by Whitney Webb
from UnlimitedHangout Website
News organizations and journalists
who raise legitimate concerns
about Operation Warp Speed
will be de-platformed to make way
for the "required" saturation of
across the English-speaking media landscape...
US-UK Intel Agencies declare Cyber War on Independent Media
Similar efforts are underway in the U.S., with the U.S. military recently funding a CIA-backed firm,
...to develop an AI algorithm aimed specifically at new websites promoting "suspected" disinformation related to the COVID-19 crisis and the U.S. military-led COVID-19 vaccination effort known as Operation Warp Speed.
Both countries are preparing to silence independent journalists who raise legitimate concerns over pharmaceutical industry corruption or the extreme secrecy surrounding state-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination efforts, now that Pfizer's vaccine candidate is slated to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by month's end.
Pfizer's history of being fined billions for illegal marketing and for bribing government officials to help them cover up an illegal drug trial that killed eleven children (among other crimes) has gone unmentioned by most mass media outlets, which instead have celebrated the apparently imminent approval of the company's COVID vaccine without questioning the company's history or that the mRNA technology used in the vaccine has sped through normal safety trial protocols and has never been approved for human use.
Also unmentioned is that the head of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Patrizia Cavazzoni, is the former Pfizer vice president for product safety who covered up the connection of one of its products to birth defects.
Essentially, the power of the state is being wielded like never before to police online speech and to de-platform news websites to protect the interests of powerful corporations like Pfizer and other scandal-ridden pharmaceutical giants as well as the interests of the U.S. and U.K. national-security states, which themselves are intimately involved in the COVID-19 vaccination endeavor.
U.K. intelligence's new cyberwar targeting "anti-vaccine propaganda"
The U.K. newspaper The Times reported that the U.K.'s GCHQ,
In addition, the U.K. government has ordered the British military's 77th Brigade, which specializes in "information warfare," to launch an online campaign to counter "deceptive narratives" about COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The newly announced GCHQ "cyber war" will not only take down "anti-vaccine propaganda" but will also seek to,
The effort will also involve GCHQ reaching out to other countries in the "Five Eyes" alliance (U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada) to alert their partner agencies in those countries to target such "propaganda" sites hosted within their borders.
The Times stated that,
...suggesting that efforts will continue to ramp up as a vaccine candidate gets closer to approval.
It seems that, from the perspective of the U.K. national-security state, those who question corruption in the pharmaceutical industry and its possible impact on the leading experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates (all of which use experimental vaccine technologies that have never before been approved for human use) should be targeted with tools originally designed to combat terrorist propaganda.
While The Times asserted that the effort would target content,
This is highly troubling given that the U.S. recently seized the domains of many sites, including the American Herald Tribune, which it erroneously labeled as "Iranian propaganda," despite its editor in chief, Anthony Hall, being based in Canada.
The U.S. government made this claim about the American Herald Tribune after the cybersecurity firm FireEye, a U.S. government contractor, stated that it had,
In addition, the fact that GCHQ has alleged that most of the sites it plans to target are "linked to Moscow" gives further cause for concern given that the U.K. government was caught funding the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative, which falsely labeled critics of the U.K. government's actions as well as its narratives with respect to the Syria conflict as being related to "Russian disinformation" campaigns.
Given this precedent, it is certainly plausible that GCHQ could take the word of either an allied government, a government contractor, or perhaps even an allied media organization such as Bellingcat or the Atlantic Council's DFRLab that a given site is "foreign propaganda" in order to launch a cyber offensive against it.
Such concerns are only amplified when one of the main government sources for The Times article bluntly stated that,
...which suggests that the targets of GCHQ's new cyber war will, in fact, be determined by the content itself rather than their suspected "foreign" origin.
The "foreign" aspect instead appears to be a means of evading the prohibition in GCHQ's operational mandate on targeting the speech or websites of ordinary citizens.
This larger pivot toward treating alleged "anti-vaxxers" as "national security threats" has been ongoing for much of this year, spearheaded in part by Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the U.K.-based Center for Countering Digital Hate, a member of the U.K. government's Steering Committee on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force, which is part of the U.K. government's Commission for Countering Extremism.
Ahmed told the U.K. newspaper The Independent in July that,
He then stated that,
...thereby implying that "anti-vaxxers" might engage in acts of violent extremism.
