Disinfo: US behind South America power failure

Summary

US cyber attacks are the reason behind wide-scale power cuts in three South American countries as training for hitting Russia’s energy infrastructure.

Disproof

This claim is supported by no evidence. Whereas a massive power outage has indeed taken place in several Latin American countries, the reason behind it is yet to be established. The Argentinian president Mauricio Macri promised in a tweet published on June 16 that the case will be thoroughly investigated. The Guardian reported that Argentina’s energy secretariat blamed the blackout on a failure in the transmission of electricity from the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River. He also added that the reason for the breakdown was not immediately clear. The Argentinian energy secretary, Gustavo Lopetegui, said that it could take up to two weeks to understand exactly why this had happened and who might be to blame. This is reminiscent of other unsubstantiated claims that the Venezuela blackouts that took place last March were the making of the United States and the West. For the Venezuela blackouts claims, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 156
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/06/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: Cyber, Conspiracy theory
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Anti-Russian sanctions have a positive effect

According to experts, as a result of sanctions, Russia lost about $50 billion, the EU – $240 billion, the USA – $17 billion, Japan – $27 billion. The sanctions have had a positive effect on the Russian economy, forcing the country to develop domestic production capacity and technology.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia. You can see other examples of this narrative on the 'illegitimate' and 'useless' sanctions against Russia here and here. According to the Washington Post, sanctions imposed on Russia after the Crimea annexation and Russian meddling in the US elections sapped Russian economical growth, including very modest growth despite the rise in hydrocarbon prices, the stagnation of salaries and growing inflation. Sanctions have knocked 6 percent off Russia's GDP since 2014, a Bloomberg report noted recently. The GDP of the "world's biggest energy exporter" is now 10 percent smaller than might have been expected at the end of 2013, before the Crimea crisis, it said. The figures mentioned are not true, and there are no sources, from where they were taken. The share of goods banned from export to the Russian Federation in 2014 is very small and amounts to only 0.3% of the EU-28 exports to third countries. The EU has successfully diversified. The increase in exports of agricultural products to third countries from the EU-28 in 2014-2017 is worth more than triple the reduction of exports to Russia: EUR 18 billion versus 5.4 billion. The effect of sanctions on the US economy has been extremely limited, largely due to the relatively small share of Russian trade within the wider US economy. GDP growth in the US has remained positive since the imposition of sanctions, although export and import trade volumes with Russia have decreased in the years following. The top 5 countries most affected by the decrease in exports to the Russian Federation in 2014-2017 are Lithuania (5% reduction), Estonia (4.3%), Finland (4%), Slovakia (3.7 %) and Latvia (2.5%), i.e. the countries that do not voice opposition to the sanctions.

The West turns its sexual subversion weapon on Georgia

At this very moment Ground Zero for the West’s campaign to undermine the traditional Christian concept of the family is Georgia, where the usual suspects – foreign embassies and their controlled NGOs, working in concert with George Soros’s Open Society groups – were determined to hold Tbilisi’s first Pride parade this week. Faced with massive public opposition, Georgian authorities cancelled the parade. Opposition forces, stung by growing opposition to their Pride provocation, used the Gavrilov incident as an excuse to launch a violent attack on the parliament on a scale that could only have been preplanned and awaiting activation.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, presented without evidence. The above-mentioned "Gavrilov incident" refers to the fact that a Russian politician who openly supports the Russian occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, not only was allowed to enter Georgia, but was seated at the place of the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament. This provoked a strong reaction from nationalist groups in Georgia. This incident is in no way connected to the cancellation of Tbilisi Pride Parade. Additionally, this story is in line with the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about threatened values, which is used to undermine progressive Western attitudes about a variety of normative issues, including the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTQ groups, among others. The story is also consistent with narratives accusing the United States and other Western countries of meddling and attempting to forcibly impose their liberal values on countries with a strong Christian tradition. For similar cases, see here, here, and here.

MH17: A perpetual smear job on Russia

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with probing the Malaysian MH17 airliner disaster in 2014 is a travesty of legal due process and justice. It is a politically motivated vehicle for smearing Russia. A vehicle designed to run and run for years to come. Despite its grand-sounding legal title, the JIT is a mockery of jurisprudence. It has, for example, included Ukrainian police in its “fact finding” while excluding Russia. That has ensured bias in the investigation in favour of a party – the Ukrainian state – which should have been treated as a suspect. The purpose is to let indictments hang in the air to serve as a perpetual smear against Russia. Unlike the Mueller probe which wound up earlier this year after two years of meandering, empty-handed investigation into alleged “Russian collusion”, the MH17 investigation is set to trundle on for several years to come.

Disproof

One of the multiple disinformation narratives on the downing of the MH17 denying Russia's responsibility and questioning the Joint Investigation team. 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 Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion 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.

On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, consisting of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich GIRKIN, Sergey Nikolayevich DUBINSKIY, Oleg Yuldashevich PULATOV and Leonid Volodymyrovych KHARCHENKO for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering of 289 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges the four cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason they can also be held jointly accountable for downing flight MH17.