Breaking News: Porton Down to Make Public Statement 422


The government is putting up the Chief Scientist at Porton Down to give a press interview on Sky News this afternoon on the Skripal affair.

If the government were not confident he would implicate the Russian state, they would not be doing this. But nevertheless I would be surprised if the Chief Scientist were to lie outright*, and we need to study his language very carefully. Much of course will depend on the questioning, and undoubtedly Sky News (a Fox affiliate) has been selected as unlikely to be be forensic or difficult. I have however passed to the producers, who contacted me for potential comment, the three questions I would ask given the chance:

Are you saying definitely this can ONLY be made in Russia?

How long from contact would this agent take effect?

If it is an extreme military grade nerve agent (according to Boris Johnson “novichocks” are “ten times more powerful”) then why was it thankfully comparatively ineffective?

We shall see if Sky are anything like this challenging. My fear is they will rather feed him questions like “How do you react to claims it was Porton Down that produced this nerve agent” in order to allow him to appear pained and wronged.

I shall post again after the interview. Thank you to the many people who expressed concern for my welfare at my recent sudden silence, following the rather nasty personal attacks I was encountering – I traveled last week to a family funeral at my childhood home, and was just reflecting for a few days.

*On the other hand another Porton Down scientist, Dr David Kelly, told the truth to a journalist in a broadly comparable situation and met an extremely suspicious death as a result.


422 thoughts on “Breaking News: Porton Down to Make Public Statement

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  • Steve

    The question is do we have it instock?
    Next how come we got the antidote and knew exactly that was the right one?
    Why wasn’t the laboratories made this press release at the very onset of this saga?

    • Ian

      The common nerve agent antidote is atropine, as carried in an autoinjector by soldiers in time of concern of nerve agent attack. But it needs to be given quickly after exposure.

      • SA

        Antidotes are of two sorts, generic or specific. Atropine acts as a generic agent to block the effects of the nerve gas which is to neutralise acetylcholinesterase which breaks down acetylcholine (ACH), a neurotransmitter. If there is a continuous production of ACH there is uncontrolled production of secretions and the other effects that overwhelm the system Atropine stops these effects. However there can also be specific antidotes that will prevent further actions of the nerve agent thereby rendering it ineffective.

        • Radar O'Reilly

          Some early reports on the Salisbury incident suggested a possible recreational Ketamine overdose; A possible paramedic treatment[1] of Ketamine induced tremors, muscle spasticity, convulsive seizures , spontaneous movements, [hyper]salivation, and increased body temperature is atropine, which co-incidentally is a potential NBC/CBRN antidote.

          [1] https://www.ambulance.qld.gov.au/docs/clinical/dtprotocols/DTP_Atropine.pdf

          but who knows if they were ‘accidentally’ ‘saved’ , the powerful and partial state broadcaster[2] Sky will surely inform us

          [2] going on recent Corbyn-hysteria

          • James Charles

            No one was affected by a ‘nerve agent poison’?
            ‘ . . .   he began his letter to the Times . . . with;“may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury” ‘
            “ The Times published a letter from Stephen Davies (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust) on the 16th March. ‘Sir, further to your report (‘Poison Exposure Leaves Nearly 40 needing Treatment’), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.’ ”

    • Bill Rollinson

      These are some of the questions Russia have asked!
      They also want to know why UK wont allow Russian Consulate access to Skripals.
      Why was the ‘Policeman’ in full dress, when he was released from hospital, considering he was on ‘sick leave’?
      Why has the media not explained that this ‘novichok’, is a ‘binary’ agent that can be safely transported as two separate chemicals, that react when mixed?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Dr. Kelly’s body was moved from along side the Thames where he was subdued and smothered to death, and moved to Harrowdown Hill about a mile away by TVP helicopter to get him as far away as possible from his assassins.

          And the Hutton Inquiry was the biggest crock of crap since the Warren Commission.

      • Mary Paul

        No one saw the policeman when he left hospital or while he was in it, those were all old photos

      • Doug Scorgie

        Why was the policeman in full dress?

        That would be strange as he is a detective and would be in civilian clothes.

      • David Robertson

        I listened to a Russian chemist making the same point. He also said that this “novichok” or “newcomer” system was not designed for individual application but to be dropped from an aircraft in a specially constructed container and dispersed over a large area when the two chemicals had been brought together.

