My, how the mighty have fallen. In presenting hasty ultimatums to Russia then taking unilateral punitive measures, the British government is skirting dangerously close to inciting war, itself defined as a war crime under international law. The latest developments in the ‘Russian chemical weapons attack’ scandal reflect terribly on Theresa May’s government, and any other government that sides with it.
The UK still refuses to hand over samples of the alleged nerve agent to Russia for testing. This violates standard Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) procedures. As Lavrov pointed out, the Convention Prohibiting the Use of Chemical Weapons states that where a country is suspected of using a chemical weapon, 10 days’ notice must be given for the accused country to respond and the offending substance handed over. Instead, the British government just skipped over that part and plans to send the sample directly to the OPCW. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say, given that the OPCW last year verified that Russia has destroyed its entire chemical weapons stock and production capabilities (something the U.S., Israel, and the UK have yet to do.)
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has piped up to state that the Salisbury incident represents a challenge to NATO, characterizing it as “the first ever case of a nerve agent being used against a NATO country.” His implied message was that this serves as grounds for the activation of Article 5 of the NATO treaty (‘an attack on one member is an attack on all’.) Stoltenberg may want to get a show of hands from NATO members and their populations on how they feel about going to war with Russia.
The elephant in the room is that Salisbury is located just 8 miles from Porton Down, the literal nerve-center of Britain’s chemical and biological weapons programs over the last century. An incident occurring there is like a ‘biological weapons attack’ occurring within sight of Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Be that as the case may be, May, the obvious thing to do is to conduct a thorough investigation without the hysteria, without rushing to judgment, and without being a totally incompetent hack – all of which May is already failing at completely. You have one job, May… Try actually doing it.
More mindless nonsense from May:
May said Russia has provided no credible explanation, and has instead responded with sarcasm and disdain. She said Russia is “culpable” for the Skripal incident, which represents unlawful use of force against the UK.
The PM iterated that the 23 Russian diplomats have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. It will be the largest expulsion for 30 years. They will have a week to leave, the UK PM added.
She added the government will consider new anti-espionage legislation. May said the government will include Magnitsky-type amendments to an existing sanctions bill. Continuing, the UK leader said the government will increase checks on Russians coming into the country.
“While our response must be robust it must also remain true to our values,” May said. “Many Russians make valuable contribution to this country and will be welcome. But for those who wish to do us harm the message is clear, you are not welcome.”
Sarcasm and disdain are the only appropriate responses to your juvenile posturing and dangerous lies, Ms. May.
On top of May’s groundless accusations, the UK and its ‘allies’ (read: Deep State lackeys in Western vassal states) released the following statement:
We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response. This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all. The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security.
What a load of BS. “Highly likely” in this case means they’re not sure. And if they’re not sure, that means there isn’t solid evidence. So all of this is hot air. There’s no proof Russia was behind it – and every reason to believe they didn’t, on top of that. Russia is not an irrational actor, but France, Germany, the US and UK would have you believe that Russia is not only stupid but also self-destructive. The idiots who crafted this statement obviously have an imagination well below average. It is very easy to come up with a “plausible alternative explanation”:
- Skripal Likely Poisoned by British Intelligence in Effort to Smear and Silence Russian World View
- MI5 Poisons Another Russian Asset to Smear Putin in Ongoing Propaganda War
Williamson also had this to say:
What is also clear is that the Kremlin is ripping up the international rule book, using its growing hybrid capabilities to subvert, undermine and influence countries around the world. Its cyber operations are active and brazen. It uses social media to muddy the waters and spread confusion.
That’s called projection – accusing your opponent of precisely what you are guilty of.
Williamson should take a class in statistical probabilities – and another in diplomacy. “Highly likely”, which itself is a subjective judgment of value, does not equate to an unequivocal statement of fact that Russia “did” in fact do what the UK is accusing Russia of doing. Thankfully, Williamson is being rightly scolded for being a juvenile ass. There are a LOT of people who should just “shut up and go away,” Gavin. And you’re one of them.
“British Defense Secretary [Gavin Williamson] said Russia should ‘go away and shut up,'” Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook. “What could he say, the defense minister of a country that conceals information on the use of chemical-warfare agents on its soil?” she asked. “London has something to hide. The partners are nervous.”
Good luck, Mr. Nebenzya, your British ‘partners’ live in another reality: one of their own imagining. Or of yesteryear. It’s a new world now – the Anglo-American Age of Might Makes Right is history.
Exactly, Jeremy, but that would ruin the fun, now wouldn’t it? The point isn’t to determine the truth; it is to exploit the Skripals’ poisoning for maximum propaganda value.
Corbyn’s spokesperson’s words were also on point:
“The government has access to information and intelligence on this matter which others don’t. However, there is also a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly.”
