It was Dr Samuel Johnson who famously declared in 1775 that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. The 2017 variant is to make unsubstantiated claims about the ‘Russian threat’ to Western democracies.
In her speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in the City of London on Monday evening [Nov 13], British Prime Minister Theresa May escalated the anti-Russian rhetoric still further with a deeply paranoid address that sounded as if it had been penned in 1953 by the late U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy during one of his drunken binges. [Text of speech here on gov’t of UK website.]
Any psychologists watching Mrs May would have had a field day identifying plenty of examples of what mind doctors call ‘projection’ – i.e. attributing to others what you are guilty of yourself. In fact every one of May’s claims against Russia can be more accurately applied to the UK and its closest allies.
The prime minister stated, “It is Russia’s actions which threaten the international order on which we all depend.” Really, Mrs May? Was it Russia who illegally invaded Iraq in 2003, causing the deaths of up to one million people and the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)? Was it Russia who destroyed Libya in 2011, turning the country with the highest HDI in Africa into a failed state and jihadist playground on the shores of the Mediterranean? Was it Russia who illegally bombed Yugoslavia, without UN approval, in 1999? Or Russia who backed radical jihadists – many of them linked to Al-Qaeda – to overthrow the Syrian government? In fact it was the US, the UK and its allies who did all these things. But let’s not mention them, shall we, prime minister?
Read also: Russia-gate spreads to Europe, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Nov 16, 2017
May says her aim is “to defend the rules-based international order against irresponsible states that seek to erode it.” That’s just like the American gangster John Dillinger saying his aim in 1933 was “to defend banks against individuals who seek to rob them.”
The truth is that it’s been British governments – acting in tandem with the U.S. – who have done most to erode international law in recent decades – and not Russia.
The prime minister boldly declared that “Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbass,” but it was the Americans and their NATO/EU allies who fomented conflict in Ukraine in 2013/14 by supporting and bankrolling an uprising against the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovich – in which neo-Nazis and virulently anti-Russian ultra-nationalists provided the cutting edge.
Concern over these developments among the Russian population of Ukraine led to a referendum in which the people of Crimea overwhelmingly – and quite understandably – voted to return to Russia. The Maybot – who “consistently voted” for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2002/3 – characterizes this exercise in democracy as “Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine”. If you’re going down this line, you may as well talk about “Britain’s illegal annexation of Gibraltar,” or the “UK invasion of the Isle of Wight”.
May declared that “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe”. Well, that’ll be news to the people of Serbia who saw resource-rich Kosovo – the cradle of their civilization – forcibly taken away from them following a NATO bombing campaign.
May – like the good neocon she is – accuses Russian “state-run media” of planting “fake stories,” but interestingly fails to come up with a single example. Well, I’m a kind soul, so let me help her. Here are some examples of ‘fake news’ – all of which have appeared in the Western media.
- The fake news that Iraq possessed WMDs in 2003 – which led to the illegal invasion of that country and catastrophic consequences for the whole world.
- The fake news that Muammar Gaddafi was about to massacre the civilians of Benghazi in 2011 – which again led to another bloody Western military intervention.
- The fake news in 2010 and other times too that Iran was on the brink of developing a nuclear bomb.
- The fake news that Russians had hacked into the Vermont electricity grid.
- Or (no sniggering at the back, please) the news that Russia used ‘Pokemon GO’ to try to “sow division” in the run-up to the U.S. election.
Is that enough examples of fake news for you Theresa, or would you like some more? Yes, fake news is threatening democracy, but its Western Establishment-approved and Establishment-disseminated fake news – the sort you read in neocon-approved ‘sensible newspapers’ and media outlets – which has caused the most damage. Where did those Iraqi WMDs get to, I wonder?
As for unsubstantiated accusations of Russian meddling in Western elections, again the chutzpah of Mrs May is off the scale. Britain and the U.S. have seen it as their right to meddle in elections around the globe for decades. Political scientist Dov H. Levin calculated that the U.S. attempted to influence foreign elections 81 times in the period 1946-2000, and that figure does not include support for military coups and other ‘regime change’ ops.
The UK has often been heavily involved in these nefarious anti-democratic schemes too – for example, in Iran in 1953 when Mohammed Mossadeq was toppled and in Yugoslavia in 2000. In his biography of Slobodan Milosevic, the ousted Yugoslav leader, Adam LeBor notes that over $70 million was paid to the anti-Socialist Serbian opposition – with the ‘Otpor‘ youth movement receiving much of the funding. “And who was behind Otpor?” LeBor writes, quoting a “high-level Serbian source.” The answer: “The U.S. and Britain.” What a surprise.
Again, being accused by a prominent member of the UK Establishment of interfering in other countries’ elections is like being accused of tax evasion by Al Capone or being told to sit up straight by the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The hypocrisy is truly mind-boggling.
The prime minister, having accused the Kremlin of trying to “sow discord” in the West then came over all Churchillian, by declaring she had a “very simple message for Russia.”
“We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us.”
Well, I and millions of Britons have a very simple message for Theresa May. We know what you are doing, too. You are not ‘strong and stable’ but a weak and wobbly prime minister who is trying to distract us from the domestic failings of your own government by trying to scare us witless over a non-existent Russian threat. You are hoping that by raising the specter of the Big Bad Russian Bear we will forget about your promise to cap household energy bills, the scandal of rip-off train fares and the impact of cruel and heartless austerity policies on millions of people across the country. And ignore the fact that you’re giving the country absolutely no leadership or direction on the issue of Brexit.
