Just Who’s Pulling the Strings? 1205


March 4 2018 Sergei and Yulia Skripal are attacked with a nerve agent in Salisbury

March 6 2018 Boris Johnson blames Russia and calls Russia “a malign force”

March 7 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in London for an official visit

March 13 2018 Valeri Gerasimov, Russian Chief of General Staff, states that Russia has intelligence a fake chemical attack is planned against civilians in Syria as a pretext for US bombing of Damascus, and that Russia will respond militarily.

March 19 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in Washington for an official visit

April 8 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in Paris for an official visit

April 8 2018 Saudi funded jihadist groups Jaysh al Islam and Tahrir al-Sham and UK funded jihadist “rescue group” The White Helmets claim a chemical weapons attack occurred in their enclave of Douma the previous day – just before its agreed handover to the Syrian army – and blame the Syrian government.

April 11 2018 Saudi Arabia pledges support for attack on Syria

April 14 2018 US/UK/French attack on Syria begins.

I have always denied the UK’s claim that only Russia had a motive to attack the Skripals. To denigrate Russia internationally by a false flag attack pinning the blame on Russia, always seemed to me more likely than for the Russians to do that to themselves. And from the start I pointed to the conflict in Syria as a likely motive. That puts Saudi Arabia (and its client jihadists), Saudi Arabia’s close ally Israel, the UK and the USA all in the frame in having a powerful motive in inculcating anti-Russian sentiment prior to planned conflict with Russia in Syria. Any of them could have attacked the Skripals.

Today, Theresa May is claiming -astonishingly – that the UK attack on Syria is “to deter chemical weapons attacks in Syria and the UK”. I don’t think the motive for a Skripal false flag could be more starkly demonstrated.

We do not yet know how many children and other civilians have died so far in what the media always pretend are magically “pinpoint” attacks on Syria. Denying the “collateral damage” is part of the neo-con playbook. The danger is that they will not stop but continue to push, testing how far they can go in weakening Syrian government forces to promote their jihadist allies on the ground, before they spark a real Russian reaction. That way madness lies.

It is also worth noting that the most ardent supporters of this military action, outside Saudi Arabia and Israel, are the Blairites in the UK and the Clinton Democrats in the USA. The self-described “centrists” are actually the unhinged extremists in today’s politics.

This attack on Syria is, beyond doubt, a huge success for the machinations of Mohammed Bin Salman. Please do read my post of 8 March which sets out the background to his agenda, and I believe is essential to why we find our nations in military action again today. Despite the fact the vast majority of the people do not want this.


1,205 thoughts on “Just Who’s Pulling the Strings?

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  • Tom Smythe

    Here are some quotes from the bizarre interview with the the head of the Department of Chemistry at Spiez, Stefan Mogl. This was on 04 April 2018 and appeared in German (a language in which I am fluent but appending google translate below) in the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, apparently AFTER discovery there of BZ and a synthetic intermediate in their Salisbury environmental sample but PRIOR to the unexpected lab leak of the the lab’s BZ result to the Russians.

    “I have no doubt that the lab measured correctly and that it really is Nowitschok,” he says in an interview. This certainty he draws from the fact that the lead in the investigation military laboratory of Porton Down to a network of more than twenty specialized on C-arms analysis facilities, which also includes the Laboratory Spiez and whose quality is undisputed. The standards of verification enforced by the OPCW are so rigid that one can fully trust the findings of such an institution.”

    [Whoa, that language is very very similar to that of the anonymous but official Spiez tweet.]

    “The mode of action of neurotoxins is familiar to 53-year-old Mogl; He used to work as an inspector for years in OPCW and in 2017, on behalf of the UN, investigated the massacre of poison gas sarin in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhun.”

    [More whoa, some people here won’t take that exactly as an endorsement of competence or impartiality.

    His resume is up at linked-in. I don’t have access to that but it appears he lacks a degree in chemistry (“chemical laboratory assistant, industrial hygienist/analyst) and indeed any advanced degree or peer-reviewed publications in any science. Just saying, not knocking the guy — he appears sincere and highly dedicated to thankless work in chemical arms control.

    Dr. Marc Cadisch is listed as the actual director of Spiez Labor, he has a doctorate in organic chemistry as you would expect. If someone could locate an email for him, I would be willing to contact him directly as a professional colleague for clarification on the BZ and intermediate, in the event SL itself doesn’t issue a clarification next week of its muddled tweet.

    https://www.labor-spiez.ch/en/lab/ubu/enlabubuges.htm

    Stefan Mogl is Head of the Chemistry Division and Deputy Director of SPIEZ LABORATORY as well as member of the Swiss National Authority for the CWC. From 2007-13 he was a member of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board and he chaired the Board 2012-13. Stefan Mogl was Head of the OPCW laboratory from 2000-2005 and OPCW Inspector from 1997-2000. He holds degrees in chemistry (Polytechnik Winterthur, 1990) and industrial hygiene (ETH Zürich, 1997) and an MBA (British Open University, 2003.

    An earlier NZZ comment letter says: “Stefan Mogl has not been working in the Spiez lab since May 2017, like the NZZ suggests. Last May, the 52-year-old traded his job at Spiez for an office at the United Nations in The Hague. Stefan Mogl was therefore not – as suggested – involved in the study of the laboratory.”

    Last May, the 52-year-old exchanges his job at Spiez for an office at the United Nations in The Hague. The UN has appointed Mogl to the three-member leadership team to investigate poison gas use in Syria. The exterior and the defense department give the green light. The operation is in line with Swiss politics, which has been campaigning for years to comply with the ban on chemical weapons.

    Mogl is responsible for the technical clarifications with 14 employees. It evaluates videos, photos, findings from previous OPCW research, satellite images, expert analysis and open sources. Forensic institutes check videos and photos for their authenticity.”

    “Stefan Mogl (born 1965) first trained as a chemical laboratory assistant before continuing his studies at the Winterthur Technical College. In 1990 he accepted a position as an industrial hygienist/analyst in the former Federal Office for Economic Development and Labour (FOEDL). A particular focus of his work in the FOEDL was ambient air analyses. During this time, he was also awarded a Master of Advanced Studies in Occupational Health from the ETH Zurich and the University of Lausanne. In 1997 he was trained as a chemical weapons inspector by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and consequently moved to The Hague (NL). After three years of working as an inspector, he was appointed head of the OPCW laboratory. He also continued his further education on a part-time basis and was subsequently awarded an MBA from the British Open University. In 2005, he moved back to Switzerland and was appointed as a chemical weapons’ expert within the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). Since 2007 he has been in charge of the Chemistry Division of SPIEZ LABORATORY. Between 2012 and 2013 he chaired the scientific advisory board of the OPCW.

    https://www.nzz.ch/international/kein-zweifel-am-nowitschok-resultat-ld.1374775
    https://www.labor-spiez.ch/en/lab/ubu/enlabubuges.htm

  • Ginny

    At last somebody who is doing a proper journalism and not just repeating like a donkey what everyone else says. Thank you!

