Disinfo: White Helmets staged faked chemical attacks to justify Western intervention in Syria

Summary

The White Helmets have been repeatedly accused of staging fake attacks in the conflict in Syria in a bid to prompt a Western-backed military intervention in the war-torn country.

Disproof

The claim advances recurring pro-Kremlin narratives painting 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 "repeated accusations" linking the White Helmets to chemical attacks feature heavily in pro-Kremlin coverage of the Syrian conflict and are never accompanied by evidence. The organization has been credited with saving thousands of lives and documenting the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by the OPCW. Due to this, the White Helmets have been the subject of a sustained smear campaign aimed at delegitimizing its activities. For more information about the importance of the White Helmets in pro-Kremlin disinformation regarding the Syrian war, see here, here, and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 173
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Syria
  • Keywords: West, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack, Terrorism, Syrian War
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Crimea became Russian after its residents voted for reunification with Russia

Crimea became a Russian region after a referendum held there in March 2014, where most residents spoke out in favour of reunification with Russia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea. No international body has recognised the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014, and held on 16 March 2014, which was organised by self-proclaimed Crimean leadership lacking democratic legitimacy and installed by armed Russian military personnel following the seizure of public buildings. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has stated that “the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol amounts to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This international armed conflict began at the latest on 26 February 2014 when the Russian Federation deployed members of its armed forces to gain control over parts of the Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian Government." On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol includes a set of restrictive measures against entities and individuals responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. In March 2019, on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Will Bolsonaro Be Spared From The 'South American Spring'?

The US let the genie out of the bottle through its long-running Hybrid War on Venezuela, and although it’s solidifying its newly established control over Bolivia right now, it lost control of the protest dynamics in Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, and its man in Argentina just lost reelection. It’s difficult to imagine why Brazil would be immune to this trend considering that it’s already so sharply divided and even the slightest spark might set into motion very similar events as elsewhere in the region, which is why Bolsonaro must be anxiously sweating right now praying that he won’t become the most prominent example of the US’ Hybrid War blowback in the hemisphere.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided to support the claim. This is part of a recurrent disinformation narrative about US-led regime change operations against left wing governments in Latin America. You can see other examples of this, such as the alleged presence of a US marine in the Venezuelan barricades and the promotion of a Ukraine-style 'colour revolution', the training of Venezuelan exiles in Guyana for military operations inside the country, preparations for a military intervention after forcing Brazil to join NATO, deliberate blackouts in South America caused by the US, or the existence of plans for the secession of oil-rich regions in both Venezuela and Mexico. Also falls within the broader pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to deny the existence of genuine grass-root protests, portraying them as foreign-led efforts and fake colour revolutions.

US controls Latin American countries by organising coups

The US controls “disobedient countries” in Latin America by organising coups, bribing corrupt politicians and financing pro-American-leaning opposition groups. The Bolivian Revolution is very similar in character to the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” and “Euromaidan” and it is clear that the US is behind it as the main creator of colour revolutions.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided to support the claim. This is part of a disinformation narrative about US-led regime change operations against left-wing governments in Latin America. You can see other examples of this narrative in the EUvsdisinfo database, such as the alleged presence of a US marine in the Venezuelan barricades and the promotion of a Ukraine-style 'colour revolution', the training of Venezuelan exiles in Guyana for military operations inside the country, preparations for a military intervention after forcing Brazil to join NATO, deliberate blackouts in South America caused by the US, or the existence of plans for the secession of oil-rich regions in both Venezuela and Mexico. This narrative also falls within the broader pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts attempting to deny the existence of genuine grass-root protests, portraying them as foreign-led efforts and fake colour revolutions. Read the statement from the EU's High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini on the situation in Bolivia here.