Monthly archives: February 2023


The Cheats’ Election 173

It is over ten years since I allowed a guest post on this blog. This is because I never listen to anybody except myself. That way I avoid hearing anything disagreeable.

(Those last two sentences are a joke, deliberately in the style of Jane Austen. Of course it ruins the joke to explain it, but if I don’t, then twitter will be full of trials writing jibes about narcissism).

I have turned down hundreds of requests, but today I have decided to publish Stephen Norris, the Convener of his SNP branch, who has just had enough.

The SNP Inner Circle’s desire to fix the election for Humza could hardly be more obvious. Murrell and Sturgeon remain in place to oversee the process – and are carefully diverting attention to the counting process rather than the issuing and verification of login IDs.

Almost half of the campaigning days available are to be taken up by a series of 8 regional hustings meetings. The SNP machine (ie the Murrells) have decreed – against the will of two of the three candidates – that these will be closed meetings and neither reported nor streamed.

All are fully booked with no tickets available, and the party machine that booked them tipped off their own people to grab the seats. The candidates will only be able to speak to 3,500 members in total through these hustings, out of a membership claimed to be over 100,000.

It is deliberately designed to tie the candidates up and minimise their exposure. Of course, as a new mother, it is particularly constraining for Kate Forbes.

Now Stephen Norris has captured regional list MSP Emma Harper breaking party rules by emailing the South of Scotland membership on the SNP email system, urging them to vote for Humza Yousaf.

This plainly contravenes the election rules, but is on a par with Humza appearing everywhere with placards etc using fonts, styles and materials exactly as used by party HQ, and almost certainly produced by them.

Before I finally hand you over to Stephen Norris, I might further explain that ultra-Sturgeon loyalist Emma Harper MSP was jemmied into her seat by a fake process designed to exclude the Independence stalwart Joan McAlpine MSP – a talented and independent figure detested by Sturgeon.

McAlpine was removed by a rule change adopted by the Sturgeon controlled SNP national executive, which rules that regional lists must be topped by disabled candidates. Members voted for candidates in the normal way and the boosting was done AFTER the vote, with the disabled promoted to the top.

The extremely talented McAlpine was therefore forced out of parliament by the ultra loyalist nonentity Emma Harper, on the sole grounds that Harper has diabetes. It is worth noting that in other regions, candidates with less than 5% of the members’ vote were promoted to the top of the list, above individual candidates with ten times as many votes, and are now MSPs.

So now you know how Harper got to her position, I give you Stephen Norris:

“Election Cheating

I write this with a heavy heart and after much soul searching.
But events over the last few days have left me with no other choice.
I trust that those who read this understand I do so out of loyalty to my party, to Scotland, and the wider independence movement.

THE SCOTTISH National Party will stage the first of eight hustings on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Arguably, with Alex Salmond gone and Nicola Sturgeon going, it will be the most important leadership election in its history.

Sadly, and to the shame of those involved, the process of choosing our new leader and Scotland’s First Minister has been compromised before it starts. The act has been perpetrated in the most sleekit, arrogant and undemocratic manner imaginable. And I use that word “undemocratic” deliberately.

Once upon a time, the party to which I have devoted 41 years of my life, campaigned for, argued for, stood for and believed in, prided itself on a democratic power derived from its diverse and multi-talented membership. A power feared and respected by our unionist opponents and one which led our movement to the brink of victory.

Be in no doubt, that victory – the vital independence of our country and the restoration of its social and economic fortunes – remains within our grasp. The grassroots Yes movement still survives and thrives and – despite a succession of surrenders and false promises – a platform of around 50 per cent support for independence remains as our start point.

But the independence our country so desperately needs will not be achieved with Humza Yousaf and his backers at the helm of the SNP.

On Friday, February 24, 2023, two hours and 26 minutes before nominations for the leadership contest closed at noon, I received an email. It was from Emma Harper, the sole list MSP for the region, and time-stamped 9.34am. On investigation I discovered the same email had been sent to SNP members across the South of Scotland, whose numbers run into thousands, at exactly the same time.

Members in the three southernmost constituencies, Galloway and West Dumfries, Dumfriesshire and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, received this email. Ms Harper holds the SNP brief for these seats because these are the only ones where there is no constituency SNP MSP.

I have learned that she spoke to Mr Yousaf about his campaign and strategy for the south the day before she sent the blanket email – a fact of which I have written proof. It transpires that Ms Harper, with the consent of party HQ, has been granted access to the South Scotland membership database, ostensibly to broadcast her work as an MSP. The email was not issued via Ms Harper’s personal account but from “Scottish National Party” with the delivery email of [email protected].

It states:
___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Members,

As we draw closer to the end of the nomination process in the contest for leadership of our party and for Scotland’s next First Minister, I wanted to take the opportunity to write to you all with my decision to back Humza Yousaf for these top jobs.

As I am sure we all agree, Nicola Sturgeon has served Scotland and the SNP with absolute distinction. As the first female First Minister, she has also been the longest serving incumbent in the role. Both of these are stunning achievements in themselves. Nicola Sturgeon’s legacy in Government is one which has improved the lives of tens of thousands of families the length and breadth of Scotland and is one which has brought us ever closer to our nations independence.

Being First Minister is the top job in our country. It requires experience and dedication – a First Minister is never off duty. In my opinion, and after consideration, I believe Humza Yousaf to be the best person for this role. Humza has had many of the toughest jobs in government over the last 10 years – Transport Minister, Justice Secretary and Health Secretary in the midst of a global pandemic. He has also openly reaffirmed his commitment to our nations independence, to progressive politics and to equality for all, all of which I view to be crucial in Scotland’s journey to become a fairer, progressive and more equal country.

One of Humza’s many strengths is reaching out to bring people together and that is exactly what we need right now. However, as you will be well aware, my priority – as it always has been and as it will continue to be — is on representing the views of people in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders. To this end, I will be making the case to Humza to prioritise the needs of our region if he is successful in becoming the leader of our party and First Minister. Issues like addressing derelict buildings, improving our transport infrastructure, addressing rural healthcare needs and unlocking the potential of the region – to name just some.

