The American edition of The Grayzone published an article entitled "Oscar-winning documentary about Navalny is rife with disinformation." In the text, the author Lucy Komisar writes that Alexei Navalny got on the plane "and fell ill." She denies that he could have been poisoned, and claims that the politician was already ill.
“Navalny had a history of illnesses known to reflect a sudden drop in blood sugar and cholinesterase levels – diabetes, angioedema and allergies leading to anaphylactic shock. This information, which was reported in Russia and Navalny’s sources long before the Tomsk incident, was not made public after his arrival in Germany,” writes Komisar.
As Eliott Higgins, founder of the Bellingcat project, found out, Lucy Komisar wrote this conclusion and a number of other conclusions using a neural network that actually invented the information. In the article, Komisar makes numerous references to materials from credible publications such as The Guardian. However, the links it provides contain completely different information, or there is no information at all in the URLs.
In particular, according to Higgins, Komisar used the Write Sonic neural network, which answered the questions asked by the author. That is how the passage about Navalny's diabetes and allergies appeared in the article.
This screenshot was published by Komisar herself on her website. She also asked the neural network for sources of information. However, apparently, they did not check them.
“The author asked the artificial intelligence to provide links to articles, but there were some problems with these links,” writes Higgins. - You will probably immediately understand what the problem is with the reference to the Guardian in 2014, where Navalny and Yulia Skripal are allegedly mentioned. That's right, the url doesn't actually exist, and I also checked if that information might exist on other urls, but it just doesn't exist.
In the case of the claims about Navalny's state of health, there are no real articles to support this claim. The AI just seems to have pieced together answers from many different sources, many of which are highly dubious.”
In addition, Komisar frankly misrepresents some facts, again referring to The Guardian. For example, in part of a story about Navalny’s investigation into Oleg Deripaska, she writes: “As even the British Guardian newspaper admitted, Navalny never provided evidence to support the provocative statements made to him by a desperate escort. Deripaska, for his part, called the accusations "scandalous and false" and successfully sued Rybka."
However, according to the link that Komisar attaches, there is not a word about the Guardian's findings, there is only a dry retelling of the content of Navalny's investigation and Deripaska's further attempts to remove the investigation, as well as the indignation of the oligarch and his representatives.
What edition of The Greyzone
The Greyzone positions itself as an investigative media outlet. It was created by American journalist Max Blumenthal as an independent media in 2018. The publication denies human rights violations against Uyghurs, spreads conspiracy theories about Venezuela, Xinjiang, Syria and other regions, and actively promotes pro-Russian propaganda during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Blumenthal argued that the Ukrainian Azov Regiment, not Russian forces, was responsible for the air strike on the Mariupol theater of operations.
Blumenthal himself has repeatedly published in the Russian media, which are part of the state holding MIA Rossiya Segodnya, he is a frequent contributor to Russia Today. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone website a month after visiting Moscow. Two more managers and "journalists" of the publication, Anya Parampil and Alex Rubinstein, also regularly collaborate with Margarita Simonyan's Russia Today.
Writing for New Politics magazine, Lebanese academic Gilbert Achkar described Greyzone as "pro-Putin, pro-Assad propaganda coupled with filthy journalism", stating that the website has "a habit of demonizing everything leftist", critics of Putin and Assad." Charles Davis, writing for New Politics, stated in 2018 that Blumenthal "defends Russia's foreign policy on platforms like RT and Sputnik almost weekly," including Russia's role in the Syrian civil war.
Read more about how exactly Navalny was poisoned and about the state structure created to crack down on those objectionable to the regime of Vladimir Putin in the article “Laboratory. How employees of NII-2 FSB tried to poison Alexei Navalny.