“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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  • Cubby

    Ofcom found the first episode of the Alex Salmond Show guilty of materially misleading people the audience.

    Big deal the English TV have been guilty of misleading me every day of my life.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “English TV” is run for the benefit of Uncle Sam, just like the mostly US/Tax exile owned “British Press” – Uncle Sam lies to all, especially to the US citizen. Even Nicola Sturgeon works for Uncle Sam today – which is why she called the stolen “Brexit election” at the worst possible time for the opposition and to great benefit for Uncle Sam stooge Boris Johnson’s and the Trans-Atlantic funded Brexit Lobby buried in the Tory party.

  • Tatyana

    Mr. Murray, I rummaged through the sources and wrote a detailed commentary on how Russia compensated and restored the Tatars in Crimea.
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/07/cold-wars-and-profit/comment-page-1/#comment-950340

    I also wrote about the history of the area, to counter-argument your point on 18th century annexation of the Crimea.
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/07/cold-wars-and-profit/comment-page-1/#comment-950608

    I understand that I bring a lot of jokes and off-topic to this site and that my self-definition is “a Russian housewife waging her funny little war against a big lie” – that all together does not create an image of a reliable source. Nevertheless, I make an effort to give true verifiable facts, along with my assessment.
    I’d be glad if you could kindly have a look and comment. Thank you.

    I hope the above plea is on-topic, as it seems we discuss credible open source here.

    • Coldish

      Thank you, Tatyana, for this background. Regarding the legality of Crimea’s UDI and referendum, I’ve no doubt that they were against Ukrainian law. As to whether they were against any other law, well, international law isn’t what it used to be, not since the widespread acceptance of Kosovo’s UDI, which was itself only possible with the unlawful military involvement of several members of the NATO alliance, including Germany. Forgetting law for the moment, we should all be grateful to the courageous Crimean leaders and people for using the opportunity provided by the foreign-backed coup d’etat in Kiev, and to the statesmanlike Russian leadership (I’m thinking Lavrov as well as Putin) for ensuring that Crimea’s timely return to Russia was achieved without a shot being fired. We’ve been short of good news this century. This event was a welcome contrast.

      • Tatyana

        Coldish, thanks for the feedback!
        By the way, while studying the sources, I came across an interesting fact. Did you know that the Black Death came to Western Europe from there?

        There was an Italian, who wrote his evidence. The text is “Incipit Ystoria de Morbo sive Mortalitate que fuit anno Domini MCCCXLVIII. Compilata per Gabrielem de Mussis” , the text was discovered in Piacenza by historian Gaetano Tononi.

        “In 1346 Anno Domini…an inexplicable disease spread in the lands of the Tatars and Saracens…which ended in a quick death.
        … To north of Constantinople was the city of Tana…Due to some conflict between Italians and Tatars, [this block] was besieged, mercilessly destroyed and completely devastated.
        Fugitive Christians…rushed for the fortress walls of the city of Kaffa (*modern Feodossia city, Crimea).
        …The siege lasted three year…The Tatars, exhausted by the plague…put the bodies of the dead on their stone throwing machines and threw them through the fortress walls into the city of Kaffa…”
        Tatars retreated and Italian merchants sailed home, to the Western Europe.

  • Republicofscotland

    The millionaire Knight of the Realm and leader of the Labour party Sir Keir Starmer is urging the British government to review RT’s, UK licence. I think we can all see what’s coming next.

    Meanwhile I hope Tatyana isn’t avoiding commenting on this one because she feels uncomfortable, I’m sure there’s much support for her in here.

    • Goose

      Starmer is probably to the right of Johnson and certainly more hawkish. He’s really arrogant too.

      • Goose

        Labour MPs on the left need to challenge him while the party still has a membership.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        More to the point, he has been completely bought by the US/Israeli axis. Being left or right is irrelevant if you have sold out to the global mafia.

        • Goose

          Labour had a membership of 580,000 under Corbyn, wonder whether they’ll stick around with Starmer, as this fact increasingly dawns on them?

          There are 37 Labour MPs in the Socialist Campaign Group, 37 / 202 (most definitely not bought), that’s quite a lot. He’d need a huge swing to get even a 1 seat majority, there’s high chance if they end up in a coalition and he’ll need every one those 37 votes to get anything through.

        • N_

          Jeremy Corbyn is now being goy-baited to an extreme.

