Disinfo: White Helmets used chemical weapons in Syria in order to accuse Assad government

Summary

White Helmets used chemical weapons in Syria in order to put the blame on the Assad government.

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 UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism found Syria’s Government responsible for the April 2017 attack in Khan Shaykhun. On April 2018, Russia vetoed a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have created a new inquiry to ascertain responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. In June  2018, the OPCW members granted it the power to assign responsibility for chemical attacks.

The United Nations Human Rights Council stated that the Syrian government forces were responsible for the Khan Shaykhun attack.

In September 2017, the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic summarized 33 separate incidents where it had found use of chemical weapons. Since then there have been several additional suspected chemical attacks. Between March 2013 and March 2017, the Commission documented 25 incidents of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic, of which 20 were perpetrated by government forces and used primarily against civilians. 

See here more information about the disinformation campaign against the White Helmets.

Read similar cases claiming that the White Helmets were involved in the production of videos of staged “chemical attacks” and that the White Helmets have close links to Al-Qaeda and falsify chemical attacks evidence.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: White Helmets, West, Chemical weapons/attack, 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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Facts about WWII are being covered-up in Europe in order to conceal “unpleasant moments” in its history

Facts about WWII are being covered-up in Europe in order to conceal “unpleasant moments” in its own history.

At the end of December, Putin had criticised the cover-up of facts about the Second World War in Europe. In his view, Western politicians want to blame the communists for unleashing the war in order to conceal “unpleasant moments” in their history.

“I have the impression not only that this knowledge is undesirable in Europe today, but that it is being deliberately concealed by trying to assign the blame for the unleashing of the Second World War by the Nazis, among other things, to the Communists.”

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about WWII that is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism.

It accuses Europe of "covering-up of facts about the Second World War". According to this policy, the official Russian historiography is the only “true” way of interpreting the historical events about WWII. The European Parliament called the war the bloodiest tragedy of the century, which resulted in millions of victims of authoritarian regimes both of fascist Germany and the USSR. The European Parliament adopted a resolution, describing the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 23 August 1939 as a key element, causing World War II:

Five peculiarities around the Boeing shot down in Iran, US might be behind the crash

There are serious doubts even in expert circles that Iran accidentally shot down the Ukrainian plane. There are five peculiarities around the incident:

  1. The fact that Iran quickly admitted responsibility […] gives rise to thoughts that Iran took responsibility consciously. Maybe to prevent an even more serious problem.
  2. The quality of the first video is too high; as if they intentionally make it to later introduce it [to the world] – as proof that Iran is guilty.
  3. The weird behaviour of Canadian intelligence. Canada itself believed at first that the crash had happened because technical issues and only changed the story once Donald Trump said he did not believe it had been caused by a mechanical error.
  4. The demonstration on 12 January at the Amirkabir University in Tehran, where protesters demand the government to resign. Even though this was not close to anything similar to Maidan in Ukraine, but certainly worthy of attention.
  5. It is incomprehensible why Iran would give the flight recorders, the black boxes to France instead of inviting French experts to Iran.

The plane might have been shot down by the equipment of the Iranian Air Defence Forces, but it cannot be excluded that some external forces had an influence on the air defence equipment of the Islamic Republic. The US has the technical prerequisites for such influencing efforts.

Disproof

A collection of unfounded claims, attempting to depict the United States as the culprit in the tragedy.

Iran admitted its guilt after several days, as more and more details on the incident appeared. There is no evidence whatsoever that Iran wanted to prevent any potential future "more serious problem" and there is no proof that the first video was prepared in advance to use it as evidence against Iran. The Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, when announcing that the plane might have downed by Iran, said that Canadian intelligence received input from allies and had their own sources as well. Intelligence-sharing is commonplace among Western allies.

US-Iran row showed that Russia has free hands to kidnap Lithuanian judges

The killing of Qasem Soleimani on US’s whim means that Russia’s hands are free to act as it wants. Donald Trump’s “life hack” gives Russia, the greatest military power in the world, truly unlimited opportunities. For example, now the Kremlin can send its special forces to Lithuania and kidnap Lithuanian judges and prosecutors who convicted Soviet military officers in the criminal case over the clashes by Vilnius TV tower on the 13th of January 1991. Of course, the Lithuanian authorities would start loud protests and even claim that this would be enough to declare a war against Russia, but NATO would only express its deep concern over this case.

Disproof

Ungrounded speculation advancing a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Baltic States cannot rely on US and NATO. See previous disinformation cases, alleging that US does not care about the Baltic states and wants Russia to buy them and that the U.S. will easily betray the Baltic states and hand them over to Russia.

The killing of Qaseim Suleimani does not set a legal precedent and in no way relate to Lithuanian judges or courts.