“Putin is going to use it [the World Football Cup Competition] in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics”
British Member of Parliament, Ian Austin, March 21, 2018
“I think that your characterisation of what is going to happen in Moscow, the World Cup, in all the venues – yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect of Putin glorying in this sporting event”.
British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, March 21, 2018
Every morning a BBC website carries images of the front pages of Britain’s newspapers. These are good indicators of what most of the papers want to persuade readers to believe, because with two exceptions they are crudely prejudiced in the xenophobic style that has become so rife in the UK in recent years. The Financial Times and the Guardian, alone, maintain dignity and objectivity while such publications as the Daily Mail and the Sun (both selling over a million copies a day) are intent on disparaging people who are not true-born English folks.
The Mail is poisonously racist, not only concerning those who don’t look “English” but those who don’t think in the same bigoted way that the Mail presents its opinions. As noted by the Editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop, “the Mail is owned by the Rothermere family . . . The current Lord Rothermere’s father loved Great Britain so much he went to live in France as a tax exile. He then passed on the nom-domicile status to his son who doesn’t actually pay the normal amount of tax despite owning a newspaper that’s owned through various tax companies in Bermuda.” How patriotic.
An independent inquiry into UK press standards concluded that “there are enough examples of careless or reckless reporting to conclude that discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers is a feature of journalistic practice in parts of the press, rather than an aberration.” But this had no effect whatever, as politicians are terrified of upsetting newspapers because they would then face a campaign that could adversely affect their voting base.
Research by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees showed that the Daily Mail and the Sun demonstrated hostility towards migrants that was “unique” among the newspapers they examined in five European countries. And the truly disgusting aspect of this venomous extremism is that so many of the British (well, perhaps English) public appear to endorse it enthusiastically.
Three years ago the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was reported as saying that an offensive article in the Sun “was simply one of the more extreme examples of thousands of anti-foreigner articles that have appeared in UK tabloids over the past two decades. Asylum seekers and migrants have been linked to rape, murder, disease, theft, and almost every conceivable crime and misdemeanor in front-page articles and two-page spreads, in cartoons, editorials, even on the sports pages of almost all the UK’s national tabloid newspapers.”
Given that so many of the UK’s papers are dedicated to spreading ultra-nationalist poison it was not surprising that they verged on the hysterical about a recent incident in England in which a retired British spy, formerly of Russian nationality (he was granted UK citizenship — no problem about being a migrant in his case) was apparently poisoned along with his daughter who was visiting him from Moscow. The headlines were astonishing, even for the UK’s trash newspapers, but as usual there was an unintentional element of humor injected by the Daily Mail which boldly suggested the ultimate punishment: “Should We Boycott Putin’s World Cup?”
It wasn’t a novel proposal, because Britain’s ever-vigilant foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, had already said it was a good idea. As reported by the Daily Mirror, an equally vulgar clone of the Mail and the Sun, “Boris Johnson says England could pull out of the World Cup if Russia if involvement if it is revealed that Putin’s regime was involved in the ‘poisoning’ of former spy Sergei Skripal.” This was confirmed by the Mail which reported Johnson as saying “If things turn out to be as many members suspect that they are, I think we will have to have a serious conversation about our engagement with Russia. And for my part I think it will be difficult to see how, thinking ahead to the World Cup this summer, I think it would be difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way. We will certainly have to consider that.”
Things seemed to be getting serious, but the usual “clarification” was issued, making it clear that Johnson had meant only that there would have to be reassessment of “diplomatic and political presence” at Cup matches, and not withdrawal of the English team. And so the absurd saga continues, with much huffing and puffing and dramatic front page headlines excoriating Russia without the smallest shred of evidence that there had been Russian government involvement in the supposed poisoning.
The British government and media continue to proclaim that Russia was undeniably responsible for the incident, while ignoring the statement on March 20 by Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, that “the OPCW has deployed experts to the UK and they will collect some samples.” When asked about indications of the origin or type of substance alleged by the highest British authorities to be Russian, Mr Uzumcu said he “cannot project the outcome of such technical work,” and that analysis will take “three weeks ahead at least.”
Some of the media have attempted to provide objectivity. For example the BBC reported that Skripal “was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006. He was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. In July 2010, he was one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the FBI as part of a swap. He was later flown to the UK.” The man was a proven spy who had betrayed his own countrymen, and almost the only person to talk any sense about the matter was a former British Ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton, who said that “the fact that [Skripal] blew a whole range of Russian agents, there may be personal animosities there. In most Russians’ minds he would be categorized as a traitor. There are people there who would be delighted to see him dead.”
But balance and objectivity do not sell newspapers, and neither do they provide headlines for politicians who are anxious to jump on publicity bandwagons. Enter the colorful British defense minister Gavin Williamson who announced that “Putin has made it quite clear that he has hostile intent towards this country. We’ve been seeing the build-up of his forces across the Eastern Front and in terms of what they’re doing over many years now – we have to wake up to that threat and we have to respond to it.” Then on March 15 Williamson declared that Russia should “go away and shut up,” which illustrated the maturity of the British government’s approach to international affairs.
The level of official pronouncements was further lowered by yet another Johnson declaration that “By using a specific type of nerve agent known to be developed in Russia, it was a sign that no former Russian agent was immune and no-one could escape the long arm of Russian revenge,” and on March 20 he dragged up the old faithful, Hitler, who is always a winner for attention in the UK. One pontificating politician proclaimed that “Putin is going to use it [the World Cup Competition] in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics” and Johnson hastened to chime in and say “I think that your characterization of what is going to happen in Moscow, the World Cup, in all the venues – yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.”
Hitler and football are major players in Britain’s propaganda war against Russia. Everyone reads about football, and mere mention of Hitler sends British hearts pounding in patriotic fervor. What these people don’t realize is that insulting Russia by bringing in Hitler is a sure and certain way of uniting the Russian people in support of their government and fortifying their present understandable contempt for little Britain. The Russians had some twenty million civilians and over ten million members of the armed services killed in the war begun by Hitler when he invaded Russia in Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. To in any fashion equate present-day Russia with Hitler’s Germany is obscene, malevolent and preposterous to a degree that appears impossible for the British government and most of the media to understand.
The British press and its political puppets are determined to convince the British public that there is a massive threat from Russia and even that the Kremlin influenced the disastrous referendum vote to quit the European Union, the Brexit debacle. The affair of the spy Skripal has provided much ammunition, and the newspapers have been effective in increasing the level of anti-Russian fervor and intensifying international tension. It’s poison, Hitler and out-of-control government ministers that sell British newspapers.