Among the websites cited by Ahmed's organization as promoting such "extremism" that poses a "national security risk" were,
Similarly, a think tank tied to U.S. intelligence - whose GCHQ equivalent, the National Security Agency (NSA), will take part in the newly announced "cyber war" - argued in a research paper published just months before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis that,
The InfraGard paper further claimed that prominent "anti-vaxxers" are aligned,
An article published just last month by the Washington Post argued that,
...which the FBI named a potential domestic terror threat last year.
The article quoted Peter Hotez, dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, as saying,
It is worth pointing out that many so-called "anti-vaxxers" are actually critics of the pharmaceutical industry and are not necessarily opposed to vaccines in and of themselves, making the labels "anti-vaxxer" and "anti-vaccine" misleading.
Given that many pharmaceutical giants involved in making COVID-19 vaccines donate heavily to politicians in both countries and have been involved in numerous safety scandals, using state intelligence agencies to wage cyber war against sites that investigate such concerns is not only troubling for the future of journalism but it suggests that,
CIA-backed firm "weaponizing truth" with AI
In early October, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command announced that they had awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the U.S.-based "machine intelligence" company Primer.
Per the press release,
According to Primer, the company,
In other words, Primer is developing an algorithm that would allow the national-security state to outsource many military and intelligence analyst positions to AI.
In fact, the company openly admits this, stating that their current effort,
Primer's ultimate goal is to use their AI to entirely automate the shaping of public perceptions and become the arbiter of "truth," as defined by the state.
In that same post, Gourley argued for the creation of a,
Gourley then wrote that,
He concludes his blog post by stating that,
Notably, on Nov. 9, the same day that GCHQ announced its plans to target "anti-vaccine propaganda," the U.S. website NextGov reported that Primer's Pentagon-funded effort had turned its attention specifically to "COVID-19 related disinformation."
According to Primer's director of science, John Bohannon,
Bohannon, who previously worked as a mainstream journalist embedded with NATO forces in Afghanistan, also told NextGov that Primer's new COVID-19–focused effort,
The final product is expected to be delivered to the Pentagon in the second quarter of next year.
Though a so-called private company, Primer is deeply linked to the national-security state it is designed to protect by "weaponizing truth." Primer proudly promotes itself as having more than 15 percent of its staff hailing from the U.S. intelligence community or military.
The director of the company's National Security Group is Brian Raymond, a former CIA intelligence officer who served as the Director for Iraq on the U.S. National Security Council after leaving the agency.
The company also recently added several prominent national-security officials to its board including:
In addition to those recent board hires, Primer brought on Sue Gordon, the former principal deputy director of National Intelligence, as a strategic adviser.
Operation Warp Speed's disinformation blitzkrieg
The rapid increase in interest by the U.S. and U.K. national-security states toward COVID-19 "disinformation," particularly as it relates to upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, is intimately related to the media-engagement strategy of the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed.
Officially a "public-private partnership," Operation Warp Speed, which has the goal of vaccinating 300 million Americans by next January, is dominated by the U.S. military and also involves several U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as intelligence-linked tech giants Google, Oracle, and Palantir.
Several reports published in The Last American Vagabond by this author and journalist Derrick Broze have revealed the extreme secrecy of the operation, its numerous conflicts of interest, and its deep ties to Silicon Valley and Orwellian technocratic initiatives.
Warp Speed's official guidance discusses at length its phased plan for engaging the public and addressing issues of "vaccine hesitancy."
According to the Warp Speed document entitled "From the Factory to the Frontlines,"
It also states that,
The document also notes that Warp Speed will employ the CDC's three-pronged strategic framework for its communications effort.
The third pillar of that strategy is entitled "Stop Myths" and has as a main focus,
Though that particular Warp Speed document is short on specifics, the CDC's COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook contains additional information.
It states that Operation Warp Speed will,
It states that it will focus its efforts in this regard on "traditional media channels" (print, radio, and TV) as well as "digital media" (internet, social media, and text messaging).
The CDC document further reveals that the,
Those phases are:
Given that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer is expected to be approved by the end of November, it appears that the U.S. national-security state, which is essentially running Operation Warp Speed, along with "trusted messengers" in mass media, is preparing to enter the second phase of its communications strategy.
This one in which news organizations and journalists who raise legitimate concerns about Warp Speed will be de-platformed to make way for the "required" saturation of pro-vaccine messaging across the 'English-speaking' media landscape.