Who Paid Dani Garavelli? 318

Tortoise was sponsored to produce the Dani Garavelli attempted assassination of Alex Salmond by Tulchan Communications, the same firm that employed Ruth Davidson on £50,000 a year for 24 days of corporate lobbying – until banned by the Scottish Parliament.

Tulchan Communications is an openly Tory body. Its Chief Executive is Lord Feldman, former Chairman of the Tory Party. Its directors include Lisa Kerr, former SPAD to George Osborne. It is a part of the UK’s suave system of corruption, whereby political hacks with the inside track get paid huge bungs by firms to influence ministers in their favour on tax, contracts, regulations etc.

It is genuinely not my normal style to judge an argument by who said it or by who paid for it. Nobody can possibly accuse me of not having judged and critiqued Garavelli’s article on its own merits.  But the reaction to my critique, both from the mainstream media and from a whole slew of paid SNP staff, was to attack me for receiving subscriptions for my blog.

That led me to the train of thought that the source of funding for this blog is open – it is you, the readers, voluntarily – but why were those same people not asking who funded Ms Garavelli and why?  I might not have done anything about it until I saw a tweet from Ms Garavelli stating that her piece had been “legaled” several times. Which is expensive.

By the fine art of provocation I got more details from Ms Garavelli of just how extensive her involvement had been.

Indeed, when you think about it, that makes it even more remarkable that she managed to speak to not a single person from the defence nor reflect any of the evidence of the defence witnesses. All that work yet meeting only one side? But it also makes this very expensive. Why would a magazine nobody reads pay so very much for a completely one-sided hit-job on Alex Salmond?

Tortoise claims to have an entirely new model for “slow” journalism, hence the name, putting in the research. That fits with what Garavelli has done here, although when you have made not the slightest effort to get more than one side of a story I am not sure why that is called “journalism” as opposed to “propaganda”.

Tortoise accepts subscriptions of £100 per year, but that is a minor part of their income. Most of their income comes from corporate sponsorship, and though they do admit this on their website, they are coy about which company is behind which article. BP are among the major actors. In the case of Dani Garavelli being employed to try and destroy Alex Salmond, the initiative to commission it from Tortoise came from Tulchan Communications. Garavelli was a very safe bet for this. Her normal employer is the independence hating “Scotland on Sunday”.

Garavelli had described the massive All Under One Banner marches as “the flag-fixated organisation beloved of the Trumpian tendency” and claimed they are disliked by the “mainstream” SNP. It seems to me highly improbable that Tulchan Communications would have expended so much money without giving Tortoise a pretty strong steer that they wanted an entirely one-sided account. The propaganda purpose is of course revealed immediately by the fact that Tortoise’s pretend subscription model operates from behind a paywall, but the Salmond attack article was pushed out for free everywhere. But I do not know what Garavelli’s brief was, and Tortoise could be pretty sure what they would get from Garavelli. I must add in fairness that I have no information whether Garavelli knew that Tulchan Communications were funding Tortoise for her article. It would be nost interesting to know whether she spoke to Ruth Davison at any stage.

Tortoise is what is politely known as an “Atlanticist” organisation, like a media equivalent of the Henry Jackson Society. It was co-founded by James Harding, Cameron appointed former Head of News at the BBC, by the ex United States Ambassador to the UK and by a Jack Daniels whisky heiress. Its corporate sponsors include the Bill Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Capita and BP. Radical it ain’t.

James Harding was of course the former Murdoch editor of the Times and Head of News at the BBC, who claimed that it had been his mission to make BBC News more pro-Israel, and later claimed that he had succeeded. I think we can say he was telling the truth.

All the people at Tortoise and all the forces they represent are firmly opposed to Scottish Independence. Tulchan Communications are extremely firmly opposed to Scottish Independence. Scotland on Sunday are fanatically opposed to Scottish Independence. Dani Garavelli makes a living from ridiculing Independence supporters.

So when Alex Salmond, who lifted the SNP into government and political dominance from small beginnings, was found innocent at trial, and these ultra anti-Independence forces combined to do a hatchet job on him effectively disputing the verdict of the court, the SNP needs to unite in congratulation and stop the self-interested sniping. Now.


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318 thoughts on “Who Paid Dani Garavelli?

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  • Jm

    Bravo Craig!

    Outstanding and real journalism these last few weeks.

    So refreshing to read someone who isn’t bought and paid for.

  • John A

    What lying/innuendo is the Dani character talking about? All the innuendo was in her pathetic hit piece. Her piece is also remarkable for what it omits, and particularly clearly only giving one side of the story.

