Earlier this week, over 130 Russian diplomats were expelled from over 20 separate countries. It was billed as a “massive show of unity”, and claimed as further evidence of Russian guilt. The familiar chorus repeated, that there is “no plausible alternative explanation”.
So what was the strong evidence that the UK government shared with their allies? It must have been compelling in order to move the EU, US et al. to make moves of solidarity.
It’s a slide show.
Now, that might not sound like much. But a slide show can be very persuasive. It could have witness testimony, scientific test results, photographic evidence. It could explain motive, provide alibis for other suspects. It could be hundreds of pages of hard evidence laying out a perfect, bulletproof case.
It could be all of those things…but in this case it’s not.
Slide 1: Timeline
An incredibly rough timeline of all the important events, skipping over the crime in one bullet point and then telling us in more detail what May said about it and when. Also there’s a map. A good start.
Slide 2: Accusations
Un-sourced accusations of Russian disinformation, a proven lie about who has access to Novichok-class agents and a scary red-tinted picture of men in bio-hazard suits.
Slide 3: What Novichok Does
A nice diagram of the human body, an incredibly basic summary of what nerve toxins do, and then the number of people who thought they might have been poisoned but weren’t.
Slide 4: Other Stuff We Blame Russia For
A long list of things Russia either might not have done, or provably did not do.
Slide 5: What We’re Going to Do About it!
This actual official PDF from the UK government has a picture of money hanging from a washing line to depict “dirty money”. What makes it even funnier is knowing some intern in the basement was given the task of doing an image search for “money laundering”, and this is all he could find. That coupled with the “UK Border” sign, because they mention the border make this slide my favourite. Also “new legislation”, when and what it’s about don’t matter apparently.
This is it. This is the totality of Her Majesty’s case for Russian guilt in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
How compelling do you find it?
Would you accept this as proof of guilt?
Is it advisable to base important foreign policy decisions on this document?