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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  • Christine Smith

    Good post Craig. I who have only 140 followers was mocked for saying I believed the 2 men. I’m not well informed about Russian attitudes or laws regarding homosexuality, but I felt that they were a gay couple who took business and sightseeing trips together and didn’t want to let it be known back home. They talked about sharing a room and how it was quite ok to do that, they protested too much about something that most European countries wouldn’t be bothered about. Would coming out in Russia affect their business? Their lives? I think Putin should invite Embassy officials to interview them. I wouldn’t trust our country to have them over here. They wouldn’t comply with conditions and lock them up for good.

    • wild

      Regards to their invite to Embassy, I see a problem with UK authorities. UK does not recognize them as individuals with free will or even existing persons with real names. If they will come to England on their own (again, how they will extend their visa or waltz through customs?), I would expect a lynching mob around them. UK put itself in a very awkward position posting their pictures and issuing threats.

    • DiggerUK

      I don’t think the two guys will voluntarily come to the uk. But I can see the advantage to them of volunteering to give an interview under caution at the British embassy in Russia.
      They would be allowed to see the evidence against them, and ask questions themselves. It would not reveal the prosecution case against them, as this would have to be eventually presented at their trial.

      I don’t know how normal such a procedure is, and they would need an assurance of both access and egress from the embassy…_

  • Sharp Ears

    Nobody is safe from the Murdoch smear machine, even when dead.
    A combined double attack here – on Michael Foot and the Russians!

    ‘MI6 believed Michael Foot was paid Soviet informant
    14th September 2018

    He was Britain’s greatest Cold War spy, a double agent who identified the former Labour leader Michael Foot as a long-term, highly paid informant of the Soviet intelligence service.

    Ben Macintyre’s latest book, The Spy and the Traitor, explores in full for the first time the astonishing life of Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB colonel who spied for Britain from 1973 until 1985, when he was betrayed and fled Moscow in a dramatic escape planned and orchestrated by MI6.

    The book, which is being serialised by The Times and The Sunday Times, reveals how Gordievsky’s trove of Soviet secrets helped to avert nuclear war and enabled the warm relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.’

    The first extracts are published in tomorrow’s paper …

    MI6 believed Michael Foot was paid Soviet informant
    Truth about former Labour leader emerges 23 years after he sued The Sunday Times for libel.
    Read the full story >

    As you see the book is actually about Gordievsky!

    Note the use of the word ‘trove’ in the tripe. 🙂

    • Rhys Jaggar

      MI6 have had 30 years to get KGB to confirm or deny. The guy is long dead.

      Michael Foot did not want American domination of the world.

      Not being a cat does not make you a dog.

      You could be human, a bird, a racoon, a fish or a whelk.

    • Jo

      Note these memes ….British intellience…using double agent…allegations but no evidence…determined to expose for the security of the country…Russian intelligence services…….similarities with Skripal….Steele….Winer connections with Steele… Trump Dossier to preserve security ofthe usa and elevate the level and intensity of Russophobia to now being almost a daily kangaroo court at the UN trying to remove veto system and manipulation of OPCW for same ends…..Skripal allegedly travelling all over Europe…the mysterious Miller….. Harold Wilson stuff….JC a paid Czech spy…..same old nonsense setup-fabrications-manipulations just going in and on and on…..will we never be rid of all this?

    • wild

      This means recognize them as real persons. As UK does not believe they are, conundrum arises that could tear fabric of Universe. Problem is they live in parallel world to May’s and BoJo’s.

  • Sharp Ears

    A comment from TLN on the subject.

    ‘What I find dispiriting is the extraordinary levels of patriotism and class-uniformity exhibited by the UK media in relation to the state’s narrative. There (sic) reluctance to do any thinking for themselves and their unbridled animosity towards anyone, like Craig Murray, who dares to stray from the state narrative or examine its obvious flaws and inconsistencies.

    In a way the coverage is a microcosm of all that’s wrong with the mainstream media and how simple it is to ‘manipulate’ their coverage of almost any issue, once one pulls out the ‘defence’ and ‘security’ card. One really doesn’t need to manufacture their consent; it’s already there, primed and waiting to roll.

    Through their educations, training and backgrounds; how they are recruited and employed; they know what’s expected of them and how to think, what to think, and how to express these ideas and report events. But it’s the uniformity and conformity that’s startling and the lack of anybody who dares rock the boat.’

    Exactly so.

    • Makropulos

      All of which only goes to show that nothing has changed since the days of Hearst’s yellow journalism.

    • Robyn

      ‘How best to fight for the truth?’ Indeed, Mr Freedland. That’s why the majority of us are here and why I don’t read the Guardian.

      • Goose

        Never, or seldom and then briefly open to comments too.

        And all the MSM love to comfort themselves with this idea hundreds of Russian bots are posting. As if there aren’t enough glaring inconsistencies with this story for their regular British readership to get stuck into. Even the Telegraph appears to be nervous of its own paying readers’ opinions.

        Real disconnect between the MSM right-wing hacks and their readerships because of their unquestioning coverage.

    • MaryPau!

      Freedland’s piece refers to Putin/Trump’s brazen lies, with recent examples of how the truth is what they want it to be. When it comes to Brazen Lies, Mr Freedland would do well to cast his mind back to that master con-man and former British PM, the Rt. Honourable Tony Blair, and his public statements on the “little” matter of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass destruction .

    • John A

      Basically, wiht the Guardian these days, if an article is not open for comments, you can be pretty sure it is neocon propaganda denouncing Putin, Corbyn and ridiculously pro H Clinton. Freedland and Cohen amongst the ringleaders of nonsensespeak.
      On several occasions I have had emails from the Guardian asking me to subscribe. I have written back saying I would happily subscribe to a left of centre, factual publication that was anti-war, anti-Zionist and at least took a rational look at the real reason why Russia is not happy with NATO aggression and expansion, why Clinton lost, why people view zionist is vicious colonial apartheid, why people voted Brexit etc.
      The current Guardian is vile, malicious and mendacious. Not a penny would I donate to that publication.

  • Nan Parkinson

    Very well written and thought through. Will D Aaronovich and D Hodges reply to you, sensibly? I doubt it.

  • diabloandco

    I despair of the stupidity and lies exhibited by Westminster and their lackeys in the media.

    Buttoned up the back group thinking of ‘Russia Bad” and incitement are what they are about.

    By the way , how is the policeman who inadvertently managed to be contaminated when the rest of the world appeared to be capable of avoiding the most ‘ dangerous product on earth’.

    As far as I am concerned the whole episode gets filed under the ‘look a squirrel’ category – only in this case it is a truly dangerous squirrel which could ignite the Nostrodamus prediction of the war to end the world.

    • Elly

      The DS Bailey is the one who adminsitered an incapacitating drug, that’s the only explanation. As e wore no moon suit. None of the people or animals the Skripals came in contact with after leaving their home were affected. Not the boys whom he gave the bread to feed the ducks, none of the people at Zizzy’s, none of the passers-by. The official version is nothing but a bunch of blatant lies.

  • wild

    Again, let me ask everybody a question – Petrov and Boshirov are real persons with free will as they both claim, or aliases of servicemen as UK claims?

    Answer to this question will define course of developments.

