Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense 443

Once Navalny was in Berlin it was only a matter of time before it was declared that he was poisoned with Novichok. The Russophobes are delighted. This of course eliminates all vestiges of doubt about what happened to the Skripals, and proves that Russia must be isolated and sanctioned to death and we must spend untold billions on weapons and security services. We must also increase domestic surveillance, crack down on dissenting online opinion. It also proves that Donald Trump is a Russian puppet and Brexit is a Russian plot.

I am going to prove beyond all doubt that I am a Russian troll by asking the question Cui Bono?, brilliantly identified by the Integrity Initiative’s Ben Nimmo as a sure sign of Russian influence.

I should state that I have no difficulty at all with the notion that a powerful oligarch or an organ of the Russian state may have tried to assassinate Navalny. He is a minor irritant, rather more famous here than in Russia, but not being a major threat does not protect you against political assassination in Russia.

What I do have difficulty with is the notion that if Putin, or other very powerful Russian actors, wanted Navalny dead, and had attacked him while he was in Siberia, he would not be alive in Germany today. If Putin wanted him dead, he would be dead.

Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a “Novichok” for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from “Novichok”, accidentally according to the official narrative. “Novichok” did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.

“Novichok” is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?

Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.

Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.

Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok

There are a whole stream of utterly unbelievable points there, every single one of which you have to believe to go along with the western narrative. Personally I do not buy a single one of them, but then I am a notorious Russophile traitor.

The United States is very keen indeed to stop Germany completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany on a massive scale, sufficient for about 40% of its electricity generation. Personally I am opposed to Nord Stream 2 myself, on both environmental and strategic grounds. I would much rather Germany put its formidable industrial might into renewables and self-sufficiency. But my reasons are very different from those of the USA, which is concerned about the market for liquefied gas to Europe for US produces and for the Gulf allies of the US. Key decisions on the completion of Nord Stream 2 are now in train in Germany.

The US and Saudi Arabia have every reason to instigate a split between Germany and Russia at this time. Navalny is certainly a victim of international politics. That he is a victim of Putin I tend to doubt.

The UK state is of course currently trying to silence one small bubble of dissent by imprisoning me, so you will not have access to another minor but informed view of world events for you to consider. Yesterday I launched a renewed appeal for funds for my legal defence in the Contempt of Court action against me for my reporting of the attempted fit-up of Alex Salmond. I should be extremely grateful if you can contribute to my defence fund, or subscribe to my blog.

Click HERE TO DONATE if you do not see the Donate button above


Account name
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9


Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations


Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

443 thoughts on “Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense

1 2 3 4 5
  • Jo

    Considering Lukashenko says he has proof it was all a frame up…..might it all be just a dastardly plot by Russia to tempt the Merkel …western intelligence services…and other associated idiots to claim the novichok….so the whole dang lot of them can exposed and ridiculed and the houses of cards fall down ….thus disproving the Skripal event horizon …OPCW etc too..hope so….just in time for Putin speech at 75 celebration at UN… culmination of MH17 trial…..revenge on Merkel and her most favoured guest for not sorting out Minsk and Zelinsky and her promulgation of sanctions against Russia and to recognise Crimea….etc.

      • Simple Simon

        I wouldn’t put much weight on what military (NATO) doctors in Germany say either.

        Simple Simon says: The Russians have blood and tissue samples. The Germans have blood and tissue samples. If the Germans don’t provide said samples to Russia for their corroboration as proof of Germany’s allegations, then something’s very likely rotten in Berlin.

        It ain’t rocket science.

        PS: All western intelligence agencies are blood brothers, so draw your own conclusions.

  • Mochyn69

    This is what I posted on Twitter to answer arch Brit military man Tom Tugendhat just a few moments before you, Craig.

    ‘If I was feeling conspiratorial, I might suggest it has something to do with Nordstream 2, and lo and behold!

    For the record, are we still talking about a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia?

    Which other countries have this deadly nerve agent?’

    As you pointed out previously, ‘a nerve agent of a type developed by Russia’ is a very carefully crafted piece of obfuscation.
    Which other organisations, which other institutions??

    • Ken Kenn

      Porton Down must have versions of this group of poisons.

      Otherwise how can they test/cross reference what was found via The Skripals and Dawn as well as Charlie and now the latest victim.?

      Must be a type of Novichok made in the UK.

      As far as I’m aware Porton Down have never said that Nvichok ( of any type ) was used to attack all concerned.

      The media and politicians yes- the experts no.

      Dawn’s Inquest has still not taken place after all the years.

      • Bramble

        Clearly Porton Down does have the poisons. This was admitted during the Salisbury affair. But so do we all. Mr Murray says novichoks are “a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors.” You and I and presumably everyone posting on this board therefore have elements of these poisons lurking under our sinks, and perhaps traces at this moment on our skins.

      • Sandra

        During the Skripal affair, I remember Boris Johnson admitting that there was Novichok at Porton Down, in an interview with Deutsch Welle, and hearing about Iran having successfully synthesized Novichok in 2016, under the supervision of the OPCW.
        So, I suppose that many developed countries would hold samples for testing purposes.

    • Simple Simon

      You need to keep up to speed. Revealed during the Skripal ‘affair’, a half dozen or so countries have developed it (for research purposes only of course). One of the original researchers even published a book with relevant formulas even, if you can believe it – but only after ’emigrating’ to the US.

      Nothing suspicious here of course. Moving on.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    IN my judgement, the whole ‘Novichok’ propaganda rests on the indisputable ability of Western Publics to believe any lie, no matter how outrageous, simply because the Politicians, the media or the security services tell them so.

    The media is now an extension of state propaganda, there is simply zero critical evaluation of anything these days. I stopped reading, listening and watching them 5 years ago.

    How is it that the West always knows immediately what has happened, yet time and again, months or years later, their immediate knowledge was proven to be hogwash, lies and warmongering sabre rattling?

