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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  • Cecile

    Hi Craig – odd that Kier Pritchard took charge of local police just the day after the poisoning?

    • James

      “Hi Craig – odd that Kier Pritchard took charge of local police just the day after the poisoning?”

      Agree 100% – that’s another thing pointing firmly in the direction of this being one big (deadly) propaganda exercise.

    • James

      Martyred in ca.303AD during the same Diocletianic persecution in which SS George and Vitus also died, St Philoterius was a Roman of noble birth from Nicomedia (Izmit). Besides being his feast-day, 19 May in Turkey is officially the Commemoration of Atatürk, often called Youth and Sports Day. In 1980 the run-up to this holiday in the northern city of Çorum was marked by fierce public denunciations of allegedly un-Islamic attire worn in rehearsals by female Alevi students. In reality, locally powerful MHP (fascist) functionaries and their Grey Wolves attack dogs were deliberately stoking sectarian tensions, in league with certain shadowy figures who emerged at intervals from the US embassy in Ankara. Just prior to these events, Çorum’s police chief Hasan Uyar was removed along with nearly 40 fellow officers, as well as school administrators and teachers; Uyar’s replacement was parachuted in from Tunceli, more than 400 kms away.* Conforming to a pattern seen elsewhere in Turkey over the previous few years, these dirty tricks culminated in a pogrom, known as the Çorum Massacre, which claimed the lives of 57 mostly Alevi civilians between the end of May and July. The turmoil furnished the military with a pretext to stage another anti-democratic putsch, on 12 September 1980. During the interval of a performance of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, US President Jimmy Carter received news of this coup de théâtre by means of a note which read:
      “Our boys have done it!”

      * Parliamentary Research Commission Report, published by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, November 2012, p.860
      This finds a clear echo in the premature removal, announced in January 2018, of Mike Veale from his post as Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police. His replacement, Assistant Chief Constable Keir Pritchard, took up his new role on Monday 5th March – one day after the elaborately staged chemical attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on Sunday 4th March.

    • Mary Pau!

      Mark Rowley announced his resignation as Head of the Met Police counter terrorism unit in January 2018 and retired in March 2018.

      • James

        Neil Basu’s appointment was announced on 05 March, the day after Salisbury: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43290267. Mark Rowley remained in post until 21 March, but until several weeks after that there was no indication the Skripals would emerge unharmed by the military grade nerve agent attack. It’s difficult to establish how old Rowley is – Wikipedia doesn’t say. Normal retirement age for police is 60, but he seems likely to be younger; the Indy called his stepping down a “resignation”: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mark-rowley-resigns-met-police-counter-terrorism-commissioner-a8150131.html Regardless though, if he was due to retire, why did he apply to be Met Commissioner in 2017? In theory, would it be possible to offer a carefully tailored package to incentivise a senior police officer’s early retirement?

        • James

          Having started his degree in 1983, Mark Rowley could be as young as 53; he’s very unlikely to be older than 55 or 56. Theoretically he could be younger than Mark Sedwill (an “alumnus of MI6” according to Mark Urban’s Skripal book), who’s hardly likely to be drawing his pension any time soon.

  • Charles Bostock

    Earlier on, our friend N_ wrote:

    “@Charles – Also helping a foreign power to bug the Palace of Westminster, or bugging it in cooperation with a foreign power, would be treason – yes, even if the foreign power is one with which the poshboy kingdom has agreed a treaty of alliance that contrary to international law they kept secret and didn’t submit to the UN for publication.”

    I’m sure readers were intrigued to read that. I wonder if Neal could just (1) tell us which foreign power he’s referring to, and (2) if it’s a ‘secret’ treaty he’s talking about, how does he know about it, on what is he basing himself (I am of course assuming that N_ is not a whistle-blowing government civil servant).

    • Freeflow

      1. The USA
      2. Snowden on NSA spying in Germany and historians like Josef Foschenpoth

      Just like secret courts exist in the UK, that’s a very well established fact but how did we establish that fact if those courts are supposedly secret?

      To quote Wikipedia: “Colin Warbrick writes that in Britain, “the prerogative power to negotiate and conclude treaties put the government in a powerful position. It does not need to seek a negotiating mandate from Parliament and can keep its positions confidential until the conclusion of negotiations.”

      That’s why even massive trade-agreements like TPP and ACTA were initially attempted to be negotiated in secret, in that context it’s not far-fetched to assume anything relating intelligence will be kept under wraps a bit more tightly.

  • John Goss

    Sorry, this is off-topic but the civil-war in Ukraine has been going on for more than 4.5 years. Although the peaceful protests on Maidan before the CIA did its dirty work were widely reported in its successful attempt to overthrow the legitimate government the civil war and war-crimes are rarely reported. What a mess Ukraine is in with Poroshenko begging Putin to help the Ukrainian leader in his hopeless bid to get re-elected and now Ukrainian forces turning on and shooting their commander for forcing them to commit war-crimes on civilians. Let this be a warning to Venezuela to unite behind their elected leader.

    https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/03/major-ukrainian-soldiers-kill-their-commander-after-being-forced-to-commit-war-crimes-non-combat-losses-now-exceeds-10000/

  • dkws

    Not having read all the comments on here, has anyone mentioned the post-mortem for Dawn Sturgess? Very conveniently delayed; or has it happened, and I’ve missed it in the news?

    • Sharp Ears

      The inquest has been referred to earlier. There was a post mortem. The inquest was adjourned but nothing has been heard since. Dr Kelly’s inquest was subsumed by BLair and Falconer into the Hutton Inquiry, ie a whitewash, followed by another, the Chilcot Inquiry. The gangsters-in-charge are good at ‘Inquiries’. Inquiry – Another name for ‘kicking the ball into the long grass’.

      Q. Where are the Skripals?

      • Anonymous-1

        She was on antidepressants. It was 28/29 degrees that weekend. She was seen in a couple of shops in Salisbury buying alcohol, no soft drinks. They all spent the afternoon in the park drinking, then went back to Charlie’s place in Amesbury. She woke up the next morning with a headache – sign of dehydration.. Charlie didn’t have any painkillers so she may have taken the antidepressants to kill the pain. Her death is almost probably misadventure, that’s why TPTB don’t want an inquest.

