Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative 1240

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:


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.


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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1,240 thoughts on “Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative

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  • Steve Hayes

    As regards the Salisbury events, I may be naive but I can’t imagine Western spooks planning the whole thing (eg as a way to kidnap the Skripals) yet allowing so many implausible things in the script. To me, the way that the story has changed each time a new inconvenient fact emerged (eg that it was a policewoman, presumably not DS Bailey in drag, who attended to the Skripals) says that whatever really happened was not planned ahead. The simple explanation for all the ducking and diving is that the Skripals were not innocent victims. MI6 was involved and the authorities are covering that up, one panic at a time. With little concern for what might have emerged the next week.

    • Real Igor

      One theory that explains it is MI6 having to urgently stop Skripal (or both of them) from doing something. Perhaps he decided to return to his old employer and B&P’s visit was related to that. So they incapacitated Skripals with something non-lethal, like BZ and invented the Novichok story.

      • intp1

        Yes, this has been theorized elsewhere and I think something like this fits.
        Sergei would need to have something of value to his old but surely disenchanted employers though.
        There would have had to be a leak or a cock-up on Moscow’s part. There were changes in Russian Intelligence within a year. The head of the GU main directorate died.
        It would mean that Charlie & Dawn would probably have been deliberately targeted simply as a smoke screen to misdirect the curious. Cruel but certainly not beneath MI6 although there were probably other allies involved.
        It is about the only explanation for the Skripal’s rapid sequestering and disappearance without trace, without any contact with their consulate, and without contact with Yulia’s grandmother or fiancée that we know of.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      I think Skripal joined in with the motive of being allowed to return to Russia by UK Gov.
      Russia will have him since he served his time for whatever it was and that was in USSR times anyway.

  • Diagonal

    The two most important known facts are:
    1). for 36 hrs medical staff treating the skripals were not anyway of any nerve agent poisoning and any evidence from blood test from that period is missing
    2.) WIlts Police originally reported Sturgess and Rowley incident as due to contaminated drugs.

    See John Helmer blog http://johnhelmer.net/mi6-bbc-reveal-operation-mincepie-skripal-blood-tests-at-salisbury-hospital-failed-to-show-nerve-agent-until-porton-down-added-it-for-the-british-government-to-announce/ http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Poisoning_of_Sergei_Skripal#Amesbury_incident

    • Giyane


      Yes, that also makes sense because HMG have full control over the Skripals and they don’t need to mess around with pranks. Aka operation mincemeat 1943 , in operation mince pie, Skripal wants to go home and he has already been despatched. How to explain their abscence?

      A couple , dressed up as the Skripals, are then made to appear to have been poisoned by McCourt. Much fantasy and froth follows, but the main purpose of the exercise is to tell Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern despots that USUKIS and Russia are deadly enemies, instead of being joint crusaders against Muslim interests.

      How much of Islamic State is Bollywood and how much is genuine destruction? In the psyops world we live in there is actually room for both. One part being advertising for the jihadist cause in order to collect recruits, and the other part being the hard grind of actual war, barrel bombs on civilians, and tanks or aerial bombardments on idealistic recruits.

      All I know is that all world governments are on the same page, controlling trade, intelligence and propaganda, while they feed us ‘umble peeps total and unmitigated and probably plastic tripe.

  • A234

    12th August 2019
    Although he admitted he is “not back to normal” he said he is “getting close”, adding there were “unresolved things to sort out”.

    Like how he managed to contaminate the whole house but not his wife and two children?


    NOTE: Bailey is stood outside his new house in the country. His old gaff was sold without being demolished. He’s now been pensioned off on health grounds (he and his wife were asking for compensation). Rumours are he was getting stick from his work colleagues.

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    As he seems to have reproduced an earlier blogpost himself, I hope that our generous host, or the mods, will grant me the indulgence of not deleting this comment, some of which was originally posted in reply to one of Goose’s comments on April 18 – which that has quickly slipped down the comment timeline, meaning that several readers might not have seen it – as I believe it may be of interest to some:

    Former DS Bailey has taken part in a recent, if fairly obscure, podcast with another former bizzie, detailing his version of some of the events of March 4-6 2018. How much of his testimony constitutes anything approaching the truth, the listener can decide.


