New York Times Practically Admits Publishing Disinformation from Intelligence Agencies on China
April 23, 2020 (EIRNS)—In an April 22 report entitled “Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say,” the New York Times claims that covert Chinese trolling was behind the spread of messages over social media and texting in March, claiming that the U.S. government was about to impose martial law and a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The article includes a number of unsupported assertions, mostly by unnamed officials but also by one named State Department official, sprinkled with words like “murky,” “likely,” and “apparent.” Also to be found in the middle of the report is the method of the Russiagate operation, to which this is clearly linked, that is, the implication that “there is no other possibility” for the spread of such rumors except via Chinese disinformation operations.
And it’s all about causing “disunity” within the American population. As public dissent simmers over lockdown policies in several states, officials worry it will be easy for China and Russia to amplify the partisan disagreements, the Times says.
“It is part of the playbook of spreading division,” said Sen. Angus King (I-ME). Adding suspicion to the whole thing is that the “findings” of U.S. intelligence on this are “supported” by outside research groups, including the British-run Alliance for Securing Democracy and the neo-liberal Center for a New American Security.
But then the Times practically admits its own role not only in this disinformation campaign against China, but also in that leading to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003: “Given the toxic information environment, foreign policy analysts are worried that the Trump Administration may politicize intelligence work or make selective leaks to promote an anti-China narrative,” the Times reports. “Those concerns hover around the speculation over the origin of the virus. American officials in the past have selectively passed intelligence to reporters to shape the domestic political landscape; the most notable instance was under President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War.”