‘They made a mess & are fighting fires’: UK academic says Integrity Initiative fatally hurt by leaks
Despite being ignored by Western media, leaks from Integrity Initiative have paralyzed the operations of this UK-funded covert influence network, and could lead to its dismantling, says a leading British academic.
“This has made a mess of [Integrity Initiative’s] operations, they are spending most of their time now trying to fire-fight on the coverage this is getting. And they are not doing essentially what they are being paid to do, which is to counter the Russians,” David Miller, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Bristol School for Policy Studies, told RT.
“The British government is getting bad value for money, if it was ever getting better value.”
As part of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, which studies Western attempts to control media coverage of key international events, Miller has played a crucial role in studying the four tranches of data anonymously uploaded and sourced from the previously little-known group, which has been backed by the UK Foreign Office, NATO and Facebook, to the tune of over £1 million per year.
The documents, whose authenticity has not been denied, contain details of psyops operations against public figures, of the manipulation of media coverage in leading Western outlets, and have also revealed worldwide networks of prominent journalists and academics, secretly engaged to discredit, at every turn, pro-Moscow points of view and political developments.
Despite the refusal by all of those named to either admit their connection or to say that there was nothing untoward in their activities, Miller believes that the exposure has made it more difficult for them to push and publish anti-Russian content.
“Most of the people named are trying to pretend that this is not all of great significance, but the revelation of the involvement of the government in manipulating other countries, and the political process in the UK, is extremely damaging for them,” he said, via video link.
For Miller, the “cardinal sin” from a UK perspective was smearing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as a potential Kremlin ally in Whitehall, which would mean that a state-paid intelligence operation was meddling in domestic politics.
Miller bemoans the absence of coverage of what he calls a “real, genuine scandal” in top English-language news sources, which, he says, are themselves implicated in the fallout. But regardless, such is the scope of Integrity Initiative’s ambition – from indoctrinating schoolchildren to infiltrating Hollywood – that it should lead to a national dialogue about the role intelligence agencies should play in public life.Also on rt.com Use Hollywood films to counter China & Russia: Integrity Initiative psyop plan exposed in new leaks
“Integrity Initiative are beyond the realms of sense. The activities they are engaged in are morally and ethically dubious, and will certainly – as we can see already – backfire on them,” he said.
“This will result hopefully in the ending of this operation, and if we are lucky, a sensible discussion in parliament about controlling the future British covert operations.”