British Government Covert Anti-Russian Propaganda and the Skripal Case 334

It is worth starting by noting that a high percentage of the Integrity Initiative archive has been authenticated. The scheme has been admitted by the FCO and defended as legitimate government activity. Individual items like the minutes of the meeting with David Leask are authenticated. Not one of the documents has so far been disproven, or even denied.

Which tends to obscure some of the difficulties with the material. There is no metadata showing when each document was created, as opposed to when Anonymous made it into a PDF. Anonymous have released it in tranches and made plain there is more to come. The reason for this methodology is left obscure.

Most frustratingly, Anonymous’ comments on the releases indicate that they have vital information which is not, so far, revealed. The most important document of all appears to be a simple contact list, of a particular group within the hundreds of contacts revealed in the papers overall. This is it in full:

Tantalisingly, Anonymous describe this as a list of people who attended a meeting with the White Helmets. But there is no evidence of that in the document itself, nor does any other document released so far refer to this meeting. There is very little in the documents released so far about the White Helmets at all. But there is a huge amount about the Skripal case. With the greatest of respect to Anonymous and pending any release of further evidence, I want you to consider whether this might be a document related to the Skripal incident.

The list is headed CND gen list 2. CND is Christopher Nigel Donnelly, Director of the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative and a very senior career Military Intelligence Officer.

The first name on the list caught my eye. Duncan Allan was the young FCO Research Analyst who, as detailed in Murder in Samarkand, appears in my Ambassadorial office in Tashkent, telling me of the FCO staff who had been left in tears by the pressure put on them to sign up to Blair’s dodgy dossier on Iraqi WMD. During the process of clearing the manuscript with the FCO, I was told (though not by him) that he denied having ever said it. It was one of a very few instances where I refused to make the changes requested to the text, because I had no doubt whatsoever of what had been said.

If Duncan did lie about having told me, it did his career no harm as he is now Deputy Head of FCO Research Analysts and, most importantly, the FCO’s lead analyst on Russia and the Former Soviet Union.

Now let us tie that in with the notorious name further down the list; Pablo Miller, the long-term MI6 handler of Sergei Skripal, who lived in Salisbury with Skripal. Miller is the man who was, within 24 hours of the Skripal attack, protected by a D(SMA) notice banning the media from mentioning him. Here Pablo Miller is actively involved, alongside serving FCO and MOD staff, in a government funded organisation whose avowed intention is to spread disinformation about Russia. The story that Miller is in an inactive retirement is immediately and spectacularly exploded.

Now look at another name on this list. Howard Body. Assistant Head of Science Support at Porton Down chemical weapon research laboratory, just six miles away from Salisbury and the Skripal attack, a role he took up in December 2017. He combines this role with Assistant Head of Strategic Analysis at MOD London. “Science Support” at Porton Down is a euphemism for political direction to the scientists – Body has no scientific qualifications.

Another element brought into this group is the state broadcaster, through Helen Boaden, the former Head of BBC News and Current Affairs.

In all there are six serving MOD staff on the list, all either in Intelligence or in PR. Intriguingly one of them, Ian Cohen, has email addresses both at the MOD and at the notoriously corrupt HSBC bank. The other FCO name besides Duncan Allan, Adam Rutland, is also on the PR side.

Zachary Harkenrider is the Political Counsellor at the US Embassy in London. There are normally at least two Political Counsellors at an Embassy this size, one of whom will normally be the CIA Head of Station. I do not know if Harkenrider is CIA but it seems highly likely.

So what do we have here? We have a programme, the Integrity Initiative, whose entire purpose is to pump out covert disinformation against Russia, through social media and news stories secretly paid for by the British government. And we have the Skripals’ MI6 handler, the BBC, Porton Down, the FCO, the MOD and the US Embassy, working together in a group under the auspices of the Integrity Initiative. The Skripal Case happened to occur shortly after a massive increase in the Integrity Initiative’s budget and activity, which itself was a small part of a British Government decision to ramp up a major information war against Russia.

I find that very interesting indeed.

With a hat-tip to members of the Working Group on Syria, Media, and the Propaganda, who are preparing a major and important publication which is imminent. UPDATE Their extremely important briefing note on the Integrity Initiative is now online, prepared to the highest standards of academic discipline. I shall be drawing on and extrapolating from it further next week.


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334 thoughts on “British Government Covert Anti-Russian Propaganda and the Skripal Case

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    • Goose

      They aren’t a fascist dictatorship, such exaggeration demeans debate.

      But there are people who seem to be playing fast and loose, acting as if above the law, running rings around dim witted MPs and parliamentary oversight. It has an Icarus feel about it all though, as the political situation could change very rapidly in both the US and UK with the likes of Corbyn and Sanders.

      • Allan Howard

        We live in a Psychopathocracy, and ALL psychopaths have a fascist mentality:

        To believe otherwise is to live – as most people around the world DO – in the illusion that the psychopaths themselves created.

  • michael norton

    I really think in the spirit of Christmas, the U.K. should allow Mr.Skripal to phone his aged mother in Russia, perhaps Yulia could be allowed to visit her grandmother, as well?