    • __alex__

      at least Petrov looks as real, but russian media and bellingcat claim that he have got his new russian passport at 2009, and kinda nobody knows who was him before.

      • Igor M.

        Bellingcat is a propaganda outlet and has been discredited a long time ago by real *independent* experts. Now, what Russian media make that claim, links?

    • Jo

      Thinks….presumably the 2 sat together on the plane coming and going…..can anyone-probably not-confirm that the seats they sat in are the ones that were searched illegally when the plane came back to London….or do we await a sudden discovery of weak Novichuk that is relatively harmless in the plane just as in the hotel?

  • Mark Fielding-Pritchard

    Imagine 2 Brits wander into a sleeping region of Moscow and are arrested for murder. The evidence is them getting off a train, looking in a shop window and walking along a street. No weapon, no victim. God, Britain would go into apoplexy. A Belingcat report every day conclusively proving Putin had set them up! It would be hysterical if it wasn’t so dangerous. You can fool all the people some of the time

    • uncle tungsten

      Great stuff Mark F-P, I have trouble with bellingcat, they only ever find Russian cats and the bells they use are invariably clapped out. Now, if they were able to bell Bill Browder or his mate Felix Sater or even (dare I suggest) Semion Mogilevitch we might appreciate their sincerity. But alas they are pussies (not the Trump type though).

      • James

        Well, not by you, eh pal? Bit of an unguarded goal there wouldn’t you say?
        Personally, I love the work of Greig, especially his famous Peer Gynt. More please!

  • Sir Keef

    To my mind the other major flaw in this ‘door knob’ theory, is that, ordinarily, if two people are leaving or entering a building via a door, it would normally only be necessary for one of them to to open or close the door and come into contact with the door knob. It’s hard to conceive of a less reliable method of transmission when there is more than one target, and yet we are supposed to believe that the assassins would have had some reliable way of knowing that both of the Skripals would came into contact with said door knob for the plot to succeed. So we are supposed to believe that they did, thereby receiving an identical, but vanishingly tiny non fatal dose of this deadly nerve agent that simultaneously rendered them both unconscious some five hours later. When you factor in the other time line issue as well, which appears to make it impossible for the alleged assassins to have applied the poison until after the Skripals had left their house, this begins to look like the narrative that insults the intelligence.

    • Yeah, Right

      Too true. It would be a viable means of “offing” an old man who lives alone. Maybe.

      It is risible to think that it would be a viable method when there are two people staying in the house, and that is true if
      (a) you specifically wanted to target one of them (how do you predict which one will close/open the door?) or
      (b) you wanted to kill both of them (what are the chances of both of them touching the door handle?).

      Yet the official UK narrative is that there was a four-man backup team that also entered the country to keep the Skripals under observation while these two assassins flew into Gatwick.

      Helloooooooo. That means they knew that Sergei had someone staying with him, and that means they were aware that the “novichok-on-the-door-handle” method is not the way to go.

    • Doodlebug

      “this begins to look like the narrative that insults the intelligence.”

      We’re way past the beginning stage.

    • Sue Mason

      And all these transparent explanations that are given only serve to make us disbelieve everything I am sure skullduggery was going on but by whom and to whom and why, is what’s being deliberately confused. ( by whom about whom and why??)

    • bj

      Give it up.

      Door knobs or door handles (there’s even talk of the essential difference between the two!) are a distraction, or at best purposeful detail in a giant fabrication that has been created for its political effects and reverberations.

      • James

        You really are a complete menace, with your fabrications and reverberations. Cruelly risible stuff, keep em Cummings

        • PleaseBeleafMe

          It’s quite easy to spot a propogandist for the official narrative. They write short abrasive comments often not having anything to do with what the people they are trying to discredit are commenting on. Who the hell reads this site and the comments and then just throws shit balls seemingly just for the hell of it? It’s like they get paid or have a quota as to the amount of material they spew onto various sites.”Posted a hundred hits on the targeted list today so the day is done and time to grab the early train home”.
          Keep up the good work Craig as the world needs more of u. Don’t let the mob get ya down.

  • Mikael Kall

    The Metropolitan Police confirmed at 5. September “that ‘low’ levels of the nerve agent were found in the two-star £48 a night hotel in May – two months after the poisonings – during part of their investigations.”
    Why the police did not warn the visitors already may?
    Why it did took three months to find the 2 russians?

    • Rhys Jaggar

      It did not take them that long, they just did not tell us.

      They will have searched for Russians entering and leaving around 4th March, located their hotels from there.

      All done in under one week if they are detectives not idiots. All known by 15th March for sure, if they were sure from the start it was Russians wot dun it.

      Thing is, they are idiots, so they sat on their arses until the spooks fired the starting gun again. Then they squirted some Nini Ricci on the wall, went down to Salisbury to dump the evidence and helpfully pointed it out to a couple of junkies.

      • Doodlebug

        “They will have searched for Russians entering and leaving around 4th March, located their hotels from there.”

        How might they have done that?

        • N_

          Here’s how. MI5 type in a query asking “Russians who entered or left Britain around 2-6 March – list of movements”. That gives them a list of accommodation etc. for all in that group who carried microwave trackers (“mobile phones”). (Most people take their trackers with them when they go to do a shit nowadays. This includes Russians.) There’s also video surveillance of railway stations, and in overland and underground train carriages, and on almost all urban streets, with face recognition software to catch the small minority who don’t carry trackers. And prebooked hotel rooms in foreign countries don’t tend to be bought with bunches of fivers in brown paper bags.

          Are you naive or something?

          • Doodlebug

            “Are you naive or something?”

            No. But I think you’ve been watching too many movies. “MI5 type in a query….that gives them a list of accommodation etc.” I see. The accommodation pre-booked overseas which you refer to later. Any idea how many overland and underground train carriages run from Waterloo on a daily basis? Or buses? Or taxis?

            I don’t know who your MI5 source is, but mine (Tom Marcus, author of Soldier Spy) is very clear about how their surveillance teams function – teams of people that is. With all the miracles of modern technological clairvoyance you describe at their disposal, I wonder why they should even bother. Maybe they’ve all been laid off since Marcus wrote his book.

          • bj

            Why worry about the thousands that come in by train or whatever when you’ve got a group for whom you have the essential details?
            And the query N_ cited, that is just a paraphrase of queries you can actually do.

          • Doodlebug

            “Why worry about the thousands that come in by train or whatever…”

            I wasn’t. My point had to do with the number of vehicles not the number of people. Exactly which sources of CCTV do you choose to examine – all of it? And if there’s a ‘gap’ in transit somewhere how do you know where and when to pick up the trace?

            I’m not flat out denying that MI5 had ‘eyes’ on these two men. It just seems to me that they did so from the off, not in retrospect, i.e. they had some reason or other for tracking them prior to the Salisbury incident.

          • N_


            Any idea how many overland and underground train carriages run from Waterloo on a daily basis? Or buses? Or taxis?

            Good question. Back of an envelope estimation suggests we’d be safe with a total figure for all those modes of transport of a lot less than 10^5. That would be 100 a minute for 16 hours.

            Computer memory and processing power are cheap. Remember that 95% of people on the transport system are identified extremely easily. It’s like with opening pistachios. Increase the number of processing cycles by an order of magnitude and you’ll have identified 99%.

