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John McDonnell: Jeremy Corbyn Labour suspension ‘profoundly wrong’

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john mcdonnell jeremy corbyn labour suspension profoundly wrong

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn‘s suspension was ‘profoundly wrong’ and ‘must be reversed’.

He urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has ‘over time penetrated our party’. 

He told the virtual ‘Stand with Corbyn’ rally: ‘Numerically we know that the incidences of anti-Semitism may have been small but these things aren’t measured by numbers, but by the seriousness of the issue, by the effect that they can have.

‘The evidence shows that some people, yes, may have overestimated the numbers of party members involved – but that isn’t the issue. 

‘The stain of anti-Semitism is not measured by numbers, but by the appalling offensive nature and existence. And as Jeremy said time and time again, one anti-Semite in our party is too many.’

His comments came after current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was warned he faced ‘a hell of a row’ over his predecessor’s future in the Labour Party.   

Sir Keir insisted ‘there is no reason for a civil war in our party’ but admitted that his predecessor could be expelled from the party over comments downplaying the extent of anti-Semitism while he was in charge. 

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn's suspension was 'profoundly wrong' and 'must be reversed'. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn's suspension was 'profoundly wrong' and 'must be reversed'. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was ‘profoundly wrong’ and ‘must be reversed’. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Allies of the hard Left icon warned that ‘Jeremy has an army behind him and a lot of legal funding’ while Unite the union boss Len McCluskey hit out at the decision and said ‘a split party will be doomed to defeat’. 

A war chest set up by supporters of Mr Corbyn in the summer when he faced a libel threat has seen tens of thousands of pounds more added to it since yesterday, and now stands at more than £360,000.

Mr McDonnell added at the virtual rally: ‘My appeal is not the launch of some civil war or for members to leave the party or to set up another party.

‘My appeal is for unity, for clarification that we are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to tackle anti-Semitism and the way that we do that is all of us, we stay in the party – this is our Labour Party.

‘Secondly, we have lifted the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. 

‘Thirdly, let’s agree across the whole party to launch a programme of anti-racist campaigning and tackling anti-Semitism wherever it rears its head.’

Mr McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Mr Corbyn, also tweeted earlier: ‘Keir Starmer this morning has rightfully said he doesn’t want a civil war in the Labour Party.

‘Let’s be clear. Nobody does, but it seems we are drifting towards a hell of a row over use of language, misinterpretation, followed by overreaction.’ 

Former shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, the Labour MP for East Leeds, told Friday’s virtual rally that a ‘civil war’ in the Labour Party ‘serves no-one but the Tory government’.

He said: ‘The priority for the whole Labour movement must be to force the Government to change track and to fight the racism and scapegoating of black and Jewish communities that I fear will soar across society as the economic crisis deepens.’

Mr Burgon went on: ‘Keir stood on a pledge of unity and I want to make an appeal to that pledge.

‘Unity means that the Labour Party remains a party of social democrats, socialists and trade unions. This attack on Jeremy will be rightly interpreted as an attempt to drive socialists out of the party.

‘That would weaken the movement as a whole.

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has 'over time penetrated our party'. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has 'over time penetrated our party'. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has ‘over time penetrated our party’. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

‘It will be an uphill fight for Keir to become prime minister, which is what I want to see, I want to see that Labour government.

‘Keir shouldn’t have that fight with one hand tied behind his back. The way forward is clear: readmit Jeremy and unite to take the fight to the Tories.’

Labour former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said it was ‘vital’ that Jeremy Corbyn is reinstated to the party as she warned that his suspension would ‘not help us win the next election’.

She told the ‘Stand with Corbyn’ rally: ‘There have been historic failures in the way that racism – including anti-Semitism – has been handled by the party.

‘The priority right now for everyone in our party is to come together and successfully improve the way that Labour handles racism and anti-Semitism.

‘Of course, I want to see all the recommendations in the EHRC report implemented, as does Jeremy.’