I will, of course, keep members updated on the actions I take to ensure our area is represented and listened to. As always, members can contact me at any time, should you be looking for any advice or support.

And a wee final reminder – please ensure you log onto MYSNP to nominate your candidate and to vote for who you think is the best option for party leader and First Minister.

Yours for South Scotland,
Emma Harper MSP

___________________________________________________________________________

The last paragraph, by any interpretation, attempts to add a veneer of impartiality to everything above – which is nothing more than blatant electioneering on behalf of Humza.

No other candidate or campaign team leader was offered a similar facility to make their pitch to the South Scotland membership, in the same way Emma Harper did for Humza Yousaf. I do not – and for many reasons could not – support Humza, so I phoned round my Kirkcudbright and District Branch executive to see if they had received a similar email. They all had – at 9.34am.

I then contacted members in the two seats east of Galloway and West Dumfries – Dumfriesshire, and Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, with the same question. They too had been issued the same email by Ms Harper, via Scottish National Party and [email protected], with precisely the same time stamp – 9.34am. I have these emails in my possession – written proof that they were sent on behalf of Humza Yousaf across all three constituencies. Suffice it to say my friends in Dumfriesshire and the Borders are equally incensed at this sleekit attempt to manipulate the vote and sidestep our party’s strict electoral rules.

The Kirkcudbright branch secretary then told me something else. A second email had gone out later that day, February 24, this time to “All Conveners, Secretaries, Organisers, Membership Secretaries, Women’s Officers, Political Education Officers Councillors, MPs and MSPs.”

I am convener of Kirkcudbright and District Branch SNP. It is dated February 24 with a time stamp of 19.10, headed Scottish National Party and sent via [email protected]. It was sent out after nominations had closed at noon that day, and nine hours after Ms Harper’s first email.

It states:

Dear colleague,
With the candidates now confirmed for the Leadership Contest, I wanted to remind all members who have emailing rights on my.snp.org about their responsibilities during the period of the contest.
We encourage branches and elected members to make sure that members are aware of the contest, and engage with it, either through attendance at in-person or online hustings. It’s an important period, and it’s important that members have buy-in to the process, since for many it will be the first time that they’ve voted for a party leader.
The dedicated page for the contest on the member portal will stay up to date with information throughout the period of the contest.
I would like to draw your attention to the section on organisational neutrality. It’s important that, in sending emails to members, that personal thoughts on who to back are not conveyed to others. Who an individual member chooses to vote for will be up to them. This also applies to branch/organisational social media accounts. The views of the individual(s) with login details for a social media account do not determine views of the branch/organisation. So no mention of support for a particular candidate should be shared on those accounts. And under no circumstances should any membership data be given to a candidate or candidates.

Please also note that under Rule 4.2 any party organisation organising an event with any candidate during the election period must issue an invitation to all candidates.
The relevant part of the rules (which can be found here) are:
9. Organisational Neutrality
9.1     All hustings must be conducted in a manner which gives no advantage to any of the candidates seeking selection.
9.2     No resources of the Party, including membership data, may be used by, or made available to, any candidate seeking election.
9.3         No Party meeting may take a vote preferring any candidate in the election.
9.4         No member may use a Party email facility to seek to influence the votes of members in the election.
9.5         Headquarters staff must not act, or be asked to act, in a way which would call into question their impartiality.
9.6         Parliamentarians and councillors must ensure that neither they nor their staff use parliamentary or council resources for campaigning.
If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Lorna Finn
National Secretary
_________________________________________________________________________

Of particular relevance are points 9.2, 9.4 and 9.5.

Point 9.2 clearly states that “No resources of the Party, including membership data, may be used by, or made available to, any candidate seeking election”. Ms Harper is Humza’s lead campaign organiser in the south. She deliberately, on his behalf, lobbied thousands of members across the south seeking their support for him, to the total exclusion of the other candidates.

Similarly, point 9.4 states that “no member may use a party email facility to seek to influence the votes of members in the election”. Ms Harper, acting on Mr Yousaf’s behalf, did precisely that in direct contravention of the party’s constitution and rules regarding ‘Organisational Neutrality’.

Point 9.5 also has relevance: “Headquarters staff must not act, or be asked to act, in a way which would call into question their impartiality.” Plainly, headquarters staff granted Ms Harper access to the entire South of Scotland membership database. It is inconceivable that Ms Harper’s actions were unknown to HQ – and, suffice it to say, key personnel therein. In short, they too stand accused of acting outwith the party’s constitution and rules.

There is much more I could say but at this moment in time I will refrain from doing so.

But I want to place on record one thing.  This is my party, the party I love. Unlike many, I have never left, and I will not do so.

I leave it up to others to decide who is bringing our great party into disrepute – I, or all those at whose door I lay the blame for this shameful cheating and trashing of Scottish National Party internal democracy.

In conclusion, Scotland’s cause means more to me than words can express. I have six grandchildren all of whom, for the present at least, thankfully remain within Caledonia’s shores. I want only that they should have the best possible future as citizens of an independent Scotland, of Europe and the world.

And it is for them that I fight for independence – more, much more, than for myself.

Such a happy and necessary event can only happen if the SNP returns to form at the head of the entire YES movement. Our party will never be able to win independence without that great civic force for good, of creativity, hope and imagination.

The onus is on us to lead by example, whereby our internal party democracy acts as a template for our country’s future democracy and constitution, one founded on the pillars of justice, truth, openness and equality of opportunity for all.

In conjunction with that it goes without saying that corruption, nepotism and gerrymandering of opinion have no place in our party, and never should have.

We cannot, must not, emulate the unionist parties in going down the anti-democratic path.  We are better than that.

As an ordinary SNP member and branch convenor, I therefore call on Humza Yousaf, as a matter of honour and integrity, to immediately resile himself from the leadership contest and withdraw his candidature, for the reasons I have outlined above.

