Disinfo: White Helmets was created by Western security bodies and has connections with terrorists


White Helmets was set up in 2013 by a former UK’s army officer James Le Mesurier. In fact it was created by Western countries’ security bodies. The organization received Western financial assistance and declared protection of peaceful population in the military action zones as its aim, but is blamed by the Syrian authorities in connections with extremists and hostile propaganda. It is said that some public videos capture Al-Qaeda members who beheaded people and ate killed soldier’s heart as White Helmets participants and the organization is a wing of Al-Nusra terrorist group.

Russian MFA called White Helmets’  activities us an element of information campaign to discredit Syrian authorities. Russia also blamed White Helmets for the provocation which gave the West a reason to accuse Damask for using chemical weapons and to attack the governmental military forces. Russian side also stated that James Le Mesurier was a MI6 officer who was seen in many conflicts around the world, including in Kosovo and the Near East.


This publication is an illustrative example of many disinformation and propagandistic claims about the White Helmets. Pro-Kremlin media routinely accuse the White Helmets of “working for terrorists” and giving biased information to the Western media. No evidence is given to support these claims.

The "White Helmets" movement originated in Syria in 2012. The organisation - which is made up of 3,400 volunteers including teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters - states that it has no affiliation to any political or military actor and is committed to render services to anyone in need. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated air strikes.

White Helmets activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons  (OPCW). Thus, OPCW said it found reasonable grounds to believe that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria in April 2018. Because of its activities, the organization has become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign. .  

Read previous disinformation claims alleging that France, UK, and the US support terrorists in Syria, 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.


  • Reported in: Issue 173
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Kosovo, UK, Russia, Syria
  • Keywords: White Helmets, West, Terrorism, Conspiracy theory, MI6


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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European countries glorify fascism, but Baltic States are worse

In several European countries, a glorification of fascism is going on. But the worst is what is happening in the Baltic countries. The nationalists seized power in the Baltic States after the collapse of the USSR. As a result, they do everything to forget the best things that connected the people of Russia and the Baltic countries. The friendship, cooperation, prosperity, the centuries-old defence against attacks from aggressors. Instead, they revive those, who together with the Germans, killed their own citizens in the camps.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative attempting to link the Baltic countries with Nazism. This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism. It tries to promote the idea that there was no Soviet occupation of the Baltic states, portraying Russia and the Soviet Union as the only guarantor of security in the Baltic States and that the Baltic States benefited from the Molotov- Ribbentrop pact.

The USSR occupied the Baltic States two times, firstly in 1940, under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, then in 1944. Contrary to the claims of the pro-Kremlin media, the re-capturing of the Baltic States did not bring freedom and prosperity, but Soviet repressions and occupation, which lasted for 50 years. The estimated war and occupation deaths are at 90,000 in Estonia, 180,000 in Latvia and 250,000 in Lithuania. Furthermore, it has been estimated that between 1946 and 1953, deportations and guerrilla deaths reached 95,000 in Estonia,125,000 in Latvia and 310,000 in Lithuania.

Twitter campaign against Evo Morales may be run by the CIA

The same day of the coup against Evo Morales, thousands of automatised Twitter accounts with none, or just one follower, started promoting the hashtag #BoliviaNoHayGolpe (#BoliviaThereIsNoCoup). The hashtag wasn’t generated in a region with a strong Bolivian community but in the US state of Virginia, home of the CIA, which may point to its involvement.


Though the existence of automatised bots and false accounts involved in the situation in Bolivia has been proven, the second part of the story is not true. The whole report is based on a tweet by US journalist Alan MacLeod, who pointed out that the hashtag #BoliviaNoHayGolpe (#BoliviaThereIsNoCoup) was "trending in Virginia, home of the CIA". But while he said in a subsequent tweet that there is a strong Bolivian community living in Arlington (indeed, one of the biggest in the US), which may easily explain the Twitter trend, RT ignored it and decided instead to push these allegations to promote its narrative of a US-backed coup in Bolivia. It is highly unlikely that a covert campaign carried out by a professional intelligence service could be so easily traced to its geographical origin

The story 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. You can see other examples of disinformation cases such as a US hybrid war against Bolivia, the recruitment of its security services or the application in the country of the lessons learnt in Venezuela.

Pope Francis wants to destroy Christianity

Christianity is first and foremost an identity provider. An identity that Pope Francis, together with the Left, seems to want to destroy.


This is a conspiracy theory, presented without evidence, and a recurrent pro-Kremlin attack on Pope Francis. It is in line with the established pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the degeneracy of Western liberal values. According to this narrative, Europe is presented as having abandoned traditional Christian values in favour of progressive "moral decay", while Russia is by contrast presented as the protector of these values and the "real European" culture and tradition.

For further examples of this narrative, see here.