Skripals – The Mystery Deepens 3063

The time that “Boshirov and Petrov” were allegedly in Salisbury carrying out the attack is all entirely within the period the Skripals were universally reported to have left their home with their mobile phones switched off.

A key hole in the British government’s account of the Salisbury poisonings has been plugged – the lack of any actual suspects. And it has been plugged in a way that appears broadly convincing – these two men do appear to have traveled to Salisbury at the right time to have been involved.

But what has not been established is the men’s identity and that they are agents of the Russian state, or just what they did in Salisbury. If they are Russian agents, they are remarkably amateur assassins. Meanwhile the new evidence throws the previously reported timelines into confusion – and demolishes the theories put out by “experts” as to why the Novichok dose was not fatal.

This BBC report gives a very useful timeline summary of events.

At 09.15 on Sunday 4 March the Skripals’ car was seen on CCTV driving through three different locations in Salisbury. Both Skripals had switched off their mobile phones and they remained off for over four hours, which has baffled geo-location.

There is no CCTV footage that indicates the Skripals returning to their home. It has therefore always been assumed that they last touched the door handle around 9am.

But the Metropolitan Police state that Boshirov and Petrov did not arrive in Salisbury until 11.48 on the day of the poisoning. That means that they could not have applied a nerve agent to the Skripals’ doorknob before noon at the earliest. But there has never been any indication that the Skripals returned to their home after noon on Sunday 4 March. If they did so, they and/or their car somehow avoided all CCTV cameras. Remember they were caught by three CCTV cameras on leaving, and Borishov and Petrov were caught frequently on CCTV on arriving.

The Skripals were next seen on CCTV at 13.30, driving down Devizes road. After that their movements were clearly witnessed or recorded until their admission to hospital.

So even if the Skripals made an “invisible” trip home before being seen on Devizes Road, that means the very latest they could have touched the doorknob is 13.15. The longest possible gap between the novichok being placed on the doorknob and the Skripals touching it would have been one hour and 15 minutes. Do you recall all those “experts” leaping in to tell us that the “ten times deadlier than VX” nerve agent was not fatal because it had degraded overnight on the doorknob? Well that cannot be true. The time between application and contact was between a minute and (at most) just over an hour on this new timeline.

In general it is worth observing that the Skripals, and poor Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, all managed to achieve almost complete CCTV invisibility in their widespread movements around Salisbury at the key times, while in contrast “Petrov and Boshirov” managed to be frequently caught in high quality all the time during their brief visit.

This is especially remarkable in the case of the Skripals’ location around noon on 4 March. The government can only maintain that they returned home at this time, as they insist they got the nerve agent from the doorknob. But why was their car so frequently caught on CCTV leaving, but not at all returning? It appears very much more probable that they came into contact with the nerve agent somewhere else, while they were out.

“Boshirov and Petrov” plainly are of interest in this case. But only Theresa May stated they were Russian agents: the police did not, and stated that they expected those were not their real identities. We do not know who Boshirov and Petrov were. It appears very likely their appearance was to do with the Skripals on that day. But they may have been meeting them, outside the home. The evidence points to that, rather than doorknobs. Such a meeting might explain why the Skripals had turned off their mobile phones to attempt to avoid surveillance.

It is also telling the police have pressed no charges against them in the case of Dawn Sturgess, which would be manslaughter at least if the government version is true.

If “Boshirov and Petrov” are secret agents, their incompetence is astounding. They used public transport rather than a vehicle and left the clearest possible CCTV footprint. They failed in their assassination attempt. They left traces of novichok everywhere and could well have poisoned themselves, and left the “murder weapon” lying around to be found. Their timings in Salisbury were extremely tight – and British Sunday rail service dependent.

There are other possibilities of who “Boshirov and Petrov” really are, of which Ukrainian is the obvious one. One thing I discovered when British Ambassador to Uzbekistan was that there had been a large Ukrainian ethnic group of scientists working at the Soviet chemical weapon testing facility there at Nukus. There are many other possibilities.

Yesterday’s revelations certainly add to the amount we know about the Skripal event. But they raise as many new questions as they give answers.

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3,063 thoughts on “Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

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  • Tom Smythe

    I relocated that Simon Jenkins opinion link that distills thousands of our posts into one superb essay — with just the first sentence! It all but disappeared at the schizo-Guardian, some snippets below with edits for brevity. How he must despise Luke Harding’s fakery!

    ‘The reaction to the sad affair has been cynical, disproportionate and hypocritical.

    From the start it was near-certain that the novichok attack in Salisbury was revenge by hitmen with access to Russian poison, and with scant respect for recycling.

    Hypocritical: Under the money-laundering tolerance of Tony Blair and David Cameron, London became another Monaco or Cayman, an “oligarchia” of property bolt-holes and dodgy dealers, where no questions were asked and only money talked. To Russians, the idea of British authorities citing the rule of law and getting high and mighty about injury to a superannuated spy is laughable.

    Cynical: Someone in Whitehall regularly authorises the extrajudicial killing of British citizens who have displeased Her Majesty’s government by going over to a perceived enemy, be it Islamic State, al-Qaeda or the Taliban. If a bystander also gets killed, that is justified by a greater good.

    Disproportionate response: How many attempted murder victims in south London get the exclusive attention of 250 police officers for six months, and prime ministerial statements in parliament? It is clear that the police soon suspected the two Russians, and knew there was no way of bringing them to court. Putin could have been accused of being unable to control his own mobsters.

    Instead it was turned into an international crisis, with evil Putin as mastermind. The Skripal assault became a chemical attack on British soil, as if Putin had personally sent sarin canisters raining down on hospitals and schools. At the Foreign Office, Boris Johnson exultantly called it an “act of war”. The attack on Skripal was an existential threat, requiring an allied response, tit-for-tat penalties, UN meetings, expulsions, sanctions and excoriations.

    British diplomacy was deflected from Brexit to secure the expulsion of 153 Russian spies from western capitals, leading to the predictable removal of two dozen British spies from Russia. There is no evidence that such frenzy has led to any shift in Russian policy, any more than the similar response to the Litvinenko poisoning in London in 2006 deterred poisonings.
    Putin’s mischief-making, mendacity and posturing and the west’s response are the politics of gestures, insults, headlines and staged indignation. It is infantile.

    Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, Europe’s democracies have driven Russia down the path on which Putin is set. They debilitated his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. They denied Russia aid and trade. They pushed Nato’s boundaries to Russia’s border and taunted it with encirclement. London embraced Russia’s kleptocrats and bled it dry of its resource wealth.

    Now Moscow is on a roll. The EU is allowing Putin to re-establish cold war allegiances, with admirers in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and even Germany. His economy may be in a mess, but who cares when he has America and Britain dancing on a string? So some hitman goofs in Salisbury. In return we let Putin mock us and parade his injured innocence before the world.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Not sure Russia’s economy is in any bigger mess than the UK was in 2008 or will be post BreXit. Russia is simply learning that being an energy exporter creates a luxury mindset of importing everything and making nothing. Without external threat the move to develop better farming, manufacturing and domestic economic growth atrophies as in UK.

      UK lived on FIRE sector and Arms Exports to world’s No2 Arms Buyer (after US doD) Saudi Arabia so it could import basic foodstuffs and clothes and tech toys and cars and cars and cars………and make zilch.

      UK has lived on the back of N Sea Oil and easy credit – Russia was in danger of doing the same

        • Paul Greenwood

          Funnily enough it is Consumer Goods that boost GDP simply because Consumers pay much higher retail prices than Producers pay wholesale. Germany keeps food prices low by using small pack sizes whereas ethnic stores keep prices low by selling big pack sizes – such as rice.

          Chinese are really the only ones that have solved the Communist Legacy of not having brand names and have created so many in recent years whereas Eastern Europe/GDR and Russia and Ukraine failed to develop them. Who today thinks of Carl Zeiss (Jena) or Jenoptik or Docter ? Then again no binoculars are produced inside Germany any longer

      • Deb O'Nair

        “Russia is simply learning that being an energy exporter creates a luxury mindset of importing everything and making nothing.”

        This is why Western sanctions backfire – Russia now invests more money in it’s own industry and infrastructure than it would have done otherwise. Putin probably welcomes sanctions for these reasons; it creates a more self sufficient Russia and stimulates the internal economy.

  • Blunderbuss

    Traces of Novichok found in Laurel & Hardy’s hotel room. Is there a specific test for Novichok, which may or may not exist? I suspect they are testing for organophosphates in general. As has already been pointed out, you are likely to find traces of organophosphates everywhere, because of their use as pesticides.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      There is a test for ACE inhibitors, which includes nerve agents. It is a biological test.

      I would suspect Porton Down has developed specific assays for individual nerve agents too.

      • Reg

        I just am surprised at the level of incompetence, if you are going to construct a story why so many holes, why not at least try and construct something more believable? Does it normally take 6 months to identify two people as suspects from CCTV, particularly as the time this would take would be heavily dependent on the resources/man hrs allocated which would of been on the high side given the high profile of the case.

        If as they allege these two individuals came directly from Russia and were known as GRU agents this would of been picked up very early, can anyone think of a similar case where it took 6 months to identify suspects from CCTV especially given automatic facial recognition? The only possible explanation I can think of for the time lag to identify the suspects from CCTV is to ensure members of the public do not identify the two individuals, as they might blow another hole in the story. If the supposed assassins were backed by a well resourced security service, why use the train, why not steal or hire a car under a false name by someone who is not one of the two so could not be identified by the hire company who has a UK passport so would raise no suspicions.

        You would think that the would be assassins would want to get out of the area as quickly as possible if the attempted murder was discovered particularly as they would not know the level of contact the Skripals still had with the security services? Its like committing a bank robbery with the planned escape route involving waiting for a bus? Which raises another problem, if as the allege very early on this was a chemical weapons attack why was Salisbury not locked down with roadblocks on all the exit roads, with the ports and airports also locked down?

        The first thing would of been to identify a timeline and identify any possible suspicious persons in the area (before 6 months) and match these with CCTV and identikits so you can go to the public while people memories are fresh and try to identify everybody in the area where the Skripals were found by elimination with those limited numbers of people you cannot identify being of interest with a nationwide campaign along the lines of ‘do you know these people we need to eliminate them from our enquires’ with images/identikits of these people within days not months.

        If as alleged the method was to poison a door handle, the most logical time to carry this out is at night, less likely to be identified by CCTV or by witnesses, less likely to be disturbed, and change the number plates or cars giving no clue as to where a suspicious vehicle came from or who it belongs too? That way they would be on the plane before the Skripals leave the house, not possible if waiting for a train. Why was the charity bin no emptied for months?

        • Tom Welsh

          “I just am surprised at the level of incompetence, if you are going to construct a story why so many holes, why not at least try and construct something more believable?”

          What you need to understand is that people like you and me – or Craig or any of his readers – are not the targets of the disinformation campaign.

          It is aimed at the population at large – “the broad masses”, if you will. The people who watch programmes like “CSI” and “NCIS”, or “Mission Impossible”, or the James Bond films, without any scepticism. People who think that those stories are probably pretty accurate and realistic. People who would even get bored if a story didn’t have enough incredible, spectacular features.

          Sceptical, critical thinking has never been popular – ever since Socrates was sentenced to death for teaching it to young men – and it less popular now than ever. Emotion and, above all, shared emotion is what matters. Read any of the classic studies of crowds (Elias Canetti is a good place to start) and you can see how submerging one’s own judgment in the mass feelings of a mob is as pleasant to many people as getting drunk. The joy of abdicating individual responsibility, the huge relief of no longer having to think! The sensual pleasure of being able to rape, steal, smash, kill and burn without accountability.

          The disinformation pumped out by government’s psywar specialists takes all this into account. It is lurid, spectacular, just a little far-fetched (which adds spice), but the main ingredient must always be the whipping up of resentment and hatred against “them” (whoever they may be). Eastasia, Emmanuel Goldstein, Putin.

          We can dissect the foolishly inconsistent stories to our hearts’ content – but the overwhelming 99% (or more) of the people will lap it up – even if they secretly realize that it isn’t reasonable or true. After all, a world in which any of us could suddenly be attacked by violent, cynical, cruel, highly skilled and trained (but curiously incompetent) Russian killers is much more exciting than the real, drab, poverty-stricken world of UK 2018.

