Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 15, 2018

The 'Integrity Initiative' - A Military Intelligence Operation, Disguised As Charity, To Create The "Russian Threat"

The British government financed Integrity Initiative is tasked with spreading anti-Russian propaganda and thereby with influencing the public, military and governments of a number of countries. What follows is an contextual analysis of the third batch of the Initiative's internal papers which were dumped by an anonymous yesterday.


Christopher Nigel Donnelly (CND) is the co-director of The Institute for Statecraft and founder of its offshoot Integrity Initiative. The Initiative claims to "Defend Democracy Against Disinformation".

The Integrity Initiative does this by planting disinformation about alleged Russian influence through journalists 'clusters' throughout Europe and the United States.

Both, the Institute as well as the Initiative, claim to be independent Non-Government Organizations. Both are financed by the British government, NATO and other state donors.

Among the documents lifted by some anonymous person from the servers of the Institute we find several papers about Donnelly as well as some memos written by him. They show a russophobe mind with a lack of realistic strategic thought.

There is also a file (pdf) with a copy of his passport:


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From his curriculum vitae (pdf) we learn that Donnelly is a long time soldier in the British Army Intelligence Corps where he established and led the Soviet Studies Research Centre at RMA Sandhurst. He later was involved in creating the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Ft. Leavenworth. He worked at the British Ministry of Defence and as an advisor to several Secretaries General of NATO. He is a director of the Institute for Statecraft since 2010. Donnelly also advises the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. He is a "Security and Justice Senior Mentor" of the UK’s Stabilisation Unit which is tasked with destabilizing various countries. He serves as a Honorary Colonel of the Specialist Group Military Intelligence (SGMI).

During his time as military intelligence analyst in the 1980s Donnelly wrote several books and papers about the Soviet Union and its military.

Donnelly seems to be obsessed with the 'Russian threat' and is determined to fight it by all means.  His paranoia is obvious in a "private - confidential" report by the Statecraft Institute on The Challenge of Brexit to the UK: Case study – The Foreign and Commonwealth Offices (pdf):

Our problem is that, for the last 70 years or so,we in the UK and Europe have been living in a safe, secure rules-based system which has allowed us to enjoy a holiday from history.
...
Unfortunately, this state of affairs is now being challenged. A new paradigm of conflict is replacing the 19th & 20th Century paradigm.
...
In this new paradigm, the clear distinction which most people have been able to draw between war and peace, their expectation of stability and a degree of predictability in life, are being replaced by a volatile unpredictability, a permanent state of instability in which war and peace become ever more difficult to disentangle. The “classic” understanding of conflict being between two distinct players or groups of players is giving way to a world of Darwinian competition where all the players – nation states, sub-state actors, big corporations, ethnic or religious groups, and so on – are constantly striving with each other in a “war of all against all”. The Western rules-based system, which most westerners take for granted and have come to believe is “normal”, is under attack from countries and organisations which wish to replace our system with theirs. This is not a crisis which faces us; it is a strategic challenge, and from several directions simultaneously.

In reality the "Western rules-based system", fully implemented after the demise of the Soviet Union, is a concept under which 'the west' arbitrarily makes up rules and threatens to kill anyone who does not follow them. Witness the wars against Serbia, the war on Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the western led coup in Ukraine and the war by Jihadi proxies against the people of Syria and Iraq. None of these actions were legal under international law. Demanding a return to strict adherence to the rule of international law, as Russia, China and others now do, it is not an attempt to replace "our system with theirs". It is a return to the normal state of global diplomacy. It is certainly not a "Darwinian competition".

In October 2016 Donnelly had a Private Discussion with Gen Sir Richard Barrons (pdf), marked as personal and confidential. Barrons is a former commander of the British Joint Forces Command. The nonsensical top line is: "The UK defence model is failing. UK is at real risk."

Some interesting nuggets again reveal a paranoid mindset. The talk also includes some realistic truthiness about the British military posture Barrons and others created:

There has been a progressive, systemic demobilisation of NATO militarily capability and a run down of all its members’ defences
...
We are seeing new / reinvented ways of warfare – hybrid, plus the reassertion of hard power in warfare
...
Aircraft Carriers can be useful for lots of things, but not for war v China or Russia, so we should equip them accordingly. ...
The West no longer has a military edge on Russia. ...
Our Nuclear programme drains resources from conventional forces and hollows them out. ...
The UK Brigade in Germany is no good as a deterrent against Russia. ...
Our battalion in Estonia are hostages, not a deterrent. ...

The general laments the lack of influence the military has on the British government and its people. He argues for more government financed think tank research that can be fed back into the government:

So, if no catastrophe happens to wake people up and demand a response, then we need to find a way to get the core of government to realise the problem and take it out of the political space. We will need to impose changes over the heads of vested interests. NB We did this in the 1930s

My conclusion is that it is we who must either generate the debate or wait for something dreadful to happen to shock us into action. We must generate an independent debate outside government.
...
We need to ask when and how do we start to put all this right? Do we have the national capabilities / capacities to fix it? If so, how do we improve our harnessing of resources to do it? We need this debate NOW. There is not a moment to be lost.

This was an order from the core of the British thinking to Donnelly to get even deeper into the inner-British influence business. Hype Russia as a threat so more money can be taken from the 'vested interests' of the people and dumped into the military machine.

