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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  • Dmitri Toptygin

    Here is one argument you may like. You can watch the full RT interview here:
    At 15:51 Simonyan says: “Okay. The British say that you have made a lot – if not dozens – of visits to Europe, in the past couple of years Switzarlend being named as your primary destination. What business you could have there as physical coaches and fitness trainers?” Borisov: “The British say all kinds of things… The hotel room that they show and say we stayed in has a bed for one person only. Meanwhile, right next to it there are double and triple rooms. And it is perfectly normal for tourists to stay together in a double room. It saves money and it is practical. It’smore fun that way and it’s also easier. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.” Simonyan: “There is no need to make any excuses here. Frankly, the world could not care less about that.”
    So, Borisov felt uncomfortable that in order to save money, he and Boshirov stayed in one room with a double bed (or twin beds?), and Simonyan even said that there is nothing to be uncomfortable about. But this means that Borisov and Boshirov were trying to save money. If they were paid by the GRU, then they would not think about saving money, I assure you. GRU agents do not save money on hotel rooms. They have enough money, and they like to enjoy the highest levels of comfort. They would rent two separate penthouses.

    • flatulence'

      Or the room was booked for them by whoever set them up. A gift of a prostitute or three with drugs would also help convince them they are meeting the real deal.

  • Doug M

    This may sound naive.

    But I as yet haven’t come up with any good answers myself.

    So here are the questions….

    What would the assassins done had the Skripals been home when they carried out the attempted poisoning. They could easily have been spotted by them had they been there.

    Then what? Would they have abandoned the plan knowing Skripal would be very wary of who approached his home anyway.

    They may have been forced to call the whole thing off – too risky.

    Or secondly, what if the Skripals were away for a few days?

    According to the police the poison washed off with the rain – so there was a chance the targets were away and no-one went near the door handle and the event was a waste of time.

    But then what if a member of the public touched the door first. A delivery man. A leaflet dropper. A neighbour or local kid. Surely this would have been considered by the perpetrators?

    Otherwise why not just poison the whole town to reach the target?

    I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but really???

    It all seems so very amateurish to be true.

    • Andyoldlabour


      “We were told by a police officer that there were two Russians showing symptoms of novichok and we would probably have to go to hospital for blood checks. It was scary. They said the public health [staff] were coming. We were evacuated. We weren’t allowed to touch people. Everyone was scared to touch us.”

      Within 20 minutes, Worne said, they were given the all-clear. But she added: “It was quite a coincidence – two Russians in Salisbury in a restaurant. It’s either a very big coincidence or people are doing things to unnerve us.”

      I would seriously like to know how the police could tell whether a nerve agent had or had not been used in 20 minutes, and what has happened to the latest Russian couple.
      This whole thing is just so bizarre.

  • Allan Howard

    Why on Earth would they BOTH think to switch their phones off? Doesn’t make sense. And how fortuitous it was for the would-be assassins that they – Sergei and Yulia Skripal – just happened to be out, and not at home as they very well could have been. And how come there’s no ‘film’ of the two would-be assassins that the police would undoubtedly have got hold of from any households in the streets close by where they supposedly walked to get to the house. I mean it seems most unlikely in this day and age that at least a few of the households in the immediate area wouldn’t have security cameras. Could that be why they waited a totally implausible three weeks before checking the front door handle (despite the fact they’d been in Mr Skripal’s house a week or more before checking packages that may have been sent to him, or that his daughter brought with her from Russia!). And wouldn’t it be just like a couple of highly-trained professional hitmen to catch a bus to Amesbury at some point after coating the door handle with “Novichok” so as to dispose of the “perfume bottle” and, as such, bung it in a charity bin (where it then just happened to remain for four months!), and cunningly did so to no doubt to put police off the scent (pun intended!). As the head of the investigation said at some point, it was a “highly sophisticated” operation (although Alex Thomson in a Channel 4 News piece took a different view of the episode and described it as “….. surely the world’s most infamously amateur nerve agent attack.”).

    And given the timelines of both the Skripals and the two suspects, it is of course inconceivable that the Skripals just happened to become incapicitated in exactly the same moment some three or four hours after touching the handle of the front door (one of them when entering the house, and the other when leaving leaving the house presumably, after coming back to the house for HOW long?!).

  • Ken Perrott

    Craig, you ask for comments on the identification of novichock-type compounds in the London Hotel room.

    I am a chemist and have written this article specifically about the problems of identification of trace amounts of compounds using MS..Craig

    My conclusion is that the positive identification of traces in 2 out of probably a large number of samples probably indicates these were false positives that could not be replicated.

    Feel free to ask for clarification if needed

    • Farpoint

      Ken, is it possible that certain insecticides could have a similar chemical structure to a nerve agent? The hotel looks the sort of place that may have had infestations in the past, and traces of insecticide could remain.

      • Tom Smythe

        Ken, they stated that the two positives were not replicatable, in claiming the first round of swabbing had miraculously decontaminated the room.

        As discussed earlier, off a cotton swab, Porton Down lab may not have had sufficient material for gc-mass spec to match retention times and mass fragment spectra with their reference material. A far more sensitive assay but less specific assay is inhibition of acetylcholine esterase. That would only show the presence of an organophosphate targeting the active site serine. Cockroach and flea powders (did the hotel allow pets?) could conceivably have been present.

        What is missing here are scientific controls: did they swab ten other rooms in the hotel at the same places (kitchenette?) as the two positives and find them negative?

        My sense is the conveniently ultra-low positives are entirely fabricated out of whole cloth. Met has done this before to frame Irish. The investigation had failed to produce results after six months. Without the bogus novichok spill in the hotel room, there is nothing tying the fall guys to the Skripals.

    • Ken Kenn

      Thanks Ken

      Interesting analysis.

      Way above my Brain Grade but if I’ve got you right you are saying that two swabs only with ” positive traces ”
      were enough proof but you would have to know how many swabs and their position in the room to make a relative judgement in terms of probabilty?

      This strikes me as media/public orientated.
      From the Police report:

      ” Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok at levels below that which would cause concern for public health ”

      You’re alright folks we didn’t find enough to kill you – but there’s definitely something there.


    • Andyoldlabour

      @Ken Perrott,
      I am a biologist, and my wife is a biotechnologist, and we are confused by your post.

      “probably indicates these were false positives that could not be replicated”

      I hope that we are are reading from the same script here.

  • MaryPau!

    I have some more updates to my timeline but this thread is due to expire soon and as I am sure there will be further developments generating new threads, I will save it till then.

    I would say that. given Yulia is now recovered and talking, I imagine the police have accounted for what the Skrioaks were doing Saturday morning – interesting that Sergei’s friend Ross Cassidy thinks they were home at 1pm.

    I am now wondering why the police persist in omitting the duck feeding incident from their timeline. More specifically I am wondering how the Skripals could touch the Novichok agent at lunchtime and not collapse until 16:15 and then not be fatally affected. The North Korean presidents brother, attacked in the Malaysian airport with a nerve agent was swiftly treated with the known antidotes and still died a rapid death. We are told the Nerve agent used in Salisbury was ‘military grade,’ yet we are also expected to believe it took 3 hours to work.

    I am still puzzled about the fake perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found on 27 June. What sort of charity bin was it in? It seemed to be new and unopened by his account. Do we really think the assassins were able to stop and reseal it without spilling any? Has the area where it was found been decontaminated? I continue to think it was a second bottle.

    Finally it has all gone quiet on Skripals involvement in helping Spanish police tackle the local Russian mafia in Spain and his years at the Madrid embassy. .I wonder if there is some connection there with P+B.

    So lots to go on.

    • Ken Kenn

      Mary Paul

      I am now wondering why the police persist in omitting the duck feeding incident from their timeline.


      The reason could be that this is the only clear CCTV they have of the Skripals.

      If I read correctly the mother of the kids stated that she had seen the CCTV film and confirmed that the two people were the Skripals.

      As I’ve said previously it would be useful to see some footage or photos of the pair in order to ascertain what they were wearing and in particular Yulia’s hair colour.

      You are correct to be suspicious of the reason why we or the media have not released this footage.


        The met has been spoken to.

        They have confirmed they do have cctv of the skripals, but they are not going to release it. They would also not deny there was cctv at skripals home.


      This has all already been discussed on blogmire and, all your questions, the timeline corrections, all of it. Just go and read it all.

      As for the Ducks, it’s blindingly obvious why it was omitted. Because they had literally just come from home, with hands apparently coated in novichok, yet the boys they handed bread to didn’t get dosed. Conclusion, they simply could not have been novichoked by that door handle.

      • Doodlebug

        Your post of September 15, 2018 at 22:02

        “There is a huge and obvious point being missed about the whole doorknob thing.
        “It’s astonishing nobody seems to have seen it.”

        Are you disposed to revealing this huge point or is it the duck feeding you’re implying?

      • Allan Howard

        They weren’t Novichoked at ALL. It was all staged. Anyway, I just went to your website (for the first time) and read the piece that concluded that Petrov and Boshirov were ‘spotters’, but how could Petrov and Boshirov have possibly known WHERE the Skripals were going AND what route they would take, OR that they would go anywhere at ALL (after returning home)? And where does DS Nick Bailey fit into your scenario – ie how did he come to be contaminated? And how come there were Novichok traces supposedly found in Zizzies? Etc, Etc.

