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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  • Kempe

    1. Purity is not an indication of potency. Purity defines any contaminants, substances which shouldn’t be there, in the compound and according to the OPCW’s summary report this deduction was based on analysis of environmental and biological samples. So not just that taken from the doorknob.

    2. The Skipal’s roof was removed as a precaution (probably an unnecessary one) because it was thought that police search teams might’ve carried traces of Novichok into the loft space.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-46792956

    3. Salisbury lies on the edge of the army’s largest exercise area and not far from the garrison towns of Larkhill and Ludgershall. Many military families live in and around Salisbury itself so the presence of military personnel there is not as unlikely as might first appear.

    4. See point 1. above. The Novichok would’ve had to have been fairly diluted to be handled safely by the would be assassins. We don’t know for sure that both Skripals were struck down simultaneously.

    5. Many sources say the perfume bottle itself was found in a rubbish bag. Rowely said they threw it away after realising the contents weren’t perfume and anyway why would it’s presence or that of it’s wrapper be regarded as in any way suspicious until the contents had been analysed?

    I’ll have a look at the rest when I have more time. In closing analysis by Kings College London discovered that between them Kremlin controlled “news” agencies RT and Sputnik published 138 separate and contradictory narratives in 735 articles in the 4 weeks following the poisoning of the Skripals.

    Now why would they have done that?

    • Clark

      Points 1 to 5 require no replies.

      “Kremlin controlled “news” agencies RT and Sputnik published 138 separate and contradictory narratives in 735 articles in the 4 weeks following the poisoning of the Skripals. Now why would they have done that?”

      Where are your control samples from UK, EU, US and other global ‘news’ services?

      • Clark

        So it seems that (someone unmentioned at) Kings College London only examined Russian ‘news’ agencies.

        Now why would they have done that?

      • Bob In Portland

        Kempe: Why would Russian news agencies report contradictory articles about the Skripals? Perhaps because the incident happened in Britain and the articles in the press were based in part on the BBC and other news accounts in Britain which were contradictory. Also, in the news business, when more facts become known news reports are not required to stick to any specific original theory of the crime which has been disproven. Secondly, your assumption resumes that all Russian news outlets are somehow centrally controlled. Actually, it seems to prove the opposite.

        “Many military families live in and around Salisbury itself so the presence of military personnel there is not as unlikely as might first appear.” You don’t, in your explanation of the coincidence of Colonel Abigail McCourt just happening to be strolling along when a Russian double agent is poisoned, get to dismiss this “coincidence” as many military families live in the region. And you don’t mention Porton Down, the most likely origin of the novichok. Perhaps even more likely than McCourt strolling along was that she or someone else from Porton Down or another military facility delivered the poison.

    • giyane

      Kempe
      1. Port on Down know the potency of their own novichok .
      2, so the police removed something else from the roof’ … something that was harming the Skripals… possibly radioactive.or electronic surveillance
      3. Only the top nurse could be entrusted with executing this false flag. A fully brainwashed officer who also was capable of secretly injecting the Skripals
      4. There never was any novichok in Salisbury and there never will be.
      5.Somebody wanted to scam the false flag who knew something from the military who live in the town. In other words they bought a bottle of perfume to tell the public the whole thing was a false flag. That person got the Dr Kelly treatment

      You are aver parfit gentle troll. Rede as the bristles on a solid earsears.

    • Duncan

      The Novichok deployed does seem to have some miraculous properties for the world’s deadliest non lethal nerve agent.
      Roof timbers possibly contaminated but not the internal walls or ceilings.
      More effort spent in making the house habitable, than knocking it down and building a new one.
      Habitable for an owner who will never return.

      In the past few days, Karen Gardner of BBC Wiltshire has been reflecting on the events from a year ago. She noted many police officers without Hazmat suits going in and out of the front door of the Skripal home. Some even taking in their coffee flasks and sandwiches.
      Front door open, windows open, but somehow one of Sergei’s cats had to be put down, rather than escaping.

      I am sure the Russian agents were up to something, probably because of Yulia’s arrival.
      A mission to kill Sergei makes no sense. 3 agents involved in a non lethal attack. Car accident or polythene bag would be better.

