Disinfo: Belarusian opposition attempted to carry out a terrorist act using Ukrainian weapons. US tries to cover it up.

Summary

To cover up their anti-state activities, Belarusian opposition uses Ukrainian nationalists with weapons. In 2017 the team of the Belarusian opposition politician Mikalai Statkevich attempted to carry out a terrorist act during the mass protest action in Belarus. The US State Department did not mention this case in its Belarus human rights report because just as the Belarusian opposition, the US is interested in the destabilisation of situation in Belarus.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and repeating disinformation spread in 2017 in Belarus during the street protests. The disinformation message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in EU neighbourhood. Belarus 2017 Human Rights Report by the US State Department indeed does not mention this case. However the reason behind this is not a cover up as alleged in the publication but because the claim about opposition's attempt to conduct a terrorist act is unfounded and the charges were dropped by Belarusian investigators. At the same time the report mentions multiple arrests of opposition leaders by the Belarusian authorities: "Throughout the year Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, another 2010 presidential candidate, opposition activist, and former political prisoner, were arrested repeatedly and placed in administrative detentions, usually in connection with unauthorized gatherings and demonstrations." Statkevich team member Sergey Kuncevich was detained on 25 March 2017 and accused of transporting Molotov cocktails as part of a larger coordinated attempt to organize mass disorders. Nearly the same time Belarus' state-owned mass media (BelTA) published an article “Militants staging a provocation detained in Belarus” reporting about weapons allegedly confiscated from other accused. Investigators found no evidence to confirm accusations and the criminal prosecution of all those arrested in relation to the case was closed in late November 2017. See earlier disinformation cases alleging attempts to destabilize Belarus using Ukrainian weapons here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 145
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/03/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Belarus, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy theory
see more

US general confirms Washington is obsessed with preventive nuclear strike policy

The United States is obsessed about the right to use nuclear weapons first. Washington must not abandon the preventive strike policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford said in the Senate.

Disproof

A recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative on Western Militarism. The implicit messagt that Washington is more trigger-happy than Moscow in this regard constitutes disinformation. As mutually assured destruction remains the pillar of the nuclear deterrence strategy since the Cold War era, neither the United States in its latest Nuclear Posture Review nor Russia in its Military Doctrine have adopted the No First Use policy. The only nuclear powers to have pledged not to use nuclear weapons first are China and India. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen Dunford, asked if the United States must adopt the No First Use policy with respect to nuclear weapons, said [49:30-50:08 mins of the video] that the “current policy complicates an adversary’s decision-making process. I would not recommend any changes that simplifies an adversary’s decision-making calculus.”

EU to introduce visas for US citizens in 2021

The EU has decided to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021 to improve security and avoid problems with illegal migration and terrorism.

Disproof

The EU is not planning to introduce visas for the US citizens in 2021. The EU will put into operation the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2021. The ETIAS is intended for citizens of all 61 nations which currently enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone, who will need to register on ETIAS website before travelling to the EU. It will be a “completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors” from countries whose citizens are eligible to travel to the Schengen Zone without visas. Those visitors will need to fill out an ETIAS online form and receive an electronic authorization.

Venezuela bustling with life, contrary to mainstream narratives

While the mainstream media continue to portray Venezuela as a crisis-stricken and impoverished country, the actual situation there is far from grave. The UN claim that 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled the country is disputable; last year, school enrolment actually increased by 7%, and 120,000 Colombians settled in Venezuela. Western media outlets focus on hyperinflation and its impact on the country’s living standards, but never mention that many goods and services are still cheap.

Disproof

The story accuses mainstream media outlets of producing alarmist reports on the situation in Venezuela and demonizing President Nicolas Maduro, and thus fits the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the situation in the country. The estimate of 3.4 million Venezuelan emigrants was jointly produced by the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Institute of Migration (IOM), and is based on data from national immigration authorities and other sources. Primary school enrolment has actually declined since the onset of the economic crisis in 2013, dropping 7% by 2017. During that period, the number of out-of-school children doubled and has likely continued to rise, as parents increasingly struggle to furnish their children with basic school supplies. The most recent Venezuelan census (published in 2011) put the number of Colombian-born residents of Venezuela at just under 722,000 (p. 41). The alleged influx of 120,000 Colombians in 2018 is difficult to verify, particularly given the Maduro government's habit of manipulating demographic data. In 2015, President Maduro reported that a whopping 5.6 million Colombians resided in the country, whereas the IOM estimated the 2015 figure at less than 1 million (p. 76). Between mid-2017 and mid-2018, 250,000-300,000 Colombians left Venezuela according to UNHCR and Colombia Migration, citing respectively the progress in Colombian peace talks and the worsening living conditions in Venezuela. Hyperinflation has rendered nearly all goods in Venezuela prohibitively expensive, as consistently noted in RT's pre-2019 reporting.