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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  • james

    i guess he wants to hang onto his job, as opposed to being discovered dead mysteriously..

  • fwl

    You say that there are many other possibilities, but making no headway. Are they actively investigating all the possibilities, keeping an open mind and thinking laterally, or is it a case of investigating all Russian possibilities but other possibilities only if they pop up like a Jack in the box?

    Anyway, Craig’s post gives some reassurance that there are still good people with conscience and determination about.

    • craig Post author

      I don’t think anybody is investigating other possibilities. They took it away from Wiltshire police and gave it to the Met to make sure nobody had any thoughts.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ craig Post author April 18, 2018 at 20:26
        ‘..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…’
        Glad to see you’re creeping closer and closer to a reassessment of stuff like 9/11; it’s the same old same old, but don’t believe me – I’m just a wally – check out the latest stuff coming out.
        You have admittedly come across on the EU as being a cause you have abandoned; Una Mas?? (Por favor):
        Makes sense, already. IF you don;t think so, email me (or put your thoughts on your blog). Better to learn late, than not at all.

  • Petya

    In case you haven’t seen it yet – the boy from “chemical attack” video gives interview
    You don’t need to know Russian, you already know what he says – same story as reported by Robert Fisk.
    “They just grabbed me and started to pour water on me”

  • Barden Gridge

    10th April NHS press release updated today 18th April at 4.45 pm.
    Not sure what’s been updated. Maybe “in the care of” rather than “being treated”.
    Doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in the hospital, I suppose.

    “Updates on the Salisbury incident
    10 April 2018
    Updated: 18 April at 4.45pm.

    Following the incident in Salisbury on Sunday 4 March, one inpatient (a man in his 60s) remains in the care of Salisbury District Hospital after being exposed to a nerve agent.

    The health of this individual is improving and he is no longer in a critical condition.

    Public Health England has issued advice for those who were in The Mill pub or Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday 4 or Monday 5 March 2018 and this can be viewed on the Public Health England website.

    Following this advice a number of people have come forward, at the hospital, at GP practices and via the NHS 111 phone number. The NHS is not keeping a tally of every interaction but as identified above only three people have been admitted as a result of the incident.

    Based on current evidence, Public Health England is advising that the risk to the general public from this substance has not changed and remains low.”

    • Black Joan

      Updated, perhaps, because yesterday’s announcement of the clean-up of Salisbury potentially lasting until the end of the year, and involving numerous members of the military, will have prompted more anxious trips to GPs and A&E? Which, frankly, we can do without.

      • Mary Paul

        Still find this need for a deep clean in Salisbury at odds with concerns in Syria that the nerve agent used there will have dissipated if the OCPW inspectors do not get access to the site very soon (Jerry Smith, a former OPCW weapons inspector who worked in Syria in 2013, tells NPR that the passage of time makes inspection more challenging for multiple reason./)

        • WJ

          In the Salisbury case, the U.K. knows there is self-implicating evidence; in the Douma case, the U.K. knows there is no evidence.

        • Lokyc

          Should have engaged Russian cleaners. They’ve eradicated any traces of large scale chem attacks in a matter of days. A bit of “Novichok” can’t take till the end of the year!

        • John Goss

          I am sorry Mary Paul, and I hope this does not offend, but that is absolute bollocks. There are already countless reports from doctors at the hospital (8 of them) reports last week from Russia, that there has been no chemical attack. You seem to be trying to prepare a path for support of White Helmet false flags which if you watch the right media you know about. Clearly you don’t.

          • Ultraviolet

            Reporters on the scene telling us what is happening via the Internet are, you would have thought, an invaluable resource.

            Not, however, if you are our state propaganda arm.


            “Syria war: The online activists pushing conspiracy theories”

            Includes Sarah Abdallah and Vanessa Beeley.

            And we are told,

            The difficulty in reporting on the ground in Syria has opened up an information vacuum which has been partially filled by highly partisan sources, according to Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham and editor of news and analysis site EA Worldview,

            “None of it is journalism; none of it is really based on solid independent reporting,” Lucas says.

            But of course, one man reporting from his bedsit in Coventry is solid, independent reporting.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Black Joan April 18, 2018 at 20:45
        If the poxy place wasn’t of the beaten track (re National Express) I’d happily pop down there for a nose around.
        But financial restraints stop me from taking the railway.

  • Sean Lamb

    To my shame I haven’t read the OPCW report yet, however according to the UK ambassador at the UNSC:

    2 labs examined the environmental samples
    2 labs examined the biomedical samples

    2 labs reported finding variants of BZ as spiked in controls. I am guessing that the OPCW decided to spike in BZ only into the biomedical samples, because…..because…because….they just did, OK?

    The environmental samples don’t have BZ traces….cough splutter cough….BZ spiked in as a control. This would support my view that the environmental samples are just A-234 that was sprayed around places where the Skripals visited that day – it has nothing material to do with what took place.

    Given Salisbury seems to about bulldoze everywhere A-234 was sprayed, it looks like DS Nick Bailey might have been a little too enthusiastic in his efforts.

    • Baron

      That’s an excellent point, Sean Lamb, but getting to the truth is not what it’s all about (as you well know).

      • Sean Lamb

        To be honest, I see my role as more of a White Hat Hacker. I try to find weaknesses in the Government’s narratives that hostile actors might exploit, so that they can do a better job next time.

        Besides, I quite enjoy the intellectual challenge, so a part of me would be a little bit disappointed if Governments ever stopped acting in this bizarre fashion.

        I was especially proud of my MH17 solution. The Ukrainian air force used a MiG to buzz the separatist’s BUK the day before MH17. So that it fired a missile off while the MiG managed to pull off an evasive maneuver. This left an exploded Buk missile fragments beneath the flight path of MH17 the next day and a nice photo of the smoke trail of the missile in the sky (the only problem was the weather was a bit different on the two days). Then the next day the Dutch secret service put a bomb in the cockpit of MH17 packed with Buk fragmentation shrapnel timed to explode over separatist held territory. And then they sent an Su-25 at a much lower altitude for excited Cossacks to shot at so that when MH17 came crashing down they would think they had done it themselves. Clever, huh?

        Of course, my secret ambition is one day I will be allowed to help plan events like these. After all, as they say: If you never have a dream, you will never have a dream come true.

        • Baron

          That’s the most extraordinary explanation of the MH17 tragedy, Sean Lamb, but something tells Baron you won’t get very far with it. Still, good luck.

        • Kangaroo

          I like the way your thinking. Elaborate yes but just as spooky as the spooks would make it. Your hired, James Bond needs an assistant.

    • Crackerjack

      Anyone else bemused by the fact that this highly volatile Nerve Agent was dispensed in liquid form?

      • Ultraviolet

        I’m still bemused by the fact that the Skripals and Bailey were poisoned with novichok of a high level of purity and lived to tell the tale without any lasting consequences.

