Leaked documents used by Jeremy Corbyn as ‘proof’ that the Tories are planning to sell off parts of the NHS in a US trade deal WAS leaked by Russia in bid to manipulate the election, Reddit reveals
- Reddit said it banned 61 accounts following an investigation of suspect activity
- Mirrored activity of Moscow-controlled operation dubbed ‘Secondary Infektion’
- Mr Corbyn continues to use the documents as ammunition to attack the Tories
A top-secret government dossier brandished by Jeremy Corbyn as proof Boris Johnson plans to sell the NHS was leaked on Reddit by Russia to disrupt the election, the social media platform has said.
Reddit said it has banned 61 accounts following an investigation into disinformation, including user Wilbur Gregoratior who first posted the documents in October and bombarded high-profile Labour figures with the link to them.
The campaign shared the same pattern of activity as a Moscow-controlled operation dubbed ‘Secondary Infektion’ uncovered by Facebook earlier this year.
Mr Corbyn flourished the the leaked Department for International Trade papers between UK and US officials at a press conference last month to underscore his claim the NHS would be on the table in a post-Brexit deal.
But Reddit’s bombshell revelation mounts pressure on Mr Corbyn, who continues to use the dossier as ammunition to attack his Conservative rival.
As the campaign enters its final sprint, questions will emerge over Russia’s motivation to release the dossier which appeared to strengthen Mr Corbyn.
Russia’s hand was already suspected after disinformation analysts Graphika this week drew parallels between this dossier leaking and Secondary Infektion.
In a statement, Reddit said its investigation had found a ‘pattern of coordination’ between the now-banned accounts on its site and a Russian campaign uncovered by Facebook earlier this year.
At a press conference in Westminster last week, Jeremy Corbyn brandishes a government dossier which he claims provides ‘proof’ the Tories are trying to sell the NHS to the US
Reddit said it had banned 61 accounts following an investigation of suspect activity, including Wilbur Gregoratior who posed the documents and bombarded senior Labour figures with links to the site
During a bruising hour-long debate tonight, Boris Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 – condemning Jeremy Corbyn for a ‘failure of leadership’
Information from the investigation into the ‘Secondary Infektion’ campaign on Facebook was used to identify suspect accounts on Reddit.
Reddit said: ‘This group provides us with important attribution for the recent posting of the leaked UK documents, as well as insights into how adversaries are adapting their tactics.
‘As a result of this investigation, we are banning… 61 accounts under our policies against vote manipulation and misuse of the platform. ‘
Speaking at a news conference last month, Mr Corbyn said the 451 pages left Boris Johnson’s claim the the NHS wouldn’t be part of trade talks ‘in absolute tatters’.
There is currently no suggestions the documents were false or doctored in any way.
Reddit said the leaked files had first been posted in October and then reposted by a second account.
Mr Corbyn poses with NHS workers holding documents regarding the Conservative government’s UK-US trade talks
The PM and the Labour leader faced off in the final head-to-head of the campaign, in front of a primetime Friday night audience on BBC One and chaired by Nick Robinson (right)
Pockets of accounts had worked together to ‘upvote’ the posts using vote manipulation to make them more visible to users of the platform, it added.
These accounts had posted in different regional subreddits and in several different languages.
Reddit said: ‘As we have done with previous influence operations, we will also preserve these accounts for a time, so that researchers and the public can scrutinize them to see for themselves how these accounts operated.’
Labour again refused to discuss the source for the documents.
A Labour spokeman said: ‘These documents reveal the plot against our NHS. And of course neither the UK nor the US government have denied their authenticity.
‘Our releasing them to journalists was clearly in the public interest.’
Mr Corbyn relentlessly uses the documents as ammunition to fire a his Conservative opponent, who was forced yet again to rubbish the claim at last night’s TV debate.
On the accusations that he wants to sell the NHS, Mr Johnson said: ‘This is pure Bermuda Triangle stuff.
A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – mirroring the 2016 referendum. It was chaired by former BBC political editor Nick Robinson
‘We’ve heard it time and time again from the Labour Party during this election campaign.
Mr Johnson said: ‘We’ll be hearing about ”little green men” next … under no circumstances will we sell it off to anybody in any kind of trade deal.’
The Labour leader said: ‘The Prime Minister, the day after he was appointed, announced there was going to be 40 new hospitals, a week later that became 20, a bit later on it became six new hospitals.
‘He seems to have a problem with the figures about hospital building in Britain.’
Mr Johnson was tonight declared the winner of the final election TV showdown after roasting Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit, supporting the IRA, stealth taxes and ‘overthrowing capitalism’.
A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – ironically mirroring the 2016 referendum and a result that will delight Tory strategists.
During a bruising hour-long session, chaired by Nick Robinson, Mr Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 so the country can move on.
He ridiculed Labour’s muddled position of renegotiating with Brussels and holding another referendum, but with Mr Corbyn staying neutral. ‘You cannot negotiate a deal if you are neutral on it… it’s a failure of leadership on the biggest issue facing this country at the moment,’ he said.
The veteran left-winger was also pressed over Labour’s plans to introduce a four-day week in the NHS, and failed to deny that he wants to ‘overthrow capitalism’.
The Tory and Labour leaders did manage to shake hands afterwards despite exchanging insults in the bruising clashes tonight
But he insisted he was putting forward an ‘ambitious’ programme that could end child poverty, as he desperately to turn the tide as polls continue to show the Tories ahead.
The clash quickly turned nasty, with Mr Johnson getting a round of applause as he condemned Mr Corbyn for trying to ‘lecture’ people on the importance of ties with Northern Ireland after ‘supporting the IRA for four decades’.
He also repeatedly swiped that his opponent was ‘ignorant’ on the benefits of free trade.
According to the YouGov poll, Mr Corbyn came across as more trustworthy by 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and also won on the NHS.
But Mr Johnson trounced him by 62 per cent to 29 per cent on Brexit, 55 per cent to 36 per cent on likeability, and was seen as more prime ministerial by 54 per cent to 30 per cent.
He was also seen as performing best on security 55 per cent to 34 per cent.
Labour will be dismayed that Mr Corbyn failed to land any significant punches, with the Tories seemingly in the driving seat just six days before the country goes to the ballot boxes.
Ipsos MORI research earlier found Labour has been making up some ground over the past three weeks, with its support increasing four points. But the Conservatives still have a 12-point lead, enough for a comfortable majority.
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