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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  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    PM May does not want a world war over the Salisbury poisoning incident, she just wants an appropriate response to Moscow. Like Putin handing over the regime to Alex Younger’s MI6, like his apparent father wanted when he was direecting NATO’s Anchor Express Exercise across Norway to the USSR’s Kola Peninsula where the bases for its secondary underwater nuclear forces were to be caught off guard.

    The Anglo-Americans have never given up on their Cold Was with Russia.

    • DiggerUK

      Nothing leaves our four walls.
      We provide scientific analysis.
      It is for others to add to what we have and give an opinion. (i.e., to say it was the government that claimed it was Russian, not us)
      It’s all being left to the Sky hacks to save governments backside now.

      Roll on OPCW report…_
      ,

    • Ultraviolet

      Whether it “avoids embarassment” depends on how easily embarrassed our Government ministers are.

      ‘We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions’

      Except that is not what the Government said. They said only Russia can make this; and that fact – and that alone – is how they “knew” it was Russian. Plus there was a lot of commentary about how imperfections and impurities in the sample could enable scientists to pinpoint where it came from. Scientists, not other sources of information.

      Porton Down has all but directly called our Government a bunch of liars.

      Interesting, too, that on the BBC news page, this is a small headline on the right hand side, not the big breaking news story. On the Indepenent, it seems to have been buried below several older stories. The Guardian, to give them their due, have this as the lead story and run with the fact that Porton Down were unable to verify the precise source. But how long it stays there and where they go next with the story will be the real telling issue.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Dstl Board
    . Sir David Pepper is the chairman,
    — Gerard Connell
    — Sir David Grant CBE
    — Professor Dame Wendy Hall
    — ​Mark Preston
    — Jeremy Monroe

    The Sky News report. The interviewee was Gary Aitkenhead, the CEO.

    Porton Down experts unable to identify ‘precise source’ of novichok that poisoned spy
    16:02, UK, Tuesday 03 April 2018
    Mr Aitkenhead would not comment on whether Porton Down keeps novichok (Photo)
    By Paul Kelso, Health Correspondent

    Scientists from Porton Down have not been able to establish where the novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was made.
    Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, told Sky News they had not been able to prove it was made in Russia.
    He said: “We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.
    “We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to.”
    He said establishing its origin required “other inputs”, some of them intelligence-based, that the Government has access too.(sic)
    Mr Aitkenhead added: “It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured.”
    However, he confirmed the substance required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor”.
    He said there is no known antidote to novichok, and that none was administered to either of the Skripals.
    Porton Down’s boss would not comment on whether the lab had developed or keeps stocks of novichok, but dismissed suggestions the agent used to poison the Skripals came from Porton Down.
    “There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility,” said Mr Aitkenhead.
    It comes as the chemical weapons watchdog said it would hold a special meeting on Wednesday into the UK government’s claim that Russia was behind the attack.
    The OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) said its executive council would meet in the morning in The Hague, on Russia’s request.
    In a letter, Russia’s ambassador to the OPCW, Alexander Shulgin, asked for the meeting to discuss Britain’s allegations “in a confidential sitting”.
    https://news.sky.com/story/porton-down-experts-unable-to-identify-precise-source-of-novichok-that-poisoned-spy-11315387

    Shake on Theresa and Boris and the rest of the bunch.

    http://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-science-and-technology-laboratory/about/membership

    • Republicofscotland

      Thank you Sharp Ears for the rundown.

      So he wouldn’t comment on whether Porton Down has that type of nerve agent, which probably means they have it.

      Then he says there’s no way it could’ve come from Porton Down, a contradiction in itself.

      Finally and probably the most important admission, is that they cannot prove where the agent came from. Still the damage is done and the propaganda condeming Russia and influencing allies, that it was Russia has bore fruit.

      • Republicofscotland

        Meanwhile according to RT, you can’t identify a Novichok agent, unless you first possess it yourself. The implication being that for London to identify it almost immediately they must have their own Novichok stocks, and where else would they keep it other than Porton Down.

  • Ross

    Well, well, well.

    So after that statement from Port’ n Lemon I’m assuming Boris and May will be resigning for wilfully misleading the public?

