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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    • John2o2o

      Okay, well what exactly does this prove anyway?

      The point is, either you believe what the British government is saying or you don’t.

      I don’t believe them.

        • Arch Bungle

          “despite all evidence to the contrary,”

          There is actually no evidence, in fact. What is claimed as “evidence” is nothing more than a set of highlights in a narrative being spun out of whole cloth by the British Government.

  • Tom Smythe

    In other fast-breaking speculation, Nezygar, an anonymous insider writing on the Russian twitter-like site Telegram, said the most likely explanations of the poisoning were either a mafia operation or a British provocation:

    ‘’Theresa May publicly disclosed information about British intelligence having a high-rank mole within Russian military intelligence who passed confirming information. [This may refer to Sergei still running a spy ring or individual known to him previously inside GRU on behalf of Britain, in serious violation of his pardon terms. So not revenge for long-ago betrayals but for resumption of betrayals.]

    Nezygar theorised the visibility of the pair and the bungled attack “raises suspicions about their professionalism and qualification” and suggested they were not GRU. “The look of the ‘officers’ is more like members of an organised crime community.”

    Elsewhere, outspoken Russian journalist Sergey Kanev is going on about Petrov’s ‘grandfather’ Ivan Starchenko who served under Stalin as a commander of SMERSH’s 31st shooting brigade during the Second World War on the First Ukrainian Front. SMERSH was set up by Stalin to root out and kill spies.. Petrov’s ‘grandmother’ is said to have been Nadezhda Moroz. The uncle Valery Starchenko is still around and like, Sergei’s deceased brother, was a paratrooper.

    Is this geneology based on the literal accuracy of Petrov’s name? An allusion to the “death to spies” ‘SMERSH’ unit in a revenge attempt on Skripal for secretly spying for Britain. Sending grandson Petrov to meet with Sergei would send a message. Possibly Sergei declined to reveal the name of the mole at their meeting at the park bench, even after being told it would put his daughter Yulia at risk. From snooping her emails, they knew to time their visit to her visit.

    Here the British would not be keen to reveal that they pressured Sergei into re-entering a very dangerous spy caper for which they could not provide security. Or turned around, Sergei did cooperate during the four hour phone blackout and Petrov went home happy, mission accomplished, and the British did in the Skripals with Porton Down novichok to exact their revenge for betrayal of an important mole.

    • Tom Smythe

      Here is this recent story which ties in to the above theories:

      Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark About Putin’s Plans for Midterms
      By Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg Aug. 24, 2018

      In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia’s intentions to try to tip the American presidential election — and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward — thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details.

      But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin’s intentions are for November’s midterm elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence.
      The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.

      Current and former officials also said the expulsion of American intelligence officers from Moscow has hurt collection efforts. And officials also raised the possibility that the outing of an F.B.I. informant under scrutiny by the House intelligence committee — an examination encouraged by President Trump — has had a chilling effect on intelligence collection.

      Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions. But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.

      The officials, seeking to protect methods of collection from Russia, would not provide details about lost sources, but acknowledged the degradation in the information collected from Russia.

    • N_

      If Alexander Petrov’s relations are getting named, such as his maternal grandfather Valery Starchenko, it sounds as though his “real name” (which may or may not be “Alexander Petrov”) is known to some media editors

  • Cesca

    This whole poohshow just stinks to high heaven and i’m sick of the constant lies, think it’s very possible resurrecting Salisbury now might have a lot to do with softening ppl up for a false flag CW attack in Idlib.

    Just posted this in the Indy comments, don’t expect it to last long =) :

    just now
    I note the Police have still not moved from yesterday’s statement they have no evidence the suspects have anything to do with the Russian State/Intelligence.

    The assassination attempt was totally inept, not sophisticated like May claims. The suspects, who so li’l is known about literally leapt in front of security cameras waving *Hi Mum!* I’m gobsmacked if that’s how State assassins behave.

    They could turn out to be really Russian, think it more likely they’d be involved in the many iffy activities and ppl Skripal was involved with, inclu the London Russian Oligarchs.

    Anyway, colour me surprised the usual suspects are backing May, can’t wait to see what the German Parliament thinks in a cpl of months time.

    • Cesca

      Actually, i question whether there’s any truth at all to the Salisbury narrative, it could well be a psy-ops/false flag event. We’ll prob have to wait at least 30 years to find out anything like the truth.

    • N_

      This whole poohshow just stinks to high heaven and i’m sick of the constant lies, think it’s very possible resurrecting Salisbury now might have a lot to do with softening ppl up for a false flag CW attack in Idlib.

      Yes: a big chemical attack either there or elsewhere and falsely attributed to Russia.

  • JohninMK

    From a long post by John Helmer, an Aussie journalist (a proper one) based in Moscow. Nor surprisingly he doesn’t believe a word but he has a very different timeline for the movements on Sunday in Salisbury. This is an extract from his post.

    “The next day, Sunday March 4, the suspects reportedly got off the train from London to Salisbury at 11:48. Ten minutes later, CCTV footage shows they were near the Skripal home. That was at 11:58. Prime Minister May has reported “the police say [this] was moments before the attack.”

