​​​​​Posted 8th March 2017

Lying through gold-plated teeth 

It’s official. We now live in an age where lies - deliberate, manufactured falsehoods - garner as much attention and credibility as that little known commodity, the truth. We are seeing this daily in the USA, most recently in the Trump Twitter-fest about alleged (my use, not his) wire-tapping of whatever and however during the presidential election campaign. If that sounds vague, it’s because his claims are vague. They are spuriously based upon misinformation and invention by various right wing media - including, of course, their beloved Breitbart - who have given #45 ammunition with which to deflect the gathering storm around the rather more factually based claims that several members of his campaign team were in regular contact with the Russian ambassador and others in the lead up to the election. I refer to these as more factual because the FBI have indicated that such contact did occur, sufficient for there to be cross-party acceptance of the need for an investigation.

If allowed to do their job, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees should consider a wide range of Russia-related issues, including Trump’s commercial and other ties and those of his appointees. Particularly urgent is an examination of the role of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Exxon Mobil Corporation’s previous dealings with Putin, the almost incomprehensibly vast oil pipeline revenues at stake, the impact of international sanctions on Russia resulting from its actions in the Ukraine and any undertakings given in anticipation of a Trump presidency and the consequential irresistibility of Russian interference to influence the outcome of the election. To question where either Tillerson’s or Trump’s real allegiances lie is not the stuff of conspiracy theory; it’s an obligation so abundantly clear that not to seek the truth from the tightly woven fabric of greed-based deceit and double-dealing would constitute dereliction of duty.

The degree to which this administration is mired in subterfuge and denial almost defies description. What is certain is that the situation is unprecedented. In other words, in no previous administration, of all the 44 presidents before Trump, including Nixon - the only one to be remotely in the same ball park - has there been anything to parallel the scale of lies, misrepresentation, distortion, shambolic mismanagement, incompetence, over-reach and leaks that we have witnessed from the White House since 20th January 2017. And it is not going to stop under the current incumbent of the Oval Office. The petulant man-child has surrounded himself with a combination of yes-men, nest-featherers, people with their own dangerous agendas and those unfit for purpose, all of whose main response to Trump’s frequent tantrum-throwing of toys from his pram is to say how good they look all over the floor. Alarmingly, that same reaction is shared by millions of ardent followers who, on evidence to date, remain undeterred, no matter how ridiculous or gross the behaviour of their ‘saviour’.

The dissemination of lies and half-truths as facts is a dangerous tool used in most totalitarian systems and history shows that such regimes are invariably led by the deluded or the psychotic. The US has all the right ingredients in place to follow suit. The special investigation has much to do; it must not shirk its great burden of responsibility to discover the truth. The American people deserve no less and will wish to maintain pressure to ensure they get it. It’s officially that important. I know because I said it and, in today’s world, that’s all the proof I need.

Nigel Austin 

author of The Robin Gibson series