        • michael norton

          Anonymous-1

          Are you saying The Powers That Be
          do not want an inquest into Dawn Sturgess because they think they know she died of Natural Causes
          and they want the public to assume Dawn died from Deadly Russian manufactured and administered
          Novichok?

          • Duncan

            Michael, I think sadly the opposite is true.
            HMG would want Dawn’s death to be found to be a “nerve agent” with toxicology showing that her acetylcholine esterase levels were such that only “some sort of organophosphate” poisoning could be the cause.

            This helps the “deadly Novichok, reckless Russians” narrative.
            Sadly the container Charlie “discovered” could only have been a plant from HMG with Porton Down input.
            Probably in the bin to be found, but not to be sprayed.
            After the BZ agent or similar was used to spray the Skripals at the park bench, the real Novichok had to be used later to convince the OPCW.
            This included taking two positive swabs TO the hotel in London.
            As these two swabs were the only Novichok containing material, the hotel quickly became safe after the Porton Down team took them back to Wiltshire.

  • Formerly T-Bear

    Splendid summary of the perfidy which Albion excels. One lesson to be learned: never assume ‘facts’ produced from ignorance to be true. Another lesson: How one discerns a politician is lying? See if the lips are moving. Again: The Mother of all Parliaments has become the best argument against that form of governance. Westminster Palace, Whitehall and Downing St. need be razed to the ground and either public parking structures or bedsit housing be erected for the homeless; anything useful rather than the waste of space those places have become. It should be noted the epicentre of the British political establishment is occupied by a ninety plus year old unburied corpse having residence in Buckingham palace occasionally, she providing a vacuum enabling unconscionable political carryon currently in evidence. Once the late Good Queen Victoria (does it not amaze the only time Good is associated with the British Monarchy is when the adjective ‘late’ is involved? – never timely or early) led her boys and girls by issuing an edict ‘we are not amused’ for which no one bothered triggering that particular form of amusement during her reign. The current occupant of Buckingham palace is a silent clothes horse, filling numerous warehouses with unused frocks with matching hats, shoes and handbags that had not met with her majestic fancy. Whatever else, the piper playing this tune will need be paid, likely with whatever soul Britain has remaining, there is not sufficient treasure nor empire to cover what is due.

    • Dennis Revell

      :

      ‘Like’.

      But … please use paragraphs in longish posts; otherwise you risk not being read – as I almost didn’t.

      ” … she providing a vacuum enabling unconscionable political carryon currently in evidence”

      IS that ‘political carryon’ or ‘political carrion’ ?!?

      .

      • Formerly T-Bear

        ‘Appreciate’

        Some time ago, when the world was much younger than it is now, writing style held that closely related sentences were to be put as

        they relate to each other into paragraphs, the subsequent paragraph used to bring the narrative into the desired direction. Having

        a smattering over three quarters of a century under the belt, this is the form to which I have become accustomed. I do feel it might not

        be appropriate to the style, if that word can be so stretched, of twitterati and their prescribed limitations.

        I will try to remember to put an extra space between lines in order to appear acceptable to the current styles; other than that thank you for your note.

  • TJ

    Some points need to be added-

    11. “Novichok” was central to the plot in the TV series “Strike Back: Retribution” on Sky TV. The series was 10 episodes long, the online TV guides showed at the time that the series was to run 1 episode per week uninterrupted from 31 October 2017. After 5 episodes the series was suddenly and without explanation postponed and the last 5 episodes shown so as to end just weeks before the Skripal incident.

    12. There is a great deal of doubt as to Vil Mirzayanovs claim that “Novichok” is a chemical weapon, here are just a couple of links though there is much more out there if anyone cares to search for it-

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/03/15/the-farcical-reality-behind-theresa-mays-novichok-story/

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/theresa-mays-novichok-claims-fall-apart.html

    • begob

      Also:
      13. There’s no evidence official steps were taken to exercise authority under the Civil Contingencies Act or Operation Temperer, which would have provided for co-operation between army, police and health services during an emergency. One possible inference is that nobody was willing to expose themselves to prosecution when the truth of this affair comes out.

      14. The UK doesn’t seem to have followed full OPCW protocol – that’s the impression I get from reading the blogmire, but I’m not familiar with the technicalities.

      15. All lab findings have been kept confidential, so we still don’t know what the nerve agent was. Calling it novichok is designed to be unhelpful.

  • Sharp Ears

    Two more spivs/crooks and their cronies are outed after the horse has bolted out of the stable so to speak. So much for the useless Financial Conduct Authority.

    London Capital & Finance: £236m firm collapses
    9 March 2019
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47454328

    Where’s the money gone?
    The investors were expecting too much. Interest rates of 8% when the going rates are in the region of 1%-2%.

  • Humbaba

    Regarding “purity”, the way I understand it is that this refers to the molecular level of the substance produced and not to any later contamination. Thus, the OPCW’s insistence on purity to me signifies that:

    1) the substance was a sample carefully produced in a lab to a high degree of purity and not part of lot of mass produced chemical weapons, which tend to have impurities.

    2) the substance cannot be traced to its site of origin due to its high purity. The origin of a sample can be determined by the contamination that occurred during production, IF you have a sample for comparison. For example, if the UK had a sample that was proven to have come from Russia, the UK would be able to confirm the Russian origin of the Salisbury sample by showing that both have the same contamination. It’s like comparing fingerprints.

    It is probable that chemical labs in different countries have produced the so-called Novichoks according to the publicly know formulas for the purpose of testing and the like. That is not contested even if the UK government tries to muddy the waters. The point is that such a lab sample is not a chemical weapon, as suggested by Nato governments. To suggest that Russia still has non-declared chemical weapons would obviously be convenient to the US, which, unlike Russia, has not yet destroyed its declared chemical weapons stockpiles.

    The OPCW experts obviously have to be very careful about what they say, but I think they are trying to signal points 1) and 2) above.

    • GCSE

      Spiez laboratory statement was clear in that they do not analyze substances for their origin but substances as is.
      If a laboratory says substances have high purity then that is the percentage they analyzed, without elaborating where other matter might have come from. High purity means there was not much else.
      They said the same on the content of the perfume bottle. If a gel had been used to make the “novichok” stick to the doorknob they would have had to cite the type of gel in the sample
      They were not even able to compare existing impurities to decide if the perfume bottle and the doorknob stuff were from the same batch.