She said she was ‘shocked and saddened’ by and ‘completely opposed’ to Mr Corbyn’s suspension, warning it would threaten Labour’s chances.

‘It is, of course, awful for him… for his family, his friends and his allies, and it is very worrying for the entire left. But it is most damaging to the prospect of a Labour government.

‘There is a truism in British politics that divided parties do not win elections, and divisions like we are seeing now will not help us win the next election.’

Ms Abbott, earlier shared an online petition on Twitter calling for Labour to ‘reinstate’ him after his suspension.

She said: ‘Really important that you sign this petition to Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn. He has always stood with us. We must stand with him #IStandWithJeremyCorbyn.’

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Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

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Sir Keir Starmer said this morning that Jeremy Corbyn could ultimately be expelled from the Labour Party over the anti-Semitism row

The charges against Labour in damning 130-page report

  • Labour breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing ‘unlawful harassment’ in two of the complaints investigated.  They included ‘using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears’.
  • One of the cases involved Ken Livingstone, who in 2016 defended MP Naz Shah over claims of anti-Semitism by claiming there was a smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to undermine and disrupt Mr Corbyn’s leadership. He later resigned from the Labour Party after being suspended.
  • A further 18 cases were ‘borderline’, involving local councillors, local election candidates and Constituency Labour Party (CLP) officials. 
  • Analysis of 70 anti-Semitism complaint files found 23 incidences of ‘political interference’ by Mr Corbyn’s office and others. This included ‘clear examples of interference at various stages throughout the complaint handling process, including in decisions on whether to investigate and whether to suspend’ party members. 
  • The party’s complaints process was ‘inconsistent, poor, and lacking in transparency’. 
  • In cases where a complaint of anti-Semitism was upheld, it was ‘difficult to draw conclusions on whether the sanctions applied were fair and consistent’. 
  • Recommendations made by the watchdog include commissioning an independent process to handle anti-Semitism complaints and acknowledging the effect political interference has had and implementing clear rules to stop it happening again. 

 

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An investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found Labour was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

But Mr Corbyn rejected some of the equality watchdog’s findings and claimed the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by his critics. 

That prompted him to be suspended from the party pending investigation and Sir Keir warned this morning that the probe could result in his predecessor being kicked out of Labour for good. 

Labour will now conduct a formal investigation into the comments made yesterday by Mr Corbyn.

In a bid for unity following the decision to suspend him, Mr Corbyn urged Labour members to ‘stay’ and fight internally against any shift to the centre ground.

But the battle lines were drawn as allies openly warned of a potential split, activists relinquished their memberships and Momentum – a campaigning arm of the party during the Islington North MP’s five-year reign – announced there will be a virtual Stand with Corbyn rally on Friday evening.

Encouraging social media followers to join the rally, Momentum posted: ‘The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn by the Labour Party leadership is a naked attack on the left that undermines the fight against anti-Semitism and makes a mockery of Keir Starmer’s pledge to unite the party.’

Sir Keir was pushed on whether that probe could end with the former leader being expelled. 

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There is a process that will now go through the governance and legal unit, there are a possible number of sanctions.’

Asked if one of the options is expulsion, Sir Keir replied: ‘Yes, people have been expelled from the Labour Party. There have been I think 827 cases since I became leader which is more than all of the cases in 2019 and in a third of those cases people have been expelled.

‘But it is not for me to say what process should be followed, that is for the General Secretary, or what sanction is in order.’ 

Sir Keir said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by Mr Corbyn’s comments as he claimed the ex-leader was aware he would warn people against claiming anti-Semitism had been exaggerated. 

He said: ‘I’m deeply disappointed in that response from Jeremy Corbyn yesterday not least because I spoke to him the night before the report to set out how I intended to deal with it.

How Corbyn’s future could be decided?

Jeremy Corbyn’s future in the Labour party will be decided by fellow party members.

Under rules updated at the party conference last year, the National Executive Committee (NEC) now has the power to expel those found guilty of serious transgressions.

The NEC consists of elected representatives from across various wings of the party, including MPs, local constituency parties, trade unions and Welsh and Scottish Labour.

