Foreign Minister Baerbock is criticized after a panel discussion. Videos are circulating on social networks that show Baerbock’s alleged statements, which then caused explosives. But now it comes out: Baerbock’s sentences didn’t fall like that, the videos were manipulated.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) came under criticism after a panel discussion in Prague because she had pledged her support to Ukraine – regardless of the opinion of her electorate in Germany. Baerbock was then accused of high treason because she allegedly preferred the Ukrainian population to her own. Was on Twitter
In the viral video, the Federal Foreign Minister explains her positions on sanctions for Russia and support for Ukraine. Baerbock says that she will stand by the Ukrainians “as long as they need it” – and that she wants to keep her promise, “regardless of what my German voters say”. Furthermore, Baerbock declares that she will not stop the sanctions in winter, even if the Germans demonstrate over high energy bills.
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The AfD in particular made a fuss about Baerbock’s statement. AfD boss Alice Weidel wrote on Twitter: “The resignation of the foreign minister is overdue. Anyone who explicitly gives a damn about the interests of the voters in Germany has no place in a ministerial office. In general, the entire traffic light coalition works “deliberately against the people in our country,” said Weidel.
Harsh criticism also came from other parties: left-wing politician Sevim Dagdelen wrote on Twitter of Baerbock’s alleged: “Ukraine first, citizens don’t care about contempt”. Sahra Wagenknecht from the left called Baerbock a “danger to our country” on Twitter. Baerbock was also criticized by CDU politicians.
According to research by “Spiegel”, there is a Russian disinformation campaign behind the video: the short excerpt was first posted by accounts close to the Kremlin and edited together in a way that distorted the meaning. Accounts close to the Kremlin or some Russian state actors are said to have started the campaign with shortened quotes and fueled it again and again, according to an analysis by the “Disinformation Situation Center”, which is available to “Spiegel”.
The first quote from the event is said to have been published by the state news agency Ria Novosti on Telegram, according to the “Spiegel”. Four minutes later, the quote was again falsified and posted by a Telegram channel that belongs to the state medium Sputnik.
Four hours later, the Telegram channel “Russian American Daily” is said to have shown the edited video, writes the “Spiegel”. The members of the channel had already been interrogated by the FBI on suspicion of espionage for Russia in the past, the “Spiegel” continued. The channel often posts propaganda about the war in Ukraine and is said to have close ties to the Kremlin.
The video was circulated with distorted words such as “I will put Ukraine first, no matter what German voters think”. The words “in the first place” are not even mentioned in Baerbock’s speech. Smaller, anonymous accounts are said to have subsequently distributed the video in German, according to the “Spiegel”.
Weidel was one of the first to share the video. Explosive: She even shared it with the “Russian American Dails” channel watermark on multiple channels. It was clicked 140,000 times on Weidel’s Facebook profile alone, and a further 115,000 times on the official AfD account on Facebook. Here, too, the video with the watermark of the Kremlin-affiliated account was used. Other AfD politicians shared the video and also called for Baerbock’s resignation.
In addition, the German media translated some of Baerbock’s English sentences incorrectly. “Die Welt” published an article with the headline: “Government stands by Ukraine, no matter what German voters think”. In the video, however, Baerbock speaks exclusively of her electorate, the Greens voters. According to “Spiegel”, the “Welt” article was shared thousands of times, and the headline was only corrected hours later.
Video and audio material were not manipulated using software. However, Baerbock’s statements were cut together in such a way that what was said is distorted in terms of content. The Foreign Minister did utter the sentences that appear in the short version, but relevant statements are omitted. A 2 minute and 13 second speech ended up being a 54 second video.
Baerbock said at the panel discussion that fortunately in a democracy there is the possibility that voters will punish them if they see things differently. She also says that all of Europe must find good solutions to balance out the social effects of the Russian war of aggression and the energy crisis.
Felix Kartte, an expert from Reset, an initiative that campaigns for digital democracy, told the “Spiegel”: “It was to be expected that the Russian disinformation would target top green personnel.” The Greens were already in the federal election campaign, and among them especially Chancellor candidate Baerbock, has been a popular target of disinformation campaigns.
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