How dare you not repeat our propaganda.
Posted by Raskolnikov on April 7, 2021, 3:22 pm
Salisbury poisonings: Salmond accused of ‘spinning Russian propaganda’
Leader of new Alba party criticised for refusing to say whether Russia was to blame for 2018 novichok attack
Alex Salmond has been accused of being an apologist for Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime after he refused to say whether Moscow was to blame for the Salisbury poisonings in 2018.
The former Scottish first minister was asked three times during a BBC Scotland interview whether Russia was behind the novichok poisoning attacks on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and each time refused to give a yes or no answer.
Suggesting instead it remained unclear who was to blame, he said: “Evidence came forward and was contested, that I said should go to the international tribunals and courts. I said that at the time. I think the evidence came forward and people can see it for what it is.”
Alistair Carmichael, a Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, said that since Salmond had begun hosting a political chatshow on the Kremlin-funded RT television channel, formerly known as Russia Today, he had started “spinning Russian propaganda lines”.
Stewart McDonald, the Scottish National party’s defence spokesperson, sharply criticised Salmond’s remarks, saying: “Even Russians believe that Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning that resulted in the murder of Dawn Sturgess [the British woman who picked up the contaminated perfume bottle].
“That Alex Salmond can’t see or say that plainly shows how remarkably low he has sunk.”
Lord Ricketts, a former national security adviser to the UK government, told the Guardian: “There is no shadow of a doubt that this was the Russian state, and no shred of evidence it could have been anyone else. The substance, the technique used and the CCTV evidence all link this crime directly to Russia.”
Now the leader of a new pro-independence party called Alba, Salmond also denied the Russians had meddled in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and described evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections as “slight”.
Westminster’s intelligence and security committee (ISC), which includes an MP from Salmond’s former party, the SNP, ruled last July “there has been credible open source commentary suggesting that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014”.
A digital forensics expert, Ben Nimmo, who worked for the Nato-linked body the Atlantic Council, said in 2017 that Russian propagandists also tried to discredit the result of the 2014 referendum by circulating false claims on social media and YouTube that it had been rigged.
The ISC said there were suspicions those operations were a trial run by Russia’s troll factories before they tried to influence voters during the 2016 EU referendum, an analysis supported by several academic studies.
US intelligence agencies and congressional committees have also found Russian agents and proxies interfered heavily in the 2016 US elections, and were implicated in the leak of private Democratic party documents, as well as the 2020 presidential election.
Asked on BBC Radio Scotland whether Russia had interfered with either the Scottish referendum or 2016 US election, Salmond replied: “Well certainly not the 2014 referendum; the only publicity I saw in the 2014 referendum was the suggestion [that] David Cameron had asked Vladimir Putin to intervene on the no side in the referendum campaign and President Putin had refused to do so, which of course was the proper thing to do.”
Pressed on the ISC report’s conclusions, he said: “Anybody who analysed the evidence that was suggested would think it laughable in my opinion.”
Asked about allegations of Russian interference in the US election, he added: “Well I thought the evidence for that was very slight and basically the examination was very slight.
“But what I would say is I think that many states decide in one way or another to interfere in other states’ elections. I don’t think they should do so, and I don’t care if it’s Vladimir Putin or President Obama, whoever it is. I think they should let the people in Scotland get on with their election.”
In April 2014 Salmond was forced to defend apparently favourable remarks he made about Putin in an interview for GQ with Alastair Campbell. Salmond told Campbell he admired “certain aspects” of Putin’s politics and his restoration “of a substantial part of Russian pride, and that must be a good thing”.
Intelligence sources said there was a weight of evidence, including independent analysis from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which showed the UK was right to conclude Russian-made novichok was used in the attack on the Skripals, and that the police still want two Russian men over the attack, who have been subsequently named as officers of GRU military intelligence.
Did they ask him about anything other than Russia? Jesus wept.