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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  • Dungroanin

    I blame the confusion on a failure to provide legal evidence.

    Shame we don’t have in the UK, a professional forensic investigating body, some kind of independent and respected investigative scientists working transparently…

    ‘Before HM Government wind-up led by minister James Brokenshire, the FSS was the market leader in the supply of forensic science services to police forces in England and Wales, as well as being a source of training, consultancy and scientific support’

    ‘On 14 December 2010 HM Government announced that the service was to be closed by March 2012, with as much of its operations as possible being transferred or sold.’

    ‘In later years the FSS drew on internal expertise and key international experts to become a pioneer in forensic software and technology, notably DNA interpretation, databasing, and electronic forensics’
    (Wiki)

    ‘In 2015, the National Audit Office warned standards were slipping.
    It said forensic science provision was under threat because police were increasingly relying on unregulated experts to examine samples from suspects and crime scenes.’ – BBC

    • Hamish McGlumpha

      Once again England (and Wales its appendage) is being conflated with “The UK”

      This is something we are used to in Scotland – an important element of the England = Britain = UK English exceptionalism and dominance that is so much of what has driven Brexit, and why Scotland needs to quit this so-called ‘Union’.

      In fact, as so often, things are different in Scotland where, officially at least we have an ‘independent’ forensic service:

      http://www.spa.police.uk/forensic-services/

      “The Scottish Police Authority is responsible for providing Forensic Services to support operational policing in Scotland. One of the central tenets of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act is that Forensic Services are not under the direction and control of the Chief Constable. Instead these services are managed and delivered as part of the Scottish Police Authority – ensuring a suitable degree of independence and impartiality while also supporting the unique crime scene to court partnership that Forensic Services has with both operational policing and the wider criminal justice system in Scotland.”

      Whether it is actually and genuinely ‘independent’ is matter for discussion – but it is nominally so – and at least it isn’t privatised (like Scottish water and the Scottish NHS) which remain in public hands.

      • N_

        @Hamish – I recognise the existence of English “exceptionalism” in the sense that unlike the other three home countries England hasn’t got its own legislature, but where is the “dominance” and what are the mechanisms through which it is expressed? What English body bosses bodies from the other home countries around or imposes rules on them?

        There have been several Scottish prime ministers of Britain.

        If you’re against the union then the question of whether you support one person one vote or a federal electoral college where each of the four home countries has the same amount of say and therefore each Scottish vote counts the same as 10 English ones doesn’t arise.

        Do you perceive exceptionalism and dominance on the part of mainland Scotland in relation to Shetland?

        • Clark

          Here’s some of the dominance N_:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic#Education

          “The Education (Scotland) Act 1872, which completely ignored Gaelic, and led to generations of Gaels being forbidden to speak their native language in the classroom, is now recognised as having dealt a major blow to the language. People still living can recall being beaten for speaking Gaelic in school

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_(Scotland)_Act_1872

          “The act mandated the exclusive use of English-medium education in Scotland, in effect banning Scottish Gaelic medium education. For this reason it is credited with causing substantial harm to the Scottish Gaelic language and contributing to its overall decline.”

          That’s destruction of culture.

        • Hamish McGlumpha

          Scotland (and NI) voted Remain. We’re leaving due to English votes; Scotland hasn’t voted Tory for over 50 years; we get (and have got) Tory governments that we never voted for -including Red Tory Blairite New Labour – in any case, thanks to English votes. We get what England votes for – whatever. Our 56 MPs are in any case outnumbered 10;1

          Scotland is effectively under Westminster occupation – our ancient Universities are populated by English students and run by English senior staff – cultural occupation. Our devolution is being undermined by repatriation of devolved matters under the Brexit pretext. English votes for English Laws make our MP’s second class – English MPs are not restricted and make laws that affect Scotland. I could go on, but the most insidious part of English exceptionalism is that its denizens are oblivious to it. It’s just ‘normal’. The master race rules.

          Shetland has been part of Scotland since 1469 – but I guess is as free to secede as Cornwall is from England.

  • N_

    Just because nobody else has mentioned it: remember the Defence Review that is part of the background to the Skripals case.

  • michael norton

    If the U.K. government wanted Sergei Skripal to go abroad to do some work/deal, it could be that Miller needed to have a hold over Sergei. To this end they needed Julia to come into the U.K. to be used as a hostage against her dad, making a decision, not to re-enter the U.K.

    • giyane

      The known facts are that Mrs May openly condemned Russia for “””aggression “”” in Syria but nobody believed the evidence. The next thing we know she manufactured the Skripal spittle. It’s as simple as that. I see tweedĺe dum and Dee as working for May Fart around in the UK for a few days. Cui bono? The collapse neocon morale at losing a war on account of total British governmental arrogance and stupidity.

      People who spy don’t cry for their mum’s.
      The idea that Mrs May gives a shit about truth is like ascribing emotions to your cat. She’s only interested in food. I ‘ve no idea what motivates May other than an inverted sense of prise at being nastier than Thatcher Churchill and Heath put together. And forcing the country to eat shit

  • Sharp Ears

    Guardian –

    Brexit: UK-EU negotiations stall as May makes last-ditch plea for breakthrough – Politics live

    All the day’s politics news, with Theresa May’s Brexit speech in Grimsby, and Jeremy Corbyn at Scottish Labour conference

    May to ask EU for concessions to get MPs to back Brexit deal
    Hunt: future generation ‘will blame EU’ for talks failure
    What happens if May’s Brexit deal is voted down? And if it passes?

    https://amp.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/mar/08/brexit-theresa-may-speech-grimsby-politics-live

    Three weeks to go, and counting down.

    • giyane

      When May destroys centuries of British freedoms after brexit the dinghies in the channell will be going the opposite way

      • N_

        Note to French people living in northern France who may soon encounter English refugees who are somewhat disoriented by hunger, and who may unfortunately in some cases still be a little bit sarcastic because of their cultural conditioning: I am sure you will treat the newcomers with kindness and sympathy, and this will be to your very great credit. Vive La France!

    • Maywood

      Didn’t Craig specifically request that, on new posts, AT LEAST ON THE FIRST PAGE, comments remain on-topic?

    • Dungroanin

      The Lords told the Government last Wednesday that they have to have a customs Union with the EU – by a margin of at least 30 votes.

      The remaining wobbly wheel fell off, and the Brian Blessed impersonator we sent to Bussels with his legal eagle brain has jumped out to push the Brexit Clapham omnibus over the cliff edge… their hard brexit is severely threatened!

  • walter small

    Britain opens the door –

    Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: British woman jailed in Iran given diplomatic protection by UK.
    Move opens door for legal action with possibility of compensation for family.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe-iran-diplomatic-protection-uk-a8812906.html

    This opens the door for Russia to gain access to the Skripal daughter who is on record (phone call) wanting to return to Russia.

    Give Yulia(?) diplomatic status.

    And if Britain wants Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe released they need to repay the £400 million they robbed off Iran in the ’70s for weapons they never supplied. What is the equivalent to £400 million plus interest in todays money? Venezuela, Libya et al take note.

  • Ian Fantom

    I’ve just received the BBC’s internal review regarding my Freedom of Information Request:

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/513374/response/1325004/attach/2/Internal%20Review%20IR2019002.pdf?cookie_passthrough=

    They admit that the BBC’s reply was wrong. In that reply they invoked the Data Protection Act. So my point is demonstrated as far as the misuse of the Data Protection Act is concerned. Here, in a nutshell is the verdict of the internal review:

    Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I requested:

    1: all correspondence and documentation held by the BBC on Mark Urban’s meetings with Sergei Skripal for purposes other than as a BBC news reporter;

    Reply: This information is excluded from the Act because it is held for journalistic purposes.

