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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  • Mochyn69

    So, russian to judgement here..

    Theresa May and Boris de Pfeffel Johnson LIED, LIED, LIED!

    Including to Parliament.

    Resignations must be demanded now.

    And congratulations to Craig Murray for correctly calling this and identifying the elephant in the room right from the go. Well done, Craig!

    >

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Reginations must occur now, but it seems highly unlikely as the British population puts up with anything dirty that its leaders provide, like killing Sweden’s Olof Palme to blame on the Russians, so it can be gotten rid of, and without a nuclear war, but the ‘Iron Lady’ escaped from the deadly fiasco without a murmur.

      Want other examples?

      • adams

        Another example is how they (we) put up with the FPTP voting system which is what keeps these deadbeats where they are !!

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Oh, I was thinking about more covert causes, like the Chinook helicopter crash during landing at the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994 which killed the leading intelligence officers who wanted a soft landing over the GFA, and was blamed on the pilots for years; and the driving of poor Vasili Mitrokhin to suicide because of all the liberties that MI6, especially Christopher Andrew, took with his secret archive, etc.

          The systemic problems of Briitsh and America governments responding to the complaints of their electorates are manifold.

    • N_

      Britgov says no country other than Russia has “combined capability, intent, and motive”.

      Oh, so the poshboys want us all to play Sherlock Holmes?
      Fine, I’m game.
      Give us a list of all countries and any other parties that have the capability, and we can begin. Russia. Israel. Britain. Anybody else?
      And what on earth would the Russian state’s motive be? I take it they don’t mean that it would be to stimulate a big western weapons buildup so that Russia can have a similar one, and think of all the backhanders for the oligarchs? “Revenge” is so idiotic it doesn’t bear consideration. Then there’s damage to the MI6 brand. Is that what they mean? And the Russian government didn’t see the NATO buildup coming? They’re basically petty and stupid and will do anything they can to present a narrative about MI6 that isn’t “James Bond”? And increasing the British defence budget to 3% will show them Russkies?

  • Gill McCall

    We wait with baited breath for your next commentary!

    Thank You for your fortitude!

  • Dan

    “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?”

    – perhaps for the same reason that officers from the fire brigade were not wearing protective clothing:

    https://imgur.com/a/unhrI

    • unverified_source

      and the police at the front door of the Skripals house which apparently had the nerve agent on it were also un bothered by this deadly agent.

  • nevermind

    Oh dear, the whole edifice is crumbling.

    weapons grade nerve agent turns out to be alka seltzer and opioid…

    Yulia has arisen on Good Friday, the only fact that seemingly stands, although as yet we have no indication whether the 1968 dipl. relations regulations agreed have been accidentally dropped into the Brexit bin, i.e. were not available to the Russian embassy, momentarily, off course.

    What a sad and shitty way to conduct one’s foreign policy, Craig should be happy that he’s outside of that lot.
    All we need now is some boozo like Bolton/Liebermann who lets rip at Iran and all hell will break loose.

  • Squeeth

    Mossad does what American Caesar wants; American Caesar pretends to be in thrall to the secular fascists as a fig leaf, as the secular fascists use fraudulent claims about religious affiliation as another fig-leaf, this one somewhat bloodstained.

  • ohmygowd

    For the BBC, however, this story is not newsworthy. And we live in freedom and democracy?

  • Republicofscotland

    So what now do the multitude of countries that expelled Russian diplomats welcome them back? Does the UN reinstated the Russian personnel that it sent home?

    Those nations can repair the damage done by British lies, but will Russia forgive Britain?

    Meanwhile lead story on the BBC news, is the rise in violence in London, the Duke of Windsor’s health and the smear saga on Corbyn via anti-semitism. No words on this matter, which is staggering.