Cases can be heard by its anti-Semitism panel or its disputes panel.  

Mr Corbyn’s case will be investigated by Labour officials who prepare a report for the NEC, which then makes a decision. They are not bound by the report’s recommendations.

After the rule changes passed at the September 2019 conference, Labour’s figures show twice the number of people were expelled in two months than had been expelled during the whole of 2018. 

Previously expulsions could only be carried out by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NEC), which was charged with overseeing party discipline. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report yesterday, which Labour has pledged to implement in full, heavily criticised its handling of complaints and punishment against those found to have been anti-Semitic.

One of its demands was that Labour, ‘in line with its commitment, and as soon as rule changes allow, commission an independent process to handle and determine anti-Semitism complaints’.

‘This should last until trust and confidence in the process is fully restored and should ensure that independent oversight and auditing are permanently embedded in the new process,’ it added.

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‘And from discussions yesterday morning I’m in no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn and his team knew exactly what I was going to say in my response about not only anti-Semitism but about the denial and the arguments about exaggeration and it’s just a factional fight.’ 

Sir Keir said he hoped the Labour Party would be able to ‘draw a line and move forward’ following the publication of the EHRC report. 

But he is facing a growing party split over the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn. 

Allies of Mr Corbyn told The Telegraph: ‘This was a disastrous miscalculation. It could now escalate. 

‘He doesn’t understand the scale of what is about to happen, and it’s going to get very difficult for him. Jeremy has an army behind him and a lot of legal funding.’

Ken Livingstone lashed out at ‘the establishment and old Blairite MPs’ today, accusing them of trying to kick Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour for telling the ‘truth’ about the party’s anti_Semitism problem.

The former London mayor told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’.  

Mr Livingstone attacked the suspension today, saying: ‘It isn’t fair because what Jeremy said is true. 

‘We have not had a major problem with anti-Semitism in the party, we had a small number, somewhere between 250 and 300 members who tweeted something anti-Semitic.

‘Under Jeremy’s newly appointed general secretary they were kicked out of the party. He dealt with the problem really quickly.’

He added: ‘The establishment and the old Blairite MPs desperately want to get rid of Jeremy and this is one of the things they ramped up.  What is appalling about this is that it causes so much concern in the Jewish community.

‘It’s all about getting rid of a socialist leader.’

Meanwhile, Mr McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said the decision to suspend him was an ‘act of grave injustice’ which could ‘create chaos within the party’ and put any chance of election success in jeopardy.

‘A split party will be doomed to defeat,’ he said.

Responding to Mr McCluskey’s comments, Sir Keir said he believed there is ‘no reason for a civil war’. 

He told Sky News: ‘What Len McCluskey is concerned about is that there shouldn’t be a split in the Labour Party and he is right about that.

‘I don’t want a split in the Labour Party. I stood as leader of the Labour Party on the basis that I would unite the party but also that I would tackle anti-Semitism.

‘I think both of those can be done. There is no reason for a civil war in our party but we are absolutely determined, I am absolutely determined to root out anti-Semitism.

‘I don’t want the words Labour Party and anti-Semitism in the same sentence again.’

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said 'a split party will be doomed to defeat' amid a growing Labour civil war

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said 'a split party will be doomed to defeat' amid a growing Labour civil war

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said ‘a split party will be doomed to defeat’ amid a growing Labour civil war

In an eventful day for Labour, reports surfaced that deputy leader Angela Rayner contacted Mr Corbyn and his team following his controversial statement yesterday and called for him to retract his ‘overstated’ comments.

It was his failure to withdraw the remarks that led to Labour suspending him as current leader Sir Keir sought to draw a dividing line between the party now and under Mr Corbyn’s tenure, which ended in April.

The Guardian reported that Mr Corbyn is understood to have spoken to Sir Keir ahead of the EHRC’s report publication on Wednesday evening and was reassured there was no plan to take action against him in light of its findings.

