Where They Tell You Not to Look 967

At the very beginning of the of the Skripal incident, the security services blocked by D(SMA) notice any media mention of Pablo Miller and told the media not to look at Orbis and the Steele dossier on Trump, acting immediately to get out their message via trusties in the BBC and Guardian. Gordon Corera, “BBC Security Correspondent”, did not name the source who told him to say this, but helpfully illustrated his tweet with a nice picture of MI6 Headquarters.

MI6’s most important media conduit (after Frank Gardner) is Luke Harding of the Guardian.

A number of people replied to Harding’s tweet to point out that this was demonstrably untrue, and Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence on his Linkedin profile. That profile had just been deleted, but a google search for “Pablo Miller” plus “Orbis Business Intelligence”, without Linkedin as a search term, brought up Miller’s Linkedin profile as the first result (although there are twelve other Pablo Millers on Linkedin and the search brought up none of them). Plus a 2017 forum discussed Pablo Miller’s Orbis connection and it both cited and linked to his Linkedin entry.

You might think that any journalist worth his salt would want to consider this interesting counter-evidence. But Harding merely tweeted again the blank denials of the security services, without question.

This is an important trait of Harding. Last year we both appeared, separately, at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Harding was promoting a book and putting the boot into Wikileaks and Snowden. After his talk, I approached him in an entirely friendly manner, and told him there were a couple of factual errors in his presentation on matters to which I was an eye-witness, and I should be very happy to brief him, off the record, but we could discuss which bits he might use. He said he would talk later, and dashed off. Later I saw him in the author’s lounge, and as I walked towards him he hurriedly got up and left, looking at me.

Of course, nobody is obliged to talk to me. But at that period I had journalists from every major news agency contacting me daily wishing to interview me about Wikileaks, all of whom I was turning down, and there was no doubt of my inside knowledge and direct involvement with a number of the matters of which Harding was writing and speaking. A journalist who positively avoids knowledge of his subject is an interesting phenomenon.

But then Harding is that. From a wealthy family background, privately educated at Atlantic College and then Oxford, Harding became the editor of Oxford University’s Cherwell magazine without showing any leftwing or rebel characteristics. It was not a surprise to those who knew him as a student when he was employed at the very right wing “Daily Mail”. From there he moved to the Guardian. In 2003 Harding was embedded with US forces in Iraq and filing breathless reports of US special forces operations.

Moving to Moscow in 2007 as the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, others in the Moscow press corps and in the British expatriate community found him to be a man of strongly hawkish neo-con views, extremely pro-British establishment, and much closer to the British Embassy and to MI6 than anybody else in the press corps. It was for this reason Harding was the only resident British journalist, to my knowledge, whose visa the Russians under Putin have refused to renew. They suspected he is actually an MI6 officer, although he is not.

With this background, people who knew Harding were dumbfounded when Harding appeared to be the supporter and insider of first Assange and then Snowden. The reason for this dichotomy is that Harding was not – he wrote books on Wikileaks and on Snowden that claimed to be insider accounts, but in fact just carried on Harding’s long history of plagiarism, as Julian Assange makes clear. Harding’s books were just careful hatchet jobs pretending to be inside accounts. The Guardian’s historical reputation for radicalism was already a sham under the editorship of Rusbridger, and has completely vanished under Viner, in favour of hardcore Clinton identity politics failing to disguise unbending neo-conservatism. The Guardian smashed the hard drives containing the Snowden files under GCHQ supervision, having already undertaken “not to even look at” the information on Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact the hard drives were not the only copies in the world does not excuse their cravenness.

We know, of course, what MI6 have fed to Harding, because it is reflected every day in his output. What we do not know, but may surmise, is what Harding fed back to the security services that he gleaned from the Guardian’s association with Wikileaks and Snowden.

Harding has since made his living from peddling a stream of anti-Assange, anti-Snowden and above all, anti-Russian books, with great commercial success, puffed by the entire mainstream media. But when challenged by the non-mainstream media about the numerous fact free assertions on behalf of the security services to be found in his books, Harding is not altogether convincing. You can watch this video, in which Harding outlines how emoticons convinced him someone was a Russian agent, together with this fascinating analysis which really is a must-read study of anti-Russian paranoia. There is a similar analysis here.