    • Rod

      When will the weeklong tirade against the Home Secretary begin for not stopping the 47 killings that have occurred in London since the beginning of this year ? Mr Corbyn has endured unremitting criticism for his stance on not rushing to judgement and setting the blame at Russia’s feet. It’s about time the BBC applied a little fairness in its reporting. Come on BBC, the local elections will be upon us before long !

      • Republicofscotland

        “It’s about time the BBC applied a little fairness in its reporting.”

        Don’t hold your breath waiting.

  • Mary Paul

    Sky News just put out statement from FO. Summarised, from memory:

    Nerve agent only one factor in our analysis, also used other intelligencd as well. Know it has to be made by state player, Russia has ability to make nerve agents, that it has been making novichok agents over last decade, (?), that it has stockpiled small quantities and it has been targeting disloyal secret agents to try it out on. Ergo evidence points at Moscow.

    As I say, hastily from memory, hopefully someone else will post better account.

    • JakeMorris

      1) If any state with decent chemistry can make Novichok, why single out Russia? UK, USA etc. also have this capacity, and Porton Down basically admitted they have Novichok in the facility.

      2) If Britain knew Russia has been making Novichok over last decade, why didn’t it alert OPCW, but instead accepted OPCW’s conclusion that Russia successfully destroyed all its chemical weapons?

      3) “Stockpiled small quantities” is a contradiction in terms. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention States can produce up to 1 ton of chemical weapons for non-prohibited purposes, such as defense research. Which is how Porton Down acquired its own Novichok, presumably.

      4) “Had been targeting disloyal secret agents” – namely? Litvinenko? No proper investigation or trial, victim himself identified a Western agent as his murderer. Meanwhile countries like USA, UK, France target “enemies of the state” for “extraterritorial extrajudicial killings” by the hundreds.

      5) Russia had nothing to gain and everything to lose by using a chemical weapon in a NATO state against an old, used asset such as Skripal, who already served his time in Russia and was pardoned by the President.

      6) Britain and USA have a history of staging false flag attacks and falsifying evidence to start wars. They also have a huge bone to pick with Russia over Syria, Ukraine, Trump etc.

      Ergo, evidence points at London and Washington.

      Ergo

      • james

        evidence has been pointing to a frame up of russia, thanks the uk/usa, or possibly ukraine.. other countries that are unhappy with no regime change in syria would include israel among others… any of these players have a motive for framing russia… theresa may is one boring shill for whoever it is.. boris the idiot is an outright liar too.. it must be embarrassing having leaders like this in the uk.. the leaders here in canada are just as bad..

    • Emily

      that it has stockpiled small quantities

      So apparently has Porton Down and any number of others including Israel and the USA.
      20 nations apparently – and that is just the ‘nations’ list.
      That is no evidence at all.

  • JakeMorris

    Just a reminder: Johnson said the source of “categorical” information on Russian involvement was Porton Down:

    “Interviewer:

    You argue that the source of this nerve agent, Novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain possess samples of it?

    Boris Johnson:

    Let me be clear with you … When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the laboratory …

    Interviewer:

    So they have the samples …

    Boris Johnson:

    They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, “Are you sure?” And he said there’s no doubt.”

    http://www.dw.com/en/boris-johnson-russias-position-in-skripal-case-is-increasingly-bizarre/a-43043873

    Now PD denies any such conclusions, let alone categorical.

    And note also how Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, “would not comment on whether his laboratory kept supples of novichoks” – yet another indication of PD’s unwillingness to outright lie that sheds light on the situation. Basically PD tacitly admits they synthesized Novichok.

    • Emily

      As your transcript makes clear.
      Johnson unquestionably has blatantly lied to the House of Commons – the British people and the planet.
      There is no question he should be out.
      Can we give him 24 hours to explain his action before declaring him persona non grata and asking him to leave. and preferably never come back.
      His credibility and honesty are exposed as non existent – a sham
      He has shamed Britain nationally and internationally.
      In the name of God begone from that place……

      • Baron

        In Britain of the past, Emily, he would be seeing the PM, departing, serving meals at charity events.