        The very idea that Putin would order a hit-job on a former GRU officer and have it done just TWO days before the pre-planned events to celebrate 100 days to go to the World Cup Football Tournament AND just several months before the high profile event kicked off is beyond absurd. AND to have it done with a highly toxic nerve agent that could potentially kill dozens or even hundreds of people! I don’t think so.

        • Dish-Washer

          I seem to remember that the Skripal Affair took place just in time to keep a major defeat for May in Brussels out of the news headlines.


            Bailey, as I’ve written on the site, could well have been the assigned officer that weekend. The response was so fast and large, that it suggests skripal may have been assigned a watcher.

            As for zizzi. I don’t belive there was novichok found. Nobody got ill, and look how they have proclaimed novichok was found in the hotel room at incredibly low levels. Levels so low you’d have to ask how they could analyse it so say it.

            As Alex Thompson as said, this is a pr exercise as much as an investigation.

      • MaryPau!

        I have already looked at blogmire and have some timeline updates waiting as a result. I will look at daily shocker. I am trying, as far as I can, to stick to documented sightings or verifiable accounts and not include assertions. So for example I need to verify where I picked up the comment that Charlie R found the perfume in a charity bin.


    • Tom Smythe

      It was not found in a charity bin. The street address and photos of the two commercial bins have been published. They were in an alley between a restaurant and a car park. The bins were removed for testing; no results have been released. Their tipping schedule has not been released but I would suppose weekly. So they had been emptied a dozen times or more since the early March incident.

      Consequently the perfume bottle had to have been placed there very near to the time of Charlie’s recovery of it.

      That is what has gotten the police so agitated: someone on the team was still there — or back there — in Salisbury in July.

      • Tom Smythe

        Just to repeat: the dumpster perfume bottle has NOT been tied chemically (impurity signature) to the attack on the Skripals. There is NO evidence for the existence of a second perfume bottle. There is NO evidence that a perfume bottle delivery system was used in the Skripal attack.

        • Tom Smythe

          Continuing: there is NO chemical evidence that the hotel room positive swaps (assuming they really exist which I don’t) are from the same batch as either the bin perfume bottle or the novichok targeting the Skripals.

          Furthermore, there never will be because the police simply do not have adequate sample size elsewhere to compare with the bin perfume bottle. Police have not disclosed how many ml were present/left in that bottle.

        • MaryPau!

          Ben Wallace, the security minister, claimed in parliament the other day, assuming newspaper reports are correct, that the bottle Charlie found was the same bottle containing novichok agent, which was used originally on the Skripals door. And yes BW does come across as a pxxxxxk.

        • Mary Paul

          Tom Smythe – the Daily Shocker says it was a charity bin as it was removed by a private contractor?

      • Dish-Washer

        What exactly is meant by a ‘charity bin’? A dustbin with waste from a charity, i.e. something that could by thrown into by anyone who went down that alley? A display bin outside a charity shop from which shoppers could select articles to buy? What was the exact address of this shop or bin? The alley. Is the shop in the alley, or the bin?


        Completely untrue assumption.

        It was a charity shop bin. So a private collection bin that would cost them fifty quid or more to empty.

        If all they were putting in it was old clothes etc, it’s emptying could easily be quarterly.


          Or on demand.

          How much rubbish would a charity shop generate?

          Look at the bin, it’s got a private contractor number on it. It’s not a council bin.

          Rowley also stated that the box he opened had cellophane on it.

          The inescapable conclusion is a second bottle was ditched in a quiet bin in a corner by an escaping hit team.
          Anyway this is old ground.

          • Keith McClary

            “How much rubbish would a charity shop generate?”
            Quite a lot, if most of their donations are not fit to sell.

    • Dish-Washer

      Collapsing a couple of hours later is consistent with eating something very nasty in that restaurant. It was reported they had eaten seafood. If they had amnesic shellfish poisoning, they would not remember heading home or where they went that day.

  • squirrel

    Salisbury may not be the most common choice of tourist destination for a Russian on a weekend break, but there is maybe a data mining fallacy at play here. Like, it’s a 14 million to one shot at winning the lottery, but if you are looking through a list of lottery winners, you’ll find ‘implausible’ results.

    Doubtless tourists do visit Salisbury and some of them will be Russian.

    I would suspect that our state has gone on a CCTV trawl, looking at feeds from around Salisbury and attempting to match up faces with Russian tourists coming into the main airports etc. A big task but far from impossible with today’s facial recognition software.

    This of course could have been as part of a legitimate investigation. This would surely have identified a few Russians as potential candidates.

    With Petrov and and Boshirov looking like the most plausible, all that would have been needed to frame them is to plant a chemical sample in the hotel room they were identified to have stayed in, while delaying the hotel room inspection until that happened. Bingo. If the hotel management needed to okay that, they might have requested that nothing be found that posed a danger to health so they wouldn’t have any loss of reputation or legal issues.

    It would also be necessary to control any CCTV footage which would exonerate them.

    • Tom Smythe

      Right. Airline arrival database trawl first, then cctv Salisbury train station confirm, then other Salisbury town cctv sightings. To keep the trawl manageable, it is narrowed (1) to a time window around the attack and say (2) travelers arriving from Russia on Russian passports and leaving to Russian within the time window.

      The problem is with the filtering assumptions, for example why not look at Russians mobster affiliates arriving from Spain a week earlier or Ukrainians arriving from wherever.

      Here we had self-fulfilling prophecy. It was announced before the investigation had even convened that GR agents from Russia had done it. That lead to filtering assumptions that, guess what, pulled out to Russian males from Russia who had visited Salisbury and returned to Russia on Russian passports within the time window.

      Met didn’t really expend too much energy on an actual investigation because its outcome had been politicized very early on.

      Met did not find the perfume bottle, it was thrust upon them. Met did not develop the identities or background of the two because, under the assumptions, the two false identities would simply go underground in Russia never to be heard of again. It never occurred to Met that these guys could be legit, be traveling under legit names and have a legit nutraceutical business.

      Or at least not be criminal enough to be of any particular interest to Russian police. In a lot of countries, for example Thailand, as long as you steal only from foreigner nationals, you will not ever be prosecuted. Ditto Latvia etc, drain a Brazilian ATM by swiping passcodes and bring foreign exchange into the Lavian etc economy, you are not going to be a priority for prosecution.

      Putin knew enough about what these guys really do that he was confident that exposure by internet sleuths will not reflect poorly on the Russian State, merely make the UK look ridiculous in accusing them.

    • Dish-Washer

      I very much doubt they would have told the hotel management anything, beyond the natural police need to send in the technicians to check up on what they could find. More likely they didn’t have to plant anything either. False positives are quite common when dealing with tiny amounts. Probably the Home Office and PM insisted the Met present the evidence of the false positive in a way that would make it look like this was the big proof needed. Matter of convincing Joe Public.

  • Ray

    Sorry if I am playing catch up, but this is the first time I was made aware of this published in the Clinical Services Journal on Monday 5 March 2018

    ”Salisbury District Hospital declared a “major incident” on Monday 5 March, after two patients were exposed to an opioid. The fire service was called to decontaminate the hospital’s Accident & Emergency unit, as paramedics treated the casualties.

    Emergency personnel arrived to the scene, wearing full-body hazardous materials protective and an incident response unit was on site.

    It followed an incident hours earlier in which a man and a woman were exposed to the drug Fentanyl in the city centre. The opioid is 10,000 times stronger than heroin.

    A spokesman for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are currently dealing with a major incident involving a small number of casualties, with a multi-agency response. It is under 10 people, but I cannot say any more at the moment.

    “People with outpatient appointments in other areas of the hospital can still come in as planned, but we are asking people not to come to the Accident and Emergency department unless it is an emergency.”

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Ray September 18, 2018 at 08:13
      ‘…The opioid is 10,000 times stronger than heroin…’
      As with ‘Novichoks’, figures for the strength of Fentanyl are all over the show.
      ‘…“Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more concentrated than morphine,” says Professor Farrell. “It’s very difficult for people to know just how much they are extracting from the patch and injecting. It is already a very powerful opioid and people are injecting it without being able to control how much….’
      I think the latter link is more trustworthy.

    • Doodlebug

      As significant as the Davies letter is, the CSJ comment you’ve turned up implies, either that there were further ‘incidents’ on 5 March, or an additional couple, besides the Skripals, were contaminated the day beforehand. Whichever it is this information seems to have been kept well and truly in the cupboard..

  • Mike at 49

    Seemingly another gaping hole in the govt narrative. After parking car and before going to the pub, when according to govt, they must have been contaminated with novichok from door handle, they were feeding ducks with 2 children and passing bread to them. No dead ducks, children or mothers altho both pub and restaurant remain closed as so contaminated.

    • Dish-Washer

      Funny how the restaurant remains closed as if they had found something really nasty in it, whereas the London hotel where P&B supposedly left traces of actual Novichok was never closed at all.

  • MaryPau!

    I have now looked at daily shockers website (https:/ which has a detailed time line of P+B movements on Sunday with CCTV footage and I am reminded I have not yet included them window shopping the coins in Dauwalders window in my time line. The actual time they did this seems crucial, is there a definitive version, as it is possible that the shops CCTV clock may have been inaccurate. Anyone know?


      The clock time is accurate.

      Which means anothrr issue is the police timestamp shows them back at the train station one minute after them trying to get into a shop.