  • Martin Kernick

    If BZ was found in the samples and that finding was supplied to the OPCW who did not report it, then that’s the OPCW finished as a reliable authority. So what are the chances of the OPCW revealing that BZ was found in the samples?

      • IM

        Did you even read the Guardian article that you posted??? I take it as you haven’t so I’ll quote it for “special people”:

        “The antidote being used is for the group of nerve agents related to the gas BZ, developed by the US military in the 1970s.”

        The Russians used incapacitating agent to send people to sleep, not a hallucinogenic agent to make people with guns fire those guns all over the place. Ergo, your logic is utterly ridiculous!

        • Tranquillus

          Yes, I read the article. The Russian military had BZ nerve agent in 2002 and they used it in the Moscow theater siege, intending to incapacitate the terrorists. But they overdid it and then they wouldn’t tell the doctors what it was.

          They provided a BZ antidote eventually, but about 100 hostages were “sent to sleep” – permanently.

          Read the article again, this time without rose-tinted spectacles.

          • IM

            Let me ask you again, two simple questions, and if you’re being honest, you will have no problems providing specific answers to those:

            Question 1: What paragraph of that article tells us that the Russians had BZ in 2002?
            Question 2: What paragraph of that article tells us that the Russians used BZ in the Theatre Siege of 2002?

            There’s only 21 paragraphs and they’re only a handful of sentences long each, so shouldn’t be hard for you!

            On top of that you haven’t a clue what a hallucinogenic agent would do to people with guns!

          • IM

            As for the difference between an anaesthetic agent and a hallucinogenic one: Xanax vs LSD (perhaps those two terms are more familiar to you?)! You just don’t give someone LSD when you want to knock them out!

      • IM

        And spending 30 seconds on “the Interwebs” one finds that the Russians used Kolohol-1 [1] not BZ. Digging around a a bit further one finds that this “Kolohol-1” is either 3-Methylfentanyl or α-Methylfentanyl [2], and neither chemicals look similar in structure to BZ (note the disparity between the Ns and the Os) [3–5]!

        Any more disinformation you’d like to spread only to be shown wrong?

        1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolokol-1
        2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_hostage_crisis_chemical_agent
        3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-Methylfentanyl#/media/File:3-Methylfentanyl.svg
        4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%91-Methylfentanyl#/media/File:Alphamethylfentanyl.svg
        5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-Quinuclidinyl_benzilate#/media/File:3-quinuclidinyl_benzilate.svg

      • Martin Kernick

        I’m sure Russia lies. But if there was BZ in the samples (and the lab hasn’t denied it), then we are being deliberately misled by our own side.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Thanks, you beat me to it!

        It was Kolokol, not BZ.

        Another fake news story from a Cumbrian Blog also insisted it was used at the Moscow Theatre Crisis and even claimed that BZ was Librium, confusing BZ the incapacitating agent with BZ as in Benzodiazepines (BZD, BZs) (now deleted since I sent comments which have not been published). The story also stated that it was used in the Tbilisi massacre (actually CS and CN),

        The pro-government trolls are really clutching at straws now.

        https://wotl.uk/exposed-russia-has-previously-stockpiled-the-chemical-bz/

        • IM

          I posted a comment to that website the same effect that I posted just below yours, what do you think the chances are of that comment not being “allowed” by the disinformator? Rhetorical question, of course 😉

          • IM

            On the second thought, it would be hilarious if the Mass Disinformation Media went with his story, all would see how much BS is being spun especially with the Theatre gas being mass-specced in the UK! And the BZ as a part of PTC is expressly attributed to USA and Germany in the article he links to. Stupidity and basic illiteracy (and I’m talking about the ability to read and comprehend plain English!) of some people truly knows no bounds…

          • Billy Bostickson

            It seems he/she is not publishing any comments but adjusting the article to get rid of evident falsehoods which he/she replaces with allusions and question marks. I think soon the article itself will be replaced by a gigantic question mark!

      • IM

        And as a final nail in your ill-thought-out perpetration of lies (and I’m being very generous here): — https://academic.oup.com/jat/article/36/9/647/785132

        Abstract:
        On October 26, 2002, Russian Special Forces deployed a chemical aerosol against Chechen terrorists to rescue hostages in the Dubrovka theatre. Its use confirmed Russian military interest in chemicals with effects on personnel and caused 125 deaths through a combination of the aerosol and inadequate medical care. This study provides evidence from liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis of extracts of clothing from two British survivors, and urine from a third survivor, that the aerosol comprised a mixture of two anaesthetics—carfentanil and remifentanil—whose relative proportions this study was unable to identify. Carfentanil and remifentanil were found on a shirt sample and a metabolite called norcarfentanil was found in a urine sample. This metabolite probably originated from carfentanil. [emphasis added]

      • Patrick Mahony

        In fact it was fentanyl-based gas. Ironic seeing as the MI5 cover story for their Salisbury kidnapping op was fentanyl overdose.

  • Simon

    A thought experiment: how would ‘we’ take it if the Russians and Chinese decided to attack Israel as we have just done in Syria, on the grounds that the US has unreasonably used its veto to prevent the international community from acting on ‘humanitarian’ grounds to relieve the situation in Gaza? A few days ago the vote on a UNSC motion censuring Israel for its actions in suppressing the latest protests in Gaza (part of a historic pattern of disproportionate violence being used by the Israelis) was 14-1 in favour, the only dissenting voice being the US, who once again used their veto to prevent it being adopted. By the logic of May, Trump and Macron, Russia and China would be justified in loosing off a few dozen cruise missiles at Israeli border posts to remind them of the clear international consensus on the matter. Somehow, I don’t think that would go down very well with ‘the West’.

    • Billy Bostickson

      Yes, you are quite right. Let’s send a petition to Xi and Putin asking them to do just that 😉

      I actually hope this happens but “we” as in the British public would then be bombarded by a very pro-Israeli and biased media as our equally pro-Israeli governments start World War 3.

      So, maybe not such a good idea after all…

  • Kent

    To know who are pulling the strings google and read “The Harold Wallace Rosenthal Interview”. Illuminating.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Occam’s Razor is about as useless as a wet wipe in a dysentery ward

    Skripal/BZ/BS/SpiezLab/Toxic Dagger/Bailey/Davies/Mother-in-Law/Syria/Door Knob/Humidity/Novichok/Helicopter/Doctors/Boyfriend/KGB manual/Portdon Down/

    “In the higher ranges of Secret Service work the actual facts in many cases were in every respect equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama. Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel, the bomb, the dagger and the firing party, were interwoven in many a texture so intricate as to be incredible and yet true. The Chief and the High Officers of the Secret Service revelled in these subterranean labyrinths, and pursued their task with cold and silent passion.”

    SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL in Thoughts and Adventures.

