Boris Johnson A Categorical Liar 1862

Evidence submitted by the British government in court today proves, beyond any doubt, that Boris Johnson has been point blank lying about the degree of certainty Porton Down scientists have about the Skripals being poisoned with a Russian “novichok” agent.

Yesterday in an interview with Deutsche Welle Boris Johnson claimed directly Porton Down had told him they positively identified the nerve agent as Russian:

You argue that the source of this nerve agent, Novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain possess samples of it?

Let me be clear with you … When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the laboratory …

So they have the samples …

They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, “Are you sure?” And he said there’s no doubt.

I knew and had published from my own whistleblowers that this is a lie. Until now I could not prove it. But today I can absolutely prove it, due to the judgement at the High Court case which gave permission for new blood samples to be taken from the Skripals for use by the OPCW. Justice Williams included in his judgement a summary of the evidence which tells us, directly for the first time, what Porton Down have actually said:

The Evidence
16. The evidence in support of the application is contained within the applications
themselves (in particular the Forms COP 3) and the witness statements.
17. I consider the following to be the relevant parts of the evidence. I shall identify the
witnesses only by their role and shall summarise the essential elements of their
i) CC: Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst
Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the
findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples
tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent OR CLOSELY RELATED AGENT.

The emphasis is mine. This sworn Court evidence direct from Porton Down is utterly incompatible with what Boris Johnson has been saying. The truth is that Porton Down have not even positively identified this as a “Novichok”, as opposed to “a closely related agent”. Even if it were a “Novichok” that would not prove manufacture in Russia, and a “closely related agent” could be manufactured by literally scores of state and non-state actors.

This constitutes irrefutable evidence that the government have been straight out lying – to Parliament, to the EU, to NATO, to the United Nations, and above all to the people – about their degree of certainty of the origin of the attack. It might well be an attack originating in Russia, but there are indeed other possibilities and investigation is needed. As the government has sought to whip up jingoistic hysteria in advance of forthcoming local elections, the scale of the lie has daily increased.

On a sombre note, I am very much afraid the High Court evidence seems to indicate there is very little chance the Skripals will ever recover; one of the reasons the judge gave for his decision is that samples taken now will be better for analysis than samples taken post mortem.


This website remains under a massive DOS attack which has persisted for more than 24 hours now, but so far the defences are holding. Some strange form of “ghost banning” is also affecting both my twitter and Facebook feeds. So please

a) Feel free to repost, republish, translate or spread this article anywhere and anyway you can. All copyright is waived.
b) If you came here by Twitter, please retweet but also in addition create a new tweet yourself containing a link to this post (or to any other site on which you have placed the information)
c) If you came here by Facebook, again please share but also in addition create a new post yourself which contains the information and the link.

The state and corporate media now have evidence of the vast discrepancy between what May and Johnson are saying, and the truth about the Porton Down scientists’ position. I am afraid to say I expect this to make no difference whatsoever to the propaganda output of the BBC.

1,862 thoughts on “Boris Johnson A Categorical Liar

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    • Agent Green

      Expect a mirror response. So 60 US diplomats will be expelled and another one of their consulates closed down.

  • Sharp Ears

    O mein Papa!

    Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
    Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so good
    No one could be, so gentle and so lovable
    Oh, my pa-pa, he always understood.
    Gone are the days when he could take me on his knee
    And with a smile he’d change my tears to laughter
    Oh, my pa-pa, so funny, so adorable
    Always the clown so funny in his way
    Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
    Deep in my heart ……

    Stanley Johnson: Boris would be an ‘absolutely superb Prime Minister – the voice that roared’

  • Billy Bostickson

    Why expel so many “spies”? About 100 now from different countries.
    Are the yanks and brits planning something and they don’t want anyone snooping on their next war plan or are they upset about something that happened before (unrelated to Skripal) and taking revenge?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Billy Bostickson March 26, 2018 at 16:00
      I suspect the Russians have enough resources to sniff out Western ‘war plans’ without these Embassy officials. But the quid pro quo won’t please a lot of Western ‘Spies/Embassy staff’, who will lose their cushy numbers when they get turfed out of Russia.
      It’s deadly serious stuff though, and why more of out Lemming MP’s, MSM etc can’t seem to twig where this all could lead indicates how far down the pan our countries have slipped.

    • Emily

      According to information coming out.
      Rumours abound.
      The fire alarm was switched off for a start.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Resident Dissident March 26, 2018 at 18:14
        Yes, but not as sick as May with her lack of evidence. At least a box of Bryant & May matches was found in Siberia (or was it Swan Vestas?). Either way, both had been originally developed in England, so if the British State was not directly responsible, at the very least they had failed in their responsibility to stop these favourite weapons of arsonists from falling into the wrong hands.
        Russia is refusing to hand over samples of the matches found.
        Unless May fesses up, Russia has threatened to win the World Cup.

        • Resident Dissident

          My advice is when you are in hole stop digging. 41 children dead – nothing to do with May, all to do with the siloviki for whom Putin is at the top of their power vertical after 18 years in power.

        • mister annon

          Is there any point in trying to convince people like you (that have swallowed the Putin regime’s propaganda). Putin sits at the top of a divided but institutionally corrupt regime where the heads of ministerial departments can turn a blind eye to what ever scheme they want – for a fee, just so long as it doesn’t threaten the power of Mr P. What we will see with the tragedy in the case of this fire, is that officials from top down have lost control of subordinates any moral authority and now any right for their respect.
          Yes Putin will blame others who didn’t know better but saw their chance to enrich themselves at the cost of others, because they followed the example set by those they answered to higher up.
          There is no genuine accountability for anything in Putin’s Russia, except that if you question Putin, you can expect to pay dearly, as we have seen countless times both in Russia and abroad.
          It is time the Russian people stopped abdicating their responsibility by giving Putin the mandate to do what he wants in return for a perceived economical stability. Yes he has stabilised the chaos caused by the rival mafia gangs of the 1990s. He has simply removed them and replaced them with a state mafia that answers to nobody. Is this the stability that Russian people want, if so prepare for more tragic disasters like this one in Siberia.

          • SoylentGreenisPeople

            So let me ask: Is there accountability for anyone in May’s Britain, or in Trump’s America, for that matter.

            Let me be specific: Politicians from both countries LIED us into a war in Iraq based upon non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” Has anyone in either the UK or the US been held to account for these lies . . . and for the hundreds of thousands of dead humans in their wake???

            Hell, in the United States, a whole slew of corrupt banksters, using fraud, brought the international economy to its knees in 2008. Not a one of them has been prosecuted by either the Obama or Bush justice departments. And yet, someone like you has the audacity to point the finger at Putin’s Russia?

            Give me a f*&king break.

          • Sagittarius Rising


            In lieu of the fire in Russian and Mr Putin, those terms can just as easily be replaced with the Grenfell Tower and Mrs May.

            The only difference being that when we mess up, this is okay and when others do, it is not.

          • SoylentGreenisPeople

            Apparently, the delusion of “exceptionalism” and its flip side, the reality of “hypocrisy,” are not just the provinces of the United States. It appears that you Brits are prone to suffer from them too.

  • Mary Paul

    This report below by Sky News with a Russian who claims to have worked on the Russian Novichok programme is interesting. Note how he says he got accidentally exposed to it and it left him “feeling ” very fearful. The fellow policeman who went to see DS Bailey in hospital described him as feeling very anxious. I wonder if that is relevant to its effects as described by the Russian interviewed here.

    • Ivan

      I once consumed a lot of marijuana in the form of bhang. After I recovered from passing out, I recall it as a near death experience. I felt nauseous when I came across tea leaves for months. This probably explains the experience of the two gentlemen.

  • Ivan

    Presumably the UK would have shared information with the European countries now tumbling over each other to expel Russian diplomats. Since it is so widely disseminated, what harm is there in sharing it with the rest of us? This is working out to be a coordinated hit on Russian interests. I recall that even in the 80s at the time Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, there was not this level of demonisation of the old Soviet Union. The Russians will correctly interpret this as another kick in the face of a weakened Russia.

      • Ivan

        About time…. The Ruskies may or may not be involved in this and with every passing day, it looks like we will not be getting a definitive answer, but I believe that Russian statement earlier that they are perplexed by the unremitting hotility of the UK, shows that they realised early on the UK was going to milk this for all it is worth. Putin is a judo expert, and revenge is a dish best served cold.

        • Resident Dissident

          Perhaps most Russians can distinguish between themselves and the ruling regime – they did so for over 70 years when the CPSU and while similar western sycophants were unable to do so.

          • Ivan

            Oh is that right? That works only if the Russians are convinced that there is fair play. All those people voting for Putin were not brainwashed idiots. They see unremitting hostility from the West. On the one hand Russia is ‘nothing but Siberia with a gas station’, on the other they can turn every Western election, hack every vital system, transport, electricity, etc launch rockets, build nuclear reactors, build their own planes and stymie the West’s depredations in the Middle East. Which is it? Methinks, the Russians are to blame for everything meme, is just a reflection of the fact that all too many interests did not expect the Russians to return from the dead. A large part of the credit is due to Putin, he too could been a the bumbling idiot like Yeltsin, which is why the oligarchs were so glad to present him as Yeltsin’s successor.

          • Resident Dissident

            Perhaps Russians understand how Putin and his friends have enriched themselves. Not many Russians think it is unfair to call United Russia the Party of Crooks and Thieves or that Putin is telling the truth when it comes to declaring his income and assets. And every Russian I have spoken to doesn’t deny that the regime or its mafia friends were behind the poisoning – although not a few have no problem with such a treatment being given to traitors.

