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.
Chris Williamson MP visited the alleged ‘psyops‘ organisation the Institute for Statecraft (at The Temple, near London’s Embankment) on the morning of 19 December 2018. Statecraft is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Upon arriving at the offices of Statecraft, Williamson knocked on the door. A young man answered, and once he confirmed that he was with Statecraft, Williamson identified himself as the Labour MP for Derby North. The young man said he would get the director, “Dan”, and closed the door. A few moments later, “Dan” opened the door. But when Williamson started to identify himself, “Dan” then slammed the door in his face, without saying anything.
The Canary has compared a photo of Dan Lafayeedney (passed to it by David Miller of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies) with a still taken of “Dan” before he slammed the door. We can confirm that “Dan” is in fact Dan Lafayeedney – a co-founder and co-director of Statecraft.
The Canary understands that, minutes after the encounter, Lafayeedney was seen still shouting at the young man from Statecraft who had initially opened the door.
Williamson continued speaking even after the door was shut, asking:
Why is it you have been smearing Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party and interfering in the international affairs of fellow European democracies?
I want to ask some questions about Pedro Baños… [knock, knock, knock] hello?
There was no further response from behind the door. So Williamson and The Canary departed from the premises. Pedro Baños is the would-be director of Spain’s department for homeland security who was successfully targeted by the Integrity Initiative’s so-called “Moncloa Campaign”.
Legitimate questions remain as to why a co-director of a registered charity, which is largely funded by the British government, would be so hostile to answering a few questions from a member of the British parliament that he would slam the door in his face.
Williamson then told The Canary and the Grayzone Project that:
Obviously, Dan is not very talkative this morning so we have to… seek out other avenues to try and get to the bottom of precisely what this shady organisation is [doing]
Funding propaganda, interfering in ‘democracy’
As The Canary and the Grayzone Project have previously reported, Statecraft is a thinktank that directs the Integrity Initiative, another ‘counter-disinformation’ outfit which has received funding to the tune of £2.2m from the FCO alone. NATO and the US State Department also fund this ‘psyops’ network. Recently leaked or hacked documents have exposed Integrity as directly interfering in the national security affairs of the Spanish government, by using a network of journalists to attack the socialist party’s preferred candidate.
Integrity’s aims are ostensibly “revealing and combating propaganda and disinformation”. However, this activity also appears to include ‘smearing’ left wing activists and politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK opposition.
Militarising British society
Lafayeedney set up the “Atlantic Committee” within Statecraft, which liaises directly with NATO. Lafayeedney, as director of the Institute for Statecraft, is also linked to MOD-funded projects targeting young people and ‘minority communities’.
This would appear to be part of ‘counter-radicalisation’ efforts connected to the controversial and racialised surveillance programme known as Prevent. Defence minister Tobias Ellwood has confirmed that:
In Financial Years 2016-17 and 2017-18, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s Local Grants Programme awarded a total of £177,650 to 12 separate small projects run by the Shared Outcomes Programme, an initiative of the Institute for Statecraft which works with young people (aged 14 – 18) from minority communities in areas facing economic and social challenge and aims to increase participants’ life opportunities and support them in fulfilling their potential.
The Shared Outcomes projects enable young people to take part in challenging activities such as assault courses, night navigation exercises and camping while visiting an Army base, and other activities designed to improve community cohesion.
Lafayeedney called for an increased role for the armed forces in British society in his article entitledThe Military’s Role in Building a Healthy Society. Lafayeedney praises what the British military can offer young people, writing that:
From a teacher’s perspective, the benefit to mainstream education in the UK of Cadet Forces and other ‘Youth Engagement’ projects is that they make a special and unique contribution to the broader education of young people
The Canary has published numerous stories on how the British military establishment launched what has been called a “militarisation offensive” in 2006, to increase support for British foreign policy. This campaign includes increased military targeting of children and schools for recruitment and propaganda purposes, and encouragement of “cadet” schools. Most recently, The Canaryreviewed the filmWar School: The Battle for Britain’s Children.
SAS combat veteran Ben Griffinexplains that from his experience, the British military ethos is about: 1) ensuring soldiers will obey orders without question, 2) instilling a gang mentality, and 3) removing the barrier to kill. Griffin explains this in detail in a video called The Making of a Modern British Soldier. It’s essential viewing for anyone interested in understanding what it may mean to ‘instil a military ethos’ into our children and society, as Lafayeedney appears to support.
Untangling the webs
The Canary asked Williamson about the “militarisation offensive” that Statecraft appears to be participating in. Williamson told The Canary and the Grayzone Project:
We need to be putting more money into our social infrastructure, into our education, into welfare, into social care, into the kind of public services… that define a decent society. A decent society isn’t defined by having big spending on military, big spending on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office… And I think it is really important that we expose the direction of travel that very senior figures in government, and people behind government in officialdom, are wanting to take this country, because that would be an incredibly retrograde step in my opinion.
The military and national security establishment should not be deciding policy for millions of people. It’s the people who should set social policy, once they have all the facts, and our institutions that should carry it out. For that reason, any and all political and propaganda activities carried out by Statecraft, and affiliated organisations, must remain under intense scrutiny.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.