      • GCSE

        OPCW on the perfume bottle

        http://beta.opcw.org/sites/default/files/documents/2018/09/s-1671-2018%28e%29.pdf

        “During the second deployment, the team collected a sample of the contents of a small bottle that the police seized as a suspect item from the house of Charles Rowley in Amesbury. 10.The results of the analysis of this environmental sample conducted by OPCW Designated Laboratories show that the sample consists of the toxic chemical at a concentration of 97-98%. The sample is therefore considered a neat agent of high purity. The OPCW Designated Laboratories also identified a number of impurities constituting the remaining 2-3% of the sample.”
        “Due to the unknown storage conditions of the small bottle found in the house of Mr Rowley and the fact that the environmental samples analysed in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Mr Nicholas Bailey were exposed to the environment and moisture, the impurity profiles of the samples available to the OPCW do not make it possible to draw conclusions as to whether the samples are from the same synthesis batch. “

          • Blunderbuss

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

            I think that statement is a tautology.

        • Igor P.P.

          I think we can assume that the samples were from different batches. Impurities used to fingerprint samples are byproducts of the synthesis. It is beyond reasonable to think that environmental air or rain can contain byproducts of Novichok synthesis in such quantities as to noticably alter the sample’s profile.

    • John Goss

      This is 2mg/kg of Fentanyl against a US penny. It is the amount needed to kill someone within a minute.

      https://twitter.com/senko/status/1012593894192644096

      According to a US contact of mine the amount of nerve agent (based on VX knowledge) necessary to kill someone is:

      0.04 mg/kg

      Novichok according to Theresa May is 6 to 10 times more powerful than VX. A rough average therefore works out to approximately 0.0075 mg/kg which for somebody my weight would be 0.6 mg – less than a third of the fentanyl sample in the link.

      Hope this is of some help. What do you mean I need to lose weight? Watch it!

  • Gary Weglarz

    (“Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth.”)
    – the author, re: the Integrity Initiative and it’s activities

    – One can only imagine the Western pontificating and outrage if instead of the U.K. it had been Russia who had totally and completely “disappeared” two U.K. citizens for a year in similar fashion. What we are seeing around the West is the integration of media, both print and digital (including social media), with the intelligence services, and with wealthy Western foundations and think tanks in an effort to completely control important narratives for Western audiences. Fascism hidden behind a nice happy “smiley face” emoji.

    • GCSE

      Nearly complete absence is a very strong statement. I guess usually high purity is anything above 95%.

      • michael norton

        If the “Novichok” was not in a “gel” how was it suppose to adhere to the doorknob.
        “The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities. ”

        Surely the Novichock must have glue to allow it to stick.
        I would have thought the glue content would have been at least 50% of the substance?

        • michael norton

          Unless the application is a multi-part application.
          For example un-hamzat suited Russian brushes clear glue all over the door knob.
          Could be in the guise of stuffing pizza leaflet through Skripal letter box.
          Then when darkness falls, a hamzat suited Russian creeps up to the house and using a nina ricci perfume bottle spay
          puts the application of Most Deadly Nerve Agent Novichok on to the Skripal doorknob?

          • Ken Kenn

            As darkness fell the Skripals were in a hospital somewhere.

            Unless the assassins did it the night before?

            Better still – unless it was done by someone else as darkness fell?

            The Russkies had gone home by then.

          • michael norton

            Do we know how many hours Yulia was in England, before her and her dear old dad were brought low by the deadliest nerve gas known to Russia?

      • Blunderbuss

        I’d say 95% is quite low purity.

        There is a list of American reagent grades here:

        Learn Chemical Grade Definitions from Highest to Lowest Purity

        You can look up the purity of individual chemicals. I’m not going to give any examples because some of them might be precursors of chemical weapons or explosives.

        Technical grade (for industrial use) is typically around 95% and ACS grade (for laboratory use) is typically around 99.9%.

        The American ACS grade is probably equivalent to the British AR (analytical reagent) grade.

  • BrianFujisan

    Great Stuff Sharp Ears

    Palestinian Crafts Are Beautiful.. We bought some from a group of child musicians last year.

    how evil to stop the fire engine.. and the three small children are dead.. Sickening

  • Blunderbuss

    @GCSE

    I don’t know what’s happening. Your last post has disappeared and mine has been corrected. It must be the Russians (satire).

    [ Mod: Nope – it’s the moderators doing you a favour. ]

    • GCSE

      My stuff is still there just interrupted by other people posting.

      Chemical purity grades don’t seem internationally standardized. That would explain why OPCW had to add to the Salisbury chemical poison
      “The TAV team notes that the toxic chemical was of high purity. The latter is concluded from the almost complete absence of impurities”
      whilst for the Amesbury perfume bottle they said:
      “that the sample consists of the toxic chemical at a concentration of 97-98%. The sample is therefore considered a neat agent of high purity. The OPCW Designated Laboratories also identified a number of impurities constituting the remaining 2-3% of the sample.”

  • Yeah, Right

    Don’t know if anyone has asked this, but has anyone identified the prostitute who was alleged to have been in the hotel room with Boshirov and Petrov?

    I mean, come on, the Mirror article you linked to is rather, ahem, light-on with respect to evidence of prostitution.
    Basically, it amounts to a cantankerous guest bad-mouthing the two loud foreigners who kept him awake at night.

    But if you are spies, and you were meeting a third person in your hotel room, wouldn’t you turn up the noise in an effort to foil any listeners?

    Surely an intrepid investigative journalist would have no trouble tracking down that prostitute and interviewing her.
    And a fistful of the folding-stuff would soon entice her to give up all the lurid details of what went on in that room.

    I do not think for a second that the woman who went into that room was a prostitute.
    I do not believe that the loud noises indicated that merriment was taking place in that room.

    It was a meeting. A meeting to discuss the next day’s visit to Salisbury.

    Whoever that woman was, she was there to tell Boshirov and Petrov that Yulia had put the initial offer to Sergei – whatever it was – and he had not dismissed it. They were therefore to proceed with the mission of making contact with Sergei in Salisbury.

