Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative 1234


A lie repeated often enough enters the public consciousness, so I am republishing this in the hope of stimulating the honest and the intellectually awake.

I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Boshirov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible.

Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no “good guys”, as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:

1) PURE

This was the point that led me to return to the subject of the Skripals, even though it has brought me more abuse than I had received in my 15 year career as a whistleblower.

A few months ago, I was in truth demoralised by the amount of abuse I was receiving about the collapse of the Russian identity story of Boshirov and Petrov. I had never claimed the poisoning, if any, was not carried out by Russians, only that there were many other possibilities. I understood the case against the Russian state is still far from established, whoever Boshirov and Petrov really are, and I did not (and do not) accept Bellingcat’s conjectures and dodgy evidence as conclusive identification. But I did not enjoy at all the constant online taunts, and therefore was not inclined to take the subject further.

It is in this mood that I received more information from my original FCO source, who had told me, correctly, that Porton Down could not and would not attest that the “novichok” sample was made in Russia, and explained that the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was an agreed Whitehall line to cover this up.

She wanted to explain to me that the British government was pulling a similar trick over the use of the word “pure”. The OPCW report had concluded that the sample provided to them by the British government was “of high purity” with an “almost complete absence of impurities”. This had been spun by the British government as evidence that the novichok was “military grade” and could only be produced by a state.

But actually that is not what the OPCW technical experts were attempting to signal. The sample provided to the OPCW had allegedly been swabbed from the Skripals’ door handle. It had been on that door handle for several days before it was allegedly discovered there. In that time it had been contacted allegedly by the hands of the Skripals and of DC Bailey, and the gloves of numerous investigators. It had of course been exposed to whatever film of dirt or dust was on the door handle. It had been exposed to whatever pollution was in the rain and whatever dust and pollen was blowing around. In these circumstances, it is incredible that the sample provided “had an almost complete absence of impurities”.

A sample cannot have a complete absence of impurities after being on a used doorknob, outdoors, for several days. The sample provided was, on the contrary, straight out of a laboratory.

The government’s contention that “almost complete absence of impurities” meant “military grade” was complete nonsense. There is no such thing as “military grade” novichok. It has never been issued to any military, anywhere. The novichok programme was designed to produce an organo-phosphate poison which could quickly be knocked up from readily available commercial ingredients. It was not part of an actual defence industry manufacturing programme.

There is a final problem with the “of high purity” angle. First we had the Theresa May story that the “novichok” was extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces. Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts.

What we did not know then, but we do know now, is that Kaszeta was secretly being paid to produce this propaganda by the British government via the Integrity Initiative.

So the first thing I cannot believe is that the British government produced a sample with an “almost complete absence of impurities” from several days on the Skripals’ doorknob. Nor can I believe that if “extremely pure” the substance therefore was not fatal to the Skripals.

2) Raising the Roof

Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house inbetween did not. As the MSM never questions the official narrative, there has never been an official answer as to how the gel got from the doorknob to the roof. Remember that traces of the “novichok” were allegedly found in a hotel room in Poplar, which is still in use as a hotel room and did not have to be destroyed, and an entire bottle of it was allegedly found in Charlie Rowley’s house, which has not had to be destroyed. Novichok was found in Zizzi’s restaurant, which did not have to be destroyed.

So we are talking about novichok in threatening quantities – more than the traces allegedly found in the hotel in Poplar – being in the Skripals’ roof. How could this happen?

As I said in the onset, I do not know what happened, I only know what I do not believe. There are theories that Skripal and his daughter might themselves have been involved with novichok in some way. On the face of it, its presence in their roof might support that theory.

The second thing I do not believe is that the Skripals’ roof became contaminated by gel on their doorknob so that the roof had to be destroyed, whereas no other affected properties, nor the rest of the Skripals’ house, had to be destroyed.

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army, who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!

The government is always trying to get good publicity for its armed forces, and you would think that the heroic role of its off-duty personnel in saving random poisoned Russian double agents they just happened to chance across, would have been proclaimed as a triumph for the British military. Yet it was kept secret for ten months. We were not told about the involvement of Colonel Alison McCourt until January of this year, when it came out by accident. Swollen with maternal pride, Col. McCourt nominated her daughter for an award from the local radio station for her role in helping give first aid to the Skripals, and young Abigail revealed her mother’s identity on local radio – and the fact her mother was there “with her” administering first aid.

Even then, the compliant MSM played along, with the Guardian and Sky News both among those running stories emphasising entirely the Enid Blyton narrative of “plucky teenager saves the Skripals”, and scarcely mentioning the Army’s Chief Nurse who was looking after the Skripals “with little Abigail”.

I want to emphasise again that Col. Alison McCourt is not the chief nurse of a particular unit or hospital, she is the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army. Her presence was kept entirely quiet by the media for ten months, when all sorts of stories were run in the MSM about who the first responders were – various doctors and police officers being mentioned.

If you believe that it is coincidence that the Chief Nurse of the British Army was the first person to discover the Skripals ill, you are a credulous fool. And why was it kept quiet?

4) Remarkable Metabolisms

This has been noted many times, but no satisfactory answer has ever been given. The official story is that the Skripals were poisoned by their door handle, but then well enough to go out to a pub, feed some ducks, and have a big lunch in Zizzi’s, before being instantly stricken and disabled, both at precisely the same time.

The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.

But that the two different random dosages were such that they affected each of these two very different people at just the same moment, so that neither could call for help, is an extreme coincidence. It is almost as unlikely as the person who walks by next being the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

5) 11 Days

After the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the Police cordoned off Charlie Rowley’s home and began a search for “Novichok”, in an attitude of extreme urgency because it was believed this poison was out amidst the public. They were specifically searching for a small phial of liquid. Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter – and only after they had discovered the clue of the perfume bottle package in the bin the day before, after ten days of search.

The bottle was out of its packaging and “novichok”, of which the tiniest amount is deadly, had been squirted out of its nozzle at least twice, by both Rowley and Sturgess, and possibly more often. The exterior of the bottle/nozzle was therefore contaminated. Yet the house, unlike the Skripals’ roof space, has not had to be destroyed.

I do not believe it took the Police eleven days to find the very thing they were looking for, in plain sight as exactly the small bottle of liquid sought, on a kitchen bench. What else was happening?

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

The BBC’s “Diplomatic Editor” is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC’s original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals’ back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world’s biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year.

I have sent the following questions to Mark Urban, repeatedly. There has been no response:

To: [email protected]

Dear Mark,

As you may know, I am a journalist working in alternative media, a member of the NUJ, as well as a former British Ambassador. I am researching the Skripal case.

I wish to ask you the following questions.

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Murray

The lack of openness of Urban in refusing to answer these questions, and the role played by the BBC and the MSM in general in marching in unquestioning lockstep with the British government narrative, plus the “coincidence” of Urban’s relationship with Pablo Miller, give further reason for scepticism of the official narrative.

7 Four Months

The official narrative insists that Boshirov and Petrov brought “novichok” into the country; that minute quantities could kill; that they disposed of the novichok that did kill Dawn Sturgess. It must therefore have been of the highest priority to inform the public of the movements of the suspects and the possible locations where deadly traces of “novichok” must be lurking.

Yet there was at least a four month gap between the police searching the Poplar hotel where Boshirov and Petrov were staying, allegedly discovering traces of novichok in the hotel room, and the police informing the hotel management, let alone the public, of the discovery. That is four months in which a cleaner might have fatally stumbled across more novichok in the hotel. Four months in which another guest in the same hotel might have had something lurking in their bag which they had picked up. Four months in which there might have been a container of novichok sitting in a hedge near the hotel. Yet for four months the police did not think any of this was urgent enough to tell anybody.

The astonishing thing is that it was a full three months after the death of Dawn Sturgess before the hotel were informed, the public were informed, or the pictures of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” in Salisbury released. There could be no clearer indication that the authorities did not actually believe that any threat from residual novichok was connected to the movements of Boshirov and Petrov.

Similarly the metadata on the famous CCTV images of Boshirov and Petrov in Salisbury, published in September by the Met Police, showed that all the stills were prepared by the Met on the morning of 9 May – a full four months before they were released to the public. But this makes no sense at all. Why wait a full four months for people’s memories to fade before issuing an appeal to the public for information? This makes no sense at all from an investigation viewpoint. It makes even less sense from a public health viewpoint.

If the authorities were genuinely worried about the possible presence of deadly novichok, and wished to track it down, why one earth would you wait for four months before you published the images showing the faces and clothing and the whereabouts of the people you believe were distributing it?

The only possible conclusion from the amazing four month delays both in informing the hotel, and in revealing the Boshirov and Petrov CCTV footage to the public, is that the Metropolitan Police did not actually believe there was a public health danger that the two had left a trail of novichok. Were the official story true, this extraordinary failure to take timely action in a public health emergency may have contributed to the death of Dawn Sturgess.

The metadat shows Police processed all the Salisbury CCTV images of Boshirov and Petrov a month before Charlie Rowley picked up the perfume. The authorities claim the CCTV images show they could have been to the charity bin to dump the novichok. Which begs the question, if the Police really believed they had CCTV of the movements of the men with the novichok, why did they not subsequently exhaustively search everywhere the CCTV shows they could have been, including that charity bin?

The far more probable conclusion appears to be that the lack of urgency is explained by the fact that the link between Boshirov and Petrov and “novichok” is a narrative those involved in the investigation do not take seriously.

8 The Bungling Spies

There are elements of the accepted narrative of Boshirov and Petrov’s movements that do not make sense. As the excellent local Salisbury blog the Blogmire points out, the CCTV footage shows Boshirov and Petrov, after they had allegedly coated the door handle with novichok, returning towards the railway station but walking straight past it, into the centre of Salisbury (and missing their first getaway train in the process). They then wander around Salisbury apparently aimlessly, famously window shopping which is caught on CCTV, and according to the official narrative disposing of the used but inexplicably still cellophane-sealed perfume/novichok in a charity donation bin, having walked past numerous potential disposal sites en route including the railway embankment and the bins at the Shell garage.

