The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam 575


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.

Why?

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”


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

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  • Anon

    Reading comprehension fail.

    “Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain”
    “No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published.”

    It doesn’t say they don’t know what it is or where it comes from, it says this information has not been published.

        • james

          the problem is in what they are saying doesn’t match with anything of substance..

          if may and company want to be taken seriously, they need to provide proof, as opposed to shouting on the mountain top – thanks the ever willing western msm – that russia is the guilty party… put the proof before the accusations and be done with empty accusations.. that is all they have published and it is sorely lacking in any substance…

  • Adam

    A 2 year old source, a 5 year old source, and a man trying to sell books/source speaking engagements…

    Plus, there are several plausible motives for the Russian government to have not only conducted an attack, but conducted one which could be traced back to them by the West and denied with some plausibility to their “electorate”, aiding an embattled Putin who has an election to rig on Sunday after having spent a lot of money on war while halving the Russian GDP, and asserting “Russian strength” on the world stage.

    To summarise, there is a) time for the UK to have found the means of identifying the agent since your sources were published, b) a potential motive for the Russian government leaving such a sinister calling card and c) your reliability as a source could be questioned by the fact you’re trying to sell books and speaking services on the same website you’re providing the information.

    The UK government could well be using this as a distraction from Brexit or something, but I don’t think you have the means to completely discount the possibility that this is indeed another Russian assassination (and it’s not like they haven’t murdered people on British soil before).

    • Dom

      His reliability as a source? What about the people who brought us the magic of Iraq, Libya, spending on public services as cause of deficit? Aka, the kings of catastrophic fake news

    • giyane

      Adam
      Exhilarating to see the establishment cage rattled.
      Projection being the psychological flaw of choice for Tories, one could surmise you yourself might be trying to get lecture income, Craig is not touting for business here. In fact he is only surfacing on this blog when establishment lies reach the level of preposterous – dangerous .It was so completely obvious that Mrs May was lying today to parliament that Jeremy Corbyn refused to corroborate her lies. If she had said something reasonable, such as ‘ we are unable to identify the poison or attribute blame, then the leader of the opposition light have agreed with her suspicions. But she lied, like Blair over Iraqi wmd.

      She and her bunch of Tory war criminals who have used Islamist terror in Libya Syria and Iraq have used highly emotive language today. Rather strange for a party that is propped up only by bribing the DUP. Even more strange to find you on the wrong side of history, the Mr Hyde side.

    • N_

      Plus, there are several plausible motives for the Russian government to have not only conducted an attack, but conducted one which could be traced back to them by the West and denied with some plausibility to their “electorate”, aiding an embattled Putin who has an election to rig on Sunday after having spent a lot of money on war while halving the Russian GDP, and asserting “Russian strength” on the world stage.

      I have an open mind as to who did it, so if you can describe a plausible Russian motive I’d be interested. And you don’t persuade me that there is one. Putin does not have to “rig” the election. He will win more than 60% because he has mass support, and the candidate who comes second will probably get less than 10%. That’s not because of ballot-stuffing and nobody in Russia seriously thinks it is. His electoral propaganda (I’ve looked at “light grey” stuff, i.e. not with his campaign’s stamp but most people know it’s from them) is focusing on turnout. The idea that another candidate might win is literally (and I mean literally) presented as a joke. Yes this is probably a bit good for Putin internally, but probably not as much as it is for the Tory minority government internally. From a Russian point of view I doubt it would be worth jeopardising business relations with Britain for.

      On Russian GDP you are more than 20 years out of date. It halved in the 1990s and then recovered and soared. It’s about 3% lower than it was in 2015 now.

      What is this “world stage” you refer to? When people talk about propaganda I always ask “to which market?” Do you think everyone would ostracise Russia at international meetings if they don’t do an occasional Georgy Markov job in Britain?

      I’ll help you, though. If you want a plausible Russian motive, here is one: they, like the leaders of other major countries, know war is coming.

      Of course that would also make it plausibly a British action, or indeed the action of a third country.

      I don’t think you have the means to completely discount the possibility that this is indeed another Russian assassination (and it’s not like they haven’t murdered people on British soil before)

      Agreed it could have been a Russian attempted assassination. (Fortunately, as far as we know, nobody has died from this attack yet.) But how long is your list of assassinations that you believe have been carried out in Britain by the Russian government?

