Issue 146: 2018 03 22: Use of Novichok

22 March 2018

Letter to the Editors

Use of Novichok

from Mr Anthony Silver

Dear Sirs

After Chilcot, it is prudent to be cautious over basing a material course of action on the  accuracy and veracity of government pronouncements regarding the use WMD  (of which Novichok is one).  In the Lens of The Week, you ask the question ‘why’,  and in the normal course of events that is a perfectly sensible and reasonable question.

Raising the question does however imply to the reader that, unless an understandable motive is apparent, doubt must be cast upon whether this is state sanctioned action,  rogue elements,  an angle which is going to be increasingly spun over the coming weeks  by appeasers and apologists in order to muddy the waters, or a host of other alternatives which will keep the conspiracy theorists engaged.

It may be more constructive to ask the question ‘why not?’.  It is clear that strategically Russia has a lot more to gain  than to lose by the disclosure – provided it is vigorously denied by official organs; the ‘punishment’ of double agents/defectors is never going to be a casus belli.

Where the sponsors of the action have miscalculated is in the effect that collateral damage has on public opinion.  In Western Democracies it is far harder to manipulate this than under the regimes with which they are more familiar.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Silver

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