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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  • Clarityn

    If you wamt an idea of how our security services operate, and nerve agents are used, watch killing eve, it’s a comedy but extremely accurate. The perfume is too soon btw

    • Doodlebug

      “it’s a comedy.” No doubt. A pity it wasn’t announced as such on the schedule I read. May we assume you have certain inside knowledge as to attest to its accuracy? More accurate than Roger Moore’s comedic James Bond?

  • SA

    Meanwhile for the real news kept behind the scenes. Russia slows down offensive in Idlib. Turkey is dragging its feet and flexing its muscles in Syria. Turkey seems in the process of trying to legitimise Hay’at Tahreer al Sham (HTS) aka as Al Qaeda in Syria, in order to protect the ‘rebels’. Of course the US/UK/France threat to bomb Syria if CW are used is a big factor, but the recent Skripals allegations are distracting the locals here.

    Another happening is that Israel has bombed Damascus Airport again and other facilities.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Grassy Knoll Shooter James Files UNEDITED Interview’:
    Highly detailed, and it ties in with everything I had read and believed about the hit, except there was only one guy on the Grassy Knoll, James Files.
    The three ‘hobos’ must have been a ‘red herring’ by the perps to mislead people and muddy the waters.
    Learnt a few new things, like how David Ferrie was murdered. And more about the Tippit death, though I already understood he was not killed by LHO.

  • miceonparade

    The UK government story is obviously false. It doesn’t take two men to deposit a small amount of poison on a door knob. Moreso than the question of timing, this destroys the allegations. What’s stunning is that so conditioned are the public that nobody even pauses to ask the question why Russia would send two men traveling together to deposit an ounce of poison somewhere. It’s absurd.

    • giyane

      The UK government story that Labour caused the financial crash of 2007 is false. The UK government story that privatisation increases efficiency is false . The UK government story that the Syrian war was a spontaneous civil war is false.

      What we have here is neo-cons thrashing in the primeval sludge like pre-historic cat-fish before being compressed into fossils future generations can have on their coffee-tables. As the infamous writer in the New York Times recently said, ” There are adults in the room. ” Those adults are the US neo-wonks who for thirty years have trashed Muslim countries for Israel. The neo-wonks in the UK exist in both political parties New Labour and Tory. Are they adults? Yes in the sense that they obey no law nor reason, cause havoc wherever they go and whatever they do. Like an adult shop, they are obsessed with secrecy. Like an adult shop their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

      They actually think that Russia is causing the waves of immigrants that have resulted in UK rejection of EU Freedom of Movement rather than backlash against their crimes. Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump are trying to remind them that adults take responsibility for their crimes. It’s time for these ” adults ” to be put in oversize nappies, in oversize baby-grows with extra long arm-sleeves which can be knotted from behind, and placed like Pompei victims of volcanic ash in grotesque postures in a museum or mausoleum.

  • Ros Thorpe

    I’m struggling to work out whether those two are a couple of decoys or a couple of patsies. I cannot believe they are spies or master assassins and if they are their ineptitude is staggering. None of it makes sense.

  • Ian

    There are some interesting points to note. Previous reports suggested that Dawn Sturgess became ill within 15 minutes of applying the agent from the perfume bottle (seems a long time for a 98% pure agent that is 10X more potent than VX), a bottle that was found sealed in a charity bin. This would suggest that the Skripals were contaminated closer to 4pm – when they were in Salisbury centre and the two Russians had already left back to London. It is claimed that two swabs in their hotel identified Novichok at sublethal levels. Interesting to know where these swabs were from. Insecticide applied to the room for cockroaches, etc would give an organophosphate inhibition like a nerve agent. This is often applied around the floor area and in corners.

    These two Russians were not trying to hide their movements nor identity, but their movements are suspicious and their short time in Salisbury hard to explain. Perhaps they delivered the Novichok to someone else to use? If they smeared the door handle it would perhaps have been as a back up, in case the opportunity in Salisbury Centre failed? But then they would have been more cautious about being noticed – not professionals. The reported statement that the Burgess bottle was in a sealed box suggests that there were possibly two containers. But why put an unused container in a charity bin where it will obviously be discovered and used! Likely that a third person used the open container, poisoned the Skripals and disposed of the back up – but in a very amateurish way. What happened to the other possible container? A lot does not add up and it may be that they were involved in criminal activity that also involved Skripal, rather than Russian State activity – because Putin would be unlikely to publicise them if they were GRU.

  • exiled off mainstreet

    The haters are typical of those whose loyalty to an odious regime overwhelms their ability to recognize the truth. The media hacks are nothing more than professional propagandists, and the official story remains as preposterous as the ambassador describes it, and the continual variations only highlight its absurdity. Even the claim of traces of the chemical, but “not enough to cause risk” in their hotel room months later reveal the preposterousness of the whole initiative. If it was as dangerous as stated, why didn’t anybody suffer any reportable ill effects over the long period before the “discovery” of the residues. According to Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is that the authorities are lying through their teeth. Anyone professing to believe such lies is either incredibly naive or is a liar, paid or otherwise. The explanation of the many months delay in this new wrinkle of the story coming out is that it took that long for British spy and police regime operatives to comb through the records of those appearing to find two Russians who went to Salisbury. They also were sloppy enough to put the same time-date stamp on the entry photos.