      • N_

        In the scenario that the world’s major powers know war is coming, one could expect unadmitted attacks in Russia, whether terrorist or cyber.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Adam March 14, 2018 at 22:20
      I trust you have the sense to know that UK, US and it’s cronies’ blaming Assad for using CW was an absolute, ridiculous lie, and that they knew damn well their own mercenary headchoppers were responsible. If you do realise (or even strongly suspect) that to be the case, why should they not have lied about this ‘poisoning’, which we have no idea happened (the whole thing could be a fake)?
      Similarly, Russia or their brothers in Free Ukraine were blamed for the MH 17 shootdown, no evidence, just propaganda, with every indicator pointing to the Fascist crowd installed courtesy of the US, UK, EU etc.

      • Arthur Fallowfield

        Yes, very good post. The Tories must not be trusted, up comes the fake news whenever this rotten government has something to hide.

      • Gary

        I agree, except on one minor point. I am being pedantic, though.

        I don’t believe ANY attacks are ‘faked’ as such (not by state actors) ANY country wishing to use propaganda of an assassination, chemical weapon attack or downing of a plane would not fake it, they would simply carry out the attack themselves and blame their target.

        Yes, I know this is pedantic, but I am only making the point that none have any compunction to take the lives of civilians and even children when it suits the narrative they wish to employ. Our press seems to have an incredibly short memory as it knows for a fact that all of these methods have been employed before but somehow they report as if these things ‘just aren’t done these days’

        • N_

          @Gary – You are totally right about the amorality of those who run any state, but there have been and there are many “fake” events. “Black propaganda” has a very long history. Just as there is black propaganda in the form of publications, there is also black propaganda in the form of deeds. The book I’d recommend you to read is Paul Linebarger’s Psychological Warfare.

          I know it is revolting to hear right-wing and nationalist idiots who are a million miles from thinking for themselves repeat the phrase “fake news” etc., when they are just getting it from the Trump campaign or Alex Jones and they are NOT in the habit of analysing events to try to form an opinion on how “genuine” or “fake” they are. It is obscene when they call e.g. the parents of children killed in a massacre “crisis actors”. Sometimes those who complain about “the media” and “advertising” still manage to appear as if they have shit for brains, and I have to wonder who all the money that’s spent on propaganda and advertising manages to influence, if every moron who has discovered “fakery” since Trump’s election is completely wise to it. They are the kind of people who talk about how Putin will “rig” the election, showing a total misunderstanding of how real propaganda really works.

          Also what is this term “state actor”? “Mafia” is probably a more useful term. Sub-dons can run their own rackets but mustn’t jeopardise the organisation.

          Another book you might like is Edward Bernays’s Propaganda – particularly what he says about buzzphrases. It’s online here.

    • Sven Lystbak

      You say that Putin has halved Russian GDP. This is almost correct if you measure Russian GDP in US dollar terms but this is obviously more or less irrelevant as Russia the last time I checked had its own currency namely the RUB. In RUB terms the economy of Russia has increased many fold duringr Putin’s time in office which is one of the major reasons for his extremely high approval rating.

  • Bob Apposite

    LOL. I don’t immediately believe what you’re peddling so I’m a true believer?

    Here’s the deal. I’m all for skepticism. Craig Murray raises a lot of interesting questions here. But then, rather than attempting to answer any of those questions – he immediately formulates a conclusion – “It’s indeed another Iraqi WMD scam”.

    Really? You formed that conclusion on the basis of a bunch of unanswered, questions?

    I, too, would support a 3rd party scientific (not Russia) review of the evidence.

    But as for showing *me* the evidence? It would be pointless.
    I’m not a chemist and I’m not position to evaluate it, and neither are you guys.

    Heck, Craig was able to conclude it was an Iraqi-WMD-style scam without even answering any of the questions he raises. Going from lack of knowledge to certainty in a conclusion is an alchemy that I’m not personally capable of.

  • muto

    Since this incident happened, twitter accounts of those who question the nature of the British response, are being suspended. I questioned the proximity of the incident and Porton Down and then baaaammm. Account gone. I used the alternative account, and few hours later same. The British establishment is very scared, and I am scared for the life of JC.

    • N_

      That’s interesting. Is this blog mirrored somewhere? On a server outside Britain and a domain that’s not .uk? Contingency plans in place, I hope.

    • Gary

      Being a curious soul I had checked, among other sources, Wikipedia, on the subject of ‘nerve agents’ just after it was reported that this was what had happened. This was prior to mention of Novichoks.

      I saw all manner being mentioned but NOT Novichoks, no mention at all, NONE.

      On release of the ‘Novichok’ story I looked again. To my surprise, suddenly, there WAS mention of Novichoks on those same pages, all had been edited in the day or two before the information was released and none with any citation. What an ODD coincidence

      • N_

        That’s interesting – thanks for that info. Wikipedia is one of the main propaganda organs globally, and on some issues what is said is very tightly controlled. Not only current events or Israel, but a lot of other stuff too – even something like 19th century philology that I have been studying recently. The whole idea of “neutral point of view” is shite.

