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WHO Official Promotes Conspiracy Theory Website to Bolster Chinas Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign

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WHO Official Promotes Conspiracy Theory Website to Bolster Chinas Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign

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A top World Health Organization official promoted a report from a website that traffics in conspiracy theories to bolster China’s false claim that the communist regime was the first to report the existence of the coronavirus.

WHO communications director Gabby Stern tweeted on Monday false claims that “Taiwan never provided any warning” to the organization “about the novel coronavirus or its transmissibility.” Her tweet linked to an article published by the fringe website TheGrayzone. The site is run by Max Blumenthal, the son of Hillary Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal. Max Blumenthal is known for his pro-Iran, anti-Israel stance, and his website routinely publishes conspiracy theories that adopt Chinas false rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic.

The article, headlined, “With US support, Taiwan planted deception about warning World Health Org of Covid,” says Taiwan never informed the WHO about the emerging virus in the early days of the pandemic. This contradicts evidence provided by Taiwan and later the United States showing that the WHO was alerted by colleagues in Taiwan in late December that a new virus was spreading.

The officials promotion of a fringe website raises fresh questions about the embattled health organization’s judgment, particularly given TheGrayzones pro-China bent. The WHO is already under fire from the United States and other nations for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, which they view as overly deferential to China.

Stern’s promotion of the article has drawn outrage in Congress, where China hawks see the international organization as doing damage control on behalf of the Communist Party. The Washington Free Beacon first reported this month that the WHO quietly edited claims on its website that China was first to report the virus, now known to be false. However, the WHO, under the leadership of director general Tedros Adhanom, has continued to promote Chinese propaganda about the pandemic and its response.

“I find it deeply disturbing that a top WHO spokesperson would share a ridiculous conspiracy theory aimed at the US and Taiwan from an outlet that has defended Hezbollah, attempted to rationalize the CCPs abuses against the Uyghurs, and propagated anti-Semitic content,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Tex.), lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a member of Congresss China Task Force, told the Free Beacon on Tuesday.

“Its abundantly clear that the WHO needs reform from the top down. Director general Tedros, and those that help him appease the CCP and parrot their propaganda, should have no place at the WHO,” McCaul said.

The Grayzone has emerged as one of Chinas top media defenders since the pandemic spread across the globe.

An April 1 article claimedthe “U.S. pushes conspiracy theory on Chinas coronavirus death toll to deflect from Trump administration failures.” The article defends China against accusations it covered up the virus, saying such accusations are part of an “effort to redirect American outrage onto a foreign bogeyman.” It further alleges that China never hid its death toll from the world, despite reports from dissidents and others that the Communist Party imprisoned scientists and others who spoke out about the pandemic.

Another Grayzonearticle from March 30 spread conspiracy theories about the virus originating in the United States. That article claimed “the real origin of the coronavirus” is “political, global, and made in the USA.”

“Maybe the virus is some shadowy American warfare program that backfired,” the website stated.

Other articles have defended Chinas abuse of the minority Uyghur population. One article, for instance, claimed Chinas well-documented forced labor camps are a fiction created by the United States to drive a “Cold War PR blitz.”

The website also has decried the Trump administrations tough economic sanctions campaign on Iran and published pieces defending the U.S.-designated terror group Hezbollah.

Max Blumenthal, the sites editor in chief, is prominent in anti-Israel circles and has lent his support to extremist voices such as Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredos work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.



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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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