    • fred

      The truth is that Porton Down have not even positively identified this as a “Novichok”, as opposed to “a closely related agent”.

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/boris-johnson-a-categorical-liar/#tc-comment-title

      “We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.

      https://news.sky.com/story/porton-down-experts-unable-to-identify-precise-source-of-novichok-that-poisoned-spy-11315387

      Have they redefined the meaning of the word “right”?

      • Republicofscotland

        “We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.”

        Which probably means that Porton Down has its own stocks of Novichoks. Yet the scientist claimed that it couldn’t have come from Porton Down.

        • Resident Dissident

          Only if you swallow the RT line hook line and sinker I’m afraid.

          • D_Majestic

            Clearly you can’t identify a story containing more holes than my old granny’s colander, packed to the brim with Swiss Cheese.

          • Resident Dissident

            I can identify a Lada or even a Volga it doesn’t mean that I have one or have made my own. The chemical formula and structure of Novichoks are in the public domain. I wonder if you can spot holes in any of the 20+ theories being pushed by the Kremlin and its troll factories – or are they all right rather than just being the classic divert and distract technique that they employ to cover up their nasty work – or perhaps you never believe that the Kremlin/KGB never do any thing nasty – plenty of KGB poisonings/assassinations that failed I’m afraid: Youshenko, Kara Murza, Djukanovic all spring to mind, so we can drop the line about you friend’s ruthless efficiency.

          • Resident Dissident

            I should add that any story will always have holes if you don’t release the full facts (and no does for very good reasons which only the stupid cannot appreciate) – which is of course where the conspiracy theorists love to play their lets make it up games.

      • Ian

        Fred (I took this from the Guardian ) Aitkenhead added: “It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is. We identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade,”

        “from this family” so is that the same as a “closely related agent”?

      • SO.

        Depends entirely on what you consider a Novichok to actually be doesn’t it?

        Especially when there’s a lot of additional oddity about the entire foliant programme and associated reports. (which for some reason people seem to be ignoring)

        To give an example: Vil (in his book) never describes the chemical results of the program. He only describes it’s goals. The goal obviously being an undetectable potential binary bypassing the CWC by utilising unregulated compounds.

        Yet the compound formula for A-234 is neither a binary nor does it use unregulated compounds. (it’s main precursor is DF ~ a very well known CW precursor) so as such it cannot fit the novichok description.

  • HippoDave

    Glad they contacted you for comments, and those are good….measured comments.

    I say measured because I might be a dick.

    I do though think a non-dick technical question might have been instead asked–ala: “here’s a blackboard–please use it to describe the chemical nature of this agent, which was narrowed down as the culprit within hours by noted Chemistry Laureate Theresa May….”

    Glad you’re still kicking dude. But forgive me if I’m rolling my eyes at recalling the recent demise of Robert Parry and even his stalwart post after the stroke a few days before death.

    Sure neither you nor others should be expected to be so dedicated and wonderful. But…..yeah I don’t know….maybe I’m still mourning and bitching. Sorry….

  • Emily

    If it was weapons grade nerve agent with no antidote why are the two of them still alive?
    Please? anyone?

    • N_

      One possibility is that one of them was acting as courier or the house was a drop.

      If you consider the story that a “friend” of Yulia Skripal, together with the friend’s husband, brought “porridge” and “bayleaves” over on special request, on a different flight from Yulia’s, to give to Yulia so that she could give them to her father, and also the fact that Nikolai Grushkov was found dead (was he targeting or targeted?), this scenario should be given proper consideration.

      • N_

        Moral: if you have a friend with intelligence agency connections, do NOT carry anything whatsoever across a border for them.

