“it should be shut down immediately,” but how exactly?

The Integrity Initiative Is A Military Intelligence Operation, Creating “The Russian Threat.”
Moon of Alabama, Dec 15 2018

The British government financed Integrity Initiative is tasked with spreading anti-Russian propaganda and with influencing the public, military and governments of a number of countries. What follows is an incomplete analysis of the third batch of the Initiative’s papers which was dumped yesterday. Christopher Nigel Donnelly (CND) is the co-director of The Institute for Statecraft and founder of its offshoot Integrity Initiative, which claims to “Defend Democracy Against Disinformation,” evidently by planting disinformation about alleged Russian influence through journalist ‘clusters’ throughout Eurostan & Pindostan. Both the Institute and the Initiative claim to be independent NGOs, but are financed by the British government, NATO and other state donors. Among the documents lifted by some anonymous person from the servers of the Institute we find several papers about Donnelly, as well as some memos written by him. They show a russophobe mind with a lack of realistic strategic thought. There is also a file (pdf) with a copy of his passport. From his CV (pdf) we learn that Donnelly was a long-time soldier in the British Army Intelligence Corps, where he established and led the Soviet Studies Research Centre at RMA Sandhurst. He later was involved in creating the Pindo Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Ft Leavenworth. He worked at the British Ministry of Defence and as an advisor to several NATO Sec-Gen’s. He is a director of the Statecraft Institute since 2010. Donnelly also advises the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. He is a “Security and Justice Senior Mentor” of Britain’s Stabilisation Unit, which is tasked with destabilizing various countries. He serves as a Honorary Colonel of the Specialist Group Military Intelligence. During his time as military intelligence analyst in the 1980s Donnelly wrote several books and papers about the Soviet Union and its military. He seems to be obsessed with the ‘Russian threat’ and is determined to fight it by all means. His paranoia is obvious in a “private & confidential” report by the Statecraft Institute on The Challenge of Brexit to the UK: Case study (pdf):

Our problem is that, for the last 70 years or so,we in the UK and Europe have been living in a safe, secure rules-based system which has allowed us to enjoy a holiday from history. … Unfortunately, this state of affairs is now being challenged. A new paradigm of conflict is replacing the 19th & 20th Century paradigm. … In this new paradigm, the clear distinction which most people have been able to draw between war and peace, their expectation of stability and a degree of predictability in life, are being replaced by a volatile unpredictability, a permanent state of instability in which war and peace become ever more difficult to disentangle. The “classic” understanding of conflict being between two distinct players or groups of players is giving way to a world of Darwinian competition where all the players, (such as) nation states, sub-state actors, big corporations, ethnic or religious groups and so on, are constantly striving with each other in a “war of all against all.” The Western rules-based system, which most westerners take for granted and have come to believe is “normal,” is under attack from countries and organisations which wish to replace our system with theirs. This is not a crisis which faces us; it is a strategic challenge, and from several directions simultaneously.

In reality the “Western rules-based system,” fully implemented after the demise of the Soviet Union, is a concept under which ‘the west’ arbitrarily makes up rules and threatens to kill anyone who does not follow them. Witness the wars against Serbia, the war on Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the western led coup in Ukraine and the war by Jihadi proxies against the people of Syria and Iraq. None of these actions were legal under international law. Demanding a return to strict adherence to the rule of international law, as Russia, China and others now do, it is not an attempt to replace “our system with theirs”. It is a return to the normal state of global diplomacy. It is certainly not a “Darwinian competition.” In Oct 2016, Donnelly had a Private Discussion with Gen Sir Richard Barrons (pdf), marked as personal and confidential. Barrons is a former commander of the British Joint Forces Command. The nonsensical top line is:

The UK defence model is failing. UK is at real risk.

Some interesting nuggets again reveal a paranoid mindset. The talk also includes some realistic truthiness about the British military posture Barrons and others created. The general laments the lack of influence the military has on the British government and its people. He argues for more government financed think-tank research that can be fed back into the government. He writes:

There has been a progressive, systemic demobilisation of NATO militarily capability and a run-down of all its members’ defences … The West no longer has a military edge on Russia. … Our Nuclear programme drains resources from conventional forces and hollows them out. … The UK Brigade in Germany is no good as a deterrent against Russia … Our battalion in Estonia are hostages, not a deterrent … So, 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 realise the problem and take it out of the political space. We will need to impose changes over the heads of vested interests. NB We did this in the 1930s. My conclusion is that 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/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.