          • Resident Dissident

            You also forget that Putin was the choice of one particular oligarch – a certain Mr Berezovsky. Those oligarchs who have been prepared to pay their dues to the Capo di Capo have had no problems whatsoever. – ask Deripaska, Usmanov or Abramovitch.

          • SA

            We so liked Berezovsky. Abramovich ans Usmanov, despite what you say you know about them, and allow them to buy so much of GB PLC. Its either one thing or the other. I can’t see the tories, who are also close to some of these people expelling them.

          • SA

            As was seen in the US in the fifties and sixties, you can’t break the mafia when it has infiltrated state structures. Putin has limited thier power and thier siphoning of Russian riches out of the country and rebuilt Russia from the catastrophe implemented by the WB, IMF and the Harvard school. That is why he is so hated in the west and thier useful Russian idiots.

          • Resident Dissident

            Putin has limited thier power and thier siphoning of Russian riches out of the country

            Now there is a joke – perhaps you might wish to look at aggregate capital outflows from Russia under Putin before giving a further demonstration of your blind ignorance.

          • James Dickenson

            Is this sycophantic?
            “During his time at the Hoover Institution, he wrote the major study Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development (in three volumes), arguing that the West played a major role in developing the Soviet Union from its very beginnings up until the present time (1970). Sutton argued that the Soviet Union’s technological and manufacturing base, which was then engaged in supplying the Viet Cong, was built by United States corporations and largely funded by US taxpayers. Steel and iron plants, the GAZ automobile factory, a Ford subsidiary in eastern Russia, and many other Soviet industrial enterprises were built with the help or technical assistance of the United States or US corporations. He argued further that the Soviet Union’s acquisition of MIRV technology was made possible by receiving (from US sources) machining equipment for the manufacture of precision ball bearings, necessary to mass-produce MIRV-enabled missiles.”

    • Crackerjack

      Just watched a BBC news interview with an Estonian MP or Diplomat and he was just regurgitating the same Rubbish as May – “of a type” etc and that as it was developed by Russia (still no Soviet Union) it must be them. No proof in other words

      Also May has just said up to 130 people could have come into contact with the poison! And the propaganda continues

      • Ivan

        Its all theatre. We already know from the statement from Dr Davies, that apart from the three initial victims, no one else was treated for the ‘poison’.

        • Crackerjack

          Exactly. And the press publish it without question. They are spoon fed pre-chewed pulped up dogshit and gobble it down without even holding their noses

          It was the Estonian Foreign Minister by the way and when asked if he was convinced it was Russia he replied “we share the UK’s assessment that it was highly likely…..” so all of these expulsions of diplomats by the EU is based on the same lies we are told. Oh dear

          • Ivan

            They are going for the ‘highly likely’ assessment even though the developments over the past few days should give them pause. Fools.

  • Gary

    I looked again at the Boris quote. Boris IS an idiot, I don’t think it’s an act. However, he DID NOT say they had samples ‘with which to compare’ He has only said, or agreed, that they ‘have samples’ Yes, samples obtained from the Skripals etc.

    As I noted in the 2014 Referendum, watch what the PM says. Don’t look at what ministers and other cohorts say. PMs of all colours will attempt to ‘keep their hands clean’ so that no one can say they ‘lied to parliament’ May has simply been saying that there is no other reasonable conclusion. She has never said otherwise. But many in the news will actively CHANGE the words of quotes to report a different story. Again, I saw this with the Standard Life story in the referendum. I read that company’s statement and called out STV news on their story. They denied the lie, however it was clear to me and anyone who read the document that journalists were deliberately lying to create a false sense of fear. The same is happening again. May is guilty of simply not correcting ALL of her party and ALL of the UK and foreign press but she has not overtly lied (yet)

    But those people who have to be exact about such things ie Porton Down, refuse to say anything except it’s a Novichok or similar. I can understand, it IS a Novichok but the ‘or similar’ is a requisite precaution. If they HAD something to compare it to, and a comparative identification of origin WAS possible, then they’d say so. It’d be something along the lines of ‘bears all the markers of Novichoks manufactured in Russia at Site X and/or at X time’

    The news stories MIGHT lead you to believe that there is something THEY know that WE don’t ie intelligence information. But again, May sticks to ‘No other plausible explanation’ in any quote and Boris just flaps his gums around uselessly saying, or appearing to say just what the journalists want to fit in with the story THEY want to tell.

    That’s not to say it wasn’t Putin. Having spent many long years in the Civil Service I know that just because it’s the stupidest POSSIBLE idea, doesn’t mean a politician WON’T do it, especially with an election coming up. And he does tend to aggressive, so there’s that. But what really bothers me is that, firstly, Putin is NOT stupid. He is a very intelligent politician on the world stage, managing to avoid all out war in Syria, for example. Secondly, not just killing a traitor (as he is entitled to view Skripal) but doing so in a way that is so obviously Russian when he could’ve ensured the method at least resembled an accident on foreign territory. What has Putting gained from it? Of course the embassy (I think it was they) tweeted ‘Thanks for increasing my majority’ but Putin did not need this, he had enough votes without doing this. We NOW hear of ballot-stuffing (which I doubt) but this is cynical. We KNOW that Putin has no serious competition, they are all removed WELL before they get to the stage of being an ACTUAL threat.

    Either Putin is slipping, suddenly making schoolboy errors, or someone else is responsible. Almost anyone could’ve carried out the act on behalf of another, we’ll never know for sure. We can only ask ourselves who benefits from this, and it ain’t Russia or Putin, THAT’S for sure…

    • Resident Dissident

      another sick joke – avoiding all out war in Syria? Just a little local skirmish I presume.

      • Ivan

        That is the big bugaboo for you isn’t it? Syrians should simply give up their way of life, and reconcile to life under the jihad pigs most of them foreign. Right? Otherwise it is Assad gassing the Syrian civilians once again. Strangely tt always happens that when the SAA is on the verge of a victory, Assad goes and spoils it by using poison gas just in time for another White Helmet Hollywood drama. Too bad the Syrians and Russians were prepared for another one of their dramas in Ghouta.

      • Resident Dissident

        I was writing on this forum about the millions of refugees being caused by Assad well before you even invented your particular conspiracy theory and post facto justification for massive human rights abuses by the Assad regime and its backers.

    • Crackerjack

      Agree you can’t rule out Putin but he is a clever man and I can not see a clever man risking this degree of opprobrium at all. Never mind with a Blue Riband event about to be hosted in his country

      Ukraine on the other hand has much to gain from this. The cancellation of Nordstream 2 for example. That would mean Putin has to go back to them for gas transit. I think Ukraine will lose 10% of their pisspoor GDP if the contract with them is cancelled. Need a fact check on that but it is not insignificant

  • DiggerUK

    I logged in expecting to find the comments section alive with whats happening in the commons debate live on BBC Parliament.
    May claims that Porton Down has confirmed it was Novichok. Further confirms Boris Johnson what he said on Andrew Marr show that Russia has been stockpiling for ten years, and training assassins.
    Corbyn is just agreeing with the presentation.
    Any reason for the silence…_

    • G.Bng

      Was the confirmation a new one or the same as that stated in the Court of Protection Decision which notes:

      “…the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.”

      Also interesting from the COP Decision is the comment in respect of Porton Down’s findings in respect of the usefulness of a second opinion from the OPCW inspectors:

      “That [the OPCW investigation enquiry] might simply confirm the current conclusions, it might elaborate or clarify them, it might reach a different conclusion. Although the Secretary of State does not believe the latter prospect to be likely given her confidence in Porton Down’s findings I do not think the possibility can be ignored – and in particular I do not think an individual faced with supporting or not supporting such an inquiry would ignore that possibility at this stage.”

    • Jiusito

      “Further confirms Boris Johnson what he said on Andrew Marr show that Russia has been stockpiling for ten years…”

      Another confirmation of just how effective propaganda techniques can be. As Craig has pointed out very forcefully, Johnson did NOT say that Russia has been stockpiling novichoks for 10 years. Rather, he said: “We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has … been creating and stockpiling novichok.”

      It isn’t even clear what the “within the last 10 years” qualifies – (un)grammatically, it must be “we have evidence”, not “Russia … has been stockpiling” – but that is still not the point. As Craig made very clear, the *only* categorical statement Johnson was making was that Britain didn’t have evidence more than 10 years ago. Whether it had evidence more than five minutes ago is a question Johnson didn’t answer.

      • DiggerUK

        5 minutes, 5 months, 5 years….of no consequence. Johnson said this on BBC, no blowback if he is proved to be lying.
        May said this IN PARLIAMENT, different consequences if she is proved to be lying…_

  • Ross

    Well, I’ve been chasing the DS Bailey story. Hit a couple of police contacts trying to find out more and got stonewalled. An hour later one of them rang me and said don’t bring this up with me again. Half an hour after that he rang again and basically said this is a dangerous subject, move on, there’s nothing for you here.

    I know the party concerned well, they don’t scare easily.

    • John

      This is all linked to the clintons and the GPS fusion dossier created by Clinton to get shit on trump.

      Skripal was a friend of Pablo Miller (ex mi6) who worked for Christoper Steele (ex mi6) and created the dossier. Skripal was on the take for a £100k when he became a British agent. So he had a good story to sell to Fleet Street , but no one wanted him to reveal the truth behind the dossier so he had to be eliminated and join the Clinton body bag with his daughter.

  • Mary Paul

    Mrs May said today: “we assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have potentially been exposed to this nerve agent. More than 50 were assessed in hospital, and Sergeant Nick Bailey was admitted.”

