Leaked Files Expose Syria Psyops Vet Astroturfing BreadTube Star to Counter Covid Restriction CriticsKIT KLARENBERG AND MAX BLUMENTHAL
Dec. 28, 2021
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By covertly recruiting popular YouTube influencer Abigail Thorn to counter growing opposition to UK gov't Covid restrictions, psy-ops pros are bringing home the tactics they honed in the Syrian dirty war. Leaked documents have revealed a state-sponsored influence operation designed to undermine critics of the British government's coronavirus policies by astroturfing a prominent founder of the BreadTube clique of "anti-fascist" YouTube influencers.
The project aims to conduct psychological profiling on British citizens dissenting against policies such as mandatory vaccination and lockdowns, then leverage the data to establish a YouTube channel that portrays these critics as dangerous "superspreaders" of "disinformation."
Designed "to curb the influence of pseudoscience material online, with specific emphasis on Coronavirus-related 'anti-vaxxing' sentiment," the operation is run by the UK's Royal Institution, and dubbed "Challenging Pseudoscience."
Its top patron is Charles, the Prince of Wales, next in line to the British throne, who recently hit out at supposed "conspiracy theories" surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. The organization received a substantial cash injection in 2020 from the UK government's Culture Recovery Fund earmarked for video production.
Leaked files obtained by The Grayzone indicate that the Royal Institution has enlisted the services of Valent Projects, a "social change" communications firm founded by a public relations operative previously involved in the UK Foreign Office's campaign for violent regime change in Syria. Valent has also been sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), a US intelligence cut-out, for a project aimed at "investigating disinformation."
Valent's central role in the operation highlights the trend of information warfare specialists bringing the techniques they honed against targets like the Syrian government back home to the West, where increasingly unpopular governments confront masses of citizens ever-bristling at coronavirus restrictions.
As in Syria, where communications firms like Valent created, trained and instrumentalized media organizations to further regime change objectives, they have covertly recruited a famed British YouTube influencer to lend their carefully calculated messaging campaign an authentic flavor.
According to internal documents, Valent plans to design a "mass appeal social media campaign fronted and owned by prominent social media figure Abigail Thorn," the founder of Philosophy Tube. Valent's research on British citizens who reject official policy on COVID-19 "will be used to devise a campaign that utilises YouTuber Abigail Thorn's existing platform to achieve a measurable cognitive shift in the target audience," the files state.
Boasting over one million subscribers to her YouTube channel and more than 7000 Patreon supporters, Thorn has established a potent vehicle for any communications campaign. She is also a core member of BreadTube, an assortment of left-branded social media influencers that has attracted intense establishment interest for its purported ability "to pop YouTube's political bubbles to create space for deradicalisation."