Lynch Mob Mentality 1896

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,896 thoughts on “Lynch Mob Mentality

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  • JohninMK

    Not sure of this has been linked before but it is a long history of the Skripals. From the NYT so a big US slant on why he was attacked but interesting all the same.

    Then there is this, also from the NYT, from yesterday. The US building the fear of Russia any way it can. First few paras

    “WASHINGTON — When a suspected hit man for Russian intelligence arrived in Florida about four years ago, F.B.I. surveillance teams were alarmed.

    The man approached the home of one of the C.I.A.’s most important informants, a fellow Russian, who had been secretly resettled along the sunny coast. The suspected hit man also traveled to another city where one of the informant’s relatives lived, raising even more concerns that the Kremlin had authorized revenge on American soil.

    At F.B.I. headquarters, some agents voiced concern that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, himself a former intelligence officer known to reserve scorn for defectors from their ranks, had sent an assassin to kill one he viewed as a turncoat. Others said he would not be so brazen as to kill a former Russian spy on American soil.

    Ultimately, the Russian defector and his family remained safe. But after the poisoning in March of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer living in Britain, and his daughter, American intelligence officials have begun to reassess the danger facing former spies living in the United States, according to current and former American intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations.”

    • bj

      No one detained?
      Evidence free story-telling and purposeful fear mongering.
      Russia is gaining too much standing internationally.
      Its back has to be broken.

    • Goose

      Sending a hitman to knock on a door, with say, a hidden gun plus silencer, does seem far more likely scenario, certainly than messing about daubing highly dangerous substances on a door without knowing whether the intended person, or wholly innocent other, will end up being the victim.

      If this had been an attempted shooting, I doubt anyone would be questioning any of it.

  • John2o2o

    And just to say I am p*d off with my previous post (I daresay they’re not that readable) as I admonished a so-called chemist for saying that toothpaste could be mistaken for novichok …

    yes, that notion really is as stupid as it sounds.

    I simply believe that our government is lying about finding novichok in the hotel room of these men. I simply do not believe them.

    Why is the notion that the government lies so hard for some people to grasp?!

  • JohninMK

    Bellingcat really got the bit between their teeth on these guys. Toler is their researcher

    Aric Toler @AricToler
    3h3 hours ago

    Looks like @novaya_gazeta noticed something that we didn’t in our report on Skripal poisoner Petrov: the number indicated on his passport file next to “Don’t release information” is for the Russian Ministry of Defense. Normal for a sports vitamin salesman?

    • Goose

      Damning information.

      Although the Skripals weren’t home at the time, Maybe it was to be an assassination that’s been exploited . They either did it as stated, or an elaborate framing exercise was built around their mission, using advance knowledge of their dastardly plans?

    • Doodlebug

      Is this a ‘tweet’ (I don’t do Twitter myself)? If so then Aric Toler is being audacious to say the least in referring to ‘Skripal poisoner Petrov’.

      It doesn’t matter if the two are ‘gay’, members of the KGB or the Bolshoi Ballet, it is frankly unjust to identify them as assassins, actual or potential, simply because they are known to have visited Salisbury on 4 March. Even if they joined the Skripals for their duck fest, or a vodka or two at the Mill, such ‘evidence’ would be no more than circumstantial. It has of course yet to be presented. Perpetual insistence on the impossible door handle raid could be interpreted as confirmation that there are no genuinely compromising CCTV images of the two on record.

    • Elena

      In one of Russian newspapers I have seen a comment by someone who claimed to have once state protection in a criminal case. He wrote that his papers also carried the same stamp “don’t release information”. Bosharov and Petrov asked to leave them alone for some while. As you may well imagine, Russia might have good reasons to make this issue to a state matter and obviously decided to protect them. I do not think real agents can betray themselves in such a silly manner.
      By the way, I listened very carefully the whole interview. These men use somewhat ordinary vocabulary and surely did not have a decent education. No way might they belong to GRU personnel, who must have a high education in order to get invited in such organisation. To me, aside for the horror these men involuntarily got into (and being scared to hell), their other great concern is to deny any suspicion of being gays. Probably such reaction has to do with their environment or their clientele. Do assassins or “cleaners”; as your media call them, behave this way? If they were acting – they should get an Oscar.

    • Goose

      If he has found this out so quickly and easily, wouldn’t various intelligence agencies have found out and known this too?

    • Yuliya

      Bellingcat used fake documents. He was doing an MH-17 flight report, there’s a lot of lies. This lie has been published, but are very quickly exposed.

      1. This form is for self-completion. Take this form and write on it what you want.
      I am Russian, believe me as a native speaker (and excuse me for my English). There are turns of speech for conversation and for office work. “Сведений не давать” (Information not to give) – so say not very educated people or those who are unfamiliar with the language. That’s right – “Сведения не предоставлять”
      All telephone numbers in Russia are writing code for Moscow is 495. The phone number on the stamp? Are they serious? Hahahaha…

      2. “Letter S. S.” – just funny, spy thriller. (C. C. – Совершенно Секретно – top secret) Secret documents are kept in secret institutions.

      3. Aeroflot’s passenger manifest.
      On-line registration is not the date of purchase of tickets. When I fly without luggage, I always do so. On-line registration is usually available one day before departure. This saves time on boarding.

      I think that all these articles are intended for one – to take the viewer far from the main thing – the lack of evidence of guilt. The whole story has turned into a circus – the investigation is not conducted jointly by Russian and British services, as expected, and make Newspapers, online publications, bloggers… It is simply impossible to fall below.

      • John A

        Thanks Yuliya,
        By online registration, I think you mean check-in. If so, you are correct. With the budget airlines you can buy tickets months in advance but check-in starts from either 3, 7 or 14 days depending on, in ryanair’s case, how many add-ons you have bought – luggage, seat, priority boarding etc.

      • Dennis Revell


        Indeed thanks, Yuliya.

        Your English needs no excusing – about a million times better than my Russian; most Brits. anyway are getting like Americans – thinking they’re ‘exceptional’, and can’t even figure out why “everybody doesn’t speak English”.


    • Yeah, Right

      The main problem with all Bellingcat articles is that they invariably suffer from enormous confirmation bias, and this latest article is particularly bad.

      Note this appalling example:
      “Alexander Petrov’s passport dossier is marked with a stamp containing the instruction “Do not provide any information”. This stamp does not exist in standard civilian passport files. A source working in the Russian police force who regularly works with the central database confirmed to Bellingcat and The Insider that they have never seen such a stamp on any passport form in their career. That source surmised that this marking reserved for operatives of the state under deep cover.”

      So their “insider information” is actually derived from an “insider” who openly admits has encountered this stamp exactly as many times as has Eliot Higgins has i.e. never.

      So their insider is “surmising” (ahem, the alternative word would be “guessing”) on something of which he has no more insider knowledge as you or I. Or Bellingcat.

      You see it again soon after, with this passage:
      “In Mr. Petrov’s case, this page is left blank, and in addition to the same stamp “Do not provide information”, a hand-written note is added with the text “There is a letter. S.S.”. Per the same source interviewed for this story, S.S. is a common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret”. ”

      Notice that this “source” is the same one who “surmised” that the stamp denotes a spy under deep cover, even though he has never come across that stamp before in his life.

      So why should we believe that he is doing anything other than guessing when he claims that “SS” = “sovershenno sekretno”.

      After all, to decide otherwise requires us to accept the notion that he *has* seen those initialled side-notes before (and therefore knows what it means) but has *never* seen the accompanying stamp (and therefore has to guess at its meaning).

      That sounds plausible, does it? Or is it more plausible to think that Bellingcat is doing what it always does i.e. come to their predetermined conclusion via a massive amount of confirmation bias.

  • Courtney

    Thank you for having an open mind on this.Obviously the narrative has to be followed by the msm stenographers,so them arguing with you is no surprise,although,in my opinion anyone who buys this ridiculous story at all is just looking like a brainwashed fool.
    I watched the whole RT interview & I saw a couple of guys very scared. They did not seek fame & what a way to get it. What their true”business” is who knows? Could they have been up to some shady stuff? Maybe, but they are 100% not GRU! If they are “intelligence”, as George Galloway put it,they are more “Austin Powers than James Bond”.If they were GRU,they probably would not be caught,if caught,they would have a better cover story & would not act so scared. I hope they are vindicated soon, but they should not expect an apology from UK….ever.
    Where are the Skripals anyway? Apparently Victoria (the neice) cannot contact Yulia anymore on the phone number she has & Victoria has also been repeatedly denied a visa…why? Especially now? There are so many things wrong with this story but the bottom line is it serves the narrative,the agenda,and it gives US &UK & the other vassals and excuse & justification for any anti Russian action.
    It needs to end, hopefully the peaceful way.
    I hope these guys are protected though, I do believe the UK got their bluff called by them coming forward, I think they never expected it, the UK does not seem to think their asshattery through very well, at least the US puts work into their false flags.(dark humor, it helps sometimes) I could imagine a scenario of the two of them “committing suicide” if you follow.
    This Russophobia needs to end before we destroy ourselves.

    • Dungroanin

      Well yes i guess.

      That was only their first appearance. If they play it right they will have many more.

      They could be the new Ant and Dec even.

      They have struck gold. The lucky lucky …

  • Elwood

    Using the treatment of Julian Assange at the hands of the British authorities, as an illustrative example and basis from which to hypothesize about treatment of so-called “enemies of the state”, there is no way in hell the Russians would be afforded anything remotely resembling a fair trial, were they to go back to Britain to testify.