But the really interesting thing, highlighted by the blogmire, is that the closest CCTV ever caught them to the Skripals’ house is fully 500 metres, at the Shell garage, walking along the opposite side of the road from the turning to the Skripals. There is a second CCTV camera at the garage which would have caught them crossing the road and turning down towards the Skripals’ house, but no such video or still image – potentially the most important of all the CCTV footage – has ever been released.

However the 500 metres is not the closest the CCTV places the agents to the Skripals. From 13.45 to 13.48, on their saunter into town, Boshirov and Petrov were caught on CCTV at Dawaulders coinshop a maximum of 200 metres away from the Skripals, who at the same time were at Avon Playground. The bin at Avon playground became, over two days in the immediate aftermath of the Skripal “attack”, the scene of extremely intensive investigation. Yet the Boshirov and Petrov excursion – during their getaway from attempted murder – into Salisbury town centre has been treated as entirely pointless and unimportant by the official story.

Finally, the behaviour of Boshirov and Petrov in the early hours before the attack makes no sense whatsoever. On the one hand we are told these are highly trained, experienced and senior GRU agents; on the other hand, we are told they were partying in their room all night, drawing attention to themselves with loud noise, smoking weed and entertaining a prostitute in the room in which they were storing, and perhaps creating, the “novichok”.

The idea that, before an extremely delicate murder operation involving handling a poison, a tiny accident with which would kill them, professionals would stay up all night and drink heavily and take drugs is a nonsense. Apart from the obvious effect on their own metabolisms, they were risking authorities being called because of the noise and a search being instituted because of the drugs.

That they did this while in possession of the novichok and hours before they made the attack, is something I simply do not believe.

9 The Skripals’ Movements

Until the narrative changed to Boshirov and Petrov arriving in Salisbury just before lunchtime and painting the doorknob, the official story had been that the Skripals left home around 9am and had not returned. They had both switched off their mobile phones, an interesting and still unexplained point. As you would expect in a city as covered in CCTV as Salisbury, their early morning journey was easily traced and the position of their car at various times was given by the police.

Yet no evidence of their return journey has ever been offered. There is now a tiny window between Boshirov and Petrov arriving, painting the doorknob apparently with the Skripals now inexplicably back inside their home, and the Skripals leaving again by car, so quickly after the doorknob painting that they catch up with Boshirov and Petrov – or certainly being no more than 200 metres from them in Salisbury City Centre. There is undoubtedly a huge amount of CCTV video of the Skripals’ movements which has never been released. For example, the parents of one of the boys who Sergei was chatting with while feeding the ducks, was shown “clear” footage by the Police of the Skripals at the pond, yet this has never been released. This however is the moment at which the evidence puts Boshirov and Petrov at the closest to them. What does the concealed CCTV of the Skripals with the ducks show?

Why has so little detail of the Skripals’ movements that day been released? What do all the withheld CCTV images of the Skripals in Salisbury show?

10 The Sealed Bottle

Only in the last couple of days have the police finally admitted there is a real problem with the fact that Charlie Rowley insists that the perfume bottle was fully sealed, and the cellophane difficult to remove, when he discovered it. Why the charity collection bin had not been emptied for three months has never been explained either. Rowley’s recollection is supported by the fact that the entire packaging was discovered by the police in his bin – why would Boshirov and Petrov have been carrying the cellophane around with them if they had opened the package? Why – and how – would they reseal it outdoors in Salisbury before dumping it?

Furthermore, there was a gap of three months between the police finding the perfume bottle, and the police releasing details of the brand and photos of it, despite the fact the police believed there could be more out there. Again the news management agenda totally belies the official narrative of the need to protect the public in a public health emergency.

This part of the narrative is plainly nonsense.

Bonus Point – The Integrity Initiative

The Integrity Initiative specifically paid Dan Kaszeta to publish articles on the Skripal case. In the weekly collections of social media postings the Integrity Initiative sent to the FCO to show its activity, over 80% were about the Skripals.

Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth. The Integrity Initiative, with secret FCO and MOD sourced subsidies to MSM figures to put out the government narrative, is very plainly a disinformation exercise. More bluntly, if the Integrity Initiative is promoting it, you know it is not true.

Most sinister of all is the Skripal Group convened by the Integrity Initiative. This group includes Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 handler, and senior representatives of Porton Down, the BBC, the CIA, the FCO and the MOD. Even if all the other ludicrously weak points in the government narrative did not exist, the Integrity Initiative activity in itself would lead me to understand the British government is concealing something important.

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences.

What I do know is that major planks of the UK government narrative simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Plainly the Russian authorities have lied about the identity of Boshirov and Petrov. What is astonishing is the alacrity with which the MSM and the political elite have rallied around the childish logical fallacy that because the Russian Government has lied, therefore the British Government must be telling the truth. It is abundantly plain to me that both governments are lying, and the spy games being played out that day were very much more complicated than a pointless revenge attack on the Skripals.

I do not believe the British Government. I have given you the key points where the official narrative completely fails to stand up. These are by no means exhaustive, and I much look forward to reading your own views.

—————————————————

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1,234 thoughts on “Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative

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  • Blissex

    Of all the Petrov and Boshirov stories the most amusing is the interview they gave to some random russian TV station. Please watch it as it is really weird and funny. That interview may have been staged as “disinformation”, but then it would prove that russian disinformation agents have a big sense of humour.

      • N_

        “Random” is more often than not a gum-chewing Twitter user’s word nowadays.

        RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan’s implication that “Alex and Rus” might be gay (I wonder whether she’d read an edited summary of this blog?) was hilarious highly culturally specific. She said they didn’t “harass” her, but that maybe she was past the age where they would. (To appreciate the comedy, ask whether Laura Kuenssberg might ever be so witty.) “Boshirov” and “Petrov” contributed well to the performance too. “Do you work for the GRU?” she asked. “Do you?” one of them replied. Great stuff.

  • chantelle oliver

    Thank you for this Logical and Historically contextualized reporting. In my ongoing recording of the history of the present (where I compare events now against similar in the recent and distant past) your work is stunningly immune to the itinerant warpropaganda machine. c

    • Goose

      It shouldn’t be left to people like Craig. It should be the MSM investigating these things.

      If western intel agencies are interfering with the ‘free press’ eg. Integrity Initiative, they are doing their own countries and people a huge disservice, however they try to reconcile their actions within their organisations and with their consciences.

      • Total Truth

        Absolutely agree, Goose.
        I like your contributions: They always seem to be sensible and not OTT.
        I think that not only are the western intel services “doing their own people a huge disservice”, they are creating ever greater divisions in society and this will eventually lead to serious violence and instability.
        As more people finally realise they can’t trust the MSM any more than they can trust the “Social Media” some will react with increasing hostility and the powers that be will have only themselves to blame – but of course they will blame the victims of their corrupt and twisted neo-con ideology.

        • Goose

          Eisenhower warned about the growth of a ‘military-industrial complex,’ and the risks it could pose.

          Throughout history we’ve seen intel agencies become way too powerful to the point of challenging democracy itself. Impunity combined with a saviour complex are dangerous things. They’re protected by weak, corrupt politicians, many of whom they’ve helped to install.

          Glenn Greenwald has written extensively about this danger.

          • N_

            Reminder: the medical-industrial complex is five times bigger than the military-industrial. And they’ve just put much of the world’s economy on the shelf for more than a year. That’s enormous power. Which is not to say that Pharma, the mil-ind complex and Big Finance don’t all work together.

      • mary dejevsky

        it’s not easy to get anything along these lines published in msm. i’ve managed to ask similar questions a couple of times in print, but editors quite reluctant to touch it

  • Jo

    It was confirmed CCTV photo.police showed of Skripals feeding ducks to the family…..???? Or a photo from another device?
    I really wish Craigs and Rob Slane’s articles could be sent to the coroner by some legal means within produres or maybe as part of some external process that could impose on the current proceedings or at least sent to legal team of Dawn.

  • Gerald

    From the UK point of view it is important to uphold the Salisbury narrative, so much is hinged on it, the whole Navalny scam (featuring MI6 and rogue elements of the BND) hinges on the Novichok story, so does the ‘Russians poison people – it is their way’ narrative and of course all of the subsequent operations the British and/or US will run in future, it’s such a handy false flag operation, if totally risible. Lets be honest this ‘most powerful chemical weapon in the world’ has so far managed to kill precisely no one. As the two recent sets of integrity initiative leaks (see Max Blumenthal coverage) have shown the British MSM with the BBC at the forefront are all in on the op so the truth isn’t going to become widely known anyway in the UK.
    I think this policy the British secret services are pursuing is completely misguided and counter productive, the UK are merely isolating themselves on the hope of continuing to ride on the skirts of an imploding US (who aren’t really that interested now that the UK is no longer their trojan horse inside the EU.) Russia has access to 4 fifths of the population of the planet in terms of trade, that’s over 6 billion people, the West makes up only 12% of the global population and can be circumnavigated, sanctions or not. The entire western programme of sanctions is predicated on the belief that Russia is desperate to be part of the West, it isn’t. Eurasian integration is going ahead full steam and the West is in a speedy rate of decline, bedevilled in all areas, catastrophically so economically. Russia’s future isn’t with the West, so current US/UK policy simply speeds the process of moving East more every day. Infantile efforts like the novichok operation may play well to the clueless plebs at home but achieves absolutely nothing of value for a desperately struggling UK and a US clinging hopelessly to its failed unipolar 20th century dream. The dogs bark but the caravan passes by.

    • Blissex

      «the ‘Russians poison people – it is their way’ narrative»

      My impression is that the overall narrative is a bit different: that Russia and China, even if Russia is 2,000km away from the UK, and China is 10,000km away from the USA, the UK and the USA are in a “clear and present danger” of an attack from Russia and China, and there is a need for pre-emptive defensive operations. That was after all the highly successful narrative about the pre-emptive defensive operations against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the “clear and present danger” of a WMD attack from Iraq.