  • Billy Bostickson

    A Swiss Journalist’s explanation of the BZ finding:

    Real and wrong samples

    There is also evidence that Spiez has actually found the BZ agent. But that is not a contradiction to Mogl’s statement that he trusts the British Nowitschok result. For one of the rigid control mechanisms of the OPCW is that the reference laboratories each receive several sets of samples. It is typical that the OPCW not only sends the “real” sample, but also negative and positive control samples. Although these are similar, they contain no chemical warfare agent in the first case, and in the second case, another, which was added to the sample. This ensures that the commissioned laboratory works flawlessly and does not know what the “real” sample is. If Spiez of the OPCW reported not only the Find Nowitschok, but also the presence of BZ, this is best explained by the use of such a control sample. For the OPCW, there was no reason to publicly report the BZ findings – they knew that this was only a check-up.

    https://www.nzz.ch/international/skripal-russland-zieht-schweiz-in-den-fall-hinein-ld.1377578

    • IM

      Why can’t the journos wait for the official explanation, and for negative control sample- you send something entirely different, you don’t take you inspection sample and contaminate it. Watch this proper forensic case how you use negative controls in DNA sampling of plants in this case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrpNvwnODUA

      • Billy Bostickson

        He claims that OPCW process is to include not only a negative control sample but also “positive control samples. Although these are similar, they contain no chemical warfare agent in the first case, and in the second case, another (different chemical warfare agent, I guess he means), which was added to the sample.”

        Do you have any references for the normal procedure involved in such cases by OPCW.

        Seems the Journalist is claiming that the OPCW sends three sample, one a negative control, one the Skripal sample, and one a positive control sample containing another chemical warfare agent.

        • IM

          There’s really no point having the same discussion in two different threads, so pick one and stick to that one. I think this one is way more relevant so I suggest this one. So I’ll reiterate what I said in the other one and let’s stick to *this* thread!

          You really should’ve listened to the science teacher back at GCSE/O-Levels depending on how old you are: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_control in short: in NEITHER positive nor negative control do you EVER pollute the sample- that just INVALIDATES the control altogether!

          Lavrov said that the Swiss Lab found both A234 and BZ, nor just one, so the ONLY possibility is contamination, but then what is the contaminant, the A234 or the BZ?!

          • Billy Bostickson

            You are wrong. Kindly apologise. You clearly misunderstood what the Journalist was saying. He never claimed that the sample was contaminated nor did I.

            “each sample arrives with two others that triples their workload.

            The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of a substance usually found after a chemical weapons attack. The labs are not told which is the authentic sample, and must detect the laced chemical and report a negative result for the blank”
            https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/syrian-chemical-weapons-tests-sarin

          • IM

            @Billy,
            do you even read and digest what you copy and paste at all???

            If you’re having difficulty parsing what you pasted, I’ll happily break it down for you:

            If sample is clothing:

            Step (1) take two pieces of clean clothing;
            Step (2) spike one piece of clothing with suspect chemical;
            Step (3) keep second clean; and finally
            Step (4) send two pieces to different labs without telling which lab gets what.

            Where in the text does it say “spike with suspect chemical and another chemical”? It seems your problem is not science but reading literacy and ability to parse and comprehend plain English!

          • IM

            Spiking something with thing you’re trying to find is just how positive control works- you need to find what you expect to find, otherwise if the positive control doesn’t match up with what you found alarm bells go off! That’s just scientific method (look that up!) I suspect the fact that positive control and real sample didn’t match up was what caused the Swiss lab to dig deeper!

    • Madeira

      Would be rather devastating, if true.

      However, have a look at the following “OPCW on-site and off site and off-site analysis of samples analysis of samples” in connection with an exercise carried out in Poland in 2010. There are 7 references to “control samples”, not a single reference to “negative samples”. So is it really standard practice to send out “negative” samples?

      https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/event_photos/2010/tabletop_exercise_poland_nov2010/Workshops/II/OPCW_on-site_and_off-site.pdf

      • Billy Bostickson

        It seems that it is standard practice unfortunately for Lavrov, much though I would like to believe his claims:

        each sample arrives with two others that triples their workload.

        The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of a substance usually found after a chemical weapons attack. The labs are not told which is the authentic sample, and must detect the laced chemical and report a negative result for the blank”
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/syrian-chemical-weapons-tests-sarin

        • IM

          Alright, if you want to do this by attrition:

          If you’re having difficulty parsing what you pasted, I’ll happily break it down for you:

          If sample is clothing:

          Step (1) take two pieces of clean clothing;
          Step (2) spike one piece of clothing with suspect chemical;
          Step (3) keep second clean; and finally
          Step (4) send two pieces to different labs without telling which lab gets what.

          Where in the text does it say “spike with suspect chemical and another chemical”? It seems your problem is not science but reading literacy and ability to parse and comprehend plain English!

          Spiking something with thing you’re trying to find is just how positive control works- you need to find what you expect to find, otherwise if the positive control doesn’t match up with what you found alarm bells go off! That’s just scientific method (look that up!) I suspect the fact that positive control and real sample didn’t match up was what caused the Swiss lab to dig deeper!

        • Sean Lamb

          Billy I dare say we will find out soon enough. However if you believe Lavrov when he says the word “quote”

          quote: “Following our analysis, the samples indicate traces of the toxic chemical BZ and its precursor which are second category chemical weapons. BZ is a nerve toxic agent, which temporarily disables a person. The psycho toxic effect is achieved within 30 to 60 minutes after its use and lasts for up to four days. This composition was in operational service in the armies of the US, the UK and other NATO countries. The Soviet Union and Russia neither designed nor stored such chemical agents. Also, the samples indicate the presence of type A-234 nerve agent in its virgin state and also products of its degradation.” End of quote

          “the samples”, not the positive control. You may also remember a few weeks ago now when the Russians started predicting that Theresa May would have to apologise to them. I would suggest perhaps the Swiss may have sent the lab report direct to them, bypassing the OPCW.

          You may also recall the Swiss didn’t expel any diplomats.

          Anyway, as the saying goes: not even God can alter the past. We will find out eventually what it all means.

    • Robert

      That was a great curve ball. But there is only one problem: The A-234 (Novichok) found in the ‘real’ sample (blood or environment) was at such a high concentration and purity even after 2 weeks that it is a *Miracle* that the Skripals are still alive, considering that Novichok is one of the most deadly nerve agents known, perhaps 10 times more potent that VX, never mind that since novichok is so volatile that has to be a spiked sample.

      The logical conclusion from the Spiez lab was that A-234 could not possibly be the nerve agent. It has to be BZ which dovetailed with the hospital’s statement of them experiencing disorientation, a trademark of BZ.poisoning.

  • Billy Bostickson

    @IM please reread carefully both the journalist’s claim and the Guardian Sarin analysis procedure article and apologize when you have digested the information and realized the errors in your interpretation.

    I think it is clear to everyone else on this forum who wasn’t given a chemistry set for Christmas.

    • IM

      Tell me expressly what you think I don’t understand. I have no apologies to make, especially to you when you fail to understand basic science.

