Skripals – When the BBC Hide the Truth 418


On 8 July 2018 a lady named Kirsty Eccles asked what, in its enormous ramifications, historians may one day see as the most important Freedom of Information request ever made. The rest of this post requires extremely close and careful reading, and some thought, for you to understand that claim.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

1: Why did BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban keep secret from the licence payers that he had been having meetings with Sergei Skripal only last summer.

2: When did the BBC know this?

3: Please provide me with copies of all correspondence between yourselves and Mark Urban on the subject of Sergei Skripal.

Yours faithfully,

Kirsty Eccles

The ramifications of this little request are enormous as they cut right to the heart of the ramping up of the new Cold War, of the BBC’s propaganda collusion with the security services to that end, and of the concoction of fraudulent evidence in the Steele “dirty dossier”. This also of course casts a strong light on more plausible motives for an attack on the Skripals.

Which is why the BBC point blank refused to answer Kirsty’s request, stating that it was subject to the Freedom of Information exemption for “Journalism”.

10th July 2018
Dear Ms Eccles
Freedom of Information request – RFI20181319
Thank you for your request to the BBC of 8th July 2018, seeking the following information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000:
1: Why did BBC Newsnight correspondent Mark Urban keep secret from the licence payers that he
had been having meetings with Sergei Skripal only last summer.
2: When did the BBC know this?
3: Please provide me with copies of all correspondence between yourselves and Mark Urban on the
subject of Sergei Skripal.
The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of
‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you. Part VI
of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters
is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”. The
BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or
information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.

The BBC is of course being entirely tendentious here – “journalism” does not include the deliberate suppression of vital information from the public, particularly in order to facilitate the propagation of fake news on behalf of the security services. That black propaganda is precisely what the BBC is knowingly engaged in, and here trying hard to hide.

I have today attempted to contact Mark Urban at Newsnight by phone, with no success, and sent him this email:

To: [email protected]

Dear Mark,

As you may know, I am a journalist working in alternative media, a member of the NUJ, as well as a former British Ambassador. I am researching the Skripal case.

I wish to ask you the following questions.

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Murray

I should very much welcome others also sending emails to Mark Urban to emphasise the public demand for an answer from the BBC to these vital questions. If you have time, write your own email, or if not copy and paste from mine.

To quote that great Scot John Paul Jones, “We have not yet begun to fight”.


418 thoughts on “Skripals – When the BBC Hide the Truth

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  • Börje Nilsson

    Det har gått så lång tid utan att några bevis framkommit, enbart ett önsketänkande för att Ryssland skulle ligga bakom förgiftningen. En solklar politisk konstruktion, för att få orsak till att angripa Ryssland. Beträffande motivet så ligger motivet,i första han hos M16, CIA eller Ukraina.
    Även USA har visat sig ha motiv för att utöka sanktionerna mot Ryssland.

    • ADHD

      “It has been so long without any evidence emerging, just wishful thinking that Russia is behind the Skripal’s poisoning. It is all just a political construct, designed to justify an attack on Russia. As for those really behind the Skripals poisoining, the most likely culprits are M16 or CIA, or Ukraine. Even the United States has motives/reasons”… (to go along with the accusing Russia of the Skripal poisoining)…”in order to extend sanctions against Russia.”

  • John Goss

    I’ve sent an email with an additional question and copied Craig in. It is about time somebody had the courage to take on a monster that is falsely forming public opinion. Well done Mr Murray!

  • King of Welsh Noir

    I followed the Skripal case on here quite closely but know much less about the Trump/Steele stuff. Would anybody be kind enough to give a simple explanation as to what the connection is and what exactly is being hinted at here?

    • uncle tungsten

      Hi your highness of welsh noir. Essentially the Republicans employed a crappy US outfit to find dirt on Trump to destroy his run for republican nominatrion but he got there. Then the Democrats and their legal team picked up the same dopey outfit to find enough additional dirt to destroy him. The crappy outfit employed Orbis (Steele’s company) to get dirt from Russia as the yankees loath Russia. Perhaps Orbis employed Skripal but they got dirt that indicates that Trump had some hookers in Moscow urinate on the bed that Obama slept in the past whilst on a visit. (there are variations on this invention). They pedaled this around news sites and there were no takers for a while. At the same time as the Democrats were paying this company for dirt so too was the FBI. There is so much more though. Maybe look up the Jimmy Dore Show but there is so much to see.

      try this for a slice of the action https://saraacarter.com/whistleblower-exposes-key-player-in-fbi-russia-probe-it-was-all-a-set-up/

    • kula danga

      It is a tangled web, King, but of all the threads you can pull at the contribution by 4Chan autists was for me the most entertaining and gave me a sense of just how disturbed the intel agencies are by alternative media. A band of Trump followers was being courted by a journalist for info on the alt-right.There was a lot of doxing going on with Never Trumpers. A fanzine was created to give the journalist a crumb and this was the pee dossier. Somehow, and this is what scares the spooks, the fanzine made it into the Steele dossier as legitimate. The Vietcong songbird took it from there.

