Senior Civil Servants Still Deeply Sceptical of Russian Responsibility for Skripal Poisoning 590

Well-placed FCO sources tell me it remains the case that senior civil servants in both the FCO and Home Office remain very sceptical of Russian guilt in the Skripal case. It remains the case that Porton Down scientists have identified the chemical as a “novichok-style” nerve agent but still cannot tie its production to Russia – there are many other possibilities. The effort to identify the actual perpetrator is making no headway, with the police having eliminated by alibi the Russian air passenger on the same flight as Julia Skripal identified as suspicious by MI5 purely on grounds of the brevity of their stay.

That senior civil servants do not regard Russian responsibility as a fact is graphically revealed in this minute from head of the civil service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, sent to officials following the attack on Syria. Note the very careful use of language:

Their work was instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility for the Salisbury attack

This is very deliberate use of language by Sir Jeremy. Exactly as I explained with the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” about the nerve agent, you have to parse extremely carefully what is written by the senior civil service. They do not write extra phrases for no reason.

Sir Jeremy could have simply written of Russian responsibility as a fact, but he did not. His reference to “the government’s position on Russian responsibility” is very deliberate and an acknowledgement that other positions are possible. He deliberately refrains from asserting Russian responsibility as a fact. This is no accident and is tailored to the known views of responsible civil servants in the relevant departments, to whom he is writing.

This in no way detracts from the fact that Sir Jeremy takes it as read that it is the duty of civil servants to follow “the Government’s position”. But it is an acknowledgement that they do not have privately to believe it.

Allied missile strikes on Syria – a message from the Head of the Civil Service

In the early hours of 14 April, the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the United States and France launched a series of co-ordinated strikes on sites in Syria linked with the production and storage of chemical weapons. This was in response to the use of prohibited chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against the civilian population of Douma, whose horrific consequences were widely reported.

I want to thank civil servants in a number of departments, but especially in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development, Department for Health and Social Care (and Public Health England), Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and the Cabinet Office, for their work after the attack on Douma and throughout the allied operation. This response was designed to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and as a deterrent to their future use.

Coming after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury just over a month ago, I also want to take this opportunity to renew my gratitude to the hundreds of public servants – at home and abroad – involved in the response to that attack and the ongoing investigation. Their work was instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility for the Salisbury attack and the participation of many nations in the diplomatic sanctions that followed.

We could wish it was in different circumstances. However, the response to the Salisbury incident and the chemical attack on Douma showed the public service at its best: collaborative, professional and quick to act in the national interest, even under the greatest pressure.

Jeremy Heywood
Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service

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590 thoughts on “Senior Civil Servants Still Deeply Sceptical of Russian Responsibility for Skripal Poisoning

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  • Tatyana

    russian news today –
    “…before the staged chemical attack we warned … chemicals were delivered from Turkey through boundary transition point in Atma…”
    “… many of these ‘White Helmets’ are US, Israeli and Turkish intelligence personell, sponsored by Saudi…” – Ahmad Kazem
    “… captured men reported who and where prepared chemical and biological samples. We are well informed it was done by the UK in the Jordan territory” – Eugeniy Satanovsky

  • Peter

    If you see patent and in its pdf file with detaile ddescription on page 13 you will see option to include Novichok in the bullet that can injur target and by having posionous substance it can inflict additional injury or death to target.
    The patent is filed on May 02, 2012 and accepted as patent on December 01, 2015.
    These facts pose several profound questions of whole affair related to accusing Russia as “highly likely” directly involved in incident.
    People who are professionals and senior civil servants do not take for granted all what Theresa May and Boris Johnson said because they do know that all that matter has multiple dimensions that should beinvestigated before launching such a campaign.

  • certa certi

    ‘russian [fake] news today…many of these ‘White Helmets’ are US, Israeli and Turkish intelligence personell’

    How stupid when just one would suffice. Tch tch all those duelling satphones must be blocking inmarsat again. Just as well Russian fake news is so obviously fake

    • Tatyana

      @certa certi
      you can’t declare news are fake on the basis it comes from Russia 🙂 It makes no sence.
      Israeli have their interest in this war -> against Iran
      Turkish -> against Kurdi (they’ve already took Afrin and will not pass it to Assad)
      US -> I still wonder what do they do in Syria? Ah, support those ‘moderate rebels’ against Assad

      It is more useful to follow all sources. For example, Russian ambassador enquired Word Health Organisation to find out the source of that news about chemical attack in Douma. W.H.O answered they got this information from Gaziantep, Turkey. Something about 500 km from the place of reported attack + borders + military zones. I see no way it could be received from those ‘victims’.

  • Paul Barbara

    This story may have been commented on already:
    ‘Russia: Chlorine Gas From Germany Found in Syria’s Ghouta’:

    ‘…Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Zakharova said: “Syrian government troops have found containers with chlorine, the most deadly chemical weapon, brought from Germany, along with smoke barrels made in the city called – guess where – Salisbury in the United Kingdom……”

    • Mary Paul

      smoke barrels made in Salisbury – I assume this means grenades. Anyone like to enlighten me on m where in Salisbury manufactures smoke grenades?

          • Mary Paul

            I don’t really know why I am bothering but I had a very good friend who worked in pyrotechnics……Pains Wessex was a merger of two famous British firework companies and operated in the Salisbury area until 1981. Then they sold up and the company name was bought by someone who builds displays for big firework displays somewhere near, but not in , Salisbury. As far as I know the modern firework firm do not make military smoke grenades for the British military . The leading modern military smoke grenades makers today are a firm called Chemring..

            In fact the same(explosive) principles are used for ejector seats, distress flares and I assume military smoke grenades. And historically Pains Wessex do seem to have made military smoke grenades in Salisbury but that was before they sold up in 1981. The P-W grenades in the Canadian Military Museum date from 1976.

            Separately, looking at the links you provided, the Pains Wessex name is used by a company who make distress flares for ships and operates out of premises in Havant, 45 miles from Salisbury . As a maker of ships distress flares I assume they have overseas agents in many countries including in the middle East..

            I should be sorry to think any British false flag operation would be so poorly conceived as to use 37 year old smoke grenades – who could say if they would even still work reliably after all that time?

          • IM

            “I should be sorry to think any British false flag operation would be so poorly conceived as to use 37 year old smoke grenades”

            We’re talking about apples… and chicken livers! The smoke grenades have nothing to do with “any British false flag” you patently failed to digest and realise that the grenades and the “chemical false flag” are only related by place- East Gouta but *nobody* suggested that the grenades were for the “false flag,” have they???

            In related news, do you think that the numerous tomahawks that Trump fired just a few days ago were manufactured recently???

          • Tatyana

            I suppose it must be easy to track the way Salisbury smoke grenades got to Eastern Guta? They maust have some labels or may be batch numbers or something like barcodes on the boxes?
            I doubt Salisbury will answer any Russian or Syrian query.

          • IM

            The one shown in the video had its lot no. wiped off by the looks of it, and looking at the warmuseum website it looks like they just apply it with ink, wiping any ink, even when it’s sold as “permanent” is a fairly easy thing to do, just need to have the right solvent.

          • Mary Paul

            Pains Wessex as in the Fireworks manufacturer? they make distress flares for incidents at sea and, according to the link above, are based in Havant which is 45 miles away in the county of Hampshire and certainly not in Salisbury. Is this false news?

          • Tatyana

            I see ‘Salisbury England’ print both on grenade from video and on grenade from museum. I’m pretty sure my eyes are OK 🙂 , because I’m engaged in very precise work (jewelry) and check my vision capability regularly.

          • IM

            @Mary Paul,
            So based on that logic the Russians got THE Canadian War museum to lie about what Pains Wessex Ltd does too? Give me a break!

          • Mary Paul

            OK Tatyana for the last time. Pain-Wessex have not been in business in Salisbury since 1981 when they sold up their pyrotechnics/ fireworks business. Other businesses bought the trading name but do not make smoke grenades.The grenades you quote as being made by Pains-Wessex in Salisbury, on display in the Canadian magazine, are dated 1976 so made before Pains Wessex left Salisbury in 1981. The Pains-Wessex trading name is used today by a company who make rocket flares for distress at sea. These are not military smoke grenades. The company is based in Havant in Hampshire ( – this is the location on the map reference you provided.) This is not Salisbury and no where near it. As international sellers of distress rockets, this company may well have agents and stockists in the Middle East

          • Tatyana

            @Mary Paul
            Thanks for your information!
            If these smoke grenades are newly-made but still have print ‘Salisbury England’, so, they must be examined closely, I think. I’m especially interested if they are smoke grenades or have other stuffing.

    • Tatyana

      Russian news agency reports OPCW inspectors refuse to meet Douma residents or to speak to them, they still didn’t move to supposed gas attack site, they didn’t visit hospital. Syrian authorities are afraid they will repeat Khan-Sheikhun scheme, when OPCW inspectors made ‘remote study of evidence’. (in russian)
      Underground tunnels built by those ‘moderate rebels’

  • Paul Barbara


    So what do the Pro-FUKUS narrative commenters here think the West’s proxy mercenary headchoppers and their PR agency, the White Helmets, would do now, even without specific orders? Stage yet another CW False Flag attack or hoax, right?
    Can you really not see the logic, so when (not if) the poxies stage another attack or hoax, you will still believe our governments and MSM lies that ‘Assad done it’?

  • Paul Barbara

    Another point re smoke grenades/canisters: a number of medical sources said patients were affected by ‘smoke inhalation’, it was thought from fires caused to upper stories, but could just as easily (perhaps more so) been by planted smoke ordinance.

    • copydude

      April 19, 2018 at 19:12
      ‘How did any contaminants get to the police station? The Skripals were never there.’

      Thanks to the BBC, I can now clear this up for you. The station was contaminated via the Evidence Room! The BBC goes on to reveal:

      “Defra’s chief scientific adviser Ian Boyd said Novichok was still present at “hotspots” around the city.”We already know there are some high concentrations within those locations,” he said.

      Wiltshire council’s offices will close for up to eight weeks from Friday. (Today.)

      The nerve agent does not evaporate or disappear over time and intense cleaning with caustic chemicals is required to get rid of it.

      Only “a very small amount” was used on the pair, who were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on 4 March. Almost 200 military personnel will help with the decontamination work.”

      Unfortunately, there is no such convenient explanation for contamination of the council offices, while the reference to ‘intense caustic cleaning’ would appear to be at odds with previous ‘expert’ opinion that novichok could be simply washed off and the doorhandle dose being rendered non-lethal after being diluted with rainwater.

      It’s soooh annoying when they keep changing the story.

      • Tom Smythe

        >the reference to ‘intense caustic cleaning’ would appear to be at odds with previous ‘expert’ opinion that novichok could be simply >washed off and the doorhandle dose being rendered non-lethal after being diluted with rainwater…

        Everything was double plastic-bagged, sealed, signed and labelled at the scene. Lead guy had a list of sample targets taped to the back of his hazmat costume. In police forensics, they don’t normally grab evidence, throw it in the back of a pickup truck, and dump it on the floor of a warehouse. They should have just left the bench as it was, to recover Salisbury tourism.

        Uglev said the other day “I have no doubt that it was A-234 that poisoned them. Judging by how pure the test sample is, this may well have been a batch I made with my own hands. It has a long shelf life, virtually no expiry date…. My right hand got covered in nerve agent… put it in hydrochloric acid right away then washed it with a special alkaline solution with hydrogen peroxide.” BBC’s Rosenberg according to RT.

        Definition of caustic. 1 : a caustic agent: such as. a : a substance that burns or destroys organic tissue by chemical action. b : a strong corrosive alkali (such as sodium hydroxide)


        Meanwhile, back on the Easter Miracle (recovery of the Skirpals from a 10x lethal dose of novichok, helped by a second miracle today of “a very small dose”), I came across some really incredible review papers (all open source) on the status of novichok antidotes by Dr. Patrick Masson of UNMC.

        Never heard of the guy but wow an incredible grasp of cross-silo science — 307 scientific papers with 8 303 cites. (That’s a lot: I have 6 800, already enough for 85th percentile.) I really recommend reading the first paper … solid readable information on topics that we have merely been opining on. the 2010 classic (published in Arch Biochem Biophys !!!) 2009 bioscavenger BChE March 2018 review links to all papers, work of colleague Oksana Lockridge

        It’s stated above that the Skirpals had the symptoms of BZ rather than OP poisoning. Upon reviewing near-real time statements from eight park bench eyewitnesses (ie prior to onset of the clumsy disinformation campaign), I respectfully disagree. The symptoms are diametrically opposed and distinguishable right at the park bench by lay people from dilation vs contraction of the iris pupillae. Yulia’s eyes were white, she had seizures, loss of sphincter control and so on —> AChE inhibitor. Nobody volunteers for what she had. Some transparency would have served the authorities far better than this knee-jerk security reflex.

        The follow-on medical treatments are wildly different because BZ is just extra-strength atropine, a non-covalent competitive blocker of the five post-synaptic muscarinc gene products CHRM1-5, all conventional 8TM GPCR in the rhodopsin subgroup of the GRAFS classification.

        Novichoks form largely irreversible covalent adducts to the homologous active site serines of butyryl and acetyl choline esterases, in addition to modifying exposed tyrosine hydroxyls in numerous unrelated proteins such as albumin and tubulin (incidentally a strong candidate for low-dose persistent gulf war syndrome).

        Masson has a great discussion of how leaving groups and aging in OP poisoning complicate the task of identifying the agent here from victim plasma (be it the perp’s agent or salted in later). What they’re doing now is running dosed plasma BChE onto an OP high-affinity sephadex column, not trying to elute but fragmenting in situ with trypsin, not derivatizing but dumping directly onto a LTQ MS.

        While PD and OPCW are gesticulating in the general direction of A-234 (but slightly beyond to rare variant), remember an accurate structure of that has never been published: Val M was no chemist; his book’s depiction is wrong. Uglev knows but has never disclosed. Rink was wrapped up in A-242 (novichok 5) which the Soviet military settled on. Edgewood knows because they got the stuff when the Uzbeck lab was disassembled. The CIA knows because they got theirs then too. The Iranian researchers know but didn’t label their figures with this terminology. The treaty Schedules reference generic chemical classes and don’t use A-series or novichok terminology.

        Recall that kid at Princeton who designed a working hydrogen bomb without using classified documents? Well, joe terrorist can figure out too about what structure PD is reporting (and make some in a cheap glove box with ebay chemicals, as Dr Collum of Cornell noted). However joe couldn’t purify it to what is reported here without killing himself; that would have to be done in a carefully equipped state-supported research laboratory. Not that many of those that additionally had motivation. That’s the big breakthrough in attribution, not synthetic impurities or regional isotopes.

        The whole discussion of structure can be hung around progressive substitutions on the phosphorus atom. That normally occurs in nature as a phosphate, PO4, one atom of phosphorus and four of oxygen and one double bond. In the early rounds of warfare organophosphates, one of the single-bond oxygens is replaced by a fluorine atom, another with a methyl group CH3, and a third with a nitrogen that in turn has some bulky side chain of its own like a couple of dimethyl amines.

