“Credible Open Source Reporting”, the Intelligence Services and Scottish Independence 286


I write as somebody who held Top Secret clearance for 21 years, with extensive daily use of Top Secret material that entire time, and the highest possible specific codeword clearance above Top Secret for 11 years. I personally conducted for the FCO the largest “action on” operation in GCHQ history. (“Action on” is the process of declassifying top secret material for, in my particular case, government to government use). I have also given evidence in person in a three hour appearance before Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

The BBC has all morning been trailing the imminent report by the Intelligence and Security Committee as showing Russian interference in the Scottish referendum campaign according to “credible open source reporting”. It is hardly a surprise that Westminster has weaponised its report to attack not the British Establishment but Scottish Independence.

“Credible open source reporting” is a piece of formal security service intelligence assessment jargon. It is very important you know exactly what it means. It means material not from secret human intelligence or from communications intercept, but material which has been published, in the media or academia. Stuff that is as available to you or I as it is to the intelligence services. Not intelligence material at all. Nothing to do with the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The last high profile deployment of the “credible open source reporting” formulation was the dirty dossier on Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction, where the PhD thesis of Ibrahim al-Marashi was the source for untrue claims about Iraqi WMD. Al-Marashi, now a Professor, states his work was distorted and altered to suit the agenda of the Iraq War.

Mr Marashi’s student thesis, Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation, was not only plagiarised. It was also altered, as the British government and intelligence establishment sought to strengthen what in truth was uncertain evidence about Saddam’s efforts to develop WMD.

The point of “open source reporting” is that it is published and we can all see it. We could have seen al-Marashi’s PhD thesis. But Blair’s Iraq Dossier did not give the name of the source. It did not say “according to the student Ibrahim al-Marashi”. It said “Intelligence services say that credible open source reporting says…”.

“Credible open source reporting” is a propaganda formulation designed to fool you and give a false imprimatur to any dubious piece of published work.

So the grand Intelligence and Security Committee will not say “According to the article in the Herald by the Russophobe nutter David Leask and the publicity seeking Jennifer Jones”… It will say “According to the intelligence services, credible open source reporting says…”

But actually it is absolutely no more than the former. Dressed up falsely as “intelligence”.

All of Scotland must ask. “Open source reporting. Can I see it then?”.

Yet our so-called journalists are all parroting “open source reporting” without one of them asking where it is.

UPDATE – we now have the report itself. A footnote gives the justification for its “credible open source reporting” on Scottish Independence. It is incredibly flimsy:

44 For example, it was widely reported shortly after the referendum that Russian election observers had suggested that there were irregularities in the conduct of the vote, and this position was widely pushed by Russian state media. We understand that HMG viewed this as being primarily aimed at discrediting the UK in the eyes of a domestic Russian audience. More recently, we note the study by Ben Nimmo – #ElectionWatch: Scottish Vote, Pro-Kremlin Trolls, 12 December 2017.

Yes, that is Ben Nimmo, £5,000 a month consultant to the Integrity initiative, and his identification of scores of ordinary Scottish tweeters as “Kremlin trolls”. You will recall that one sure sign of a Kremlin troll according to Nimmo was use of the phrase “cui bono”. Nimmo was Leask’s source for the Herald article I quoted above.

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286 thoughts on ““Credible Open Source Reporting”, the Intelligence Services and Scottish Independence

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  • Tim Clacy

    UK Column New did an excellent segment yesterday on this ‘Russia hacking’ drivel.

    David Scott, from Northern Exposure, pointed out that in 2017, the SNP accused Russia of working against Scottish independence yet now Russia is accused of aiding Scottish independence.

    They also point out that the it’s the same usual suspects involved in this report as were behind the thoroughly discredited US RussiaGate pantomime and the puerile Skripal theatrics.

    – Richard Dearlove
    – Christopher Steele
    – Pablo Miller

    – Carole Cadwalladr
    – Luke Harding

    – Integrity Initiative

    This clip starts at David Scott’s commentary
    https://youtu.be/VSLwx48czM8?t=220

    • Gary Littlejohn

      I have downloaded the report but not yet read it apart from the first few pages. So I can add Anne Appelbaum and William Browder who are notorious Russophobes. In the case of Bill Browder, he has lost his court cases in the West about the ‘murder’ of Magnitsky, at least partly because Browder claimed that Magnitsky was beaten to death, a claim repeated recently by Shaun Walker in The Guardian, whereas the photos of Magnitsky’s body are on the Web and clearly show no marks whatsoever. Christoper Steele also recently lost a court case in the West: his evidence does not stand up to scrutiny either. The other two ‘non-members of the inteligence community’ are named as Christopher Donnelly and Edward Lucas. The former could be an American political scientist and the latter seems to be a UK journalist who writes mostlyabout China.

