The Russian Interference Report, Without Laughing 283

Now the madding crowd has moved on, I take a mature look at the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russia. It is so flawed it is tempting simply to mock it. But in fact, it is extremely dangerous.

It calls expressly and repeatedly for the security services to be actively involved in “policing the democratic space” and castigates the security services for their unwillingness to interfere in democratic process. It calls for tough government action against social media companies who refuse to censor and remove from the internet material it believes to be inspired by foreign states. It specifically accepts the Integrity Initiative’s Christopher Donnelly and Ben Nimmo as examples of good identifiers of the material which should be banned – even though Nimmo is the man who stated that use of the phrase “Cui bono” is indicative of a Russian troll, and who accused scores of ordinary Scottish Independence supporters of being Russian trolls.

In order for you to assess the threat of a report which specifically calls on the social media companies to ban those individuals the British government identifies as Russian trolls, and which calls on the security services to act against those people, remember Ian.

Ian was identified by the British government as a Russian troll, on the word of Nimmo and Donnelly – exactly the “experts” on which this report relies. This report proposes Ian, and people like him, be banned from social media and subject to security service surveillance.

Listen to Ian:

In short the report is a real threat to democracy. Its evidence base is appalling, and that is what I shall look at first.

The ISC took evidence from just five “experts” outside the intelligence services. They were Anne Applebaum, Bill Browder, Christopher Donnelly, Edward Lucas and Christopher Steele. I do not quite know how to get over to you the full significance of this. It would be impossible to assemble a group of five witnesses with any pretence whatsoever to respectability (and some of them have an extremely tenuous link to respectability) that would be more far out, right wing and Russophobic. They are the extreme fringe of anti-Russian thinking. They are nowhere near the consensus among the academic, diplomatic and other genuinely expert communities on Russia.

There is simply no attempt at balance whatsoever. The best I can try to get over the extent of this would be to compare it to a hypothetical parliamentary inquiry into Old Firm rivalry where the only witnesses are Scott Brown, Neil Lennon, John Hartson, the Green Brigade, and a Cardinal. There is not any attempt from the ISC to interview any witness who is even remotely balanced or can give the view from the other side. Some might feel that a report entitled simply “Russia” which called zero actual Russians as witnesses is somewhat flawed.

To go through those witnesses.

Anne Applebaum is the most respectable of them. I should state that I know both Anne (whom I know as Ania) and her husband, Radek Sikorski MEP, slightly from my time as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Poland (1994-8). Anne is a right wing journalist who has worked at both the Spectator and the American Enterprise Institute, a Randian think tank. She identifies as Polish and shares the understandable visceral distrust of Russia felt by the Polish right. Her husband Radek Sikorski is a long term friend of Boris Johnson, member of the Bullingdon Club, also worked at the American Enterprise Institute and is a former Defence Minister of Poland. Radek’s persona as a politician is very much based around his hawkish stance on Russia. Both Anne and Radek have consistently argued for the aggressive eastward expansion of NATO and forward stationing of US troops and missiles towards Russia.

Bill Browder is a billionaire who made his money out of the Russian people from the fallout of Russia’s chaotic privatisation process. He achieved fame by portraying his highly corrupt accountant, Sergei Magnitskiy, as a human rights campaigner murdered by the Russian authorities. Browder’s account of events was found to be fundamentally false by the European Court of Human Rights, in a judgement which received zero truthful reporting in Western media. Here is an extract from the judgement of the ECHR:

The applicants argued that Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had not been based on a reasonable suspicion of a
crime and that the authorities had lacked impartiality as they had actually wanted to force him to
retract his allegations of corruption by State officials. The Government argued that there had been
ample evidence of tax evasion and that Mr Magnitskiy had been a flight risk.
The Court reiterated the general principles on arbitrary detention, which could arise if the
authorities had complied with the letter of the law but had acted with bad faith or deception. It
found no such elements in this case: the enquiry into alleged tax evasion which had led to
Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest had begun long before he had complained of fraud by officials. The decision
to arrest him had only been made after investigators had learned that he had previously applied for
a UK visa, had booked tickets to Kyiv, and had not been residing at his registered address.
Furthermore, the evidence against him, including witness testimony, had been enough to satisfy an
objective observer that he might have committed the offence in question. The list of reasons given
by the domestic court to justify his subsequent detention had been specific and sufficiently detailed.
The Court thus rejected the applicants’ complaint about Mr Magnitskiy’s arrest and subsequent
detention as being manifestly ill-founded.

The ECJ found that Magnitskiy indeed died as a result of the shortcomings of Russia’s brutal prison regime – very similar to that of the United States in this regard – but that he was properly in prison on viable criminal charges. The western media may ignore the fact that Browder’s activism is motivated entirely by a desire to hold on to his own vast ill-gotten wealth, and that the highest of courts has found his campaigning is based on a false narrative, but it is deeply, deeply shocking that the members of the Intelligence and Security Committee, who must know the truth, still give Browder credibility. There is no sense in which Browder is a respectable witness.

Christopher Donnelly was forced to step down as a person with significant control of fake charity “The Institute for Statecraft” after the Scottish Charity Regulator found that:

“There was no clear explanation as to why the salaries being paid to charity trustees were considered reasonable and necessary, and we had concern about the charity trustees’ decision-making process around these payments. We do not consider that this private benefit was incidental to the organisation’s activities that advanced its purposes”.

In other words, making money for its trustees, principally Christopher Donnelly, was a purpose of the Institute for Statecraft, not an incidental benefit. This is what the Charity Regulator also found about this fake charity:

The Charity Regulator also found that the Integrity Initiative, run by the Institute for Statecraft, was sending out party political tweets. All of this activity was of course carried out with taxpayers money, the Integrity Initiative being funded by the FCO, the MOD, and the security services.

The Integrity Initiative is a covert propaganda organisation designed to do precisely what the ISC report accuses Russia of doing – covertly influencing politics in both the UK and numerous other countries by state sponsored propaganda disguised as independent journalism or social media posts. Christopher Donnelly heads the Integrity Initiative. Its basic method of operation is secretly to pay mainstream media journalists around the world to pump out disguised British government propaganda, and to run hidden social media campaigns doing the same thing.

All of the “expert witnesses” before the committee feature in the leaked Integrity Initiative documents as part of Integrity Initiative activites. They are all engaged in doing precisely what they here accuse the Russians of doing. The best exposition, to the highest academic standards, of the fascinating leaked documents of the Integrity Initiative operation is by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and the Media. You can very happily spend an hour looking through their report.

So the UK UK was asking its own paid propagandists what they thought of the Russian propagandists. Every one of the witnesses makes their living from postulating the Russian threat. They therefore said the Russian threat is very big indeed.

Edward Lucas is a hilarious professional Russophobe. He is the go-to anti-Russia expert of the BBC, and can be guaranteed to say something stimulating, such as this:

Lucas actually uses #newcoldwar in his twitter profile, and is jolly keen on the idea.

Christopher Steele is a charlatan and con-man. He is by no means unique in trading on the glamour and reputation of MI6 to build up a consultancy business after an undistinguished career as a middle ranking MI6 officer.

