BLACK OP TAR­GETS COR­BYN

For­eign Of­fice £2m funded in­fowar at­tack on Labour

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Front Page - FULL STORY PAGES 4&5

A se­cret UK Govern­ment­funded in­fowars unit based in Scot­land sent out so­cial me­dia posts at­tack­ing Jeremy Cor­byn and the Labour Party.

On the sur­face, the cryp­ti­cally named In­sti­tute for State­craft is a small char­ity op­er­at­ing from an old Vic­to­rian mill in Fife.

But ex­plo­sive leaked doc­u­ments passed to the Sun­day Mail re­veal the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive is funded with £2mil­lion of For­eign Of­fice cash and run by mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence spe­cial­ists.

The “think tank” is sup­posed to counter Rus­sian onl ine pro­pa­ganda by form­ing “clus­ters” of friendly jour­nal­ists and “key in­flu­encers” through­out Europe who use so­cial me­dia to hit back against dis­in­for­ma­tion.

But our in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found wor­ry­ing ev­i­dence the shad­owy pro­gramme’s of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count has been used to at­tack Cor­byn, the Labour Party and their of­fi­cials.

One tweet quotes a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle call­ing Cor­byn a “use­ful id­iot”, that goes on to state: “His open vis­ceral an­tiWestern­ism helped the Krem­lin cause, as surely as if he had been se­cretly ped­dling West­min­ster tit­tle-tat­tle for money.”

A mes­sage from the UK Gov­ern­ment- funded or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­motes an ar­ti­cle that states: “Un­like Gal­loway (former MP Ge­orge Gal­loway) Cor­byn does not scream con­spir­acy, he im­plies it,” while an­other added: “It’s time for the Cor­byn left to con­front its Putin prob­lem.”

A fur­ther mes­sage refers to an “al­leged Bri­tish Cor­byn sup­porter” who “wants to vote for Putin”.

It is not just the Labour leader who has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of on­line at­tacks.

His strat­egy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Seu­mas Milne was also tar­geted.

The In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive, whose base at Gate­side Mill is near Auchter­muchty, retweeted a news­pa­per re­port that said: “Milne is not a spy – that would be be­neath him.

“But what he has done, wit­tingly or un­wit­tingly, is work with the Krem­lin agenda.”

An­other retweet retw pro­moted a jour­nal­ist who said: “Just as he sup­ports the Rus­sianssian Rus bom­bard­bom­bard­ment of Syria, Seu­ma­sumas Seu Milne sup­port­eds the Rus­sian­sian Rus slaugh­ter of Afghanistan, whichich whi re­sulted ini more than a mil­lion­lion mill deaths.”

The Th In­tegrity Ini­tia­tiveIn has been ac­cuse­dused accu of sup­port­ing­sup­por Ukrainian politi­cian­siti­cians poli who oop­pose Putin – even when ththey also have sus­pected far-rightrig links.

Fur­ther leakedleake doc­u­ments ap­pear to shoshow a Twit ter cam­paign that re­sulted in a Span­ish politi­cian­politi­cia be­lieved to be friendly to the KKrem­lin be­ing de­nied a job. job The or­gan­i­sa­tion’s “SpS­pan­ish clus­ter” swung swu into ac­tion

on hear­ing that Pe­dro Banos was to be ap­pointed di­rec­tor of the na­tional se­cu­rity de­part­ment.

The pa­pers de­tai l how the In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive alerted “key in­flu­encers” around Europe who launched an on­line cam­paign against the politi­cian.

In the wake of the leaks, which also de­tail Gov­ern­ment grant ap­pli­ca­tions, the For­eign Of­fice have been forced to con­firm they pro­vided mas­sive fund­ing to the In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive.

In re­sponse to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion, Europe Min­is­ter Alan Duncan said: “In fi­nan­cial year 2017-18, the FCO funded the In­sti­tute for State­craft’s In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive £296,500.

“This fi­nan­cial year, the FCO are fund­ing a fur­ther £1,961,000. Both havee been funded through grant agree­ments.”ee­ments.”