    • Dish-Washer

      “…is that it took that long for British spy and police regime operatives to comb through the records of those appearing to find two Russians who went to Salisbury”
      Your post was very clear until it got to this point. Then I lost your drive. You refer to be referring to people whose records had to be checked on. What sort of people and how could they be “appearing to find” the two Russians. Is this the result of some tangle from an attempt by you to change a construction and then failing to read through the new version properly? I would be grateful if you would clarify.

      • Robyn

        If I understand exiled off mainstreet’s line, I agree. Here’s my hypothesis. HMG was finding that their story wasn’t sticking – heaven forbid, there were widespread calls for evidence. So they asked for a search of Immigration records to identify everyone arriving from Russia and/or on Russian passports just before the Skripal incident, then to identify anyone on the resulting list who visited Salisbury. The people on this short list were tracked for best fit to the official story. Borisov and Petrov came closest, they were deemed guilty, and selected cctv images were released along with their flight data. Case closed.

        • Dish-Washer

          I feel pretty sure you have the working methodology there, but I’m not sure if that was all e-o-m was driving at…

          • Robyn

            My hypothesis addresses e-o-m’s point about it taking so long for, …’British spy and police regime operatives to comb through the records of those appearing to find two Russians who went to Salisbury.’ It wouldn’t have been a quick job to check all those passenger, flight, hotel, train, weather, and cctv records.

          • Dish-Washer

            For Robyn: “…checked records that appeared to show Russians who eventually went to Salisbury” would have been understood. The way it was written makes it sound as if MI5 etc. had to check up on the background of those being authorised to carry out the investigation.
            I had to reply to myself as no reply button appears at the end of your last post – at least on my browser…

  • Andrew Stacey

    Might be a bit of a problem in trying them here as the 12 good men and true would be selected from the howling mob…

    • Dish-Washer

      or rather from people who have already been told by journalists and TV that they are as guilty as sin and already believe that.

    • Yeah, Right

      A prediction: if these two Russians turned up tomorrow at Heathrow with their hands outstretched and a “I want my day in court” on their lips then Teresa May will do a very good impersonation of a rabbit-in-a-spotlight as she tries to come up with an excuse – any excuse – why it is no longer possible to bring the case to court.

      But in the end her excuse will be this: yes, they are guilty – guilty as hell!!! – but, no, I’m not going to prove it. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Only the Torygraph is keeping the ‘story’ going. Their headline on the front page:-

    No doubt Mr Marr will be able to give it prominence in his paper review later.

    The article is alongside a photo of Jeffrey Archer who says that if he was a Northerner, he would vote for Corbyn.

    Assassination of Theresa by remote control there.

    • Sharp Ears

      The Andrew Marr Show

      Andrew Marr is joined by environment secretary Michael Gove MP, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP and Bob Woodward, author of Fear: Trump in the White House. The newspapers are reviewed by journalist and commentator Rachel Shabi, Sunday Times deputy editor Sarah Baxter and Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell.

  • Brian Living

    From day one we’ve only ever had accusations and assumptions, so until the Government provides credible forensic evidence my money is on a M.I.6/C.I.A fit up to further blacken the Russian Government.

  • Sebastian

    Zombie apocalypse meet cliff edge: Now I know what Putin was smiling about when he said we know these two !
    His crack team of GRU assassins with ten years training in the art of doorknob smearing apparently spent the night before smoking weed and taking advantage of a woman of the night.
    While splashing the novichok around.
    The Sun’s piece still asserts their guilt, the comments section’s not buying it !
    The police have known this for how long ?
    And our politicians are still standing behind the Met’s version. The truth of this must be totally devastating to all involved, should it ever come out !

  • Jo

    I had wondered what they did Friday and Saturday night….apparently drug fuelled canabis with a prositute says a certain national paper……final nail in the story these are Putins hitmen…..the paper entirely conforming to a desire to continue the stereotype of this is what Russians are like? And of course the instant any ” evidence” is produced by a certain tomcat totally undermines Metpolice etc credibility proving this all a fake.

  • Alan Celia

    How do you paint a deadly toxin on a door knob without wearing those blown up moon suits……

    • flatulence'

      Fairly quickly, but very carefully, at arms length with long sleeves and gloves. Not typically with an aerosol or anything thin enough to be used in an aerosol.

      • pretzelattack

        you simply train a housecat to do it for you, apparently they are immune to deadly toxins. but don’t forget to give it water and food for a month after.

        • flatulence'

          Bloody cats. They act all high and mighty, but they are useless at operating the plunger on my Novichok atomiser. Actually… That’s what they want me to think. Gotta love cats the clever little evil bastards. Speak of the devil. Yeah you might purr and then nap on my lap, but I know you’re dreaming of ripping out my throat when your mouth twitches like that.