        Other evidence suggests to me that there was no such nerve agent released in this attack and that it was specifically chosen as the alleged means of attempted murder by the agency that carried it out. This was because it was developed by the USSR (in Uzbekistan) and was not listed by the OPCW as a prohibited chemical weapon. This then rendered Russian protestations null and void, that they had destroyed al their chemical weapons, ratified at the end of 2017 by the OPCW.

        In other words this was a premeditated scenario created by either the CIA or possibly Mossad. The Five Eyes or CAZAB, plus Israel, work closely together on operations. It is most likely that one of these services other than MI6 carried out the attack since they do not usually act on their own soil.

  • Bill Rollinson

    I was under the impression Porton Down had already commented, they complained that they were ‘accused’ of something they didn’t do, so Government gave them a £46m new build!
    Yes, Dr Kelly, still no inquiry, no autopsy, no answers to why his body was moved. No answers to question, why did they strip his dining room walls, when searching for him?
    And now they have moved his body again and refused to tell where it’s been buried?

    I think May will be forced to apologise and Labour will win the ensuing election, this is why Corbyn is being attacked. The last person they want, is a Labour leader who will destroy their agenda and take their money creating away!

    • MightyDrunken

      An autopsy was carried out on Dr Kelly, they even released it.

      http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/corporate-reports/moj/2010/dr-kelly-post-mortem-and-toxicology-reports

      Though there was no inquest and the inquiry had no “oath”. The Dr who did the postmortem, Dr Nicholas Hunt has a little history. He botched another autopsy of a RAF crew member who died in Afghanistan.
      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/forensic-scientist-who-investigated-death-241932

      “Dr Nicholas Hunt is said to have made 14 mistakes – including wrongly recording the serviceman’s height, weight, hair and eye colour. He also noted that the body had three tattoos when there were none – and dated the postmortem two weeks BEFORE the death.”

      Facepalm!

      He also examined the body of Dr Matthew Puncher, the radiation scientist who tracked the polonium trail of Alexander Litvinenko. Funny how things turn out isn’t it?

      “When police entered the red brick house in Oxfordshire, they found the body of a stocky, bushy-haired scientist sprawled across the kitchen floor. Blood from severe wounds in his neck, arms, and stomach pooled around him. A large kitchen knife lay in his lifeless hand, and a second smaller blade was in the kitchen sink.

      The murder detective who attended the scene would tell his inquest that she was shocked to witness injuries that were “so extensive”. ”

      https://www.buzzfeed.com/janebradley/scientist-who-helped-connect-litvinenkos-murder-to-the?utm_term=.dgBOLMDNle#.saXkXrNo70

      Of course a body stabbed multiple times with two separate knives was ruled a suicide! The reason why he killed himself was because he was obsessing over a minor mistake in some recent work, makes sense?
      I only discovered about Dr Matthew Puncher because of the Skripals and wanted to know more about Litvinenko.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Pyotr Grozny April 3, 2018 at 15:50
        Make you right, but he is still our best hope.

  • SA

    Isn’t it strange that this ‘official announcement’ will be made through media you can only access by subscribing rather than the state funded BBC?

    • Merkin Scot

      *Having waited with bated breath
      .
      BoJo must resign as his position is untenable.
      If not, May must sack him or her position is untenable.
      .
      (Won’t happen, of course)

  • Carol Angharad

    Thanks for all your blogs Craig, at this time of constant media propaganda on behalf of the establishment your’s is a voice we need.

  • Pete Middleton

    Good to have you back Craig. Would love to hear your input about the faux anti semitism storm currently engulfing JC and co .

  • Kevin Mullins

    Hi Craig
    glad to hear your taking time to reflect. Your contributions have helped others working on this to raise the valid questions.and give a greater understanding.
    Thanks
    Kevin

    • Mochyn69

      Equally interesting was former UK Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton’s comments on the same “‘Last War in History of Mankind” segment in BBC Radio 4 Today programme today, starting at 1:31 mins in, when he told the not very widely known story that after the Litvinenko affair the Russians launched another attack on Berezovsky, they sent another man over to kill him but they found out about it and sent him back and when he raised the case with the Russian Foreign Ministry they appeared to genuinely have no idea what he was talking about, from 1:37 on.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xcsdb

      Nick Robinson’s response in winding up the interview was also very telling

      Curiouser and curiouser by the minute. Let’s see what the afternoon brings!

      .

