Bothered By Midgies 392


In 13 years of running my blog I have never been exposed to such a tirade of abuse as I have for refusing to accept without evidence that Russia is the only possible culprit for the Salisbury attack. The abuse has mostly been on twitter, and much of the most venomous stuff has come from corporate and state media “journalists”. I suppose I am a standing rebuke to them for merely being stenographers to power and never doing any actual research, but that hardly explains the visceral levels of hatred exhibited.

Today they are all terrifically happy and sharing amongst themselves a lengthy twitter thread by a Blairite and chemist called Clyde Davis in which they all say I am “owned” and my article disproven. There are two remarkable things about this thread.

The first remarkable thing is the remarkably high percentage of those who are sharing it with commendations who are mainstream media journalists. Last I saw was George Monbiot five minutes ago, but there are dozens. I suppose it is important to them as validating their decision to support uncritically the government line without doing any actual journalism.

The second remarkable thing is that the thread they are all sharing misses out almost all my side of the conversation. An objective observer might think that made it hard to say who “won” the argument. To be fair, that is probably not deliberate but appears to be a result of how twitter does threading. Here I reconstruct by paste the thread with my responses. It may give a better idea of whether Mr Davis completely “destroys” my article, as the “professional” journalists are all claiming. And as Mr Davies is critiquing my article, perhaps you might refresh yourself on that first here.

Neither my reply nor Davies’ rejoinder are included in the thread which the mainstream “journalists” are circulating. Note that Davies responds to being challenged, with a riposte which is untrue. The OPCW have never changed their position on the physical existence of “novichoks” from the position I gave and referenced in my article. By contrast, Mr Davies gives no reference for his claim the OPCW has changed its mind. Personally I find it problematic that somebody like Mr Davies who blusters so loud on scientific method, responds to a challenge to his position with an apparent invention.

It is indeed true that Porton Down (which here means the British government), however, have changed their position since 2016 when, as I again demonstrated in my article with references, they said there was no evidence for the physical existence of “novichoks”. Now apparently they have said not only do they have one, but it is indubitably Russian. If a “novichok” is indeed in the possession of Porton Down, of course scientists, like diplomats and the others involved, will change their position on the existence of Novichoks. As will I. But that, in any sense, that will prove it is of Russian manufacture is a totally different question.





Then along came the man who really did put me to shame. A Mr Kevin Smyth who completely demolished Davis with a simple polite question:

That part of the exchange is also missing from the thread being circulated so gleefully at the moment.

So what does Davies tell us in this article delivered by twitter which “demolishes” my article.

1) Davies acknowledges that until recently Porton Down and OPCW doubted the physical existence of “novichoks”. He says they have now changed their minds. [Porton Down has indeed undergone a remarkable change of mind in the last week , but the OPCW has yet to see the evidence].
2) Davis states that chemists can tell if a compound corresponds to one of the “novichoks” described by Mirzyanov, but Davis specifically accepts that does not prove Russian manufacture.
3) Davis nevertheless states strongly it is Russia because he believes Russia has form and motive.

Nothing here can remotely be said to be conclusive. The question that puzzles me, is why are so many mainstream media journalists gleefully seizing on this series of tweets as a destruction of the need for sceptical inquiry? A possible answer:

1) Davies by claiming credentials as a chemist conforms to the corporate media urge for an appeal to authority. He validates the government line and he is a chemist. He can throw in the names of chemicals and molecular diagrams. That kind of thing impresses journalists. That he explicitly admits the chemistry cannot prove Russia did it, is apparently irrelevant.
2) Davies thus provides a smokescreen of respectability by which they can continue to advance their careers by cutting and pasting the government line without question.

In fact, all of Davies’ “chemistry” in this exchange sets out to prove something which was never disputed – that chemists are able to identify whether or not a substance is one of the “novichok” compounds described by Mirzyanov. But as he published the formulae two decades ago, and has been living in the USA, and as the US dismantled and studied the Nukus plant, and as Porton Down had never seen any evidence the Russians actually succeeded in synthesising “novichoks, this in no way adds up to evidence of Russian manufacture. As Davies, to his credit, finally acknowledged when confronted by an interlocutor for whom he did not have automatic hatred.

I can’t say the midgies bother me that much. But they are interesting to study.


392 thoughts on “Bothered By Midgies

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  • N_

    History lesson time! Here’s how WW2 started. I do not mean the background causes or the more proximal Soviet-German and British-Polish pacts. I mean the trigger.

