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Defense Cultural Specialist Unit, 77th Brigade. Photo: DCSU
London

British military declares war on vaccine opponents

The British army has chosen to go to "war" against opponents of the upcoming mass vaccinations that are planned. It is the 77th Brigade, the so-called DCSU, or "Defense Cultural Specialist Unit" that will monitor and counter "online propaganda against vaccines".

Published: December 5, 2020, 10:05 am

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    According to the Sunday Times, vaccine dissidents will be hunted down by pinpointing adversarial physical, virtual and cognitive behaviours. The unit was founded in 2010 and worked with psyops teams in Afghanistan by studying the behaviors and cultural characteristics of the Afghan people and then providing cultural and linguistic advice to the British ground troops, the brigade noted on its own website.

    But the department’s work has continued and now focuses on influencing people via social media. Ahead of the planned mass vaccination campaigns that will be launched in the UK, the brigade’s collective experience and capabilities are said to play a major role in counteracting and combating opponents of the vaccines that the authorities want to force the population to take.

    According to the newspaper Newsweek, at least one of those in charge on Twitter has direct links to the 77th Brigade. This individual is Gordon MacMillan who started working for Twitter in 2013 and is responsible for the editorial work that Twitter puts out in the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, he also worked for the 77th Brigade as an “active reservist”, but both Twitter and the British military have played down their cooperation.

    Twitter has denied sharing information with intelligence services. The 77th Brigade said in a brief statement to Newsweek: “There is no relationship or agreement between the 77th Brigade and Twitter, other than that we use Twitter as one of many social media platforms for engagement and communication. The army does not comment on the specific activities of reservists working within the division.”

    According to the Sunday Times, the brigade is already monitoring the network for Covid-19-related material and analyzing how British citizens are affected by this. The brigade denied that it was actively trying to influence British citizens in a specific direction, instead claiming that it “collects evidence of vaccine information from hostile states, including Russia”.

    But the brigade’s activities do not stop at gathering information, but also consist of direct surveillance and countering of “enemy actors”, which in this case includes what is called “militant vaccine opponents”. How vaccine opponents become “militant” seems unclear, however, instead it seems to be about all groups and individuals who are opposed to the vaccines, regardless of whether this comes from conspiracy theories about the dangers of vaccines.

    The British authorities will thus soon launch a massive and comprehensive campaign to combat vaccine resistance, which is also large in the UK, where every third Briton – similar figures as in Sweden – is hesitant to take the rapidly evolving vaccines that will soon be available, experience Times. The work of the 77th Brigade will then be to attack and fight vaccine opponents in various ways so that only a positive image of the vaccines will reach the population through various information and misinformation campaigns. Even when one chooses to call vaccine critics and opponents “militants”, one can assume that these campaigns have already begun.

    Sweden is also suspected of launching extensive mass vaccination campaigns through several authorities, such as the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the National Board of Health and Welfare, during the winter to, just like in the UK, influence people to take the new vaccines.

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