    • Ort

      Apparently one uses the same technique traditionally recommended for supping with the Devil: bring a long spoon.

    • Steve Jones

      Latex gloves held at arms length and not breathing in would do it. The exposure and dose is everything. Hazmats are worn for two reasons. Firstly, by definition nobody knows what they are going to come across and scientists and policemen are going to be ultra-careful. Secondly, it’s critically important not to introduce contaminants.

  • Jo

    Surely there are some genuine real uk intelligence peoples that are not buying ludicroys this **** we are being expected to leave…. surely? Or are we all doomed to live in this kind of world now?

    • Jo

      “Not buying this ludicrous **** we are being expected to believe”…sorry…feeling novichocked with it all….! Alex did you watch your russian programme on who done it? Or can anyone post a link with subtitles?

  • Max_B

    According to capt Nick Barker of the Endurance, the Argentinians were pretty much invited to invade the Falklands because of bizzare behaviour by the U.K. government. His book “Beyond Endurance” makes great reading.

  • Moocho

    This is 7/7 and 9/11 all over again. We know the authorities are lying and the press is revealing its true colours through its role in the cover up – on TV and in print. The question is, what can be done about it? We cannot carry on with governments who are committing such brazen and serious crimes on home soil, let alone all the evil shit they are doing overseas. This is fascism, make no mistake. It is evident in every city, town, village (that I have been to), and, I’m afraid to say, the so frighteningly and heavily brainwashed citizens of this country, who are so clearly and so amazingly in a state of mass hypnosis. One example, the Uk is the most watched and heavily surveilled nation in the world, and no-one, and I mean no-one, cares one iota about this fact. Near total complicity and obedience is observed, all justified by fear. Unless there is a collective awakening and acknowledgment of these problems, they will persist and exacerbate, as the authorities and their “friends” raise the stakes higher and higher to maintain control/fear levels etc

    • Paul Greenwood

      This is fascism, make no mistake.

      The West has been “soft Fascist” since at least the mid-1980s and especially with the Financial Boom-Bust-and-Burn 1999 onwards when Greenspan provided the wherewithal for Governments to free themselves of taxpayer control by expanding bank credit ad infinitum – every rescue led to destruction of ordinary people and their savings and rewards to oligarchy. Without collapse of USSR and China’s expansion Western banks would have collapsed in 1990s

  • Dominic Berry

    I am not an expert on espionage or assassination, much less on the chemical weapons applications thereof. But I did work in the citybreaks department of Thomson Holidays, booking weekends for Paris and Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin. Quite a few customers go to less ‘touristy’ destinations like, I don’t know, Düsseldorf or Minsk, so I expect someone in the tourism offices of Salisbury is feeling that insult is being added to injury here, with the whole ‘Who the hell wants to go to Salisbury” line of analysis.

    My heart goes out to them!

    • Jude D

      Totally agree. I find Utrecht – about an hour from Amsterdam – a much pleasanter place to visit than Amsterdam. Haarlem, about 20 minutes away from Amsterdam, is also nice. By the same token, Potsdam, in my view, is much nicer than Berlin. Even tourists know that London is not typical of the rest of England, so if they want to get a feel for the country (in this case the southern part of England) they might well go to a place like Salisbury.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Berlin was an industrial city with Siemensstadt and the real Hohenzollern palaces were in Potsdam with Brandenburg being the barracks for Frederick The Great. Berlin has been largely destroyed and the rebuilding is a travesty rather akin to Brasilia – soulless at least Ku’damm had character when there were two Berlins

    • Dish-Washer

      When at the age of nineteen I could finally afford a decent motorbike, my first excursion was to Salisbury to see that wonderful gothic cathedral, followed up by visits to Old Sarum and Stonehenge.

  • Lenny

    Relevant or not, the interview of “Petrov and Boshirov” is generally ridiculed by the moderate Russian media usually avoiding open confrontation with authorities., for example, published a few extremely critical articles with detailed analysis of the interview. There are two key conclusions shared by pretty much all of the independent and semi-independent Russian journalists:

    a) the narrative of “Petrov and Boshirov” is implausible on many accounts; they just do not look like those who they pretend they are
    b) the interview failed to prove probably the most important point, that is, that the guys are real people not a pair of clowns appearing from nowhere and disappearing without a trace once the recording was over

    Yes, the official British timing of the poisoning is questionable and yes, some of the speculations in both mass and social media around this story are beyond the pail, but directly or indeiectly involved in the poisoning, innocent “Petrov and Boshirov” are not.

    • Sergei

      “innocent “Petrov and Boshirov” are not”

      There’s a huge gap between not being innocent due to smuggling, using drugs or tons of other illegal activities they may be guilty of, and not being innocent due to murdering someone on behalf of the government.

    • Borncynical

      “they just do not look like those who they pretend they are” – grateful if you could elaborate on what this means.

    • Keith McClary

      “that the guys are real people not a pair of clowns appearing from nowhere and disappearing without a trace”
      It will be very strange if no one in Russia recognises either of them. How could that be explained? (Perhaps they were orphans raised from infant-hood in a secret GRU camp.)