      • G.Bng

        Some newspaper or newspapers say the mystery person and Yulia were on the same flight…

    • Radar O'Reilly

      OD =/= OP but C17H23NO3 seems to help both

      @Emily a highly speculative conjecture could be that the first responder Salisbury paramedic treated {slumped, wild-eyed, frothing etc} the couple on the park-bench for drug overdose {ketamine?} and that the active medicine atropine that might have been used against possible diagnosis of ketamine posioning or symptoms is also a reasonable antidote to organophosphates in general {mostly sheep-dip & the odd carrot}

      quoting on Atropine from the highly variable source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organophosphate_poisoning
      Home Office figures (for 2015) showed that around 94,000 adults had used ketamine in England and Wales http://www.drugwise.org.uk/ketamine/

      • Emily

        I stand corrected but I am sure I saw somewhere that there is no antidote.
        Had they been given the antidote on the park bench or soon after who knew what the agent was so as to provide that immediate antidote?
        I also thought that there is quite a bit of missing time – where they don’t know where one or both were in the morning.
        That they went to some effort to hide their tracks.
        Anyone who can fill us in on that.?
        However we are still back to the original question.
        Nerve agent of this weapons grade quality – surely kill in minutes.
        Why didn’t it?

        • Jiusito

          Mr Aitkenhead, as quoted above by Sharp Ears, said that there is no known antidote to novichok, and that none was administered to either of the Skripals.

        • D_Majestic

          My point from day one, Emily. So many things simply do not add up inside the official story. A few hours spent in research tell a wholly different tale.

      • JakeMorris

        The Porton Down scientist said “there is no known antidote” to Novichok and “none was administered”. This rules out atropine I presume, and raises the question of why the hell Skripals are still alive.

        In fact, if everything said by the PD rep is taken at face value, result would be:

        1) Skripals were poisoned in such a way as to leave them alive without need for antidote, i.e. this was not attempted murder;

        2) Agent used was so complex that could only come from a state actor;

        3) Agent didn’t come from Porton Down (but didn’t say “not from the UK”);

        4) No evidence that agent came from Russia;

        5) PD was able to identify agent almost instantly;

        6) PD not aware of the “intelligence” used to point the finger at Russia.

        The theory that fits all these points: Skripal poisoning was staged either by a foreign power or UK itself to implicate Russia.

  • N_

    Here’s another question.

    The prime minister, in explaining to the House of Commons (12 March) her reasons for concluding that Russia was “highly likely” to be responsible for the Salisbury attack, cited “Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations”.

    Has Porton Down considered the possibility that the material used may have been produced by the one and only state that everyone accepts has used a nerve agent in an assassination attempt, namely Iςrael?

    Imagine a government scientist giving an exclusive interview to Sky!

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile surely Boris Johnson should do the right thing and resign, he’s been nothing but an embarrassment. Corbyn must be very vocal on this matter and hold the government to account, the media were also very complicit quick to lay blame at Moscow’s door.

    The PM and FS, have done untold damage in British relations with Russia.

    • Emily

      Even more – stupid boy Pike – Williamson.
      ‘The Russians should go away and shut up.’
      That was indefensible.
      Utterly indefensible.
      He should be thrown out with May and Johnson.

      • Mochyn69

        This gives a new meaning to the term “TOXIC TORIES”!

        Resign liars. Be gone!

    • Peter C

      The PM and FS, have done untold damage in British relations with Russia. I think it only fair to say, one can only conclude that was the whole point.

    • Ultraviolet

      This should be a resigning matter for the whole Government, not just May and Boris.

  • Barry Lamb

    Head of Porton Down just confirmed it as Novichock but could not name the source or confirm it was from Russia. So your theory holds no water.

  • DiggerUK

    I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, I’m a big cock up fan…….but……there came a point in the interview that seemed a bit clumsily edited, just before it finished. It didn’t run smooth, bad splicing, then It suddenly ended with a “breaking news” of Prince Philip being rushed into hospital. Now it seems he has gone in early for a planned hip operation.
    Was the interview suddenly pulled…_

  • Madeira

    A question for somebody who has been following the details more closely than me:

    Was the “novichok” (of indefinite origin) that was identified by Porton Down found in the Skripal’s bodily fluids (or on their bodies), or only on other physical sites (doorknob, etc.)? If the latter, this would obviously be no proof of how they were actually poisoned.

  • N_

    Here’s the write-up from Sky, of their interview with Chemical Gary Aitkenhead of Porton Down.

    Scientists from Porton Down have not been able to establish where the novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal was made.

    Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, told Sky News they had not been able to prove it was made in Russia.

    (Actually he said where it came from was outside his remit.)

    He said: ‘We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.

    ‘We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to.’

    He said establishing its origin required ‘other inputs’, some of them intelligence-based, that the Government has access to.”

    “Mr Aitkenhead added: ‘It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured.’

    However, he confirmed the substance required ‘extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor’.”

    “He said there was no known antidote to novichok, and that none was administered to either of the Skripals.”

    “Porton Down’s boss would not comment on whether the lab had developed or keeps stocks of novichok, but dismissed suggestions the agent used to poison the Skripals had come from Porton Down.”

    “‘There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility,’ said Mr Aitkenhead.”

    Comments
    1) He’s using Britgov lingo by saying the word “novichok”. I bet he doesn’t realise what a charlie he sounds to the ears of anybody who knows Russian. A guy in a position has no independent standards that he upholds. He says what he’s paid for and he wants his pension and perks like any other professional pillock. He’s a chemical warfare babyburner like Chemical Dave before him.
    2) How did his “science” tell him it can only be made by a “state”? Get some “intelligence inputs”, did you, Gary Boy?
    3) Presumably the purpose of his interview is to pre-empt whatever might be said at or by the OPCW.

    • Republicofscotland

      You have to wonder why Russia is completely frozen out with regards to the investigation, why didn’t Westminster make available the evidence that Russia is guilty? Could it be because there is no such evidence?

      • Resident Dissident

        Or could it be that HMG does not want to reveal its intelligence sources to the Russians?

  • Emanuel

    Those who covered up the murder of Dr David Kelly are capable of providing fabricated evidence implicating innocent parties. By the way, Sky News is in the same league as all other main outlets.

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Oh, right, where is a Dr. Keith Hawton, an expert on suicide, in this case, an expert on Russia’s undeclared nerve weapons?

  • Pyotr Grozny

    It doesn’t in fact add anything to Teresa May’s statement to the Commons on 12th March, but may prompt people to query the words *Russian-produced* (my asterisks) in the penultimate line of this extract.

    “Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the Government have concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

    There are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on 4 March: either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian Government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others. This afternoon, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has summoned the Russian Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He asked him to explain which of these two possibilities it is, and therefore to account for how this *Russian-produced* nerve agent could have been deployed in Salisbury against Mr Skripal and his daughter.”

    • A Biochemist writes

      Au contraire: The statement supports the idea that any number of (probably state) agents could have carried out the attack.

      The question has to be: “which state(s) would benefit from implicating Russia in such an attack on the territory a NATO member state?

      As ever, cui bono?

      I can think of one or two!

      This turn of events reflects admirably on Craig Murray who dissected the original doublespeak with great skill and accuracy.

      The UK regime is suffering greatly from having lost the services of Alistair Campbell who made a much better fist of creating and presenting a ‘Dodgy Dossier” than the present set of deadbeats and Etonian wankers!

      • Pyotr Grozny

        From the Daily Mail

        A Downing Street source told MailOnline the Prime Minister’s statement to MPs discussed a ‘range of factors’ that led the Government to conclude Russia was the source of the attack.
        Sources added that the job of Porton Down, which is located in a village near Salisbury, was not to identify blame for the attack but establish what was used.
        It is understood that other intelligence led ministers to the conclusion there was ‘no other plausible explanation’ than Russian responsibility.”

        No mention of ‘other intelligence’ in the PM’s statement. In ‘it is understood’ Who is doing the ‘understanding’ here, the Downing Street source or the Mail Online

  • Sharp Ears

    Nothing about this on the BBC. They are going large on Phil the Greek’s dodgy hip and even have a reporter outside the KE V11 (private) hospital. Unbelievable.

    • Pyotr Grozny

      Nor the Telegraph as far as I can see. I think that the speed at which different papers report this is some indication as to how far they are beholden to the government, although the Guardian was quite quick with the story and the Indie has yet to say anything. The Star has been encouragingly off-(government) message for the last couple of days.

      • Agent Green

        Telegraph is one of the most eager Russia bashers, so expect them to avoid report this (or at least put it in a very hidden place).