When Steele produced, for a large sum of money, his famous “Pee dossier” on Donald Trump’s “collusion” with Russia, it was obvious to anyone with any professional background in intelligence analysis that it simply could not be genuine. It claimed to have a level of access into Russian security circles which is greater than the penetration ever secured by MI6 or the CIA. I immediately pointed out its deficiencies, but these were ignored by an establishment media desperate to explain away the Trump insurgency into their political space.

Since then the dossier has simply fallen apart. Steele has been successfully sued by people named in the dossier. The lawyer Michael Cohen has shown that he was definitively not in Prague on the date Steele claimed he was meeting Russian hackers there, and indeed has never been to Prague. Most telling of all, it turns out that most of the content of the dossier was simply a compilation of the gossip of the Russian emigre community in Washington by Igor Danchenko, formerly a junior staff member at the Brookings Institute, a liberal foreign policy thinktank.

The silence of the media on the unravelling of the Steele Dossier has been so remarkable it has drawn comment in unexpected quarters:

Having seen the quality of the input, it is unsurprising that the report is a case of “rubbish in, rubbish out”. So let us now, with rubber gloves and a peg on the nose, pick through the rubbish.

To start at para 1, the tone is immediately set of paranoid antagonism to Russia. There is no attempt at balance whatsoever; anti-Russian statement is built on anti-Russian statement until we are supposed to be carried away by the stream of rhetoric to accept each succeeding proposition as it is piled up. Like this one:

The murder of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 demonstrated that Russia under President Putin had moved from potential partner to established threat.

Did it really? Accepting for the sake of argument that the official British explanation of Litvinenko’s death is true and it was a murder by the Russian state, does that show that Russia is an “established threat”? It would certainly be an appalling abuse of human rights and show Russia is a threat to Russian dissidents, but would it really show Russia is an “established threat” to you and me? Plenty of other countries murder their opponents abroad, notably the USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Uzbekistan, countries the UK government is proud to call allies. The UK kills opponents abroad continually, in drone strikes, including deliberately by drone killing its own citizens and even killing young British children. I can condemn all such murders equally. But why should we be carried away by the anti-Russian rhetoric into finding it uniquely reprehensible, only when Russia does it?

I could go through every single para of the report, but life is too short. I will however pick out places where the logic is far less convincing than the rhetoric is impressive. From Para 3:

its lack of strong independent public bodies and the fusion of government and business allow it to leverage all its intelligence, military and economic power at the same time to pose an all-encompassing security threat.

Really? Is Russia really that unified? In fact, this is a startling over-simplification. The extreme oligarchic structure which resulted from the wholesale looting of assets in the western-inspired and western-overseen chaos of Russian privatisation has resulted in a state which is indeed not a healthy democracy. But neither is it a monolith with no dissent and no conflicting interests, and Putin has continually to balance the desires and goals of different oligarchs and factions. Not many Russians would recognise the portrayal here of a super efficient and coherent state and business machine.

Besides, even if it were true, Russia would still only have one fifth of the population of the European Union and an economy the size of Spain. The attempt to pump up Russia as a massive threatening superpower is simply nonsense. What Russia does have is the ability to take decisive politico-military action, on a small scale in limited theatres, such as Crimea or Syria. It does so with success because it has a leader who is better at the game of international realpolitik that his western contemporaries. That is not a value judgement: I personally believe Putin is right in Syria and wrong in Crimea. But to blame Russia for the decrepit state of current western diplomacy is a stretch.

By para 4 the report is surfing along on a surreal wave of nonsense:

The security threat posed by Russia is difficult for the West to manage as, in our view and that of many others, it appears fundamentally nihilistic.

Really? Nihilistic? Now the report has already stated that Russia is a remarkably monolithic and unified state apparatus, controlled presumably by President Putin. I can think of many adjectives to describe Putin, some of them not very pleasant – calculating, machiavellian and devious would be amongst them. But he is the absolute opposite of nihilist. He has a clearly defined view of Russia’s interests – and that view identifies Russian interests far too closely with himself and other oligarchs – and sets out diligently and consistently to advance those interests.

So you can define clear Russian policy goals in the international sphere. These include the consolidation of Russian influence in the former Soviet Union and, where possible, the re-integration of contiguous Russian majority speaking territory into Russia, as seen in Georgia and Ukraine. They include the reduction of democratic space for political dissent at home. They include the countering of American influence abroad, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asia. These are serious, hard-headed policies. The very last word I would use to describe them is nihilistic. The Russian oligarch class are as unquestioningly materialist as any class in any society, ever. They are not nihilists.

I can only imagine that the committee picked up on the word “nihilist” from one of the crazed flights of fancy of Edward Lucas.

Para 4 then blunders on into still stranger territory:

It is also seemingly fed by paranoia, believing that Western institutions such as NATO and the EU have a far more aggressive posture towards it than they do in reality.

What could give them that idea?

But what is really strange is the lack of self awareness; a report built entirely upon paranoia about the Russian threat accuses Russia of paranoia about the western threat.

The next few paragraphs make repeated reference to the “Salisbury attacks” and simply take for granted the narrative that Russia was responsible for these. This I am not prepared to do. Clearly some kind of spy subterfuge took place in Salisbury involving both the UK and Russia, but there are too many obvious lies in the official UK government account. I still have seen no answers to my ten outstanding questions, while the attribution of the poison gets ever shakier, with new revelations from that cesspool of corruption, the bureaucracy of the OPCW.

Paras 13 to 20, on cyber warfare, again show that complete lack of self-awareness. They attribute a number of cyber hacks to Russia and the GRU, as though we did not know from Wikileaks Vault 7 leaks that the CIA specifically has a programme, “Umbrage” for leaving behind fake evidence of a Russian hack. But more tellingly, they quote GCHQ as their source of information.

Now it is a simple truth that hacking Russian communications, including military, political, security, research and commercial communications, has been a core part of GCHQ tasking from its establishment. Assuming at least some of the attributions to Russia on cyber warfare are correct, the synthetic outrage at Russia doing what we have been doing to Russia on a far, far larger scale for decades, is laughable. Even more so when paras 20 to 24 talk of the need for the MOD and GCHQ to expand their offensive cyber warfare as though this were a retaliatory measure.

From para 27 onwards the committee is talking about broadcast and new media disinformation campaigns. Here it stops pretending it knows any secret intelligence and states its information is open source, as at footnote 24 where the sources are frothing mad Edward Lucas and fake charity purveyor Christopher Donnelly, telling us how terrible Russian troll campaigns are.

Yet again, there is a total lack of self awareness. The committee fails to note that Donnelly himself has been spending millions of UK taxpayers’ money (at least that which did not go into his own pocket) running absolutely, precisely the same kind of covert campaign of hidden influence propaganda that they are accusing Russia of running. They accuse Russia Today of bias as though the BBC did not have its own state propaganda bias. Yet again, the lack of self-awareness is stunning.