This was an order from the core of the British thinking to Donnelly to get even deeper into the inner-British influence business. Hype Russia as a threat so more money can be taken from the ‘vested interests’ of the people and dumped into the military machine. That particular advise of General Barrons was accepted. In 2017 the Integrity Initiative bid for funding from the Ministry of Defence (pdf) for various projects to influence the public, the parliament and the government as well as foreign forces. The bid lists “performance indicators” that are supposed to measure the success of its activities. The top indicator for the Initiative’s proposed work is a “Tougher stance in government policy towards Russia.”

Asking for government finance to influence the government to take a “tougher stand towards Russia” seems a bit circular. But this is consistent with the operation of other Pindo-British think-tanks and policy initiatives in which one part of the government, usually the hawkish one, secretly uses NGOs and think-tanks to lobby other parts of the government to support their specific hobbyhorse and budget. Here is how it is done. The ‘experts’ of the ‘charity’ Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative testified to Parliament. While they were effectively paid by the government, they lobbied Parliament under the cover of their NGO. This circularity also allows to use international intermediaries. Members of the Spanish cluster (pdf) of the Initiative testified to Parliament about the Catalan referendum and related allegations against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. It is likely that this testimony led to the change in the position of the Ecuadorian government towards Assange. Such lobbying operations are mostly run by people who are incompetent in the specific field they are lobbying for. Chris Donnelly, despite a life-long experience in military intelligence, has obviously zero competence as a military strategist or planner. In Mar 2014, shortly after Crimea split from the Ukraine, Donnelly suggested Military measures (pdf) to be taken by the Ukraine with regards to Crimea. Think for a moment how Russia would have responded to a mining of Sevastopol harbor, the frying of its satellites or the destruction of its fighter jets in Crimea. Those “gestures” would have been illegal acts of war against the forces of a nuclear power which were legally stationed in Crimea. And how was the west to immediately supply gas to Ukraine, when Ukraine’s pipeline network is designed to unidirectionally receive gas from Russia? Such half-assed thinking is typical of the Institute and its creation of propaganda. One of its employees/contractors is Hugh Benedict Nimmo, who the Initiative paid to produce anti-Russian propaganda that was then disseminated through various western publications. According to the (still very incomplete) Initiative files Ben Nimmo received a monthly consultancy fee of £2,500 between Dec 2015 and Mar 2016. In Aug 2016 he sent an invoice (pdf) of £5k for his “August work on Integrity Initiative.” A Production Timetable(pdf) for Mar-Jun 2016 lists the following Nimmo outputs and activities:

  • Mar 17, Atlantic Council: Yes, Putin really believes his own propaganda, Ben Nimmo
  • Mar 21, Newsweek: Putin’s paranoia is driving his foreign adventures, Ben Nimmo
  • Mar 22, House of Commons: Russian information warfare – airbrushing reality, Jonathan Eyal and Ben Nimmo
  • Mid-May, Atlantic Council: Distract, deceive, destroy: Putin at war in Syria. Ben Nimmo et al (Major study)
  • Early May timeframe: Russian penetration in Germany, Harold Elletson, Ben Nimmo et al – 10,000 words
  • June timeframe: Atlantic Council, major report on Russian conspiracy theory and foreign policy, Ben Nimmo (potential launch events in London and/or Faschingstein)
  • End June: Mapping Russia’s whole influence machine, Ben Nimmo – 10,000 words

One wonders how often Ben Nimmo double billed his various sponsors for these copy-paste fantasy pamphlets. In late 2017, Ben Nimmo and Guardian ‘journalist’ Carole Cadwalladr disseminated allegationsthat Russia used Facebook ads to influence the Brexit decision. Cadwalladr even received a price for her work. Unfortunately the price was not revoked when Facebook revealed that “Russia linked” accounts had spent less than a dollar on Brexit ads. It is unexplained how that was enough to achieve their alleged aim. Cadwalladr is listed as a speaker (pdf) at a “skill sharing” conference the Institute organized for Nov 1-2 under the headline: “Tackling Tools of Malign Influence; Supporting 21st Century Journalism.” This year, Ben Nimmo became notorious for claiming that several real persons with individual opinions were “Russian trolls.” The Institute for Statecraft Expert Team (pdf) list several people with military intelligence backgrounds as well as many ‘journalists’. One of them is:

Mark Galeotti. Specialist in Russian strategic thinking; the application of Russian disinformation and hybrid warfare; the use of organised crime as a weapon of hybrid warfare. Educational and mentoring skills, including in a Pindo and East European environment, and the corporate world. Russian linguist.

