Russiagate Revived in Latest MI6 Operation Against Russia — A Spy Alone Is Spy Baloney

Yves here. Just like those horrible movie franchises that lumber on through zombified sequels and prequels, Russiagate is getting a revival in the UK via a ludicrous tale of Russia being the moving force behind the Brexit vote.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

A book by a man announcing himself on page one as an undercover MI6 agent, dedicated on page two to “the people of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom”, then endorsed on the dust jacket by the Times newspaper as “first class”, can’t be fiction; it can’t be fact;  and because it declares its audience  restricted to those who already believe and don’t need persuading, it can’t be propaganda.  It’s the fourth gender in the cyber universe — transfiction, transfact, and transpropaganda, a genre created by a combination of covert insertions and circumcisions, reinforced by injections of hallucinatory substances, including money.

This is what has become of the British these days. The book celebrates it. According to Private Eye, it is “too good to be untrue…Russia and dirty Russian money, out here in the real world, has seeped so deeply into British public life it’s not entirely certain we’ll ever get it out again.”

In this British reality, Charles Beaumont’s book, A Spy Alone,  claims to have uncovered the Kremlin plot to cause the British vote for Brexit and thereby destroy the country’s economy;  allow Russian manipulation of British energy supplies and prices;  destroy the careers of the country’s security chiefs, the  Cabinet Secretary, the National Security Advisor, and the Secret Intelligence Service; ignore and  discredit the intelligence uncovered by MI6 field agents and Bellingcat; and allow Russian assassins to roam across the UK,  killing as they go.

All of this, according to author and hero, amounts to “one of [the Russian government’s] deepest secrets”, “the intelligence coup of the century”, “one of the great revelations in intelligence history”, and “the most important intelligence discovery in Britain since the end of the Cold War”.  In short, this does for Britain what the former MIG agent, Christopher Steele (lead image centre) and his Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, claimed to do, and still does, to US presidential elections and Donald Trump in the fabrications of the Russiagate affair.

In fact, this new book may be Steele’s attempt to repeat Russiagate in England,  reverse the rulings of the courts against his veracity, and make more money. For Charles Beaumont (lead image, right)  is not the author’s real name; the publisher has published an Artificial Intelligence illustration instead of a real face, and since the book purports to be “Beaumont’s” “first novel”, there is no trace of him in the open sources, not even for Bellingcat to find.  “The blurb says [Beaumont] is ex-MI6, but then it would, or he would,” comments a source in a position to know. “If I were choosing a pseudonym I don’t think I’d pick one that already belonged to an – admittedly very different – writer.” The source believes “Beaumont” is working in the business intelligence business.

Private Eye has told its readers to buy “Beaumont” because he “shows how powerful a book can be when the writer looks the country straight in the face and writes about what they see. Le Carré used to be very good at doing that. Now Charles Beaumont has done it too.”

Amazon, the world’s largest publisher and bookseller, lacks confidence this is either Russiagate or Le Carré quality. Despite 1,568 ratings as “terrific”, “brilliant”, “stunningly accomplished”, and “scarily plausible”, Amazon is marking the book down to clear at a 50% discount. That’s a steal, not a pun on the real plot in this story.

David Cornwell, a onetime MI6 agent who wrote spy books under the name of John Le Carré, produced one of the most successful British intelligence deception operations since the end of the last war. The objective was to convince millions of readers and moviegoers to pay to believe that for all of its faults, British intelligence has gotten one thing right – Russians are evil and deserve to be liquidated, along with the British traitors who help them. Read the Cornwell/Le Carré dossier here.

David Cornwell/John Le Carré: “His fiction masqueraded as the truth for a strategic purpose — to control and repair the damage which Kim Philby had done to the reputation of British intelligence, especially in Washington”.  

Canelo, a small publisher at a Hatfields, London, address which is a low-rent, short-term location for fly-by-night companies, is so new in the market, it has almost no business record, and draws just three paragraphs of Wiki profile.  “Charles Beaumont” is the only author on the Canelo list to display no photographic proof of himself/herself/itself.  In a promotional podcast, the publisher saysthat “due to Charles Beaumont's work for the Intelligence Services, our technical division has digitally altered his voice to protect his identity.”  

Canelo lists its address as Unit 9, 5th Floor, Cargo Works, 1-2 Hatfields, London SE1. The fifth floor is the cheapest accommodation in the building’s attic.   

The book repeats MI6’s recent Russian operations as successes in exposing Russian evil bested by British ingenuity – e.g., the 1985 exfiltration of Oleg Gordievsky from Russia in the trunk of a car;   the recruitment of GRU officer Sergei Skripal in 1995; the running of “a loose global network of ethical hackers , transparency campaigners and freelance investigators… anarchic youngsters [who] had shed more light on the murkier corners of international finance than years of effort by state intelligence agencies” (aka Bellingcat).