    9/11 was concocted propaganda from the moment the planes hit the towers. So was 7/7. Salisbury was lies, lies and more lies. WMD in Iraq was lies, lies and more lies. ‘Killing Osama Bin Laden’ was Hollywood farce at its finest.

    We can go on and on and on.

    The time has come to discount everything the BBC says, the Guardian says, the security services say, until such time as honest, independent, respectable and respected third parties confirm what they have thrown out into the media sphere.

    Right now: Pompeo is threatening the ICC because they are investigating the USA. Oh dear, Mr Pompeo, do you worry they are going to convict you and your kind of war crimes?

    Pompeo is tightening sanctions around Nordstream II.

    Pompeo is trying to organise a coup in Belarus.

    Pompeo has probably ordered the EPL to terminate the TV rights deal in China, because he wants the US to steal the EPL, emasculate it or weaken it so that the US ‘franchises’ can take over world football.

    Putin, after a life in the KGB, will know exactly how to bump off opponents if he deems it necessary. He will also know how to set up patsies to take the hit for things the KGB did or might do. So he will recognise third parties trying to do that to him and his Government.

    Navalny has not represented any serious electoral threat to Putin, so someone must come up with the smoking gun proving that Navalny could cook Putin’s goose a la Wikileaks sort of leak. If they even want some kind of credible reason for Putin to bump him off.

    I really laugh at nations actively supporting a genocide in Yemen getting hoity toity about one person being ill in Russia.

    I am tired about the West constantly fomenting coups abroad instead of actively serving the people they are elected by.

    I don’t think Navalny is an important driver for change in Russia and I don’t think Mike Pompeo will be allowed to organise any more coups.

    If Putin were going to organise a professional hit, Pompeo is the most likely person for him to have hit upon. Obviously via third party contracting a professional hit squad to do the job…..but Putin is not someone who goes around the world organising assassinations in the main…..

    Very few people outside the US would show any remorse for such a hit, after all…..

    • Goose

      It was Pompeo who raced to the KSA to advise MbS on smoothing over the growing diplomatic scandal after House of Saud critic Jamal Khashoggi’s embassy dismemberment.

      The double standard and selective outrage is jarring.

    • David G

      I think focusing on the personalities of the figures populating the U.S. foreign “policy” establishment is generally a distraction, as they’re mostly interchangeable cogs in a machine. But for Pompeo I’m tempted to make an exception: he seems like a really, *really* dreadful individual.

    • Tom Welsh

      I think Mr Putin’s view (and also probably General Gerasimov’s, Mr Lavrov’s and Mr Shoigu’s) would be that Mr Pompeo is doing Russia and China no end of good.

      Killing him or in any way stopping his incessant flow of racist, murderous, dishonest hypocrisy would be doing Washington an enormous favour.

      “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”.

      Mr Pompeo is just one long mistake. Since his appointment as SoS he has gone around the world creating enemies of the USA and disillusioning its friends.

    • M.J.

      Are you seriously suggesting that the murders on 9/11 and 7/7 were carried out by the West? Not to mention the poisonings of Skripal, Litvinenko and Nalavalny?
      The West’s suspects are the true ones. 9/11 and 7/7 were indeed the work of Islamist terrorists and the three others are evidently rus-on-rus violence.
      As for Pompeo – he’s Trumps’s assistant, and so follows his “American First” policy. I’m glad that he will probably lose his job in a few months.

      • Unphotogenic Ex-Doune Festival Employee

        “The West’s suspects are the true one’s.”

        Can you see your glaring hypocrisy in the above statement?

        • M.J.

          No! The West really are the good guys regarding the terrorist incidents I refer to, and the Islamist terrorists and Russians are the bad guys. No need for hypocrisy. Since Trump is a complete undesirable and Pompeo his willing assistant, I look forward to them both being fired by the American electorate within a few months!

      • David G

        Rhys Jaggar wrote, “9/11 was concocted propaganda *from the moment* the planes hit the towers”. So he’s not talking about who perpetrated them, but about the deluge of delusions and propaganda that ensued – as undoubtedly was the case.

    • Kenneth+Underwood

      I thought Novichok was rather more difficult to synthesize. And very dangerous.
      A scientist who was accidentally poisoned with it lasted for several years, but he was very ill and eventually he died.
      Good on you Craig for what you do.

  • David G

    The thing is, even if the Moscow Kremlin did murder Alexander Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya, and tried but unaccountably failed to finish off Alexei Navalny and Sergei Skripal, and even if Putin is responsible for poor Dawn Sturgess’s death, that doesn’t mean I want NATO troops stationed and live-fire artillery exercises conducted in Poland and the Baltic states, or the end of the INF treaty, or of the New START treaty, or Open Skies, or that I want diplomatic delegations so eroded by expulsions that they can’t function, or U.S. arms going to Ukrainian neo-Nazis, or sanctions piled on sanctions, or dangerous games of chicken on Syrian highways, or in Black Sea skies, or … well, the list does rather go on! (You would almost think Russia didn’t get its money’s worth when it bought the U.S. presidency with those Facebook ads.)

    My point isn’t to give credibility to the Western propaganda narrative, but rather to note that even if it is true (or if you prefer, even if it *were* true), that doesn’t justify a belligerent and possibly ruinous foreign policy.

    I’ve sometimes tried to make this point with respect to Iraq and the good old WMDs way back when, but it usually gets sidetracked by the plentiful omniscients on the internet explaining that they absolutely *knew* Saddam didn’t have those arms. And maybe they did know, and maybe so did I, but to focus exclusively on that allows the syllogism to go unchallenged that the war was legitimate and advisable in response to the alleged presence of the WMDs. It wasn’t, and wouldn’t have been even if they had been real.

