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.

3,063 thoughts on “Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

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  • truthwillout

    Interesting timing for Putin to come out with this statement about the two Russians in Salisbury. Assuming there is PMQs at 12 noon today one might expect that Teresa May will come up with a reply.

    • Tom Welsh

      Only if someone asks a question. Which they won’t.

      “Swing, swing together, with your bodies between your knees”.

      – Eton Boating Song

      • Borncynical


        You may be right, but there is also a formal mechanism for ‘arranged’ Parliamentary Questions. A ‘tame’ MP is asked to raise a question provided by the Minister’s office precisely in order to give the PM the forum to publicly issue a reply in words which suit the Government’s agenda. This mechanism is often used to publicise policies which the Government wishes to highlight.

    • douglas clark

      Whilst the countdown is happening, speculation – mine – persists.

      May they be the pawns of other Russian Oligarchs? May they be pawns of other oligarchs, perhaps Ukrainian? Is Vladimir Putin telling us porkies?

      Perhaps ridiculously, but it seems unlikely to me that Vladimir Putin couldn’t organize an assassination that worked and using chemicals that couldn’t be traced, This whole story stinks.

      Your mileage may vary.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    This is extremely incisive by George Galloway – much better than his previous effort. He gently dissects the official story, and then continues to totally rip it apart, as well as the intended False Flag in Idlib. Full article well worth reading.

    “Explosive Skripal Allegations May Blow Up In Syria”


    “Explosive Skripal allegations will probably blow up in Syria’s Idlib where the US/UK axis is cocked, ready to fire. The UK media lost their collective mind over Russia but their masters have not. There is method in their madness.

    Today’s latest offering is that the ‘Russians’ in the ‘mugshots’ released last week are ‘already dead’ having been ‘executed by Putin’ to stop them talking, forever. Which neatly avoids the British state asking Russia for help in identifying them. London’s failure to do so was already arousing suspicion amongst a cynical public. There is now no point, the would-be assassins are now six-feet below the permafrost of Anglo-Russian relations.

    The media here have completely ignored the statement of the head of the anti-terrorist squad of Scotland Yard that he had “No” evidence of Russian state involvement in the crime in Salisbury, preferring instead the cheap barroom brawling of the British prime minister on the floor of the House of Commons cheered on by the vulgar popular press and their more refined elder sisters in the upmarket papers and on the BBC.

    I prefer to listen to the police. And watch them. Their most significant act since I last wrote here on this subject has been to erect an array of tents outside the Skripal house in Salisbury which the government had been planning to purchase at way above value by British taxpayers expense. The “decontamination of the house” is the stated purpose.

    But as I hope I established here last week the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal could not have been caused by “Novichok” on the doorknob.

    The Skripal’s left the house before 9.15am on the fateful morning of March 4 and there is NO evidence that they ever returned to it. There is ample CCTV footage of the couple driving away from their house from 9.15am onwards but none of them driving back to it.

    As the ‘Russian mugs,’ by the police’s own testimony shows, didn’t arrive in Salisbury until 11.48am, if they did paint the Skripal doorknob with the “deadliest nerve agent known to man – 8-10 times more deadly than VX” their horses had already bolted. If they did paint the doorknob they did so at around noon in broad-daylight, when the neighbours were coming home from church, doing their gardens, washing their cars and in full view of the whole street. They wore no protective clothing while doing it. And they then sauntered through the town centre, window-shopping and being caught on every town centre CCTV camera. If any neighbour, who had seen them painting the door, had called the police (and the ‘mugs’ couldn’t be sure that nobody had) they would have now been arrested rather than ‘buried under the frost’.

    As it was they caught the highly unreliable Sunday service public transport route from Salisbury to Heathrow which, as a British tabloid journalist opined, “no sane Englishman with a plane to catch would ever do.”

    So, if the police are now in the Skripal house in numbers and with intent, it cannot be on account of the doorknob – both for the reasons stated but also because a police officer stood right outside the Skripal house day and night for weeks after the event without even a pair of rubber dishwashing-gloves on with no ill-effect whatsoever.”


  • Anders Novichok

    I see all the theorists grasping on to any shred of hope they have. Putin knows the “real” identity of these two clowns and they are innocent civilians apparently, not travelling illegally on fake passports with fake visas for the UK? Maybe the hotels in Salisbury were too expensive or not posh enough for their weekend away so they stayed in a 2 star central London Hotel instead. So they travelled across southern England by train to visit the tourism hotbed of central Salisbury rather than pop in to Stonehenge Visitors centre? Maybe they thought the antique shop they visited had stone-age artefacts in it? Ha ha halfwits, the pair of them.
    Putin isn’t much better as he paints a bad picture of Russian tourists and their ability to plan a tour of historic sites in England.

    • Tom Welsh

      When you repeatedly post essentially the same comment to the same thread, you encourage people to believe you may be a paid troll.

      Just saying.

    • Reg

      How do we know they were travelling on fake passports the police spokesman only suggested this as a possibility? So any any statements by Theresa May should be treated as lies until proved otherwise by evidence as the Uk intelligence services have proved themselves to be untruthful, and given her track record such as assenting they were GRU operatives while the police spokesman stated their was no evidence for Russian involvement. Taking a train on a Sunday for an assassination and waiting for the train to make their getaway rather than driving after hiring under a false name indicates that any involvement in an assassination attempt is nonsense. I am sure people visit Salisbury every day for all sorts of reasons. Chose the name yourself did you?

      • Doodlebug

        Pursuing an earlier train of thought, the more likely it is that Charlie Rowley found a packaged bottle of ‘Nina Ricci’, the more likely it is that he did so shortly before opening it, and the less likely it is to have been contaminated. No one spends hundreds of pounds to commission and import an illegal consignment only to throw it in the bin, unless of course they are Russian assassins, but they had already left the country (what’s the probability of a ‘B’ team in the same area?).

