Disinfo: COVID-19 restrictions are result of a bizarre psychosis and collective paranoia

Summary

COVID-19 restrictions are absurd, they are the result of a bizarre psychosis. Why have protests against this psychosis been so weak in the West?  Why has there been such a high degree of acceptance of these restrictions, which can only be described as collective paranoia?

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative which, presented in this case in the end of a long article, seeks to downplay the severity and urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to this narrative, COVID-19 restrictions introduced by governments – such as lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing are irrational and absurd, and/or pursue hidden goals of élites and powerful lobbies. Pro-Kremlin media have spread a variety of false claims to push this message, for example that COVID-19 is a fake epidemic manufactured by the media, that COVID-19 is fake and a political move to install hegemony, that the virus is safe, and that the coronavirus pandemic is exaggerated in order to establish fascist hygiene dictatorships. This narrative aims to discredit actions taken by the World Health Organisation and by individual countries to stop the spread of the new disease.

It is not true that COVID-19 is a “fake pandemic” or is  exaggerated. The novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, belongs to a family of viruses originating in animals that include others such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019 and has been rapidly spreading across the world ever since. The number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 32,730,947 globally with over 991,224  deaths as of September 27, 2020.

However, the death rate aside, the major concern with the COVID-19 pandemic is its potential to overwhelm national healthcare systems, resulting in even more deaths because patients cannot receive treatment as hospitals exceed capacity. Thus, flattening the curve and limiting the spread of the virus - which is highly transmittable - is recommended as an essential precautionary measure by international health authorities, including the WHO.

Read similar cases claiming that COVID-19 is an ordinary flu epidemic and that media and politicians are fuelling hysteria, that  governments are exaggerating the death toll of the coronavirus, and that ruling élites are spreading coronavirus panic in order to gain unlimited powers and to actively interfere in the economy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 213
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 24/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Italy
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, WHO, The West

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Polish Governments continue to serve the American Empire

As a result of the 30-year long process of vassalisation of Poland towards Washington, the upcoming Presidential elections in the USA can have very serious importance for this country. No one should have any doubts that the future of Poland is directly dependent on the decisions taken in the White House. By deploying American troops in Poland, we have condemned ourselves to the role of a stationary “aircraft carrier” of NATO in Eastern and Central Europe. The consent of the Polish Left and Right Governments to serve the American Empire has led to the degradation of the [international] role of Poland and today, we cannot count on any independence during the possible conflict of Great Powers.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about “lost sovereignty”. Poland is often presented as a “puppet-state” of the United States. This narrative includes a message that the United States manipulates Poland and other European allies in order to carry out its anti-Russian policies.

The claims about “a 30-year long vassalisation of Poland” and the “service of the Polish Governments to the American Empire” are a conspiracy theory. Poland is an independent state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. The advanced political, economic and military relations between Poland and the United States have a mutually beneficial character.

NATO intentionally creates a military training ground near Russian border

NATO is moving its infrastructure to the borders of Russia, absorbing more and more new states, including Ukraine and the Baltic states. The very essence of NATO’s existence boils down to the fact that this organisation is intended to confront. Now the North Atlantic Alliance is literally creating a military training ground near the borders of Russia.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile anti-Russian agenda and encircling Russia.

NATO has repeatedly emphasised that its course is in no way directed against Russia or any other state. NATO’s objectives are set out in the 1949 Washington Treaty which forms the legal basis of the alliance. The treaty states that parties “are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”. NATO’s main mission is not to prepare for war, as Russian media claim, but rather to maintain stability and appropriate levels of defence readiness in its member countries.

British analyst explains in Foreign Policy why Washington needs a “Russian intervention”

While US Democrats talk of a Russian interference in the elections, Republicans talk about Chinese interference. Those statements have a very specific purpose and it has nothing to do with foreign policy, said Elisabeth Braw, analyst of the Royal Joint Institute for Defense Research. Accusations against Russia started after the 2016 election, when Democrats, having lost it, tried to accuse Donald Trump of collusion with Russia and Russia itself of meddling in the election. The investigation led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller found nothing. Now, these accusations were renewed. According to an article written by Braw in Foreign Policy magazine, this bipartisan logic is clear: if Biden loses, Democrats can talk again about Moscow intervening and support of Donald Trump. If Biden wins, Trump may say that Beijing was behind its defeat. “But it doesn’t matter at all if US rivals are actually hacking the electoral infrastructure of the country this year. What matters is that people believes that interference campaigns work”, Braw says.

Disproof

This is a deliberate manipulation of the original article of Elisabeth Braw in Foreign Policy to promote the long-discredited pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Russia never interfered in the US election in 2016 and that the Mueller investigation found no evidence of it. Braw’s article doesn’t say that accusations of foreign interference are a narrative promoted by both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, the affirmation that Russia and China are interfering respectively against the candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties is an estimation of the US intelligence community, and Braw quotes a statement in this regard by US National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina. The claim that Braw concluded that both parties are falsely talking about these alleged interference for political reasons is a lie.

Braw’s main argument is that Russia and China are indeed trying to interfere in the US election and that their main success may be not as much to sway the ballots as to convince voters that they did. The direct quote has also been altered: “It doesn’t matter whether China, Russia, or any other country in fact manages to sway the ballot. What matters is whether voters believe they did”, says the original. She also argues that if any country interferes in the electoral process, there should be a retaliatory reaction to serve as future deterrent, something vastly different from the claims in the manipulated article.