      It is a worrying sign of group think that the ISC committee accepts as given that Russia has a weak economy: Nothing xould be further from the truth nowadays. Google the late (recently died from COVID) Swedish economist John Hellevig to download his pdf report ‘Russian Economy Strong and Stable’.Russia has problems but is the fifth largest in the world on the PPP measure and has sovereign wealth funds that can cover all government and corporate debt. No other country in the world is effectively debt-free. It can feed its own people from what is now a highly productive agricultural sector (in sharp cotrast to the Soviet period) and is innovating in a whole series of civilian industries. Industry is about 30 per cent of rhe eocnomy, whereas in the UK it is only a fragile 10 per cent, which makes growth difficult because UK service sector companies are mostly using mature technologies.

      With regard to interference in the Scottish independence referendum, I recall reading on a pro-SNP website (it could have been Bella Caledonia) about the results for one part of Scotland. The postal vote would have had to be about 96% ‘No’ to overcome the votes cast at the ballot box, and it is statistically impossible that postal voters would be that dissimlar to other voters in that same area. So the postal ballot was rigged there. I am not in favour of Scottish independence but I am in favour of fair and free elections.and I can see why the opinion polls have changed in favour of independence recently.

      • Phil Espin

        Excellent comment on Russia’s economy Gary Littlejohn. The committee claim that HMG didn’t assess the Russian “threat” properly and didn’t want to know, then immediately make the same mistake. Parroting the Russian economy is weak indicates they didn’t do a proper job in gathering evidence in the first place. It all looks like a propaganda exercise to me. I would like to see a proper independent assessment of Russia’s economy and whether it posts a threat to the U.K. or not. I suspect not but am open minded enough to be persuaded by an intellectually unbiased report that looks at proper evidence not self serving comments from western stooges.

        • Sven Lystbæk

          For en estimate of GDP by PPP per country see this and note that Russia is the largest European economy in the 2020 estimate by IMF not known for being biased in Russias favour:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

          The report talks a lot about Russian oligharchs living in the UK with close ties to mr. Putin but fails to mention that Russia has requested scores of them extradited for crimes and tax evation not least among them the much talked about serial liar mr. Browder..Needless to say these criminals are all seen by the powers that be in the UK as wanted for political reasons and consequemtly protected.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            “.Needless to say these criminals are all seen by the powers that be in the UK as wanted for political reasons and consequemtly protected.”
            They are protected because they are friends of the American deep state.

    • Stevie Boy

      I understand Bill Browder is also involved in the report – proof, if needed, that it’s corrupt and false.

    • Jo

      Edward Lucus…. Anne Applebaum….Browder etc etc…probably Bellingcat too? All peoples with proven russophobic histerical agendas .

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      True, but Craig’s point is (I think), if the material is public, why anonymise the source?
      The whole “it was the Russkies wot boosted support for independence to 45%” angle is as predictable as it is infuriating.

  • Republicofscotland

    The British government are in a panic over the thought of Scottish independence, Johnson unannounced Trump like visit to Scotland is a sign that he and Gove aren’t sure yet of what course of action to take, to try and save the union.

    The power grab via the internal market bill and the latest HoC bills on the selling of ofc the NHS will only give more momentum to the movement.

    I expect the pace to quicken quite considerably on the independence front from both Sturgeon and Johnson in the coming weeks as they both try and counter each others moves, of course Sturgeon cannot afford to lose on this one no matter how high her ratings are at the moment.

    http://archive.is/evS8a

    • Squeeth

      Are you sure? Couldn’t it be a repeat of the Poll Tax, when the Thatchler regime used the colony in north Britain as a prototype?

        • Shatnersrug

          I don’t think the British govt are in a panic about Scottish indie As long as Sturgeon rules the roost. I think they want to keep Alex and by extension Craig, out of it, but we already knew that.

          With the current state of the British press There is literally no bad news for the govt that can’t be spun to be bad news for The opposition and dissidents, and that’s what we are now.

          I read Craig, the Canary, Johnathan Cook, Greyzone, and a vast array of single voices but they need to brought together by a good editor. Craig’s blogs have a deep penetration as do Cooks, but as long as they’re single voices they can be marginalised.

