Knobs and Knockers 1316

What is left of the government’s definitive identification of Russia as the culprit in the Salisbury attack? It is a simple truth that Russia is not the only state that could have made the nerve agent: dozens of them could. It could also have been made by many non-state actors.

Motorola sales agent Gary Aitkenhead – inexplicably since January, Chief Executive of Porton Down chemical weapons establishment – said in his Sky interview that “probably” only a state actor could create the nerve agent. That is to admit the possibility that a non state actor could. David Collum, Professor of Organo-Chemistry at Cornell University, infinitely more qualified than a Motorola salesman, has stated that his senior students could do it. Professor Collum tweeted me this morning.

The key point in his tweet is, of course “if asked”. The state and corporate media has not asked Prof. Collum nor any of the Professors of Organic Chemistry in the UK. There simply is no basic investigative journalism happening around this case.

So given that the weapon itself is not firm evidence it was Russia that did it, what is Boris Johnson’s evidence? It turns out that the British government’s evidence is no more than the technique of smearing nerve agent on the door handle. All of the UK media have been briefed by “security sources” that the UK has a copy of a secret Russian assassin training manual detailing how to put nerve agent on door handles, and that given the nerve agent was found on the Skripals door handle, this is the clinching evidence which convinced NATO allies of Russia’s guilt.

As the Daily Mirror reported in direct quotes of the “security source”

“It amounts to Russia’s tradecraft manual on applying poison to door handles. It’s the smoking gun. It is strong proof that in the last ten years Russia has researched methods to apply poisons, including by using door handles. The significant detail is that these were the facts that helped persuade allies it could only be Russia that did this.”

Precisely the same government briefing is published by the Daily Mail in a bigger splash here, and reflected in numerous other mainstream propaganda outlets.

Two questions arise. How credible is the British government’s possession of a Russian secret training manual for using novichok agents, and how credible is it that the Skripals were poisoned by their doorknob.

To take the second question first, I see major problems with the notion that the Skripals were poisoned by their doorknob.

The first is this. After what Dame Sally Davis, Chief Medical officer for England, called “rigorous scientific analysis” of the substance used on the Skripals, the government advised those who may have been in contact to wash their clothes and wipe surfaces with warm water and wet wipes. Suspect locations were hosed down by the fire brigade.

But if the substance was in a form that could be washed away, why was it placed on an external door knob? It was in point of fact raining heavily in Salisbury that day, and indeed had been for some time.

Can somebody explain to me the scenario in which two people both touch the exterior door handle in exiting and closing the door? And if it transferred from one to the other, why did it not also transfer to the doctor who gave extensive aid that brought her in close bodily contact, including with fluids?

The second problem is that the Novichok family of nerve agents are instant acting. There is no such thing as a delayed reaction nerve agent. Remember we have been specifically told by Theresa May that this nerve agent is up to ten times more powerful than VX, the Porton Down developed nerve agent that killed Kim’s brother in 15 minutes.

But if it was on the doorknob, the last contact they could possibly have had with the nerve agent was a full three hours before it took effect. Not only that, they were well enough to drive, to walk around a shopping centre, visit a pub, and then – and this is the truly unbelievable bit – their central nervous systems felt in such good fettle, and their digestive systems so in balance, they were able to sit down and eat a full restaurant meal. Only after all that were they – both at precisely the same time despite their substantially different weights – suddenly struck down by the nerve agent, which went from no effects at all, to deadly, on an alarm clock basis.

This narrative simply is not remotely credible. Nerve agents – above all “military grade nerve agents” – were designed as battlefield weapons. They do not leave opponents fighting fit for hours. There is no description in the scientific literature of a nerve agent having this extraordinary time bomb effect. Here another genuine Professor describes their fast action in Scientific American:

Unlike traditional poisons, nerve agents don’t need to be added to food and drink to be effective. They are quite volatile, colourless liquids (except VX, said to resemble engine oil). The concentration in the vapour at room temperature is lethal. The symptoms of poisoning come on quickly, and include chest tightening, difficulty in breathing, and very likely asphyxiation. Associated symptoms include vomiting and massive incontinence. Victims of the Tokyo subway attack were reported to be bringing up blood. Kim Jong-nam died in less than 20 minutes. Eventually, you die either through asphyxiation or cardiac arrest.

