[Foreign Policy] Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft and the disinformation

If one thinks of troll farms, covert influence or deliberate misinformation one is reminded of the allegations against Russia. The Russian government is undermining and endangering the democracies of the West. These are allegations in way or the other.

Now documents from the Integrity Initiative network have been leaked. It describes how the public opinion is influenced. The Integrity Initiative was founded by the Institute for Statecraft. Both have the goal to counter disinformation, deceptions and lies. [1] [2] [3] The Institute for Statecraft claims to be an independent organization. It is funded by the British Government. Thus the Integrity Initiative is also funded by the British Government. For the period from March 2018 to March 2019 alone a budget of approximately 2 million british pound is available. The UK Government confirmed this on December 3, 2018 by a request from Chris Williamson (Labor). [4,S.8] [5] [6]
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has (a) funded, (b) provided contracts to and (c) procured the services of the Integrity Initiative in each financial year since 2015/16. [5]
The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.
In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft's Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.
At the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the UK Government has committed £100m over five years to tackling this threat internationally.
Such funding furthers our commitment to producing important work to counter disinformation and other malign influence. [5]
In a handbook of May 2018 it is planned to unite the people who understand the threat posed by the Russian disinformation and the hybrid warfare. For this purpose the Integrity Initiative wants to coordinate a Western position in which NATO plays an important role. The plan is to build groups called clusters. These clusters will consist of well-informed people from the political, military, academic, journalistic and think tank sectors. The members of these clusters should then inform the decision makers in their countries about the events. According to the documents there are such clusters intended in Germany, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia and Spain. Interestingly William (Bill) Browder is also in the British Cluster. Browder has become known for accusing the Kremlin of murdering his former accountant Magnitiski and tax crime. [7] [8] The authenticity of the documents was confirmed by the Integrity Initiative itself. It was publicly announced that the documents had been stolen. And it has not had time to examine all documents for manipulation. Many of the persons were allegedly only planned to join. [9]

The Institute for Statecraft is therefore an alleged non-governmental organization that is committed to educate people. In fact it is covertly receiving funds from the British government and obscuring exactly who it is working with. The proposal to spread propaganda in the name of good is not new. In July 2017 the EU published a paper calling for such actions. How big the whole network and how many such programs are there is still open. [10]

[1] Leaks
[2] Leaks alt
[3] The Integrity Initiative: Defending Democracy against Disinformation
[4] Integrity 2018 Activity Budget v3 .pdf
[5] Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Integrity Initiative:Written question - 196177 2018-11-27/2018-12-03
[6] Urgent question on the Institute for Statecraft 2018-12-12
[7] II handbook v2
[8] UK Cluster
[9] Integrity Initiative
[10] JOINT REPORT TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the implementation of the Joint Framework on countering hybrid threats - a European Union response 2017-07-19