      Physically impossible journey.

      And if they were trying to catch that two pm train, why the hell were they farting around trying to wander into a shop….

      • Radio Jammor

        Which is more likely to be accurate: the CCTV timestamp at a train station or the CCTV timestamp for a shop, run by a middle-aged man, that wasn’t open at the time?

        How are you so sure that the Dauwalders CCTV time stamp is accurate? Did you ask him and he said it was? Frankly I conclude that it must be wrong, and was most likely c40 minutes fast.

        Assuming of course the Met are not lying about the CCTV time stamps they have provided. Frankly, despite my significant levels of suspicion of the evidence provided, it would seem silly to lie about such timestamps, in case someone came along and said they were there and the time given is false.

        And there was no train at 2pm. It was due to depart at 2.27pm. It was Sunday. The trains were hourly at that time.

    • Radio Jammor

      I’ve mentioned this a few times. I don’t see how the Dauwalders CCTV time stamp can be accurate.

      It’s location happens to be in between the two CCTV captures in Fisherton Street on the Sunday at 13:05 and 13:08. Yet the CCTV stamp on the Dauwalders CCTV says it was at 13:48-13:49. But that is a minute before they arrived at Salisbury station, which is five or so minutes away.

      I believe that CCTV capture was between 13:05 and 13:08, because it fits with those images. And if they were at Dauwalders at a different time than that, why isn’t there CCTV of them on one or more of those three cameras twice? If the CCTV at Dauwalders has caught them at a different time, that would mean they were in Fisherton Street twice between 1pm and 1:50pm, so there should be CCTV of them on at least one of the other cameras, because they’d have to pass at least one of them. And the CCTV at Dauwalders should have shown them passing by a second time, also.

      So no – going on what CCTV images we have, I firmly believe the CCTV at Dauwalders is inaccurate and was about 40 minutes fast. The alternative to that is that it was five minutes fast, P&B were in Fisherton Street twice, travelling the same way both times, whilst managing to avoid being on CCTV on either of the other cameras either side of Dauwalders, especially the one that has them at 13:08, as that is on the same side of the road to Dauwalders.

  • Kakapo3

    I can’t see the problems with the timelines:
    Before 9:15 am the Skripals left their home and went “some place” (neither the BBC nor myself know where) At this moment the poisoning could not have taken place otherwise the Skripals would have collapsed earlier and traces of the poison would have been found in “some place”.
    So the poisoning must have been taken place after the return from “some place” before arriving at the pub, parking lot, restaurant (where traces of the poison had been found). Nothing in the official timelines rules the possibility out, that the Skripals return from “some place” to their home, got poisoned and went to the pub / parking lot / Restaurant after. It is only a short distance by car from the Skripal’s home to the pub / parking lot / restaurant. If they went nowhere else, they should have left the home around 1 p.m. and touched by doing so their door handle. Enough time for the suspects to prepare the door handle between noon and 1 p.m. (so enough Poirot talk)
    The timeline neither prove nor exclude the guild of the suspects. (Sorry English is not my native language)

    • Max_B

      You can forget all that, as 4 months later a counterfeit bottle of perfume with a modified long nozzle dispenser turns up on the kitchen worktop of a substance abuser, heroin addict, and convicted drug dealer in Amesbury. The bottle we are told, contains an almost pure source of the same compound responsible for the earlier Salisbury incident.

      One doesn’t go to the trouble of counterfeiting a brand name of perfume, if you need just one or two bottles of the stuff. The Amesbury counterfeit bottle doesn’t match the original genuine perfume bottles, they are clear glass, and a slightly different size and shape, they are screen printed with the perfumes brand and name, but the screen printing is not identical, they have a different top, and a completely new dispenser. The outer foil box has also been copied, but badly.

      Nobody goes to the trouble of counterfeiting a perfume container and packaging like that if they only require one or two bottles. One would simply buy the real perfume, open the packaging carefully, and replace the contents of the original bottle, and then the only complex thing necessary to do, is to reseal the box so that it looks new and unopened. This method is far cheaper and far faster, and there are far fewer people involved.

      One only goes to the trouble of *badly* counterfeiting with die cutting, and printing foil cardboard packaging, and screen printing glass bottles when one is intending to manufacture and distribute a product in much larger quantities, something like more than 100 bottles I would think, probably a lot more.

      The Salisbury and Amesbury incidents appear to be the fallout from some sort of lethally powerful illicit compound, intended for use as a narcotic, which has either been manufactured in bulk within the UK (unlikely), or outside of the UK, perhaps the Far East, for mass distribution.

      Charlie had possession of a bottle containing the substance, because he was probably dealing again – hence how he was able to afford his new home – both he and Dawn probably became contaminated by the bottles lethal contents. The Skripal’s became contaminated because they were handling the same, or similar drugs, and it appears they left a snail trail of the compound in their wake, suggesting something like an inadvertent leak as the cause of their contamination.

      The USA has just stated that opioid overdose deaths in the USA during 2017 reached 79,000. They apparently expect the 2018 figure will be larger, a bad year. Some of these deaths are from prescription opioid drugs, and the balance from illicit opioid drugs, in the latter group synthetic opioids like fentanyl’s, including carfentanil now account for a large proportion of these overdose deaths, and their proportion is growing. These are enormous numbers. I mean the total deaths of US military personnel during the whole of WWII was a touch over 400,000.

      • Mary Paul

        One comment – I suspect Charlie did not buy his home but was assigned it by the local council. In the UK planning permission is granted by the local authority and, as there is such a severe shortage of lower cost housing, a condition of approving private sector developments is often that a small number of units will be offered at an affordable rent for the local authority to assign to low waged and needy people and families in their area. I suspect Charlie, who we are told was trying to “turn his life around”, had been allocated one of the units to rent on this basis.His brother said afterwards Charlie was very worried he might lose his flat (apartment) as a result of all the publicity.

    • Doodlebug

      Sure is. The piece you link to clarifies the situation somewhat. The CSJ report of 5 March is taken as referring to incidents occurring the day before, of which there were two. So who were the other couple?

  • Olaf S

    The secret of the doorknob.

    1.The couple was sprayed while at the bench, considering the strong, simultaneous symptoms, and everything..

    2.Since they were not attacked with a deadly substance, it must have been meant as a warning.

    3.Who sprayed? We can not be absolutely sure at this point. However:

    4.A rather overwhelming set of factors points to UK or US involvement. The crux is the stubborn insisting on the doorknob version by the authorities. Only plausible explanation: The doorknob was actually smeared with novichok! Only Skrips were not meant to touch it: (They were prevented by the spraying attack). The planting of a bottle w novichok in a container would later serve the same purpose.
    The plan must have been to – sumultaneously with the warning – to use the opportunity to keep the general russophobia alive: Not polonium this time, but ”Russian” novichok.

    (5. According to this: Whatever the involvment of the 2 Russian ammateurs, it is unimportment in the big picture),

    • Olaf S

      Sorry for the sentence beginning with ”Skrips”. Probably bad English. Make it ”The Skrips”.

      Probably only a Russian would omit the ”The”, since they have no feeling for this particle ( missing in their language).

    • Mary Paul

      I am really not buying this Russia phobia argument in the UK. In the US maybe, where they have a long standing suspicion of “Russkies” and “Commies” etc. But not in the UK, we never had McCarthy type show trials or Hollywood style black lists. Most people in the UK are not much interested in Russia and certainly not preoccupied with it. Obviously it makes the World news pages in the press for big stories like Crimea and Syria but other than than nothing really.

      I am honestly not buying into the idea it was a secret exercise designed by the UK intelligence services to poison potentially hundreds of British citizens and cause a massive clean up operation in a historic and beautiful British city, in order to whip up some anti Russian fervour. I was in a meeting today and asked my colleagues what they thought about the Sklripal affair. They were sad about Salisbury and bemused by latest developments but other than that had only a passing interest. They were certainly not seething with anger to attack Russia at the first opportunity. .

      And how do you account for the perfume bottle found by Charlie Rowley. How does that factor into a campaign by our intelligence services to stir up anti Russia feeling.?

      • Jo

        about 35% of people I meet are russophobic….intensely…paetichlarly the mid to older generation…even though Russia did so much in ww2

        • __alex__

          calm down. russophobia is just a sufficient condition of ignorance, without exceptions. not every ignorant is russophobe, but every russophobe is ignorant.

      • __alex__

        as any poison novichok has his lethal dose. if you put 1/100 of lethal dose on the doorknob, but poison them by fentanyl in restaurant, you can draw this events as poisoning by novichok. without any threat to citizens.