          The ethnic-supremacist fascists and their enablers are now putting it out that he could “face legal action” for criticising the Labour Party’s apology for an offence it did not commit, that of anti-Semitism. Do you know where they want him? Dead, that’s where. Here we see the face of ethnic hatred and it is extremely vicious and ugly.

          Corbyn was the best leader the Labour Party had for a very long time indeed. It was truly pathetic to see this good man grovel to the fascists when Andrew Neil was channelling their attacks on him in front of a large TV audience before the election. Asked what he thought about the vitriol that had been poured on him by a leading Nazi holding the post of chief rabbi, Corbyn said he would like to meet the said chief to address his concerns. He was humiliating himself, in a good cause. He must have felt like absolute sh*t.

          The royal-decorated turd who succeeded him is not fit to carry the name his parents gave him in honour of Keir Hardie.

          I wonder whether Corbyn will eventually turn round and say “The hell with the fascist racist scum who last year destroyed the left in this country”, telling it, at last, how it really is.

          One day they would decide to shoot him. You could not tell when it would happen, but a few seconds beforehand it should be possible to guess. It was always from behind, walking down a corridor. Ten seconds would be enough. In that time the world inside him could turn over. And then suddenly, without a word uttered, without a check in his step, without the changing of a line in his face—suddenly the camouflage would be down and bang! would go the bat-teries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an enormous roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would go the bullet, too late, or too early. They would have blown his brain to pieces before they could reclaim it. The hereti-cal thought would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in their own perfection. To die hating them, that was freedom.

          • Goose

            And there seems to be unlimited funding for this lawfare (weaponising the courts) too.

            How dirty have things become when you seek to remove people you oppose via the courts with spurious claims.
            Who needs to win democratic arguments when you can simply tie people and parties in legal knots?
            ————
            The rumoured removal of the party whip from Corbyn is another sinister step.

            It might be explained by the fact only 20% of Labour MPs are needed to trigger a leadership election. I make that 41(depending upon their method) out of 202, the SCG has 37 and Starmer is likely to drive more into that group. As discontent grows with his Blairite/Macron leadership style, it could happen.

          • George+McI

            For “On the train” (at July 22, 2020 at 23:18)

            Quoted passage is from 1984.

          • pete

            N_
            Occasionally I find myself in total unqualified agreement with you, today is such a day. I cannot possibly vote Labour while Starmer is leader, it will be Blair all over again.

        • Deb O'Nair

          US/UK/Israeli axis surely – UK and Israel are both stooges for US agenda. US hides behind Israel in the ME just as the US hides behind the UK in Europe.

    • Tatyana

      Republicofscotland 🙂

      They will ban the RT, and I will remain your only source of news and I will manipulate you, and thus enslave your whole country, and then the whole world! MOO-HA-HA

      Thank you, Mr. Starmer, I’ll reward you with some Golden Order then, when I’m done with the world.

      I need to compose enslaving texts, and I’ve no experience in this. Any ideas, RoS? I’ll have a lot of Golden Orders soon, just think of it.

      • Mark Golding

        Frustratingly the reaction to the demise of PressTV in the UK was apathetic and ambivalent, proven by a petition that yielded less than 10,000 votes. Will the elementors rise-up to retain RT News? Yes of course albeit YOU need to write to Ofcom with strong objections now, today.

        • Spuknik

          Press TV got booted of the Astra Satellite too. It was still on Hotbird the last time I checked.

        • Old person

          Press TV did not disappear – it is still broadcast by satellite on Hotbird 13C. This can be received free-to-air in the UK in HD and English language.
          The news may be from a different viewpoint, but Press TV makes excellent documentaries on issues from remote corners of the world.
          If RT is dropped, there is always the Hotbird satellite to which to go.

      • Laguerre

        RT is still available over the internet, isn’t it? I don’t look at TV stations except over the internet. I’m sure there are lots of others like me.

    • Laguerre

      I’m not sure I quite understand this attack on Starmer. Whatever your origins, if you own a house in London, you’re a millionaire; Corbyn is too. You’re a “Sir” if you’ve been attorney-general. So what?

      The main fault of Starmer is that he is excessively pro-Israel. I was told I was anti-semitic, for pointing out that his wife is Jewish, but his policy has turned out that way.

      In the end, is what he will do better for us than Johnson? Of that I have no doubt.

      • Goose

        It’s revealing though, in that it indicates how he [Starmer] thinks and what he’d be like if given Blair’s power. Banning a channel simply because you don’t like its message illustrates a deeply authoritarian mindset. A channel that has already been investigated let’s not forget.

