“Putin’s Gonna Get Me”. 162

Shakespeare’s heirs at the BBC produced this deathless and entirely convincing line as the climax of the first episode of “The Salisbury Poisonings”, a three part piece of state propaganda on the Skripal saga, of which I watched Part 1 as it was broadcast last night. The other two parts are to be broadcast today and tomorrow, which unusual scheduling reflects the importance our masters place on this stirring tale of the resilience of the great British nation under attack by devilish foreigners. You can watch all three episodes now on BBC iPlayer, but personally I suffer from overactive antibodies to bullshit and need a break.

The line about Putin was delivered by salty, ex-British military Ross Cassidy, so of course was entirely convincing. It may have been more so had he ever said it in public before this week, but there you are.

To judge by social media, an extraordinary proportion of the public find the official narrative entirely convincing. I find myself unable to pretend that does not fill me with despair at the future of democracy. That anybody could listen to the following dialogue without doubling up in laughter is completely beyond me. I do not quite understand how the actors managed to speak it.

Porton Down Man: “And it’s one of the deadliest synthetic substances on earth. It’s so toxic that a spoonful, with the right delivery mechanism, could kill thousands”.
Heroic Public Health Lady: “But if it’s so toxic, how come the Skripals are still alive?”
Porton Down Man: “The paramedics assumed that they had overdosed on fentanyl so they gave them a shot of Naloxone, which happens to combat nerve agent toxicity. Plus, it was cold, further inhibiting the speed with which the substance took effect.”

Aah yes, it was cold. A factor those pesky Russians had overlooked, because of course it is never cold in Russia. And everybody knows it is minus 40 inside Zizzis and inside the Bishops Mill pub. Once the nerve agent has entered the body, only in the most extreme conditions could exterior temperature have any kind of effect at all. Neither Sergei nor Yulia was anyway outdoors for any significant period after supposedly being poisoned by their door handle.

Many wildly improbable stories have been produced by the security services over the last three years to explain why this ultra deadly nerve agent did not kill the Skripals. Interestingly enough, the BBC drama left out a detail which the Daily Mail alleged came from a security service briefing, that:

“Completely by chance, doctors with specialist chemical weapons training were on duty at the hospital when the victims were admitted. They treated Sergei and Yulia Skripal with an atropine (antidote) and other medicines approved by scientists from Porton Down, the government’s top secret scientific research laboratory”

Which is very believable, I suppose, because it is no more of a coincidence than the Chief Nurse of the British Army being right there when they first collapsed on a bench.

Yet in all the multiple attempts to explain the non-deadly deadly nerve agent, “it was cold” appears to be a new one. It must have official approval, because all purpose security service shill, warmonger and chemical weapons expert, Lt Col Hamish De Bretton Gordon was listed in the credits as “military advisor” to this BBC production.

Let me offer you this tiny smidgeon of wisdom, for nothing: when the state broadcaster starts to make propaganda videos that credit a “military advisor”, you are well on the way to fascism.

Perhaps wisely, Part One at least of the BBC Drama made no attempt at all to portray how the alleged poisoning happened. How the Skripals went out that morning, caught widely on CCTV, to the cemetery according to this version, and then returned home without being caught coming back. How while they were back in their house two Russian agents rocked up and, at midday in broad daylight on a very open estate, applied deadly nerve agent to the Skripals’ door handle, apparently without the benefit of personal protective equipment, and without being seen by anybody. How the Skripals then left again and contrived for both of them to touch the exterior door handle in closing the door. How, with this incredibly toxic nerve agent on them, they were out for three and a half hours, fed the ducks, went to the pub and went to Zizzis, eating heartily, before both collapsing on a park bench. How despite being different ages, sexes, body shapes and metabolisms they both collapsed, after this three hour plus delay, at exactly the same moment, so neither could call for help.

The BBC simply could not make a drama showing the purported actions that morning of the Skripals without it being blindingly obvious that the story is impossible. Luckily for them, we live in such a haze of British Nationalist fervor that much of the population, especially the mainstream media journalists and the Blairite warmongers, will simply overlook that. The omission of the actual “poisoning” from “The Salisbury Poisonings” is apparently just an artistic decision.

All those events happened before the timeline of this BBC Drama started. The BBC version started the moment people came to help the Skripals on the bench. However it omitted that the very first person to see them and come to help was, by an incredible coincidence, the Chief Nurse of the British Army. That the chief military nurse was on hand is such an amazing coincidence you would have thought the BBC would want to include it in their “drama”. Apparently not. Evidently another artistic decision.

The time from touching the door handle to the Skripals being attended by paramedics was about four hours. That Naloxone is effective four hours after contact with an ultra deadly nerve agent is remarkable.

I do not want to under-represent the personal suffering of policeman Nick Bailey nor his family. But he was shown in the drama as rubbing this “deadliest synthetic substance” directly into the soft tissues around his eye, but then not getting seriously ill for at least another 24 hours. Plainly all could not be what it seems.

