Magic Novichok 235

The security services put an extraordinary amount of media priming effort into explaining why the alleged novichok attack on the Skripals had a delayed effect of several hours, and then failed to kill them. Excuses included that it was a cold day which slowed their metabolisms, that the chemical took a long time to penetrate their skins, that the gel containing the novichok inhibited its operation, that it was a deliberately non-fatal dose, that rain had diluted the novichok on the doorknob, that the Skripals were protected by gloves and possibly only came into contact in taking the gloves off, or that nerve agents are not very deadly and easily treated.

You can take your pick as to which of those convincingly explains why the Skripals apparently swanned round Salisbury for four hours after coming into contact with the novichok coated doorknob, well enough to both drink in a pub and eat a good Italian lunch, before both being instantaneously struck down and disabled at precisely the same time so neither could call for help, despite being different sexes, ages and weights. Just as the chief nurse of the British army happened to walk past.

So now let us fast forward to Alexei Navalny. Traces of “novichok” were allegedly found on a water bottle in his hotel room in Tomsk. That appears to eliminate the cold and the gloves. It also makes it possible he ingested some of the “novichok”. I can find no suggestion anywhere it was contained in a gel. So why was this deadly substance not deadly?

There seems no plain allegation of where Navalny came into contact with the “novichok”. Assuming he spent the night in his hotel room, then the very latest he can have come into contact with the deadly nerve agent would be shortly before he left the room, assuming he then subsequently touched the bottle before leaving. This is true whether the bottle was the source or he just touched it with novichok on his hands. After poisoning with this very deadly nerve agent – which Germany claims is “harder” than other examples, he then checked out of the hotel, went to the airport, checked in for his flight, had a cup of tea and boarded the flight, all before being taken ill. This after contact with a chemical weapon allegedly deadlier than this:

Which of course is aside from all the questions as to why the Russians would use again the poison that was ineffective against the Skripals, and why exactly the FSB would not have swept and cleaned up the hotel room after he had left. All that is even before we get to some of the questions I had already asked:

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 eagerness of the Western political establishment to accept and amplify nonsensical Russophobia is very worrying. Fear is a powerful political tool, politicians need an enemy, and still more does the military-industrial complex that so successfully siphons off state money. Many fat livings depend on the notion that Russia poses a serious threat to us. The nonsense people are prepared to believe to maintain that fiction give a most unpleasant glimpse into the human psyche.

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235 thoughts on “Magic Novichok

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  • iain

    The Russians keep opting for novichok precisely because it doesn’t work. Dont you get it, Craig? Dominic Raab and Nic Sturgeon will explain it to you.

  • Fredi

    “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war …our children will sing great songs about us years from now.”
    – Richard Perle

    People who think like that (above), never let the truth get in the way of their agenda.
    The Russian thing is an agenda, and the first casualty of war is the truth.

    • Tom Welsh

      That Perle quotation sounds exactly like what a top Nazi might have said. It is possible (and often done) to copy someone’s deeds and even words assiduously, while paying lip service to the received wisdom that they were the worst of the worst.

      • Fredi

        “to copy someone’s deeds and even words assiduously, while paying lip service to the received wisdom that they were the worst of the worst.”

        What do you mean by that?

        • Tom Welsh

          For example, to copy exactly what the Nazis did – while talking loudly about how dreadful the Nazis were.

          Or to scold the Russian government for interfering in the internal affairs of the USA – while the US government continually and grossly interferes in the internal affairs of Russia – and China, and Iran, and about 20 other countries.

  • Paul Torgerson

    VX agent killed Kim Jong Nam within minutes as shown by the video. Novichok is supposed to be x 8 more potent than VX agent, yet failed to kill the Skripals and Alexei Navalny with symptoms only appearing hours after apparent poisoning.

    • Tom Welsh

      Just in case anyone is unaware or has forgotten, VX nerve agent was developed and manufactured at… Porton Down.

      Wikipedia can be truly priceless sometimes:

      ‘VX, short for “venomous agent X”,[6] is one of the best known of the V nerve agents and was first discovered at Porton Down in England during the early 1950s based on research first done by Gerhard Schrader, a chemist working for IG Farben in Germany during the 1930s’.

      So VX was “discovered” – much as Newton’s Laws of Motion were discovered, or Neptune, or hydrogen – rather than being “invented” or “formulated” or even “designed”, as we would normally say of a deadly poison deliberately created by highly skilled chemists in a sophisticated lab. But it was “based on” German (Nazi, even) research, so the British probably did nothing much other than prettying it up a little and making it taste nicer. Why the UK government would need or want any kind of nerve agent is hard to understand, since its use under any circumstances is forbidden by international law.

      Incidentally, as Kim Jong Nam was poisoned with VX – a nerve agent “discovered” and made in Britain – presumably that makes it “highly likely” that the UK government, and Theresa May personally, were responsible for his murder. Odd that dozens of states did not kick out British diplomats and demand explanations from London.

      • Tom Welsh

        I’m unaware of any evidence that the UK government ever tested VX on British citizens such as servicemen. (Although Wikipedia does mention such tests with sarin, and with VX on US servicemen).

        Reading on, one sees this: “In 1988, a United Nations inquiry established that Cuba was responsible for deploying VX against Angolan insurgents during the Angolan Civil War”.

        Well, well! It’s just like deja vu all over again. Armed forces fighting nasty terrorists are found to have used poison gas – just like in Syria! Luckily the public’s memory for such things is measured in days.

      • Stevie Boy

        Funnily enough, during WWII the IG Farben building was left intact whilst the surrounding areas were flattened during extensive bombing. It then became the US HQ of Eisenhower.

