Time for the ninth MH17 disinformation round

StopFake.org - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 16:51

By EU vs Disinfo

In the pro-Kremlin disinformation news cycle, timing is everything.  Every occasion can be used to amplify and strengthen the false message.

This week’s opportunity occurred when the separatist officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic handed over “human remains and debris” from the MH17 to the Dutch investigators. One may say with good reason it took some time: Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Eastern Ukraine three years ago, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

As we have noticed, Russian media and state officials have spread at least eight different versions of the catastrophe, all pointing away from the Russian liability which has been clearly stated by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team.

Now we see a ninth falsehood. It was published by the Russian Ministry of Defense TV channel Zvezda, claiming “a former major of the Ukrainian army”, Yuri Baturin, witnessed the plane shot down by a Ukrainian Buk. Later Zvezda removed the report but it’s easily available cached. The job was done – the story was spread by dozens of news websites both in Russian and in English.

Another report on TV channel Rossiya 1 – that was not deleted – consolidated the false narrative that the BUK was launched from an area under the Ukrainian Army’s control. For debunks, see here.

Fictitious organ trade

Just like the false theories on MH17, some of the most absurd lies on Ukraine have a multi-year track-record in the pro-Kremlin disinformation operation.

So we heard that Ukraine’s Health Ministry allows dead Ukrainians to be sold for organs; that the country is to be turned into an international black market transplant centre for wealthy foreigners; and, once again, that there is no evidence of Russian tanks in Ukraine.

Last but not least we heard that tens of thousands of Ukrainian weapons are smuggled into Poland with the purpose of building an underground Ukrainian army.

False fight for the right values

Circumstances in Georgia give a solid example of how pro-Kremlin messaging can be customized to local audiences across Europe. Here, the disinformation machine focuses on the conspiracies of the “rotten” Western values. This week we heard that homosexuality is dispersed throughout Georgia, that it is comparable to cannibalism, and that a range of different techniques are used to bestialise Georgian citizens. For debunk see here.

Georgia and the World accompanied its conspiratory article with a photo illustration of a children’s book “Daddy’s Roommate” by the American writer Michael Wilhoite. Debunked by Myth Detector.

Also in Georgia appeared a new version of an old narrative. The story goes that when Carl Bildt was Foreign Minister of Sweden, he said that Orthodoxy was the main enemy of the West “as it tries to regulate family relations and does not recognise gays and transgenders”. Just like with the case of disinformation on Ukraine, this fabrication was first debunked already three years ago.

Finally, Russian TV’s conspiracy campaign claiming that the US is not fighting Daesh but supporting it show no signs of stopping. We learned that Daesh is a project of the United States; that Daesh fighters are the mercenaries of the US; and that the all-mighty West and the US have created the Islamist ideology and Islamist networks.

While the Russian speaking TV audience is kept occupied with accusations against the US, the Russian Ministry of Defense has not made too much noise with its announcement that there have been no Russian air strikes targeting Syrian Democratic Forces or civilians. Reports from human rights monitors in any case suggest the opposite.

By EU vs Disinfo

Categories: World News

XIX "Baltic Sea Day" International Environmental Forum will be organized in St. Petersburg on 22–23 March, 2018 - PortNews IAA

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:36

XIX "Baltic Sea Day" International Environmental Forum will be organized in St. Petersburg on 22–23 March, 2018
PortNews IAA
HELCOM says global and regional environmental matters will be in focus during the XIX International Environmental Forum "Baltic Sea Day", to be held on 22–23 March 2018 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The agenda of the Forum, based on proposals to be ...

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Letter from three countries against Nord Stream-2 to be signed soon – Speaker Parubiy - Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news

Nord Stream - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 14:18

Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news

Letter from three countries against Nord Stream-2 to be signed soon – Speaker Parubiy
Ukrinform. Ukraine and world news
"It is also very important that our parties have almost agreed upon a letter that the Nord Stream is a threat to the European Union, and it will be signed soon," Parubiy said. As earlier reported, during an official visit to Poland on September 6 ...

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Brussels to propose Nord Stream 2 rules by mid-November - Interfax Global Energy

Nord Stream - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 14:03

Brussels to propose Nord Stream 2 rules by mid-November
Interfax Global Energy
The European Commission will propose a legal framework for offshore pipelines entering EU territory – including Nord Stream 2 – by the first half of November, a senior official told MEPs in the European Parliament's energy committee on Wednesday.

