The Elephant In The Room 284

Nerve agents including Sarin and VX are manufactured by the British Government in Porton Down, just 8 miles from where Sergei Skripal was attacked. The official British government story is that these nerve agents are only manufactured “To help develop effective medical countermeasures and to test systems”.

The UK media universally accepted that the production of polonium by Russia was conclusive evidence that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. In the case of Skripal, po-faced articles like this hilarious one in the Guardian speculate about where the nerve agent could possibly have come from – while totally failing to mention the fact that incident took place only eight miles from the largest stock of nerve agent in western Europe.

The investigation comprises multiple strands. Among them is whether there is any more of the nerve agent in the UK, and where it came from.

Chemical weapons experts said it was almost impossible to make nerve agents without training. “This needs expertise and a special place to make it or you will kill yourself. It’s only a small amount, but you don’t make this in your kitchen,” one said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer at the UK’s chemical, biological and nuclear regiment, said: “This is pretty significant. Nerve agents such as sarin and VX need to be made in a laboratory. It is not an insufficient task. Not even the so-called Islamic State could do it.”

Falling over themselves in the rush to ramp up the Russophobia, the Guardian quotes

“One former senior Foreign Office adviser suggested the Kremlin was taking advantage of the UK’s lack of allies in the US and EU. He said the British government was in a “weaker position” than in 2006 when two Kremlin assassins poisoned the former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko with a radioactive cup of tea.

The adviser said the use of nerve agent suggested a state operation…”

It certainly does. But the elephant in the room is – which state?

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284 thoughts on “The Elephant In The Room

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  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Looks like Kim has gotten the better of Trump, talking him into going to North Korea where he will give up his puny nucllear ability in return for the US agreeing to an internationally backed pact not to attack it.

    Despite Lindsay Graham’s hawkish rhetoric, it looks like North Korea has won with its poor hand that Washington has dealt it with this miraculous river card, an inside royal flush

    • joel

      If he thinks an internationally agreed pact would bind the US he must be an even bigger fool than he looks. Surrender the nukes and it would be only a matter of time before his neck was in a noose or his nether regions violated with a bayonet.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        I remember China saying that if North Korea attacks the US mainland, it is on its own. If the US starts a war, China will support the North.

      • Kempe

        It would be a good deal for all concerned if it were to come off. Unfortunately NK has made this promise on three previous occasions and never had the slightest intention of sticking to it. Trump will have to proceed with some caution.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Of course, the clueless Western don’t talk about this, preffering to talk about Kim Jong-un getting Trump to negotiate the problems as if he only provided a Korean version of Saturday Night Live.

            On the serious side, he panicked Washington into believing he was a real ICBM threat to American interests when he wasn’t, forcing autistic Trump to look like he was willing to be constructive, forcing his underlings to roll back Kim’s boost before they meet.

  • Katherine Da Silva

    Was anyone other than a policeman and the two Russian’s harmed?… In the previous poisoning, they make no mention if kitchen staff would have had to wash up the cups and saucers which held radio active material.. major incident in my view… but wonderful critical article here Craig.. incisive thinking..

    • LondonBob

      Yes the polonium trace was so strong in the teapot it was still there after weeks of use and washing, yet no one else was taken ill at the hotel, despite how wildly dangerous polonium is. Yet initial reports all had Itsu as the ground zero with Scaramella, Litvinenko and the restaurant producing positive results. Then again all times and sequence of events also got moved around later on when it was determined to make the hotel the place of ingestion.

    • Chris Salt

      Hi Katherine – I suspect that this is so easy to “stage” as a false flag – giving the excuse and justifiable reason for more hostile actions against Russia – got to take the people along the journey ……………… ho humm

  • Mike

    Craig, please be careful. Some very nasty folk would not want that sort of info in the public domain.

    This nerve agent business is a very crass way of sending a message. It both tests the readiness and effectiveness of Porton Down (not very) and says loud and clear to any spy, past, present future or would be that they will come to get you.

    It used to be a severe dose of lead poisoning via Glock. This is a completely different game.