    Mr Murray has totally demolished her smear job with cold hard facts. That she was in the court for all 15 days, suggests she is clearly no threat to the establishment, that did its very best to stop Mr Murray from attending any day. I am sick to death of the lugenpress as the MSM is famously labelled in Germany.

  • Vronsky

    “the SNP needs to unite in congratulation.”

    If you push your tongue any further into your cheek you are going injure yourself.

    • Republicofscotland

      I was thinking that myself, there’s a war of attrition on its way within the SNP for the heart and soul of the party.

      The independent minded side must win it, or the SNP will be, dare I say it, seen as just another unionist party at Holyrood, dishing out the occasional good policy to the masses.

      We are at war with the union and all its commerical allies who oppose independence.

      • Shatnersrug

        I don’t know what the answer is RoS, haven’t been through all this with the Labour Party and ending up with instant Starmer and looking at all the good we’ve done rolled back in a matter of days, I find myself despairing. The British state is masterful in crushing opposition by infecting the host from within.

        • Gerald Fords Dog

          This is the establishment MO. Infiltrate and co -opt from within, much the same as the Americans. One should expect it in every sphere of life where there is any kind of opposition to the establishment gravy train/status quo. It is at it’s most infuriating and frustrating when you know it’s happening yet either can’t see who has been gotten at or when you recognise it but others can’t because they’re still listening to the MSM who are part of the infiltrate and co-opt playbook. Labours assassination under Corbyn was not only heart breaking but I think the last straw for me and yes Starmer is hardly going to respect the wishes of the 15 million who voted for a Corbyn manifesto.

  • Steve Hayes

    I suspect the SNP’s problem is not so much the anti-Independence forces outside the SNP, but the anti-Independence forces inside the SNP.

  • affa nae weel

    🙂 well done Craig, no surprises there, we remain in the most corrupt society in the world ( how long has the ‘city of London’ been going ? ) Run by bankers, for banks. From reading whats er names article, one could tell that she was bought and paid for, contemptable.

  • Weechid

    Craig, I am so grateful that we have people like you who can dissect and call out the lies of these people. Keep doing what you are doing – and watch your back. I’m worried that this virus will be the excuse for many a loss to our movement.

  • Mary

    James Harding. One of the subjects of this piece on Electronic Intifada, the others being James Purnell and Ceri Thomas.

    Apologists for Israel take top posts at BBC

    Purnell became Head of Strategy and Digital at the BBC.. He is now Director, Radio and Education, a wide ranging remit.

    The Guardian gave this attribution to Thomas. ‘Ceri Thomas is editor of news startup Tortoise, and a former editor of Panorama and the Today programme at the BBC.’

  • diabloandco

    Take great care Craig , those shits that call themselves journalists appear to get away with murder – as the saying goes.

  • Tatyana

    Mr. Murray, you should not explain your income. You are a private individual and you don’t spend taxpayers money. Only the court can ask you to explain your income, as far as I know.

    As you rightly noted, subscribing to your blog doesn’t mean agreeing with your opinion. Can your opponent confirm the same? Can she confirm that Tortoise paid her in despite of her point of view?
    Prepaid artickles are something different than independent journalism, isn’t it? That’s the point, and that’s the difference between you and Dani.

    The truth is on your side.

  • Humphrey Gairloch

    Thank you Craig, fantastic investigative journalisim.
    Please take very good care of yourself, many of us worry about your safety at this time.

  • iain

    “Tortoise is what is politely known as an “Atlanticist” organisation, like a media equivalent of the Henry Jackson Society. It was co-founded by James Harding, Cameron appointed former Head of News at the BBC, by the ex US Ambassador to the UK and by a Jack Daniels whisky heiress. Its corporate sponsors include the Bill Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Capita and BP.”

    Sounds like the kind of journal a Hillary fangirl and admirer of ol’ red hands McCain would appreciate.

    • Mary

      Were you referring to the ‘hair icon’, Hillary Rodham Clinton? LOL

      ‘2016 Democratic Nominee, SecState, Senator, hair icon. Mom, Wife, Grandma x3, lawyer, advocate, fan of walks in the woods & standing up for our democracy.
      New York, NYonwardtogether.org ‘

      I liked this riposte to her appeal for funds,
      ‘ @prudentinvestor
      Replying to
      Your foundation collected more than $600 million for #Haiti and built a mere 6 houses – probably for some staffers of your criminal scheme.
      Step up and donate before you go to #Gitmo.
      #humantrafficking #corruption #childslavery #WWG1WGA
      7:22 pm · 3 Apr 2020·Twitter Web App ‘

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Mary April 5, 2020 at 14:47
        ‘..fan of walks in the woods..’ – for her enemies??
        The Hildabeast is definitely not a fan of Gary Webb’s or Terry Reed’s books…or Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips’ books.

