Integrity Initiative: The Times Meets Ukrainian Kidnappers, Propaganda Follows

Integrity Initiative: The Times Meets Ukrainian Kidnappers, Propaganda Follows

Among the bombshell leaked documents exposing the internal workings and activities of the shadowy Institute for Statecraft – the front ‘charity’ behind Integrity Initiative – is a file dating to July 2016, detailing how the organization facilitated a visit of Ukrainian Reserve Officers to the UK, an effort bankrolled by the Ministry of Defence.
The five-strong group flew into Gatwick airport on the morning of July 6 — upon arrival they travelled straight to the Institute’s grand headquarters at Two Temple Place, London, for an introductory meeting and buffet lunch.

The document — ‘leaked’ to The Times — makes a number of sensational claims about Russian military tactics and capabilities. Federation forces are said to “integrate high-end conventional weapons, electronic jamming devices, covert sabotage missions and the exploitation of social media”, and weaponize information “using websites, radio stations and mass text messaging to influence opinion, spread fear and cause confusion as part of a new kind of fighting in which anything is a weapon.”
Other leaked Institute for Statecraft documents suggest boosting Britain’s military spending is a key objective for the organization — and achieving a “tougher stance in government policy towards Russia” is a stated Integrity Initiative ‘performance indicator’ in bids for government funding the opaque subsidiary submitted to the Ministry of Defence.

The organizations also count several military intelligence veterans among their senior staff. For instance, Chris Donnelly — Institute Director and Initiative Senior Manager — is a reserve officer in the Army Intelligence Corps who once led the military’s Soviet Studies Research Center at Sandhurst, and was appointed an “Honorary Colonel in Military Intelligence” in 2015, the same year the Integrity Initiative was launched. Between 1989 — 2003, he was also the NATO Secretary General’s Special Adviser for Central and Eastern Europe.

In March 2014, Donnelly authored a document on the Ukraine crisis, outlining a number of “measures” he’d employ against the Russian Federation if he “were in charge” — all proposals being incendiary and illegal military provocations of the most extreme kind. Quite whose eyes the document was intended for, and what impact it had and where, is unclear — but had any of the suggestions come to pass, the result would’ve surely been far in excess of “the Third World War on a tiny scale” claimed by Haynes’ Ministry of Defence source.  

Why Haynes alone was chosen to interview the Ukrainians is unclear, although she’s listed in internal files as being part of the Initiative’s UK ‘cluster’. These are secret networks of politicians, businesspeople, military officials, academics and journalists the organization has cultivated the world over who “understand the threat posed to Western nations” by Russian “disinformation” and can be mobilized to influence domestic politics in their home country.

The files offer a case-study of how the Initiative’s Spanish cluster colluded to prevent the appointment of Pedro Banos, an army reservist and author the Spanish Socialist party wanted to make the country’s Director of National Security. When his candidacy was announced, cluster members colluded via WhatsApp to flood social networks with anti-Banos messages, and provide the Spanish media with a ‘dossier’ of negative material on the former head of counterintelligence and security for the European army. Within 24 hours, the appointment was blocked.

Still, whether knowingly or unknowingly, Haynes and her employer very effectively supported the Institute and its Initiative subsidiary in their intertwined primary objectives of hyping the Russian ‘threat’, degrading relations between London and Moscow, and rallying public support behind a sizeable increase in defence spending.