        • Peter Moritz

          Nothing funny about that:

          “Qualified observers have argued that Germany could not have gone to war in 1939 without
          I. G. Farben. Between 1927 and the beginning of World War II, I.G. Farben doubled in size,
          an expansion made possible in great part by American technical assistance and by American
          bond issues, such as the one for $30 million offered by National City Bank. By 1939 I. G.
          acquired a participation and managerial influence in some 380 other German firms and over
          500 foreign firms…..
          Who were the prominent Wall Street establishment financiers who directed the activities of
          American I.G., the I.G. Farben affiliate in the United States promoting Nazi propaganda?
          American I.G. Farben directors included some of the more prominent members of Wall
          Street. German interests re-entered the United States after World War I, and successfully
          overcame barriers designed to keep I.G. out of the American market. Neither seizure of
          German patents, establishment of the Chemical Foundation, nor high tariff walls were a
          major problem. “

        • Tom Welsh

          From what is known of the US Army Air Force in general, and the famous Norden bomb sight in particular, that most likely means that they were aiming at the IG Farben building.

          German workers actually used to say – half joke, whole earnest – that during an Allied bombing raid the safest place to be was in the target building(s). Some bombs were known to fall over 5 miles away from the target.

      • Fitzjames Wood

        Very good…spot on. I’m wearing a top made in China proving beyond reasonable doubt I’m a spy for the Chinese Communist Party and a perceived threat by the CIA to the US so I must be droned.

        • Ingwe

          Fitzjames Wood – only a top made in China? Almost everything I have is made in China. What the hell does that make me and when can I expect to be assassinated by drone (or hopefully Novochok)?

          • SA

            Even garlick comes from China. But you don’t have a chance with Novichok, you are not crossing Putin are you?

  • andyoldlabour

    Whatever happened to the Skripals, happened at the bench where they collapsed and after they helped the boys feed the ducks.

    • Tom Welsh

      … and where the Chief Nurse of the British Army just happened to stroll by. Of course she can’t have had anything to do with it, as we all know that nurses are dedicated to saving life, not destroying it.

      Even, probably, nurses who work for the Army.

      • Stevie Boy

        If I recall correctly, she was supposedly in the area because of a nearby chemical weapons exercise being carried out by the Military and obviously involving Porton Down.

      • Royd

        Not only the Chief Nurse as Det.Nick Bailey (I hope I have his name right) also happened to be in attendance according to the media. It has been my view that whatever happened (or not) to the Skripals, happened at ‘the bench’. That places the Chief Nurse and our soon-to-be-retired Detective firmly on the chief suspects list.

        • IMcK

          Yes indeed, that something had happened near or at ‘the bench’ seemed the obvious scenario and I imagine many people (including me) were thinking just that. At the same time and for some while after if I remember rightly the official story was that the Skripals were in a serious condition. So it seemed that unless they recovered we might not find out what had happened. That something had happened at or near the bench would have made a logical official story and I imagine this was the intention. But of course that was put asunder when Yulia appeared on Russian version of Facebook and it was splashed all over Russian media. Those dastardly Russians interfering again.

        • Steve Hayes

          No, it was a policewoman, not Bailey. That was reported on TV and almost immediately afterwards we learned of his encounter with the poisoned doorknob. That was poisoned by those Russians almost three hours before they got off the train and that was left unguarded for about 28 days after the incident despite the children’s playground nearby. Please draw your own conclusions.

  • Josh R

    Ridiculous to see this pantomime being rehashed, the dastardly Ruskies & their “super-duper, killer nerve agent that rarely works!”.

    Too many holes in both the aforementioned narratives to warrant blind faith in the offical sauce.

    But regardless of what that suggests about the dire state of geopolitiking we have, it throws a truly chilling light on the possible circumstances around Dawn Sturgess’ death.

  • Stevie Boy

    Let’s not forget the alleged Chlorine attack on Duoma that apparently killed around 50 people and injured hundreds. Must be true because the MSM and ‘independent’ OPCW said it was, just like in Salisbury …
    Thank goodness we have honest politicians and the CIA/MI5/MI6 to protect us, may they all burn in hell.

    • Tom Welsh

      That is exactly why the vast majority of the public – “the broad masses” as I call them – stubbornly refuse to question the official lines on such topics as Novichok, Douma, MH17, 9/11, the Kennedy murders, Covid-19 and a host of others.

      There is a decision to be made: do I trust “my” government and believe that it is composed of basically good, altruistic people who are in politics to do as much good as possible… or do I conclude, mournfully, that the people who make up governments are no better and perhaps far worse than the average person, and have reached the top of the slimy pole by being absolutely selfish, ruthless and amoral?

      To most citizens the second proposition is so frightening as to be completely unimaginable. So they cling to the hope that the government means well and tells the truth.

      “The great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil … therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big”.

      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1971; original version 1925), Vol. 1, chapter 10, p.231

      It’s not widely understood that Goebbels and Hitler didn’t invent the art of propaganda. On the contrary, they learned it from the British and Americans who had been practising it successfully when they were in the cradle.

      • bevin

        “.. the vast majority of the public – “the broad masses” as I call them – stubbornly refuse to question the official lines on such topics as Novichok, Douma, MH17, 9/11, the Kennedy murders, Covid-19 and a host of others.”

