The most important piece of information to come out of Carole Cadwalladr's
current libel trial is perhaps the least reported - that she received material
alleging links between Arron Banks, Vote Leave and Russia from "a contractor to
the UK security services". The information came to light because under discovery
rules she had to disclose a great deal of relevant material to Banks.
We know of course that Cadwalladr was an active participant in the Integrity
Initiative, the covert MOD and FCO funded programme to place articles by
journalists in the media setting out the security services narrative. The
Institute for Statecraft, which runs the Integrity Initiative, is indeed a
"contractor to the security services" and this is probably the source of
Cadwalladr's disinformation, though it might also be the charlatan Christopher
Steele and his firm Orbis, with whom Cadwalladr, like Sergei Skripal's MI6
handler Pablo Miller, is also connected.
Here is something else I am pretty confident you did not know about
Cadwalladr. Her great story for which she won the Pullitzer Prize was simply a
lie. There was in fact no connection between Vote Leave or UKIP and the Brexit
campaign and Cambridge Analytica. This is what the official investigation by the
UK Information Commissioner uncovered:
The entire, glorious campaign of huge Guardian articles by Cadwalladr on how
Cambridge Analytica, aided by Russia, won the Brexit vote, was in fact found to
be entirely untrue. It is worth noting that the expressions of concern in para 9
about Russian interference were never supported by any evidence. The linked
Mueller investigation in the United States on this point also drew a great big
There was a genuine scandal around Cambridge Analytica, about Facebook's
willingness to sell the personal date of its users. The company who then got
that data - SCL - was owned by a bunch of very major, behind the scenes, Tory
figures, including Lord Ivar Mountbatten. The use had not been Brexit but a Tory
parliamentary election campaign. That was in itself very much worth reporting,
but Cadwalladr was being pointed by the security services away from the Tories
and towards Russia.
Whether she was a naive dupe or an active enthusiast I really don't care. She is
a disgrace to journalism.
Cadwalladr became a hero to British liberals because she provided a comfortable
explanation of Brexit. Cadwalladr told them the people of England and Wales had
rejected the EU solely because they had been duped, by internet manipulation of
their thoughts and by those pesky Russians.
This was a much easier explanation to swallow than the truth, which is that the
massive disparity between rich and poor in our neo-liberal economic societies
had left most people alienated and feeling powerless, and prey to the
anti-immigrant propaganda the media had been relentlessly pumping out for
This is of course the mirror of the fake Russiagate narrative that American
liberals use to explain why the voters rejected Hillary Clinton, whereas the
real reasons were very similar in both cases. It has recently emerged that the
illegal foreign cash to influence the 2016 election was in fact received by
I have been amused this last few months that the journalists who portray as
lunatic those who believe Biden's election was fraudulent, are precisely the
same journalists who told us for years that Trump's election was fraudulent and
engineered by Vladimir Putin. For what it is worth, my own view is that both
elections were valid.
The present libel trial between Arron Banks and Carole Cadwalladr is therefore a
struggle between two deeply unpleasant people. I find myself strangely hoping
that Cadwalladr - for whom I have fathomless wells of contempt - wins. The
English libel laws are an utter disgrace, and I support Cadwalladr's right to
freedom of speech in making her claims against Banks, even though she did indeed
make unfounded and untrue statements about him.
Cadwalladr's lies, in my view, are political and still come within the realm of
free speech. I support her right to say it, just as I support my right to
denounce and expose her as an utterly unprincipled and fraudulent tool of the
It is quite interesting to see what weighs heaviest with the judge; a desire to
protect one of the Guardian's security service assets, or a desire to protect
the London legal profession's ultra lucrative libel industry.
UPDATE 23.01 10:25am It is worth adding that Cadwalladr is not running the
defence of truth. She is running the defence of fair comment in the public