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Investigators Chase Missing Pieces Of Facebook, Twitter Role In Russian Meddling - Northwest Public Radio

Northwest Russia - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:27

Northwest Public Radio

Investigators Chase Missing Pieces Of Facebook, Twitter Role In Russian Meddling
Northwest Public Radio
In this photo taken Tuesday Feb. 3, 2015, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg answers questions during an interview at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Sandberg is in Washington on Capitol Hill this week meeting with lawmakers ...
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Roman Torres among MLS players booking World Cup spots - East Oregonian

Northwest Russia - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:01

East Oregonian

Roman Torres among MLS players booking World Cup spots
East Oregonian
Panama's Roman Torres celebrates his goal against Costa Rica and his team's 2-1 victory, qualifying his team for the 2018 Russia World Cup in Panama City, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. It's the first time Panama classifies for a World Cup tournament.
US Men's National Team Can Advance To World Cup TonightNorthwest Public Radio

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Roman Torres among MLS players booking World Cup spots - Daily Astorian

Northwest Russia - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:01

Daily Astorian

Roman Torres among MLS players booking World Cup spots
Daily Astorian
Panama's Roman Torres celebrates his goal against Costa Rica and his team's 2-1 victory, qualifying his team for the 2018 Russia World Cup in Panama City, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. It's the first time Panama classifies for a World Cup tournament.
US Men's National Team Can Advance To World Cup TonightNorthwest Public Radio

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Turkey shifts policy on Syria - Jordan Times

Northwest Russia - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 22:44

Turkey shifts policy on Syria
Jordan Times
Under the “de-escalation” deal for the northwest, Turkey is meant to take control of the area near the border, while Russia and Iran are to impose an end of hostilities on the rest. Turkey's declared aim is to sweep the border clean of takfiris. This ...

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The Only Thing Catalonia and Crimea Have in Common Is the Letter C

StopFake.org - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:57

People wait to watch the delayed session of the Catalan regional parliament on a giant screen at a pro-independence rally in Barcelona, Spain, October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

By By Diane Francis, for Atlantic Council

A Bloomberg piece in October titled “Why Catalonia Will Fail Where Crimea Succeeded” by Russian writer Leonid Bershidsky is an example of moral equivalence run amok.

He compares two completely unrelated events—referenda in Crimea and Catalonia—as though they bear any similarity, and as though they carry the same moral weight.

“The Catalan situation draws comparisons with that in Crimea in 2014, and they are not as easy to dismiss as Catalan independence supporters might think,” he wrote.

Yes they are.

The only link is that questionable votes were staged in both jurisdictions. Any further comparisons conflate two historical events as dissimilar as the leadership styles of Stalin and Gandhi.

The inconvenient backdrop to Crimea’s referendum in favor of joining Russia was violence. Its institutions had just been occupied, its federal government was being dismembered by the Russian military, opponents were murdered, its local press was shut down, and its populace was intimidated by the presence of soldiers with Kalashnikovs on every street corner.

Even so, Bershidsky writes: “Ukraine contends that the March 16 referendum, in which Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, took place at gunpoint,” he wrote. “That bit, however, is untrue. Neither the ‘little green men’ nor uniformed Russian soldiers were present at polling stations during the vote. There was no armed pressure on Crimeans, not even on the indigenous Crimean Tatars, who didn’t back the secession and mostly abstained from voting, to show up or to fill in ballots a certain way.”

This statement, concludes Jakub Janda with the European Values Think Tank in Prague, shows that “the author supports pro-Kremlin talking points, then lies.”

Bershidsky also repeats Russian propaganda as though it were fact. “In Crimea, 95.6 percent of those who cast votes backed joining Russia. In Catalonia, some 90 percent did, according to local authorities,” he wrote. “In Crimea, the official turnout topped 83 percent while in Catalonia it reached about half that.”

Such figures were disputed by a report posted on a Russian government website for an agency called Russia’s Council on Civil Society and Human Rights which said the voter turnout was a maximum of 30 percent and of these, only half voted for annexation, meaning only 15 percent of Crimean citizens voted to join Russia. The report was taken down quickly after it was posted.

Bershidsky cites Crimea figures that are “simply false,” said John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine. “The gold standard of disinformation work is to have one’s artifice passing as fact in major Western media,” he wrote. “Someone in the Kremlin must have been knocking down a vodka or two when reading Bershidsky’s column on Crimea and Catalonia.”

Throughout the piece, Bershidsky deploys another disinformation technique which consists of making outrageous assertions, then walking them back as if to provide the appearance of balance.

For instance, after trotting out unsupportable voting facts in both cases he then writes “but these numbers are equally meaningless because there was no way to ascertain the voting was being held according to any sensible rules.”

In addition, he maintains that a non-violent vote was why Crimea went to Russia then states that the main reason was because the Ukrainian government, unlike Spain, was too weak in Crimea and couldn’t keep secessionists in its eastern region in line.

