Monday, 19 March 2018

Only A Fool Believes The Intelligence Agencies

Putin's regime, in Russia, is a vile, right-wing, authoritarian, anti-working class regime. Its brand of nationalist populism it has spread internationally, along with others who share that ideology, be it Trump and his backers in the US, Farage and the Tory Brextremists in Britain, Le Pen in France, Wilders in the Netherlands, or similar groups in Italy, Austria an Germany. 

Putin came to power in Russia on the coat-tails of the counter-revolution conducted by Boris Yeltsin in the 1990's, with the support of western imperialism. The strength of Putin arose on the back of the devastation of the Russian economy, and of Russian workers living standards that the western economists, and the other right-wing ideologists imposed upon the country. In fact, that created similar conditions, but in a far more extreme version, that the years of those same conservative economic policies had imposed on large sections of workers in the US, and the rest of Europe, which also created the conditions for the rise of their own right-wing, nationalists and authoritarians. 

That is one reason that the attempts of the Tories, and the Tory media to try to construct an amalgam, a guilt by association, of the Left with Putin's regime are so absurd. Putin is one of theirs, not one of ours. Workers and socialists have at least as much reason to hate Putin and his vile regime as we do the regime of Trump, or May, or to oppose the reactionaries like Le Pen, Wilders, the Five Star Movement et al. 

Whether Putin is responsible for the attack in Salisbury or not, Putin is an enemy of the working-class, and Corbyn was quite right to have done what Theresa May did not do, and could not do, which was to side unequivocally with the Russian workers, women, LGBT community and so on that daily face attack and oppression from Putin's regime. But, the Tories, and Tory media's job has been facilitated by the fact that they are not the only ones who appear to have failed to notice that Putin and his regime is part of the right, and an opponent of the working class. Sections of what passes for the left, the fake-left, idiot anti-imperialists are so blinded by their desire to be seen as opponents of imperialism, that they are ready to align themselves with any regime, any political forces, no matter how reactionary, vile and anti-working-class, so long as those forces self-declare themselves to be “anti-imperialist”

Unfortunately, because Corbyn himself has been prepared to give such fake left elements house room, it enables the Tories and Tory media, not to mention the Blair-rights in his own party, still looking for any opening to return to the attack, to tar him with the same brush. Its time that Corbyn came out clearly and decisively as the champion of the working-class globally, including wherever the working-class is confronted by these anti-working class forces, be it in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, or anywhere else. Its time to make a clean break from all of the Stalinists, and other apologists for those anti-working class regimes. 

But, Corbyn was also right to argue that we should not simply believe what the intelligence services say, let alone what the Tories claim those intelligence agencies have said. Its not necessary to ignore the reactionary nature of Putin's regime, or even to doubt that Putin's regime is probably responsible for the attack in Salisbury to recognise that. These are entirely different things. If it were shown that Putin's regime did not carry out the attack in Salisbury that would not at all change the fact that his is a thoroughly nasty regime. If it was shown that he did carry out the attack, that likewise would not be any kind of reason for believing the intelligence agencies, in general. 

Indeed, it would be highly irrational to do so. Only a fool believes what the intelligence agencies say. That is not because, in the case of Iraq, and so on, they got it so spectacularly wrong, with the consequence that more than a million Iraqis died, and that the whole of the Middle East was subsequently thrown into turmoil that opened the door for Al Qaeda and ISIS, in Iraq, Syria and Libya, which in turn led to a massive refugee crisis, which has then flowed over into the EU, once more fuelling the power of the right-wing populists and nationalists. It is quite simply that the main function of the intelligence agencies is to lie, to spread disinformation. If the intelligence agencies are not lying, not spreading disinformation they are not doing their job! So, why would anyone, other than a fool, believe the word of any organisation whose main function is to systematically lie? And, it is not possible to lie to foreign powers, convincingly, whilst telling the truth to the people of your own country! Every rational person will conclude that given that the job of these agencies is to lie, we should begin from the basic assumption that we can believe nothing they say. That is not the case with just the British intelligence agencies, it applies to every intelligence agency wherever it is. It is one reason that the very existence of such agencies is an affront to democracy. How on Earth can it be justified that we as taxpayers should hand over large amounts in taxes to finance such agencies over which we have no real democratic control, and whose function is actually to lie to us? 

Britain was one of the first countries to develop such agencies. The novels of Ian Fleming and others are works of fiction, but Fleming and others who write these spy novels are themselves former members of those secret intelligence services. Even the obnoxious Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail, a couple of weeks ago, pointed out that undoubtedly its not just the Russian secret services that bump off their opponents, but that the British state is likely to do the same thing. In fact, we know they do, because years ago, now, the activities of the British state of operating a shoot to kill, assassination policy against members of the IRA was revealed, and we know that the British state routinely uses drones to assassinate individuals in foreign lands, either itself or via its US allies, including recently the murder of the 12 year old son of the British jihadi, Sally Jones. 