    [Erm: I had requested only the information that wasn’t for journalistic purposes! So they are saying that any information other than as a BBC news reporter was held for journalistic purposes !?!]

    2: all correspondence and documentation held by the BBC on Mark Urban’s links with Military Intelligence, other than in his declared journalistic capacity;

    Reply: The BBC does not hold this information.

    [It’s probably in someone’s personal files.]

    3: all correspondence and documentation held by the BBC on Mark Urban’s links with any secret or secretive society, such as Masonic Lodge 4257.

    [It’s probably in someone’s personal files.]

    Reply: The BBC does not hold this information.

    4: all correspondence and documentation held by the BBC raising possible conflicts of interests arising from Mark Urban’s role as a BBC journalist.

    Reply: This information is excluded from the Act because it is held for journalistic purposes.

    [So they have information raising possible conflicts of interest, but it’s held for journalistic purposes!?!]

    • wonky

      “Lodge 4257”..
      Masons.. stick ’em in a filthy Gulag! ALL of them!
      This should have happened a long time ago, but it didn’t.
      Now we’re here discussing the consequences in disbelief.

      • Clark

        This is merely a prejudice, and that is a most unpleasant sentiment..

        The problem with secretive societies is that the secrecy can encourage unhealthy alliances to develop and to proliferate, and provide cover for collusion. But the same can happen without a “secret” society, for instance private businesses are protected by “commercial confidentiality”; they do not have to reveal their internal workings. Or secrecy can simply develop between private individuals.

        Masons are a lot less secretive than they used to be. You can read about the history of the Masons, and why their secrecy developed. You can also read about the Nazi attitude to the Masons, and their conspiracy theory that the Masons were a cover for Jewish power. Well if that is so, it wasn’t very powerful, was it?

        • wonky

          The problem with wealthy and/or influential people colluding in secrecy is that this is 100% ANTI-democratic.
          And yes, private businesses, especially the multinational ones with more money power than most national economies, share the very same distaste for democracy. Not to mention that the figures at the top are often the same.

          Private individuals – let’s say you and me – can collude over a cup of tea as much as we want, we will never exert any influence on key interest rates or the next geostrategic move in regard to, say, South America.
          As for the Nazis, their higher echelons had their own little secret esoteric clubs and symbols and pagan mumbo jumbo deities. They still lost, though. Or did they?

          • Clark

            I’m something of an outsider in the village I live in. Until he died, my best friend here, the person I could drop in on for a cup of tea, was in the Masons. So was his friend next door to him. Neither of them were perfect, both held attitudes I disagree with, but both were kind, and in their own ways, conscientious. Neither was involved in world domination.

            I object to your prejudicial attitude that these rather foolish old codgers belonged in a filthy Gulag.

          • wonky

            Alright, I retract and apologize. I mean no harm to any nice neighbours. As I am not familiar with the inner hierarchies of masonic groups, I’m not sure where exactly to draw the line between a shrewd but harmless esoteric hobby, and where criminal anti-democratic colluding begins. Perhaps there is some level above which all this mafia stuff occurs. I consider these circles the enemies of the people, and I would expand my call for Gulag punishment to other politically influential elitist ‘invitation only’ groups, neoliberal ‘think’ tanks like the (E)CFR, meetings like Davos and Bilderberg, and pretty much everybody who is taking advantage of their ‘too rich to jail’ status. No one should be too rich to jail, not Bezos, not Blair, and no Queen either. In its effects and premises, neoliberalism is not so different from fascism. Considering the huge pile of irreversible problems neoliberalism has created behind the backs of betrayed voters in the last five decades, letting the conspirators hit rocks in a Gulag until they repent is not so barbaric at all. It would be a first step towards karmic equilibrium.

          • Clark

            Wonky, thanks.

            I agree that far more transparency is needed. There’s a campaign to extend the Freedom of Information Act to all private companies working under government contract. Meanwhile, Jack Straw, bless him, is trying to reduce the scope of the existing act.

            Personally I think that commercial confidentiality provides far too much cover. For instance, much ‘scientific’ work is now performed under Non Disclosure Agreements NDAs. These are in some ways worse than the Official Secrets Act OSA; at least most employees under the OSA can answer a question with “sorry, I cannot answer that because I’ve signed the OSA”, but a typical NDA restricts those bound by it even from admitting to the NDA’s existence; a very sinister sort of ‘meta-secrecy’. This should have been legislated against years ago; we’re still waiting.

            This becomes all the more important as ever more public services are moved into the private sector, under Compulsory Competitive Tendering and the like. This is one of the disadvantages of EU membership; government organisations national and local are prevented from supplying services directly and are required to contract from the private sector. Personally I don’t think it’s worth leaving the EU over; governments should just show some backbone and refuse to comply, but actually, with a series of economically right-wing governments over the decades, governments of red or blue stripe have been keen to contract out anyway.

            I know I have concentrated on the base of the power pyramid rather than its apex, but the apex is basically powerless without control over the base. Robust public interest protections for employees would free ordinary people to act in accordance with their conscience.

          • Clark

            Politic has been moving to the right for so long, even the principles of the left have been forgotten. The powerful don’t really care that our attention is on them, that we might discover their ‘secrets’, because they can still control their organisations, through the massive income differentials, the lack of labour laws, the pittance benefits, the lack of job security; all the incremental gains of power they secured, essentially by undue influence over the mass media and thus how people voted.

            But look at the fuss against Corbyn’s Labour, and the literal conspiracy against Bernie Sanders. Why? Not particularly because of the Israel-Palestine conflict as so many seem to think. It does play a role, but basically the anti-Semitism hysteria is a way of smearing the party while drawing attention away from where the powerful’s vulnerability really lies.

            The powerful’s real fear is that the parties of such leaders would make incremental moves towards re-empowering ordinary people, and even a small increase of power in the hands of lots and lots of people makes a decisive difference in the longer term.

          • Clark

            Incidentally, I suspect that my neighbours did have a little Masonic scam going. My friend had been a police officer (I know, what a cliche eh?), and his friend had a small garage and vehicle recovery company next door. So the police officer got the local police road accident recovery contract for his friend’s company. It may well have happened without the Masonic connection. And it had a practical side too; there was a gate from my friend’s into the garage yard, so the police could come and inspect the crashed vehicles at any time. The garage yard was full of wrecks and as miserable as a gulag.

  • Robert Dyson

    I am curious about the visas for Boshirov and Petrov. Given that we have GCHQ and what happened to Alexander Litvinenko, I would have thought there would be in depth checking on any ‘unknown’ Russians visiting the UK. On what grounds were visas granted?

    • Mary Pau!

      I doubt they were “unknown”. At the very least I suspect they have been travelling to the UK regularly as couriers.

    • Jason

      It’s an FCO thing. If you possess a GRU passport and are known GRU Officers (well known to Bellingcat at least) and are trained assassins then you get a visa.

      If you are the close relative of two critically ill people who are not expected to live, you don’t.

    • MJ

      And why weren’t they arrested at the airport before boarding the plane to go home?

    • Harry Brown

      Presumably this was done under the “Britain is open for business” rule. GCHQ would have naturally assumed that the visiting Russians would be coming here to investigate the possibility of buying a Premier Division football club.

    • Joiningupthedots

      Having had someone from Russia visit me just a few years ago I am fully aware as to how much documentation is required and how rigorous is the inspection to check the veracity of those documents by HMG.