        In ‘third generation’ OPs, the nitrogen substituent will be the leaving group when the toxin makes its covalent bond with the hydroxyl of the amino acid serine occupying the 178th position in the catalytic active site of the BChE protein sequence. In ‘fourth generation’ novichoks, the fluorine is replaced by any off-the-shelf aliphatic alcohol, maybe just ethanol or maybe pinacolyl as in soman. The histidine in the active site triad can stabilize the additional loss of some alkyl groups (aging) which when loose can rearrange itself in microseconds into mixes.

        Thus Porton Down could confirm a covalent modification of the BChe serine by a 3rd or 4th gen organophosphate (ie establish a novichok class AChE poisoning event ) but would not be able to identify either the original nitrogen substituent group nor the aging alkyl — those are both long gone and different from what they were originally.

        Unless that is, they go with bystander modified tyrosines in serum albumin which would give them the alkyl group. (The first leaving group is not that diagnostic, usually just being tetra methyl guanidine.) However if the agent were stable to hydrolysis and over-applied, PD could have sufficient amounts and purity in the environmental samples to identify the compound directly. Presumably it agrees with what little can be determined from blood samples.

        Antidotes like BChE are a double-edged sword because administered prior to exposure, they protect against essentially all OP from insecticides to novichoks. The US DOD spent many millions on BChE, producing it in bulk in genetically engineered goat milk. The idea was to protect soldiers going into war zones where OP might be used.

        At the same time, pre-administered (prophylactic) BChE will also safeguard (encourage) an assassin from accidental exposure, ie no suspicious gloves or breathing canister. With skin penetration, you can get away with a quick clean-up: as with Uglev’s anecdote or the Malaysian airport assailants using VX but not affected themselves after wash-up.

        So on the antidote side, ‘miraculous recovery’ does seem feasible even for a rth gen Novichok, in conjunction with moderate exposure and routine ER management of symptoms (eg dialysis, assisted breathing, seizure suppression). They’re implying this agent was of the nasty aging type, so oxime resistant, so they waited around a few weeks for the normal process of AChE to turn over and be replaced by newly synthesized.

        Not saying this is what happened but some leaks here are way too subtle for politicos. Instead they are dog whistles pitched at outside biochemists and toxicologists in the CW biosphere.

  • Paul Barbara

    Another Labour MP who is not afraid to say it like it is:
    ‘UK airstrikes in Syria based on ‘hearsay’ – Labour MP Chris Williamson (VIDEO)’:

    He is talking absolute sense – why is he in such a tiny minority among our well-paid, snouts-in-the-trough MP’s?
    Oh, I gave the game away. And who are most of the Warmongering gung-ho ‘we don’t need no evidence’ brigade? I’m sure many, if not most, are ‘Friends’ of a certain ME country that obviously has a dog in the race.
    What overwhelmingly abominable and revolting ‘people’ we are led by, and what abominable and revolting MSM we have that feeds their War Mongering lies and False Flag attacks and hoaxes.

  • Dave Lawton

    Britain is the second biggest arms dealer in the world. And the quiet picturesque city of Salisbury plays host to the largest shop window of arms outside of the United States. With the British armed forces demonstrating their wares. Does not leave much to the imagination.Remember Lord of War Starring Nicolas Cage.
    “British troops have been put to work demonstrating the wares of arms companies ranging from drone manufacturers to cyber-warfare specialists for a range of foreign buyers over the past two years.”

  • Billy Bostickson

    I posted this update on the wrong page so reposing here (sorry MODS) aout the Skripal mystery, but somewhere is better than nowhere ?

    Two stories From my friend, Lev Speransky at wish we had some investigative reporters like him in the UK media):

    1. Poisoning of the Skripals: there was an abandoned car and a “secret apartment” of Julia

    The article reveals more details of the mother-in-law’s background and where Tatyana Vasilyevna is from. Stepan’s grandfather on the mother – the hero of the Great Patriotic War Vasilii Iosifovich Piraev (born in 1919), awarded the Order of the Patriotic War II degree. Another grandfather on the father’s side, the Red Army man Stepan Fedorovich Vikeev (born in 1917) had the Order of the Patriotic War of the 1st degree.

    Stepan’s father comes from the Abkhazian village of Leckhop. As explained to us by the local precinct, the Vikeyevs left Abkhazia before the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992-1993, there were no relatives there.

    It becomes clear why Tatyana Vasilievna treated her future daughter-in-law with some coolness – with such heroic ancestors, Julia’s father would always remain for her first and foremost a traitor.

    Photograph of boyfriend, Stepan Vikeev, still on the run:

    the Russian investigative authorities opened a criminal case. And Vikeev is the last one whom Skripal used to communicate with before leaving for London. There are two options: either Stepan was interrogated and recommended to keep quiet by the FSB (Julia can not contact him either), or he is hiding not only from journalists, but also from law enforcement. And this already raises questions.

  • Billy Bostickson

    Second Story (riposting from wrong page)

    2. Yulia Skripal in the hospital had a fit of hysteria

    Sergei Skripal’s daughter tried to get through to her boyfriend, and he did not pick up

    hospital staff told reporters that on April 5, Julia suffered a severe hysterics. When the doctors found that the telephone conversation was not dangerous for the patient’s health, she was allowed to call relatives. Having received the handset, the girl first dialed the number of her boyfriend – Stepan Vikeev , but the man stubbornly ignored the challenges. This was a blow for Julia, and she gave up her nerves.

    When the hysteria ended, Skripal in frustrated feelings and contacted her cousin – Victoria, who recorded their conversation in 1 minute 47 seconds and betrayed his publicity in the media.

    Must admit I was a bit worried by one line in the Google translation:

    “In the room, foreign journalists were able to penetrate Julia”

    No wonder she wants the media to leave her alone!

    • Tom Smythe

      >Yulia tried to get through to her boyfriend, and he did not pick up

      Thanks for chasing that down, those two angles have been floating around for quite a while with little follow-up. Her niece Viktoria said it hit the fan when Yulia started talking about marriage and a family, the clock is ticking at 33. Stepan was ok with the status quo and had been “acting strange’ according to Viktoria.

      Sergei reportedly had just signed over the powers of attorney to Yulia in regards to her inheritance of £200,000. That came from the estate of her brother Alexander (aka Sasha) who supposedly died of liver failure. Sergei had bought Alexander and his wife a home in the UK. The widow, now re-married to a tennis coach in Cyprus (do they have a lot of these?), got the other half from the house sale. Julia very recently deposited her share in a Russian bank. That’s a chunk of change, even for Moscow. I’m skeptical she would have an estate plan. It would appear that prior to marriage, Stepan would not be in line to inherit (but then who would, probably back to family).

      Stepan’s mother might well have access to stolen Novichok given her associations and family history. The UK looked at the suitcase, cosmetics, clothes, buckwheat, and friend bringing bay leaf angle, claiming it didn’t pan out. So who came over to the UK as the perp? Not Stepan or the mother, that would have left a big visa trail. Perhaps colleagues of the person who sold the stolen Novichok.

      • Tom Smythe

        Cut myself off there. To continue, Yulia would naturally be upset when Stepan didn’t pick up the phone. She took this as confirmation that his family was behind the poisoning of herself and her dad. Can someone actually disappear in Russia? Maybe if your mother is well-connected.

        Stepan’s been described as a poet or whatnot, so maybe pussy and dominated by a strong mother. I’ve long wondered if Stepan’s dad (husband of Tatyana Vasilievna) had been in the intelligence service, possibly one of those suffering from Sergei’s betrayal. He is supposedly a semi-invalid living down in some rural dacha.

        Stepan may be convinced his mother is behind the poisoning, even if she isn’t. He may believe he knows too much and he’s next.

        Yulia bounced around a lot with crummy call center and receptionist jobs. Viktoria put this down to her disliking all manner of work, from being the spoiled favorite child of her dad. If so, she would have been looking forward to the inheritance, happy marriage, and motherhood. She was in Salisbury for the anniversary of Alexander’s death. He, not Pablo Miller, was the “man in the mirror” in that bar photo scene that is so often displayed undated in the press.

        Overall, the UK scenario minders really do not want this angle to gain traction. There is no benefit in terms of Putin demonization, severe economic sanctions, neo-con unipolar hegemony, Syria intervention, Iran bashing and the like. So we can expect the UK to go full steam ahead, exploiting their preferred version of reality, regardless of what the flaccid investigation turns up.

        • Billy Bostickson

          Good points. It’s possible Stepan and Julia held a secret civil wedding but obviously that’s just conjecture.

          I know that the Daily Mail have a reporter right now in Moscow trying to find Stepan, so there still is some interest from British MSM.

          Nobody in Russia is publishing the mother-in-law’s connections to Gasumyanov, the vice director of Nords Nickel under Potanin, the Oligarch. Despite his known links to Caucasian crime syndicates and certain other aspects of his career, SVR, KGB, FSB, Deputy Mayor of Sochi during the corruption period (if that ever ended), political thuggery in South Ossetia.

          Is he too well connected and rich to risk a libel case?

          I have asked why to my sources and awaiting a response.

          The father of Stepan is from Abkhazia, and there could well be certain intersections there explaining why the mother-in-law became Gasumyanov’s protege and was appointed both as Director of the Institute and also worked under him at the Federal Reserve before.

          • Tom Smythe

            >just conjecture Stepan and Julia held a secret civil wedding

            More wild conjecture: could she be pregnant? He was supposed to go with her to Salisbury, meet father-in-law, future grandfather. That would bring explain both urgent timing of assassination and the nervous breakdown at betrayal.

    • Lisa

      A perfect example why you should not trust any Google translations:
      “In the room, foreign journalists were able to penetrate Julia”
      The meaning of the Russian sentence is: “However, foreign journalists were able to enter Julia’s hospital room”.
      This seems rather unlikely though, how on earth could some total outsiders, not family members, make their way to a heavily guarded hospital room? Considering that representatives of Russian Embassy and actual relatives (cousin Viktoria) were refused any personal visits with her.
      Taking a quick look at the materials on this news website ( I was left with a feeling that they collect gossip and rumours. I may be wrong, of course.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Google Translate is brilliant, you just have to keep an open mind 😉 and parse the result using your natural intelligence.

        I am now able to investigate Arabic, Russian and Greek news stories without a dictionary to gather data.

        Mk.Ru is considered a tabloid yellow press by Russians I have spoken too, but even so, they are one of the few media sources along with Rosbalt actually investigating the incident from the Moscow angle.
        I have talked to their reporters and can confidently say that they only publish AFTER checking their facts, unlike the Guardian (Russian Trolls- Partisan Girl hatchet job) or the BBC lately.

        Regarding how the journalists found out about Julia’s attack of hysteria, it seemed they interviewed Hospital staff. What’s strange is that NO British journalist has done that or even attempted to as far as I can see.

      • flatulence

        maybe she thinks they are journalists, is told they are journalists, so she can feel she is not a prisoner and her story is getting out

  • Yeah, Right

    One thing I do not understand, so I’m hoping that someone can explain it to me: if the Russians claim that the Skripal’s are being detained by UK then isn’t this exactly what a writ of habeas corpus is for?

    Wouldn’t the govt then be compelled to produce the Skripal’s in court?

    What am I missing here?

  • Tom Smythe

    I meant to mention muscarinic flaccid paralysis, or rather lack thereof, with Sergei.

    Getting back to those three dog whistles from PD/OPCW, being high-pitched, they are inaudible to the sheeple and govt functionaries but heard clearly by all the scientific dogs in town.

    On a small island with limited employment opportunities, with GCHQ monitoring all behavior and manners of communication, it’s not a good idea to blot your copybook, speak out of turn, color outside the lines, or address matters above your pay grade. In my view, PD/OPCW know perfectly well who the perpetrators are but it’s not in their remit to disclose.

    Nothing will come of disclosing to press or higher-up politicos, so they’re dropping a few bread crumbs in plain view with the expectation of outsourcing disclosure. And those crumbs are, pure novichok, kinda like A-234. That’s enough to narrow the perp list down to where it can be counted on your thumbs.

    Getting back to the P in novichok OPs, we see the usual 0=, OR, CH3, and N-[bis(dimethylamino)methylidene phosphonamidates. It’s all about the placeholder R.

    When the Foliant goodies in the dismantled CW synthetic lab in Uzbeckistan were transferred to the US, after close consultation with whistleblower / defector / security chief Val M, US Army chemists at Edgewood Arsenal worked out what the Soviets had. And those 5 R’s turned out to be CH3 (A-242), CH3CH2 (A-234), iso-CH3CH2CH2, phenyl, and 2,6 diCH3phenyl. So the R reported by PD is a dead giveaway.

    There’s been massive confusion here about stability to hydrolysis vs solubility in hose water. All of them are polar non-lipophilic compounds stable in humid air, water, rain, mist, fog, whatever. They are soluble in water and biological fluids — sheeple are 65% water at 37ºC — how else could they be get around in the blood with ongoing effects for weeks? They do not need to penetrate cell membranes get into cell cytoplasms= as the AChE target is on the external surface.

  • Billy Bostickson

    @Tom Smythe
    I see the Mirror and an Arabic newspaper are mentioning it now

    quite a few Russian news sources are pursuing this angle and I’ve just come across a report from rosbalt that is very interesting. It mentions the two suspects only mentioned by the Telegraph today in the UK.


    Traces of the poisoners of Scripal are sought from runaway businessmen

    According to the Rosbalt source, Scotland Yard has photos of two men suspected of involvement in the poisoning of an ex-GRU officer.

    Scotland Yard talks with disgraced Russian businessmen living in England. They are interested in whether they have received threats or suggestions to participate in some dubious event. The source of Rosbalt assures that Scotland Yard has photographs of two men suspected of involvement in the poisoning of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal.

    As the interlocutor living in England told the agency, the representatives of Scotland Yard are holding talks with runaway Russian businessmen. They are interested in what they know about the poisoning of the ex-employee of the GRU, and whether there were any proposals for entrepreneurs to take part in a certain action on the territory of England. Or, perhaps, they have been threatened lately. From the conversations with law enforcers, the source of Rosbalt realized that they suspected that the poisoning of ex-employee of the GRU Sergey Skripal could have happened with the support of one of the influential businessmen who were forced to settle in London.

    In this case, the staff of Scotland Yard, there are photos of two men, made from records of security cameras. They show them to Russian businessmen and wonder if they are familiar with these people. At the source of the agency there was a feeling that the men depicted in the photographs are suspected of involvement in the poisoning of Skripal, and Scotland Yard is trying to understand whether these people were seen together with someone from the Russians living in England. According to the interlocutor of “Rosbalt”, the poisoning of Skripal was preceded by interesting events.