      • Nick

        The ‘Information Age’ will surely have as profound and unintended consequences as the invention of the printing press – if not more so.

      • pete

        Thanks for the link Dungroanin, this summery is the best I have seen yet, it seems to account for most of the known facts in the FBI – Russian influence enquiry. The cold war is alive and well.

  • SA

    So are the pieces starting to fall into place?
    Skripal, Urban,BBC
    Skripal, Miller, Steele
    Steele dossier, FBI
    FBI, Mueller, Russiagate
    Urban, de Bretton-Gordon
    OPCW power to convict, Syria false flags, Salisbury
    East Ghouta, Salisbury
    One can join the dots and it all points to one direction. Other conspiracy theories pale into insignificance.

    • ADHD

      I hadn’t really followed the implications until’ your list. So there will be a chemical attack and the OPCW will assign blame to Syria (but also possibly Syria/Russia).

      The US have been making it clear that they would hold Russia accountable for any “further” chemical weapons attacks carried out by Syria. This could used then to remove Russia form the UN Security Council. Even for the UN to no longer recognise the Russian Government as legitimate and instead recognise an alternative Russian Government (under Mikhail khardovsky). Will China fall in line?

      This looks awfully close to the start of a full scale war.

      • giyane

        The UN has been turning a blind eye to neo-con murder since 9/11. They are a busted flush. There is no residual value or purpose for the UN in an age that backs Saudi Arabi to train terrorists in Myanmar.
        As to Senator John McCain the world will be a safer place when this terrorist is finally removed. The UN is wholly owned by the US. The US neo-cons have sucked every particle of respectability out of it.
        ” Those who antagonise the believing Muslim men and women and do not repent will be consigned to the Fire, to dwell forever therein. ” Qur’an. I am immensely proud of Donald trump for refusing to honour him.

      • George K

        Frightening, and probably part of the plan. I have been reading for the last 2 days a series of warnings by the Russians that a chemical “attack” is imminent. Not many translations of this in the MSM. One would think that they wouldn’t dare after such warnings, but I am not optimistic. After all, how many people have read the warnings?

        • Borncynical

          George K
          I’ve seen posts on Twitter about this warning by the Russians and you know what the counter-argument is that they are putting forward? They contend that it’s a double bluff by the Syrians/Russians. Well, if you’re intending to use chemical weapons why wouldn’t you make out that the other side are planning it as a false flag? Trouble is, Western governments will be more than happy to go along with that in the public eye – let’s face it, they know the real truth of the situation. I note however that the Russian warning mentions the active role in the planned false flag played by British security firm Olive. I haven’t seen any denial from them so that would suggest to a neutral observer that the Russian allegations do have some foundation and hopefully will be enough to ‘put the wind up’ those planning the event.

          • Borncynical

            Further to my post at 18.08 I see a short and sweet statement on the Sputnik website that “Olive Group has no involvement” Suzanne Piner, the company’s marketing director said. So there we have it, who are we to disbelieve them??

  • John Bull

    A great blog, Craig, and lots of good comments. I have two contributions.

    1. A recent Spectator blog talked of a ‘Stockade of D-notices’. Surely that means more than the two we know about. So I guess that anyone working in the MSM must have to tread carefully.

    2. We are swimming in a sea of fake news, disinformation, misinformation, deliberate lies and speculation. I have found only one rock worth clinging onto and it’s this. The Porton Down analyst (CC) who gave evidence to the high court which heard the blood sample application said the analysis of the Skripals blood indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound (para 17 of the judge’s report). It is reasonable to assume they used the term ‘nerve agent’ correctly, i.e. belonging to the group of organo-phosphorus compounds (from the OPCW website). On the assumption CC told the truth, there are only three possibilities:-

    a. The Skripals were exposed to a nerve agent, or
    b. They were exposed to a related compound that was not a nerve agent, or
    c. The analysis was unable to say whether it was a nerve agent or a related compound.

    If it was ‘a’, why did CC muddy the waters by saying ‘or a related compound? Very unlikely, bearing in mind the sensitivety of the issue.
    If it was ‘c’, is it credible that Porton Down, world leaders in chemical weaponry, were not able to tell if a substance was a nerve agent or not? I think not.

    Which leaves ‘b’. That the Skripals were not poisoned by a nerve agent.

    I think we should all write to our MPs pointing this out and request a Parliamentary Question be put to the Secretary of State for Defence (who oversees PD) asking for full details of those blood tests and for Theresa to be briefed accordingly. She would then be required under the Ministerial Code to correct her misleading statements to the House which claimed the Skripals were poisoned by a nerve agent.

    • Robert

      John Bull at 09:39
      ” … why did CC muddy the waters by saying ‘or a related compound?…”
      Maybe because they couldn’t be sure from their measurements whether the truth was a. or b.?
      The CC statement seems to rule out only c.

