Of A Type Developed By Liars 746

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

Separately I have written to the media office at OPCW to ask them to confirm that there has never been any physical evidence of the existence of Russian Novichoks, and the programme of inspection and destruction of Russian chemical weapons was completed last year.

Did you know these interesting facts?

OPCW inspectors have had full access to all known Russian chemical weapons facilities for over a decade – including those identified by the “Novichok” alleged whistleblower Mirzayanov – and last year OPCW inspectors completed the destruction of the last of 40,000 tonnes of Russian chemical weapons

By contrast the programme of destruction of US chemical weapons stocks still has five years to run

Israel has extensive stocks of chemical weapons but has always refused to declare any of them to the OPCW. Israel is not a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention nor a member of the OPCW. Israel signed in 1993 but refused to ratify as this would mean inspection and destruction of its chemical weapons. Israel undoubtedly has as much technical capacity as any state to synthesise “Novichoks”.

Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.


This post prompted another old colleague to get in touch. On the bright side, the FCO have persuaded Boris he has to let the OPCW investigate a sample. But not just yet. The expectation is the inquiry committee will be chaired by a Chinese delegate. The Boris plan is to get the OPCW also to sign up to the “as developed by Russia” formula, and diplomacy to this end is being undertaken in Beijing right now.

I don’t suppose there is any sign of the BBC doing any actual journalism on this?

Erratum – I originally typed “nerve gas” and not “nerve agent” in the first line – purely my error.

746 thoughts on “Of A Type Developed By Liars

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  • Roman_D

    Hi there from Russia.
    First of all I’d like to express my respect to Mr. Murray as well as to all commentators for being so objective and thoughtful. This is getting increasingly rare to see on the internet.
    Here locally most of the people share the opinion that it makes no sense for Putin to poison Skripal given all the circumstances named many times before. Which I personally also agree with.
    Yet there are other opinions that circulate here locally. They are basing on the fact that russian “power system” is not that homogeneous as it may seem to be. I.e. it’s not only Putin that controls everything. There are certain groups that compete and either has it’s goals. Among others are so called “Siloviki” – a group on the “patriotic” side – people from all kinds of military and intelligent services. Further isolation of Russian is a possible goal for these people.
    In other words it could be not Putin but Russia, or even not Russia, but russians that live abroad.
    Regarding the poisoning agent – any of the parties mentioned and involved (including UK, US) with no doubt could possess it.
    Having all that said it’s clear that the picture is much more complicated. It’s really weird to see the shameful reaction of UK government. Looks like May is trying to be as resolute as Margaret Thatcher, but forgets the key ingredients which are facts and logic.

    • Republicofscotland

      I wonder why Putin would deploy a nerve agent that would be instantly recognisable, and ergo make Russia the number one suspect, it doesn’t make sense.

      If the British government has any solid evidence of Russia’s involvement then they should make it available, and not just throw accusations about wildly, as Boris Johnson has tended to do recently.

        • Republicofscotland

          You’ve picked me up wrong, I don’t believe Putin ordered this attack. I do believe however Russia will be blamed for it no matter what.

          That’s why I said it would be foolish for Putin to use a traceable agent as the British government are suggesting.

          Now however according to Craig’s well placed source, the nerve agent hasn’t or can’t be traced to a specific country. However pressure is being applied to say that the agent is indeed of Russian origin.

          I should add that I’m no fan of Putin, however I don’t believe the Russian people should suffer more sanctions, especially when the offical narrative surrounding the Skripal attack is a dubious one.

  • Isabel Newlands

    Can’t believe that the media are laying no emphasis on the fact that the nerve agent is “of a type” developed by Russia, which is to say there is no definitive proof that it came from Russia. Or that OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) declared Russia free of chemical weapons after lengthy investigations. Porton Down it seems have had some political pressure to produce a phrase that tells a partial story. Remember Iraq!! We should not be seeking ways to cause a Cold War on this issue, however distasteful the regime, without definitive proof.

    • Andrew Merlin

      Ladies and Gentlemen, given the series about the Newcomer, this provocation is mainly intended for near-minded people in Britain.
      It would be interesting to know what percentage of voters believed in it. If comments are viewed by a webmaster, he would easily have done this survey.

