Lynch Mob Mentality 1896

I was caught in a twitterstorm of hatred yesterday, much of it led by mainstream media journalists like David Aaronovitch and Dan Hodges, for daring to suggest that the basic elements of Boshirov and Petrov’s story do in fact stack up. What became very plain quite quickly was that none of these people had any grasp of the detail of the suspects’ full twenty minute interview, but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media.

As I explained in my last post, what first gave me some sympathy for the Russians’ story and drew me to look at it closer, was the raft of social media claims that there was no snow in Salisbury that weekend and Stonehenge had not been closed. In fact, Stonehenge was indeed closed on 3 March by heavy snow, as confirmed by English Heritage. So the story that they came to Salisbury on 3 March but could not go to Stonehenge because of heavy snow did stand up, contrary to almost the entire twittersphere.

Once there was some pushback of truth about this on social media, people started triumphantly posting the CCTV images from 4 March to prove that there was no snow lying in Central Salisbury on 4 March. But nobody ever said there was snow on 4 March – in fact Borisov and Petrov specifically stated that they learnt there was a thaw so they went back. However when they got there, they encountered heavy sleet and got drenched through. That accords precisely with the photographic evidence in which they are plainly drenched through.

Another extraordinary meme that causes hilarity on twitter is that Russians might be deterred by snow or cold weather.

Well, Russians are human beings just like us. They cope with cold weather at home because they have the right clothes. Boshirov and Petrov refer continually in the interview to cold, wet feet and again this is borne out by the photographic evidence – they were wearing sneakers unsuitable to the freak weather conditions that were prevalent in Salisbury on 3 and 4 March. They are indeed soaked through in the pictures, just as they said in the interview.

Russians are no more immune to cold and wet than you are.

Twitter is replete with claims that they were strange tourists, to be visiting a housing estate. No evidence has been produced anywhere that shows them on any housing estate. They were seen on CCTV camera walking up the A36 by the Shell station, some 400 yards from the Skripals’ house, which would require three turnings to get to that – turnings nobody saw them take (and they were on the wrong side of the road for the first turning, even though it would be very close). No evidence has been mentioned which puts them at the Skripals’ House.

Finally, it is everywhere asserted that it is very strange that Russians would take a weekend break holiday, and that if they did they could not possibly be interested in architecture or history. This is a simple expression of anti-Russian racism. Plainly before their interview – about which they were understandably nervous – they prepared what they were going to say, including checking up on what it was they expected to see in Salisbury because they realised they would very obviously be asked why they went. Because their answer was prepared does not make it untrue.

That literally people thousands of people have taken to twitter to mock that it is hilariously improbable that tourists might want to visit Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge, is a plain example of the irrationality that can overtake people when gripped by mob hatred.

I am astonished by the hatred that has been unleashed. The story of Gerry Conlon might, you would hope, give us pause as to presuming the guilt of somebody who just happened to be of the “enemy” nationality, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Despite the mocking mob, there is nothing inherently improbable in the tale told by the two men. What matters is whether they can be connected to the novichok, and here the safety of the identification of the microscopic traces of novichok allegedly found in their hotel bedroom is key. I am no scientist, but I have been told by someone who is, that if the particle(s) were as the police state so small as to be harmless to humans, they would be too small for mass spectrometry analysis and almost certainly could not be firmly identified other than as an organophosphate. Perhaps someone qualified might care to comment.

The hotel room novichok is the key question in this case.

Were I Vladimir Putin, I would persuade Boshirov and Petrov voluntarily to come to the UK and stand trial, on condition that it was a genuinely fair trial before a jury in which the entire proceedings, and all of the evidence, was open and public, and the Skripals and Pablo Miller might be called as witnesses and cross-examined. I have no doubt that the British government’s desire for justice would suddenly move into rapid retreat if their bluff was called in this way.

As for me, when I see a howling mob rushing to judgement and making at least some claims which are utterly unfounded, and when I see that mob fueled and egged on by information from the security services propagated by exactly the same mainstream media journalists who propagandised the lies about Iraqi WMD, I see it as my job to stand in the way of the mob and to ask cool questions. If that makes them hate me, then I must be having some impact.

So I ask this question again – and nobody so far has attempted to give me an answer. At what time did the Skripals touch their doorknob? Boshirov and Petrov arrived in Salisbury at 11.48 and could not have painted the doorknob before noon. The Skripals had left their house at 09.15, with their mobile phones switched off so they could not be geo-located. Their car was caught on CCTV on three cameras heading out of Salisbury to the North East. At 13.15 it was again caught on camera heading back in to the town centre from the North West.

How had the Skripals managed to get back to their home, and touch the door handle, in the hour between noon and 1pm, without being caught on any of the CCTV cameras that caught them going out and caught the Russian visitors so extensively? After this remarkably invisible journey, what time did they touch the door handle?

I am not going to begin to accept the guilt of Boshirov and Petrov until somebody answers that question. Dan Hodges? David Aaronovitch? Theresa May? Anybody?

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1,896 thoughts on “Lynch Mob Mentality

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    • MaryPau!

      well I said at the outset I thought they were couriers . why has the British government homed in on them when it had all gone quiet? They make unconvincing poisoners.

      • Tom Smythe

        Yes, we did a good job kicking this around earlier. Originally written by Andrei Grachev. Since it was taken down once already by Facebook/Atlantic Council because it violated their rules, I am copying more of it over here.

        “Our heroes cannot carry cash. They do not smuggle their haul through the Russian Federation borders. They do not transport it. But they carry it with them… documents. Only a few sheets of paper with an original signature and the seal of the Owner. These are documents of a kind that cannot be sent by mail, cannot be sent electronically. Only originals and only in person. These documents are veeeery valuable. Contracts, invoices, power of attorney, etc., and, very likely extremely “close” properties…

        They need to be protected but they cannot carry with them the weapons and special equipment, even if shooting is allowed, you will not take it abroad. That is why they are healthy and most likely hand-to-hand fighters: Boshirov has a broken nose, he’s the “basher” and Petrov is a sambo wrestler or some such).

        They flew to Britain officially, because they are not agents of anyone. They really got visas, passed all checks and flew. They did not take their luggage, because, of course, they did not fly for a tour and vacation, they flew on business, and all that they needed, they carried directly with them. Just a few sheets of paper. They did not carry anything, on its face illegal and certainly no poison. Idiocy…

        They rented a room for two for the same security reasons. When there are two of you in a room, you can’t be safely disarmed. There will be a fierce mess, the outcome of which is not predetermined. Also, you can sleep in shifts.

        No, they are not poisoners, they are employees of the security service of the company “Public Corporation Success”, the main owner of which is Ivanov Ivan Ivanovich, yes the same from the Forbes list, but it seems like the Kremlin is connected, but it’s not exactly, yes, the papers were brought for laundering and what? it couldn’t be done?”

        The Owner was knocked on the head by the higher ups, they say, come on take up the thread, Mavrodi. First there was Petrov-From-Hell, who cannot get to the Altai Mountains. Probably, they thought it would work.

        But then Putin at the Forum gives Brilev: “we know who they are. I want to address them, let them appear and explain everything. IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR ALL.” This phrase immediately struck me as very strange. What does that even mean? So that’s what he said, of course, it is not to them but to the Owner.

        And the above phrase means the following: “There are no options, either they will appear themselves with an acceptable story, or we will have to reveal the real situation. No one needs the latter”. And so someone calls Simonyan’s mobile whose number was in his or her phone, someone important enough.

        She picks up the phone, and they say: “Margarita, have you watched the Plenary today? Good. The guys are gonna call you … about the British question … set it up, okay?” And since she was notified, Margarita takes the call from an unknown number and arranges an interview. The guys did not have time to prepare. The Owner did not know how much time he was given. In such cases, they act as quickly as possible.

        That’s why everyone was so unnatural. For a person that never gave an interview, this entire situation is extremely stressful. So Boshirov read from the sheet, hence “Salisbury Cathedral” and “Mont Blanc” and Bashirov was so angry (and he actually was just in a rage), Petrov atypically is quieter, but also everything drove him crazy.

        The Skripal poisoning and these two guys are not connected. Well, only except the place and time. No motive, no modus operandi.

        • Tom Smythe

          In other good reads today, Elena Evdokimov has an excellent analysis of the Bellingcrap document forgeries and erroneous analysis:

          Here is what she wrote :

          1. Atlantic council’s fellow Higging and @bellingcat created a new opus on Petrov and Bashirov, implying that they are members of GRU, Russian secret service. Lets look at “facts” they provided to prove these allegations.