Perhaps still more revealing is this 2014 interview with his old student newspaper Cherwell, where he obvously felt comfortable enough to let the full extent of his monstrous boggle-eyed Russophobia become plain:

His analogies span the bulk of the 20th century and his predictions for the future are equally far-reaching. “This is the biggest crisis in Europe since the Cold War. It’s not the break-up of Yugoslavia, but the strategic consensus since 1945 has been ripped up. We now have an authoritarian state, with armies on the march.” What next?

“It’s clear to me that Putin intends to dismember Ukraine and join it up with Transnistria, then perhaps he’ll go as far as Moldova in one way or another,” Harding says. This is part of what he deems Putin’s over-arching project: an expansionist attempt to gather Russo-phones together under one yoke, which he terms ‘scary and Eurasian-ist’, and which he notes is darkly reminiscent of “another dictator of short stature” who concocted “a similarly irredentist project in the 1930s”.

But actually I think you can garner everything you want to know about Harding from looking at his twitter feed over the last two months. He has obsessively retweeted scores of stories churning out the government’s increasingly strained propaganda line on what occurred in Salisbury. Not one time had Harding ever questioned, even in the mildest way, a single one of the multiple inconsistencies in the government account or referred to anybody who does. He has acted, purely and simply, as a conduit for government propaganda, while abandoning all notion of a journalistic duty to investigate.

We still have no idea of who attacked Sergei Skripal and why. But the fact that, right from the start, the government blocked the media from mentioning Pablo Miller, and put out denials that this has anything to do with Christopher Steele and Orbis, including lying that Miller had never been connected to Orbis, convinces me that this is the most promising direction in which to look.

It never seemed likely to me that the Russians had decided to assassinate an inactive spy who they let out of prison many years ago, over something that happened in Moscow over a decade ago. It seemed even less likely when Boris Johnson claimed intelligence showed this was the result of a decade long novichok programme involving training in secret assassination techniques. Why would they blow all that effort on old Skripal?

That the motive is the connection to the hottest issue in US politics today, and not something in Moscow a decade ago, always seemed to me much more probable. Having now reviewed matters and seen that the government actively tried to shut down this line of inquiry, makes it still more probable this is right.

This does not tell us who did it. Possibly the Russians did, annoyed that Skripal was feeding information to the Steele dossier, against the terms of his release.

Given that the Steele dossier is demonstrably in large degree nonsense, it seems to me more probable the idea was to silence Skripal to close the danger that he would reveal his part in the concoction of this fraud. Remember he had sold out Russian agents to the British for cash and was a man of elastic loyalties. It is also worth noting that Luke Harding has a bestselling book currently on sale, in large part predicated on the truth of the Steele Dossier.

Steele, MI6 and the elements of the CIA which are out to get Trump, all would have a powerful motive to have the Skripal loose end tied.

Rule number one of real investigative journalism: look where they tell you not to look.

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967 thoughts on “Where They Tell You Not to Look

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  • Harry Law

    Dear Harry Law,

    We rejected the petition you supported – “Let Yulia Skripal explain what happened to her and her father.”.

    It included confidential, libellous, false or defamatory information, or a reference to a case which is active in the UK courts.

    We’ve marked this petition as confidential to avoid causing distress to the Skripal family. In any case, we’re not sure exactly what you’d like the Government or Parliament to do.

    We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards:

    The Petitions team
    UK Government and Parliament

  • Gerry Bell

    Also he looks like a typical upper class twit although the accent is definitely sub-U

    • Black Joan

      In a functioning Parliament Johnson and May would have been asked similarly direct questions. One suspects that their answers would have been Hardingesque in their lack of substance. Corbyn would not have done it so well as Arron Mate does, but of course the baying and howling from the denizens of the House of Commons meant that he had no chance to ask anything at all.

    • Thomas_Stockmann

      Thanks to Craig for posting that interview. Shame more journalists can’t be as logical and persistent as Aaron Mate was.

  • James

    Perhaps we might learn something from Bismarck here:

    “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.”