      • Dish-Washer

        @Mary Paul: I don’t think that’s the way the Russophobia argument goes. The problem to be resolved is that we are not nearly russophobic enough from the HMG way of viewing things. May and her lot want a new Cold War in which Britain would at least have a biggish role producing military hardware alongside an alliance with the States. It’s one of the very few things we do relatively well, and countries like Saudi Arabia are already showing there’s a big market there. The problem is that most Brits don’t want a Cold War and rather like the peaceful Corbyn approach. So this Salisbury business would fit into a strategy of obtaining our somewhat grudging compliance. It would also help create more approval of moves towards Cold War attitudes in Europe and internationally. I think that’s the actual line you should be dealing with.
        As for Porton Down, a short dig into their history with their Centre for Research into Curing the Common Cold or whatever, with its massive criminal infection of uninformed servicemen with the most horrible diseases and illnesses, shows they should have no reputation to lose. PD is just above Salisbury, and they might well be deeply involved in yet another an attempt to deceive the public.
        As for the “bins” I agree that is more problematic if the bin involved was not a ‘rummage bin’ with small items for sale outside a charity shop in opening hours, which is what I had understand previously from the ambiguous wording of our too often inadequate press. If Rowley had to disappear into a skip down a back alley to find the stuff, that would suggest the perps wanted just to get rid of the stuff before a possible search found it on them.They probably thought it would end as landfill or burnt.
        Had it been placed in a rummage bin or tray, then it would have been deliberately meant to be found and used by innocents. That would be more the old Porton Down ‘moral’ line, and designed to prove for HMG that those Russkies were really evil enemies of the Brit people, not just of a traitor spy, so we’d do better to allow T.May free rein to protect us from them.

      • Sc

        I was reading Kim, and thought what is it about us and Russia … That was all about spying in tsarist times, then there was cold war and spying in communist times, now communism is long gone and they still seem like the goto enemy … I did wonder if it’s just elderly people at the top in the secret services who want their russian experience to still be valuable. Nothing personal against russian people in my experience, but we love to worry about their government.

      • Mary Paul

        Even if the Intelligence services wished to whip up anti Russian fervour, I don’t think poisoning Sergei Skripal and contaminating Salisbury let alone potentially killing many of its inhabitants, is a sensible or practical way to go about it. I must admit I am starting to wonder about the Fentanyl trafficking connection.

        • Dish-Washer

          Mary have you read about the experiments made by Porton Down to contaminate coastlines and coastal towns in Britain? It’s not a matter of whipping up anti-Russian hysteria here in Britain but more about having reasons for promoting anti-Russian alliances and action internationally. There really wasn’t much hatred of Iraq in Britain but Blair managed to push us into war with it by his lies. Our politicians need some sort of ‘moral’ veil to justify their moves, to obtain sufficient consent.. Only requires enough social pressure for people to believe resistance is hopeless, and that’s a fairly easily induced attitude in the UK.ww

        • Sc

          The public health warnings seemed too muddled, late and calm for serious danger of poisoning. Wasn’t bag up your clothes weeks after?

    • __alex__

      if you apply pure novichok via spray, you must use gas mask and rubber gloves, chemists say.
      was there any gas mask in the charity bin?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Have you tried spaying a doorknob ? They are usually cheap Chinese brass-finish or aluminium on these modern houses and unless they are coated in gel or corroded by acid they do not retain anything but self-clean in the rain

  • Andyoldlabour

    Hear are some interesting images from SomersetLive, showing the Nina Ricci “premier jour” perfume bottle alleged to have contained Novichok, plus CCTV pictures of the two Russian “suspects”, who amazingly seem to have perfected timetravel, as they occupy the same space at exactly the same time down to the second, so maybe if I put my Sherlock Holmes deerstalker on, then that would seem to indicate that we are looking for a third individual called – Doc Emmett Brown and a DeLorean sports car.

    Another picture shows the two men at Salisbury station at 1611 on Saturday 3rd March apparently hoping to catch a train back to London.
    They return to Salisbury at 1148 on Sunday 4th March, and are spotted walking in Wilton Road Salisbury moments before the “attack”.
    They then get back to Salisbury station at 1350 on 4th March to return to London, and are spotted clearing passport control at Gatwick at 1928 the same evening.

    • Dish-Washer

      If they were going on a weekend tourist trip as they said, then they’d have to get to Gatwick by the preordained time and pick up their luggage first. Not surprising they wanted to be on time and not miss the plane.

      • Radio Jammor

        Met Police: “At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.”

        “From Heathrow Airport, they returned to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March.”

        Were you mixing up where they came and went from? I know I’ve done this with the arrival at Gatwick, and said it was Heathrow.

        Far more likely they put it in left luggage at somewhere like Waterloo, before heading to Salisbury on the Sunday, and collected it when they got back there.

  • Tom Smythe

    Fascinating … here we are 4-5 days after the two guys came out on Russia and we know absolutely nothing more about their identities, their lifestyle or their maybe-shady nutraceutical business.

    If that involved knock-offs of speciality health products, that would be IP theft from the West, perhaps illegal in Russia but hardly an enforcement priority. Alexandra Elbakyan, who holds the Guinness Book of Records title for most IP theft with 70,000,000 technical documents, not only has not been prosecuted but is openly busier than ever.

    We’ve been served endless rounds of thin gruel about the duo’s partial route in Salisbury and a supposed party in their hotel room, according to a guest who was not named and may not exist, as supported by unnamed hotel staff and cleaners short on details about a never-seen female (?) prostitute and pot smoking (which just puts you to sleep and is perfectly legal in many parts of the world including where I live).

    Suppose, as the NYTimes piece has it, that Sergei had resumed or never stopped working with the main paying client being, as when stationed in Madrid, the Spanish intelligence agency SNSwhich was very concerned over the growing presence and corrupting influence of Spanish-based offshoots of the Tambov-Malyshev gang, once Russia’s biggest crime syndicate and also the late Litvinenko’s area of Spanish consulting expertise.

    Since Sergei would be doing this with the full awareness MI6’ers Pablo Miller and C Steele. the UK immediately knew of who had ordered the attack on the Skripals. The UK, having nothing to be gained from chasing after gangsters in Spain and believing them mere tentacles of the Kremlin, then seized the opportunity to score big propaganda points by blaming the Russian head of state as the octupus’ head, even though then and now no supporting evidence for that could be developed.

    • __alex__

      1. more fascinating is all that story about the perfume bottle. it looks like police never expected to find it, and now does not know what to do with.
      there is no any analysis of its materials, construction, explanation how it could be absolutely hermetic during transportation and be prepared for usage, etc.

      2. Alexandra Elbakian is just a person, who believe that scientific knowledge must be free, and she is a figther against “digital inequality” in the modern world. Her mentioning here is an improper argument in scriplals case.

      3. Isn’t this Scripal’s involvement in spanish jobs just a rumor?

      • Tom Smythe

        Oh I am a big fan of sci-hub and the courageous and competent Elbakian. It is an admirable case of civil disobedience to corporate publishing hegemony, indeed extortion and maintenance of empire, designed to keep less affluent countries that way and discourage scientific and technological progress from an uncontrolled quarter. Open source is on its way … sci-hub has a place in history as a catalyst for change.

        However from a legalistic perspective — and admittedly the copyright laws were dictated by the propertied classes — sci-hub is in violation of intellectual property owner rights. Those that have none now might feel differently if they had some later and were plagiarized. I don’t know Russia’s formal position on IP treaties, and the like, would they sit back as others undercut kalashnikov or buk sales without licensing?

        So whether Petrov et al are producing knockoffs of birkenstocks or health pep pills, it is less nobly wrapped than sci-hub but still a valid analogy. Elbakian has made ten$ of million$ from sci-hub, perhaps not by design but because donations could only be made through early bitcoin. She is well aware that authorities in Moscow could shut the journal distribution down at any time.

        However, like Snowden, that hasn’t happened and won’t happen in the current environment. Ditto Petrov et al, the authorities looked into their business and decided, if it was sub-legal, it was not anything that needed to be shut down. The common denominator for immunity is stealing from the west rather than damaging the national interest.

        Skripal was military attache in Madrid for some years and was introduced to Pablo Miller through SNS. That much is not rumor. The quotes from senior SNS in the NYTimes are likely accurate. Pablo is a Spanish given name, seemingly on his mother’s side. He too was based in Spain for MI6 when recruiting Skripal after SNS introductions. He now lives in Salisbury like Skripal. Coincidence?

        Beyond that, we can infer that Skripal had made serious enemies, probably through recent activities rather than pre-2004 imprisonment. Yulia not, yet puzzlingly she seems to have been targeted or acceptable as secondary casualty. Two or three other plausible scenarios, like dossier cover-up or mother in law have been put forward.

        But yes, we have next to no hard information. There is a lot of reliance on secondary sources and the playing field is littered with misinformation, disinformation, speculation, rumors, and misunderstandings.–malyshevskaya-criminal-gangs-in-spain-/

        • __alex__

          if scripal had serious enemies, the first thing he must do – ask police/Mi6 for protection, set cams around his house and signalling system on doors and windows. and all this activities and equipment would give no chances for Pertov/Boshirov.
          and where is a footage from this cams?

      • Jo

        There was some regerence by that Hamish idiot I seem to remember perhaps to a russian q dept spending a fortune on making a special ceramic absolutely fool proof unbreakable container…….!

