Not long after the truck-bomb attack on the Kerch Straits bridge, the head of GCHQ, Sir Jeremy Fleming, gave a "rare address" at RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute. The contents of his speech were detailed in multiple media two days earlier, as reported in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Had it not already been concluded that MI6 was closely involved in the planning for and execution of the terrorist bombing of the bridge, Fleming's timely appearance might have given an indication that this was a joint "UK-raine" operation, with his presentation designed to leverage the hysteria the attack generated in Kiev, and perhaps also to soften the blow that he knew would soon follow. Taking full advantage of gullible and sycophantic media and flexible video reporting of casualties, the Disinformation chief portrayed President Putin as weak and wounded, and lashing out wildly and indiscriminately at the civilian population. For those familiar with actual events on the ground in Ukraine, and particularly events on the "forbidden" territory in Donbas now under Russian control, hearing the most senior figure in the UK intelligence establishment talking such nonsense could be worrying. If they will pretend that black is white and up is down in order to further their aggressive agenda against Russia then what might they stop at? Yet they have been doing so for years, and particularly since 2018, when a number of significant things coincided. The Western allies had more or less declared war on Russia following the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th, while a month later following Russia's assistance to Syria in the liberation of Douma, the staging of a chemical weapons attack formed the pretext for joint US-UK-French missile strikes around Damascus. Following a series of articles on the "Salisbury poisonings" and then on the real story of the liberation of Douma, I wrote a follow-up to my article on "The Framing of Russia" - published on American Herald Tribune post-facto in October 2018. That article examined how top UK intelligence officials had "known" details of the alleged GRU Skripal poisoners for months before making them public in September, sharing them in a NATO briefing, as I explained: This adjustment to the standard of proof by the UK’s intelligence agencies was contained in an intelligence briefing to NATO’s chief Jen Stoltenberg, made public on Friday April 13th – the day before the combined US/UK/French missile attack on Damascus. Without labouring the point, it’s worth quoting from Sedwill’s letter to NATO: Sedwill wrote: “I would like to share with you and allies further information regarding our assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian state was responsible for the Salisbury attack. Only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and the motive. The term “highly likely” is one commonly used by the intelligence agencies when they believe something is 100% certain – since they are unwilling to express that opinion without a caveat in case of error.” Perhaps Sir Mark Sedwill felt this was really rather silly and unconvincing, so wisely left himself a caveat, concluding that: “there is no plausible alternative explanation.”
I followed that article with a second but unpublished one, further examining the events of that week, of April 7-14th 2018. While the considerations then - about the activities of two alleged GRU agents and a mysterious nerve agent - now look rather trivial, it can be seen how the UK agencies were laying the groundwork for the construction of a hostile and aggressive Russian state in the public mind, needed to justify and disguise NATO's covert campaign. I wrote then: "- there was a coordinated press release by Dutch and British governments. This was actually more of a coordinated release of misinformation, detailing actions six whole months earlier, so the question must be what specific purpose was being sought and achieved by this long delayed action? We should ask the National Cyber Security Centre, which appears to be the source of the UK Government’s latest statements." The NCSC, a branch of GCHQ set up in October 2016, alleges that the GRU tried to gain access to OPCW computer networks, and to those at Porton Down in April 2018, assessing with “high confidence” that the GRU was “almost certainly” responsible for those alleged cyber-attacks. We can’t however have even moderate confidence in this authoritative sounding information from the UK’s chief spy agency, as the NCSC expresses exactly the same “high confidence” that: “In 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked and documents were subsequently published online”, and that “the GRU was almost certainly responsible.” The wider agenda of the UK and Dutch governments in making this fabricated case against “Russian meddling” and “reckless behaviour” – even labelling Russia a “pariah state” - is worrying, simply because it is fabricated. To understand why, we need only examine the context of that action taken against Russian diplomats/GRU agents at the time it happened, in mid-April. In fact they were expelled the day before