The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament described the circumstances surrounding the referendum for Scottish independence as “the first post-Soviet interference in a Western democratic election”.

The report published this morning, which also expressed concern that the Government appeared not to be seeking to investigate Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, states:

“There has been credible open source commentary suggesting that Russia undertook
influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. However, at the time ***. It appears that *** what some commentators have described as potentially the first post-Soviet Russian interference in a Western democratic process. We note that – almost five years on – ***.

It was only when Russia completed a ‘hack and leak’ operation against the
Democratic National Committee in the US – with the stolen emails being made public a
month after the EU referendum – that it appears that the Government belatedly realised the level of threat which Russia could pose in this area, given that the risk thresholds in the Kremlin had clearly shifted, describing the US ‘hack and leak’ as a “game changer”, and admitting that “prior to what we saw in the States, [Russian interference] wasn’t generally understood as a big threat to [electoral] processes.”

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament issued the following additional points as part of a press notice with the report.

  • Russian influence in the UK is the new normal. Successive
    Governments have welcomed the oligarchs and their money with open
    arms, providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through
    the London ‘laundromat’, and connections at the highest levels with
    access to UK companies and political figures.
  • This has led to a growth industry of ‘enablers’ including lawyers,
    accountants, and estate agents who are – wittingly or unwittingly – de
    facto agents of the Russian state.
  • It clearly demonstrates the inherent tension between the Government’s
    prosperity agenda and the need to protect national security. While we
    cannot now shut the stable door, greater powers and transparency are
    needed urgently.
  • UK is clearly a target for Russian disinformation. While the mechanics
    of our paper-based voting system are largely sound, we cannot be
    complacent about a hostile state taking deliberate action with the aim of
    influencing our democratic processes.
  • Yet the defence of those democratic processes has appeared
    something of a ‘hot potato’, with no one organisation considering itself
    to be in the lead, or apparently willing to conduct an assessment of
    such interference. This must change.
  • Social media companies must take action and remove covert hostile
    state material: Government must ‘name and shame’ those who fail to
    act.
  • We need other countries to step up with the UK and attach a cost to
    Putin’s actions. Salisbury must not be allowed to become the high water
    mark in international unity over the Russia threat.
  • A number of issues addressed in this published version of the Russia
    Report are covered in more depth in the Classified Annex. We are not
    able to discuss these aspects on the grounds of national security.

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community. In its own words, Under the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the accompanying Memorandum of Understanding, the ISC oversees the policies, expenditure, administration and operations of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism.

The Committee sets its own agenda and work programme, taking evidence from Ministers, the Heads of the intelligence and security Agencies, senior officials, experts, and academics as it considers necessary.

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Monty
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Monty

Knowing Salmond he probably openly invited the Kremlin to get involved, tongue in cheek comment obviously but I think I’ve made my point.

Longtime
Guest
Longtime

Well are we surprised, I thought it was pretty obvious when Alex Salmond got offered his Job on RT

Cam
Guest
Cam

And Galloway with”Sputnik”. Atleast the Russians and slippery fish in the SNP lost. And hopefully will lose again..They seem to think they have a mandate for another vote but they bloody don’t and shouldn’t get the chance to break up our very successful union!

geoff
Guest
geoff

Hi Cam. Galloway is however a supporter of the Union despite his other beliefs

Douglas Newell
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Douglas Newell

The Scots Nats hate Galloway because he is actually a real, old school socialist and they are just pretending to be socialists to get the large left-leaning Labour vote.

Back before the SNPs populist surge under Salmond the SNP were called the “Tartan Tories” due to their extreme free market ideas. And one look at their insane plans to turn to Scotland into the “Monte Carlo of the North” after independence show they haven’t changed their spots.

It makes total strategic sense for the Russkies to want to the break the union.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Douglas I can’t argue with any of the above but its also worth bearing in mind that Galloway is a totally self absorbed phuqwit who is easy not to like, even if you do share a political idealism with.

Cam
Guest
Cam

I wonder how much the UK does to effect other nations votes and the like, I would love to know just how much cyber capers goes on from the UK to other nations, but I bet we will never know the full extent.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

It’s called the foreign aid budget and it’s a fairly hefty effort. Effecting other nations thought non aggressive means, that’s what soft powers is after all.

Palaboran
Guest
Palaboran

Is that where the Scottish ‘government’ derives it’s income?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“how much the UK does to effect other nations votes”

Don’t know about votes, but governments, read “MI6, 50 years of Special Operations” by Steven Dorril for starters.
The UK has meddled abroad setting up regimes to our liking for decades. No surprise the same happens back.

As for cyber, yes I agree that is mostly classified. HMG claim we have an offensive arm now so I hope it is used in kind.

Reaper
Guest
Reaper

For some time we’d been the best in the business at it. Lurking in the shadows and influencing was our forte. Lately, I don’t think the intelligence (brains not sneaky beaky) is there and we’ve been successfully countered and infiltrated at all levels.
A damn good purge is needed.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Bang on!!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Not a purge by the reaper I hope, that would be a bit extreme and jolly un British ( or very British if you listen to some who like insert modern ethics into historic context).

dave12
Guest
dave12

If the SNP do get the chance to break up the union you can guarantee Russian money ,and military influence would find its way to Scotland.

