Disinfo: White Helmets produce another fake chemical attack video

Summary

The Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria stated on Wednesday that a group of up to 15 terrorists had attempted to carry out a chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.

Earlier in the day, the Reconciliation Centre stated that the White Helmets had finished filming a staged provocation after delivering 400 litres of a chemical agent to the site.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory painting the White Helmets as terrorists and shifting blame for chemical attacks in Syria away from Damascus.

Shortly after the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, the Russian military staff in Syria began publishing regular "updates" regarding the provocations, false-flag attacks, and video hoaxes which the White Helmets supposedly perpetrate across rebel-held Syrian territory. These updates are often accompanied by detailed production notes concerning the actors' salaries, the number of videos shot (e.g. "at least nine"), image quality, target audience (e.g. the United Nations, mainstream outlets, social media), and so forth.

Despite their apparently limitless insight into the workings of the White Helmets, Russian army officials have yet to provide a single piece of evidence in support of their predictions, or evidence confirming the existence of any fake chemical attack videos at all. See this fact-check explaining why the production of a convincing fabrication of this sort would be a virtually impossible feat.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: false flag, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack, Propaganda, Syrian War, Terrorism

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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Unauthorised protesting in Sweden carries a ten-year prison term

Prison terms in Russia are not very long, from 6-12 months. Yet in some places, like Sweden, merely joining unauthorised protests involving 12 people counts as mass unrest, which is punishable by incarceration for up to 10 years. Russia doesn’t have anything like this.

Disproof

An unfounded claim to depict Russia as more democratic than other countries and portray the West in a negative light, where freedoms are restricted. The right to organise manifestations is protected by the Swedish constitution. Permission to stage a demonstration is needed only within city limits and in areas of industry, ports etc. For organising a demonstration without permission, punishment is, according to Swedish law on public order, up to six months prison. The right to participate is still protected by the consitution. According to Swedish criminal code, staging violent riots is punished with up to four years prison.

For similar cases attempting to portray Western countries as being undemocratic and restricting liberties, see for example here, here, here, and here.

Biased JIT ignores massive data supplied by Russia

The Netherlands-led JIT which investigates the MH17 crash has repeatedly ignored massive data which Moscow was willing to provide for the sake of aiding the probe. This clearly shows that JIT is biased against Russia. The country was not invited to join the investigation team in the first place, despite the fact that it was ready to provide useful information on the incident.

The actions of the Dutch authorities clearly indicate their efforts to pressure the court in The Hague.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the MH17 crash.

The "massive data" which the report refers to is the "field experiment" by Russian state defence contractor Almaz-Antey, allegedly demonstrating that the type of projectile which downed the plane had not been used by Russian forces since 2011; radar data which the Russian Ministry of Defence "discovered" in 2016, and which contradict the readings Moscow presented in 2014. Both sets of Russia-supplied evidence have long been debunked.

Downed MH17 trial is a show, the irrefutable evidence of Russia’s innocence is rejected

We have to admit that the Dutch side is turning this, no doubt, from an important event into a judicial television show, stretched over several seasons and with a known verdict. It is hardly possible to count on real justice. One of the intrigues is a list of material evidence attached to the case. For example, there are doubts that there will be the body of a Buk missile, which was presented to the world with fanfare at a press conference in May 2018 as part of the “same” missile that shot down the Boeing. Recall: then the Russian Ministry of Defense presented documents that irrefutably testify to the fact that it was a missile transported to Western Ukraine back in December 1986 and remained in service with the Ukrainian army after the collapse of the USSR. After that, the investigators “suddenly” sharply lost all interest in this material evidence.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the MH17 crash.

On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that 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, the Dutch Public Prosecution service are prosecuting Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of the MH17 and murdering the 289 persons on board. The public hearing started on March 9th 2020 in the Netherlands.