        He also made some cheap point asking Sturgeon to condemn Alex Salmond for his show on RT, pathetic stuff from Starmer really.

        • Laguerre

          Difficult to judge whether what might have been a light remark is really representative of his point of view.

          • Goose

            Oh, I think it is representative.

            Look at who he’s appointed to key shadow cabinet positions they’re like a Who’s Who of establishment toadies, foreign policy hawks and people associated with New Labour’s right. The few remaining Corbyn era lefties will be removed, as RLB was on the flimsiest of pretexts, Lloyd Russell-Moyle has recently stood down too.

            Starmer was always been an oddity in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, part of the wave of resignations designed to remove Corbyn in 2016, then rejoining the shadow team. His actions since just raise questions more as to whether he isn’t really just some establishment stooge.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “His actions since just raise questions more as to whether he isn’t really just some establishment stooge.”

            He’s the leader of an “opposition” who does no opposing. He blindly supports the US agenda and so he now supports Brexit and is giving Boris a free ride to a no-deal Brexit in the hope that Uncle Sam thinks that he’s OK to be *their* next British PM.

          • nevermind

            sorry Laguerre, when you are the leader of a split opposition party, you do not kick previous leaders and what you say is coming from you, not some flunky Blairite spad.
            To brag about your abysmal period as DPP and try to make out you are in opposition, when in reality you are supporting the financial spendthrift, throwing money at friends and companies which will not end up being invested in new green jobs. Hush monies paid to watch the destruction and robbery of a crumbling union/petty empirical leftover.

        • Laguerre

          Goose

          “It’s revealing though, in that it indicates how he [Starmer] thinks and what he’d be like if given Blair’s power.”

          So you’re going to vote for Johnson then, because Starmer is so evil? That’ll be the choice. Politics is usually (99% of the time) about choosing the least worst. I haven’t said anything different from that. But the keyboard warriors here, in their black-and-white simplicity, appear all to think that Starmer is an evil hate figure.

          • Goose

            @laguerre

            2024 is a long way away, were an election coming up, I’d read their manifesto and judge on that. I doubt the 10 pledges will be honoured for example. In all likelihood they’ll be dropped, therefore I wouldn’t vote, feeling disenfranchised, robbed of genuine choice.

            Many believe Labour under Corbyn, were under attack from external forces and being subjected to a campaign of vexatious litigation, to achieve a political agenda. Recent events and Starmer removing the whip from Corbyn will be the final straw.

      • Mark Golding

        Johnson is a child Laguerre, an interim, while Starmer is a cut-out trained to channel the schemes of the British establishment that is the ‘whole nine yards’ of perfection, death, paradise, shrouds, disembowelment, propaganda and three squared control and isolation in small volume graves. Starmer is Blair cubed.

        • Greg Park

          Laguerre admires people like them and the Change UK lot., even though they would all view him as an anti-Semite.

          • Laguerre

            Please quote the reference where I said I admire those people. Keyboard warriors love ideological purity. That’s the way politics is going these days. The Tory and Labour parties used to be what was called broad churches. Now they’re small tight ideological groups, both Tory and Labour, and the rest of the country doesn’t get any representation. They’re both as bad as one another.

          • Greg Park

            You are a doctrinaire Blairite/ Macronite neoliberal. The problem is all your fellow neoliberals would regard you as an anti-Semite. And that’s simply for criticising Israel, before they even heard you banging on about Keir Starmer’s wife.

          • Laguerre

            Pure ideological socialist projects his attitudes onto others. It’s where we are these days. Doctrine above all, staying in the wilderness is fine, isn’t it? A neoliberal is anyone you hate, and hatred is all.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “In the end, is what he will do better for us than Johnson? Of that I have no doubt.”

        What has he said or done to suggest that?
        Currently a Labour vote is a vote for a slightly watered down Tory party. They won’t change if you keep encouraging them.

        • Laguerre

          Labour always did better when they had a non-ideological leader. Ideological purity is fine if you want to stay in the wilderness.

          • Greg Park

            Labour under neoliberal leadership
            2005 — 9.5m votes
            2010 — 8.6m votes
            2015 — 9.3m votes

            Labour under social-democratic leadership
            2017 (respecting referendum decision): 12.8m votes
            2019 (promising to re-run referendum): 10.2m votes

            The Guardian has turned your brain to mush.

