The Salisbury Incident

Article by Johnny Gaunt & Harry Rogers

The Salisbury Incident

As many governments across the Western world begin to exile their Russian diplomats back east, the most fundamental questions relating to the Skripol case remain not only unanswered, but the faintest sniff of any real evidence is yet to make an appearance before the public.
There is no doubt that Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, et al, have worked hard to achieve a consensus amongst Nato and EU states, and has had some success in persuading other leaders to condemn and react to the unproven Russian involvement.
Many of these leaders, perhaps, have reasons of their own for latching on to such a flimsy agreement. France, Germany, Italy, and Holland are among a number of nations reeling from their own domestic political turbulence. Collapsing centrist parties have watched their traditional voter bases divide and file off to the left and right, as all over Europe the political polarisation hardens. Being seen to be part of a new unified front will, they hope, strengthen their domestic positions. It is a familiar response from desperate neoliberal administrations; instead of taking responsibility for the declining interest in their policies, they would rather fall back on the policy of fear in a dangerous attempt to appear ‘strong and stable’.
Manipulating fear of a common enemy of the West, brings with it certain benefits for the ruling classes. Not only does it present a superficial ‘toughness’ that leaders can exploit at home, it also makes large sections of the public easier to control and susceptible to further misinformation. Chomsky suggested: “Democratic societies can’t force people [to go to war, in this case]. Therefore, they have to control what they think.” You could also finish that sentence, “Therefore, democracy must be undermined.”
With the Skripol case we have seen the UK mass media swing into action in order to ramp up public fear, obliterate individual analysis and control the narrative of how Brits, loyal to their country, should respond. The BBC, ITN and Channel4 News outlets have each backed Theresa May’s assumptions and reactionary behaviour towards Russia. Jeremy Corbyn’s perspective, that the government needs to wait until real facts emerge about who is responsible, has been purposefully vilified and distorted by these networks, to echo George Bush’s infamous, “You’re either with us, or against us,” mentality. The BBC, for their flagship political debate programme, Newsnight, even went so far as to alter Jeremy Corbyn’s flat-cap to look more like a Russian bearskin, before pasting the doctored image onto a deep red backdrop of the Kremlin.
Heightening hysteria of a Russian threat is win-win politics for many hawkish MPs, who will gain increases in their arms industry share profits, and political leverage to turn up Defence spending. Simultaneously, the shrill is loud enough to drown out domestic criticism of such scandalous acts as cutting free school meals for a million kids from struggling families.
Of course, the main driver of much of this remains ideology. The golden rule of the British establishment has long been to stamp out any sign of socialism long before it can develop into anything meaningful; and it has done an excellent job since destroying Michael Foot’s 1983 manifesto.
It has been a long 35 years for the principled socialist. But in that time, things have changed radically. The commercial scraps from military technology found their way into public homes in the form of computers around the same time. Within 10 years, the world-wide-web had organised the internet into something accessible by the new generation, for whom computers were as everyday as television. In 2005, one of this generation, began hooking up Ivy League universities to his social media software, Facebook. The use of social media data by companies such as Cambridge Analytica to subvert global democratic processes is a negative outcome of the growth of ICT. Whilst big-data is a worrying aspect of the growth in digital industry, the ongoing rush by both Google and the Chinese government to bring about the singularity in artificial intelligence, where machines are equal in intellectual ability with human beings, is even more worrying for those of us concerned about the future of militarism. We are told that there are great social benefits that flow from AI, but the thought of autonomous weaponry making decisions on who lives and dies in the many so-called theatres of war is truly scary, and no longer just the dystopian rambling of science-fiction writers.
Whatever the truth behind the Salisbury Incident, we have witnessed the UK establishment’s completely cynical exercise in ramping up public fear of war, through the demonization of a major state. This behaviour is nothing new and has been used unsparingly since the end of the second world war; however, since 2001 and the commencement of the War on Terror, this fear and war mongering has intensified and become more frequent. These are the desperate actions of an ideologically bankrupt set of inept politicians; and, they are not exclusive to the Tory Party.
However, the establishment’s persistent use of its mainstream media arm to concuss the public into consensus, appears to be losing some of its punching power. This has been in no small part due to Jeremy Corbyn’s consistent message of doing the right thing, as in this case where he urged restraint before rushing to judgement. Nevertheless, the governments in Nato, will continue to use the threat of war to justify increasing expenditure on more and more technologically sophisticated methods of arm’s length killing, mostly of the dispossessed, in countries that don’t, or seem unlikely to, conform to Western hegemonic ideology.
Prevailing facts surrounding incidents such as the Salisbury poisoning, become almost irrelevant once the narrative has been set out; the public simply needs to choose between loyalty to, or betrayal of, Britain. Manipulation of public opinion in this way will no doubt carry on until it is either fully exposed for what it is, or until a genuine anti-war government can turn us away from the ‘unavoidable’ conflicts we are purposefully being steered towards.
Johnny Charles and Harry Rogers are both members of the Labour Party and Ceredigion Stop the War. On 28th April, the panel event, “Why the UK needs a new Foreign Policy” will take place in Aberystwyth, and will feature talks from Mark Serwotka, Lindsey German, Adam Joannes & Ayla Gol.
Advertisements

Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (part 1)

 

This is a ‘must watch’. Explains the mechanism seen across London and other big cities of social cleansing. It’s the same one as is being used on the NHS, education, Fire service, police etc…. run them down, privatise and sell off the land. It’s the dispossession of high value land from low income people. It’s […]

via Failed By The State – The Struggle in the Shadow of Grenfell (Part 1) — Think Left

LILITH LIES DEAD

 

Lilith Lies Dead

They shot Lilith today,
Because she ran away,
They ended her short taste of freedom.

With her beauty so proud,
We should all cry out loud.
Tourist zoos? Do we really need them?

All those fat bureaucrats
In their murderers hats,
Should we continue to feed them?

There was no need to kill,
A ground up sleeping pill,
Would save her from permanent sleepdom

Now Lilith lies dead
With blood on her head,
Our tears are all shed,
Whilst we lie abed
I am seeing red,
They shot Lilith dead.

Harri Rogers, In bed at Pencnwcau, 11th November 2017

PEACEMAKER

Seeing Red LogoPeacemaker

Cowboy movies in the fifties
Showed us Colt forty five power,
Flickering up on silver screen,
Long barrelled pistols every hour.
The lawmen and the cavalry,
In the street and behind the rocks,
Killing bad guys and Indians,
Using spitfire substitute cocks.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker.

Went to the toy shop with my mum,
At Christmas nineteen fifty five,
To choose my holster and my gun,
I was the Cimarron Kid live.
The outlaws used peacemakers too,
The anti hero movie stars,
With their chiselled looks and cars,
Showed us all how to kill a man,
Upfront guns, hole and corner plan.

I chose it
Peacemaker,
My silver
Peacemaker,
My cowboy
Peacemaker
Gun.

A toy to you but real to me
This is what movies did you see,
Identified an enemy,
Shot them in Technicolor dreams,
False heroes on cinema screens,
Killing while Geronimo screams,
Long before truth showed wounded knee,
Those lies behind land of the free.

They called it
Peacemaker,
The Frontier
Peacemaker,
Model P
Peacemaker,
Life taker
Peacemaker,
Colt four five
Peacemaker,
Las Vegas
Peacemaker?

Harri Rogers, In the hut, Aberbanc, 3/10/2017.

Poem – Centre Ground

Centre Ground

The wild buddleia and the straggly old man’s beard,
Running rampant on the waste ground by the railway.
Can this be the place that they call the centre ground?
Where democracy and truth die between the weeds?
Where the bindweed strangles freedom in the sunshine?
Where the brambles riot as nettles choke the land?
Honest folk are liars made by giant hogweed,
Sown by fake news vendors that have no hearts to bleed.
Surely now we understand, this thing centre ground,
Where nothing good or wholesome ever shall be found.

On the train to Reading 11th August 2017.

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri

From California to Cardiff via Gaza and Missouri
Drone manufacturers rub their hands with glee
Their pals the police chiefs and all the military
Wait with bated breath for each new insurgency

There at the lectern next to some flowering plant
Politicians stand and lie just like Charley’s Aunt
All those perfect promises move from shall to shan’t
Funny how Yes We Can turned into No You Can’t!

Harry Rogers, Aberbanc, 20th August 2014

Radio Activist Weekly Almanac Special Mayday Edition.

This is a special Mayday edition of the Radio Activist Weekly Almanac with music from Blind Willie McTell, and Memphis Minnie, an interview with Red Poets of Wales founder member Mike Jenkins, a Tony Benn speech outside the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth in 2003, and part one and two of an historic radio show from the original Radio Activist himself, Studs Terkel, called Bound For Glory The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie.

Radio Activist Logo 2