The Incredible Case of Boshirov and Petrov’s Visas 430


The Metropolitan Police made one statement in the Skripal case which is plainly untrue; they claimed not to know on what kind of visa Boshirov and Petrov were travelling. As they knew the passports they used, and had footage of them coming through the airport, that is impossible. The Border Force could tell them in 30 seconds flat.

To get a UK visa Boshirov and Petrov would have had to attend the UK Visa Application Centre in Moscow. There not only would their photographs be taken, but their fingerprints would have been taken and, if in the last few years, their irises scanned. The Metropolitan Police would naturally have obtained their fingerprints from the Visa Application.

One thing of which we can be certain is that their fingerprints are not on the perfume bottle or packaging found in Charlie Rowley’s home. We can be certain of that because no charges have been brought against the two in relation to the death of Dawn Sturgess, and we know the police have their fingerprints. The fact of there being no credible evidence, according to either the Metropolitan Police or the Crown Prosecution Service, to link them to the Amesbury poisoning, has profound implications.

Why the Metropolitan Police were so coy about telling us what kind of visa the pair held, points to a wider mystery. Why were they given the visas in the first place, and what story did they tell to get them? It is not easy for a Russian citizen, particularly an economically active male, to get past the UK Border Agency. The visa application process is very intrusive. They have to produce evidence of family and professional circumstances, including employment and address, evidence of funds, including at least three months of bank statements, and evidence of the purpose of the visit. These details are then actively checked out by the Visa Department.

If they had told the story to the visa section they told to Russia Today, that they were freelance traders in fitness products wanting to visit Salisbury Cathedral, they would have been refused a visa as being candidates for overstaying. They would have been judged not to have sufficiently stable employment in Russia to ensure they would return. So what story did Petrov and Boshirov give on their visa application, why were they given a visa, and what kind of visa? And why do the British authorities not want us to know the answer to these questions?

Which brings us to the claims of neo-conservative propaganda website Bellingcat. They claim together with the Russian Insider website to have obtained documentary evidence that Petrov and Boshirov’s passports were of a series issued only to Russian spies, and that their applications listed GRU headquarters as their address.

There are some problems with Bellingcat’s analysis. The first is that they also quote Russian website fontanka.ru as a source, but fontanka.ru actually say the precise opposite of what Bellingcat claim – that the passport number series is indeed a civilian one and civilians do have passports in that series.

Fontanka also state it is not unusual for the two to have close passport numbers – it merely means they applied together. On other points, fontanka.ru do confirm Bellingcat’s account of another suspected GRU officer having serial numbers close to those of Boshirov and Petrov.

But there is a bigger question of the authenticity of the documents themselves. Fontanka.ru is a blind alley – they are not the source of the documents, just commenting on them, and Bellingcat are just attempting the old trick of setting up a circular “confirmation”. Russian Insider is neither Russian nor an Insider. Its name is a false claim and it consists of a combination of western “experts” writing on Russia, and reprints from the Russian media. It has no track record of inside access to Russian government secrets or documents, and nor does Bellingcat.

What Bellingcat does have is a track record of shilling for the security services. Bellingcat claims its purpose is to clear up fake news, yet has been entirely opaque about the real source of its so-called documents.

MI6 have almost 40 officers in Russia, running hundreds of agents. The CIA has a multiple of that. They pool their information. Both the UK and US have large visa sections whose major function is the analysis of Russian passports, their types and numbers and what they tell about the individual.

We are to believe that Boshirov and Petrov were GRU agents whose identity was plainly obvious from their passports, who had no believable cover identities, but that neither the visa department nor MI6 (which two cooperate closely and all the time) knew they were giving visas to GRU agents. Yet this information was readily available to Bellingcat?

I do not know if the two are agents or just tourists. But the claimed evidence they were agents is, if genuine, so obvious that the two would have been under close surveillance throughout their stay in the UK. If the official story is true, then the failures of the UK visa department and MI6 are abject and shameful. As is the failure to take simple precautions for the Skripals’ security, like the inexplicable absence of CCTV covering the house of Sergei Skripal, an important ex-agent and defector supposedly under British protection.

A further thought. We are informed that Boshirov and Petrov left a trace of novichok in their hotel bedroom. How likely is it, really, that, the day before the professional assassination attempt, which involved handling an agent with which any contact could kill you, Boshirov and Petrov would prepare, not by resting, but by an all night drugs and sex session? Would you really not want the steadiest possible hand the next day? Would you really invite a prostitute into the room with the novichok perfume in it, and behave in a way that led to complaints and could have brought you to official notice?

Is it not astonishing that nobody in the corporate and state media has written that this behaviour is at all unlikely, while scores of “journalists” have written that visiting Salisbury as a tourist, and returning the next day because the visit was ruined by snow, would be highly unlikely?

To me, even more conclusively, we were informed by cold war propagandists like ex White House staffer Dan Kaszeta that the reason the Skripals were not killed is that novichok is degraded by water. To quote Kaszeta “Soap and water is quite good at decontaminating nerve agents”.

In which case it is extremely improbable that the agents handling the novichok, who allegedly had the novichok in their bedroom, would choose a hotel room which did not have an en suite bathroom. If I spilt some novichok on myself I would not want to be queuing in the corridor for the shower. The GRU may not be big on health and safety, but the idea that their agents chose not to have basic washing facilities available while handling the novichok is wildly improbable.

The only link of Boshirov and Petrov to the novichok is the trace in the hotel room. The identification there of a microscopic trace of novichok came from a single swab, all other swabs were negative, and the test could not be repeated even on the original positive sample. For other reasons given above, I absolutely doubt these two had novichok in that bedroom. Who they really are, and how much the security services knew about them, remain open questions.


430 thoughts on “The Incredible Case of Boshirov and Petrov’s Visas

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  • CanSpeccy

    Wow! An amazing analysis, and proof that the alt media, for all the mass of lies, bunk and bullshit with which it is bestrewn still provides better information than the MSM.

  • Dungroanin

    Mr Murray writes “Who they really are, and how much the security services knew about them, remain open questions.”

    Seeing that he was occupied last week with family matters, he may have missed the following I posted on a previous thread.

    ‘an interesting deduction on the deadly duo. Apparently posted on FB and then modded. Currently at
    https://southfront.org/another-version-attempting-to-explain-trip-of-gru-agents-petrov-and-boshirov-to-salisbury/

    – they are couriers who move very valuable documents.’

    If you get a chance to comment on whether that holds water or can be ignored, would be helpful Mr M.

    • Isa

      It’s an interesting and possible theory . It would also make a lot of sense if the whole thing was planned for them to come on that date to coincide with the poisoning . A set up .

    • Matt

      That’s quite an interesting theory. Was it said that they had booked multiple return journeys? In case it took an extra day for the documents to be turned around perhaps? And why they might be more ‘relaxed’ overnight, without them?

    • Tony Little

      Interesting. It might also explain why the Skripals turned off their mobile phones, although it doesn’t account for their missing on CCTV from shortly after they left the house until “resurfacing” again at the restaurant, apparently health?

      • MaryPau!

        They didn’t resurface at the restaurant they resurfaced in Sainsbury’s car park upper floor in central Salisbury. From there they went to Avon Playground (local park) fed the ducks, then drank in the Mill pub before eating at Zizzis. All are locations in central Salisbury within walking distance.

        The duck feeding episode was revealed by some schoolboys who joined them. It is omitted from the Met police web site time line.. There is some indication they were at one stage not far from where P+B were.

        • begob

          I think it’s established that the official timeline is wrong: they went to the Mill after Zizzi’s.

    • uncle tungsten

      I speculate on the secure courier idea too. But there is no indication of the assignment destination being Salisbury. The initial documents or whatever may have been delivered in London and they then had time to kill to get executed documents or some other document and then return on Sunday afternoon. It sort of explains the ‘killing time’ presence and wandering / unplanned attitude in Salisbury.

      Just like the zizzi poison restaurant being a red herring for the real action at the Mill pub, these guys are a super convenient coincident red herring. That is assuming of course that the Skripals ever were poisoned.

      No pun intended in any of the above metaphors :))

      • LondonBob

        They had been to London before, not inconcievable they decided to go to Salisbury for a day trip. I have been to Suzdal and Vladimir when I have been to Moscow as I have seen most of Moscow already.

  • MichaelK

    There are so many bizarre elements in this… ‘affair’ that one hardly knows where to start! I think it’s deeply disturbing that hardly anyone within the restrictive confines of our ‘free media’ is asking any of the obvious questions that Craig dares to ask; why not? It seems clear that the ‘word’ has gone out to editors not to dig too deeply or ask too many questions about the events in Salisbury, like the probably involvement of Pablo Miller.

    We’re ‘at war’ with Russia, at least, for the time being, on the level of information and propaganda; journalists understand this and our ‘on message.’ Who wants to help the enemy? People we could be fighting in the near future?

    It’s the media ‘blackout’ that tells me that all isn’t as it seems on the surface in relation to events in Salisbury. The questions that aren’t being asked in our media, like a negative photo, show what’s really going on.

    Bellingcat is an example of the absurd leading the blind up the garden path. Think that a once great liberal newspaper like the Guardian takes this source seriously! It’s an example of plausible deniability in action. When, or if, the shit hits the fan, the creeps at the Guardian can hold up their clean white palms and say, ‘but it wasn’t us, gov, hones. It was all that beastly Bellingcat that deceived us!’

    • Sarge

      Wouldn’t these ‘journalists” be more admirable if they tried to avert a pointless, catastrophic war, rather than trying to pressure us into one?

  • Gary

    The government doesn’t want to say why it gave visas to the Russians. The Russians sound dodgy in their interview, although the facts DO stack up in regard to their reasons for cutting short their trip. It’s almost like the Russians WANTED to sound dodgy and almost like the government WANTED these men in the country with dodgy visas for some reason.

    This would only make any sense if somehow the government was colluding with those in Russian government/military who want Putin discredited and out of power, as previously alleged by French Intelligence when Litvinenko was murdered.

    Putin ousted, various annoying Russian ex-patriots dead or in hiding and economic victory over Russia in regard to the gas supply to Europe so that both US and UK can sell gas they are fracking at a saleable price. Would they really kill people for this? You betcha!

    • Col

      Except we are neither fracking (except offshore) or coming close to covering our own demand. Hence big pipelines to Norway and LNG plants either side of the country.

      • Howard Marks

        UKRAINE CRISIS origins began with CHEVRON OIL trying to push Fracking on locals who did not want it.
        When Victoria Nuland announced the Obama admins multi-billion dollar aid package for the CIA installed Kiev
        coup regime, she did so at an event in New York on a stage with cardboard CHEVRON OIL logos to the left
        and right of her.

      • J

        But you are aware that at the same time the Skripal story was developing toward the release of information regarding ‘suspects’ the final green light was being given to the first fracking wells to begin operation this month with others following suit, depsite investors money flowing away from the industry and public opinion hardening at 80% against.

    • nevermind

      Rubbish, what is a ‘ saleable price’? When it ruins your water table, uses millions of gallons of drinking water, mixed secret potions carrying interlectual, yuk, property rights, commercial secrets are mesmerising massive police contingents, we do pay them/ feed them well, all for the purpose of serving ones chums.

      You know, offshore tax operators demanding police protection and who had planning laws suspended for their cowardly exploitation of taxpayers.

      May they fail to get much out of ancient shale, too ancient , some say, but hey… lets give polluters the go ahead anyway.

  • Dungroanin

    A brilliantly researched article on the UK history and development of the miltary goods, oppression and death industry that holds so much power – outside of civil authorities.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/matt-kennard-mark-curtis/britain-s-warfare-state

    Especially relevant to how we have the most Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC) in the world. There certainly is great capability to stage a Salisbury.

    ‘This combination of learned skills in warfare, liberal regulation, the lucrativeness of mercenary work, and Britain’s global-facing heritage has meant that, today, the UK is the world’s leading centre for PMCS. According to the SiéChéou-Kang Center at the University of Denver, the UK has by far the largest number of PMSCs headquartered in country (199 companies).’

    Recommend reading.

    • Kerch'eee Kerch'ee Coup

      @Dungroanin
      At keast one group wear theT-shirt
      “Old Mercenaries Never Die
      Thety just Go toHell and Regroup”

  • Sean

    Hi Craig,
    Great article, I enjoy your reading your posts immensely. Can I ask how you came across these details, “microscopic trace of novichok came from a single swab, all other swabs were negative, and the test could not be repeated even on the original positive sample”? I haven’t been doing exhaustive research I know, but that is the first time I heard anyone go into detail about the novichok in the hotel room so I was wondering how you found that out.

  • John2o2o

    “If I spilt some novichok on myself I would not want to be queuing in the corridor for the shower.”

    Craig, I mean no disrespect, but your comment reveals your ignorance about the toxicity of these chemical agents.

    If I spilt novichok on myself I would probably not even have time to reach the corridor. And a lethal dose is administered on contact. What use is a shower?

    The core issue with this is that MI and their MSM stooges have deliberately obfuscated the true nature of these agents in order to try to build a case for their being used on the Skripals.

    I do not – and probably never will – believe that the Skripals have been poisoned by nerve gas or nerve agents as the weasely MSM now prefer to call them.

    As for the Amesbury drug addicts that have somehow been shoehorned into this narrative. I think that again MI have been clever here. It’s like the old psychological trick of telling someone not to imagine a pink elephant. When they encourage debate around this issue they ensure the association of the Amesbury pair with the Skripals in the minds of innocent members of the public. Including intelligent commentators and their readership.

    Then when people have forgotten most of it and hear the name “Rowley” again they will think “Skripal”, even though the events are totally unconnected.

    • N_

      Besides, there may have been a bathroom sink in the hotel room.

      I doubt any so-called “New Stuff” (“Novichok”) was found in the room at all.

  • N_

    The fascist thug practically jumped for joy when Len McCluskey recommended to it in a slightly raised voice that if it wanted to find some “institutional racism” the fascist should look at the Tory party. “You’re being recorded” and “That’s beautiful”, said the fascist.

    McCluskey was of course right. The Tory party is as racist as hell. But he could also have mentioned the fascist’s own employers, namely the regime called I__ael. If you ever hear somebody use the term “institutional racism” while denying that it applies to I__ael, don’t give them any quarter. They are taking the piss. They are fascist racists who are taking the piss. Don’t stand for it.

    I repeat: fascists are physically harassing left-wing anti-racist politicians and trade union leaders in this country.

  • Michael Weddington

    “Petrov and Boshirov’s passports were of a series issued only to Russian spies, and that their applications listed GRU headquarters as their address.” Doesn’t announcing on your passport that you are a spy kind of negate the purpose of being a spy?

    • Paul Greenwood

      I am sure MI6 use this approach at the Passport Office and is the main reason “Occupation” no longer appears on passports

  • N_

    And there has been another right-wing baiting incident today too, featuring an act of baiting by Piers Morgan in favour of nuclear war, against John McDonnell.

    Is McDonnell a bit stupid or something? Might he have been helping British-Bolivian trade relations a few minutes before he went on air, or is he always like this?

    Mind you, the position that “I’m not in favour of pushing the nuclear button, but I’ll push it because I’ve been told to” is the biggest heap of cack I’ve heard for a while. People are going to wonder why they should vote for a party with such gutless leaders.

    • N_

      If (and this is a huge great Spartan “if”) the Tory party can get a “convention bounce”, they may go straight or a general election.

      The differences between “Chequers” and the IAE proposal seem minor. Both call for lots of free trade in goods but not in “services”, and thus for the City of London to operate in EU27 without much interference from the continentals. If this or a future British government adopts the IAE proposal, EU27 is bound to reject it.

      • Hatuey

        The Tories won’t press the election button. May is a born loser, there’s no way they’d follow and support her into another election.

        The plan all along, obviously, which I called months ago, will be to let May go through the motions of trying to broker a deal and dump her at the point ‘no deal’ becomes a certainty.

        The new regime will take over in a wave of euphoria with chants along the lines of “we tried being reasonable… rule Britannia…. Dunkirk spirit…. no more Mr Nice Guy… you what, you what, you what”

        You can see the media and politicians starting to coalesce around this crap already.

        The Tories will go into an election with Jacob Reese-Mogg or some other crackpot as the new leader, with Farage and Boris alongside. It’s the dream team, English voters will love it. The only question concerns timing.

        • N_

          I’m pretty much in agreement with all of that, except I rate it as slightly more likely than you do that May will go into the next election. It’s still unlikely. It’s far more likely that the Tories will be under a new leader. But she can fall at any time. She could fall tomorrow even, given the push out of public view. Or it could be in a few weeks’ time, or perhaps she will make it into November. Her mumbled excuse will be that she loved Chequers but it got rejected (by EU27, by the cabinet, or by the Commons) and therefore she is resigning. “I fought long and hard for a ‘deal’, but it is now apparent that it must be ‘no deal’, and I have reached the view that it must be for my successor to steer our country through the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead.” Then there’s Ireland: it’s hard to see how the border question and DUP-Tory relations will develop even on a scale of days. I’m expecting Rees-Mogg to have a glorious blood-flag Nuremburg of a conference. A delirious “10 more years” foot-stamping for the Leaderene as happened in 1989 there won’t be.

          • Hatuey

            I think the Irish issue is something that the British don’t really care about and they probably think it’s importance in the Brexit negotiations is being exaggerated by the EU and used as a negotiating ploy. Why would the British care about the Irish all of a sudden when they’ve basically been treating Ireland like crap for centuries?

            The way they’ll deal with Ireland is to say Britain will not put up any sort of barriers to trade or movement, and in so doing they will claim they aren’t the ones that are in breach of the Good Friday Agreement; knowing full well that this would effectively force the EU to erect barriers.

            NI will go through the expected political spasms but if push comes to shove they’ll return to the old status quo which was as much an economic system as a political system. It’s very bleak and we can expect lots of Union Jacks and tension.

            Scotland’s prospects are getting trampled all over too. The English nationalists will enjoy that. Once out of the EU, these “regions” become the caged pets of the British aristocracy to do as they please with. There’s no shortage of treasonous scum in Scotland who will help them beat the hopes of the country to a pulp.

            Meanwhile, in the background, poverty and unemployment can be expected to rise steadily. The prison population will explode, suicide rates will go sky high, and the usual indicators (malnutrition, crime, infant mortality, drugs addiction, etc.) will align with those found in the third world. You’d be surprised how close parts of Britain are to the third world right now in terms of those indicators.

            Anyway, Rule Britannia. Welcome to our 21st Century Neo-Victorian shithole.

          • N_

            If Britain puts up no barriers on the Irish border and the EU forces the Irish government to erect some, then any elements who want to remove the border infrastructure by force will find that their main enemy isn’t the DUP or the British government but Dublin. On the political track, if there are referendums on both sides of the border and at least one result is against reunification (people in the North won’t like to lose the NHS), then does the successor to the IRA push for Irexit? Or perhaps for NI independence with an all-Ireland free trade area? They’d have a hard job recruiting on the Liverpool ferry.

            Meanwhile in England Rees-Mogg (specialist in investing money abroad) is the SNP’s ideal Tory leader, yet he is unlikely to win a majority. In a British general election there hasn’t been a Tory majority in England since the 1950s, the same decade that last saw one in Scotland. (Wales comes out best here: if the Tories ever scored more than 35% in a British general election in that country, it was before 1918.)

          • Hatuey

            You’re getting ahead of yourself here. The British Government would only allow a referendum on Irish unification if it knew it was going to win.

            I don’t understand your point about the IRA but, again, it sounds like your way too far ahead with that.

            As for the Tories not having a majority in England since the 1950s, that is just plain wrong. They won a majority in England last year. Thatcher also won majorities in England and I think Heath did too. I possibly misunderstand what you mean here.

        • Deb O'Nair

          “It’s the dream team, English voters will love it.”

          English voters will be told to love it by the corporate media, or else it’s the Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist/Anitsemite vegetable grower and jam maker.

          • Hatuey

            Yes, correct. The whole Brexit thing was programmed by the media. That isn’t even debatable now. Of course, telling the average Brexit voter that isn’t going to get you on their Christmas card list.

            But not just the corporate media, the BBC too. Basically the establishment, aristocracy, bankers, “The City”, etc., engineered this, starting in 2008.

            The Treaty of Lisbon and credit crunch scared the life out of them so they pulled the plug on the EU, worried that some sort of move to curtail/regulate their dubious financial services would result.

          • Moocho

            @ hatuey – I watched the Spider which you posted – great doc. Shows Britain’s status as a haven for the worlds black market money, we are effectively facilitating crime on a grand scale worldwide. With that in mind, it makes total sense that they would want to be out o the EU, free to do what the fuc they want without the EU imposing unwanted regulations etc. they own this place, and they played their hand perfectly. however, we know that Blair and the “globalists” he works for want us to remain. Given that they are supposedly all singing from the same hymn sheet, how can Blair etc be in opposition to the city of london? Is that not who he truly reps for? fighting factions at the very top level?

        • uncle tungsten

          Yes to that Hatuey but the bliarites are poised to make a dash for the tattered middle ground. I suspect the overton window has jerked well left though. Time will tell. Certainly englanders have no need for warmongers and parsimonious austerity freaks any more but they have astounded me many times with their poor judgement.

    • Sharp Ears

      That’s Piers Morgan, the narcissist who recently crawled up Trump’s **** on board Trump’s plane.

      Reading that tripe in the Sun (whose owner would love to see a Socialist government,, Not) I would say the result of the exchange was McDonnell 1 Morgan 0.

      PS Morgan’s real name is Piers Stefan O’Meara. Why the use of a pseudonym?

      • Jude D

        Sharp Ears: I don’t think Murdoch (who is basically a minion of the Rothschild empire – for confirmation of this see the BBC ‘Aristocrats’ program on the Rothschilds a few years ago) felt comfortable employing folk with Irish surnames – in prominent positions – although for all I know Piers Morgan may have changed his name before he started working for the Sun in the 1980s. Even the Irish versions of the Murdoch rags are notoriously Hibernophobic.

        • N_

          The Rothschilds bought the Irish government’s “redemption” debt some time in the 1930s if I recall. Which was presumably a way that they could pay Anglo aristocrats who’d lost “their” land loads of money regularly and arrange for the Irish government to make payments whenever they could afford it, to the Rothschild family’s advantage of course because “that’s what they do”.

          Riobárd Muireadhach a Hibernophobe?

        • Jude D

          Alex Westlake: *** “The Rothschilds” – I suppose you take David Icke seriously.***

          I don’t recall mentioning David Icke. I take the Balfour Declaration very seriously.

  • Tom Smythe

    Just for the record, here is the direct quote from Basu’s briefing: two swabs positive on first round with a number of others negative, no swabs positive on second round, two months after Skripals;

    Scotland Yard briefed journalists today, and Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing said: “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.

    Officers did not search their room until May 4 – two months after the Skripals were discovered unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury.

    • reliably

      What was probably found was a trace of some kind of organophosphate, most likely from an insecticide being sprayed in the room by hotel staff. Not a lethal (to humans) nerve agent but close enough for the purposes of the official story.

      IIRC, the language used in previous MSM reports when citing official sources was often quite vague and even used the therm ‘organophosphate’, which applies to a very wide group of compounds, some of which – herbicides and insecticides – are in common use and not what would normally be referred to as lethal nerve agents for humans.

      This would explain the Met’s confidence in removing all traces with their swab. Right.

      • Jo

        It could be checked what chemicals the hotel routinely purchaes and uses to see if they use /have used that kinda thing surely…..

    • Sergei

      That is, of course, utter and complete bollocks. To “remove the contamination” in the first round, they would have to meticulously swab every square millimeter of the entire room. Or are they saying that in the second round they were taking swabs at precisely the same locations, down to a millimeter, as in the first round? Who does that? Both scenarios sound ridiculous.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig, Good analysis, but its all highly embarrassing bollocks. I don’t know how easy it is for a Russian tourist to now travel to the UK, but I suspect it is not that difficult.

    About 4 years ago, a very good friend of ours came round, and asked us to plan her 3 month trip to China via Moscow and The Trans-Siberian Express. She had already bought her flight ticket to Moscow.

    After about 3 hours research on the internet (we had travelled with her before), we said (a) you need to delay your flight to Moscow for a few weeks (cos it can still be incredibly cold in early March) (b) to get visas for China, and various other destinations on the way, you need to have an address and in the case of China – a sponsor. (c) whilst travelling across Siberia, unless you time it right, you will probably be the only English speaking person on the train. (d) I really recommend that you actually go and see a specialist travel agent re getting the visas, staying with a Chinese family for a few weeks etc.

    So she did. She travelled alone. Our friend is a few years older than me, and completely full of Irish charm. She has no fear. If she wants to do something, she does it.

    She had no problems whatsoever, and found everyone she met lovely.

    Tony

    • Hatuey

      One of my friends went to live in Canada and they fast-tracked him because he was an electrician. The whole process only took a few weeks. Is it possible Rule Britainnia has something like that in place for homosexuals in the fitness industry?

        • Hatuey

          true but maybe they want to keep prices down here as part of some long-term macroeconomic supply-side strategy…

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Well if they were smuggling steroids for Olympic athletes……oh, of course not, no British athletes take drugs. Naughty me for suggesting that.

        It is only naughty rugby players who died on the table after gasmen told them gas+steroids =kaputt, so own up now under patient confidentiality, who did that.

        And even that is only medical gossip, of course. A bit like the rumours that if Randy Andy had succumbed to AIDS in the ealy 1990s, it would be passed off as leukaemia.

        No links to the MIs in medical circles, oh no.

        And certainly no drugs surreptitiously passed in Salisbury cathedral….

        Britain is the most upright, puritanical strait-laced country on earth…..

        • Ray Raven

          The abuse of TUEs (Therapeutic Use Excemption) medications by the Britisher cycling SKY Team (and proved for Wiggins and Froome) is at the forefront of modern doping schemas.

  • remember kronstadt

    I have reason to believe that the two gentlemen are historians who have traveled back to the present in order to research the origins of the upcoming war.

    • Hatuey

      To tell the truth, I like this theory. Back to the Novichok… it’s as plausible as anything else we have heard on here.

  • Coldish

    Thanks, Craig. More good analysis. You wrote: ‘The Metropolitan Police made one statement in the Skripal case which is plainly untrue; they claimed not to know on what kind of visa Boshirov and Petrov were travelling.’ George Galloway also reported this claim, made by Neil Basu in answer to a question at a press conference. Is it not possible that they (the police) had not asked about the type of visa; or, alternatively, that they had asked the Border Force (or whichever central govt. agency held the visa application forms) for this information and or were refused it? I don’t get the impression that the police are on very good terms with our prime minister and her government, who have from the start interfered with the police investigation of a probably serious crime and made public announcements about the case which did not accord with what the police actually knew. By publishing a small number of surveillance images of two identifiable Russian tourists (or businessmen) who were in Salisbury on the day of the poisoning, and reporting a tenuous and non-reproducible piece of forensic evidence found in a room which the two men had occupied 2 months previously, the police seem to have kicked the case into touch. They have made it clear that they have no solid evidence against the two Russians and at the same time made it most unlikely that either of them will travel to any country from which they might be extradited. With any luck the police can now get back to proper police business – like finding out what actually happened to Dawn and Charlie.

    • reliably

      “Is it not possible that they (the police) had not asked about the type of visa; or, alternatively, that they had asked the Border Force (or whichever central govt. agency held the visa application forms) for this information and or were refused it?”

      I’ve been involved in another case in which it became clear that the Met is only given certain information so they can’t relay it to, say, other police agencies or leak it to the media. In this other case, the border/passport information had to have been known from the start but was withheld for over a year – ‘oh yes, we checked and the border agency has no record of it’ – until one day the Met suddenly had that information, given to them by the border agency. We knew for a fact that (1) the info was requested previously, (2) that the records existed from the day of the incident and (3) that the border agency denied having anything until they suddenly reversed their position with no explanation given. FWIW, the police seem to take it in stride that they don’t know the most basic things.

      The denials are interesting in themselves. You get a lot of ‘the CCTV was down’. Funny how that is, especially as in our case we were told it was ‘down at Heathrow’ that day. You’d think the total loss of CCTV capability at Heathrow would maybe cause a crisis, maybe even shut it down for a bit, but it was presented to us as ‘oh these things happen.’

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Even the vast majority of Telegraph readers – well the ones who subscribe, and comment do not believe the complete and utter load of UK Government lies re “The White Helmets”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/24/britain-grants-asylum-100-white-helmet-rescuers-relatives-syria/

    I actually find this quite encouraging. I thought this was the best comment.

    “Marcus Leach 24 Sep 2018 8:12PM

    It is encouraging to see so many other people who are aware of what the White Helmets really are.

