Days before Britain’s historic election, the UK’s military-intelligence apparatus is turning to the corporate media and US government-funded NATO cut-outs to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with evidence-free Russiagate allegations.
by Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal
Part 2 - Western intelligence cut-outs blame Corbyn’s exposure of NHS scandal on Russia
On November 27, the Jeremy Corbyn campaign revealed a 451-page dossier containing details of secret negotiations between the UK’s Conservative government and the US to privatize Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) as part of the Brexit deal. The explosive revelation put the lie to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise that the NHS was not up for negotiation.
Less than a week later, a peculiar story dropped in the British media. A December 2 headline in the pro-Tory Telegraph blared that the NHS dossier deployed by Corbyn “points to Russia.” The liberal Guardian published a similar report asserting that the leaked papers had been “put online by posters using Russian methods.” And the story gravitated across the Atlantic thanks to the neoconservative Daily Beast tabloid.
In every case, the media relied on a single source to link the NHS dossier – and Corbyn himself – to Russian interference: a supposed data consulting firm called Graphika, and its director, supposed “information expert” Ben Nimmo.
Assuring the public that the leak of the documents “closely resembles… a known Russian operation,” Nimmo simultaneously conceded that “we do not have all the data that allows us to make a final determination in this case.”
Not one outlet covering story bothered to inform readers who Nimmo was, or offered any detail on the powerful state forces behind Graphika.
In fact, Nimmo is not a data expert or a journalist, but a former NATO press officer who previously consulted for the covert Integrity Initiative propaganda farm, which was funded by the UK Foreign Office and dedicated to spawning conflict with Russia.
Nimmo put his lack of journalistic precision on display when he launched a bungled 2018 witch-hunt against Twitter users whose postings diverged from the NATO line, branding several real live humans as Russian bots.
His victims included Mariam Susli, a well-known Syrian-Australian social media personality, the famed Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a British pensioner named Ian Shilling.
This April, Nimmo was hired as Director of Investigations by Graphika. Humbly describing itself as “the best in the world at analyzing how online social networks form, evolve, and are manipulated,” Graphika’s partners include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon’s Minerva Initiative, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and the Syria Campaign – the billionaire-funded public relations arm of the Syrian White Helmets.
Nimmo also works as a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) at the Atlantic Council, NATO’s unofficial think tank in Washington.
As The Grayzone has reported, the Atlantic Council is a corruption-stained money dump for Ukrainian and Middle Eastern oligarchs, as well as Gulf monarchies, the arms industry, the British Foreign Office and the US State Department.
Its DFRLab was enlisted by Facebook to “identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world,” and subsequently received $1 million from Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire to carry out its work.
Last October, with guidance from Nimmo and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including many alternative media outlets maintained by American citizens.
Among those targeted in the coordinated purge were popular alternative news sites that scrutinized police brutality and militarism, along with the pages of professional journalists.
Now, in the UK, the Atlantic Council is injecting itself into a national election campaign, exploiting an atmosphere of Russia hysteria that its self-styled “information experts” have helped to stoke.
On December 6, Reddit announced that its platform had been used by “suspected” Russian actors to publish the scandalous NHS dossier that become a centerpiece of Corbyn’s campaign against Johnson. As usual, the primary source for Reddit’s claim was the Atlantic Council, which it credited with “provid[ing] us with important attribution.”
Reddit’s Director of Policy, Jessica Ashooh, is the Atlantic Council’s former Middle East Strategy Task Force Deputy Director, and an ex-official of the government of the United Arab Emirates. She was hired by the social media giant in 2017, at around the same time that Senate Select Intelligence Committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner was demanding more government control over Reddit on the grounds that it was a potential vehicle for Russian influence.
In a 2016 column for Foreign Policy, Ashooh likened Donald Trump to self-proclaimed ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and appeared to lament that “drone strikes on Trump Tower are probably not coming any time soon.”
She complained that Trump was “giving voice to troubling narratives of marginalization and disenchantment with the status quo,” and chided the “elite class” for underestimating him.
Those same elite grievances have animated the campaign to destroy Corbyn, a left-wing populist whose political views are alternately opposed to Trump’s. And the same cynical tactics honed in the paranoid passion play of Russiagate have been redeployed against the Labour leader.
In the most recent intelligence-backed assault on Corbyn, corporate media outlets have even relied on Nazis and neo-fascist blogs as sources.
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