Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative 890


I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Boshirov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible.

Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no “good guys”, as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:

1) PURE

This was the point that led me to return to the subject of the Skripals, even though it has brought me more abuse than I had received in my 15 year career as a whistleblower.

A few months ago, I was in truth demoralised by the amount of abuse I was receiving about the collapse of the Russian identity story of Boshirov and Petrov. I had never claimed the poisoning, if any, was not carried out by Russians, only that there were many other possibilities. I understood the case against the Russian state is still far from established, whoever Boshirov and Petrov really are, and I did not (and do not) accept Bellingcat’s conjectures and dodgy evidence as conclusive identification. But I did not enjoy at all the constant online taunts, and therefore was not inclined to take the subject further.

It is in this mood that I received more information from my original FCO source, who had told me, correctly, that Porton Down could not and would not attest that the “novichok” sample was made in Russia, and explained that the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was an agreed Whitehall line to cover this up.

She wanted to explain to me that the British government was pulling a similar trick over the use of the word “pure”. The OPCW report had concluded that the sample provided to them by the British government was “of high purity” with an “almost complete absence of impurities”. This had been spun by the British government as evidence that the novichok was “military grade” and could only be produced by a state.

But actually that is not what the OPCW technical experts were attempting to signal. The sample provided to the OPCW had allegedly been swabbed from the Skripals’ door handle. It had been on that door handle for several days before it was allegedly discovered there. In that time it had been contacted allegedly by the hands of the Skripals and of DC Bailey, and the gloves of numerous investigators. It had of course been exposed to whatever film of dirt or dust was on the door handle. It had been exposed to whatever pollution was in the rain and whatever dust and pollen was blowing around. In these circumstances, it is incredible that the sample provided “had an almost complete absence of impurities”.

A sample cannot have a complete absence of impurities after being on a used doorknob, outdoors, for several days. The sample provided was, on the contrary, straight out of a laboratory.

The government’s contention that “almost complete absence of impurities” meant “military grade” was complete nonsense. There is no such thing as “military grade” novichok. It has never been issued to any military, anywhere. The novichok programme was designed to produce an organo-phosphate poison which could quickly be knocked up from readily available commercial ingredients. It was not part of an actual defence industry manufacturing programme.

There is a final problem with the “of high purity” angle. First we had the Theresa May story that the “novichok” was extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces. Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts.

What we did not know then, but we do know now, is that Kaszeta was secretly being paid to produce this propaganda by the British government via the Integrity Initiative.

So the first thing I cannot believe is that the British government produced a sample with an “almost complete absence of impurities” from several days on the Skripals’ doorknob. Nor can I believe that if “extremely pure” the substance therefore was not fatal to the Skripals.

2) Raising the Roof

Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house inbetween did not. As the MSM never questions the official narrative, there has never been an official answer as to how the gel got from the doorknob to the roof. Remember that traces of the “novichok” were allegedly found in a hotel room in Poplar, which is still in use as a hotel room and did not have to be destroyed, and an entire bottle of it was allegedly found in Charlie Rowley’s house, which has not had to be destroyed. Novichok was found in Zizzi’s restaurant, which did not have to be destroyed.

So we are talking about novichok in threatening quantities – more than the traces allegedly found in the hotel in Poplar – being in the Skripals’ roof. How could this happen?

As I said in the onset, I do not know what happened, I only know what I do not believe. There are theories that Skripal and his daughter might themselves have been involved with novichok in some way. On the face of it, its presence in their roof might support that theory.

The second thing I do not believe is that the Skripals’ roof became contaminated by gel on their doorknob so that the roof had to be destroyed, whereas no other affected properties, nor the rest of the Skripals’ house, had to be destroyed.

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army, who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!

The government is always trying to get good publicity for its armed forces, and you would think that the heroic role of its off-duty personnel in saving random poisoned Russian double agents they just happened to chance across, would have been proclaimed as a triumph for the British military. Yet it was kept secret for ten months. We were not told about the involvement of Colonel Alison McCourt until January of this year, when it came out by accident. Swollen with maternal pride, Col. McCourt nominated her daughter for an award from the local radio station for her role in helping give first aid to the Skripals, and young Abigail revealed her mother’s identity on local radio – and the fact her mother was there “with her” administering first aid.

Even then, the compliant MSM played along, with the Guardian and Sky News both among those running stories emphasising entirely the Enid Blyton narrative of “plucky teenager saves the Skripals”, and scarcely mentioning the Army’s Chief Nurse who was looking after the Skripals “with little Abigail”.

I want to emphasise again that Col. Alison McCourt is not the chief nurse of a particular unit or hospital, she is the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army. Her presence was kept entirely quiet by the media for ten months, when all sorts of stories were run in the MSM about who the first responders were – various doctors and police officers being mentioned.

If you believe that it is coincidence that the Chief Nurse of the British Army was the first person to discover the Skripals ill, you are a credulous fool. And why was it kept quiet?

4) Remarkable Metabolisms

This has been noted many times, but no satisfactory answer has ever been given. The official story is that the Skripals were poisoned by their door handle, but then well enough to go out to a pub, feed some ducks, and have a big lunch in Zizzi’s, before being instantly stricken and disabled, both at precisely the same time.

The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.

But that the two different random dosages were such that they affected each of these two very different people at just the same moment, so that neither could call for help, is an extreme coincidence. It is almost as unlikely as the person who walks by next being the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

5) 11 Days

After the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the Police cordoned off Charlie Rowley’s home and began a search for “Novichok”, in an attitude of extreme urgency because it was believed this poison was out amidst the public. They were specifically searching for a small phial of liquid. Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter – and only after they had discovered the clue of the perfume bottle package in the bin the day before, after ten days of search.

The bottle was out of its packaging and “novichok”, of which the tiniest amount is deadly, had been squirted out of its nozzle at least twice, by both Rowley and Sturgess, and possibly more often. The exterior of the bottle/nozzle was therefore contaminated. Yet the house, unlike the Skripals’ roof space, has not had to be destroyed.

I do not believe it took the Police eleven days to find the very thing they were looking for, in plain sight as exactly the small bottle of liquid sought, on a kitchen bench. What else was happening?

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

The BBC’s “Diplomatic Editor” is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC’s original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals’ back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world’s biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year.

I have sent the following questions to Mark Urban, repeatedly. There has been no response:

To: [email protected]

Dear Mark,

As you may know, I am a journalist working in alternative media, a member of the NUJ, as well as a former British Ambassador. I am researching the Skripal case.

I wish to ask you the following questions.

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Murray

The lack of openness of Urban in refusing to answer these questions, and the role played by the BBC and the MSM in general in marching in unquestioning lockstep with the British government narrative, plus the “coincidence” of Urban’s relationship with Pablo Miller, give further reason for scepticism of the official narrative.

7 Four Months

The official narrative insists that Boshirov and Petrov brought “novichok” into the country; that minute quantities could kill; that they disposed of the novichok that did kill Dawn Sturgess. It must therefore have been of the highest priority to inform the public of the movements of the suspects and the possible locations where deadly traces of “novichok” must be lurking.

Yet there was at least a four month gap between the police searching the Poplar hotel where Boshirov and Petrov were staying, allegedly discovering traces of novichok in the hotel room, and the police informing the hotel management, let alone the public, of the discovery. That is four months in which a cleaner might have fatally stumbled across more novichok in the hotel. Four months in which another guest in the same hotel might have had something lurking in their bag which they had picked up. Four months in which there might have been a container of novichok sitting in a hedge near the hotel. Yet for four months the police did not think any of this was urgent enough to tell anybody.