    • N_

      This is true, but it doesn’t mean the British poshboys want a trial. Interestingly there haven’t been any further expulsions or concrete sanctions against Russia since the stills and video were released and charges were issued against Boshirov and Petrov. So far, Theresa May has been all mouth. I put it that way, but it’s very scary because while we all know that Britain is run by a bunch of in-bred types who help each other out (“safe hands” is their word for “omerta”), we’d be wrong to assume their psywar capability is zero and they are obviously waiting for the event in Syria.

      And oh look, the Wikipedia article on Nikolai Glushkov omits to mention that he was killed on the day he was due to appear in court. (Source: the Times.) We can be sure that some people didn’t like whatever it was that he might have been going to say.

  • N_

    Have the Met police tried to contact Boshirov and Petrov to tell them they’ve charged them with attempted murder? I’m sure either the Russian embassy or RT would pass on the message. If the answer is “no”, the police are just taking the piss. Tell them they’ve been charged, tell them you’ve issued arrest warrants, and give them contact details for a police officer you want them to get in touch with. These men are not, as far as we know, in hiding. Who knows – perhaps one might flip? Perhaps they might walk into the British embassy where you can arrest them. Anything might happen. Either try to contact them or admit that there was never any proper evidence against them and they were only charged on Whitehall and MI5 say-so.

    If you’re a police officer involved in this case and you’re reading this, how about you grow a pair? Remember that Steven Davies, a consultant medic at Salisbury hospital, stated on 16 March that “no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury”. He hasn’t been “sent to a better world” yet, has he? Grow a pair and be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

    • Yeah, Right

      N_ they haven’t been charged with attempted murder in a British court of law. Not by the Metropolitan Police, not by anyone.

      There are actually no legal proceedings taking place anywhere within the British justice system against these two men.

      The only form issued has been a “European Arrest Warrant” which is necessary to create an “Interpol red notice”, but both of those are administrative forms issued by a British prosecutor. Neither involves fronting up to a judge or magistrate.

      Ignore all the hype. Ignore what Teresa May is screeching from the pulpit. Look at what steps have actually been taken.
      “In May’s statement to the Commons, she said the government’s ‘forensic investigation has now produced sufficient evidence for the independent [sic] Director of Public Prosecutions to bring charges against two Russian nationals.’ She meant there is no formal charge proceeding, not yet. May added subjunctively: ‘were these two suspects within our jurisdiction there would be a clear basis in law for their arrest for murder.’ Again, she meant there is no legal proceeding before a British court or judge. “

      • Doodlebug

        It surely helps to see through the semantic ‘fog’. As Max_B has persistently pointed out hitherto, there is nowhere a formal identification of exactly what chemical was involved in either incident. Much filibuster – very few facts.

  • Brian Steere

    The key phrase I notice is ‘hatred’.
    This is the ‘energetic’ being invoked and aligned in.

    Hatred is part of our emotional being that is generally suppressed, and masked over, and sometimes healed.
    The cultivation of fear defined identity, under threat, sets up the means to trigger and direct hatred as a proxy force or mob of ‘self righteousness’.

    That appeal to fear and hatred or any other of the negative or divisive emotional states as a means to power is dangerous is not news, but is an understanding that requires some degree of emotional awareness, rather than emotional reactivity.

    But the politics of fear and threat is only intensifying through the use of deceits, false framing and narrative control.
    The answer is not IN the framework that fear and hatred sets and so is the self-awareness and self honesty of illuminating such deceits or devices for what they are – instead of taking their bait. The nature of deceits within deceits is the ability to work the target by their own choices and beliefs, and so noticing our reactions and outcomes of such reactions is part of uncovering undercurrent habits and beliefs that can now be re-evaluated as choices instead of living from an already reacted ‘mind’.

    The releasing of the false or conflicted, to the willingness for true, opens the basis from which to engage in genuine relationship and communication, which of course is so expanded from the framing of manipulative and contractual judgements as to be out of the range of our ‘thinking’. So that leads to the question: Is it truly OUR thinking, or is it more an adaptation of a masking persona?

    Surface thinking, surface living becomes a screen ‘disconnect’ that invites parasitic intent because basically – there’s no one home.

  • RobG

    This is all complete and utter nonsense (and is linked to the Salisbury poisonings)…

    It’s just all pure theatre; how thesedays they control the masses: if they really wanted to bring down a shady character like Trump they could do it in an instant, but they don’t. Trump is just a continuation of the Obama con (Obama was the worst) and all the previous psychopaths.

    I’m not quite sure how this is all going to end (because it’s not easy to judge complete psychopaths). I’ll just say that I don’t think it’s going to be very pleasant.

    • JOML

      RobG, it frightening how people think they are different from the ‘masses’ because they read the ‘quality’ press (surprised I used that term because I’ve not heard ‘quality’ and ‘press’ together in years!). It’s all gone mad and I fear for the future purely because there’s absolutely no intelligence, nor talent holding the cards on this side of the fence.

    • mog

      It’s just all pure theatre

      I quite agree. Trump is ‘the Obama of the Right’. Basically a fictional presidency.
      It is a somewhat inverted situation though, because most of the US population are to the ‘Left’ of anything in Washington, therefore the ‘make-American-hope-and-change-great-again’ messenger this time round needs to be a hate figure aligned with ‘the enemy’.
      It will be strung out for most of the 8 years.
      They must have any amount of dirt on Trump. Read Wayne Madsen.
      Trump usefully keeps ignorant liberals from thinking or talking about the special interests who really control the American Empire.

  • Spencer Eagle

    It’s worth taking a look on streetview at just where the Skripal’s lived, No. 47 Christie Miller Road. It’s one heck of a difficult place to walk up to without being noticed from houses lining each side, so much so I reckon any self respecting operator would choose somewhere else to do the dirty deed. It’s also pretty cut off, any other way in would literally mean clambering dozens of fences. One odd thing is that the Skripal street is stuck back in time on Streetview, April 2009, whilst No.3 Christie Miller Road is presented in June 2016 ? Any walking route from the station to Christie Miller Road is pretty circuitous, whilst 720 metres as the crow fly’s, the walk is just short of a mile and 20 mins. Have a look below.
    Screen grab



    • bj

      From the street view, I wonder what the wart is on the outer wall, first floor level, near the drain pipe.

      • bj

        My hunch is that said wart is a CCTV. It’s the only one to have that.

        The house with the silver Mercedes has a huge Yale burglar alarm in almost the same spot.

      • Spencer Eagle

        No point looking for CCTV the Streetview is dated 2009 (while everywhere else is 2016) were the Skripal’s even there 2009? Also, in the press images of the house the front door has changed since 2009. In the press images the hinges indicate that, unusually, the door opens outward, maybe Skripal feared someone was coming for him and had a higher security door fitted (opening outward means it couldn’t be kicked in).

        Unusual outward opening front door (the lucky horseshoe failed miserably)

    • Spencer Eagle

      What time was the ‘bridge’ CCTV image of the pair taken? Here’s a screen grab of the location, including the CCTV camera which shows they were a long way from the Skirpal home, heading toward the station, where had they been at that point?

      Bridge photo and camera location

      Map location

      Streetview of location,-1.7986745,3a,75y,185.91h,95.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sBu4dMpFpPJt-Cv3JXFadPQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

        • MaryPau!

          in the interview they expressed surprise that none of the published stills showed them at tourist sites. One, I think Petrov said they should appear on CCTV from the cathedral from when they visited it.

          • Borncynical

            That’s right, and they were categorical about it, no hesitation at all. But you know what, the UK would find an excuse not to come up with it such as the cameras weren’t working that day or simply that they have reviewed the images and can’t find any evidence of the two men. Our Government has lied from the outset and nothing’s going to stop them carrying on.

      • Radio Jammor

        The bridge photo is 13:05. The next photo with them on the other side of the road, nearer the train station is 13:08. They are travelling from the direction of the Cathedral towards the station, which was about five minutes from there, yet apparently they did not arrive at the station until 13:50.

        See my post at

        But also see the photos on the Met Police site at

        • Yeah, Right

          Radio Jammor: “They are travelling from the direction of the Cathedral towards the station, which was about five minutes from there, yet apparently they did not arrive at the station until 13:50”

          Petrov: “We got wet, so we went back to the train station and took the first train to go back. We spent about 40 minutes in a coffee shop at the train station” [NOTE: this is in reference to the previous day, Saturday]
          Boshirov: “Sure, we did. We went to a park, we had some coffee. We went to a coffee shop. We walked around, enjoying those beautiful English Gothic buildings.” [NOTE: this is in reference to the grounds of the Cathedral on the Sunday]

          So apparently these two gentlemen like their coffee, and have a fondness for sitting down in British coffee shops.

          So if you are looking to explain a “missing” 45 minutes as they trundled along to the train station while soaked to the bone then I would suggest that you consider the possibility that they were sitting in a coffee shop trying to get warm and dry.

          • Radio Jammor

            @ Yeah Right, happy to consider the possibility. But I was merely referencing what the CCTV images tell us. Assuming the CCTV time stamps are accurate, there is an unexplained 42 minute gap there, and over an hour gap prior to those two images from the sighting on Wilton Road, at 11:58.

            I could theorise & speculate as much as anyone about their movements, but we don’t know enough to be certain. All it really proves is a fact not in dispute – that they were in Salisbury on the day concerned.

            Note also that the CCTV at Dauwalders, which must surely have been wrong, showed them outside at 13;48-13:49; so was that about 40 minutes fast, as that sighting should have been in-between the 13:05 & 13:08 sightings, or five minutes fast, because they were on CCTV arriving at the station at 13:50 – which is about five minutes away? If the latter, then they must surely have passed one or other of those two other CCTV cameras on Fisherton Street a second time.