  • N_

    One big question is why did Alex Thomson at Channel 4 break the rules and reveal that a D Notice had been issued?

  • SA

    Thank you for articulating this about Luke Harding. His writing has always struck me as being puerile and self centred. In the days when he used to write more frequently in the Guardian, and when comments were open on his articles, I used to write critically about what he writes, and inevitably my comments would be deleted. Together with others such as Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen who write from remote locations about Syria, these hacks’ comments are never open to comments.
    But looking at the wider picture, the Guardian, together with the BBC have been recruited to do MI6’s work. The dates of conversion coincided with aftermath of the ‘Today’ exposure of the sexed up dossiers by Andrew Gilligan, which led to the sacking of both Gilligan and Greg Dyke, and in the case of the Guardian, the smashing of the hard disks containing the Snowden leaks.
    Of course the tentacles spread wider. Retired agents are now used to outsource the agenda.
    Le Mesurier: humanitarian intervention via the White Helmets.
    Steele and Miller as discussed by you.
    Hamish de Bretton Gordon chemical weapons and chemical protection.

    It really looks that we no longer have any independent media.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I am minded to say that investigating Skripal case now is for journalistic archaeologists, as the key question now is not who, when and where, rather what Mrs May got out of it and where the Middle East is heading.

    The US has gone full ape shit:
    1) Trashing the EU over Russia sanctions;
    2) Continuing the war against Syria no matter what;
    3) Demanding to rip up the Iran nuclear deal against express wishes of EU;
    4) Whingeing about the US being kicked out of Mayfair (the diplomatic equivalent of being blackballed at the Athaneum);
    5) Playing UK and France off against each other to maintain US hegemony over the failed EU project;
    6) Claiming nonsensically that the EU was set up to trash US, when it was a US/CIA construct to assure US hegemony post WWII.

    What we should all be asking is whether NATO still has relevance for Western Europe. The logical scenario now is US+Eastern Europe vs Russia + Western Europe. It is a fantasy that it will realign that way, but sentiment suggests it is the most logical right now….

    We should be asking why Europe should bow before US/Israel/Saudi in Middle Eastern affairs.

    We should ask how many South Americans want the US kicked out of South America permanently. Ditto Africa….

    And Britain should be asking how it can ditch the not Special toxic relationship as it is a dog on a lead to a neocon master relationship, not a freely consenting adult one.

    • Passer

      You are correct. It would be logical for Western Europe, notably Germany, to align themselves to Russia and China. Alas, the US got Poland and the Baltics under their control so there is a roadblock. Just think gas pipelines. It is obvious what is being played. Germany is a covert target.

      • Passer

        I wish to expand. When Trump attended the G20 summit last year he had a state visit to *Poland* but not to Germany which would have been very easy to arrange as the G20 was held in Germany. Think of that.

      • Pyewacket

        Also worth mentioning is that a railway terminus has recently been built at Duisberg, Germany, that is intended for the ever increasing rail freight traffic coming from China. I understand this is all part of China’s New Silk Road project, and a strengthening of the (SCO) Shanghai Co-operation Organisation economic and mutual defence bloc.

      • Yalt

        It has occurred to me that one of the reasons they would want to the get the war kicked off sooner rather than later is to get in front of that possible realignment.

    • Laguerre

      “and where the Middle East is heading.”

      The Middle East is not heading anywhere other than Russian/Asad success in Syria but slowly, in spite of all the argy-bargy. Unless the US is willing to risk open war with Russia, and they are not, to judge by the failed 102 missile strike, and indeed the failed 59 Tomahawk strike. War leading to US casualties wouldn’t go down well with the US public, no matter what the NeoCon war-hawk faction think.

    • Radar O’Reilly

      Rhys, your item 4) TheDon’s annoyance at the Embassy leaving Grosvenor Square, Mayfair – is purely because he hasn’t been briefed on the strategic value of the new location!

      Hopefully , here at Craig’s blog – we can update the pres. with an open fact or two. (Seems half his officers are still briefing agin ‘im)

      The new building, with its moat etc, is at nine elms, near the old flower market, vauxhall cross? Heard of that place? Craig put its pic at the top of the page, c/o Gordon Corera!

