Labour politicians are outraged and calling for a probe after a report that a McCarthy style charity has received £2 million in government money and targeted Jeremy Corbyn, straying from tackling so-called Russian disinformation.
The Institute for Statecraft, based in Scotland, initially seems to be a small organization which claims to counter alleged Russian propaganda by forming communities of journalists and influencers who use social media to push back on any so-called disinformation.
However, leaked documents provided to the Daily Record show that the organization’s Integrity Initiative isn’t as grassroots as it appears on the surface. In fact, it’s apparently funded with £2 million of Foreign Office cash and run by British military intelligence specialists.
What’s more is that the newspaper has reported that it launched its own investigation which found “worrying evidence” that the organization’s official Twitter account has been used to attack Jeremy Corbyn, his Labour Party, and other officials within the party.
And of course, there was some anti-Russia comments thrown in for good measure – such as one tweet which quoted a newspaper article calling Corbyn a “useful idiot” with “open visceral anti-Westernism [that] helped the Kremlin cause, as surely as if he had been secretly peddling Westminster tittle-tattle for money.”
“What he has done, wittingly or unwittingly, is work with the Kremlin agenda,” a newspaper report retweeted by the Integrity Initiative tweet states.
This UK government-funded, bogus McCarthyite “monitoring group” the Integrity Initiative repeatedly smeared Jeremy Corbyn, while it claims to “defend democracy against disinformation.”
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 27, 2018
Although the Integrity Initiative’s apparent mission was first revealed last month, the Daily Record’s Sunday report about its targeting of Corbyn and the Labour party has left the party’s members more than a little angry.
“It is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials,” Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary said in her statement.
Labour MP Chris Williamson also chimed in, calling any such activity “unacceptable in any democracy.”
My comments on the @InitIntegrity scandal.
We need decisive action to unearth precisely what is going on. This is unacceptable in any democracy. pic.twitter.com/zW32VwNzOu
— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) December 9, 2018
Another MP from the party, Jon Trickett, said much of the same.
If it is true that there is a deep state, taxpayer funded operation against our party it is totally unacceptable and an explanation plus an enquiry must be conducted immediately
— Jon Trickett (@jon_trickett) December 9, 2018
Meanwhile, some have called out British mainstream media for failing to pick up the story.
Why did the main @BBCNews fail 2report this scandal of Tory Gov’t & Foreign Office using £Millions of public money to tweet & retweet Anti-Corbyn propaganda? This is hugely newsworthy. BBC had time to report ‘trivia’ instead: https://t.co/U07fAYAzu1#gardening against #MediaBias
— Christina (@55krissi55) December 9, 2018
The question of whether MSM will eventually pick up the story remains unknown, especially since it has a tendency to turn a blind eye to anyone claiming to fight the good fight against “aggressive” Russia.
A bit unfortunate for the BBC that the spokesperson for the anti-Corbyn ‘Integrity Initiative’, Stephen Dalziel, should base his credibility on being one of their journalists for “the biggest chunk of his career”. So that’s where he honed his skills. https://t.co/cnkJiUsse1
— Steve Howell (@FromSteveHowell) December 9, 2018
The Integrity Initiative’s spokesman Stephen Dalziel has said he is “not aware” of any Corbyn attacks on the official social media account. “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.”