    I have no idea what that offer was, but I am certain that Boshirov and Petrov were sent to Britain as messenger-boys, not as assassins.

    • Blunderbuss

      @Yeah, Right

      Interesting theory – you could be right. However, the loud voices suggest that an argument was taking place.

      • Yeah, Right

        Nah, loud angry voices is a huge disincentive for anyone to knock on the door and ask for the noise to be toned down.

        They didn’t want to be disturbed and they didn’t want to be overheard.

        Hence all the ruckus.

      • Yeah, Right

        Just to point this out: the linked article is merely a regurgitation of this article from The Sun:
        https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7268509/salisbury-russia-poisoning-drugs-sex-prostitutes-london/

        Note this line: “A cleaner was forced to spend the next day clearing up the mess left by the assassins in London and the room has since been redecorated, with its walls painted brown.”

        And this: “The cleaner apologised to me when I came back as she was still cleaning their room. She’d been in there all day cleaning the room. She said there’d been trouble.”

        So this room was so contaminated that the super-deadly nerve agent was detectable more than a MONTH LATER.
        Yet just the DAY AFTER the contamination a hotel cleaner spent the entire day cleaning that room from top to bottom.

        And not only did she survive, she actually suffered not the slightest ill-effects from that exposure.

        Preposterous. Utterly and completely preposterous.

          • Yeah, Right

            And her employment would make her immune to the effects of a nerve agent…. how, exactly?

            There are only two possibilities here:
            1) That room was contaminated by a deadly nerve-agent
            2) That room was not contaminated by anything that can cause harm to anyone

            The incontestable fact – because The Sun has an eyewitness – that a woman spent the day cleaning up that room without ill-effect means that Option (2) is the correct one. That the police subsequently claimed to the proprietor that Option (1) is the case is preposterous hearsay, precisely because it flies in the face of the only incontestable evidence that we have.

            Which is, once again, a cleaning lady who is not dead.

            I mean, let’s be honest here: is there any OFFICIAL claim that novichok was found in that room? Or is that based entirely on what the hotel proprietor said that the police said to him?

        • Mighty Drunken

          I think the whole prostitute/cleaner story is just made up tabloid gossip fodder.
          In fact the story seems to be an alibi to why only a tiny trace of Novichok was sort of found.

        • km

          Although most of the story reeks, this one detail could be true. You’d be amazed to know how advanced the chemical analysis methods are these days, it’s very well possible that the room was contaminated enough to be able to positively identify the substance yet the person working in there showed no symptoms of poisoning. Also, the substance probably has a low vapor pressure, so the only way for it to enter the body is via skin contact, and usually hotel cleaners wear appropriate personal protection (gloves in this case).

    • Another Interested Citizen

      Thank you for raising this point about the elusive alleged prostitute. I think Craig’s questioning of this affair is very well presented and argued but continual critical questioning is essential to avoid the risk of confirmation bias clouding one’s thinking. This specific point, along with many others, need further illumination if we are ever to know what really happened – I doubt we will get that illumination.

  • Yeah, Right

    Here is another thing I do not believe: that Boshirov and Petrov suddenly stopped to admire some trinket in a coin shop window.

    Go back and look at that video again, and notice the THIRD person in that video. The guy in the doorway.

    Notice how big that guy is.

    If that guy isn’t one of John le Carre’s lamp-lighters then I’ll eat my hat.

    Certainly Boshirov and Petrov had their suspicions, which is the real reason why they pulled up so suddenly not two metres from him.

    As in: they wanted to spook him to see what he does.

    And what did he do?

    He displayed the body language of someone suddenly very uncomfortable, and he walked away as soon as he could.
    Notice that one of the Russians stole a glare at him when that guy turned his back and started walking away.

    The guy was British Intelligence, and he was part of a stakeout.
    In which case the Brits knew that Boshirov and Petrov were in Salisbury.

    • Blunderbuss

      Yes, that could be why P&B didn’t go straight to the railway station. They wanted to lose the goon who was tailing them first.

      • Yeah, Right

        If they were being staked out by British Intelligence then there is zero chance that they could shake their tail.

        None whatsoever.

        If they believed that they were under observation then they would have immediately aborted whatever they were doing and would have returned to their hotel, gathered their belongings, and headed straight to the airport.

        • Blunderbuss

          I’ll take your word for it. I’ve never been tailed by MI5/6 – as far as I know.

    • Ken Kenn

      Good spot.

      Here’s an interesting question for Salisbury locals with an interest andd Myabe Rob Slane knows the answer – I don’t know.

      All shops these days have to have roller shutters – no shutters – no insurance.

      Is it normal for a coin shop ( some things fairly valuable maybe?) not to have shutters down if the shop is not open for the day?

      The two were seen gone noon ( 12.30pm ?) so unless the Coin Shop was open all day on the Sunday and the proprieter had gone for a nice lunch in Zizzis or the Pub, how do the police explain the shutters not being down?

      Shutters up on Saturday yes- Sunday??

      Any locals got a clue?

      • Kempe

        A quick check on Google street view shows that the shop has no shutters, neither do any of the other shops in Fisherton Street.

        Sorry but you’re clearly wrong.

        • Ken Kenn

          Kempe

          Then if the Russians nick something ( according to our government they are always at it ) by smash and grab then the shop in question will not be insured.

          Greggs pies are nice but not nickable.

          They have shutters.

          No shutters – no insurance ask an actuary.

          Any locals got a an explanation.

          Anecdotal :

          I once street viewed my old house once and to my startled surprise my old Transit van was sat outside my house.

          I’d not had that van for six years.

          Lesson : Always read the dates taken.

          Particularly where Russians are concerned.

          I think they peered in the shop window on Saturday – not Sunday.

          Photoshop’s bloody brilliant isn’t it?

          There’ll be pictures of the two Russians photoshopped with cats whiskers or
          bunny rabbits ears appearing on line if Luke Harding had his way.

          That would be juvenile though – wouldn’t it?

          Harding’s he said she said style of journalism matches laura and her chums – a perfect almalgam of bull.

      • Ken Kenn

        Kempe

        Look at the picture correctly Greggs has roller shutters. the housing is at the top of the window sticking out.

