In it’s latest attack on the left, BBC Newsnight this week depicted Jeremy Corbyn as Lenin-lookalike Russian stooge for failing to fall in line and condemn Putin. This followed the Guardian (a supposedly liberal newspaper) asking, “How could the UK punish Russia effectively?”.
All of this before the Government has offered even prima facie evidence of any Russian state involvement in the tragic poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Thus is the propaganda machine.
But whilst the majority of the media are busy outing themselves as nothing more than stenographers to power, experts like Craig Murray have been exposing the lack of evidence actually provided by the Government in coming to it’s carefully worded conclusion, as delivered by Theresa May, that:
“There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter – and for threatening the lives of British citizens”.
Whilst you could be forgiven for assuming that the Government is specifically stating that the Russian state carried out the nerve attack in Salisbury, they have never actually said that.
May’s statement merely states, as Jeremy Corbyn acknowledged in his sensible riposte published and then suitably ignored by the Guardian, that the Russian state is at least culpable for the attempted murder on the basis that the Russian state manufactures or has manufactured the substance used in the poisoning and by virtue of it losing control of that substance, it should be held legally responsible for the crime.
Cleary, there is difference between being culpable for losing control of such “Novichok” nerve agent and actively plotting and executing the attempted assassination of a foreign national on British soil.
Trusting Security Services
Looking at May’s claim in isolation, in order to hold Russia responsible at all, you first need to accept the claim that Russia is the sole manufacturer/holder of this nerve agent (which is easily debunkable).
However, (1) her statement clearly omitted to say that Russia was the sole manufacturer; and (2) there appears to be no evidence to back up this claim other than it has been proffered as a fact by the establishment.
Well, that is not enough. A previous neo-liberal Government under Blair also claimed that there were WMDs in Iraq and that lie led to the deaths of at least 400,000 people. The time for the citizenry to blindingly accept the words of the “security services” is over.
Of a Type Developed By Russia
As Craig Murray has pointed out in the last few days, the Government, the Security Council, NATO, the US, France, Germany and now the EU have only gone so far as to say that the Novichok supposedly used in this attack, is “of a type developed by Russia“.
Even if this claim were evidenced, the fact that someone developed something doesn’t mean that they are automatically responsible for all applications of that thing forever.
To follow the logic, the UK developed bombs that have been dropped on Yemeni children by its ally, Saudi Arabia, in their ongoing perpetration of war crimes; thus it follows that the UK is at least culpable for the murder of innocent children.
The only difference between my speculation and that made by the Government recently is that the UK has demonstrably sold more than £5bn worth of weapons to Saudia Arabia since the 2015 election alone, which have been used by them in their perpetration of ongoing war crimes in Yemen – but civilians being obliterated by weapons made by the UK, whilst utilising the ongoing advice of the UK and the US military, are not worthy of discussion by a Government so clearly concerned with the sanctity of human life.
In the last 18 months or so, Russia has been blamed, amongst other things, for:
- Hacking/influencing the 2016 US Presidential Election
- John Podesta Email Leak
- Hacking/influencing Brexit Campaign
- The murder of Nikolai Glushkov
- Supporting Syrian Chemical Weapons Attacks (the perpetrators of which have not yet been proven, either)
- Cyber attack on US energy grid
This article does not seek to examine the evidence in each case here, but the evidence is scant, especially evidence of Russian state involvement.
Whilst this lack of evidence is clearly worrying for anyone with a modicum of critical thinking, it is, for others, to be accepted unquestioningly and those who disagree with the prevailing red scare narrative are to be called out as supporting Russia.
This is a new form of McCarthyism and it is being used, as demonstrated at the beginning of this article, to criticise Jeremy Corbyn. In the US, it has been used to slander similarly progressive candidates for power such as Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein.
To give you a flavour, the argument is that colourful memes of an unusually topless and muscled Bernie managed to hack the election in his favour and therefore he must be a Russian stooge. The same is true for one or two Facebook posts referencing Jill Stein.
So, who is to blame?
As demonstrated, there is little evidence at this stage to prove that Russia was behind the horrifying attack in Salisbury, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they did not do it, they are perfectly capable of doing so.
However, one does question why, on the eve of an election (albeit, probably rigged) and just prior to hosting the 2018 World Cup, Russia would choose to expose it’s obviously costly and time-consuming secret chemical weapons assassination program by attempting to murder a spy they released a decade ago, the first they would have attacked following release via a spy swap. Good move, Putin.
Whilst there aren’t many Russian motives for this particular crime, there are plenty when it comes to the UK (and its allies by extension), during a time of continuous build-up of military pressure on the Russian border, stretching back to before 2016, there are plenty of speculative motives for a false flag operation:
- Providing a narrative for the increase of military spending in a time of continuing austerity;
- Giving Theresa May and the Conservatives restbite from their freefall in the polls and proving a potential Falklands War moment;
- An ongoing battle to damage Russia’s international reputation in order to gain leverage in the war in Syria – whether this is to maintain hegemony or control over gas supply to Europe.
There is no evidence that the UK carried out or in any way knew of the nerve attack, but similarly, there is no evidence that Russia did either.
If we are to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of history then we must demand evidence before actions are taken that go beyond the expulsion of a handful of diplomats. Even in this post-truth era, the truth surely has some value and it is what the Skripals deserve.
In the meantime, we need to ensure that those who question authority have their questions answered, rather than being vilified by the press as being Russian trolls or twitter bots, unless we want to replicate the Cold War in totality.