    My favourite bit was when Bailey said that, despite suffering all manner of toxic symptoms, he dismissed the possibility that he might have been poisoned at the Skripal house as “too ridiculous”, having earlier hit panic stations that Mr Skripal’s neighbour and another bizzie could be in mortal danger if they so much as entered the house without donning full protective get-up, immediately after he and his colleague discovered that Skripal was a Russian spy – whilst not apparently being concerned that he and/or other po-po had recently handled his coat and wallet, probably without even wearing gloves.

    (Interview 23:40 – 1:24:50; relevant part 43:30 – 1:02:50)

    In addition, as no one appears to have mentioned it in recent comments, with regard to points 2 & 5 in our host’s original post which may require updating, I should like to add that Mr Rowley’s former housing association flat in Amesbury was demolished in Oct/Nov 2020, along with the flat above, to be given over to ‘green space for the community’. A memorial garden to the late Ms Sturgess might have been a nice gesture.


    Two homes of similar specification are set to be built nearby, just in case anyone is concerned about the consequent drop in the availability of ‘affordable’ housing in the South Wiltshire area. Personally, being an inveterate Georgist, I’m more worried about the lack of reasonably priced housing pretty much nationwide, and indeed in most of the western world as a whole.

    • Goose

      On point 6.

      After Urban broke the news he’d been working closely with Skripal senior on a book he was writing, he mentioned that his contacts had told him intel services knew for months prior, that Skripal was still a figure of intense interest to the Russians.

      If so, why was Sergei Skripal living at that address under his real name and why did the house not have even rudimentary CCTV?

      • Goose

        Nothing will cut through with the public or politicians, as most believe the Skripals touched the door on the way out that morning. Most aren’t even aware of the small time window Craig highlights, when the alleged attackers are meant to have walked from the station and up a street at around midday. The pair unconcerned about street CCTV, and not knowing whether they’d bump into Sergei in his garden or not. Hardly looks like a well planned operation and it’s unlikely people improvise carrying a scary, lethal substance.

        If they came home for lunch, why then go to Zizzi’s for a full meal?

        • Goose

          If those who push the official version of events can say precisely when the Skripals returned home – to touch the door – and show CCTV evidence that corroborates that version of events. That would add a lot more credence to the story.
          However, not knowing, even to the nearest hour, when the Skripals returned home, is a fairly big omission.

  • Reza

    Whatever happened back then, Britain’s political and media class has no moral standing to criticise Russia (or China for that matter).

  • Mary

    Who owns Twitter

    Jack Dorsey
    Noah Glass
    Biz Stone
    Evan Williams

    Key people
    Omid Kordestani (Executive Chairman)
    Ned Segal (CFO)
    Jack Dorsey (CEO)
    Parag Agrawal (CTO)

    Revenue US$3.72 billion (2020)

    Omid R. Kordestani (Persian: امید کردستانی‎; born 1963) is an Iranian-American businessman who is a member of the board at Twitter and was previously the Executive Chairman at Twitter from October 2015 to June 2020. He was a Senior Vice President, the Chief Business Officer, and most recently a special advisor to the CEO and founders at Google from July 2014 to October 2015 and was a director of Vodafone from March 2013 to October 2014. Kordestani had also previously been at Google from May 1999 to April 2009, reaching the position of Senior Vice President for Worldwide Sales and Field Operations.


    He’s been everywhere man!

  • Sam

    I love how these two drunk bon vivants have now allegedly also blown up a random munitions depot in Czech Republic because “Russia”.

    More seriously to the point, even if a legitimate (post-Soviet) Russian-made poison was found that only the Russian military has access to, that STILL doesn’t prove that Putin (or the Russian gov’t) ordered a high-profile ludicrously failed assassination attempts a month before the friggin’ World Cup.

    • Tatyana

      I got the impression that a competition is going on, like who will reach the greatest degree of absurdity and be able to make people believe it.

      • FraPer

        Hi Tatyana. Completely unrelated to the Czech nonsense but what do you hear and see on the ground about these latest Alexey Navalny protests in Russia. Papers here celebrate him as the ‘leader of the Russian opposition’ and numbers of protesters in Moscow are claimed to be in the tens of thousands.