          • Laguerre

            Funny how you’ve never heard any history previous to 2005. Anybody who’s not an pure ideological socialist is a Tory, aren’t they?

          • Greg Park

            Those are the five most recent general elections in the UK.

            The Lib Dem vote does not offer any more credence for your belief there is a huge renewed appetite for centrist-neoliberalism.

          • Goose

            @Laguerre

            When ex MI6 head Richard Dearlove (openly a big Tory supporter btw) expresses his joy that Starmer is now leading, as he did recently on Sophy Ridge’s show on Sky News, you don’t find that concerning?

            Trilateral Commission man Starmer is part of the shadowy elite who’ll keep everything embarrassing out of the public domain, the sort who believes in inner circle elites, with no accountability pushing hegemonic agendas while the population remain blissfully ignorant. Many of these people are contemptuous of democracy seeing it as an inconvenience.

      • Tatyana

        Laguerre,
        Dmitry Schiglik, he is one of 20 elected into the Presidium of the World Zionist Organisation, recently visited Moscow and was interviewed.
        Interesting view on anti-Semitism in the USA, Russia, Europe; interesting details on how the Organization works, on Zionism etc.
        Please let me know if you want me to translate it.

        • Laguerre

          Thanks for the offer, Tatyana, that’s very kind, but I wouldn’t want to put you to so much work. I’m pretty familiar with anti-semitism issues in the West and Middle East.

          • Tatyana

            Ah, it’s a pity you are so polite and tactful, Laguerre. I’ve got little to do these days.
            By the way, in my culture there’s a tradition to insist 3 times when we treat someone. It’s like “Would you like a doughnut? – no, thanks – Please do me a favour – thanks, but you really shouldn’t bother… – Do please try a bit – well, if only a little bit…”
            That’s how we feed people here in Russia 🙂

            Well, Laguerre, will you do me a favour to read the translation?

        • Goose

          Accusations of antisemitism and unlimited resources pursuing people and organisations through vexatious litigation.

          It’s a simple strategy and it silences >90% of those critical of Israeli policies.

      • Piotr Berman

        Laguerre
        July 22, 2020 at 20:37

        The main fault of Starmer is that he is excessively pro-Israel. I was told I was anti-semitic, for pointing out that his wife is Jewish, but his policy has turned out that way.
        —-
        This wee fault is actually a major matter. Being “excessively pro-Israel” is not some random oddity, but something like a tag on a dog collar informing about rabies vaccination. Politicians are being tamed, and they display this tameness by exhibiting what you call “excessively pro-Israel” declarations and actions. However, this is just a tag showing a loyalty to a much wider packet of positions.

  • ricardo2000

    “CREDIBLE OPEN SOURCE REPORTING” : anyone with intelligence must consider this phrase as mendacious to its core. No researcher or scholar can produce credible assessments without carefully considering information sources. This sounds like something found on a bus station urinal wall.
    I suspect something less credible than QAnon, Bellingcat, the infamous ‘sobbing’ nurse describing babies being tossed from their Kuwaiti incubators, or Curveball.
    The CIA exists to retail credible lies as public policy. CIA failures are spectacular: every attempt to insert agents into the former Soviet block, China, North Korea or Vietnam resulted in immediate manhunt ending hours later, not days nor months, in the complete capture or death of all teams. They were crippled by intense ‘mole hunt’ paranoia and then completely missed Ames, and all the other traitors.

  • Antonym

    There are many of hard copies of this report available now all over the UK: in every loo. These are actually more useful than the original, plus credible and open source.

    How deep has British “intelligence” fallen: quoting Christopher Steele.

  • Feliks

    I don’t know if this will work but if not it’s a pinned tweet on Russian Embassy twitter account entitled ‘So what has Russia done?’

    [ Mod: FIFY ]

    • Goose

      Russian meddling?

      I like the comparison to the Loch Ness Monster : Hardly anyone has seen it, but many are 100% certain it exists.

    • Republicofscotland

      Feliks.

      Page 13 of the Intelligence and Security Committee report which Johnson had delayed for 10 months apparently point out this very fact, that there’s no evidence of Russian interference. Of course the ISC, were told not to dig too deeply into it, as they would’ve unearthed the extent of Russian oligarchs cash running through the London Laundromat as its called by very wealthy Russians that have connections to politicians in the UK.

