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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  • Steve Hayes

    “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.”

    This is, of course, precisely how the so called journalist in the corporate media routinely operate. They prefer their narratives (in this case the meta-narrative is merely: Russia bad) to evidence. Their modus operandi is sound bite, emotion, judgement. In the propagation of their narratives, facts are either useful or used or ignored or simply invented. And anyone who expresses even the mildest scepticism is either ignored or (ironically) denounced as a propagandist, a useful idiot or a Russian bot: of course no evidence is required to support such accusations.

    The liberal political media elite is determined to shut down any and all criticism of their ideology, ie, neoliberal globalism. In the process, they have abandoned the Enlightenment and adopted post-modernism as their epistemology, and become the new totalitarians: the very opposite of their self professed liberalism.

    • Antoinette Dhooghe

      This is beautifully said,especially the last paragraphe, and secondly well placed in a broader context of which kind of ideology is at work. Since there has been ideologies like communism and facism, that were extreme, one is tempting to think there is no ideologie anymore, only individual thinkings and movements.

    • joel

      Very true, their reaction to their recent defeats has fully exposed them as unreasoning, authoritarian fundamentalists. The only explanation they have been capable of offering for their defeats is “Putin” and “demagoguery”.

    • Simon Hodges

      I agree with all of that but fail to see what that has to do with postmodernism which cannot even be adequately described as such.

  • Bob Marsden

    Thinking more about the novichock in the bedroom scenario, where and when were the traces discovered? It would have been at least a few days before the investigators could visit the room, by which time bedding would have been changed and cleanings performed. Before the pair went to Salisbury and ‘used’ the poison, they would have had to have opened its bottle on a table or desk which hadn’t been later cleaned. I can’t come up with a reality which would make sense.

    • Isa

      May the 4th . 2 months after .

      staff and guests never warned
      Hotel never closed
      Police claims that the sample taking actually decontaminated the room and that’s why on 2nd sample attempts there were no novichok traces .

      And they ridicule the two Russians statements but this is somehow acceptable …

      • Elly

        A London hotel owner where Russian hitmen hid their deadly novichok for two nights has revealed that police only told him about his killer guests yesterday. Silman Mir said police waited six months before telling him his hotel had been contaminated with ‘low levels’ of the nerve agent – when TV crews turned up on his doorstep yesterday. Mr Mir, 54, said detectives had been making regular visits to the 20-room City Stay Hotel ‘for four months or more’ without taking him into confidence.

        The men stayed there for two nights in March when they tried to murder Russian double agent Sergei Skripal – Wow, a classic verict first.

        • Iain

          This just shows how discreet UK detectives/spooks are.
          They can isolate a potential crime scene, conduct a complete examination, find microscopic evidence of chemical contamination with watertight forensic Chain of Custody evidence procedures and nobody notices.
          Why are people so sceptical?

          • Rhys Jaggar

            Well it would have not taken six months to do that, so they sat on evidence for a long time before waiting to blow the media foghorn again.

            Here are a few basic suggestions of how professionals would work:

            1) They would have a third party hiring a car to drive them to Salisbury, the driver not being Russian. There would be no public CCTV evidence of journeys to and from Salisbury.
            2) The Novichok would be transported separately to Salisbury and disposed of professionally.
            3) Skripals phones would be bugged by GRU, giving clear evidence of meeting arrangements, hence giving a clear indication of when to smear the door handle.
            4) Professional entry at night would lead to smearing the indide door handle, not the outdoor one. That way, no-one monitoring front door for MI6 would notice them. The entry would occur around 1-2am.
            5) Only one assassin is necessary for such a job, who would reach London on a Schengen visa by Eurostar using a ticket paid in cash, providing no audit trail. They would be wearing disguise number I.
            6) The assassin would use a GRU safe house or a property used by Russian escorts in e.g. Kensington or Earls Court.
            7) The driver would be at a pre-arranged pick up point to drive the assassin back to London, to depart on a Eurostar around 7-9am, safely across the channel by the time the 4hrs elapsed to bump the Skripals off (assuming they were up around 7.30am). They depart in disguise number II, using a second passport and Schengen visa, so there is no obvious entry and exit of the same individual.

            I suggest someone ask Vladimir Putin if first day recruits at the KGB training headquarters would pick 20 holes in such an approach and thus suggest what level of professionalism seasoned assassins might display when carrying out an international assignment of a murderous nature….

  • Jones

    some good points. The lynch mentality is responsible for many examples of innocent people spending long years in British prisons, very often known to be innocent by the authorities who only released them because of long public campaigns, The Birmingham six released after 18 years in jail, the Bridgwater four released after 18 years, there are many examples. Hysteria is responsible for many ruined lives and those screaming guilty without proof should consider that the finger could always be be pointing at YOU if found in the wrong place at the wrong time, remember how the the media treated Christopher Jefferies wrongly accused for murder. Personally i think Boshirov or Petrov would be absolutely mad to voluntarily come to UK to be questioned.

