Disinfo: Soros’ structures saw an opportunity in the pandemic to attack the “bad guys”

Summary

An article in The Guardian affirms that the coronavirus pandemic became a blessing for authoritarian figures, tyrants and zealots all over the world. The first in the list of “bad guys” was Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad, criticised by the West when he tries to liberate regions of his country captured by extremists, and quoting data from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US structure that is regularly funded by the Open Society Foundation of the scandalous oligarch George Soros. China is also criticised, accused of maintaining a million Uyghur Muslims in training camps and forcing them to work instead of allowing them to stay at home. The article also quotes the head of Chatham House, funded by Soros too.

Disproof

The article is a deliberate distortion of the original op-ed by Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian, trying to discredit it in order to defend Kremlin allies such as Syria’s Bashar Al Assad; or China’s Xi Jinping. While Freedland’s piece describes Assad as deliberately leaving Syrians in opposition-held areas more vulnerable to the pandemic, the disinformation article sticks to a recurrent Russian narrative by labelling Assad’s opponents as “extremists” and accusing the West of supporting terrorism for criticising Damascus’ actions.

By describing The Guardian and think tanks CSIS and Chatham House as “Soros’ structures”, the article aims to portray them as having a hidden agenda linked to billionaire George Soros, a frequent target of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Both CSIS and Chatham House receive funds from the Open Society Foundation (among many other donors) and report that to the public openly.

Other examples of disinformation narratives on George Soros can be seen in our database, such as his alleged promotion of massive migration to Western countries, his destabilising manoeuvres all over the world, his participation in ‘colour revolutions’ and protests in Romania, Russia, Armenia, Czech Republic or Mexico (among many others), his supposed links to the whistleblower who triggered the impeachment process against Donald Trump, or his adoption of the term “conspiracy theory” to discredit those who speak the truth.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: China, UK, US, Syria
  • Keywords: coronavirus, The Guardian, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad, George Soros
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The main source of the coronavirus spread was an American laboratory in Armenia

The ratio of infected to the total number of citizens in Armenia exceeds the indicators of the neighboring Caucasian republics by several times. What is the reason for such a critical epidemiological situation in the country? The main source of the spread of the new coronavirus infection in Armenia was the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). In the post-Soviet republic of Armenia the USA actually acquired a dual-use controlled laboratory, military and civilian.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the coronavirus, based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about biological weapons, consistent with the Pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against biological laboratories in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and other countries.

The story fits the broader set of conspiracy theories on the supposed man-made origins of various infectious diseases. There is no evidence to suggest that the novel coronavirus was manufactured inside laboratories. The virus "2019-nCoV” comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. The medical Journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” specifically said there is “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering.” The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 5,5 mln globally with over 346000 deaths by 25 May 2020. Cases have been reported in more than 200 countries, territories and areas.

National Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Armenia is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia. The laboratories are not American, they belong exclusively to the Republic of Armenia. No other state or state structure has an impact on its activities or governance. For further debunk read here.

Many other claims have been pushed by pro-Kremlin media since the outbreak started in January, for example, that it was born in a laboratory to infect Chinese, that it is an element of hybrid warfare and that the remedy has been developed in Ukraine.

Historical revisionism on WWII is used to justify geopolitical measures against Russia

During the Cold War, history was used as a propagandistic weapon against the enemy, but three decades later there is still no search for historical truth on WWII. Today it is common to put at the same level the role played by the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, practically considered a historical certainty that is even backed by European Parliament resolutions. To maintain those narratives 75 years after the defeat of the Third Reich is vital to adopt and justify current geopolitical measures.

Disproof

This is part of the Kremlin’s campaign on historical revisionism on WWII in order to boost its legitimacy and deny the USSR’s responsibility in the outbreak of the conflict.

Though pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on WWII predate the mentioned European Parliament resolution on historical remembrance of September 2019, they increased as a reaction to it, after which Russia launched a campaign blaming Poland for the war and accusing it and other EU members -especially the Baltic states- of twisting history to justify anti-Russian measures.

Western media try to minimise Soviet victory in WWII

It is hard to understand how, in so many countries, it has been possible to twist and manipulate the Soviet participation in World War II. Given that the essential role of the Red Army in the war can’t be denied, it is admitted but adding as many layers of doubt and distance as possible, using puerile arguments such as that it was the cold that defeated the Nazis in Russian territory, as if German soldiers came from a tropical country. When talking about the arrival of the Red Army to Berlin, press articles often talk of the damage to civilians or the raping of German women by Soviet soldiers. But if we talk about D-Day and the landings in Normandy, no Western journalist would dare to tarnish the glory of the operation by mentioning US and British bombings against French civilians in the previous weeks and afterwards, which left dozens of thousands of civilians dead, much less the French women raped by US troops in the weeks after the landings. (See 05:00-06:20)

[…]

While journalistic articles on WWII never fail to mention the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, always presented as a ‘carte blanche’ given by the Soviet Union to Hitler to start the conflict, the Munich Pact is never mentioned. In 1938, France and the United Kingdom signed an agreement allowing Hitler to annex almost 30 percent of Czechoslovakian territory, opening the expansionist appetite of the Third Reich. Months later, France and Germany signed a non-aggression agreement that cancelled the mutual assistance pact signed by Moscow and Paris three years before to stop Hitler’s expansionist ambitions. In August 1939, France and UK rejected a proposal for a triple alliance offered by the Soviets to contain Hitler. One week later, and only then, Ribbentrop and Molotov signed the agreement that now is presented as the only one. (See 06:40-08:20)

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying accurate reporting on Soviet abuses during World War II as a smear campaign by Western media, in this case accusing them of tarnishing the glory of the Red Army's victory while obscuring misdeeds of Allied troops. This message is also part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by claiming that other European countries signed various international agreements with Germany after Adolf Hitler came into power.

A quick internet search shows that many mainstream media have reported on the killing of civilians by allied bombings in Normandy. The same goes for the raping of French women by US soldiers after D-Day, which has been addressed by big outlets such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, US National Public Radio or Der Spiegel, just to name a few, as did many professional historians, while other outlets have reported on sexual abuses and raping by US troops in Germany. Official records show that US forces raped at least 14,000 women in Western Europe. By comparison, the actions of the Red Army in Germany have been described as the largest mass rape in history, with at least 1,5 million cases and massive documentary evidence. The big difference is that allied military authorities worked to prosecute many of the cases among its ranks (though often in racist processes which mostly punished black soldiers), while Soviet leadership tolerated the abuses.