Caledonianly yours,

Steve Norris
Convener
Kirkcudbright and District SNP ”

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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History Turns 179

Unexpectedly, the election for leader of the SNP has become a true hinge moment in the entire history of the Scottish nation.

Sure of their control of the party, the devolutionists in the SNP have openly come out with the proposal that Independence is merely an “aspiration” – Humza Yousaf’s exact word.

Stewart McDonald and Alyn Smith have set 2050 as a possible Independence date. Humza has poured scorn on the idea that 50% + 1 of votes would be sufficient for Independence, thus conceding the Tory proposals for a qualified majority and abandoning the principle of the 2014 referendum.

This puzzles me entirely. If 50% + 1 for the Union is enough to decide for the Union, why is 50% + 1 against the Union not enough to decide against the Union?

Why can I have my will thwarted by losing by one vote, but Gordon Brown not have his will thwarted by losing by one vote?

Above all, Yousaf, Smith, McDonald and a large number of SNP elected parliamentarians have stated explicitly that Independence can only come with Westminster’s agreement.

They have conceded that London has a permanent veto over Scottish Independence.

Even Nicola Sturgeon never explicitly came out and said that, though her insistence that Independence must be legal in terms of UK domestic law had the same effect.

The problem is that, if you believe that London has a right of veto over Scottish Independence, you cannot actually believe that Scotland is a nation with the right of self-determination.

A vote for Humza Yousaf is a vote for decades more of devolution. Which is why a majority of the SNP MPs and MSPs, collecting huge salaries from the UK devolution settlement, have come out in support of him.

Humza is the trougher’s trougher.

Not only is the “official” Sturgeon continuity SNP solely devolutionist, its primary interest in devolution is to pursue identity politics, rather than general wealth equality.

Hence we have had radical reform on Gender Recognition, but timid and tiny efforts at Land Reform, which have paid tens of millions of public money to the Duke of Buccleuch and others for small parcels of marginal land they did not want to keep.

Hence the attempt to move the conversation on to whether candidates will, within the devolution settlement, carry on a hopeless legal battle with London over gender reform, whereas the solution which the SNP is supposed by its constitution to advocate is the opposite: obtaining Independence for Scotland so Scotland can settle these matters for itself.

Ash Regan offers the opposite view. She espouses precisely what I have advocated on this website for a decade – that Scotland’s elected representatives should declare Independence, as has been the normal and accepted route to Independence, in a world where over half the states have become Independent during my lifetime.

So SNP members have the clearest choice. If they vote for Humza they are voting for devolution and no action on Independence apart from “aspiration” and “conversation”.

If they vote for Ash they are voting for confrontation with London and eventual UDI. As the SNP continues its electoral dominance, this is a major turning point.

It is not entirely plain which side of this divide stands Kate Forbes, but I believe she is closer to Ash’s position than to Humza’s.

The key point is that nobody knows what the SNP members actually think about all this. The choice will get clearer to them as hustings go on these next few weeks.

The SNP leadership have spent eight years dismantling the democratic mechanisms of the party. Conferences have been cancelled or reduced. The last one was about a fifth the size they were from 2014 to 18, and heavily influenced by the payroll vote.

The National Executive is dominated by representatives of affiliated groups, who are massively over-represented compared to those elected by the party conference.

There has been no election by the entire party membership for twenty years, nor I believe any other kind of whole membership vote.

The SNP staff and SNP elected representatives are very heavily behind the Sturgeon agenda. Because of Sturgeon’s personal crusades they are far more interested in identity politics than in Independence.

The presumption has been that this is representative of the SNP’s current membership.

Certainly it is true that over 10,000 members left the party, dissatisfied with Sturgeon’s commitment to Independence. 6,000 of them formed the Alba party.

It is also true that many young members have joined who are much more interested (as is their right) in gay and trans issues than in Independence.

But I suspect that the SNP elected members and staff, and those wannabe careerists  dominating their youth groups, are less representative than people realise. On Twitter, the SNP appears almost exclusively a matter of pronouns and rainbow flags, cf. the much lauded Mhairi Black intervention to attack Kate Forbes.

Yet I believe there are tens of thousands of ordinary members whose primary interest is still Independence – and Independence quickly, not in 2050.

I meet these people at Yes group, AUOB and similar events. They have remained loyal to the SNP in the patient belief that things will come right and action on Independence is pending.

It seems to me that the SNP leadership have miscalculated their membership – because the leadership has been in a small cocoon of staff and troughing MPs and MSPs not too bothered about Independence.

I think the members are about to let the leadership know what they really think, in the first opportunity for decades.

While I would love to see Ash in charge, I suspect the ultimate beneficiary may be Kate Forbes.

It is an STV election. I suspect that followers of Ash and Kate will largely transfer between each other. To be plain, to win Humza needs to be far ahead on first preferences.

That is looking highly improbable. The devolutionists have badly miscalculated.

A final thought. I do not trust Peter Murrell at all to run the election. Voting is electronic.

Candidates have no method to tally those issued with voting logins against the party membership, and to do sampling to check that all those electronic votes are from real, existing members. Or indeed from real people at all rather than just batches of fake names to support batches of logins.

That is just one weak point in the system. There are many others. It would be much better if a respected organisation were brought in that oversees the whole process including verification sampling of voters.

The SNP uses MiVoice, which does not do this. The Electoral Reform Society would do it.

Do not hold your breath for a fair voting process. At the very least, the person in charge should not be under police investigation for fraud.

 

 

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Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

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Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
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Humza’s Lies on Gay Marriage 186

In their urgency to foist Sturgeon’s nominated devolutionist successor on Scotland, the media are going all out against Kate Forbes for saying she could never vote for gay marriage. But they have not noted that Humza Yousaf also did not vote for gay marriage, he absented himself.

It is absolutely plain that he did this on a totally false pretext. He claims he had an urgent meeting with the Pakistani Consul General to discuss the case of a man on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy.

How can anybody argue with such a crucial mercy dash?

Except that the appointment was arranged, deliberately to coincide with the gay marriage vote, almost three weeks in advance. The chap could have been executed in the intervening period, if that was genuinely the concern.

