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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  • Charles Wood

    Getting the visa information wouldn’t be ‘in 30 seconds’. I’m not sure of the exact law in the UK but such types of information release (lawful disclosure) even to Police usually requires a warrant.

    Similarly to be given to Police, the Gatwick surveillance unit would have to follow lawful disclosure laws. I surmise given this is the UK and based on other transit surveillance systems, that there is a centralised image store and a process to extract imagery to provide to law enforcement, or other authorised agencies. The images that were published were obviously cropped from larger surveillance images in an image store and had times and dates superimposed on them either by the display workstation or post processing.

  • Charles Wood

    Just a bit of extra info on the weather. I did analysis of rain intensity and precipitation for the day in question.
    It didn’t rain in Salisbury at the critical time between when the poison could be first administered to the last possible time it could have been touched by the victims.

    https://twitter.com/Mare_Indicum/status/1043748966351794176
    https://twitter.com/Mare_Indicum/status/1043747669984784384

    I can provide the original images used to make the GIF and/or the GIF itself – unlike the abomination published by Twitter.

  • Yeah, Right

    Has any reporter actually asked if there was any CCTV cameras fitted to the Skripal house?

    As you say, inexplicable that there isn’t. So maybe there is, but the Police don’t want to admit it.

  • Sharp Ears

    Our Dear Leader is off to the UN to warn of the use of chemical weapons by Russia and Syria. Again YCNMIU.

    Chemical weapons
    Theresa May to raise chemical weapons before UN general assembly
    Hold those who use them to account, UK PM will tell general assembly
    [..]

    Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
    https://www.ft.com/content/7524f9e6-c01c-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89a

    Ahead of the meeting on Wednesday, Mrs May said: “As we meet in the UN Security Council this week, the red lines around the use of chemical weapons are being eroded.”

    She added: “The Syrian regime has repeatedly used these appalling weapons against its own people while the Russian state has deployed them on UK streets. The UK has in recent months played a leading role alongside our allies in reinforcing these longstanding global norms.”

    /..

    https://www.ft.com/content/7524f9e6-c01c-11e8-95b1-d36dfef1b89a

    Liar! Liar!
    Liar Liar Ge2017 https://g.co/kgs/xecYxC
    3.19m views

    • Sharp Ears

      Apologies for the inclusion of the FT privacy stuff. It didn’t appear on the screen whenI linked it.

      Speaking of dangerous states…

      Britain’s warfare state
      MATT KENNARD and MARK CURTIS 24 September 2018
      Britain needs an industrial strategy. At the same time, Britain needs to move away from its imperial pretensions to police the world’s oceans. The two factors are ever more interlinked.

      House destroyed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, on Dec. 29, 2017. PA photo

      In September 2017, London hosted the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair, the biggest in the world. Delegations of military officials and politicians from across the globe descended on the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands to play pick ‘n mix with the world’s most deadly technology.

      We were granted a press pass to the DSEI the day before it opened, despite applying several months earlier and repeatedly checking up. The pass came through only after we threatened to publicise the case. The opaque arms industry and the governments that support it do not like journalists or civil society dampening the buying mood.

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

      The article continues to describe the activities of the DSO – the Defence Sales Organisation – which was set up by Wilson in 1966.

      • Sharp Ears

        CAAT – Campaign Against the Arms Trade
        Stop DSEI 2019

        Every two years, the global arms trade comes to London. DSEI, one of the world’s largest arms fairs, returns in September 2019.
        This is where those who profit from war, repression and injustice do business.

        This is where we can stop them.

        More than 1,000 arms companies plan to set up shop, marketing their wares to 30,000 attendees from more than 90 countries. Arms deals made at DSEI will export misery around the world.

        Last time the arms fair came to London, hundreds of people took action to disrupt its set-up. As lorries and trucks transporting armoured vehicles, missiles, sniper rifles, tear gas and bullets attempted to get on site, people from around the world were there to put their bodies in the way. Thousands more amplified the protests by signing petitions, lobbying decision-makers, speaking out online and in their own communities, and helping in diverse ways to make the protests possible.

        Will you help make 2019 even bigger?

        Tell us you’re taking action so we can keep you up-to-date with the latest plans, events and training.
        Will you also share your reasons for taking action so we can use them to inspire others? We won’t share any of your personal details.

        /..
        https://www.caat.org.uk/get-involved/act-now/petition/stop-dsei-2019

    • Dave

      Cameron said similar at UN when condemning “conspiracy sites”, so they are either clueless puppets or know they are lying.

  • james

    craig – i admire your reasoning and powers of deduction.. thanks for sharing a moment of sanity, in an otherwise insane storyline that is maintained by the uk gov’t with Pavlovian acceptance by the uk and western media.. the whole thing stinks big time… i also agree with your take on bellingcat and etc. etc.. the madness never stops…

    for an alternative take on the reason the 2 men were in the uk, some might find this hypothesis, much more reasonable..
    https://southfront.org/another-version-attempting-to-explain-trip-of-gru-agents-petrov-and-boshirov-to-salisbury/

    • Hatuey

      28 thousand words just to say they were possibly couriers taking documents from A to B.

