Metropolitan Police on “Chepiga” and “Mishkin”. 648

I have just received confirmation from the Metropolitan Police Press Bureau that both the European Arrest Warrant and Interpol Red Notice remain in the names of Boshirov and Petrov, with the caveat that both are probably aliases. Nothing has been issued in the name of Chepiga or Mishkin.

As for Bellingcat’s “conclusive and definitive evidence”, Scotland Yard repeated to me this afternoon that their earlier statement on Bellingcat’s allegations remains in force: “we are not going to comment on speculation about their identities.”

It is now a near certainty that Boshirov and Petrov are indeed fake identities. If the two were real people, it is inconceivable that by now their identities would not have been fully established with details of their history, lives, family and milieu. I do not apologise for exercising all due caution, rather than enthusiasm, about a narrative promoted to increase international tension with Russia, but am now convinced Petrov and Boshirov were not who they claimed.

But that is not to say that the information provided by NATO Photoshoppers’R’Us (Ukraine Branch) on alternative identities is genuine, either. I maintain the same rational scepticism exhibited by Scotland Yard on this, and it is a shame that the mainstream media neither does that, nor fairly reflects Scotland Yard’s position in their reporting.

Still less do I accept the British government’s narrative of the novichok poisoning, which remains full of wild surmise and apparent contradiction. No doubt further evidence will gradually emerge. The most dreadful thing about the whole saga is the death of poor Dawn Sturgess, and the most singular fact at present is that Boshirov and Petrov are only wanted in relation to the “attack on the Skripals”. There is no allegation against them by Scotland Yard or the Crown Prosecution Service over the far more serious matter of the death of Sturgess. That is a fascinating fact, massively under-reported.

I remain of the view that the best way forward would be for Putin to negotiate conditions under which Boshirov and Petrov might voluntarily come to the UK for trial. The conditions which I would suggest Russia propose are these:

1) A fully fair and open trial before a jury.
2) The entire trial to be fully public. No closed sessions nor secret evidence and no reporting restrictions.
3) No restrictions on witnesses who may be called, including the Skripals, Pablo Miller, Christopher Steele and other former and current members of the security services.
4) No restrictions on disclosure – all relevant material held by government must be given to the defence.

I strongly suspect that, if a trial would bring to public light something of the extent of the convoluted spy games that were being played out in Salisbury, we would find the British Government’s pretended thirst for justice would suddenly slam into reverse.

Sadly, it currently seems highly improbable that either justice will be served or the full truth be known.

648 thoughts on “Metropolitan Police on “Chepiga” and “Mishkin”.

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  • Paul

    That reluctance of the Russian goverment to provide further information about Boshirov and Petrov could very well be due to the fact that they refuse to respond to media reports only. They have repeatedly requested that the UK use the proper official channels.

    • JMF

      Exactly right. The Russians are not going to be baited into this propaganda cesspit unless official and legal channels are used.

    • Tom Welsh

      The whole affair is a fine example of the tendency – more and more pronounced in the West these days – to move attention gradually away from an alleged crime, onto the personalities or past of people allegedly involved in it.

      The Skripal poisoning – if such a thing ever happened – and the death of Dawn Sturgess – which I suppose must have happened, although we don’t know what killed her – are subject to police investigation. Until a trial occurs (which it probably won’t) we the public can never be sure who did what to whom.

      Meanwhile, carefully assuming the utterly unproven allegations made in Parliament, everyone starts picking apart the background of those two fellows Petrov and Boshirov. But there is no evidence they had anything to do with the Skripals or Dawn Sturgess; or if there is, it is being kept deathly secret.

  • Sarge

    A good summation of the impasse. You’ve done sterling work in opening people’s minds on this affair. Look forward to reading your thoughts on bigger things that are brewing, not least in the demented mind of John Bolton.

  • Ruth

    No restrictions on disclosure may be the most important element. Failure to make disclosure by Customs in excise and VAT carousel fraud trials adds strength to the accusation that they were in on the frauds. When you got an honest defence solicitor who demanded disclosure Customs would collapse the trials.

    • Mark Russell

      Absolutely, Ruth, but I’m having difficulty reconciling “honest” and “solicitor” in the same sentence. Perhaps enlightened would be more appropriate.

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment’.

        – George Carlin

  • wild

    Unfortunately, if they will come to UK, I only expect lynching by a mob with papers like Sun igniting the crowd.

  • John2o2o

    Well, in my opinion Craig, you’ve fallen for it. I do not believe that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley have any connection to this incident. They were not poisoned by “novichok”. I am secure in my conviction that they have nothing to do with the Skripals. It is a smokescreen. And while I am sure that the close family of Ms Sturgess are upset by her death (as a result of drug addiction) I have no especial feeling about it. She is nothing to me.

    We are being lied to.

    And I think, given that MI6 took six months to reveal all of this through their stooge Bellingcat, it is quite likely that they have carefully planned these releases of information to give them plausibility. I am sure that they have known all of these details all along. The first intelligent observer to fall was Neil Clark. And now you.

    The heads of MI6 (or is it MI5m who knows?) must be feeling very pleased that their operation to convince people like yourself has been a success.

    I am, and will remain highly skeptical about anything being said about this. No, I do not know the truth. And neither – outside of the security services – does anyone else. And I am now convinced that we will never be told the truth.

    I hope that they are at least genuine in their desire to protect members of the public, but I cannot agree or condone this racist Russophobia which I think has no substance to it at all.

    • Cesca

      The symptoms the Skripals showed were those of opiates, more likely hallucinogens. No sign of nerve agents at all

      • Cesca

        I did Craig, agree it would be ok if they answered q’s from Russia, the Tories are idiots and can’r be trusted with anything, if they came here they’d be disappeared probably.

        • James Charles

          No one was affected by a ‘nerve agent poison’?
          ‘ . . .   he began his letter to the Times . . . with; “may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury” ‘
          “ The Times published a letter from Stephen Davies (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust) on the 16th March. ‘Sir, further to your report (‘Poison Exposure Leaves Nearly 40 needing Treatment’), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.’ ”
          “Dr Stephen Jukes, the intensive care consultant who treated the Skripals a week after they arrived at the hospital, said once the nerve agent was detected . . . the medical team suspected both were suffering an opioid overdose but that the diagnosis quickly changed to a nerve agent poisoning.”

