One of the biggest and most under-reported stories of 2018 was also one of the most dazzling propaganda operations ever conducted in modern history. The narrative went something like this: a retired former Russian spy and UK double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were having lunch in a sleepy Wiltshire town, before being brutally poisoned by an alleged “military grade chemical weapon” known as Novichok. What followed was a textbook, state-managed media operation. Incredibly, within only 48 hours, the UK government had already attributed blame to the Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin. The motive: no apparent reason, just Putin being mean. “There’s no logic in it; it doesn’t make sense, and I don’t think it needs to make sense, because essentially what the media is doing is propagandizing the population in favor of the madman theory. That’s critical to do when you’re trying to start aggression against a country,” said Moon of Alabama at the time. How…

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