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Who will ever forget that Tory propaganda segment on Newsnight after Corbyn demanded caution and evidence in the Skripal Red Flag incident: the Kremlin backdrop and a red tinted image of Jeremy with his hat altered to look like a Russian Bolshevik cap? The Tories have a bad habit of falsely accusing the opposition of misdeeds they are far more guilty of committing themselves; like the distraction over fabricated Labour anti-Semitism from an openly racist Tory PM! The Daily GasLamp just jogged my memory: what happened to that strategically buried Russia Report we should have had a chance to scrutinize before the Covert 2019 Rigged Election? At a time when dodgy deals over planning permission and donations to the Tory Party have opposition MPs calling for Robert Jenrick to go, a heads up on the hornets’ nest of cash for favours was well timed. The Daily GasLamp posted the demand, “Release the Russia Report – MP pressures Johnson over Russia Report” with information gleaned from the Business Insider.
“The wife of a former Putin ally has donated £325,000 to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives as he continues to sit on a report into Russian interference,” reports the Business Insider: “The wife of a former minister in Putin’s government has become the biggest ever female donor to a political party in the UK. Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to ex-Russian finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin, gave £325,000 to the party in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest Electoral Commission data. This reportedly included £45,000 for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson. Johnson is under pressure to release a report into Russian interference that was completed in October. A Conservative party spokesperson said all donations are ‘properly and transparently declared’ and ‘comply fully with the law’.” If the British public knew all the sordid details they would be in uproar; it just stinks!
The Guardian was also hot on the trail with the headline, “Russia report: UK MPs condemn ‘utterly reprehensible’ delay.” Noting the, “unprecedented underhand behaviour” they say that, “The government’s apparent refusal to release a report into Russian infiltration in the UK and to delay establishing a key scrutiny committee has been condemned as… ‘utterly reprehensible’.” What is considered so unprecedented is that, “The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has not met since before the general election in December – its longest break since it was established in 1994 – and critics say the government has sat on the committee’s report into Russian interference for nine months.”
According to the Guardian, “The former chair of the committee Dominic Grieve said the report had been sent to Downing Street on 17 October and was ready for publication once it had been signed off, a process that usually takes up to 10 days.” They report that, “The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, said: ‘Given the prime minister has for nine months sat on the intelligence committee report into Russian interference of our democracy, his decision to delay nominations to the committee raises serious ethical questions’.” He also said, “It leaves the public in little doubt that Boris Johnson is avoiding the truth about the Tory party’s funding connections to Russian oligarchs.” The Guardian state that, “Thirty cross-party MPs wrote to the Prime Minister earlier this week urging for the reconstitution of the committee, saying the refusal to publish the report raised serious questions about the ‘transparency and integrity’ of the democratic process.”
It said: “According to the Hansard Society, ‘at nearly six months, the time taken to appoint the ISC on this occasion has now exceeded that taken to appoint the committee after every previous general election since the committee was established in 1994’. It is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report. The situation is an affront to democracy.” The Guardian note that, “The ISC is one of the most important committees in parliament, overseeing seven agencies and departments involved in UK intelligence.” They also say that, “The Scottish National party’s Ian Blackford, a former member of the committee, has accused the government of ‘repeatedly and intentionally failing to establish parliament’s intelligence and security committee to escape scrutiny on important security matters’.”
Crediting the Times they relay that, “the holdup to the formation of the intelligence watchdog can partially be explained by the removal of a provisional member, Tory MP Theresa Villiers, by No 10 for disloyalty. She defied the party whip on an amendment that would have banned the import of chlorinated chicken in any US trade deal.” Despite her defiant vote being totally immaterial to the outcome, Johnson was determined to crush even the slightest rebellion among the ranks; this was vital as he moved closer to solidifying his dictatorship. This is seriously unhealthy politics at its very worst with political designations determined not by talent, but in a desperate response to Johnson’s chronic insecurity. With an appointment designed to maximise this complete lack of credibility, Boris Johnson selected the totally incompetent former Transport Secretary, Chris ‘failing’ Grailing, to bring his disaster power into play as Chair of the committee serving with former Security Minister John Hayes as a slightly more logical choice.
In another stunning ‘misappointment’ Johnson has removed the highly respected Civil Servant Sir Mark Sedwill. In the Guardian Article, “Replacement of Sedwill with Frost ‘highly unusual’, says Labour” they report, “Previous national security advisers have been civil servants rather than political appointees. Labour has criticised what it called the government’s ‘highly unusual’ decision to replace Sir Mark Sedwill as national security adviser with a political appointee who has little direct experience of the role, before a parliamentary question on the issue. After a series of former top officials condemned Sedwill’s departure as a sign the government was undermining the impartiality of the civil service, Labour secured an urgent question on the choice of a new national security adviser.” They say, “Sedwill holds that role, as well as being cabinet secretary, the most senior post in the civil service, but will stand down from both jobs during the summer, following weeks of briefings targeting him.”
