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Galloway: UK Parliament’s Russia report is nothing but gossip, it doesn't even pass the ‘highly likely’ test of Salisbury fame

George Galloway
George Galloway

was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator. Follow him on Twitter @georgegalloway

Galloway: UK Parliament’s Russia report is nothing but gossip, it doesn't even pass the ‘highly likely’ test of Salisbury fame
The British Parliament’s Russia report gives no examples of interference by Moscow in UK politics. That alone should reduce it to the risible, but there is much more.

The Russia report, over which the British state has labored mightily, has finally been revealed, nearly a year late, to be a mouse. Well, not really mightily – it is only 50 pages long and much of this is asterisks, the new ‘redacted.’ It was delayed for transparently political reasons, as an example of our old friend, “the rules-based order.”

Like much of Western policy, the “rules” are more honored in the breach, from Yugoslavia through Libya, the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Accords, the INF Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, and much more.

As he often does, BBC guru Andrew Neil – an anti-Russia hawk – said it best on Twitter during the press conference to launch the report:

“The glaring weakness of this press conference on Russia report into Kremlin interference is that, when asked to give some egregious examples, it doesn’t/can’t give any, egregious or otherwise.”

Exactly.

This report doesn’t even pass the “highly likely” test of Salisbury fame.

NO examples are given of Russian interference. Just “open-sourced reporting” i.e. not information from Britain’s SEVEN intelligence agencies. It emerges in the report that more intelligence officers in Britain are working on Russia than during the Cold War, yet NONE of them can produce a SINGLE example, egregious or otherwise.

That alone should reduce the report to the risible, but there is more, much more.

First, let me define what “open-sourced reporting” is.

It would be “open-sourced reporting” for me to tell you that Laura Kuenssberg and Boris Johnson were former lovers. It would not be defamatory – it would disgrace neither (depending on the timing and marital status). But it would be entirely untrue. It would, however, be “in the public domain,” because I have just put it there.

Thus, the case that Russia interfered in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum is based on “open-sourced commentary.” I am writing this column for RT (as I do every week) and I am on RT television more than any other person I know – literally seven days a week. As a matter of fact, RT’s coverage of the Scottish referendum was admirably balanced, at least compared to the BBC’s!

There has been plenty of “open-source” reporting that Russia allegedly interfered in the Brexit referendum. But again, in the Russia report, there is not a SINGLE example given. It is explicitly stated that NO investigation by British intelligence agencies has even been started.

In other words, it is mere gossip, just like my “story” about Laura and Boris.

Also on rt.com George Galloway: The UK govt’s ‘almost certainty’ of Russian interference is a dead cat for the media’s Pavlov’s dogs

Who are the witnesses? 

And then there are the “expert witnesses” who are given “special thanks” in the report. 

It’s difficult to know with whom to start, but let’s look first at the egregious example of Christopher Steele. Steele spent a brief period in Russia as a British intelligence agent. His Orbis Business Intelligence, a freelance agency of ex-spooks, authored the ‘dirty dossier’ on Donald Trump, now discredited at huge political and financial cost to America by, among others, the Mueller Report, which based itself upon it.

Inter alia, the report claimed the existence of kompromat on Trump relating to Russian girls wetting themselves with delight at being in a hotel room in Moscow with Donald J. Trump.

Trump could easily prove that his levels of germaphobia rivaled those of the late Howard Hughes and is the man least likely to enjoy a wetting from prostitutes. This shot a major, er, hole in the imagined scenario. 

Steele’s associate Pablo Miller was reportedly the MI6 handler of one Sergei Skripal, his near neighbor in Salisbury, and a regular taker of tea with the retired British spy.

The report authors also thanked Bill Browder, the head of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, who was a main driving force behind the Magnitsky Act. The grandson of a former leader of the Communist Party of the USA, Browder is a fugitive from Russian justice. He was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison for tax evasion. 

In the words of the famous prostitute Mandy Rice-Davies in the Old Bailey during the Profumo affair, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?” 

Then there’s Anne Applebaum. Anne (an American) is Britain’s foremost Cold-War zealot who’s hawkish, sometimes unhinged, scribbling has earned her attachment to every right-wing think tank and publication worthy of the name. Her husband is a hardline Polish politician who makes his wife look like Snow White.

And, er, that’s it.

Some efforts, some peace

Apart from the proposal to substitute the Official Secrets Act with a new Espionage Act, another to enact a McCarthy-era-style Foreign Agent Registration Act, a proposal to give MI5 powers over the Electoral Commission, demands to further terrorize social media companies into toeing the line of the state, and other such Integrity Initiative measures, that really is it. Talk about an anti-climax!

Britain has always hated President Putin. And you can see why. They wanted, they say, to make Russia a “partner” during the era when Russia was lying drunk on the floor, having its pockets picked by Western interests (and some of the very oligarchs fingered in the report). But they lost interest in that when Putin dragged Russia off the floor and restored both national pride and international prestige to the country. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of international relations.

They hate Putin primarily because he stands up to them – which leads me to my favourite line in the whole report. Russia’s success in destroying the throat-cutting, head-chopping allies of the West in Syria was, it says, “one of the biggest setbacks” for British foreign policy in 2018 and “presents the West with difficulty in supporting peace in the region.” Peace being a victory for Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the alphabet soup of Islamist extremism. Some efforts, some peace!

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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