Last Wednesday, during the daily UK Government Coronavirus livestream, the head of the British Army, General Sir Nick Carter, bragged:
We’ve been involved with the Cabinet Office Rapid Response Unit, with our 77th Brigade helping to quash rumours from misinformation, but also to counter disinformation. Between three and four thousand of our people have been involved, with around twenty thousand available the whole time at high readiness.
To understand the implications of this statement, we have to go back to 2018, when Carter gave a speech to the Royal United Services Institute.
“In our 77th Brigade,” he said, “… we have got some remarkable talent when it comes to social media, production design, and indeed Arabic poetry. Those sorts of skills we can’t afford to retain in the Regular component but they are the means of us delivering capability in a much more imaginative way than we might have been able to do in the past.”
Previously known as the ‘Security Assistance Group’, 77th Brigade was stood up in 2015 as part of ‘Army 2020’. The Security Assistance Group had been established following the amalgamation of the Media Operations Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group, Security Capacity Building Team, and the Military Stabilisation and Support Group.
77th Brigade is described on their website as being about ‘information and outreach’. But what does that mean? General Carter again:
We also, though, need to continue to improve our ability to fight on this new battlefield, and I think it’s important that we build on the excellent foundation we’ve created for Information Warfare through our 77th Brigade, which is now giving us the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level. [Emphasis mine]
It is in this context, then, that Carter’s words from last week’s livestream should be viewed. Carter has acknowledged that the British military is waging war on a section of its own population.
‘Rapid Response Unit’
Carter mentioned working with the Cabinet Office’s ‘Rapid Response Unit’. Established in April 2018 and also known as the ‘fake news unit’,