Spy Games 932

Russia has its GRU in addition to its KGB (now FSB and SVR). The UK has its Defence Intelligence in addition to its MI6 and GCHQ. Much less high profile, Defence Intelligence is more analytical than operative – as indeed is GRU, Skripal was an analyst.

Defence Intelligence had its proudest modern moment when it refused to endorse MI6’s pack of lies on Iraqi WMD, and earned the hatred of MI6 and of Blair and Straw as a result. This was confirmed by the Chilcot report which stated that MI6 even actually hid some of the intelligence material from the Defence Intelligence Service to prevent their rubbishing it.

I hope you will forgive me for pointing out that the opposition of the Defence Intelligence to the Blair Dirty Dossier was first revealed in my memoir Murder in Samarkand, a decade before the Chilcot report confirmed it. It was one of the many reasons Straw attempted to block publication, and one of the many things revealed in my memoir – including of course the UK’s complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition – which the government claimed to be untrue, but in due course has been proved to be 100% accurate. As it should be, as Murder in Samarkand only recounts things I personally witnessed first hand.

As this is the last day of Banned Books Week, I hope you might further forgive me (and I know I am pushing it) if I mention my prequel to Murder in Samarkand, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. I view it as a much better book, and I was bitterly disappointed when my publisher, who had bravely defied the government lawyers over Murder in Samarkand, backed down and pulled the publication of The Catholic Orangemen due to libel threats from mercenary commander Tim Spicer. It thus became a Banned Book. I privately printed and sold 1,000 copies, and as technology advanced more recently made it available on print on demand. (I know, Amazon…) But it remains a real regret it has reached so few people. You are welcome to download it entirely free here.
Anyway, after that lengthy advertorial let me get back to the DIS. DIS remain rather more attached to the truth than MI6, so when Defence Minister Gavin Williamson tweeted out a thrilled endorsement of Bellingcat’s work on Colonel Chepiga, DIS urgently advised that he delete it. Which he did.

Which is not to say DIS are sure it is not Chepiga; rather they believe – as would anyone with half a brain – that the Bellingcat photo falls a long way short of proof. The British security services have been unable to stand up the ID with facial recognition technology. The experts are describing the Boshirov/Chepiga identification as “possible”.

I have this information from an impeccable Whitehall source, who told me there is a concern in the security services that runs like this. They genuinely believe Boshirov and Petrov are GRU agents and the would-be assassins. (I judge that my source themself believes the security services really do think this). Bellingcat, while they are sometimes fed security service material, did not in fact get fed the Chepiga material by the CIA or MI6, whether or not through a cutout. The security services are worried the Chepiga ID may be a blind alley fed to Bellingcat’s sources by the FSB. If the UK government endorses it, this could be followed by the Russians producing Chepiga and apparently discrediting the entire British narrative.

Hence the fact no charge has been laid against Chepiga, and the charges are still in the name of “Boshirov”, plus the fact that no British minister or official has named Chepiga, with only the fool Williamson stepping out of line and being slapped down.

Please note I am not endorsing the views and beliefs of the British intelligence services; I am reporting them.

Russia is fascinating at the moment. Komsomolskaya Pravda reports Ministry of Interior identification experts unofficially endorsing the Chepiga/Boshirov identity. Now there is no way these experts in the Ministry of the Interior – who would not be hard for the authorities to single out – would have done that for Komsomolskaya Pravda without an official nod. Either the Russians are indeed egging on the British into a false identification, or some inter-agency rivalry is afoot in Russia. This follows on the very open report in Kommersant – which is very close to Putin – that opinion was divided in Chepiga’s home village.

None of which brings us an awful lot closer to the truth of what happened in Salisbury, which I suspect is a great deal more complicated than any official narrative. But it is a fascinating peek into a shadowy world most people never see inside, with which I was once familiar.

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932 thoughts on “Spy Games

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  • Republicofscotland

    In Alice in Wonderland world of the Tories, Theresa May calls the shots on Brexit and the EU will eventually fall into line because Britain won the war.