But Herbst says that’s untrue. “Ukraine had no problem administering its laws in Crimea until Russian troops intervened. And in August of 2014, Ukraine was on the verge of taking back the entire Donbas from the Kremlin-run revolt when Russian troops entered Ukraine and dealt Kyiv’s forces a decisive defeat.”

For these and other reasons, Bloomberg should walk back the entire article.

Crimea was conquered. Period.

Catalonia’s vote was about a cultural and aspirational movement inside Spain.

Clearly, the only linkage between Crimea and Catalonia may be the invisible hand of the Kremlin and its confederates who broke up Ukraine and are interested in destabilizing and atomizing Spain and other western nations.

Bershidsky’s piece is fallacious and confuses cultural ambition with violent acquisition, and bullets with ballots.

That’s what this piece is all about. It’s about misrepresenting what Russia did to Ukraine to bolster a bogus comparison.

Its publication insults Ukrainians and represents another example of Russia’s assault on its neighbors, western values, institutions, and media as well as on truth itself.

By By Diane Francis, for Atlantic Council

Diane Francis is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Editor at Large with the National Post in Canada, a Distinguished Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, and author of ten books.

Categories: World News

Up against Germany, EU bid for gas talks with Moscow falters - Reuters

Nord Stream - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:51

Reuters

Up against Germany, EU bid for gas talks with Moscow falters
Reuters
The European Commission's attempts to intervene in Russia's plans for a new gas pipeline to Germany have been dealt a blow by legal advice, according to EU ...

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Up against Germany, EU bid for gas talks with Moscow falters - Reuters

Nord Stream - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:48

Reuters

Up against Germany, EU bid for gas talks with Moscow falters
Reuters
Brussels, backed by some EU member states, is concerned the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will increase the bloc's reliance on Russian gas and cut gas transit revenues for Ukraine, damaging its fragile economy. So the Commission is seeking a mandate from EU ...

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Danes debate law change that may affect Nord Stream 2 - TXF (press release) (blog)

Nord Stream - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 16:33

Danes debate law change that may affect Nord Stream 2
TXF (press release) (blog)
A widely supported bill due for debate in the Danish parliament is seeking to alter criteria of accessing the suitability of pipelines using Danish territorial waters by allowing security, foreign policy, defence and political concerns to be included ...

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Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia - Reuters UK

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:59

Reuters UK

Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia
Reuters UK
Russia dismisses concerns over its defence activities and accused the West of “whipping up hysteria” over recent large-scale military exercises. “Russia is investing heavily in its military and carrying out large-scale military exercises along the ...

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Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia - Reuters

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:57

Reuters

Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia
Reuters
Last year Russia, saying it was part of routine drills, moved ballistic nuclear-capable missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and deployed its S-400 air missile defence system there. These missiles are capable of reaching Copenhagen ...

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Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia - Channel NewsAsia

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:51

Channel NewsAsia

Danish government proposes 20 percent defence budget hike to deter Russia
Channel NewsAsia
Baltic countries have grown increasingly alarmed. Last year Russia, saying it was part of routine drills, moved ballistic nuclear-capable missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and deployed its S-400 air missile defence system there.

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A far right hijack of Intermarium - New Eastern Europe

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 14:35

New Eastern Europe

A far right hijack of Intermarium
New Eastern Europe
In international relations and security issues, smaller states – particularly those in direct proximity to regional super powers – usually find wisdom in collective arrangements, trying to maintain maximum sovereignty in a potentially hostile ...

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Scientists puzzled as Europe is mysteriously showered in radioactive particles…and they think it came from Russia - The Sun

Google News: --- Baltic Environmental - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 13:27

The Sun

Scientists puzzled as Europe is mysteriously showered in radioactive particles…and they think it came from Russia
The Sun
These RTGs contained extremely powerful strontium-90 radioactive sources to provide energy for lighthouses along the Russian coast of the Baltic Sea. Ninety-three Baltic RTGs were ... Therefore they posed a potential risk to people and the environment.

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TikhvinSpetsMash supplies platforms to Northwest Russian timber company - Dry Bulk

Northwest Russia - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:43

Dry Bulk

TikhvinSpetsMash supplies platforms to Northwest Russian timber company
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The TikhvinSpetsMash plant has supplied a large batch of new generation platforms to Company Group “Vologodskie Lesopromyshlenniki”, one of the biggest timber industry companies in Northwest Russia. Platform 13-6852-02 for transportation of timber ...

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Stoli gives Gold new recipe and design - The Spirits Business

Northwest Russia - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:33

The Spirits Business

Stoli gives Gold new recipe and design
The Spirits Business
The water used to create Stoli Gold has filtered through shungite, rare meteoric rock, found only in a remote part of northwest Russia. The spirit is then filtered in the “traditional Stoli way” before a final filtration through coils of gold thread ...

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