    • Antonym

      When I hear Atlanticist I immediately think Five Eyes. Four “aye aye sirs!” really plus the one giving the commands – all Anglos. They do not stop meddling into the North Atlantic ocean only: the Persian Gulf became their main theater of operation, to protect their petro-dollar.
      The https://www.theatlantic.com/world/ is their public “friendly” face.

  • Mark Hawkins

    Since she has made clear the identity of one of the anonymous “victims” and is now possibly exposed to contempt charges will she or her sponsors be asking for their money back from the legal advisors?

  • Andrew MacGregor

    I’ve always had questions over Garavelli’s output. For a while she was like Stephen Daisley, putting out material initially seeming to back democracy and self determination. Then overnight a change to anti-independence views and character assassinations of leading players in it.
    This though, is disturbing. No attempt at retaining any sense of principled journalism by Dani. A simple propaganda piece designed to get readers to call into question the integrity of the Scottish Legal system and the verdict. No account taken of the lies, the clear mainpulation and coordination of the allegations. No mention either of the months of work by 22 full time officers who trawled for accusations and came up with nothing.
    It’s safe to say, I believe Ms Garavelli is a propagandist of a similar bent to Tokyo Rose.

  • Ian Foulds

    Gosh, you are on fire young man.

    May these greedy and obnoxious organisations and their puppets end in a different hell from me.

  • Jon

    > Tortoise was sponsored to produce the [article] by Tulchan Communications

    That’s interesting Craig – I’ve tried to verify that from the Garavelli piece itself, but cannot find anything. I has assumed there would be a “sponsored by” link or similar. What led you to connect the piece to this PR firm?

    • Roger Mexico

      I was curious about that as well. Tulchan are certainly one of their corporate sponsors:


      which you might think was bad enough as a corporate communications firm can be acting as a front for any unacknowledged influencer. (Delightfully I have just looked it up on Wiki and that is almost literally what a tulchan is – talk about hiding in plain sight).

      I suspect Craig may have received more specific information, though. Certainly if specific organisations are funding individual articles (not just in this case) it should made very clear.

    • craig Post author

      Hi Jon,

      One of these occasions when I can’t give my source. But if they seek to deny it they could be in for an unpleasant surprise…

      • Roger Mexico

        I thought that might be the case – if Tortoise really are producing ‘sponsored’ articles without them being heavily flagged (and to be honest even if they are flagged) then it undermines any pretence they have at producing the sort of impartial, in depth output that they claim. Of course it’s even more damning if the sponsor is a PR company with an unknown client behind it. So you would expect a fairly fast rebuttal – which we haven’t seen yet.

        Also, is it just me or is that typeface they use really irritatingly pretentious?

  • Willie

    The expose of asking the questions about who paid Dani Gravelli brings into sharp focus the dark forces that lie behind the establishment.

    Keep it up Craig. Folks need to know what is going on around them, how they are being fed propaganda, how they are exploited.

    The absolute failure of the current Scottish Government to protect Scotland against Brexit, their reluctance to pursue independence, their eagerness to have Salmond taken out, their blind acceptance of Dominic Cummings protect the economy and let em die policy, is no accident.

    It is exactly what Westminster want, indeed planned for. A compliant Scottish Government, a puppet regime, all under the guise of a once Independence Party. But the establishment also know that people like Salmond, like Cherry, like Sillsrs, could challenge that and take the population with them.

    That is what the establishment fear. Keep up the good work Craig.

  • Muscleguy

    Well said Craig, sniping at you for asking people to voluntarily give you money and stopping NOBODY from reading you regardless yet taking the shilling of corporates who are against the right of self determination and want unshackled rights to trash the planet and in the case of Capita to suck as much money from the public teat whilst doing as little as they can get away with and paying shite wages and offering bad conditions is a hypocrite of the highest order.

    By their friends and associates shall they be judged. He who pays the piper chooses the tune. It is true when hiring musicians and it is true in other modes of life as well. If Ms Garavelli does not wish her funders examined she should choose better funders and better topics to traduce.

    What is she going to do when we are independent? Continue to snipe from a Unionist perspective? I doubt such voices will be very popular as the public mind moves to what sort of nation we shall be. The latter will surely attract and consume more minds than grumpy unionists grumping about having lost.

    IF Sturgeon ever discovers that she owns a spine or is removed for someone who has one and we get IndyRef2 the gloves will be off as far as I’m concerned. It will be time for our Project Fear. I fully intend to conjure the ghost of Thatcher tricked out in a blonde haystack wig and multiple illegitimate sprogs. I intend to practice in the privacy of my house and become very good at it.

