U.S. Officials Disseminate Disinformation About ‘Virus Disinformation’

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VOA, an official propaganda organ of the US state, is also disseminating the anti-Russia accusations.

In another round of their anti-Russian disinformation campaign 'U.S. government officials' claim that some websites loosely connected to Russia are spreading 'virus disinformation'.

However, no 'virus disinformation' can be found on those sites.

The Associated Press as well as the New York Times were briefed by the 'officials' and provided write ups.

AP: US officials: Russia behind spread of virus disinformation

Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort meant to reach American and Western audiences, U.S. government officials said. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The information had previously been classified, but officials said it had been downgraded so they could more freely discuss it. Officials said they were doing so now to sound the alarm about the particular websites and to expose what they say is a clear link between the sites and Russian intelligence.

Between late May and early July, one of the officials said, the websites singled out Tuesday published about 150 articles about the pandemic response, including coverage aimed either at propping up Russia or denigrating the U.S.

Among the headlines that caught the attention of U.S. officials were “Russia’s Counter COVID-19 Aid to America Advances Case for Détente,” which suggested that Russia had given urgent and substantial aid to the U.S. to fight the pandemic, and “Beijing Believes COVID-19 is a Biological Weapon,” which amplified statements by the Chinese.

Korybko: Scrupulous journalist defamed by a clumsily ignorant and dishonest government.

The first mentioned piece, Russia's Counter-COVID Aid To America Advances The Case For A New Detente, is by the well known author Andrew Korybko,  a U.S. political analyst living in Moscow. It was published at OneWorld.press. The essay discussed the Russian Coronavirus aid flown in early April from Russia to the U.S. The analyst concludes that such aid can be seen as the beginning of a new détente between the U.S. and Russia.

There is zero 'virus disinformation' in the Korybko piece. The aid flight did happen and was widely reported. In a response to the allegations the proprietors of OneWorld point out that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a recent Q&A also alluded to a new détente with Russia. Was that also 'virus disinformation'?

The second piece the 'officials' pointed out, Beijing believes COVID-19 is a biological weapon, was written In March by Lucas Leiroz, a "research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro". It is an exaggerating analysis of the comments and questions a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry had made about the possible sources of the Coronavirus.

The original spokesperson quote is in the piece. Referring to additional sources the author's interpretation may go a bit beyond the quote's meaning. But it is certainly not 'virus disinformation' to raise the same speculative question about the potential sources of the virus which at that time many others were also asking.

The piece was published by InfoBRICS.org, a "BRICS information portal" which publishes in the languages of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). It is presumably financed by some or all of those countries.

Another website the 'U.S. officials' have pointed out is InfoRos.ru which publishes in Russian and English. The APnotes of it:

A headline Tuesday on InfoRos.ru about the unrest roiling American cities read “Chaos in the Blue Cities,” accompanying a story that lamented how New Yorkers who grew up under the tough-on-crime approach of former Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg “and have zero street smarts” must now “adapt to life in high-crime urban areas.”

Another story carried the headline of “Ukrainian Trap for Biden,” and claimed that “Ukrainegate” — a reference to stories surrounding Biden’s son Hunter’s former ties to a Ukraine gas company — “keeps unfolding with renewed vigor.”

U.S. officials have identified two of the people believed to be behind the sites’ operations. The men, Denis Valeryevich Tyurin and Aleksandr Gennadyevich Starunskiy, have previously held leadership roles at InfoRos but have also served in a GRU unit specializing in military psychological intelligence and maintain deep contacts there, the officials said.

InfoRos calls itself a 'news agency' and has some rather boring general interest stuff on its site. But how is its writing in FOX News style about unrest in U.S. cities and about Biden's escapades in the Ukraine 'virus disinformation'? I fail to find any on that site.

In 2018 some "western intelligence agency" told the Washington Post, without providing any evidence, that InfoRosis related to the Russian military intelligence service GU (formerly GRU):

Unit 54777 has several front organizations that are financed through government grants as public diplomacy organizations but are covertly run by the GRU and aimed at Russian expatriates, the intelligence officer said. Two of the most significant are InfoRos and the Institute of the Russian Diaspora.

So InfoRos is getting some public grants and was allegedly previously run by two people who before that worked for the GU. What does that say about the current state and the content it provides? Nothing.

The NYT adds that hardly anyone is reading the websites the 'U.S. officials' pointed out but that their content is at times copied by more prominent aggregator sites:

“What we have seen from G.R.U. operations is oftentimes the social media component is a flop, but the narrative content that they write is shared more broadly through the niche media ecosystem,” said Renee DiResta, a research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, who has studied the G.R.U. and InfoRos ties and propaganda work.

