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‘We’re dying for this:’ Russian propaganda campaign targeted White Helmet rescue workers

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Amid a flood of reports of Russian interference in US democracy and around the world, the investigative site Bellingcat issued a report Tuesday detailing the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign about the White Helmets, a rescue group operating in Syria.

The White Helmets risked their lives throughout the Syrian conflict to rescue civilians from regime and Russian bombardment. They’ve also recorded conflict in opposition-held areas, beaming out regime atrocities to the world.

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According to a Bellingcat report titled “Chemical Weapons and Absurdity: The Disinformation Campaign Against the White Helmets” Russian and Syrian government sources repeatedly tried to link the Syrian Civil Defence (SCD), as the White Helmets are officially called, to chemical attacks.

“During mid-2018 this disinformation campaign appears to have focused on attempting to associate the SCD with chemical attacks in Idlib,” the reports authors note.

“From August to November of this year, the Russian and Syrian governments and state-controlled media continually repeated narratives involving the SCD and movement, or use of, chemical weapons around rebel-held areas of north-western Syria, primarily Idlib.”

The site finds the claims to be false, or at least that there’s no compelling evidence the White Helmets aided in chemical gas attacks.

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Meanwhile, multiple international bodies have found the Assad regime to have used chemical weapons, in a breach of international law.

“Despite continual claims that chemical attacks were imminent or had already taken place, no chemical attacks were accurately predicted. Considering the Syrian government’s continual use of chemical weapons throughout the conflict, as well as the obfuscation of this issue by the Syrian and Russian governments, this is unsurprising,” Bellingcat continued.

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8 of the 22 accusations came from Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria (RCROSS). The remaining accusations came from “Russian government controlled sources, such as Sputnik, the Russian Ministry of Defense, or representatives of the Russian government.”

In conclusion Bellingcat found that, “The extraordinarily low level of evidence supporting these accusations, the absurdity of some of the claims and the continual failure to predict a chemical attack exposes these accusations for what they are: a continuation of a deliberate and planned disinformation campaign against a humanitarian organisation operating in the most difficult of circumstances.”

As the Washington Post reports, the propaganda campaign has a real impact on the ground.

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“This isn’t just buzz on the Internet,” a former White Helmet, who was arrested and tortured by Syrian forces earlier this year, told the Washington Post. “It has real-life consequences. We’re dying for this.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Oklahoma police searching for man who shot Taco Bell employee in dispute over the drive-thru

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Police are searching for a man who allegedly shot a Taco Bell employee early Saturday morning.

"The employee was shot in the leg after asking the customer to pull forward in the drive-thru," KFOR-TV reported Saturday. "The customer argued, but eventually pulled forward, and that’s when he pulled out a gun and shot the employee."

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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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