          I don’t know what the answer is. I hope the new tribune would be more than it is but it has studiously avoided the anti Semitic smears, as have Novara media, that makes me immediately distrust both.

          Peter Jukes and byline media are another example. Peter is smart and talented and byline have the potential to be great, but he is a wealthy centrist and often jumps on the blame Russia bandwagon because he, like many southern centrists just cannot except either brexit or trump, so look for the easy blame. The class privilege of the centre left make them sitting ducks for decimating false narratives and so they do, I suppose because they all harbour that hopeless of all conceits “Britain is really great, it’s the current lot that are messing it up because they’re in league with out enemies” it’s a fundamental plank of the liberal delusion.

          In the centrist delusion Julian is a rapey Russian spy, Alex is a Rapey Russian spy, Craig maybe a Rapey Russian spy, Jeremy is too parsimonious to be Rapey but he must be a Russian spy.

          It’s almost like they’re getting all this info from the same place 🤔

          • Republicofscotland

            The radio stations are awash today with anti-Russian rhetoric, of how they “interfered” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and other UK elections.

            It’s all just heading turning propaganda to take the pressure of off Johnsons appalling record as PM and his disastrous handling of the pandemic.

  • Squeeth

    I don’t take any notice of the corp-0-rat media and the regime broadcaster; thanks for wading through that cess-pool so that I don’t have to.

  • U Watt

    Could he a fresh effort to forestall a Salmond comeback now folk are getting wise to his successor. The Weinstein strategy didn’t work so now they’re reheating the insinuation that he’s the Kremlin’s man.

  • N_

    The Guardian are giving a link to the Russia report at a US advertising company’s site.

    Mustn’t ask about “meddling” in Britain by Google, eh? Imagine if a journalist or politician even tried.

    Footnote 28 from the report:

    ‘Wedge issues’ are highly divisive subjects which bifurcate a country’s population, often (but not always) into socially liberal and socially conservative camps, and which often to at least some degree transcend traditional political party boundaries. Examples of wedge issues include abortion and gun control in the US and Brexit in the UK.

    Did Cummings write this bit (note the love of jargon as if it explains anything and the use of the mathematical term “bifurcate”), or did whoever held the pen at the committee want to sound like him?

    Or perhaps they were in a Guards’ regiment and remember their “wedgies” at Sandhurst with fondness?

    • N_

      The Russia report is totally taking the p*ss. There’s a lot of redaction, but the redacted report contains

      * no mention of Cambridge Analytica

      * no mention of Alexander Nix

      * one SINGLE mention of Arron Banks! In a footnote (seriously!) that concludes with the statement that the National Crime Agency found “no evidence” that Banks had done anything naughty.

      So much for “parliamentary scrutiny”.

  • Billy Bones

    Well what exactly did Russia do, is what I scream at the telly daily. I voted in the Indyref in 2014 and to my knowledge, my vote was not influenced by any Russian.

    I do however remember the daily diet of SNP baddery perpetuated in the BBC (as Alex salmond called it, the British Brainwashing Corporation) and screamed from every hysterical newspaper stand, that we were all doomed, if we voted YES.

    I also remember Barack Obama being enlisted to tell Scots that ‘it was up to us but that he hoped we folks would stay under UK rule’, along with, Elizabeth Windsor, (‘think very carefully, plebs’), banks, Insurance Companies, supermarket stores, the CBI, Manuel Barossa saying we would be flung out of the EU if we voted No etc. etc. Ad nauseum.

    Indeed, it’s quicker to name who did NOT take a stand in 2014 against Independence.

    Thank you for this Craig. No wonder the Britnat legal establishment in Scotland want to ‘pit the hems oan ye’.

    So there ceratainly was interference in the Scottish Independence Referendum, but not by Russia.

    • N_

      The SNP used the BBC as an example of something that wouldn’t change and would still be broadcasting north of the border in the normal way if Scotland became independent.

      From Election Propaganda 101
      That’s called trying to win the middle ground. Almost all elections are about Better The Devil You Know versus Time For A Change. Towards the end of the campaign, when most people who have bought the “strong” stuff have already made up their minds, both sides try to sell some “weaker” stuff to the “middle” – “crumblers”, “flakers”, “floaters”, whatever – terminology differs. The continuity side says “sure, continuity yes, but change for the better too” (remember Gordon Brown and “the pledge”?); while the change side says “sure, change, yes, but big dollops of continuity too” (see what I referred to from the SNP about the BBC).

