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?

1,896 thoughts on “Lynch Mob Mentality

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    • N_

      Talking of Aeroflot, they were the party that sued Nikolai Glushkov, who was found dead in London on 12 March 2018, the day he was scheduled to appear in court.

  • SA

    My guess is to what happened is as follows. The British security services thought that this couple being presumably gay will not come out in the open. When they approached Simonyan of RT they must have been given reassurances that were broken. The gamble of the security services did not pay off because Semonyan rather ruthlessly exploited the situation and our politicians are left high and dry.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Russia postpones Syrian offensive in Idlib as NATO threatens escalation’:
    ‘Moscow announced yesterday the postponement of a planned joint offensive by Syrian and Russian government forces against Islamist opposition militias in Syria’s Idlib province, after growing threats from the militias’ backers in Turkey and the NATO imperialist powers….’
    NATO’s intimidation has triumphed for now.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Paul Barbara, Their advisor Thierry Meysan told them to hang fire until after the US elections in November. He’s a huge Trump fan, and French living in Damascus – but he usually makes sense. Even Robert Fisk said there is nowt happenning – and he was there earlier this week.Tony

  • Alex

    Has Craig or anyone else produced a timeline and brief accompanying commentary on this affair? 1. As he understands the events and 2. The official narrative?

    There is just so much material swirling around, on dates, times, movements, allegations, assertions, contra assertions, chemistry, admissions, denials, Steele, Urban, and so on.

    It would be handy to have a clear exposition of what the govt says, and what is generally regarded as bollocks or at least questionable in a clear and easy document.

    Keep going Craig you are one of the good guys.

    • laguerre

      The Sauds have their pride hurt by Houthi Scuds arriving over Riyadh. But I suspect that the situation is a bit more complicated than it appears on the surface. The Saudi leadership may be buddies with Israel, but that can’t be made public, as the public in Saudi Arabia deeply detests Israel and all it does. This announcement should create ructions. Nevertheless the regime has very good control over the media, the TV channels being owned by princes close to the monarchy. We know very little about what goes on in Saudi. For example a revolt by the Najranis in 2001 never made it to the outside world, as the news was suppressed. The same is true of the appalling treatment of the Shi’a in Awamiyya, I think it was. It was slid over in that case.

      In the reverse case, news entering, it’s more difficult. Many, if not most, Saudis watch outside Arabic-language channels on Nilesat or similar. It depends how it’s handled by Arab channels elsewhere. But if it gets out, there’s a serious danger of public rejection, and forced withdrawal from the contract. For example, when the American consultants advised cutting public employments, there was a big reaction, and MbS was forced to backtrack. The same may happen here, though Israel is less important than losing your job. However, MbS is less popular than he was, many of his policies having failed, i.e. war in Yemen, right to drive for women, but women activists arrested and still held.

      My guess is that the contract for Iron Dome will be retracted, as MbS is not strong enough to push it through.

      • james

        interesting and informative.. thanks laguerre.. i continue to hope for a resurrection in ksa whereby the monarchy are overthrown.. they are one sick group of leaders as i see it..

  • kashmiri

    So, two Russians travelled 2,000 miles from MOSCOW to Stonehenge, having spent hundreds of pounds, and they gave up at last moment because of 10 inches of snow? Seriously? Do you Craig really believe in what you wrote? Have you seen Moscow in winter?

    • igor M.

      Did you actually BOTHER to listen to the interview or read the transcript??? They EXPRESSLY say they came TO LONDON, and decided to visit Salisbury WHILE THEY WERE IN LONDON—you’re deliberately obfuscating evidence to suit your narrative!

      • Kempe

        Despite the poor weather forecasts? Then they arrived too late to do anything and left after an hour or two and on the Sunday went straight home.

        • laguerre

          Tourists don’t know much about the local environment, and are likely to be affected by what they’re told at the moment, even if it’s inaccurate.

          How do you get from Salisbury to Stonehenge anyway by public transport? Stonehenge is not exactly on public transport lines, eg busses. It’s well away in the country. It sounds like touristic ignorance.