      In my youth I worked in the major digital telecommunications trunk-access-node in a basement situated exactly where the USA now live, the other engineers on site showed me their channel quality monitoring – including live voice decode of the in/out traffic of the Secret Intelligence Service, the United Kingdom’s MI6, which is just across the moat and a road.

      Isn’t it nice to have a moat in these days, makes me feel all feudal and in need of six episodes of Time-Team on Yesterday. I bet there be ancient tunnels too!

      Now as to which building is saying “jump” and which says “how high”, I couldn’t possibly update President #45 Donald John Trump on that.

    • james

      i don’t expect the uk, france or even germany to give up poodle status next to the usa any time soon.. i wish it was different.. it really is insane..

  • Xavi

    Brilliant, Craig. There were once journalists whose first instinct was to question the official line of Tory governments and highlight the misdirections and cover-ups. Not least at the Guardian, the most radical extreme of MSM. Today, that leftmost boundary of the press is occupied by warmongering fanatics like fool-hand Luke. Thank goodness we now have the internet and sites like craigmurray.org.

  • Sharp Ears

    His links to the Henry Jackson Society. Says it all.

    Russia: The Mafia State | Henry Jackson Society
    2 Nov 2011 – By kind invitation of Fabian Hamilton MP, the Henry Jackson Society hosted a discussion with Luke Harding, Journalist and Author of the recently published ‘Mafia State’. Luke will be offering a fascinating insight into his time in Russia and the dark and brutal undercurrent of thuggery, secret police and …

    ‘Death of a Dissident’ | Henry Jackson Society
    4 Jul 2012 – I think the last one was when we had Luke Harding; some of you may have been present to hear him. We are very privileged today to have Marina Litvinenko, who is the widow of Alexander Litvinenko. Marina graduated from the Industrial Petrochemical and Gas Institute as an economist and engineer.

    • Dan

      Look at the Terms & Conditions of the event:

      “We reserve the right to request that any person leaves a Guardian Live event if that person’s conduct is unacceptable (in GNM’s reasonable opinion). No refund of fees or any other costs will be made in these circumstances.”

      I imagine any mention of DSMA Notices would result in a swift ejection…

      • Jo Dominich

        Hi Dan, maybe 20-30 of us should go and do just that – get expelled and get media coverage!

  • Steve Hayes

    The corporate media is a propaganda network. The Skripal case demonstrates this beyond any reasonable doubt. The so called reporting on this case has been absurd, irresponsible and clearly biased from the outset. The longer it has gone on, the more inconsistencies and lacunae and outright contradictions have appeared, reducing the reporting to the surreal. Rob Slane has a neat summary of the nonsense one has to believe if one accepts the official narrative: http://www.theblogmire.com/the-uk-governments-skripal-conspiracy-theory/

    • Radar O’Reilly

      Yes Steve, that’s an excellent link to a *real* Salisbury resident and a modern journalist/broadcaster of accurate facts and straight questions. Entirely unHarding-like!

  • saluspopuli.org

    Yes. Steele dirty dossier-Pablo Miller-Skripal….FBI-Justice. US and British Deep State collusion to manipulate US domestic politics and foreign policy. We raised this likelihood here in earlier threads. One objective relating to the control of US foreign policy was achieved as Trump forced to reverse his campaign promises concerning better relations with Russia, ending unnecessary foreign interventions, and the like. Pompeo and Bolton appointments significant recent indicators. Huntsman as ambassador to Russia an early indicator. Mattis and McMaster early indicators.

  • quasi_verbatim

    A masterly analysis from Mr. Murray which unfortunately endangers the lives of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Unforeseen relapse, don’t you know.

    Atlantic College, by the way, is a Rothschild/Khodorkovsky hotbed of New World Orderism and training camp for putative Deep State apparatchiks from around the globe.

    • N_

      Thanks – I’ll have a look at Atlantic College. Few remember nowadays that Khodorkovsky was picked out at an early stage by Jacob Rothschild. That simple fact tells a lot about how things really work in the world.

