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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  • Chris Turpin

    No. I expect they, the BBC, will just carry on trying to get the Anti Corbyn band wagon rolling again by doing things like trying to get the son of a former labour leader, who never won an election, to condemn him.

  • Gerry Seaman

    And based on this “Evidence” BoJo claims that Putin is directly involved and responsible for the Salisbury Nerve agent attack!

  • RRRyan

    Its always Russia that gets the blame but always the west who get caught with their hands dirty Its increasingly clear that our so called democracies have failed and the only honest actor in all this is Russia. Its time we pulled down thie crumbling fake institutes and looked to the east for world leadership. Only by working with them can we hope to bring an end to these corrupt fascists and return to a world of prosperity and peace.

  • Andrew

    You spot on. MSM won’t say the tough questions. There’s a Geopolitical game of RISK taking place! Who exactly the loosers are has yet to develop

    • Henry North

      RISK has been played for years. The problem is that most people don’t know who all the players are. Only what they are fed by the media. If we all knew the players, and their respective hands we could theorise and find out what was exactly going on. Plus the bank is funding all sides and getting fabulously rich in the process.

  • Dr Phil W

    Very illuminating post – thank you. And no I don’t expect the BBC or other MSM to do any proper journalism on this. It is creating a very unfortunate situation and various Corbyn opponents now re-emerging from the woodwork…

  • LondonBob

    I doubt we will ever prove who did it, but it is painfully obvious who is exploiting it.

  • egbert

    “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.:

    Would the Chinese become complicit in this hysteria?


    I have had a strong suspicion that this awful event was being exploited to further an attack on the Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Party. So many things have not worked, so they tried their own Falklands Factor, especially with the recent survation/mirror poll looking good. I was even more convince when the jackals on the Labour back bench started a howl-in with Theresa May, of who they admire more than their own leader. This article just helps to confirm. Without an enemy within, I am sure a more tempered approach would have been taken to this appalling event.

  • labougie

    ‘Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture’ would seem to imply that Porton had a physical sample of some kind taken from the Salisbury site – even if only not to be able to identify it as Russian. Is this correct?

    • Jon

      Wrong, they need a Russian sample to determine the origin of the agent used. Being unable to determine origin implies they DO NOT have a Russian sample.

      • labougie

        Is it given that Porton have a sample from Salisbury? If so –
        1/ Who took that sample and in what form?
        2/ How many hands did it pass through before arriving at Porton?
        3/ How many hands will it have passed through before the OPCW gets to look at it?
        Just asking.

  • reversedplagarist

    Givern how very easily this has been debunked you have to wonder what the real motive was. Anyone capable of making this nerve agent and planning the attack would also have been able to figure out that everyone would realise it wasn’t russia if the British goverment were behind it then they must have wanted to get court so what is their plan.

  • Bob Apposite

    Are we really to believe that security in the Moscow airport is so lax that American or Israeli agents were able to assemble and deposit a chemical weapon in a suitcase?

  • Rick Fearn

    First class journalism. We need a balanced perspective on this event. Thanks so much, Craig

  • Alexander Zucrow

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

    I fear you are right. On that note I am still waiting to see a single front page article in the western press marking 50 years of the Mai Lai massacre. Obviously the poisoning of a double agent is much more significant than the murder of several hundred innocent Vietnamese.

    The shame.

    PS: Thank you for providing an alternative view.

  • Clayton Bradt

    No chemical preparation is absolutely pure. Inevitably some impurities are introduced during the process of synthesis which remain, if only in minute quantities, as “fingerprints” of its manufacture. In order to match these fingerprints with the specific manufacturer a sample of that manufacturer’s product must used for comparison. Thus, without a sample of Novichok from the Russian source it would be impossible to identify the Salisbury agent as being Russian in origin.

    This of course doesn’t rule out the possibility that Putin has confessed to the attack privately to May, and that she is understandably reluctant to publicly disclose the source of her information.