There are plenty of sites (including this one) who copy content from various outlets and reproduce it under their name [with proper attribution]. But that does not turn whatever they publish into disinformation.

All the pieces mentioned by AP and NYT and attributed to the 'Russian' sites are basically factual and carry no 'virus disinformation'. That makes the 'U.S.officials' claims that they do such the real disinformation campaign.

And the AP and NYT are willingly falling for it.

Posted by b on July 29, 2020 at 16:56 UTC | Permalink

Comments Sampler

People being prepared for Russia having the worlds first covid19 vaccine, the US will of course say it was stolen from them. Infantile politicians create infantile press to feed infantile articles to adult children. Critical thinking skills do not exist in the US population.

Posted by: Getald | Jul 29 2020 17:44 utc | 1

There's a corporativist aspect to all of this.

The development of propagation of information/disinformation through the internet eroded the power of the old newspapers/news agencies. It's not that this or that particular website is getting more views, but that the web of communications - the the imperialistic blunders + decline of capitalism post-2008 -, as a whole, weakened what seemed to be an unshakeable trust on the MSM (the very fact that this term exists already is historical evidence of their loss of power).

And this process manifests itself not only in loss of power, but also loss of money: this is particularly evident in the social media, where Facebook (Whatsapp + Facebook proper) and Google are beginning to siphon advertisement money from both TV and the traditional newspapers (printed press). When those traditional printed newspapers went digital, they behaved badly, by using paywalls - this marketing blunder only accelerated their decline in readership and thus further advertisement money, generating a vicious cycle for them.

The loss of influence of public opinion for the MSM also inaugurated another very important societal shift: the middle class' loss of monopoly over opinion and formation of opinion. Historically, it was the role of the middle class to be highly educated, to go to academia (college) and, most importantly, to daily read the newspapers while eating the breakfast. The middle class was the class of the intellectuals by definition, thus served as the clerical class of the capitalist class, the priests of capitalism. With the popularization of the internet, the smartphone and social media, this sanctity was broken or, at least, begun to deteriorate. We can attest this class conflict phenomenon by studying the rise of the term "expert" as a pejorative one. In the West's case, this shift begun through the far-right side of the political spectrum, but the shift is there.

The popularization of what was once a privilege is nothing new in capitalism. The problem here is that capitalism depends on infinite growth to merely exist (i.e. it can't survive on zero growth, it is mathematically impossible), so it has to "monetize" what still isn't monetize in order to find/create more vital space (Lebensraum - a term coined by the hyper-capitalist Nazis) for its expansion and thus survival. Hence the popularization of college education in the USA (then in Europe). Hence the popularization of daily news through the internet/social media. This process, of course, has its positives and negatives (as is the case with every dialectical process) - the fall of the MSM is one of the positives.

So, in fact, when the likes of AP, Reuters, NYT, WaPo, Guardian, Fox, CNN spread disinformation against "alt-media", they are really just protecting their market share - the fact that it implies in suppression of freedom of speech and to mass disinformation and, ultimately, to war and destruction, is merely collateral damage of the business they operate in. They are, after all, capitalist enterprises above all.

Posted by: vk | Jul 29 2020 17:44 utc | 2

Excellent analysis, as always, by b. And vk's points are very pertinent too. One tiny quibble: I doubt that the Nazis coined, though they certainly popularised, the term lebensraum.
There is an air of desperation about these campaigns against "Russian" "disinformation" massive changes are occurring, and, because they are so vast, they are moving relatively slowly.
The old media model, now totally outdated, was the first thing to fall. Now capitalism itself is collapsing as a result of the primary contradiction that, left to itself, the marketplace will solve all problems.
As Washington, where magical thinking is sovereign, is demonstrating, left to itself the hidden hand will bring only misery, famine, death and the Apocalypse. This was once very well understood, as a brief look at the history of the founding of the UN will show, now it is the subject of frantic denial by capitalism's priesthood who have grown to enjoy the glitter and sensuality of life in a brothel. It is a sign of their mental decay that they can do no better than to blame Russians.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 29 2020 18:16 utc | 3

One should presume the anonymous officials responsible for this ground-breaking report (sarc) are close to the various "combatting Russian disinformation" NGOs. They are merely living up to the mission statements of their benefactors. AP and NYTimes are being unprofessional and spreading fake news by failing to reveal their sources. It's mind-numbing - the BS one must wade through.