The astonishing thing is that it was a full three months after the death of Dawn Sturgess before the hotel were informed, the public were informed, or the pictures of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” in Salisbury released. There could be no clearer indication that the authorities did not actually believe that any threat from residual novichok was connected to the movements of Boshirov and Petrov.

Similarly the metadata on the famous CCTV images of Boshirov and Petrov in Salisbury, published in September by the Met Police, showed that all the stills were prepared by the Met on the morning of 9 May – a full four months before they were released to the public. But this makes no sense at all. Why wait a full four months for people’s memories to fade before issuing an appeal to the public for information? This makes no sense at all from an investigation viewpoint. It makes even less sense from a public health viewpoint.

If the authorities were genuinely worried about the possible presence of deadly novichok, and wished to track it down, why one earth would you wait for four months before you published the images showing the faces and clothing and the whereabouts of the people you believe were distributing it?

The only possible conclusion from the amazing four month delays both in informing the hotel, and in revealing the Boshirov and Petrov CCTV footage to the public, is that the Metropolitan Police did not actually believe there was a public health danger that the two had left a trail of novichok. Were the official story true, this extraordinary failure to take timely action in a public health emergency may have contributed to the death of Dawn Sturgess.

The metadat shows Police processed all the Salisbury CCTV images of Boshirov and Petrov a month before Charlie Rowley picked up the perfume. The authorities claim the CCTV images show they could have been to the charity bin to dump the novichok. Which begs the question, if the Police really believed they had CCTV of the movements of the men with the novichok, why did they not subsequently exhaustively search everywhere the CCTV shows they could have been, including that charity bin?

The far more probable conclusion appears to be that the lack of urgency is explained by the fact that the link between Boshirov and Petrov and “novichok” is a narrative those involved in the investigation do not take seriously.

8 The Bungling Spies

There are elements of the accepted narrative of Boshirov and Petrov’s movements that do not make sense. As the excellent local Salisbury blog the Blogmire points out, the CCTV footage shows Boshirov and Petrov, after they had allegedly coated the door handle with novichok, returning towards the railway station but walking straight past it, into the centre of Salisbury (and missing their first getaway train in the process). They then wander around Salisbury apparently aimlessly, famously window shopping which is caught on CCTV, and according to the official narrative disposing of the used but inexplicably still cellophane-sealed perfume/novichok in a charity donation bin, having walked past numerous potential disposal sites en route including the railway embankment and the bins at the Shell garage.

But the really interesting thing, highlighted by the blogmire, is that the closest CCTV ever caught them to the Skripals’ house is fully 500 metres, at the Shell garage, walking along the opposite side of the road from the turning to the Skripals. There is a second CCTV camera at the garage which would have caught them crossing the road and turning down towards the Skripals’ house, but no such video or still image – potentially the most important of all the CCTV footage – has ever been released.

However the 500 metres is not the closest the CCTV places the agents to the Skripals. From 13.45 to 13.48, on their saunter into town, Boshirov and Petrov were caught on CCTV at Dawaulders coinshop a maximum of 200 metres away from the Skripals, who at the same time were at Avon Playground. The bin at Avon playground became, over two days in the immediate aftermath of the Skripal “attack”, the scene of extremely intensive investigation. Yet the Boshirov and Petrov excursion – during their getaway from attempted murder – into Salisbury town centre has been treated as entirely pointless and unimportant by the official story.

Finally, the behaviour of Boshirov and Petrov in the early hours before the attack makes no sense whatsoever. On the one hand we are told these are highly trained, experienced and senior GRU agents; on the other hand, we are told they were partying in their room all night, drawing attention to themselves with loud noise, smoking weed and entertaining a prostitute in the room in which they were storing, and perhaps creating, the “novichok”.

The idea that, before an extremely delicate murder operation involving handling a poison, a tiny accident with which would kill them, professionals would stay up all night and drink heavily and take drugs is a nonsense. Apart from the obvious effect on their own metabolisms, they were risking authorities being called because of the noise and a search being instituted because of the drugs.

That they did this while in possession of the novichok and hours before they made the attack, is something I simply do not believe.

9 The Skripals’ Movements

Until the narrative changed to Boshirov and Petrov arriving in Salisbury just before lunchtime and painting the doorknob, the official story had been that the Skripals left home around 9am and had not returned. They had both switched off their mobile phones, an interesting and still unexplained point. As you would expect in a city as covered in CCTV as Salisbury, their early morning journey was easily traced and the position of their car at various times was given by the police.

Yet no evidence of their return journey has ever been offered. There is now a tiny window between Boshirov and Petrov arriving, painting the doorknob apparently with the Skripals now inexplicably back inside their home, and the Skripals leaving again by car, so quickly after the doorknob painting that they catch up with Boshirov and Petrov – or certainly being no more than 200 metres from them in Salisbury City Centre. There is undoubtedly a huge amount of CCTV video of the Skripals’ movements which has never been released. For example, the parents of one of the boys who Sergei was chatting with while feeding the ducks, was shown “clear” footage by the Police of the Skripals at the pond, yet this has never been released. This however is the moment at which the evidence puts Boshirov and Petrov at the closest to them. What does the concealed CCTV of the Skripals with the ducks show?

Why has so little detail of the Skripals’ movements that day been released? What do all the withheld CCTV images of the Skripals in Salisbury show?

10 The Sealed Bottle

Only in the last couple of days have the police finally admitted there is a real problem with the fact that Charlie Rowley insists that the perfume bottle was fully sealed, and the cellophane difficult to remove, when he discovered it. Why the charity collection bin had not been emptied for three months has never been explained either. Rowley’s recollection is supported by the fact that the entire packaging was discovered by the police in his bin – why would Boshirov and Petrov have been carrying the cellophane around with them if they had opened the package? Why – and how – would they reseal it outdoors in Salisbury before dumping it?

Furthermore, there was a gap of three months between the police finding the perfume bottle, and the police releasing details of the brand and photos of it, despite the fact the police believed there could be more out there. Again the news management agenda totally belies the official narrative of the need to protect the public in a public health emergency.

This part of the narrative is plainly nonsense.

Bonus Point – The Integrity Initiative

The Integrity Initiative specifically paid Dan Kaszeta to publish articles on the Skripal case. In the weekly collections of social media postings the Integrity Initiative sent to the FCO to show its activity, over 80% were about the Skripals.

Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth. The Integrity Initiative, with secret FCO and MOD sourced subsidies to MSM figures to put out the government narrative, is very plainly a disinformation exercise. More bluntly, if the Integrity Initiative is promoting it, you know it is not true.

Most sinister of all is the Skripal Group convened by the Integrity Initiative. This group includes Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 handler, and senior representatives of Porton Down, the BBC, the CIA, the FCO and the MOD. Even if all the other ludicrously weak points in the government narrative did not exist, the Integrity Initiative activity in itself would lead me to understand the British government is concealing something important.

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences.

What I do know is that major planks of the UK government narrative simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Plainly the Russian authorities have lied about the identity of Boshirov and Petrov. What is astonishing is the alacrity with which the MSM and the political elite have rallied around the childish logical fallacy that because the Russian Government has lied, therefore the British Government must be telling the truth. It is abundantly plain to me that both governments are lying, and the spy games being played out that day were very much more complicated than a pointless revenge attack on the Skripals.

