Disinfo: The invasion of Venezuela was planned by Guaidó and the White House

Summary

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and Jordan Goudreau, a former member of the US Special Forces, planned the invasion of Venezuela in the White House. The meeting happened in February and it was attended by Donald Trump who issued the orders to plan the attack himself. Both Donald Trump and Juan Guaidó try to deny the allegations.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the use of foreign mercenaries by the United States secret services to stage or incite coups in countries with hostile regimes. The claims that the White House or Donald Trump was involved remain unfounded. Venezuelan state TV recently aired an interrogation of Luke Denman, one of the US citizens involved in the operation, where the former sergeant alleges that he was acting under the command of Donald Trump. However, the authenticity of the confession has been called into question as observers warn that the video was heavily edited, and it was likely filmed while Denman was speaking under duress. Another link between Donald Trump and Jordan Goudreau is Silvercorp’s own claim to have “led international security teams” for the president of the United States, but Goudreau had only provided private security at Trump political rallies. Despite these connections in the past, there is no evidence that the private contractors behind the operation were under Donald Trump’s command.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Bulgarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Venezuela, US
  • Keywords: Foreign mercenaries, Secret services, Coup
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US might be developing weaponised insects; Pentagon's biolabs must be investigated

Leaving your opponent without a harvest, which could lead to famine, is a much slower approach to reaching one’s aim. But it is a practical one, as the land could still be used for growing crops in the future. Such a bioweapon (an insect that introduces genetically modified material) could be deployed by an aggressor without the need for special equipment, thus leaving no trace of an attack. No means of spreading any chemicals or toxins would be found either as these could serve as indirect proof of a deliberate (far from natural) attack on plants. Filling a field with weaponized insects is all one needs. Concerns are growing about the fact that the United States has been providing a great deal of funding for biological programs that may have dual uses, such as conducting controversial experiments with infectious agents that cause deadly diseases; testing mechanisms of dispersal; increasing the scope of military research in biolabs abroad, and others. And as there are more and more questions about the nature of research done in numerous secret biolabs of the Pentagon, an unbiased international investigation ought to be conducted into their work.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory connected to recurring disinformation claims about the US allegedly developing bioweapons at secret facilities. See related examples of disinformation about the Lugar lab in Georgia. These messages are a longstanding element of pro-Kremlin disinformation - and especially in the current context of the coronavirus pandemic, pro-Kremlin media have been actively spreading disinformation claims about the US - or the West more broadly - manufacturing biological weapons; see here for an overview. Also see related disinformation cases alleging that US laboratories in Ukraine are deadly; that COVID-19 brings attention to secret US laboratories on the borders of US and China; that US is afraid of leakage of infectious substances on its territory so it builds secret laboratories in colonized countries.

Poland uses Russophobia to raise its status in the Western community

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an updated national security strategy for the country, which focuses on the military threat that allegedly comes from Russia. Polish authorities purposefully intimidate citizens with the “Russian threat”, fixing in official documents unconfirmed information about alleged “hybrid wars” and “cyber attacks” conducted by Russian intelligence agencies, and about “aggressive plans” of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Russophobia serves as a way for the ruling elite to rally the nation in the face of an imaginary enemy. Also, with the help of anti-Russian policy, Warsaw is trying to raise its status in the Western community.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative equating criticism of the Kremlin's actions or policies with "Russophobia", i.e., an irrational and unjustified hatred of Russia itself. The Polish authorities do not promote any policy of “intimidation with Russia” and they do not fuel the “anti-Russian propaganda”. Poland's primary Russia-related concerns are a result of Russia's annexation of Crimea and its ongoing involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Polish government shows its full support to Ukraine in the war and supports complete restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity. The full text of Poland's 2020 national security strategy is available here. On Polish security concerns regarding Russia, the document states:

The most serious threat is the neo-imperial policy of the authorities of the Russian Federation, pursued also by means of military force. The aggression against Georgia, the illegal annexation of Crimea and activities in eastern Ukraine have violated the basic principles of international law and undermined the pillars of the European security system. [...] Furthermore, the Russian Federation carries out activities below the threshold of war (of hybrid nature), which pose the risk of the outbreak of a conflict (including an unintentional one, originating from a violent escalation as a result of an incident, especially a military one), and undertakes multi-faceted and comprehensive actions using non-military means (including: cyber-attacks, disinformation) to destabilise the structures of Western states and societies and to create divisions among Allies. It should be assumed that that the Russian Federation will continue its policy of undermining the current international order, based on international law, in order to rebuild its power and spheres of influence.

Read similar cases on alleged Polish "Russophobia", such as "due to Polish Russophobia, there will be no public commemoration of the anniversary of Szczecin capture" and "Polish authorities created an insane hysteria of intimidation with Russia, used for the needs of domestic politics".

Errors and lack of evidence in the investigation of the MH17 case

The investigation of the MH17 case can hardly be called objective because, from the very beginning, the Dutch experts made a large number of mistakes. Therefore you cannot trust the results of their activities. The investigation did not offer anything new, but rather, it came across as “outright fakes”.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about MH17, involving an attempt to discredit the Joint International Investigation (JIT) and the criminal trial that is underway in the Hague. The article doesn't provide any evidence of the alleged fakes or "mistakes" of the JIT investigation. The special team known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was established to conduct the criminal inquiry into the downing of flight MH17. The JIT 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. After years of painstaking investigation, the JIT has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a BUK-TELAR missile of the 9M38 series, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy (or: Pervomaiskyi). At that time, the area was controlled by Russian armed formations. The BUK-TELAR missile was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after being used to shoot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The JIT 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 JIT investigation, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is prosecuting three Russians and one Ukrainian for shooting down MH17 and murdering all 298 persons on board: Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko. The first session of the court proceedings started on the 9th of March in the Hague. 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 similar cases such as: "The trial in The Hague on flight MH17 is based on Ukraine's fakes" and "The JIT builds all its conclusions on doubtful data".