by John Ward
In this post, I wish to express strongly my view that – as regards the Skripal poisoning allegations by Her Majesty’s Government – it is time to stop playing politics, and way past the hour at which All Good Legislators and True should accept that the crisis we face is a constitutional one. If it wants to assert it’s sovereignty over a mad Cabinet and a rogue Intelligence Community, then it is now or never for Parliament.
The last 36 hours have demonstrated that a senior member of the UK Cabinet has been forced into a corner where his word as a Minister of the Crown is now seriously in doubt. The only people who can act as a catalyst to further investigation are other MPs…..regardless of Party or opinion.
As predicted by the indefatigable online writer Craig Murray, yesterday the top pointy-head at Porton Down issued an equivocal statement on the “nerve agent” that allegedly affected father and daughter Skripal.
The statement flatly contradicts what Boris Johnson told Deutsche Welle in an interview last week.
Unfortunately for the Foreign Secretary (and in her turn, the Prime Minister) I can now reveal, thanks to the helpful research of genuinely free Europeans, that a previous escapade by the German secret service (Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND) offers a clear precedent for what the Russian government is suggesting: namely, that what we have been witnessing over the last few weeks is very possibly a Western Sting operation designed to discredit Vladimir Putin and his advisers.
Few if any Brits will recognise the code-name Operation Hades. But many Germans can still remember the embarrassing events of 1995 in the Bundesrepublik.
Hades was a BND caper designed to gain access to Russian atomic secrets without attracting suspicion. Some of these elements will be familiar to those Brits with an open mind an and ability to get past the Cold War:
- German officials claimed they had found over 360 grams of plutonium on a flight that had arrived from Moscow
- German politicians and BND spooks immediately insisted they knew that the plutonium came from a Russian reactor
- Chancellor Kohl made the most of what was seen as (at best) poor Russian nuclear security, and took a tough line with with Russia
- As a result, Kohl’s popularity rose dramatically, having been in the doldrums for some time
- The plutonium turned out to have been sourced by the BND itself, and was not Russian.
- The Kohl Government and media then engaged in contradictory leaks to confuse the public.
Caught on the wrong foot at first, the Russians allowed US authorities to ‘help’ them with reactor security. The US delegation was crammed with spies, and – as secrets were lost – Moscow quickly realised it had been conned.
Eventually, Der Spiegel’s investigative team ran an explosive article and blew the BND lies sky-high, concluding that the black op had been “a massive swindle”.
You can follow this link for further information about this earlier scam.
Frau Doktor Angela Merkel remembers the story only too well: Helmut Kohl was her main mentor throughout a meteoric rise in DBR politics. But clearly, she hasn’t learned any lessons from it. She (together with Macron) told the media last week they had no doubts: “Theresa May presented us with certain evidence,” Merkel said, “which would point to the Russian trail in this case”. And Macron added, “The United Kingdom yesterday shared with all [EU] member states the elements of evidence… France was asked for technical cooperation, and answered positively. We reached the same conclusions as our British partners. These conclusions allow us to clearly establish that the substance which was used [to poison Skripal]… originated in Russia”.
Same old same old, then. Before entering German politics after unification, Merkel was a senior DDR leader in the East German communist State. Despite all the help Kohl had given her, she shafted the Chancellor to get the role for herself. Before his even more meteoric rise in French politics, Emmanuel Macron was a senior banker banker with Rothschilds.
Two folks who, I’d imagine, have a lot in common with Boris Johnson.
But one of Merkel’s senior CDU colleagues remains unconvinced: deputy chairman of the CDU Armin Laschet, raised doubts on Twitter, saying: “When you force almost all NATO countries into solidarity, shouldn’t one have certain evidence?”
As we have seen earlier in this now seven-strong series of Slog articles on Skripal, that evidence is not quite as invisible as a snowflake that has been dry roasted in an industrial oven in order to ensure its total evaporation. But it’s disturbingly close to that level of credibility.
To enlarge upon my opening paragraphs tonight, the time has very obviously come for Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to stand up in front of his peers in the House of Commons and explain the Grand Canyon credibility gap between him, Porton Down, and several other objectively reliable sources suggesting that he is TonyBlair2.
Unfortunately, in recent years the Parliamentary convention has, in such matters, become one where specialist committees of MPs grill the Minister involved while 95% of the nation yawns. But there are exceptions.
When caught red-handed with his own Member thrust profoundly into the dark orifices of Newscorp during the BSB takeover scandal, Jeremy Hunt wound up facing a grilling by the entire House.
His defence – “I have done nothing wrong” – was also of the roasted snowflake variety. But thanks to the cowardice of Ed Miliband, he got away with it.
We should not let this happen again. The Hunt defence is not available to Johnson: he is on camera explicitly insisting that Porton Down scientists fingered Russia as the culprit in the Skripal case.
Either he lied, or a Porton Downer lied. Craig Murray’s sources (entirely vindicated by this outcome) suggest that Boris was the liar. As of this afternoon, person or persons unknown have taken down Craig’s post on the subject.
Sometimes, the past really is a guide to the future. I think this is one of those rare cases where Tory MPs need to get beyond blind support for My Party Right or Wrong.
The Skripal Affair is a latter-day Watergate: it is going to run and run, and the Conservative Party needs to stop and think: do I want to go into the next Election with a leadership as badly tainted as this one?
But don’t hold your breath waiting for them to think. Focus instead on the need to call the UK Executive and its military intelligence agencies to account: pressure needs to be built upon the Foreign Secretary to face the music.