The main objective is “to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare.” The Institute for Statecraft is affiliated with the NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division and the Home Office-funded ‘Prevent’ program, so objectivity is, of course, at the forefront of their work.
Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of “clusters” of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics. The team is dedicated to searching for and publishing “evidence” of Russian interference in European affairs, while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim.
The UK establishment appears to be conducting the very activities of which it and its allies have long-accused the Kremlin, with little or no corroborating evidence. The program also aims to “change attitudes in Russia itself” as well as influencing Russian speakers in the EU and North America, one of the leaked documents states.
At present, the vast network allegedly has clusters for Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Serbia, and Montenegro… but there’s more!
According to the Anonymous leak, major plans to expand the sphere of influence throughout eastern Europe, the US, and Canada, as well as the MENA region, are allegedly underway.
The clusters’ work is apparently done under absolute secrecy via concealed contacts embedded throughout British embassies, the leak claims, some of which are listed as part of the documentation.
In the documents, the Integrity Initiative states that sharing analysis of alleged “Russian attacks” (citation needed) with other countries in the network at a governmental level would likely increase international “collaboration and Alliance cohesion.”
The initiative claims it is not a government body, of course, but does work with unnamed British “government agencies.” The initiative has received £168,000 in funding from HQ NATO Public Diplomacy and £250,000 from the US State Department, the documents allege.
Some of its purported members include British MPs and high-profile “independent” journalists with a penchant for anti-Russian sentiment in their collective online oeuvre, as showcased by a brief glance at their Twitter feeds.
Edward Lucas, journalist for the Times.
Why did nobody in British govt — Cabbinet Office, Home Office, Foreign Office, Justice Ministry — notice upcoming Russian coup at @INTERPOL_HQ ? @Number10press claims we (now) have seamless whole of govt approach to Russia and other hostile states
— Edward Lucas (@edwardlucas) November 20, 2018
Bob Seely, MP.
Please see my latest on #Russia, sanctions and how oligarch cash funds Russia's political war against the #West. My article accompanies hard-hitting @CommonsForeign report. Re #sanctions, we need to say what we mean and mean what we say.https://t.co/7fodaTKxRu
— Bob Seely MP (@IoWBobSeely) May 21, 2018
In one particular example given as a case study of the group’s activities, the docs reveal how effective the strategy could be. According to the documents, the ‘Moncloa Campaign’ was carried out by the group’s Spanish cluster to prevent the appointment of Colonel Pedro Banos as director of Spain’s Department of Homeland Security. And all it took was just a seven-and-a-half hour campaign, kicked off by several high-profile Spanish journalists affiliated with the secretive group.
Hilo: El Gobierno se dispone a nombrar al Coronel Baños, conocido por sus posiciones prorrusas y pro-Putin en los conflictos de Siria y Ucrania, Director del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DSN), un organismo clave situado en La Moncloa.
— Nacho Torreblanca (@jitorreblanca) June 7, 2018
“The [Spanish] government is preparing to appoint Colonel Banos, known for his pro-Russian and pro-Putin positions in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts, as Director of the Department of Homeland Security, a key body located at the Moncloa,” Nacho Torreblanca began in an extensive Twitter thread.
Este nombramiento revela ya sin duda que Sánchez está haciendo un Gobierno de famoseo. El señor Baños es a la geoestretegia lo que un homeópata a la medicina. Eso sí, sale mucho en la tele. Lástima asignar cargos tan frívolamente en puestos tan vitales. https://t.co/irXeQ4dOH0
— Miguel Ángel Quintana Paz (@quintanapaz) June 7, 2018
Others joined in. Among them – according to the leaks – academic Miguel Ángel Quintana Paz, who wrote that “Mr. Banos is to geopolitics as a homeopath is to medicine.” Appointing such a figure would be “a shame.”
Spanish media, such as El Pais, then reported on these murmurings. Notably, members of the UK team, like MP Bob Seely, are also listed in the Banos op document. The latter lost out to Miguel Angel Ballesteros.
— Bob Seely MP (@IoWBobSeely) June 7, 2018
The case is being highlighted as one of the major examples, but similar operations can be carried out in numerous other EU states, Anonymous warns in their release.
RT.com has contacted the British Foreign Office and Statecraft and is awaiting their response.