    According to his version, a Russian businessman who lives in London and is in disgrace in Russia, began to visit other entrepreneurs and persistently offer to return some of the funds withdrawn from the Russian Federation. This supposedly could guarantee them a quiet life in England and a gradual reduction of problems in Russia, including – with law enforcement. As such negotiations, the problems of the businessman in the Russian Federation really began to come to naught. Despite this, the visitor’s offers from other entrepreneurs have not attracted interest. Then, as the source of Rosbalt assures, he promised to conduct some demonstrative action demonstrating “how to deal with traitors”.

    “Honestly, then no one really took his words and threats seriously. Some even joked about this. And after the poisoning of Skripal everything, to put it mildly, “was done in the pants.” Only this is what they say, they are waiting for a man with a bouquet. Send the talk: maybe, really pay. I did not get the feeling that this businessman is somehow connected with the Russian special services and authorities. But the fact that he “on a short leg” with a number of criminal “authorities” and former retirees, including special forces of the Defense Ministry, I know for sure, “the spokesman said.

    It is worth noting that Sergei Skripal was exchanged for the UK in 2010, however, as it turned out, he did not lose ties with Russia. Until 2016, the company “Uniexple” operated in Russia, one of the founders of which was Skripal. This company was engaged in all types of blasting and demining. In fact, they were private sappers of the highest level. Other founders of UniExpl were the immigrants from the Ministry of Defense.

    Herman Alexandrov

    Incidents, news of the underworld, loud investigations and exclusive details on the criminal channel in Telegram .

    This ties in with an earlier report by Rosbalt’s Herman Alexandrov:

    ” The source of Rosbalt in the special services believes that this does not mean that the Russian special services are definitely behind the incident. “This substance recently” surfaced. ” They were poisoned in the Middle East by one of the Arab warlords. The executor was a resident of Chechnya. However, it was found that this – so to speak, internal “disassembly”, which to the Russian special services had nothing to do with. This story shows that “Novice” is not only the special services “, – believes the interlocutor of Rosbalt.”

    • copydude

      First of all, some key discrepancies here between the Russian and Brit reporting.

      MK says that the hospital gave Yulia a phone once she was well enough to use one. (Though not her own phone.)

      If that were the case, why did Salisbury Hospital not say so to counter criticism of being held incommunicado? And why were so many media reports slanted to discredit the call? (The *alleged* call, a voice *said to be* that of Yulia, etc.)

      MK has also claimed that Yulia called the kennels about the dog, Noir, who was only booked in and paid up to her intended return. If true, these calls would have been made at a time when Yulia was perceived 99% dead and far more widely reported.

      Again, if Salisbury Hospital had freely given Julia a phone, surely they would have announced her recovery first.

      However, it’s very reasonable to assume that a call to the kennels and to her boyfriend would be the first she would make.

      From where was story of Yulia’s hysteria sourced? The Daily Mail has a similar story of her distress, but apparently taking place during interrogation at the safe house:

      “A source close to the Russian nerve agent victim, who was released from hospital on Monday, said: ‘She wants to be reassured he wasn’t part of the plot against her father.’

      Yulia, 33, and Stepan Vikeev, 30 – who reportedly has links to Russian intelligence services – lived together for two years before she flew to Britain to see her father Sergei, the former spy.

      The source said: ‘She is confused but thinks she was collateral damage in the attack. She can’t see him or speak to him to discuss matters. She’s upset and fearful she may never see him again.”

      Personally, I find the idea of a prospective mother-in-law orchestrating and funding a professional hit in England entirely fanciful. That’s an Arkady Renko plot. But I can understand Stepan avoiding the unwanted attention of assorted Russian investigators, not known for their cordiality.

      And Viktoria notes that Sergei’s sister Elena has been asked to move since the publicity.

      Imagine, back in the 1960s, dating Kim Philby’s daughter, who then disappears in unexplained circumstances . . .

      • Billy Bostickson

        @copydude, thanks!

        It seems the British minders gave Julia a phone to call Victoria to dissuade her from coming after it was revealed that Victoria was applying for a visa.

        “From where was story of Yulia’s hysteria sourced? ”

        From here, posted above,

        I am in contact with the reporter, Lev Speransky and can ask him any particular question you may have about that.

        Did the British media ever report about the Russian businessman in London?

        “According to his version, a Russian businessman who lives in London and is in disgrace in Russia, began to visit other entrepreneurs and persistently offer to return some of the funds from the Russian Federation. This supposedly could guarantee them a quiet life in England and a gradual reduction of problems in Russia, including – with law enforcement…. Then, as the source of Rosbalt assures, he promised to conduct some demonstrative action demonstrating “how to deal with traitors”.

        “Honestly, then no one really took his words and threats seriously. Some even joked about this. But after the poisoning of Skripal they did take it seriously”….. I did not get the feeling that this businessman is somehow connected with the Russian special services and authorities. But the fact that he “on a short leg” with a number of criminal “authorities” and former retirees, including special forces of the Defense Ministry, I know for sure, “the spokesman said.

        • copydude

          BB . . . Thanks for the offer to pass on questions. I may take you up on this.

          You wrote: “No wonder she wants the media to leave her alone!”

          One can indeed argue a case for Yulia wanting privacy. Being the daughter of a famous traitor isn’t the kind of celebrity status that is sought after.

          It’s known that Alex had a problem with this, made it very difficult for him to find work and is cited as a reason for him drinking himself to death. Sergei isn’t officially exiled from Russia but said to Viktoria, ‘if I flew there, they wouldn’t let me off the plane’.

          Yulia wasn’t to know her call to Viktoria would be recorded and broadcast on national TV. Perhaps Julia was even enraged by this. It hardly helps her return to the normal life we know she had planned.

          The current rash of ‘mystery boyfriend’ stories may be a distraction, though I am sure the Gov are delighted with any rumours that reinforce ‘Russian Involvement’. But the idea that Sergei, not Yulia, was collateral damage is frankly ludicrous.

          Whatever really went down, he was not in Salisbury mowing the lawn and living on pension credit.

          The other story is news to me.

  • Igor Ahasheni

    Thank you for your interesting materials, let me also try to bring something to your attention.

    I would like like to notice that:

    On April 18 just after the 59th session of the OPCW the Russian officials claimed that the
    chemical identified by the OPCW experts in Salisbury had been reported in 1998 in the
    US NIST98 database

    I found that the mass-spectrum tabulated in the said entry was identical to that of
    the poison identified in investigation of the murder of Russian banker I.Kivelidi in 1995

    In the course of that investigation it had been admitted that the poison had been
    developed and produced at the Russian institution GosNIIOKhT (Russia) and had been
    stollen, the major part of the stollen substance had never been found (

  • Chris

    Just taking a step back for a minute. Mr Skripal had been living openly in Salisbury for some years, and a prisoner in Russia before that. If the Russian state wanted to do away with him, they had ample opportunity over a long period of time. Yet, it all happens straight after the arrival of his daughter from Moscow. We can assume that MI6/MI5 knew who she was based on the passenger list at least. So the questions that need answering are firstly whether the daughter was rather more than just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and secondly whether some recent activities by Mr Skripal on behalf of MI6 or others had caused someone, state or criminal, serious concern. Of course, we know enough about MSM news values to know that “Paunchy old soviet double agent poisoned” has rather less worth than “Comely daughter poisoned with her dear old dad”. Perhaps Mr Murray can confirm whether local people, first responders, witnesses, hospital staff and others have been threatened with the Official Secrets Act and dire things for them and their families if they speak out – you’d expect reporters to be doorstepping the whole of Salisbury in search of them under normal circumstances. I’d also like to know what the pair were up to that morning with both their phones turned off for four hours – again where are the press? I still have an open mind on this, but the high level of general scepticism about the government line is somewhat heartening in these dark times.

    • Billy Bostickson

      All good questions, I will add them to my mega list that I am preparing.

      If you have any information on the Russian businessman in London below, please let me know:

      “According to his version, a Russian businessman who lives in London and is in disgrace in Russia, began to visit other entrepreneurs and persistently offer to return some of the funds from the Russian Federation. This supposedly could guarantee them a quiet life in England and a gradual reduction of problems in Russia, including – with law enforcement…. Then, as the source of Rosbalt assures, he promised to conduct some demonstrative action demonstrating “how to deal with traitors”.

      “Honestly, then no one really took his words and threats seriously. Some even joked about this. But after the poisoning of Skripal they did take it seriously”….. I did not get the feeling that this businessman is somehow connected with the Russian special services and authorities. But the fact that he “on a short leg” with a number of criminal “authorities” and former retirees, including special forces of the Defense Ministry, I know for sure, “the spokesman said.

    • Clive P

      I have been reading the blogs for some time but this is my first post. Like Craig I was a senior civil servant but in the ministry of defence not the fco. I had plenty of dealings with all three intelligence agencies. It seems to me that the reason none of the MSM are doing any investigating/reporting of the Salisbury affair, apart from official handouts, is that the government have slapped a D-Notice over the whole incident and it is not possible to report that a notice has been issued.
      Here is another theory as to what happened. The Russians pardoned Skripal and allowed him to leave (spy agencies have an understanding that agents will always be swapped after an interval – it’s the only protection they have and helps recruitment). In the UK Skripal would have been thoroughly debriefed by MI6 and MI5 (his ex-handler lives near Salisbury). If at some point they discovered that Skripal was giving them false information, perhaps he was told to do so by the FSB as a condition of his release, lives may have been endangered/lost. If he also was also involved in the ‘golden showers’ dossier then elements in the US would have a reason to act as well. The whole incident was an inside job not to kill him, hence the use of BZ, but to give him a warning and a punishment. The whole thing is being treated as though the authorities know exactly what went on but have to cover it up.

      • PreProle

        The complete absence of any journalistic curiosity over this major story is astonishing. A D-Notice is the most likely reason and I would think the government felt compelled to issue one because its own involvement in the affair was so incompetent that even the most basic of enquiries would immediately expose it. I also think much of the MSM has been happy to collude with the government in remaining silent on this issue… both parties being bedfellows in maintaining a broader political narrative the foundations of which look shakier by the day.

        A competent press would now, of course, be asking why the government is closing off much of Salisbury’s town centre for months of ‘decontamination’ work when only a few weeks ago it was reassuring local people that they only need wash their belongings in mild soapy water to remove any possible chemical agent traces… advice which mirrors that of international guidelines for dealing with BZ but not, I would have thought, for the far more toxic A-234.

        Could it be that the continued presence of government agencies in Salisbury is not so much to make the town safe for its inhabitants, but to made it safe for the government… by scrubbing the place atomically clean of any chemical ‘fingerprint’ which might – at a later date – be shown to match its own?

        • Mary Paul

          This is not absence of journalistic curiosity. Almost certainly all media reporting has been covered by a D notice which bans press from covering the story in the interests of National Security.

          A D-Notice (also known as a DSMA-Notice or Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice) is an official request for news editors not to publish certain details of a story for reasons of national security. D-Notices are issued by the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, not, as some have claimed, the Home Office. The DPBAC is an independent body that is funded by and housed within the Ministry of Defence, but separate from the government.

          D-Notices are voluntary for the media but aim to protect national security. Those responsible for issuing D-Notices say that any threat to national security must involve “grave danger to the State and/or individuals.”

        • Keltro

          The idea of ‘decontamination’ seems to have resurfaced once the media started accusing Syrians and Russians of cleansing the Douma alleged attack areas. Would be a way of implanting into the public’s mind that these types of locations can be cleansed in anticipation of a negative OPCW report.

      • Billy Bostickson

        Welcome aboard, Clive, interesting point about D notices, but surely a journalist would have mentioned or alluded to that by now?

        Yes, it seem to me that they know who did it, personally I think it was the mysterious Russian businessman in London who got some Chechen team to show other Russian businessmen that he was serious and it backfired. Hope he wasn’t the guy who hung himself a few weeks later..

        I’m still exploring the boyfriend.mother-in-law angle out of sheer bloody mindedness and because it seems the right thing to pursue all possible angles to the bitter end.

        • Clive p

          I meant to add that the policeman who ‘just happened’ to be around was almost certainly the special branch ‘minder’ who was keeping Yulia under surveillance. The media are not allowed to mention the existence of a D notice

      • Dennis Revell


        I wonder Mr. Ponting – and it’s truly an honour to interact with you – I wonder did HMS Conqueror’s*** log-book ever turn up? 😉

        *** (For foreigners here and younger InGRRRlanders HMS Conqueror was the Brit. submarine that sank the Argentine ship the Belgrano, Britain’s first War-Crime in the Falklands war – ordered by Thatcher almost certainly because peace negotiations in some 3rd. South American country were apparently going rather well – that’s how I remember it anyway.)



  • Doodlebug

    This may seem a rather trivial observation in the scheme of things, but has there been any report of the interior of the Skripals’ car testing positive for toxic residues of any kind? There are photographs of its being examined, coupled with early ‘speculation’ regarding dust entering the ventilation system and/or substances smeared on the door handles. Thereafter the focus shifted to a different door handle altogether.

    Whilst the car compound is among the areas scheduled for decontamination (as is the ticket machine at Sainsbury’s car park no doubt), the car itself is an integral part of the theoretical ‘chain of custody’, so to speak. For the nerve agent, whatever it was, to have first engaged its victims at the house and been inadvertently distributed by them afterwards, it had to have recorded its presence inside that vehicle. Of course the father may have worn driving gloves – but they weren’t both driving.

      • Doodlebug

        Just like those other three silent witnesses, the pets. Is there a canine APB out for the missing dog btw.?

        • Billy Bostickson

          The dog, Noir, in Podolsk is with Victoria, her cousin. I think you mean the missing cat?

          • Doodlebug

            You’re quite correct. I thought it was a furry four-legged creature. I just had the wrong photo in mind.

  • Mary Paul

    The Times of London ran an article yesterday speculating on who else might have tried to kill the Skripals is not Putin and lackeys. I do not have link as it is behind firewall. Maybe someone else does?

      • copydude

        About the news blackout:

        According to Tass, March 22 or thereabouts, the Russian Ambassador asked whether any journalists from the Western press had tried to get an interview with Yulia Skripal.

        He then learned that all information concerning the Skripals is censored by British special services and no article could appear in the media without the approval of the National Security Council.

        I read somewhere (I think Moon of Alabama blog) that there is certainly a D-Notice on reporting Christopher Steele, the anti-Trump Dossier man, in connection with Skripal. The Linked-In page showing Skripal’s name as a contributor to Orbis was quickly taken down from the net. Orbis has made about 200m since its inception out of dirt gathering and could well have provided some of Skripal’s above average income.

        About censorship. Although rumoured, MK ru is the only news source I’ve seen state that Yulia is being detained in a military hospital. As it happens, the UK no longer has dedicated military hospitals, however there are just half a dozen Ministry of Defence units operating within civilian hospitals.

        Seems reasonable that such information is redacted because, if true, you could find Yulia in about five minutes.