      Borishov and Petrov both had their photos taken at the same time on the same background with the same studio lighting. The photos do not come from any passport produced either at visa application or on entry to the UK
      Every single aspect of the UK Government explanation of the Skripal incident is complete BS.

      • Igor P.P.

        I invited someone about a year ago and our experience was exactly the opposite. Not even a phone call or email to applicant’s work was made to check the veracity of the papers. Perhaps they do some extended checks at random.

        Which, of course, does not explain the total absence of information on what was in their visa applications. It is incredible that amid all these speculations about their lives the public or press is not told where they claimed to have been living and working.

  • N_

    The proposed arbitration panel

    Britgov is said to be pushing for the creation of an “independent arbitration panel” with authority to rule on whether Britain or EU27 may not have made their “best efforts” to reach a “permanent” trade deal, in which case the other party will then be allowed to call an end to the “backstop”.

    Let’s take a step back and look at just how whackball this idea is.

    • It sounds like one of the rules in a sports game played only at an elite British private school.

    • Is there a precedent for such an arrangement in international trade? I refer to having an “arbitration panel” that is able to decide whether a country can pull out of a customs union and trading arrangement with another country or group of countries. In this case we are talking about the world’s 2nd and 5th largest economies by nominal GDP (EU27 and Britain). Has there ever been anything like this in the economic history of the world?

    • A job on the arbitration panel sounds like nice work if you can get it. Who’s in the running?

    • Who appoints the arbitration panel? Who replaces a member if one of them has to resign because someone threatens to release some video of what they did in a hotel room?

    • If any of its members will be British or EU27 citizens, will they swear an oath to be independent of said powers? Or will all members come from “third countries”? Or perhaps they will come from existing international organisations in which they’ve already sworn an oath?

    • Who came up with this wacky idea?

    • Charles Bostock

      Neil

      None of your bullet points demonstrates that the idea of an Arbitration Panel is “whackball”.

      Bullegt points 1, 3 and 6 are entirely irrelevant for establishing “whackyness”.

      Re bullet point 2, the answer is the GATT / WTO.

      Bullet points 4 and 5 would be an integral part of the agreement to set up the Panel (obviously).

      Hope that helps.

      • Sorry Business

        You asked me if I follow this blog, CB. The answer is not really; the last time I looked on here was last year.

        I am brought back, together with a fair few others I expect, by Sergei and Yulia. I’m not in the habit of commenting on blogs, and am such a “novichok” as to forget which email I used earlier today!

        I am disappointed by what I find, and doubt I am alone. I don’t understand why the tone is so plug ugly and belligerent, and am particularly bemused by “Sharp Ears” obsession with this blog, and still more surprised that it is tolerated.

        This disappointment is obviously not down to the incredible devotion of Sharp Ears, he or she may be pleased to hear. The article itself brings nothing new that has not been thoroughly chewed over by thousands of people, in millions of comments on scores of blogs over the last twelve months. Worse than this, in his assertion about purity, Mr Murray demonstrates a serious blind spot in chemistry, but has the extraordinarily foolish chutzpah to rubbish a couple of comments by readers who quite clearly know better, and who politely (and correctly) pointed his misunderstanding of mass spectrometry analysis methods.

        The scathing reader-comment about “dying on this hill”, rude and dismissive as it is, was easily the most perceptive, and will remain so, I suspect.

        This will be probably the last time I’ll look on this blog, and certainly the last time I shall comment. The reason why I am posting this is to let you all know, lest you forget, that there is a wider world outside cm.org peering in; it doesn’t look good.

          • GCSE

            How pompous.

            Doc Brown’s Chemistry – GCSE/IGCSE/GCE (basic A level) O Level Online Chemical Calculations

            http://www.docbrown.info/page04/4_73calcs14other1.htm

            “% purity is the percentage of the material which is the actually desired chemical in a sample of it.
            MASS of USEFUL PRODUCT

            PERCENT PURITY = 100 x
            ——————————————————
            in TOTAL MASS of SAMPLE”

          • Clark

            Me being pompous? Not intentionally.

            My point was that major parts of the OPCW report were for government viewing only. That means they won’t be scrutinised in the scientific literature, which in turn leaves the rest of us wondering exactly what they really showed.

          • Clark

            I think GCSE just mistook my point. An unusual meaning of ‘purity’ has been advanced, supporting the government position, one of measuring the impurities created during manufacture. Frankly, this new meaning looks like government damage limitation to me, and without seeing OPCW’s papers, we cannot verify that that’s what they meant.

            More generally, whacky theories grow in the shadows created by concealing facts, eg. anti-Semitism results from coverage that forever favours Israel, and Skripal theories abound in the near void of consistent evidence. In trials of pharmaceuticals, secrecy kills.

        • pete

          Re GCSE

          On the Doc Brown site I see this note: “It would not be acceptable e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture a drug for treating us, with impurities in it, that may have harmful effects.”

          Which made me wonder about why the purity question struck a chord with a number of posters. What weapons manufacturer of a deliberately toxic nerve agent or poison would worry about dangerous side effects?

          As far as I can see the question that the purity issue raises is about if it is possible to determine from the sample/s available whether any traces of contaminants that may been produced in the samples manufacturing process, if you like, a fingerprint of the production process itself showing the provenance of the manufacturer. Do we have such a sample from Russia for comparison?

          The door samples would have been contaminated in the way Craig has described and may be unreliable as evidence.
          If the same chemical product fingerprint was found in the case of Dawn’s poisoning or if the same product was detected from samples taken from the Skripals themselves then we might have less doubt about the story that has been presented to us. But that does not seem to have been stated, I can’t see any discussion of the comparison between the various samples. Did it all come from the same batch? Did Porton Down produce some of the chemical themselves to make comparisons with the samples taken or did they have a batch readily available for some reason?
          All of this in no way affects the other points Craig has raised about the implausible MSM story.

          • GCSE

            Spiez laboratory complained in January 2019 this year about Russian pressure and having been politically instrumentalized.
            https://www.nzz.ch/schweiz/labor-spiez-chef-wirft-russland-politischen-druckversuch-vor-ld.1456125

            “Die Labors untersuchten Proben auf ihre Inhaltsstoffe und würden auf keinen Fall Aussagen dazu machen, welcher Akteur einen Giftstoff entwickle oder eingesetzt haben könnte.”

            “Laboratories would analyze samples for ingredients. Under no circumstance they would state which actors developed a toxin or who used it.”

            I take it, if they say high purity and don’t state an ingredient, there was not any to speak of.

        • Blunderbuss

          @Sorry Business, March 8, 2019 at 14:44

          I’ve certainly been the recipient of some “plug ugly and belligerent” comments on this blog, but not from Sharp Ears.

          I think you should stick around a bit longer before making a judgement.

        • Dungroanin

          That pathetic Napoleon dies daily on this hill of CM’s – it’s lucky he/she/it has a daily switch off and on. Bit like that groundhog day, but without any redemption.
          See ya for your personal ressurection same time next year!

        • GCSE

          I also assume that high purity means the Salisbury toxin was produced by a laboratory, because, as you note, to make factory production very expensive to produce military chemical weapons of high purity would not be worth it. Especially with “novichok” whose charm is supposed to be industrial chemical precursors (i.e. for agriculture) that might be stored anywhere.

      • N_

        @Charles – The WTO has a Dispute Settlement Body that can order member states to undertake certain courses of action. So in our context, that would mean telling one side “Hey, you haven’t made your best efforts to make progress towards a permanent trade deal. So make them.” That essentially means giving an arbitration panel the authority to write the trade agreement between the world’s second and fifth biggest economies. As I said, jolly nice work if you can get it.