      • John Bull

        Hi Robert – if CC knew for sure they Skripals were exposed to a nerve agent, CC would not have added ‘or a related compound’ as it only serves to confuse. CC might have said it because he/she couldn’t tell from the findings – most unlikely – so the only reason he/she said the words ‘or a related compound’ was to avoid lying under oath to the high court.

        In my view.

      • Terence Wallis

        It all comes down to contaminated crack or whatever they used, especially the
        Amesbury folk. They’re well known imbibers a friend living there has told me.
        I pass this on merely as a possible explanation from ‘people who know’.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Yes and whose lab tested the blood ? Maybe Porton Down offered their services ?

      • John Bull

        Hi Paul – yes. At the court hearing, CC was referring to the initial blood analyses carried out by Porton Down a day or so after the poisoning. But clearly the doubt sown by the words ‘or a related compound’ remained at least until 20th March when CC gave that evidence.

    • Sandra

      I remember reading that Court of Protection judgement wording at the time and made some notes about it, plus how this wording compared with that of Gary Aitkenhead’s and the OPCW’s:

      When comparing the wording from three sources – interview with head of Porton Down, court hearing and OPCW documents – I think that there is room for the absence of Novichok in blood samples taken from the Skripals before 22/03.
      The Court of Protection judgement before Mr Justice Williams (22/03), (regarding an application to take blood samples for the OPCW to confirm Porton Down’s earlier analysis), states that earlier blood tests carried out by Porton Down “indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.“ (Please note the “or”.) The statement comes at point 17 i):

      https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/sshd-v-skripal-and-another-20180322.pdf

      Then, Gary Aitkenhead, CEO of Porton Down, told Sky News (04/04) that the substance they found was “..Novichok or from that family..” (Again, please note the “or”.) The statement comes 1:27mins in on this YouTube video, which has a less edited version than on the Sky News site, plus some interesting notes:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R23AQAFvZ-4

      And the OPCW’s executive summary, which has been made public, does not mention Novichok by name, but it says that the results of their tests confirm the findings of the UK relating to the chemical’s identity, and show that the toxic chemical is of high purity. It says that the name and structure of the toxic chemical are contained in the full classified report of the Secretariat, available to the state parties of the OPCW.
      Taken from points 10, 11 and 12 at:

      https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1612-2018_e_.pdf

      • Cherrycoke

        I have been thinking about this as well. Please note that “nerve agent or related compound” leaves open the possibility that the compound is not even a nerve agent.

        It would be interesting to know the expert definitions of “closely related” and “family” with regard to “nerve agent” and “novichok”.

        The general understanding is that it was A-234. This has never been confirmed in a public statement, however.

    • James

      Expressions like “nerve agent” subconsciously conjure up dark and sinister evildoing in the world of James Bond and his “licence to kill”, at least in the minds of most British English speakers. The same psychology is at work when you see “Polite Notice” and subconsciously read it as “Police Notice”. Such notices are invariably unofficial, and often impolite!
      For the mischief makers, however, mere “nerve agent”, with its ambiguity and murky undertones, was not enough; “novichok” will soon be a novichok entry for 2018 in the OED. (“Новичо́к” means “newcomer”, “new guy”–as in freshman, rookie, novice.)
      Modern nerve agents were first discovered in the 1930s by German industrial chemists experimenting with organophosphorus compounds (which are defined by containing a particular grouping of carbon, phosphorus and oxygen atoms). They were trying to make new insecticides which would be powerful but safe(ish), but stumbled across tabun, which was powerful but very unsafe. Given the political situation, and realising the military potential, these chemists then pursued their research with emphasis on the extremely unsafe, and with huge success. After 1945, having had no such success themselves, the victorious allies’ chemists “inherited” this German research; the Soviets did particularly well here, as there was much German manufacturing infrastructure in Poland. Exactly what happened next is obviously kept very secret, but some refinements were certainly achieved such as VX, and–allegedly–the Novichoks. Per Chalmers Johnson: “we knew Saddam had WMD; we had the receipts”.
      All very interesting (not really), and probably well-understood by a few reading this. A problem in getting a real understanding of all this novichok/Skripal malarkey lies in some misunderstandings of the details about the foregoing, of which few will be properly aware, Craig included. He read history.

      Firstly organophosphorus compounds are certainly not inherently toxic; DNA is an organophosphate, as is RNA, ATP, etc. Boat loads of other basic biochemistry involves this chemical grouping. To equate “nerve agent” (or “insecticide”) with “organophosphate” is a good start, but nothing more.
      Secondly, the idea that nerve agents are new is misleading. Curare (poison) tipped arrows have been used in South America for millenia, secretions by bufotenine toads similarly used elsewhere, with many many other examples throughout recorded history (and beyond). These chemicals could all semantically correctly be termed nerve agents.
      Interestingly, although tabun’s potency was discovered in the 30s by Schrader er al, it had been unwittingly synthesised 40-odd years earlier. There’s nothing new under the sun.
      Thirdly, poisoning by ACE nerve agents (which, allegedly, includes Новичо́к) is quick and easy(ish) to detect and interpret in an unambiguous way. Less so more exotic and novel toxins (so obviously not eg curare or bufotoxins, but along those lines). However, given time, a good analysis is doable using mass spectrometry, SEM, X-ray crystallography (and other) methods.