      What sort of a person…. wait a second — James, did you write this article?

      • bj

        He makes a good case for the observation that they were carrying documents though.
        That, or something like a key, etc.

        There is involvement and interaction of the Steele, Miller, Sergei, Yulia, Harding quintet.
        That is too remarkable here not to be an aspect of this whole affair.

        One then has to solidly and convincingly explain, first thing, the sudden outbreak of publicity on the Salisbury Sunday.

        • bj

          Note that documents can be carried in and out, and a key can be a real key, a cipher, a USB-key, SD-card etc.

      • james

        hatuey, lol… i thought it was worth reading as it had a potential angle, i hadn’t read about before… as bj notes, there are a number of other salient points to this that one must keep open for consideration, the least likely being they were just on a holiday… all as i see it of course…

    • George C

      Highly recommended article, thank you James. Certainly gives the most believable explanation of their actions and secretiveness.

    • SA

      But the reason why nobody learns from history is exactly that it is intentional to use intelligence not as proof but as a manipulation. It is unattributable, not subject to scrutiny or analysis. It is a sort of ‘Through the looking glass’ type of story. The facts have to fit in with the manufactured intelligence.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Bolton is mentally challenged. He is 70 and markedly senile. He sounds and looks and acts senile. He is a Chickenhawk lawyer….aren’t they all ?

    • Blunderbuss

      “… the priority was securing the port of Umm Qasr in order to open up the route for humanitarian purposes and extend water supply lines from Kuwait”.

      So, bomb the local waterworks and then bring in water from Kuwait. Is this to make it easier to put something in the water?

      • J

        Makes it much easier to sell water. Lots of such things are more difficult to understand without including the profit motive.

  • Yonatan

    Why did the Skripal poisoning event happen on the day it did and not the weekend before or after?

    Given it is highly unlikely that the two Russians were involved in the attack, one possibility is that the state security perpetrators waited until a couple of Russian patsies were due to visit. The visa application process probably takes several months giving the state security perpetrators plenty of time to plan things. The info was then drip fed to the police in order to prolong the exposure of the performance.

    • Duncan

      Yulia arriving on the previous day might have been a factor.
      Perhaps the two Russian agents were in Salisbury that Saturday to pass/swap/obtain something.
      Sergei getting a lift to LHR from his friendly neighbour Ross might have put a dent in the Saturday event, so they returned on Sunday.

      The two agents and the two Skripals were probably in visual contact on the Sunday around 1:20pm. The agents at the Skripal BMW parked at Sainsbury’s, the two Skripals feeding the ducks at the pond.

      • Phil

        “Sergei getting a lift to LHR from his friendly neighbour Ross might have put a dent in the Saturday event, so they returned on Sunday.”

        That’s my theory – see comment on page 1. My theory is that the process of putting Novichok on the door handle was meant to happen on the Saturday but this got cancelled/postponed when Sergei changed his plans, got a lift to the airport leaving his car in his driveway – so when they turned up at his house on the Saturday and saw his car in the driveway, they assumed he was in and aborted the mission, only to come back the next day when they learnt he would be out of the house visiting the cemetery.

  • Brendan

    Simple explanation for how the assassins got into the UK without being stopped – Russia hacked the passport control computer!

    “The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that the security services are investigating the possibility that UK Border Force’s computer systems were hacked to enable Petrov and Boshirov to pass easily through Gatwick passport control. ‘Something has overridden the system to allow them to come in unhindered – that is what is being investigated now,’ said a highly placed source.”
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6147167/Sergei-Skripal-tailed-eve-Novichok-attack-SECOND-spy-team.html

    • Brendan

      Well that’s just as believable as the story that Russia makes the passports and files of its secret agents easily identifiable by putting special numbers and markings on them .

      If Bellingcat’s sources are to be believed, the GRU sent an agent to operate “under deep cover”, but it showed a “top secret” marking in his file, which Western could quickly get hold of! https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/09/14/skripal-poisoning-suspects-passport-data-shows-link-security-services/

      That reminds me of a scene, I think from ‘Police Squad’ or ‘Naked Gun’, with undercover cops using a car that has the words “Unmarked Police Car” on it in big writing. Can anyone remember what film or episode that was from?

      • fraudianreader

        Would you be surprised if Eliot ”suck my balls” Higgins next explosive revelation was along the lines that contained within the passport book is a morse code message stating ”Property of GRU Moscow division please return to V Putin if found at crime scene”.

        I wouldn’t.

        And the guardian deems someone who spends days on twitter asking people to suck his balls a credible source of information. Makes you wonder……

    • Blunderbuss

      I think B&P were given VIP treatment at Gatwick Airport. They probably weren’t even asked to show their passports. Notice how there are no other passengers around when they go through the gates.

      • Tom Smythe

        Right. Basu must wonder why this information is being withheld from Scotland Yard. It — and floodgate of other questions that would follow — would seem very relevant to the investigation.

        He was appointed to his current job the very next day following the Skripal attack, iswell-regarded by MI5:

        Met police appoint new counter-terrorism chief. Scotland Yard has appointed a new counter-terrorism chief, viewed by many as the toughest job in British policing. Neil Basu, a Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, is to succeed Mark Rowley, who retires this month, as assistant commissioner responsible for leading counter-terrorism policing nationally. Basu is a former Met commander overseeing organized crime and gangs. He has specialiszed in counter-terrorism policing for the past three years and was in effect Rowley’s deputy.

        He took up his current role as senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism in October 2016, in which he was responsible for delivering the police response to pursuing terrorists and the Prevent strategy. He has worked as a detective in all ranks to detective superintendent in a range of areas including anti-corruption and homicide for the anti-gangs unit Trident. He has also held the posts of area commander for south-east London and head of armed policing within the Met. He will take over as assistant commissioner for specialist operations on 21 March. Basu has been groomed for the top of the Met for years, serving as staff officer to the former commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

        He was the favorite for the top job in counter-terrorism and is well regarded by others in policing as well as by MI5, the domestic security service, which works closely with the police to thwart attacks.

        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/05/neil-basu-met-police-appoints-new-counter-terrorism-chief

        • AlbertPike

          Mark rowley interesting name, he also has link to Amesbury very tenuous one though, he is the director of a charity that originally Amesbury prep school. Oakley holidays….namesake with original hq of gchq Oakley. I am not suggesting anything of this really just an observation. The charity seems to be some sort of club where kids go on holidays, and are invited by adults who once went on one of those holidays in their youth. Freemasons all that sorta thing interesting and not really relevant to the skirpals anyway

      • Igor P.P.

        A normal UK visitor visa. marked as “C-type”. I believe it is the same type for all sorts of visits, be it business, family or pleasure. Other types are very specific, i.e. work permits, marriage visas, etc.

    • Jo

      I can imagine uk intelligence agencies having that ability to suit their objectives…..perhaps Edward Snowden could confirm that….I wonder if he reads about the Skripals on these sites that are challenging the narrative … .does the FSB too…..

    • fraudianreader

      Interesting….

      How does the EU respond?

      How about; Hey tango, shut the f*ck up or we invite Russia to join the EU?

      Panic over. Express talking shite. Have a good day

  • Norma Brown

    wonderful, congratulations, you hit the high points. I had serious suspicions about Russian Insider from its first issue. It did not ring “Russian” but “American.” And of course we all remember the actual press conference the USG had to tell the world we were going to be spending billions of dollars in propaganda generation to “combat” Russian influence. That is when that and a slew of other propaganda outlets began springing up on the internet, and organizations like the Atlantic Council (NATO in civvies) got a massive cash infusion. When I was there they had a tiny budget, no flash, no bang, no bling. Just a room and a few older computers. Imagine. The military were actually there to be researching their own pet issues, not those of the USG. There are so many holes in the Skripal story that one hardly knows where to begin. Shame on the UK for falling for what I believe was an inside job by the same intel collaborators who brought us the Russian Fairy Tale starring Donald Trump.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘MI5’s anti-Corbyn campaign and the slandering of Michael Foot’:
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/25/foot-s25.html
    ‘…(Andrew) Murray’s pointing to the MI5/MI6 elephant in the room was met with scorn. Labour’s Blairite deputy leader Tom Watson led the charge, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today that Murray’s column was “a bit John le Carre. … If he thinks the intelligence services are in some way trying to undermine the official Opposition then he should provide evidence, otherwise it’s just fake news.”…’
    Just like they nobbled Wilson (see ‘Spycatcher’ by Peter Wright).

  • Josh

    As many here noted, the whole Skripal story makes no sense. I believe this was an opportunity operation for MI6. Most likely by accident, the Skripals got poisoned – likely not with novichok, but possibly a very dangerous food poisoning. Sergey’s identity came through to MI6 almost right away and it was seized on as an opportunity. I am saying this because there is a sense of bumbling at the beginning and at various stages. Novichok was ordered out of Porton Down to be swabbed in places where the Skripals had been. OPCW was called in with a 2 week delay and only when a special secrecy procedure was negotiated – we never saw the full results, neither did the Russians. OPCW swabs would have followed chain of custody but of course with a 2 week delay. Blood results of the Skripals were not released.
    On towards substantiating the claim against the Russians. Usually timed with the chemical weapons threats in Syria. Yulia’s phone call; MI6 has to regroup and reissue clarifications. It becomes clear that there just is no way to have her give interviews without creating major problems with their story. They create a message – message gives problems. They create a video interview – video creates problems. Enter full silence of the Skripals.
    Enter another novichok story. Two people fall ill; one dies. Perfume bottle. But it can’t be the one used for the Skripals. Location, timing makes no sense. But novichok stays in the news.
    Looking for suspects. CCTV for 6 months? Suspects identified. Visa process? Why not release the claimed professions of the suspects? Why not release more CCTV footage (there most definitely is) – because it proves their innocence.
    Skripal story releasing coincides either with the UK’s MI6 setup of chemical false flags or with May’s problems (often both, May has so many problems).
    Suspects make themselves known. Russia, supposed secrecy state, is transparent with an interview that was critical, and created problems for the suspects. UK, supposed transparency democracy, is secretive and deceptive, and its media is non-critical of the government story.
    Bellingcat gets into gear – ordered clearly by intel services.
    Coincidence with Steele. Pablo Miller. Was Skripal the writer of the fake dossier? Maybe. The UK begs Trump not to release the documents. Does release equal a massive public defeat for not only the US Democrats, the FBI/CIA, but also for the UK/MI6 and the Skripal story, the propaganda machine, the deception of its own NATO allies,….? Can the narcissistic Trump ignore a possible charge of treason for releasing something that would exculpate him from the Russiagate scandal for good, yet implicate him twice over by completely destroying NATO propaganda, the raison d’etre of NATO and appearing to do Putin’s bidding on a more massive scale than Russiagate ever claimed?

    • Blunderbuss

      I find it hilarious that the OPCW found pure Novichok in the Skripals’ blood after a 2 week delay. They might have found breakdown products, although even that seems unlikely after 2 weeks, but pure Novichok?

    • PleaseBeleafMe

      Lol. I really enjoyed that post Josh. Reading it I got into a rythm of Billy Joel’s ” we didn’t start the fire”.

  • Tom Smythe

    I had mistakenly thought Ross Cassidy alone had picked up Yulia at Heathrow. In fact, Sergei went along with Ross and wife Mo. Because of the heavy snow in Salisbury, Ross’s silver Isuzu D-Max 4×4 pick-up came into play after Sergei’s 2WD maroon BMW got stuck in the snow according to Ross’s step-son Russell Loveridge. He said Yulia’s luggage would have gone in the back of the pickup truck, not inside the car. It was initially suspected the novichok had come in inadvertently in Yulia’s suitcase, as buckwheat, cosmetics or perfume.

    The Cassidy’s home is at 404 Devizes Road SP2 9LY; his workplace is in nearby Durrington with Cemex. Translogistics is the home office dba used by Ross as a hauler. It’s been suggested Sergei’s car was at left near Ross’s house; on Sunday morning when snow had gone, Sergei went to retrieve car. There is cctv of the BMW on Devizes Road (the A360).

    Speaking for the first time, Ross Cassidy said Mr Skripal seemed ‘spooked’ and had changed his mobile phone [old one discarded? new account?] amid concern it was being monitored. An altogether new phone could possibly explain earlier garbled accounts of Serge’s phone being switched off for 4 hours. It’s never been clear if there was a reliable source behind that.

    “I was surprised that they said the Novichok was placed on the Sunday lunchtime. I have always thought it was placed on the Saturday afternoon when we were collecting Yulia from Heathrow, or even Saturday night. These guys are professional assassins. It would have been far too brazen for them to have walked down a dead end cul-de-sac in broad daylight on a Sunday lunchtime. Sergei’s house faces up the cul-de-sac. He had a converted garage that he used as his office – this gives a full view of the street. Almost always, Sergei used to open the door to us before we had chance to knock. Whenever we visited, he’d see us approaching. Mr Cassidy questions the police timeline. It is his understanding that Sergei and Yulia were at home until 1pm.’

    One-off Russian hacking would be at the very bottom of my list forf reasonable scenarios:

    The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that the security services are investigating the possibility that UK Border Force’s computer systems were hacked to enable Petrov and Boshirov to pass easily through Gatwick passport control. ‘Something has overridden the system to allow them to come in unhindered – that is what is being investigated now,’ said a highly placed source.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6147167/Sergei-Skripal-tailed-eve-Novichok-attack-SECOND-spy-team.html
    Mail on Sunday, 08 Sep 18:
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/police-accused-bungling-sergei-skripal-12216827

    • bj

      The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that the security services are investigating the possibility that UK Border Force’s computer systems were hacked to enable Petrov and Boshirov to pass easily through Gatwick passport control. ‘Something has overridden the system to allow them to come in unhindered – that is what is being investigated now,’ said a highly placed source.>/i>”.

      Yeah, ‘something’….

    • lissnup

      These statements generate yet more unanswered questions: “on Sunday morning when snow had gone, Sergei went to retrieve car.” – how did Sergei travel to collect his car: on foot, by taxi, a lift from one or other of the Cassidy’s, or some other acquaintance, and from where: the Cassidy’s, or some other place nearer home, where it had “got stuck in the snow”?

  • Aneurin Wynne Davies

    The $64,000 question, that I have asked twice on different sites, is that if, as claimed a small perfume box was dumped in a skip following the alleged assassination attempt on March 04.18, why had the said skip not been emptied prior to Charlie Rowley discovering it 3 months later.
    Skip Hire is not cheap, or was it a stolen Skip. Unmissed for 3 months by the owners.

    • Tom Smythe

      No. As discussed in detail in an earlier forum, the still-wrapped perfume box was found in a Cancer Research charity skip adjacent to The Cloisters restaurant. The banner behind the two charity skips clearly indicates that they were emptied daily because of theft of donations (dumpster diving, by Charlie and others). The perfume would likely have been sold at a Cancer Research retail outlet if it had not been found (though I don’t know their policies).

      Photos show that The Cloisters had conventional garbage wheelies within a few yards of the charity bins, the presumption being the perfume could have been safely discarded as trash but was put in the charity bin knowing there would be scavenging, resale and subsequent use.

      • bj

        I’d have thought organizations like thrift stores and outlets like you describe would have a policy of never, ever resell anything that looks like a ‘chemical’ in the broad sense of the word, such as toothpaste, shoe polish, perfume, soaps, bottles of cleaner of whatever ilk, ointments, etc., etc., etc.

        • Tom Smythe

          “.>>> I’d have thought>>>

          Perhaps you could call or send them an email and simply ask? Their web page is easy to find online. Look under the ‘contact’ tab. If you are in the UK, simply go to one of their many retail outlets and look. Or buy a knockoff bottle of perfume, put the still-wrapped box in a donation box, see if it ends up on a shelf.

          As noted above, I have no idea what ‘Cancer Research’ does with their daily donations in terms of resorting, reselling, repairing, recycling, repurposing, freecycling, or merely letting staff take stuff home for personal use and/or car boot sales. It is quite common for charities and even govts to conduct food drives; those bring in unopened cans and bottles that are then given out to the poor.

          I would guess an unopened container of designer perfume still sealed in its original cellophane would find a new home, as would a six-pack of cola; a half-empty bottle of moldy tomato ketchup would not. Mostly these charities deal in used clothing.

          Charlie’s interests were primarily in items that could be bartered for drugs or resold at park blanket sales. While Salisbury is a long ways from a thousand-acre Lagos garbage dump, little of value goes to waste in either city. This small tester bottle of fake Premier Jour might go for twenty quid at an airline gift shop but at a charity it would be marked down.

      • S.N.

        “As discussed in detail in an earlier forum, the still-wrapped perfume box was found in a Cancer Research charity skip adjacent to The Cloisters restaurant.” I obviously missed what you’ve discussed earlier, but anyway I wouldn’t be so sure with the above statement as I remember all the first interviews C.R. gave himself or through his brother, and he always said that he’s not sure where he get it from. And I don’t have any reasons so far not to trust him about this fact. The story with the charity skip is more convenient for the official narrative, that how and why I think the initial C.R. statements twisted later.
        Now what I think is more plausible scenario: First the timeline: 3+ months after initial hoax, and at this moment the official narrative already didnt hold any more water even among the bravest supporters of the official narrative and that’s why whoever was responsible for the initial hoax would decide to pour some fresh blood in the case before is totally forgotten.
        Now I was trying to put myself in the position of dumpster diver to find in what circumstances I wouldn’t remember where I got a completely new in original package box of expensive perfume:
        – If I’m collecting such things on regular basis (but here obviously not the case)
        – I’m totally drunk or high – not sure what is the design of your charity slips, but our charity/ donation bins are sort of huge postal boxes and will be difficult to steal from there even if you are quite sober.
        – Now the third scenario – somebody slip the box in his collecting bag, then will be more than normal when he returns back and start inventorying the prey, he would not remember how he collected this perfume?
        – And of course the scenarios he intentionally lied as he either stole the box or get it from his drug dealer, but I think this would be the least plausible scenario after this become quite serious crime after the death of D.S. 🙁

  • Paul Barbara

    As I have maintained from the outset, it was likely to be a ‘False Flag’ hoax to associate Russia with Chemical Weapons, to fit in with the next ‘White Helmet’ CW attack/hoax in Syria.
    The US and it’s crony War Criminal gang are still threatening to attack Syria much more harshly, IF they use CW’s again, which of course means when the ‘White Helmets’ release their already-filmed hoax.
    I bet no Labour MP has addressed this blatant scenario at the Labour Party Conference, and I doubt if Stop the War has either, at their fringe event.

  • J. Brook

    “Soap and water is quite good at decontaminating nerve agents”. Actually, that’s quite true of the dreaded rabies virus, interestingly–for whatever it’s worth.

    “1% soap solution and 5 – 7% iodine solutions kill the rabies virus within one minute… [Washing of the wound] is perhaps the single most important procedure in preventing infection.”

    From Laboratory Techniques in Rabies, 4th edition. https://foxrabiesblueprint.org/IMG/pdf/pdf_130_lab_techs_in_rabies.pdf, p. 5

    • bj

      Soap and water appears to be a very extreme way of going about cleaning your stuff of this 10x deadlier than VX nerve agent.

      Baby wipes have been officially advised.

      And it is inferred from more recent reports that simply swabbing your stuff (just once suffices) makes the deadly nerve agent disappear.

      Where you leave the swab I cannot tell at the moment.
      Maybe there’s a container marked ‘Nerve Agents’, or ‘Evidence’, near Porton Down, next to some other containers labeled ‘Glass’, ‘Batteries’, ‘Plastics’?

      • dave

        “Novichok degraded by water”?!
        Yet the Swiss lab received pure Novichok samples from the British counterparts.

        No…The Skripals were poisoned with a hallucinogenic drug, all their symptoms were signs of tripping, even eye-witnesses acknowledge their first impression of the Skripals as hallucinating.

  • James Kennedy

    I think what you are trying to insist upon is that all evidence being put in the public domain now.
    This isn’t at all possible pending a trial as the case would be pre-judged by the public. There is obviously a balance to be struck on what is disclosed and what is withheld from the public including secret content that is of a sensitive nature and can only be discussed in private during any such trial.
    Until then why doesn’t Craig take up the opacity of Bellingcat’s investigation with them? I’m sure he will be able to explain who his “contacts at the FCO” are too.

    • bj

      Your confidence is one of a 19-Fifties-dutiful-citizen.

      These days — your gullibility is monumental.

    • Blunderbuss

      The case has already been pre-judged in Parliament. Russia has been found guilty without evidence or trial so there is no reason not to release all the evidence.

    • Igor P.P.

      There’s clearly no expectation of trial from the UK authorities because it is against Russia’s constitution to extradite own citizens.

  • Tom Smythe

    Here’s a theory. Perhaps P&B were errand boys for one or more prominent Russian oligarchs who had bought their way into British residency. Since everything is up for sale there, perhaps a certain number of standing visas for trusted Russian-speaking staff came with the original purchase. Oligarchs are accustomed to a high level of service.

    Met isn’t given this information because it is not deemed relevant to their investigation; further, it might be mis-interpreted by the public or abused by opposition parties.

    By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent 25 Feb 2014
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10660376/850-Chinese-millionaires-and-Russian-oligarchs-have-bought-British-visa.html

    More than 850 Russian oligarchs and Chinese millionaires have won the right to live in Britain in the last five years under a scheme which has little benefit for British citizens, official government advisers have disclosed.

    Professor Sir David Metcalf, chairman of the Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), said the government had effectively been “giving away” visas to some of the world’s wealthiest people.

    A report by the committee revealed 433 Russian millionaires have come to this country since 2008 under an “investor” visa scheme which allows successful applicants to live in Britain in return for a minimum £1 million investment in government gilts – effectively a loan – but does not grant them a UK passport.

    Another 419 super-wealthy Chinese used the scheme. The third largest group was US citizens, who made just 96 applications over the five years.

    • Piotr Berman

      If P&B were errand boys, it could be for a purpose of delivery of a document needed to perform some off-shore transaction or something like that, London may be one of the places where the intermediaries for such transactions work. The beneficial owner of the assets in question could have a British visa or not. Cyprus seems to be preferred location for such services, being in the same time zone etc., but London, Amsterdam etc. are financial centers were some negotiations take place, so nothing wrong about sending stuff there. But they could be a bona fide free-lancers with a healthy bank account, and celebrating something.

      Having a bit or time and money, say, sufficient for a decent hotel room, they decided to spent money a bit differently, cheap room but with extra service. Indeed, agents for an ultra-sensitive mission could get a better budget (but stingy bean counters thought that having enough for a decent hotel room they could just fight boredom with a paperback or watching movies, so something had to give) or show more discipline, like making less noise.

      What makes the official theory very thin is an extremely tight schedule, Skripals dropping back to Sergei home just for a short time overlapping ca. two hours when P&B were in Salisbury, how that could be conceivably reliable assassination plan? Obviously, the plan, if there was any, was not reliable, but could it be conceived so moronically? What if Skripals went for a ride, say, to visit view points in Devon and/or Cornwall, and return only next day or later? Add the washability of the poison and rain, and a plethora of proven lethal methods to dispatch people. Like a gun, a silencer and a night visit.

    • Blunderbuss

      To Wikipedia, ‘reliable sources’ means the mainstream media. They have banned the Daily Mail but I’m not sure why that has been singled out from other tabloids.

      • Clark

        Wikipedia has a ranking of reliability of sources. Scholarly books and articles published in academic journals are ranked highly, as are court records, statements by expert groups etc. This works quite well for many subjects.

        The major news media are actually ranked quite low, but for recent politics, current affairs, and ongoing events, none of the higher-ranked sources will have been written yet.

        The reason Bellingcat can be cited is because the corporate media cite them.

        The bias of the corporate media is acknowledged as a problem among many Wikipedia editors.