        • Dish-Washer

          They seem to have judged the weather in Salisbury on the second day by the sunniness of London that morning. But in the afternoon of Sunday it began to sleet heavily in Salisbury so they took refuge in a coffee-shop before heading back home. They had got soaked in that wet sleet and had totally inadequate footwear, sneakers they had just bought in London as their previous footwear was soaked through. The point about Russian deep cold is that the snow remains crisp and hard for months and the weather often sunny. The Beast from the East running into that other big storm really soaked the Salisbury area and made them like drowned rats. Obviously they had heard that England with its Gulf Stream had mild weather, so they didn’t come in Russian army boots and long coats. A mistake, the weather turned out to be the worst in SW England for many years.

          • Sandra

            Could you direct me, please, to where it says that there was sleet on 4 March in Salisbury, other than what the pair said in their interview, because a site that records past weather doesn’t show precipitation when they were walking around Salisbury that day. It records light rain from 14:50 onwards, but from CCTV they were back in Salisbury station at 13:50.

            As you will know, Craig mentions this sleet above and I am trying to find if this just comes from their interview or another source.

            In an earlier post, I mentioned the hours of fog, with 100% humidity, before they arrived, and the approximate 84% humidity while they were there; and, if this site has comprehensive enough data and no sleet fell in the whole of Salisbury during their time there, I am wondering if this humidity alone would have been sufficient to dampen their clothes.


      • N_

        @Igor M

        Did you actually BOTHER to listen to the interview or read the transcript??? They EXPRESSLY say they came TO LONDON, and decided to visit Salisbury WHILE THEY WERE IN LONDON—you’re deliberately obfuscating evidence to suit your narrative!

        I’ve watched the interview and read the transcript in Russian and I hope you will agree with the following.

        Margarita Simonyan asks, in a sceptical tone:
        “То есть вы поехали в Солсбери посмотреть на часы?”
        (“You travelled to Salisbury to see the clock?“)

        Alexander Petrov replies:
        “Да нет. Мы с самого начала планировали приехать в Лондон и оторваться, грубо говоря. Это была не бизнес-поездка. И мы распланировали так, что и в Лондоне побываем, и съездим в Солсбери. Естественно, это всё должно было быть одним днём. Но когда мы туда прилетели, мы думали, что даже самолёт не с первого раза посадят. Потому что в Англии 2-го и 3-го числа был просто транспортный коллапс. Да что там транспорт, там был снегопад настолько мощный, что завалило практически все города. И мы никуда не смогли добраться.”

        (“No, no. From the beginning we were planning to go to London for a break, to put it crudely. It wasn’t a business trip. We planned it out so we would spend some time in London and also visit Salisbury. Of course we had to do it in one day. But when we flew in, we thought even our plane couldn’t land on its first approach. Because in England on the 2nd and 3rd there was havoc with transport. So that the transport there, there was such heavy snowfall that almost every town was paralysed. And we couldn’t get anywhere.”)

        Then they say that after arriving they went to the railway station (presumably Waterloo) to look at the timetable and where they could go (“посмотреть расписание, куда мы сможем съездить”). I read that as meaning to find out where it was possible for them to get to, given the transport havoc.

        In this sense, you could say they only decided to go Salisbury when they were in London. But that’s a bit confusing because they say they originally planned to visit Salisbury and there was only an issue with whether they’d be able to get there or not because of the weather, once they’d got to Britain.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ kashmiri September 15, 2018 at 19:55
      How could they visit Stonehenge, as it was CLOSED due to the snow??

      • Dish-Washer

        If you listen to the interview, they said they originally planned to go to Stonehenge but dropped the idea. They didn’t know about the weather but found buses cancelled and general chaos in transport. Maybe they had this idea of walking to Old Sarum which they also want to see, as it’s not too far to walk. That would have brought them closer to the area of Skripal’s house. But the sleet that came down made them retreat.

    • __alex__

      take it easy. anabolic dealers could spend couple of hundreds pounds, to visit Stonehenge and return to moscow with a box of drugs, accidentally found under london’s stone.

    • Yeah, Right

      “So, two Russians travelled 2,000 miles from MOSCOW to Stonehenge”

      Simply untrue.

      They travelled from Moscow to spend three days in England, basing themselves in a hotel in East London.
      They had a list of things they wanted to see, and Salisbury contained three of them:
      Old Sarum
      Salisbury Cathedral.

