The Amesbury Mystery 940

We are continually presented with experts by the mainstream media who will validate whatever miraculous property of “novichok” is needed to fit in with the government’s latest wild anti-Russian story. Tonight Newsnight wheeled out a chemical weapons expert to tell us that “novichok” is “extremely persistent” and therefore that used to attack the Skripals could still be lurking potent on a bush in a park.

Yet only three months ago we had this example of scores from the MSM giving the same message which was the government line at that time:
“Professor Robert Stockman, of the University of Nottingham, said traces of nerve agents did not linger. He added: ‘These agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent.'”

In fact, rain affecting the “novichok” on the door handle was given as the reason that the Skripals were not killed. But now the properties of the agent have to fit a new narrative, so they transmute again.

It keeps happening. Do you remember when Novichok was the most deadly of substances, many times more powerful than VX or Sarin, and causing death in seconds? But then, when that needed to be altered to fit the government’s Skripal story, they found scientists to explain that actually no, it was pretty slow acting, absorbed gradually through the skin, and not all that deadly.

Scientists are an interesting bunch. More than willing to ascribe whatever properties fit the government’s ever more implausible stories, in exchange for an MSM appearance fee, 5 minutes of fame and the fond hope of a research grant.

According to the Daily Telegraph today, the unfortunate Charlie Rowley is a registered heroin addict, and if true Occam’s Razor would indicate that is a rather more likely reason for his present state than an inexplicably persistent weaponised nerve agent.

If it is however true that two separate attacks have been carried out with “novichok” a few miles either side of Porton Down, where “novichok” is synthesised and stored for “testing purposes”, what does Occam’s razor suggest is the source of the nerve agent? A question not one MSM journalist seems to have asked themselves tonight.

I am slightly puzzled by the picture the media are trying to paint of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess as homeless, unemployed addicts. The Guardian and Sky News both state that they were unemployed, yet Charlie was living in a very new house in Muggleton Road, Amesbury, which is pretty expensive. According to Zoopla homes range up to £430,000 and the cheapest ones are £270,000. They are all new build, on a new estate, which is still under construction.

Both Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess still have active facebook pages and one of Charlie’s handful of “Likes” is a mortgage broker, which is consistent with his brand new house. They don’t give mortgages to unemployed heroin addicts, and not many of those live in smart new “executive housing” estates. Both Charlie and Dawn appear from their facebook pages to be very well socialised, with Dawn having many friends in the teaching profession. Even if she has been homeless for a period as reported, she is plainly very much part of the community.

Naturally, there is no mention in all the reports today of MI6’s Pablo Miller, who remains the subject of a D notice. I wonder if he knows Rowley and Sturgess, living in the same community? It should be recalled that Salisbury may be a city, but its population is only 45,000.

The most important thing is of course that Charlie and Dawn recover. But tonight, even at this early stage, as with the entire Skripal saga, the message the security services are seeking to give out does not add up. Mark Urban’s piece for Newsnight tonight was simply disgusting; it did not even pretend to be more than a propaganda piece on behalf of the security services, who had told Urban (as he said) that Yulia Skripal’s phone “could have been” tapped by the Russians and they “might even” have listened to her conversations through the microphone in her telephone. That was the “new evidence” that the Russians were behind everything.

As a former British Ambassador I can tell you with certainty that indeed the Russians might have tapped Yulia, but GCHQ most definitely would have. It is, after all, their job, and billions of our taxes go into it. If tapping of phones is seriously presented as evidence of intent to murder, the British government must be very murderous indeed.

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940 thoughts on “The Amesbury Mystery

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  • Robert W

    I’m trying to think of a period in British (and Australian, English-speaking) history and culture when the public lived reasonably comfortably with media and government – and all three groups had a reasonable level of expertise and honesty. When was that period? If it existed, how do we get it back?

    • Shatnersrug

      Never really, but we had a lot less access to information. However i don’t think I can remember a time when a government had no MP of personal substance like now. Not one mp in government has any personal moral belief they are quite prepared to make utter arses of themselves and do not care. This situation has created a government that will allow any affront, be it allowing a state like Israel to run rough shot, or the USA make fools of us, oreven Saudi Arabia for gods sakes.

      I’ve never known a time like this

  • Clark

    Hiya Craig. This latest episode sets a new high water mark for ridiculousness. I’ve had more than my fill of conspiracy theories. Alt or mainstream, they’re all the same; WOMBATs – Waste Of Money, Brains And Time. I’m going to ignore it and get on-site ASAP. See you soon.

    • gotit

      Lets see how this charade evolves clark but isn’t it a stroke of luck the OPCW have some recently acquired powers to clear up any doubt……….

