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UN envoy admits fabricating claim of Viagra-fueled rape as ‘Russian military strategy’

Published: November 13, 2022 | Print Friendly and PDF

Source: The Grayzone

UN Special Representative Pramila Patten has been exposed for fabricating her claim that Russia was supplying its troops with Viagra as a part of its “military strategy” in the Ukraine conflict. The widely publicized lie was recycled from baseless NATO propaganda deployed during its 2011 Libyan regime change war.

In a November 10 call with Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, better known by their aliases Vovan and Lexus, UN Envoy on Sexual Violence Pramila Patten admitted that there was no evidence to back up her widely publicized claims from October that the Russian government was using Viagra-fueled mass rape as a weapon of war.

During the call, Vovan and Lexus pressed Patten on whether she had any proof of her incendiary allegation. Clearly flustered, Patten responded:  “No, no, no. And I don’t — like I said, it’s not my role to go and investigate. I sit in New York, in an office in New York, and I have an advocacy — and I have an advocacy mandate. My role is not to investigate.”

She continued: “The investigation is going on by the Human Rights Monitoring Team and the International Commission of Inquiry. In their reports so far, there’s nothing about Viagra.”

Patten told the pranksters that the claim was relayed to her “from survivors and service providers” and “in the presence of” high-ranking Ukrainian officials while she was in Kiev in early May. 

The fake news fiasco began on October 14 when Patten accused the Russian Armed Forces of incorporating rape and abuse of ED drugs into its official battlefield strategy.

“All the indications are there,” Patten, a Mauritian-born lawyer, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on October 14. 

“When women are held for days and raped, when you start to rape little boys and men, when you see a series of genital mutilations, when you hear women testify about Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra, it’s clearly a military strategy,” the UN envoy confidently proclaimed.

A September 27 UN Report on the Ukraine conflict has accused Russian troops of carrying out an array hideous human rights abuses, including acts of sexual violence, between the months of February and July 2022. Though that report covered the period of time that Patten was inside Ukraine, it made no mention of Viagra.

Yet, within hours of Patten’s discussion with AFP, media outlets from CNN to Yahoo News had produced their own rewrites of her remarks and generated a series of salacious headlines about Russia’s conduct in the Ukraine war. In an op-ed celebrating a potential “massive” and “life-affirming” orgy being organized in Kiev, the Slovenian celebrity philosopher Slavoj Žižek uncritically cited Patten’s poorly-sourced Viagra claims, writing that “the truly uncivilized sex acts are those being committed by Russian soldiers and their leaders.”

Russia is giving soldiers Viagra to rape Ukrainians: UN official,” read one such dispatch, filed in the New York Post. According to Business Insider, “Russian soldiers are supplied with Viagra to rape Ukrainian women and ‘dehumanize them,” UN official claims.” Meanwhile, CNN declared “Russia using rape as ‘military strategy’ in Ukraine: UN envoy.”

The mainstream press that reprinted Patten’s lurid claims without skepticism failed to read the UN report which contained lengthy sections on the topic of sexual violence in the war. Despite her claim that Russian soldiers were “equipped with Viagra,” the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) made no reference to the drug — nor any other pharmaceutical prescribed to treat ED — in its September report on the Ukraine conflict. In fact, the OHCHR website contains no references to Viagra throughout this entire year.

The report merely states that “OHCHR documented 9 cases of rape” between February 1st and the 31st of July this year; hardly the Rape of Nanjing redux insinuated in CNN’s headline.

In falsely accusing Russian military commanders of juicing their troops on Viagra to carry out mass rape, Patten dusted off the Libya regime change playbook and deployed one of its most discredited – but effective – propaganda set-pieces. 

Recycling discredited NATO propaganda that helped destroy Libya

 Indeed, all six mentions of “Viagra” which appear on the United Nations website date back to June 2011, just months before the assassination of the Libyan president as the pro-regime change information campaign was kicking into high-gear.

Headlines like: “Libyan forces use rape as a weapon of war, says UN expert,” “Evidence emerging of use of rape as tool of war in Libya – ICC prosecutor,” and “The ICC is investigating allegations of using sex drugs for rape” all ran on the United Nations website. Sound familiar?

The Viagra lie first appeared in 2011, when the US, France and the UK led the NATO campaign to remove the government of Muammar Gadhafi through military force, arming jihadist proxies and carrying out airstrikes on Libyan cities in the name of “civilian protection.” The intervention transformed one of the most prosperous African nations into a permanent war zone ruled by despotic gangs and Islamist fanatics that presided over slave auctions and the slaughter of religious minorities.

The Viagra deception was first introduced in March 2011 by the Qatari-owned network al-Jazeera, which interviewed doctors from a hospital in a rebel-held area who claimed “they have found Viagra tablets and condoms in the pockets of dead pro-Gaddafi fighters.” As unlikely as the scenario seemed, the seedy narrative was enough to help cultivate support for another regime change war.

A month after the al-Jazeera report, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice “told a closed-door meeting of officials at the UN that the Libyan military is using rape as a weapon in the war with the rebels and some had been issued the anti-impotency drug,” NBC News reported. Though Rice offered up no evidence, she “raised the Viagra issue” to “persuade doubters [of] the conflict in Libya.”

In the same report, American military and intelligence officials insisted “there was no evidence” that Viagra was being used by Gaddafi’s forces to abet systematic rape. 

However, the absolute lack of concrete evidence did not dissuade ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo from alleging it were true and opening an investigation into the matter on June 9, 2011.

