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Hybrid Warfare: Statecraft Integrity Initiative

by Oui Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 08:30:44 AM EST

Put the first comments in the December thread together in a diary ...

Re: December Open Thread (none / 1)

I have somewhat been following the fall-out of the Integrity Initiative documents.

The short version is that somebody put up their documents - hacked or leaked - and the picture have emerged of a US/UK/NATO funded organisation with ties to intelligence services that under the cloak of a charity has been "countering Russian propaganda" by propaganda of their own.

So far their accomplishments appear to be getting a volunteer into the Sanders campaign, stopping an appointment in Spain, writing all kinds of "Russians are coming" articles and dissing Corbyn on Twitter.

The most comprehensive write-up I have found is this: http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-on-the-integrity-initiative

Anyone noticed any traditional media coverage of it yet?

by fjallstrom on Tue Dec 25th, 2018 at 03:10:57 PM PDT

Worthwhile to put contents in a diary for some visibility as this is not the end of debate ...

Continued below the fold ...

New to me, I'll look into it ...

From a website of Anon CyberGuerrilla the name Maria de Goeij popped up:

Maria de Goeij  - LinkedIn
The Institute for Statecraft, London - fellows

Re: December Open Thread (none / 1)

Your link is already pretty comprehensive, what is your question or goal? Link also refers to Tim Hayward's blog which supports the investigation into "Statecraft".

I see that the Henry Jackson Society is also linked as a partner. That's not new to me. See my earlier reporting in November on the USA Intelligence Initiative to smear Russians and legitimate bloggers in the states.

Khodorkovsky - The Interpreter - Henry Jackson Society (UK)
Unpacking PropOrNot Misinformation Site (2017)
PropOrNot: Identifying & Combatting Russian Online Propaganda | OUR ALLIES |

I've been pretty much blacklisted since then @BooMan.

You should also reread diary here @EuroTrib in 2008 by  djhabakkuk ...

'Flex players', and the 'forward strategy' ...

Further coverage:

Foreign Office denies state funds went to Twitter account criticising Labour | The Guardian - Dec 13, 2018 |
Newly Released 'Integrity Initiative' Papers Include Proposal For Large Disinformation Campaigns | MoA |

The offer claims that the company can launch hundreds of "news" pieces per day on as many websites. It notably also offers to "edit" Wikipedia articles.

In short: This proposal describes large disinformation operations under the disguise of fighting alleged Russian disinformation. It is at the core what the Integrity Initiative, which obviously requested the proposal, is about.

But as we saw in the information revealed yesterday there is more to it. The Initiative, which has lots of 'former' military and intelligence people among its staff, is targeting the political left in Britain as well as in other countries. It is there where it becomes a danger to the democratic societies of Europe.

British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft | Craig Murray |

UK Gov: Just a Scottish Charity

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative: Written question - 196177

Q  Asked by Chris Williamson (Derby North) [N]             Asked on: 27 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative         196177

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has (a) funded, (b) provided contracts to and (c) procured the services of the Integrity Initiative in each financial year since 2015/16.

A  Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan                      Answered on: 03 December 2018

The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.

In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.

At the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the UK Government has committed £100m over five years to tackling this threat internationally.

Such funding furthers our commitment to producing important work to counter disinformation and other malign influence.


ii Integrity Initiative - Defending Democracy Against Misinformation [pdf]

To written answer, a follow-up debate in House of Commons on Dec. 12, 2018 ...

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to make a statement on his Department's funding of the Institute for Statecraft's integrity initiative.

Quite revealing, attacking Russia for the hack and denying what's there for anyone to see! UK Gov transparency?

As quite long debate in the Commons pursued, this reaction was also interesting:

Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

"In the end, this is about trust. In a recent parliamentary question to do with public money to fund social media ads to promote the Brexit deal, I asked the Government whether they would place the contents of these ads in the Library for us all to see. Unfortunately, this request was declined. Does the Minister agree that, to ensure public trust and transparency, the content and audiences of any ads paid for by public money should be published centrally as a matter of course?"

Tim Hayward's tweet and the follow-up comments ...

UK Foreign Office confirms funding the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative £296,500 in 2017/18, and this financial year a further £1.96 million.

Also NATO is involved in the funding of Statecraft's initiative just as Bellingcat is funded by USAID and the Atlantic Council.