      ”Ready for take two people……..places people, places………..Vlad, you’re in frame, move to the right a bit………….lights, cameras, actions………”

      Or maybe the motivation is to stop all those English folk in Russia having the time of their lives from telling the world about Russian hospitality and the Russian people. I bet the No10 and MSM are praying some yob gets a smack in the face after this latest round of xenophobia arriving from England.

      And all this, because the Russians re-invited May to attend the WC after the Columbia win. A simple ‘no’ would have been sufficient.

  • Bob

    I think most if not all new build housing projects (over a certain size) have a social housing requirement.

    No one got killed, that’s what is important (except possibly Sergei but he was asking for it).

    Logic and reason no longer come into the reckoning so I think Farage or Assange (or both) did it.

    In fact looking at the cctv clip again I think he is definitely Farage and unless you come from Mars you will see she had the Assange swagger.

    • call me cynical but....

      Whatever happened to the two ‘Russians ‘ who were , according to the Daily Mail, captured on cctv following the Skripals on that fateful afternoon? No I’ve no idea either how you can tell someone’s nationality from cctv images.

    • Stu

      Single, male, heroin addicts are not usually the go to demographic for newly built social housing.

      • Old Mark

        I’d disagree with that Stu- believe it our not some of the properties in Royal Crescent Bath are social housing, and I know from personal contacts that one of the former residents of a 2 bedroom flat there is a ex user who has since moved on.

        Druggies come from across the social spectrum- they aren’t all trainspotting types a la Begbie & Renton; they have even in the past included the offspring of Tory cabinet ministers. Doubtless because some fall into the latter category, some of them hit the jackpot and end up in highly desirable social housing units, including units built as part of new build schemes under so called ‘section 106’ agreements with the developer.

        None of this detracts of course from the misfortune that has befallen Mr Rowley and his girlfriend in the past week, and the sympathy we should feel for their predicament.

  • Kempe

    Maybe I missed it but I can’t find anything that actually says the couple owned or even rented the property at which they were taken ill. Police have also cordoned off a property at John Baker House – a supported housing scheme in Rolleston Street, Salisbury, for homeless people which makes more sense.

  • ZigZag Wanderer

    Not forgetting , back in March …. Salisbury residents were advised to wipe our phones with a babywipe if we thought the device might have some weapons grade nerve agent on it !!

    • Antonyl

      This was only house hold grade Novichok, so it was fine: didn’t you see Yulia Skripal’s video?
      Too many cockroaches in your kitchen on the other hand and put this in – new from Put-in!

  • Sean Lamb

    IDK – you underestimate MI6/MI5/Special Branch at your peril.

    Best guess, MI6 have managed to lure a couple of Russian patsies back to the UK for a brief visit – completely in ignorance of the role that is being planned for them.
    A couple of people MI6 view as low value are then selected for a sub-toxic novichok dose. Then we leave a few weeks for “investigative work” – before proudly announcing that pattern of the Russian pair visiting briefly in March and in July is proof that they are responsible for the two attacks. The second attack on a random couple will be spun as a deliberate attempt to obscure the obvious Russian responsibility – foiled by typically brilliant British police work – HUZZAH!

    After that everything should follow a fairly typical pattern.

    1. Much celebration and mutual back-slapping in Parliament and how the local plods managed to outwit the dastardly Muscovites.

    2. Awards and Distinguished Service Medals will be liberally distributed to the police and intelligence officials involved. Many long speeches will devoted to praising their skill and professionalism.

    3. Long and breathless investigative articles in the Guardian, Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. The most tabloid end of the market will probably focus on some topless Russian models allegedly seen accompanying the Russian pair to various beach resorts. The BBC will air a 5 episode investigative special complete with spooky music and heavy with spy-talk innuendo.

    4. Loud cries of outrage across the OPCW, the UN Security Council, NATO and the EU. Expect lots of self-congratulatory posturing from all the usual suspects.

    5. Eventually as an olive branch various hints will appear in the media – but never endorsed at the government level – that actually it was the Russian mafia, not official Russian government agencies, that carried it out. This will give something for western skeptics to cling on to.

    6. Eventually everyone will move on and the Establishment will breath a huge sigh of relief that they manage to wiggle their way out of it.

    I mean it isn’t like the Intelligence Agencies have been sitting idle since March when the sickness of Nick Bailey caused the original “the damned Russkies slipped something into Yulia’s luggage” explanation to fall over. They have been busy working a way to get out of the hole they dug themselves

    • Sean Lamb

      Another excellent narrative arc would be if the pair happened to pick up a syringe just lying in park (as they do, of course, because it is so uncool to use needle exchanges).

