Those who are inclined to believe that things are not as they appear have smelled some fishy undertones from the moment Theresa May and her ambassador Boris Johnson began condemning Russia of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal. It’s not that such an act would be beneath Russia, but the direct manner in which they accused Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the hit was so out of the realm of traditional decorum – even if they do believe wholeheartedly that he was behind the attack – that it was impossible for many not to ask: what is going on here?
To reach the conclusion that it was a Kremlin-ordered attack so immediately after the attack took place, so long before the course of due process could have been plausibly carried out, led Russia to plea for a public display of the evidence that May, Johnson, and others had found so damning. Apparently, the extent of that evidence, according to May, was that the poison used in the attack was a “military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.”
This statement alone begs immediate questions.
“Of a type developed by Russia”.
So, is it a type of poison developed solely by Russia, and if so, is Russia the only nation who could plausibly get their hands on it?
Such distinctions are extremely important considering the dead-certain tone which May and her underlings have struck in blatantly accusing the Kremlin of attempted murder against a Russian national and his daughter. Yet, May herself admitted that it was possible Russia had simply ‘lost control’ of the poison.
‘She said Russia either engaged in a direct attack against Britain or lost control of the nerve agent it developed.’ (Washington Post)
Even with this statement – if the sole evidence of Russian guilt – casting direct doubt onto May’s adamancy, she went on to double down on the narrative that it was, without a doubt, Russia and Vladimir Putin who ordered the attack, and that such an attack – conclusion of guilt having already been reached – warranted the expulsion of Russian diplomats from England, and perhaps more serious action.
‘Britain will not tolerate such a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil,” she warned.’
May’s apparent lack of conclusive evidence to be turned over to the public was seemingly further exposed when she issued an ultimatum to Moscow telling them to explain how Russia carried out the attack. Without what would be tantamount to this forced confession from Putin himself, ‘she will conclude it was an “unlawful use of force” by the Russian state against the UK.’
We thought that the evidence was beyond reproach, held under lock and key in Scotland Yard. Why would May insist Moscow confess, with the alternative being the assumption that Russia had carried out the attack.
Admit your guilt or you will be assumed guilty.
This is the modus operandi that the British leadership has taken in the wake of the Skripal attack, and Russia hasn’t blinked or given into any compelled admission. To be fair, denying involvement in even the most obvious of situations which they are involved in – Ukraine, for example – is also Russia’s modus operandi. Even if guilty, they’ve denied involvement in the Skripal attack from the start, and now they’ve taken denials a step further.
Russian officials are now taking the stance that it was British intelligence that carried out the Skripal attack.
It’s the narrative that even Russia has been apprehensive to espouse, until now. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Russia was not behind the attack – and the reaction by the UK being so abnormal has fueled those who subscribe to such a theory – then who was?
Naturally, the next culprit – and remember, we’re just trying this on for size, here – would be the group accusing another party most loudly.
Russia, having denied their role several times, is now playing the role of a child who knows they didn’t take the cookie from the cookie jar. Eventually, they will turn to the little brother who has been pointing the finger at them and point it right back.
There’s no way to tell at this point who is telling the truth, a reality that is largely the result of underwhelming evidence. Preconceived notions will undoubtedly color which side you are more inclined to believe. But, even leaving UK’s bloodhound-like approach to doling out justice at Russia’s doorstep aside, the case has another tie that makes it worth further investigation. Nothing, now or ever, should be taken for granted, as self-investigation is always necessary in the age of dishonest reporting.
Skripal has been confirmed to have ties to Christopher Steele, the man you either see as facilitator of the greatest smear campaign of our time or Trump-investigating hero, which again depends on which side of the aisle you fall upon. And their ties do not appear to be insignificant.
‘Skripal's time handing intelligence to Britain overlapped with Steele's meteoric rise at MI6, where he became the agency's preeminent expert on Russia.’ (Business Insider)
Steele’s ties to MI5, the American Democratic party, and now Skripal are too coincidental to be simply ignored. And the counter-accusation of Russian officials against British intelligence, and by extension Britain’s highest ranks of leadership, is unlike any public sparring in recent memory.
Get your popcorn ready, folks, and let’s hope that this whole debacle doesn’t end up mushrooming into something that both sides come to regret.
Will the real Skripal poisoner, please stand up?