    The trigger was a number of false flag attacks carried out by German forces wearing Polish uniforms, collectively given the name “Operation Himmler”. The best known incident occurred at Gleiwitz, just inside the German border, where “Polish” (but really German) forces attacked a German radio station on the night of 31 August 1939. The German forces murdered a German farmer, dressed him as a saboteur, and deposited his body at the scene as if he had been killed during the assault. This attack, along with alleged ethnic cleansing of German residents by the Polish authorities and a number of other false-flag attacks carried out by the German SS (in which the bodies of concentration camp prisoners were left behind), was used as “justification” for the German invasion of Poland the next morning.

    The murdered German farmer had previously been known, or so it is said, for sympathising with Poles, and he was killed by injection with a chemical.

  • Mochyn69

    Yes indeed, Craig.

    You’ve gone mainstream as the Guardian grudgingly mentions your capable questioning of the toxic (apposite moniker here) tory narrative.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/15/uks-claims-questioned-doubts-emerge-about-source-of-salisburys-novichok

    Those MSM scribblers need to re-learn the art of rigourously interrogating the narrative, not just being purveyors of party propaganda, and hopefully this is a tiny step in the right direection.

    .

    • Robyn

      It would be encouraging if the Guardian showed some penchant for evidence in this (and other) matters, but the sub-heading on the article which mentions Craig, ‘A ceremony to mark the destruction of Russia’s stock of chemical weapons may have been held too soon’ suggests otherwise.

  • Baalbek

    I have been reading your blog fairly regularly for about a year and have come to greatly appreciate your integrity and devotion to truth. It is quite rare, at least in my experience, to find people who are willing to update their views and beliefs when new information challenges previously held assumptions. There is enormous social pressure to accept the corporate and state media line on the issues of the day and resisting this can be uncomfortable and exhausting, especially in a climate where having an opinion that goes against conventional wisdom is often met with mockery and abuse.

    The more hyperbolic and insane the rhetoric against Russia, Iran and other ‘enemies’ becomes, the harder it will be for the media and politicians to save face and back down to avoid a collision course that leads to war. Add to that ever-increasing income inequality and a neoliberal elite that is completely out of touch with the lot of ordinary citizens and the future looks uncertain at best. This is why blogs like yours are important. It shows people who may be too intimidated to voice their opinions that there are others like themselves out there, people who experience similar pressures but know without a doubt that the path the West is presently blundering down leads only to conflict and repression. If we are to avoid disaster people need to speak up and alert their sleepwalking family members, friends and co-workers to the sheer madness of the media-driven rhetoric and war mongering. It may end up being futile but with stakes this high doing nothing is not an option

    Thank you again for your integrity and dedication to truth. As the late Joe Strummer said “don’t let ’em grind you down.”

  • N_

    Listen. According to the British government, a foreign power has carried out an attack in Salisbury using a military weapon which has caused serious injuries, which may yet be fatal (let’s hope they’re not), to a British civilian, a British police officer and a foreign lady who is on holiday in Britain.

    If this allegation is true, then this was an act of covert warfare by Russia on British territory.

    So why hasn’t anyone in the “royal” family visited the victims?
    Are they scared of people asking about Russian business connections?
    You’d have thought “Prince Michael” of Kent (whose company is called “Cantium” – anagrams welcome), would be an excellent person to visit the hospital. I mean not only can he show everyone how much he cares, distracting from the money he got “given” by Boris Berezovsky, and not only does he have experience representing the “queen”, but he speaks Russian fluently and he could interpret for Ms Skripal if she is conscious, with or without submitting a massive fee note afterwards.

    The “queen’s” government says this country has been attacked by a foreign country.
    Why are the “royal” family keeping their toffee-nosed traps shut?

  • N_

    Many mention “propaganda” nowadays.

    Remember the army helping out with the snow? That was propaganda. Anyone who doesn’t realise that doesn’t know much about propaganda.

    As I have said before, regarding the hypothesis that Russia carried out this attack, I don’t see a specific objective. It’s not the election, and it’s not the football World Cup either. It would make sense, though, if the Russian government views war as inevitable. And in that case, the British government will also see war as inevitable. There are indications of precisely that, including statements by Gavin Williamson and by British RUSI types, and last year’s novel by General David Shirreff – and a number of others I could mention. The psywar in that war has already begun. Psywar always starts before the physical conflict and continues after it. There is nothing unusual in that. If that’s the position we’re in, it doesn’t much matter which side carried out this attack.

