Disinfo: Washington is using its anti-Russian methods against China to cover the role of US labs in the coronavirus outbreak

Summary

Western media turned into an anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda machine: the Pulitzer Prize 2020 was awarded to Reuters agency for its photographic coverage of the Hong Kong protests against the Chinese government and to The New York Times’ reports on the repression against Muslims in China. Currently Washington is starting to implement the same anti-Russian methods to impose its hegemony against China after realising the growing economic, financial and geopolitical potential of this country, and is accusing it not only of violating trade agreements and having an expansionist policy but of being responsible for the spread of Covid-19 throughout the world. With this, Trump is trying to cover the role of the US and its BSL-4 labs in spreading coronavirus around the planet.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory advancing several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about secret labs, COVID-19 pandemic, Russophobia and the West. Contrary to the claim, the publication of stories on the Hong Kong protests and China’s repression of Muslims are not an anti-Chinese move but an exercise of press freedom. There is no evidence that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is man-made or created in laboratories. COVID-19 comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. Coronaviruses are known to circulate in mammals and birds, and scientists have already suggested that COVID-19 originally came from bats. One of the previous coronaviruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, spread from bats to civet cats to humans. A group of 27 prominent public health scientists have condemned rumours and conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus outbreak: "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin." The authors of The Lancet statement note that scientists from several countries who have studied SARS-CoV-2, “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife," just like many other viruses that have recently emerged in humans. "Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus," the statement says. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about China, such as claims alleging that the Hong Kong protests were organised by the US to destabilise the country, that US military planners recommended an amplified psychological war against China, that coronavirus may be NATO's latest step in its containment strategy against Beijing, that some in the US want to prevent that China explains its success in fighting the pandemic, or that when the Covid-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, Washington celebrated it with champagne. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that "Alarmed about its resurgence after Crimea's reincorporation, the US turned against Russia".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: China, US, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, laboratory, Human rights, Anti-Russian, Protest
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The Guardian points to ruling elite as the real instigators of the US crisis

The publication The Guardian wrote about the fact that the pandemic or the murder of African American George Floyd are only elements of a centuries-old history of oppression by the ruling elites. Donald Trump, whose decisions took the modern America to disaster, is randomly called “the happy opportunist” in the publication. But much more important and more responsible of the crisis are those who stand out above presidents: the ruling elites that granted Trump his powers and kept him in the White House despite his dangerous incompetence, are responsible of what’s happening in the US. The forces of white anger and resentment will see how America destroys itself before allowing our own power to be weakened.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of an op-ed by US historian Andrew Gawthorpe in The Guardian. The original article is a denunciation of the racial disparities and oppressions that divide the US and its cynical use by the leaders of the country “as a means of maintaining power”. It criticizes Donald Trump and “the forces which propelled him to power”, but he is clearly and specifically referring to the Republican Party. There is no mention of “ruling elites” who “stand above presidents”, which is a blatant attempt to link to the recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of a “shadow government” directing world affairs above elected leaders. You can see other examples of this disinformation narrative in our database, such as unfounded stories about the “true rulers of the globe” like the "Skulls and Bones" fraternity to which all US presidents belong, secret oligarch groups based in Switzerland, the Deep State in the US, Jews and Masons, the Vatican, the Rothschild and Rockefeller families or billionaire George Soros, who allegedly uses the G7 as a facade and controls the world through mechanisms like manipulation of public opinion, thought control, climate change, immigration, and even the coronavirus outbreak.

Berlin’s allegations of Russia's “hacker attacks” to the Bundestag are nonsense and absurdity

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that German investigators allegedly have “irrefutable evidence” that a Russian citizen was involved in a hacker attack on the Bundestag. It was noted that the suspect allegedly did this for “Russian intelligence.” Berlin’s allegations of “hacker attacks” from Russia on the Bundestag are nonsense and absurd. Moscow strongly rejects the accusations of the German side and is ready to consider “reliable evidence” of involvement in the cyber attack, if Germany has any.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Russia's responsibility for cyber attacks on the German Parliament in 2015. The Germany's domestic intelligence agency said Russia was behind a series of attacks on German state computer systems, including the German parliament in 2015. German media reported that the federal prosecutor's office had issued an international arrest warrant against Dmitriy Badin, reportedly a 29-year-old Russian hacker working for Moscow's military intelligence service GRU, in relation to the cyberattack. The public attention to the 2015 cyber attack and its attribution to Russia again became prominent in May 2020 as the German Chancellor told the German Parliament she had hard evidence that Russia was behind the attack.“I take it very seriously,” Merkel said. “I may very honestly say it pains me. The chancellor said Russia was pursuing "a strategy of hybrid warfare," including disinformation and the distortion of facts, "which we have to take into account and which we cannot simply ignore." Read similar cases claiming that "Germany accused Russia of hacking the Bundestag either to advance the NordStream 2 or as a pretext not to participate in the Victory Parade", or "Accusations against Russia of hacking the Bundestag follow the same pattern as accusations over the Salisbury poisoning".

Ukraine refuses to adhere to the Minsk agreements

Ukraine refuses to adhere to the internationally recognised way to end the bloodshed and resolve the conflict in the Donbas. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba declares that Ukraine refuses to fulfil a number of clauses of the Minsk agreements. Consequently, Ukraine refuses to implement the entire package of the Minsk agreements aimed at resolving the conflict in the Donbas.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements. Ukraine has never claimed that it does not want to implement the Minsk agreements. The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The disinformation message refers to a social media post from the Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Minister confirmed that Ukraine is ready to seek a compromise, however, Ukraine will not trade its sovereignty and independence:

"Settlement is impossible without compromise. But space for the compromise will open only when the weapons fall silent. The main priority is the implementation of a long and verified ceasefire. At the same time, we have made it clear that Ukraine will not cross the red line of its sovereignty and territorial integrity."

This was the official Ukrainian position for many years, it was discussed on negotiations in Minsk and during the recent Normandy Four meeting. Over the last 12 months, Ukraine has made serious steps to resolve the conflict in Donbas peacefully. Ukraine initiated a Normandy Four meeting that was held on December 9, 2019. Ukraine agreed that a full and comprehensive ceasefire is necessary. The parties of the Normandy Summit also agreed to release captives on the principle "all for all" by December 2019. Three prisoner exchanges have been conducted, with the last one taking place during the COVID-19 lockdown. The law on special order of local self-government in certain areas of Donbas was extended for another year. A disengagement of troops was achieved in Zolote, Petrivske, and Stanytsia Luhanska. Ukraine also rebuilt a bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska that was destroyed by the pro-Russian militants in March 2015. Moreover, the negotiations in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) have not been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. The meetings were held in a video format. Ukraine also increased the number of its representatives in the TCG in order to intensify the work of the latter. The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak explained that "with this step, Ukraine once again demonstrates great commitment to implement the Minsk agreements. Second, we demonstrate that we want to move forward and not waste time."