        But it does appear that the OPCW found novichok in the biomedical samples for which they had full chain of custody, at least according to the British rep:

        “On 4 March Yulia and Sergei Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, England, with a chemical weapon, which UK experts established to be a Novichok. OPCW has now clearly verified those findings…

        “Thirdly, the environmental samples were analysed by 2 laboratories, and the biomedical samples by 2 separate laboratories. All 4 laboratories detected the presence of the nerve agent. And the findings show the stability of the toxic chemical, as the Technical Secretariat have just explained”.

        This is the most unequivocal language I have seen used to date. So unless we are going to argue that the OPCW is part of a worldwide conspiracy, I think we have to accept, at least, that there was novichok in the Skripals’ biomedical samples.

        Unless someone has some other explanation.

        • Sean Lamb

          Well I don’t have to accept anything.

          I am going with MI6 spiking the blood collection tubes the phlebotomist was using. But don’t tell Salisbury Hospital or they will probably feel the need to bulldoze the building Intensive Care is located in.

        • Petya

          The question is did inspectors from OPCW collect the biomedical samples themselves or they did they only inspect the samples provided by Porton Down? There is no answer, so I guess they inspected they stuff they had been provided.

          • Ultraviolet


            2. The TAV team deployed to the United Kingdom on 19 March for a pre-deployment and from 21 March to 23 March for a full deployment.

            4. The team was able to collect blood samples from the three affected individuals under full chain of custody for delivery to the OPCW Laboratory and subsequent analysis by OPCW designated laboratories, and conducted identification of the three individuals against official photo-ID documents.

            I would be extremely surprised if “full chain of custody” does not include providing their own kit to take the samples, because if they didn’t, it would not be regarded as a full chain of custody.

            Would be good to have that confirmed, though.

        • Crackerjack

          Personally I don’t doubt the fact that they were poisoned but I’m troubled by the story we are fed as to how it happened

          A highly volatile compound that apparently can be cleaned away with a wet wipe is left overnight on a door handle in liquid form. Exposed to the air (and water vapour)

          One of the two comes into contact with it yet both succumb to the poisoning many hours later at the same time. One being a burly old bloke the other being a slip of a girl

          And the Labs say they find highly pure doses in the blood samples

          Too odd for words

          • Barden Gridge

            Have the references to “enzymes” in the 10th April NHS statement been looked at closely?

            We know that the weaselly wording of that statement talks about “exposure to nerve agent” and “poisoning” without ever stating that the nerve agent caused the poisoning which the Skripal’s were allegedly being treated for.
            The only common denominator seems to be “enzymes”:

            From the 10th April NHS statement:

            “While I won’t go into great detail about the treatment we’ve been providing, I will say that ***nerve agents work by attaching themselves to a particular enzyme*** in the body which then stops the nerves from working properly. This results in symptoms such as sickness, hallucinations and confusion. Our job in treating the patients has been to stabilise them– ensuring that the patients could breathe and that blood could continue to circulate. We then needed to use a variety of different drugs to support the patients until they could create more ***enzymes to replace those affected by the poisoning***. We also used specialised decontamination techniques to remove any residual toxins.”

            Would poisoning by something other than a nerve agent affect enzymes (not necessarily the same ones nerve agent poisoning would affect) which would need to be replaced as suggested above?

            Does the presence of “residual toxins” indicate or rule out any particular types of poisoning?

          • SA

            Barden Gridge
            The enzyme is acetylcholinestersse which is known to be a target for nerve agents.

          • Jo Dominich

            Yep, and then 6 weeks later, they start to decontaminate areas – some deadly nerve agent – there has been no decontamination at all of anything until this week. Ergo, it cannot have been a deadly novichock nerve agent as it would have been lethal on contact.

        • WJ

          This is easy. The A-234 was added to the samples by the U.K. before sending to the OPCW.

          • WJ

            In response to Barden Gridge,

            Yours is a great question, and I am not a chemist, so I could be incorrect about everything that follows. BUT……

            A quick look at the wikipedia entry for BZ lists its mechanism of action to be “an antagonist of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors.” BZ binds to these receptors and attendant structures to prevent their operation. Signaling pathways for these receptors do include several different enzymes. If a nerve agent is defined as “attaching itself to a particular enzyme which then stops the nerves from working properly,” then BZ, which attaches itself to muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in order to stop them from working properly, COULD be understood as falling under this definition, depending upon the scope of “the nerves” in the hospital statement.

            The symptoms the doctor lists as typical of nerve agents are in fact symptoms typical of BZ. Are they symptoms paradigmatic of A-234? Does anybody know?

          • Barden Gridge

            Thanks for looking into that.
            It seems that enzyme inhibitors are in loads of drugs and plants:
            So that statement is factually accurate, but deeply misleading.

            Davies’ letter says it all.
            In case you missed it, an independent journalist asked Salisbury NHS Trust about that
            The stonewalling reply he got suggests that Davies was absolutely right:


        • WJ

          “And the findings show the stability of the toxic chemical, as the Technical Secretariat have just explained.”

          The “stability” of the toxic chemical A-234 is precisely what biomedical samples of people poisoned with A-234 should *not* show. My understanding–and I am not a chemist–is that A-234 is highly volatile and metabolizes very quickly: hence, biomedical samples of people who had been poisoned by A-234 should show traces and decompositional byproducts of A-234, not A-234 in its pure, stable, form. Is this incorrect? I am just trying to get things right.

        • Mark Lappage

          The OPCW stated that the samples they tested ” were of a high level of purity ” but nowhere in their statement did they state what exactly it was a high level of purity of.

        • Casual Observer

          Yep, we have to accept that the Nerve Agent was real.

          If we cast our minds back to the Litvenenko Polonium thing, it was obvious that HMG were considerably annoyed, but at the time Russia had become a vital player in the supply routes required to ramp up the war in Afghanistan. So clearly Putin held the trump card, and that limited the UK’s response to verbal indignation.

          If we assume that the current state of play would impose no limit on the reaction of the UK in the event of another poisoning on home ground, then the fact that the Russians would supposedly waste their shot on what to all intents and purposes was an unimportant pair does raise doubt.

          Either Skripal was not the expired asset he is painted as, or he was the ideal candidate for a player other than Russia to use in order to blacken the Russians.

          What ever the story, it does seem to have turned into a damp squib with the face off between the USA and Russia. And may even backfire spectacularly if the Russians decide to give S300 systems to Syria.

          That just leaves ourselves in the UK with a government who’s first consideration daily, is its own survival. And who, like all failing governments do, are attracting calamity and cock up in the way ice cream attracts Wasps 🙂

      • Jo Dominich

        Crackerjack, I’m still bemused by the fact it was first in powder form in the car vent and car door, then a specialised gel formulated as such that it wouldn’t take effect for 4 hours and now, when the Swiss Lab report throws a spanner in the works and 6 weeks after the incident, DEFRA now say it was in liquid form!

