The daily Informer published an article under the title: “Trump imposing sanctions to Shiptars: Not abolishing taxes until Monday will result in a blockade”.

It the sensational manner are been highlighted the alleged statements of the American President, Donald Trump, on the imposition of sanctions to politicians from Kosovo and on his deadline given in order to resolve the issue of achieving compromise between Belgrade and Pristina, otherwise Kosovo would face sanctions.

As certain Serbian media outlets indicate these statements as “relevant”, the information source remained quite unclear to us. The claims distributed on their portals were not however credible and did match neither with those of State Department officials nor with those of their source, the media in Pristina. This is also confirmed by the statement of Phillip S. Kosenett, the US Ambassador in Kosovo: “We invite Kosovo and other regional actors to show their dedication to normalization; regional peace and stability, and to the EU integration path. Once again, our position on the current suspension of import taxes from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina represents one of the necessary measures in order to return the momentum of a dialogue process. We expect other actors to take constructive measures themselves”. Likewise, the US Ambassador in Belgrade, Kyle Scott, highlighted the importance of negotiations between these two parties, and in the morning show of Prva TV he claimed that the sanctions were not solutions, indicating that at last the only acceptable manner for these two parties was to achieve the compromise.

Source: Twitter

Additionally, the two US Ambassadors in a joint statement presented the position of President Donald Trump, who invited the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to seize the moment and use their political leadership to make a decision with a view to reconciling the interests of both states.

The media in Pristina in the Albanian language reported on this topic and denied the statements, while the ones in the Serbian language reported similarly as Informer did. Mentioning “the media in Pristina” as the source without stating its concrete name, represents a type of deceiving reporting on the part of Informer.  

Additionally, this analysis is supported by the post of the President of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaçi, on his official Facebook profile in the midst of these speculations:

Source: Facebook

However, what is certain is that Informer reported the news in a sensatinal manner and that through different sources it relies upon the same claim aiming to confuse the public and highlights facts that are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Disinforming citizens with a view to raising panic

The Serbian organization Pravo na izbor posted on its Facebook page that NATO, in its book Immunological Adjuvants[1] and Vaccines, marked the vaccines as a biological weapon.


The Pravo na izbor organization posted on its page an image highlighting that in this book on page 37 it says: “Vaccines cause autoimmune diseases. An aluminum which is adjuvant increases the production of certain antibodies that cause allergies and anaphylactic shock.”

An analysis of the entire mentioned book and the emphasized page 37 has shown that there is no even an approximate formulation of this, all the more, the syntagma of biological weapons is not mentioned anywhere in this study.

It is important to note that the book Immunological Adjuvants and Vaccines was published in 1989, even if the information referred to by the organization Pravo na izbor was correct, it would be questionable to rely on a 30-year-old survey, especially when it comes to the medicine field.

The distribution of such information is aimed at deceiving the public and raising panic on sensitive issues.

The portal pravonaizbor.rs, which stands behind the Facebook page of the same name has listed, in the opus of its activities, questioning the validity of compulsory vaccination in the Republic of Serbia on the basis of numerous legal, health, ethical and other arguments on the “face and back” of vaccines and vaccinations.

In the background of this story propagated by the portal and the Facebook page Pravo na izbor, emerges the case of Dr Jovana Stojković, against who the lawsuit has been filed by a group of doctors to the Court of Honor of the Regional Medical Chamber in Belgrade, asking for the revocation of her medical license for spreading panic and for public appearances, which caused a decrease in vaccination coverage and led to the epidemic of smallpox in Serbia.

[1] A substance assisting the immune system of the body to react to antigens

On February 6, 2019, a day after Macedonia signed the Accession Protocol to NATO, Sputnik Serbia published on its website an article on similar content, trying to attract readers with the catchy title: „Goodbye Macedonia! If joins NATO, Serbia will have to change its name as well“.

The text states that the citizens of Macedonia refused the new name in a democratic manner at the referendum, or that North Macedonia did not get the legitimacy of its people, which is presented otherwise by the State Election Commission of Macedonia. It is important to add that the author of the text “forgot” to refer to the non-binding and consultative caretaker of the referendum. According to the data of the State Election Commission, available on its official website, there were 36.89% of voters at the referendum. To the question: „Are you for the EU and NATO membership, along with the acceptance of the agreement between FYR Macedonia and Republic of Greece?“, 91.41% of the citizens gave affirmative answer while 5.66% of the citizens were against.