        B7 R textiles you can’t tell due to the awning.

        Superdrug has a door roller shutter and a blind style shutter inside the windows.

        Now fair enough it’s not the Law and it is indeed understandable that the local jeweller and Boots
        as well as Tesco’s/ Sainsbury’s will have shutters and these are big firms> Maybe they can afford it
        I don’t know but I would put a coin shop possibly in the at risk category. It’s not a Dry Cleaners.

        Maybe the Local Authority doesn’t like shutters – they are really unsightly and the owners don’t like them either
        but your premium will be alot lower if you have them and there are a lot of insurance companies who will not
        insure you if you don’t so Mr Coinshop is winging it a a bit whereas the Dry Cleaner isn’t.

        Can you find the Coinshop on Streetview?

        Failing that do any locals know whether there are any shutters on that street at all?

        Where I come from originally even the Chippy has shutters in case of an outbreak of Lard theivery happens.

  • Pamela Storer

    Ten points? Only ten. Frankly he entire story is as full of holes as a huge chunk of Swiss cheese. I could list about 30 points that are contradictory, illogical and unbelievable, only to have readers come back and add more I hadn’t thought of. The entire thing now has a ring of “the Midsummer Murders” about it, and is scarcely worth talking about.
    However, I am curious about this “Plainly the Russian authorities have lied about the identity of Boshirov and Petrov.”
    Plainly how? As far as I am aware, the Russian authorities have merely said that they don’t employ either man, and that they are not criminals. I’m not aware of them having said anything else.
    Could Mr. Craig supply the evidence which leads him to involve Russia in this Saga? On what basis does he so confidently assert that clearly Russia is equally as involved in this as the May Mob.

    • Blissex

      «Frankly he entire story is as full of holes as a huge chunk of Swiss cheese. I could list about 30 points that are contradictory, illogical and unbelievable, only to have readers come back and add more I hadn’t thought of.»

      Among them:

      * The rat-journalists at “THE SUN” etc. have not managed to get into the Skripal’s room at the hospital, they did not besiege the hospital, and did not slip wads of cash to some nurses, porters, doctors of the hospital for telling the story.
      * As someone else remarked, that the Skripals have not been exhibited in a press conference pointing the finger at Putin, or even just allowed to have a press interview with a “loyal” rat-journalist in highly controlled circumstances. I think that they in prison in an MI5 black site.
      * That Julia Skripal in her phone call to her relatives in Russia said she wanted to go back to Russia.

    • Mighty Drunken

      The problem with Boshirov and Petrov is the lack of collaborating evidence in regard to their story. You would think that someone on the Internet would mention they knew these guys and had used their company or know where they live.
      As the same time I don’t believe Belingcat’s theories either. I guess I am hard to please. 🙂

  • Monster

    The mystery of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance loitering for 20 minutes in the sky some two or three miles from Salisbury is a crucial point about the staged managed assassination. Its flight log for that time as erased, according to a flight watcher nerds.

  • Guy

    Of course the bottom line being that the whole Skripal affair has been bogus from the very start .So many holes in the official gov. story have been pointed out that the UK gov. has put any and all further info under lock and key as they just can’t explain the holes without completely losing face .That is if they ever did have any integrity to begin with.
    Very poor attempt to , as usual Russia did it. NOT .

  • James

    Hi Craig,
    Thank you for your continuing work on this important subject.
    I would be interested to know if there was any follow up to the strange case of the letter to the London Times of 16 March. This was widely published at the time (see for example https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning-in-salisbury.html) and then we heard nothing more about it. Or at least I didn’t, and I’ve come across nothing since.
    Text of the letter below:
    “Sir, Further to your report (“Poison Exposure Leaves Almost 40 Needing Treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
    STEPHEN DAVIES, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust”

    • Kempe

      A badly written contradictory letter which has been given too much meaning by conspiracy theorists.

      • Doodlebug

        Dr Davies later rescinded his statement, claiming that bad editing on the part of The Times had misrepresented his intended meaning. Apparently they chose to excise the word ‘other’ from the doctor’s original phrase, ‘no other patients’. (http://www.theblogmire.com/the-salisbury-poisonings-clearing-up-a-mess-left-by-the-times/). Feasible, yes. Plausible, no, since the presence of ‘other’ in that phrase would actually render the entire clause redundant. If that were Dr Davies’ intention he need simply have written, ‘there have only ever been three patients with nerve agent poisoning.’

  • Nemesis

    “A few months ago, I was in truth demoralised by the amount of abuse I was receiving ” says the man who was quite willing to label all “Brexiteers” as terms like “Racist”!

    Do stop your whining Murray! What goes around comes around!!!

    • Garth Carthy

      @Nemesis:”Do stop your whining Murray! What goes around comes around!!!”

      Yes, nemeses tend to keep coming around and unfortunately you are no exception.
      I don’t recall Craig Murray labelling all Brexiteers as racists: Most Brexiteers, I’m sure, are not racists but I suspect a fair number of them are.
      Mr. Murray is not whining. Unlike people like you, he’s keen to expose the corruption at the heart of our political system.

  • Cathy Gallagher

    It’s odd that the two Russians (for we believe they were, and Vladimir Putin testified to their innocence) disposed of the sealed bottle in a charity bucket. That means it could clearly have been sold on. Did Charlie Rowley steal from a charity then? Unreal.

    I, too, don’t believe it could get into the roof. I had a leak in my kitchen which was clearly coming from the flat above. The council worker tried to tell me it was the rain. There’s a walkway above me which means there’s an overhang. So the water, clearly coming from the ceiling, was coming from outside, and then going into the flat above me and THEN coming down into my kitchen, was it? Right. Okay, it was late night, but I don’t expect crap like that! When someone was bleeding, my father (a First Aider) told them to elevate the offending limb. When I asked why, he replied “Have you ever seen water run UP a hill? That’s why.”

  • Robert

    I’m convinced that there are layers of cover-up going on here, as you suggest, Craig.