      They attempted to visit that trio of sites on the Saturday, and the weather defeated them.
      The Sunday morning was sunny, so they went back to Salisbury.

      But Sunday was their last day in Britain, so they dropped Stonehenge from their list as that required a further bus trip i.e they decided to make a second attempt to cross Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral off their to-do list, which according to them they did.

      All very reasonable, all very logical, and all totally consistent with the facts as presented by the Metropolitan Police.

    • Dish-Washer

      He was up in the far north where the frontier with Russia is somewhat permeable in both directions. There has just been a spy/crime series on this produced by Norwegian TV so it’s quite a coincidence, or perhaps not…

  • Jones

    the lynch mob are cowards and bullies that herd together because they don’t have the moral courage to stand alone. Boshirov, Petrov, and Skripals are minnows in a sea of sharks used by the UKgov to demonise Russia, todays revolting smear of Michael Foot being a KGB agent now he is dead when he successfully sued over it when he was alive is the latest pathetic attempt to get the British public to see Russia and Jeremy Corbyn as an enemy. When the Iraq war proved to be fought on lies of WMD the people’s appetite for war declined as shown when Cameron lost the vote on military action in Syria, now war with Syria is back on the agenda UKgov are trying to re-ignite peoples appetite for war by the oldest trick in the book a campaign to ‘create’ an enemy through propaganda, Russia supports Syria and Corbyn is no warmonger so a maelstrom of propaganda has been thrown at them, and timing is everything with propaganda it’s no coincidence Skripal was attacked just prior to world cup and cctv was released just prior to Idlib situation. The lynch mob are also thick, Corbyn has a large following among the young to whom Michael Foot will seem a distant irrelevant figure to their future.

    • N_

      The idea that Michael Foot was a “paid Soviet informant” is total crap. Since Nye Bevan’s time, Foot was the best prime minister the country never had. Tories are still spitting at the 1983 Labour manifesto. Their hatred ratchets up when they start fearing they might have to pay more tax, or to lose their tax-funded perks such as private schooling. They see the threat of such a future in the same light as tantamount to the hammer and sickle flying over ministerial buildings as the occupying Red Army marches along Whitehall rather as the Reichswehr marched up the Champs Elyseés in 1940. Yes, they have got rabies.

      Have no illusions: they will not baulk for one second at a “football stadiums, fingernails, and disappearances” military solution. This has been true for as long as I can remember, which is back to the 1970s.

      I notice that Alex Younger, head of MI6, isn’t denying what is being said about his agency’s view of Michael Foot.

      In last year’s election the Tories knocked on doors across the country calling Corbyn a supporter of the IRA and terrorism, a line that was screamed out in their lickspittle media. They failed. Next time expect them to turn it up a level. They want to smash any Labour party that isn’t Thatcher-loving, that isn’t pro-Tory in all but name, as it was under Blair and Brown.

    • N_

      The Tory voteshare went DOWN in the Tory landslide election of 1983. The main reason they won was because of the SDP operation. Which was all about “defence”, i.e. playing to the Tory songsheet of “Labour means Kremlin”.

      Tory strategists may be thinking of how to win more young people’s votes or at least how to persuade them not to vote Labour, for example by not voting at all. But this may well not be among the main planks of their campaign. On the other hand, things can change fast.

    • MaryPau!

      my sister supports TWH. I pointed out some home truths about them and she made the subject off limits. As she is my weather vane of the liberal left, iam waiting to see what happens next.

      • Dish-Washer

        I suspect that de piffle Johnson will suggest that Britain offer asylum to the White Helmets to save them from Assad, and that when the British economy falls off a cliff in April leading to riots, he’ll suggest that with their experience in Syria they should be recruited as special constables to preserve the peace…

        • Borncynical

          What I can’t figure out (well I can really) is what happened to the White Helmets evacuated by the Israelis (“for their own safety”) from SW Syria at the end of July, and taken to Lebanon for onward passage to Canada, UK and France. Has anyone heard anymore about that or am I right in assuming they are now intending to get to Canada and Europe via the safety zone of Idlib province? I think I might write to my MP to ask for an update on their progress “as someone concerned for their well-being”!

          • Borncynical

            With regard to my post at 23.03, sorry, it was Jordan rather than Lebanon and Germany rather than France, but my overall point still stands.

