Disinfo: Bellingcat is a Factory of Fakes used for an information war against Russia

Summary

The authors of the fakes [Bellingcat] on the downing of a Boeing in Donbas, the chemical attack in the Syrian Ghouta, the poisoning of the Skripals and Navalny, never bothered to come close to the truth. It is impossible to talk seriously about these fabrications, as they compromise the field of journalistic investigation.

Anti-Russian investigations are published on Bellingcat, which was registered in Higgins’ name. However, none of the investigations are supported by evidence. Nevertheless, each of them becomes an excuse for an information attack on Russia and further sanctions. Instruments like Bellingcat are a great weapon for hybrid war.

Disproof

This is part of a recurrent Russian effort to discredit the highly respected 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 and recently the case of Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny that contradict and expose Russian disinformation narratives.

Bellingcat, an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists, was created in 2014 with the help of private donations received through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. In March 2019, it received a 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. Much of the grant money does not directly fund investigations and is used for support services such as the translation of documents and training.

Furthermore, Bellingcat has no clients to please. Bellingcat’s funding model frees it to pursue ethics-driven investigations, like documenting the targeting of journalists by police during the Black Lives Matter protests. It also sometimes partners with law enforcement, for example, it helps Europol fight child abuse and is developing best practices to facilitate use of their investigations in court.

You can find other examples of false accusations against Bellingcat in our database, such as it being anti-Russian, or a tool to destroy Nord Stream 2, and even instrumentalisation by governments to contradict proof of Russia's innocence or its alleged fabrication of evidence against Moscow.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 235
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Georgian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Information war, Hybrid war, Skripal, Alexei Navalny, MH17
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The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service has become a Russophobic propaganda machine

The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service has become a Russophobic propaganda machine. Its latest 2021 security report is propaganda and psychological warfare aimed at portraying Russia and its foreign policy in a negative light.

Disproof

The geopolitica.ru article repeats pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict Western accusations of aggressive Russian behavior as baseless and driven solely by "Russophobia". This narrative is often targeting the Baltic States and Poland. See a recent EUvsDisinfo insight.

The claim that Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) is a “Russophobic propaganda machine” is incorrect. The main function of EFIS (Välisluureamet) is to collect, analyse and report on Estonia's external security threats.

NATO would collapse if it abandoned the concept of the "Russian threat"

NATO would begin to collapse if it abandoned the concept of the "Russian threat".

The alliance does not address any of the real challenges facing the Western world, such as terrorism or the Coronavirus pandemic, but rather, it completely fights invented and hypothetical threats.

"Russian threat" has become the only pretext and basis for the existence of NATO and the preservation of the US strategic control over Europe. Without this phantom threat, the alliance will begin to crumble.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Western Russophobia and alleged belligerent NATO, portraying the Alliance as a threat to peace and Russia, and is consistent with recurring portrayal on NATO member states' subordination to the US.

NATO is in no way directed against Russia or any other state. NATO’s objectives are set out in the 1949 Washington Treaty which forms the legal basis of the alliance. The treaty states that parties “are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”.

External aggression against Belarus is just beginning

If earlier the main burden of organising a coup d'etat in Belarus was borne by the small Eastern European subordinates like Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, then the change of power in the US brought heavy artillery into the process. On November 5, 2020, the OSCE published the "Report of the OSCE Rapporteur in the framework of the Moscow Mechanism in connection with reports of human rights violations in the context of the presidential elections in Belarus", whose recommendations are unprecedented interference in the internal affairs of Belarus and, in fact, a demand to abolish the Constitution and laws of the country, renounce sovereignty and put the state under external control. Thus, the OSCE explicitly demands "to cancel the results of the presidential elections on August 9, 2020 and to organise a new genuine presidential election on the basis of international standards under the supervision of the OSCE / ODIHR."

It is quite obvious that external aggression against Belarus is just beginning and is gaining momentum. The stake was made on a coup and seizure of power by a handful of grant-eaters who are obedient puppets of the West.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing popular protests as Western-backed 'colour revolutions', part of a campaign to portray massive mobilisations in Belarus as a destabilisation effort orchestrated from abroad.

There is no evidence that Poland, Lithuania or any other Western governments are involved in the protests in Belarus. There was no coup in Belarus. Protests erupted to contest the results of the presidential election in Belarus on the 9th of August 2020, which were not monitored by independent experts and are largely considered fraudulent by both international observers and a big part of Belarusian society. Mobilisations were organised and carried out by local actors, opposition politicians, and Belarusian citizens, without any foreign involvement. On 19 August 2020, the European Council called the Belarusian elections neither free nor fair.