In The Netherlands there was also a funded group to open windows to Russia and propaganda. An investigation by journalists uncovered a small number of Ukrainian nationals received the money for this bs operation.

As a whole, this is just part of the Cold War 2.0 and hybrid warfare. PM Theresa May shouldn't lament when Putin reacts.

I will attempt to follow up with the political tweets of this UK and International network attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party or anyone in opposition to this rightwing, militant organisation. A network of spooks, MI6 officers and former military funding young people to operate as shills on social media.

The Deep State and Lisa Pease's Contribution

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 10:18:12 AM EST
Secret Scottish-based office led infowars attack on Labour and Jeremy Corbyn | Daily Record - Dec. 9, 2018 |

A secret UK Government-funded infowars unit based in Scotland sent out social media posts attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

On the surface, the cryptically named Institute for Statecraft is a small charity operating from an old Victorian mill in Fife.

But explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation's Integrity Initiative is funded with £2million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists.

The "think tank" is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming "clusters" of friendly journalists and "key influencers" throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.

But our investigation has found worrying evidence the shadowy programme's official Twitter account has been used to attack Corbyn, the Labour Party and their officials.

One tweet quotes a newspaper article calling Corbyn a "useful idiot", that goes on to state: "His open visceral anti-Westernism helped the Kremlin cause, as surely as if he had been secretly peddling Westminster tittle-tattle for money."

A message from the UK Government-funded organisation promotes an article that states: "Unlike Galloway (former MP George Galloway) Corbyn does not scream conspiracy, he implies it," while another added: "It's time for the Corbyn left to confront its Putin problem."

A further message refers to an "alleged British Corbyn supporter" who "wants to vote for Putin".

Labour attack government-funded body for sharing articles critical of Jeremy Corbyn | The Mirror - Dec. 9, 2018 |
Political tweets, "infowars" and a Russia: how a fake news row went mainstream | Sky News - Dec. 11, 2018 |

Most recent coverage ...

Tory minister 'misled Parliament' over Government-funded infowars attack on Jeremy Corbyn | Daily Record - Dec. 16, 2018 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 11:00:41 AM EST

How A Murky Row Over Russia, Jeremy Corbyn And A 'Psyops Campaign' Went Mainstream | Huff Post - Dec. 11, 2018 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 11:03:38 AM EST
Russia hack 'bid to discredit' UK anti-disinformation campaign - Foreign Office

The Foreign Office has accused Russian state media of trying to discredit a government-funded body that works to counter Kremlin disinformation.

A spokesperson said the Institute for Statecraft was hacked several weeks ago and documents were "published and amplified by Kremlin news channels".

The National Cyber Security Centre is said to be investigating.

The FCO comments on the IfS were issued after a news report said the group had retweeted stories critical of Labour.

The Institute for Statecraft is a charity registered in Scotland and based in Gateside, Fife.

Scotland's Sunday Mail newspaper ran a story this weekend that the Integrity Initiative run by the institute had retweeted an article in the New Statesman in April which criticised Labour's support for Russia's position on Syria; an article in the Times in February in which the writer Edward Lucas described Mr Corbyn as the Kremlin's "useful idiot", and a Sunday Times magazine piece that criticised Mr Corbyn's aide Seumas Milne for his opinions on Russia.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan said he had ordered an immediate investigation after seeing the report, saying "if there is any kind of organisation for which we are paying which is involved in domestic politics in that way, I would totally condemn it".

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 11:04:54 AM EST
Geez ... intend to backcheck the tweets on Jeremy Corbyn  from BBC article. Where does it lead?

Scotland's Sunday Mail newspaper ran a story this weekend that the Integrity Initiative run by the institute had retweeted an article in the New Statesman in April which criticised Labour's support for Russia's position on Syria; an article in the Times in February in which the writer Edward Lucas described Mr Corbyn as the Kremlin's "useful idiot", and a Sunday Times magazine piece that criticised Mr Corbyn's aide Seumas Milne for his opinions on Russia.  

The brainless 'spying' smears of the right-wing press | Morning Star - Feb. 27, 2018 |

Later in 2018 the Likud brigade took over to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party about a definition of the Holocaust and anti-semitism. Tory conservatism working hand-in-glove with rightwing extremists. Netanyahu knows all about it for political profit - short term.