The Guardian report that, “The search for a new cabinet secretary will begin next month. But Boris Johnson has already said the new national security adviser will be David Frost, who is currently the government’s chief Brexit negotiator with the EU. While he was formerly a long-serving diplomat, Frost has little direct experience of security matters. Also, unlike Sedwill and all other national security advisers since the role was created in 2010, Frost is not a civil servant but a political appointee. Gus O’Donnell, a former cabinet secretary, warned on Monday that political appointees were ‘more likely to be yes men,’ when speaking to the BBC.” The Guardian say that, “Frost will also be made a peer,” but that Downing Street were unable to say, “whether he would take the Conservative whip or speak in the Lords.” So an unelected Brexiteer not only taking charge of a top security role he is unqualified to fill, but also potentially vaulted right into our undemocratic second chamber of Government.
The astonishment and criticism was not confined to the opposition as members of the Tory Party spoke up too. Despite the deference that any former Prime Minister might show towards criticizing the decision of a successor, Theresa Minister took the opportunity of the urgent question debate to register her disapproval of the politicizing of this key role. BBC News reports say that, “Mrs May, who appointed Sir Mark Sedwill to both roles when she was PM, told MPs that during her nine years as a member of the National Security Council, she had ‘listened to the expert, independent advice from national security advisers.’ She asked Mr Gove how Mr Frost’s appointment squared with remarks he made in a recent speech on civil service reform on the need to ‘promote people with proven expertise.’ ‘Why is the new national security adviser a political appointee with no proven expertise in national security?'”
The BBC noted that, “Former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague has added his voice to those concerned at Mr Frost’s appointment, saying it had ‘raised eyebrows’ and possibly ‘sharpened daggers’ within the defence and intelligence communities.” In his weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, the former Tory leader said that,“while the ex-diplomat was ‘highly capable,’ the role was better suited to someone with first-hand experience of security operations. Warning about the danger of US-style politicisation of senior government roles, he added: ‘If we want the most promising people to serve the country, they have to come from varied points of view. All of us who have dealt with US administrations have witnessed the nightmare of changing long lists of officials when a new President comes in, leading to extended vacancies, loss of expertise and serious damage to diplomacy’.” This Tory Government is choosing to emulate the most dysfunctional components of US governance.
In reality the removal of Sedwill and the entire nature of the appointment of his replacement is integral to the grand design of the unelected puppet master Dominic Cummings who is in untouchable and unaccountable control of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. This latest development serves to emphasize the extreme urgency of making sure that Cummings is fired as quickly as possible before he is allowed to completely dismantle our democracy. It must also be realized that David Frost already has an active role leading the sham Brexit negotiations, which amounts to backtracking on previously agreed UK pledges and frustrating the entire process with non-negotiable demands until the point of no return leads to a disastrous crash-out Brexit. The fact that his new role is set to begin in August, several months before the scheduled end of the agreed Brexit transition period tells you all you really need to know about this Tory Government’s intentions which definitely do not include going down to the wire for a last ditch deal.
As the furore over politicized appointments evolves, the contentious issues of Cummings, his role, why he wasn’t fired? Plus blocked access to key reports remains. In the Byline Times Article, “The Empire Strikes Back – London Still the Target of Putin’s Corruption and Repression” they report on the efforts of Donald Trump to readmit the Russian Leader to the Washington G7 Summit despite possible postponement of the autumn event due to Covid 19. Russia’s annexation of the Crimea resulted in exclusion from the G7; since then several attempts by Trump on behalf of Moscow to gain readmission have met with consistent opposition by the other Government leaders including PM Boris Johnson and Canada’s Justin Trudeau. Byline say that, “Russian political exiles agree with these Western leaders and emphasize that any Russia’s inclusion in exclusive political clubs not only provides internal legitimacy to the Kremlin but also supplies it with the tools to undermine western democracies and persecute its own dissidents.”