    Those of a nervous disposition should beware. Last time it was sometimes hard to persuade people that the cuddly FibDems in the coalition and that oily Cameron were a problem in need of independence as a solution. This time around the most nakedly right wing, Ultra Xenophobic, unfettered Tory govt since Thatcher it will be a cinch. Scots do not like such beasts.

  • Shatnersrug

    Nice on Craig, I believe as our friends in the US say you handed Ms Garavelli her ass!

  • Patricia

    Another great piece Craig, but I ‘m afraid, l will never trust SNP again. They have shown themselves to be as corrupt and self serving as all political parties especially in this last couple of years. They seem determined to be top of the class in ‘woke’ studies, whilst relegating to the history books human rights and justice.
    If our hugely expensive governments are incapable of serving our interests and resisting their puppet masters, then what use are they? We’d be far better off brainstorming a new way forward without them.

  • pete

    As befits any writer/journalist who might claim to champion transparency in politics, Dani Garavelli has no Wikipedia page to update this background info on her propaganda work. So we only have the opportunity to highlight her efforts in the wiki Propaganda page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda
    I am sure no one is likely to remove any entry a public spirited citizen might like to add there, after all the last time Phil Cross touched the page was way back in, er, October last year.
    Yes Craig, it is odd that a subscription web site like Tortoise should make one of it’s pages open to all, but that’s how the misleading information machine works, go figure.
    As for the report, how else is a pen pusher without scruples and willing to try to ruin someone’s political ambitions for personal gain going to earn a crust?

  • Cubby

    Dani Garavelli says on twitter that she is old school and it is always nice to see her work in print as Scotland on Sunday reproduces her article. Of course that paper should be called Britnat on Sunday just as its sister daily The Scotsman should be called The Britnat.

    She is old school – the school of paid propagandists and liars. Britnat to her core. Just when did she sign the Ragmans roll.

  • Robert

    It’s interesting to note that Tortoise are also supported my Edelman, the PR firm who ran “influence campaigns” for Integrity Initiative/ Institute of Statecraft in the Western Balkans. The leaked papers go into this in some detail. The co-director of Edelman’s influence campaigns for II/IoS was Alastair Aitken CBE, former Commander of the 77th Brigade and the Associate Director was Simon Patterson, a former Intelligence Corps Officer and a serving reservist with 77th Brigade.

    Probably just a coincidence.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    This seems to be a bit of the old Kelvin McKenzie lambasting politicians for playing with high class nooky away from home, then getting caught doing exactly that himself on a Caribbean Island….similar anecdotes can be made about Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and Piers Morgan.

    You are apparently a ‘deviant’ for accepting gifts to defray the costs of running your website, but she ‘expects to be paid for doing her job’.

    Seems that, according to her, you have to be paid a salary to be a ‘worthy’ journalist.

    My jaundiced view on 30 years of observing journalism in action is that it is almost impossible to be a ‘true’ journalist if you actually DO get paid. A few remain true to their calling, but the vast majority are just hacks for hire. Mostly to the highest bidders (which tend to be big corporations, billionaires etc etc).

    It is the same in my first profession, science, in many fields nowadays. The truth tends to come from ‘Emeritus Professors’ or those who have retired from work in the private sector. Neither of those are seeking new grant income, so can afford to tell the truth rather than spin the party line. Those wanting £2m in new grant income know how to play the game ,which includes spinning the line the new funders want spinning.

  • Doug

    Well said, Craig. These anti-Scottish propagandists are getting more and more desperate – a good sign in many ways.

  • Marmite

    Thanks for this. I don’t know much about the subject, but I do see why you are attaching so much importance to it.

    Who else is there, apart from Mr Murray, who is interested in real journalism, in the here and now?

    Even in the left-wing media, as meagre as it is, all we really get are variations on mainstream news items, albeit tweaked to reflect a different agenda, and perspectives that essentially just confirm our own points of view, so that it feels as if one is standing in the mirror.

    There are very few places where I feel I can go right now, and be challenged by actual investigative research (rather than crackpot hypothesising) that exposes power and dishonesty, so my question above really is in earnest.

    As sad as that sounds.

  • Stewart Lochhead

    I’m as certain as anyone can be that James Harding works for British Intelligence.

    • pete m

      Pretty sure most of our Corporate Media presstitutes are in some way collaborating with the intelligence services . Operation Mockingbird never went away

  • Ian T

    Had meant to visit Paypal to supplement my monthly subscription to your blog after reading your article on Hutcheon. Made sure to do so after reading this article. Honest journalism deserves to be supported. Now more than ever. Keep up the excellent work.

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