          2. Bellingcat implies that there is an alleged stamp on Alexander Petrov’s passport dossier:
          “Do not provide any information” and his handwritten name. All passport documents in Russia are typed,without exclusion. There is no point to duplicate the name on top. Real 1P form below

          3. This conclusion Bellingcat supports with another EMPTY document with a handwritten note on top stating that somebody recommended to make is confidential “совершенно секретно” “С.С.” We have to BELIEVE that its Petrov’s form. BTW, those words are always stamped, not handwritten.

          4. Google easily found that as Bellincat stated “Mandatory for Russian citizens over the age of 14” passport became mandatory only on 13th March 1997. Being born on 13 July 1979, Petrov became 14 in 1993, so his first passport was issued not at 14, but when he was 16, in 1995.

          5. This passport was issued by the police dept of the place where he lived at the time (in 1995), it may be small Kotlas or even any place in former USSR republics if his family traveled for work in USSR. So his first passport might not be issued by Russian Federation in 1995

          6. Most likely, as he was born in the area of Russian Federation, he was entitled to be a citizen of Russian Federation, no matter where he lived in 1991, when USSR fell apart.

          7. Another reason for the alleged missing records- the united database, that Belligcat either hacked or bribed somebody to access, started to fill in only in 2014. There were separate databases before-for border control, migration service, police, etc.

          8. Petrov, as everyone else, graduated from Secondary school at 18, i.e. in 1997. 2 year military service was compulsory for boys ( until 14th June 2006). So he served in the army until 1999. Military people do not have passports in Russia, they always have different documents.

          So, that’s why he was issued a passport in 1999, when he finished military service and not because he was a GRU agent in his teenage years, as Bellingcat implies.

          10. Petrov’s 1999 passport was not in the central passport database because the database was created in 2014, there were some errors occurred during databases merging, some passports were even declared invalid

          11. Petrov’s 1999 passport was replaced because it became “unsuitable for usage”, a marking typically used when a previous passport has been damaged, this does not make him Russian Secret service GRU agent. It simply means that his 1999 passport was damaged.

          12. Bellincat’s claim that “Boshirov and Petrov’s passport files, indicating that they were separated by only 3 digits (-1294 and -1297), meaning that they were issued at nearly the same time”- so they are GRU – is funny, as their are gays, a couple that applied for passports together

          13. Bellingcat : “Additionally, Fontanka noted that Petrov and Boshirov bought two separate return flights back to Moscow on March 4” Well,Anatoly Shariy internal sources stated that they bought tickets only for one return trip,places 22a & 22c, and he is cheking his facts carefully

          14. Anything left from the Bellingcat’s claim that they found that Petrov & Boshirov are GRU agents? Nothing. As Petrov and Boshirov being agents of Secret service of another country, a sleeper cell in Russia – that’s another matter, that’s possible.

          • Elena B.

            He might have got in fact the USSR type passport when he turned 16 in 1995. The old USSR type passports were still being issued in Russia in 1995. Those were years of confusion I don’t remember the exact date when the authorities started recommending citizens to exchange their old USSR passports for the new Russian passports but I do remember I exchanged mine in 2002. And I was neither 25 or 45 when you normally have to renew your passport in Russia. It was only to swap the obsolete USSR document for a new Russian one.
            So, I am not sure how they put data about your previous passports in but none of us before receiving their first Russian passport had held any other Russian passport ))))

          • Elena B.

            And of course if, for instance, being born in Russia or to a Russian parent, he then had moved to a different USSR republic and got his 16 year old passport there… he could have returned to Russia later and, given his Russian birth certificate, for instance, or the Russian nationality of at least one parent, got his first Russian passport. Therefore, the delay and no info of a previous passport.
            I think the latter is more viable. As it was complete beurocratic chaos in the 90s especially for those Russian nationals who were willing or had to return to Russia from the former USSR republics and had to change all the documents.

  • Tom Smythe

    Whoa … here is a partial list of bad actors in Russia who might need couriers like P&B to shuttle legal documents around in order to manage their business affairs since they are not allowed to travel under US law which — because of Exceptionalism and Democracy — applies worldwide to everybody and everything, need not be signatories. [Can someone here help me understand why billionaire US election disruptors like the Koch Brothers were not sanctioned?]

    Mikhail Abyzov, Andrey Akimov, Audrey Artizov, Mikhail Babich, Aleksandr Bastrykin, Aleksandr Bedritskiy, Aleksandr Beglov, Oleg Belaventsev, Andrey Belousov, Oleg Belozerov, Vladimir Bogdanov, Aleksandr Bortnikov, Larisa Brycheva, Oleg Budargin, Vladimir Bulavin, Yuriy Cbayka, Sergey Chemezov, Vladimir Chemov, Yuriy Chikhanchin, Konstantin Chuychenko, Roman Dashkov, Oleg Deripaska, Sergey Donskoy, Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Alexei Dyumin, Mikhail Fedotov, Mikhail Fradkov, Andrey Fursenko, Sergei Fursenko, Aleksandr Galushka, Valery Gerasimov, Sergey Glazyev, Olga Golodets, Aleksey Gordeyev, Sergey Gorkov, Oleg Govorun, German Gref, Sergey Grigorov, Aleksey Gromov, Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Ivanov, Suleiman Kerimov, Aleksandr Khloponin, Igor Kholrnanskikh, Sergey Kiriyenko, Vladislav Kitayev, German Klimenko, Anton Kobyakov, Dmitriy Kochnev, Pavel Kolobkov, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Aleksandr Kolpakov, Aleksandr Konovalov, Igor Korobov, Konstantin Kosachev, Andrey Kostin, Andrei Kostin, Boris Kovalchuk, Dmitriy Kozak, Vladimir Kozhin, Mikhail Krotov, Lev Kuznetsov, Anna Kuznetsova, Sergey Lavrov, Igor Levitin, Aleksandra Levitskaya, Aleksey Likhachcv, Aleksandr Linets, Nail Maganov, Magomedsalam Magomedov, Denis Manturov, Aleksandr Manzhosin, Valentina Matviyenko, Vladimir Medinskiy, Drnitriy Medvedev, Mikhail Men, Sergey Menyaylo, Aleksey Miller, Alexei Miller, Garry Minkh, Artur Muravyev, Vitaliy Mutko, Sergey Naryshkin, Nikolay Nikiforov, Aleksandr Novak, Rashid Nurgaliyev, Maksim Oreshkin, Vladimir Ostrovenko, Nikolay Patrushev, Nikolai Patrushev, Dmitriy Peskov, Georgiy Poltavchenko, Sergey Prikhodko, Vladimir Puchkov, Drnitriy Rogozin, Vitaliy Savelyev, Igor Sechin, Kirill Shamalov, Igor Shchegolev, Andrey Shishkin, Yevgeniy Shkolov, Sergey Shoygu, Nikolay Shulginov, Igor Shuvalov, Anton Siluanov, Veronika Skvortsova, Ymiy Slyusar, Sergey Sobyanin, Maksim Sokolov, Vladislav Surkov, Valeriy Tikhonov, Boris Titov, Aleksandr Tkachev, Nikolay Tokarev, Vladimir Tolstoy, Maksim Topilin, Yuriy Trutnev, Nikolay Tsukanov, Yuriy Ushakov, Vladimir Ustinov, Vladimir Ustinov, Olga Vasilyeva, Anton Vayno, Viktor Vekselberg, Vyacheslav Volodin, Venyamin Yakovlev, Viktor Zolotov, Viktor Zolotov

  • Ana

    I keep wandering why there are supposedly NO CCTV cameras around Skripal’s place. In my opinion it’s as absurd as all the times in the past bluffs when CCTV cameras were… Off! Considering that UK is the main police state it’s hard not to Wander…

    • Elena B.

      There are some in vicinity. They are very temperamental and record only when in the mood, For instance, they were happy to record the Skripal’s car leaving the house on the 4th in the morning and yet refused to record it when the Skripals came back to touch the door knob.
      Oh, hang on a sec…

      • Andyoldlabour

        @Elena B,
        The cameras were having a siesta, because Salisbury is an incredibly busy place – spies, Russian tourists, chemical weapons all over the place, ducks being fed Novichock baguettes – Mmmm! Nice!

  • Trauma2000

    And this article asks the most pertinent of questions: What time did Skripals touch their door knob..? Everything hysteria surrounding the two Russian tourists rests on this. Because, the account of events as presented by the British authorities preclude the two Russian tourists from being present to poison the door know.