  • Billy Bostickson

    After a 5 hour interrogation of Boris Karpichkov by Scotland Yard, he went straight to the Mirror and revealed his links to the suspected assassin:

    The Sunday People reports the man – now feared to have fled back to his homeland – uses the cover name Mihails Savickis as well as two other aliases, including “Gordon” whose identity apparently emerged during nearly five hours of questioning by police in London this week of KGB defector Boris Karpichkov – who has said he is also on a hit list. Karpichkov, 59, told the People they knew each other from his days in the FSB – which is the KGB’s successor.

    The two men knew each other when Karpichkov was an FSB major in Latvia – then part of the Soviet Union – and Gordon was a subordinate. Trained KGB killer Boris Karpichkov today said he was ordered to poison Gordon for betraying one of the FSB’s networks to the Latvian security service. But he refused to do it. In 1998 he fled Russia with two suitcases full of secrets and defected to Britain with his family. Then Home Secretary, Theresa May granted him citizenship in 2010.

    He said today: “I am speaking out as I hope it is the best way to protect myself and my family.

    “I know the spy being linked with the Skripals, so my life is in even greater danger now, yet the police have not responded to our request for protection.”

    Karpichkov was taken to a police station on Monday to be interviewed. He says: “A man asked if the name Mihails Savickis rang any bells.

    “His pronunciation was so bad I did not connect it. When I got home and checked my records I realised he is a killer. I am a loyal British subject now and happy to help the authorities in any way I can. Home Secretary Amber Rudd should help me and my family.”

    So, was Boris Karpichkov actually the Russian businessman” who was threatening Russians in London prior to the attack on the Skripals?

    “According to his version, a Russian businessman who lives in London and is in disgrace in Russia, began to visit other entrepreneurs and persistently offer to return some of the funds from the Russian Federation. This supposedly could guarantee them a quiet life in England and a gradual reduction of problems in Russia, including – with law enforcement…. Then, as the source of Rosbalt assures, he promised to conduct some demonstrative action demonstrating “how to deal with traitors”.

    “Honestly, then no one really took his words and threats seriously. Some even joked about this. But after the poisoning of Skripal they did take it seriously”….. I did not get the feeling that this businessman is somehow connected with the Russian special services and authorities. But the fact that he “on a short leg” with a number of criminal “authorities” and former retirees, including special forces of the Defense Ministry, I know for sure, “the spokesman said.

    Is he the person who hired “Gordon” to attack the Skripals?

    Did the British government know all this a long time ago?

    • copydude

      “After a 5 hour interrogation of Boris Karpichkov by Scotland Yard, *he went straight to the Mirror* and revealed his links to the suspected assassin”

      Ha Ha. Ha. He sells his story whenever, will say anything and knows newspapers are a nice little earner.

      Gordon is sometimes painted blue, wears No 4 and it’s believed close associates may refer to him as ‘the big engine’.

        • Billy Bostickson

          Why don’t you call them and find out what the hell is going on 😉
          The DSMA-Notice Secretary (or the Deputy Secretaries) can be contacted in the following ways:
          Floor 4 Spine 4 Room 113, Ministry of Defence
          Main Building, Whitehall, LONDON, SW1A 2HB
          Telephone: 020 7218 2206
          Email: [email protected]

          The office is normally open Mondays to Fridays from 0900 to 1700. The telephone is fitted with an Ansaphone which, out of office hours, gives information on how the Secretary can be contacted.

          The Secretary will normally be available OUT OF OFFICE HOURS at:

          Mobile: 07540 163698

          Deputy Secretaries
          First Deputy Secretary – Air Commodore David Adams:

          Telephone: (office hours) 020 7218 2206

          Telephone: (out of hours) 07796 694677

          Second Deputy Secretary – Group Captain John Alexander

          Telephone: (office hours) 020 7218 2206

          Telephone: (out of hours) 07547517051

          MOD Press Office
          In the event of any difficulty the Ministry of Defence Press Office will try to establish the whereabouts of the Secretary:

          Telephone: (24 hours) 020 7218 7907

          • copydude

            Here you can see how D-notices – perhaps some ‘friendly persuasion’ too – have shut down any reasonable reporting during the affair.

            Naturally, the fist speculation in any murder is motive. Back in March (8), the Independent runs this article:

            “Sergei Skripal could have come to the attention of certain people in Russia by attempting to “freelance” for companies run by former MI5, MI6 and GCHQ spies, security sources say.
            Mr Skripal, who remains in hospital in a critical condition alongside his daughter, Yulia, had kept in touch with members of the intelligence community, past and present. Investigators are examining whether he was using those contacts for work.”

            Well, this line of reporting is only going one way – to implicate the establishment (Steele, certainly) and deflect from Russian state involvement. So it’s never mentioned again. And the local police are immediately pulled, along with any connection to local journos.

            A pity, because the speculation does provide a plausible reason for involving Yulia. She was certainly able to do some leg work in Moscow and tap Sergei’s old contacts. He was persona non grata.

            By the way, it’s interesting to read the first reports – where they haven’t been pulled or redacted – because you can see more clearly what doesn’t fit. The same Independent article includes the following:

            “Mr Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a nearby bench in The Maltings shopping centre at around 4.15pm, where *a passing doctor* described Yulia “vomiting and fitting” after losing control of her bodily functions.

            The woman, *who asked not to be named*, told the BBC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.”

            As it appears now, n the BBC version, the time is deleted and in other reports the ‘passing doctor’ has become a ‘sprinting paramedic’.

            Charles commented earlier to say he has a particular problem with the timeline and these inconsistencies are disturbing. As it stands, the air ambulance took off and the police response car set out before the incident was discovered – or before the poisoning even happened.

            Make of that what you will.

          • Doodlebug

            “As it stands, the air ambulance took off and the police response car set out before the incident was discovered – or before the poisoning even happened.”

            I’ve read that hinted elsewhere. Very interesting. Can you possibly cite a report or some such which indicates the time the air ambulance was first aloft and the police vehicle underway? I don’t disbelieve you but a source would be very welcome as these initiatives illustrate a similar prescience to that shown by the FCO over the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann!

          • copydude


            I’ll try to find back Charles’ comment, it’s on this site somewhere. He was the guy who spotted this and began asking why the air ambulance log was pulled.

            Charles also notes it looks very odd, along with contradictory reporting, but the lack of CCTV makes it impossible to prove whether anyone has the timeline absolutely correct.

            Either way, both call into question the ‘official’ four hour delayed action / doorknob theory, suggesting that the front doorknob was painted by assassins at night. That’s because there is CCTV of the Skripals being out and about in the early morning . . . . um, er, having climbed out of the kitchen window to get to the car and thereby avoiding the poison . . .

          • Doodlebug

            Copydude @17:42

            Further to my earlier request, according to the SUN (

            “RACE AGAINST TIME Dramatic moment Russian spy’s daughter was airlifted to hospital after pair were poisoned in Salisbury.

            “Yulia Skripal, 33, was flown to A&E after being found slumped on a shopping centre bench alongside her dad Sergei, 66, on Sunday”

            Whereas, come 14th March ( “Wiltshire Air Ambulance has confirmed neither Sergei or Yulia Skripal were flown to Salisbury District Hospital.”

            Four days earlier the Guardian had reported: “An air ambulance landed in the central car park. At 5.10pm, it took off, ferrying the woman to Salisbury district hospital. The man went by ambulance.”

            But when did it set off toward ‘the incident’?

          • copydude


            I pasted these on a txt file for ref from here, sorry it’s a bit messy

            • Charles
April 16, 2018 at 09:25
The photos, lack of quality cctv and 2 x land ambulances + 2 x ambulance cars + air ambulance And the helicopter’s odd behaviour give rise to suspicion.
In this photo a sign stating CCTV in operation,-1.7976044,3a,75y,295.95h,88.43t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sT8FGyLEtAv3kPvlQwD_tdA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Pan round on the Street View image and you can see the CCTV camera bolted to the wall above Market Walk. (the published grainy cctv comes from shops within Market Walk)

            Here is another photo of it from SpireFM (who smelt something fishy) This camera overlooks the bench area.×2700.jpg

            ‘Was Salisbury’s CCTV on’ at time of ‘nerve agent’ attack?

            Here are 25 more photos in Salisbury Journal piece, first commented on (comments on page) at 6:01pm

The Thom Belk photo (back of ambulance car – sideways on police car – another ambulance car beyond police car also sideways on – Greggs – police officer crouching over bag)
 Was taken at c 5.10 when land ambulance(s)? and air ambulance departed.
Several early photos but none of the drama on the bench

Helicopter’s off behaviour (reported by many news outlets as taking Yulia to hospital but then denied presumably because of the contamination issues)

            16:19 The helicopter was alerted to the incident in Salisbury and took off from Minety in Wiltshire at 16:30,it flew for 15km (5 minutes) in the wrong direction (SW) before correcting its course by 90 degs (SE) towards Salisbury,

            The Wilts Air Ambulance webpages boast the helicopter can reach any location in Wilshire, from its base (5 mins from Minety), in 11 minutes.
It took about 31 minutes for the helicopter to reach Salisbury city centre (c 16.50) and stayed on scene for approx 20 mins before taking off (c17:11) and flying to the London Road Cemetery area before turning around and flying to the hospital and landing.

   (several comments showing evidence of claims above)

            Why was the air ambulance called, why was it not aborted, why was there no urgency to get to Salisbury, even if Yulia was not transported to the hospital (it flew there and landed) why was it not suspected that the crew might have become contaminated at the scene ?????
Given the inconsistencies with the Poison Evidence, the Photo Evidence, The CCTV Evidence, the Helicopter Evidence, the Response Times Evidence, first police officer on the scene Evidence that he was a non uniform Detective Sergeant, Evidence that the Skripals have been hidden from the world (in contrast to Litvinenko dying in hospital bed photos plastered to the world), the Evidence of Dr Stephen Davies ………… I can only conclude that ………..
The Salisbury Spy Poisoning Was / Is a Hoax!


April 16, 2018 at 09:45
The CCTV cameras were working, confirmed by the local council leader



            Google route adviser has the Maltings to Odstock hospital at 2.8 miles and a car journey at 12 minutes.
 So an ambulance a little faster than that.
 The helicopter from where it was (37 miles away) could have made the journey in about 12.5 minutes + 2.5 to scramble and take off so say 15 mins. But it took over half an hour, it dawdled, it flew in the wrong direction, it flew slowly. There was no urgency to get to the incident.
 The police statement (Met) said a call regarding two people on the bench was made at 4:15
 Yet reports say;
4.15pm: Police car speeds up the shopping centre at 20mph with lights flashing. 
4.16pm: A hero paramedic sprints towards the victims on foot clutching a first aid bag.
 4.18pm: A first responder vehicle drives up to help colleagues treat Sergei and Yulia.

            Many reports say Yulia was taken to hospital by the helicopter that left the Maltings at the same time as the land ambulance at c 5:11pm

            The helicopter did go to the hospital but first went in the opposite direction and did some sweeps of the London Road Cemetery.
I agree it is crap but its what we have been told and it doesn’t make sense. And its that inconsistency that needs to be highlighted.
If the police were to release to cctv of the bench we could possibly see;

            1) If and if / when DS Bailey approached the bench?

            2) When the first responders actually arrive?

            3) When the air ambulance crew arrive, did they approach the victims, did they take Yulia?

            4) The activity that occurred as the “Skripals” approach the bench.

            5) When did they become incapacitated?
6) Could they have been harmed on the bench from a passer by
In holding back information and releasing inconsistent information the police knowingly create suspicion not on the Russians but on themselves.
If the events happened as the police and government say it would be easy enough to prove and instil confidence in their investigation.

            If on the other hand the cctv footage incriminates the police and government then that is a very good reason not to release it. I can’t think of any other reason that the police would not release the information unless they have something to hide.

          • Doodlebug


            Many thanks for all the info. Lots to ponder. Strangely, the Spire FM links appear to have been pulled (404 page not found).

            Strange too that the pic attributed to Thom Belk is more of an aerial ‘CCTV type’ view than other images obviously taken at ground level.

            I agree with you. Withholding information is the surest way to arouse suspicion, which could otherwise be easily allayed.

          • copydude


            No, the Spire FM links work, maybe just how they were cut and pasted.

            ‘Was Salisbury’s CCTV on’ at time of ‘nerve agent’ attack?


            25 more photos in Salisbury Journal piece, first commented on (comments on page) at 6:01pm

            Here is another photo of it from SpireFM (who smelt something fishy) This camera overlooks the bench area.×2700.jpg

          • copydude

            Crazy – but you can’t edit or format things properly with this comment format and there’s no preview function . . . I don’t know why these links work for me but can’t be pasted

          • Doodlebug


            Thanks once again. Two out of three now C/P’d successfully. Not this one though –×2700.jpg.

            Still, half a loaf and all that. It would appear the primary issue with the air ambulance is why was it scrambled at all? Its flight path record does not include Salisbury District Hospital and the corresponding incident schedule lists the transfer as ‘land assisted’, i.e. the Skripals were driven the few extra miles south. At least it made for a good photo op. Perhaps that was the intention all along.

    • copydude

      I hope you got this link.

      Spire FM were contacted by a Moscow broadcaster to ask where the original CCTV pictures came from.

      Spire reporters found it difficult to verify whether Salisbury’s new £500,000 system was actually working or switched on. Yet it was previously reported that ‘hundreds of police officers’ were ‘working on the case’ examining ‘hours of CCTV footage’.


      • Doodlebug

        Thank you. All good (apart from the contents that is – “Exact details of where CCTV footage has come from is still unclear” – I bet).

        The incompetence of local bureaucracies is easily demonstrated in relation to more mundane affairs, but an international incident? Inter-departmental buck passing is, as we know, a tried and tested method of avoiding responsibility, but this is not something one should hope to let slip down the crack in between.

        Craig’s latest sums up the situation regarding inconsistencies perfectly. They are too many and too diverse to be put down to ‘simple misunderstanding’.

    • Tatyana

      This “Gordon” – are they serious about it???
      It is very old USSR movie “Dead Season” describing brave russian spy Ladeinikov with nicknames Longsfield and Standale
      (prototype is Conon Molodiy, aka Gordon Lohgsdale),
      who discovered a secret laboratory (Porton Down was prototype) developing deadly gas RH.
      Starring Donatas Banionis and Laimonas Noreik – Lituanian actors.
      As you see, the artickle is following the movie, so the source of this news must be mixing reality and fiction.
      Or may be interviewers didn’t understand sarcasm 🙂

  • PreProle

    April 22, 2018 at 17:42

    “Sergei Skripal could have come to the attention of certain people in Russia by attempting to “freelance” for companies run by former MI5, MI6 and GCHQ spies, security sources say.”

    I’ve no doubt Sergei Skripal would also have maintained some level of connection with secretly sympathetic parties in Russian political circles – established well before he was exposed as a double agent. And that some of these people are still very close to the top of the tree in Russia.

    If Salisbury was the first – botched – stage in a British Government sponsored attempt at the highest level political assassination in Russia, the chain to its planned victim would have long been established with each link along that chain briefed in their respective roles. I expect the SkripaIs’ physical involvement would have ended with Yulia having smuggled the BZ material into Moscow and handing it over to an anonymous contact before commencing with her usual routine life.