But the situation is understood to have changed after the 71-year-old released his statement, which was published only moments before Sir Keir told a press conference he would not tolerate anyone who denied the scale of the anti-Semitism crisis.

Labour stressed that the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn was taken by its General Secretary David Evans, but shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy confirmed Sir Keir was briefed beforehand and approved of the move.

Sir Keir told reporters: ‘I made it clear that we won’t tolerate anti-Semitism or the denial of anti-Semitism through the suggestion that it’s exaggerated or factional and that’s why I was disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn’s response, and that is why appropriate action has been taken, which I fully support.’   

The fallout came on what Sir Keir labelled a ‘day of shame’ for Labour after the EHRC found the party broke equality law over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

The EHRC investigation found evidence of ‘political interference’ by then leader Mr Corbyn’s office in the complaints process.

Interim chairwoman Caroline Waters said there had been ‘inexcusable’ failures which ‘appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so’.

The watchdog identified three breaches of the Equality Act relating to political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases, and harassment.

The party has been served with an unlawful act notice and has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report’s recommendations. The notice is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.

‘What Jeremy said is true’: Shamed Ken Livingstone denies Labour has a ‘major problem’ with anti-Semitism 

Ken Livingstone lashed out at ‘the establishment and old Blairite MPs’ today, accusing them of trying to kick Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour for telling the ‘truth’ about the party’s anti_Semitism problem.

The former London mayor told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’. 

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was 'all about getting rid of a socialist leader'.

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was 'all about getting rid of a socialist leader'.

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’.

His comments came as new Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer tries to see off a factional civil war over the action against Mr Corbyn, who claimed anti-Semitism had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by his critics.

Mr Livingstone, 75, who was in charge of the Capital from 2000 to 2008, was also censured by the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which found he was guilty of ‘unlawful harassment’ of Jews in 2016.

A furious Sir Keir Starmer today said Jeremy Corbyn could be expelled from Labour over his response, but he faces a stand-off with Corbynista MPs and trade unionists who have vowed to fight the suspension.

Mr Livingstone attacked the suspension today, saying: ‘It isn’t fair because what Jeremy said is true.

‘We have not had a major problem with anti-Semitism in the party, we had a small number, somewhere between 250 and 300 members who tweeted something anti-Semitic.

‘Under Jeremy’s newly appointed general secretary they were kicked out of the party. He dealt with the problem really quickly.’

He added: The establishment and the old Blairite MPs desperately want to get rid of Jeremy and this is one of the things they ramped up.  What is appalling about this is that it causes so much concern in the Jewish community.

‘It’s all about getting rid of a socialist leader.’

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Russian source of Trump dossier denies links to infamous report

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russian source of trump dossier denies links to infamous report

A Russian woman identified as a key source in the dossier by British counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele dossier is a former employee of Kremlin-owned state media.

Steele’s infamous report was leaked weeks before Trump’s inauguration, alleging Russian influence over him and contained salacious information about his reported conduct in a Moscow hotel room during the Miss Universe pageant.

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a ‘disgruntled PR executive’ living in Cyprus.

And while some people who know Galkina claim she’s maverick who was unlikely to have access to secrets, others suggested she was well-connected. 

Now, shown in exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com, Galkina came forward on Friday to deny claims she was a key source in the Steele dossier. 

She used her former state-owned media employer RIA Novosti to say in a statement: ‘My mood is rather low because I did not expect this story at all and, of course, it complicated (my life) quite a lot.’