Israel Lobby is Leading in Attack on Corbyn

Back to Edward Lucas and the early days of the European Tribune ...

Occasional ETer Edward Lucas (4.00 / 4)   by Jerome a Paris on Sept. 29, 2008

says this:

Do not let Russia 'Finlandise' western Europe

When I first published The New Cold War last February, many contested my title. But what once seemed eccentric now looks mainstream. Relations between the west and Russia have entered a period of extraordinary mistrust and mutual disdain. Indeed, after the conflict in Georgia, the description "cold war" risks looking like an understatement. Russia has shown that it is prepared to use military force against another country; the west has shown that it will not fight and will merely respond with a token protest.

Edward Lucas: Russia is winning | Delfi - Lithuanian Tribune | (Sept. 2014)

Putin's Russia: rich, powerful, unpredictable and malicious by Jerome a Paris on Jan. 9, 2006

Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000
Subject: From Edward Lucas--personal view from Moscow

I was quite wrong to describe the Russian advertising market as "one of the most lucrative businesses in the country". Gas, oil,  diamonds are lucrative, but the total TV advertising market is only about $250m now--it was $500m in 1997-- reckons Gareth Brown,  one of the readers of this list and an advertising man himself.


Putin's key shortcoming over the last few months, I think, has been his failure to get the people on his side. For all his loathsome  past, personal shortcomings, and muddled ideas, it is conceivable that he really means some of the things he said in his  state-of-the nation speech to parliament (a remarkable document, by the way, and well worth reading at  http://en.rian.ru/rian/poslanie.cfm) [new link added - Oui]. But I think he simply doesn't have a clue how to make it happen. It's the old story of top-down  reform, and contempt and for and ignorance about the Narod. The only way in which a country can become properly administered is  when the state and society are linked by lots of different feedback channels--everything from the media which reports abuses, elected  officials who want to win popularity by sorting them out, ombudsmen and public auditors who control the state for a living, judges and  public prosecutors who tackle criminal abuses of state power, pressure groups and other bits of civil society that focus public opinion, channel grievances and so forth. Almost all of this is missing or broken in Russia. Of course with the best will in the world it won't be created over night, but Putin is not even really trying.

On that happy note, have a nice weekend. Edward  

The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West | CSCE - Washington DC | plus Book review by Edward Lucas
Edward Lucas' Cold War Hustle | The Exile - Nov. 19, 2007 | [cached]

Edward Lucas member ET - User Id: #1648

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 03:01:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Original article published here: Integrity Initiative: A Look Into the Deep State?| UK Column - Dec. 2, 2018 |.

Article written by Mike Robinson who forwarded a FOI request earlier in 2018 and had to wait a long time for a failed FCO answer. Telling!

Integrity Initiative: A Look Into the Deep State? | American Herald Tribune - Dec. 3, 2018 |

Early in 2018, I encountered the name Andy Pryce. He had been making statements to the press about Russia, where he was described as `Head of Counter Disinformation and Media Development' at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

I asked some former Foreign Office people I know if they had ever heard of a `counter disinformation' team - they hadn't. The earliest press reference I could find to him and his job was in September 2017, so this was apparently a relatively new role.

Also in September 2017, Pryce took part in an event called 'DEMOCRACY AND PROPAGANDA: Can independent media defend universal values?', held in the Hilton Hotel in London. This was organised jointly by the European Endowment for Democracy and the EU Eastern Partnership, which, it turns out, is an FCO programm that "works to counter and reduce the effect of destabilising disinformation".

Pryce took part in the first round of Ukrainian-British interagency consultations on countering cyber threats held in London in March this year.

He took part in the 2018 EU DisinfoLab, in April.

In October he took part in the Atlantic Council's Global Forum on Strategic Communications and Digital Disinformation event, held in Washington DC. Of note here is that this was a two day event. Andy Pryce's contribution came on day two, which has not been made available on video.

The Skripal affair with Andy Pryce ...

Until a fortnight ago, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office seemed content simply to post statements rebutting the most outrageous claims.

But the last fortnight has seen a series of mini-videos, which, sources say, "mark a departure" from the norm.

They are said to be the brainchild of Andy Pryce, the FO's head of counter-disinformation and media development.