The text does not mention recent relations between Greece and Macedonia, which was the obstacle for the Macedonia’s integration process, thus making a reader deprived from complete and accurate information.

Even though the General Secretary of the Alliance, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, highlighted that the signing of the Prespa Agreement was a first crucial step forward for the beginning of the accession process to NATO, the author’s focus was on the fact that Macedonia approved the recognition of Juan Guido as the President of Venezuela and on the sarcastic comments, such as the one stating that joining NATO and becoming its member required not only to respect the will of your citizens but to have „the luxury“ to revoke the will of any nation on Earth.

The author also makes mocking comments that Montenegro, after joining NATO, has become unofficially – Montenegro, and that Macedonia should have changed its name to North Macedonia in order to „march“ into the Alliance, even though it is known that neither our country nor Macedonia were conditioned by NATO to change their names. In this way, the reader is even more deceived and drifted further away from the truth.

“Nikšić is currently the only option for relocating a military airport, in case if the existing Golubovci is no longer defined as a special purpose place for the needs of the Army of Montenegro”, announced the Montenegrin Minister of Defense Predrag Bošković during his working visit to Nikšić on February 4th 2019. In order to carry out such an opportunity, he said, it is necessary for the Municipality of Nikšić to, primarily at Kapino Polje, where the airport is located, realize the necessary infrastructural facilities that need to be defined prior to making decision on relocation.

In4s.netportal used the potential relocation of a military airport to, once again, give the impression to the public that everything in Montenegro is being done in the interest of NATO, while, at the same time, interests of the state are being neglected.

An article under the title “Writing of IN4S Confirmed: Kapino polje – a Runway for NATO Aircrafts”, was published on the in4s portal on Monday, February 4th.

source: in4s.net

The text states that the NATO is getting its foot in the Montenegrin door, and that everyone who did not believe in it got a confirmation, personally from the “Montenegrin NATO Ambassador”, Minister Predrag Bošković.

What is disputable about the content is the fact that the entire article is based on statements given by both the Minister and the Mayor of Nikšić, who, not once, did mention NATO. Therefore, it is concluded that there is a great discrepancy between title and content, raising the question of what kind of confirmation was given by Bošković and Grbović.

“I hope that issues relating to the airport at Kapino Polje will be implemented in the coming period, in order for it to be able to respond to requests of partly civilian and military aviation. Today, we have also discussed the planning and the reconstruction of military garrisons, the construction of facilities of the General Staff, and the fact that the suggested deadlines should be met, some of which are urgent. Our Agency is already working on this, and I hope that we will respond to the needs of the Army, which will further implement these projects ” – Grbović’s statement based on which the author of the text came to the conclusion that in the future NATO aircraft will be landing in Kapino polje.

source: in4s.net

In addition, the text itself represents the recycling of old content. During the Bošković’s visit to the town at the foot of Trebjesa in November 2018, the Minister pointed out that there is a possibility of relocating a military airport from Podgorica to Kapino Polje, due to the intentions of expanding the civilian airport in Podgorica. Shortly after, the In4s portal reacts, and publishes the text in which almost the same claims are made as it is now, adding that the Montenegrin government offers its cities for NATO basis purposes. In the next few days, the text was republished by numerous other, mostly Serbian media outlets.

This writing is a classic example of the text content that does not correspond to the title, with a view to deceiving the reader, while on the other hand, recycling unverified information extends life cycle of this disinformation.

“Death, blood, war, insults, exclusive confidential findings and the announcement of the apocalypse are characteristic for the cover pages of the pro-regime tabloid Informer” – this is how the team of Raskrikavanje described the mentioned media. The analysis that they carried out, looking back to 2018, indicated that the Informer had 351 fake, i.e. not fact-based news on total 306 cover pages.

The Informer entered 2019 in the same fashion. Within the issue from January 10th both on the second and third page, as well as on the portal, news was published under the headline: “NATO TREATY IS CREATING THE GREAT ALBANIA: Hashim Thaci and Edi Rama hide no more dangerous intents!”

The reason for such headline and text was an announcement of the cabinet of the Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, declaring 2019 the year of NATO in Kosovo.