Damo
Guest
Damo

Without a doubt. Who else, bar China, will step in to solve the financial mess? Wonder if the rUK would be able to keep hold of all serious weaponry to avoid Putin having a close look at P8s, F35s and the like

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Aye Damo, because an independent Scotland would be demanding their 10% of each and every bit of military hardware. Just so we could hand it over to the Russians and Chinese…. Lets not get ahead of ourselves, now that we know that there have been outside influences in Western voting, you’d like to think that there would be measures in place to prevent/minimise it. While the indy vote is quite high at the moment because of the covid handling, without the ‘outside influences’ you have to hope it will revert back to a minority (albeit a large one). Even if… Read more »

Damo
Guest
Damo

Desperate times and all that lol. But yeah you’re probably right.

dan
Guest
dan

That tiny little man Putin sure is busy these days isn’t he. lol

geoff
Guest
geoff

If the Russians have interfered in the move for Scottish Independence then we first have to ask the question-why would they do so? The answer is obvious-the destruction of the UK would diminish its constituents in every respect, including militarily! So, ironically Russia has underlined the importance of the Union and in a back-handed way confirmed why we really are much better together. Why else would they embark on this course of action other than to damage the British??

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

If for little expense a country can subvert its enemies then that would have to be seen as a good thing by that country, or at least its leaders. Especially if they deny it…. The indy ref would be a good practice run too perhaps.

Billythefish
Guest
Billythefish

The biggest risk to UK democracy and freedom is of course the FCO itself.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Biggest threat is how easy fake news can travel using US owned social media sites, that are allowed not to take responsibility for the sites that make massive profits from.

BB85
Guest
BB85

True but people over estimate just how seriously people take fake news on social media. Everyone knows its either grossly biased or completely false.
My main issue is how political mainstream media has become as people give it a level of authority it no longer deserves. News presenters don’t even try to hide their political bias anymore and are in fact rewarded for doing so.

James
Guest
James

Totally agree with you, Brexit showed truly to this generation how biased the media can be, then it continued with the election and now is continuing with Covid. The media really should be held much more accountable for the piles of biased crap they churn out on a daily basis.

Sadly we are getting more and more like the US in freedoms of everything and in a crisis like covid such freedoms at times just do not work.

Lordtemplar
Guest
Lordtemplar

Even more outrageous is that they recklessly sent assassins with dangerous toxins in Salisbury!
Time to start returning the favours!

BB85
Guest
BB85

How many political opponents from the UK are hiding in Russia? Are you suggesting we poison actual Russian political opponents?

barry white
Guest
barry white

Watching the news and to be honest I think Nichola Sturgeon is winning her argument That is pissing off the rest of us to the point of why not grant them the referendum she craves just to shut her up We are fed up with the the daily reteric of her quest for independence So much as I don’t wish the breakup of the UK just go and leave us in peace Sorry to my friends up north but I and the rest of us have had enough Just go and leave us in peace and close the gates behind… Read more »

David Stephen
Guest
David Stephen

Try living here mate. Remember that she represents a minority government. Also worth noting that even when allowed to pick the question, it’s wording, the timing, giving the vote to children, stopping Scots abroad voting and getting help from Russia they still lost by 10%.

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

The contemporary mania for ‘spooky action at a distance’ manipulation reminds me of earlier claims that ‘we are all influenced by advertising’ – except it turned out people who noticed. They seemingly believed they and only they had tumbled to the fact. Still, it’s a novelty for Russia to be interested in democracy. You never know it might rub off on them.

Palaboran
Guest
Palaboran

The BBC and Sky News have the real influence in the UK. Their disinformation is in a different league compared to Russia.

dave12
Guest
dave12

You must be Russian to be that badly misinformed lol!! the BBC is the most impartial news out there and makes RT look like what it is Kremlin funded mouth piece for Putin , can you give me a example RT doing a critical report on Putin/ kremlin ?? I bet you cant:)

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

“the BBC is the most impartial news out there”

Hahaha! BBC is a Marxist organization.

Explain when BBC employs the word Activist and when it employs the word Extremist.

Explain when BBC employs the word Protest and when it employ the word Vandalism

Explain BBC and media at large calling the Dictators that oppose USA as Leaders.

