The John Smith Trust
The Trust is an active company incorporated on 15 June 2010 with the registered office located at Office 4, 219 Kensington High Street, London, the charity’s purpose is to:
Maintain an active worldwide network of alumni, sharing experience and learning across borders and to advance education in relation to democratic systems of government, social justice and the rule of law in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan by running fellowship programmes giving young present and future leaders in these countries the opportunity to explore issues of governance, rule of law and social justice.
Two four week fellowship programmes are run each year. Fellows spend one week in Scotland and three weeks in London. They discover first hand how UK institutions function and what challenges are faced by a mature democracy. The programmes are unique and life-changing opportunities, offering exceptional individuals the chance to explore issues around: governance and justice; climate and sustainability; and equality, diversity and inclusion.
What is really happening
The political psychology programmes delivered by the Trust are designed to influence the thought processes of individuals confronted with a wide range of political situations so that they select options that most reflect the political system chosen by the Trust. Achieving success means that it has imprinted on the minds of course participants that the ideal is the western-style democracy, with its human rights legislation protecting individual and minority rights and good governance. Shades of “The Manchurian Candidate”.
Alexander David Just: Transitioned from law to high-level strategic communications.
Jeremy Craig Oliphant: Former diplomat and head of the head of the UK’s, Eastern Research Group and Senior member of the Integrity Initiative/Cluster/UK/Inner Core.
Andrew Wilson: Founding Partner of Charlotte Street Partners, the strategic communications firm based in London and Edinburgh. Began his career in the civil service in the Government Economic Service then worked as researcher and economist for the SNP and as a business economist at Royal Bank of Scotland. Elected to the first Scottish Parliament in 1999 he served as Shadow Minister for, variously: Finance, Economy, Transport and Lifelong Learning. In 2003, he re-joined the RBS working in a number of roles including as Deputy Chief Economist. During the banking crisis, he served as Head of Group Communications and was intimately involved in the bank’s high-profile engagement with the City, UK Government and media during those tumultuous times. In 2012, prior to launching Charlotte Street Partners, he joined global marcomms group WPP Group in a client strategy role working with agencies and group across the full range of services including media and advertising. In September 2016 he was appointed to chair the Sustainable Growth Commission, which reported to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in May 2018.
Lord John Alderdice: Liberal Democrat member of the Lords since 1996. Currently Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.
Stephen Gethins: Former SNP Member of Parliament for North East Fife. Worked with Craig Oliphant in Eastern Europe before entering politics for the SNP.
David Charters: Former diplomat. Personal interests include cyber security and evolving forms of conflict.
Catherine Smith: An Advocate. Daughter of Baroness Smith. Vice Chair of JUSTICE Scotland, the Scottish arm of the London NGO. Involved in work promoting the rule of law and human rights in developing democracies and sustainable development in societies in transition.
Elizabeth Smith, Baroness Smith Of Gilmorehill: Board member of a number of organisations with interests in Russia and FSU countries. Very influential politically has had a very long career near the top of the British secret services. Widow of the late John Smith, Labour Party Leader.
Income / Expenditure:
30/09/2018 30/09/2019 30/09/2020 30/09/2021
Total gross income: £1.11m £968.24k £424.67k £234.94k
Total expenditure: £992.62k £897.22k £506.93k £249.81k
gov income: £1.04m £968.24k £403.64k £234.94k
Donations: £72.53k £0 N/A N/A
Charitable: £992.62k £897.22k N/A N/A
Governance: £4.68k £4.66k N/A N/A
1) : The MI6/CIA sponsored Integrity Initiative:
The Integrity Initiative is described by the British government as a counter-Russia-disinformation campaign, which, in typically Orwellian language, means that it is a U.S.-British disinformation campaign. It was first founded in 2006 by then NATO Special Advisor Chris Donnelly, who co-founded a charity, the “Institute for Statecraft and Governance” (IfS) together with Daniel Lafayeedney.
It was then re-registered as a charity with its base being the Gateside Mill, a semi-derelict pemises near Auchtermuchty, in the Fife constituency of the then SNP, MP Stephen Gethins, a close friend and political associate of Craig Oliphant.
It was funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, initially to the tune of many millions. Its agents authored and published articles on threats to NATO imperialism alleging the biggest to be Russia.
Craig Oliphant, fellow SNP, MPs, Douglas Chapman and Chris Law and SNP senior political advisor (Spad) Neal Stewart, enjoyed a fully funded all expenses paid trip to Ukraine in May 2018, which included a visit to Avdiivka, one of the “hotspots” in the ongoing war in Donbass. Who funded the trip is not known and Stewart refused to explain the nature of his relationship with Integrity Initiative the secret UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office military intelligence operation.
It appears perverse that the SNP under Sturgeons leadership would authorise the trip given the Initiative’s apparent hostility to Scottish nationalism. In March 2018 the organisation solicited from a prominent Scottish journalist, an extensive briefing on the SNP’s internal dynamics and key figures and groups within the wider independence movement which dubbed the independence movement supporters as “separatist loons”.
Another person closely associated with Gethins is: SNP, MP, Stewart McDonald, who became the SNP’s defence spokesperson soon after he was elected to office and went on to establish himself as Westminsters most voluble and zealous advocate for Kiev and in turn also cementing his position as a prominent and pugnacious critic of the Kremlin.
McDonald is also worryingly hostile to the very movement he purports to represent. At a time of rising support for Scottish independence, he publicly argued against holding a second referendum on the question at any point in the near future, claiming doing so before the SNP “[renewed] its case” for seceding from the UK would be “the height of irresponsibility”. Fittingly, Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins was quoted heartily endorsing McDonald’s stance, and attacking “the rest of his party” for not sharing his views. Moreover he launched an extraordinarily vicious broadside against ‘cybernats’ – Scottish independence supporters on social media – accusing a “hardcore fringe” of being “creepy” and “vile”, “spreading poison and cynicism”, and behaving like “obnoxious thugs”.
A casual analysis of Gethins close political relationships identifies him with: Alyn Smith, Jenny Gilruth, Nicola Sturgeon, Peter Murrell, Liz Lloyd, David Clegg and Kezia Dugdale.
The John Smith Centre is a different organisation and is not covered in this article.
The Scottish Charity Regulator report
This is what the Scottish Charity Regulator thought of the organisation: The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator opened an inquiry into the Institute for Statecraft the 13 December 2018, which after 10 months found that “one of its most significant activities, a project known as the Integrity Initiative did not provide public benefit in furtherance of the charity’s purposes”. It also found that trustees had “breached their trustee duties to act with care and diligence in the interest of the charity, some of them to a serious extent”.