A Canadian intelligence agency report accuses Russia, China and Iran of spreading false information about the COVID-19 to advance their strategic ambitions, according to Global News.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service named the trio of countries in a declassified report titled COVID-19: Global Effects and Canadian National Security Interests.
They said Russia was “actively spreading false information blaming the West for the virus”, as part of an extensive campaign aimed at discrediting the West, boosting Russian influence, and promoting an end to Western sanctions.
China, meanwhile, “is focused on a propaganda campaign that protects its own reputation and domestic legitimacy while touting its pandemic aid abroad,” said the assessment, marked Secret/Canadian Eyes Only.
At the same time, China’s internal restrictions were not being widely reported, and the infection and mortality data released by Beijing was “unreliable,” CSIS wrote.
Iran, for its part, carried out a campaign to increase misinformation, seeking to blame domestic shortcomings in the handling of COVID-19 on foreign agents (especially sanctions of USA).”
The misinformation about COVID-19 has grown vigorously since the beginning of the pandemic, fueling the circulation of conspiracy theories.
“It is important to note that disinformation, originating from anywhere in the world, can have serious consequences including threats to the safety and security of Canadians, erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, and confusion about government policies and notices including information on the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CSIS spokesman John Townsend when asked about the documents.
The Chinese Embassy denied spreading false information about the COVID-19, while the Russian embassy said it would comment after receiving a link to the CSIS statement. Iran has not had an embassy in Canada since the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 2012.
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