If the nerve agent was on the door handle and they touched it, the onset of these symptoms would have occurred before they reached the car. They would certainly have not felt like sitting down to a good lunch two hours later. And they would have been dead three weeks ago. We all pray that Sergei also recovers.

The second part of the extraordinarily happy coincidence of the nerve agent being on the door handle, and the British government having a Russian manual on applying nerve agent to door handles, is whether the manual is real. It strikes me this is improbable – it rings far too much of the kind of intel they had on Iraqi WMD. It also allegedly dates from the last ten years, so Putin’s Russia, not the period of chaos, and the FSB is a pretty tight organisation in this period. MI6 penetration is just not that good.

A key question is of course how long the UK has had this manual, and what was its provenance. Another key question is why Britain failed to produce it to the OPCW – and indeed why it does not publish it now, with any identifying marks of the particular copy excluded, given it has widely publicised its existence and possession of it. If Boris Johnson wants to be believed by us, publish the Russian manual.

We also have to consider whether the FSB really publishes its secret assassination techniques in a manual. I attended, as other senior FCO staff, a number of MI6 training courses. One on explosives handling was at Fort Monckton, not too far from Salisbury. One in a very nondescript London office block was on bugging techniques. I recall seeing rigs set up to drill minute holes in walls, turning very slowly indeed. Many hours to get through the wall but almost no noise or vibration. It was where I learnt the government can listen to you through activating the microphone in your mobile phone, even when your phone is switched off. I recall javelin like directional microphones suspended from ceilings to point at distant targets, and a listening device that worked through a beam of infra-red light, but the target could foil by closing the curtains.

The point is that there were of course no manuals for this stuff, no manuals for any other secret MI6 techniques, and these things are not lightly written down.

I would add to this explanation that I lost all faith in the police investigation when it was taken out of the hands of the local police force and given to the highly politicised Metropolitan Police anti-terror squad. I suspect the explanation of the remarkably convenient (but physically impossible) evidence of the door handle method that precisely fits the “Russian manual” may lie there.

These are some of the problems I have with the official account of events. Boris lied about the certainty of the provenance of the nerve agent, and his fall back evidence is at present highly unconvincing. None of which proves it was not the Russian state that was responsible. But there is no convincing proof that it was, and there are several other possibilities. Eventually the glaring problems with the official narrative might be resolved, but what is plain is that Johnson and May have been premature and grossly irresponsible.

I shall post this evening on Johnson’s final claim, that only the Russians had motive.

Update: I have just listened to the released alleged phone conversation between Yulia Skripal in Salisbury Hospital and her cousin Viktoria, which deepens the mystery further. I should say that in Russian the conversation sounds perfectly natural to me. My concern is after the 30 seconds mark where Viktoria tells Yulia she is applying for a British visa to come and see Yulia.

Yulia replies “nobody will give you a visa”. Viktoria then tells Yulia that if she is asked if she wants Viktoria to visit, she should say yes. Yulia’s reply to this is along the lines of “that will not happen in this situation”, meaning she would not be allowed by the British to see Viktoria. I apologise my Russian is very rusty for a Kremlinbot, and someone might give a better translation, but this key response from Yulia is missing from all the transcripts I have seen.

What is there about Yulia’s situation that makes her feel a meeting between her and her cousin will be prevented by the British government? And why would Yulia believe the British government will not give her cousin a visa in the circumstance of these extreme family illnesses?

1,316 thoughts on “Knobs and Knockers

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  • Dr. Ip

    Am I the only one laughing at this theater of the absurd?

    It reminds me of Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco (1959). Everywhere I look, people are shape-shifting into unspeakably horrid things, and they cannot see that they themselves have been transformed. Were they once human? Did they once love?

    It’s both frightening and absurdly funny.

    Next, I suppose we’ll all have to wait for Godot.

    • Dr. Ip

      Ah, so you’re the one who copped the happy ending.
      Well done.

      (By the way: Where did you leave the drugs and alcohol? I think I might need them soon!)

    • Rink

      High quality references!
      I would like to laugh. I’d love to, but it isn’t working.

  • Lenka.Penka

    A Home Office spokesman said: “We have refused a visitor visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that her application did not comply with the immigration rules.”