    • SA

      “1. Purity is not an indication of potency. Purity defines any contaminants, substances which shouldn’t be there, in the compound and according to the OPCW’s summary report this deduction was based on analysis of environmental and biological samples. So not just that taken from the doorknob.”
      I thought you were a chemist. So: analysis of biological and environmental samples are highly unlikely to produce samples of high purity, you know that.
      “2. The Skipal’s roof was removed as a precaution (probably an unnecessary one) because it was thought that police search teams might’ve carried traces of Novichok into the loft space.”
      And that happens not to be the case with other places the police went to?
      “3. Salisbury lies on the edge of the army’s largest exercise area and not far from the garrison towns of Larkhill and Ludgershall. Many military families live in and around Salisbury itself so the presence of military personnel there is not as unlikely as might first appear.”
      Exactly that is why it was chosen to stage the scene of the ‘crime’. Also it just so happens to be at the doorstep of Porton Down.
      “4. See point 1. above. The Novichok would’ve had to have been fairly diluted to be handled safely by the would be assassins. We don’t know for sure that both Skripals were struck down simultaneously.”
      It is either of high purity or diluted, not both.
      But as they say: ‘Ther are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • Igor P.P.

      4. If one of Skripals was struck earlier, why didn’t the other call the ambulance?

  • Graeme

    I only have expertise on point 1, so will limit my comments to that.
    When analytical chemist talk of “purity” they are referring to the presence of by-products of manufacture rather than environmental contaminants.
    Analytical methods currently used can give a very good indication of whether a chemical is a product of kitchen chemistry, industrial mass production, research scale production or military/medical production.
    All these processes may give a chemical with the same % purity but will have typical patterns of solvent residue and reaction by products dependent upon the scale and technical details of production.
    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that to a chemist a sample may be tainted with mud, rainwater and city gunge yet still be classed as “high purity” as they will be looking for specific by products rather than everyday contaminants.

    • sc

      useful, and something you might expect a newspaper to have checked with a chemist and explained.

    • craig Post author

      Graeme,

      I believe that sounds more clever than it is. Some of the “mud, rainwater and city gunge” will have dissolved into the gel/liquid, not just be suspended in it. Some new elements would very definitely be organic, and some may have reacted with the novichok, which was already to some extent destabilised by hydrolysis and sunlight. There would also almost certainly have been some traces of other organo-phosphates in that Salisbury muck and gunge, not to mention excretions from human skin. I don’t think judging original purity would be as feasible as you claim. Remember the stuff was very thinly spread on the handle, leaving a very high surface area to volume for contamination, and also speeding hydrolysis and the effect of the sun.

      • Duncan

        Why is there a thread spinning about Novichok on the door handle?
        If Sergei and Yulia were dosed this way at 1-30pm or so, then:

        They would not have collapsed simultaneously some 3 hours later.
        The three boys in the missing duck feed would have been symptomatic
        The Skripals would be dead.
        The UK would have shown CCTV footage of the GRU agents at or closer to Sergei’s house
        DS Bailey would be dead after his breaking and entering jaunt.
        The outside door mat would have been saturated with nerve agent, and exIbit 1, although it is never mentioned.
        The two car door handles by implication would be immediate transfer points, but both Skripals failed to notice chemical transfer onto their hands….

  • Xavi

    Wow. Lots of headscratchers there. It will be interesting to see if your detractors are willing to directly address any of them. Questions also abound about the City Stay Hotel, Bow, a hostelry that remained open for business despite the likelihood (if the approved yarn is believed) of contamination by life threatening “military grade” Novichok. So too the lady of the night who visited Bosh and Pet. Was any effort ever made to find her?

    • Xavi

      Also, why have Bellingcat’s “revelations” about the true identities of Bosh and Pet still to receive the imprimatur of a UK govt that is desperate to pin the poisonings on Putin? The media went all in but apart from a deleted Gav Williamson tweet there has never been any government mention of Mr Higgins’s expose.

  • Clark

    Craig, I posted my earlier comment quickly since I know how irritating and depressing conspiracy theorists can be, be they mainstream or alternative. What they lack in evidence and reasoning ability they attempt to compensate for in general unpleasantness. I have now read your article.

    This is simply the best, most meticulous and rational examination of the actual available evidence that I have seen. I also found it hilarious in several places.

    Your summary proves two things conclusively:

    1) The MSM is not fit for purpose.

    2) The British Government submitted fabricated samples (probably from Porton Down) to the OPCW.

    • Goose

      Peter Hitchens is about the only MSM journalist I’ve seen on TV posing questions.

      The response he gets is usually bizarrely hostile.

      Not quite akin to how heresy was dealt with in the 12th and 13th centuries, but deeply weird for a modern country in 2019; one that supposedly has free speech/expression.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Clark March 7, 2019 at 16:03
      ‘… I know how irritating and depressing conspiracy theorists can be, be they mainstream or alternative. ..’
      WTF? This whole saga IS a conspiracy, and most commenters have some kind of theory as to at least who is conspiring.
      But an ‘apple for the teacher’ is always welcome.

  • Goose

    There was a time, not too long ago, when the MSM would have handled most of these queries and discrepancies.