  • rich

    the identification of the nerve agent is close to being completed, which itself is taking place at Porton Down. as it stands it is not VX or Sarin. the fact that this attack took place close to Porton Down is completely irrelevant. Salisbury and the surrounding areas are where most of the HQ elements of the British armed forces are based..the likelihood is that it was manufactured at Yasenevo

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Agree. From the media reports, it seems that the security services are now looking for a persistent, low-volatilty, probably solid agent. This does not fit the model of the usual suspects, (as I mentioned, the symptoms reported would have been unexpected for sarin). One of the Russian ‘novichok’ agents, developed for (relative) undetectability and to bypass war gas control legislation and treaties, may well be the culprit, or, as I continue to suspect from reading some of the technical literature, a norborane or similar development.

      Sputnik, in its permanent quest to sow confusion, is today triumphantly announcing that the graves of Skripal’s wife and son aren’t being opened. In the context of the immediate investigation, of course they bloody aren’t. But checking the flowers and containers for something nasty, with a high expectation of finding it -unlike sarin or VX, it hasn’t hydrolysed by now – is more than logical.

      If Skripal and his daughter survive in any meaningful sense,they will be in a permanent vegetative state by now, pretty well regardless of the toxin used.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Correction. Read ‘norbornane’ for ‘norborane’ No boron involved. Slip of the head.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Ba’al Zevul March 10, 2018 at 14:25

        ‘…If Skripal and his daughter survive in any meaningful sense,they will be in a permanent vegetative state by now, pretty well regardless of the toxin used.’
        So if they survive in an non-vegetative state, your ‘conspiracy theory’ will be wrong?

    • nevermind

      Or its part of a batch that was manufactured in Uzbekistan’s chemical Institute, as Wiki shows.

  • Squeeth

    Slightly off topic but worthy of attention.

    Note To ICH Community Regarding Our Comment Section

    By Tom Feeley

    March 08, 2018 “Information Clearing House” -As many of you are aware, for some time now we have been experiencing attacks on our third party comment system. The purpose of this onslaught is an attempt to sow discontent among our community, reduce the impact this website and daily newsletter has on those searching beyond the propaganda outlets we call “news” media.

    These attempts include hacking into the comment system, deleting comments, posting comments which any reasonable person would consider offensive, not to mention the continuous attempts to post racist and anti-Semitic rants.

    In short, that a person or group of persons are willing to spend time and money to effect the impact of our efforts to better inform others is a testament to our effectiveness. Over the past 16 years that our community has been providing this non commercial source of news and information, we have been hacked more times than we can list, have been subject to personal threats on our physical wellbeing and that of my family. Despite these endless dirty deeds we have not only survived but grown each year. We will continue to do so with your help.

    I am asking for your assistance in finding a more secure comment system. Please take a moment and post your suggestions below. We will also need some help to install what ever system we should choose to employ. If you can help out in that regard please email me at [email protected]. Most of all we need you to be patient while we find a solution to these problems.

    Thank you for your support for ICH over all of these years.

    Peace and Joy


  • LondonBob

    I wonder if Mr Skripal had his daughter work out a deal with the Russians to tell all about the Steele dossier and was about to flee back to Russia with her from where he could safely tell all.

    • mark golding

      What was the motive behind the ‘decommissioning’ of Skripal? The dirty dossier gives a clue. I have to ask, why did the ‘Sorcerers’ apprentice supply the novachok derivative? Of course Craig answered that years ago.

  • Sharp Ears

    Shades of Peter Power’s ‘exercise’ prior to the London Tube bombings on 7/7 2005 when Ian Blair was I/c at the Met.

    In the Torygraph on 9th March, 2018.