    • Petr Grozny

      Yes this bothers me. I saw the discrepancy as soon as I read TM’s Monday statement to the Commons, I didn’t need anyone to point it out to me. I emailed my MP, Tory, straightaway and was encouraged by the response, I normally get robust expression of support for the PM but didn’t this time. I’m in Russia at present and have tried to point out this discrepancy to family and friends by email and am a bit concerned that they don’t all seem to pick up on it. We should all point it out to family and friends and encourage them to email their MP. But it seems an awful lot of apparently people think that if you pick up on this sort of thing you are being pedantic. We can get round MSM by a citizens’ movement, but it’s good to discuss how best to get our point across one-to-one. Maybe also many people find the prospect that the govt. may be deceiving them on such a matter too ghastly to contemplate, we will need to understand wyhy some people don’t want to question this.

  • N_

    At the height of his power, I have little doubt that Boris Berezovsky could have got hold of chemical weapons.

    That said, although the poshboy British elite and the Russian state elite have cooperated a lot, and especially in London (see numerous “economic conferences”), and even in some cases intermarried, there was still a fuzzy “front” between their power networks. That front was not in Moscow. It was in London. And it was visible in precisely the area of chemical weapons, as the Litvinenko case showed.

    Perhaps the surprise is that the lid was kept on things for so long after Berezovsky got whacked. Only 10-20 dead bodies in London? That’s not many. If you reverse perspective, keeping the lid on things could have been the reason for whacking the guy. You have to realise that for many years the poshboy elite did not want gang war on London’s streets. It would have eaten into their profits. The poshboys are just as dirty as the Russian and “Russian” gangsters.

    The position is changing now, as famine looms in Britain, probably this year, otherwise next year; huge opportunities arise for a very small number of people as the British economy disappears down the Brexit plughole; and the next Lehman’s event will make the 2008 one look mild and pretty.

    A major war is inevitable and is understood to be such. While everyone talks about “propaganda”, very few notice it even when it’s under their noses. What do you call it when pictures of army lorries on the motorways get splashed all over the newspapers just because there’s been a bit of snow? What do you call it when weather events are personified and almost literally demonised with names such as “Beast from the East”.

    The Tory poshboy elite hate the guts of the British population. When they engage in a big foreign war, they find that a part of that population doesn’t believe anything the mf-ers say, because they have shat on us and for so long. (The whole idea that they “have” to leave the EU because they “respect” “our” “decision” so much is utter hypocritical and not how they talk when the cameras are off.) Then they call some of us traitors and hate us even more. They don’t ask for one second why we hate them, because that would be to think of us as human beings who may have reasons for our attitudes which don’t boil down to us being savages composed of solid diarrhoea.

  • knuckles

    An observation;

    During the recent Munich Security conference a confidential diplomatic telegram (TD) was circulated by a senior (the most senior?) UK diplomat attending to allies France, German, US. It outlined a public relations strategy to nobble the Syrian peace talks being organised by Russia, Turkey and Iran. These three countries can not be allowed to broker peace on their own doorstep independent of the ‘UN’, seems to be the western position. Syria can die in the quest to maintain western egos.

    The strategy began at the most recent Sochi peace conference where ”the moderates’ and the Kurds decided to make a mess of the whole event by protesting nonsense that had already been agreed to before their arrival. They did their masters bidding.

    The day of the poising (or day after) Syria peace talks were held by the Foreign Ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Astana. It got zero coverage. A conference to establish the end of the war in Syria got zero coverage. Disgusting really when considered.

    Except a 10 second close up of Lavrov having to refute Bojo poising nonsense. Add it to the list of ‘unfortunate coincidences’

  • Node

    In a year’s time, when we are scratching about in the radioactive rubble and congratulating ourselves for ruining Russia’s World Cup, we’ll be able to properly judge this new low in British journalism. If the previous low was the ‘dodgy dossier’ affair which could have been exposed by any journalist doing some basic research, just how much further have they sunk when destroying this war-mongering tissue of lies would only take two words.

