Proclaiming corona free destination on June 2 and opening the borders for particular countries in the region and Europe incited the new attacks on Montenegro

Even though Kosovo and the upcoming elections in Serbia were the occasion and topic of the President Vucic’s appearance on the TV show FoKus on a B92 television (on June 14), it is evident that the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian population in Montenegro, as well as the corona free status of Montenegro, were not less interesting.

When a TV show host asked Vucic why Serbia is testing so much since no one in the region is doing it, Vucic commented that Serbia does not want to hide anything, adding that the funniest thing is when someone from the region is teaching us what to do regarding coronavirus. These people, they do not have a laboratory, nor the PCR tests… You have two territories in the region where there are no laboratories for the PCR tests. You just laugh, let it go and say – ok, you are great, you are “corona free”  while we don’t know anything, alluding to Montenegro which proclaimed the end of pandemics on June 2 and therefore became corona free destination.

Brnabic – the decision of Montenegro is political

During her visit to Ivanjica on June 8, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic responded negatively to the journalists’ question whether a decision of Serbia to abolish the second negative test for the coronavirus infected was political and tactical. However, she added that a decision of Montenegro (author’s comment: to close its borders for Serbia) is political…we are following the advice of experts and are not making any political decisions in a fight against COVID-19. The easiest political decision would be to reduce the testing. If you look at the countries which live from tourism, you will see that today, they do not have anything. They have 10 cases, no newly infected. Do you think that’s possible? Everyone who thinks this way is either stupid or crazy, Brnabic concluded.

Ana Brnabic in a TV show Cirilica on Happy TV

However, this is not the only occasion when the Prime Minister of Serbia spoke this way. In a TV show Cirilica on Happy TV (June 15), Brnabic commented on the decisions of Greece and Montenegro to open (or close) the borders with Serbia and said that there are countries that depend on tourism but are not testing people. They are not corona free but they are not testing… You don’t know the epidemiological situation there, you don’t know what to expect nor where is the hotspot… As mafia would say „no man, no problem“, when there are no tests, there are no positive cases either. Interpreting the words of Stalin death solves all problems – no man, no problem, the Prime Minister of Serbia pointed out, when speaking of Montenegro, that if there are no tests, there are no infected.

The Institute for Public Health announced on Sunday, June 14, that one positive case was registered. It is the imported case who was in Bosnia and Herzegovina a week before. The next day, another COVID-19 positive case who also was in Bosnia and Herzegovina was registered. These two cases are the first cases registered from May 5.

Minister of Health of Serbia, Zlatibor Loncar, commented on the Montenegro’s request to Serbia – to explain 4000 recovered cases in one day. He said that Montenegro must qualify with knowledge and results so that it would receive an answer to this question, adding that Montenegro has tested from the beginning of the epidemic as much as Serbia has tested for three days. You need to test people, to have laboratories, to be expert in that field, Loncar concluded.

Serbian pulmonologist Branimir Nestorovic (famous for his controversial statements regarding COVID-19), was wondering at the beginning of June: What is the laboratory where Montenegrins have done the PCR test, since they do not have a laboratory for testing? He added that the rough testing on coronavirus is the only one performed in Montenegro. His statement was also supported by the news portal Kurir. A journalist from that tabloid commented that it is clear that Montenegro is presenting itself as a corona free country since the tourist season is beginning soon. They have been telling lies from the beginning of the pandemic. The only thing that was not a lie is that they did not have any REGISTERED cases in the beginning, only because they did not have COVID-19 tests, therefore, they could not register the infected which doesn’t mean that there were no infected cases.

Response of the NKT to Serbia

The National Coordinate Body of Montenegro (NKT) gave a statement regarding these claims, announcing that the so-far quality and efficient engagement of a whole health system and operational headquarters is the best démenti of the poorly argued and false claims presented from the highest instances in the region, inter alia, the claim that only „rough“ tests are performed in Montenegro, therefore, Montenegro does not have the adequate laboratories and testing resources. They emphasized that Montenegro has the most modern laboratory, excellent experts, and organization.

The same day, the Government of Montenegro posted a video on Facebook from the Molecular Microbiology Department, showing how and where the testing for coronavirus is performed.