      • Billy Bostickson

        @IM, it”s quite simple actually, you think there are only two samples while in fact there are three.

        as you can see in the Guardian article

        “each sample arrives with two others that triples their workload. The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of a substance usually found after a chemical weapons attack.”

        and the OPCW report, page 44, 45 and the claim by the Swiss journalist

        ““For one of the rigid control mechanisms of the OPCW is that the reference laboratories each receive several sets of samples. It is typical that the OPCW not only sends the “real” sample, but also negative and positive control samples. Although these are similar, they contain no chemical warfare agent in the first case, and in the second case, another, which was added to the sample.”

        and what I said:

        “He claims that OPCW process is to include not only a negative control sample but also “positive control samples. Although these are similar, they contain no chemical warfare agent in the first case, and in the second case, another (different chemical warfare agent, I guess he means), which was added to the sample.”

        3 samples, not 2 as you erroneously claim in your rather rude and angry comments:

        1. suspected chemical agent attack sample
        2. negative control sample
        3. positive control sample spiked with another distinct chemical agent

        • IM

          You’re not reading the things I post, you were talking about control samples, I was talking about control samples. How hard is it to follow the discussion when things are spelled out for you in most basic steps 1, 2, 3, and 4?

          Discussion closed.

    • IM

      Yet again, you can’t read: pure human plasma was spiked with the only chemical they were looking for AND NOTHING ELSE, Annex 10.

      JUST READ FOR GOD’S SAKE: ANNEX 10 (pg 43) spells out:

      Patient A: Sample ID P027, Conclusion: Evidence of sulfur mustard intoxication
      Patient B: Sample ID P028, Conclusion: Evidence of sulfur mustard intoxication

      one positive (human plasma spiked with sulfur mustard, designated as P030)
      one negative (human plasma, designated as P029)

      Where in that report does it say that P030 was spiked with something else AS WELL AS the suspect chemical they were looking for.

      Now going back to the Skripals, THE ONLY THING that the clean samples would have been spiked with would have been A234 AND NOT A234 and BZ, because they were only looking for A234!

      It’s patent that the positive control (spiked with A234) didn’t match up with the clean sample or the third sample (the suspect sample) and that caused the Swiss lab to analyse further.

      I don’t see what is so hard to get from the above, are you being deliberately obtuse???

      • Billy Bostickson

        Can you read this:

        ““For one of the rigid control mechanisms of the OPCW is that the reference laboratories each receive several sets of samples. It is typical that the OPCW not only sends the “real” sample, but also negative and positive control samples. Although these are similar, they contain no chemical warfare agent in the first case, and in the second case, another, which was added to the sample.”

        • IM

          You’re clearly not even bothering to read. So simple answer: OPCW wouldn’t have spiked a clean sample with A234 as positive control, and not with A234 and BZ, because they were looking for A234. End of discussion.

      • Billy Bostickson

        and this:

        “each sample arrives with two others that triples their workload. The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of a substance usually found after a chemical weapons attack.”

  • Billy Bostickson

    Again, from the report:

    The FFM team Bravo collected 2 blood samples from victims of an alleged chemical attack, and these samples were returned to the OPCW Laboratory on Monday 19 December 2016. The Director-General chose two OPCW Designated Laboratories for the analysis of the biomedical samples. The OPCW Laboratory prepared two control samples for the biomedical samples – one positive (human plasma spiked with sulfur mustard, designated as P030) and one negative (human plasma, designated as P029).

    Can you count the number of samples sent? 2 for each blood sample, making 3. why do you insist that there are only 2 in all your previous comments?

    The positive one was spiked with sulfur mustard on this occasion but could have been spiked with any other chemical warfare agent as pointed out in the Guardian article:

    “The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of “a substance” usually found after a chemical weapons attack. The labs are not told which is the authentic sample, and must detect the laced chemical and report a negative result for the blank.”

    • IM

      There are TWO CONTROL samples. Neither is spiked with a random chemical that nobody is looking for. WHAT IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?!

  • Billy Bostickson

    It is very clear from your initial comments that you completely failed to understand both the Swiss Journalist AND OPCW lab analysis procedure:

    1. “and for negative control sample- you send something entirely different, you don’t take you inspection sample and contaminate it.”
    2. “in NEITHER positive nor negative control do you EVER pollute the sample- that just INVALIDATES the control altogether!”
    3. “Step (1) take two pieces of clean clothing; Step (2) spike one piece of clothing with suspect chemical; Step (3) keep second clean; and finally Step (4) send two pieces to different labs without telling which lab gets what.”

    Please read a basic introduction to Chemistry before posting on this forum.

    I recommend this, it’s freely available 😉
    https://www.fandm.edu/uploads/files/79645701812579729-genchem-reference-for-web.pdf

    End of Discussion

    • IM

      People here are way more intelligent than you give them credit for. Your initial post from the Journo was an exceptionally poor attempt at explaining away BZ by claiming it was added as a control: “If Spiez of the OPCW reported not only the Find Nowitschok, but also the presence of BZ, this is best explained by the use of such a control sample. For the OPCW, there was no reason to publicly report the BZ findings – they knew that this was only a check-up.” [1] I said that’s utter BS, and explained why that was the case. The conversation was always about the control samples. I have no idea what you tried to achieve, but BZ as a control mechanism in the Swiss Lab sample is pure BS ask any A-Level chemistry student and some of the brighter GCSE ones.

      The whole discussion and the report from OPCW that YOU linked to proves that you don’t spike control sample with something you’re NOT looking for!

      1. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/04/just-whos-pulling-the-strings/comment-page-10/#comment-739236

      • Billy Bostickson

        Wrong again, IM, you conveniently missed out my introduction to the Swiss Journalist’s story:

        Not sure if posted already but what the hell, here goes:

        “A Swiss Journalist’s explanation of the BZ finding:”

        I think you need to argue with the Swiss Journalist if you consider his arguments invalid, rather than me, don’t shoot the messenger!

        I would also kindly ask you to moderate your tone when commenting and responding as flaming is considered unacceptable on this forum:

        “You really should’ve listened to the science teacher back at GCSE/O-Levels depending on how old you are: ”
        “do you even read and digest what you copy and paste at all???”
        “It seems your problem is not science but reading literacy and ability to parse and comprehend plain English!”

  • Billy Bostickson

    This is how the OPCW Lab procedure operate and how, according to the Swiss Journalist and the Guardian, it would be possible for BZ to be identified in one of the samples sent (Number 3):

    For a start, the team collected far more samples, including soil, tissue, blood, urine, hair and wipes from munitions. These are sent to labs that belong to the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) network,1. [but each sample arrives with two others that triples their workload.}

    The extra specimens help to ensure that the tests are valid. [If the sample being analysed is a piece of clothing, the two extra samples will be 2. a “blank”, which is a clean piece of clothing, and 3. a “spiked” fragment of clothing that has been intentionally laced with a small amount of {a substance usually found after a chemical weapons attack|.] The labs are not told which is the authentic sample, and must detect the laced chemical and report a negative result for the blank.