    Case closed as far as the two Russian tourists are concerned. Now, when will all those Racists European countries recant from their racist rants and reinstate the expelled Russian diplomats..? With public apology.

    • MaryPau!

      I really have no idea why the UK decided to classify these two guys as assassins. It seemed pretty clear from the outset they were couriers (,I came to this conclusion pretty early on and said so. on here).

      I think, since the Skripals,( or Yulia at least) have recovered, they must have told the police what they were doing on Sunday morning. at least to the extent of telling them whether they returned to the house in time to touch the door handle for midday. I assume the police have chosen not to release this information, easier to leave everyone guessing.

      As I have said before, with the experience of many years of watching the Met Police at work, they develop and release an “official” narrative and then stick to it. Then they go to ground when the joins start to come unstuck.

      I am interested in why they are not mentioning the Skripals feeding the ducks. As blogmire and others are suggesting. maybe P+B were couriering something to Skripal who had to get it signed and return it to them. Maybe that is where he went on Sunday morning.

      But I would expect the police to know in that case that P+B are just couriers, so why finger them as the assassins?. And where did the fake perfume bottle come from which Charlie Rowley found? It is pure and total nonsense it had been in the bin for months. Look Charlie clearly had a circuit of bins he visited. If the perfume, seemingly brand new, had been there earlier he would have retrieved it earlier.

      • Elena B.

        There is no clear indication of where Charlie got it whatsoever: one day it’s a bin, the other it’s the ground which he picked it from. Then it’s a charity shop box.

        • Mary Paul

          Someone here said that Charlie said in an interview he found it in the charity bin behind a shop in Salisbury on 27 June

          • Tom Smythe

            Right. ITV took Charlie around in a tour van. The police did similarly. Charlie was quite certain where he found the perfume bottle. Photos of the two specific bins located in an alley between a restaurant and car park in downtown Salisbury were published in the Mail.

            The press has never inquired about bin tipping schedule. Typically it would be weekly, so emptied a dozen or more times since the Skripal attack. Bins are usually provided by the tipper, often listed on the side with their phone number. It follows that the perfume bottle had been discarded shortly before Charlie recovered it in mid July.

            Until Charlie (and his brother) was recovered enough to be interviewed, the focus was on an area in QE Park where his group had had a recent drug and alcohol fueled blanket party. Charlie and Dawn had gone off briefly. It was conjectured that they had found the perfume at that time. There was also a huge effort made swabbing the park bathroom. No results of any kind have been released from park fingertip searches or OP testing.

      • A.C.Doyle

        Yes, you said it here that you believe that they were couriers:

        Indeed, if a murder scene had to be staged with a couple of Russians as props in the background for the cameras, certainly ordering couriers on some contrived errand would achieve that. Probably even better if the characters were a bit shady. However, if they were on such an errand, when the story broke and they saw their names associated with the Skripal affair, it would then be obvious to them that they had been set up. Also it is difficult to imagine that the pair had not been interviewed by the Russian authorities before appearing in the RT interview. Surely, if they were set up in such an obvious way, that would have been said somehow in the interview. So, even if they were couriers, it is difficult to see that they were acting as couriers in Salisbury at the time of the “murder attempt”.

        So either they were genuine tourists, or potential murderers, or both. One twist could be that the Skripal poisoning project was sitting on the shelf, simply waiting for the right time to be executed, when a couple of likely Russians would be around, and maybe triggered by their visa application or something similar.

  • Tom Smythe

    Whoa…. someone claims to have found the white applicator that fits on the Nina Ricci perfume bottle, ‘JOX green edition’ excellent photos provided. It is not shown end-on unfortunately, the small dimple shape and diameter at the end would be diagnostic. Thread sizes might be restricted so a fit to the perfume bottle no big surprise. This product is made in Israel but available to anyone in any country online. No one has not been able to locate the tester-size bottle of Nina Ricci to date, it may only be sold at airport stores etc, only bigger/newer bottles online.

    Hamish de BG had made a preposterous analysis earlier that this applicator was a one-off custom manufacture by a lab of top Russian scientists and this was duly echoed by the world press without the slightest analysis or consultation.

    “The applicators of TEVA pharma company (Israel) fit precisely to the #Novichok bottle! Any kid can pull out the perfume nozzle and replace it with the applicator.”

    • Tom Smythe

      There is a better picture with dimensional scale and volume at the link below. It does appear identical to that provided by Met police, going by overall dimensions, the dimple shape and the position of the barely visible (after contrast adjustmetn) seam where the extended tube joins the main cylinder. The caption says the JOX-Teva product is made in the Czech Republic by a subsidiary of the Israeli pharma company Teva and that it is sold in the CR, Ukraine, Russia, and on eBay.

      • Tom Smythe

        I confirmed ebay availability, $15.70. It is a oral spray (mist) not a drop applicator (eye drop squeeze bottle). I saved a whole-screen screenshot in the event that the ad is taken down.

        TEVA JOX antiseptic inflammation of the larynx, tongue – spray 30 ml best price

        Remove the protective cap and install the applicator. Press 2-3 times on the applicator to allow the solution to enter the nebulizer and spray after spraying. After this, place the applicator tube 2-3 cm into the mouth, hold your breath and press it twice on the cap so that one irrigation is done to the right and the second to the left.

        Use a preparation of JOX® spray is recommended 2-4 times a day. If necessary, the drug can be used more often, every 4 hours. The applicator is washed with hot water before and after application.


        Angina (catarrhal, follicular, lacunar;
        Streptococcus caused by simultaneous treatment with antibiotics);
        tonsillitis (acute and chronic);
        inflammation of the larynx, tongue, aphthae;
        the first symptoms of the flu.

        Active substance
        Allantoin, Povidone-Iodine

        Dosage form
        Spray for oral cavity

        Manufacturer Teva, Israel

        Active ingredients: Povidone-iodine 2.55 g; allantoin 0.03 g;

        Excipients: levomenthol; citric acid monohydrate; sodium citrate dihydrate; ethanol 96%; propylene glycol; purified water

        • Tom Smythe

          Looking now at Orofar google search images, a similar product with a very similar applicator, made by Novartis. This would suggest the oral applicator and its variations originate in China and are used globally within the over-the-counter pharma industry for oral sprays. £10.99 Buy it now

          Good view of applicator as sold in Poland:

          Jeżeli chcesz otrzymywać informacje o nowościach i najlepszych ofertach Producentów wyraź zgodę na otrzymywanie powiadomień już dziś!

          • Elena B.

            I don’t think these plastic nozzles are difficult to produce. When I was growing up in the USSR throat spray with such applicators were one of the first response remedies for children’s cold throats.
            And if you look at the site filled with advice on how to combat colds, which in Russian means “my cough” you will be able to fully enjoy the pictures of such applicators.

          • Tom Smythe

            Yes but the cheap green one you linked to hardly matches the Met police photo. The trick is to find the one that does: right thread size for Nina Ricci, right fit to activate pumping mechanisms, right length, right color, right top seam, right nebulizer (fogger, mister, sprayer) dimensions and dimple diameter and depth.

            It is safe to say (as everything is made in China) that these are of a type MADE ONLY IN CHINA. Connect the dots: another corrupt Commie dictatorship that shares a long border with guess who, RUSSIA. What more proof of Putin’s guilt do you need?!? China is under territorial, sanction and tariff attack from the US too but not as listed individuals (Land of 100 Surnames).

            I located much better pictures of the wheelie bins where Charlie found the perfume box, one is a newspaper shot at street level and the other high resolution google earth, links below. They are behind The Cloisters restaurant on Ivy St in Salisbury. I had wrongly identified them earlier as garbage (trash) bins. They are not. The Cloisters has its own two garbage trash bins next to its building, a few yards from the charity bins.

            The bins themselves are provided by Veolia, a multinational waste management company. They are operated for the benefit of Cancer Research, which is not a medical establishment at all but rather a nearby charity retailer selling donated secondhand items including books, clothing and household goods. Address: 79 Catherine St, Salisbury SP1 2DH, UK.

            Cancer Research likely has dozens of these bins at assorted Salisbury locations and indeed many tens of thousands all over the UK. It occupies the same niche as bin operator Goodwill Industries in the US. People and businesses drop off stuff they don’t want, the contents are collected nightly (because of theft, eg Charlie) and taken to a regional processing center. After discarding trash, the donations are sorted, tagged, priced, and re-distributed to the retail outlet store chain.

