US media is reporting that a Chinese businessman linked to media executive and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon is at the center of a disinformation network in the US pushing election and covid falsehoods. According to a Washington Post report:
May 17, 2021 A sprawling online network tied to Chinese businessman Guo Wengui has become a potent platform for disinformation in the United States, attacking the safety of coronavirus vaccines, promoting false election-fraud claims and spreading baseless QAnon conspiracies, according to research published Monday by the network analysis company Graphika. The report, provided in advance to The Washington Post, details a network that Graphika says amplifies the views of Guo, a Chinese real estate developer whose association with former Trump White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon became a focus of news coverage last year after Bannon was arrested aboard Guo’s yacht on federal fraud charges. Graphika said the network includes media websites such as GTV, for which Guo last year publicly said he was raising funds, along with thousands of social media accounts that Graphika said amplify content in a coordinated fashion. The network also includes more than a dozen local-action groups over which Guo has publicly claimed an oversight role, Graphika found.
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According to the full report, published by network analysis firm Graphika, the following companies and organizations play key roles in Guo Wengui’s disinformation network:
- Saraca Media Group
- GTV Media Group
- Himalaya Supervisory Organization
- Rule of Law Society and Rule of Law Foundation
- Himalaya Federal Reserve
In 2019, US media reported that Guo Media, a subsidiary of Saraca Media Group, contracted with Bannon for at least $1 million for “strategic consulting services.” In addition, the article reports that Guo referred to Bannon as a GTV board member in an April 2020 clip of Guo speaking about overseeing the sale of shares in media outlet GTV.
Steve Bannon served as the White House’s chief strategist in the administration of US President Donald Trump during the first seven months of Trump’s term and has been credited as one of the architects of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. As a former executive of far-right media organization Breitbart News, Bannon also was Trump’s link to the so-called alt-right movement involved in the January storming of the US Capitol.