    At that time the Skripals appear to have been at home; they have been reported by the Metropolitan Police as having driven to the Salisbury cemetery early that morning to visit the graves of Sergei Skripal’s wife and son, Yulia’s mother and brother. They then returned home from the cemetery. The new evidence from the Prime Minister puts them inside the house when the two suspects allegedly approached, and when at least one of them went up to the front door to make his alleged attack on the slim metal lever of the door handle.

    Roughly an hour then elapsed, with the Skripals inside the house and the suspects much further away, out of sight, on foot, but not heading in a direct line towards the railway station.

    According to the police timeline of the Skripals’ movements, announced by the police on March 17, just before 13:30 Sergei and Yulia Skripal left home, closing and locking their front door; got into their car; and drove towards the Salisbury city centre. By then the Skripals had either touched the door handle one after the other, or touched each other after one of them had touched the handle. The evidence of their behaviour at the car park, restaurant and pub indicate no symptoms of poisoning. The symptoms were not detected until 16:15 – approximately three hours after they and the door handle parted company. How the class of fast-acting poisons identified by the Prime Minister and prosecutors can have acted so slowly has not been made clear in the evidence.

    The Skripals parked their car at the Sainsbury’s supermarket carpark at 13:40. The suspects entered the railway station at 13:50. No attempt appears to have been made by the alleged assassins to verify the outcome of their attack on their alleged targets. While the Skripals were drinking and eating, the suspects headed for London, and then for Heathrow Airport where they waited three hours for takeoff.

    Noone has yet suggested that the suspects may have been known to Sergei Skripal and that he may have met with them inside the home or in the vicinity outside. The Prime Minister’s presentation to the Commons, and all official and media accounts published to date, ignore the possibility that Sergei Skripal was himself engaged in the operation involving the two Russians. It is known already that Skripal was planning a meeting with others soon after his restaurant dinner, and that he was anxious and angry that the slowness of the restaurant service might have made him late for the rendezvous.

    It appears from May’s statement and the press reporting which has followed her that Skripal himself, a veteran of GRU, the same military intelligence organization to which the suspects allegedly belong, has not provided witness evidence for his knowledge of who the two men were or what the motive for the operation was.”

      • N_

        What are the Daily Mail up in that spread, printing the photo of the blonde-haired woman and her companion beneath the headline “THE VICTIMS”? They refer to “two people thought to be Mr Skripal and his daughter” and refer readers to that photo. I doubt this is an error. Every piece in the British MSM about this case gets spooked up before it goes out. That’s a message. Dunno what message or who to. The blonde woman was carrying a red bag, and the Sun reported that “(The) CHILLING first pictures from the Russian spy poisoning scene in Salisbury appear to show (Sergei Skripal’s) daughter’s red handbag lying abandoned on the floor.” They ring it round in a photo. Who were that couple? I reckon there were more than two funnies out and about that day.

        • Doodlebug

          That’s the ticket N!

          If the MSM are intent on selling the line that the mystery couple were Sergei and Yulia, and that the red bag was Yulia’s, you can bet that neither is the case. I think the greater likelihood by some distance is that the couple featured in the CCTV still are Rowley and Sturgess, and that far from inadvertently removing toxic matter from Salisbury to Amesbury they were transporting it in the opposite direction.

          Didn’t an eye witness report seeing an older man and a blonde together on the park bench at some stage? and is it not possible that the blonde was NOT Yulia Skripal, but another female entirely, for however short a period of time? Yulia may have returned to the bench once the blonde had departed leaving behind the red bag. We can guess what may have happened as soon as the Skripals investigated its contents.

          And what about Wiltshire Council spending all that money (£100k) on a brand new CCTV system that failed to work when they needed it most? No wonder they couldn’t afford to empty the garbage bins for four months.

          • Doodlebug

            Quite. As you say. Neither ‘Boris’ nor ‘Pete’ is blonde, and the blonde in question did not have a beard. It’s also only just occurred to me that if, hypothetically speaking, a certain blonde lady had accidentally left a bag and its fragrant contents behind at the site of the park bench, there would have been plenty of time in the intervening months for her partner to have acquired another (bottle). We know the red bag was retrieved. We do not know what might have been inside it. Perhaps Amesbury and Salisbury are not connected by a singly bottle at all. Perhaps there were two bottles?

          • Doodlebug

            P.S. I don’t know where ‘auto-correct’ is getting its ideas from (singly indeed – ‘y’ is not even adjacent to ‘e’ on the keyboard).

        • gbrbsb

          For me, the same as Doodlebug, the couple with the the red handbag seem more like Sturgess and Rowley. The male is much too lanky and not portly enough to be Sergei Skripal and for the female both the physical shape, hair style and colour, and dress style with loose slacks and a huge attention calling hand bag, are to me much more reminiscent of Dawn than of Yulia who from other photos I’ve found dresses much more feminine and cluttered, at least in my opinion. Further, in the Airport photo leaving Moscow Yulia carries a large white handbag in one hand and a small weekend suitcase in the other so it seems strange she would bring a second handbag, especially one that wouldn’t match many outfits of the few she could fit in the small suitcase, for a short trip to see her dad.