            The blue charity banner behind the two bins reads “Donate items here and beat cancer sooner. Drop off during opening hours. Thank you Salisbury”. In other words, if you donate AFTER hours, someone will likely steal your donation, ie the bins are emptied at the end of each working day.

            Goodwill and St Vincent de Paul service a different clientele: poor people down on their luck. They too are not keen on people stealing from donation boxes but structure them as one-way portals, like mail boxes. The eventual customers are the affluent looking for good value, 90% off a shirt and so on. The poor are given employment laundering and ironing the shirts before sale.

            The disturbing aspect here is whoever tossed the like-new perfume box in the charity bin could safely anticipate its later sale to some unfortunate at a Cancer Research retail outlet and that it would be used, as Dawn did, to spray on her wrists. Sicko? Callous? Intentional for renewal of fading Skripal news? Just having a laugh at the UK’s expense?



    • flatulence'

      I’d say it’s more like a sample/tester bottle. One that a couple might go round with to spray on the public for promotional purposes. A man and a lady with a big red bag perhaps.

    • Brendan

      Some photos of the Teva applicator here

      This image from that page shows a hole/dimple that looks like the one in the applicator that Charlie found

      The seam from the plastic moulding (that I think you’re referring to) is barely visible in another image

      A seam can also be seen (along with the dimple) in Charlie’s applicator if you download and zoom in on the Met’s high resolution image

      The attachment to the ‘Novichok’/perfume bottle must have come from the Teva spray.

    • Brendan

      The German service of RT spoke to a couple of people from the charity.

      A translation of part of the interview is given here:

      Just a couple of short quotes from that translation:

      Thea MacLeod-Hall, Manager at Cancer Research UK :
      “The wheelie bins behind a number of shops on Catherine Street, Salisbury, that were being examined, were for garbage collection only and not for charitable donations.”

      and –
      Julie Byard, Head of Commerce at Cancer Research UK, London :
      “The competent authorities have confirmed that they have no indication that the perfume bottle in question has ever been in our dustbin. (…)”

      The only reason to believe the ‘bin’ story is that Charlie said – long after he recovered – that he remembered finding the bottle there.

  • Tom Smythe

    This perfume box, bottle and applicator are the only big break the police have had in this long-running investigation. The two suspects Petrov and Boshirov are an immense distraction, waste of cctv investigative energy, and ultimately huge embarrassment which like the bogus door handle must eventually be walked back if they are to move forward.

    The applicator is totally unsuited for dispensing viscous drops on a door handle. As it says on the Teva-VOX box, the dispenser is an atomizer (nebulizer, mister, fogger, sprayer) producing an aerosol of fine droplets. This is extremely dangerous for whomever is operating the pumping mechanism.

    Inhalation of an OP mist is far worse, far faster to act than adsorption on skin. The applicator and its tubing have to be primed like a campground pump, the tip of the applicator would be thoroughly contaminated, the tubing would remain full of liquid agent. Would latex gloves and an allergy mask provide protection? How could you walk around with this in your pocket after the attack without accidentally discharging it?

    This set-up is not meant to be applied by an assailant (who is long gone) but by the victim herself. With the discard, the perpetrators were explaining to Met how it was done (but not by whom). It rather reminds me of the Shadow Broker posts bragging about their massive theft of NSA hacking software on twitter. Or arsonists, returning to the fire. The perfect crime, here are more clues, catch us if you can. Re-live the thrill in risk-taking. Oh and by the way, we’re still here in Salisbury with lots of novichok left over.

    I see this behavior all the time with our yard rabbits — jerking the coyotes around, running 10 yards off and waiting. Running another 10 yards off and waiting. Somewhat dangerous to be sure but rabbits get their kicks with this. It is no different with the assailants here. Met had gone off the chase, they needed another flash of white tail.

    There is no way of knowing if this particular bottle was used in the Skripal attack. In the Met photo, there is capillary liquid still in the uptake tube but that would be from Charlie & Dawn. Because of Charlie’s spill, we don’t know if the bottle was originally full or used previously andl re-cellophaned. We don’t know if a second (or third!) bottle exists. We don’t know if another mode of attack altogether was used.

    • MaryPau!

      The throat spray I linked to, see above, with the long nozzle, sold in the UK for sore throats, has a pump action to generate a mist/ fine spray onto the tonsils at the back of the throat. Domestic liquid hand wash bottles have a similar shaped nozzle but shorter and stubbier and they release a glob of liquid soap when pressed. The fake perfume bottle presumably released a spray or mist.

    • Max_B

      But still not identical as even without the dust cover, they all have a slight bulge at the end, would be good to find out where the Israeli company gets them.

      • Tom Smythe

        You could simply send a polite email to customer support at the two companies and ask. Both companies would be very familiar with the supply and distribution chain for dispensers of this type, whether they made this particular one or not.

        Someone there would have a ready answer because they have already answered the same question for Scotland Yard.


        T +31(0)36 5225577
        F +31(0)36 5224430
        E [email protected]

        Teva Pharmaceuticals CR, s.r.o.
        Business park Futurama
        Sokolovská 651/136A, 180 00 Praha 8
        Tel.: +420 251 007 111
        Fax: +420 251 007 110
        Email: [email protected]

  • Dennis Revell


    Hi Craig,

    Did you delete the Twitter ‘Storm’ or something; I couldn’t find what you refer to on your Twitter account.

    If so, is there a record of the ‘storm’ elsewhere?

    – Note: All I know about Twitter is how to look at someone’s feed – I don’t have an account – they wanted my ‘phone no. and I thought … well … you can guess.


  • Tom Smythe

    >have a £5.75 bottle of Tesco Ultra Spray in back of medicine cabinet at home

    That again seems to have the artillery piece bulge at the end like the dispensers from Holland. But do have a spray and get back to us if you are able.

    It reminds me of the ‘ Extra-Strength Tylenol’ case In Chicado, 1982. Someone tampered with eight bottles taken the stores, substituted potassium cyanide, and put them back on the shelves. Seven people died. Three tampered bottles were recovered from shelves before they could be sold.

    Hundreds of copycat attacks involving Tylenol and other over-the-counter medications took place around the US immediately following the Chicago deaths. Three more deaths occurred in 1986 from tampered gelatin capsules. Another woman died in Yonkers, NY tylenol case. Excedrin capsules in Washington state were latter substituted in Washington State, two more cyanide deaths.

    Copy-cat cases have not yet emerged with Nina Ricca perfume bottles, novichoks not being as readily available as KCN.

    However people here have raised the possibility of an uber-patriotic russian-hating nut case working at Porton Down. PD would have small amounts lab-grade in stock, possibly the dispensers too for test purposes on mice. A person there with novichok access might be the same person doing swab testing, chemical characterizations, and periodic inventory reports. We had a cleaning lady once who would take a nip from our vodka bottle and replace it with water, not easily detected.

    The case for that is really strengthened by a perfume bottle intended to be discovered. Surely foreign assassin teams don’t live full-time in Salisbury. I can’t really imagine the UK capturing this individual and making a heartfelt apology to Russia. Instead, they would carry on.

    This would make it more like the US anthrax attack blamed initially on Middle Eastern terrorists. The US had the decency to back off on that, knowing right off the nut case was home-grown. The pressure built up on rank and file investigators at the FBI to arrest SOMEONE and so they went through a couple of iterations of Petrov and Boshirov. They couldn’t bring themselves to arrest the real perp at Battelle Labs in Columbus, Ohio because that would involve admitting to a big CBW treaty violations (weaponized offensive anthrax).

    Uncanny similarity to Salisbury situation (though UK isn’t weaponizing novichoks). A right-wing nut case at PD out in front of policy but acting consistently with it. So the UK just ran with it, pretending it was the Russians. The innocent Yulia was targeted because it made the crime more heinous. (But how would someone at PD know she was arriving?)

  • Robyn

    Thank you, Tom Smythe. Your expertise, research and critical analysis contribute significantly to making this blog a must-read.

    • Dish-Washer

      I’ll second that, Robyn. Excellent work by Tom Smythe. So we’re back with Porton as chief suspect, Some here didn’t want to believe it might be behind it, but an institution that killed and maimed the health of hundreds and risked the lives of thousands with its biological and chemical experiments on unsuspecting servicemen, and released pathogens from boats and hills to waft on the wind to towns like Weymouth, now killing hundreds of animals including primates, dogs and cats per year to ‘test’ chemical and germ warfare, must have contained mad scientists without any moral or religious sense and likely still does. Such activities can only corrupt the sensibilities of those who practice them. The sad fate of Skripal’s cat(s) and guinea pigs was in itself revealing too in a minor way. I often wonder how Skripal and Yulia felt about their treatment.

