The hacking collective known as "Anonymous" published a trove of documents on November 5 which it claims exposes a UK-based psyop to create a "large-scale information secret service" in Europe in order to combat "Russian propaganda" - which has been blamed for everything from Brexit to US President Trump winning the 2016 US election.
The primary objective of the "Integrity Initiative" - established in 2015 by the Institute for Statecraft - is "to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare."
And while the notion of Russian disinformation has become the West's favorite new bogeyman to excuse things such as Hillary Clinton's historic loss to Donald Trump, we note that "Anonymous" was called out by WikiLeaks in October 2016 as an FBI cutout, while the report on the Integrity Initiative that Anonymous exposed comes from Russian state-owned network RT - so it's anyone's guess whose 400lb hackers are at work here.
"Anonymous" has been controlled by FBI agent "Sabu" and other agencies, including the CIA. Likely an attempt to manipulate.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 25, 2016
Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of "clusters" of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics. The team is dedicated to searching for and publishing "evidence" of Russian interference in European affairs, while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim.
The UK establishment appears to be conducting the very activities of which it and its allies have long-accused the Kremlin, with little or no corroborating evidence. The program also aims to "change attitudes in Russia itself" as well as influencing Russian speakers in the EU and North America, one of the leaked documents states. -RT
The Integrity Initiative "clusters" currently operate out of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Norway, Lithuania and the netherlands. According to the leak by Anonymous, the Integrity Initiative is working to aggressively expand its sphere of influence throughout eastern Europe, as well as the US, Canada and the MENA region.
The work done by the Initiative - which claims it is not a government body, is done under "absolute secrecy via concealed contacts embedded throughout British embassies," according to the leak. It does, however, admit to working with unnamed British "government agencies."
The initiative has received £168,000 in funding from HQ NATO Public Diplomacy and £250,000 from the US State Department, the documents allege.
Some of its purported members include British MPs and high-profile "independent" journalists with a penchant for anti-Russian sentiment in their collective online oeuvre, as showcased by a brief glance at their Twitter feeds. -RT
Noted examples of "inedependent" anti-Russia journalists:
Why did nobody in British govt — Cabbinet Office, Home Office, Foreign Office, Justice Ministry — notice upcoming Russian coup at @INTERPOL_HQ ? @Number10press claims we (now) have seamless whole of govt approach to Russia and other hostile states— Edward Lucas (@edwardlucas) November 20, 2018
Please see my latest on #Russia, sanctions and how oligarch cash funds Russia's political war against the #West. My article accompanies hard-hitting @CommonsForeign report. Re #sanctions, we need to say what we mean and mean what we say.https://t.co/7fodaTKxRu— Bob Seely MP (@IoWBobSeely) May 21, 2018
In one example of the group's activities, a "Moncloa Campaign" was successfully conducted by the group's Spanish cluster to block the appointment of Colonel Pedro Banos as the director of Spain's Department of Homeland Security. It took just seven-and-a-half hours to accomplish, brags the group in the documents.
"The [Spanish] government is preparing to appoint Colonel Banos, known for his pro-Russian and pro-Putin positions in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts, as Director of the Department of Homeland Security, a key body located at the Moncloa," begins Nacho Torreblanca in a seven-part tweetstorm describing what happened.
Hilo: El Gobierno se dispone a nombrar al Coronel Baños, conocido por sus posiciones prorrusas y pro-Putin en los conflictos de Siria y Ucrania, Director del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DSN), un organismo clave situado en La Moncloa.— Nacho Torreblanca (@jitorreblanca) June 7, 2018
Others joined in. Among them – according to the leaks – academic Miguel Ángel Quintana Paz, who wrote that "Mr. Banos is to geopolitics as a homeopath is to medicine." Appointing such a figure would be "a shame." -RT
The operation was reported in Spanish media, while Banos was labeled "pro-Putin" by UK MP Bob Seely.
In short, expect anything counter to predominant "open-border" narratives to be the Kremlin's fault - and not a natural populist reflex to the destruction of borders, language and culture.