    You really couldn’t make this stuff up!

  • Olaf S

    I used to look up to England. Civilization, common sense, great traditions, you name it….

    • bj

      Keeping doing that! But substitute ‘The English people’ for England; this forum and others are testament to the fact that the people don’t buy the bull anymore that their government serves them! Take it from a non-Brit.

  • shoada patrick

    Thank you for your knowledge based assessment of the situation…Most astounding bit of new info…From Motorola to MOD …WOW????

  • Lenka.Penka

    What was the chain of custody?

    Were the samples sent to the OPCW even the same as the alleged poison?

    Could well have been substituted.

  • David Stevenson

    The meeting with anyone who could identify them personally would be “unwelcome” if Yulia and Sergei are no longer alive and will be outed by knowledgeable visitors. Both may “die” suddenly sometime soon if this is a clone job.


    Don’t forget they also speculated that Yulia must have brought the nerve agent in her luggage from Russia.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Unknown details of the sisters ‘ conversation Skripal: “if Julia was reading from a sheet”

    Victoria, did you know that Julia calls?

    – It was right after I gave an interview to the British media, complaining that there is no possibility to at least talk on the phone with relatives. I am in such coincidences do not believe! The call didn’t say anything, but about 11: 00 on March 5 and sent me an SMS from the British Embassy. The representative said that I was invited to 17.30. I told them that I was in the Yaroslavl and in Moscow at this time?

    What air port flew Julia? She was flying alone? You know, with what address it picked up the taxi driver?

    – She was flying alone. They showed me the footage. They Julia arrived in a yellow taxi in the Sheremetyevo. Parking the taxi driver helped her to unload — he pulled from the trunk of her large suitcase. In addition on her shoulder was a large white bag and hands a small bag with documents. The address where she was taken by the investigators, I said nothing (most likely, flat on Davydkovskaya street — approx. Ed.)

    British media say, citing sources, that you in absentia approved visa. The Coca plan of action in case if it is true?

    – All actions I agree with our Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko. After obtaining a visa, we will discuss the procedure and schedule with the British. The interpreter will on their part in order to avoid misunderstandings. Our Embassy there will give me the car and the driver. I will live on the territory of the Embassy. Plans to visit a hospital in Salisbury Scotland Yard. In Moscow, the investigator is interested in my “domestic” version, which I told you earlier. They established and tracked down the “lost” guy and Julia will be questioned. Investigators will submit a request to the Registrar to clarify whether institutionalized relationships of Yulia with this young man. I was asked to clarify the former wife of Alexander Skripal, Natalia, in what Bank she opened a Deposit where you put about 200 thousand dollars. In addition, the detectives soon will interrogate the taxi driver who picked up Julia at the airport.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Mother of Julia Skripal’s boyfriend finally named (the old mother-in-law theory) as Tatyana Vasilyevna

    Stepan’s mother – Tatyana Vasilyevna (61 years old) is an employee of the department, which is related to power structures. The merits of Tatyana Vasilievna before the country are marked by the honorable letter of the government in 2008. At that time, she was in charge of the federal state institution “Signal” Combine of the Federal Agency for State Reserves for the Central Federal District. And since 2014 she heads the Research and Production Association “Institute of Modern Security Problems”. It is a limited liability company with an authorized capital of 5 million rubles, established in 2014. The founder is the mining and metals company Norilsk Nickel. The main direction of NGOs is the development in the field of corporate security systems, integrated technical control, as well as research in the core field. In the same structure, according to friends of the family, Stepan himself worked.

  • Billy Bostickson

    LLC NPO ISPB is registered at the address: 125130, Moscow, Staropetrovsky Passage, house 11 CASE 2.

    The General Director is Vikaeva Tatyana Vasilievna.
    The main type of economic activity is “scientific research and development in the field of natural and technical sciences”.
    Also, NGO “ISPB” works in 8 other directions. The amount of the authorized capital is 5,000,000.00 rubles.
    Limited liability Company SCIENTIFIC AND PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION “INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS OF SECURITY” is assigned by INN 7743937068, check point 774301001, OGRN 1147746947424, OKPO 17868843
    Valid from 08/21/2014

  • Mary Paul

    Let us assume, hypothetically, that the FCO claim is true, that the UK has verifiable information from within Russia (maybe from an agent) that Russia has developed a small stockpile of nerve agents to use in targeted assassinations and is planning field tests. Go along with me here for a minute. News comes in from Salisbury that ex Russian agent Sergei Skripal now UK resident and daughter Yulia visiting him there have collapsed. With the recent Nerve Gas Military training exercise fresh in their minds, the FCO staff responsible for Russian Intell are alarmed at prospect of Russian nerve agents maybe used. . Start making plans to invoke support of National and EU allies if proves to be true.