      • Jones

        yes another absolutely disgraceful example, and it’s noticeable that those responsible for miscarriages of justice usually get exonerated themselves. The case against Boshirov and Petrov is not about justice it’s political, they would be absolutely mad to voluntarily come to the UK they would spend years in jail regardless of innocence or guilt, though it may be a smart move to allow UK Police to go to Russia instead.

      • Borncynical

        And Robert Murat in the Maddie McCann case. He said in a Sun article in May 2017 that the accusations had ruined his life and that if his family.

  • Emily

    Good for you Mr Murray.
    Yet again fair and rational thinking.
    No wonder you are increasingly being quoted by some of the best sites on the internet.
    Superb well reasoned article, pulling the British government’s bogus story to bits.
    Is there a bigger liar than Theresa May – even Corbyn can’t match up?

  • lokyc

    Guilt by association. Wrong tourists at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Leaving aside Iraq. Remember Jean Charles De Menezes? In the first 48 hrs at least, he was depicted as an arch terrorist. Was there any mea culpa, humble pie, lessons learnt from the authorities, the intelligence service or the Met? Yes, the Operation Commander that day, Inspector Clouseau, is now our top police officer. Leading the force investigating the Skripal case. I can understand why the Russians would be super nervous sticking their heads above the parapet. Especially those who have lived under secret police regimes.
    But let’s examine the criticism of this “mockery” of an interview. The two men were forced under duress. It was staged. Well, if they are indeed highly trained agents, would they need to be forced? And wouldn’t they be ice-cool regardless. I mean they’re cold-blooded killers.
    Yes, the most plausible explanation is they are fall-guys. But not Putin’s fall-guys.
    And of course, the guilt by association was Litvinenko. He was an example of state assassination, so the Skripals must be too. I don’t recall his alleged assassin being so easily tracked on CCTV and being so nervous….

    • N_

      Yes, the most plausible explanation is they are fall-guys.

      They have been charged with attempted murder.
      To prove their case, prosecutors must prove that the men had an intention to cause a person’s death (mens rea).
      There is very little reason to think there is anything like sufficient evidence to do that. The timing is bullshit, and contrary to what the police said was “likely” they do not appear to have travelled under false names. Nor do they appear to be “GRU intelligence officers”. If there was smoking gun evidence, don’t you think the poshboy regime would have published some of it in the six month period before they named the guys?

    • Michael McNulty

      And let’s not forget it was the high-ranking policeman Ian Blair who ordered the destruction of four[?] CCTV tapes/discs which were taken at Stockwell Tube Station at the time of the shooting. I wondered at the time if he had legal authority to destroy evidence but it happened. I also remember on TV news (which I don’t bother with now) regarding the Coroner’s Inquest into Jean-Charles’ death, in which a witness of the shooting on the train gave dramatically different evidence to what was in her written statement.

      I think Blair had to have signed-off 7/7, and I suspect that date was chosen because of the reverse day/date the Americans have; eg. the day before would be 6/7 to us but to Americans 7/6, or the day after 8/7 and 7/8 over there, so 7/7 took care of all of that.

      • Ash

        Nobody on this side of the pond knows anything about 7/7 though (not even the official story, let alone whatever actually happened). It’s not really part of the public American mythology.

  • Paul Greenwood

    Correct me if I am in error but was this Aaronovitch from Marxism Today who subsequently adulated Blair and the Iraq War ? Is Dan Hodhes by any chance related to Glenda Jackson ? Is he the one who happily endorsed the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s other half David Miranda passing through Heathrow ?

    I only ask because the term Presstitute Media seems to be so very apt across the Western World today

    • Borncynical

      Dan Hodges is Glenda Jackson’s son. I think he used to be a member of the Labour Party but changed his allegiances – I don’t know why and I haven’t the inclination to research it!

  • MJ

    “They cope with cold weather at home because they have the right clothes”

    Also, being more accustomed to weather like this, their local authorities are quicker and more efficient at clearing the roads and pavements.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Personally I do not understand why trains are blocked by snow in a country like England (south) and why Salisbury is so incompetent as to fail to clear snow on main thoroughfares. It is truly a sign of a failed society

      • MJ

        I think it’s just because weather like that is unusual in the south, so not much thought is put into dealing with it. Similarly, most homes don’t have air-conditioning. It rarely gets hot enough to make it worthwhile.

      • Godolphin

        It’s been well known for almost thirty years, that the wrong type of snow, can cause immeasurable chaos for rail travellers.

      • Michael McNulty

        I think it’s a failed economy which has failed society but true enough. The Victorians managed to run their trains alright or maybe they had the right sort of snow?

