In the West, the scandal around activities of British project Integrity Initiative continues to unfold. Its original objective was to discredit Russia but, as it turned out after recent publications of the Anonymous hacktivist group, the Integrity Initiative's attacks are targeted against politicians of a number of European countries and even reputable British MPs.
As the Anonymous website reports, the project was founded back in 2015, and its expenditures for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2019 are estimated at 1.96 million pounds (2.51 million dollars). However, it is entirely possible that total funding for spreading Britain's most relevant propaganda is more generous, for the Integrity Initiative project is highly likely to be just the tip of the iceberg in London's information war against the rest of Europe including Russia.
It should be noted here that for a long time the West, and especially the US and Britain, have been diligently looking for some mysterious Russian hackers who allegedly elected Donald Trump to the presidency, intervened in the referendum on Britain's exit from the EU, played a role in the victory of Italian rightwing forces, caused a split in Spain over Catalonia and staged Yellow Vest protests in France. But those mysterious Russians have never been caught – because they simply do not exist. British hackers Integrity Initiative emerged all of a sudden, quite real people with names, surnames and user accounts in social networks. This organization, as it turned out, nourishes a network of Internet trolls. The only difference is that they are called "elves", not "trolls", but do actually the same thing. And now, thanks to Anonymous, we get an opportunity to learn a lot about the work of these misinformers.
This summer, for instance, Internet elves' hacker attack literally baited Spanish geostrategist Pedro Baños, who does not hide his affinity for Russia, and prevented him from becoming Director of the Spanish National Security Department. Thus, an organization, funded by the British Foreign Office, actually interfered in the domestic affairs of Spain and chose the person to assume one of the most important positions in the leadership of a sovereign state. Mind you, Britain's ally and partner within both NATO and the EU (so far).
According to Anonymous, Integrity Initiative employees in Greece, Germany, France and Italy work in a similar manner. In Greece, for one, Internet elves arranged attacks against members of the Syriza party, and in Germany they set up campaigns against the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions. The mechanism is fairly simple: thought leaders and journalists recruited by Integrity Initiative mobilize their subscribers in social networks, who continue to kick up the dust creating an illusion of "popular indignation".
Conventionally speaking, Integrity Initiative is a mere web structure comprising journalists, politicians and human rights activists supervised by a British organization called the Institute for Statecraft which lives by grants from the British Foreign Office. Over the last two years, the latter transferred over 2.2 million pounds to the former. And the Institute for Statecraft, as it turns out, was founded as a devised facility for Integrity Initiative by two former MI6 intelligence agents.
Colonel Chris Donnelly specialized in USSR affairs during the Cold War, and in 1989-2003 served NATO Secretary General's Special Adviser for Central and Eastern Europe. His colleague Daniel Lafayeedney served in the Special Air Service (SAS) and in the 1970s, according to the Scottish Daily Record newspaper, was in charge of communicating with British agents working in the Soviet Union.
Today, as we can see, British intelligence veterans wage information wars against anyone ordered by their Foreign Office overlords, who pay for their work generously. Average Integrity Initiative employees receive some 2-3 thousand pounds a month, and their boss Chris Donnelly – more than 8 thousand ponds. Quite a fair amount for misinformers.
But apparently, this money was not enough for them, and the former intelligence professionals decided to make some extra cash inside the UK. According to Anonymous, web elves from Integrity Initiative conducted an active social media campaign against Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. As soon as this fact was revealed, Labor Party MPs demanded an explanation from the Foreign Office. The latter, however, refused to disclose information about cooperating with the Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative, thereby actually recognizing appalling activities of these entities within their own country.
The scandal caused by the publication of Integrity Initiative documents, reminded of what was happening in Europe and around the world in 2013 after the revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Back those days it has transpired that security services spy on everyone and everywhere, including even heads of state, in particular Angela Merkel. In this regard, there is a reason that English and Scottish MPs demanded to urgently investigate activities of the Institute for Statecraft and find out where exactly British taxpayers' money goes.
Publications of the Anonymous group once again demonstrated that in fact, the Western fighters for democracy, the violation of which is so often attributed to Russia, are not "independent" journalists, experts and analysts but mere employees of a suspicious British company distributing fake news and funded by the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom.
The situation with Integrity Initiative actually revealed the seamy side of masterminds not only in London but across the entire Western world and demonstrated that all the accusations regarding alleged hacking attacks by Russia are unproven and far-fetched.
In this regard, I would like to mention a recent publication on the French AgoraVox website entitled "Russian Intervention? Better look around!", where journalist Georges Zeter provides interesting arguments concerning accusations against Russia. He writes, for example, the following: "If you believe "those in the know", Russia spends most of its time insidiously interfering in French politics, American elections, Brexit referendum and so on. You'd think Putin has nothing better to do than play with matryoshka dolls of real politics". Through the example of France the article's author shows what kind of interventions Brussels, Washington and Tel Aviv resort to.
According to Zeter, it's far overdue for the West to drop charges against Russia and take an unbiased look at what is happening around. He notes in this respect: "In such circumstances we should not blame Russia, because it would have been our natural ally if we were a really independent country. Not the US which has been in the state of a constant conflict since the end of World War II, referring to its opponents as "communists"," terrorists" and "axis of evil"".
Well, the assessment of Georges Zeter and his call to scope out the real picture is hard to disagree with…