Another UK/US ‘deep state’ organisation working under cover as a British think tank

5th April 2019 / United Kingdom
Another UK/US 'deep state' organisation working under cover as a British think tank

By TruePublica: Think tanks can be dangerous organisations – and in Britain and America, many of them are just that. Their role is often to amplify a corporate message, to influence outcomes, which could be anything from climate science denial and greenwashing the crimes of fossil fuel and chemical Co’s, to dislodging public interest regulation with all manner of fact distorting reports and bogus studies running against public safety. Not all think tanks are bad – but the fact is, many of them are.


Think tanks typically like to position themselves as institutions who, of course, have power in government policy debates. They like to be seen as independent, separated from the moneyed interests of their paymasters. Their paymasters need these organisations to push their message without actually naming them. Many think tanks would not exist if they were not pushing agendas important to corporate donors. Their role is also to obscure the lines between researchers and lobbyists. And some do so while reaping the benefits of their tax-exempt status, while others even act as charities when they are not – and much of the time without disclosing their connections to their corporate interests (The IEA is a good example).

Brexit has shown just how some of the operations by think tanks are working – some of which, we have reported on at TruePublica. This time, we feature on think tank – the Centre for European Reform. To give some idea of their influence, the CER has featured articles in the Guardian, The National, Politico.EU and FT just in the last two days alone. In these four articles, they cover everything from Brexit to NATO.

To highlight their power and influence, we first of all, have to look at who is behind them – Board members and directors.

All of the following individual information comes from SourceWatch.


  • Percy Barnevik, Chairman of AstraZeneca
  • Carl Bildt, former Swedish PM also International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which has strong ties to Bruce Jackson of the Project for the New American Century (Bush blew the mid-east up on the principles laid out by PNAC)
  • Antonio Borges, secretary of the Atlantic Council‘s Atlantic Treaty Association, a founding member of the Portuguese section of the European Movement and Goldman Sachs International.
  • Nick ButlerBP
  • Lord Dahrendorf, former Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford – with close ties to MI6
  • Vernon EllisAccenture
  • John Gray, Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics
  • Lord Hannay, former Ambassador to the UN and the EU
  • Lord Haskins, former Chairman of Northern Foods
  • François Heisbourg, Director, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique
  • Catherine Kelleher, Visiting Research Professor, U.S. Naval War College
  • Richard Lambert, former Editor, Financial Times
  • Dominique Moïsi, Dep. Director of the Institut français des relations internationales
  • John Monks, General Secretary of the Trade Union Council
  • Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, Chair QinetiQ p.l.c., which runs the British Government’s secret military laboratories and was set up by the MOD to work with the Carlyle Group to run DERA, the British Government’s “Defence Evaluation and Research Agency”. The CIA did much the same thing with In-Q-Tel, Inc.[1] She is also a Ccreer member of the British Diplomatic Service, Foreign affairs adviser to John Major, from 91- 94 chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee which overseen information from MI5, MI6, DIS, GCHQ , Political Director of the FCO, IISS with Blix above, and also a Harkness Fellow, Governor the Ditchley Foundation and the BBC
  • Lord Simon of Highbury (former Minister for Trade and Competitiveness in Europe)
  • Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill (Hakluyt)
  • Peter Sutherland, Chairman of BP plc.
  • Adair Turner (Vice Chairman, Merrill Lynch Holdings Ltd now with the Forward Strategy Unit).

The CER lobbies for various Atlanticist positions and works with the PR/lobbying company APCO (set up by cigarette giant Philip Morris and used as its main consultancy by the Brussels branch of Microsoft).


That lot reads like a roll-call of the Establishment of Atlantascists – does it not?


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CER was set up by a right-wing Labour politician – Nick Butler – a former strategic advisor to BP. He was also part of the Executive of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, who administer the British American Project (BAP) in the UK, and the World Economic Forum.


The British American Project is an elite corporate/political talking and networking organisation. Its aims are to ensure that the left and liberal intelligentsia are not hostile to US foreign policy interests.


CER’s other main man, Charles Grant, a former Defence Editor of The Economist. He writes on UK/US intelligence and works closely with the Foreign Office, collaborating with individuals such as Roger Liddle and Mark Leonard (at the Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England). One of his expertise areas is Britain’s EU referendum.

Grant is also on the British Council (founded as an organ of international propaganda) as is Micheal Maclay. Michael Maclay is Executive Chairman of London-based Montrose Associates, which provides strategic intelligence and advice to international corporations and governmental agencies.