  • Tom Smythe

    Igor Ahasheni writes: available spectra insufficient to claim that the two poisons were taken from the same batch
    >proves Kivelidi had been killed with A-234? chromatography, mass-spec but IR, NMR not shown.

    “A-234” became a terminological can of worms after Vil Mirzayanov published an erroneous formula. There is zero information in chloroform glc retention times. Infrared, I don’t see it too helpful here.

    Leonid Rink has been changing his story for decades. It is going to be difficult to put together an accurate account so far back in time for him or Edgewood Arsenal. Lately he has been saying he commissioned Dr. K to make him a custom batch of novichok-like OP, before that it was a lab tech. She made a batch but for some reason it didn’t work out so he paid her to do another using “di-fluoride” chemistry. according to this, Rink didn’t steal any stockpiled lab ampoules but just paid to have five made. Dr. K is still around but has not been interviewed that we know of.

    Vladimir Uglev, the most reliable of the three who uses year-of-discovery terminology (A-1972, B-1976, C-1976, D-1980) rather than “A-234” etc, said the reported Salisbury agent was very stable if left sealed in its ampoule, and something like 80% could still left in material he stored in the lab safe even 30 years later. But that means minimally 20% breakdown products, inconsistent with PD/OPCW official report of ‘high purity’ (ie reagent-grade rather than rough military-grade).

    I’m skeptical that an attacker would use OP this old in Salisbury. Its properties today would be total guesswork, with re-testing a huge, impractical hassle.

    The Iranian paper has hydrogen, carbon-13, fluorine-19 and phosphorus-31 nrm spectra in the third supplementary docx. Note they have a minor typo: 13P nmr should be 31 Pnmr. All are naturally occurring spin 1/2 isotopes with good gyromagnetic ratios, so ultra-responsive, so suitable for trace samples. A carbon-phosphorus bond is established from the 13P nmr. Carbon-13 is only present at ~1.1% abundance.


    Some of the citations provide good background. You can chase down free full texts by google search on titles

    4.Microsynthesis and electron ionization mass spectral studies of O(S)‐alkyl N,N‐dimethyl alkylphosphono(thiolo)thionoamidates for CWC verification. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2012, 26, 2805.

    7. Fragmentation pathways and structural characterization of 14 nerve agent compounds by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. J. Anal. Toxicol. 2014, 1.

    9. Biomarkers of organophosphorus nerve agent exposure: comparison of phosphylated butyrylcholinesterase and phosphylated albumin after oxime therapy. Arch. Toxicol. 2010, 84, 25.

    16. Characterization of isomeric VX nerve agent [[tyrosine]] adducts on albumin in human plasma using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Eur. J. Mass Spectrom. 2015, 21, 783.


    Back in the 2010 article cited above, P Masson explains part of Dr Stephan Davies’ letter to the Times:

    “In the event of an incident where nerve agent is released, many people who report to emergency facilities would be the worried-well who need assurance that they have not been exposed. A highly sensitive method that can provide this assurance would calm the public.”

    On any average day, a hospital ER sees numerous hypochondriacs, imaginary heart attacks, indigestion, constipation, bad hair days, faux carpel tunnels, lonely elderly, dr flirts, people dodging work, on and on. In addition, there are people who need to see a doctor ASAP. Salisbury was thus mighty annoyed when British propagandists promoted a crisis notion that dumped even more worried-well into their ER.

    On the matter of rapidly finding an antidote that worked on an unknown OP, Porton Down could in fact have rapidly screened the Skripals’ plasma sample. They would simply print samples out into 96-well arrays, add a drop of each antidote, add BChE, wait ten minutes, develop the wells with a colorimetrical kit for free choline, read out the results. All robotically. They do this all day every day keeping an eye on staff exposure, fume hood leaks, testing reference sample deterioration, trying new antidotes, drills and training.

    • Billy Bostickson

      @Tom Smythe @Igor Ahasheni one person who would know would be the American Scientist who published the Novichok formula in 1998 in the spectral database released by the US National Bureau of Standards on the NIST database, as pointed out by Igor Rybalchenko, chief of the Russian ministry’s chemical laboratory.

      The scientist’s name is Dennis K. Rohrbaugh, a member of the U.S. Army Chemical Research, Edgewood,

      After the revelation by Ryabaichenko, the data was suspiciously removed from the database.

      See for yourself: C8H18FN2O2P

      The Scopus Author Identifier for Rohrbaugh, Dennis K. of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, United States lists 59 documents

      He did some research on Autocatalytic Hydrolysis of V-Type Nerve Agents:

      A big question, how easy is to remove the data for C8H18FN2O2P from the NIST database and who makes that decision, what was the reason and exactly when was the data removed.

      • Tom Smythe

        >A big question, how easy is to remove the data for C8H18FN2O2P from the NIST database and who makes that decision, what >was the reason and exactly when was the data removed.

        Oh, they are just going to trot out non-proliferation. Pile that on top of natl security risk, necessity for top secret classification, D-listing, Official Secrets Act, patriotism, axis of evil.

        However PD is itching to disclose what they actually found and that is currently under review. It is tedious to coordinate encrypted communications with a global CW community; no communication, no reciprocity.

        Same thing happened with mad cow disease at MAFF, their late no-so-great ag bureaucracy. Reporters were literally kept out on the street, couldn’t even get to receptions. Threats for so much as disclosing the color of carpeting. The London zoo was forced to incinerate animals with sampling. That was a terrible loss to science because it was key to the species barrier. All about denying canids (especially prized hunting dogs) could get BSE. Cats, they were stuck with that.

        • Billy Bostickson

          thanks, actually I am not sure it has been removed from the database as that is just a claim made by some people. I don’t have full access to the NIST database (the latest one) and I can only do a search for the formula online at the NIST website, but it is likely that results do not include all possible formulae, of course. Do you have access?

    • Tom Smythe

      The other potentially dodgy aspect of the timeline was the astonishing rapidity at which Porton Down identified the chemical structure of the novichok OP. That’s a more difficult matter than, as explained above, sending over guaranteed-to-work antidote to the Salisbury Hospital.

      Now PD is not in the business of researching potent new CW agents, there are enough of those already. Instead, their primary concerns are tracking foreign country use (Japan subway) and responding in the UK to a mass attack scenario. For both of those, with the Syrian thing ongoing, they would be set up to run victim blood samples on a BChE affinity column.

      This would involve a centrifuge step to get rid of the blood cells, a clotting step to get rid of the serine protease cascade there, and then on with the column to react, capture and partly characterize the agent, preferably at the phosphonylated tryptic nonapeptide, FGES*AGAAS. Phosphonylated differs from the more familiar phosphorylation in having that Schedule 2 CWC carbon-phosphorus bond.

      An alternative is chasing down tyrosine 411 of human serum albumin after pronase and trypsin digestion, HSA is the protein product of the ALB gene on 4q13.3 that makes up fully half of the total serum protein and so is far more abundant than BChE. Here again PD would be trying to get at intact original agent, prior to losing the ‘aging’ leaving group.

      This is addition to well screening that tests whether any of their antidote reagents could release it (ie reactivating AChE in addition to waiting on cellular replacement).

      To summarize, arguably PD could turn this job around on the fast timeline announced since they are decades into the mass poisoning drills. It could equally be argued the lab couldn’t work this quickly, meaning they knew already what it was from supplying the spiking agent and just went through the motions with the Skirpals’ plasma.

      Bioanalytical verification of V-type nerve agent exposure: simultaneous detection of phosphonylated tyrosines and cysteine-containing disulfide-adducts
      A Kranawetvogl et al
      Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 410(3) doi10.1007/s00216-017-0787-7 January 2018
      “Accordingly, we developed a microbore liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry/high-resolution mass spectrometry (μLC-ESI MS/HR MS) method for simultaneous detection of HSA-adducts with the V-type nerve agents VX [O-ethyl S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate], Chinese VX (CVX), and Russian VX (RVX).”

      • Tom Smythe

        Just looking now at SwissProt entry for human butyrylcholinesterase, Making this in goats like the US Army did, at huge expense, is never going to work as a novichok prophylactic. It won’t get the proper post-translational modifications so injecting it would be like giving a transfusion with the wrong blood type.

        “N-glycosylated. No other PTM detected (PubMed:20946535). The major N-glycan structures are of the complex diantennary type with 1 and 2 N-acetylneuraminic acid molecules (Neu5Ac) making up approximately 33% and 47% of the total N-glycans, respectively. Only low amounts of fucosylated diantennary N-glycans are detected (approximately 2%). Triantennary N-glycans with or without fucose amount to approximately 13%, whereas 5% of the total N-glycans are of the oligomannosidic or hybrid type.”

        So more likely it’s purified from outdated plasma, millions of liters of that around from drug addict donors. There are reasons though for the short shelf life of the plasma, meaning purified BChE might not be that great.

        So I wonder if on the Skripals if they hooked them up with (peritoneal) dialysis, either just plain flushing or running it past some immobilized BChE.

        Sergei was a poor candidate for just about any medical procedure with that paunch, history of diabetes I, miserable prison time, and at 66, probable micro-strokes, advanced arteriosclerosis and liver cirrhosis. I’m yet to see a picture of him not relaxing with a brew and can’t really picture him jogging around town in Lycra. So that would really be a tribute to the Salisbury Hospital if they’ve managed to patch him up (and take off some pounds too), though long-term he may never approach 100% again whatever the agent was.

  • Billy Bostickson

    It seems that Boris Karpichov with his latest statements to the Mirror and Scotland Yard has dug himself a hole out of which he won’t be able to extricate himself:

    Boris Karpichkov, who operated in Latvia in the 1990s and fled to the UK in 1998 told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that on 12 February 2018, three weeks before the Salisbury attack and exactly on his birthday, he received a message over the burner phone from “a very reliable source” in the FSB telling Karpichkov that “something bad [wa]s going to happen with [him] and seven other people, including Mr. Skripal”, whom he then knew nothing about.

    Karpichkov said he disregarded the message at the time, thinking it was not serious, as he had previously received such messages.According to Karpichkov, the FSB′s list includes the names of Oleg Gordievsky and William Browder.

    After reading that, I remembered an interview he did with Nic Roberson at CNN later:

    If you watch the clip from 0.42 to 1.44, he said two interesting things:

    1. He says he would never reveal his contact’s name even if “given the electric chair,”
    2. He says he received the warning phone call because he saved his contact’s life once.

    Now, in the latest Mirror story published today he not only reveals his contact’s name and photo, but also repeats the claim that he saved his contact’s life. Obviously the same person. Yet he also claims that he realized his contact is a “killer” when he checked his database, and now as a loyal British citizen he only wants to help the police (and get a pension from Amber Rudd, good luck with that)

    He is the source for the absurd picture of “Gordon” supplied to the Mirror:

    “Our exclusive picture of the man police want to talk to – handed to us by Boris – shows the wanted spy three decades ago.”

    He then went on to tell the Mirror the identity of the contact and how he saved him from being poisoned.

    The two men knew each other when Karpichkov was an FSB major in Latvia – then part of the Soviet Union – and Gordon was a subordinate.

    Trained KGB killer Boris Karpichkov today said he was ordered to poison Gordon for betraying one of the FSB’s networks to the Latvian security service.

    But he refused to do it. In 1998 he fled Russia with two suitcases full of secrets and defected to Britain with his family.

    Then Home Secretary, Theresa May granted him citizenship in 2010.

    He said today: “I am speaking out as I hope it is the best way to protect myself and my family.

    “I know the spy being linked with the Skripals, so my life is in even greater danger now, yet the police have not responded to our request for protection.”

    Karpichkov was taken to a police station on Monday to be interviewed. He says: “A man asked if the name Mihails Savickis rang any bells.

    “His pronunciation was so bad I did not connect it.

    When I got home and checked my records I realised he is a killer.

    I am a loyal British subject now and happy to help the authorities in any way I can.

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd should help me and my family.”

  • Tom Smythe

    Dennis K Rohrbaugh’s acronyms: CBDCOM/ERDEC

    Chemical and Biological Defense Command/Edgewood Research Development and Engineering Center.
    Edgewood Arsenal, Md. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md:

    There is a mousy looking photo with brief bio at his 2010 retirement award ceremony: Rohrbaugh has a BS chemistry from Pennsylvania
    State and a MS in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He began his federal career in 1982 at the Research,
    Development and Engineering Center at APG. He ends his career as the senior chemist for the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Research and Technology Directorate, Forensic Analytical Branch. Rohrbaugh retired June 3 with more than 28 years of service.

    His 1990 paper titled ‘Oxidative Detoxification of Phosphonothioylates’ [VX] shows CRDEC a minor variant on ERDEC replacing ‘Edgewood’ with ‘Chemical’

    See also his unclassified but Army 2009 document on caustic hydrolyis of VX that addressed “A mission of the US Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (USAE ACWA) program is to develop alternative methods to incineration to safely destroy the chemical weapon stockpiles stored at 2 sites: Pueblo, Colorado and Blue Grass, Kentucky

    His 1996 paper titled ‘Autocatalytic Hydrolysis of V-Type Nerve Agents’ shows ERDEC. They studied instability in water of VX and RVX, where MeP(O)(OR)(SCH2CH2NR‘2) is substituted with R = C2H5; R‘ = i-C3H7in VX or by R = i-C4H9; R‘ = C2H5 in Russian VX

    His 1998 article titled ‘Detection of alkyl methylphosphonic acids in complex matrices by gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry’ described detection of ethyl, isopropyl, isobutyl, pinacolyl and cyclohexyl substituents of CW agents against backgrounds of diesel fuel and soil extracts containing pesticides.

    His abstract titled ‘Novel Reactions of Dialkyl H-Phosphonate’ dates to 2011 while still at ERDEC.

    ChemSpider does not contain any spectra for A-234. The entry is not ‘Validated by Experts’ but instead ‘Validated by [unidentified] Users’. This is not quite ‘cpd3’ that was studied so intensively by the Iranians as a stepping stone to the novichoks (which have the fluorine replaced by an 0-alkyl). It is similar in that the P is bonded to a N that is double-bonded to a C. The ChemSpider structure shows this C with a methyl group and a bond to diethylamine, seemingly contradicted by the IUPAC name which says ethyl not methyl.

    A-234 Ethyl [(1E)-1-(diethylamino)ethylidene]phosphoramidofluoridate [ACD/IUPAC Name]
    Phosphoramidofluoridic acid, N-[(1E)-1-(diethylamino)ethylidene]-, ethyl ester [ACD/Index Name]

    The Schedule 2.B.04 compound in the 2016 Iranian article is N‐[bis(dimethylamino)methylidene]‐P‐methylphosphonamidic fluoride. It is similar five bonds out to ChemSpider ‘A-234’ but has a tetramethylguanidine side chain. Note it is not at all unusual not to see a full molecular weight peak (mass ion) in mass spectroscopy.

