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The policy makers – placemen, wokesters and vaccine zealots


FOLLOWING recent posts about the Government’s attempts to monitor and control the flow of information during the fake pandemic and the persecution of this site, it is interesting to consider the participants who contributed to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation meetings on April 30 and June 4, 2020, and the subsequent report of their conclusions dated July 21, 2020. 

The Secretary of State at that time was Oliver Dowden, who was in charge of the machinations of the treacherous Counter Disinformation Unit (CDU). Dowden’s manoeuvres are unlikely to be addressed by Baroness Hallett’s protracted Covid-19 Inquiry.

The sub-committee consisted of six Conservatives, four Labour and one SNP member. The chairman was Julian Knight MP. In December 2022, Knight was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party after allegations of sexual assault, which he denies. An investigation by the Metropolitan police has concluded but the Essex force are looking into other allegations. The Tory whips’ office has said it would not restore Knight as a Tory MP following ‘further complaints’. Knight now sits as an independent and is standing down at the next election. 

A prominent questioner on the committee was Conservative MP Steve Brine. In March the BBC reporteddemands for him to be investigated over claims that he lobbied the NHS on behalf of a recruitment firm for which he was a paid adviser.

The expert witnesses included Leslie Miller, vice presidentof public policy at Google. In November 2020, three of the largest social networks, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (the latter owned by Google), said they would join forces with fact-checkers, governments and researchers to try to come up with a new way of tackling misinformation. Their target was so-called vaccine misinformation. Full Fact, part-funded by Facebook, was to co-ordinate the collaboration. 

Commenting on this agreement, BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones wrote: ‘By January when Full Fact says an “initial framework” should have been agreed, countries should be starting to roll out vaccines to populations which have been subjected for months to a flood of scare stories about them. They will have seen stories ranging from suggestions that the vaccines have serious side-effects or haven’t been properly tested to allegations that they are part of a plot involving Bill Gates to implant microchips in people and track them.’

Another witness was Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism. She is a member of the Aspen Institute, ‘a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society’. Last year independent journalist Michael Shellenberger claimed that in October 2020 the ‘Aspen Digital Hack-and-Dump Working Group’ held an exercise which involved an 11-day scenario concerning the imaginary release of falsified records related to Hunter Biden’s controversial employment by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The goal was to shape how the media covered it — and how social media carried it. Weeks later the infamous laptop story was released, to be ignored or suppressed by mainstream news outlets, Twitter and Facebook.

Although Bickert appears not to have directly participated in the Aspen exercise, one who did was Claire WardleShe was a contributor to the deliberations of the sub-committee at their first meeting on April 30, 2020, and her ‘evidence’ is referred to several times in the report. She is on board the WHO/WEF juggernaut.

She is an Agenda Contributor to the World Economic Forum. She co-founded First Draft News, a project ‘to fight mis- and disinformation online’, formed in 2015 by nine organisations including FacebookTwitter, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and several philanthropic organisations. First Draft News was a contributor to the BBC’s misnamed Trusted News Initiative. Wardle has trained BBC staff in social media and is a member of the Trusted News Initiative Steering Group.

In June 2022, First Draft announced it would be shutting down, with its mission continuing at the Information Futures Lab at Brown University, Rhode Island, where Wardle is Professor of the Practice of Health Services, Policy and Practice. The most recent report from Wardle’s IFL calls for ‘a significant investment in vaccine demand generation’. The report was co-funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. 

In July 2022, Wardle was appointed to the World Health Organization’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards with Pandemic and Epidemic Potential (STAG-IH). Wardle’s role is to ‘ensure that the Advisory Group’s assessments and recommendations address the information and media landscape and its role in shaping emerging infectious disease threats’. 

At the conclusion of her evidence to the meeting of the DCMS sub-committee on April 30, 2020, chairman Julian Knight said: ‘Claire, thank you very much, excellent as ever’, which suggests she has more than once been a contributor to the formation of Government policies.

A witness at the second sub-committee meeting, on June 4, 2020, was consultant anaesthetist Dr Megan Smith, now a director of the  campaign group EveryDoctor, which was co-founded by psychiatrist Julia Patterson, a keen advocate for tighter restrictions and mask wearing. Smith was enthusiastic in her support for social media censorship: ‘I would say that the print media and the television media are regulated and have obligations. If some of this misinformation appeared in their pages or on their screens, steps would be taken. Why should these other platforms be any different? I completely appreciate that they do not write the lies, they do not compose the lies, but they do facilitate the distribution of them, and that is what we have to get rid of.’

She was backed by Thomas Knowles, a part-time (111-telephone) Advanced Paramedic Practitioner and adviser to EveryDoctor.  His evidence included: ‘Vaccination is one of our ways out of this pandemic, and what we cannot have is social networks reducing themselves to merely being bastions of free speech . . . The resource in terms of policing it is currently borne by DCMS in terms of its Disinformation Unit . . . What we are asking for is for that to be fixed in a legislative and regulatory framework so that there is no meaningful recourse for social media platforms to remove themselves from that social responsibility . . . If information is actively dangerous, then I know from speaking with Megan previously that both of us would support that just being flatly removed as content and not even allowing reference to be made to it in future, while also retroactively correcting and flagging it for everybody who has witnessed it prior to deletion by the platform.’

The Committee took written evidence from various organisations including Avaaz, a US-based organisation that promotes global activism on issues such as climate change, human rights and animal rights. In 2012, the Guardian referred to Avaaz as ‘the globe’s largest and most powerful online activist network’. Avaaz advised that social media firms must correct the record on health misinformation, ‘this means alerting and notifying every single person who has seen or interacted with health misinformation on their platforms, and sharing a well-designed and independently fact-checked correction’, and ‘platforms must detox the algorithms that decide what people see’. 

EveryDoctor is a keen supporter of Avaaz’s recommendations.

Other written evidence was provided by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Policy solutions it considered included ‘Enforcement against sharers’ and ‘Identifying and removing harmful users and sources of state disinformation.’ 

The controversial Chinese app TikTok, host to thousands of dancing nurses, also contributed written evidence.

The pretend pandemic became a convenient bandwagon for those intent on ensuring that the Online Harms Bill should crush dissenters to Agenda 2030 and the Great Reset. The contributors to the sub-committee seem to have been chosen because they were predominantly supporters of tighter restrictions on the freedom of speech. The ‘experts’ who saw themselves as guardians of The Truth were facilitated by MPs who had no curiosity about the experimental gene therapies nor the motives of those whom they interviewed.

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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