      The syringe is identified and to everyone’s amazement it turns out to look like this

      Who would ever have imagined? And that’s it, case closed.

      We can only make guesses of what the narrative will be, but I have a nagging suspicion the Amesbury mystery is not destined to be a mystery forever.

    • MightyDrunken

      I think you may be onto something, simply because this incident makes no sense. If novichok was just lying around it is strange it has persisted this long, that only 2 people have come into contact with it and the effects seem similar to last time. You would expect the dose to be much less than before.

  • SA

    What this episode shows is that there is now no need for any further investigation of the Skripals poisoning. The story has fulfilled its purpose irrespective of what the real findings are or turn out to be. It is now embedded in the narrative as another instance of Russian state thuggery together with Litvinenko, Crimea, Georgia, doping, interference with elections and so on. The facts really don’t matter anymore these are are all reeled out by politicians commentators, journalist and so on, as facts that prove a pattern. Meanwhile the real facts of US long history of destroying countries, torture in which our own services collided and the lies on which the Iraq war are based, not to mention collusion with terrorists to destabilise Syria are either ignored or glossed over. This is high grade propaganda of a type developed by the U.K. government and disseminated by the BBC.

    • Ross

      I wonder what type of person would write a couple of thousand words on a comment unrelated to the subject.

    • SJH

      I’m so confused. According to that article if you have Novichok on your personal belongings you can simply wipe them clean with a wet wipe and then dispose of that wipe in the usual way. How can the advice for dealing with potential exposure to such a deadly chemical be so nonchalant? At the same time they are saying the risk to public safety is ‘low’ there is a couple who seem on the brink of death. They were contaminated while carrying on their normal life, and nobody is sure how or where they came into contact with a nerve agent which doesn’t decontaminate quickly and “doesn’t just disappear”. Again because of the wet wipe advice and the fact that the decontamination team used water to decontaminate the house they people were in when they collapsed, presumable the source of the contamination had to come from something which was not exposed to rainwater. Something in a public space, not exposed to rainwater, and that only this couple touched in the past four months.

      • Visual Artist

        Good points, the MSM today reports that they touched a contaminated object to get contaminated! The object thus far has not been named.

  • SA

    From today’s Guardian;
    “The latest twist comes at time when Russia’s image has been burnished by a successful staging of the World Cup. More significantly though, it comes less than a week before a Nato summit in Brussels to discuss how the transatlantic alliance should deal with Russia and ahead of Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin. Will Trump even raise it?”
    The Guardian can always be relied upon to ask the most obvious questions (not).
    I personally would have then asked the obvious question “does all this not seem to point out that the real culprit is someone trying to foster an anti-Russian agenda in order to spend more money on weapons? Would for example Gavin not be a prime suspect?

    • Dan

      Yup, in the previous thread I named Gavin as the prime suspect for this – he’s having a row with Philip Hammond about increasing the Defence Subject. What better way to publicly demonstrate the need for increased Defence spending than an event like this?

      • Visual Artist

        Good theory, but BREXIT trumps that conclusion as there is a row verging on possible REVOLT over the EU customs union and single market membership by Theresa May!

        If we are SOLD OUT again over BREXIT, then BREXIT was the REAL reason/excuse for Novichok 1&2!
        Don’t get me wrong, Putin is a Dictator and he and Russia are sly – but so are our Governments as can be demonstrated by 2003 ILLEGAL IRAQ WAR and London 7/7 bombings if you watch 7/7 ripple effect parts 1 & 2!

  • SA

    And from the BBC;
    “England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said: “I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low.”

    Yeah? How does she know? Some excess leftover novichok (now starichok) has been discarded carelessly somewhere in Wiltshire and picked up by innocent passers by. But please do not panic. We have no idea what is going on but we do know that the suspects are being protected by Putin. Didn’t realise that Putin has a safe house in Wiltshire.

  • SA

    It is now clear that Putin is s double agent, after all his KGB training would have certainly included how to be a plausible double agent. Not content with endangering his re-election and recklessly trying to undermine his own country’s achievement in securing the World Cup, he has now decided that the best way to help NATO in its forthcoming jamboree is to clumsily repeat his signature Novichok (now starichok) trick because we now all know that this agent was exclusively made in Russia and they know how resistant it is and know how to smear it on door knobs. I am sure his defection to U.K. will shortly be announced, where he can come and join his much maligned oligarch friends in Chelsea.

  • quasi_verbatim

    Javid says we must “give the police space” to establish the Official Narrative so I believe your observations are premature at best, unhelpful at worst.