    • james

      it’s has a cumulative effect… the west just has to keep the daily, weekly, or monthly accusations on full tilt, without any substance to back it up.. but i do believe the west is pissed they have been snookered in syria with un security res 2401… all the plans for a false flag, chemical attack in ghouta and extra, have been turned upside down.. now, if only the white helmets could figure a way to rescue the skripals from zizzi’s restaurant and have a real baby in the pic too, they might have had a better pr thing going here …. sorry to be so cynical, but too many of these accusations without substance to back them up wears thin after a while.. at this point cold war 2, and a reenactment of mccarthyism is on full display in the usa/uk….

      • Stonky

        “…but i do believe the west is pissed they have been snookered in syria with un security res 2401… all the plans for a false flag, chemical attack in ghouta and extra, have been turned upside down…”

        I’m inclined to agree with you James. I think the whole thing was cooked up as a kind of precursor: “Look! LOOK!! Putin is assassinating people in Britain with Novichok, and now Butcher Assad has DROPPED A WHOLE BARREL BOMB STUFFED WITH NOVICHOK ON A HOSPITAL FILLED WITH CHILDREN IN GHOUTA!!! We must take a MEASURED RESPONSE to this, and save the Syrians by by BOMBING WHAT’S LEFT OF THEIR COUNTRY INTO RUBBLE…”

        Unfortunately events in Ghouta seem to be moving more quickly than foreseen. If the West doesn’t get a move on there aren’t going to be any more imaginary hospitals in Ghouta filled with non-existent children for Butcher Assad to drop fictional barrel bombs stuffed with made-up Novichok on.

    • SA

      I agree with you. But there is more, much more. There was an 8 part drama series on the. BBC called McMafia showing how criminality including arms and narcotics and so on, is closely linked to the Russian state. Then there was a series of very superficial BBC programmes, one on Putin as a new Tsar (sic) and the other on the elections with a spotlight on Navalny. Radio 4 is constantly almost daily talking about Russian aggression and of course there is the vilification of Russian athletes and the drugs.
      The general idea has been to isolate Russia and to make it so hard for anyone to defend Russia. This extends to the media. Whereas lots of articles on Russia and Syria were open to comments in the Guardian and lots of people write and disagree with the constant propaganda it is now rare to have these open to comment. Any questions is always dominated by anti Russia and anti SAG rhetoric.
      It is a constant psyop that is gathering momentum. I am sure the use of nerve agent is a not so subtle way of linking Russia with what is supposedly happening in Syria.
      But as we know that the supposed use of chemical weapons is a series of false flags then the same may apply here.

  • Mochyn69

    “The sanctions today are a grievous disappointment, and fall far short of what is needed to respond to that attack on our democracy, let alone deter Russia’s escalating aggression, which now includes a chemical weapons attack on the soil of our closest ally,” Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee said in a statement.

    So thanks to to the toxic tory blatant propaganda it’s now an accepted fact in US Democrats minds that it was the Russians wot done it as they push for tougher sanctions against Russia.

    There might just be an answer to the cui bono question somewhere in there. Just maybe, but I’m not rushing to judgement!

    >

    • james

      just remember it was the usa/uk under bush/blair that had all the info needed to attack iraq in 2003… so much for any lesson learned in any of that, or this at present… the political class remain in the gutter serving the military-financial-energy complex… of course these special interest groups would have it no other way as war=money… what’s a few dead people to get in the way of making a killing off the next war, or preparation for war? i heard porton down was given a few $ in the past day or two as well… lets keep those chemists busy…

  • Stonky

    Clyde Davis: “…until I hear a more convincing explanation I’m sticking to my guns.”