    Similarly, even if Putin is the murdering bastard they say he is, that doesn’t obviate the need to find a way to live on Earth alongside Russia.

    By keeping that in mind, we deprive these lies of much of their power even before absolutely refuting them, and thereby, perhaps, reduce the incentive to spin more of them.

  • Tatyana

    The UN just began working on the fresh water for the Crimea, I hoped so much they will do something, because 85% of water was supplied by Ukraine and is currently cut off.
    Now the decision will be delayed for ages, I’m afraid.

        • cherson

          I think taking your troops etc into a separate country without that country’s permission would be a good example of an “illegal invasion” and that is what Russia did in the Ukraine and they continue to occupy it.

          • John A

            Russian troops were already legally in Crimea as part of the naval base. There was no invasion let alone any ‘illegal’ invasion. The people of Crimea are Russian and want to be part of Russia, hence no kind of ‘occupation’.

          • Simple Simon

            “I think taking your troops etc into a separate country without that country’s permission ……..”

            Oh, I see….sort of like the US in Syria. (just to name one).

            BTW: The troops were already stationed there. You need to stop reading gobbledegook and educate yourself if you really want to make an impression.

      • Tatyana

        Do you think that cutting the people off fresh water, as in the Crimea, or bombing them, as in Donbass, or banning their language from schools, as in the Ukraine – those are all good ways to make them love you or rather forcing them to obey your government? What’s the purpose of all that, if they really want these regions back?

        • cherson

          That’s pretty rich when you consider the ways the Russian Government has dealt with parts of its existing empire (e.g. Chechnya).

          • Tatyana

            I come from the Soviet era. Here a simplified ideology was in use, dividing everyone and everything into two categories: ours, which means good, and not ours, which means bad.

            The collapse of the USSR and global changes here, liberalization and democratization, coincided with my student time. I studied languages ​​and culture. I learned a principle of social structure, that was completely new to me. The principle expressed approximately “I do not share your opinion, but I will stand for your right to express it”.
            This principle – together with understanding of freedoms, the rule of law, equality of all before the law – fell into the set of other ideas that I learned from history, philosophy, literature, art, religions etc. Ideas and principles that I considered good, correct and highly moral.

            I quite sincerely believed that developed democracies have existed in this paradygm for so long, that new people are born in such a great environment, that this is literally their innate trait. I thought that was the reason why they noticed the difference between Russians and Westerners.

            But what your comment smells of a double standard. Because while condemning Russia for Chechnya, shouldn’t you also condemn Ukraine for the Crimea and Donbass?
            That would have been a commitment to ideas, to the basic rights of humans for safety, for having enough water, for speaking their native language.
            Without such condemnation, your comment is no better than that old cave ideology, tribal principle to support everything “yours” and to criticize everything that is “not yours”.

            We may have a different understanding of the events in Chechnya, but Russians in Ukraine have never blown up houses, and 130 hostages in the Nord-Ost theater and 333 young children in a Beslan school have never died.
            So why doesn’t Ukraine implement the Minsk agreement in Donbass, but shells population instead? And why does it happen in the 21st century with the support of highly developed Western democracies?

            How do you think, is it possible that a developed democraсy don’t see real live people there, but only some abstract Russophone population, which can be easily neglected to demonstrate to “your” people how wisely and successfully “your” governments obtained resources and land for “you” and military bases that will guard “you” and “your” democracy, just in case someone dares to have a different opinion than the opinion of a highly developed democracy?
            Of course, if this is possible, then it’s ridiculous to imagine that such a developed democracy could be worried about the lack of drinking water.

        • Kempe

          Article 56 of the Geneva Convention makes it clear that an occupying state is responsible for any negative developments in the occupied territory. Russia is therefore responsible for any problems related to a shortage of water.Putin should have thought about this problem back in 2014 when Russian armed forces began to occupy the territory. However, he prefers to argue that Ukraine is responsible for the water shortage on the peninsula.

          Russia has had six years to sort this out.

          • Tatyana

            Kempe, sincere question,
            what if they were Crimean Tatars? Suppose they would have achieved independence of the Crimea from Ukraine, let’s assume for a moment. If they were Crimean Tatars, would you also say the same – that their water is not your business?

          • Kempe

            As they would not be under occupation it would not be the same situation under the Geneva Convention but their not independent. The option of independence was not on the ballot form.

          • Tatyana

            thanks for the answer.
            Actually, the point of the question was about access to water. It is clear that the situation would be different under convention, but in any situation people need to drink something, right? So, what is your point? Do you think that only population of the territories with a certain status have the right to drink?

          • David G

            Ok, so if Russia is *solely* responsible for Crimea’s water supply, and the only practical source is in mainland Ukraine, and if Kyiv has deliberately cut it off, then that could be seen to give Russia a legal basis to seize more of Ukraine to restore it.

            Do you (Kempe) agree? And would that seem a preferable course to diplomatic pressure on Ukraine to stop intentionally harming a population it allegedly still considers its own precious citizens?

          • Tatyana

            I think Kempe’s point is that people living down the river are dependant on the good will of the people living up the river. So if uppers cut the downers off the water, so, well, the downers had choice to obey the uppers, after all. Geographic slavery, you see, the downers are to blame themselves, while the uppers are just acting in accordance with the law.

            In russian, such ideas are expressed in a short common saying Проблемы негров шерифа не тревожат.

          • Tatyana

            “occupying state is responsible for any negative developments in the occupied territory”

            Is the occupying state responsible for the evil actions of other states too?
            Then the Nazi Germany is responsible for the USSR invasion into Poland, isn’t it?

          • Squeeth

            Russian forces were already there, all they did was sit on their arses. The US invasion of Ukraine used terrorists massacring both sides. Odd how facile comparative analysis leaves the emperor with no clothes.