    • Dave Lawton

      BZ would give you a 72 hour trip and will have an effect much like Datura or Atropa Belladonna which are classed as poisons as is LSD 25 but with LSD 25 it is only poisonous if you do not have the ability to transmute it or if you consume a too lower dose. Why the story is that traces were found in the samples I do not know except it would act as an antidote to a nerve agent.

      • Crackerjack

        Dave that is being explained away as
        positive control sample. i.e if the Lab couldn’t pick thatvup then it would mean the Lab were crap at their job.

        • Dave Lawton

          Yes I realise that you need to calibrate your instrument and use a control sample.I use to design the instruments and build them many years ago and teach the chemists how to use them.I smile because that BZ was used by the CIA for brainwashing along with LSD during their MK Ultra program.

          • Crackerjack

            Ah I see – Apologies.

            PS I’ve had the odd trip in my time so can see how that would work :-). Up to their old tricks again?

      • Crackerjack

        Good thought but then they would need to find BZ in all the samples – not sure that’s the case

        • WJ

          But they did find BZ in all the *biomedical* samples, just not in the *environmental* samples. Sean Lamb points this out above. So the objection fails.

          • CanSpeccy

            Why should BZ be in the environmental samples. It’s not that toxic. You’d only receive an intoxicating dose if it was put in your porridge, or your lunchtime seafood salad. Smearing it on the doorknob isn’t going to make anyone ill.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sean Lamb April 18, 2018 at 20:29
      Sorry, old chum, you seem to be missing the obvious: BZ fits the symptoms to a ‘T’ – symptoms, time delay, recovery.
      Novichocks kills, almost without doubt; no ‘time delay’.
      IF it looks like a duck (BZ) and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, by golly by Jingo, odds are it is a ‘Duck’ (aka BZ).
      Attempts by the PTB (which are octopus-like and international) to claim the BZ was ‘introduced’ to make sure the (long-standing?) Swiss labs were ‘up to the job’ makes not an iota of sense; the OPCW want to check out the reliability of labs they have used for (presumably) yonks? So they interfere, indeed corrupt, interfere with (shades of so many of the ‘Hoi Polloi’s: paedophiiac tendencies) such an extremely important analysis? Are you kidding me? Do your f’ing lab reliability checks to your heart’s content, fine, but mess with samples on such a high profile and internationally important case?
      Let’s just say pull (or suck) the other one – it;s got bells (sp?) on.

      • Jo Dominich

        Paul, this is a very succinct and clear explanation. Sometimes, the bleedin’ obvious passes you by when others are obfuscating the facts and we are busy untangling that obfuscation. You have said it how it is. It also shows the OPCW is not impartial or independent, it has been nobbled, like the UN, by the USA.

    • giyane

      Sean Lamb

      You have to work with facts. If A234 was sprayed anywhere it would have left many people dead, therefore it cannot have been sprayed. HMG would never risk allowing A234 anywhere except a site like Porton Down. therefore the samples shown to the OPCW must have been created at a site similar to Porton Down. Not all such sites are owned by HMG. Some are owned and run by Israeli companies.

      The purpose of a clean-up operation in Salisbury therefore must be identify dissent from the official narrative, their reasons and evidence, so that witnesses can be identified and intimidated. it also gives HMG or its foreign contractors to seed new false information in and outside the community.

      In today’s privatised world nobody should trust the objectivity of the OPCW. For example, it was always rumoured that Saddam shipped his chemical weapons from Iraq to Syria before the invasion. Both dictators were wholly owned and managed by USUKIS, so the inspections by OPCW might have been used as an opportunity to recover weapons that had been made available to Iraq, but which USUKIS did not want to be used on Assad’s neighbours, i.e. Israel.

      In the parallel universe of HMG a 45 minute attack on Israel could be considered by HMG as a 45 minute attack on the UK. Why would such weapons have been made available to Iraq? Saddam was in striking distance of Saudi Arabia. After Saudi Arabia had submitted to total control by USUKIS Saddam was no longer useful. He’s probably basking somewhere with a GnT. Similarly, how come the two other dictators, Assad and Erdogan, who are in their different ways , the most closely guarded property of USUKIS, are now supposed to be under Russian control?

      Answer, we are being deeply conned by the USUKIS hegemony into believing the narrative of a competition for resources and influence between the Eats and West. it enables swathes of human eradication under the explanation of conflict. the reality is that there is only complicity by the ruling classes of all countries including Russia, China East and West, South and North, in the management of populations. We get in the way with our mental resistance and our physical presence.. The Salisbury poisoning charade is a side chapter in a cheap novel about sex, spies and power.

  • Mikael Kall

    Can Britain, France or USA now show the photos from the dead and other “evidence” what they have from the alleged chemical attac in Gouta? Where are the about 50 dead bodies, which are the main proof? They should be investigated as quickly as possible.
    The Guardian says. that the rebels now excatly where the bodies are:
    “A former senior officer in the Syrian military chemical weapons programme, Brig Zaher al-Saket, who deserted in 2013, said Douma residents he worked with had buried close to 50 bodies in an undisclosed site in the area, hoping that they could be eventually recovered and used to confirm suspicions that some form of nerve agent was used in the attack. ” (Guardian, 17. April, 2018)

  • Black Joan

    My respect for senior civil-servant-speak is not enhanced by this section of the statement: “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”.
    That is bad English because the participle “Coming” naturally belongs with the subject, “I”.
    Yes, it is very important to deconstruct official utterances carefully but, when they are written as sloppily as this, one can never be sure of the intended meaning, or of any intended obfuscation.

      • Black Joan

        They certainly wrote convincingly pompous formal English of a type developed in the 19th Century, but they made a right pig’s ear of pretending to be a Russian 21st-century female in her thirties.

    • giyane

      Black Joan

      Yes, my dad used to tell me this was a solecism and to this second I have always thought solecism was just a floating participle. however I can’t connect the word ‘coming’ with the “I”. if it had been Coming from the toilet I am reminded of the vast quantity of methane being spoken about this,yes.
      Casual English allows the writer to seem more chatty. Writing on here I split my infinitives with relish, and I stagger my complicated thoughts with paragraphs and commas.
      We are now entering a new war, in which Damascus will be attacked and jihadists released. Is it time to be picky about diplomatic prose when presumable most of the errors are placed intentionally to convey the false impression of heart-felt thanks?
      There again the intern might have never learnt how to write non-escharry English.

    • CanSpeccy

      ” I also want to take this opportunity to renew my gratitude ”

      WTF is the matter with this twit?

      I worked for three different governments and no one in my experience ever issued a blanket expression of gratitude to civil servants for doing what they are very well paid to do, which is mostly F-all. And this idiot not only so expressed his gratitude, he “renewed” his gratitude, for God’s sake. Are all British civil servants volunteers, or what?

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Perhaps the most interesting question arising from Sir Jeremy’s statement is: ‘what actually IS the national interest in this matter?’

    I question whether the national interest is bombing for pipelines. As I understand things, Assad is allowing an Iranian pipeline through Syria but not a Qatari one.