      • Skookum1

        I went through a wiki-war with a couple of terror propagandists i.e. intelligence operatives specializing in anti-Muslim ‘war on terror’ articles; it’s a whole wikiproject in fact.

        But on the Ottawa shootings and St Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack articles which appeared overnight were sole-authored texts where the citations they used to post the article did not say what they were used to justify saying….it got heated, especially as I could point to individual edits and citations and also redacting of my own posts on the talkpage…was pretty clear that these were full-time anti-terror ‘workers’ and spinners…influencing news by creating it and also condemning those who point out that they’re doing it…..

  • Roy Moore

    From your blog piece Russian to Judgement:-
    “The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents.”

    From your blog piece The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam
    “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”
    Not at all consistent is it? You appear very anxious to absolve Russia of any involvement.

    • Radio Jammor

      I too noticed that, but you can explain that inconsistency as the presumption beforehand (right insofar as Porton Down was the identifier), which was that the nerve agent exists (and there is quickly accessible information to indicate this) and the correction afterwards, when more obscure information has come to light about Novichoks since it was first named as the nerve agent.

      You could be right, but evolving stories, and all that.

      • Shatnersrug

        I think that’s fairly clear from the two articles that the first was a generalised supposition based on experience, the second from research done after looking further into it. Craig doesn’t claim omnipotence, and seeks to establish a truth.

        However it’s becomjng clear that this is a bunch of confected nonsense cooked up to attack Corbyn now labour are way ahead in the polls. You can tell this because the usual American contingent(the Blairite right) have jumped on it, even going as far as to defend the Tories for taking donations from the Russian oligarchy.

        I don’t know who slipped this bloke a mickey or even if he just has food poisoning. But I do know the Vlad is a good tactician and if this were an attack by the Russian state then it’s a pretty poor move.

        The whole thing stinks of serendipity for the Tories used an a political weapon. In a week it’ll be forgotten about, I doubt May will really expel any diplomats, shes probably on the phone to vlad as we speak “don’t worry vlad – it’s just domestic politics your money is safe”

    • Arthur Fallowfield

      I believe it is too early to absolve Russia of any involvement, it is also too early to blame them. Evidence needed.

    • Gary

      I think you’ve missed the point. The formula itself was in the public domain, so literally ANYONE could’ve produced it. To identify it as being Russian you need some OTHER identifying feature, such as that suggested ‘an impurity’ to identify it’s manufacturing location.

      Without that you can’t tie the ‘weapon’ to the ‘killer’ All you have is a potential motive, ie revenge.

      Given the world we live in, where murders like this are all too common, we either investigate this as a crime, or simply say on day one that it was the Russians. Mrs May has stated that the police need time and space to carry out an investigation, but within a suspiciously short period seems to have ignored her own remark and all of the agreements made on Chemical Weapons to which this country is signed up to.

      So, WHY has she done this? She could comply without shifting her position. She could comply without compromising the investigation. She could comply and still take action.

      I don’t have an answer to this, nobody does. But the problem is, no one is asking her the question

      • Shatnersrug

        She’s done it because it satisfies two short term needs, 1 to appease the American Neocons, 2) a stick to beat Corbyn with. The Tories only stick against him is that he is “weak in defence” however I think the Tories and American contingent Labour are out of step with the public mood, no matter how much old gammon the bbc stick on question time

  • Roy Moore

    And an an afterthought. You have at least written about it. The Ginger Dug, W.O.S. & BellaCaledonia have gone dark.
    Says a lot, that does.

  • simon

    why would may lie to her people
    the people she loves
    you the the people she has befriended helped
    her people

    listen to me
    listen to me
    believe
    believe bbc

    not

  • Bob Apposite

    America and Britain are democracies with “democratic deficits”.
    Russia is not.
    Russia is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship.

  • Pat

    I have to agree. They need more research, more questions, more evidence.
    Then action can be taken. May should find the truth first. Still she doesn’t recognise truth. She never has. I stand with Jeremy Corbyn on this. Enough people have been killed without any proof of wrong doing by the West again. May should let go the emotion and the wish to be a Thatcher so she can hang on to power. God help us all if she does.

  • N_

    Theresa May has said the Russian government has responded with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”. What’s she going to about it? Send Boris Johnson to debag them?

    Make them drink vomit – not for fun, Bullingdon Club-style, but “without coffee”?

    The Tories are spitting with hatred now. This will intensify. They are the party of hatred. Spitting like hyenas is what happens when those who don’t know right from wrong get shown up.