    Porton Down staff scrambled onto the case and takes blood samples of the unconscious Skripals which appear to confirm poisoning with a nerve agent although cannot confirm its origin. FCO contacts NATO and EU allies who take action against Russia. A Salisbury policeman confirmed also affected as Russia vehemently denies accusations. Lots of police activity in Salisbury and apparent contamination of other sites found. OPCW invited to test the samples found and confirm Skripals blood tests.

    Then to everyone’s surprise Skripals start to recover. Why is this kept so secret? Even if everything else is true, why no photos of recovered Yulia with caption, our wonderful NHS saved her? why is the recovery of the Skripals kept so secretive?

    • sg

      I would say the easiest flaw to find in that would be why did they keep a stockpile of the nerve agent is they weren’t absolutely sure that it would work when it was deployed. Don’t you only preserve the absolute best of the crop.

    • IM

      Actually it’s way simpler.
      (a) MI6 has verifiable intelligence that Russia has a stockpile of whatever toxin;
      (b) an MI6 spy got poisoned with that toxin.

      *The proper procedure* is to make a call to OPCW to inspect the location where MI6 says Russia has that stockpile. Russia being a member of OPCW has no choice but to let the inspectors in at a moment’s notice, that’s just how it works…

      The whole thing sounds like either a work of fiction or another incident with the Iraqi taxi driver and the Rock, which was grossly miscalculated and is backfiring “bigly.”

  • Neil

    As this Moon Of Alabama article says

    Saxitoxin which can be produced in shell fish has similar effects as nerve agents
    Considered in syndromal or functional terms it could therefore be considered a ‘closely related agent’ to an organophosphate based nerve agent. It is listed alongside OP agents as a nervous system agent here:

    Also see here
    Definition: Saxitoxin
    Clinical description
    . In severe poisoning, illness typically progresses rapidly and may include gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting) and neurological (cranial nerve dysfunction, a floating sensation, headache, muscle weakness, parasthesias and vertigo) signs and symptoms. Respiratory failure and death can occur from paralysis (1-5).

    So accordingly, shellfish poisoning could be consistent with this:
    “The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.”
    When ‘closely related agent’ is understood as pertaining to a syndromal classification rather than a chemical group.

  • Mary Paul

    Supposing all this stuff about door handles is leading us up the garden path (sorry…) Supposing someone sprayed the Skripals with a vaporised version of a nerve gas, just before they were found. They put up their hands in self defence, and caught some vapor on their wrists or hands (it was very cold and damp the vapor would have condensed quickly). If they were taken to hospital and sedated and given drugs to minimise the effect, might that is why they have recovered so miraculously. In the case of the young scientist who was working on it originally and accidentally got infected, he was said to have been caught by vapor from a broken tube. It took some time for him to collapse afterwards.

    • Stephen

      There would be someone on CCTV somewhere near who the police wouldn’t have been able to exclude from their investigation and by this time if they hadn’t got the person in custody you would have thought they would have put out an appeal for anyone who could recognise the person in a CCTV image.
      It desn’t add up that they were exposed to a deadly nerve agent. Whether that is because our government isn’t telling us about a secret antidote or it just didn’t happen. If they had the secret antidote then they wouldn’t need to obfuscate about all the covering up of blocking “Novichoks” being discussed at he OPCW through the 00’s by us and the US. Why are they and the media hiding the truth about the history of the defectors. They are only talking about there time in the Soviet system and are not being asking if they had worked on anything for the nations they defected to. They would be simple questions to ask and to lie about, But the journalists aren’t even asking them.