  • A.C.Doyle

    The whole Skripal affair has many absurd aspects to it, but one which ranks quite high on this scale is that of the “discovery of the murder weapon”.
    Professional assassins simply allowing it to be found; it turning up months later; stories that the containing package was sealed; that the applicator was custom made at great expense; etc. etc. Hence the necessity to consider some alternative versions. Two are presented here.

    One possible explanation was that the “murder weapon” was conjured up to allay public fears and prevent the situation that whenever in the future someone was discovered in or around Salisbury, say slumped over a bench or sleeping in a shop doorway, that those attending the scene had to don hazmat suits and make a great spectacle of themselves. In other words, as an antidote to all the hype about the dangers of the poison, where we were originally told that even a trace on a door knob was sufficient to necessitate considering the demolition of the entire house. Now we are told that someone spilled some on themselves and washed it off without apparent long term damage, although spraying oneself liberally with it was clearly is fatal.

    Alternatively, there are also some parallels to the anthrax attacks which followed 9/11. There the main event was a trigger for some secondary small scale “copy cat” activity, believed to have been the work of a rogue scientist. Indeed, it is easy to imagine that for an introverted, loner scientist type who likes to spend long after hours and weekends in the laboratory, the challenge of producing a small quantity of a toxin hyped up as one of the world’s most deadly and requiring the resources of a state to produce, could be irresistible. That together with creating a disguised applicator for it and, naturally, wanting it to be found to enjoy, anonymously, all the publicity generated from it. Who knows, such a scientist could even have lost some work colleagues, an irritating boss for example, to a untimely and not completely explained end.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Police need a “murder weapon” like Catholics need plaster saints.

      The concept must be reified.

  • Radio Jammor

    I seem to be replying to others multiple times over in this regard, so I think I’ll do this once more with feeling, in a post of its own.

    I want to address two issues: one is the Dauwalders CCTV, the other is the the return trip to London from Salisbury on the Sunday. I’ll deal with the latter first.

    You can source the train timetables from Salisbury for the period up to May 2018 from The timetables you want are for up to May 2018 for items 17- Exeter, Bristol & Salisbury to London Waterloo and 24 – Weymouth & Bournemouth to London Waterloo.

    Forget about trains to Paddington. The Met Police say P&B arrived in London at about 16:45 at London Waterloo.

    Salisbury Station CCTV has them arriving at the station at 13:50. The next direct train to London was due at 14:20, departing 14:27 (most likely a scheduled pitstop to refill the catering trolley and possibly switch staff).

    Some have instead referred to P&B taking a train at 14:36, which with changes, would get to Paddington at c:16:45. This is evidently down to the time given by The Met for P&B arriving in London – but without noting that they specified Waterloo.

    However, this 14:36 train is on a different timetable because it is the Southampton and Portsmouth train, which can get you to Waterloo if you change at Southampton (arr 15:03) and get a train from there to Waterloo (dep 15:25). This is due in to London at 16:49.

    All things being normal, this is not the route you would take, if you were at Salisbury Station by 14:00 on a Sunday. You would absolutely get the train at 14:27 that goes straight to Waterloo, arriving at 15:59.

    So the question becomes, which train or trains did they actually get? With the weather that weekend and Sunday train travel being generally prone to delays due to maintenance, it is more than possible that either a) the 14:27 train was late arriving at Salisbury (or possibly cancelled), so P&B got the 14:36 train instead and travelled via Southampton to Waterloo, or b) the 14:27 was on time getting to Salisbury but was delayed getting to Waterloo from there.

    But my point here isn’t just to clarify the most likely train they took, but really to emphasise that the Met Police have actually given so vague an account of P&B’s getting from Salisbury to London on the Sunday, that we can’t be sure which train or even which train route they took, when it seems likely that the Met knows.

    As for the Dauwalders CCTV which shows P&B in Fisherton Street at 13:49, a minute before they got to the train station, which is five minutes away, I firmly believe that this CCTV timestamp is inaccurate.

    Dauwalders is right in between the two CCTV captures of P&B in Fisherton Street at 13:05 and 13:08. I therefore believe the timestamp is c40 minutes fast and that they were outside Dauwalders in between those other two CCTV sightings.

    For the Dauwalders CCTV to be right, it would mean the CCTV at the train station was wrong. Whilst one or two here have argued that they could have got to the station in a minute or maybe two from Dauwalders, that beggars belief. They would have to have run about 500m in a minute, after apparently being in no rush to get there, having tried to enter Dauwalders having seen something of interest in the window. This also is when the next scheduled train was at 14:27, which they may or may not have actually been aware of – but either way, there was no need to suddenly run that last 500m in a minute.

    Also, for the CCTV timestamp at Dauwalders to be correct, it would mean that they were in Fisherton Street, travelling in the same direction, twice, in an hour – yet there is no CCTV evidence (that we are aware of) from any of these three CCTV cameras that shows them twice in the same spot. Why doesn’t Dauwalders CCTV show them also at c13:05 – 13:08, if their timestamp is correct.

    I don’t believe the Fisherton Street CCTV timestamps have been given incorrectly, or made-up, because it would only take one person, a bystander who was there at the time, to be able to call BS on any such, so the Met doing that is fraught with peril. No, I think the street CCTV and the station CCTV are probably very accurate, and rather than the CCTV at Dauwalders throwing suspicion on their accuracy, we should instead take the timestamp of a shop’s CCTV as being more questionable – and that the most likely time that P&B actually passed the shop is between the other two sightings at 13:05 and 13:08.

    • Brendan

      I posted a reply on the previous page without seeing your latest comment. I said much the same as what you have just said about the train times, but I mentioned a different journey from Salisbury via Southampton that was due to arrive in Waterloo at 16:37. Both that one and the 16:49 arrival are fairly close to the time of 4.45pm that the Met gave.

      dep. Salisbury 14:13, arrive Southampton 14:45
      (p. 13)

      dep. Southampton 14:55, arrive Waterloo 16:37

      • Dave will give you realtime train data for old dates, you need to register and it will show up to 1 year ago.
        BUT for looking for Salisbury to Waterloo for March 4th there is no data available – it will show trains for the Saturday and Monday and other Sundays but nothing for that route for the Sunday. Other routes, such as Salisbury to Bristol show correctly. Draw your own conclusions.

        • Dave

          I was wondering whether there were engineering works on the Sunday which might explain why none are shown but cannot find a source of historic rail engineering works.
          I did though find which shows that what Craig says about snow is very much true. Trains were apparently still quite disrupted on the Saturday, tying in with P&Bs tale but nothing there about Sunday trains. I see that Old Sarum was still closed on the Sunday, and it is worth noting that if they did go to the Cathedral it only opens to visitors at 12 noon on Sundays.

          • Radio Jammor

            Thanks Dave. That Raildar link is a keeper.

            I believe I have found the train and it is a strange entry. The train that was due at Salisbury at 14:20 (d14:27) is listed as being an Exeter St Davids – Basingstoke train, not a London Waterloo train.

            It arrived at Salisbury at 14:31 and departed at 14:33:58, almost seven minutes late.

            The timetables, physical and online, indicate that train, that arrived at Basingstoke 15 minutes late at 15:21, is supposed to continue to London Waterloo, arriving at 15:59.

            If for some reason there was a restricted timetable that day for trains running from Exeter to London (the weather in the South West, most likely), then that would mean that P&B had to alight at Basingstoke and wait for another train to Waterloo – which according to Raildar would have been a Fareham – Waterloo service that departed Basingstoke at 15:44, arriving at Waterloo at 16:48 – which completely fits.

      • Radio Jammor

        Thanks Brendan. I did overlook that circular Salisbury – Romsey – Southampton route, as a way to get to Southampton and then Waterloo from there (it’s been decades since I was last in Salisbury and I don’t think that route existed then as it does today – Chandlers Ford has a station?!).

        It doesn’t come up on National Rail, Trainline or TravelLine if you search for trains between Salisbury and London. You have to specify Southampton as either the destination or as a leg of your journey.

        So you’re right to point that out as a third possibility – although I stand by the view that P&B would have been looking to get the 14:27. I don’t think they would have been looking for the alternative route back to London and Waterloo unless something happened to the 14:27 train.