the US, UK and France launched a missile attack on Damascus, having refused to wait for the OPCW to reach Douma to establish whether a Chemical Weapon attack had really taken place. Russia and Syria had demanded that the OPCW visit Douma as soon as possible; evidently the US/UK/French coalition intended to strike at Damascus regardless and didn’t want the truth to get in the way of their great story, so found ways to delay the OPCW’s mission both in Holland and Syria. Whether Russian diplomats were also at the Hague making representations to the OPCW over Douma during that week is unknown, but they were surely there in connection with the OPCW’s investigations of the alleged nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Following on the OPCW’s visit to Salisbury to “collect” samples around March 21st and their analysis at undisclosed certified laboratories, their conclusions on the nature of the poison were issued on April 12th, the day before the expulsion of Russian diplomats. On the 14th of April, Sergei Lavrov took the extraordinary step of releasing the confidential results of the OPCW analysis performed by the Swiss Spiez lab, publicly revealing what had been omitted from statements by the OPCW head and the UK government, which merely confirmed the presence of “Novichok” in blood and environmental samples. What occurred in that extremely tense week, where leading NATO members the US, UK and France were poised to launch an attack on Damascus based on claims of a chemical weapon attack that Russia knew to be false, was something of a precursor to what is happening now, and with a significant link - Sir Jeremy Fleming. As I wrote: "Like the “release” of misinformation on October 4th, on the alleged GRU hacking of the OPCW six months earlier, it appears that even this public statement from the supposedly neutral OPCW was timed to suit the political and strategic agenda of the UK and Dutch governments. The previous day the new head of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, speaking on the last day of a three-day NCSC conference in Manchester, had already delivered the verdict of Russia’s guilt and recommended the punishment. In his first public appearance as an intelligence chief, Fleming’s particularly rabid and intemperate contribution seemed almost designed to inflame the dangerous confrontation with Russia over Syria. At least it appears to confirm the close connection between the UK’s claims of chemical weapons use in Salisbury and Syria, and the intent to smear Russia with the same toxic poison as Syria in the mind of the Western public." The significance of this link between current events and those of four years ago - the continuity of covert actions and policies in the UK's "war on Russia" has recently become clearer following new revelations on the activities of Christopher Donnelly and his colleagues at the Institute for Statecraft. When I wrote the articles above, the existence of this "think-tank" and its Integrity Initiative clusters was yet to be revealed, along with the actual link through the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office between Salisbury and Syria. In addition the OPCW had still not released its report on the Douma event, and the subsequent revelations from members of its investigating team denying what the OPCW report had claimed. Those claims, made under pressure from US officials, were backed up by some subtle disinformation from the Atlantic Council's front groups the Intercept and Bellingcat. This passed for "the lowdown" on such things in the Western media's information bubble, coming from the proverbial office next to Donelly's. As I noted then: "Perhaps this glowing portrayal of one of the leaders of the West’s new cyber-army is showing us the way. In an almost unreadable puff piece on “open-source” journalism, titled “Citizen journalists – the fighters on the front-line against Russia’s attacks”, Carole Cadwalladr posits that: “We can no longer count on our governments to protect us from a tide of disinformation. Our security rests in the hands of open source intelligence, as pioneered by Bellingcat.” As Cadwalladr says, quite correctly – disinformation is “the defining story of our age, and the story of 2018”. ............................................ Clearly "disinformation" is still the defining story in 2022, only transformed and weaponised into cyber-warfare. But it appears that all those agents and operatives who became apparent back in 2018 remain at the top, and seeing their infernal schemes and operations coming to fruition. The "infant from hell" that Victoria Nuland "midwifed" in Kiev back in February 2014 has now grown up into what we used to call a "juvenile delinquent", who uses every emotional and physical tool at his disposal to manipulate his witless parents for his self-gratification. This entity is currently threatening to blow up the Karkovka dam, making a trio of underwater explosive operations - while seeing to it that Russia takes the blame. Whether he or his entourage can be put in a strait-jacket and "sectioned" before achieving their endgame remains to be seen. Watch this space.
DM 22 October 2022