The actual poisoning event, the specialist team coincidentally at the hospital and the Army Chief Nurse were not the only conspicuous omissions. Also missing was Skripal’s MI6 handler and Salisbury neighbour Pablo Miller, who did not rate so much as a mention. The other strange thing is that the drama constantly cut to newsreel coverage of actual events, but omitted the BBC’s own flagship news items on the Skripal event in those first three days, which were all presented by BBC Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban.

Now Mark Urban happens to have been in the Royal Tank Regiment with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. Not distantly, but joining the regiment together at the same rank in the same officer intake on the same day. I do love a lot of good coincidences in a plot. Mark Urban had also met frequently with Sergei Skripal in the year before the alleged attack, to “research a book”. Yet when Urban fronted the BBC’s Skripal coverage those first few days, he kept both those highly pertinent facts hidden from the public. In fact he kept them hidden for four full months. I wonder why Mark Urban’s lead BBC coverage was not included in the newsreel footage of this BBC re-enactment?

There is much, much more that is wildly improbable about this gross propaganda product and I must save some scorn and some facts for the next two episodes. Do read this quick refresher in the meantime. How many of these ten questions has the BBC Drama addressed convincingly, and how many has it dodged or skated over?


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162 thoughts on ““Putin’s Gonna Get Me”.

1 2 3
  • Trevor+Hoyle

    There was, and is, such an organ, bevin — the Morning Star. Unfortunately its circulation remains stubbornly low, around 10,000 I’m led to believe. I don’t know how a genuinely left-wing publication could break through to the mainstream, given that the Morning Star is never reviewed or mentioned on TV when they do a papers review. I’ve emailed the BBC asking why it’s never included and received no reply.
    Your idea is a laudable one but I fear is a non-starter. There just isn’t the public interest. With 99 per cent of the print and broadcast media against him, Corbyn didn’t stand a chance — and he sabotaged his own campaign by giving in to his enemies and failing to support his friends. (Sorry to reiterate this stuff, but it still rankles).

  • Ort

    I wonder if there is a happy ending for the Skripals in this farcical melodrama– perhaps the ending was leaked by a rogue BBC staffer, and is the basis for the recent rumor that the Skripals have been transported (in a good way) to an undisclosed location in New Zealand.

    But I see no reason to fish the Skripals out of the Memory Hole in times like this. There are far more urgent matters requiring attention. For instance, do you not know that a statue of Winston Churchill still remains above ground, living and breathing?

    Well, perhaps not living and breathing, but emitting a miasma of entitlement and racism that is as toxic as a Novichok-smeared doorknob. Who can hold an interest in the sinister schemes and foibles of the state-security apparatus while this abomination is allowed to persist?

      • Mishko

        Indeed, the statue of this particular war criminal and alcoholic
        should remain as a warning to other generations.
        Censorship and the destruction of the historical are a delusion.

  • giyane

    007’s comment to a rat , coming out of a concrete drain pipe, One of us smells like a French tart and I think it’s me. Is compelling evidence for the truth of the perfume bottle. The bit I find hard to believe is that the same EU that is currently cowering in fear of Boris Johnson over No Deal, didn’t sue the Foreign Secretary for slanderling French perfume when it had a chance to do so. So glad I don’t have a TV.

    • Laguerre

      Is the EU “cowering in fear of Boris Johnson over No Deal”? That’ll be news to the EU. Or have you been reading too much British journalism on the net, as you don’t have a TV?

  • Monster

    I didn’t watch it, but would love to see how they cope with the case of the bottle of perfume in sealed packaging left in a litter bin for many weeks. And then there’s the aftermath of poor old Chief Constable Nick Bailey, exposing himself and his family to widespread ridicule in his quest for promotion. As for Pablo, well another desk job for him, this time the three-legged South Africa one and the Baraitser horror show that’s about to unravel.

  • Kempe

    ” when the state broadcaster starts to make propaganda videos that credit a “military advisor”, you are well on the way to fascism ”

    Rubbish. Film and TV companies have been employing military advisers for decades. Their role is to see that the military are accurately portrayed, uniforms and equipment correct etc, although you often wonder what they get paid for.

    Not yet seen the series but it was bound to upset some people. What I also haven’t seen is any credible alternative narratives.

    • Republicofscotland

      I suppose on this occasion Lt Col Hamish De Bretton Gordon, was advising how to make a hoax appear more realistic, his name in the credits, was probably an attempt to add any gravitas to what must be looked upon as a farcical work of fiction at best.

    • James

      Kempe – well, yes – the `it woz the Russians wot dunnit’ narrative looks ridiculous. The alternative narratives look even more ridiculous. But there are some pointers. Christopher Steele went completely awol, getting great ideas from Graham Greene’s novel `Our Man in Havanna’. It seems that Skripal was feeding him much of the rubbish that went into the `dodgy dossier’ (even though Skripal had officially retired).
      My guess is that this was a joint effort between MI6 and the KGB – who both agreed between themselves that the elimination of Sergei Skripal and Christopher Steele, who had become a pair of loose cannons would not be a bad thing.

      So somehow these two unlikely looking Russian golden boys got enticed over to Salisbury to provide a convenient alibi for the Porton Down people. Now if anyone says `it woz the Russians wot dunnit’, well, that looks utterly ridiculous for reasons that Craig Murray so eloquently put in his piece. If anyone says `it woz MI6 wot dunnit’ then – well – this also looks ridiculous, so everyone is happy.