    John Snow, Evan Davis, all you have to do is ask your interviewees : “What evidence?” It is YOUR JOB to ask “What evidence?” You are squandering your credibility on this fiasco. But don’t worry, your ‘safe hands’ will be looked after, perhaps you’ll succeed Paxton or Humphries on a cushy quiz show. Fuck you and your blood-stained hands.

  • N_

    The election in Russia is tomorrow. I think Monday is the day when Putin goes through the ceremony of accepting. Whatever, there will be some widely distributed film marking his victory. It will be majestic and emotional stuff.

    Around the same time, I expect the first death in Salisbury to be announced. It will probably be Nick Bailey. (The second most likely is Yulia Skripal.) The BBC will flash between the election result in Russia and the death in Britain. CONTRAST is an important principle in propaganda, and in rhetoric generally. It has a powerful effect.

    Putin said he was proud to represent all Russians. A female BBC newsreader puts on her ‘doubting’ voice here, possibly tosses her hair.
    The Russian leader cried as he said he was honoured more than anyone in the world to serve a fourth term in the greatest country in the world” blah blah. Whatever words help the British message will be picked out.

    Switch to a screen with Nick Bailey’s passing-out picture, looking smart in his uniform. The kind of picture that rarely gets shown in public except when someone is dead.

    This is a British policeman who has been murdered on active duty.

    Switch to his mother…
    Switch to a pile of wreaths. Perhaps somewhere ordinary, such as in a small park beside a shopping centre.
    (Don’t mention Kim Jong-Il.)

    Switch to Theresa May outside Downing Street…

    This is not a time for beating about the bush“… Theresa May’s voice breaks and she weeps.

    The Russia state, led by Mr Putin, has murdered” She weeps some more.
    …has brutally murdered a British policeman on a British street. Russia has struck with a military weapon, with unparalleled brutality and cowardice, into the heart of our country. I will not stand idly by…

    Cue high-fiving in weapons sector boardrooms, at “defence procurement” drinks parties, in Tory circles and officers’ messes in army barracks around the country.

  • Patrick Mahony

    The police appealing for sightings of the car in the morning. So whoever was driving it had no phone on them, presumably. Why would you not bring your phone?

    • Huw Jones

      Don’t know about Salisbury, but mobiles are not much use here, except for playing games. But the TV cops do get fantastic clues from mobile phone data, and perhaps they work in London?

  • N_

    “Beast from the East 2.0” the media are saying.

    The eastern Beast is renewed! And he’s hi-tech!

    • Andrew Merlin

      Someone here can explain to the Beast from the East why the British radiation expert, who gave an opinion on the use of polonium in the poisoning of Litvinenko, after a trip to Moscow, where he was intelligibly explained that he was wrong, “committed suicide”? “Beginner” in the studio! Acts at a distance with a delay of several months!

      • Patrick Mahony

        Except it doesn’t. It was designed to kill large amounts of troops instantly. It is unstable and not at all like HMG’s description as a delayed action toxin.

  • Onno

    Probably the (icecold Churchill mindset….remember Gallipoli) psychopathic Britisch deep state, the addition of true ‘dead inside pure evil’ madness that, amongst others, proactively agressive, absolutely butchered and burned to the ground/cremated alive the overfilled acting (mercifull) refugeecamp Dresden (and over dead bodies or the psychological equivalent of that, still is getting away with it), did it THEMSELVES as a warming up towards WWIII.

  • Tim

    Not sure how big you are on numbers, Craig, but I noticed the ages of the two Skripals on the “Fort Russ” w/s.
    33 and 66 !!
    Just this one fact alone tells me all I need to know about the story; it is a false flag using two willing and colluding participants to drag Russia as close to war a it is possible to get.

  • Kiza

    I noticed it straight away but I have not found this mentioned anywhere: the fairly expensive car that Scripal was driving. Now I know that Her Majesty’s pensions are generous, especially for retired dual country spies (LOL), but maybe not that generous. The Russian GRU claims that during his 10 year spying career all he got from MI6 was $100,000. So where did the expensive car come from? Well, apparently, the old Scripal, not really retired, was doing a lot of business dealings as throughout his life. Spying for Britain was more like an extra night job (and the information he provided was minor). Therefore, instead of political opportunism of blaming Russia to discredit the Russian defence of Assad from CW accusations (Western false-flags), the investigation should have looked immediately at a possible business deal gone south and daughter being just collateral damage.