    1. Russian dissident oligarchs: loads of money; baleful influence and financial tentacles extend into the very heart of the UK establishment; all sorts of dodgy connections in the former Soviet Union; zero scruples; hate Putin.
    2. Ukraine: fascist regime; involved in a war with Russia already; just as likely to have access to old Soviet Novichok (if it exists) as Russia; just as capable of manufacturing it as Russia if it doesn’t; zero scruples; hate Putin.
    3. Turkey: angry because they’re losing a proxy war with Russia in Syria; already have their own chemical weapons programme; perfectly capable of manufacturing this stuff; previous in targeted assassinations; zero scruples; hate Putin.
    4. Saudi Arabia: angry because they’re losing a proxy war with Russia in Syria; loads of money; baleful influence and financial tentacles extend into the very heart of the UK establishment; happy to export or facilitate terrorism anywhere in the world including their supposed ‘allies’; zero scruples; hate Putin.
    5. Anti-Trump forces in the US: Demented in their obsession with ‘Trump-Russia’ collusion; angry because they’re losing a proxy war with Russia in Syria; already have access to Soviet Novichok (if it exists); perfectly capable of manufacturing it if it doesn’t; previous in targeted assassinations; zero scruples; hate Putin.
    6. Israel: angry because they’re losing a proxy war with Russia in Syria; probably the best military/scientific capability in the world; certainly capable of manufacturing this stuff; previous in targeted assassinations; zero scruples when pursuing what they believe to be their own best interests; hate Putin.

    • Kiza

      In my view it is not a coincidence that CW are the subject of a string of false-flags in both Syria and in UK whilst being associated with Russia. After the next CW false flag in Syria, they will attack the Russian forces there and justify this most dangerous escalation to own population: the Russians are gassing our people – they deserve it. What happens after no-one really knows: will Putin payback or just bring home Russians in body bags, as he has been doing so far?

  • Kiza

    To me this is a repeat of the MH17 case study with its:
    1) propaganda preparation – media full of shot down Uki military planes vs. media full of CW victims in Syria for which Russia is to blame,
    2) “rush” to judgement whodunit – former Australian Prime Minister Abbot publicly pointed finger at the Russian rebels in Ukraine 7 hours after the shootdown vs. the UK Prime Minister blames Russia a day after her event,
    3) Soviet Union = Russia when convenient – the Soviet designed and made BUK becomes the exclusively Russian made BUK vs. the Soviet Designed CW becomes the exclusively Russian produced CW (with a touch of the good old British propaganda – maybe Russia lost control over it! => well, maybe US “lost control” over it when it was helping it’s client Uzbekistan destroy it)
    4) logic matters not – let us find a BUK coming all the way from Russia instead of looking at tens of such systems operated by the Uki troops, apparently four near the area where the shoot down happened vs. let us look at poison or a trained chemist coming all the way from Russia (how when one cannot get even a small bottle of drink on a plane?) whilst there is a British own source 12 km away,
    5) when questions arise and contrary items of evidence come out, just ignore and keep drumming “the proven facts” (the science is settled) from the blame package prepared in advance – an alternative, facts-supported explanation will never be accepted no matter what.

    The post-modern West operates on evidence-free pure emotion-eliciting narratives (“Putin killed my baby”) on the shoulders of MSM and troll farms. Any unauthorised explanation, such as Mr Murray’s, is declared a conspiracy theory to be ridiculed.

  • Bruce

    The Clive Davies response and apparently the other ones are a shame, as your writing on this blog is pretty level headed. Typical on the internet, you get these people popping off with insults instead of reasoned arguments. I immediately downgrade those people’s arguments in my mind.
    I cannot help but notice the vastly noisier chorus of “Russia did this, Russia did that”, which is getting louder and louder the last two or three years. Seems as if there’s definitely a push to make Russia once again into a big bad menace to the world.
    Anyway, Craig, a thank you coming your way for providing this information to the rest of us.

    • Kiza

      I respectfully disagree, the debates with individuals such as Mr Davies are extremely useful because they serve to expose the ongoing emotional manipulation. Just as Ms May starts her point that Putin done it based on her political authority and access to secret information from the agencies, so Mr Davies starts his point on his professional authority of a (very primitive) chemist: You wouldn’t recognise a mess spectrometer if it hit you smack in your stupid gob Mr Murray.

      But at the end of the debate there is no authority of science or of intelligence agencies any more, it is just I know they have done it because I know it. What a wonderful illustration! Ms May will continue hiding behind intelligence agencies as, if ever, this things unravels, just like the non-existent Iraqi WMDs were blamed on faulty intelligence. In the mean time enjoy the ride on the public train of elicited hate emotions.

  • N_

    1) The police have appealed for info on where Sergei Skripal’s BMW was between 1pm and 1.40pm on 4 March, the day of the attack. Wasn’t his car tracked? What’s this about even if it wasn’t?