        As for withdrawal from the WTO, the mechanism as I understand it is that a member state writes to the Secretary General and says it’s leaving. No prior need for arbitration or dispute settlement.

    • Dungroanin

      We, our government and PM, came up with the idea, just as we did with the red-lines that framed the WA and as we did the assurance policy to guarantee the Belfast Agreement (GFA) – the ‘backstop’ – the one that our Government and PM then proceeded to vote AGAINST!

      Oh and the Lords told the Government that they have to have a Customs Union with the EU – our msm trying very hard to do ther Nelson impersonation and completely IGNORE it.

    • giyane

      N_
      Nothing could be as whacky as paying Muslim terrorists to wreck other Muslim countries.
      When both the EU and Britain and also muslims are equally guilty of complete whackiness we should not look fossis as the source of the whackiness.

      The source of the whackiness is U.S. neocon foreign policy. Trump told May to suecthe EU That was the green light for brexit.
      U.S. divides and rules the U.K. and the whole chicken coop starts clucking. It’s as sordid as that. The Orange shoes and the pointy shoes in the bell cartoon.

    • Humbaba

      All legal issues relating to British EU membership including its termination are decided by the European court of justice.

  • Sharp Ears

    I did not see QT last night. Did anyone watch it and if so, could they say if there was anything of interest to report. I cannot bear to waste an hour looking at the recording.

    7/03/2019

    Fiona Bruce presents Question Time from Dudley. Panellists include former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who argues the case for a hard Brexit from the backbenches, Dame Margaret Beckett, the first woman to become deputy leader of the Labour Party as well as the first female foreign secretary, Times columnist Iain Martin, chief executive of Barnardo’s Javed Khan and author and Guardian columnist Owen Jones.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0003227/question-time-2019-07032019

    • Sharp Ears

      The CEO of Barnado’s, Javed Khan, is paid a salary in the range of £180,000 to £189,999. (Their Annual Report 2017/8)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javed_Khan_(executive)

      Iain Martin of the Times was formerly editor of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Martin

      He is a Brexiteer and received the 2013 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, shortlisted for ‘Making it Happen’. LOL That book was about Fred Goodwin and co and the crash. No irony ref Goldman Sachs.

    • Goose

      QT was as dull as dishwater.

      Owen Jones did his usual tiresome ‘woke’ thing.

      Dame Margaret Beckett actually defended Corbyn a few times. *shock*

      Times columnist Iain Martin was desperate to exaggerate Labour’s alleged antisemitism.

      Raab made the case for a no-deal Brexit.

      And the other guy barely registered.

      • Jo1

        Goose
        Yes, I nearly fainted when Beckett defended Corbyn.
        I think they were all gearing up to start on the AS issue when Fiona announced they were out of time! Raab and a member of the audience had tried to throw it in earlier.

    • MJ

      It’s also broadcast simultaneously on Radio 5. Handy if you can’t watch or if, like me, you don’t have a TV.

  • Republicofscotland

    O/T.

    Companies tendering for contracts from the British government, asked first if they voted yes to Brexit. It looks like the British government are taking their lead from the Chinese Credit Scoring system. Where firms win contracts if onside with government policy.

  • Republicofscotland

    As Trump’s ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort receives a 47 months prison sentence for fraud.

    US intelligence officials will no longer be required to publicly disclose the number of civilians killed in airstrikes against terrorist targets “outside areas of active hostilities” due to a new executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/03/06/politics/trump-executive-order-revocation-terror-strike-civilian-deaths/index.html?__twitter_impression=true

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    There has been a fair bit of speculation regards the powderkeg implications of Brexit on Northern Ireland. Speculation has focused on potentially reigniting paramilitary violence (not that it has exactly gone away). What if the powderkeg is a rapid shifting of political allegiance? Some interesting results from polling in NI conducted on behalf of the Irish Times.
    67% consider that the DUP is doing a bad job in Westminster of representing NI.
    64% of Catholics think Sinn Fein should take up their seats at Westminster.
    74% think Stormont should reconvene with immediate effect.

    It would appear that people are not being given the opportunity to vote for a party with an manifesto comparable with public sentiment. Problem is satisfaction levels with the minor parties are equally dire.

    Finally, 59% of respondents would favour Customs checks at Belfast and Larne to a hard Irish border. There you have it, the solution to the Backstop, remove the DUP remove the problem.

    Note: Sample population was not large, more a focus group than a full scale poll.

    • Jason

      Skripal has shown us that the government does not tell the truth.

      Some points observers of the Brexit pantomime should note:

      The British people voted to leave the EU, it was not conditional on an agreement being reached between the EU and UK.

      They have had more than 2 years to reach agreement and they can’t, a delay of another 6 months or 2 more years would not guarantee an agreement is reached.

      Negotiations can continue after the 29 March when the UK is out of the EU, if one or both parties refuse to agree to a further period of negotiation then sobeit.

      If the UK don’t want a hard border in Ireland then don’t put one up, if the EU want a hard border then get on and put it up.

      May was against Brexit from the start that is why she has sabotaged it in the stupid belief she could make it not happen. It was just such a gamble that means she is now in a coalition government with the DUP.

      Skripal and Brexit have revealed the calibre, honesty and the integrity of our and foreign politicians.

      • Laguerre

        “If the UK don’t want a hard border in Ireland then don’t put one up,”

        Classic Brexiter claptrap. Britain has no choice about installing a hard border, if it’s a no-deal Brexit. If they do pretend it isn’t necessary – quite a possibility in the fantasy land our government now inhabits – the hundreds and indeed thousands of poverty-stricken illegal immigrants flooding over that open border will change their minds in less than a week.

        • michael norton

          Yes Laguerre, the U.K. has any choice it wants, after we have left the E.U.
          You no longer order us to do anything, that was the whole point of our referendum, we decide our fete not France.

          • Iain Stewart

            “You no longer order us to do anything, that was the whole point of our referendum, we decide our fete not France.”

            It is awe-inspiring to think how many poor deluded individuals must have shared this sort of ignorant reasoning. Dear old Michael, I hope you and your like-minded chums enjoy your much deserved fête/fate.

        • N_

          Britain has no choice about installing a hard border, if it’s a no-deal Brexit.

          In practice, you’re right. In theory it would have choice, though.

          The Republic of Ireland doesn’t even have a choice in theory. It will be in breach of its obligations as an EU member state if in the event of a hard Brexit it doesn’t put up a customs border.

        • Tom Welsh

          “…the hundreds and indeed thousands of poverty-stricken illegal immigrants flooding over that open border will change their minds in less than a week”.

          As of course they have been doing for decades now.

          Not.

      • Dungroanin

        You have no clue what the GFA is do you?

        It guarantees that NI and its people are ‘legal unicorns’ – they can chose to be British, Irish or BOTH.

        That means the handful of DUP MPs can deliver the rest of us into a hard brexit yet keep THEIR rights to free travel and access with the EU.

        We Brits or the Irish or the EU can do sweet FA about their internationally guaranteed treaty rights.

    • BrianFujisan

      Vivian

      Yes, It’s a Powderkeg for sure –

      Anti-English sentiment in Ireland had healed. But Brexit has brought it all flooding back

      Una Mullally
      ” Karen Bradley’s gaffe exemplifies the political ignorance about our island that has fanned unhelpful hostility”

      Brexit is also happening at a time when the first polyethnic Irish generation is coming of age. This generation has both formed and been moulded by an era of progressive social change in Ireland, where the LGBT rights movement and feminist grassroots activism have changed the political and social landscape. This is a generation that has taken responsibility for its future and stepped up to its civic duty. “Why didn’t they canvass?” is something I’ve heard said a lot by Irish people about those who voted remain and are now devastated.