      Except for Dawn Sturgess. No doubt, she saw something that she shouldn’t have seen – so there was a conveniently mis-laid bottle of perfume to deal with that.

      Is there any hard evidence that Christopher Steel, Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal are still alive?

    • Stonky

      Film and TV companies have been employing military advisers for decades. Their role is to see that the military are accurately portrayed, uniforms and equipment correct etc…

      Are you seriously suggesting that is what De Bretton Gordon was doing here? Seriously? How many military were there on the programme to be “accurately protrayed”? How many uniforms needed to be checked?

      The guy’s job is to slavishly parrot the establishment line on the BBC, no matter how risible. A bit like yours on this blog.

  • Number Three

    I have trouble in believing any story whose primary information source is from a national security service agency like military intellegence.
    In my opinion, Putin obviously brought this bad story upon himself by refusing foreign help to control his country’s central bank which I reckon resulted into that wave of anti Putin sentiment.

  • A Prole

    This must be new, improved fascism. The type where you have to pay to watch state propaganda.

    Good luck.

    • Republicofscotland

      We in Scotland have been watching on tv British state propaganda for decades now, they’ll never devolve broadcasting because it’s their main weapon in the right against the true.

  • Mick Denman

    It is annoying that the authorities are able to rely on our collective gullibility. Clearly the official narrative makes no sense at all. Clearly the presence of Boshirov and Petrov indicates Russian involvement in what happened, but their actions are puzzling, as you have noted. It seems to me that they did everything they could to draw the attention of the security services, short of wearing jackets with “FSB Asassins” printed on the back. Perhaps they were decoys?

    • Goose

      It’d help if we knew their fate.

      If imprisoned or no longer serving, it’s a pretty good indication they weren’t doing what is alleged. Trump called it ‘spy games’ , the whole thing may be deeply embarrassing for the Russians if those two were betraying their country as well.

      If the whole thing is accurate, then walking down his street and approaching his house in broad daylight around noon, to smear something lethal on the door, it goes without saying that seems like the dumbest idea ever.

      • pasha

        Not to mention that the two miscreants supposedly sat in their hotel room playing with the non-lethal lethal perfume sprayer and spilled some lethal non-lethal toxin on the rug.

        • Goose

          That’s the trouble with commenting on this story and why journos have shied away.

          They end up having to suggest that may have been planted or someone tampered with the sample. Obviously that leads to more worrying conclusions, hence they don’t bother.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Mick Denman
      What did the two Russians do to suggest they were FSB?

  • Goose

    It’s outrageous that you have to raise all these coincidences and improbabilities (and there’s others) and our lousy press can’t do this. What is the point of pretending we live in free country if the press and MPs can’t question authority?

    What are the ‘western values’ these authorities are defending at that point?

    The questions the media should be asking on: UK Chief Nurse of the British army was in the vicinity just at that very moment; the lack CCTV showing the Skripal car returning; Skripal phones both hard switched off that morning, simultaneously; the narrow time window for them to have actually touched the door around noon. The relaxed approach of the two Russians, as if they had no fear of being seen by CCTV, Skripal or being caught, why, if not to kill him, what were they here for? Why, if they thought it a poisoning was DS NB sent alone to ‘force entry ‘, two police women were photographed stood outside that very door in the days after, with no protective gear, this after DS is supposed to have collapsed there, that door was later removed; a door and window there’s no sign of forced entry on.

    On Mark Urban, why does he keep returning to the same Salisbury hospital for his Covid reports? Interviewing some of the same medical people he interviewed for the Skripal poisoning?

    • Goose

      There may be answers explanations to all these questions. But these questions, and the way the Skripals are being intensely shielded(hidden) and given new lives at great expense, and denied the right to speak freely and do interviews or contact family(?); probably as part of the terms of any agreement they’ve signed. Suggest something to hide. UK citizens nor our press owe no great loyalty to some Russian turncoat ex-spy.

    • Goose

      Possibly as a reminder that Russia is ‘a threat’.

      The deep state Cold war revivalists and warmongers know this Covid pandemic has kinda put the whole Cold war revivalism on hold and the ‘terrorism threat’ into some kind of perspective. People might be calling for defence spending to be switched to healthcare.

      • David

        wow, that’s a powerful meme there Goose:-

        more PPE not more Missiles

        a push for good care-homes not faraway color revolutions

        honest politicians not our fascist state-broadcaster/media cabal

        I watched PerviKanal Russian TV news review tonight of the BBC Porton-Panto show, they seemed amused by the sh!tshow

        • Goose

          In the ministerial pleading stakes, it’s probably going to get rough with the economic hit of corona and then Brexit.

          If the public start thinking billions more on defence is completely pointless, when when it could be going on the heroic NHS, that could be seen as problematic by some. Covid deaths have triggered debates in the US over whether spending $719bn on defence per year (2019) is wise, when a virus can sweep the country causing ruinous economic damage.

