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UK Government Apologizes After Counter Disinformation Unit Got Caught Lying, Monitoring Journalists’ Speech

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Those who may have a penchant for English literature, may also be aware of this quote from “The Witch of Edmonton” – “(…) This were a fine reign; To do ill, and not hear of it again.”

But even to those who lack that interest, this might seem like a succinct way to describe some of the ways politicians, and whole national cabinets – apologize, or, “apologize” – regarding certain fundamental mistakes they made/are making.

These do at times read less like apologies and more like, “can we please move on”? Fit for individuals perhaps – but is it ever, for states and governments?

Well, if talkTV host Julia Hartley-Brewer wanted a “formal apology” from the UK government, she has it. You see – the said government is either “sorry” for inflicting pain on Hartley-Brewer, or just upset because their “counter-disinformation unit” (formally – “Rapid Response Unit“) got caught, pants down, spreading actual disinformation.

Who’s to say?

However, who knew being a mere vaccine (Covid, specifically) skeptic (as juxtaposed to “anti-vaxxer”) came to be considered one and the same, equal to “spreading misinformation”? What will happen to science itself? The UK cabinet is aware – right? – that there is no science without skepticism?

In the meanwhile, Julia Hartley-Brewer, as far as the UK government, is no longer a “vaccine skeptic.” She has received an apology. But of far more interest to the general public, that label was slapped on the journalist as she was included in what Big Brother Watch rights group says was “a secret report on vaccine hesitancy sent across UK government recipients – and even to the US government.”

The saddest – or the most alarming part of this story is that Hartley-Brewer could hardly be considered any kind of skeptic to begin with. And yet – she made it to “the list.”

The reporter has apparently had the Covid jab and even promoted it on her show. But it was a post on X – then Twitter – that got her in hot “secretive list” water (Stalin, truly, would never even bother).

“No. No. No. NO!!!!,” was the post – in reaction to “a Telegraph article published in October 2021 about the Health Secretary and Education Secretary’s joint letter to parents encouraging them to vaccinate their children against Covid, headlined, ‘Pupils could lose out on face-to-face lessons if they don’t get vaccinated, warn ministers.'”

That’s all it took to get “the Rapid Response Unit” in a tizzy. That unit apparently no longer formally exists. Acquired knowledge assumes there may or may not be something worse in its place.

But Big Brother Watch has now “crowdfunded legal action against the UK government to ‘stop the Counter ‘Disinformation’ Unit targeting political dissent’, arguing that the unit is threatening freedom of expression in the UK. It is thought to be the first ever legal action in Europe against a government’s counter disinformation activity.”

And Hartley-Brewer had something to say, too: “I am shocked that the British government spent time during a pandemic monitoring, attempting to censor and smearing a journalist who was simply trying to do her job by asking the right questions and challenging the prevailing orthodoxy. I was not a ‘known vaccine skeptic’, as my on air and online comments clearly prove.”

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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