    ‘That means the Skripals were in all likelihood not attacked in the street, as previously thought, but poisoned in their own home.
    Counter-terrorism police and security services will now be investigating how the nerve agent was administered. Nerve agent is most toxic if weaponised in an aerosol spray and takes immediate effect.
    Royal Marines and defence scientists held joint drills to practice dealing with chemical and biological attacks as recently as last month.
    Exercise Toxic Dagger held in February was the biggest practice of its kind and saw the marines detecting and dealing with deadly toxic threats.’
    Russian spy may have been poisoned at home, police believe, as military deployed to Salisbury

    Coincidentally, Radio 4 Today had Blair piping up about the police officer. YCNMIU.

    From the same Torygraph piece.

    ‘Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who is being treated in hospital, was made seriously ill after being sent to Colonel Skripal’s house in Salisbury.
    Det Sgt Bailey was one of the first police officers to attend the house in a cul-de-sac a few hours after Col Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed in Salisbury town centre.
    The admission he was made ill at the house was made by Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, in a BBC interview.
    Asked if there were any leads in the case, Lord Blair told the Today Programme on Radio 4: “There are some indications that the police officer who was injured had been to the house, whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open, who hasn’t been affected at all.

    “So there maybe some clues floating around in here.”’


  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Britain cannot sink any lower than what it is doing to make Moscow the fallguy for the poisoning effort in Salisbury.

    Articles in The Guardian are beyond belief, making out that Raoul Wallenberg was poisoned by Lab X, along with dissidents like Markov and Litviinenko, and Rudd has called a meeting of Cobra to deal with the national emergency.

    Wallenberg committed suicide in a Soviet prison when the West, especially the USA, would do nothing to get him out, ricin which killed Markov, and who Dr. Kelly was threatening to write a book aboutafter visiting Soviet labs., is made from castor beans, and can be obtained by anyone, and ‘Sasha’ was killed for being a disssident of MI^ by polonium-210 which all developed nuclear states can make, including the UK and Israel.

    And it is just scare tactics to call a meeting of Cobra and send specially trained troops to Salisbury as if it is a an act of war.

  • Sharp Ears

    The matter was discussed on BBC Dateline London earlier today.

    Chair -Shaun Ley, BBC presenter BBC Radio 4, WATO etc
    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, columnist Independent
    Agnes Poirier UK Editor French Magazine Marianne
    Stephanie Baker, Bloomberg News
    Ian Birrell, Columnist/Foreign Correspondent Mail on Sunday

    9 mins in on

    The programme, which is probably scripted, where four journos/correspondents sit around and where there is a pretence that a discussion is taking place.

    Look out for Birrell!!

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      You are certainly right about Ian Birrell, Sharp Eyes.

      Expect a column from him expanding upon the paper’s claim that the KGB was expanding upon its efforts to kill dissidents like Gorby when he was just trying to stop Vladimir Kryuschkov’s plot to overthrow him. Gorby just wanted the names of the agents involved.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘The Skripal Incident-Another Anti-Russian Provocation’:
    How easy it would be, to fake the whole thing with the cooperation of an anti-Russian ex spy and his daughter?
    Much simpler than 7/7, or even Westminster or London Bridge.

    But seriously, with our esteemed government beating the war-drums, I bet those peski Russkis are quaking in their snow boots:
    “British Army Could Be Wiped Out By Russia In An Afternoon”:

    And that’s without ‘nerve agents’ (though our government and MSM do have a nerve, pointing the finger of blame at Russia, with absolutely no evidence (but then again, what is HMG’s ‘evidence’ worth – think Bliar’s Iraqi ‘WMD’s’).

    • John Goss

      Thanks for that Mischa. That Bill Browder knows before anybody else including our secret services that the culprit was Russia. Thankully Annie Machon had done her homework on a known Russophobe.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Official: Syria Militants Organize Chem Arms Provocations to Push West to Attack’:
    ‘..The official added that western countries are preparing public opinion for military action against Damascus by accusing the Syrian army of using such weapons.
    On Friday, Maj. Gen. Yury Yevtushenko, the spokesman for the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, said that Syrian militants were preparing attacks involving chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta that will then be used by the West as a pretext for accusing Damascus of using said weapons against civilians. Over the last month, media repeatedly reported about alleged chemical attacks in the suburb.
    According to the Syrian minister’s adviser, Damascus and Moscow have already warned the international community about the militants’ preparations in Eastern Ghouta.
    The situation in the besieged suburb has been tense over the past weeks, as local militants continue to shell Damascus and Syrian pro-government forces respond in kind.
    Earlier in the day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the reports about Damascus’ possible use of chemical weapons, said that the provocations continued. The official added that Russia had started monitoring for the reported use of chemical weapons, even though Moscow always faced unwillingness from its foreign partners to conduct such investigations. According to the Kremlin spokesman, only an independent and impartial group could make definite statements about the potential use of chemical weapons….’