    Now I am not saying Russia was not behind it, it might have been, judging from the way other countries have expelled Russians there is clearly some high level intelligence being shared which is not being made public. Meanwhile there is a lot of mealy mouthed juggling with words going on in government statements. Despite the “assessments” Mrs May mentioned, no-one in Salisbury, apart from the three victims, has shown any sign of being affected in any way at all. Just to recall what Salisbury Hospital’s Emergency Medicine consultant wrote to the Times: ” May I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.”

    Meanwhile the Sun has news on Skripal’s UK girlfriend

    • Madeira

      “there is clearly some high level intelligence being shared which is not being made public”

      This is an assumption that I suspect is totally unwarranted. Judging by the statements of the various countries, it would appear that the only “proof” they have been presented is the “fact” that the poisoning agent was “of a type developed by Russia”.

      For example, here is the Twitter announcement by the German Foreign Office:

      Germany will expel four Russian diplomats. To this day #Russia has shown no efforts to support investigations after the #Salisbury attack. “The decision was not taken lightly”, says FM @HeikoMaas.

      On the surface this is ridiculous, as it was the Russians from the very first who proposed a joint investigation with immediate recourse to the OPCW.

      • Dave

        JC held out for a while, but it seems everyone else has fallen into line, including Nigel Farage, who in the past was a sensible voice on Russia. There must be some serious strong arming going on behind the scenes!

      • Mary Paul

        We cannot rule out that the high level intelligence which is being shared, cannot be made public without compromising the sources.

        • Tom

          I think we can categorically rule that out on the grounds that it is highly unlikely. Nothing more is required.

  • Mary Paul

    In this interview with the Independent, Dr Patriciaewis of Chatham House (whose areas of expertise include weapons of mass destructiion) said: ” British experts would have been able to detect minute trace elements proving the nerve agent’s country of origin, and would therefore have been able to rule out the possibility it was from stocks developed by other nations for the purposes of devising defences against it. The experts, she said, would not just have relied on the fact Russia was the country which developed Novichok. “There are ways to detect and be much more sure about where it came from,” said Dr Lewis, who served on the 2004-6 WMD Commission chaired by Dr Hans Blix. “There are very high resolution analysis techniques that can track down trace elements, certain types of chemicals in the particular region where it has been made.”

    • Crackerjack

      That may be true if they had an actual sample of the nerve agent itself.
      According to the High Court judgement that Craig published at the top they only have blood samples.
      Do the trace elements survive in the body? Or just the active molecule that attaches itself?
      I think if it was the former we wouldn’t be hearing “of a type developed by Russia or associated compound” but lets see what the OPCW have to say.

      • Ivan

        Sounds like bullshit to me. As you say they must have an original sample to begin with if they want to be certain. If things were so cut and dried all the UK had to do was to divide the samples say among five countries including the Russians and let the Russians incriminate themselves while the other countries confirm that only Russia could have made that particular batch of agents. As a matter of fact such an unambiguous pointer to the Russians should also mean that the UK has samples of Novichok of its own. The question then arises: How did they obtain them; what is the chain of custody?

        • Crackerjack

          Agree. The fact that they have not managed to recover an actual unadulterated sample of the dose used on the Skripals (from the bench/air vent/door handle or wherever) means that everything they know comes from an analysis of the blood samples. That’s clearly not enough hence the ambiguity. Also raises the possibility that OPCW wont be able to say with any certainty either

    • Dave Lawton

      Mary Paul
      “British experts would have been able to detect minute trace elements proving the nerve agent’s country of origin”
      Does not mean a thing.So you use your Mass Spec of which in the past I have built a few in my time.What`s that going to tell you ? Well the nerve agent could have been created anywhere even in the UK as we import tons of organic and inorganic chemicals from the Russian Federation.

  • Charles

    Two things wrong with the claim that it is possible, by analysis of a chemical, to tell where it came from;

    1) It’s not true (radioactive isotopes can leave “fingerprints” but that is not what is being proposed here)

    And if it were (as mentioned you would need a sample to compare it against) so

    2) If Britain had managed to get hold of a reference sample, someone else could have got hold of a killing sample.

    • Mary Paul

      Well I am not a physicist but the interview was with Dr Patricia Lewis of Chatham House who is a very distinguished physicist and an expert on weapons of mass destruction of all goes and served on Hans Blixs Commission on WmD from 2004-6. If you are going to give credence to Stephen Bailey the consultant at Salisbury Hospital I think you have to grant it to her too. I am only going where the facts lead. I am not starting from a fixed position.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Thanks, obviously you ruffled a few feathers on this forum, but people need to face the facts even if they don’t like them, otherwise we are all shouting at reflections.

      • Dave Lawton

        “Dr Patricia Lewis of Chatham House who is a very distinguished physicist ” In what? can you point me to her research papers please so I can take a ganda.

        • Sean Lamb

          She has a wikipedia page, she is a former nuclear physicist. She performed brilliantly on the Iraq WMD committee, clearly and unambiguously declaring to the world before the invasion of Iraq that there was no reliable evidence Iraq had nuclear program. Oh wait, no she didn’t. Well, I expect she has learnt from her past mistakes.

          I don’t see how you can identify a “trace element” – if she is using element in the correct sense – unless they have isolated a source of the agent outside the body.

          As far as it goes at least one of the two precursors, N,N-Diethylacetamide, is easily purchasable online. The other precursor is listed for sale by chemical companies, but they ought not to sell it to just anybody (but who knows). But if there is a Russian manufacturer of N,N-Diethylacetamide – and I haven’t found one – all you have to do is purchase it from them and lo! you have a Russian signature. If the other immediate precursor is not commercially available, you could surely purchase the precursor a step further down the synthesis pathway from a Russian manufacturer for the same effect

          Perhaps they found a trace of the agent on the face or hands and managed to do an element analysis? But then if you claim the presence of Element X indicates Russia, all you need to do is dope your toxin with that element and again it becomes Russian. It gets particularly problematic that both the victims are Russian and at least one of them was in Russia the day before.

          This is what happens when you have the same outfit generating the intelligence and the scientific findings, they can always ensure the two match perfectly.

          It is also underscores that why there may be reasons to keep intelligence secret, there is never a justification to keep the science secret. It looks particularly bad when you share your scientific techno-babble with your EU allies but refuse to share it with the party you are accusing.

        • Sean Lamb

          “But then if you claim the presence of Element X indicates Russia, all you need to do is dope your toxin with that element and again it becomes Russian.”
          Possibly a couple of drops of Moscow tap-water would be enough. Again, it is impossible tell with only the little nods and winks the Establishment is giving out about their marvellous science to go on.

  • Rip van Crinkle

    In a recent letter to The Times, Stephen Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, wrote the following:

    “Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14) may I clarify that no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning.”

    A consultant trying to clarify the situation….actually states ‘no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury’.


    • Charles

      It’s already been discussed here but not in the media.

      If the UK (Porton Down) have a reference sample of the “Novichok” from Russia that matches that magically matches the poison used in Salisbury, and Russia has destroyed all it’s chemical weapons (according to OPCW) then the only possible source of the Salisbury toxin is Porto Down

      • Ivan

        Closing the circle with the conclusions reached by Craig Murray in the very first of his articles on this matter.

  • Charles

    Anyone know who the members of the OPCW inspection team are?

    Because if they come from countries that have expelled Russian Diplomats then their reliability is very much in doubt. Those countries have already found Russia guilty and meted out punishment.

    What’s the point of the OPCW inspection if Russia is already guilty as charged?

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Syrian Army intercepts militant transport truck destined for East Ghouta’: ransport-truck-destined-for-east-ghouta-video/

    ‘..The Syrian armed forces carried out a successful military operation intercepting a truck containing weapons and ammunition intended for militants, a representative of Syrian intelligence told Sputnik.
    “We organized an ambush, as a result of which a large truck carrying ammunition and weapons has been intercepted; some of the equipment is made in America. Also there were medicines and equipment for satellite communication there. All this was intended for militants in Ghouta,” the spokesman said.
    A video that appeared online shows ammunition and weapons found in the truck, including smoke grenades with the inscription “Salisbury England.” …’

    Did I read that right? ‘…A video that appeared online shows ammunition and weapons found in the truck, including smoke grenades with the inscription “Salisbury England.”…’
    Well, Mrs. May, how do you plead to that one?

  • Paul Barbara

    This, if true, is dynamite:
    ‘After new Novichok revelations, it’s time for UK to come clean: They’re lying’:

    ‘…The Associated Press summarizes other parts of the interview with Professor Rink:
    Rink told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday that Britain and other western nations easily could have synthesized the nerve agent after chemical expert Vil Mirzayanov emigrated to the United States and revealed the formula.

    Echoing Russian government statements, Rink says it wouldn’t make sense for Moscow to poison Sergei Skripal, a military intelligence officer who spied for Britain, because he was a used asset “drained” by both Russia and Britain.

    He claims Britain’s use of the name Novichok for the nerve agent is intended to convince the public that Russia is to blame.
    The English-Russian magazine The Bell interviews another Russian scientist involved in the issue:
    The Bell was able to find and speak with Vladimir Uglev, one of the scientists who was involved in developing the nerve agent referred to as “Novichok”. […] Vladimir Uglev, formerly a scientist with Volsk branch of GOSNIIOKHT (“State Scientific-Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology”), which developed and tested production of new lethal substances since 1972, spoke for the first time about his work as early as the 1990s. He left the institute in 1994 and is now retired.

