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Imagine if the BBC Were Honest

By Craig Murray | August 30, 2018

The BBC refuses to answer my Skripal questions to Mark Urban on the grounds they have no legal obligation, instead giving a “statement”. That correspondence follows below. But I want you first to imagine a World in which the BBC and Mark Urban were honest and independent, and imagine these were the answers to my questions:

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
My interviews with Sergei Skripal were on a strictly off the record basis and I felt honour bound not to mention them until I could obtain his permission.

2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
I had not heard from Pablo Miller for decades, since I left the army.

3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
I did not meet Miller.

4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
Yes, with Skripal.

5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
A book on Russian intelligence.

6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
I don’t know.

7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
No.

8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
No.

9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.
That was my only contact with the intelligence services on this matter.

Does anybody imagine that, if those were indeed the answers, Mark Urban and the BBC would not freely give those answers, and show up their accusers as “conspiracy theorists” with no foundation?

If those were the answers, they would be shouting them from the rooftops.

And indeed the BBC statement, while refusing to answer the questions directly, does give responses to questions 1, 4 and 5 which are along the lines of this outcome were they behaving honestly, though their phrasing does not carry conviction, especially on 1.

The questions the BBC has refused to address at all are all those related to Pablo Miller, UK intelligence services and the Steele Orbis dossier on Trump/Russia. That is an extremely telling omission. Their attempt to issue a statement rather than address the questions individually, is a deliberate ruse to disguise that.

On a balance of probabilities measure, I am willing to take the BBC’s refusal to answer these very specific questions as strong evidence that the Skripal case is indeed about Miller, Steele, Orbis and the Trump/Russia dossier. Furthermore the BBC knows that and is deliberately concealing the truth, and instead broadcasting evidence free nonsense about Russian agents, knowing that to be untrue. If that were not the case, it would take the BBC quite literally two minutes to give the answers above. There would be no downside for the BBC in giving those answers; indeed they would be vindicated to a sceptical public.

I asked you to imagine those answers were true. In asking us to imagine a better world, John Lennon told us “its easy if you try”. Sadly I find it is not easy. It is not easy to imagine a world in which Mark Urban is not a morally repugnant lying shill for the security services, that takes a very great deal of effort.

Here is the BBC statement and ensuing correspondence:

From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 09:42
To: ‘is’
Subject: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Murray,

Matt Hunter in the BBC News Press Team.

I understand you contacted Mark Urban on Monday with regards to meetings he had with Sergei Skripal. Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism, but I can provide you with a more general response regarding Mark’s meetings with Mr Skripal.

Mark Urban met with Sergei Skripal on a number of occasions last Summer in Salisbury and last spoke to him on the phone in August, 7 months before the poisoning. Mr Skripal agreed to speak to Mark to assist with his research for his latest book on post-Cold War espionage, it was not discussed with Mr Skripal whether the information would be used for the BBC ahead of the book being published. The relevant information gained from these interviews informed Newsnight’s coverage during the early days after the poisoning. Mr Urban reported his meetings with Mr Skripal on BBC Newsnight once the details of the book were made public in keeping with the understood terms of the interview. Mark Urban’s line managers were aware last year that he was working on a book and more specifically from 5th March this year that this work had included interviews with Mr Skripal.

I hope these details help clarify the situation.

Please note that all future journalistic enquiries should be made through the BBC Press Office (press.office@bbc.co.uk).

Thank you for your enquiry.

Best wishes
Matt

Matt Hunter – Publicist
BBC News & Current Affairs

——–

From: craig murray [mailto:craigmurray@mail.ru]
Sent: 29 August 2018 14:23
To: Matthew Hunter; Mark Urban
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Dear Mr Hunter,

Thank you for your email. This is an important matter, which interests a great many people, as I am sure you are aware, and which has caused some damage to the reputation of the BBC.

You state that ” Some of the information you’ve requested we are not obliged to share as it is held for purposes of journalism”. My questions were not couched as an FOI request so that is a redundant provision, even if your broad interpretation of the FOIA were correct, which I dispute.

Your email then proceeds on the basis that you should not reveal anything unless you are legally obliged to do so. That seems a very strange stance for a public broadcast body to take. Whether or not you are legally obliged to do so, can I ask you to give the answer to these questions to Mr Urban, or in each case an explanation for why you refuse to give an answer voluntarily, even if legally unobliged.

What is at stake here is the BBC’s reputation for open and honest reporting, and this particular case has done a great deal to increase public distrust in the BBC. All of these are fair and relevant questions which have simple answers. Kindly address them individually.