    They may delay this one, as they’ve been rumbled.

  • Sharp Ears

    It’s becoming really stupid now. The Sunday papers chime in with the news channels.

    ‘The fallout from last weekend’s attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter continues to dominate Sunday’s papers.

    On its front page, the Times suggests Theresa May is under increasing pressure, to return money given to the Conservative Party by donors with links to Russia.

    The paper says that oligarchs from the country, and their associates, have registered donations of more than £820,000 since Mrs May became prime minister.

    It claims that the attack in Salisbury on the former MI6 agent, has led to calls for the party to return the money.

    A Conservative spokeswoman is quoted saying all donations are properly declared to the electoral commission, and steps have been taken to ensure that “the profits of corruption cannot flow from Russia into the UK”.

    The Papers
    Newspaper headlines: Calls for PM to return Russian money
    1 hour ago

  • Sharp Ears

    The anti Russian rhetoric continues on the BBC

    In case you are interested.

    BBC1 9am
    The Andrew Marr Show
    Andrew speaks to chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond MP and shadow chancellor of the exchequer John McDonnell MP. He is also joined by Marina Litvinenko, widow of Alexander Litvinenko, actor David Morrissey and director Sir Nicholas Hytner. The Guardian’s political editor Anushka Asthana and Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell review the newspapers.

    Platell used to work for Hague as his press secretary when he ‘led’ the Tories. She has done the rounds in the British press.

    Asthana used to work for Murdoch on Sky News. Before that she worked for the Observer, then the Washington Post, followed by a stint at the Times. Now back at the Guardian. Mobile, these scribblers.

  • Peter Thomson

    The problem is there is no way to tell as there is no WD arrow on nerve agents nor Russian Bear either. The amount required to kill is not much more than a five pence piece.
    It would have been a simple thing to do to put the agent in a household spray, highly diluted and spray a mist over the victims. Inhaled agent, job done.
    Having been on NBCD courses at Porton mu understanding is the agent could only have been released on instruction of the prime minister on advice from the Defence Chiefs. Not even UK IS can get round this, NCB weapons release is controlled by the UK military.
    Nerve agents are not for backroom chemists as they and a lot of folk round them will probably end up dead
    If they try.

    • Freddy

      “It would have been a simple thing to do to put the agent in a household spray, highly diluted and spray a mist over the victims. Inhaled agent, job done”

      Ever tried to use “a household spray” outdoors ? Noticed how that cloud of aerosol moves with a slightest wind ?
      A perpetrator(s) would probably not survive without a military grade gas mask, nerve agents such as the Novichok can also be absorbed through the skin, requiring that those dispersing such agents (hence likely to be subjected to) wear a full body suit even when exposed to low concentrated aerosols. Thus if that was what the melodrama played by T. May and group of supporting clowns was about, a nerve agent sprayed by Putin’s goons dressed in full body suits and gas masks, and given a number of CCV cameras per square inch in any city of the UK, where’s the footage ? Is it shown all over news channels ? Can we see it ? Oh, it’s already classified ? So sorry for asking.
      Next – that was not a low concentrated aerosol if a cop got poisoned after he found Skripal and his daughter some time after they passed out.
      The last one – why would they (Russkys) decide to use a “signature” nerve agent produced only in Soviet Union years ago ? To get identified easier ?