        • Julia Gibb

          You mean like England did in Ireland or Wales for example?
          Explain the difference between England invading Wales and then placing settlers and Cromwell crushing Ireland and placing settlers in the North ( cause of conflict to this day) with China invading Tibet.

          Does an act cease to be wrong after 25 years, 100 years, 500 years.

          History has shown that “if you get away with it” then after a period of time it is accepted. I don’t say it is right, just a fact.
          Ask the aboriginal people and native Americans about their rights.

          • Tatyana

            For some reason, the Tatars are considered the indigenous population of the Crimea, apparently because they came from their Tatarstan in the 15th century and kept their foreign turkic islamic power over this european christian region for about 300 years.
            Or Ukraine, to which the Soviet Union signed this land, please note, the autonomous region.

            But the question is, while governments and historians are arguing about the ownership, the people living on this land need water. Whatever their political views, whatever their ethnicity – russians, ukrainians, tatars – all of them need water.

      • Simple Simon

        “I wonder why they cut it off…perhaps there was an illegal invasion?”

        No, because it was an illegal coup d’etat and Crimea was NATO’s last piece of the puzzle (Georgia excepted) in turning the Black Sea into a NATO lake.

        BTW: Would you care to explain how Crimea’s unilateral secession as an autonomous republic (I’ll even grant the extra-constitutional part for sake of argument) was any less legitimate than Slovenia’s unilateral and definitely extra-constitutional secession from Yugoslavia, which BTW: triggered a mind-boggling litany of Balkan wars?

        I would argue that Crimea’s secession was in actual fact MORE legitimate than Slovenia’s. Care to debate?

  • Mistral

    This guy was a big nothing burger. If he posed a threat he would be dead. Alternatively left to rot in jail. Like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a western stooge. I’m assuming the tests were not done in a transparent manner and the public should take the allegations with great reservation. It is a big costly operation for the state to remove someone and I cannot see this guy had the value to justify that operation, especially when he could have been run over and killed with a transit van. Like the Russian said, this guy has less value than an animal. Kill this guy and the carcass is worth nothing. Kill a pig or a chicken and you can sell it for something.

    • Blissex

      «Like Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a western stooge»

      Perhaps now, but his story has a quite different flavor: the “oligarchs” were created by the deep russian state as “holders” of the state’s assets so they would not be stolen by foreigners. The idea is that they would enjoy the profits while being in effect frontmen for the “deep state”.

      Khodorkovsky decided that being a fabulously well paid frontman was not enough for him, and tried to take real power away from the “deep state”, to become a boss instead of a frontman, and to do so he also looked for american allies, showing he was willing to trade to them some of the assets entrusted to him, thus betraying his number one role, which was to keep foreigners away from russian assets; that he was the frontman for hydrocarbon assets was particularly bad.

      • Blissex

        «being a fabulously well paid frontman was not enough for him, and tried to take real power away from the “deep state”, to become a boss instead of a frontman»

        That is: in Russia the state controls the oligarchs, in the USA the oligarchs control the state, and Khodorkovsky wanted Russia to become like the USA.

        PS: in the UK he oligarchs *are* the state. The same network of upper class families have “delegates” in industry, government, finance, the military, newspapers, etc.

  • 6033624

    I’ve been saying the same since it was first reported. If they had wanted Navalny dead, he’d be dead and if they’d wanted him silenced he’d be in jail on trumped up charges.

    The only ones to benefit are those who want us to restart the Cold War. Or, if you want to look at it more narrowly, you could say Navaly’s own group benefit. Cholinesterase inhibitors are found in eye medication and Navalny has an eye condition for which he is receiving treatment – I don’t know the exact nature of his treatment, it would be interesting to know if his medication is of this type though.

    But certainly the poisoning of Navalny and the Skripals is very odd. Would it not be harder to poison someone with deadly poison and NOT have them die?

    • Baz

      Your last sentence was spot on the money. The only people who would do it this way are the UK and US, why would they want to kill people who are working for them? So they make it look like Russia did it.

      • Goose

        We’re being asked to believe by people calling themselves serious journalists, that the Kremlin’s thought process was thus :

        Let’s poison this guy with Novichok. Nobody will know it was us and there’ll be no diplomatic fallout.

        Completely illogical.

  • Tatyana

    Our news today says that Navalny’s samples have been rechecked in the Sklifasovsky Institute. Nothing! No cholinesterase inhibitor which was originally suggested. No other substances.

    Doctor Potskhveriya said: Navalny’s samples were studied on a mass spectrometer from the United States, which can determine 240 thousand standard sets of substances corresponding to the electronic database of the American National Institute for Standardization.

    No organophosphorus compounds, no substance that inhibits cholinesterase, no any other traces of unknown substances that might be absent in the equipment database.

    The question is, what kind of substance did the German laboratory find? If it is known in military labs, then why isn’t it included into medicine database then?

    • Dredd

      Yes, that story is reported here:–Moscow-institute-finds-no-trace-of-Novichok-in-Navalny-s-analysis
      Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Clinical and Research Institute for Emergency Care has found no traces of Novichok group nerve agents in Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s tests, head of the institute’s poisoning department said on Thursday. “Organophosphorus compounds [group that Novichok belongs to], as well as drugs that inhibit cholinesterase, were not found in the body fluids tests,” stated Mikhail Potskhveria, chief of the Acute Poisonings Treatment Department in Sklifosovsky Clinical and Research Institute.

      But of course their findings aren’t being universally welcomed:
      On Wednesday, Russia’s Sklifosovsky toxicology institute said “poisoning substances were not found” in Navalny’s samples, according to Russian news agencies. The official denial was slammed by Navalny’s personal physician, Anastasia Vasilyeva, as “completely absurd” because bedsheets and clothes were not tested.

      Maybe there might be a trace of Novichok in his underwear? Apparently it can pass through somebody, poisoning them in the process, and then exit via their skin to surrounding fabric. It’s quite a remarkable substance.