      Did you know that when a visit by Vladimir Putin to London was being arranged he asked to visit the Rothschild HQ at New Court in the City, to, ahem, express his thanks for everything that Rothschild interests had “done for Russia”?

  • Peter C

    “They suspected he is actually an MI6 officer, although he is not.”

    I came to the conclusion (or rather a long held suspicion was confirmed) during the course of the Skripal and Douma affairs that many of these ‘journalists’ are indeed members of the security forces, or of some other government agency. They may not be paid directly and they may not have MI5 or similar on their CVs, but it is clear that they do indeed act directly for the State, and not in any political way. It is clearly the State they work for, not politicians even if they do have overt political links.

    • Silvio

      More and more circumstantial evidence accumulates to suggest that the late German journalist-turned-whistleblower Udo Ulfkotte wasn’t just blowing smoke up our nether regions in his book Gekaufte Journalisten.

      English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?
      by James Tracy

      On May 15, 2017 Next Revelation Press, an imprint of US-Canadian-based publisher Tayen Lane, released the English version of Bought Journalists, under the title, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News.

      Tayen Lane has since removed any reference to the title from its website. Correspondingly Amazon.com indicates the title is “currently unavailable,” with opportunities to purchase from independent sellers offering used copies for no less than $1309.09.[note from OffG- we also checked on Amazon UK, as of January 7 2018 the book is unavailable there too]

      The book’s subject matter and unexplained disappearance from the marketplace suggest how powerful forces are seeking to prevent its circulation.

      Gekaufte Journalisten was almost completely ignored by mainstream German news media following its release in 2014. “No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book,” Ulfkotte observed:

      Continued here:

      • Barden Gridge

        At the end of the RT Ulfkotte video on the above page, he mentions the Bundesnachrichtendienst (equivalent of MI6) trying to get a helicopter pilot in the German air ambulance service to work undercover for them. He says the pilot lost his job as a result of refusing.

        You can see why that would be an interesting person for the spooks to have securely on their side:
        able to get to any incident that needs the right kind of management in a matter of minutes, able to take people away for the right kind of treatment.
        I wonder if they made similar arrangements with air ambulances all over Germany.
        I wonder if this is standard practice in other countries.

        I’m trying to think of a recent incident in the UK in which an air ambulance was involved under mysterious circumstances.

    • Radar O’Reilly

      That thought had Occamed Razored to me also, as otherwise it would’ve been impossible anywhere other than the old grey Soviet Union where every single fugging news outlet in the fugging country was hysterical on the same script from the start. And kept it up for weeks, with AuntySematizm thrown in for ‘light relief’

      When entire systems are that astonishingly coherent , and out of step with the news reporting of the other EU nations, (until the OTAN/NATO fix went in), well, coherent systems have an externally pumped source of coherence (MI5/mossad?) and have mirrors to focus the beam.

      It’s generally dangerous and worrying to look at the output! Sunglasses maybe also needed. Tin-foil hats might work a bit against coherent news drivel.

      So what is the C&C (command and control) channel that is being using against we the people, in this anti democratic way? Does everyone controlled have a Weather app on their special iPhone which (sometimes) gives the agenda of the day, or allows on many days a pretence of give/take/debate. Do they get briefed at work by the management, by the producers? Does the 5:20am Shipping Forecast contain codewords beyond just the nuclear strike stand-down, too complicated. Do they all get briefed in garden parties by minor royals?

      Machine learning, although not perfect, could actually work on the Skripal affair and assign a high likelihood of ‘contaminated’ news. Any free academics left with a couple of compsci students and a hundred quid AWS budget?

      It started with The Times which wrongly reported Sergei’s death on the Monday. That journo should start the list.

      Remember, I’m not an “-ist”, I believe in my country and the rules of the institutions that I was taught, I haven’t seen any official notice of variation in defending the realm but recently UK plc seems to have been subverted/subsumed/bought by others, and I don’t include Putin.

    • Yalt

      I too was struck by the certainty of Craig’s claim there.

      But it’s certainly possible to be an MI6 asset without being an officer.

  • N_

    Reading about Luke Harding makes me wonder whether the MI6 Russia desk was run by the Boris Berezovsky organisation. Certainly the relationship was strategic. Nikolai Glushkov won’t be telling anyone about it now.