  • pasha

    Oh, “cold” is just spookspeak for “leaps off the door handle with only sluggish alacrity in chilly, damp weather”. As for Mr. Urban, he was just plain Mark Rural before a career in the tank regiment so stellar that Wikipedia doesn’t even bother to mention his rank, and after nine months service became an expert in the SAS and all matters military.

  • James Charles

    From: http://www.theblogmire.com/the-salisbury-poisonings-two-years-on-a-riddle-wrapped-in-a-cover-up-inside-a-hoax/
    “That two men put themselves and everyone on their flight in jeopardy, by boarding a plane with at least one, possibly two, bottles of the World’s Deadliest Nerve Agent (WDNA) in their luggage. ​(ABSURD)
    That the two suspects dropped an unused package of the WDNA in a bin somewhere, whilst taking the used bottle of nerve agent back to Moscow with them. ​(ABSURD)
    Or alternatively, that they only had one package of WDNA with them, but brought a cellophane wrapping machine to Salisbury to wrap the used box up in, before discarding it. ​(ABSURD)
    That the two men sprayed WDNA in an open space, without wearing any protective clothing. ​(ABSURD)
    That after they had done this, rather than legging it, they decided to spend an hour in the city centre window-shopping and taking pictures. ​(ABSURD)
    That Mr Skripal and his daughter both somehow managed to touch the door handle of his front door on their way out (try it with someone next time you exit your house).​ (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That despite being contaminated with WDNA, they showed no effects for hours afterwards​. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That when they did show effects hours later, it was at precisely the same time, despite their very different heights, weights and metabolisms. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That despite being contaminated with WDNA, they went into town, fed ducks, went for a meal, then went to a pub for a drink.​ (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That despite having hands contaminated with WDNA, Mr Skripal handed a piece of bread to a local boy who ate it without becoming contaminated. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That despite having hands that were contaminated with WDNA, Mr Skripal somehow managed to contaminate the table in Zizzis, but not the door or door handle on the way in. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That despite having hands that were contaminated with WDNA, Mr Skripal somehow managed not to contaminate the manager of Zizzis when he shook hands with him (confirmed to me by a local source). (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That after becoming extremely aggressive in Zizzis, which some assume was the effects of poisoning with WDNA​, Mr Skripal wolfed down a plate of seafood risotto before sauntering over to the pub for a drink. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That no CCTV of Mr Skripal or his daughter on 4th March could be shown to the public to jog their memories, because of something called “National Security”. (ABSURD)
    That no CCTV could be shown of The Maltings, on the grounds of National Security, even though according to the official story no crime took place there. (ABSURD)
    That the Russian couple who were filmed on CCTV camera at 15:47 in Market Walk (confirmed by a reliable source in the comment section on this blog), were not in any way connected with the case. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That the only CCTV the public were allowed to see of this pair was an absurd, blurred, fuzzy image taken second hand on a mobile phone, when they could have shown crystal clear footage from the CCTV camera at the other end of Market Walk. (ABSURD)
    That the Skripals were somehow in Zizzis at the same time that they were actually in the Mill pub (The Met’s timeline shows them to have been in Zizzis from 14:20 and 15:35, which is demonstrably untrue). (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That the Metropolitan Police are unable to put out correct timelines. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That WDNA deteriorated so much after an hour on a door handle, that it was too weak to kill the Skripals. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That this same WDNA, which allegedly deteriorated in an hour, was then found three weeks later after exposure to the elements and after being touched by many human hands, to be in a state of “high purity, persistent and weather resistant”. (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That WDNA, which was allegedly sprayed on a door handle, somehow managed to spread to the roof of the house, meaning that it had to be replaced. (IMPOSSIBLE)
    Yet that same WDNA, 2mg of which is apparently enough to kill a person (according to BBC Panorama), and which causes whole roofs to have to be replaced and cars to be destroyed, can be cleansed by members of the public using baby wipes. (ABSURD)
    That the police cars which attended the Maltings needed to be destroyed, yet the ones that attended Mr Skripal’s house, where the poison was apparently most concentrated, did not. (ABSURD)
    That Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey managed to be a first responder at the bench when the two Russians were on it, at the same time as not being at the bench when the two Russians were on it. (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That Mr Bailey entered Mr Skripal’s house via the back door, because he couldn’t open the front door; but also managed to enter the house via the front door because he was able to open it. (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That he was wearing a forensic suit to enter the house of someone who had apparently overdosed in a park on Fentanyl. (ABSURD)
    That he managed to get contaminated by WDNA despite wearing a forensic suit. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That the numerous police officers not wearing forensic suits, who went in and out of the house on 4th and 5th March, did not become contaminated by WDNA, even though it was allegedly found to be most concentrated there three weeks later, and in a state of “high purity”. (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That the police somehow managed to miss all four of Mr Skripal’s pets (two cats and two guinea pigs), so leaving them to starve to death. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That an air ambulance was called for what looked like a drug overdose on a park bench, when a land ambulance can get to the hospital just as quickly, if not quicker given where the helicopter had to land. (ABSURD)
    That the chief nurse of the British Army just happened to be shopping near the bench when the two Russians were on it. (ABSURD)
    That there just happened to be two Porton Down trained doctors at Salisbury District Hospital. (ABSURD)
    That despite The Met, the Government and the media referring to the substance used as “Novichok”, in their only official statement to a court of law, Porton Down were unable to confirm this, instead referring to it as “a nerve agent or related compound” and “a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.” (ABSURD)
    That Porton Down were able to identify a substance within 36 hours that apparently no other country on earth makes, has made, or can make. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That “Novichok” can only be made in Russia, despite variants of it having been synthesised or stocked in numerous countries including Czechia, Sweden, Germany, Iran, the US, and Britain (Boris Johnson having unwittingly confirmed this when he blurted out that they had samples of it at Porton Down). (IMPOSSIBLE)
    That after she and her father were allegedly poisoned by the Russian state, Yulia Skripal said she wanted to return there. (ABSURD)
    That Mr Skripal and his daughter have never been seen together since — not even in a single photo. (IMPLAUSIBLE)
    That nothing has ever been heard from Mr Skripal since (national security won’t wash – his daughter was able to appear in a video). (ABSURD)
    That Salisbury had its first case of Fentanyl poisoning on the same day, at the same time, and in the same shopping centre apparently involving another couple. (IMPLAUSIBLE)”

