

Source: Kurier


After more than a year of military conflict in Ukraine, it must be extremely irritating for attentive readers of the Western press that the reports and forecasts there regularly turn out to be wrong. 

According to the Western media, Russia should have lost long ago.

Can we do better? – I think so.

To get a realistic picture, one should distinguish between facts and prognoses. 

Facts concern the actual situation, i.e. where is the current course of the front, what has happened in the past days. 

Forecasts concern the future development and these should be taken with extreme precaution and one should ask himself whether the person who makes these forecasts is competent and which interests he represents. 

Furthermore, one should always keep in mind the famous quote attributed equally to Winston Churchill, Karl Valentin, Mark Twain and Niels Bohr.

“It’s Difficult to Make Predictions, Especially About the Future.”

Winston Churchill, Karl Valentin, Mark Twain und Niels Bohr

This article shows which sources the Western media use and why they can contribute little enlightening to objective reporting. 

Then we take a look back at World War 2 and show that things were no better then. 

Finally, I describe how we work.

Sources used in the West

Ukrainian government

If you read the Western press carefully, you will notice that the Western media very often base their reports on Ukrainian government sources. 

In my opinion, this is a fatal strategy for the following reasons, which do not lead to good results. 

Ukraine is completely dependent on the U.S., NATO and the EU financially and militarily. Without their help, Ukraine could not continue this conflict for a week. 

The funds provided to the Ukrainian government by the West are gigantic. By mid-January 2023, the U.S. alone sent nearly USD 80 billion to Ukraine, of which nearly USD 47 billion was military aid. 

In addition, there is aid money from the EU and other countries, with the US contributing the lion’s share. 

By comparison, the Russian military budget is about USD 66 billion

For this gigantic financial and military aid, the West wants to see military successes. The Ukrainian government provides them with that – at least on paper. 

I have talked to journalists who were stationed in Kiev. These people have a good life. They hang out in 5-star hotels and are fed information once or twice a day by the Ukrainian government, which they then rephrase so that no one notices that they are all relying on the same few pages of information. 

This has nothing to do with journalism or professional ethics, respect and responsibility for the reader, listener or viewer, and those colleagues who work like this should be ashamed of themselves or better yet change their profession.

By the way, the independent media in Ukraine were closed shortly after the beginning of the war and many journalists ended up in prisons or disappeared without a trace. It is important to know that the main opposition or even critical media were banned long before the current military clashes, as can be read here.

Thus, any journalist with a touch of professional pride should not adopt these sources.

British and American intelligence

Furthermore, reports from the British or American intelligence services are taken over by the Western media as facts without being checked. 

These institutions were created to enforce state interests. 

Information that a secret service collects – nomen est omen – is secret. If these institutions disseminate information – by whatever means – it should be taken with all due caution. 

Not everything these services collect and publish is secret. A large part of the information they collect comes from sources that are more or less publicly available. Only the rest is actually secret.  The real assets are the analyses, i.e. the weighting, evaluation and combination of individual pieces of information.  

These treasures are certainly not shared with the public. 

The task of a secret service is precisely to disinform. That is a very important stylistic device of these troops, which are increasingly taking on a life of their own. The target group is on the one hand the declared, but to an increasing extent also the own population, the public at large. 

If one turns the information published by secret services around 180 degrees, one is right to 90%; so again and again explained by former secret service men from east and west. 

So when intelligence services publish information, it is absolutely necessary to embed the context in the overall situation and, based on that, to evaluate what is said very, very critically. 

We already reported in December in our “Outlook 2023” on a false report by the American intelligence service on November 15, 2022. This disastrous reporting was picked up by the AP news agency and almost triggered World War III. Nothing seems to be learned from it.

“Would you believe liars who – after the truth has come out – want to forbid their own media to talk about it?” 

That the view of not trusting intelligence information is correct is now shown in all clarity after documents of the American intelligence service about the military situation in Ukraine were leaked on the Internet. 

According to these documents, the authenticity of which is not even doubted by the American government, the Ukrainians are very weak and the Russians are strong. Thus, it is proved that the American government lied to its people for over a year. 

Now, one might assume that the government would somehow talk its way out of it to explain the lies. Far from it, John Kirby, White House National Security Spokesman, had this to say about it:

“Even without confirming the validity of the documents, this is information that has no place in the public domain. They have no place – if I may say so – on the front pages of newspapers or on television. They are not for public consumption and should not be published.”

He is thus threatening the “free” American press. You have to let that roll off your tongue very slowly. 

“Would you believe liars who – after the truth has come out – want to forbid their own media to talk about it?”

We reported on this last week, “Pentagon Data Leak – Fiction Dies, Truth Lives.”

Add to that the fact that the British and American intelligence agencies are effectively warring factions, representing their own geopolitical interests and certainly not interested in providing the public with the truth. 

Would you believe liars who – after the truth has come out – want to forbid their own media to talk about it?

