Disinfo: The bureaucratic EU did not provide real help during the coronavirus epidemic

Summary

As always, the European Union got trapped in bureaucracy, giving instructions about the Coronavirus epidemic curves instead of providing real help.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse and lack of effective EU reaction to the epidemic. The European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the COVID-19 crisis and is supporting the Member States in tackling the pandemic and in mitigating its economic consequences. Coronavirus did challenge EU's crisis response mechanisms. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU's fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. The EU also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more on EU response to the COVID-19 outbreak here and here. As for Italy, there are numerous examples of solidarity among the EU and the individual Member States. For example, German hospitals have offered to treat critical coronavirus patients from France as well as taking in patients from Italy and the Czech Republic has sent masks to Italy. On March 18th, the European Union also received a Chinese aid package, including masks and 50,000 testing kits that were fully allocated to Italy, as Rome faced the most urgent needs among member states in the coronavirus crisis. On March 13th, the European Union proposed a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, envisaging EUR 835 million for Italy. On March 26th, the European Parliament unanimously approved the initiative. Furthermore, the European Central Bank announced a 750 billion euro ($820 billion) asset purchase programme in an effort to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll in Europe continues to rise. As part of the programme, investors will purchase Italian securities to help the country counter the serious risks of the coronavirus. The disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claims that the Eastern Partnership and Three Seas Initiative are anti-Russian. Read similar cases claiming that the EU has collapsed as a result of the pandemic that the coronavirus epidemic marks the beginning of an era of crisis for pan-European identity and solidarity and that the COVID outbreak means the end of Europe.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, humanitarian aid, Brussels, EU disintegration
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MH-17 wasn't hit by a BUK missile

No BUK missile shot down the Malaysian Boeing MH17, that crashed in fields near Donetsk in 2014. This conclusion was made by independent technical expert Yuriy Antipov, who posted five photos on social media proving his statement. The metal micro-particles found in the liner’s cabin have nothing to do with a BUK, the expert writes.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the MH17 crash, aiming to undermine the Joint International Investigation and subsequent criminal trial. There years ago, this same Russian 'independent expert', Yuriy Antipov, claimed that MH-17 crashed because of an explosion on board. He claimed that a bomb was planted on the aeroplane in the Netherlands. Also, in 2017, Antipov said that a BUK missile system, shown on videos by the Investigation Team (JIT), was brought there by Ukrainian forces. A special team, known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), was established to conduct the criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. The team comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. The criminal investigation was obliged to meet the standards set for an investigation in the Netherlands and other participating countries. This means that the JIT has agreed upon the rules and how the evidence should be collected in other countries. The cooperation in the JIT has made it possible for Dutch and Australian police officers to work on Ukrainian territory, together with Ukrainian investigating officers. In order to ascertain the cause of the crash, the JIT investigated all human remains, personal belongings and wreckage of the aircraft. In addition, they sought, and heard from, witnesses and experts, analysed radar and satellite images, assessed large amounts of telecom data such as intercepted telephone conversations and analysed big data. Read more about the investigation here. Based on the investigation, the JIT 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 minus one missile. The public hearing started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. For our overview and analysis of disinformation narratives around the downing of MH17, click here.

Suspicious American military activity in Lugar lab

[There are] suspicious biological military activities by US experts at the Lugar laboratory in Georgia, in which serious epidemiological research is being conducted for the benefits of the United States.

The only visit by a group of foreign experts occurred on November 14-15, 2018 […] and clearly aimed at misleading the international community about the true condition of the laboratory.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Tbilisi-based Lugar Lab.

The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) in Georgia, which became operational in August 2013, and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system.

Bill Gates was involved in the artificial creation of the Zika epidemic in order to reduce the world’s population

Bill Gates’s activities are connected to Malthusianism, an ideology that seeks to reduce the world’s population. He has been involved in experimental biotechnology programs, including the artificial creation of the Zika epidemic. The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has been genetically engineered by the British biotechnology company Oxford Insect Technologies using funding from the Bill Gates Foundation. The first experiments with the genetically modified mosquito Aedes aegypti were conducted in the Cayman Islands in the Autumn of 2009. They have subsequently spread, mutated, and it is believed that they have become the carriers of the Zika virus. It is clear that the Zika epidemic was artificially induced.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided. The message contained in the article is consistent with the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that blames Bill Gates and/or other “global élites” for creating epidemics (including the COVID-19 pandemic) in order to reduce the world’s population or to achieve other objectives such as, for example, creating a global surveillance network by vaccinating people in order to secretly install tracking chips inside them. For background see how the pro-Kremlin media employs the concept of Malthusianism to spread conspiracy theories. A Zika outbreak began in Brazil in April-May 2015. The Zika virus was primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. As Zika spread across South and Central America unfounded conspiracy theories blaming the epidemic on a variety of international actors– including the Gates Foundation, the British biotechnology company Oxford Insect Technology (Oxitec), the Rockefeller Foundation, pharmaceutical companies, the World Health Organisation and others – began to circulate. The geolitica.ru article repeats one of the main conspiracy theories about the Zika epidemic claiming that genetically modified mosquitoes released by the British biotechnology company Oxford Insect Technologies (Oxitec), which has received funding from the Gates Foundation, were behind the Zika outbreak. This conspiracy theory was debunked in 2016. Today, genetically modified mosquitoes, developed during the past several decades of research in university laboratories, are being used to combat mosquito-borne pathogens – including viruses such as Zika – in many locations around the globe. Read previous cases claiming that Bill Gates seeks to vaccinate everyone against the coronavirus in order to implant people with underskin microchips and has a Malthusian agenda, and that the new Gates-sponsored coronavirus vaccine will be used to reduce the world’s population.