(LifeSiteNews) — The British army has been accused of spying on lockdown critics, including high-profile journalists, during the COVID crisis.
“I entered this role believing I would be uncovering foreign information warfare,” a whistleblower statement reads. “Instead, I found the banner of disinformation was a guise under which the British military was being deployed to monitor and flag our own concerned citizens.”
“This domestic monitoring of citizens seemed not to be driven by a desire to address the public’s concerns, but to identify levers for compliance with controversial Government policies.”
British news outlet The Mail on Sunday broke the story, basing their report on the findings of the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch.
According to Big Brother Watch, the whistleblower worked for the British Ministry of Defense’s 77th Brigade, a secretive “information warfare” military unit.
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Host of simulated homoerotic orgy nears purchase of Chicago Catholic Church
Targets included journalists Peter Hitchens and Toby Young, as well as Conservative Party politician and former cabinet minister David Davis. The 77th Brigade monitored online behavior and compiled dossiers on people who criticized the government’s COVID policies online.
The whistleblower stated that “it is quite obvious that our activities resulted in the monitoring of the UK population… the social media posts of ordinary, scared people,” adding that “[t]hese posts did not contain information that was untrue or co-ordinated – it was simply fear.”
Davis reacted to the revelations by saying that “[i]t’s outrageous that people questioning the Government’s policies were subject to covert surveillance,” and added that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Hitchens responded to the findings as well, saying that “[t]he report from Big Brother Watch probably only touches the surface of what Government agencies were up to during the closedown of the country.”
“We know they were at one stage interested in what I was up to, but I suspect there was a lot more than this that we will never find.”
“To me, the most astonishing thing about the great Covid panic was how many attacks the state managed to make on basic freedoms without anyone much even caring,” Hitchens wrote.
“So now is the time to demand a full and powerful investigation into the dark material which Big Brother Watch has bravely uncovered – and to stand against the tendency towards censorship and suppression which flourishes like bindweed if it is not ruthlessly cut back.”
The whistleblower from inside the 77th Brigade also stated that the agency was not focused on any possible foreign pro-lockdown campaigns at all.
“There may have actually been social media campaigns from China to promote lockdown policies but because we were directed to monitor sentiment towards the success of lockdown, we would have completely missed them,” the source stated. “I had the impression the Government were more interested in protecting the success of their policies than uncovering foreign interference, and I regret that I was a part of it.”
The Daily Mail cites Big Brother Watch Director Silkie Carlo who said that “[t]he fact that this political monitoring happened under the guise of ‘countering misinformation’ highlights how, without serious safeguards, the concept of ‘wrong information’ is open to abuse and has become a blank cheque the Government uses in an attempt to control narratives online.”
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“Contrary to their stated aims, these Government truth units are secretive and harmful to our democracy,” she continued. “The Counter Disinformation Unit should be suspended immediately and subject to a full investigation.”