      ^ That’s how electoral politics works, especially when both sides in a two-player game are set to exceed 40%.

    • Mary

      Here is the stooge for the New World Order.

      US president Barack Obama addresses the prospect of Scottish independence as well as Britain’s membership of the European Union on Thursday, during a joint press conference with prime minister David Cameron in Brussels. In a briefing which followed talks with G7 leaders, Obama says the union of Scotland with the rest of the UK worked well, and that the US valued Britain’s ‘seat at the table’ in Europe
      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2014/jun/06/barack-obama-scottish-independence-us-uk-united-video

      Warning. Both Obama and Cameron are on a video there. Where are they now?

      Cameron’s running his China outfit but he backed the wrong horse. Timing Dave!

      David Cameron pushes ahead with troubled $1bn China fund
      Viability of former prime minister’s scheme put in doubt by UK’s growing criticism of Beijing
      https://www.ft.com/content/a0b3858e-4e92-4db2-83fd-a6550d0b1427

      Obama is running his Foundation, in the style of Mr A C L Blair.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama_Foundation

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama_Foundation

    • Goose

      Quote : “the preponderance of pro-Brexit or anti-EU stories” on the Russia Today and Sputnik TV channels at the time of the vote.

      We’ve the most partisan media(esp. tabloids) in the world and they talk about channels with a tiny audience. Do peole remember how Dacre’s Mail campaigned calling High court judges ‘Enemies of the People’ etc?

      • Goose

        That headline was after the vote obviously, but they campaigned for Brexit with the same ferocity.

  • N_

    I love this bit from the Russia report:

    The UK [that’s what they call Britain] has no equivalent to FARA“.

    FARA is the US “Foreign Agents Registration Act”. Guess what – AIPAC isn’t registered under FARA.

    Maybe it’s “anti-Semitic” to say Zionists support Israel?

  • Aidworker1

    So they didn’t look if these was Russian interference in our politics and elections. The can’t give any examples.

    I suppose they also didn’t look if there was Israeli interference in the last general election. Methinks that was rather more overt!

    • Goose

      ‘Russian-linked’ social media accounts is wholly misleading too.

      Disagree with US/UK policy position on war or foreign policy in a way that aligns with Russia’s position? Then you sir, are the proud owner of a Russian-linked social media account.

      Yes, it’s as tenuous as that.

  • pete

    Craig, thanks for revealing to us that ‘credible open source reporting’ means ‘some bloke the government gave a bundle of money to’. The main stream media are going to have to do a lot better than that to get this Russian conspiracy plot off the ground.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      ” The main stream media are going to have to do a lot better than that to get this Russian conspiracy plot off the ground”. But they don’t have to since there is nobody to contradict them, and it doesn’t even matter how many people believe them as long as appearances can be maintained.

  • Contrary

    Oh well now, interesting phrasing now I see that article again ‘How Scottish Cyber Activists try to GAME twitter’. I think I might use this as credible open source material to give proof that it is the uk security services that have started the meme that has spread in the hearts and minds of pro-independence, and anti-independence, supporters regarding our Holyrood elections, where a pro-Indy list only party would be ‘GAMING’ the system.

  • Dungroanin

    I look forward to a full analysis of the report. Even as the Obssesive Groaniad tries to spin the Intelligence Committee Report into ‘Everything is Russia’s fault’ (Nandy shows her true ‘colors’) – Never mind US government and billionaires and social media, Cambridge Analytica, SCL and western DS admitted but ignored real interference in our referenda and recent elections.

    ‘Committee members said they could not definitively conclude whether the Kremlin had or had not successfully interfered in the Brexit vote because no effort had been made to find out.’

    Just a little throwaway paragraph hidden away.

    ‘when they asked for written evidence from MI5 at the start of their inquiry, the domestic spy agency “initially provided just six lines of text” ‘

    & how the Tory government made sure no oversight was possible.

    ‘No single organisation within government was prepared to take on the “hot potato” of “defending the UK’s democratic processes” the committee concluded. Britain’s spy agencies saw their job as providing “secret intelligence as context” for ministers.’

    i.e. no proof of Russkies doing ANYTHING but so also no evidence of the foreign billionaires either – the Nelsonian blind eye turned to these robber barons and the usual scapegoating of ‘Russia dunnit’ without ANY evidence!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/21/russia-report-reveals-uk-government-failed-to-address-kremlin-interference-scottish

    Along with Muttis magnificent wisdom and wiles and Staying Up Late powers to coalesce the EU towards its Founding Ideals – I am feeling much more optimistic today!