            Whilst that is possible, and could go some way to explaining the 42 minute time gap, with them apparently going around in a circular route, coming back up Fisherton Street a second time, then they should have been caught twice by at least two of those three cameras.

            Assuming this is all the CCTV of them in Fisherton Street (I know, I’m suspicious that there is unreleased CCTV of them), then what we have indicates that they only went up the street once, because the three cameras caught them once each, and therefore the Dauwalders CCTV time stamp should be between 13:05 and 13:08, given its location in between the other two CCTV cameras on Fisherton Street – and was about 40 minutes fast.

            Unfortunately, this conclusion does not help us very much. What we really need – and what RT tried to do, but ended-up getting side-tracked from, is have Boshirov and Petrov explain their movements in detail, preferably on a map of Salisbury.

      • George_Cardiff

        So they are coming back from the cathedral at 13.05. So why is everybody claiming that they didn’t visit the cathedral?

  • Anikam Hemelloper

    Now I don’t know much about international government spy agencies but while the MSM are shouting “Squirrel”,
    has anyone checked airport and Salisbury area cctv recordings for the presence of American or Israeli tourists around the dates mentioned? Or have these been conveniently lost by the Ministry in charge of losing things?

  • Niall Bradley

    “The Skripals had left their house at 09.15, with their mobile phones switched off so they could not be geo-located.”

    Slight correction: phones can actually be geolocated despite being ‘off’.

        • JohninMK

          The general view is no, the phone’s IMIE (I think) can be tracked if the battery is still in, but many say that this is just urban legend.

          If it is possible then it would involve a lot of effort, in particular that that phone would have had to have been flagged by an organization with legal power for continuous monitoring.

          • Shatnersrug

            That’s an urban legend smart sims only have a contact distance of 4cm. There is no way to track a phone that’s switched off. Trust me I’m an electronic engineer

          • Clark

            Shatnersrug, how do you know if all peripherals have been powered down? How many internal power nodes are there?

            If the software has been modified, surely the screen / backlight can be turned off, the device can be prevented from ringing or vibrating, the WiFi and Bluetooth deactivated but other peripherals can still have power. So the device wouldseem to be in proper standby, but in fact could still do all sorts of things.

            And the software can be modified in working memory because on most devices the main processor memory is shared by the GSM modem:


          • Radar O’Reilly

            There does exist professional ‘malware’ where when you turn your phone “OFF” it simply executes a program that “pretends that the phone is OFF”

            You don’t think it’s a coincidence that nearly all of the current generation of hand-held communications and tracking devices ‘phones) now have non-removable batteries!

            A biscuit-tin is widely used in German companies where they are discussing sensitive commercial or intellectual property, all phones in the tin, perhaps outside of the conference-room, then the meeting can start, according to the press.

        • James

          Oops, not that one again. I wish I knew how to link to a definitive answer to this GPS/battery out nonsense I made to the “retired electronics engineer” joeblogs. I don’t. It’s horseshit, just turn the phone off.
          If your really paranoid, leave it at home, and use a payphone to call a psychiatrist.

          • N_

            If you don’t want to be tracked, don’t carry a tracker. Anyone who feels invisible with a tracker in their pocket that’s switched “off”, or that has a GPS software application switched “off”, is an idiot and I don’t want to hear their view on the matter. The GRU’s finest wouldn’t carry a tracker on a wet job in Salisbury.

          • Robyn

            When Edward Snowden was in Hong Kong, he made visitors to his hotel room turn their phones off and put them in the fridge. I always assumed he knew a bit about electronics and spying.

          • Clark

            In the fridge, the device’s camera can’t see the room and the microphone won’t pick up sound very well. It can’t help with tracking because the location was already known anyway.

          • Mighty Dunken

            The fridge is likely to act like a Faraday cage and block signals too and from the phone. GPS allows the phone to know where it is but it could be triangulated by the phone towers it communicates with even if GPS is off.
            In theory airplane mode should stop all communication but I guess it could communicate past location when turned off.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        You can be tracked using your chip n pin debit card in your wallet, so tracking a switched off mobile will certainly be possible.

        • Radar O’Reilly

          I’ve actually experimented with tracking the 13MHz ism-band systems such as modern bank cards. I used state of the art real-time spectrum analyzers, large antenna systems and peltier cooled amplifiers.

          About six feet!

          Someone with more than £100K to spend might be able to double that distance, but the majority of simple ISO14443 cards, NFC-sims etc can’t realistically be tracked half as well as say, low power Bluetooth beacons (1KM) or the various Wi-Fi bands(20KM?)

          Professionals have used light-aircraft & drones to follow/intercept many or all ELINT targets for entire cities. It wouldn’t surprise me if UK ‘sensitive’ cities such as Salisbury have real-time hard-wired pervasive ELINT recorders, for national security purposes. Data stored forever, I presume. Defense in Depth.
          (Sweden wired up (all the streets) in its cities in the 1950’s to detect ALL radio frequency emissions, in order, natch, to track GRU illegals)

          • Clark

            Fascinating. What’s the cheapest kit that can detect “13MHz ism-band systems such as modern bank cards”, and what’s its typical range?

          • Radar O'Reilly

            cheapest, a repurposed Digital TV tuner USB stick. about ten quid on ebay, might be useable
            50 quid would get better frequency coverage.
            This sort of device
            would also need a suitcase, briefcase to wind the hundreds turns of antenna wire, make a “frame aerial”
            plausible tracking/copying can be done by a slowish brush past in the train.

            range is still just a few feet. means that active doorways, (choke-point to get within range), might be copying a few bank-cards or accessing NFC-identity docs, but I’ve yet to hear of an attack like that. banks dont discuss problems and usually sue researchers who find problems. On the whole, it’s not a threat yet.

            USA did implement a particular type of travel document that could be read from a mile away, at 50mph, and take in a whole bus-load of ‘targets’ at once, wombats.

    • bj

      The questions of course are:
      – how do we know their smartphone were ‘turned off’?
      – how do you turn off a smartphone?
      – did Sergei know ‘turned off’ phones can be geolocated anyway?
      – if the smartphones were ‘turned off’, and we follow that narrative, might they not have better been left in the house, or in the car?

      • JohninMK

        Being in the trade, so to speak, Skripal would have known all about mobile phones. If he really didn’t want to be tracked then leaving the phone at home was the best action but he might have wanted to contact someone, but then he could have used Yulia’s phone which the UK authorities would have found harder to track.

        However, by saying that the phones were switched off, even if they weren’t, has allowed the UK authorities to claim that they have no record of where the Skripals went. Incidently they have not admitted to getting that info from the Skripals after they recovered either. Useful?

        • bj

          Being in the trade

          I’m not so sure that is accurate. I’ve seen reports that he was trying to get by, wanted to get back to Russia.
          FWIW of course, so that may be accurate after all.

          But then again he may just have been the right man for the right (one-time) job in a grand scheme of fabrication.

        • Blunderbuss

          I’m surprised the British authorities have made no attempt to account for the missing 4 hours from 9.15am to 1.30pm. It would be easy for them to say the Skripals returned to their house, whether they did or not.

          • JohninMK

            Given the way the story built they probably didn’t realize at the time how important that info would become a few months down the track. Now they seem to be stuck with it.

          • bj

            The only conclusion is the ‘authorities’ and the Skripals themselves know perfectly well where they were and what was going down.

          • Blunderbuss

            I wonder if the Skripals read this blog. They could put us all out of our misery by telling us where they were during the missing 4 hours.

          • Blunderbuss

            I think I’ve got it. Porton Down had a clearance sale of Novichok that was past its “use by” date and wasn’t much good. Customers included the Skripals and B&P and Mr X. The Skripals accidentally poisoned themselves. B&P contaminated their hotel room on the way home. Mr X kept his for a while but then lost interest and threw his bottle in a bin. Warning! this is satire.

        • N_

          Why on earth do you think the British authorities would find Yulia’s phone harder to track? What country’s cell station network was it using? I am assuming you don’t think they would have had any difficulty in finding the phone number she was using and the phone’s IMEI.

    • Yeah, Right

      If you want to make your phone go completely dead to GPS then hop into a corner store and buy a roll of aluminium foil.

      Wrap your phone in the foil when you want to go “dark”.
      Unwrap your phone when you have concluded your nefarious activities.

      There, done.

      • Clark

        Are you sure that works? It’ll almost certainly stop the GPS signals from orbit getting to the device’s GPS receiver, because those signals are very weak by the time they reach the surface. But the principle of the tinfoil is a Faraday cage, which is better at stopping weak signals getting in than they are at stopping a strong signal from getting out, especially (I think) as the tinfoil won’t be well earthed. So the GSM signal may still get out. That’s the ‘phone network signal. Distance to base stations varies enormously; in a town you’re quite likely to be stood right next to one, so even a reduced signal might be received.

        GSM location data is going to be much less accurate than GPS, but it would still narrow down your location a lot, and reveal when you moved from one cell to another.

        • Yeah, Right

          Yes, I’m sure it works. It you have any doubts then you have (typically) no less than 90m of foil that you can use to wrap the damn thing.

          • Clark

            OK I just tried it with an ancient Nokia 6100 in a biscuit tin. On sensing a text it very quickly sounded the “failed to send” tone, and I couldn’t hear the usual RFI on my landline with the landline main unit right next to the biscuit tin; normally the RFI would be heard very clearly from the landline handset earpiece. So it worked, but more modern ‘phones use higher frequencies.

