Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks” 324


Boris Johnson has attempted to renew the faltering case for blaming Russia ahead of the investigation into the Skripal attack, by issuing a fundamentally new story that completely changes – and very radically strengthens – the government line on what it knows. You can see the long Foreign and Commonwealth Office Statement here.

This is the sensational new claim which all the propaganda sheets are running with:

The Foreign Secretary revealed this morning that we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination. And part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

This is an astonishing claim and requires close investigation. If this information comes from MI5 or MI6, there is a process of inter-departmental clearance that has to be gone through before it can be put in the public domain – even by a Minister – which is known as “Action-on”. I have been through the process personally many times when working as head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, monitoring Iraqi arms acquisitions. It is not, unless actually at war, a Saturday night process – it would have had to have been done on Friday.

So why is this essential information being released not to Parliament on Friday, but on Andrew Marr’s sofa early on a Sunday morning, backed up with a Sunday morning official statement? This is very unusual. Furthermore, it is absolutely incompatible with what I was told last week by FCO sources – they did not know this information, and one of them certainly would have if it was based on MI6 or GCHQ reporting.

I can see only two possible explanations. One – and the most likely – depends on looking yet again extremely carefully at what the statement says. It says “we have information indicating that within the last decade”. If does not say how long we have held that information. And “within the last decade” can mean any period of time between a second and ten years ago, Very tellingly it says “within the last decade”, it does not say “for the last decade”.

“Within the last decade” is in fact the exact same semantic trick as “sale price – up to 50% off”. That can mean no more than 0.1% off and its only actual meaning is “never better than half price”.

The most likely explanation of this sentence is therefore that they have – since last week when they didn’t know this – just been given this alleged information. And not from a regular ally with whom we have an intelligence sharing agreement. It could have come from another state, or from a private source of dodgy intelligence – Orbis, for example.

The FCO are again deliberately twisting words to convey the impression that we have known for a decade, whereas in fact the statement does not say this at all.

There is a second possible explanation. MI6 officers in the field get intelligence from agents who, by and large, they pay for it. In my experience of seeing thousands of MI6 intelligence reports, a fair proportion of this “Humint” is unreliable. Graham Greene, a former MI6 officer, was writing a true picture in the brilliant “our Man in Havana”, which I cannot strongly recommend enough to you.

The intelligence received arrives in Vauxhall Cross and there is a filter. A country desk officer will assess the intelligence and see if it is worth issuing as a Report; they judge accuracy against how good access the source has and how trustworthy they are deemed to be, and whether the content squares with known facts. If passed, the intelligence then becomes a Report and is given a serial number. This is not a very good filter, because it still lets through a lot of rubbish, but it does eliminate the complete dregs. One possible source of new information that has suddenly changed the government’s state of knowledge this weekend is a search of these dregs for anything that can be cobbled together. As I have written in Murder in Samarkand, it was the deliberate removal of filters which twisted the Iraqi WMD intelligence.

In short, we should be extremely sceptical of this sudden new information that Boris Johnson has produced out of a hat. If the UK was in possession of intelligence about a secret Russian chemical weapons programme, it was not under a legal obligation to tell Andrew Marr, but it was under a legal obligation to tell the OPCW. Not only did the UK fail to do that, the UK Ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams was last year fulsomely congratulating the OPCW on the completion of the destruction of Russia’s chemical weapons stocks, without a single hint or reservation entered that Russia may have undeclared or secret stocks.

On the Andrew Marr programme, Boris Johnson appeared to say for the first time that the nerve agent in Salisbury was actually made in Russia. But this is a major divergence from the published FCO statement, which very markedly does not say this. Boris Johnson was therefore almost certainly reverting to his reflex lying. In fact the FCO statement gives an extremely strong hint the FCO is not at all confident it was made in Russia and is seeking to widen its bases. Look at this paragraph:

Russia is the official successor state to the USSR. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities.

It does not need me to point out, that if Porton Down had identified the nerve agent as made in Russia, the FCO would not have added that paragraph. Plainly they cannot say it was made in Russia.

The Soviet Chemical Weapons programme was based in Nukus in Uzbekistan. It was the Americans who dismantled and studied it and destroyed and removed the equipment. I visited it as Ambassador to Uzbekistan shortly after they had finished – I recall it as desolate, tiled and very cold, nothing to look at really. The above paragraph seeks to hold the Russians responsible for anything that came out of Nukus, when it was the Americans who actually took it.


