The United States claims that Russia is behind the spread of misinformation about viruses News
U.S. government officials said two Russians who held senior positions in Moscow’s military intelligence, known as the GRU, had been identified as responsible for disinformation attempts aimed at reaching American and Western audiences. They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak in public.
The information was previously classified, but officials said it had been lowered so they could discuss it more freely. Officials said they are doing so now to sound the alarm about specific websites and expose what they believe is a clear link between those sites and Russian intelligence.
Between late May and early July, one official said Tuesday, the sites nominated on Tuesday published about 150 articles on the pandemic response, including coverage aimed at either supporting Russia or tarnishing the United States.
Among the headlines that caught the attention of U.S. officials were “Russian Assistance to America in Combating COVID-19 Promotes Case for Detonation,” which claimed that Russia had provided urgent and substantial U.S. assistance in fighting the pandemic, and “Beijing believes COVID- 19 is a biological weapon, ”the Chinese statement said.
Russian officials today dismissed the allegations, calling them “conspiracy theories” and “persistent phobias.”
Disclosure is taking place while disseminating misinformation, including from Russia, is a pressing concern ahead of the November presidential election as U.S. officials seek to avoid a repeat of the 2016 competition, when a Russian troll farm launched a covert campaign on social media to divide the American public. and to prefer then-candidate Donald Trump to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. The head of the U.S. counterintelligence warned in a rare public statement Friday that Russia continues to use Internet trolls to achieve its goals.
Even apart from politics, the double crises that have hit the country and much of the world – pandemics and racial relations and protests – have offered fertile ground for disinformation or the fight against lies. Trump himself came under close scrutiny for sharing misinformation about an unwarranted drug used to treat coronavirus in videos that were deleted by Twitter and Facebook.
Officials described Russia’s disinformation as part of a constant and persistent effort to promote false stories and cause confusion.
They did not say whether the efforts aimed at these particular websites were directly related to the November election, although some of the coverage seemed to denigrate Trump Democratic candidate Joe Biden and recall Russia’s 2016 efforts to strain racial relations. in America and inciting allegations of corruption against U.S. politicians.
Despite the fact that US officials had previously warned about the spread of disinformation related to the pandemic, on Tuesday they went further, highlighting a specific Russian-registered news agency “InfoRos” and which runs a series of websites – InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press, which used the pandemic to promote anti-Western goals and spread misinformation.
Officials say the sites promote their narratives in a sophisticated but insidious attempt, which they compare to money laundering, when stories in well-written English – and often pro-Russian – go through other news sources to hide their origins and enhance the legitimacy of information. .
The sites are also expanding stories that originate elsewhere, government officials said.
On Tuesday, the letter to InfoRos was not returned immediately.
In addition to the coronavirus, the focus is also on US news, world politics and current affairs.
Tuesday’s headline on InfoRos.ru about the unrest in American cities: “Chaos in the Blue Cities”, which accompanies the story, which complains about how New Yorkers who grew up under the harsh treatment of former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and not have a street mind ”should now“ adapt to living in high-crime urban areas ”.
Another story was titled “Ukrainian Trap for Biden” and claimed that “Ukrainegate” – a reference to the story of Biden Hunter’s son’s past ties to the Ukrainian gas company – “continues to unfold with renewed vigor.”
U.S. officials have identified two individuals who are believed to be behind the operations of the facilities. The men, Dzyanis Valeryevich Tsyuryn and Alyaksandr Henadzevich Starunski, previously held senior positions at InfoRos, but also served in the GRU’s military-psychological intelligence unit and maintained deep contacts there, officials said.