Covered in this article as super spreaders of top Covid-19 conspiract theories:
The Centre for Research on Globalisation (Larry Romanoff)
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Hossein Salami
These are the superspreaders.
Who is he?
A Harvard trained law professor at the University of Illinois, Mr. Boyle drafted a 1989 law banning biological weapons and has advised the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Palestinian Authority.
Mr. Boyle has no academic degree in virology or biology but is a long-standing critic of research on pathogens. He has claimed Israeli intelligence was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; that SARS, the swine flu and Ebola have been genetically modified; and that West Nile virus and Lyme disease escaped from a U.S. bio-warfare lab. He has also claimed that Microsoft founder Bill Gates “was involved” in the spread of Zika.
What is it?
A website that was an early promoter of the theory that the coronavirus was engineered.
Its January 26, 2020, story on ‘Coronavirus bioweapon-How China Stole the Coronavirus From Canada and Weaponised It’ was picked up by far-right financial blog Zero Hedge and shared to thousands of social media users before it was promoted by conservative website RedStateWatcher and received more than 6 million engagements.
GreatGameIndia claims that the virus, which has now killed more than 2 million people worldwide, was first found in the lungs of a Saudi man and then sent to labs in the Netherlands and then Canada, where it was stolen by Chinese scientists. The article relies in part on speculation from Dany Shoham, a virologist and former lieutenant colonel in Israeli military intelligence.
Mr. Shoham was quoted discussing the possibility that COVID is linked to bio-weapon research in a January 26, 2020, article in the conservative U.S. newspaper The Washington Times . In that article, Mr. Shoham was quoted saying there was no evidence to support the idea that the virus has escaped from a lab, but GreatGameIndia did not include that context in its piece.
“We do stand by our report,” said website co-founder Shelley Kasli wrote in an email. “In fact, recently Canadians released documents which corroborated our findings with Chinese scientists… A lot of information is still classified.”
The Centre for Research on Globalisation
What is it?
The Montreal-based centre publishes articles on global politics and policy, including a healthy dose of conspiracy theories on vaccines and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It’s led by Michel Chossudovsky, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa and a conspiracy theorist who has argued the U.S. military can control the weather.
The centre publishes authors from around the world — many of whom have advanced baseless claims about the origins of the outbreak. In February, for instance, the center published an interview with Igor Nikulin suggesting the coronavirus was a U.S. bio-weapon created to target Chinese people.
The centre’s website, globalresearch.ca., “has become deeply enmeshed in Russia’s broader disinformation and propaganda ecosystem” by peddling anti-U.S. conspiracy theories, according to a 2020 U.S. State Department report which found that seven of its supposed writers do not even exist but were created by Russian military intelligence.
While the centre has published several articles about the virus, one suggesting it originated in the U.S. caught the attention of top Chinese officials.
On March 12, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian retweeted an article published by the centre titled: ‘China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?’
“This article is very much important to each and every one of us,” he posted in English on Twitter. “Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US.”
He also tweeted: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation.”
The story by Larry Romanoff, a regular author at the centre, cites several debunked theories, including one that members of the U.S. military brought the virus to China during the Military World Games in fall 2019. Mr. Romanoff concludes that it has now “been proven” that the virus originated from outside of China, despite scientific consensus that it did.
The World Health Organisation has concluded that the coronavirus emerged in China, where the first cases and deaths were reported. No evidence has surfaced to suggest the virus was imported into China by the U.S.
Mr. Chossudovsky and Mr. Romanoff did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment. Mr. Romanoff’s biography lists him as a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, but he is not listed among the university’s faculty. The university did not respond to an email asking about Mr. Romanoff’s employment.
Mr. Romanoff’s original article was taken down in the spring, but Mr. Zhao’s tweet remains up.
Who is he?
A four-time failed political candidate, Mr. Nikulin is prominently quoted in Russian state media and fringe publications in the west as a biologist and former weapons inspector in Iraq who served on a U.N. commission on biological and chemical weapons in the 1990s.
Mr. Nikulin argues the U.S. created the virus and used it to attack China. He first voiced the belief in a January 20, 2020, story by Zvezda , a state media outlet tied to the Russian military. He appeared on Russian state TV at least 18 times between January 27, 2020, and late April of that year.
Once the virus reached the U.S., Mr. Nikulin changed his theory, saying “globalists” were using the virus to depopulate the earth.
Mr. Nikulin has expressed support for weaponising misinformation to hurt the U.S. in the past. On his website, he suggests claiming the U.S. created HIV as a way to weaken America from within. Russian intelligence mounted a similar 1980s disinformation campaign dubbed “Operation INFEKTION.”
“If you prove and declare… that the virus was bred in American laboratories, the American economy will collapse under the onslaught of billions of lawsuits by millions of AIDS carriers around the world,” Mr. Nikulin wrote on his website.
Who is he?
Greg Rubini is the name of an internet conspiracy theorist who claims to have high-level contacts in intelligence and listed his location on Twitter as “classified,” until he was kicked off the platform. His posts have been retweeted thousands of times by supporters of QAnon, a conspiracy theory centered on the baseless belief that former U.S. President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a secret sect of satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
Mr. Rubini has tweeted that Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus and that it was used as a bio-weapon to reduce the world’s population and undermine Mr. Trump.
Who is he?
A former lecturer on Islam at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mr. Barrett left the university amid criticism for his claims that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by people linked to the U.S. and Israeli governments.
Mr. Barrett calls himself “a professional conspiracy theorist, for want of a better term” and has argued government conspiracies were behind the 2004 Madrid bombing, the 2005 London bombing, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.
Mr. Barrett said he is “80%” sure coronavirus was created by elements within the U.S. government as a bio-weapon and used to attack China.
Iran was a secondary target, he has argued. Writing for Iran’s PressTV , he said the early outbreak in that country “suggests that the Americans and/or their partners the Israelis… may have deliberately attacked Iran.”
Mr. Barrett further detailed his views during an interview with the AP .
“It seemed fairly obvious to me that the first hypothesis one would look at when something as extraordinary as this COVID pandemic hits, is that it would be a U.S. bio-war strike,” he said.
Who is he?
Mr. Montagnier is a world-renowned virologist who won the Nobel prize in 2008 for discovering HIV.
During an April interview with the French news channel CNews , Mr. Montagnier claimed that the coronavirus did not originate in nature and was manipulated. Mr. Montagnier said that in the process of making the vaccine for AIDS, someone took the genetic material and added it to the coronavirus. Mr. Montagnier cites a retracted paper published in January from Indian scientists who had said they had found sequences of HIV in the coronavirus. AP made multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact Mr. Montagnier.
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