At first glance, Russian trolls and the activist group Organic Consumers Association seem to have no connection whatsoever. But appearances can be deceiving.
Far from just meddling in American democracy, Russian trolls are meddling wherever and whenever they can to cause societal strife. Radio Free Europe reports that Russian trolls may have contributed to the massive measles outbreak in Europe in 2018, which sickened 82,000 people and killed 72, by spreading anti-vaccine propaganda.
This is consistent with stories that were reported a few months earlier, which concluded that Russian trolls were promoting pro- and anti-vaccine campaigns. Why both? Because their mission is to sow discord, chaos, and confusion. This strategy even has a name: The Gerasimov Doctrine. It's why the promotion of all sorts of conspiracy theories (including anti-GMO propaganda) on social media can often be traced back to Russia.
Making it all worse is the fact that the Russian trolls have accomplices, "useful idiots" you could call them, willing to help. And they're American.
Like Russian Trolls, the Organic Consumers Association Spreads Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
The Organic Consumers Association is funded by the organic industry, which is built upon a foundation of lies. Evidence shows that organic food isn't healthier for people and that organic farming isn't better for the environment. (Actually, it's worse for the environment.) The only substantial difference between conventional food and organic food is the price.
Given its shaky relationship with reality, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Organic Consumers Association peddles other bizarre ideas. If you believe one conspiracy theory (namely, GMOs are poisoning everybody), then it's not too difficult to accept other conspiracy theories. Indeed, OCA's website pushes the sort of nonsense you might hear come from Alex Jones or InfoWars, such as 9/11 trutherism, chemtrails, and FEMA's secret plan to implement martial law.
Just in case that isn't kooky enough, they also believe pesticides cause school shootings, and lo and behold, they're anti-vaccine. On February 19, the OCA is hosting an event at the Minneapolis Club to discuss vaccines. The featured speaker is none other than notorious anti-vaxxer, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Collusion Between Russia and the Organic Consumers Association
So, both Russian trolls and the Organic Consumers Association push conspiracy theories, including anti-vaccine propaganda. But the similarities don't end there. The OCA actively colludes with the Russian propaganda machine.
Ronnie Cummins, who heads the OCA, appeared on the propaganda outlet RT (formerly known as Russia Today) to spread misinformation about American agriculture. And Gary Ruskin, who heads the anti-GMO group U.S. Right to Know (which is funded primarily by the Organic Consumers Association), gleefully spreads RT propaganda.
Let's review. The Organic Consumers Association:
- Promotes 9/11 trutherism
- Says chemtrails are real
- Spreads FEMA-martial law conspiracy theory
- Claims pesticides cause school shootings
- Promotes anti-vaxxerism
- Colludes with Russian propagana outlets, like RT
Vladimir Putin couldn't be happier.