Disinfo: British cyber forces are attacking Russia with anti-Russian fuss

Summary

A special unit in the British cyber forces is called JTRIG, and it is this unit’s ‘specialists’ who quite often carry out propagandistic cyber operations, which have recently most often been directed against Russia. Among these are the anti-Russian fuss around Skripal poisoning, groundless accusations of Russia’s alleged involvement in the crash of the Malaysian plane MH-17 over Donetsk, and accusations of Moscow’s aggressive actions in Syria.

Disproof

This is an unfounded conspiracy theory that utilises the common pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative invoking "Russophobia", which is used to attempt to delegitimise any criticism of Russian actions as merely being a manifestation of the West's "anti-Russian" attitudes. In fact, the Skripal case, the downing of MH17, and Russian military aggression in Syria are all well-documented cases of Kremlin-organised acts of violence outside Russia. There is no evidence to support the groundless claim about the British cyber forces. For similar cases attempting to smear the UK for being Russophobic or anti-Russian, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 187
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy theory, Russophobia, Syrian War, MH17
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Pro-Western civil society in Ukraine and Belarus is a Fascist fifth column

In Ukraine, the so-called civil society and human rights organizations, financed by the Western oligarchy, military forces and intelligence services, took an active part in 2014 coup d’etat and, assisted by Fascists, waged a war against Ukrainian people and Russia. The civil society continues its destructive activities through the adoption of harmful legislation such as the bill on the media or the language law. Thus Zelenskyy largely continues Poroshenko’s policies by turning Russophobia and mass-scale human rights violations into the tool of state policy on the instruction of the fifth column. The Belarusian civil society represented by allegedly independent media and initiatives promoting Belarusian language and culture (in reality, Russophobic, pro-Polish forces), is ideologically and politically close to Fascism. Otherwise, it would notice the violation of human rights in Ukraine and glorification of Nazism in Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a mix of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives undermining the statehood of Ukraine and advancing claims about the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West, Nazis in Ukraine, West's attempts to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations, and ubiquitous Russophobia in Ukraine and beyond. It also distorts the war in eastern Ukraine which is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. For background, read our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelingsand look at earlier disinformation cases alleging that Brussels uses Russophobia as a uniting idea to prevent the EU’s collapse, and about three types of Russophobia which are turning Belarus into anti-Belarus and anti-Russian state. The message paints virtually all Belarusian organisations which do not clearly follow pro-Russian policies in any field as Russophobic. The myth of Nazi-ruled Ukraine has been the cornerstone of Russian disinformation about the country since the very 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. Far-right groups enjoyed a very limited presence during the Euromaidan itself and had poor results in the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. In the 2019 election, far-right candidates fell short of the 5% minimum guaranteeing entry into parliament. There was no coup d’état in Ukraine. The onset of the Euromaidan protests was a spontaneous and endogenous reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden withdrawal from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. The protesters’ demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, the formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. Read similar cases alleging that Ukraine is a neo-Nazi state and Ukraine is an anti-Russian state under Western control, that the West is targeting the Union State between Belarus and Russia, and that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies.

White Helmets are frank falsifiers

The White Helmets are still doing everything they can to prove to the international community that Syrian President Bashar Assad is poisoning his people with either bleach or sarin-zaman-V-gases. And Washington itself is doing everything possible to make people believe these frank falsifiers. Because [the US] needs to throw Assad out at any cost.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative deflecting blame for chemical attacks away from the Assad regime. It also aims to discredit the OPCW in addition to labelling the White Helmets as terrorists or as accomplices of terrorist organisations by staging and/or perpetrating chemical attacks. These claims are not supported by evidence. The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism found Syria’s Government responsible for the April 2017 attack in Khan Shaykhun. On April 2018, Russia vetoed a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have created a new inquiry to ascertain responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. In June 2018, the OPCW members granted it the power to assign responsibility for chemical attacks. Read more about the “alleged” usage of chemical weapons in Douma. For more disinformation cases attempting to discredit the OPCW, see here. [Note: Another disinformation case from the same article is that it is false to assign equal responsibility for the outbreak of WWII to the USSR as to Nazi Germany.]

Coronavirus is a manipulative story

On a global scale, coronavirus is a kind of manipulative story. On the other hand, it is necessary to respond to it in some countries.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a family of viruses that include SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading. As of 15th March 2020, over 153,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 143 countries/territories. You can see other examples in our database, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring it, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and that the Americans have the cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it was created with economic goals while Big Pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profit, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China and that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days.