Now we start to reach the stage where all this sanctimonious hypocrisy become really dangerous. Before you read this next few paras of the report, I would remind you that the repression of every bad regime everywhere has always been, in the eyes of the repressive security service, defensive. It is always to protect the truth, to prevent the spread of the lies and disaffection of evil foreign influence. That was the justification of the Cheka, the Gestapo, the Stasi and every South American dictator. They were all protecting the people from foreign lies. Now read this from the committee, and consider what it really means:

33. Whilst we understand the nervousness around any suggestion that the intelligence
and security Agencies might be involved in democratic processes – certainly a fear that is
writ large in other countries – that cannot apply when it comes to the protection of those
processes. And without seeking in any way to imply that DCMS is not capable, or that the
Electoral Commission is not a staunch defender of democracy, it is a question of scale and
access. DCMS is a small Whitehall policy department and the Electoral Commission is an
arm’s length body; neither is in the central position required to tackle a major hostile state
threat to our democracy. Protecting our democratic discourse and processes from hostile
foreign interference is a central responsibility of Government, and should be a ministerial
34. In our opinion, the operational role must sit primarily with MI5, in line with its
statutory responsibility for “the protection of national security and, in particular, its
protection against threats from espionage, terrorism and sabotage, from the activities of
agents of foreign powers and from actions intended to overthrow or undermine
parliamentary democracy … ”.38 The policy role should sit with the Office for Security and
Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) – primarily due to its ten years of experience in countering the
terrorist threat and its position working closely with MI5 within the central Government
machinery. This would also have the advantage that the relationship built with social media
companies to encourage them to co-operate in dealing with terrorist use of social media
could be brought to bear against the hostile state threat; indeed, it is not clear to us why the
Government is not already doing this.
35. With that said, we note that – as with so many other issues currently – it is the social
media companies which hold the key and yet are failing to play their part. The Government must
now seek to establish a protocol with the social media companies to ensure that they take
covert hostile state use of their platforms seriously, and have clear timescales within which
they commit to removing such material. Government should ‘name and shame’ those which fail to
act. Such a protocol could, usefully, be expanded to encompass the other areas in which action
is required from the social media companies, since this issue is not unique to Hostile State
Activity. This matter is, in our view, urgent and we expect the Government to report on progress
in this area as soon as possible.

The government endorsed Donnelly/Nimmo operation identified Ian above as a Russian agent. I have no doubt they would count this article as Russian disinformation. They would set MI5 on Ian and I, and ensure our posts would be banned from social media. Only such a corrupt mainstream media as we have in the UK would fail entirely to note – and they have failed entirely to note – the extreme and illiberal aspects of this report.

There is a real danger identified by the report. But it is not Russia, it is the McCarthyite witch-hunt the report seeks to promote, ironically based upon an entire sea of disinformation.

By paragraph 42 the committee has left reality entirely behind in favour of a tour of Clintonland.

42. It was only when Russia completed a ‘hack and leak’ operation against the
Democratic National Committee in the US – with the stolen emails being made public a
month after the EU referendum – that it appears that the Government belatedly realised the
level of threat which Russia could pose in this area, given that the risk thresholds in the
Kremlin had clearly shifted, describing the US ‘hack and leak’ as a “game changer”,46 and
admitting that “prior to what we saw in the States, [Russian interference] wasn’t generally
understood as a big threat to [electoral] processes”.

Contrary to the committee’s bland assertion, it is now well established that there never was any Russian hack of the DNC. Mueller failed entirely, after spending US $32million, to establish either a hack or Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign. The only “evidence” there ever was for the Russian hack was an affirmation by the DNC’s security consultants, Crowdstrike, and this summer we learnt that Crowdstrike had never had any evidence of a Russian hack either. While those of us close to Wikileaks have been explaining for years it was a leak, not a hack. We were ignored by the media as it did not fit with the official disinformation campaign.

The committee query why the UK security services were not alerted by the DNC hack to take additional measures against Russia. The answer to that is very simple. The UK and US security services share all intelligence, so the UK security services were well aware from the US intelligence information that there was in fact no Russian hack. Unlike their US counterparts, they were not led by Clinton appointed loyalists prepared to perpetuate and act upon the lie to try to serve their political masters. On the other hand, the UK security services evidently did not feel it necessary to dampen the ardour of the committee on this point when it was about to propose a large increase in their powers and their budgets.

I had already blogged on paragraph 41 of the report and its accusation of Russian interference in the election campaign, founded entirely on a published article on Medium by witch-finder general, the Livingston unionist Ben Nimmo. That article states, among other things, that many Independence supporters on social media also support Russia on Ukraine, and therefore must be agents of Russian influence – as opposed to Scots who happen to support Russia over Ukraine. It notes that a number of people who support Scottish Independence appear not to have English as their first language, and some have trouble with definite and indefinite articles; therefore, Nimmo concludes they must be Russian trolls. As though we have no migrants who support Scottish Independence – and ignoring the fact Polish, Lithuanian, indeed the majority of languages in the world, also do not use definite and indefinite articles.

Let us remind ourselves of Ben Nimmo’s brilliant identification of top Russian trolls, nine out of ten of which turned out to be ordinary Scottish Independence supporters who simply tweeted things Nimmo does not like, while the tenth is a news aggregation bot which actually has the word “bot” in its name. That the committee takes this stuff seriously is a fact so eloquent in itself, I need hardly say more.

When we arrive at section 49 we finally reach material with which I can wholeheartedly agree. The UK, and the City of London in particular, was absolutely wrong to have welcomed in with open arms the Russian billionaires whose fortunes had been looted from the Russian people in the chaotic privatisation process, where assets were seized often by brute force, sometimes by bribery. There is no decent society in which the Deripaskas, the Usmanovs, the Lebvedevs, the Abramovics, should be accorded respect. Dirty money corrupts financial and political institutions. The committee is absolutely correct about that.

But have these people been living under a rock? UK politics and society have been a stinking morass of corruption for generations. Saudi money has worked in exactly the same way as Russian, and has had a bigger political influence, leading to a quite disgusting blind eye being turned to appalling human rights violations and military aggression against civilians. The same is true of all the Gulf states. London has been awash for over 40 years with Nigerian plutocrats, every single one of whose wealth has been corruptly looted. When I worked at the British High Commission in Lagos, the snobs’ estate agent Knight Frank and Rutley had an office there, staffed by expatriates, which did nothing but sell Surrey mansions and Docklands penthouses to crooks.

Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Angola, Sierra Leone, there is not a blood diamond or corruptly acquired oil barrel whose proceeds do not wash up in London. Four of the world’s top ten tax evasion bases are British colonies. The committee was right to describe the City of London as a “laundromat” for looted money, but wrong to ascribe that mainly to Russia. That is without considering the disgusting activities of our own UK and US billionaires, who control our media and ultimately our politics.

I can join in the committee’s condemnation of Russian oligarchs influence in British society, and especially their influence as donors on the Tory party. But remember Mandelson/Deripaska. The corruption has no ideological basis except selfishness. The financial interests of British, American, Russian, Saudi, French, Malaysian or any other billionaires are entirely intertwined, as is their political influence. It is the billionaires against the people. The nationality of the particular billionaire is irrelevant. I strongly recommend this report by Transparency International on the massive involvement of “respectable” British institutions in facilitating obviously corrupt transactions.