  • Coldish

    Hi Craig, you wrote ‘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.’
    That’s an attractive scenario, but in a highly politicised case such as this requires more confidence in the integrity of the British legal system than I would have. You know about the false convictions of Gerry Conlon and all the others innocents convicted of the Guildford and Woolwich bombings; I’m sure you also know about Judith Ward and about the Carl Bridgwater murder case. The Birmingham Six went down for 16 years on the basis of false positive tests for explosive traces (along with forced false confessions).
    As you point out, the only substantive evidence against Boshirov and Petrov consists of two non-reproducible positive traces of ‘Novichok’ (whatever that is) found in a bedroom the men had occupied 2 months previously. We have not been told the total number of samples tested, or what the test procedure was, or how clearly positive the two positives were. The non-reproducibility indicates that the positives may have been equivocal or false. However judges are lawyers and rarely (or never) have scientific or statistical skills enabling them to critically assess forensic evidence. Jurors are likewise mostly laypeople. I’d hate to be dependent on a defence lawyer being able to demolish a forcefully presented statement from a well-briefed forensic witness for the prosecution.
    The crucial evidence against one of the Libyans charged with the Lockerbie bombing was forensic – a timer associated with some scorched clothes which had been bought in Malta. The lawyer representing that defendant hadn’t done his homework and failed to raise the point that the forensic report had been tampered with, some pages missing and others altered. It is by no means clear that there had been any mention of the timer in the original version of the report. As a result the defendant was convicted (by a panel of judges, not by a jury) and sentenced.
    In passing, it’s worth recalling that both defendants in the Lockerbie case were keen to volunteer to surrender themselves for trial as they were confident that the exemplary Scottish legal system would confirm their innocence. If I was Petrov or Boshirov I’d give British ‘justice’ a wide berth.
    Thanks, Craig, for the admirable work you’ve done on this issue. Don’t let the bxxxers get you down!

  • Max_B

    A lot of interesting Canadian government data in an alert from January this year about the typical indicators to look for in Fentanyl trafficking…

    The prescription opioid fentanyl is used to treat severe pain caused by cancer and invasive surgeries. Carfentanil is a synthetic analogue of this drug, created for veterinary purposes to be more potent and cheaper. Traffickers are producing and distributing deadly black-market versions of fentanyl and its analogues to meet the demand for illicit prescription painkillers. The growing number of deaths from taking fentanyl is a public health crisis in Canada.

    Financial intelligence suggests that traffickers procure fentanyl, and its analogues and precursors, from overseas sources, mainly in China. Traffickers most often pay for these materials with wire transfers and money orders processed by money services businesses, but use virtual currency in some instances. Fentanyl and its analogues are typically smuggled into Canada through the postal system, prior to being distributed through networks in a small area surrounding the arrival point.

    I’ve pulled some points out that I found interesting…

    + Typically, the wire transfers and money orders are sent by numerous, seemingly unconnected individuals in Canada to the identical recipients in China (in Wuhan, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Xianju and Shanghai, in particular), Ukraine and India.

    + Client requests wire transfers to companies advertising the sale of fentanyl and/or its known chemical precursors: NPP (1-Phenethyl-4-piperidone); ANPP (4-azido-2-nitrophenyl Phosphate) and Norfentanyl (N-phenyl-N-pieridin-4ylpropanamide).

    + Client deals with firms that advertise pharmaceuticals, supplements, weight-loss medications and related products. (These firms’ transactions can—knowingly or unknowingly—be used to mask fentanyl trafficking, since they use packaging and shipping services similar to those in the fentanyl trade.)

    Carfentanil is highlighted in the Canadian’s introduction, obviously it’s lethal. I already knew about fentanyl’s trafficked from China… but not that the Ukraine and India are two other fentanyl-type trafficking hotspots. I thought it was interesting that Charlie’s perfume is quite a small sized one, just a 6 ml bottle, which seems ideal for shipping through the post. Considering the RT interview of the two Russian suspects, and their reluctance to reveal their jobs/company, other than they were in nutrition and supplements etc., It is interesting that the Canadian’s highlight that business as an example of a high risk business, that can be used to mask Fentanyl trafficking.

    • Tom Smythe

      Fentanyl attacks an altogether different neurotransmitter system with utterly different symptoms, care, antidotes, duration and sequelae. As you say, it is legal to manufacture in some countries and easily ordered online and distributed by the postal service.

      Here we need something that requires trips abroad, say shopping for samples, client counseling or personal services. Not something doable more securely and affordably online. We could probably do worse than read the transcript line by line and take them at their word. It is scarcely conceivable that their many trips to Geneva and Paris involved assassinations, there would not be an expat left standing yet we have heard absolutely nothing.

      • Tom Smythe

        I could have added, services that could not be provided by telephone or Skype-like video conferencing either. Their travels were a mix of meetings with clients, tourism and various forms of fun.

      • Max_B

        Err no Tom, toxic chemicals intended for use as illicit narcotic’s is a better fit for what little we know about the Salisbury incident, than any other theory.

        • Tom Smythe

          Better fit? It seems totally out of the blue, utterly lacking in support. These two might be couriers of some kind but they are not mules (bulk drug smugglers) nor do they appear addicts themselves. Possibly they deal in designer herbals on the client health side; those might not be tested much less approved nor work as the client hopes but nor are they illegal: the system cannot keep up with all the quackery out there.

          Stringing emotive buzzwords together (“toxic chemicals intended for use as illicit narcotics”) — do you have specific chemical families or their synthetic precursors in mind with final manufacture by unspecified parties in unspecified countries to be sold in unspecified countries by whom?

          Only a tiny handful of drugs are complex natural products still grown more cheaply in fields, even those can be made from scratch per instructions published long ago in peer-reviewed chemical journals, today scanned and free online.

          Where are affordable Ph.D chemists today, that would be India. Please tell us what compounds are illicit in India and how Britain regulates from afar the millions of daily postal shipments between India and Russia. China too, are they terribly concerned with drug addiction in foreign lands after centuries of foreigner abuse?

          The problem with labelling something ‘illicit’ in rich countries A-B only incentivizes poor countries C-Z to make it; sovereignty considerations and corruption prevent enforcement. It is all but impossible to regulate precursors as they could be used in making thousands of mundane products.

          For example, pseudoephedrine is a valid medicinal but a kitchen-sink precursor to meth; how exactly does the US monitor, much less control, small shipments of nasal decongestant between China and Mexico? Does Mexico have an ongoing love affair with the US, not really.

          You haven’t kept up with the times. With tor browser, end to end encryption, search engines, dark web, blockchain, and billions of packages in daily transit with free online parcel tracking, there is no reason for buyer and seller to undertake the expense and risk of meeting in person. The whole point today is transactants don’t know or even want to know the counter-party. It does not matter if some small fraction is intercepted in transit, the value is all on the retail side.

          • Ken Kenn


            The chemistry I will leave to much more cognisant people like yourself and many others on here.

            You say that the two suspects are not mules – I think you are right,but as a theory let’s say there is drugs factory in operation in the environs of Salisbury or the UK) and they have an interest in it? Drugs attract greedy people and the greedy come in all shapes and sizes.

            The thing for myself is the question of why both the Skripals turned off their phones?

            I know it’s an old chestnut but that suggests that the pair had something to hide.

            What were they hiding?

            The Russians rock up in Salisbury on the Saturday and Sunday to look at the tourist attractions – really?

            Coincidentally the Skripals who could have been poisoned on the Saturday are poisoned do the Sunday instead. Why didn’t they recce on the Friday and do the door handle stuff on the Saturday?

            It makes little sense.

            For me it can only make sense that in the intervening hour or so and within the hours of the phone turn off the Skripals were meeting someone ( some people ). They are not saying who they met to the Met. I think they know how they were poisoned but not who poisoned them.

            All theory of course but there is more to the phone turn off and the visit from the Russians than meet the eye. Maybe both parties had skin in the game?- I don’t know.

            Unfortunately the ones who know the answer ( the Skripals ) are not saying and the one’s who are baffled are the Russian visitors who may have met the Skripals briefly and have no idea of what happened next.

            we do need however some video or photos of the Skripals so that we can ascertain what they were wearing and Yulia’s hair colour.

            So far the MSM have not asked and the MET have not volunteered.

            There is a reason for that and it’s nothing to do with privacy or ghoulishness.

    • Dish-Washer

      Intriguing that Britain should now be poisoned by opiates made in China. British companies like Jardine, Matheson & Co spent their nineteenth century trying to poison the Chinese, making a fortune by exporting opium there, conveniently grown in India by the agents of the Raj (like George Orwell’s father who sent his son to Eton on the proceeds). The Chinese have never forgotten the destruction the UK wrought on them through opium.

      • Max_B

        Indeed, @dishwasher. It’s an Achilles heel of the West perhaps, and recognised by some maybe as an effective method of asymmetric warfare. I’m pleased in some way that these substances are destroying our drugs system of control. Although I feel terribly sad about the deaths, the increased access, competition, and collapse in drug prices, and so profit, is focusing the establishments attention on developing a different system of drugs control. I know it’s collapse is leading to criminals returning to more traditional methods to earn an income, robberies etc., but I hated the old system of drugs control, and hope it is finally allowed to die. Eventually this carbuncle on society had to be lanced, but because it has been left for so long, it’s going to be very messy to deal with. But it’s the right thing to do in the long run.

  • John Bull

    Dear Craig

    I believe we have reached the stage where we can all be sure that HMG is lying about the incident and is using it to stoke up hatred and fear of Russia prior to military action against Russia or its ally Syria.

    Not only have our government lied and continue to do so, but they have also failed to observe international diplomatic conventions in not allowing a nation to access its citizens; and, in accusing the Russian state of the alleged crime without any hard evidence, they have abandoned the concept of innocence until proven guilty. They have told us things which are patently not true, and covered up information which might have helped the police investigation and possibly saved the life of Dawn Sturgess. And the whole thing has been handled so badly, so amateurishly, that both our government and our security services have become the laughing stock of the world.