  • gyges01

    “but had just seen the short clips or quotes as presented by British corporate and state media.” – exactly the same happened where I work. I don’t know if anyone has moved on to see the twenty-minute interview.

    “I am astonished by the hatred that has been unleashed.” – agreed and have a lot more to say about this but don’t want to clutter up your comment thread.

    “they would be too small for mass spectrometry analysis” – it would be interesting to know whether or not their analysis was predicated on the use of an analytical standard and if so, where did they get it? Recall that we’re supposed to believe that only Russia can make this compound. As I write this I’m currently working with a skin absorbent molecule that has a toxicity (LD50) of 4mg/kg (Sarin is 0.55 mg/kg); if I put my mind to it I (and all my peers) would most probably be able to make any of this class of compounds.

  • N_

    @Craig – “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.”

    Theresa May would then have to shut her mouth. So would the lickspittle British journalists who leap to attention and start spewing whenever MI5 or MI6 tell them, whether or not they work for the poshboy regime’s warmongering Whitehall-linked state media.

    In fact, they should shut their mouths right now because the issuing of charges and arrest warrants means that criminal proceedings are ALREADY active.

    If these charges ever get to trial, the defence should argue that Theresa May and the media editors who have not only spread her accusatory words but who have also published “what she said” pieces by the usual brown nosed suspects are all guilty of contempt of court. They have clearly spread material which “creates a substantial risk that the course of justice would be prejudiced”. Most of the people I know believe that Boshirov and Petrov are guilty. That would be understandable if they had watched reliable film of the two men smearing the doorknob, assuming they had also watched reliable film of the Skripals returning to touch it before they got taken ill. Proper analysis of what we actually know suggests, of course, that this is not what happened, and the only published “evidence” against Boshirov and Petrov shows nothing more than that they walked about in Salisbury and were at a railway station and airport. So why do so many in the population believe they are guilty? The ONLY reason is the COMMENTARY by politicians and gobby paid-for “experts”. Theresa May and the loyal turds in the mainstream media haven’t got much of a leg to stand on.

    • Charles Bostock

      Thank you for coming across from the website you usually frequent, ie “The Lifeboat News”. I believe it’s a first for you? Your comments there are always interesting and show that you are a very balanced, objective, prejudice-free and well-intentioned person. CM readers could advantageously follow you on your usual site of choice.

  • Made By Dom

    I’m not a fan of Aaronovitch or Hodges but it might be worth quoting exactly what they said to you rather than simply summing it up as ‘hatred’.
    I’m not on Twitter but you’ve made me look up Aaronovitch’s twitter feed to find references to yourself. What I found was Aaronovitch laughing at you because you said:
    “Most likely interpretation of that is that they are a gay couple – not a good thing to admit in Russia, sadly – and that they are involved in the dodgy end of the bodybuilding supplements trade.”

    I’m really sorry Craig but you deserve nothing but scorn from a howling mob for writing such utter claptrap on Twitter.

    • MJ

      Hardly claptrap. It’s certainly speculation but perhaps a little more measured than most of the other feverish speculation being bandied about.

    • bj

      I’m not a fan of Aaronovitch or Hodges

      You’re a mindless follower of these despicable types though.
      You like howling mobs and that’s a disqualifier by any decent person’s standards.

  • Keith

    Now that this case has been so highly politicised and the media encouraged to go on a witch hunt, it is almost impossible that any UK court could guarantee a fair and impartial trial. The best alternative is for the Russians to offer the UK authorities access to these two men to question them within Russia, or over video link, to at least see if they can be excluded from suspicion. If they are innocent then their lives have been severely affected for no reason, if not then they should be brought to some form of justice. However, without the hard evidence to prove their connection to the novichok used in Salisbury, it would seem inappropriate to pursue them on pure speculation as even these two men must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

    • N_

      Here’s what Boshirov and Petrov should do.

      They have been charged, right? And clearly the British executive have been interfering with justice, so they have a reasonable belief that they might not get a fair trial.

      So…let them make their first appearance before a magistrate by video link.

      And then, can you guess what I’m going to say next?

      SEND THEM ALL THE ADVANCE EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM, on the basis of which the CPS supposedly formed the view that there would be a strong likelihood of conviction.

      • Keith

        I don’t see why the Russian state (or any other state in a similar situation) should do anything against these men, until the UK government has provided full disclosure (to the state and/or the individuals) of all the evidence they have which they believe warrants the charge against them. This is just another example of the problem (and potential abuse) of cross-border legal action, often made worse by an extradition agreement which requires no evidence to be provided to the extraditing country. There are plenty of UK citizens who have been extradited to the US, where 95%+ of all criminal cases end up with a guilty plea bargain because the system is so inherently financially corrupt that only the very wealthiest could ever afford to plead not guilty. How is that a fair system, not matter how much of a free and democratic society the US pretends to be??