That particular advise of General Barrons was accepted. In 2017 the Integrity Initiative bid for funding from the Ministry of Defence (pdf) for various projects to influence the public, the parliament, the military and the government as well as foreign forces. The bid lists "performance indicators" that are supposed to measure the success of its activities. The top indicator for the success of the Initiative's proposed work for the Ministry of Defense is a "Tougher stance in government policy towards Russia".


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Asking for government finance to influence the government to take a "tougher stand towards Russia" seems a bit circular. But this is consistent with the operation of other Anglo-American think tanks and policy initiatives in which one part of the government, usually the hawkish one, secretly uses NGO's and think-tanks to lobby other parts of the government to support their specific hobbyhorse and budget.

Here is how it is done. The 'experts' of the 'charity' Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative testified in the British parliament. While they were effectively paid by the government they lobbied parliament under the cover of their NGO. This circularity also allows for the use international intermediates. Members of the Spanish cluster (pdf) of the Initiative testified in the British Parliament about the Catalan referendum and related allegations against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. (It is likely that this testimony led to the change in the position of the Ecuadorian government towards Assange.)


Unfortunately, or luckily, such lobbying operations are mostly run by people who are incompetent in the specific field they are lobbying for. Chris Donnelly, despite a life long experience in military intelligence, has obviously zero competence as a military strategist or planner.

In March 2014, shortly after Crimea split from the Ukraine, Donnelly suggested Military measures (pdf) to be taken by the Ukraine with regards to Crimea:

If I were in charge I would get the following implemented asp
  1. Set up a cordon sanitaire across the Crimean Isthmus and on the coast N. of Crimea with troops and mines
  2. Mine Sevastopol harbour/bay. Can be done easily using a car ferry if they have no minelayers. Doesn’t need a lot of mines to be effective. They could easily buy some mines.
  3. Get their air force into the air and activate all their air defences. If they can’t fly the Migs on the airfield in Crimea those should be destroyed as a gesture that they are serious. Going “live” electronically will worry the Russians as the Ukrainians have the same electronic kit. If the Russians jam it they jam their own kit as well.
  4. Ukraine used to have some seriously important weapons, such as a big microwave anti-satellite weapon. If they still have this, they should use it.
  5. The government needs a Strategic communication campaign-so far everything is coming from Moscow. They need to articulate a long-term vision that will inspire the people, however hard that is to do. Without it, what have people to fight for?
  6. They should ask the west now to start supplying Oil and gas. There is plenty available due to the mild winter.

I am trying to get this message across

Think for a moment how Russia would have responded to a mining of Sevastopol harbor, the frying of its satellites, or the destruction of its fighter jets in Crimea. Those "gestures" would have been illegal acts of war against the forces of a nuclear power which were legally stationed in Crimea. And how was the west to immediately supply gas to Ukraine when Ukraine's pipeline network is designed to uni directionally receive gas from Russia?

Such half-assed thinking is typical for the Institute and its creation of propaganda.

One of its employees/contractors is Hugh Benedict Nimmo who the Initiative paid to produce anti-Russian propaganda that was then disseminated through various western publications. (Nimmo now works at the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council, another hawkish lobbying shop. Not one of other 'Digital Research' researchers has a background in information technology. They are all political hacks.)

According to the (still very incomplete) Initiative files Ben Nimmo received a monthly consultancy fee of £2.500 between December 2015 and March 2016. In August 2016 he sent an invoice (pdf) of £5,000 for his "August work on Integrity Initiative". A Production Timetable (pdf) for March to June 2016 lists the following Nimmo outputs and activities:

  • 17 March Atlantic Council: Yes, Putin really believes his own propaganda, Ben Nimmo
  • 21 March Newsweek: Putin's paranoia is driving his foreign adventures, Ben Nimmo
  • 22 March, UK House of Commons: Russian information warfare - airbrushing reality, Jonathan Eyal and Ben Nimmo
  • Mid May: Atlantic Council: Distract, deceive, destroy: Putin at war in Syria. Ben Nimmo et al (Major study)
  • Early May timeframe: Russian penetration in Germany, Harold Elletson, Ben Nimmo et al - 10,000 words
  • June timeframe: Atlantic Council, major report on Russian conspiracy theory and foreign policy, Ben Nimmo (potential launch events in London and / or Washington)
  • End-June: Mapping Russia's whole influence machine, Ben Nimmo - 10,000 words

One wonders how often Ben Nimmo double billed his various sponsors for these copy-paste fantasy pamphlets.

In late 2017 Ben Nimmo and Guardian 'journalist' Carole Cadwalladr disseminated allegations that Russia used Facebook ads to influence the Brexit decision. Cadwalladr even received a price for her work. Unfortunately the price was not revoked when Facebook revealed that "Russia linked" accounts had spend a total of 97 cents on Brexit ads. It is unexplained how that was enough to achieve their alleged aim.

Cadwalladr is listed as a speaker (pdf) at a "skill sharing" conference the Institute organized for November 1-2 under the headline: "Tackling Tools of Malign Influence - Supporting 21st Century Journalism".

This year Ben Nimmo became notorious for claiming that several real persons with individual opinions were "Russian trolls". As we noted:

Nimmo, and several other dimwits quoted in the piece, came to the conclusion that Ian56 is a Kremlin paid troll, not a real person. Next to Ian56 Nimmo 'identified' other 'Russian troll' accounts:

Ben Nimmo @benimmo - 10:50 UTC - 24 Mar 2018

One particularly influential retweeter (judging by the number of accounts which then retweeted it) was @ValLisitsa, which posts in English and Russian. Last year, this account joined the troll-factory #StopMorganLie campaign.

Had Nimmo, a former NATO spokesperson, had some decent education he would have know that @ValLisitsa, aka Valentina Lisitsa, is a famous American-Ukrainian pianist. Yes, she sometimes tweets in Russian language to her many fans in Russia and the Ukraine. Is that now a crime? The videos of her world wide performances on Youtube have more than 170 million views. It is absurd to claim that she is a 'Russian troll' and to insinuate that she is taking Kremlin money to push 'Russian troll' opinions.

Ben Nimmo's latest nonsense is the claim that Putin's Russia turned humour into a weapon. We documented long ago that, according to western media, Russia 'weaponizes' ... everything, from robotic cockroaches to Jedi mind tricks. Weaponizing humor though, is new idiotic claim:

Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as "disinformation for the information age".

Could someone please help the dude to grow up?

The Institute for Statecraft Expert Team (pdf) list several people with military intelligence backgrounds, as well as many 'journalists'. One of them is:

Mark Galeotti
Specialist in Russian strategic thinking; the application of Russian disinformation and hybrid warfare; the use of organised crime as a weapon of hybrid warfare. Educational and mentoring skills, including in a US and E European environment, and the corporate world. 
Russian linguist

Galeotti is the infamous inventor of the 'Gerasimov doctrine', and of propaganda about Russia's alleged 'hybrid' warfare.

In February 2013 the Russian General Valery Gerasimov, then Russia’s chief of the General Staff, published a paper that analyzed the way the 'west' is waging a new type of war by mixing propaganda, proxy armies and military force into one unified operation.

Galeotti claimed that Gerasimov's analysis of 'western' operations was a new Russian doctrine of 'hybrid war'. He invented the term 'Gerasimov doctrine' which then took off in the propaganda realm. In February 2016 the U.S. Army Military Review published a longer analysis of Gerasimov's paper that debunked the nonsense (pdf). It concluded without reservations that:

Gerasimov’s article is not proposing a new Russian way of warfare or a hybrid war, as has been stated in the West.

But anti-Russian propagandist repeated Galeotti's nonsense over and over. Only in March 2018, five years after Galeotti invented the 'Germasimov doctrine' and two years after he was thoroughly debunked, he finally recanted:

Everywhere, you’ll find scholars, pundits, and policymakers talking about the threat the “Gerasimov doctrine” — named after Russia’s chief of the general staff — poses to the West. It’s a new way of war, “an expanded theory of modern warfare,” or even “a vision of total warfare.”

There’s one small problem. It doesn’t exist. And the longer we pretend it does, the longer we misunderstand the — real, but different — challenge Russia poses.

I feel I can say that because, to my immense chagrin, I created this term, which has since acquired a destructive life of its own, lumbering clumsily into the world to spread fear and loathing in its wake.

The Institute for Statecraft's "Specialist in Russian strategic thinking", an expert on "disinformation and hybrid warfare",  created a non-existing Russian doctrine out of hot air and used it to press for anti-Russian measures. Like Ben Nimmo he is an aptly example of the quality of the Institute's experts and work. 


One of the newly released documents headlined CND Gen list 2 (pdf) (CND= Chris Nigel Donnelly) includes the names and email addresses of a number of military, government and think tank people. The anonymous releaser of the documents claims that the list is "of employees who attended a closed-door meeting with the white helmets". (No document has been published yet that confirms this.) One name on the list is of special interest:


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Pablo Miller was the handler and friend of Sergej Skripal, the British double agent who was "novichoked" in Salisbury. When Miller's name was mentioned in the press the British government issued a D-Notice to suppress its further publishing,


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As we wrote in April:

Pablo Miller, a British MI6 agent, had recruited Sergej Skripal. The former MI6 agent in Moscow, Christopher Steele, was also involved in the case. Skripal was caught by the Russian security services and went to jail. Pablo Miller, the MI6 recruiter, was also the handler of Sergej Skripal after he was released by Russia in a spy swap. He reportedly also lives in Salisbury. Both Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller work for Orbis Business Intelligence which created the "Dirty Dossier" about Donald Trump.

In 1979, before becoming a spy, Pablo Miller served at the 4th Royal Tank Regiment. (BBC Newsnight 'journalist' Mark Urban, who recently published a book based on interviews with Skripal, served together with Miller in the same regiment.) The 4th regiment's motto was "Fear Naught". Pablo Miller's email address given in the Chris Donnelly list is "fearnaught4rtr@hotmail.com".

In March, at the very beginning of the Skripal affair and before there was any talk of 'Novichok', we asked if Skripal was involved in creating the now debunked "Dirty Dossier" and if that was a reason for certain British insiders to move him out of the way:

Here are some question:
  • Did Skripal help Steele to make up the "dossier" about Trump?
  • Were Skripal's old connections used to contact other people in Russia to ask about Trump dirt?
  • Did Skripal threaten to talk about this?
If there is a connection between the dossier and Skripal, which seems very likely to me, then there are a number of people and organizations with potential motives to kill him. Lots of shady folks and officials on both sides of the Atlantic were involved in creating and running the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign. There are several investigations and some very dirty laundry might one day come to light. Removing Skripal while putting the blame on Russia looks like a convenient way to get rid of a potential witness.

The most recent release of Integrity Initiative documents includes lots of in-depth reports (pdf) about foreign media reactions to the Skripal affair. One wonders why the Initiative commissioned such research (pdf) and paid for it.

After two years the Muller investigation found zero evidence for the alleged 'collusion' between Russia and the Trump campaign that the fake Steele dossier suggested. The whole collusion claim is a creation by 'former' British intelligence operatives who likely acted on request of U.S. intelligence leaders Clapper and Brennan. How deep was the Russia specialist Chris Donnelly and his Institute for Statecraft involved in this endeavor?


After reading through all the released Initiative papers and lists one gets the impression of a secret military intelligence operation, disguised as a public NGO. Financed by millions of government money the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative work under a charity label to create and disseminate disinformation to the global public and back into the government and military itself.

The paranoia about Russia, which objectively does way less harm than the 'western' "rules based system" constantly creates, is illogical and not based on factual analysis. It creates Russia as an "enemy" when it is none. It hypes a "threat" out of hot air. The only people who profit from this are the propagandists themselves and the companies and people who back them.  

The Initiatives motto "Defend Democracy Against Disinformation" is a truly Orwellian construct. By disseminating propaganda and using it to influence the public, parliament, the military and governments, the Institute actively undermines the democratic process that depends on the free availability of truthful information. 

It should be shut down immediately.

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Notes:

Posted by b on December 15, 2018 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

@93

Britanniam

Posted by: lysias | Dec 16, 2018 12:52:31 PM | 101

@95 There seems to be quite a bit of anti-Eu feeling in Belgium too.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46585237

Some people seem particularly unhappy about the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly Migration.

https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/sites/default/files/180711_final_draft_0.pdf

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 1:01:45 PM | 102

@102 dh

GLOBAL COMPACT FOR SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR MIGRATION

You missed out the REGULAR in the title, which is rather important.

Posted by: TJ | Dec 16, 2018 1:06:49 PM | 103

@103 Sorry about that. Nobody's perfect.

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 2:27:12 PM | 104

In my view, the USA's FP has been undermined by EURO elites which is forcing a game of chicken with Russia. Nemesis calling at 37.

Interesting. I have argued that the USA has an incredibly weak Gvmt (> a corporate oligarchy) and is thus vulnerable to whatever scoundrels attempt infiltration and manipulation … in conjunction with the fact that the USA is by now almost purely a war/control/surveillance etc. enterprise and needs enemies, targets, etc.

However, I do not see European elites (leaving GB out, as they imagine they control more than they do..) undermining US foreign policy to poke the Russian bear. The Baltics and Poland, .. Finland, might possibly be exceptions (or victims of a certain kind of coerced attitudes), but the most powerful country, Germany. would like nothing better than to have peaceful commercial relations with Russia, and even cooperation and mutual esteem etc. in various fields, endavours, and so on.

France used to be the same but has been taken over by Atlanticists (from about Sarkozy on.) It is even rumored that the Benalla affair - the illegit cop who beat up protestors whom Macron loved - was revealed because Manu collaborated with Russia on some important humanitarian issues. (Personally idk.) Your argument however might (imho) apply to Lybia as Sark the first had many reasons and was a no. 1. mover, France intends to continue to control parts of Africa.

USA F P, one aim: prevent its ‘competitors’ or ‘opponents’ from collaborating / joining up, and that applies first and foremost, traditionally, to Russia <-> Europe. See post WW2, the setting up of the EU, etc. As you say in 49 - the beneficiaries are global elites..

great read b thank you so much

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 16, 2018 2:54:03 PM | 105

@105 Noirette

I should have qualified my statements better.

The technocratic elite we see today, predominately in the EU, but also ideally in the US as well, are Non-National. You say that Germans would like good relations with Russia. Well so would most Americans, sans the liberal arm of this technocratic paradigm.

The liberal elite in the US today have no need for America, its culture or its history, with the exception of the unsavory aspects which are repeated ad nauseum and used to recruit more do-gooders into this liberal camp that seeks emulation of European (post-EU) Globalism.

Tucker Carlson as of recently has put forth something very interesting: the Democratic Party left the middle class and now represents these same technocrats that utilize technology in Silicon Valley, which has always been on the cutting edge of Euro-emulation.

And the Republican Party, he thinks, has been gifted the support of these abandoned middle-class Americans, but still are reluctant to accept this swath of the public, the Rethugz being the Country Club Party and whatnot.

In a sense, I understand why my proposition that these Non-National Elites are wagging the US seems a little convoluted, but I stick by it that the architects of the whole Globalism push is European in origin because it is easy to see that its propaganda arm is staunchly of liberal origin and detestful of uncouth Nationalism, with Donald Trump and his ilk being self-appointed representatives of it.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 4:34:55 PM | 106

On RT Chris Hedges interviews Michael Hudson on his new book on debt forgiveness. A 28 minute conversation.

Accessible via RT Shows or Michael-Hudson.com

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 16, 2018 5:33:41 PM | 107

NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 4:34:55 PM | 106

Your assumptions are faulty:

1) You take the Democratic-Republican divide as being of real consequence.

It is not. A truth that is stated many times here: the US political system is a duopoly that serves the establishment. It's also known (collectively) as "the War Party" and its senior members are part of the "Deep State".

The duopoly keeps us divided with social issues like walls, statutes, and bathrooms but are 100% united on things that are important to THEM: military, taxes, and, of course, the continuation of the duopoly.

I know its just so much more fun to suspend disbelief and enjoy the show. But this bar doesn't serve Kool-Aid.

=
2) You assume that because European states offered a stronger set of social services that they are bastions of socialism.

They are not. The European elite, like the US elite, is neoliberal.

=
3) You assume that the EU has real geopolitical power - including the power to export it's political system and culture.

It does not. US elites (dupoly, Deep State) would never allow their vassals to sway USA to socialism.

In addition, the neoliberal elites that created the EU did so for many reasons but many of those reasons were commercial-oriented (improving European commercial competitiveness). And the EU system was established with the help and blessing of US elites (also including commercial reasons).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16, 2018 6:22:34 PM | 108

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 4:34:55 PM | 106

I don't know what you call nationalism, for the US it is a strange concept. Seen from Europe the only construct that unites the US is the constitution.

The Trump version is dogwhistling white resentment. For Republicans to jump on that train is a demographic trap.

Some problems will be solved biologically. I am confident Trumpism will die a natural death.

What remains are the interests of a lot of people not being met. I guess they will have to find a more efficient way to fight.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 16, 2018 6:53:10 PM | 109

William Bowles links to a list of articles etc. inspired by Integrity Initiative leak. One title seems dubious:

Aaron Bastani (10 December 2018) Undermining Democracy, Not Defending It: The ‘Integrity Initiative’ is Everything That’s Wrong With British Foreign Policy, Novara Media

In some sense, this title is baselessly optimistic. Integrity Initiative is but a minor cog in a large milieu engaged in disinformation, less sophisticated folks rely on huge headlines etc., for them you need to come up with catchy slogans without much worry about things like arguments. However those who view themselves as educated and aspiring to be informed etc. check for consistency of information coming from various sources, to convince them a large echo chamber is necessary. Moreover, foreign policy is being screwed in a variety of ways, only some of them relying on disinformation.

That said, I have a question for sophisticated European, preferably from England: which of Her Majesty ministries was ridiculed in this sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV2ViNJFZC8 I think that Foreign Office was a good candidate already in the era when Monty Python recorded it.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 16, 2018 7:02:38 PM | 110

Even the Danish yoke a 1000 years ago was more kind and involving. Wake Up Britain ...

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 16, 2018 12:06:39 PM | 98

Ah, the time of resistance against the Danish onslaught lead by heroes like Æthelred the Unready. However, Den Lille Abe may be biased in underestimating the savagery of invaders of that era. More seriously, Sweden could use some awakening as well.

"Nato's biggest military exercise since the Cold War, codenamed Trident Juncture, rehearsed how the US-led alliance would respond to the invasion of an ally.

All 29 Nato members, as well as Finland and Sweden, were involved and it took place a few hundred miles from Norway's border with Russia."

Then Norwegians complained that it was hard to use GPS during those festivities, indubitably because of Russian interference. At least Swedes can manly move around without GPS, but was it really such a good idea?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 16, 2018 7:27:43 PM | 111

@111 "At least Swedes can manly move around...."

And what about moving around womanly? Do I detect a note of sexism?

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 7:31:37 PM | 112

@109 somebody

America is a multiracial country now, that is for sure. Marginalized whites in this country aren't as racist as what cnn or NPR is going to tell you.

If you really think that the iteration of nationalism being whispered about currently in the US has even the slightest tinge of racism to it, then you have fallen hook, line, and sinker to the liberal propaganda arm that I mentioned in my post.

Like a Pavlonian dog, someone says nationalism, you hear racism.

Say that to the myriad minority supporters of Trump. Oh wait, they are all Uncle Toms.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 7:43:49 PM | 113

@111 "At least Swedes can manly move around...."

And what about moving around womanly? Do I detect a note of sexism?

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 7:31:37 PM | 112

manly, synonyms: brave, courageous, bold, valiant, valorous, fearless, plucky, macho, manful, intrepid, daring, heroic, lionhearted, gallant, chivalrous, swashbuckling, adventurous, stouthearted, dauntless, doughty, resolute, determined, stalwart
"their manly deeds"
I guess that this usage comes from literal translation from Latin, virtus (from vir, a mature man) meant valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine ... Needless to say, in English virtue may be attributed to both men and women, so I though that regardless of gender one can manly tread through snowy tundra with few landmarks relying on map reading and compass.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 16, 2018 8:03:47 PM | 114

@jr 108

i want the wall to be built and feel it is actually a better application of funds than to Lockheed.

I said in my post that Tucker Carlson believed that the Rethugz, although given a large per centage of middle class voters, since the Dems left the common man, are still reluctant to HAVE them. They are traditionally not the party of the middle class. So, I never said anything to the effect that there is a difference btw the parties, only that there could be if the Rethugz ever got on the Trump train and became servants in stead of exactors.

To your second point, I am in agreement but never mentioned anything about the merit of EU socialism.

To your 3rd point:

You offer no evidence beyond the America is the bully line, forever and ever, amen.

I at least attempted to explain how the liberal propaganda arm in this country has been mimicking the EuroGlobalism in an attempt to squash a potential Nationalist resurgence.

The technocrats abroad know that if the Nationalists take back control in this country, it's bye-bye to their greater Euro experiment and a waning period of their influence for decades.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 8:09:58 PM | 115

@144 Thank you for the clarification. Let's hope this doesn't escalate into a major gender issue.

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 8:18:37 PM | 116

Jr @ 108: Good post, thanks for dragging G back to reality. Especially this part;

3) "You assume that the EU has real geopolitical power - including the power to export it's political system and culture."

"It does not. US elites (dupoly, Deep State) would never allow their vassals to sway USA to socialism."

The "duopoly, Deep State", IMO are nothing more, nothing less, than they've ever been, Big organised $ seeking hegemony globally, by furthering their class war.

There is nothing "liberal" about it.

Posted by: ben | Dec 16, 2018 8:19:26 PM | 117

More on valiant treading through the Arctic, braving disturbances in GPS that may be caused by the ever boorish Russians.

BBC had a story on that that somehow missed the following:

The Limits of Satellite Navigation: GPS Challenges in the Arctic
Circuits, July 24, 2018 by Chantelle Dubois (updated Aug 7)

More human activity is expected in the Arctic region in the coming decades. However, satellite navigation remains inaccurate and difficult in this region. Wherever you are likely reading this from, you can probably take for granted that you can use the Global Positioning System (GPS), probably even on your phone, to map out directions to a nearby destination.

However, GPS is not quite as global as its name suggests—the technology is unreliable in the Arctic, an area on Earth that is slowly seeing more human activity due to tourism, research, and industry.
====
Without pasting the entire informative article that can be found in one minute, there are two main reasons: "visibility" of global positioning satellites is best below 55 latitude, nil on the poles and increasingly mediocre as you move north of latitude 55 (northern tip of Denmark), secondly, high latitudes have high frequency of magnetic disturbances in the ionosphere that result in polar lights and crappy reception of radio signals. BBC story faithfully reported that Norwegian military voiced suspicions of Russian sabotage without reporting any alternative explanations.

This is a relatively banal story, but it allows to observe that Nordic militaries are enthusiastic younger brothers of their Anglo-Saxon cousins, doing their share of planting anti-Russian stories -- hard to believe that Norwegians are unfamiliar with unreliability of global positioning in Arctic and vicinity. Secondly, BBC is ever obedient scribe for NATO generated of stories. Additionally, Sweden contributed very significantly to the hounding of Julian Assange. That makes me wonder if this happen because of apathy of ordinary Swedes (as we have a participant from Sweden), or as an expression of the popular sentiment.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 16, 2018 9:15:41 PM | 118

Great sleuthing b! And excellent writing all laid out quite well. Bet the CIA has a similar longstanding operation to keep pumping more debt into the Outlaw US Empire's Imperial budget. If this were being done in the service of a foreign nation, it would be treason. I'd plead the case that the interest group here is also an agent inimical to the UK's interest.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16, 2018 9:39:55 PM | 119

@118 I'm glad you mentioned Julian Assange in connection to Sweden. You may find this article interesting. It goes some way to explain how Swedes feel about unprotected sex. Warning: it contains lurid sexual details which some may find offensive.

https://observer.com/2016/02/exclusive-new-docs-throw-doubt-on-julian-assange-rape-charges-in-stockholm/

Posted by: dh | Dec 16, 2018 10:00:50 PM | 120

Twenty-One Thoughts On The Persecution Of Julian Assange by caitlin johstone...

Posted by: james | Dec 16, 2018 11:40:55 PM | 121

i guess that is ot for this thread.. sorry!

Posted by: james | Dec 16, 2018 11:41:33 PM | 122

Re: dh at 10:00:50 PM

I am familiar with the essence of Observer article, either I have read it or an article based on the same primary reports. It is highly dubious if Assange could be prosecuted on the alleged facts in England, even in Sweden with "expansive" definition of rape it was a stretch. Apparently, Julian was a cad by sleeping with two women on consecutive nights, but that is not criminal even in Sweden and presumably, not in England either. Either the Swedish prosecutor was affected by the caddish behavior and thus declaring "even if I am wrong, I will prosecute", or it was the result of political-bureaucratic pressure. Since prosecution is hierarchical, it was not merely a whim of the prosecutor.

The same applies to England. In normal circumstances, English legal authorities could bestir themselves to check if the "crime" is indeed criminal according to English standards. They would not send an Australian to KSA for badmouthing the Prophet or the monarchy, I presume, even if blasphemy is in English books in some form (the English monarch is a protector of faith). And the same applies to Australia -- I never heard about Australian diplomats doing anything on behalf of their citizen (subject?), although this is one reason why taxpayers support all those diplomatic outposts.

Concerning USA, I do not understand how Assange could break US laws. If he broke US secrets, are foreign nationals obliged to take care of them while not in USA? How about an American breaking secrets of Russian Federation? Should such a person be prosecuted in USA, or deported to Russian Federation? What are the rules in "rule based liberal order"?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 17, 2018 12:17:03 AM | 123

Somewhat related topic: The Guardian has an opinion piece "Don't blame democracy's decline on ignorance. The problem lies deeper" by Cas Mudde. It has an interesting paragraph:

In many cases, authoritarian leaders defend every individual “chip” by pointing to similar policies in other western democracies. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is a master at this, taking individual institutions and rules from a broad variety of EU member states to build, what the US sociologist Kim-Lane Scheppele has aptly called, a “Frankenstate”. Just like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster, which is created from all human body parts, the Frankenstate is made up of democratic rules. Each individual rule is, or can be, democratic, but the specific combination of them, creates an undemocratic regime.

Shining light on each individual component, in isolation, will therefore not expose the Frankenstate.

-------

IMHO, this is not exactly the situation of Frankenstein monster who was stitched from healthy parts of various humans. The pieces used by Orbán, Kaczyński, Erdoğan, Israel etc. are typically unhealthy, at least from the point of view of democracy not being a method to humor the wider population while giving power to people who know what is good for them and the rest of us, the rich, the entrenched in state institutions etc.

For example, Orbán and Erdoğan engineered a takeover of the media by tycoons friendly to the government. It is perhaps more "normal" in democratic states to allow ownership concentration and concurrent coalescing of the media owners with the larger plutocratic group that dominates the government. The result is actually pretty similar, although the "Western method" seems more elegant. Abolishing laws against ownership concentration etc. is just increasing freedom, right? Now we have internet which is largely controlled by a small number of enormous companies that are pressured by the government and self-styles champions of "civil society" to censor the new media.

Another "Franken-piece" is political control over prosecution and judges, which is more or less the norm in USA. Selecting judges is often done with total disregard for their qualifications, and with keen regard for their political positions. All authoritarians like that approach, perhaps with additional wrinkles that make the control tighter.

There are other aspects of the "rise of authoritarians" that Cas Mudde neglects, namely the pressure on governments or "liberal forces" (say, in Russia) to adopt positions which are widely unpopular in the name of "Western principles" (or "Western rules", principles becoming an inconvenient word). On the few occasions where it could be justified the pressure is the smallest.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 17, 2018 12:46:04 AM | 124

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 16, 2018 7:02:38 PM | 110

Piotr: Any one of them really, it's a play on the nature of English bureaucracy, or indeed any bureaucracy, especially one as old as the UK's.

B

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 17, 2018 4:05:03 AM | 125

NemesisCalling | Dec 16, 2018 8:09:58 PM | 115

=
America is the bully line, forever and ever

Maybe you haven't noticed: US military power is much much greater than that of the EU. It has been that way since WWII. Macron recently suggested that Europe create their own military force but doing so is unlikely as it would be very costly and take at least a decade to put into place.

What this means practically, is that Europe doesn't have an independent foreign policy. And this is demonstrated in things like European support for US adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, etc. And EU still supports US-led NATO which has no defensive mission since the Cold War ended nearly 30 years ago.

Thus, we see EU complaining about US-imposed trade restrictions with Iran but virtually all major EU companies have stopped doing business with Iran.

Is USA bullying the EU? Nuland's "F*ck the EU" would suggest that the answer is YES. But US neoliberal elites are also friendly with Euro neoliberal elites. So in some sense, it's a love-hate relationship.

=
The technocrats abroad know that if the Nationalists take back control in this country, it's bye-bye to their greater Euro experiment ...

The greater Euro experiment is imploding on its own due to internal contradictions. And nationalists in Europe play a bigger role wrt Euro social tensions than US nationalists.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 17, 2018 5:16:15 AM | 126

@123 Yes the Swedish prosecutor is the key figure here. I too suspect she was acting under political-bureaucratic pressure but we will never know for sure.

Anyway we seem to have wandered manly off the topic so I'll say no more.

Posted by: dh | Dec 17, 2018 9:11:55 AM | 127

On what the wars in the Middle East are about.

Israel's role in the New Cold War

Posted by: somebody | Dec 17, 2018 9:27:22 AM | 128

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 17, 2018 12:17:03 AM | 123

Piotr, the Empire decides what's legal and what's not! As they say, might is right! So whinging about about 'legalities' is for the dweebs when it comes to the US.

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 17, 2018 9:53:53 AM | 129

Piotr Berman | Dec 17, 2018 12:46:04 AM | 124

Piotr,
Re the Brit civil service; check out 'Yes, Minister', (if you haven't already) another BBC spoof, with a Tory minister of something or other, the real power residing with his permanent secretary and a political appointee from the Tory Party. Very funny, with a kinda truth to it but then it makes light of something deadly serious. If it could be made today, which it can't, gov policy on armed drones for example, would not very funny. 'Yes Minister' represents a fantasy world of a world that never really existed in the first place! Brilliant. It presented itself as a caricature of a 'bumbling through' Britain. Very clever. The Brits are really at this. Just look at the Houses of Parliament, a fake Gothic pile built in the early 19th century, made to look like it had been there a 1000 years! All that's solid melts into air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvYuoWyk8iU

B

Posted by: William Bowles | Dec 18, 2018 10:43:30 AM | 130

Tim Hayward observes:

"The silence of corporate and state media about the Integrity Initiative scandal is hard to interpret as other than tacit confirmation of our reasons for concern about it."

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18, 2018 12:49:36 PM | 131

b: In October 2016 Donnelly had a Private Discussion with Gen Sir Richard Barrons (pdf), marked as personal and confidential.

It is this conversation that reminded my of Ministry of Silly Walks. Far from being purely nonsensical, the conversation in this sketch was informed, realistic, revealing deep expertise in discerning patterns in silly walks (and skill, an amateur could not dream to walk equally silly) and focused on foreign methods that should be emulated in spite of budgetary constraints. The ministry official briefly discusses the big picture of the national budget, listing what it has to fund, e.g. social programs, national defense etc. AND silly walks. As the list did not include Foreign and Commonwealth Office, it was a reasonable to guess that it was "particularly silly", unlike the walk developed by the petitioner. In short, we are not talking about morons or ignorants, but well informed and creative civil servants with puzzling conclusions concerning the priorities and the course of action. In the sketch, the petitioner was awarded a grant for developing improvements in "La marche futile", and in real life, for "Integrity Initiative" etc.

Here is a well informed nugget from the "real conversation":

Our Nuclear programme drains resources from conventional forces and hollows them out. The
Nuclear problem is that delivery by monopoly suppliers and overriding safety needs mean that we
have no control over escalating costs. Cost overruns are taken out of conventional forces, which is
very damaging. The creation of an SPV should help here. Nuclear needs to be treated separately
from Defence.

In the sketch it would be followed by a dramatic gesture like smashing the movie projector, and in the real conversation, it is simply abandoned without further comment (sound effects are not recorded in pdf that we can read). And yet, it reminded me the original case why Jeremy Corbyn is a bad, bad person, perhaps evil. You see, he was toying with abandoning Trident, British nuclear program based entirely on hardware rented by the ever reliable American allies. The "monopoly suppliers" are Americans, and "escalating costs" are paid to them, and this has to be "treated separately from Defence", presumably as useless waste. Mind you, Trident (and whatever other nukes Brits have) cannot help at all with asserting British terms of trade, improving cyber security, reliably defend Estonians, Russian influence seeping through social media to more feeble minded sectors of Western public, the gentlemen discussed a panoply of threats and the Trident does not help in any of them. Axe it and watch how many new silly walks could be developed while maintaining austerity in fiscal matters. But [... sound track of smashing].

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 19, 2018 6:04:45 PM | 132

As a lifelong peace activist I want to acknowledge b's public service on sharing and contextualizing the Anonymous files on the revelation of what perhaps most of us suspected - that all the anti-Russia bullshit was a gov-funded enemy-manufacturing scam. It has had the side-effect of ruing journalism and its credibility for at least my lifetime. Not just "MSM media" but the ethical pretenses of journalists and reporters who don't care to understand what type of system they are working in. It is fucking gamed, and we always knew it, and we were called nuts for saying we believed it was wrong. This is a world where Russian media can at least be held to standards of honesty, but we continue to prefer to fool ourselves into idiocy in the West, as policy and civil requirement.

Canadian neoconservative foreign minister C Freeland just announced before all the Integrity news broke that Canada was happy to cough up 2.5M of a $24M aid package to her homeland Ukraine to install a "Russia Disinformation" anti-propaganda center. Of course, Ukrainians are involved deeply in all these fakeries already, but I guess their country needs the money, and media payments are the next business model. So I don't know if that has changed since the Integrity Initiative news broke, but probably not, since Canadians are awfully complacent about complicity in evil war policy.

That said, the even darker side of the Russia frenzy is that the constant propaganda has turned everyday people in the West into haters, unaccountable, unthinking, insanely anti-Slavic racists. Just change the locus from Russia to Israel and see how that sounds. Or what if Pakistan, or the Japanese. If its all lies about Russia, then its even worse than normal human xenophobia, its manufactured bile, a vile fog that benefits someone else that you have lost your independent thinking. At a time when political correctness runs amuck, and being called a racist is worst than murderer, we are all asked to be racist for the benefit of Her Majesty. When we have rendered all of liberal society into a self-loathing panopticon, of worrisome optics and step-watching, it seems that hating Russia is where all the allowable human animus is channeled.

There are many adversaries, and there are really none as well. But to choose one people - who turnout to have their own race basically, a language group like indigenous people claim, an essential origin (Kiev!) and all we do is make claims on their existence that intend to exploit their remaining wealth. They are like the last indigenous people that didn't get wiped out, and by god, the UK and Americans are going to do it. I call bullshit racism. The Zionist cast of at least 90% of the anti-Russia spew is almost never remarked upon. But its everywhere from CNN and BBC, NPR and the 5 corporate-owned news organizations, to Bill Browder's ploys and his friends in all Western governments, to 20 years of PNAC neoconservatives) Kristol, Kagan/Nuland, Kissinger, Abrams, etc.) that continue to shift their loyalties from R's to Dems and nobody seems to notice, as long as they are "with us." To Soros and his funding into the color revolution in Ukraine (and the fact that we can't even call him out anymore because its siding with Putin, or to even try to say his "pay for policy" is a problem in our so-called democracies, well WE get called racist by these same news orgs (I mean, anti-Semitic) which is a nice human shield effect for the world's oligarchs whose accountability is further and further shielded from any interventions they make to their advantage and our (financial, spiritual and ethical) loss. So when the facts are on your side, and you call them out, you are a racist? And where are the facts on "malign Russia? The facts are what we are told they are, by the names doxxed in the Integrity Initiative files and their pliant house organs. I'm done.

Posted by: A Dear Friend | Jan 4, 2019 8:12:07 PM | 133

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