  • Colin S Urquhart

    How were the ducks that they fed?

    It’s so sad for Joe public, that real science is so alien and misunderstood, that so few are able to interrogate it.
    Every element of this whole affair seems to be the work of nominated fiction writers. The BBC have turned it into Midsomer Murders, but with the wrong detectives.

  • Tatyana

    I don’t want to seem cynical. So, I beg your pardon beforehand.
    If I were Putin and it came to my mind to get rid of Skripal and of his daughter, then I would pay pretty good money to a man (that pretty sum that his family would not need anything for all their life).
    That man would hit Scripal’s car on the road. Or, he’d have them shot down while trying to rob. Or, he would be insane and set fire to their house out of hatred of the Russians. Or, it would be a completely inexplicable death of two Russians without evidence and without reason.
    I certainly wouldn’t play espionage games with chemical weapons, if I were Putin and the reputation of the whole country (like the expulsion of diplomats) was at stake. Certainly it is not Putin’s goal.

    The main question in this case, so far, is why the disappearance of Skripal’s daughter from the civilian sphere is equally important as Skripal himself. Do not forget that she worked at the American Embassy.

    • Goose

      Other factors mitigating against reckless use of dangerous chemical weapons, include the fact the run up to the summer 2018 World Cup in Russia, which the country had spent a fortune preparing for. And it was in the midst of the Russian Presidential election (held March 18th 2018) – Skripals were allegedly poisoned March 4th 2018. Russia would have known the diplomatic damage with European countries and response such a brazen attack would have led to.

      Sergei Skripal was apparently living at that address under his real name and his house, bizarrely, had no CCTV. It was reported he was even a regular at a nearby pub.

      • Tatyana

        that’s another piece of the whole puzzle, that is not fitting in the whole picture. I mean, it seems like you, people in the West, put more importance into football cup than we, russians, ourselves 🙂
        Perhaps, presidential elections were worthy of espionage scandal, but really, the result of it was predicted and well-expected long before Skripal name became famous. I doubt that another dead ex-russian traitor could influence the outcome of the elections. It’s just not relevant. Where is Putin, and where is Skripal? Ridiculos

        Do you know a bit of russian language? We’ve got exellent humor russian fairy tail re-worked by Filatov, many russian things become clear when you understand the humor

        “We were just about to drink pickle to ease a hangover in the morning,
        When we found out that the English ambassador arrived.
        And all that we have just now in our house left from the treats
        Is a half of a top crust and a gnawed bone.

        Get ready, brother, on the way, get us something to eat …
        This is the most important state affair at the moment.
        You yourself must understand it very well …

        • Goose

          The Russian team did better than expected in the World Cup, as I remember. One of the reasons the population weren’t excited was because the team had been on a poor run and wasn’t expected to get out of the group stage. The staging of the tournament is/was expensive though, it’s not something lightly jeopardised by a country.

          As for the presidential election on the 18th. Maybe someone figured the diplomatic fallout would damage Putin himself? The US expelled 60 Russian diplomats after the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats on 14th March. Other European countries followed suit.

    • Tatyana

      Perhaps, Skripal wasn’t 100% the property of MI6, but, kept to his habit of working for anyone who pays money.
      Perhaps, Julia brought the part of the espionage operation to Britain.
      Perhaps, Boshirov and Petrov came there to control or to participate in the scheme.
      Perhaps, the British intelligence services discovered this operation.
      Perhaps, they only had fragmentary information about what was really going on, and so the British government decided to stop it as publicly as possible.

      But the most probable explanation, as to me, still remains the same – I believe that someone in British intelligence became paranoid and convinced the government that something like Litvinenko poisoning was necessary again. Surely, there were additional arguments “pro”, so Skripaley were used, unaware of the real state of affairs, poisoned with a ‘light’ chemical substance, played a performance with a lot of drama. Just for one’s political goals.

      • Goose

        Probably never know.

        Russia’s silence since and huge error in putting those two on TV, posing as ‘tourists’ ,really played into Russia’s enemies’ hands, if it is all is a lot more complicated?

        Russia hasn’t presented any plausible counter-narrative explaining their presence in the UK; even if they were duped by Sergei and framed, idk? And that’s basically been taken by our media and population as an admission of Russia’s guilt.

        • Tatyana

          eeemmm, I’m afraid that your population has a very distant idea of ​​the mentality of modern Russian people.

          The appearance of this couple on TV was perceived ambivalently here in Russia. On the one hand, if these are real agents, then why the hell did they even appear on TV? Then their story is absolutely, absolutely incredible and unconvincing.
          On the other hand, if they are really just a couple of tourists, who visited Britain on some of their shadow business deals, then this makes some sense.

          And their avoidance becomes fully understandable when Margarita asks a direct question – what is your relationship within your couple? They give an evasive answer “this is no one’s business”.

          That what you define as “Russia’s silence” is not true. Russia’s voice was muted in your media.

          • Goose

            What I mean is, the ‘just tourists’ alibi is so utterly ridiculous it drew laughter on UK topical news/comedy shows.

            And no plausible explanation has since emerged to replace that ‘laughable alibi’, so people draw their own conclusions. Many people in the UK aren’t instinctive Russophobes, they hold no grudge against any peoples, and they’re distrustful of western intel narratives. Just look at the response to Snowden’s revelations and what Assange has revealed. But to be distrustful it requires proof, or at the very least a plausible alternative explanation.

          • Ian

            Really interesting to hear your views, Tatyana, thankyou. Otherwise we do tend to get a lot of stereotyped speculation and weird theories. Having been in Russia a few times, I don’t claim any great knowledge, but I did really enjoy talking to and hearing ordinary Russian citizens views on all sorts of matters. I do enjoy hearing your Russian jokes and proverbs.
            As for what actually happened, we’ll never know, and I am tired of all the amateur detective work. The intelligence services never disclose these kind of events, though no doubt Russian and British services know a lot more about it, and whatever weird cockup happened. Skripal was probably playing both sides.
            The frustration with not knowing leads to daft claims such as the presence of a military adviser on the credits is a sign of fascism. Like they haven’t been doing for decades here and in the US.

          • Tatyana

            Ah, exactly that made laugh Russian audience, too.
            If they were agents, then why couldn’t they rehearse their legend better? They had much time since Scripal’s poisoning, after all.
            My guess is they were common people, scared to death in between the 2 options – either Russian intelligence would find them and “interrogate” or, British intelligence would catch them on their next visit to London and “interrogate”. Thus they decided to do the only reasonable thing – to go public for their own safety.

          • Tatyana

            Also, I think I should add, the answer of the couple “our relationship is noone’s business” made every russian think they ARE a gay couple. That’s why – straight men would say “we are friends” or “we are business partners”.
            Mr. Murray suggested in his twitter it is bad to be gay in Russia, but that’s not exactly what we feel about gays.
            Most reactions would be laughter. Part of people would think it’s absurd thus funny. Part of people would chuckle just because we are not used to openly discuss our very intimate affairs, like children chuckle in a museum when they see a naked statue. There are people who would despise gay relationship and would use hate speech, but mostly somewhere among close friends, not in public and definitely not on TV.
            Our current law prohibits gay propaganda among under age children, that is all that is forbidden by law. Ah, also gays can’t get married in Russia.

          • Goose

            Two gay bodybuilders on holiday, in the UK, in early March when the weather is often foul?

            Tatyana , at least give the intel agencies some credit in their spycraft, even if lies are being told. As soon as those two led the headlines on BBC news and the drip feed of information from Bellingcat started to flow, you knew the authorities knew exactly who they were i.e., GRU officers.
            The only question at that point, was were they patsies in a perfect set-up involving the Skripals and various agencies? Craig’s persistence holding out, on the possibility they may be simply ‘gay tourists’, when most had moved on damaged his credibility somewhat imho.

          • Tatyana

            I see nothing strange in gay couples visiting London in March, and your words about “foul weather” make me smile 🙂 you should visit Moscow in March to understand your weather is tropical paradise 🙂 perhaps it was rare chance, I don’t know, vacation, bonus salary and cheap avia tickets coincided?

            But if they were agents on mission, then I feel ashamed of Russian intelligence. Too stupid for officers to behave like that and too stupid of their boss to not prepare good legend before sending them on TV.

        • nevermind

          probably never know is the right answer, Goose, all this will be myth in a years time.
          i have a hunch that Scripal did something naughty in Syria, maybe to do with the false narrative over the Douma hoax, maybe selling chems or parts to one or other party there.
          I do not buy any of this fairy tale and thanks to Tatyana for her logical thinking, I would guess shes good at chess…:)

          • JohnA

            I think Skripal was involved in writing or a gobetween for the infamous Steele document about Trump and urinating prostitutes and all that other nonsense. He had to be silenced and the ‘intelligence’ branch went for a twofer – silence Skripal and blame Putin.