          • Tom Welsh

            Yes, it’s utterly incredible that no one has resolved that flat contradiction. All it would take would be a five-minute talk with both Dr Davies and Dr Jukes. They would be asked whether any patients had been admitted to the hospital at that time with symptoms of nerve agent poisoning. If one says “yes” and the other says “no”, we have the basis for a fairly simple investigation.

      • Tom Welsh

        But does the arrest warrant say explicitly what crimes they are suspected of? Just “in connection with the attack on the Skripals” tells us virtually nothing. For instance, could such a warrant be issued if the men were just sought as witnesses? If they are suspected of any specific crime(s), surely it should be publicly known what those crimes are.

  • Alyson

    ‘The most dreadful thing about the whole saga is the death of poor Dawn Sturgess, and the most singular fact at present is that Boshirov and Petrov are only wanted in relation to the “attack on the Skripals”’

    Indeed. I would like to know even whether there is clearly a connection. I have speculated that the only possible link might be the police officer, because I think he might have handled the perfume packaging, discarded it, and gone to the house to check the doors were secured. I cannot imagine any other scenario that would tie the events together. If they are not connected that is a whole new question

    • craig Post author

      Plainly there is not any clear connection, or they would have been wanted over Sturgess by the police. They are not.

      • Kempe

        Hard to know what they could be charged with regarding Dawn Sturgess. Obviously they didn’t plan to kill her so it wasn’t murder and making a manslaughter charge stick might not be so easy either. Possibly they could be charged with failing to dispose of toxic waste in accordance with regulations.

        • Jo

          I think it would be misadventure……at the inquest…which might kibosh the whole novichuk thingy….

          • Kempe

            Yes until the inquest establishes a cause of death any charges might be premature.

            The inquest resumes on 19th January.

          • Steve Jones

            It would most certainly not be considered misadventure. Leaving a deadly agent disguised in a scent bottle leading to a death would, at the very least, be considered manslaughter. It can even be considered murder. For example, if a bystander is shot by accident in the course of an armed raid it will be treated as a murder.

    • Jo Dominich

      Alison, you’ve raised a valid point there – Nick Bailey was there in less than a minute of the original call of an incident on the park bench. Now, as no trace of him can be found on Wiltshire Constabulary’s website and he has completely disappeared, it is not unreasonable to ask the question – was he the person who administered the poison/chemical whatever as he was right there at the scene at almost the right time. Is the alleged Nick Bailey really Nick Bailey? May be, Bellingcat might be able to shed light here.

  • Cesca

    Can’t agree with Russia playing the disgusting, war mongering Tories game Craig, it’s all lies which must be shown up for such, not helped.

    Think Russia are doing a great job atm and letting the idiotic UK Govt hang themselves, Putin is a serious diplomat, think fun is in store.

  • Ash

    There is still no reason to presume these two are guilty of anything or of any interest at all. Nothing resembling evidence has been presented.

    • Chris

      I agree Ash. I can not understand why Craig appears to have changed his stance? As far as I can see no tangible proof that these two Russians had anything to do with it has been provided. There are problems with the whole affair right from the start that should not be forgotten including why the British government flouted the OPCW sample chain of custody rules? Craig, you now say that you accept that Novichok was used but why? You are evidently aware that the British government/security services have a track record of lying yet you now appear to take their word that the sample they provided the OPCW was not tampered with, despite them breaking all the rules they are signed up to. If they were being truthful what reason would they have to break this rule?

      • Chris

        Apologies Craig, please ignore what I said in my previous comment about you accepting that Novichok was used. Clearly I did not read it property. Keep up the good work.

    • Andrew H

      Agreed, without a trial they are already guilty. The history books are being written in mainstream media and Wikipedia, with Bellingcat taking much of the credit.

      • Aslangeo

        I cannot see how Boshirov and Petrov could possibly get a fair trial in Britain with all the media attention, baed on any presumption of innocence. Are these two dodgy? Looks like it to me, but being or looking dodgy does not equate with being guilty of attempted murder. The whole situation reminds me of the 1970s situation, are you innocent or Irish? Now it’s are you innocent or Russian

        • Tarla

          Of course they won’t get a fair trial. This whole circus has now developed into a pantomime farce. The new mantra is look at the photos, look at the photos so as to lead people away from looking at the Skripal ‘incident’. Novichok sprayed on a door handle – do me a favour. Then this ‘pure’ novichok was found inactive door handle weeks later by the OPCW. Again do me a favour.

    • Cesca

      I ‘m a D.Phil in a very important field of Anthropology, where i’m a respected researcher, who does much important work.

      My grad was Archaeology, Masters Political History, then Anthropology, studying at 3 different Unis. all the best in my interests. To me, anyone can be super intelligent and knowledgeable, the basics matter but developing good critical thinking and research skills matter most, with them the world is your oyster and yes, you can take down experts.

  • Los

    Expect the Govt to turn up the Russian Squirrel knob up to Eleven now we’re reaching Theresa’s Brexit Final Curtain.

    • Jo Dominich

      Los – agreed. The whole Skripal affair was initially to deviate attention away from the shambles this government were making of Brexit and also to set anti-Russian phobia in the public to support a false flat attack in Syria. I do note that this story has arisen and is at hysterical levels since May’s embarrassment at Salzburg and Brexit negotiations are in their last week. No coincidence there!

  • shugsrug

    I am of the view that there is a strong possibility the two were in Salisbury for some illicit reason. They were probably quickly identified by the security services following the ‘poisoning’. As they might have been known by the security services, they were understandably strongly suspected of being involved. Hence the Governments insistence that this was a Russian assignation attempt.
    There seems a distinct possibility that they were not involved but were ideal culprits. Who knows.
    To me it is possible they were an unwitting decoy, or there for some other reason, but they did not seem like they were on a mission involving a serious chemical attack intended to murder two individuals.

