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

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  • c.weatherhill

    France might very well be involved, as Scottish success would bolster the case for Breton devolution/autonomy, the very thought of which fills Paris with horror, exactly as the Scottish case does for London. The Bretons are hit hard by Paris, which even refuses to recognise and protect their Celtic language under the European Charter for the Protection of Minority Languages.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Telegraph newspaper,is the paper of choice, for the establishment to leak stories to, whether they’re true or not.

    This looks like a concerted attempt by the media,to smear Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP,a sure sign they fear,the SNP’s influence at Westminster.

    As you rightly point out both sides,deny the allegation,but still the Telegraph published the balderdash.

    Independence for Scotland is the only way to rid ourselves,of Westminster and Whitehall.

  • Old Mark

    ‘France might very well be involved, as Scottish success would bolster the case for Breton devolution/autonomy, the very thought of which fills Paris with horror, exactly as the Scottish case does for London.’

    Rubbish- the Breton separists are a tiny movement, comparable not to the ScotNats, but to Mebyon Kernow;

    The most important Breton politician in France in recent years has been Jean Marie Le Pen, born here and educated nearby-

  • charlesobrien08

    There is one thing I have a fear of,and that is we may be pushed into an Ireland situation,we know from recent history Westminster would rather go to war than allow a “colony” to be independent.What does that say for one third of the UK? they will do anything and everything they can to stop us,but I fear some younger men and women will take up the challenge and push us into a “civil unrest” situation.Danger for everybody,and resistance will harden against Westminster and again we would most likely get aide and assistance from within England’s borders from our English relations and friends of democracy sometimes democracy has to be fought for and sacrifices made.This could be the start of the dangerous times.


    And what about the $600 stolen by the FCO from Kuwait War claimants. The Scottish Human Rights ( now defunct) labels this a “Sorry state of affairs”> The HMRC has closed my account and waived the money I owed the HMRC for working in Tokyo. Police Scotland says I should visit hesd shrinker.

  • Abe Rene

    If this is an operation by British Intelligence, it is a remarkably stupid one, since it involves publicly accusing a French diplomat of breaking confidentiality. Why do something that would damage relations with France? (Giving asylum to Bonnie Prince Charlie 200 years ago seems to me an insufficient reason).

  • Joe Mellon

    Of course Craig is right and MI whatever and maybe the CIA are playing games.
    It is both pleasing and a bit depressing that they are so ham-fisted: this story has been very counter-productive for them.
    An ‘intelligence service’ that stupid cannot be much good against real threats, and probably is stupid enough to do something which will permanently wreck relations between a future Scottish state and rUK.
    I doubt very much whether a Cameron or his ilk at minesterial level are sufficiently in control to do much about the appalling incompetence and short sightedness of the ‘intelligence’ community.

  • Joe Mellon

    On vote rigging: in Argyll and Bute an impossible 99.1% of postal voters actually voted (normal would be 60-70%)
    As at least 3% of the postal voters would have been dead, and even more would have moved address, this turn out is…. slightly surprising!
    Oh: and how did they vote? Well surprise – they voted overwhelmingly for ‘No’!
    Of course if you hacked into the computers recording who had returned a postal vote, then you would know who hadn’t voted, and in the last days help them out.

  • Schawaldowris

    Not only did Nicola Sturgeon categorically deny the Telegraph assertion, the French Ambassador and Consul General also agreed the story in the London “heavy” was inaccurate. Yet despite the rejection of the story by the parties concerned ie, Nicola Sturgeon, the French Ambassador and the French Consul General, Mr Milliband backed the Telegraph by stating that “It simply shows that Nicola Sturgeon will say one thing and mean another”. His comments clearly illustrate that by accusing Sturgeon of lying, he also accuses the French Diplomatic Service of complicity and mendacity. It beggars belief that a man who aspires to be Prime Minster of the UK, is claiming that French Diplomats are deliberately misleading the British government and citizens of the UK.
    The Telegraph is right in one aspect of their article. By insulting the French government and people, he is clearly not Prime Minister material

  • RobG

    Abe Rene
    4 Apr, 2015 – 3:42 pm:

    “If this is an operation by British Intelligence, it is a remarkably stupid one”

    Never underestimate the stupidity of British Intelligence.