Notwithstanding, until “Beaumont” and his hero arrive, the Russians had been outplaying the Brits – e.g., advance MI6 spy-source intelligence of a Russian “invasion of Georgia” (August 2008) and then takeover of Crimea (February 2014) was ignored in London because “London is not interested”. So the hero “fired off his resignation and never stepped inside the headquarters again. Simon sees a rampant Russia annexing sovereign territory and a West that is apparently powerless to respond. He also sees the Russians buying up the best properties in London and enthusiastically laundering their money with the help of the City and the compliance of the regulators. He decides he has given enough of his life in service to a state that appears unable to defend its most basic interests”.

But the hero redeems himself with — and “Beaumont” promotes —  the super-secret explanation of why the British have been losing to the Russians. Through a spy ring they recruited at Oxford, the Russians have their agents in the top jobs in Whitehall and Downing Street. This spy ring, code named COSTELLO, is so secret that in Moscow it’s run by the Kremlin apart from the foreign and military intelligence services, the SVR and GRU.

Surviving Chechen assassin squads, the hero discovers that a Russian agent bearing more than passing resemblance to Dominic Cummings,  chief staff man to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been masterminding the strategic plot, and forcing resignations of loyal officials bearing more than passing resemblances to Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Secretary and National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Theresa May,  and MI6 chief, Sir Alex Younger.

Left to right: Dominic Cummings; Sir Mark Sedwill; Sir Alex Younger.

The backfile investigating the facts exposes these claims to be score-settling inside the British deep state.  The evidence, however, is that the domestic potency and media gullibility of the line against Russian evil over the years has been expanding. The book claims the opposite to be the truth.

To paste over this contradiction, “Beaumont” invents a technical improbability. According to A Spy Alone, the Russian services have been able to hack into every police CCTV system in the country, so Moscow knows in real time what happened on March 4, 2018, when Sergei and Yulia Skripal collapsed on a town bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, allegedly from Novichok poisoning. If “Beaumont” is right, then the three-assassin squad from the GRU in Moscow knew their every movement in Salisbury was being monitored, as well as their airport arrival and departure, their London hotel sex night, their train rides, and so on. How then, a naïve reader might ask, were the knowing Russian spies so careless, so open and unconcealed in front of the all-seeing British cameras, which Russian HQ was also monitoring? “Beaumont’s” answer: Russians operate with impunity because they are protected by British traitors in the highest offices of the land.

That fails to explain why the CCTV records of the Skripal affair, and its alleged sequel, the death of Dawn Sturgess, and the witness statements of the two Skripals, have not been allowed to appear in  open court, or in the public press for six years, through two inquest coroners and a public inquiry under a Court of Appeal judge.  The possibility that MI6 hit the Skripals and then borrowed Sturgess’s corpse to fabricate the Novichok story and cover up the mistakes Sedwill and Younger had made, is the risk “Beaumont” and his book have been invented to neutralize. Read more (right).

Along the way the author arranges for English bluebells to flower in the summer instead of the spring; an Indian restaurant to serve “papadums” instead of papadams; confuses his glass of Bordeaux between Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Lafitte; and betrays his lack of Eton and Oxford education by creating the verb “administrate” in place of old-fashioned “administer” (since 1395 according to the Oxford Dictionary). There is also the fake tradecraft, enabling the hero to spot hostile agents in the street: “It’s their shoes that give them away…sturdy black leather with a gleam of polish…White trainers, no brand but a muddy line on the left one…converse high tops – navy blue.”

In the tradecraft of police interrogators and counter-intelligence experts, interpreting an individual’s involuntary micromuscular movements across the face, pulse rate, and so on is a guide to gauging when a person is telling the truth or lying. For writers, the clue is what clichés are written on the page. Beaumont’s clichés are involuntary; he can’t hold back:

  • “the Brits are prissy about blackmail”
  • “human intelligence is all about control”
  • “no Russian intel officer does something without a reason”
  • “the amazing resistance of the Ukrainian military, knocking out Russian tanks with Javelin missiles”
  • “That was just the hot air they had blown up his arse”
  • “The power of intelligence to change events and make history”
  • “Here on the Continent history is something that happened to us”
  • Putain
  • “’Who were they? Asks Simon. ’Chechens’, says Alena, as if it is the most obvious thing in the world.’…’Never a good sign,’ says Simon, grimly familiar with the use of Chechen gangsters  by Russian intelligence to carry out their dirty work.”
  • “Socialism was never the objective, it was the means. The objective is power. That’s always the objective.”
  • “Paranoia goes with the territory”
  • “’I just want people like him to stop getting away with it” (continues with several dozen more iterations until on the very last line of the book)
  • “Simon has nowhere to go, nobody to meet, no clear plan. But he knows what he has to do.”