        You are partly right. But what you omit is the fact that ‘opposition’, so loud on minor questions and silly lifestyle issues, offers those inclined to be sceptical of ‘official’ claims no support.
        The SNP and the Labour party are either silent in the face of this hysterical propaganda, just as they are silent about the war on socialism and nationalism in Latin America, or, more likely anxious to associate themselves with the CIA inspired narrative.
        To change the current situation and to avert the rendezvous with extinction that it must lead to, it is necessary to organise and, among other things, give up our narcissistic addiction to asserting our superiority to others.
        It is difficult to fault those subject to lifelong indoctrination enforced by the carrots of careerism and respectability, who refuse to judge matters of which they are sure that they know little, unless the case of critics is made forcefully, regularly and accessibly. There are no mass media associated with the opposition and the opposition does nothing to build them being content with superiority over competing and equally obscure sectarian voices.

        • Tom Welsh

          “But what you omit is the fact that ‘opposition’, so loud on minor questions and silly lifestyle issues, offers those inclined to be sceptical of ‘official’ claims no support”.

          Sorry for the omission. I took it for granted that the “official opposition” is purely ornamental, and is in fact merely an integral part of the power structure.

          Its main purpose is to fill the role of “opposition” so as to exclude any real opposition.

      • Royd

        ‘…do I trust “my” government and believe that it is composed of basically good, altruistic people who are in politics to do as much good as possible…’

        I have come to the conclusion that I am not one of those people. History should have taught me that many years ago but I put its lessons aside and trusted my ignorance. One should never trust one’s ignorance.

  • Ian Robert Stevenson

    why would the Russians want to kill Skripal, let alone his daughter?
    To show how feeble the West is to stop them doing as they want?
    If they are to deny it, why would they want to use a method so easily linked to them? Why not find another way?
    Why would they do something which would almost certainly result in sanctions? Are they really worth it to unify public opinion against the West?
    Is it feasible that western ‘intelligence’ services would want to create a new Cold War? Or the Trump administration ? Or even Mrs May’s govt. – although the ‘Intelligence services’ may have by-passed her; in which case we have an out of control agency setting foreign policy.
    Many questions.

  • Mick Milton

    I think that the original story was that he got poisoning drinking the tea. Another story is that they went to the hotel room many days later and retrieved the water bottle which was still there

  • name(required)

    aye but

    there are 5 tears (tiers i know) of novichok
    0 is what the skirpals had
    1 is made up
    2 is imaginary
    3 is weapons grade and explodes on impact
    4 is of course the new 5 and is super duper space cadet grade
    or space force if you prefer

  • Stevie Boy

    Although we all understand that the ruskies are not angels albeit that they appear to possess superior political intelligence to that of the West; However, in both the Skripal and Navalny cases Moscow has asked for the exchange of related data and to help in an open and independent review. This has been refused.
    All accusations and narratives are totally evidence free, so in a normal world there is no case to answer.

  • Muscleguy

    Those of us like Craig who lived through the Cold War find all this rather recognisable. We were asked to swallow all manner of ridiculous crap by Cold Warriors which a glance through Encyclopaedia Britannica would disprove (no Google way back then we had to use dead tree books ALL the time to look stuff up in, imagine kids).

    If you bothered to inform yourself about Russian history (those pesky books again) you would come to understand the Russian desire for a belt of buffer states between them and Western Europe. Why with the Hungarian uprising and the Prague Spring et al they would want to conquer fractious Western Europe was always lost on me. They were afraid another set of Teutonic Knights, Swedish Imperialists, Poles, French Grande Armees, Imperial Germans and Austrians or Nazi ideologues would try to invade them.

    Add in all that history with the Mongols in the early days of the Russ, the tussles with Turkey, Bulgars etc. etc. Of yes and Britain, the US, Empire troops etc invaded at the end of WWII to bolster the Whites. And what are we doing now? Building the Russians up to be bogey men again. Is it really sensible to make the Russians even more paranoid? With NATO now with the Baltics which look like a spear aimed at Moscow to the Russians and they would add Ukraine if they could (partly why Russia has bothered to involve itself there).

    Don’t poke the paranoid bear. Leave it in peace, build up confidence building measures, join the Germans in tying them into trade deals. Make a prosperous mutual understanding peace.

    • np

      The current campaign against Russia dates back to the Clinton administration (1993-).

      After the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bill Clinton double-crossed the Russians by reneging on Bush 1’s commitment to Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand eastwards to the Russian border.

      It’s worth recalling that Clinton’s choice of confrontation over cooperation was strongly opposed at the time by Clinton’s own defence secretary, his senior generals, leading academics and seasoned diplomats. He ignored them all.

      George Kennan, the veteran US diplomat who advocated “containment” of the USSR after WWII, described Clinton’s policy choice as “a strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions”.

      • Blissex

        «It’s worth recalling that Clinton’s choice of confrontation over cooperation was strongly opposed at the time by Clinton’s own defence secretary, his senior generals, leading academics and seasoned diplomats. He ignored them all. George Kennan, the veteran US diplomat who advocated “containment” of the USSR after WWII»

        There is an excellent discussion of this at Matt Taibbi’s site (paywalled mostly), where he makes two arguments: long term geopolitics is not decided by presidents by presidents but by the “deep state” consensus, and while the change begun during the Clinton presidency, with the bombing and invasion and dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the critical plans were laid by Kristol and made explicit in the “axis of evil” moment during GW Bush’s presidency. Some quotes:

        «Kristol argued that the United States should seek to be “a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain.” With the Soviets gone from the scene, the argument went, our “domain” should now be planet Earth. Securing “authority” meant pursuing policies “ultimately intended to bring about a change of regime” in countries like “Iran, Cuba, and China.” (China!)
        America should apply a “continuing exertion of American influence” around the world, rejecting what Kagan and Kristol called “Armand Hammerism,” i.e. attempting to build relationships with non-satellite nations based on pragmatism. Bush speechwriter David Frum was one of the people charged with coming up with the sales pitch for this charming new policy.»

        «When he sat down to write the “Axis of Evil” speech, Frum looked back to World War II. He decided America’s enemies were so crazy with hatred, they could not be counted on to behave rationally, even if threatened with destruction. “If deterrence worked,” he noted, “there would never be a Pearl Harbor.” Therefore, Iraq was not just about convincing America Saddam Hussein had links to 9/11, or had WMDs. It was about convincing Americans “containment” was no longer viable policy anywhere. Although we’d successfully contained a more powerful Soviet enemy, Americans needed to be talked out of the idea that small, weak, “rogue” regimes should be allowed to exist at all. Long-term, we should have plans for “change of regime” in all such places, China included.»

    • Blissex

      «And what are we doing now? Building the Russians up to be bogey men again. […] build up confidence building measures, join the Germans in tying them into trade deals.»

      The long term game of the “thalassocratics” is to keep Germany and Russia in a constant state of tension, to prevent Europe becoming an independent continental power.

  • Peter Moritz

    The indefatigable john Helmer: (

    “In Navalny’s interview with New Yorker he was confused in his recounting of what his first symptoms were on board his flight from Tomsk. He describes full consciousness but mental disorientation; no difficulty with breathing, no nausea, no foaming at the mouth, no paralysis, no pain. Navalny’s self-reported symptoms correspond to no reported case of organophosphate or Novichok poisoning…..
    Asked to explain why he had been recorded as moaning while in the aircraft lavatory, Navalny now says: “I don’t remember those. I might have been hallucinating.”

    • Stevie Boy

      The original story was that he had a diabetic incident – apparently he is a diabetic ?

      • Peter Moritz

        He said so: “Navalny said himself that he suffered from diabetes in 2019, giving some credence to this explanation.”

        I also find his statements confusing: He describes full consciousness but mental disorientation; no difficulty with breathing, no nausea, no foaming at the mouth, no paralysis, no pain… vs. : Navalny now says: “I don’t remember those. I might have been hallucinating.”

        What is it sir? Dazed and hallucinating or fully conscious? Or can someone be hallucinating, mentally diorientated and be fully conscious? I think I am no dazed and confused, but hopefully not hallucinating, but one never knows with those novichocks….

        • Brendan

          That report is most likely wrong since there’s no other source that Navalny said he suffered from diabetes.

          The idea that he has diabetes is just speculation based on the finding of hyperglycemia (blood sugar levels) by the Omsk hospital. Hyperglycemia is a symptom of diabetes, but hyperglycemia is also possible without diabetes.

          A number of sources have said he is not diabetic, from Navalny himself to the chief toxicologist at the Omsk hospital.

          • Peter Moritz

            “That report is most likely wrong”

            they might be, quite unusual for an otherwise well regarded source.

        • Tom Welsh

          “Navalny said himself that he suffered from diabetes in 2019, giving some credence to this explanation.”

          Diabetes is not something like a cold, that you have one year and not the next. According to conventional medical doctrine, diabetes is incurable.

          I actually believe that diabetes is mainly caused by consumption of too much refined carbohydrate – basically flour and sugar. There is some evidence that it can be rolled back or even cured by avoiding those “foodlike stuffs” altogether.

      • Piotr+Berman

        Symptoms were similar to diabetes with lack of sugar in blood, but not fully. So it could be poisoning. Navalny was consistently in company of supporters and his wife, and one of these persons was a women living in UK who was in charge of “investigations” which pretty much looks like British intelligence. This Maria Pevchikh organized securing of the “evidence bottles”. Thus “la femme fatale” became well known in Russia.

        • Peter Moritz

          “This Maria Pevchikh organized securing of the “evidence bottles”.”

          Which they ain’t any more:

          “The bottle, or bottles, were reportedly taken from Navalny’s Tomsk hotel room on the morning of his collapse, August 20, and brought to Berlin with him by an assistant, Maria Pevchikh. For details of that episode, read this. This bottle evidence has now disappeared from the Navalny allegations and from the official German narrative. It was not presented to the OPCW, according to this week’s report. It lacks the “chain of custody” which Navalny himself has now repeated to the BBC. “

          But the funny does not stop there:

          ““During Maria Pevchikh’s pre-flight inspection at the Tolmachevo airport (Novosibirsk city), there were no containers of more than 100 ml in the suitcase and backpack with her, including a water bottle. After passing a pre-flight inspection by Maria Pevchikh, a 500 ml bottle of Saint Springs water was purchased from a drinks machine in the secure area of ​the airport, with which she flew to the city of Omsk.” Additional footage of the check-in and baggage inspection of Georgy Alburov, who was accompanying Pevchikh from Tomsk to Omsk, revealed that “bottles with a volume of more than 100 ml were also not found.”

    • francesca

      I may be wrong, but I think it was Masha Gessen who interviewed him

      “I’m trying to understand what you are describing, using my own experience. Have you ever been sedated with opiates?”

      I kind of think Gessen is on to him
      And also it seems a Russian journalist who supports Navalny politically doesn’t believe in his poisoning

      “You have given one interview so far to a Russian journalist, the very popular YouTube talk show host Yury Dud. I found it hard to watch, because he says you are wrong to think that you were poisoned and accuses you of having delusions of grandeur. And this is a journalist who supports you politically! Yet he refuses to believe that it’s all so simple, so crude, and so cruel. What was that like for you?”

      What I find hilarious is how 1000s of Russians aren’t keeling over with exposure to novichok.The comparison with how Salisbury was decontaminated , thus saving 1000s of lives, and the indifference Russia has shown, no decontamination efforts, no vehicles buried, no hotel demolished or airport decommissioned, or airplane destroyed.
      And on the German side!??
      Where are the efforts to test and track?