Recognition for Montenegro

However, not all Serbian officials have given negative statements and criticized the Montenegrin health system during coronavirus pandemic. Epidemiologist Zoran Radovanovic said in his interview for Pobjeda (June 14) that Montenegro dealt better with coronavirus than all the countries in the region. Even the superficial look at the situation indicates that Montenegro has done the best. The epidemic started on March 17 and passed about a month and a half later with a relatively small number of victims. It is certain that the number of the infected was higher than the number of the officially registered case which accounts for 324, since COVID-19 also appears with the absent, or more frequently, very mild symptoms. However, Montenegrin epidemiologists are keeping the situation under control. If it wasn’t the case, the epidemic would burst from May 5, when this disease was diagnosed for the last time, as this recognized scientist concluded.

A video with a description Eight days of protest in Poland against mandatory vaccination was posted on May 9 on a Facebook page Pravo na slobodu (Right to Freedom). The video displays tens of thousands of citizens gathered on the streets. Analysis of the video confirms its authenticity as well as the fact that the video was not created in May this year as it is claimed on Facebook pages that shared it. The video was created in Warsaw during the mass protests in June 2017 across Poland and the reason behind this is the new judiciary reform.

Original video from 2017 from the protests in Warsaw

At the time of writing, the video on the page Pravo na Slobodu has more than 165k of views and almost 6k of shares. Besides this page, the video was posted by other pages supporting anti-vaxxers and promoting conspiracy theories – Srpska čast (Serbian Honor), STOP 5G Srbija, Glavna grupa stranke Ivana Pernara (the Main Group of Ivan Pernar’s Party) etc. – in other words, 106 of them in total. Judging by the comments, a significant number of followers perceived this post as true and invited to the protests in their country. Those who tried to point out to this hoax were outnumbered.

Notion and consequences of COVID-19 brought the issue of vaccine usage and effectiveness to the fore. This example clearly demonstrates that the anti-vaccination movements and theories are present and active as well as that people easily believe everything they read on social media.

Knowing that the measures against spread of coronavirus are on force in Poland just like in the majority of countries (including measures banning every type of gathering), it is clear that the mass protests would definitely be banned. After all, if this event even occurred during pandemic, it would be the breaking news in the world media.

In her speech in the Parliament of the Republic of Serbia on April 29, 2020, Nada Kostic, MP, internist and professor on the Medical Faculty in Belgrade, presented numerous conspiracy theories on coronavirus, its emergence, situation development but also on the world in future. In the beginning of her address, Kostic emphasized that she will „use the pieces of evidence in her speech and not her own ideas“. However, she did not present a single credible piece of evidence confirming her theories; therefore, they remained in the conspiracy domain.

Nada Kostic in the Parliament, on April 29, 2020.

Coronavirus origin

She began her speech stating that the virus does not have natural but artificial origin. However, there is no proof for this claim. Scientists claim that the virus has natural origin, or, that it was transmitted from animals to humans, which is the opinion of the World Health Organization as the most relevant institution in this situation.

However, she did not stop here but continued with this statement: „If we look back then years, all coronaviruses are artificial, no matter if we call them swine, bird, rabbit, these or those, and no matter if there are 19, 20 or 50 of them, all of them are artificial in fact.“ Besides claiming that large world pandemics caused by swine flu or COVID-19 are laboratory made, which is denied, she presented a piece of disinformation that the swine and bird flu also belong to the family of coronaviruses. However, swine and bird flu belong to the family of Orthomyxovirus while coronavirus belongs to the family Coronaviridae.

5G theory still trending

She also reflected on the alleged censoring of a certain content, adding that when uttering the terms 5G network or vaccination, YouTube and social media automatically shut down. It is true that YouTube is limiting videos which make a connection between 5G and coronavirus, but no case of banning the access to this platform has been noticed due to uttering or writing certain terms.

In her address, Dr. Kostic refers to Canadian scientist David Like, but in fact, she is referring to famous British conspiracy theorist David Icke and his theory that „5G has a very strong electromagnetic field, up to 60mhz and if it focuses on one place, that place is going to be burnt.“ When it comes to David Icke, YouTube recently deleted his channel on that platform and Facebook removed his profile due to a negative impact that his coronavirus conspiracy theories have on the population.

Kostic presented another claim – that 5G masts were installed on the Belgrade Fair. That theory comes from one of the photos posted on Facebook in the beginning of April this year when it was claimed that 5G mast was installed there. In fact, it is a 4G mast, which has been there for some time.

In June 2019 in Serbia, only one 5G mast has been installed in the Science and Technology Park in Belgrade, and the plan is to continue with the installation of the network during this year.

Kostic also states that the 5G network is sucking the oxygen, which results in people frequent perspiring and yawning. The similar theory was spreading on social media and news portals, but in this theory it is claimed that the 5G network caused the novel coronavirus, because it sucked the oxygen out of lungs. The DFC has already addressed the conspiracy theories about the 5G network, and the WHO denied the link between the novel coronavirus and the technology.

