“Quackaganda” & the Art of Information Defense

It helps to update information defense nomenclature in ways that precisely target attack vectors aimed at our national security. Recently, attacks on U.S. and allied health security seek to tie-up U.S. resources and mental bandwidth on complex iterations of alternative health narratives that take on ‘Big Pharma,’ the “medical establishment,” and corporate health as dramatic camouflage for information warfare attacks on crucial U.S. and allied COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

“Quackaganda” is a suitably irreverent term referring to faux-sophisticate disinformation and or misinformation degrading public health responses to infectious diseases, undermining clear and accurate health information, and damaging popular thinking about and trust in public health efforts and authorities.

Where disinformation and misinformation can lead to death or degraded health in mass populations of targeted societies, it could be “Black Quackaganda.” COVID-19 anti-vaccine disinformation is like that because it tends to slow and suppress vaccine compliance and effectiveness. This creates time windows mostly in unvaccinated populations for COVID-19 to mutate at risk of generating more lethal strains.

Samples of Quackaganda

Consider recent samples of Quackaganda making internet rounds like the plague-carrying horseman of the apocalypse, mixing falsehoods with truths to try to persuade people not to get vaccinated, or, to obstruct vaccination campaigns.

In one case of “Quackaganda” at LinkedIn, a commenter urged alternatives to COVID-19 vaccines, arguing that they “could very well lead to inter-civilizational immunity collapse.” He advocated double-masking, goggles in and outdoors, social distancing, and “rapidly dispensing prophylactic Ivermectin..to eight billion people, shown to successfully reduce COVID-19 hospitalization in Mexico City, states in Peru, Argentina, and India (Italics mine).” See below:

 

 

Ivermectin is a livestock de-wormer and anti-parasitic that some foreign case studies correlate with less severe outcomes from COVID-19, however, do not prove causal links between Ivermectin and reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations. For example, the killing of parasites in a cross-section of patients with COVID-19 may have enhanced the immune system response and potency of patients no longer battling the parasites. That would not necessarily recommend the drug for the non-parasitized, if true. It seems too early to tell, but the above commenter takes it a step further to suggest that Ivermectin treatment and containment behaviors should replace vaccination (the anti-vaxx underpinning to the Ivermectin pitch).

As a treatment for COVID-19, Ivermectin would itself be experimental and not proven across dosages, particularly if administered prophylactically to 8 billion people given the drug’s known side-effects, interactions, and unknown effects on human organs of the sort of dosages theorized to be needed to defeat COVID-19 hospitalization.

Note also the agitation propaganda narrative at the bottom of the comment above:

“If anyone resists these safe and inexpensive approaches to experimental COVID-19 vaccines, all eight billion humans can legitimately ask if you are more loyal to Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson than you are to the ideals of your your (sic) home country and/or the human cause.”

Strategic Communications Profiles

Then come the strategic communications types, sometimes hired to advocate for politically powerful interests on social media, mixing partly-accurate information, unsourced data, falsehood, excessive license with data, mis-stated definitions of medical terms, and more. Here is an example of that in which the commenter grossly inflates annual influenza deaths to make COVID-19 death statistics look more like a conspiracy of fear-mongering, capitalizing on distracted Americans’ lack of currency with the actual comparative numbers:

 

 

Below was a corrective response that exposes the inflated influenza death numbers cited by the above profile as blatant mis or disinformation:

 

 

The same profile posting false influenza death numbers for the U.S. had also spuriously claimed that myocarditis meant permanent heart damage after overstating incidences of myocarditis post-COVID-19 vaccination. Further review of the profile’s content revealed something else. Citation of a known Russian government agency website, “Strategic Culture Foundation,” in support of anti-vaccine efforts designed to make our ally Australia appear to be “Orwellian” (see last para in comment image below):

 

 

In late August, TIME magazine published investigative journalism that helped to illuminate a number of sources of Quackaganda. It is essential reading for those who wish to understand the kind and character of the people behind the recurring iterations of anti-vaccine ideology that evolves much like a virus.

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