A shadowy Army unit secretly spied on British citizens who criticised the Government’s Covid lockdown policies, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Military operatives in the UK’s ‘information warfare’ brigade were part of a sinister operation that targeted politicians and high-profile journalists who raised doubts about the official pandemic response.
They compiled dossiers on public figures such as ex-Minister David Davis, who questioned the modelling behind alarming death toll predictions, as well as journalists such as Peter Hitchens and Toby Young. Their dissenting views were then reported back to No 10.
Documents obtained by the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, and shared exclusively with this newspaper, exposed the work of Government cells such as the Counter Disinformation Unit, based in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Rapid Response Unit in the Cabinet Office.
Summary from The Daily Sceptic:
Mass vaccination mission creep, no rigorous vaccine safety monitoring, counter-terrorism units deployed to crush scientific and social media dissent, major restrictions pursued for political reasons without evidence, expert advisers ignored – just some of the revelations made by Isabel Oakeshott in the Spectator this week. Fresh from co-authoring Matt Hancock’s pandemic diaries, the lockdown-sceptical journalist has written down the “key lessons” she took away from the very revealing writing process she undertook with a man whose approach to the pandemic she vehemently opposes.
A tight-knight case of characters has sought to destabilize the Syrian government by convincing Syrians, Western citizens, foreign states, and international bodies that the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army is a legitimate, “moderate” alternative, while flooding news across the globe with opposition propaganda.
Published 22 January 2018
We also, though, need to continue to improve our ability to fight on this new battlefield, and I think it’s important that we build on the excellent foundation we’ve created for Information Warfare through our 77 Brigade which is now giving us the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level. And as David Patrikarakos put it in his recently published book ‘War in 140 Characters’, in which he observes on the war in Ukraine:
“… I was caught up in two wars: one fought on the ground with tanks and artillery, and an information war fought largely, though not exclusively, through social media. And counter intuitively, it mattered more who won the war of words and narratives than who had the most potent weaponry.”
He also observed that: “social media is throwing up digital supermen: hyper-connected and hyper-empowered online individuals” and I’d like a few of those in 77 Brigade, please.
“When you create a state of confusion, people become ever more reliant on the messaging,” she says. “Instead of feeling confident about making decisions, they end up waiting for instructions from the Government.”
…This week’s chaotic and contradictory advice on travel is all part of the growing use of fear to control the public, she believes – a tactic which has been supercharged by the Covid pandemic.
…Less well known is the Home Office’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), which, according to Dodsworth, “attempts to covertly engineer the thoughts of people” by providing support to bodies seen by the public as “grassroots” organisations.
The army has mobilised an elite “information warfare” unit renowned for assisting operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to counter online propaganda against vaccines, as Britain prepares to deliver its first injections within days.
The defence cultural specialist unit was launched in Afghanistan in 2010 and belongs to the army’s 77th Brigade. The secretive unit has often worked side-by-side with psychological operations teams.
Leaked documents reveal that its soldiers are already monitoring cyberspace for Covid-19 content and analysing how British citizens are being targeted online.
The senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time officer in the British Army’s psychological warfare unit, Middle East Eye has established.
Gordon MacMillan, who joined the social media company’s UK office six years ago, has for several years also served with the 77th Brigade, a unit formed in 2015 to develop “non-lethal” ways of waging war.
The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to conduct what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as “information warfare”.