    Alas, now it’s left to relatively obscure websites and blogs like this. I don’t know where we are going with this unquestioning corporate/state media. It’s not good tho.

    • D_Majestic

      Actually, Goose, it’s very worrying. We appear to be in much the same place as people in the GDR, Czechoslovakia etc. were as far as news control is concerned.

      • Goose

        Who in the MSM could a whistle-blower go to now, with any sort of confidence?

        Snowden knew Greenwald and Poitras could be trusted, but who in today’s MSM?

        And even the Intercept let NSA contractor Reality Winner down badly. Although, they are deeply apologetic about their error.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ D_Majestic March 7, 2019 at 17:29
        At least the people of the Soviet Union were largely aware that Pravda and Izvestia were pure propaganda rags, whereas our Sheeple are largely oblivious to the fact that our present MSM is just as bad, if not worse.

      • wonky

        Yes. News control is opinion control, which is vital if the illusion of democracy is to be upheld.
        And as far as 24/7 surveillance is concerned, the Gestapo and Stasi were literally ill-equipped amateurs.

        This, now and the following years, might be our last chance to put the ‘demos’ back into democracy.

  • KJH

    What about those policemen, without the protective suits on, who stood guard outside the house for weeks, who didn’t fall ill? Or the personnel at the hospital who treated the Skripals for days before they knew it was Novichok? Then there were all the stories about a deadly nerve agent being in the car’s air conditioning, the suitcase or even in the porridge that Yulia brought in from Moscow.
    Or the report that several police cars had to be buried in landfill sites; how did they get so contaminated if it was on the door handle? If it was a gel smeared on how did it become a liquid to be sprayed through a perfume atomiser?
    The proximity to Porton Down makes one suspect that this was a British operation, possibly using Skripal, that went very wrong.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Well one ‘contaminated’ police car that was taken away by the army didn’t go to landfill, it was taxed a few months later. (see post above)

    • doug scorgie

      KJH
      March 7, 2019 at 16:32

      “Or the report that several police cars had to be buried in landfill sites…”
      ……………………………………..

      I have not heard of that report. Do you have any further details?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ KJH March 7, 2019 at 16:32
      ‘…suspect that this was a British operation, possibly using Skripal, that went very wrong.’
      But did it go ‘very wrong’? I don’t think the PTB give a toss about a ‘collateral death’ or ten, they got the world to throw out Russian Embassy personnel left, right and centre, and got the MSM screaming about the Russian ‘use’ of CW shortly before the next ‘False Flag’ and ‘punitive raid’ in Syria. And, of course, the saga is still smouldering, to be blown into flame the next time HMG need a distraction.

    • Igor P.P.

      “Then there were all the stories about a deadly nerve agent being in the car’s air conditioning, the suitcase or even in the porridge that Yulia brought in from Moscow.”

      Good point that is often undeservedly forgotten. The official narrative now is that Skripal’s hands (and only hands) were contaminated. Still, the police theorised for days (or weeks?) about car ventilation. So it’s either their bodies weren’t swabbed until much later despite being treated for poisoning. Or the police wasn’t advised of the results despite having an urgent and legitimate need for it. Which is nonsense. Any other explanations?

  • Goose

    The Integrity Initiative sounds like something Dar Adal would set up .

    Is art imitating life, or is life imitating art?

    • giyane

      Goose

      The whole concept of the Conservative Party is is either a ballet or a fairy tale.

      Like art , it cannot be properly appreciated without suspenders of mother goose.
      Sorry that’s pantomime.

      Try really believing money exists, elections exist, and newspapers exist then concentrate on suspending disbelief . breathe in . Hold onto that mental place and try to follow the pendulum and nothing else.

    • Isa

      There’s an actual episode quite close to this shambles . Carrie contaminates the FBI double agent with poison ink and then makes him believe the Russians are trying to kill him so that he tells her what he was up to . Things go wrong and the antidote can’t save him . It’s an interesting idea if Skripal was planning to go back to Russia in exchange for telling all about Steele dossier and Petrov and Borishov were there to help him do just that .
      Yulia would be a fabulous excuse for Sergei to go to the airport without suspicions .

      Charlie Rowley is for me a very wild card as , contrary to the Skripals , he is allowed to talk freely , give interviews etc . I would not be surprised if he’s brittish intelligence . Dawn was the innocent victim as the novichok narrative has to be reinforced .

      I don’t think there was any novichok involved in the Skripals . Half the town would be dead . The only novichok was that supplied to the OPCW.

      • Goose

        – They either did it as stated i.e., the official narrative (problematic given timeline + numerous other problems) but possible.

