By Robert Parry and cross-posted from Consortium News
On Feb, 27, Consortiumnews.com published an article describing misrepresentations by Canada’s new Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland about her Ukrainian maternal grandfather whom she has portrayed as a hero who struggled “to return freedom and democracy to Ukraine” but left out that he was a Nazi propagandist whose newspaper justified the slaughter of Jews.
Over the next week, the article entitled “A Nazi Skeleton in the Family Closet” by journalist Arina Tsukanova (which I personally edited and fact-checked) circulated enough that Freeland was asked about it by the Canadian news media. As often happens these days, Freeland chose not to tell the truth but rather portrayed the article as part of a Russian propaganda and disinformation campaign.
Freeland told reporters, “I don’t think it’s a secret. American officials have publicly said, and even [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel has publicly said, that there were efforts on the Russian side to destabilize Western democracies, and I think it shouldn’t come as a surprise if these same efforts were used against Canada. … I think that Canadians and indeed other Western countries should be prepared for similar efforts to be directed at them.”
Though Freeland did not comment directly on the truthfulness of our article, her office denied that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator.
Other leaders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government joined in the counterattack. Citing the danger of Russian disinformation, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said, “The situation is obviously one where we need to be alert.”
In an article on March 6, Canada’s Globe and Mail also rallied to Freeland’s defense claiming that she was “being targeted by allegations in pro-Moscow websites that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was a Nazi collaborator.”
The newspaper also reached out to other experts to add their denunciations of Consortiumnews.com and other news sites that either reposted our story or ran a similar one.
“It is the continued Russian modus operandi that they have. Fake news, disinformation and targeting different individuals,” said Paul Grod, president of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress. “It is just so outlandish when you hear some of these allegations – whether they are directed at minister Freeland or others.”
The Globe and Mail also quoted Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko, citing our supposedly fake news as “another reason … we should realize that Russia is waging a war against the free world. It is not just about Ukraine.”
The ambassador then offered some advice about standing up to the Russians and their disinformationists: “I am absolutely sure they will seek new targets in the free world so I would encourage our Canadian friends to be prepared for that, to stay strong and we will be happy to share our experience in how to deal with all these information wars.”
A Second-Day Story
The only problem with all these righteous condemnations was that the information about Freeland’s grandfather was true – and Freeland knew that it was true…