324 thoughts on “Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”

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  • Paul

    Craig,
    Obviously I have no idea what the truth is, but is is important that people such as yourself keep hammering away at this, and I certainly give what you say at least as much, and generally far more, weight than what our current Foreign Secretary has to say. Your informed views are crucial to the process of getting to the bottom of what’s going on. Please keep up the good work.
    Paul

  • Dave G

    No doubt Boris will be able to tell the OPCW exactly where those pesky Russians are stockpiling all this Novichok. Unless he’s just making stuff up. Again.

  • jones

    UK government somehow identified origin of nerve agent much quicker than the OPCW who say it will take them a minimum of two weeks.

  • Barden Gridge

    Apparently, the Salisbury thing is a “project”

    “Wiltshire Council leader ‘too sick’ to visit Salisbury after nerve agent attack”
    (ambiguous little headline, isn’t it?)

    http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/16084272.Council_leader__too_sick__to_visit_city_after_nerve_agent_attack/?ref=mc&lp=6

    This is the leader of Wiltshire Council:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Scott,_Baroness_Scott_of_Bybrook

    In the Salisbury Journal piece she says:

    “Counter-terrorism have been basically in charge and the overseer of that has been Cobra.
    “We have been in a supporting role. This hasn’t been our project.”

    • giyane

      Wikipedia pm the Baroness. Private life[edit]

      In 1986 Scott married Ronald J. Scott, an executive of the International Monetary Fund.[18] They had three children, and until 2013 lived near Chippenham on a livestock farm.[6] After a severe fall from a horse in the 1980s, she took up breeding Caspian horses,[19] and in 1999 her occupation was “horse stud owner”. She and her daughter Fleur, a vet, have been connected with the Caspian Breed Society.[20]

      Caspian = Iran

    • George Brennan

      Well found. The police may be in charge of the investigation but they are not in charge of the narrative. Investigative journalists are not in charge of the narrative either, because they no longer exist. A simple account of the events of 4 march is still lacking. Here I read the Policemen was contiminated tending to the patients. There I read that he was poisoned in the spies’ own house. Then I read that it was doctor who tended to those patients. Then I read this doctor says the patients were not poisoned by a nerve agent. Has anyone as yet presented a coherent discription of that day’s events?

  • Gary

    ‘Bullets, of a type developed by the French’ were used to assassinate JFK, apparently. French Exocet Missiles were used in the Falklands Conflict too.

    I’m calling for sanctions against France and for Macron to be sent to The Hague for interfering in American politics ie being the reason the USA had ‘President’ Johnson at all.

    Yes, I’m being stupid and flippant, but not MUCH more so than our present PM…

    • Cedders

      HMS Sheffield was sunk by a French-made Exocet missile. Sheffield’s ECM radar identified it as friendly (‘cos it’s French) and declined to take into consideration the fact that it was heading towards them at warp speed. The French military still find humour in the situation.

  • simon

    in the last decade that makes perfect sense.
    boris transformed london sold it off to speculators from russia,china,usa,canada,aussie and israel land proud tony soprano from every country marching buying hospitals.hotels even toilets evry scrap of land possible
    nobody understands the russian mind his wallet and his swim suit model wife than swordsman boris.
    so this story arc seems plausible and deniable once the next draft script is done

    believe in bullingdon boris belief in may
    support team gb
    you are with us or the evil doers.

    may and boris do not run a regime
    that is putin that is
    the big bully that needs to shut up already

  • Paul

    Iranian “chemical fingerprint” on imminent release of novichoks in Syria (or New York)?

    Gratitude to Craig Murray for his efforts in keeping alive the guttering flame of critical inquiry in this highly dangerous matter. I’ll confine my comments here to a recent development he brings to light–that Iran’s successful efforts to synthesize a novichok have been authoritatively documented under the supervision of the OPCW. Given that this may be the only credibly documented variant, might this set the stage for its “detection” in the imminent false-flag chemical attack in Syria–as the casus belli for an attack on Syrian and Russian government forces in Syria that the Russian Defence Ministry has been warning against in recent days, or the deployment in New York City that Nikki Haley has been telegraphing?

    Smearing Russia and Iran in a single broad brush stroke. Assuming that such a fingerprint can’t be faked or reproduced, this might require the co-optation or humiliation of another U.N. agency–the OPCW, this time, rather than the WMD inspection program. But recent OPCW findings in jihadist-controlled Syria, without having actually sent an inspection team in, suggest that this is not beyond the realm of plausibility.