  • Dave

    Funny how that Japanese sect manged to produce nerve agent and gas the Tokyo subway station if it requires state resources. Just as stupid as the assertion in the early days that people were safe when no-one had any idea what the substance was. Since then circa 19 more people are known to have been affected. Have journos lost all critical thinking skills?

    Apart from proximity, what is your line of reasoning? Porton Down is (should be) a very secure facility, to which the Russian should have had no access, so?… As a false flag op it makes us look very impotent, the Tory leadership are going out of their way not to accuse Russia, and have good reason to as we learn the Conservatives have received over £800,000 in Russian donations.

    • John Goss

      “Have journos lost all critical thinking skills?”

      It would seem so. My own view is because the World Cup is in Russia this story, by some means or another, has been manufactured to stop people going to the World Cup and seeing for themselves how advanced Russia has become. My guess is something will happen to further villify Russia and try to prevent football supporters going to Russia.

      Much of it seems a load of tosh. As Craig Murray says: “Nerve agents including Sarin and VX are manufactured by the British Government in Porton Down, just 8 miles from where Sergei Skripal was attacked.” Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, comes out of his interview with the very bright Megyn Kelly, as someone we might wish to have in parliament instead of the bozos we have there (with a few exceptions).

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      And, of course, one wonders iif it had an article about Putin divulging that he almost shot down a Turkish airliner which was apparently going to bomb the Sochi 2014 Winter Games with a suicide bomber, but the threat was dropped when the claim was denied by his spooks.

      The CIA was on record for wanting to take over their security because of Russian alleged incompetence, and one can just imagine that the Russian President thought that Washington was behind it all, and had gone along with his suspicions.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Alex Younger, as ‘C’, is certainly behaving like a chip off the old block, former SoD Sir George Younger.

    The father wanted to get rid of the Soviets by a non-nuclear surprise invasion, triggered by the British assassination of Olof Palme, while the son has a surprise for Russia, triggered by its alleged poison attack on the UK.

    Suggest that to OffG.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        How can South Africa have killed Palme when the West supplied the assassin, a submarine force to take out the Soviets secondary nuclear deterrent, NATO’s Anchor Express Exercise to lead the overruning of the bases in the Kola Peninsula, and a laser satellite on the Challenge Shuttle to take out its primary ICBMs which went up in smoke, but the trmvoval Palme went ahead until Younger was obieged to stop it because of avalanches in Norway’s Vasdalen?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          It was an earlier much more complicated Russian to Judgement operation, much like the plot to kill JFK.

        • Harvey Golan

          Ari Ben-Menshe explained how and why and who killed Palme in his book ‘Profits of War’.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Oh, do tell me who Ari thinks assassinated Palme, as I cannot make head nor tale about what Peter Pressland of Wilisppooks claims.

  • Terence McCusker

    Thank you again, Craig. You are always able to articulate what a lot of others are thinking. I was baffled by the SNP’s decision not to field you as a candidate, but perhaps their loss is our gain.

  • mark golding

    Advocate or devil’s advocate it is hard to argue an absolutist case against the Russian Federation when we consider the role of Britain in the proxy regime change war in Syria that has caused so much human suffering. To argue the same tyrannical case against Russia after the beguiling regime change war against Iraq, a war founded on LIES apropos WMD’s and later Saddam’s chemical/biological mobile labs in a US/UK war that murdered thousand of innocent civilians.

    Let me remind you with part of Colin Power’s speech ratified by Britain at the UN Security Council- First, you will recall that it took UNSCOM four long and frustrating years to pry – to pry – an admission out of Iraq that it had biological weapons.
    Second, when Iraq finally admitted having these weapons in 1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit about this amount – this is just about the amount of a teaspoon – less than a teaspoon full of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount just about this quantity that was inside of an envelope.

    This anthrax in 2001 was traced to a single US military source and more importantly the story used to push forward an agenda.

    Here lies the rub, the raison d’être behind the British Skripal plan using the certain, contrived Russian nerve gas formulation is obvious when one asks, what is the purpose of this apocryphal that will eliminate a spy and another? Certainly not war with Russia or regime change in Russia. No, in truth this man Skripal knew too much and the CIA wanted him silenced. And the spin-offs of this assassination are also good for Britain in a number of ways.