      For example the Skripal story has been portrayed as a chemical weapons attack by Russian army special forces against England itself.

      • Gerald

        Yes I agree with your point, I was pointing out the way that these things are often portrayed in the press, aimed at day to day people. It is a long time stereotypical trope which goes back to fears of Rasputin etc. I’m quite sure the GRU (much like MI5/6) kill far more people in hit and runs, ‘muggings’ gone wrong and sordid accidents in hotel rooms involving drugs and hookers. Russians are very pragmatic but not above sending messages from time to time. The idea that the they couldn’t kill Skirpal or Navalny and make it look like an accident or a heart attack etc is risible.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          “The idea that the they couldn’t kill Skirpal or Navalny and make it look like an accident or a heart attack etc is risible.”

          Of course they could do that but they have no reason too and if they wanted to the targets would be dead.

    • N_

      Can you say more about the rogue elements in the BND and Alexei Navalny? Are the non-rogue elements pro-Putin or are they simply against war with Russia? If the Steinerites are strong in the BND they will be pals with Jens Stoltenberg. Is the BND functioning properly still, with a unified “mission”? There have been signs for several years that its British equivalent isn’t.

      Ursula Von der Leyen is in favour of war with Russia in my analysis.

      Navalny is small fry compared with say Khodorkovsky and many others.

  • Goose

    On point 2.

    Ahmet Uzumcu, who led the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ,said in an interview with the NYT that between 50-100 grams of nerve agent were used in the March 4 Salisbury incident. It was pointed out later, that that was enough to kill an entire neighbourhood and the OPCW retracted his version and issued a correction. Just how much of the stuff did the UK send for analysis from a door knob exposed to rain, when we we told the Novichok was in liquid form?

    • Tatyana

      Goose, catching you here, re. the prev. page discussion 🙂
      Do you know what else is interesting?
      Bajolet was the ambassador to Iraq at the same time that Le Mesurier was there as an adviser to the Iraqi government.

      • Goose

        @Tatyana

        You may find this an interesting read : https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/gas-missiles-were-not-sold-syria-8831792.html

        Robert Fisk actually talked to Syrian military and others: there was no chatter regarding an imminent attack picked up by the Israelis (who monitor Syria comms intensely), and importantly, Syrian troops weren’t suited up for chemical warfare. There was chaos on all sides in the aftermath. More on the rocket used and Russia at the UN too.

        Hope these kind of reports didn’t have anything to do with Fisk’s untimely death.

        • Goose

          You can see why all the integrity Initiative journos piled on, slagging him off after he died. Told to discredit him they obeyed.

          Poor things probably clueless as to why, just following orders.

  • Skripal_cross

    Mr. Murray, you have provided much food for thought by raising questions on the Salisbury incident, but in Section 3, Nursing care, I cannot reconcile the presence of the Chief Nurse’s young daughter with the notion that a state conspiracy was at work. If we accept that the Chief Nurse of the British Army (CNBA) appeared on scene with the Skripals as a result of a pre-arranged plan (of which the Chief Nurse was presumably an informed participant), and that the Skripals – at whoever’s hand – were indeed suffering the effects of a dangerous toxic substance and would need treatment, I think it’s stretching belief that there is any sensible reason to expose the child to the risk of infection (or to create the risk that she just gets in the way while the CNBA tries to deploy the skills and training that strongly suit her for the part sketched out in the conspiracy) . Indeed, the Guardian and Sky coverage indicates that the occasion was a family outing for the CNBA’s son’s birthday – two children on scene for no good reason I can think of. And then, several months later, when the presence of the CNBA has been completely absent from media coverage and there is no reason to upset the apple cart (“hurrah, we’ve got away with it!”) this highly professional Army officer, and willing participant in covert state shenanigans, breaks cover due to parental pride and voluntarily draws attention to her daughter’s actions and the family’s presence? This seems unlikely, to put it mildly. I’m not saying your other questions are ill-founded but this part of the hypothesis seems to me to be quite a bit weaker than the rest.
    PS – as so many others have said, the verdict in your contempt of court trail was shabby, unmerited and another sad stain on a once-proud legal system. I hope the sentence is as light as possible.

    • Goose

      If you assume there was a wider plot, why do you assume it was a dangerous toxic substance?

      Both fell unconscious at precisely the same time. Skripal senior was reportedly agitated, wanting to leave a Zizzi’s. GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) aka. date rape drug, a clear, tasteless liquid if ingested via wine 20 mins earlier. This seems a more likely safer candidate drug, no? Remember Alison MCCourt’s team allegedly took control of their treatment at the hospital. The people Urban interviewed spoke in the third person i.e., how you would treat someone, rather than how ‘we’ treated them.

      Feel free to correct this if it’s inaccurate.

      • Goose

        All conjecture anyways, the truth will likely never be known.

        The Skripals will never be allowed to talk freely to journos and unless new information emerges it’s closed. The blog piece was only revived because the names Boshirov and Petrov are in the news once again, and some idiots were mocking those who doubt aspects of the official Skripal narrative.

        • Stevie Boy

          Absolute silence from the Skripals. Apparently even their family appear silent.
          Are they still alive ? Doesn’t seem likely.

          • Goose

            Amazing that our ‘free press’ doesn’t find it in the least bit odd.

            Yulia was never the intended target, even if you accept the official narrative that her father was. Her complete vanishing act makes no sense. I put in an earlier comment, Russia brought the father and son Douma-attack video pair to the Netherlands, in what our media called a Russian ‘ media stunt’ , but that pair spoke freely didn’t look under duress whatsoever, they answered all journalists questions. Compare that to the UK hiding the Skripals away. Why?

          • Coldish

            Stevie Boy, I’ve seen reports that Sergei’s mother/Yulia’s grandmother has died. I think she was bedridden and around 90. Yulia’s cousin in Russia (Victoria?) has over the years reported occasional brief telephone contacts from Yulia, but without indicating where Yulia is being held. I had the impression from the report or recording of one of these phone calls that some time before Christmas 2020 Yulia was expecting (or looking forward to) a 5-day relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions over the holiday period. I know the anticipated 5-day relaxation was subsequently cancelled in England, but that does suggest that in late 2020 Yulia may have been still in England and perhaps hoping to have the chance to visit her father. That’s mostly vague and speculative,.for which my apologies, but that’s par for this course, isn’t it. Yulia also made it clear that Sergei had difficulty speaking. . .

          • Blissex

            «Amazing that our ‘free press’ doesn’t find it in the least bit odd.»

            That’s another secondary oddity that I have often remarked upon: the super aggressive UK tabloid journalists are not paying big money to get “exclusive stories” with the hospital staff, the policeman, the daughter of the Chief Nurse, and trying to find and interview the Skripals themselves, even if they would be huge career-defining scoops; in other cases the same journalists paid to have the cellphones of interesting people hacked to get their stories, etc. etc.

          • Blissex

            «Yulia was never the intended target, even if you accept the official narrative that her father was. Her complete vanishing act makes no sense.»

            As usual my best guess is that Yulia was involved, as the courier of recreational substances to or from Russia, that Sergei was dealing in to “make money fast”. He spent 7 years in a russian prison, he must have got good contacts among the russian gangs. My guess is that they mishandled the merchandise, and overdosed themselves. The critical detail is the letter to “The Times” immediately after the incident by a doctor at Salisbury saying that three people had been treated for poisoning, but not for nerve agent exposure.
            Probably Petrov and Boshirov (and the Chief Nurse and her daughter) were there actually coincidentally, if related to the story were part of the gang Sergei and Yulia were trading with (they behave more like gangsters on a trip abroad than as trained security agents).

      • Skripal_cross

        I assumed, for the sake of argument, a toxic substance because that would be a reason to engineer the presence of the CNBA (or some medic with experience in the relevant treatment protocols). If the ill effects the Skripals experienced were brought about by something much less dangerous to bystanders, e.g. GHB, then any nearby doctor/nurse/ambulance crew would suffice to bring adequate medical care on scene. It would be simple either to have a “random bystander” call an ambulance for them when they showed signs of illness or to have medical resources already conveniently nearby… attending a staged car crash, pretend heart attack, etc etc. That would be much less open to raised eyebrows than finding that the CNBA just happened to be passing.
        On the scenario of it WAS something like GHB but we (govt) want to be able to pretend the Skripals were suffering from novichok-like symptoms, then that’s an argument for getting someone like Col. McCourt onto the stage. She would know what to say to make it sound like it could be a nerve agent that had been administered and keep other medical personnel from getting too close until the Skripals were somewhere where the fiction of Novichok poisoning could be maintained… but they were taken to the ordinary local hospital instead of a military facility in which it would have been be much easier to control access to them and the flow of information. It would have been easy to justify military care by saying specialist treatment is needed and to minimise transmission risks to other patients/staff in the district hospital. Do you have a source, Goose, for the alleged taking control by Col. McCourt and her team – a Mark Urban interview?
        I can’t buy the idea from some commenters that the McCourt boy’s birthday party was a made-up excuse to be in town that day, especially given my scepticism that the CNBA, having successfully carried out her sneaky activites without any attention, later decides that publicity and a prize for her daughter is a great idea. If it was NOT genuinely the boy’s birthday meal but the family gives that story out while the girl’s certificate and commendation are being awarded, that simply creates probably 20, 30 or more people who can see a hole in the story and tell that lying is going on. The people I refer to are the boy’s school and other friends, wider family members etc – anyone who knows him and knows when his birthday really is. If you’re going to mount a covert operation, first of all stay off the radar and avoid the need for cover stories, but secondly, if you do end up needing a cover story, keep it as near the truth as possible.