My questions to Mark Urban:

1. When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2. You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3. When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4. Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5. When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6. Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7. Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8. Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9. In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to your response,

Craig Murray

———-

From: Matthew Hunter
Sent: 29 August 2018 15:09
To: ‘craig murray’
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

I’m afraid we have no further comment beyond the statement provided earlier.

Many thanks,
Matt

———–

From: craig murray
Sent: 29 August 2018 18:22
To: Matthew Hunter
Subject: RE: BBC Newsnight

Oh, so it was a “statement” rather than a reply to my questions.

May I ask you who drafted the statement, who approved it, and who was consulted on it? The statement, incidentally, does not constitute journalism, so you do have a legal obligation to answer those questions.

Craig

August 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

British Collusion and Criminality

By Margaret Kimberly | Black Agenda Report | July 11, 2018

Most people believe that Donald Trump owes his presidency to Russian activity because they have been told this repeatedly for the past two years. There was indeed high level collusion taking place in the 2016 presidential campaign but it wasn’t carried out by Trump. It was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee who acted in concert with intelligence assets in the United States and in the United Kingdom. The British government continues to manufacture false flag incidents, force international agencies to do its bidding, and push for regime change in Syria. Having failed to defeat Trump, they kept up the campaign to cover their tracks, escape blame for Hillary Clinton’s failure, and maintain the foreign policy status quo.

A law firm retained by the Democratic National Committee paid for the opposition research undertaken by former MI6 agent, Christopher Steele. Steele produced a dossier alleging that Trump was compromised by the Russian government and shopped it to the FBI, CIA, influential journalists and politicians like Senator John McCain. The dossier was used to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump aide Carter Page but the DNC connection was not disclosed to the judge.

Steele isn’t the only British spook in the story. A man named Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, is a business partner of Stefan Halper, a CIA asset who also spied on Donald Trump. Halper had contacts with Page and George Papadopoulos, two men now under indictment by Robert Mueller’s special investigation. The lesser lights of the Trump team were no match for seasoned professionals who get protection from the New York Times. The Times calls Halper “an FBI informant” and tries to claim that is somehow different from being a spy.

While Russia is vilified at every turn the British government conducts very public and very shady business which could conceivably impact both countries. The case of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal has the British government’s finger prints all over it. There is no reason for Russia to poison a former spy whom they had swapped eight years earlier. The only logical conclusion is that the act was carried out with the goal of embarrassing Vladimir Putin and creating a possible pretext for war. The Skripal case was soon followed by questionable reporting of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria which resulted in a short lived United States, British and French attack on that country.

It is the British who use lies and trickery to sway public opinion into supporting a wider war in Syria. Three months after the Skripals were attacked another pair of Britons are said to have been poisoned with Novichok, a chemical weapon originally produced by Russia but which now can be made anywhere. One of the victims died and the claims of Russian involvement have suddenly become much more dangerous.

This second poisoning took place less than one week after the UK pressured the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to take on the role of judge and juror. No longer will the OPCW just determine if chemical weapons have been used, but they will also be tasked with assigning blame, too. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson proudly stated, “The U.K. has led the diplomatic efforts to secure this action.”

Collusion continues not between Trump and Russians, but between intelligence agencies, the media and American politicians with hidden agendas. While the public are fed a steady diet of tales of an unfree press in Russia, it is the British press which has been censored by its government. A Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (D Notice) has been issued which prevents them from reporting fully on the Skripal case. Most Americans are unaware that the British government may prevent the media from reporting on any subject or person they choose. The person being protected now may be a man named Pablo Miller.

Miller was Skripal’s MI6 handler and was also employed at Christopher Steele’s firm Orbis. Miller and Steele may have involved Skripal in writing the anti-Trump dossier. While Americans are given endless misinformation making Russia look like the foreign interloper in their nation’s affairs it is actually the British deep state that is well connected to American media and politicians.

The Russiagate purveyors constantly say, “Connect the dots.” If there are any dots to connect they run from the DNC to former MI6 spies to CIA assets to Russian double agents to American intelligence to alleged chemical weapons attacks used to justify war or to stop the upcoming Trump and Putin summit. It is all being used to further the now obligatory anti-Russian propaganda that is pervasive on both sides of the Atlantic.

Anti-Russia sentiment has been stoked for two years straight and with expert precision. Any counter narratives have been obscured with equal precision. Honest discourse is now nearly impossible and the likelihood of public support for anything up to and including hot war between nuclear powers has increased. The world is a more dangerous place but not because of Russia. As always the United States and its allies are the cause of turmoil. This time they may have created dangers that they are unable to contain.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , | Leave a comment