Institute for Statecraft/Purposes

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Concept.png Institute for Statecraft/Purposes
(Hidden agenda)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Integrity Initiative Purposes.jpg
The Integrity Initiative has multiple clandestine purposes beyond its public mission of countering disinformation. It appears to be motivated by Russophobia, and seeks to increasing governments to increase military expenditure and promote Cold War II.

The purposes of the Institute for Statecraft may include its official narrative about "countering Russian disinformation", but the Leaked documents clearly indicate that the organisation also has other goals such as promoting Russophobia and undermining Russian influence and popularity. The group uses the plastic language of the "war on terror" (about "radicalisation" and "extremism") uncritically, many of its members have senior military connections (e.g. to NATO in Brussels), repeatedly use military metaphors and appear to be suffering from what might be called a "permanent war mentality".

Official narrative

As a UK registered charity, the IfS/II has strict limitations on its publicly stated objectives - for example it is required to be apolitical. The public purpose is to "counter Russian disinformation".[citation needed] The "inquiry" found that the group had breached these guidelines and engaged in non-charitable activity.

Internal documents

Dan Kaszeta wrote in his Speaking notes for meetings in Israel that

“We set up The Institute, firstly, to study and understand how the world really is and how it works, as opposed to how people think it works. Secondly, having identified the resulting problems, we work to help fix them. Let me explain;

o The speed of change across the world is overtaking the capacity of the institutions to adapt and stay fit for purpose. Our major institutions in European countries are becoming obsolete. This includes our armed forces.

o Governments are becoming more and more impotent and our populations are losing faith in democracy. There is a gap developing between the needs of the people and what governments can provide. The world is going through a crisis of governance

o Other countries are recognising this and are increasingly exploiting our vulnerabilities

o Instability is increasing everywhere. We need new thinking and new tools to tackle this instability, and we need to reform our institutions to reduce their vulnerabilities

o So, in addition to studying the problem, we work with institutions on long term engagements, to help them to reform or to find a working solution to a specific problem. (Examples: army, prisons, Muslim communities)”
Dan Kaszeta (June 2018)  [1]


Full article: Integrity Initiative/Projection

“Moreover, the “war” mindset is being pumped into the Russian population. It is one of the great successes of Putin’s propaganda offensive”
Chris Donnelly (19 January 2018)  [2]

The psychological phenomenon of projection (that is, of "projecting" ones own emotions, intentions and activities on to others) is worth bearing in mind as a potential source of insight on the purposes of the group. For example, the II talks a lot about Russian disinformation and covert influence over democracies. Internal documents meanwhile reveals similar activities by the II such as the Moncloa campaign to block the appointment of [[]].


Full article: Integrity Initiative/Secrecy

The leak has exposed the organisation's strong emphasis on secrecy and its close (but not publicly unacknowledged) connections with the UK Army and UK Intelligence agencies.


The group uses the language of "us" and "them". It makes use of both Islamophobic[3] and Russophobic enemy images. It also makes frequent use of military metaphors, suggesting a military background and group culture.

Wartime mentality

“We cannot deter this current attack, only fight it. It is a pre-condition which is the baseline of a conflict. Denial, i.e. pretending that it is not happening or denying its significance, is not a sensible response... A fundamental, universally-held Russian belief is that Russia can only be secure at the expense of their neighbours’ security. All the Russian leadership and military consider that other countries' security is secondary to, and must be subordinated to, Russia's.”
Chris Donnelly (19 January 2018)  [2]
Emphasis in original

The writings of Chris Donnelly, director of The Institute for Statecraft, reveal a feeling not of urgency. This is not the panic of Richard Barrons ("The West no longer has a military edge on Russia... We need to deal with Russia by doing things that are serious... We need this debate NOW. There is not a moment to be lost") but also seems to reflect fear - whether of Muslims, "extremists" or of course Russia, with whom he claims to believe that the nation is already at war, albeit neither hot not cold, but "hybrid"[4] in nature.

How might war be deterred?

Russia is not on a wartime ‘ready to launch’ setting, but they are developing and implementing

concepts of conflict very different from those being thought about in Western countries. We cannot deter this hybrid war, it is upon us and we can only fight it.”
Chris Donnelly (19 January 2018)  [2]
Emphasis in original

Group documents state that "Western thinking... lacks coherence", reflecting Donnelly's fear about “the crisis which is now upon the country.” [5], one he writes requires the current political system cannot solve.