  • alwaywrite

    excellent analysis Mr Murry, one thought though is this reference to Russia, surely in the carefully crafted statement they should have said USSR?

  • Zia Ahmed Jalbani

    Deciet and lies with which they had laid the foundation of empire is ingrained in their nature and its continuous use has no moral inhibitions for them. They have gone so down that only an honest and truthful leadership can rescue them from all embarrassing situation. Imagine a country with nuclear power represented by Boris Jonson can only bring uutter humiliation and remember Theresa May cannot be another Thetcher and Trump is no Regan.

  • Andy

    “I don’t suppose there is any sign of the BBC doing any actual journalism on this?” I never thought of the BBC as a journalistic organisation.They make good nature programs but are clearly not good at balanced unbiased journalism. I successfully avoid all their news output.

  • Republicofscotland

    The British governments stance is one of, we’re not sure of the origins of the nerve agent, if indeed it was a nerve agent (Skripal isn’t dead, he must have a remarkable constitution).

    However it suits our narrative to have our mostly compliant media release articles all but claiming it is a Russian attack.

    Their reasoning is well we can’t be sure it was Russia, but it looks like Russia did it. Are we really going to plunge relations with Russia, to even further depths over “it might have been Russia” it certainly looks that way.

  • Matthew

    The lack of any immediate response (2 days and waiting) from the Russian authorities following the UK’s decision to announce punitive measures and expel 23 diplomats to me contradicts the theory this was a stunt premeditated by the Russian state for maximum political gain.

    • Petr Grozny

      I suspect that Teresa, Boris and Gavin have added 5 million to Vlad’s vote total on Sunday, which would have been avoided if HMG had taken it to the OPCW and waited ten days.

  • Marie Gray

    Remember Dr David Kelly who allegedly committed suicide after being discredited for telling the truth about the sexed up report on Iraqs WMD. I hope Porton Down sticks to its guns and does not bow to pressures, threats or bribes on this one.

  • Rigg Robertson

    HMG WM obviously don’t have a clue who is responsible but don’t wish to appear so to the general public. However choosing who they would like it to be and then running a show to that end is hardly responsible government, for once this lunacy has to blow up in their faces.

  • Republicofscotland

    The counter begins, as Moscow opens a criminal investigation into the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter.

    Will evidence be made available to the Russian investigators?

  • MK

    Long time reader.. BBC reported earlier today or last night that the PC’s car was taken away as it may be contaminated ?

    From the “known” timeline does this imply that the officer was not taken ill immediately he attended the scene but had time to drive home ? Doesn’t sound very serious is that was the case

    • ron

      it is also known that a towtruck used to remove vehicles was left in an open, public vehicle pound – so much for limiting the effects of contamination -this government – public safety????

  • dunwich

    The contortions as to where the Novichok came from will look rather academic if it turns out, as is being reported, the substance came in from Moscow in the daughter’s luggage.

    Even Craig might then eliminate the UKGov, the Clinton family, that organisation that prepared a dossier on Trump, uncle Tom Cobley and the Israelis from his investigations.

  • simon

    I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down

    no no no i think these parties are mistaken here hare here proof have already been proovenone
    journalists all ready handed the scoop boris bullingdon school chum of you know nat who already today said it was the putin.
    are strongman primeministers terry terrance minder may has already put protections in place to protect the medicated the flat footed from the russian menaces already

    it is is indeed indeed a done deal the russian must prepare for winter the sleeping giant of team gb has awoken zimmer frames and trans folks the trauma tised of the world refugee based here will soon be fighting a new barborosa operation only bigger and bolder.

    forward bulldogs the dunkirk spirit is back man the toy ships

    zion iceberg ahead

  • Ronnie

    Would Putin be found guilty or not guilty in the international law court in the Hague? I dont know but the west seems reluctant to use this route, so my guesss is it would be thrown out as ridiculous.

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