    • pretzelattack

      hey did they all pass through gates at the same time? and how come none of them could drive a car?

    • Deb O'Nair

      The cleaners: “Hey boss, I found some novichok.”

      The boss: “Chuck it in the bin. Job done.”

    • Yeah, Right

      I have to say that a six-man team seems way, way, way too small for an assassination team.

      Mossad used 15-man teams when hunting down the Munich killers, and 26 in the assassination of Al-Mabhouh in 2010.

      I doubt very much that an organization like the GRU would use such a small team, not when this is supposed to be a “state-sanctioned” hit that was authorized at “the very highest levels” of the Kremlin.

  • Andrew H

    No, the mystery doesn’t deepen. It’s time to accept the fact that the Russians did it and have been caught by good police work. There is no way to twist this with ever more contrived explanations. Privacy advocates should probably be upset that it is more or less impossible to do anything in Britain without getting caught on CCTV. (our Russian assassins are probably not entirely incompetent – its just not that easy to not get recorded all over the place). Now if Boshirov and Petrov want to claim their innocence perhaps they should come forward and stand trial at the Old Bailey. [and again if the Russian government is as blameless as they claim, which at this point has 0 credibility, perhaps they should just turn over the suspects, but that’s not going to happen.]

    • Yeah, Right

      “It’s time to accept the fact that the Russians did it and have been caught by good police work.”

      Ahem. They haven’t been caught, by the Police or anyone else. Or didn’t you notice that?

      “(our Russian assassins are probably not entirely incompetent – its just not that easy to not get recorded all over the place).”

      I will now advise you to look at this:

      Now, so sorry, but if they are Russian assassins then they can definitely be called out as utterly and completely incompetent at avoiding CCTV cameras. And, might I add, looking remarkably relaxed about it. Cold blooded killers indeed… who collect stamps for a hobby.

      “Now if Boshirov and Petrov want to claim their innocence perhaps they should come forward and stand trial at the Old Bailey”

      What is in it for them to want to “claim their innocence”?
      After all, they aren’t under arrest, or haven’t you noticed?

      “and again if the Russian government is as blameless as they claim, which at this point has 0 credibility, perhaps they should just turn over the suspects, but that’s not going to happen”

      OK, so you do appear to notice that they haven’t actually, you know, been caught. Progress of sorts, I suppose.

      But there does appear to be something you don’t know: the Russian Constitution actually prohibits the Russian government from doing what you are urging them to do. Russians citizens can not be extradited, so there isn’t much mileage to be gained from urging their extradition.

      I agree that Boshirov and Petrov can volunteer to return and face trial but, honestly, the arrest warrants are only a few days old.
      Surely you don’t expect them to respond to your challenge without first taking some Very Good Lawyerly Advice?

      • Andrew H

        All conspiracy theory with 0 credibility. Craig too – no credibility left in him to be pushing this nonsense. Which of you is coughing up 2 quid a week to read this drivel? (certainly not me). First it was probably Mossad, now we have 2 Mossad dudes on camera in Salisbury taking planes back to Russia. Come on, seriously? By the way these 2 (with their almost identical serial numbered passports), will not be seen outside of Russia again (and I doubt too many people will see them Russia – hey, they could go on RT to explain what they were doing in Salisbury, but realistically governments don’t put their agents on tv). Now I’ll give you that giving them passports with nearly the same numbers was beyond incompetent, but then the Brits were also pretty incompetent not to have software to detect two random people arriving on the same plane with similar numbered passports. (statistically that’s not likely even from a country where few people have a need for a passport).

        • Yeah, Right

          Hmm, let’s see how many buttons you can push….

          “All conspiracy theory with 0 credibility.”
          “Craig too – no credibility left in him to be pushing this nonsense.”
          “Which of you is coughing up 2 quid a week to read this drivel? (certainly not me). ”
          “First it was probably Mossad, now we have 2 Mossad dudes on camera in Salisbury taking planes back to Russia.”
          Straw man.
          ” Come on, seriously?”
          I got no problem with that sentence.
          “By the way these 2 (with their almost identical serial numbered passports), will not be seen outside of Russia again (and I doubt too many people will see them Russia – hey, they could go on RT to explain what they were doing in Salisbury, but realistically governments don’t put their agents on tv). ”
          Rant + unsupported assertion + straw man.
          “Now I’ll give you that giving them passports with nearly the same numbers was beyond incompetent, but then the Brits were also pretty incompetent not to have software to detect two random people arriving on the same plane with similar numbered passports.”
          False equivalence.
          “(statistically that’s not likely even from a country where few people have a need for a passport).”

          Oh, well, it could be worse.

        • joeblogs

          Andrew h
          I conclude that the people who join in the ‘establishment’ narrative of accusing anyone with an investigative streak of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’ are afraid of being proved wrong.
          I do not see how the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ can be pejorative; the definition is two or more people, meeting in secret, to plan an unlawful act against a third party.
          Judges and police deal with these matters every day – all criminal investigations into conspiracies are theories, until the evidence proves them to be fact. At this point, the authorities charge the suspects with the crime.
          It is clear that, since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least, all pretence of adhering to due process of law has been abandoned – making the UK, literally, an ‘outlaw.’

      • Andrew H

        And PS if Boshirov and Petrov have legitimate business interests in Europe one would expect them to want to try and clear their names (assuming those weren’t fake passports) rather than just disappear never to be seen again (I don’t expect them to show up any time soon).

        • Yeah, Right

          “All conspiracy theory with 0 credibility”

          You appear to use words in the same manner that a Chimpanzee uses its own poo: you fling it around in the expectation that it will stick to something.

          My post contained three (3) demonstrated facts and just one (1) theory of the non-conspiratorial kind.
          By comparison, your post contains two demonstrably untrue “facts” and two utterly preposterous suppositions.

          Here, let my lead you through them.

          You stated as “fact” that:
          a) These two “assassins” have been “caught” by the police.
          b) These two “assassins” are “probably not entirely incompetent” at avoiding CCTV

          Both are demonstrably untrue:
          a) There are two arrest warrants outstanding. QED The police haven’t caught either man.
          b) There is a youtube video of them both standing stock-still and staring straight into the CCTV camera of a stamp shop, ergo, they are utterly incompetent at the task of avoiding CCTV cameras.

          You also advanced these two propositions:
          c) If they are innocent then they should both fly back to Britain post-haste to stand trial.
          b) If the Russian govt isn’t responsible then it should extradite these two to Britain post-haste.

          The last can be easily dispensed with: it is a demonstrable fact that the Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens to face foreign justice. The Russian government can not comply with your demands irrespective of their relationship with these two Russian citizens, therefore that non-compliance is in no way evidence for Kremlin involvement in this crime.

          The other supposition demands my one and only theory (and, again, it doesn’t require any “conspiracy”).
          All it requires is that you walk a mile in their shoes.

          Imagine this scenario: you are a Briton who travelled to Moscow and back, and then six months later – quite out of the blue – the Russian government issues a warrant for your arrest on charges of being a professional assassin for MI6 who attempted to carry out a hit on Russian soil.

          Now, here’s what I think would happen:
          a) If you WERE an MI6 assassin you would immediately go to ground and demand that “M” do something about this.
          b) If you WEREN’T an MI6 assassin you would immediately go to ground and demand that your lawyer do something about this.

          Either way you would go to ground before considering your next move, therefore that going-to-ground is not in any way, shape or form evidence of your innocence or your guilt.

          But you would immediately hop on the next British Airways flight to Moscow, would you?

          Here’s a hint: stupidity isn’t the synonym for bravery.

          • Bayleaf

            @Yeah, Right

            “The last can be easily dispensed with: it is a demonstrable fact that the Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens to face foreign justice. The Russian government can not comply with your demands irrespective of their relationship with these two Russian citizens, therefore that non-compliance is in no way evidence for Kremlin involvement in this crime.”

            Could you please demonstrate this “fact”. It was my understanding – though I’m happy to be corrected – that the Russian constitution doesn’t allow extradition on grounds of political belief or for offences that would not be a crime in Russia. Otherwise, you have to go through the usual channels and make a case to the Russian court, which will then weigh up the evidence. I suspect this need to provide hard evidence is the real reason why the CPS is claiming that the Russian constitution forbids extradition.

          • Yeah, Right

            “Could you please demonstrate this “fact”.”

            Oh, sure. Go here:

            Article 61.1 “A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State”

            I believe your misunderstanding comes from another passage.

            This one:
            Article 63:2 “In the Russian Federation it shall not be allowed to extradite to other States those people who are persecuted for political convictions, as well as for actions (or inaction) not recognized as a crime in the Russian Federation.”

            But “those people” is explicitly defined in Article 63.1 to be “foreign nationals and stateless persons” who are seeking asylum in Russian, which by definition excludes Russian citizens.

            Which means that if Teresa May keeps insisting that these two dudes are Russians then the Russian authorities can keep claiming that their hands are tied: they can’t extradite Russian citizens to Britain, not for any reason.

          • Bayleaf

            @Yeah, Right

            Thank you for the useful link and your taking the time to explain further.

            I am now better informed.

        • Yeah, Right

          “And PS if Boshirov and Petrov have legitimate business interests in Europe one would expect them to want to try and clear their names” ”

          Andrew, it took six months for the arrest warrants to be issued, but you appear to want them to hop onto the next Aeroflot flight to Heathrow, if not be in the air already. Don’t you think that’s being rather unrealistic?

          Here’s a proposition: since it took six months for the police to issue the arrest warrant then let’s give these two gentlemen six months to show up and contest those charges.

          That would be fair, wouldn’t you say?

          “(assuming those weren’t fake passports) rather than just disappear never to be seen again (I don’t expect them to show up any time soon).”

          rather. than. just. disappear. never. to. be. seen. again.

          And you know that….. how, exactly?

          “(I don’t expect them to show up any time soon)”

          Oh, well, that’s alright then….

          • Paul Greenwood

            How do you clear your name ? I am sure you would hire top London barristers and Herbert Smith……after all it only cost Cliff Richard £2 million “to clear his name” and that is small change to a Russian nowadays…….I am sure English people drop £3000/day on a QC at the drop of a hat

          • Yeah, Right

            “How do you clear your name ?”

            With great difficulty, I would imagine. Certainly I’d want to lie low and take a LOT of advice before even attempting it, and that would hold true irrespective of my innocence or guilt.

        • MaryPaul

          I still think the Russians were couriers, based on airline records which show them regularly travelling around Europe over the last year, and that there is a local sleeper agent in Salisbury, strongly hinted at in the MSM recently.

          I was initially baffled as to why Russia would go to so much trouble and cause an international incident to dispose of a retired spy living in “quiet” retirement in Salisbury. But it has gradually emerged Skripal was not really retired and had a finger in a number of pies, trading on his knowledge of how Russian secret services operated, including possibly the compilation of the Steele dossier, advising EU States on how the Russian intelligence services work and Spanish authorities on how to tackle the growing influence in Spain of Russian mobsters. He is unlikely to have been doing this without at least the tacit approval of the British secret services: the name of Pablo Miller, as his British “controller” , also living in the Salisbury area, has cropped up persistently.

          It cannot be a coincidence that Yulia was also targeted. Yulia was living with her father in Salisbury but returned to Moscow. Has it occurred to anyone it may have been because it was getting dangerous for her to stay in Salisbury due to his activities?

          I can now see that both the Russian secret services, who may have links to Russian mobsters or the mobsters themselves, might want him out of the way. What I have still not worked out is why the assassins would use some form of nerve gas and indeed one carefully packaged as a fake perfume which would be bound to provoke an international incident. There are lots of easier lower profile ways to dispose of Russians who the Russian state wants out of the way, in the UK. There are plenty of recent examples of this and !ittle investigation happens because let’s face it, the UK police take thaf view Russian on Russian killings are of little interest.

          By using some form of nerve gas, those responsible inevitably caused an international incident at a time, Football World Cup, not in Russia’s interests. And then a few months later, to dump a fake bottle of it in a bin in Salisbury town centre ….What was that all about?

          • Yeah, Right

            MaryPaul, isn’t it obvious that if there is a “sleeper agent” in Salisbury then that person is going to turn out to be Sergei Skripal?