As has been noted in Private Eye 1031, Maclay, worked at London Weekend TV under John Birt and Mandelson. A career Foreign Office official he is a special advisor to Carl Bildt (ex Swedish PM). McLay was also an early member of the British American Project (BAP) and is involved in Hakluyt: the strategic intelligence firm, many of whose directors were formerly senior figures in MI6 – involved in more than one international major scandal.

Sir Anthony Hammond, the former Treasury solicitor who conducted the official inquiry into the Hinduja passports affair (and let Mandelson off the hook) had a salaried position as the official legal adviser to Hakluyt. Peter Mandelson speaks frequently at their meetings.

They are largely funded by WPP, a global public relations conglomerate. The Economist, Pearson, German Marshall Fund of the US and a group of banks and arms companies from the US and UK are connected to its directors.

Demos’ (a ‘third-way think tank) Ian Hargreaves is on the CER board with Baroness Smith – the wife of the late Labour leader. She has, since 1998, been on the board of Hukluyt which spied on environmental groups for oil companies, including BP. Smith is an advisor for BP Scotland. Hargreaves is on the board of Greenpeace and Huyklut spied on Greenpeace.

The Atlantic Council – an American think tank specialising in Atlanticist propaganda was formed in 1994 when the British Atlantic Committee and Peace Through NATO (PTN) joined forces. PTN was the group used by then Defence Secretary Micheal Heseltine to undermine CND.

The Huyklut connection (and the Demos connections: Hargreaves, Haskins) with the CER (which is a partner with the Atlantic Council and the American Enterprise Institute) is an indication that perhaps there are continuities in Demos with anti-Left operations dating back to Heseltine, Lord Carrington and Crozier’s days. Brian Crozier has well known close ties to MI6 and the CIA, which you can read about in the following article:

  Meet Le Cercle – Making Bilderberg Look Like Amateurs)


The CER’s founder Nick Butler is also a key figure in BAP. As treasurer, he brought funding from BP to help in BAP’s aim to groom the future Labour leadership of Blair and Co because: “The traditional British left-wing remained deeply suspicious of the United States, particularly on foreign policy and security issues.” The British American Project (BAP) was founded to counter this suspicion and encourage admiration for US-style ‘market forces'”.

Butler also authored material through the Fabian Society (who was also once its treasurer) which influenced the Labour party away from unilateral nuclear disarmament in the 80s, a key goal of BAP and US foreign policy.

At TruePublica we have written ceaselessly about American intervention into British affairs. We have written about how American think tanks have poured hundreds of millions into Brexit supporting think tanks on behalf of right-wing free-market fundamentalists – the very individuals at the heart of the corporations that want to profit from the chaos of a no-deal Brexit.

The editor at TruePublica wrote – Brexit – A Corporate Coup D’Etat (£2.99 for instant download to any device or desktop) because of this very reason.

CER, has, at its very core, representatives of the national mainstream media, the BBC, MI5, MI6, CIA, GCHQ, the UN, EU, in politics, education, the military, weapons manufacturers and even the trade unions.

Here is the official description in the dictionary of the deep state: “a clandestine network entrenched inside the government, bureaucracy, intelligence agencies, and other governmental entities. The Deep State supposedly controls state policy behind the scenes, while the democratically-elected process and elected officials are merely figureheads.

In this particular case, it is not hard to see the ‘organs of deep state propaganda’ grinding away because the very people at its heart are exactly as described.

Generally speaking, if you’re reading an article that says something like – “according to a study from the” you need to be on your guard.

Here is a great example Last Monday, The Guardian ran an opinion piece about Brexit entitled: Remainers, take note: much of Europe just wants to excise the British cancer. Its author is Charles Grant. He is, as you’ve just read, the founder and director of CER. Although the article does say who he is – it does not say who he really represents and this is a problem.

Today, many think tanks who team up with donors are simply the tools of corporate influence campaigns designed to break down evidence-based policy. Strong links with the mainstream media cloak their studies in apparent but often fake consensus. Politicians are then questioned by the media on why they are not following the so-called consensus – and hey presto – policy-based evidence making occurs. A classic example of that would be the Tory party U-turn on green and environmental policies.

Think tanks can carry dangerous messages of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda disguised as fact – beware!

Here is a list of the very worst of the least transparent think tanks in Britain, ranked in order by Transparify:

  • International Institure for Straegic Studies
  • Adam Smith Institute
  • Centre for Policy Studies
  • Civitas
  • Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Policy Exchange
  • Policy Network


The Taxpayers Alliance and Legatum Institute are not listed by Transparify – they should be.

The point is here that the CER is not ranked as deceptive or even opaque and yet, as the headline of this piece suggests – its core is representative of both the deep state and the establishment as we understand it.



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