    As for this bit…

    Possibly the Russians did (the Salisbury job), annoyed that Skripal was feeding information to the Steele dossier, against the terms of his release“,

    what terms of his release? Did the Russian Foreign Ministry tell Britain “You can have Sergei Skripal, OK, so long as a) he refuses any MI6 requests to help with stories that might damage Donald Trump, and b) we get Anna Chapman”? It’s par for the course that swapped assets continue to help the organisations that recruited them. Then they go cold because they aren’t much help any more.

    Does Skripal have much experience in psyops? He was head of the GRU’s personnel department.

    Possibly the Russians did, annoyed that Skripal was feeding information to the Steele dossier, against the terms of his release.

  • Passer

    Steele, MO6 and CIA elements are out to bring Trump to heel, not necessarily to get him out of office. The whole thing revolves around getting Trump under control and onto a neo-con, clintonesque plattform. And it’s happening. I don’t know what role Adam Schiff and others are playing; but Adam Schiff has one thing in common with John Bolton, and that is a link to Israel (dual citizenship). I think this is where all roads lead to.

  • Jones

    just a thought, perhaps Sergei told Yulia something about the Trump Dossier, if he was being surveilled/bugged and the security services discovered this maybe that is why she had to be silenced too.

    • Doodlebug

      @Jones 13:01

      Not wanting to leave a witness to the crime would be a far simpler explanation.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Clearly an excitable chap. There is a big old territorial gap between the Donbas and the depopulated, minority Russo-phone, postage stamp that is Transnistria.
    While I can’t condone the Kremlin encouraging tiny breakaway republics of Russian sympathetic ethnic populations, it is a cost effective method of blocking admission to NATO and the EU by generating a de facto lack of territorial integrity in the would be candidate nations. I don’t see Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as land grabs as such but rather as defensive blocks against EU encroachment / NATO encirclement.

    • Geoffrey

      Likewise Ukraine will not state that is at war with Russia because if it does it will affect the funding it receives from the EU.

  • DaveM

    What strikes me is how much Harding blinks during that interview. He is clearly under stress (overly-frequent blinking being a non-verbal signifier of stress and potentially of dishonesty), and sounds deranged. I’m astonished that I managed to sit through half of it before switching it off.

  • Ugaine

    Andrei Lugovoi, one of the men accused of Litvenenkos poisoning had previously served time in Russia for organising the escape of Nikolai Glushkov, the Russian found strangled to death some days after the Skripal poisoning. Don’t know what the significance might be but it does seem an interesting coincidence.

    • N_

      Then there’s assassinated Maltese whistleblower Stephanie Caruana. No MI6-owned Luke Harding figure dare write a book calling Malta a mafia state (or Ireland).

  • N_

    It’s interesting how some who write about “Windrush” use the word “dogwhistle”, whereas the term “Windrush”, with or without the other word that until recently preceded it, is itself nothing but a dogwhistle.

  • Antonyl

    Luke Harding, hard to forget. Before he was refused re-entry to Russia he wrote stuff about South Asia where I live. The twist in his years of reporting (from a comfy place in New Delhi) was always in the same direction. He pieces read as if the were written in London. Good riddance of bad rubbish.

    • Salford Lad

      The Security agencies operate in a Machiavellian mind-set. If they produced a D- Notice on Pablo Miller, they must have been aware this would leak into the public arena and send people chasing down blind alleys.
      The name of the game is deception, deceit ,distraction and diversion.
      We should keep an open mind on the agenda that is in play. Ultimately that is to undermine Russia and Putin, to demonise them first in the public arena, followed by information warfare as propaganda, ,economic warfare by sanctions and finally military warfare.
      With Russian declaration of superiority in new hypersonic weapons declared on 1st March 2018, the last has a forlorn hope of success.
      Low level warfare by other means and proxies will continue in Ukraine, Syria and fringe republics of Russia and provocation in the Baltic borders of Russia.
      The coming collapse of the Petrodollar, to be replaced by the Petroyuan will bring all this to a conclusion. That is Putins strategy ,to buy time and prevent chaos and a world economic crisis by contagion.

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