Olga Galkina, from Russia, was identified as a key source in the dossier by British counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele

Olga Galkina, from Russia, was identified as a key source in the dossier by British counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele

Olga Galkina, from Russia, was identified as a key source in the dossier by British counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a 'disgruntled PR executive' living in Cyprus

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a 'disgruntled PR executive' living in Cyprus

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a 'disgruntled PR executive' living in Cyprus

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a 'disgruntled PR executive' living in Cyprus

Olga Galkina, 40, was linked to the dossier this week and was described by The Wall Street Journal as a ‘disgruntled PR executive’ living in Cyprus

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35041980 8894967 image m 37 1604066085349

Christopher Steele’s (pictured) infamous report was leaked weeks before Trump’s inauguration, alleging Russian influence over him

The infamous dossier also contained salacious information about Trump's alleged conduct in a Moscow hotel room during the Miss Universe pageant

The infamous dossier also contained salacious information about Trump's alleged conduct in a Moscow hotel room during the Miss Universe pageant

The infamous dossier also contained salacious information about Trump’s alleged conduct in a Moscow hotel room during the Miss Universe pageant

She claimed the allegations that she was a Steele source were ‘not true’, but gave little detail.

However, she did admit to knowing her former school friend Igor Danchenko, 42, who the WSJ claimed had recruited her into intelligence gathering for the former MI6 spy.

‘We studied at the same school, but the thing is that after that he went to work and study in America,’ she said.

‘And we haven’t seen each other for a long time. This is the thing… The story is that we were friends. And he was helping me.’

She worked as a journalist for state-funded RIA Novosti, working at the Russian parliament between 2003-05.

More than a decade ago she also worked for Rosbalt, a news outlet run by Natalya Cherkesova (Chaplina), wife of ex-security services high-ranking member Viktor Cherkesov, a Putin associate.

Galkina attracts startlingly different descriptions in her homeland.

In a varied career she was also a PR executive for Russia’s environmental and nuclear watchdog Rostekhnadzor, which she left in 2011, around the time she moved to Cyprus.

In Cyprus, DailyMail.com was told by her acquaintances she was ‘intelligent and professional’, a woman who always looked ‘well-polished’, although she is now believed to have moved back to Russia. 

However, she did admit to knowing her former school friend Igor Danchenko, 42, (pictured) who the WSJ claimed had recruited her into intelligence gathering for the former MI6 spy. 'We studied at the same school, but the thing is that after that he went to work and study in America,' she said

However, she did admit to knowing her former school friend Igor Danchenko, 42, (pictured) who the WSJ claimed had recruited her into intelligence gathering for the former MI6 spy. 'We studied at the same school, but the thing is that after that he went to work and study in America,' she said

However, she did admit to knowing her former school friend Igor Danchenko, 42, (pictured) who the WSJ claimed had recruited her into intelligence gathering for the former MI6 spy. ‘We studied at the same school, but the thing is that after that he went to work and study in America,’ she said

She worked as a journalist for state-funded RIA Novosti, working at the Russian parliament between 2003-05. More than a decade ago she also worked for Rosbalt, a news outlet run by Natalya Cherkesova (Chaplina), wife of ex-security services high-ranking member Viktor Cherkesov, a Putin associate

She worked as a journalist for state-funded RIA Novosti, working at the Russian parliament between 2003-05. More than a decade ago she also worked for Rosbalt, a news outlet run by Natalya Cherkesova (Chaplina), wife of ex-security services high-ranking member Viktor Cherkesov, a Putin associate

She worked as a journalist for state-funded RIA Novosti, working at the Russian parliament between 2003-05. More than a decade ago she also worked for Rosbalt, a news outlet run by Natalya Cherkesova (Chaplina), wife of ex-security services high-ranking member Viktor Cherkesov, a Putin associate

Galkina is seen as implicating the firm in a Russian secret services-sponsored bid hacking Democratic Party servers to collect damaging material on 2016 presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton

Galkina is seen as implicating the firm in a Russian secret services-sponsored bid hacking Democratic Party servers to collect damaging material on 2016 presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton

Galkina is seen as implicating the firm in a Russian secret services-sponsored bid hacking Democratic Party servers to collect damaging material on 2016 presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton

Russian businessman loses libel battle against Christopher Steele for claims in his Trump ‘dirty dossier’

Aleksej Gubarev

Aleksej Gubarev

Aleksej Gubarev

On Friday, Russian businessman  Aleksej Gubarev lost his libel battle against ex-MI6 spy Christopher Steele whose ‘dirty dossier’ on Donald Trump implicated him in hacking the Democrats in 2016.  

