INSTITUT INTERNATIONAL DES ÉTUDES DE PAIX ET PHILOSOPHIE MONDIALE
Directeur, Dr. Thomas Daffern B.A. (Hons) D.Sc. (Hon) Ph.D. (B.A.)
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A JOINT STATEMENT ABOUT TENSIONS IN ANGLO-RUSSIAN RELATIONS,

MARCH/APRIL 2018

 

We the undersigned are British, Russian, European, Indian, American and other intellectuals and philosophers who have long campaigned for better peace and understanding between Russia, Europe, the UK and the rest of the world. We have been instrumental in  organising conferences of Philosophers for Peace in 1985-1986, 1988 and 1990, and again in 1993 and often since then. Many of us  have taken part regularly in meetings of the World Congress of Philosophy.  Some of us are members of International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide and many of us are involved also in a new project, to establish the World Intellectual Forum. Through our contacts and networks, we have links to leading philosophisers and intellectuals all over the world, in Russia, Europe, UK, China, USA India, the Middle East, Israel, Latin America, Africa and so on.

 

We are issuing this emergency statement because of increased sabre rattling in the media arising from the tragic poisoning on 4 March 2018 of two Russians, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, father and daughter, one of whom lives in Salisbury and one in Moscow. They will hopefully recover but their lives are still in the balance.

 

It’s our considered opinion that these tragic poisonings were very unlikely to have been in any way sanctioned at any official level by the Russian government under Vladimir Putin and that any evidence put forward to the contrary by the UK government needs to be examined by an independent international committee of scientific and forensic experts. Responsible voices in the UK have increasingly questioned whether the UK government’s accusations against Russia are indeed accurately based. They must be tested out by genuine experts objectively. We suspend judgment until the actual evidence has been assessed by neutral third parties.

 

A crime has been committed on British soil, and allegations are being made that claim it originated in orders  from the Russian government, but no concrete empirical proof is being given, simply innuendos and agitation.

 

This reminds us of the false evidence that was used to generate the invasion of Iraq in 2003, arguably the worst blow to peace in international affairs for many years, in which the media rushed to accuse Al Qaeda alone of being responsible for the events of 9/11 without any real evidence being produced, and then generated a media storm which resulted in somehow linking the events to Saddam Hussein, and this generated in turn a mass hysteria in the Western mind which somehow made invading a sovereign country legitimate in many minds.  Of course, it wasn’t legitimate but an illegal action under international law but the media colluded in creating a false narrative that impacted on the way events turned out, resulting in the mass deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the destabilisation of the entire Middle East since then.

 

Now something similar is happening. The mass media in the UK has rushed to point the finger at Russia without real evidence being produced. All the available evidence shows that Russia would have far more to lose by authorising this killing, of an agent who had already long ago been sent back to live in the West. Why on earth would Putin now send a hit squad to kill someone they had already let go ? It is unthinkable that President Putin would be that stupid. There is also an unwritten rule that after official “spy swops” you don’t go on and kill those you returned, or the whole system is invalidated and trust breaks down completely.  As intellectuals we have a duty to demand a very high burden of proof this time around. We urge all committed intellectuals to co-sign this letter with us and share it widely among fellow thinkers and responsible intellectual leaders in the UK, Russia and Europe. We cannot stand back and let this hysterical attempt to generate negative feelings between Russia and the UK go unremarked

 

Also possible as a hypothesis, is that someone from another international power, or an “unofficial” influence block inside the UK, has done this killing and then helped manipulate the media in order to blame Russia – why ?  Because they want to destabilise further the friendships that have been building up in Anglo-Russian relations since the ending of the cold war and may simply have a strong case of “Russo-phobia” – because it takes people’s minds off domestic difficulties such as the likely impact of Brexit on the break up of the UK itself ! If they can whip up aggression against a foreign nation through false attacks, it takes people’s minds off critical decisions in the UK regarding brexit and its likely negative impact on the long term stability and well being of the UK itself. It is almost certainly the case that whoever did this killing in Salisbury wants Brexit to succeed and is prepared to use any means, fair or foul, to bring that about.

 

As leading philosophers of peace in our respective countries who worked through  philosophical networks to help bring about the ending of the cold war between Russia (then the Soviet Union) and Europe and the UK and USA, we urge caution to all those in the UK and Russia who would like to turn this sad incident in Salisbury, England into something of major importance.

 

We ask both sides to submit their evidence and contra-evidence to responsible investigating bodies such as the International Court of Justice, and if a crime has been committed and allegations are being made, then let Interpol deal with it, let responsible European, Russian and UK policing agencies be tasked with tracking down the attackers. Let justice be done –  in other words, let us not be too hasty to rush to our condemnations without allowing properly legal authorities to investigate in a responsible manner. Then, whoever turns out to have been guilty, let them be punished according to the law, both domestic and international. As philosophers we suspend judgement until the truth has been established beyond doubt.

 

Russia and the UK are both two ancient nations who have both learned the hard way that only true justice in the end lets a country flourish This is test case in our relations. Instead of hasty judgments, let true evidence and true legality prevail.

