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Sunday, 13 March 2022

Guido Fawkes Protests Too Much

As those with links to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his gangsterist régime in Moscow are rushing to reassure the world that they have distanced themselves from those invading and trashing Ukraine, so one voice out there on the right who has openly done business with Russian interests declared that he wasn’t involved at all, honestly.

Under the headline “About That ‘Guido Advised Russian Embassy’ Claim”, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines has staged a rare personal intervention at the Guido Fawkes blog, where he tellsIt should go without saying that it is untrue that I worked for the Kremlin, or advised the Russian embassy or, bizarrely, organised events at the Russian embassy”.

Do go on. “This claim has been circulating on Twitter and the loonier fringes of the internet for years, was alluded to in Private Eye and is often repeated by the likes of Carole Cadwalladr. Which explains in part my animus towards her and sympathy for Arron Banks on this point”. Very droll. Aggressively shilling for Banksy is now mere “sympathy”.

And it’s someone else to blame. Staines concludes with his usual hint of menace “As someone on the receiving end of writ threats as an occupational hazard, it is not my inclination to sue for defamation, this internet meme that I advised the Kremlin is clearly defamatory, particularly so in the contemporary context. The only advice I gave them was unpaid, in public and it was to free Alexi Navalny and stop locking up political opponents. I’m proud of that advice and would tell them the same today”.

Here on Zelo Street, we know all about Staines not being inclined to threaten legal action against those who pass adverse comment on him. That there are significant numbers of those people may not be unrelated to the sneering abuse doled out by Staines’ gofers, which brings us to the response of lawyer Jolyon Maugham [Thread HERE].

He has responded “He meets a man from the Russian Embassy who he thinks is a spy. They go for a burger - which is absolutely a normal response to meeting someone you think is a Russian spy … The Russian, Sergey Nalobin, pumps Guido for information. And they become friends. Exactly what anyone would do confronted by an agent of Putin, isn't it? The Russian invites him to a drinks party at the Russian embassy and then the Russians start putting money into Paul Staines' business. Totally normal”.

Nalobin did indeed turn out to be a spy. The Fawkes blog began to take advertising from the Russian embassy. James O’Brien responded to Maugham “So 'Guido Fawkes' actually boasted about being groomed by a Russian spy & [Andrew Neil] actually published it. I wonder why they both vilely abused [Carole Cadwalladr] during her tireless reporting of Russian infiltration & influence. And I urge you to keep a close eye on both of them”.

And then came the What A Coincidence moment as Byline Times told “The Johnson-Lebedev Letters: A Back-Channel to Vladimir Putin? Letters exclusively obtained by [Adam Bienkov] shed new light on how the son of a Russian oligarch and former KGB officer built such a close relationship with Britain's PM”. Publication was brought forward.

Because the Murdoch Sunday Times was also on the case. “The head of MI6 had concerns about Boris Johnson’s friend Evgeny Lebedev almost a decade ago … In 2013, Sir John Sawers repeatedly rejected bid by KGB agent’s son to meet at MI6 HQ … No10 doesn't deny PM knew about incident”. ITV political editor Robert Peston had more detail, which begs the question as to why he hadn’t come forward with the story earlier.

Harry Yorke of the ST has added “Following our latest disclosures, Keir Starmer has written to [House of Lords Appointments Committee] urging the commission to publish its advice to the PM on Lebedev and to review his position in the House of Lords”. And, all the while, reminders flood in of Bozo’s reluctance to publish the Russia Report.

Plus a reminder of the weapons-grade falsehood and misinformation that the Lebedevs are all too willing to put out: Alexander Lebedev (Evgeny’s dad, and former KGB agent) told not so long ago “Confidential sources in [The Guardian], confirmed by #KGB: both [Carole Cadwalladr] and [Mark Townsend] have been vocal proponents of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, which they visited a day before travelling to North Korea to meet their spy-master Kim Jong-un”. The linked article, to no surprise at all, doesn’t say that.

Ms Cadwalladr, though, has said something. “If I was an investigative journalist, I think I’d be curious why Guido Fawkes picked me as his Main Character. Dozens, if not hundreds, of articles on crazy conspiracist Carole. It’s not for me to say it’s creepy & fucked up. But since no-one else will: it’s creepy & fucked up” [Thread HERE].

Once again, we have what fictional spymaster George Smiley would have called an embarrassing chain of events. Paul Staines proclaims his innocence, distances himself from his former Russian contacts and dishes out implicit threats about lawsuits one day, a whole swath of revelations about Russians and the politician for whom Staines has shilled so shamelessly - Bozo - appears the next. An embarrassing chain of events.

Paul Staines has the kind of history of unpleasantness and dishonesty that would, one might have thought, caused many who encountered him to proceed in the direction of away. Yet he has crawled his way into the heart of the media and political establishment.

Now he is protesting about receiving the kind of attention he so readily lavishes on his targets. Anyone might conclude that someone is trying to head off future revelations.

Does Staines have something to hide? You might wish to ask that. Another fine mess.

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Mr Larrington said...

Of course it's entirely possible that Staines was so [“tired and emotional” – Ed.] when he met Sergey Nabolin that he simply doesn’t remember it /s

Anonymous said...

The "free market" in operation. What's not to like?

Apart from perpetual wars by "developed" nations, inflicted global poverty (including in said nations), a decaying environment, and the certainty of more of the same.

So get on your bike to nowhere or stare at soap opera tabloid TV. It's what's expected of you in Britain 2022. Where all too many have given up the geist.

"Free markets", Murdoch and Rothermere, yeah, that's the answer. Or something.