        In today’s Britain, the PM is as guilty as him.

        How did we get here?

  • SA

    How do you determine that some chemical is ‘Military grade’.
    Why does the government say that the only ‘plausible explanation’ is that Russia did it? Plausible means that this may be one of many other explanations.
    Has the government got a cause?

  • Stu

    BBC 6 O’ Clock News are not reporting this story.

    The Foreign Secretary being contradicted by the head of the lab is obviously less newsworthy than where Corbyn had dinner last night.

    • Neil

      Just spotted that Stu – apparently the Duke of Edinburgh’s hip operation is more newsworthy!

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig Murray totally vindicated. UK Government totally discredited, though I still think someone made the entire story up.

    Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Gavin Williamson are duty bound to resign. If they do not understand the concept of duty, and integrity, the Queen should demand their resignation.

    Well done Craig Murray.

    Tony

  • Republicofscotland

    Well that’s the BBC’s 6pm flagship programme just about to end, and not a peep about the story that Porton Down cannot identify where the nerve agent arose.

    Maybe the state broadcaster should revert to the old days, for all the difference it would make.

    “87 years ago, on 18 April 1930, the BBC’s news announcer had nothing to communicate. “There is no news,” was the script of the 20:45 news bulletin, before piano music was played for the rest of the 15-minute segment.”

    • Stu

      ITN did a two minute report but it wasn’t mentioned in the lead stories.

      The report was extremely coy and didn’t mention Boris at all. The revelation that it can’t be identified as Russian was never explicitly stated.

    • D_Majestic

      I got in from looking after my grandsons at 5.40pm. Went straight to CM and found this post. ‘Bloody hell!’ I said to the missus.’I wasn’t expecting this to happen in a million years.’ Waited for BBC News at 6. Wondered how they might spin it. The bought and paid for BBC didn’t even try.

  • Christoph Jensen

    “As the prime minister has said, we must face the facts, and the challenge of Russia is one that will endure for years to come.” … from this afternoons Guardian, reporting on the interview … sounds like the never-ending war on ‘terror’.

  • Tom

    Great work, Craig. I did not expect you to be officially vindicated so quickly.
    Normally I’d say May’s position is untenable after making unfounded accusations against one of the world’s great powers and duping our allies – but we live in strange times.

  • Un individu louche

    “Chief Scientist at Porton Down” might be an exageration. He might be head of the organisation but I don’t think he is any scientist looks more like a salesman from his CV. Might have been more useful if the Chief SCIENTIST had been asked some questions

    Gary Aitkenhead

    Gary has spent his career in the development and supply of mission-critical wireless communications solutions to public safety, industrial and transportation sectors.

    He has previously held senior global positions at Sepura and at Motorola Solutions, where he had commercial responsibility for sales, services, operations and product management.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/people/gary-aitkenhead

    • Madeira

      Here is his academic background (from Linkedin) — his only degree appears to be an honours degree in engineering.

      University of Strathclyde
      Degree NameBEng (Hons) Field Of StudyElectrical and Electronic Engineering
      Dates attended or expected graduation 1985 – 1989

      First Class Honours degree
      Awarded Magnus McLean Memorial Medal by Strathclyde University (1989) for academic distinction (top student in year)

    • Tony_0pmoc

      N_,

      That’s all bollocks too. You can’t take two months figures in isolation to prove anything. It’s like saying London is hotter than the Sahara Desert. On some days that is true. Most of the time it is not. I’ve been to Matmata. Now that is hot.

