Sunday, April 08, 2018

Motives for the Skripal Poisoning Narrative and Sanctions Regime

CounterPunch |  In this episode we discuss the economic and political implications of the attempted murder of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. We also touch upon the long history of collaboration between Russian oligarchs and Western banks and how it fits into the larger neoliberal project pursued after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

Michael Palmieri: Professor Hudson welcome back to the third episode of The Hudson report. It’s great to have you here.

Michael Hudson:It’s good to be here.

Michael Palmieri: So everyone who’s been following the news media for the last week or so has become–even if they didn’t want to be–pretty familiar with the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He was once a double agent for British intelligence and recently there’s been allegations that he’s been poisoned by or attempted to be poisoned by Russian intelligence services. Although much of the coverage seems to be pretty breathless in condemning Russia for an attempted assassination. You seem to have a different perspective or perhaps believe that we should be looking somewhere else and the kind of larger implications of what this may mean. So can you start us off and kind of explain what you see to be going on here right now?

Michael Hudson: Well I was puzzled at first about the whole treatment of the affair of poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter because the treatment is so out of proportion–the reaction is so out of proportion–that it’s obvious that the issue is not about the poisoning itself. First of all there’s no evidence to show Russian involvement. But the important thing to realize is that even if there were a government assassination attempt, the reaction is entirely different things. It’s really about international diplomacy and NATO maneuvering for a military posturing and the reaction has no connection at all according to the poisoning, they’re only using the poisoning as an excuse to wrap a policy that was already thought of and sort through before the actual Skripel Gate occurred. I think anyone who’s seen James Bond movies knows that 07 can kill enemies. And the U.S. assassinates people all the time. It’s killed foreign leaders like the president Allende in Latin America and the whole wave of political terrorism that followed–killing tens of thousands of union leaders, and university professors, and land reformers, and the Obama administration targeted foreigners for drone strikes. Even when this kills large numbers of civilians as collateral damage.

No foreign country broke relations with Britain, or the United States, or Israel, or any other countries using targeted assassination as a policy. So this pretense that Russia has killed someone even without any evidence or with any trial is implausible on the very surface.

So, the question is why are they doing this with Russia? Why are they imposing sanctions and mounting a great publicity campaign? And I think the answer has to lie in looking at why are they doing this now. Timing is the key. So let’s step back a minute and note what seems to be out of the ordinary in the British and US and NATO reaction.