    • Jack

      So bizarre that Christoper steele is in the core of this report too (as in the US), these people really live in a bubble of information, have they missed the disgraceful Mueller report and the fake Steele dossier that led to the hysteria in the US?
      Facts dont matter these days obviously, very troubling and dangerous.

      • Goose

        I know, and Luke Harding(Collusion) is gaslighting everyone again. Aren’t these people discredited enough already?

        The guardian is apparently having to shed staff, letting Harding, Freedland, Cohen; Cadwalladr and Nato propagandist and Integrity initiative’s Natalie Nougayrède go should be a be a very easy decision, unless Viner is part of the same gang corrupting our supposedly ‘free’ press?

        Someone ought to tell therm ‘free’ in free press is supposed to mean they don’t write what they are told to write.

  • George+McI

    I know it would never happen – and I have stopped caring – but, purely for the sake of experiment, I would love to see Keir Starmer put his foot down and refuse to apologise for non-existent Labour anti-Semitism. I would also love to see him advocate the mild reformist Left programme that Corbyn advocated. All of this not to see how far such a position would go (it would clearly go nowhere), but to see how far the reaction against it would go i.e. to see the increasingly vehement claims of anti-Semitism, the increasingly frothing BBC denunciations, the accelerating manufactured paranoia, the tsunami of phoney outrage, the deafening yelps of the “victimised”, all accompanied by visual representations of Starmer as Hitler, Labour as Nazi etc.

  • fonso

    “Under my leadership national security will always be THE top priority for Labour” keir Starmer

    So in an age of multiple socio-economic crises his top priority will be tilting at windmills to impress empire loyalists.

    • John A

      Last week Pharma Starmer said eliminating anti-semitism was the top priority for Labour. At a time when wages have stagnated, the rich and big business are getting richer while covid-19 is destroying jobs, the self-employed and SMEs, the new Labour leader is obsessed with invisible threats to national security and wildly exaggerated anti-semitism rather than the interests of its natural constituency. I will never vote for Starmer

      • Republicofscotland

        John A.

        The substantial payout authorised by the millionaire Knight of the Realm Sir Keir Starmer, is a political one not a legal one. Unite, one Labours biggest donors, their General Secretary Len McCluskey condemned the decision to payout.

    • Goose

      Drinks with ex MI5 chief Jonathan Evans as DPP, while the CPS was handling sensitive security cases like that of Assange…. appropriate?

      Starmer seems every inch the company man, doesn’t he? Why he became a Labour MP under centre-left Miliband is a mystery? Or maybe not.

      And he’s now on the same ego trip Blair went on, due to a supportive press and wider media suppression of critical voices.

  • Republicofscotland

    I’m pretty disgusted at LBC’s James OBrien today, he didn’t even bat an a eyelid as he reinforced the British governments narrative on the Skripal event.

  • Jack

    I very much doubt RT would be banned because then Russia would remove any british channel off the air in response.

    • Stevie Boy

      Jack, a sane person would very much doubt that it’s elected government would undermine the economy of the country by refusing to do business with one of the largest economies on the planet just because the US told it to …
      Don’t hold your breathe regarding RT, and, it’s possible that citizens of certain nations may have to register as foreign agents – but not the US or Israel, of course !

    • Goose

      Cold war era type move.

      Why would anyone wish to escalate, when RT is already operating under UK broadcasting regulation?

      Starmer is behaving an authoritarian imbecile even suggesting it. Memories of Thatcher’s govt’s Gerry Adams’ voice ban, his words spoken by Northern oirish actors, like some poorly dubbed foreign movie.

  • Tom74

    It’s ‘dead-cat-on-the-table’ stuff’ and always was. We barely even need a report to see where the real interference in the Brexit referendum and the general election in December were coming from – the United States. It was a nice little feint to send Obama over to support Remain shortly before the vote, while the weight of the American effort was in fact going into bankrolling Farage, Johnson and the Leave campaign, wrapping them in the Union flag and talk of democracy to hide their treachery. Meanwhile, their Lord Haw-Haw -in-chief Rupert Murdoch, with the other media barons, was peddling the same lies to an unsuspecting public in collusion with the other media owners desperate to win some geopolitical brownie points from Washington – terrified of the EU just as they are of Russia and China, as all three threaten their diminishing empire. Perhaps the Brexit referendum was actually rigged, perhaps not, but as with the charade of a general election last year, it is quite clear that neither contest was fought in a democratic spirit.
    The fact that alleged opposition politicians and journalists have just spent the week arguing over the ‘dead cat’ only goes to show our democracy and media are not worthy of the names – and that they are most likely lying on an industrial scale about the coronavirus too, and probably for the same reasons.