        In short, the package may have been fake perfume but it was still perfume, at least on arrival. Either that or CR simply collected something he knew to be toxic from a pre-arranged ‘dead drop’ (metaphorically speaking).

      • Borncynical

        As you say, Reg, none of us can say categorically what these men were doing in Salisbury, legitimately or otherwise. I accept that it seems a long way to come for a weekend trip (But do we know that even that part of the official narrative is true, along with ‘Novichok’ in their hotel room? Perhaps they found a perfume bottle in Salisbury? (facetious comment for any in doubt!)) but with regard to a couple of day trips to Salisbury from London, what people fail to appreciate is that a journey of that distance might seem long to us but, bearing in mind how expansive Russia, the distance is probably nothing to them. I recall on a driving holiday in Montana, it was getting late and we asked a local to recommend a local restaurant: “Carry straight on down this road, you can’t miss it” They were right but forgot to mention the intervening thirty miles! And then, of course, there was the return trip.

      • Resident Dissident

        “I am sure people visit Salisbury every day for all sorts of reasons.”

        And it was so nice they went back the following day as well!

    • A.C.Doyle

      A false flag operation planned with sufficient care in advance could quite conceivably have included hiring a couple of Russian patsies lured to locations around Salisbury on some contrived mission on the correct day, to support retrospective claims of Russian involvement in the plot. They may have absolutely nothing to do with the Novichok, or as part of the false flag operation, were allowed to be contaminated with a small non lethal trace to complete the *”Bread Crumb” trail.
      If you think all that is ridiculous, look at what we are expected to believe.

      *taken from another fairy tale (Brothers Grimm “Hansel and Gretel”)

    • Yeah, Right

      Anders: “Putin knows the “real” identity of these two clowns and they are innocent civilians apparently, not travelling illegally on fake passports with fake visas for the UK?”

      Pardon? Putin doesn’t even hint that there is a “real” identity that is in any way different from that on their passports.

      Putin: “We of course checked who these people are. We know who they are, we found them.” …. “Well, I hope they will come out themselves and speak about themselves. It will be better for everyone. There’s nothing particularly even criminal about it, I assure you. We’ll see soon.”

      Where does he says that their passports were fake, or their visa obtained under fraudulent means?

      • Borncynical

        Yeah, Right

        Anders N. has an annoying habit of asking the same question more than once a page or two apart, wasting everyone’s time. I asked him earlier for a link to the Russians claiming to have identified their ‘real’ identity. So far, I’ve not had a reply but he still produces the same baseless comments.

      • Borncynical

        Yeah, Right

        Sorry. In my reply at 19.01 I should have said “Anders N has the annoying habit of posting the same comment more than once….”

    • Deb O'Nair

      Why did the police sit on the information about these people for 4 months? They had images of them, they knew their movements, they had even forensically swept their hotel room, and yet they waited for 4 months before releasing this information.

      Forget what they say, just look at what they do (or rather don’t do). The police’s behaviour betrays an agenda which is not driven by a criminal investigation but is driven by the needs of government propagandists.

    • MaryPaul

      SKRIPAL: I am waiting with interest to see how Boshirov and Petrov turn out to be Anglophile historians.

  • James Kennedy

    Two Russians travelled to Salisbury staying in London between their two visits. They were clearly there as Russian State sponsored witnesses to the proposed UK false flag operation and were stupid enough to get caught.

    • Tom Welsh

      “They were clearly there as Russian State sponsored witnesses to the proposed UK false flag operation…”

      This must be a new usage of 21st century English, with which I am not yet familiar.

      I mean the usage of “clearly” to mean “not”.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    This is an incredible list of False Flags that “Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to”, and which I strongly suspect is just the tip of the iceberg. This is not conspiracy theory, but admitted conspiracy fact, by the perpertrators or those very closely associated with them.



    “Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the “benefits” of false flags to justify their political agenda:

    “Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
    – Adolph Hitler

    “Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    – Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

    “The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
    – Josef Stalin”

  • Charles Bostock

    One thing which does not get sufficient mention is that the record shows that liberal democracy has not established much of a toe-hold in Arab states. I cannot, off-hand, think of a single Arab state from Morocco in the West to Iraq in the East which has not changed governments without violence either throughout its history as an independent state or during a large part of it, or which has not been plagued by authoritarian dictatorship at one stage or another (or even all).

    Some of those newly independent Arab countries started off well and went “off “quite rapidly, others started badly right from the moment of independence.

    What a contrast with the State of Israel, which has had God knows how many changes of government since its foundation, all through the ballot box and all unaccompanied by violence, whether military or other, either before ot after the event.

    No Houari Boumediennes, no Colonel Nassers, no Saddam Husseins, no Camille Chamouns, no fascist Baath Parties in power, no military takeovers,no fake “parliaments”, no rigged elections!

    • Bayard

      “What a contrast with the State of Israel, which has had God knows how many changes of government since its foundation, all through the ballot box and all unaccompanied by violence, whether military or other, either before ot after the event.”

      It depends how you look at it. That could demonstrate the strength of the control that the ruling elite have over the people of that country.

      On the other hand, is there any other country in the ME which is in receipt to so much money from abroad instead of paying money abroad? Could that, perhaps be the answer? In most ME countries, foreign powers are interested in maintaining a friendly ruling elite, whilst extracting as much in the way of resources from that country as possible. In the ODITME, foreign powers are interested in supporting an entire people.