Dead scientists, Satanism and indispensable Gates

Further in her statement, the doctor said that a Japanese Nobel prize winner stated that all of the scientists who had been allegedly engineering the novel coronavirus are dead. It is fake news which has been spreading for a long period of time on social media and news portals, and which was denied already by many foreign and domestic fact-check websites.

Besides the well-known conspiracy theories, she referred to the theory on Satanists and cannibalism, particularly child cannibalism. She mentioned the „adeno drugs“ (as she called them) that Satanists allegedly use for rejuvenation. Dr Kostic probably thought about adrenochrome, a hemostatic agent that promotes clotting, preventing blood loss from open wounds. It is true that there is a constant debate about adrenochrome’s psychedelic effects, but it was never determined whether it has an impact on rejuvenation, as considered by conspiracy theorists.

Kostic also spoke about alleged Bill Gates’s plan to reduce the population number from seven billions to one golden billion. The theory has been debunked many times before by fact-check portals, such as Faktograf and Snopes.

The conspiracy theorists refer to Gates speech at the TEDtalk TV show in 2010. Gates stated then that the population on the planet affects increase in CO2 emission, which must be reduced.

His words that „if we really make a good job with the new vaccines, health services, and reproduction, we could reduce it (the population number) by 10-15 percent“ were used by conspiracy theorists to claim that the world elite seeks to reduce the population number using vaccines.

However, Gates does not suggest the reduction of the population number on the planet through health services and the development of new vaccines, but he hopes that the technological advancement in these fields will result in the slower global population growth, which Gates was talking about in the interviews for CNN and Forbes.

Kostic added that the next step is a vaccine with a chip to be inserted in people, which would result in people losing control over their bodies. It is the most spread theory, and almost every credible world media or fact-check organization has debunked it.

Dr Nada Kostic has been elected in the Parliament of Serbia from the list of the Dosta je bilo movement, and later she joined the Democratic political party. Kostic was even appointed for a short period of time a Minister of Health of Serbia, during the provisional government after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic from 2000 to 2001.

The Protiv Novog Svetskog Poretka (Against New World Order) Facebook page posted on April 22 a video from the Next News Network TV show with dr. Rashid Buttar. Within fifty minutes, dr. Buttar made many assertions on the novel coronavirus, following many conspiracy theories including those already famous, like 5G network, Bill Gates, vaccination, and tracking chips. The initial video of the show was taken down from YouTube because it violated the platform’s Community Guidelines. However, one part of the video of the TV show, posted on that Facebook page, was translated to our language and gained huge popularity on that platform. In the moment of writing of this article, the video has 250 thousand views and 5.783 shares. On Saturday, April 25, Marko Milacic shared the video on his Facebook page, where it got 300 shares more.

Who is Rashid Buttar?

The video is debatable not only because it promotes numerous conspiracy theories and unverified claims, but also because of a controversial personality of dr. Buttar. In fact, dr. Buttar graduated from both biology and theology, and later on from osteopathy, but he has no qualifications in the field of medicine. He has been known as a great fan of conspiracy theories and a supporter of specific alternative treatments in medicine, which are frequently ineffective and may have fatal outcomes. For example, dr. Buttar advocates for treating child autism with chelation therapy, i.e. removing heavy metals from the body because he believes that autism is caused by a huge amount of mercury in an organism that needs to be removed. Relevant medical institutions consider that method ineffective for treating autism and even potentially risky.

The North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners charged dr. Buttar in April 2008 of “unethical conduct towards four patients with cancer”, and after the hearing, the decision on his suspension has been stayed. Buttar did not lose his license, but he was imposed three restrictions –  cease the use of hydrogen peroxide (which he normally used in his work), stop treating any cancer patients and children less than 18 years of age. Because of the previous four cases and the treatment of minors with autism without previously examining them, the Board formally reprimanded dr. Buttar in 2010, even though he was permitted to continue with his work.

Moreover, on his website dr. Buttar claims (which was even highlighted by the host in the video) being one of the top 50 doctors in the USA. The site states that “the Phillips Publishing and Health Directions Inc. companies, as well as cardiologist Steven Sinatra, listed dr. Buttar as one of the top 50 doctors in the USA”, but there is no evidence or relevant source to support that.

SARS-CoV-2 engineered in a lab

Apart from other claims in the video, dr. Buttar devoted most of his time to revealing the truth behind the novel coronavirus and proving the claim that the coronavirus was created in a lab.