Clandestine purposes

The leaked documents, in combination with its publicly known details of its members and activities, suggest a broad brush picture of the group's agenda.

Strategy of Tension

Full article: Strategy of Tension

The minutes of the Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop contained the following passage:

“The UK would love it's (sic.) own ballistic capabilities, both in a sovereign sense & to enable better cooperation. The range rings represent threats themselves, even if the capabilities are not matched by intent, there is an lack of will by politicians to provide the necessary protection. Not enough political drive enough, there is significant public blindness, if the public were kept in a state of - this would be easier, however politicians would prefer to have a blithe sense of safety. This represents a start difference to Putin, who has been whipping up the fear.”
Integrity Initiative [6]
Emphasis added

The italicised sentence is non-grammatical, but would be grammatically correct if the — highly unusual — hyphen were replaced by the word "fear". This would make it a reference to a strategy of tension (such as NATO carried out through Operation Gladio against the Italian population during the years of lead). Later the same document reported that "We need to return to a threat culture."[7]

Cold War II

Cold War Then and Now.jpg
Full article: Cold War II

Donnelly's 2018 claim that “We cannot deter this hybrid war, it is upon us and we can only fight it.” [8], may help explain the group's apparent obsession with the Russian "threat", although the leaked documents contain minimal evidence of this. The II has organised a number of events around the theme of Cold War II. Simon Bracey-Lane, on his return to the UK after volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign, booked an event on Eventbrite entitled '. Many of the groups members have a background in the UK military, as have several speakers at their events.

“We go to war with Russia as a whole, not just with the Russian military. They have been developing everything as a weapon, Cyber, energy, money, investment, dirty tricks, disinformation and other sorts of malign influence.”
Chris Donnelly (19 January 2018)  [2]
Emphasis in original

Boosting support and funding for the military

“In terms of power projection the growth in British naval aviation is very encouraging...

A phenomenon has taken place ever since the Communist flag came down from above the Kremlin. How we would achieve peace? We reduced our defense, and moved from threat based planning to a capability based planning - we lost the ability to say we need x, because of y.

Now, when you go to the politicians and say I need 127 F22s, the most predictable response, why? The answer is of course: "because x".

We need to return to a threat culture, where requirement is met by a capability..

Collectively we looked at those capabilities, and saw we could destroy ourselves by all spending all at the same time, but shifted into dabbling into a bit of everything - what we need to do now is have clearly defined roles...

There areas for optimism, the increased [military] investment...”
Integrity Initiative [9]

The minutes of the Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop note that “With missile threats and nuclear threats. The UK has forgotten the importance of conventional strength as a method of defence.” [10]

“Supported by the We Are NATO project, we expect to be able to change perceptions both of NATO and of UK defence and the Armed Forces, and to inspire a long term appreciation of NATO, its mechanisms, programmes and intervention activities.”
 (9 April 2018)  [11]
Emphasis in original

Countering "pro-Russian sentiments"

The file Skripal Case_Italy.pdf from the third Integrity Initiative leak discusses how to counter "pro-Russian sentiments":

“The Italian reactions to Skripal case highlight and confirm a pattern already present in a previous report: pro-Russian sentiments in Italy are mainly inflated not by trolls or fake news but thanks to a large network encompassing politicians, journalists, media, websites etc. already aligned with Russian narrative... To counter this Italian trend it's important to properly address the key political leaders, their new populist parties, and key editorialists, by an effective, discrete and articulated information campaign and narrative and not to be exclusively focused on trolls and fake news.”
Integrity Initiative (16 March 2018)  [citation needed]

Promotion of Russophobia

Full article: Russophobia

The group's documents reveal a determination to not only counter Russian information but to diminish its standing in the world and promote fear of Russia in the UK. For example, after the Skripal affair, it suggested to “Publish striking images of SV Skripal in hospital and/or victims of similar exposures to nerve agents (something like the iconic 2006 photograph of Sasha Litvinenko on his deathbed). A high-impact visual story to help the public relate to the enormity of what has just happened in Salisbury.” [12]

A 2018 essay on "Discernment" is typical of II output in that it is makes the unsourced claim that Russia is linked to "direct sponsors of terrorism" and that it seeks to place “restrictions upon known propaganda outlets such as RT and Sputnik, such as changing their status from media outlet to that of a foreign agent.” [13]

The "Top 3 deliverables/achievements of phase 1" (for the UK/FCO) include “Connects media with academia with policy makers with practitioners in a country to impact on policy and society: (Jelena Milic silencing pro-kremlin voices on Serbian TV)” [citation needed], which would constitute censorship and possibly even subversion. The second objective includes "making people acknowledge that we are under concerted, deliberate hybrid attack by Russia" - a phrase that hints at something more than simply "showing people".