            I don’t know who your MI5 source is, but mine (Tom Marcus, author of Soldier Spy) is very clear about how their surveillance teams function – teams of people that is. With all the miracles of modern technological clairvoyance you describe at their disposal, I wonder why they should even bother. Maybe they’ve all been laid off since Marcus wrote his book.

            You asked how they would have “searched for Russians entering and leaving around 4th March (and) located their hotels from there.” The vast majority of said people would be located without the need for surveillance teams. That’s what I meant. I don’t know whether these two guys used tradecraft. The film of them outside the stamp shop suggests to me that they did. But if you want to get lost after arriving at Gatwick it’s not a good idea to go to Victoria and then on to the tube system and then back to Waterloo the next day and the day after. If your target is on camera but the opposition don’t know what your target is, then get lost, hang about, get in fast and get out fast. Do it right and you’ll be on camera near the target but you won’t have been tracked all the way there.

          • Doodlebug

            I take your point about computer processing power. I dare say information analysis within the intelligence community is accomplished significantly more quickly than I might imagine. The focus of my original question though was on the hotel.

            To quote your good self: “Do it right and you’ll be on camera near the target but you won’t have been tracked all the way there.” If one considers the hotel as the target in this instance, the possibility exists that the duo were not tracked from door to door. So how did the police identify it in hindsight out of all the hotels in London?

            Pete’s offered a possible explanation which you appear to doubt. I really don’t know, but I will ask a few questions over the weekend (a local Premier Inn would seem a good place to start – they usually have premises at or near airports). I’m quite prepared for anyone to explain to me how and why it was really ‘a piece of cake’. Until then I’ll consider it an unanswered puzzle for the time being.

        • pete

          Re Doodlebug @ 10.40
          If you travel abroad you will have noticed that whenever you book into a hotel they want to see your passport, this is not idle curiosity, they sometimes copy it or else note the number, they are obliged to notify that to the local police. It goes onto a database. Linking that number to the number of a passport shown to passport control is a simple step, no elaborate video monitoring is required. I assume as similar procedure applies to foreign tourists here.

          • Doodlebug

            That makes sense if your assumption is correct. I might just make a nuisance of myself and check out the idea with my local police info. centre (I’ve found them to be helpful in the past). Thanks.

          • N_

            @Pete – That isn’t true in much of the EU. In most EU countries where I’ve stayed in hotels I’ve never been asked to show my passport. I was asked once in Finland, but I said with a smile “But I’m an EU citizen – I’m not abroad!” and the hotel receptionist smiled back and was fine with that. I’ve usually paid by card, though.

    • Yeah, Right

      Because they could not reproduce that initial “positive” result i.e. all subsequent swabs came up “negative” no matter how hard they wiped and wiped and wiped.

      The obvious conclusion – which the Met Police clearly shared – is that the original result was a “false positive” that could be discounted.

    • N_

      That result will come from one laboratory, with the tests done by a scientist who doesn’t say “fuck off” when asked to say something for the cause of national security.

      Why do people expect there to be any standards of honesty and decency in such circles? Don’t people understand the state and society?

  • Max_B

    Craig Murray: “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. ”

    I’m not sure what you are talking about with these times here Craig?

    We know the Skripal’s did leave home at just after 13:30 on the 4th March because of this video which has an actual time of 13:33…

    Which was taken from this house on India Ave (just round the corner from Skripal)… Although the timestamp on the video is wrong because the clock was out, the 13:33h timing seems spot on, because Sergei’s BMW was recorded approximately 2 minutes later at 13:35 in Devizes Road heading towards the City center.,-1.8142026/51.075962,-1.8136185/@51.0778631,-1.8184017,345a,35y,90h,39.38t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!4m1!3e0

    They may have come and gone at other times earlier in the day too… but if so… either the Devizes Road CCTV, the India Ave CCTV or the Wilton Road Shell Garage CCTV didn’t capture them, or, the CCTV has not been released.

      • Kempe

        ” the timestamp on the video is wrong because the clock was out, ”

        There’s a clue!

        Probably the same system as mine, the clock gains so much I have to re-set it once a week.

        • Max_B


          What I think is laughable… is that it’s the Daily Mail that finds the 13:35h CCTV footage of Skripal’s BMW from the pub on Devizes Road, and it’s also the Daily Mail which finds the 13:33h CCTV footage of Skripal’s BMW on India Avenue.

          I honestly don’t think the local police were really that interested, because they already knew exactly what had happened. It’s the government which was interested in hyping this incident. I mean, when there is a break-in on our industrial estate, the police come round all the other businesses knocking on doors asking if we have CCTV, and they are really stretched, just 7 officers to cover a city area residential and industrial area with lots of crime.

          The idea that the police were appealing for information about the skripal’s movements between 13:00h and 13:40h on Sunday(over a week after the incident) is just daft, if they hadn’t actually yet walked the *only* two vehicle routes to/from the Skripal’s house (India Avenue & St Gregory’s Avenue), and knocked on the doors of houses that had CCTV camera’s clearly mounted on their buildings.

          But nobody had even contacted the guy on India Avenue with CCTV camera’s and security lights all over the back of his house. Honestly, the local police weren’t interested, they already know what happened, and how it happened to Sergei and Yulia within hours of the incident.

          • RobertX5

            Didn’t the Daily Mail also find the cctv footage from Dauwalders.
            Either they are exposing the authorities as inept for not finding this information, or more likely it is being spoon fed to them to sort out the timeline

        • Resident Dissident

          What I could not understand is why these cultural tourists hell bent on visiting the Cathedral were somehow wondering in the opposite direction, despite having had a good chance of getting their bearings on their visit the previous day. It is as though the 123m pointy thing was hiding that day. Also interesting where the rucksack one of the tourists was wearing appeared and disappeared – which all suggests that others were involved – which is perhaps why Putin was so keen for them to make such idiots of themselves on his foreign propaganda channel

          But then of course I realised this blog was one for useful idiots who are gullible enough to fall for anything that St Vlad puts out and that I need to seek enlightenment elsewhere.

          PS we do seem to have a bit of infestation here from Savushkina Street,

          Meanwhile yet again another opponent of Putin suffers for the false flag cause

          • Max_B

            @Resident Dissident 13:13

            The Salisbury CCTV footage and still shots issued by the Met show the Russian guys single rucksack changed from being on the back of the one of them, to being on the back of the other during the course of their visit, but it never disappeared.

          • Elly

            Seriously, what’s wrong with walking the streets? They are guilty as hell for taking the train, window shopping and walking the streets. Anyway, what was the alleged crime? Poisoning with a deadly nerve agent 10 times deadlier than VZ, yet nobody died? Except the pets starved to death by the good Wiltshire police? Are you braindead or brainwashed?

          • PleasebeleafMe

            I take offence to the suggestion that anyone who questions the many holes in the Skripal affair has been fooled.
            Time and again it has been proven that our governments, intelligence agencies and media that support each other LIE. It has come to the point where blogs such as this one are an arena where people can question “facts” and use our collective judgement to hold the powers that be accountable somewhat.
            There are many holes in your comment and you’ve added nothing to the discussion.
            “why these cultural tourists hell bent on visiting the Cathedral were somehow wondering in the opposite direction, despite having had a good chance of getting their bearings on their visit the previous day”.
            A valid question but hardly proof of their guilt as there are many possible explanations.
            I keep asking myself why: The Russian state would send two blokes with a semi lethal nerve agent in a perfume bottle to kill an ex spy who lived publicly in a sleep English town that could in any way conceivably be connected back to Russia. Maybe that’s the genius of it but that and many of the questions raised here are legit and haven’t been answered or even asked by the msm and that’s what stinks.

