Disinfo: Mainstream media and governments overestimate the coronavirus threat

Summary

There is little doubt that the coronavirus threat is overestimated by mainstream media and governments. Covid-19 is in fact an ordinary viral disease with a slightly higher mortality from complications for people of old age or people with weakened immunity. Another open secret is that the current hysteria over the outbreak is being successfully used by some players to achieve their own economic and geopolitical goals. Looking at the current situation in Europe, one could suppose that some forces have seized an opportunity and are now fueling the coronavirus crisis intentionally.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory, presented with no evidence to support the claim that the coronavirus crisis is being intentionally exploited for economic and geopolitical goals. This is a continuation of pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts about the coronavirus outbreak, aiming to put blame on the West for allegedly exploiting the outbreak for their own purposes, namely isolating China. While many baseless conspiracy theories have emerged all around the world amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no evidence that Western media are deliberately promoting them with malign intent. On the other hand, there is mounting evidence that pro-Kremlin media are spreading disinformation on the disease for political purposes through a coordinated campaign. The mortality rate of the coronavirus has varied by country and estimates differ, however, it is more deadly than most strains of the flu. Since it is a new disease, humans do not have any immunity to it. The rapid spread of the virus around the world threatens to overwhelm public health systems, particularly in poorer countries, resulting in more deaths and other adverse societal and economic impacts. In a statement on 5 March 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation drove home the gravity of the situation, saying: "this epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor. [...] This is not a drill. [...] Although COVID-19 presents an acute threat now, it is absolutely essential that countries do not lose this opportunity to strengthen their preparedness systems." For related disinformation cases, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 187
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Country: China, Italy, Turkey, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, West, Mainstream media, Conspiracy theory
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The outcome of the MH17 trial is predetermined

The trial and the entire investigation prior to it were heavily politicized and continues to be so [sic]. The outcome appears to be determined from the beginning, and the attempts to fit facts into the desired reality are becoming increasingly apparent.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the investigation of the Joint International Team (JIT) into the downing of flight MH17. The JIT which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The public hearing took place on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia have concluded that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable. Read similar disinformation cases alleging that the Netherlands is going to sabotage the MH17 trial, the MH17 trial will be a show process, and that there was no BUK and MH17 crashed because of an explosion on board.

Downed MH17 trial is a show, the irrefutable evidence of Russia's innocence is rejected

We have to admit that the Dutch side is turning this, no doubt, from an important event into a judicial television show, stretched over several seasons and with a known verdict. It is hardly possible to count on real justice. One of the intrigues is a list of material evidence attached to the case. For example, there are doubts that there will be the body of a Buk missile, which was presented to the world with fanfare at a press conference in May 2018 as part of the “same” missile that shot down the Boeing. Recall: then the Russian Ministry of Defense presented documents that irrefutably testify to the fact that it was a missile transported to Western Ukraine back in December 1986 and remained in service with the Ukrainian army after the collapse of the USSR. After that, the investigators “suddenly” sharply lost all interest in this material evidence.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the MH17 crash. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Prosecution service are prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering the 289 persons on board. The public hearing started on March 9th 2020 in the Netherlands. The "irrefutable evidence" claimed by Russia is only a small sample of misleading claims advanced by Moscow since 2015, some of which have contradicted one another. This disinformation article refers to the claim that the Buk was of "Ukrainian origin" (evidence advanced by Russia which Novaya Gazeta found to be fabricated).

The MH17 trial suffers from political amnesia

In the investigation of the MH17 case, there are a number of indisputable facts that rebut the “anti-Russian explanations” entirely. Nevertheless, the political games force the trial to disregard all other explanations of the crash, even the obvious ones. This “amnesia” is manifest, for example, in the fact that the investigators permanently “forget” that the aircraft might been have shot down by an air-to-air-missile from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the inquiry of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into the downing of flight MH17. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) - which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led JIT has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Prosecution service will prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The public hearing took place on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable. Read other disinformation cases alleging that the Netherlands is going to sabotage the MH17 trial, the MH17 trial will be a show process, and that there was no BUK, MH17 crashed because of an explosion on board.