Claiming that he started his investigation behind the coronavirus after many people had asked him to find the truth, dr. Buttar explained that he discovered that “the novel coronavirus was actually a chimeric version, something that was developed in the United States and in 2015 and it was published in Nature magazine, despite having a moratorium by the US Government to prevent any chimeric research – taking natural substances of a virus, and then mutating it, genetically modifying it, changing its configuration morphologically to gain function (gain-of-function research). That basically means that they are making something that already may have some potential to cause harm, making it more harmful, more virulent, more resistant“.

The research that the host and dr. Buttar refers to was published in Nature magazine in 2015, and on March 20, 2020, it was updated with the editors’ note: “We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.”

Additionally, a new analysis on the SARS-CoV-2 genome did not find any proof of it being a laboratory engineered or intentionally manipulated virus.

Apart from the theory on the engineering of the novel coronavirus, the most popular ones are those connecting this virus with Bill Gates, including the claims that he knew in advance about the COVID-19 pandemic, or that he intends to use vaccination to insert microchips in the population. Equally present on social media is the theory that 5G technology is responsible for the spreading of the virus, which science community characterizes as absurdity and nonsense.

The Digital Forensic Center analyzed an interview of Liu Jinn, an Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, published in the “Vijesti” daily newspaper on April 15. Since the coronavirus outbreak, China has been accused many times of not responding promptly and not sharing information with the rest of the world and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the interview, the Ambassador denied such and other claims, accusing the countries of conducting disinformation campaign against Beijing. For the reasons of objectively informing the public, we want to point out to a series of disinformation Mr. Jinn said. Note that we have previously sent our reaction to the interview to the editorial board of “Vijesti”, but it was not published. Read what the Chinese Ambassador did not say.

False dates

Speaking about the dates, the Ambassador stated that hospitals in Hubei Province reported three suspicious cases on December 27 and that they promptly informed WHO and other countries about that on January 3. That day, the national authorities in China reported to WHO 44, and not three patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology. Of the 44 cases reported, 11 were severely ill, while the remaining 33 patients were in stable condition.

In fact, the Chinese authorities informed that the first case of what we know today as coronavirus was registered on December 8, meaning long before December 27 as the Ambassador claimed.

Additionally, a study by the Chinese researchers published in The Lancet medical journal (which the Ambassador was referring to) says that the first person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 was on December 1, 2019, and that the person had no contact with the infamous market.

Wu Wenjuan, a senior doctor at Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital and one of the authors of the study, told the BBC Chinese Service that the patient was an elderly man who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

“He lived four or five buses from the market, and because he was sick, he basically didn’t go out,” Wu Wenjuan said.

South China Morning Post writes that the first case was registered as early as November 17, referring to the Government data.

“Hermetically sealed” transparency

The Ambassador states further that during the response process to the epidemic China showed openness and transparency, that they reacted on time, adding that the doubts on China’s figures came from typical disinformation.

When it comes to transparency from the beginning and sharing of information, the facts reveal different data. On December 30, Dr. Li Wenliang sent a message to a group of fellow doctors warning them about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled SARS, urging them to take protective measures against the infection. Two days later, the Wuhan Public Security Bureau issued summons to Dr. Li, accusing him of spreading rumors. The same day, Dr. Li signed a statement acknowledging his misdemeanor and promising not to commit such acts in the future. Besides him, China arrested seven people more, accusing them of committing similar acts, and their destiny has been unknown.

In January, Dr. Li posted on Weibo, a Chinese social media, a video of him informing the public that on January 10 he had coughing attacks and got a fever the following day. In late January, on January 30 to be precise, he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, which he died of on February 7 at the age of 34. Even though the Chinese authorities accused Dr. Wenliang in January of spreading panic, today they are honoring him. At the beginning of April, he was named a martyr posthumously – it is the highest honor the Communist Party of China can bestow on a citizen killed working to serve the country.

Late response

Claims that China responded on time raised doubts in the whole world. Hence, a complete lockdown of Wuhan was imposed as late as January 23, seven weeks after the first coronavirus case. According to a statement of the city’s mayor Zhou Xianwang, five million people had left Wuhan by that time. The Chinese Ambassador accuses the world of disinforming, whereas he does not say in what way to understand the WHO’s announcement from January 14, when they posted on Twitter that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Chinese authorities did not find clear evidence of the coronavirus human-to-human transmission. The same day, Wuhan Health Commission announced that they found no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Six days later, on January 20, the chaos broke out when the Chinese services admitted for the first time that the virus may be transmitted human-to-human, and three days after that, the lockdown of Wuhan had begun.

