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‘Operation Iris’ & more: New documents tie Integrity Initiative to spin of Skripal affair

RT | January 4, 2019

Hackers who leaked documents from the Integrity Initiative, a shadowy outfit funded by the UK government, claim they show its connections to the March 2018 alleged poisoning attack in Salisbury and proposed actions against Russia.

The Integrity Initiative (II) was set up in 2015 by the equally shadowy “Institute for Statecraft,” according to the documents published online in November by hackers calling themselves a part of the Anonymous collective. While Anonymous has denied the group was behind the leak, the Institute confirmed the authenticity of the first batch of documents.

The hackers posted a fresh batch of documents purportedly from the Initiative and the Institute on Friday, hinting that both outfits had connections with Western media coverage of the March 2018 alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal, and the actions against Russia taken subsequently by the UK government and its allies.

One of the documents is the confidential report by Harod Associates, a company hired by the Initiative to conduct “mainstream & social media analysis” of the Skripal scandal coverage. The entire undertaking was dubbed “Operation Iris.”

Among those who found themselves named “Russian trolls” and Kremlin agents in the report were Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa and a gentleman from Kent who goes by Ian56 on Twitter.

Another document, dated March 11, 2018, contains a “Narrative” of the Skripal incident, blaming Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally and containing a number of recommended actions, such as boycotting the 2018 World Cup, starting campaigns to boycott the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany and block Russian access to SWIFT international banking system, but also to “ban RT TV and Sputnik from operating in the UK.”

Other suggestions include propaganda directed at British Muslims “to publicise what has been happening with their Muslim brethren in Crimea since the Russian invasion” (sic) and getting members of Parliament to publicize the “threat Russia poses.”

The document dump also contains the April 14, 2018 email from Andy Pryce, whom the hackers describe as “chief propaganda man” at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, containing the official government narrative of the Skripal affair and the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria. Pryce ends the email by recommending “good sources of further information” on alleged Russian propaganda, including the Atlantic Council’s DFR Lab, Bellingcat and Stopfake.

Documents obtained and published by the hackers also show connections between Skripal’s recruiter and neighbor Pablo Miller, the Institute for Statecraft, and the so-called rescue group White Helmets, created in militant-held areas of Syria by a former British official in 2013.

There are also several invoices from Dan Kaszeta of the Institute for Statecraft, for articles he wrote as supposedly a chemical weapons expert advancing the Institute’s narrative on both the Skripals and Syria.

The most intriguing, however, is a document from 2015, in which Victor Madeira of the Institute for Statecraft proposes a series of measures targeting Russia, including mass expulsion of diplomats along the lines of 1971’s Operation Foot. One of the actions by the UK, US and several other NATO countries in the wake of claims that Russia used a nerve agent against Skripal was a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Former MP George Galloway noted that the documents written long before the Salisbury events call for arrests of RT and Sputnik contributors (such as himself), adding, “Makes you think…”

Previously published documents have revealed the Initiative and the Institute as being involved in widespread propaganda operations targeting not only foreign countries and media outlets – as one might expect from someone doing the bidding of the Foreign Office – but also domestic political figures, such as Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

January 4, 2019 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Russophobia | ,

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