  • copydude

    A couple of things that struck me as ominous:

    Following the British refusal to grant a Yulia’s niece, Viktoria, a visa, there is a statement by Dr Christine Blanshard of Salisbury Hospital: ’Talk of her (Yulia’s) discharge is speculative’ and ‘they (The Skripals) are likely to have on-going health needs’.

    Oh dear. It does sound as if she will be held incommunicado for some time.

    Viktoria has been giving interviews to the media for some time, complaining to the hospital that she cannot call her relative. Russian journalists have also sent the hospital the telephone numbers of various friends and relatives, including that of her mother and her fiance, and have queried the legal basis for the hospital denying any communication.

    It’s inconceivable that Yulia would not want to call home.

    There are compelling reasons for Viktoria to visit. She has to manage Yulia’s affairs in Moscow. She had planned to gain power of attorney and to visit Yulia with a lawyer. The Home Office has stomped on this one.

    In London on March 22nd, in London’s High court, the Judge declared that Yulia Skripal was almost totally incapacitated. She was alive, comatose, stable medically, but “unable to communicate in any meaningful way… It is not possible to say when or to what extent Mr or Ms Skripal may regain capacity.” 

    He ruled that in their comatose state, “it did not appear practicable or appropriate to seek the views of others who might be interested in the welfare of Ms Skripal” . . . such as her relatives.

    When Yulia appeared to make a ‘miraculous recovery’, the hospital did also not consider it necessary to inform the relatives immediately and Yulia’s only statement, a week later, was clearly not written by her.

    You can imagine Viktoria’s anxiety.

  • Jamie

    In 2003 in Slovenia 73 people were hospitalised after eating Buckwheat contaminated with Datura. Apparently it’s quite common amongst Buckwheat enthusiasts in Eastern Europe and Canada….
    I understand they had buckwheat on their cereal. How about the Policeman involved simply coming down with one of the myriad winter bugs?
    Perhaps, nothing more than a lousy coincidence, being turned into another War of Jenkins Ear?

  • Kim SaFi

    My index of suspicion started to climb when the PM’s obsession over “Blame the Russians” appeared to take precedence over any genuine concern for Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s medical condition. There was no mention of our historic legal convention of “Innocent until proven guilty” as MPs rallied around the PM in condemning Jeremy Corbyn’s call for caution. It became another stick to beat Corbyn with, but it all smelled more fishy than Farage’s trawler stunt.

    I could not understand what seemed to be a protracted delay after the Sunday incident – why wasn’t the entire area swarming with personnel in Haz-Mat suits by first thing on Monday morning? No, it didn’t become a big deal until Friday which gave the impression of an after-thought following a Cobra meeting. A golden opportunity embellished with a showy stunt to impress the MSM, rather than an attempt to identify and confine contamination or protect the chain of evidence.

    There was the strange delayed public warning urging people to wash their clothes, which once again seemed like a “let’s big this up” scare tactic. Local people would have presented at A&E convinced that they were experiencing symptoms as this is a fairly common reaction. If the heaviest concentration was on the front door handle why was this only identified weeks later? If it got onto the hands of both Sergei Skripal and his daughter when they touched the front door handle, trace amounts would then have been transferred to everything they subsequently touched and to other people who touched those newly contaminated objects.

    Then another issue made me suspicious. Unlike in the Litvinenko case, there were no heartrending pictures of the Skripals hooked up to monitors in hospital. Considering the very close proximity to Portan Down, as a logical precaution, the medical staff in that particular hospital would have been exceptionally well trained to both recognize and treat Haz-Mat cases. There are hints that they were kept sedated, but was this really just to allow their bodies time to recover or was it to keep them conveniently silent?

    Was it purely a politically motivated decision to continue stating that both Sergei and his daughter remained in a coma and could potentially die? The greater the threat to their survival the more serious the incident. While in a coma there was a reason why their best interests were being legally protected under the Mental Capacity Act, but does this legal restriction still prevent Yulia from leaving the hospital? The hospital can continue to claim that they are in a confused mental state and therefore unable to make a rational decision regarding their readiness to be discharged.

    There was no picture of Yulia Skripal awake in her hospital bed; leading me to assume that she was under the close supervision of “minders” The phone incident looked like a serious error on their part when she managed to call her family in Russia; was she handed a phone by a sympathetic nurse? It certainly appeared to catch the team off guard with a statement being released within hours and her father’s seemingly miraculous recovery announced shortly after that. How long had they been responding to treatment before Yulia got the word out that they were both OK?