  • Oakspeaks

    It seems like it was so easy to trace the movements of these two, and combined with all the points above, and given that the Russians have years of espionage experience and must be pretty canny about such things, if it was the Russians who did this, wouldn’t these two be decoys and the real perpetrators would have done it so slyly as to leave no trace ??? And the Russians then have no problem putting these two in front of the cameras because it genuinely wasn’t these two wot dunnit.

  • Evgenya Antonovna

    We’re not in Tashkent anymore, Toto………….

    If I thought that Craig Murray was a serious journalist, who was actually looking for the truth, I would spend an hour or two picking apart his post. Sadly, he is coming across – more and more – as a shill in the employ of the Russian government. Either that, or he’s just so full of hatred for the people he feels have wronged him, that he can’t see the wood for the trees and is desperately grasping onto anything to prove his point.

    I will, however, waste a few minutes of my time disputing the following: ‘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’.

    The ‘Visa Department’ – WHAT? For more than six years now, all UK visa applications for Russian citizens have been outsourced from the Consulate to a company called TLScontact. There is no ‘Visa Department’ – it does not exist. The UK Border Agency? – also doesn’t exist – it was replaced by UK Border and Immigration back in 2013. That you should be so lax in your writings speaks volumes about your agenda. TLScontact is staffed entirely by Russian nationals. If you want to learn more about how TLScontact works, you have my email address. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Coiseam

      Why don’t you go teach your grandmother how to knit, seriously? ALL countries nowadays outsource the PROCESSING (not the decisions) of their visas to private companies, including my country in Russia and Russia in my country. But the criteria are strictly set by the relevant visa department, with any slightly grey areas needing to be immediately clarified by an official. The data is ALWAYS sent to the relevant authority, and there is a significant waiting period while they are checked. How and by who I of course am in no position to know but I would be extremely surprised if there was no software that highlights suspicious criminal and espionage connections and forwards them to the respective agencies.

      And of course the people staffing these companies are locals FFS. What sane company would bring tens of Britons to Moscow (for example), teach them Russian (so they can interview locals) and get them residence and work permits (not easy)? What exactly does this mean? Is every Russian a KGB agent? Are you?

      And wow Craig used the old name for an agency and not the slightly different new one. HUGE! I’m really sick and tired of liberast trolls.

      • Evgenya Antonovna

        Gosh – is it a prerequisite to be rude if you want to contribute to the comments on here? A liberast troll? What does that even mean – I’m a homosexual?

        You write ‘of course the people staffing these companies are locals FFS’ (why the need for the profanity – I have no idea).
        Well, Coiseam, the people (including the security guys) staffing the Gee St and Kensington Vfs Global centres which handle visas to visit Russia are Russian nationals. Perhaps it’s easier to get residence and work permits in the UK than it is in Russia?

    • Igor P.P.

      Visa application process is outsourced, visa consideration and issuing process is not. And never will be, for obvious reasons.

  • Yuri Sorkin

    As confirmed by my own experience in May and still so per newest rules (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/740080/UK_Visa_requirements_Sept_2018.pdf) UK allows Russian citizens to enter UK without visas under way too many circumstances:

    “Transit without visa (TWOV) ALL visa nationals seeking to transit the United Kingdom LANDSIDE without a visa must:
    (iv) arrive and depart by air; and
    (v) have a confirmed onward flight that departs before 23:59hrs the following day; and
    (vi) hold the correct documents for their destination (e.g. a visa for that country if required)
    Nationals of ALL countries (RED [underlined] and BLACK above) need a visa to transit LANDSIDE unless they hold one of the following:
    (i) a valid visa for entry to Australia …”

    Back in May, however, for eligibility was good also return ticket, yet I didn’t show any to border guards. So now it is apparent for me that Boshirov and Petrov had duplicate return tickets and flown out having overstayed “visa concession exception”. Now it is obvious to me why rules got just changed and why security services are reluctant to explain this to public.

    • Tom Smythe

      Yuri, very helpful.

      At any point in your transit-without-visa (TWOV) travels, were you required to obtain and actually present to anyone a document with biometrics beyond photo, such as signature, fingerprints, iris scan, retinal scan, or DNA bar code?

      If not, I wonder if the explanation for the UK’s refusal to furnish Russia with fingerprints is simply that the UK doesn’t have their fingerprints.

      At the time, the UK wrongly announced that P&B used aliases, the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs again sought cooperation, asking for their fingerprints. People’s appearance change over time and very in quality with camera angle, lighting and haircuts.

      It is difficult to establish identity and personal history just from height + weight + eye color + hair color + gender + birthday + birthplace + signature + photo [[no more can be found on my recent passport + drivers license]] without serious biometrics (fingerprints, iris scan, retinal scan, DNA). Note identical twins are readily distinguishable on all four listed biometric measures, including DNA.

      In identifying unknown individuals using aliases and fake IDs, it is necessary to have a characteristic that allows a computerized database search especially in a country like Russia with 144,000,000 possibilities. [Identification is much harder than verification.] The UK has refused to share any information as they have all along.