          • james

            israel got some of their ”’moderate”’ headchoppers out at the same time as the wh got out thru israel.. i don’t know if they have made it to canada yet, but as a canuck, i have written to my mp a few times about this very topic.. see the last link in the moa article, as it discusses what you ask about..

          • Borncynical

            James (23.51)

            Thanks for the info – I shall check that out. (I’d never heard ‘canuck’ before but guessed what it meant before I looked it up! Nice word which I shall try to use in conversation the first opportunity I get!)

          • Borncynical

            James (23.51)

            Sheer coincidence – I was just looking at Vanessa Beeley’s Twitter feed and she posted at 23.50 on 14 September “Why is UK FCO refusing to publicly disclose arrival of White Helmets to UK, and keeping their ‘resettlement’ location/details secret? Media D Notice again?”

    • PasserBy

      John, as an ex-police officer, what do you think might be the reason for the MET’s decision not to pursue evidence for their case in the form of searching for additional traces of nerve agent on the suitcases and/or other belongings of later occupants of the same hotel room Boshirov and Petrov stayed in? The hotel manager was not informed about what the MET said happened until 6 months later. None of the occupants were tracked down either as a precaution or to search for evidence.

      Thanks for any reply.

    • N_

      @John Verhoeven – Welcome. Can you comment on the issuing of charges in absentia? Did you ever come across that when you were in the police?

      And now the CPS has issued charges, surely they should bring an indictment to court too? Isn’t issuing charges in absentia and then not bothering to initiate a trial in absentia an abuse? If the charges had been made when the suspects were in a police station, bringing them to court would be obligatory.

      • Ecstatic Ex Cop

        If I may chip in? A charge is never ‘issued’, it is ‘proferred’ to the suspect directly. And I’ve no idea whether making public announcements on the amount of evidence prior to making an arrest is with or without precedent, but I’ve personally never heard of it in my thirty years. I always wanted to get an account from my suspects, as per PACE, which formed part of my evidential decision making and indeed whether or not I sought charges thereafter. But as anyone remotely legally minded knows, as soon as there is evidence to support a charge, it should be the next step, according to PACE, and the custody clock then stops. Presumably no interview of these suspects is necessary, as it seems that’s been done already, albeit in Russian and without a neutral interpreter or any other rights being granted to the suspects.

        This whole thing continues to be a crock of merde.

        • N_

          @Ecstatic Ex Cop – In Britain charges are usually “brought” and often the word “issued” is used too. “Profer” is rare usage.

          If you were in the British police for 30 years, please can you answer the following question: did you ever once come across a charge being brought in absentia?

          When it talks about charging, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 assumes the suspect is already under arrest, which is not relevant here.

          • Ecstatic Ex Cop

            My answer to your question is ‘no’. A charge needs to be replied to, or a decline to reply recorded, in my understanding. But I’m not a lawyer, so maybe I’m mistaken and would welcome being corrected, while still being ecstatic at no longer being involved in the whole circus which is British policing these days.

  • __alex__

    just now i tried to find mentions of famous tel. number (from bellingcat) – 195-79-66(kinda GRU). with the most usual prefix for moscow 495, it belongs to mattresses and pillow seller page and is associated with mail – [email protected]
    link to one of their pages.
    page exists since 2016.
    there is rumor in inet, that some jornos kinda made calls to this number, and were answered that it’s Ministery of Defence of RF 🙂
    but seems pillow sellers has begun to joke.

    • bj

      I love this.
      Maybe call Theresa May on one phone, the mattress seller on another, and put them in touch by 69-ing them (the phones)? 🙂

    • Dewn

      At least someone in Russia may at last get something good out of this mess, with their mattress sells going crazy. “Greatness of the Motherland in your glorious Sleep”