  • Ginger Ninja

    Perhaps they were testing “Covid19” on the Skirpals? Both on a ventilator… hmm. There’s so much skulduggery going around it’s getting a bit hard to follow. And honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I feel the cunning propagandists have shot themselves in the foot by pushing too much nonsense too often, now, even in a legitimate crisis (like a pandemic) I feel a large percentage of people just won’t respond positively to any advice from what they see as untrustworthy government. Even the most dim-witted person starts to feel conned in such an environment, though they may not be able to put their finger on why. We see this in America the land of the free, home of the never ending cringe inducing advertising volley, home of the gullible idiot – even they are starting to rebel.

    I’m beginning to think this is exactly the same atmosphere circa 1930. Same players too, right down to the surname in some cases – Europe (Germany) becoming strong, wanting energy independence etc., Bush et al sniffing around at the start. The far-right being promoted in Europe by American industrialists and Zionists. Narcissistic European aristocrats thinking they’re going to come out of it better off (though in reality, like in the 20th century, they’re just getting used like everyone else, they’ve simply stabbed their own countrymen in the back for nothing). Stirring up pot of hatred towards the pinkos. Hmm..

    Craig, you once wondered why the uneducated were able to see through certain “cunning” schemes that there more educated counterparts couldn’t. Being an uncouth ignoramus myself I can tell you – it’s because we start off with the knowledge that we’re probably going to be wrong, we start off by emptying the vessel and with it the ego. It’s zen, man. I pity anyone with an IQ over 80 in times like these – once the con has been revealed they’ll be spiritually crushed and by then it’ll also be too late for them to do anything about it. And remember it wasn’t a dimwit that designed the gas-chambers.

    As usual, apologies in advance for the terrible grammar.

    • Blissex

      «Perhaps they were testing “Covid19” on the Skirpals? Both on a ventilator…»

      My usual guess is that the Skripals were running a black market operation in drugs to make money, probably fentanyl, that Yulia was the courier for her father, and they handled carelessly the drug container and overdosed themselves. This would explain the letter to “The Times” by a hospital doctor, the lack of lethality, the presence of Yulia, that Yulia had a good living standards without a job able to pay for that, and that they have not been released or even given a press conference afterwards (they are in “prison” for drug trafficking behind the secret services back).
      The side question is who were their contacts in England and in Russia for their black market trade. Most likely the contacts in Russia were made by Sergei while he was for 7 years in russian prisons.

      • Piotr+Berman

        This explanation boldly disregards Occam’s razor. On one hand, not everything has the simplest explanation, so in itself that is not a fatal error. However, you posit conjectures to explain something, but it does not seem to explain much.

        Timing strongly suggests that Skripals got a poison shortly before the symptoms. In that case, the evidence of a poison anywhere except on them and the bench was fabricated. That can only be done by an organization with some degree of control over Porton Down, police etc. In other words, Russian siloviki or a local variant in England.

        Your theory would make sense if that organization merely latched onto an incident to convert it into an international brouhaha. I admit that I was contemplating that possibility, but it really adds complications to the narrative without explaining anything.

        On the other hand, I could well imagine Theresa May giving consent to the operation only after a solemn guarantee that Skripals will not be harmed. Thus rather ostentatious involvement of the top military nurse.

        The placement of “evidence” hints some degree of improvisation. Contamination of the door handle was “discovered” with considerable delay. But as I commented before, propaganda purposes are served very well by sloppy details that activate “Russian moles and dupes” that reveal themselves by skepticism and are subsequently vilified as the fifth column. That assumes lack of curiosity in the “responsible media”, something that is empirically verified. Seems that some sages of the deep state did foresee the need for very strained “narratives” and the taming of the media in the last two decades prepared the ground.

        • Blissex

          «Your theory would make sense if that organization merely latched onto an incident to convert it into an international brouhaha.»

          That is what I think happened in both the Skripal and Navalnj cases, and would explain why the conspiracy theories by the government changed frequently and are so full of ridiculously implausible aspects in both cases.

          BTW as a detail I suspect that the secret services were sort of aware of the Skripal’s black market activities (which would explain Bailey being at hand), and were either following them or about to catch them in the act, and were a bit surprised when the Skripals overdosed themselves and the consequences happened in public.

          «the evidence of a poison anywhere except on them and the bench was fabricated»

        • Curious

          I believe the door handle was invented because those two russians had already gone to London (as known from video oberservation, but not after some days later) at the time of “the bench”. Otherwise they would have been the ideal culprits for the incident at the bench.

      • Peter Moritz

        “My usual guess is that the Skripals were running a black market operation in drugs to make money”

        why consider even BS like that? Skripal wanted to go back to the RF, likely a nightmare scenario for those who worked with him especially after his exchange and move to the UK. So – a reason (actually a whole theater production) had to be fabricated to prevent this from happening.

      • Anonymous

        Your theory doesn’t account for the presence of Petrov & Glushkov – if they were indeed conspiring with, perhaps, Glushkov (who coincidentally died soon after) to transport drugs; I think Putin would be the first to call them out by saying they are investigating two suspects.

        I believe the story of Professor Andrei Manoylo (too tired to find link – it’s in russian) who said skripal needed money and invited the Russians to discuss perhaps the idea of writing a book (I guess this could mean intel).

        I guess this would explain why they were set up – perhaps not by western security services directly but by some anti Putin Russian mafia element who were aware of the plan.

        Don’t forget apparently novichok started to be traded in the Russian / Ukrainian criminal underworld after the collapse of the USSR. There was that story of the guy who got poisoned with novichok on his telephone.