      • Richard

        Skipal liked money, he provided the information for the Steele report. Steele was sanctioned by the British government to write and provide report by Clinton associates. GCHQ was bugging the communications on behalf of the USA (USA was not allowed to bug its own citizens). Hanigan former head of gchq was in on the act to stop trump, hence his regular travel to Washington by aircraft. Like all spies he could not trust telephone communications. He resigned his position on the eve of trumps swearing in as president. Mi6 know they had to clean their act up quickly, hence the plot and plan to frame Russia and Putin. Putin and Russia were not interested in Skipal, otherwise they would not have exchanged him on a prisoner swop.

        Through the JIC (joint intelligence committee) mi6 shared Their plan with the PM Theresa May. She jumped at the opportunity to raise her profile on the world stage and with trump, without thinking of the implications. The novovchok was all ballshit. Anyone with a brain knows that if this is true the all of Salisbury would be dead. They only wanted to convince the Sun readers.
        When you analyse the millions of pounds that were wasted, over some idiots idea.
        All the approaite people were put in place that weekend, trained medical doctors, appropriate staff working at Porton Down that weekend.

        On what a circus, Dawn Sturgess was the real casualty of this charade a number of months later. A fatality was required and she was the unfortunate victim setup up by her boyfriend Charlie who was controlled by the local police as an informer on the local drugs scene. Where is Charlie now living, one of the five eye countries ? He is safe and has money or maybe death. Otherwise he would have sold his story and raised his profile with ‘Mail on Sunday’

        Theresa May was manipulated by Mi6 she is a lightweight and was out of her depth on the world stage. She took over as pm after Cameroon because no else wanted the poisoned chalice m.

    • S

      I think the given reason is that strange methods are used to send a message, although it is not for us to know who the message is from or to.

    • Vercingetorix

      She worked at the American Embassy? That is interesting. I haven’t heard that before. Um…

  • Dave

    The UK government plotted to stop Trump becoming President with the Steele dossier, but as it failed had to row back and remove the evidence, but in an open and transparent way (like the suicide of Dr Kelly) as a warning to everyone not to ‘leak’ or suffer the same fate.

  • james

    thanks craig… the brits need to stick with comedy… when they try to get serious, it becomes a real joke anyway!

  • Border Bus

    This BBC MI6 Urban guy needs to be scrutinised – We are paying his wages

      • Ian

        In fact the BBC forced many of its presenters to contract through PSC’s. The law was changed in 2017 to make public bodies like the BBC liable to check the tax status of those kind of contracts. Some presenters were then hung out to dry on being challenged by HMRC.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    If I was the guy at the ministry of truth, charged with finding out how successful 30 years of educational brainwashing and 30 years of journalist and editorial eunochritisation had been, I would create an absolutely impossible screenplay like the actual Skripal event. Riddled with such sloppy discrepancies, chronological incompetence and chemistric buffoonery that no sane or rational potty-trained tellytubby would be fooled for the barest minute, I would run my gullibillometer over the great british public. And be stunned by the readings, they cannot be true.
    I would then write my report to state that the fortress walls of the New Republic are unassailable, and the people will now blindly do whatever is asked of them. Go’bless the puppet Terreason May. Job done, nobody’s life matters sadly.

    • Ken Kenn

      It’s a Doco_Drama.

      Artistic licence and all that.

      Emotion first supposed facts way below.

      You would have thought that the good people of Salisbury were running around like headless chickens.

      From what I saw they were mainly bemused and obviously the shop owners etc were annoyed about the lack of info.

      Just sen the second one ( I missed the first ) and only one door was taken away.

      The outer door appears to be the only door analysed.

      Meaning if the naighty Russians had stood outside on a windy and drizzly day sptaying Novichok merrily all over the outer handle. then Yulia and Sergei must have been in the house.

      Probably riveted watching another Doco – Drama on the BBC.

      The problem with liars is that they need a good memory.

      Ask Boris or Donald who can’t remember what they said a minute ago never mind weeks ago.

      Where was a Special Crimewatch when we needed one?

      Fronted up by Fiona and a team of worried coppers.

      Plenty of CCTV available and the nasty Russians were well clocked in HD on surveillance cameras peering into a Coin Shop window and so on.

      Almost like they had been invited by someone or some people.

      They certainly weren’t there to look at the lovely Cathedral – that’s for sure, but if they weren’t there to allegedly poison the Skripals and then Dawn and Charlie a couple of months later then what were they there for?

      The door(s) and Yulia’s colour of hair on the bench is intriguing as she went from copper coloured hair arriving in the UK to being described as a ” Pretty blond ” by the Gym worker and another from memory.

      Yet in the Reuters video she had got her copper coloured hair back.

      The NHS do hair dying?

      Of course with CCTV videos we could know many more things but non had been released and I wonder why?

      Perhaps there were people in the frames who don’t want to be recognised.

      As far as I know Dawn’s Inquest is still on hold so we and the media don’t know what she died of.

      • Tatyana

        Julia is blonde. Русая. It’s another skin and hair type than ginger. If a blonde had her hair died ginger, she wouldn’t get rid of yellow shade. For very long.

