Democratic organizations condemn Pentagon for dangerous disinformation against China's Sinovac

, ,
This article is available in Pilipino

A special Reuters report recently revealed the secret campaign launched by the US military to spread disinformation in the Philippines against the Chinese-made vaccine during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through fake X accounts (formerly Twitter), it spread doubt and other malicious information against Sinovac, which was then the only vaccine available in the Philippines.

The operation was carried out in line with a secret order first released in 2019 that paved the way for the launch of US military propaganda campaigns. The order elevated US confrontation with China and Russia to “active combat” priority, and unleashed commanders to conduct psyops against the two countries. The US Congress authorized its military to conduct covert psyops campaigns even in countries without “active armed conflict.”

In an investigation by Reuters, it identified 300 X accounts that carried the hashtag #Chinaangvirus and spread disinformation to discredit the vaccine and other Chinese-made protective equipment. The thousands which followed these accounts repeatedly spread the disinformation that worsened vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos. Sentiment to reject Sinovac became widespread, and many opted to “wait” for US-made vaccines. In early 2021, this disinformation peaked at the Senate, and led by senator Risa Hontiveros, obliged the Sinovac manufacturer to prove that it was “safe and effective” while holding hostage the funds to buy the vaccines.

During this time, it was the US policy to hold exporting its vaccine until its own citizens had been vaccinated. Vaccine hoarding by rich countries was then rampant, resulting in vaccine shortage in many parts of the world. The US even blocked the relaxation of patents by big pharmaceutical companies, which would have given other countries the opportunity to manufacture vaccines and speed up their production.

The disinformation operations was started under the Donald Trump regime and continued into the current Joseph Biden regime. From the Philippines, operations expanded to Central Asia and the Middle East where the US deliberately spread the rumor that Sinovac contained “pork gelatin” so that the people in the region would reject it. The campaign was carried out with contractor General Dynamics IT, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, an arms manufacturing company.

Democratic organizations in the Philippines and health experts in the US strongly condemned the clandestine operations that has undoubtedly endangered the health of millions of Filipinos and other citizens.

“It is clear that despite all its recent claims of countering disinformation, the US is the main purveyor of disinformation, doing the same even during a health crisis where lives were at risk and people required truthful information on vaccines,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said. “The US does not care for human life and only cares about how it can gain the upper hand over its rivals. It is quite disgusting to learn of the Reuters report, as lives may have been lost due to the US disinformation drive.”

If the US can do this during the pandemic, there’s no telling what other disinformation psyops it has engaged in to shape public opinion to its favor, Bayan asked.

AB: Democratic organizations condemn Pentagon for dangerous disinformation against China's Sinovac