      In reply to John Bull, I wouldn’t say we’re “swimming in a sea of fake news, et seq”, more bobbing around like corks. Love the moniker, by the way! It works on so many levels.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      John

      I suspect the reason for the wording is that what was identified was an acetylcholineesterase (ACE) inhibitor, which covers the major nerve agents and other compounds as well.

  • uncle tungsten

    Here is one of the really stupid things about the official british story line on the Skripals. Sergei and Yulia are supposed to have left their home at around 1:30 and both swiped their hands on the door lever and were then novihoaxed. They drove to town and parked their car ten minutes later. They then walked through the park and stopped to hand feed the ducks in the stream and handed bread to the young boys to also feed the ducks. They then went on to act 2 scene 1 at zizzis or the pub and then act 2 scene two collapsed on the bench.

    No young boy or duck was harmed making this play. The military grade novihoax is incapable of killing a duck, let alone a child as this pair smeared military grade nerve poison on everything! They have incinerated the zizzi table and heaven knows what has been incinerated at the pub. They incinerated the Skripals front door, who knows what fate was delivered to the BMW.

    But they cant kill a duck! Mind you they can starve Skripal pets.

    Are we to believe this story?

      • SA

        Brilliant diversion. How do you prove a negative? Of course very simple, no dead ducks were reported.

        • Hatuey

          I wasn’t trying to divert. I know quite a bit about the habits of ducks. You’ll very rarely see a dead duck anywhere in the natural world. Same with swans. They like to die in private.

          I can tell you that it’s very unlikely that you’d have any reports of dead ducks in Salisbury parks.

          Before anyone puts this down to more high level trolling, I used to be a wildlife photographer. And I mean a proper one, i.e one that crawled around in mud for days at a time filming and photographing ducks.

          • SA

            Even more brilliant as now, because of your marvellous personal experience, this is almost unprovable one way or another. Well done.

          • ADHD

            The ducks were an obvious joke (of derision). The joke has a second level (not hidden); the young boys didn’t die because everyone knows the novichok poisoning story is not true?

            “No ducks or young boys were harmed in the making of this movie!”

            All of the above just paraphrases/repeats what uncle tungsten said

            You jobs sounds like it was really great, I envy you. But your contribution (here) sucks big time!

    • Ken Kenn

      Good thoughts.

      There appears to be a distinct lack of cross contamination.

      The Skripal car should be riven with this poison – on the steering wheel- gear stick etc etc.If so, then reports of it being burned should follow like the table – as the guinea pigs and the cat were.

      It should be all over the bread and all over the assistant duck feeders and the ducks should have been legion with their webbed feet up in the air.

      The door handle application is a crock. If, as is claimed the alleged Novichok was pure then who made it should be known because of its purity.

      If it’s Russian that should be provable.

      So far the proof that it is Russian made has not been shown.

      • SA

        “So far the proof that it is Russian made has not been shown.”
        Nonsense, the very name novichok is a giveaway, nobody would use a novichok except Russians.

    • Rod

      It adds a new dimension to the saying : “You couldn’t make it up”. They, obviously couldn’t.

    • Borncynical

      “They have incinerated the Zizzi table…” The significance of the table in this saga intrigues me. I recall when the ‘details’ (!!) of events were revealed by the MSM at the outset we were informed that the table had been covered in nerve agent in the form of a fine white powder and had to be incinerated. [ In fact it was so badly contaminated even Porton Down didn’t have the capability of storing it safely – that’s my facetious ‘take’ on it before anyone asks where I read that!]
      On the assumption that it was indeed incinerated as a ‘risk’ item it begs a couple of obvious questions which the official narrative hasn’t explained. First, the time lapse between the Skripals leaving Zizzis, being identified and their movements traced back to the restaurant and ‘lockdown’ being applied to everything in the restaurant: we don’t know but I would hazard a guess an hour minimum. Are we really supposed to believe that the plates, dishes and cutlery left by the Skripals weren’t cleared away in all that time, and the table wasn’t wiped down? Irrespective of whether the nerve agent residue that we are supposed to believe was being spread all over Salisbury was visible or not, surely whoever cleared the table and washed up the dishes would definitely have been contaminated if we are to believe what we have been told about the door handle theory.

      • Borncynical

        Adding to my comment at 12.19, we mustn’t also forget that glasses and dishes would also have been removed from the table during the course of the Skripals’ meal as well, not to mention money or credit cards or card reading machines etc exchanging hands. And the drinking glasses used at the pub. The more you think about it, the more ridiculous the official line becomes.