  • Merkin Scot

    Just heard Mr. Hosie happy to support the Union policy against this ‘clear and present threat’ from the Russkies.
    The Beeb is happy to show that the 51st Division will always sacrifice itself for the Crown.
    The SNP leadership happy to be used in this way, it seems.
    .
    Shame on you, Nicola.

  • Republicofscotland

    Jeez oh listening to Stewart Hosie on the radio trying to give legitimacy to British propaganda over Russian interference in UK political affairs, tells me that Hosie sees himself as settled in at Westminster for the long term.

    He’s fallen a long way from his days of putting George Robinsoin his place in a head to head on Scottish independence, many moons ago.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Quelle surprise. The Party has been thoroughly compromised for some time. Stephen Gethins was a notorious Russophobe in the HoC. Gethins was the first SNP MP to be “allowed” a post on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. That is to say, the Party put him forward to represent the collective. Gethins was a first time MP with a majority of TWO! FFS! Gethins waltzed straight into a post at the notoriously Atlanticist, School of International Relations at St Andrews Uni. after loosing his constituency in 2019. It’s no coincidence that the “auld haunted barn” that housed the Integrity Initiative was just down the road. The SoIR is a den of junior spooks.
      Oh, and don’t ask about Humza Yousaf’s time in the State Department’s, International Visitor Leadership Program.

      • Republicofscotland

        Vivian.

        There’s a few shall we say that are perfectly happy with the status quo, such as John Nicholson, Alyn Smith and Pete Wishart, whose been at Westminster for years now, the SNP should be settling up at Westminster, not settling in.

  • Jack

    So after the 3 year of collusion hysteria in the US, the same hysteria have now moved to the UK,

    The newly released report boils down to this:
    In the US, Russia influenced and hacked (a claim itself have not been proved!) and therefore it happend in the UK. Period.
    Reason why UK have no evidence is because UK gov. havent looked.

    Now why should have UK gov. investigated something if there was no sign of illegal activities?

    Besides it makes no sense for Tories being allegedly soft on Russia.
    This is just a hitjob by the liberal/left just as it was in the US.t.

    • Brian c

      The Tories are being bribed by all manner of Russian money. What country are you from, Jack?

      • Jack

        Brian C

        Those russian oligarchs do not represent the russian state, they represent themselves and their own personal interest.

        • Brian c

          Who knows what they represent or what they want? The only certainty is it is at odds with the interests of ordinary people in this country,. You seem fine with that, so I’m assuming you are not a resident of this country.

          • Jack

            Brian C

            They live outside Russia simply because they dont like the rulers in Russia,
            I am not ok with any lobbying, just pointing out the obvious.

        • Julia Gibb

          I disagree! They may be extremely wealthy but they still need State Protection of their wealth. They have simply changed “Masters” for a time. The may change again ( e.g. America).

          The Tory Party donations are simply their version of an insurance policy (a far lower cost than actual taxation)

          If you come in an inflatable you are an illegal migrant. If you come with Billions and support the Tories….”How many UK passports will you require Sir”

  • John A

    This Russian report is even more of a nothingburger than the Mueller Report. No doubt drivelmonger propagandist Harding will soon churn yet another fantasy filled potboiler and fawning space in the gruaniad.

  • Muscleguy

    Colleagues from Dundee RIC were at the count the RT team were at. I have it direct from them that they were rabble rousing and nothing they claimed was even remotely true. The repeated fire alarms were a serious nicotine addict repeatedly trying to avoid the smoke detectors in the men’s bogs. The ‘pre arranged ballots’ were uncounted ballots placed on tables pre labelled for later in the count. There were not a plethora of tables or space.

    And note this ‘suppression of the Yes vote’ supposedly happened in the most Yes City in Scotland. We voted 57% for Yes. Not a very good suppression campaign even it were real. Also with only 100k popn we did not have the numbers to overturn the vote even if every adult in Dundee had voted Yes.

  • Marc Barham

    So once again Russia is the enemy and an enemy to British democracy?! it is laughable. The only genuine threat to democracy and ”our way of life” which is the right to peacefully protest, to dissent and to oppose such governments in Britain and I might add in America as well are the governments now in power. The return of the Right (and it must now surely be classified as a fascist far-right) has been based upon the xenophobia and jingoism engineered by Nimmo, Integrity Initiative and 77th Brigade plus other propaganda groups gaining highly lucrative contracts from Johnson & Cummings to lie, distort, exaggerate and basically make-up speculative tales. If the corruption and nepotism wasn’t bad enough the paid to lie nonsense should be.