  • seb

    Plenty of time now to have got some of this stuff and put it around. Is’nt that the sort of thing secret agents do?

  • Wilma Hughes

    Love your analyses Craig. Watch your back, you’re ruffling feathers on a very dangerous bird.

  • Ld Elon

    Why would you want an additional £48 millions for chemical weapons research @porton but then state Russia is in violation of chemical weapons conventions. Total hypocritical borisdejoo making up stuff to suit the narrative.

    So one will state now, you need research to prevent an attack, an knowledge of how to deal with an attack, which explains Russia working on chems, and explains brits working on chems.

    END OF DISCUSSION.~ YOU tribal members/. do NOT own ‘alone’, the universal elements of nature or the knowledge thereof.
    Some tribes are also responsible for weapons of mass destruction on a massive scale and are a threat to the entirety of humanity.#

  • simon

    the closing down of the uk gas storage facilities the developmentb of the systems logistics called just in time.
    the inability of the country to produce to be secure in any type of energy any type of food stuff,
    is all good

    just in time foreigner frozen gas just about works we in team gb should be proud of globlists foreign just in time logistics feeding us and keeping us warm.
    home and country security is not needed when we have are friends abroad.

    we need to tell bully putin and his regime of henchmen that we do not need his gas.

    giving porton down and extra 60 million was a wonderfull gesture
    mi5 and 6 and gchq should be given a billion each for doing such a good job last week

    payments pay rises and promotions should be always provided for failure.

    oded yinon cannot be allowed to fail in the syriana
    so the media show must go on

    UK Spy Agencies Warn Power Companies To Brace For Crippling Russian Cyberattack

    Spy chiefs have warned the bosses of Britain’s key power companies to boost their security amid fears of a Russian cyber-attack that could put the lights out.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-18/uk-spy-agencies-warn-power-companies-brace-crippling-russian-cyberattack

    • Cedders

      Even though nuclear power has come back into favour, we no longer have the ability to build nuclear power stations. Hence the appalling mess over Hinkley Point C.

  • Clive Laband

    The paucity of verifiable facts emanating from Government lacks credibility. The evidential standards fall far short of those required to achieve a criminal conviction, and thus far, even miss the lower standard of reasonable doubt required by a Crown court to support a civil action.

    Elevating the subsequent, evolved decision to a level of State, sets a dangerous and unparalleled precedent, equalled only by Tony Blair’s determination to use the un-proof for WMD as justification for war.

    • Mochyn69

      Agreed, but you’ve got your standards of proof and courts mixed up – ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ is required for a criminal conviction, ‘balance of probabiities’ is sufficient for a civil finding .Crown courts are criminal not civil courts.

      In any event as has ben mentioned elsewhere ‘information’ is not the same as ‘evidence’ and can be much more easily manipulated to serve political purposes.

      That is what the Theresa May clique are engaged in with avengeance, and what genuinely concerns me is the total parrotting – the swallowing wholesale of their line by the MSM, -the corporate media, without the slightest attempts to question or even test this narrative.

      This cannot be allowed to stand.

      .

  • JohnsonR

    This would appear to be May’s and Johnson’s “Tony Blair moment”. To reuse a past political insult, they are revealed as “Pound Shop Tony Blairs”.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I have done of reading today on the history of nerve agents and one thing which seems common to both German and Soviet programmes is that research, manufacture and weapon development each took place in distinct siloes. Perhaps the same can be said of the US/Israeli programmes?

    So in Germany, the original research in IG Farben occurred in the Ruhr, notably Wuppertal; manufacture occurred in Silesia after Hitler had decided to rename Poland. In the Soviet Union, research apparently occurred near Moscow, manufacture near Shikhany and in Uzbekistan.

    So it likely that smaller batches of a variety of agents may have been present in research centres, enough at least to carry out the odd assassination. I am not for one second suggesting Russia has done that, merely saying that it would be valuable to understand exactly what OPCW signed off when declaring Russia had decommissioned its stocks of CW. Weapon grade mass warfare stuff? All research materials? Or both??

    Having said that, it should be possible to synthesise assassination quantities on demand anywhere in the world where competent chemists have a safe synthetic environment and knowledge of how to store and transport precursors safely. I include the UK, the Us, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, East Ghouta, Cali Cartel bunkers in Colombia and many other sources.