          • Radar O'Reilly

            putting a GSM inside a biscuit tin can work a bit like a faraday cage, but then the last faraday cage that I bought was a very expensive metallised tent, with another separate isolated metallised tent inside that, and very careful control of all the accidental leakages, filtered power etc

            remember folks that part of the phone functionality is a power ramp, if the device thinks it can’t hear any cell-phone towers – due to being wrapped in Alcan foil – then it can ramp up the power transmit four times, until the battery is fully used. so unless you really need privacy, leave the foil in the kitchen

          • Yeah, Right

            “remember folks that part of the phone functionality is a power ramp, if the device thinks it can’t hear any cell-phone towers – due to being wrapped in Alcan foil – then it can ramp up the power transmit four times, until the battery is fully used. so unless you really need privacy, leave the foil in the kitchen”

            I’m actually suggesting this in situations where you have turned your phone off but remain worried that it can still be tracked. So turn it off, then wrap it in aluminium foil. Then when you have returned from your clandestine meeting with GRU thugs you unwrap the foil and turn the phone back on again.

            Some might think that unnecessary paranoia, and perhaps it is. But if you crave peace of mind then this method will have you attending your clandestine cloak-and-dagger meetings in a Zen-like state of calm.

    • BenzDriverS

      No need to take out the sim or power down the phone to make it invisible. Placing the phones in a tin or a mesh bag renders them invisible.

  • JohninMK

    If Bellingcat are correct and these passports come from a special numbering sequence for spooks etc then this is either a bit of a fail by UK Intelligence in not knowing it when Bellingcat found it apparently easily, or maybe is why the Met is saying they are GRU operatives but in that case why weren’t they flagged to be watched on arrival?

    Maybe a different investigator in Moscow will come up with something that contradicts it.

    • Doodlebug

      “Why weren’t they flagged to be watched on arrival?”

      We don’t know they weren’t. Perhaps I need to read ‘Espionage for Dummies’ but I struggle to understand how, working backwards from CCTV images captured in Salisbury, police were able, in July, to identify the hotel the two stayed at after their arrival at Gatwick.

      Tom Marcus in his book, ‘Soldier Spy’, gives a very clear account of the lengths to which Mi5 teams go to keep a target under surveillance, but that can only be accomplished ‘live’, not in retrospect. There is the possibility, I suppose, that the hotel may have been identified as a place of residence in order to fulfil the terms of a visa application, and was therefore traceable. But I think someone has already commented to the effect that Russian ‘operatives’ planning a project overseas would circumvent visa requirements and not travel on their own passports in any case.

      FWIW I think these two were known commodities before they stepped off the plane, whatever their professional calling.

      • MaryPau!

        When I go to the USA and fill in that on line visa thingie you get from the US embassy,, I have to give the accommidation address where I willing be staying when I arrive.Is it the same thing for Russians traveling to the UK on a visa?

        • Sergei

          Actually, a UK visa is among the most difficult to get in Russia, much more complicated than getting a US one. They scrutinize everything, not only you have to present enough funds on your account for traveling to show you’re not some poor lad, you actually need to explain and supply evidence as to where those funds have been coming from so you cannot just borrow some money and put on the account.

          • James

            The rules pertaining to visa applications are notoriously arcane, but those requirements you mention are fairy standard across the piece. Differences mainly manifest themselves in the strictness with which the rules are applied, thus also in how easily a visa will be granted.

    • James

      Numbering passports for spooks is approximately as utterly preposterous an assertion as claiming all counterfeiters of bank notes mark their wares with SPECIMEN. In invisible ink, obviously, which only glows by the light of the full moon (for those really in-the-know). FFS

    • Clark

      Seriously? Bellingcat are saying that the GRU are so stupid that they issue passports with “I’m GRU” encoded into the passport number?

      Does our side do that too?

    • Elly

      If you apply together, chances are the numbers won’t be too far apart. There is nothing sinister about that, frankly.

    • Clark

      Worth quoting your link:

      Stonehenge Verified account @EH_Stonehenge

      WEATHER UPDATE: Stonehenge will remain closed today. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience. Any queries please contact customer services.
      12:37 am – 3 Mar 2018

      Stonehenge – Tours
      ‏ @StonehengeTour1
      Mar 3

      Replying to @EH_Stonehenge

      Is Stonehenge open tomorrow, Sunday 4th?
      2 replies . 0 retweets 0 likes
      ‏Verified account @EH_Stonehenge
      Mar 3

      We’ll make a decision later today. Keep an eye on the website and Twitter for updates. Sorry for the uncertainty and inconvenience.
      1 reply . 0 retweets 2 likes
      Stonehenge – Tours
      ‏ @StonehengeTour1
      Mar 3

      Ok ta. I have a guest tomorrow and would like to let him know asap so he can cancel in good time.
      1 reply . 0 retweets 0 likes
      Bread and Circuses
      ‏ @breadcircuspub
      Sep 13

      Was he Russian by any chance ?
      1 reply . 3 retweets 28 likes
      ‏ @YaggiBoom
      Sep 13

      Nearly choked on my tea ?
      0 replies . 0 retweets 5 likes

    • Yeah, Right

      The weather at Stonehenge on the 4th is utterly immaterial. A straw man.

      Read the transcript of the interview, and note this description of their visit on the Saturday 3rd:
      PETROV: “We travelled there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn’t work out because of the slush. The whole city was covered with slush. We got wet, so we went back to the train station and took the first train to go back. We spent about 40 minutes in a coffee shop at the train station.”

      Now note this description of their return visit on the Sunday 4th:
      PETROV: “And we thought – we really wanted to see Old Sarum and the cathedral. So we decided to give it another try on March 4.”
      SIMONYAN: “Another try to do what?”
      PETROV: “To go sightseeing.”
      BOSHIROV: “To see this famous cathedral. To visit Old Sarum.”

      So on the Saturday their intention was to visit three places: Stonehenge, the Cathedral, and Old Sarum.
      By the time they decided to try again they had dropped Stonehenge from their list: their intention was to visit Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral, and according to them that’s exactly what they did.

      So there is no point any nay-sayers pointing to the bus service to Stonehenge on Sunday 4th, because these two dudes had no intention of going there on that Sunday. The day before, yes, it was on their to-do list. But not on Sunday.

      • Borncynical

        Yeah, Right.

        That was my reading of what they said as well. And they also went on to say that by lunchtime on the Sunday (after they had visited the Cathedral and Old Sarum) it started to sleet again so they decided not to hang around but to go back to London. So even if they had intended going to Stonehenge the weather put them off, which is fair enough – they didn’t want to risk getting ‘marooned’ in Salisbury.

        • Yeah, Right

          Yes, important to note that the Sunday was their last day in Britain.

          So they could have an overly-full itinerary on the Saturday and it didn’t really matter, but by Sunday they would have to make some decisions to par their list down to the easily-doable bare bones.

          Which they did: they dropped any notion of going to Stonehenge and just restricted themselves to Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral, and once they crossed those off the list the onset of sleet settled the matter for them – it was back off to London to prepare for the flight home.

      • James

        I read your comment twice to make sure I hadn’t missed something. I have seldom seen a simple statement like:
        “The weather at Stonehenge on the 4th is utterly immaterial. A straw man.”
        followed by line after line after line of unfunny narrative which contradicts the initial line of bluster.
        Plenty of drivel and bluster, but I have my curiosity why you disagree with your own assertion.
        Why do people on here think the tautologous and strained usage of “straw man” is clever? Is it something to do with Murray’s antipathy towards Jack, the sometime MP for Blackburn?
        Bit different.

        • Yeah, Right

          Let me spell it out for you, James, because this is clearly flying way over your head.

          They arrived in Salisbury on the Saturday with a to-do list of THREE attractions:
          Old Sarum
          Salisbury Cathedral

          So for SATURDAY the question “Was Stonehenge open?” is relevant to their story.

          They then re-visited Salisbury on the Sunday, and they went with a list of TWO attractions:
          Old Sarum
          Salisbury Cathedral

          There can be no mistake regarding that, because they said it twice i.e. their Sunday itinerary was Old Sarum and the Cathedral. Nothing more. No less.

          So the question “could they have visited Stonehenge on the Sunday?” is irrelevant, precisely because they NEVER INTENDED TO VISIT STONEHENGE WHEN THEY SET OUT ON THE SUNDAY MORNING.

          Now I really can’t make it any simpler for you:
          a) They planned to visit Stonehenge on the Saturday
          b) They claimed that Stonehenge was closed on Saturday (Note: it was)
          c) By the time Sunday morning came around Stonehenge was off their itinerary
          d) Therefore it is immaterial whether or not Stonehenge was open on the Sunday

          I’m not making any of this up. It is all laid out in the transcript of their interview. All you have to do is read it.

          • James

            Yeah, Right
            Dou you know, I think you’re on(to) something.
            Pity’s sake, let it go you and all the other armchair warriors. I think my first comment on here was “it’s embarrassing”, but I now know it will be my last

        • Doodlebug

          “I read your comment twice to make sure I hadn’t missed something”

          You should have read it thrice then, as your comprehension is woeful.

          “line after line after line of unfunny narrative which contradicts the initial line of bluster.”

          There is no contradiction whatsoever. Discussing the weather at Stonehenge on the Sunday is pointless and irrelevant if the two had no intention of going there that day.

          I get the impression English is not your first language. If that’s so then better to get a good grasp of the short words before you take to using the long ones inappropriately.

  • Martyn

    I see a few people mentioning the Bellingcat article published on Friday. However, if they look in the comments section beneath the The Bellingcat article they’ll see it has been easily undermined:

    1) Bellingcat has mistakenly claimed the Russian guys only booked their flights the night before they travelled. they say this proves they lied. However, from the flight manifest that Bellingcat shows the Russian guys checked-in online the night before they travelled. ‘Booking’ is a separate function to ‘Checking-In’ which Bellingcat fails to understand. Bellingcat seem to have jumped to a conclusion which suits their argument.

