First, a few bits from b at MoA’s: ‘British Government Disinformation Shop Lost Charity Status – Continues In New Format’, Nov. 4, 2019, moonofalabama.org, including the back-story:
The British government financed Integrity Initiative is tasked with spreading anti-Russian propaganda and thereby with influencing the public, military and governments of a number of countries. What follows is an contextual analysis of the third batch of the Initiative’s internal papers which were dumped by an anonymous yesterday.
Christopher Nigel Donnelly (CND) is the co-director of The Institute for Statecraft and founder of its offshoot Integrity Initiative. The Initiative claims to “Defend Democracy Against Disinformation”.
Both, the Institute as well as the Initiative, claim to be independent Non-Government Organizations. Both are financed by the British government, NATO and other state donors.
There have been seven releases of Institute of Statecraft documents. They included proposals for large anti-Russian disinformation campaigns. The Institute of Statecraft suggested imposing anti-Russian sanctions as early as January 2015. Its head, the former NATO advisor and military spy Chris Donnelly, also proposed a simultaneous expulsion of a large number of Russian diplomats from western countries.” [snip]
“Unfortunately the charity regulator will not close down the Institute of Statecraft. It accepted that it rectified its behavior by taking a number of measures:
- the charity has ceased to undertake any activity related to the Integrity initiative, and this is now undertaken by a non-charitable entity having no legal connection to the charity
- the charity has ceased to remunerate any of its charity trustees
- the charity is taking external guidance on governance
- some charity trustees are to stand down as soon as replacement charity trustees can be identiﬁed
The Integrity Initiative, as paid for by the British Foreign Office, Ministry of Defense, NATO and other such entities, will live on as a non-charitable entity with even less transparency. Its website, as well as that of Institute of Statecraft, is down. That it will now have to live in total secrecy will make it more difficult for it to recruit foreign journalists to spread its propaganda.
Since the Integrity Initiative was exposed the British government opened and financed a new secretive shop that will continue to spread anti-Russian disinformation:
On 3rd April, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister Alan Duncan revealed his department’s ‘Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme’ – which bankrolls the Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative subsidiary – was funding a new endeavour, Open Information Partnership (OIP).
The announcement, buried in a response to a written parliamentary question, was supremely light on detail – Duncan merely said the effort would “respond to manipulated information in the news, social media and across the public space”. Official fanfare was also unforthcoming – there was no accompanying press release, briefing document, or even mention of the launch by any government minister or department via social media channels.”
The following author, who lives in the UK, has kindly given me permission to reprint his most recent ii exposé in its entirety. He fleshes out the propaganda operation further, and adds additional names as well. Fenton’s internal links are formidable.
‘Labour Bashing Fake Charity EXPOSED’, Tim Fenton, zelo-sstreet.blogspot.com, Monday, 4 November 2019
“You may not have heard of the Institute for Statecraft, which was registered in Scotland as a charity, or indeed of the Integrity Initiative, which it launched and effectively controlled. But OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator, most certainly has heard of both bodies, and has just concluded an Inquiry under Section 33 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. The conclusions of that Inquiry are damning.
The Executive Summary tells that the charity was not meeting the charity test for three clear reasons: One, “its purposes were not entirely charitable”, Two, “one of its most significant activities, a project known as the Integrity Initiative, did not provide public benefit in furtherance of the charity’s purposes”, and Three, “private benefit to charity trustees was not incidental to the charity’s activities that advance its charitable purposes”.
So what were the Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative about? Well, the latter was ostensibly a campaign against “Russian disinformation”. In reality, it was all about Russophobia, trying to stoke fear of potential Russian actors and assets, even if they weren’t Russian actors or assets. It was perpetuating Cold War paranoia under another name. Which is where the Labour bashing came in.
The Institute for Statecraft claimed to be “totally independent and impartial, not dependent on funding from political or Government agencies”. This was not true: it had received around £2 million from the Foreign Office during 2017/8 to run the Integrity Initiative. And the latter was then caught circulating anti-Jeremy Corbyn articles.
Worse, as Private Eye magazine revealed last January, this campaign was assisted by a man called John Rendon: “The Rendon Group works extensively for the CIA, Pentagon and other US agencies. Famously, it was paid nearly $100m to shape the Iraqi National Congress from 1990 onwards”. The INC infamously told the West what it wanted to hear: that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. He didn’t. It took the money and ran.
And the Integrity Initiative is really Psy-Ops, propaganda, and yes, disinformation. First it gets its audience to “look over there” at alleged Russian disinformation, then slips out its own. It does this using content from [< a major link] “clusters” of supposedly independent journalists, although it should surprise no-one that the Murdoch empire is in there somewhere: the UK “cluster”, I’m told, includes David Aaronovitch and Edward Lucas of the Times.