          That said, what doesn’t fit with my theory of the couple with the red handbag being Dawn and Charlie is what is alleged to be a red handbag in the linked photo near the bench. But, is it in fact a handbag? Or did the couple with the red handbag swap it for Yulia’s when on coming out of Market Walk near the bench they saw two people spaced out on what was at first said to be drugs, (Fentanyl), in a mad moment of opportunism which addicts are not unknown for. Ok, so probably too far fetched and not being very nice to Dawn but the best I have for now.

    • jjc

      Since the Skripals are still alive, there should be no ambiguity over their movements and contacts on the day of the alleged poisoning. But the British government never refers to any information presumably obtained through interviews with the stricken pair. And the Skripals remain sequestered. The “delayed reaction” theory defies logic and the known effects of the alleged chemical.

      That their hands allegedly came in contact with a deadly liquid nerve agent from a door handle without either apparently noticing, and shortly afterwards they are handling bread which is consumed by both children and ducks without any effect – it is a ridiculous proposition. And yet….

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T but I couldn’t resist.

    ‘Operation Yellowhammer’. The bird’s song is likened to the words ‘a little bit of bread and no cheese’. Perhaps that’s what we’re in for come March 29th 2019.

    Operation Yellowhammer: ‘No-deal’ Brexit
    6 September 2018
    Government officials responsible for emergencies such as a flu pandemic have met to discuss a possible “no-deal” Brexit, leaked documents reveal.

    The disclosure was made in papers titled “Operation Yellowhammer: No-deal contingency planning”, photographed in the arms of someone leaving the Cabinet Office. The Treasury briefing documents state: “The Civil Contingencies Secretariat held a two-day workshop last week to review departments’ plans, assumptions, interdependencies and next steps.”

    • N_

      That “accidental leak” is a classic haversack ruse.

      And they are making it obvious to those who still have minds about them, because no reference to planning for a “flu pandemic” is made in the “accidentally revealed” part of the document. Perhaps the official didn’t hold their arm as planned, or they pulled out a couple of centimetres too little of the page – or perhaps it was even deliberate.

      “Scenarios such as a flu pandemic” indeed! Britain’s biological warfare defences are likely to be as shit as their chemical warfare ones. But – the government’s first and most important objective – “financial services” MUST be kept going! Imagine if moneylenders lost their debt records. Imagine if too many people got used to living and producing and relating to each other without this disgusting stuff called money. Can’t allow that!

      Malthusianism is coming home. Anyone who calls the posh boys out will be told to “get back to Russia”.

      Seriously, can we imagine a pandemic of any kind in Britain in the near future without the Kremlin getting the blame, i.e. WW3? This is what the plan is.

  • Karl Dankbars

    Beautiful Craig,

    Thank You

    Just put some bits together of my own from a slightly different angle. I hope you enjoy them 🙂

    Sergei and Julia Skripals are rescued from a shopping centre park bench, on the 4th March 2018, after an Italian meal at Zizzi’s restaurant in Salisbury and shipped to the local Hospital. (BTW That Zizzis is currently shut down for business…?)

    Yulia was visiting from Russia, her father. Her father, Sergei, who had been caught years ago by the Russians for handing over secret documents to the British Government. He was tried, sent to jail and had served 8yrs of his sentence until he became part of a diplomatic exchange by Russia, the US and the UK in 2010.

    Wiki comes up with some mysterious facts:

    We have been given the names of the ‘Spirit Twins from Gatwick’s CCTV’ or have we?
    Any reports of them speaking Russian?
    Other than the two ‘passport pics’ (Que…?) of seriously questionable quality and authenticity, do we know of anyone who admits to knowing anything,
    of their real selves, real names and actual whereabouts?

    Since the 4th March:-
    A ‘D’ notice had been put on the story…? When was that and has it been stopped now?
    Yulia, we are told(?), is well but is being kept in a safe house. Safe from WHOM?
    Sergei, we are told(?), too has recovered and is being kept in a safe house. Why?
    The Sgt who did recover from the door handle virus has said nothing to nobody, Why?
    The Russian Embassy claim they’ve been denied access to their own citizens. Why?
    We refused a visa For Yulia’s sister to come over to see her sister in England. Why?
    How long are we keeping, this 30yr old, safe in England from her own country. Why?
    Nobody, but nobody from any of the MSM have interviewed any of these people.Why?

    The Guardian 6th Sept:
    “May told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the attempted murder of Skripal,
    a former Russian military intelligence officer, and his daughterwas probably approved
    at the highest levels of the Russian government. Ben Wallace, the British security minister, said on Thursday that Putin was “ultimately responsible”.

    The Guardian 5th Sept:
    Two Russian nationals named and charged over the novichok poisoning of Sergei
    and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury have been identified as officers from Russia’s military intelligence, Theresa May has said, saying the attack was clearly authorised by Moscow.