  • Monster

    The Wiltshire air ambulance needed for the transport of the victims to hospital was hanging around for 20 minutes, according to its flight log, waiting for the event to happen. The original logs have since been deleted and replaced with a notice saying the helicopter was grounded at that time due to technical problems. Transport was undertaken by road. The charity which runs the service is partly funded by Wiltshire police.

    A new security law going through parliament will give security personnel the right to kill where necessary. The Skripals will legally be brown bread.

  • Owen

    Borishov & Petrov were there to communicate with Skripral, weren’t they?

    They didn’t like what they saw and bounced.

  • Goose

    On the subject of abuse of power. New Zealand could be expelled from Five Eyes.


    Quote : Peter Mattis, a former CIA China expert, raised the prospect of removing New Zealand from the Five Eyes network.

    ‘In New Zealand, both the last prime minister, Bill English, and Jacinda Ardern, have denied that there’s a problem at all,’ Mattis said.

    ‘To quickly move to a recommendation, I think that at some level the Five Eyes, or the Four Eyes, need to have a discussion about whether or not New Zealand can remain given this problem with the political core.

    ‘It needs to be put in those terms so that New Zealand’s government understands that the consequences are substantial for not thinking through and addressing some of the problems that they face,’ he said.

    He told the committee that both ‘Australia and New Zealand both face substantial problems with interference by the CCP. In both cases, the CCP has gotten very close to or inside the political core, if you will, of both countries.’

    The Telegraph’s resident chickenhawk & Nato propagandist Con Coughlin writes: New Zealand could be expelled from Five Eyes for prioritising trade with China over our security


    FVEYs is increasingly taking political and economic positions(in reality just the US’s agenda), and Jacinda Ardern isn’t comfortable being steamrollered into just agreeing whether it’s in NZ’s interests or not.

    She should pose Tony Benn’s five questions:

    1. What power have you got?
    2. Where did you get it from?
    3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
    4. To whom are you accountable?
    5. How can we get rid of you?

    • Goose

      In FVEY countries, how is a leftist party, or for that matter anyone seeking to change the status quo, supposed to get elected when this rival executive structure is developing, unaccountable and protected by crushing state secrecy. Any party or individual potentially more sympathetic to traditional adversaries, Venezuela, Cuba and China would be seen as unacceptable threat. Radically narrowing political choice in the west.

      • Goose

        It’s not even as though there is any consistency on human rights issues; which are selectively upheld and numerous ME leaders go unpunished or rewarded. for egregious human rights abuses
        China has lifted 770 million rural residents out of poverty in the last 40 years. That doesn’t excuse their human rights record, but it shows it’s a more complex picture than simply saying ‘China bad’.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Trouser Snake. I wonder what odds you’d be offered by the Hillbillies on all of Uncle Sam’s harem leaving him in the lurch though? Pretty generous, one would have thought.

          • Goose

            Lessons for Sturgeon and the SNP maybe? If they’re intent on cosying up to this club.

            NATO and FVEYs come with obligations and implications for sovereignty, that smaller countries may not wish to enter in to. And once you’re in, I’d imagine(?) the US could be mighty vindictive with those govt’s wanting out.

            Read about Gough Whitlam and Pine Gap.

    • graeme pedersen

      New Zealand has been well supported by three of the other eyes. America threw them out of ANZUS because they refused to let nuclear armed warships into their ports.
      The UK nearly killed their economy when they joined the EU at the expense of New Zealand ‘s frozen meat trade preferring european trade.
      Australia deports any New Zealander, who commits a crime there, back to N.Z. even if they left NZ as an infant & have, worked, married, had family, joined gangs, and learnt their criminal ways over many years in Australia.
      America,UK nor Australia will reduce tariffs and do a free trade agreement with us. China will.

  • Florian

    I smelt a UK government ‘false flag’ chemical propaganda scam in days after the incident.
    A few months later, I met a friend who works in the field of chemical weapons and their antidotes.
    In a response to a question I asked my friend, the answer was ‘You know, but its better not to know’.

  • Florian

    I smelt a UK government ‘false flag’ chemical propaganda scam in days after the incident.
    A few months later, I met a friend who works in the field of chemical weapons and their antidotes.
    In a response to a question I asked my friend, the answer was ‘You know, but its better not to know’.

    I wonder today what HMS Highly Likely and HMS False Accusation will be up to in the Black Sea during their imminent deployment there, lol.