    But it’s worse. It would seem that elements of our government do not want a working relationship with Russia. We have a Secretary of State – still serving – who recently said that Russia should ‘go away and shut up’, and a Foreign Secretary who lied to the world on German TV in saying the ‘Novichok’ came from Russia. And the tone of our PM’s statements in Parliament and her knee-jerk action in expelling Russian diplomats have jeopardised any possibility in the short term of restoring a meaningful relationship with that regime.

    Their behaviour has been despicable and shameful, and has tarnished the history of our nation. But there could be worse to come. Military action is apparently being planned, and Russia will not be defeated. What can we do?

    I would urge you to encourage all your readers – as Peter Hitchens has done – to write to their MPs. A good starting point would be for them to read his blog which explains far better than I can why it’s important to do so. you may well have read it. Here is the link:-

    Of course, many of your readers may have already done that, while others perhaps cannot see the point of it. But if we all do it, we might just help to avoid yet another military catastrophe. I hope you agree and will spur your readers into action. It really is the only thing we can do at the moment.

    • Andyoldlabour

      @John Bull,
      Thanks for the links to Peter Hitchens piece, it echoes exactly the way I feel about the situation. The UK (and France) is once again the poodle trotting along behind its master, except this time the stakes are much higher, possibly the ultimate stakes.
      With regard to the latest shooting down of a Russian aircraft, and the Israeli involvement, plus the very measured response by Mr Putin, does anyone ever stop to wonder where the nuclear missiles (between 250 and 400) of Israel are pointing?
      Does anyone know what the delivery systems for these nuclear weapons are?

  • Toneio

    You are right to continue to ask questions about the door knob theory as it is frankly absurd given the timings available. The officials have tied themselves up in knots when they arrived at this explanation. The flaws should be widely highlighted.

    As should be the discovery of a nerve agent in B&P’s hotel room. This is the only evidence that would link them to the poisonings. However, this too is highly questionable. Aside the fact that microscopic amounts of an agent were found at all (needle in a haystack) who is to say B&P left them? The room had several other guests and was cleaned we assume. Would even this small amount of an agent be dangerous – they are made that way aren’t they – a tiny speck could be deadly. But no known ill health at the hotel. How would the agent leak? We assume B&P would not open the bottle. Why would they? Was it on the packaging, if so it would be all over the place. Who actually tested for it and how did they link it to a novichok if there were only traces – is that even possible? Where are the official reports on this – not the MSM ones. The story, like the doorknob, sounds made up it is so absurd. However the MSM, especially the Daily Mail, accept the stories at face value with no questions asked (the Daily Mail’s ’10 questions about B&Ps interview’ article is as poor as reporting gets)

    Like you, on the face of it, I accept B&P’s story and congratulate them for coming forward. Whatever they said would have been vilified by HMG and MSM unless they fessed up – they had already been tried and found guilty by eveyone. That there is more to their trip than sightseeing I have no doubt. There may be more (outstandingly clear – well done the council) CCTV of them in more revealing parts of Salisbury we may never see. The officials will only release what they want us to see (where is the stunningly clear CCTV from the town centre where the Skirpal’s were found eh?). If they are dealing in a dodgy business it may well be that their backgrounds and movements are shady, but does not mean they are GRU. However, the officials say they are based on information they have not released.

    One upsetting thing is the apparent manpower and resources used to identify the two men. I feel the anti-Russian propaganda led the enquiry only to focus on Russian nationals to the detriment of all else. Is there any evidence the police kept an open mind and looked for other suspects. I doubt it as May and her associates have been loudly proclaiming it’s only Russia to blame from day one so don’t look elsewhere.

    There is something fishy about all these non-fatal poisonings (did Dawn die of a heart attack brought about by her weakened state?) in Salisbury, even the recent ones. Has someone from PD got a grudge against the city or is it just a coincidence.

  • Jimmock

    I am not taking sides in this debate but I must say that you have raised some serious questions in need of serious answers rather than knee jerk reactions. It is quite possible that some people are simply venting their hatred (fear) of you without checking the facts. Others may, as you suggest, jumping to conclusions based on incomplete knowledge of the facts.

  • MaryPau!

    picking up Max_,B’s point about the fake perfume bottle being one of a larger counterfeit consignment intended to fool the authorities into thinking it was perfume when it was in fact held hard drugs like carfentanil.

    What is the significance of the dispenser method?. No perfume uses liquid soap bottle type dispensers like the one displayed on the fake bottle. Does this relate to how carfentanil is consumed? Can someone enlighten me?. Is it consumed by mouth, injected, snorted, sprayed? Is the soap dispenser a suitable method for taking it? I can’t think of drugs you spray on your wrists but maybe modern opiates have new delivery methods?

    • __alex__

      that long white nose of the bottle looks like a part of inhalator. but regular perfume bottle has not it of course.
      after usage the nose must contain a lot of lethal novichok doses inside. so user must get rid of it asap…
      anyway very strange tool to carry out safe poisoning. looks like hoax.

    • Max_B

      Unfortunately we don’t know if it’s a spray or stream of liquid that is dispensed from Rowleys counterfeit perfume bottle nozzle… but those long nozzles seem to be used to get deeper inside things, and so reduce the risk of splash-back when dispensed. I found only one Italian product that used such a completely straight nozzle, it did not have a bump on the end (which seems present only when they want to turn the stream into a spray).

      Designed with spring totally isolated from media, a perfect choice for dispensing acids and solvents. The longer nozzle allows for them to be inserted into a container thus minimizing splashing (halfway down page)

      • MaryPau!

        My point is, if the fake perfume dispenser was one of a larger consignment, designed for distributing opiates like carfentanil, not nerve gas, how was it expected to work? Would the target drug have been delivered as a viscous liquid, as some sort of spray, cooked, injected? How are illegal variants of fentanyl delivered?

        • Max_B

          I don’t know how you would cook up a saleable concoction, it just gets mixed and diluted with things, then gets heated up again to turn it back into a powder I believe. But because Fentanyls, and particularly Carfentail are so powerful, just a tiny mistake with the quantities, and you end up killing your addict clients, rather than giving them a good time. That’s why so many people are dying… I believe…

        • Max_B

          Just to make that clear, Finnish customs seem to be suggesting that 0.75g of Carfentanil (dissolved in 20ml) is enough for 1000 lethal doses… so 0.75g divided by 1000 = 0.00075g is a lethal dose. I don’t know how you can safely measure that, not in a back street kitchen drug dealer operation you can’t…

          Half the time I gather they don’t even know what they have bought, they think they are buying Fentanyl, and get Carfentanil. They bugger up, and the client dies.

          Even with the prescription Fentanyl patches, people are dying, these patches are supposed to leech out Fentanyl Gel from a reservoir at a controlled rate, but if the temperature rises it can release at a faster rate… so there have been quite a few deaths…

          • Rowan

            “if the fake perfume dispenser was one of a larger consignment, designed for distributing opiates like carfentanil” – no no, Mary Paul, forget it. Such a ridiculous, grotesque and clumsy device, invented for the photograph to look as amateurish as possible, cannot be used for any real-world purposes at all. Least of all dispensing precision doses of a powerful poisonous drug.

    • Max_B

      As for pure liquid Carfentanil, I doubt you could dispense ANY quantity that would be safe for direct use by any method, the amounts are just too small… this dispenser seems like it is used for production… dispense, then dilute with other stuff a number of times, to reduce the dose. But as the contents is so damn dangerous, even with a long nozzle to avoid splashing, it seems totally inadequate.

      I’d say it was an accident waiting to happen, the people who are producing this stuff are going to hospital on coma’s due to inadvertent contamination… there was one factory in Leeds IIRC last year which used powder.

      If we go by the data that Finnish customs have released on a typical liquid…

      “Carfentanil dissolved in liquid is usually sold as a 0.75–1.5 mg/ml solution in 20 ml bottles. This amount could be enough for as many as 1 000 doses that are lethal to an adult human.”

      Rowley’s bottle was 5.5ml, assuming it was filled with a similar solution, then we could say Rowley had more than 250 lethal doses in that bottle. But perhaps the dilution ratio was wrong, and what was in that bottle was of a much higher concentration.

      • Ken Kenn

        Interesting stuff.

        Ketamin was the drug of choice in the two thousands I hear and it was used to knock out a horse.

        Carfentanyl has been described as an ” Elephant tranquiliser ” and that’s a big animal.

        I agree with you about doses and the mixing/cutting of this stuff.

        When drugs are saleable then usually the manufacturers will find ways of making them as cheaply as possible whilst keeping up the market price based on a false purity.

        Door handle bull apart I genuinely think that the people affected here ( I can’t explain DSB ) were attacked up front and personally not from a distance.

        I think the Skripals know how they were attacked but not by whom.

        They and the Met are not saying.

      • Max_B

        I’m not even reading what I’ve posted there, and mixed up grams and milligrams… Sorry.

        Finnish customs said as low as 0.75mg/ml solution… (so that’s 0.015g of Carfentanil in a 20ml bottle), could be enough for 1000 lethal doses. So Charlies 5.5ml bottle still has around 250 lethal doses… but going by those figures, the lethal dose for an adult could be as tiny as 0.015g divided by 1000 which = 0.000015grams (or 0.015milligrams). So even small than I wrote if my calculations are correct.