The pattern revealed here is of an avid reader of Bellingcat and Private Eye who has never met a Russian intelligence officer or businessman, has no ear for how they speak, nor eye for how they think. His familiarity with British intelligence operatives and operations is also hearsay, cut and pasted. It’s everything Steele’s Russiagate dossier was paid to achieve, except for the bed-wetting in the presidential suite of the Moscow Ritz-Carlton.

As MI6 operations go, Beaumont’s book is a golden shower of a kind – the kind which dogs do to trees. This book reveals that MI6 communicates with dogs in a language they understand.

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  1. Cristobal

    I looked to see what NPR was plugging this morning and found 24 stories, 7 of which were fawning pieces about Navalny. One about the Russian Death Star. The rest was DNC in overdrive Rusiafobia is alive and well.

    1. Lambert Strether


      IIRC, Yulia’s +1 at the conference was her new boyfriend. They seemed affectionate; others perhaps non-plussed. Can’t find the tweet, though; the whole thing was so stupid I don’t even want to think about it.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, John

          She’s not grieving. Why? She’s shacked up with an exiled oligarch in London.

        2. Joe Well

          You know how far removed they are from normal people that they don’t realize it looks bad that she’s not even wearing black. In Pelosiland you probably think traditional mourning is something from old movies before you could have your personal guru realign your chakras or something.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Wait a minute – Navalny’s wife just happened to be in Pelosi’s orbit the day he unexpectedly died?!?!

        And I saw some article yesterday chastising Biden for failing to address the United States about this grave issue for five whole hours, and even then he showed up 37 minutes late. As if the media had been breathlessly awaiting to hear from GenocideJoe, as if he should have known this was something prescheduled he shouldn’t be sleeping through.

        I mean why would anyone expect the US president to address the death of some minor foreign figure at all? Especially when the US establishment clearly didn’t give two [family blog]s about actual US citizen Gonzalo Lira’s death in a Ukrainian prison.

        My first thought when seeing this propaganda splashed across the headlines was that perhaps the Russians allowed Navalny to get sick and die without treating him as a little tit fot tat for Lira. But as these details come out, I’m starting to think Gilbert Doctorow might be on to something –

        It hadn’t ever occurred to me, and I’ve never seen it pointed out before, that pretty much all of the poisonings attributed to Boris and Natasha over the last few decades happened in the UK. What with BoJo the Clown tanking the peace negotiations in Istanbul, it’s quite clear the UK,US and the West do not want this war to end any time soon. Western elites have already shown that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians (and now tens of thousands of Palestiniains) are not too high a price to pay for them to “win” their little game of Risk.

        So what’s one more if it keeps the topic in the news and keeps the billions in war dollars flowing?

    2. digi_owl

      Sadly not much better elsewhere in the western world. Seeing even “communists” lean into the meme of Navalny as some democratic messiah and Putin the despotic devil.

  2. ambrit

    I woke up thinking about a book I read about the early days of American involvement in the Vietnam War; “The Betrayal” by William R Corson. Corson was a Green Beret who worked out a system of village self defense cadres in South Vietnamese locales that worked. The only problem was, he did so by freezing out the oligarchs in Saigon. For that sin, he was ‘disappeared’ from the “official narrative” of that conflict.
    This newest tome in the never ending war of words for the “soul” of the nations carries on the work of the oligarchs everywhere. As long as “the people” do not know what is ‘true’ and what is ‘false,’ the propagators and purveyors of “The Narrative” are secure in their sinecures. What I need to figure out is; why now? {The cynic in me replies; “Why not now? One time is as good as any other.”
    Anyway, that’s my spin and I’m doubling down on it.
    Stay safe.

  3. Ignacio

    Canelo, the publisher. The name sounds comical in Spanish. Canelo is an adjective traditionally applied in Spain to dogs and horses that have the colour of cinnamon. Worse, “hacer el canelo” literally “to be cinnamon coloured” might be translated as “being taken for a sucker”.

    All this is too comical.

    1. digi_owl

      Curious that English seems to be one of few European languages that still use the Latin name, while most seems to have adopted some variant of the Spanish one.

  4. digi_owl

    Curious that English seems to be one of few European languages that still use the Latin name, while most seems to have adopted some variant of the Spanish one.

  5. ciroc

    If you take advantage of the times, even a silly fantasy like Atlas Shrugged can be hailed as a masterpiece.