        • Ray

          Hi Kempe.

          Please provide evidence, which would be admissible in a court of law, that the time stamp is out and by how much ?

    • RAC

      “with their mobile phones switched off so they could not be geo-located.”
      Might depend on what type of phones they had. A few days ago I skimmed through a report out of general interest, didn’t bookmark it and can no longer find it. It was done by some techy types and claimed that google could track you with the phone switched off and the sim card removed.
      So possibly the govmt., story may need Skripals location to be ambiguous.
      BTW that report regarding the google tracking was posted sometime within the last 10 days or so, if anyone else has a link to it I would appreciate it.

      • Colin Smith

        Not eveyone relies on a mobile phone.

        Yulia’s might not be able to make foreign calls and cost a fortune to receive them. After getting to the UK and successfully meeting up with her father she might have had little need for the phone for a day or so and left it behind running down.

        Similar with pops. He had met up with his daughter for the first time in ages and had the day planned out. He did not have anyone else close he needed to be in contact with so no need for a phone.

        If they really wanted to let slip to the fed, then they could have kept the phone on and charging in the house while they went out.

        • PleasebeleafMe

          I find this credible. I f u need to communicate with someone back in Russia all u need is Sergei’s wifi connection and use whattsapp etc.. Once u leave the house why take your phone especially if the only person u know in the uk is the person you’re with. As for Sergei not taking his phone then maybe he’s old school and didn’t need it.
          Of course both Julia and Sergei should be able to tell the authorities why and what they did in the ghost hours so why the mystery? That it hasn’t been revealed is suspicious.

      • Fiduc93

        Anyone who watches crime series on TV knows that switching off your phone does not prohibit being tracked. One needs to remove the battery to achieve that.

    • Made By Dom

      Indeed. I asked Craig to post examples of this hatred.
      I think Craig is painting himself as some kind of martyr, standing up to the mob asking cool questions… what the hell is a cool question anyway?
      In the long term, my money is on Craig claiming the whole thing was some form of polemical exercise to expose Russophobia. It’ll be tough for him and tough for his most loyal followers who will feel they’ve been right royally shat on.

      • Dom

        I’m guessing you’re one of those who’s still expecting Saddam’s WMD to show up in Iraq. “My prime minister says it and Her Majesty’s media say it, so it must be true…”

        • Sharp Ears

          Put Made by Dom in touch with Ann Clwyd. She has more of the same up her sleeve,

          ‘In the build up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein had created new torture methods and he used industrial shredding machines to do away with his enemies. The leading supporter of this allegation was British Labour MP Ann Clwyd. On March 18, 2003, days before the military actions began, the British newspaper The Times ran an article written by her that was titled, “See men shredded, then you say you don’t back war.”
          Three days before the invasion, Clwyd spoke in the House of Commons and described how male prisoners in Iraq were dropped into a machine “designed for shredding plastic,” and their minced remains were “placed in plastic bags” and later used as “fish food.” She alleged that sometimes, the victims were dropped in the machines feet-first so they could briefly view their own mutilation before death.
          Australian Prime Minister Howard used the story to his great advantage. He supported the war and was about to send troops, despite overwhelming opposition from his public. After the story appeared in The Times, he addressed his nation and said he wanted to stop the ongoing crimes of the Baathist regime in Iraq including the “human shredding machine” that was used “as a vehicle for putting to death critics of Saddam Hussein”.’

          Her last memorable appearance in the HoC in 2012 was blubbing (literally) about the death of her husband and blaming the NHS hospital where he died. Quite at odds with the experience of the NHS of most of us who value it.

          She is still at it. Dreadful woman.

          Yet she will have brown skinned people killed. She is a hypocrite.
          How Ann Clwyd voted on Foreign Policy and Defence #
          Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
          Consistently voted for the Iraq war
          Consistently voted against investigations into the Iraq war ….

          • Vivian O'Blivion

            And I was having such a nice morning and you had to bring up Ann fucking Clwyd. I had assumed that the poison dwarf had passed on (one way or another) but no, 81 years old and still with her snout in the trough. Thanks for that (heavy irony).

          • Charles Bostock


            Posts which look forward to the death of other people possess a rare elegance and yours has not disappointed. But I suppose it’s slightly better than telling readers you’d like to kill them yourself (as some have done on here).

          • pete

            Re “human shredding machine”
            I wonder if Anne Clywd copyrighted her idea, the gadget appears in an Australian horror film “100 Bloody Acres” (2012) She could well sue them for taking the plot device and running with it. She can see the film next time it runs on the Horror Channel, I guess she must get a lot of ideas that way.

        • Made By Dom

          It’s a good guess but it’s not the right answer. I’m guessing some of the conspiracy theorists on this site will think we’re the same person.

          For the record, I’m a Corbynista. Not that it matters. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? If we could just avoid the annoyingly unknowable aspects of the Skripal case and simply reduce it down to who’s For or Against, Left or Right, Chelsea or Arsenal.
          By the way, if you’ve truly understood Craig’s argument then you’d have to accept the possibility that one day those WMD might turn up. Probably not very likely but the whole concept of whether something is ‘likely’ or not is being conveniently brushed under the carpet by many on this site.

          • PleasebeleafMe

            Craig may be a focal point for our “conspiracies” but he is in no way alone or even an antagonist for our theories.
            We have doubts and Craig is a credible person with a blog that we get to converse and voice ourselves.
            Either u don’t give the majority of us much credit for thinking for ourselves or u yourself are too comfortable with your stated position. If the available evidence presented to u by HMG or the media is sufficient to convince u of Russia using a chemical weapon on British soil to basically say “don’t fuck with Russia” then I believe u are the one too easily deceived. The available evidence may indeed be true but to trust the evidence provided because it comes from an “official source” is foolhardy given the criteria for what passes for evidence these days.
            Not all the suggestions by people on this site are to be taken as any kind of proof but in my opinion the discussion is healthy the more the better.

      • ZigZag Wanderer

        In one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history The Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 were exonerated and released from long prison sentences after it was found that the police had fabricated evidence , lied , and violently beaten confessions out of people just because they were Irish.
        It was ‘Cool questions’ that helped expose the criminal actions of our police force.

    • pretzelattack

      it was a twitterstorm of angry people angry that the propaganda they have been swallowing isn’t swallowed by everybody.

  • Mikael Kall

    The novitshok had to be on the surface and not in the air, because the police did take away all novitshok in two samples.
    But if the hotellroon was cleaned normally after several visitors for two months, so how there where could be any samples left from novitshok?

    The Metropolitan Police writes:
    ”On 4 May 2018, tests were carried out in the hotel room where the suspects had stayed. A number of samples were tested at DSTL at Porton Down. Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok at levels below that which would cause concern for public health. A decision was made to take further samples from the room as a precautionary measure, including in the same areas originally tested, and all results came back negative. We believe the first process of taking swabs removed the contamination, so low were the traces of Novichok in the room.
    Following these tests, experts deemed the room was safe and that it posed no risk to the public.”

