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More Leaks On ‘Integrity Initiative’ Propaganda Project Reveal Coordinated Skripal Case Campaign

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More Leaks On 'Integrity Initiative' Propaganda Project Reveal Coordinated Skripal Case Campaign

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On January 4th, the Anonymous released its fourth batch of Integrity Initiative (II) documents. Notably, the documents reveal the part II played in monitoring and forming the media narratives after the alleged Russian poisoning of former-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Both Sputnik and RT provided overviews of what the documents revealed.

A file from “early 2015” is called “Russian Sanctions” and it’s written by Victor Madeira from the Institute of Statecraft (IfS) (the UK-state funded body that began the II project). It provides for “potential levers” to achieve Russian “behavior change,” “peace with Ukraine”, “return [of] Crimea”, “regime change” or “other?”. The suggested “levers” span almost every conceivable area, including “civil society”, “sports”, “finance” and “technology”.

The section “Intelligence,” contains suggestions to simultaneously expel “every RF intelligence officer and air/defense/naval attaché from as many countries as possible,” referencing Operation FOOT, which brought to the expulsion of more than 1,000 Soviet officials from the UK in 1971, “the largest expulsion of intelligence officials by any government in history.”

The “sports” lever suggests “advocating the view [Russia] is unworthy of hosting [sporting] events” — and the section marked “information” recommends the sanctioning of ‘Russian’ media “in West for not complying with regulators’ standards”.

In April 2018, Chris Donnelly, the director of the IfS was promoted to Honorary Colonel of the Specialist Group Military Intelligence. In October 2018, he met with General Sir Richard Barrons. Notes from the meeting are evidently unclear and make it hard to make out who said what, however there was clear concern that “if no catastrophe happens to wake people up and demand a response, then we need to find a way to get the core of government to realize the problem and take it out of the political space.”

“We will need to impose changes over the heads of vested interests. We did this in the 1930s. My conclusion is it is we who must either generate the debate or wait for something dreadful to happen to shock us into action. We must generate an independent debate outside government. We need to ask when and how do we start to put all this right? Do we have the national capabilities [and/or] capacities to fix it? If so, how do we improve our harnessing of resources to do it? We need this debate now. There is not a moment to be lost,” the notes said.

The operation related to the Skripal case is called “Operation Iris.” Several days after the Skripals were poisoned on March 4th, 2018, the IfS provided its services to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth office to “study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived” in a number of countries.

Under Operation Iris, Harod’s confidential report compiled a list of “pro-Russian troll accounts,” all of which accused of “bombarding the audience with pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation relevant to the Skripal case.” The list contained Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a gentleman from Kent who goes by Ian56 on Twitter.

With the UK government’s permission, the II hired the “global investigative solutions” firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal.

The II conducted its own media monitoring. They were coordinated by an IfS “research fellow” Simon Bracey-Lane who produced regular ’roundups’ of media coverage overseas, based on insights submitted by individuals connected to the Initiative living in several countries.

One document dated March 11th, is a briefing on the Skripal situation since March 4th, containing key messages throughout.

It begins with the narrative: “Russia has carried out yet another brutal attack, this time with a deadly nerve agent, on someone living in Britain.”

“Use of the nerve agent posed a threat to innocent British subjects, affecting 21 people and seriously affecting a police officer. This is not the first time such an attack has been carried out in the UK…14 deaths are believed to be attributable to the Kremlin…Russia has poisoned its enemies abroad on other occasions, most notably then-candidate for the Presidency of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, in 2004. Russian political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been poisoned twice; and the journalist Anna Politkovskaya was also poisoned and later shot dead. Since Putin has been running Russia, the Kremlin has a history of poisoning its opponents in a gruesome way,” the “narrative” reads.

The file goes on to declare the British response has been “far too weak…it’s essential the government makes a much stronger response this time” — and then lists “possible, realistic, first actions”, including banning RT and Sputnik from operating in the UK, boycotting the 2018 World Cup, withdrawing the UK ambassador from Moscow and expelling the Russian ambassador to the UK, and refusing/revoking visas to leading Russians within Vladimir Putin’s “circle”, and their families.”

Following the poisoning incident, IfS’ Victor Madeira made numerous media appearances all of them regularly documented.

“Security consultant Dan Kaszeta also wrote a number of articles for the Integrity Initiative website about chemical weapons following the attack — including a July 14 article, How could Novichok have poisoned people four months after the Skripal attack?—  receiving 40 pence per word.

Former MP George Galloway noted that the documents, written long before the Salisbury events, also call for the arrest of RT and Sputnik contributors (such as himself), adding: “Makes you think…”

The IfS also had the contact details of Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 recruiter, handler and neighbor in Salisbury.

“Anonymous claims the document is an invitee list for a meeting the Institute convened between a number of individuals and Syria’s highly controversial White Helmets group, but this is yet to be verified.”

Furthermore, the documents revealed the person behind the smear campaign on Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour’s leader: Chris Hernon, who received numerous invoices to tweet the information to his approximately 500 Twitter followers and contribute to the Foreign Office.

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