According to the AP, the top Chinese officials did not warn the public for six days, after having determined that they were facing the novel coronavirus pandemic.

During those six days, the city of Wuhan, where the disease originated from, hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people, and millions began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations.

President of China Xi Jinping warned the citizens on the seventh day, January 20; but by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected, according to internal documents obtained by the AP and expert estimates.

The number of cases (not)true

Doubts on the coronavirus active cases and deaths in China are a frequent topic of many world media. This makes sense, because, until today, China has a lower rate of infection and deaths than the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain, even though the population of it alone is double than of all these countries together. The C.I.A.’s report shows too that the rate of infection and deaths in China is higher, claiming that the Chinese authorities do not know the reach of the virus spread, and that “the bureaucrats in the city of Wuhan have been lying its headquarters in Beijing and lowered the infection and death rates, fearful of being punished”. When it comes to figures – Hubei Province took the worst hit at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and on February 9 it reported the increase of cases by 27 percent. In the following two days, the rate was 20 and 22 percent respectively. However, figures show a huge jump of 742 percent, i.e. there were 14,000 newly infected, after which the figures suddenly dropped. The Chinese authorities justified the jump by changing the counting method. However, the changes were introduced seven days earlier. An alternative explanation for a lower rate of cases after February 12 may be found on a day after the date, when the party heads were removed both in Hubei Province and Wuhan, the Economist reveals. A similar scenario occurred in Shandong Province. Before the removal in the local justice department, the rate of infection in one prison jumped from two to 200 prisoners, whereas a day after the election of new heads, the two cases were reported.

Graphic showing a relation between the drop in the rate of infection and the political events in the country. Source: The Economist

Almost all the most developed counties of the world have been doubting the Chinese transparency since the beginning of the epidemic, with ever-increasing widespread voices that Beijing ought to pay reparations for the slow response to coronavirus and hiding of information. Even though Beijing went on the diplomatic offensive by sending aid to many countries and by claiming it fought out successfully the coronavirus, which many, including the French President, do not believe, it is certain that the detailed investigation on everything is waiting for its closure.

In days when almost the whole world is facing a lack of medical supplies needed to fight coronavirus, the piece of news that Russia is sending medical aid to the USA spread all around the world with almost the same intensity as the pandemic itself.

And while many media outlets, including the American ones, were surprised, it turned out that the shipment was not free.

Russian media outlets were the first to publish the piece of news on March 31, day after the conversation of Trump and Putin, that medical supplies from Moscow are on the way to New York. They also wrote about it on April 1, when the Russian Ilyushin landed to the John Kennedy Airport. Headline is the same in almost all articles in Russian media: Airplane with Russian aid landed to New York.

Versions of this information were spread by numerous local and regional portals with headlines such as Russia sent aid to the USA, Trump accepted Putin’s aid. Only a couple of media outlets made corrections, or, published the information that this is not aid, but the shipment that Washington paid for.

And while numerous U.S. media outlets thought that this way April Fools’ joke, they received the official explanation. Spokeswoman of State Department, Morgan Ortagus, explained that the supplies purchase followed the telephone conversation that the Presidents Trump and Putin had on March 30.

It is not precised in the statements how much the USA paid for supplies that the official Moscow described as aid, just like the majority of local media.

Both countries have provided humanitarian assistance to each other in times of crisis in the past and will no doubt do so again in the future. This is a time to work together to overcome a common enemy that threatens the lives of all of us, says Ortagus.

Numerous experts think that the delivery of Russian supplies represents a part of the Kremlin propaganda campaign which is strengthening Putin’s strong internal position, while Russia is represented as a savior on a global plan. Meanwhile, as American media informed, the analysts warned Trump that Moscow is using this type of activities to strengthen the influence and possibility of having American sanctions abolished (imposed for electoral interference in 2016). Trump did not want to comment the situation in detail but he stated that Russian propaganda does not concern him since the medical supplies which could save many lives are the crucial factor.

On the other hand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation does not deny that Washington paid for the supplies, stating that the USA paid for half of supplies while the other half was paid by Moscow. These claims are denied by an article on Reuters U.S. paying Russia for entire planeload of coronavirus equipment: U.S. official . This agency conveyed the message of a high official in the White House who wanted to stayed anonymous but he stated that his country paid for the planeload of equipment.