  • Steven

    Never underestimate the completely paranoid nature of SNP and ‘Nat’ zoomers. Just how many Scots can have been taken-in by this crap? I always thought the Scots were a pretty level-headed people but this is just mad!

  • john

    Any rigging was in September…

    No exit polls (unheard of)

    It’ll not happen except possibly postal vote for GE as the exit polls will make it harder.

  • john

    And of course mi5/6 will be involved….

    They were all over unions and scargill etc etc.

  • Keith McAvoy

    I doubt the secret services were involved. This is down to a member of the civil service who doctored a transcript. It’s as simple as that.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “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.”

    Im’ sure that Craig could do a post on the Virgin Mary or on the Resurrection and Mr Goss would still somehow manage to drag Moazzam Begg and/or Ukraine into it. 🙂

  • Andrew Wilson

    Thanks for the insight Craig, your articles are always interesting and eye opening, especially for people who believe their world is run by moral, ethical, honest and upstanding officials. How wrong could they be ?

  • lysias

    I suppose the other thing that we should be whispering gently is that Nicola Surgeon ( and my guess Craig as well) would prefer a Tory led government after the General Election.

    Did one of the commenters on the preceding thread have advance knowledge of the leaked memo?

  • lysias

    There was an article in last weekend’s Financial Times about the Torygraph’s financial troubles and personnel turnover.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    Glad to see that the weekend Financial Times has an appreciative readership far from these shores.

    So to speak.

  • Patrick Roden

    Foreign office now saying that they do have a copy, but that the document originated in the Scottish Office.

  • steven devlin

    I think it’s extremely noteworthy,that the very morning after this supposed scoop,both leaders were ready and waiting with soundbite replies. Coincidence ? I rather think not ! the whole thing had the air of a rather badly choreographed skit. Both Cameron and Miliband were quite obviously primed.

  • lysias

    The stocks were sold; the press was squared; the upper class was quite prepared.

  • Ruth

    The corporate media joined forces with the security forces in the subversion of the Scottish referendum. Why do you think there were no exit polls carried out by BBC, ITV or Sky? The UK government didn’t want the true extent of the yes vote revealed in the exit polls because it would have shown disparity with the referendum results as the postal votes had been manipulated at the six centres.

  • lysias

    The SNP should make sure exit polls are conducted in the future. Pay for them itself, if necessary (but using as the pollster some reputable outfit, so that the poll results cannot be accused of being biased).

  • Charles Pottins

    I think Craig was on the right lines here, the Zinoviev Letter was not the last time the Tories and intelligence services engaged in dirty tricks with the help of the press, nor is this the first time Labour leaders fell for it.

    There may be a more complex set of dimensions. The story appeared after Nicola Sturgeon gained respect and popularity with a lot of people both sides of the border. The SNP’s defence of what used to be seen as Labour policies and values appeals to a lot of people, but its opposition to Trident also finds an echo among Labour and Green voters and some MPs.

    That doesn’t just worry our own intelligence and defence establishments. There is a NATO aspect.

    Jim Murphy on the other hand is a Blairite and member inter alia of the Henry Jackson Society. Formed to promote a more aggressive foreign policy “for democracy” this Society has lost members who felt it was becoming too right-wing.

    But one of its prominent officers, Raheem Kassam, touted on TV sometimes as an expert on “extremism”, has doubled as the British end of Breitbart, a right-wing American news agency notorious for planting dubious stories in the media to discredit and undermine political figures or institutions it dislikes.

    To be fair to Kassam, he is probably a little busy now fielding off bad stories rather than manufacturing them, as he has been seconded as a senior advisor to Nigel Farage.

    But it is as well to be aware that, beneath the political parties, press, and even intelligence services we know, there are other creatures at work in the undergrowth.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita e' bella)

    “Charles Pottins”

    I think Craig was on the right lines here, the Zinoviev Letter was not the last time the Tories and intelligence services engaged in dirty tricks with the help of the press, nor is this the first time Labour leaders fell for it.”


    I’m all agog to learn more.

    Examples of these claimed other times, please?

    Thank you, “Charles”.

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