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Pentagon targeted PH in its anti-China ‘psyops’ during pandemic

So long China can be demonized, who said peoples’ lives matter to the United States?

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MORE than three years since the global fear over the COVID-19 pandemic subsided, dirty secrets are now coming out including an ‘information war’ launched by the Department of Defense (DoD) commonly known as the ‘Pentagon’ to encourage public distrust of the vaccines develop by China against the virus with Filipinos mainly as the victims.

According to an investigative report by Reuters posted last June 14, 2024, and which has now been re-published globally, the aim of the ‘psychological operation’ (psyops) is not the well-being or the lives of Filipinos during the pandemic years (2020-2021) but “to drag China into the mud.”

“It (Pentagon operation) aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and other life-saving aid that was being supplied by China,” the Reuters article declared.

“Through phony internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos, the military’s propaganda efforts morphed into an anti-vax campaign.

“Social media posts decried the quality of face masks, test kits and the first vaccine that would become available in the Philippines – China’s Sinovac inoculation,” Reuters said.

The operation was authorized by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper under Pres. Donald Trump and went on for several months more under Pres. Joe Biden, Reuters said.

It added they identified “at least 300 accounts” on X, formerly Twitter, that matched descriptions shared by former U.S. military officials familiar with the Philippines operation.

Almost all were created in the summer of 2020 and centered on the slogan #Chinaangvirus – Tagalog for China is the virus.

With the Filipinos as the first ‘guinea pigs’ for the US’ anti-China campaign, the operation was eventually expanded to cover the whole of Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East before it was terminated sometime in 2021, when the fear of the virus had started to subside.

In Central Asia and the Middle East, according to Reuters, “the Pentagon used a combination of fake social media accounts on multiple platforms to spread fear of China’s vaccines among Muslims at a time when the virus was killing tens of thousands of people each day.”

Joel Schectman, one of the reporters who broke the scandalous US operation, said it was largely prompted over fears that China is gaining influence in the Philippines under the Duterte administration especially when China agreed to put the country on top of the recipients of the vaccines it is developing, especially, Sinovac. This, even as the US and the West, thru Big Pharma, are yet to produce and share to others their own mRNA-based vaccines.

“Within the Pentagon and within Washington, there was this fear that they were going to lose the Philippines, so to speak,” Schectman told Amy Goodman in her ‘Democracy Now’ program on June 20.

The first batch of 600,000 shots of Sinovac vaccines donated by China arrived in the country on February 28, 2021, personally witnessed by Pres. Duterte (related story here). Schectman noted that for the following 10 months, it was the main vaccine available to Filipinos—even as the Pentagon was intensifying its campaign to discredit Sinovac and other life-saving medical supplies from China before the rest of the world, including the ‘Sputnik’ shots developed by Russia.

By August 2021, the Philippines, thru procurements and donations, received some 26.4 million doses of Sinovac and 1 million shots of Sinopharm, another Chinese brand, according to the report from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) dated August 21, 2021.

With the Pentagon operation as reference, by November 2021, total COVID deaths in the Philippines reached 48,361, the highest in Southeast Asia, even as the country recorded the “worst inoculation rate” of only 2.1 million Filipinos fully inoculated from the government’s target of 70 million Filipinos, or about half of its population.

No remorse for the Pentagon

On the same day the Reuters report came out, the Pentagon did not show remorse or shame over its action, even boosting Reuters’ suggestion that it was a “payback for Beijing’s efforts to blame Washington for the pandemic.”

One of the hundreds of fake Twitter/X accounts generated by the Pentagon targeting Filipinos to distrust China-made anti-COVID vaccines included in the Reuters’ report.

The Pentagon, according to Liza Lawrence, one of its spokespersons, “conducts a wide range of operations, including operations in the information environment (OIE), to counter adversary malign influence” and “this process is deliberate, methodical, and comprehensive.”

“The DoD uses a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter those malign influence attacks,” Lawrence added, as quoted by military.com website.

Schectman added that the psyops against China during the pandemic was carried out by General Dynamics IT, which was recently awarded another $500 million contract by the US government to “continue providing clandestine influence services for the military,” noted Goodman.

“General Dynamics was responsible for the largest Pentagon contract that was involved in this kind of anti-vaccine, kind of COVID propaganda. They were the ones that were kind of running the accounts. Them or their subcontractors, I should say, were running the accounts, running the propaganda during that period,” Schectman said.

He also noted the Pentagon gave the new contract to General Dynamics despite being busted for creating fake social media accounts.

“And they actually got into a lot of hot water, not so much just because of, like, you know, the kind of moral elements of this, or the ethical elements that we’re discussing, but more because they really got caught, right?

“Like, the accounts were discovered by the social media companies. Like, the tradecraft they used to disguise themselves was very poor. And so, they got into a lot of trouble. And people… were, like, kind of shocked on that basis…when they were discovered kind of repeatedly and called out repeatedly just like a year ago or two years ago,” he added.

Will an official probe condemn Uncle Sam?

In a media interview on June 16, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Albert Domingo, said the Reuters’ report should be investigated.

“The findings by Reuters deserve to be investigated and heard by the appropriate authorities of the involved countries,” he told reporters.

In Congress, Sen. Imee Marcos, sister of President Bongbong Marcos who is chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and ACT Teachers’ Partylist Rep. France Castro, called for a congressional probe of the Pentagon’s conduct against its so-called “key ally” in the region.

In a resolution filed on June 18 calling for the probe, Sen. Marcos says the reported anti-vax and misinformation campaigns “gravely threaten national security issues and public health.”

Will a probe of the Pentagon’s anti-China psyops during the pandemic that victimized Filipinos called by Sen. Imee Marcos result to a condemnation of the Americans?

She added there is a need to verify if indeed the alleged campaigns were orchestrated by the U.S. military and, if in the affirmative, “determine the ramifications of the actions of the U.S. Military, any potential breach of international law by the [USA] and the possible legal recourse available to the Philippines.”

But even if one is called, there is widespread skepticism that it would end up condemning the United States, much less, asking America for compensation, given the country’s record as an iron-clad American puppet.

Even among Americans, there is outrage that the Pentagon and the White House have weaponized the issue of vaccination to promote the US’ geopolitical designs at the expense of peoples’ lives.

“I don’t think it’s defensible,” said Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, when interviewed by Reuters as part of the article.

“I’m extremely dismayed, disappointed and disillusioned to hear that the U.S. government would do that,” he added. Lucey is a former military physician who assisted in the response to the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States.

Lucey and other health experts said what the Pentagon did was to sow distrust on any type of vaccination.

“Academic research published recently has shown that, when individuals develop skepticism toward a single vaccine, those doubts often lead to uncertainty about other inoculations,” Reuters noted.

Lucey and other health experts, the report added, say they saw such a scenario play out in Pakistan, where the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used a fake hepatitis vaccination program in Abbottabad as cover to hunt for Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York.

Discovery of the ruse led to a backlash against an unrelated polio vaccination campaign, including attacks on healthcare workers, contributing to the reemergence of the deadly disease in the country.

“It should have been in our interest to get as much vaccine in people’s arms (as soon) as possible,” said Greg Treverton, former chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, which coordinates the analysis and strategy of Washington’s many spy agencies. What the Pentagon did, Treverton said, “crosses a line.”

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