    • giyane

      Karl Dankbars

      Most politicians have wallets for brains. I can’t help it if they mistook ” authorised by May Cow ” for Moscow. The Labour party collectively used its wallet yesterday and voted for the IHRA’s ” Apartheid rules OK”.
      For all I know the Tories want to cream off the Russian oligarchs cash rather than attack Idlib..I really don’t know what a wallet would think. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a wallet didn’t know what a brain can do.

  • Antonio Arganda

    I have believed from the beginning that this assassination attempt had nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with the Steele Dossier of ill fame. Skripal had information on it and might have been ready to spill the beans and make Hillary Clinton look very bad. It is more likely that the CIA/MI5 was behind the attempt and they bungled it.(As CIA/MI5 so often do).

    • gbrbsb

      I too think this must have something to do with the Dodgy Dossier, Steele, Miller, and Sergie who I think probably wrote the dossier whether invented, embellished or from sources he still had in Russia. I think more than Hillary the UK would would look really bad if it all came out because we would have been interfering in the US elections which is precisely what Russia is being accused of. And I say we because I don’t beleive Steele got the dossier together without UK high ups knowing and condoning it.

  • Esther

    And one of them changed his coat, both changed shoes! I think one hat is also different. Does not make sense for a short visit to carry a spare coat and shoes! Someone should have a closer look at this.

    • Shestyorka

      Hey Esther, you’re right! Well spotted!
      I guess the only reason to bring a change of clothes on such a short trip would be if you were expecting to get the clothes you were wearing a little mussed up… Like if you were planning to be spraying a deadly chemical agent around, for instance.
      OMG, Esther, you’ve provided even more evidence against this pair! What were you thinking?!?

      (Actually, I think it might just be that one set of photos is from the Saturday and the other from the Sunday, and they changed their clothes in berween. But then I’m dull like that.)

  • Vintermann

    > they are remarkably amateur assassins.

    You’re saying this as if it would cast doubt on the claim. Do your own experience with corrupt regimes and intelligence agencies suggest that they’re bastions of superhuman competence, swimming in assassins?

    You can bet that they have “situation normal, all fucked up” on the Russian side too.

    > It is also telling the police have pressed no charges against them in the case of Dawn Sturgess

    Is it? What does it tell?

    Maybe it’s telling that they won’t bother pursuing a secondary charge that would be somewhat harder to prove in court, against people who aren’t likely to turn up in court anyway.

    > There are other possibilities of who “Boshirov and Petrov” really are, of which Ukrainian is the obvious one.

    Oh, you mean the people who didn’t try to murder anyone, with something which was not a nerve agent (or was it, now?) were really from Ukraine, after all? In that case, Putin has an easy job, just find out who they are. Identify them on Ukrainian social media, Bellingcat-style. Bingo, reputation cleared.

    Your commitment bias is still really bad in this case.

    • Goose

      Operating at dusk/night would’ve made identification harder.

      Certainly approaching the door of a former spy in a street like that seems like madness in broad daylight. Maybe they were just brazen?


    I have been extremely skeptical about the Skripnal Affair from the start.

    I am perfectly ready to accept any result of investigations so long as we are given facts.

    But we have been given virtually none.

    Lots of accusations though, and coming in an era of a Hate Russia Campaign, they are worthless.

    Readers may enjoy this summary:

    • Doodlebug

      “I have been extremely skeptical about the Skripnal Affair from the start.”

      As have a great many others. I wonder for just how long Russia will remain phlegmatic in the face of such continued provocation, and on the basis of absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Two men, possibly Russian, were seen walking together in Salisbury on the day two other people, known to be Russian, were taken seriously ill is all the CPS need to prosecute the case apparently. Except they know full well the accused will not be extradited any time soon, if ever.

      Joking aside, I fancy the situation might be more dangerous than simply having the other side call ‘foul’ for ever and a day. You can’t go on sticking a pin into a bear’s backside without it eventually turning on you (Theresa).

      • JohninMK

        The Government says that the Skripol’s mobiles were switched off and couldn’t be tracked. I wonder what the status of the two suspects phones was.

        • Doodlebug

          I cannot answer that question but on a broader front I wonder why HMG is attempting to force an interpretation of events that’s like the temple of Dagon – constructed on two fundamental pillars, neither of which can stand up: The attack on the door handle and the discarded perfume dispenser.

          I can only conclude that there is a very good reason why Theresa May and her cohorts do not wish the public to understand what really happened to the Skripals.

        • joeblogs

          GPS 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.

          • joeblogs

            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’.

  • What's going on?

    One thing to bear in mind is that we have a possible GE coming up and if it is going to be used to stop Brexit then there will need to be a huge decrease in votes for the traditional parties. Hence the spotlight on anti-semitism in the Labour party, what if it were revealed that May and Boris were lying about the Skripals all along just before voters go to the polls?

    • Goose

      May wouldn’t deliberately lie on this. I think she is basically an honourable person(as much as I dislike her and her govt’s policies). She’s presenting ‘the facts’ to the best of her knowledge. Politicians would always need to keep a degree of distance for plausible deniability.

      • Doodlebug

        Thank you for this, Tom Smythe.