The United States is purchasing the supplies and equipment outright, as with deliveries from other countries. We appreciate Russia selling these items to us below market value.” explained high official.

American media did not succeed in finding out the value of the complete delivery but they announced that 60 tons of supplies were received, including respirators, masks and other protective gear.

Russian opposition also criticized Putin for delivering medical supplies to the USA, emphasizing that Russia is also lacking masks and medical supplies for fighting coronavirus.

It is incredible that we are selling the enormous quantity of medical supplies to the USA, but the whole Russia except for Moscow is lacking it, tweeted Leonid Volkov, close associate of Alexei Navalny, leading critic of Putin.

UPDATE: After the article has been posted, the editorial of Novosti updated the original article adding that arrest took place two months ago and not today.


An article headlined: Harvard professor made and sold coronavirus to China? FBI in major bust arrested the expert and two Chinese men (VIDEO), was posted on portal Novosti on April 5. Subsequently, the article was taken by the portals EspresoInformer and IzazovKodexKurirRTV BNMontenegroClick and Pink.

The article claims that a Harvard professor, Charles Lieber (60) and two Chinese men were arrested on that day in the USA, since there are indications that they sold coronavirus to China.

Referring to FBI, they are adding the following:

FBI announced that there are indications that the USA have just found the man that was producing and selling coronavirus to China. Doctor Charles, Head of the Chemistry and Biology Department at the University of Harvard was arrested – said the Heads of FBI during their address to the nation.

However, this is another piece of disinformation. What is this all about?

On January 28, the United States Department of Justice posted a piece of news on the official site that the Harvard professor and two Chinese citizens were charged in three separate China-related cases.

Professor Charles Lieber, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint for making a materially false and fictitious statement on receipt of financial means from China.

According to court documents, since 2008, Dr. Lieber has received more than $15 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD). These grants, inter alia, require that Lieber is obliged to disclose to these bodies significant foreign donations, or financial support that he may receive from foreign governments or foreign entities.

As it turned out, Lieber was a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) from 2012 to 2017 through the participation at Thousand Talents Plan.  Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, he received $50,000 USD per month, his living expenses were covered, he received additional $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT and he was obliged to work not less than 9 months a year for WUT.

The complaint states that in 2018 and 2019, Lieber lied about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Plan and affiliation with WUT during an interview with investigators from National Institutes for Health, i.e. he claimed that he has never participated in this program.

When it comes to two Chinese citizens, they do not have any connection with Dr. Lieber. They are charged for smuggling the research from institutions that they were at and for sending them to China. It should be added that these three cases are completely unrelated, except for the fact that China is mentioned in each of them.

Therefore, a doctor was arrested for telling falsehoods to the American authorities on his financing from abroad and his case has nothing to do with coronavirus.

Many world media outlets wrote about this at the end of January and beginning of February this year.

UPDATE: Following our announcement, the Montenegrin media CDM, RTCG, Portal Analitika, Antena M, Pobjeda, FOS Media and Kolektiv have corrected the information and announced that China has not officially declared the end of the epidemic.


Numerous Montenegrin and regional portals have announced today that China has declared the end of the coronavirus epidemic outbreak. The news, according to the comments, made many citizens happy, but unfortunately it is not true.

Montenegrin portals Analitika, IN4S, CDM, RTCG, Pobjeda, PV informer, Antena M, FOS Media, Kodex, Kolektiv and Standard published the identical news – “China has declared end of epidemic outbreak”, referring to Banja Luka ATV. The information states that the spread of COVID-19 virus in China has stopped completely, and that the number of confirmed cases of infection is less than 3,000.

The portals transmitted a statement by the spokesman of the National Health Commission, Mi Feng.

On the other hand, the world media, including the Reuters, the New York Times, the US News, as well as China’s Sinhua.net portal, have published more complete information in which there were no words of the end of epidemic, but rather the emergence of new imported cases of coronavirus in China. It is also claimed that the risk of a second wave of infection is increased at the moment when transmission among China’s local population has actually stopped because the number of those infected has fallen below 3,000.

Also, these media have published a complete quote of Feng’s statement.

“China had an accumulated total of 693 imported cases entering from 42 countries, which meant the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big”.

It is stated that the virus is brought mainly to China by its nationals residing abroad, and that 45 new cases were registered on Saturday, down by 9 on the previous day.

This case only confirms that in these especially sensitive days, when we are all waiting for encouraging news, the media should pay extra attention and verify completely all the information.