    There is huge cognitive dissonance here. They are acting like filth and with dishonesty. They have given a foreign government an aggressive ultimatum in utter contempt for what are supposed to be the accepted rules of international behaviour. Now they are whingeing like Etonians that they are being “defied”. Clearly Johnny Foreigner doesn’t know his place. This is of course similar to how a large part of the “British” media have talked about other EU members, viewed as some kind of collectivity and in some cases individually, for years. Sometimes they also talk that way about the (non-Tory) Scots! Except when foreigners (or Scots) see “sense”. Then they patronise them.

    If there is evidence that Russia carried out a chemical weapons attack in Britain, which Russia denies, produce the evidence to the OPCW and give it to Russia too. If it is shown that Russia did carry out the attack, the world will condemn the Russian action. What’s the problem?

    When MI6 weren’t good enough at their job and Sergei Skripal got caught, how many other Russians working for MI6 received a nastier fate than he did, I wonder? So don’t say the Tories “can’t” produce the evidence because they care so much about protecting their sources.

    Sooner or later, Tory scum, you may be “defied” worse than in your worst dreams. Or at least that’s what I think when I’m irrationally optimistic. More likely, they’ll blow us all up.

    I wonder how a Berezovsky investigation will go? Because the posh boys really wanted to let him give evidence at the LItvinenko inquest. Right? Seriously I don’t envisage an investigation happening.

    If there is an investigation into Berezovsky (how about it, Jeremy Corbyn?), it should be into who was responsible for giving the murdering mafia boss sanctuary in Britain and British citizenship in the first place. Since the royal family won’t want that, it won’t happen.

    • N_

      When I come to think of it, this is a good line for the left: encourage Jeremy Corbyn to call for an investigation into who allowed such a level of Russian mafia presence in London – in finance, property, media, and other sectors – and why.

      In some cases this has involved giving the mafia bosses British citizenship; in others, when they don’t need citizenship, just letting them set up shop here in a big way (e.g. Abramovich, the Lebedevs).

      Call for this investigation and you could rattle the City, the royal family, and established interests in Britain like fuck. Isn’t that supposed to be what being left wing is all about?

    • Arthur Fallowfield

      Good analysis, though not as good as Nye Bevan “Tories are lower than vermin”.

  • P

    Who benefits? No one!

    So why?

    Well Putin is still being a pain in US bottoms in the ME particularly Syria

    Russia has now been “proved” to be a malignant force time and time again and the UK for one doesn’t need any more proof (not that its ever had any).

    A Diplomatic breakdown and deliberate weakening of direct communication links is what was required. Job done. QED

    So when bad Russia is found red handed to be assisting Assad in gassing more children and blowing some others up then that will be it. The US will act and the UK with its piss poor military offering will confirm we are right behind you (the pact was confirmed by the US in the UN today)

    And a war with Russia will be provoked in the ME. Then the escalation is in Putin’s hands, Does he want a World War.

    Well the answer to that is no he doesn’t but nor will he be railroaded into fighting an unwinnable war on US terms so yes Putin is likely to start lobbing nukes (the gamble is he won’t)

    Putin knows what’s what and if he shuts down his London Embassy and the UK Embassy in Moscow this week I will not be surprised. If this happens Putin will not be looking to what May for a response, that is irrelevant. The ball is then in Trumps court.

    • Shatnersrug

      It’s all quite an interesting proposition the Tories are caught in their lies. Firstly America is actively promoting and enjoying a new Cold War and expects Britain to jump on board. The Tories are bound to the Americans uk being the poodle and all that. However since the collapsed of the ussr London has helped the Russian oligarchy get rich and store their money in property. At the same time their Russian donors do not want any kind of Brexit and are incredibly nervous, but to stay in power the Tories must appear to appease their Brexit voter base who are now completely at odds with the money.

      I would say the Conservative party are done for but neith the Americans or the Russians want to see s Corbyn government so she hangs on with the approval of the mainstream media.

    • MJ

      “And the UK has asked the OPCW to investigate”

      It must first submit a sample for analysis. It has a week or so left to do so.

    • Radio Jammor

      Je, this article is itself contradicted by pre-existing information, long prior to the attempt on Skripal.

      “Since its independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has been working with the government of the United States to dismantle and decontaminate the sites where the Novichok agents and other chemical weapons were tested and developed.[16][17] Between 1999[20] and 2002 the United States Department of Defense dismantled the major research and testing site for Novichok at the Chemical Research Institute in Nukus, under a $6 million Cooperative Threat Reduction program.[21][22]” – Wiki

      Those references lead to this 1999 article from the BBC: World: Asia-Pacific – US dismantles chemical weapons .
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/415742.stm

      “A group of American defence experts have arrived in Uzbekistan to start helping the Uzbeks dismantle and decontaminate one of the former Soviet Union’s largest chemical weapons testing facilities.