The evidence that it was a deliberate ruse is cast iron solid.

The Equal Marriage vote took place on 4 February 2014. On 14 January 2014, three weeks in advance, the Minister for Parliamentary Business had entered it into Humza Yousaf’s ministerial diary (as all other ministers).

Just two days later, on 16 January 2014, Humza arranged his “urgent” meeting with the Pakistani Consul General for 19 days later, to miss the gay marriage vote.

This could not be an accident. The conflict would instantly have been highlighted in the ministerial diary – that is what they are for.

At 19 days’ notice it plainly was not an urgent dash to save somebody’s life. The awful cynicism of using such an excuse and sheltering behind the suffering is breathtaking.

Everybody at the time knew that Humza had deliberately dodged the vote, after criticism from the Muslim community in Glasgow (on which he depended electorally) for supporting the earlier stage of the Bill.

That is why this parliamentary question was asked, establishing beyond doubt these inconvenient facts.

All the Scottish media at the time knew that Humza had dodged the vote. Now he is the anointed one, they have conveniently forgotten it.

I might add something from my perspective as a former senior diplomat. The Pakistani Consulate in Glasgow deals with assisting the interests of Pakistani nationals in Scotland, and with visas. You might as well discuss a death row case with a Pakistani train driver as the Pakistani consul.

Consuls are low status diplomats. The Pakistani Consul General’s diary would not need 19 days’ notice to see the Scottish Justice Minister: he would be delighted to get the meeting.

Here is a photo from the Facebook page of the mighty Pakistani Consul General in Glasgow this month, showcasing his important meeting with… a Scot who shoots goats.

The notion that a meeting with the Pakistani Consul General needed 19 days’ notice and could only be scheduled to coincide with the gay marriage vote – is such obvious nonsense it insults our intelligence and damages the moral stature of all those who parrot the lie.

Humza bottled the gay marriage vote and came up with a really unpleasant ruse to justify it, profiting from the suffering of someone on death row.

For him then to attack Kate Forbes for her views on gay marriage – which are at least honest – is sickening.

I fully support equal marriage and I was very saddened at the time to have a slightly bitter disagreement with my old friend and mentor, Gordon Wilson, over it.  Scotland has a legacy of social conservatism. Moving on from that is painful for some people.

I support Ash Regan. A breath of fresh air.  Left wing economics and urgent on Independence.

————————————————

Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations



 

Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
MURRAY CJ
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
BIC NWBKGB2L
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9
Ethereum/ERC-20: 0x764a6054783e86C321Cb8208442477d24834861a

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

 

 

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Murder, Lies and State Conspiracy 165

Donald John Morrison was the last man to speak to Willie McRae, unless his murderer talked. He invited me warmly into his neat Benbecula home, where I was visiting with my friend, his cousin Donnie.

Donald took my coat from me and hung it neatly in a cupboard. He then sat us in the front room, while he went to make us tea. On the wood and glass coffee table was a copy of Gareth Wardell’s Essays, thumbed and marked.

Donald John returned with the tea and two slices of pizza, warm and crisp, with sweet fresh cherry tomatoes on top, their skins split from the oven.

Donald John’s movements were fluid. He is remarkably spritely for a man in his late seventies, his back only slightly bowed, his eyes clear behind his spectacles, his hands deft and assured.

There is a calm island lisp to his voice, but he speaks compellingly, assuredly, with the policeman’s eye for relevance and detail. He was a central Glasgow beat policeman for decades, in times when Glasgow was a tough and dangerous city – and when there were beat policemen.

He comes across as more than friendly, positively kindly. But then at key points in his narrative, his eyes suddenly flash and you see the inner steel that he needed in the Glasgow polis.

It happens when he is angry, and there are parts of this story that make him angry indeed.

He knew Willie McRae professionally quite well, in the way that a policeman knows a lawyer. They would meet in court, and sometimes he would need to serve papers on McRae’s office on Bath Street.

Everybody knew the office, it was on the first floor, the biggest law practice in the city, its door protected by a steel shutter on a roller.

In early 1985 he saw Willie McRae more often than usual, because he had to attend on four separate occasions to burglaries of the law office. On every occasion cabinets had been forced and papers had been taken, but no money.

On the same floor of the Bath Street building was an office belonging to a Director of Celtic. That too was burgled, and when he attended that one, the Director told him he believed the break-in was looking for papers belonging to Willie McRae.

Then one day in March 1985, his sergeant came out to the beat and told Donald John and his partner that, whatever occurred, they were to stay away from the McRae offices that evening because a Special Branch and MI5 operation was in process.

That night Donald John was pulling a “doubler” – a twelve hour shift. He found that McRae had been taken into custody and a police cell, for Driving Under the Influence (which to be fair could have been done to Willie McRae almost any day of the week).

Donald John had seen this before.  In those days, the personal effects of a prisoner in the police cells were put into a large brown envelope and sealed. Special Branch would take away the envelope from the custody sergeant, open it, remove the prisoner’s house keys, and before the custody court the next morning at 9.30am they would return them and reseal.

It appears that evening the plan did not work, as Willie McRae did not have the roller shutter keys on him – they were in fact kept by the cleaner who came in and opened up at 7.30am every morning.

Donald John grinned that he could have told Special Branch that, if they had asked him.

Then on 7 April Donald John was walking his beat, when he spotted two men keeping surveillance on Agnews store. He immediately tagged them as policemen.

One, a tall thin man of around forty years with prematurely white hair, was pacing up and down outside the barbershop, as though waiting for someone. The second, a shorter and stouter man with curly black hair, was pretending to look into a plate glass shop window. Occasionally they would glance to check on each other.

Donald John was walking towards Agnews store, somewhat on guard, when Willie McRae emerged from the store and walked towards him. In each hand McRae held a bottle of Islay Mist whisky.

Donald joked that he would have to breathylise him. Willie replied that in a few hours he would be enjoying the whisky by a warm fire in Kintail.

They walked together to McRae’s car. Willie put one bottle on the roof while he opened the door, and Donald John caught it for him as it started to roll from the roof.