    Jeremy Hunt, equates the EU to Russia in the bad old days of the gulags and lubyanka’s. Blighty however is a paragon of decency afternoon tea and democracy, and the EU will succumb to our stiff upper lip resolve.

    Of course the reality on Brexit is that the DUP are calling the shots. Post Brexit and the oncoming famine who among the Tories is fit and proper to be the next PM?

    Or will Labour finally stop their infighting, and seize the moment. One thing is for sure the next five, six months will be an interesting time in British politics, as Westminster gives itself just enough rope to hang Britian out to dry.

    But not to worry the media will publish our exit of the EU as a victory over Johnny Foreigner, and his uncouth ways.

    Chocks Away! Good Old Blighty.

    • Andrew H

      But you cannot blame May for any of this. Blame rests squarely with the 17+ million people who voted for it (and to some extent 10 million or so who didn’t care to go to the polling station). [Yes, probably the MPs could just have said we are not doing this because the voters are too dumb to make this kind of decision, but neither political party tried to take that position], and here we are at precisely what all those who voted for Brexit actually voted for – chaos, no plan, and no way out.

      • jazza

        you mean like the tories did during ted heath’s reign – when the goverment did say ‘the british are too thick to vote for the eec’ – as evidenced in released papers from the time – what we ‘see’ is not brexit but a comedy show of the incompetent and purely global planning of the tories – who’s thick now?

      • Hatuey

        Andrew H: “But you cannot blame May for any of this…”

        Hilarious. Her whole Brexit strategy has been undermined by reliance on DUP support. Do you think the Irish border would be such a problem if they didn’t depend on the DUP in the Commons? If not May, who would you blame for that weakness?

        The price the U.K. is to pay for May staying in power is a botched Brexit and a return to the troubles in Northern Ireland. You’d need to go back to Churchill’s campaign in Dardanelles to find a disaster that compares to the one we are walking into because of May.

        Today she tells Tories that if they don’t watch out they might end up with no Brexit at all — this from a woman that campaigned to remain. Crackers.

        She gives ugly people who got into politics for the right reasons a bad name.

        • IrishU

          What was the PM’s Brexit Strategy?

          Claiming that there will be a return to the Troubles is over-egging the pudding. The PSNI and MI5 have the dissidents riddled with informers. Sinn Fein wouldn’t contemplate a return to violence, it would destroy their electability in the Republic of Ireland.

        • Andrew H

          Brexit was doomed to be botched from the day it was voted for. There is no possible way it could have been done differently that would have resulted in a different outcome. This is a case of all roads lead to Rome. Your response reeks of denial.

          • Bayard

            “There is no possible way it could have been done differently that would have resulted in a different outcome.”


          • Andrew H

            Trouble is Bayard, I don’t recollect UKIP promising we would remain in EEA. I also, don’t recollect the EU promising they wouldn’t kick us in the balls for this.

          • Bayard

            “Trouble is Bayard, I don’t recollect UKIP promising we would remain in EEA.”

            Well, if you only listened to UKIP pre-referendum, then that would explain why you thought there was no alternative to the current mess. Personally I thought they were worthy of as much notice as HMG and their Project Fear. Remaining in the EEA always was an option, just not a very probable one.

            However I would agree with you that “Brexit was doomed to be botched from the day it was voted for”, but that was because it was going to be implemented by the Tories., although even I have been surprised at just how badly they have cocked it up. It always was the best reason for voting Remain: if you vote to leave, look at who will be doing the negotiating.

      • Andrew H

        What sugar coated Brexit plan were you hoping for when you put an X in the box? I hope sincerely that a ton of these people land up on the dole because that is called Karma.

      • Tom

        Yes, we can blame May. She was installed in power to pursue the most hardline Brexit strategy despite the fact half the British people wanted to remain in the EU and many of the other half wanted a soft Brexit. She has spent two years trying to deceive the voters about the economic effects of Brexit, while going out of her way to antagonise both Remain voters and the EU.
        Only now that her threats to the EU have completely failed is she trying to pose as a moderate in a desperate attempt to save Brexit.
        It is hard to think of much difference between what May has done and treason. She says she voted Remain and then humiliated the country by pursuing Brexit that she knows is against the national interest, simply because the shadowy people backing her leadership told her to.
        In my opinion, May is an absolutely vile individual who deserves a long prison sentence when all this is over.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile the apartheid state of Israel, which claims it’s a democracy, though the word doesn’t appear in its Proclamation of Independence.

