Canadian Military Establishing New Propaganda Organization to Influence Canadians

ER Editor: For perspective, readers may also be interested in this April 26, 2020 piece by UK Column presenter Mike Robinson about how a military intelligence propaganda campaign on the public has been going on in the UK for at least the past five years: The British Military Information War Waged On Their Own Population.

Called 77th Brigade, a unit of several thousand personnel was created in 2015 to wage ‘information warfare’ on its own population:

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.”

77th Brigade

Previously known as the ‘Security Assistance Group’, 77th Brigade was set 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.

It is linked to in the article below, but we highly recommend this accompanying piece from the Ottawa Citizen illustrating how Canadian military propaganda – to propagate fake stories among the population – has already been used on the population in Nova Scotia, in this case forging provincial government communications. See Forged letter warning about wolves on the loose part of Canadian Forces propaganda campaign that went awry.

We suspect that the Canadian operation is probably well under way already, bearing in mind Canada’s participation in the Five Eyes network.

********

Canadian military wants to establish new organization to use propaganda, other techniques to influence Canadians

.
The plan comes on the heels of the Canadian Forces spending more than $1 million to train public affairs officers on behaviour modification techniques of the same sort used by the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica, as well as a controversial and bizarre propaganda training mission in which the military forged letters from the Nova Scotia government to warn the public that wolves were wandering in the province.The new Defence Strategic Communication group will advance “national interests by using defence activities to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of audiences,” according to the document dated October 2020. Target audiences for such an initiative would be the Canadian public, as well as foreign populations in countries where military forces are sent.
.
The document is the end result of what Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance has called the “weaponization” of the military’s public affairs branch. The document is in a draft form, but work is already underway on some aspects of the plan and some techniques have been already tested on the Canadian public.
.
But the office of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Sunday that the plan, at least for now, is not authorized to proceed. Sajjan has raised concerns about some of the activities related to such influence and propaganda operations. “No such plan has been approved, nor will it be,” Floriane Bonneville, Sajjan’s press secretary, said after being asked by this newspaper about the initiative. (ER: Yet techniques have already been tested on the Canadian public. Does lack of approval mean this propaganda program won’t go forward, then? We doubt it.)
.
But a series of town halls were already conducted last week for a number of military personnel on the strategies contained in the draft plan.
.
The report quotes Brig.-Gen. Jay Janzen, director general of military public affairs, who stated, “The motto ‘who dares, wins’ is as applicable to strategic communication as it is to warfare.”

The initiative also proposes the creation of a new research capability established to analyze and collect information from the social media accounts of Canadians, non-governmental organizations, industry and the news media, according to the report.

The Canadian Forces have already tested that capability earlier this year. This newspaper reported that a team assigned to a Canadian military intelligence unit monitored and collected information from people’s social media accounts in Ontario, claiming such data-mining was needed to help troops who were to work in long-term care homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

.

That initiative, aimed at people’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, involved collecting comments made by the public about the provincial government’s failure to take care of the elderly. That data was then turned over to the Ontario government, with a warning from the team it represented a “negative” reaction from the public.
.
Military officers see nothing wrong with such collection of data as it is already in the public domain on social media accounts. They concede the team should not have been assigned to military intelligence, but under the new plan it will be controlled by the military’s public affairs branch.
.

But others have questioned how collecting information on the public’s views concerning Ontario Premier Doug Ford was even relevant to how the Canadian Forces were to care for elderly residents. In addition, concerns have also been raised on why the military turned over such data to Ford’s government and what became of it.

.
Sajjan requested an investigation be done into the data collection and has also limited at least temporarily some of what the military calls influence activities.The military, however, noted in the plan that it will consult the federal privacy commissioner before it launches its collection of Canadians’ online information.
.
The public affairs enhancement plan reflects the military leadership’s view they can shape and direct the attitudes of Canadians if the right techniques are applied. “Defence StratCom will focus on effects and outcomes among key audiences and will provide clear direction on aligning actions, efforts and resources in pursuit of strategic objectives,” the plan added.
.
Some in the Canadian Forces already attempted to conduct a trial run of such techniques.
.
This newspaper reported in July the military had planned a propaganda campaign aimed at heading off civil disobedience by Canadians during the coronavirus pandemic. That campaign was to use similar propaganda tactics to those employed against the Afghan population during the war in Afghanistan, including loudspeaker trucks to transmit government messages. The propaganda operation was halted after concerns were raised about the ethics behind such techniques.
.
The public affairs enhancement plan also calls for harnessing the social media accounts of select Canadian Forces staff to push out pre-approved government and military messages to the public. Although the social media activity would be seen to be coming from the personal accounts of military personnel, it would actually be Canadian Forces public affairs officers behind the scenes crafting and coordinating the messages.
.
The enhancement plan also calls for improving links to military-friendly academics and retired senior military staff so they can be used to push out approved Canadian Forces messages either on social media or in their interactions with journalists.
.
Sajjan had originally approved the weaponization of public affairs initiative, started in 2015 …

••••

The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)

••••

Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.

••••

Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

••••

Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*