    Yulia had regained consciousness days earlier; under normal circumstances getting a phone to a patient so they could contact worried family members would be a high priority. In this case did no one bother to contact the family? Are the Skripals being treated like prisoners unable to receive a family visit? Arranging for family to come here from Russia would normally have been prioritized on purely humanitarian grounds. In the Skripal’s case this reunion is being blocked with the excuse that “Victoria is being used as a political porn.” We have no right to make that assumption.

    Yulia is a foreign national who was attacked on our soil; we should be deeply ashamed of the hostile attitude we have shown towards her closest relative in Russia. I think that if the UK government have nothing to hide they should be not only granting a visa they should be funding the relatives travel. That would demonstrate that the UK wanted to take the moral high ground; instead we are still crawling through the moral sewer! No matter who is to blame, the Skripals have been exploited for political reasons; I don’t doubt there are those who are annoyed at their recovery, but enough is enough: where is our humanity?

    • Patrick Mahony

      I agree. And as Yulia is now compos mentis why can she not instruct her own solicitor? I’m sure Gareth Pierce would represent her pro bono.
      It looks like they are being effectively held prisoner in the guise of being “wards of court”. Like the Princes in the Tower.

    • copydude

      Excellent comment, Kim.

      You write: “The phone incident looked like a serious error on their part when she managed to call her family in Russia; was she handed a phone by a sympathetic nurse? It certainly appeared to catch the team off guard.”

      I think it’s a certain that Yulia made a ‘forbidden call’. Already it is being touted as fake in the press. The Guardian, amongst others, is not reporting the phone call as fact. These lines are from two articles published on April 5, 2018. Quote:

      Viktoria released *what she said* was a recording of a phone call between her and Yulia. 

      The audio recording of a conversation *said to be* between Yulia and Viktoria was played on a talkshow on the Russian state-run television station Russia-1.

      *A voice said to be that of Yulia said*: “Everything’s OK, everything can be solved, everything can be healed.”

      *The UK has not confirmed the call took place*

      Of course she is imprisoned. I am personally very fearful for this woman’s safety.

  • Paul Hunter

    The geopolitical backdrop to the sour relations between the West and Russia:

    The Pentagon Is Planning a Three-Front ‘Long War’ Against China and Russia

    This is after the other “Long War” against terrorism is (apparently) winding up. This is the Deep State in action, it’s got nothing to do with who is elected (not that there is much difference between them). Then there is the overarching “Wolfowitz Doctrine” of preventing the re-emergence of a regional power after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • mark

    This was almost certainly a Mark II Killer Door Knob, standard issue to the Leningrad KGB.
    The only problem with its use (this is all set out in the KGB assassination manual) is that the assassin has to remain in position to intercept any postman/ double glazing cold caller/ gas and electricity utilities cold caller/ charities chugger/ others from approaching the door until the target emerges from inside and grips the door handle.
    The police investigation should check urgently whether any postmen/ cold callers/ chuggers have gone missing from the area recently under mysterious circumstances.

  • mark

    Maybe in due course the Skripals will be found dead in a field in a bizarre “suicide” pact like David Kelly.
    Or else they will have a sudden very unfortunate relapse from some complication or other.
    They seem to be virtual prisoners now, held incommunicado for a month with no visitors and no photographs and no convincing explanation for this.
    They won’t see the light of day unless MI6 is sure they are singing from the correct hymn sheet.
    Perhaps threatening to cancel his MI6 pension will be enough to ensure compliance.
    Nothing that Yulia says can be given much credence until she is safely back in Russia.
    The heroic Sergeant Nick Bailey also seems to have disappeared without trace. Does he exist? The name sounds a bit generic, like Nick Barton, Special Agent.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Daily Mail is now mentioning the identity of the FSB mother-in-law,Tatyana Vasilyevna Vikeeva, and suggests that the Skripals to be given new Identities and not content with cremating their pets they will now completely demolish their house:

    Sources have also revealed Mr Skripal’s £400,000 house in Salisbury may be demolished to completely expunge traces of the Russian-made Novichok nerve agent.