    (1) The truth channel RT will be eliminated despite public outrage.
    (2) More use of sanctions to cripple the Russian economy and Russian employment.
    (3) Pay-back example for upsetting the US/UK/IS plan to eliminate Assad and his military capabilities to appease/strengthen Israel.
    (4) 2018 FIFA abandonment

    Again this is the push-back/defence I mentioned in my earlier post.

    2018 FIFA upset? Maybe.

    • John Goss

      “2018 FIFA upset? Maybe.”

      I said last year they would concoct something to try to prevent the success of the World Cup in Russia. This though should backfire on them. Too many people do not believe this incredibly convenient story of two “expendable” foreigners. They may already be dead. Certainly the headline to this article suggests it, though not the article itself.

      Here is my translation.


      The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova called the statements of British Prime Minister Theresa May “a circus show in the British Parliament.” Interfax reports that May, speaking in the British Parliament on Monday, declared the possible involvement of Russia in the poisoning of former employee of the GRU, Sergei Skripal.

      Zakharova said “The conclusion is obvious: another information and political campaign based on provocation.”

      In her opinion instead of “composing new fairy tales, let someone in the Kingdom tell how previous cases concerning Litvinenko, Berezovsky, Perepilichny and many others who mysteriously died on British soil ended.” Zakharova added: “The great Grimpen Mire has continued to keep its secrets.”

      On Monday May also said that the Russian Ambassador was summoned to the foreign Ministry of Great Britain because of the poisonings of the Skripals.

      The Ambassador was asked whether it was Moscow’s direct actions against the UK or whether Russia could not provide the necessary control over the nerve agent of Russian origin, which was poisoned by third parties.

      Last week it became known that there were two victims near one of the shopping centres in Salisbury – Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia. They were hospitalized and are in a critical condition.”

      • John Goss

        “The Ambassador was asked whether it was Moscow’s direct actions against the UK or whether Russia could not provide the necessary control over the nerve agent of Russian origin, which was poisoned by third parties.”

        should read:

        “The Ambassador was asked whether it was Moscow’s direct actions against the UK or whether Russia could not provide the necessary control over the nerve agent of Russian origin, and the Skripals were poisoned by third parties.”

  • Freddy

    According to his BIO Skripal spent 6 years (2004-2010) after his arrest in 2004 in a “in high security detention facility” in Russia which probably means absolute and total FSB and Russian military’s control, yet he was not poisoned during that time, neither he suffered any type accident there. And looked pretty healthy after 6 years under total FSB control in that prison upon his arrival in the UK in 2010.

    And yet after 8 years after of Skripal’s quiet life in the UK Vlad The Terrible decided to poison Skripal exactly during the time when Trump-Russia melodrama conducted by ex-FBI chief Muller (Sic! – same last name as the Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller) began to fall apart and Christopher Steele (once a spy, always a spy) is about to be brought in the US to testify and hence to demonstrate UK’s spooks interference (the real foreign interference, not a fake one) in the 2016 US election; during the time when the last Al Nusra stronghold in Ghouta is about to fall, right before Russian elections, not long before 2018 World Cup in Russia – yeah, given all the above, and this weird timing he’s chosen, Vlad must be a quintessential idiot.

  • Mochyn69

    So much logical common sense on Craig’s blog, unlike the very strange UK gov and MSM narrative, although plenty of questioning BTL in the Guardian at least.

    Also so may holes in Theresa May’s narrative especially and offering Russia an ultimatum with a binary choice between ‘it was us wot dunnit’ or ‘we can’t control our stuff’ is ludicrous.

    And if the alleged nerve agent was developed in the 1970s and 1980s, then of course that was in the time of the Soviet Union, and how many republics were there in that Union??

    Blaming Russia is at best mischievous, if not downright stupid.

    Craig is very right to ask about the elephant in the room.


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