        • Max_B

          That’s just 15 micrograms, which is 15 millionths of a gram… Hard to visualise that, but if you took a tiny amount of Carfentanil, about the average weight of a single long grain of rice, and split this long grain of rice into about 1900 teeny tiny pieces… every one of those 1900 teeny tiny pieces could apparently be a lethal dose.

        • Piotr Berman

          That makes no sense, I would not trust “Finnish customs”. Most charitably, a non-technical person made a mistake. Compare to the high OPCW official who said that that the amount of Novichok used exceeded 100 g, impossible in many ways, and later he was corrected that OPCW has no faintest idea about the amount. Concerning 1000 lethal doses from 20 ml bottle, the dose that a patient or an addict would want would be at least twice smaller, 20 ml / 2000 = 0.01 ml. That can be a drop, but hard to measure exactly. It is easy to measure 0.5 ml with a dropper, 0.1 ml would require a special dropper, and you better be very careful, very easy to squirt out more. It stands to reason that dilution should keep the size of a single useful dose at 0.1 ml or more.

    • Dish-Washer

      So it looks as if the whole thing could just have been a hoax designed to smear the Russians further. The wife immediately blamed the Russians for poisoning her. They are now both okay health-wise.

        • Tom Smythe

          Yes, the British guy has a history of hoaxing and publicity seeking. There seems to be no witness support for her claim of him foaming at the mouth or fitting. No support for her claim of induced coma. Symptoms are inconsistent with strychnine. Not used at UK restaurants for rodents. There is no support from Salisbury Hospital for him being ill at all, quick discharge, no information except not OP. Onset too soon for food poisoning; no overlap on their orders other than wine.

          He had married her recently, unclear why as she was scarcely wifely material. She may have wanted citizenship. So along alex’s thinking, she perhaps poisoned him for life insurance or estate inheritance.

  • Elle

    I’ve tried to buy that now world famous Nina Ricci perfume but since I am not sure whether I would like it or not, I was looking for a similar small amount of it, like the one that Rowley found.
    Of course, we now know it’s counterfeit, both the perfume and the container, but I was ready to give the counterfeit version a try.
    However, no matter how hard I tried I did not find a similar bottle anywhere in European online shops but I did find it being sold in Ukraine.

        • Piotr Berman

          I am really sad. Do you suggest that perfumes that one can by for ca. 1.25 USD or 1 GBP per bottle are not genuine? However, with prices like that, who would look for bottles that are three times smaller?

          Sad as it is, it it is a bit strange that the site with prices in Russian rubles says that the smell resembles peach blossom, and the site with prices in Ukrainian hryvnias talks about juicy mandarins.

      • Max_B

        I couldn’t find any 5.5ml for sale either.

        But the photo’s of the packaging & bottles on both the Ukrainian & Russian sites all appears accurate.

        The 5.5 ml bottle & packaging from Rowley’s house is very inaccurate. The flowers on the box are less complex, the brand font and it’s spacing is incorrect too.

        Rowley’s counterfeit bottle and packaging has probably been mass produced for a different reason… not to sell knock off perfume, but for the distribution of illicit drugs.

    • Elena B.

      Yeah, right…12 April is also the day when Gagarin flew into space. 🙂 And 13 July is the National Security Forces day in Kazakhstan (according to Wikki).
      Any further suggestions on the script?
      The main code must be the word “Novichok” iteself which means “amateur” in Russian.

  • Mark Gobell

    Further proof that we are dealing with a script …

    The “Nina Ricci” bs “poison perfume” allegory points to Sir Mark Sedwill who is Theresa May’s “National Security Adviser” …

    Hillary Clinton and the episode of Strike Back, S6 Ep5 featuring “Novichok”, first broadcast on Sky One in the UK on 28 November 2017 :

    Hope this helps.

    Mark Gobell

    • Andyoldlabour


      It was interesting until I read this:

      “Why wrong? Because the last time stamp of the two men at Dauwalders is 13:49:06, which means that for the Metropolitan Police time to be correct, the men would have had to get from there to the station — a distance of approximately 550 yards (or just over 500 metres if you prefer), on foot, with two road crossings on the way, plus traffic — in 1 minute and 50 seconds. It can’t be done. It’s physically impossible.”

      There is hardly/no traffic around, and it would be easily achievable for guys their age, because it works out at 22 seconds for each 100 metres, which may excite people at a kiddies sports day but is not that quick over 500 metres.

      • Elena B.

        They are sprinters, obviously. If you ask Google map to walk you from Salusbury railway station to Shell Garage in Wilton Road, it will happily offer you a shortest walking route of 17 minutes.
        However, they were pictured at 11:48 at the station and at 11:58 at the Shell garage – almost twice as fast.

        • Tom Smythe

          I would guess the authorities were mightily displeased with the Mail for releasing the Dauwalders cctv without prior approval. It’s ok to show Dawn buying bottles of booze as that doesn’t concern the official narrative but what if other shop owners releasing conflicting cctv of P&B or the Skripals? The case is extremely circumstantial at this point and could unravel completely with a better timeline. That would leave the authorities with (1) no suspects and (2) having to walk back the phony hotel novichok spill.

          It’s not clear whether the Skripals will be held in custody indefinitely, nor what they would have to add — or want to add — if able to speak freely. Both have had tracheostomy tubes removed for some time now.

          • Radio Jammor

            Perhaps, but for the Dauwalders CCTV to be correct, the train station CCTV would be wrong and for the two CCTV sightings at 13:05 and 13:08 to be correct, there should also be a sighting on one or both cameras either side of 13:49, because they are positioned either side of Dauwalders.

            I have to conclude that the Dauwalders CCTV time stamp is wrong and was about 40 minutes fast. It is the simplest explanation, especially when you consider that stating the times incorrectly on CCTV in public areas is fraught with the peril of being challenged by a bystander who was there – or should have been there according to the timestamp, and wasn’t.

      • Ray


        Lets examine some facts here.

        Top athletes can run 500 metres in 1 minute.
        They are at the peak of fitness, in running clothes and in conditions where there are no obstructions.
        Add to this they would require a recovery time of a least 10 seconds.

        P & B are as far as we are aware not top athletes.
        They are wearing winter clothing and one has a back pack.
        In the CCTV below can you provide any evidence that P & B have just ran 500mtres.

        Why would they if the train they were catching wasn’t due to depart until 14:36 ?

        • Andyoldlabour

          The article mentioned 1m 50s which is considerably longer than 1 minute for that short distance. This is equal to 5m 30s for 1500 metres, which is around 2h 24m marathon pace.
          The person who wrote the article, described it as “physically impossible”, which it is clearly not.
          I will not answer any of the other points because they are not relevant.
          It is similar to another post recently, which described the French GM destroyer Auvergne having air to surface missiles, when in fact that ship has surface to air and surface to suface missiles.
          It may seem pedantic to some, but quoting things which are basically not true is not good, particularly on a blog such as this, which a great many people (not myself it should be noted) regard as being full of “nutty conspiracy theorists”.

          • Clark

            Andyoldlabour, thank you for upholding accuracy. Inaccuracies accumulate and tend to proliferate, indeed ending up as the components of nutty conspiracy theories. Some commenters (not necessarily Ray) seem to see it as their civic duty to popularise such things.

          • Andyoldlabour

            Thanks for the comments, I do appreciate them.
            In order to disprove the dodgy as hell government story, we have to keep to facts, undeniable facts which cannot be successfully challenged.

        • Radio Jammor

          I agree with your post except for one detail: There is no 14:36 train on a Sunday in Salisbury headed to London in March 2018. It was due to depart at 14:27 and trains to London were hourly. And still are.

          The only other trains headed out of Salisbury in a generally eastward direction, head to the coast, to Southampton and then go on to Portsmouth. You can get to London from both of those places, but why would you, when you can go quicker and more directly on a train that’s due to arrive at 14:20 and depart at 14:27?

          I believe this 14:36 train is on the current and previous timetables for up to May 2018, and is in fact the Southampton and Portsmouth train, which is on a different timetable to the London Waterloo trains that go there directly via Salisbury.

          Yes, you can change trains and get to London, either Paddington or Waterloo, by changing at Southampton, but this is a longer route, requires at least one change (and different rail operators if you want to get to Paddington – but according to the Met they went to Waterloo). And the cost of the ticket may well have been more, depending in part on when you purchased such.

          According to the Met Police, they arrived at Waterloo at c16:45. You can get a train from Southampton to Waterloo at 15;25 that is due to arrive just after that time, if you get the 14:36 and change at Southampton (a15:03).

          Whilst this might fit the timeline given by the police, it doesn’t really make sense to travel that route, both because it is indirect and also because there was a direct connection that was due in to Salisbury first.

          Unless maintenance and the weather affected their travel – distinct possibilities – I would say the most likely thing that occurred is that they got the 14:27 but it was perhaps delayed in its arrival at Waterloo.

      • Radio Jammor

        Why would they run? Their train wasn’t until 14:27. They were considering going into the shop, so clearly they were not in a rush to get to the station.

        It’s a 5-6 minute walk. The time stamp on the Dauwalders CCTV is almost certainly wrong. They probably passed it at the same time as they were caught on CCTV at 13:05 and 13:08, as Dauwalders is in between those two locations – otherwise the CCTV at Dauwalders should have caught them passing by between those times as well as at 13:49, if the timestamp was accurate.

        Most logical and likely conclusion: they only passed the shop once travelling in that direction, coming from the direction of the cathedral – and that was between 13:05 and 13:08, not at 13:48-49.