        • CF

          There is one thing people seem to have forgotten: the Skripals must have gone to the loo!

          Is it possible that before they left ZiZi’s they went to the loo and contaminated their private parts with Novichok?.

          It’s one thing to eat and drink with Novichok on your hands and quite another to contaminate your genitals and it may be that that contamination is what caused their eventual collapse moments later on the bench!

          Or maybe not.

          • Doodlebug

            Reminds me of ‘Barbarella’. Finger-tip contact is all it takes. A marketer’s dream!

      • James

        When I went to Zizzis, they hadn’t wiped down the tables, though the cutlery seemed clean. Problem was, the Prosecco was fearsomely overpriced, and they weirdly put boiled potatoes on the pizza (intentionally). It didn’t work for me, and I haven’t been back.

        • Borncynical

          James
          Boiled potato on pizza?? Must have been their attempt at ‘fusion cuisine’. Or as I would describe it, using up all the leftovers in the fridge in a pretentious way. Can’t say it would work for me either.

  • Brendan

    Dear Mark,
    In a BBC article on 4 July 2018, you wrote:
    “I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion.”

    Could you please explain that comment? I do not see why your acknowledgement of your meetings with Sergei Skripal should be delayed until your book is nearing completion.

    If you felt that it was right to reveal those meetings in July, then why was it not right to do so in March, soon after the poisoning occurred? What difference would it have made if you had done so four months earlier?

    I cannot think of any negative consequences of an earlier acknowledgement of the meetings. In fact, disclosures of any possible conflict of interest are generally considered to be desirable in journalism, regardless of whether the conflict of interest is real.

    • ADHD

      The book is obviously part of a propaganda campaign. It seems hugely fortuitous that Mark Urban should have had “hours” of interviews with Skripal before the poisoning incident.

      Isn’t it much more likely that the Urban “interviews” would have happened after the event? But Urban can’t say that because that would lead to demands from other journalists or news bodies to have access to Skripal. And that can’t happen because either Skripal would be asked about what happened on the day of the poisoning, or can’t be guaranteed to stick to the script, or is no longer alive. And that leads to a suspicion that whatever Skripal is supposed to have said in his interviews with Urban has really just been made up by the British security services.

      • Kay

        I’m open to alternative hypotheses but right now I think the most likely explanation for Urban’s pre-poisoning contact with Sergei Skripal is that, at the time, it was assumed the Orbis dossier would be a key component of the successful takedown of Trump and Urban was putting together a mutually flattering account by interviewing the main players.

        Tongue in cheek, it’d be worth asking Urban if his decision to cover the Skripal poisoning in his new book was made before or after the Skripals were actually poisoned.

        • ADHD

          The consensus seems to be that it was an anti-Russia book, but that doesn’t conflict with what you say (there is overlap, your view is just more specific). But, I just find it hard to believe that Urban and the conspirators would waste their time “counting their chickens…”. Not least because such a book would form a handy list of traitors (together with confessions) if Trump were to prevail and it fell into the right hands. This is “101 – How to Organise a Revolution” (secrecy / don’t put anything in writing); surely British security services know that?

          With regard to your tongue-in-cheek point. Urban could have interviewed Skripal anytime after Trump was gone, unless he believed Skripal might be unavailable (for some reason). The fact he interviewed Skripal before does indicate foresight. If Urban really did interview Skripal before the event then he would be wiser to pull the book and burn every copy in existence (as well as all his notes).

          Regardless, it looks like the master of the universe are losing their ability to create reality.

  • Brendan

    Last month, Mark Urban was promoting the reports that the Russian assassins had been identified from CCTV footage:

    “There are now subjects of interest in the police Salisbury investigation. (…)
    analytic and cyber techniques are now being exploited against the Salisbury suspects by people with a wealth of experience in complex investigations.”
    https://twitter.com/MarkUrban01/status/1020366761848385536

    That story originated with a report by PA, which Security Minister Ben Wallace called “ill informed and wild speculation”.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/BWallaceMP/status/1019906962786484225
    Or as Craig Murray put it, “Unnamed source close to unnamed British police officers tells unnamed Press Association journalist Britain knows the unnamed Russian agents …”.
    https://twitter.com/CraigMurrayOrg/status/1019854966327005184
    Even Urban’s colleagues had to admit that “The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the story.”
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44883803

    Still, that didn’t stop Mark Urban from reporting the story almost as fact.

  • Tom

    The BBC relies on it’s interpretation of the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ but this relies on a usually unrelated precedent and the opinions of a number of Judges which contradict this view. I’m in the process of challenging this with ICO but don’t expect anything will change until another supreme court ruling:

    https://medium.com/@tomcoady/bbc-foi-exemption-for-the-purposes-of-art-journalism-or-literature-c39e4fa3e36

  • Made By Dom

    Can I play Devil’s Advocate…?
    I can see the value in asking writers, journalists and artists to pose exactly the same questions as Eccles’ original letter but I’m not convinced about Craig’s email.

