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

Summary

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.

Disproof

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.

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  • Reported in: Issue 174
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Serbian, Bosnian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Kosovo, UK, Syria, Russia
  • Keywords: West, White Helmets, Al-Qaeda, Conspiracy theory, Syrian War
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Western Media artificially distorted the history of World War II

Western Media artificially distorted the history of World War II. Biased publications in the Western media were aimed at distorting the essence of World War II. Even more, belittling Russia’s importance in achieving victory over fascism.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about WWII. No evidence of Western media manipulating WWII coverage. The European Parliament called the war as the bloodiest tragedy of the century, which resulted in millions of victims of authoritarian regimes of fascist Germany and the USSR. The European Parliament has also expressed concern about the efforts of the current Russian leadership to whitewash the crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime and see them as a dangerous component of the information war against democratic Europe. Similar cases: Latvia rewrites WW2 history and EU fiercely rewrites the history of WW2. Other cases of historical revisionism can be read here.

Ukrainian language was artificially created by the Soviet Union

Since the 1920s, the Bolsheviks launched a policy of “Ukrainianisation”. Literary norms of the Ukrainian language (previously considered a dialect of Russian) were developed. Soviet authorities began to introduce Ukrainian in education, culture, and bureaucracy. The Russians living on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR were recorded as “Ukrainians” by nationality.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Ukraine and the Ukrainian language. Literary norms of the Ukrainian language were developed way earlier than the 1920s. The Ukrainian language is one of the Slavonic languages. It is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in the Rus in the 10th-13th centuries. The modern literary Ukrainian emerged out of the spoken language at the end of the 18th century. The starting point of the modern Ukrainian language is the publication of the Ukrainian version of Aeneid by Ukrainian writer Ivan Kotliarevskyy in 1798. In the 19th century, the next generation of writers further developed the Ukrainian language, spelling, grammar and vocabulary. In the 19th century, the Russian empire tried to ban Ukrainian from public use. The 1863 Valuev Circular suspended the publication of religious and educational texts in Ukrainian, pamphlets and books. In 1876, Czar Alexander II issued Ems Ukaz that banned the public use of the Ukrainian language altogether. It is a historical fact that in the 1920s the communist regime started the policy of "Ukrainisation" in Soviet Ukraine which was a part of the all-Union program of "korenization", or indigenization. This policy was an attempt by the communist government to legitimise Soviet rule in Ukraine and to appease the Ukrainian peasantry. The policy was effective: the usage of the Ukrainian language in education and culture was improved; some progress was achieved in bureaucracy; the Ukrainian population of cities and the number of workers doubled. Although the policy of "Ukrainisation" was upheld by some Ukrainian communists, it was opposed by other Bolshevik leaders in Ukraine and, particularly, in Moscow. As a result, in 1931-33 the policy was curtailed. In 1930-1933, the mass repressions against the Ukrainian intelligentsia - writers, scientists, philosophers, clerics, as well as political leaders who were members of the Communist Party of Ukraine - marked the end of "Ukrainisation". Most of them had been deported to concentration camps and executed in 1937-1938. The two most prominent examples are the trial against the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine and the Executed Renaissance. Further debunking by StopFake.

Trump’s policy towards Poland is supposed to satisfy the American “deep state”

Donald Trump has to shape his policies taking into consideration the position of various domestic power groups, which disfavour him. If Trump was free of their influence, the current international situation would look completely different. Without his own strong political camp, in some situations, Trump is forced to “give a smile” to the so-called “deep state”, which forms the core of American politics. Trump’s policy towards Poland is one of the elements, which is supposed to satisfy the “deep state”.

Disproof

This message presents a classical conspiracy theory that the “deep state” and “shadow government” control the work of democratic institutions in the United States. Here are some other examples of this narrative: “Deep state” fighting with Trump; FBI appears under the influence of “Deep state”; “Deep state” shaping NATO policies. No reputable political scientists and researchers confirm the existence of a “deep state” in the United States.

The idea of a "deep state" has always been very popular among conspiracy theorists. Its manifestations might be different, but generally the concept conjures up the image of a small group deciding the fate of the world behind the scenes. However, there is no evidence of such a "permanent bureaucracy" or "permanent government" existing in the United States.