      This is the first modern Irish generation that is unselfconsciously patriotic, embracing a benign yet passionate cultural nationalism that is nonsectarian… ”

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/08/england-ireland-brexit-political-ignorance?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR0nEUPbFia_5_ck8-WFgzG6npo9z9zPNRcwTm26rAPh-sSsuWNt-x5q1CA

      • frankywiggles

        Socially liberal, economically neoliberal, exemplified in the person of the Taioseach. A model Guardian state.

  • margarete Rolle

    Bravo Craig! that these 10 vital questions have been so eruditely put. That the Government is perpetuating lies so blatantly is shocking.
    But equally shocking is that many nations jumped on this “Highly Likely” bandwagon. It’s probably been done already, but I’ll share your article on the BBC Have Your Say feed.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ margarete Rolle March 8, 2019 at 13:17
      Reminiscent of the way everyone jumped on the evidence-less ‘OBL did 9/11’.

    • fwl

      Thanks Tony that is some interview ….. Bill Binney sounds like a man able to see the forest, the wood, the trees, the leaves and the bugs, and he looks like he is still enjoying life.

      The Americans have got a great constitution and let’s hope they don’t throw it away.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The Americans have got a great constitution and let’s hope they don’t throw it away.”

        It’s a cultural thing – one of those subtle differences between our two great peoples that the British don’t always twig.

        Mark Twain captured the spirit of the thing when said:

        “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them”.

        The same principle applies to the rest of the Constitution, mutatis mutandis. It’s very beautiful, quite decorative, but never taken seriously.

        • fwl

          I like the Twain quote. The US constitution still beats the EU constitution hands down, but the point is the extent to which it has been undermined. Icing on a cake is icing on a cake, but if you take away the cake its not even icing on a cake no more.

          • Iain Stewart

            “The US constitution still beats the EU constitution hands down,”

            Might that just possibly be because there is no “EU constitution”? Unless you were thinking about the project rejected 12 years ago, leading to the Lisbon Treaty. Are you perhaps one of Michael Norton’s senior chums, I wonder (with anxiety)?

          • fwl

            In my book a constitution is the set of policies and precedents, which govern the basics of how a political entity functions. It doesn’t have to be in one document or collection of documents. It’s just easier to understand if it is. The EU is in need of fundamental reform if it is to be anything more than an ecumenic association. You can’t drift into a federal state without a big idea about the constitutional set up especially when the members are inherently more diverse and with stronger identities than say the states of the US. At the time of US independence there was a tremendous ferment of political ideology. This went into the making of the constitution – much of that thought was radical and Welsh. It has endured and it takes a lot to amend it – although of course the big concern is the extent to which it can be undermined.

            The EU has not yet gone down the bulk collection surveillance state route to the same extent as the UK and the US – and that is to its credit. However France is trying to take it down that road and no doubt if we remain in the EU we will encourage the same.

            Bill Binney’s makes the points a) that the surveillance state in America is essentially unconstitutional and rests on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which Congress hadn’t intended when it passed that Act, b) that bulk surveillance as opposed to intelligent targeted surveillance creates a haystack in which the needles are only found de facto, but which suits security contractors who collect the big bucks and governments who are essentially totalitarian in outlook and minded to suppress dissent by blackmail / oppression and by the creation of fear and paralysis.

            Given the lack of overall oversight and parliamentary accountability of an increasingly federal EU am I not right to be concerned that if France get its way and the EU starts to adopt more of a bulk collection surveillance approach then the end result will be potentially even more disturbing that the current situation in the US and the UK?

            I don’t understand your references to wonder, anxiety, and senior chums of Professor Michael Norton.

          • fwl

            Going off topic here on p 5 in the middle of a thread but Prof Michael Norton, Harvard School of Business, has got a neat idea that spending money on other people can buy a sort of happiness – that you are happier spending money on others than when you spend it on yourself. He links this back to the Declaration of Independence and the right to pursue happiness.

            That is also worth mulling over: that it has to be said that the pursuit of happiness is a right.

          • Iain Stewart

            Hi fwl and thanks for the thoughtful reply. The EU will never “drift” into a federation as its history demonstrates. It is an imperfect confederation of heterogenous nation-states, therefore without a constitution, only treaties (which are necessarily unanimous).

            The “Michael Norton” I referred to is the less illustrious admirer of Marine Le Pen who returned to these pages fairly recently after being banned for this during the last French presidential election, but yours sounds more interesting. Although his idea of benevolence seems to have been borrowed from David Hume (who died just before the American revolution but was very much in favour of it and whose ideas of liberty probably had an influence on their constitution).
            By the way, who were these Welsh thinkers to whom you refer? It’s the first I’ve heard of a Welsh enlightenment.

          • fwl

            Richard Price (1723-1791) of Glamorgan wrote Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, honoured in France and America and invited by Benjamin Franklin to become an American and set up a new financial system. Apparently he drew up the Republic’s first budget. He also influenced the French Jacobins.

            David Williams another friend of Franklin developed Price’s philosophy that parliamentarians are trustees of the people (Letters on Political Liberty 1782), which is something Bill Binney refers to when he notes that the Patriot Act has flipped the basis of who is watching who from the people watching government to the government watching the people.

            C17 poet William Vaughan established a colony in Newfoundland.

            C17 Roger Williams founded Rhode Island colony in1636 on the basis of democracy and religious freedom.

            No philosopher, but the financier of the American Revolution was Robert Morris, who also signed the Declaration of Independence. In fact 14 of the generals of the Revolution were Welshmen and the Declaration of Independence was written by a Welshman, Thomas Jefferson, whose father came from Snowdonia. Jefferson’s original draft contained anti-slavery provisions which were removed by Congress. The “pursuit of happiness” was within Jefferson’s very first draft:

            “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

            Governor Morris wrote the final draft of the Constitution.

            William Penn, who planned New Wales later called Pennsylvania.

            John Marshall Chief Justice and father of American constitutional law, created judicial review and established the independence and supremacy of the Supreme Court.

            Jefferson Davis (formerly Davies), who would no doubt have been something of a Brexiteer, opposed what he perceives to be Lincoln’s centralist ‘absolutist and despotic’ agenda to give Washington control over the states. Davis’ supporters dispute that he was pro-slavery and Lincoln anti-slavery and argue that this was a device to justify central control.

            I expect there are many more.

          • fwl

            PS I’m definitely not a le Pen supporter.

            BTW Richard Price opposed Hume arguing that morality is a branch of truth.

          • Iain Stewart

            Very interesting, fwl, and thank you for another helpful reply. I’ve noticed that people tend to be unfairly scathing about the Welsh, so it is pleasing to learn that they too contributed significantly to the Enlightenment, if more modestly than their Scotch cousins.

            As for Hume’s views on morality, they are still controversial. Whatever causes no harm is good, the rest is bad. Truth for Hume was a matter of scientific fact, and nothing to do with morality.

          • Iain Stewart

            PS I’m glad to hear you don’t support the odious Le Pen. Our homegrown michael norton (no capitals) certainly used to do so vociferously, but I suppose he has to keep schtum now as a condition of remand, but he can’t help clicking his unpolished heels from time to time.

          • fwl

            At the risk of a “my enlightenment is brighter than yours” type argument I would accept that the Scottish enlightenment is better known, but suggest that is because the Scottish version remained more on message whilst the Welsh was more revolutionary and actually transformed into something else: into (along with others) the independent United States with its Declaration of Independence, Constitution and non-conformist universities. There are some books waiting to be written.