    A quick google shows me that a man named Mark Urban has written a book on the Skripals. Isn’t it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Urban cares far more about his writing career than his job at the BBC. I’m sure most journalists would rather be authors. He’s written a number of books on war and military intelligence. If his sources have nothing to do with the BBC then why should he answer to an on line mob?

    • craig Post author

      ” Isn’t it likely that Urban was keeping the interviews to himself in order to keep his book alive?”
      No, entirely unlikely. a chance to plug his forthcoming book and his Skripal contacts to a massive worldwide televion audience was eschewed.
      The book is now about the Skripal attack. Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn’t happened yet. The book will just be a rehash of the “noble defector – Putin revenge” line and none of the questions I asked about the genesis of his involvement will be answered in it.

      • SA

        “Presumably that was not the original subject he was researching, as it hadn’t happened yet.”
        Or it was prescience ie that it was part of the planning for the incident?

        • Chris Hemmings

          @BBC, Summer 2017, in an executive office:
          “Hey Mark, why don’t you go down to have a chat with this guy in Salisbury. I have a hunch that a story might be going to happen involving him, you know, as an ex-Soviet spy. Spend time with him, get to know him, be able to write in depth about him. Say it’s for a book……….”

    • giyane

      Urban is never one-sided in his BBC reports on the Middle East. I would rather have him as Foreign Secretary than a bumbling idiot like Hubris Johnson or a Tory racketeer Hunt, because however clunky the formula of BBC balance Urban is at least pretending to be governed by normal rules. After Thatcher went anyone with half a brain left the Conservative party, leaving dolts like Johnson and nasties like May and Cameron to pick up the pieces after Blair and Brown.

      There’s money to be made from Russian billionaires and tory shit will follow the money like flies on d**t**d.
      Urban pretends to research a book exposing Russia and part of his research is to interview Skripal. His objective is to find dirt on Putin in order to swing the war in Syria in favour of USUKIS bombing Assad to smithereens, bayonets bums etc.

      Tory shit Hubris Johnson finds this political research floating around the Foreign Office and decides to twist it into Russia murders Skripal by Novichok. Unfortunately Johnson is already known to be a liar and gravy-trainer Tory and nobody believes him at all. Mrs May , realising that Johnson, Fox, Rees-Mogg and Hunt are completely bonkers, does Chequers her own way.

    • ZigZag Wanderer

      Interestingly Mark Urbans’ book on Sergei Skripal was available to purchase on Amazon in July. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on 28/7/18.
      I’ve just looked at my wishlist and was rather surprised to find it is no longer available. It has been pulled.

      From memory the books description said that Mark had interviewed Skripal ‘extensively’ during 2017 and also mentioned the ‘new’ spying war now happening between Britain and Russia.

      A quick search revealed a new version of the book ( with an altered title ) will be available in early October .. details here. https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/mark-urban/the-skripal-files

      Oh dear …. panic stations !

  • Sharp Ears

    Salisbury poisoning: Skripals ‘were under Russian surveillance’

    Mark Urban
    Diplomatic and defence editor, Newsnight

    4 July 2018

    ‘My meetings with Sergei Skripal
    I met Sergei on a few occasions last summer and found him to be a private character who did not, even under the circumstances then prevailing, wish to draw attention to himself.
    He agreed to see me as a writer of history books rather than as a news journalist, since I was researching one on the post-Cold War espionage battle between Russia and the West.
    Information gained in these interviews was fed into my Newsnight coverage during the early days after the poisoning. I have not felt ready until now to acknowledge explicitly that we had met, but do now that the book is nearing completion.
    As a man, Sergei is proud of his achievements, both before and after joining his country’s intelligence service.
    He has a deadpan wit and is remarkably stoical given the reverses he’s suffered in his life; from his imprisonment following conviction in 2006 on charges of spying for Britain, to the loss of his wife Liudmila to cancer in 2012, and the untimely death of his son Alexander (or Sasha) last summer.’

    /..
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44717835

    • Agent Green

      Laughable given that the whole world and virtually all heads of State were under US surveillance by the NSA – at least until Edward Snowden made all his revelations.

  • KEVIN GLENNIE

    I have pasted and copied your Email regarding the above with a few slight alterations, it will be interesting to see the response I receive if any being just a concerned citizen of the U.

  • Niki Henry

    Is this not a matter for the Police? (Even if you’re not too sure if they’d do anything about it) These would be files that are to do with an attempted murder case. And definitely not Journalism if the story is fabricated.