    That is just the start. If a laboratory finds signs of a chemical agent, it must follow up with a second test that uses different equipment. If that tests positive, the scientists must then synthesise the chemical the equipment has found and test that as a final proof. To make the procedure even more laborious, every sample must be sent to at least two laboratories for independent testing. If their results do not agree, a third laboratory performs a fresh analysis.

    Game Over, IM, you lose!

    • Bayard

      “Game Over, IM, you lose!”
      I think you are underestimating the Swiss scientists. If, as you and the Swiss journalist appear to be claiming, the sample containing BZ and A-234 was the “positive control” sample, then Lavrov is only wrong if the real sample contained only A-234. However, if that was the case, then there would have been three samples, one clean, one containing one chemical and one containing two. In this case, the Swiss would have known that the sample containing only one chemical was the real sample because although it’s very easy to alter a sample by adding a chemical, it is almost impossible to do it by taking one out. If they knew the sample containing only A-234 was the real sample, they would have been really stupid leaking the details of the spiked sample to Lavrov. Unless the Swiss have a grudge against the Russians, of course, and set him up.

      • Billy Bostickson

        I see what you are saying, but firstly I’d like to point out that I came across that article while researching Spiez Lab and thought it would be useful to post it here as it seemed and seems to be the only explanation given so far from the non-Russia side as to why BZ could have been detected in the samples.

        It is important to anticipate the moves of your opponents in order to be better prepared to argue against them. After posting the article,

        I was attacked by IM and insulted.

        I did further research (The linked Guardian Sarin article and OPCW reports on lab procedure) and found that OPCW lab procedure involve the original sample plus two controls, one positive and one negative, the original sample of course was alleged by the British to contain a novichok type compound, while the negative control would be “clean”.

        The question is what exactly does the positive control contain in this particular OPCW Lab procedure.

        I was claiming that, according to OPCW test guidelines, it could contain BZ among other chemicals (standard chemical warfare agents). I didn’t say it contained Novichok type compound although that could be an unlikely possibility.

        Remember that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the samples from Salisbury contained BZ nerve agent and its precursor, but he did not specifically state which particular sample he was referring to and that also does not preclude that he was referring to the positive control.
        http://tass.com/world/1000017

        I’ve contacted OPCW and another Finnish organisation to enquire into the exact standard procedure for these tests and will update when/if I get a reply.

        We should get some kind of statement on the 18th April after the OPCW HQ Damage reduction session at the Hague, but they could also refuse to comment on BZ claims.

        As you say at the end, another possibility is that the Russians were set up by a leaked/hacked “fake” report to embarrass them.

        We shall see, but in the meantime, I would kindly ask IM to moderate his hostile tone and behave in a more polite way when commenting here.

        • Bayard

          I’ve looked through the document you reference and am none the wiser. However another thing to take into account is that the Spiez scientists would have known from the press that A-234 was what the samples were supposed to contain, so they would have known that a sample containing only BZ was the control, which negates the point of the control. What’s more, the person preparing the samples would have known that they would have known.

          • Bayard

            Everything about this story is weird, every possible explanation of the events is unlikely, in fact the one that sounds like it comes from a cheap spy thriller, the murderous mother-in-law to be, is actually the most plausible-sounding. Wednesday will probably bring more weirdness.

    • Robert

      But there is only one problem: The A-234 (Novichok) found in the ‘real’ sample (blood or environment) was at such a high concentration and purity even after 2 weeks of degradation that it is a *Miracle* that the Skripals are still alive, considering that Novichok is one of the most deadly nerve agents known, perhaps 10 times more potent that VX, never mind that since novichok is so volatile that has to be a spiked sample.

      No matter how you try to spin or slice the enchilada, the logical conclusion from the Spiez lab was that A-234 could not possibly be the nerve agent since it was at too high a concentration and purity even after 2 weeks and was therefore deemed a spiked item. It therefore has to be BZ which dovetailed with the hospital’s statement of them experiencing disorientation, a trademark of BZ.poisoning.

      This begs the question: if the A-234 was a spike chemical who manufactured it in the UK? Porton Down?

  • Martin Kernick

    IM & Billy, Peace.

    What I’m getting from Billy is that, for each real sample there are two additional controls. I *think* IM is saying the same thing. I’m not sure you disagree on that.

    control 1 is clean
    control 2 is clean plus a known agent
    sample is er.. the sample. 🙂

    IM insists that the known agent is the thing you’re looking for (in this case A-234). But do they know, at this stage, what agent they’re looking for?
    Billy says that the known agent can be any possible agent (in this case he’s suggesting BZ may have been used).

    IM makes the point which I haven’t seen acknowledged by Billy that none of the samples has both BZ and A-234 in it.
    From what Larov said it looks like both BZ and A-234 were found in the same sample.

    I might be getting into a fight by trying to break up a fight! 🙂 But I hearby declare that my days as a research biochemist were a ridiculous number of years ago so please don’t have a go at me.

    I’m just interested in opinions, will we eventually find out? Is it Wednesday when the OPCW will field questions?

    • Billy Bostickson

      Thanks, Martin, yes that was my position. I’ll just post to clarify what I said earlier about the samples/controls:

      The question is what exactly does the positive control contain in this particular OPCW Lab procedure.

      I was claiming that, according to OPCW test guidelines, it could contain BZ among other chemicals (standard chemical warfare agents). I didn’t say it contained Novichok type compound although that could be an unlikely possibility.

      Remember that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the samples from Salisbury contained BZ nerve agent and its precursor, but he did not specifically state which particular sample he was referring to and that also does not preclude that he was referring to the positive control.
      http://tass.com/world/1000017

      I’ve contacted OPCW and another Finnish organisation to enquire into the exact standard procedure for these tests and will update when/if I get a reply.

      We should get some kind of statement on the 18th April after the OPCW HQ Damage reduction session at the Hague, but they could also refuse to comment on BZ claims.

      • Martin Kernick

        Thanks for that Billy. I would suspect that the OPCW will refuse to comment on the BZ claims if, by admitting it, they show themselves to have ignored the evidence. This is the problem with secrecy and confidentiality, those who have acted improperly can always hide behind it.

    • Patrick Mahony

      To me, that is just daft. The test would be A nothing, B A234 added by OPCW, 3 sample from Salisbury. Spiez knew what they were looking for, it was in the public domain, so they would expect one to have A234.
      The results should be A nothing, B pure A234 , C degraded A234.
      But it came back pure A234 and BZ.
      So maybe Spiez got B (OPCW) A234 but C (Salisbury) was only BZ or BZ + A234

      • Billy Bostickson

        Sputnik news is reporting today the claim initially made by a Swiss Journalist, and which I posted here earlier (only to be insulted and attacked by a rather bellicose “Scientist” on this forum called IM)

        Possibly a Positive Control Marker

        “When OPCW sends samples to laboratories, other substances are sometimes included in the samples as what is known as positive controls. It is to test the competence of the laboratories. They have to be able to identify this positive control in the sample. If they are not able to do this then all their results are thrown into doubt,”

        Alastair Hay, professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Leeds, UK, told Sputnik.