    In other words, nothing close to an international incident then the usual thing in the world of Russian expats in UK.

  • PetrGrozny

    If you go to the BBC’s home page http://www.bbc.com you will see at the top an article ‘The Racist Message Hidden in a Masterpiece’ Someone really wants to highlight this because they sent me an email about it yesterday. It refers to a part of an article about the colour black, referring to famous work ‘The Black Square’ by the Russian artist Kaspar Malevich where some ‘racist’ words can be discerned under the paint. I doubt it will make any difference to my perception of painting. But it strikes me that editors at the BBC think there are broenie points to be had at present for anything anti-Russian.

  • Onno

    UK, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic among most probable source of ‘Novichok’ – Moscow

    UK mentioned as possible culprit Nr. 1 other than Russia. Since moral moron deep state Curchill-like psychopaths see normal human beings as gullible fools or (their) natural prey, this (unthinkable as it may seem) indeed is a very real possibility.

  • David Wolf

    Great article and thank you. However, these people aren’t just lying like, “Sorry I’m late, I had a flat tyre,” they are actually breaking the law. To begin with there is the matter of misleading the parliament. I think that is a 5 year Sentence for Mrs May since in spite of the “of a type developed by Russia” gives her the illusion of remaining truthful, her demands for an apology from Russia demonstrate an intent to mislead Parliament with inaccurate information. I would go a lot further. She, and those who support her lies, are knowingly endangering the security of Britain and i would have thought that was treason. It’s no good returning to this topic in 15 years with a “Chilcot” style of report only to have it fobbed off with a “At the time I truly believed…” and that gem, “I think we agree, the past is over”.

    This article needs to be promoted. Not for Mr Murray’s sake but for everyone’s.

    • alex jacques

      I wonder who is behind Mrs. May, Looks to me like everyone is just floundering around and coming out with anything they think off.
      Much of that news in that area is very confusing. I think the way chemicals have been distributed around the world,,almost anyone could have done it,, They may yet eventually call it a Terrorist Act.

  • alex jacques

    No doubt there is an animosity building up between England and Russia,,, USA,,France and Germany have been pulled into it. If those two who were poisoned are still alive the chemical used is not a quick kill or the hospital care has greatly improved, Just thinking.

  • dead paul

    The technical description and other data including the chemical formula for the Novichok family of compounds is available on wikipedia and has been since at least 2013. If this data is accurate then it makes a mockery of PM May’s claim that the nerve agent could only have come from Russia.

  • Huw Jones

    Thank you for that article. While Putin’s regime seems to be perpetually hostile, I have been worried by the rush to pin this crime on Russia,when there are contradictory theories from many sources as to whether this sort of behaviour would benefit or harm Russia. AS the victims were of Russian birth, and the material was “of a type developed in Russia”, there is a good case for us to demand that Russia assists our police in their investigation, but very little evidence, so far, that the Russian state was involved. Tit for tat expulsions of public servants from both countries seems to be a very expensive way to damage our respective embassies, and does little for future relations.

  • Lorraine Barlett

    Thank you for this explanation. I am very suspicious myself and must say that the underlying motive for the Russians seems highly unlikely, whereas there are others who might have a very strong reason for piling on the current “evil Russian” narrative. Thus we must ask, as ever, Cui bono

    • Patrick Elliott-Brennan

      ” I am very suspicious myself and must say that the underlying motive for the Russians seems highly unlikely,”

      In what way is it ‘unlikely’?

      It’s too bloody simple really: Those who spy on Russia will be disposed of. Which part of that is unlikely.
      What can the UK do to Russia because of this? SFA.
      Cost to the Kremlin? Nada. Nyet.

      This is about as simple as a murder gets. Putin also threatened all those who spy on Russia straight after receiving home the spies handed over in the exchange.