            “But it has gradually emerged Skripal was not really retired and had a finger in a number of pies,”

            Hmmm, someone who pretends to be an old pensioner but is actually engaged in the trade?

            What’s your definition of a sleeper agent, MaryPaul?

          • wild

            Why would “Russian secret services” have links to Russian mobsters or the mobsters themselves?
            “G.R.U.” mentioned throughout is not a secret service organization, but rather military intelligence. As in reconnaissance and analysis. GRU does not even exist since 1992, it is called Main Intelligence Directorate of General Staff (G.U.) and an integral part of a modern Army which hates mobsters of 90s, who robbed the country of wealth and helped to diminish international standing of Russia.

            How members of intelligence directorate of Russian Federation (not USSR) Army can have any links to these types? Money? Officers of Russian Army earn enough. Corruption? At intelligence units? Come on. Skripal made a beef with Soviet GRU, served a prison term and was pardoned and transferred to U.K. What has he got against reformed modern Army? Zilch, I say. “Russian mobsters” is a completely different story. The curious thing about them they haven’t changed since Skripal helped them to buy properties abroad, while at same time reporting them to Spanish police and MI-6.

            Why they “haven’t changed”? Because so called “russian mobsters” itself is an euphemism for EU (Geneve? Spain?), UK and US living former citizens of USSR descent, including ethnic russians, georgians, ukrainians and so on. Putin cleared Russia of them, and they settled abroad. One of indicators of how Putin dealt with them is level of assassinations in Russia itself – high in 90s, negligible now. The “russian” mobsters is the past Skripal lived with, hoping to be protected from hit by UK government.

            Well, he was hit anyway. Right before World Championshiop, in the middle of of Syria intervention.

            I think so called “russian mobsters” have more links with Theresa May’s MI-6 than with Putin’s G.U. (Main Intelligence Directorate of General Staff of Russian Army). Labels are deceiving. Intentionally.

          • Reg


            No it still does not make sense of Russian involvement, if you are Russian intelligence you do not travel by public transport during broad daylight to carry out an an assassination attempt and wait at the train station after a murder. You do not travel on a Russian Passport, if as the police allege these were false passports why not fake a passport from a neutral country and if travelling from Russia travel first to a neutral country change passports, then on to London. Why not drive to Salisbury overnight with a stolen or hired car under a false name hired by a different person change plates poison the door nob and hopefully be in the air before the Skripals leave the house? If they are couriers/bag men they are unlikely to be assassins maybe they wanted to pick up information from the Skripals? I would suggest that Sergei’s involvement with Spanish organised crime was with the full blessing of the UK security state, as the Russian mafia is a way into Russian intelligence for the UK security state. Briefing EU states on Russian Security Services was out of date and of little use as they got this info from him when first debriefed.

            Even if these two meant to meet the Skripals, the switching off of their mobile phones could indicate a clandestine meeting not known of by the UK security services not attempted murder by two couriers, as they travelled quite openly. Maybe Sergei wanted to go back to Russia given his mother is now 90 and Yulia was part of arranging this rapprochement with the Russian state which would explain her involvement as a co target, and what would the Russian state want as quid pro quo for allowing him back?

            Given Sergei’s alleged involvement in investigations in organised crime in Spain, and possible involvement in the Trump dossier with Pablo Miller and Steel. Did Sergei know information embarrassing to the UK or US state?
            Sergei’s recent activities are more likely motive than his arrest in 2004. He knows nothing of any use about the current Russian security services, he has been washed. He might know of activities of the UK security services as he has been in fairly regular contact with Pablo Miller. Given that security services are generally (in all countries) hand in glove with organised crime, did Sergei know dirty secrets of the UK security services such as with the Steel dossier or with Spanish organised crime, Russian organised crime would after all be a good back door into the Russian security services for US and UK. Any allegations (given Steels previous employer MI6) of UK security services involvement in destabilising the Trump presidency would likely severely damage UK/ US relations and security service cooperation particularly important due to Brexit.

            Would the Russian state be interested in such information and allow him back to Russia as quid pro quo? This is the trouble with double agents they betrayed once, so they can do the same again to their new masters.

            So Sergei’s current valuable information is likely to be about the UK and US security services the Steel dossier and organised crime, what would the UK security services do to ensure this information did not fall into Russian hands?

            Given the cack handed assassination attempt it was more likely a warning to the Skripals not meant to kill them and in a failed attempt to get them to denounce Russia in a long convalescence from their hospital beds like Litvinenko as part of a roll out of a black propaganda exercise. They were kept away from the media (apart from a carefully scripted appearance much later) as they were not playing ball. It was more likely that the UK security state wanted to get them out of the way to prevent Sergei getting back into bed with the Russians.

          • joeblogs

            GPS locating does not work that way. ‘Switching off’ the device does nothing to stop it functioning, albeit at a different level – a bit like ‘sleep’ mode on a computer.
            The only way one can be sure the device is truly off, ie, at the hardware level, is to remove it’s battery.
            It seems, therefore (being an ex-spy) Sergei would know this – it suggests the pair were more interested in not being interrupted by calls from their ‘phones, and were not at all worried about their whereabouts being known to the ‘authorities’.

          • Dave Lawton

            September 9, 2018 at 09:04

            “And then a few months later, to dump a fake bottle of it in a bin in Salisbury town centre ….What was that all about?”

            It is a very British game.You have to have clues. That is why Miss Marple is compulsory reading for the security services. The Police and others are well known for planting evidence.It`s a murky world.

      • uncle tungsten

        Thank you yeah, right for a smashing demolition of yet another troll or is it a garden gnome. Andrew H is not going to sleep well as he worries to much and has no wish for his compliant self to be disturbed.

        The englanders have committed a grand act of integrity self assassination. For the rest of the global onlokers it comes as no surprise. The last decades have delivered one fool prime minister after another so we all expect Steptoe and son to arrive soon but looney right internal revolt never was Boris forte.

    • SA

      How does the police know they are Russian?
      How does TM know they are GRU?
      Why is it that no statement has been released from Sergei Skripal about this incident? Surely he holds the key to a lot of this but has been absent from the news.
      Why has the police kept it secret that they found traces of novichok in the hotel room in Bow, without any warning to the public or even the owners?
      There of course many other inconsistencies asked by others on this website.

      • Andrew H

        Apparent inconsistencies don’t make a plausible alternative theory. (Those that deny evolution will always try to pick holes). Its more likely there is a logical explanation for every perceived inconsistency as there always is. None of the theories previously put forward fit the video evidence, with the one exception. Who knows or even cares if they are GRU or some low level assistants in need of cash hired for the job? (why waste a trained agent on such an act, when surely you can buy someone for less?). One thing is clear – Moscow knows who these people are. (same ways the British know who is coming up in and out of Heathrow). Their faces are all over the internet, their mums know who they are – unless they are being hidden by the state then they will surface. (TM is ahead of me – she knows today – I’m willing to wait 3 days before calling them state sponsored assassins).

        • SA

          They are not minor or apparent inconsistencies. The whole story has been inconsistent. There is no motive for Russia to indulge in these relatively small matters when they have so much bigger fish to fry in Syria and Ukraine and the economy. Like people who ascribe use of chemical weapons to the Syrian Government, the motivation is just not only simply not there, but the action is detrimental and against the other carefully planned actions in the spheres that matter. After all this is one of the first principles of detective work. The beneficiaries of these actions are the enemies of Russia.
          Smearing gels on door handles off perfume spray bottles! Come one let us deal with realities not fiction.

        • SA

          I also noticed you tried to slip in that those who doubt the official stories are like creationists. No on the contrary those who take the whole story on faith are more like creationists. We are not looking for holes in the story on the contrary we wish to have a wholesome story, not one that is so obviously flawed and with a clearly stated propagandistic agenda and starts with a conclusion from day 1 by Boris and TM with foregone conclusions. Even Amber Rudd who seemed more sensible was removed soon after that.

        • Yeah, Right

          “TM is ahead of me – she knows today – I’m willing to wait 3 days before calling them state sponsored assassins”

          Now would probably be a good time to remind everyone that the Metropolitan Police required six months to prepare an arrest warrant, but Andrew demands that these two men should be allowed only three (3) days to respond before he pronounces them as Guilty-As-Charged.

          And if they do turn up, Andrew? Are you going to demand that the British state be allowed only three (3) days to bring these men to trial? And that trial can only last three days?

          Or are you going to be gracious and allow a six-day trial?

          You know, three days for the prosecution, three days for the defence, and then the Guilty Verdict.

          It would seem a waste of time to me. And to you too, I presume.
          You know, considering that nice TM lady says they are guilty………..

          • SA

            The verdict first then trial. Even if these two are guilty, there is no hope of an unbiased jury being found.

      • Andrew H

        And perhaps you right that the police are jumping to conclusions to assume two persons with the names Boshirov and Petrov with Russian passports who flew to Moscow are Russian. They could be Israelis….

        • Yeah, Right

          “And perhaps you right that the police are jumping to conclusions to assume two persons with the names Boshirov and Petrov with Russian passports who flew to Moscow are Russian”

          And odd statement, considering that the authorities are now claiming that there are four other Russian members of the team who arrived in Britain using the identity of prisoners in EU prisons.

          So arriving in Britain with a Russian passport makes you…. Russian.
          And arriving in Britain with an EU passport makes you… Russian.

          Apparently the authorities are able to consider the possibility that the passport you carry doesn’t necessarily indicate your true nationality. But Andrew? Andrew, not so much.

      • but-but

        Actually it does remind you of a Mossad hit.

        Spraying poison into the ear of Khaled Meshal.

        Hit teams with UK passports in Dubai.

        Incompetent coverup by the British government after being caught unaware by a friendly secret service.

    • Reg

      No its a lie, it does not take 6 months to identify two suspects from CCTV given the resources and man hours allocated to this case.
      Has their ever been a similar high profile case when it has taken 6 moths to identify suspects from CCTV? They have automatic facial recognition, and Russian travelling from Russia in a time frame around the attack would of jumped to the top of the list very early.
      6 months to identify suspects from CCTV, no that’s very poor police work. Why did the assassins undertake the attack in broad daylight using public transport, and not use a car and attack the doorknob overnight drive back to London and be back in Moscow, or at least in the air before the poisoning even occurs?

      • Yeah, Right

        All very good questions.
        Here is another one: if you have just carried out a “hit” on someone would you then immediately go and do this?

        Think about it: you’re just committed an exceptionally serious crime and are still very much in danger of being caught, and will be for hours to come, and you bring yourself to a halt to admire some trinkets in shop window before walking up to the front door and STARING RIGHT INTO THE CCTV CAMERA as if it had never occurred to you that this will result in you being recorded.


  • M. Goltsman

    Many comments are pointed out that police cannot locate Skripals for 40 minutes before car driven by Skripals (with Yulia assumingly inside the car too) was spotted by street camera. As we know, both Skripals are alive now. They sure now can provide information to police where they have been for those 40 min. missed time, and whom they met. Or they are not cooperating with police?
    Something wrong is going on regarding investigation, or feeded information to the public.

      • M. Goltsman

        Anyway, police sure know now what Skripals location was during “missed” 4 hours, if Skripals cooperating with investigation.

        • ADKC

          This is a very good point. The Skripals would have accounted for their missing 4 hours (I can see no way in which the Skripals could possibly withhold this information even if they wanted to). Therefore the whole issue of the missing 4 hours is baloney; the British State also certainly know what happened during those 4 hours.

    • Antonyl

      IF the Skripals are alive, they together should get an interview with a RT on UK soil to clarify this mess up.
      Won’t happen, proving that Mi5/6 are neck deep in bull sh*t.

    • Mathias Alexander

      Perhaps they went out for a pint of milk and some cigarettes in the morning, then went back home and sat around chatting before going out again at around 13.15 to eat at zizzi’s before taking a walk in the park and being taken ill.

    • StephenR

      The Skripals were not supposed to have survived the ‘attack’, hence they are being prevented from explaining what happened in the hours before the attack. Unfortunately for those who expected them to die, the A&E that day had two doctors who had just completed a Porton Down course specifically on treating chemical biological and radiological ‘poisoning’.

    • nevermind

      ‘As ee know, both Scripals are alive now’

      Please tell us when you have last seen or heard Sergei and or provide a link to evidence this bold claim, M. Goltsman.
      thanks in advance….

  • N_

    How the Boris Johnson saga relates to the run-up to WW3 is not clear but it must in some way. He is now accusing Theresa May of putting a “suicide belt” on Britain. Presumably that statement was cleared with the Z__nists first. It is very memorable I think, and of course highly polarising, and plays to concepts such as “Britainistan”. It’s clever. Johnson lived for a while on a Z__nist settlement in Palestine.

    His opponents are circulating info about his womanising and drug-taking.

    • Blunderbuss

      Why Z__nist? Is this to avoid being picked up by the word-spotting program that keeps picking on Scunthorpe?

      • N_

        Yes – or to put it another way, to save the mods time. I think that word is on their list but my posts are rarely if ever considered thumpworthy so I’m making things easier.

        • Blunderbuss

          Excuse my ignorance but what do mods and thumpworthy mean. I’m rather old, like J R Hartley.

          • N_

            I’m quite long in the tooth myself 🙂 “Mods” is short for “moderators” – those who work to manage the comments section, deleting highly offensive posts and checking ones that have been put in a queue by the software they run, before either okaying them or deciding not to publish them. “Thumpworthy” is a word I made up to mean worthy of being kept from publication.

          • Tom Welsh

            In case your questions are sincere:

            “Mods” is shorthand for “moderators” – those whose task is to read all comments and censor those that are too offensive to publish.

            “Thumpworthy” isn’t in the dictionary, but I assume means “worthy to be thumped”, or rather censored.

        • Fletch

          Thumpworthy-eg I find Theresa May, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey, Boris Johnson are all ‘thumpworthy’!

          Does that work?

    • N_

      Boris Johnson

      I’ve put the Boris Johnson “dossier”, also known as “War Book 2” here, if anyone would like to read it without opening an account with the Times.

      It doesn’t mention Danielle Fleet. It doesn’t call him a condom-averse woman-user who threatens women, who are often very much younger than himself, into keeping quiet after he has screwed them. And it doesn’t even explicitly call him the cocaine addict that he so notoriously is.

      It mostly contains quotes that show his long history of being an unreliable, untogether, incompetent, unscrupulous liar. Which is hardly a secret.

      It is presumably designed to discredit him to a degree that is sufficient to discourage him from standing for the Tory leadership, without going as far as to damage the top Tory rank as a whole…because after all, who hired this stupid drug-addled bastard with his c*ck sticking out of his trousers and a non-disclosure agreement and pen always at the ready?

      Had he been from the lower orders, he wouldn’t even have become a successful criminal as an estate agent or mortgage broker – he’d have gone to a youth detention centre and ended up spending much of his adult life in jail too.

      I have been telling people for a long time that this guy will NOT make it to prime minister, whatever Stephen Bannon may think.

      • giyane

        Why not put a non-disclosure on his flies? Nobody hates Boris Johnson because of his marital confusion, this is the norm among the poor little rich families who go to Eton. I only hate him because of his constant political lies, the very thing for which Tories admire him.

        He was deeply involved with selling Russian mobsters London property when he was Mayor. That’s why I strongly suspect him when it comes to two rent-a-Russians to blame for the Salisbury non-poisoning. His stupid lying having convinced no-one, he is subject to a Chequers purge worthy of the Soviet Kremlin. Anybody noticed that Putin’s appointees are thoroughly decent and truthful, like Lavrov.

        The Tories are totally unable to compete in this league of decency in politics. In fact the only reason most people voted for Brexit is because tory toff David came across as a dodgy 2nd hand car salesman. The main purpose of the referendum having been achieved, I do believe article 50 should be cancelled by means of a general election very soon.

        There is even less evidence that people want Brexit, than evidence of a poisoning in Salisbury. The Tories and Red Tories are so far down the road of make-believe about , money, employment, international trade, the use of nuclear deterrents, our influence abroad etc etc, it will be a blessed relief to touch base with an hionest Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn. Brace. more than a few aeroplane wheels and credit card details are going to come off when UK plc crash lands.

      • pete

        Re Boris dossier, thanks for that, Do you have a publication date for that? Is the author known?

    • Yeah, Right

      There are some interesting nuggets of information in that article which had me laughing.

      Note this: “Petrov and Boshirov made a number of trips to the UK in the year before the attack to establish a passport trail – so that their journey for the actual hit would not arouse suspicion.”

      If we accept that then we have to accept the notion that Sergei Skripal was the intended target, not Yulia Skripal.
      That is axiomatic, because Yulia Skripal was living in Moscow when these guys were spending a year meticulously plotting an assassination in Salisbury.

      But then there is this: “Daughter Yulia, 33, was visiting and was also poisoned. The back-up team for the op is thought to have arrived at other airports at around the same time.”

      So here we have a meticulously organized hit, a year or more in the planning, and not one of the plotters noticed that there was a fly-in-the-ointment in the shape of one Skripal, Yulia?

      But more: “Back-up is needed to keep the Skripals under surveillance. Petrov and Boshirov needed to know they wouldn’t turn up while they were spraying the novichok”

      OK, so the six-man hit team DID notice that Yulia Skripal was there. Hmmm, maybe they just didn’t care because professional hit-squads don’t care about possible complications.

      Except…. “They were also there in case something went wrong, like a road accident.”

      And…. oh, I dunno…. something like a daughter who just appeared out of nowhere, perhaps?

      I mean, does it sound even remotely plausible that they could have been planning for a hit on an old codger living alone in sleepy old Salisbury and then NOT be perturbed by the coincidental appearance of a daughter flying over for a brief visit, to the point where they would delay the hit until after she had left?


      They had flown over repeatedly to establish a “passport trait”. Coming and going was, clearly, not a problem for them. They would have put the attempt on-hold as soon as the four-man surveillance team spotted Yulia Skripal, then tried again when she was safely back in Moscow.

      After all, they are supposed to be PROFESSIONALS, aren’t they?
      They are supposed to AVOID complications, aren’t they?

      • SA

        Wouldn’t repeated travel with false passports increase the risk of being detected?
        Wouldn’t using identities of individuals in prison in EU jails ring alarm bells?
        Whoever wrote this must be having a laugh.

        • Yeah, Right

          “Wouldn’t repeated travel with false passports increase the risk of being detected?”

          The very opposite is true, apparently.

          “Wouldn’t using identities of individuals in prison in EU jails ring alarm bells?”

          You’d think so, but apparently not.

          But this raises another question: if the four-man-recce-team were using the identities of EU prisoners then that must mean they were travelling with something other than Russian passports.

          That should be obvious, since if they were using RUSSIAN passports then there would be no need for that additional subterfuge: the Russian authorities are perfectly capable of handing them passports with any name in them.

          So the four-man-recce-team uses fake passports to disguise their Russian origin, but the two-man-hit-squad arrives in Britain proudly waving their Russian passports.


      • giyane

        Yeah Right

        Why do you assume that any information about any of this is true? It is pure unadulterated boolocks from beginning to end.

        • Yeah, Right

          Well, I genuinely believe that the Skripal’s were exposed to a dangerous substance.

          Porton Down identifies it as a nerve agent “of a type developed in Russia”, and while I can recognize weasel-wording as much as the next man I don’t believe it to be a falsehood. Deliberately misleading, sure, but not necessarily false.

          Those two dudes arrived from Moscow on the 2nd, and left on the 4th, and between those days they visited Salisbury twice, along routes that brought them close to the Skripal house? OK, I have no reason to doubt that.

          That they are GRU killers? No, that’s bollocks.

          Travelling together, travelling on RUSSIAN passports, travelling directly from/to Moscow, and in between making no attempt to avoid CCTV all suggest such appalling “tradecraft” that I simply do not believe they were part of a GRU “hit” squad.

          That they went up to the Skripal house in order to smear Novichok on the door-lever in broad daylight? No, utterly ludicrous. If they are going to take that risk then they may as well just knock on the door and then shoot the old coot when he answers.

          That they went up to the Skripal house at all? Plausible, but if they did then I would wager good money that Sergei Skripal let them in the house, precisely because he was expecting them.

          That the Skripal’s were contaminated from that door-handle only to be simultaneously affected over 3 hours latter is nonsense. Utter nonsense. Too ludicrous for words.

          They were found suffering from the effects of exposure to a nerve-agent while sitting on that park bench, and that means that their exposure to this agent occurred at that park bench.

          That traces of this Novichok were found at places the Skripal’s visited between door-lever and park-bench suggests to me that Sergei Skripal was carrying that stuff with him all that time, and while the seal was good it was not as good as he believed. Not perfect, but good enough. Until, that is, he sat down on a park bench with the thud that only overweight old men can do convincingly.

          So you might ask: if the poisoning occurred when they sat down on the bench, then where was the container?
          To which I answer: let me introduce you to DS Bailey.

          So that’s what I believe: these two “Russians” were not GRU killers, though I have no difficulty accepting that they may have been very dangerous criminals indeed. And Sergei Skripal was not a “retired” old ex-spy, which was something the Wiltshire Police were well aware of.

          Those two went to Salisbury to meet with Skripal and hand him something that was very, very dangerous. The old coot somehow managed to get exposed to that stuff when he sat down on that park-bench, and this was seen by the Wiltshire policeman who was tailing him (i.e. DS Bailey), who then contaminated himself as he removed the evidence.

          But the alternative being pushed by Teresa May (i.e. Skripal was just a harmless old man living the quiet life, and this so enraged Vladimir Putin that he demanded the GRU bump him off, which they proceeded to do in the most ludicrous way imaginable) is a steaming pile of tripe.

          Putin is an ex-spook himself. He knows the rules regarding “spy swaps”.
          The GRU kills people with thorough professionalism, they don’t do Keystone Cops stuff.
          Skripal’s known associates and frequent overseas trips make it very likely that he is not an “ex” spook at all.

          He was Up To No Good, probably had been for some time, and it finally bit him in the arse.

          • Paul Greenwood

            13 Feb 2017 Kim Jong-nam was murdered by two Asian females in Malaysia using “VX, short for “venomous agent X”,[6] is one of the best known of the V nerve agents and was first discovered at Porton Down in England during the early 1950s based on research first done by Dr. G. Schrader, a chemist working for IG Farben in Germany during the 1930s.”


            “Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are charged with having common intent with four North Korean fugitives to kill Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur international airport in February 2017.

            Kim’s face was smeared with VX, a banned nerve agent developed as a chemical weapon.”

            Why did Theresa May supply VX to carry out this execution ? Surely if VX was developed at Porton Down SHE is personally responsible for the death of Kim Jong-nam ?

          • MaryPaul

            Interesting analysis – so there is not a Russian motive because it was not the Russians wot done it, it was self inflicted by accident by Skripal himself, possibly following an undercover transsction / handoverThat could make sense. I agree he was not actually not “retired” which is the line being pushed by both the UK and Russian governments, although for different reasons.

          • Yeah, Right

            “Why did Theresa May supply VX to carry out this execution ?”

            Do the Malaysian authorities describe it as a nerve-agent “of a type developed in Britain”?

          • giyane

            Yeah right

            Thanks for replying.

            I don’t believe a word of any of it. It’s pure false flag. It happened in Salisbury because these towns are dominated by the military and can be trusted not to disclose the truth.

            I don’t understand why it’s so ridiculous that people who hire speech-writers to frame their political addresses to the people, cannot hire fiction-writers too.

          • Yeah, Right

            “I don’t believe a word of any of it. It’s pure false flag.”

            In which case why bother with ANY of the pantomime? Teresa May could have just as easily stood up in the Commons and solemnly stated that British Counter Intelligence (The best in the world! Hear Hear!) have uncovered a plot by the Kremlin to assassinate with extreme prejudice a Russian exile who had been a British mole in the GRU.

            Queue the outrage!
            Stoke the fires!
            Expel the Blighters!

            She could have done all that without needing to lift a finger other than to waggle it in the general direction of Moscow.
            And much better that this ludicrous pretzel-logic of an incident, because no evidence of any kind would be required.

            May: Trust me, I have the evidence for this plot but, no, you can’t see it. It’s a secret, you understand…..