    They went to great pains to identify the peaks that they did see in the five later Novichoks, A-H in Scheme 3, and much of that would carry over to the docx supplemental spectrum of cpd3.

    Those in turn could probably be carried over to the unlabelled peaks in the spectra Igor Ahasheni has been so carefully comparing. (It’s easy to forge or alter MS spectra by moving peaks around in Photoshop but I don’t see this as an issue here.) Chemical (and isotopic) composition follows readily from MS if there is a good mass ion but it is not possible, even for experts, to determine chemical structure from MS alone.

    That is why the Iranians went to the great trouble of making deuterated analogs and four types of nmr. This is imperative too in determining original starting material, which may be a mix of isomers, an intramolecular rearrangement, or not at all what you thought you synthesized. This is a specially acute problem in this class of OP because the chemist at the hood is not at all keen on further purification steps or instrument room contamination.

    • Billy Bostickson

      Thanks, that is indeed the same person I found in Bel Air, MD then, now aged 71.

      I noticed that a search for “Novichok” gives 137 patents (where it is mentioned in greater or lesser detail):

      Novichok nerve agents are a series of organophosphate compounds developed by the Soviet Union as highly deadly chemical weapons unknown to the West, undetectable by standard NATO chemical detection equipment, and able to act despite chemical protective gear.

      One example of the novichok family is the third-generation nerve agent variant A-234 which is a simple unitary agent derived from aconitrile and a common organophosphate pesticide precursor. Dispersed in an ultra-fine powder as opposed to a gas or a vapor, it has unique qualities. It can bypass much of the chemical protective gear used by most modern armies where it can be absorbed directly through the skin.

      The Novichok agents are organophosphorus compounds with an attached dihaloformaldoxime group, with the general formula shown below, where R=alkyl, alkoxy, alkylamino or fluorine and X=halogen (F, Cl, Br) or pseudohalogen such as C≡N. (Kruglyak Yu et al., Phosphorylated oximes. XII. Reactions of 2-halophospholanes with dichlorofluoronitrosomethane, Zhumal Obshchei Khimii. 1972; 42(4):811-14; Raevskii O A, et al., Effect of Alkyl Substituents in Phosphorylated Oximes, Zhumal Obshchei Khimii. 1987; 57(12):2720-2723; Raevskii O A, et al., Electron-Donor Functions of Ethyl Methylchloroformimino Methylphosphonate, Zhumal Obshchei Khimii. 1987; 57(9):2073-2078; Makhaeva G F, et al., Comparative studies of O,O-dialkyl-O-chloromethylchloroformimino phosphates: interaction with neuropathy target esterase and acetylcholinesterase, Neurotoxicology, 1998 Aug.-Oct.; 19(4-5):623-8. PMID 9745921; Malygin V V, et al., Quantitative structure-activity relationships predict the delayed neurotoxicity potential of a series of O-alkyl-O-methylchloroformimino phenylphosphonates, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A. 2003 Apr. 11; 66(7):611-25, PMID 12746136; and Steven L. Hoenig, Compendium of Chemical Warfare Agents, Springer N.Y., 2007, ISBN 978-O-387-34626-7, incorporated herein by reference).

    • Billy Bostickson

      Dennis K Rohrbaugh
      City: Bel Air, Maryland Age: 71
      Addresses: 125 Fairmont Dr, Bel Air, MD 21014
      Timothy W Rohrbaugh, 34 Warren E Rohrbaugh Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, ~57 Colin Rohrbaugh Andrew D Rohrbaugh, 36 Katie M Fleiner, 38 Margaret A Rohrbaugh, 66
      Phone Number: 410-838-2874, 410) 708-3474 (410) 879-6857
      Email: mrohr*****, roh***
      Email: t…
      MRM A Rohrbaugh (410) 838-8054
      MR Margaret A Rohrbaugh Age 66 (410) 838-2874
      Dennis Rohrbaugh 1967 graduate of Sioux Valley High School in Linn grove, IA is on Graduates: Dennis Rohrbaugh (1963-1967),,+Bel+Air+MD

      • Billy Bostickson

        US Patents
        Method Of Chemical Decontamination
        United States Patent Inventor Appl. No. Assignee #5143621 Sep 1, 1992
        Filed: Jun 17, 1991 Philip W. Bartram (Abingdon, MD)
        Noel C. DiBona (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)
        James H. Buchanan (Newark, DE)
        Dennis K. Rohrbaugh (Bel Air, MD) 7/718319 The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army (Washington, DC)
        International Classification: B01D 1504 U.S. Classification: 210690
        An improved method of decontaminating a solvent which contains mustard. The mprovement consists essentially of using polydivinylbenzene to absorb the said mustard.
        Process For The In-Situ Detoxification Of Aminoalkyl Phosphonothiolates By Hydrolysis
        United States Patent Inventor Appl. No. Assignee
        #5678243 Oct 14, 1997
        Filed: Sep 12, 1996 Yu-Chu Yang (Bel Air, MD)
        John B. Samuel (Bel Air, MD)
        William T. Beaudry (Bel Air, MD)
        Linda L. Szafraniec (Bel Air, MD)
        Dennis K. Rohrbaugh (Bel Air, MD) 8/711840 The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army (Washington, DC)
        International Classification: A62D 300 U.S. Classification: 588200
        A process for the detoxification or decontamination of aminoalkyl phosphonothiolates and more particularly, the chemical warfare agent VX and its analogs. The process comprises adding water to the chemical agent so that an hydrolysis reaction of the chemical agent with water occurs at specified molar ratios. In a preferred embodiment, the detoxification process is carried out in situ within the chemical agent storage containers in the field and includes mixing the contents of the container after adding the water. The mixing may be accomplished by shaking, rolling, tumbling or pumping.
        Vx Adsorption From A Chlorofluorocarbon Solvent Using A Macroreticular Strong Acid Resin
        United States Patent Inventor Appl. No. Assignee
        #5069797 Dec 3, 1991
        Filed: Jan 3, 1991 Philip W. Bartram (Abingdon, MD)
        Noel C. DiBona (Apg, MD)
        James H. Buchanan (Newark, DE)
        Dennis K. Rohrbaugh (Bel Air, MD) 7/637028 The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army (Washington, DC)
        International Classification: G01D 1504 U.S. Classification: 210690
        A polydivinylbenezene macroreticular strong acid resin can effectively detaminate solutions containing organophosphorus chemical warfare agents such as o-ethyl S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothiolate (VX).

        • Tom Smythe

          Nice locating service there, Billy. I will drop you a line should I ever misplace my iphone or car keys.

          It might be worth dropping Rohrbach a line to see what his take is on the Skirpal chem, he is surely following the news. However, with 28 years career Army and good retirement, he is not likely to disclose modern state secrets. My sense that his work was from an earlier era, V’s and G’s more than novichoks, and more focused on detection and destruction. He is an experienced chemist but not someone pioneering new chemical weaponry.

          My sense is still that the real status of novichok chemistry is best seen in the Iranian work done at the behest of OPCW. They would scarcely be making and characterizing five brand-new ones without motivation, as their toxic properties and relevance would remain a complete unknown. It follows that the compounds they synthesized are likely the real thing, the five Russian keepers. Some allowance might be made for minor alkyl variants on the aging leaving group, guanadine. They might have chosen the latter for its commercial convenience.

          On the binaries, that subject too has gotten completely muddled, as in the wikipedia novichok talk page. Basically, as Prof Collum notes, a lot of this is two-step college senior work. Since insecticide-like compounds, numerous alcohols and NaH are sold in railroad car quantities, it might be argued that the Iranian synthetic route is plausibly considered a binary preparation, it not being too difficult to mix two solutions safely in common chemical glassware.

          • Billy Bostickson

            To be honest, I find the details of Novichok synthesis beyond me, but I approach the topic from two angles, one in search of inconsistencies in the government narrative which help expose its hidden agenda, and secondly as a means of exposing the dirty secrets of our masters and theirs.

            I read an article by Anton Utkin (PhD in Chemistry, Chemical Weapons Expert, Former UN inspector in Iraq, Creator of Russian chemical weapons destruction technologies) where he discusses certain myths and future possibilities re: Novichok which I thought were quite interesting:

            Novichok: What Do We Know?


            .Lab signature myths

            Impurities may point to a manufacturing technology. This does not mean, however, an unequivocal conclusion as to which technology was used.
            One of the most dangerous delusions currently being created by the media is the myth that each laboratory has its unique signature, and that any chemical agent sample can definitively be tracked down according to its origin. Why is this myth dangerous? First, it is technically wrong. Second, it can be exploited politically. For example, the UK might say it has identified the “signature” of a Russian lab without explaining how it was done but only referring to Russian scientists who “had admitted” that Russian labs do have their own signatures.v

            The only source of information about a substance is its composition, i.e. all the chemical compounds contained therein, and their concentrations. As a matter of fact no sample contains only single compound 100 % pure. Any substance will inevitably contain impurities. Where do these come from? First, impurities are present in the original reagents. Second, the chemical reaction itself results in byproducts. If we are talking about a multiple-stage manufacturing process, each of the stages generates its own byproducts. Even though the intermediate product may be additionally purified after each phase, trace amounts of byproducts may remain until the end of the production cycle. At the same time, different technologies (meaning different chemical reactions) will result in different impurities.

            Thus, we can argue that impurities may point to a manufacturing technology. This does not mean, however, an unequivocal conclusion as to which technology was used. For example, a reaction with a lack of reagent (rather than excess) may result in some side reactions (which are only observed when there are significant amounts of the reagent) not taking place at all or run so slowly that virtually no byproducts would form. In other words, the concentration of impurities is also telling about the production method or some specific conditions.

            Obviously, if we are talking about mass production involving hundreds or even thousands of tons per year, the stability of the composition and the related impurities would remain rather high. But even in industrial environments the composition differs from one batch to another; factories sometimes have to dispose of batches that do not match specifications.

            When it comes to laboratory synthesis, fluctuations of impurities and their concentrations from one batch to another are even higher. Much depends on the skills of the chemists in charge of synthesizing, their personal ways of working, and their knowhow.

            Is that labs have no distinct signature, meaning that it is impossible to positively trace a substance back to the lab which produced or the country in which it was manufactured.
            When Uglev and Rink mention a lab signature, they are most likely referring to technological aspects of synthesis, i.e. the route the specific chemist followed in the multistage synthesis process. Despite the fact that both scientists are chemical specialists, the author doubts that they would be able to tell the difference between two products produced by two different laboratories according to the same technology.

            There are, of course, impurities in the original reagents, which may pass through all the production stages and end up in the final product. For example, fluorspar extracted from a specific mine and then used in the manufacturing of phosphorus trichloride may contain a unique impurity characteristic of that mine. However, if a laboratory wants its product to resemble that of another laboratory, it can easily use phosphorus trichloride produced from that particular unique fluorspar.

            In addition, one must bear in mind that every new analysis of the same substance will produce a somewhat different concentrations of impurities in the end product, no matter how many tests are run. This peculiarity is due to the equipment’s measurement errors.

            At any rate, no court is going to accept as hard evidence a statement to the effect that if the compositions of two samples are identical, then their manufacturer is the same. There is always a theoretical possibility that the samples were made according to the same technology but in different places, and that it just so happened that the test batches’ parameters coincided. This is, at best, indirect evidence that can support a set of irrefutable evidences.

            So the answer to the fourth question is that labs have no distinct signature, meaning that it is impossible to positively trace a substance back to the lab which produced or the country in which it was manufactured.


            We can expect the number of Novichok’s “developers” and “witnesses” to expand in the coming months, seeing as the Skripals’ saga shows no signs of abating. These newcomers’ testimonies will contradict one another, but they are guaranteed to grow more vivid and apocalyptic over time.

            As for possible scenarios behind the poisoning in Salisbury, we can expect the following presumptions to be made:

            the OPCW will do its best to distance itself from London’s political statements, stressing at every turn that the organization is providing only “technical support”; the result of the mission to the UK will be identification of the poison in the collected samples and stating the type of poisoning without linking them to Russia;
            London, nevertheless, will use any results and OPCW statements for its own political ends, stating that they “corroborate the accusations against Russia”;
            the fact that there are other countries which have produced Novichok-type agents disproves the UK’s statements that Russia can be the only country responsible for using such agents;
            Russia may ask the OPCW for information about all countries that have ever submitted Novichok-type analytical data;
            should it be confirmed that other OPCW member countries have a history of producing such agents, Russia may demand that these countries disclose the details and be held accountable for spending every milligram of such substances;

            having directly accused Russia, London has no room for a maneuver; the UK will now have to press on to the bitter end, putting more pressure on Russia and trying to convince other countries that Moscow is to blame; should these accusations prove to hold water, the Theresa May cabinet may well fall;
            in this situation, Russia has nothing else to do but act decisively to defend its position and make its opinion known to the international community;
            after designated laboratories have the UK samples analyzed Russia can request the UK according the the Article IX to provide explanation on what in the samples made the UK believe that the agent originated in Russia as well as to disclose the information on production of Novichok-type agents in the UK labs if any such production occured;
            if Russia is not satisfied with the response it can seek assistance of the Executive Council to clarify this issue and even go further to request a special session of the Executive Council or even the Conference of the State Parties.

          • Tom Smythe

            No, no and more no. Sergei was a triple agent from the get-go, phony spy exchange. His dacha at ‘Lefortovo Prison’ has been described as half golf resort, half Betty Ford Center but with cruise-ship portioned meals. Yulia, married to Stepan long ago and having two kids in English private schools, had become the youngest-ever head of FSB thanks to uber-patriotic family history on both sides and ruthless interrogation methods learned from Gina H***** in Thailand.

            Worried that dad had become become corrupted by a lavish lifestyle to quadruple agent, Stepan was sent ahead to a job as immigrant dishwasher at Zizzi’s using a forged resume from MI6. Sergei, who took BZ on a daily basis for its hallucinogenic buzz, was then an easy mark.

            However Stepan was furious that Yulia had taken on ‘Gordon’ (DS Nick Bailey) as a casual lover. Unbeknowst to Stepan, Yulia actually reported directly to Soros/Clinton. Those two pictures of Julia you see all the time was cropped out from the three of them conferring at Davos/Bilderberg. EXIF data associated with the original image matches an iphone registered to Zuckerberg. https://badlink404.jpg

  • Billy Bostickson

    Fin 1994, Gen. Nikolay Antonov, formerly the head of the Soviet Army’s Shikhany-based research institute, proved beyond any doubt in his book Chemical Weapons at the Turn of the Century that the most effective combat chemical weapons are classed under the VX category.

    Any agent more toxic than the VX class would inevitably have inferior combat parameters compared to that of the VX agents.

    by Nikolai Antonov
    made available to us, courtesy of the US army at:

    • Tom Smythe

      Utkin’s article is definitely on-target on non-use war arsenals though somewhat obsoleted on current chemistry by more recent disclosures. For example, if every bespoke lab in every country making custom CW compounds on behalf of the OPCW’s database is to be tarred, the list would be quite long and effect highly inhibitory to weapon control research. The Russian ambassador named four (in addition to the US and UK). I chased down the Slovakian article in translation, it was all older stuff like sarin.