  • Ruth

    I’ve taught people from all over the world. Many have come from countries with very cold winters as in Finland, Sweden, Russia, Eastern Europe etc.One thing that they all say is how unbearable winter days can be in the UK. The cold is penetrating and gets to their bones – totally different from the freezing conditions in their countries.

    • Mary Paul

      Indeed I was served by a Russian shop attendant during a very cold snap a few years ago, and she commented to me how cold she was as it seemed a different sort of cold to the one she was used to in Russia.

      • Avery

        Actually we in Russia believe, that -3C or +2C slush is much more uncomfortable than -20C with snow creaking under your feet.
        But you know, it’s all small details to cling to while the bigger picture is what makes official version not consistent enough.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Actually English snow is invariably dirty and wet and turns to slush in contrast to the crisp white stuff you get in Canada…..maybe it is the dampness in the English climate – but quickly snow turns to slush and then joyously freezes before the next snowfall covers the ice below

      • Raskolnikov

        In Russia, there’s basically only one large city that has comparable weather to North-Western Europe and that is Saint-Petersburg. Reading the russian classics like Gogol, you always see them commenting about the particular weather of Saint-Petersburg and its adverse effects on health.

        A few years ago, I had the parents of a russian friend visiting me in my hometown. I guided them through my city. The weather was particularly humid and windy and they remarked on how I was able to withstand that kind of cold. I jokingly asked them how as russians they were having trouble with belgian temperatures while they have to withstand much greater cold in their country. They simply replied that 1. they clothe appropriately with several layers of clothing (which they had not prepared for their trip to Belgium) 2. Usually they have a dry kind of cold which does not pierce to the bones quite like it does in Belgium.

    • Papa Doc

      This is 100% true. I flew from a comfortable -15 degrees C in Sweden to 0 C in Edinburgh a couple of years back, and Edinburgh was FAR, FAR worse. It’s just that really wet UK air that finds its way under your clothes somehow. I don’t think I’ve ever shivered that much in my entire life, and I grew up in a place where it regularly dips below -20 C in the winter.

      In Scandinavia (barring the coastal areas) when it gets cold the air soon gets dry and it’s just way easier to cope with.

    • Andrew Wilson

      This is very true. I have spent a lot of time in Finland, Estonia, and Russia. All these places are more comfortable in the winter than the UK, even though all are much colder, have much more snow and much more inclement weather. It is hardly surprising that these guys were taken unawares by conditions in the UK. Where they come from they are well adapted to local conditions, the UK, for many reasons is much less well adapted. Every fall of snow is a surprise, every cold snap a minor tragedy..

      • Resident Dissident

        I lived for 5 winters in Moscow and it is complete garbage to say it is more comfortable in winter than the UK.

  • Doodlebug

    FAO Borncynical (in case you’re looking in here)

    I’m playing late ‘catch up’ on a topic that’s moving faster than I can keep up and with a laptop that won’t let me.

    Thanks for the link posted on the previous thread (

    Unfortunately I see absolutely nothing (literally) where I might expect to see a picture or two. Is that the link you intended? There is a comment beneath your own which could well be mere sarcasm, I don’t know, but since you’ve taken the time to research the image you had in mind I must assume it is relevant and possibly important.

    Please keep me up to speed here if poss.

    Many thanks

    • Borncynical

      Hi and thanks for the message. I have tested the link again and I can access it directly from your post above so I am puzzled by your difficulties. The fact it highlights as well appears to confirm it’s a valid address. Have you access to another gadget you can try it on again? I shall also locate the original link again (i.e. the post I discovered it on and will come back to this exchange to give you the details as that may work for you). With regard to the other comment posted after my earlier one, I have every reason to believe it wasn’t intended as sarcasm!

    • Borncynical


      The original post was by @Jack [posts on here with a penguin image!] and was on the thread ‘The holes in the official Skripal Story’. He posted it on page 4 on 13 July at 22.27, under his ‘primary’ post at 21.14. Good luck!

      • Doodlebug

        Hello again and thanks for all your efforts. Perhaps I didn’t explain the situation correctly. I can get through to the linked page but there appears to be nothing there of any pictorial relevance – just an expanse of black space. Anyway, since we’d become so separated in time I took a slightly different route and checked out available photos of DS. One fairly common full-face portrait is in fact ‘cropped’ from a full length which shows her wearing slacks – of exactly the same colour as those shown in the pertinent CCTV frame. I don’t know if that tallies with the information via the link you came up with but it will do for me!

  • Barbara Brown

    Wondering why Dr Chris Busby eminent nuclear scientist was arrested yesterday. He claimed this is a false flag. I remember when he was a witness for the Defence of two Greenham women he asked for a copy of the figures regarding childhood leukaemia cases close to a nuclear installation and the Judge closed the court. We need brave men and women to speak out.

