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UK Army Unit Labeled Accurate COVID Reporting as “Malinformation”

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More details are coming out about the Covid-era activity of the UK army unit, the 77th Brigade, which the country’s government used to spy on citizens, suppress dissent around issues related to the pandemic, and flag content for social media sites to label or remove.

The unit, said to be of the psyops (“psychological operations”) variety, carried out a series of controversial and even suspected unlawful activities over this period of time, although in early 2021, the UK government flat-out denied it was involved in “any kind of action against British citizens.”

But a batch of subsequent responses to freedom of information requests, including those filed a year later by the Big Brother privacy-promoting NGO, tell a different story.

Perhaps it’s hardly the fault of the 77th Brigade that it spread disinformation while saying it was fighting it, or that it was among agencies that came up with the idea to get government censors to infiltrate social platforms – after all, the unit was set up in 2015 for the purpose of conducting “covert (online) warfare and subversion campaigns.”

The more pertinent question may be why the UK government decided to rely so heavily on the military (the country’s air force, RAF, was also involved) in order to monitor and censor people’s discussions about things like masks, lockdowns, vaccines – and why these soldiers were instructed to turn on their fellow citizens.

source: Big Brother Watch

Either way, it did, and it was: In one example early in the pandemic – March 2020 – Guardian reporter Jennifer Rankin tweeted that both UK and EU sources had confirmed the former was not a part of the EU’s PPE procurement project.

The military was quick to label this as “malinformation” – apparently the “code word” for making sure the government is perceived positively regardless of whether reporting/content is accurate. In Rankin’s case, it was.

Big Brother Watch researcher Jake Hurfurt writes about this and cites a whistleblower who revealed how the 77th Brigade managed to bypass legal rules around using the army to monitor dissent at home.

“The leading view was that unless a profile explicitly stated their real name and nationality, which is, of course, vanishingly rare, they could be a foreign agent and were fair game to flag up,” the whistleblower is quoted as saying.

But there’s another way the authorities worked around “the problem,” Hurfurt explains: “As in the United States, UK government officials insist that the flagging of social media content by officials was legal because the officials were just making suggestions, not demanding censorship.”

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