Disinfo: USAID will sue several Moldovan mayors

Summary

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will sue several local town halls because that money offered to equip the libraries with computers in the frame of “Novateca” project has disappeared. According to reliable sources of the Independent.md portal, this was the decision of the review team, located in Moldova. They verified how the project, financed by the tycoon Bill Gates, was implemented. Sources say that the district of Comrat recorded the biggest losses: only some computers out of more than one thousand sent from the US were received there.

Disproof

No evidence provided. USAID's representation in the Republic of Moldova denied to Stopfals.md the information that it was planning to initiate legal proceedings against the mayors. USAID representatives commented:

"The Novateca program, implemented with the support of USAID, has improved the services and resources of hundreds of libraries in Moldova, thus turning them into real community and information centers, which have become vital for the given localities. During this program, USAID has established a successful partnership with local public authorities. Contrary to some news, USAID does not plan to initiate legal proceedings against any of the local public authorities,

Regarding the "team of reviewers, located in Moldova to verify the way the Novateca project was implemented", USAID Moldova states that:

We have not evaluated any library. No audit activities were conducted, nor were there any violations. At present, there is a team of evaluators / researchers, who gather information on our programs in the field of democracy and good governance. The team will complete its activity next week. This is not a team of auditors / reviewers. The purpose of the activity of the given team is to study and research.

USAID provides assistance to strengthen Moldova’s democratic governance and economic growth. It helps Moldova implement lasting democratic and economic reforms that will improve living standards for all Moldovans. Further debunking by Stopfals.md.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 175
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Romanian, Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Moldova, US
  • Keywords: USAID
see more

Disinfo: There was a Ukrainian provocation in the Kerch strait

Russian border guards seized the Ukrainian military ships during a provocation in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Kerch incident. On the 25th of November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia stated they were in Russian waters. However, according to the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for freedom of navigation. On the 25th May on 2019, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia should release the sailors detained in the Kerch Strait and return the ships to Ukraine. Twenty-four military sailors returned to Ukraine on 7 September as part of a mutual release of detainees by Ukraine and Russia. On 18 November, 2019, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had handed three naval ships back to Ukraine. For further reporting see Bellingcat, DFRLab and Polygraph.

Disinfo: The US tries to weaken Russia by spoiling Moscow-Kyiv ties

Realising the critical role which Ukraine plays in maintaining Russia’s great-power status, US officials have long tried to drive a wedge between Moscow and Kyiv as a means of weakening Russia globally.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation casting the US as a malign influence on European affairs, Ukraine as a quasi-state with little geopolitical autonomy, and Russia as a great power fending off Western efforts at destabilisation and encirclement. The relations between the US and Ukraine are bilateral relations between two independent countries. The USA recognised Ukraine as an independent state on the 25th December 1991. US policy is centred on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous and free Ukraine, more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures. See here and here for earlier claims that Ukrainian foreign policy is dictated by the West.

Disinfo: French authorities set up violence at peaceful Yellow Vests' anniversary rally

The strategy of order enforcement chosen by the prefect of Paris has been highly criticised. He wanted the Yellow Vests’ demonstration to start at Place d’Italie, an area under construction which contains construction equipment, often thrown by the thugs and who, surprisingly, were there since the early morning. Controversy is also growing over a video clearly showing “two people framing a third man, all dressed in black, who were behind the line of CRS [riot police] who let them pass whilst repeating: ‘This is the BAC, it is the BAC [branch of the criminal police in France]’,” as noted by Liberation’s CheckNews. That led to accusations about police infiltrators within the thugs. All this was wanted by the government only to destroy the anniversary of Yellow Vests. It’s worse than a fracture. It serves the dictatorship that is being put in place.

Disproof

Biased conspiracy theory coverage of the Yellow Vests' one year anniversary protests in Paris. Speaking about the video proving the presence of law enforcers in civilian clothes among protesters (assumed by the French police itself), the article quotes the French newspaper Liberation and its CheckNews service. The video is supposed to "feed the accusations" that the police infiltrated the thugs. In reality, Liberation states the contrary, debunking those accusations. This is what Libération actually writes:

"It should be noted that beyond the infiltration of police for intelligence missions and arrests, commentators also accuse police officers of infiltrating the rallies only to organise violence and to help to destroy the image of the movement in public opinion. This is particularly the case of the yellow vest François Boulo, who claims to have seen disguised policemen turning over a car, and he goes to imagine that 'police-thugs' were able to degrade the stele of Marshal Juin. No elements in CheckNews' possession support such accusations."

No evidence is given to support other claims that the Paris city hall conspired to tarnish the Yellow Vests' anniversary. It is worth recalling that the Yellow Vests presented their candidates' list for the European Parliament elections in 2019, which would be impossible under a dictatorship. According to Freedom House, the French political system features vibrant democratic processes and generally strong protections for civil liberties and political rights. See more disinformation cases linked to the Yellow Vests. The analysis of the Russian disinformation media's non-stop coverage of Yellow vests and also of the manipulated social media discussions can be read here.