    • Clark

      At 19:56 – “Because NSA has, across the network worldwide, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of traceroute programs. Traceroute means that they can take any packet and trace the route that it goes through the network. If you go on the web and look at the traceroute program, Google traceroute and you can read about the capabilities of that program, how it can trace the origin of a packet, the segments of the Internet it goes through, the time it takes to do that and where it ultimately ends up.”

      [email protected]:~$ traceroute craigmurray.org.uk
      traceroute to craigmurray.org.uk (104.24.119.221), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
      1 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1) 0.771 ms 33.741 ms 1.669 ms
      2 * * *
      3 249.hiper04.sheff.dial.plus.net.uk (195.166.143.249) 18.684 ms * 19.963 ms
      4 250.hiper04.sheff.dial.plus.net.uk (195.166.143.250) 21.411 ms 26.659 ms 26.601 ms
      5 pih-agsw2.plus.net (195.166.129.182) 26.563 ms 26.503 ms 26.465 ms
      6 195.99.125.138 (195.99.125.138) 26.427 ms 195.99.125.142 (195.99.125.142) 19.402 ms 19.165 ms
      7 peer8-et-3-1-5.telehouse.ukcore.bt.net (109.159.252.238) 19.108 ms peer8-et-3-0-2.telehouse.ukcore.bt.net (109.159.252.182) 19.071 ms 194.72.16.148 (194.72.16.148) 19.033 ms
      8 109.159.253.253 (109.159.253.253) 19.112 ms 19.569 ms 21.847 ms
      9 104.24.119.221 (104.24.119.221) 22.212 ms 22.182 ms 23.535 ms
      [email protected]-HP:~$

        • Clark

          No, it’s just a demonstration of the traceroute program, which in this instance will have sent its own request to craigmurray.org.uk. But requests from my browser will very likely have taken the same route.

          • Clark

            I don’t know. traceroute is a standard GNU package, so in a terminal window on a GNU/Linux system you can try any of the following three separate commands to get more information:

            traceroute –help
            man traceroute
            info traceroute

            Failing that, it is freely licensed to the users under the General Public License GPL Version 2, so by law, full documentation has to be available on-line, including the full human-readable source code. Also lots of information here:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traceroute

          • Clark

            Taking a guess, 2 is a very early hop in the sequence, looking like it’s between my old Netgear router and my ISP Plusnet, so maybe it’s some kind of direct connection where no other destination is possible and thus has no IP address of its own.

          • fwl

            Thanks Clark. Im none too familiar with the technical side of things, but I appreciate your explanations. I should try to understand this better. Easy enough to grasp parts of the bigger picture, but the detail is to say the least tricky.

            There are a number of interesting Bill Binney interviews online including his 2016 interview to the parliamentary Select Committee, who were considering the Investigatory Powers Bill (before it became an Act) and also a 2 1/2 hour interview.

            Just as I listen (albeit only sometimes) to Craig because of his former position and read Peter Dale Scott because of his Bill Binney’s experience makes it difficult not to pay him attention.

            The Select Committee interview is interesting to see how those on the committee treated him. There is a bit where he is told he is 15 years out of service and the committee have heard from many current insiders who say bulk collection is essential and can they all be wrong? He answers – yes.

            In part I am surprised and slightly reassured that they invited him, but I see that he and his Thin Thread friends have also had a few sympathetic ears in Congress and from both Democrats and Republicans.

            It puts in one mind of Robert Ludlum’s last novel (no literary masterpiece) – The Prometheus Deception. I can’t but think that someone had been whispering in Mr Ludlum’s ear.

          • Clark

            I took a look at the plot of The Prometheus Deception; I think Binney’s position is less conspiracist and more political. He refers to Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex speech, and says that the mass surveillance programme has become an immense self-justifying cash cow, demanding a thousand times the funding of ThinThread. Of course the companies with lucrative contracts to supply the ever-proliferating infrastructure submit carefully constructed recommendations to government, to keep the cash flowing their way. Just capitalism doing what it always does.

            He points out that the mass surveillance programme is actually very poor at detecting and preventing terrorist plots because who the targets are is unknown in advance; the needles get hidden within the data of the entire population, the haystack. However, mass surveillance is very useful when the target is defined in advance; pick any person, and the system can supply potential blackmail material. Pick any company, and the system can tell you what they’re researching and who they’re working with. That’s unbridled power, and it appeals to the more authoritarian type of politicians.

          • fwl

            Well The Prometheus Deception is a thriller (and without Le Carre’s elegance) , but at its heart are the themes of control through IT, deception, reality being the opposite of appearance and the pursuit of commercial aims where democratic institutions are replaced by the deep state. And it also has a strategy of tension and terror, shock and awe preceding its introduction. And its published in 2001. His last book.

            Of course I am not able to ascertain to what extent Bill Binney is right, but he certainly makes a persuasive case and can’t help, but suspect that we have gone down a blind alley.

          • Clark

            I think what has happened is that the majority of us ordinary people have been persuaded to abandon the tools of our own empowerment, by a corporate media that is institutionally dedicated to our exploitation. Nearly all the rest of the ensuing disasters follow from that, ie. the Deep State is a symptom rather than the cause.

            Thinking back to the ’80s and ‘monetarism’, the media supported Reagan and Thatcher and their flagship policies – relax regulation on finance “to release economic growth”, privatise the public services “to increase efficiency”, and decrease workers’ rights to “break the stranglehold of the unions”. These have been the pillars of the politically unquestionable consensus, “there is no alternative”, ever since.

            All such policies take power away from the base of the various power pyramids and migrate it upward, so of course the pyramids grow taller and more powerful, and their various apexes become more distant and unaccountable. Some disappear into the clouds of secrecy, so to speak, and we start speculating about their objectives and abilities. But all those power pyramids share the same base, which is the ordinary people doing the work. Empower the base and all those pinnacles start to shrink back downwards, towards visibility and accountability.

          • fwl

            I think I agree with you generally there. Deep State in conspiracy theories and novels is of course an overblown over dramatised concept.

            In practice it is probably more like a fungus able to thrive in the dark and if so then I concur the more light there is coming from everyone the better.

          • Clark

            I’m glad we’ve found agreement. Maybe some of the best things to emerge after the current enfolding darkness has passed will be some very exciting and sinister yarns, literary speculations of what was really going on beyond the public view.

  • Sharp Ears

    For Gaza here below, read Iraq and all the countries that we have bombed especially with the use of depleted uranium tipped weaponry.

    Reproductive Toxicology
    Available online 5 March 2019

    Hospital centered surveillance of births in Gaza, Palestine, 2011-2017 and heavy metal contamination of the mothers reveals long-term impact of wars
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623818302454?via%3Dihub

    The evil lives on just as the blood of victims dried in the sand.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Sharp Ears March 8, 2019 at 13:22
      Not just DU weaponry, but DIME explosives have been used widely in Gaza. The injuries are particularly hard to treat.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dense_Inert_Metal_Explosive
      ‘Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) is an experimental type of explosive that has a relatively small but effective blast radius. It is manufactured by producing a homogeneous mixture of an explosive material (such as phlegmatized HMX or RDX) and small particles of a chemically inert material such as tungsten.’
      The birth defects in Iraq are truly horrifying, as they are still in Vietnam. Needless to say, no ‘Reparations’ ever paid.
      I think DU’s half-life is 4 1/2 billion years….

      • Clark

        DU’s toxicity is nothing to do with its half life. It’s highly toxic chemically.