      US officials say the chemical research institute in western Uzbekistan was a major research site for a new generation of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons, known as Novichok.”

      It certainly suggests that Novichok was very much believed to be real, but it also advises that there was at least one other site and that the US may therefore have got its hands on it.

    • Gary

      This is at odds with the scientist who actually worked on the agent has said. The author of the article bases his supposition entirely on a document that the Russians themselves produced and has accepted this fully without question.

      The scientist who initially helped develop it went public due to concerns over safety and legality and was put on trial for treason. The trial collapsed because everything he told the papers, in both USSR and USA, was already in the public domain APART FROM the fact that certain Russian Generals had lied to international authorities, the state and it’s citizens. After the trial he moved to the US.

      All of THAT information has been in the public domain for over 20 years and would counter the veracity of the report in The Guardian. I’ve never heard of someone be so sure that the Russians were telling the truth as the author, seems rather odd considering the publicly held information states the opposite to be true…

  • BrianFujisan

    Great Article, and research

    The U.K lies are Clear to see.. in that they refuse to give Russia, and OPCW a sample of the substance.

    The Glaring Lack of Proof that it was the Russians, is one reason why Sturgeon should stay out of it for now.

    And Here is Maria, in Top form –

    “A Massive International Provocation”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Vn7YVV9ZA&feature=share

    • james

      fearmongering at it’s finest.. i guess that’s why brain dead haley is the usa’s un ambassador…

  • giyane

    I assume Mrs May’s declaration of war against Russia today was scripted by wet-behind-the-ears-defence secretary, Gavin Williamson. It was immature and irrelevant. The new generation of Tory MPs who were latch-key kids in JAM families, weaned on TV soaps and Xbox, occupy a fantasy land of politics where you can articulate war, and go back to the start again when you lose the game. Should one feel pity for the haggard lines on the face of his multi-tasking single-parent pseudo-mum? She looked like she’d crawled out of a tent outside parliament. Will someone get her a sandwich please before she next comes on?

    • Arthur Fallowfield

      “War is a Racket”, Smedley Darlington Butler, two times medal of honor winner. Still what does he know compared with the “wet behind the ears” twerp Gavin. There will always be twerps wanting their country to go to war, but you can be sure they won’t be doing the fighting.

  • N_

    People who think Russia did it for internal reasons connected with Sunday’s election should look not only at pro-Putin electoral propaganda, but also at the front pages of the Sun and the Daily Mail this morning, which are calling Jeremy Corbyn a Kremlin stooge.

    It is a fact and not an opinion that the British government, not the Russian government, is faced with a sizeable opposition and is trying to make capital internally against it using the Skripal case.

    Repeat: that is a fact, not an opinion.

    D’you know what? I don’t think the Tory line will work. That’s all they’ve got when they’re in trouble: “Get back to Russia” or “You’re an IRA supporter”.

    If Russia did it, it was for another reason. Also people should examine how they jump to conclusions. They’ve heard about the Skripal case, and they’ve heard about the election, and they think the Russian election is like British ones, and they conclude that Russia must have done Salisbury so that Putin can win the election. Get more clue.

  • N_

    An hour and a half ago I riffed on how Theresa May has accused the Russian government of “defiance”.. I wrote, “The Tories are spitting with hatred now. This will intensify (…) Now they are whingeing like Etonians that they are being ‘defied’. Clearly Johnny Foreigner doesn’t know his place.

    Here’s a piece in today’s Times:

    France defies May over Russia

    They talk about the “Kremlin-connected” and “Putin-friendly” Russian press. This article in the Times, a newspaper that proudly carries a royalist symbol on its masthead, reads as though it could have been written at 10 Downing Street. Its opening paragraph:

    France undermined Theresa May’s attempts to build a consensus for punitive action against Russia last night by accusing her of punishing the regime prematurely.

    They didn’t “undermine” it, you stupid Tory c***s. France is a sovereign country like Britain and they have the same right to take a view on international matters. They’re not bound to follow English posh boys’ orders. Get it?

    • N_

      There could come a point when if the posh boys think they’re getting “defied” all over the place, they will hit at their traditional and most hated hate target – the “general public” in Britain – with an unclaimed or false flag event.

      “Salt of the earth”, they will say, and “We love the ordinary people of Britain”, as the clean-up workers mop the blood up.

      Realise just how precarious things are.

      Imagine if there’s, say, a “Moscow theatre” event (where incidentally the Russian security services killed a large number of hostages using a chemical weapon) in the West End of London.

    • Gary

      AND, of course, they won’t be responding AT ALL, not on their own anyway. There will have to be a vote of the EU countries for a joint response and/or decision on sanctions etc.