There are more at the Times in that UK “cluster”. And last December, Ian Fraser in the Daily Record considered Alan Duncan’s initial campaign that the FO wasn’t funding any of the Integrity Initiative’s “domestic” activities, and a later angry rebuttal following the realisation that the group Anonymous had hacked the II’s website, and concluded “The Government’s line appears to be that it is wholly wrong for British media and journalists to expose what appear to be British ‘dirty tricks’”. The FO paying for Labour bashing.
It is, though, entirely consistent with dredging up the “Agent Boot” story over which Michael Foot took the Sunday Times to the cleaners, the claims by a fantasist that Corbyn had been an asset of Czech intelligence, and the easily disproved claim that the records of the East German Stasi held a file on the Labour leader. Which they did not.
The disinformation industry just lost a battle. But it has not yet lost the war.”
From the right side-bar:
What They Say About Zelo Street:
Recalling that former Ambassador Criag Murray had reported on these related disinformation organizations in the past, I’d checked on his website only to find that his wife’s father has crossed to the other side, and they seem to be (rather nervously) planning a trip back to Uzbekistan for his services. But I did dig up a couple bits from his archives, this one from Dec. 13, 2018:
“It is, to say the least, very interesting indeed that just a year later the left wing, “Corbyn and Sanders supporting” Bracey-Lane is hosting a very right wing event, “Cold War Then and Now”, for the shadowy neo-con Institute for Statecraft, at which an entirely unbalanced panel of British military, NATO and Ukrainian nationalists extolled the virtues of re-arming against Russia.”
And a few bits from Craig’s: ‘British Government Covert Anti-Russian Propaganda and the Skripal Case 342 ‘, 21 Dec, 2018, craigmurray.com
“Most frustratingly, Anonymous’ comments on the releases indicate that they have vital information which is not, so far, revealed. The most important document of all appears to be a simple contact list, of a particular group within the hundreds of contacts revealed in the papers overall. This is it in full:”
He includes a list of names and email addresses including Christopher Nigel Donelly, Duncan Allen, and Pablo Miller. None of the promised by ‘Anonymous’ information about the White Helmets meeting with these folks, he says, but loads about Pablo Miller and Allen, including:
“The first name on the list caught my eye. Duncan Allan was the young FCO Research Analyst who, as detailed in Murder in Samarkand, appears in my Ambassadorial office in Tashkent, telling me of the FCO staff who had been left in tears by the pressure put on them to sign up to Blair’s dodgy dossier on Iraqi WMD. During the process of clearing the manuscript with the FCO, I was told (though not by him) that he denied having ever said it. It was one of a very few instances where I refused to make the changes requested to the text, because I had no doubt whatsoever of what had been said.
If Duncan did lie about having told me, it did his career no harm as he is now Deputy Head of FCO Research Analysts and, most importantly, the FCO’s lead analyst on Russia and the Former Soviet Union.
Now let us tie that in with the notorious name further down the list; Pablo Miller, the long-term MI6 handler of Sergei Skripal, who lived in Salisbury with Skripal. Miller is the man who was, within 24 hours of the Skripal attack, protected by a D(SMA) notice banning the media from mentioning him. Here Pablo Miller is actively involved, alongside serving FCO and MOD staff, in a government funded organisation whose avowed intention is to spread disinformation about Russia. The story that Miller is in an inactive retirement is immediately and spectacularly exploded.”
Okay, one more name and CV:
“Now look at another name on this list. Howard Body. Assistant Head of Science Support at Porton Down chemical weapon research laboratory, just six miles away from Salisbury and the Skripal attack, a role he took up in December 2017. He combines this role with Assistant Head of Strategic Analysis at MOD London. “Science Support” at Porton Down is a euphemism for political direction to the scientists – Body has no scientific qualifications.”
Also: ‘Shock Files: What Role Did Integrity Initiative Play in Sergei Skripal Affair?’, April 1, 2019, Kit Klarenberg, sputnik.com (the opening teaser):
“Hacking syndicate Anonymous has just released its fourth tranche of documents hacked from the internal servers of the Institute for Statecraft and its subsidiary, the Integrity Initiative. Several explosive files raise serious questions about the shadowy British state and NATO-funded ‘think tank’ and its connections with the Skripal affair.
The files were released just after 2:30pm GMT on January 4 — I’ve barely scratched the surface of the content, but what I’ve seen so far contains a panoply of bombshell revelations — to say the least, the organization(s) now have serious questions to answer about what role they played in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March, and its aftermath both nationally and internationally.”
from Integrity Initiative on Twitter: