The Impossible Photo 1229


I am prepared to acknowledge that, given the gate design, they could have passed through different gates in exact synchronicity and this may be a red herring. I am leaving this post up here as it is good to acknowledge mistakes. Please read my updated post Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

Russia has developed an astonishing new technology enabling its secret agents to occupy precisely the same space at precisely the same time.

These CCTV images released by Scotland yard today allegedly show Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov both occupying exactly the same space at Gatwick airport at precisely the same second. 16.22.43 on 2 March 2018. Note neither photo shows the other following less than a second behind.

There is no physically possible explanation for this. You can see ten yards behind each of them, and neither has anybody behind for at least ten yards. Yet they were both photographed in the same spot at the same second.

The only possible explanations are:
1) One of the two is travelling faster than Usain Bolt can sprint
2) Scotland Yard has issued doctored CCTV images/timeline.

I am going with the Met issuing doctored images.


A number of people have pointed out a third logical possibility, that the photographs are not of the same place and they are coming through different though completely identical entry channels. The problem with that is the extreme synchronicity. You can see from the photos that the channel(s) are enclosed and quite long, and they would have had to enter different entrances to the channels. So it is remarkable they were at exactly the same point at the same time. Especially as one of them appears to be holding (wheeled?) luggage and one has only a shoulder bag.
I have traveled through Gatwick many times but cannot call to mind precisely where they are. Can anybody pinpoint the precise place in the airport? Before or after passport control? Before or after baggage collection? Before or after customs? The only part of the airport this looks like to me is shortly after leaving the plane after the bridge, and before joining the main gangway to passport control – in which case passengers are not split into separated channels at the stage this was taken. I can’t recall any close corridors as long as this after passport control. But I am open to correction.
Please read my updated post Skripals – The Mystery Deepens

1,229 thoughts on “The Impossible Photo

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    • Kula

      Top guy looks leaner. There seems to be a difference in…uh…reflectivity….between the walls in the foreground and the walls behind them.
      It’s a bit of an obvious mistake, however. You doctor an image and then forget the time stamp? Mind you, after the Skripal story so far, they could just be that…uh…dumb?

  • John Anderson

    I think those might be parallel arrival channels so they could be walking adjacent to one another at the same time but in separate channels.

  • Harry F

    Hi Craig. I know Gatwick Airport quite well. There are 3-6 such identical tunnels at international arrivals at Gatwick. So the most likely explanation is that the men walked through different tunnels at the same time.

    • RobG

      Oh, leave it out. They walked through different tunnels at the same second?!

      Albert Einstein was obviously a Russian bot, in your universe.

      • Tom De Guerre

        Craig lists two possibilities at the end of his post, and if we’re to be honest, this possibility should also be listed, however implausible you think it is.

      • Clark

        I suppose you’re now looking forward to seeing Harry F’s brains blown out, eh RobG? When you’ve killed everyone who disagrees with you, you’ll never be contradicted again, and you can have a nice bottle of burgundy to celebrate.

      • Moschops

        Well of course they did. They’re TOGETHER. They walk up to the gate TOGETHER, then they walk through two different channels. This happens every day at airports. People who are TOGETHER stay close to each other, and then they get to the channels, and they walk through them.

    • Jeff Kaye

      And what do you imagine the odds were theses two blokes reached the exact same spot at the exact same second in separate tunnels? Come on!

      • Tom De Guerre

        Better odds than that one of them can sprint faster than Usain Bolt, which is one of the above listed possibilities.

      • Moschops

        Very high. They’re together, so they’re already walking at identical speeds and are already next to each other as they approach. There would need to be a good reason for them to NOT walk through the channels still at the same speed.

        Of course, we don’t actually need to guess; we can see the picture. Two different channels, walking through at the same time. It’s right there in the picture.

    • porkpie

      Would people travelling together go down different channels? If you know the layout would that make any sense? Serious question.

      • John2o2o

        You mean parallel universes? You need to ask a physicist. Sorry, but this whole thing is just nonsense. We don’t even know who they are.

      • Moschops

        Yes, this happens a lot. Two people approach the gates. You’re meant to walk through one at a time, and there are many channels available. You can see it happen every day at airports. Groups who are together often split up, especially if there are available channels. Why would you stand and wait for your friend to go through, while there are empty channels available? This happens every day at airports. You can go and see it happen for yourself.

      • Moschops

        No, not a coincidence. They’re already together, and they’re already walking at the same speed.

    • John A

      I’ve arrived at Gatwick countless times from international flights and never seen different identical tunnels for passengers from the same flight.

      • Moschops

        These channels are for departing passengers. Pay attention next time you’re leaving. You’ll see them.

    • Ben McDonnell

      I’ve just been through Gatwick Int too, South terminal, but my memory isn’t so good and I can’t recall those tunnels. Where do they occurr? If there were 3-6 then they wouldn’t be the walkway tunnels from the aircraft to the building. Are they before or after passport control? If they are before baggage pickup and customs, then those guys don’t have checked baggage, which is possible. I agree with another poster that either those are different tunnels or they have been re-arranged in the time between the two pictures, as the side rails are different positions.

    • George_Cardiff

      Different cameras. One is at an angle (walls in the back not vertical). This is all real. The question is why did they not make any attempt to cover the plot?

      • John2o2o

        lol, I see so they are soo clever that they are able to walk at precisely the same speed down different but identical corridors and be photographed at precisely the same time in the same position in the two corridors.

        I see no cameras.

        By the way, it is very easy to rotate photographs at an angle using photo manipulation software. it’s so easy even the Met could do it.

        And as far as I can tell this is just two random men.

        • Moschops

          “I see no cameras.”
          Jesus Christ, boy, the camera is taking the picture. When a camera takes a picture, you can’t see the camera IN the picture.

    • kk

      Hi, thanks for this.
      Where are these barriers located? To me they resemble the channels one uses to exit the customs at the very end, but it mut be much sooner than that, as they don’t have luggage.
      (To be honest, in this particular instance I don’t understand the brouhaha by the author, nor the snarjy comments by the readers. Its not that unlikely that two people walking side by side would appear in front of the camera 10 meters later at the same time)

    • Micky Bee

      Checkout the reflection of the handrail in the background against the wall it is exactly the same on both sides, it has to be the same channel.

  • Kempe

    Caption on the first picture claims the time was 1500 which leads to another option which is that the CCTV clock was buggered.

    But that’s far too simple, let’s go with some outlandish conspiracy.

  • RobG

    It’s a shame that you won’t let me comment, because I can tell you a whole lot more about this.

    Che sera sera, and all that.

  • Yonatan

    I happened to be in London today and came across a two-man French TV crew making a report about Sergei Skripal (words heard in passing). The film crew was located at the junction of Percy Street and Charlotte Street in Fitrovia, London. What on earth is the connection with Skripal and this part of London? Maybe the film crew were just recording in a location convenient to a good restaurant?

    • Bert.

      That’s an interesting theory: the idea that the French could possibly think there might be a good restaurant to be found in London 😉


      • Yonatan

        The restaurant comment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek!

        It just seemed so incongruous that they were there talking about Skripal. Maybe they just happened to be in the area when the news about the two suspects came out? Who knows.

        • Herbie

          Charlotte Street used to be home to Channel 4.

          There are now independent TV studios in the area. Can be rented out, I’d imagine.

          “Maybe they just happened to be in the area when the news about the two suspects came out?”

          That’s most likely, at this stage, unless further evidence comes to light.

    • laguerre

      You didn’t notice what channel it was, so we could watch? In my experience, they were probably looking for someone French-speaking, to do a vox pop. For that they would need a street where they were likely to find someone who could do it. I was once attacked on the Champs Elysées to comment on a French writer I’d never heard of, who’d died. I slid out. They like vox pops.

      • Yontan

        Sorry, there was no obvious logo on the camera. I didn’t have time to hang around to pay more than cursory attention. It was a relatively serious setup – large professional video camera on tripod – not just a guy with a DSLR video recorder.

      • Rowan

        Sorry – my reply was to Yonatan. The ‘Trattoria’ Restaurant in Charlotte Street. Deighton must have been getting free meals there because W.O.O.C.(P.) is located more or less next door to it.

  • Aidan Turner

    1. I reckon it would be possible for the two to be photographed at that second if they were walking fast and in close formation; 2. However, of more interest is the discrepancy of the caption citing 15.00 as the time in contrast to the “frozen” time in the pictures.

    • craig Post author

      Aidan, if they were walking fast and in close formation, one of the two photos would have to show the other one behind.

    • A Bruce

      1. is not possible.

      At the 43 seconds mark both of them would have to be in the frame. At that second there should be some sign of the other man but there is only one man in the frame.

      • Edaward

        Neither shot can be from the same camera unless the camera was in motion, note the differing background positions, but even then the differing floor reflections (behind and above the figures) suggest two different locations or two different times with varying lighting conditions.

        All of which makes the exact same time stamp suggest an agency deliberately courting incredulity. Why?

  • Brian Whitaker

    Looks like these are photos from two different cameras fixed at slightly different angles. Compare the positions of the side-rails in the two photos.

      • B Sharp

        The cameras are at different heights. Pan and tilt won’t cause that effect. Those are different passageways.

      • Colin Smith

        Someone would have to be panning and tilting. Very unlikely for this type of very controlled access and geometry, makes rge system necessarily expensive and complex.

    • Paul Davidson

      If you study the second photo you will see the top of a rectangular box at the bottom left side with the top half of the date showing. This is entirely missing from the first photo. Either the same camera did not take the photos or the photos have been doctored.

  • Yonatan

    The Russians have clearly developed a teleportation machine. Ahd why not , if they can develop a lethal / non-lethal nerve agent, apparently depending on the quantum state of the perfume box it was packed it. Maybe the novichuk was teleported into one of the perfume shops that seem to litter airport concourses. This would allow the Russian assassins (TM) (Pat Pend) to teleport safely.

  • Sharp Ears

    May’s ‘announcement’ has been months in the planning. Timed to get her off the Brexit hook/her resignation being sought/elimination of the Boris type rivalry.

    I wonder which theatrical agency MI5 use. As if the pair would stand around being photographed.

    Did you spot the nonsensical inclusion in the report that ‘traces of Novichok’ were found in the East End hotel. The chemical agent can obviously determine who it’s going to knock off.

    PS Not looking good for sales of Nina Ricci’s Premier Jour. The brand is owned by a Spanish group, Puig.

    • exiled off mainstreet

      I also noticed the problem with the “traces of novichok”. Even if they somehow avoided injury from this supposedly virulent nerve agent, would serious assassins take such a foolish risk when easier methods would surely be available. If the stuff is so deadly, why weren’t they affected in some way? Also, how does this tie in to the death of the street-person cum drug addict who supposedly died of “novichok” poisoning in Salisbury months later? It is all an argument for the dissolution of the spook state.

    • Lily Steinmetz

      Our fear is, it is timed to precede what may take place in Idlib. Bang the drum: Russia = Chemical Weapons.

      Those poor kids. The Olive Group, who, according to Thierry Meyssan, are tasked to gas them, is now US owned – if that is any consolation to any Brits who may be tuning in. But I doubt it.

      Evil. Evil. How could anyone do that? Theresa May?

    • frances

      Yes, I really enjoyed that bit of lunacy about finding minuscule amounts of the “world’s most deadly poison ever” in their hotel room. What were they doing, testing it on the mice?? MI5 then put the cherry on top by adding that the two star room is fine now, as none is left as the amount was “minuscule.” (Info gleamed from the highly esteemed Daily Mail) They assume their audience has the brains of rabbits.

  • Bert.

    It is entirely possible within the quantum theoretic many-worlds-model for two Russian agents to occupy the same space at the same time – BUT IN DIFFERENT UNIVERSES. And you would not be able to see both – ONLY THE ONE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE AS YOU.


