State of Deception: Is this the smoking gun a UK’s own Watergate!
Tories secretly used Government funds and Military assets intended to protect the nation in order attack Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party via military assets in the one way media and fake social media accounts created by the military.
Explosive leaked documents passed to the Sunday Mail reveal the organisation’s Integrity Initiative is funded with £2 million of Foreign Office cash and run by military intelligence specialists.
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 £2 million 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”.
It is not just the Labour leader who has been on the receiving end of online attacks.
His strategy and communications director Seumas Milne was also targeted.
The Integrity Initiative, whose base at Gateside Mill is near Auchtermuchty, retweeted a newspaper report that said:
“Milne is not a spy – that would be beneath him.
“But what he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is work with the Kremlin agenda.”
Another retweet promoted a journalist who said: “Just as he supports the Russian bombardment of Syria, Seumas Milne supported the Russian slaughter of Afghanistan, which resulted in more than a million deaths.”
The Integrity Initiative has been accused of supporting Ukrainian politicians who oppose Putin – even when they also have suspected far-right links.
Further leaked documents appear to show a Twitter campaign that resulted in a Spanish politician believed to be friendly to the Kremlin being denied a job.
The organisation’s “Spanish cluster” swung into action on hearing that Pedro Banos was to be appointed director of the national security department.
The papers detail how the Integrity Initiative alerted “key influencers” around Europe who launched an online campaign against the politician.
In the wake of the leaks, which also detail Government grant applications, the Foreign Office have been forced to confirm they provided massive funding to the Integrity Initiative.
In response to a parliamentary question, Europe Minister Alan Duncan said: “In financial year 2017-18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative £296,500.
“This financial year, the FCO are funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.”
Politicians and academics have reacted with fury to news a covert Government-funded unit had been attacking the official opposition in Parliament.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “It would appear that we have a charity registered in Scotland and overseen by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator that is funded by the UK Government and is spewing out political attacks on UK politicians, the Labour Party and the Labour movement.
“Such clear political attacks and propaganda shouldn’t be coming from any charity. We need to know why the Foreign Office have been funding it.”
David Miller, a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, added: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office would be funding a Scottish charity to counter Russian propaganda which ends up attacking Her Majesty’s opposition and soft-pedalling far-right politicians in the Ukraine.
“People have a right to know how the Government are spending their money, and the views being promoted in their name.”
The senior manager of the Integrity Initiative appears to be Chris Donnelly. A website biography states he is a graduate of Manchester University and reserve officer in the British Army Intelligence Corps who previously headed the British Army’s Soviet Studies Research Centre at Sandhurst.
Documents passed to the Sunday Mail suggest he was appointed an “Honorary Colonel in Military Intelligence” in 2015 – the year the Integrity Initiative was formed.
Papers we have viewed also suggest senior operative Dan Lafayeedney was an SAS soldier in 1978 and attached to a regiment which ran spy cells in Russia.
After contacting the Integrity Initiative through its website to ask about the Labour attacks, we received a call from spokesman Stephen Dalziel.
He said: “I’m not aware of that. I’m not the one who controls the Twitter account. If it was criticism of one of our politicians, then that shouldn’t be on there.”
When asked about the military background of Integrity Initiative employees, Dalziel denied any secret service involvement.
The leaked documents show a funding application to the Foreign Office that details the unit’s work.
Further papers reveal a unit in Lithuania which received overseas funding to “support a new hub/cluster creation and to educate cluster leaders and key people in Vilnius in infowar techniques”.
THE FOREIGN OFFICE DID NOT RESPOND TO A REQUEST FOR COMMENT.
Emily Thornberry responds to reported government funded attacks on the Labour Party.
Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to media reports that a government-funded Infowars operation has been engaged in political attacks against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, said:
“It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes. So, it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials.
“And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand “the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts”. So the Government must now answer the following questions:
why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?”