    – The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that there was no research nor development of any substance called “Novichok”, not in Russia, nor in the USSR. Is that true?

    – In order to make it easier to understand the subject matter, I will not use the name “Novichok” which has is now commonly used by everyone to describe those four substances which were conditionally assigned to me to develop over a period of several years. Three of these substances are part of the “Foliant” program, which was led by Pyotr Kirpichev, a scientist with GOSNIIOKHT (State Scientific-Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology). The first substance of a new class of organophosphorous chemical agents, I will call it “A-1972”, was developed by Kirpichev in 1972. In 1976, I developed two substances: “B-1976” and “C-1976”. The fourth substance, “D-1980”, was developed by Kirpichev in the early 1980s. All of these substances fall under the group referred to as “Novichkov”, but that name wasn’t given to the substances by GOSNIIOKHT.

    All four chemical agents are “FOS” or organophosphorous compounds which have a nerve paralyzing effect, but they differ in their precursors, how they were discovered and in their usage as agents of chemical warfare.
    The four substances were developed by Pyotr Kirpichev and Vladimir Uglev. These substances were not readily usable by the military as they could not be safely transported and used in the field like binary chemical weapons can. Once synthesized they were extremely dangerous. Professor Leonid Rink, working later in a different group, tackled the problem but did not succeed. Uglev confirms that Vil Miranzayanov was not involved in the development at all. His group was responsible for chemical analysis and for environmental control around the laboratory. …’

    The stuff was in the hands of mobsters in the 1990’s, and was used to kill a Bankster. Kinda changes things a little from HMG narrative, and the MSM ‘regurgitators’, don’t you think?

    • Billy Bostickson

      No, it’s not dynamite, it’s a damp squib past its expiry date.

      The news about Rink and Uglev was published a week ago.

      You need to look at previous posts where this was discussed in detail.

      “Echoing Russian government statements, Rink says it wouldn’t make sense…..”

      Rink was arrested for the 1995 murder and accused of murder, he got a one year suspended sentence, then disappeared from public view, probably to continue work on the Foliant program in more discreet facilities.

      No wonder he now is “echoing Russian government statements”

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Billy Bostickson March 27, 2018 at 07:42
        Who was murdered and in what fashion was the murder committed?
        Kinda give’s a lotta credence to the story, no?
        And God forbid you should give any links – your allegations (like May’s and Johnston’s and the MSM) should be taken as gospel.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Hi Paul,

        Sorry for the annoying response to your legitimate comment.

        Actually it is a very interesting topic, but it has been reported and written on many times before.

        It was the Banker Kivelidi in Moscow who was murdered as well as his secretary, with a small dose of a “Novichok” type agent placed inside his telephone receiver in cotton wool.

        Syomin said: “He created a totally new substance, a chemical weapon that can kill a lot of people even in a small dose and is naturally classified.” The revelation suggests that novichok or a nerve agent similar to it went walkabout from a secret state-run laboratory in a way that the Prime Minister has suggested might have happened with the Skripal’s poison. Syomin claimed the poison “was produced in experimental conditions only on one occasion and could be kept only in a glass capsule”. The scientist who produced the deadly agent was named as Igor Rink. He received only a one year suspended sentence, it was reported. (Chrome Right Click, translate to English)

        That was 13 days ago, although I have seen other news articles dating back to the late 1990s. In fact, Vladimir Uglev discussed publicly several nerve agents 20 years ago:

        All this was reported and written about in Cassidy’s Run: The Secret Spy War Over Nerve Gas
        By David Wise (searchable on Google Books).

        Also, if you do a search for the name “Uglev” in War of Nerves. Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda by Jonathan B. Tucker, published in 2006 (free on Internet Archive), you will find some very interesting results (surprised myself again actually):

        Notice the Brits found the nerve agent all over town. That’s because someone applied the agent to the target’s (Julia Skripal or her Father’s clothing) where it acted as a slow aerosol and dropped out all over as the target walked along, thus explaining the multiple locations where it has been found in Salisbury. Absorption through clothing is very slow explaining the long exposure time and diminished lethality.

        The agent has limited military use as it is binary, both precursors have to be kept frozen and when mixed, have to be applied within 4 hours. It rapidly degrades when exposed to water, either rain or vapor. When applied directly to skin or inhaled it is quickly lethal and no recovery is possible with any antidote.

        Some interesting analysis here:

  • Billy Bostickson

    Moscow has turned the tables on the UK with their own “heads I win tails you lose” impossible choice:

    Logic suggests two possible variants. Either the British authorities are unable to ensure protection against such terrorist attacks on their territory, or they were directly or indirectly involved in the preparation of this attack on a Russian citizen. There is no other alternative.


  • SA

    The language of obfuscation continues.
    “She added: “We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.””

    Assess, could have been, potentially. Oh dear.
    How about”we haven’t a clue what we are talking about”.

    • Mary Paul

      I noticed that. she also said that 40 people had been ” assessed” in hospital ( which Met Police anti terrorism capo Neil Sabu had earlier described as been ” treated ”
      – let us assume that was Met police press office up to its usual tricks). The consultant’s letter to the Times indicated to me they had been self referred. So are the other 110 at risk and have they been assessed and if not why not? Does that number indeed include Mrs May who visited the sites shortly afterwards without protective clothing?

      • Mary Paul

        I am something of a Putin watcher. Like others here I take an interest in politics and Putin’s resentment of EU ” encroachment” on the old Soviet empire is one of my interests.Yesterdsy I watched his first press conference about the Novichok incident. I have to say he struck me as uncharacteristically uneasy and slightly sweaty compared to how he usually appears. Just remarking.

        • Mary Paul

          I have no political axe to grind. I regard all politicians as duplicitous by nature of their trade. I do enjoy following up any major incident where the facts are not all in the public domain or being muddied. I am also something of a Putin watcher. (I was very interested in the facts behind the shooting down of Malaysian Flight MH17 for example.)

          I work from home which allows me to follow crises like these as they develop and my early training lends itself to a forensic analysis of the known facts. This one is tricky because we lack so many facts. But usually indications start to emerge from the fog after a while. Here it is clear the UK press has been silenced, the UK government is spinning like mad and some high level intelligence has been shared with other countries. Once it gets to the US, facts usually start to emerge and I am sure some will , jn due course.

          At present I do not understand why, if Russia was behind it, they chose now just ahead of the World Cup. I certainly don’t buy the view it was to frighten the London oligarchs. They must already be plenty frightened as they get regularly bumped off, while the UK government looks the other way. It could have been a demonstration to the intelligence community, look what we can do, and it has certainly rattled the UK government. I do have some observations to make about the poison used but I have to go out now, will return to it later.

  • Paul Barbara

    Remember the ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ LIE? The ‘Kuwaiti Incubator Babies’ LIE? The ‘Iraqi WMD’ LIE? The ‘Massed Tanks on Saudi Border’ LIE?
    Has anyone been punished for these lies which were instrumental in launching major military attacks on Sovereign countries, causing millions and millions of deaths? No. The only one’s who suffered were the victims of the lies.
    Why should we expect better from May and her cronies and fellow-travellers re the Skripal affair?

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Trump and the West give Putin the fight he needs’:

    ‘On Monday morning the United States, Canada and the European Union carried out a coordinated mass expulsion of Russian diplomats, responding to Moscow’s alleged role in the March 4 poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain. The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington and ordered the shuttering of the Russian consulate in Seattle. At least 14 other NATO and European allies joined in, ejecting more than 100 Russian diplomats in total….’

    Now I don’t put great store on the Washington Post, but to give Ishaan Tharoor his due, even he admits the ‘crime’ is only ‘alleged’ – unlike our MSM hacks and government toadies.

  • Jiusito

    Now that so many states have jumped on the “Putin ordered the hit” bandwagon, is it fair to assume that no other answer is now possible, whatever the OPCW (or the police) might be inclined to say? Far too much face to lose now, surely?

    • marvellousMRchops

      The vampires are now daywalkers going about their business in plane sight.

      Cambridge Analytica, data to be stored in DNA, the growth of AI, human micro chipping – the toolbox of the global elite. But don’t worry you will still be free……….

    • Sebastian

      I should say so, yes. The power of ritual defamation and denigration to undercut rationality was never in doubt!

  • Billy Bostickson

    The nerve agent is said to have been found in many different places in Salisbury.

    Is that because someone applied the agent to the target’s (Julia Skripal or her Father’s) clothing, where it acted as a slow aerosol and dropped out all over as the target walked along, thus explaining the multiple locations where it has been found in Salisbury.

    Absorption through clothing is very slow explaining the long exposure time and diminished lethality.

    The agent has limited military use as it is binary, both precursors have to be kept frozen and when mixed, have to be applied within 4 hours. It rapidly degrades when exposed to water, either rain or vapor. When applied directly to skin or inhaled it is quickly lethal and no recovery is possible with any antidote.

    Some interesting analysis here:

  • Billy Bostickson

    I extracted text related to Novachok from book available on the Internet Archive:

    War of Nerves. Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda by Jonathan B. Tucker (Published 2006)

    Leading the effort to develop fourth-generation chemical weapons was
    Dr. Pyotr Petrovich Kirpichev, a brilliant young scientist who worked in the
    Shikhany branch of GosNIIOKhT. Later known as the State Institute for
    Technology of Organic Synthesis (GITOS), the Shikhany branch was
    located in the closed city of Volsk-17, twelve miles from the Central Military
    Chemical Testing Site of the Red Army. In 1973, drawing on some new
    ideas circulating among Soviet military chemists, Kirpichev synthesized a
    nitrogen-containing organophosphorus nerve agent that was initially desig-
    nated K-84 and later renamed A-230. Although the new compound was
    highly toxic and stable, it was a viscous liquid that crystallized at 14 degrees
    Fahrenheit and thus presented disadvantages for use in cold weather.