  • Mobius Operandi

    ‘The New Normal’ ….but it isn’t new at all. Goebbels patented it.

  • Goose

    There’s a risk there’ll come a point with all this mountain out of a molehill drivel, where Russia and China think if we’re being falsely accused like this, then we may as well do the crime. Like the story of the kid wrongly punished for his bother eating a piece of the cake, thinking well,I may as eat the rest then. Moscow must be sick of these exaggerations and lies flowing out of the US (collusion & interference) and UK. US political interference(in the UK) and pro-Israel lobbying in both the US/UK , is far more extensive and pernicious. Read Mehdi Hasan’s column on AIPAC’s reach and sway, look how Corbyn was undermined. When Russia has that much influence it’ll be cause for concern .

    And agree entirely on how it’s convenient how Russia supposedly interfered in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum but not the Brexit referendum. Oh no , can’t have that challenged.

      • Goose

        The Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby revealed far more egregious interference in domocratic processes than that which Russia is accused of.

        Let’s end all foreign interference and lobbying.

  • Rab

    It will be interesting to see how the Scottish press turns this limp biscuit into an attack on Scottish Independence. The Scotsman is always a good bet, due to its readership of spittle-flecked moon-howling loyalists. Maybe Stewart McDonald will write something? He’s always keen to promote the idea that Yessers on social media are actually Russian trolls.

    The Herald was getting to be a bit like Breitbart, but they have reined it in lately – which is a shame. They can be entertaining when they do their full-on union-zoomery.

    • Goose

      Nicola has kinda immunised herself by being on message.

      I know many are suspicious of her, and think she’s gone soft on independence, but I think she’s clever enough to know that not giving them any ammunition to use against her is vital. If she’d called the Russian stuff exaggerated bollocks, she’d have faced the full wrath of the press and UK establishment saying this report shows why she’s so soft on Putin, they’d of made tenuous links seem sinister, suggesting collusion, as opponents of Trump did post election.

      The SNP is the only vehicle to independence. Post independence the politics can change.

      • Stonky

        You may have a point Goose, but even accepting all you say about cleverness and not giving them ammunition and deflecting the wrath and tenuous links seeming sinister, there was absolutely no need for her to snuggle up cheek by jowl with that loathsome piece of excrement Alastair Campbell.

        There was just absolutely no need for her to do that, and when she did it, it was like a giant, calculated “fuck you” to a huge number of independence supporters and SNP loyalists like me.

        • Goose

          But everyone remembers Nicola’s passion for independence from years back.

          Even if she has become a little too pro-UK establishment and comfortable in those circles, she has to hold a referendum eventually because the membership demand it – she knows that. Her standing and campaigning could play a large role in the winning. Post referendum and independence the political future is the Scottish people’s to write.

          Splitting the SNP, or twitter etc talk of setting up rival party could be UK mischief by inde opponents, consider that.

          • Squeeth

            You’re writing like a Corbyn supporter after he betrayed everything he ever stood for.

          • Goose

            @Squeeth

            I know, and I’d be pissed off with the current SNP frontbench too. But it’s apples and oranges ; had Corbyn won somehow, those PLP right-wingers and centrist wreckers would’ve been a thorn in his side making his time as PM impossible. Independence is a quite different proposition.

            Statement of the obvious, but win it once, even with 51% , and it’s done. Then you can change the awful centrist careerists who’ve taken control of the SNP. The prize is bigger than justified grievance with the current personnel.

      • Muscleguy

        I would say Sturgeon has no interest in Independence at all. They had the last 5 years to do what they claim will take 5 years before we can have the next indyref. What did they do instead? Cook up a GRA bill which throws women’s rights and protections under the bus for some wokepoints. Then there’s the most illiberal and dangerous Hate Crime Bill. Section 2 is absolutely frightening and fails the ‘What laws would a dictator find useful’ test. Think the identity papers system in many European countries before WWII which recorded things like race. Meaning the Nazis just had to look up who was Jewish in the central registers. That sort of thing.

        If it passes be careful what confidences you let slip to friends because they can be caught by S2 as well.

        Posting on here will be fraught as will Craig’s usual blogging style. You can guarantee someone will find offence in every one of Craig’s posts. The Crowdfunders for defence costs will be legion.