    So would Qatari gas be much cheaper than Russian gas if a pipeline were constructed? I do not understand why this cannot be discussed in the media.

    Presumably some deal was done whereby Qatar invests in XYZ in return for UK backing Qatari positions in ME politics.

    Presumably Putins price for military support was blocking the Qatari pipeline.

    Not convinced it has much relevance to us, but MI6 and UK security consultants will no doubt see it ss an opportunity for troublemaking…

    Obviously the national interest is to stop the use of poisons on UK soil to injure or kill people. It would certainly be helpful to put MI6 on a very tight leash where use of such weapons is concerned. MI6’s job should be gathering intelligence well enough to stop foreigners using poison in the UK……

    • Johnny

      Perhaps the eventual plan is to “steal” the Qatari and Iranian gas and send it via Saudi and onwards to client state(s) and not via a Qatar/Iran route through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Israel would be intent upon the water of the Litani river in southern Lebanon and more than its share of the oil between the two not to mention the Golan Heights

    • bj

      With all due respect — might you have a naive understanding of what ‘national’ refers to?

    • JohninMK

      I am not an oil expert but my understanding is that both Qatari and Iranian gas comes from a shared reservoir under the Persian Gulf. In the event of there being an Iran/Iraq/Syria pipeline constructed, which would need major financing, such financing may well become available from Qatar (who has lots of money) as part of a sharing agreement. I have little doubt that Turkey, Russia and China would also be involved.

      Given the distances involved it is unlikely that Gulf gas would be cheaper than Russian gas but the EU would love it as it reduced its need to that Russian gas.

      An interesting side issue is the massive gas reserves east of Cyprus down to Gaza. These are fields that Israel/Lebanon/Syria are very keen to exploit so there is a possibility that a pipeline joining them together then joining the Gulf pipeline on its way to the EU via Turkey might be in the future.

      But that would need wiser heads in Governments than seem to be there or on the horizon. Mind you with the seemingly now likely peace deal between NK and SK and denuclearisation (sp) of the peninsular on the horizon who knows what is around the corner.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Rhys Jaggar April 18, 2018 at 20:45
      What part of do you not understand
      Or even, already,
      Start to vonder vy an ‘Emergency Morgue’ was opened in a TA facility in Central London the very day before the 7/7 London Bombings?
      And the new centre dealt with all the bodies of the bombings, none of which were autopsied?
      No, you want links, f*cking ask.
      But, sure, ‘coincidences’ do, regularly, occur. Any bookies on here want to work out the odds?

    • CanSpeccy

      “MI6’s job should be gathering intelligence well enough to stop foreigners using poison in the UK……”

      A very good point.

      And while the head of the UK civil service is expressing and re-expressing his gratitude to members of the civil service simply for doing what they are paid for, he had nothing to say, apparently, over the failure of the security services and police alike to provide a scrap of evidence to indicate who perpetrated the attack on the Skripals — if indeed there was an attack on the Skripals, a claim at variance with the letter to the Times of March 16, 2018 from Stephen Davies, Salisbury Trust Hospital’s resident in emergency medicine, which states that no one admitted to the hospital, as the Skripals apparently were, had been exposed to a nerve agent.

  • Baron

    The Salisbury tragedy and the Douma bombing will become one of the most shameful chapters of our history.

    • Dom

      Not with a media that still thinks it’s controversial to represent the “interventionis” in Iraq and Libya as disastrous. These two latest episodes will soon be left far behind, only the residue of russian evilness left in the public mind, softened up for future staged confrontation.

    • Yalt

      I would think these would be rather low on the list for any “civilized” nation. No one has even died yet as far as we know, except for the cats and the guinea pig.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Baron April 18, 2018 at 21:07
      I hope you are joking. Otherwise, check out our (sure, I.m a Brit, born 1943, slightly(?) more experienced an knowledgeable than your good self) a true history of the British Empire.
      Sktipal and Douma were both ‘False Flag’ hoaxes, and it seems both were Brit Ops. OK, fair enough, that is my opinion, but the earlier stuff about our ‘Glorious Past’ is not.

  • Keith McClary

    “sites in Syria linked with the production and storage of chemical weapons”
    Including pharmaceutical labs inspected and passed by OPCW in Nov 2017.

  • Capella

    He missed out the word “illegal”.

    In the early hours of 14 April, the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the United States and France launched a series of ILLEGAL co-ordinated strikes on sites in Syria

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Capella April 18, 2018 at 21:14
      WTF do you mean? Don’t you realise ‘WE’ are exceptional? What do laws mean to us? xxx

  • quasi_verbatim

    May we now assume that Yulia Skripal has been recovered from her “induced coma” and is now making her own phone calls, writing her own letters and accessing her own social media in her own name?

    Or is she to be post-mortemed and her dismembered remains distributed around accredited OPCW laboratories for further research into this miraculous survival and recovery from a liberal application of VX+++ enhanced purity A234 Novichok?

    Of more pressing concern: why did the moggy not have the benefit of induced coma but instead was led straight to the incinerator? Is there one rule for Russkies and another for pussies?

  • Panda

    Thanks for the insights, Craig. These seem more like a cry for help from a tricky position yet to not blow the whistle on the government’s faulty (and possibly criminal) reasoning is less than honourable.

    His other statement is problematic for many who visit this site (‘This was in response to the use of prohibited chemical weapons by the Syrian regime against the civilian population of Douma’) as it does support the government’s views. If he is a great source for Salisbury then (presumably) why not for Douma?

    • craig Post author

      I presumed because nobody in the FCO has a clue what really happened in Douma and nobody much cares, whereas people do have much more of an idea about Salisbury and do care,

      • Panda

        Thanks for this and your points below. I would have thought after Iraq II that the FCO would want all their ducks in a row before effectively endorsing military action again. I imagine them tearing their hair out with Boris’s statements and actions, but perhaps they have all achieved a tacit understanding.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ craig Post author April 18, 2018 at 21:25
        Don’t you find that rather amazing, seeing as the UK could potentially have been involved with a shooting confrontation with Russia?
        Am I missing something here, or are the FCO so ‘snorted out’ with cocaine, and so ‘up each other’s nether regions, that their interest here is an obvious ‘False Flag’ op in Salisbury?
        By the way, could you please send me ‘M. Tal’ ‘s email, or send him/her mine? (see new forums);

        How the f*ck do smart FCO folk buy the government narrative, as it stinks of duplicity an ‘False Flag’ ops? Are they REALLY that thick?

  • Sharp Ears

    Heywood is tarnished by association with Blair as his Principal Private Secretary 1999-2003.

    Why did he allow Blair to run the government with a ‘sofa cabinet’? No proper minutes etc.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    It is interesting, then, what Sir Jeremy both says and does not say about the Douma matter. He isn’t mealy-mouthed about it in the way he is about Salisbury – he says, point-blank, that there was a use of chemical weapons and the user was the Syrian regime.