I do not believe the British Government. I have given you the key points where the official narrative completely fails to stand up. These are by no means exhaustive, and I much look forward to reading your own views.

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890 thoughts on “Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative

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  • Dennis Revell

    :

    “Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

    I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house inbetween did not.”

    – Clearlly the nerve agent is bosonic in character and so given time would all end up at the highest attainable points.
    😉
    .

    !!! ???? !!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCJ24176enM

    .

    • Ken Kenn

      It was the Russian Spiderman and his big feet.

      Either that or the two Russkies sprayed the stuff so hard it went into the loft?

    • Kempe

      Some “expert” thought the police search teams might’ve inadvertently carried the stuff up into the loft space on their protective clothing.

      • Ken Kenn

        Here’s another question for anyone including yourself.

        let’s get this one out of the way.

        Was Charlie’s flat decontaminated/dismantled/refurbished as the Skripal one?

        Second question:

        When was Dawn’s Inquest resumed and what was the outcome?

  • ramblingidiot

    Further evidence that Novichok is a dud nerve agent is the fact that the substance that Ms Sturgess sprayed on her wrist was 95% pure Novichok according to the OPCW. She did not die until a couple of days later and only then because she was already in poor health. I don’t know how much liquid she sprayed on her wrist, but perhaps it was 1/8 – 1/4ml. If this was VX this would probably be enough to kill a dozen men and their draft horses more or less instantly.

    So its clear that Novichok is not a deadly nerve agent but something useless the spooks resurrected out of the chemical warfare archives solely for its useful connection to Russia. If the Skripals were not actually killed by the substance, no problem, they could easily be disappeared in front of everybody as we have seen.

    The Rowley/Sturgess affair is undoubtedly a ‘mid-life kicker’, an event planned to stretch the propaganda dollar out of the Skripal affair for greater value. In that it is similar or identical in purpose to the anthrax attack after 911.

    It would be impossible for the perfume bottle to remain in a rubbish or charity bin for months, so it was obviously planted. My guess is that the spooks watched the bins for likely victims, ie dumpster divers looking for goodies. Rowley was selected as a background check would have shown he had a female companion who would be the likely recipient for the ‘gift’. The spooks kept a watch on Rowley and planted the bottle just before he arrived at the bin.

    Or alternatively, the spooks did not care less who got the bottle, they just planted it the bin and nicked off. But I would say that since the spooks have got plenty of money these days, the operation was planned and executed in greater detail.

    • John A

      The perfume bottle was not planted anywhere. It was a genuine bottle that Charlie shoplifted from the Boots he got his methadone prescription. That particular Boots was cordoned off and closed by the police for an extended period last summer in the wake of Dawn’s death. Charlie was either unable to sell the bottle or simply decided to give it to Dawn as a present.
      Dawn probably died from a drug overdose or drug-related reasons. Her body was conveniently cremated asap to be on the safe side.
      All the rest about the perfume is spin by the government and spooks.

      • Borncynical

        For what it’s worth, I am inclined to agree tentatively but with one niggling reservation. As @Deb O’Nair has said previously, there is more than a passing resemblance between Dawn Sturgess and the mysterious blond woman who featured in the early released CCTV footage, and indeed her CCTV male companion could pass for a smartly dressed Charlie Rowley. If it could be proved that it was not them, then I fully support your take on events.

        • Doodlebug

          With particular reference to that CCTV moment, how many female blondes in Wiltshire of the same stature have blue-grey slacks in their wardrobe and customarily carry a shoulder bag, I wonder?

          If the pair were Rowley and Sturgess, as I too strongly suspect, that would place Dawn Sturgess at or very near the locus of three drug-related incidents, i.e., the Maltings, Rowley’s flat in Muggleton Road, Amesbury, and John Baker House, where Sturgess was in fact resident, and where, 9 days after the Skripal poisoning, Tyler Grey was found dead in his bedroom, the victim of an overdose of some description. Interestingly the police saw fit to seal a bin located at John Baker house as being the possible site of Rowley’s fatal ‘find’.

          • Borncynical

            @Doodlebug

            Indeed. There does seem to be a raft of suspicious coincidences. And the idea that Rowley could, by his own account, spill a measurable quantity of super strength nerve agent on himself and survive, rather than wiping out half of the population of Amesbury as would happen in reality, is laughable. And let’s not forget that he and his mate attended a church hog roast after Dawn was taken to hospital – presumably he wiped himself down with magical wet wipes to get rid of the nerve agent … and to slow down the harmful effects.

          • Doodlebug

            @Borncynical

            Ironically, earlier this evening I had occasion to double-check the meaning of the logical descriptor ‘Post hoc, ergo propter hoc’ and realised immediately that this very fallacy is embodied in the government line of the Amesbury incident’s being contingent upon the earlier Salisbury event.

      • Jo Dominich

        Ah John A, oh so true. I have never believed the BS about the perfume bottle – Dawn and Charlie were merely used to resurrect the Skripal poisoning (conveniently of course at a time when May’s Brexishit Deal was off the rails again and being heavily criticised and the need to focus the public’s mind on something else became paramount). I read on Russia Today recently that it would appear Dawn’s children do not believe the Government’s account either.

      • ramblingidiot

        I’m not an expert on all the claims made in regard to the affair, however quoting from OPCW report in September:

        The team received information on the medical condition of the surviving affected individual, Mr Charles Rowley. This included information on his acetylcholinesterase status since hospitalisation, as well as information on the treatment regime.
        4. The team was able to collect blood samples from Mr Charles Rowley for transport to the OPCW Laboratory and subsequent analysis by OPCW Designated Laboratories. Mr Rowley was able to give informed consent himself.
        5. The team attended and observed the post-mortem (autopsy) of Ms Dawn Sturgess. The team was able to collect a number of biomedical samples (mainly tissue samples) for transport to the OPCW Laboratory and subsequent analysis by OPCW Designated Laboratories. Consent for this procedure was obtained from the next-of-kin of Ms Sturgess, and the activity was carried out in compliance with the United Kingdom Human Tissue Act.

        So it would appear that Ms Sturgess’s body was still available for OPCW sample taking before cremation.

        Concerning perfume bottle, obviously OPCW would have be completely lying about Novichok contents, or spooks doctored it before testing.

        Samples from Sturgess and Rowley could not be doctored I would think, but who knows what goes on in these tests.

        • Borncynical

          @ramblingidiot

          I concur that the OPCW report says what it does. But I’m afraid I tend to take what the OPCW says with a pinch of salt.

          It has been debated previously as to what is meant by them ‘collecting samples’. I was looking at details of their formal modus operandi yesterday and it was interesting to note that they may make use of representatives from the country they are reporting on to ‘assist’ with the procedures. So it is not impossible that the samples were collected and securely packed by UK technicians and handed over to the OPCW. As I have said elsewhere it is quite plausible that, even if the OPCW experts saw samples being taken, the collecting technician could easily have gone to another room ‘to label and securely package’ the vials…and who knows what else.

          It mustn’t be forgotten that when the OPCW were investigating allegations of the Syrian Government using chemical weapons (Khan Sheikhoun for example) they relied entirely on samples collected and transported to Turkey by terrorists, and reported in such a way that served to imply the guilt of the Syrian Government. So the OPCW clearly doesn’t think that the matter of chain of custody is that important when it comes to reporting and drawing their conclusions. I suspect the (desired) conclusions take priority over everything else right from the outset before their investigations even begin.

