UK Intelligence Services Attack SNP 101

The fake FCO memo has MI5 written all over it. This is the worst example of British security services influencing an election campaign since the Zinoviev letter.

For those whose history is a bit shaky:

The Zinoviev letter – one of the greatest British political scandals of this century – was forged by a MI6 agent’s source and almost certainly leaked by MI6 or MI5 officers to the Conservative Party, according to an official report published today.[4 Feb 1999]
New light on the scandal which triggered the fall of the first Labour government in 1924 is shed in a study by Gill Bennett, chief historian at the Foreign Office, commissioned by Robin Cook

Ever since Treasury Permanent Secretary Nicholas MacPherson stated that civil service impartiality rules do not apply in the case of Scottish independence, I have been warning the SNP that we are going to be the target of active subversion by the UK and US security services. We are seen as a danger to the British state and thus a legitimate target. I spelled this out in my talk to the Edinburgh SNP Club on 6 March, of which more below.

The FCO “memo” reporting that Nicola Sturgeon would rather have a Tory government, is a remarkable document. Firstly, its provenance is very strange. It has been leaked ostensibly by the FCO to the Telegraph. According to the Guardian:

“The leaked document was drafted by a Whitehall official after Coffinier called the FCO, as protocol requires, to pass on a confidential account of several of the ambassador’s meetings in Edinburgh, which included a meeting with Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary.”

The extraordinary thing is, this is just a lie. As someone who worked in the FCO for over twenty years and was an Ambassador myself, I can assure you there is absolutely no protocol requirement on the French Ambassador to give the FCO the content of the meetings she, her Consul-General or anybody else from the French Embassy held in Edinburgh. That claim is absolute nonsense.

Look at it from the Embassy’s point of view. If you repeated everything Nicola Sturgeon told you to the FCO, do you not think she would shortly stop telling you anything at all interesting? That is why diplomats absolutely do not retail such conversations to their host governments.

The second quite extraordinary thing is that both sides of the alleged conversation categorically deny it was said. Nicola Sturgeon denies she said it and the French Embassy deny she said it. So we have a leaked account of a conversation which all the participants say is untrue, yet the unionist media all feel this evidently untrue account is worth splashing as their lead story? The collusion of security services and corporate media is terrifying.

Timing is all. I was wondering how the security services would react to the seemingly unstoppable SNP momentum, following Nicola Sturgeon’s brilliant performance in the leaders’ debate. When I gave that talk to the SNP club, I warned that, as the main threat to the British state, we would suffer the full panoply of dirty tricks from MI5 and CIA. This would include increased penetration, communication interception, agent provocateur activities, forgeries and eventually might include false flag violence blamed on nationalists.

We are at a crisis in our constitutional history. I believe the momentum towards a Scottish exit from the UK is unstoppable. The British state is seeking to appear on the surface to agree to give Scots a free and democratic choice, while using every dirty trick to subvert that choice. Those tricks range from complete control of state and corporate media to the darker arts of the security services.

As I also stated to the SNP club, the USA has decided it is in their interest for the Unionists to prevail, not least so Scotland remains a base for the American controlled Trident missiles the UK taxpayer so obligingly funds. A large part of the CIA’s existence has been and is dedicated to covert activity to keep the forms of government it wants in power in the world. It does not want the SNP.

That the attempt to destabilise Nicola Sturgeon originates with the UK government and the Telegraph should give everyone pause. It is very obviously a security service effort. How otherwise is an account which the French Embassy says is completely false, contained in an official memo to be leaked?

This episode raises very serious questions. But they are not questions about Nicola Sturgeon. They are questions about the subversion of democracy by the security services, and the willing complicity of the corporate media.

101 thoughts on “UK Intelligence Services Attack SNP

1 2 3 4
  • Airdrieonian

    It’s chucklesome to see the anti-SNP contingent get themselves in a lather about this, then bqck peddle at a rate of knots.
    It was such a ham fisted effort, that maybe it’s a double bluff?

  • craig Post author


    I think on reflection its MI6 rather than MI5. MI5 are rather more competent, and would have gone to the Sun rather than the Telegraph. Murphy’s gang still pushing it – I think they’ll be hoping mud sticks.

  • Luke

    Ex-MI5 spy Annie Machon revealed that there is an office, controlled by MI6, that deals with leaking fake stories to the press.

