Executive Intelligence Review


Questioning, ‘Where’s the Proof?’ from within the British Empire

March 28, 2018 (EIRNS)—New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday that her government would not be expelling any Russians. “We’ve done a check in New Zealand. We don’t have Russian undeclared intelligence officers here,” she asserted.

An article in Britain’s Guardian called the announcement “perplexing,” given that

“New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes signals intelligence collection and sharing network including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., so it has better knowledge than most as to what evidence the U.K. has to indicate that Vladimir Putin’s regime ordered the hit on Sergei Skripal.”

The Queen’s dominions are not to make independent decisions, the article warned: “Lilliputians such as New Zealand usually think long and hard before taking an unpopular stand—particularly amongst friends.”

Then, from Australia, Tom Switzer writes in The Interpreter, the publication of the Lowy Institute, a top Sydney-based think tank, poses the question on the Skripal poisoning charge: “Skripal: The West Escalates, But Where Is the Proof?”

Switzer writes that this week, Australia, the U.S., and several EU nations joined forces with Britain to expel Russian diplomats, based on accusations that Vladimir Putin is responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy, turned MI6 double agent, Sergei Skripal.

Yet, there is still no evidence—none—says Switzer about the identity of the culprit: One can accept that the Russians are suspects but

“still agree with the skepticism of leading British conservatives Peter Osborn, Peter Hitchens, and Rachel Johnson (Foreign Minister Boris’s sister), that it is better to take our time to get to the bottom of this crime.”

This is particularly true since Putin had no reason to poison Skripal and his daughter (who are still alive in hospital), and good reasons not to. Moscow did not kill Sergei Skripal after they arrested and jailed him in 2004, nor did they deny him a spy swap deal with Britain in 2010.

Switzer cites even hostile Putin critics who see that Putin may be right, such as Owen Matthews who argued in The Spectator March 17 that Putin “cares deeply about giant sporting events like the World Cup; he has invested billions to make it a success.” Why tarnish that “vast effort” to execute a single retired spy?

More to the point, Switzer cites Britain’s escalation of the Iraq War 15 years ago this month, and the subsequent Chilcot Inquiry finding that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.

“Indeed, governments should always make evidence-based pronouncements rather than relying on assertion and bombast, which is what has happened in the Skripal case....

“And remember,” he warns,

“it [Russia] still has a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons. In these circumstances, waging hot wars along Russia’s borders (the Baltics, Ukraine), further isolating the Kremlin and expelling hundreds of Russian diplomats for unproven crimes could provide real extremists and hyper-nationalists in Russia with a cause to exploit.”