Does anybody seriously believe the influence of Russian billionaires is somehow more pernicious in the UK than the Saudis or any of the others I have mentioned? Of course nobody believes that; this report only achieves its aim by a blinkered focus on a singular anti-Russian racism. I am not going to expound on any more of the report, because there is a limit to how much racism I am prepared to wade through.

But before closing, I want to consider how enthusiasm for the new Cold War has swept up pretty well the entire political and media class. There are of course those who were enthusiasts for the last Cold War, the military and security services, the arms industry and bottom feeders like Christopher Steele and Christopher Donnelly, who make a surprisingly fat living from peddling the disinformation the state wishes to hear.

But the “Russia is the enemy” narrative has been taken up not just by the traditional right, but by those who would probably self-describe as liberal or social democrat, by supporters of Blair and Hillary.

Most of the explanation for this lies in the success of Blair and Clinton in diverting the “left” into the neo-con foreign policy agenda, through the doctrine of “liberal intervention”, which was the excuse for much Victorian imperialism. The notion is that if you only bomb and maim people in developing countries enough, they will develop democratic forms of government.

This thesis is at best unproven. But once you persuade people to accept one form of war, they seem to become enthusiasts for more of it, particularly those who work in media. It remains the most important single fact in British politics that, despite the fact almost everybody now acknowledges that it was a disaster, nobody ever lost their job for supporting the Iraq war. Quite a few lost their job for opposing it, Greg Dyke, Carne Ross, Elizabeth Wilmshurst and Piers Morgan being among the examples. It is a simple matter of fact that the Iraq War’s biggest cheerleaders dominate the London political and media landscape, whereas there is no critic of the Iraq War in an important position of power.

But apart from the argument that we must oppose Russia because it is not a democracy (but not oppose Saudi Arabia because… well, because), something else is in play. The cosy liberal worldview has been shattered by a populist surge, as represented by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Both events are cataclysmic to the liberal mind and need to be explained.

For some reason, many mainstream liberals, especially the well-heeled ones who control the media and are columnists therein, are unable to acknowledge the truth. The truth is that our apparently comfortable modern society left a large number of people behind, who suffered loss of status from the ever-growing wealth gap and believed their opinions were not valued by an urban establishment they despised. These people revolted and had a right to revolt. That their discontent was seized upon and diverted by charlatans to unworthy political causes did not nullify the just causes of discontent. Loss of wages, job security and social status has bedeviled the disenfranchised at the same time that the plutocrats have been piling up personal wealth.

The upsurge of populism is a direct consequence of the vicious inequality of late stage capitalism, seasoned with racist attitudes to migrants which were themselves triggered by large waves of immigration the “liberal left” in fact caused with their obsessive pursuit of foreign invasion and destruction. That analysis, that the capitalist system they so wholeheartedly espouse and the wars for “freedom” they so ardently promote are the cause of the political setbacks they have encountered – is unpalatable to the media and political classes.

They therefore look for another cause for the raw political wounds of Trump and Brexit. Incredibly, they attempt to blame Putin for both. The notion that Russia, rather than deep disaffection of the less privileged classes, “caused” Trump, Brexit and even support for Scottish Independence is completely risible, yet uncritical acceptance of that analysis is fundamental to this report. It fits the mindset of the entire political and media establishment which is why it has been lauded, when it should be condemned as a real threat to the very political freedoms which it claims differentiate us from Russia.


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283 thoughts on “The Russian Interference Report, Without Laughing

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  • Tatyana

    I have a question. It’s a serious question and I do hope someone can give me an advice.

    If someone says in a public space that I am a ‘Russian troll’ and also says I am a ‘Russian state agent’, then, can I file a defamation claim against him? Suppose, I can prove that such a lie caused damage to my business reputation, loss of income, and also subjected me to completely unbearable terrible mental suffering.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Technically yes, but realistically, no. Legal remedies for these spats are only available to the extraordinarily wealthy, such as oligarchs. Take it in your stride, let it go, unless have have a lot of money you are willing and able to burn.

    • Ingwe

      Tatyana@09:36-I presume that your question assumes that a possible claim is brought in England’s jurisdiction. If so, the law relating to defamation is immensely complex and, like most of legal remedies in the UK, not really intended for the likes of you and me. Defamation and protection of reputation is really a luxury for the extremely wealthy. No one is really interested in ‘Joe’s (or Jane’s) Public’s reputation.

      In short, in theory, if you can establish that a statement has been made and published ( i.e. someone other than the maker of the statement and the subject of the statement is aware of the statement) and the effect of the statement tends to lower your reputation in the eyes of ordinary, reasonable people, then the statement could be defamatory. The remedy if a statement is found to be defamatory is to seek damages.

      This very brief description shows the difficulties, even before one considers the statutory defences to defamation claims such as truth, opinion, and public interest. For example, to say that your reputation has been lowered in the eyes of the ordinary person, requires some knowledge of what the reputation of the person allegedly defamed was in the eyes of the ordinary person. This is as difficult to prove as it is to establish that the reputation has been lowered. At first glance it seems easy to say that it would be obvious that calling someone ‘a Russian troll’ would lower their reputation in the eyes of the ordinary person. But that depends on where that ordinary person is. Would it lower the reputation if the subject is in Russia to the same extent As in the U.K.?

      Then there is the difficulty of the defences. Is the statement true? If so, it is not defamatory. Was the statement merely the person making the statement their opinion? If so, you’d need to establish that there was no reasonable basis for holding such an opinion and the the statement was made maliciously, that is, with intention to cause harm even in the knowledge that the statement may not be true. Then there are defences that include privilege, such as if the statement is made in, for example Parliament (where the privilege is absolute) or where there may be qualified privilege, such as a meeting of creditors where a statement may be made but it not actionable due to the circumstances of the meeting. Further, there is the defence of the matter being in the public interest.

      If proceedings are brought in England, the court will decide, in the first instance, whether the words complained of are capable in a legal sense of being defamatory. If the judge decides, having heard argument of the context of the words complained of, that the words are not capable of being defamatory, then that is the end of the matter. If the judge holds that the words are capable of being defamatory, then the trial is held to discover whether the statement was defamatory. If that is the case, then the court decides to ascertain whether the defamatory words caused loss to the subject of the defamation. This last process is also fraught with problems of establishing causation.

      One only has to see the type of claimants who bring defamation proceedings; mega-rich oligarchs, members (or former members) of Royal families, piratical actors accused of thumping their partner etc. I’m afraid, Tatyana, that justice for the likes of you and me and almost all of the population is as available to us as the Ritz Hotel!

      • Tatyana

        Thank you, Mod, I know.
        What is more important, he knows that I am not a Russian state agent, but he deliberately continues to spread this lie.

        I wondered if I could appeal to any authorities to protect my rights. And if this is possible, then to whom should I address my request.

        • Jack

          The best chance on removing that is for people to start mass reporting that account on Twitter and hope Twitter shut it down.

          Seems to be a disturbed person running that Twitter account, the constant spamming against Craig does look a bit like a oddball stalker.