      I looked at the Met’s best resolution images to see if I could take iris scans from them. The answer is no, image quality is surprising medioce, nowhere near fit for purpose. It was then not feasible to apply a 2D Gabor texture filter (gaussian kernel function with sinusoidal plane wave modulation) to get the signature needed to search iris registration databases (not that I have access to them but I could pass along).

      P&B were not charged with regards to Charlie and the more serious death of Dawn. That could be because there were no fingerprints anywhere on the bottle or packaging other than D&C’s, or because Met had nothing to compare them with. It would be a near impossible to get them from the hotel room, given two months of other guests, mostly long-gone, and cleaning staff. Same with DNA.

      P&B seem to have sped through the airport exit corridor with no other passengers in sight, suggesting special privileges.

      The whole passport/visa/biometric thing seems to be in a continuing state of flux, perhaps with legacy arrangements still honored:

      “London’s Heathrow terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5 are still using IRIS, as is Gatwick North, and the system will continue to be used there during the massive influx of travellers for the Olympics this summer. Earlier this month, it was reported that Heathrow might not get facial recognition technology for non-EU travelers planned for all five of its terminals in time. And that implementation has been held up because UKBA is busy investigating the scandal that erupted when it was claimed that fingerprint checks were regularly abandoned to speed things up. Passengers holding a British or EU passport with a biometrics chip will still be able to use the e-Passport gates to skip the manual immigration queues.”

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/17/iris_scanners_scrapped_at_two_airports/

    • Coiseam

      Nope, the pot-smoking, prostitute-hiring, bodybuilding secret service officers (FFS) arrived on Friday and left on Sunday, so your theory (” departs before 23:59hrs the following day”) does not hold water.

  • James

    Even from an objective postion the official narrative falls apart. And either there was GROSS failures by the security services that GRU agents could just swan in to the UK with one of the world’s most deadly chemicals and assassinate
    Agents working FOR the British govt.

    Of course the mainstream media is all too busy parroting the govt line. I haven’t heard a SINGLE report questioning just how badly the security services would’ve performed had this actually occurred.

    Instead it is “this happened, ask no questions and behave”

  • James

    By the way Craig I would LOVE to see your opinion on the apparent link between Pablo Miller and Christopher Steele.

    The latter being the supposed creator of the “Russian dossier” for the Hillary campaign in 2016.

    Steele is “ex” MI6 but as I’m sure many know this is often a ploy used by intel and special forces wherein an officer will “resign” but continue working for their agency except now the agency has plausible deniability.

  • MaryPau!

    Sorry but i am not really up to speed on types of visa Russians need to enter the UK. I have searched on line for info but the searches return info on vias needed by UK citizens to enter Russia and not the other way round.

    Are there different types, for example are there holiday visas for short stay trips or are the ones described by Craig above standard for all Russians coming to the UK, even for a brief tourist visit?

    • MaryPau!

      Supplementary question, have the entry checks for Russians been tightened since the Skripal incident?

      Regarding Yuri’s point, there used to be a “work around” with air fares between UK and some European countries where you bought 2 cheap return flights and used out on one and back on the other one, as it could be used to save money. Of course it relied on the tickets not being fully checked for being returns when actually used and they
      did tighten this “abuse” but could it still be used, in some form, only between Russia and the UK, to get round the in transit restrictions.?

  • MaryPau!

    My sister takes a keen interest in politics, although from a different political standpoint to mine. She follows American politics, and the US involvement in Syria and is currently having something of a dilemma over the role of the White House.

    I asked her about her view of the Skripal affair and summarised she thinks: Russian agents tried to kill the Skripals in March; and recently British authorities identified two Russian spies who few into the UK and went to Salisbury that weekend, and pinned it on them, so case closed.

    Pressed further as to why it would not be logical for Putin to have ordered it when he did, or used a nerve agent, she quotes an article she read ( by. I think a US ” security expert”) saying that parts of the Russian security apparatus are a law unto themselves. She then quotes Putin in an interview saying he never forgives betrayal , and says she assumes the assassination attempt was made by some “gone rogue,” branch of the Russian security apparatus, operating from Moscow, who were seeking to curry favour with Putin by killing the Skripals.

    The key thing in her mind is that the UK police have identified those responsible, even if they cannot arrest them, and it is essentially a Russian on Russian type killing attempt, so case closed. I suspect this view is common among the UK “politically aware” liberal Intelligentsia.

    • Tom Smythe

      The key here might be the gray fabric in the background. Looking at the highest resolution Met provides, the download of “Presentation1.jpg”, there is no indication of ‘segmentation’ (Photoshop cut-outs of faces placed on top of uniform stock pattern): in other words, the two were simply photographed with this woven fabric wall covering behind them. The fabric is airport-bland.

      Perhaps others here who have Russian passports or recent UK visa applications would recognize this fabric. (Where I live, there are not uniform standards at all for passport photo backgrounds, just about any corner copy shop can provide the service.)

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