A new batch of leaked files from the covert influence network exposes how the Integrity Initiative recruits high-flying businessmen for intel ops, shows UK Muslims “why NATO matters” and prepares for nuclear conflict with Russia.
With the UK Foreign Office and NATO-backed organization still //medium.com/@hitthehybrid/kremlin-campaign-against-institute-for-statecraft-92aa73ce4ec9" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reeling from previous leaks whose authenticity it has not attempted to disprove, the fifth tranche of internal communications was uploaded to a public server this week under the name of hacktivist group Anonymous.
As before, it features the London-based group clandestinely meddling in various areas of civilian life for the benefit of its own undeclared objectives.
Top business executives on ‘patriot’ list
The Integrity Initiative’s network of loyal journalists and academics has already been uncovered, but “speaking notes” for an address given in Israel in the summer of 2018 by its director, Daniel Lafayeedney, show that its scope of intelligence asset recruitment is much broader.
Additionally, his words blow apart the group’s half-hearted assertions that it is not a branch of military intelligence by another name, but simply a public organization fighting Russian disinformation.
“We have supported the creation of special Army reserve units (e.g. 77 Bde and SGMI – Specialist Group Military Intelligence) with which we now have a close, informal relationship,” the document says.
“These bring in, as reservists with a special status, individuals who are very senior civilian experts in some relevant area, such as Hedge Fund managers, senior bankers, Heads of PA companies, etc. I.e. people whom the Army could never afford to hire, but who donate their time and expertise as patriots.”
Elsewhere, Lafayeedney, who calls the Integrity Initiative not a “think tank” but a “do tank,” boasts that its work is “very sensitive as we feed it into the highest levels of MOD [Ministry of Defence] and the armed forces.”
Among the dozens of “patriots” listed in the leak are Ian Cohen, managing director at HSBC Global Asset Management, Phil Jolley, “executive partner at IBM and the UK national lead on ‘Blockchain’ technologies” and start-up adviser Ren Kapoor, MBE, whose mission within “the project” is “to provide advice and training to NGOs on budgeting, legal compliance and a range of issues with which they need to comply in order to remain legal and to survive financially.”
‘Investigating’ Russian funding recipients
A document called “Finding the money” outlines an apparent plan to “target” organizations in the West which were recipients of funding from Russia, even if they did not in any way break the law.
“If we can identify a likely target (eg a university with an anti-fracking agenda) they will run this as an academic exercise, an experiment. The behaviour of an organisation may help identify it as a suitable target to investigate. Universities can sometimes be very untransparent re their funding,” says the document, which apparently was formed from a discussion involving the aforementioned Ian Cohen, and Perry Fawcett, a prominent executive also on the “patriot” list.
“Money coming out of Russian corporations is likely to reach its destination through a blue chip company. Look at which Russian companies have shares in which UK companies. Also look at eg Russia buying the port in Herzogovina; the potential for it becoming a Naval base,” the document states.
The authors themselves appear to be wary of the ethical and legal implications of attacking legitimate institutions, as well as basing their work on little more than unauthorized sleuthing.
“The biggest danger is making the answer fit the question, ie finding what you are looking for when it really isn’t there. Would damage our reputation,” the document reads, as if its very existence isn’t an indictment of the Integrity Initiative.
Straight-faced discussion of post-nuclear conflict with Russia
It is not inherently morally dubious to analyze possible conflict scenarios. But leaked minutes from what appears to be a high-powered “joint workshop” for the Institute for Statecraft (the Integrity Initiative’s parent organization, and the Center for Naval Analyses – the top Pentagon-affiliated military think tank) show a readiness to contemplate a possible full-scale nuclear war with Russia that would be hair-raising even for Cold War veterans.
One of the most alarming aspects is the apparent overstatement of Russia’s hostile intent within this bubble – believing that your enemy wants to destroy you justifies almost any action from your own side, and leads to a mutual escalation of mistrust.
“The reality of the Russian nuclear doctrine is that it will not back down. Especially after the amount Russia has invested, how much core Russian capital is tied into nuclear capabilities,” reads the assessment of Moscow’s nuclear policy, formulated in the aftermath of the Russian Zapad exercises in 2017, which provoked an outburst of fearmongering in the West.
“Where the West would eventually bring enough forces to push a Russian advance back [in case of a localized conflict], in that push. There would be an assessment, and the conclusion would be that regime change was in motion – It is widely believed, in that instance, they would resort to nuclear weapons.”
The most chilling part of the assessment is not just the apparent readiness to deploy the West's own weapons of mass destruction, but the logical jump to post-nuclear war combat.
“War games usually start with Russia about to, or using a nuclear weapon. We need to think about, what is Russia’s response after using a nuclear weapon,” it continues.
A saner voice might have replied that it may matter little, as by that point most people in Washington, London, and Moscow will already be dead. Are they really ready to contemplate mutual destruction for the sake of defeating the Kremlin?
‘Ignorant’ Muslims must be taught to ‘appreciate’ NATO
Here is the problem, as described by the author of a background paper from the Why NATO matters “educational” project.
“NATO’s involvement in Muslim majority countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, is interpreted by the vast majority of Muslims as NATO’s simply being hostile to Islam and Muslims per se,” says the author, partially putting such qualms down to “ignorance.”
Instead, the author says, Muslims, particularly young representatives from the UK’s ethnic minorities, who are already considered “problematic,” should be taught about “NATO as an international intervention body that engages to prevent wars and conflicts and plays an important role in mediation and to bring lasting peace.”
The solution: cultivating influence with “community leaders and trusted youth workers” and sponsoring a series of supposedly open-ended workshops across the UK that discuss subjects from Sharia law to acceptable dress codes, but are in essence aimed at defusing the “tensions, fear, mistrust and hatred” of the military alliance. Chosen Muslim scholars and leaders are also to be brought out to the “safe space” of the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
“People will be encouraged to talk to their friends and families about their understanding of NATO’s role in global conflicts, including humanitarian aid in natural disaster zones,” the author states.
The paper suggests that the influencing effort is already underway, but appeals for the creation of a “well-resourced programme” that will bring about “a long-term appreciation of NATO.”
- Published in World