      • Charles Bostock


        “t depends how you look at it. That could demonstrate the strength of the control that the ruling elite have over the people of that country. ”

        Comments like the above demonstrate the futility of attempts to debate anything in a rational manner on here.

        The way you appear to look at it is that regular, fair and free elections could be proof that the “ruling elite” controls the people of the country concerned.

        Should I reply be saying that the absence of regular, free and fair elections could be proof that there is no “ruling elite” in the countries concerned, or that there is but it is unable to “control” the people?

        That would be as silly as your own comment, wouldn’t it.


        By the way, I of course include the Arab monarchies and statelets in my strictures of earlier on.

        • Bayard

          “The way you appear to look at it is that regular, fair and free elections could be proof that the “ruling elite” controls the people of the country concerned.”

          What exactly are you thinking is meant by “control” here? Hint: I wasn’t referring to any form of repression. (and, BTW, I am puzzled as what you think “rational” means. It appears you think it means “saying the sort of things I agree with”.)

          I notice you ignore the other half of my comment.

          • Charles Bostock

            Yes, I understood “control” in the way you meant it. But does that invalidates the point I made?

            As for the second part of your comment, I ignore it because it’s too limited (in that it only considers foreign aid and not the intrinsic wealth of a country, eg through natural resources) and only seeks to explain away (what else to expect from your lot?) why Israel manages to change governments and leaders peacefully and democratically; it does not explain why Arab countries apparently can’t.

          • Bayard

            “As for the second part of your comment, I ignore it because it’s too limited (in that it only considers foreign aid and not the intrinsic wealth of a country, eg through natural resources) ”
            What part of “foreign powers are interested in maintaining a friendly ruling elite, whilst extracting as much in the way of resources from that country as possible.” are you having difficulty with? Can you not see that the behaviour of a country that has little in the way of natural resources, and has not seen the wealth from those natural resources siphoned off to an elite and the foreign powers that support it, might behave differently to a country where the reverse is true?

            “(what else to expect from your lot?)”
            Who are “my lot”? Commenters who pick holes in other people’s tendentious comments?

            “why Israel manages to change governments and leaders peacefully and democratically; it does not explain why Arab countries apparently can’t.”

            Not my point, but someone else’s: the fact that Israel is a colony means that it should really be judged against other colonies, not other countries where the indigenous people are, at least nominally, in charge. ISTR that South Africa had a similar record democratically to Israel So have Canada, Australia and the US. Those are the countries that Israel is comparable to.

    • Tom Welsh

      “One thing which does not get sufficient mention is that the record shows that liberal democracy has not established much of a toe-hold in Arab states”.

      Just so. And that is not due to any defect in the Arab states, or their peoples. Constitutions and forms of government are shaped by cultures and customs, not the other way around. So it is pure foolishness to expect countries where conditions are very different from those in Kent or Ohio to adopt the political arrangements of those regions. And much worse than foolishness to dare try to impose them against the will of the people.

      Liberal democracy would not have got much purchase in medieval Europe, where Christianity held sway somewhat as Islam does in the Muslim world today. (With some major differences, admittedly – such as Islam’s almost complete lack of anything analogous to the Christian churches and their hierarchies). Look at contemporary pictures of the original Protestant leaders in the 15th and 16th centuries: how closely they resemble today’s Takfiri leaders, complete with long beards, enshrouding robes, and fierce contemptuous glares. Their attitudes about God and his laws, women, recreation, and almost everything else were almost identical.

      “Laws should be so appropriate to the people for whom they are made that it is very unlikely that the laws of one nation can suit another”.
      – Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, “L’Esprit des Lois”

      “The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have one’s laws and constitution embraced. It is in the nature of things that the progress of Reason is slow and no one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies.
      One can encourage freedom, never create it by an invading force”.
      – Maximilien Robespierre (1791)

      • Paul Greenwood

        It would be interesting to know what “liberal democracy” entails. It sounds so very comforting to link two words as if they have innate meaning. I doubt Julian Assange has any recollection of one and I doubt practising Christians do either. It is a fantasy. There are Soft Fascist regimes in most Western nations today controlling free speech and thought and censoring free comment.

        The freedom to think differently is far more circumscribed in The West today than in the era before universal suffrage

        • J

          True. There’s almost no oportunity to be outside the prevailing ideology, and make a living. A century ago every town and village was it’s own world in some respect, had it’s own mind, and one could do exactly that. Today you’d have to go a long way, inward or out there in the world, to really find something approaching freedom of thought. Even then, it would involve disconnecting for long periods.

        • Loony

          There is a problem with free expression – but some latitude remains.

          To a large extent people imprison themselves. Take this blog as an example. Anyone that does not constantly take loyalty oaths to Palestinians are routinely attacked and smeared as fascists and racists. Very few people address arguments preferring instead to launch puerile ad hominem attacks. Few people seem interested in actual facts or show any respect for any facts that challenge their (often infantile) world view. That this is a blog run by a former British Ambassador makes this kind of behavior all the more worrying.

          However if you are willing to ignore the abuse and to ignore the ignorance then it remains possible to express views that deviate from group think.

          Another problem peculiar to the British is their innate snobbery. This means that working class people who perhaps lack the widest of vocabularies and lack an understanding of their rights under the law can be smeared and imprisoned with seeming impunity. Tommy Robinson serves as an example.

          Compare Tommy Robinson with Douglas Murray. Their message is broadly the same – albeit Robinson appeals to the working classes and Murray appeals to the thinking classes.. No-one is imprisoning Douglas Murray and when the BBC tried to label him a racist they were forced to issue an on air apology within 24 hours. This is because Murray understands how the system works and Robinson does not. This difference is purely explicable by the contrasting education opportunities of the two.

