The new Cold War

Orwell was right. States which lie to and control their own populations need an external enemy.

The UK and the US are clearly intent on setting Russia up as the devil incarnate. There has been a slew of anti-Russia articles in the UK liberal press recently including one rather horrible one which rhetorically suggested that the sole purpose for the Sputnik vaccine was to enable Russia to play ‘soft power’ games around the world. But then, we already know that the lives of ordinary Russians matter not one jot to these people and they would be quite happy if there was no vaccine for Russian people and tens of thousands more died.

It seems that the UK wants to get as many possible countries as possible to gang up against Russia. That this move is a rather naked attempt by the UK to position itself as an important power post-Brexit does not seem to have registered with the Guardian’s diplomatic editor. (And of course predictably enough the only way the UK can do this is by attaching itself to the coat-tails of the US). In general it seems that one way the UK plans to ‘establish itself as a major independent power’ is by leading the way in Russia-bashing.

Raab presents a very lop-sided perspective on Russia:

Raab said the door to diplomacy was always open with autocracies, but also warned the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to end his “brinkmanship sabre-rattling on the border of Ukraine, the cyber-attacks and misinformation and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, that was not just a human rights abuse but a use of chemical weapons on Russian soil”.

Point by point:

“autocracies”. Well; Russia has a democracy. The OSCE for example noted that in the 2012 Presidential election for example “candidates were allowed to campaign unhindered” [1]. The same mission also reported to have found evidence of vote tampering though they only mentioned a limited number of examples. Russian parliamentary and Presidential democracy is far from ‘perfect’ – but unlike many of the UK’s allies e.g Saudi Arabia it is not an autocracy.

brinkmanship sabre-rattling on the border of Ukraine“. Nothing here about the suppy of US arms to Kiev [2] or the UK military ‘training’ role. And I don’t recall any pressure from the Foreign Office on Kiev to implement the Minsk peace agreements it has signed.

cyber-attacks“. He may mean SolarWinds. That may have been Russia. Who knows – as usual even the intelligence agencies seem to lack any concrete proof. But assuming it was – it was not in fact a “cyber-attack”; it was a piece of espionage. I don’t know for sure but I would be very surprised indeed if the UK was not spying on Russia. In fact don’t they have a whole department under Mr Raab for just this purpose (spying on other nations)?

“misinformation”. I’m not sure what this means exactly but presumably anything which doesn’t mesh 100% with the propaganda line put out by the Foreign Office and its paid journalists on the ‘Integrity Initiative‘. If it means RT it is simply wrong. RT doesn’t (or very rarely) misrepresent facts. It does follow an editorial line which is clearly designed to sow discord in the West. But then, has Raab seen any ‘Radio Free Europe’ websites recently? This US State Department funded project available in Russia in Russian (and in the Tatar language) provides a constant stream of stories designed to stir up ordinary Russians against their government.

poisoning of Alexei Navalny“. To the best of my knowledge the only ‘evidence’ about this is provided by an unreliable and scientifically illiterate blogger and amounts to no more than a claim that Navalny was under FSB surveillance. At any event Raab seems to have what psychologists call boundary problems. He is the Foreign Minister of the UK not Russia. Meanwhile Assange rots in jail in London for the crime of reporting on US war crimes.

The “rules-based order” which Raab wants to use apparently as a banner to unite the world against Russia is a synthetic concoction which has meaning in the context of propaganda not actions. Tens of thousands of Iraqis would attest to that if they were alive to do so. They ignore or circumvent the “rules” they claim to respect whenever and wherever it suits them. They organised a regime change in Libya with disastrous consequences – by twisting a UN Security Council Resolution which permitted limited action to defend civilians to mean “kill Gaddaffi”. (He was then brutally tortured and murdered on the battlefield – possibly with the help of British special forces). [4] They are currently breaking international law by carrying out military operations uninvited in Syria. During the Libyian debacle UK ally France blatantly dropped arms into Libya in flagrant violation of the UN embargo (Resolution 1970). [ 5] Arms which have fuelled subsequent conflicts in the region.

In reality the “rules based order” which Raab is talking about means “we make the rules and you obey them”. It is precisely not the “multilateral” world order he claims to be interested in.

Just as in 1984 Big Brother engages in double-speak as he dresses up the enemy in his own crimes. The Guardian plays its role broadcasting the propaganda to the people as “news”.

Notes

  1. https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/90461?download=true
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ukraine-arms-russia-idUSKBN1EH097
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-secretary-announces-extension-of-uk-training-mission-to-ukraine
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16573516
  5. https://www.france24.com/en/20110630-russia-accuses-france-crude-violation-rebel-arms-drop-libya-un-embargo / https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1970

Democracy protests or regime change?

The headline of this piece “Alexei Navalny allies call for mass protests in Russia to save his life” shows that the author (Luke Harding) has fully swallowed the line put out by team Navalny. Indeed as this website has pointed out many times all the reporting on Navalny in the Guardian and Independent simply reiterates whatever line is coming out of Navalny HQ at that time. Sometimes they simply copy and paste the email they receive.