    However, there are two potential holes in some of the threads of your arguments:

    1) Alison McCourt. You suggest that Alison McCourt wasn’t there by accident. But if she were there by design, she would have known that there was some danger involved. If I knew there was danger, I wouldn’t take my daughter along – and if I had done a “take your daughter to work” I wouldn’t have boasted about it on Facebook. And maybe her presence was “kept dark” just ‘cos no-one noticed who she was. “Occupation?” “Nurse”. “Next, please”. Doesn’t explain the co-incidence, though.

    2) Purity of the sample. It may be that the statement about “high purity”is trying to say that after separating out from the sample the poison-like things, there was only one thing, and no pre-cursors of whatever. The analyst might have discarded bits of onld doorknob and the like. Bit like looking at a field of cows, and noting that they are all pure-bred Jerseys – it’s sensible not to count the grass and thistles as well.

    • Roberto

      No, OPCW referring to the Purity of the sample means the OPCW is diplomatically implying (signaling) that the sample, or purported sample, was doctored with fresh pure lab material or was a pure lab sample, as Craig states in the article. No other interpretation can be supported, particularly since the ‘sample’ would have endured contamination by exposure to the elements and repeated physical manipulation presumably by gloved hands, for days (but why gloved if the source of exposure was not immediately known?).

  • Doodlebug

    Apologies for being a latecomer to this party so it may already have been pointed out, but the Daily Mirror front page of 2 March was ablaze with the ‘Russian Attack 1 Year On’ and ‘POISON SPY IN GRAVE TRIBUTE’ plastered across a large main photograph of a woman laying
    “Flowers for family of the novichok pair still in hiding”.

    A curious banner headline that, as the ‘poison spy’ was neither at the graveside nor in the grave. Perhaps he just paid for the flowers.

    Adam Aspinall writes further: “An MoD aide places tributes on the grave of Sergei Skripal’s wife and son. He and daughter Yulia cannot attend the cemetery in Salisbury as they fear they are still targets a year after the novichok attack. A source said: “Not being able to visit is heartbreaking””.

    The full text of this flagrant propaganda is to be found inside the rag and subtitled, ‘MoD aide lays flowers at Sergei relatives’ graves amid fears pair are still Putin target.’

    Very considerate of the MoD don’t you think? And a Mirror photographer just happened to be visiting the cemetery at the time!

  • Agent Green

    The whole thing was obviously a UK/US intelligence operation, designed as a way to keep the sanctions pressure on Russia and increase Russophobia generally. This much was clear from day one in my view.

  • ramblingidiot

    Agent Green “The whole thing was obviously a UK/US intelligence operation, designed as a way to keep the sanctions pressure on Russia and increase Russophobia generally. This much was clear from day one in my view.”
    Yes for sure, but also I think it was about payback. The Russian state has given the US and its poodles a giant finger by resolving the Syrian war in Assad’s favour. No longer could the Western powers operating a proxy war against Assad pretend to be bombing the Jihadis while supporting them under the table. Also we don’t know what secret willy waving competitions are being run by the secret states of both Russia and the UK which might warrant such a payback operation.

    We don’t know why the Skripals were chosen as the victims, but clearly the choice of Novichok as the murder weapon implicates the US/UK secret police. Its use is intended to allow grossly corrupt UK politicians to outdo themselves in developing anti-Russia narratives, a task which they fulfil magnificently.

    As for the Novichok itself, I’m inclined to believe that its efficacy may be deliberately overstated. As May said, it supposed to be 10 times more effective than VX. What if this is all just propaganda, and its actually just a dud nerve agent product not much more toxic than your average organo-phosphate weedkiller.

    While I believe the UK secret police are capable of the worst types of crimes against the common people, I’m inclined to think they would not use Novichok to kill some people in a built up area like Salisbury on an operation like this unless they thought the stuff was actually, on the scale of things, fairly harmless. What if they made a cock-up and killed say, 50 people by mistake. The anti-Russia hysteria could easily go nuclear if today’s media and political cretins are any example.

    Also look at the famous Rowley perfume bottle. Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of it and so do not know the volume of the contents, but it must in the range 20-50ml I would think but I don’t know. The OPCW report says that the contents of this bottle are neat Novichok, of 95% purity. I am surprised therefore that they are not handling this bottle with a 10 foot pole in full scuba gear pushing their slaves in front of them. Surely, if Novichok is as powerful as claimed, this perfume bottle could kill half of London.

    Another point I would conclude is that the persons photographed in Market Walk are obviously the perpetrators, since the police showed no interest in finding out who they were. By perpetrators I mean the persons who sprayed the Skripals with a toxic substance on the park bench. Why people keep going on about the door handle I do not know. Perhaps it is the residual psychological power of the state’s narrative, no matter how ridiculous.

    Finally I would also argue that an operation like this give the secret state an ideal opportunity to test the boundaries of propaganda, and its control over the media and political class. How exactly do these organs of democracy react to over the top bullshit? How does the population react? I’m sure classified papers are being written about it in the depths of MI5/6 right now.

  • Joiningupthedots

    Personally I believe the UK is waiting for Sergi to die before releasing Yuilia.

    Yuilia is probably unaware of all the circumstances leading up to the hit and her recollections of the event would be of no significance.

    Her phone call to her cousin (if it was genuinely an opportunist call) probably saved both their lives in the short term and her life in longer term.

    The CLINTONS/DNC paid FUSION for the dirty on Trump.
    FUSION contracted it to ORBIS,UK.
    STEELE of ORBIS contacted PABLO MILLER who utilised SERGI SKRIPAL.
    SETH RICH discovered the debacle and downloaded it on a device and passed it WIKILEAKS.
    SETH RICH was murdered in Washington DC for his troubles.
    SERGI SKRIPAL was targetted sans RICH to close the UK end down.
    DAWN and CHARLIE were patsies used by the holy trinity of STEELE, MILLER and HARDING (they were all in the ARMY/MI5 together)
    The poisoning is an entirely UK affair with some sort of Fentanyl derivative.
    The MET took once the investigation immediately, called it a nerve agent attack and slapped a Notice on everything.
    Yuilia was just unlucky to be there when she was.

    The hit by UK SIS was always going to happen on SKRIPAL

    Just an opinion of course.

  • A.C.Doyle

    The Nurse at the Scene.