          • ramblingidiot

            @borncynical

            “I suspect the (desired) conclusions take priority over everything else right from the outset before their investigations even begin.”

            But the OPCW report is dissonant with the Govt statements. The govt wants you to believe that Novichock is an extremely deadly nerve agent 10 times more powerful than VX. The OPCW report shows that it isn’t deadly at all, at least as far as nerve agents go.

            The OPCW report states:

            “During the second deployment, the team collected a sample of the contents of a small bottle that the police seized as a suspect item from the house of Charles Rowley in Amesbury.
            10. 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. ”

            It is clearly stated that sample is considered ‘a neat agent of high purity’. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Its basically 100% pure Novichok. If Ms Sturgess sprayed the stuff on her wrist as claimed, then it did not work very well, as she did not die instantly, or at least within minutes.

            Essentially what you can take to the bank from the OPCW report is that Novichok is a dud nerve agent and always was.

            I would guess that it was selected by the spooks for this reason (apart from its connection to Russia) as they knew there would no danger of any collateral damage from their little prank.

      • Duncan

        John, are you implying that this was stock that Boot’s normally sell?
        If that is the case, you are incorrect.
        If Boot’s don’t sell it, but Charlie did lift it, then it was planted in the store.
        For Charlie to steal, or a customer to buy.
        But, a customer could not buy it, as it is not a stock item, would have no Boot’s product code or price.

  • Somebooty

    Maybe it was Boshirov and Petrov that were supposed to be killed? That is why they partied, because they had no Novichok with them and nothing to hide. The prostitute could have been hired to meet them “by accident” somewhere and to make them drunk and maybe to see if they were the right guys or something of that sort. That would also explain the incident with the military doctor being around. Maybe the doctor was supposed to hide the tracks on the doorknob after Boshirov and Petrov touched it or was there to “receive” Boshirov and Petrov. What if they went to the house and were suppose to meet Skripal, they took a look at the house and realized he was not there and something was odd and so they left. (Why was Skripal out in the first place? Does anybody know?) Maybe they had been followed and that is why there is no closer CCTV footage being released because it would be clear that people want to see minutes before they pass and minutes after they pass a CCTV cam. Since this would show they had been followed and the police does rather hide all the evidence. If they realized something was odd, they could have used going window shopping as a backup alibi story they thought of before and knew there would be CCTV footage of that. These guys going shopping after you just set a trap to kill a guy is totally ridiculous and has to have been planned in advance in case they abort the mission but then the mission could not have been to try to kill someone since that the attempt would then have “succeeded”. I have not seen the video, but if they look relaxed, then I would believe they thought their meeting with Skripal was cancelled and they were ready to abort and had no clue of any chemical attack.
    I also think it is odd that the daughter of the military doctor would find them. IF the military doctor would knew there was poison then why would she let her child near that? This makes only sense if she knew it would be harmless or if there would be no poison at all. (Or if she was really there by accident and had no clue at all which is almost impossible)

    • Duncan

      Somebooty, I think the two GRU chaps were Agent Team 1.
      Their mission was to fool around, be visble, and be as obvious as possible, but not to visit Sergei’s house.
      In the drip drip feed from the Met Counter Terror Team we will soon find out that Agent Team 2 were also in Salisbury.
      Neither the media or the supine UK public will wonder why 6 agents were tasked in a mission that was to deploy the world’s most dangerous nerve agent to NOT kill a 65 year old diabetic.

  • michael norton

    It is just under a mile from the Skripal Homestead to Zizzi Resaurant,
    why not walk?

  • Dennis Revell

    :

    Craig Murray seems pretty good on most things; sad to say on others he’s also full of crap;

    There is his uninformed fawning at the feet of World Enemy and destroyer of others’ economies George Soros – I mean that’s a MAJOR full o’crap thing – for which Mr. Murray got deservedly lambasted on his own blog and his facebook page, including by me.

    The thing to me where he also seems ‘full of it’ on the Salisbury/Skripal thing is his repetition of:

    “Plainly the Russian authorities have lied about the identity of Borishov and Petrov” – and his consequent conclusion that Russia also was “playing spy games”.

    I’ve NO idea what a ‘petard’ is, but whatever it is, and assuming he’s got one, Mr. Murray is clearly hoist by it with maintaining this nonsense. He’s screwed by what is his BEST attribute – that of providing detailed evidence of his contentions – often with the help of his remaining Govt. contacts, or at least of providing virtually unassailable logic. For this “identity lying” thing he provides NEITHER.

    It’s been pointed out to him before, by me and others, that assuming, as he seemed to be in his earlier treatment of the affair, that Russia had nothing to do with whatever went on in Salisbury, and which I STILL DO assume, then neither Russia nor the two thereby private characters concerned owe “us” the slightest fucking responsibility WHATEVER to explain who or what they are – and that Mr. Murray’s seeming insistence that they do have such responsibility smacks of some residual stinky leftover of British FCO colonial arrogance that Mr. Murray is yet to shed.

    SO the pair performed poorly on TV. So fucking what? Take any two ‘Joe Soaps’ from anywhere in the World, plonk them in front of a TV audience not just of two countries, but pretty much all the countries of the World, and see how they do. The explanation that these were two homosexual guys on a private holiday, and from Russia, where acceptance of that ‘lifestyle’ is probably less tolerant than in the West, remains just as likely an explanation as anything else for these guys’ bumbly-stumbly demeanour in a public forum, and that the Russian Govt’s RESPECT for their privacy (plus a private guffawing contempt of “us” over this whole propaganda fiasco) inclines them to desist from complying with any arrogant colonial type british demands that it provide further details on these two characters.

    Neither Craig Murray nor Britain – which refuses to comply with court decisions on Diego Garcia, as well as the rules of the OPCW in ANYTHING like a timely manner – is in any position to demand fucking ANYTHING from Russia.

    .

    • Borncynical

      With regard to the Skripal case I wholeheartedly agree, @Dennis. As some of us have said all along, without a charge it is not for the Russians to prove themselves innocent. The onus rests on those convinced of their guilt to prove it. And so far they have failed miserably. Let’s face it, were the Russians to provide any evidence, the UK Govt (aka Bellingcat) and media would just say it was falsified. And we mustn’t forget that, right from the outset, the Russians wanted a joint investigation but this was rebuffed by the UK Government for reasons known only to themselves but which serves to add to the suspicion of a contrived false flag. So why, indeed, should they provide the UK with any information at all? They are not beholden to the UK for anything.

      • Ken Kenn

        The thing is that UK government know full well that they can suggest anything they wish to at credulous journalists and get them to pass this guff onto the public.

        From the ‘Corbyn’s a Nazi’ to Maduro’s a dictator to Putin’s the most dangerous man in the world narrative.

        Of course other countries spy on each other but the UK pretends it doesn’t – and if it does then it does it for a reason.

        Unfortunately thanks to the past Blair to May governments it does most spying on behalf of the US. Particularly in Europe.

        Merkel’s private phone calls were tapped by GCHQ and passed onto the US.

        The strategy of ‘getting up the USA’s arse as deep as you can’ has led to this current Skripal nonsense.

        It is to do the USA’s bidding to assist in the discrediting of Russia due to it’s trade with Germany (the boss of Europe) and to undermine Trump by using the same trigger words ‘highly likely’ – ‘there is little doubt’ and so on.

        Not an ounce of evidence to back all the blather up – none. I don’t like Trump and Putin would not be my man of the year but at least the accusers should back up this garbage with proof of some sort – not ‘I knew he was a spy as soon as he entered the shop’ to ‘Who knew assassins would be interested in coins?’ That’s hindsight crap from a credulous resident, not proof. In fact it’s Daily Mail proof which is equal to no proof at all and is the reason they did many pages of Tom Bower’s unadulterated tripe about Corbyn.

        So back to the point: For my money no one will see the inside of a Court and the government and the spooks as well as the Integrity Initiative journalist cronies know it. Putin knows it and he is rightly ignoring it and the contempt is deserved.

        We’ve see the alleged assassins so let’s see the alleged victims feeding the ducks both in rude health and strength before the alleged ‘toxic chemical’ (not my words – the OPCW words) incident because if I was Jury member I would say to the Learned Judge – “Your Honour we’ve seen the alleged perpetrators – now can we see the the people who have been allegedly perpetrated against?”

        Let’s put it this way – If Theresa may told me it was raining, I’d have to go outside and check.

        A trial is not going to happen ‘End of’ – as my new found friend Kempe would say.

  • Brendan

    I think you have to look at the context of the individual statements by the OPCW in order to understand what they were saying about impurities.

    When they wrote in April about “the almost complete absence of impurities”, that was a reference to the “toxic chemical” described in the previous sentence:
    “11. The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities.”

    So the toxic chemical itself had hardly any impurities (ie. precursors and other products of the manufacturing process). There could, however, have been lots of additional impurities in the samples that were taken in Salisbury – as a result of exposure to various substances in the environment – but they did not get mentioned in that report.

    Notice that the OPCW did not say that the “samples” were of high purity – only that the ‘toxic chemical’ part was. Contrast that with what they said in September about the Amesbury sample (from the perfume bottle):

    “10. 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.”

    So this time, it’s not just the toxic chemical, but the overall sample that is of high purity – presumably due to being stored in a bottle, shielded from external sources of impurities. In this case, the toxic chemical and the sample are almost exactly the same thing – due to the almost total absence of impurities.

    The two reports make more sense if you look carefully at the exact wording, and in particular the distinction the OPCW makes between the sample and the toxic chemical.

    However, that distinction is not spelled out clearly or unambiguously in the first report in April about the Salisbury samples. The OPCW should certainly clarify what exactly they mean in that case by ‘impurities’.

    • SA

      The OPCW report is not a scientific document it is a political document. A scientific document would be clear about its definitions and leave no room for ambiguity.

      • Ken Kenn

        I’ve not seen the word ‘ Novichock ‘ in any of them.

        Unless someone can enlighten me?

        What sort of chemical is this ‘ toxic chemical? ‘

        It could be arsenic for all I know or from a local bitter.

        • SA

          The nature of ‘this’ toxin was in the secret report. Novichok in any case is also not really an entity.

    • Jo Dominich

      Brendan, it has become very clear from the Skripal case that the OPCW is yet another supposedly independent organisation that has been ‘weaponised’ by the USA in particular and NATO.

    • GCSE

      You are interpreting something into the OPCW text that simply does not make sense.
      A “toxic chemical” itself is always pure everything else found is simply not part of the “toxic chemical”
      There is no way you can distinguish between sample and impurities. Everything that is not what you are looking for would be sample and the chemical by definition always pure.

      • Brendan

        The toxic chemical in this case is designed to kill but is not necessarily totally pure. It could contain by-products of the manufacturing process and could also degrade over time into other molecules.

        I’m not sure what your definition of a sample is here, but I was referring to the swabs taken, which would contain both the toxic chemical and impurities of various types.

        Anyway, the overall point that I would like to make is that the argument about the OPCW’s definition of impurities is a distraction. It only deflects attention from all of the other parts of the official narrative which really are impossible and unbelievable.

        The issue should be filed under “unanswered questions”, rather than impossibilities. Although I’m reasonably sure that I know what the OPCW were saying, they should explain unambiguously what they mean by ‘impurities’.

        • GCSE

          Sample or swab, never mind. If you distinguish between the chemical you are looking for and other substances, the chemical itself is always absolutely pure. Analysis of purity would not make any sense this way.
          Impurity means there has been a mix of the chemical with other substances.

  • Igor P.P.

    By the way, any doctors here? In Julia’s video statement, she looks like she had a tracheotomy. Also, in her phone call, the says that Sergei has had one too, and that is why he is unable to speak to his mother.

    But what I have been able to read about this kind of operation suggests that it only makes sense when there is a problem in the upper part of the throat. Not in case of something affecting internal organs, such as nerve agent poisoning. Can someone clear this up, or at least provide some good pointers?

    • SA

      Severely Ill patient in intensive care usually need assisted breathing, for a variety of reasons but in this specific case also related to paralysis by the nerve agent and because the nerve agent leads to increased secretions which obstruct the airway. Assisted breathing, through a ventilator can be applied either by intubation (a tube into the trachea through the mouth), which can be performed acutely, or iin the case of a prolonged need fo ventilate, by a tracheostomy which is easier to manage and reduces some of the potential damage to to the voice box. A temporary tracheostomy is what Yulia had . I am not sure what Sergei had but occasionally if there are complications, you may need to have a permanent one which could affect your speech. The problem here is that little is known of the current state of Yulia and even less of Sergei.

  • Jo Dominich

    Craig, thanks for an insightful and thoughtful article. However, I do not agree that Russia was involved with ‘spy games’ with the UK at the time. I am firmly of the view that the ‘blame Russia’ rhetoric by our Government was intended to create a false flag for an aerial attack on Syria – and this proved to be true – with what we know now to be – a seriously faked Chemical Weapons attack complete with fake footage from international news agencies including the BBC.

    I have just read an overview of Putin’s annual speech to the Douma and representatives from industry, media etc. It is englightening to say the least. He cares little for NATO and its EU allies – mainly due to their false narratives on Russia without any shred of evidence (It’s in the OffGuardian) and he cares not for invading other countries. Rather, the growth in the Russian economy is going to spent to improve the lives of the Russian people in terms of healthcare, education, opportunity etc (Corbyn’s policies to a T actually). So his focus is on his own country and people. However, he also talked about Russia’s military capability to defend itself from NATO and its EU allies.

    Everything else in your article gives food for a lot of thought.

    • Igor P.P.

      I’m with you on the Syrian connection/motive. There is no other credible explanaiton for the extreme rush of the accusations and the war-like language used by the UK in the first days after the incident.

  • tony worrall

    The scene at the park bench should be the smoking gun. I read reports DS Bailey was involved in the initial response when the Skripals collapsed on 4 March in Salisbury city centre, leading to the theory that he was on ‘watching’ duty. This together with the Chief Nurse of the British Army being on hand takes coincide too far.

    Of all people, Bailey, who may have been contaminated by the Skirpals on the bench (shouldn’t he have attend hospital to be sure?) was said to have been sent to the Skirpals house (to see what?). Why him? Surely where a mysterious substance was involved trained chemical officers should have been deployed in the first instance. A truley ham fisted attempt to put Bailey near the door knob. That Bailey was affected by something is not in doubt, but it was probably picked up from the Skirpals. Then total overkill by closing his house, destroying his belongings and burying his cars was just for media overkill.