    • Sergei

      This just doesn’t have any sense. We’re talking about some military grade deadly agent, extremely serious stuff. If ANY trace were found in such public place as a hotel, it would just beg for shutting the place down and a full contamination of the entire place. Who knows, maybe after contaminating their room they went to the hotel toilet, or maybe touched the receptionist desk or sat at some chair. A couple of swabs in the room but maybe tons more in the corridor or on the door knobs? But they were like, hey it’s okay, it’s just a couple of swabs so no concern.

      • Dom

        The failure to close the hotel to protect the public can be explained by their whole story being bullshit.

        • Kempe

          It would be a bit late now. How many people passed through it unharmed between the 3rd-4th March and the time Boshirov and Petrov were rumbled?

          • Radar O’Reilly

            The Coopers were on a package holiday with travel agent Thomas Cook which says it has not found any evidence of carbon monoxide or food poisoning but is evacuating 301 holidaymakers from the hotel amid ‘raised levels of illness’.

            At least 40 hotel guests have reported being ill, with some saying they are ‘on their knees and sick as pigs.’

            So Thos Cook ruled out the death of their own employee from food-poisoning, but let’s check the Thunderer – dirty food or novichok?

            According to The Times, the day before the couple died, on August 20, Namaa Agricultural and Engineering Services sprayed the adjacent room with lambda-cyhalothrin 5%.

            The concentration of insecticide used is understood to be many times that sprayed on fields. The chemical works by disrupting the nervous system of insects, causing paralysis or death

            Read more:

            The pyrethroid that seems to have killed the Burnley couple is listed as only ‘moderately toxic’ – but everything depends on dose. Their daughter did describe the strange smell of the hotel room, before the tragedy.

            However, as with the Skripal nonsense, financial matters may render no absolute facts to be determinable.

  • Bill McLean

    Been out of touch for a while so this question may have been put before. If, as the media claimed, the 2 Russians were GRU agents why were they allowed freedom to roam around the west of England without surveillance? I asked this of BBC Radio 5 live yesterday but received no response! This whole farrago stinks to high heaven!

    • Hans Adler

      In this case the answer is really obvious: Normal Russians traveling in the UK are nothing unusual. It was only later that they were connected to the events and, at least according to the official story, found to be agents.

      There are a lot of gaps in the original story, but this is not one of them.

  • sc

    What is annoying about all of this is the drip of selected information to inflame public opinion. It’s very likely that with Skripal being an ex spy (or maybe a currently employed spy of some sort) that there are people who know what happened or suspect what happened and that the government’s initial ‘It was Russia’ response was based on knowledge that they haven’t told us.

    But instead of saying that they said things like ‘Only Russia Could have made the Poison’ and ‘Only Russia had the motive’ which both seemed unlikely, and were unproved.

    After Iraq and Special Rendition, people are naturally sceptical of what we are told officially, based on classified information.

    Usually with anything secret service related you are resigned to never knowing what actually happened until things are declassified decades later, and what you are told makes no sense (like with that unfortunate young man in the sports bag) … this case is different in that instead of moving swiftly on it’s being used to affect our opinions and cause hysteria.

    I wish we had a system that would allow a solid police investigation leading to a court case with proper evidence and without secrets and lies and media outrage, but it doesn’t look like we do.

    • Jack


      Very good post the whole thing of the western media today is after all “blame russia” no matter what and the public accept it because they’ve heard it so many times,.. past…60-70 years atleast.

    • Sue Mason

      Agreed. Skulduggery abounds. It must have been the Russians because they’ve got form. Sadly ‘our’ story doesn’t stand up.

    • Max_B

      The same substance in a pure form was also found 4 months later in a counterfeit perfume bottle with a modified long nozzle dispenser, on the kitchen worktop of Charlie Rowley’s new home. Charlie & Dawn were substance abusers, and Charlie is a convicted drug dealer.

      As this 2015 Australian article shows, people have been smuggling illicit drugs by packaging them inside seemingly innocuous items for a long time…

      “Drugs are being concealed inside everything from perfume bottles and porcelain toilets to lava lamps and classic American muscle cars in a bid to feed Australia’s seemingly insatiable appetite for cocaine, ice and ecstasy.”

      Since 2015 however, the type of drugs being smuggled have changed, there are all sorts of new designer drugs, and new synthetic opioids such as powerful fentanyl’s… they are the new kid on the block… Something like 1800 different chemical structure versions of this compound are now available…

      The modified dispenser on Charlie’s bottle just gives it away, as does his new home, suggesting his income had increased.

      There is little doubt in my mind that the Skripal’s were somehow mixed up in illicit narcotics, and the Salisbury substance was one of those illicit narcotics, just as the hospital and the police initially claimed in both the Salisbury, and Amesbury incidents.

      • Doodlebug

        I had the foresight to annotate CR’s ITN News interview. Someone who can coin the phrases, ‘I have a tendency’ and ‘oily substance’ should have no trouble at all understanding the meaning of ‘unlikely’. So how about this for a ‘red flag’ moment:

        Interviewer: “Is it a case of…it’s unlikely anyone will end up in court?”
        Rowley: “I’d like to think so. But I don’t know.”

        I stand to be corrected, but my inclination is that the police know full well where they should be directing their enquiries, They are being discouraged from above however. It would not be the first time, and such precedents could prove very dangerous in the long-term.

        • Max_B

          I caught that one at the time as well @Doodlebug 🙂 He’s not after Dawn’s murderers (which would be the correct state of mind if his story was true), he’s hoping for something else… not getting chucked in prison.

          The local Salisbury CID Detective Sargent Erin Martin who issued the official press release and warning on the Monday after the weekend of their exposure was very clear… The local police wanted to issue an urgent warning to other drugs users to be extra cautious… their priority was the safety of the public… a contaminated batch of drugs may be in circulation in the south of the county… “we are asking for anyone who may have information about this batch of drugs to contact the police”, “we just need to know…[ ] …where the drugs may have been bought from, or who they may have been sold to.” The local police were very clear about their line of inquiry… then it got taken out of their hands by the Anti-Terrorist police, and the shroud of the UK’s anti-terrorist legislation and official secrets act came down over everything.

          I think the ITV interview with Charlie was deliberately recorded as the government’s fallback position, which they can retreat to if they need to.

          • Doodlebug

            The situation in a nutshell.

            ” a contaminated batch of drugs may be in circulation in the south of the county”

            There was another ‘incident’ just across the county border not too long ago. Flipping through the video extracts of Rowley’s interview the other day I’m sure I noticed a ‘scene’ in two editions where the same thing was said but slightly differently, suggesting rehearsal, editing etc., etc. Scripting would of course be another obvious component of the project.

            Parliamentary protocol prohibits MP for Salisbury, John Glenn, from responding to e-mails from those outside his constituency apparently. Strangely it doesn’t seem to apply to another with whom I have had contact. Funny that.

  • King of Welsh Noir

    Appeal for information. Have I got this right?

    We have had months of Russophobic hysteria based on the HM Govt claim that the Russians planted the Novichok. Numerous countries in Europe have expelled Russian diplomats on the back of this claim.