      Murders
      Year London New York
      1990 184 2245
      1991 184 2154
      1992 175 1995
      1993 160 1946
      1994 169 1561
      1995 167 1177
      1996 139 983
      1997 190 770
      1998 159 663
      1999 146 671
      2000 171 673
      2001 190 649
      2002 189 587
      2003 204 597
      2004 182 570
      2005 168 539
      2006 162 596
      2007 156 494
      2008 148 522
      2009 136 471
      2010 123 534
      2011 121 515
      2012 89 414
      2013 86 332
      2014 83 328
      2015 118 352
      2016 110 335
      2017 130 290

      Source
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_New_York_City
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_London

  • Baron

    One should be grateful to you, Mr. Murray, you were one of the very few who didn’t join in endorsing the blatant lie that may have led to graver consequences than the WMD one. There is a hope for this country yet. Thank you.

  • Republicofscotland

    Putin at a meeting with Erdogan, an hour ago or so gave a statement on the Porton Down findings.

    Putin will ask the OPCW to open a counter investigation on the matter, and ask for Russia to be at the forefront of the investigation.

    This could blow up in the faces of May and Johnson, no doubt a suitable scapegoat is already being sought by them.

    • fred

      OPCW investigations are supposed to be independent and carried out by impartial experts.

      Why would Russia want to be at the forefront? What are they hiding? Why would they be scared to let the impartial experts reach an impartial conclusion?

      • JakeMorris

        Is that sarcasm? Hard to tell these days. Anyway, question to be asked is why Russia’s extremely reasonable demand to be kept in the loop, considering the graveness of the accusations, is being constantly denied, first by Britain (which refused to share any evidence and denied consular access to purportedly incapacitated Russian citizens), and now also by OPCW’s Technical Secretariat hiding behind some bogus confidentiality rules. What are they hiding, indeed?

        As for OPCW’s alleged impartiality, we’ve got a taste of that during its biased handling of chemical attacks in Syria.

        • JakeMorris

          Thankfully they’ve painted themselves into a corner now, as OPCW would be hard pressed to go beyond what was stated by Britain’s own chemical warfare experts. It would also have a lot of explaining to do about why Novichok, if it really is so dangerous, was never included into prohibited chemicals list under the CWC, and why numerous attempts to explore it fizzled (with help from Clinton’s State department, as the Wikileaks cables tell us).

        • fred

          “Is that sarcasm?”

          Given their history of assassinations I would consider Russia to be by far the odds on favourite for being responsible for this crime even if there were no other evidence at all.

          Portan Down not being able to ascertain with certainty where the nerve agent was made does not, as some seem to think, prove Russia innocent. There is little doubt they are guilty as hell and should be given no opportunity to sabotage the investigation.

          • Ultraviolet

            It doesn’t prove Russia innocent.

            It does prove Boris a liar.

            And that is far more important.

      • Stephen

        Because of the faked Khan Sheikhun OPCW report which took samples from terrorists through France. They never visited the site despite taking samples from the people in control of the area. The refused to let Russian OPCW members be involved just like this time. They refused to visit the air base Trump blew up claiming the planes and chemicals came from there.

  • Harry Law

    In the RT interview Craig said the Chief Executive officer said it ‘probably’ needed a state to make it, and that this was tacked on the end of the interview after the lighting had been moved, almost as if the Government officials probably present in the room had not been happy with Porton Downs findings that they could not determine where the Chemical agent came from. Craig contradicted Aitkenhead when he said the Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University had said any of his Senior students could make it.

  • N_

    Gary Aitkenhead’s “no comment” to “do you have stocks of Novichok?” means “yes”.
    Which is unlawful, isn’t it?
    “Stocks” doesn’t mean “a tiny amount or sample for forensic purposes”.
    It means a quantity for using for the purpose for which it was made, i.e. as a weapon.

    • JakeMorris

      Up to 1 ton is allowed under CWC, IIRC. Of course this applies to Russia too, and all other states parties.

  • Durak

    So the states narrative is falling apart before our very eyes.

    Boris Johnson should be jailed for lying at a level unprecedented in British politics.

    Deeply, deeply disturbing.

    • lysias

      Lies that could have caused — and may yet cause — a devastating world war. Just who is it right to compare to Hitler?

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