Labour’s Chris Williamson warns of ‘British interference’ in Spain’s national security affairs

Chris Williamson outside 2 Temple Place Institute for Statecraft
Support us and go ad-free

On 19 December 2018, Mohamed Elmaazi accompanied Chris Williamson MP as part of an ongoing investigation by The Canary and the Grayzone Project into the activities of the Institute for Statecraft.


Labour MP Chris Williamson has made his latest significant intervention into the ‘psyops‘ scandal surrounding the Institute for Statecraft. He has written to the Spanish prime minister alerting him to British meddling in Spain’s national security affairs.

Statecraft is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the US State Department, the market fundamentalist and neocon-linked Smith Richardson Foundation, and others.

A letter to Spain’s prime minister

Williamson addressed his 21 December letter to Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón. He explains how the Integrity Initiative, a “network of networks” operated by Statecraft, sabotaged his appointment of Colonel Pedro Baños Bajo to be Spain’s national security director.

He writes:

Over the last few weeks it has been revealed that the Integrity Initiative operates a “cluster” in your country, among others, which includes journalists, think tank experts, academics and even politicians. Interesting names include Fernando Maura Barandiaran (an MP for the Citizens party), Eduardo Serra Rexach (former Defence Minister in Jose Maria Aznar’s [right-wing] government) and members of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free


The Spanish “cluster” reportedly initiated the ‘Moncloa Campaign’ to attack Baños once it learned he was the prime minister’s first choice.

Sánchez became prime minister in June 2018, after a no-confidence vote brought down the right-wing Popular Party led by Mariano Rajoy. The new prime minister represents the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party; but as The Canary reported, it is arguable how ‘socialist’ his government actually is. As the World Socialist Website has pointed out, his chosen cabinet immediately sought to “impose the austerity demanded by big business and international financial institutions, while aggressively pursuing a militarist foreign policy”.

Colonel Baños

According to his CV, Baños is a Colonel, reserve, in the Spanish army; and he “took part in three missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina (UNPROFOR, SFOR, and EUFOR)”. He was also chief of security and counterintelligence at Eurocorps. Baños’s Twitter profile says he’s an “analyst and lecturer in geopolitics, strategy, defence, security, intelligence, terrorism and international relations”.

His professional profile page, meanwhile, describes his objectives as “trying to understand and explain what is happening in the world” with the “ultimate goal” being:

to achieve, together, a mutual understanding in order to forge a better planet, in which there are neither conflicts nor impositions, but a peaceful coexistence which respects different cultures, ideologies and ways of understanding life, always thinking, above all, in human security, which must be the main concern.


In short, Baños has established military and national security credentials.

‘Operation Moncloa’

But all of this was not good enough for the Integrity Initiative. It labelled Baños “pro-Kremlin” in one of its documents without any explanation. In the words of Novara Media journalist Aaron Bastani:

his admission on Twitter that Spain ‘would not gain anything from provoking Russia’ was apparently a stretch too far.

Whatever the reason, an FCO-funded organisation orchestrated a social media campaign against Baños. Within less than 24 hours, Sánchez revoked his appointment. As Williamson put it, this was “despite [Baños’s] long record of public service in Spain”.

Williamson tells Sánchez that:

the Integrity Initiative played a significant role in the campaign against an important political appointment in your country: that of Colonel Pedro Baños Bajo



And that:

all of this was catalysed and expedited by a British-based organisation, which is funded by the UK government. The activities of this cluster appear to be tantamount to colluding with a foreign power to undermine Spain’s sovereignty and its democratic processes.

Williamson says that, as an “internationalist” and “socialist”, he believes it is ‘critical’ that Spain and Britain launch an investigation. The Canary understands from Williamson that the Scottish Charity Commission (with whom Statecraft are registered) has already launched an investigation into Statecraft.

Foreign meddling

Williamson writes:

If all of this is true, it raises the question as to why British agencies and their proxies feel so at liberty to interfere in the domestic politics of Spain, which is a valued European ally.

The British establishment media would come down like a ton of bricks on any ‘cluster’ found to have colluded with a foreign power to sabotage a UK cabinet appointment; not to mention the police, which would almost certainly launch a criminal investigation. In reality, however, the corporate media’s near-silence on this matter is quite deafening – especially given their hysteria over alleged ‘Russian meddling’. One thing is clear: muckrakers and journalists must continue to push this story from below in order to achieve accountability. Democracy, after all, is not a spectator sport.

Featured image via Mohamed Elmaazi

Support us and go ad-free

Get involved

– Write to your MP and demand they seek further answers into the activities of the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative (always be respectful when you write letters, they are much more likely to be effective when clear, to the point and respectful)

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. “The British establishment media would come down like a ton of bricks on any ‘cluster’ ”

      Hohoho! I bet they’re quaking in their espadrilles, Chris.

      Britain is an irrelevant, poxy little island near the EU. No-one gives a shit what Brits say or think any longer. How is your dear arsehole Jezza Corbyn?? Still in bed with Jacob Rees-Mogg?

    2. This manipulation by the Tories resembles of wanting to preserve their philosophy of austertiy , and what has been done in centuries past. Protestants against Catholics.
      Socialists against the Capitalists, and no reasoning in between.
      I think its a desire for the old style Empire which has nothing to do with our regional democracies speaking up for its people’s in an Open Society.
      Read Karl Popper’s “Open Society, and its Enemies.” published in 1945.
      When war was fought to have an open society.
      So in whose interest was to have a closed one?
      Where is the investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s helping to elect Trump? Focus on Russia? Also the electorial funding fraud in the Brexit vote.
      I hear silence. No discussion.
      Good for Chris Williamson to let the Spanish know in spite of whatever political reasons are given.
      This Tory aristocracy has no idea what is happening, what is modern progress or how we got here.
      Will Mary the Vicar explain all?
      After WW1 the currency was devalued, and after WW2 as well, and this will happen after a no deal Brexit.
      The Tories never had a plan. People kept asking.
      No response.
      Its a fascinating time we live in to watch the spasmodic end of the British Empire.


    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.