        • Dave

          Yes RadioJammor I have just found exactly the same. I assume because of engineering work the Waterloo-Exeter service started at Basingstoke on the Sunday, possibly linked to the Waterloo modernisation programme they are doing which resulted in all sorts of changes earlier in the year. It all fits in:

          Salisbury depart 1433 (6 late) – Basingstoke arrive 1522 (16 late)
          Basingstoke depart 1601 – Waterloo arrive 1711 (on time)

          If they had gone via Southampton they would have ended up on exactly the same train…

          • Radio Jammor

            Glad you agree – except for the train you have them on from Basingstoke. There was an earlier train coming through Basingstoke from Fareham, d15:44 (on time) from Basingstoke, arriving Waterloo at 16:48 (4 minutes late). – and thereby tying up with the Met Police timeline that had them arriving at Waterloo at c16:45.

            I used the Trains Passed facility in the Trains History to work all this out.

    • MaryPau!

      Thanks for this – the issue of the train times and the Dauwalders CCTV timestamp has been worrying me.

    • MaryPau!

      I think that the Met police timeline of P+Bs movements has been updated. I think returning to Waterloo (not just to London) on 4th March has been added. But more importantly still no mention of them feeding the ducks. Does anyone have a copy of one of the Met’s earlier versions?

    • Brendan

      A tweet by a a passenger about an earlier train seems to confirm that the journey from Salisbury to Waterloo was interrupted at Basingstoke.

      She was complaining about the fact that the train left Basingstoke nine minutes late. South Western Railway replied that it had probably been delayed waiting for a connecting train from Salisbury. I guess they were referring to the 13:27 from Salisbury (an hour before P&B’s most likely train) which was supposed to reach Basingstoke at 14:02:

      SWR Help
      Replying to @Freer2017
      Yes, this train had to meet another train from Salisbury, which was delayed. ^BK”

      Normally there’s no connecting train from Salisbury because all trains from there to Basingstoke continue on to Waterloo, if I understand the timetable correctly. But the twitter thread seems to say that passengers from Salisbury had to change trains at Basingstoke on 4th March, and that the train from Basingstoke to Waterloo had to wait for them.

      I’m just curious about whether the timetable change that day was due to engineering work or snow. My guess is that the rail service had not yet returned 100% to normal after the snow, and operators cancelled trains whose routes were duplicated in any way.

        • Radio Jammor

          Thanks, Dave. Specific tweet with the information is at

          So, to recap, P&B would most likely have got the 14:27, six minutes late. They would have been forced to alight at Basingstoke at 15:21, 15 minutes late, and the next London Waterloo train would have come through Basingstoke from Fareham, d15:44, arriving at Waterloo at 16:49.

          However, whilst this is the most likely route, if they had become aware of the engineering works affecting the 14:27 train beforehand, we can’t rule out that they may have got on the 14:13 train (, alighted at Southampton at 14:48 (3 minutes late) and then got the Wareham – Waterloo train ( that left Southampton at 15:25 and arrived on time at Waterloo at 17:11. This however doesn’t quite match the Met Police timeframe.

          We also cannot rule out the possibility that they didn’t get on the 14:27 train because when it arrived, they may have only then realised it wasn’t going all the way to Waterloo. Given the choice of only going so far as Basingstoke, I think it’s likely they did get on, to get a train to Waterloo from there, but we cannot rule out them waiting for the 14:36 train to go via Southampton (, a15:06. The next train to London however would have been the same train above that arrived at Waterloo at 17:11, so again it doesn’t quite match the police timeline.

          Therefore our 14:27 train, which terminated at Basingstoke, followed by the train from Fareham, d15:44 from Basingstoke, to Waterloo, a16:49, is clearly the most likely route they took.

          There is a thought occurring, however. With engineering works on the Exeter – Waterloo route stopping trains at Basingstoke, what of the outbound journey in the morning?

          And this is where we have a dum-dum-dah moment – because according to Raildar, NO TRAINS passed through Salisbury between 11:07am and 12:28pm on the 4th March 2018!

          Yet according to The Met, the CCTV captures them leaving the train station at 11:48!

          I have taken a screenshot and posted it on my Twitter feed.

          I’m going to have to research how they could have got to Salisbury in the morning and come back and post again!

          • MaryPau!

            Are you sure about that.? Here is the official Met police version of their movements, note outward journey, published by Shropshire Star on 5/9/18. Maybe a fault in Raildar did not record the morning trains due to disrupted timetables?

  • SA

    The new report by Bellingcat claims that they have insider information about the passports for Petrov and Boshirov

    What makes this report ridiculous are two statements: one that it appears that the GRU issues its own passports to its operatives so that thier numbers are close together:

    “Bellingcat compared the passport number on Col. Shishmakov’s cover-identity passport, with the numbers of the (cover-identity) passports of “Petrov” and “Boshirov”. The numbers were from the same batch, with only 26 intervening passport numbers between “Petrov”’s (654341297), and “Shirokov”’s (654341323) number. “Shirokov”’s passport was issued in August 2016, implying that Petrov’s and Boshirov’s passports were issued by the same special authority earlier that year. Indeed, as we will see in their international itinerary below, they start travelling in early April 2016, suggesting that only 26 passports were issued by this special authority between April and August 2016.”

    Imagine how naive a secret service would be to do such a thing and therefore to arouse suspicion, sounds unlikely.

    The second one is this:

    “Bellingcat also speculated citing “a source in a Western European law-enforcement agency” that Petrov and Boshirov “were arrested on the territory of the Netherlands.”

    I thought that if a secret agent was arrested for whatever reason, that that would be the end of thier spy career as they will be marked and easier to trace in future, Does Bellingcat really think we are that stupid?

    • MaryPau!

      I am ready to believe in Russian involvement, officially or unofficially, but I cannot believe GU operatives would operate in such an unprofessional manner asP+ B, drawing attention to themselves at every stage of their journey to the UK? All the recent mysterious Russian deaths in the UK have been just that, mysterious.

      I can believe Petrov is a courier/fixer/muscle who travels a lot to all sorts of unlikely places, on under cover errands which is why he was in Salisbury with his side kick on 4th March but does that make him a GU assassin using novichok? Why is the UK government and all sorts of superficially reputable journalists buying into this line? Where is the hard evidence he is a GU assassin?

      • SA

        Yes indeed we are told that the GU agents are the most ruthless and professional killers and yet presented with a tale of bungling in every step, both cannot be true at the same time. Which brings me to mention the murder of Letvinienko cast in a similar way with a trail of Polonium traced back to Moscow. Again a bungled operation from the point of view of a professional assassin. The use of one WMD scenario followed by another and in relation to the ‘coincidental use ‘ of CW in Syria suggests to me that the author is the same and to me at least throws great doubts also on the Litvinienko narrative.

      • Dish-Washer

        There is no hard evidence. Putin stood up against US and ‘Anglo-Saxon’ world hegemony and tried to point to a different course for the world. That was perceived by US and UK as a direct challenge to their power that had to be stopped. The UK intelligence service has always had this romantic image of themselves as the Lawrence of Arabia of the Middle East, and when Putin stepped in to stop the subversion of Syria by ‘our’ Jihadis, White Helmets etc., and successfully stood up to the attempt by the US to grab Sebastopol from the Russian fleet through the illegal coup in Kiev against the elected government he became the man to tear down by all and every means. Britain has remained true to this policy although Trump has dithered. That’s why our intelligence service (Steele) backed Clinton against Trump. Britain under May creates this huge fuss in order to try and pursue the old Hilary Clintonite policy of trying to tear down Putin. She wants to multiply sanctions, There’s also a lot of money to be gained for some people in a new Cold War: see the hedge fund run by May’s hubby which is reported to have invested heavily in British and US armaments stocks, biggest British investor in them.

      • SA

        ” Why is the UK government and all sorts of superficially reputable journalists buying into this line? ”

        Because the whole thing has been staged is now beginning to be more clear. It was intended that no one would die but sadly the death of Dawn Sturgess, which may have been an unintended mistake because of underlying general condition. That these two are couriers does sound more and more likely, and it also sounds that they have been monitored for a while and maybe the whole episode was also staged to coincide with inside detailed information as to thier movements.

      • A.C.Doyle

        [MaryPaul] “I am ready to believe in Russian involvement, officially or unofficially, . . .”

        Under what possible circumstance can you imagine an official Russian involvement in the Skripal affair considering all the (entirely predictable) down sides and with the possible advantages (if any) being achieved in a much more efficient way ?

        I see only these, but without finding them convincing:

        1. Signalling that Russia deals with traitors wherever they are, irrespective of the consequences.
        2. Signalling that Russia is now pursuing low budget Domesday weapons.on the basis that mutually assured destruction may as well be done on the cheap.