        • Pyotr Grozny

          I think they just have to take some time, and maybe ask their government friends, to come up with a response.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Great respect Craig for your exposé and superb knowledge of sleekit, Scurrilous governments.
    Long may it continue.
    Let’s face it , we the ordinary Joe, need people like yourself
    To keep us informed and educated on the machinations of
    Narcisstic, sociopaths in the English cess pit who do not have the abilities to handle the dying empire mentality.
    ?? Regards stay safe.

  • bliss_porsena

    Porton Down can’t say whence it came but Treeza and Bodgers can so that’s all the plebs need to know.

    The Russkie pushback is spectacular. Think short and curlies.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    At least The Guardian has reported Gary Aitkenhead’s testimony.

    Some cliimbdown since its editorial board had claimed that it had along history of gas-caused assassinations, starting with those of Raoul Wallenberg,and Bulagria’s Markov which Dr. Kelly determined was not true.

  • Ivan

    Since Porton Down in its expert opinion cannot say that the chemical was produced in Russia, the OPCW cannot be expected to conclude otherwise. In the end Boris and May went out on a greasy pole for nothing. The problem with the US and UK over many years, is that they always have an ulterior motive in pushing news against Russia and they’ll push it for all it worth.

    I recall that when KAL007 was shot down over Sakhalin, the Americans painted it in the most lurid colours – see how bloodthirsty the Rooskies are? In the event, the terrible accident happened because the Soviet pilot mistook the Boeing’s trajectory where it overflew the irregular landscape and coasts as a pattern of behaviour consistent with evasive or provocative actions. But he was a victim of tunnel vision, as the Boeing was set on a course of dead reckoning, since its guidance had failed. Tragic and no doubt the pilot would have woken up many nights wondering if he had done ‘the right thing’.

    Essentially the same thing happened years later when MH17 was shot down. John Kerry was off the gun, claiming the Americans had proof that the Russians were behind it. No allowance could made for the Donbass people having made a terrible blunder. No it had simply to be that these Russians were barbarians. Nato got its propaganda coup.

    I expect that the Salisbury poisonings are more of the same. Take an event that may or may not be linked to the Russians. Put the worst possible construction on it, and when the Russians try to defend themselves, pile on saying evil people have no rights to the presumption of innocence.

    • Mary Paul

      but. why would May and Johnson do this? And why now? Russia scarcely public enemy no 1 in the ,UK. Even dissing Jean Claude Juncker would be more vote catching. MI6 must be mixing it in there somewhere. I do not believe they have thought this up on their own.

      • JakeMorris

        Russia is definitely enemy no.1, haven’t you read the U.S. defense doctrine? And the UK is USA’s “staunchest ally”, with a history of lethal provocations (e.g. Blair’s Iraq “intelligence”).

        In fact, once you apply Occam’s Razor to Porton Down’s own statements, and consider “Novichok”’s close links to the U.S., this becomes the only plausible explanation.

        • Mary Paul

          Russian political affairs are scarcely high profile in UK. No one I know is interested in the Skripal affair, those who take an interest in politics more interested in implications of Brexit and Trump’s machinations in US. We have had what, 14 unexplained russian deaths in UK in recent years and British legal system has just turned a blind eye and waved them through. Hardly actions of a government for whom they are Enemy no 1. My ,partner says Skripal affar affair boring and I am not to try and discuss it any more. Suspect this is pretty widespread view.

      • Ivan

        I would give some slack to Ms May. She was Home Minister when the Litvienko incident happened. Since everyone is convinced the Russians did poison Litvienko, she must have thought that this time (in Salisbury) they are not going to get away with it. As for Boris, I am convinced that he does not want the job and decided to go up in flames. Whatever one feels about Putin, he does go on the annual commemoration of the WWII dead with a picture of a dead relative. It grossly insulting, not to say wounding, to compare him to Hitler and by extension the Russians to the Nazis. After all the old Soviet Union of which Russia was the major state, lost 25-27 millions in that war.

        • John A

          “Since everyone is convinced the Russians did poison Litvienko”

          Only the lying government, Luke Harding and people who believe what they read/watch in MSM. Anyone with any wits about them can see the evidence points elsewhere.