  • Goose

    Not prone to paranoia but just had a phonecall (landline) from this number the caller hung up.

    https://who-called.co.uk/Number/02081610220

    The overall rating for phone number 02081610220 is Dangerous.There have been 2,389 phone lookups and 122 comments relating to 020 8161 0220. On this page: 10 Users rated it as Harassing, 7 Users rated it as Dangerous and 3 Users rated it as Unknown.

    Lol.

    • glenn_uk

      Get them all the time. Tell them to get bent and hang up, unless you want to waste their time.

      • Goose

        I’m not putting it down to anything sinister, just wondered if others had experienced similar?

        I thought cold calling was banned by law?

        • Kempe

          Only in relation to pensions. Why only in relation to pensions I’ve no idea.

          Don’t get panicky, it’s only some scrotes wanting to separate you from your money. I’ve had more than I can count, this lot appear to be working some scam involving loft insulation.

          Just put the ‘phone down.

          • Goose

            Just seemed weird that’s all the way no one answered at first , a man spoke then silence, then the call terminated.

            And the central London code? Aren’t premises, office space i.e., rent & rates, expensive there for such a scam operation?

          • Coldish

            Goose (15.07): 020 8… numbers are outer London. Still not cheap, but isn’t it possible to transfer an existing UK landline phone number to elsewhere in the country?

        • glenn_uk

          G: “I thought cold calling was banned by law?

          I think fraud and theft is too, but that doesn’t seem to bother these con-artists too much.

          You can fake an incoming number to look like you’re calling from the moon if you like – it has no bearing on the actual location of the scammer.

          • Goose

            The problem of scammers is probably going to get a lot worse too, due to the Covid triggered jobs crisis +post-Brexit if there’s no trade deal.

  • ET

    Those pesky Russians will stop at nothing to interfere in electoral processes, even ones that are not happening. According to the Irish Times today “Russian intelligence could exploit Irish Border poll, security experts say……….”
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/russian-intelligence-could-exploit-irish-border-poll-security-experts-say-1.4311030

    “According to the former deputy chief of J2, the Irish Defence Force’s military intelligence section, Ireland is also a “prime target” for disinformation campaigns and attempts to sow discord, despite its neutral and non-aligned status.”

    ““From a Russian point of view a Border poll would be great,” said someone of the Royal United Service Institution, a British defence and security think tank. “Their aim is to divide, distract and demoralise. Apparrently this think tank is the
    (Apparrently RUSI was founded in 1831 – making it the oldest defence and security think tank in the world – at the initiative of the Duke of Wellington.)
    I’d not heard of them before (nor, embarassingly, J2 either)

    What is the point in such nonsense? De-legitimising polls before they are even postulated?

    The BBC transmission is (and was) received in Ireland, especially along the border counties even before satellite etc. My parents would catch the BBC headline at 18:00 for the first minute or so (thus missing the Angelus) and then switch over to RTE to get the “real” news.

  • Piotr Berman

    Stewart Hosie (born 3 January 1963) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Dundee East since 2005. He served as Deputy Leader of the SNP to Nicola Sturgeon from November 2014 to October 2016.
    ————–
    Hosie was a member of a committee that analyzed and released long hidden report on Russian interference in British politics, and declared that the authors of the report did not prove Russian interference because the authors did not look for the proof. Brave position for SNP!

    The spirit of investigating a witch in the style depicted so nicely by Monty Python permeates the “mainstream” discourse. Impeccable logic of the reasoning “how can we tell if she is a witch”. Dispassionate weighting of evidence (testimony: “She turned me into a newt!” [long stare] “A newt?” “Eh, I got better.” [shouts from the other villagers “But she is a witch! Burn her!”, the knight conducting the investigation passes over that piece of proof without comments), impeccable logic (the consensus accepts the test that a witch is made of wood, and wood, like a duck, does not drawn, so the consensus checked if the alleged witch weights exactly as much as a duck), expert methodology (a special weight proved that indeed, the young woman and the duck used in the test weighted precisely the same).

    Those superlatives, dispassionate, impeccable logic, expert methodology I have found in reference to Bellingcat, and it is possible that the fragment of Monty Python movie is used as instructional video for the Bellingcat and various committees.

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