The conservative government of Austria has collapsed in scandal, and yes, "the Russians" are involved. Two weeks ago, German news outlets broke the story that Austria's Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache had been caught in a scandal. Two years ago, Strache had been secretly recorded meeting with a woman who who claimed to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. In the film, Strache, who was not in office at the time, agrees to give the woman access to Austrian government contracts in return for her oligarch-uncle giving Strache's political party positive news coverage.
Since the scandal broke, the government of Austria's 32-year-old wonderboy Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has collapsed. It seems Trump isn't the only right-wing politician who has been targeted with allegations of working with "the Russians."
It's been two weeks since the now-former Vice-Chancellor of Austria Strache found himself in the middle of a scandal. It'll go down in the political history of Europe as the dawn of a new technique designed to eliminate politicians and shape artificial political landscapes through methods that weren't used before because they were considered unacceptable. I'm not talking about the development of democracy, this thing is entirely different.
Let's recap. On May 17th, German news agencies The Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung published a video of Vice Chancellor Strache, his aide, and a blonde woman sitting at a table with multiple bottles of hard liquor on it. It's all happening inside a villa on the party island of Ibiza [belonging to Spain]. The video was filmed covertly two years ago. However, it's so professionally done, it's as if it's a Hollywood movie. The sound is great too. The video's recorded by several microphones and cameras. Strache's blabbering something about selling a major German newspaper and possibly providing help in getting state contracts. He's obviously drunk. It's immediately clarified that his young companion is Russian oligarch Makarov's niece. And that's an explosive mix. President of Austria Van der Bellen gives an epic speech.
Alexander Van der Bellen, President of Austria: "That's shameful footage. Nobody should feel ashamed for Austria. I must put it clearly: That's not who we are. That's not what Austria is."
"That's not who we are." Well, let's keep that in mind. In this case, I have a question: Who are you then? It's important to understand that after all that's happened. Vice-Chancellor Strache resigns. There's no Vice Chancellor now. His Austrian Freedom Party, which recognizes Crimea as Russian territory and opposes anti-Russian sanctions, was compromised and is now in a state of crisis. It loses European Parliament elections and is forced to leave the government coalition. In the same way, Chancellor of Austria Kurz cannot hold onto his independent position within the EU. He resigns. Austria's now in a political crisis. President Van der Bellen talks about the necessity of holding early elections to the lower house of parliament. The Freedom Party had its political positions compromised; a Russian trail, immorality, and corruption allegations.
And now, what that was all about. Now, when unwanted political figures are gone for good, we discover that the so-called Russian oligarch's niece doesn't even have an uncle and isn't even Russian. She's a Bosnian student who speaks four languages, including Russian. In order to take part in the filming, for which she was getting paid 7,000 euro per day, she was cast and trained how to start a conversation and what to talk about. It appears that Austrian professionals with security service experience studied Strache's preferences and selected a girl with the required parameters.
The filming took place in Ibiza two years ago, when Strache wasn't a vice chancellor yet. The villa filled with cameras and microphones was a place of multiple covert operations. The budget of the operation in Strache was also revealed—400,000 euro. But here's an important detail: Apart from alcohol, they also used various smoking substances that can untie one's tongue. Right now, nobody will tell us exactly what the substances were, but it's important to note that modern psychoactive substances can easily alter the way a person perceives their surroundings, affecting their judgment in a given situation.
And when someone's judgment is affected, the borders of permissible behavior also shift. That means Strache was intentionally drugged to temporarily turn him into a different person in order to make him behave in a way that would've been useful to the authors of the provocation. The goal was to add Strache's inappropriate behavior to their plotline.
Yes, now that's what you call a professional work of personality manipulation. The scariest part is that the same can be done to anybody. Some may say, "Yeah, not to me though." Some of those watching us right now may also say, "That wouldn't work on me." But think, have you ever had nightmares in which you did something that you'd never do in real life? You have. In your dream, you had a different personality with a different scale of good and evil. Same thing with Strache, who fell victim to such professional manipulation. After all this, he has had to face the consequences of what others made him do in a dream.
Now, let's get back to the statement of President of Austria Van der Bellen: "That's not who we are, that's not what Austria is." Not who you are, huh? Meaning that the drugged Strache wasn't acting in a way that's acceptable in a normal situation? Nobody argues with that. But is orchestrating provocations in order to get rid of an unwanted political figure and influence the political landscape in the country and in Europe a normal thing to do now?
The provocation made everyone act strictly according to the provocateurs' plan. It's like everyone's rolling down the rails exactly where the plotters intended them to roll. Is that what Austria is now? That's also what Europe is now because the provocateurs weren't punished. Their plot worked out perfectly and was a complete success. They earned money off the incident and are now celebrating. They won. They accomplished all of their objectives.
Are Austrians supposed to say, "That's who we are and those are acceptable methods of running a political campaign in our country"? This ends in an ellipsis.