  • Matt


    you are either behind the times or lacking in imagination. Clearly you have not seen this perceptive article from the New York Times:

    The conclusion is remarkable:

    “Details about how exactly Mr. Navalny was poisoned remain murky. German experts, who have reviewed the evidence, now say that the Novichok agent was a powder that was dissolved in liquid, most likely in tea that Mr. Navalny consumed at the airport before his flight, said a senior German security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the inquiry.

    Photographs of Mr. Navalny drinking tea from a red paper cup at an airport cafe in the Siberian city of Tomsk circulated online shortly after he fell ill.

    Still, questions remain. German scientists found concentrations of the Novichok nerve agent in Mr. Navalny’s blood and urine as well as on a plastic water bottle that Mr. Navalny’s aides say they took from the hotel room he was staying in the day before the poisoning. This would suggest that Mr. Navalny had come in contact with the poison before arriving at the airport, or perhaps that he was poisoned twice.”

    Is this satire?



    • Matt

      The article plays fast and loose with the official UK Skripal narrative (the same bottle of perfume poisoning the Skripals and Dawn Sturgess) but then they seem to feel no compunction to be logical or consistent.

      My favourite claim is that Navalny’s poison “could have been produced only in a highly secure government laboratory.” The production fails, presumably, if someone forgets to lock the door.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Navalny fiasco is absolute bollocks if Putin wanted him dead, he’d be dead as a Dodo. If anybody or country attempted to poison Navalny it was a Western one or state actors from say Israel etc. The Western propaganda war against all things Russian continues, and you can bet your last Buck that if Trump loses out to Biden, it will be the fault of the Russians. Merkel and Germany are a complicit bunch of b*stards in this sham bogus affair as well.

    I’m sick of watching and hearing on the radio that Russia did this and Russia did that, like the boy that cried wolf once too often the West and its allies, such as Israel are not to be believed where Russia is involved, nor Iran or Venezuela for that matter.

    • Sven Lystbæk

      Why leave out the possibility of the perpetrators being Ukranians as they would benefit by the termination of the Nordstream 2 project.

  • M.J.

    “I am a notorious Russophile”. That may be true of the language, at least, since (if I remember Murder in Samarkand) you spent many months studying Russian and reaching a high level of proficiency. May I ask what textbook or method you used? I have heard of Nina Potapova. Charles Duff wrote one. And there’s Linguaphone on tape cassettes (which I came across in an Oxfam shop).

  • Stuart

    “Excuses included that it was a cold day which slowed their metabolisms”

    ?????!!!!!! Are they claiming that the Skripals are reptiles? Like all mammals, humans tightly regulate their internal temperatures. Unless the Skripals were suffering from hypothermia, which seems doubtful, their metabolism would be at its normal level.

  • David G

    Notwithstanding any Western support that may have flowed to his gadfly protest project over the years, Navalny has now put himself entirely in the hands of the Western intelligence services by participating in this bizarre farrago. Doubtless it will go well for him, being the ward of such tender-hearted and principled people, who surely only want what is best for him.

    Though, come to think of it, the campaign to move him from Omsk to Berlin occurred while he was still unconscious, or at least very incapacitated, right? The work of his “friends”. Perhaps he woke up to a situation where his participation was already not very optional.

  • Ingwe

    Those damned Russians!
    Over 20 million of them killed in WW2 and many, many more suffering enormous deprivation, yet they still want more, tweaking the nose of that peace-loving United State’s and its poodles in the UK,Europe, Canada and Australasia. (Sarcasm alert).

  • al bolger

    Christopher Hitchens — ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’

    im just going to leave this here:

    Nordstream 2 pipeline

  • JimmyB

    Anyone can read Navalny blog at with an automatic translator. You will see that he lists names, personal pictures, private details (home address, car plates) of many, many Russian politicians, state attorneys, businessmen, accusing them of theft and corruption. And it includes pictures of their children, wives, cell phone numbers. Accusations may be true or not – this is beyond the point: he has made himself a lot of enemies, in all regions of Russia. Powerful enemies, with personal armies of bodyguards. It is a wonder how he survived so long – there is a long list of journalists murdered in the West for printing and alleging much less than what Navalny writes. The journalist carbombed in Malta in 2016 is the first one to came to mind, but is only one of many examples. My take is that Putin was actually protecting Navalny all this time, because he is somehow helpful in the slow but steady clean up that is happening in Russia in the last 10 years, but his covert security detail failed in this occasion, and this is why he sent him to Berlin to recover.

  • Royd

    I was a little intrigued as to the news this week that the detective – Nick Bailey? (not sure if that is the name – ageing memory!) is to retire from the Force and why the BBC viewed it as important enough to make mention of it. I’m adding up the numbers 2+2 and perhaps making more of a 5 than a 4. Of course, there could be a most innocent explanation but perhaps Mr Bailey cannot quite stomach the State’s contrivances about this whole affair?

    • Border Bus

      What age is Mr Bailey? I am sure people (who have contributed way more than him) who are having to work to 65 and 67 before getting anything would like to know.

      • Ingwe

        A lot of police in the U.K. get to retire early; especially if there are criminal activities being investigated. Allows them to get a nice pension and effectively stops any action against them. Bless.

      • Blissex

        The police (and some others) retirement age is way lower than the regular one, for usually good reasons.
        But in general the pension rights of “order and property protection” people, like police, firemen, judicial, military are way better than those of most other workers also to remind them of which side their bread is buttered on.
        In the USA the right-wing always complain that civil servants get very expensive pensions, but somehow never mention that essentially all the really expensive pensions are for “order and property protection” civil servants, people like teachers and administrators get not very good pensions.

