Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, who knew a great deal about such techniques himself, once remarked, “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
Prime Minister David Cameron is intent on continuing such practices. He chose an April 4 visit to Scotland to claim that it is a “fact” that North Korea has the technology to attack both the United States and the United Kingdom with a nuclear missile.
“How concerned am I about North Korea? Very concerned, it has extremely dangerous technologies in terms of nuclear and its weapons… The fact is, as I wrote in a newspaper article this morning, North Korea does now have missile technology that is able to reach, as they put it, the whole of the United States and if they’re able to reach the whole of the United States they can reach Europe too. They can reach us too, so that is a real concern.”
The claim is a flat-out lie, as many authoritative voices have pointed out. James Hardy, Asia Pacific Editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, commented, “From what we know of its existing inventory, North Korea has short and medium range missiles that could complicate a situation on the Korean Peninsula (and perhaps reach Japan), but we have not seen any evidence that it has long-range missiles that could strike the continental US, Guam or Hawaii.”
Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and disarmament at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, baldly told ITV News, “North Korea does not have any missile capabilities that could hit Britain, and it is difficult to envision circumstances when North Korea ever would want to attack the UK even if they could.”
Cameron’s most immediate motivation for his “Big Lie” is the desire to preserve the ability of British imperialism to do what he accused Pyongyang of contemplating: delivering a nuclear strike against its enemies.
Speaking to an audience of defence workers in Scotland, he used the mythical threat from North Korea to argue for maintaining and then later replacing Britain’s Trident submarine “nuclear deterrent”. The ruling Conservatives are in favour of a Trident replacement system and are presently in conflict with their Liberal Democrat coalition partners about whether to maintain a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent, given the costs associated with a new generation of submarines.
Cameron told his audience during a visit to one of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class submarines, “I strongly believe we should replace [Trident] on a like-for-like basis. … There are nuclear states and one cannot be sure how they will develop.”
Elaborating on this theme, he made clear that his broader geostrategic political aim is to legitimise the on-going US aggression against North Korea, up to and including British support and participation in a war, should that be required.
“I think the question we need to ask ourselves in the context of this debate about a nuclear deterrent, is what will a country like North Korea be like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years.” He added, “To me, having that nuclear deterrent is quite simply the best insurance policy you can have that you will never be subject to nuclear blackmail.”
This turns reality on its head. The main issue is not what Pyongyang might do in three decades, but the very real nuclear blackmail and warmongering of the United States and Britain today.
Cameron spoke even as Washington announced that it was moving an advanced missile defence system to Guam, its Pacific island territory, and a battalion equipped to fight chemical and biological attacks in South Korea. The annual US training exercise Foal Eagle was taking place over the border in South Korea, which includes the deploying of guided missile warships and nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers.
Once again the UK is providing the lies necessary to justify military aggression by US imperialism, as Washington pursues plans to secure its global dominance against its rivals.
The parallels with the claims made by the Labour government of Tony Blair in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003 are all too obvious.
The intelligence dossier issued and presented to parliament on September 24, 2002 claimed that the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including chemical and biological weapons, and had a reconstituted nuclear weapons programme.
The most notorious lie it contained was the assertion made in its foreword by Blair, that “The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.”
The next day Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun led with the headline, “BRITS 45 mins FROM DOOM,” asserting that “British servicemen and tourists in Cyprus could be annihilated by germ warfare missiles launched by Iraq, it was revealed yesterday. They could thud into the Mediterranean island within 45 MINUTES of tyrant Saddam Hussein ordering an attack. They could spread death and destruction through warheads carrying anthrax, mustard gas, sarin or ricin.”
Changing that which needs to be changed—Cameron for Blair, Kim Jong Un for Saddam Hussein—the scenario is the same: shameless and brazen falsifications to sanction imperialist aggression.
As Major General Michael Laurie, who sat on the Joint Intelligence Committee responsible for producing the dossier later admitted, its purpose “was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence.”
The lies of that time laid the ground for the war that began six months later, on March 20, 2003, the destruction of Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of casualties that followed both during the war and in the ensuing and continuing sectarian conflicts.
The major difference between then and now is that the crime being planned by Washington and London is greater in scale and potential impact than even the war of aggression waged against Iraq.
The US is indicating its preparedness to deploy nuclear weapons against Pyongyang, flying nuclear-capable bombers over the Korean Peninsula. This was done despite US intelligence assessments that “there was a low probability of a North Korean military response.” A US nuclear attack by the United States would kill millions in Korea and potentially spark a nuclear conflict with China.
Cameron’s filthy rhetoric should be treated with the contempt it deserves. Above all, it must be the occasion for workers and youth in Britain to take a political stand in opposition to the imperialist war drive in Asia.