Washington Post Claims: “A Turkish Firm Has Been Selling Fake Life Vests — They Soak up Water — for Refugees at Sea”

Fact Test - Fact

The claim(s):

The claims that a Turkish firm manufactured fake life jackets specifically for the use of refugees crossing the Mediterranean were reported in a widely-shared article from the Washington Post, which is still circulating on social media.

The truth:

The story of fake life jackets being ceased in Turkey was widely reported in the media in early January of 2016, and largely comes from a report by the Hurryiet Daily News, a Turkish news website which quoted a report from another Turkish source, Dogan News Agency, which itself quoted a Turkish life jacket manufacturer, Sait Güderoğlu:

“Speaking to Doğan News Agency, Sait Güderoğlu, one of Turkey’s top two life vest producers, warned of the dangers of low-quality life vests.

‘100 Newton life jackets are considered the original life vests. They can keep a person afloat for up to 12 hours, even if the person is unconscious,’ he said, adding that the life vests being given to refugees in İzmir are hardly able to keep a child buoyant.

‘Such life jackets are made of backpack material and filled with sponge. Because sponge is hydrophilic, it drags people down and causes them to drown,’ Güderoğlu said.”

In addition to this, the BBC reported that Turkish police raided a workshop in the Turkish port town of Izmir—a popular departure point for migrants—and confiscated more than a thousand of these life jackets.

It is on this basis that this claim is rated as true.

Washington Post Claims: “A Turkish Firm Has Been Selling Fake Life Vests — They Soak up Water — for Refugees at Sea”

Website Claims: “Gang Member Dies in Prison After Smuggling M-16 in His Anus”

Fact Test - False

The claim(s):

On the July 11, 2017, a widely-shared post was made on the World News Daily Report website entitled: “Gang member dies in prison after smuggling M-16 in his anus.”

The article made the following claims:

“A Latino gang member who tried to smuggle drugs and an M-16 into prison after he was arrested this week has died of his injuries reports the Los Angeles Chronicle.

The man that is believed to be part of the notorious El Salvador-based MS-13 crime organization, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, has died from internal bleeding after he told the medical staff at the California State Prison of Los Angeles County (LAC) he had tried to smuggle the barrel of an M-16 inside his rectum.”

The truth:

The story has been reported as being a hoax.

There are two grounds for debunking the story; the first is that the image used appears to have been taken from a Google search, and when the image is traced back to its source, it is actually from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, which is the wrong location. In addition to this, the dimensions of an M-16 rifle make the story unlikely given that the barrel alone has a length of 20 inches.

The website itself also clearly states that it is a parody site:

“WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.”

It is on this basis that the claim is rated false.

Website Claims: “Gang Member Dies in Prison After Smuggling M-16 in His Anus”

Video Purports to Show “Al Qaeda Affiliated and US/UK Funded ‘White Helmets’ Showing One of Their Tricks They Use on Gullible Western Audience”

Fact Test - False

The claim(s):

On July 14, 2017, a user on Twitter shared a video of what appears to be a broken or gashed wrist, claiming that it depicts: “Al Qaeda affiliated and US/UK funded ‘White helmets’ showing one of their tricks they use on gullible Western audience.”

Syria.png

This video has since been re-posted under a similar title on YouTube.

The truth:

This claim is false.

This video is from an effects artist named Amanda Prescott.

An older posting of this video from December 25, 2016 can be seen under the Portugese title, “Mulher cortando o braço !!” This translates to, “Woman cutting her arm !!”

In this video, the watermark @AmandaPrescottFX can be seen at the top.

Mulher cortando o braço !!

Her Instagram can be found here, and the original wrist effects video shown in the clips above can be found on her feed under the posting date of December 12, 2016.

amandaprescottfx.png

December 12, 2016 - Wrist Prescott.png

Video Purports to Show “Al Qaeda Affiliated and US/UK Funded ‘White Helmets’ Showing One of Their Tricks They Use on Gullible Western Audience”

News Sources Claim That Police Broke up a Drug-Fueled Gay Orgy at a Vatican Apartment

Fact Test - Mixed

The claim(s):

On July 5, 2017, the Daily Mail reported that Vatican police had broken up a gay orgy at the Vatican apartment of an assistant of Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts and a key adviser to Pope Francis. These claims were then widely reported across a number of other websites.

The truth:

The reports in the Western media are based largely on several articles in the Italian press; in particular, two articles from the outlet La Citta from the July 2, 2017, and two articles from il Fatto Quotdidiano, published on the July, 5, 2017, and the June 28, 2017, respectively. Further information in an article on the Polish news website Pudelek published on the July 2, 2017 also added more details to the story.

According to these sources, the Vatican Gendarmerie raided an apartment in the Vatican belonging to a former secretary to one of Pope Francis’ top advisors, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. In the raid, the police found a bag of cocaine, and the priest that they arrested then confessed to taking the drugs during the gay orgy at the apartment. Initially, according to Pudelek, the priest who was arrested was assigned to a drug rehabilitation centre instead of prison.