    But the Government’s claim is unsupported by any hard evidence?

    The director of Portland Down explicitly stated that there was no way of determining that the nerve agent came from Russia.

    It’s like saying, if a man is murdered with poisoned Vodka then the assassin must be Russian because Vodka is a Russian drink.

    If this is true, then everything else that has happened seems almost beside the point. The UK Government would appear to be lying in the most astonishingly brazen and determined fashion. And if they are we should keep reminding ourselves of this simple fact. Endless discussions of why the ducks weren’t poisoned too or how it did or did not get on the door handle are in a sense otiose.

    Please correct me if I have got it wrong.

    • Blunderbuss

      I think you are right but what do you want us to do? Stop asking questions and give the UK govt an easy ride?

    • Radar O’Reilly

      I used to drink vodka made in Warrington, I think it WAS poisoned! Certainly had similar effect to novichok (I’m still alive)

      The Russians that I’ve met tend to prefer Swedish vodka, absolutely, being worried about methanol levels in some fake ‘local’ brands.

      • Doodlebug

        Brits have been drinking ‘Liebfraumilch’ enlivened by ethylene glycol for years without complaint.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Apparently in the 1960’s the formula for Elnett hairspray was a suspension of natural rubber in alcohol with a bulb pump applicator. With extremely tight licensing laws on a Sunday, the jaikies (down and outs to non Scots readers) would consume the hairspray. In the gut, the fine rubber particles would congeal forming an ever greater mass of rubber ’till surgical removal was required.

      • King of Welsh Noir

        If that is aimed at me, Res Dis, you would do better to address it to the UK Govt. They are the ones who have been accusing without evidence ‘Russia’ and ‘The Russians’. I happen to believe Russia, the Russians and/or the Putin regime had nothing to do with it, whatever ‘it’ is. I, far from convinced there was a genuine nerve agent involved.

        • Resident Dissident

          Yes it was aimed at you. Criticism of the Putin regime and the Russian security services is not the same as Russophobia whatever you may claim. The rulers of a country are not the same as a country’s inhabitants – and that is the case everywhere.

          Exactly the same game was played by the supporters of Stalin in the past.

  • Mark S

    Secret agents with top level task applying for tourist visas, come on guys…
    Were I British intelligence service, I would check tourist visas of Boshirov and Petrov first.

    • MJ

      “Secret agents with top level task”

      Where does that come from? Would suggest that “secret agents with top level task” don’t need to apply for visas. They’re already here, in sleeper cells. Any views on the murder of Nikolai Glushkov?

  • Adrian Evitts

    Well, Craig, I had an open mind about the culpability of the two Russians – until I read this “defence” of them. My verdict: Guilty as hell!

  • Nick Owen

    Very brave of you to stand in the face of this hurricane. I must say that I found their interview to be the strongest argument on Russia being the culprit yet. What about passports wit consecutive numbers etc etc. The whole thing looks more like a comedy spook film than real life every day

    • Yuliya

      “What about passports wit consecutive numbers”
      Nick Owen, it’s simple. I, my husband and my father have passports that differ by one last number. We got passports together. If these guys are close friends, it is not surprising that they also received passports together.

    • Ray Raven

      From my casual observation of assassinations, most professional elimination agencies use 3rd country IDs (passports – refer to standard MOSSAD operating procedures).
      Explain to me, in simple terms, why the Rooskie eliminationation agency would use their own country of origin IDs (passports).
      I thought Pootin was the ultimate arch villain, yet he is that stoopid ?
      Yes. It is him, and him alone – as it is espoused here in Oz (all Rooslies are Pootin and vice versa – effen brilliant crim mind, makes Prof Moriarty look like a kindy kid)), as the MSM keep on stressing.

      • Charles Bostock

        First time I’ve herd that one, I must say.

        Isn’t “west wants to subordinate china and turn her against russia” the more usual spiel?

        • Ray Raven

          We ain’t herding (or even hearding) catd (or even sheep) here charlie jim ?
          Yes, spelling is important; as the englander 9or is it britisher) language is not a phonetic language.
          After all, it is predominantlly a kraut language (with scientific terms (and more generally) appropriated from the Med), you pseudoist (sic) .

        • PleasebeleafMe

          Hi CB,
          The preference for the U.S. is to prevent any co-operation between Russia and China. If they can ally one against the other then it’s a win but if they ally against the U.S. (west) then it’s game over. Kissinger’s worst nightmare.

      • MJ

        Japan has a big programme developing nuclear weapons. It doesn’t build them, it just develops the technology so it can build them if needed. It’s sometimes called the Japan Option.

    • Spencer Eagle

      USA $610b – after adjusting for $1000 screwdrivers, a single nut for $2,043 and toilet seats at $640 each, not to mention supplier corruption, the US is really spending no more than Russia.
      China $228b – understandable given they have to buy five in the hope that one works.
      Saudi Arabia $69.4b – see above, over charged and robbed blind by the US.
      Russia $66.3b – in reality these canny spenders get a lot bangs for there bucks.
      India $63.9b – a typo, that’s really rupees.
      Japan $45.4b – hiding a nuclear weapons program ain’t cheap.
      Australia $27.5b – a surprise given their relatively small population.

      • PleasebeleafMe

        Lol SE, I would add that the U.S.’s # is lower than it should be if u include the CIA and their own military expenditures (drone program) and of course their multitude billion’s from drug and weapon’s sales etc. that they funnel into militaristic adventure’s that don’t make the books.

    • Charles Bostock

      Sharp Ears

      “In 2017, Russia’s military spending ($66.3billion) was a small fraction of that of the US ($610billion). It’s impossible to visualize 610 billion”

      Ah, but what are the % age of GDP figures? 🙂

      • John A

        What has GDP got to do with military expenditure?
        If I buy a theatre ticket for £30 and Bezos buys a theatre ticket for £30, we each spend £30 even if £30 makes up a much bigger proportion of my income, than his.
        More page gumming from Bostick glue man.

    • James

      Superb question Top Cat, and one guaranteed to get the replies rolling in! It represents such a brilliant opportunity for all us clever-clogs to go into overdrive and show off. I do love irony, btw.
      I see from the welter of ripostes already garnered, the actual question you asked has been instantly subsumed into a load of pontificating polemics against US military expenditure, GDP statistics and ponderous discourse on linguistic shortcomings. Hmm.
      Possibly because a meaningful answer would be so protracted, you might be quicker completing an undergraduate degree on international relations.

      Some ideas I suggest to explore are:
      ¶China has never been expansionist in 2000 years// Russia and USSR quite opposite. Google lebensrsum, Great Game, colonialism 1815-1970
      ¶Up til very recently, China has been externally economically inactive. Even then there were significant execrations under Mao// USSR was getting quite wealthy for much of the second half of C20
      ¶As we all now know fro the attacks in March, Russian are evil bastards and always have been
      Errm…Basically China has kept itself to itself since before Christ, and Russia has been a bloody worry at least since Alexander I, and decided frightening from 1950-1985. Things are changing now, but people always say that.

    • JCalvertN

      “The West does not demonize China as it does Russia. Why is that?” Eastern European/Eastern Mediterranean tunnel vision I guess.
      The West is headed-up by the USA, and the US State Depart and National Security Advisor roles have included crazies like, Henry Kissinger; Zbig Brezinski; and Madeleine Albright.