    In 1975, a young chemist named Vladimir Ivanovich Uglev joined Kir-
    pichev’s research team. At first Uglev felt uncomfortable working on chem-
    ical weapons, but he gradually accepted the rationale that they were
    necessary for the nation’s defense. Without a credible deterrent, he was
    repeatedly told, the U.S. imperialists would unleash the horrors of gas war-
    fare against the Soviet homeland. By the time Uglev arrived at GITOS, the
    preliminary development work on A-230 had been completed. Over the
    next few years, Kirpichev, Uglev, and their colleagues synthesized more than
    a hundred structural variants of A-230 and subjected them to systematic
    testing in laboratory animals. Most of the analogues were so unstable that
    they rapidly lost potency, but five were sufficiently toxic and stable to be of
    potential military interest. These compounds were therefore subjected to
    intensive study, and the most promising turned out to be A-232.

    The molecular structure of A-232 was nearly identical to that of A-230,
    but with an important difference. Whereas A-230 was a phosphonate con-
    taining a direct carbon-phosphorus bond, A-232 was a phosphate, meaning
    that the carbon and phosphorus atoms were linked through an oxygen
    atom. Although phosphonates have only a few civilian applications in the
    production of certain pesticides and fire retardants, phosphates are used for
    a wide variety of legitimate industrial and commercial purposes. Because A-
    232s precursors and breakdown products did not contain a carbon-
    phosphorus bond — the telltale “signature” of nerve agents such as Sarin,
    Soman, and VX — its production would be far easier to conceal from foreign
    spies and arms control inspectors. A-232 had some disadvantages, however:
    it was less toxic than A-230 by a factor of two or three and tended to degrade
    rapidly in the presence of moisture.

    After the invention of A-230 and A-232, Kirpichev and his colleagues
    tried to keep their findings quiet so that they could continue their work
    without interruption. But Victor Petrunin, the deputy director of GITOS,
    was eager to send news of the breakthrough to his superiors in Moscow. A
    few days later, the GosNIIOKhT director, Ivan Martinov, arrived at the
    Shikhany institute and asked to be briefed on the new compounds.
    Impressed by what he heard, he allocated high priority to the Foliant pro-
    gram and supplied Kirpichev with top-quality laboratory equipment. All
    research on A-230 and A-232 was henceforth classified “Top Secret — Of
    Special Importance,” the highest level of secrecy at the time. Research
    reports on the new compounds were no longer circulated for internal review
    but were sent directly to Moscow, often in the form of handwritten manu-

    In 1976, a pilot plant at Volgograd produced a few kilograms of A-230
    and A-232 for testing purposes. The first battery of tests involved measur-
    ing their physiochemical properties and toxicity in laboratory animals by
    injection, inhalation, and skin application. Soviet scientists then conducted
    a series of open-air trials at the Red Army’s Central Military Testing Site at
    Shikhany using rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, horses, and monkeys. In the field
    tests, the new agents turned out to be five to eight times more lethal than
    VX. This extraordinary potency had not been predicted from laboratory
    studies and appeared to result from the fact that A-230 and A- 232 passed
    rapidly from the bloodstream into the central nervous system by penetrat-
    ing the blood-brain barrier. The new agents also inactivated cholinesterase
    irreversibly in minutes. Indeed, the results of the field trials were so impres-
    sive that the GITOS scientists hesitated to report their findings to Moscow
    for fear of being accused of exaggeration.

    In Russia, meanwhile, the Mirzayanov case continued to spark contro-
    versy. On February 4, 1993, Vladimir Uglev, now fifty, granted an interview
    to the Russian magazine Novoye Vremya ( New Times). Outraged by Mirza-
    yanov’s arrest, he had decided to corroborate the chemist’s allegations and
    disclose his own involvement in the Foliant development program. Having
    discounted the security rationale for acquiring chemical weapons, he
    believed that the Russian military had no real concept for their use and
    viewed them simply as a vehicle for obtaining state prizes, perks, and
    research grants.

    In the New Times interview, Uglev described the development of A- 232
    by Kirpichev and himself. He warned that unless the charges against Mirza-
    yanov were dropped, he would disclose the chemical formulas of the Novi-
    chok agents, which could easily be manufactured by other countries once
    their molecular structures were known. Because Uglev was a people’s deputy
    from Volsk and Shikhany township, he enjoyed immunity from prosecu-
    tion. Infuriated by Uglev’s remarks, his superiors at GITOS locked him out
    of the laboratory and asked the Volsk City Council to strip him of legal pro-
    tections so that he could be put on trial for revealing state secrets.

    The Russian government also tried to crack down on the journalists and
    periodicals involved in the Mirzayanov and Uglev exposes. On April 8, 1993,
    FSB officials interrogated Baltimore Sun reporter Will Englund and tried
    unsuccessfully to intimidate him into testifying against Mirzayanov. Then
    in June, an FSB colonel from Saratov District arrived at the Moscow offices
    of New Times and Moscow News, which had published interviews with
    Uglev, and demanded all tapes, notes, or original documents pertaining to
    the scientist. Both newspapers provided copies of their published articles
    but courageously refused to hand over any source materials.

    Despite the ongoing controversy, GosNIIOKhT continued to develop
    the Novichok binary agents. In the fall of 1993, Professor Georgi Drozd dis-
    covered a new formulation called Novichok-7, which had a volatility similar
    to that of Soman but was about ten times more potent. A few dozen tons of
    Novichok-7 were produced for experimental testing at Nukus and Shikhany.
    In addition, two more binary agents, Novichok-8 and Novichok-9, were in
    the development pipeline.

    As Mirzayanov’s case worked its way through the Russian legal system,
    he was featured repeatedly on national television and in the press. Flis plight
    also attracted the attention of scientific and human rights organizations in
    Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and the United
    States. Two human rights activists in Princeton, New Jersey, Gale M. Colby
    and Irene Goldman, decided to devote themselves to Mirzayanov’s case and
    tirelessly lobbied journalists, opinion leaders, and members of Congress on
    his behalf. They persuaded two senior members of the Senate Foreign Rela-
    tions Committee, Senators Bill Bradley (D.-New Jersey) and Jesse Helms
    (R.— North Carolina), to write letters of protest to President Yeltsin. Finally,
    acting on instructions from the Clinton administration, U.S. Ambassador
    Tom Pickering held a news conference in Moscow in which he defended
    Mirzayanov for “telling the truth about an activity which is contrary to
    treaty obligations.”

    Despite the growing international protests, the Russian Office of the
    Prosecutor General moved forward with Mirzayanov’s closed trial, which
    began in Moscow City Court on January 24, 1994. If convicted of revealing
    state secrets, the Russian chemist faced up to eight years in prison. Six weeks
    into the trial, however, the Yeltsin government finally gave in to foreign
    pressure. On March 11, the acting prosecutor general dismissed the case for
    “lack of evidence.” Although the People’s Court ordered GosNIIOKhT to
    pay Mirzayanov 30,000 rubles in financial and emotional damages, the
    institute refused to pay and instead filed a countersuit for 33 million rubles.
    Vil’s lawyer urged him to continue the legal battle for compensation, but as
    a divorced father of two young sons, he decided to abandon the struggle.

    On February 16, 1995, Mirzayanov traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to speak
    at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of
    Science and receive the organization’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility
    Award. During the ceremony, he met Gale Colby, the Princeton woman
    who had campaigned for his release. After his return to Moscow, the two
    began a correspondence, and several months later, Mirzayanov, then sixty-
    three, moved to Princeton and married Colby. Following his arrival in the
    United States, the Russian chemist was debriefed extensively by the CIA and
    offered a research position at Edgewood. As a condition of his employment,
    he had to undergo a security background investigation and a polygraph
    exam. During the lie detector test, the CIA examiner asked him repeatedly,
    “Are you a spy?” Mirzayanov was outraged by this question. “Why do you
    ask me that?” he shouted. “You can judge for yourself whether or not my
    information is correct.” Deeply insulted, he withdrew his application.

    Over the next few years, Mirzayanov wrote his memoirs and contin-
    ued to follow developments in Russia. Much as he had feared, the toxic
    contamination caused by nerve agent production at Volgograd and Novo-
    cheboksarsk had left a bitter legacy of chronic illness, birth defects, and
    environmental damage. In February 1995, the chairman of the Union of
    Khimprom Workers at Novocheboksarsk wrote an open letter to the inter-
    national community that read in part, “Our health has been ruined. Many
    of us see that our work in V-gas production affected [the] health of our chil-
    dren as well. Ecology of our town has been undermined. . . . Our health
    steadily deteriorates [and] the nervous system (central and peripheral) col-
    lapses, as does the liver, the heart fails.”

    In response to Mirzayanov’s revelations about the Novichok program,
    the Clinton administration conducted a behind-the-scenes dialogue with
    the Russian government about the accuracy of Moscow’s declarations
    under the 1989 Wyoming MOU. The second phase of the data exchange
    had been delayed for several years by the collapse of the Soviet Union and
    the ensuing disarray in the Russian government. In January 1994, Presidents
    Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin had held a summit in Moscow at which they
    agreed to implement a scaled-down version of Phase II of the Wyoming
    MOU. The two sides had exchanged data in April and May 1994 and then
    conducted five “practice” inspections at declared government chemical
    weapons facilities in each country between August and December. Subse-
    quently, both Washington and Moscow raised questions about the com-
    pleteness of the data submitted by the other.

