A bombshell new report claims that in the United Kingdom, those who were vocal skeptics and critics of the government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures were put under surveillance by the government, with direct assistance from the military.
According to Breitbart, the report first came from The Mail on Sunday, which claims that military operatives with the UK’s “information warfare” 77 Brigade were behind the operation, which included such targets as politicians and journalists who used social media to criticize lockdown efforts.
Among those monitored were former Conservative Party Minister David Davis, as well as journalists Peter Hitchens and Toby Young. The overall operation targeted tens of thousands, according to The Mail. Any dissenting opinion published on social media was ultimately reported back to the governing majority party and the executive branch at 10 Downing Street.
“Documents obtained by the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, and shared exclusively with this newspaper,” The Mail reports, “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.”
“But the most secretive is the MoD’s 77th Brigade, which deploys ‘non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of adversaries’. According to a whistleblower who worked for the brigade during the lockdowns, the unit strayed far beyond its remit of targeting foreign powers,” the paper continued. “They said that British citizens’ social media accounts were scrutinised – a sinister activity that the Ministry of Defence, in public, repeatedly denied doing.”
In response to the report, several of the operation’s targets condemned the government’s efforts to spy on dissenters. Davis said that it was “outrageous that people questioning the Government’s policies were subject to covert surveillance,” while Hitchens said that 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, let alone protesting.”
Following the revelation of the operation, a source at 10 Downing Street simply claimed that the 77 Brigade has mostly scaled back such operations since the end of the lockdown measures.