    2) According to her cousin, Yulia Skripal is engaged to a “high-ranking security official”. Sounds like FSB. Was he her boyfriend when she was living in England for five years after he dad got swapped in 2010?

    3) Who has Sergei Skripal worked for? The British and Russian governments both say that when he was in the GRU (Russian military intelligence) he was actually passing secrets to MI6. He pleaded guilty to that crime and was sentenced to jail for it. His family, however, deny that he was a traitor. Could he possibly have been working for the Berezovsky organisation?

    • james

      perhaps he was helping pablo miller and christopher steele work on a dossier that became very central to the mueller investigation… anything is possible and i wouldn’t discount this either…

    • Freddy

      N_:”Could he possibly have been working for the Berezovsky organisation?”

      More likely for the Orbis, together with Pablo Miller and and Christoper Steele.

      But this one was a very close Berezovsky friend, and “Nikolai Glushkov, 68, the right-hand man of the deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Mr Putin’s one-time fiercest rival, was found dead at his London home on Monday.”

      Seems to be likely that those two (Skripal and Glushkov) were used by the Orbis to get information for the Steele’s “Trump Dossier” through their old connections in Moscow.
      Yulia Skripal was a go-between, a courier, because information of that kind was unlikely coming in and out via cell phones, it was delivered by a courier.
      Now, as Steele is about to be brought to the US and to be questioned by various US Gov. organization, now is the time to do some cleaning. No information holders, no couriers, no witnesses – no problems whatsoever for the Orbis, for Christopher Steele, for Pablo Miller and others. No doubt there are plenty of cleaners working for the Orbis who can stage any kind of “poisoning”.

  • Salford Lad

    Teresa May and her Tory Govt have got themselves in a bind.They have made accusations against the Russian Govt, without proof or a credible motive shown. They have failed to go thru’ the correct OPCW channels and have blocked a resolution at the UN for an investigation into the Skripal case.
    It is inconceivable that the Lawyers around the Govt Civil Service could have allowed these accusations to be made on such spurious grounds.
    The haste in which the accusations and accompanying propaganda campaign were put in motion indicates a panicked decision made under pressure from the Puppet Masters of Washington.
    Indications are this is connected to Syria and a rapidly closing window of false flag/ chemical attack , to justify an invasion. That horse has now bolted and the cleaning of the Augean stables has arrived.
    The OPCW will eventually investigate, but we must remember that many of our International bodies have been contaminated by Washingon infiltration.
    OPCW did not cover itself in glory during the last several chemical attacks in Syria and the samples taken passes thru; several dubious channels before presentation to OPCW.
    Likely the investigation will be a reprise of the MH17 case, where obstruction and obfuscation were used until the case passed out of the goldfish memory of the people.
    No matter, the mud has been thrown at Russia and it will stick proof or no. It is the way of the world and the PTB know it.

    • SA

      I agree with you the connection with Syria is there. In that case, the OPCW did away with the principle of integrity of custodian pathway. Of course in this case the integrity of Porton Dien, is much less likely to be questioned than that if Al Qaeda, so I am afraid the OPCW is unlikely to be unbiased.

  • Peter Tuffy

    I read your article with interest as I thought the whole sorry affair did seem dubious to say the least. When such an event happens you have to draw up the usual suspects, then investigate the circumstances and then the cause. Immediately in this instance Russia was in the frame, just because the suspected agent had been developed years ago in Uzbekistan. It seemed a crude instrument for such a small target, no doubt politics played a part in this and the rush to blame instincts kicked in.
    When these events happen I am always amazed at the lack of simple thinking that should be brought to bear. Critical thinking is the first Toy to be thrown out of the pram. Thanks your insight into this arena.

  • SA

    Bravo Craig. You and Corbyn seem to be the only ones advocating calm evaluation instead of a hysterical rush to conclusions.

    • frankywiggles

      Yes, two clear-headed, sensible men who remember the false accusations/McCarthyite groupthink that gave us Iraq and Libya. The lessons of the recent past have somehow been lost in the rest of British public life.

  • C Jones

    Craig, thanks for the interesting post. I was brought here by the link on the Guardian website, have not visited before. And I very much share your disappointment at the lack of investigative / critical thinking going on by mainstream media / politicians.

    May herself said in the commons “Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country. Or conceivably, the Russian government could have lost control of a military-grade nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.” Given that at least one of the researchers is now in the US, plus the break up of the Soviet union, it would not be unreasonable to assume the intellectual property for their development has leaked out.