    The United States had three areas of concern about the Russian declara-
    tions. First, the total size of the declared Russian stockpile, at 40,000 metric
    tons (80 percent nerve agents, 20 percent blister agents), appeared too low
    to be consistent with other evidence. Second, given the scale of the Soviet
    chemical weapons program, the Russians had listed very few development
    facilities. Under the terms of the Wyoming MOU, both countries were sup-
    posed to identify all buildings that devoted more than 50 percent of their
    manpower, floor space, or funding to chemical weapons development.
    Although the United States had declared more than a hundred such build-
    ings, Russia had declared only one — despite reports in the Russian press
    that at least three clandestine chemical weapons development centers
    existed in the Moscow region alone.

    Finally, the Russian government had provided no information in its
    Wyoming MOU declarations to clarify the allegations by Mirzayanov and
    Uglev about the development and production of the Novichok agents. Dur-
    ing discussions with U.S. officials, the Russians did not dispute the facts
    that Mirzayanov had disclosed — only their interpretation. They admitted
    having conducted research on a new class of nerve agents but maintained
    that the Wyoming MOU and the BDA required declaring only stockpiled
    weapons, not small amounts of agent produced for development and testing
    purposes. Although some members of the U.S. intelligence community sus-
    pected that the Russians had manufactured significant quantities of the
    Novichok agents, the evidence was not clear-cut. Despite several rounds of
    discussions with Russian officials, the open questions were never resolved to
    Washington’s satisfaction.

    Although Mirzayanov no longer had direct contacts with GosNII-
    OKhT, he believed that secret work on the Novichok agents continued. He
    had learned, for example, that Pyotr Kirpichev, now in his early fifties, was
    working at a secret military research institute in Shikhany, about a mile and
    a half from GITOS. Mirzayanov worried that the Novichok agents posed a
    serious proliferation risk because their production could be concealed
    within commercial chemical plants, greatly complicating the verification of
    the CWC.

    Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Anatoly Kuntsevich was facing some
    legal problems of his own. On April 7, 1994, President Yeltsin dismissed him
    from the post of senior adviser on chemical and biological arms control for
    “gross violation of his duties” and replaced him with his former deputy,
    Pavel Pavlovich Syutkin. It appeared that Kuntsevich had signed an agree-
    ment with the Syrian government in 1992 to create a Syrian Center for Eco-
    logical Protection and had supplied it with laboratory equipment and
    materials. In October 1995, the general was aboard a government aircraft
    preparing to depart Moscow on an official visit to Damascus when the flight
    was halted and FSB agents took him into custody. Kuntsevich was charged
    with having shipped 800 kilograms of V-agent precursors to Syria in 1993
    and the attempted smuggling of an additional 5.5 tons in 1994. At the time,
    Kuntsevich was running as a right-wing candidate for the Russian State
    Duma (the lower house of Parliament) and claimed that the charges against
    him were politically motivated. Several months later, however, the charges
    were dropped under mysterious circumstances, and Kuntsevich was allowed
    to retain his prestigious post of academician with the Institute of Chemical
    Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences until his death in September
    2002. Reportedly, he was on a plane en route from Moscow to Damascus
    when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

    A further obstacle in the path of chemical disarmament is the effort by the
    United States and Russia to develop a new generation of “nonlethal”
    weapons, including powerful incapacitating agents that act on the nervous
    system. The CWC explicitly bans the combat use of incapacitants and tear
    gas because any release of toxic chemicals on the battlefield could easily esca-
    late to the employment of lethal agents. Yet Russia and the United States both
    claim the right to employ incapacitating agents for counterterrorism opera-
    tions under an exemption in the CWC for “domestic law enforcement.”

    (October 23, 2002, Dubrovka Theater in Moscow)

    On April io, 1987, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who had taken
    office in 1985, declared publicly that the Soviet Union was ending all pro-
    duction of chemical weapons and would henceforth convert its existing
    military chemical facilities to civilian purposes. Despite Gorbachev’s pledge,
    however, the secret development and testing of Novichok binary agents
    continued. In 1986, the Soviets had built the Chemical Research Institute at
    a closed military complex in Nukus, Uzbekistan. This facility employed 300
    people and included laboratories, a pilot production plant for Novichok
    agents, a munitions filling line, and a large test chamber in which dogs were
    exposed to toxic agents through gas masks placed over their muzzles.

    In May 1987, a serious accident occurred at GosNIIOKhT in Moscow.
    Andrei Zheleznyakov, an experienced military chemist at the institute, was
    conducting an experiment under a fume hood in which he combined the
    binary precursors of Novichok-5 inside a small stainless-steel reactor and
    measured the reaction temperature. Previous experiments had shown that
    the higher the temperature, the greater the purity of the end product. Using
    a syringe connected to a plastic tube, Zheleznyakov drew samples from the
    reactor for analysis. Suddenly overcome by a spell of intense dizziness, he
    saw that the tube had become disconnected from the syringe and was leak-
    ing invisible fumes into the air. He quickly sealed the leak, but his ears were
    ringing and orange spots flashed before his eyes. Paralyzed with fear, he
    murmured, “Guys, I think it’s got me.”

    Zheleznyakov’s coworkers quickly took him outdoors for some fresh air
    and gave him a shot of vodka. When he returned to the laboratory, he
    looked pale and drawn, and his section chief told him to go home and rest.
    A colleague escorted him to the bus stop. As he waited for the bus, Zhelezn-
    yakov experienced a hallucination in which the onion-domed church across
    the way suddenly glowed brightly and broke up into a thousand swirling
    pieces. He fainted and collapsed on the sidewalk, and a friend brought him back to GosNIIOKhT. There the KGB security detail called an ambulance
    and followed in a car as the emergency vehicle, sirens blaring, carried the
    stricken chemist to the Sklifosovsky Institute for Emergency Care, the lead-
    ing poison center in the Soviet Union.

    By the time Zheleznyakov arrived at the hospital, his breathing was
    labored, his heart was barely beating, and his nervous system was shutting
    down. The KGB escorts told the admitting physician, Dr. Yevgeny Ved-
    ernikov, that the patient was suffering from food poisoning caused by the
    ingestion of bad sausage. They then made the doctor sign a security form
    pledging never to discuss the case in public. Although Dr. Vedernikov did
    not know the exact cause of the poisoning, a blood test revealed that Zhel-
    eznyakov’s cholinesterase level was close to zero. By treating the chemist
    symptomatically with atropine and other antidotes, Vedernikov managed to
    save his life.

    For the next ten days Zheleznyakov remained in critical condition,
    oblivious to his surroundings, and only gradually regained consciousness.
    After another week of intensive care in Moscow, he was transferred to the
    Institute of Labor Hygiene and Occupational Pathology in Leningrad. This
    hospital had a top secret ward for the treatment of nerve agent injuries
    known as the Special Department for Foliant Problems. (The Leningrad
    institute, together with its affiliates in Volgograd and Kiev, was part of a
    closed system of classified medicine under the Third Main Administration
    of the Soviet Ministry of Health.) Unable to walk, Zheleznyakov remained
    at the Leningrad clinic for three months. Although he gradually improved,
    he suffered from chronic weakness in his arms, a toxic hepatitis that gave
    rise to cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, spells of severe depression, and an
    inability to read or concentrate that left him totally disabled and unable to
    work. He died five years later, in July 1992. The devastating consequences
    of Zheleznyakov’s exposure to a whiff of Novichok-5 demonstrated the
    extraordinary toxicity of the Foliant nerve agents.

    Gorbachev’s “peace offensive” included a dramatic new initiative in
    the field of chemical arms control. On August 6, 1987, Soviet Foreign Min-
    ister Eduard Shevardnadze addressed the Conference on Disarmament in
    Geneva. Much to the surprise of the other delegations present, he accepted
    the principle of mandatory “challenge” inspections of suspected chemical

    274 —

    Silent Spread

    weapons facilities without the right of refusal. In effect, Gorbachev was call-
    ing the Reagan administrations bluff by accepting the earlier U.S. proposal
    for “anywhere, anytime” inspections of suspect sites. This provision had
    been included in the U.S. draft treaty that Vice President Bush had pre-
    sented in Geneva on April 18, 1984. Because the Pentagon refused to accept
    “anywhere, anytime” inspections of its own facilities, the sole purpose of the
    U.S. proposal had been to embarrass the Soviet Union, which Washington
    knew would never accept such a highly intrusive verification regime. At the
    time, the Soviets had fulfilled those expectations by rejecting the idea out
    of hand. Now, however, Gorbachev’s act of “diplomatic jujitsu” turned
    the tables and put the United States in the awkward position of having to
    back away from its own proposal. U.S. diplomats scrambled to weaken the
    challenge-inspection provisions in the draft treaty, much to the irritation of
    Britain and other countries.

    Under the Wyoming MOU, the Soviet Union gave the United States a
    detailed set of data declarations on its stockpiled chemical weapons and
    related development, production, and storage facilities. Despite Gor-
    bachev’s rhetoric of glasnost, the Soviet declaration contained several major
    gaps, including a failure to mention the Foliant nerve agents and the Novi-
    chok binary formulations. In 1989-90, the Soviets conducted trials of
    Novichok-5 at the Chemical Research Institute in Nukus, Uzbekistan, and
    its open-air testing site on the Ustyurt Plateau, an expanse of arid desert sev-
    eral hundred miles west of the Aral Sea. The Kremlin intended to keep these
    top secret activities under wraps in order to preserve its technological advan-
    tage. This gambit probably would have succeeded, had it not been for the
    courageous decision by a senior scientist at GosNIIOKhT to disclose the
    institute’s most explosive secrets to the outside world.