  • S Lawson

    I find it hard to trust propaganda against Russia because media ignores what Tories have done in the past to turn us into more of a lapdog to the USA. Extremism didn’t exist in Afghanistan until USA armed and trained them to get one over on Russia in 80s, and then USA didn’t care what was going on there after such as females banned from education.
    Then when Thatcher didn’t like EU preventing upper classes and corporations mistreating most British people, such as EU saying workers should have enough breaks and genetically modified ingredients should be labelled, the secret service whistle blower David Shayler told how our government were going along with USA funding Al Qaeda against Gaddafi. A country people didn’t pay household bills, while more old British people were dying of the cold than before.
    We had Boris Johnson deciding on matters like this, but he doesn’t know basic facts. When he was trying to get support to go along with funding extremists in Syria against Assad, the media made a fuss about a stupid comment he said on a TV show, but media didn’t say anything when he said on the same show that there wasn’t a vote on the second war against Iraq, when more Tories had voted yes to it than other nations.
    That means Boris Johnson puts on a clown act to see what lies he can get away with, the media is in with him only highlighting on some comments so they hear his propaganda, or he’s an idiot and the only point in media is to dumb down society getting people to care about talentless celebs.
    Why is it our media go along with lies about Russia in Syria saying they hit civilians, but didn’t mention when USA bombed a hospital in Afghanistan killing patients and doctors? I read about it on Doctors Without Borders facebook page.
    Media blames Russia for Brexit, but not our own media like Daily Express, which has an anti EU propaganda headline most days, and doesn’t warn people of consequences. Such how leaving EU is only going to be best for EU living bankers like Nigel Farage, who pay their foreign families from expenses and hide money in tax havens

  • Jude D

    Funny how those getting their pants in a twist about alleged Russian spies allegedly carrying out hits on Russian citizens abroad didn’t seem at all bothered by Mossad using the passports of EU nationals to carry out assassinations. Nor do the folk who scream about Corbyn “honouring terrorists” have much to say about Netanyahu attending a ceremony to honour the Israeli terrorists who carried out the bombing of the King David hotel that killed many British citizens (including nurses). The hyper-patriotism of the Necon jingoes suddenly turns to craven national masochism when Israel is the culprit.

  • Carl

    Guardian journos seem up for taking on the red army today

    Carole Cadwalladr
    “Russia is mocking us, why are the government and security services seemingly in denial about the threat?”

    Jonathan Freedland
    “Russia’s brazen lies mock the world”

    Even were there cause for these war drums, someone should remind them that the British army on its last two excursions – in Basra and Helmand – ended up having to be bailed out (by the Hegemon) against ragbags of peasant insurgents. Debacles that predate a decade of savage austerity cuts at the MoD. In this context (ie, the context of reality), it seems the height of irresponsibility for indignant scribes to be waving paper swords at the russian bear. They need to wake up to the fact that they are sitting astride a toothless paper tiger. We are not equipped to do what the Guardian wants.

    • Ort

      Courtesy of Wikipedia, in case some readers are unfamiliar with the concept of “projection”:

      Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

      It’s almost too easy, but the quotes are still another textbook example of projection. It seems to be a Western government pandemic, as almost every supercilious and mendacious statement by US, UK, and EU officials regarding Russia exhibits this quality.

      Shorter version of this comment: the projection, it burns!

    • laguerre

      These pieces are just state Russophobia. I note that Freedland refused to have comments on his piece.

      The Guardian has a very complicated attitude. Sometimes you get a good piece, most of the time, not.

      • Dish-Washer

        The guardian did open comments on his piece yesterday (Sunday) afternoon for about five hours. They were dominated by the Corbyn haters lying about Corbyn and Putin co-operating, some of whom loathe Putin for preventing regime change in Syria. The pro-Netanyahu faction was hard at work. It was sad to see how ill-informed people were about the holes in the government thesis. There were some areas of healthy scepticism, but they had to deal in generalities and hints, partly for fear of being ‘moderated’ I suspect.

        • Jude D

          In my view there’s strong evidence that a huge Neocon (for want of a better all-encompassing term) troll army mans the Guardian Comment Is Free forums night and day. I’ve noticed how discussion of certain issues causes a sudden and massive spike in extremely hostile and abusive comments on these forums: e.g., Putin, Corbyn, Livingstone, Galloway, anything to do with Ireland, and so on. This cannot be spontaneous – and is totally out of sync with the Guardian’s traditional image as a newspaper of cuddly tree hugging liberal lefties.

      • N_

        Cadwalladr is totally blown now. Or she should be, for anyone who thought she was a hero for her work on SCL and Cambridge Analytica.

