Information warfare in the Skripal case
"Findings in the Skripal caseGouverner par les Fake News, p. 284, Jacques Baud, 2020
During the broadcast of "C dans l'aire" on France 5 on 16 March 2018, the "experts" have no doubt that Vladimir Putin is directly involved. However, the British accusation is only circumstantial. It is not based on facts, but on potentialities and hypotheses, as Theresa May herself explained on 14 March 2018: "On the basis of [her] ability, combined with her past record of state-sponsored assassinations - including against former intelligence officers whom they consider legitimate targets - the British government has concluded that it is very likely that Russia is responsible for this irresponsible and despicable act".
This is a pattern that follows exactly the same pattern as conspiracy theories: you put things together on the basis of prejudice, not facts. By combining the same elements in a different way, Britain could just as easily be accused of the same crime. What some have done...
Theresa May immediately dramatised the incident and invoked NATO solidarity, even though all the details were not yet known. By treating it as a "chemical attack" on Britain, and not just as poisoning, it was deliberately placed in the upper register of an international conflict.
But here too, Westerners are not consistent. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is invoked, but its procedures for resolving disputes are not applied: in the event of a "situation that is deemed to be ambiguous or gives rise to a concern about possible non-compliance", the state that is asked for clarification has ten days to respond. Here, however, Britain has given Russia only 24 hours. It also refused to provide details of the incident, as well as poison and blood samples requested by Russia in order to take a position. A bit like fearing a different truth.
Britain thus applied a strategy of tension, which could suggest a "Wag the Dog" syndrome, aimed at creating national unity and international solidarity around an "external attack". This does not necessarily mean that the British government poisoned the Skripal, but that it would have opportunistically exploited the incident for political purposes (...).
Thus, contrary to what the British claim, there are plausible alternatives to their accusations. The problem is that 'reasonable doubt' is systematically avoided. The field of doubt is so vast that only bad faith gives certainty. As in the case of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, our so-called "rule of law" states make do with vague presumptions in order to engage in conflicts whose outcome they do not know. They are supported by traditional and state media (such as France 24, France 5, BFM TV, etc.) which are totally aligned with the official versions, without any critical spirit with regard to very incomplete information.
In 2016, the geostrategic context is tense: the Ukrainian crisis drags on, the West is losing ground in the Middle East, the British government is overtaken by Brexit, social movements begin to shake the Macron presidency, NATO doubts transatlantic relations and the European spirit is cracking under the pressure of immigration. It was difficult not to see the haste of the Western response - when we did not even know the exact nature of the poison - as an attempt to distract public opinion from their national problems.