    • Kempe

      ” Our news today says that Navalny’s samples have been rechecked in the Sklifasovsky Institute. Nothing! No cholinesterase inhibitor which was originally suggested. No other substances. “

      What else would you expect?

      Something made him ill.

        • Kempe

          A mass spectrometer is not needed to detect hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) any competent first aider should’ve recognised the symptoms and the treatment is quite straightforward; get some sugar inside the patient. I’ve done it myself and there was a nurse onboard the aircraft and cabin crew are routinely trained to deal with this sort of thing. It doesn’t usually require admission to an ICU or flummox the staff at a hospital such that the patient has to be transferred thousands of miles to another facility.

          • Laguerre

            The transfer to Germany was not necessary but demanded by the West. I don’t want to waste everybody’s time by repeating again what has been said many times on this thread, but if Putin wanted him dead, he would be dead and not alive in a hospital in Berlin. You’re really failing here, Kempe.

          • Blue Dotterel

            I gather, the Russians still accept the hypoglycemia angle. They were using the mass spec to try and find what the Germans claimed to find. The Russians did not find it.

            The patient was apparently transferred to Germany at the request of his supporters and perhaps his family, as well as he himself. He was apparently therefore transferred when his health would not prohibit a transfer.

            He was free to travel outside the country.

    • Laguerre

      As I mentioned earlier, I’m sure the answer to this puzzle is that the Charité consulted Porton Down, as has been reported, and Porton Down furnished “methods” of detecting novichok, and subsequently novichok was indeed miraculously found.

      • Tom Welsh

        As we saw in the Skripal affair, the “DNC hack”, the MH17 affair, and earlier Tony Blair’s dodgy Iraq dossier, a favourite method is to get all the managers into the loop and cut out the technical specialists entirely.

        Government tells the grotesquely overpaid managers what to do and say. The managers (who sincerely want to keep their grotesquely overpaid jobs) brief the press, perhaps with a nod and a wink or a secret handshake or a D notice, and the press print their stenographic articles. Job done.

        This leaves the technical specialists without much to do except twiddle their thumbs, complain to any of their colleagues whom they btrust not to delate on them, and play Candycrush. But who cares? The taxpayers are footing all the bills.

        • Guy Thornton

          “cut out the technical specialists entirely”
          just like OPCW did with whistleblowers re Douma.

          • Tom+Welsh

            Thanks for that, Guy. I was a little irked that I missed that one.

            But the pattern is striking, isn’t it?

    • Brendan

      Tatyana: The question is, what kind of substance did the German laboratory find? If it is known in military labs, then why isn’t it included into medicine database then?

      The nerve agent that was allegedly used against Skripal was once entered into the same American database but was removed in the next edition:

      “Back in 1998, the formula of Novichok was entered in the NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technologies) Mass Spectrometry Library database.
      The head of the Russian Ministry of Defense chemical and analytics laboratory Igor Rybalchenko told Russian Media that in 1998 he discovered an organophosphorus class substance in the NIST database. The description and chemical properties were identical to Novichok, or substance A-234.
      Dennis Rohrbaugh, an officer of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Defense Command had made that record.
      The Russian expert noted that the next edition of the database, published in 2000, contained no information about the substance. The data was deleted without any explanation. This case is unique.”

      I wonder if the 240,000 sets of substances that the Sklifasovsky Institute tested for (and did not find) in Navalny’s blood included the ‘censored’ formula of A-234. If yes, then the German laboratory found a ‘Novichok’ that is different to the Salisbury one.

  • Paul Torgerson

    I tend to agree that if Putin had wanted Navalny dead, Navlany would be dead just like Boris Nemtsov is dead. The only possible reason for giving a sub lethal dose of “Novichok” was to actually send the comatosed body to Berlin as a message…but then you can think as to the reason why Putin would do that?

    • David G

      There’s no such thing as administering a planned, predictable sub-lethal – but coma-inducing – dose of a nerve agent designed to cause mass death, outside of a hypothetical lab/hospital context, where it could be titred in a microgram (or less) at a time until the subject was at the desired level of morbidity.

      I might point out that this reality is just as problematic for some of the “M.I.5/6 did it” theories re the Skripals, and now Navalny.

  • Geoff Reynolds

    UK government attempt to criminalise journalism….

    RT News this morning.

    ……UK Law Commission seeks to strengthen Official Secrets Act.

    Did you see this, Craig?

    • Tom Welsh

      “UK Law Commission seeks to strengthen Official Secrets Act”.

      Is that even possible? I thought it was already written to render every UK citizen guilty, pending executive action by anyone in government who takes a dislike to them.

  • Mary

    The Sky News version. There is a video on the link which opens to a shot of a Saudi and then closes so fast that I could not see who it was. Khashoggi?

    There must have been a complaint from the Saudi embassy.

    Alexei Navalny: Attacks on Putin critic and Jamal Khashoggi could embolden other regimes
    Unsavoury governments might now be encouraged to dispose of their awkward critics without fear of punishment.

  • Blissex

    «But my reasons are very different from those of the USA, which is concerned about the market for liquefied gas to Europe for US produces and for the Gulf allies of the US.»

    Germany has built receiving terminals for liquidified gas both for ships from the USA and their Gulf protectorates, and for the Nordstream 2 pipeline, so it does not *have* to buy russian gas, it is just a cheaper option.
    The USA reasons therefore are obviously strategic: if the Nordstream 2 terminal is closed, 100% of the liquified gas supply to Germany is controlled by the USA, and thus 40% of the german electricity supply, so Germany’s economy can be strangled by the USA at will; that the USA controlled gas supply is more expensive too is just an added benefit.

    • Blissex

      «so Germany’s economy can be strangled by the USA at will»

      The wider point here relates to the notion of “hydraulic empire”: the USA are largely an “hydrocarbon empire”, and their strategic aim is to control the supply of hydrocarbons both on the production and the consumption side.