    Craig, I’m interested in what you think, do you reckon there is a chance of rigging at the polls? Or do you think rigging might have taken place in September? Many people dismiss such claims as “conspiracy theory”, but I’m interested in what you think as a former ambassador. It has been reported that senior Irish civil servants knew there was going to be a No a week before there was. Did they have intelligence that something was up?

  • Siobhan Tolland

    Excellent article Craig. I have been warning about this for a long time. I wondered what your thoughts on the JK Rowling/cyber abuse incident during the referendum were. I felt that was a secret ops strategy to quell online discussion re independence.
    Siobhan Tolland

  • Keith Crosby

    What democracy? It’s quite clever in one respect – reinforcing the Tartan Tory identity of the Snats, which is true, if you look at how they intend to rule. I hope the Scotch who are willing to vote in the fascist electoral system, put the Snats in, to get Scotland out, then put the Snats out to get democracy in.

  • jbond

    One has to wonder at what role France had in this and what they think about it. Were they co-conspirators (“just deny it”), or was this some kind of “Yes, Minister” event within the FCO “Minister, we’ve always been at war with France” and they’re quietly furious at being dragged into UK politics.

  • craig Post author


    It’s an obvious point, but any phone conversation between the French ambassador and the FCO would be recorded, probably by both sides.

    I incline to think the French were not involved, or they would let it run longer before denying. My guess is the security services felt the French were too cosy with the Nats, and thought to put a spoke in that too as a bonus.

  • craig Post author


    I am 100% certain that MI5 have people online posing as cybernats.


    On rigging, I think there was probably nothing much involving the security services, only the Labour party machine doing its normal thing, which probably did not profoundly affect the result.

    I am sceptical about the markedly low turnout in Dundee and Glasgow. Just throwing votes away is the least technically difficult way to rig. But my instinct is that the result is probably broadly genuine. If we had been winning, I think it would be naïve to think they wouldn’t have acted. But I don’t think they had to.

  • Brian McHugh

    This is my take on it Craig.

    The remaining question is Qui Bono?

    The simple answer is that the Tory’s know that Labour’s Archilies heel is their fight on two fronts… the fight for politically right biased English marginals and the fight for lefty Scotland.

    The Tory’s agenda is simply to stoke the fight up in Scotland and make it the key battleground of GE15. This pressures an increasingly desperate Labour to move to the Left, in turn freeing up the English Marginals for the Tory’s to win the GE in England.

    The Tory’s and the powers of the establishment may well have used the Telegraph, giving them promises etc. So even the Telegraph may just have been patsies.

    Labour were the primary target and the main victims here though, cos the plan was always that the story would inevitably collapse with no valid evidence hence, leaving Labour looking weak and incompetent in Scotland.

    Its looking like job done.

  • Hieroglyph

    The only thing intereting about this non-story is that it’s bollocks. Were it true, it would scarcely be a footnote in a political gossip column. And, actually, a Tory win could well be favoured by the SNP, for tactical reasons (the vote for leaving the EU, which Craig touched on). Instead this total fabrication has been given front page status, and is thus clearly a smear, with pretty much everybody not buying it. The Guardian BTL section is quite funny just now, with general amazement that such a piece of low trolling has been taken seriously by the Labour Party. But then what do we expect from Jim murphy, a necon fool if ever there was one? With any luck all of the Labour lot will lose their seats, and a genuine Labour Party can arise in Indy Scotland. I doubt it, but who knows?

    Trolling score: 1/10. And it only gets the 1 because having a dig at the French is occasionally funny.

  • YouKnowMyName


    The ‘spooks’ sorry, consultants that I meet simply tell me that the state is sovereign and can do anything it wants, with impunity. I checked, and it seems that they can!

    Radio Four did mention the intelligence community created ‘Nicola’ letter this morning and Steve Bell of the Guardian said something like “we all knew that was her position”

  • alasdair galloway

    Thanks for the pointer to the lie that such minutes are routinely sent to the FCO. This undercuts even some of the “friendlier” or less hostile comment this morning and has to mean that the document is not only wrong but a forgery. Infamy upon infamy.
    btw, my first thought on reading you had blogged on this was that I hoped you had been taking your tablets. Hope you are keeping well.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Look at it from the Embassy’s point of view. If you repeated everything Nicola Sturgeon told you to the FCO, do you not think she would shortly stop telling you anything at all interesting? That is why diplomats absolutely do not retail such conversations to their host governments.”

    You obviously didn’t read much of the contents of WikiLeaks which are full of just such stuff.