Yet, the following day, UN investigator Cherif Bassiouni was quoted calling mass rape allegations a “massive hysteria,” and arguing that there was no proof to support the claim.

Nonetheless, the UN special representative for the fight against sexual violence in conflict, Margot Wallström, backed Moreno Ocampo, declaring she was “convinced” of the allegations. “The problem is that very few women come forward to file complaints of rape because it carries serious personal risks for them,” the special representative concluded, effectively acknowledging a dearth of evidence.

Wallström was the inaugural holder of the position of UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The position was established by Security Council Resolution 1888, introduced by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – an architect of the regime change war on Libya.

Just a week after the ICC opened its investigation, Clinton pushed the fake news even further, declaring that rape victims were also being forced to take “virginity tests.” 

Just over a decade after the Libyan Viagra allegation appeared to have been put to bed, the current, and third UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict brought it back to life to justify the latest and most intense NATO-backed military campaign against an official enemy.

Patten in June 2022: “Who goes on the battlefield with Viagra?”

Patten’s claim was introduced into Western media thanks to her comment to Agence France-Presse on October 14 claiming, “When you hear women testify about Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra, it’s clearly a military strategy.” But she has actually been pushing the narrative since June 2022.

In an interview at the so-called US Institute for Peace, a Washington DC-based State Department cut-out, Patten was asked to elaborate on the “issue” of “verification.” Remarking that she had just visited Ukrainian-held territory, Patten noted that she had “met with many frontline responders, NGOs.”

Characterizing their testimonies as “anecdotal,” Patten noted, “They all said that the victims do not want to report formally.” Patten then echoed her predecessor at the UN on how security and stigmatization may deter women from reporting rape. While this may be widely acknowledged, the absence of human rights abuse reports is not proof in itself that those abuses are widespread. 

Like Hillary Clinton, who falsely alleged Libya was conducting “virginity tests” on innocent women, Patten quickly pivoted from the subject of verification to the alleged heinous acts of Russian soldiers: “The stigma of — many reports have referred to victims being told while they are being raped that they will never be able to bear children from Ukrainian men. The rapes have been very brutal. There are reports of the Russian soldiers having Viagra. I mean, who goes on the battlefield with Viagra?”


Patten consulted Ukrainian official who admitted fabricating Russian rape rampage to encourage “victory for Ukraine”

Though Patten did not identify the NGOs that provided her with testimony, she referred to a meeting with “the office of the ombudsman for human rights, although she was removed from office last week.” 

That envoy was Lyudmila Denisova, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner who was fired this spring for falsifying stories of horrific sexual abuse by Russian soldiers, admitting she did so “because she wants victory for Ukraine.” Among the most infamous of her claims: a Russian soldier raping a six-month-old girl with a teaspoon. 

The role of Denisova in shaping Patten’s narrative was just one of many red flags fluttering over her claims of a Viagra-fueled rape epidemic.

There have been two instances of media reports mentioning the term “Viagra” in cases of alleged rape in Ukraine, yet both of them raise separate issues with Patten’s narrative. The first is a BBC report from April in which a 50-year-old woman claims she was raped by a Chechen and “saved” by Russian soldiers, which contradicts the notion that rape is being encouraged by the Russian military. The second, from May, was more speculative. In a Sky News interview, a Ukrainian woman claimed she was raped by a man who she somehow knew to be “19-years-old but so aggressive — I don’t know, did he take Viagra or maybe some drugs?” 

Why a 19-year-old male might find himself in need of drugs for erectile dysfunction is anyone’s guess.

During her June speech at the US Institute of Peace, Patten acknowledged that “the level of the reports — the credibility — the sources of the reports also vary. They have also indicated that many reports are also anonymous, coming through hotlines manned by agencies like UNFPA and others.”

Patten did not say what those other agencies fielding testimonies were. It is known, however, that the disgraced former Ukrainian human rights commissioner Denisova had personally established a 24-hour hotline that produced a steady stream of stories that journalists found to be impossible to corroborate.

Further, Patten not only acknowledged a working relationship with Denisova, her fellow fabulist, she noted that she had signed a framework of cooperation with the government of Ukraine to enable a “coordination of efforts.” As part of the partnership, Patten was fed phony testimonies of a Viagra fueled Russian rampage in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine – a fact she admitted only under pressure from the pranksters Vovan and Lexus. 

Patten’s work with the Ukrainian government tracks closely with a career using human rights as a tool for advancing Western geopolitical objectives. Her UN bio states that she spent 1993 to 2002 working at the International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW), a now-defunct organization born out of the University of Minnesota. Its sister organization, IWRAW Asia Pacific, a self-proclaimed “global south feminist” NGO funded by US intelligence “overt operative” and billionaire hedge funder George Soros, has carried on the torch. Today, the NGO enjoys “Special Consultative status” with the United Nations. 

Both IWRAW Asia Pacific and the original IWRAW worked to promote CEDAW, or the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” a treaty body under the umbrella of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Unsurprisingly, after leaving IWRAW, Patten spent more than a decade as a CEDAW member.

An additional conflict of interest arises if the funding of the OHCHR is considered; of its top ten funders this year, excluding the UN itself, all are countries that have sent weapons to Ukraine with the exception of Switzerland. In other words, most of its major funders are belligerents in the proxy war.

Today, Patten occupies a UN position created by Hillary Clinton, where she recycles baseless regime change narratives from over a decade ago to fuel the latest interventionist charade in Washington.

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