Russia's health disinformation campaign against U.S. has been going on for 10+ years — NYT

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This is Operation INFEKTION being repeated, now featuring SARS-nCoV-2 instead of AIDS. (I’ve heard it called Operation Secondary Infektion.)

For those too young to remember the AIDS crisis, in the 1970s AIDS emerged as a brand new horrible disease. It was determined to have emerged from primate colonies in Africa, but the KGB in the Soviet Union took it as an opportunity to smear the U.S. government, instead spreading rumors blaming the US army for engineering the virus in the Fort Deitrich labs. But they never said so directly. Instead, they published falsified reports and faked articles from “experts” in various Soviet-controlled news outlets around the globe, including some supposedly from American researchers.

In 1987 Gorbachev’s staff told US officials they had ended the smear campaign (which was confirmed by the lack of further published rumors.) In 1992 the leader of the KGB admitted it was entirely an “active measures” deception program. And backing up his claim is the Mitrokhin Archive, which published the historical documents of the KGB from that era; the Mitrokhin Archive also unmasked Jakob Segal’s report as a fraudulent study that was part of the campaign.

To this day, the rumors are still believed by a huge number of people around the globe, including a sizeable percentage of Americans, even though the Russians long ago admitted it was all just a lie designed to hurt the US.


Since learning about the bots a few days ago I’ve become a lot more suspicious of the source/sudden appearance of every crackpot cure and origin story for Covid19.

To be sure, we are a very susceptible population. I used to only get forwarded chainmail/e-trash from two people in my father’s generation who forwarded everything, and when directed to Snopes where they should have checked in the first place, the answer was always “well, my bad this time.” And back at it the next day. Now, I’m seeing this same behavior across all ages and cultural backgrounds.

The success of this as a long term campaign, gradually eroding confidence in what we have traditionally respected as more accurate sources, is becoming more evident. It’s also in Putin’s interest to create and exploit tensions between the US and China.

I am disappointed in people very close to me who are not only falling for it, they don’t want to see the plain truth when I show it to them. I’m genuinely frightened about the number of people already saying they will refuse to be vaccinated because it’s all part of some plot. Also wonder what traps I have inadvertently fallen for myself.

Perhaps it is comforting to believe that a terrifying natural phenomenon is a product of some human evil genius.


Did we really need several repeats of the same identical photo and caption from a number of different people we’ve never heard of? It’s painful to look at and read and distracts from rather than reinforces the story.


It’s been painfully clear for decades that Putin wants to sabotage the U.S. and every other nation that might stand in his way, but this anti-vax insanity is like a mass suicide bombing. It’s not going to leave him or his supporters alive to celebrate their victory.

I’ve always likened it to biological warfare via disinformation.

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