    2) Bellingcat want you believe that you can look-up someone on the Central Russian Passport Registration database and if they’ve got SS on their record (they guess that it’s Russian for top secret) it would mean that person is linked to the security services. This is laughable. But, that’s what Bellingcat want you to believe with their sophistry.

    • Yeah, Right

      Martyn, note that Bellingcat is claiming that there are two things in that database record that give the game away.

      One is a stamp which Bellingcat claim is used to denote a spy who is under deep cover.
      The other is a handwritten note that contains the initials “SS”, which they claim denotes “top secret”

      But note with respect to the stamp that Bellingcat bases their claim on the “surmising” of a Russian police officer who openly admits has never seen that stamp before in his entire working life i.e. he is merely guessing.

      Yet Bellingcat accepts that guesswork (a.k.a. “surmisings”) as if it makes that claim into a confirmed “fact”.

      But it gets even better, because ask yourself who gave them the “fact” that the initials “SS” = “top secret”?

      Why, gosh, it just so happens to be the very same Russian police officer.

      I “surmise” that he is equally “surmising” that “SS” = “top secret”, and that if push comes to shove he will admit that he is making exactly the same stab in the dark regarding that as he did with respect to the stamp.

      • Radio Jammor

        “One is a stamp which Bellingcat claim is used to denote a spy who is under deep cover.
        The other is a handwritten note that contains the initials “SS”, which they claim denotes “top secret”…”

        What’s a bit strange about that is that the document does not have “SS” on it, but “CC”.

        Bellingcat explained: ” Per the same source interviewed for this story, S.S. is a common abbreviation for “sovershenno sekretno”, Russian for “top secret”.

        But that’s the Anglicised version of what is actually “совершенно секретно” – hence why it would be “CC”, not “SS”.

        Aside from this abbreviation being written on a blank document, which they allege comes from Petrov’s dossier, it is a very odd way of reporting the matter. Some might call it, misleading or ‘quite wrong’.

  • Tom Smythe

    Passport application factoids:

    Alexander Yevgenievich Petrov, born 13 July 1979 in Kotlas, RU. A small lumber and railroad town in the northern hinterlands. This combination should suffice as unambiguous identifier.

    Ruslan Timurovich Boshirov … seems everyone is is drawing a blank on him.

    I am rather baffled by the very slow pace at which information is emerging, given the massive numbers of people searching online. Nothing has been learned about their ‘mid-sized’ nutraceuticals business, current home towns, friends, families, educational histories and the like. Surely months ago MI6 had 100x the info that bellingcat obtained so easily from public records, why no press leaks today?

    What would be the point of putting unsophisticated agents on global tv with such awkward stories when they could simply have disappeared into a vacation dacha? They seem to have shut off their cell phones or gone off the tower grid (easy, my house gets 0-1 bars). No question, the interview was traumatic for them.

    Can there be doubt that the FSB knew their every detail story before they were encouraged to come forward? If the outcome were unflattering to Russia, why promote it? The outpouring of hate has been unbelievable, worse than with the Skripals even.

    Since Russian knows full well who these guys are and what will eventually emerge, it could be another instance of them letting the UK make a complete fool of itself. Hence no press leaks on the UK side, they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    • Tom Smythe

      Folks, we have been through shutting off the cell phone bit fifty times. You buy a cheap Faraday cage purse online and fold it around the phone. It is impossible for any electromagnetic signal to get in or out, even standing right in front of a tower. Many of the other methods, like leaving it in the fridge, do not work. The phone still rings. Freezer yes, few want to do that. Many phones, the battery set cannot be taken out without a soldering gun. It is all in Snowden if you look back.

      Leave it at home, it and the tower ping each other all day long. That would indicate owner is at home; here a press report has said the two phones were off off, as in not revealing location. Some here tracked back the original March article for that a couple days back. It left us very much in the dark as to whether it really happened, who told the reporter about it, or why there has been no follow-up since.

        • James

          Try it by calling it. If it rings, you’re probably cooking more than just your meatballs, whahaha.
          This urban myth has got legs on here.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Leaving a phone at home indicates solely that the phone is at home.

        Unless its owner is collared and leashed to aforesaid phone in some kinky electromagnetic bondage schemata, it says precisely nothing about the owner’s location.

        My car is in Heathrow Car Park for two weeks. Where am I?

    • James

      Perhaps because it should be Bashirov, the Tajik spelling, as someone on here already pointed out, or Bashirev, even Bashireff? cf Oleksandr in Ukraine with Alexander &c elsewhere. A bit like confusing Craig Murray with his long lost Serbian/Scots relative Petar Moray.
      Closer to al-Assad than imagined!

    • Elly

      That simply means he did not have a travel passport until 2009. You may not be aware, but there are two types of passports – internal and travel. The travel passport is not mandatory if one does not plan to travel outside Russia.

      • JohninMK

        My cynical view is that it was because the US wanted to be the next world empire, taking over from us. To do that they had to make sure that the USSR did not become friends with Western Europe (they wanted all of us as vassals) and the best way to ensure that was to turn them into the enemy. They probably succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

      • Goose

        Odd indeed.

        Obama even dismissed rival Mitt Romney’s idea Russia were an important adversary in the Presidential election of 2012; Obama pointed out the Cold War ended over 20 years ago. 2013 changed everything though, Snowden and Syria, Putin became adversary No.1

      • James

        Hiroshima, Nagasaki, FDR’s Bitter Lake meeting with King Abdulaziz, The Thing (Google away, it was a eavesdropping device)… quite a few reasons in fact.

        • Clark

          “The Thing” was Russian. But I have wondered if the Bust of Lenin given to the Russian Embassy in London was the start of the “tinfoil hat” meme.

          • Deb O'Nair

            The Thing was a complete shock to Western intelligence agencies and scientists, it only had a few parts and did not require a power source – which makes it sound like some kind of quantum device.

          • James

            Good morning and esp to Clark and others believing in this mobile phone urban mythology.
            I had an exchange with joeblogs the other day about exactly this. In view of the interest here, I re-blog it.
            Initially I pointed out to him:

            To debunk the urban myth about switched off cellphones still being active, and waste some time, you will need nothing more than a multimeter and some wire. When you connect the meter to show the current drawn from the battery (Dr Google will show you how), you’ll notice that when the phone is switched off, it draws zero current from the battery. Even a £5 digital meter off eBay will resolve down to one microampere, so a zero reading means, errm, well… zero. Keep it connected for some time to be sure it doesn’t occasionally “wake up” and send out a pulse signal (it doesn’t). Pretty obviously, for the GPS chip to function at all, it needs to draw some current in the tens of microamps, going into the low milliamp range when at transmit.
            If you don’t believe me, and I’m sure many on here would not (and should not), go on eBay and buy a meter and do the “experiment”. If you doubt any of the schoolboy science, Google that too

            He didn’t like that, and kicked of telling me he is a Retired Electronics Engineer”, with bellendery and insults of the most puerile type. His illogical angry tripe foolishly then to reply
            To a retired degree-level electronics engineer, hello!

            I just popped back here, thinking “Ruth” might have been genuine (silly me, I am new to this game), but was disappointed to find instead that you had ignored my request and wasted some more of your time. You must have plenty, but I suppose that retirement is good that way.

            On the one hand, you claim “the only way to be sure a mobile phone does not send location data via GPS” [I’m assuming that’s the rough idea, it is the urban myth, anyway] is to remove the battery; merely switching it off will not do. You once again assert “the chip works on the hardware level”. [Not sure what you mean there, it works on hardware and software “levels”, obviously.] On the other hand, you cite water meters, contactless bank cards, and shop security tags as examples of devices which have no battery yet still transmit. I assume from “buy/beg/borrow a frequency counter that works into the GHz range”, you imagine this is all happening in the RF spectrum. You’re on the right wavelength there, at least!
            Do you not realise you contradict yourself? According to your “analysis”, taking the battery out would not be sufficient- the GPS chip will still be “spilling the beans” like your water meter, security tag, bank card etc. Rather as in the Chris Morris film “Four Lions”, where Barry (Nigel Lindsay) eats the SIM card, nothing short of total destruction of the device would be necessary. That film was a black comedy, by the way.

            I could waste more of my time explaining the difference between these systems to you. A girlfriend of mine kept setting the alarm off every time she entered (or left) Sainsburys. It became a standing joke with the store detective, whom I knew, as it went on for weeks; we just couldn’t get to the bottom of it. Eventually, it stopped being funny, and became rather annoying, and I Googled how these things work. It turned out an old foil-backed chewing gum wrapper in her bag had crinkled and cracked, and had thus become a perfect LC tank circuit, which set off the alarm.

            LC tank circuit? You’ll know all about those as an electronics engineer, even if you retired eighty years ago. When you say frequency counter, I suspect you mean spectrum analyser? Buy yourself an SDR radio instead, they are really really cheap and work well. Anyhow, sorry chum, you are just wrong. To spill the beans, the GPS chip needs to be powered (as I think do some water meters). Switching the phone off cuts the power, no need to remove the battery. Or eat the phone!
            Enough said, but on here, I fear, possibly not.