  • SA

    The serious question that should be asked by our responsible journalists now is: Has the possibility of a leak from Porton down been considered and definitely excluded?
    In the case of the Anthrax poisoning post 911 the source of the anthrax was from a defence establishment laboratory.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Amesbury Mystery’ a mystery no longer. Inspector Clouseau (Surete) has just explained it to me: Ames (strain); bury (these cats are brown bread).
    Read next week’s exciting Obituaries! Champagne corks pop in Moscow!

  • Sharp Ears

    How does hearing the stuff as the lead item on ALL the news broadcasts, all over again, leave you feeling? Are they trying to wear us down?

  • Colin Carr

    Do you think that just perhaps possibly maybe there was an accident at Porton Down earlier this year?… No, surely not.

  • Dr J L Bem

    Skripals on admission to the hospital will have been tested for opiats. Being positive for Fentanyl 2 days of treatment followed. That is routine in every hospital.

  • HoBoJo

    So, if the Novichok is in the park close to the Skripal bench, missed by the authorities despite the huge search of Salisbury and the large number of park users, dog walkers etc, and still active despite three months in the elements, doesn’t it call into question the Novichok on the door handle of the house as the original source? Wouldn’t the park be more likely? And a deadly nerve agent with a weird action, where symptoms appear suddenly, but after 12-18 hours after the exposure and only affected two of the three visitors to the park. Could someone from Porton Down explain how good their tests are, and what the real science is here.

    To play along with the original story, assume Novichok. The time gap be between the two cases would suggest a container. Something innocuous or hidden enough to be ignored by most people, but not so garbage like so two druggies in the park would pick it up, take it home and open it at home (noting that Sturgess’s living in a shelter need not be due to poverty leading to bin diving,but could be because of family or drugs problems – and bins are emptied much more regularly than that). It would still be at the flat, possibly connected to showering, since that was one version of when Rowley got ill. The closeness to the Skripal bench would suggest this as the means of delivery. I can’t see that it would be left over from preparation, because you’d more likely do that in a lab for safety, and transport it in a small sealed container. This being the means of delivery could get over the incubation period problem. But that wouldn’t fit with the door handle method calling into question the prior analysis.

    Oh for some proper journalists to start working on all the inconsistencies here.

    • bj

      You suffer from the disorder of ‘rationality’.

      Be patient (pun intended) — it will soon be in the DSM.

  • Paul Barbara

    Tomorrow’s headline:
    ‘House prices plunge in Amesbury and Salisbury’.

  • Simon Allard

    Thank you, this made me question my thinking. I’m still puzzled as to who actually attacked the Skirpals, a Russian friend blames Ukraine but then they would.

  • OAH

    Newsnight last night claimed Yulia had been visited by a ‘friend’ from Russia and definitely wants to return there. Serge’s future is not clear. He was settled in Salisbury but he could be renditioned (my words) to either the US or NZ.

  • Neil

    I might move to the area. Seems like a great opportunity for a no-questions-asked days off from the office:

    “I can’t come in today, I’ve got a touch of the novichoks…”
    “Oh no, it is going about at the moment. Hopefully you’ll be back in soon, if you don’t die.”

  • Andrew Carter

    Yesterday’s BBC News website headlined with the Salisbury story, and to emphasise the point ran the story about Yulia Skripal being under surveillance right alongside it.

    This morning on BBC Radio 4 we were firstly told that Novichok is only lethal if “ingested” – skin is quite good as a barrier, and you’d have to lick your fingers after touching it in order to be affected – and secondly that there are perhaps (and I quote verbatim) “only ONE OR TWO MOLECULES of it left in the Salisbury area”. Does John Humphries think we are total idiots?

    Personally, I think the key to all of this lies in the red bag in the CCTV video, taken in the arcade between Zizzi’s and the park; if, as seems likely, the blonde woman in that recording is Dawn Sturgess, than surely the focus must turn towards her and Charlie’s “business activities”, and their whereabouts on the afternoon the Skripals came to our attention.

    Finally, I remain totally sickened by the way that the BBC insists on referring to Sergei Skripal as “the former Russian spy”; he is still Russian, but was a spy for the UK AGAINST Russia, and the correct description would therefore be “the Russian former spy”, but of course that doesn’t quite suit the narrative, does it

    Ceterum censeo Putin dunnit

  • Yaggi Boom

    Anyone with a modicum of common sense will see this latest incident as nothing more than a government novella written as a followup to the Skripal’s. George Smiley may indeed be involved with James Bond hot on the heels of the perpetrators. The expression, ‘you couldn’t make this up’ has just become real…..again.

  • Ingwe

    And this morning on Today, Radio 4 was the laughable Hamish Breton-Gordon repeating the BS that only the Russians make Novichok so they could step forward and help us! What a plank.

  • Matt

    Radio 4 Today just had a weapons expert declaring that we know only Russia ever made Novichok.

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