Willie placed both bottles on the front seat next to a bulging briefcase. Donald moved them onto the floor of the car, suggesting they would be safer as they could fall off the seat.

Willie looked at Donald John and patted the bulging briefcase, which had papers sticking out.

“I have got them this time, Donald”, he said. Then he repeated: “I have got them this time”.

They were probably the last words Willie McRae spoke.

As McRae closed the car door, Donald John Morrison looked up and saw one of the police surveillance team signal to the other with outturned hands, as though to indicate he had no idea what was happening, why a uniformed policeman was speaking to McRae.

I interrupted Donald John (the only time I needed to in the whole discourse) to ask him how McRae had seemed. He said he was neatly dressed and shaven, in a check shirt with a tie and a tweed jacket. He seemed on good form, “in fine fettle”. He had a sparkle in his eye and seemed to be relishing the idea of that drink by the fire in Kintail.

Donald John said apparently there had been a blaze at McRae’s home earlier that day but he gave no indication of it. There was absolutely nothing in his demeanour to indicate he was troubled: quite the opposite.

When he heard of the alleged suicide, Donald John was astonished and did not believe it. He had spoken to Roddy Mackay of Agnew’s Store, who had sold Willie the whisky, and he had also found McRae just as cheerful.

Morrison gave a full statement to the investigation, including everything detailed here. He recommended they also take a statement from Roddy Mackay.

A former beat collague of Donald John Morrison had joined Special Branch. He subsequently told Donald John that the whole investigation into McRae’s death was a cover-up and a tissue of lies by the police.

Donald John also found that Roddy Mackay had never been interviewed.

Over a decade later, once the Freedom of Information Act had passed, Donald John FOIA requested a copy of the report into the death of Willie McRae.

Donald John Morrison was astonished to find that his entire statement had been falsified and replaced with a fake statement onto which his signature had been photocpied.

In his “official” statement in the report there was nothing about surveillance, nothing about MI5 or Special Branch, and nothing about the whisky or the briefcase.

The official version of the death of Willie McRae is that there was no whisky or briefcase in the car, and that he shot himself in the back of the head whilst driving along, the gun flying out of the car window.

That remains the official story to this day.

Donald John was absolutely furious about the forgery of his statement. As this was obviously a serious crime in itself, he went to the procurator fiscal in Elgin to try to get a prosecution commenced against the Special Branch officers involved.

Eventually he was told that the Crown Office had ruled a prosecution would not be “procedurally correct”.

Donald John Morrison believes that, from the death of Willie McRae on, he was a marked man in the police because of what he knew.

Despite an exemplary record he was never offered promotion, though he says he did not want it. He was involved on three occasions in tackling and physically subduing armed robbers, but got not so much as a commendation. Frequently arrests he made were attributed to others.

Morrison says that it was made absolutely plain to officers, by the senior command, that they were expected to join the Orange Lodge, which he did.  There were only five Catholic officers – who he named – in his division. The McRae affair also caused him problems in the Orange Lodge, but that is a story, he suggested, for another day.

Morrison is a compelling witness. His testimony is detailed and precise. He ventures nothing beyond what he himself saw and did. He had not a word to say on why McRae was killed, because he does not know.

But he does know there was a bulging briefcase that McRae patted when he said “I have got them this time”. He knows that there were two bottles of Islay Mist. He knows that these things officially “disappeared”. He knows his statement was forged, and that it was done by Special Branch. He knows McRae was under British state surveillance.

I know that I met an honest and brave man. As we left, he stood there, eyes twinkling, and insisted that next time we came to the island we were staying with him, “with your wife and bairns too”.

It was a pleasure to be hosted by the remarkable Donald John Morrison. Just an honest beat cop, standing up against the murderers of the British state.

————————————————

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Nicola Sturgeon – Used and Discarded 222

Nicola Sturgeon is discarded, having served her purpose for the British Establishment once she obtained the UK Supreme Court judgment that Scotland could not hold a referendum on Independence.

That fight was deliberately thrown by Sturgeon’s unionist Lord Advocate. After almost nine years of leading Independence supporters into a whole series of blind alleys, with promise after promise broken to deliver a referendum, and mandate after mandate squandered, she appears to have shattered the Independence movement.

Throughout this nine years, Sturgeon was sustained and promoted by the unionist media.

She pretended she wanted Independence, and they pretended to attack her for it.

Meanwhile Sturgeon was given an extraordinarily easy ride over the real failings of her government. The achievements of Alex Salmond in building an extremely efficient reputation for the SNP’s ability to manage the business of government, were all knocked back.

The collusion of the unionist media in hiding Sturgeon’s role in the attempt to frame Alex Salmond on false charges – a conspiracy orchestrated from her office and her husband’s office – showed the Sturgeon/Unionist axis in operation.

Salmond of course was rightly perceived by the unionists as a much more genuine threat to the union. They had a joint interest with Sturgeon in putting him away.

The main cause of  bad government performance was Sturgeon’s compulsion to sideline all people of real talent in the SNP, and surround herself only with the extremely mediocre, who would never challenge her.

No leader genuinely concerned with the good of the country would ever appoint Shirley-Anne Somerville to be a minister.

Scotland has slid down the international tables, in healthcare, in education, in substance abuse, in almost every important area. The ferries debacle has been a disaster for the island communities.

Much of this has been a result of the SNP gradualists walking into the devolution trap. Devolution forces the government in Holyrood to try to mitigate the effects of Tory policies, with resources constrained by Tory austerity and hands tied by neo-con fiscal policy.

Devolution is a dead end filled with poison gas. Sturgeon’s lack of urgency to escape from it was inexplicable.

Sturgeon’s place in history will be as the woman who saved the Union in its hour of maximum danger – the moment the UK left the European Union, against the will of the large majority of Scottish people expressed in a referendum.

Having saved the Union then, Sturgeon went on to obtain the Supreme Court ruling against a referendum and subsequently shattered the Independence movement over identity politics.