  • steve

    Freedland’s comment in the Guardian was really lazily written. Just a general roam over the area with some free association and no assessment of the details of the Russian duo’s movements or the inconsistencies in the officla line that their movements throw up. He was convinced of their guilt, Putin was a liar all was a laugh and anyone disagreeing was equivalent to a Holocaust denier – worse, one that thought the Holocaust was a good thing and so deserve being closed down on.

    You can see the process – Don’t believe the UK line…you are risible…you deny the truth….you are a holocaust denier….you are anti-semitic by implication….you should be silenced.

    • Doodlebug

      This is not exactly on topic, but I read recently of a very expansive (maybe even expensive) monument in Berlin to the six million (it is said) Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Where should one go to view the memorial to the twenty seven million Russian citizens who lost their lives in WWII?

      • Jones

        and the Russians offered the British Navy Seamen a medal (Ushakov Medal) for the Arctic Convoys in WW2 before the UK did, and the UKgov originally refused to allow the British Seaman to wear it, it took a 16 year long campaign by veterans to get the UKgov to award them a medal (Arctic Star) for what Churchill described as the worst journey in the world.

      • Borncynical


        Indeed. Those appalling ‘Russkies’ who hold us in such contempt that they have Arctic Convoy memorials in several cities including Murmansk and Arkhangelsk and attend annual memorial services in Scotland to remember the Brits who sacrificed their lives in the Convoys. Those appalling ‘Russkies’ who only a few years ago invited the last surviving British members of the Arctic Convoys over to Russia to present them with the highest Russian military accolade for bravery, those same heroes having been completely overlooked for honours by the UK Government over the decades.


    • Blunderbuss

      Interesting term anti-Semitic. Arabs are Semites so if I discriminate against Arabs, am I being anti-Semitic? Apparently not, because according to the IHRA Working Definition, Arabs don’t exist.

  • Keith Thomson

    Which photo shows the Russian agents near the A36 Shell Petrol station? Is it the showing the Russians with the white outline suggesting it was photoshopped?

      • Borncynical

        It’s not the white outline of the pictures that Keith is referring to, it is the white outline round the images of the men themselves – as if they’ve been eating ReadyBrek!. This has been discussed at length on the Blogmire website and does look strange, although I myself – not having any expertise in photographic reproduction or photoshopping – draw no conclusions. The lines where some of the paving slabs meet are also oddly blurred.

        • Borncynical

          My comment at 13.05
          “as if they’ve been eating ReadyBrek ” … should add “or Novichok!”

  • Tony

    Two questions occur to me about this:

    1. Why has it taken 6 months to come up with this? I cannot see why it would take so long.

    2. Why would there be 2 assassins? I cannot see the advantage of having two people do it.

    I am sceptical and then there are questions of lack of motive by the Russian state.
    And the kind of questions raised in the article are also raise problems too.

    • Igor M.

      recall that there was supposedly a “hit brigade” of five men and a woman (and chronologically, if my memory serves me right, that was “leaked” when the details of these two would have been supposedly known to the police)… Of course the news and propaganda cycle rely on people having no memory whatsoever!

      • Borncynical

        I theorised earlier on in this blog that the security services knew in advance (before the ‘nerve agent incident’) took place who they were intending to pin the blame on. They could have identified from visa applications who had specified an intention to be in Salisbury and when, and from that selected the date for ‘the incident’. My (maybe fanciful) suggestion was that, having identified two sets of Russians intending to be in Salisbury over that weekend, the security services set out over the weeks after ‘the incident’ to find images of the intended guilty parties to pin the blame on. [Again, my theory] The initial intention was to blame ‘the group’ who did exist as genuine visitors from Russia, and hence referring to them prematurely as suspects in the enquiry early on. But maybe that group changed plans to go to Salisbury because of the bad weather. That left the security services to turn their attention to finding their second choice culprits B & P on CCTV and ‘the rest is history’! Had the security services not found their images either then that would not have caused a particular problem but it would have just left out a useful means to convince everyone even more that the Russians were behind it.

        • Igor M.

          Perhaps there’s some truth to your speculations—recall that initially there were five men and a woman who were the “hit brigade”—patently that could be too easily debunked which is why that was not taken further…

          I suspect the two Russians were just a lucky coincidence for whoever perpetrated the acts—as they say on Russian TV: “why is it that Russians only happen to die of mysterious circumstances in the UK and nowhere else in the world?” My thinking is that these two are fairly obviously “together” so given how (rather untruthfully) being gay in Russia is demonised here (and worse, the “intelligence” services believe their own disinformation), the thinking was “well, these two aren’t gonna come forward and will go into hiding, perfect patsies.” Now the world has seen the two, and the narrative is again, as they say, f***ed!

          • Borncynical


            Thanks for this – I agree with all you say. Assuming B&P are innocent of the supposed Skripal ‘attack’ (and I certainly am inclined to believe they are for all the multitude of reasons already expressed on this website) it is unfortunate that they were reticent to give more in the way of explanation about their work and contacts who could back them up. Having said that, I don’t see why they should be obliged to feed the UK investigators with any information via the media. I am sure they will have explained things in more depth and provided photographic and other evidence to the Russian authorities who will decide how best to make use of it. It may well be that there was some shady dealing going on in some way or another but I doubt it was anything too serious and certainly not malicious.

            With regard to their reticence to talk about themselves, it may well be that they are gay and my thoughts are that, if that were so, it could well be that even their families aren’t aware or don’t like to acknowledge the fact, or don’t want their friends and neighbours to know. They possibly have aged parents who are, much as people of that age in this country are, ‘old-fashioned’ in this respect. I know from having lived in rural Devon myself that there is a reluctance amongst such parochial communities to regard homosexuality as ‘the norm’ and even if they don’t publicly condemn it (for obvious reasons) they certainly don’t consider it as respectable.
            I know I’ve gone away from your points but I just wanted to take the opportunity to voice a couple of random thoughts!

          • Igor M.

            apparently the Russian authorities’ position is that until and unless there’s an official request for assistance from London regarding the two, nobody is going to disturb or question them, which is why Putin said something to the effect of if they want to come to media, it’s up to them. That, quite frankly, is what any normal government would do. Like I said, I strongly suspect the whole narrative was premised on a rather fallacious assumption that the two would go into hiding…

    • Goose

      One acting as a lookout perhaps?

      Maybe they did come to the UK to spy on, or even kill Sergei? But take the ‘novichok ‘ out of this story and it becomes far less sexy for the media. That’s the bit many doubt, as it’s such a random way of trying to kill someone, with no guarantees of getting the correct person or success(as seen).

      • MJ

        “But take the ‘novichok ‘ out of this story and it becomes far less sexy for the media”

        Very true. That might explain the media silence regarding the murder of Nikolai Glushkov a week later. A mere strangling. Yawn. The introduction of “novichok” to the narrative is what Hitchcock called a “Macguffin”.

  • Blunderbuss

    I just bought a tin of tea bags in an Oxford gift shop. It’s just the right size for my mobile phone and it does block the signal – I’ve tested it. I expect there will be a big demand for these from Russian tourists.