“This year we are celebrating 20th anniversary of the NATO humanitarian intervention in Kosovo, the intervention that followed the massacre, ethnic cleansing and crimes of Serbian forces committed against civilian population in Kosovo, upon a failure of the world diplomatic efforts to come up with a peaceful solution for Kosovo”, it is stated in the announcement.  

On 24th March 1999 NATO forces, as it was added, launched the campaign aimed at mining the goals of Serbia “by stopping the genocide and bringing freedom to Kosovo.”

“The people of Kosovo will be eternally grateful to the NATO member states for their support”, the announcement says.

The Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama welcomed, in his Twitter post, the idea of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci to declare 2019 the NATO year.

“I welcome the brilliant idea of Hashim Thaci to declare 2019 the NATO Treaty year, 20 years after the historic intervention of the Alliance in Kosovo. This coincides with the tenth anniversary of Albania’s NATO membership. May the decision on border opening in Morina, on the Schengen principle, be the highlight of the NATO year. “

Based on the announcement from the Kosovo Presiden’s office, and relying on the tweet of the Albanian Prime Minister, the author of the article came to conclusions that are not reality-based.

According to the author, not only that Thaci and Rama have actually declared that they have the support of the North Atlantic Alliance for the creation of Great Albania, but also that the abolition of the border is a way to repay to the NATO Alliance for its intervention in Kosovo. Neither in the accompanying announcement, nor in the tweet post is a NATO official mentioned, and there is no statement of any official that could support these claims, thus we are not familiar with the way the Informer came to such conclusions.

This text represents an obvious example of how fictitious conclusions are being distributed to the public, through publicly available information with no argumentation and fact-checking.

The Government of Kosovo passed the decision on forming the Army of Kosovo, after the Parliament of Kosovo unanimously voted the Law on Kosovo Security Force.

106 MPs out of 120 seated Parliament of Kosovo, voted for passing on the Law, with total 45 amendments. The session was boycotted by the minority Serb MPs.

Belgrade sees the creation of the Kosovo Army as breaching the International documents, and referring to the Resolution 1244 UN, it emphasizes that the international peacekeeping forces at Kosovo (KFOR) must prevent and disarm all Albanian troops. President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, stated that he was “very concerned following the current situation in Kosovo”, saying that “the only big problem is in what partly the Albanians and partly the rest of the world” impose in Kosovo.”

Official Belgrade and its close ally Russia are very furious about that decision.

As a reaction to the adoption of the decision on creating the Army of Kosovo, the Serbian-US community launched an online petition on December 19th, addressing the President of the USA Donald Trump and Congress, asking for protection of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija.

The petition entitled “Stop the Persecution of Serbian Christians in Kosovo and Metohija” calls for Trump and Congress members to stop supporting Albanian administration led by Hashim Thaci and creation of the Army, under their control in Serbian province Kosovo and Metohija. The petition was signed by more than 5.000 people.

Several national portals, such as in4s.net and slobodacg.me posted articles on the mentioned petition, with the following headline: A Million American Serbs Require from Trump: Do not Support Thaci – the criminal.

in4s.me
slobodacg.me
Source: change.org

It could be concluded, from the headlines of these portals, that million Serbs have already signed the petition. However, that is not the case. According to the current situation, more than 5.000 have signed the petition.


The authors of the text have drawn from the context a small part of the accompanying text of the petition, stating that in the US, there are over a million American Serbs, and used it to make not only a click bate headline, but also disinform the audience, since nowhere in the text “A million Serbs” is not mentioned in the context of what is written in the headline of the article.

Unlike in4s.net and slobodacg.me, other portals that wrote about petition (politika.co.rs, novosti.rs, time.rs, b92.net, nezavisne.net) tended to present the real situation, having headlines like “The Petition of the US Serbs addressing Trump”.


How the SPP Bots “pushed” the Petition of the US Serbs

Recently, news from a session of the Executive Board of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), where a party official in charge of the Internet team submitted an annual report, leaked in public. The Internet team consists of, of course, bots – party soldiers in charge of posting comments on portals and social networks. According to the report, the SPP has 3.456 bots, that per one year have posted about 10 million comments on 201.717 published news.

Why does this concern us? By analyzing the petition itself and the ways in which it is being expanded and promoted on social networks, we found out that SPP bots are in charge of promoting and disseminating this content on Twitter, while the report from the session confirms that the bots of this party are indeed operational.

