Disinfo: The OPCW has a policy of throwing baseless accusations 

Summary

Russia may consider withdrawing from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), if the organisation continues its policy of bias against certain countries.

The accusations levelled against the Syrian authorities of using chemical weapons, Moscow and Damascus confirmed that there is no evidence of these accusations.

What happened with the former client, Sergey Skripal, and the activist, Alexei Navalny, also comes in the context of the bias of the organisation that did not base its statements on any facts or evidence.

The OPCW is an important organisation, although it is losing its credibility.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW and a disinformation narrative about the Salisbury and Navalny poisonings.

According to the OPCW's Director-General, the organisation has been targeted by a disinformation campaign when it granted new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks. 18 countries issued a joint statement, which called for an end to the unacceptable Russian defamation of the OPCW. Regarding the other allegations in the article:

Syria

The OPCW conducts probes into all allegations of chemical weapons' use in Syria, and its findings serve as the basis for publicly available reports and expert notes, and in its last report issued on October 1st concerning Saraqib, the OPCW was clear by stating that it has based its findings on “sample analysis, data examination and witness interviews”, and “materials that were made available by the interviewees, and hospital records… including information provided by the Syrian Arab Republic and others”.

Salisbury

Following the Salisbury attack, the United Kingdom notified the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Russian produced Novichok nerve agent, while emphasising that the OPCW team “worked independently and was not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities", to ensure the integrity of the examinations and investigations.

Navalny

Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group.

These findings were later independently corroborated by labs in France and Sweden, and finally confirmed by the OPCW, which stated that [t]he biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Mr Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics to the toxic chemicals belonging to schedules 1.A.14 and 1.A.15."

The OPCW's supposed complicity in "suppressing" the truth is a standard talking point in pro-Kremlin reporting on Syria. See our previous debunking of this narrative here, here, here, and here.

Read previous disinformation claims alleging that the chemical attacks in Syria have been staged and filmed by the media of the Western countries; that the Navalny poisoning could be a strategy of the West to introduce anti-Russian sanctions, that Russia is accused of poisoning without proof; or that US used Navalny case to block Russian vaccine against COVID-19.

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Russia closed trade office in Vilnius due to Russophobia in Lithuania

Russia closed its trade office in Lithuania because the trade activities between countries are low, also Lithuania is participating in anti-Russian economic sanctions. Lithuanian authorities are keeping anti-Russian and Russophobic positions since the period of the Dalia Grybauskaite presidency.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobia in the Baltic States.

The accusation of Russophobia is the universal tool of Kremlin disinformation against other countries. It can be used in different narratives. In this case, the discourse of Russophobia is presented in the context of economic relations.

British intelligence officers prepared the MH17 crash

Speaking about British intelligence, one must mention its involvement in the crash of the Malaysian Boeing Flight MH17 in the summer of 2014. There is a document that belongs to the Security Service of Ukraine, which reported on the secret visit of two MI6 officers to the ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) zone two weeks before the crash. Taking into account other factors, it can be reasonably assumed that British intelligence officers controlled the preparation of this special operation.

Disproof

One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of flight MH17 denying Russia's responsibility.

The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskiy in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system, with one missing missile, went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24 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.

Joe Biden self-proclaimed winner, aided by some hidden hands pulling the strings

Democrat Joe Biden has proclaimed himself the winner in the US election despite that the General Service Administration didn’t certify his victory. The European Union and several European presidents acted ahead of it and congratulated Biden. And it doesn’t matter, since a hidden hand is pulling the strings: at its order, on Saturday, November 7, the main US TV stations, CNN and NBC launched their projections that, in practice, became an ‘official announcement’ of Biden’s victory.

Disproof

Contrary to the claim, Joe Biden is not a self-proclaimed winner in the US election: he gave his victory speech after winning the state of Pennsylvania and therefore securing his victory, once it was clear that there was no chance that incumbent Donald Trump could achieve re-election even though the races in the states of Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina weren’t closed yet. This is the reason why most US media called the election for Biden on Saturday, November 7, not due to the orders of any hidden hand. This was also the motive why international leaders started congratulating Biden.

Even in less sensitive elections, it is not uncommon that the General Service Administration takes a few days to certify the victory of a candidate, and only four days had passed between Biden’s victory and the publication of this disinformation piece. In this case, given the controversies at the place and the refusal of Donald Trump and some top Republican figures to concede, the certification may be delayed until the Electoral College meets and votes on the next presidency on December 14, 2020.