    • Doodlebug

      An equally shrewd investment would be a bottle or two of ‘Novichok’ vodka. They could easily double their money on re-sale in the UK (for the same reason I deliberately acquired a bottle of ‘Fuckink’ gin in Spain some years ago).

      • bj

        Bringing them into the country in large numbers (of tourists) might be something like causing a DDoS of customs.

  • Andrew

    Just some random opinion from a Russian guy who is not enjoying this travesty:

    I didn’t vote for Putin, there’s quite a few things he does I don’t agree with (mostly concerning economics matters) but however I think of him, during all these years he’s been at power I cannot name one single case where his actions were illogical and careless. More to it, in my own opinion he’s been way too pragmatic even when situations called for more extreme measures. In the western media he’s mostly pictured as a vengeful dictator with absolute power.

    So using this absolute power he decides to bring some revenge on a useless ex-spy whom he had all the means to get rid of while he was in prison but decided not to for whatever reasons. He waited several years for that and then, when the presidential elections are on the way, when the 2018 World Cup is about to happen, when Russia is continuing to be sanctioned for her every slightest fart or even breath, he decides to strike. Russia will get more sanctions and little people will suffer more? The UK will ask for NATO’s help since there was an attack on its soil? He doesn’t care, he’s so vengeful, Skripal must go.

    So, he carefully picks the most dumb GRU agents in the world who don’t care about anything – their legend, CCTVs. He also chooses a interesting way to execute a spy – use a poison that will sure lead back to Russia so the outrage and sanctions from the West are inevitable and everyone knows he’s so vengeful and not to be screwed with. These two agents also don’t care about having any plan – whether Skripals will be home by the time they arrive or not. What if they will be home and see them? All they know is that they’ve been given a bottle of Novichok and they need to spay it on the handle, and if they do that fast enough they may even have time to do a little sightseeing before their train back.

    So the dumb agents did exactly what dumb people do – screwed everything up. They are all over CCTVs, Skripals are alive, Western outrage is in full force, sanctions are on the way. Now, as if all this SNAFU wasn’t enough, there’s only one thing left to do – bring these dumb agents on TV and let them speak trying to explain everything, letting them make things up as they go since they wouldn’t have remembered any decent legend anyway, them being dumb and all.

    I mean, there HAS TO be some logic to all this, right? If the only Putin’s goal is revenge or just screwing ordinary people’s lives up, he has plenty options to do that – go on full force on counter-sanctions, recognize Donbass as a sovereign country, start responding with force to every illegal US strike in Syria. But no, for some reason he continues to be pragmatic, just not with Skripals. There just have to be some reasoning behind all this and I wonder what is it, how the western media explains all this illogical and absurd plan, it’s hard to figure it out behind all the screams and shouts in the media.

    • Sarge

      Good run through the whole illogicality of it. It’s being demanded that we believe the unbelievable.

        • bj

          I don’t believe that for a minute.

          I hear and read reports of people who ask friends and relatives and nobody believes the gov’s narrative.

          • MJ

            Even the comments on stories in the Mail show a level of scepticism that make you proud to be British.

          • Borncynical

            I do wish I could support your impressions – unfortunately I know of only one person in my immediate circle of personal acquaintances (I am recently retired so I have no ‘peers’ as such to discuss this with) who doesn’t believe, or is at least not sympathetic to, the narrative that the Russians did it with Putin at the helm. They all think I’m a ‘nutter’!

          • Goose

            For many it’s the ‘doing it in broad daylight’ part with grins on their faces.

            It just doesn’t fit the expected modus operandi for such a crime.

    • Goose

      The dumbness of it all in part explains the widespread doubt.

      If it is all as reported in the press and Craig’s conjecture is wide of the mark . It’d be among the dumbest self-incriminating actions ever carried out by any State.

        • Goose

          Wanting to shut down a former spy who’s possibly(?) still betraying the country, by seeking new Russian recruits? Would provide an explanation.

          One possible scenario, pure conjecture, is that some Russian spy agency operative they tried to recruit reported Sergei’s ongoing behaviour to his superiors?

        • Goose

          Maybe this pair thought they were being recruited? That would explain their nervousness.

          Who knows?

    • Max_B

      @Andrew I suspect there is a potential scandal being covered up on the British side. They may have deflected the scandal back onto Russia, but I think it’s a stalemate between Britain & Russia, with Britain being in the more vulnerable position. I’m guessing that with all the headwinds against the U.K. at present, the details of the scandal are enough to bring the current government down, and risk a labour government under Corbyn.

      Every move Britain makes to get out of Check, Russia mirrors and puts them back in check. It just keeps the pressure on, without revealing the details, which is a far more useful strategy to Russia.

      Both Russia and Britain know exactly what happened. Were the truth to come out it would turn into a British Political Spy Scandal. Britain is fighting hard to get out of it, and haven’t done too badly to create a link with Russia, that is causing a bit of discomfort. Some in the British establishment appear furious about the position that they’ve been put in. Russia seems to be enjoying some of Britain’s thrashing around trying to extricate itself.

      • Doodlebug

        Entirely feasible. Personally it would surprise me not a jot if the Skripal poisoning were an unanticipated accident which the government instinctively (and erroneously) connected with Skripal snr.’s clandestine activities and proceeded to deflect immediately toward Russia. The Amesbury case is an embarrassment which is likely to be replicated by similar events recently. There simply aren’t enough perfume bottles to go around.

  • John A

    With the government’s story, we are reaching the realms of faith in God.

    If you start looking at arguments for the existence of god that has occupied philosophers and others for centuries, and the ultimate logic is that there is no god, believers have to fall back on understanding of god is beyond our comprehension, as the King James version puts it:
    “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” and
    “Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.”
    Effectively, all that is left is faith.
    We are now at the point where the government is effectively saying you must have faith, you must believe in us, understanding the Skripol affair is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, so just accept that god or the skripal story exists.
    Like through the history of Christianity, heretics will be hounded and persecuted. Centuries ago, the likes of Wycliffe and others were persecuted for translating the bible into English, it’s only in the last few decades Mass is in the vernacular not Latin. All designed to maintain a level beyond the comprehension of ordinary people.
    You can only believe in the Skripol storyline if you have faith as logic certainly won’t help you. The whole story is riddled with improbabilities, the storyline keeps being changed. If the Skrypols are alive, they must know if they both touched the door handle, what time they left the house, what happened as they walked through the park. Why are they not been put infront of a camera to say what their movements are? Their silence is far more damning than the Salisbury walkabout by 2 Russians.

    • Tom Smythe

      A lot of people who had superficially followed the story had put their faith in the govt version. And shared their view with friends, family, social media, etc. And now, with that story blowing up, they are between a rock and a hard place: double down or back down. What I’m mostly seeing are highly emotional outbursts, a veritable lynch mob. Guys who cannot bear the thought of admitting being very very wrong.

      The internet so plugged up with garbage dismissing Salisbury tourism, I hardly do a google search on the figures of interest. Page after page after page about how Stonehenge, the Cathedral, the old fort, the Magna Carta are not valid tourist objectives. Two million GRU operatives a year apparently. If it is such a dump, why do Sergei, Pablo Miller and Christopher Steele live there?

      • Blunderbuss

        I hear it has done wonders for tourism in Salisbury. Hardly anybody knew about the old cathedral clock until the Russians told us about it.

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