      • Ingwe

        Tatyana-the short answer to your jurisdiction question is that if the person making the statement is domiciled in the U.K. an EU member state or a county contracted to the Lugano Convention, then the UK is an appropriate jurisdiction for a defamation action. The difficulty ( not insurmountable) is to establish the identity of the blog poster and their address upon whom to serve proceedings and, in the first instance, send a letter to claim requiring the poster to desist, withdraw and undertake not to repeat the offensive post(s).
        Of course, sites/blogs may also be guilty of defamation for publishing and republishing defamatory posts (including this honourable blog) so it wouldn’t hurt to request the site publishing the offensive blogger to take down the objectionable posts which, if ignored, could later be seen as evidencing the requisite malice.
        As far as I can glean, Tatyana, the only visitors to this blog likely to believe you’re a Russian agent are those intellectual flea-weights incapable of refuting points of view by argument and rely on smears and untruths to undermine. Please keep posting and ignore the smearers. Most of us do.

        • Tatyana

          Actually, I was impressed with the manner in which the rights of some other people were defended. For example, Mr. Alex Prentice, was concerned that people might reveal the names of women complainants in Mr. Salmond’s case. I believe Mr. Prentice saw the danger of ‘jigsaw puzzle identification’ in certain entries on this site.

          I believe Mr. Prentice would defend anyone’s rights, because he is a high-ranking lawyer, which means he understands something about justice. Also, in my case it would be a 100% guaranteed victory, since I am the only Tatyana on Mr. Murray’s blog, and even no jigsaw puzzles needed to know my identity – I never tried to hide it, on the contrary, I’m quite transparent.

          Do you think I have a chance to get Mr. Prentice on my side?

          • glenn_uk

            I’ve been accused of being a Russian troll myself.

            For example, while living in the Netherlands, an article appeared on a news site about Putin’s daughter, who lived in NL, and a number of people wanted to give her grief over the downing of MH17. I ventured that whatever people might have against Russia and Putin (even assuming there was responsibility there), surely his daughter is blameless.

            Result? I was immediately set upon as being a ‘Russian troll’, despite having posted there for years without providing any clues that this was indeed my mission.

          • Ingwe

            Tatyana, I’m afraid I don’t know Mr Prentice but know of him. Whether he’d take your case on on a “no win no fee” basis I have no idea.
            I set out earlier the problems generally in bringing defamation claims and my views remain that such claims are fraught with difficulty.

            As a lawyer of over 30 years in practice, I’m somewhat amused that you consider law has anything to do with justice. Run that past Mr Prentice.

            I’m afraid that those posters who suggest forgetting it and simply not engaging with trolls are right. Sorry to be negative but I inhabit the world as it is, not how I’d want it to be.

          • Deepgreenpuddock

            Is ridicule maybe the best response?
            Apparently Harry J is Habbabkuk. He probably has other names. I can’t not recall Samuel Johnson’s(no relation to Harry I assume ) observation that none but a fool writes but for money. A ship of fools might best describe this whole enterprise.
            I have no idea who,if any here gets paid for comments but the general value of most of the comments is negligible. Occasionally some interesting stuff emerges, more by accident than design and usually only when there is a sharp difference of views.This blog is an irritant or stimulant, like the grain of sand at the very heart of the pearl, that sometimes edges towards useful insights but only approaches it through quite a lot of unfathomable and random mental detritus.
            I find the thought that Habbabkuk is frantically trying to neutralise the stuff here quite amusing. The thought that he has multiple identities in his endeavour also says quite a lot about him, her or it. Funnily enough I used to enjoy some of his points-they were not without pithy insight , although it was also obvious that was acting gratuitously as a provocateur. Was that on behalf of any person organisation or entity or was it all just his personal thoughts and disposition?
            Habbabkuk ,if you are out there just reveal all, no one will be surprised.I even doubt if many people will be offended.As I said, this blog is useful at some level but in these modern times where so much thought is obscured by extreme complexity, multiple affiliations and sympathies,and with so many distractions and doubts. The sheer unknowingness of our current world is impossible for most people to deal with. My inclination at the moment is simply to withdraw but I feel the need for distraction so keep returning to ponder.

      • SA

        Many of us, including me, are mentioned Tatyana. Don’t take it seriously. ‘Water off a duck’s back’ as we say in English. Do you have an equivalent in Russian?

        • Tatyana

          exactly the same, SA, “как с гуся вода”
          Honestly, the advice not to take it close to the heart is understandable, but …

          We recently had a case here in Russia, Navalny commented on a video “… the team of corrupt lackeys … it’s a shame for the country. People have no conscience. Traitors.”
          There was a war veteran among the people in the video. The lawyer Ilya Remeslo said “insulting the veteran … it seemed to me the most vile and outrageous … he is 94 years old, he cannot stand up for himself” and sued Navalny.

          • Ort

            Tatyana, perhaps “Harry Johnson”‘s malicious, mendacious slander will badly backfire.

            Some of his (?) readers who actually read your posts are bound to conclude that if Russia can recruit such intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, witty, and humane women as “agents”– especially compared to the reprehensible low-life state-security apparatchiks employed by Western nations– all is lost and the West might as well surrender to Russian interests. 😉

          • Laguerre

            If it’s Habbabkuk, you just have to resist. He keeps details of what everyone says, including me, and then taunts them. He managed to push out Mary, but she is back. Thick skin, as they say in English, is what is necessary.

          • Tatyana

            Oh, thanks for the compliment! although flattering, but nevertheless I’d rather have common partnership, no surrenders and winners.

            My country is under attack. The news from the ex-brotherly neighboring country about the Russian language is not at all encouraging. You probably won’t believe me, but it’s true – a writer suggested to ban Pushkin, Lermontov and Dostoevsky in Ukrainian schools, because they are “the tentacles of the Russian world”!
            Pushkin is a tentacle! Dostoevsky is a tentacle! Can you believe someone adult and healthy could invent that?

            I think she herself is a tentacle of that beacon of modern linguistics and the ardent defender of the purity of English articles, Sir Nimmo of Britain, ex NATO press employee, senior fellow of the Atlantic council. I think he feels he must be more creative in his linguistic research, if he intends to keep his £ 2,500 a month from the Integrity Initiative.

          • John A

            Tanya, a couple of Russians successfully sued Steele for what he wrote about them in his infamous dossier on Trump. Despite winning, the judge did not award them huge ‘damages’ as the money to be paid is called, because they were Russians and their reputations were therefore not worth that much!
            The biggest risk of suing for libel is costs. If you lose, you have to pay the costs of both sides, that can be very high. Hence libel cases are the preserved of very rich people who use it as a kind of silencing weapon. The late Robert Maxwell, a crook, fraud and embezzeler, was always quick to threaten a libel action against anyone who wrote the truth about him.

      • Mary

        Sympathy. I had years of the trolling from the same individual on this site and nothing was done. I was undergoing cancer treatment at the time and I am sure my health suffered.

        • Tatyana

          I saw it mentioned and I’m so sorry, Mary. Hop in my carriage, maybe N and Goose and SA will join too. I know multiple complainants lawsuit is more ‘weighty’.