    Is to use F35 stealth fighter jets in Syria, to counter Syria protecting its borders using S-300 missiles.

    I’d imagine after Israel’s ungracious action using a Russian plane as cover, that Syria is more than justified to deploy such weapons to defend herself from external threats.


    • Republicofscotland

      Staying on the only “democracy” in the ME for a moment.

      “One of the largest Jewish charities in the U.S. has been secretly funding a shadowy online blacklist targeting college students who criticize Israel.”

      “For three years, a website called Canary Mission has spread fear among undergraduate activists, posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights. The dossiers are meant to harm students’ job prospects, and have been used in interrogations by Israeli security officials.”

      “At the same time, the website has gone to great lengths to hide the digital and financial trail connecting it to its donors and staff. Registered through a secrecy service, the site is untraceable.”


    • Salford Lad

      The F35 fighter jet may be the Achilles heel of the US Military Industrial Complex. The jet went into production with approx 270 unresolved glitches. A boon doggle in Yankee terminology. An estimated $1 trillion was spent on its development.
      To recoup the costs, Nato and US allies were pressured into buying it.
      It is now accepted by the US military that Russia has superior nuclear weaponry ,since new hypersonic and nuclear powered missiles were revealed by Putin in his speech to the Duma on March 1st 2018.
      This of course cannot be put to the test short of a Nuclear war.
      The superior Military strength of the USA is a perception .that must be maintained, to maintain its dollar reserve currency and its target countries subdued.
      This perception can be shattered by the destruction of its conventional weapons. the main one is the much hyped F35 jet fighter, the carrier fleet being in reality floating coffins ships in modern naval warfare.
      The recent downing of Russian il20 AWAC in Syria has been a strategic disaster for Western regime change Forces and Israel.
      Russia has now deployed S300 air defences there. Should Israel continue its serial & aerial missile attacks on Syria from Lebanese and Meditteranean airspace, the S300 has the capability to shoot down their F35’s.
      This would destroy any perception of Western Military superiority and see a massive shift in allegiances from West to East, as smaller Nations seek the protection and superior defensive weaponry of Russia.
      The Law of unexpected consequences makes its appearance.!

      • steve

        I thought somebody in Israel, Washington or Whitehall would have made the claim that the Russians themselves allowed the IL20 plane to get shot down, then use the cover story of the Israeli jets as a cover in order to use that as a reason to send the new missiles. Then the marajuana wore off….

    • Rowan

      @Paul Greenwood : “Does anyone mention that Trotsky founded GRU with help from George Hill of SIS ?” That’s delightful:
      In his memoirs, not generally regarded as entirely reliable, he described how he took the Romanian crown jewels from the Kremlin to Iași, helped Leon Trotsky to organise a military intelligence service and the Red Air Force, ran guns to Ukrainian nationalists, and recruited German agents for counter-intelligence work. According to Hill he personally blew up an enemy gasworks, overpowered an assassin who attempted to kill him with a grenade by striking him in the head with a brick and ran one of 2 men who had followed him from secret meeting through with his swordstick.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Alan Sugar will already have his bolt hole in Israel but he was never able to sustain his Amstrad business in quite the way Michael Dell did.

      Frankly I’s rather have James Dyson as an entrepreneur than Alan Sugar

      • Herbie

        Amstrad was quite an expensive product in its day, with unnecessarily expensive peripherals.

        DELL wasn’t.

        But anyway, Alan says he doesn’t know where he’s going to go.