        – They were here conducting reconnaissance (He was living at that address openly, under his real name for some reason, baited in while airports /passengers watched?).

        – Here to betray their own country or work with Sergei and /or intel agencies in some way, for money (Seymour Hersh suggested on an RT show they may have been providing info on the Russian criminal underworld).

        One of these, which, who knows?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Isa March 7, 2019 at 19:04
        I also suspected Rowley might be an undercover cop.

  • Spencer Eagle

    What if the British and Russian governments had nothing to do with this from the outset?

    •Was notorious fixer Skripal cutting a deal with someone over the sale of a small quantity of deadly nerve agent?

    •Did Yulia bring the fake perfume with her into the UK on her father’s instructions?

    •The perfume will have travelled in the aircraft hold, not hand luggage. As a result the fake reassembled atomiser bottle sprang a tiny leak due to lack of hold pressurisation.

    •Prior to hand over, the untrusting wheeler dealer Sergei removed and carefully replaced the cellophane to check and see the bottle had liquid inside, unwittingly contaminating both himself and Yulia with the invisible leak, touching the door knob as they left the house.

    •Meanwhile the GRU had got some intelligence of something unfolding around Skripal, unwittingly and unfortunately dispatching two low level guys to Salisbury, largely to send a tread carefully message to Skripal via HM security services…’by the way Sergei, be on your toes, two GRU men are in Salisbury’.

    •Once they became unwell and realised they had contaminated themselves, the incriminating perfume was disposed of in the bin and rather than go straight to hospital they made sure they would be quickly noticed in a public space. Creating the idea they were victims not perpetrators.

    •Meanwhile, regardless of the actual events, the incident was heaven sent news for the British government and it’s anti Russian agenda.

  • Sharp Ears

    Unlike Dr David Kelly’ strange death for which no inquest was held, Dawn Sturgess’s death was subject to an inquest. This is the latest report I can find.

    Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess’s parents tell of their anger and hurt
    Exclusive: Family break silence to express concerns that UK settled former spy in Salisbury
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/15/novichok-victim-dawn-sturgess-parents-tell-of-their-anger-and-hurt

    What happened next?

    Like Dr Kelly, Dawn Sturgess will have no justice. Her death was real. Most of the rest was a fairy story created as anti-Russian propaganda for the Tory party.

    • Jason

      Dawn Sturgess has not had an Inquest there is a Pre Inquest Review planned for the 15th of next month

      • Sharp Ears

        I have to disagree Jason.

        I read this:-

        The inquest for Sturgess was opened and adjourned by HM Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon in Salisbury on 19 July 2018 until 16 January 2019. On 7 August 2018, the Foreign Office announced that OPCW experts will return to Amesbury to collect further samples.
        Deaths: Dawn Sturgess; (8 July 2018, aged 44, …
        Non-fatal injuries: Charlie Rowley; (45; admitted …
        Coroner: HM Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon
        Location: Amesbury, Wiltshire, England
        2018 Amesbury poisonings – Wikipedia
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Amesbury_poisonings

        The delay is outrageous. She died 8 months ago.

        • Jason

          Dawn Sturgess has not had an Inquest there is a Pre Inquest Review planned for the 15th of next month

          • Borncynical

            Indeed, Jason. I recall reading a comment from someone contributing to the Blogmire website a month or so ago (there are so many threads with hundreds of comments that I would be unable to find it and provide a link) saying that the inquest planned for January had been postponed until mid April. I may have used the wrong terminology but, in essence, no progress would be made as intended in January and the next time the Coroner would be looking at the case would be in mid April.

  • Baron

    The whole charade was cobbled up to prevent the old Skripal fleeing back to Russia, he wanted to in order to avoid testifying before the US Senate (dossier and stuff), also to see his mother, who doesn’t have much time left.

    No Novichok in the public domain ever anywhere, all samples doctored in a lab. It was the name Novitchok the architects of the charade wanted, not the potency of the nerve agent.

    The Skripals were not the two people found foaming, delivered to the hospital, cured, release from the NHS facility. Has anyone seen their faces (or even bodies) since they collapsed, were taken to the medical facility, looked after, cured there, released?

    The Russians have a dog in the fight, their behaviour has been odd, too much protesting, too little doing anything like applying for a habeas corpus. Why?

    Events after the charade have furnished ample evidence to answer the one key question nobody seems to care about much (the smart old Romans did) – Cui Bono? The answer’s patently obvious today, it’s not Russia.

      • Baron

        [email protected]:07:

        OK, bj, how much has any of it helped then?

        It’s the citizens of Russia missing, the least the Russians could have done is hire a lawyer, apply for habeas corpus. Or they could have helped Victoria to do it from Russia if the British wouldn’t let her visit. Either a Russian or a British lawyer would do, the Embassy should have funded it.