This week again, the Digital Forensic Center has noted numerous pieces of disinformation and new conspiracy theories on corona virus. Besides that, we also initiated new live blog where we are posting the most important information on COVID-19 from Montenegro, region and world. Find the most important events that marked this week in this weekly review.

Dangerous video has been circulating on Facebook

A video which was for the first time posted on Facebook page Danak u krvi u Srbiji has been circulating on Facebook. It aims to convey the message that coronavirus is not a threat. The actors of the video are Wolfgang Wodarg, German pulmonologist and longtime MP of Social Democratic Party of Germany in Bundestag, Tom Jefferson from Cochrane Institute in Denmark and Dr. Michael Kentsch. The three of them are discussing the current situation for German television broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (2DF) and are pointing out two theses:  

  1. COVID-19 is not more dangerous than the ordinary flu
  2. COVID-19 does not require isolation measures, people are needlessly in quarantine without medical explanation

During pandemic, numerous theories have emerged and are being spread on a daily basis. This kind of content is typically characterized by numerous claims, presented as facts which have cause-effect relations, but with no credible proofs.

We are using this opportunity to appeal to all the citizens that the posts of individuals on social media are not a credible source of information on coronavirus. It is necessary to follow the posts and information coming from official and credible addresses such as the Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health and World Health Organization.


Absence of help

Jerusalem Post posted the alleged statement of an Israeli doctor living and working in Parma. As it is stated in the article, Dr. Peleg said for Channel 12 that due to lack of capacities, Italy is no longer offering any help to people older than 60. It is not possible to find that statement or a similar one in original version. On the other hand, that post was condemned by numerous Italians on Facebook, claiming that it represents fake news.


Russian citizen arrested for spreading disinformation

Russian citizen was arrested in Montenegro for spreading fake news and disinformation on coronavirus. In fact, A.G. (35) posted on one social media that there are around 1000 people infected with coronavirus, that six of them died and that Montenegro is expecting the Italian scenario as well as that the staff of Avala hotel is infected and hospitalized


Creating panic due to coronavirus

  In his article for portal Pravda, Velimir Erakovic is explaining the critical situation that Montenegro is in, affected by coronavirus. Article mentions alarming situation in quarantines, breaking privacy rights and alleged hoax concerning moratorium on loans as well as Montenegro being on the verge of bankruptcy due to stoppage of criminal activities because of coronavirus (smuggling of drugs, cigarettes and weapon).


Corona „united“ ex Yugoslavia

Corona „united“ ex Yugoslavia. Take a look at how many posts have been noted by DFC team during the period from March 20 – 26, which hashtags and emoticons are the most popular and which regional media are posting the majority of news on COVID19


We initiated COVID19 live blog

We are receiving news on coronavirus through social media, media and notifications. There are incomplete or false information everywhere, despite the efforts of the officials and media to remove them. Many are confused by that turmoil and are looking for answers. Point of DFC blog is to present in a simple manner the proofs of disinformation and narratives being spread in media and on social media but also to present the official information on pandemic


G7 noted Chinese disinformation campaign

We are receiving news on coronavirus through social media, media and notifications. There are incomplete or false information everywhere, despite the efforts of the officials and media to remove them. Many are confused by that turmoil and are looking for answers. Point of DFC blog is to present in a simple manner the proofs of disinformation and narratives being spread in media and on social media but also to present the official information on pandemic.


Infodemic

During coronavirus pandemic, citizens and media are being faced with numerous pieces of disinformation. When it comes to Western Balkans, around 245 thousand articles referring to coronavirus have been noted during last 30 days. Our colleague, Milan Jovanovic, was explaining for RTCG the dangers of fake news in pandemic period.


Man who died in Lazio is not a Montenegrin citizen

Some Montenegrin and Serbian media posted fake news that a man who died in Lazio (33) is a Montenegrin citizen and also the youngest victim of corona virus in that region. It was stated form Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro that the information conveyed by particular Montenegrin media, referring to Italian site and posts on social media is not true.


Deep state, baba Vanga and coronavirus

Week behind us is marked by numerous conspiracy theories. One of the Democratic Front leaders, Nebojsa Medojevic, claims that the whole crisis provoked by COVID-19 is only the artificial project that a deep state lies behind and that the point is to create chaos in Europe, especially in Orthodoxy. Appearing on the YouTube show „Intervju – u Centar“, Medojevic pointed out that the same mighty leaders are lying behind moving of the military formations ISIL to Europe, which media present as „migrant issue.“

On the other hand, in a debatable article published on Serbian portal Telegraf and after that on portal Politika Ekspres, it is claimed that baba Vanga predicted COVID19. These two articles reached more than 30 Facebook groups, which together have more than 2 million people.