  • Blair Paterson

    They are so concerned about accusing Russia and Putin about state killings to remove opponents maybe they can tell us who killed Willie Macrae Hilda Murrell David Kelly and Robin Cook ???? I never heard Russia or Putin accusing anyone of that

  • joel

    The demonization of Putin, Xi, etc, also valorizes the 99 varieties of neoliberals who comprise western “democracy”. Something that would be impossible to achieve otherwise.

  • Carrots

    There is nothing in Craig’s article that is based on knowledge of the events – its all starting off with a conclusion and coming up with an off the top of the head list of ideas to support it. Lets look at one.

    “If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.”

    Off the top of my head… because that would involve a much bigger plot involving much more people than a single assassin/poisoner.

    • Clara Ffrench

      Well you must think Putin didn’t actually want him dead but carefully engineered the whole thing to end up in the situation he finds himself in.

    • Kempe

      If Navalny was poisoned by some western agency how could they be sure in advance that he wouldn’t die on the plane before it landed or that the pilot would decide to divert at all or that the ambulance would arrive before he died or that the Russian hospital wouldn’t be able to treat him? Or indeed that the Russians would agree to his transfer to Germany?

      Like all conspiracy theories it only works in hindsight.

      • Sean_Lamb

        “If Navalny was poisoned by some western agency how could they be sure in advance that he wouldn’t die”

        It does appear that this was a matter of some indifference to them, nevertheless the odds that Navalny would survive were reasonable, if not 100%.

        A nerve agent isn’t a rational choice for poisoning by oral ingestion as it will block the first muscles it comes across, if you breath it in, that is the lungs. If you swallow it, that is the gastro-intestinal muscles. Deeply unpleasant but not immediately fatal. As always a lot would depend on the dose.

        I have never worked for MI6 but they do appear to be fairly ruthless when it comes to liquidation assets past their use-by-date, so I think you may be overestimating the extent to which this was a factor in their thinking.

        • Kempe

          If died he’d never get to be transferred to Germany and the Novichock would never have been discovered. The whole plot hinges on a series of individuals making the ‘right’ choices.Anyone doing the ‘wrong’ thing would’ve torpedoed the whole plot.

          • Sean_Lamb

            “If died he’d never get to be transferred to Germany”

            Why not? Presumably it would be up to his wife.

          • Ken Kenn

            Fair point.

            But – is there a poison that can be used that just about poisons the victim just enough not to die?

            If the tales about Novichok are true – then he should have died in minutes.

            He didn’t the Skripals didn’t – the policeman didn’t and Charlie didn’t.

            Only Dawn did and her Inquest has still not taken place to find out the cause of death.

          • Stonky

            If he died he’d never get to be transferred to Germany and the Novichock would never have been discovered…

            There isn’t a shred of evidence that he was poisoned with Novichok, while the fact he’s still alive is fairly compelling evidence that he wasn’t.

        • Blissex

          «A nerve agent isn’t a rational choice for poisoning by oral ingestion as it will block the first muscles it comes across, if you breath it in, that is the lungs. If you swallow it, that is the gastro-intestinal muscles»

          So spreading it on a doorknob makes the hands go numb, and that was according to one of the most fantastical conspiracy theories, how the GRU planned to kill Skripal.

        • Blissex

          «I have never worked for MI6 but they do appear to be fairly ruthless»

          From the obituary of a top MI6 manager:

          His Roman Catholic faith remained central to him, although in later years, knowing himself, he did not take communion since he could not reconcile it with decisions he made in the office.

          • Tom Welsh

            Apparently his faith wasn’t important enough to him, since he chose to go on doing unforgivable things rather than stop doing them in order to obtain forgiveness.

            “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made”.
            – Immanuel Kant

            “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
            – Jeremiah 17:9

      • Stonky

        “If Navalny was poisoned by some western agency how could they be sure in advance that he wouldn’t die on the plane before it landed…”

        Yeah. You’re right Kempe. As usual.

        But wait! I’ve just spent a nanosecond thinking about it, and I’ve come up with an answer to your question!

        They dosed hiim… with one of a million subtances that poison or incapacitate a human being… that aren’t actually lethal!

  • Clara Ffrench

    The only gainer is British Intelligence. Their wishlist is set out in the first paragraph. I hope Trump is re-elected and goes after them.

    • Tatyana

      The description on Wiki matches the impression that Navalny makes. He is kind of fuzzy, swaying, without a coherent program, changing his position, only one thing is defined for him and only one he is focused on – anti-Putin stance.
      Putin has many oppositionists, but Navalny is the loudest and most outrageous. As Pussy Riot among the real artists, the same is Navalny among the real politicians. Perhaps that is what makes Navalny and Pussy Riot friends.
      Jaka Bizilj said Nadya Tolokonnikova called him from Los Angeles and asked for help with Navalny, later Peter Verzilov called him also. 2 years earlier it was Jaka Bizilj who took poisoned Peter Verzilov, to Berlin.

      • Tatyana

        Verzilov, too.
        Don’t you think that Putin is poisoning too often? With incomprehensible stubbornness, despite the diplomatic scandals, as if it is sheduled.
        Is he stupid? Does he have no other methods? He is a rich man, Navalny can confirm that he stole mountains of wealth.
        Even, ashamed of Putin I am.

  • Tony

    The BBC’s Misha Glenny once said that if Putin had wanted Skripal dead then a gun would make sense.

    I see no motive for that attack and the GRU agents were not wearing protective clothing. And so that story not really believable at all.
    Probably went there to persuade Skripal to return to Russia.

    • Blissex

      «Probably went there to persuade Skripal to return to Russia.»

      Ridiculous: what kind of information can he sell to the russian authorities in exchange for that and a big pension?