  • Paul Baker

    It feels as if you are moving in the right direction in linking Sergei to Steele. I’m intrigued by the very early media references to Sergei wanting to return home to see his elderly mother for perhaps the last time. He had apparently written to Putin making his request but again according to newspapers hadn’t received a reply. I would suggest Julia was bringing the answer via her own secret services contacts, her boyfriend and his mother, apparently Senior in the Russian Intelligence Agency. Perhaps a sentimental man Sergei was aware his mother couldn’t travel so the plea to Putin was his best bet. Such a request must have disturbed MI6 if Sergei had anything at all to do with the Steele dossier because inevitably if he returned to Russia he’d be debriefed by his old colleagues. But how can you rely on a mercenary double agent? If he decided he might want to stay in Russia with his family that might well have been attractive, away from the lonely existence in a Salisbury cul de sac with only spies for company. But the Steele dossier has great potential to turn sour on the British. It’s author was a Senior spy and Head of the Russian Desk for some years. It is – perhaps you’d agree? – inconceivable that he didn’t require permission to prepare it, especially as much of it was based on his experience as a spy in Russia. Yet it’s equally inconceivable that the Agency bosses didn’t know the identity of the commissioners or the use to which it would be put in the US election – to boost Clinton’s bid. If she’d won everything would have been fine but as it is any discussion of foreign interference in that election would have to include MI6 leading the list (they probably didn’t tell any politician?) To have Sergei supporting and highlighting that embarrassment would be problematic for US-UK relations. Of course Sergei may have had other nuggets to expose as well as Steele.
    Soon after Julia’s arrival the pair fell ill. They both survived but are now locked away, presumably for life and never able to explain their side of the story.
    It was a bodged job with a poor cover story from the start and could only be carried because of D Notices and media complicity.
    Is his mother still alive? Would he still like to see her before she dies? Would Russia allow it? Would MI6 allow it? I think that’s 3 yeses and a resounding No.

  • Sharp Ears

    Following the deaths of 55 Palestinians on the Gaza ‘border’ and the wounding of thousands, in this video, Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas.

    Gaza deaths: Who’s to blame? – BBC Newsnight
    Published on 15 May 2018
    Subscribe 256K
    Fresh protests against Israel are expected in the Palestinian territories, a day after Israeli troops killed 58 people in the Gaza Strip.
    David Keyes is the spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mark Urban asked him whether it was appropriate for the US to open their embassy on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation, a day that is hugely controversial for the Palestinian people.

    Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.
    Website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsnight
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1dec5XO53k

    Mr Keyes’ pronounced American accent was heard. The Occupation was not mentioned. A Palestinian voice was not heard.

    This is another of his videos. On the same subject and on the opening of the Israeli Embassy in Jerusalem. This time, Jonathan Conricus spoke for the IDF.

    Israel says. Same old. Same old. BBC. ZBC.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WdqoPKKkD8

    • Charles Bostock

      “Urban asks the questions but the Israeli government spokesman, David Keyes, is allowed to spout all the usual propaganda against Hamas.”

      Yes indeed : Urban asked the questions and allowed the interviewee to answer. Perhaps you would have preferred him to interrupt the interviewee continually ‘a la Today programme, or to have shouted at him similarly to the way I understand some people shout at customers inside or outside supermarkets?

  • Peter

    This may or may not be relevant regarding Russia, chemical weapons and BBC/MSM bovine effluent:

    “US Poised to Hit Syria Harder: … The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement on Aug. 25 stating that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants had brought eight containers of chlorine to Idlib in order to stage a false-flag attack with the help of UK intelligence agencies. A group of Tahrir al-Sham fighters trained to handle chemical warfare agents by the UK private military company Olive arrived in the suburbs of the city of Jisr ash-Shugur, Idlib, 20 km. from the Turkish border.”

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/08/27/us-poised-to-hit-syria-harder.html

  • Jeremn

    Can’t help thinking that the answer to all this lies … in Estonia. Sergei went to Estonia in June 2016, Pablo was in Estonia, the Estonians passed on sigint about Trump-Russian collusion in the summer of 2016. A Guardian article of 13 April 2017 said:

    “Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said. The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland.”

    Perhaps not the Dossier, as such, but some material on collusion?

  • Paul Greenwood

    John Paul Jones also fought for the Russians and was a Rear-Admiral. He was buried in Paris 1792 and disinterred 1905 and relocated to USA

  • Agent Green

    No doubt in my mind that the Skripal affair is a planned operation carried out by US/UK intelligence. What has actually taken place is still to be determined, but the propaganda operation itself is clear.

    • Doodlebug

      What did the UK have against Dawn and Charlie? (Please don’t say you subscribe to all that bottle-finding bullshit).

      • mark golding

        Catch my last post Doodlebug, sadly MI6 diabolical elements can be traced back to Ireland in the 70’s early 80’s assassinations… theRealTerror (theRealElvis) understands.

        • Doodlebug

          I know about Ireland, and I agree, it was NOT a nerve agent. That said, I don’t believe anyone was ‘attacked’, including the Skripals.

  • Peter Munks

    I seriously doubt the BBC has ever been not under Intelligence Services influences- the Government would consider it too important.

    • N_

      Often it’s been open. There was the BBC monitoring station at Caversham Park. The BBC’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service split the world into two parts with the CIA.