      Strange, as we are about to leave the EU we will be looking to them to ‘support us’ in any international measures being taken.

    • Derek Robinson

      Are the brits that thick asks James.
      Well yes they are and they have form.
      The Falklands, Syria, Libya, Brexit, Strong & Stable you name it, they fall for it.
      Wilson lost an election over a total lie.

  • Immigration Lawyer

    Craig,

    Most interesting article. It’s entirely possible of course that the UK is making up that it has a sample / can identify it. It is equally possible that the UK has obtained a sample or precursor details, and can identify it through the efforts of SIS, but to disclose their ability would lead to a risk of disclosure of the identifying traits.

    Whilst I accept therefore that there are questions, it should be noted that in the same week, an individual linked to a case I have worked on which related to an asylum claim from Russia, also dropped dead in London.

    That particular person may well have just died, and since obtaining resolution on the case a number of years ago, I no longer represent the client who was linked to the individual.

    However, questions really ought be asked when I can take a statement from someone claiming asylum in the UK, and they tell me they don’t think they are in danger themselves, and then, when questioned further, identify that they have had at least 5 of their friends or relations or linked business partners die in questionable circumstances, along with a number who suffered from unexplained “psychotic” episodes, which were found to be linked to drugs which the individuals had not knowingly taken.

    All that said, I must get back to bed… as I have spent the past 48 hours with a case of food poisoning (after meeting someone politically linked who was seeking asylum or citizenship in a european state (and I’m quite positive it was a dodgy prawn) ).

    • Gary

      Yes, look what they did to Shayler. Made him a laughing stock and effectively prevented anyone from taking him seriously ever again. Crueller perhaps than an assassination…

  • simon

    defiance every where anti semites everywhere non believers trash talkers putin agents calling in radio shows saying are primeminister is liar.
    this is outrage a strong woman from sonning the home of mossad agent and spoon bender uri geller.
    soning is england to the core teresa pure anglo saxon nothing foreign or odd behind those dark seep soil sorry sole soul eyes.
    salt of the earth know fork tongues here.
    defiance from evil doers who are not with the programme you are with us or you are with the new moscowitch new hitler.
    how strange after every thing boris and teresa tory blair and dim sim cameron have done for you scum.
    given you 15 million more friends from all over the world to play with.
    and yet the radio man tonight says in disbelief what is wrong with you people believing a russian over are most honest rt hon may.

    how dare these agents call lovely may a frankfurt school change agent just another odd looking barbera lerner spector.
    radiant may only has the british interest at heart believe that
    we must support her by joining the army for the coming fight i along with many westminster perverter would join you all but we have important work to do here keeping the home fire psy op’s burning already.

    we need the defiance directed at the big bully in moscow not at the tory and the labour friends of tory liar blair

    • Dave Lawton

      simon
      March 15, 2018 at 02:00 Using a AI computer generated program are we.Because it looks like it to me as I use create them years ago.

    • james

      simon / mr. hasbara artist – is this where you regularly hang out? it seems they have your number here as well!!

    • Gary

      The kind of comment that makes the rest of the comments look bad simply by being on the same page. Hopefully you’re just drunk ‘Simon’

    • cimarrón

      Nice one, simon, I enjoyed that.

      (Agreed, Shatnersrug (March 15, 2018 at 00:44) – and three more humour bypasses here.)

  • Freddy

    It cannot be, no, no and no, people from Porton Down would never do anything inhumane like those nasty ruskys, something like testing nerve agents or spraying nerve agents, or develop nerve agents designed to kill people. And especially testing that crap on their own compatriots, oh no, only commies could do that, yeah

    But wait, what’s this ?

    “The declassified MRE Porton Down film – The Lyme Bay Trials – records a significant piece of UK/US/CAN Cold War Biological Warfare (BW) experimentation. During the years 1963-1975, UK military scientists from the Microbiological Research Establishment conducted at least 113 large-scale germ warfare ‘attacks’ on the southern coast of England. These ‘attacks’ used huge amounts of live bacteria (known as BW simulants because they were judged to be harmless, rather than real ‘hot’ BW agents which obviously could not be used in a populated area).”

    Omg, must be Putin’s propaganda
    Or is it ?

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread956744/pg1

    • BrianFujisan

      Freddy

      Interesting find… One would think that Scientist Carrying out those sort of Antics, would be Far more aware of what could go wrong, crazy stuff / experiment

      • Freddy

        Want more juicy stuff regarding that “flu research facility” over in Porton Down and pacifist snowflakes working there?
        Here ya go:

        “During the Cold War, military scientists from the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment (CDEE), and the Microbiological Research Establishment (MRE), Porton Down used large parts of the UK as a giant outdoor laboratory.