      • Paul Greenwood

        There is an explanation floating around the Net that they were bagmen carrying documents for signature or bearer documents which had to be handed off. That is why they stuck together like glue and flew in without luggage.

        They were forced into the open when Putin told them to present themselves (or their sponsors would be exposed).

        London does so much banking for the Mafias of the world that occasionally documents need to move to withdraw funds from one jurisdiction to another. No doubt a reputable law firm in The City is grateful for this mission.

  • Radio Jammor

    Further to my earlier post ( that discovered that no trains arrived at Salisbury at all between 11:07 and 12:28 on Sunday 4 March, my initial searches of how P&B could have got to Salisbury Station that morning has noted that the timetable says that a train should have arrived at 11:45, having departed from London Waterloo at 10:15, but as per our discovery about trains between Exeter and Waterloo only going so far as Basingstoke, the trains from Waterloo were only going to Basingstoke, too.

    So the train that was timetabled to get to Salisbury at 11:45 NEVER RAN.

    I’m still looking at how P&B could have got to Salisbury on the Sunday, as now I now the time-frame is blown, and information about how they got to Salisbury has been vague and ASSUMED, but right now, my mind is blown. Have I discovered evidence that the Met’s information, about P&B’s arrival in Salisbury, has been fabricated or altered?

      • Dave

        We all seem to be having problems this morning…. My attempt at posting a link from raildar didn’t work but if you do a direct search for the 1145 Salisbury train it DOES come up, arrived on time.
        Hopefully this will work:

        • Radio Jammor

          Hi Dave. I looked at that, but did you note that there are no ACTUAL arrival times for most of the stations, including Salisbury? That may explain why it doesn’t appear. This suggests to me that either a) it did not stop at all the scheduled stations, or b) there is a data error.

          • Dave

            I think it is reasonable to assume it is glitches within raildar. You will remember that when I did a direct search it didn’t pick up the afternoon Fareham train. If it had been cancelled it would have appeared in the cancellations section. You will see that the times on the lower line are only shown if the train is late at that point, if on time it doesn’t repeat it underneath. Whatever, it obviously did run, arrived on time, and P&B went through the barriers 3 minutes later.

        • Radio Jammor

          Anyone know how we might establish if a train that doesn’t appear on the timetable and was scheduled because of engineering works, definitely ran and definitely stopped at all its scheduled stops?

          • Radio Jammor

            Dave, you’re probably right about the train, but Raildar seems to be inconsistent. I don’t think it’s a case of simply stating when trains arrive late, they don’t say anything, because on most I looked at there are times of arr/dep at stations, and this should enable you to search for trains arriving at stations whether they are late, on time or even early. In this instance, the data does not exist for that train’s stop at Salisbury, but it does for some other stops en route to Exeter.

            I don’t think you missed that Fareham train I found for the same reason. You were searching by individual trains and probably didn’t include trains to London via Basingstoke from Fareham, as they don’t go via Salisbury or Southampton.

            That Basingstoke to Salisbury train should have had arrival/departure data regardless.

    • MaryPau!

      As above you can see Met Police timeline and CCTV still in Shropshire Star on 5/9/18. I am inclined to think a fault in Railcar to be honest

  • Patrick Mahony

    So basically P&B had no reason to get to the station before 2pm.
    The only evidence they did is the station CCTV timestamp.
    Everyone is so quick to dismiss Dauwalders timestamp as being wrong but not the station’s.
    The 13.05 and 13.08 times are not actually on the images released by the Met.
    So why not Dauwalders accurate, station out by 5-10 minutes allowing them time to get from one to the other?

    • Tom Smythe

      The Guardian ran with it as “investigative journalism” (in which in my view no fair-minded person would include bellingcrap) but did for once include some cautionary statements. There was no fact-checking, no balance in the sense of citing or evaluating inconsistencies with the much more very carefully researched 9-point rebuttal of Elena Evdokimova. excellent overall on current fake news debunking thread

      Overall, a number of other individuals are doing useful research on topics such as the duo’s route, the cctv exifs and time stamps, train stations, cctc camera distribution in Salisbury and non-reporting from them, Dauwalders cctv apparently set to British Summer Time (an hour earlier, GMT +1)), and so on. 45-part analysis

      Michael Kobs is another stand-out, doing excellent analyses of the perfume bottle adapter, non-reporting cctv along the route, and other related topics. Kalissa Vassilissa

      Some of others, like blogmire and moon of alabama, are asking good questions. A fair number of others are properly skeptical but, in my view, don’t have a good grasp of all the factoids and have gone slightly off the rails in terms of settling too early on implausible scenarios.

      So, in the absence of actual journalism by those paid to do it, we are left with citizen investigations which are uneven in quality but the best that we have.

      • Radio Jammor

        Given the posts on this page alone, right above this post, I have to say I’m a tad offended that you felt the need to reference someone else’s tweets about the CCTV at Dauwalders and the train times, that concluded that the CCTV was merely out an hour for BST (which would still mean P&B went passed three working cameras twice, but were only recorded by each one once), and when they haven’t sourced the information about the engineering works and the train times on that particular Sunday. I’d think a few of us who contributed to this page might feel that way.

        It looks you’ve paid scant regard to the posts immediately above your own and patted the head of someone who posted a week or so ago, when at least some whose conclusions have frankly been superseded by those above, in the last day or two..

        Conclusions which would still mean P&B were in Fisherton St travelling the same way twice, but with his time frame, they did that a mere 15-20 minutes apart, which isn’t at all likely. Sure, it can and does happen, but that would also then mean all three CCTV cameras, that we do have images from, missed one of those two times that P&B passed by.

        Given that they were only seen on CCTV in each location once (yes, that we are aware of, but why withhold some CCTV images from cameras they’ve released CCTV from?), and when Dauwalders is in between the other two CCTV locations – the most logical conclusion is that they passed Dauwalders between 13:05 & 13:08.

        This would make the Dauwalders CCTV c40-45 minutes fast – which could in part be down to not keeping it up-to-date for GMT/BST changes, but then lost twenty minutes somehow. There could be a lot of reasons why that might happen so I’m not going to bother speculating – but I find that more likely than any time frame that has them go by those same three cameras twice, whilst getting caught by them only once: even when we are generally of the belief that CCTV images are being withheld.

        I can’t rule out that they went up Fisherton Street twice, but I can say that with the information available, it seems far more likely that they only went that way once.

        • Tom Smythe

          Right, that is called investigative consilience. It is good to have substantially confirmative independent investigations apart from the excellent contributions posted here. I do indeed read all on-topic posts but quite a few subjects are in an active state of flux; my hope is that when the dust has finally settled, someone will pull together a definitive and balanced synthesis of each topic for which they have specialized competence.

          There are many dozens of these: British rail service, Salisbury weather, ambulance helicopter dispatch, cctv time stamps, door handle brands, oral spray applicators, OP biochemistry, novichok synthesis, Porton Down history, visa documentation, passport variations, airline manifests, Spanish oligarchs etc etc. A book wouldn’t work here but rather a responsibly edited, carefully documented and regularly updated web page (not wikipedia).

          Note because the blog here does not allow maps, still photos or youtubes to be attached directly, some topics are better done at twitter sites such as the locations of the Salisbury cctv not used or google street view scenes of newly installed ones, like the post-June addition to the Shell station .

          It is perfectly feasible for people here to provide cctv coordinates for Salisbury as kml formatted text that opens to a google earth map showing cctv used by police in red and cctv locations not used by police in red. No one has, as it is just a click to look at the jpg posted by Michael Kobs. I don’t know where he obtained his list nor whether it is complete. It is a fair amount of work to open and examine all downtown google street views, getting for example the cctv on top the sign post at Market Watch and bench.

          That approach might catch City-operated cams but not many indoors cctv operated by private businesses, such as Snap Fitness, Dawn’s favorite liquor store, Sergei’s lottery card store, Dauwalders stamp shop, and so on. Met has access to all cctv operational at the time (and retained) but has seemingly released only that fraction which supports their narrative (and even that is under serious dispute). Paul Dauwalder was not contacted by Met and appears to have come forward on his own to the Mail.

          While fascinating characters, the personal lives and travel minutiae of Petrov and Boshirov in my opinion are a secondary false flag which distracts our attention away from the Skripal and perfume bottle attacks. The UK has piled lies upon lies already, unsupported accusations add a few more.

          Does GCHQ, the world’s most intrusive surveillance operation, need bellingcrap’s second-stringers to access Russian passport databases, airline manifests, and photos of current GRU operatives? Not according documents released by Snowden.

