[This was one of the first thoughts I had regarding the Corona Virus. When I really began thinking more about this was the supposed death of senior Iranians. I had wondered, regardless of what COVID-19 actually is, whether COVID-19 could be a cover for assassination. In other words, did the Iranians die from the COVID-19 or were they killed by something else and then that is blamed on COVID-19?
div>There are many, many questions about what we are seeing. Is what we are seeing real? Are we seeing the same thing in different countries, etc, etc. Jan]
Disinformation about the coronavirus is spreading as quickly as the virus, thanks to the usual players.
Chinese authorities maintain that COVID-19 likely originated at a market in Wuhan where people were selling bat meat. But Iranian, Russian, and Chinese propaganda media outlets would like you to believe, without evidence, that the emerging public health crisis comes from U.S. biological weapons.
Disinformation about the coronavirus is spreading as quickly as the outbreak, fueled by Iranian, Russian, and Chinese government-backed campaigns blaming and attacking the United States as the source for the scourge.
“One narrative all three countries [including China] highlight is the notion that the United States is weaponizing the crisis for political gain and thus worsening its spread globally,” Rachel Chernaskey, a project manager for the Foreign Influence Election 2020 Project with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, or FPRI, wrote yesterday.
“While all three countries’ state-sponsored outlets pushed explicitly anti-U.S. sentiments, Iran and Russia appeared to push far more conspiratorial content than China. In the disinformation ecosystem, each country’s state-sponsored media played off the others to promote shared preferred narratives,” she wrote.
The outbreak has hit Iran particularly hard, with confirmed 291 deaths and 8042 cases according to today’s numbers released by the Iranian government. Government officials, including about 10 percent of Iran’s parliament and various health officials such as Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, have tested positive for the virus.
Iran has most aggressively pushed fake news about the illness. State-backed PressTV repeatedly has broadcast the theory that COVID-19 may be a U.S. manufactured bioweapon, or that Israeli and “Zionist” scientists have used the epidemic as a cover to engineer an even more deadly strain of the virus to spring on humanity, and specifically on Iran.
The source for the first claim: an interview between conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones and human rights lawyer Francis Boyle. The interview was carried on the conspiracy website Nature News, where PressTV picked it up. Boyle in the interview also claims that the United States developed the SARS virus as a bioweapon, citing a 2015 peer-reviewed paper from researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that does not make that claim, rather it shows a cluster of bat coronoviruses with potential to infect humans.