        • Goose

          Going from memory, I think the medics said they didn’t know what was wrong with them at first. I read McCourt’s team took control of the wing they were on. Obviously security was stepped up.

          Bizarrely, Mark Urban returned to the same Salisbury hospital to do his completely unrelated Covid reports; interviewing the same Skripal doctor who was interviewed for the Newsnight piece , is he a friend? This when the virus was most prevalent in London where the Newsnight studio?

      • Steve

        During the early brouhaha I recall that it was commented on that two doctors had returned, unexpectedly (supposed to be on leave), after completing a refresher course in treating nerve agent poisoning. The course was run by Porton Down experts.
        So who administered the fast acting poison, and were the Skripals expected to expire safely in hospital where nobody with the necessary expertise to save them was on duty as they were supposed to be on leave.
        Nothing about this spooks’ fairy story makes any sense.

    • Stevie Boy

      If I understand your comment (?), you are saying:

      • it’s unthinkable that the Army’s chief nurse would expose children to Novichok;
      • the MSM state there was a prearranged birthday party;
      • why blow her cover several months later.

      My take on this is:

      • there is absolutely NO evidence that Novichok was ever present. It is only the UK security services and the corrupt OPCW that state this minus independent verification.
      • The MSM cannot be trusted. However, a prearranged event would give an element of ‘plausible deniability’ as the CIA say. And, the hit wasn’t random it was scheduled.
      • her cover wasn’t really blown several months later. The initial MSM reports alluded to her role, but this was conveniently scrubbed for several months.

      As Craig has said her presence at the scene is very suspicious – maybe she was the one who administered the drugs/spray to the Skripals ?

      • Goose

        @SB

        Ingest a heavy sedative like GHB, and a person will present with the symptoms they reportedly displayed: drooling / unconscious, but still be relatively safe with supervision and care.

        Yulia Skripal stated they were both healthy and well in the phonecall that leaked. This, in the same week the MSM(Guardian)was reporting they had less than a 1% chance of survival! If their health status wasn’t been reportedly truthfully , what else wasn’t true?

      • Brendan

        As I speculated in a comment in another of Craig’s articles, Col. McCourt’s presence at the scene was probably not pre-planned, but when the incident happened she was contacted by her superiors to see if she was available to attend the Skripals.

        She was one of only a small number of people in the Salisbury area who not only had the suitable medical skills but who could also be trusted to deal with any awkward questions about what happened that day. She apparently lied about who she really was – the BBC reported a few days later that she was a doctor and a hospital registrar.

        So it’s probably true that she just happened to be in the city centre that day celebrating her son’s birthday and that her daughter spotted the couple in distress on the park bench.

        However, the fact that the family walked through the park at that time is too unlikely to be a coincidence, considering that Col. McCourt was the British Army’s chief nurse and the victims were a Russian military intelligence defector and his daughter. it’s likely that after she got the call, McCourt chose to walk in that direction so that they would “accidentally” spot the Skripals and she would do her duty and treat them.

        • Giyane

          Brendan

          You mean the Corps is only half rotten.
          Virtue and altruism mixed with date rape and abduction. Like a beautiful layered cream cake made entirely of Klucel G and sodium glutamate.

          The British State is saturated in lies and nuclear bullying. And Mr Skripal was supplied with a free house in a safe rural location for his safety out of the kindness of Bojo’s heart.

      • Blissex

        «there is absolutely NO evidence that Novichok was ever present.»

        There is this letter to “The Times” as evidence of something else:

        «Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
        Stephen Davies
        Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
        »

        It is amazing that no tabloid journalist seemed interested in paying Dr. Davies a lot of money for a “scoop of the century” interview.

        It is only the UK security services and the corrupt OPCW that state this minus independent verification.
        The MSM cannot be trusted. However, a prearranged event would give an element of ‘plausible deniability’ as the CIA say. And, the hit wasn’t random it was scheduled.
        Her cover wasn’t really blown several months later. The initial MSM reports alluded to her role, but this was conveniently scrubbed for several months.

        «As Craig has said her presence at the scene is very suspicious»

        The Salisbury area is a garrison town, and her presence could have been however strangely a mere coincidence. As a nurse she might have spotted them and would have been concerned with an old man and a girl being knocked out on a bench in public.
        My guess continues to be that Sergei and Yulia overdosed themselves accidentally with their “merchandise”, and this was spun into a series of crazy conspiracy theories by the Conservatives.

      • Giyane

        Stevie Boy

        Today in parliament had a snippet of Lisa Nandy cock sucking Biden’s russophobia. There are clearly some narratives that are compulsory to both MSM and British politicians, however ridiculous or untrue they may be.

        When Bojo is copying Trump and Nandy is copying Biden, politics looks like a board game where minitiature plastic trophies are hoarded.
        The MSM and politicians are just gaming the system, completely detached from reality.
        People like Assange and Skripal are treated as assets or trinkets, in a game.

        Novichok to them is no more than a message on a card that reads, You have been poisoned by Novichok. Miss three turns. Or, Porton Down confirms Novichok poisoning, Move 10 squares forward.
        Nothing whatsoever to do with what actually happened. Spy games.

    • Piotr+Berman

      While it is weird, there is a scenario explaining it. Say that the poisoning plot was presented to PM at that time, Theresa May, and, contrary to her detractors, the woman possesses human feelings. (Speculative, but quite possible.) When PM was adamant not to put innocent and filial daughter at risk, she was placated by the promise of the instant aid by the most competent person in the Kingdom.

      • Goose

        Decision making is something Craig would know more about. But I doubt Ministers, even the PM, have fine-grain control over such things.

        I’d imagine, the govt agrees aims and a broad-brush strategy with intel chiefs. Then intel agencies are given plenty of latitude (freedom)to achieve those objectives. It’s simply not sensible for politicians to be micromanaging things they don’t understand. Like when the Snowden stuff was emerging; most politicians, even Lord Anderson who was responsible for oversight, admitted they didn’t understand half the stuff being done with their tacit authorisation. Anderson said at the time [he] raced to GCHQ to demand answers, I mean Jeez, he’s meant to be in charge of oversight ffs.

        • Blissex

          «Mrs May did Windrush. No heart.»

          The Windrush story was a giant scam (95%+ of jamaicans from Windrush etc. got citizenship or permanent residence papers during the 40 years they had to put their evidence in order those who did not mostly never applied for them, but curiously bothered to keep their jamaican passports curent), and the purpose of the scam was to support brexit and the post-brexit boom of immigration from third world countries, with the idea that ex-commonwealth immigrants are genial cricket-playing nice oldies, culturally british, unlike rough nasty poles and romanians.

          • giyane

            Blissex

            Both Caribbean and East European were invited as guests by HMG. So the scam was to pretend that HMG is constantly beating off foreigners while it is in fact pumping them in as quickly as possible. Mrs May eally really has a heart . Well that’s her off the hook. Next…

          • Robyn

            I read The Windrush Betrayal by Amelia Gentleman. It didn’t sound at all like a giant scam.

    • N_

      If I had a pound for every story that says a person was only doing something because it was X’s birthday or their wedding anniversary…

      It’s one of the oldest lies in the book.

      Favourite instances include the royal policeman caught gesticulating to a jury member at the Paul Burrell trial and the Dominic Cummings trip to Glaxo Town.

      Colonel McCourt ‘s daughter won a “local bravery” prize and one can assume that the family lives near Salisbury. In any case Salisbury Plain has a big army presence. So they were in the town centre. Saying they were there because it was somebody’s birthday is a ludicrously cack-handed lie. What next? Will the colonel make a Youtube video in which she makes “innocent toddler” eyes and says “I’m not lying to you”?

      She’s over-egging the pudding like nobody’s business. (Or to be more exact, army propagandists are.)

      • N_

        Then there was “Prince Andrew’s” story about attending a birthday party at a Pizza Express in Woking rather than being anywhere near the youngster Virginia Giuffre.

        Colonel McCourt’s “birthday” story is a load of old tenth-rate hasbara.

        • Stevie Boy

          A special mention should be made to our cousins across the pond in the unbelievable lies catagory:
          Boden puts sanctions on Russia for meddling in the election he won ! Maybe he should send money to Putin for the amazing feat of getting a corrupt, dementia ridden geriatric elected to POTUS.

    • Colin Smith

      It clearly wasn’t a dangerous toxic substance, because they wandered around and had a nice meal after allegedly contacting it.

  • charming64

    Mindlessly flicking through my (Portuguese) tv channels this morning just about every country was running the Navalny mini series drama and followed by the time warp reincarnation of the Skripal duo. We can see where this going and it won’t be long before another China crime is added to the programme.

  • Maria Soukhotina

    Has it occurred to anyone yet that if the official Czech story were true, there are pretty serious implications? Namely if the Czech police and intelligence agencies investigating the explosion knew about the two suspicious men in the vicinity of the arsenals as far back as 2014 and recognized them from CCTV footage as Boshirov & Petrov in 2018 after the Skripal affair, why did they not inform the British authorities and the public in general back then? That (if we go with their story) – would actually mean that they concealed crucial info and evidence helping to prove Russian involvement from the British investigating team! Let alone leaving their own people in the dark about foreign operatives committing crimes on Czech soil…

    • Blissex

      «if the official Czech story were true, there are pretty serious implications? Namely if the Czech police and intelligence agencies investigating the explosion knew about the two suspicious men in the vicinity of the arsenals as far back as 2014 and recognized them from CCTV footage as Boshirov & Petrov in 2018 after the Skripal affair»

      The czech story is most likely pure bollocks from another angle: there have been *several* explosions at munitions warehouses in Ukraine, even before the Donbass civil war. These could have been accidents, but too many in the area. The *obvious* explanation is that most of the munitions in those warehouses was resold on the black market, some was left and exploded to hide that.

      The buyers and probably the organizers of those thefts were probably the UK and USA security services, for whom a “black market” stock of soviet/russian era munitions and equipment is probably quite useful (Russia and China obviously don’t need them, they already got ample quantities and they don’t need to be “black market”).