    • Mary Paul

      A couple of things: the Met police CCTV shows P+B at Salisbury station at 13:50 on 4th March. The Met police time line has them returning to London at 16:45. This would mean they caught the 14:36 train which has two scheduled changes and arrives at London Paddington at 16:45. It is possible they turned round and went out again returning nearer the time. If they remained on the station they would have been captured on CCTV more than once. I think the Dauwanders CCTV footage appeared after the Met police coverage when the shop owner was looking at it. It is essential to be sure the time stamp is accurate.

      I have this vague recollection that in their interview, P + B said something about having to wait at the station but I do not recall exactly or which day or station and I may have imagined it. Does anyone else remember?

      I am still curious why the Met Police do not want to mention the Skripals feeding the ducks in Avon Playground in their timeline.

    • Blunderbuss


      From the blogmire:

      “But there is something that is of even more significance than this. The men start walking past Dauwalders at around 13:48:40. This is just 3 minutes or so after Mr Skripal was seen on CCTV in the Avon Playground, feeding ducks with three local boys (of course this CCTV hasn’t been released to the public, but I have been told that it does it exist). For those of you who don’t know Salisbury, the distance between these two places is less than 200 yards, walkable in about a minute-and-a-half or so.

      “That’s interesting, isn’t it? The Skripals in the Avon Playground at 13:45 (and perhaps a few minutes after). Their alleged door handle assassins, Petrov and Boshirov, less than 200 yards and under 2 minutes walk away at 13:48:40. Just to put this into context, it is lot closer than the distance between the Shell garage on Wilton Road and Sergei Skripal’s house”.

      Possible explanation. B&P went to the Skripals’ house but they were out. They spoke to a neighbour who told them the Skripals had gone to feed the ducks. B&P went to the duck-feeding area and met the Skripals. What happened next I have no idea.

        • Andyoldlabour

          Thanks ElenaB,
          Just goes to show how many contradictions are present in this “case”.
          Why didn’t the police cordon off Queen Elizabeth Gardens, if they knew that the Skripals had been there after they had been poisoned?

        • Mighty Drunken

          It was Avon playground, the newspaper photo was at the wrong park as Avon playground was cordoned off at the time.

        • MaryPau!

          no I think it was Avon playground. The confusion with QE gardens arose because a newspaper interviewed the parents of one of the boys who fed the ducks with the Skripals and had them posed against a handy Salisbury park backdrop of QE gardens. I would need to check but i am pretty sure it was Avon Playground.

      • Radio Jammor

        The Dauwaulders CCTV is almost certainly wrong in terms of its timestamp (see my previous posts). They were at the train station at 13:50. It was probably 40 minutes fast as Dauwalders is in between the two CCTV locations that caught them at 13:05 and 13:08.

        It’s either that or they were in Fisherton Street twice – in which case why isn’t there two captures of them on the Dauwalders CCTV, as well as at least one of the other two, which are either side of the shop?

        And if they were headed up Fisherton Street in the same direction twice, how did that come to happen?

        No, I think the simplest explanation here is that the timestamp there is wrong.

  • Tom Smythe

    Drug dealing makes no sense, certainly would be a big and risky departure for Sergei from his known security consulting business (or for Yulia from her temp jobs at Pepsi, Nike and US Embassy). What would small fish Petrov and Boshirov possibly have to offer on an international scale?

    It is very dangerous to insert yourself into an established drug distribution pyramid, suicidal for isolated foreigners. Opioid distribution in the hinterlands (eg Salisbury) is done via ‘country lines’ run out of major urban hubs such as London.

    Fentanyl etc are not OP, do not respond to OP antidotes or treatment, do not target AChE system and so do not fit numerous NHS statements. Fentanyl is an peculiar long-term preoccupation of several posters here; no opinion on whether they are sincerely speculating or merely obfuscating. Beyond some first-hours confusion, it has not been connected to any event in Salisbury, Occam’s Razor and all that.

    UK: 330,445 opioid addicts, 142,085 on methadone

    “The amount of heroin estimated to be imported annually into the UK is between 18-23 tonnes. The vast majority of this is derived from Afghan opium. Opiates also leave Afghanistan and enter Central Asia, however this routing primarily supplies the Russian heroin market and little is thought to be directed at the UK from this ‘northern route’.

    Thousands of children are being groomed to work as drug mules by dealers exploiting vulnerable people to expand across the country in a criminal enterprise known as “county lines”. It sees gangs based in Britain’s largest cities identify rural markets to flood with drugs including heroin and crack cocaine, using a specific mobile phone number to take orders in the area.

    The National Crime Agency (NCA) estimates there are more than 720 of the lines across England and Wales alone, becoming a “valuable brand that is protected with violence and intimidation”. Officials said the actual figure could be far higher and that county lines are present in every police force area, with three quarters linking them to the exploitation of children and vulnerable people with mental or physical health issues.

      • Tom Smythe

        It is being used as an adulterant, being cheaper and more readily available online than heroin. Something like oxycontin comes in a recognizable pill but heroin comes as a powder so is straightforward to cut.

        As it moves down the distribution pipeline, naturally each person wants to divert some for personal use or sale on the side. If they make up too much lost volume with say sugar, the potency is cut, the next lower distributor cheated and the eventual end-user dissatisfied.

        However because the fentanyls are so potent and produce similar effects, the cut heroin does not lose its efficacy even after multiple passages. The end-user is accustomed to a certain strength and so the risk of over-dose becomes larger with fentanyls because it is easy to mistakenly put in too much. Hence these large outbreaks in public parks are not from a shared bad batch but rather from a too-good batch.

      • Max_B

        There is some more information below that I’ve dug up which may be interesting regarding the bottle with long nozzle found at Rowley’s… It was news to me…

        1. From the 2017 European Drug Report

        New opioids have been seized in various forms: mainly
        powders, tablets, capsules, and since 2014, also as liquids.
        Over 60 % of the 600 seizures of new synthetic opioids
        reported in 2015 were fentanyls. Almost 2 litres of
        synthetic opioids was seized in 2015, an increase from the
        240 ml reported the previous year. Fentanyls were found in
        85 % of the liquids seized. One concern in this respect is
        the appearance on the market of nasal sprays containing
        fentanyls such as acryloylfentanyl and furanylfentanyl.

        In both Europe and North America, the recent emergence
        of highly potent new synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl
        derivatives, is causing considerable concern. Since 2012,
        the EU Early Warning System has been receiving an
        increasing number of reports of these substances and of
        harms caused by them. These substances have been sold
        on online markets, and also on the illicit market. They have
        sometimes been sold as, or mixed with, heroin, other illicit
        drugs and even counterfeit medicines. Highly potent
        synthetic opioids present serious health risks, not only to
        those who use them, but also to those involved in their
        manufacture, as well as postal workers and law
        enforcement officers. With only small volumes needed to
        produce many thousands of doses, these substances are
        easy to conceal and transport. This poses a considerable
        challenge for drug control agencies. At the same time, they
        present a potentially attractive and profitable commodity
        for organised crime.

        2 From UNODC 2017 report on Fentanyl’s….

        Although fentanyl is safe under clinical supervision, e.g. in a hospital
        setting, the recreational use of products containing fentanyl may easily
        prove fatal with increase in the administered dose, or a change in
        the route of administration (e.g. extracting the drug from a transdermal
        patch into liquid to prepare an injection or nasal spray, inhaling volatilized
        fentanyl, or placing a transdermal patch on oral mucous membranes).

        A study conducted in rural Australia concluded that users typically did
        not revert to less potent opioids after becoming dependent on fentanyl,
        practiced unsafe preparation and administration methods, and their risk
        of overdose was exacerbated by misinformation circulating amongst peers

        Use of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its analogues amplifies the
        hazards because such products lack quality control, are typically not
        portioned in precise doses, and can be deadly in minuscule amounts due
        to the extreme potencies. Attempts to prepare a single dose by weighing
        without precision equipment are highly risky. Another approach is to
        bring a larger amount of the drug into solution, which is then apportioned
        into single doses; however, errors in calculations can be lethal.

        Users experimenting with new fentanyl analogues, whose potency is
        not well-defined, increase the odds of making a fatal mistake.

        • Doodlebug

          Coincidentally (?) Julie Etchingham on ITV ‘Tonight’ gave a half-hour presentation on the subject of opioid dependency in Britain associated with the prescription of painkillers (numbers of both have increased significantly). The ‘message’ was very largely that opioids, although effective as a short-term palliative, are an inappropriate treatment for chronic pain. Beyond the dosage asymptote there is no benefit, only side-effects, one of which is dependency. The programme stopped short of drawing attention to the fatal consequences of any overdose, intentional or otherwise.

          • Max_B

            Everybody is having to react, things have got out of control. Were having to change some procedures and software stuff at work to do with shipping, it’s a global legislative thing, partly to do with these drugs, but I guess also weapons, and other banned things, should be hitting all UK carriers by early next year, including Royal Mail etc. They have to collect more electronic data on people who are sending anything and share it with the authorities, here and abroad. Not yet quite sure how it will work out from the public’s point of view… I see the USA are doing similar things…


          • Doodlebug


            Thank you for the extra info. above. The overall picture is clearly considerably larger than two unfortunates (the Skripals) in Salisbury and two in Amesbury.

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