    • Goose

      Incredible how Yulia thought it important enough to presumably borrow a member of staff’s phone to ring her cousin in Russia in early April 2018 while recovering, but then upon recovering fully, seeks no further communication whatsoever and refuses any contact for over 8 months and counting. And UK journalists think that normal? Even if you believe the narrative ,Yulia wasn’t a spy and wasn’t even the target. Her hiding away makes little sense.

      • michael norton

        Some have suggested that Yulia is dead.
        Some have suggested that there have been more than one Yulia.
        Some have suggested, none of it ever happened, at all.
        If Yulia is a real person and if she is still alive and being kept “safe” by the U.K. State, sending her back to her grandmother and rest of family would put a lot of people’s minds at rest.
        Only two reasons it does not happen.
        One, the official story is shit and she would tell her family the British story was all lies, they made it all up.
        Two, the British, really think there is more to gain by retaining her.

  • Regula

    If you combine your insights into the people on this list who supposedly met with the Wite Helmets according to Anonymous, what may in fact be the case is that both are true and that the UK government via II and this meeting used one or more White Hrlmet guys to execute the Scripal poisoning, which would explain the somewhat mysterious “failures” of the job: they couldn’t make the poison lethal to prevent death of a White Helmet from the same stuff. And it would also w explain the insistence that a couple of goofy Russian tourists that happened to show up on CCTV cameras were then accused of being the Russian agents.

    The timing of the poisoning effectively excludes the Russians as perpetrators. But the similarity with the timing of the Ukraine mess right when Russia started its Winter Olympics, points to the American government using the English and Whitr Helmets as cover.

      • michael norton

        Are the White Helmets run from the Foreign Office or from Department for International Development?
        Heard on R4 this morning that they are doing away with the Department for International Development.

  • John Calvert

    The media are just allowing this story to die a death. The actions of this cabal amount to the UK’s most treasonous for a very long time. A proper press would be shouting mad about this. And we have seen what they can be like when they are shouting mad – look at their unending hue-and-cry over Trump and Russiagate.

    But today the BBC’s coverage of the “Integrity Initiative” is . . . . crickets. The UK press quite shameful.

  • John2o2o

    I find the silence of the mainstream media over this matter to be the most chilling thing of all.

    Never has silence equated to guilt more loudly.

    Andrew Neil creepily asked George Galloway on twitter why he thought he might be arrested after George expressed concern over something written in the documents, but then said nothing more. it was almost as though Neil was acknowledging that he knew about it, but that he was unwilling to pass further comment lest he upset his paymasters in the British Deep State machine.

    I have thought for some time that the mainstream media is infested with military intelligence operatives and this tends to confirm it. I would think that a significant number of media figures are involved to some extent in pushing these crude anti Russia narratives.

    The British Deep State exists and is mentally ill. Diagnosis: Paranoid Russophobia.

  • michael norton

    The roof of the home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is to be dismantled by military teams in the wake of the Novichok attack.
    Detectives believe Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia first came into contact with the poison when it was sprayed on the door handle of their property.

    The clean-up at Christie Miller Road, Salisbury, has been taking place ever since they collapsed on 5 March.

    Wiltshire Council has warned neighbours of about four months of disruptions.

    Contractors will cover the house and garage with a “sealed frame”, according to a letter written by the council’s director of public of health, Tracy Daszkiewicz.

    A military team will then dismantle and remove the roofs.

    Everything will be wrapped and sealed before being removed from the site.

    And so the game goes on.

    • michael norton

      I wonder if Sergei Skripal has been allowed to have a say in what happens to his home.
      I also wonder if he will be allowed to move back into his home after the new roof is complete?

  • Tintin Quarantino

    I am unsure whether this link has posted up before here, but, here’s Kit’s article in SOTT:

    Here’s a pertinent paragraph from the article:

    “Moreover though, there are clear indications the Institute sought to shape the news narrative on the attack – and indeed the UK government’s response. One file dated March 11 appears to be a briefing document on the affair to date, with key messages bolded throughout.

    It opens by setting out “The Narrative” of the incident – namely “Russia has carried out yet another brutal attack, this time with a deadly nerve agent, on someone living in Britain”. ”

    Kudos to Lit for his typical erudition and insight.

  • Sharp Ears

    Bellingcat activist fails to ban blogger who exposed his ties to UK propaganda outfit on Twitter
    14 Jan, 2019
    ‘ An activist of the controversial investigative site Bellingcat has tried to make Twitter ban a Canadian blogger, who highlighted his links to a UK-backed covert influence network.
    A recent Twitter post by a Canadian blogger, Stephen McIntyre, apparently did not sit well with Dan Kaszeta, an active contributor to the self-styled “citizen journalism” investigative website Bellingcat. The Canadian apparently drew the ire of the activist by highlighting some of his connections to the Integrity Initiative (II), a clandestine propaganda outlet funded by the UK government.

    McIntyre posted an invoice sent by Kaszeta’s firm, Strongpoint Security, billing II’s parent organization, the Institute for Statecraft, for about $800 for an article penned by the man. The document is part of a trove of II’s data leaked online. The former US Marines veteran apparently got pretty annoyed and turned to the Twitter administration, demanding that the blogger be banned for exposing his personal data. He argues that posting personal data is banned by Twitter rules.’

    A one man band. Wot? No Hamish de Bretton Gordon?

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