  • Curious

    The Skripal “Russian poisoning” fraud has never been more important to challenge. More reasons to challenge the official story include 1) the OPCW’s (Swiss) Speiz lab noted that the Novochok sample provided by the UK showed no sign of having degraded in the month since the poisoning, as would have been the case had the sample been legitimate; they also found BZ (7), an substance that only NATO countries had access to. 2) The true first-responders, military nurse McCourt and her daughter, gave the Skripals CPR and were reportedly vomited on, yet showed no sign of being poisoned themselves. 3) The CCTV blackouts of the Skripals’ movements between visiting the cemetery until they were found is reminiscent of the CCTV blackouts of the London bombings: what were they really doing and with? 4) The last photograph shown of them does not appear to be in Zizzi’s and the man photographing them, mirrored in the photo, is unidentified. 5) More suspicious than the roof destruction of their house is the burial that October of the supposed ambulance they used, reported in the Guardian. Many must have used it after them, but the government decided to bury it in a landfill. Empty? 6) Why has there been no sign that they survived? The suggestion that they would be sent to the US to start a new life was laughable: they would be recognized and Yulia would not have wanted to abandon her fiance and life in Russia.

  • Curious

    The Skripal “Russian poisoning” fraud has never been more important to challenge. More reasons to challenge the official story include 1) the OPCW’s (Swiss) Speiz lab noted that the Novochok sample provided by the UK showed no sign of having degraded in the month since the poisoning, as would have been the case had the sample been legitimate; they also found BZ (7), an substance that only NATO countries had access to. 2) The true first-responders, military nurse McCourt and her daughter, gave the Skripals CPR and were reportedly vomited on, yet showed no sign of being poisoned themselves. 3) The CCTV blackouts of the Skripals’ movements between visiting the cemetery until they were found is reminiscent of the CCTV blackouts of the London bombings: what were they really doing and with whom? 4) The last photograph shown of them does not appear to be in Zizzi’s and the man photographing them, mirrored in the photo, is unidentified. 5) More suspicious than the roof destruction of their house is the burial that October of the supposed ambulance they used, reported in the Guardian. Many must have used it after them, but the government decided to bury it in a landfill. Empty? 6) Where are they? Why has there been no sign that they survived? The suggestion that they would be sent to the US to start a new life was laughable: they would be recognized and Yulia would not have wanted to abandon her fiance and life in Russia.

  • Gillian

    One thing that bugged me during the whole Borishov and Petrov nonsense were some little details in the CCTV footage that nobody seemed to take seriously but me. Firstly the identical time stamps for their arrival at the airport suggested to me that only one of them was actually filmed entering and the other has been carefully photoshopped. Secondly, one of the pair has different jackets and hats, which is highly unusual for a weekend trip, I think one of them was already in the country… the significance of which is anyone’s guess, but whatever it is, there is absolutely no basis of truth for the British narrative, it is pure fiction.

  • Bluedotterel

    The Saker goes on a related rant.
    https://thesaker.is/did-the-us-try-to-murder-lukashenko-open-thread-14/

    “Amazing news over the week-end: President Lukashenko has declared that Biden gave the order to kill him in a coup organized by the CIA. Now, we all know that Lukashenko says all sorts of things, many of them false or plain silly. Except that the Russian FSB has confirmed it all! According to the Russians, a joint operation of the (Bielorussian) KGB and the Russian FSB has uncovered the plot early on and the Russians monitored the full operation until they had enough evidence to arrest all the plotters. Not only do the Russians have videos of their meetings, they also intercepted their Zoom video conferences (Zoom users, use Jitsi instead!).

    So far so good. But it gets better!

    Unlike the US/UK and others, the Russian FSB did not say that they were “confident” that it was “highly likely” that this operation took place. They released all the footage of a meeting of the plotters in Moscow which confirms it all

    By the way, the official Czech investigation in 2014 concluded that the explosion was caused by negligence, not sabotage but, really, who cares? After all, look at these accusations, all as unproven and as silly as this one: (partial list in no special order)

    Russian invaded the Donbass
    Russia shot down MH-17
    Russia tried to poison the Skripals
    Russia murdered Berezovskii
    Russia tried to poison Litvenenko
    Russia tried to poison Navalnyi
    Russia murdered Boris Nemtsov
    Russia murdered Politkovskaia
    Russia tried to poison Yushchenko
    Russia interfered in two US elections
    Russia hacked the DNC computers
    Russia paid Afghans to kill US soldiers
    The Russians shot down the aircraft of the Polish president over Smolensk
    The Russians tried to organize a coup in Montenegro
    The Russians organized the movement for an independent Catalonia

    To repeat, none, NONE of these accusations were ever proven or even substantiated. ALL of these accusations are solely based on the putatively undeniable credibility of the western special services.

    Still, accusing the self same two putative GRU agents Petrov and Boshirov shows how desperate the Czechs were too cook up some story literally overnight. Now they look stupid beyond any conceivable explanations for such a massive and, frankly, hilarious faceplant.

    UPDATE1: Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry’s chief spokeswoman has now officially confirmed it all on Russian TV.

    UPDATE2: The Kremlin just confirmed the Putin and Biden discussed this topic during their telephone conference.

    UPDATE3: Got to love the western media, not a word about the coup, all about the Czech fairy tale.”

    • Piotr+Berman

      Indeed, the story of trying to bribe highest military official sounds ridiculous, if not for the same scenario admitted to in Venezuela, poor Guaido failed in his most valiant coup attempt because the Defense Ministry duped him to believe that they will cooperate. If I recall, some guys were sanctioned by USA for refusing the bribe, and in a sneaky way at that.

      In short, just because the plot was ridiculous does not mean that it was not attempted.

    • Goose

      The Idea Russia put Trump in power still lingers. Despite being found to be completely baseless. That shapes most western opinion.

      Lots of media talk about the revolving door involving Ministers and Prime Ministers plus senior civil servants becoming private lobbyists for companies that they deal , or dealt with? But isn’t it equally scandalous how people leave MI6, set up private intelligence companies(sub-agencies?) like Orbis ,then get contracted by politicians to spy on rival politicians using the contacts developed while working for the State?

      I didn’t care for Trump, at all, but it doesn’t right how a private intel outfit was hired, ‘off the books’ by his political opponents.

    • Pigeon English

      You forgot very important one! Brexit.
      I am sure Russia will be blamed of interfering in Scottish referendum and all separatist will be
      blamed of swallowing Russian Disinformation.
      I know couple of Brexiteers and I could bet my money they will vote Brexit even before any referendum.
      With 90% accuracy I could guess who voted what from my friends, kids football parents and my son friends!
      Funny enough they are also Russophobe. Honest One has a second house in Spain.

    • Pyewacket

      I too have followed the tale on Saker. More today, an Act of War and Terrorism ! Is this why Ben Wallace suddenly resigned, and not over Soldier’s rights.

  • Colin Morris

    Given the lethality of VX and Novichock, the antidote would have to be given immediately or both would have died. This inevitably leads me to believe that the Skripals must have been contaminated on the bench at the duck pond (perhaps by someone walking behind them and wiping it on their necks). Then having the Army’s chief nurse right there at the same time and perhaps being able to administer the antidote she just happened to have in her bag, could save the Skripals from death, plus she could instruct the paramedics and hospital staff in the correct treatment.
    I can’t possibly know if this is anywhere near the truth, but I’m damned sure it’s closer than the official narrative.
    A dose of VX of (I think) 0.01 gram on the skin would cause symptoms in seconds and death in minutes. Novichocks are 5 times more deadly.

    • Piotr+Berman

      It seems that the antidote is atropine, a wide spectrum drug for many types of poisoning, and administered according to symptoms.

      I just got the second vaccination shot. I did not even feel the first one — this is a skillful nurse for you. The second one was normal. Still, I guess that one would not do it in front of her daughter in her innocent and chatty years. Although The Head Nurse could collect the darts.

      That said, NOBODY disclosed the molecule discovered in Skripals and the door handle, so any speculations about the lethality are just that — speculations. Other than that, there are two anecdotes from Russia, a fatality and a serious illness, and info that the name was a term for “new stuff”, and there were many compounds under that label. Of course, the assumption in the Official Version was that door handle became lethal on contact, but then again, it was not so lethal in the final effect. There is also the issue of permeability. Finger tips have very robust skin, unlike lips and the skin on the inner wrist. Poisoning the door handle is the most unreliable way of trying to poison someone.

  • Goose

    BBC Newsnight featured a piece on the Czech situation. Presented by Mark Urban, he mocked the Salisbury pair. The RT interview featured, the one with Boshirov saying the two had gone to visit Salisbury Cathedral, “famous not just in Europe, but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123-metre spire, it’s famous for its clock, the first one [of its kind] ever created in the world, which is still working.”

    It is quite amusing.

    Can’t understand why Russia paraded them like that? Even if Russia is more sinned against than sinning overall, they’re most definitely losing the propaganda war. All the EU seems ready to believe any and every claim made against Russia ; any accusation simply taken at face value.

    • Goose

      Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš spoke at at press conference held at 7 PM

      “It was not an act of state terrorism,” Babiš assured the public.

      “This is the maximum of what the authorities were willing to say. This is a living case taking place at the criminal level. Neither my nor the government’s request for the information to be published was heard, ” Babiš added

      “Russia did not attack the Czech Republic. Agents attacked the goods of a Bulgarian ammunition dealer, who probably sold these weapons to parties fighting against Russia. It is unacceptable that GRU agents carried out this operation here, which they screwed up, ” Babiš added , adding that he and the Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček began to act immediately, as they learned from the BIS.

      “It was an attack on goods that belonged to a Bulgarian armourer,” the prime minister repeated.

      As a result the Czech government excluded Rosatom from the possibility of completing the Dukovany nuclear power plant.

      “The Russian supplier Rosatom will not be contacted or contacted,” said Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček.