        If the Court were to deny the habeas corpus application, they should have gone to the Courts proper, begin criminal proceedings against the Crown for kidnapping.

        The Russians have been doing a lot of talking, but no walking (a fat lot of good did it do to anyone) unless they have a good reason not to proceed beyond notes, submissions and whatever, no? .

        • Petrov

          I can come up with one plausible reason, but I’m sure there are more. I’d suppose that our govt doesn’t want to put British govt in a situation where the only viable option for them would be to kill Skripals. If, of course, they haven’t done that already.

  • Yonatan

    “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”. ”

    This is nonsense. The analysis for composition identification would use a spectrometer looking for spectral peaks corresponding to particular chemical components and/or molecular structures, essentially a fingerprint of the compound. Superficial ‘dirt’ would not appear in such analyses. The chemists would be looking for traces of particular chemical compounds used in the synthesis, or that appear as intermediates, that would mark one method of production versus another. Low levels of these would indicate professional (miliytary grade) production rather than ‘amateur’ (non-military)

    • craig Post author

      Let me repeat my response above:

      Graeme,

      I believe that sounds more clever than it is. Some of the “mud, rainwater and city gunge” will have dissolved into the gel/liquid, not just be suspended in it. Some new elements would very definitely be organic, and some may have reacted with the novichok, which was already to some extent destabilised by hydrolysis and sunlight. There would also almost certainly have been some traces of other organo-phosphates in that Salisbury muck and gunge, not to mention excretions from human skin. I don’t think judging original purity would be as feasible as you claim. Remember the stuff was very thinly spread on the handle, leaving a very high surface area to volume for contamination, and also speeding hydrolysis and the effect of the sun.

      • Baron

        There was no Novichok anywhere to get contaminated, Craig, nowhere, not on the door handle, not on the car handle, not at any other place, not pure or diluted, not in any form whatever.

        The stuff is super lethal, if even few milligrams were to lodge on the hands (or gloves) of the Skripals, they would be stone dead within minutes, helpers touching them would perish, too, as would anyone handling the helpers, the town of Salisbury would have been fully decontaminated, probably raised to the ground (nobody would be sure if the stuff isn’t also somewhere else), we would be in war with Russia now.

        If Agatha Christie were to pen such nonsense – an old man, not in good health, gets contaminated with a powerful nerve agent, still goes about his business for some three hours, during which he eats, drinks, shares bread with young boys, and only then nobody but he himself collapses – most clued up readers would say ‘what a nonsense’, and they would be right, but then she wouldn’t have written it, the girl knew her stuff.

        Google for the precautions one has to take handling the stuff in a lab, please. How could anyone imagine that a spray (or even a gel) applied outside a lab in an inclement March weather on an object would not have contaminated the person doing the spraying (or brushing) beggars belief, if that person must have also been somewhat nervous knowing what the stuff can do, and also that he may get caught. No agent training can ever cover all eventualities, nor can it guarantee that the operative may not lose his nerve just at the point of committing the deed.

        It wasn’t the potency of the agent the people who set it up wanted (a hint here that it couldn’t have ben the Russians, they seldom if ever miss), it was the name Novichok, that was the valuable feature of the tool of poisoning. From now on, any MSM scribbler will have to mention Novitchok, and the pliable public will link it with the evil Russians if only because of the label Novichok, which was what was intended by the perpetrators.

  • Yonatan

    i) The Shroedinger’s cat behaviour of the ‘Novichok’ – it is simultaneously lethal and non-lethal – has a simple explanation. It was not Novichok, but BZ. Unlike Novichok, BZ has a very high (400:1 ?) ratio of lethal levels to symptomatic levels. That means exposure to low levels will produce symptoms without killing the person. It is only when a person is exposed to large quantities that there will be a fatal outcome – Dawn Sturgess sprayed large quatities on her wrist testing the ‘perfume’. If you were to plan a frame up against Russia, you wouldn’t really use Novichok as people would be dieing left, right and center – with all the consequent who-hah.

    https://www.rt.com/news/424149-skripal-poisoning-bz-lavrov/

    ii) Why did the incident happen when it did? To reinforce the ‘Russia done it’ story, the presence of some Russian patsies would be very helpful. The two Russians would have to apply for a visa many months in advance and probably give an itinerary. The real poisoner would have been out of the country within hours of the incident.

    iii) Most of the Skripal story is made up of post-facto events that had to explain the poisoning of the policeman Bailey. This poisoning was accidental and not part of the plan, so the explanations have been made up on the fly, with a mixture of truths and falsehoods, to distract and confuse.