Posted by: jayc | Jul 29 2020 18:23 utc | 4

@ b who ended his posting with
And the AP and NYT are willingly falling for it.

Sorry b, but AP and NYT are active participants in the disinformation campaign of failing empire and are not falling for anything

The folks that are falling for it are the American public that has lost its ability to discriminate with the fire hose volume of lies told to them on a daily basis.

Empire is in the process of defeating itself which is the only safe way of ending the tyranny of global private finance. I commend China and Russia for having the patience and fortitude to hold the safe space for the dysfunctional social contract having private control of the lifeblood of human commerce to self destruct.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 29 2020 19:19 utc | 5

This is SO hilarious! The propagandists are worried about Russian virus dis-information when most dis-information has come from the US government in the person of Trump and from the CDC, which spent months discrediting the effectiveness of face masks!!!

Theses propagandists need to get real jobs dealing with real world problems.

Posted by: JohnH | Jul 29 2020 19:21 utc | 6

This is SO hilarious! The propagandists are worried about Russian virus dis-information when most dis-information has come from the US government in the person of Trump and from the CDC, which spent months discrediting the effectiveness of face masks!!!

Theses propagandists need to get real jobs dealing with real world problems.

Posted by: JohnH | Jul 29 2020 19:21 utc | 7

there has been no national response to coronavirus but there must be a national acceptance that this national non-response is China's fault. and any sources reporting truthfully about the US or disseminating statements easily found elsewhere, as long as they are Russian, Chinese, Venezuelan, Cuban, Iranian, etc., is pure disinformation. How brittle and weak the US is. Where's the Pericles to say to the Spartans, "enter our city and inspect our defenses"? The US is a nation of heavily-armed mice and sheep.

btw, the China love on display around here is pretty funny. in that the Chinese government has mounted a national response to a very serious threat, China is a nation in a way that the US is not. There is no US or we would not have 50 states doing different things in response to the corona outbreak. the US is already dead. But China is a thoroughly authoritarian capitalist state. they are who they are in a dialectic competition with the US and other capitalist powers, not because of some Maoist-Confucian amalgam that inspires such wisdom in their brilliant leaders, who are just as quick to destroy their environment for capitalist gain as anyone on this planet is. The decline of the US will not make China or Russia or any "emerging" power less authoritarian or violent. au quite the contraire. They are Shylocks who will try to better instruction.

However, none of this is of concern to people in the US, whose only concern is the Nazi spawn who've been running "the West" for much longer than the last 75 years. but it's time to kill the bitch, not let it keep screwing us and breeding.

Posted by: jason | Jul 29 2020 19:25 utc | 8

Russia’s rush to have the first COVID vaccine will be viewed by the propagandists as just another evil attempt by Putin to embarrass the US. Should it prove safe and effective, you can bet that it will be banned in USA, because anything Russian is by definition bad.

Posted by: JohnH | Jul 29 2020 19:30 utc | 9

As others already said, this is a bit rich, considering that virus disinformation comes from Trump himself, both live and on Twitter, quoting genuine hacks and megalomaniac doctors, depending on the week.
Reality check: Russians will be able to travel across the world way before Americans, for obvious healthcare reasons.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jul 29 2020 19:46 utc | 10

@2 I would think adblocking has a lot to do with it too. I'm always surprised that it has been allowed to continue.

Posted by: dh | Jul 29 2020 19:50 utc | 11

Out of the supposed 15 million confirmed cases worldwide, only 4.1 percent of those resulted in death. In other words if you catch it you have generally a 96 percent chance of surviving it. 80 percent of persons with covid have mild to no symptoms at all.

Better efficacy than most vaccines already out there.

The hysteria and huge governmental overreaction and overreach is nowhere near warranted.

Who stands to gain the most? Big Pharma.

Anyone who can't see this scamdemic for what it truly is has been breathing too much of their own CO2.
Biggest and most powerful lobby in Washington DC and the world? Big Pharma
Largest profit margins in the world? Big Pharma
Largest profit centers for Big Pharma? vaccinations.

If a mask is all one needs to protect themselves from a supposedly contagious and deadly virus why would you need to have a BSL 4 suit in a BSL 4 lab to work with said viruses?

Posted by: O | Jul 29 2020 20:00 utc | 12 


^1000Careerist lackeys serving the elites control the American press.

Ever pushing for war and inequality, covering up the oligarchy's crimes...

They are in reality shameless disinformers.

No wonder the world is in such terrible disarray.


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