        • John A

          Yes, Sugar made most of his fortune from Sky decoder boxes. When he was a major shareholder in Spurs, he attended the meeting of the top clubs to vote on whether to accept the ITV bid for live football or the Sky bid. As he had a vested interest in Sky winning, he should have recused himself from the vote. But for some reason didn’t. He allegedly also advised Sky of what ITV had bid and to ‘blow ITV out of the water’. Sky duly won the bid and Sugar made a fortune. Whether or not that was good for football is debatable but it was certainly good for Sugar.

      • Hatuey

        Funnily enough, I went out to buy a cordless vacuum cleaner the other day and decided against a Dyson on the basis that he was a pro-Brexit idiot. I got a Shark instead and it’s great — all the reviews suggest Sharks are better too.

        • Brian O'Blivion

          From Shark CEO – Mark Rosenzweig III, pro-brexit Israeli businessman?

        • Bayard

          Do Sharks have the stupid hidden filter that Dysons have? If not, they are the better product, Brexit or no Brexit.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Sugar is now a property magnate, he effectively got out of ICT when he spent a decade owning Spurs.

  • Sharp Ears

    Craig Murray
    The £2 million tsunami relief announced by the UK government is half the amount recently invested by Jeremy Hunt in seven luxury marina side flats in Southampton to add to his letting empire.
    plus some good comments on

    Oct 2
    The British government sends £2 million to help Indonesian tsunami relief. Compared to the £50 million cost of the bombs alone it dropped on Libya in helping destroy that country’s physical and social infrastructure.

    Spot on there Craig.

  • Doug Scorgie

    My post: Oct 3 16:01.
    “Sturgeon died of a drug overdose.”
    Very strange. I wrote Sturgess and checked before posting!

  • Blunderbuss

    To more serious matters. I heard on RT’s Going Underground that shadow chancellor John McDonnell (In an interview with Andrew Marr) said he would not appear on RT. Is this true? If so, is this self-censorship to avoid being labelled a communist?

  • Sharp Ears

    The banality of evil.

    Westlife, the Irish group, are making a comeback apparently. On Sky News this morning, a male presenter called Neil somebody is a fan and is excited at the news. He told a story about the CIA using Westlife’s music in their enhanced interrogation activities on terrorist suspects in Afghanistan, ie torture. He and the female, Sarah Jane, fell about laughing.

  • Sharp Ears

    Bless John Pilger. We must be thankful to have his voice in this bleak political wilderness.

    Unrelenting vindictiveness’: Pilger talks MSM landscape & Assange, Syria & US sanctions wars
    4 Oct, 2018 02:57
    There are two types of media in the world – approved and unapproved – and the public is generally only allowed to see the former, journalist John Pilger told RT. He also spoke about Western sanctions and Trump’s approach in Syria.

    Speaking to RT’s Going Underground, Pilger said that he believes you can categorize the news as approved or unapproved. “Basically we’re allowed to see the approved news but not allowed to see the unapproved news. Usually the unapproved version is the evidence…it’s the piece in the puzzle that allows us to make sense of the news; we’re denied that.”

    Pilger, who is British, went on to address the media landscape in his country – particularly the Guardian, which, he says, carries on a “campaign of unrelenting vindictiveness against Julian Assange.” He said that after the Guardian exploited Assange and benefited from his work and the work of WikiLeaks, the whistleblower then “received the full force of the Guardian’s displeasure.”

    That abuse, he said, is on a level that he can’t remember seeing from a newspaper against an individual in his lifetime.
    “Assange refused to be a member of the club.. he was so successful and he showed, I think, that the media is really, probably always has been, never more so than now, an appendage of established power. He shone a light on that and that was unforgivable.”
    Pilger also touched on the subject of Syria, stating that he believes US President Donald Trump wants to get out of the country but feels he can’t.

