Disinfo: Claims on Russian presence in Libya are based on forged data

Summary

We can say with confidence that the information about “Russian mercenaries” in Libya is mostly based on unverified or forged data aimed at discrediting Russian policy in the Libyan direction. This is clear.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Kremlin-linked mercenary group Wagner presence in Libya, trying to portray information as anti-Russian. The Wagner Group is a private army with ties to the Kremlin and has been operating in Libya since October 2018, according to a report compiled by independent monitors for the UN's Libya sanctions committee. It is a mercenary outfit engaged in conflicts on the Kremlin’s behalf from Ukraine to Syria to the Central African Republic. Bloomberg and Reuters have reported that Wagner contractors assist General Khalifa Haftar. Furthermore, the presence of Russian Wagner Group is an established fact and has been confirmed not only by the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli but also by the US, the UK, the United Nations report which was referenced by media, and the independent Russian outlet Meduza. Additionally, on May 26, 2020, the US Command for Africa (AFRICOM) reported the presence of Russian warplanes in Libya, confirmed by satellite images (see here and here). See similar cases that the presence of Russian mercenaries in Libya is just a rumour and that Russia was never involved in Libya. For more information on the Wagner group, see our report on a Russian attempt to hide evidence of its existence and activities.

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  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Country: Libya, Russia
  • Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, North Africa, Military, Anti-Russian, Middle East, Foreign mercenaries
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Russia’s Avangard missile system can devastate US defences, The National Interest says

Russia’s Avangard missile system can devastate US defences, The National Interest says. This US magazine, specialised in security, published a text by publicist Peter Suciu about what the creation of the Russian hypersonic unit Avangard means for the US. The author of the publication mentions that Avangard has hypersonic speed and is able to maneuver in the atmosphere. It quotes China’s official stance, that the Avangard equipped with nuclear heads can “devastate” US defences.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of the original article in The National Interest, titled “Is the Russian Avangard Hypersonic ICBM a Serious Threat?”, where author Peter Suciu says that it is “reported [for the Avangard] to have both hypersonic speed and an ability to fly a ‘maneuvering’ flight path through the atmosphere”, but, contrary to the claim, he doesn’t affirm it himself. Also, the alleged quote about China’s official stance is also manipulated: it is a reference to a previous article in The Eurasian Times where China praises the capabilities of the missile, but where the description of its “devastating” effects is done by a Russian military official, Major General Vladimir Popov, not by the Chinese authorities. 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’s military might. 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.

Ugly commercial interests are behind the criticism of the Russian COVID 19 vaccine

There are very ugly commercial interests behind the criticism of the Russian vaccine. This was understandable even before the registration of the vaccine when a number of special services of foreign states accused Russia of allegedly stealing its vaccine. It became clear that this is not the case, because our vaccine is very different from others and much better. But a series of attacks began. Pharmaceutical Association of Western Companies began to declare that the vaccine could not be registered until the end of Phase 3 clinical trials. But now we see that China registered the vaccine before the end of phase 3, the UAE as well as the USA and Britain announced plans to register their vaccines before the end of phase 3.

Disproof

On Aug 11, 2020, Russia declared it is the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against coronavirus. Nonetheless, there are widespread concerns that the approval is premature. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, nor had any results on the earlier stage trials been published, worlds scientists said on the Lancet. WHO expressed concerns as for preternatural registration of vaccine. Following the criticism, Russia published its response on the Lancet. Then international experts expressed concerns about statistical anomalies revealed during the publication of the results of the first and second phases of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine. Publishing their clarifications, Russia did not address the criticism, in essence, analysed Deutsche Welle. The narrative that any criticism of Russian achievements is due to competition reasons, is a recurrent conspiracy. The statement that democratic countries - US, UK also want to approve their vaccines before the end of clinical trials, as Russia did, is untrue. As for September 20, 2020, the CEO of Moderna, American company developing its own vaccine, mentioned in the disinformation report, expressed no such plans. In August 2020, the American, British and Canadian governments said that Russian hackers are attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research. At that, no evidence had emerged that data was stolen. There was likely little immediate damage to global public health, cybersecurity experts said.

Antifa are burning their own country

Not only Trump supporters, but also many apolitical Americans are convinced that the forests were set on fire by Antifa militias, sponsored by the Democratic Party. This explains the unprecedented scale of fires this year in the US.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US Democratic Party. There is no evidence that Antifa or members of the Democratic Party are deliberately starting forest fires. One of the latest fires in California that has burned more than 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) was caused by a firework at a “gender-reveal party”, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has found. In a statement released late on September 9, the department said: “The fire began at 10.23 am on September 5, 2020 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa,” before spreading north. Climate change is also making the situation with the wildfires in the US worse. "Wildfire activity in the United States is changing dangerously, particularly in the west, as conditions become hotter and drier due to climate change," the Union of Concerned Scientists says.