The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam 538

As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

Yet now, the British Government is claiming to be able instantly to identify a substance which its only biological weapons research centre has never seen before and was unsure of its existence. Worse, it claims to be able not only to identify it, but to pinpoint its origin. Given Dr Black’s publication, it is plain that claim cannot be true.

The world’s international chemical weapons experts share Dr Black’s opinion. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a UN body based in the Hague. In 2013 this was the report of its Scientific Advisory Board, which included US, French, German and Russian government representatives and on which Dr Black was the UK representative:

[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”. (OPCW, 2013)

OPCW: Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on developments in science and technology for the Third Review Conference 27 March 2013

Indeed the OPCW was so sceptical of the viability of “novichoks” that it decided – with US and UK agreement – not to add them nor their alleged precursors to its banned list. In short, the scientific community broadly accepts Mirzayanov was working on “novichoks” but doubts he succeeded.

Given that the OPCW has taken the view the evidence for the existence of “Novichoks” is dubious, if the UK actually has a sample of one it is extremely important the UK presents that sample to the OPCW. Indeed the UK has a binding treaty obligation to present that sample to OPCW. Russa has – unreported by the corporate media – entered a demand at the OPCW that Britain submit a sample of the Salisbury material for international analysis.

Yet Britain refuses to submit it to the OPCW.


A second part of May’s accusation is that “Novichoks” could only be made in certain military installations. But that is also demonstrably untrue. If they exist at all, Novichoks were allegedly designed to be able to be made at bench level in any commercial chemical facility – that was a major point of them. The only real evidence for the existence of Novichoks was the testimony of the ex-Soviet scientist Mizayanov. And this is what Mirzayanov actually wrote.

One should be mindful that the chemical components or precursors of A-232 or its binary version novichok-5 are ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture such products as fertilizers and pesticides.

Vil S. Mirzayanov, “Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insider’s View,” in Amy E. Smithson, Dr. Vil S. Mirzayanov, Gen Roland Lajoie, and Michael Krepon, Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects, Stimson Report No. 17, October 1995, p. 21.

It is a scientific impossibility for Porton Down to have been able to test for Russian novichoks if they have never possessed a Russian sample to compare them to. They can analyse a sample as conforming to a Mirzayanov formula, but as he published those to the world twenty years ago, that is no proof of Russian origin. If Porton Down can synthesise it, so can many others, not just the Russians.

And finally – Mirzayanov is an Uzbek name and the novichok programme, assuming it existed, was in the Soviet Union but far away from modern Russia, at Nukus in modern Uzbekistan. I have visited the Nukus chemical weapons site myself. It was dismantled and made safe and all the stocks destroyed and the equipment removed by the American government, as I recall finishing while I was Ambassador there. There has in fact never been any evidence that any “novichok” ever existed in Russia itself.

To summarise:

1) Porton Down has acknowledged in publications it has never seen any Russian “novichoks”. The UK government has absolutely no “fingerprint” information such as impurities that can safely attribute this substance to Russia.
2) Until now, neither Porton Down nor the world’s experts at the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were convinced “Novichoks” even exist.
3) The UK is refusing to provide a sample to the OPCW.
4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.
5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.

With a great many thanks to sources who cannot be named at this moment.

Please Also Read My follow-up to this article: “Bothered by Midgies”

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538 thoughts on “The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

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  • Tom Welsh

    “It was dismantled and made safe and all the stocks destroyed and the equipment removed by the American government…”

    Perhaps the word “destroyed” might be omitted from that sentence. At any rate, who can be absolutely certain that the Americans did not take any stocks of nerve agents with them when they went?

  • Z54

    Great Britain and the US are using the Rachel Maddow, MSNBC and the New York Times tried and true formula for putting blame on Russia or for that matter anyone else for any alleged wrongdoing through the use of baseless accusation. Accusation, after accusation, after accusation, never any hard proof just continual accusations. You know, kind of like Einstein’s definition of insanity; Doing the same thing over, and over, and over again, and each time expecting a different result. Well, the US is supposed to be a country of laws. You don’t convict a person or a country of a crime based on accusations. One must produce solid proof to back up the accusations with, otherwise you don’t have a case!