        “A precursor of BZ, Quinuclidin-3-ol… was used as the positive control. It was deliberately added to one or more samples. None of the laboratories knew this. They simply report what they find in the samples. … So, BZ was present simply as a control,” Hay continued.

        https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201804161063626247-uk-skripal-case-toxin-positive-control-not-lethal/

        • Martin Kernick

          How would Hay know that? The Sputnik article points out that BZ would not have been in a toxin intended to kill… but what if the toxin wasn’t intended to kill?

        • Bayard

          “When OPCW sends samples to laboratories, other substances are sometimes included in the samples as what is known as positive controls. ”
          “A precursor of BZ, Quinuclidin-3-ol… was used as the positive control. It was deliberately added to one or more samples. None of the laboratories knew this. ”
          Huh? if it is customary of the OPCW to include other substances, then the labs must know that this goes on. It’s not exactly secret, is it? So how come Mr Hay thinks none of the laboratories knew this? If the labs know that this goes on, which they must, if it is on the internet for all to see, then why should anyone make a fuss about BZ?

  • Michel O'Neill

    There have been several reports of the closeness between MBS of KSA and MBZ of UAE

    Apart from being a strange composition of TLA’s (three letter acronyms) the influence and strategy seem to flow from MBZ to MBS

    Just a few links

    https://www.forbes.com/pictures/5a94521b4bbe6f0fa82697ba/mbs-and-mbz/#bf79dd42421b

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/13/saudi-arabia-middle-east-donald-trump-215254

    https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2017/12/14/40135/

  • Maggie Phelan

    I would back Corbyn’s caution any day over the gungho care-less Maybot and her Baboon who waged war against Syria on the ‘intel/evidence’ provided by USAID funded terrorists on social ‘media?’
    Rebel kids being taught to act out a chemical attack while people film for MSM
    http://www.liveleaks.com/view?t=CqwzO_1523356322
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html
    Terrorists -alQaeda/alNusra/alShabat/Daesh/ISIS who were recruited by James le Mesurier BRITISH ex SAS mercenary, employed to destabilise a legitimately elected Secular Government in readiness for a US/UK/French/ISRAELI regime change?
    Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind 2013 Chemical Attack
    http://www.mintpressnews.com
    Coincidence? Le Mesurier set up the White Helmets 03/2013. Citizens of Ghouta were gassed 21/08/2013.
    http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/10/2…eption-part-1/
    Ex SAS mercenary James Le Mesurier’s White Helmets Follow the Money.
    https://thewallwillfall.org/2015/10/…-of-deception/
    Nobel peace prize for al Qaeda?
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-s…-qaeda/5522628
    Once the country is decimated the Vampire Mafia Bankers and Contractors will move in and make a ‘killing’ as always… And have that country in permanent debt to the Parasites for the rest of their lives, whilst ensuring that they do not get rid of the Petro$ in favour of the Euro$ (and Gold, of which the East and Africa have an unlimited supply.) This is the REAL reason for the chaos that is the M.E. And why Russia has turned the head of the Medusa toward it, by daring to attempt to sell their cheaper oil and gas to Europe, which will reduce the Cabal’s “PROFIT”…. and is also seriously considering alternatives to the petro$.
    “In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.”
    The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars.
    The major exception at present is, of course, Iran. Oh, I wondered why they were being demonised?
    This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world’s nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve.
    Oil traders who export Venezuelan crude or import oil products into the country have already begun converting their invoices to euros.
    So expect Venezuela to have a visit from the White Helmets or their contemporaries the Economic Hitmen, to effect a regime change any day now…
    But we will have to suffer months of the false flag propaganda first though to mesmerize us?

    What has my post to do with Salisbury?
    Well the Skripal False Flag event was the last in a long process of the demonizing of Putin propaganda and vilifying everything Russian, who just happen to be allies of Syria and have leased land for their pipelines over Syria/Iraq/and Libya.. Kirkut/SouthStream pipelines…
    This transparent chameleon false flag has paved the way now for an all out war against ‘anyone’, who DARES to get in the way of CABAL PROFITS and interfere with the Controller’s of the US/UK/France’s desire for World Hegemony.
    Read:
    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/04/17/robert-fisks-douma-report-rips-away-excuses-air-strike-syria
    This article lays the whole business out in the open, including Fisk’s report, and tells exactly who is pulling the strings, but leaves out – who is controlling the White Helmets:

    • Billy Bostickson

      Thanks, Maggie, I agree, and the same kind of twisted modus operandi was used by the Americans back in the 1980s with the “Yellow Rain” allegations against the Soviet Union and Vietnam against the Hmong guerrillas.

      Reports in the 1970s of Yellow Rain, alleged chemical/toxin weapons attacks in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, sparked the first large-scale investigation conducted by the United States into allegations of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) use.

      In September 1981 Alexander Haig, the then US secretary of state, made a stunning allegation. He claimed to have evidence that Soviet-backed forces in Vietnam and Laos had been waging chemical warfare on villagers in those countries. A dossier, released shortly after, documented eye-witness accounts – dating back to 1977 – of aircraft spraying areas with a substance that left vegetation littered with small yellow spots. Far worse were reports of horrific symptoms in the exposed populations: people who suffered stomach cramps and vomiting, before dying. This, according to a lab the US government employed, was due to deadly trichothecene toxins present in the yellow material that rained down on the villagers.

      Subsequently, a group of academic scientists led by Harvard molecular biologist Matthew Meselson questioned the validity of the evidence on which the U.S. government had based its allegations of toxin warfare. The skeptics argued that trichothecene mycotoxins occur naturally in Southeast Asia and that the alleged victims had confused chemical attacks with harmless showers of yellow feces released by swarms of giant Asian honeybees. The scientific critics also raised doubts about the reliability of the refugee testimony and the laboratory analyses.

      There was a larger context to this story. When Alexander Haig claimed that the Soviets were using chemical weapons in Laos, the Reagan administration was also trying to ratchet up the Cold War. Specifically, they were trying to get the Europeans to accept stationing nuclear-tipped medium-range missiles in Germany, the Pershing II. The Soviets were threatening to put their own missiles, the SS-20, in Poland.

      The whole chemical weapon story was another stick to beat the Soviets with.

      It ended up being a huge embarrassment to the US. The official US line was a very serious charge about a war crime, and it turned out to be bee feces.

      Credit goes to Prof. Matthew Meselson of Harvard, an entomologist who was able to out-analyze the entire US Army based on resources available in Cambridge.

      If you read this US Propaganda piece from 1983, you will see exactly the same kind of language used, same kind of allegations, same scientific hoodwinking, same media hysteria, same Intelligence source “evidence”:

      http://insidethecoldwar.org/sites/default/files/documents/Yellow%20Rain_1.pdf

      Turned out it was all LIES, and the toxin came from BEE excrerment,

      The “Yellow Rain” controversy: Are there lessons from the past?