    • G.Bng

      And sky has just reported in Press Preview that they are to be given a new identity and asylum in the US which means that the official version is the nearest to the truth we will ever get.

  • Madeira

    Has no one else seen the Daily Mail story

    Daughter of poisoned Russian spy ‘to be given new identity and granted political asylum to live in Britain’

    Yulia Skripal due leave hospital after being poisoned with father Sergei

    Concerns for her safety if she returns back to Russia where she has boyfriend

    Sources have said Mr Skripal’s home in Salisbury may have to be demolished

    Local MP said he would ‘welcome the offer of asylum to Yulia Skripal’

    • copydude

      “Daughter of poisoned Russian spy ‘to be given new identity”

      In other words, she will cease to exist. Disappear without trace.

      Viktoria needs that human rights lawyer now.

  • Godfrey Hutchins

    It’s incredible how the general public will believe anything and everything that this government gives out. Anyone with any intelligence should feel a certain sense of disbelief with the official narrative. It wouldn’t be the first time the Intellgence services have lied to the general public. Remember Iraq and WMD’s. False Flag springs to mind for some reason.
    Who benefits most from this. This bloody government.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Tatiana Vikeeva’s “Sponsor”

    Novye Izvestia found out what achievements allowed Vladislav Gasumianov to receive an honorary state award, which is rarely awarded to representatives of big business. It turned out that the 58-year-old Gasumyanov can not be called a public persona. In the past, the vice-president of Norilsk Nickel worked in the structures of state security, and is currently working on developments that have the status of increased secrecy. However, it is known that the Order of Honor was awarded to him for work on corporate protection systems for strategically important enterprises in the Russian economy.

    • Madeira

      And yet another timely article:

      The Novichok timebomb: Nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy and his daughter was specially designed to take four hours to kill them so their assassins could flee Britain

      Novichok comes in the form of clear, odourless gel which was smeared on door

      By chance, doctors with chemical weapons training were on duty at the hospital

      Former commander of UK’s chemical weapons praised the medical staff

      Skripals understood to be helping police and the Security Services find culprits

      • copydude

        “By chance, doctors with chemical weapons training were on duty at the hospital”

        Just fancy that.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Just read that , thanks, I couldn’t stop laughing, Ha ha ha ha … HA HA HA HA … I reckon it’s that Hamish chappie behind all this, now they are going to erect 9 foot fences to heighten story visibility, ha ha ha ha,

        “Russian agents chose to strike on a Sunday morning so no postmen or delivery men would be exposed accidentally to the nerve agent.”

        Daily Mail/Hamish/MI5 obviously don’t want readers getting the wrong idea that the Russians actually care about dead posties, so they add on the following:

        “Any third parties touching the door handle before the Skripals would have required the agents to reapply the gel to the door handle, at the risk of being seen doing so.”

  • Mr Wu Tang Ho Esq.

    Sunday Times article.

    Sergei and Yulia Skripal will be offered new identities and a new life in America in an attempt to protect them from further murder attempts.

    Intelligence officials at MI6 have had discussions with their counterparts in the CIA about resettling the victims of the Salisbury poisoning. “They will be offered new identities,” a senior Whitehall figure said.

    Senior sources revealed both victims were conscious and would soon begin helping investigators with their inquiries into the nerve agent attack on March 4. Yulia, 33, a Russian citizen, has rejected demands by the Russian embassy in London that it provides her and her father with consular support — a move that has convinced British officials she might move to the West permanently.

    The details emerged as Boris Johnson launched a blistering attack on Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of being “the Kremlin’s useful idiot” for refusing to blame Russia for the poison plot.

    The foreign secretary said the Labour leader was playing “Putin’s game” by refusing to say “unequivocally . . . that the Russian state was responsible”.

    In an article for The Sunday Times, Johnson accuses the Kremlin of peddling “an avalanche of lies and disinformation” about the attack and says Corbyn is endorsing this “torrent of absurdity”. He writes: “There is only one thing that gives the Kremlin succou­r and lends false credibility to its propaganda onslaught. That is when politi­cians from the targeted countries join in. Sadly, I am driven to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn has joined this effort.”

    The foreign secretary said Corbyn came from an “infantile leftist background” that led him to sympathise with “any country, any movement, however unappealing, that is hostile to Britain”. He concludes: “Corbyn shames himself by lending it succour. Truly he is the Kremlin’s useful idiot.”