        “so low were the traces of Novichok in the room.” Only an incy wincy spillage when bottling the compound perhaps. Then again it was more than likely sealed in transit. Maybe the atmosphere carries traces of Novichok akin to the ocean’s harbouring Caesar’s urine.

        According to the Daily Mail’s most recent picture-book re-telling of events, Yulia Skripal was air-lifted to the hospital (a short drive away), while her father travelled by road in an ambulance. I wonder if the authorities have ear-marked that bird for interment also?

      • Doodlebug

        “Politicians would always need to keep a degree of distance for plausible deniability.”

        And that makes them worthy of contempt.

        (My response to Tom Smythe has been mis-placed unfortunately. It belongs further down the page)

        • Goose

          Most politicians aren’t sleuths or particularly brave. Accepting any thing other than the official line would open a politician up to a vicious campaign to remove him or her and literally loads of loaded questions. Look how much criticism Corbyn got for merely demanding evidence before action. Even the SNP doesn’t want to go against, what is an enforced consensus. The alternative is being accused of ‘siding with Russia’ and endless loaded questions as to why you doubt the official narrative, which there are no easy answers to.

      • Dungroanin

        Like Blair and WMD?

        If there is evidence. Why not present it? Especially if you don’t expect a trial
        What about the inquest?

    • Paul Greenwood

      A General Election cannot stop BreXit without stopping Euro Elections in 2019. The mechanism is not in place. Any second referendum would need to be “binding” on Parliament which would be a constitutional anomaly. There is no time to pass legislation and update voter lists and no possibility of 27 EU states ratifying anything. There are $76 Trillion of Derivative Contracts running over London which the EU should think about before Deutsche Bank and the EuroZone go into default.

      This is quite an Air-Fuel Explosive Mix with NO safety valve

  • nevermind

    Cesca, how many times have we heard that France,
    and/or Germany have ‘pledged’ their support for this that or the other.

    I would not give a figs ar.e for this show boat vote. Pure propaganda doing Saudia Arabias and izzahells bidding, pipeline mania ueber alles, at any price.

    And these fkuers hold the HR seat at the UN?

  • Paul Barbara

    What an abominable MSM we have! I posted this yesterday:
    ‘‘IDF confirms: Israel provided light-weapons to Syrian rebels’:
    I did a quick check for UK MSM reports – negative.
    I’ve been meaning to take it up today, but I’ve been raking through the Salisbury/’Russian’ business.
    I just checked again: nowt. Independent, Guardian, BBC, Mail, Express, Telegraph – not a whisper.
    Yet they all can’t get enough of anti-Semi^ism smears. I’m off for a late drink – I need a break.
    ‘IDF Confirms: Israel Provided Weapons, Cash to Syrian “Rebels”:

    • giyane

      Syria says they captured many weapons with Hebrew writing on them from jihadists in the Golan.

      This IDF report , published by the Jerusalem Post, demonstrates that Israeli ” Zionism ” is different from British ” Zionism “. The first is practical., pragmatic and truthful, while the latter is outrageously addicted to lying.

      Maybe this is because Israel wants to survive, while the British want to colonise the Middle East going further east to cover Myanmar and China. The British, even when it comes to their nearest neighbour, Ireland, still always lie. Israel is capable of reporting the truth, in a truthful way.

      This blatant , outrageous deceit about Novichok that has been taken by Mrs May to the UN today, is a classic piece of British deception. And the whole world knows this. The only people who don’t know it are the wonks in UK politics who think that it’s acceptable to lie all the time. And then project their lying onto other people who are truthful. Outrageous is not the word. Mad.

      • JohninMK

        There was a report that the item in the JP had been pulled down by the Israeli military censor. Really don’t understand how it was published in the first place. Perhaps shows a degree of press Independence in Israel that doesn’t exist in the UK.

  • Linda S.

    Sky News had an updated version of the story in which the Russians smeared the doorknob at 12 when it was “not known” if the Skripals were in the house at that point or not. I am wondering why the Skripals have not been ASKED what they were doing during those missing, phone-free hours??

    • JohninMK

      It is difficult to imagine that they weren’t. It just that the public is not to be trusted with the answers. We might come to the wrong conclusions.

    • DiggerUK

      I haven’t seen any suggestion that the door handle was smeared on the day of the claimed reconnaissance by the CTV 2, as opposed to the next day, when the Skripals and Bailey went in to hospital.
      It would make the claim about the poison having time to degrade more difficult to maintain. It would also make the original “10 times more potent than VX” line look even more for foolish however…_

  • Hatuey

    It’s very entertaining to see so many people jump to conclusions and tell us what they “believe” happened to the skripals. But there’s a big problem.

    Q) Does anyone really believe the information required to allow you to fully understand what happened in this case in is the public domain?

    Of course, it isn’t, and it probably never will be.

    • giyane

      My strategy for liars is to insert a negative. It won’t get you to the truth, but it’ll be one whole lot closer to the truth than the original lie.
      Translation of Karen Pierc to the UN today:

      “Turning to the risk of the use of chemical weapons over Idlib and taking account of what the Russian representative said: Agatha Christie is a fiction writer. What’s fact, Madam President, is that the Syrian Authorities have been found to have [not] used chemical weapons against their own people. So what we hear from the Russian Ambassador is a [correct summary] of the facts; a [confirmation] of the concern for protection of civilians that this Council has mandated; a [confirmation] of what the rules based international order, of multilateralism is all about; and fundamentally, a [confirmation] of what governments are supposed to do, which is their first duty – is to protect their people and to keep their people safe.”

      This what the British representative to the UN should have said in order to speed up the restoration of peace to Syria and the Middle East. Instead she said the opposite.

      “Woe on this day to the liars”

      • Borncynical

        I was gobsmacked at her audacity to say that (1) the Russians had refused the UK’s request to help with the enquiry (2) that the UK has complied with strict rules of international law throughout the investigation process and (3)[I’m saving the best ’til last] that the UK (“unlike Russia”) believes strongly in innocent until proven guilty which is why the UK is going to all this trouble to present evidence. She then had the nerve to declare that the Russians are living in a parallel universe if they can’t see the evidence for what it is. Like you, I thought at the time that you could swap UK for Russia and vice versa in all these statements and it would be closer to the truth.

        • N_

          Have the CPS or police tried to contact the two men to tell them they’ve been charged? Why not? The men gave addresses when they applied for visas. Perhaps they would like the chance to clear their names. If letters are returned to sender or the poshboy regime forces for some reason know that the addresses aren’t current, then ask the Russian government to help find them. Best to give them the men’s fingerprints too, which we know the poshboy forces have got. In reality it doesn’t appear that the poshboys want to try these men in an English court at all. But they do want to gang up on Russia and also to drag the name of Russia through the sh*t in the minds of the British population. This is just so long as people don’t ask “what about the Tories’ and City boys’ oligarch friends then?” but few will ask if the MSM doesn’t give them the OK.

          Strange how Britgov hasn’t announced any measures against Russia yet. They could kick RT out of the country tomorrow if they wanted. What are they waiting for? Haven’t they got the guts? True, the upper end of the London property market would collapse if oligarchs dumped some of their holdings. But many markets are going to collapse anyway. I think they’re waiting for something. To judge from that haversack ruse it might be biological rather than chemical this time.

    • Anon1

      But, but, the timings on the video are the same!

      One has to understand that the fantasists on here don’t consider themselves to be ordinary people (sheeple). They think their internet research has given them special powers to know what’s *really* happening. And of course their “research” always leads to the same conclusion: Russia innocent, West evil. This despite Russia being a virtual mafia state where opposition candidates are jailed, journalists routinely murdered and dissidents assassinated. Even Craig agrees that the Russian state poisoned Litvinenko, but none of the loons here will entertain the idea.

      • Doodlebug

        Perhaps, as a realist, you could explain why HMG is attempting to force an interpretation of events that’s like the temple of Dagon – constructed on two fundamental pillars, neither of which can stand up: The attack on the door handle and the discarded perfume dispenser.

        There must be a very good reason why Theresa May and her cohorts do not wish the public to understand what really happened to the Skripals.

  • fwl

    Remember that classic Walter Matthau cold War light spook satire Hopscotch in which opposite sides are united by the desire to keep spook truths out of the public domain.

  • Tom Smythe

    So here are dates for the hotel room search, direct from Basu:

    “On 4 May 2018, tests were carried out in the hotel room where the suspects had stayed. A number of samples were tested at DSTL at Porton Down. Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok at levels below that which would cause concern for public health. A decision was made to take further samples from the room as a precautionary measure, including in the same areas originally tested, and all results came back negative. We believe the first process of taking swabs removed the contamination, so low were the traces of Novichok in the room.”

    Note the lack of key details: a “number” of swabs were taken. Where? — the sites not revealed. Two are said positive (but harmless). The number of negatives in the first round is not provided. It would take hundreds of thousands of swabs even in a small room to “remove contamination”. Meanwhile they have supposedly taken expensive police cars to lined landfills — why not just swab them out a bit. Ditto the houses, helicopters, hospital receiving, Amesbury apt and so on.

    Even more conveniently, none of the guests who stayed in this room between March 3rd and May 4th suffered any ill effects. Nor did the cleaning staff of the two star hotel who evidently did not once clean the area so easily cleaned with a couple of swipes. Today Basu is appealing to them to contact police because the police have not themselves contacted subsequent room tenants. How does Basu know none have suffered ‘ill effects’ — half could have died for all that he knows.

    So it was 60 days on, May 4th, before they had identified suspects and determined where they stayed.

    “Previously, during a search of Charlie’s home address in Muggleton Road on 10 July a small box labelled as Nina Ricci Premier Jour was recovered from a rubbish bag in the kitchen. On 11 July a small glass bottle with a modified nozzle was found on a kitchen worktop. Tests undertaken at DSTL established the bottle contained a significant amount of Novichok.

    Cannot Basu bring himself to simply say how many milliliters of liquid (or was it microliters / nanoliters / a full bottle)?. This is really critical when it comes to OPCW getting an adequate sample.

    The incident with Dawn and Charley occurred on Saturday June 30. So we are just now learning that police first sought to test a high priority liquid dispenser on the kitchen countertop on day 11. Hiding in plain sight while they tested the packaging? This is after a perfume bottle was suspected by police as a possible vehicle back on March 6th or so.

    We cannot account for the whereabouts of the bottle, nozzle or box between the attack on the Skripals on 4 March and when Charlie Rowley said he found it on Wednesday, 27 June.

    Did you see this pink box or glass bottle during that time? No, but I saw a poorly lit picture of a gold perfume box that looked just like it in your set of clunk amateurish graphics.

    The picture with them wearing different shoes, hat and pants, with pudgy cheeks and long lean jaw is linked below, labelled Salisbury train station at 16:11hrs on surveillance day. These two appear to be different people than Petrov and Boshirov, possibly undercutting a first visit.

    • Doodlebug

      @Tom Smythe

      Sorry but my response to your excellent post got mis-placed (I must have pressed ‘button B’ by mistake). Please see up the ways at 22:50 where you’ll find the appropriate comment inappropriately positioned beneath that of ‘Goose’.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I am pleased that the Independent Research Lab at Porton Down can provide independent information to the Government unlike those weapons labs in other countries which are not independent

  • Goose

    If Russia have done it as presented. Aren’t we near the point where they may as well just admit it? If it were say a rogue element in the GRU seeking retaliation on a former spy, the Russian leadership would deny knowledge. At what point is denial more costly than admission?

    Note I ‘m not saying they did, because there has been no trial or inquiry.

    • Igor M.

      So “Novichok” is featured in Strike Back on 21st Nov and 27th Nov with the story wrapping up on 31st Jan (UK air dates with US air dates being just before and just after the “Novichok affair”), and the Russians go: “yup, let’s do the Novichok!” and do do it on 4th March?!

    • Anon1

      If they admitted it then I would expect to see comments on here claiming that the UK/US/Israel had created a chemical agent that forced them to say things that aren’t true.

      • Igor M.

        And what will you say when, say in 5-10 years time, it would transpire that this whole thing had nothing to do with the Russian state or Russians, just like Saddam didn’t have the WMD that were the reason for latest Iraqi invasion?

        • Borncynical

          He and other brainwashed unfortunates and MSM will, if we’re all still alive, simply say “Well would you believe it? Weren’t the Government clever to have been so convincing? But why didn’t the Russians prove to us that they didn’t do it?”

          • Goose

            You misunderstood my point .

            What I think is irrelevant on this – for what it’s worth I think there a loads of anomalies with the official story, bizarre behaviour and unanswered questions as Craig has expertly illustrated. My point however, is the fact it’s getting to the point diplomatically, with sanctions, and now other unspecified threats etc where denial and the ongoing scandal is worse than had they owned up and ended the mess some time ago.

          • joeblogs

            A rough paraphrase of your comment:
            ‘Yeh c’mon, jus’ ‘fess up, ‘n’ we’ll lay off wi’ th’ eleccy flex, you darn rooski’
            The third degree sounds like justice to you, does it?

          • Doodlebug


            So the Russians should enter a plea bargain to avoid ‘the chair’, is that it? But shouldn’t the trial come first?

            Evidence for the prosecution: ‘Two men, thought to be Russians, have been seen walking together in Salisbury m’lord.’ (At which point the judge invites prosecuting counsel to approach the bench!)

            The UK has no case against Russia whatsoever, never mind a provable one. Hence there is nothing for the Russians to confess to.

      • Gary Weglarz

        Anon1 – at this point claiming to believe in and trust the British authorities endless dissembling and ever changing stories on this matter is roughly the equivalent of staking claim to believing in the existence of the Easter Bunny and Santa. But hey, “critical thinking” and “reality” isn’t for everyone – that’s quite evident.

  • Shestyorka

    So, these are a pair of the Ukrainians then? Operating on genuine, consecutively numbered Russian passports? Brilliant. It won’t take the Russian authorities long to find out how they frauduently obtained the documents and where they got off to after flying back to Moscow. I’ll expect case closed by the end of the weekend.

  • Keith

    I would have thought the only way to put all of the supposed evidence to the test, would be to have a trial in absentia and allow a judge and jury to review everything the police have. Without having full insight into all the evidence and the ability to cross examine it, there is just too much opportunity for speculation over photos, timings, events etc to make any meaningful sense out of it. Hence the accusations of conspiracy theory and skullduggery without any real proof one way or another.

  • Shestyorka

    “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.”

    Craig, what do you mean by “a large ethnic Ukrainian group”? They all wore sharlyvary and vyshyvanki and had khokols? They only spoke Ukrainian and refused to speak Russian? Or just they were born in Ukraine? Were there any “ethnic Russian” groups of scientists as well? Did these groups operate as separate groups? And “there had been” – that could mean almost any decade. When was it? You’re now the one spraying accusations around, so come on, please be specific.

  • Timothy Hadfield

    No mystery – it’s a manufactured fairy story – with two crisis actors introduced to freshen it up, in time for America’s gassing of a bunch of Syrian civilians (and putting the blame on Assad).