    The great scandal is that not one MP will stand up in Parliament and challenge the Government on this policy. Not one will ask awkward questions or demand to know what has been done to investigate the backgrounds of these “asylum seekers”.

    What democracy is it when there is not one person in the Commons who represents us?”

    Tony

    • Kempe

      I read it the other way however what’s really disturbing is the open racism displayed in many of the comments.

      • Adam Ash

        I presume by ‘racist’ you are referring to people other than those who stood on our side of the line at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. The threat those fine men repulsed is still with us today, and we will, no doubt, use the same methods to tidy it up, in due course. People who remember this and recognise this present-day threat and the sad but necessary steps that will be required to negate it are not racists, they are pragmatists.

  • Kempe

    ” In which case it is extremely improbable that the agents handling the novichok, who allegedly had the novichok in their bedroom, would choose a hotel room which did not have an en suite bathroom. ”

    Footage of the room on the Daily Mail and Sun websites show a room with en-suite facilities; although they show different rooms!

    • Tom Smythe

      Right. They are careful to tiptoe around the issue of what connection, if any, various room photos have to do with the room B&P stayed in. I cannot recall the room number of floor having been disclosed. The bit about partying was relayed by an anonymous party next door, confirmed by unidentified hotel desk staff, and the next-day mess by an unnamed cleaning lady. (In normal journalism, names, dates and place are the very basic basics of every story.)

      People here have been repeating these accounts as if ithey were the three Gospels but nothing verifiable has emerged. Ditto the two swabs — conveniently ultra low level and irreproducible at the second visit. Meanwhile full-on decontamination at Charlie’s flat has commenced. Even that is for show, like the preposterous burial of vehicles.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Cos I get bored sh1tless on planes, I have just bought Sikunder Burns, by Craig Murray. I hope it gets delivered in time, and is not too thick and heavy.

    Tony

    • SA

      I wouldn’t get to excited by evidence provided by Bill Browder on money laundering. He himself has been accused of tax evasion.

  • Velofello

    I fully expect the Home Secretary to have survived the explosion in the Bodyguard BBC programme. Might take a few weeks but all will be revealed. British democracy will out , no doubt.

    Naive? Niave? My spelling sucks.

  • David Haines

    I think it may have been in a Guardian report, but I was curious about the alleged reason for their trip to Salisbury which was to visit Stonehenge. This monument is not within walking distance of the station and visitors without a car would generally need to book a coach trip. Who makes this stuff up?

    • Igor P.P.

      There are always taxis near the station which many tourists use to get to Stonehenge and back. This is how I travelled. The coach doesn’t need to be booked in advance, AFAIK. There were many Russians at the monument, BTW. It seems to be popular with them for some reason.

  • Joe

    Boshirov and Petrov are classic patsies, set up by someone with clout in the UK to be in Salisbury on that weekend. The same people were undoubtedly involved in the “novichok” poisoning attempt on the Skripals. There is no other way they could have entered the country. Likely suspects are former Russian oligarchs with connections to British intelligence, or similar persons who are friends of the Israeli govt. and intel agencies.

  • Les Campbell

    Somewhere I’m sure I have read that the Skripal house was covered by CCTV. It was mounted on a house facing the Skripals.

    • reliably

      It had to have been covered by CCTV and probably other forms of surveillance.

      But then Gareth Williams was found entombed in a duffle bag in an MI6 safe house. The Met Police were allowed in there too and had to put up this charade of ‘investigation’ when they knew full well MI6 knew exactly what happened to him but did not plan to share those details.

  • Ken

    If I were Putin, I would play two organisations off against each other.

    Send one person to poison the Skripals (punishment for his involvement in the Trump dossier, i.e. still working with the British, or maybe even to use to call in a favour from Trump, some sort of quid pro quo… was there not a summit coming up between them?). Possibly use someone living in Ireland or on a false passport from France by the Chunnel.

    And send representatives from another organisation OPENLY to be caught on CCTV everywhere. This may even be a “punishment” for one organisation, if its head has been vying for power or not sharing loot with Putin.

    The poisoning method may even have been chosen BECAUSE OF the proximity of Salisbury to Porton Down (rather than the other way around), i.e. look at a map. What is near Salisbury? Porton Down…!

    Else why use something that is so easily traceable?

    If you are planning to assassinate someone and you have been sent from Russia with that one aim in mind… would you really smear stuff on a doorknob? And hope they touch it? Hardly a reliable method to murder a specific target? What if Jehovah’s Witnesses had appeared, for example?

    Smearing stuff on a doorknob (if true) is more like something a local person would do, as then they could try again it if failed… but again what if innocent people fell victims instead?

    Of course, all this is mad speculation. But I think we are fed James Bond films so we try to think along these lines. We also try to explain things rationally. But the world of intelligence organisations and politics (especially the US elections and anything involving the Clintons) is a murky mafia-like world of twisted individuals, petty feuds and things probably beyond our comprehension.

  • Deb O'Nair

    I agree. There were so many holes in the fake story that it surely became an embarrassment to those behind it. I remember at the time highlighting the obvious problems with the images which appeared in the press, there were so many that it became ridiculous. The main protagonist, the one filmed on an iphone, converted to Islam shortly after he arrived in the UK after being released from a Kenyan jail thanks to MI6. The Islamic group he then joined had connections to MI5.

  • George_Cardiff

    There are other elements that tell us that Boshirov and Petrov cannot be the assassins. On their “reconnaissance mission” on Saturday there is no photograph of them taking the path towards the Skripal’s house. There should be one at least from the camera that got them the next day. The photo from that day is of them staring up at something at the station. Presumably at the train timetable that showed them that they can’t get to Stonehenge. Their faces remind me of commuters staring at timetables in the rush-hour in London. They have trainers on their feet. That confirms their claim that they got wet in the slush and gave up (all those claims that Russians are used to snow…). Not well prepared for their mission, which was otherwise planned in such attention to detail. They spent such a short time in town that day anyway, how was this a “reconnaissance”, what did they learn? There was snow in town, despite the claims that there was no snow to be seen in the photographs. After all, Mr. Skripal asked his friend to give him a lift to the airport, as he wouldn’t trust his car. Then they spend the night with a prostitute and smoking cannabis. Were they so relaxed about the mission next day, or they didn’t know about it? Then the next day, after delivering the poison to the door, they seem more interested in looking at some coins in a shop, instead of concentrating on their escape. By the time they leave Salisbury, the Skripals are still well and dining, but Petrov and Boshirov are totally disinterested in what happened to them. Any nobody is interested to explain why they are filmed walking back from the direction of the cathedral before boarding the train back to London. Did they visit it, was there not a camera at the cathedral working during that hour?
    If they are the assassins, their story is not believable and is open to sarcasm. But if they are not, then their claims fit the evidence. It all depends on what you believe in the first place. But to accept that highly trained professionals behaved in this way, and that they were left by the GRU to appear on TV with such a story, requires either a superficial level of information, or reluctance to examine it carefully.

  • Bert.

    Are we expected t belive that the Russina Government issues passports that are instantly recognisable as those of spies?

    E.g. if a group of passport numbers is reserved for agents – once that information leaks (which, of course, it will) – they would be instantly identifiable at any port of entry.

    Surely, the general idea is that spies should not be recognisable as such!

    Bert.

    • bj

      Are we expected to believe that Steele, Miller and the Skripals could have been having a snowball fight that Sunday plays no role here at all?

    • Hatuey

      Bert, you’re not the first to question that junk. Everybody involved in this story, the British Government, the media, the Russians, the Skripals, everybody, they’re all unreliable witnesses. You can’t assume anything any of them says is truth — there’s a place called Salisbury, that’s about all we know for sure.

      The thing that stinks most is the disappearance of the Skripals.

    • Igor P.P.

      Not only would spies become identifiable at borders, much of their past activities would instantly become known because passport numbers are traced in so many places. Want to uncover Russian spy network? Run a simple query on an airline database.

  • Tom Smythe

    >>>>Why the Metropolitan Police were so coy about telling us what kind of visa the pair held? why do the British authorities not want Met to get such basic investigative information>>>

    Why indeed? I suppose there is something very embarrassing in these visa documents that cannot be revealed. But what are the possibilities?

    — B&P were coming to the UK by invitation of HMG for a meeting or to courier information, so visa application formalities had been waived.

    — B&P had been sponsored by a prominent Russian oligarch who had bribed his way into favor with the Tory govt or was otherwise useful to them for anti-Putin influence.

    — the visa documentation provided so much easily verifiable detail on B&P’s real names, lives and business that the GRU cover story would immediately unravel.

    — Basu wasn’t informed because he had no need-to-know, or because he didn’t want to know, or or because he lacked top security clearance, or because he wasn’t expected to pursue the investigation any further, or because he couldn’t be counted on to lie.

    • Igor P.P.

      The last reason can be safely excluded once you remember how he explained why it took 10 full days to find the bottle in Charlie’s flat.

  • Adam Ash

    Craig. The apparent incompetence of these story-tellers, right up to the PM is incredible.

    Do you think there is someone in The Establishment who is really quite happy with their work here, or is this whole Skipral affair just (as Hunter Thompson would put it) A Lame Fuck-around?

  • Gumby

    I don’t quite know what to make of our pals Boshirov and Petrov, but I can note one little detail which either offers some minor corroboration of their story or offers a cheerful little irony. I refer to Ruslan Boshirov’s Facebook, whose cover photo was updated back in 2014 with–what else?–a photo of a clock tower and some rather impressive church spires thrown in for good measure. The photo was taken in Prague’s Old Town Square, with its world famous astronomical clock.

    https://www.facebook.com/boshirov

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