    • Jude D

      There’s something rather ironic about you citing the “moderate” Russian media (btw does that translate as the Russia media that tends to agree with western positions?). From your account, and contrary to what we are led to believe, there seems to be much more questioning of official stories in Russia than there is in the UK or most other western countries. When was the last time a western newspaper of tv station questioned any western official account of a spying controversy or a terrorist attack?

  • P shannon

    first why were the tow walking up the wilton road away from the cathedral you cant get that wrong the cathedral is a big pointy thing you cant miss clearly sign posted from the station if you wanted to see Salisbury why stay in London the cost of two train trips would not be cheap and even if its cold snowing raining you have come along way to see something you see it also there is many other things to do and see in Salisbury inside out of the cold also at 0745 on the third of march I drove past Stonehenge on the A303 so you could get to Stonehenge I had just been to barstable and back so the roads were not as bad as you say you can see Stonehenge with out using the visitor’s centre the bus and taxis were running from Salisbury I had visitors drive from Salisbury that day also on the 4 the roads in Amesbury were clear
    the fact is they messed up and they are now a embarrassment to some I would expect before long a accident will happen car crash or something and no one will ever get to talk with them

    • laguerre

      Tourists don’t know much about their environment. Just because you know your corner of the woods very well, that doesn’t mean outsiders do.

      • Steve Jones

        “Tourists don’t know much about their environment.”

        Which is why there are signs all over the place in Salisbury pointing the way to the Cathedral. Not just that, but it’s clearly visible from the train station entrance. Look at Streetview.

    • Dish-Washer

      Appears that there are earlier shots of them leaving the cathedral area as they had already seen it. Maybe they thought they were heading for Old Sarum and took the wrong road. It’s on the NNW edge of Salisbury and an easily walkable distance, especially for men into fitness. But looking now at the maps, I understand totally how the British police would have concluded these were the culprits. As someone from the area, is the Shell station the petrol station on the south side of Wilton Rd between Highbury Ave. and Canadian Ave?

        • Dish-Washer

          They were caught on the camera at the petrol station walking away from Salisbury. The narrative doesn’t tell us whether they stopped and asked the way or whether they were filmed just before or after the station.

          • Borncynical

            They could have popped in to pick up a drink or a snack. I would if I was in an area I didn’t know but was aware of a petrol station nearby. If they did I’m sure the police wouldn’t tell us as it wouldn’t be good for the narrative.

    • Jay

      I’ve checked the weather reports on road closures for Salisbury. There was snow and council was working with volunteers to clear roads. Council also cancelled rubbish removal, shopkeepers were shovelling snow from the fronts and buses to Stonehenge were cancelled. Council will normally clear sleet and snow from the centres but what about beyond. So far their accounts stand up to scrutiny. My guess is they saw a lot of snow and sleet blocking their path one way so they went the other. But that’s for them to explain or for the met to release more CCTV.

    • Pennyfarthing

      Slightly off topic, but do you have something against punctuation marks, or was that an homage to Beckett?

    • Deb O'Nair

      “first why were the tow [2] walking up the wilton road away from the cathedral”

      According to The Sun and other tabloids the obvious answer would seem to be that they were looking to score some weed or hook up with a prostitute. What do you think they were doing, attempting murder?

  • S McKay

    I know what. Wouldn’t it be great if we could demonstrate against the Skripal case? I think it may be including a protest against the media who have simply gone along with narative from UK Government.
    Get on social media and call for action/protest in our biggest city’s London, Birmingham, Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff & Carlisle.

    • Dish-Washer

      You can hardly get them onto the street to demonstrate against Brexit, something that will wreck their lives To expect them to demonstrate for Russians is absolutely utopian.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why no interest in the incredible quick demise of the Coopers in Egypt while the Skripals survived?

  • SH

    The most important question that Margarita Simonyan regrettably failed to ask P&B is “where were you going at 11:58 on Wilton Rd”. I see now that everybody else failed to ask the same question too. Since this forum consists of people who are interested and informed in the subject it seems like the right place to ask this question. I invite everybody to come up with a reasonable theory regarding P&B whereabouts between 11:58 and 1:05 based on known facts . We should assume that the pictures 11:48, 11:58 and 1:05 are real, since they were not contested during the interview. Many also noticed that P&B movement between 11:48 and 11:58 was unusually fast, the google maps estimates the distance would take 16 min. But we may safely assume that they both were in good physical shape being either trained assassins or fitness workers.

    Please post your theories as a reply to this post

        • __alex__

          by the way, from the given photo, it doesnot look like they are walking fast. better to say they are walking slow.

          • SH

            I noticed that too, but the still photo could be misleading, the timestamps give more objective information about average speed of movement

          • __alex__

            but could timestamp 11.58 be wrong? if britain has winter/summer time, 11.58 could be 12.58…. but i would not fit an official version imho.