          • James

            Indeed it was, and a very successful little thing it was too. I cited it as an example to show that the mistrust was already mutual in 1945.
            The Bitter Lake conference had ramifications of very great relevance today, and special saliency on this site, with all the Israel/FUKUS-related rants. Good job 9:11 is expressly disbarred! It was an example of a US foreign policy direction highly detrimental to the Soviet, and although secret, Stalin may well have swiftly got wind of its essence! {Watch Adam Curtis “Bitter Lake” on iPlayer I think.}
            Little Boy and Fat Man were perhaps the first example of “pre-emptive strikes” in the modern sense. Gore Vidal argued this point with a passion; the detonations were not for the ostensible purpose of bringing forward VJ by three years. There is credible evidence that Hirohito was suing for peace, but this was obviously being done with the utmost secrecy for reasons of face-saving for the Japanese (Google mianzi- I lived in China, but same in Japan).
            The Thing nicely ties in with all this tinfoilery about mobile phone tracking. It was an ingenious early application of what is now known as RFID. Not to be confused with NFC, these technologies are quite dissimilar to GPS tracking in mobiles. The confusion is I think due to all three involving communication using radio frequency EM radiation. I despair here, as the concepts are the stuff of physics around A level, and most people don’t have that.
            I expect Snowden’s paranoia was justified, as it would be easy to clandestinely modify a mobile so it appeared to be switched off. The ones from Carphone Warehouse are not so modified, which you can verify with a multimeter.
            Take it back for a full refund if you find I am wrong and be very VERY afraid!

          • Clark

            James, you use an awful lot of words. I’ll try to use less. FYI I do have A Level physics and understand principles. I have little RF experience but have devised and applied relatively simple hacks to various electronics for forty years.

            “you’ll notice that when the phone is switched off, it draws zero current from the battery. Even a £5 digital meter off eBay will resolve down to one microampere, so a zero reading means, errm, well… zero”

            Something wrong here. These tablet “phones” have, at least, an internal clock, which keeps time even when the device is “off” (ie. in standby mode). They couldn’t do that on zero current without contradicting thermodynamics, so either there’s a secondary power source or your meter isn’t sensitive enough. Either way, your confidence is misplaced.

            “it would be easy to clandestinely modify a mobile so it appeared to be switched off…”

            Well thanks for admitting that, at long last…

            “…The ones from Carphone Warehouse are not so modified”

            …possibly (you’re not plugging Carphone Warehouse are you?). But since this is down to software, they can be so modified, at an adversary’s need, across the network.

            Please stop giving people false confidence. The issue of loss of privacy is getting worse and worse with each new generation of devices, as are various authorities’ restrictions on what we are allowed to say, even in private. One poor schoolboy in the US was hauled into his headmaster’s office to account for “inappropriate behaviour in his [own]bedroom” because staff had been spying on him through a school laptop.

          • James

            To Clark.
            Do the experiment. I have done and found what I described. The clock uses a separate cell and hardly any power, the GPS far more.
            I am not trying to give anyone false ideas about security, but am trying to debunk nonsense that seems the norm here. It is sad so many buy into these half truths and bizarre conflation.
            Try the experiment. As said, people on here would not and should not believe me. Bit surprised you’re one of em.
            I’ll be off here soon, I’ve got a bit bored, and my shoulders nearly better?
            Go well

          • James

            I was going to rant on about people on here having nothing to hide etc etc but thought better of it.
            I’m getting drawn in to this parallel world of paranoid balcony, but happily I’m also getting better.
            I agree with so many of the sentiments, and despise and despair of glib acceptance of erosion of privacy and thus liberty. That’s what drew me here. Twittering on literally or figuratively is not the way forward. Unlike the science bit, that’s an opinion btw.
            Regards to joebloggs?

          • Clark

            James, I don’t doubt your experimental result – on whichever model of device you tried it on. Yes, GPS will need detectable current, but there are still risks. The clock can presumably be set as an alarm or timer, causing other sections to power up, for instance. I think it is a mistake to assume that spying would only be implemented in ways that are easily detectable; think Volkswagen emissions tests!

            As for “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”:




            I’m glad your shoulder is improving. Do keep commenting; it would help to balance the conspiracy theorists.

      • Deb O'Nair

        Russia became an enemy before the end of WW2, once the Nazis were on the back foot . The Normandy invasion could have happened at least a year before it did and Stalin frequently berated the US and UK for delaying, presumably out of their desire to degrade USSR military capability by getting them into a meat grinder with the Nazis. When the soviet advance on Germany became a foregone conclusion then the US/UK scrambled to secure Western Europe before it was overrun by USSR. US general Patton reflected a common US attitude when he frequently stated that the Allies should continue to advance east once it reached Germany in order to defeat the USSR.

        Also, as an aside, before WW2 Nazi Germany was attracting considerable financial support from the US because of their mutual anti-soviet attitude. This financial support continued until Pear Harbor, i.e. while the UK was fighting for it’s existence and receiving massive support from the US, the US was also providing funding to Germany. This also happened during WW1, i.e. the US was providing direct support to both sides until it entered the conflict. It was only in 2006 when the UK made it’s final payment to the US for WW2 loans. Germany is still repaying for WW2 and only finished paying for WW1 in 2010. The US has done very well out of global conflict.

  • Jeffrey Bloomsbury

    I do wished that our people would share the logic answers regarding novichok poisonings in here in England. Our government can not be trust, they lied from Salisbury day 1.
    These 2 gay men were visiting architecture as many tourists do. Why should we care about old foreign traitor anyway. We care about refugees when genuine not traitors of foreign nations.

  • bj

    Uninteresting Tony.

    Sometimes I don’t for the life of me understand the modding here.
    A small, uplifting thread about Aretha Franklin just disappeared.

    • Radar O’Reilly

      I imagine that these random stream of consciousness messages might have a hidden stenographical content, (mean something to someone,) or perhaps Tony is being deliberately confusing.

      It’s nice of Craig to often allow the universal human right to self-expression on his blog, even tho’ we might not grok everything

      • bj

        Yet a perfectly fine, extremely short, and uplifting thread on Aretha Franklin was summarily wiped!
        That’s my point.

      • James

        Stenography is transcribing speech using a “shorthand machine” usually in law courts. Steganography is what you mean.
        Sorry mate, but at least no ones looking
        prosperum iter facias

  • Arch Bungle

    Hi Craig, I agree that (almost) the entire UK government narrative on the Skripal case is inconsistent. However, one piece of evidence that appears to be a “smoking” gun supporting the narrative that the suspects are linked to the Russian secret services is Bellingcat’s report that Alexander Petrov’s passport (one of the suspects) has markings associated with the Russian secret services:

    “Crucially, at least one man’s passport files contain various “top-secret” markings, which, according to at least two sources consulted by Bellingcat, are typically reserved for members of secret services or top state operatives.”

    If true, this would bring the Russian side of the narrative into serious question, since they’ve apparently stated that neither of the suspects are associated with the secret services.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Doodlebug

      Forgive my intrusion but you might like to review the brief discussion of Bellingcat initiated by Igor M. on the previous page. He offers some important links on the subject one of which pieces concludes with:

      “Any media who further quote “analysis” by the “experts” Higgins and Bellingcat should be regarded as propaganda outlet and not as a serious source of news.”

      That might go some way toward satisfying your curiosity.

    • mog

      Bellingcat are, basically, an astro-turf web operation of the Atlantic Council.
      They were recently major participants at a conference where Madeleine Albright was given a ‘Freedom Award’, and lets face it, if you are any less than 7 circles of separation from that monster, you have no business commenting of anything.

      • Arch Bungle

        That may be true, however they produce very convincing fabrications and very few sources on the internet do a comprehensive job of debunking them.
        For example, their photographic evidence for the MH17 incident pointing at Russia as the culprit was very convincing, and I still haven’t seen any analysis which comprehensively addressed their claims.

    • PasserBy

      Hi Arch,

      “If true, this would bring the Russian side of the narrative into serious question, since they’ve apparently stated that neither of the suspects are associated with the secret services.

      What are your thoughts on this?”

      That it would also bring the British narrative into even more question. Because if that was anywhere near actual evidence, Bellingcat would have proven that one of the men – who didn’t have alleged “top secret” markings in his passport file, was not a spy.

      P.S. He says he consulted only two sources for such a big allegation. That’s like a youtuber who goes out on the street to do video interviews, gets what he wants to hear from the first two people, and ends the video there to avoid the risk of someone else countering their position. It’s just not good enough.

    • Yeah, Right

      “If true, this would”…..

      You rather put your finger on the problem, Arch.

      In this case, Bellingcat is making the claim that “at least one man’s passport files contain various “top-secret” markings”, but how credible is that claim?

      Well, let’s first consider the mysterious “stamp”.

      If you go back to Bellingcat’s article you will see that their “insider information” regarding the mysterious stamp is actually someone who admits HAS NEVER SEEN THAT STAMP BEFORE IN HIS LIFE and, therefore, must be merely guessing about what that stamp means.

      Get it: by Bellingcat’s own admission their “insider” has no more “information” regarding that stamp that does Eliot Higgins.

      Eliot Higgins: What’s this stamp?
      Insider: Dunno, never seen it before.
      Eliot Higgins: Go on, take a guess….
      Insider: Maybe its used by spies????
      Eliot Higgins: Yeah, I think so too.

      Which now brings us to the mysterious initials “S.S.”

      Ask yourself this: who does Bellingcat use to confirm that “S.S” must stand for “state secret”?

      Yep, that’s right, the same dude – the dude whose “insider information” Bellingcat has already admitted to consist of guesswork.

      There is a massive amount of confirmation bias that goes into every Bellingcat article, but you seldom see it so openly admitted as in their discussion of that particular form.

      But let me summarize: Bellingcat claim that Petrov’s “passport files contain various “top-secret” markings, which, according to at least two sources consulted by Bellingcat, are typically reserved for members of secret services or top state operatives” is based entirely on their interpretation of
      (a) a mysterious stamp and
      (b) the meaning of the initials SS
      and in both cases Bellingcat uses the same source, and that source has never seen either marking before.