Gubarev sued Steele for ‘seriously defamatory allegations’ that he had ‘knowing involvement’ in the DNC computer hack during the US election.

But a London judge ruled Gubarev did not prove Steele was responsible for the report’s publication and so could not be made to pay damages.

Central accusations made in the dossier, which was funded by the Democrats, have been roundly rubbished and were largely thrown out by the Mueller report. 

It was published by Buzzfeed News website in 2017 and contained outlandish claims of Trump hiring prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room as well as allegations of Russian collusion with the Republican candidate’s campaign.  

Gubarev and his company Webzilla took legal action against Steele and his intelligence company Orbis Business Intelligence after the dossier was published.

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But her former boss in the marketing department at XBT Holding, Alexey Trankov, claimed: ‘She (Olga Galkina) has long been in need of medical assistance….

‘Of course, I’m not a doctor to give diagnoses, but I just want to say that she needs a doctor.’

Around the time she allegedly helped Steele in 2016, she became locked in a dispute with Aleksej Gubarev, owner of XBT Holding SA web-services company behind the Webzilla internet hosting unit. 

It emerged that Galkina travelled to the US in spring 2016, the year of the last US president election. The purpose of her visit is unclear.

But after Donald Trump’s win, she posted: ‘I sincerely congratulate our (intelligent) ideological opponents on the victory of their candidate.

‘For our comrades, we are thinking of organising a democratic retreat here,.

‘It’s only four years to wait, palm trees, again, Jay Z on the tape recorder.’

Galkina is seen as implicating the firm in a Russian secret services-sponsored bid hacking Democratic Party servers to collect damaging material on 2016 presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton.

Webzilla and Russian-born Cyprus resident Gubarev have strongly denied any involvement in the DNC hacking and he has since sued Steele for defamation in Britain.

Some Russian sources scathingly attacked a woman who earlier moved from journalism to PR and at one time also served as deputy head of the administration of Saratov city.

Prominent journalist, scriptwriter and director Roman Volobuev posted : ‘Oh sh**, I KNOW the girl WSJ just named as the source of Steele dossier.

‘(And yeah, she’s probably made the whole thing up).’

He added, however, that she was ‘everyone’s acquaintance’ and ‘moderately shady’.

Others confirmed the mother-of-one had a wide circle of contacts. 

But newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda stated: ‘When she worked in Saratov, Olga was remembered by her frequent disappearances from the office when even her bosses couldn’t reach her.

‘Many believed that this was linked to alcohol.’

Yet when she lived in Limassol she was a member of an ‘intellectual’ Russian expat social club formed to discuss poetry.

Born in Perm, in the Urals, she has a degree in law and a further qualification in philology from the Peoples’ Friendship University in Moscow.

Both news outlet Newsru in Moscow and the Russian-language Cyprus Daily News said she was behind a colourful but confused personal blog - however there was no clear evidence that this was correct. In one entry, the writer stated: 'Since my childhood I have been into palm reading, and I know quite a lot about this'

Both news outlet Newsru in Moscow and the Russian-language Cyprus Daily News said she was behind a colourful but confused personal blog - however there was no clear evidence that this was correct. In one entry, the writer stated: 'Since my childhood I have been into palm reading, and I know quite a lot about this'

Both news outlet Newsru in Moscow and the Russian-language Cyprus Daily News said she was behind a colourful but confused personal blog – however there was no clear evidence that this was correct. In one entry, the writer stated: ‘Since my childhood I have been into palm reading, and I know quite a lot about this’

In a personal review 2010 - when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog - the blog attributed to her stated: 'The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant... Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol - there was leisure'

In a personal review 2010 - when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog - the blog attributed to her stated: 'The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant... Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol - there was leisure'

In a personal review 2010 - when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog - the blog attributed to her stated: 'The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant... Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol - there was leisure'

In a personal review 2010 - when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog - the blog attributed to her stated: 'The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant... Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol - there was leisure'