  • P.E. Ace

    If you check the Russia-bashing in The Times, like Sky owned by Murdoch, indeed it is “unlikely to be forensic or difficult”.

    Some questions unlikely to be asked are:

    – Novichok is supposed to work imminently and fatally. How can the Skripal’s have moved around for a few hours after contamination (in case it was on Skripal’s front door) or perhaps half a day (in case it was the cereal for the porridge (story not put out as an Arpil Fool’s day hoax)? Time lapse mystery also applies to other theories such as novichok carried by Yulia Skripal in her suitcase or administered via car vents.

    – If Porton Down now is certain that it is novichok, why wasn’t the Porton Down scientist who testified in the court of protection sure at that time it was novichok. Remember, the judgement left an opening that it may be another substance.

    – Has Porton Down established where the novichok or its ingredient were produced via so-called markers?

    – What has been the role of French experts in the determination of the substance? Russia alleges France was involved and asked both France and the UK about that.

    – In case cereal/porridge is the culprit, was the complete bag of cereal eaten or have Porton Down tested the remaining cereal for the nerve-agent? Wasn’t the highest concentration of novichok was found on the front door?

    – Another cereal-related question: A property of novichok seems to be that it is unstable. That instability seems to make it near-impossible to get novichok to the UK in Yulia’s suitcase, as one of the earlier stories alleged. That instability would also make it challenging to get the novichok to UK in a pack of cereal which was then used for porridge.

    – Why was the front door allowed to stay on the house while the park bench was removed? Only because unmasked police were guarding the door? Perhaps not one for Porton Down to answer.

    • CanSpeccy

      Perhaps the precursors of a binary nerve agent were encapsulated in a slow-release (i.e., digestible) form and added o the cereal. That would account for the slow onset of poisoning.

      • CanSpeccy

        If the nerve agent were produced intestinally, that would explain the attending doctor’s freedom from intoxication: there would have been no gross external contamination of the victims clothes etc, other than from the vomit. But as the entire internal dose was sub-lethal, the dose received through contact with the victims would have been slight to insignificant. The only mysteries remaining would then be how the Detective Inspector was poisoned, and how contamination was found on the door knob. Seems unlikely that the Inspector eat what was left of the porridge while investigating at Skripal’s house.

  • John Wilton

    Interesting that they are doing this a day before the OPCW meeting tomorrow at which Russia will expect access to evidence be entitled to answers. Pre-emptive strike?

    • DiggerUK

      The way that the Porton Down Scientist answers questions,could give some indication of the lie of the land with the OPCW inquiry.
      If the interview smells like a spoiler before the OPCW reports, I think it will give us an insight of their report in advance…_

  • Charlie

    Given that people are successfully and above all quietly assassinated by all kinds of state actors (and other entities) all the time and given that those who are targeted like Litvinenko die a horrific death very publicly, I’m still trying to figure out the point of this particular attack. Yes, Putin made it clear a while ago that in his view there is no forgiveness for those who betray their country. But if the goal was to punish a traitor and to deter others from following in his footsteps, it hasn’t really worked, has it? Especially if as reported the daughter is thankfully now recovering and talking already. So what was the point? Was it to intensify the new Cold War? Then it’s been a roaring success. There’ll be few who disagree with NATO’s Eastern expansion plans now for instance, since Russia is so very dangerous and ruthless etc etc. But there’s no upside for Russia in that scenario, is there?

    • James Howard

      It was meant to be on the same day as false flag attacks in Syria, so Nikki Haley could have a go at Russia and try to remove them from the UN security council so they could pass a resolution for regime change in Syria. Assad and Russia figured out that the attack was planned without knowledge of the pentagon, so they called Trump via Pompeo, leading to the 2:30am sacking of Rex Tillerson. Hence the delay to condemn Russia from the USA because they know they weren’t behind the Skipal poisoning.

      They’re going to probably stage an undersea cable being cut by Russia and other acts so that they can justify action in the middle east. North Korea is another place where false flags will occur, like many wars, terror attacks galvanize the people.

      • Charlie

        That’s interesting. Wasn’t aware of any of that but it sounds no more imaginative than Putin having an obsolete spy assassinated in such an incompetent fashion. And having had a chat with someone in the intelligence community, it really is highly unlikely to have been a planned action by the Russian state. While there’s a lot they definitely can’t say in public (for various reasons) what they can say in private massively disagrees with the UK government’s narrative. I really wish they could come out and say what they know, but that’s not exactly a healthy strategy…

      • Agent Green

        China would veto any resolution, so removing Russia would achieve very little.