    This together with the mysterious couple on CCTV caught heading towards the bench and the red handbag, plus the fact that the Russian agents were very nearby and the fact that no official council CCTV has been released leads me to think the park bench was the scene of the meet and all the action. Several ambulances and even helicopters attended the scene. Is that natural for a couple that passed out on a park bench? This was a big scene and without the witness statements and CCTV we may never know what happened there.

    Bottom line, the goverment lied about the potency of the poison. But they had to, to fit their narrative and all MSM disgracefully accepted this at face value. All the initial people affected survived, therefore not deadly at all. Hence the second go (with a sealed bottled of perfume, hmmm) which proved deadly (did we ever get the post mortem for Dawn Sturgess?). This is obvious and shouldn’t need further exposition. Similarly, the quite ridiculous theory that potential assassin’s would, in broad daylight, from a totaly inapporiate ‘perfume bottle’ dispenser, smear a door knob with poison in the hope that your target would touch it. That the MSM and gov expect us to belive this is just bizarre, but they do and apparently the public do!! Just think, put a highly dangerous, deadly substance on an item where it could be easily transferred by touch. The victim touches it, then travels into town touches other things in other places – the whole town contanimated and possibly dead – is that what trained agents do? Think about this as well. If the russian agents contanimated the door, Skirpals touched it but went for a night out. The agents were still in town, while Skirpal was spreading the nerve agent everywhere, the Russians were not far away. Would they be so nonchalant knowing that a ‘military grade’ poison was on someones hands not very far away from them. If I was them I would have got out of Salisbury ASAP (unless I was there just for a secret meeting with no poision involved of course).

    • Duncan

      Tony, by his own submission, the heroic Bailey encountered the door handle at Skripal’s home at midnight, He was not a first responder, even though Rudd and May claimed that he was.
      The Panorama programme, where he made his confession was quite a revelation, and contradicted many of the March official narratives. As expected the media ignored the conflicting stories.

  • c&z

    Petrov and Boshirov told in the RT interview that they were visiting “friends” in UK, London, who had suggested the two should visit Salisbury and the cathedral there. I am fascinated by the fact that he UK investigative authorities have ignored or at least kept silent about these London friends. Maybe the “friends” were from local gay community? A classic honey trap with seduction followed by suggestion?
    It is obvious that P and B were set up to pose as GRU agents without them understanding they were posing as ones. They were set up to be spotted by the British investigators later on from CCTVs, and thus to confirm the official storyline about the usual suspect. And the ones that set them up knew about their GU background and that as the plot evolved, the official Russia would not bother about the two because they had been discharged from service long ago and moreover because the two had later on excelled mostrly among the gender minority circles.
    Now, as it appears from Bellingcat’s revelations, the population registry of Russian Federation has been hacked, and quite likely already since many years, either because of the personnel in the registry were bribed, or because of the technical disparages in the registry itself – or maybe little bit because of both. Nevertheless, anyone with an access to the Russian population registry could view the records inluding references to a person’s military classification, intelligence assignments and even cover identity. The fact that the registry contained such information is a major scandal and my accusing finger is pointing only at the Russian government authorities on this.
    The hack to the population registry, together with the fact that the registry contained classified information (that should never have been maintained there in the first place), has put the Russian intelligence personnel both home and abroad in a vulnerable position at a very least. And not just the ones currently in service, but also the former GU personnel turned into regular civilians that I suppose Boshirov and Petrov very much were in 2018 as they visited UK to meet their London “friends”.

    • Phill

      I think the reason why the UK investigative authorities haven’t followed up about their “London friends” is because they never said that. They just said “Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city.” – no mention of London or the UK, just “our friends”. I am amazed that people willl spend time writing a long comment like yours and don’t even bother to do a simple google search.
      https://www.rt.com/news/438356-rt-petrov-boshirov-full-interview/

      • Duncan

        Phill, an investigation might also touch on how and why the two superagents were granted visas.

  • Tom Wonacott

    Mr. Murry

    “…….Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts……”

    That really wasn’t the end of the story on hexamine. Bellingcat ran a follow up article a few years after Postel called Kaszeta “farudulent” with the conclusion below. (What We Know About Hexamine and Syria’s Sarin via @bellingcat https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2018/06/21/know-hexamine-syrias-sarin/):

    “………This matches perfectly with the design visible in the diagram published by Russia, and the debris recovered from the Al-Lataminah March 30th 2017 attack site and shows how hexamine was used at the point of mixing. It shows that despite the claims of Ted Postol and Maram Susli about hexamine needing to be absorbed by the isopropanol, the actual process used by the Syrian government to fill its chemical bombs does not require that step. The presence of hexamine at every confirmed Sarin attack shows the hexamine is part of the Syrian government’s manufacturing process, and far from Dan Kaszeta’s claims being “fraudulent”, as Ted Postol claimed, he was in fact right all along……”

    Possibly, Postel had another response I am unaware of, but you linked to their 2014 correspondance. Your questions about the British story certainly seem valid, but the motive and precedent seems to favor the British story. The motive for Russia to kill the Skripals was to send a message to double agents – and has a precedent in the russian defector, Litvinenko, who was most likely killed by Russian intelligence using polonium-210. If the Russians are not guilty of the attempted murder, I have a difficult time understanding what the British hoped to gain by murdering a defector (which would certainly discourage others) – or even trying to frame two GRU agents (who happened to be 400 meters from the house of the Skripals.

    After the GRU agents were identified by Bellingcat and their Russian journalist partners, The Insider, Putin’s bitter response is telling (Meduza: https://meduza.io/en/news/2018/10/03/putin-calls-sergey-skripal-a-scumbag-and-a-traitor-to-his-homeland?utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=share_twitter&utm_campaign=share via @meduzaproject):

    “………“As for Skripal and so on, this is just the latest spy scandal to be inflated artificially. I follow different information sources, and your colleagues are promoting the idea that Mr. Skripal is nearly some kind of human rights activist. He’s just a spy — a traitor to his homeland. Think about it: a national traitor,” Putin said. The president also called Skripal “nothing more than a scumbag,” and said he welcomes an end to the “informational campaign” surrounding Skripal’s poisoning…….”

    Just a few thoughts.

    • Screaminkid

      Most of the Syrian Chemical attacks were staged by ISIS or Jamah Islam rebels and there seems plenty of evidence to prove it?
      I would be more interested in knowing more about the NATO chemical weapons exercises going on, on Salisbury Plains at the time of the poisonings? Like the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army, Col. Alison Mc Court and her daughter Just happening to be first reponders to the Skripal’s collapse, that has not been mentioned in the global MSM as far as I have seen?

    • John A

      Hmmm
      Theodore A. Postol is a professor emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      or Bellingcat, a NATO Atlantic council funded ex knicker salesperson.
      Wonder who I would find a more authentic source of factual information.
      As for Livinenko, he was likely smuggling the Polonium on behalf of his Russian oligarch boss in London. The BA seat he flew from Tel Aviv to London before the famous tea party, had traces of Polonium.
      Both Skripal and Litvinenko were of no interest to the Russian state. You dont kill swapped spies. Pure British propaganda to smear Russia.