        • Goose

          @Muscleguy

          I get all that, I’m a libertarian on such matters, and the SNP seems to be in the grip of a bunch of humourless New Labour-esque authoritarian feminists.

          But what’s the alternative? Some suggest another pro-independence party, I honestly believe the only people suggesting that have an agenda to wreck the chances of independence,divide and conquer, this, however good their spiel is in selling the idea.

          As for Sturgeon, I think she’s just ultra cautious. The polling is positive, but not ‘go now’ positive. You know how dirty the UK can play and all the tricks they’ll pull. I honestly believe were independence support holding firm at 60% she’d go. As Johnson govt becomes more unpopular it’s likely a more opportune time will present itself . And the SNP seem to be shoo-ins for the Holyrood elections next year , leaving her with no excuses.

          • Goose

            The last part on the elections next year is important . If the SNP can win big the fresh mandate will turn the screw on those in London resisting granting a section 30 order.

            Quote :… any unauthorised referendum could be blocked in the Supreme Court or simply boycotted by unionist parties.

            The framework act has been certified as within the competence of the Scottish Parliament by the presiding officer.
            However, Sturgeon has that a section 30 order would be necessary “to put beyond doubt or challenge our ability to apply the bill to an independence referendum.”

            Sadly, she is right. A Catalan situation could be disastrous, any assumption that people would rally when unionists have the media fully on side to suppress outrage, can’t be guaranteed.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    IS anyone else suddenly noticing ‘dodgy internet access’ issues affecting their interaction with this site?

    I have suddenly started having extremely suspicious ‘internet connection lost’ messages when I click on ‘Post Comment’. This has come at the same time as MS Office files suddenly magically got corrupted and the whole application simply would not open.

    It says to me that malicious vandals are now actively scanning those with independent minds and trying to shut their communications down.

    A sign of future online dictatorships, perhaps?

    • Goose

      I doubt they’re petty and vindictive enough to do pathetic shit like that to people merely for expressing opinions on a site Craig isn’t forcing anyone to read.

      If so and if revealed such pettiness and abuse of power, would bring the whole security apparatus to disrepute, it’s highly unlikely.

    • Kim Sanders-Fisher

      Google search have moved the direct link to this Blog from the top of the list to??? I had to go through Bing to find this.

      • Goose

        It’s back now though…

        Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

  • Stevie Boy

    There undoubtedly was interference in the Scottish Independence vote … but it wasn’t the Ruskies, it was the Westminster Government aided and abetted by the BBC and the rest of the MSM.

  • Goose

    It’s clearly an exercise in trying to tarnish Scottish independence supporters by association. Much as Corbyn & Sanders supporters were denigrated.

    Craig, you were entirely right in urging SNP politicians not to jump aboard the ‘Russia/China bashing’ bandwagon, by amplifying this nonsense, for this very reason. Putin (the MSM’s new Bin Laden) is presented as an omnipresent threat to the west. It’s more about silencing dissent in the UK imho. Mark Urban tweets about Russia aiding subversion in the UK? This is the same Mark Urban that won’t answer even basic questions about his relationship with the Skripals and his handler.

  • diabloandco

    I was horrified to hear Ms Sturgeon proclaim that there was a threat to democracy via Russia . I have always suspected that the Russian government has plenty to occupy it without batting an eyelid at us or even caring if we exist.

    Didn’t D .Cameron exhort anyone who would listen to damn Scottish independence , from Barroso to Obama to Putin and HRH?
    Would that be described as ‘interfering’ in our referendum?

    My Grandfather used to trade with the Russians via Crombie tweed and Mr Gorbachev sported his Crombie tweed coat, would that life was still as simple.

    I have never believed the ‘ we are so pure and so moral but those communists threaten us all so let us protect you by starting wars all over the place’ balderdash of the UK and USA – moral high ground on shifting sand.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I can demolish Nimmo’s thesis in 5 minutes that cui bono usage implies Kremlin bot status.

    I have used the expression Cui Bono probably upwards of 50 times the past 5 years in online comments. I have never visited Russia, never been signed up by Russian intelligence, even if I have been spied upon by British Morons displaying anti-intelligence. I do not wish Russia to take over Eastern Europe again, nor do I wish the Kremlin to tell former Soviet Satellites what they can and cannot do with regard to nation state sovereignty.