One video, poses six questions that Vladimir Putin's Russia has so far failed to answer. These include: "Is Russia committed to an international rules-based system as a P5 member [a nuclear power]"; "Why hasn't Russia declared its Novichok programme to the chemical weapons convention as it's legally obliged to?"; "Why does Russia persistently cover up the use of chemical weapons in Assad's brutal regime in Syria?"

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 11:49:52 AM EST
EVENT REPORT | Content Fund for Russian language media presented in EED

On 5 March 2018, the European Endowment for Democracy hosted the presentation of the Creative Content Support Fund, which provides grants for independent Russian-language media outlets in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and beyond.

"In the Eastern Partnership countries, there is a significant share of the Russian speaking media audience. It has long been under-served and now requires special investment," said EED Executive Director, Jerzy Pomianowski, in his opening remarks.

"Russian speakers deserve to be served balanced, creative and high quality content."

The meeting was attended by representatives from EU member states, the Canadian and US governments, EU institutions, international broadcasters, as well as independent media specialists.

Content is King!

Speaking at the event, Andy Pryce of the UK's Foreign Office (FCO), a key donor to the Content Fund, underlined the responsibility of the EU to support a new generation of media that `tell the story' of 21st century Eastern Europe. He also noted the overriding importance of excellent quality content:

"As Bill Gates first said in 1996, `Content is King!' - this still rings as true today."

One of those beneficiaries is Coda Story, a single-issue web platform that puts a team of journalists on one crisis at a time and stays with it, providing unique depth, continuity and understanding to events that shape the world. EED's support is helping to develop a Russian-language Coda Story website, Coda Russian, and social media output, in addition to the existing Coda English.

"The region desperately needs quality storytelling, real stories about real people. This grant from the Content Fund has helped us be creative, and given us space to be highly experimental and reach wider audiences through novel formats," said CODA CEO, Natalia Antelava.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Fund's trailer and website. The trailer pulls together some samples of the content produced by grantees, including "Living in the Now", a  series of short features from the Donetsk Institute for Information in Ukraine about people affected by the war fought in the east of the country.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 01:07:45 PM EST
The 1990s: Conflicts and Repressive Regimes | BBC Archive - Feb. 2007|

The BBC World Service Trust brought together some pre-existing initiatives in Bush House which had a focus on international development.

It was created as an independent charity in October 1999 and continues to have three aims. The World Service Training Trust provides BBC training to broadcasters and trainers in developing and transition countries.

The Trust also co-ordinates - funded by external bodies - educational programming on the BBC World Service and its partner stations.  

The third element was the brainchild of Sir John Tusa, then managing director of the BBC World Service. He established the 'BBC Marshall Plan of the Mind' with funding from DFID and others to provide civic education and capacity building in the countries of the Former Soviet Union and east and central Europe.

While these bodies had specific areas of focus, they all shared the common vision of using the power of media and communications through the BBC for a common, positive purpose.

It was with this in mind, and recognising the potential for using the media strategically for development purposes, that the Trust was created.

[h/t UK Column report - May 22, 2018]

Related reading ...

The governance and regulation of the BBC - Communications Committee Contents
BBC left isolated as rival channels back Gaza aid appeal (Jan. 2009)

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 01:09:57 PM EST
The Menace of Unreality: Combatting Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century | Legatum Institute |

Anne Applebaum, Director of the Legatum Institute's Transitions Forum, moderated a discussion with Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, Oleksander Scherba, Ambassador at Large at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Weiss, Editor-in-Chief of The Interpreter, and Peter Pomerantsev, journalist and documentary producer. John Herbst, Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Centre at the Atlantic Council and partner for this event, gave introductory remarks.

The Kremlin's war in Ukraine includes not just covert military action, but deception and confusion- a new vision of how to conduct warfare in the 21st century. To fight Russian disinformation we must first define it.

Peter Pomerantsev opened the discussion by quoting a 'pearl of wisdom' from Russian media 'guru' Vasily Gatov: "In the 20th century, the great battle was for freedom of information. In the 21st century the battle will be over the abuse of freedom of information by various maligned state and non-state actors".  

Since 2008, Pomerantsev argued, the Kremlin and military in Russia have adopted a body of thinking where information can be used as a tool to "confuse, demoralise, divide and conquer" and thus be used as a weapon. This comes from the Kremlin's recognition that it cannot take on the West in a traditional military fashion and expect to win. Rather, over the years, Putin has talked about needing to be cleverer than the other side.