    “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.”

    What have your FCO sources to say about that, Craig, if anything? Is it that it would simply be impolitic to be less than gung-ho, given the serious consequences of attributing the assault to Assad, or does Sir Jeremy genuinely believe Assad to be responsible for Douma and is less convinced that Putin is responsible for Salisbury? Thanks. J

    • John Spencer-Davis

      I see you have already commented on this matter as another contributor has raised it too.

    • craig Post author


      Didn’t discuss it with sources. But almost certainly there is a moral relativity here. I suspect they know no more of Douma than you or I, but it is quite normal to be gung-ho with accuracy about what happens to foreigners in foreign lands – its what the FCO does all day long. But a different moral code applies to events at home in the UK.

      • Baron

        The one irrefutable fact on the Salisbury tragedy is the Times letter, Craig, it says it all, whatever the two suffered from Novitchok it wasn’t. Everything else that follows (and that includes the Porton Down and OPCW samplings) cannot be fully trusted. It’s more than comforting that there still are people in the country, who tell the truth whatever the consequences. The man’s a hero, he should be on the Trafalgar pedestal.

        Btw, you my have noticed the Times has a story every day backing the Government, or castigating the Russians for alleged hacking, or attacking those who doubt the official version of events. It’s they way of repenting for the letter. Sickening.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ craig Post author April 18, 2018 at 21:36
        ‘..I suspect they know no more of Douma than you or I, but it is quite normal to be gung-ho with accuracy about what happens to foreigners in foreign lands – its what the FCO does all day long. But a different moral code applies to events at home in the UK.’

        Errr, so they should indeed be aware and on top of the Douma business? That seems, from what you posted, to be their ‘raison d’etre’?
        So they don’t know nothing, and care less, about Douma (pssst – possible WWIII scenario)?

  • Crackerjack

    “However, the response to the Salisbury incident and the chemical attack on Douma showed the public service at its best”

    I think its telling he links the two in the same sentence – those darned Ruskies

  • Artie

    I have recently come across this website and find it credible and refreshing alternative to the blinkered views offered by the traditional media. With regards to the Skripal poisoning one of the beneficiaries of this action are those who want to see an end to the Iran Nuclear deal. Before Salisbury there was always a chance that once the US renounced it the remaining powers, Europe and Russia, would have stuck with it; now that seems a very remote.

  • Jones

    now Yulia is in a secure location and Sergei is apparently still in hospital i would be curious to know if she visits or contacts him, perhaps they are forcibly separated, it would be unbelievable to hear she didn’t want contact with her father like the statement requesting no contact with Viktoria.

    Sergei Lavrov full interview below, an impressive politician versus the dumb blatantly biased Stephen Sackur on Hardtalk, Russia has the impressive professional Sergei Lavrov, UK has the imbecile clown Boris Johnson, and Sackur is an ignoramus.

  • FranzB

    Tony – “I do apologise to The World about The Appalling Public Relationships of our Current British Government, which is seriously besmirching the reputation of all British People”

    Not all British People – other blogs are available that show that Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott (and some SNP, Green and Lib Dem MPs) are decent people.

    (apologies for shoehorning this in on page 1)

  • lenka.penka

    I hope the Syria narrative falls apart.

    Surely on the UK end this may mean May must resign? And as a bonus BoJo as well?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ lenka.penka April 18, 2018 at 22:32
      They shouldn’t (and I hope don’t) resign – not at all. They need to slog away, making their ugly, soul sold entities more and more obnoxious and odious, unt then face off against our ‘ero, JC (OK, he ain’t perfect, but who is? You’re offer?).
      How much damage the prats can cause till we turf ’em out is, unfortunately, quite horrendous.
      But that’s just according to ‘today’s’ rules; JC is smart enough,and big enough, and ugly enough, to change the ‘Rules’, which are, in reality, completely ignored by our governments, unless they suit.

    • IM

      Someone should tweet her and ask if it smelled like Sarin… I would but don’t have twitter.

        • IM

          Ask the question and see what she says, the key is what she says when she replies, why give the game away?

        • IM

          PS: Since we’re giving the game away, apparently you only “smell” Sarin once… and don’t live to tell how it did smell…

          • Loftwork

            Oddly, the Wiki articles include characteristic smells for various nerve agents including sarin, soman, tabun etc. “tabun has a slightly fruity odor and soman has a slight camphor odor.” I’m at a loss to know how they found out, unless it had distinct Monty Python elements.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Spencer Eagle April 18, 2018 at 22:56
          Unlike the silly-born twat who made such a stupid statement, who pongs of sulphur and moucho dinero.

  • Alex Birnie

    Why doesn’t the UK government, as is their right as a member of OPCW, call for a “suspect inspection” of the suspected Russian site which allegedly manufactured the poison used against the Skripals? Surely this would confirm the guilt of the Russians?

    • bj

      Not necessarily.
      The site may illegally produce such a forbidden chemical, and yet have ‘clean hands’ vis-a-vis the Skripal affair.

      In fact, An adversary that might have secret intelligence of such an illegal site existing might set up matters to exploit this fact for Propaganda reasons.

      ‘Disclaimer to fred: don’t blame me if you’re running a temperature reading the above.

  • Dave G

    If it was a novichok attack, which is supposed to be much deadlier than VX, then why are the Skripals and the policeman still alive? Surely the Skripal’s symptoms suggest something other than novichok, irrespective of Lavrov’s supposed leak from the Swiss lab.

      • Dave G

        Thanks for the links – bookmarked for future reference. So even without Lavrov’s Swiss lab leak, the UK media should be questioning the UK government’s version of events. You learn a lot about the media in situations like this, even by what they fail to ask.

        • IM

          The problem is that there are very few (hardly any?) journos nowadays who actually know what they’re talking about- for example, no natural scientist would right anything of the drivel you see in the MSM. As Einstein (apparently) said: if you can’t explain it simply, you simply don’t understand it; the journos don’t explain, they write mind-numbing drivel that consists of 98% (if not more) words that convey no information. Compare what you see in the Press, or on the news, to what Craig writes here- the relatively short articles here convey (a) arguments, (b) evidence, and (c) conclusions.

          • bj

            Caveat: Einstein was wrong now and then. God doesn’t exist, and besides — He does throw dice.

          • IM

            you can be wrong many times, and change your mind about the same thing many times, and eventually be right about it so long as you adjust your views when new evidence comes to light. Perhaps he just didn’t live long enough… 😉

            One’s opinion about a specific set of circumstances, or a set of facts, or evidence is only correct at the time when that specific set is available, and as that set changes, so should the opinion; that’s a sign of the intelligent mind.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Dave G April 18, 2018 at 23:16
          ‘… the UK media should be questioning the UK government’s version of events..’
          You gotta be joking? OK, fair enough, they should be, but you’d have to be living on Venus or Pluto if you weren’t aware who owns and/or controls ALL of ‘our’ MSM.