  • Mary Stewart

    If it was great news for Tories May would be up there crowing. With Porton Down holdings the deck of cards I hope for their same we get the whole truth warts and all. My prediction if it was someone in Russia it will not be linked to Putin. If it’s here it’s either a rouge assassin or our own secret service. !

    • Mary Paul

      I predicted the same thing quite early on, regarding Russia, and got fairly well dissed here as a result.

  • Ross

    Can’t wait to heat the bullshit pre-selected meeja douchebag questions. This is going to be a choreographed event worthy of the DPRK

  • Ben

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/04/03/the-mueller-filing/

    Nevertheless, midway through the legal description, the filing lays out what I have — Manafort’s Ukrainian entanglements are part of this investigation because 1) he was a key player in the campaign and 2) had long ties to Russian backed politicians and (this is a bit trickier) Russians like Oleg Deripaska.

    The Appointment Order itself readily encompasses Manafort’s charged conduct. First, his conduct falls within the scope of paragraph (b)(i) of the Appointment Order, which authorizes investigation of “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” The basis for coverage of Manafort’s crimes under that authority is readily apparent. Manafort joined the Trump campaign as convention manager in March 2016 and served as campaign chairman from May 2016 until his resignation in August 2016, after reports surfaced of his financial activities in Ukraine. He thus constituted an “individual associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” Appointment Order ¶ (b) and (b)(i). He was, in addition, an individual with long ties to a Russia-backed Ukrainian politician. See Indictment, Doc. 202, ¶¶ 1-6, 9 (noting that between 2006 and 2015, Manafort acted as an unregistered agent of Ukraine, its former President, Victor Yanukovych—who fled to Russia after popular protests—and Yanukovych’s political party). Open-source reporting also has described business arrangements between Manafort and “a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.”

  • Mary Paul

    Kim Jun Uns half brother was given the antidoes very quickly but was still dead within half an hour of being attacked with a binary nerve agent

  • Crispa

    Interesting that the interview with Porton Down coincides with the meeting by Russia with the OPCW, today! I doubt if we will be any the wiser from either.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Would be nice to know who the chief scientist is.

    All i can find is he might be in that photo of Harriet Baldwin, procurement minister at the MoD, who shown around Porton Down when She took over. He is certainly not Jonathan Lyle, its chief executive, appArently in the picture. Who are the other two as she is in it, but there is no cutline about who the other two might be?

    And Dr. Kelly would not have been murdered if he had been the chief scientist rather than an independently minded expert on chemical and biological weapons who was doing a book on it.

  • David Robertson

    1. A letter to the Times on March 15, 2018 in response to an article published on March 14, 2018, refuting the facts in the article:

    “Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
    Stephen Davies
    Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust”

    2. Retired French GIGN officer Paul Barill says he not only knows how Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated, but his handler exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky was killed to keep him quiet.

    The operation’s name is Beluga, and its purpose is to blame Russia.

    Since Russia is harming the western plan in Syria and in many other cases, the western secret services try to discredit Russia by blaming it for crimes that are false flag assassinations. False flag assassinations made by the western secret services and blamed on Russia.

    Don’t be deceived by the mass media and by the western propaganda, behind almost every big case, there is a lie, a huge lie, which is 100% opposed to the reality.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZqmCdqGkv0

    It is very likely that the FSB are aware of this and this is probably why Sergei Lavrov has suggested that possibly MI6 and/or the CIA may be implicated in the Skripal affair.

  • Craig Evans

    It is very interesting that there have been no photographs of the Skripals nor the detective published of them in hospital? Given the competitive nature of the media, I would have thought some publication or other would have been desperate to have this type of scoop?

  • James

    Glad to see you back.

    The OPCW are having an emergency meeting called by Russia this week.

    Why isn’t this scientist involved in that meeting?

  • mike

    Unfortunately, I fear Craig is correct: the wheels have come off the official narrative, and something “definitive” is required to put them back on. Unless of course Sky News have a real scoop that will blow the roof off the circus. Hope springs.

  • BarrieJ

    I’m sorry that I don’t share Mr Murray’s confidence in Porton Down or its Chief Scientist; the last forty years has seen every office and function of state corrupted and I doubt there are any exceptions.
    The Chief Scientist will dance to whatever tune the piper plays, although I will admit his interpretation may well be subtle.

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