One of the ways that the Kremlin exerts an unhealthy foreign influence over UK democracy is through Russian donations to the Tory Party. Byline Times focus on the plight of Russian exile Olga Litvinenko, noting that she was, “no relation to the former FSB agent and whistleblower Alexander Litvinenko assassinated in 2006,” and that she, “currently lives in London and has experienced the efforts of the Russian system to ‘get to her’ abroad. In 2010 Olga abandoned Russia together with her four-month-old son, Misha, in the wake of a conflict with her father, the Rector of the Mining University in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Litvinenko, who is believed to be a close friend of Vladimir Putin, and three times headed his electoral headquarters in Saint Petersburg.” They note that, “Olga already had a daughter at the time, Ester-Maria” and that due to her ‘disobedience’ Olga said her father, “simply took custody of the girl and tried to get her son, as well. Fearing to lose her second child, Olga went to Poland in 2011.”
Byline relay how according to Olga, Vladimir Litvinenko falsely declared that she, “had been kidnapped which permitted him to freeze her accounts in Russia and confiscate her property. Six of her assistants on the City Council were convicted under various criminal statutes,” Olga declared that these were all fabricated crimes, but there was worse to come in retaliation for her success in May 2020 when she, “managed to prove in the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) that the Russian authorities violated the principles of property protection by seizing her property in Saint Petersburg in connection with a ‘kidnapping case’.” Within days of this verdict they report she, “received a summons to appear before an Investigative Committee in case of the murder of a certain A.N. Livshits.” In a Manifesto commitment, prior to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, this Tory Government pledged to remove the UK from the ECHR, which no doubt would win the wholehearted approval of their Russian pay masters.
According to Byline Times, “Olga Litvinenko emphasizes that the fabrication of criminal activities and the attempt to arrest and extradite political exiles, to exploit Interpol, is not the only way the Russian authorities violate international law.” She had told them that, “Now more countries understand that Russia can produce fabrications even on economic grounds that in fact conceal political persecution. However, there are international agreements of mutual governmental assistance on civil and family matters that have also been ratified by Moscow. Russian authorities do not hesitate to exploit them to ‘punish’ those they find objectionable – for example, trying to take away property or children.” The valid concern is that, “the more Western countries accept Russia as a full member of the ‘European Club,’ the fewer reasons they have to refuse to enforce the unjust decisions of Russian courts,” quoting Olga on the fears of the political exile. However, there was more to reveal about Russian attempts to manipulate politics in the UK.
According to Byline, “Olga Litvinenko also notes that various Russian oligarchs are actively trying to turn Great Britain into a hub for money laundering and the promotion of Moscow’s interests.” They focus on the pre-election scandal over the Tory Government’s success in suppresing what they describe as, “a secret intelligence report on Russia’s alleged attempts to influence elections and the referendum on leaving the EU,” saying, “the Times claimed that the report mentions nine Russian Conservative Party donors, and named three of them. The others have yet to be published.” Byline noted that, “According to Olga Litvinenko, her father is one of the people lobbying for Russian interests in the UK.” She had told Byline Times that, “There is now lobbying in London for the commercial interests of a company in which my father Litvinenko holds an interest, FosAgro. My father received shares of this company at about the time the former owner of this company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested and sent to prison.”
Continuing her damning revelations that could potentially be exposed if we gained full access to the Russian Report, Olga said that, “…in 2019 at the Russian Embassy in London, the Institute for Materials, Minerals, and Mining… signed a cooperation agreement with the Rector of the Mining University of Saint Petersburg – Litvinenko.” The Byline Times interview with the daughter of Vladimir Litvinenko also mentions that her father was one of the beneficiaries of the annexation of the Crimea, having officially received property on the peninsula. “It was for the annexation of the Crimea that Russia was expelled from the G7. However, Vladimir Litvinenko, as one of the actual participants in the occupation not only was not placed under sanction, doesn’t hide the fact that he is creating special structures intended to bring western technology into Russia in violation of existing sanctions. One might only imagine how much all of this activity could grow should Russia be re-admitted to the ‘Big Seven’,” Olga had told Byline Times.
We urgently need to put pressure on this corrupt Tory Government to release the Russia Report as the more evidence that leaks out the further it compromises the legitimacy of their claim to office. We need to uncover the truth about “Russia’s alleged attempts to influence elections and the referendum on leaving the EU” before Boris Johnson and his Machiavellian puppet master achieve crash-our Brexit. I expect that Cummings speaks Russian as he lived there for three years, but we cannot find out while he remains totally unaccountable and refuses to submit to Parliamentary scrutiny. The unelected PsyOps manipulator controlling our PM is potentially dictating appointments as well as policy, beyond discipline or adherence to the law; could the situation be any more dangerous for our democracy? The Jenrick scandal demonstrates exactly how the wealthy elite cling to power; all these issues and the Covert 2019 Rigged Election need to be fully investigated and the corruption exposed to oust the Tories; do not give up and DO NOT MOVE ON!