  • exiled off mainstreet

    The ambassador’s statement seems to be an accurate and even charitable view of the UK spy regime’s effort to keep this story alive. One would have to be a fool or a knave to believe the story. The airport photos with the identical time stamps seem to me to be enough to torpedo the story without the additional iterations of the last day or so. The identical time stamp on the two photos reveals fraudulent intent and an amateurishness based on the public’s credulousness, up to now, regarding the official narrative. If there were two completely identical airport passages (and the photos make them appear absolutely identical, making the explanation that they are two parallel passages appear more to be an afterthought effort to explain away an obvious lie) it seems to me they would likely have disclosed this fact beforehand, since otherwise there is no explanation of the identical time stamps other than the likely one that the identical time stamp was an amateurish error by the spy agency’s operatives. This all looks like an attempt to come up with an explanation to cover up the fundamental amateurishness of this entire initiative.
    Other elements of the story are prima facie absurd, particularly the claim that “novichok traces were found in the hotel they stayed at.” Why wasn’t this fact disclosed until now, six months after the event, and if this is not a lie, why wasn’t anybody exposed who stayed in the alleged room, or cleaned it the numerous times it must have been cleaned? If traces of the stuff were discovered apparently months later, why didn’t it affect the two supposed agents? Another question begged by this absurd tissue of lies is why any serious hit man type agent would take the risk of using this method if the stuff was so lethal it could injure anyone who came in contact with it.
    In any event, a major question begged by all of this new barrel of crap is why it took the authorities six months to release it. Wouldn’t it have helped their story far more if they had released this information months ago? This creates the inference that it is all a newly concocted lie in any event. The regime’s latest new “facts” are new photos of the “suspects” in Salisbury, but there is no real indication who they are or what their purpose there was, nor do they produce any proof they even met with the Skripals, though I accept the possibility as Murray has indicated that these were people the Skripals were supposed to meet for one reason or other. The wait of six months to release these new “facts” was either due to the incompetence of the spy agencies, or its more likely rationale was that it was an attempted new wrinkle to revive a fatally compromised narrative.
    A question hovering behind all of this is what is the reason behind the entire operation. There seems to be no reasonable rationale for the Russian authorities to have engaged in this, and in light of the dangers to our continued existence posed by warfare with a nuclear power, the whole thing seems like a reckless provocation if, as appears probable, it is the UK spy state’s initiative. As a final note, in looking at some of the responses, I noticed that the chief pro-regime troll claimed to be “British”. In my experience it is only protestant Northern Irish types that make this claim. Otherwise, UK types say they are English, Scottish or Welsh. I also spotted irregularities in the troll posts suggesting that the poster was not using her native language.

    • lysias

      That chief pro-regime troll is also very anti-Irish.

      I believe that that troll’s extreme support of Israel is also shared by many Ulster Protestants.

  • lydia

    It sounds like another Mossad’s ops failure, they are not happy with the Russians helping Assad. Mossad operation failures are well documented ie their monumental stuff-ups, Lillehammer, attempted assassination of Khalid Mohammed, murders in Dubai using Aus Passports etc. They always think they are smarter than they actually are.

  • N_

    @Tom Smythe – That’s ludicrous, the idea that taking swabs removes contamination.

    BTW I was at a British airport recently (not the one where my checked-in bag got searched) and my cabin bag got swabbed for traces of explosives. A lot of bags were getting directed to the manual search channel after coming out of the X-ray machine, and although I didn’t see any others get swabbed for explosives the security guy had a lot of swabs out.

    Is there some kind of alert on?

    Is there some kind of alert on?

  • Gary Weglarz

    Why don’t the British authorities just cut to the chase and come out and say “Putin did it” – AND – they have “proof” because they found his “passport at the scene.” The old “passport at the scene trick” is a tried and true false-flag technique – just ask NATO, the CIA and Mossad. Our Western supported “moderate” jihadist head-choppers are always leaving their passports laying around when they commit the on-demand false-flag attacks the intelligence services use to fuel anti-Islam hysteria in the West. I can’t believe the British authorities are so far behind the curve on this one.

    PS – but seriously – this affair has descended so far into theatre of the absurd territory that the British government can now rightfully join my own American government – in that both now have absolutely no credibility whatsoever!

    • Doodlebug

      “I can’t believe the British authorities are so far behind the curve on this one.”

      Be fair. These things take time and practice. The ‘adjacent ID card’ was played at the time of the 7/7 London Underground bombings under the aegis of Tony Blair’s Labour government. It showed one of the ‘terrorists’ to have been responsible for two suicide bombs!

      Maybe Mi5 are still trying to figure out what they might have done to make it more convincing and are not quite so keen to go off at half-cock a second time.

      • Michael McNulty

        I think it also shows that while our security services are no doubt good at subterfuge when it’s all done in the shadows they’re just not up to it when the deception is for public consumption. These scripts need skilled writers, directors, producers and actors; but to keep their secrets–particularly the motive–they just dare not involve capable outsiders. That’s why their productions suck! Even am-dram groups can put on a decent play, but that’s likely because the plays have been performed before by those who knew their craft.

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