      Utkin mentions the Iranian article but clearly did not look at the chemistry because the ROH NaH step to what the authors term five novichoks is without precedent in the CW literature.

      I’m going to repeat that: look at what all is bonded to the phosphorus. Show me where else that constellation occurs anywhere in CW publications and/or databases. The fluoride is gone. The thiol is gone. There’s a carbon-phosphorus bond.

      These guys are highly competent young organic chemists working in modern labs. Nobody would take the gratuitous risks of purification steps making unrequested, untested, hugely dangerous, reagent-grade compounds. OPCW provided the motivation for these specific five and let’s just say they had a basis: these five compounds are the real novichoks.

      • Tom Smythe

        I should add that someone somewhere has already scrambled to see what the five Iranian compounds yield upon reaction with butyrylcholinesterase in terms of leaving groups, aging, response to oximes, trypsin peptide products, catalytically enhanced BChE and other antidotes. The five compounds would not react notably with free serine, it has to be in the enzyme active site constellation, so for that reason and out-of-scope the Iranians didn’t pursue the biochemistry any further.

        • Billy Bostickson

          I asked myself why would the Iranians be so interested in these particularly lethal compounds and being able to detect them quickly and accurately?

          Could it be because they considered using them against their enemies?

          Then I remembered the revelations concerning the El Al Boeing crash in Holland and its cargo discovered to contain compound DMMP (dimethyl methyl phosphonate) and other chemical precursors to Sarin.

          Also I recalled a report in the Sunday Times in 1998 by Uzi Mahnaimi concerning jet fighters being armed and ready for chemical and biological weapons

          “Israeli jets equipped for chemical warfare”

          The weapons are being manufactured at the Nes Ziona Institute for Biological Research, located southeast of Tel Aviv, the newspaper reported. Sources quoted in the report said crews of F-16 fighter jets have been trained to load the weapons within minutes of receiving the order.
          “There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapons” that is “not manufactured at the institute,” a biologist who is a former Israeli intelligence official told the paper.
          The report alleged that the Nes Ziona facility not only made chemical and biological weapons for use in bombs, “but more unusual arms as well.” The newspaper further claimed that the facility had created the poison used in the bungled September 1997 assassination attempt on Hamas official Khaled Mashaal in Jordan.

          The research and manufacturing of Israeli chemical and biological weapons at Ness- Ziona IIBR, by its former director, Dr. Avigdor Shafferman, was also exposed by Manlio Dinucciin and Karel Knip among others:

          “Housed there [Nes Tziona] are the biochemists and genetic scientists with their bottle agents of death: toxins that can create cripping food poisoning and lead to death; the even more virulent Venezuelan eqine encephalomyetis and anthrax. In other laboratories…scientists work with a variety of nerve agents: choking agents, blood agents,….”
          –Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, by Gordon Thomas.

          According to former Mossadnik, Viktor Ostrovsky, “The plant, [Nes Tziona] manufactures not only chemical and biological weapons for use in bombs, but more unusual arms as well. It supplied the poison for last year’s assassination attempt by the Mossad, Israel’s equivalent of the CIA, on the life of Khaled Meshal, a Hamas Party leader in Jordan.

          Funnily enough, The Soviets knew exactly what was going on there as Marcus Klingberg, the deputy director was in fact a soviet agent, providing the Soviets with the results of Israel’s chemical and biological weapons experiments as an agent code-named “Rok.”

          Peter Pringle was a foreign correspondent for the Observer interviewed him before his death in Paris here, where he made some interesting allusions to “Yellow Rain” research:

          Marcus Klingberg was betrayed by the double agent, Boris Krasny, now one of Israel’s most successful business lobbyists and a friend of the Clintons, of course 😉


          A good summary of the CBW program in question was published by Dr. Avner Cohen, the author of Israel and the Bomb:


          So, from all the above, we can see that Iran would be foolish not to research the Novichok compounds, as it is quite likely they would be used against them in any future war especially since Israel has refused to ratify either the Chemical Weapons or Biological Weapons Conventions.

          • Tom Smythe

            Not to mention Iran having been on the receiving end of sarin + mustard gas warfare during the eight years of Iraq war, with massive casualties.

            I don’t really see a motivation for Mossad at Salisbury, not that they would be morally repulsed. Israel might have taken note of the Iranian and Czech papers on novichoks from the detection and antidote perspectives but putting extensive resources into new assassination or offensive CW weapons seems far-fetched, they have enough already.

            It appears to me that the UK did not initiate events at Salisbury: they were caught flat-footed but then sought to re-purpose the narrative to Putin-bashing from the 2nd or 3rd day on. That effort was hastily put together, necessitating ever clumsier cover-ups that continue today with an ever-changing account.

            If so, this just means that the UK was not put in the advance planning loop by the perpetrator. That would best fit with a US neocon/CIA operation; the master would not ask the poodle for permission but only tell it after the fact how it must be played, leaving the UK with the impossibly awkward details.

            However revenge poisoning at Zizzi’s by assorted non-state parties still fits the data, as does food poisoning. The hospital has been exceedingly cagey about treatments and symptoms to what purpose? A case can still be made that some other toxin altogether was involved, with the novichok salted into the narrative later — an invention that fits the implausibly rapid chemical identification by Porton Down.

            There is not the slightest evidence that any object in the Salisbury environment was ever contaminated. Zizzi’s continued on with dinner service, the Mill Pub was open, people sat on the bench, rural police came and went for a week ungloved through the Skripal’s door, no one else ever showed symptoms, Nick Bailey’s role was never explained, the caustic cleanup protocol of bagged water-soluble agent, bored personnel half out of hazmat costumes, the contradictions go on and on.

            What strikes me here is the utter incompetence in whoever was tasked to manage the agitprop. Lies piled on short-lived lies, it is as if no one don’t cares they will be caught out. This is the neocon signature: manipulation of history by decree and fiat rather than fact.

            I looked at the new Russian embassy timetable of Salisbury events. Some improvements, no big news. Compiling an exhaustive minute-by-minute sequence from the very earliest events, before the disinformation campaign had a chance to kick in, might be revealing.


            The UK’s nonsense about the Russians monitoring Yulia’s emails for three years when GCHQ has been recording ALL forms of ALL electronic and voice communications from ALL European and mideastern nationalities under zero legal constraints? Yulia reportedly posted [date?] some silly comment on VKontakt agreeing Putin should be in prison, that might trigger monitoring given Sergei’s betrayals. This extends the rubbish intercept from the Cyprus listening post (which is funded by the NSA according to Snowden documents.

          • Billy Bostickson

            I wasn’t suggesting Mossad had anything to do with it actually.

            “It appears to me that the UK did not initiate events at Salisbury: they were caught flat-footed but then sought to re-purpose the narrative to Putin-bashing from the 2nd or 3rd day on. That effort was hastily put together, necessitating ever clumsier cover-ups that continue today with an ever-changing account.” Agree!

            ” a US neocon/CIA operation; the master would not ask the poodle for permission but only tell it after the fact how it must be played, leaving the UK with the impossibly awkward details.” Disagree!

            I am pretty sure a Russian “businessman” Scotland Lard 😉 were asking Russian emigres about earlier on in the investigation when they went around showing them photos of the blonde/brunette couple, is the one behind the attack, either trying to show off or trying to embarrass Putin, as Karpichov claimed, (he himself also may have been involved to some extent) which explains why he gave up his name a few days ago. Whether or not the Russian ‘businessman” has any links to other (non-Russian) Intelligence agencies remains to be seen.

            I’m still interested to investigate the boyfriend and mother-in-law angle and Rink’s car boot sales of Novichok ampoules to the bitter end, but that’s a different story which may or may not intersect in any meaningful way.

            Anyway, this whole drama is hardly surprising when the UK invites over 100 Thieves, Criminals, Spies,Traitors and disgruntled Oligarchs to make themselves at home in the UK and then refuses all requests for extradition (that was mainly thanks to Theresa May when she was Home Secretary).

            The chickens have come home to roost or roast…

          • Tom Smythe

            >Rink sold novi as car boot sale.

            He stored the ampoules in his garage, so technically what we would call a garage sale. Was his family really threatened by gangsters or did he solicit the business? He sold each ampoule for thousands of rubles. That’s affordable on a per-dose basis (~100 per vial) but an unnecessary expense. I

            f you were a gangster, would you not simply demand he hand over all the ampoules, or else? Would you not want them safely subdivided? The liquids could be diluted (but with what solvent?) and administered by syringe. The NYT says the earlier Shikany lab accident was a faulty syringe, not blowback from the fume hood.

            ” a US neocon/CIA operation; the master would not ask the poodle for permission but only tell it after the fact how it must be played, leaving the UK with the impossibly awkward details.” Disagree!

            Ok how about Cruella DeVille in “101 Dalmations”:

            As part of a long-running unipolar US neocon/CIA operation, Cruella would not give Pongo and Perdita a head’s up with the possible exception of a compromised head dog at MI6, who is ordered to let the novichok news slowly trickle down to expendable rural police and Salisbury public (friendly fire needed to inflame public), leaving UK communication specialists to concoct impossibly awkward details, such as concocting kids who fed tainted garlic bread handed out by Sergei from the bench to park ducks, who had to be hospitalized (daily mail).

            Just knocking off the paunchy Sergei had no prospects of engendering mass russiaphobia as another purely internal Russian matter, but only Russian state barbarians would callously take out the comely Yulia without giving the morality a second thought. GCHQ, a wholly owned subsidiary of its NSA funder, noted her flight arrival, as they have hacked into all airline flight lists in Europe and ME and run them against a database flagged for persons-of-interest. So Yulia was no accident but an essential part of making the scheme work.

            If the UK now frames some non-extraditable Russian expat, how do they walk back the “high purity” of the supposedly somewhat novel Novichok. How would some businessman have reagent-grade chemicals? Presumably by saying GCHQ has spy cameras showing the expat taking orders directly from Putin who hands him an ampoule of ultra-toxic new agents with a clearly labelled matching chemical structure in Putin’s own handwriting, while having five prostitutes pee on the expat to obtain kompromat. The classified video cannot be released because it would compromise camera location.

          • Billy Bostickson

            “If the UK now frames some non-extraditable Russian expat, how do they walk back the “high purity” of the supposedly somewhat novel Novichok. How would some businessman have reagent-grade chemicals?”

            I think he got it from the Latvian who bought a set of ampoules from Rink (according to Rink), or the Chechens (usually the ones to blame when people get bumped off in Russia or elsewhere it seems). Supposedly, Gordon, the dodgy geezer according to Karpichkov is from Latvian Security Service and ex KGB?

          • Tom Smythe

            >>”why would the Iranians be so interested in these particularly lethal compounds.. Could it be because they considered using them against their enemies?”

            I am ok with the Rink-Latvian-Cheche-Gordon theory. It seems easy enough to go through the list of kitchen employees at Zizzi’s and any visitors seen there during the 40-minute holdup serving a simple dish. Indeed that was the first thought of the local police. (Or the second: the bartender working the door at the Mill Pub said he was roughly interviewed some eight times.)

            That would really constrain the novichok — if there really was one employed here — to something quite specific, quite impure and quite traceable (the banker job was tracked down to a batch of Rink’s specialty). The Russians might well ask Dr. K what compound she was making for Rink and whether it was purified to any degree.

            On the Iranians, it has to be recognized that this was an open peer-reviewed publication in a respectable western journal that was not paywalled and even available in early draft from the lead researcher’s ResearchGate web page. Further it contained the unusual (for the day) search word ‘novichok’ which is scarcely to be found otherwise upon Google Scholar search of the world’s scientific journals. The keywords “OPCW” and “OCAD” database are also to be found:

            “…with the aim of enriching the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Central Analytical Database (OCAD), which may be used in OPCW verification activities, on/off site analysis, and to improve MS interpretation knowledge.”

            This is a really really implausible way to conduct a top-secret research project into new CW agents for use by the Iranian military or their assassination agency counterpart to MI6, CIA and Mossad.

            But conspiratorial “security breaches” get even worse if we believe DCRL staff don’t clear english-language CW publications In American journals past DCRL management.

            Actually what I see here is a perfect template for public transparency:

            The first author lists dual appointments to the Department of Chemistry, Semnan University in Semnan, Iran and the Defense Chemical Research Lab (DCRL) in Karaj, Iran. The third author appears to be a student at SU. The fourth and fifth authors also work at DCRL.

            The second author, who is actually the lead scientist in the group, is employed at Department of Science, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran and provides a conventional gMail account recommended for contact and a local PO Box in Tehran.

            Looking now at the publication history, the John Wiley firm began publication of ‘Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry’ in 1987. Some 57 days passed between submission of the mss, comments from outside peer-reviewers, return of mss to authors, and resubmission reflecting suggestions from the reviewers and editor. A further 25 days elapsed before the journal editor accepted the revised manuscript and 3 more until it went online. The final proofed article appeared at day 113 and was bundled into Volume 30, Issue 24 Pages 2585-2593 of 30 December 2016.

            As an article submitter myself and sometime peer-reviewer, I see nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary here. All parties preceded expeditiously but within standard scientific protocols to get this article out in the door without neither haste or unnecessary delay evident. The article itself is excellent, timely, and interesting to both the CW and MS research communities.

            Issue Online: 06 November 2016 day 306
            Version of Record online: 06 November 2016 day 306
            Accepted manuscript online: 05 October 2016 day 278
            Manuscript accepted: 02 October 2016 day 275
            Manuscript revised: 07 September 2016 day 250
            Manuscript received: 12 July 2016 day 193

          • Billy Bostickson

            Everything looks Kosher then regarding the Novichok research, what surprises me that the Russians haven’t found anything more that the BZ red herring to leak from the classified report.

            Are there no investigative journalists, hackers, disgruntled lovers, whistle blowers left on Planet earth?

            And why is nobody following up on Karpichkov spilling the beans on his old buddy “Gordon” who he saved from poisoning in Latvia and who paid him back the favour by telling him he was on a a Kremlin hit list. Then Karpichkov accuses him publicly of being a killer and in charge of the Skripal attack after pretending that he didn’t know him when Scotland Yard questioned him.

            It’s obvious to me that the Police know it was a mafia hit/ warning message gone wrong and they used it to blame Putin, it’s clear as daylight.

            How long can they keep this farce going, anybody’s guess.

    • Tom Smythe

      Here is the OPCW coloring book for kids …

      I got lazy and simply put in a request to OPCW Lab for an explanation of the mass spec logo on their lab coats. Could we print this on a shot glasses to thank donors who support Craig’s work?

      >>Are there no investigative journalists, hackers, disgruntled lovers, whistle blowers left on Planet earth?

      That to me is far scarier than the Salisbury event per se. Total control has been achieved, not one person comes forward despite advanced options for anonymity.