      • Salford Lad

        We can ascertain that the Skripal hoax and the Douma ‘false flag’ chemical attack gave Trump. May and Macron the opportunity to demonise Russia and a flimsy excuse for a missile attack on ‘supposed chemical warehouses’ in Syria.
        Had there been chemical supplies in those warehouse there would have been many deaths of civilians, as the warehouse site was close to Damascus. The buildings were university annexes and medical research faciities, set up because of Western sanctions on medicine supply. No chemical were there to be realeased of course. Shades of Somalia pharmaceutical plant bombing in 1998 by Bill Clinton.
        None of this make sense.
        Who was really behind the Intelligence given to Teresa May, to induce her to stand up in Parliament and accuse Russia of a nerve agent attack in Salisbury.?
        There are so many checks and balances at the FCO/Cabinet Office to filter out an amateur production as this.
        Was she a dupe and a pawn, or did she deliberately lie. She is now trapped and forced to go along with this charade
        .Her recent body language at PMQ suggests she no longer believes the ‘Russia DUNNIT’ story and is aware of the political and reputational costs to be eventually paid.
        Some real murky manoeuvring behind this ,which could have easily escalated into WW3. Someone is really irresponsible and playing high stakes poker with the life of Planet Earth.
        I expect there will be heads rolling at the FCO and MI6. This will give us an indication of the conspirators in this farrago.

    • Jo Dominich

      Has anyone seen or heard from Det Sergeant Nick Bailey? Apart from the missing Skripals – where is Nick Bailey? Apparently not at work for a few weeks now but not visible by his neighbours apparently as he has been away on ‘holiday’ sense. Question: Is there a Det Sgt Nick Bailey in Avon and Wiltshire Salisbury Police?

  • Louise

    What do you make of the Russian claim that the samples were trace amounts of BZ spiked with excessive doses of surprisingly long-lived novichok A234? They claimed the incident was caused by BZ, which maybe matches the symptoms better than novichok. Russian “theory”, or plausible possibility?

    • Dave G

      The Skripal’s symptoms match the symptoms caused by BZ and they don’t match the symptoms caused by Novichok. After that, there are all sorts of possibilities. Questions need answering by the OPCW. If they refuse to fully answer the Russians’ questions, then that makes them look guilty of something. Russia, as the accused party in this incident, surely has a right to defend itself and challenge evidence.

  • Hatuey

    I have a slight problem with much that’s been said on here so far about Salisbury, Douma, and the attack on Syria.

    Nearly everyone is assuming that these events are connected. Let’s be blunt and say that the majority of people on here think that Salisbury and Douma were sort of stunts designed to manipulate and galvanise public opinion so that they would be in the right frame of mind for an attack on Russia’s ally, Syria. So far, so simple.

    It goes without saying that there would necessarily be quite a lot of planning ahead required to pull that off. Nothing too difficult though with a compliant media helping out and all the big political parties suspending disbelief etc.

    Here’s my problem though. Are we to believe it was all for the outcome of a very limited and seemingly pointless strike on Syria? I don’t think so. If you guys are right, and I suspect you probably are, and this is a pre-planned sequence, well, it can only mean one thing: there simply must be more to come and they intend to escalate things.

    • bj

      So it’s been a relatively quiet day today.
      Doesn’t mean come sundown you mightn’t wonder why it’s 2am.

      • bj

        Darn — I spoiled that onne. Take number two:

        So it’s been a relatively quiet day today.
        Doesn’t mean come sunrise you mightn’t wonder why it’s 2am.

    • Dave G

      Yes, I agree that this must escalate. They don’t do all of this and then give up.

      • Hatuey

        Exactly. It makes no sense that they did all this just so that they could carry out a very limited missile strike on Syria.

        One thing that I thought was interesting was the Trump went out of his way to suggest that planes and missiles were used in the attack. It was quite clumsily done in fact, and obviously very deliberate. But to my knowledge no planes were involved. We didn’t see any in any videos or anything, did we?

        I’m guessing they didn’t use planes and understood that their planes flying over Russian forces on the ground as they went around dropping bombs would be too provocative and most likely lead to a Russian response.

        That said, it seems that they sneakily planted the idea in the minds of the American people that they could (and did) fly their planes over the Russians. And that might be a useful idea at a later date, one way or another.

        Hillary’s proposed ‘no fly zone’ didn’t go down well with ordinary people who were naturally uneasy about the potential for an adverse Russian reaction. I think this was a factor in her losing the election but that’s just sort of anecdotal. People over in the UK were no doubt concerned about that too. I’d say generally most of us probably considered that Russia would be quite right to defend itself in those circumstances.

        It seems Trump’s suggestion that planes were involved might have been aimed at re-calibrating public feeling towards the idea. And I can’t think why he’d do that unless he intended to really to do it at some point.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Hatuey April 19, 2018 at 00:15
          The only reason it was such a ‘limited strike’ was because Russia had laid down the law – make this coming attack serious, and you have to contend with us.

          • Hatuey

            But if it was really up to Russia, it wouldn’t have happened. And are we to believe Salisbury and a staged gas attack were all so the US and UK could let off a few fireworks on Russia’s terms? Doesn’t make sense.

        • Jo Dominich

          Hatuey, I have been reading about the Nordstream 2 which the USA are desperate to stop for various reasons, the main one being it wants to pipe its own LPN gas to Europe and become the largest supplier – but at three times the cost Russia’s gas. They have warned companies involved with Nordstream 2 that they will have sanctions imposed by the USA just for being involved with the project. I have also had a look at the new Petroyuan oil current started by a China-Russia collaboration. Once the Petroyuan kicks off, the sidelining of the US petrodollar will inevitably put a dent in the US financial markets and economy. I believe these two false flags are about getting Europe to scrap Nordstream 2 in favour of USA gas and of protecting the impact on the US economy the Petroyuan is going have as it could well also mean the sidelining of the US$ as the reserve currency. Just a thought. So yes, escalation is inevitable.

          • Hatuey

            It all sounds plausible. There’s been a few conflicts where stories like that have been alluded to, in Afghanistan and Africa too. And there’s a lot of people talking about these things in the context of the dollar’s relative strength in the world.

            If those are ends here they are way above my pay grade, let’s be in no doubt about that. I have heard respected economists argue that being the defacto world currency is bad for the domestic US economy, though. Everything is too complicated for me on that level but if I understood the argument correctly, it hinged a lot on the idea that others using and holding your currency on a global scale equated to a loss of control.

            My sneaking understanding is that the only strong card the US has in the world is its military power. And everything resembles a nail when all you have is a hammer, as Wesley Clark said.

            I think the system we call capitalism is very short-sighted and I’m sceptical about any goals that go beyond immediate outcomes along the lines of ‘let’s smash this or that country up, sell a bunch of bombs to the US taxpayer, and make sure we make a killing on reconstruction too’.