      Most likely they were just 2 gay tourists visiting a nice UK city for the weekend, and got framed because they were conveniently there at the same time.

      My best guess about what happened in Salisbury is that Sergei was trying to make more money by dealing in illegal drugs (probably fentanyl), that Yulia was his “mule”/courier (probably on a whitelist of the UK security services as a relative of one of their “retired” agents), and they handled the merchandise poorly and contaminated themselves.

      So if any russians were involved they were his accomplices in the gang with to/from which Yulia was transporting the merchandise, but then why there they in Salisbury at the same time as Yulia?

      Notes: My guess it was poorly handled drug dealing matches these aspects of the story:

      * Yulia was involved at all (why otherwise wait for Yulia to be in the UK to do the attack? She lived in Russia anyhow, could have been disposed of at any time).
      * Both Sergei and Yulia got sick at roughly the same time.
      * Neither died.
      * A letter by a hospital doctor to “The Times” (sent before the security services could clamp down) denied any nerve substances were involved.
      * The roof of Sergei’s house was removed (if not as a distraction, his attic may have been where he stored his stock of merchandise or the lab where he was making it, if he had gone “Breaking Bad”).
      * If any door handles were involved, that maybe was because once Sergei and Yulia they left traces on the door handle after their hands got contaminated by mishandling the merchandise.
      * Both Sergei and Yulia are being “hidden” (imprisoned for drug dealing) instead of giving constant press conferences bursting out in tears describing how Putin tried to kill them.
      * There have been (AFAIK) zero attempts by the tabloids to get a sensational interview with them, with any of the hospital staff, etc.

      If the ridiculous later story of the sealed perfume bottle has any reality, perhaps Yulia transported or intended to transport the merchandise disguised as a couple of perfume bottles, and once they got contaminated she and Sergei disposed of the other bottle, but putting it in a recycle bin makes little sense, unless they were already confused by the contamination.

      • Steve Hayes

        Remember that Skripal’s house wasn’t isolated or investigated until 28 days after the incident, despite the supposedly poisoned doorknob and the nearby playground. When they entered the house, they found two pets; one dead from neglect and the other couldn’t be saved. No suggestion either was poisoned. I reckon they knew all along there was nothing in the house or on the doorknob but questions started being asked and they decided some theatre was called for.

        • Blissex

          «Skripal’s house wasn’t isolated or investigated until 28 days after the incident, […] decided some theatre was called for.»

          Indeed “distraction” is the most likely explanation, but it could also be that Sergei told them that the stock of merchandise or the lab to make it were not an immediate danger, so getting rid of them could be left to later.
          But I guess that whatever the details the frequently changed conspiracy theories by the Conservative government about the Skripal affair look to most of us as some of the most improbable and weird around. As to why the Conservatives would use such ridiculous conspiracy theories I have two guesses:

          * Even basic plausibility does not matter, the only thing that matters for propaganda purposes is the endless repetition of accusations, as in the Salmond affair, for example. Throw enough mud and some of it sticks.

          * It was also or even mainly a “loyalty test”, to check whether “aligned” media, politicians, etc., would repeat such weird and improbable conspiracy theories out of dedication to their masters.

          Both goals have been successfully reached: a lot of the public who don’t have time to read the details of the story seem to believe the propaganda, and the “aligned” media, politicians, etc. have amply demonstrated their dedication in repeating it.

      • Cubby

        Note to moderator.

        It is a comment re Craigs two recent posts.

        [ Mod: But it has nothing to do with Novichok, Navalny, or Nordstream – i.e. the subject of the article under which it was posted. Therefore: off-topic. ]

        • Cubby

          Note to moderator

          I didn’t expect an explanation but many thanks for making the effort. Thanks again for letting me know that some other posters do not appreciate my comments at times. It is not something new to me but I do try to stay within your guidelines. Kind regards.

    • Mary

      We collectively knew much of that about Milord and Milady Arbuthnot and their multiple connections. I am glad that the Daily Maverick included the pair’s connections to the little democracy in the Middle East.

      Poor Julian in his torment.

    • cimarrón

      The Henry Jackson Society is a terrorist organisation

      The Henry Jackson Society has a mindset that is “almost messianic in its delusional belief that it can override every single norm of international law, every single norm of criminal law, and of national law”.

      (Adapted from Stevie Boy’s link above.)

  • Jo

    N was being treated in Omsk hospital for 44 hours….he would have been washed down several times surely… how can Germany say they found the chemical on his skin? Presumably they refer to his hands as supposedly it has been found on a bottle he drank from…..people wipe their hands on their mouth….the aeroplane furniture toilet handle seat belt etc would have been contaminated so too anyone else touching those and touching N hands as they were dealing with him…….

    • Stevie Boy

      Common sense and logic do not apply in this brave new world. The Germans found Novichok on Navalny because the CIA/MI6 told them they did.

  • Tatyana

    they published it! conversation between Warsaw and Berlin on Navalny! 🙂 🙂 Russian news cite Belorussian source

    – Hello, Nick. How are we doing?

    – Everything seems to be according to the plan. Materials on Navalny are ready. Will be transferred to the Chancellor’s office. We are awaiting her statement.

    – Is the poisoning confirmed exactly?

    – Look, Mike, it’s not that important in this case. There is a war going on. And during the war, all sorts of methods are good.

    – I agree. It is necessary to discourage Putin from sticking his nose into the affairs of Belarus. The most effective way is to drown him in the problems of Russia, and there are many of them. Moreover, in the near future they will have elections, voting day in the regions of Russia.

    – This is what we are working on. How are you doing in Belarus?

    – Frankly, not very good. President Lukashenko has proved to be a tough nut to crack. They are professional and organized. It is clear that Russia supports them. The officials and the military are loyal to the president. Still we are working. The rest is at the meeting, not by phone.