      Things have gotten very much worse since this book on foreign aid waste appeared:

      A NATION OF SHEEP by William J. Lederer 1961
      Co-author with Eugene Burdick of The Ugly American

      But in final analysis, the blame is the gullibility, the apathy, the indifference of the great American public — “”the nation of sheep””. We are fed misinformation, by government, by the press. We are headline readers — and fail to read through to the kernel of the news which able correspondents may have cloaked in hearsay and indirection. In this book, Lederer reveals the kinds of frauds we have swallowed whole:- the Laos fraud, the facts we are not told about Formosa, about Korea, about Thailand. We like to think that people are enjoying a better life because our millions have been poured into their lands – so we are told

      • Billy Bostickson

        Thanks for the OPCW book, it will be used this weekend! I will try to add some drawings of the Skripals to liven it up.

        • Tom Smythe

          That could be hilarious … and go viral if done well in the same style. More ambitiously, a whole comic book-style account of the UK’s bumbling improvisational attempt to hijack something that dropped in their lap.

          Another book of interest:

          Fabián Escalante, a retired chief of Cuba’s counterintelligence, who had been tasked with protecting Castro, estimated the number of assassination schemes or actual attempts by the Central Intelligence Agency to be 638, and split them among U.S. administrations as follows:

          Dwight D. Eisenhower (1959–1961): 38
          John F. Kennedy (1961–1963): 42
          Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969): 72
          Richard Nixon (1969–1974): 184
          Jimmy Carter (1977–1981): 64
          Ronald Reagan (1981–1989): 197
          George H. W. Bush (1989–1993): 16
          Bill Clinton (1993–2000): 21


          What’s weird about State assassinations worldwide is the bewildering range of chemicals used:

          Mossad: Khaled Meshaal — levo-fentanyl sprayed in ear (failed)

          Mossad: Al-Mabhouh — succinylcholine injected in leg,

          Bulgarian SS: Georgy Markov — ricin stabbed with umbrella

          KGB(?): Litvinenko — polonium tea kills ex-spy

          Indonesia: Munir Said Thalib — arsenic tea

          CIA: Castro — botulinum box of cigars (failed)

          CIA: Castro — tuberculous innoculum in wet suit (failed)

          CIA: Castro — explosive chonch (failed)

          CIA: Castro — Blackleaf 40 nicotinic-cholinergic receptor poisoned pen hypodermic

          Mob: Castro — poison pills in food (failed)

          CIA: Castro — thallium dusted shoes pen (failed)

          CIA: Castro — LSD in broadcast studio (failed)

      • Tom Smythe

        That is the mass spec of classical VX embroidered on OPCW Lab lab coats. Not sold in stores!

        US, UK VX: O-ethyl S-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate
        Chinese VX (CVX): not shown, special order
        Russian VX (RVX, VR, R 033): not shown, available on request for UK customers

        RVX is a minor variant in terminal aliphatic chains. VX has a toxic metabolite called EA-2192. I have not been able to find a structure for CVX as it is also the stock symbol for Chevron.

        According to the Malaysian police lab, VX was used in the recent NK airport attack, they’ve posted “ethyl N-2-diisopropylaminoethyl methylphosphonothiolate”. Is that N-2 a typo? It seems North Korea would have made or stocked CVX.

        Here is the account of someone sprayed by VX in a Japanese subway:

        Again, these variation have minor effects on properties such as toxicity and oxime antidote effectiveness but even the slightest chemical difference matters greatly for attribution. However, media slop results in everything being called classical VX.

        • Billy Bostickson

          Yes, I’ve read about most of the cases you mention, especially the Castro attempts.

          I remember he warned Chavez about a new American “cancer” poison after 4 or 5 Latin American leaders including himself were diagnosed with cancer in a short period, then look what happened to Chavez in the end as well.

          Just confirms my vision of a world ruled by psychopaths and murderous clowns telling the rest of us to be good citizens, pay our taxes, keep our mouths shut and wave the flag when needed.

          Thanks for all your interesting links, analysis and discussion, looks like we are the only ones left commenting on this particular thread since poor wee Alfie is now dominating public discourse. Never mind, the battle for truth about the Skripal case isn’t over yet by a long way. I will continue my research!

          • Tom Smythe

            >>truth about the Skripal case isn’t over yet by a long way. I will continue my research!

            This comment section freezes on May 5th. Be a worthwhile effort to pull out the best comments to date, edit a bit and put together a single coherent piece. To post where? The Skripal affair is a very interesting study and in some ways representative of everything that is going on. I’ve done about all I can without some further information to leverage off. Hard to say if we’ll see more or whether it will just drop from the news cycle. Historically some of the coverups succeeded for multiple decades but that may not work in the internet age.

          • Billy Bostickson

            Yes, and like you said, also a great idea to create a graphic novel/comic version exposing all the inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Unfortunately I am crap at drawing, but that would be the most effective way to disseminate our doubts to a wider audience by making it freely available for download on document sharing platforms.

          • Tom Smythe

            Agree on comics, far more effective drawing people in than piling on the prose. A lot of tl;dr folks out there. At least with the internet, everyone has a printing press so the gatekeeping can’t work as before.

            I was looking at the comment page of the Russian Embassy in London this morning, thinking wow they have much better access to the situation than we do, yet seem stonewalled and stymied just like us, for even the barest scrap of information. Internet research can only go so far without some boots on the ground. The UK must have gone into Salisbury saying we are on a WW3 footing, you must do your bit.

            Yes, cancer is easy to dish out, slow to act, hard to attribute, impossible to regulate. I’ve always wondered how widely it has been used — Chavez strongly suspected it and warned the Bolivian guy to watch what he ate.

            A lot of cancer treatment chemicals like 5-fluorouracil for AIDS are severe mutagens, they work by killing cells at dna replication. They knock back the cancer you have while at the same time giving you new ones. That ‘works’ because you could die later of something else before the new cancers can really kick in.

            I used to work with one called ICR-191 that was widely used in E. coli research to induce frameshift mutations (which basically take down a whole gene with just a point mutation). ICR was the Institute for Cancer Research; the chem was initially promising for cancer treatment but was dropped as a bit too carcinogenic. It’s still for sale though, don’t need .edu to get. There are thousands upon thousands of similarly carcinogenic reagents for sale from any chem supply house, not to mention your neighborhood grocery store, so you won’t see any OPCW being set up for them.

          • Doodlebug

            @Billy Bostickson 2:50

            “looks like we are the only ones left commenting on this particular thread since poor wee Alfie is now dominating public discourse.”

            Not quite. Stick at it. Someone has coined the phrase ‘proof of life’ in a comment under Craig’s latest piece about Scottish independence (in reply to a poster making a point about Russia, not Scotland). I am by no means equipped personally to pass judgement as regards chemistry, espionage or the motives of any Russian mafia, but on a personal level that phrase encapsulates the one aspect of the Skripal affair that troubles me the most.

            Simply being told of their miraculous recoveries is not enough by a long stretch. The public doesn’t need to eavesdrop an interview in order to see them live, on camera, exiting Salisbury District Hospital together (Yulia, escorted or not, having been released from her safe house in order to accompany her father).

            So keep up the good work. Never mind the fumigation of Salisbury, the UK government owes a duty of care also toward any foreign nationals resident within these shores.

          • Doodlebug

            For the avoidance of doubt, this is the current stance of National Health England


            From which the following are extracts:

            Risk to public health

            “Based on current evidence, the risk to the general public from this substance has not changed and remains low.

            “While there is no immediate health risk to anyone who may have been in either of these locations, it is possible, but unlikely, that any of the substance which has come into contact with clothing or belongings could still be present in minute amounts and therefore contaminate your skin.

            “Over time, repeated skin contact with contaminated items may pose a small risk to health. This risk can be removed by taking the actions explained in this document.

            “You do not need to seek advice from a health professional unless you are experiencing symptoms.

            “We advise you to take the following action

            “If you visited either of the two locations within the specified time frame or have been directly contacted by Public Health England, you should:

            (There follows a series of washing instructions)

            “Please wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleaning any items.”

            To be found under the heading, ‘Cleaning and general advice’:

            5. Should I clean the whole house? No….
            11. Where will the items be disposed by the council?
            They will be disposed of safely. (The question was ‘Where?’ not ‘How?’)
            14. Why isn’t dry-cleaning safe?
            The safest way to remove any trace contamination is by using soap or detergent and water.

            So there you have it. Just a little soap and water and you’re ‘good to go’. The Army have clearly been given a different set of instructions.

          • Tom Smythe

            Quite right. The advise being given is complete nonsense. No one has been affected in the slightest since March 5th, unless we count the worried-well flooding the ER. There were many many opportunities for someone to get dosed but nobody did. So way less risky than killer bees, brown recluse spiders in your bananas or satellite debris coming through the roof.

            I would sit on that park bench buck-naked if they care to weld it back in place and lick the Skirpal’s door handle should it open as a tourism museum. For pete sake, even the Skripals didn’t get a lethal dose. If DS Nick Bailey was really exposed, why not disclose the route? What purpose is served by disappearing him?

            The novichok-class chemicals under discussion are small polar water soluble compounds. That means they dissolve in rain water, hosed water, washing machine water and biological fluids, whether or not detergent or “caustics” are present. It does not mean they are unstable in water, though some are.

            These compounds are not lipophilic (fat-seeking) because they need to be carried around in blood to their target area, the nerve synapse, which is a fluid-filled extracellular gap and find their way (like soluble acetylcholine) to the polar active site of the esterase. Most of these compounds are rapidly metabolized into secondary products with those too rapidly secreted out in the urine.


            The fundamental question I have at this point: why has the Russian equivalent of GCHQ/NSA been missing in action? That would be Spetssvyaz, responsible for foreign signals intelligence. How secure are routers, computers, networks and cell towers in a dinky rural town of population 45k and its chronically underfunded hospital?

            I would say not secure at all but instead wide-open to any teenage hacker, of which Russia has tens of thousands for hire before even getting to Spetssvyaz professionals. Down the road, Porton Down has been a long-standing, if hardened, target; it was surely penetrated decades ago by both electronic snooping and turncoat routes and remains so today.

            However it appears the Russian embassy cannot call in these resources, they floundering helplessly asking the UK for answers, seemingly unable to determine treatment, antidotes, status, twitter account authenticity and location of the Skripals.

            That is hardly entry-level signals intelligence yet the Russians are world-class at it. So I would agree with others here that the Russians are simply letting the UK make a huger fool out of themselves, then pull the rug out from under or reveal what they have as kompromat on those that would otherwise have to resign from govt.

          • Doodlebug

            @Tom Smythe

            I concur. Feigning ignorance while gathering evidence useful for leverage later would be a smart card to play. Earlier this evening it occurred to me to re-visit the PM’s speech to the HoC on Monday 12th March – barely a week after the incident. Herewith an enlightening transcript, albeit redacted (parentheses mine). You may find it amusing, although it’s hardly a laughing matter when all’s said and done:

            “I would like to update the house on the incident in Salisbury and the steps we are taking to investigate what happened, and to respond to this reckless and despicable act……our thoughts in particular are with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who remains in a serious but stable condition….. (the Skripals don’t count, obviously)

            “Mr Speaker I share the impatience of this house, and the country at large, to bring those responsible to justice….but as a nation that believes in justice and the rule of law, it is essential that we proceed in the right way, led, not by speculation, but by the evidence….(Whereafter it’s essential they proceed to govern in the right way, leading the people, not by the hand but by the nose):

            “It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia….based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world leading experts at the defence, science and technology laboratory at Porton Down, our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent, and would still be capable of doing so, Russia’s record of conducting State-sponsored assassinations, and our assessment that Russia views some of its defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations, the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.(psst. ‘Whatever you do don’t mention Oswald Rayner’)

            “Mr Speaker there are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on the 4th of March. Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially, catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others” (unlike the USA, who have published patents pertaining to ammunition impregnated with a ‘Novichok’!)

            Only two plausible explanations then (based upon a concatenated series of speculations): 1. The Russians did it. 2. A Russian did it.

            So much for proceeding ‘the right way’, following tenets good enough for the country, but clearly inadequate to the task of government.

          • Tom Smythe

            I took a look the horrific neonicotinoid insecticides that the EU never ever should have approved in the first place but finally banned today, These are also in the ‘nerve gas’ family but on the downstream side, rather than upstream like novichoks which block the enzyme needed for turnover of acetylcholine. The neonicotinoids block nicotinic receptors rather than the muscarinic ones that we are more familiar with from BZ and atropine.

            The nicotinic actylcholine receptors are a very complicated family of hetero-pentameric pore-forming proteins that are not homogously related in any way to more familiar muscarinic GPCR-class receptors which in turn are wholly unrealted to the esterase pair.


            There has been occasional talk of the Skirpals being poisoned either by careless use at home or at the restaurant, by wasp poison, say bendiocarb, which unbelievably is still legal in the UK and sold at garden stores. Bendiocarb is a non-covalent inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. We could rule out a lot of theories like this if the Salisbury Hospital weren’t being so incredibly evasive about treatment.

            I chased down the 23 human genes involved just to illustrate the complexity. Again, the Salisbury Hospital is being complete jerks here in the sense that information gathered on treatment and antidote effectiveness is not being shared with the broader medical community. Poisoning of all three protein target classes is exceedingly common worldwide but rarely is the agent, exposure, treatment and sequelae so exhaustively characterized as here.

            CHRNA3 α3 neuronal chr 15q25.1
            CHRNA5 α5 neuronal chr 15q25.1
            CHRNB4 β4 neuronal chr 15q25.1
            CHRNA7 α7 neuronal chr 15q13.3

            CHRNA6 α6 neuronal chr 8p11.21
            CHRNB3 β3 neuronal chr 8p11.21
            CHRNA2 α2 neuronal chr 8p21.2

            CHRNB1 β1 muscular chr 17p13.1
            CHRND δ muscular chr 17p13.2

            CHRNA1 α1 muscular chr 2q31.1
            CHRNG γ muscular chr 2q37.1
            CHRNE ε muscular chr 2q37.1

            CHRNB2 β2 neuronal chr 1q21.3
            CHRNA9 α9 neuronal chr 4p14
            CHRNA10 α10 neuronal chr 11p15.4
            CHRNA4 α4 neuronal chr 20q13.33

            CHRM1 muscarinic 1 chr 11q12.3
            CHRM2 muscarinic 2 chr 7q33
            CHRM3 muscarinic 3 chr 1q43
            CHRM4 muscarinic 4 chr 11p11.2
            CHRM5 muscarinic 5 chr 15q14

            ACHE acetylcholinesterase chr 7q22
            BCHE butyrylcholinesterase chr 3q26.

          • Doodlebug

            @Tom Smythe

            Craig’s just launched a new thread on the Skripal affair. You might consider placing some of these ideas there.

          • Tom Smythe

            >Craig’s just launched a new thread on the Skripal affair.

            Yes, good time to move. Even though that thread is off to a bad start. Also good time to collect in one spot all the better posts to date.

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