Russia has justified its war against Ukraine with a host of false claims, and it seems the Russians aren’t the only ones swallowing them. An American is now seeking to prove that the Kremlin claims are not propaganda and that he in fact visited Ukraine. Notorious conspiracy theorist John Mark Dougan allegedly tried to expose secret US biolabs in Ukraine, after living in Russia for years.
Kremlin propaganda has found a home on Fox News and other far-right outlets in recent weeks as an increasingly desperate Vladimir Putin tries to maintain the momentum of his war. More recently, Russia claimed that Ukraine was using migratory birds to spread biological weapons from its secret biological laboratories. On March 7, the Russians claimed that the United States was destroying all of its dangerous samples, so that Russian troops would not find them.
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The claims were passed by the Kremlin to Russian state media and are now taking over the airwaves in the United States as well. The United States and Ukraine have categorically denied the existence of such biological laboratories, but Putin stands by his claims, as justification for his war. Dougan’s decision to seek out these labs is a good example of the effectiveness of propaganda, which Putin surely considers a great victory.
Who is John Mark Dougan?
The Florida native has lived in Moscow since 2016, where he fled after being named in a fake news operation. Dougan is a former Marine gunner and police officer, who left the force in 2009. Prior to that, he notoriously racked up a record for writing more tickets than 11 other officers combined while serving at Mangonia Park. From there he moved to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and eventually to Belle Glade.
But those aren’t the only things on his resume. Dougan also has a history of odd jobs like horse hauling and database design, and even as a licensed pilot. However, it was as a cop that he became most famous, especially after facing multiple disciplinary charges, including for once spraying an off-duty deputy in the face. However, he also tried to do good, including trying to speak out against the violence and blatant disregard for protocol at Belle Glade.
Tips to lawyers and the press did nothing, so in 2008 Dougan left the force. On his way out, he sent a flurry of emails to senior officials, exposing the actions of Brent Raban and Michael Woodside. Eventually, both men were punished, but Dougan himself landed in hot water for sexual harassment. He was fired in 2009 from the Windham Police Force, at which point he turned into something of a fugitive.
The rise of BadVolf
After being fired, Dougan used his computer skills to start a web forum targeting Windham and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. From exposing corruption to sex scandals, both departments quickly found all their dirty laundry in the public eye thanks to Dougan. From there, it quickly escalated into misinformation and fake news, with Dougan creating several fake stories to further his plans.
Then in 2015, Dougan turned to catfishing, after learning he was being watched by the FBI. This led him to target federal agents, judges, local cops and intelligence agency employees across Florida, posting their home addresses on the web. He used the name BadVolf and claimed to be a computer scientist in Moscow. Eventually, however, the FBI discovered him and broke into his home on March 14, 2016.
Before he could be charged, Dougan traveled to Canada and from there flew to Moscow. In 2017, he was granted asylum in the country and has been there ever since. Since then, he has also been working to spread more lies and misinformation, especially around DNC staffer Seth Rich.
In search of secret biolabs
“I visited three places where there were bio labs and the buildings were destroyed,” Dougan told The Daily Beast. In mid-March, he claimed to have jumped on a Russian military transport and traveled to Ukraine. Since then, he posts regular updates on all his social networks, including Telegram and Rumble. On March 11, he even uploaded a 188-page Russian-language document supporting the allegation of secret biological labs.
He has since repeated the Kremlin’s talking points, once saying the labs are built “for the express purpose of designing biological weapons that could then be used against the Russian people.” But perhaps the most amazing part is that Dougan is actually in Ukraine, posting photos in a press vest. He also uploaded videos asking Ukrainians for information about the labs while claiming “I am in no way associated with the Russian military.”
Dougan’s amazing efforts will show how effective Russian propaganda has been. So far, he hasn’t found any evidence of biolabs yet, because they don’t exist. However, there are plenty of bombed-out residential buildings, hospitals, and schools that he conveniently ignored.