          • The OneEyedBuddha

            Jo think you have a point, Petroyuan has started plus Russia and Iran are getting around being sanctioned in trading in $ but a oil for goods barter deal.


            “The move to enter into a temporary agreement making for a free trade zone to be set up between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which is currently at an advanced stage, will obviously trigger further development of our bilateral trade and expansion of investment cooperation,” said Novak, who is also co-head of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

            Read more
            Currency exchange in Tehran © Morteza NikoubazlIran bans use of US dollar in trade
            Iran’s Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei told TASS earlier that work on a free-trade zone agreement between the sides that started in 2015 was close to completion.

            A trade bloc established in 2015, the EEU is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. It was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers between member countries.

            More than 40 countries and international organizations, including China, Indonesia and Israel, as well as some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free trade deal with the EEU. The trade bloc has also held negotiations with South Korea, Egypt and India.

            In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Serbia could be also included in the EEU’s free trade zone in the future.

            looks like a lot of countries are making moves to cut out the $, also Venezuela has started the Petro, a Cyrpto-currency back by one barrel of Oil each.

            with this many countries moving away from the $, they can dream about doing what they did to Iraq/ Libya

    • WJ

      I think the events are connected because PM May told me they were. She made the connection herself in her quivering war-whoring speech the day of the attack.

    • WJ

      Yes but they originally intended a real false-flag chemical attack coordinated with a ground attack on Damascus. That’s why their operatives (along with Jordanian, French, and US ops) were embedded in Ghouta. The Russians and Syrians cleared out Ghouta and captured the chemical weapon stores before the real false flag attack could take place. The UK then (according to the Russian MoD) pressured the White Helmets between April 3 and April 6 to stage a fake chemical attack as quickly as possible, because they knew that the game was up and they wanted an excuse to at least set the precedent of air strikes. May’s speech basically promises future air strikes if you parse it carefully. I don’t think they have decided though. Some among them are sane enough not to want to go against the Russians directly, which is what they’ll have to do if they want to take down Assad and destabilize the country sufficiently to move on to Iran.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ WJ April 18, 2018 at 23:47
        Slight correction, if I may (sic). ‘..The UK then (according to the Russian MoD) pressured the White Helmets…’
        The ‘White Helmets’ don’t need any ‘pressure’, they are there to take orders from their (Western) paymasters, and act as the PR firm for the West’s proxy mercenary headchoppers.

        As for the Russkis, much as I love ’em, they seem as stupid as Ducksie in some respects, to wit, I have personally delivered a letter (by hand) to the Russian Federation Embassy (To MI5: Oh, by the way, of course I am aware I was filmed – now you learn what I told them – such a thing) suggesting they bring ‘Operation Gladio’ and ‘Operation Hades’, both operations (Gladio over many years) set up to smear left-wing political parties and obviously Russia in the havoc of multiple massacres (in the case of Gladio).
        To smear Russia (and left-wing parties) – get the continuity?
        BUT – in the case of Gladio and Hades, , the proof is already in the records (albeit not highly publicised by our ‘free and fair’ (sic) MSM.
        Soooo, excellent chance for the Russkis to bring Gladio and Hades to the world’s attention, n’est pas?
        So why the f*ck ain’t they doing it???

    • marvellousMRchops

      I too have a gut feeling that this is not going to end here. That the first strike happened on the back of a propaganda campaign based solely on a single Facebook video from the White Helmets is proof enough to me that they simply don’t give a shit. Am I missing something? I just can’t see how they are getting away with this White Helmets thing (can’t testify to the following source).

      I must admit to only recently taking notice of the increasing Russophobia as a result of the ‘Carry On Salisbury’ farce. But it seems this game has been playing out for some time now.

    • flamingo

      I believe escalation is precisely what the Saudis and their middle eastern allies have in mind. Equally, I interpret Trumps announcement that he is pulling USA troops out and encouraging others to step up was an invitation (direction?) to France and UK to get into it in an overt way. The combination of Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies, Israel, France and UK with the treacherous connivance of Turkey and Jordan is stage 2.

      Now that the White Helmets have safely transfered to Idlib there will be another ‘chlorine gas cannister attack’ there in a few days. The Kurds and arab residents have already been cleansed from the north to make way for the ex Gouta and Douma fighters and their families. Turkey now has ‘trusted sunni allies’ to its south instead of kurds and so easy to smuggle anything and allow passage for an invading army even.

      I hope I am totally wrong but the runes don’t read too well for this time ahead.

      • Hatuey

        Yes, most of that reasoning I agree with. But I think they either have Russia as a target of the plan or know that at some point Russia will get in the way and make itself a target.

        The idea that the mission was accomplished, as trump suggested, and that the US was going to leave the job to others, I’d guess is the precise opposite of what they are likely to do. It’s crudely Orwellian to suggest they always say the opposite of what they actually mean but it happens a lot.

        • Jo Dominich

          On these blogs here and links provided, there is an underlying objective for consideration which is that the USA want Russia kicked out of NATO I guess because it doesn’t to the hegemon line. In a recent speech by Cruella De Ville (Nikki Haley) to the UN she unwittingly described exactly how Russia were frustrating US interests not only in the middle east but elsewhere too. It was clearly and loudly stated. Just an aside, last night I read in full, President Putin’s address to the UN in 2015 and was very very impressed. It was articulate, fair, peace-orientated and factual. He did take a few swipes at the USA though but not overtly. If this is the speech that led the USA and Europe to start mounting an anti-russian hysteria in the world, then it says a lot because the speech was brilliant, well thought out, inviting the USA and other countries to help build peace in Syria by joining the process and other things. It is a very impressive speech.

          • Hatuey

            I guess you mean kicked out of the UN Sec. Council rather than NATO.

            As for “articulate, fair, peace-orientated and factual” well that’s just trouble making. Telling the truth is naked aggression to these people. When you were at school did you ever try telling the bully the truth of what he was doing wrong in the playground?

            I think the US and Europe are more venomous and desperate these days because underlying economic trends reveal that they are in relative decline as compared to China, India, and others. There’s simply less cake for them and more people after a slice, and if they compete on fair and equal terms they simply lose.

            It’s a bit grim really but I expect this is the new norm, war, lies, marginalising people, propaganda, falling wages, falling standards, you name it, it’s all one way. Some countries like Germany are better prepared for it because they have invested in industry and skills that keep them at the cutting edge in key areas but the US and Britain are basically on their knees.

            The only area the US-UK were strong was the financial and banking sectors and that bubble burst in 2008 thanks to their swindling ways. Even there they screwed right up and everybody else paid the price — credibility busted.

    • Canexpat

      Unfortunately I would tend to agree with you Hatuey. Paveway IV a longtime Zerohedge commentator has written his views on the Moon of Alabama site. He contends that the cruise missile strikes were probing attacks intended to map out defensive radars etc., much like the Israeli preparations for the 1967 war. My apologies if anyone had already posted this, but this is what he had to say about the cruise missile attack of 13 April:

      “…Or it was a successful SIGINT/mapping mission, not a strike mission, and neither the Pentagon nor Tel Aviv care to advertise that fact. Russian command staff plays the ‘old, dumb Soviet generals’ throwback act and brags about their supposed air defense success. In the meantime, they know exactly what happened and why FUKUS did it, and don’t care to advertise that fact. Everything is intel to them.