    With regards to the counter argument presented by the midgies about ‘prior form’ well any enquiring mind should equally recall the extensive ‘prior form’ on the other side including, for example, Iraq x2, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria etc etc … Sadly, but not surprisingly, this is overlooked.

    I’m not sure I would class Russia baiting as a right wing mindset though. It seems to me there are hawks on either side of the traditional left/right spectrum.

    • SA

      Mochyn69
      Pardon me but shouldn’t that be moi Boh(g)?
      Unless of course you are Czech.

      • Mochyn69

        Haha, a mere ruse, SA!

        I think the photo of the specialist officer in a protective hazmat suit securing the police forensic tent that had been blown over by the wind covering the bench where poor Mr Skripal was found critically ill with his daughter on March 4 is one of the most bizarre to emerge yet from this most bizarre of incidents.

        As a result are toxic residues now blowing around in the wind in Salisbury, I really do wonder!?

        .

        Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5507959/Thirteen-days-detectives-know-spy-poisoned.html#ixzz59tVUNfCd
        Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

        • SA

          Mochyn69
          One does not even know where to start in looking for bizarre incidents in this maze. From the above link;
          “After thirteen days, do detectives really STILL not know how spy was poisoned? Now police say his daughter might have brought it from Russia in her suitcase – but it is just the latest of a series of bizarre theories”.
          It looks like Brexit will require the rewriting of the criminal law:
          First part of a criminal investigation is to capture a suspect, accuse them and try them and punish them, then start looking for the evidence which you can then later classify on national security basis.

          • SA

            Such ‘alignment’ of the law with the current needs due to unprecedented threat will also mean the streamlining of the criminal justice system and a 100% conviction rate.

  • Andrew12121

    I would like to congratulate Craig Murray as a voice of common sense! I thought my country (Britain by the way!) believed in the rule of law and the burden of proof, but it seems Kangaroo Courts and media lynch mobs are the order of the day..
    To add to the debate about “chemistry”, I would point out that in 1994/5 a doomsday cult in Japan manufactured 100 to 200 grams of VX and atracked 3 people in Osaka. (Since Britain developed VX in the first place I am amazed the Japanese did not immediately demand an explanation from us with a 24 hour deadline!). Clearly a government laboratory is not the only way to make nerve agents! Given the potential market value of such substances any oligarch could set up such a lab if they wished.
    When there is clear evidence as there was eventually in the Litvinenko case, that is the time to move Putin from suspect to defendant..

    • John Goss

      Yes Andrew12121 they got it from the US. Not only is the US the only country to have used nuclear weapons it has a long history of using chemical weapons (agent Orange for example). But there is no objectivity in MSM any more. Only this morning Kinnochio Mark II was given airspace (BBC) to explain why Jeremy Corbyn was wrong to question whether a test of proof should be a milestone in accusations of Russian guilt in the Skripal case. The good Labour people of Aberavon should be very careful at the next reselection stage. He clearly deos not support the leader and has signed a EDM supporting Theresa May.

      • Andrew12121

        Hm, “got it from the US”

        Sounds like you are keen on conspiracy theories yourself John! From what I read Aum Shinriyko were manufacturing the nerve agents themselves, but of course the Japanese police could have made it all up, I guess!
        My point is that nerve agents are not so hard to make as people pretend, and may well have a value that makes manufacture worthwhile, like most weapons…

    • cimarrón

      Andrew12121: “When there is clear evidence as there was eventually in the Litvinenko case”

      Are you sure, Andrew, that the evidence is clear?

      “Six reasons you can’t take the Litvinenko report seriously
      Inquiry points the finger at Vladimir Putin and the Russian state, but its findings are biased, flawed and inconsistent”
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/05/litvinenko-report-get-it-wrong-putin

      “The Litvinenko inquiry – a legal critique and alternative view
      This analysis shows why the Litvinenko Inquiry was a farce and why its report is in the end worthless.”
      https://off-guardian.org/2017/12/12/the-litvinenko-inquiry-a-legal-critique-and-alternative-view/

      • Andrew12121

        I did not say that guilt had been proved in the Litvinenko case. I said that there was clear evidence, certainly enough to bring two people to trial, even if not Putin.. I know some of the people who collected the radioactivity evidence, and I think it is quite kosher. I note the suspects say they must have picked up the polonium from Litvinenko who must have been poisoned the day before. That does seem a bit of a coincidence…

  • dunwich

    CM recently joked that he might be in the pay of the Kremlin. But could he in fact be in the pay of our own gov?

