Britain has now been joined by the United States, France and Germany in blaming Russia for an alleged murder plot on British soil. No verifiable evidence has been provided by the British authorities to support their shrill claim of Russian violation.
It is as insane as it is pathetic, as it is perfidious. A modern-day parody of William Shakespeare’s admonition “thou protest too much”.
In the unprecedented joint statement issued Thursday by the four NATO powers, it was stated, “The United Kingdom thoroughly briefed [sic] its allies that it was highly likely Russia was responsible for the attack”.
The “attack” refers to an apparent poisoning assault on a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal (66), and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, in the English town of Salisbury on March 4. How fitting a medieval town should feature in a medieval-like inquisition.
Skripal had been exiled to England eight years ago in a spy-swap with British MI6 for whom he had betrayed Russian state secrets a decade earlier. Both father and daughter have reportedly been hospitalized. But notably no photographs of the pair have been published to confirm their whereabouts or their condition.
Almost from the moment of the apparent attack on the Skripals, British politicians and media have hysterically speculated that Russian state agents carried out a “vendetta”. Within days, the British authorities claimed to have “evidence” that the nerve toxin allegedly used was a Soviet-era chemical weapon, known as “Novichok”.
This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May went even further to blame Russia for the attempted murder of the Skripals. She announced various sanctions in the British parliament, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from Britain. All the world’s a stage, to quote Shakespeare again.
The British have quickly engaged in intense rallying of the United States and European allies to support their position of impugning Russia. The latest joint statement of “solidarity” demonstrates that the British have managed to muster an unprecedented line-up of inquisitors condemning Russia.
Moscow has lamented Britain’s “absolutely irresponsible conduct” in this tawdry affair. London has shown deplorable disregard for due process and normal diplomatic relations to recklessly orchestrate a crisis.
The recklessness is almost incredible. Britain has not presented any hard evidence to back up its claims of a Soviet-era nerve toxin, nor how this alleged chemical is provably connected to the Russian state.
It is clear from the joint statement that the US, France and Germany are relying on Britain’s “brief”, and yet all four jump to the conclusion that “the only plausible explanation” for the apparent poison attack is Russian responsibility.
That a supposed criminal investigation involving a seemingly sophisticated chemical weapon could be conclusively carried out in a matter of days beggars belief. More plausible is that the British official position was a foregone conclusion – to blame Russia – and now to instill this prejudice in other willful NATO allies.
For the British to argue that a Soviet-era chemical incriminates Russia is fatuous beyond words. There is every reason to believe that “Novichok” nerve agents are possessed by several states, including the US and Britain. The Americans were involved in the “clean-up” of chemical warfare laboratories in Uzbekistan as far back as 1999, as previously reported by the New York Times, where the Soviet Novichok agents were purportedly synthesized.
As for the British, their chemical weapons laboratory at Porton Down – eight miles from Salisbury where the Skripals fell ill on March 4 – must have its own stock of Novichok if indeed the British laboratory carried out a positive identification last week. “If” being the operative word here.
The point is that any number of state agencies could be in possession of the deadly nerve toxin. How the British attribute it solely to Russia is not verified. The claim relies entirely on the say-so of the British authorities. The same disreputable authorities who helped concoct lies about WMDs to wage a genocidal war on Iraq in 2003.
According to the UN-affiliated Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russia destroyed 100 per cent of its declared arsenal of lethal chemicals at the end of 2017 in compliance with the Convention of Chemical Weapons ratified by 165 nations in 1997. The Americans have not yet fully complied, retaining a portion of their toxic stockpile.
Also according to the convention, Russia has a right to inspect the allegedly offending sample that Britain claims to have identified. But all legal requests from Moscow for confirmatory access have been refused by the British.
This is a travesty of due process. Britain is making grave accusations against Russia of violating its sovereignty and attempted murder. Yet the British are not presenting their supposed evidence. Instead, London has sought to escalate the crisis by imposing sanctions on Russia, and enlisting the support of the US, France and Germany to amplify its dubious charges against Moscow.
Russia has rejected all charges. Moscow says the hypothesis of a revenge assassination on a disgraced former spy who had been living an open and undisturbed life in England for nearly a decade is absurd. Especially given the timing of Russia’s presidential elections this weekend and the hosting of the forthcoming World Cup tournament. For Russia to carry out such an act defies logic and credibility.
Britain’s ridiculous 24-hour “deadline” this week on Russia to “provide answers” over the hypothetical, but undisclosed, “evidence” is so impossible it also indicates the unfolding of a propaganda script. When Russia “failed” to comply with the preposterous demand that was then cited as “more proof” of Russian guilt.
The litany of similar false and baseless charges against Russia over the past four years – from aggression in Ukraine to shooting down a Malaysian airliner, from Olympic doping to election meddling – all follow the same propaganda script. Allegations without evidence, repeated ad nauseam. Thanks to dutiful, supine Western so-called news media.
Britain and its allies are engaging in an appalling degradation of diplomacy and the rule of law. With utter arrogance, ironically they claim to be upholding law and order, while in reality they are pushing the world towards hell in a handcart.
Adding insult to injury, British premier Theresa May deprecated Russia’s “disdain for the gravity of the matter”; her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Russia of being “smug”; while the Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson sniped that Russia “should shut up and go away”.
Russia is being wronged, not for the first time. But her integrity and fortitude will be vindicated – again. The allure of British Cold War spy propaganda has long ago expired. The stale and impotent residue will eventually show just how bankrupt the British rulers and their NATO allies have become.
In their bankruptcy they are desperately trying to start a war. But their criminal insanity will be their own downfall. In the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.