Russian government

I live in Russia and – believe it or not – the information released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows an honest picture of the situation.  

Nevertheless, as an independent journalist, it would not occur to me, as a matter of principle, to base my work on this information. Russia is also a party to the war and therefore this information must be treated with the utmost caution and must stand up to scrutiny.

“Was it better before? – Not at all.”

Looking back – How was the population of Germany informed during World War 2.

Over Easter I read one of the best books I have read in a long time: The Biography of Adolf Hitler, written by Dr. Volker Ullrich.

This is, in my opinion, the best biography of Adolf Hitler I have ever read, as every statement the author makes is based on sources. 

One of his main sources are the diaries of Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda under Hitler, one of his closest confidants. 

Volume II of the biography, which deals with Hitler’s decline between 1939 and 1945, clearly shows that the Germans had already lost World War II in December 1941, when the Germans failed to take Moscow. 

Incidentally, these are not new facts; already in 1945/1946, on the occasion of the Nuremberg trial, this was confirmed, for example, by Wilhelm Keitel, head of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht. 

After the defeat before Moscow, however, it took more than 3 years until Germany capitulated in May 1945. 

During this long time the German population was being soaped with propaganda lies – I can’t think of another word for it – that many Germans only realized in 1945 that the war was lost. 

Reading this book, one realizes that the propaganda minister’s task was not to publish facts, but to tell stories, which only served to keep the German people in line, dying on the fronts, being bombed and working in the armaments industry. 

An extreme example of this is, for example, Hitler’s speech of November 8, 1942 in the Munich Löwenbraukeller regarding the imminent “victory” in Stalingrad. 

At that time, the 6th Army had already been lost at Stalingrad. Hitler, however, announced a victory within days. By February 1943, the 6th Army was worn down – 300,000 German soldiers – half perished and the other went into captivity. 

By the way, the following YouTube video is not only extremely interesting concerning the content, but it is one of the few audio documents where Adolf Hitler does not shout, but speaks in a normal tone.

Stalingrad speech, Adolf Hitler, Löwenbäukeller Munich, November 8, 1942 – Source: YouTube

In my opinion, the West is as badly informed today as the German people were 80 years ago. The reasons are the same. 

How do we get information?

I spend at least two hours a day to get a picture of the military situation in Ukraine. This is extremely time-consuming, but not an intellectual feat. 

What sources do I not use?

Official state sources of the warring parties are, as already said, ill-suited for finding the truth, since the aim is not to be honest but – see Goebbels – to keep the population in line. 

Trust in sources

Before you can trust a source, you should consult it over a longer period of time and then judge whether the statements made by this source over a longer period of time agree with the facts. This can only be decided by reading many sources in parallel and getting a picture. 

Kartenbasierte Quellen

I follow several YouTube channels that show the front course with maps, these channels publish one to three posts per day. There are many of them and you always have to consult new channels and compare them. 

The credibility of a channel results from the fact that the author in question does not have to change his statements regarding the front course afterwards. 

His predictions about what might happen next are often correct, but that is not essential, since these sources are for me merely fact-finding.

Of the English-language YouTube channels, which I currently consider fairly reliable, two should be mentioned here: Military Summary and Weeb Union.

In addition, I consult a large number of changing channels and assess their reliability on an ongoing basis. You never know exactly who is behind these channels.

Strategy and forecasts: geopolitical and military competence

If one notices very quickly with map-based information, which explains the course of the front, whether the author concerned publishes facts or propaganda, then the military and geopolitical evaluation of the facts is incomparably more difficult. 

Military competence, which I do not have myself, can really only be acquired in war. 

Ironically, the sources I have been following for over a year are American. 

Colonel Macgregor, for example, is a retired colonel from the USA. He is now a political scientist and military theorist. He led tank units in the last major tank battle in history, the Battle of 73 Easting, in 1991. It was also the first of its kind after World War II.

He is thus war-tested and he is independent. 

It is worth following his assessments on Youtube

Scott Ritter is also an American veteran who was in Iraq in 1991. He too is independent and understands the craft of war. His deep knowledge of political structures – both UN and U.S. – benefits the analysis of today’s situation.

Analysts who have deep knowledge of the Russian military, including from their own experience, are rare in the West. But they do exist. Two Swiss in particular should be mentioned here – Ralph Bosshard and Jacques Baud. Both have experience from activities in Ukraine, Ralph Bosshard graduated from the Academy of the Russian General Staff. It is astonishing that specialists with this background hardly ever get a chance to speak in the Western mainstream. One can regularly find their analyses, which are reserved in tone but factually well-founded, in various alternative media.


We have seen that sources from warring parties should be consulted with extreme caution and that intelligence services regularly lie and are therefore not reliable sources. 

Getting a reliable picture is extremely time-consuming, as one has to consult a multitude of sources to create one’s own picture. 

There is never absolute certainty in war reporting.

Reliable sources for war reporting

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