Skripal and Syria... The Imperative of Criminalizing Russia
By Finian Cunningham
September 11, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - There is a direct link between Britain’s sensational allegations against Russia in the Skripal affair and NATO’s losing covert war in Syria.
That’s not just the opinion of critical observers. Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations made the explicit link when she called an “emergency meeting” of the Security Council earlier this week.
The Security Council meeting was convened only hours after British counter-terrorism police released video images claiming to identify two Russian men, whom it said were responsible for the alleged poison assassination attempt on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in England earlier this year.
The council meeting also followed swiftly on the heels of British Prime Minister Theresa May telling her parliament that the culprits were Russian military intelligence officers acting on orders from the Kremlin. May did not give supporting evidence. It was bald assertion.
In this short clip, Britain’s envoy to the UN Karen Pierce tells reporters the rationale of the British government in convening the emergency session at the Security Council. The envoy reveals more than she intended.
She says that the United Kingdom and its allies would “continue to contest the Russian view of the world in which their state operatives can carry out these sorts of attacks [in England] and can encourage and support the Syrian authorities in their attacks on civilians.”
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Pierce added: “So this is actually a continuum, if you like, of contesting that view of the world where you can act outside the norms of international rules and civilized behavior.”
Evidently, the British government is trying to criminalize both Russia and Syria at the same time, over the same alleged crime – unlawful use of chemical weapons.
That would account for why the British authorities have been unduly hasty in accusing the Russian state of culpability in the Skripal affair. By undermining and smearing Russia as a “pariah state”, it is then possible to stifle Russia’s crucial military support for Syria. This is especially urgent given the juncture in the Syria war where NATO-backed militants are staring at final defeat.
The US, Britain and France have all recently threatened to use military power against the Syrian government forces “if” the latter launch chemical weapons attacks. That of course is a cynical pretext for the NATO states to find a legal cover for aggression against Syria.
The allegations of “imminent” chemical weapon use by the Syrian government are also baseless since Damascus no longer possesses any such munitions, or indeed has any military need for such weapons.
What the Skripal affair is therefore trying to do is inculcate in the public mind that Russia has no scruples about using chemical weapons to kill people, which in turn reinforces the notion that Moscow’s Syrian ally also has no scruples about killing people with toxic materials.
The NATO claims of Syrian national forces using chemical weapons have been shown to be false. In recent days, Russian envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzia demanded that the US present details of a Pentagon target list of chemical weapons sites in Syria. The US balked.
By contrast, there is a healthy skepticism among the Western public about official allegations against the Syrian government. Pink Floyd’s legendary singer-songwriter Roger Waters speaks for many when he recently called out the NATO-backed so-called rescue group, the White Helmets, as being implicated in orchestrating chemical attacks for propaganda purposes.
In order to overcome the propaganda problem of demonizing the Syrian government and giving itself a pretext for launching military strikes on Syria, the NATO powers therefore have to boost their flagging “false flag” narrative of chemical weapons responsibility.
By criminalizing Russia for allegedly using chemical weapons “on the streets of Britain”, it is a ploy to augment the dubious narrative criminalizing Syria.
Here is British envoy Pierce speaking again: “The reason the Security Council has not been able to act on CW [chemical weapon] use in Syria is because of Russia. There is a circularity here. Russia is the key to upholding the universal ban on CW use. And the world would be better if Russia would join us in making that ban absolutely watertight.”
Britain’s use of the word “circularity” is certainly apt – albeit for a completely different reason. The actual circular logic is to criminalize both Russia and Syria over chemical weapons. Russia, it is calculated, will then not have the authority to use its veto power at the Security Council in order to prevent the three NATO powers on the council from launching their much-desired military attack on Syria to salvage their losing covert war.
The reckless haste by which the British authorities are accusing Russia over the Skripal affair – a haste which makes a mockery of legal due process and diplomatic norms – can plausibly be explained by the urgency of the NATO powers to free up their military plans on Syria.
How can the release of video images allegedly of two Russian nationals in Britain be possibly attributed to the Kremlin? Two Russian men – if indeed that is genuine information – are supposed to be “compelling evidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an assassination. It is a preposterous leap of imagination and a travesty of legal process, but it is revealing of an execrable British prejudice of Russophobia.
One possible theory in the Skripal affair is that the two alleged Russian men were members of organized crime. Reports emerged this week that former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal was working with Spanish state security services to crackdown on Russian underworld gangs. It is possible that the gangs uncovered Skripal’s meddling in their illicit business model, and simply sent a couple of heavies over to Britain to deal with him. But how such a hypothetical account can be twisted by the British authorities to be “proof” of Kremlin involvement is a telling question.
It is significant that the British authorities have flatly refused requests from the Russian side for information to identify the alleged Skripal hitmen. For example, British regulations require fingerprints to be submitted by all visitors to the country. Why have the British refused to give fingerprints to Russian authorities which could then lead to an identification and perhaps explanation of the two alleged suspects?
The British don’t want to know the truth, because their official narrative of criminalizing the Russian state is the imperative one. And that is because of the urgency for NATO to find a legal, political cover for its military aggression against Syria.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
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