Disinfo: White Helmets hide abuse and extortion behind a humanitarian brand

Summary

“White Helmets” hides looting, extortion, robbery, willful misinformation, organised chemical attacks, airstrikes, artillery, and direct collusion with terrorism behind the appearance of a humanitarian brand.

Western intelligence services support the White Helmets to launch a media war against Syria.

White Helmets is a component of a media campaign to discredit the Syrian authorities, and in particular, blaming them for the provocation that gave the West a reason to accuse Damascus of using chemical weapons and hitting targets of government forces.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives portraying the White Helmets as a Western-backed terrorist proxy and, implicitly, denying the responsibility of the Assad regime for chemical attacks perpetrated during the Syrian civil war.

The "White Helmets" movement originated in Syria in 2012. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated airstrikes. Activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by OPCW. Because of this, they have become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign.

Read previous disinformation claims alleging that evidence confirms chemical attacks in Syria were falsified by the White Helmets, and that the chemical attacks in Syria have been staged and filmed by the media of the Western countries.

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  • Reported in: Issue 208
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: Centre Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats, Terrorism financing, White Helmets, West, Chemical weapons/attack, Propaganda, Syrian War, Terrorism, The West

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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US sanctions against Ramzan Kadyrov are part of Washington’s Russophobic strategy

Sanctions imposed by the US Department of State against Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov are part of the anti-Russian course of Washington. They seem like an attempt to justify funding of the US foreign policy agency that pays for a whole mass of specialists who dig up Russophobic information.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing any attempt to call out the actions of Russian leaders - in this case, Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov - as unjustified and Russophobic.

The designation against Kadyrov is due to his involvement in numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture, extrajudicial killings and other abuses against LGBTI persons, human rights defenders, members of the independent media and other citizens who ran afoul of Mr. Kadyrov. Persecution of dissidents and activists and LGBTI people by Kadyrov’s regime have been well documented by human rights organisations, think tanks, media and documentary filmmakers.

Russia has never interfered in electoral processes in any country

Russia has never interfered in electoral processes in any country in the world.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Russian meddling in different elections in the world.

Electoral interference by Russia has been extensively documented in numerous countries around the world. The independent research, media investigations and parliamentary inquiries point out to evidence linking Russian state actors with interference in various electoral processes, including the 2016 US presidental elections, Brexit vote, in the 2017 French Presidential elections, in the 2017 German Parliamentary elections etc.

Armenia has become a springboard for Anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus

Armenian Authorities have flooded the country with anti-Russian NGOs that are teaching young people on Armenian territory how to overthrow the government in Russia. Armenia has become a springboard for anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus.

You have purged from the country Russian businessmen of Armenian origin. You don’t want to have anything Russian. Because that is the internal affairs of Armenia. Your media and social networks constantly pour dirt on Russia and Putin and everyone, who supports Putin – especially Russian Armenians. You are dividing the Armenian people – already on the verge of extinction – between enemies; Russian Armenians and “Real” – those, who support who is in power for the moment. Because it is the internal affairs of Armenia.

And now, when the war is at your borders; when the very existence of your regime is threatened and Armenians all over the world see the spectres of Janissaries with curved knives coming alive – now you remember that Russia has the duty to save you again. Is that not the internal affair of Armenia?

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative accusing Armenian Authorities of being Russophobic and Anti-Russian.

The claim about anti-Russian NGOs that are teaching young people "how to overthrow the government in Russia" is another recurring pro-Kremlin narrative presenting all activities of NGOs, media or civil society activists as measures to overthrow the power in post-Soviet states. Also, a conspiracy, according to which the US prepare in secrecy people of the former Soviet Republics to work for foreign forces. Russian propaganda refers to the events organised by the Prague civil society center in different countries. CampCamp is all about helping civil initiatives strengthen their bond with their local communities through the use of new technologies and creative solutions. For further debunk read here.