      • N_

        Petrov and Boshirov made a number of trips to the UK in the year before the attack to establish a passport trail – so that their journey for the actual hit would not arouse suspicion.

        A few comments.

        1) “A number” can be a useful cop-out phrase. Was it two or 20? Where did they fly to and from, and where did they go inside Britain?

        2) Those who teach the “black arts of persuasion” know that a statement is far more likely to be believed once you give a reason for it, even if the reason is so vague as to have little meaning, or if the connection between the reason and the statement is almost non-existent if you start questioning it.

        That’s precisely what we have here. This is an extremely convoluted and wobbly “explanation” for their “number of trips” to Britain: we are supposed to believe that a) the point was to establish a passport trail, so as to b) prepare for their journey for the actual hit, so as to c) not arouse suspicion.

        What a load of rubbish! Many thousands of Russians come to Britain each year, including many for the first time. Who says British security pays less attention to Russians who’ve been here several times before than to those who have arrived here for the first time? In any case, there are doubtless Russians – and people with other citizenship too – who have been here several times before and who are available for GRU work. Coming here several times before doesn’t mean that the visits were anything to do with this job. Who says this job was planned such a long time before? Why would it have to be?

        3) “The back-up team for the op is thought to have arrived at other airports at around the same time.”

        Two was always a ridiculous number in this story. If it was some couriering it could have been one. If it was a “professional hit” it could have been many more than two, possibly more than six, but if that was the nature of the job I strongly doubt that Sergei Skripal was the target.

        4) Which airports did they and the other four operatives fly FROM, and which did they fly OUT TO? And what passports did the other four enter on? I wouldn’t be surprised if we learn that the passports they were carrying weren’t Russian.

        • N_

          Edit: if no visas were required, then non-Russian ID must have been used. What is this story about “EU jails”? Why not fake a passport of a law-abiding Russian citizen who has been on holiday to Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, and who fancies a trip to London?

          Since Russian citizens need visas to come to Britain (even if they sneak in from the Republic of Ireland they will have needed Irish visas), including if they’re already in the Schengen zone, we can conclude that these prisoners in EU jails who had their IDs faked weren’t Russian.

          • Yeah, Right

            Yes, that point leapt out at me as well.

            It makes sense to steal the ID of incarcerated prisoners so that your fake identity is not undone by “the same man turning up in two different places at once”.

            Because the one thing you know about a prisoner is that he isn’t going to be going on an overseas trip any time soon…..

            So like you I also suspect they were using non-Russian passports.

            But that just beggars belief: if you are going to send the four-man recce crew over on fake EU passports then why send the two-man hit team over on Russian passports? That makes no sense to me.

            And if you are going to the trouble of sending your four-man recce on different flights and via different routes then why is it a good idea to send your two-man hit team out on the same flight and have them walk through Gatwick practically arm-in-arm? Again, that makes no sense to me.

    • wild

      “identities of individuals in prison in EU jails”
      They could be so called “russian mobsters”, an euphemism for EU and UK citizens of USSR descent with various ethnicity.

  • Radar O’Reilly

    This fascinating ruck-sac of random Skripal related facts seems to imply that another of ‘the actors’ often associated with ‘ex’ Mi6 Steel has recently “completely disappeared, possibly deceased” (The exact same could be said for Sergei Skripal)

    As with all ZH stories it has to be read (believed) cautiously – but they sometimes do get things right. They may after-all be a counter-narrative source, led by a ‘hostile’ intel agency.

    Giving them as much credence therefore as, say the Daily Mail, I have to say that the widening list of names & institutions associated with ‘ex’ Mi6 Steel and ‘his’ dossier is looking AMAZING.

    And what is this ‘London Centre for International Law’ that people who worked there said was just a front organisation that obviously did stuff other than that they claimed?

    More pop-corn!

    • SA

      The subscript here is the emerging Russian threat in view of UK reducing defence expenditure and presumably trying to reverse this.

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘…two invited speakers including Victoria “F**k the EU” Newland’.

      Probably over here to offer advice on Brexit. She is some kind of expert on constitutional change, isn’t she?

      • Borncynical

        And I hear she’s pretty handy at baking cookies as well – she may bring a few freebies. Irresistible to MPs.

  • Sharp Ears

    There is very little happening in Parliament this week. The troughers only sit in the mornings and go off on Friday 14th September until 9th October for their ‘conferences’. They have just had six weeks off but it’s a tough life.

    Rosh Hashanah is on 20th September. That’s handy for the FoIs. There’s a whole page on the BBC website explaining it for the kiddies.

  • Joiningupthedots

    Only Theresa May/UK Government claims that the pair are Russian GRU operatives.
    Two males may indeed have travelled to London and returned to Moscow but is it the two on the video grabs?
    The Gatwick photos are indeed manipulated. Those channels are staggered so one of the two males would require to walk faster to arrive at exactly the same place and time on the stamp if they are using separate channels but using a common clock and different cameras (theres one for each channel)
    Both Met Police mugshots have the same grey textured background implying they were taken at the same time.
    Both Russian passports are “allegedly” the 65 series which curiously enough are not biometric but would still require official Russian stamps on the photographs so those photos are not from any passports unless manipulated. The photos could be from the visa application but why no passport facsimile beside them?
    Both Russian passports would require submission for inspection at the UK Embassy, Moscow together with supporting documents.
    Salisbury has been a garrison town for decades. It would have been a highly prized target for the PIRA during the Troubles. To suggest that it is not absolutely saturated with continuously updated audio and video surveillance technology reaching back to the 1970’s is errant nonsense.
    To support this supposition on surveillance there was video in Northern Ireland in the late 1970’s and you can see on Google Earth monitoring equipment at the Faslane submarine base public car parks as we speak.
    My contention therefore is that every panorama of Salisbury will be covered with cctv and that the Met knows exactly what happened and who done it.
    If one accepts that America is in decline and that by inference so must be the UK together with Russia militarily and China financially in the ascendancy then all this stuff is just the political debris of the transition.
    The internet gives the chattering classes the opportunity to contrast and compare. Nothing else

    My personal opinion? It all reverberates around an attempted coup against Donald Trump by American actors with the assistance of well documented UK actors (MI5/6, Steele, Millar, Skripal, Harding et al)
    Everything else is just drivel to paraphrase President Putin.

    Enjoy your Sunday morning everyone.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘Russia Challenges The US To Highlight Where There Are Chemical Weapons In Syria – US Remains SILENT’:
    ‘…“We have a specific proposal for our American colleagues. Could you announce the list of targets, as it is being said, that the Pentagon pointed out to be attacked by the Troika?” Nebenzia said. “If in your opinion they are related to the stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, then show respect for the UN Charter and request an OPCW inspection.”…’
    And the Yanks just ignore the Russian offer.

    • Yeah, Right

      And give the Russians their due: they actually say which villages have been earmarked for a false-flag cw attack.

      Not just a vague warning about foul-play, but naming the place, naming the time, naming the organization that will carry it out, and even naming the spooks who are orchestrating it.

      That has one value: for the false-flag to be credible the jihadis now have to scramble to move all their props to another place before staging the “attack”. If the Ruskies can do it often enough there is even a chance of catching the provocateurs out in the open, after which it’s All Over Red Rover.

  • Paul Greenwood

    One matter does concern me from a geopolitical standpoint and that is a) whether the UK will ever ever have a proper relationship with Russia of a type it seems to have with what the UN Charter defines as “enemy states” such as Germany, Italy and Japan.
    b) whether the UK is so determined to damage itself irreparably that it seeks provocation of both Russia and China simultaneously where its national interests are not affected. c) whether the UK has learned anything from FDR’s provocative sanctions on Japan which made their need to shut down the US base at Pearl Harbour a priority for the Japanese Navy after Zhukhov had bloodied the Japanese Armies invading USSR prior to this.

    UK is a particularly vulnerable island without significant non-military manufacturing capacity, mostly foreign owned, but with a penchant for antagonising the countries with the fastest-growing markets (Russia, China, Iran etc) for silly posturing as if the UK is indispensable as a participant in every feasible conflict point on the planet

    • Blunderbuss

      “UK is indispensable as a participant in every feasible conflict point on the planet”. We are indispensable because we are the only country stupid enough to involve ourselves, quite unnecessarily, in every conflict we can find. I suppose we do it to bolster the arms manufacturing business, which is the only manufacturing industry left in Britain.

      • Doodlebug

        Sad to say we are indispensable as a stationary aircraft-carrier in the north atlantic – USS GB.

        • joeblogs

          George Orwell’s book, ‘1984’ – had the UK named as ‘Airstrip One.’
          I remember a quote from a famous statesman, who described our island thus: “An unsinkable aircraft carrier moored off Europe.”
          The quote was made before the advent of nuclear weapons, I believe.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ joeblogs September 9, 2018 at 12:41
            It might well be unsinkable, but it is not above being made uninhabitable.

      • giyane

        We do it because the Tories are prats, as also Liberal Tory Clegg who got the unelectable Tories back in , and the Red Tories who represent no-one but themselves.

        I find it hard to stomach that Clegg knew what he was planning to do, viz shoe-horn the Tories back into No10, when he ousted the former Lib Dem leader. His CV will read. Born ,,, Shafted British democracy…Retired to House of Lords… Died. The most insignificant politician of this century, a perverted liar and recidivist Tory who gave us back the disaster of failed Thatcherism.

        • Rhys Jaggar

          You really are very irrational.

          I was told by senior Establishment spooks within a month of the 2010 election that the total destruction of the Liberal Democrats was planned.

          That was a joint decision of the puppet masters who like two party faux democracy.

          The Conservatives were not in power when the financial crisis occurred, Gordon Brown was. They left the message ‘there is no money left’.

          Hating Thatcherism is perfectly allowable, but the electorate decisively rejected Labour in 2010.

          Ridiculous PFI contracts, wars in the Middle East etc etc.

          New Labour was far from perfect in the eyes of the electorate…..

          • Herbie

            “That was a joint decision of the puppet masters who like two party faux democracy.”

            Under our FPTP voting system, surely it’s easier for puppet-masters to manage a three party system.

            The function of the Libs, SDP, LibDems is to support Tory or Labour, whichever more closely reflects the policy of Banking and Corporate interests.

            For example, LibDems will support Labour if the Tories are too Conservative, and will support Tories if Labour is too social democratic.

            They’re the spoiler party really, and will always sacrifice themselves to that end.

      • Borncynical

        There are also UK security services who would welcome the custom to bolster their attempts to be the most lucrative business sector. G4S? Olive?

    • SA

      The special relationship demands this above any consideration of national interest. Please look up my link to Parliament channel on 5th March above .

      • Rhys Jaggar

        If you think the Special Relationship is neither special, nor a healthy relationship, then quite frankly it would do Britain a lot of good to have a separation.

        • Herbie

          The purpose of the Special Relationship was as a means to achieving the Globalist financial system.

          To the extent that that project is now dead, so is the Special Relationship.

          Lord Jacob and Richard Haass have said that that project is dead.

          Trump and Putin signal its end.

          The only other possibilities are that the project is alive and hiding beneath a chaos of confusions. That would indicate a future war.

          In the absence of war, the chaos of confusions could also provide a plausible attribution of blame abroad for the inevitable decline of Britain. It’s not the corrupt bankers wot dun it. No, it’s Brexit or Putin etc.