    • Regula

      All the more when as in this case, it is highly unlikely Russia would have done such a deed because they would have known that it would act entirely to their detriment. In two days the Russian elections take place. Russia unveiled its new weapons. The Syrian army with air cover from Russia is winning in Ghouta. In Afrin, in the north of Syria, the Turks are doing their best to expel the US armed and trained Kurdish defense forces. Why would Russia commit such an act to kill an old spy whom it convicted and could have killed easily over a decade ago now, when it hurts Russia the most? Comversely, the US and UK stand to gain. The US in furthering its intention to start a war on Russia, the UK by distracting attention from all that doesn’t work in UK, notably the Brexit negotiations.

      Ironically, May also prohibited the poisoned daughter from getting the help of Russian consular services, despite her being a Russian citizen, residing in Russia and that contacting with or by her country’s consulate is an international right! Why is May punishing the victim?

      And again, why would Russia kill the daughter in UK rather than in Russia if it wanted to get rid of her, when she lives in Russia where it could have been done discretely?

      May doesn’t appear to think that her actions should make sense rather than non-sense.

      While the MSM in either UK or US didn’t do their job and research the case for what is known and what is not known, the free journalists of the alternative media did do their job and the disbelief based on real facts is paramount.

  • Anna Kingston

    This morning I have read a document on how to make Novichoks in a university laboratory setting, using precursors legally obtained from Germany. It is a legitimate scientific paper by Iranian civilian scientists, and is publicly available online (not even behind a paywall) here:

    This directly contradicts British ambassador Jonathan Allen’s statement at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, in which he said that Novichok was “not a weapon which can be manufactured by non-state actors”(1). It also contradicts the statement of UK chemical weapons expert advisor Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who said “I have it on very good authority that Novichoks were only ever made in Shikhany in central Russia.”(2)




    • Eddy

      Anna, the recipe for producing this alleged compound was published World wide in the Book written by the discoverer in the first place, more than 20 years ago. Thus has been in the mainstream for a very long time allowing ANY Tom,Dick or Harry to experiment with the formula.

  • Spencer Eagle

    I have my suspicions that Mirzayanov’s description of the so-called ‘Novichok’ is a pure fabrication from a low level defector eager to appear of more value than he actually is. As for the ‘Foliant’ program, that too appears to be unknown. As part of the 80’s ‘Bonfire’ project, overseen by Igor Domoradsky, it is known that a heart attack inducing toxin was developed based on regulatory peptides, it was given the name myelin toxin but had to be combined with a bacteriological host for delivery. Closely linked to ‘Bonfire’ was the ‘Fleyta’ (flute) program, those principal aim was to develop psychotropic and neurotropic biological agents for use by the KGB in so-called ‘wet work’ operations.
    That said we must ask ‘Quo Bono’ – who benefits? It’s certainly not Russia and points to a false flag operation intended to return defense spending to cold war levels.

  • Dr Gerard Hobley

    If you want I can explain how to make these. I have seen two example compounds on Wikipedia and their synthesis looks relatively simple. I could even write you a plausible set of recipes, however would not know if a synthesis would actually work in reality, until it is tried.

  • Spencer Eagle

    ‘Novichok’ is the smoking gun in this scandal. I’ve just been cover to cover through Ken Alibek’s 1999 book: Biohazard – ‘The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World – Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It’. Alibek defected to the US in 1992, despite covering numerous state secrets, programs and projects, not once in this very detailed book does he mention anything called Novichock, nor does he mention the dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov.

  • Spencer Eagle

    Nukus, Kara Kalpak Autonomous Republic, was not a ‘chemical weapons site’ it was a testing ground for biological warfare and chemical weapon simulants. No production was undertaken there and it is doubtful any long term storage either.

  • NormVan

    On Wednesday, The Telegraph revealed Col Sergei Skripal, the Russian double agent who was poisoned in Salisbury, England last weekend, is linked to dossier author Christopher Steele.

    The Telegraph revealed that Sergei Skripal, the Russian “double agent” who was poisoned in Salisbury, England last week, has ties to Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier and former British spy, who is tied to Fusion GPS, which is directly connected to the DNC and Hillary Clinton.