    The real unanswered questions are when, where and how did Bailey really come into contact with the nerve agent? Given he was the least affected, he would have been exposed to the smallest amount.

  • pete

    Thanks for this important summary concerning the events around the poisoning of Yulia, Sergei, Dawn and Charley. It highlights many of the contradictions and other problems raised by the MSM accounts of the case.
    Having read the comments so far I can see no important issues raised concerning your account. It is true that we may never know the full details of this case.
    I am sorry to hear that the attacks on your integrity have affected you and I would like to say that I appreciate your tenacity in persisting to investigate this event in spite of the hostility.

  • Rod

    When one reads essays like this I despair at the ineptitude of our security people who for whatever reason cannot publish a plausible account, whether true or false, of what happened in Salisbury a year ago. Clearly, any fair-minded individual would look at Mr Murray’s issues of contention and balance them with the government’s/security service’s explanations and conclude there are so many anomalies that the government narrative bears all the hallmarks of a ‘fire drill’ and ‘make it up as you go along’.

    It’s truly disturbing that the people of this country entrust their wellbeing to the type of incident manager that will remove the roof from a house on the pretence that a door knob had been sprayed with an alleged nerve agent and it makes me wonder if they remembered to change the door-knob.

  • John Goss

    A good summary of events which raises some important points. I agree there is something not quite bona fide regarding Petrov and Boshirov’s visit. Perhaps it is simply that they are closet gays (if they are gay) and wish to keep their personal lives personal. It seems unlikely that Russia Today would have been able to interview them if they were officers. I suspect even agents would not willingly choose to go on TV and talk about their visit if they were on a mission. But in your summary you left out the third man: Denis Vyacheslavovich Sergeyev and the alter ego Bellingcat gave him.

    To my mind though anything subsequent to the diagnosis at Salisbury Hospital, when they were initially taken in, and diagnosed with fentanyl poisoning is simply what has been made up to denigrate Russia. Fentanyl is a very serious opiate. Did they take it? Were they given it? Any nerve agent given to the OPCW was not what poisoned them. I trust our NHS doctors above the secret services or government.

    https://johnplatinumgoss.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/fentanyl-poisoned-the-skripals-back-to-basics/

    • michael norton

      The “Yulia” who was portrayed with the crude tracheotomy scar, is a different woman, as photographed with Sergei in the restaurant.

      Therefor there are at least two “Yulias”

        • Deb O'Nair

          As someone has pointed out before the woman looks very similar to Dawn Strugess. What is more suspicious is the man she is with looks very similar to Charlie Rowley.

      • John Goss

        Michael, it is the same person if you look through earlier photos of her. She had put on a few pounds in the restaurant photos. I rather think this is the result of fentanyl which causes diarrhoea and body loss (I have been informed by a US colleague).

        • michael norton

          Jon, rather unlikely that her skull has shrunk that much, the skin/muscle can shrink but the actual skull?
          The skull width of the woman in the restaurant with Sergei would seem to be much broader than the woman with the horrible
          tracheotomy scar.

  • Paul Davidson

    It was a very rare liquid spray gel. The cat knew all about it which is why they put it down. The roof was a miscommunication from May saying she would “raise the roof” about it all. The chief medical officer of the British Army is also a trained psychic (they are trying to keep this a secret to maintain the ‘clairvoyance gap’) and she heard the Skripol’s park bench grunts and snores and deduced what had happened. All the months of delays, in all cases, were due to a photocopying machine breakdown at the FCO. The policemen’s protective suits were at the wash. The two Russians were actually Yucan Vuckov and Iva Jetski and had nothing to do with it. The perfume was obviously a false flagrance.

    • Hmmm

      ???? false flagrance. Brilliant work sir. Yucan Vuckov makes me think that novichok was Novakingud

  • Ruth

    My version is that Skripal wanted to back to Russia and was using his contribution to the dodgy dossier as a bargaining chip. The two Russian guys met Skripal in Salisbury to check out the evidence. If it was OK then he would be allowed back into Russia but MI5/6 got wind of what was going on & had to put him out of action

    If this is true, the UK government will never be able to release them. Not being able to contact his mother must show that Skripal is being punished. Russia, if it has the incriminating material, would be reluctant to published it with the British government holding the Skripals as hostages.

    • Rowan Berkeley

      I agree. I would like to know whether the two Russians could see the upstairs window of Skripal’s house from their closest position known, which is at the bottom of the road, about 500 metres away. Because if they could see the upstairs window, and then came no closer to the house, I suggest it was because Yulia had put up a curtain or taken it down according to a prearranged warning signal agreed before her visit, because she had realised that Pablo, Skripal’s old case officer, had realised they were about to pass on stolen novichok to the two Russians. He would have intended to bag them too, but failed cos they saw the signal and were warned off.

