A secret UK Government-funded 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 online 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 anti-Westernism 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 promoted a journalist who said: “Just as he supports the Russian bombardment of Syria, Seumas Milne supported the Russian slaughter of Afghanistan, which resulted in more than a million deaths.”
The Integrity Initiative has been accused of supporting Ukrainian politicians who oppose Putin – even when they also have suspected far-right links.
Further leaked documents appear to show a Twitter campaign that resulted in a Spanish politician believed to be friendly to the Kremlin being denied a job.
The organisation’s “Spanish cluster” swung into action on hearing that Pedro Banos was to be appointed director of the national security department.
The papers detail 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 have been funded through grant agreements.”
Politicians and academics have reacted with fury to news a covert Government-funded unit had been attacking the official opposition in Parliament …
via Daily Record