  • shibboleth

    Propaganda, lies and damn lies; standard establishment tactic wherever the perceived threat, with the fourth estate showing its true colours. You would think that so soon after the “Vow” fiasco they might have considered the electorate would see this scam for what it is…

  • Mary

    Wondered how long it would be before the trolls arrived on here. It took them 2 and a half hours.

  • Iain Orr

    As Craig has observed, it’s a poorly constructed hoax. That makes me wonder if it might have nothing to do with MI5 or MI6, but be a Telegraph invention, at the behest of the Barclay Bothers. Has Nicola or the SNP done something – words or policy – that has personally offended them?

  • Jim Morris

    Sadly GB has come to stand for Greedy Bandits, and if we see through the Lying Unionists, we are up against a bunch of Greedy Lying Unionist Bandits. Glub glub glub.

  • fred

    If it isn’t true I will look forward to the court case, Nicola will of course sue the Telegraph…won’t she?

    But it is only stating the obvious. The SNP have only one policy and that is to wreck and break up the UK so it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise they would prefer a Conservative government.

  • Gnower

    Did you know that the electorate (entitled residents) in Scotland increased by 342,000 in the 3 years before the referendum… whereas in the previous 10 years it only fluctuated by +/- 2000? Anybody know where they came from and where they’re living now? The Electoral Commission’s website has the figures to check this out. 94% of that electorate were registered to vote, but only 84% of them did in the referendum. Now, I’m pretty good at sums, but none of that adds up, does it? We still need to beware of hidden agendas and of those with the data control ability to create those ‘illusory postal voters’ that defeated the predicted outcome. And you wonder why we weren’t allowed a recount? At least there appears to be a process in place now that is double checking multiple registrations at each address, but I still think we need to be worried about the dirty-tricks brigade… they have too much to lose.

  • Valerie

    Good objective analysis in face of all the emotion. Although I am just getting weary of all this Unionist shit, and wish they would leave us be.

    I think folk cottoned on to the fact the memo was sometime in Feb. And it just mysteriously surfaced 24 hours after Sturgeons debate and people down south taking to media praising her. I’m sure Plaid isn’t regarded seriously enough for this crap.

    The fella Coffinier was on Sky denying it, I’m sure he will not be pleased being dragged in.

  • Scottish Flower

    Apparently Ed Milliband had not identified it to be untrue yet,a s he now accuses the SNP of foul play as she earlier said to work with labour to lock the Tories out…….

    He now says it is better to vote labour to make sure to lock them out…..

    reeks of sheer desperado and makes you wonder whether it was not someone from labour that leaked the socalled “FCO report” to the telegraph in the first place, as they are shitting their breeks after the debate.

  • MBC

    James Mitchell’s recent academic report on the indyref was quite interesting. I think the sample was 4600. Bigger than Ashcroft’s post-indyref sample of 2000. Amongst its most interesting findings was that (within that sample) 82% of those who identified themselves as ‘Church of England’ voted No. But a majority of those born in Scotland had actually voted Yes. I think the figure was 54%.

    It made me wonder about the numbers of people born in rUK who have second homes in Scotland or own property here. It might be a buy-to-rent flat in Edinburgh that they rent out, for instance. This must number in six figures, especially if family members of the owner are included at that address.

    It would be quite easy I think for these people to register to be on the electoral roll in Scotland just to vote No in September. Then to remove themselves from it to vote in rUK in GE 2015. Or even to remain double registered and vote twice, once in Scotland to check the SNP, and once where you actually live in rUK.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Wondered how long it would be before the trolls arrived on here. It took them 2 and a half hours.”

    You obviously missed my comment from last night. Craig is of course silent on his preference for a Tory or Labour led government.

  • John Goss

    My guess is the spooks had something on Alex Salmond whereby they could get him to accept the obvious discrepencies of the referendum (postal votes going to England, no exit polls and so on). They obviously have nothing on Nicola Sturgeon so they make it up. I have said many times before that the best thing all countries can do is to get rid of their unaccountable secret services.

    Only last year they banged Moazzam Begg away on trumped-up false charges for more than six months so the government could test out the new Justice and Security Act unchallenged, at the same time closing the bank accounts of Cage. They are sick these security services and useless in stopping any real crime. Their purpose is disinformation and that is why so many of them work in the media industry.

  • MBC

    Nicola Sturgeon will be speaking shortly at the anti-Trident rally in George Square today. I guess black ops and CIA will be watching her every word.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.