She succeeded, by refusal to listen sympathetically to concerns of others, to unleash a wave of hatred towards trans people from those who had previously given the question not a moment of thought.

The contrast is astonishing between her softly softly attitude to Scotland’s Independence, where doubters were to be gently persuaded over decades, and her drastic attitude to gender reform, where doubters were to be condemned as misogynists and racists.

Sturgeon was a great boon to the unionists. Whether as useful idiot or as traitor is something history will decide. My money is on the latter.

But after the Supreme Court judgement, the UK Establishment did not need her any more. All that soft soap treatment disappeared. They started to seriously question her, on all points.

There has been a huge change in press tone towards Sturgeon since the Supreme Court judgment. The UK establishment believe they no longer need her to hold back the Independence movement.

I suspect much more tellingly, the Establishment has also finally taken off the gloves over the missing £600,000, that was donated to to a “ring-fenced” fund to campaign in the Indyref2 that Sturgeon did not deliver.

The money disappeared into the SNP’s accounts and where it went is not clear.

I could not understand why Sturgeon blatantly lied at the press conference last week, when asked by Tom Gordon of the Herald when she first knew that her husband had lent £107,000 to the SNP.

She replied she could not recall, and sought to distance herself from the loan, saying he used “his resources”.

Now it is a strange marriage where the husband lends £107,000 without telling the wife. But it is not impossible.

However it is impossible that the leader of the SNP was not told that the party was lent £107,000. Whoever it was from, let alone her own husband.

But I could see no reason that Peter Murrell should not lend the party the money. It was not illegal to do so and arguably a good thing to do. Why on earth would Nicola pretend she didn’t know?

This only started to make sense to me yesterday, when I learnt that Murrell made the loan the day after he was interviewed by the police about the missing £600,000.

No wonder she wanted to distance herself from it, and the timing.

Numerous sources have reported in the last few days that Police Scotland have now been given the go ahead by the Crown Office to pursue a criminal case over the missing money.

That seems the most likely explanation for the timing of her resignation today.

The good news is that, if my sources are correct, the £600,000 question is going to make the coronation of the Angus Robertson family collective as devolutionist party leaders somewhat difficult.

So farewell Nicola Sturgeon. You served the Union well. Now they don’t need you any more and you have been tossed away.

They won’t get you that UN job either (all UN posts need to be agreed with the candidate’s member state). The Establishment is both ruthless and ungrateful. I suspect the protection over the Salmond affair will disappear too.

————————————————

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Patience, Please 149

This morning, lawyers are acting on my request to prepare a counsel’s opinion on the legality of publishing those of Stewart McDonald’s emails which are in the public interest to be revealed.

This may take a day or two.

Emails of dubious provenance are published all the time. Emails about Partygate brought down Boris Johnson. Nobody got imprisoned for the Paul Mason, Richard Dearlove or Integrity Initiative troves. Nobody argued the Guardian could not publish their (tendentious) selection from the Panama Papers. The law did not stop publication of the stolen UEA emails on climate change.

But this is Scotland, where a politician can phone the chief constable at 6pm and by 9pm they are in the home of a journalist on an intimidation mission.

(NB I have no complaint at all about the behaviour of the individual officers last Saturday, they were very friendly).

If you get burgled Police Scotland will be with you within 48 hours, if at all. But threaten exposure of the political establishment and senior plain clothes officers can be mobilised straight away.

Sturgeon’s repeated use of both police and prosecutors to pursue private vendettas cannot be safely ignored, so forgive me if I proceed soberly. Kindly be patient.

I was not involved in obtaining the emails and of course it follows I am not the only one with access to them. Others are safely outside the UK. So they may get published elsewhere.

I have set out the very restrained way I intended to judge which are in the public interest. If the Sturgeon goon squad succeeds in removing me from the process, that may well not be the win they think it is.

Finally, legality and morality are not the same. There is a great deal of outrage toward me from the do nothing wing of the SNP about “publishing private emails”.

Well, post Snowden nobody has an excuse for not understanding that the British security services look continually at the private emails of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, myself included.

Stewart McDonald is not only an MP, he is one of the biggest fanboys and cheerleaders for the British security services. I have never seen anything from him remotely critical on the security services’ mass surveillance.

Amazing how these establishment figures squeal when the boot is on the other foot and citizens push back a little.

Secondly, to anybody who has paid attention, it is simply extraordinary that an ardent British nationalist like Stewart McDonald is in the SNP at all, let alone in a senior position.

McDonald is an enthusiastic proponent of British neo-imperialist foreign policy and also of the Israeli Defence Force and the Zionist state.

McDonald, even after Independence, wants Scotland to keep hosting British nuclear weapons at Faslane and allow Scottish regiments in the British Armed Forces.

McDonald has always supported every blockage to Independence. He is currently proposing there should be no plebiscite election at all, and the Scottish Government should do nothing except continue to ask Westminster for permission to hold a referendum. That is the amendment McDonald is proposing to the SNP “special conference” on the way forward.

I am not sure that those who obtained the emails specifically targeted McDonald. I think it more probable McDonald self-selected as the only MP stupid enough to enter his email login details and password in reply to a phishing email.

But I am delighted it is him.
 
 
————————————————

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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I Have Stewart McDonald’s Emails 226

I have obtained access to all of Stewart McDonald’s emails, after approaching a number of people to find out who might have them. This is something the entire Scottish mainstream media have failed to do.

I had no hand in obtaining the emails nor prior knowledge. I am grateful they have been so generously shared.

I want to reassure Mr McDonald that his hysterical ranting about being hacked by a state intelligence service, when he appears by his own account to have fallen for a phishing scam the average 12 year old would see through, is hilariously wide of the mark.

Who in 2023 enters their login details into a third party website because they receive an email asking them to?

I think Mr McDonald’s credentials as a defence expert and NATO warrior have perhaps taken a hit.

I also want to reassure Mr McDonald that a highly responsible journalistic process will now be undertaken. Nothing will be altered or falsified. Nothing purely personal or about his love life will appear.

