17:36 GMT20 April 2021
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    On Friday evening the latest tranche of documents from the Integrity Initiative was released, exposing more information about the UK’s operation to combat so-called Russian disinformation. Sputnik has spoken to Professor David Miller, from the University of Bristol and asked him what he made of the latest information.

    Sputnik: Why is it there has been no real coverage of the Integrity Initiative in the mainstream media?

    Professor David Miller: Well, there's a good question. Many of the people who would write about these things in the mainstream media appear in the documents themselves. Whether they are formally involved, to use the phrase of Deborah Haynes of Sky, formally of The Times, who says what she has 'no formal or informal relationship with the Institute for Statecraft' — well, you know, they are involved in some way or another, they have had contacts with, she has had contacts with, Carol Cadwalladr has had contacts with; people from the BBC have had contacts with the Integrity Initiative, and so they are conflicted. Whether they have had a formal involvement, or their involvement is as the documents suggest, is by the by, they are conflicted and they have failed to distance themselves from this programme of activities.

    READ MORE: UK Creating Network to Counter 'Russian Disinformation' in EU, US — Anonymous

    Sputnik: With regard to the Skripal case are there now serious questions for the government to answer when it comes to that?

    Professor David Miller: Well, we've seen many more documents on the Skripal case in here and indeed some more on Syria, the alleged chemical attack on Douma. And of course the content of these documents is rather fanciful; there's a large report about social media and media coverage of the Skripal case which fancifully refers to a whole load of people on twitter as being Kremlin trolls which they're not. So I mean it's very interesting to see all that and there are questions which arise about the extent to which the British government has been engaged in managing and manipulating media coverage of the Skripal affair.

    The questions go deeper, there is a suggestion that there was a meeting called by the Integrity Initiative which involved Pablo Miller, the MI6 operative who was Sergei Skripal's handler. And that raises very big questions indeed not least because the meeting is alleged to have been a meeting with the White Helmets — an organisation which has been intensely debated in relation to the Syrian conflict and which has been implicated to some extent at least in the fabrication of chemical weapons attack stories in Syria. So it raises all sorts of questions which the government has not begun to explore or explain and which most media has not begun to explore or explain.

    READ MORE: UK Integrity Initiative: RT is 'Seen as the Most Trusted Source' — Anonymous

    Sputnik: There was a reference there, in the documents which suggested that if an incident is not to occur to provoke a tougher reaction against Russia then we need to be taking a tougher stance; and that in the context of the Skripal poisoning is quite sinister sounding isn't it?

    Professor David Miller: It is quite sinister sounding, if you look at the documents and the discussions of alleged propaganda lines on Skripal, which are no more than people doubting British government's accounts — which is the first thing one should be doing in these circumstances — there is no acknowledgement in there of any more than the British government's account — which is obviously correct and everyone else is wrong!

    Some of the hints of this document are hints which raise questions about the British government's role in the Skripal affair and those questions will not go away. It really very badly undermines the official British position that this was something done by the Russians — what was the official version? 'Of a type produced by Russia'. That kind of propaganda is an indication that there is something not right in the Skripal story and these documents are pointing us in a certain direction when we need much more investigation of what happened in the Skripal case than we previously did.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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