    • MJ

      “A radiation scientist has spoken of his anger at being arrested on suspicion of making a bomb.
      Two police officers “felt unwell” during a visit to Dr Chris Busby’s home in Bideford, Devon, which boasts its own laboratory.
      The 73-year-old said he was held for 19 hours under the Explosives Act before being released with no further action”

      • Paul Greenwood

        Police get a touch of the vapours nowadays…..they simply aren’t used to being outdoors !

        • Michael McNulty

          O/T but related. I heard the vapours were common amongst Victorian ladies of the “higher orders”, but not a problem amongst ordinary Victorian women, because ladies of leisure had themselves laced into very tight whalebone corsets which restricted their diaphragms. Not only did they get insufficient oxygen but they were unable to exhale sufficient carbon dioxide, causing them to faint; “a case of the vapours”. It is said the first-aid treatment of loosening the clothing for better breathing came from this, and it seems the vapours has passed on with the fashion of the time.

    • Michael McNulty

      O/T but related. Some people believe a government-sponsored medical report into childhood leukaemia near nuclear power stations is the reason the McCanns receive special treatment from the establishment over the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine. Her father Dr Gerry McCann put his name to a report denying any such links, and they suspect he holds “other” information about that.

      • Michael McNulty

        My 19.01 comment was a reply to Barbara Brown @ 12.14 which kinda lost it’s place in the reply bundle!

  • Tony

    For a moment assume the 2 are guilty as charged. We would have to accept that the two assassins , having discharged the Novichok on the door handle promptly left .This would mean the effectiveness of the plan , success or failure , is unknown.
    Taking into consideration the apparent non commitment of knowing if the target was successful , what was the purpose of the perfume bottle that killed Dawn Sturgess, remembering that reports state this bottle still sealed

      • Tony

        This becomes untenable.
        The spare is only valid if the primary fails to achieve its target.
        As they did not confirm the primary source had been successful before leaving . The spare would only be of use if they confirmed the primary source had failed/unsuccessful , allowing them a secondary opportunity.

  • Martyn

    Switching mobile phones off when they leave the house seems like something that would only be done in extreme circumstances:

    Therefore, I see only two possibilities on this matter:

    1) Experienced agent doesn’t want to be traced by British authorities. So, he was involved in something and he didn’t want to be tracked and traced. That’s major part of the events that is missing which would probably change the whole picture.

    2) The ‘mobile phones off’ is a false story planted by the security services, otherwise they’d be facing the obvious media questions to account for the movements of the Skripals that day using their mobile phone signal. That suggests they don’t want Skripals movements known.

    Both possibilities are flaws on the British side ; not the Russian the side.

    • Clark

      No. In extreme circumstances one wouldn’t take the ‘phone at all.

      “Switching mobile phones off when they leave the house seems like something that would only be done in extreme circumstances”

      Well I must be a spy then, along with all the other people who attend my meditation group. And anyone who wants a bit of piece and quiet.

      • Agent Green

        Still doesn’t explain why nobody seems to know what happened to the Skripals in the unexplained 4hr period. No CCTV of movements?

        • Clark

          Yes. It looks as if certain evidence is being withheld, and the Skripals are not around to tell us whether they actually switched their ‘phones off at all.

      • Martyn

        @Clark replies: “Well I must be a spy then, … And anyone who wants a bit of piece and quiet.” [sic]

        But they didn’t want peace and quiet if they went into the City Centre and the Zizzi restaurant chain, so your point fails. Why make a comment when they clearly didn’t go to a mediation class; they went to a busy city centre restaurant?

        • Clark

          Oh, Skripal father and daughter are not entitled to some uninterrupted time? Well, they are Russian, after all. Maybe all Russians should have to wear red arm bands when in proper countries such as UK.

          • Martyn

            @ Clark .

            “Skripal father and daughter are not entitled to some uninterrupted time?”

            You’re not making any sense. They were together at the house Saturday night/Sunday morning.

            You claimed they wanted peace and quiet. But they actually went to a chain restaurant in a City Centre.

            Please try thinking before posting.

          • Clark

            I do think, thank you Martyn. People switch their ‘phones off for all sorts of reasons, and it provides no protection against being tracked, particularly by a powerful adversary such as GCHQ. Proper spies will know this.

            Heavens forbid that merely switching our ‘phones off become automatic grounds for suspicion. That was covered explicitly in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and indeed, cellphone devices and modern computers are rather like the telescreen in that they’re never quite off, merely in some undocumented ‘standby’ state, susceptible to override across the network.

          • Phill

            As you said “People switch their ‘phones off for all sorts of reasons, and it provides no protection against being tracked”.