In particular, anything related to his constituents will remain absolutely and properly confidential.

If Mr McDonald or the SNP wish to get in touch about other material in the emails which is particularly sensitive for reasons of which we may not be aware, that will be given every consideration.

What will be published is material in which there is a legitimate public interest, relating to interactions with NATO, the British military and MOD, the Integrity Initiative and journalists in that crooked network, parliamentary committees, intelligence agencies, foreign powers, UK government defence institutes and conservative think tanks.

There has been little online support for Mr McDonald – and what there has been is telling

 

There is much of interest in the cache, including emails direct to and from Nicola Sturgeon, showing the toxic relationships within the SNP group at Westminster, where McDonald regards himself as in a very small minority of Sturgeon loyalists.

It is my hope that all those emails which are in the public interest for the public to know, with redactions if responsibly required, will eventually be published as a cache, so you can make up your own mind about the material.

This is also going to be a very interesting test on journalistic freedom in Scotland and Sturgeon’s iron control over the police and prosecutorial services.

In this context, the fact that I had no connection to, nor prior knowledge of, the materials being obtained is the essential point. My own involvement is purely to have tracked down who had them and then been given access to them, as journalist and publisher.

Doubtless after the usual pressure from Murrell and Robertson, the Lord Advocate will have the Crown Office looking feverishly to find a crime in that before the end of the afternoon.

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Sy Hersh and The Way We Live Now 791

It is a clear indicator of the disappearance of freedom from our so-called western democracies, that Sy Hersh, arguably the greatest living journalist, cannot get this monumental revelation on the front of the Washington Post or New York Times, but has to self-publish on the net.

Hersh tells the story of the US destruction of the Nordstream pipelines in forensic detail, giving dates, times, method and military units involved. He also outlines the importance of the Norwegian armed forces working alongside the US Navy in the operation.

One point Sy does not much stress, but it is worth saying more about, is that Norway and the USA are of course the two countries who have benefitted financially, to an enormous degree, from blowing up the pipeline.

Both not only have gained huge export surpluses from the jump in gas prices, but Norway has directly replaced Russian gas to the tune of some $40 billion per year. From 2023 the United States will appear in that list in second place behind Norway, following the opening in the last two months of two new Liquefied Natural Gas terminals in Germany, built to replace Russian gas with US and Qatari supplies.

So Russia lost out massively financially from the destruction of Nordstream and who benefited? The USA and Norway, the two countries who blew up the pipeline.

But of course, this war is nothing to do with money or hydrocarbons and is all about freedom and democracy…

To return to Hersh’s account, particularly interesting are the series of decisions taken to avoid classification of the operation in various ways which would require it to be reported to Congress. In terms of United States history, this ought to be a big deal.

For the Executive to commit what is an act of war without the approval of the Legislature is fundamentally unconstitutional. But that is one of those quaint remnants of democracy that the neo-liberal elite consensus can quietly sidestep nowadays.

Hersh sets out the well known background in compelling detail,  including the fact that, from Biden down, the Americans effectively announced what they were going to do, openly.

But what most worries me about the entire story is the unanimous complicity of the mainstream media in ignoring the completely obvious.

The media line, parroted here relentlessly by the BBC and corporate media, was  that the Russians had probably themselves blown up the pipeline on which they had expended such great resources and three decades of intense diplomatic activity, and which was to be the key to Russia’s single most valuable source of income for the next 40 years.

This was always quite literally incredible. You would have to be deranged to believe it.

It actually taught me not just that we truly are in the realm of totalitarianism and the Big Lie, but I learnt something very important about how the Big Lie works.

The secret is not that people genuinely believe an outrageous claim. The secret is that people do genuinely believe that they are in a battle of good against evil, and it is necessary to accept the narrative being promoted, in the interests of fighting evil.

Don’t question, just follow. If you do question, you are promoting evil.

I am sure that is how it works.

State and corporate stenographer journalists are actually intelligent individuals. If they thought about it, they would realise that the narrative that Russia blew up its own pipeline is obvious nonsense.

But they are convinced it is morally wrong to think about it.

Which is why none of them challenged the equally mad claims that Russia was repeatedly shelling its own forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, and indeed is why none of them challenged the utterly risible official version of the Skripal story.

I previously told the anecdote from when I worked in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked a good friend if he really believed the misinformatioin on Iraqi WMD with which he was involved.

He replied by referring to the video game Championship Manager (now renamed Football Manager), which we used to play together. He said when he was in the game, it was immersive, he was manager of Liverpool, and it fully absorbed him.

Similarly, when he walked through the FCO gates, the world of the intelligence reports was immersive and Iraq did have these WMDs inside that world. He worked in the “reality” of the FCO. Once he left in the evening, he lived in a different reality, the world of us in the pub.

I do know of one or two journalists bright enough to detach their professional output from what they really think, in a similar way. (I once had a conversation along these lines with Jeremy Bowen in Tashkent.)

Most however don’t think like this. They simply think that all right thinking people support the historic struggle against the evil Russians, so it must be right to read out the propaganda without thinking too much about it.

Those of us critical of the aggressive promotion of war in Europe, are not only barred from all mainstream media and confined to corners of the internet, and even then heavily suppressed on social media (which is why Sy Hersh’s article does not have the scores of millions of readers it merits).

We can’t even obtain freedom of assembly.

Two established left wing venues have cancelled the No 2 Nato meeting I am addressing in London on 25 February. Conway Hall’s reasons for cancellation included threats to funding and fears for the safety of staff.

We are now reduced to a guerrilla meeting, the Central London venue for which will not be announced until the evening before.

Is this really a democracy, where it is not possible for dissidents to hold a public meeting without secrecy, subterfuge and hiding from supporters of the state?

I do urge you to come along on the day, whatever your views on the subject, to support the right to freedom of speech.

I have a different view from perhaps all of the other speakers, on the legitimacy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which I oppose.

But I also oppose NATO expansion which is an underlying cause of the war, and indeed oppose the existence of NATO itself.