The safety and security of Britain is indeed threatened, prime minister, not by the bogeyman Putin but by the disastrous policies that yours and other British governments have followed in recent years. Policies such as illegally invading Middle Eastern countries and backing violent jihadist groups to topple secular governments as in Libya and Syria. Or lifting control orders on terrorist organizations like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and allowing them to travel unhindered in and out of the country. Who was the British home secretary when that happened? Why, one Theresa May!
Ironically on the day that May was trying to give us sleepless nights about the Russian ‘threat,’ the BBC – the national state broadcaster – had revealed details of something truly nightmarish. Namely a secret deal which allowed some 250 fanatical IS fighters to safely leave the city of Raqqa – under the gaze of US and British-led forces.
We know too that the British authorities have said that Britons returning from formerly IS-held territories in Syria and Iraq should not be prosecuted. The security implications of these policies are very clear. Once again, who is it that’s putting British citizens’ lives at risk?
Someone in Russia sent some tweets, Theresa May warns the entire Western world may crumble, RT.com, Nov 14, 2017
Exclusive poll shows public has lost faith in Theresa May’s handling of Brexit negotiations, by Kate McCann, senior political correspondent, and Ashley Kirk, data journalist, The Telegraph, Nov 7, 2017
Public confidence in the Brexit negotiations and Theresa May’s ability to strike a good deal with the EU has fallen to the lowest it has ever been, a new poll has revealed.
Labour Party pulls clear of Tories as new poll shows voters prefer Corbyn over May as PM, The Independent, Oct 7, 2017
Theresa May’s crisis has deepened today with a new poll showing Labour surging ahead of the Conservatives, while the public now also has a clear preference for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research now has Labour five points ahead of the Tories, who are still reeling from a coup launched by ex-ministers to overthrow Ms May. Mr Corbyn, fresh from a conference at which he cemented his position, has a two point lead over Ms May in terms of who the public would prefer to be running the country. R
The numbers represent a stunning reversal in fortune for both the Tories and Labour, and the poll heaps yet more problems on top of Theresa May, whose authority had already been undermined by Boris Johnson even before her catastrophic conference speech [October 4]…
The study by BMG Research gives Labour a four point increase to 42 per cent, while the Conservatives fell two to 37 per cent. In a separate question on who would make the better Prime Minister, Theresa May fell two points to 30 per cent, while Jeremy Corbyn rose four points to 32 per cent…
Daily Mail publishes major scoop… the location of RT’s evil London lair
The Daily Mail, the very symbol of journalistic integrity in Britain (not), has scored a major coup – it has revealed the location of RT’s UK office. We haven’t been able to confirm the number of investigative journalists involved in finding the address – presumably by googling it.
The biggest surprise to dedicated Daily Mail readers will be that RT is not operating from a hollowed-out volcano on a super villain’s tropical island, but actually from a gray, aging (cold) skyscraper.
The Daily Mail article, jumping wholeheartedly upon the now-speeding anti-Russia bandwagon in Britain, carries the breathless headline: ‘Putin’s lying machine: Revealed, how Russia’s spewing out ruthless propaganda from a Moscow-funded TV station – right next to Westminster’.
But surely the real headline is in the opening line: ‘The 16th floor of Millbank Tower, and Vladimir Putin is pumping out truth — of the Russian kind’.
The man himself is in London, writing stories about Universal Credit and Grenfell Tower. Now that is a story! Does he want tea?
Maybe he was using some of the “state-of-the-art equipment [which] allows for slick, sophisticated graphics that mimic the output of respectable international news broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN and France 24.” By state-of-the-art, we assume that means it uses electricity.
Doesn’t ‘state-of-the-art’ sound sinister though, especially when you’re just “mimicking” other broadcasters. It will be news to the people (yes, real, educated, independently-thinking people) who work at RT UK that their stories are just mimics. The interviews they’re taking are just mimics. The editor who is shouting at them to meet a deadline is just an angry mimic.
In his ‘special report’, journalist Neil Tweedie then gets outright hurtful: “There is nothing respectable about Russia Today… whose UK offices these are.” For the record, the office has a tap which provides still and sparkling water on demand. Is that not the height of respectability?
He describes the sinister scene that can be found in the office, an office unlike any other: “Journalists… are busy at computer terminals and video mixing desks, preparing bulletins and programs and telling the news Kremlin-style.”
In his writing and attention to detail, Tweedie displays the characteristics of any top-level Daily Mail journalist – he manages to spell the name of the head of RT UK incorrectly… and get his job title wrong.
He has a good attempt at it though, with Nikolay ‘Bogachikhin.’ That’s a long name, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was tired and hungry when writing. He should have ordered some ‘Bogachikhin’ – Kremlin-style, of course.
Tweedie has unearthed some “unapologetic quotes” which will send shivers down readers’ spines. “Nikolay Bogachikhin, RT news chief in London, was unapologetic during a BBC interview when speaking about the channel’s Middle East coverage. ‘We are bringing stories that matter from the Russian perspective,’ he explained. Russia is a big player. The Russian view of the situation [in Syria and Ukraine] is so much different from the Western vision.’”
Different perspectives are not something the Daily Mail can be expected to tolerate in modern Britain. Unless the different perspective happens to be in a bikini, then MailOnline will explore it rigorously.
It can’t be emphasized enough that the RT offices are staffed by people working independently to try and do a good journalistic job. You’ll struggle to find a Russian, and Putin only calls at Christmas.
Tweedie’s final line fits well in a campaign which appears to want to dehumanize anything associated with Russia. “The RT functionaries are beavering away behind their screens. And it can mean no good for the country that offers them a home.”
If you replaced ‘RT’ with ‘Daily Mail’ in the line above, would many disagree?