    • __alex__

      also, according to the photo near the Gas Station(11:58), they are going to turn on cherry-orchald line(so go away of Scripal’s house). at least they do not need to cross the road for it.

      • Edith Piaf

        “the photo near the Gas station”
        A little slip there __alex__ n’est-ce pas?
        Better: “photo near Gas station”

        • __alex__

          i’m russian. and all this “a” ”the”, or nothing is my headache 🙂 russian language has not nothing similar, so i’m doing regular mistakes.

        • Borncynical

          Hey? Unless there’s a subtle joke in there which is over my head, I’m English and I’d have said what Alex said.

          • Dish-Washer

            So would I, but the message from Edith Piaf is that he SHOULD have shown he was Russian by omitting the articles. That’s what Russians do. Ironically she confused him into admitting he was Russian, which she probably sees as chalking up a victory.

          • James

            I can assure you, Edith Piaf was pointing out the claim made elsewhere by __alex__ to be Russian appears to be fake. He/she/it repeatedly “code switches” between usage of the in/definite article, inter alia. The “trick”, if any, by Edith Piaf was to couch the question to __alex__ in an opaque and arcane way (using a correctly-punctuated French expression, figurative use of “slip”, and a convoluted sentence structure) such that if __alex__ were genuinely Russian and with such poor English as he pretends, he would be confused and would not reply.
            Instead he replied and in a defensive way, saying “I’m Russian” which we already knew. Also, in his reply his English broke up to a new low point, which was of course meant to underline his “ivan” authenticity.
            He is, it would seem, a fake.

    • __alex__

      also – how fast they had moved, police can easy answer. just public not a shot from cctv cam. but the footage.

      • SH


        your comments are thoughtful, but the goal of my post was to try to come up with our own explanation based on the known facts, not to ask the police for help. They already helped a lot by providing camera stills. I must confess, I do not find their description of events as helpful

    • Sergei

      You somehow keep forgetting that it wasn’t an interrogation. They don’t have to explain or prove anything. They came forward to try to explain they were not GRU agents and had no idea what do now. You think they’ve failed, but this doesn’t change a thing, they are not under an investigation here. I wouldn’t be all surprised if they’ve been specifically told by authorities to not provide any photos of them being at the Cathedral or so because it would be exculpation, and to not exculpate is the policy here. The UK ignores everything Russia has been asking them about so to ignore British proofless accusations is the only way to go. So no one here in Russia will be looking into P&B, into what exactly they did or didn’t and if they’re lying, until there’s an official collaboration with the UK on the investigation.

      • SH


        I did not blame them, I blamed Mrs Simonyan for failing to ask the very important question.

        And, sorry, but being near the Cathedral after 1:05 does not provide an alibi. According to the police narrative and available data the hit COULD happen sometime between 12:05 and 12:50

        • Sergei

          My point was, from the official Russian standpoint they don’t need an alibi as there’s no case. The hit could happen sometime between 12:05 and 12:50, or maybe it could not. Maybe they’ve been to the Cathedral, maybe they haven’t, or maybe highly likely they just went to the direction of Skripal house and just stood at that Gas station area and smoked weed. Can be everything.

          • SH


            do you represent the Russian government here on this forum? I am more or less aware of official Russian position on the whole ruckus and not here to argue its validity. I am asking the forum participant to come up with a plausible theory on P&B whereabouts based on available data. If this contradicts the official Russian position in the case I may assure you that you protest had been duly noted

          • Sergei

            @SH No, I do not represent the Russian government. Actually I couldn’t have been farther from any politics in my line of work (as if anything coming from a Russian can be trusted, right). I do think though that based on the sparse data publicly available these guesses are totally pointless, because each guess results in things like “Russians who fear snow and slush – haha it’s not possible” and “who goes to Salisbury when you have London, not possible”. I once went to Helsinki just to buy their liquorice chocolate and to pointlessly walk around the town (didn’t see much). Just because I could. I also once booked a hotel in Brugge for a couple of days but couldn’t go farther than the restaurant below just because I didn’t feel like walking. I guess I would have to do some serious explaining had some poor lad got poisoned during those days.

            So any guess is good, here’s mine:

            Arrived in Salisbury.
            P. Okay, we’re here now. What’s next?
            B. Let’s light up a fat one first, I so need it.
            P. Where? It’s all crowded in here.
            B. Okay, let’s try to walk over there and see if there’s less people.
            They walk to the direction of Skripal house.
            Stop someplace, light up, do their thing.
            P. Okay, now what?
            B. Let’s see that Cathedral.
            P. Okay, let’s go.
            Walk around Cathedral for 15 mins.
            P. Man, it’s cold as fock, let’s go home.
            B. Yeah, I’m freezing too
            And so on.

            Improbable? Not at all.

    • Dizzy

      Or why they never returned during the Summer when the weather was nicer? The Cathederal was still open and they could have visited some more of their intended sites such as Stone Henge. Maybe they were worried they’d be mistaken for Russian “Spies”. LOL

    • Radio Jammor

      My theory is that they tried to get to Old Sarum but went the wrong way at the roundabout. It is unclear if they made it to Old Sarum or not, but the later CCTV has them the other side of the train station, heading in its direction, from the direction of the cathedral, just over an hour later. So I think they didn’t make it to Old Sarum, but did get to the Cathedral, after turning around having gone so far in the wrong direction.

