Disinfo: Bellingcat: An American propaganda machine

Summary

Bellingcat is a propaganda machine for the American military-industrial complex, funded by the [American] government.

Disproof

This is part of a recurrent Russian narrative to discredit the investigative site Bellingcat, which uncovered many elements in cases such as the downing of the MH17 flight or the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal that contradict and expose Russian disinformation narratives.

Bellingcat platform was created in 2014 with the help of private donations received through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. In March 2019 it received 500 thousand EUR donation from the Dutch postcode lottery. Half of the funding for Bellingcat comes from grants and donations and the other half from running workshops training people in the art of open-source investigations.

The platform clearly mentions that "around 35% of Bellingcat’s budget is currently raised from workshops" and much of the grant money does not directly fund investigations and is used for support services such as document translations and training.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 179
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/12/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian
see more

The Wagner Group is not supported by Russia

The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied their support for any groups operating outside Russia, including the “Wagner” group.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative about the Wagner group and Russian presence in Libya.

The group is a private army linked to the Kremlin and has been fighting on the front lines of the Libyan war for nearly three months.

WADA is punishing all of Russia for some sportsmen's violations

The World Anti-Doping Agency has to date never implemented measures and penalties similar to the ones it has taken towards Russia. This is double standards, as the whole of Russia is punished for violations of some anti-doping rules by some individual sportsmen. Athletes from other countries are punished on an individual basis.

Disproof

This is a mix of a conspiracy theory aiming to misrepresent the actual reasons behind WADA's investigation and decision to ban Russia for four years from major international sporting events, plus a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the West's deliberate anti-Russian activities.

In the course of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA) investigation into the alleged state-sponsored doping operation, Russia has received the same treatment as any other country probed for doping violations. See here and here for comprehensive debunking by Polygraph.info.

Nazi took over Ukraine with a coup

The Nazis (in Ukraine) performed a coup against the legitimate authority, and have since begun their campaigns targeting Russian citizens, Russian speakers, and the Eastern Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Russia has never participated in the Ukrainian crisis, nor have there ever been Russian soldiers there.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting Ukraine as a Nazi country, which absolutely groundlessly equals present-time Ukraine with Nazi Germany.

The myth of Nazi-ruled Ukraine has been the cornerstone of Russian disinformation about the country since the beginning of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, when it was used to discredit the pro-European popular uprising in Kyiv and, subsequently, the broader pro-Western shift in Ukraine's foreign policy.