Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 5 April 2018

After the Chilcot Report into the Iraq War had revealed that Tony Blair had convinced himself with unjustified certainty that Iraq’s President, Saddam Hussein, had weapons of mass destruction, even though intelligence reports had not established “beyond doubt” that they existed, we would have expected the British Government to be more circumspect about any subsequent claims of foreign culpability in dastardly deeds.

Yet, less than two years after the Chilcot Report, we are witnessing the British Government overstate its case that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent attack on the former spy Sergei Skripal. Based on the claim by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that the UK’s chemical weapons watchdog had revealed that Russia was definitely responsible for the attack, the NATO countries have, with the same alacrity joined Britain in the diplomatic spat with Russia.

Boris Johnson had told a broadcaster on 20 March that the chief executive of the government chemical weapons experts at Porton Down was “categorical” that Russia was responsible for the attack. It has now emerged that what they had actually said was only say that while tests had shown the sample was of a military-grade nerve agent from the novichok family, they could not say whether it was of Russian origin.

Russia has now called for a UN security council meeting to discuss the Salisbury nerve agent attack and to challenge a letter previously sent to the UN by Theresa May that asserted that Russia was likely to have been responsible for the attack.

Boris Johnson’s logic is synonymous with the syllogistic line of argument that we were taught by our British colonial masters. It goes like this:

  1. “Porton Down identified nerve agent as military-grade novichok.
  2. Russia has produced and stockpiled small quantities of novichok.
  3. Russia has a motive for targeting Sergei Skripal.”
  4. Therefore Russia was responsible for poisoning Skripal.

He pointed out that 28 countries had been so convinced by the British case that they coordinated the decision to expel Russian diplomats from their countries. QED.

Scotland Yard and all that

It is indeed shocking that the NATO countries have embarked on this diplomatic boycott of Russia without the presentation of any concrete evidence on which a charge could be conclusively be pinned on Russia.  As normal procedure, after such a criminal act of nerve agent poisoning, we would have expected Scotland Yard to spring into action and to at least give us some idea that criminal investigations were in progress. We would thus have expected all the punitive actions by Britain and her NATO allies to follow only AFTER the Russian Government had been found to be culpable in the assassination attempt. It is disappointing that we have not been briefed about criminal investigations being underway and any progress being made!

Compare that with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 13 February 2017 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Kim was attacked by two women with VX nerve agent. The following day, the Malaysian police arrested a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman and a 25-year-old Indonesian woman and intimated that they knew who the North Korean operatives were who had fled to North Korea. Still, at that stage, the Malaysian Government did not embark on the sort of diplomatic histrionics that we are seeing over the Skripal poisoning.

Now if the Royal Malaysian Police Force can apprehend the perpetrators of the Kim Jong-nam assassination attempt the day following the incident, it is disappointing that the legendary Scotland Yard has so far come out with nothing.

If the global fake news over Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction is to be instructive, the world community has to settle for nothing less than foolproof evidence if we are to accuse any country of skulduggery.

The Borisceptics have posed the question whether Russia would do such a low-down thing on the eve of Putin’s re-election and their staging of the prestigious World Cup. That is a valid point to ponder for, as old Holmes would say:

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact…”

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