      All foreign correspondents of major newspapers too work with MI6. Nobody who is close to them has any kind of doubt about this.

  • N_

    Theresa May says a no deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world”.

    1) This is not a negotiating strategy. This is not a pantomime where one giant on the stage can wink to his supporters (using the British media) without his opponent (EU27) noticing.

    2) The subconscious doesn’t work well with negation. Whatever you do, please DON’T imagine an elephant at this time.

    3) I would love to know what the preparations are at Trinity College, Cambridge, for food shortages. They own the port of Felixstowe, which handles more than 40% of Britain’s containerised trade. They also own a 50% stake in a portfolio of Tesco stores. Soon food distribution will be what everyone is talking about. I am never going to stop making the point that the god of the Tory party is Thomas Malthus.

    • N_

      Oh dear.. Theresa May in Africa:

      As a Prime Minister who believes both in free markets and in nations and businesses acting in line with well-established rules and principles of conduct, I want to demonstrate to young Africans that their brightest future lies in a free and thriving private sector.

      I despise everyone who says that free markets are the solution for the problems of the third world. What they mean is mass starvation and an enormous population cull. There are international “foundations” that pay academics and politicians large amounts of money to spout this obscene line. One of them is called the John Templeton Foundation. They have had their fangs in to British universities for a long time. They are keen on Prince Philip, the guy who said he wanted to come back as a virus so he could kill a large part of the population. Never trust anyone who has received a Templeton scholarship or prize or who has anything to do with these people or with the message that free markets and the private sector are the key to “development”

      • Nuno Strybes

        When the Tories talk about ‘free markets’, they are talking about markets free from democracy.

        May’s rhetoric is laughable….basically all her speeches read : ‘the sky is green, the snow is black etc etc’ — totally detached from reality and a spent political force, as their recent membership numbers showed, with more revenues from legacies left in wills than from actual living members.

      • giyane

        Bangles were probably worth more than highly-leveraged City of London bank loans. At least they had a decorative function, not a military one. Strangled by as bangle? I don’t think so. Exchange a whole load of raw materials for a pile of out of date machine guns => civil war.
        Still, it’s the White Man’s burden to carry his/her false ideas across the globe, in exchange for land with animal , vegetable and mineral resources contained. I’d tell the fucker to get lost if I was them.

  • Ros Thorpe

    I agree with the Skripal relatives that Sergei is dead. He hasn’t been seen or heard of and would have called his mother. Mind boggling deception at all levels and I struggle to believe any of it.

    • N_

      Sergei Skripal could be in US custody, either in the US itself or in a US facility somewhere.

      If he is dead, then the rehospitalisation of Charlie Rowley may be to assist with the narrative. “Once you’ve had a drop of Novvy Chockk, you may recover but you can fall down ill at any time, and here’s an Expert with a serious voice to confirm it.”

  • Nuno Strybes

    I follow this blog closely, particularly in relation to the Skripal case, but this is my first comment. I just watched Sky News piece on ‘super recognisers’ and couldn’t help but wonder why, in an age of powerful facial recognition technology, the police and security services seem to have drawn such a blank. The surveillance state in the UK is known to be one of the most advanced in the world but when it comes to this highly important geopolitical crisis our technological infrastructure seems to be redundant to the point where ‘human eyes’ are deemed to be more accurate than the most powerful supercomputers available. Psychologically, all humans have an inherent facial recognition ability from a very young age, but the idea that some police officers have this ability developed to such an extent that they supercede computer recognition is, i feel, laughable. To me this announcement through the ever subservient Sky News reeks of desperation on the part of the ;official story’. Are we about to be shown suspects who, although facial recognition technology fails to identify them, a ‘super recogniser’ can testify that it actually is person A or person B and we are all supposed to accept that? Seems either a damning indictment of the judicial process, or a damning indictment of the £££££’s of taxpayers money that is spent on places like GCHQ etc whose technology is now apparently no better than a highly perceptive human brain. Give me a break……!

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why no interest in how the Coopers died in Egypt? We will soon be told by HMG that the Russians somehow dd it too., thanks to Urban’s research?

    • giyane

      People do die Trowbridge. I know you haven’t, but you have the motivation of outliving your persecutors. With Muckin about with Isis gone and covert operations isn’t social work Kissinger looking as though he’s on daily blood transfusions, you have rejected Trump for some reason. But Trump has undone much of John McCain’s worst mischief in one year. If McCain was an example of a politician, we don’t need politicians.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Give me an example, other than the Coopers. of a healthy couple one day that is found dying the next day like the Skripals.

        And while i tried on another site to be generous about McCain. he got Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr. to scare the Soviets for prevailing in the Vietnam War so much about what NATO was up to in the fallout from shooting Swedish PM Olof Palme that Moscow gave up the competition for fear that it would blow up the world, helping bring on the crappy one we have.

        McCain was a continuing Cold Warrior who we don’t need since we still have Trump who is just trying to do it another way.

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