      Soviet leadership were psychopaths and didn’t quite understand the US. The Russians, today, know what psychopathy looks like from up close. The current crop running Israel and the US are just not that clever. Russia can see right through them and realize how dangerous they are. They know exactly where this is going and what’s at stake.

      Israel and the US are still obsessed with the success of the 1967 Six Day War. Land-grabs, resource-stealing and Arab-killing require total air dominance first. That is being arranged. Exhausted opponent forces like the Egyptian troops Israel was facing in 1967? Check – that is the job of the Saudi and US Special Forces al Qaeda and ISIS contingents – Syrian troops are determined but exhausted today, and have lost most of their military equipment. [By the way, the Egyptian troops sent to the Sinai in ’67 were exhausted because they had been fighting the flip-flop army of northern Yemeni tribes. Nobody defeats the flip-flop army!]

      I’m not an army guy so can’t speak to whatever the ground invasion of Syria will look like. The writing is on the wall for me about the Syrian air defenses, though. Russia interrupted the ‘destroy all air defenses’ phase for a few years, but the Israeli-firster US deep state demands we finish the job. For Christ’s sake, they exhumed Bolton’s corpse and a week later Tomahawks are flying. The US Administration and Pentagon have been well-sheckel’d and properly trained to kiss the ring of MbS for easy cash. Time to earn that pay… er, make the little people earn that pay. The way to Iran is through Syria and the Israelis and Saudis are getting impatient.”

      Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 15, 2018 2:11:41 PM | 48 on the Moon of Alabama

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Canexpat April 19, 2018 at 00:24
        Ein tiny problem – them missiles and radars are mobile – not necessarily, and probably highly unlikely, to be in the same positions.

        • Hatuey

          I don’t think being mobile makes a huge difference in terms of testing their effectiveness and response times though…

          • The OneEyedBuddha

            Recon in Force, sure the Allies done that pre D-Day to test German re-actions and trial amphibious landing. They would drop a division or two in Holland or somewhere to see how it went!

            I imagine firing missiles into Syria from outside their Airspace is a modern equivalent!

      • Hatuey

        Thanks for that, canexpat. Much of it I dismiss as rhetorical but some of it interesting, especially the idea that they were testing signit and defence capabilities.

        I simply thought they were baiting the bear, like the old days, poking it with sticks, but I assumed it was more about testing Russian resolve rather than testing their defenses. I also assumed they were preparing public attitudes in the US and elsewhere and basically putting Syria and Russia back on the agenda,

        The pitch seems to go something like this: “we were done with Syria and were pulling out but then these Syrians started gassing people again and we couldn’t just stand and watch… they think we can’t do anything because they have support of these Russian maniacs who as you all know use nerve agents and stuff…but America and it’s righteous allies won’t stand back and watch tyranny and slaughter like that…”

        If I’m reading this right and I think I’ve been careful and considered here without any great leaps, then escalation is a certainty. I’d expect them to involve local allies at first and sit in the background waiting for it to inevitably escalate.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Hatuey April 18, 2018 at 23:19
      They weren’t prepared for Russia’s ‘Lines in the sand’ stance, but sure it is going to escalate.
      Because stupid twats do what stupid twats do, that’s what they signed up for, when they took Satan’s shilling, and sold their souls.

      • Hatuey

        Stupid as they are though, they must have known that Russia would take a very dim view of an attack on a country that Russian troops are heavily committed to helping.

        God almighty, can you imagine how the US would react if It was the other way around?

    • craig Post author

      I think the intention was to stampede Trump into it, but Mattis stood firm and his scepticism limited the response. They will now push to get rid of Mattis like they did Tillerson.

      • Hatuey

        But even that presupposes that they want to go further, Craig. In the background they are making deals with China and North Korea which will effectively isolate Russia further, whether that’s the intention or not. If this isn’t leading to a proxy war at least against Russia, then its impossible to explain so many ducks in a row at one time.

        You will know that the US and it’s cohorts effectively applied the Monroe Doctrine to the Middle East after WWII — no Russians allowed. It’s completely illegitimate but there’s the view that the area is basically owned by the US; and Russia stepping in represents a very serious threat to that ownership, or, if you prefer doublespeak, “regional stability / security”.

        Meanwhile there’s an armada on its way and the whole region is on a hair trigger with bases and military assets all over the place on high alert.

  • Billy Bostickson

    So so the Russians, of course!

    OPCW is censoring their speech and it is NOT included on their main page with all the other speeches:

    The Russian speech lists 8 Lies, point by point, regarding the British claims

    The lie always fears the truth, for the truth is the most terrifying weapon against lies. Let us, therefore, turn to the naked facts which demonstrate how insolently and clumsily the British government is disseminating the insinuations regarding the “Skripal case”

    Another strange thing about the OPCW website

    is that the Cuban speech is untranslated..the only one,

    if you don’t understand Spanish, it complains about the unfounded attacks on Russia and dangerous unilateral actions.

    Intervencion de S.E. Sra. Soraya Alvarez Nunez Representante Permanente de Cuba en la 59 reunion del consejo ejecutivo de la OPAQ (Spanish)

    • Dave G

      Shulgin’s speech to thew OPCW is terrific. I have grave doubts about the honesty of the OPCW. Will they answer the Russians’ questions or will they be evasive? We’ll see.

    • Barden Gridge

      Those cunning OPCW folks would seem to have published the Cuban speech as an image PDF, not as copyable text.
      I OCR’d it and Google translate came up with this (this is just the last paragraph):

      “Mr. president:
      We must preserve the technical character of the OPCW, the international body mandated to ensure compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. We deeply regret the politicization of the debates. Unfounded accusations against the Russian Federation are inadmissible. Cuba reiterates that cooperation must prevail over confrontation, while rejecting the application of unilateral measures, which undermine international stability.
      Thank you very much.”

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Barden Gridge April 19, 2018 at 00:17
        !Cuba si, Yanqui no! Keep the Red Flag Flying (I’ve never been a Communist, but I know a good way of governance when I see it, as I did in 1984 in Nicaragua, under attack from – yes, you guessed it – US proxy murderous mercenaries (called ‘Contras).
        I was there for three and a half months, travelling all around the country, often hitch-hiking, on my tod. It really hit me in the airport when I was waiting for the plane to Cuba (I had been scheduled to leave after three months, but extended it for two weeks) (first stage, then Moscow and on to Heathrow); I really felt like I was leaving something of myself there, but I knew I couldn’t stay. I have been in over a score of countries, but I never felt that heavy sadness in leaving any of them, like I did in Nicaragua.

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