Institute for Statecraft
The Institute for Statecraft is a UK deep state disinformation outfit that was disguised as a charity. It was exposed by the 2018 Integrity Initiative leak, which revaled that it received millions of pounds from the UK/FCO and was engaging in the sort of disinformation strategies that it was purportedly against. David Miller stated that it "appears to be a military-directed push." Its official headquarters are a semi-derilict building in Fife, Scotland, but its real HQ are funded by the UK Ministry of defence.
The group's about page stated in January 2019 that "The Institute for Statecraft is an independent body dedicated to refreshing the practice of statecraft, to improving governance and to enhancing national security." Its registration at the Scottish Charity Register stated that its objects were: "(1) To advance education in the fields of governance and statecraft, and in particular focussing on the leadership, direction, management and administration of public and private institutions, major organisations and other bodies (whether incorporated or otherwise), and the skills needed by those in authority within such institutions, organisations or bodies to enable them to deal effectively with current and future challenges particularly in respect of security (2) To advance human rights, conflict resolution and/or reconciliation and religious/racial/ethnic harmony, to promote equality and diversity, citizenship and community development, and to advance national and international security; and in particular through assisting governments (including emerging democracies and countries in transition) and other institutions, organisations or bodies (whether in the UK or abroad) to respond to the challenges posed by new developments in the world (whether social, political, economic or technological) and to develop and embed structures and institutions that reflect principles of best practice in governance and statecraft."
Craig Murray notes that it didn't take much detective work to locate the operational HQ. This seems to be the basement of the rather more stately 2 Temple Place, the former London mansion of William Waldorf Astor. Murray reports that "the rent is paid by the Ministry of Defence".
The FCO project application for Integrity Initiative Phase 2 listed the following projects sources of Co-funding:
- Funding from HQ NATO Public Diplomacy, £12,000 for each inaugural workshop = £168,000
- Funding from partner institutions £5,000 for each inaugural workshop = £70,000
- Funding from NATO HQ for educational video films – free provision of camera team
- Funding from Lithuanian MOD to provide free all costs for their Stratcom team for a monthly trip to support a new hub/cluster creation and to educate cluster leaders and key people in Vilnius in infowar techniques = £20,000
- Funding from US/State Department, £250,000 for research and dissemination activities (excluding any activity in USA)
- Funding from Smith Richardson Foundation, £45,000 for cluster activities in Europe and USA
- Funding from Facebook, £100,000 for research and education activities
- Funding from German business community, £25,000 for research and dissemination in EU countries
The Institute for Statecraft attracted a lot of interest in late 2018 after documents from the Integrity Initiative were leaked online by 'Anonymous'. The first set of documents was published on 5 November 2018. It was subsequently the subjects of questions in the UK parliament and widely reported by independent media.
On 22 January 2019, the Integrity Initiative "temporarily" deleted the entire contents of their website. The Institute for Statecraft followed suit shortly afterwards. By 5 February 2019, the site content had been replaced by a coverpage which stated that "The website will be relaunched shortly. In the meantime, we expect to be able to publish an analysis of the hack and its significance in the near future." It also opened up the way to plausible deniability by claiming that some (unspecified) parts of the leaked data had been falsified.
In March 2019 Sky News carried a brief article headlined What is the Institute for Statecraft thought to have been hacked by Russia? reported that "[t]he organisation, which describes itself as a think-tank and a do-tank, employs a small staff of about a dozen people. It also has about 90 Fellows, including a handful of individuals who have a background in British intelligence or the military so are experts in security and defence." It made no mention of the Integrity Initiative's member Simon Bracey-Lane working for the Bernie Sanders campaign or the smears against Jeremy Corbyn. It MENTIONED THAT THE ii "established a network in countries across Europe" but did not mention how it used that network to mount of a secretly coordinated social media campaign to prevent the appointment of Pedro Baños as Director of the Spanish Department of Homeland Security.
|Integrity Initiative||“We've temporarily removed all content from our website, pending an investigation into the theft of data from the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative. The website will be relaunched shortly. https://bit.ly/2sES9wM”||22 January 2019|
|Greg Rowett||“spoke well and hit all the IfS points: peacetime mentality during war/Russian vocab all based on warfare/rate of change in society dramatic/need for universal glossary. Algorithms key – we need to start gaming these algorithms and put pressure onto the companies hosting these disinformation campaigns. Deliver message that we're willing and able to push back.”||Greg Rowett|
|Zinc Network||“Bringing together organisations including Zinc Network, the Institute for Statecraft, Aktis Strategy, Bellingcat, DFR Lab, the Media Diversity Institute, Toro Risk Solutions and Ecorys, our Consortium combines recognised market leaders in understanding, monitoring, and countering Kremlin-backed disinformation... This ecosystem of credible voices will continue to grow, exposing the actors and networks behind Kremlin-backed disinformation, reducing unwitting multipliers of disinformation, and building resilience amongst key target audiences across Europe.
We will mobilise a Network Hub based in London, led by an experienced Project Director, consisting of an agile team with core competencies augmented by a wider pool of vetted experts. Our approach is highly localised, based around regional clusters of actors who can collaborate to effectively undermine the disinformationecosystem in their respective areas and engage audiences most vulnerable to disinformation... It is a highly complex project involving coordination of many independent actors, and thus risk must be carefully managed and risk profiles constantly adapted, serving as the basis for all activity. The approach we propose is based on the identification, monitoring and management of risks as they materialise, allowing members to continue taking smart risks as they increase the scale and impact of their activities.”
- Integrity Initiative/Leak/5 Dan%27s%20notes%20for%20Israel%20(003).pdf
- Integrity Initiative/Leak/5