            Exactly! The point isn’t that their phones were “switched off”, it’s that the authorities couldn’t track them for 4 hours on the Sunday morning, so that means they didn’t just switch their phones off, they also removed either the sim or the battery. How often do you do that? Maybe if it was just one phone it could be that the battery has died but for both phones to be untraceable for 4 hours (exactly when our Russian friends are in their neighbourhood) is a bit dodgy.

          • Phil

            Funny you should say that because the original statement to the press wasn’t “their phones were switched off”, it was “the devices GPS signals were not in operation”. It’s the media and other commentators who presumed this meant the phones were switched off.

          • James

            Eh up, Clark. Sorry to have to disabuse you of this widespread (on here) idea of the possibility of GPS tracking switched off mobile phones with the battery left in. I recently aroused the wrath and fury of “retired electronics engineer” joeblogs by explaining why it was just an “urban myth”.
            I went in to some detail of an experiment you can perform on your kitchen table to debunk it, but in the end I realised he probably believes someone at MI6 has invented a magnet that picks up wood.
            It isn’t in fact true. Switching off alone cuts the power the GPS chip needs to transmit to the satellites. If you’re a true believer like joeblogs, but also had the faculty of rational and logical thought, you’d realise that if these chips need no power to function, taking the battery out would make no difference.
            Sorry if it was one of your urban myths. Its all a bit nuts anyway, as gospodin Skripal would surely know as a spy to leave his phone at home was necessary due to these amazing wood-attracting magnets.
            prosperum iter facias.

          • Clark

            James, it’s not as simple as that. If the software has the ability, what looks like standby mode may not be. The “power button” isn’t a physical power switch; it just signals the processor to turn various peripherals on or off.

            So does the software have that ability? Well, if the manufacturer has included such modes, then yes, obviously. But also modified software could have been installed, possibly with an app, or with an update, or as an “infection”.

            Can it be activated across the network?

            “…the modem remains a crucial part for privacy/security: it is nearly always connected to the GSM network, allowing for remote control. The modem can be more or less damaging to privacy/security depending on what hardware it has access to and can control. That is to say, how isolated it is from the rest of the device.

            – A device with bad modem isolation cannot prevent the modem from accessing and controlling key parts of the hardware. For instance the main CPU’s RAM, its storage, the GPS, the camera, user I/O and the microphone. This situation is terrible for privacy/security as it provides plenty of opportunities to efficiently spy on the user, that could be triggered remotely over the mobile telephony network. That mobile telephony network is accessible to the mobile telephony operator, but also to attackers setting up fake base stations for that purpose”


          • Clark


            “Switching off alone cuts the power the GPS chip needs to transmit to the satellites”

            Phones etc. have GPS Receivers, which don’t transmit to the satellites, they only receive.

            Well, so far as I know. It certainly couldn’t transmit anything like as much of the time as it receives, as it would use the battery power really fast. But reception at the satellite would also be a nightmare of conflicting incoming signals, because GPS Receivers (in ‘phones etc.) outnumber the satellites many millions to one.

      • Clark

        “Experienced agent doesn’t want to be traced by British authorities”

        Not just the “British authorities”. Any of thousands of communications workers must have potential access to data from which a ‘phone can be tracked, or could have sold passwords which would enable a third party to do so. The companies themselves may sell location data, no matter what their Terms and Conditions may promise. And the companies very probably have various data breaches they know nothing of.

        That’s before we even start considering what might be possible with privately available RF scanners, simulated base-stations and test instruments etc.

        “If you want to be alone, don’t be near a ‘phone”.

        • Martyn

          @ Clark,

          I can’t see why communications workers would be tracking/tracing Skripal’s movements. I can see why the security services would be tracking/tracing them. But, regardless, the point remains : by switching phone off/removing battery he was involved in something which he didn’t want to be tracked and traced.

          • Clark

            What? Absolutely none of the thousands of communications workers all over the world would be prepared to log the cell movements of a specific device if offered large amount of cash in a brown paper bag? Well, you do surprise me; I feel more secure already.

      • bj

        I agree. Switching off has little purpose from the viewpoint of GCHQ and NSA.
        And the very act raises suspicions.
        Although that might explain the prompt appearance of the lady Freya , DS Bailey the ambulance service.

      • N_

        Switching mobile phones off when they leave the house seems like something that would only be done in extreme circumstances

        Well I must be a spy then, along with all the other people who attend my meditation group. And anyone who wants a bit of piece and quiet.

        Worse – you must be an assassin!

        For people on holiday who want to soak up the atmosphere and be stimulated by the places of interest that make Salisbury special, clutching onto their microwave trackers (“mobile phones”) like babies would be absolutely pathetic behaviour. If they were sane, taking a phone with them would be something they would only do in extreme circumstances – maybe if they were awaiting a call from a hospital, or something like that.