Personal animosity towards Vladimir Putin?

Putin will be around for the foreseeable future - even if he went, what comes after Putin, wouldn't be much better. We believe we will have to face the Russian challenge for many years to come.”
Integrity Initiative [14]
Emphasis in original

“It is vital to understand the reasons behind Putin’s warped reasoning – the fact that he is prepared to lie and to kill to protect his wealth and power – if we are to comprehend why the Kremlin has launched this information attack on the West. Only then can we begin to combat it. In Soviet times there was an ideological element, the battle of Capitalism versus Communism. That no longer plays a part. But Putin wants the West at least to respect Russia; better still to fear Russia. That is Putin’s mindset. If in Soviet times the leadership of the USSR relied on Western sympathisers with the Communist cause to help them in their mission, nowadays the Kremlin can call upon support in the West from three groups of people: naïve Russophiles who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, believe that Putin “can’t be all that bad, and anyway the Americans are just as bad”; those who are prepared to toe the Russian line in return for money; or those who are being blackmailed.”
Integrity Initiative (May 2018)  [15]
Emphasis in original


Foreign Governments

Documents from the Integrity Initiative leak reveal both covert and overt intervention in foreign governments, such as they accuse Russia of carrying out.


When the Spanish Cluster heard that Pedro Baños was due to be appointed in Spain, they reported to the Integrity Initiative which invoked the help of the other clusters to raise apparently independent objections and smear him on social media.


The group documents reveal that the II has created an international (primarily European) network of cells ("clusters") of covert supporters.

“We engage only very discreetly with governments, based entirely on trusted personal contacts, specifically to ensure that they do not come to see our work as a problem, and to try to influence them gently, as befits an independent NGO operation like ours.”
Integrity Initiative [12]

UK citizens

“Core aim of Russian propaganda is to get people to say the BBC is the same as RT/Sputnik. Satisfaction with BBC public is low among ordinary Scottish people.”
Integrity Initiative [16]

UK military

The minutes of the Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop concludes that “We are at war, in a hybrid war, we cannot deter it - only fight it... We need to go away and seek to change the minds within uniformed services, and move away from a mentality of peacetime, to one of wartime.” [6]

Many thanks to our Patrons who cover ~2/3 of our hosting bill. Please join them if you can.


  1. Integrity Initiative/Leak/5 Dan%27s%20notes%20for%20Israel%20(003).pdf
  2. a b c d Integrity Initiative/Leak/5 Russian Strategic Thinking 19 01 2018.pdf
  3. It talks about a need to "address the Muslim mind-set"
  4. "Hybrid warfare = little green men, plus big green tanks and big green missiles. It will depend on circumstances"
  5. Integrity Initiative/Leak Developing Strategic Thinking and the Means for Implementing National Strategy, 10 May 2018
  6. a b Integrity Initiative/Leak#5 Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop minutes
  7. See below for the full quote.
  8. Integrity Initiative/Leak/5 Russian Strategic Thinking 19 01 2018.pdf, 19 January 2018
  9. Integrity Initiative/Leak#5 Complete Minutes- Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop..pdf
  10. Integrity Initiative/Leak Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop minutes
  11. Integrity Initiative/Leak/5 We Are NATO project Background paper
  12. a b Integrity Initiative/Leak
  13. Integrity Initiative/Leak/4 Discernment paper_BR2018_08.06_proposal2.pdf, 6 August 2018
  14. Integrity Initiative/Leak Institute for Statecraft & Center for Naval Analyses Joint Workshop minutes
  15. Integrity Initiative/Leak /home/lenovo/Desktop/ii/ii1/The Integrity Initiative Guide to Countering Russian Disinformation May 2018 v1.pdf
  16. Integrity Initiative/Leak/3