        Which is surprising, as even back in 1963, Porton scientists were aware that cadmium compounds are very hazardous substances. They were even warned in 1955 to store ZnCds powder as a potentially toxic material.
        During 2005, it became apparent that residents of Norwich were experiencing a higher than normal level of incidence of oesophageal cancer. Residents, and Health officials, are questioning the link between the Cold War spraying of Norwich with massive amounts of potentially carcinogenic material, and the rise of oesophageal cancer in the area.

        To this end, one Norwich resident, who is a recent survivor of oesophageal cancer, has petitioned the Prime Minister for a full Public Inquiry, which would investigate the 1963-64 spraying of Norfolk/Norwich, and the possible link with the higher incidence of a particular type of cancer in the area.

        • Spencer Eagle

          It wasn’t just Norfolk, the population of Dorset and the surrounding areas were frequently used for biological and radiological testing during the 60’s and 70’s.

          The Dorset Biological Warfare Experiments 1963-75
          On 14th November 1963, the Experimental Trials Vessel ICEWHALE slipped from Portland Naval Base and sailed around Portland Bill to Lyme Bay. At 13:19 Porton scientists started the spraying apparatus and for the next 33 minutes the ETV ICEWHALE sailed in a straight line across Lyme Bay, disseminating a massive aerosol cloud of live bacteria from its stern. During this first trial ,the ETV ICEWHALE sprayed 108 litres of bacterial suspension. By the end of the first trials season (October 1963- April 1964), the amount of bacterial suspension used in each trial had risen to 488 litres.

          The spray suspension consisted of two types of bacteria. The first, Bacillus subtilis (also known as Bacillus globigii or BG), had been often used by Porton Down either as a simulant for anthrax or as a tracer organism. It was sprayed in its spore form in order to ensure survivability.

          In December 1997, John Chisholm, Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA, a part of the Ministry of Defence) admitted that “BG may cause disease in immunocompromised people.”.

          The strain of BG used in these experiments was obtained from the US Army Biological Warfare Laboratory at Fort Detrick. In May 1998, Dr John Reid, then Minister of State for the Armed Forces admitted that staff at Porton Down had been unable to find evidence of routine toxicity testing of the imported BG prior to its use in these experiments.

          The second type of bacteria that was used was E.coli MRE162. This organism was isolated from a toilet at Porton Down during 1949, and given the MRE culture number 162.

          Both types of bacteria were sprayed in live form and were designed to be the same size as real Biological Warfare (BW) agents- between 1- 5 microns. This size is used in BW to ensure that the bacteria bypass the body’s natural defences and reach the deepest parts of the lungs, the alveoli, where they can more easily cause infection.

      • Freddy

        Here’s the cherry on the cake

        “…
        Trials at Porton suggested that it was indeed a terrible new weapon. Uncontrollable vomiting, coughing up blood and instant, crippling fatigue were the most common reactions. The overall head of chemical warfare production, Sir Keith Price, was convinced its use would lead to the rapid collapse of the Bolshevik regime. “If you got home only once with the gas you would find no more Bolshies this side of Vologda.”The cabinet was hostile to the use of such weapons, much to Churchill’s irritation. He also wanted to use M Devices against the rebellious tribes of northern India. “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes,” he declared in one secret memorandum. He criticised his colleagues for their “squeamishness”, declaring that “the objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable. Gas is a more merciful weapon than [the] high explosive shell, and compels an enemy to accept a decision with less loss of life than any other agency of war.”

        He ended his memo on a note of ill-placed black humour: “Why is it not fair for a British artilleryman to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze?” he asked. “It is really too silly.”

        A staggering 50,000 M Devices were shipped to Russia: British aerial attacks using them began on 27 August 1919, targeting the village of Emtsa, 120 miles south of Archangel. Bolshevik soldiers were seen fleeing in panic as the green chemical gas drifted towards them. Those caught in the cloud vomited blood, then collapsed unconscious.

        The attacks continued throughout September on many Bolshevik-held villages: Chunova, Vikhtova, Pocha, Chorga, Tavoigor and Zapolki. But the weapons proved less effective than Churchill had hoped, partly because of the damp autumn weather. “

  • Gary

    So, Mirzayanov has been in the USA for over 20 years? The alleged formulae have been public domain for nearly as long too. Can Putin use this incident to his advantage in the elections? Is he doing so? How widely is this being reported among the voting public in Russia?