Asked if Corbyn believed Russia was responsible for the attack, Milne said Prime Minister Theresa May continued to leave open the possibility that Russia lost control of its nerve agent. He also suggested the poisoning might have been a carried out by a “mafia” or another former Soviet state, rather than orchestrated by the Kremlin.
“I think the right approach is to seek the evidence to follow international treaties, particularly in relation to prohibitive chemical weapons,” Milne said. “The breakup of the Soviet state led to all sorts of material ending up in random hands,” they said.
Corbyn is being lambasted by May’s government and the British media, and it’s easy to see why:
Speaking in the House on Wednesday, Corbyn was met with jeers as he suggested May should continue dialogue with Russia in the wake of the alleged poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.
In parliament the Labour leader asked whether the prime minister had provided samples of the nerve agent Novichok as requested by Russia over allegations it was used in the “attack.” Traces were reportedly found during the investigation into the unexplained poisoning.
These people have lost their minds. Or their leadership on the world stage.
Corbyn said there must be “robust dialogue” with Russia, rather than a slashing of all ties. He raised a number of questions, including asking what information there is about where the nerve agent came from. There were cries of “shame” from some MPs, unhappy at his decision to question the evidence.
Indeed, shame. How dare he ask for evidence instead of being coerced into blind belief!
Corbyn also took aim at Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was jeering during his response to the prime minister’s statement. He said: “I didn’t understand a word the foreign secretary said but his behavior demeans his office. It is in moments such as these governments realize the importance of strong diplomacy.
“The measures we take have to be effective not just for long-term security but to secure a world free of chemical weapons.”
Long-term security is a far second when the primary motive is bashing Russia, however short-term its perceived benefits to British propaganda objectives.
A furious May hit back in the political ping pong, claiming she expected her actions to be supported across parties. She said: “I am only sorry the consensus does not go as far as the right honorable gentleman. He could have taken the opportunity to condemn the culpability of the Russian state.”
Ahh, the two-minutes’ hate.
Thankfully, Corbyn hasn’t backed down. He reiterated his call for a responsible, civil, diplomatic response in an op-ed for the Guardian:
“This horrific event demands first of all the most thorough and painstaking criminal investigation, conducted by our police and security services,” he said.
“To rush way ahead of the evidence being gathered by the police, in a fevered parliamentary atmosphere, serves neither justice nor our national security.”
He went on: “Labour is, of course, no supporter of the Putin regime, its conservative authoritarianism, abuse of human rights or political and economic corruption. However, that does not mean we should resign ourselves to a ‘new cold war’ of escalating arms spending, proxy conflicts across the globe and a McCarthyite intolerance of dissent.”
“There can and should be the basis for a common political response to this crime. But in my years in parliament I have seen clear thinking in an international crisis overwhelmed by emotion and hasty judgments too many times,” he said.
“Flawed intelligence and dodgy dossiers led to the calamity of the Iraq invasion. There was overwhelming bipartisan support for attacking Libya, but it proved to be wrong. A universal repugnance at the 9/11 attacks led to a war on Afghanistan which continues to this day, while terrorism has spread across the globe.”
It’s probably more than that, but sadly, it might be just that. Pettiness, resentment and hysteria are a dangerous mixture.
But thankfully for us all, Boris Johnson has come to the rescue. Yes, for according to the great disheveled dissembler, the UK government has “overwhelming evidence” of Russia’s guilt:
“I’m afraid the evidence is overwhelming that it is Russia,” Johnson told the BBC. “There’s something in the kind of smug, sarcastic response that we’ve heard from the Russians that indicates their fundamental guilt.”
That kind of rhetoric may have worked in ancient Greece, but it’s actually really lazy. Evidence that can support any hypothesis cannot be used to support one hypothesis over another. And even then, there’s actually nothing in Russia’s response to indicate their “guilt”. Johnson is playing ‘Rorschach politics’, and he knows it. It’s reprehensible.
“They want to simultaneously deny it, and at the same time to glory in it,” he added.
Johnson claims the reason Russia “chose this nerve agent” – Novichok – was to show people in its agencies who may be thinking of defecting or “supporting another way of life” that “Russia will take revenge. That is fundamentally what this is about.”
The foreign secretary went on to claim it is obvious Russia has illegally retained stocks of Soviet chemical weapons.
“At a time when Russia is going in the wrong direction, becoming more repressive, when Vladimir Putin’s regime becomes more corrupt, it’s more important than ever for him that he jams down the lid on potential dissent, on political defectors,” Johnson said.
“This is a way of saying ‘Look at what happens to people who stand up to our regime.'”
We’re confident said evidence will be presented very soon. Just as soon as the “overwhelming evidence” of Saddam’s WMDs is presented. Any day now…
Harrison Koehli co-hosts SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective and Behind the Headlines, and is an editor for Red Pill Press. He has been interviewed on several North American radio shows about his writings on the study of ponerology. In addition to music and books, Harrison enjoys tobacco and bacon (often at the same time) and dislikes cell phones, vegetables, and fascists.