US officials say Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronovirus epidemic, trying to exploit a crisis in which the US president is due in November Struggling before the election.
US government officials said on Tuesday that two Russians playing senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU are believed to be responsible for a disruptive effort to reach American and Western audiences. He spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The information was previously classified, but officials said it had been downgraded so that they could discuss it more independently. Officials said they were now doing this to sound the alarm about particular websites and to uncover clear links between the sites and Russian intelligence.
Between late May and early July, one of the officials said, the websites published 150 articles about the response to the epidemic, with coverage aimed at either framing Russia or defaming the US.
One of the headlines that attracted the attention of US officials was that it said “Russia’s Counter-Kovid-19 Aid to America Advance Case for Dentant”, which suggested that Russia gave the US immediate and adequate aid to fight the epidemic. “Beijing believe Kovid-19 is a biological weapon”, which amplifies statements by the Chinese, was another.
The disclosure comes as a proliferation of devolution, including Russia, is a major concern in the November presidential election. US officials avoid repeating the 2016 race, when Russia launched a secret social media campaign to divide American public opinion and favor then-candidate Donald Trump in favor of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. The US government’s chief counter-notification executive warned in a rare public statement on Friday that Russia was consistently using Internet trolls to pursue its goals.
Even aside from politics, twin crises have arisen in most parts of the country and the world – epidemics and race relations and protests have offered fertile territory for misinformation or lies of organization. Trump himself has come under scrutiny for sharing misinformation about a disgruntled drug to treat coronovirus in videos taken by Twitter and Facebook.
Authorities described Russian disinfection as part of an ongoing and sustained effort to advance false narratives and create confusion. He did not state that the effort behind these particular websites was directly related to the November election, although some coverage appeared to discredit Biden, and the 2016 Russian efforts to speed up race relations in the US and corruption US political celebrities say to run charges.
Although US officials have already warned of the spread of the epidemic-bound disintegration, they are out on Tuesday from a special information agency, which is registered in Russia, Informos, and that operates a series of websites. Going warns – InfoRos.ru, Infobrics.org and OneWorld.press – which have leveraged the epidemic to promote anti-Western objectives and spread disinformation.
An email to InfoRos was not immediately returned on Tuesday.
The sites promote their narratives in a sophisticated yet insidious effort that sounds like money laundering to US officials, where stories in well-written English – and often with pro-Russian sentiment and anti-American sentiment – remain at their core. To hide, cycling through other news sources. And enhances the validity of information.
Government officials said the sites also enhance stories that originate elsewhere.
Beyond Coronavirus, the focus is also on America, global politics, and contemporary stories of the time.
A headline read “Chaos in the Blue Cities” on InfoRos.ru Tuesday about major US cities that created unrest in American cities, with a story that wrote Mayor Rudin Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg’s hard-to-find crime How New Yorkers grew in outlook. Should be compatible with life in high-crime urban areas ”.
Another story made the headline of “Ukrainian Trap for Biden”, and claimed that “Ukraingate” – a reference to Biden’s son Hunter’s previous ties to Ukraine’s gas company – “would be revealing with renewed vivacity is”.
Officials said the two individuals also held leadership roles at Informos, identified on Tuesday as Denis Valleraivich Turin and Aleksandra Gennadevich Starunski, who previously specialized in military psychological intelligence in the GRU unit and have deep contacts there Maintain.
Inforos and One World’s ties to the Russian state have attracted scrutiny from European disinvestment analysts in the past.
In 2019, an EU task force that studies disruptive campaigns identified One World as “a new addition to the pantheon of Moscow-based disruptive outlets”. The task force noted that One World’s content often parrots the Russian state’s agenda on issues including the war in Syria.
A report published last month, a second, non-governmental organization, Brussels-based European Union of Disinfolab, investigated the relationship between Russian military intelligence between Inforos and One World. Researchers identified technical clues tying their websites in Russia and some financial connections between InfoRos and the government.
The authors of the report concluded, “Inforos is developing in a shady gray area, where regular information activities are combined with more controversial tasks, which may possibly be associated with the information operations of the Russian state.”
On its English-language Facebook page, InfoRos describes itself as “the information agency through the eyes of Russia: the world”.