    The only sure thing in any of this is that it puts a wedge in international relations between Russia and the West. Neither side is averse to murdering dissidents, journalists and inconvenient people and often in bizarre and obvious ways that are then recorded as suicide or open verdicts by coroners who are themselves later discredited, eg ‘Spy in the Bag’ case, David Kelly, GCHQ employees etc. In fact many senior American politicians have openly called for Edward Snowden to be assassinated in Russia! And of course Julian Assange is still at risk from deportation under abuse of our own justice system. Both have been vindicated in that al of the released information WAS correct and showed the US to be breaching international law, Geneva Convention, their own laws too.

    The thing is, Putting wouldn’t shy away from doing any of these things either and we all know it. But sadly it’s probably MORE beneficial for someone else to have done this. I don’t think it especially HELPS Putin’s election chances or damages them. I think Putin would’ve waited til it was over or at least have got it out of the way before the election campaign. The ‘revenge’ option is more likely but still weak, again, timing. It calls more attention than you would want, as does the method, of course. The outlandish method, the brazenness and timing all suggest that the motive was to damage relations and build a case for action against them. Given events of recent years with insurrection and revolution being stoked in Ukraine and the Arab Spring it would point to someone working for CIA rather than anyone else. Their agenda is the only one that would benefit here.

    But who knows. I spent some time in the Civil Service in the UK so I’m well aware that just because something is incredibly stupid and perhaps the worst thing you could possibly do, doesn’t mean a politician won’t do it to garner an extra couple of votes either at election time or even to distract from domestic problems…

    • Radio Jammor

      Gary, Putin was President when Skripal was caught and imprisoned. Skripal was subsequently swapped (and pardoned) by Medvedev, who is, shall we say ‘pally’ with Putin. Skripal lived in the UK under his own name, in a house bought under his own name (without a mortgage), for eight years, and then is suddenly found having been poisoned by a nerve agent that all too many are trying to say definitely came from Russia, when it’s very evident that this ain’t necessarily so.

      I ask you: with all the furore over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, with Trump and also with the Brexit referendum, an election and the World Cup in Russia, why would Putin decide that now is a good time to knock-off an old Russian traitor, when he could have done it with ease and with little more than a footnote in history, years ago, when Skripal was in a Russian prison, and he was President?

  • SA

    This is part of an orchestrated campaign. Part of this campaign has been a series of BBC programmes directed against Putin. Even fiction and drama have been recruited. The McMafia series from the BBC kicked it all off and its central tenet was how Russia , in particular the Russian state, is one of the main centres of organised crime with ramifications around the globe. Two other very badly produced programmes were last week ‘Putin, the new Tsar’ and yesterday’s very superficial Panorama on the Russian elections, a plug for Navalny with no other discussions.
    Things also seem to have heated up and the focus shifted from East Ghouta and Iran to Moscow as the main target, and this happened after Putin’s 1st March speech. I would not be surprised if the next step will be a provocation or several from various axes to test Russia. I am afraid dark clouds are gathering.

    • SA

      The BBC series Mc Mafia is loosely based on Misha Glenny’s book of the same name. The book is based on fact and on the ground good journalism. It highlights how the lawlessness that followed the breakdown of first Yougoslavia and then the Soviet Union deliberately orchestrated and assisted by The West caused a major rise to criminality and large theft of wealth in Russia. Of course the bulk of this book is based on the 1990 in the Yeltsin years one of the darlings of the west, who brought Russia to its knees. The rise of Putin has since then reigned in much of the criminality which which was strongly state connected. The sheltering in London if some of the big oligarchs associated with this period, their whitewashing and money laundering in London is an astonishing result of this. There is no doubt that major Russian money in London has greatly influenced the anti-Putin feelings in the U.K. government.

  • SA

    It is interesting that when UKG quotes Russia’s sins the list is rather limited. Examples of Russian aggression on the World stage include Georgia 2008. Ukraine 2014 and Syria 2015. Despite the fact that the first two were provocations as is well documented, and the third is the legitimate answer to a call by an ally to combat terrorism sponsored by non-Syrians, these actions are repeated unanimously by the establishment as examples of aggression.
    Since 2001 the list on the other side is too long and familiar to repeat.
    It is a lesson in how this period will all be documented in history for if the lies that have been repeated become part of history, I am not sure that much of what has been taught as history is correct.

  • Trevor Hill

    Mirzayanov is actually a Volga Tatar, not an Uzbek.
    Considering his age and that he was born in Russia it is not unlikely for him to have worked in Russia.

  • Andrew (Andy) Crow

    It would seem the only definitive characteristic of Novichoks is a fishy aroma, which lingers.

  • David Penn

    Very interesting. Until the U.K. provides samples of what it has “found” for independent analysis I will treat everything the government says with extreme caution. Meanwhile it’s a very useful distraction from the Breximess.

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