The Institute for Statecraft (IoS) and its Integrity Initiative (II) constitute a secret propaganda network tied to the UK security services. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, journalists and academics to manufacture and disseminate propaganda serving the geo-political aims of British imperialism and its allies.
The IoS was founded in 2006 and the II in 2015. But their secret role in promoting fake news and disinformation was exposed only in November and December of 2018 by hacking group Anonymous.
A document published by Anonymous shows funding for the II totalled £582,635 in 2017-18, with £480,635 coming from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the rest from NATO.
Funding shot up to £2.6 million in 2018-19, with £1.96 million from the FCO and the rest from the US State Department, NATO and the American neoconservative Smith Richardson Foundation. Facebook, which plays in integral role in imposing censorship on behalf of US imperialism, donated £100,000.
The Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) produced a briefing on the II last month documenting the role played by leading figures in the UK Ministry of Defence, US Army and senior intelligence figures. It noted, “The involvement of these senior officers from military intelligence and information warfare units suggests that the MoD rather than the FCO is driving the Integrity Initiative programme.”
On January 4, a fourth trove of documents was made public by the Anonymous collective, taken from the internal servers of the IoS and II. These include many documents related to the poisoning last March of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, without citing any evidence, immediately accused Russia of attempting to assassinate the pair using the nerve agent novichok, thereby ramping up global tensions. The II leaks indicate that the moves against Russia over the Skripal affair were scripted well in advance, with the IoS planning a detailed anti-Russia propaganda war, including suggested achievable objectives.
A 2015 document written by IoS “team member” Victor Madeira is titled “Russian Federation Sanctions.” It lists “potential levers” to achieve Russian “behaviour change,” “peace with Ukraine,” “return [of] Crimea,” and “regime change.” Such “levers” span almost every conceivable area, including “civil society,” “sports,” “finance” and “technology.”
Under “intelligence” Madeira calls for the simultaneous expulsion of “every RF [Russian Federation] intelligence officer and air/defense/naval attaché from as many countries as possible”—citing as a precedent the expulsion of over 1,000 Soviet officials from the UK in September 1971.