        DU is less radioactive that natural uranium, because ‘depleted’ means the proportion of U235 has been reduced.

        And long half life means low radioactivity.

        But I’m sure you know better; you always do.

        • Clark

          This is how campaigns lose credibility with the scientific community. They don’t want to associate with a load of halfwits.

  • Goose

    Saw a clip about this integrity initiative on UK RT TV.

    They claim their mission is to ‘counter Russian disinformation. But who decides, and on what basis, what is disinformation? One person’s disinformation is another’s heated debate, discussion.

    It seems the remit they’ve granted themselves, allows them to target anyone and any dissent under the guise of combating said
    ‘disinformation’ i.e., it’s too broad and too unaccountable in other words. Many in the UK will remember the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, dissent is nothing new here, and it doesn’t need to be foreign inspired or orchestrated, saying it does is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

  • Igor P.P.

    I would add the issue of Sergei Skripal’s mother having had no phone (or other) contact with him since the incident. She has now filed a missing person report for him.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Igor P.P. March 8, 2019 at 13:36
      Let’s hope she gets some success – at least it keeps this issue before the world (though of course the MSM turn a blind ‘un).

  • Sharp Ears

    Good retort to Hunt from Alex Salmond whom Hunt had described as lacking credibility!

    ‘You make Boris look competent’: Salmond slams Hunt after questioning ex-SNP chief’s credibility
    7 March 2019
    https://www.rt.com/uk/453288-salmond-hunt-rt-credibility/

    ‘In a statement to RT, Salmond claimed that Hunt knows as much about the international world order as he does about the English National Health Service, where he “provoked the first doctors’ strike for 40 years,” as health secretary.

    ‘In less than a year as foreign secretary he has compared the European Union to the old Soviet Union, described non-aligned Slovenia as a former vassal state and defended the Saudi bombing of South Yemen.’

    In February it was revealed that the foreign secretary tried to convince Germany to start selling arms to Saudi Arabia again after it stopped over concerns about Jamal Khashoggi’s killing and the war in Yemen. The move drew condemnation from UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

    • Goose

      Really don’t understand what exactly they expect the EU to do?

      Rip up the Good Friday Agreement for them?

      The crazy thing is, if a referendum were held on the ‘backstop’ in Northern Ireland it’d be supported.

    • On the train

      I am writing to you to ask for advice. You seem like someone who would know what to do. Have you heard that Shamima Begum’s new baby has died?
      I thought the way the British Press treated her was shameful, not to mention the stripping of her citizenship so that she was unable to bring her baby back here so that he could get the medical treatment he needed.
      I feel that now this has happened there should be some public debate about it. I don’t think this should be allowed to pass, and I don’t think this poor woman who has suffered so much…(I can’t imagine what she has been through) should be forced to remain so far away from any care or attention.
      Do you know how I can help her. Do you know if any group that has formed to support her? Or how I could find out about such things. ?

  • David G

    So am I correct that the London hotel room was in regular use for some significant period of time between B & P’s stay and the swabbing that supposedly yielded a positive novichok result?

    If so, then I’d include that part of the story as an implausibility deserving of Craig’s hall of shame here.

    We are meant to believe that B & P left behind novichok traces low enough to cause no obvious illness, but high enough to persist through ordinary hotel-room use and cleaning so that the police could detect it precisely once. But immediately after that, the chamber maids coincidentally finally scrubbed the last bit of it away so that subsequent retests were negative.

    At best – assuming my above summary is basically accurate – this was a good-faith false positive, which should have been acknowledged as unconfirmed if not refuted by the later tests in the room. And that’s the most innocent interpretation.

    • David G

      I may have had something wrong there, but the alternative is even worse for the official version:

      After the first swabbing of the hotel room that yielded the positive result, the room was most likely taped off and *not* subjected to further public use or cleanings before the subsequent tests that ended up being negative.

      So we are to believe only those final few brave novichok molecules persisted in order to get swabbed up and tested, but not a trace otherwise remained in a sealed off room to confirm that first result. Ridiculous.

      • Coldish

        Thanks, David G for raising this point. False positives are probably not a rarity when samples are tested in a lab where there are previously been real positives. As they have not been confirmed by resampling the supposedly positive results should be dumped. However that doesn’t mean they will be dumped in this case. The unduplicated, possibly false positive results are the only ‘evidence’ connecting the two Russians with any nerve agent. So they will kept in reserve in case B & R resurface.

  • Olaf S

    I am sorry, I can see only two possible versions in the Skripal case. ( after the presence of the
    colonel became known).

    1. The Skripals were voluntarily poisoned.
    We must imagine a fellow from the SS, let us call him Sancho Panza, talk to SS (short for Sergei Skripal, that is) over a drink, a little over a year ago…

    SP: Sergei, we need to counter the enormous boost in goodwill Russia got
    from this football stuff. We are thinking along the lines of a certain polonium
    scare, you know. The actual poison to be used – fentanyl – will not cause any lasting health damage.
    Would you and Yulia be willing to participate as ”victims” against a big sum of money.

    SS: What!? Now way! Do you think I am an idiot? Do you think I am for sale?!

    SP: But we are talking of a very considerable sum. 5 millon dollars!

    (long silence).

    SS: I am sceptical. I know the game, and you British can not play around
    with this kind of money.
    Besides, I am a little tired of you all. The only grown-up and rational people
    nowadays you will find in the Kremlin and in Bejing..

    SP: Very possible, but back to the money. In this case we have guaranties. The money will come from a good, old Russia-hating multi-billionaire living in the US, just look at this letter…

    SS: Hm..

    (Long silence)

    SS: Make it 10 millions, and I will talk to Yulia about it.

    SP: Actually, 10 million was his upper limit! Thank you Segei, you are doing the
    free world a big service!

    SS: Leave out the BS, Sancho. Contact me tomorrow.

    2. The Skrips were not voluntarily poisoned. The were suspected of cooperating with the Russian side, and needed to be taken out. The novichok saga was added for propaganda purposes, and had nothing to do with the original operation.

    Mixing the two parts together in the presentation of the case demanded meticulous planning, but this part seems to have been neglected. Thus we got the lot of these incongruences, gaping holes in the official narrative etc.

    (Thank you Craig for going into detail with some of the worst).

  • David G

    This a powerful, persuasive piece. Thanks and applause to Craig.

    However, such sentiments coming from a “credulous fool” such as I may not carry much weight, since I’d put an asterisk next to point (3) – Nursing Care.

    While I appreciate that this aspect may seem as weird and unlikely as the official narrative in general, Craig’s objection to this one clearly implies an alternative that I think has problems of its own.

    If Ms. Chief Army Nurse knew some skullduggery was afoot, was maybe on duty in some fashion, facing possible danger which she might well have known to be of the organophosphate variety, would her daughter have been there with her? Would she have let the daughter treat the victims? Would she have phoned the radio station to brag about it?

    And anyway, why in particular would the head nurse of the whole British Army have been involved? This is the kind of thing that looks significant in retrospect, but is it actually a revealing fact? I’m sure it’s a bureaucratically important job, but what does it have to do with any of the nasty games which some party or parties were playing here? By way of contrast, imagine if the passerby had been someone from Porton Down – a scientist, a doctor, even a nurse. That would be a real coincidence we might have trouble swallowing.

    I’m certainly not making any conclusions, but if we live long enough to find out the truth of this whole affair, I wouldn’t be surprised if the nurse coincidence turns out to be in fact coincidental.

    • bj

      I’m certainly not making any conclusions

      The problem is, you take too many assumptions.