      The Deputy Prime Minister also said that the ministers unanimously approved a resolution that the so-called security questionnaire will be sent only to potential suppliers from France, South Korea and the United States. According to him, the investor of the construction, the semi-state company ČEZ, should send a questionnaire to these companies by April 30. The Czechia decided not to contact the Russian company in response to information on the role of the Russian secret service in the explosions in the ammunition complex in Vrbětice in the Zlín region in 2014.

  • Spencer Eagle

    The Skripal case will never be understood until we all break away from the official narrative around the events in Salisbury. I’ve said this before on this blog, the ‘Russians’ didn’t poison anyone, the Skripal’s accidentally poisoned themselves. Everything I’m about to say works as an alternative narrative. If you start with the premise Skripal had his daughter bring the nerve agent to the UK in a sealed perfume bottle, with intentions to sell or trade it to persons or organisations unknown, everything else fits perfectly.
    The poisoning: The perfume was in Yulia’s checked luggage, the differential hold air pressurization caused the perfume bottle to weep some of it’s contents into the sealed cellophane packaging. Just prior to going to their celebratory meal, they took the perfume from the luggage, handled it between themselves and unwittingly became contaminated, leaving a dangerous amount on the door handle as they left the house. They then performed the drop before heading to the restaurant, placing the perfume behind or under a litter bin (seeing a car stop and someone getting out to approach a litter bin would not arouse suspicions).
    The collection: The two ‘GRU’ or freelancers were in Salisbury the day before, they wanted to get familiar with the street layout and routes around the area prior to returning to smoothly collect the drop the next day. Skripal had intended to have a nice meal, then phone or text the precise location of the drop. Of course the Skripal’s were overcome by the nerve agent and the message never got sent, so the two operators wandered aimlessly around Salisbury waiting for a call that would never come. Ultimately the events were pounced on by an opportunistic government and the rest is history. Plausible or not?

    • Ralma Torgren

      [ Mod: Ekver Noalston – kindly take note of the moderation rules for commenters:

      Sockpuppetry.
      …. the adoption of multiple identities within the same thread is not to be allowed.

      Please use one identity only. ]



      Bingo. The most plausible explanation of events that I’ve heard yet.

      • Ekver Noalston

        [ Mod: Ralma Torgren – kindly take note of the moderation rules for commenters:

        Sockpuppetry.
        …. the adoption of multiple identities within the same thread is not to be allowed.

        Please use one identity only. ]



        Except that actual Novichok would apparently have killed rather than made them sleepy. I’m thinking the whole damn sequence of events this is a fabricated psyop. Just ask David Kelly, RIP.

    • Giyane

      Spencer Eagle

      Your version also lets the criminal British State clean off the hook. I can see that Russian security services could have emptied the perfume out and stuck a nerve agent in it to finish off the Skripals, in which case the daft duo were decoys to throw the public off the scent.
      Thus Russia and Bojo are complicit in trying to kill the Skripals.

      All modern politics is Bollywood. X agrees to get abuse from Y, and handles the abuse so serenely that his public opinion status is raised. Bojo and Putin plan the Russophobic drama together. Mission success. The two clowns are at no stage in any danger of being apprehended by MI6 because their slapstick antics were scripted by MI6.

      All lying is psychologically disturbing. It seems our present political class simply want us to be disturbed, presumably so they can carry on working the failed banking system until it expires. The story line of Skripalgoat could have come from an episode of Peppa pig.

    • Dafydd

      While reading this I was reminded of the film ‘Three Days of the Condor’ In the film the CIA had a department that read plots which cropped up in publications to see if they were plausible.

      An interesting theory, thank you and take care. (I don’t mean that in a sinister sort of way.)

  • Alan McHarg

    Your forensic analysis of events is very informative and enlightening. I do believe that the west were trying to create a “New Cold War” maybe because Russia weren’t allowing the US/UK/minions have their own way in Syria and the Middle East. Personally I was angry that Nicola Sturgeon jumped on the anti-Russian band wagon. A very British reaction I have to say. As always Craig, your work continues to entertain and enlighten. Thank you.

    • Bob (not OG Bob)

      Sorry about TLDR. (I read some of it.)
      The fact is, we can’t be sure how these poisonings happened. Maybe it was the Ruskies (probably was), maybe it was a false flag.- we don’t know.
      The only way to counter any of this shit and to put any pressure on govt. is by forming groups. Collectives. Gangs. Cooperatives.
      Whatever you want to call it.
      It’s way beyond my abiliy to start such a ball rolling, but I’m sure it can be done. Scottish, Irish, English, Welsh… The enemy is the system.
      I’ve noticed that even great YT channels make no mention of Assange. That is worrying. The truth starts starts to appear and the truth teller gets seized and silenced. He must be freed.
      But if enough of us can recognize the horror of this controling system, we can destroy it.

      • Spencer Eagle

        Bob, things are actually moving in that direction, there’s an organisation called The Freedom Cell Network .. https://freedomcells.org/
        Freedom Cells are peer to peer groups organizing themselves in a decentralized manner with the collective goal of asserting the sovereignty of group members through peaceful resistance and the creation of alternative institutions. There are a surprising number popping up in the UK.

    • Goose

      It isn’t even as though the US/UK’s plans for post-Assad Syria were honourable. They’d have been quite happy creating another Libya and walking away. Small arms gangs running the place are no threat to neighbouring countries equipped with jets and modern armies.

      The people in charge of foreign policy are criminals, no other word for them. And as said before, how does a UK or US citizen change foreign policy via democracy, when both parties are in lockstep? Protest? How?

      • Bob (not OG Bob)

        You’re absolutely right. I truly am at a loss to know what to do.
        It’s crossed my mind to throw rocks through the windows of Halifax, Barclays etc. but then maybe that would just harm the workers of those particular branches.
        The CIA are massive, massive criminals, as anyone with even the slightest grasp of history knows. There’s not enough room to list their crimes in this post.
        There needs to be a change in the mindset of the kind of people who want to be in power. That *could* happen though a kind of awakening via social media, if we’re lucky? I won’t hold my breath.

        • Goose

          Foreign policy rarely features in election campaigns.

          Millions marching against the Iraq war didn’t change anything. And when the sole basis given for that war; namely, alleged WMD possession, was shown to be untrue, the perpetrators faced no consequences whatsoever. In fact, John Scarlett was promoted.

          That’s the worst example of a cross-party consensus operating directly against public wishes. I’ve ever witnessed. Terrible precedent and it ruined intel agency credibility for many.

          • pretzelattack

            moreover, george bush jr seems to be almost completely rehabilitated in the u.s. msm. saw a touching article the other day at his amazement at negative reaction to his close friendship with michelle obama. i think he ascribed it to racism and donald trump. the friendship doesn’t strike me as unusual in the slightest, warmongers often seem to bond together. see the clintons, vacationing with henry kissinger.

    • Bramble

      Remembering back to those days, I seem to recall that our Home Secretary’s initial reaction (I think it was Nicky Morgan) was to say we should wait for evidence. Within 24 hours (in which time Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, had taken over the propaganda offensive) this was forgotten. Forlornly, Mr Corbyn also initially called for a measured, judicial response, for which he was hammered as unpatriotic as usual.

      • Giyane

        Bramble

        Jeremy Corbyn being a member of the Privy council already had his foot in his mouth because though he is informed of the psyop, he is unable to give an inkling of what happened to the public. The system is that all political Parties and the MSM all walk in lockstep about security matters.

        Even Craig is expected to play within agreed boundaries, and the current doom hanging over him is simply a reminder for him to operate inside the gentlemen’s agreement of skirting around the deadly truth. In particular over Assange and the SNP, but in general about all the other criminal scams by HMG to which a man of his caleyebre is cogniscient .

        It suits the establishment to have a tame sleuth pick at the salad, exposing the odd slug that got missed. But he is bound hand and foot by the same unwritten code that Jeremy Corbyn is, not to expose Britain’s criminality , more than for example an episode of Line of Duty.

        Thus we bask on the warm glow of democratic honour , while actually operating like used car salesmen at a rigged auction.

        Imho, all our current wars and tensions are manufactured between equal participants of a global order. The pecking order will change from.time to time, but the message to the people is that world is still run by kindly ladies and gentlemen in tights. Not.

      • Blissex

        «I seem to recall that our Home Secretary’s initial reaction (I think it was Nicky Morgan) was to say we should wait for evidence. Within 24 hours (in which time Johnson, then Foreign Secretary, had taken over the propaganda offensive) this was forgotten.»

        One of the best indicators was this Early Day Motion in the Commons, just days after the accident, where the critical detail is the list of signatories, which is basically a roll call of the would-be founders (Woodcock, Creasy, Umunna, Berger, Davey, Gapes, Hodge, Kinnock, Leslie, Smeeth, Snell, Swinson, …) of a new “centrist” “atlanticist” party like the SDP in 1983, which eventually fizzled out as “Change UK”:

        https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1071
        RUSSIA’S POISONING OF SERGEI AND YULIA SKRIPAL …
        That this House unequivocally accepts the Russian state’s culpability for the poisoning of Yulia and Sergei Skripal in Salisbury using the illegal novichok nerve agent

        Signed by: 1 DUP, 1 Conservative, 5 SNP, 9 LibDems, 36 New Labour.

  • J.H.W.

    My egotistical old friend and business associate (he asked me not to reveal his name, suffice to say that at one time we were partners in a consulting detective business with a not undeserved international reputation) advised me he had been invited by an individual associated with (aS He described it) a “large national institution”, to try to shed some light on the mystery, which he referred to at times as “The Salisbury cHarade” and at others as “The Skripal cHarade”. He Said He had explained it in a matter of hours without even a single visit to Salisbury. I met him at his Sussex Home where he had retired. When I asked him to relate the whole story he laughed quite abruptly and loudly and said that while, for reasons of national insecurity he could neither name any of the characters nor could he reveal the complete Story, wHat he could tell me was, it was without doubt the easiest mystery he had ever been asked to solve. If you knew him as I knew him well, what-son of a ….. wouldn’t believe him? (Apologies, yes, it’S tHe “SHift” key on my keyboard.)