        These intelligence officers, we now know, worked for the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency that, in July, special counsel Robert Mueller identified as responsible for hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee

        You’re MI6, Carol. You can take off your mask.

        She is also pushing the “Michael Foot was KGB” line, albeit in a twee deniable way. How else can we interpret the following?

        Yesterday, the Times claimed MI6 believed that Michael Foot had been targeted by, and took money from, the Soviets. The merits of the claim aside, there is nothing new in Soviet/Russian ambitions to disrupt and corrupt our domestic politics, only in the tools at their disposal.

        Imagine if I wrote “Someone told me Carole Cadwalladr is a thief. The merits of that claim aside, there are a lot of thieves around.”

        She also writes…

        In November last year, Boris Johnson told a parliamentary committee that there was ‘not a sausage’ of evidence of Russian interference in UK elections. At the time, this statement seemed absurd. Now it seems… terrifying. Because if Johnson was telling the truth – never a given – then we should be truly alarmed. If the foreign secretary really had seen no evidence, was it because his department and those under his control, including MI6, weren’t looking? Because they were directed not to look? Or what?

        I wouldn’t be surprised if she soon does propaganda for a “centrist” political party.

    • pretzelattack

      but the mods aren’t up to moderating fairly, they closed the comments on freedman’s article pretty quickly.

  • Isa

    On indirectly related matters , bill Browder is trying to stop people from watching the documentary that exposes him . For those with Facebook details are in the link below :

    THE MAGNITSKY ACT – BEHIND THE SCENES was taken down from Vimeo on Demand this weekend after deceptive letters from Hermitage Capital / Bill Browder and Carter-Ruck / Natalia Nikolaevna Magnitskaya. Piraya Film will not be silenced and will provide the film on other platforms soon.

  • wild

    Here is a rundown for what’s wrong in Bellingcat’s “papers”
    – A Moscow passport office issued passports to Petrov and Boshirov and cited as being “GRU”-only (FMS 77001) is just an office designated for expedite passport processing, with normal time of one month reduced to week and in some cases to three days, for an extra fee. Russian liberal pundits who posted copies of their own passport pages online having quite a time finding GRU agents in their midst,
    – “Top secret” designation on some government form is not possible on documents received by Bellingcat, and abbreviated unusually,
    – Wording for “data withhold” stamp is inconsistent. Used wording “dannye ne davat” is different from “dafnnye ne predostavlyat” used in official responses.

    Bellingcat appears to produced forgery.

  • Sharp Ears

    Our friend at the BBC, Gordon Corera, is listed in the credits of a new BBC series, Killing Eve, as ‘security consultant’!

    It started tonight and there are seven more episodes. The BBC must be spending a fortune on their Autumn/Winter schedule.

    The tagline for Killing Eve – ‘Thriller series in which a security operative hunts for an assassin.’

    Score 5/10.

    • Ian

      It’s an excellent off-the-wall drama. You should try it, instead of passing judgement on something you haven’t seen.
      Score 9/10.

      • Ian

        PS I am glad they are investing in the very good drama slate they have at the moment – Trust, Wanderlust, Black Earth Rising.

        In fact, you should try Fleabag, something to upset your preconceptions which has you more interested in combing the credits to find something to moan about.

        • Ian

          Oh dear, can’t take a bit of criticism. But you spend your apparent online life sitting in judgment on others, based on some weak associations. If you don’t like the heat..

  • BrianFujisan

    Craig in Glasgow today at Hope over Fear Rally..I didn’t make it..But We are Booked on the Bus to the Big Edinburgh AUOB march / Rally..We shall Also be at Faslane Anti Nukes event next Saturday..Lots of International speakers lined up

    Anyhoo Craig is at 4:28:00 in –

    • Sharp Ears

      Cheers Brian.

      Ref Faslane. This week, I heard a figure quoted for the cost of Trident as £30 billion. Incredible isn’t it when there are food banks and people sleeping rough.

      • Loony

        There are food banks and people sleeping rough in large part as a consequence of the fact that the British have elevated indolence and idleness to a high virtue.

        Having a powerful military capability facilitates your stealing ever more human and physical resources from around the word. For so long as you remain too idle to look after yourselves then your only options are to starve or to steal.

        As you always venerate moderation then having a few people close to starving and the rest gorging themselves on looted resources enables you to congratulate yourselves on your sense of moderation.