    Craig Murray’s ‘anniversary’ piece on the Skripal saga dealt with much of the interesting new information that has recently come to light about the related events, particularly with respect to Colonel Alison McCourt and the evidence of news management through the Integrity Initiative etc. It is the former case of the Nurse which interests me most and is the main theme here.

    I don’t intend to deal in detail with the possible motives for this affair which have been exhaustively covered elsewhere including:

    – Payback to US for Steele / British Intelligence Trump dossier.
    – Sochi Olympics spoiler.
    – BREXIT distraction.
    – Delegitimize Russia in Chemicals Weapons matters.
    – General demonization of Russia.
    – Russian desire to get even with old traitors.
    – Etc. etc.

    Neither am I presenting a big repetition of incredible stuff we are expected to believe / amazing coincidences also exhaustively covered elsewhere including:

    – Skripals simultaneously affected despite long delay after the “doorknob” poisoning.
    – Chemical Weapons exercise in Salisbury (Toxic Dagger) at about the same time as the Skripal incident.
    – The amazingly quick blaming of Russia before any substantial evidence could have been available.
    – New Salisbury Police Chief Kier Pritchard appointed the day after the Skripal incident.
    – Salisbury a hotbed of all sorts of spy networks and the source of the infamous Trump Russia dossier and the remarkable information about the BBC and Mark Urban and the Integrity Initiative.
    – Daughter Yulia from Russia turns up in the week of the incident.
    – Porton Down is just up the road from the incident scene.
    – Completely different attitude to risk of the various Novichok sites.
    – Mysterious disappearances of information just prior to the poisoning (e.g. Linked profile etc.).
    – Etc. etc.

    I’ll briefly touch on the odd partial demolition of Skripal house in circumstances which may suggest, or be designed to suggest that there was Novichok in the house.

    So, to continue I wrote here on this blog about 6 months ago considering most of the information in the public domain at that time, and even considered the possibility of Sergia Skripal’s personal involvement in this incident, but did not pursue his involvement further because, as stated, of the massive conspiracy among multiple state and non-state actors which would have been required to pull it off successfully.

    You can read it here (a long read) but that point is covered in the last 2 or so paragraphs.
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/09/skripals-the-mystery-deepens/comment-page-11/#comment-778485

    However, newly available information shows that such a conspiracy of those dimensions was not only possible, but indeed it is highly likely that it did happen. Thus I am promoting the theory that Sergia Skripal and his daughter were willing participants in this whole charade.
    This newly available information is that Colonel Alison McCourt, Chief Nurse of the entire British Army was in attendance at the incident (and this is by far the most important of the new developments). It has already been implied many times here and elsewhere that that the statistical odds of her presence, by chance, at the scene of one of the most bizarre and well published poisoning emergencies in recent times defy belief. If it was not due to chance, ergo it was preplanned. Then not only was her presence preplanned. So, it follows, was the media suppression of this fact. Multiple conclusions from this extraordinary circumstance are dealt with below, providing one of the key pillars against the official narrative of a Russian state sponsored poisoning.

    So, very clearly we are dealing with a planned poisoning incident where the selected poison had to at least appear to involve the Russian A234 (Novichok). The issue here is who did it.

    Let’s now start by working backwards from the assumption that Sergia Skripal was a willing participant and co-conspirator in his own staged poisoning and we can imagine rewards such as a new identity, safe house (possibly outside the UK) for him and his daughter and an adequate income etc. Of course, this is not the only plausible assumption, but is the best explanation to fit the newly released facts of the case which I will address shortly.

    Naturally, he would intend to survive this and would need to see clear evidence in the planning that he (and wherever I mention him in this context, I mean also his daughter) would not be subjected to any lasting danger. He would of course have been aware of the potency of Novichok but also conscious of the fact that the staged poisoning would have to appear realistic. He would, no doubt, have been satisfied with a promise that a more benign poison with a similar short term optical effect would be used on him, and the Novichok simply used later to doctor the samples sent off for analysis.

    Of course, he would also have been aware of the risk that his co-conspirators would, while making all sorts of extravagant promises of taking all possible steps to ensuring his safety and survival etc., might actually hit upon the idea of saving themselves a lot of trouble while achieving their same goals by simply bumping him off with a fatal dose of the real thing. Since treachery is the name of the game in this circle, he would have instinctively taken precautions against this risk by, for example, ensuring that his untimely demise would trigger the release of information/evidence which would blow the whole conspiracy wide open or inflict similar damage. But, on the other hand, he just might also have trusted them. Who knows? As it turns out, he does indeed appear to have survived.

    So let’s assume that the planning for the phase leading up to the poisoning went something like this:
    The pair would go to a restaurant, have a meal and drink then at a carefully timed moment, swallow a pill of substance F, pay the bill and head towards a park bench and wait for the pill to take effect from where they would be found by passersby who would call an ambulance etc.

    Of course, that is how members of the public can be expected to react on seeing 2 people in serious medical distress. But then again it is a bit “hit and miss” and maybe there would be no one around to respond in this hoped for manner. So really, there would have to be some medical help on hand to minimize the risks of something going wrong, ensuring that an ambulance was called, and taking steps to protect the victims in the meantime etc.

    That presents a problem. You can’t simply, for example, make an appointment for an agency nurse to be present at a park bench to deal with a poisoning incident involving substance F at a specific future date and time. Such a bizarre work assignment would attract awkward questions and attention, especially when it was later seen that the anticipated poisoning incident did actually materialize on schedule. The bemused nurse would imagine she was the victim of some sort of “Candid Camera” setup and would not feel bound by any agreed rules of confidentiality etc. Hence, and this is what I have been leading up to, the important role of Colonel Alison McCourt. As a military nurse, she could be trusted to be professional, competent and discrete (well mostly discrete – she seems in the meantime to have blown that somewhat with a later radio interview).