Politi­cian­soliti­cians and aca­demics have re­act­ed­ct­ed­with­fury­tonewsacover­twith­fury­tonewsacovert Gov­ern­ment- funded unit had been at­tack­ing the of f icial op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment.

Labour MSP Neil Find­lay said: “It would ap­pear that we have a char­ity reg­is­tered in Scot­land and over­seen by the Off ice of the Scot­tish Char­ity Reg­u­la­tor that is funded by the UK Gov­ern­ment and is spew­ing out pol it­i­cal at­tacks on UK politi­cians, the Labour Party and the Labour move­ment. t

“Such clear po­lit­i­cal at­tacks and pro­pa­ganda shouldn’t be com­ing from any char­ity. We need to know why the For­eign Of­fice have been fund­ing it.”

David Miller, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal so­ci­ol­ogy in the School for Pol icy Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Bris­tol, added: “It’s ex­tra­or­di­nary that the For­eign Of­fice would be fund­ing a Scot­tish char­i­tyhi to counter Rus­sian R i pro­pa­ganda which ends up a t t a ck ing Her Ma j e s t y ’ s op­po­si­tion and soft- ped­alling far-right politi­cians in the Ukraine.

“Peo­ple have a right to know how the Gov­ern­ment are spend­ing their money, and the views be­ing pro­moted in their name.”

The se­nior man­ager of the In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive ap­pears to be Chr is Don­nel ly. A web­site bi­og­ra­phy states he is a grad­u­ate of Manch­ester Univer­sity and re­serve of­fi­cer in the Bri­tish Army In­tel­li­gence Corps who pre­vi­ously headed the Brit ish Army’s Soviet Stud­ies Re­search Cen­tre at Sand­hurst.

Doc­u­ments passed to the Sun­day Mai l sug­gest he was ap­pointed an “Hon­orary Colonel in Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence” in 2015 – the year the In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive was formed.

Pa­pers we have viewed also sug­gest se­nior op­er­a­tive Dan Lafay­eed­ney was an SAS sol­dier in 1978 and at­tached to a reg­i­ment which ran spy cells in Rus­sia.

Af­ter con­tact­ing the In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive through its web­site to ask about the Labour at­tacks, we re­ceived a call from spokesman Stephen Dalziel.

He said: “I’m not aware of that. I’m not the one who con­trols the Twit­ter ac­count. If it was crit­i­cism of one of our politi­cians, then that shouldn’t be on there.”

When asked about the mil­i­tary back­ground of In­tegrity Ini­tia­tive em­ploy­ees, Dalziel de­nied any se­cret ser­vice in­volve­ment.

He added: “Chris Don­nelly wawas in the TA for many years.

“Dan Lafay­eed­ney, who is a Scot, that’s why it is rereg­is­tered in Scot­land, was mmany years ago in the Army.

“I did one year as a TA ofof­fi­cer on at­tach­ment. The bibiggest chunk of my ca­reer, I waswas a BBC jour­nal­ist. Def­i­nitely nonot se­cret ser­vice, I promise you.”

Pre­vi­ous on­line bi­ogra­phies ababout Dalziel sug­gest he spent a yeary in the Bri­tish Army in 1981, bef­be­fore join­ing the Soviet Stud­ies ResRe­search Cen­tre at the Royal MilMil­i­tary Academy, Sand­hurst. ThThe leaked doc­u­ments show a fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion to the For­eign Of­fice that de­tails the unit’s work.

Fur­ther pa­pers re­veal a unit in Lithua­nia which re­ceived over­seas fund­ing to “support a new hub/ clus­ter cre­ation and to ed­u­cate clus­ter lead­ers and key peo­ple in Vil­nius in in­fowar tech­niques”.

The For­eign Off ice did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment yes­ter­day.

QUIZ UN­DER FIRE Jeremy Cor­byn and, right, Seu­mas Milne. Above, the mill Find­lay, above, and Duncan

LEAKS Crum­bling Gate­side Mill, which is the ad­dress of the black ops unit. Pic­ture Garry F McHarg DODGY An­tiLabour tweets shared by group

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