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Document Used To Spread Conspiracy Theory About Joe Biden Produced By Fake Intelligence Firm

November 2nd, 2020 10:35

US media is report­ing that a doc­u­ment used by close asso­ciates of US Pres­i­dent Trump to pro­mul­gate a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Joe Biden was pro­duced by a fake intel­li­gence firm. Accord­ing to the NBC News report:

Octo­ber 29, 2020,  One month before a pur­port­ed leak of files from Hunter Biden’s lap­top, a fake “intel­li­gence” doc­u­ment about him went viral on the right-wing inter­net, assert­ing an elab­o­rate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry involv­ing for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s son and busi­ness in Chi­na. The doc­u­ment, a 64-page com­po­si­tion that was lat­er dis­sem­i­nat­ed by close asso­ciates of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake “intel­li­gence firm” called Typhoon Inves­ti­ga­tions, accord­ing to researchers and pub­lic documents.The author of the doc­u­ment, a self-iden­ti­fied Swiss secu­ri­ty ana­lyst named Mar­tin Aspen, is a fab­ri­cat­ed iden­ti­ty, accord­ing to analy­sis by dis­in­for­ma­tion researchers, who also con­clud­ed that Aspen’s pro­file pic­ture was cre­at­ed with an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence face gen­er­a­tor. The intel­li­gence firm that Aspen lists as his pre­vi­ous employ­er said that no one by that name had ever worked for the com­pa­ny and that no one by that name lives in Switzer­land, accord­ing to pub­lic records and social media search­es. One of the orig­i­nal posters of the doc­u­ment, a blog­ger and pro­fes­sor named Christo­pher Bald­ing, took cred­it for writ­ing parts of it when asked about it and said Aspen does not exist. Despite the doc­u­men­t’s ques­tion­able author­ship and anony­mous sourc­ing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a prob­lem­at­ic con­nec­tion to the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Chi­na have been used by peo­ple who oppose the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, as well as by far-right influ­encers, to base­less­ly accuse can­di­date Joe Biden of being behold­en to the Chi­nese government.

Read the rest here.

The report goes on to note how con­tent from the fake doc­u­ment spread through­out the Internet:

Blog posts high­light­ing the most sala­cious parts of the doc­u­ment, includ­ing arti­cles from the Intel­li­gence Quar­ter­ly Blog, Revolver News and Bald­ing’s blog, received 70, 000 pub­lic inter­ac­tions — which includes reac­tions, com­ments and shares — across Face­book, Twit­ter and Red­dit, accord­ing to the social media analy­sis tool Buz­zSumo. Bald­ing’s blog was the pri­ma­ry dri­ver of viral­i­ty in con­ser­v­a­tive and con­spir­a­cy com­mu­ni­ties. The report itself was shared across Face­book and Twit­ter around 5,000 times, accord­ing to Buz­zSumo, and more than 80 sites linked back to the blog, which was shared more than 25, 000 times on Face­book and Twit­ter. Hyper­par­ti­san and con­spir­a­cy sites like Zero­Hedge and World­Net­Dai­ly led the pack. After the promise of a big reveal one day ear­li­er, the doc­u­ment was also post­ed on the extrem­ist forum 8kun by Q, the anony­mous account behind the QAnon con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry move­ment. On Twit­ter, the doc­u­ment was pushed by influ­encers in the QAnon com­mu­ni­ty, as well as by Ding­gang Wang, an anti-Chi­nese gov­ern­ment YouTube per­son­al­i­ty who works for Guo Wen­gui, a bil­lion­aire who fled Chi­na amid accu­sa­tions of bribery and oth­er crimes. Repub­li­can Newt Gin­grich, the for­mer speak­er of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, tweet­ed the doc­u­ment to his 2. 3 mil­lion followers.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed last month that US intel­li­gence agen­cies had warned the White House late last year that Russ­ian intel­li­gence offi­cers  were using Pres­i­dent Trump’s per­son­al lawyer Rudolph W. Giu­liani as a means to trans­mit dis­in­for­ma­tion aimed at under­min­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date Joe Biden