    “My own reading is that Trump would like to get out of Syria – it’s messy, it’s costly for him, he doesn’t really need it. There’s no morality here, he just pragmatically doesn’t want it. But there is Russia in Syria, quite successfully in Syria if you like, having helped stave off a major defeat of the government, so he feels he must face up to them.”
    Staying on the topic of Russia, Pilger noted that, despite being heavily sanctioned by the West, Moscow continues to operate just fine.
    “Russia is massively sanctioned but Russia goes on. It goes on and has formed a very close alliance with China,” he said, adding that “China is a bit sanctioned, might be more sanctioned. It doesn’t really give a damn actually.”
    Read more
    US to accuse China of undermining its security by selling weapon components too cheap – report
    When it comes to Iran, another country heavily sanctioned by the US, Pilger said that Washington wants to recover its p

    • Sharp Ears

      Oops. I was going to edit that a bit but whizzy Windows 10 sent it instead. Here is the link


      and the rest of the script.

      ‘When it comes to Iran, another country heavily sanctioned by the US, Pilger said that Washington wants to recover its power in the region, which it hasn’t had since the fall of the Shah of Persia in 1979.

      “The US has never really recovered…its equilibrium, its power in the Middle East. It wants Iran back – if not back, it wants to deny Iran the independence of the Iranian state,” he said, noting that the UK and the EU want to continue trading with Iran – despite being told not to by Washington – because “there are riches to be made” there.

      But, while Trump attracts criticism for his tough stance on Iran and his withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal, Pilger said that Hillary Clinton would likely be doing the same thing if she were president.

      “Be assured that a President Hillary Clinton would probably be doing the same thing to Iran – this is the same Hillary Clinton that, when she first went campaigning in 2009, said at one rally that she was prepared to annihilate Iran.”’

      • Andyoldlabour

        I totally agree, I keep a football whistle by the phone for those annoying calls from “Windows support”.

  • Gary

    I think there is more than “inter-agency rivalry” in Russia. It’s a country where it’s difficult, even for those in office, to be openly in disagreement.

    Based on things I have gleaned, no HARD facts, I think that there are deep divisions and that Litvinenko, Skripal and other actions are NOT coming direct from Putin as they should. And, when they are, they are leaving ‘signature’ traces that allow the world to look to Russia as the culprit. I’ve seen an interview where former French Intel were saying that this is in connivance with French/UK/US intelligence services and is being used to destabilise/remove Putin and, obviously, have someone more easily malleable in post. I can’t attest to this but it makes much more sense than anything else…

  • Radar O’Reilly


    I think there is more than “inter-agency rivalry” in Russia. It’s a country where it’s difficult, even for those in office, to be openly in disagreement.

    Well Gary, you are very optimistic in your thinking and analysis.

    Look at it like this, UK/USA is desperate for an external enemy, a scapegoat for everything, mil spending, economy, broken investments, Brexit and event the wrong sort of democratic voting.

    So, Russia has been chosen to be “they”, the external eternal enemy, which is fine by me. Lots of juvenile made up stuff has been thrown around.

    However, let’s try reverse analysis from the scapegoat’s point of view , this shows that Russia feels it is being targeted by an external enemy. It actually IS, evidentially.

    So , in the face of UK/USA sanctioning (for internal national security reasons), screaming ‘Wolf!’ or ‘Squirrel!’ every few weeks , the Russian nation, psyche and power structures are being STRENGTHENED by this relentless drivel.

    Those “in office” seem to have no “open disagreement” because ALL Russian citizens and their hierarchy are aware of the external enemy, an actual weak enemy, currently waving a lot of hysterical flags, and strengthening their target.

    Don’t you lot employ any analysts?, don’t you think about world reactions to patently made-up stuff.

    Putin’s popularity is declining, but there is little to no-risk , in the current information war, of him being replaced. The guys who actually *might* replace Putin, not the paid $$$ ‘malleable’ shills, but the actual waiting-in-the-wings guys are VERY SCARY.

    Russia is very corrupt, always will be, but UKUSA becoming evidently just as corrupt is not the way to win this information-war, you’re so short-termist.

    “Inter-agency rivalry”, “magic Unicorns” more like!

  • Rupert Beer

    I’ve tried to open ” Banned Books 2018 UK ” on Google, but Web Page is unavailable. Any suggestions anybody?

