Betsy Woodruff Swan
China, Iran and Russia are using the coronavirus crisis to launch a propaganda and disinformation onslaught against the United States, the State Department warns in a new report.
The three governments are pushing a host of matching messages: that the novel coronavirus is an American bioweapon, that the U.S. is scoring political points off the crisis, that the virus didn’t come from China, that U.S. troops spread it, that America’s sanctions are killing Iranians, that China’s response was great while the U.S.’ was negligent, that all three governments are managing the crisis well, and that the U.S. economy can't bear the toll of the virus.
The report, which is not public, was produced by the department’s Global Engagement Center — a fledgling office focused on the global information wars — and reviewed by POLITICO. It makes the case that propaganda and disinformation narratives from those country’s governments have converged as coronavirus has spread.
And it says that while the three governments have pushed out the same messages in the past, the global pandemic has seen the convergence of their messaging accelerate.
A website run by Russia’s Defense Ministry, for instance, highlights the conspiracy theory that billionaire Bill Gates played a role in creating the virus.
On March 3, a media company controlled by Russia’s armed forces ZVEZDA ran a story headlined “Bill Gates, a secret laboratory and a conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies: who can benefit from coronavirus.”
The piece intimates that Gates had foreknowledge of the virus and claims that only people of “the Mongoloid race” can contract Covid-19.
There are many theories about the origin of coronavirus and the further development of events. The most popular one concerns the monstrous prediction of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Last year, he said that 33 million people could die from such a coronavirus in 250 days. The calculations are purely mathematical, but true, the IT tycoon is sure.
After such statements, adherents of conspiracy theories literally have no doubt that the virus is of artificial origin, and Bill Gates is one of its main sponsors. Another fact adds weight to this theory - a few months ago, the head of Microsoft held a conditional exercise called Event 201, which simulated an outbreak of a new virus that killed 65 million people in 18 months. The idea of the teachings is simple - globalization in the name of salvation.
It is noteworthy that the famous pharmaceutical giants and the Pentagon leadership participated in this theater of cruel cynicism.
In addition to flagging the Russian government's intimation that Gates may have been read in on the virus’ spread, the report cited material from all three governments calling coronavirus a U.S. bioweapon. It noted the infamous tweet from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lijian Zhao touting an article claiming the novel coronavirus could have come from the U.S., as well as a Russia Today article highlighting a claim from the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that the virus could be an American bioweapon. The RT story noted that there’s “still no official proof” of that conspiracy theory.The fact is that while the disease affects only the representatives of the Mongoloid race, such suspicious selectivity raises questions from experts.