    • Giyane

      J.H.W

      ‘ what son of a … wouldn’t believe him ?’

      Sussex and Scotland, two places where lies are of ‘ high purity ‘. In other words the deception is very deep. I see Sturgeon is now brandishing two jewels of Bojo bribery to the Scottish electorate, a 4 day week and full child care. The small print reads: if you are good .

      Or as my political friend told me, he was starting to get quite high. Oh, is that what the stink is?

  • Bluedotterel

    Why do the media lie? Why do the public accept those lies?
    As with the Skripal case, Glenn Greenwald discusses this with the Capitol Hill case.

    The Media Lied Repeatedly About Officer Brian Sicknick’s Death. And They Just Got Caught.
    Just as with the Russia Bounty debacle, they will never acknowledge what they did. Their audience wants to be lied to for partisan gain and emotional pleasure.

    “Truth matters. Noble lies are never justified no matter the cause, especially in journalism. But these employees of corporate media outlets have been taught the exact opposite model: that their primary obligation is to please and flatter the partisan agenda and political sensibilities of their audience even if it means lying or recklessly spreading unproven theories to do it. That is their profit model. And they have trained their audiences to want and expect this and that is why they never feel compelled to engage in any self-critique or accountability when they get caught doing this: their audiences want to be lied to — they are grateful for it — and would prefer that they not admit they did it so that their partisan interests will not be undermined.

    What is most depressing about this entire spectacle is that, this time, they exploited the tragic death of a young man to achieve their tawdry goals. They never cared in the slightest about Officer Brian Sicknick. They had just spent months glorifying a protest movement whose core view is that police officers are inherently racist and abusive. He had just become their toy, to be played with and exploited in order to depict the January 6 protest as a murderous orgy carried out by savages so primitive and inhuman that they were willing to fatally bash in the skull of a helpless person or spray them with deadly gases until they choked to death on their own lung fluids. None of it was true, but that did not matter — and it still does not to them — because truth, as always, has nothing to do with their actual function. If anything, truth is an impediment to it.”

    So, what can the public do about media lies and the censorship of those trying to report the truth?

  • Cascadian

    ” Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter”

    And then there was the image showing a “police”? officer carrying a Tetrad radio in a bag from the flat complex where Charlie lived. A Tetrad radio? The encrypted communications device used by the police and security services? In Charlie Rowley’s flat ??

    • Giyane

      Diagonal

      If Dawn Sturgess became ill from contaminated drugs, it is always possible that the contaminant was a nerve agent in the flat, picked up from day 1 after being thrown out by the Skripals. It is the antics of the two Russian agents that camouflage the facts. They are a smoke screen for a multi state poisoning in which USUKIS and Russia all seem to be complicit.

  • Robert

    I don’t believe the official narrative of attempted murder, but I do think some of the questions do have answers.

    A thought on the “pure”.
    It could mean that the substance identified was pure in the sense of having no Novichok precursors, other poisons, or stuff similar to Novichok. If I took a bottle of Lagavulin to an assay lab, and asked them to assay the kinds of alcohol in it, I wouldn’t expect the report to say the sample was 50% glass and 30% water. The report would tell me that the alcohol was (say) 95% ethyl alcohol and 5% methyl alcohol – or they might find 100% ethyl alcohol, in which case they might report “pure”.

    As to the chief nurse and her daughter, I wouldn’t myself take my child on a potentially dangerous mission which was part of my job. My employer wouldn’t let me, for a start, and it was an opportunity for something to go wrong.

    The only incontrovertible thought I have is that the operation was designed to send a message. But a message to who? The message aspect clearly worked – it got the front pages of the newspapers, and we’re sill discussing it.

    Boris and Petrov tried pretty hard to be noticed – I guess intentionally.

    It wasn’t just a murder attempt – if the potential players wanted him dead discretely he’d be dead now.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      If the alcohol in Lagavulin actually does constitute 5% of the methyl variety, it might be a wonder that our generous host can see to type.

      • Giyane

        Lapsed Agnostic.

        I like your title and your joke .
        The methyl part is from the oak.
        Or the planings from the stove wood.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply. My moniker is taken from an article I read in the Graun – of all places – over two decades ago, in which the intrepid foreign correspondent attempted to explain his religious affiliation to some Bible Belters.

          The methanol (methyl alcohol) in whisky originates from the fermented grain. If correctly distilled, almost all of it will be removed in the fore-shots. The oak in the barrels provides flavouring compounds – mainly vanillin but also eugenol, furfural etc. I was once awarded a PhD in synthetic chemistry, which might explain at least some of my scepticism concerning the official narrative of the whole Skripal affair.

      • Jon

        While I have no evidence to dispute the theory that the Skripals poisoned themselves, this alternative does not explain the role of Charlie Rowley and the late Dawn Sturgess, and why it took months for them to be poisoned?

        Another missing witness seems to be Sam Hobson, whose initial story of the day prior to the Amesbury poisoning bears no similarity with the narrative swallowed by the MSM from a few days later.

        This is from the Mirror on July 5th 2018:

        “Pal Sam Hobson helped officers retrace their steps yesterday and said: “Police took me round every single place we visited, they wanted to see if they could have missed somewhere.”

        “Sam, who called an ambulance as he saw Charlie “turn into a zombie”, added: “We went round every single spot so they could build a picture of whether they had touched something they shouldn’t have.”

        “Dawn and Charlie had visited Queen Elizabeth gardens, where they went to enjoy a drink with friends.”

        “Sam said the couple had also visited Boots – to buy red, white and blue hair dye to support England – a phone shop and a store to buy alcohol.”

        “They bought food from Poundland and visited Barnado’s charity shop to buy a blanket for the park.”

        https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/amesbury-couple-poisoned-deadly-novichok-12856170

        No mention of perfume bottles, or rummaging in charity bins, there.

        They were watching one of England’s World Cup matches shown on a big screen in the park.

      • Robert

        I’m confident that the alcohol in Lagavulin is pretty well 100% ethyl alcohol – ie pure. My point is that an analystic could distinguish Lagavulin from bootleg whisky by the purity of the alcohol, despite allcohol being only 20% or so of the sample (rest is mostly glass and water)

  • charming64

    The global lies are just as acceptable as home lies which suggests that politicians are gullible idiots being played by the ‘security’ services. Latest post from Glenn Greenwald worth a visit.

    The Media Lied Repeatedly About Officer Brian Sicknick’s Death. And They Just Got Caught.
    Just as with the Russia Bounty debacle, they will never acknowledge what they did. Their audience wants to be lied to for partisan gain and emotional pleasure.

    Glenn Greenwald
    Apr 19

  • Baron

    You aren’t alone having reservations about the Skripals’ charade, Mr. Murray, everyone who has even a few brain cells still functioning must have, the whole saga is illogical, makes no sense whatsoever, must have been designed by a loon. Until this country owns up on the Skripals, it will not be the same Britain she used to be.

  • Goose

    Bellingcat seem remarkably good at getting hold of sensitive material for supposedly ‘amateur’ sleuths.

    And are Boshirov and Petrov Russia’s only two intel officers?

    Waiting for the pair to be placed on the grassy knoll, or failing that, they must surely have some connection to the notorious mystery ‘Badge Man’?

      • Stevie Boy

        We can rent you some. We appear to have about one spook for every ten members of the public – we just cannot be trusted by the state.
        You might want to inform your regional officer that the BBC is up to its tricks again trying to foment ‘regime change’ in Russia for its MI6 masters.
        BBC News‘I would like Russia to be more free’

        • Tatyana

          Thanks for the link, @Stevie Boy
          I find this guy Steve Rosenberg is a very pleasant person!

          In my opinion, he tried very hard to fill the video sequence with the faces of Lenin, Putin, industrial pipes and Christian crosses. I don’t know, maybe this is really so in Siberia.
          But not in my region, which, by the way, is considered the most communist and most traditional of the whole country. So the reportage feels artificial.
          The young mother with whom he was talking, is some kind of amoeba. Russian people are much more determined and much less fearful in their mass. He should have chosen an average man and woman from the street.

          But the feelings that people experience here – uncertainty and a presentiment of a catastrophe – he noted that correctly.

      • Tatyana

        The warehouse has not been used by the Czech army since 2006, but was leased. Some of the arms dealers occupied it at the time of the explosion.
        Cascadian is surprised at the speed of 11 days to find a bottle of perfume on the kitchen counter (it was probably hard to guess that this is not a common female practice to add a little Nina Ricci to your morning porridge?)
        In my opinion, 11 days is amazingly fast, compared to 7 years with Czechs.

        It’s also reported that our famous Bashed & Petrified Co. involvement prevents ‘Rosatom’ from participating in the tender for the object in Dukhovany. Czechs will not send the questionnaire to Russians.
        Now the three applicants are in game – the American-Canadian company Westinghouse, the French EdF and the South Korean KHNP
        I bet on the French.

        • Goose

          Reported that the Americans are using this Czech story to press Germany again over Nord Stream 2, it’s really become a totemic struggle to stop it for US politicians.

          They’re saying it gravely threatens the transatlantic alliance. I don’t think Germany will be able to hold out against this much longer.

          • Tatyana

            Frau Merkel has already announced that Nord Stream 2 will be completed. She explained that this russian gas is no different from the same russian gas flowing through the Ukrainian pipe, the Turkish line, or Nord Stream 1.

            So the only thing that is really important in this hype is – the country in which the offshore pipeline comes out is to decide whether it’s subject to the 3rd EU energy package.
            Simply, Germany is not obliged to comply with the anti-monopoly law and theoretically can block competitors.