The alternative explanation – that this hunger strike and crisis and public drama was all planned before Navalny returned to Russia (knowing that he would be sent to prison) is not even discussed. But, based on observation of Navalny’s modus operandi (to seek publicity and create embarrassing scandals for the authorities), this is much (much) more likely.

Continue reading “Democracy protests or regime change?”

Petrov and Boshirov in the news again. Why now?

I’m fairly doubtful about the official narrative concerning the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018. The main points for me which cast doubt on the official story are:

the rather unlikely idea that both Skripals (of different weights) touched the doorknob and then waltzed about town for a few hours before suddenly and immediately both falling ill at exactly the same time

the connections between Skripal, ex MI6 agent Pablo Miller, a private security company in which Miller and ex MI6 agent Christopher Steele were involved and the fake smear dossier on Trump produced by Steele for money. These connections – the fact of which was suppressed by UK gov via a D-notice – seem to bear further investigation. Was Skripal a source? Was he contacting his sources in Russia to help Steele get dirt on Trump?

the official narrative of the movements of the two Russians Petrov and Boshirov in Salisbury seems rather pat – and to leave some parts unexplained.

Incidentally I have no doubt at all that Petrov and Boshirov were lying when then claimed their trip to Salisbury was because they had a sudden urge to visit the Cathedral. Obviously. Nonetheless I think that the official British government narrative looks fishy.

It is interesting that today a new story has been released that claims to link Petrov and Boshirov to a 2014 explosion in an arms warehouse in the Czech Republic. The authors of the story in the Guardian are Luke Harding and Dan Sabbagh. This could all be true. It is claimed that the warehouse was supplying arms to Ukraine – and that (if true) might explain why a Russian military intelligence outfit would see it as a legitimate target. But I’m struck by this paragraph:

According to Czech media, detectives investigating the explosion initially assumed it was a tragic accident. Two men working at the depot – Vratislav Havránek and Luděk Petřík – died instantly when 50 tonnes of ammunition blew up. Last year, however, investigators from Prague’s counter-intelligence service and the national centre against organised crime received new information. They discovered Mishkin and Chepiga – using the Petrov and Boshirov passports – had been in the country when the explosion took place.

The explosion happened in 2014. The Skirpals were poisoned in March 2018. After the Skripals were poisoned the British government published passport photographs of Petrov and Boshirov. One would surely imagine that they would have shared the passport details with their colleagues across Europe. One would surely have assumed that all Western intelligence agencies would immediately have scanned the flight databases, immigration databases – and other sources – and identified the two, who we are told used the same passports as in 2018. But it has taken the Czech authorities another 3 years to make the connection. I don’t find that very plausible.

Note Rabb’s comment: “This shows a pattern of behaviour by Moscow, following the novichok attack in Salisbury,”. But, hang on; this claim by the Czech authorities relates to an event in 2014. So it is not following the Salisbury “novichok attack” at all. In fact it predates it by 4 years. Why has Raab make this mistake?

One possibility; the story is true. Petrov and Boshirov were in the Czech republic in 2014 and can be linked to this explosion. However the hazy details in which Harding claims “Last year investigators… received new information” are not. Czech authorities knew about this soon after the 2018 discovery and exposé of the Petrov and Boshirov passports, but they have sat on it until now. And today it is being released for political purposes – now is the time, just after Biden has issued yet more sanctions against Russia, and just as Kiev is trying to ramp up pressure on Russia over Donbass to max out the pressure on Russia. This theory would also explain why Raab (who will be in on this) makes that ‘little’ slip of thinking that the 2014 explosion happened after the 2018 Skripal poisoning.

At any rate I have no doubt that the West (in particular the UK) uses these events in a purely political game. Another example would be the Litvinenko episode. When he was assassinated in 2006 the British government gave only a very muted response. It was only after the 2014 coup in Ukraine and the secession of Crimea that a public inquiry was held which very publicly held Russia responsible.

Faking it for lockdown

At the start of this pandemic this web site was (literally) screaming for the government to introduce lockdown measures. I simply read the statements from the WHO, saw what was happening in Italy and applied my basic GCSE level knowledge of biology. I was right. The UK government (Johnson, Hancock, Vallance and Whitty) delay in introducing the first lockdown earlier led to the completely needless deaths of tens of thousands of people.

And now the question is whether they are not restricting too much. The key point here is this; had the lockdowns and quarantines been driven by medical-scientific reasons with the aim of reducing the spread of the virus then they would have been brought in at the beginning. But by bringing them in later (especially quarantine for arrivals to UK shores – which measure was brought in almost exactly one year too late) and maintaining them in the face of dramatic falls in deaths (excess deaths are currently below the seasonal average) we can ask; are the reasons for these lockdowns and quarantines anything to do with medical science? Or, perhaps, they’ve just discovered a taste of restricting the liberty of the population?

Continue reading “Faking it for lockdown”