    • Stevie Boy

      I’d be surprised if any UK RN ships could travel all that way without breaking down. The carriers leak and have no planes and the Type 45 doesn’t like warm water and keeps losing power. A Navy fit for a banana republic. And, I cannot help remembering when the Iranians captured some UK sailors, they were virtually crying because their phones were taken away. The Ruskies must be really crapping themselves – Bozo’s circus comes to town Ra, Ra, Ra.

    • John LEON

      Metaphorically speaking, sinking. I doubt if the R.N. has come up against Russian electronic counter measures to any serious degree yet. The U.S. has, which is quite possibly why it ordered it’s two destroyers not to go into the black Sea.

  • Pigeon English

    Someone did not notice Expire date for Novichock or best before date.
    I guess Russians were doing Spring cleaning before World Cup.

    • Pigeon English

      This is fools and horses
      In front of Skripal house

      Rodney: What you want me to do, Del?
      Del: Just smudge it in the handle.
      R: How much?
      D: What do I know, you have GCSE in Maths.
      R: This is chemistry, Del.
      D: Just all of it.
      R: All of it? This is military grade Poison!!
      What if I get it on me?
      D: Don’t worry I got baby wipes!
      Ok, just half!
      R: What we gonna do with the rest?
      D: Wrap it and put it in charity bin.
      You know it make sense.
      This time next year we will be in war with Russia

      • Pigeon English

        I do not believe Novichock was ever Weaponized which in my opinion means,reliable for use in war. In ww1 Germans had experiments with many of chemical weapons but they “blow in their face”. From creating something deadly and weaponizing it,is massive step. That is my problem with Military grade rhetoric.

  • Tatyana

    “The company EMCO, owned by the Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev, categorically denies that the ammunition destroyed in the explosions in warehouses in the village of Vrbetice in eastern Czech Republic in 2014, belonged to it.”

    The Czechs, trying to set up Russia, revealed the scheme of arms supplies to Ukraine. Deliveries, practically illegal, which were constantly denied in the European Union. Ammunition that remained from the time of the Warsaw Pact organization; there were literally deposits of this ammunition in the Czech Republic. The European Union has repeatedly stated that no weapons are being supplied to Ukraine.

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    To take our minds off all the sabre-rattling / full-scale war that could break out at any minute – around 400 miles from where my bastard* niece will hopefully at some point in the next few days emerge fully intact into a waiting world of wonder – let’s take a moment to ogle the lifestyles of the rich and famous, shall we:


    I’d imagine the service you get at Poole Audi is a bit better than that you get at Poole Aldi. Anyway, as lockdown restrictions on non-essential retail in England have now ended and he’s currently ‘between jobs’, ex-DS Bailey really could now stay there all day – or at least as long as he can convince the showroom staff that he’s in the market for putting some of his pension pot towards a brand new Audi. Vorsprung durch technik.

    (*You don’t get much more ‘out-of-wedlock’ than being born to a woman your biological father has never even met, let alone married. If I was clever, I’d be able to sign off with the Ukrainian for ‘Progress through technology’. Bonus point for anyone who knows it.)

  • Goose

    MI5 joins Instagram as part of drive to become more transparent.

    When asked in an interview a few years back, author of ‘A Very British Coup’ and ex-minister Chris Mullin said MI5 had been brought under control and tidied their act up years ago. He wasn’t so positive about MI6 however, saying they were still playing fast and loose.

    • N_

      MI6 can’t even run a discussion group at Cambridge university without Russian intelligence penetrating it. Then Richard “Brexit” Dearlove has a tantrum.
      And MI6 couldn’t even stop a man they consider to be a major security risk becoming prime minister – a man who then appointed two other known security risks to his cabinet.
      Then there’s the royal family, which hasn’t become any more secure since the time of Louis Mountbatten.
      What’s the point of MI6? One can easily understand why senior figures and their families might think “F*** it – let’s just do some drug deals” followed by “F*** it, let’s have a war”.

  • N_

    According to Maria Pevchikh writing in the Guardian with a very forked tongue indeed, “Alexei Navalny is dying. Millions of Russians need him alive”. Moreover, “Vladimir Putin’s system is killing the one person who can deliver Russians from their leader”.

    Yes – millions “need” him “alive”, and he can “deliver Russians”. This is religious talk.
    Make up your mind, Maria – is he Jesus Christ or isn’t he? You know what happened to Jesus according to legend, right?