The Twitter bot is a simple account managed both by the software and the human hand. Accordingly, such accounts can behave as robots and as human users at different times.

All 17 accounts that we investigated have some of the main features of Internet bots, and using the DFR Lab methodology, we have revealed what these accounts make bots.

In each case, it is important to note that we cannot rely on, or call for only one behavior identification factor, that is bot-like. A combination of factors is important. The three most important are: activity, anonymity and amplification.

Over the last few years, bots have become an inevitable part of online life. Last year only, researchers estimated that only Twitter was home for about 30 million of bots, but there are also other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.[2]

Some appear to be designed to deliberately encourage or support certain political candidates and ideas, while others have commercial purposes.

Although this campaign has not significantly contributed to the success of the petition in terms of additional signatures, what is crucial is that people raise awareness of  the very existence of the bots, used to influence them and create specific (political) attitudes. It is less likely that users who themselves can identify the bots will be the victim of their manipulation in the future.


[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kosovo-army/kosovo-approves-new-army-despite-serb-opposition-nato-criticism-idUSKBN1OD16S

[2] https://mashable.com/2018/02/20/how-to-spot-a-bot/

There are several topics that have being recycled for years, and certain media will see to provide some of them with the never-ending shelf life. Considerable share of conspiracy theories, spins, unverified and disinformation narratives on the territory of Montenegro, concerns not as much Montenegro, as the NATO Alliance. Such narratives, playing the emotional card, due to the unpleasant events from 90s, have their target audience, all with the task to further polarize the Montenegrin society and divert the course from relevant and crucial issues for future of our country, but also of the region.

A number of regional media have reported the statement of a NATO official, who said for Pobjeda newspapers the following: “The mission is open for members and partners and we already have Australia, Finland and Sweden participating in it. We would like to compliment participation of Montenegro, since we have excellent relations with your country, although our process of introducing a member may sometimes take a while”, during a briefing at NATO Headquarters, which dealt with the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). However, partial reporting is utmost unprofessional, all with a view to deceive and provide disinformation to the public, as well as to further discredit NATO Alliance.

What has actually happened?

At NATO Summit in Brussels this July, on the requirements of the Iraqi government, allied leaders launched new training mission in Iraq, named NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). The new mission is based on trainings and efforts with the aim of building capacities, that has already been carried out in Iraq through NATO Training and Capacity Building Activity in Iraq.

The Mission was launched in the end of October and consists of 500 members. Apart from member states, soldiers from Australia, Finland and Sweden have taken part.

source: nato.int

Thus, this is a non-combat mission with the aim of building more efficient, inclusive, sustainable and responsible defense and security structures. Also, it will strive to improve professionalism of Iraq forces and security institutions, by helping Iraq build capacities for preventing ISIS reemerging.

However, unlike Pobjeda, a number of portals, while reporting, has decided to omit crucial part, i.e. non-combat character of the mission, with a view to train people. On the other hand, the emphasis of the narrative was that Montenegrin soldiers are going to fight in Iraq, which caused strong reactions and disapproval expressed through numerous comments posted on portals, knowing that it is a high-risk area of crisis, where the fight against ISIS continues.

Additionally, they referred to the recent statement of the Minister of Defense, Boskovic saying that Montenegro was interested in participating in the mission at logistics positions at the airport in Bagdad, as well as to the statement of the President Djukanovic after the Summit in Brussels, stating that Montenegro Intends to send its soldiers to this venture.

Through headlines such as “Cannon Fodder: The Army of Montenegro – a part of the NATO structures on battlefields in Iraq, Milo’s Army Fighting for American Interests” and selective reporting of the facts, portals, such as in4s.net, b92.net, srbijadanas.com, standard.rs, novosti.rs, kurir.rs, aspire to deceive public when it comes to this sensitive issue.

Spreading disinformation and propaganda through the Internet, especially via social media has been in the center of debates in the last years, due to the severity of the issue, but also because of the urging need to counter that issue, particularly after the US elections in 2016. It should be emphasized that portals b92.netand kurir.rs are the most visited in Serbia, with 36 million views on monthly basis, hence, they not only do harm to their reputation by partial reporting, but also contribute to general level of (dis)information of the society.

[1]https://shape.nato.int/resources/3/images/website/factsheet%20nato%20mission%20iraq_oct18.pdf