    Vil Sultanovich Mirzayanov was born in a small Russian town on the
    European side of the Ural Mountains. He was a member of the Tatar minor-
    ity, a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim ethnic group that had experienced a
    long history of persecution. As a young man, he showed an aptitude for
    math and science and was admitted to the Moscow State Academy of Fine
    Chemical Technology, where he earned a degree in petroleum-refinery engi-
    neering in 1958. He was then hired by a state research institute on synthetic
    fuels, moving after a few years to another institute involved in the develop-
    ment and production of boranes as rocket propellants. He also began his
    doctoral studies in chemistry at the Institute of Petrochemistry of the Soviet
    Academy of Sciences, where he wrote a dissertation on the chromatographic
    analysis of trace concentrations of chemical compounds.

    After Mirzayanov successfully defended his thesis in 1965, one of the
    members of his doctoral committee recommended him for a job at GosNII-
    OKhT. Although he had already obtained a security clearance for his work
    on boranes, the new position required a more rigorous background investi-
    gation that took three months to complete. Finally the clearance was
    approved and Vil joined the technical staff at GosNIIOKhT in 1966, at the
    age of thirty. His first assignment was to monitor toxic emissions from the
    laboratory into the Moscow air and water, and to perform chromatographic
    analyses of the various chemical warfare agents under development.

    Mirzayanov enjoyed his work at GosNIIOKhT and received good per-
    formance reviews. To further his career, he became a member of the Com-
    munist Party, which was considered a prerequisite for high-level positions at
    the institute. In the late 1980s, after two decades of service, he was promoted
    to the position of chief of the Department of Technical Counterintelligence,
    responsible for shielding the highly classified research on chemical weapons
    from the eyes of foreign intelligence services. In this capacity, Mirzayanov
    carried a notebook filled with top secret code names and traveled frequently
    to meetings at Shikhany and Novocheboksarsk. He did his job so well that
    the U.S. intelligence community remained unaware of the Foliant program.

    As the years went by, however, Mirzayanov began to have moral qualms
    about his work. He was disturbed by the duplicity of Kremlin leaders who
    continued to invest vast resources in chemical weapons development while
    paying lip service to disarmament and failing to meet the basic needs of the
    Soviet people. When President Gorbachev eased restrictions on political
    speech, Mirzayanov became a bit more outspoken about his personal views.
    In 1989, he helped to organize the GosNIIOKhT branch of the opposition
    party Democratic Movement of Russia.

    During the spring of 1990, Mirzayanov was told to help prepare the
    chemical weapons production facilities at Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk
    for upcoming visits by U.S. experts under the bilateral confidence-building
    provisions of the Wyoming MOU. At the Khimprom plant in Volgograd,
    he took environmental samples throughout the Soman production unit.
    Although the manufacturing line had been shut down, samples from the
    smokestack contained fifty to a hundred times the allowed concentration of
    nerve agent. Mirzayanov also found that samples from the wastewater pond
    were highly contaminated, even though the plant manager claimed that the
    treated waste did not inhibit cholinesterase in laboratory tests. Puzzled,
    Mirzayanov did his own analysis and discovered that salts in the waste water
    interfered with the reaction between Soman and cholinesterase, masking
    what was in fact a dangerous level of toxicity.

    Mirzayanov wrote up his findings and took samples back to Moscow to
    bolster his case. When he told GosNIIOKhT director Viktor Petrunin that
    contamination of the Volgograd facility posed serious health risks for the
    workers and the local population, Petrunin frowned. “You did a good job
    with the analysis, but these findings are extremely troublesome for us,” he
    said. “I’m sure you would find the same thing at Novocheboksarsk.”

    Mirzayanov was taken aback by the implications of this remark. “You
    mean you don’t intend to correct the situation?” he asked.

    Petrunin shook his head. “Don’t be naive,” he replied sharply.

    Mirzayanov refused to follow the director’s advice and simply drop the
    issue. At an interagency meeting on counterintelligence problems, he
    reported his findings on the high level of toxic contamination at Volgograd.
    One senior official, the Deputy Minister of Chemical Production, took
    strong exception. “Dr. Mirzayanov was not authorized to make this report,
    which he did strictly on his own initiative,” he said. “Accordingly, his infor-
    mation is not trustworthy.” The deputy minister went so far as to cast doubt
    on Vil’s loyalty by implying that he might be working under the influence
    of a foreign intelligence service.

    After the meeting, Petrunin told Mirzayanov that he was fortunate not
    to be living in Stalin’s time, when such a remark would have sealed his fate.
    Although Vil was allowed to keep his job at GosNIIOKhT, it was clear that
    nothing would be done to clean up the toxic contamination at Volgograd.
    Deeply disillusioned, Mirzayanov resigned his membership in the Commu-
    nist Party in May 1990. Petrunin retaliated by denying him access to labora-
    tory equipment and transferring several of his colleagues in an attempt to
    isolate him. Although Mirzayanov debated whether to go public with what
    he knew, he hesitated, fearing the consequences for himself and his young

    After much personal anguish and soul-searching, Vil Mirzayanov
    finally decided to go public with his concerns about the Soviet nerve agent
    development program. The precipitating event came in April 1991, when
    President Mikhail Gorbachev secretly awarded the Lenin Prize, the Soviet
    Union’s highest honor, to GosNIIOKhT director Petrunin, General Kunt-
    sevich, and General Igor Yevstavyev for their successful development and
    pilot-scale production of the Novichok agents. Mirzayanov was convinced
    that the Kremlin intended to conceal the existence of the Soviet binary pro-
    gram so that it would not have to be declared and eliminated under the
    future Chemical Weapons Convention. On October 10, 1991, he published
    an article titled “Inversion” in the Moscow newspaper Kuranty in which he
    exposed the duplicity of the Soviet military-chemical complex. Despite
    Gorbachev’s claim in 1987 to have halted all manufacture of chemical
    weapons, Mirzayanov wrote, the Soviet Union was continuing in secret to
    develop a new class of nerve agents of extraordinary potency.

    The article’s publication in Kuranty was overshadowed by the tumul-
    tuous political events leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union. On
    December 8, 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus signed a
    treaty creating the Commonwealth of Independent States. Most of the
    other former Soviet republics joined two weeks later, and on December 25,
    President Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR and turned the
    powers of his office over to Boris Yeltsin, the leader of the Russian Federa-
    tion. At midnight, the hammer-and-sickle flag was pulled down from the
    dome of the Kremlin and replaced with the Russian tricolor. Yeltsin had

    — 315


    won Russia’s first presidential election on June 12 and become world-famous
    on August 18 by standing defiantly atop an armored personnel carrier and
    challenging a hard-line coup against Gorbachev that had ultimately failed.
    Now, as the president of independent Russia, Yeltsin was responsible for the
    aging Soviet stockpile of chemical weapons, which were stored at seven
    depots on Russian soil.

    Although few people read Mirzayanov’s article in Kuranty, it came to the
    attention of the directors of GosNIIOKhT, who summarily fired him on
    January 6, 1992. With few prospects of finding another job, Vil tried to
    make ends meet by selling some of his possessions at the Moscow flea mar-
    ket. Several weeks later, many of his former colleagues also became unem-
    ployed when the GosNIIOKhT budget was slashed and roughly half of the
    scientific staff was laid off.

    In mid-1992, Mirzayanov met Lev Fedorov, a professor of organic chem-
    istry at the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry
    in Moscow. Although Fedorov had no ties to GosNIIOKhT and had never
    done classified research, he had a strong personal interest in the history of
    the Soviet chemical warfare program. The two men agreed to collaborate on
    an article for the weekly newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News),
    which was published on September 16, 1992, under the headline A poi-
    soned policy. The article alleged that because of inadequate safety systems,
    GosNIIOKhT was venting toxic fumes into the Moscow air that threatened
    the health and safety of city residents. In the event of a major fire or explo-
    sion at the institute, Mirzayanov and Fedorov wrote, eight to ten kilograms
    of superlethal nerve agents might be released into the atmosphere, giving
    rise to a humanitarian disaster that could rival the 1986 nuclear accident at

    Mirzayanov also granted an interview to journalist Will Englund, the
    Moscow correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, who subsequently wrote two
    detailed articles on the Foliant program. The first, published on September
    15, was titled “Ex-Soviet Scientist Says Gorbachev’s Regime Created New
    Nerve Gas in ’91.” Four days after the second Englund article appeared on
    October 18, the Russian authorities moved into action. At seven in the
    morning of October 22, agents from the Russian Federal Security Service
    (FSB), the successor to the Soviet KGB, hammered on the door of Mirza-
    yanov’s two-room apartment in Moscow. While his wife and two young sons
    looked on in terror, the secret police arrested Vil and searched the apartment
    for classified documents. Mirzayanov was then taken to Lefortovo, the infa-
    mous prison for political dissidents in downtown Moscow. Although no
    sensitive materials had been found in his home and the newspaper articles
    had not revealed any technical details about the Foliant nerve agents, Mirza-
    yanov was charged with divulging state secrets in violation of Article 75 of
    the Russian criminal code. The FSB also arrested and interrogated Federov,
    but he was released because he did not have access to secret information.