  • Am

    Compelling! I’ve also puzzled at both Skripals touching the outer door handle. Surely, if they arrived together, as we might reasonably assume as they were out together, one person would open the door and the other follow in behind. That second person then closing the door perhaps using the inner door handle, but most definitely not the outer. If the contact with the contaminated handle happened on the way out of the house the reverse would happen, with only the last one out touching the poison as they closed the door.

  • Arcsine

    Another important point for me arises over the phone call Yulia managed to make to her cousin. The UK narrative up to that point had been that both Sergei and Yulia were still unconscious and even if they were to live their physical and mental functioning would have been severely impaired. Then I recall it was about 2-3 days after the recording of the phone call was shown on Russian TV it was announced that both Skripals’ health had suddenly improved significantly. This suggests either (a) access to a borrowed mobile phone is a cure for a deadly nerve toxin or (b) the Skripals were never ill or not appreciably so.

    Whatever happened though I don’t believe the UK authorities had preplanned this false flag operation because if they had it would have been carried out in a far more professional manner and avoided the ridiculous inconsistencies that are highlighted on Craig’s blog and elsewhere. My guess is that some event or opportunity suddenly presented itself and the government/spy agencies then quickly threw together a plan to try and capitalise on it.

    • David

      I don’t believe the UK authorities had preplanned this false flag operation

      keeping it short!, Completely agree with you, and of course Craig above. My biggest shock from this Skripalgate furcup is that the UK emergency/contingency spooky planners managed to force all UK media to deliberately speak zombielike untruths for months, giving tremendous blow-back of the veiled narrative – is it so easy to regain this lost audience? Accept the alienation of realists, BTL comments completely beyond JTRIG control, much EU spook partners responding very luke-warmly – if at all, and what for? What gallant valley of death was charged? The World Cup or Ski-fest, whatever it was, went on regardless. UK lost so much credibility, and it seems to be a complete disaster, whoever ‘cui bono’ in the end, it seems to leave UK with a big international credulous capability gap, :~ give us a big project and we deliver a torrid mess!

      When all UK MSM everywhere reported recently that ‘military planners and experts at decision taking’ were being embedded into all ministries , ready for the next special 21 days 7 hours event.
      A) I hope they are armed ‘advisors’,
      B) I trust that they are adults compared to whatever slugs planned/reacted/or failed to plan/react on Skripalgate.

      • Igor P.P.

        I think the simple explanation is that after Johnson wrongly insisted that the poison is certainly Russian-made and official accusations ensued, there was just no way back. If the UK was to admit that it misled its allies as much as to enact sanctions on false premises, the blow to UK’s credebility would be unacceptable. So the outlandish character of official or MSM theories is not at all surprising.

        The more interesting question is why and how come the UK govt bought into the “Putin done it” theory so quickly and completely. I think it was either urgent pre-war propaganda (remember the situation in Syria at the time), or a manipulation by an external actor (US?) providing the MI6/police with fake intelligence.

    • Alexander

      I agree. Or it could have been a bit of private enterprise, say by the Orbis people, to get themselves out of a hole, and the Government was then bounced into covering for them. If Orbis is a private company I dare say that would be in name only, to provide “deniability” but they may have been going beyond their brief. All speculation of course. The Government has been made to look – in the eyes of the world – like a bunch of lying incompetent wallies. (As Peter Fleming said – when he was running SOE for SEAC during the war – it is very dangerous to tell lies until you have decided what the truth is going to be.)

  • Jason

    A major problem that HMG has is Dawn’s Inquest.

    The Coroner and Jury if one sits need to satisfy themselves with what killed Dawn.

    A Pre Inquest Review is planned for April 15th it is likely to be delayed indefinitely because of a claim that a criminal investigation is underway despite HMG having already admitted that there is no possibility of putting the suspects on Trial because Russia won’t extradite them.

    There is also the difficulty that no charges have been brought in relation to Dawn’s death because of insufficient evidence.

    Then add on top of that the fact that the OPCW advice on how quickly a nerve agent takes to affect a human being by contact through the skin is 20 – 30 minutes.

    The chemical detected in Salisbury and Amesbury was not something the OPCW had seen before, they created a new category is n their schedule of banned substances especially for it.

    DSTL (Porton Down) however had a sample of it before the incident, that was how they were able to identify so quickly according to Boris Johnson.

    PHE (Porton Down) gave advice to the public before and after the Amesbury incident that there was very low risk to the public from this substance.

    PHE also gave advice that the chemical found in both Salisbury and Amesbury affected people between 3 hrs min (very high dose) and 12 hours max (significant dose)

    It will not just what the chemical was that will be questioned at the Inquest but how it made its was from the Russian suspects to Charlie Rowley’s flat.

    • N_

      Have the police or CPS written to Boshirov and Petrov, either through the Russian authorities or directly, requesting that they contact the British embassy to arrange to come to England to stand trial? There is no Russian law saying they shouldn’t. The ban on extradition doesn’t come into it.

      It’s taking the piss to complain that someone isn’t doing something when you haven’t been able to keep a straight face for long enough to ask them to do it.

      • N_

        And imagine the propaganda payoff. If Boshirov and Petrov refused the request, the poshboy kingdom officials would be able to say “We asked. They refused. Then we asked the Russian authorities to compel them. And here’s a copy of the letter we got explaining that Russian law prevents their extradition.”

        The poshboys don’t want a trial – that’s obvious.

  • BrianFujisan

    O.T

    Poor Hero Whistle blower Chelsea is back in Custody –

    “All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony during my court-martial in 2013. I responded to each question with the following statement: ‘I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.’”

    Manning added, “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

    She could face up to 18 months in jail if she is found “in contempt” of court. –

    https://shadowproof.com/2019/03/07/chelsea-manning-risks-jail-to-fight-wikileaks-grand-jury/?fbclid=IwAR1_ZLHgFwvv0IpSudr5Kl5uDL8QJ89Od7odCW43NBpExpXuQvoStn8_XVc

  • John Goss

    Mary Dejevsky is one of a very small number of journalists questioning the Skripal narrative. Her speculation could be right. She is certainly right that no Russians are ever going to be extradited here to face trial. She is also right that the Russians would not wish to scupper the World Cup (though I can think of some who might). She’s right that Skripal would no longer be of interest to the Russians after all this time in the UK – he can no longer have access to current sensitive information. .

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/skripal-poisoning-salisbury-attack-yulia-russia-novichok-putin-a8807191.html

  • Mary Pau!

    My sister, who is more interested in squabbles in the Labour party than the Skripal affair, nevertheless watched the BBC special, so as to be able to discuss it with me. She basically bought into most of the arguments they advanced, that the Russians were behind it, RHOWEVER she said two key questions remained for her: why did doctors at Salisbury hospital even think it might be a nerve agent in Salisbury hospital, she thinks they must have had a steer, and she does not buy the claim that the perfume bottle Rowley found had been lying unclaimed in a charity bin in Salisbury for over three months. She thinks it was discarded shortly before he found it and said the BBC show offered no explanation for that.

    • Iain Stewart

      Well, that’s what you say your sister thinks, but what we want to know is what your talented milliner has to say on the subject.

  • Jack

    Theresa May latest speech on Brexit is ridiculous as far as it seems to be impossible to leave the EU, heck is the EU a bigger threat than the Soviet Union was in the aspect of independence?!

    • Iain Stewart

      Only impossible to leave to any advantage, otherwise what do you imagine all the fuss is about?
      Have you noticed that all the eurosceptic movements on the continent have shut up (if that is compatible with gaping in astonishment at the same time)?

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