  • DiggerUK

    As a possible prelude to the tourists appearing in an english court, would it be in order for them to be interviewed under caution at the U.K. embassy in Russia. Is it a normal procedure…_

    • Tom Welsh

      May I remind you that they will not appear in a British court, as the Russian constitution explicitly forbids extradition of Russian citizens.

      • DiggerUK

        There is nothing to prevent an english court appearance. Extradition demands will be rejected, but all other voluntary agreements could be allowed. If an interview under caution is allowable, or possible, at the U.K. embassy, then it would call all the players bluff.
        Although the Scottish judicial system shamed itself over the Lockerbie pan am trial, this would be under different conditions. It would also serve as a warning to these tourists what not to do…_

  • Andrew H

    Craig “I remain of the view that the best way forward would be for Putin to negotiate conditions under which Boshirov and Petrov might voluntarily come to the UK for trial.”

    I would add one more condition:
    5) A maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.

    This is arbitrary and won’t do justice for Dawn, but really it is likely they were carrying out orders from above.

  • Ort

    I take your point about “the best way forward”, Craig, but I remain sympathetic to Russia’s general, and increasing, refusal to be drawn into making official responses to the UK’s obvious propaganda campaign– a campaign animated by, and saturated with, arrant Russophobia and bad faith.

    The UK government, and the ostensibly neutral technical organizations involved in the various allegations about the use of chemical/biological weapons in Salisbury, have consistently refused to follow international law and regulation, and use established official channels to investigate the alleged crimes.

    Instead, the UK has officially treated Russia as a Stern Parent or Headmaster treats a wayward and wicked child in their care: bullying, threatening, slandering, insulting, etc.

    Here in the US, we’ve seen attempted bottom-up mob rule sanitized and glorified as “the court of public opinion”. It seems to me that the UK government is using the same approach, except top-down; that is, the entire affair has been staged to stampede the public into a Russophobic frenzy– a paranoid frenzy that “incidentally” benefits the corrupt, decadent, bellicose Tory government.

    In the process, the UK and its anti-Russian allies have simply repeatedly baited the Russian government; even the nominally official actions, such as the issuance of the European Arrest Warrant and Interpol Red Notice, are fraudulent instruments to coerce a Russian response.

    Thus, I find the Russian government’s refusal to be drawn into officially responding to these scurrilous provocations to be prudent and righteous. I don’t pretend to read Putin’s mind, but from the Russian perspective, the assertion that the ball is now in their court– i.e. it is now incumbent upon Russia to cut the Gordian Knot of ambiguity and disinformation– is just another manipulative trap.

    In effect, you’re asking “Putin” to play chess with “Bellingcat”. If Russia stoops to Bellingcat, et al’s level, it will simply provoke further rounds of media-fueled derisive skepticism, and further provocations from UK officials, politicians, and Bellingcats– all conducted in “the court of public opinion”.

    I can’t fault Putin/Russia for declining to jump into the pig-wrestling pit, and hewing to the high road. If the UK government had “played fair” from the onset– which it could not do because it does not have clean hands– we wouldn’t have reached a point where it becomes incumbent upon Russia to extricate itself, and all of the innocent bystanders, from this reprehensible UK/Western “black op”.

    • ZigZag Wanderer

      I wholeheartedly agree with your observations and am reminded of how the “court of public opinion” was pumped up and cynically manipulated by politicians and journalists after the 911 anthrax letter poisonings.
      Notwithstanding that five people died , the blame for these poison letters was firmly placed at the feet of Muslims , Saddam Hussein or Palestinians , depending on who you were listening to.
      The public panicked and demanded revenge …. and the PNACers got the one sided turkey shoot wars they had always wanted.

      Of course we found out seven years later when the FBI concluded that the source of the anthrax was the US Army biodefence lab at Fort Detrick , Md . and Dr. Ivins , the individual accused of the crime conveniently suicided himself before getting his day in court.

      Case closed .. job done .

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘In effect, you’re asking “Putin” to play chess with “Bellingcat”’.

      Given that Bellingcat is the kind of entity who plays chess wearing earphones through which to receive advice and computer analysis, who exchanges queens and then slyly slips his own queen back onto the board while his opponent is getting tea, and who after allowing Scholar’s Mate argues emotionally that he won the game… Mr Putin would be right to decline that pleasure.

    • Jo Dominich

      Ort that is the point that is being ignored and the elephant in the room. From the outset the Russian Government acted in accordance with International Law and OPCW regulations, inviting the UK to conduct a joint investigation into the matter and provide a sample of the alleged novichok for testing. Reasonable request in compliance with international procedure. They also requested Embassy access to the Skripals again, entirely in keeping with international law and the diplomatic code. The UK refused every single Russian request and refused to involve the OPCW until much much later in the process tampering therefore, with the chain of custody process for the OPCW investigation into the substance. I would make a fairly simple statement the law national or international, is there for a reason, to ensure fair and open due process underpinned by substantive evidence and an outcome based on that evidence and adherence to the law. Now, people who decline to follow the law are often called criminals and described as such. Hence, the only criminals I see here at the present time is the UK Government.

  • Alexander

    Do you understand, that Russia is actually ruled by law?
    Putin is our president, but he have no rights to order some of russian citizens to “go to London and stay trial here”.

    It will be direct violation of russian constitution.

    We have no signed treaty allowing extradiction for criminals between Russia and GB.
    Petrov and Bashirov can go to London themself, but it will be unprobable – who will belive in honest trial here?

    London have all rights to prepare case and start it in russian court. If it is not done, it means they do no have any proof.

    • Andrew H

      Alexander, they could come of their own free will if the conditions were right, and Russia would permit to leave which I very much doubt. If they don’t come they will be forever deemed murders. This will be written into history for their children to read. Also in 20 years time, Russian may no longer be ruled by a tyrant and may have changed its constitution to allow extradition. These charges will never go away unless they are answered for in a fair and open trial. In court they have a chance to present their side of the story and to try to correct any misunderstandings.

      • Jo1


        You think they’ll get a fair trial? What planet are you on? We’ve been fed lie after lie over this whole affair from day one. Even Porton Down sent its chief out to tell the press that Johnson had lied his head off about their findings! The naivety of your post is embarrassing! There would be no “open and fair trial”. This whole case is built on lies. The UK government and its disgusting media don’t do truth or fairness. Anyone who can’t see that is deluded.

      • Jo Dominich

        Andrew H, what the hell are you talking about? One, Russia is most decidedly NOT ruled by a Tyrant – however the USA and the UK are. How do you arrive at the conclusion that they will forever be deemed to be murderers? No charges have been brought, there isn’t a shred of evidence to support this theory and most certainly there is considerable doubt being raised about who they are. I am surprised you would even make these assertions – the murderers are likely to be the CIA, MI6, Mossad or the Russian Mafia – maybe even the Ukranian Government but not these to people. The trial has been had by media – you don’t seriously believe anybody would be stupid enough to voluntarily come here to either be disappeared or to be the subject of trial by vicious media, the only evidence for which is a pack of lies by the British Government. My God, your politics must be very far to the right if you believe what you have written above. I doubt very much if you would say the same were it two British people being asked to go to Russia for a ‘fair trial’ in similar circumstances especially given the fact there is not a single shred of evidence to support any theories about them.

    • Tom Welsh

      Alexander, I actually do believe that many Westerners fail to understand how the rule of law works. In the USA, UK and other Western countries there are impressive arrays of laws and regulations – but they are enforced only against the weak and defenceless, never against the elites.

  • Hatuey

    “No doubt further evidence will gradually emerge…”

    Really? “Further”? Further to what, we have nothing to add to? I’d actually say we know less now than we did in March.

    1) how do we know a deadly nerve agent was used?
    2) if it was used, we have no idea who by.
    3) god only knows what killed Sturgess.
    4) why would anyone use nerve agents to kill (as opposed to other methods) when they’re clearly unreliable and awkward to work with?
    5) where are the Skripals and why are they being detained incommunicado?
    6) does anyone regard British security and intelligence services as honest and reliable sources?

    • Andrew H

      “6) does anyone regard British security and intelligence services as honest and reliable sources?”
      Yes, most of the population of the UK does. The mainstream media and Wikipedia are as entrenched in their views on this as much as you are on yours. You will be a pot of ashes long before history is rewritten to reflect your reality.

      Lets us be clear where Wikipedia stands today: Under suspects and timeline:
      On 26 September 2018, the real identity of the suspect named by police as Ruslan Boshirov was revealed as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga.
      On 8 October 2018, the real identity of the suspect named by police as Alexander Petrov was revealed as Dr. Aleksandr Mishkin.

      You may also want to look at the Wikipedia page on Bellingcat. You can call foul all you want, but its not to going to change history as defined by mainstream media.

      • Ben MacIntyre

        I have problems in believing anything from our security services, their job is to lie and deceive.
        Our revered security services have been working for 6 months to find the real identity of the “poisoners “ with no success and suddenly bellincat reveal the “truth”!
        I still believe in the tooth fairy!

      • Brian c

        They will issue whatever lies the government of the day demands of them. Like the ones that led to the destruction of Iraq and Libya and the creation of Isis and a biblical refugee crisis. Silly to trust such people.

      • Cesca

        And that’s ok with you Andrew H? That the disgusting, shambolic Tories should just lie thru their teeth? Right

        • Andrew H

          As you may know, I have looked at the available evidence, carefully examined other possible theories and after much consideration concluded that the Russians did it and that the Bellingcat identifications are authentic and based on good evidence.

          Originally there were various theories put forward, but more recently the argument has changed in character to one of merely trying to pick holes in the official/unofficial media story and general complaints about lack of transparency and disclosure rather than presenting a plausible alternative narrative.

          Just as with the moon landing, it is doesn’t actually matter that some people still don’t believe it happened and yes that is ok with me. [I am pretty used to having to roll my eyes – and short of mass sterilisation I don’t see a good solution – and besides we still need people to serve us in McDonald’s + pub so it would actually be depressing if the roles were reversed]

          • Andrew H

            Cesca: “No, nobody would think you considered evidence Andrew H.”

            Incorrect. I am someone.

            Lets put it this way. I am more arrogant and confident in my ability to reason than you. Also, I am not so insecure that I need to present my qualifications, but I am rather unimpressed with yours. Humankind did not figure out the temperature of the inside of the sun by sticking a thermometer inside it, but by deduction based on evidence which is in most cases probabilistic. If looks a duck and it quacks like a duck then is a duck.

            Also it doesn’t matter what I or you think and I do not want or expect you to change your mind. I don’t even think it is possible, but you may have a better insight into human psychology than me (which by the way doesn’t bode well for Scottish Independence 2) – people decided where they stood on this a long time ago.

          • Jo Dominich

            Andrew H, I have carefully and thoroughly reviewed all the available evidence too – it would seem you and I have been looking at completely different stories – there can be no doubt whatsoever that the UK Government story on the Skripals is a fairy tale from start to finish and part of the anti-Russian propaganda. I see that same process is now starting to be drip fed about China. A 9yr old could see right through the story. Added to which of course the UK Government have deliberately flouted international law, diplomatic protocol, tampered with the chain of custody and many many more things. If they were telling the truth on any of it, the MSM, this Government’s official propaganda machine, would have gleefully printed every tiny, miniscule piece of evidence. Even a German international MP stated very clearly the UK had not provided NATO with a single piece of evidence supporting its claims – the only reason they were reluctantly support the UK is because they are NATO allie.s

      • D_Majestic

        I bumped into Chicken-Licken on a ferry this afternoon. She assured me that the sky was about to fall in. Naturally I believe her….

      • Hatuey

        “You will be a pot of ashes long before history is rewritten to reflect your reality.”

        I always said I was ahead of my time.

        Anyway, back to the knee-high crap that you call reality. The point I’ve made all along is that we are never likely to know what happened in Salisbury. I can assure you that I’m unlikely to ever make any attempt to explain it. They’ll use it to sell Trident renewal to old ladies and idiots, but beyond that nothing will come of it.

        You talk lovingly about the MSM as if it is some irrefutable source. I think that tells everyone here what they need to know about the level of debate we can expect from you.