      • Rowan Berkeley

        “whether the two Russians could see the upstairs window of Skripal’s house from their closest position known, which is at the bottom of the road” — I have just done a google earth on this, and sadly the shell station is not at the bottom of the road, but on the other side of a thick wall of trees from the whole housing estate at the other side of which are the skripals. So they could not see the skripal house unless they walked around the wall of trees and half a mile north, into the estate..

  • bj

    Craig, I’d like to bring to specific attention this piece:

    https://thedefensepost.com/2018/03/15/new-uk-chemical-weapons-defence-centre-skripal-russia/

    wherein Dr. Michelle Bentley is talking extensively (I will leave the piquant quotes as an exercise to
    the reader), and then this study:

    https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/files/30049995/Prevent_FINAL.docx

    Dr Michelle Bentley
    Director, Reader in International Relations
    Centre of International Public Policy
    School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy
    Research interests:
    US foreign policy; weapons of mass destruction; normative theory; narratives; terrorism

  • Hmmm

    I think Mr. Murray’s reflections about purity (point 1) are off base, as others have pointed out: the environmental contaminants are not the “impurities” that the chemists would have been concerned about in their assessment of purity. I do wonder, however, whether the compound would not have degraded in these conditions to the point that determining its original level of purity would be hard to do with high confidence.

  • Gary

    Russians and British are all lying, all hiding things.

    But Salisbury is close to Porton Down, perhaps precisely where you WOULD expect the most senior nurse in the British Army to be? Either working or permanently posted and living there? Coincidences DO happen. I have seen the weirdest things happen, coincidences so unbelievable It bends reality. But her being there doesn’t bend reality THAT far.

    And, due to it’s proximity, the fact that it may be the residential and working location for many people in the armed forces and security services it is the PERFECT place to locate a double agent like Skripal. It’s already soaked in security (although not ACTUALLY that perfect, was it?) He was surrounded by security, including close proximity to his handler.

    Russians being in the area prior to this was already well known. Skripal maintained contact with former colleagues and met with them. Wasn’t this part of his FUNCTION for British security?

    So, that being the case I would fully expect the Russians to be keeping an eye on comings and goings at his residence. Did they have a contact? A camera with a card? Either way, the two schmucks who were in Salisbury on some kind of mission weren’t being trusted with Novichok, I wouldn’t let these bozos walk my dog. No, either they were there to pick something up, or contact someone, maybe both. But that, I think, was all.

    No one would draw attention to themselves by ditching Novichok in a charity bin. Either that was a lie or a deliberate attempt to smear someone and cause the death of an innocent to do it.

    The effects kicked in after their meal. I’ve thought hard about how you’d both be contaminated, simultaneously, after a meal and no one else in the vicinity would have any problems. There’s two possibilities that I can think of. Either the novichok WAS in a perfume bottle and a passerby sprayed it VERY accurately on BOTH of them (unlikely) or, thinking that perhaps the Novichok was in the Skripal home already (brought by Julia?) perhaps, as you’d said stored in their loft they had some contamination on them which was triggered after their meal. The most likely thing is that they came outside after eating and lit a cigarette. I’m making an assumption that they both smoke, with smoking being yet more prevalent in Russia than the UK it is a decent enough bet. If they were in the loft space storing the Novichok with an open cigarette packet in the area, then despite wearing protective clothing they may have contaminated the cigarette filters. When they lit a cigarette later then the agent could be absorbed, quite quickly, through the thinner skin of the lip. This would require them both to take a cigarette from the same pack. Perhaps the father gave the daughter one from his own pack when lighting up, as you might.

    Just a theory, as likely as any, but we’ll never know…

    • Some Random Passer-by

      Why would the Army’s most senior nurse send her child to administer first aid to a victim of chemical weapons?

        • Some Random Passer-by

          Because victims of traditional chemicals such as VX or Sarin go through specific reactions.

          These include spasms from constant muscle twitching, foaming at the mouth, involuntary defecation and urination, runny nose and drooling.

          Death is usually through suffocation.

          They are also very quick acting, which makes it difficult to save people. Finally, being area denial weapons, if you are protected, you’ll be joining them. Swiftly.

          • Petrov

            For all known accounts, Scripals didn’t have these “specific reactions”. This alone should ruin the official version, but who cares.

    • ciaran

      How about this; they both ingested fentanyl while consuming their meal at the restaurant. There were suggestions that Sergei began to show erratic signs of behaviour in the restaurant. That is assuming it was them in the restaurant or even in Salisbury.

