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With the Skripals mysteriously recovering from their poisoning, the danger of this moment is that those that preceded it will soon be forgotten.
On the fourth of March, in the sleepy British cathedral town of Salisbury, an ex-spy named Sergei Skripal was poisoned by an assassin with the most deadly nerve agent known to man.
The Russian government was immediately blamed by a shocked and outraged world. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assured the people of Great Britain that “there’s no doubt” that Moscow was responsible. In a large and sudden leap forward in cold war escalations, Russian diplomats were thrown out of countries all around the globe, including my own Australia, in a show of solidarity with the United Kingdom. It was the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in history.
Two months after his earth-shattering assassination, as the world stared spellbound at the weekend’s immensely popular PR spectacle of a royal wedding, Sergei Skripal was quietly discharged from the hospital he’d been staying at. The BBC reports that he is walking and approaching complete recovery.
Wait a second. Haven’t I seen this Python skit before?
So to recap, an ex-spy who had been retired and strategically irrelevant for years was reportedly poisoned by the Kremlin with Novichok, a scary Russian-sounding word which refers to a group of extremely deadly and fast-acting nerve agents that start shutting down the body’s muscles and respiratory system within 30 seconds to two minutes. Except in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia it was several hours with a leisurely stroll, a meal and beers in between.
The poison was placed in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase. Actually no, they got that wrong, it was the air vents in their car. Wait, no, that doesn’t work either. Maybe it was administered via weaponised miniature drone! Wait, no, it was the family’s car door handle. Actually, scratch that, it was the front door of the house. Definitely the front door of the house. We’re absolutely sure. Either that or Sergei Skripal’s favourite Russian cereal. They were given 100 grams of Novichok. Wait, no, that’s ridiculous, we retract that. Okay, maybe we have no idea what happened. Oh hey, their pets were completely unaffected by the poison. Let’s incinerate them.
Oh, and Johnson’s claim that the Porton Down laboratory had assured him “there’s no doubt” that Russia was behind the poisoning? Turns out that was just a bald-faced lie; Porton Down said no such thing and it was never its job to make such an assessment. Johnson lied, and both the Foreign Office and British mainstream media attempted to cover it up; tweets were deleted, transcripts were re-written, and narratives were given a good spin of historic revisionism by asserting that the UK government’s unequivocal insistence that the Kremlin poisoned the Skripals had been merely a “suggestion”.
And now both Sergei and Yulia Skripal, alleged victims of a poisoning by highly-trained assassins using the deadliest nerve agent ever created, are doing fine. But you’re still supposed to fear and hate Russia. Just don’t think too hard about it or remember too much.
Remember Aleppo? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; media outlets hardly ever talk about it anymore. It’s almost like they want us to forget the horror stories they told us about how the city that had been occupied by good, noble freedom fighters was about to be taken by an army of depraved psychopaths who wanted to rape women, burn children alive and shoot civilians in their homes. Back at the tail end of 2016 though, it was all you ever heard about. The “fall of Aleppo”, they called it. If the west didn’t intervene to stop Damascus and Moscow from retaking East Aleppo from the good-hearted rebels, everyone there would be raped, tortured and butchered by the soulless army of the Syrian government.
Well, Moscow and Damascus did recapture East Aleppo, and it turns out that everything we were told about it was a lie. The atrocities the Syrian Arab Army were accused of intending to commit proved to be completely unfounded, those “freedom fighters” were predominantly cruel al-Qaida affiliates, and the city is now thriving and bustling with busy marketplaces. But after all the constant apocalyptic alarmism, the mass media outlets who’d been warning of all the horrific crimes against humanity which would surely be committed after the “fall of Aleppo” forgot all about the city once they were proven completely wrong about everything.
Aleppo was pushed down the memory hole. It’s a non-thing now. Turns out Gary Johnson was ahead of the curve.
How about Libya? Remember Libya? Libya’s that country that got pushed down the memory hole the second the western empire got the regime change it was after. Before Muammar Gaddafi was mutilated in the streets to the sadistic cackles of Hillary Clinton, we were all told with increasing urgency that humanitarian interventionism was needed because Gaddafi’s troops were doing evil things like taking Viagra to help them commit mass rapes against Libyan civilians. Now Gaddafi is dead, we know that both the case for humanitarian interventionism and the Viagra-for-rape stories were lies, and Libya is a humanitarian disaster with an open slave trade after western interventionism created a failed state.
Where are all those cries for humanitarian interventionism in Libya now? Now that the nation is infinitely worse off than it was under Gaddafi?
Doesn’t matter. Memory hole.
Time and time again, we’re fed these deceitful narratives to manufacture support for the agendas of the western war machine, and when the truth begins to surface that we were lied to once again, the news churn moves on and we’re distracted with something else as the old narrative is shuffled back beyond the reach of memory. Maybe a year or two later we wonder to ourselves “I wonder what ever happened with that major news story? I should Google it,” but nothing comes up and most of us shrug and move on.
And now a very suspicious and possibly Christopher Steele-related silence has descended on the matter of the Skripals, to the point where Sergei himself can walk out of the hospital and barely cause a blip in the news, and nobody can talk to either of them but everyone pretends that’s perfectly normal. This case – which points very clearly to a mountain of lies and cover-ups by the British government and its affiliates – is now being shuffled out of the news cycle and replaced with vapid nonsense about Meghan’s dress and Trump’s latest obnoxious tweet.