Anne Applebaum interview with Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director, European Endowment for Democracy  

Anne Applebaum and the Legatum Institute

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 01:12:36 PM EST
More info from MoA blog about Donnelly ...

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".

The Integrity Initiative does this by planting disinformation about alleged Russian influence through journalists 'clusters' throughout Europe and the United States.

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.

Christopher Nigel Donnelly

Contact details: Address: The Institute for Statecraft, 2 Temple Place, London, WC2R 3BD, England (office); Email: cdonnelly@statecraft.org.uk (office); Website: http://www.statecraft.org.uk/ (office).

From Craig Murray's blog:

The property at 2 Temple Place, London is owned by the charity The Bulldog Trust Ltd.

The Bulldog Trust's Trustees Reports ending June 2016 and June 2017 state that

"other external income streams are the rental from the basement of the Two Temple Place to the Institute for Statecraft and Wessex House the property in Newbury".

(Wessex House is at Oxford Road, Newbury, RG14 1PA and is serviced offices and meeting rooms hired out through an agency, Inigo. It doesn't seem to have any link to the I of S.)


Yet there doesn't seem to be any link between the charitable purposes of the Bulldog Trust and the activities of the Institute of Statecraft. The Chief Executive of both the Bulldog Trust and Two Temple Place Ltd is Mary Rose Gunn, previously Parliamentary Assistant / Researcher to the hawkish ex-Conservative MP Richard Ottaway. [Could be a mistake in persons as PA was Fiona Gunn, also secretary of Society of Conservative Lawyers - Oui]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 09:06:56 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 09:11:41 PM EST
The Integrity Initiative and the UK's Scandalous Information War | MintPress - Dec. 18, 2018 |

"Inside the temple of covert propaganda"

According to David Miller, professor of political sociology in the school of policy studies at the University of Bristol and a member of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, the Integrity Initiative "appears to be a military-directed push."

"The most senior government people are professional propagandists and spooks," Miller explained. "The `charity' lead on this [Chris Donnelly] was also appointed as a colonel in military intelligence at the beginning of the project -- a truly amazing fact that suggests this is a military intelligence cut out."

A minister for the UK FCO has officially confirmed that it has been funding the Integrity Network.

In addition to conducting diplomacy, the FCO oversees both the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) the UK equivalent to the National Security Agency, and the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) commonly known as MI6.

SOURCE |  National Intelligence Machinery, UK government briefing November 2010

The think tank that oversees the Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft, has also received funding from the British Army and Ministry of Defense.

[About David Miller: David is a director of Public Interest Investigations a non profit company of which Spinwatch and Powerbase are projects; a director of the non-profit Organisation for Propaganda Studies; and a member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and the Media.]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 09:42:31 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 26th, 2018 at 09:44:17 PM EST
That is both Orwellian, and also profoundly stupid. Russias primary aim in its info-war is to erode trust in media, politicians and institutions in the west, because being a high-trust society is the primary advantage the west has over them.

Fighting that info war effort cannot be done by picking up the same implements! That just does their work for them. FFS, that should damn well be obvious?

They can be fought, but not in this way. Sigh.

by Thomas on Sat Dec 29th, 2018 at 07:22:01 PM EST
Briefing note on the Integrity Initiative

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 8th, 2019 at 09:33:11 PM EST
h/t generic

Strongpoint Security Ltd. article written by Dan Kaszeta, invoice billed to Institute for Statecraft - Integrity Initiative.

The only moment Dan Kaszeta entered the comments section here @EuroTrib was in the days of August 2013 after the Ghouta "gas attacks". Not surprising there was an interview with Kaszeta published in the Brown Moses blog of Atlantic Council hiree Eliot Higgins

A Chemical Weapons Expert Responds To The Article "Questions Plague UN Report on Syria"


Bellingcat, an ally of the PropOrNot group est. in November 2016 ...

PropOrNot: Identifying & Combatting Russian Online Propaganda
Social Engineering in the Digital Cyber Age
G W F and McCarthyism In A Digital Age - Part 2

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jan 15th, 2019 at 02:54:29 PM EST

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Jan 15th, 2019 at 03:00:24 PM EST

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