  • A.C.Doyle

    Skripal. 09.09.2018
    On the face of it, the police investigation into the Skripal affair is exemplary and well worthy of the ample praise heaped upon it:
    Identification of the poison, discovery of the murder weapon, identification of the sponsor, identification of the suspects with ample photographic evidence, protection of the ‘victims’ etc. etc. All this leading to charges being laid with the clear implication that it is indeed a Russian state sponsored assassination attempt with proscribed chemical weapon.
    Viewed critically and in the wider political context, however, the whole story stinks:
    1. The timing of the affair when Russia was riding high with the World Cup at Sochi and apparent success in Syria, and Putin was generally strutting about on the international stage, while PM May was (and still is) in desperate need of a distraction from the whole Brexit mess and the need to establish some sort of role to keep the UK relevant in the post-Brexit era.
    2. The nature of the murder attempt, including the poison alleged to have been used with a distinctly Russian signature to it, which anyway, as events have shown, was hardly the appropriate choice of weapon for such an assassination.
    3. The amateurish nature of the whole thing: getting seen, not killing the victim, allowing the murder weapon to be found etc. This is certainly not on a par with the Israeli “Dubai” model where allegedly a team of 33 assassins was sent to murder one hapless Palestinian, a Mr. Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh. In this, incidentally, forged British passports were used and Germany had one of the alleged perpetrators in its hands, all without serious repercussions.
    4. The obvious opprobrium that Russia would bring upon itself for being seen to be involved in this and all for no apparent benefit.
    5. The timing of information release to media and allies at politically opportune moments synchronized to coincide with Russia-centric with world events.
    6. The strength and consistency of the Russian denials.
    Summarised, and from the UK perspective and the objective of the demonisation of Russia, it is all “too good to be true”.
    Because it is all “too good to be true” there is the possibility that a more plausible explanation is to be found, and indeed there is.
    To understand this, take a step back and look at another well known project of a similar gravity and dimension to this demonisation of Russia using the Skripal affair. Namely, the project to undermine Trump using bogus accusations of collusion with Russia in what is now known as the infamous “Trump-Russia” dossier.
    The Modus Operandi is very similar between these two projects and include absurd scenarios such as the Golden Showers episode or the Russian state sponsored poisoning theory, Also meetings being set up on bogus pretexts to lure parties unbeknown to each other together to furnish “evidence” to support retrospective claims of collusion would be similar to ordering patsies to appear near cameras at critical locations. Neither project would appear to be founded well in fact and appear to have been based on the principle that the more absurd the allegations, the greater the financial rewards for the authors.
    So, at the same time as Christopher Steele was hawking his “Trump-Russia” project round the various US security services (and anyone who would listen to him), it is possible he was at the same time hawking round the “Russia demonisation” project, both projects maybe even commissioned at the same time by the same original sponsor.
    The playbook of the “Russia demonisation” project would have been something like this, and would be a classic false flag operation:
    1. Choose victims with a Russian connection.
    2. Choose distinctly Russian weapon calculated to demonstrate Russian contempt for chemical weapons treaties and show recklessness in its administration.
    3. Acquire the chosen weapon (support of security services probably required here)
    4. Choose a couple of patsies with an allegeable Russian connection to pose in front of security cameras in the vicinity of the murder scene and at UK entry points. Maybe also pose for photographers in the doorway the Russia GRU headquarters. Who knows yet what “evidence” is yet planned emerge at the next opportune moment ?
    5. Choose separate assassin(s) to administer the poison.
    6. Choose another patsy to ‘discover’ the murder weapon. (This may also have been added later to quell possible public hysteria after the dangers of Novichok were hyped up, amid reports of unrelated people much later exhibiting symptoms which risked being attributed to Novichok).
    7. Optionally later send the two “Russian” patsies on a one way errand.
    8. Execute script.
    9. Russia did it Q.E.D.
    Well, it does rather look like all that could have happened and has so far had the desired effect, if the UN meeting of 06.09.2018 (and the supporting information released in advance of it) is anything to go by.
    Naturally, there is a number of questions outstanding.
    1. Who would have lead such a project and who would have been the main actors ?
    2. Was it mainly a private venture as in the case of the Steele Trump dossier, maybe with some discrete state support or a full blown (maybe allied) state operation ?
    3. Could the UK political establishment distance itself sufficiently so that if the whole thing were to blows up, it could maintain ‘plausible deniability’?
    4. What are the risks and consequences if the project is rumbled (i.e. exposed as a hoax) ?
    To answer some of these questions:
    Such conspiracies become more complicated, the greater the number of agencies that are involved and the deeper they are involved in it. Such agencies could include:
    Security Service (allied), Security Services (domestic), domestic political establishment, domestic police force, courts, visa issuer (consulate abroad), Media organisations, state laboratories (e.g. Porton Down), Medical agencies – Hospital. etc. etc.
    However, in the simplest scenario, where the project is lead as private enterprise, with the relatively modest funding needs covered, probably only the Russia-specific poison would present an issue. The rest would automatically follow standard procedures without otherwise the necessity for corruption of the agencies listed above.
    If this were to be seen later as an obvious hoax, it is difficult to imagine that UK political establishment would emerge unscathed. The members could attempt to present themselves as simply having exploited an existing affair as politicians would be expected to do, but without knowing the extent to which they were misled, or of its fundamentally bogus nature. Exploited in this context means of course milking it for all it’s worth which they have certainly done, however the extreme gullibility necessary to swallow that lot whole would certainly damage their credibility.
    Allies who have exposed themselves by supporting the UK position would clearly want to openly distance themselves from the whole misadventure and be extremely wary in the future and may feel obliged to make amends to the aggrieved party, namely Russia.
    As for the risk of exposure, the more actors that are involved, the greater the risk of disclosure of the plot. Now that there have been deaths, possibly 3 if the Russian “GRU officers” don’t appear again, the risks of repercussions on the actors could be serious. Here are some of those disclosure risks. Human actors have human fallibilities. They get to want to write their memoirs, they want to smooth over their interview at the pearly gates with St. Peter. They get religion and want to unload. Or they fear the breakdown of protection of “just doing my job” (the classic but unsuccessful defense at the Nuremburg trials) and collect evidence to cover their own backs, maybe pointing the blame in other
    directions, and anyway which could leak out. Certainly it would be unwise to rely on any “30 year information moratorium rule” or similar which could be lifted by future political regimes for purposes such as embarrassing their predecessors etc., or suffer a general breakdown such as the case with the Stasi information trove.
    Other possibilities are allied security services, suspicious of the “too good to be true” nature of the plot and not wanting to appears to be completely inept, commission their own back-covering reports of the whole affair, maintaining a skeptical view with supporting evidence, and these reports leak out.
    There is also the personal vendetta exposure risk. What would happen, say, if BJ’s jilted wife decides to do an RT interview maintaining that her husband was involved in a secret project to discredit Russia using a chemical weapon? “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned” and all that. Others may simply want to sell their story.
    Granted, it all sounds fantastic, but then again, no less fantastic than the official view as presented from the official UK perspective.
    An intriguing twist to all this would be the possible involvement of Sergei Skripal himself somehow in the whole plot. Then the deal would have been that he and his daughter are to be furnished with new identities, an income, and given a safe house maybe outside the UK. Although this is more difficult to imagine because the personal risks to him and his daughter would be much higher as would be the degree of collusion needed between the agencies previously mentioned to pull it off successfully. Or better put, it would have been more difficult to imagine, were it not for the fact that the main elements appear, de facto, to have happened.
    A conclusion about how all this will end is difficult to reach. There may be more tales to be told when the moment is opportune. It may even be, although unlikely, that Russia sues for peace and admits the whole thing in some form. However, the risks of the whole venture cannot be overstated. The reaction of Russia to the participants of an elaborate conspiracy with a transparently bogus pretext, possibly calculated to pose it an existential threat, could trigger a mutually damaging reaction

    • SA

      Its elementary my dear Watson
      The purpose is not to solve this mystery, it is to get the story into the history books without necessarily having any evidence. Part 1 was the Litvinenko incident.. This has not been resolved by the usual judicial process but by the well tried obfuscatory process of a public enquiry (we also had this with the Kelly death). This is how this episode will end and the excuse used will be because Russia will not extradite these suspects. In these there is no jury and no burden of proof and evidence. Similarly here we will probably never know what really happened but looking as to what has already happened, the whole episode has achieved its purposes of demonisation and distraction. The fact that the leader of the opposition is constantly being undermined and that the Tories have no idea how to manage Brexit are additional pointers to the distraction value of what has happened.
      Basically the west is furious with Putin who committed several unforgivable crimes:
      1. He turned round Russia from a basket case in 2000 to a power to be reckoned with.
      2. He foiled the jewel in the crown of the Ukraine coup, when Crimea would have been converted to a NATO base and denied Russia access to the Mediterranean.
      3. He foiled the Syrian regime change bid and has now made Russia the predominant negotiator in the ME, outflanking and displacing the UK/US exclusively in the region.

      • A.C.Doyle

        True. The Skripal affair is simply one single act in a macabre play where the plot is the demonisation/weakening Russia for all the reasons you have mentioned. The distraction value from the parlous uk political landscape is simply an added bonus.
        However, all that does not preclude that the scenes which comprise this act cannot also be viewed in isolation.
        What gets into the history books will, of course, depend on who is around at the time to write them.

        The issues here which interest me are the effects of a complete breakdown of public confidence in the political class and establishment, which could be one casualty from this act, if it is exposed as a completely bogus project involving a high level of corruption across multiple agencies. That is are we watching some of the later scenes in a collapse of authority in the UK ultimately rendering it ungovernable?

        To illustrate this, take for example the preparations for liberation of Idlib and the need to do a bit more Russia bashing on the eve of this event. Assuming that the timing of the announcement of charges against 2 “Russians” (and the follow on UN meeting that the UK called) was not entirely co-incidental, what amount of corruption “string pulling” within supposedly professional and neutral organisations would be required to achieve the timing ?

    • Tintin Quarantino

      Quite simply, at this point in the commentary, the very best and most insightful contribution so far – thank you. (Not forgetting ‘Operation ‘Beluga’ – Paul Barril)

      Kudos to you A. C. Doyle.

  • Blunderbuss

    In the past two days, there have been jet planes flying low over my house. Are they training for Syria?

  • Paul Barbara

    The ‘Ace in the hole’ Russia, and we, have, is the request by Sergei’s mother for a visa to visit her son in Britain. She is pushing 90, and wants to see her son one more time before she dies.
    The opprobrium that would ensue should this be refused would be tremendous, but not from the MSM, I expect.
    And to allow it, would allow Sergei and Yulia to speak out through her.
    HMG must be dearly hoping Sergei’s grandmother dies before they are forced to make a decision. Or perhaps they have an even more dastardly plan…

    • Clark

      I haven’t examined this deeply, but there’s probably no need. It’s almost certainly the latest legal proposals that have been lobbied for by what amounts to the Copyright Industry ie. the corporate media. If so, it’ll be the latest of many such lock-down attempts, EU, US, etc., since the rise of the Internet. Best to check it out at the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF, the Free Software Foundation FSF, Creative Commons dot-org and related sites linked from these. These groups all consult with supportive legal experts to evaluate the consequences and what legal challenges could be mounted, as well as coordinating counter-lobbying etc.

    • Clark

      There’s a pretty good summary of which organisations are for and against on Wikipedia:

      EFF are strongly opposed:

      As I suspected, the Copyright Industry are nearly all in favour, whereas sites composed mainly of user-contributed content are opposed – Wikipedia, Google, Facebook etc. The activistpost article you linked is by Cory Doctorow, who’s always been strongly on the information-freedom-plus-personal-privacy side.

      Articles 11 and 13 stink to high heaven in my opinion.

      • Tom Welsh

        It’s worth remembering that copyright rakes in huge amounts of money for publishers and other corporations with deep pockets, rather than for the unfortunate people who actually create the books, articles, music, art, etc.

        I cannot resist passing on this rather good anecdote.

        ‘According to a popular anecdote, Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) once asked to give a toast at a dinner with fellow authors. The toast, which was met with anger and disbelief, was for Napoleon Bonaparte. A tribute to Britain’s enemy [in] wartime was nothing short of an outrage. As the table’s objections increased in volume, Campbell interrupted to defend himself.

        ‘“Gentleman”, he said, “you must not mistake me. I admit that the French Emperor is a tyrant. I admit that he is a monster. I admit that he is the sworn foe of our nation, and, if you will, of the whole human race. But, gentlemen, we must be just to our great enemy. We must not forget that he once shot a publisher.”

        ‘The speech was met with thunderous laughter’.

  • Stonky

    Iraq in ruins, Libya in ruins, and the whole Skripal business is just a small preparatory step in the plan for more of the same in Syria.

    The question is, can we actually do anything to rein in the deranged psychos who run our country? The only prominent individual in the political sphere who might have had enough clout and influence to do anything is Corbyn, and he has been comprehensively and effectively neutered.

    So I guess the depressing answer to my question is “Actually, no.”