 In a personal review of 2010 – when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog – the blog attributed to her stated: ‘The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant… Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol – there was leisure’

Galkina is portrayed by WSJ as the source of a claim that President Trump's (pictured in Moscow in 2013) ex-lawyer Michael Cohen secretly met Putin's intelligence officials in Prague to discuss payments for the hackers in the summer of 2016. The Russian woman was the 'most important contributor' to the Steele dossier, according to WSJ. She was 'Source 3' in the dossier, it was reported

Galkina is portrayed by WSJ as the source of a claim that President Trump's (pictured in Moscow in 2013) ex-lawyer Michael Cohen secretly met Putin's intelligence officials in Prague to discuss payments for the hackers in the summer of 2016. The Russian woman was the 'most important contributor' to the Steele dossier, according to WSJ. She was 'Source 3' in the dossier, it was reported

Galkina is portrayed by WSJ as the source of a claim that President Trump’s (pictured in Moscow in 2013) ex-lawyer Michael Cohen secretly met Putin’s intelligence officials in Prague to discuss payments for the hackers in the summer of 2016. The Russian woman was the ‘most important contributor’ to the Steele dossier, according to WSJ. She was ‘Source 3’ in the dossier, it was reported

Both news outlet Newsru in Moscow and the Russian-language Cyprus Daily News said she was behind a colourful but confused personal blog – however there was no clear evidence that this was correct.

In one entry, the writer stated: ‘Since my childhood I have been into palm reading, and I know quite a lot about this.’

In a personal review of the year 2010 – when Galkina worked for the Kremlin environmental and nuclear watchdog – the blog attributed to her stated: ‘The year was quiet, although not without adventures. Pleasant.

‘In general successful and cheerful. Too much bisexuality. Festivals, hitch-hiking, sea, celebrations, two weeks in Moscow, a lot of games, nudity, nature, alcohol – there was leisure. Though, I worked a lot too.’

Another blog is clearly hers and it refers to a difficult break up with the father of her child.

Galkina is portrayed by WSJ as the source of a claim that President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen secretly met Putin’s intelligence officials in Prague to discuss payments for the hackers in the summer of 2016.

Cohen denied ever traveling there.

The Russian woman was the ‘most important contributor’ to the Steele dossier, according to WSJ.

She was ‘Source 3’ in the dossier, it was reported.

She was allegedly recruited to the Steele intelligence-gathering team by Danchenko, who now lives in the US.

Christopher Steele: The British ex-spy who authored the ‘dirty dossier’

Christopher Steele, 55, embarked on a well-trodden path when he was recruited from Cambridge straight into MI6.

After a stint in London, he was stationed in Moscow just after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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35037198 8894967 image a 40 1604066629845

He returned to London and in 2006 was made head of MI6’s Russia desk, where he led the investigation into the poisoning of former Russian operative Alexander Litvinenko.

But he only became world-renowned after becoming a private intelligence consultant and writing the sensational Trump-Russia dossier in 2016.

His evidence was rubbished by Trump, but formed part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In an interview at Oxford University, Mr Steele said he had been questioned for ‘two whole days’ but was disappointed with Mueller’s final report.

‘I was surprised that very little of what I had discussed with them appeared in the final report.

He criticized the report for being ‘too narrow’ and failing to follow up on crucial evidence. 

‘There were many things about the report that were good… but other (aspects) that were not so good,’ he said. 

Mr Steele said the fact that ‘a number of witnesses—including for instance, Donald Trump Jr.’ had avoided being interviewed ‘wasn’t great.’ 

Dismissing longstanding allegations of political bias, he described himself as simply ‘an opponent of President Putin.’

He said that Trump is naturally hostile toward the intelligence community. 

‘Trump himself doesn’t like intelligence because its ground truth is inconvenient for him,’ he said.   

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Anti-lockdown protesters throw bricks at Barcelona police in clash over Spain’s new Covid-19 rules

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anti lockdown protesters throw bricks at barcelona police in clash over spains new covid 19 rules

Anti-lockdown protesters in Barcelona have clashed with police over Spain‘s state of emergency restrictions, throwing bricks at officers and setting bins alight. 

