Disinfo: Founder of “White Helmets” was linked to Al Qaeda during his time in Kosovo


The “White Helmets” were founded by a British spy who, as research shows, had contacts with terrorist organisations during the time he was active in Kosovo. At that time, his team included members of Al Qaeda, among others.



Conspiracy theory; no evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the White Helmets, a humanitarian organisation of volunteer rescue workers also known as the Syria Civil Defense, and their recently deceased founder James Le Mesurier. The White Helmets have documented some of the worst atrocities carried out by the Syrian government and the Russian military, and as a result, Russian and Syrian media have consistently sought to delegitimise them through portrayals as a Western-backed “terrorist organisation".

Although the claim states that Le Mesurier's connection to Al Quaeda and/or other terrorist groups was established through "research", no such evidence is provided to substantiate this. This case, as well as the insinuation that the White Helmets were involved in producing fake evidence of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, are a continuation of smear campaigns against civilian rescuers in Syria that have been circulating in pro-Kremlin media for years.

For further disinformation cases about the White Helmets, see here. For cases about the war in Syria, see here.


  • Reported in: Issue 174
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Bosnian, Montenegrin, Serbian
  • Country: Kosovo, UK, Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: White Helmets, Al-Qaeda, Syrian War, Conspiracy, The West
  • Outlet: Sputnik Srbija, Pravda, Večernje novosti, IN4S, Alo, Blic, Informer, Srbija danas, Nezavisne novine, Vostok, News Front, Big portal
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NYT says Crimea is Russian

The New York Times has published a map of Ukraine on which Crimea is in the colours of Russia. While Kiev is unhappy, the publication of this map by the US newspaper clearly shows that everyone is tired of the rhetoric about the alleged “annexation” of the peninsula by Moscow. It is high time that Ukrainian politicians understood that it is impossible to always repeat the same old narrative on the “annexation of Crimea”. This is the past of the old Ukrainian criminal regime. Crimea, annexed to Ukraine by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, returned to Russia following a referendum in March 2014 following a coup in Kiev.

Kiev should adopt a more constructive approach, respect the choice of the inhabitants of the Crimean peninsula and restore peace in Donbas.


The NYT did publish such a map but corrected it (the day before the Sputnik article was published): "Correction: Nov. 6, 2019. An earlier version of this article included a map of Ukraine suggesting that it was separate from Crimea. The map should have indicated the area, annexed by Russia in 2014, with a dashed borderline." The correction of the mistake by NYT was never reflected by Sputnik.

The disinformation narrative about the annexation of Crimea by Russia and its progressive recognition in the world is recurrent. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014 amid the presence of Russian troops. The UNGA adopted the resolution 68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. For the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, see here.

Maia Sandu is a protege of the USA and is supervised by the CIA

Maya Sandu’s actions can be driven not only by her own ambitions. Someone might have simply given her a specific task, for example, provoke another domestic political crisis in the country, or maybe a coup in order to remove the socialists and the president of the republic from power. It’s not a secret for anyone who Maya Grigoryevna is, that she is the so-called protege of the West, and specifically the USA and, naturally, is supervised by the CIA.


No evidence given. A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that governments in many post-Soviet countries are under US control, receiving and executing orders from American state institutions. See a similar case claiming that the US controls everything in Moldova.

After meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State, David Hale, on 13 July 2019, Maia Sandu said that the United States of America "has been and remains a strategic partner of Moldova in its efforts to become a free and democratic country." On 12 November 2019, the day of the Maia Sandu government resignation, US Embassy stated that the dismissal is unfortunate, but urged "elected representatives of the Moldovan people to build a more just, democratic, and prosperous future for all its citizens".

The concept of “energy security” has turned into an anti-Russian project

Poland and the United States have put considerable effort into promoting the idea that the Nord Stream 2 challenges EU security. For this purpose, the concept of “energy security” was established. Initially, this concept implied diversification of energy sources, but gradually, it has turned into a clear anti-Russian project. There has been a return to a “Cold War” approach, which assumed that it is not necessary to buy anything from Russia at all. This approach does not imply a diversification of energy sources (purchase of oil and gas from Russia and other suppliers), but on the contrary – to break contacts with Russia and search for other suppliers of energy sources.


This case is part of the Kremlin's disinformation campaign about European energy policy and the US fight with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The European Energy Security Strategy is not aimed against Russia or any other supplier of energy sources. Thus, it does not include the complete rupture of energy cooperation with the Russian Federation. The EU Energy Security Strategy was released in May 2014 – it aims to ensure a stable and abundant supply of energy for European citizens and the economy. Regarding its long-term measures, it proposes actions based on eight key pillars, like protecting strategic infrastructure, moderating energy demand, building a well-functioning and fully integrated internal market, increasing energy production in the European Union, diversifying external supplies and related infrastructure and further developing energy technologies.