        Research suggests the MSM has never been so distrusted in the U.K. though. Newspaper sales reflect that and there’s also good research on it. And we can see, outside of shameful celebrity gossip and sport, that the MSM has basically served one master over the last 40 years — right wing corporate interests — and that its role has very little to do with telling the truth.

        Basically, the UK has been hijacked by a few wealthy sociopaths. It’s almost as if we are sitting on one of those planes that was used for the 9/11 attacks. The MSM is on the tannoy telling us everything is fine but deep down inside we all know they’re lying and that we are probably doomed.

      • Jo Dominich

        Andrew H wrong. I doubt very much the British people trust the UK security services – I’ve read lots of blogs on bog rolls like The Sun in which the great British public very firmly put forward the view that the UK Government’s story on the Skripals is a pack of lies and, given the changing stories, is proven to be so. All the blogs on the MSM reflected the same public opinion to the extent that many of the MSM newspapers cancelled the blogs. Quite frankly, you are trying to defend the indefensible here. We have a totally corrupt, immoral, lying incompetent Government that is a disgrace to any nation an you expect the British public to believe their b-s. Shame on you

        • Andrew H

          Jo, the blogs are written by a handful of tin-foilers. Normal people go to work and have better things to do. The history books are written by MSM. Shame on you too.

    • Loftwork

      Some very pertinent points. It is particularly irritating that not only have the witnesses disappeared en masse, but so has the final OPCW analysis, which remains a closely=held secret for reasons about which we can only speculate.

  • kashmiri

    You REALLY believe, Craig, any sane government will voluntarily offer its secret agents to be freely interrogated by a hostile power??? Could you imagine the defection rate in GRU if this happened???

    Good you stopped digging. But the manner you are trying to get out of the hole you’ve dug is crazy.

    • wild

      There were no military (as in used in battles) poison applied, because no facts point to it, hence these two are not military agents, hence whole talk about GRU is invented.

  • Roy Moore

    Expecting Putin to agree to this? Really? We are talking about the same Putin? The puppet notionally in charge in Russia. There’s as much chance of Putin agreeing to this absurd proposal, as there is of me Putin on the Ritz & dancing with Theresa May down Pall Mall…

    • Resident Dissident

      I think there would be even less chance of our “independent” judiciary allowing a foreign regime to dictate how our courts should operate. Imagine how Putin would react if May was to set conditions on how his courts should operate/ Craig of course knows all this and is just engaged in his now too common divert and deflect games.

      • Andrew H

        Negotiation is negotiation. There have been many deals with the devil. But I agree, this may be little more than a ruse to re-energise the base.

      • Roy Moore

        ” divert and deflect games” A working definition of modern day diplomacy. Trump, May, Putin & Murray. Sounds like a bunch of ambulance chasers…

    • Jo Dominich

      Roy, now, I think Putin probably would dance with Teresa May in the Ritz to the tune of ‘puttin’ on the ritz’ – he can probably shake a pretty mean shoe!! Bit of a crush really, lucky ol’ Teresa May!

  • Dungroanin

    It really does seem that the whole exercise of trial by media is aimed at convincing someone that Putin is after them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if MSM journalists have been ‘acting’ out such roles, like they did in the recent ‘Bodyguard’ show.

    And once they are convinced they will be allowed to say so in public. But it seems to be taking ever such a long time!

    I would be extremely surprised if the Skripals are ever allowed to be freely interviewed by independent journalists or Craig Murray even.

      • Dungroanin

        Lofty, what can I say about the ‘saintly’ Mary?
        I don’t want to riddle the comments with profanity so lets just see what Craig makes of her and her ilk.

        It seems as ‘they’ have overplayed their hand and are up shit creek without a paddle – it looks like she is having to immerse her hands in the muck.

        She is as spooky as they come – probably a queen bee at creating many despicable mini-me spooks everywhere she went – from uni to British Council to Chatham House… her words and affiliations are a giveaway.

  • laguerre

    If I were Petrov or Boshirov (or whoever they really are), I wouldn’t surrender myself for trial in London, even with a Putin done deal. The Brits have shown themselves to be extremely tricky over Brexit, and ready to renounce made agreements. They could just ship them off to the States, much like Assange, for trial.

    Better for things to remain in the mud. The Brits have refused to confirm the material they fed to Bellingcat, so what actions can they take?

    • Manfred Neuhaus

      You may want to take a closer look at all the sources that Bellingcat used to establish Miskin’s identity.

      • laguerre

        No, I may not. The use of non-open sources by bellingcat indicates intelligence feed, and who knows what their aims are, in what they say?

      • lusit

        sorry Manfred, but you should have a closer look at the Miskin passport for example the “blurred” stamp missing the important numbers, this will never occur on a real passport or the two different kinds of Mishkins signatures on passport and his driver license (same with Cepiga signatures) or the visit of the BC-flat of Miskin revealing a different Miskin
        Read the twitter account of Elena Evdokimova and also her followers debunking BC-fakes

          • Yeah, Right

            Yes, it’s a marvellous work, Manfred.
            So let’s run Bellingcat’s own methods over Bellingcat’s own article…..

            I’ll start with a simple assumption: if Bellingcat mentions an open-source as its source then the validity of that data is at least testable, but whenever it mentions “leaked databases” or “anonymous sources” then we simply have to take Higgins’ word for it.

            RT Interview (open-source, nothing of use to Bellingcat)
            Salisbury video (ditto)
            Reverse Image searches (ditto)
            Far-East Military Yearbooks (ditto)
            “Petrov Passport” (open-source, Bellingcat claims to glean two things)
            1) Mention of a previous passport from St Petersburg in 1999
            2) The First name and Patronymic are likely (why?) to be true

            So Higgins has concluded from open-source material that he needs to search for a “Alexander Yevgeniyevich” in “St Petersburg” in “1999”.

            Seems a massive leap of logic to me but, hey, cut the guy some slack…
            Leaked databases of St Petersburg (not open-source, gives him one match: “Alexander Yevgeniyevich Mishkin”)

            THIS NEEDS TO BE NOTED: the most important leaps of logic that Higgins takes (in this case: getting to the full name) is totally unverifiable.

            So, he has a name, which he “confirms” from.

            A quick whois search suggests that “” is registered to “Eastbiz Corp”, which is a sporting goods business (!!) whose stated address 2964 Columbia St, Torrance, CA is actually occupied by “Scholb Premium Ale” (!!).

            So using Bellingcat-logic it would have to be “hypothesized” that this open-source can not be trusted.

            So Higgins gets the name “Alexander Yevgeniyevich Mishkin” via dubious means.
            He then confirms that name by searching a dubious open-source database.

            I’ll let Higgins take over….
            “At this point in the investigation, Bellingcat hypothesized that”…
            “Additionally, the team hypothesized that”…

            Got that?

            The Bellingcat team arrived that “that point” by dubious sources, and then ran like a bat outta hell from there. I would “hypothesize” that Higgins is telling porkies about how he got that name, and why he decided to run with it.

            Of course, a name ain’t much good without a photo, so where did Higgins get that all-important photo? From open-source, maybe?

            “Instead, we were able to obtain a copy of Alexander Mishkin’s scanned passport pages, from a source with access to a scanned copy of the passport.”

            So not open-source.

            We are talking about an anonymous source, and we simply have to take it on trust that Higgins is correct to take it on trust that the scanned copy of the passport can be trusted (note, of course, that Higgins is admitting he has never seen the PASSPORT, merely a scanned copy of it).

            I’m sorry, Manfred, I could go on but it is merely more of the same.

            And this is what it is: whenever Bellingcat uses “open-source” it is dealing in the inconsequential, and whenever Bellingcat reveals something of importance it is invariably using anonymous and/or “leaked” data i.e. data that is totally unverifiable.

            Which seems to me to be the classic hallmarks of a disinformation outfit that is peddling Fake News.

            Even getting to the stage of having a name and a photo is rife with holes and, frankly, unbelievable leaps of logic. And that’s not even getting into the minutiae of how fake those photos and passports look (though they do look monumentally dodgy, especially with the deliberate smudging of the serial number and the very fake looking stamps).

      • Igor P.P.

        Many people here are happy follow your suggesiton, including myuself. Where can we get a hold of the unspecified “leaked databases” where Bellingcat alledgedly found Mishkin’s documents?

        • Jo Dominich

          Igor I am not IT savvy like many bloggers here but I am assuming, either rightly or wrongly, that Bellingcat are talking about the Deep Web? If this were so though, I guess other people could either verify or not Higgins’ information. I therefore strongly suspect that Higgins has either made the whole thing up including the forged passports or, as Yeah Right says, he is being fed information from our Government and its security services as there is no other way he could obtain this information.

  • Michael Droy

    There is no official line on the Skripals. As far as I can see the only flat out allegation of Russia guilt and Russian Novichok comes from Theresa May in Parliament under privilege. No Police or formal allegations have been made elsewhere. What has happened is a lot of off the record briefing about what the Security services “definitely think”.
    Likewise, as you have made clear, Porton Down have still stuck to “of a kind developed by Russia”.

  • Neil McFarlane

    I was very interested to read your opinions on this, Craig, and at the early stages, I was with you. But evidence (both circumstantial and dcoumentary) has mounted, and when it became a matter of the light in the photos didn’t look right and the carved names were wonky (not to my eyes), I’m afraid you lost me. No doubt to most of the commenters here, I’m a stooge, a troll, etc. etc. but we’ll see. I think these people are who Bellingcat say they are. Not sure if Putin ordered it, because if he did, getting them to appear in a televised interview would seem a bit unwise. But Putin is a maniac, just like May and the rest of them, so it’s possible. Anyway, we’ll see.

    • laguerre

      Personally, I’m not particularly bothered whether Putin is proved to be guilty of the not-murder of the Skripals or not. After all, our allies do exactly the same.

      • Neil McFarlane

        We do, but recently at least, we haven’t been using chemical weapons/nerve agents.

        • Jo Dominich

          Neil what? How do you know the alleged nerve agent wasn’t supplied by Porton Down or the VX that killed Kim son Yoo’s brother wasn’t provided by the UK (which after all did manufacture VX).

  • John2o2o

    Well, I think I will just add a few points to my previous posting, with apologies to Craig and anyone who may read this for my occasional lack of grammatical accuracy and skill in sentence construction. I got an A grade in English Language “O” Level many years ago, so I was at one time reasonably skilled in this regard.

    I very firmly believe that Vladimir Putin is innocent. Because, we are being very strongly encouraged to believe that he is guilty. Of just about anything bad that you can think of. It is (for whatever reason) the intention of the British Government that we think that. (I do not).

    I have no idea who these two men are. Perhaps they are Russian. The fact that they were in Salisbury at the time of the Skripal poisonings may be significant. But not because they carried out the poisoning. It may be significant in that their presence in Salisbury provides whoever did actually carry out the poisoning (and I still rank Pablo Miller as high on my list) has some very convenient scapegoats.

    I also very firmly believe that our security services know who these men are, and in fact they have known all along, and they have launched a carefully planned operation to convince intelligent and very influential “dissident” political analysts such as Craig Murray and Neil Clark that these men are Russian agents and that this operation (at least six months in the planning) is proving to be a success. Neil caved last week and now (I’m sorry) but it seems that Craig is now also caving.

    Propaganda is powerful. And agents of propaganda are not stupid. Sometimes it may suit these shadowy agencies for members of the public to think that they are stupid. Sometimes they may appear to be. Sometimes they may make mistakes.

    But I think in this case the British Government is very firmly committed to this anti-Putin propaganda line (which I believe has no genuine substance) and that they are absolutely determined that as many people as possible should go along with it.

    I, personally will not.

    1) Where is Sergei Skripal? Why has he not been publicly interviewed?
    2) Where is Yulia Skripal? Why has she not been publicly interviewed?
    3) Where is Nick Bailey? Why has he not been publicly interviewed?

    The narrative about these two men is also cleverly designed to distract the public from these central questions. As is the narrative about Sturgess and Rowley who have nothing to do with this. We are being lied to. The trust of the British public is being cynically exploited for political purposes by the State machine. IMHO.

    • Andrew H

      “I got an A grade in English Language “O” Level many years ago”.
      Unless you have been hit on the head by a brick in the interim, I doubt it. I have a C grade in O-Level English also many years ago and even I can spot the grammar problems. I don’t care much for grammar and that but I’m having a hard time with this A grade.

    • Yeah, Right

      There are three things that I find deeply odd about the UK narrative regarding that day, to the point where it looks very much like they are deliberately refusing to set the record straight:

      a) Did Sergei and Yulia actually hand-feed bread to ducks prior to heading off to the Maltings, and did Sergei even hand some bread to some boys so that they could also feed the ducks?

      b) Did Sergei and Yulia eat at Zizzi and then drink at the Bishops Mill Pub, or did they pop into the Pub first and then go to the Restaurant afterwards? Which is which?

      c) What, exactly, were DS Nick Bailey’s orders and what were his movements before, during and after Sergei and Yulia’s poisoning?

      As far as I can tell the UK Authorities are now refusing to even acknowledge that those concerns exist, much less give anything resembling a coherent response.

    • Jo Dominich

      John2o2o – I am with you on this. It’s a shame Neil Clark caved. I don’t think Craig has caved or is caving on this. It is interesting the alarming speed with which the UK Government issued D notices to the Press in relation to Pablo Miller and C Steele – so there must be something deep to hide there. However, any serious minded journalist who has a high level of integrity and belief in the truth, should be out there doing some serious investigative journalism and asking these serious questions. I wonder who DS Nick Bailey really is. He was there almost at the exact same time as the alleged poisoning – in less than 1 minute I believe. Questions might be asked about these two Russians but who is Nick Bailey in real life? A very important question as it seems to me to be that he is the likeliest of any suspect to have administered the ‘poison’ as he was there at the exact same time the Skripals were taken ill on the park bench – now, that cannot be a coincidence can it? Added to which of course, he has never been seen or heard of since despite having family, relatives, friends and colleagues. So, is there or has there ever been a DS Nick Bailey in the CID at Salisbury or is he an MI6 spook given the task of poisoning the Skripals. In which case, can Belingcat please reveal his true identity.

  • Blunderbuss

    As far as I know, neither Porton Down nor the OPCW has confirmed that the poison was Novichok. The only source of the Novichok claim was the House of Commons. I think it is more likely to have been an incapacitating agent, such as BZ:

    This would explain why 4 of the 5 victims survived. Dawn Sturgess probably died because she received a larger dose than the others and, perhaps, was already in a fragile state of health.

    Once the British government had declared that the poison was Novichok, the emergency services would have had to mount the massive (and possibly unnecessary) clean-up operation even if the poison was actually something less deadly.

      • Andrew H

        Manfred, how many roubles per hour do you think they get paid? What they don’t understand is most people in the UK read the daily mail.

      • lusit

        Read the official OPCW document, you don’t find the name “novichok” in their report, just saying:
        The results of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and
        biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United
        Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and
        severely injured three people.
        11. The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is
        concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.

        • Ken Kenn


          As far as I know the most recent reference is that it is an “OR”

          Unless I’m unbelievably naive then using the word ” deadly ” and ” purity ” close together in a paragraph let alone in a sentence more than suggests that whomever came into even brief contact with this “stuff “would be found with their toes pointing towards the sky somewhere in Salisbury. By the way for the doctor accompanying an assassin the same points hold. If he was there to jab his assassin friend with an antidote he would still have to drag/carry his mates body out of Salisbury and back to the hotel in London whilst he miraculously recovered. I’m sure no-one would notice that.

          The thing with Dawn Sturgess’s death is that we don’t know what she died of and ( like the table in Zizzis- the two guineau pigs and the cat ( one escaped apparently ) the poor woman has been cremated so there will be no revisiting or revision to be found there as to what killed her. The Inquest has been adjourned to January 2019.

          Truth is there will be no trial and this the reason why the Spooks/The Met and particularly the government are not bothered about presenting evidence to anyone.

          For what it’s worth I agree with Craig and many others that the two people were not in Salisbury for the sampling of Gregg’s pies two pies for one offer on a wet Sunday.

          They might be GRU – they might be ex _GRU who knows but the question is: what were they actualy doing there if not poisoning the Skripals? This is the charge laid at them – not attempted murder of Charlie and the murder of Dawn. That would be the mythical case for the British State to mythically prove. They don’t need to as the media has given everyone the truth – in the Court of Public Opinion and that’s all that matters.

          Various theories have been put forward on here and elsewhere but one thing stands out to me despite not knowing the answer and that is – someone or some people invited them to Salisbury and they rolled up on Saturday ( no -one in?) and came back on the Sunday.

          If Bullingcrap wants to do something useful then they can find out who sent out the invite to visit the lovely City of Salisbury to these two no matter what their names are?

          • Igor P.P.

            There may not have been an invite. A hotel booking is usually enough for a UK tourist visa from Russia.

        • Manfred Neuhaus

          And the findings of the United Kingdom were:

          “We have been clear from the very beginning that our world leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent.” (press release by the Foreign Office)

          • Mighty Drunken

            Pity Porton Down have never stated that on the record, nor has the OPCW. The only two organisations in a position to fully identify the substance. There is no good reason for them to be so vague, well unless it isn’t Novichok.

          • Manfred Neuhaus

            “Unlike Wikipedia, I prefer primary sources.”

            I prefer that you use google yourself. I took me less than 10 seconds to find it.

          • Bayard

            (press release by the Foreign Office)

            Ah, so the official line has been confirmed by the Foreign Office. The government is confirming that the government is right. The expression “marking your own homework” springs to mind.

            Come on Eliot, sorry, Manfred, surely you can do better than that.

        • Andrew H

          “The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.”

          Thank you. I’ve been trying to make this point for a while – that those that claim it is 98% pure or whatever just can’t read.
          This stuff could be 99.99% solvent, 0.0098% nerve agent and 0.0002% impurities.

