British Government’s Covert Anti-Russian Propaganda and the Skripal Case

ER Editor: We recommend this RT background piece from Dec 18 titled Do it CIA style: What you need to know about latest leak on UK-funded psyop, which explains the nature of the Integrity Initiative’s activities:
It’s been over a month since hackers began exposing the Scotland-based ‘Integrity Initiative’ as a UK government-funded propaganda outfit — and gradually new details of the organization’s clandestine activities have come to light.

The documents were leaked by a group which claims to be associated with the Anonymous hackers. The first batch of leaks revealed the Integrity Initiative (II) was stealthily operating “clusters” of influencers across Europe working to ensure pro-UK narratives dominate the media. The second batch showed that the organization was also running disinformation campaigns domestically — specifically a smear campaign against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; all done under the guise of combatting “Russian propaganda.”

Now, a third batch of leaks has exposed that the project allegedly operated much like a modern-day version of Operation Mockingbird — a secretive 1950s project whereby the CIA worked hand-in-glove with willing journalists in major media outlets to ensure certain narratives were adhered to. Only this time, it’s a UK-funded organization with deep links to the intelligence services and military passing itself off as a non-partisan “charity.”

And we also recommend this more recent recent RT piece titled Striking images to help public relate’: UK Integrity Initiative’s post-Skripal psyop leaked, in addition to an interesting string of tweets by Max Blumenthal, all of which suggest that the Institute for Statecraft was an operation that ramped up AFTER the Skripal affair because of the perceived lack of plausibility in the UK government’s claim that the Russians were behind the Skripal poisonings:

The reason was that that doubts had been raised about the UK government’s narrative on the Skripal story, even in “high quality” Italian newspapers. This was blamed on the fact that not enough Italians consider Russia a threat and therefore, people there reacted to the news with “emotions” rather than rational analysis, it is claimed. According to the docs, the way to remedy this, was to direct “an effective, discrete and articulated information campaign” toward Italian influencers in politics and media.

A document on “ramping up” IfS’s work suggests that posting “striking images” of Skripal in hospital might “help the public relate” more to the story. Notably, while the IfS denigrated the “emotional” reaction from Italians that did not go in their favor, they were not so reserved with the British public.

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British Government Covert Anti-Russian Propaganda and the Skripal Case

CRAIG MURRAY

It is worth starting by noting that a high percentage of the Integrity Initiative archive has been authenticated. The scheme has been admitted by the FCO and defended as legitimate government activity. Individual items like the minutes of the meeting with David Leask are authenticated. Not one of the documents has so far been disproven, or even denied. Which tends to obscure some of the difficulties with the material. There is no metadata showing when each document was created, as opposed to when Anonymous made it into a PDF. Anonymous have released it in tranches and made plain there is more to come. The reason for this methodology is left obscure. Most frustratingly, Anonymous’ comments on the releases indicate that they have vital information which is not, so far, revealed.
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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:Tantalisingly, Anonymous describe this as a list of people who attended a meeting with the White Helmets. But there is no evidence of that in the document itself, nor does any other document released so far refer to this meeting. There is very little in the documents released so far about the White Helmets at all. But there is a huge amount about the Skripal case.
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With the greatest of respect to Anonymous and pending any release of further evidence, I want you to consider whether this might be a document related to the Skripal incident. The list is headed CND gen list 2. CND is Christopher Nigel Donnelly, Director of the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative and a very senior career Military Intelligence Officer. 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 ever having 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.
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Now let us tie that in with the notorious name further down the list: Pablo Miller (pictured), 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.
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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.
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Another element brought into this group is the state broadcaster, through Helen Boaden, the former Head of BBC News and Current Affairs.
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In all there are six serving MOD staff on the list, all either in Intelligence or in PR. Intriguingly one of them, Ian Cohen, has email addresses both at the MOD and at the notoriously corrupt HSBC bank. The other FCO name besides Duncan Allan, Adam Rutland, is also on the PR side.
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Zachary Harkenrider is the Political Counsellor at the US Embassy in London. There are normally at least two Political Counsellors at an Embassy this size, one of whom will normally be the CIA Head of Station. I do not know if Harkenrider is CIA, but it seems highly likely.
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So what do we have here? We have a programme, the Integrity Initiative, whose entire purpose is to pump out covert disinformation against Russia, through social media and news stories secretly paid for by the British government. And we have the Skripals’ MI6 handler, the BBC, Porton Down, the FCO, the MOD and the US Embassy working together in a group under the auspices of the Integrity Initiative.
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The Skripal Case happened to occur shortly after a massive increase in the Integrity Initiative’s budget and activity, which itself was a small part of a British Government decision to ramp up a major information war against Russia.

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I find that very interesting indeed.
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With a hat-tip to members of the Working Group on Syria, Media, and the Propaganda, who are preparing a major and important publication which is imminent. UPDATE Their extremely important briefing note on the Integrity Initiative is now online, prepared to the highest standards of academic discipline. I shall be drawing on and extrapolating from it further next week.

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Original article

ER recommends other articles by Craig Murray at his blog

Insert of Chris Donnelly courtesy of UK Column

 

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