The report, “Ministry of Truth: The Secretive Government Units Spying On Your Speech” – an extensive, over 100-page long deep dive into the subject matter, among other things analyzed how the UK government used the country's military to glean “how scared people were” during Covid.
Read the report here.
This, the Big Brother Watch privacy and civil rights group – that says the report is based on Freedom of Information Act responses and whistleblower accounts – meant creating a facade of dealing with “fake news,” while in reality conducting “large-scale monitoring of the British public on social media.”
According to the newly released document, the unit involved was the British Army's 77th Brigade (aka 77x), whose purpose is to conduct “information operations” – within the military – including audience analysis and spreading “counter-propaganda.”
Previous “clients” they targeted included the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but now, it was time to turn to Twitter users and suss out anything that the authorities might consider to be Covid “misinformation.”
In late 2020, we reported that the 77th Brigade was used as support for the Cabinet Office's Rapid Response Unit (RRU) effort to push vaccination, but the Ministry of Defense insisted they were “not used against UK citizens” and that their focus was on the international arena.
The report, however, goes on to detail what kind of social media posts found their way into something called “The Disinformation Daily,” compiled by said unit.
In early June 2020, the Cabinet Office received one, and its contents concerned posts about the possibility of Covid being a vascular disease (based on a Lancet medical journal article), while two other items, dismissed as “disinformation” were videos – one that 77th Brigade claimed was a “conspiracy video” about UK laws, and another that accused the UK government of deliberately terrifying, threatening, and manipulating citizens during the pandemic.
The report also contains testimony from a whistleblower who shed light on how the brigade really carried out its work as a “disinformation force.”
Although the involvement of the military was justified by the need to fend off “foreign actors” apparently trying to frighten Britons, the whistleblower reveals that the monitored posts “did not contain information that was untrue or coordinated – it was simply fear and domestic dissent.”
And – “We learned from the feedback that the government were very keen on hearing what the public thought about their COVID-19 response and how scared people were.”
The whistleblower also spoke about the concern that the government was “so interested in individual Twitter posts that they devoted an entire unit to monitoring what scared and otherwise powerless people had to say,” adding – “and I regret that I was a part of it.”