  • Paul Barbara

    These two are beginning to remind me of the so-called hijackers, who went out of their way to be noticed. Smoking weed instead of sniffing cocaine, entertaining prostitutes, causing a row with hotel staff instead of with restaurant staff, but otherwise similar behaviour. In both cases, NOT the behaviour of dedicated assassins/’suicide pilots’.

    • Rowan

      I wouldn’t believe the carousal stories at all: Lke someone else already said, they were just concocted for quick money offered by the hack. A few hundred quid in used twenties for some fabricated sensation, and no names needed.

  • Keith

    From the Daily Mail online article posted earlier:

    “Security sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Scotland Yard and MI6 are sitting on a huge amount of further evidence linking Petrov and Boshirov to the attempt to kill former spy Skripal. They say this evidence will only be produced if the two Russian agents are brought to trial. ”

    This make no sense to me to withold key evidence from a doubting public, all the evidence they have released so far is subjective and circumstantial, if they have something that “proves” these men are guilty of poisoning and members of the GRU, as has been so categorically stated by May under parliamentary privelege, then why not end all this speculation and make it public? If they can’t call the Russian’s so called bluff with something more specific, it’s no suprise so many are struggling to believe either side.

    • Igor M.

      Would that be the same security sources that first said it was a “hit squad” of five men and a woman?..

      BTW, GRU has NOT existed for eight to ten years, I just CBA look up how long exactly…

      • Dish-Washer

        The GRU, military intelligence founded by Trotsky as Red Army Commander, was officially dissolved on 7 May 1992. It continues under the name of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces.

    • Dish-Washer

      Yes, and it’s not just us they have to convince, it’s the other governments in the EU and elsewhere. The international reputation of the UK is at stake.

    • Doodlebug

      “This make no sense to me to withold key evidence from a doubting public”

      It should if you believe that a trial should be conducted in a court of law, not the court of public opinion. Prejudice a trial before it happens and it won’t (happen).

      That said, it is no less puzzling why such ‘evidence’ as has been deliberately released is in no way indicative of anyone’s guilt in the case of the Skripals, or Rowley and Sturgess for that matter, and elements of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Basu’s latest statement are positively bizarre. To wit:

      “As you have heard, today’s charges relate to the first incident involving the Skripals and Nick Bailey. We continue to liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the poisoning of Dawn and Charlie.”

      But he has already said himself that the cases are connected – linked investigation and all that. According to Wiltshire Police, Dawn Sturgess was murdered – they said as much on live TV. What does the Met. plan to arrest the suspects for – Vandalism? Assault with a deadly perfume? Or attempted murder of the Skripals, who didn’t die, whereas Dawn Sturgess did.

      Basu goes on: “On the 14 March the Prime Minister said there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter.”

      There being ‘no other conclusion,’ the intending murderers of the Skripals must therefore be the actual murderers of Dawn Sturgess. So what is there to discuss with the CPS? Which names to use on the charge sheets I suppose. That’s if you believe the connection between the cases being quite what the Met. and the media are presenting it as.

      • Keith

        But any possible trial has already been severely prejudiced by Theresa May, a whole slew of Tory ministers and most of the MSM who have all decided these two men are guilty until proven innocent! As they’re so sure and adamant they’re right, a bit of hard evidence should be easy to produce after so many months investigating.

        • Doodlebug

          “a bit of hard evidence should be easy to produce after so many months investigating.”

          I quite agree, but the police are under no obligation to produce it. The opposite in fact. Of course if a trial were to proceed the jury would have to be selected from somewhere in the UK that is not served by Television, the internet or daily papers.

          But the business of ‘charges’ being brought, EAW’s and ‘seeking to circulate Interpol Red Notices’ (a ‘weasel’, like ‘fighting tooth decay’), is predicated upon the fact that the ‘suspects’ will NOT re-appear in the UK. It’s a posture of ‘we did our best but were thwarted by Russia’, nothing more.

      • Avery

        Well, when I look at a bit bigger picture I am totally at loss here. First, officials release a statement that two persons has been positively identified as spies and was playing major role in assassination attempt. As proof they release to the public a picture of men in question attentively studying showcase of coins on the street’s store. And that’s it basically. Nothing closer to real evidence is being presented.

        Then, when there is a interview of said persons released a lot of fuss comes up “they have GRU(some)-faces, wrong jacket, not cathedral photos, harlots in their room, etc.

        I don’t understand how can they seriously expect their argument not to be questioned by the said public unless the whole point of this action would be diverting attention from incredibly illogical first statement vs. presented facts to the small details which, imo, don’t even has to be bothered with at this point because severity of charges are at whole different contextual level.

        • Doodlebug

          You’re not wrong. A ‘song and dance’ over nothing to take our minds off the real facts of the matter.