  • Tom De Guerre

    I suppose a third possibility is they are parallel exit gates and they both entered them exactly the same time.

    One of the images is at a different orientation to the ground from the other one.

    Does anyone know where this is in Gatwick, and whether there are multiple exit gates?

    • craig Post author

      That’s pretty long for an exit gate. For them both to reach exactly the same point in separate closed tunnels at exactly the same second is a pretty astonishing bit of synchronisation.

      • Ian

        it’s unlikely, but more than possible, if they approached them together. That, surely, is the most plausible explanation, rather than the conspiracy theory one.

        • Edward

          No. It isn’t. It’s almost impossible. Think about it more carefully. Two related suspects photographed in two locations with precisely the same backdrop, slightly different angle of view but with even the same degree of burnout in the highlights on the first wall seam to their left, at precisely the same second?

          This is a declaration of impunity. “We can make up your reality in the mainstream media, in real time, and you idiots will eat it up with a tin spoon.”

        • Paul Davidson

          But that would mean there were two parallel tunnels, each wide enough for only one person and set exactly next to one another. I have never seen anything like that anywhere.

          • Moschops

            “I have never seen anything like that anywhere.”

            You can see it on google maps. You want so badly to believe in the conspiracy that you don’t even look.

      • JIm C

        It’s been a while since I used Gatwick, but other posters say there is more than one exit “tunnel”.

        Let’s say the two were walking side by side before going out via parallel tunnels. It doesn’t strike me as at all unlikely that they would cross the same surveillance area in their respective tunnel within the same second. Walking briskly, you can easily cover over a meter in that time.

        On the whole I’m a big fan of your work, Craig, but I think you’ve got it wrong on this occasion.

        I think what would be a more fruitful line of enquiry is why the UK government is insisting that only the GRU could have “authorised” the hit. But unless you discount all the evidence the Met has provided, at this point it’s looking quite likely that Russians were indeed behind the hit, and it shouldn’t be too hard for the Moscow authorities to track down who these two men are if they did indeed board a flight to Gatwick from there.

        As it stands, unless some link between the Skripals and organised crime can be found, the balance of probabilities is that the Russian government – or some powerful person within it, who wanted to embarrass Putin – ordered the hit.

        What I’d like to see is the Russian authorities release their own information on these two men; whether they have criminal records, did they actually fly out of Moscow under the names the Brits have identified, etc. Otherwise, it’s looking deeply suspicious. The UK government should never have reflexively blamed Russia for the hit, but now we have some evidence to examine it appears the Russians have some explaining to do.

        • defo

          The links between Skripal and Orbis, Mi5/6, and a madey uppy story about ‘the Donald’ may be of interest to you Jim.
          See previous posts for further reading…

      • Tom De Guerre

        Others have said it already, but I don’t think it’s that astonishing. If they were walking together through arrivals towards two identical, parallel exit corridors (such as they have at Gatwick Airport, shortly preceded by the “Last Chance” duty free shop) they would then split up, each to enter a separate corridor. It is at least as plausible then, that both would reach the end of the corridor at the same time to be photographed as that one of them stopped to tie a shoelace or fix his luggage. If they were walking together, or even close to each other, it does not seem to me at all unlikely that they would be photographed at the same time. Certainly not so unlikely that the possibility can be discounted in preference for a hypothesis that the UK authorities photoshopped the pictures, although I wouldn’t dismiss that possibility out of hand either. It is after all the UK authorities.

    • Brad Bell

      I believe this is correct. The place where you wait to meet passengers at Gatwick — the last barrier to cross, is a series of about 4 one person channels. They have auto-locking doors which, if triggered, close both in front of you and behind you, sealing you in. If you were walking side by side with a companion, you’d split into different one person channels simultaneously.

      Also, the cameras are extremely wide angle, which has the effect of grossly exaggerating distance. They are probably 8-12 feet long

      • Edward

        Not unless they separated and synchronised their entry to each tunnel, walking at the same speed

        • andrew wilson

          Given that there’d be other people going through those chutes ahead of these two it seems unlikely that the two suspects could manage to walk through at exactly the same time. It might be possible at off peak periods, but in the middle of the afternoon with many passengers leaving airside, I am dubious.

          I could believe a second or so different, but to be at exactly the same spot at exactly the same time? Nope.

          Also, in a multichute system designed specifically for the purpose of recording and surveillance, why would there be two different camera setups? The supplier of the system would provide identical cameras with identical settings so that the output would always be consistent.

          • Moschops

            Hi. I used to work in the camera security industry, and we would typically tune a camera after installing it. Different angles, different light sources, lots of different variables affect the quality of the picture. It was more common that the different cameras would have different settings than exactly the same.

            So that’s my evidence, from having worked in the industry and set up cameras. Unless you’ve got some practical experience of doing this job as well, I’m going to have to discount your guess in favour of my real experience.

            This thread is full of people who are so easy to debunk with simply facts. So many people here just guessing. Like those people who say these channels don’t exist when you can see them on google maps, or see them in person at the airport.

  • exiled off mainstreet

    It certainly looks like a load of bollocks. Also, why did it take six months to discover this, and if “traces of novichok” were found in their rooms as alleged, how did they avoid injury? It smells foul.

  • Republicofscotland

    Of course Scotland Yard can put out whatever information it likes, photo’s or otherwise, knowing fine well none of the veracity
    surrounding the documentation, will, ever be seriously challenged, as Russia does not extradite its citizens.

    It’s a one sided story pushed by Britain and the west in general. Doctored photos are not uncommon I believe that the falsely accused perpetrators of 7/7 entering the tube station, the only single image anywhere of the four, in a tube system laden with CCTV, is a doctored photo as well.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Republicofscotland September 5, 2018 at 18:54
      Yes, the 7/7 photo showed a metal bar from the fencing going though one of their arms.

  • Gordon

    There is nobody else coming off the plane in either picture, when does that ever happen ? They are dressed as though they are going for a walk down the park on a chilly evening, not as if they have just come off a warm stuffy flight.

  • Sharp Ears

    John Wight on RT

    Latest Skripal development is rocket fuel to existing anti-Russia fever in London

    Puts today’s ‘performance’ in the HoC in the shade. That continued for 80 minutes with Messrs Glen and Hammond nodding away on either side of the ex Home Secretary, now PM. She is well versed in this state’s chicanery.

  • fwl

    That is embarrassingly amateur, but there appear to be several photographs – what about the others?

  • DiggerUK

    Will somebody please square the circle.

    The government has not changed its argument. Both the Salisbury, and the Amesbury poisonings used the same poison.
    Problem is that the OPCW has come to the conclusion that there is nothing to show they are even from the same batch.

    After months of not so much as a photo fit description from the police, as in ‘these two people are of interest in our enquiries…..under no circumstances should members of the public approach them, as they are believed to be carrying dodgey perfume spray’, are two full face mugshots which they obtained from……?were exactly? their LinkedIn accounts?

    After months of no pictures of the perfume bottle, we now have a perfect picture, of a perfect bottle…….didn’t the story go that Charley Rowley broke/damaged the bottle?

    How do they explain the delay in asking for witnesses to their stay in the hotel in east London? the one with the obligatory trace of toxin in the room they stayed in.
    Come to think of it, why should two highly trained Russian poisoners open up a bottle of military grade poison in a small hotel room.”hey Vlad, let’s put a dab of this behind our ears before we go out, it’ll have those english girls falling all over us”

    All luggage that goes through airport security scanners has a permanent copy kept, were is the xray of their luggage that shows the bottle? If the argument goes that they collected it in uk after landing, who? when? were? did this handover happen. After all, the police seem to know everything about their time here, including toilet breaks.

    How come the target in the Salisbury attack survived, despite the Russians spending millions on the cunning plan over a ten year period, and then by accident kill somebody they weren’t after?

    The gullibility of people who believe this government pantomime astounds me…_

    • Mighty Drunken

      The MET statement about the hotel contaminations says,
      “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.”

      Maybe I am nitpicking and my tin foil hat is wonky but zero amount of Novichok is “at levels below that which would cause concern for public health”.
      The other curious thing is the later swabs got nothing. I don’t buy the previous swaps wiped it away, hotel rooms are pretty big compared to a swab. Either numerous cleanings of the room wiped it away which suggests that if there was Novichok, the concentration may have been much higher in the past. Or the initial swabs were contaminated from elsewhere.

      • frances

        Or…the entire story is fiction.
        Consider this, why would the Russian govt send two agents half across the world bearing a glass perfume bottle applicator containing the world’s most deadly poison that kills instantly, except when it doesn’t, into a country where it rains a great deal when said poison becomes immediately useless when exposed to moisture in air?
        Surely the Russian govt could put in a call to the local London/Salisbury Russian Mafia asking one of the boys to be good enough to drop by said house, stage a robbery and kill the occupant?
        Why would Russia go through all of this lunacy, answer: they wouldn’t. But May and Co would if it meant they could then squirrel away the fellow who helped Steele cobble together his ludicrous story on Trump, for remember the UK spied on Trump for the US before the FISA warrants were issued.

    • Dustybin

      Given that there’d be other people going through those chutes ahead of these two it seems unlikely that the two suspects could manage to walk through at exactly the same time. It might be possible at off peak periods, but in the middle of the afternoon with many passengers leaving airside, I am dubious.

      I could believe a second or so different, but to be at exactly the same spot at exactly the same time? Nope.

      Also, in a multichute system designed specifically for the purpose of recording and surveillance, why would there be two different camera setups? The supplier of the system would provide identical cameras with identical settings so that the output would always be consistent.

  • Kempe

    OK so the images were doctored. How and why? Surely the easiest way of producing these pictures would’ve been to get a pair of crisis actors to walk down a corridor then download the images from the camera.

    Looks to me like the pictures were taken in one of the jet bridges that link the aircraft to the terminal. It’s usual for at least two to be used to speed up disembarkation so entirely possible the men used different bridges.

    The aircraft landed at 1500 so did it really take 1hr 22 minutes to taxi to the terminal? To be in Victoria by 1740 they’d have needed to be on a train from Gatwick by 1705-10. In my experience that wouldn’t have left them long to collect their baggage and clear immigration.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Apparently the hotel in the East End also showed ‘minor Novichok contamination’ but ‘there is no risk to the public’.

    Professional assassins tested out a deadly poison in their own rooms before sleeping in them? Unlikely.

    They ‘sprayed the room goodbye’ before having to carry the perfume bottle for a few hours, risking exposure again? Surely not.

    They had holdalls containing safety suits and masks, which they put in whilst spraying doorknobs? Where did they pick them up in UK? And where were they disposed of?

    They threw the bottle to be found by junkies, rather than dropping it into a sewer? How much was left in it??

    I think a trial would be great fun.

    A great career opportunity for an ambitious defence lawyer.

    Sadly, the UK is not doing Russia the courtesy of even asking for deportations.

    It hardly costs a fortune to file, even if Russia refuses.

    Smearing is so much easier. No dastardly juries bringing unwanted verdicts.

    Why now??

    • Kempe

      You wouldn’t send professionals on a mission like this, you’d send a couple of expendable goons who probably didn’t understand what they were handling like the idiots who poisoned Litvinenko who left a radioactive trail behind them and may have poisoned themselves.

      • John2o2o

        Oh really, so when these “expendable goons” cock it all up and cause a major diplomatic incident that’s all okay is it? A risk worth taking?

        Much more likely that it never happened. And this is not in any way connected to Litvinenko.

      • They’ve got him on a B.O.T

        Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was not poisoned. Polonium leaves no traces of hair .Once humans are contaminated with it. The dummies forgot to shave Litvinenko (eyebrows) and (chesthair) . For that’ infamous ‘hospital bed photo op. Rotflmfao. You can’t make this stuff up. Shrugs!

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