        People who behave as follows

        * look at Cathedral ceiling
        * check Instagram
        * have a look at 14th century clock
        * check Twitter
        * look at original Magna Carta
        * check Facebook

        should stay at home. They’re not getting much out of the cathedral and they might as well look at a tweet about it. Then the rest of us can have more space – and a nicer experience too, because we might actually connect with other human beings who are enjoying the same place that we are. Real connection. Not some sh*t that happens on your phone.

        In fact one could go further and say that people who behave in the above-described way could do with a quick dose of Novichok.

        • Clark

          “Worse – you must be an assassin!”

          A victim, actually; it was the Skripals who allegedly turned their ‘phones off.

          Maybe one or both of the Skripals suspected they were in danger and were trying to avoid their attackers. But Sergei at least should have know to get entirely away from both their ‘phones if that was the case.

        • bj

          The description of mindless idiots tuned-in with their phones but tuned-out with reality and historical presence is priceless.
          I agree wholeheartedly.

          • Clark

            Careful bj; you presumably just used some sort of device to post that comment. “Don’t do as I do, do as I say”? And there’s no justification in getting sniffy about the content here versus content on other people’s ‘phones; there’s always plenty of nonsense in the comments on this site.

      • Andrew Wilson

        Many, if not all modern mobiles can be traced even when the phone is turned off because a modern phone is never actually off. When phones had removable batteries it was considered safe against tracking only when the battery was removed from the device.

        If the Skripals were being tracked by the UK, turning off their mobile phones would not have stopped the tracking. If I know that then I am damned sure that Skripal senior knew it. That suggests that the government’s story in this respect is also untrue.

        • Phil

          As I just posted above…. the original statement to the press wasn’t “their phones were switched off”, it was “the devices GPS signals were not in operation”. It’s the media and other commentators who presumed this meant the phones were switched off.
          It’s like how the official Porton Down testing said it was a “Novichok or a similar type of nerve agent” yet in the press this became just “Novichok”.

        • Keith McClary

          “turning off their mobile phones would not have stopped the tracking. If I know that then I am damned sure that Skripal senior knew it.”
          Placing the phones in a suitable metal container would stop tracking. He would know that.

  • Simon Hodges

    If no-one is allowed to make any kind of objective criticism of the establishment Skripal narrative without being hounded as Putin bots and traitors then I think it rather naive of you Craig to believe that they would ever be given a fair trial in the UK as any British lawyer would be cited as a traitor for daring to defend what everyone has already concluded to be the indefensible.

    The Hague would be a suitable venue but I see that today, the neocon deep state is already busy undermining its credentials.

    • bj

      Note the similarities to Russiagate/Russia-hysteria in the US.
      Also note where the two converge — in a small town near London, in a man named Steele.

    • N_

      They should get savvier.

      1) They’ve been charged with attempted murder. According to Magna Carta principles and subsequent legislation, they should be brought before a court, pronto. Well, unfortunately Theresa May has prejudiced a trial, so they’re scared of coming to a country where the executive acts out of control, but they’re perfectly willing to have their first appearance in front of a magistrate by video link.

      2) Then they want all the advance evidence against them, in accordance with what are supposed to be defendants’ rights. The Crown Prosecution Service decided they had enough evidence to a have a great chane of securing a conviction, right? So it shouldn’t be a problem to send all of this evidence to them fast. They expect to receive it all before any second court appearance.

      3) Write an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May proposing the above.

  • Mary Paul

    The MSM accounts all read like a regurgitated press briefing. I wonder if anyone will break ranks and look at the timetable and accusations of who did what when and raise some queries.

  • Dec

    And how do you explain their lie that they went through Gatwick together, when the exit channel configuration shows how it is they were separated? The double booked flights? The absence of any other evidence of architectural or other cultured interests? Deciding not to go to Stonehenge because they could not afford an umbrella, having travelled thousands of miles to see it especially? The absence of any photos they could have easily shown at the interview? The absence of any digital footprint of their company (it exists only by word of mouth or unlinked to their identities)? Etc etc.

    The mob is wrong to claim the case is proven. But you are silly to claim this is remotely probable.

    • Agent Green

      It’s not up to them to prove anything. The UK has to prove everything and up to now they have produced no evidence.

    • bj

      You could have been more concise in your tribulations, and direct them towards “the absence of any other evidence” from the quadruple M’s: The MET police, MI5, MI6 and Mrs. May.

    • FizzyDummy

      Regarding the Gatwick matter, here’s a repost from Craig’s earlier post by Norwegian:

      In the RT interview the 2 russians said they used the ‘same corridor’ at Gatwick. This is entirely consistent with the photos published by the UK Police, if you flip, rotate and align one of the images. Improved version here

      I think the images support what they say in the interview. The implication is that the images showing them with the same time stamp is fabrication by the UK police.

      There is every reason to believe these guys are completely innocent, and the UK police had better come up with something credible, or else they become the prime suspects themselves.