  • Sean_Lamb

    The Bellingcat troll farm has a new piece on Novichok

    They are trying to come up with an explanation for the delayed action

    “According to several experts contacted by our team, the technique of nano-encapsulation – which appears to be the area of specialization of many of the researchers working at SC Signal – may be successfully applied in the application of organoposphate nerve agents such as the Novichoks. Through this method, experts say, three effects might be achieved that would improve the efficiency and ease of application of the poison. First, nano-encapsulation could delay the onset of the poison by several hours, which may be desirable in clandestine operations. “

    Then Bellingcat descends into gibberish

    Theoretically possible maybe, but then this nano-encapsulation would have left traces on the water bottle as well.

    ” Third, it can provide an opportunity for masking the presence of the active ingredients of Novichok, through the (overwhelming) presence in the victim’s body of chemical compounds from the cell’s “membrane” – which can be a different, decoy poisonous substance. “

    That is simply meaningless

    Finally they claim that other poisons were found in Navalny

    “Notably, both in the cases of the poisoning of Emilian Gebrev in 2015, and in the case of Navalny, presence of other, non-Novichok – and much less dangerous poisons – in the targets’ blood were reported.”

    This is new to me, does anyone know what these substance[s] are?

    • Tatyana

      Haha, nano-encapsulation! Too complex. I recall someone was hacked to death with the ice axe, and the killer was awarded The Hero Star

    • Tom Welsh

      “They are trying to come up with an explanation for the delayed action…”

      That turns out to be rather easy.

      Remember the “conspiracy theories” about how the planned Covid-19 vaccines are merely channels for Bill Gates to inject microchips into our precious bodily fluids?

      Well, obviously such microchips would be an ideal way of bringing about “time release” of Novichok!

      • karel

        There is something in your arguments. In my opinion, Navalny was given a vaccine, supposedly against Covid-19, which contained two-component Novichok encapsulated in nanoparticles and thus enabling an extremely slow release and gradual synthesis of this very deadly compound in his body. Navalny must have been given some benzodiazepines to make him forget that got the jab.

          • Tatyana

            oh, do you want jokes? I have them!
            They joked here that the new vaccine was tested on two experimental subjects – one of them is Trump, and the second is Navalny. The vaccine was found to be 50% effective.

          • Tom Welsh

            I like it, Tatyana! But then Russian humour – what I have seen of it – generally appeals to me.

          • John A

            They are trying to come up with an explanation for the delayed action

            Maybe they should start with trying to come up with an explanation as to why it does not kill people.

    • David G

      Puts me in mind of the ever more baroque theories that were put forward to explain the alleged “sonic attacks” on U.S. diplomats in Cuba. By the end, when it was clear no conceivable type of acoustic waves could have done what was claimed (as vague as that was), they were pushing microwaves as the culprit – because microwaves can do anything, apparently, or so the NY Times would have us believe.

      I haven’t heard much about it recently, but I really don’t know whether or not sonic terror in Havana is still on the official list of Russian evil-doing.

        • David G

          It was crickets, but yeah, what was purported to be a recording of the high-tech sonic weapon turned out to be clamorous tropical bugs. The microwave story was part of the fallback position to keep the accusation of an attack viable.

      • David G

        But hey, UPDATE:

        I just now see that, after a long dormancy, the NY Times ran TWO stories this very week on perfidious but intangible attacks on innocent U.S. diplomats and “spies” (Times’s choice of word). The gravamen being:
        (1) it happened in China, too, and
        (2) Trump and Pompeo have been unconscionably lax about holding bad-guy governments, especially China (though rest assured the Times scribes manage to get Russia into the copy), to account for this nonsense. (my choice of word there at the end)

        So I guess the state/media propaganda complex think this jalopy still has a few more wheezing miles left in her, even with slick new models like Russian Bounties in Afghanistan tearing up the road.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Blame me for this, Sean: months ago I wrote a satirical comment at this site about ‘nano-novichok’, lampooning the whole rubbish of Salisbury door handles etc.

      Now you get those cretins copying my stuff.


      • Tom Welsh

        “The devil about writing satire now-a-days is that reality constantly outstrips you”.

        C.S. Lewis (letter, 8 December 1959)

  • james

    thanks craig…. addressing the ongoing propaganda is a lot of work.. i am glad you are doing it.. meanwhile the state is paying others to generate it for them… for what ultimate purpose?? who profits from this shite?

  • Crispa

    The Navalny incident is so contrived as to be totally risible but BBC and the rest of the msm just cannot see what fools they are making of themselves and promote it all at face value. I think what the propagandists are exploiting is the German connection, for how could such a reliable bunch of German scientists get it wrong or make it up when we have “Vorsprung durch Technik”?

  • Goose

    Certain European politicians (the braver ones) have made the same point; namely, that if they wanted him dead, then in Russia, in intensive care, where he was in an induced coma, is likely where it would’ve happened. He’d have never made it to Germany for ‘Novichok’ to be pinned on the ‘dastardly evil’ Putin and Russian State.
    The thing that’s baffling though is how if Russia has been framed, Putin isn’t more vocally agitated about this stuff. Things happen and the Kremlin remains relatively silent, which allows, certainly our western media to treat that silence as a sign of guilt.

    • Wikikettle

      I think the Russians have many fronts to worry about. This is just one of many. Despite the constant pressure exerted on them, they are united and doing well. We on the other hand are not looking after our own house and diverting all our energy which constantly rebounds on us.

      • Wikikettle

        The Spooks who think up these operations, defiantly don’t get performance related pay.

        • Wikikettle

          We are going to get a shock if the new Bretton Woods conference ever takes place. There will be many countries who will no longer align themselves to us.