    • David Otness

      “If the Russians are not guilty of the attempted murder, I have a difficult time understanding what the British hoped to gain…”
      Why, to keep any and all things negative to Russia alive, of course.
      Since the day NATO presumed to grab the naval base / garrison at Sevastopol in Crimea their relentless drive to demonise Russia and in particular Putin, their motives could not be more clear and the extent which they will go remains unplumbed. Did we ever see the results of the Dutch airliner crash/shootdown over Ukraine? Amazing how that just “went away” when the conclusions were pointing at Ukrainian army elements. The U.S. elections? This mad narrative re: Skripals? The Russians supposedly ready to pounce on the Baltics?
      The West, in all of its military might, is outraged at Russia’s impunity in protecting its sovereignty as NATO’s impotence is manifested in evermore ludicrous propaganda false flags. In the meantime Russia and China quietly go about the business of building alliances and trade with diverse nations and all the U.S. thug regime can come up with are further sanctions (on anybody and everybody, allies or not) and blatantly threaten invasion of a country like Venezuela under the always-false rubric of “bringing democracy.” And Syria is but another striking example of Western “largesse. Neocon thugs and phonies presume to “lead” via NATO. They lead in but destruction for those who actually rule and Own this planet. Period.

      • michael norton

        Americans are spitting teeth because the Sultan of Turkey is to purchase S-400 system from Russia.

      • Duncan

        David, I aslo think an immediate gain was the UK security and defence budgets received a boost to cope with the Russian threat.
        I suspect that young Gavin and his mate Gary at Porton Down were involved in this.
        Boris, as usual blabbed too quickly.
        “Of course they have a sample…”

        Fundamentally, May was quite wriong in linking Novichok, (as supplied by Porton Down) with “it must be Russia”.
        But the lie was cast, and the media ran with it.
        Despite an unravel, there is no investigative journalism in the UK, so we can talk to each other in the Blogs and eventually move on.

    • Igor P.P.

      If killing traitors made any sense, they would not live openly under their own identities. Skripal and his MI6 handlers know a thousand times more about the Litvinenko case and the mentality of GRU (where he served) that anyone who endorsed this revenge killing theory. They would most certainly have hidden and protected him if this theory wasn’t nonsense.

  • Screaminkid

    Apart from the mystery of the female ‘Dr’ who was rumoured to be the first to discover the collapsed Skripals (thanks for clearing that up Craig, it was even more James Bond than I thought!) was the thing I was curious about. If the novichok was ‘Military grade’ and pure and as May stated was ‘extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces’, surely the two Russians would have had to be covere in those white suita hoods andboots the forensic scientists wear after a murder to not conteminate the evidence?
    Such a dangerous chemical would be just as guarenteed to kill the men smearing it on the door handal as it was an attempt on the lives of the Skripals, if it came into contact with their skin? This has also puzzeled me with the polonium used to kill Litvenyenko? The perpertrators still remain alive yet never suffered the same fate as their victim?
    If they were wearing protective clothing some busybody would have been guarenteed to have seen them at work outside the Skripal’s house, even taken a picture on their phone?
    As I have said before , not a very well thought out skript by the Integrity Initiative not MI6?

  • Robert

    I wonder whether we need to re-think the improbability of Ms McCourt being the first person to give aid? If she does indeed live in Salisbury, there’s quite a reasonable probability of her going for a stroll in the park on a nice afternoon. And if she did, someone with her training would be more likely to go to the aid of someone in distress, rather than a random person thinking “there’s some drunks or druggies, not my problem”.

    Bit like estimating the probability that, if James Dyson knocked on a door in the UK asking for directions, that door would have behind if a Dyson vacuum cleaner in need of repair. Not wildly improbable.

    Similarly the probability of my winning the lottery is low, but the probability of someone winning the lottery is high.

    As an aside, the behaviour of the two Russians looks like that of people trying to be noticed.

    As another aside, the disappearance of all this from main stream media strongly smells of D notices.

    • michael norton

      Sergeant Nick Bailey attending, pronto
      Colonel McCourt attending pronto

      what a set of circumstances, it hard to believe.

      • Duncan

        No, Bailey was not pronto, he was 7 hours later at the Skripal home.
        Brief encounter with a door handle. The rest is history.
        He was NOT at the park bench.

        Listen to him on Panorama. The Jane Corbin fantasy.

        • Tony

          Fair enough if you belive what he later said on Panorama. Lots of statements were made by the police. In the same programme, Deputy assistant commissioner Dean Haydon said detectives had recovered a “significant” amount of novichok in a fake bottle of perfume that was found three months after the attack on the Skripals. Asked how many people it could have killed, he said: “It’s difficult to say. You know, possibly into the thousands.” The fake bottle is believed to have been used to smuggle the novichok into the UK and to spray the nerve agent on to Skripal’s door handle. – do you belive those bizare statments as true?. Bailey’s later statment could be fake news too to fit the story.

          Could be Bailey simply thought it was at the Skirpals where he was affected rather than the park bench, which I still think he attended. There are various newspaper reports that he was a “first responder’ or “rushed to the Skirpals aid”. Why would this story be told if not true. Seems a strange thing to report otherwise. Statement released by The Metropolitan Police on 5th June: “Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer who was amongst the first to respond to the incident…..”. And in a statement by Chief Constable Kier Pritchard “Officers who were first on the scene (relating to Bailey) displayed selfless commitment to their jobs as they tried their very best to help these two people – unaware of what they were dealing with.”

          Bailey was particularly furtive about the events (given he was poisioned by something, that may not be a shock) until Panorama. He’s not responsible but I still think the key may be with him. One theory is that he (or a colleague) took something away from The Maltings, put it in the evidence store at Bourne Hill Police Station (which were identified as contanimated and cleaned), and then became contaminated when examining it on the morning of 6 March (two days after the Skirpals poisoning and would explain Baileys late admission to hospital for proper treatment). It does seem that maybe items were removed from the Skirpal scene and these could have been contanimated – in the dead-drop clandestine meeting with the mysterious couple the bag was handed over, the bag contained poison opened by the Skirpal’s on the bench. The bag then taken later to the police station? It all seems more plausible then nerve agent on a door knob from a perfume bottle! However, if this is true why didn’t the officials just say the novichok was in the bag? CCTV will never be released as it would show the truth.

    • James

      It was ‘pure’ coincidence that at the moment the Skripals collapsed simultaneously, the most senior nursing officer in the British army happened to be passing by, and so was the first adult to give them medical attention. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

    • A.C.Doyle

      You’ve made the vacuum cleaner analogy a bit more complex, but you are right to highlight the importance of chance in Colonel McCourt’s (the UK military’s highest ranking bio/chemical weapons nurse) attendance at the scene of the UK’s highest profile and most controversial alleged chemical weapons attack.
      If it was not pure chance, it was pre-planned. If it was pre-planned, the entire official narrative is exposed as a hoax. It could not be simpler.
      The apparent efforts made to conceal the revelation of her presence only add to the suspicion that it was not pure chance, especially if those efforts in themselves betray an element of pre-planning.