    – Yes, I understand. Then see you, bye

    • Sean_Lamb

      That is glorious. Belarussian phone taps ought to become a new genre.

      Hi Nick, how are the Brexit negotiations going?

      Not good, Boris is insisting on his exclusive fishing rights. Is there any chance we could get Lukashenko to have a word with him?

      Not sure, Nick. But we all know how much clout Lukashenko has on the world stage. If only we could get him onside the British would fold like a pack of cards.

      Got any plans for the weekend?

      Actually Nick, yes. Thinking of heading over to Mogilev. Nothing rocks like Mogilev on a Saturday night. Lukashenko has turned it into a modern vibrant European cultural center. It is probably why the people all love him

  • Robyn

    Interesting – the international concern at government level for Navalny compared with concern by the same mob for Assange.

  • Huw Manoid

    If the Russian Presisdent ordered the FSB or GRU to elimate a target inside the borders of Russia and the operatives just upped and shot the target in Siberia, even if they failed and only wounded the target, it would be an entirely Russian internal matter and nothing to do with the rest of the world (apart from stern words from the west) such as in any other country where political assassinations or just plain state murder of “problem” people have been attempted, many times successfully.
    How lucky then that the Russian president decides to ignore the method that would allow him simply thumb his nose at the west even if it was bang to rights proveable he was responsible, and to employ the use of a world prohibited nerve agent, not kill the target, then allow the target to leave Russia and let the rest of the world find proof of his guilt.
    After the German doctors declared novichock poisoning, Germany immediately briefed NATO members and Jens Stoltenberg stands up and says (paraphrasing): “the use of a nerve agent in any country is an international crime and it requires an internation response” Phew! thats lucky, Putin chooses the one method of assassination that would allow NATO to to start rattling it’s sabres and pushing for further action. Funny how the same thing happened to Assad. It seems that those countries the west don’t like just can’t resist using the one weapon guaranteed to bring NATO, the west, the UN together in opposition in military action or economic sanctions

    • Tatyana

      “that would allow NATO to to start rattling it’s sabres and pushing for further action”

      Agree on that.

      Moscow, September 4, 2020
      “Eight Su-27 and Su-30 fighters intercepted Boeing B-52H Stratofortress bombers over the Black Sea, the National Defense Control Center said … The B-52H is a bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons
      PlaneRadar reported that the US Air Force planes left the Fairford base, passed through the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, and then approached the Crimea from Ukraine…
      the activity … has sharply increased near Russia… Moscow … called on Washington to abandon such flights. The American authorities refused this request.”

      • Blissex

        «After the German doctors declared novichock poisoning»

        There is a big subtlety about that: they didn’t :-). They declared that some tests they did gave some results that might have been compatible with poisoning by something that might affect the nervous system. Also because “novichok” is the name not of a substance, but of a research programme involving many (but apparently similar, as in similar to pesticides) substances.

        «Jens Stoltenberg stands up and says (paraphrasing): “the use of a nerve agent in any country is an international crime and it requires an internation response”»

        But it’s not an international crime, only a treaty violation, and the treaty has provisions for its violations, and among other curiosities Israel is not a signatory to the treaty, and is reported to have a large chemical weapon capability.

        The ancient romans had a propaganda doctrine of “justum bellum” (justified war), where instead they were just rapacious; it is amazing how long it has survived.

  • lawrenceab

    I hear the latest Russian joke doing the rounds is:
    “The Russian Covid vaccine has a 50% success rate. We tested it on Putin’s daughter and Navalny.”

  • Yeah, Right

    Here are two irrefutable facts:
    a) Navalny fell ill during that flight across Russia
    b) Navalny has not died from that illness, whatever it might be.

    Taken together those two facts means that this sentence can not possibly be true: “Novichok is the deadliest nerve agent known, and the Russians slipped some of it into Navalny’s tea!!!!!”

    Either Novichok is uber-uber deadly, in which case Navalny’s continued breathing attests to the fact that whatever ails him, it hasn’t been induced by slipping some Novichok into his tea.

    Or Navalny really was poisoned with Novichok, in which case his failure to expire means that Novichok has nothing like the super-deadly characteristics that have been claimed by the Western media.

    You can have one, or you can have the other, but you can’t have both.

    • Tatyana

      Guy Thornton, thanks for the link! I googled for Yulia Navalnaya’s parents:
      Father Boris Borisovich Abrosimov, counter-intelligence officer, worked in the UK at the Russian Embassy.
      The mother’s name is unknown, as well as the rest of the information. But Lyudmila Narusova (the widow of Anatoly Sobchak) called her a “diamond billionaire.”

      So, maybe my guess about the financial background of this whole story is correct. Perhaps it’s to avoid investigation into property and finances of his family?

  • Guy Thornton

    “cut out the technical specialists entirely”

    just like OPCW did with whistleblowers re Douma.

    • Blissex

      «Why would they keep using novichok when it doesn’t work?»

      Indeed, and they should have sub-contracted the north-koreans: as a commenter on another blog pointed out, when Kim Jong-Un’s half brother Kim Jong-Nam was poisoned in Kuala Lumpur he died in 15 minutes, using allegedly a standard VX nerve agent, not one from the “novichok” research programme.

      Note that in that case the two women who were bribed to put on his mouth a tissue imbued with nerve agent seemed totally unaffected by handling it, he was affected only because he breathed it in, and was affected immediately.
      How a “novichok” affected the Skripals after being on their doorknob and only after several hours and not lethally is one of the strangest conspiracy theories around, just like the ridiculous conspiracy theories about the presence of a “novichok” in Navalny’s tea or underwear.

    • Ort

      Oh, novichok may not work as a lethal “nerve agent”/poison, but it works just fine as a propaganda operation MacGuffin.*
      * MacGuffin: “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance”.

1 2 3 4 5

Comments are closed.