Disinfo: Greta Thunberg is a liar

Summary

The Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was accused of lying after she posted on her personal account on Twitter a picture of herself on the floor of a train coming from Germany. The picture shows Thunberg sitting on the floor of the train returning from the climate summit in Madrid to Sweden. She explained that her train from Basel had been cancelled, and therefore she had to take another train without a seat. Meanwhile, the activist stressed that crowded trains “is a great sign because it means that the demand for train travel is high”.

In response, the German railroad company, “Deutsche Bahn” wrote on its Twitter account that it would have been good if Thunberg talked about “how friendly and competent you were looked after by our team at your seat in first-class”.

Disproof

This article is part of a vicious campaign by Russian state media against Greta Thunberg. The campaign itself is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against the climate movement.

It is true that Thunberg tweeted a photograph of herself sitting on the floor of a German train on Saturday with the caption: “Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home.” It is also true that the German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG implied in a tweet that Greta did have a seat in the first class. However, the part of the story that this piece conveniently missed in order to smear Greta is that she was not offered a seat except after more than four hours into her journey.

Greta tweeted in response to Deutsche Bahn AG's tweet saying: "Our train from Basel was taken out of traffic. So we sat on the floor in 2 different trains. After Göttingen I got a seat. This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!"

For more disinformation cases about Greta Thunberg, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Germany, Sweden
  • Keywords: Greta Thunberg, Climate

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 new EU “Magnitsky sanctions” are a way to distract Europeans from the internal problems

The EU’s message should not mislead anyone about the true meaning of this project [the Magnitsky sanctions]: to legitimise the right to intervene in the affairs of other states. These sanctions are a way to distract Europeans from internal problems.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions.

On 9 December 2019, EU foreign ministers reflected on how to improve the EU toolbox on human rights, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced the launch of preparatory work on a possible horizontal sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations. In a statement, the EU's High Representative said: "We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States". He added that the sanctions would give the EU “much more strength and much more capacity to act” and would be “a tangible step reaffirming the EU’s global lead on human rights.”

There is a crisis of adult authority in the West

The authority of adults throughout the western world suffers from a crisis, and adults are increasingly associated with negative characteristics. A feeling among adults of their inability to provide good guidance to the youth is also growing in parallel. Therefore, the other side of the erosion of the authority of the adults appears to be the tendency to approach the youth and adolescents in search of solutions and answers. This is the reason for the depreciation of the value of the “adult” in Western society compared to the increasing value of the young and “their wisdom”.

We can say that the most horrific manifestation of this trend is the scene of politicians and dignitaries as they listen to Greta [Thunberg] in high-level international meetings; the mere appearance of this symbol of “childish” political culture at any of these events generates a storm of applause.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative portraying the West as decadent, moving away from traditional values, and suffering from a moral value crisis. Russia in this context is usually being portrayed as superior to the West in terms of morals.

The narrative about “threatened values” is also adapted to a wide range of topics and is typically used to discredit liberal Western attitudes towards the environment, rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTI groups, among others. It is one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin outlets.

Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia

Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch [Bill Browder] keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia. For years Browder – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s self-proclaimed “enemy number one” and head of the Hermitage Capital Management fund – has been waging what can only be described as his personal anti-Russia campaign.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions and their chief proponent, Bill Browder. The article uses anti-Semitism to attack Browder and accuses him of Russophobia - a disinformation tactic commonly used by pro-Kremlin outlets to deflect criticism about Moscow's policies by painting Russia as the innocent victim of Western antipathy.

As the CEO of Hermitage Capital, once the largest investment firm in Russia, Bill Browder fell afoul of the Russian government in 2005 after exposing the details of a vast $230-million corruption scheme involving several high-ranking Russian officials. While investigating the corruption scheme, Hermitage Capital’s tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was arrested. During his 11-month imprisonment, he was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die. A Russian investigation concluded that Magnitsky had died of natural causes; the case was then closed and Magnitsky was posthumously convicted of tax evasion. To commemorate Magnitsky, Bill Browder launched a campaign to sanction the individuals involved in his mistreatment and death. This campaign has led the United States and several other countries (the UK, Canada, and the Baltic States) to adopt so-called 'Magnitsky sanctions' that restrict the travel and freeze the assets of individuals who have been involved in human rights abuses and mass corruption.  EU foreign affairs ministers have also agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States, EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said.