          • nevermind

            ditto here, Mary. You showed this lowlife that he can’t get away with his malicious insinuations.

            I admit, some of his bile was getting to me at times, imho, he is on some kind of wage, paid to accuse and troll.
            He also has some sort of misogynist streak running, as most of his attacks were directed to women.
            Don’t let this troll get to you Tatyana, most here are with you.

      • pete


        Of course you are not a Russian troll. A real troll would have an alias and use some method to disguise the origin of their posts. What sort of troll uses a Russian name and claim to live in Russia? It makes no sense. A glance at the twitter account Harryjo10476684 shows a singular obsession with the thoughts of Craig Murray and those of us who admire him.
        Whoever it is has some kind of bee in their bonnet (metaphor for monomania). Clearly a person living on the edge uncertain about their next step forward, playing with fire while skating on thin ice (mixed metaphors). Do not let his lunacy get to you.

      • Dungroanin

        The IRA people from St Petersburg had a good result against the fake Mueller linked in the US courts some months ago – which was one of the first fight back against Russiagate destroying Hillary and owning Trump great lie – perhaps they can guide you to a decent pro bono lawyer who would be happy to go after the state actors defaming you – hey maybe even get some crowd funding for a day in court! ?

        Seriously though – it seems that when a hammer is deployed against the smallest nut – their desperation is out of control and they are cruising for a rebound bruising! It is a crass attack by the ‘habbabuk’ Psycho.

    • Stevie Boy

      In this sad world we live in there is no recourse to justice for people who don’t adhere to the state narrative and the true trolls are able to slander people without fear of consequences. Social media is a swamp infested with mentally defectives, if you go paddling there you will have to take the insults on the chin. Don’t engage, just keep speaking the truth, that’s what they really hate.
      Today it’s anything Russian, Chinese, Iranian or Venezuelan. Tomorrow, who knows ? straight out of the Nazi handbook on oppression.

      • Tatyana

        What a bad day today, though. I tried a new recipe, Moroccan pancakes Bagrir, but I didn’t get it! So I’m in the mood to sue everyone I don’t like!
        Once I enlist Mr. Prentice’s support, Mr. Nimmo will be next.

        I find it extremely outrageous that he sees the use of “qui bono” and the misuse of the English articles as the enemy’s criterion. This is the same as looking for enemies in people with a hooked nose.
        Disgusting discrimination and sheer stupidity. How could this even get into a state-level report? He was probably helped by that exceptionally smart guy Gavin Williamson, otherwise I cannot explain how it was possible to publish it at all.

        • Goose

          How could this even get into a state-level report?

          Brexit, followed by Trump’s victory gave UK/US political establishments’ collective psyche a nervous breakdown. This wasn’t how events, normally so carefully structured and managed in both countries, were meant to go down; the people so used to exercising complete and total control suddenly had little or no control over events. It was either blame the sneaky Russians or admit our populations were utterly stupid. ….The rest is history.

          • Goose

            I know smart people who voted for Brexit, and in the US some who voted for Trump acting more like nihilistic teenagers; in the full knowledge both would be chaotic in the short to medium term. They hate the stifling status quo conformity and production line politicians like the awful,hawkish Hillary Clinton, who an undemocratic clique tried to foist on the population.

            Sometimes you have to do something on the wild side, to shake the system up in the hope when the dust settles you arrive at somewhere where more options are made available. There was no other option. Similar to Craig’s thinking on the British State needing to be broken up, as there is simply no other option or mechanism to force change.

          • Goose

            The DNC seem to have repeated the same error and the same excluded progressive voters may once again use their votes in a destructive fashion.

            If the system won’t allow real choice, then voters will try to use their votes to elect people who’ll embarrass and discredit that system in the hope it’ll become untenable. This ‘disgruntled voter’ nihilism is an underreported trend.

    • Courtenay Barnett


      I recall suing here, in the Caribbean, for one leading politician against another.

      On the face of it I had one to rights against the other. However, as the case advanced to trial, the other party ( Defendant) started presenting some quite disturbing information about the Plaintiff. After careful consideration upon both lawyers advice – both parties decided to drop the case with no order as to costs.

      Not that I am saying that you have any skeletons in the closet. At the end of the day it can all be very bothersome and costly,

      Let it ride and ride on is my humble advice.


      • Tatyana

        Thank you, Courtenay.
        I do have skeletons, sure. I’m traumatized by some negative experience that hugely influenced, nearly ruined my whole life, so I may easily be called anti-Semite for my unflattering statements. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to be neutral and all logic when it’s personal and emotional. I’m a human. I know about it, I work on sorting it out to develop normal balanced attitude.
        So what? This has nothing to do with the lie that I am a Russian state agent.

        You mentioned a Plaintiff and a Defendant and this provoked my vivid imagination – I wonder if they could have tried on me another popular accusation – sexual harrassment!
        Oh My God! Just imagine that! An anti-Semitic woman, a sexual predator, who says: “Zis iz forrr Putin!” after she finished, ahem, her agency task of ahem, blowing up your democracy 🙂

        • Nick

          That was naughty
          Now i can’t get the image of bouncing bombs out of my mind for some reason

    • Jen

      Dear Tatyana,

      I think the answer to your query will depend very much on the country where the social media platform, website or blog is hosted. If it is hosted in, say, the UK then you would need to know how defamation laws work in that country, as I understand they work a bit differently from defamation laws in other English-speaking countries. In the UK, the onus is on the defendant to prove s/he is not slandering the plaintiff; in Australia the onus is on the plaintiff to show that defamation has occurred.

      You will probably need to demonstrate (if you seek legal advice) that you have advised the administrator or moderator of your concerns and that the administrator / moderator has warned the troll to expect consequences for continued trolling and defamation. The forum needs to state somewhere its comments policy, what it expects of commenters and what will happen if commenters resort to repeated libelling and harassment of others.

      You yourself would need to keep a record of continued harassment, just as you would if you were being stalked in real life. As in most situations, you need to do the hard work first of collecting odious stuff to build a watertight case.

        • Stonky

          Tatyana I’m a friend of yours although you may not be aware of it.

          You have no legal remedy either under Scots or English Law. The laws of liber and slander aren’t there to give people redress who’ve become involved in a social medi spat. To engage in a successful action you must be able to prove two things: 1 – that you have a significant public reputation, and 2 – that your reputation has suffered significant damage.

          In this case you will struggle to prove 1. 2 is impossible to prove for the simple and obvious reason that nobody reads Harry Johnson’s tweets. He has no likes, and no retweets. I was highly amused when I linked to his twitter to see that I’ve also been honoured by inclusion in his list of “nutters” who are paranoid about having their identity known.

          So please don’t let Harry upset you or give him what he wants by responding to him. You’re just lighting a feeble lamp in his empty world with your talk of legal remedies. Either ignore him, or ridicule him for being a pathetic obsessive loser – a sad Billy No-Mates yelling in an empty room. That’s what I plan to do.