    While Sergei Skripal, 66, is awake, his recovery is “further behind” that of his daughter, but one source said ministers “hope they can both assist us with what happened soon”. Despite their recovery, senior officials said life for the Skripals “would likely never be the same again” and that they could have injuries that would “require ongoing medical care”.

    Security sources said Britain would want to ensure their safety by relocating them with one of the “five eyes” countries, the intelligence-sharing partnership that also includes America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    “The obvious place to resettle them is in America, because they’re less likely to be killed there and it’s easier to protect them there under a new identity,” an intelligence source familiar with the negotiations added.

    “There’s a preference for them to be resettled in a five-eyes nation because their case would have huge security implications.”

    Senior figures in Downing Street are seeking to persuade the national security adviser, Mark Sedwill, and Britain’s spy chiefs to reveal more of the intelligence that convinced Britain’s allies that the novichok nerve agent used in the attack came from Russia.

    In his article, Johnson lays out the case against Russia, which minister­s hope will receive a boost — perhaps as early as Wednesday — from the Organisation for the Prohib­ition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, which is expected to confirm that the nerve agent was novichok.

    The chemical weapons expert Hamis­h de Bretton-Gordon, who has been briefed on “some of the intelligence”, called on the government to “reveal a little more of the evidence”.

    De Bretton-Gordon said he was “100% confident” that Russia was responsible: “I am absolutely clear that the Russians are guilty of this and the UN security council should take them to task for it.”

    Intelligence sources have cast doubt on claims that Britain has emasculated Russia’s spy network in the West despite having more than 150 of its diplomats expelled from 28 countries, including 23 from the UK.

    The Kremlin has spies in the UK, unconnected to the Russian embassy, who have continued to carry out intelligence-collecting operations.

    “Russia’s illegals programme specialises in running agents who have nothing to do with the embassy in London,” another intelligence source said. “So the Kremlin would not just be relying on diplomatic cover for its intelligence collection.”

    Russia’s ambassador to the UK sought to muddy the waters further yesterday by demanding a meeting with Johnson. The foreign secretary accused Moscow of a “diversionary tactic”.

    Johnson has been under pressure since Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the defence research laboratory at Porton Down, said last week that his scientists had not confirmed precisely where the novichok was made — an interview authorised by the Ministry of Defence.

    That led to an ambiguous interview the foreign secretary gave to German television being exhumed. In it, Johnson claimed scientists at Porton Down had been “absolutely categorical” in telling him there was “no doubt” about the origin of the nerve agent.

    Critics said he had wrongly claimed that Porton Down had blamed Russia. Johnson’s allies argue that he was saying Porton Down had no doubt the substance was novichok.

    The Sunday Times understands that security officials around Sedwill have now “seized control” of the media response to the attacks.

    A Labour spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly said the evidence points to Russia being responsible, directly or indirectly, and that the Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of evidence. Boris Johnson has made a fool of himself. These ridiculous insults won’t distract attention from the fact that he has clearly misled the public over vital issues of national security.”

    • Mary Paul

      Remind me again why the Skripals were targeted? and are the UK authorities really planning to knock down chunks of Salisbury. where the Skripals visited? When there have been no other victims besides the policeman, indeed absolutely no sign of anyone In the general public being affected ?

      • Mr Wu Tang Ho Esq.

        Nobody has ever seen Mr Skripal or his (multi-faced) Daughter…

        And now….. they never will!

        And that’s not including the disappearing policeman…

      • Mary Paul

        And why kill them now, just before the World Cup? And why with novichok? Also what to make of the quote :”The $unday Times understands security officials around [Mark] Sedwill [the UK’s national security advisor] have now seized control of the media response to the attacks.”.

          • Mary Paul

            I assume Mark Sedwill and staff are now controlling all official contact with the media over the Skripals and FCO has to clear all press contact with them first . Assume D notice in place.

            I do not share the antipathy of some here to Boris J but FCO has made a total Horlicks of this. And why does Boris keep frothing at the mouth over Corbyn’ s response, given we have been told he was not made party to all the facts.

            Government seems to have forgotten we still remember Tony Blair and the WMD in Iraq scandal.

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