    • Dizzy

      They cannot publish all the evidence as it would mean any legal case will be compromised. This is particularly pertinent regarding any damning evidence such as CCTV showing them “doing the deed”.
      Ha Ha “it’s no suprise so many are struggling to believe either side” – the only people not believing are posters on this site, the general public and the rest of the world are convinced.

      To be honest nothing would satisfy the doubters. They didn’t believe these two failed assassins even visited Salisbury or London, but guess what? Putin fessed up! Despite “impossible photos” and “doctored CCTV”.

      • Dish-Washer

        Then why haven’t they reported the suspects to Interpol? Not doing so, suggests the last thing HMG wants is to have to put these young men on trial and take the risk of their being found Not Guilty. If everyone has already swallowed the Government line except for those here, then HMG would just be taking a pointless risk.

      • Yeah, Right

        “They cannot publish all the evidence as it would mean any legal case will be compromised”

        Why, exactly?

        I’ve seen plenty of videos of petrol station holdups with the helpful voiceover of “Police have released this video in an appeal to the public. Have you seen this man? If so ring Crime-Stoppers on….”

        The police never seem all that concerned that this will “compromise” any possibility of a criminal trial if/when some concerned member of the public jumps off the couch shouting “OMG That’s Young Bill from up the road! What was that number again?”

    • Borncynical

      I agree with your comments . “a huge amount of further evidence” ? Yes, sure. Just like WMD in Iraq.

    • JB

      But there is not going to be a trial, that was a known known, to remind everyone of Donald Rumsfeld. If there is “a huge amount of evidence” why not present to the public something more convincing than already thrown at us? No one expects ALL evidence to be made public. It’s safe to claim “a huge amount of evidence” when no trial is a known known. One could even reason that if no trial is known known, why not let the world see at least some of the strong evidence?
      The thing is – we are all being played because we allow it. Instead of this exercise in speculation, which is most interesting and in many ways insightful, we should demand all the information NOW, not 20 or 30 years from now, if the world at all survives. In 20-30-50 years those responsible for this repugnant soap will be safe from any accountability one way or another. Talk is nice, but action is needed because this is all a build-up to bombing Syria and who knows what other evill actions which are endangering all of us on the planet by the minute. I suggest Craig and others use all the legal possibilities available, in all our name, to demand full disclosure about the Skripal events. Our Russian friends could do the same. The Russian authorities certainly have their idea of what, who, how, when and why.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “Security sources….” That’s shorthand for saying “The following article is a load of bollocks that’s been made up by a propagandist in the security services that we are only to happy to print verbatim.”

  • SH


    the forum engine does not allow me to answer to your last post where you described your scenario so I will answer here.

    There are 2 facts that your scenario does not explain properly

    1) If we believe timestamps in the photos they were walking faster than normal people do (at least from google maps point of view)

    2) The Wilton Rd itself does not look like an attractive tourist magnet

    My guess would be that they were walking fast to get somewhere. Where? Why fast? No, I do not suggest it was Skripal’s house. If they needed to be there or somewhere else in Salisbury by some predefined time they would use some other form of transportation

    • SH

      To illustrate my point, here is the secret recording of a chat that took place on Telegram

      March 3rd, 8PM

      P&B (London): Waiting for instructions. Over
      VVP (Moscow): You need to be at the known place no later than 12:05 tomorrow. Don’t forget the perfume. Over
      P&B: We plan to take a train to the known place. It is scheduled to arrive at 11:48 sharp. British trains are known for their reliability. If we walk really fast we will be at the known place no later than 12:05. Over
      VVP: Looks like a perfect plan. We are proud of you. Proceed as planned. Now lads order yourself some coke and prostitutes, you deserve it. Over

      • Ronaldo

        P&B: what do we do if the target is home when we arrive and see us?
        VVP: pretend you’re from Pest Disinfectant Service and the neighbors have been complaining about the bugs on their doorknob.
        P&B: Roger that. Hail the Motherland!

    • Sergei

      My scenario (which obviously is just a wild guess) explains this perfectly – all these 4 hours on the was to Salisbury they’ve been craving for a proper joint, so the first thing they did was quickly find some less crowded place to smoke it without much thinking as to where they were going, be it Wilton Road or else. Once done, they proceeded to the Cathedral.

      P.S. I in no way state they 100% didn’t kill Skripal, I cannot know that. There’s just not enough evidence to draw this conclusion. Not to mention that if they really did it, and did that on behalf of the Russian government too, that would be the most nonsensical thing the government has ever done in the most nonsensical way possible since the Motherland’s beginning.

  • Mary Paul

    Here is what I have compiled for a timeline on 4th March 2018 in Salisbury

    (I have just stuck to the Skripals and B+P at this stage. Anyone care to add relevant details for DS Bailey?) )

    You will see there are some gaps. Anyone have anything to add? What time did the Skripals and the boys feed the ducks in the park? What time train did P+B catch to London on 4th March? (and when did they claim to visit the Cathedral, was it on 3rd March?)