      So the claim of “top-secret” markings is a self-licking ice-cream.
      The claim of “two sources” is incorrect, there is only one source.
      The claim of “typically reserved” is nonsense as the source admits to have never seen them before.

      • Arch Bungle

        This line of reasoning makes the most logically consistent sense. If the interpretation of these passport markings are at root just speculation of one individual, then they mean nothing. From my own experience, passports and government identity documents accumulate lots of strange and inconsistent annotations across the decades, so these annotations tell us nothing in and of themselves.

        What would close this question off completely is if an authoritative source within the Russian state could confirm exactly what these markings mean. Alternatively, if example passport markings of known members of the Russian secret services could be compared we could validate this point further. To my knowledge, Bellingcat has produced no counterexamples or examples to make that kind of judgement.

    • James

      It’s a genuine mystery why so many on here assume that because CM was an FCO fast stream high flyer, and indeed he enjoys the distinction of having been one of the youngest Ambassadors in the history of British DS, that he therefore MUST possess some incredibly detailed “inside information” about the most nuanced aspects of the everyday nitty-gritty of British SIS methodologies.
      This would be bizarre if true even if he had ever been a “friend”. Perhaps his posting as Ambassador Tashkent was in fact a deep cover for his promotion to C, in which case he might know some of these juicy operational details? For goodness sake, and despite the unparalleled experience and reach of our intelligence services, the folks on here do have a quite worryingly low regard for their most basic abilities.
      It is all just too silly for words

        • James

          Good afternoon Elly. I don’t mean to be rude but did you read what I wrote? Please try again!
          My point was precisely that although CM himself claims no special knowledge, nevertheless so many bellends on here set him up as a guru or Oracle, who as an ex Ambassador must have all the answers.
          I repeat CM makes no such claims.
          I’m not convinced by the quality of some of his questions (and neither is he, I fancy), but that a completely different subject.
          A problem with some of his output is that neither he nor I can explain conjectures which are, at least practically, inherently undecidable.
          But my comment was a solidarity with Murray, not a criticism of any kind. You must be a chippy chappy (or chapette) to have misconstrued my post, or perhaps your English is not native? Perhaps in future I should incorporate a glossary in my already bloated and distended comments for bloggers like you?
          ¶ genuine: real, not fake
          ¶CM: Craig Murray, the blog owner
          ¶FCO: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
          ¶fast stream: the brightest applicants to the FCO work here, cf visa clerks etc
          ¶DS: Diplomatic Service
          ¶nuanced: containing (fine) details
          ¶SIS: Secret Intelligence Service aka MI6
          ¶nitty-gritty: the most basic parts
          ¶bizarre: hard to explain logically, odd
          ¶”friend”: here, jargon for employee of SIS
          ¶C: colloquialism for Director of SIS, whose first “chief” was Captain Sir Mansfield George Smith Cumming, who was known as C. cf “M” in James Bond Films
          ¶juicy: here, highly secret and therefore likely to provoke scandal, controversial

          I shall not be providing glossaries in the future. They take too long, and most (well, one or two, anyway) people read the comments and Google or otherwise look stuff up they don’t understand before sticking their oar in and making a complete bellend of themselves.
          ¶bellend [or bell end], (slang): a person who is extremely stupid, annoying or in general prone to embarrassing behaviour, a knob [from a colloquialism for the glans of the male organ of reproduction]

  • Doodlebug

    “Charlie Rowley is one of only four people in the world publicly known to have been poisoned with ‘Novichok’ and survived (ITN News).

    I’m immediately reminded of the fact that only three steel high-rise structures have ever collapsed apparently as a result of fire, and all on the same day.

      • Doodlebug

        There is no mystery attaching to the smaller of the three either. (Did you spot the word ‘apparently btw.?)

        • Clark

          Then you are giving far too much credence to silly counter-propaganda.

          There is considerable mystery about the smaller of the three, which you apparently know nothing of.

          • Doodlebug

            This is not the place to discuss such matters. Suffice to say that I subscribe to the opinion of the late Danny Jowenko, a respected professional in his field. I also understand basic physics. And you?

          • Clark

            I also agree with Jowenko, including his uncertainty, ie. “they worked hard” (taken literally) and “I don’t understand it”.

            Physics O Level grade A, A Level grade B (should have revised more), Oxford board late seventies, encouraged to take Oxbridge entrance exam (too stuffy), one year Physics with Electronic Engineering BSc QMC, dropped out partly because nearly all graduates were getting jobs with armament manufacturers.

          • Clark

            I could have got rich designing missiles or GPS. Instead I’m broke and getting jeered at by gangs of conspiracy theorists who’d have cheered at Galileo’s house arrest.

          • Doodlebug

            Do I detect ‘confirmation bias’ here? My interpretation of Jowenko’s remark is that it was one of sarcasm, not uncertainty. Unfortunately we cannot look to him for adjudication as to which of us is correct.

            I hope you’re not numbering me among the jeering gangs of conspiracy theorists. I would have every sympathy for Galileo.

            But returning to the head of the argument, my point was that two conspiracy theorists in particular (for they must have had a view of which conspirators flew the aeroplanes) made every effort to explain the collapse of the twin towers with reference to the aircraft, but no attempt whatsoever to address building 7, which was not struck by anything much except debris, and yet still collapsed (oddly enough some time after we in the UK were told it had done so). It was then that you leapt in to jeer me!

            Strangely (or not) Danny Jowenko’s immediate reaction to seeing the film of building 7’s collapse conforms rather well with Larry Silverstein’s instruction to the New York Fire Department to ‘pull it’. He wasn’t talking about baby chickens or the firemen (them) but ‘it’, i.e. his building. But you and I both know that the job of fire crews is to save buildings, not destroy them, and anyone marching around the area with explosives that day can only have had suicide in mind.

            So what mysterious force of nature caused that building to fall? Might it have affected the twin towers also? If not, why not?

            “The collapses of the Twin Towers were bound to proceed in the way seen, including acceleration of the internal collapses, if there was sufficient damage to initiate descent of the top sections.”

            Richard Gage believes otherwise:

          • Clark

            Doodlebug, no, you haven’t been jeering. Sorry, I probably get over-sensitive.

            But if there’s detection of confirmation bias, it should be me detecting it in you. The interview with Jowenko was unambiguous. When first shown the collapse of WTC7, he was incredulous; “this was on the same day? You’re sure?” So sarcasm, ie. “ha, yes, obviously pre-rigged, just as I always said” just doesn’t fit. And finally resignation; “I don’t understand it”. No hint-hint-nudge-nudge. Not a trace. Immediately before in the interview, he had been utterly dismissive of Twin Tower demolition theories without incredulity, so he had presumably heard of them already. He effectively said that his professional experience confirmed them to be caused by damage and fire, and I have never seen any indication that he changed his mind about that.

            You wrote: – “…conforms rather well with Larry Silverstein’s instruction to the New York Fire Department to ‘pull it’”

            Be very careful where you’re going with this. Firstly, remember that Silverstein said he received the call. Then consider that Silverstein did not and does not control the New York Fire Department, and is in the position of having to accept the authorities’ public safety decisions just like anyone else does. Finally, you seem to be verging upon including the firefighters as co-conspirators in pre-rigged demolition; implausible, since hundreds of them were killed.

            There is a major effort by anti-Semites to implicate Silverstein as one of the commissioners of the attacks. However, they never present any direct evidence for this, merely “he escaped and he benefited, therefore he had the Twin Towers pre-rigged in an act of premeditated mass murder”, with the highly offensive but always unstated subtext “and we all know that his sort value money over others’ lives. And they hold all the power”, eg. over the Fire Department.

            You are also presumably unaware of the news report (I forget which network) that Silverstein was desperately ‘phoning around demolition companies trying to find one which would bring WTC7 down.

            I suspect that a military demolition team may have been ordered to bring down WTC7 in a hurry, to quell the revolt being threatened by the firefighters because its dangerous condition and the exclusion zone were obstructing their search for their brothers caught in the Twin Tower collapse debris. If so, the team would have been assembled and fully prepared, waiting for Jennings and Hess to be evacuated before the final phase of taking in the charges and rigging them. I think Jowenko’s lack of understanding was because his experience was civilian rather than military; you can cut a lot of corners under a State of Emergency, using military personnel. Try this scenario. I think you’ll find that its explanatory power is as great as its unpopularity is among ‘Truthers’.

            “Richard Gage believes otherwise”

            If you indeed understand basic physics, it should be obvious to you that Richard Gage’s physics is rudimentary at best, but as his experience is nearly all in administration, that’s unsurprising. And if you linked that video for me, well it might indeed seem like you’re jeering at me, with its final remarks about cognitive dissonance and finding a shrink. Whatever, it’s all rhetoric; no physics at all. And I thought you said you agreed with Jowenko?

            For realistic descriptions of the progressive collapse mechanisms, see my comments on the 9/11 thread.

            Your comment has been up for twenty-three hours. I hope my reply will last as least as long 🙂

    • Node

      I’m immediately reminded of the fact that only three steel high-rise structures have ever collapsed apparently as a result of fire, and all on the same day.

      … and one of them wasn’t even novichoked

      • Doodlebug

        Exactly. One of the terrestrial channels (4, I think) recently repeated an obviously sanctioned ‘investigation’ of the various conspiracy theories, all of which were put to bed at a stroke by a dogged pair of chemist types in trans-Atlantic collaboration, who ‘proved’ that explosions perceived in the towers were the result of super-heated aluminium, said metal having been introduced by the fuselage of the aircraft. They paid no attention to the third building whatsoever.

        As you say it wasn’t even ‘Novichocked’.

          • Clark

            The way to remedy that would be to examine the evidence and reasoning you happen not to like, rather than rejecting it out of hand because it doesn’t fit your foregone conclusion. This psychological failing has been well researched, and it is called ‘confirmation bias’.