Sputnik: It is possible that virus was made in order to reduce Italian population

Sputnik team from Latvia, in the article published on March 15 is presenting numerous non-founded conspiracy theories on coronavirus. Starting from the idea that COVID-19 originates from Latvia, to the one that it is made in order to reduce the number of old persons in Italy. The argument which is supporting their claim is that Italy has a large number of retired people, who are burdening the budget with their incomes.


Conte became Bolsonaro

Viral post on Facebook, allegedly containing the statement of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, is fake.

“We lost control. I don’t understand what else we could do, all the possible solutions on Earth have been used. Our only hope is in Heaven, God save your people.”

Post is displaying the alleged photography of Conte.

It turned out that the quotation is made up. It cannot be found on any credible website through Google search, and the message does not correlate with the recent measures that Italy took. It should be added that the President of Brazil Bolsonaro is on the photo, and not the person whose statement is conveyed.

Even though Facebook marked it as fake, the post has been spread on social media.


Poland banned the transit for Russians airplanes

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Warsaw did not block any plane to Italy, adding that Polish airspace remains open for transit. The responses followed after the tweet of Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov who claimed that the Russian plane to Italy, loaded with goods for fighting coronavirus, was obliged to take a turn after the authorities banned the entrance into the Polish airspace.

After the official démenti, Senator deleted his tweet.


Coordinated „attacks“ on Holy Communion

In the article on portal Srbin.info, it is claimed that media in Serbia and Montenegro are attacking the Serbian Orthodox Church in a coordinate manner, due to religious gatherings and Communion with one teaspoon.

They also state that „making people decide between health and freedom of religion is nothing but a dangerous manipulation which should justify totalitarian order.

The authorities from all around the world are banning and punishing all kinds of gatherings, not as a sign of Totalitarianism but as a way to prevent spreading of virus.

Two pieces of news are the best reflection of a danger that the gatherings of any kind, including the religious, represent in this moment.

The first one is the fact that Milutin, Bishop of Valjevo and two priests of this eparchy were infected with coronavirus this week during liturgy. In the official announcement of the eparchy it is stated that „he, as a faithful shepherd, walked and served his eparchy, the way that he has been serving God and mankind for more than half of a century.“

The other one is the piece of news that Pope Francis began his extraordinary Urbi et orbi on Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican where he prays for the end of coronavirus pandemic and gives his complete forgiveness to believers. In normal circumstances, the Square would be full of people listening to Pope’s message but yesterday – there was no one.

The picture that has made its way to history

A video of two Italians buying the allegedly efficient medicine to treat coronavirus on the Moscow airport has been circulating on social media. Two men entered a pharmacy and bought „Arbidol“, allegedly efficient medicine to treat coronavirus. Moreover, coronavirus is drawn on the packing of the medicine. One of the actors of the video is saying that „there has been so many deaths in Italy since this medicine is not available, while Russians can protect themselves thanks to it.

„Arbidol“ (falsely called Abidol) was developed by a Russian pharmaceutical company „JSC Pharmstandard“ and is not available in Europe and the USA due to the fact that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not include it into their approved flu medicaments. That is the reason why this medicine can be bought in Moscow but not in Europe and the USA.

„Arbidol“ is actually a name for the medicine whose generic term is „umifenovir“ and it was not created in 2019 as it was stated but during the 1970s in the Soviet Union. Patent right expired in 2007 and since then, „Arbidol“ is produced in numerous companies in Russia, Belarus, and China.

A graphic view of tweets on “Abidol” or “Arbidol” on Twitter.

Besides this one, there is another video with the same claims. Unnamed person from our language region claims that it is a sort of anti-virus substance, to fight the epidemic.

He added that a pharmacist ensured him that the virus is nothing new and that it has existed since forever.

„Don’t panic, goodbye friends and all the best from Russia“, he concluded at the end of the video.

WHO’s website dedicated to current pandemic states that to date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.

Many times have we emphasized that the individuals’ posts on social media are not a credible source of information on coronavirus. When there is the cure, relevant institutions will inform us, but not Facebook or other social media. It is necessary to follow information and posts coming from credible and official addresses, such as the World Health Organization, the Institute for Public Health and the Ministry of Health.

While the world is fighting the coronavirus, there is some encouraging news. A patient from Genoa (79) was cured from coronavirus with the experimental medicine named „Remdesivir“. On the other hand, in China, more precisely in Wuhan, there was not a single case of coronavirus yesterday.