          It makes such a difference in the public mind because of the British obsession with class and the fact that they despise anyone who attempts to “rise above their station.” You can see this same trait at work in all manner of activities – English chav sportsmen like Wayne Rooney versus the assumed sophistication of soccer players whose names the average Brit cannot pronounce properly.

          None of this has anything to do with laws, and everything to do with a mode of thinking.

          • Antonyl

            So most UK citizens abide by the dominant culture, just like most Islamic states residents. Groupthink, fear to stick out, social pressures, verbal abuse etc. Same in all nations – groups – blogs.
            Humans are social animals with a vengeance, just like chimpanzees. Bonobos dropped the aggression but not the clan spirit. Orangutans should be our more perfect role models…

    • SA

      “What a contrast with the State of Israel, which has had God knows how many changes of government since its foundation, all through the ballot box and all unaccompanied by violence, whether military or other, either before ot after the event.”

      You forgot that the violence was at the start with terrorist attacks, even on the British and assassinations of Bernadotte. External violence to neighbors and internal violence to original population. What you describe here is what you would expect from colonialists. They stick together.

      • Charles Bostock

        “You forgot that the violence was at the start”

        Not at all. Not mentioned because I wrote ““What a contrast with the State of Israel, which has had God knows how many changes of government SINCE ITS FOUNDATION, all through the ballot box and all unaccompanied by violence, whether military or other, either before ot after the event.” (emphasis added).

        Now, to the violence at the start :

        -against the British. Indeed. Would you condemn Kenya because of it violent Mau Mau antecedents> Cyprus, because of its violent EOKA antecedents? Np, of course you wouldn’t…because they aren’t Israel.

        – against Arabs. Again, indeed. Legitimate self-defence against the armies of four Arab countries which attacked the fledgling state in the confident expectation of victory (and got their arse kicked)

    • Hatuey

      Charles, wouldn’t it be easier for everybody including yourself if you just stated clearly “I’m a pretty dumb guy who isn’t worth talking to…”?

      Save you typing out your stupid ideas…

    • Stonky

      “One thing which does not get sufficient mention is that the record shows that liberal democracy has not established much of a toe-hold in Arab states…”

      I don’t know why you suddenly decided to go off on this tangent. But for all that your argument is much-loved by stupid people, it is utterly facile, because it it a mile wide and an inch deep. The Arab states to which you refer with such condescension have spent decades being occupied, colonised, exploited, robbed and abused by a number of other countries, principally the UK and France. Many of them have had the shit bombed out of them by the USA. Weapons have been pumped in to foment discord or to shore up dictators, and thugs, bullies and murderers have been placed in charge, not because the people wanted it, but because the UK, France and the USA wanted it.

      Israel, in contrast, has never been occupied, colonised, exploited, robbed and abused by the UK and France. It has never had the shit bombed out of it by the USA. Neither the UK, France, or the USA has ever pumped weapons into Israel to foment discord, or placed a thug, bully or murderer in charge of Israel. I rather suspect that if Israel spent the next fifty years being abused in the way that the Arab States have been abused by the West, their democracy might have a few holes in it by the end of the day.

      “I cannot, off-hand, think of a single Arab state from Morocco in the West to Iraq in the East which has not changed governments without violence…”

      Well that is certainly true of the “transfer of power” that took place in Iran in 1953, when the US/UK run coup d’etat replaced the democratically-elected Mossaddegh with the Shit of Iran. But you seem to be informed enough to be aware that Iranians are not Arabs, which allows you to ignore the fact that they have been treated by the West the same as if they were.

      • MaryPaul

        The Algerians have tried to establish an Islamic Socialist Republic there since they escaped from French colonialism. The extreme violence they have suffered has come from within, nothing to do with intervention by Western powers. Morocco seems to function effectively as a monarchy.

        Tunisia was a functional dictatorship until relatively recently. I was on holiday there a few years ago and toured extensively. I even stayed at the hotel where the recent massacre took place, outside Sousse. It all seemed peaceful.

        Two factors seem to contribute to disruption, even in Middle Eastern and North African countries with no significant US or UK influence: the murderous hold radical Islam exerts on many young Muslim men in particular and the jockeying for power and resulting violence by local factions whenever there is a power vacuum at the top.

    • laguerre

      Israel is an ethnocracy. The members of that ethnic identity club together, above all else, as Israel proves.

    • james

      as our so called western demonstrate so well, it isn’t worth the currency it is given.. let the middle east figure out what is of concern for the middle east and show some democracy by keeping this western style regime change and murder at home with all the military gear that goes with it… the western democracies are first class hypocrites and those who preach for them not much better – hey! that would be you!!

    • Ken Kenn

      The First and Second World Wars weren’t exactly a quiet act of re-arranging the Imperial furniture was it?

      Pompous Western prattle from you Charles.

      The ” civilised ” versus the “uncivilised ” – ” failed states ” routine.

      You know, for all the windy words of Hitchens – Amis and so on great thinkers of our time, it all comes down to the view that: We (the West ) are Democracies – they ( the unciviliised are not ). Ergo we in the West reserve the right to
      civilise them just because we are ” civilised ” purely because we are democracies.

  • Dec

    Putin’s comment is stunningly idiotic. It removes, at a stroke, the only plausible alternative, which is that these people were operated by a third country: Ukraine etc. Their movements have no plausibly innocent explanation, and now that he has effectively presumed their innocence of the only crime that could exonerate him, he has implicated himself by default. If there was a need to identify them, why not say simply that they are not government employees and their actions will be investigated, leaving space to claim they are the agents of another country? The one thing neither side can reasonably claim is that they are not criminals.

      • Anders Novichok

        So glad that Putin has managed to get that information out of them. Presumably they will have payment records showing they were paid by persons unknown and Putin agrees that leaving his country under false identities isn’t a crime.

        As they are patsies, they’ll no-doubt be handed over to the UK police to spend the rest of their natural lives in jail or at the very least the Russians won’t reward them by not charging them with treason?

        This thread should read ” Skripals, the “mystery” shallows “.
        You Russophiles are as incompetent as Russian state assassins.

        • Dory

          Your Russophobe drivel doesn’t how much competence either, so I guess it’s a balanced state of things.

        • Borncynical

          For the second time I shall ask you for a link to evidence that they were travelling under false identities – and, no I don’t want to see statement from Theresa May .
          “As” should read “If” in order for your conclusions to appear to make any sense at all.
          With all due respect you might get a more supportive response if you post on the Daily Mail website along with all the other gullible people.

          • Dec

            Again, if they were travelling under their real identities, and the whole thing is a deception, the strongest card Russia could play would be to reveal them, and give the story of how they were conned.

          • Borncynical


            I agree. Although Theresa May et al are so determined to prove themselves right she will probably just get Gavin Williamson to come out with his immortal words “Go away and shut up”, and tell all of us not to believe a word of it. It remains to be seen what the Russians could produce in the way of evidence that would be genuinely irrefutable.

      • Dec

        If so they cannot have used false passports without being complicit, and if they used their real identities Russia would already have run a press conference with them, giving full details of the deception.

    • Tom Welsh

      No. The plausible – indeed, certain – alternative is that the whole nonsensical farrago was made up out of whole cloth by the halfwits in London – possibly assisted by the murderous halfwits in Washington.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Putin’s comment is stunningly idiotic”.

      If you will rephrase your comment in the first person singular, I believe that it will prove singularly accurate.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Putin made comment in Vladivostok and asked them to present themselves to the Media. It is unclear what he can do otherwise. Obviously in UK people can be arrested on a whim and shipped off to any country – esp. USA – without a hearing.

      Uk however NEVER extradites anyone to Russia no matter how much loot they have stolen

    • laguerre

      “Putin’s comment is stunningly idiotic. ”

      That’s silly, isn’t it? Anyone who has a micro-cell of commonsense in his head knows that Putin thinks out well his responses, and if he says these people can be produced to face the media, they will be. May must be terrified.

    • MaryPaul

      SKRIPAL: As above, I am waiting with interest for our teo Russian visitors to Salisbury back in March, to be unveiled as simple tourists with a keen interest in British history and historic towns.

  • Sharp Ears

    There is a recording of today’s PMQs on here. Blog commentary from the bottom upwards.

    I notice some MPs are wearing badges of wheat stalks. No food bank needed today by the MPs. They are getting free dinners. Nice.

    ‘MPs will be wearing a wheat-pin badge in support of Back British Farming Day on the 12 September, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of British food and farming.
    The badge will be made from British wheat and wool to symbolise the products provided by British farmers. Along with wearing the badges, MPs will enjoy 9,000 Back British Farming meals in parliament made from solely British sourced ingredients.
    NFU president, Minette Batters said: “By wearing the wheat-pin badge politicians are not only showing their support for British food and farming but acknowledging that they have a part to play in shaping the future of domestic agriculture and food production.’

    • Loony

      Unlike you Tim Martin stands to pay a price if his decision is in error.

      No-one is forced to patronize Wetherspoons and if people do not agree with this, or any other Wetherspoons policy, they can simply take their custom elsewhere. Should this transpire then Tim Martin will lose money – perhaps a lot of money.

      What exactly do you stand to lose? Answer absolutely nothing. But you do of course gain the opportunity for some risk free sniping at a policy that effects you not at all.

      This is an example in microcosm as to why you and people like you ultimately stand no chance at all. Some people are prepared to take decisions and to pay a price should their decisions be erroneous. Others are prepared to take no decisions at all but are more than happy to criticize the decisions of others – except of course you do not really offer any criticisms rather you prefer to smear the decisions of others.

      This is not likely to be a winning strategy as the weak get crushed while the strong grow stronger. That you have chosen to make yourself weak is really no-ones problem but your own.

      • James

        A bit harsh all that stuff about standing no chance and the weak getting crushed. Heck, it was only a flippant comment about an equally flippant remark by Mr Martin.
        I think he is personally a bit of an old fraud, but he clearly has entrepreneurial flair, and he hit on the superb original idea of finding premises for the lowest possible rental, and maximising trading hours by opening for breakfast. Not entirely original perhaps, and massively underpinned by Phoney Tony’s push towards “continental-style” opening hours and all-day drinking, but he has built up a strong brand by being extremely consistent and adhering closely to his innovative model. Despite a sluggish start in the business, crucially Martin persisted with his basic idea, and eventually reached a “critical mass” where economies of scale started to improve profitability. The austerity since recession hitting in 2007/8 has been a Godsend for Mr Martin, as indeed it has been for several other businesses like Aldi, B&M, even Amazon. Wetherspoons were fortunately already well-established as a reliable cheap ‘n’ cheerful place for a full English, a burger and a pint for lunch, or a steak and bottle of red (and a few pints) of an evening. No wonder we’re all so grotesquely obese these days!
        Weird that he is so strongly pro Britain leaving the EU though. When the Czech chicks and Bulgarian boys cease to come to UK, Mr M will find himself horribly short of good staff prepared to graft away at such unsociable hours (or should that be sociable hours?!) for a minimum wage. The majority of the workforce in the UK hospitality sector is migrant labour, I’ve seen figures as high as 80%. Probably exaggerated, but still odd that Martin should wish to take the risk. There appears to be no upside for his business, and one must assume that his strong pro leave stance is probably predicated purely on jingoism.

  • Anders Novichok

    Hilarious the lot of you….
    First of all it was these people weren’t poisoned at all, they’re fine.
    They’ve been kidnapped and interviewed under duress….
    They’ve been refused consular access…..
    The evidence that two Russians exist is manufactured……. (See the impossible photograph)
    The evidence that they visited the UK was manufactured……….
    As Putin explained today, there is nothing illegal and they will come forward dressed as civilians, presumably under the names they used to travel as they couldn’t possibly break Russian law and leave the country under false names, could they? They presumably disclosed the nature and length of their visit on the Visas they applied for too?
    Standby for more evidence, gathered in Russia by foreign agencies including photographs of the men who have served in the military.
    Why didn’t Putin continue his concern for the ex-spy and Russian citizen being held against their will by the UK govt.

    • joel

      More mirth provoking for most is an actual government pronouncing Putin personally guilty on the day of the poisoning, absent any evidence or motive.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Theresa May conceded her guilt in the murder of Kim Jong-nam through the medium of Porton Down developed VX nerve agent

    • MJ

      “First of all it was these people weren’t poisoned at all, they’re fine”

      Clearly not poisoned by any deadly, “military-grade” nerve agent worthy of the name.

    • A.C.Doyle

      The chief problem being addressed here in this thread is that the official explanation defies belief, and much more plausible alternatives are being sought and considered.

      Incidentally, I find the quality of the trolling here remarkably low. Can such authors not find another site where their contributions would blend in less conspicuously ?

      • SA

        The way to handle trolls is to starve them by ignoring them. I know the very name is a giveaway and it is tempting but arguing with a robot is not very productive as it is working on algorithms.

    • Agent Green

      He would have little concern for Mr. Skripal, in any event – regardless of the situation. The man is a convicted traitor.

    • Borncyncial

      “Why didn’t Putin continue his concern for the ex-spy and Russian citizen being held against their will by the UK govt[?]”
      You’re clearly not following events closely enough. I suggest you read through the (London) Russian Embassy’s website to keep yourself fully abreast of what’s going on. Well you won’t get any information from the UK Government. I know, don’t bother saying it, I’ll save you having to post the comment: why should you believe what the Russian Embassy say? Yeah, yeah.

  • Charles Bostock

    Brilliant! 🙂

    Having paid that tribute, I accuse you, in the name of most on here, of being a globalising, fascist, racist anti-Russian cocaine-sniffer , and a shill and stooge for the Western Powers That Be in their rabid, running dog efforts to launch WW3 a week from tomorrow with a view to bringing about the Rapture. As one of the undead would probably like to say, you should be put against a wall and shot.

    Yours in sorrowful delight,


    • Sir Christopher "Cockerell" Cummings

      Shot? Too quick and painless a demise for you, pal!
      You should be forced, like the Skripals, to listen to a lengthy recital of Widor’s 5th Symphony out of head on acid in a gigantic, cold medieval building, before being force fed shit pizza with boiled potatoes on it, and then subjected to ritual humiliation in a clinical setting for weeks. You would then be properly “disappeared”, but you would be too disorientated to care how….

      • Sharp Ears

        No. The sound of Arab children who have been injured by missiles sent down on them by the USUKIsNATO axis, screaming as their dressings are changed. On a loop. In a cold cell without lighting. On a remote island.

        I have recommended the same for Blair,

    • Blunderbuss

      Were the Skripals in Salisbury cathedral during the missing 4 hours? Should we be looking for a blonde Russian with a red handbag posing as a female bishop?

  • joel

    Never mind dissenters’ speculations, what do you think of the official narrative of our elected government?

    • Clark

      Just guessing, but these people on the Talk page probably need a “reliable source” that mentions the four hours. If Wiki editors just mention it themselves, that’s “original research” and will be removed as such; those are the rules.

      This is an ongoing event so the only available “reliable sources” are the mainstream media and official statements. Probably, the four hours will eventually be mentioned in a published book, but we’ll have to wait for that.

      If people do keep clamouring to mention the four hours without finding such a citation from a “reliable source”, they are indeed being disruptive, through ignorance of the rules. The best they could do would be to find a wording that makes the four hours obvious without trying to specifically highlight it.

    • JOML

      Thanks, Tony – seems straightforward when you tell the simple truth. Doubt this type of candid talk would appear on UK TV.

  • Sharp Ears

    Ongoing debate on Salisbury taking place now in the HoC. Hardly anyone there!

    Ben Wallace ex Qinietiq Scots Guards Sandhurst blah blah. He is holding the line. Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime. Suggest he directs his energies on the latter. A great deal of economic crime as been carried out against the British people.

    Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds Lab MP Torfaen – Leo Abse’s old seat.

    • Hatuey

      Caught red handed. When the dust settles on Syria, the Labour Party, and Brexit etc., Israel is going to come out of this chaotic phase in history the most hated, trouble-making country on earth. If they had any sense they’d pipe down but they can’t resist pushing too far at every juncture.

      • Tony_0pmoc


        I couldn’t agree more. I said the same thing to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago, who was trying to defend their cause. I said what has been going on recently, particularly the outrageous attacks on Corbyn who is the least racist person anyone could ever come across is completely counter-productive to the cause which you are trying to defend. It is completely embarrassing to the vast majority of the community.

        He eventually agreed with me, which I admit did surprise me. I don’t normally discus these things with friends.


  • Sharp Ears

    Good news from the supermarket. People are getting the message. Piles of Israeli avocados were reduced. 89p down to 50p. Soon they will have to be given away.

    • Loony

      So your aim in supporting Palestinians is to use their plight as a conduit for your obtaining free food. The morality of such a stance escapes my immediate understanding.

      • Borncynical

        I presume you may not be British as irony is a markedly British stylistic device, often misunderstood by non-British people. Or Irish people, judging from my mother’s own failure to grasp it.

      • Sharp Ears

        Nothing whatsoever to do with ‘free food’ Loony. The point I was making is that BDS is working and the supermarket is desperate to get rid of the stock before it rots.

        • Loony

          That is not what your original post stated. Either you chose your words badly or you are engaged in revisionism.

    • laguerre

      I tried to convince the vendors in our local market in Nanterre, not to sell Israeli fruit, without success so far. But the local Egyptian-owned greengrocers (shop) went bust shortly after beginning to sell Israeli products. They’re very Muslim round here.

    • Hatuey

      I wouldn’t get too excited. Im pretty sure that agricultural exports account for less than 2% of total exports from Israel…

  • Les behavinou

    Should read –
    Skripals- the mystery shallows.

    All the theorists are trying to prove it off topic.

    • Tintin Quarantino

      Key points

      The Skripals were exposed to a phosphoroamidofluoridate compound named A-234, of high purity indicating that it was most likely prepared for research purposes.

      A-234 or similar compounds have been synthesized at bench scale by national chemical defence labs in Russia and the US in the 1990s, and more recently in Iran and Czech. A small quantity of A-234 from a Russian state lab was used in the murder of Ivan Kivelidi and Zara Ismailova in 1995.

      No data on the toxicity of A-234 are available in the public domain. The police statement that the Skripals were exposed through contact with their front door is implausible as there are no known nerve agents that cause onset of symptoms delayed by several hours, and it is improbable that absorption through the skin would cause both individuals to collapse later at exactly the same time.
      Although Russia is one of several countries that have synthesized A-234 or similar compounds, there is no evidence other than Vil Mirzayanov’s story that these compounds were ever developed (implying industrial-scale production and testing of munitions) for military use. Mirzayanov’s credibility as an independent whistleblower is undermined by his role in a Tatar separatist movement during 2008-2009, backed by the US State Department.

      There are multiple indications that the UK is hiding information:-
      the withholding of the identity of the compound as A-234. For example, the UK statement to the OSCE 12 April 2018 states only that ‘ the name and structure of that identified toxic chemical is contained in the fall classified report to States Parties’. See also this briefing. The Chief Executive of Porton Down, in his statement 3 April, referred to the compound only as ‘Novichok’.
      the withholding of information about its toxicity
      the issue of a Defence and Security Media Advisory notice on the identity of Skripal’s MI6 handler and the attempt to conceal or deny his role in Orbis Business Intelligence.
      the sequestration of Yulia Skripal.
      The UK government’s case against Russia, stated in a letter to NATO, is based on asserting that “only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and motive for the attack on the Skripals”.
      Each of these points is open to question:-
      Technical means: it is not seriously disputed that compounds such as A-234 can be produced at bench scale in any modern chemistry lab.
      Operational experience: it is alleged that Russia has a track record of state-sponsored assassination, but this is not enough to support the assertion that “only Russia” could have enough experience to attempt unsuccessfully to assassinate two unprotected individuals.
      Motive: No other attempted assassinations of defectors from Russian intelligence services have been recorded. Even if such an assassination campaign had been ordered, the Russian state would have good reasons not to initiate it in the first half of 2018. In contrast there are obvious possible motives (outlined below) for other actors to have taken steps to silence Sergei Skripal at this time.

      • Olaf S

        “. Mirzayanov’s credibility as an independent whistleblower is undermined by his role in a Tatar separatist movement during 2008-2009, backed by the US State Department”.

        And perhaps by being indebted to Soros? (according to the biographical stuff published in the Guardian earlier this year),.

  • Clark

    I’m going to present a guess, but first present some facts upon which I’m basing it.

    Whatever poison the Skripals suffered, mainstream reports indicate that it wasn’t particularly strong or deadly. If the frankly ludicrous door-knob allegations are accepted, its effects also have a delayed onset.

    The original technical description of the so-called ‘novichok’ nerve agents said that the objective of developing them was to find a chemical weapon that could be made immediately prior to use by mixing commercially available substances. Oganophosphate pesticides were chosen as likely candidates for such precursors, and development had considerable but limited success, resulting in a range of poisons.

    So my guess is that a lot of the secrecy may be about concealing the potential fact that you can walk into your local hardware shop, buy, say, some weedkiller and some caustic soda or bleach or something, and make a kilo of nerve agent in under an hour. It is even possible that some massive agri-chemical multinational is threatening to sue the UK government should this information be released.

    If this guess has any validity, an operation to remove the offending chemical from shop shelves would reveal its identity, as would applying an immediate ban. Instead, the supply would have to be secretly stopped at the point of manufacture. Maybe an alternative chemical would have to start being shipped in the same packaging, hoping that none of our “thousands upon thousands of home-grown terrorists” notice until the supply chain has been thoroughly flushed through.

      • Rowan

        “The original technical description of the so-called ‘novichok’ nerve agents said that the objective of developing them was to find a chemical weapon that could be made immediately prior to use by mixing commercially available substances.” Clark, can you source that statement please? BTW, did anyone ever manage to find any authoritative source for the claim that a ‘reference sample’ of BZ could and would have been sent to the Swiss lab along with the A-234 as a matter of routine? It seems quite absurd to me.

