The U.S. leader has gone on Twitter to promote a pseudo-documentary made up of Russian fake stories about the Maidan events in Ukraine in 2014.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier announced on Twitter that One America News was set to air a documentary exposing what he called the "Impeachment Hoax", claiming he was a target of a foul play. Given the fact that impeachment has long been the Democrats' main bet (which was an extremely ill-conceived move, as I've always noted) to remove Trump from his post, it might seem possible that the film the president is promoting could actually prove his integrity… But could it?
The thing is that Donald Trump, the incumbent Leader of the Free World, is, in fact, promoting a documentary filled to the brink by the Kremlin propaganda's juiciest false narratives and misinformation about the Maidan. The end product, titled "The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, Mass Murder" that can even hardly be called a documentary – rather political agitation – has been produced by Michael Caputo.
What's truly worth noting is that as soon as President Trump tweeted his promo, the news was immediately picked up by major Russian media and pro-Russian outlets in Ukraine, including the notorious STRANA.UA.
But let's see what's exactly wrong with the story on Ukraine told in the documentary (spoiler alert: pretty much everything), and why does Donald Trump need to get involved in this?
First, I should note that from the onset of Russia's incursion into Ukraine, Moscow's propaganda machine has been generating a huge number of fake stories, presenting a distorted coverage of Ukraine developments and producing dozens or even hundreds of pseudo-documentaries relaying lies and manipulation. This was done solely for the purpose of saturating the information space with Russian narratives to secure their dominance. In many occasions, such documentaries were shot by foreign directors, involving wannabe journalists.
Take Oliver Stone, who has been shooting films for Kremlin money lately… His latest "masterpiece" was "Revealing Ukraine" starring Vladimir Putin's major political operative in Ukraine, Victor Medvedchuk; there was also a pseudo-documentary by a Dutch director Max van der Verff who was spinning lies about the MH17 downing in Donbas; and many other propaganda-laden pieces, all funded by the Kremlin.
But things were somewhat different with the film aired by One America News.
It wasn't some retired director struggling to get new pitches, some low-profile journo, unqualified pundit or some other loser who shot it. It was directed by Michael Caputo, Trump's former campaign adviser and a close friend of the president's ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
In the 1990s, Caputo worked in Russia, where he was engaged in political consulting and worked on Boris Yeltsin's 1996 presidential campaign. Upon his return home, in the late 1990s, he promoted Vladimir Putin in the U.S., being paid by Gazprom Media. In 2006, Caputo consulted the pro-Russian Party of Regions.
So the guy can hardly be called unbiased and unblemished. And it's no surprise that his film has absorbed all, even the most outrageous, false narratives Russian propaganda has come up about the Maidan events over the past six years.
In particular, the documentary tells about "Georgian snipers" allegedly hired and brought to the Maidan by former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili with the help of some Americans with George Soros money. Well, that's a bingo combo for ardent lovers of conspiracy theories: Saakashvili, Soros, and the Americans! What other proof do you need, right?
In fact, though, the story boils down to a totally unconfirmed report originated in 2017, initially spun by the Italian "independent investigators" and told by anonymous Georgian nationals. No facts whatsoever... No footage, no photos, no documents – only unfounded claims about Saakashvili, Soros and the Americans.
But there's more.
Caputo blatantly overstates the number of those shot dead in the tragic events. The narrator repeatedly claims that on February 20, 2014, a hundred people were killed at the Maidan within just 20 minutes. However, the fact is that on February 20, 2014, forty-eight people died in the area. All their names are known to the investigation, every second of those events has been analyzed with photo and video evidence, and circumstances of those deaths have been established. So, from the very first minutes, Caputo's piece is repeating the Kremlin narrative that there were much more victims at the Maidan, while failing to provide any proof but... unfounded claims.
Let's move on now. The "snipers" theme was developing and gaining momentum as the story progressed before the audience was brought to a climax – the narrative about provocateurs opening fire at both protesters and riot police from the upper storeys of the Ukraina Hotel located nearby, wreaking havoc and sowing chaos. Those Georgian snipers, hired by Saakashvili and the Americans, with George Soros's money, remember? And, again, no evidence other than blah-blah-blah.
And by a strange coincidence, even in this argument, Caputo did not bother to quote the official investigation report, namely the fact that 17 bullets coroners extracted from the victims' bodies were identified as shot from Berkut riot police's registered firearms. He also seems to have ignored loads of photo and video evidence clearly showing Berkut troops shooting at protesters.
What he did show was a rifle of ex-MP Serhiy Pashynsky's bodyguard, allegedly found in the trunk of his car on Instytutska Street near the Maidan on February 18, 2014, which would then allegedly be used by the said "snipers". At the same, the film's authors turned a blind eye to the lab-confirmed fact that not a single shot was fired from that rifle on the day of the deadly massacre.
So, what we have here is President Trump promoting a documentary about the Maidan events, which is full of Russia-designed lies. The goal is obvious – to deliver a blow to his major political rival Joe Biden, accusing him of masterminding bloody chaos in Ukraine, which, in turn, allegedly forced Russia to send troops into the country. That is, the film latently justifies the Kremlin's invasion.
Then, the film says, Joe Biden, through his "puppets" in Ukraine, tried to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, and later impeach Donald Trump. That's it! A vicious plot has been exposed!
In fact, the classic set of Russian propaganda fairy tales very conveniently fits into the general line of internal political battles now raging in the U.S. However, it's unfortunate to see that the authors resorted to exploiting completely unfounded claims and fake news to make their point. We'll, so much for One America News, a channel which has long been discredited for spinning misinformation and conspiracy theories, just like Russian propaganda TV.
Well, there's always a junk channel for junk films. But, sadly, some viewers still consume this information junk food and even crave for more.