    • Mary Paul

      They said in the interview they expected there would be video on them on CCTV visiting the cathedral. I imagine their phones and memory sticks have been confiscated by Russian authorities by now

    • __alex__

      do not listened from russian media or smth about their fb accounts.
      in russia every even slightly popular person has 5 fb accounts and noone of them is real. 🙂

    • Vinnie Pooh

      That’s the thing – the English press is barking at the wrong tree trying to find holes in their story. There are no real ones. Real hole in the story is the identity of the guys, they don’t have accounts, nobody has seen their relatives and friends etc. They really do look like undercover agents, but not based on the story they told, rather from circumstantial evidence. I am Russian, btw. My version of the story so far – remarkably similar to Litvinenko, Skripal was probably involved in a complicated game that included him, English services, Russian services, and private parties. And at some point one of the sides framed the other. We’ll know the details in, say, 100 years, when the archives open.

  • David Webb

    The suspects left Salisbury at 1350. The Skripals were lunching in the restaurant, alive and well, at 1440-1535. As far as I’m concerned that puts Petrov and Boshirov in the clear.
    1. Why were the Skripals out of Salisbury with mobile phones switched off for several hours between 0915 and 1315?
    2. Who was the blonde woman with the big red bag who met them in the park at 1547?
    3. What happened to the big red bag found at Yulia’s feet that was seized as evidence?

    There is something very fishy about this story

    • Agent Green

      Indeed. I fail to see why these questions should not be answered by the UK Government and investigating agencies. Surely they have the information to hand?

    • Martyn

      @David Webb writes: “The suspects left Salisbury at 1350. The Skripals were lunching in the restaurant, alive and well, at 1440-1535. As far as I’m concerned that puts Petrov and Boshirov in the clear.”

      The case against them is that a toxic chemical was used, not that the victims were shot or stabbed, etc. The use of a toxic chemical allows assassins to leave before the suspect comes into contact with the toxic chemical, so your reasoning as copied above is faulty.

      It is possible the Skripals were wearing gloves when they were near the chemical source and only came into skin contact later on when they removed their gloves, after the assassins had left.

  • Baron

    You must have been through something similar with the lies that made you ill, Mr. Murray, then a House Committee found you right, your accusers wrong. This time, please ignore the mob, pay no attention to the brainless, do not let them grind you down, you’re one of the few this country could be proud of, and one day will be again.

    This story isn’t over yet, someone somewhere will have the guts to either tell or hint at the truth.

  • RuilleBuille

    I for one would not ask the two Russians to come to the UK. They won’t get a fair trial.

    You only have to look at the list of Irish people falsely convicted before their innocence was proved – Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Maguire Seven, Danny McNamee, Noel Jenkinson, Danny Morrison and Judith Ward.

  • Thorvid Asgard

    Agreed Craig, it’s our job to stand strong in the face of the mob. We must demand answers to the perfectly reasonable questions that are now even more relavant.

    With the release of the names and photographs, the timeline of the ‘offical narrative’ is proving to be an even bigger crock.
    Which of course is something MSM is not willing to go anywhere close to discussing. They are more interested in ridiculing the prospect of Salisbury being a tourist destination, (someone tell Jzee and the many thousands of people that visit each year!) or the fact that Russian citizens might go on holidays. Then there only other focus is on discrediting and dissmissing anyone who has the audacity to question the official narrative.

  • cimarrón

    Here’s a piece of sly propaganda published today in The Guardian –

    “Dutch expelled Russians over alleged novichok laboratory hacking plot”

    “The men were arrested in The Hague this spring as part of an operation involving British, Swiss and Dutch intelligence agencies.”

    “The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) participated actively in this operation together with its Dutch and British partners.”

    Undoubtedly the pair arrested would have been photographed, yet this piece of propaganda implies that the two Russians, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, could be guilty because they “admitted they had visited Switzerland on a number of occasions”.

  • Duncan


    I concur.
    For Putin this might be the most obvious “next step.”

    Persuade ( I believe he is a powerful persuader ) Rus and Alex to return to the UK to face charges.
    Mrs May (Evidence lead, PM) will be between the rock and the hard place.
    It cannot be in camera, and if Skripal testimony is not offered or withheld, then we might not even get charges.
    Think of the fun if it became a public trial.
    DMSA notices still applicable?

  • Max Venquist

    Kremlin has said today that the men can be questioned in Russia if the UK wishes. This goes back to the point that the official position of Russia has been engagement between law enforcement of both countries and quit the information manipulation that UK has been doing in UN Security Council meetings and sheep press.

    • N_

      Wise move. They could be questioned by video link or in a Russian police station.

      But let’s not forget they’ve been charged. So why would British police want to question them?

      Or does the Met now want to say they charged them by accident and actually they are still gathering evidence?

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