MI5 Subversion of State Power in Scotland
By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 5 July 2014
There is something quintessentially English about the tradecraft of spying, as history reminds us of events not too dissimilar to those in play today.
In the late 1560's Francis Walsingham began his career in subterfuge working with William Cecil to thwart the plots against the then English monarch, Elizabeth I. Later, in 1572 as the Principal Secretary to Elizabeth and her chief spymaster, his earlier work in preventing the subversion of state power became mere opening gambits in a craft that would include the interception of mail, the use of informants and even torture, amongst others.
Enter the Scottish independence referendum to be held on Thursday 18 September 2014, which, coincidentally, is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 where the English army were defeated by Robert the Bruce, King of Scots.
On Friday 13 June 2014, the very antithesis of an auspicious day for the superstitious, The Independent ran a story about internet trolls 'opening the door' for MI5 dirty tricks in attempting to subvert the Yes Campaign for Scottish Independence. Jim Sillars, a former Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy leader said:
- It was naïve to think that the security forces were not involved in seeking to influence the outcome of September’s ballot which could see the break-up of the UK and that he was personally aware of one secret agent having arrived in Glasgow.
Of course, he was referring to the recent online abuse of the author Joanne Rowling who had donated £1m to the Better Together campaign in that the trolls had given MI5 the green light to subvert the will of the Scottish people. He continued:
- Are you so naive, that you never think that perhaps MI5 and special branch are taking a role in this campaign? As their function is protection of the British State, they would not be doing their jobs if they were not. There was, and probably still is, a section in MI5 that dealt with the Scottish national movement, headed by Stella Rimington, who became Director General in 1992, and is now Dame Stella.
Sillars, went on to accuse the so called 'cybernats', i.e. the online nationalist (Yes Campaign) supporters, of abusing Rowling but also chose to mention that the failed 1979 (Scottish) devolution vote was aided by the CIA from the US Consul in Edinburgh, saying of past and present:
- That was for a weak assembly, do you think that they will not be more engaged now that independence is on the agenda? Has it ever crossed your mind that by conducting a campaign of abuse, which plays into the hands of the No media, you are opening the Yes side to a dirty tricks campaign?
Sillars was on to something, but of course the MSM were more focused on the overt comments of Barack Obama as he championed the Better Together campaign as reported earlier by the BBC on the 5 June 2014 when he said:
- There is a referendum process in place and it is up to the people of Scotland. The United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us. From the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well. And we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner. (emphasis added)
Similarly, Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State and the focus of attention of the MSM, also waded into the debate during an interview on the BBC's Newsnight programme on the 13 June 2014, saying:
- I would hate to have you lose Scotland. I hope it doesn’t happen but I don’t have a vote in Scotland. (emphasis added)
To which Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, replied respectively:
- Independence for Scotland would mean: America has two great friends and allies here rather than one. Rather more than 200 years ago, America had to fight for its independence. We are very fortunate in Scotland that we have a democratically agreed, consented process by which we can vote for our independence. So in summary, I suppose my message to President Obama is: Yes we can. (emphasis added)
- The nation was not a property to be lost but was deciding its future. (emphasis added)
Clearly overt political interference, be it national or international, in the run-up to the referendum is unwelcome to say the least but it is to be expected and should be rebutted as appropriate. What is more important here are the comments of Jim Sillars, an experienced politician in dealing with the security services like MI5, and are quite telling. He may not have said it directly but it was inferred:
- I know what you (MI5 et al.) are capable of and that you are here in Scotland but your presence is no longer a secret and you are not required.
There is little doubt that Sillars was firing a warning shot across the bows of HMS Britannia in anticipation of subversive activities by the security services and an expectation of a graceful retreat of same. The fact is Scotland's reserves of oil and gas in the North Sea and its geographic and military strategic value to the 'Northern Approaches' of the region are of interest to England. More importantly, it hosts the English nuclear deterrent at the Clyde naval base Faslane on Gare Loch and at nearby Coulport on Loch Long, another key interest that is not lost on Sillars. These are all valuable interests that England does not want to lose.
That England's security services are in the process of subverting state power, as is likely to be conferred by a legal referendum in Scotland on the 18 September 2014, is not in question. What remains to be seen is if today's Walsingham, currently Andrew Parker Director General of MI5, can pull off another coup de grâce 300 years or so later for another Elizabeth, Elizabeth II.
- Only the strong and powerful can redefine 'subversion of state power' as 'protecting interests'.