      By a scientist in Thailand, who I greatly admire, Henry Wilde:

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279640502_The_Yellow_Rain_controversy_Are_there_lessons_from_the_past

      The Yellow Rain Affair, Lessons from a Discredited Allegation

      https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/Meselsonchapter.pdf

      Misperceptions in preparing for biological attack: an historical survey

      http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D3223.PDF

      The American political, military and scientific establishment were eventually exposed as liars and frauds.

  • Snopes

    Amazing find, Billy, I remember my uncle talking about that. His name was Scott Barnes and he wrote a book called BOHICA (bend over here it comes again) about his amazing life and the fact that he was ordered to plant “yellow rain” canisters in Vietnam. A lot of people died or were bumped off in mysterious circumstances, including a US General, he said.

    • Tom Smythe

      >>How would Hay know that? The Sputnik article points out that BZ would not have been in a toxin intended to kill… but what if the toxin wasn’t intended to kill?

      I had that same question. The Sputnik article was dated two days BEFORE the OPCW meeting on Wednesday 18 Apr 2018 that floated the idea of 3Q (quinuclidin-3-ol) merely being a control.

      OPCW schedules list both the forbidden compounds like BZ (3-quinuclidinyl benzilate) as well as forbidden precursors. BZ/QNB is listed as Schedule 2 agent but 3Q is NOT listed as a Schedule 2 precursor. 3Q is readily available online with no restrictions from Sigma Aldrich etc and, being safer to store, ship and handle, makes sense for the OPCW HQ lab as a convenient positive control.

      https://www.opcw.org/chemical-weapons-convention/annexes/annex-on-chemicals/schedule-2/

      If an analytic lab knows to expect A-234 as ‘unknown’, if the lab announces on twitter it trusts Porton Down on A-234, if 3Q is always used as positive control (AWM Hay seemed to know in advance), the overall OPCW protocol seems seriously flawed.

      I would say further that 3Q is a poor choice as it is totally unrelated chemically to organophosphates at issue. There are hundreds of those that could have chosen as positive controls of lab proficiency in identifying specific organophosphates.

      Lavrov said both BZ (3-quinuclidinyl benzilate) and an intermediate in its synthesis (presumably quinuclidin-3-ol) were detected. OPCW seems to be saying solely 3Q. It is impossible for 3Q (precursor) to have traces of BZ (product) as the latter is a larger and more complicated chemical.

      Anyone working at Labor Spiez would know perfectly well know a positive control is always associated with samples. Why get excited about 3Q then? There’s no motivation to leak the report — no cause for concern arising from OPCW’s preliminary omission of 3Q.

      >> the labs follow up by synthesizing the suspect compound and re-running it.
      No they don’t. GC-MS is insufficient to determine structure. Spiez did not have enough for nmr, they could not determine the chemical structure of A-234, they only matched it to charge/mass ratio spectra supplied by the Iranians (and/or Porton Down). What’s more, it could take many months to devise a synthetic route and purify a novel compound. That would improbably have the correct intermediates as many synthetic routes are available.

      >> the sample is run on a second instrument.
      No it is not. Ludicrous. GC instruments are self-cleaning, retention times are diagnostic, residency in the MS is microseconds. See the Journal of Spectroscopy 2016 article for the A-234 solvent extraction step for gas chromatography.

      • Tom Smythe

        I am looking now at the 12 sentence (!) Note By the Technical Secretariat from today’s OPCW meeting
        https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1612-2018_e_.pdf

        “3. The team received information on the medical conditions of the affected individuals. This included
        information on their acetylcholinesterase status since hospitalization, as well as information on the treatment regime.”

        None of that is shared, even in the vaguest way. Did Bailey and the Skripals sign off on disclosure of medical histories? Seems like all three were competent to do so. Nothing here has chain of custody control.

        “5. The team was able to conduct on-site sampling of environmental samples under full chain of custody at sites identified as possible hot-spots of residual contamination.”

        Excuse me? The collections were made after weeks of unsupervised exposure. CoC only kicked in at the time OPCW arrived. Newspaper photos show dozens and dozens of people entering and leaving the house via the door handle, some like the chubby rural policewoman, wearing no gloves or any protective gear. Amazing that anything could be left on the door handle.

        “8. The results of analysis of biomedical samples conducted by OPCW designated laboratories demonstrate the exposure of the three hospitalized individuals to this toxic chemical.”

        I believe this to be a complete falsehood. They could not possibly recover sufficient amounts of active organophosphate to identify it at such a late date in complex biological fluids. Earlier samples were not CoC but it is impossible there as well. At best, they could have studied acetylcholinesterase response in vitro to various antidotes.

        “11. The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.”

        This confirms what Lavrov had. It is practically an official announcement of A-234 salting. All those people going in and out of the Skirpal residence ungloved via the door handle, weeks and weeks of sitting out in the rain, Dr Davies saying only the three patients were ever treated, the lethality of the tiniest doses of novichoks, the recovery of the Skripals despite late recognition of the agent.

        Leonid Rink, one of the three synthetic organic chemists involved in Foliant and a subsequent thief and seller of deadly ampoules, had an interesting quote yesterday, to the effect that Skripals would be long dead if Foliant products had been used. He said the products were complex mixes of agents:

        “”OPCW data saying that a toxic chemical of high purity was used proves that it was not Novichok…. Novichok is a complex nerve-paralyzing substance consisting of a mixture of many different components and additives that decompose in different ways. If a pure substance was found, it could not be Novichok,” Rink said..

        He noted that if it was Novichok, the OPCW would have found different components that disintegrate into non-toxic components over time, and thus they would not be able to make statements on the chemical’s toxicity.

        The expert also stressed that if pure Novichok was indeed present in the substance found on the handle of the front door of Skripal’s home, Sergei and Yulia would have died right on the spot after exposure to the chemical.

        Furthermore, Rink said that the OPCW report contradicted the words of Vil Mirzayanov, who referred to himself [wrongly] as one of the creators of the Novichok-class nerve agents. Mirzayanov said that the toxin did not kill Skripals since the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals.

        “This is a fair remark, because the Novichok is a very unstable substance, which depends on [exposure to] water, on alkalis, on everything. But then the experts would have found the products of hydrolysis, and certainly not a pure substance,” Rink emphasized.

        According to Rink, Skripals could have been poisoned by fentanyl that is used in the production of narcotic substances. He added that symptoms of recovery of Skripals were similar to those of fentanyl poisoning. Rink noted that Skripals might have been sprayed with fentanyl while sitting on the bench where they were found unconscious.

        “Fentanyl immediately brings a person down. He falls immediately. The effect of fentanyl is instant,” Rink said. Moreover, the fact that no one has seen Skripals in person after the attack indicated that allegations of exposure to Novichok were false, he said. Rink added that Novichok affects the victim’s eyes, but the UK authorities had never mentioned such a symptom in any of their statements on condition of Skripals.”