          • Andrew H

            For those that don’t understand this point, the gel that is used to weoponise the nerve agent and make it stick to the door handle is not considered an impurity. [The nerve agent itself isn’t going to have the right material properties to make it suitable for putting on door handles]

          • Mighty Drunken

            Not for the Amesbury bottle.

            “The results of the analysis of this environmental sample conducted by OPCW Designated Laboratories show that the sample consists of the toxic chemical at a concentration of 97-98%. The sample is therefore considered a neat agent of high purity. The OPCW Designated Laboratories also identified a number of impurities constituting the remaining 2-3% of the sample. ”
            Least dangerous “military grade” nerve agent ever.

          • Andrew H

            Again, I’m not sure that means what you think it does. This is an executive summary and its ambiguous.

          • Mighty Drunken

            Note it says chemical, not the plural. It says neat, high purity. Why are you trying to change the meaning of the words it states? It is a summary but it would have had the same scrutiny as the main report to make sure everything is stated the right way.

          • Andrew H

            I’m not trying to change the meaning – trying to extract information from these statements can be tricky. For me these details are mostly irrelevant (except for a better understanding of the science which has not been explained). The argument that seals it for me is that B&P are decorated Russian agents and are in Salisbury on the same day. Yes, it would be nice to have a lot more info, but even without it doesn’t change the conclusion.

          • Andrew H

            By the way, I’m willing to accept that it is a pure single chemical. It of coarse raises more interesting questions of how this chemical was developed that it is not merely just poisonous but has many other properties that make it suitable for this exact purpose. [Think about it: a perfume has a nice smell, but most of what is in a perfume bottle is not neat perfume; similarly Sarin is a great nerve agent but not great for sticking on door knobs]. It is very rare to have something that is a single pure chemical that has all the requirements that you want. This only makes the science of this poison way more interesting.

          • Jo Dominich

            Andrew H we understand alright. However, the finding of BZ in the sample by the Swiss lab speaks volumes.

          • Alex (Russian-American)

            Nobody reads to the end of Porton Down report: “The name and structure of the identified toxic chemical are contained in the full classified report of the Secretariat, available to States Parties.”

            So, later it was disclosed as Novicok by UK Government and A-234 by some Russian experts. A-234 is ethyl version of Novichok agent. The properties are secret, but probably something like water with alcohol. No need for solvent. It is deadly: 1-2 mg lethal dose, but takes 10-20 mg by skin contact and up to 10 hours.

    • Orford

      I think it is significant that the Met has issued the arrest warrant in connection with only Skripal incident, the stated reason being that they have sufficient evidence to do so- presumably this must include something more compelling than simply wrong place/wrong time/dodgy alibi. Basu said in the press conference that the particular images released were selected because they were of high quality, such that they might assist the public in providing evidence of a link to the death of Dawn Sturgess. This strikes me as a little odd- if we are to believe that there is good evidence that “novichok” was used by the accused in the failed attempt to kill the Skripals, and if the same substance was the cause of death of Dawn, then surely it ought not to be so hard to
      bring a charge of manslaughter on the basis of the reckless disposal of the “Novichok”. It’s as though the Met is up for issuing a charge for whatever pantomime spookfest was going on with the Skripals, but drew the line at making any such allegations in respect of the only person who has actually died. Which must be distressing for the family, particularly since the police inexplicably delayed their request for further evidence until months after they knew all about the “assassins” stay in London.

  • Chemical Britain

    Craig is leading everyone round in circles and lost credibility a long time ago.

    He will be playing his usual sympathy card in his next post in a couple of weeks time.

    What utter nonsense to propose an open and fair trial in the UK. As if that was ever likely to happen.

    Like TPTB, Craig is trying to put the ball in Russia’s court.

    Russia has already rightly said that she cannot respond to propaganda by the media.

    As for Boshirov and Petrov, if they were doing something particularly dodgy, they would not have been so casual, dying to be captured on British CCTV.

    They seem to be have been set up, believing they were not doing anything illegal.

    They would obviously appear dodgy in the interview, they would be dead if they exposed any of their masters. They might already be dead, like the Skripals and Bailey.

    Don’t trust Craig, there are more credible blogs out there.

    Yours truly,

    Chemical Britain

    • Tom Welsh

      “What utter nonsense to propose an open and fair trial in the UK”.

      I can see where Lewis Carroll fits in here, all right. It’s possible that some people get “open and fair” trials in the UK today – but certainly not in a highly politicized case which the PM has prejudged in Parliamentary speeches.

      If anyone doubts that trials can easily be fixed, I recommend a refresher course of “Yes, Minister”.

  • Michael

    It’s obvious to me that this entire Skripal affair was enacted to protect British intelligence service and politicians from further implication in their interference with the US election and their efforts against trump. If the truth is ever truly exposed, all hell will break loose!

    • Jay

      Bingo!!!!! And who pray tell was the source ready to let all the info out to the Russians be?

  • mark golding

    Who said Skripal was AOL at the planned hand-over meeting? As Jon2o2o said MI6/MI5m have to be deceitful Sadly those sworn to secrecy (else disappear), the demise of the lead role and enormous humiliation does mean, sadly the truth is buried and due process for the killing of poor Dawn Sturgess has frozen; a cold case file in some fukin locker compartment deep within B7.

  • figaraw

    I have lately grown to connect Dawn and Charlie to the Skripals. I see Dawn and Charlie being the culprits who “spray” whatever it was on the Skripals in the bench. The spraying does not go as planned and we have a compromised Dawn.

    In that scenario, Dawn should not be seen as some “innocent”. She was in on the play and somehow got compromised. This is my view on how Dawn is on this story. Of course this story depends on the two people on the initial cctv with the red bag being Dawn and Charlie.

    • Blunderbuss


      “The spraying does not go as planned and we have a compromised Dawn.”

      I don’t see how this fits. The Skripals were poisoned in March but Dawn did not fall ill until June.

      • Tom Welsh

        “I don’t see how this fits. The Skripals were poisoned in March but Dawn did not fall ill until June”.

        No real difficulty there. Allowing, say, one committee meeting per fortnight…

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