Fidel Castro was the Cuban Leader not the Cuban dictator, but Pinochet was Chilean Dictator…

Tell the last time a BBC journalist employed in prime time: extreme left

dave12
Guest
dave12

Funny that some in the left accuse the BBC of being far right , you are just nit picking Alexski back to school for you and learn the definition of the word impartial.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So the BBC uses materialistic methodology to explain world events and modern history, with an acknowledgment that private ownership of production will inevitably lead to revolution by the proletariat and the removal of the means of production into co-operative production. To be honest I’ve not really seen that as a major bias of the BBC. What I have seen is a general change in production values allowing individual journalists to express their own views. So we see Laura kuenssberg an acknowledged follower of conservatism, being really hard on anyone from the True left of the spectrum and Emily maitlis having… Read more »

David Flandry
Guest
David Flandry

What? …revolution by the proletariat…private ownership of production….
“and the international shall be the human race” [martial music]

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Lol, yes I was just pointing out that you can’t really be calling institutions Marxist, unless they espouse actual Marxist views . You do get a lot of commentators both left and right wing who tend to use statements like Marxist and facist against people who are basically not either.

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

So you don’t know the difference between Marxism and Communism? Hope you know that Fascism also came from Marxism like Communism…but i suspect not. Marxism due to Trotsky schism and more generally due to failure of Communist regimes moved slowly in decades from physical world to the word world. Marxists went to media and Academia and moved from the world of workers to the world of teachers and journalists. We can call them preachers, since todays morals are set by the news not by religion. You can easily cheat with words, it is much more difficult to cheat in physical… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Sorry Alex but you can label all you like, evidence is needed to make a statement more that a personal belief. What evidence do you have that the BBC as a corporate entity has a policy to promote the works and thoughts of Marx. As for fascism coming from the works of Marx, I would dispute that. In reality I would need an full literature review to fully explain why…instead I will give you a potted version of my view. Fascism actually has a nothing at all to do with the Marxist ideology, but did use anti capitalist tactics developed… Read more »

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

“As for fascism coming from the works of Marx, I would dispute that. In reality I would need an full literature” Maybe can start with Italian literature, starting with Italian newspapers of the period, or you an explain people like Alberto Beneduce, Niccola Bombacci, Giovanni Gentile and Mussolini…or maybe just read what you wrote about Socialism. “Economically they believed in the same types of control of production as western liberal democracy. ” Really? Italy was the second country next after Soviet Union that had more control over economy. Explain Alberto Beneduce and IRI or for example and and this: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socializzazione_dell'economia… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

I think you’ve pretty much nailed it Jonathan, the change in ‘style’ allowing interviewers to wear a bit more of their heart on their sleeve is poor. I’d also add the bawling and shouting at politicians in the street is pointless, shouting “Are you going to resign minister ?” across a street isn’t likely to draw much of a response, again its just poor journalism. As you say, when they’re accused of bias by the Left and the Right then they’re doing a pretty good job of being broadly neutral. As for the ‘Marxist’ stuff….. you’ve got to laugh eh… Read more »

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

“As you say, when they’re accused of bias by the Left and the Right then they’re doing a pretty good job of being broadly neutral. ”

That is right from the “useful idiots” book. When pushed they resorted to America is like USSR.
It is the same logic of they want my life i just give them the arm…

Maybe you should read Italian texts before talking about stuff you don’t know. And then after Italians, go to Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse and critical theory. Then you will find the BBC.
In the end it is not much different than Fascism.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m really not sure how you can ever use Marcuse to argue that the BBC is either Marxist or fascist in it approach. You really are leaning on thin threads of logic there. Never been a lover of the ideas in the Aesthetic dimension to be honest, I always felt he tried to find a more complex set of reasoning around the failure of the predictions of marx than was needed. In reality you don’t need to use the Aesthetic argument, Marx simply failed to recognise the impact of more basic human biological Imperatives on our social constructs such as… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Your last paragraph makes perfect sense to me Jonathan. Especially the “intellectual pissing competition”.

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

AlexS – “Maybe you should read Italian texts before talking about stuff you don’t know.”

The slight flaw in your plan to educate me/make me see it your way is that I can’t read (or speak) Italian. I can only assume you’re trying to make yourself frightfully clever and well read…. fair do’s, I’ll stick to my more homespun logic, its worked so far for me

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Completely agree Andy P. My Own home spun logic always tells me that you only start wheeling out the label facist, Marxist etc when people start talking about Or actual depriving people of their liberty, property or lives, because their views threaten those in power or those in power want their wealth, see them as a fitting patsy etc. I’m happy to debate conservatism/vs the labour movement all day, but I don’t ever tolerate label throwing ( from either side), in my simple mind that treads to a path that leads to the label of other, which leads to violence… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Another great post Jonathan, I must admit, I’ve very cynical now about people’s ‘ideological’ motives, I used to assume that people would get angry because of some point that I was maybe missing the passion or logic of, latterly I’ve come to realise that there’s something crappy in people and they just want to vent their spleens. Whether conscious or not, polarising the argument perpetuates this. Why look for the common ground when that might actually bring an end to the argument, much more fun to pour verbal (or written) fuel on the fire, it also panders to the self… Read more »

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

This kind of text is ridiculous.

Russians? haha.

The biggest damage to UK is done the BBC and media ta large, Academia. Marxists.

Jason Holmes
Guest
Jason Holmes

Well Alex did get a prime time job on RT news….funny that…

AlexS
Guest
AlexS

Explain the behavior of BBC regarding Leftist Dictators calling them “Leaders”