    I think the Skripals must have told the police what they were doing in the morning of 4th March and the police do not want us to know but maybe it relates to something below the radar but unrelated to the poisoning.

    There does not seem to have been any direct sighting of the Skripals returning to their house after the poison was smeared. That does not mean of course, that they did not, but there is no recorded evidence of them doing so.

    4th March 2018 Salisbury

    08:05: Petrov + Boshirov leave London to travel to Salisbury by train– total journey time just under 4 hours
    09.15 Skripal’s car seen in area of London Road, Churchill Way North and Wilton Road Salisbury – heading out to town to North East
    Both Skripals’ mobile phones off and no further sightings until 13:30 – see below
    11:48 Petrov + Boshirov seen on CCTV leaving Salisbury train station
    11:58 Petrov + Boshirov seen on CCTV in Wilton Road Salisbury not far from Skripals house
    NOTE Met Police say this is moments before poison was smeared on front door handle of Skripal house
    13:05 Petrov + Boshirov filmed in Fisherton Street Salisbury heading towards Salisbury train station
    13:30 Skripal car seen on Devises Road approaching town centre
    13:40 Sergei and daughter Yulia arrive upper level car park in Maltings.
    Proceed to Bishops Mill Pub in town centre (also reported as being there at 14:20)
    13:50 Petrov+Boshirov return to Salisbury train station. Seen on CCTV
    14:20 Sergei and Yulia leave Bishop’s Mill pub and and go to Zizzi’s Restaurant on foot
    14:30 – 15.35 (approx) Sergei and Yulia dine at Zizzi’s in the Maltings
    15:35 Sergei and Yulia leave Zizzi’s. Not known where they go.
    Undisclosed time:Local boys help Skripals feed ducks in Avon Playground
    ? Petrov+Boshirov catch train back to London
    16:15 Sergei and daughter Yulia found unconscious on park bench in town centre. Emergency services called.
    16:45 Petrov+Boshirov arrive back in London
    17:10 Sergei and Yulia taken separately to Salisbury District Hospital by ambulance and helicopter
    18:30 Petrov + Bashirov board London Underground to London Heathrow airport
    19:28 Petrov + Bashirov pass through Passport control at London Heathrow airport
    22:30 Petrov+Bashirov return to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585

    • Keith

      This is a good timeline, because it raises yet again the unanswered question again of how the Skripals can have come into contact with military grade Novichok on their doorhandle sometime between 11.58 and 13.30, but not become seriously ill until sometime between 15.35 and 16.15. The Novichok can’t have degraded significantly because there was so little time between the potential application and when the Skripals could have touched it. If I was trying to find any possible reason, my only conclusion could be that it was a cold day and they were both wearing gloves when they touched the doorknob so they did not come into direct contact until sometime later when they took their gloves off. But if it was that obvious why haven’t the police stated that, or something similar, as they must have had any such gloves for evidence or at least come up with some other reason for the lengthy time delay. The apparent silence on these things just increases the speculation.

      • FobosDeimos

        And the timeline also very clearly points out that P&B cannot be “GRU hitmen” following orders from Putin. They cannot be hitmen working for the mob either. How in the world could a pair of professionals feel content with smearing their magic gel (fluid, gel, perfume, who cares?) on their target’s door knob and right after that just head for the train station, catch a train to London and then a plane to Moscow without ever bothering to check if their hit was successful? And again: how on earth could the Skripals endure three or four hours of exposure to a terrible nerve agent, until magically they both collapsed at exactly the same time and place?

      • Deb O'Nair

        There was no ‘novichok’ on the door handle. That is an almost 100% certain fact. The authorities made that one up to take public focus away from the park bench. It’s more comfortable for the authorities to push a ridiculous narrative than it is for them to ‘fess up to what actually has happened (or not) and provide an explanation.

      • Steve Jones

        In Amesbury it was 8 hours between Dawn Sturgess being taken to hospital and Charlie Rowley being admitted. As we know, Dawn Sturgess sadly died whilst Charlie Rowley survived, albeit he is currently in hospital with meningitis which he might well have contracted after weakened by the earlier poisoning. Charlie Rowley reported he washed his hands after handling the stuff whilst his partner had sprayed it directly on her wrists.

        The length of time, and the effect of the agent will be, like any other toxic substance, be affected by how much the victim was exposed to, how directly it passes into the system and any decontamination (which includes washing hands). Some methods of transmission are much more effective than others. Generally breathing in such toxins is much more effective and quicker than through skin contact. The VX nerve agent that killed Kim Yong-nam was held on a cloth over his face and proved fatal very quickly, yet the two women who appear to have carried out the attack (claiming they thought they were being paid to take part in a TV prank show survived).

        All this stuff that, somehow, Novichok or nerve agents in general are somehow so deadly that they don’t follow the same basic principles of any toxin in that dose and method of ingestion affects the lethality is in the land of fantasy and illusion. In 1995 there was a Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway system. Some died, some survived. Dose matters.

    • Jo

      30 mins Salisbury to London by train does not sound right.. its is about 30 mins just from Woking…..

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