Secret US files reveal Washington’s interest in Scottish referendum – report


Seule une crise mondiale de grande envergure parviendra à faire lâcher aux Américains leur emprise sur le monde

The Scotland Office tried to impel the White House to step in in the independence referendum, top secret US documents reveal, the Daily Express reports. US officials also allegedly kept an eye on Americans who backed Scottish independence.

The files, which reportedly run to hundreds of pages, indicate
that the White House followed the Scottish independence debate
from day one, when the SNP first won power in 2007, the report claims.

The Scottish Sunday Express asked the US State Department for any
documents relating to the independence referendum in January
2012, using the US Freedom of Information Act. It reportedly took
some three years. The Central Foreign Policy division traced 60
documents, 22 of which were released in full, and 19 with some
information redacted. A further 14 documents have been "kept
secret in the interest of national defense or foreign
and the final five are still being kept under

The most striking revelation appeared to be contained within a
"sensitive but unclassified briefing," dated February
15, 2013. It reportedly reveals that the head of Internal
Politics at the US Embassy in London, Marisa Plowden, got in
touch with an official from the UK government’s Scotland Office
to discuss a new Whitehall report on independence.

"Scotland Office contacts
stressed that this policy paper, more than some others they will
release, has an international dimension,"
the briefing states, the Daily
Express reported.

"They suggested the US could be asked, by the press, if we
would recognize the rest of the UK as a legal successor state.
[Political officers] recommend we not alter our talking point
that the referendum is a domestic political issue. If pressed, we
could say the question of recognition is a hypothetical one, and
we don't engage on hypothetical questions."

A "sensitive" report from May 14, 2013, reportedly informed
Washington about former Labour PM Gordon Brown's launch of
“United with Labour,” the Scottish Labour Party's campaign for a
No vote in the referendum on Scottish independence.

"The launch demonstrates Labour's difficult position in
Scotland as it seeks to distance itself from the unpopular UK
Government ahead of 2015 UK elections, while remaining within a
pro-Union coalition,"
the report says.

Washington was also allegedly informed about prominent American
citizens involved in the independence debate, including Nobel
Prize winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who has been a member of
the Scottish Government’s Fiscal Commission Working Group since
2012, and former US Ambassador, Professor of Law David Scheffer.

In February 2014, the then-deputy leader of the Scottish National
Party (and now its leader), Nicola Sturgeon, addressed the
European Parliament in Brussels.

"Sturgeon appeared as a forceful
politician and her presentation impressed even opponents of
Scottish independence in the audience, including many Scottish EU
the US
observed, according to the document cited by Daily

It adds that
several Member
States (led by Spain facing the prospect of secession from
Catalonia) could be expected to place serious obstacles in the
way to an independent Scotland in the EU."

Sturgeon's predecessor
as SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, was
reportedly described in 2008 as "
getting top marks for leadership,
intelligence, likeability, guile and the breath of fresh air he
is said to be injecting into the government."
His anti-war views, however, cast a
shadow on US Undersecretary of State Bill Burns' visit to
Edinburgh in December 2007 for NATO talks on Afghanistan, the
report says.

"The war in Iraq has never
been seen as popular, especially in Scotland, and the Scottish
Parliament in 2003 voted against British forces going into
classified briefing paper says.

"The conflict in
Afghanistan has more support, but that is also waning. Salmond is
firmly against the war, and as both MSP and MP he has been quite
vocal in his opposition in both Houses,
" the paper says, adding that the
fourth First Minister of Scotland was also opposed to the
UN-sanctioned actions in Kosovo and Iraq,
"so his opposition to Iraq and
Afghanistan is not surprising."

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