    • Squeeth

      “Educational brainwashing”? You need to go back to the Education Act 1870.

  • Ken Garoo

    A minor point: Salisbury Cathedral choristers have a blue-green cassock, some over a white gown.

  • mark golding

    The “military advisor” to this BBC production” is Lt Col Hamish De Bretton Gordon O.B.E. unmasked here in a video by Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice.

    It does however make more sense if one reads Seymour Hersh – The Red Line and the Rat Line, reviewed here: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v36/n08/seymour-m.-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line [logon required]
    Doctors Under Fire and Hamish de Bretton Gordon unmasked – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqg34Bj4ZKY

    • mark golding

      Please note it is not my intention to redirect the thread from Craig’s brilliant observation and gift to viewers here. Craig’s commentary is crucial I believe to our understanding of the timing of this BBC Production that uses a pandemic window in time of control and fear.

  • Crispa

    You are a better an than I am Craig being prepared to watch this drivel. Certainly not something I would want to waste my time on.

  • Antonym

    Another way of looking at this charade is by searching for motive. Both the Skripal comic and the Steele report rag has smearing Russia as motive. The Five Ayes need a Big Bad Enemy to maintain their absurdly high budgets. China is not available for this role as its business with MNCs is too profitable for Anglo and Chinese billionaires. Russia is the opposite: no fast rising US stocks in the offing like Apple, Amazon or Walmart.
    Mi5 & Mi6 are like the FBI & CIA, so interfering into domestic politics is an absolute yes, yes. “We lie, steal, cheat” is their motto. Having all those domestic spying files of the Five Eyes on hand is super handy to keep the local Judiciary and Parliament in check.

  • Andrew Parsons

    The whole thing is laughable. The head of public health character is particularly unlikeable and appears to have no medical qualifications at all. She is just shown as a career council worker promoted way beyond her level of competence. The front door being wrapped up in red and sent to Porton Down was a particularly good visual gag. As was the idea that the whole river might be deadly. Most of the brains in this production came from the worthy people of Salisbury who were not convinced by the pseudoheroic bullshit evinced by the security and emergency services. According to their narrative the streets of Salisbury, the cemetery and especially Zizzis (still remember the name) should be stacking up with twitching and dead bodies. Another fabulous bit of comedy was the talk of burying the vehicles! Apart from the hapless bin divers were there any more cases of Novichok exposure? It’s a miracle!
    I think you’ll find more of the Great British public are sitting on their sofas chortling than you suppose.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      Zizzis (still remember the name)

      Hard to forget. “Zizi” is the equivalent of “willy” for penis in French. Strange name for a restaurant.

  • Dan

    It’s not “unusual scheduling”, Craig. Both the BBC and ITV have got into a habit of scheduling many of their two or three-part dramas over successive nights. When all the episodes are dropped on to catch-up services at once, there’s no point in staggering them over weeks. I believe it’s known in the business as “stripping”.

  • Kevin Broaders

    Hello Mr Murray. I couldn’t resist sharing this on the review site IMDb. I credited it to you. Please let me know if you prefer I hadn’t and I’ll take it down.

    • Kevin Broaders

      At the time I submitted this review to the IMDb site, there were 10 or 11 reviews there already. At the current time there are 18 but no sign of my post. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that even the administrators of a film and TV review site would censor the information and questions raised herein.

  • john king

    Help me out here Craig,
    first of all Im firmly in the “it didn’t happen” camp
    but all the time the fact that two military age Russians were indisputably in Salisbury on that day keeps gnawing away at me,
    why were they there, another coincidence?

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      They may well have been there for a meeting that didn’t happen. There behaviour looks to me as if they had some kind of mission – just not to assassinate someone.

      Who know what was going on behind the scenes. Why was Skripal’s roof removed? Was he hiding something up there? Can you really ever trust a double agent? Double agents for ideological reasons perhaps yes, but the Soviet Union no longer exists.

  • TonyT12

    The latest buzz of the Skripals having moved to New Zealand is interesting.

    When you have a moment, please take a look at this video of today’s New Zealand’s press statement about the two new cases of Covid in NZ of women who arrived recently from the UK via Doha and Brisbane.


    Such a shocking contrast of the Government’s professionalism in NZ, and the sloppy reckless attitude over here from Johnson and Cummings.

    A sensible move for the Skripals.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      A sensible move for the Skripals.

      We don’t know if it’s true at all. Why would NZ want to take them? It may all be a cover story to explain their apparent vanishing.

      Also don’t fall for the “poor Skripal” sob story. This guy sold out his country for money. It wasn’t to protest the atrocities of Soviet communism. His spying for the UK started long out after the iron curtain fell. He isn’t a person deserving of our sympathy. He isn’t a whistleblower who tried to expose injustice, he sold secrets to a foreign power.

      I’m not sure what his daughter, Yulia’s, role is in all this. It seems she may have been, in effect, kidnapped by MI5. But we just do not know.

      • Vercingetorix

        The UK has a reciprocal arrangement with NZ Australia and Canada – you take our unwanteds, we’ll have yours.
        Some (in)famous criminals have benefited from this when they ‘died’.

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