  • Regula

    The US and Israel are the two nations that have the most advanced chemical weapons research. That the US who is a member of the OPCW and therefore cannot legally research chemical weapons, would use Israel as its “laboratory” to find novel substances that, because they could be made in commercial chemical facilities, it can then blame on terrorists, the Russians, whoever they want to destroy with false accusations, would not surprise. That in addition, the US would have saved and adopted research of “Novichoks” if they found any, would also not surprise – after all, the US hired thousands of Nazi scientists to create and advance its nuclear weapons program.

    Furthermore the fact that May refuses to make samples of the material found in the two poisoned people available to the OPCW indicates that she is afraid the latter could find that the substance was American made, not Russian made, assuming it can be attributed at all.

    And yes, the incident in Salisbury was the set-up that should have justified a war on Russia – like Iraq – by NATO, so the destruction will go down over the EU not the US. Russia’s recent unveiling of its newest weapons with a new test to demonstrate that they actually do exist, may in fact have prevented WW3, as the US is unlikely to fight a war on Russia while Russia has weapons it cannot defend its homeland from. Any significant destruction of the US homeland would end any aspirations for hegemony.

    • Paul

      That is a ridiculous and wholly ignorant comment. Russia has ~7000 nuclear warheads and bombs. The US cannot prevent its utter destruction in the event of WW3. Neither side can. Although there have been advances in ABM defences, the US has nothing like the capability to stop the thousands of hypersonic warheads that would be ripping towards it in the event of an all out attack.

      The unveiling of ‘new’ weapons by Putin (some of which are barely credible) is purely for domestic political purposes, and does NOTHING to upset the balance of nuclear power and the concept of MAD.

  • Michael Mazur

    The whole rah rah rah of this for days on end has everything to do with humming and hawing about whether to directly invade non threatening Syria, a sovereign state, which has regular elections to which foreign observers are allowed – unlike to the US elections.

    After 7yrs, the Obama/Clinton war against Syria, by the proxy of foreign mercenaries, is on the point of failing altogether, the turning point was September 30, 2015 when Russian forces from the air commenced relentless and very effective attacks against ISIS – or whatever other acronyms they came under, and soon, once the last of them have been cleaned out, Israel no longer has even a toe hold on trying to appropriate Syria as part of its Old Testament program of Greater Israel being ‘The Lands between the Nile and the Euphrates’.

    The intense debate – unheard by us, is whether to get direct western military involvement to engage Syrian govt forces and Russian forces in an effort to collapse the Syrian govt, being the invitation for Israel to then fill the vacuum.

    The justification, if western mil intervention is to go ahead, will be the allegation that Russia is using chemical weapons against ‘Syrian rebels’, for which propaganda drive the priming will have come from the daily renewed allegation that the two Russians (father and daughter) in Salisbury UK were attacked with nerve agents by Putin’s Russia.

    As this propaganda drive was failing, something extra had to be done, and surprise, surprise, a former Russian agent has died in recent days from unknown cause, or so they say, implying Putin’s Russia as the culprit.

    This will fail altogether, never mind the allies Britain has had come on side, as the intended spearhead of the direct attack on Syrian forces, the US, will not be attacking Syrian forces, and as a result, the British and others of the coalition will not either.

    Bashar al Assad has not won, but has prevailed, at a cost of a all but destroyed country, with 500,000 lives lost.

  • Ed

    The UK is providing a sample to the OPCW they are not providing a sample to Russia, but if you accused someone in a crime would you let the the accused investigate the crime scene? I wouldn’t believe it was Russia either if it wasn’t for what they did to litvinenko, the Russian state has past history of these kind of attacks so even if by some miracle they are innocent of this, the Russian state still is not innocent.

    • Barrabus

      I really don’t know what all the fuss is about its in the spy contract small print (there’s a high risk you will be murdered) But in this case strip away the politics and its clear the whole charade is fabricated.

  • Irene Parousis

    All this is just a distraction from the Geoengineering/Solar Radiation Management programs going on over our heads daily. They are poisoning the whole planet and people still blind by all the bullshit on the te lie vision.