    I have committed the appalling crime of starting conversations with Russians assuming that they are pretty much like humans from any other nation on earth: capable of being anything from the salt of the earth to Mafioso murderers. I have discovered over time that those dreadful Russian women actually like spending money on cosmetics, even if sometimes their particular tastes make me recoil in horror. It is nearly as bad as Western women with large trunks and curvaceous features putting on microskirts to show off what might euphemistically be referred to as ‘thunder thighs’. FFS, flowing elegant dresses make them look fantastic….why put on clothes that really do not show yourself off to best effect?

    As for what represents ‘credible reports’, I have to say that the less you know about a particular subject, the more credulous you are likely to be. I am a deeply cynical person who takes a fairly enormous amount of convincing when it comes to claims of medical pandemics, simply because like Mr Murray, I spent a long time engaging at the very highest levels of biomedical research, which included, in effect, ‘judging the credibility of the output of leading Professorial researchers in the field concerned’.

    I am a pretty cynical evaluator of whether climate change assertions are ‘credible’, because I spent a decade and more experiencing first hand what ‘natural variability of weather’ looks like. In Scotland, natural variability of winter weather varied from winter 1988 having no snow before March, whereas winter 1986/7 saw a week of blizzards all over the country in January down to sea level and valley level rivers frozen over at altitudes of 200m above sea level. In Switzerland, winter 1990 saw no snow between mid December and early February at 2000m above sea level, leading to mass closure of ski resorts. Winter 1990/91 saw copious snow fall in December 1990 down to low altitudes across much of the Alps and in December 1992, an almost unprecedented storm deposited 2 metres of snow across much of French Alpine resorts to secure the season right through to late February despite no new snow falling for 7 weeks thereafter. There is a lot of nonsense talked about ‘climate change’ and most of it is simply not credible when subjected to rigorous and honest due diligence.

    On the other hand, I would be in a very weak position to determine whether matters of internal Chinese politics being described in ‘credible open source reports’ actually had any substance, as I do not speak Mandarin, have no contacts high up in Chinese politics and have never lived in China at any time.

    What I am extremely cynical about is trusting ‘our intelligence services’ to do that honestly for me.

    For that to be the case, they would have to prove that they do not have pre-determined agendas associated with unaccountable fascism, decades-long cover-ups of UK Establishment crimes and active destruction of UK democracy using unaccountable blackmail solely targeting political shades they consider to be too left wing.

    I tend to seek opinions from those who may be worthy of some sort of trust. I consider Mr Murray to be a credible source of trustworthy opinion about matters of Russian politics, FCO operations in general and the way the Security Services should and should not operate in particular.

    He is not the only source I read and consider in principle trustworthy. That would be most naive and unsatisfactory.

    But at least he has seen the inner workings of those arenas, got sacked for telling the truth about them and knows the sort of corruption, quasi-criminal behaviour that goes on in them and the leverage certain actors have over supposedly publicly accountable figures.

    • Goose

      Of course those tasked with finding nefarious Russian online activity will find it. if someone throws a load of cash at some makeshift operation and says you’re heading it up, you’ll find it, if only to justify your continuing role as head and your operation’s continuation.

      Basically ‘if such bots didn’t exist they’d invent them.’ Budgets have to be justified and what better way than ‘Russian-linked’ twitter or FB accounts. When you dig in to what they mean by ‘Russian- linked’, all it ‘s defined as is an account that has retweeted or put forward a position that is in align with Russia’s official position, yes, it’s as tenuous as that . For example, backing Assad, over the western backed head chopping rebels and mercs, which I’d say the majority of British people did and still do.

    • Muscleguy

      Anyone confusing weather variations with climate outs themselves as a know-nothing climate denier of the bottom feeding variety. CO2 levels are rising in the atmosphere as all the sampling observatories show. The physics of greenhouse gases is as hard as it comes. There is no wriggle room there for scepticism.

      That you claim to understand Biomedical science (my own field) yet you make the category error of confusing weather for climate makes me doubt your claims to that completely. In all my time I never knew a colleague to deny the facts of climate science. I did the dilution calculation to convince myself humanity was producing enough CO2 to change the climate back in the late ’80s during my PhD.

  • Goose

    Something as an English person I don’t understand:

    Based in Scotland, presumably the ‘integrity’ in question in the ‘Integrity Initiative’. Is the UK ‘s integrity ,i.e., preventing it breaking up.

    How then can the SNP be comfortable with them operating in Scotland?

    Also, correct me if I’m wrong but afaik, MSPs, MWPs and Northern Irish politicians at Stormont aren’t protected by the ‘no surveillance of politicians’ rules governing Westminster MPs. How on earth can the SNP sit on the ISC and be comfortable with that?

    I

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