  • Jack

    Is further research warranted? Considering UK, EU already blame Russia, what else is there to this story?

  • Royd

    ‘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.’

    That is exactly the conclusion to which I have come in relation to this issue. My only other thought is that our intelligence services are conducting some sort of experiment as to the gullibility of the British public in relation to the narrative delivered to them by the MSM.

  • MBC

    I’m thinking about the police here. One of their own officers nearly died because of this incident. They were put in a dangerous situation. I think they may be the only honest operators here (for now) and the fact that they back Charlie Rowley’s story and say they found the wrapper might be the only reliable fact here.

  • Noonereally

    Letting the official line off lightly. The Panorama was just hilarious! Two perfume bottles morphed into one, and it was necessary to rip up every flagstone in Salisbury months after the event, during which time I guess it hadn’t rained…

  • GFL

    Not sure if anyone else has noticed this but 47 Christie Miller Rd seems to have more flues/vents on the roof than other houses of the same build. Street view clearly shows a flue between the 2 front bedrooms, google earth shows another 2/3 on the roof, what are they for?

    • giyane

      A Daley spaceship from the 1960s operated by Sputnik valve technology must have landed on the roof operated by Putin. Much too scary to give to the MSM.

    • Sharp Ears

      For letting out all the hot air that has been generated in Salisbury/Porton Down. 🙂

    • Blunderbuss

      “flues/vents”

      Maybe Sergei had a fume cupboard in the house for his experiments with Novichok.

    • Susan Smith

      All she’s ruled out is a referendum without a section 30 order . There are other strategies to use to obtain Scotland’s independence . Craig has described one in a very recent post .

  • Nicola

    Thank you for this thorough post.
    Chris Busby also did a short youtube video in early April,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4utEI2EU64
    His wikipedia page shows some controversy but he does appear to know more about chemistry than any of the Integrity Initiative experts. Here’s an article from the ecologist about Chernobyl and his view of Russian scientists https://theecologist.org/2017/jan/16/he-dared-speak-truth-alexey-yablokov-scientific-hero-chernobyl
    He used to be married to Molly Scott Cato who is MEP for South West which includes Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucs, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall and is very vocal about needing to sanction Russia and other allegations about Russians that are generalised. I presume she has contact with a lot of military institutions. Am not trying to suggest that she is involved I am just pointing out this as well. I don’t know if there was something I missed but Chris Busby’s home in Devon was raided in September on suspicions of making a bomb but the police didn’t find anything. The story was reported on BBC on 13th September which was a few days after the EU sanctions and publicity resurging around Skripal case. Nicholas Wilson (Mr Ethical) on twitter has suggested once that Skripal may have been involved in something for HSBC which would make sense as a former spy doing industrial/corporate espionage.

    Lots of coincidences around the same dates at every stage of this story in 2018 just leaves more questions than answers.

    • Neil

      Nicola,

      “Molly Scott Cato who is MEP for South West which includes Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucs, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall and is very vocal about needing to sanction Russia and other allegations about Russians that are generalised. I presume she has contact with a lot of military institutions”

      ?

      I’ve just had a quick look at her website, Facebook and google, and I see very little about Russia – one resolution about the human rights of gays in Russia and another (mistaken, IMO) about Bill Browder. And nothing whatsoever advocating sanctions. It was only a quick look, so I may have missed something, but for someone who is “vocal”, she seems to have remarkably little to say on the subject. She is a Quaker, so I doubt she “she has contact with a lot of military institutions”. I would like to see her doing more to combat the MSM anti-Russian propaganda, but for now she obviously has her hands full opposing Brexit, in line with Green Party policy.

      BTW, I wrote most of her Wikipedia article shortly after she was elected MEP, but haven’t been following her closely since then.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Nicola March 7, 2019 at 19:03
      Talking about Chernobyl, I believe it was deliberately ‘nobbled’ by the Yanks or their agents, because it was supplying the electrical energy to the nearby ‘Russian Woodpecker’ electronic gadgetry, which not only lost it’s power source, but also became too contaminated to operate, and now stands rusting away, with an occasional ‘tourist’ visiting it.

  • jjc

    It’s a phantom story – there is no corroborating evidence for any of the central events, such as the alleged door lever paint or the Skripals presumed return to their home. The idea the two were poisoned by contact from the door lever and then went and fed ducks passing bits of bread to children via the allegedly poisoned hands… the story falls apart right there. Clearly the Skripals were poisoned in the Mews after ducks, pub, lunch, and very soon after exhibited their symptoms. Beyond that common-sense deduction, people are believing what they want to believe. The narrative presented by the UK government served its function, there will never be any further inquiry other than online argumentation between persons with no means to establish facts.

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