    • SA

      Please do not give up hope on Corbyn yet. Despite everything the Labour party has a strong showing in the polls. In an election the voters will be much more interested in local economic matters and the Tories have no hope to offer.
      But as to the Arab world, sadly your list is not comprehensive. You left out the festering wound that is Yemen. This humanitarian crisi is not receiving attention, despite the fact that we are active and open participants. In addition, there are still lots of tensions in Lebanon and of course the standoff between Qatar on the one hand and the UAE and KSA on the other. In fact at the moment it is watch what Saudi Arabia is up to, they are part of the axis of attempts at redrawing the map of the ME.

        • SA

          I haven’t read the Yinon plan recently but my recollection is that it did not include the recruitment of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Maybe I am wrong but also it could be a refinement or a development since the original plan. Certainly what seems to me the plan now is that we have an Arab (or even wider ME) world dominated by Sunni religious extremists, Israel, Turkey (also islamist) and marginalisation of both Shia and secularists. It seems to suit the west and Israel better, to deal with wahabis than with true nationalists. Have you read Mark Curtis’ book “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, recently updated.

        • Doodlebug

          I haven’t read Yinon’s ‘Plan for a ‘Greater Israel’ either, but I imagine it includes making it bigger.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      We have no role in the mayhem other than being hapless cheerleaders and minor participants.

      Washington makes decisions in response to Israeli requests.

  • Node

    All the Skripal comments on this post start from the premise that the media are feeding us false information, and then proceed to construct elaborate theories based on that same information. The only productive ones are those from the spooks who are doing it to derail sensible discussion.

      • Clark

        False data trumps Occam’s Razor. GIGO.

        “If you mix a glass of burgundy with a barrel of sewage, you get sewage.
        If you mix a barrel of burgundy with a glass of sewage, you still get sewage”.

        • joeblogs

          Not correct.
          There was an outbreak of cholera in London, before the modern sewage system was put in place. The source of the outbreak could not be traced, and in the meantime people were dying by the score every day. Until someone noticed that the only people not getting sick at all, were the workers at the local brewery. It turned out that they never drank the water, only beer, which was, however, brewed from the same water that carried the cholera.
          A natural effect of the brewing process, caused by the brewer’s yeast, meant it acted as an antibiotic, neutralizing the fever-inducing bacteria.

          • joeblogs

            “Cholera gives you the squits not fever.”
            Kills you just as well, if untreated. One treatment is Penicillin.
            Penicillin is a yeast.
            So your point is…?

  • Jones

    the Skripal affair is a farce, on radio 4 this morning the presenter said a high ranking (unnamed) Labour MP agreed to appear on the show providing they talked about policy that affects peoples real lives, he didn’t appear on the show and they didn’t talk about policy. The average person in the street couldn’t care less about Skripal, paying the bills putting food on the table and struggling to survive against a government that takes from the poor and gives to the rich is more important than a traitor who most people probably never even heard of before he was used as a propaganda stunt. However the Skripal affair is interesting if only to highlight the depths the tories will sink to, and i fear they have not yet reached the bottom of the barrel.

    • Blunderbuss

      I think the main attraction of the Skripal affair is that Yulia is stunningly beautiful. Don’t know if I’m allowed to say that nowadays.

      • Farpoint

        I’m still trying to equate the new, beautiful Yulia with the plain, plump and bespectacled Yulia shown in the original photos.

      • giyane


        No you’re not allowed to say that, but you might think twice about having a triple, quadruple agent as a father in law. You could end up doing the washing up while she does the rounds of her other husbands.

      • Keltro

        Actually Trumps donors such as Adelson don’t care much for Trump and see him as a liability. They would much rather see Pence as president. When will Trump learn doesn’t matter how much pro right wing Israel you may be they will eventually turn on you n.b. Robert Maxwell.

  • Doodlebug

    Two points:

    1. The two visitors known to us as Borishov and Petrov must have been persons of interest to the police within less than four months (not six) if the hotel was examined in July.

    2. Andrew H (near top of page) makes the point that, “….it is more or less impossible to do anything in Britain without getting caught on CCTV. (our Russian assassins are probably not entirely incompetent – it’s just not that easy to not get recorded all over the place).”

    If so, then why have we seen not a single image of events on or around the park bench of most interest? With Salisbury’s brand new, tested and working CCTV system in place, it cannot be because the cameras were not working. It seems altogether more likely that the images, although recorded, were deliberately withheld.

    If we append to this issue official insistence that B&P contaminated the Skripals’ front door, despite that being a logical impossibility, it seems equally reasonable to suppose they are doing so because there is absolutely no record of the duo being anywhere near the actual scene of events before, during, or after the Skripals were taken ill.

    • Clark

      “why have we seen not a single image of events on or around the park bench of most interest?”

      CCTV video is the property of the company that recorded it.

      Such data was generated by the public. There should therefore be a law that all such data is owned and controlled by the public.

      • giyane


        Can I ask you please why you believe there was a WMD poisoning in Salisbury?

        It was a lie invented by brass-neck Johnson, who is currently being humiliated for being no good at lying , and for thinking that he can do what he likes as a husband when all of the rest of the world is subject to limitations.

        There is no public CCTV in the Tory cabinet office. Why would there be any public scrutiny in Salisbury.?

        • giyane


          As an after-thought, to Johnson’s extra-marital madness, it could also be said that the 400 men every month the police arrest for watching child pornography is the direct result of human beings not actually being able to cope with the concept of open-marriage, which Mrs Thatcher thought was a good idea. Mrs Thatcher was bonking Jimmy Savile at Chequers. It was nto just the British economy she ruined, it was British morality. The UK is a toxic brand as a result of Tory liberalism with a small and capital L. So toxic our neighbours are delighted we are surrounded by sea.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ giyane September 9, 2018 at 12:31
            ‘..Mrs Thatcher was bonking Jimmy Savile at Chequers…’
            Was that before or after she died?

          • Clark

            Giyane, I have little clue about what happened in Salisbury, but my impression, misinformed as it certainly has been by the “news” media and government ROAR-drip-drip-dissemble, is that no WMDs were involved.

            As for who has been having sex with whom, I don’t really care much; certainly much less than the media seems to think I should. I’m definitely going to avoid thinking about Thatcher and sex at the same time.

        • Doodlebug


          Can I ask you please why you should choose to question Clark at this point over a statement of belief he has not made?

          Having provoked a distraction you conclude with this nonsense: “There is no public CCTV in the Tory cabinet office. Why would there be any public scrutiny in Salisbury.?”

          There’s no CCTV in the toilets of my local pub either – so what? The fact remains that ‘public scrutiny’, as you put it, is very much alive in Salisbury after the council forked out 100 large to up-date their system. An image of ‘persons of interest’ was released fairly early on in the investigation. If none have appeared since it is because the choice has been made not to release them, not for want of technology or purpose.

  • Republicofscotland

    It’s suspected that Israel and Netanyahu are at the heart of influencing the campaign of demonising Labour and Corbyn on anti-Semitism.

    No doubt they’ve been aided and abetted by political friends of Israel from Westminster. The Russian’s take a hell of a lot of stick for so called meddling in foreign political arena’s, what about Israel alleged meddling?

    • giyane

      Corbyn has not given in. The demonisers have only demonised themselves. Why look further than Labour MPs?They were up to their eyes in the blood of innocent Afghans, Iraqis and Palestinians when they were in power. When the detestable David Miliband says the lack of UK aid to Syria is ” the defining collective failure of this century so far”, he means we should have entered WW3 against Russia. amazingly Mrs May has had the good sense not to do that, but Miliband would be sitting in the US with the Christian loony neo-cons watching Armaggedon from a cloud over Washington DC

        • giyane


          Sorry to ask this rather rude question, but do you pay for receiving neo-con propaganda as well as the licence fee? I was once queuing in Pakistan in a kind of group where you try to hold your ground. But the more fixed you are, the more useful you are as a fulcrum for those who want to lever themselves in front to you. On one command of ‘ get yourselves into a queue’ everybody formed a line. There is even a queue now for reduced items in my local Tesco where previously it was a rugby scrum with risk of head and body injuries.

          I was in a queue of about 15 miles on the M6. at the last squeezing of the cones a 65 reg BMW tried to cut in to the queue in front or behind me. I wouldn’t let him do it and then I discharged the soot from diesel turbo in his face.

          Chuka was trying to lever himself on the stalwartness of his party leader. So the answer to your question , he was working for himself.

          • Republicofscotland

            “Sorry to ask this rather rude question, but do you pay for receiving neo-con propaganda as well as the licence fee?”


            No I don’t pay to be lied to by the British media, or the foreign media for that matter.

            The British media pumps out their establishment propaganda, almost hourly, you don’t need to pay for it, queue for it, or even search for it.

            Right now their focus is on Corbyn, as they push a huge smear campaign using Blairites and FoI within the party.

          • Herbie

            “So the answer to your question , he was working for himself.”

            Nah. The British Obama was much promoted in Banker-controlled British media.

        • Moocho

          Chuka is a nauseating, disingenuous actor…..a smirking little lowlife who embodies the vile nature of British politics. he’s so full of shit, listening to him speak really does make me feel like vomiting. Why can’t people see through it? Why don’t they just expel him? lying about and slating party members, constantly stirring up shit, humiliating the party leader, all via the MSM. Surely grounds for two fingers. Ok, if that’s how you feel, there’s the door, fuck off and don’t come back you fucking traitor. Ditto for all the Blairtes. Get rid of these scumbags once and for all.

          • Borncynical

            Perhaps the answer to success is to wear smartly cut suits, nice shoes and generally look dapper. Why should anyone judge him by what he thinks and says? You need to get your priorities right, Moocho.

    • Doodlebug

      “It’s suspected that Israel and Netanyahu are at the heart of influencing the campaign of demonising Labour and Corbyn on anti-Semitism.”

      Gosh! Now there’s a surprise (not).

  • ADKC

    There is no mystery and the Skripal’s saga doesn’t have to make sense!

    The whole thing is propaganda to generate hostility and suspicion of Russia in order to make confrontation and conflict with Russia acceptable (or at least understandable) to the British public.

    Significant British and French forces have almost certainly been moved to the Syrian theatre. Should the west attack Syria in the next few days then British planes (along side US and French forces) will be bombing and attacking Syrian Government and Russian forces. When did the British public / Parliament agree/vote for that.

    The Skripals are a justification and a diversion. The real issue is the conflict posture towards Syrian Government and Russia.

    • giyane

      Thank God someone has some brains here. However if attacked, the Russians will fire on the sources of those missiles. How can the UK go to war with a PM as weak as Mrs May? Oh, to bolster her popularity.
      She is her own Belgrano and will sink without trace with the whole Tory crew, red and blue.
      Russia will negotiate the release of jihadist groups who are Syrian and who are not working for USUKIS.
      They will publish their evidence that USUKIS uses proxies jihadist for colonial expansion.

      Mrs May’s powder is sodden through, nobody believes a word she says. Russian powder is dry and ready for use. There is no appetite at all for a war against Russia , masterminded and executed by Gavin Williamson and failed businessman Jeremy Hunt. As BoJo rightly says, a collective Tory suicide pill.

    • Republicofscotland

      “The whole thing is propaganda to generate hostility and suspicion of Russia in order to make confrontation and conflict with Russia acceptable (or at least understandable) to the British public.”

      Agreed, but not for conflict, but to drasticalky weaken the Russian economy, and force Putinesque leaders out, which would allow western influences to grow, and overcome the current regimes mantra.

      However, the more the west/Israel pushes, the more Putin’s popularity remains good. I also believe Russians are hardier and will adapt to western sanctions, a trait accquired through years of conflict I think.

      • SA

        I agree with ADKC and it is not just about the economy. We have had all these releases of information at certain times where intervention was needed including the last incident in Ghouta. I think the US (and UK and France) are planning a major assault on Syria with help (at least moral support) from Saudi Arabia and UAE, possibly also as a diversion from the difficulties they have in Yemen.
        By the way the Russians have already started bombing in North Hama and South Idlib.

        • Republicofscotland


          My comment focuses entirely on Russia, and not Syria. I concur that a large scale assault on Syria is a strong possibility.

          However it makes sense to weaken the Russian (A major player in Syria) economy, through sanctions imposed directly through the very dubious Skirpal debacle.

