March 15, 2022

If you have Qnuts in your family, you may have already heard this predictable propaganda. If only there was a vaccine for gullibility! Via NBC News:

Russia’s early struggles to push disinformation and propaganda about Ukraine have picked up momentum in recent days, thanks to a variety of debunked conspiracy theories about biological research labs in Ukraine. Much of the false information is flourishing in Russian social media, far-right online spaces and U.S. conservative media, including Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.

The theories, which have been boosted by Russian and Chinese officials, come as U.S. officials warn that Russia could be preparing a chemical or biological weapons attack of its own in Ukraine.

Most of the conspiracy theories claim that the U.S. was developing and plotting to release a bioweapon or potentially another coronavirus from “biolabs”’ throughout Ukraine and that Russia invaded to take over the labs. Many of the theories implicate people who are often the targets of far-right conspiracy thinking — including Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Joe Biden — as being behind creating the weaponized diseases in the biolabs.

There's a grain of truth at the center of this distorted propaganda:

Gavin Wilde, a managing consultant at the Krebs Stamos Group, a security consulting company, who previously was director for Russia, Baltic, and Caucasus affairs on the White House National Security Council, said the theories appeared to focus on the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which was created to decommission Soviet-era chemical and biological weapons.

But our homegrown nut jobs, now accelerated by media figures like (you guessed it!) Tucker Carlson, have pumped this out into the rest of the world:

Zignal Labs, which analyzes social media, broadcast, traditional media and online conversations, found that English-language influencers helped create the talking point for Russian propaganda.

“Mentions of the bioweapon lab narrative in Russian doubled on March 6th,” about 10 days after the start of the invasion, Zignal Labs said in a report. From Wednesday to Friday, Russian mentions of the biolab conspiracy theory on social media have outpaced posts about the same propaganda in English, the report said.

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