 

But the case raises an additional and equally difficult matter. In today’s modern globalised world, conflicts are being fought behind the scenes, by espionage agents, using cloak and dagger methods, or using the internet and cyber networks to spread black propaganda ad infinitum. We have entered a new era of “information wars”. Nobody knows anymore who to believe or how to trust anyone. It is as if our basic understandings of morality have broken-down and with that the distinction between right and wrong. Truth has become “whatever you can convince enough people to believe”. But this is not how the cold war ended. This is not how the UK and Russian emerged out of a long period of hostile relations to recognise each other as free nations both embarked on a search for justice, peace,  prosperity and enlightenment, as are all nations worldwide. We urge therefore that a new international peace treaty be signed in which nations pledge not to use black espionage, black propaganda, fake news and disinformation against each other. Then acts such as this poisoning in Salisbury would be totally ruled out of order, and never permitted, under any circumstances. We ask that the governments of Russia and the UK make such a treaty, and pledge that they will conduct their relations honourably henceforth, and that although they may have policy differences, and may express those openly, they will never stoop so low as to use such underhand methods as covert attacks and killings on each other’s soil, or indulge in false flag attacks against their own citizens.  In turn, once Russia and the UK have signed such a treaty, we will ask other nations (e.g. members of NATO and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States) to co-sign the treaty, and we will hope that the treaty can be adopted by the UN in general, by the EU, in the Middle East and that all nations can eventually sign it. This will take huge effort but we say the time has come for this.

 

For just as people have been campaigning to rid the world of all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, we also believe, as philosophers and intellectuals, that the new sphere of warfare is now cyber-warfare, information war and covert propaganda and cyber-espionage – and that to establish true peace between nations we need to devise new treaties and new laws outlawing all such manifestations of ill-will and short term egoistical self-advantage of one nation against  another. We suggest this new treaty be called THE INTERNATIONAL TREATY OF CYBER-PEACE

 

We leave the drafting of such a treaty to international lawyers, and urge that they begin the work without delay, both in Russia and the UK.

 

Meanwhile, we offer to help with philosophical mediation, through the Multicultural and Multifaith Mediation Service (MMMS) over how to resolve the problems arising from this tragic case  in Salisbury. We would urge that the British and Russian representatives  come to a face to face meeting in Paris to discuss the actual evidenced facts that are known behind this sad event, in private.  Just as the Treaty Of Paris (1990) led to the ending of the cold war in Europe in 1990, we ask that the leaders of Russia and the UK, NATO and the CIS and other responsible international bodies such as the United Nations, take a deep breath, a step back and stop escalating the wars of propaganda between our respective cultures and countries.

 

The fate of the nations of the world is in the balance and we urge all responsible intellectuals and all genuine politicians who are concerned for the future well being of the planet, to come together and join us in the work of the World Intellectual Forum. We call for moderation in political views, humility and a recognition that as one global society, we the peoples of separate countries have to realise that our futures and our fates are bound up with each other and we need to transcend traditional enmity with new friendship, trust, honesty and respect.

 

 

Signed

 

 

 

Dr Thomas Clough Daffern, Director, International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy (UK and France), European Coordinator of the World Intellectual Forum; Secretary General, Philosophers and Historians for Peace, (www.educationaid.net), Vice President  and European Coordinator, International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide (http://www.philosophersforpeace.org/), Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East (https://trcme.wordpress.com/)

Coordinator, Centre for Peace Policy Research (https://ceppr.wordpress.com ), Rector, Global Green University,  Initiator: The Interfaith Peace treaty (https://interfaithpeacetreaty.wordpress.com)

Dr Igor Kondrashin, President & CEO, World Philosophical Forum, Secretary-General, Supreme Council of Humanity, International GUSI Peace Prize Laureate, Citizen of the Earth-XXI (Russia, Greece, Universal State of the Earth), Philosophical Coordinator of World Intellectual Forum

 

Prof.Dr. D. Swaminadhan Ph.D.(England),  D.Sc.  FIE, FNAE, FTAS, FAPAS, MISTE, MISCA. MIIPA, Global Chairman of the World Intellectual Forum, President, Mahatma Gandhi National Institute of Research and Social Action (MGNIRSA), Hyderabad, India; Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Medical Research (JNIAMER), Secunderabad, India; Chairman, Swaminadhan Research Foundation (DSRF), Hyderabad, India, Formerly:Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, (JNTU) Hyderabad,

 

Shlomo Shoham of Israel, retired Judge, former head of the Commission for Future Generations for the Israeli Knesset, and Legal advisor to the Constitution Law and Justice Committee in the Israeli Parliament, Honorary fellow of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Founder and Director of the Sustainable Global Leadership Academy, board member of the World Intellectual Forum

 

Prof. Dr Christopher Busby. Scientific Secretary, European Committee on Radiation Risk, Brussels, Director, Green Audit, UK, Director Environmental Research SIA, Riga,Latvia, President International Foundation for Research on Radioactivity Risk, Stockholm.