This text is written by Activists for Peace, Sweden.
The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does
We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor.
Are the British doing what they claim Russia alone is doing; Pushing their agenda onto other countries through semi-secret influence operations? Members of the British parliament have questioned the way the state funded Integrity Initiative have used tweets and operated secretly to organize smear campaigns. Leaked documents, confirmed as coming from the computers belonging to the initiative, have so far caused a debate in more than 25 countries. Is this project, under the disguise of stopping Russian disinformation, carrying out a constant low intensity warfare as well as fast smear campaigns in many European countries against anyone that divert from the British Foreign policy agenda?
Finally, the leader of the project steps forward. In a video on Youtube, Chris Donnelly – former NATO advisor and director at Institute for Statecraft which is the parent organization behind the semi-secret Integrity Initiative – tells the public about the purpose of the project. He says the aim is to be able to ”track, expose and tackle” new problems influencing governments all over Europe with the help of 2 million pounds a year from the British government.
According to Donnelly, Institute for Statecraft looks into the issue of ”malign influence and disinformation” in order to ”educate and inform policymakers and decision makers” so they can ”expose and tackle” the problem which present in all European countries and all over the world. Donnelly makes the following statement concerning how Integrity Initiative is doing this:
”We have across Europe a network, we call them clusters, of people who understand the issue and have agreed voluntarily to bound themselves to keep together in order to tackle the issue in their own country and to share information between each country on the problems and how to tackle them and how to improve their own governmental capacity how to deal with them.”
Chris Donnelly on the initiatives, 23 December 2018
The reason for having an NGO such as Institute for Statecraft to protect democracy against malign influence that can come from anywhere is according to Donnelly changes since the 20th century. Then the main threat was a world war between states. In this century, he claims that there is a new kind of conflict where everything can be used as a weapon in the conflicts between states; information, energy supply, cyber-attacks, corruption and financial investments. Donnelly claims that information is the issue that unites all these conflict issues and gives them a third dimension.
Governments are not able to address these challenges to democracy, says Donnelly. They cannot protect themselves or our societies against this malign influence; “that’s why institutes like Institute for Statecraft, Non-governmental organisations run by specialists without governmental direction are so important because they can generate, from the grass roots, a movement of people. They can educate people more effectively. They can respond more rapidly to the kind of informational, disinformational threat we now are facing.”
Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa specialised in military history and military ethics writing on Russian and Soviet history, sees rather a lack of integrity than protection of it in the Institute for Statecraft’s projects. He writes:
“Furthermore, as the leaked documents purport to show, the initiative engages in exactly the sort of ‘meddling’ in foreign affairs of which its members accuse Russia. In one instance, project members disliked the Spanish government’s choice for the post of director of Spain’s Department of Homeland Security. The Spanish ‘cluster’ set about lobbying against the candidate on social media, and eventually the Spanish government appointed somebody else. One can well imagine what the reaction would be if it turned out that a network of influential people who secretly belonged to a group funded by the Russian government had successfully lobbied to prevent the appointment of an official in Spain because Russia objected to him or her.”
Paul Robinson on the initiatives, 25 November 2018
Paul Robinson concludes: “Projects like the Integrity Initiative help strengthen the impression of secret conspiracies and double standards. Far from solving the problem, therefore, they accentuate it.”
Donnelly has earlier expressed that: ”War is change. If war is change, change is war.” This kind of false equivalency brings the Orwellian new speak “War is Peace” to mind and if War is Peace, Peace is War. The challenge for Donnelly and his initiatives is to educate people that the peace they are living in is war. All activists for peace are enemy combatants in a war against their war on peace. Donnelly is losing the peace, but hopes to win this war.
In Donnelly’s world everything is subordinated their war on peace. Every aspect of our lives; social interactions, cultural activities, religious affiliation, trade links, political activism, professional activity and so on requires servitude to this war.
Activists for Peace, Sweden
Links and sources:
- Donnelly, Chris: Rules for peacetime don’t work when you’re at war for national survival, Euromaidan Press, 10 August 2018.
- Donnelly, Chris: Success needs a military mentality, The World Today, June & July 2016.
- Institute of Statecraft: Chris Donnelly on Disinformation, Institute of Statecraft’s Youtube, 23 December 2018.
Chris Donnelly, Institute of Statecraft director on disinformation and the leak.
- Institute for Statecraft website.
- Integrity Initiative website.
- McKeigue, Paul; Miller, David; Mason, Jake and Robinson, Piers: Briefing note on the Integrity Initiative, Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, 21 December 2018.
- NATO: Chris Donnely on NATO’s official website: Special Advisor for Central and Eastern European Affairs 1989-2003, NATO’s official website.
- Robinson, Mike: Integrity Initiative: A Look Into the Deep State?, UK Column, 2 December 2018.
- Robinson, Paul: Lack of Integrity, Irrussianality, 25 November 2018.
- Scott, David: Integrity Initiative: Just how well connected are the “Gateside Three”?, UK Column, 10 December 2018.
- Scott, David: Half a League Onwards: A glimpse of the policy protocols of the Integrity Initiative, UK Column, 16 December 2018.
- UK Column: What is the Integrity Initiative? A short briefing paper. December 2018.
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