      • Derek Francis

        1. Why didn’t Putin have him killed when he had him in prison?
        2. Why did Putin pardon him and approve his part in a spy exchange?

  • Patrick Elliott-Brennan

    The articles are fascinating. Thanks for that.

    What will be interesting is to find any realistic, logical and sensible discussion as to ‘Why would anyone else want him dead?”.

    Given there is no other rational party and the others who have been identified as possibly having the capacity to develop this material have NO motive AND the Russian has form for this type of behaviour.

    Having worked in the management of complaints for years and heard a great many ‘if’ ‘but’ ‘coulda beens’, many comments here appear to be just that…baseless claims and blabbing.

    It may well be that there’s no evidence it definitively is ‘Russian’. AND?

    Putin threatened him and others. The Russians have done similar before and I think people keep forgetting about Crimea, Georgia, Ukraine.

    There was only one Columbo and he was on TV.

    • Artsem

      Sorry, Patrick, you don’t know anything about Crimea/Georgia/Ukraine cases and Russia at all. Just standart set of stereotypes.

  • Phillip Riderout

    My own personal view, is the view of many others i have spoken with that this is a popularity scam derived from the present government to regain lost popularity by the population. there is no definate proof that the Russians have ever been involved with this and are being used because they are at present “not the flavour of the month”. In my opimion if the Russians wanted to do something about this victim they would have been a lot more profesional about it. So to conclude, its a scam thought up by the present government to gain popularity and to take notyice of some othe devious thing they want to slip into parliament.

  • Bard Bardy

    Thanks for exposing the duplicity of our U.K. Government Craig. How do you see U.K./U.S. – Russia relations progressing? Why do you believe the U.K. is deliberately baiting Putin? This is part of a “weak Russia (and weak China) strategy for U.K. / U.S. hegemony, right?

    IMHO this does not appear to lead to any other conclusion other than Russia is being deliberately targeted (note manufactured oil price crash after OPEC ramped production after sanctions were imposed upon Russia over the annexation of the Crimea. Relationships with Russia have been deteriorating since Putin kicked the Rothschild’s owned IMF (International Monetary Fund) out of Russia in 2006 and had started on plans to nationalise the Rothschild’s et al controlled Central Bank of Russia.

    (“Owned” due to the 3% share in the Bank of England which like others Central Banks contribute to the IMF, and if you also take the view they’re still getting dividends from those now Nationalised Central Banks, like Bank of England Nominees Ltd – they’re reported as receiving 3% of the profits.
    In 1998 Russia was effectively bankrupt as it owed more money to the IMF than it had in foreign currency reserves).

    The 2014 Russian annexation of the Crimea was fundamentally necessary to protect the ethnic Russian speaking population from Ukrainian fascist right wing pogroms after the Western backed coup (See Ukrainian NATO membership deal).

    The heart of the hostilities against Russia I believe, can be traced back to the failed Wanta-Reagan-Mitterrand Protocols signed after the US currency war and economic warfare that collapsed the former Soviet Union. Leo Wanta amassed $27.5 trillion – funds that were later stolen by the banking Mafia and Bush Crime Family after Wanta was imprisoned on trumped up tax charges – See Marilyn Barnewall book, “Black Hats White Swans”).

    So the message for the Puppeticians and warmongers Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Gavin Williams and Mi5 & Mi6’s propaganda arm – aka the BBC and Guardian Newspaper – should be: “Go Away and Shut Up.”

  • Ghost

    “…When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise…”
    Same exact format used in usa.

  • Howard Parker

    Thank you, Craig, for getting a little closer to the real question. Can you please go and talk at C4 News about this? They do try…

  • Simple Simon

    Would love to see written and or photographic proof from their to back up your claim. Real headed paper etc etc

  • jullianne 23

    I wish you get this piece into some high profile newsprint. Ordinary people deserve the opportunity to see something of the facts.

  • Gwen Hanson

    Brilliant piece of writing. It’s so hard to know how everyone is being lied to and being unable to shake people awake
    It’s seeing so clearly the triumph of evil and be unable to influence enough of the population

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