    It’s only a speculation of course. But there’s a theory among nine-eleven troofers that govs put out really duff conspiracy theories as misinformation in order to discredit (so they would say) theories with rather better foundations. Could we be seeing something of the same here? – putting out manifestly duff theories, so to discredit any questioning of May’s policy.

    Of course I don’t really believe this. But so far we’ve had the following:

    Novichoks may not exist. Novichoks exist, and can be easily made.

    The proximity of Salisbury to Porton Down puts the UKGov in the frame – as if it would be within the UKGov’s wit to get Novichoks 7 miles down the road, but no more than this.

    That the Clinton family and a small organisation that wrote a dossier about Trump are just as likely culprits as the Russians. This theory rests on the claim that Novichoks were developed in Uzbekistan (other reports say Russia), that at the Americans took some of it away, and that the Clintons or that small organisation were then given the Novichok or were able to avoid all security to steal it.

    That the Israelis did it to discredit Russia. He offers no evidence for this at all, only a supposed motive which is wholly tortuous, but the idea involves a false flag operation, where the obvious culprit is the Russians.

    As to the last point, one can only say “Quite so”. And perhaps add that an ingeniously constructed motive is not evidence.

    It is quite possible to worry that May has put two and two together and got to five, without buying into any of this nonsense.

  • Weechid

    To be honest he lost me very early on in the argument and when he started with his scientific drawings I just thought “Here we go, another Kevin Hague but with fancier graphs and better crayons”. I’m with you – I want truthful evidence before I’ll make a judgement.

  • David Beaumont

    Davies presents childishly and his actual argument for all his scientific bluster, is about means, motive and opportunity pointing to Russia and not the chemistry. So what is your counter to that? Who are the other possible perpetrators and why?
    Even if it was ‘rogue’ elements from the old state apparatus holding a historical grudge but not actually sponsored by Putin, shouldn’t the Russians be held responsible for getting their house in order? What of the other several dodgy deaths of Russians on UK soil?
    What of the embarrassing and futile drawn out saga we saw with the Litvinenko case?
    Isn’t the rush to put responsibility on Russia this time to avoid a Litvinenko re-run and to generally plant a flag in the sand about all the other nefarious activities too? You know about diplomacy – doesn’t all of the Russian activity – election targeting, Crimea etc. etc. play into this? If so is that bad policy?

    • Andrew12121

      David,
      If the nerve agent originated in post Soviet Uzbekistan, that is not “Russian soil”. It is rather like the tons of VX the Americans made after we invented it. Is that our responsibility?? The question of Uzbekistan is open and not easily resolved.
      Regarding past Russian actions, our legal system very clearly tries one offence at a time, and previous convictions are only used at sentencing. I like this about our legal system and all our other freedoms and as a patriot I wish our MPs would uphold our value system, rather than call out the lynch mob.

  • Muscleguy

    Well I too am a scientist, though not a Chemist, though I did marry a woman doing a Chemistry degree and many of the methods Biology uses are chemical so I understand the principles involved in chemical analysis.

    You are correct to say that Davies has no answer to your point about proving the origin of manufacture. Since nobody knows how to synthesise this thing not even component contamination in the sample could be diagnostic.

    The existence of the structures is not proof of possibility of manufacture, as Davies should know. I bet he has a library of things he would like to synthesise but cannot. A large part of the effort of chemists lies in finding ways to synthesise new molecules. Maybe he just works on making known syntheses more efficient.

    I used to have a wonderful piece of software which let you build DNA constructs in silico. It had a library of the common cloning vectors (loops of DNA bacteria would replicate, which lengths of dna can be spliced into). I would use it to model how things I was going to make would look when run out on gels cut with enzyme A or enzyme B to diagnose if the cloned piece of dna had gone in the right way round. Not every construct proved possible to be made, or it required a great effort and special techniques by Dave the wizard Technician. Same thing.

  • Leslie James Moore

    From my point of view as the man in the street ( I`m a ex-miner, who from 1988 became a self employed plumber/gas installer, ) I find this thread very revealing, if the information fed out to the man on the street is not accurate, were we are not being trusted with the full fact`s or the possible alternatives to the there must be a political reason for the government of the UK to mislead lead me by creating a easy swallowed narrative, and what is the reason for other governments of the world to go along with this misinformation if this is the case. Could someone possibly enlighten me about my concern`s, Les.