    • Cockerell

      That guess about making homespun nerve agent using easily-available materials has no validity, within the confines of my knowledge of chemistry. Your reasoning about some problems in maintaining secrecy under such (hypothetical) circumstances is, however, impeccable.
      Organophosphorus nerve agents, such as sarin, tabun, VX etc, are not particularly difficult to synthesise, in terms of the actual chemistry involved. A practical problem in trying to achieve this in anything other than a sophisticated facility is their extreme toxicity. Even the most meticulous and experienced organic chemist would be insane to attempt a synthesis, even in a well-equipped industrial laboratory. Not because he could not easily succeed in making it, but because he would almost certainly die.
      Albert Hoffman, the chemist who accidentally discovered the effects of LSD when working in the fabulously equipped laboratories of Sandoz in the late 30’s is a good illustration of my meaning. LSD-25 is a far more demanding organic synthesis than, say, tabun or sarin. He ingested perhaps less than 50 micrograms of his newly-synthesised substance by accident, and thereby discovered the phenomenal psychoactive potency of the chemical. If he had been working with tabun he would have been dead. Hoffman was an experienced and fastidious chemist.
      The Soviet Novichok program, as I understand it, was an effort to circumvent the restrictions already in place on certain precursor chemicals in the manufacture of the older nerve agents. There were were several other objectives to the novichok program, we are told, though which of those were actually met is secret. The idea of binary agents is a bit of a red herring, by the way. The idea of completing the final stage of the synthesis of the active and deadly nerve agent by combining two (much less deadly) chemicals upon delivery of the weapon has been around as an idea since Schrader discovered tabun at IG in the 1930s, and was perfected in practice, like much else, in the 1950s-60s. There are other benefits to binaries, such as longer shelf-life, but there is nothing new, exotic or mysterious about them.
      It is entirely implausible that any easy synthesis of anything resembling a nerve agent could be achieved using precursor chemicals available in the shops, even if those shops are speciality chemical purveyors. You might contrast this with, say, the home synthesis of TATP, an explosive substance allegedly responsible for the 7/7 London attacks in 2005. That is entirely straightforward to manufacture in the kitchen sink, quite literally, though the crystallisation into a usable material is fraught with danger, and it cannot be usefully stabilised, as far as I’m aware. So kind of the same risk as making nerve agent, though on a vastly lower scale.
      I am sorry that you find my nom de guerre pretentious. I suppose it is really.
      prosperum iter facias!

      • Tony_0pmoc


        I have no reason to argue with you. I found this quite interesting and related. You need to scroll down to read it.


        “The stars of Operation Julie were a group of hippies who were living in mid-Wales in the mid-1970s and who had allegedly set up an LSD factory with the intention of manufacturing enormous quantities of the drug in order to spike the reservoirs supplying water to Birmingham with the aim of enablling the Brummies to receive the beneficial effects of getting off their heads. The spiking of the reservoirs story is the one thing that many people think that they know about Operation Julie, but that is also something for which there doesn’t seem to be much evidence. Some of the people from mid-Wales who were convicted did subscribe to the idea that taking LSD was a good idea – they took LSD themselves and had no doubt made a bit of it, but that’s about where the truth ends. As the years have passed, there has been increasing disquiet expressed about what happened during Operation Julie, the lies that the police fed to the media – that the media then obediently and very successfully promulgated – and regarding the fact at least one of those imprisoned did no more than make sandwiches for her boyfriend who was alleged to be making the LSD. Bentley himself claims that during the course of Operation Julie the undercover officers uncovered far more serious crime which was ‘handed over’ to others to deal with.”


        • Dave Lawton

          September 12, 2018 at 17:50
          Fake evidence.There is a lot of it about.

          Tony with regard to the prosecution evidence presented at Bristol Crown Court were
          photographs of headless torsos as proof LSD blows your head off.


      • Clark

        Cockerell, I apologise. My ‘pretentiousness’ remark was unduly harsh. I think it was collateral damage; you had replied to Rhys Jaggar, who rarely fails to annoy me.

        • Cockerell

          Apology accepted, though not xpected or required. In common with these blogs, and wholly xpected, the comments are to be taken with a pinch of an (alkaloid hydrochloride) salt.
          I have attempted severally to inject a spot of Pythonesque levity (the gay Dutch organist hypothesis) into the proceedings, but the Mods don’t seem keen.
          More alkaloids….

    • Den Lille Abe

      Ahh but you can!! 🙂 np. The problem lies in that it is shit dangerous synthesizing it. That might very well be fatal, ok on a hobby plane it WOULD be fatal. Its just stuff you stay away from, even in a multi million dolllar lab. it ids deadly. Better play Russian Roulette with your revolver, chances are better.

    • Blunderbuss

      Interesting comment from Putin. Not “report to your nearest police station” but “report to your nearest media outlet”. I can’t imagine that happening in Britain.

  • Beth

    Just written to MP asking him and the SNP to back Emily Thornberry on her question about Syria. It seems that because the last attack was so obviously faked they are really going to kill kidnapped children from refugee camps this time. Everyone involved absolute monsters and that includes the white helmet fakes.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      Beth, Well done. No point in writing to mine. He says one thing, but is another. I just don’t vote for him any more. If he comes round to ask why, I will tell him. Tony

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Tony_0pmoc September 12, 2018 at 18:07
        Why tell him? Just offer him a nice cup of Novi-tea.

    • Borncynical

      “they are really going to kill kidnapped children…” – Probably already done. Presumably dead bodies feature in the nine videos the White Helmets have purportedly produced (literally!) in the past 24 hours.

  • RobG

    I should stress that SANA are the propaganda arm of the Syrian government, and the following link should be taken as such. However, what they’re saying is now being reported by many other sources, which some people have linked to earlier in this thread.

    The obvious question, of course (on top of all the Sergie Skripal rollocks), is why the Syrian government would carry out such an attack, which would invite a massive western response, just as the Syrian government is on the verge of victory.

    You really don’t need to give answers on a postcard; although of course the usual low life trolls will try to tell you that black is white and down is up.

    God help the human race.

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