    She sounds as though she is rubbing her hands with glee at the thought of getting a martyr. I have absolutely no time for Alexei Navalny politically or morally – I think he is an absurd figure, some kind of “spice boy”. However, he is my fellow human being, and it is disgusting to watch what may be BOTH sides salivate like hyenas at the idea that a man who is not yet 45 years old might soon die. I hope he gets well soon.

    • Goose

      Navalny seems to be pawn of the US in their ‘fight’ to stop NS 2 “at all costs”. I doubt he’ll starve himself to death for the cause.

      if Russian authorities have any sense they’ll allow EU observers to visit him and review his treatment. It was Navalny’s decision to return home , in the full knowledge he was facing jail, and publicity stunts are his stock-in-trade. This scenario was bound to happen and Russia are being outplayed.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I wouldn’t even bother wasting your time reading the Guardian for facts about Russia. It is the archetypal bought prostitution, spouting US foreign policy now that it is owned by US neocons.

      It’s nearly as stupid as believing UK reporting on the Middle East: if the BBC say something, you assume until proven otherwise that it is lies made up to advance US interests in the region.

      That’s right: US interests. We, the UK populace, who are required by law to fund the BBC, have an outlet promoting US foreign policy as our State Broadcaster.

  • Tatyana

    on Navalny and protests

    Just yesterday I bookmarked this

    Elena Penzina, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, United Russia, published in her Telegram https://t.me/penzina_elena/3042
    the commentary of “one good man, now a lawyer, and earlier a policeman,” who said that at rallies in support of Navalny the townsfolk will be greeted by “evil intolerant guys with a difficult fate and heavy fists.”

    “Are they here – the power? Who? Bloggers? Snotters? Salon managers and baristas? Tiktokers and streamers? No. Most of them are cockerels and parasites. Having not created anything yet, they are already persistently trying to destroy. Fuck them.
    We are the power here. And our children. We, who created this country from what became of the empire, and not these 15-year-old puppies shouting to “beat the cops”
    Internet clowns, and you never thought what would happen if we take to the streets? Evil adult guys who have gone through the Crimea and Rome*, killed and were killed in the 90s? In whose life everything is settled and who are not interested in your ideas? To go along with the cops to disperse you? And neither the law re. the police, nor the ideas of liberalism will apply to us. And we will not go out with cameras and phones to defend our rights and freedoms.”

    * the Russian idiom “Пройти огонь, воду, медные трубы, чертовы зубы, Крым и Рым” – to go through fire, water, copper trumpets, devil’s teeth, Crimea and Rome. To experience a lot in life. *

    Further that man lists different types of violence, I will not translate that because I disagree with that.
    But what he said about the feelings of my generation is really true and I support it.
    I also refer you to the topic on this blog about what life was like in Russia in the 90s, so that the opinion of my generation – adults with families with children, living and working in Russia, owning property here and hoping for a better future for our country – is more understandable.

    Thanks for the opportunity to speak out and be heard.

    • N_

      “Cockerels” (петушня) – a very nasty concept, that: the “untouchable” caste in prisons – untouchable except when being raped.

      • Tatyana

        If I were to put these thoughts in my own words, I would not use ‘cockerels’ in this sense. I’m far from prisoners’ life, argo, habits or whatever. As well as I’m far from being a policemen, a lawyer, or even closely knowing one.
        I’d probably use ‘петушок’ in the sense ‘задиристый юнец’. Google Translate suggests ‘cocky youth’ for this.

        I absolutely understand what that man was talking about. My son is 15 and he tries to protest against the rules in our house 🙂 Like emptying trash bins, or cat’s litter tray, or going to bed on time, or playing computer games too much etc. Sometimes he is so desperate about the fact he cannot live that way, he feels offended, neglected, turns disrespectful of us, his parents. Common teen-ager protest.
        My husband turned off Wi-fi until our son has his lessons done. So, my son came up to me, complaining of cruel father, asking for help 🙂 *reminds you of Navalny complaining of cruel Putin and asking international community for help, eh?*
        I suggested that the son talks to father himself, because adult people solve their problems themselves, not by asking mom for help. Well, that talk never happened yet, because my son knows he is wrong, he simply has no argument to prove he is right. Also, he is afraid if he continues annoying his father he may have no Wi-fi until weekend.
        Teens are like that. They start understanding only after they earn their own money to pay for Wi-fi, or for their own home. Hope you understand what I’m saying.