          • Tatyana

            I was thinking today I should figuratively ‘load my gun and fight’. But my opponent is hiding his face, he never dared to look straight into my eyes. So, maybe, having rushed to the battlefield on a white horse, in shining armor and all blazing with rage, I will not see a worthy enemy in front of me. What will I do if my adversary is a child, a woman, an old man?
            Ok, I’m sure he is an adult man, but what if he turns out a disabled person who evokes only compassion?

            [ Mod: You shouldn’t worry about his welfare. Habbabkuk (whose main alternative name was ‘Charles Bostock’) has boasted about his education at Oxford University, as well as his training and experience in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He was banned over a year ago, initially temporarily; but he continued trying to comment every day using different identities, for which he was banned permanently. Surprisingly, he still tries to post offensive comments here every day, to no avail. Perhaps we should reveal some of his unseen witterings, not to mention the hundreds of pseudonyms he has adopted over the years in his attempts to evade moderation; there are some interesting patterns. ]

            I know that obsessions often arise from trauma. I know that people who harm others often do it just because they have their old wounds hurting.
            And I have also met people living in their illusory realities. In their fantasy world, they are brave heroes facing an advancing danger. This illusion brings sense to their existence, gives them energy, drive, adrenaline.
            Being deprived of their nourishing illusions, such people quickly collapse.

            I honestly haven’t decided yet whether I’m ready to put my resentment on one side of the scale, and the probability of ruining the sense of his existence on the other side. Because there is a chance to get into a situation like Mr. Murray vs Phillip Cross – it was expected to find a nest of government agents, but in fact it turned out … you know what happened.
            Until I solve this inner moral problem with myself, I’m not ready to act, I think.

            Thanks for being my friend! It scares me a little, to be honest, because we have different meanings of the word ‘friend’ in English and in Russian languages.
            In Russia, ‘друг’ is really serious. It’s means I’m ready to sacrifice my life for the friend and all that 🙂
            We have wonderful words for other relationship – приятель, кент, товарищ
            I love ‘приятель’ it means “well-wisher” or “favored person”.

          • Tatyana

            Dear Mod 🙂 You are a Master of Suspense! Now I’m curious to the level that I can’t sleep!

            I am by no means going to give advice, but perhaps you would consider it fair to reveal some more information, maybe in the form of a post in the discussion section of the forum? Just for the sake of convenience of addressing newcomers to it, warning them of possible troubles they might face using this blog?
            Again, I am by no means insisting, the decision is yours, but that seems to me to be an honest warning to many people who might stumble upon the occasional negative post of that individual, and thus people may be harmed completely unexpectedly. Not everyone has a thick skin, extend your mercy onto them, please.

          • Nick

            I would certainly like to see a collection of the arch-zionist habbas posts from the last year. Nothing funnier than reading the posts of a low pay grade useful idiot desperate for a few grubby shekels tossed his way.
            A low rent Kamm.

        • Macky

          The Habba-Clown ! LOL ! This brings back memories; rest assured Tatyana that no sane person will ever take any of his smears seriously, all it takes is a little prodding and his credibility self-combusts revealing a naked & malicious troll.

          That he claims an Oxford education is an embarrassment for the University, but also an indictment.

  • FranzB

    CM – “The ECJ found that Magnitskiy indeed died as a result of the shortcomings of Russia’s brutal prison regime …. but that he was properly in prison on viable criminal charges.”

    There’s no evidence in the ECHR judgement that points to Magnitskiy being ‘ a highly corrupt accountant’ (as CM puts it). The ECHR judgement makes clear that Magnitskiy denied the charges of tax fraud (see point 37 of the judgement). He was never found guilty of those charges, except in a posthumous trial.

    The ECHR judgement found that Magnitskiy had been detained for longer than was justified, i.e. he was not ‘properly in prison’ at the time of his death (point 223 of the judgement). Note also point 221 of the judgement. What the ECHR found was that Magnitskiy’s arrest and detention was justified (points 204 and 205). It was the length of his detention that ensured that Magnitskiy died in prison before his case could be heard.

    The details of Magnitskiy’s medical care and his death in prison can be read in the ECHR judgement from point 59 onwards, but note points 64, 66 and 79. Having been diagnosed with a series of complaints in July 2009 he was transferred from prison 77/1 which had medical facilities to prison 77/2 which had no medical facilities to treat his diagnosed ilnesses. He died in November 2009.

    • Dungroanin

      He wasn’t a lawyer as Browder claimed

      He didn’t accuse any one of corruption until arrested.

      He had a foreign passport and a plane ticket to flee.

      The case against him was found to be well investigated.

      It is a shame that he died in a prison with such conditions that the trial and witnesses didn’t happen and get called, and all Browders Billions are still unreclaimed.

      Just as much a shame that a US prison had conditions which allowed the death of Epstein, denying an equal set of revelations (no doubt with some cross over characters!)

    • Goose

      Armies cannot stop an idea whose time has come. No army can stop an idea whose time has come. Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.

      -Victor Hugo.

      • Goose

        The point being, all this social media stuff is froth, irrelevant, it makes very little difference, and some people take it way too seriously.

        The issue of Scottish independence, for instance, it won’t be decided on Twitter. It’ll be decided by the Scottish populace if they think it’s an idea whose time has come.

        • Mary

          Acknowledging that ‘they’ have the power but it does at least let ‘them’ know what we think.

          Remember ‘We are many. They are few’.

          The job is to stop the sheeple falling for their promises and putting them in power.

      • Bramble

        Sadly, our big idea, whose time came with Thatcher, is “greed is good”. It still rules.

    • grafter

      A worrying development……
      Breaking: Infowars Reporter Millie Weaver Arrested on Secret Indictment! (YouTube, 5m 51s)

      Millie Weaver was getting ready to publish a documentary called ‘Shadow Gate’. The film showcases two whistleblowers who allege there is a secretive network of government contractors which consists of government and military insiders (both current and former) who have ‘back door’ access to intelligence agencies and all of the information that they collect on everyone including politicians and how this information is used to blackmail powerful people to control them.

      The charges Ms Weaver faces are tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and domestic violence. The sheriffs office also confirmed she is being held without bond and will remain in custody over the weekend until she appears before a judge on Monday morning.

    • Dungroanin

      Does it say more than the coupgate revelations already? From Consortium and SST?

      I don’t like getting info from movies and prefer a written document to mull over is there a transcript?

      Or maybe relevant summary by you or someone who has watched it?

      I believe it is probably the Trump re-election Campaign shifting up gears to get to the grassroots core voters from last time and get the coupgate story to them in time for voting – probably smart move! The timing of the backwater grand jury and arrest of the ex model most influential under 30 republican and its now millions of views and promotion acrosss the many Social and Alt-media boards seems to be coordinated! Calling captain Nimmo! ?

      To be clear I am not against the video/maker/Trump etc.

  • Goose

    Off topic (apologies mod)…

    Re: The Trial Of Alex Salmond

    In this one-hour programme for BBC Two, Kirsty Wark examines Alex Salmond’s trial and the accounts from his supporters, colleagues, accusers and critics….Kirsty Wark asks: what are the repercussions of Alex Salmond’s trial, and what impact will it have on the SNP, and Scotland’s political future?

    Does Craig feature in this programme, as a ‘supporter’ ?

