Dominic Raab says Russia amplified an illicitly acquired NHS dossier on social media.
Translated this means the Government has lapsed in security and allowed sensitive documents to be either stolen or hacked by outside “Russian actors”. The 451-page dossier of official emails ended up in Labour Party’s hands and quite rightly the Labour Party pointed out the Tory Party’s duplicity in lying to the public, claiming the NHS will not be part of a US-UK post-Brexit trade deal.
Dominic Raab said that unnamed “Russian actors” were to blame for spreading the leaked UK government document on the internet in the hope of influencing the outcome of December’s election. It was the first time a minister has publicly acknowledged efforts by Moscow to influence a vote in the UK.
Security is lacking and the Tory government have a lot to answer for
It is very clear Security is lacking and the Tory government have a lot to answer for, missing in Raab’s statement is an apology for both lying to the British public when they insisted the content of the dossier were untrue and for allowing security breaches that have brought about such an embarrassing situation in the first place.
The foreign secretary was careful not to say that the dossier had been obtained via Russian hacking, although it is believed to have been obtained via a government special adviser’s personal email account.
Instead, he emphasised that it had been spread by “Russian actors”. the document was posted on Reddit in October last year under the heading “Great Britain is practically standing on her knees” by an anonymous user called Gregoriator.
Shortly afterwards a Twitter account with the same name tried to bring it to the attention of various Labour and Lib Dem politicians, journalists and celebrities, including Stephen Fry and Bette Midler. But this blunt approach was initially unsuccessful.
A month later, the dossier eventually came to the attention of the pressure group Global Justice Now, which told the BBC it had been emailed and alerted to the presence of the documents online – where it was passed on to Labour and highlighted in the closing phases of the election campaign.
The Tory government have carried out Austerity cuts to all sections of British services including the Defence services
British intelligence has been investigating for several months how a 451-page dossier of official emails ended up in the hands of Jeremy Corbyn during the election campaign. For many, this investigation needs more emphasis on how the documents were obtained by the so-called ‘outside actors‘ and what other security breaches have been carried out that may or may not have resulted in British intelligence being lost to these outside players. In this case, the information in the documents showed the Government lying to the public but what about other security documents essential to the security of the British people.
Mainstream media have hounded Jeremy Corbyn accusing him of helping Russians ‘attack our election’ asking if he was complicit. But the truth is in having that information that was freely available to anyone on the internet it was Corbyn’s duty to point out the truth within the dossier and more specifically the lies about a US-UK trade deal.
It seems very weak to point fingers at Jeremy Corbyn for bringing to light the Government documents no matter if they were lost, hacked or other. The documents outline US-UK trade negotiations the contents of the documents were in the public interest especially when the Government say one thing to the public yet the official documents stolen or not say another.
Nowhere are the government denying the contents of the document
Corbyn said that the documents obtained were genuine. “Today’s government claim is an attempt to divert attention from the threat to the NHS and the Tory party links to Russian oligarchs expected to be revealed in the long-buried parliamentary ‘Russia report‘,” the former leader added.
In fact, Dominic Raab freely admits the documents are genuine stating in his ‘commons letter‘ “Sensitive Government documents relating to the UK-US Free Trade Agreement were illicitly acquired before the 2019 General Election and disseminated online via the social media platform Reddit. When these gained no traction, further attempts were made to promote the illicitly acquired material online in the run-up to the General Election.”
The written statement referred to documents that reached wide notoriety when Jeremy Corbyn, then Labour leader, held them up at a press conference during the 2019 election campaign, claiming the U.K.’s National Health Service was “for sale” in trade talks with America.
Live on air during the election campaign debates the then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the uncensored papers gave the lie to Boris Johnson’s claims that the NHS would not be part of any trade talks and revealed that the US wanted “total market access” after the UK leaves the EU.
During the 2019 general election, Corbyn stated, “The uncensored documents left Boris Johnson’s denials in absolute tatters,” at a news conference in London he said “We have now got evidence that under Boris Johnson the NHS is on the table and will be up for sale. He tried to cover it up in a secret agenda and today it has been exposed.”
Corbyn said the 451 pages of documents covered six rounds of talks from July 2017 to “just a few months ago”. He said the meetings took place in Washington and London. “We are talking here about secret talks for a deal with Donald Trump after Brexit,” he said.
At the time responding to the Labour claims, the Conservatives said the documents had already been online for two months and were simply readouts from meetings of the UK-US trade and investment working group. The Tories accused Labour of using the documents to try to divert attention from the issue of antisemitism in its ranks.
During the election campaign, Mr Johnson dismissed concerns about Russian interference as “Bermuda Triangle stuff”.
Mr Corbyn accused the prime minister of reviving the issue now to divert attention away from the contents of the long-delayed report by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee into alleged Russian interference in UK politics, which is believed to contain embarrassing details of links between the Tory party and wealthy oligarchs.
Mr Corbyn said “The documents we revealed during the general election about the danger of a Trump trade deal for our NHS were genuine – as is the threat of a £500 million a week higher drugs bill.
“The Tories want to distract from the damage a Trump trade deal would do to our NHS by continuing to push the bogus claim Labour received Russian support.
Ministers had until recently insisted there were “no successful examples” of Russian disinformation affecting a British election – although there have been persistent allegations that the Kremlin sought to influence the result of the 2016 EU referendum. The topic is expected to be discussed in the Russia report.
Labour said it condemned any attempt by Russia, or any foreign power, to interfere in the UK’s democratic processes.
A spokesperson added: “Labour stands ready to work cross-party to protect our nation’s security. That includes in our response to the publication of the long-awaited report by the intelligence and security committee on the Russian threat to the UK.”
But Labour fell short of defending the former leader even though throughout Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure collective responsibility was paramount amongst the front bench.
Alyn Smith, the SNP foreign affairs spokesperson, said he thought the timing of the government’s Russia disclosures was suspicious.
“Despite Boris Johnson repeatedly playing down what may be in the Russia report both before and after the election, there is no escaping the reality that it appears as though Dominic Raab only published the findings after the ISC was finally established and it voted to publish the Russia report next week,” the MP said.