    So it really is irrelevant whether factories and stockpiles have been destroyed if secret research stations have enough to kill/maim two people. Porton Down would definitely have enough, despite outraged squeaks of self-righteous indignation from the UK Establishment. I simply have no ability to believe that Boris Johnson, who thinks nothing of condemning 1 million Iraqis to an early grave, is morally capable of adjudicating good from evil, responsibility from genocidally irresponsible. Because he did not leave public life after shameful abrogation of fundamental responsibilities leading to mass death, not two, yes two, alleged nerve agent-related illnesses.

    Occam’s Razor says 8 miles away is more likely than bringing stuff in from Russia. Porton Down has fifty years and more of experience in analysing, synthesising, weaponising and stocking nerve agents. It would know exactly how to create Skripal symptoms. MI5 and MI6, the most likely assassins in the UK, have long held ties to DSTL and also have the best ongoing intelligence on Skripal’s behaviour patterns. The foiled false flag chemical attack in Syria meant there was a need to attack Russia in another way.

    It is no more outrageous to suggest Porton Down manufactured the agent than the UK asserting Russia did it without evidence.

    I have no opinion on who did it as s I have no intelligence.

    I do have a strong opinion that the Uk State is utterly corrupt, utterly submissive to Washington and Israel and has repeatedly lied over 40 years whilst telling the world that their word cannot be doubted….

    • Cedders

      Nah, I have a better idea. The British spooks did the job, acting as agents for Russia / FSB / Putin; they even managed to convince the latter to pay them for taking such dirty work off their hands. Where the proceeds will go is anybody’s guess.

  • Dave G

    A day or so ago, the Guardian ran an article trumpeting an opinion poll which said that far more people supported the way Theresa May was handling the Salisbury incident than agreed with the way that Corbyn was handling it. But if you saw the comments under Matthew d’Ancona’s article on the subject today, you’d have thought that only 30% of the public approved of the way the Tories are handling it and the other 70% wanted to see more evidence.

      • Dave G

        I had a look on the Mail and was surprised at the proportion of comments which wanted more evidence. The Guardian really isn’t pro-Corbyn in any way.

      • PetrGrozny

        What’s important in the first instance is what people in socio-economic groups A and B think.

  • Durak

    The appeal for the missing hours is puzzling.

    Both parties would likely be carrying mobile devices, smart phones probably, or even dumb GSM devices, however even with the lowest grade of technology tracking is still fairly accurate.

    All mobile participants within a wide net would also be forensically analysed, initially computationally and then with manual intervention.

    I wouldn’t have expected them to turn their phones off at any stage (makes no sense) so why appeal to the public something you already know?

    My best guess… the appeal is false.

    • TomGard

      There are still reasonable people who leave their slave rings at home in times they are authorized to do so. Especially russian people I would guess.

        • freddy

          Any box/container made of iron based material will do (tea, cigar boxes, just not aluminum ones)

          • Durak

            Yes…

            But the average person who is innocently going about their business will have their phones switched on and acting normally.

            I live in Russia, Moscow, and believe me, people (like the UK) carry their phones everywhere.

            No, something doesn’t add up here.

          • Durak

            Likely they have a complete and comprehensive picture of movement.

            So much just doesn’t add up…

            And then we have the ACC in an interview saying that he and the officer go “way back” as if they are best mates… granted this was the ACC milking his (likely) tenuous contact with this officer for all it was worth.. but still… as he is hidden from public view… along with the two other victims (although this of course might be due to their condition… but if it were bad I’d half expect leaked mobile footage of them in ‘intensive’ care).

      • N_

        I’ve never heard them called slave rings before. Nice one!

        I usually call them microwave trackers.

    • freddy

      “I wouldn’t have expected them to turn their phones off … ”

      Which would not make much of a difference as powered-off cellphones would still continue transmit signals, and that is by design.
      For this very reason – to determine phone owners geo-location even in case they would decide to escape tracing.
      Just place your phone at where you want them to think you went to 🙂

  • Steve Ashcroft

    Insulting to our intelligence. It’s a … what should we say for the Sunday media …

    Disgusted, heasd must fall over all this when the facts prove these were all misleading statements, no matter their excuse of thats what they were told at the time and blame others

  • Capells

    Hats off to you Mr Murray for setting out the facts so clearly. I have been engrossed in your articles and the comments for days now. I admire your courage and perseverance.

    Disbelief in the hysteria of Westminster politicians is my default state. But they have surpassed themselves in infamy this time. War mongering is evil. I hope they can be reigned in by the bright light you are shining into this Stygian darkness.

    We need evidence and proof. No more lies, dodgy dossiers and Curveballs.

