1. Cui Bono? (Who benefits?) — think about the ‘news’ and analyse it from different angles away from the usual outlets. Politically on her knees, May needs a ‘Falklands moment’ – she’s also desperate for a friend after souring relationships with Trump’s America and the whole of Europe: no mean feat. Trump (or rather, his operators, ref: spy-master Mike Popeo, now Sec of State) needs to get Russia out of the UN and to stop it thwarting US plans in the middle east. ‘What can we do to help? I’ll do anything…’ you can almost hear Theresa May’s voice on the phone to Washington.

Meanwhile, riding high on his incisive – and legal – victory assisting Syria to defend itself from an illegal regime-change based on trumped-up charges (no pun intended), Putin strolls towards another expected election victory. Even if it’s a ‘fix’ – does it really matter? Putin’s Russia is no more about to invade Britain than Fiji is.

The Syria operation was Russia’s demonstration of its military capability with all its Top-Gunski prowess. Russia has proved it is far from low-tech and incompetent. Putin really doesn’t need to have an ex-spy taken out in such an unprofessional way to assure his popularity, or to scare anyone. Syria was Putin’s demonstration to the world that Russia means business, so much so, it made the Western newspapers stop reporting on anything to do with Syria and gawp in awe. For a moment there, the propaganda machine ran out of lies. It took months and some blokes in White Helmets hiding guns before they could make some more up.

2. Timing. Think of the ‘Putin’s Missiles’ headline in the Sun – when that airliner was shot down over Ukraine. The ‘evidence’ was gathered, story written, edited, designed, 3 million copies printed and distributed across the UK, almost before the bits hit the ground. Before it was even proven it was indeed a missile and from where it was launched. 

In Salisbury, that the reporters arrived BEFORE the emergency services to the aid of Mr Skripal and his daughter is telling. Also the fact that May gave almost no time for a response to her ‘foregone conclusion’ – indicates no interest in fact-finding, thus exposing a scripted narrative. The Russian response has already been written out of the script, before they’ve even found the right page. 

Another aspect of timing is: how long do you think it takes to find the budget to build a new research establishment in these times of austerity? Sending out tenders… evaluating quotes and proposals? Finding which budgets need to be cut to pay for this more important project? A few weeks or months?

Well, in a time when you can’t afford to feed your own starving children in schools, it took less than 24 hours … to find £48 million. Which leads me to 3 – Money…

3. Follow the money. Related to ‘cui bono’ and ‘Timing’ is the fact that £48 million – just this morning – has been earmarked for a new bio-chem weapons research establishment at Porton Down – coincidentally 4 miles from where the poison attack happened. Doubtless top secret, doubtless it will be over budget. The budget was found within days of the attack. And someone, somewhere, has probably got the additional £2 million shoved in his back pocket (making it a round £50m) to keep stum.

This is clearly a badly written play that has been scripted from start to finish, with the curtain falling before the Russians have had a chance to utter a meaningful line towards the plot.

Martin Ison

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