The demonstration began peacefully in St Jaume de Barcelona Square before descending into smaller violent clashes on Friday. 

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force. 

Several hundred people from sectors badly affected by coronavirus, including restaurants, the arts and gyms initially gathered to protest regional border closures.

The measures came as Spain’s central government unveiled a state of emergency to give regional authorities powers to impose curfews and close their borders to anyone moving without just cause. 

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the city's streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the city's streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the city’s streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd

Some protesters began pushing against police cordons and throwing flares and other objects at officers who then attempted to disperse demonstrators from the city centre, attendees told Spain’s El Pais newspaper.  

Police also hit protesters with batons and reportedly used foam bullets against those assembled outside the regional and local government headquarters. 

Dozens of protesters then separated into groups to narrow streets in Barcelona’s gothic quarter, setting trash containers on fire to serve as barricades.

A Mossos spokesman told AFP news agency that up to 700 protesters had attended the rally but the violence was started by a group of about 50.

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

Regional police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

Regional police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

Regional police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government on Friday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government on Friday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government on Friday

Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins. 

The call to protest had spread in social media with flyers. Rioting began within minutes of the gathering when some of the protesters removed their surgical masks and shouted ‘This is theft! This is a scam!’

Some protesters have accused authorities of lying about the seriousness of the outbreaks to justify curbs on personal freedom.

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Police used their batons to disperse protesters on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country's total death toll to 35,878

Police used their batons to disperse protesters on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country's total death toll to 35,878

Police used their batons to disperse protesters on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country’s total death toll to 35,878

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain's state of emergency

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain's state of emergency

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain’s state of emergency

El Pais reported that some police sources blamed ‘radical groups’ linked to the nightlife and security sectors – both badly hit by the pandemic – with inciting violence at the rally and have accused them of intentionally setting out to provoke incidents.

Some people in attendance at the rally reportedly agreed that there were some elements in the crowd intent on causing trouble from the outset. 

Friday’s clashes mark the second violent protest in Barcelona in less than a week. Four people were arrested on Sunday after the Mossos intervened in a rally of protesters who deny the existence of Covid-19. 

It followed similar disturbances sparked by coronavirus deniers in Bilbao, in Spain, on Thursday and in cities across Italy on Monday. 

Barricades intended to hem in the protesters were used as weapons by some in clashes with riot police in Barcelona on Friday night

Barricades intended to hem in the protesters were used as weapons by some in clashes with riot police in Barcelona on Friday night

Barricades intended to hem in the protesters were used as weapons by some in clashes with riot police in Barcelona on Friday night

Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, imposed a state of emergency this week to try halt the rise of coronavirus infections. It is expected to last until may next year. 

Like other European countries, Spain has resorted to increasingly drastic measures to curb infections, although less stringent than in Germany or France. 

Catalonia has seen some of the toughest measures introduced, with officials closing down the hospitality industry and imposing a 10pm to 6am curfew. All but essential weekend travel in and out of local areas has also been banned. 

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona's city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona's city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona’s city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Police clashed with protesters at the rally on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

Police clashed with protesters at the rally on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

Police clashed with protesters at the rally on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

A fire started in a bin is reflected in the window of a Starbucks coffee shop in central Barcelona during a protest against measures intended to stop the spread of coronavirus

A fire started in a bin is reflected in the window of a Starbucks coffee shop in central Barcelona during a protest against measures intended to stop the spread of coronavirus

A fire started in a bin is reflected in the window of a Starbucks coffee shop in central Barcelona during a protest against measures intended to stop the spread of coronavirus

Health Ministry data showed 25,595 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Friday, a new record that brings the total caseload since February to 1.18 million. 

The government last week admitted that the real tally, including missed cases, could be well over 3 million infections.

With 239 new fatalities, the total death toll rose Friday to 35,878.  

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