  • krg

    A very useful analysis that puts the implied bojo line of “it was Russia wot done it” in perspective. As most of us on here have been saying, there is no way to know at this stage what has occurred here unless you are one of the actors. Many people have however mentioned the “who benefits” aspect and it occurs to me that there are numerous parties that do, including our own establishment. Most people know that the west relies on having a boogie man. The first cold war served that purpose well but once it ended Islamic extremism soon replaced it. Things are still bubbling away with North Korea and ISIS but I sense a quietening down so the entrance of Russia has arrived with impeccable timing. Additionally the Conservatives have spent the last seven years sowing a crescendo of hatred and violence between the various UK factions, that they themselves synthesized under their divide and rule fight club, only to top the whole thing with a Brexit cherry. What the UK really needs now is something that will unite us again, a banner under which we can all stand shoulder to shoulder, something that fosters unity and solidarity. Wouldn’t you know, just as they were finished thinking it lightning struck completely out of the blue as if by magic. A Novichok poisoning. A few days later Tessa is fist pumping her way to the beat of “we’ll fight them on the beaches”. The lucky bugger. Of course we shouldn’t be mean after all the US haven’t ended up too badly in all this. An opportunity to economically and politically shaft the buggers who had the audacity to make regime change in Syria impossible is a real stroke of luck.

  • Cassandra

    „The Soviet Chemical Weapons programme was BASED IN NUKUS in Uzbekistan. It was the Americans who dismantled and studied it and destroyed and removed the equipment.“

    I think we should stick to the facts …

    While the second sentence is true, the first is NOT. Craig does not distinguish between R&D, Testing and Production.

    Mirzayanov in his own words:

    „I worked „for 26 yrs at the Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIKhT) in the heart of Moscow. GosNIIKhT had 4 branches:

    • Moscow: with 500 scientists and 3,500 employees the biggest facility
    • Volgograd (focus: Soman & binary NAs),
    • Shikhany (Synthesis & testing) and
    • Novocheboksarsk: (incl CW-production)

    For example, substance „33“ was developed in Moskau, tested in Shikhany and produced in Novocheboksarsk; N-5 was developed in Moscow, (ONLY) tested in Nukus and produced in Shikhany and Volgograd

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150824060701/www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Report17.pdf

    For clarification:

    Mirzayanov was NEITHER INVOLVED in the R & D for (binary) nerve agents NOR in their production. His job was „to monitor air, water and other emissions“ from the facility, so he worked on analytical methods to detect outside traces that would reveal the existence of a NA/CW-programm.

    „I strived to ensure that this work would go undetected by foreign intel services.“

    • N_

      This is good stuff, but let’s not forget that the consultant medic in charge of emergency medicine at Salisbiry hospital said that no patients in Salisbury have suffered the symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

      Theresa May lied to the House of Commons.

    • knuckles

      So you’re concerned with sticking to facts and then go on to quote a traitor as some sort of fountain of accuracy and truth? OK……

      Why do you take Mizayanov as an honest, trustworthy person, Cassandra?

  • Edward

    Tight schedule? American assets planning an imminent chemical attack in Syria? Presumably to be blamed on Assad to erode western resistance to bombing Syria while smearing the Russians and Iran into the bargain. Mountains of dead, profits, oil and weapons procurement in equal measure, not to mention global thermonuclear war.

    Nothing worse than fucked up amateur psychopath yahoo’s running your country.

  • Capt.Dingleberry

    Ben, please limit the amount of your nonsense, will you.
    1. Carpet bombing is a strategy to indiscriminately cover large areas with bombs, that was mainly practiced by the Nazis, first in the Spanish Civil War and later against all their other enemies’ cities and later in the war by the British and Americans back at German cities. Soviets, on the other hand, hardly practiced strategic “carpet” bombing against cities or industrial areas, as they mainly focused on tactical bombing of specific enemy strong points.
    2. Mi-24 Hind helicopters or any other helicopters for that matter, are never used for carpet bombing. Not only do they not carry bombs, but rockets, used for precise targeting of individual targets, but they carry a relatively small, light payload, only good for destroying a very limited number of targets, definitely not enough to destroy a block of buildings, which would count as “carpet bombing”.
    3. Yeltsin had nothing to do with any of that, since the Soviet-Afghan war ended two years before he became president.

    • Ben

      Thank you Captain but I wonder if you’ve heard of metaphors as a literalist, but not due you fully comprehend how carpet bombing could include unprovoked attacks on civilians even if pikes and fire were used like Longshanks employed against William Wallace.

