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Boris Johnson Accused of Covering Up Russian Meddling In UK Politics

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PM accused of cover-up over report on Russian meddling in UK politics

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Boris Johnson was on Monday night accused of presiding over a cover-up after it emerged that No 10 refused to clear the publication of a potentially incendiary report examining Russian infiltration in British politics, including the Conservative party.

Downing Street indicated on Monday that it would not allow a 50-page dossier from the intelligence and security committee to be published before the election, prompting a string of complaints over its suppression.

The committee’s chairman, Dominic Grieve, called the decision “jaw dropping”, saying no reason for the refusal had been given, while Labour and Scottish National party politicians accused No 10 of refusing to recognise the scale of Russian meddling.

Fresh evidence has also emerged of attempts by the Kremlin to infiltrate the Conservatives by a senior Russian diplomat suspected of espionage, who spent five years in London cultivating leading Tories including Johnson himself.

more at

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/04/no-10-blocks-russia-eu-referendum-report-until-after-election

 

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grieker

RUSSIAN COLLUSION!

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prettylight

Revealed: Russian donors have stepped up Tory funding

As Johnson accused of ‘cover-up’ over Kremlin interference, major new Russian donations to Conservatives revealed – despite previous Tory pledge to distance themselves from Russian money.

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Tamasin Cave from transparency advocacy group Spinwatch said: “Why are powerful Russian interests donating money to the Conservatives? Is it political, or commercial, or both? What are their interests in propping up Boris Johnson’s government? And particularly a government that is refusing to release a report into Russian interference in our politics?”

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party said: “The Conservative Party does not accept foreign donations – as they are illegal.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/revealed-russian-donors-have-stepped-tory-funding/

Edited by prettylight

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prettylight

^

Political, commercial - or both?

The Conservatives’ Russian ties have sparked questions in the past. After becoming leader in 2016, Theresa May promised to distance her party from Russian donors, with allies briefing that there would not be a “business as usual” relationship with Moscow.

But in March 2018, the Conservative Party refused appeals by, among others, Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, allegedly murdered on orders of the Kremlin, to return money donated by various wealthy Russians.

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prettylight

more,

Russian donors

With the Conservatives looking to raise £30 million ahead of December’s general election, major funders to the Tory campaign warchest are expected to include a number of existing Russian donors.

The Conservatives have received more than £3.5 million from Russian funders since 2010. While donations slowed down after the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018, they have picked up again in recent months, according to filings at the Electoral Commission.

Between November 2018 and October 2019, the Tories received at least £489,850 from Russian donors, compared to less than £350,000 in the previous year.

In May, the Conservatives also received almost £20,000 from a lobbying company closely connected to both Russian interests and the upper echelons of the Tory party.

Founded by former Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside, New Century Media was paid by the Kremlin to promote a “positive image” of Russia in the UK in 2013.

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prettylight

Did Russia meddle in 2016 Brexit vote? In election season, dismay over delayed report

Laura King, Los Angeles Times on Nov 14, 2019

 

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LONDON -- As a historic impeachment drama plays out in Washington, a political saga with some odd parallels is taking place across the Atlantic.

Britain is in the midst of a divisive national election campaign that is roiled by questions about Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum, with potentially inflammatory implications for the upcoming balloting Dec. 12.

A cross-party British parliamentary committee spent months investigating purported malign actions by Moscow in connection with the June 2016 referendum in which Britons narrowly voted to leave the European Union.

With Brexit again the key issue in December's parliamentary elections, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson triggered an outcry this month when it put off the release of the committee's wide-ranging Russia report, citing the need for further security vetting.

Then as now, Johnson has been a driving force behind the move for Britain to exit the 28-nation EU. For more than three years, Britain has been consumed by infighting over how and whether to implement the referendum result, and the prime minister is leading his Conservative Party into next month's vote with promises of a swift Brexit as his rallying cry.

Johnson's rivals say that before the election, British voters should have an opportunity to learn more about Moscow's purported role in the 2016 referendum -- especially in light of the close outcome in which 52% of voters favored the split and 48% opposed it.

Moscow has shown itself willing to use the bluntest of blunt force to press its interests on British soil, exemplified by last year's dispatch of Russian operatives to the quiet English town of Salisbury, where they tried to kill a turncoat spy, Sergei Skripal, with a deadly nerve agent.

American-born British financier William Browder, who has crusaded for vastly tightened international financial oversight of Russian oligarchs and testified in the parliamentary inquiry, said he had expected it would be part of the public record by the time voters were preparing to go to the polls.

"It should have been out a long time ago," he said of the document.

Browder, in a telephone interview, said entrenched practices such as Russian money laundering via high-end London real estate might have had as much or even more of a distorting effect on British politics than overt acts of interference by the Russian state.

"Oligarchs who are enriched by Putin pay money to former security service officials, to lawyers in Britain, to members of the political establishment, who then effectively do Russia's bidding for them here," he said.

Withholding of the 50-page dossier has brought withering criticism from Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general who chaired Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, which put together the report. As Parliament prepared to dissolve this month without the findings having made their way into the public domain, Grieve called the delay "jaw-dropping."

Some observers caution that the report might not actually contain any bombshells on Moscow's efforts to steer the voting on Brexit, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has actively sought to undermine the EU. Moscow considers the bloc a threat to its interests and has cultivated allies such as Hungary's strongman leader Viktor Orban to pursue measures critics say are designed to undermine the EU from within.

Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow with the Russia and Eurasia program at the British think tank Chatham House, said that in part because the parliamentary committee took testimony from many witnesses whose views were sometimes divergent, the document could prove a "huge disappointment" for those hoping for a damningly definitive account of Russian meddling.

British news reports have offered up details of some of the purported Russian transgressions, describing the flow of "dark" funding to the pro-Brexit side of the referendum campaign. They have also documented cyber interference similar to that which took place in 2016 in the United States, where intelligence agencies concluded that Russia acted in an effort to aid then-candidate Donald Trump.

In Washington, Trump's backers are now seeking to discredit the finding of Russian interference in 2016 and instead cast blame on Ukraine, using the public impeachment hearings that began Wednesday to air elaborate conspiracy theories meant to prop up that view.

more at

https://www.arcamax.com/currentnews/newsheadlines/s-2295369?fs

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grieker

Wow!  How Trumpionian.

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Pastor of Muppets
1 hour ago, grieker said:

Wow!  How Trumpionian.

Quite a coincidence.

I'm sure it was actually the Ukraines' doing the meddling. /s

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