In World War II, British intelligence, in order to prevent Germany from finding out that radar was being used to identify their incoming planes, spread stories throughout Britain about the power of carrots to improve night vision, as an explanation of how British pilots were seeing the German planes. A vast, and complicated web of lies and deceit was created, using double agents, and avatars, false flag operations and so on to spread disinformation to Germany about the D-Day landings. Corpses were dug up, and given fake papers, before dropping the bodies in the sea to be picked up by Germans, who were then provided with this disinformation, about where the invasion would take place. After Britain was able to decode the German Enigma codes, as a result of the work of Bletchley Park, they went to great lengths to prevent the Germans knowing they had broken the code, including allowing attacks on British cities, and shipping, by the Germans to proceed, where it would have been impossible to have hidden the fact that they knew about the attacks, because they had broken the code. 

In the 1950's and 1960's, the US spread all sorts of stories about UFO's, and alien encounters in order to cover the fact that the U-2, and Blackbird spy planes they were developing, and flying over Russia, had been spotted, by US citizens. 

More recently, we have seen that the secret intelligence services used undercover agents to infiltrate perfectly legal groups in Britain, such as environmentalist groups, and so on. They even lied to the extent that these agents established relationships with some of the members of those groups, and had children with them! And, for the working-class, there is even more reason not to believe these intelligence agencies. In the 1980's, Thatcher described the hundreds of thousands of British miners, their families and supporters, as being “the enemy within”, in a similar way to how Putin describes his opponents in Russia. These same intelligence agencies bugged the offices of the NUM, they tapped phones, they routinely opened the mail of anyone vaguely on the left, they had 200 paid spies operating as paid union officials, in a range of trades unions, and they used this intelligence to prevent miners moving around the country, closing down entire pit villages, blocking them off via the imposition of what was effectively martial law. 

No, we have no reason to believe anything these intelligence agencies say, and a progressive, social-democratic government should commit itself to closing them down, as the affront to democracy that they are. These are after all, the same intelligence agencies, along with other sections of the capitalist state, who ex spy, Peter Wright, in his book Spycatcher, described as having plotted the potential to bring down even the moderate government of Harold Wilson in the 1960's, as well as various assassination plots. They are the same kinds of forces that elsewhere were responsible for bringing down the democratically elected government of Allende in Chile, and its replacement with the vile regime of Thatcher's friend the butcher Pinochet. 

Only a fool or a knave would believe anything that the intelligence agencies say, but it is hard to know whether the Tories, the Tory media, and the Blair-rights are one, the other or both, as in the last week, in order to attack Corbyn they have displayed a gut-wrenching sycophantism, in their attempts to demonstrate their uncritical gullibility, in accepting whatever those agencies say. In fact, the arguments that some of them have put forward have been so ridiculous that, they almost encourage anyone who does believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, to question themselves. For example, they have tried to present Porton Down as being some innocent research establishment rather than what it is, the centre for the development of biological and chemical weapons for the British state over the last three-quarters of a century. 

One ridiculous argument used was that the Novichok nerve agent was first developed in the USSR, and so it is only Russia that could be the source of it. That's like saying that penicillin was first produced in Britain, and so any penicillin used anywhere must have come from Britain! It's clear that Porton Down knew the composition of the nerve agent, to be able to compare the samples they have examined. But, it's equally clear that other states could equally well have produced such an agent, including any that wanted to direct attention to Russia. There are plenty of states that would like to do that, at the moment, in the run up to the World Cup in Russia. 

Another argument used was that the reaction from Britain and elsewhere helped Putin in the days before the Russian elections, by enabling him to present a climate in which Russia is being hounded. But, that argument is as inane as the argument from the other side that the attack was a false flag operation to divert attention from Brexit! If anything, the attack undermines Brexit, because it shows just how isolated Britain will be outside the EU, just how much it depends on other countries, and just how insignificant it is on its own. But, likewise, those that have argued that the attack helped Putin ahead of the elections, are the same people who have noted that the Russian elections are a sham, and that there was never any doubt that Putin was going to be elected with a huge majority. Creating the conditions for further sanctions against Russia, further undermining its economy, and the potential for the cancelling of the World Cup, would be far more damaging to Putin, than any potential electoral benefit he might have obtained. 

The Tories have thrown up all of these ridiculously weak arguments because to have put forward the strong arguments that they should have put forward would have required them to do what Corbyn had said all along, which was to provide clear evidence, and on the basis of it, instead of simply imposing the window-dressing responses against Russian diplomats, all of which, as in the past, will gradually be reversed, to have introduced all of the measures that Labour has already been proposing, of bringing in the Magnitsky Act clauses, of clamping down on the billions of pounds of dirty money laundered through London and so on. But, of course, the Tories do not want to do that, because the Brexit economy depends on all of that dirty money laundering and the Tories, particularly the Brextremist wing of the Tories, has had millions of Roubles channelled to them by those Russian oligarchs, who came to power as part of the gangster regime that Yeltsin and then Putin established, with the help of western imperialism, and western banks, on the bones of the Russian people.

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