      If you wish I could leave typos for your editing pleasure. Now bugger off.

  • Ben

    Most of the objections to my post, I surmise, have more to do with the cognitive dissonance of another, though Colonial, point of view.

    Perhaps I interject notions unpopular to the Horde?

    Its a true mystery, but rather than attacking my personally, you might consider the arguments instead.
    There’s an idea..

  • Rob

    Interesting that the government apparently cut £129 million from the MoD unit responsible for looking into this kind of thing despite the apparent knowledge that Russia had been working on this within the last 10 years. How irresponsible.

  • JohnsonR

    The line that Russia’s response – supposedly “smug”, “sarcastic”, “hostile” etc – to Britain’s aggressive and impertinent accusations is somehow culpable or even evidence of guilt is repeatedly trotted out in comments, and was noticeably used by Theresa May in her statement last Wednesday and by Boris Johnson the following day:

    May, last Wednesday:
    Mr Speaker, it was right to offer Russia the opportunity to provide an explanation. But their response has demonstrated complete disdain for the gravity of these events……they have treated the use of a military grade nerve agent in Europe with sarcasm, contempt and defiance

    Johnson, last Thursday:
    there is something in the kind of smug, sarcastic response that we’ve heard from the Russians that to me betokens and indicates their fundamental guilt.

    The British government’s comically immediate rush to judgement and absurdly aggressive and impertinent “ultimatum” to Russia before even presenting any plausible evidence or case was presumably designed to provoke an understandably and legitimately hostile and dismissive response such as the perfectly reasonable one they got. The reasonable assumption then must be that the plan was all along to provoke that response and then use it as May and Johnson have used it.

    A competent and honest media would have made such points and asked such questions. We clearly do not have an honest or competent media (for all Stephen Nolan’s defensive protestations). Rather we have propagandist stenographers who just repeat uncritically the assertions of government sources.

    • lysias

      The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia was expressly designed to provoke a rejection, as documents later revealed made clear.

      Same goes for NATO’s Rambouillet ultimatum to Serbia before the Kosovo war.

      • JohnsonR

        It’s a pretty well established diplomatic ploy, I think.

        Of course, it relies on a compliant news media that will report only the character of the response and the government declarations of outrage at its character, and not question the provocative nature of the government’s own prior actions or words. Unfortunately for us, it appears we have just such a news media.

      • saluspopuli.org

        Well said. Yes, 1914: The great powers failed to cooperatively and correctly manage a fragile zone of conflict. a shatterbelt in the Balkans. Rather than work things out diplomatically to create a compromise arrangement for the Balkans all could live with, sensible diplomacy was abandoned. Germany unwisely supported Austria in its fatal and mistaken policy. Karl Max, Prince Lichnowsky, German ambassador at London, did his best to promote a diplomatic solution and an understanding with Russia and with the UK but his Foreign Ministry and the Kaiser had other ideas such as war.

        https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Encyclopedia_Americana_(1920)/Lichnowsky_Memorandum

        And yes, Rambouillet.

        The present day Balkan situation is the Middle East shatterbelt. To manage the the situation, the major powers should be cooperating so as to not let a spark there bring them into conflict. But no, the West has launched a new phase of the Cold War against Russia. It can turn hot.

        In the UK, Boris, May, etal are fulminating against Russia. Corbyn is sensible but outnumbered. We have the same problem in the US. Most of the politicians are in a state of hysteria against Russia. The few sensible ones are also outnumbered.

        We can thank our host, Ambassador Murray, for his candor and courage.

  • Durak

    Given the complete clowns running the UK government I genuinely suspect the whole thing will unravel within weeks with Russia exonerated (at least by sensible people).

    Where does that leave the accusers?

    They certainly should be held to account.

  • Fatima Manoubia

    Monsieur Murray,
    I would like to congratulate you and express my support for your courage and fairness.
    As a citizen trying also to make some justice to the Russians in the middle of this anti-Russian frenzy that has been in motion especially since their intervention in Syria, I have been slandered, insulted and even menaced online too, also banned at some sites.
    God bless you, I wish you health and strength.
    I did not know you before this Skripal issue, nor did know you have been ambassador to Uzbekistan. I visited the country not long ago and enjoyed a lot its marvels, as well as its friendly and kindhearted citizens. I will be reading with great attention your memories, “Murder in Samarkand” and will be following you from now on.
    Although you do not know me, allw me the liberty of sending you a big hug

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