            I believe that the point here is not in Russian gas, but in the fact that Germany will receive a certain degree of independence, some leverage, perhaps. And other European countries, and especially the transatlantic “partners” really do not want this.

            E.g. when Ukraine controlled the valve, it used it for its own benefit, sometimes even for direct blackmail – either you pay or you freeze.

          • Tatyana

            “Gas blackmail” is a constant topic of jokes here. For example, after the Belarusian electoral protests, in a comedy show, President Lukashenko gives witty answers to the German diplomatic nota and the threat of sanctions:
            ‘My dear Angela Merkel
            don’t go crazy !
            you forget that soon
            winter will cover all of the Europe,
            while you only get gas
            through us,
            so dance, lady, to our tune’

            in russian language, starts 2:55
            https://youtu.be/GSJPTheaE3Q?t=175
            * What’s especially funny is the song chosen. In the original, it was a song about 2 brave Russian detectives who fight bandits. Lyrics based on the popular film with Vladimir Vysotsky.*

          • nevermind

            The issue of Nord Stream 2 will not become part of the succession battle as it is essential to Germany and its future development. Laschket will not be able to change course, even if pressurised by the crude attempts to flavour the switchover at the helm of Merkels party coalition, imho.
            But Nord Stream 2 provides ample possibilities for the spying community to justify their wretched existence, rather than to focus on the rarely talked about noble cause of world peace. Salisbury clearly was a construct they had their hands in, never mind their whole arms length. They have been found out and the Urbanites in the bbc should take note.

            We know that you have used the national broadcasting organisation for your Goebbellian ways, you are part of the problem and not the solution.
            The transatlantic alliance is threatened by lies and actions that go beyond security services remits, the dependency on fracked gas from the US is shallow and unsustainable, if Biden means anything, more than a sop, when he talks of the environmental actions he is going to demand from industry and society. The Germans will carry out what is best for Europe and Germany, whatever he says, however much longer he is ‘keeping hold’ of the assumed to be vacated US bases in Germany.
            Germany’s once strategic forward position within the NATO alliance, lead by an expansionist Stoltenberg, who should really follow Merkel and retire, has made it a nuclear dump for US strategic armoury, hence the drive to have Ukraine’s fascists prepared for membership of NATO, ready to receive American nuclear weapons – the new US bitch on the block.
            Maybe Putin should ascribe to the same argument Israel avows to, i.e. ‘we will never allow Ukraine to become a nuclear armed state’.
            Time to embrace unilateral nuclear disarmament, because it is one of the greatest threats to global warming initiatives.
            Russia should send a delegation to COP26 and explain what plans they have to mitigate melting permafrost’s and the changing climate, ideally before Yellowstone blows its lid and takes all our lives to a completely new level of threat; this time world hunger would descent on developing countries and their agriculture in the northern hemisphere.

            https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1380921/yellowstone-volcano-earthquake-usgs-big-one-magnitude-ring-of-fire

    • Josh R

      Goose,
      Isn’t Bellingcat just a foreign office/intelligence service cut out? Somewhere they can dump their perception management fakery so it can be referred to later by the MS echo boxes?
      But I’m guessing you & most others who ‘delve’ know this already.
      But just in case that is news to anyone, GrayZone have pretty comprehensively exposed the BellEndCat on a number of occasions.
      There was a great quote from some spook about how useful these agency mouthpieces were, for releasing dodgy info that they couldn’t substantiate so that they could then refer back to it in official briefings as if it were established fact. Like some magical roundabout of falsehoods…..

      • Goose

        @Josh R

        I know, I was being sarcastic. They’ve too much access to what is privileged, hard to access data, to be anything other than a outlet for selective leaks from the security services (who obviously do have such database/records access).

        If Bellingcat were investigating the UK and US’s actions with anything like the same vigour & probity they’ve put into exposing Russia, Eliot Higgins would probably be awaiting extradition alongside Assange.

        I’m all for investigative journalism, but what Bellingcat offer is a stream of anti-Russia propaganda, of the kind Ministers accuse Russia of pushing.

  • Goose

    Guardian expressing concern over over Navalny’s treatment and moves against Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

    If only they could show the same concern for Assange and his anti-corruption organisation, aka. WikiLeaks.

    • Pigeon English

      Propaganda war! Navalny is in the news every couple of days while JA is forgotten.
      If BBC was concerned about human rights, journalists, war crimes, health etc. JA would be 24/7.
      Hypocrisy and Propaganda 100%

      • Goose

        Unlike the bogus Assange-Russia links, western agencies are clear in their support for their favourite opposition figure Navalny. Seems to me there’s probably more chance of change in Russia without such western interference , it’s counterproductive. Yeltsin was helped to power by the CIA and he wasn’t exactly the knight in shining armour Russia needed at that point.

        Why would any population want to be saddled with the protégé’ of an enemy? Like the Juan Guaidó situation in Venezuela, even if you intensely dislike Maduro, having someone groomed and feted by the American establishment foisted on you, must seem even worse.

  • N_

    The US ambassador to Russia John Sullivan is “returning to the US for consultations“.

    I believe it is important for me to speak directly with my new colleagues in the Biden administration in Washington about the current state of bilateral relations between the United States and Russia. Also, I have not seen my family in well over a year, and that is another important reason for me to return home for a visit. I will return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin.

    Perhaps it’s a family member’s birthday and he wants a slice of birthday cake? 🙂

    That statement is cr*p, PR-wise. The first sentence is fine, but the second and third are awful.

  • Gordon Logan

    Skripal was a Russian nationalist and had become a Putin supporter. He approved of the Crimea annexation. He had no family ties to the UK. Both his wife and son had died here. The two GRU officers were going to meet him with a passport and a one way air ticket home, so MI5 cut off Skripal’s mobile to prevent the meeting. Skripal had had eight years of contacts with western intel services and was going to be debriefed in Moscow. MI6 didn’t want that so it was decided to kidnap the Skripals. They may even have been murdered. I know 6 very well and have survived a few attempts to kill me. They’re a wholly owned subsidiary of Mossad. I forced Dearlove’s resignation in August 2003 with a report on the false flag killings of 2 Brits in Saudi Arabia organised by Israeli double agent Richard Dearlove on behalf of Israel. I met the killer in a hotel. He was an army officer called ‘Ginger’ [real name withheld]. The Skripal kidnapping was a typically disgusting British political crime. Anyone who doubts that the British government is the most criminal in Europe can start by reading TJ Cole, Britain’s Secret Wars. If tried at Nuremberg, not many British Prime Ministers would escape the noose.

  • SA

    Successful propaganda takes a lot of long term planning. In the case of the anti-Russian case there are now several narratives that have entered the folklore that do not need to be confirmed anymore and that cannot be refuted, some are interconnected:
    1. The Skripal narrative, a totally unproven story full of holes is now taken as fact. Novichok was used to poison an ex double spy.
    2. The ‘proven’ perpetrators, without observing any standards of burden of proof are the two Russian agents, Bashirov and Petrov have done it but in any case they are not who they are.
    3. That having used Novichok to try and kill Skripal and failed, that the Russian state once again tries the same old dirty trick on Navalny. They never learn.
    4. That in fact the Russians have such a limited repertoire of tricks that we now know that the two agents of choice, Boshirov and Petrov may also been implicated in a bombing of an explosive warehouse in Czechia in 2014, of course way before they became famous for their Novichok shenanigans, but this was all done now retrospectively.
    These two above means that anytime you mention novichok, Boshirov or Petrov, you conjure up this picture of gremlins at the Kremlin, taking over the world. The stuff of dog-whistle politics.

    So the Russians have a very limited repertoire of tricks, use the same agents, use the same failed poison twice, leave lots of clues, appear stupid. But why are such ruthless killers so incompetent?
    The reason also why the whole novichok narrative is untenable is this. Nerve agents, especially binary nerve agents, are so designed as to mix two easily found innocuous components more or less just before they are needed for use in the field and by nature decompose so quickly that the invading army that have used these agents do not have to face a residual poison that may kill its own troops. With a bit of luck they also leave no trace apart from the nature of the death of the victims. At least this is my understanding. So you can’t pre manufacture these very deadly agents and put them in bottles wrapped with cellophane and use them off the shelf. Then if you do use them they are not supposed to be so persistent that they are still detected several days later with rain, pollution and so on, and still remain of high degree of purity, this is a chemical impossibility. There is something fundamentally wrong with the narrative here. So there may have been a poison used but if it was persistent and stable and storable in perfume bottles, it can’t at the same time be a military grade nerve agent. Is that not common sense?

    • Stevie Boy

      The Dawn Sturgess episode is very curious and appears to fall outside the main narrative. One has to wonder if it was a case of tidying up loose ends.

      • Giyane

        Gordon Logan

        Very impressive clarification of the case. But , like a good Sherlock Holmes story, I’ve gone from being more or less amused by the incompetence to being disturbed by the malevolence. The hound is still out there, in my imagination at least.

      • Real Igor

        Poor Dawn Sturgess may have been brought in to make the whole narrative more convincing as well as for legal purposes. AFAIR, B&P were charged with relation to her death only, not the attempted “murder” of Skripals. There may well have been legal complications with the latter.

  • SA

    Off topic but very topical. London Live is a TV channel owned by Evgeny Lebedev who also owns the Evening Standard and the Independent . Last night there was a programme called ‘The prosecution of Julian Assange’ which attempted to present a balanced view of the events leading to his prosecution, but with some obvious bias and some glaring omissions. The most blatant of this was presenting the Clinton email leak, as a hack and heavily hinting that it was a Russian hack. It was nevertheless interesting. If you try and Google this it is difficult to find but the programme will be repeated again a couple of times. The most interesting part of this is what Alan Rusbrigder said but also what he did not say. It would be interesting to get comments about this programme from Mr. Murray if possible or someone who knows the case more than I do,
    https://www.tvguide.co.uk/detail/3633552/45517735/the-prosecution-of-julian-assange

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