          • Moocho

            Clark doesn’t know as much about 9/11 as he likes to think he does, far from it, believes 9/11 research is all about the buildings and no plane theories. he’s effectively a government repeater with the veneer of someone who is knowledgable, maybe worse. Most people on here are very ignorant about 9/11 – most Brits are the same. totally clueless, but very vocal about their assertions and belief in the official line, despite the overwheming body of evidence to the contrary. he claims to be a scientist, knowledgable about 9/11, but here he is arguing that the manner in which the towers came down was perfectly normal. Utterly ridiculous assertion. I don’t like presentations about the building demolitions because it distracts people from who did it which is much more important. however, this clip has some good, detailed analysis of the demolitions, including a review of sound recordings which confirm bombs going off before the demolitions, as corroborated by many first responders, members of the public and staff in the towers, news reporters etc . but nevermind that, nothing to see here, eh Clark? how can you claim to be a scientist and say the way the towers came down is normal, even though there is no official explanation for these events? what do you know that they don’t? The pancake theory, for the record, was dropped by NIST because it’s a load of hocus pocus. NIST only ever looked into events leading up to “initiation of collapse”, then acted like the collapses were just naturally occurring events which do not need to be scientifically explained,despite the defiance of basic laws of physics – ie freefall speed collapse through the path of most resistance, 3 times in a row! you would think they would want to know why the buildings came down so easily, especially when they were specifically designed to withstand such impacts, change building regs etc.

          • Doodlebug


            I am rather more ‘au fait’ with the subject than Clark would suppose.

            “presentations about the building demolitions….distracts people from who did it which is much more important”

            You have a point. I would question why a property developer as successful as Larry Silverstein should lease a couple of ‘white elephants’ that came with a billion dollar price tag for asbestos removal. I would further question why a property owner (the New York Port Authority in this instance) should cede re-development rights to their lessee, i.e. Silverstein. Since when does a tenant become a de facto landowner in the event of a re-build?

            I could go on. But I won’t.

          • Clark

            I’ve done some sums on the Twin Towers, researched their construction, and read mechanical engineers. And here I am, yet again, being lectured by someone who links to Holocaust denial websites. This time, he is “on the fence” about whether Earth is flat, and says that Newtonian gravitation is a mass delusion because Isaac Newton was a Freemason. No, really; here’s some “scientific” argument starting from the Moon landings being a hoax; twenty or so comments following from here:


          • Clark

            “Clark doesn’t know as much about 9/11 as he likes to think he does, far from it, believes 9/11 research is all about the buildings and no plane theories”

            Oh really. You can, therefore, tell me who Richard Blee is, to take just one example. You an tell me the first person charged under the Patriot Act, and what Richard Fuisz was said to be worried about. You know why soft toys were being confiscated over the next few days. You know what Larry Silverstein was desperately ‘phoning around for in the afternoon of the day. You can tell me what Donald Trump said when he ‘phoned into a news studio.

          • Clark

            And yes. The collapses of the Twin Towers were bound to proceed in the way seen, including acceleration of the internal collapses, if there was sufficient damage to initiate descent of the top sections. And it would have been impossible to simulate that with explosives pre-rigged on multiple floors throughout the height of the Towers.

          • Clark

            The only thing this stupid rumour-mill achieves is to discredit the movement to expose government propaganda – so, basically the anti-war and pro-Palestinian movement – by making us look stupid to the entire academic world.

            If there were a shred of validity to the Twin Tower pre-rigged demolition arguments, Russian, Chinese, etc. mechanical engineers and university departments would be shouting them from the rooftops.

          • Doodlebug

            With your first observation. Not the second. Wider reading is probably the answer. Anyway if you’d like to send me your autographed copy of the NIST report I’ll provide you with a mailing address.

          • Clark

            I’ve only ever had .pdf copies; the main one and a couple of the sections it was compiled from. NCSTAR1 was sweetened considerably, but they did expose the critical problems, like 90 minute fire ratings on components of buildings with 200 minute evacuation time, inadequate staircases, sprinklers and emergency PA systems vulnerable to single-point failures etc.

            Someone should tell Moochew that building regs were changed. There are so many myths about, it really doesn’t help the cause of a site like this one.

          • Moocho

            Ah, I see, Clark, it was the sprinkler systems all along. I must have missed that crucial piece of the jigsaw. Thanks for clearing that up. face…..palm……

          • Clark

            If you’ve missed how lightweight and shoddy the Twin Towers were, and that their safety and evacuation equipment was cheap and inadequate, you have missed one of the great scandals of our times. There have been extensive court cases about it. Here’s veteran skyscraper designer Charlie Thornton. At about 02:23:

            – “…but in fact, in plain English, the buildings were a piece of Shit”.


  • Dave54

    Why is no one asking about the 2 guys coming through the immigration tunnels…in the interview they said they followed each other, so the time stamps must have been faked as they couldn’t have come through st the exact same time to the second… Craig thought this then changed his mind when he found it there were 4 tunnels at gatwick. Or are the guys lying…?

    • S.N.

      That is the million dollar question I asked myself too – after yesterday’s claim from Boshirov and Petrov about the same tunnel they pass through, why would HMG and its security services miss such golden opportunity to nail down those two guys and release the full video or more still images to prove they were lying? Unless somebody else lying … or maybe somebody has more alternative explanations?

      • Yeah, Right

        You do understand that six months have passed, and by their own admission they gave no thought whatsoever to the minutiae of passing through security at Gatwick?

        BOSHIROV: Well, I don’t really know…
        PETROV: It’d be a good thing if we could actually remember it…
        BOSHIROV: … how they do these things over there. When you arrive at an airport, or leave one, when you go somewhere or other, you never think about the cameras… There’s nothing interesting about them. How they film, or what, or where – I’m not interested in any of that and so I never took any notice. Given that it was them who published these photos with this time on them and all, I think the best thing to do would be to ask them.

        There is no chance of “nailing down” either of them based on their interview: they were asked to explain something that was filmed six months ago in circumstances that they now argue (convincingly, based on my own experience) neither of them could be expected to be paying the slightest attention.

        They are certain that they walked the length of Gatwick arrivals together, and that’s a reasonable recollection for them to make.

        They may not even remember separating for a few seconds to pass through parallel automated gates and, again, it is reasonable that after six months that fleeting moment of (to them, and I’d suggest to everyone) inconsequential corralling has slipped their mind.

        After all, when the photos were first released Craig said he has been through Gatwick many times but couldn’t recall ever seeing those gates.

  • Njegos

    Digressing for a moment, here is something that has always puzzled me about Bellingcat:

    It has never unleashed its brave bloodhounds on Bill Browder and the veritable treasure trove of on-line open-source documents and depositions that undermine the Magnitsky Myth……

  • James

    I notice on a tighter re-read of the last two of Mr Murray’s posts that Messrs Wint and Kidd are swiftly approaching gospodin Skripal’s former residence.
    In the previous post he had them walking past a petrol station 500 yards away, and now they’re “walking up the A36 by the Shell station, some 400 yards from the… house”.
    Extrapolating, they should have reached the house by Tuesday, and quite possibly sooner, with this dizzying proliferation of posts.

  • zoot

    it’s simple.

    if borishov and petrov didn’t arrive in salisbury until 2 and a half hours after the skripals left their house then they can’t be the dodoorknob poisoners. the police’s timeline of their movements does not allow it. so why are these guys still being spoken of as suspects?

    as to the claim that traces of novichok were discovered in their london hotel, if that were true then why did the hotel remain open to guests?

    but again, thanks to craig taking the effort to look at the timeline of the skripals” and the suspects’ movements on the day of the poisoning, we know they could not have been the poisoners.

    that is quite clear, so why are the politicians and media still saying they are guilty? it does not speak well of the uk.

  • arbetet

    It has transpired that the two men is a gay couple. If true, it explains a lot, doesn’t it?:

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

    • zoot

      hardly matters whether they are gay, straight, or non-binary transvestites. they had not even arrived in salisbury until two and a half hours after the skripals left home that day. they could not have painted the doirknob before the skripals left.

      • Igor M.

        You missed the point of @arbetet’s post ALTOGETHER—that point was to claim that they are GRU (that has not existed for eight to ten years now, I can’t remember now, and CBA to check) based on the fact that their passports are three digits apart is ridiculous to the point of being risible—the more plausible explanation is that they applied for passports at the same time!

        It’s also insane and plain dumb to claim that “GRU” would issue special series of passports that would so OBVIOUSLY light up every time those “agents” cross the border of any country—THAT IS JUST A PLAIN DUMB CLAIM intended for ill-educated morons! Just think about it—would the UK government issue MI5 and MI6 “agents” passports that made them stand out??? Use your brain!

        • Doodlebug

          I wouldn’t disagree. Maybe Ian Fleming was taking the piss when he labelled James Bond as 007, there being a 006 and a 008 elsewhere in the same organization.

        • Borncynical


          I agree entirely with your comment on the passport numbers. Especially if they are a ‘couple’ – they would more than likely submit their application forms together. Doubters might then ask ‘why not consecutive numbers?’. Well, that wouldn’t be of surprise to me either. You imagine an office with multiple staff processing multiple applications, each staff member strictly using the next consecutive passport number, it is indeed more than to be expected that there would be a gap between the numbers of the two passports issued to B & P. I recall many years ago my partner and I had to get new numbers for our respective mobile phones. One of us phoned up and gave details and was issued with a number. Then having given the second person’s details was given a number which skipped the next digit – precisely because someone else in the mobile phone co. office had already issued the intervening number in the meantime.

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