          I can also report meagre interest in the recently resuscitated mid-March story from Holland concerning two Russians with diplomatic cover, under surveillance by MIVD for a full year, eventually being expelled for successfully hacking WADA in Lausanne, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV), OPCW’s HQ in The Hague, the member list for AAD10 (Dutch equivalent of GRU) but conducting a unsuccessful low level phishing attack on Spiez Lab.

          Despite that, Lavrov had obtained the complete novichok report on April 12th, to which in my opinion they were entitled. These efforts were saiid the work of APT28 out of St Petersburg, a hacking group more often called Fancy Bear, (or Pawn Storm or Sandworm). Russia was interested in exposing western hypocrisy at the WADA sports drug testing facility, such as the Canadian pole-vaulter given a pass on cocaine which he claimed had gotten into his system kissing a girl off craig’s list, see for the documentation.

          I have even less interest in what hoaxster Alex King (charged on 12 counts of party drug distribution: valium, special K, coke and ecstasy) and his supposed wife Anna Shapiro (£4000/night escort, self-proclaimed Mossad honey trap, supposed daughter of a Russian military band leader general) ate at Prezzo as it had nothing plausibly to do with their self-reported illnesses, which the local police seem to view as a publicity stunt or overdose/bad batch of their own drugs.

          • Radio Jammor

            You are a good source of information, I’m happy to say, but you know it and are a bit pompous and patronising.

            “Note because the blog here does not allow maps, still photos or youtubes to be attached directly, some topics are better done at twitter sites such as the locations of the Salisbury cctv not used or google street view scenes of newly installed ones, like the post-June addition to the Shell station.”

            Well thanks for the pointer, Sherlock. And let’s be clear when you say post-June, you mean post-June 2017, not 2018. Oh yes, I have been following and had already checked that myself.

            So what? The CCTV that caught them on Wilton Road happens to have been recently placed there? If anything, that helps the case against P&B because it could be said they deliberately got caught on CCTV elsewhere to provide an alibi (poor, I know, but some will agree), whereas they may have been unaware of that recently installed one, which happens to be the most incriminating.

            “While fascinating characters, the personal lives and travel minutiae of Petrov and Boshirov in my opinion are a secondary false flag which distracts our attention away from the Skripal and perfume bottle attacks.”

            I might agree over the Gatwick CCTV issue with that, but not generally. Establishing whether the Met timeline provided for their movements stacks-up or not is extremely important, not least because of the CCTV image at 11:58 at the Shell service station, which is regarded as the most incriminating piece of CCTV.

            That this means they supposedly performed the act of putting a chemical weapon on a door several hundred meters from there, around mid-day on a Sunday, in a cul-de-sac, without being seen, or exposing themselves to said chemical weapon, and when it hasn’t been publicly established at least, whether Skripal was there or not at the time, should really undermine the story about them being assassins, who have been seen so many times on CCTV (and that’s just the ones we know of), when they could simply have avoided all that by using a car.

            Establishing their movements on a weather and engineering works affected rail network on a Sunday, to see that it would fit the Met’s timeline for their movements (which I believe we have established that, in general at least, it does), whilst also comparing this to Skripal’s known movements, can lead us to pertinent questions about what we don’t know, and whether or not P&B’s movements align.

            This can also prevent us from going down any rabbit hole conspiracy theories about public CCTV being wrong or faked. I always felt was unlikely because of other people who could have been around – or not around – at any faked time stamp, then calling ‘foul’. Even so, the group effort here prevented me from still doing that, so it can work for others, too.

            The only CCTV time frame which is inconsistent with P&B’s apparent movements is the Dauwalders CCTV, a privately controlled CCTV camera, whose camera times could be wrong for a host of reasons, the most likely one being neglect.

            So no, I don’t agree with your assessment that people should regard these movements as in any way secondary, but as equally important pieces to the overall puzzle.

    • Clark

      Yeah, but you can see smudges on the lenses without modifying the photo’s, and it’s obvious that they’re different. Even after his modifications the patterns don’t match. And you can see that the gates had different stickers on the walls.

  • Patrick Mahony

    A comparison of the 7/7 bombers CCTV images at Luton Station v The Russians at Salisbury Station shows that 13 years ago Network Rail CCTV plainly embedded timestamp and camera identifier on the image whereas now times have to be added on afterwards.
    Salisbury Council CCTV is even more opaque, having no times at all on the captured images.
    My point was 13.05 and 13.08 have zero hard (or even fake) evidence to back them up.
    The Saturday 3/3 Salisbury Station image has a sort of embedded location/time but that is missing from the Sunday images.
    The only clear unmolested time is Dauwalders. And only if Dauwalders full day is released would we know if they went past twice or not. Link Radio Jammor?
    The Met only released what they released. Even if 13.05 and 13.08 are genuine times it doesn’t mean the Russians weren’t captured again later and the images not released
    I am not saying the Russians were tourists – they were there for some nefarious reason – but the Met have manipulated or cropped the times for a nefarious reason, and Dauwalders contradicted that lie.

  • MaryPau!

    Sadly the Met Police does lie. The deaths of Jean Charles Dr Menezes and of Ian Tomlinson are two recent high profile examples of this.

    • Tom Smythe

      Fabrication of evidence by police … when proven, have fabricators and approving higher-ups ever been punished? That is a fairly serious crime. (I am drawing a blank here.)

      I looked up a bit of history on EAWs, European Arrest Warrants to see if there have been abuses (other than J Assange). These are meant to expedite extradition. Poland has been a prime abuser but for petty crimes such as theft of a single piglet, bicycle, possession of a single joint, a pair of car tyres and so on.

      In 2009 some 15,827 EAWs were issued; of those 4,431 resulted in extradition. Poland issued the most – 4,844. Germany was second for the number of EAWs issued – 2,433, then Romania with 1,900. The figures for the UK were 220 issued, 80 executed.

      “A European Arrest Warrant may only be issued by the competent judicial authority in an EU member state or a state with a special agreement with the EU. The issuing judicial authority must complete a form stating identity and nationality of the person sought, the nature and legal classification of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the alleged committal of the offense including when and where it was committed and the degree of participation of the person sought, and scale of penalties for the offense.”

      In other words, no evidence of guilt need be provided. EAWs are issued secretly. Ordinary police cannot access the database. You cannot check the EAW database to see if you are on it, have no way to contest it if you are, there is no date of issuance or expiration, and no punishment for issuing false warrants. This reminds me quite a bit of ‘no-fly’ lists of the US.

      Interpol is different, they have a fast and well-designed online database search with good photos. I looked there, P&B are not wanted there though some other Russians are (true names are not needed f\or a search). The Crown prosecutor service did state on Sept 5th that an EAW was issued (but didn’t state when):

      “We have, however, obtained a European arrest warrant,” said CPS director of legal services, Sue Hemming. “[This] means that if either man travels to a country where [such a warrant] is valid, they will be arrested and face extradition on these charges for which there is no statute of limitations.”

      EAWs appear to apply to non-nationals of the EAW signatory countries, much as US “sanctions” apply to all the world’s citizens. For example, a Russian citizen cpi;d be arrested upon landing in Geneva or Oslo but not Israel/Turkey/US/China/Canada based on a UK EAW, even though the Russian constitution explicitly forbids extradition and the others are also non-signatories. It seems the answer is yes for destinations within the EU; it is not so clear the others have the necessary authority.

      The way it is set up, a politically motivated EAW is strong punishment already, a lifetime sentence for falsely accused people who need to travel for professional or business reasons. Guilt is presumed without evidence much less a fair trial. Here P&B’s Salisbury walkabout is entirely circumstantial; the claimed hotel novichok is inadmissible evidence anywhere in the world (very broken chain of custody). No evidence or even cursory outside review is needed for issuance of an EAW, there is only a token form to fill out.

      It may be that EAWs are no worse than the multitude of inter-country extradition treaties that existed before. EAWs are much faster as the seized individual must be turned over within 10-90 days. Being sent to prison in Romania in advance of an eventual trial is reminiscent of ‘renditions’. Recall the Blair govt sent off a whole Libyan family for certain torture back home. The basis for that was not an EAW, it may have been politically motivated, purely to curry favor.

      There is no accountability for the State, though power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That was known in 1887. We seem to be globalizing now via unilateral sanctions, blacklists, no-fly lists, axes of evil, renditions, guilty til proven innocent, trial by press leaks, honour-system EAWs and so on,

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