        • John Kerr

          In support of your observation, I refer you to my learned friend from College days, Tom Hodgkinson. He was a bit of a bell even then, and due to his unsightly incisors, was known as Tom Fangs.

      • BrianFujisan

        It is Shocking Sharp Ears..for somthing that Cannot be used..and a Lie that it’s Independent to the U.K

        The cost a few years ago was 50 / 60 Billion..Now it’s at ove £200 Billion..

        Even an Accident with these things on the clyde would be catastrophic.. I helped crowd fund this film..and met the the director –

        P.s Hope you are keeping well

      • Antonyl

        That is part of the prize for trying to stay on the Big Boys Table as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Its the prize of Albion’s Ego: a roar from a pussy cat now.

  • MaryPau!

    I am starting to get information overload here. I suspect I am not alone ;;)

    Can someone compile a 4th March timeline of the movements of the Skripals and B+P ,(known sightings)?

  • Dish-Washer

    Sadly Thatcher was able to use the Falklands to fire England’s nationalist nerve, and it looks as if Theresa May has succeeded in using the Skripal Affair to fire it once more in her favour. The comments on Jonathan Freeland’s Guardian article today make depressing reading.

  • Bobble

    Related info of interest. The Police do not release all prosecution material into the public domain, it’s selective and support likes of applications for into arrests warrants.

    Find info on ‘suspects’ passports intersting

    Skripal Poisoning Suspect’s Passport Data Shows Link to Security Services
    Aeroflot’s passenger manifest
    An Extraordinary Passport File
    Born in 2009?
    “Do not provide any information” …S.S. is a common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret”.
    “passport data for the other two individuals to whom those two passports were issued, with the the passport numbers ending in -1295 and -1296.”
    RT comment
    Guardian comment

    • __alex__

      imho, they misinterpreted “S.S.” it meant not “TopSecret”, but Secret Staffer(Секретный Сотрудник – СС). It denoted secret police staffer working inside organized crime.

      • __alex__

        and it could explain a lot. info about such a staffers is not of top level of secrecy, and they have not qualification of true GRU staff.
        so they could be just a police officers embedded in some criminal organization.

      • JohninMK

        Probably a red herring that Skripal had been helping at least the Spanish police against Russian organized crime.

        If undercover police no wonder the nervousness.

    • Borncynical

      “The police do not release all prosecution material into the public domain” . An ‘ incy, wincy smidgin’ as a taster would be a start.

  • MS

    I think the ‘door knob poisoning’ narrative is linked to this couple.

    Either, they were about to meet Scripal, but he was lured away and poisoned later by another party,
    or they were suspects from the start due CCTV and Russian origin etc.

    Either way, they departed early and Scripal collapsed hours later making it difficult to establish any link.

    Hence, the door knob narrative was told, despite looking implausible from the start. Better explanations did not exist or were not deemed suitable for the public.

    • Blunderbuss

      I think the missing 4 hours (9.15am to 1.30pm on Sunday) is the key. It was during this time that the Skripals were untraceable and B&P were heading towards the Skripal house. Had they arranged a meeting with the Skripals? Did this meeting actually take place? The British govt must know the answer because they will have interviewed the Skripals.

    • Kay

      If the doorknob theory – the official version events – is false, the truth is almost certainly known to the UK authorities because they can simply work out when and where DS Bailey was poisoned.

      Even according the official versions of events, DS Bailey was never taken seriously ill and, as a police officer, he is a professional witness, so his recollection of the matter should be especially helpful in determining when and where he was poisoned, even if the Skripals, for whatever reason, are unable to assist in the investigation.

      Thus, your second option, of the truth being deemed unfit for public consumption, is the only viable alternative, if the doorknob theory is ever demonstrated to be a load of old cobblers.

      • MaryPau!

        actually according to the Met Police account ,- see link from Sandra above – DS Bailey was taken seriously ill and is not back at work. The police must know how long it took between exposure and being taken ill in his case.

    • Clarityn

      According to RT and Victoria, she is Yulias sister! Close families in Russia by the sound of it. That explains why they struggle to bump off a stranger/family member/both. One of the two tourists were half brothers of Sergei’s or his daughter’s sister?

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