  • Blunderbuss

    I’ve just been reading “An inconvenient death” by Miles Goslett, about the death of Dr David Kelly in 2003. Apparently, no coroner’s inquest was ever held but the post mortem showed a slashed wrist and an overdose of Co-proxamol. This conflicts with my memory of the event. I thought he had been poisoned by butyl alcohol but I must be thinking of another death which occurred in similar circumstances. Can anyone remember who was the victim of the butyl alcohol poisoning?

  • wendy

    one would think that the russians could easily confirm the identity of one or two of their operatives without the need of experts.

  • Brian Eggar

    I have just sent the following complaint to the BBC Complaints Dept.
    For the last two days, all the BBC News channels have been making reference to Bellingcat and his identification of the second of the two characters from central casting.

    I admit that for news, I rely on Russia Today and other alternative news sources as I find BBC News misleading and with a propensity to promote and repeat propaganda.



    I note that you are very careful to cover yourself by repeatedly referring to Bellingcat but in a manner to infer that this person is a respected and qualified news source.

    Has any BBC News reporter been instructed to check out the details of Belingcats accusations and if so what did they find?

    There are so many holes in the Government narrative that the Skripal case might become known as “The Case of the Leaking Collander”.

    To add yet more confusion, a thought occurred to me today when reading about the $2.1 billion research programme being conducted by the US Government into bioweapons and given the name “Insect Allies” or should that be “Insect Follies”. £170 million of that money went to Porton Down, to do what I would like to ask?

    This raised in my mind two thoughts. Could Skripal have heard about what was going on at Porton Down and perhaps the danger to Russia and therefore it was thought necessary to silence him and the other thought was that maybe these two Russian characters were involved in intelligence and had been suckered across to pick up information or samples from someone?

    I have read about the GRU in Soviet times and they came across as the very elite unlike the bunch of clowns that are pictured today. There again British Intelligence appears to be following the same path.

    Maybe the BBC is constrained in their reporting due to the D notice and so are unable to report accurately or defend themselves.

    Their reply might be interesting.

    • Ron Chandler

      Bellingcat is an unqualified unemployed layabout chancer who thought it a cracking wheeze to sit around on his couch talking to terror-enablers like one Matthew Vandyke, for instance, who helped traffic weapons to Syria for MI6’s cannibals in 2012. ”Brown Moses” as he dubbed himself, then sucked up to the Atlantic Council/NATO/FCo/MI6 liars by accusing Russia of shooting down Flight MH-17. On this, and on his specious garbage saying the Syrian army used sarin at The Ghouta in 2013, he was comprehensively exposed as an unqualified, incompetent liar. None of this prevented him being picked up by English warmongers so he could join Rami Abdel-Rahman of the Syrian Observatory Of Human Rights in being propagandists to further the UK’s war crimes. It’s a testament to the rottenness in English media and public life that these Goebbelses are given cover and cred.

  • Ron Chandler

    I continue to believe that Skripal was involved in trafficking chemical weapons agents, likely sarin, to the Idlib terrorists on behalf of MI6 demons, and that that was why he was targeted. Targeted, but not successfully by Russia. He was then dragged into a fake ”Russian attack” by the nincompoops in the FCO and from there on, it’s been a total farce.
    Another farce has played out in Brussels with the nincompoops attempting to spy ion the OPCW HQ with antiquated snooping gear.
    This smells like more Spy-Vs.-Spy-Maxwell-Smart-style tomfoolery.
    Amazingly enough, even George Galloway seems to have partly fallen for the Boshirov/Petrov lies even tho’ the Brussels gig has him in stitches.
    As Off-Guardian is reporting on numerous persons objecting to their 9-11 book review, thinking jet fuel brought down the towers, one wonders whether even cretinous Bellingcat rubbish has a chance to fool the British public.

  • Tony Kevin

    Interesting, enigmatic piece by Craig Murray . He and Catte Black of Off Guardian are withholding judgement on Skripals. More questions than answers. Tony Kevin.

  • Washim

    Shikhar Dhawan is an Indian international cricketer. A left-handed opening batsman and occasional right-arm off break bowler, he plays for Delhi in domestic cricket and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. He played for the Indian Under-17 and Under-19 teams before making his first-class debut for Delhi in November 2004.

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