Rixon Stewart – July 22, 2020
Months of speculation about the supposed threat posed by Russia have finally paid off. All the conjecture about Russian interference in Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, Moscow meddling in the British general election and allegations about the Skripals poisoning have helped create a monster in the western public’s mind.
Or so the Western powers hope. Whether the Western public sees Russia in this light is another matter but these stories have helped pave the way for the introduction of new security legislation.
It remains to be seen if history repeats itself but a similar process happened with Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator was lavishly armed and equipped by the West during his war with Iran. Then, when the war was over Saddam had outlived his usefulness. Whereupon the Western media was full of speculation about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and the potential threat they posed to the West.
As it turned out Saddam never had any WMD. It was all pure speculation, but it conveniently prepared the Western public psychologically for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In this regard the media played a key role. Once it had been decided to invade Iraq, and before that decision had even been announced, the media went to work, psychologically softening up an unwitting public.
Now a similar course of events is unfolding with Russia. Once again the media is full of stories about the threat it poses, while the West is imposing trade and economic sanctions on Moscow, just as it once did with Iraq.
Although this doesn’t mean that the West is about to invade Russia, it does suggest preparations for an increase in hostilities are underway. This may result in more sanctions, more trade embargoes and ultimately increased support for anti-Russian groups in regional conflicts, like Ukraine.
NATO forces now also routinely deploy for drills close to Russia’s borders, with one of the more recent taking place in the Black Sea. To better grasp how the Russians view these drills, imagine if the Russian navy were to conduct large-scale drills in the English Channel or the Gulf of Mexico. NATO deployments close to Russia have the same objective. The aim is to put pressure on Moscow.
While Putin and his military commanders don’t seem unduly alarmed by this they are concerned. As NATO creeps ever closer to Russia’s borders with regular drills, now often annual, the intended effect is incremental and cumulative. Sowing mistrust and tension with Moscow, so that it would only take a relatively minor incident to ignite a much bigger confrontation.
Is this what the powers that be want? Do they really want war with Russia?
We would suggest that they are keeping their options open for now. So that if all else fails, including pandemics, mass-vaccinations, racial conflict and lockdowns, they have one final option: war with Russia.
The following report illustrates how the powers that be, and the media, are working to keep the notion of a “Russian threat” alive in the public mind, just as they once did with Saddam’s WMD.
British security services to get extra powers in wake of Russia report
Simon Murphy – The Guardian July 22, 2020
Legislation to clamp down on foreign spying is being considered by Downing Street in the wake of a damning report laying bare the impact of Russian influence in Britain and accusing the government of “badly” underestimating the threat posed by the Kremlin.
Under the new legislation, foreign agents would have to register in the UK in a move modelled on similar requirements in the US and Australia.
The long-awaited Russia report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee said ministers in effect turned a blind eye to allegations of Russian disruption, highlighting the failure to conduct any proper assessment of Kremlin attempts to interfere with the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The government, which has rejected calls for an inquiry into Russian meddling and said it had seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU referendum, is now looking at new security legislation.
Asked whether the legislation represented a move to close the stable door after the horse had bolted, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “First of all it is true we are looking at that legislation but secondly, even as the report itself recognises on page 6, it says we’re clear about the government’s response and it’s now begun to take a more assertive approach … so I think we are already taking a much more forward leaning approach to all of this but you’re right, we also think this is the time, potentially, to have additional powers.”
The report, which questions whether the intelligence community took its eye off the ball in its response to Russia, calls for new legislation to replace the outdated Official Secrets Act. Current laws enabling action against foreign spies are “acknowledged to be weak”, the report says, adding: “In particular, the Official Secrets Acts are out of date – crucially, it is not illegal to be a foreign agent in this country.”
Pressed on whether action should have been taken earlier given the delayed report was available to be published in October last year, Shapps said: “It’s not the first time that we’ve talked about these additional powers. Of course, today is an important moment to flag them up and we want to be able to look at the activities, clamp down on the activities of hostile states which threaten the UK but no individual power on its own is going to resolve that; it’s another tool in the armoury but it’s not going to be the only solution.
“And, of course, we do have very broad powers in existence already for our intelligence and security agencies …”