  • David Otness

    Thank you so much for this update.
    There is an adage in the U.S. that has been making the rounds over my considerably long lifetime and it goes “If you’ve got nothing else, then baffle them with bullshit.”
    I’d say that practice is on full display here and the mind boggles at how easily the public continues to fall for the authorities’ artless guile. That is all that allows for any credibility salvage of their disingenuous narrative pumped out to the hoi-polloi via their control of all msm news organs.
    I thank you again for continuing to bring logic to an purposefully emotionally-charged scenario such as this.
    And it deserves the continued scrutiny you give it as the larger war of intrigues’ purpose remains the various international actors in their attempts to dominate spheres of planet-wide geographic financial dominance.
    Well done sir, in keeping a flickering lamp of knowledge lit.
    To paraphrase the Washington Post masthead in all of its CIA-riddled and sinister hypocritical irony:
    “Democracy Dies In Darkness”

  • Ceramic Cyclist

    Still the most likely explanation to me is that Sergei Skripal, through Yulia as an intermediary, was arranging a return to Russia. Russians are prone to homesickness, hence the late Oligarch Boris Berezovsky’s letters of pleading to the Kremlin, despite the great crimes he had committed, to be allowed to return with assurances he would not involve himself in matters of the state.

    Yulia’s statement during her weird public appearance, that she would like to return home to Russia, was in my view a coded message that both she & Sergei wanted the deal to stand & that they did not believe Putin was responsible for their poisoning.

    Our two Russian suspects of still unproven identity were in my view there for the purposes of a dead drop. This could have gone two ways with documents for Sergei enabling his clandestine disappearance back to Russia, & documents from Sergei, detailing what he had to offer in exchange for this deal which I believe to be information on the Dodgy Trump Dossier which I again believe he worked on via his handler Pablo Miller who worked with Christopher Steele’s Orbis Communications.

    A dead drop, would explain the inconsistencies in timelines between the Skripals leaving home that day, & the arrival & departure of the Russian suspects. They didn’t conincide because they didn’t have to. In fact the nature of dead drops is that those using the location – perhaps in this case a place between the Shell Garage & Sergei’s home – would arrive at different times to avoid detection.

    My guess is that MI6 got wind of Sergei’s intentions & made sure he & Yulia didn’t make it to wherever they were headed that day. I don’t happen to believe that they were poisoned with Novichok because the behaviour & statements of police & hospital staff are not consistent with this.

    I believe MI6 managed to intercept blood samples & contaminated them with the substance, & that the Skripals were in fact poisoned with what the hospital originally diagnosed them to be.

    Porton Down is compromised, especially since the death of Dr Kelly. This has a tendency to ensure silence & compliance among staff.

  • AndyS

    Craig, I was one of those critical of some of your earlier reporting of this case, for which I would like to apologise. You were, and are, one of the few journalists providing anything resembling realistic coverage of the ‘Skripal Affair’, criticising you for errors in minor detail was unjustified.

  • inonothing

    I came across a nugget of information to add to the folder marked “Steele, Miller, Dirty Dossier, Skripal???”.

    First, by way of background if you need it, here’s a brief outline sketch of the characters involved and their connections. Ex-MI6 spy/head of Russia Desk Christopher Steele, now of Orbis Business Intelligence, was contracted by Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS to source intel on Trump-Russia. Fusion in turn was contracted by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s DNC via its lawyers. From June to December 2016 Steele produced a series of memos (which became known as the”Dirty Dossier” or “Steele Dossier”) detailing all manner of conspiracies between Trump and assorted characters in Russia, including the “golden shower” allegations. Numerous sources were cited, but none were named or could be identified; for example, “source B, a trusted compatriot and senior figure in the Russian Foreign Ministry” is typical of how sources were described. Steele said he felt a sense of duty to inform the FBI of his discoveries, and did so through his friend Bruce Ohr, who at the time was Associate Deputy Attorney General at the US Dept of Justice.

    Now the nugget of info. It comes from a John Solomon article (link below) and refers to an informal meeting between Ohr and Simpson, following which Ohr made some notes.

    Quote//

    …And all of it was captured in [Ohr’s] handwritten notes — a contemporaneous record that intelligence professionals tell me exposes the flaws plaguing the early Russia collusion case.
    For example, Simpson told then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr during the Dec. 10, 2016, meeting in a Washington coffee shop that he believed Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, was the “go-between from Russia to the Trump campaign.”
    Yet, Simpson allegedly acknowledged that most of the information Fusion GPS and British intelligence operative Christopher Steele developed did not come from sources inside Moscow. “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr scribbled in his notes.

    Unquote//
    https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/401185-the-handwritten-notes-exposing-what-fusion-gps-told-doj-about-trump

    What does this tell us? It tells us that, rather than there being many sources for the allegations, there was, for the most part, just one: a former Russian intelligence officer. For this one source to portray himself as many people means he was telling lies. That Simpson said “much of the collection” came from this one source also makes it highly likely that a proportion of the content of the intel, as well as the sources, were fabricated. Steele, the dossier’s author/compiler, must surely have known his dossier contained lies, as his client, Glenn Simpson, evidently was aware. So why the need to get the “intel” to the FBI?

    And what if Ohr actually meant the former Russian intelligence officer lives in the UK. Apparently his handwriting isn’t the clearest, and it’s easy to make an error, like writing US when you mean UK, when you’re rushing to make notes following a meeting. If the former Russian intelligence officer lives in the UK, he could be Sergei Skripal.

    Might be a golden nugget or iron pyrite. I’d like to see Ohr’s notes. Anyone know if they’re online?

    • James

      In that scenario, which appears more and more plausible by the day, it could well have been deemed expedient to ‘disappear’ S. Skripal. However Yulia may have been the part of the plan that went awry. If MI6 (with CIA connivance) had coordinated everything right down to Chepiga/Mishkin’s visit to Salisbury* and Alison McCourt’s son’s birthday party, they may have decided to press ahead, in spite of the fact that they’d now have to accommodate Yulia in the narrative. This may yet prove to have been a bridge too far.

      *On this, ‘Milda’ at the Blogmire has made a good case speculating that they had a sideline in delivering/collecting documents for wealthy clients. They may have been on an errand at the behest of Nikolai Glushkov, Berezovsky’s former associate found dead a few days after the Skripals were hospitalised.

    • ramblingidiot

      It does not have to be a typographical error. If whoever is stating that the agent lived in the US rather than the UK he is simply employing another way of concealing the agent’s identity.

  • michael norton

    A mass grave with dozens of bodies believed to be Yazidi tribal people held captive by Islamic State militants was found in a territory recently captured by U.S.-backed forces in Syria.
    Adnan Afrin, commander for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said Thursday that many of the bodies found in the area of Baghouz were those of women – many of them decapitated.
    https://www.foxnews.com/world/mass-grave-with-dozens-of-decapitated-bodies-found-in-last-isis-enclave-they-were-slaughtered

    I have a strong suspician that the underlying reason for the “poisoning of Sergei Skripal”
    is too demonise Russia/Iran/Syria/Hezbollah,
    to “reinforce” the notion that Animal Assad Nerve gasses his own people using a Nerve Gas developed in Russia.

    • michael norton

      The White Helmets and the Skripal “Poisoning”
      are both sides of the same coin

      both have the same purpose and both were initiated by the United Kingdom.

  • foolisholdman

    There is a very interesting “reconstruction” of what happened in Salisbury in: http://thesaker.is/the-alternative-skripal-narrative/ Which seems to knit together nearly all the undisputed parts of the “Narrative”. Sure some of it is speculation but at least it provides a coherent account of what is known and a believable account of what is quesswork.

  • michael norton

    Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers to be stationed in the Crimea in response to the U.S. rolling out missile defense systems in Romania

    So Cold War still hotting up.

  • Stephen Doyle

    What happened to the ducks, supposedly fed after the Skripals had handled the nerve agent?

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