Galeotti is the infamous inventor of the ‘Gerasimov doctrine’ and of the propaganda about Russia’s alleged ‘hybrid’ warfare. In Feb 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, then Russia’s Chief of General Staff, published a paper that analysed the way the ‘west’ is waging a new type of war by mixing propaganda, proxy armies and military force into one unified operation. Galeotti claimed that Gerasimov’s analysis of ‘western’ operations was a new Russian doctrine of ‘hybrid war.’ He invented the term ‘Gerasimov doctrine’ which then took off in the propaganda realm. In Feb 2016 the Pindo Army Military Review published a longer analysis of Gerasimov’s paper that debunked the nonsense (pdf). It concluded:

Gerasimov’s article is not proposing a new Russian way of warfare or a hybrid war, as has been stated in the West.

But anti-Russian propagandist repeated Galeotti’s nonsense over and over. Only in Mar 2018, five years after Galeotti invented the ‘Germasimov doctrine’ and two years after he was thoroughly debunked, he finally recanted:

Everywhere, you’ll find scholars, pundits, and policymakers talking about the threat the “Gerasimov doctrine,” named after Russia’s chief of the general staff, poses to the West. It’s a new way of war, “an expanded theory of modern warfare,” or even “a vision of total warfare.” There’s one small problem. It doesn’t exist. And the longer we pretend it does, the longer we misunderstand the real, but different, challenge Russia poses. I feel I can say that because, to my immense chagrin, I created this term, which has since acquired a destructive life of its own, lumbering clumsily into the world to spread fear and loathing in its wake.

The Institute for Statecraft’s “Specialist in Russian strategic thinking”, an expert of disinformation and hybrid warfare,  created a non-existing Russian doctrine out of hot air and used it to press for anti-Russian measures. Like Ben Nimmo he is an aptly example of the quality of the Institute’s experts and work. One of the newly released documents headlined CND Gen list 2 (pdf) (CND= Chris Nigel Donnelly) includes the names and email addresses of a number of military, government and think tank people. The anonymous releaser of the documents claims that the list is “of employees who attended a closed-door meeting with the white helmets”. (No document has been published yet that confirms this.)

One name on the list is of special interest. Pablo Miller was the handler and friend of Sergei Skripal, the British double agent who was “novichoked” in Salisbury. When Miller’s name was mentioned in the press the British government issued a D-Notice to suppress its further publishing.

The most recent release of Integrity Initiative documents includes lots of in-depth reports (pdf) about foreign media reactions to the Skripal affair. One wonders why the Initiative commissioned such research (pdf) and paid for it. After two years the Muller investigation found zero evidence for the ‘collusion’ between Russia and the Trump campaign that the fake Steele dossier suggested. The whole collusion claim is a creation by ‘former’ British intelligence operatives who likely acted on request of DCI Clapper and DNI Brennan. How deep was the Russia specialist Chris Donnelly and his Institute for Statecraft involved in this endeavor? Checking through all the released Initiative papers and lists one gets the impression of a secret military intelligence operation, disguised as a public NGO. Financed by millions of government money the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative work under a charity label to create and disseminate disinformation to the global public and back into the government and military itself. The paranoia about Russia, which does way less harm than the ‘western’ “rules based system” constantly creates, is illogical and not based on factual analysis. It creates Russia as an “enemy” when it is none. It hypes a “threat” out of hot air. The only people who profit from this are the propagandists and the companies and people who back them. The Initiatives motto “Defend Democracy Against Disinformation” is a truly Orwellian construct. By disseminating propaganda and using it to influence the public, parliament, the military and governments, the Institute actively undermines the democratic process that depends on the free availability of truthful information. It should be shut down immediately.


Note: There have already been attempts to delete the released files from the Internet. A complete archive of all Integrity Initiative files published so far is here. Should the public links cease to work, you can contact the author of this blog for access to private backups.

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