The China-Pakistan bio-weapons hoax was a shoddy example of fake news | The Express Tribune


The “report” itself mentioned India so many times that any objective reader would immediately grow suspicious

China and Pakistan were once again victimised by a fake news information warfare attack late last month that was clearly connected to the Indian intelligence services. An Australian investigative journalism website called The Klaxon released a report alleging that the two were secretly conspiring with one another to create banned biological weapons, coincidentally at the Wuhan laboratory that’s been in the news quite a lot ever since the Covid-19 outbreak sparked theories that it actually originated at that facility.

The outlet claimed to have been fed this tip by highly credible intelligence sources, including what they described as one senior intelligence source. More specifically, they said that some of these supposed sources also came from the Indian subcontinent, which says all that’s needed about the origin of this fake news scandal. Nothing in the report itself is substantiated, and it instead reads like a poorly written press release from India’s infamous Research and Analysis Wing (RAW, their version of the CIA and Mossad).

That’s actually why the story never took off in the first place since it was so obvious that it was a fake news information warfare attack by China and Pakistan’s chief rival. Some outlets such as India’s ANI, Russia’s Sputnik, and the US’ Voice of America picked it up, though all but the Indian ones soon realised that this was a hoax once Pakistan officially denied the claims. Truth be told, this was a rather poor information warfare attack by India, one that was so shoddy as to raise serious questions about RAW’s relevant capabilities.

The pretext itself was compelling enough. According to the false narrative, China was secretly creating banned biological weapons at the Wuhan facility together with Pakistan. This played to what many people across the world had been preconditioned to believe after over seven months of the US’ incessant information warfare against China since the start of the global Covid-19 outbreak. By releasing these claims through Australian media, RAW presumably thought that it could obscure its role in this fake news attack against its rivals.

The problem, however, was that the report itself mentioned India so many times that any objective reader would immediately grow suspicious about its role in this story, especially since the Australian outlet specifically said that some of the so-called sources were from the Indian subcontinent. It’s no secret that India has quite a few problems with both China and Pakistan, so the Indian trace makes one question the intentions and veracity of the so-called intelligence that The Klaxon received from RAW.

It was easy enough to realise that this was an information warfare attack using fake news and that’s why practically all international media stopped talking about it after that weekend once Pakistan predictably denied the story. Sometimes weekends are slow news days and unverified but nevertheless exciting stories such as this one serve as convenient content for editors to promote during these times. It didn’t have to be that way had RAW put more effort into this latest fake news provocation since it might then have been a bit more successful.

The Achilles’ heel of these claims weren’t just that they were hearsay since even that’s capable of sparking a major story nowadays no matter how false it may be, but that Indian intelligence couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make their role known in fabricating this news. Had they kept their egos in check and demanded that the Australian outlet not make any mention of them or their country, then having this third party release the fake news story might have made it more believable instead of throwing everything about it into doubt.

Professionally speaking, it was extremely poor form for RAW to so obviously hint that it played a role in this information provocation. That speaks to how low morale must be in that agency that the decision was made to not remove any trace to the story but instead make it an important part of the accusations. Despite whatever Indians and their international supporters might claim, Chinese and Pakistani intelligence agencies would never produce such a shoddy example of fake news, nor make it so obvious where it came from.

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