May's attempt to reheat a Cold War won't let her off the hook!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
21 March 2018

Over the past two weeks, everything from the hysteria of the anti-Russian headlines to May's and Johnson's denunciations of Putin's sinister plot against Britain, recalls the Cold War - but with a major difference.
    The Cold War was the means by which the rich capitalist powers attempted, over many decades, to destroy anything positive that remained of the 1917 workers' revolution which overthrew the capitalist system in the then Russian Empire.
    But May's Cold War is just a pathetic fudge to cover her own back.  Her aim is to win the support of her party's warring factions and that of a good number of Labour MPs into the bargain.  Above all, she's trying to divert voters' attention from her government's criminal austerity and Brexit chaos.  Just as with Brexit, this Cold War nonsense is all about votes and securing these politicians' careers!

The making of the Russian scarecrow

We'll probably never know the truth behind the Salisbury attack.  Were the attackers mafiosi or secret service operatives?  No-one can be sure in this society.  Whether "legal" or "illegal", these thugs all use the same methods to serve their power-mad masters, whoever they may be!
    What tells us volumes, however, is how the government rushed to blame the Russian state and what sort of flimsy "evidence" it used.
    Evidence 1:  the target was a former Russian spy who sold himself to MI6.  Therefore, Putin "must be" behind the attack.  But why take revenge on a minor spy who served 6 years in jail in Russia before being allowed to come to Britain, 8 years ago?  And why would Putin risk a scandal in the middle of his presidential campaign for that?  This is just not serious.  Putin is undoubtedly a dictator, but he's certainly no fool - unlike Boris Johnson!
    Evidence 2:  the nerve poison used was officially described as "Novichok".  Having named this poison as Russian, it followed that the culprit "had to be" the Russian state.  QED!  Never mind that it still remains to be proved that this poison was made in Russia!  And never mind either, that as part of the Cold War arms race, one of the western powers' activities was to duplicate all the weapons produced by the Eastern block, especially chemical weapons.  In fact, this was precisely the job of the Porton Down facility, just a few miles down the road from Salisbury!  So, who can vouch for the origin of this "Novichok" agent?  No-one!
    If this is not "fake news", what is?  But then, haven’t the British state and its secret services a long record of fabricating news to suit their objectives?  Who can forget Blair's dossier on Iraq's WMDs?  We were told that Britain was under attack.  These were lies.  But 15 years on, the population of the Middle-East is still paying for a war launched on this fraudulent basis.  Today, once again, May is trying to threaten us with another home-made scarecrow.  Let her lies be treated with the contempt they deserve!

A revealing farce

However, with the scandal around Cambridge Analytica, May's Cold War is turning into farce.
    The reports released by undercover journalists leave little doubt.  This company undertook large-scale manipulation of social media during the last US presidential election (in support of Trump), but also during the Brexit referendum (for the Leave camp).
    So far, the finger of blame had been pointed at a massive hacking operation allegedly orchestrated by the Kremlin.  But as it turns out now, the conductor of this hacking orchestra was actually British, since Cambridge Analytica is a subsidiary of SCL Group, a London-based British company.
    SCL Group boasts:  "For over 25 years, we have conducted behavioural change programs in over 60 countries and have been formally recognised for our work in defence and social change."  In other words, its business is manipulating public opinion!
    Cambridge Analytica simply used the same methods on which giant social networks such as Facebook built their colossal profits.  First it hacked tens of millions of Facebook accounts to collect users' browsing history and personal interests.  And then, instead of using this data to force "targeted" adverts on users, as Facebook does, it pushed "targeted news" (a lot of it fake, of course!) onto users' pages, to generate an emotional response in Trump's or Brexit's favour.
    What more needs to be said?  Yes, their so-called "democracy" is a farce - but hasn’t that always been the case, given the monopoly of big business over the media?  And yes, the British state's dirty tricks department is alive and kicking without needing Putin's help - but that's nothing new, either.
    In other words, May's posturing in defence of Britain's "national interest", whether against Russia or against the EU over Brexit, always conceals the same lies and the same vested interests - which have nothing to do with the interests of the working class!