    Reads like it’ll be a diabolical exercise in BBC muckraking against an acquitted man. Who is the victim here?

    • Goose

      This line in their promo :

      … and what impact will it have on the SNP, and Scotland’s political future?

      Kinda gives their real game away. Just imagine if the trial had gone the other way, what the BBC would be doing with this in terms of SNP bashing.

    • Los

      Don’t know about Scotland, but in England there is a long tradition of continued Denigration of those found Innocent in Political Trials.

      Search for: “John Thelwall: Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon”.

      • Bramble

        There is a reason for such people being harassed by false accusations, and when they are found not guilty, the reason still exists. We all know not to become one of “the usual suspects”. It is drummed into us from birth. Conform!

  • Giyane

    In modern politics facts have become fukts, truth fuktion, we all have to be trained to decode state double-think, otherwise know is Mephistofilistics. I don’t know which bit of the small print Craig fsiled to read when he first became a diplomat. Surely it was there on page one of the contract, we are here to deceive the world and the public..

    To have got a degree in Modern History, one would have to have been well educated in the psychology of political deception and have a clear perception that veering toward truth would get you stitched up as a criminal while simultaneously the criminals get financial opportunities to capitalise on their bend bendability of the truth.

    Since becoming a Muslim , I have been staggered by how the simple statement of truth that there is one God, engenders complete rage in otherwise normal people.
    We live in England, where the ruling fuktion is different and Royalty embodies fukts that are opposite to the facts.

    Mt English teacher taught me that humour comes from incongruity. The Empetor’s new clothes’ incongruity encompasses the whole of our Anglo-Saxon rom whiv culture and civilisation from which the US is a direct off shoot. If the Pilgrim Fathers failed to changed the root of intellectual problem and continues to amplify and multiply the fukts and functions of its imperial sires , how can it be surprising that the anglo saxon imperial Bumcheeks continue to be exposed?

    The only curious thing is that these are not new clothes.
    You’d think the Emperor would have thought about giving his now millennial old clothes a millennial wash.
    But they don’t smell , I hear him say,. Yes dumbo, because they don’t exist!

    • Blissex

      «Surely it was there on page one of the contract, we are here to deceive the world and the public.»

      An english diplomat wrote in 1604 “An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.”.

  • Giyane

    I was working this week in a 30 year old office building doing maintenance. There was a little leak in the ceiling of the smart new ladies toilet. Above the ceiling is a massive steel duct, occupying the entire space.

    As my first mum in law would say , designed by a man.
    Maybe the same man who designed a political system without considering how to stop leaking news from state corruption. To cover his embarrassment at, having made the design unserviceable, he then said it must have been a hack. Yes if you hacked out the metre wide ducting, you might be able to find the leak.

  • Simon Prichard

    Does anyone know anymore about Shadow Gate and the arrest of the journalist Millie Weaver under a sealed indictment Friday?
    I thought it very plausible and convincing, and especially that it was spot on in how it reported on Seth Rich, the DNC leaks, Julian Assange and the set-up of the “Russian interference” by the intelligence alphabet agencies, Cambridge Analytica etc.

  • David

    Craig mentioned the unexpected Andrew Neil response to the ‘useless’ Steele report

    evidence now emerging that CIA never believed Steele, and that the FBI were briefed against Steele by our Spies, and the aware FBI proceeded to lie their tits off….

    Further, FBI was briefed on two occasions that the •real• Russian attack on the 2016 US election could have been the insertion of false-stories into that ‘amazing’ Steele report

    excellent reporting here by Mr. Ross, as usual

    • Dungroanin

      Brennan is probably at the top of the decision making to start it all off! A belated attempt to put some distance from the unraveling of the FBI and the coup plot. No way 5+1 eyed Gollum spooks were involved with Lou Brennan calling the shots. Remember they Lie, Cheat, Steal, Murder and cover their tracks and still boast about it!

  • Dungroanin

    Sorry if this has been linked to already here

    A fairly fulsome write up on the 77th and the Cabinet Office collusion that sheds more light on the Ios/ii ops by ‘PWLaurie’

    Is the can of worms exploding this side of the pond as it is at the same time over the other with the first perp walk from Durhams investigation starts with the FBI liars?

    I’m getting more popcorn and beers!

  • Blissex

    Our blogger seems to me startlingly naive (or perhaps deliberately so) as he was recently stating that propaganda and interference is a core function of diplomacy and he was good at it.
    But if so, why should the elites of a state do it *only* in foreign states, to manipulate foreign populaces for/against foreign elites? Why not do it in their own state too, to manipulate their local populace in their own favour?
    The argument may be “But doing it to foreigners is not the same as doing it to your own people”, but then some elites don’t regard the local populace as being their own people.

  • MrK

    Additional information about Ann Applebaum.

    “Anne Applebaum is the most respectable of them. I should state that I know both Anne (whom I know as Ania) and her husband, Radek Sikorski MEP, slightly from my time as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Poland (1994-8). Anne is a right wing journalist who has worked at both the Spectator and the American Enterprise Institute, a Randian think tank. She identifies as Polish and shares the understandable visceral distrust of Russia felt by the Polish right. Her husband Radek Sikorski is a long term friend of Boris Johnson, member of the Bullingdon Club, also worked at the American Enterprise Institute and is a former Defence Minister of Poland. Radek’s persona as a politician is very much based around his hawkish stance on Russia. Both Anne and Radek have consistently argued for the aggressive eastward expansion of NATO and forward stationing of US troops and missiles towards Russia.”

    I remembered Radek Sikorski from the documentary made about the Bullingdon Club.

    Ann Applebaum was also an attendee of the 2016 Bilderberg Group meeting. The Bilderberg Group was founded by David Rockefeller (oil monopolists, banking and much more) and aristocrat Bernhard, Prince of Orange-Nassau (House of Nassau, formerly of the Holy Roman Empire, by way of marrying into the Dutch royal family) and Graf von Lippe-Biesterfeld.

    “Applebaum, Anne (USA), Columnist Washington Post; Director of the Transitions Forum, Legatum Institute”

    And she is on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy or NED, which was quoted of “doing overtly what the CIA used to do covertly”. She shares this board membership with Victoria Nuland, Elliott Abrams, Tim Kaine, Karen Bass, Peter Roskam, Ben Sasse and more. Andy Card is the Chairman.


  • TJ

    Having Anne Applebaum, Bill Browder, Christopher Donnelly, Edward Lucas and Christopher Steele on this is like having Adolf Hitler be the judge at the Nuremberg Tribunal, we know the outcome will be a tissue of lies and completely unjust.

  • Iain Stewart

    “[ Mod: You shouldn’t worry about his welfare. Habbabkuk (whose main alternative name was ‘Charles Bostock’) has boasted about his education at Oxford University, as well as his training and experience in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He was banned over a year ago, initially temporarily; but he continued trying to comment every day using different identities, for which he was banned permanently. Surprisingly, he still tries to post offensive comments here every day, to no avail. Perhaps we should reveal some of his unseen witterings, not to mention the hundreds of pseudonyms he has adopted over the years in his attempts to evade moderation; there are some interesting patterns. ]”

    Go on, then.

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