  • Sean Lamb

    Clyde Davies may not be as nearly a knowledgeable chemist as he makes out going by these kinds of tweets: “Just by looking at the structure a chemist can you what the mass, infrared, UV, NMR and other spectra will look like”

    I mean that is sort of true if you are dealing with a sufficient quantity of purified compound, it isn’t so easy if you are trying to identify a trace in a biological fluid. In which case – assuming you haven’t developed an antibody based testing method – you are done to tandem mass spectrometry.

    Now working out the mass of the whole compound just takes a calculator, working out the fragmentation products isn’t so easy. Or rather it is easy if you have a purified standard to test and compare with. Which is what I assume Porton Down must have had to be so certain. Lets say the molecular weight of a particular “Novichok” is 328 – lots of things have that mass. You can certainly make educated guesses and possibly quite accurate guesses as to what smaller fragments it might break down into, but I think you would always prefer to have something to compare it against, especially when you are thinking about matrix effects (ie how the chemical behaves in a biological fluid)

  • Carmel Townsend

    Keep up your good work, Mr Murray. In times of distressing lies and brazenness, it is refreshing to hear and read, the “few” alternative voices. The people who do the real research and try to give us constructive information are doing us a wonderful service. I no longer watch the “mainstream” news or read their propaganda, so my information comes from people like yourself. There are some excellent independent journalists and writers out there; they just need searching for – and given that most people go with the headlines, before switching to the latest diversion (Royal wedding, Big Brother) – searching for evidence is not what they’ll be doing. Mark Twain said: When you find yourself on the side of the majority; it’s time to stop and take stock.” (paraphrasing). Don’t let the b******s grind you down.

  • Tingly King

    I hadn’t read your article before reading his thread. Even so, it was clear that his massive rant totally failed at proving Russia are to blame. Quite the opposite, in fact. He categorically proves, via explaining the Chemistry, that the compound is not different depending on where it is made and therefore could be made anywhere in the world. I was reading, in disbelief, at all the comments congratulating his infallible logic. I guess it shows how a few technical words and a diagram go a long way to confirm our own bias.

  • Peter Charlton

    There is a very real problem when dealing with people spouting the party line and their arguments against an alternative view. The problem is the parrots for the main stream line are often correct in what they parrot against their counterparts the alternative view holders. Here lies the nub, both groups of people are often very similar in that they are parrots not individual thinkers. Thank you for an article that goes beyond either colour of parrot although your frustration with midgies is evident . Mr Kevin Smyth’s comment to Davis was bullseye “ can it be proven beyond doubt this was Russian made …my understanding is whilst developed in Russia it can theoretically be made anywhere” Forcing Davis to admit “No it can NOT be proven beyond doubt….”

  • Niall Bradley

    Aye, very interesting to study. It’s like watching the activation of a hive-mind. They can’t think for themselves, but between them, something thinks for them.

  • Tom

    Don’t let the midgies bother you Craig. These people – establishment journalists and paid trolls – are all over the media precisely because they know the public are seeing through their lies, thanks to people like you.

    • Reuben Anderson

      I really hope this is true. It would be nice if we all developed a healthy, all around, public scepticism.

  • Reuben Anderson

    My problem with all this is I don’t think anyone, anyone at all, is genuinely advocating we enter into an armed conflict with Russia. If they are, let me know and I’ll start running away now. We can’t really be THAT stuck in Empire-nostalgia still, can we? Is this another Brexit style sun-flare – a spontaneous outbreak of bizarrely misplaced pariochialism, where we imagine ourselves to be a major world power again.. conveniently ignoring the massive scaling back of our military?

    And if it’s not an Iraq-WMD style pretext for war, then what is this hot-air and propaganda aiming at? .. And why demonise those voices calling for restraint? What’s the motivation behind this rush to judgement? Domestic political point scoring? Tabloid blessing-winning? What?

    • Andrew12121

      Distraction from depressing Brexit news I would have thought! An opportunity to pillory Corbyn (for whom I hold no candle).
      I note that for all the rhetoric May has done nothing that will actually hurt Russia in any meaningful way. BP and London-based oligarchs are too important for that. I imagine Russia will respond in a similar way for similar reasons..

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