    Mirzayanov was imprisoned at Lefortovo for eleven days without access
    to a lawyer. His first two days were spent in solitary confinement and the
    other nine sharing a cell with two other prisoners. Finally he was granted a
    hearing before a judge. Mirzayanov argued that because he posed no danger
    to society and had two young children, he should be released from prison
    and kept under house arrest. The judge agreed, on the condition that Vil
    remain in Moscow and report daily to FSB headquarters for interrogation.
    After a struggle, Mirzayanov was granted permission to retain counsel, but
    neither he nor his lawyer was allowed to review the secret law under which
    he was being charged or the prosecutors list of counts. Paradoxically, the
    FSB gave Mirzayanov access to dozens of top secret Foliant documents to
    help him prepare his defense. The chemist suspected that the Russian gov-
    ernment intended to make an example of him and that his chances of get-
    ting a fair trial were slim. Indeed, GosNIIOKhT deputy director Alexander
    Martinov vowed that Mirzayanov would be convicted and sent to prison for
    the rest of his life.

    Any comments?

    • Charles

      Any Comments?

      Yes, not all that is written down or spoken is true.

      eg regarding BB’s previous comment;

      “The agent has limited military use as it is binary, both precursors have to be kept frozen and when mixed, have to be applied within 4 hours. It rapidly degrades when exposed to water, either rain or vapor. When applied directly to skin or inhaled it is quickly lethal and no recovery is possible with any antidote.”

      The specific “Salisbury” Agent has not been made known to the public, it may not be known to Porton Down.
      It is not known if it is a Primary (Not agents loosely refereed to as Novickoks are Binary or indeed Nerve Agents / Gasses.
      Nerve Agents (and if from Binary the chemicals that make up the precursors) do not need to be kept frozen.
      (see M687 Artillery Shell)
      Half lives of poisons (in general and including Nerve Agents) when exposed to air and moisure vary considerably (from hours to years)
      Effective Antidotes are known for some Nerve Agents

    • Emily

      Any comments?
      So the USA still sits on its vast cache of chemical and biological weapons.
      Unlike Russia who has been signed off as disposing of its arsenal,the USA claims it needs another 5 years.
      Meantime the USA has handed out these weapons almost willy nilly and evidence points to them continuing to do so – at least in the Middle East.
      One of their grateful recipients being Saddam Hussein – of course.
      I know with whom I feel safer – having weapons of any nature.
      They are interested in defence .
      Unlike the west and the axis of pure evil NATO/USA/UK, proving itself vile self once again and this time playing with nuclear fire.

    • Grahamsno(G64)

      Brilliant catch Billy,

      These chemists who worked on the program are Dr. Mengele type war criminals, what dangerous and nasty shit they synthesized. Bless Mirzayanov what a brave man. I hope that the hit on the Skripals was a Kremlin hit then at least we know this terrifying stuff is under the control of a state and not in the hand of gangs or terrorists. It took 2 decades of work by some of the best chemists in the world to turn it into a weapon so we can rule out any other state other than Russia.

  • Paul Barbara

    The important points are some of the nerve agents were on the market, and used by Russian mobsters for killings, in the mid 1990’s, and that Mirzayanov had written the formulas in his openly available book, ‘State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program’: 22 Dec 2008 by Vil S Mirzayanov (available on Amazon!!!)
    So there is NO reason to blame Russia, as this was all to do with the Soviet Union; when it broke up, the genie was out of the bottle, and any decent chemist with good facilities could rustle up a batch.
    And May must have known this, but demonising Russia was far too important to be stymied by a few awkward facts.
    In short, IF the poisoning occurred, there are umpteen State and criminal entities who could have been responsible.

    • Sean Lamb

      It doesn’t sound like the 1995 case was a nerve agent

      “Acute colic with fainting happened to him earlier – sick kidneys, and besides, chronic hypertension. Initially, the doctors suspected a major stroke, the patient was placed in the intensive care unit.

      The next day, with similar symptoms, the secretary Kivelidi – 35-year-old Zara Ismailova was delivered to the hospital, but already the 1st Grada hospital: seizures similar to epileptic, loss of consciousness, circulatory disturbance. The woman died without regaining consciousness on the morning of August 3. The boss survived it for a day”

      “Initially, toxicologists suggested that the lethal outcome came as a result of the ingress of salts of heavy metals into the body.”

      I think Professor Rink might have been persuaded to say he sold them something, otherwise the prosecution didn’t have a case. It would explain why he never went to prison

      ” Investigators detained Vladimir Khutsishvili for 30 days, but could not prove his involvement in the poisoning and released him from custody. But in December 1999, the investigators managed to get out on a man who admitted that he had sold poison to Mr. Khutsishvili. Upon learning of this, suspect Khutsishvili disappeared abroad.”

      What a mess Russia is.

  • Mary Paul

    Tidying up some newspapers, came across a lengthy interview about Skripal affair by veteran journalist Andrew Billen with former GRU agent Boris Volordarsky – published in the Times colour supplement of 24 march. Behind paywall. Worth a read if you can get hold of a copy.

    • Mary Paul

      Volordarsky says in the interview that the Russians have been developing chemical weapons including nerve agents at CERS (French acronym for The Scientific Studies and Research Centre) in Syria. In December he says, it was bombed by the Israelis acting on British and American Intelligence. He says the Salisbury incident was to show the west that “we know who did it and we are still here.”

      • Sean Lamb

        Russians make a living doing this and when MI6 gets sick of them they have a habit of dying in rather unpleasant ways.

        Its a lucrative career for Russians exiles, but often a short one

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Excellent analysis, by Dmitry Orlov.

    “Killing Diplomacy”


    “… And now, at the end of this long process of degeneration and decay, we have in the person of the Foreign Minister a clown by the name of Boris Johnson. His equally incompetent boss Theresa May recently saw it fit to very loudly and publicly violate the terms of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which the UK is a signatory.

    To recap, Theresa May claimed that a certain Russian-cum-British spy living in the UK was killed using a nerve agent made in Russia, and gave Russia 24 hours to explain this situation to her satisfaction. Russia is likewise a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and had destroyed all 39,967 metric tons of its chemical weapons by September 27, 2017. On that occasion, The Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, stated: “The completion of the verified destruction of Russia’s chemical weapons programme is a major milestone in the achievement of the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I congratulate Russia and I commend all of their experts who were involved for their professionalism and dedication.” The US is yet to destroy its stockpiles, preferring to squander trillions on useless ballistic defense systems instead of living up to its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Here is precisely what Theresa May did wrong. Under the terms of the CWC, the UK was obligated to provide Russia with a sample of the nerve agent used, along with all related evidence uncovered in the course of the investigation. After that, the treaty gives Russia 10 days to respond. Instead, May provided no evidence, and gave Russia 24 hours to respond. When Russia formally requested to see the evidence, this request was refused. We can only guess at why she refused, but one reasonable supposition is that there is no evidence, because:

    • May claimed that the nerve agent was Novichok, developed in the USSR. In order to identify it, the UK experts had to have had a sample of it. Since neither the USSR, nor Russia, have ever been known to export it, we should assume that it was synthesized within the UK. The formula and the list of precursors are in the public domain, published by the scientist who developed Novichok, who has since moved to the US. Thus, British scientists working at Porton Down could have synthesized it themselves. In any case, it is not possible to determine in what country a given sample of the substance was synthesized, and the claim that it came from Russia is not provable.

    • It was claimed that the victims—Mr. Skripal and his daugher—were poisoned with Novichok while at a restaurant. Yet how could this have been done? The agent in question is so powerful that a liter of it released into the atmosphere over London would kill most of its population. Breaking a vial of it open over a plate of food would kill the murderer along with everyone inside the restaurant. Anything it touched would be stained yellow, and many of those in the vicinity would have complained of a very unusual, acrid smell. Those poisoned would be instantaneously paralyzed and dead within minutes, not strolling over to a park bench where they were found. The entire town would have been evacuated, and the restaurant would have to be encased in a concrete sarcophagus by workers in space suits and destroyed with high heat. None of this has happened.

    • In view of the above, it seems unlikely that any of what has been described in the UK media and by May’s government has actually taken place. An alternative assumption, and one we should be ready to fully test, is that all of this is a work of fiction. No pictures of the two victims have been provided. One of them—Skripal’s daughter—is a citizen of the Russian Federation, and yet the British have refused to provide consular access to her. And now it has emerged that the entire scenario, including the Novichok nerve gas, was cribbed from a US/UK television drama “Strike Back.” If so, this was certainly efficient; why invent when you can simply plagiarize.

    • Sagittarius Rising


      That is a jolly good analyses. This is the inherent problem – it is just so much easier to tell porkies so long as one is not found out, if telling porkies is not actually illegal, when any intent to deceive must be able to be proven which is almost impossible to do. It is however immoral.

    • Mary Paul

      1. May claimed it was developed by Russia. Claims are emerging that chemical weapons have been developed for some time by Russian scientists at a lab in Syria.
      2.Some experts claim that it is possible to tell from an analysis of the “micro-components” of the agent, at a very low level, where it was made.
      2. The idea that the Skripals were poisoned at the restaurant was discounted very early on. I read an interview with one of the chefs (early on before Mi6 got to everyone) saying that the food is taken direct from the kitchen to the table. For someone to have tampered with it on the way would have been tricky and risky. In any case there have been lots of other suggestions since then as to how it was administered. (see earlier posts here).
      2. Those accounts we have of Russians who have accidentally ingested it or been poisoned with it, would seem to indicate that depending on the type, and how it is administered, it may not be immediately fatal. And sometimes not at all although leaving severe effects.

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