    Anyway, unless you believe that the presence of Colonel Alison McCourt at the park bench at the time the Skripals were poisoned to be sheer coincidence (Craig Murray – James Dyson analogy etc.), and remember, not only was she present, but a planned news blackout on this presence must have already been in place otherwise details of this high profile presence would inevitably have leaked out at the time, rapidly a lot more becomes crystal clear.
    – The whole affair was elaborately staged for a specific date, time and location.
    – The actors were not simply from a shady Salisbury spook network. The Colonel nurse begins to give the whole project an official state character.
    – It was intended that the Skripals survived (otherwise, for an assassination, there is no role for a nurse).
    – Since Novichok is too dangerous to use in doses that would give the right optical effect, the actual substance the “victims” took must have been something more benign. That implies a role for another actor or actors to contaminate the samples sent off for analysis with the real Novichok.
    – That the Skripals were intended to survive must mean that plans must have been made to keep them long term incommunicado (with or without their agreement) otherwise the risk of the whole hoax being exposed would be too great.

    Now, looking at some of the information presented in the past which appears to be difficult to accept. If the Skripals were administered or self-administered with substance F, then the whole door knob theory breaks down. It was anyway ridiculous (simultaneous effect, many hours after exposure, individuals with very different metabolisms, etc. etc. all thoroughly dealt with many times before) and looks like it was hastily put together in an attempt to explain the mysterious poisoning of Sgt. Bailey.

    So how was Sgt. Bailey poisoned (assuming he was poisoned)? If the logic above holds, the Skripals were not exposed to Novichok. Only at some future time would Novichok be used to contaminate the samples sent to the OPCW.

    It could be this. On the signal of the planned public announcement that the Skripals had been poisoned with an (as yet unidentified) nerve agent, that is when all the items, like the park bench where the poisoning was staged, were safely cordoned off and people were sensitized to the risks, it would need another actor, in anticipation of the OPCW visit, to contaminate some of these items with traces of Novichok (It would have been too dangerous beforehand because of the risk of accidental poisonings). It could be that this role was foreseen for Sgt. Bailey and, if that is the case, it then appears he messed it up by coming into contact with some of the Novichok he was supposed to be using to spike the evidence. As an aside, during a Panorama interview, Sgt. Bailey refers to “we” when recounting the activity in the Skripal house at the time leading up to his poisoning. Maybe it was his (unnamed? – I haven’t seen it all) colleague who was the careless one. Anyway and hence the birth of the incredible door knob theory as a cover story to explain away this poisoning.

    Another actor would be required at the hospital where the Skripals were held, and with a similar role. That is to spike the samples of body fluids etc. prepared for the OPCW. Maybe Colonel McCourt was dressed up in her “Florence Nightingale” attire and sent on an errand to melt in to the general hospital hustle and bustle. Anyway, there will have been someone present there to do the necessaries.

    Some other things which appeared odd now begin to fall into place:
    1 Why the Russians have shown only token enthusiasm to speak to the Skripals is that they likely have understood the role of the Skripals in this affair. In other words, Russia is aware of their (in the case of Sergia, repeated) treachery.
    2. May’s dismissive treatment by EU. Of course there could be many other much more valid grounds, but could there be least a level of expression of irritation at her antics in involving these partners in this ridiculous pantomime with expulsions of Russian diplomats etc.? Surely these partners, even if they are unable to work it out for themselves, will have been warned by their own security services that this whole Skripal affair raises a big red flag.

    Now let’s look at the rather odd partial demolition of the Skripal house, inconsistent with the relatively casual treatment of other so called Novichok sites. One of the possible conclusions from the removal of the roof would be the risk of Novichok contamination. But how and why? The source of the Novichok used to spike the swabs has not really been considered here, and is anyway almost irrelevant since it is now clear that it could be knocked up almost anywhere in these small quantities. But of course, it could have been Sergia Skripal himself who obtained and stored it, but then we could imagine that he, knowing the dangers, would have been extremely careful and certainly not splash it around in his own house. So again why this extraordinary, and seemingly unnecessary, attention to the roof space? Well, the obvious explanation is that it is simply another stunt to keep the narrative alive. Other theories have been advanced such a Sergia Skripal had something else hidden there which had to be found, although this must be unlikely since he would have been aware he would never return to the house to collect it. Another is to lay the ground to retrospectively accuse Sergia Skripal of being in possession of Novichok. This would be a necessary as part of a sort of insurance policy in case the hoax became exposed and it would become necessary to present it as private enterprise involving Sergia Skripal and some of the Salisbury ex-spook old boy network. Of course they can’t simply produce a container of the stuff on demand because, at that instant, they’d have to (a) explain why it wasn’t found before and (b) walk back the narrative of Russian involvement. They can, however, later claim that samples taken from the now destroyed roof space showed an inexplicably high degree of contamination.

    Conclusion.
    Of course it all sounds absurd but then what about the official narrative?
    I now believe that one of the actors in this script is going to crack and the key plank of what has been presented as a Russian state sponsored use of chemical weapons on British soil it is going to fall. The tale is just too ridiculous to be sustained. Every time information is released in an attempt to patch over old exposed inconsistencies, the number of unsolved inconsistencies increases exponentially. Once that cracks, it may trigger an avalanche of interest from the MSM, angry at the damage that visibly supporting this charade has caused its (already tattered) reputation and media outlets competing with each other to distance themselves and to correct the situation. But, of course, I have also not dismissed the possibility I could also be wrong. Let’s see. Maybe we’ll be able to see it all in Pinewood Studios production at some time in the future.

  • Agent Green

    Regardless of what may or may not have happened, surely the Skripals are free to come and go as they please? Are they under arrest? Why can’t the choose where they want to go – they might want to return to Russia?

  • Doodlebug

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5467051/Was-Russian-spy-poisoned-Zizzi.html

    Neighbour Mr Puttock added: ‘He looked foreign but other than that, no, he didn’t look like a spy. He never really looked smart, he looked very casual, he stood out because of that, it’s hard to remember anything special about him.
    ‘There were always people coming and going, there was definitely a younger boy living there, but I really didn’t pay that much attention, you don’t until something like this happens. It’s crazy nothing ever happens here, it is always so quiet.’

    I wonder if the young lodger (of whom we’ve heard no mention since) was accustomed to accessing the Skripal loft?

  • Marc

    Novichok on the door handle. Agreed.
    But have you ever left the house with your kids or wife?
    Only one person closes the door! Only one is touching the knob.
    This does not make sense.

    • Igor P.P.

      I think the official theory is that only one touched, but then they held hands. A strange thing to do with an adult daughter. But not much stranger that the rest of the narrative.

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