  6. itm985

    Just a note on Navalny, I hope he gets the same justice as those murdered by the western governments. Assange and others are still in jail for reporting on western government crimes. This pushes us further into the realm of saying one side is good, the other bad when both are bad. Also why was Yulia Navalnaya at a European war conference to organize more wars in Europe against Russia?
    My reading of Le Carrre is that the British were as brutal as the Soviets, dirty tricks that destroyed lives

    1. ChrisPacific

      I’ve read a few Le Carre books and had the same take. If I were to divide the world into good and evil based on a reading of his books, I’d draw the line between individuals and state actors, not East versus West.

      1. Format

        Le Carre is from an era when fiction could be used to equally criticise both East and West. Today’s novelists (and artists in general) are quite one-sided in their critique.

    2. Victor Sciamarelli

      To borrow the phrase, if Navalny didn’t exist we would have to invent him or, at least, fabricate a cult over his life.
      This is nothing new and it reminds me of Ronald Reagan who admired workers and their unions, as long as they were in foreign countries especially within the Soviet Union.
      Lech Walesa, the Polish dissident and labor leader who built Solidarity was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the first non-head-of-state to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress; the air traffic controllers were less lucky.
      Navalny is dead, long live Navalny, and long may he serve the US empire.

      1. Jeff V

        I’ll always remember Clive James’s quip following Margaret Thatcher’s comment that Lech Walesa was “my kind of trade unionist”.

        “Of course he is. He lives a thousand miles away … and he’s powerless.”

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I found this to be a very odd take on Le Carre – who was a fierce critic of Blair and the Iraq War, and many other actions of the west. Its hardly surprising that novels on Cold War spying written by an Englishman (one who adopted Irish citizenship later in life due apparently to his disenchantment with his home country) focused on the western side and drew those characters more sympathetically. This is not the same thing as ‘favouring’ one side.

  7. Carolinian

    Of course the ultimate, lumbering, won’t it ever leave movie franchise would be the James Bond series. JFK loved Ian Fleming and then tried to give Castro exploding cigars. In America we created our mirror image MI6 spook-dom, the OSS and then CIA, populated by Ivy League rather than Cambridge graduates.

    But the thing is that even back in the 60s the spy genre was treated as corny and even a bit comic as seen in Mad Magazine Spy v Spy, Boris and Natasha, Get Smart on TV and the always tongue in cheek
    Sean Connery himself. Now the media spinners take it seriously or pretend to do so.

    They have a reality problem and seem intent on passing it on to us.

    1. cousinAdam

      Often referred to as “dumbing it down “. That said, I was an absolute fanboy of “Emma Peel” (The Avengers) and more recently “Sydney Bristow “ (Alias). Pass the popcorn!

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    This would be funny, if it was not so serious.

    You would be surprised how many people who consider themselves rational / serious believe this and crowd fund the likes of Carole Cadwalladr and John Sweeney. They appear to be unaware of Thatcher’s speech at the College of Europe in Bruges, Alan Sked and Jimmy Goldsmith and how Murdoch helped Farage take over the euroskeptic movement in the mid1990s.

    They are also unaware of the likes of Sir Richard Dearlove and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie. It’s just as well as you don’t mess around with the pair and their fellow Atlanticist neo cons.

  9. Val

    Helmer does not suffer fools gladly. His opening is the proverbial walk-off Grand Slam on the first pitch: The structural and psychological dynamic of western establishment media operations since at least ’95 in one charmingly concise paragraph.

    “a genre created by a combination of covert insertions and circumcisions, reinforced by injections of hallucinatory substances, including money.”

  10. Susan the other

    “Transfact, transfiction and trans propaganda”- I can’t wait till AI is employed to handle all this dirty narrative work. That will be hilarious with all AI’s idiomatic gaffes. Beyond “Patriot” funny, like shadenfreude at its most poignant. More groans and cringes (that photo op with Nancy and Navalnya) than belly laughs. Today, I found an article on RT claiming the British are far worse russiaphobes than the Americans. Interesting timing. Up until now Russia has handled the British cautiously.

  11. ChrisRUEcon


    The gift that keeps sh***ing giving!

    Thank you NC, for curing me of ever having to go running to MSM for hot takes on Russia!

    More fodder for Putin’s induction into the [Super Hero/Villain Flavor Of The Month] Cinematic Universe!

    When’s the movie coming out?! I want an action figure collectible! Why not trading cards?! Putímon! Better yet, PutímonGo!

    This tweet wins the #SlashSARC award of the week! (via X/Twitter)

  12. Synoia

    I would be most scared if Thatcher rose (Queen of Neo liberalism)from the grave, or Boris became PM again

    And why is Menhaden still in heavy use. Who are protecting whom from what?

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