        [[Actually, one of the eight eyewitness said Yulia’s eye were entirely white. The critical question what were her pupils like, too wide wide or too narrow (or neither). BZ and A-234 are instantly distinguished by that alone as they have exact opposite effects on eye muscle contraction. The bystander doctor and her husband, who attended Yulia for 30 minutes but has never been heard from since, would surely know. The emergency room intake staff would have put this at the very top of her medical history, as it is key to antidote.]]

        https://sputniknews.com/europe/201804151063573543-novichok-creator-opcw-report/

        https://thebell.io/en/the-scientist-who-developed-novichok-doses-ranged-from-20-grams-to-several-kilos/

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/novichok-nerve-agent-poison-soviet-russia-salisbury-attack-leonid-rink-vladimir-uglev-the-bell-a8265626.html

      • Patrick Mahony

        SpiezLab were Tweeting “wait for OPCW”. Like they knew 3Q was a test. How could they know that? Not much of a test if they found it but knew it was a test.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Thanks, Tom Smythe, as usual you make some interesting points, however I did notice that you failed to support my position on positive control samples made here 3 days ago.

    All I can say at this point is that I am glad my research concerning positive control samples published on this blog has been vindicated by the OPCW statement:

    I now expect a complete apology from IM for his unprovoked attacks on my knowledge of chemistry, and an explanation for his bizarre statements.

    • Tom Smythe

      This is a sufficiently opaque situation that I have nothing but respect for any and all who make a sincere effort to contribute to our understanding.

      I contacted a seemingly responsible English academic insider with decades of experience in the OPCW-CW-accredited lab scene about the sampling. It seems the classified version has not yet made the outside rounds but it will. I was told no one at Spiez leaked any documents, Lavrov was just reading from the Russian copy of the classified.

      Not sure about if that is right, where did Lavrov get BZ + 3Q from, would Spiez and the other 3 labs be identified even in State copies, why was Lavrov specifically excited about Spiez if the second lab receiving the same environmental samples also reported the same business-as-usual 3Q spiking?

      It seems OPCW has 20 approved labs to chose from, so why use Porton Down when the UK was getting a fifth set of samples anyway that they could hand over to, who else they got, Porton Down. Did OPCW also use PD for one of the labs receiving the biomedical samples? Or were 4 distinct labs involved.

      I have no idea how many enviro samples were sent in total to Spiez. There is talk now of 9 contaminated sites, cemetery now being excluded, so 9 sites plus maybe site replicates plus whatever dummy samples OPCW includes, let’s say 0-9 more. OPCW had no role in selecting the contaminated sites; PD would have determined/tainted those beforehand using all the swabs collected, assayed by either AChE enzyme inhibition after solubilization in buffered saline or solvent extraction followed by GC-MS retention and spectra peak height. OPCW could have chosen dummy Salisbury sites, lamp posts, fire hydrants, parked cars, dog poop, whatever.

      OPCW is not re-accrediting these labs, that’s done with. Labs run blanks all day long without being told. For example if the GC injection membrane had surface contamination, injecting air with a new syringe would give peaks that shouldn’t be there. I’m told only a few, or maybe only one, of these samples gets the deliberate 3Q.

      Regardless of what some non-scientist communications staffer might have written about formal protocols, it’s not clear whether a sample could have both 3Q and A-234 or whether only dummy samples could have 3Q. If OPCW spikes a real sample, that actually wouldn’t cause ambiguity because OPCW knows which vial — the odds of a site sample being in fact triply poisoned by site A-234 + site 3Q + doped 3Q + no BZ + only that vial = zilch. This keeps initial sample collection and lab busywork to a minimum, two important considerations.

      Thus it’s not clear what purpose the 3Q serves, especially if they dope a sample with the same easy chemical every time year after year war after war. I guess something to prove some lazy technician didn’t just pour the samples down the sink, ie to cover the situation where all the site samples are reported negative. This gives them at least one positive and in an unguessable place. They’re not trying to do peer-reviewed journal science here on controls. It’s all about avoiding an incident false negative.

      They can’t totally avoid incident false negatives because a bad actor could have a toxic chemical no one has every heard of before which does not jump out in chemical analysis, given the unavoidable presence of the myriad enviro or biomed contaminants, for example binaries, or nanogram-level poisons (snake bungarotoixn), or something like succinylcholine that is way toxic but rapidly metabolized.

      They may be limited too if a compound is not yet listed in their Schedule database (who is OPCW to say it implies chemical warfare) or is not yet in their infrared, nmr or fragmentation database.

      Now in the case of that free full text 2016 Iranian study, they say O-alkyl N- [bis(dimethylamino)methylidene]-P-methylphosphonamidates Novichoks are in fact listed in Schedule 2.B.04 of the CWC, both cpd3 and cpd4. No graphic attachments allowed here but the two chem structures — which are much much simpler than the names suggest — are pictured at very bottom of the article.

      Yes but ‘alkyl’ is just a big placeholder: methyl, ethyl, propyl, … octyl, whatever string of methylene carbon atoms no double bonds but branched or unbranched. Which alkyl may determine volatility, liquid or gas or solid phase, water solutbility, stability, skin permeability, AChE binding efficacy, on and on.

      Which alkyl goes with Porton Down’s A-234? That’s ambiguous because Val Mirzayanov, the non-chemist, forever muddied the terminological waters with A-234. However I expect PD alkyl will be disclosed shortly.

      Rink, as noted above, says his stolen ampoules were just a mix, why take the immense additional risk of purification when a mix of related novichoks were already very effective. We don’t know here if he was talking about the alkyl choice or some other variable substituent.

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/rcm.7757
      http://www.spectroscopynow.com/details/ezine/1591ca249b2/Iranian-chemists-identify-Russian-chemical-warfare-agents.html

      • Billy Bostickson

        Leonard Rink, hmmm, an interesting character. After his one year suspended sentence in the murder trial for the Moscow banker, where and for whom did he work? This has never been revealed. We know about Uglev who is mired in poverty and the one who defected to America and has a nice big house, but what about Rink? There was a new interview with him where he admitted to supplying Chechen terrorists with Novichok ampoules. I believe he continued to work for the some branch of the State on chemical weapons research and may even be linked to the SVR research institute, as his allegations seemed to change to reflect official Kremlin ones.
        I am in contact with several Russian journalists but Rink’s work history has not been revealed yet.

      • Billy Bostickson

        “They’re not trying to do peer-reviewed journal science here on controls. It’s all about avoiding an incident false negative..” That seems more likely.

        “I was told no one at Spiez leaked any documents, Lavrov was just reading from the Russian copy of the classified. ” Not sure about that, otherwise why the focus on Speiez lab or was Lavrov just fishing by throwing dynamite in the lake and waiting to see what emerged?

        Strange though that the declared symptoms seem to suit BZ rather than Novichok, and what about Lavrov’s coment on the unusual purity of the Novvichok?

        • Billy Bostickson

          Sorry, I just reread your previous post about the purity/Rink’s comments, just digesting it.

  • Martin Kernick

    I’d just like to thank everyone. The level of analysis found here is far higher than you’d get in most place on the internet.

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