    • Blissex

      «if Russia has been framed, Putin isn’t more vocally agitated about this stuff. Things happen and the Kremlin remains relatively silent»

      There have been statements from the russian side that they have basically given up and no longer care. Haters will hate, propagandists will do propaganda, and all that.
      Which is sort of worrying, because the longer term purpose of all the manipulation, and in particular as to NordStream 2, is to keep Germany and Russia in a state of constant tension.

      The UK and USA elites seem to have geopolitical interests about this; the polish elites remember how Poland was carved up between Germany and Russia at various points in history, but then keeping both their most important neighbours in a state of tension might be a solution worse than the problem. But many among the polish elites vastly overrate their importance, afflicted by “prometheism” and delusions of bringing back the polish-lithuanian empire with USA help. They should instead consider the wisdom of “if you cannot beat them, join them”.

      • Goose

        Germany was the most heavily spied upon European country – by far (different colour category) – in the Snowden docs /revelations. Merkel’s name was alongside Assad’s et al in the list of monitored mobile numbers. The western intel agencies clearly see Germany as ‘the’ pivotal West vs East player.
        With this established, wouldn’t be surprised if the more vocal, heavily MSM promoted German politicians to succeed Merkel haven’t taken sides too. Sadly some intel officials seem to have zero respect for democracy and the respective populations right to choose in a free and fair fashion and think it is they who should organise countries.

    • bevin

      From a transcript of Valdai Club virtual meeting

      “….Vladimir Putin: I will start with the first part of your question, about the poisonings. First, we have heard about poisonings here and there many times. It is not the first time.

      “Second, if the authorities had wanted to poison the person you mentioned or to poison anybody, it is very unlikely they would have sent him for medical treatment to Germany. Don’t you think so? As soon as this person’s wife contacted me, I immediately instructed the Prosecutor General’s Office to see if it was possible to allow him to travel abroad for medical treatment. They could have prohibited it because he was under restrictions due to an investigation and a criminal case. He was under travel restrictions. I immediately asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to allow that. And he was taken to Germany. ..”

      • Tom Welsh

        It’s easy to see why Western politicians, media persons and other “leaders” don’t understand Mr Putin’s thought processes and acts.

        He is honest, decent, law-abiding and moral.

  • Ben McDonnell

    Could it be that the Skripals were being followed by UK security forces at the time they collapsed in the park? Including the chief nurse, as if they were expecting a medical incident? How did they know and why did they not intervene? Why did they not see the doorknob get smeared with Novichok? If it was a purposeful act by the UK, why did the chief nurse then intervene and give herself away? And what were the two Russians doing in Salisbury?

    • David G

      My own guess is that trying to read meaning into the presence of the army chief nurse (and her teenage daughter) in Salisbury on Skripal Day is a red herring, and that if/when the truth emerges, her presence will turn out to have been random.

      (Note that she didn’t “give herself away” at that time, but some ten months later when she nominated her daughter for a bravery award run by a local radio station.)

  • CasualObserver

    Society it seems has to have some Turnip Ghost du jour in order to function ?

    If one accepts that premise, then it becomes clear that China, being the supplier of 99% of the bauble like toys that keep most of society entertained and docile, cannot be painted as a real and present danger. Russia on the other hand, with a GDP less than that of Italy, and presenting no real threat, is an ideal candidate for the position of substitute Devil in a post religious ‘West’ 🙂

    • Wikikettle

      We hate the Russians because Europe could not expand eastwards into a huge resource rich land. We have laid seige to it, making its folk strong in arms, not to conquer but to fight a million Battle of Britain’s of their own. They are self sufficient and not tied into the global debt ridded conomy debt or holding useless bonds.

  • Blissex

    «Many fat livings depend on the notion that Russia poses a serious threat to us.»

    And to be sure there have been several press reports of naval and aerial russian threats to Scotland in particular, so that it be clear that if Scotland loses the protection of the english armed forces and NATO it will be invaded and annexed by Putin just like Crimea was :-).

      • Tatyana

        I know! I know! Because of Lagavulin. And Ballantine’s. And Smokehead.
        We should invade and find out what other delicacies you are hiding from us, in your Scotland.

      • Tom Welsh

        Because… er… Scotland is… kinda like Russia, but much smaller and poorer and warmer… er and closer to England… and it has MIDGIES!

        On second thoughts, I bet Russia has much bigger and fiercer midgies. Hypersonic midgies!

        • Tatyana

          Midges? hello, enough of it here in Russia.
          But you in Scotland have something very special, unique, I mean, the manner your gentlemen wear a kilt!
          People tried to convince me that this is true, but I think that they are fooling me, joking with a serious face. Or not?
          I’m curious to find out how things really are. This cannot be true. Or ?
          I mean, well, okay, if Russia invades, sign me up too.

          • Iain Stewart

            The Scots really are the last “sans culottes” of Europe, which I’m sure many of my compatriots would be happy to demonstrate (for a small fee, probably). According to historians, it seems, knickers were invented only after the bicycle.

          • Tatyana

            ah, Putin, lazy asshole, depriving me of joys! Come on, let’s invade!
            Isn’t it clear that this could be the most exciting and spectacular invasion ever? Is it that difficult, or what? So much of the budget goes into stupid military spending, and what do we get from that? As a russian citizen and a taxpayer, I firmly insist, we should do it finally.

      • Tom Welsh

        And yet the sarcasm is there, in deep dense layers just below the surface.

        “The protection of the English armed forces and NATO…”

        Tell me you could read that without smiling a little.

        • SA

          Of course Tom. I am very much aware that Scotland is the first line defence against the Russian resurgence. They are not content with having NATO at their doorsteps, they want to come to NATO’s doorsteps too.

    • Sven Lystbæk

      Why wouldn’t they rather invade Ireland as a non NATO country with a military spending of 0.3 per cent of GDP.

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