NATO is a war machine which sucks resources from working people to benefit the military industrial complex, and unleashes devastating destruction on developing states which do not make their natural resources available to western billionaire elites.

It is also a fundamental node of the propaganda apparatus which manipulates and controls our society, particularly as counter narrative and dissident thought is now rigorously and systematically excluded.

There is no longer an Overton window of permitted debate. It has narrowed and should be renamed the Overton letterbox.

One of those small difficult ones right down at the bottom of the door.  With a very fierce spring, and snarling dogs guarding it.

————————————————

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Profiteering from Death 229

How much of Shell’s record US $40 billion profit was due to the Ukraine war and freezing Russia out of the market?

If you apply the “excess deaths” methodology we became familiar with during covid, comparing profit against a running average of the previous five years, we get a figure of about $25 billion “excess profit”.

This is of course a rough technique, both with deaths as with profits, as neither covid nor the Ukraine war were the sole factor affecting the outcome, and “all other things” are not equal but in some degree variable.

But it is a good indication when a major new factor comes in to play.

If we simply remove Shell’s 2020 accounts, with their US$20 billion covid loss, from the equation as exceptional, we still have a figure of US$15 billion excess profit, arising largely from the war in Ukraine.

Isn’t it good to know that all those people have not died or been maimed in vain? At least Shell are raking it in.

Shell of course are not alone. We will see something similar from all the energy companies, including those that are billing you massive amounts to heat your home. It isn’t costing any more to produce the energy, it is simply vulture predation on market disruption.

Capitalism in theory works in free markets of trade flows. But in practice financial flows are manipulated by states to the benefit of the rich in numerous ways, of which war and sanctions are just the bluntest examples.

The United States blowing up the Nordstream 2 pipeline was a pretty significant state market intervention. Yet when the result of that kind of action is to cause super profits to western energy companies at consumer expense, market intervention to remove that super profit becomes “unhelpful”.

Arms manufacturers are also coining it. To December, investors in merchants of death BAE had seen an increase in value of their investment by 63% in twelve months. Now everybody with a finger in the pie is clamouring to send more tanks and planes to the Ukraine. Money, money, money.

The story is no different at Lockheed Martin etc.

We should also not forget that the military and security services are themselves a vested financial interest. Vastly rising budgets, more career opportunities, more second career jobs in the arms industries and the think tanks that pump out the propaganda for more war, war without end.

I have said this before, but J A Hobson’s short book, Imperialism: A Study contains analysis of how all this works that stands true over a hundred years on, is expressed with clarity, and fundamentally changed how I view the world, when I read it forty years ago.

There is yet more acceleration in the massive transfer of resources to the wealthy. Every world event – Covid, the war in Ukraine – is manipulated by states to increase inequality. Oxfam, who seem the most genuine of the large relief charities (admittedly not a high bar), recently published this:

Billionaires have seen extraordinary increases in their wealth. During the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis years since 2020, $26 trillion (63 percent) of all new wealth was captured by the richest 1 percent, while $16 trillion (37 percent) went to the rest of the world put together. A billionaire gained roughly $1.7 million for every $1 of new global wealth earned by a person in the bottom 90 percent. Billionaire fortunes have increased by $2.7 billion a day. This comes on top of a decade of historic gains —the number and wealth of billionaires having doubled over the last ten years.

In this western world, I am not sure what percentage of ordinary people have to reach what stage of desperation before we see the start of genuine revolt. Should things continue on this trend, we are going to find out eventually.

————————————————-

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Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

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Propaganda and Belief 150

It is nearly 20 years since I blew the whistle on British Government complicity in torture and the extraordinary rendition programme, under which thousands of people were deliberately tortured as a systematic act of government policy.

Many of them were killed.

I had, and I leaked, substantial documentary evidence to back my claims, of which this is but one example.

Yet the BBC never gave a spectacular, combat shot illustrated four and a half minute lead television news item to my revelations of official UK government involvement in mass torture, as they gave to junior Russian officer Konstantin Yefremov’s far less spectacular allegations.

My revelations were actually about the UK, not a foreign country. They came from a much more senior source than Lt Yefremov. They had undeniable supporting evidence. They revealed ministerially approved policy, not the possibly rogue behaviour detailed by Yefremov.

Yet to the BBC it was a much less important story.

Now I don’t actually doubt Yefremov’s modest testimony: he witnessed a single incident of torture and some looting. I am sorry to say I have no doubt, from close study, that torture and other crimes have always been committed by all armies in war.

Those who deny that Russian soldiers do it are as purblind and bigoted as those who deny that British or United States – or Ukrainian – soldiers do it.

But the massive propaganda punch given to Lt Yefremov’s testimony is in stark contrast to the treatment of domestic UK whistleblowers, or to the equally harrowing stories of the torture of Russian prisoners.

When have you ever seen Australian Major David McBride given four and a half minutes of BBC main news headline story to outline his allegations of widespread war crimes by allied forces in Afghanistan?

Of course you haven’t seen that. Such coverage would never happen.

How much prime time news coverage did the BBC allocate to the International Criminal Court’s listing of torture, rape and murder by British forces in Iraq?

Virtually none.

On the other hand, when Public Interest Lawyers were closed down over irregularities in soliciting and pursuing the cases of victims of British atrocities in Iraq, the BBC gave that enormous coverage including on prime time news broadcasts, as though it proved no such atrocities ever occurred.

The BBC gives blanket coverage to a junior Russian officer, but gave almost none to New Zealand’s Operation Burnham, in which the Special Air Service killed a child, tortured an opponent and handed him over to further torture, and then systematically lied and covered up – all of which an official inquiry confirmed happened but declared “legal”.

Of course we know we live in an age of wall to wall propaganda. Of course we know that the BBC is an integral part of it. The really shocking thing about propaganda – as true of today’s BBC as it was of Goebbels – is that being massively unsubtle and obvious appears to magnify rather than diminish its power to sway public opinion.

The lesson of this current article is that it is not necessary to invent facts for propaganda. A completely false narrative can be built by extreme selectivity of what facts you amplify, and what facts you bury.

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