          On the upside for Russia, is that China wants to buy more gas from them, and Kazakhstan.

          • ADKC

            Russia has been subject to western sanctions for 6 years. The effect of sanctions as a result of the Skripal incident is not that significant in the overall picture of sanctions against Russia. Russia is about as weakened by sanctions as it is ever going to get.

            More important is using the Skripal incident to condition British public opinion and the EU (and other western allies) into a offensive posture towards Russia (and to tying Trumps hands to authorise an attack).

            Russian forces will be alongside Syrian forces in the assault on Idlib. Any meaningful attack on Syria (that strikes forces assaulting Idlib) will attack Russia forces and the consequence of that is a war with Russia.

            Ukraine (with western embedded forces) are gearing up for an attack on Donetsk and Luhansk (likely druring the Idlib engagement). The aim is to cause the DPR and NPR to collapse militarily and force Russian to directly intervene and drag Russia into a wider (conventional) war in Central Europe (the west cannot invade Russia proper because of Russia’s policy on use of nuclear weapons). It is this planned (conventional) war in Central Europe where NATO hope to exhaust and ruin Russia.

            This is all about war (not sanctions).

          • Republicofscotland

            “This is all about war (not sanctions)”

            Really! So you actually think that Europe will go to war with Russia? I do foresee conflict in Syria, but not direct confrontation between the US and Russian forces, and a similair proxy set up in the dispute surrounding Crimea/Ukraine.

            It takes one large leap of the imagination to think that Europe would get pulled into a full blown conventional war with Russia. The EU doesn’t want to play the Great Game, and harm its economy.

            Europe is already fed up to the back teeth of Trump’s trade wars, and although they might agree more sanctions I doubt conflict is on the table.

          • Clark

            Er, ADKC, I don’t think Europe can keep its lights on without Russian gas. Certainly not through winter.

            The Neocons might like to offer Middle Eastern gas to Europe, but they’re doing very badly at controlling the Middle East.

  • frankywiggles

    Why were these spurious culprits brought to public attention this week, months after detectives identified them? Anything to do with the start of Russia’s offensive on Idlib and its forewarning of another false flag chemical attack?

    On which subject, prepare for another prolonged outpouring of humanitarian concern and shrieks for military intervention from the same politicians that are enabling the crucifixion of Yemeni civilians. (And naturally their tame, warmongering media.)

    • Soothmoother

      You’re missing the point. The Syrians are using Chemical weapons and that is bad. “Conventional” weapons are good. In a recent survey, when asked, most people indicated a preference to being blown up or mamed and not gassed. The millions of people killed by conventional weapons were really pleased about the manner of their death, but the few thousand killed by chemical weapons were seriously pissed off about it.
      The Saudis aren’t using Chemical weapons, making them the good guys.
      The Saudis definitely don’t use barrel bombs, which are only used by the bad guys.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Soothmoother September 9, 2018 at 13:06
        No, the Syrains are not using CW’s, and any ‘barrel bombs’ are likely hell-cannon projectiles from the headchoppers.

      • joeblogs

        Sarcasm only works face-to-face.
        If you are not serious, /s at the end would show .
        If serious – God help you.

      • Clark

        There is a massive ongoing propaganda campaign to associate “chlorine” with “chemical weapon”. The bods have been at it on Wikipedia too:

        “On 6 July 2018 an interim report was issued by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Various chlorinate organic chemicals (dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, chlorophenol, dichlorophenol, bornyl chloride, chloral hydrate etc.) were found in samples, along with residues of explosive, but the designated laboratory 03 stated that no CWC-scheduled chemicals or nerve agent related chemicals were detected and that it has not been ascertained whether or not the chlorinated chemicals found were used in a chemical attack”

        Note how many scary chemical names have been highlighted blue before the rather obfuscated but most important bit; “no CWC-scheduled chemicals or nerve agent related chemicals were detected“.

        Unmistakably; Manufacturing Consent.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Israeli Occupation Force were busy on Friday at the Gaza ‘border’. Were their snipers lying on those earth banks that were created for the purpose.

    IDF strikes 2 Hamas posts as thousands protest along Gaza border
    Gazans hang, burn, beat and trample Trump effigies at first protest since US cut UNRWA aid; teen said killed, dozens wounded; rioters hurl rocks, firebombs, grenade at troops
    7 September 2018

    16-year-old Gazan Shot to Death by Israeli Soldiers While Waving His Hands; Army to Investigate Incident
    Ahmad Masbah Abu Tuyur who was wounded in Friday’s protests succumbed to his wounds, bringing the death toll from protest to two ■ Four Gazans who tried to enter Israel Saturday were caught carrying hatchet and knife

    IDF investigates deaths of Palestinian teens shot in Friday Gaza protests
    The two teens were identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as 17 year-old Bilal Mustafa Khafaja and 16 year old Ahmad Abu Tyour from Rafah in the southern Strip.

    At the Erez crossing in the North, there was a large protest by Palestinians who live outside Gaza. They were roughed up, shot at and harmed by the contents of Israeli tear gas canisters

  • MaryPaul

    It is quite touching how many commentators here are at pains to point out that the benevolent live-and-let-live Russian state ruled over by Putin would have no interest in poisoning a harmless old former spy living in quiet retirement in Salisbury and his daughter. Nor it seems can it be the work of any of the “Russian mafia,”, as 1. There are no gangsters or crime syndicates or corrupt oligarchs left inside Russia, all having been expelled by Putin and 2. None of these exported crime bosses and oligarchs have any ties back to Russia or the state aparatus. Russia today is a crime free haven of peace and tranquillity.

    It therefore follows we are told, that the entire Skrilal affair is a false flag operation carried out by the dementedl British Secret Services who have a rabid hatred of Russia, to 1. Discredit Russia on the International stage and 2. Raise a smoke screen over the West’s activities and the UK’s role in Syria.

    It sounds quite wonderful in Russia these days. I wish it were the same here and that I could have such a touching belief in the honesty of UK state institutions. Many years living in London taught me to be highly suspicious of any public statements by the Met Police about, well everything really. And living under Tory and before that New Labour givernments, has made me highly sceptical of government policy and public statements on the EU, Syria and the Middle East generally. I suppose I am an eternal cynic and sceptic.

    That said, I do not believe the UK government plotted to poison firstly Skiripal and his daughter, and then a few months later two local druggies, in Salisbury using nerve agents in fake perfume bottle. Apart from anything else, slapping a D notice on the whole thing imposed a complete news black out in the MSM which seems rather counter productive.

    At present I do not know who did it or why. Although more facts are emerging into the public domain, we still do not have enough information to know definitively what happened. I am reserving my position.

    • fonso

      The official Putin dunnit narrative needs to be evidenced in order to be believable. It also needs to make sense. What Putin had to gain by taking such an action on the eve of a presidential election and hosting a world cup?

    • MJ

      “It therefore follows we are told, that the entire Skrilal affair is a false flag operation”

      Er no. That it is a ludicrous fairy-tale concocted for propaganda purposes can be determined entirely from the details and evidence with which we have been provided. It has absolutely nothing to do with any views one may have about Russia. Of course, anyone with pre-existing antithetical views towards Russia may find all the nonsense convincing if they’re particularly suggestible.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      I enjoyed reading that, and I agree with most of it. I think you are getting better, within the quite obvious constraints.

      “I do not believe the UK government plotted to poison firstly Skiripal and his daughter, and then a few months later two local druggies” I agree.

      I don’t think anyone was poisoned (well not seriously – maybe some high strength LSD or modern equivalent – largely for theatrical purposes)

      I also don’t think anyone died, or was seriously physically harmed. I don’t even think the brainwashing worked on the vast majority of the audience. Nearly everyone I know, thinks the entire thing is a load of rubbish – a theatre show – a play – done appalingly by crass amateurs.

      I find it hard to believe that this is the best propaganda The UK can devise. No one believes it except The Americans, who I assume told them to do it.

      It will all come out in the wash, if we don’t get nuked first, which unfortunately is entirely possible.


        • Tony_0pmoc

          I’d lost interest in the story, by the time these people were brought on to the stage. Did she have a funeral? Did anyone turn up?

        • Doodlebug

          “What do you think happened to Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess?”

          Dawn died. Charlie became a witness for the prosecution.

    • Bayard

      “That said, I do not believe the UK government plotted to poison firstly Skiripal and his daughter, and then a few months later two local druggies, in Salisbury using nerve agents in fake perfume bottle.”

      Nor do I, but what I do believe is that the Skripals and Dawn Sturgess were poisoned, possibly through some route totally disconnected to the British State, Russia or any secret service, and that the British State used this, together with a lot of lies, as part of a anti-Russian campaign, which is hardly better. There might be a perfectly “innocent” explanation for the poisonings* (i.e. one that doesn’t involve any security service or plotting), but no-one wants to know. It has no value to either the State or the anti-staters.

      *such as the one that Sergei was a drug dealer and poisoned himself with his own wares.

    • remember kronstadt

      well said Mary Paul – this whole subject is a festival of ignorance. even Clark is scraping the barrel
      ‘As for who has been having sex with whom, I don’t really care much; certainly much less than the media seems to think I should. I’m definitely going to avoid thinking about Thatcher and sex at the same time.’
      The Skripal hamsters aren’t talking but they died with smiles on their faces… fact!

    • Republicofscotland

      “It sounds quite wonderful in Russia these days.”


      Ah I do enjoy a good bit of sarcasm now and then.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ MaryPaul September 9, 2018 at 13:26
      I have tried a number of times to get a response from you; the last time was on page 10 of the comments: @ Paul Barbara
      September 8, 2018 at 22:50.
      I don’t know if you keep missing it, or like some others I have encountered on here, you don’t reply if the comment runs counter to your comment which I was responding to.
      It was the same kind of question you raise in your comment above.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Paul Barbara, I noticed the sudden silence too. I reckon he works for The BBC or related. Today’s offering was much improved, and to be fair so was The BBC’s. Some of it was true, and the photography of the jihardist terrorists, excellent quality. They must have a very good relationship with them – almost part of the crew.

        Kung Foo fighting?

        “Syria war: Idlib rebels targeted by ‘fiercest raids in weeks'”


    • Yeah, Right

      “It is quite touching how many commentators here are at pains to point out that the benevolent live-and-let-live Russian state ruled over by Putin would have no interest in poisoning a harmless old former spy living in quiet retirement in Salisbury and his daughter.”

      Well, no, he would have no interest in that at all.

      I mean, honestly, he’s ex-KGB. He knows how the game is played and one of the rules is that you don’t shit on a spy-exchange deal.

      I mean, really, Skripal was in a Moscow prison for four years. “sending a message” (and to who, exactly?) would have required two bullets in the back of the skull.

      The very fact that the Russians were willing to swap Skripal tells you all you need to know: Sergei was of no further use to the Russians, he was no longer any risk to the Russians, and his residual value to them had sunk so low that his only remaining use was as a bag of wheat in a barter negotiation.

      They let him go, ergo, they couldn’t give a toss about him.

      The only semi-plausible explanation I have heard for why Putin might want Skripal dead is an ideological one: Putin Hates Traitors.

      OK, fine, but if anyone wants to run with that theory then please explain why they still insisted on carrying out the “hit” when Yulia Skripal turned up on his doorstep.

      What ideological reason would Putin have to harm her? Answer: None.

      Her appearance would represent such a complication that it would have caused the “GRU killers” to put the hit on hold until she had left to go back to Moscow. Then kill the old coot.

      After all, he lived alone. He had no bodyguards. He wasn’t going anywhere.
      So why do it when there is someone else visiting?
      Someone you aren’t “ideologically opposed to”?

      The claim that Putin wanted Skripal dead for being a traitor is nonsense. Utter tripe.

      • Robyn

        Agree, Moocho, it’s important – at least to the few hundred people in the world who like to keep up. Not that it will make any difference, of course.

        For those who don’t have time to watch the YouTube version, you can listen at your leisure to the podcast The Corbett Report.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Moocho September 9, 2018 at 14:21
        There’s a leafleting organised for the Tuesday 11th September at 16:30 outside the BBC, Portland Place (nearest Underground Oxford Circus), followed by a social, if anyone’s interested.

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