Jump to content
The Education Forum

Who is trying to sabotage better British-Russian relations?


Recommended Posts

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2...ing-t.html#more

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

Who is trying to sabotage better British-Russian relations?

By Mary Dejevsky

On Monday, Gordon Brown met the new Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, on the fringe of the G8 summit in Hokkaido. It was the first meeting between the two political leaders at a time of deep depression in UK-Russian relations, and the hope was that it would lay the foundation for some improvement.

And how did the BBC report this event? At least on Newsnight, much watched by the chattering classes, entirely through the prism of a certain Boris Berezovsky, exiled Russian oligarch and self-proclaimed enemy number one of Vladimir Putin.

Newsnight claimed to have exclusive confirmation, via 'sources' in MI5, that Alexander Litvinenko's radiation poisoning in November 2006, had been carried out by Russian intelligence. Well, well. It offered nothing more than a few random, unattributed quotations, to assert what had been a favoured - if never corroborated - view since the start.

Now I assume, to give the reporter the benefit of the doubt, that his 'sources' are known to him and reliable, otherwise he would not have made such a big deal out of their assertions. And no one would expect MI5 to go on camera.

But the only person Newsnight produced In support of its new, supposedly exclusive, theory was, well, who else? but the very same Boris Berezovsky, who rehearsed the selfsame story he had peddled to the media a year ago, about how he had been targeted by an assassin at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.

This time, Newsnight told us, in breathless excitement, the would-be assassin was a man of Chechen appearance, already named (but not arrested) in connection with the murder of the campaigning journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. He had been apprehended by the London police, but then released, without charge, to return to Russia!

Newsnight offered no explanation, nor has Berezovsky offered any, of why the police released the supposed assassin rather than charging him and putting him on trial.

Yet this needs an explanation. An arrest and trial would offer the best possible corroboration of the theory that the Russian state was involved in both the killing of Litvinenko and the alleged attempted killing of Berezovsky. Yet, even as they tried to make the case for the extradition from Moscow of Litvinenko's presumed assassin, Andrei Lugovoi, and made a diplomatic incident out of Russia's refusal, the British seem calmly to have let Berezovsky's would-be assassin go. Why?

Put the Newsnight feature together with the British intelligence report - conveniently released on the eve of the Brown-Medvedev meeting - that Russia was now the third- biggest threat to British security after al-Qa'ida and Iran(!), and you have a concerted attempt to sabotage the improvement in British-Russian relations that the Brown-Medvedev encounter might have heralded.

For all the hype, there was nothing new in the Newsnight report. It smacked rather of an elaborate - and hugely successful - put-up job by Berezovsky and his PR people to reheat old accusations and pre-empt any improvement in British-Russia relations. I wonder in whose interests that might be?

I would have expected a more critical approach to the source material by a programme such as Newsnight.

Posted at 12:22 PM in Mary Dejevsky | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1091659/30998390

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2...ing-t.html#more

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

Who is trying to sabotage better British-Russian relations?

By Mary Dejevsky

Put the Newsnight feature together with the British intelligence report - conveniently released on the eve of the Brown-Medvedev meeting - that Russia was now the third- biggest threat to British security after al-Qa'ida and Iran(!), and you have a concerted attempt to sabotage the improvement in British-Russian relations that the Brown-Medvedev encounter might have heralded.

Posted at 12:22 PM in Mary Dejevsky | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/1091659/30998390

The following is a very representative example of the spooky background to the anti-Russian campaign. Was a “Security Correspondent” really necessary as a co-author?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics...servatives.html

Britain must get tougher with Russia, warn Conservatives

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent, and Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent

Last updated: 6:14 PM BST 08/07/2008

Britain must take a tougher line with Russia over its increasingly aggressive foreign policy, the Conservatives have demanded.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said that ministers cannot ignore growing signs of Russian hostility, including its support for espionage and its territorial ambitions.

He spoke after tense talks between Gordon Brown and the new Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, and fresh claims about Russian collusion in a London murder.

Mr Brown and Mr Medvedev had their first meeting at the G8 summit in Japan this week, but failed to solve the key issues or to dispel the image of two countries whose diplomatic relations are sub-zero.

Even as they met, British security officials confirmed that they believe that the killers of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident poisoned in London last year, were operating with the support of parts of the Russian regime.

That sparked a sharp reply from Russian officials.

A senior aide to Mr Medvedev accused British officials of trying to undermine the relationship with Russia.

The aide said: "We are working on raising British-Russian relations out of a certain cul-de-sac. And as for various unattributed leaks, they demonstrate that unfortunately in Great Britain not everyone has such a constructive approach as we felt the Prime Minister himself has."

Louise Christian, solicitor for Mr Litvinenko's widow, Marina, later issued a statement calling on the British government to pursue Russia to the International Court of Justice.

And Mrs Litvinenko herself said she was "proud of being British" and accused the Kremlin of orchestrating a campaign of harassment against British interests in Russia to block the extradition to Britain of Andrei Luguvoi, whom the UK accuses of Mr Litvinenko's murder.

Dr Fox said the Litvinenko case was just one of several examples of unacceptable Russian behaviour.

He said: "We all want to see improved relations with Russia, but we cannot overlook the Litvenenko murder, the $189 billion rearmament programme or the attempted annexation of large tracts of the Arctic.

"Ultimately, we will have to judge Russia on its actions, not its rhetoric."

Fox is, even by Tory standards, a charlatan and a buffoon. Much more interesting is the presence of human rights lawyer Louise Christian in this spooky milieu.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The following is a very representative example of the spooky background to the anti-Russian campaign. Was a “Security Correspondent” really necessary as a co-author?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics...servatives.html

Britain must get tougher with Russia, warn Conservatives

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent, and Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent

Here's why it probably was considered prudent to have a spook urinal as co-author:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/ma...fcommons.russia

MP complains at being 'warned off' meeting envoy

Richard Norton-Taylor

The Guardian, Friday, 23 May 2008, p.19

A Labour MP said yesterday he was warned off meeting a Russian embassy official by a government minister and told that he was being monitored by the security services.

Andrew Mackinlay, a longstanding member of the Commons foreign affairs committee, described the approach by an unidentified minister last summer as "menacing". He said it was an example of how "craven" ministers were to the intelligence and security services.

He told the Commons he found the minister's actions unacceptable and a breach of his rights as an MP, particularly since his meetings with the Russian diplomat took place in parliament. He told the Guardian later that he was summoned twice last summer to the "headmaster's office" and the minister concerned knew what he had discussed with the Russian.

"Bearing in mind I meet the people from the Russian embassy in this building, it means the security and intelligence services are not only monitoring people coming in to this building, but monitoring honourable members who they meet, and presumably what is discussed."

He claimed intelligence officers wanted him to pass on information he learned from "casual conversations" about politics in Britain and Russia. He did not object to the fact that the Russian official was being monitored ahead of their meeting.

But he added: "What it was, was an approach by a minister warning me off doing this, and that was unacceptable to me and remains so." He called for greater parliamentary scrutiny and oversight of the intelligence services.

Helen Goodman, deputy Commons leader, told Mackinlay that the lord chancellor's proposals in the constitutional renewal bill would be a "radical change" to oversight of the security services.

In a free press, at least one leading British newspaper should surely have done a little digging into the background of MI5 putting the frighteners on an MP?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...