Disinfo: British analyst explains in Foreign Policy why Washington needs a “Russian intervention”

Summary

While US Democrats talk of a Russian interference in the elections, Republicans talk about Chinese interference. Those statements have a very specific purpose and it has nothing to do with foreign policy, said Elisabeth Braw, analyst of the Royal Joint Institute for Defense Research. Accusations against Russia started after the 2016 election, when Democrats, having lost it, tried to accuse Donald Trump of collusion with Russia and Russia itself of meddling in the election. The investigation led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found nothing. Now, these accusations were renewed. According to an article written by Braw in Foreign Policy magazine, this bipartisan logic is clear: if Biden loses, Democrats can talk again about Moscow intervening and support of Donald Trump. If Biden wins, Trump may say that Beijing was behind its defeat. “But it doesn’t matter at all if US rivals are actually hacking the electoral infrastructure of the country this year. What matters is that people believes that interference campaigns work”, Braw says.

Disproof

This is a deliberate manipulation of the original article of Elisabeth Braw in Foreign Policy to promote the long-discredited pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Russia never interfered in the US election in 2016 and that the Mueller investigation found no evidence of it. Braw’s article doesn’t say that accusations of foreign interference are a narrative promoted by both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the affirmation that Russia and China are interfering respectively against the candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties is an estimation of the US intelligence community, and Braw quotes a statement in this regard by US National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina. The claim that Braw concluded that both parties are falsely talking about these alleged interference for political reasons is a lie.

Braw’s main argument is that Russia and China are indeed trying to interfere in the US election and that their main success may be not as much to sway the ballots as to convince voters that they did. The direct quote has also been altered: “It doesn’t matter whether China, Russia, or any other country in fact manages to sway the ballot. What matters is whether voters believe they did”, says the original. She also argues that if any country interferes in the electoral process, there should be a retaliatory reaction to serve as future deterrent, something vastly different from the claims in the manipulated article. 

Pro-Kremlin media frequently resort to this manipulative technique of quoting sentences from serious publications and then introducing a distorted message as if it was part of the original article, in this case to promote a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia being falsely accused of interfering in elections abroad. See other examples in our database, such as false claims that British outlet The Guardian pointed to ruling elite as the real instigators of the racial crisis in the US and reported that the EU remained silent as the Europeans couldn’t buy food for the first time in 75 years; that Newsweek magazine explained how the US coup in Iran will end; that Soros’ structures in the media and think tanks saw an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic to attack the “bad guys”; that the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre put Wikileaks at the same threat level as jihadist organisations in its last report; or that the US special envoy for Syria admitted that Washington’s goal was to defend terrorists from Russian attacks.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: China, Russia, US
  • Keywords: US Presidential Election 2020, election meddling, Democratic Party (US)

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

see more

The authors of the UN Human Rights report on Venezuela lack moral authority

The recent report of the UN Independent International Mission on Venezuela, which denounces alleged crimes against humanity by the Venezuelan government, is a smear act among whose authors there are personalities lacking any moral authority. The report is full of falsities, without any methodological rigour, made by a ghost mission against Venezuela controlled by governments subdued by Washington, and it is important to take into consideration who wrote it.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation on Venezuela, portraying president Nicolás Maduro as its legitimate leader despite that recent elections were neither free, fair, nor credible and lack democratic legitimacy, and framing any criticism of the abuses of his government as a destabilising manoeuvre aimed at regime change.

The report was elaborated by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, and its authors are well-respected international figures with a long trajectory in investigating human rights violations and defending them from a legal point of view. Contrary to the claim, the report follows highly professional standards, sticking to a small number of cases that can be proven and reviewing an additional 2,891 cases to corroborate patterns of violations and crimes, including the “systematic practice of torture and cruel treatment of people detained in protests carried out, not by rogue elements, but as part of a clear policy.”

UN human rights report on Venezuela aims to delegitimise the upcoming legislative elections

The recent human rights report on Venezuela aims to delegitimise the upcoming elections. The purpose of the report, elaborated by an independent commission on human rights, is to justify the international plot to deny the legitimacy of the legislative election scheduled for December, and to become a tool for the criminalisation of the Venezuelan authorities and put the basis for several countries not to recognise the election results. Its promoters want to extend the artificial political crisis of the country for another five years, as well as the supposed interim government of the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, backed by the US and its international allies, an essential component for the continuity of the economic blockade.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation on Venezuela, portraying President Nicolás Maduro as its legitimate leader despite that recent elections which were neither free, fair, or credible and lack democratic legitimacy, and framing any criticism of the abuses of his government as a destabilising manoeuvre aimed at regime change.

Contrary to the claim, the report doesn’t intend to de-legitimise the December elections in Venezuela nor to criminalise the Venezuelan authorities, but to clarify facts on alleged human rights abuses in the country. The exposure of those abuses and the conclusions of the report - that Venezuelan security forces committed crimes against humanity, almost certainly following orders of president Nicolás Maduro and other top officials- is what leads to the de-legitimisation of the Venezuelan government and its international condemnation, not the other way round.

USSR and Russia never conducted research into the toxic substance Novichok

We (Russia) have repeatedly stated that, unlike Western countries, neither the Soviet Union nor Russia, have ever performed research or experimental projects under the code “Novichok”.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. The test proving Navalny's poisoning was conducted in a special German military lab. It was something far more dangerous, requiring the attention of the Army’s chemical weapons specialists.

The claim that research and experimental projects under the code "Novichok" have never been implemented in Russia or USSR is not true. The name Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. They were known as fourth-generation chemical weapons and were developed under a Soviet programme codenamed Foliant.