This, as well as the allegation that the arrest happened over two months before the press reported on it, have sparked allegations of a cover-up.

However, it should likewise be noted that many of the details in terms of who was involved, when the events occurred, and whether the police actually interrupted an orgy in progress have not yet been disclosed by the Vatican, and most of the known information comes from secondary sources.

In summary, while the story of the police raid on a Vatican apartment has been widely reported in the Italian and national press, and the general facts are known, many of the exact details have not been forthcoming; so, this claim is rated as being partially true.

 

 

 

News Sources Claim That Police Broke up a Drug-Fueled Gay Orgy at a Vatican Apartment

Image Claims to Depict U.S. President Trump and Others at the 2017 G20 Summit Surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin

Fact Test - False

The claim(s):

Recently, an image has appeared depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and others at the the July 2017 G20 Hamburg summit attentively surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin. This image can be seen here and here on Twitter.

Fake G20 Image (With Putin).jpg

The truth:

This image is fake.

The real image, without Vladimir Putin, can be found via the search here.

Real G20 Image (No Putin).jpg
(Source: AP)
Image Claims to Depict U.S. President Trump and Others at the 2017 G20 Summit Surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin

Posts Claim That Poland’s First Lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, “Rejected Trump’s Handshake”

Fact Test - False

The claim(s):

On July 6, 2017, a page on Facebook uploaded a video claiming that the First Lady of Poland, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s handshake.

Variations of this claim can be viewed here and here on Twitter.

The truth:

This claim is false.

While the First Lady of Poland did appear, at first, to pass President Trump by to shake the hand of U.S. First Lady, Melania Trump, she does eventually return to him and shake his hand in the same exchange. This can be seen here, here, and here.

Posts Claim That Poland’s First Lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, “Rejected Trump’s Handshake”

Russia Today Claimed That the BBC Fabricated a Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

 

Fact Test - Mixed

The claim(s):

In 2013, a news report by Russia Today asserted that the BBC had staged a fake chemical weapons attack via deceptively editing previously recorded footage of a reporter outside a Syrian hospital to claim that there was a chemical weapons attack, instead of a napalm attack, as was originally reported.

Russia Today then urged the government of the United Kingdom to launch a full-scale investigation into these allegations. These claims have subsequently been widely reported through a number of outlets.

The truth:

The claims made by Russia Today relate to an August 2013 special edition of the BBC’s Panorama program called “Saving Syria’s Children.” In the documentary, at the 32-minute mark, is the clip that Russia Today identified as being altered.

In the clip, the presenter can clearly be heard saying: “It must be some sort of chemical weapon”; however, in another version of the footage available on YouTube, the same individual stated that the weapon could be napalm. This mismatch in editing was the basis for Russia Today’s report.

In October of 2013, the BBC responded to the accusations. In actuality, there were three version of the audio. The original quote with no editing was as follows:

“I need a pause because it is just absolute chaos and carnage here… Umm, we have had a massive influx of what look like serious burns, it seems like it must be some sort of chemical weapon, I’m not really sure, maybe napalm, something similar to that.”

Yet, according, to the BBC, in order to cut for length in a news report, on August 29, 2013, the quote was edited to the following:

“I need a pause because it is just absolute chaos and carnage here… Umm, we have had a massive influx of what look like serious burns, it seems like it must be some sort of [EDIT] I’m not really sure, maybe napalm, something similar to that.”

The BBC justified their removal of the phrase “chemical weapon” on the grounds of it being known that the attack was an incendiary device, and that it would be inaccurate and misleading to keep the speculation in the report.

On September 30, 2013, the BBC aired another version of the quote, this time unedited:

“I need a pause because it is just absolute chaos and carnage here… Umm, we have had a massive influx of what look like serious burns, it seems like it must be some sort of chemical weapon.”

The difference between this and the previous quote formed the basis of Russia Today’s accusations. In this version of the footage, the quote was unaltered, but according to the BBC, there was voice-over commentary which clarified that, despite the fears there was a chemical weapon involved, the weapon later turned out to be an incendiary device.

This matter was subsequently brought before Ofcom, the UK media watchdog. After an investigation into Russia Today’s claims, they found that the Russia Today piece was misleading in its claims that the BBC faked a chemical weapons attack and ordered Russia Today to broadcast two on-air statements to clarify their earlier accusations.

In summary, while the quote was altered several times by the BBC in the course of their programs, the BBC has provided detailed responses as to why they edited the quote, and an independent investigation by Ofcom found that Russia Today’s report was misleading, and that there was little basis for their claims of a staged chemical attack.

***NOTE: This was a collaborative effort by Dangerous Analysis and Krista L. Milburn.

Russia Today Claimed That the BBC Fabricated a Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria