Newly-leaked UK government files shed further light on Machiavellian machinations to weaken the Russian empire through a pan-European network of news platforms, charities, think tanks, NGO’s, and so-called censoring ‘fact-checkers’.
The trove, recently exposed by hacktivist collective Anonymous, contains a variety of what appears to be internal documents of both the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and its multiple contractors – statements of requirement, contractors’ pitches which often include revealing information on past projects, staff CV’s and more.
The papers describe Whitehall’s effort to covertly co-opt media and civil society across the former Soviet sphere, in order to further London’s financial, geopolitical and ideological interests.
Bankrolled to the tune of £10 million by the FCDO, OIP’s 44 partners are dotted throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Its four founding, leading members are controversial ‘open source’ investigations website Bellingcat, NATO propaganda arm Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab, Media Diversity Institute, and shadowy information warfare specialist Zinc Network (formerly Breakthrough Media).
If those names were not enough to arouse suspicion, OIP’s real nature as the UK’s anti-Kremlin propaganda wing is heavily hinted at in another batch of internal FCDO files, leaked around the time of its launch in 2019.
The new leak seems to confirm OIP’s role as an insidious tool for achieving Whitehall’s global policy objectives.
Zinc’s network bid to take part in FCDO’s effort to ‘Support Independent Media in the Baltic States’ contains a dedicated section on “[building] the reach and influence of Russian-speaking journalists and media personalities, including émigré and exile journalists.
According to yet another proposal document, Zinc, Bellingcat et al identified Moldova as being in the most vital space in the network, due to being subsumed almost entirely within Russia’s sphere of influence.
Two Moldovan organizations, the Association of Independent Press and Newsmaker, are fellow OIP network members, and thus could well have served as conduits for FCDO-funded, pro-Sandu, anti-Dodon material.
The FCDO also seems very keen to keep its location concealed. The headquarters was to be located in a nondescript building that avoids attention, its presence should not be advertised.
All windows are tinted from external view. Strict access controls, including reinforced air-locked doors, CCTV, and a segregated meeting room for sensitive briefings were also urged.
That so many untrustworthy if not outright criminal organizations were recruited for OIP is understandable when one considers its actual modus operandi.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the risk of OIP “[being] interpreted as a UK-sponsored ‘troll factory’” was well-understood by the FCDO – to mitigate the danger, it was undertaken to position the project externally as being within the established and accepted sector of media development and pluralism and fact checking.
Hence all the lofty references to defending democracy and civil society in official literature related to the initiative.
It’s worth reinforcing that as shockingly Orwellian as OIP is, it’s just one component in a vast £100 million effort, announced by Theresa May in 2017, to demonize, destabilize and isolate Russia nationally and internationally. Indeed, OIP’s budget represents just one-tenth of that staggering total.
It’s been noticeable for years that the British have been conducting information warfare against Russia. It was so obvious in Russian social media that it was all planned and orchestrated. They have spawned or co-opted media within the Soviet space in order to influence opinions and elections.
That is why I always say its a war now, and the gloves are off. It’s just important now to educate people of the malign, aggressive British attempts at disinformation and lies to control all the people.
It’s also worth reinforcing, the project is in no way concerned about openness, democracy, truth, accuracy, equality or peace, as a highly illuminating passage in one of the many FCDO documents leaked so far starkly underlines.
[One] barrier to combating disinformation is the fact certain Kremlin-backed narratives are factually true, it stated. Responding to inconvenient truths, as opposed to pure propaganda, is naturally more problematic.
RT. com / ABC Flash-Point Propaganda News 2021.