  • Etienne

    This is the exact wording in the SAB’s report

    “Non-scheduled toxic chemicals that may pose a risk to the Convention

    82. In 2008, a book authored by Vil Mirzayanov, a former Soviet scientist, reported that
    Soviet scientists had investigated a new class of nerve agents commonly referred to as
    “Novichoks” (newcomers), which were suitable for use as binary weapons. The
    structures shown in the book incorporated an acetamidine or guanidine group into a
    sarin-like structure in place of the alkoxy group. While some of these structures fall
    within the generic definition of Schedule 2B(4) chemicals, it was reported that some
    were non-scheduled analogues, wherein the alkyl group attached directly to
    phosphorus was replaced by an alkoxy group. The compounds were reported to have
    high toxicity and no recorded industrial use
    There is very little information available on those compounds in open-source literature, and the existence and properties have
    not been verified in peer reviewed literature. The SAB is therefore not in a position to make further comments”
    RC-3/DG.1 Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on Developments in Science and Technology for the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention 29/10/2012

  • jeanne macdonald

    The fact remains two people have been targeted with a chemical substance, a ‘happening’ perhaps the most telling difference to the reference of WMD; also it was not an ‘instantly recognised’ chemical by authorities as stated in the article.

  • Cassandra

    Thierry Meyssan has published information on the nexus between the „rebels“ in Ghouta and the UK/ MI6:


    Ahrar el-Cham

    …The FOREIGN MINISTER of this group, LABIB AL-NAHHAS, travels to the West. He is a British MI6 officer. In July 2015, he published free forums in the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph.

    Jeish el Islam

    (originally run by Zahran Allouche) ….His cousin Mohammed Allouche … created the Unified Judicial Council, which imposed the Saudi version of Sharia law on all Ghouta residents. He notably organized executions of homosexuals by throwing them from the roof of buildings. He represents the group at the UN negotiations in Geneva.

    The Allouche family is now comfortably settled in London. […]

    „All of these groups and countless others have well-designed flags and logos as well as quality videos.

    All of this communication material is manufactured by the United Kingdom. In 2007, it had a war propaganda unit, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) headed by MI6 (Secret Service) officer JONATHAN ALLEN. Starting from the chemical weapons case in the summer of 2013, the RICU financed an external company to assist the communication of combatants in Syria (and subsequently those of Yemen). It was initially Regester Larkin, then Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat). Both companies are headed by an MI6 officer, Colonel PAUL TILLEY.

    Jonathan Allen, whose rank we do not know, has become number two in the UK permanent representation at the United Nations. He is currently agitating in the Security Council against Russia and Syria.“

    Notes: (#4) The MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD is a secret society that has provided almost all the leaders of Islamist terrorist groups around the world. It is a must to read my study* on their history and their international political role SERVING THE UNITED KINGDOM

    * Book by T. Meyssan: Sous nos yeux : du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump, Demi-Lune, 2017. (soon available in English).

    Craig, what is your take on this? What is the real relationship between the MB and the UK government?

    (Talk bout “Perfide Albion” …(in French)

  • JlB

    So why are the UK government blaming Russia . When they have no real evidence of any sort . Boris the idiot should should get a hair cut and let some fresh air into his empty head .

  • Ann Garrison

    We reported this on the KPFA News in Berkeley, California, this evening: But now it seems our story may already be outdated because we said that the Pentagon had taken control of the Soviet Union’s Novitchok stockpiles at the plant in 1999, but Craig’s further blog posts suggest that there may not even have been any Novitchok manufactured by that time. At least we quoted him saying it’s another Iraqi WMD scam.

  • hugh stead

    “It is a scientific impossibility for Porton Down to have been able to test for Russian novichoks if they have never possessed a Russian sample to compare them to. ”

    That’s not true. It’s actually a fairly standard that chemistry students will be shown results of some chemical analysis in an exam hall and told to identify the chemical. So you can work out the structure of a chemical by looking at its spectroscopy (behaviour when light or magnetism is applied), you don’t need to have a sample .

    So the UK can demonstrate to OPCW that they have Novichok just by showing them the spectroscopy.

    However, the effect on humans would be unknown if Novichoks had never been synthesized. You can guess a bit whether chemicals will be toxic from their structure but its highly unlikely Novichoks would be famed for their toxicity if they’d never been made.

    Novichoks don’t look difficult to synthesise. An inorganic university lab could do it IMO. However a normal lab wouldn’t take on the risk of working with or storing nerve agents. Every experiment requires a heath and safety assessment. You can use bomb proof fume cupboards if you’re boiling up high explosives, but there’s just no sensible way you can offset the risk of handling nerve agents which are extremely lethal if you just get them on your skin. Only government labs or madmen would think it worthwhile to work with nerve agents.

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