Disinfo: News about Wagner in Libya distort Russian policy

Summary

The news (which talk about the presence of private military “Wagner” personals in Libya and its support for the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter) is suspicious and was built on the basis of false information … and aims to distort Russian policy towards the Libyan path.

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 has reported that more than 100 Wagner contractors arrived in Libya in early September to assist General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against the GNA in Tripoli that began in April.

A recent report by Reuters sheds light on the latest developments in Libya quoting a source saying that “Russians had now been flown out of western Libya to Jufra, a remote central district and LNA stronghold, in 3 military planes”.

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 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Libya, Russia
  • Keywords: Middle East and North Africa, North Africa, Military, Anti-Russian, Foreign mercenaries
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NATO is an American puppet 

NATO is an American puppet.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO as a geopolitical project of the US.

NATO was founded in 1949 by twelve sovereign nations including the United States. It has since grown to 30 Allies who each took an individual and sovereign decision to join this Alliance. All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, after discussion and consultation among member countries, which means that a decision can only be taken if every single member accepts it.

US tests ethnic weapons against Slavs in its biolabs in Ukraine

The US built 8 biological laboratories in Ukraine where they develop and test malicious viruses on Slav populations.

Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory alleging, without evidence, that the United States develops biological weapons and has secret biological laboratories around the world. The disinformation claim also capitalises on the oft-recurring conspiracy theory about the Lugar Lab in Georgia, as well as laboratories in Ukraine, all of them encircling Russia. According to this and similar claims, the main task of these labs is to create "combat" viruses against Russians. Actually, virology laboratories in Ukraine are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases by pathogens and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. In April, the US Embassy in Ukraine reaffirmed that the country offers its support to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats. In June the Ukrainian health ministry answered to a Member of Ukrainian Parliament supporting the idea of secret US labs, that there were no such laboratories. The more the story is proved not based on fact, the more its pro-Russian supporters find it "interesting". See other cases on this narrative.

British secret services recruited Syrian terrorists, former ISIS member confesses

British secret services forced Syrian extremists to work for them, and ordered them to compile information on the Russian facilities in the Arab country, former Islamic State member Mohammed Hussein Saud told Russian journalists. The former extremist admitted that he met with British intelligence officials in the Al Tanf area, on the border with Jordan, where the US military base is located. Saud said that the UK experts needed information on “important sites in Russia and Syria”, namely security sites, to be able to launch a terrorist attack.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged Western support to the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations in the Middle East. The mention of a US base in the Al Tanf region in southern Syria seems an attempt to suggest some US involvement in these alleged terrorist plots against Russian forces. The UK and the US are part of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State, and both countries are part of the Operation Inherent Resolve that has been ongoing to attack and degrade the capabilities of the group since 2014. The EUvsDisinfo database has a long set of disinformation cases on this subject, such as claims that Donald Trump cancelled Daesh funding because he opposes the destruction of the Middle East, that jihadists are US and European proxies in the region, that the US created ISIS when Al Qaeda went outside the script, that US special forces were deployed with Al Qaeda in Idlib, that US and UK will use terrorist organisations against China, that the US is moving ISIS to Afghanistan or that the US may have evacuated ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi instead of killing him.