          • Ivan

            Me too. Seeing that one Walter Litvienko, whom we can safely assume is as claimed Sergei Litvienko’s father, has gone on record saying that the whole case that Russian agents directed by the dreaded sypmaster Putin carried out the assassination was a tissue of lies. I’ve always had a problem believing that skinflint Russians would spend all that money on polonium when a bullet would be much cheaper. Over at Col. Lang’s Turcopolier, a certain David Habakkuk had written extensively on this.

      • Emily

        but. why would May and Johnson do this? And why now?

        Because May is selling out Brexit and Britain.
        Arguably the greatest betrayal of the people in our history.
        She has sold out every aspect of Brexit and Britain to the EU – from our fisheries to our finances.
        She had to change the political agenda and take Brits attention off her treason and that of her government.

  • Mary Paul

    So Portion down is saying leave us out of this. My theory that it could have been made by another state player outside Russia, under Russian supervision, is still holding up. So why if it was military grade, how did it take so long to work?

    I am also interested in recent revelations about Skripal family fortunes. Mr Skripal had a 340k house in Salisbury, a 240k Vila in Spain, a flat in Moscow ( where Yulia lives), drives BMW and is rumoured to have had a healthy bank balance. Yulia’s cousin says she had recently inherited 220k from her late brother. From the little I know of life in Russia, the combined Skripal family fortunes could cause sufficient envy among compatriots for them to decide the money would be better spent in their hands.

    • JakeMorris

      Your theory doesn’t explain why Russia, had it actually developed Novichok in secret in another state, would want to blow up its own operation by wasting it on such an insignificant target and at the most inopportune time as well. And of course it doesn’t explain why Skripals are still alive – and even recovering, despite efforts of “Russian hit team” and lack of required antidote. It also doesn’t explain how UK knew so fast it was Russia, unless it knew about Russia’s development of Novichok all along, which brings another question – why wouldn’t the UK alert OPCW of such a grave violation, and why did it accept OPCW’s conclusion that Russia fully destroyed its chemical weapons back in 2017?

      In short, your theory doesn’t hold water, sorry.

    • G.Bng

      Do you have a link where it says Skripal owns a villa in Spain. He was of course destined in Spain as a spy for quite a few years in the 90s with his wife and kids so he obviously had a home there whether rented or owned, but considering the, at least not apparently, very wealthy area and not very expensive property he has in Salisbury it seems strange he would own a 240k villa in Spain where, depending on the area, you can get a lot of villa for that amount, probably a much better place than he has here and it is unusual for people to have a holiday home more expensive or even equal price to their main one.

  • A Biochemist writes

    The BBC Silence on the matter is deafening.

    Will the UK regime state broadcaster present this unwelcome news at all? Or will they ignore something that does not fit the official narrative?

    Or is the delay down to the need to find the correct words to present the news, whilst holding the official narrative. The Easter politics holiday will inevitably slow the process down as the state broadcaster consults its masters in the regime.

  • Pat Reid

    Craig, along with Jeremy Corbin you are a brave and selfless man. I read everything you write and I love your balance and determination to get the truth out there.

    Thank you for everything you do.

  • crispin hythe

    The UK TV and radio ‘news’ is now so revoltingly biased that the duckspeakers cannot hide their embarrassed-weasel smirk.
    They and pols should wear badges saying ‘I genuinely believe the garbage I’m talking’ or ‘I have to talk garbage to keep my job’.
    [EG…this AM Tuesday , BBC R4 ‘Toda’y prog, 0615…discussion of SNCF strike between various big-biz haw-haws, ‘beastly unions’ etc…no opposing voice explaining the union stance. Always the same with beeb…neo-liberalism taken as ‘normality’.

    • N_

      @Crispin – You seem to listen to the news the same way I do! I don’t watch TV but on the radio I’ve also noticed that half of the newsreaders and presenters can’t even read their autocues properly. They pause after each chunk on their screen even when you wouldn’t in speech. That would be the first thing you’d train out of someone if they were being trained properly to read stuff out loud. It’s like a tweet would be too long to hold their attention.

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