  • Wikikettle

    There is a photograph, taken from a balcony, looking down at the Tory Cabinet in Chequers. That image for me illustrates how rock bottom we have sunk in our politics and government. A room with such historical significance, ghosts of great statesmen from the past, historic meetings, now being lounged around by little nobodies.

    • Goose

      The dearth of political talent is strange. How many of today’s politicians could be described as intellectual giants or truly creative, original thinkers?

      And it’s not without costs & consequence. When political leaders carry so little public respect, unelected bureaucrats – mandarins and security chiefs become far too influential. We saw this with Mark Sedwill’s multiple roles.

      • Squeeth

        They need to be nonentities because the legislature is a dead parrot. The executive runs things and has done (more or less) since Lloyd George.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “The dearth of political talent is strange.”

        Real talent would be a nuisance to whoever is running the show. What’s required is people who do what they’re told, either because they’re blackmailed, bribed, physicaly threatened, just stupid or some combination of these things. Those are the people who get selected, promoted, given jobs in ‘think tanks’, NGOs, book deals etc.
        and your looking at the cream of that crop.

    • Giyane


      Thatcher believed you could only motivate human beings through money. She shrivelled human existence to the wraith of wealth. The only thing that can amuse the human that has wealth is status, but a location can never give status. Status is given in recognition of inner qualities.

      The good thing is that this Thatcher spawn will die out and something closer to reality will take its place. A Party that has managed to make the basic human requirement of a house completely unattainable isn’t going to last for ever. Pumping up the economy with QE for Covid has shoved another wedge in the wrong place.

      The countries where manufacturing takes place, to feed our expensive tastes , have barely enough water to make our luxury items , let alone drink . One day soon, the supply chains will be cut off. See where their huffings and puffings in Chequers get them then.

      • Goose

        The generational gap is more a chasm in the UK and US. It’s even seen in polls on Scottish independence.

        You don’t have to be Nostradamus to realise major change is coming in both countries due to a generation that hates the one that went before; what they’ve done, and the changing cultural demographics. Biden is the last hurrah for that style of thinking and that generation, and here (UK) I think Starmer will likely be forced out before the next GE, by a generation that wants change.

        • Courtenay Barnett


          Perceptive – and – I think that you have a hand on the political pulse of the moment.

          Time will tell.

          • Goose

            I think it’s real.

            In the UK young and old have been on opposing sides in recent years over: Brexit, Corbyn (many young people invested hope in him & his policies); Scottish independence.

            In the US, the establishment like to pretend Trump was a freakish ‘one off’. But he was a product of the sheer disillusionment with establishment politics and the two party consensus.

        • Stevie Boy

          IMO the generational gap is a figment of the MSM and part of the government’s agenda to divide communities and distract from their incompetence, corruption and dishonesty.
          I believe that on the whole the young and old alike can distinguish between real people and the scum that make up the establishment and who’s actually causing the problems.

      • Squeeth

        No, Thatchler thought that you could motivate rich bastards with the money of poor, decent people.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        ” A Party that has managed to make the basic human requirement of a house completely unattainable isn’t going to last for ever.”

        It can last for as long as something to replace it can be prevented from emerging. Notice that you now have a choice of three or four different Tory parties at the ballot.

  • ET

    President Putin’s adress is worth a read. It’s mostly about domestic issues but the last part adresses international concerns.

    Choice quotes:

    “Spiritual and moral values, which are already being forgotten in some countries, have, on the contrary, made us stronger. And we will always uphold and defend these values.”

    “All the while, unfriendly moves towards Russia have also continued unabated. Some countries have taken up an unseemly routine where they pick on Russia for any reason, most often, for no reason at all. It is some kind of new sport of who shouts the loudest.”

    “At the same time, I just have to make it clear, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence and certainty in our cause, as well as common sense, when making a decision of any kind. But I hope that no one will think about crossing the “red line” with regard to Russia. We ourselves will determine in each specific case where it will be drawn.”

    There is a lot more there for all to read. Moon of Alabama offers some analysis.

    • Wikikettle

      I think it’s clear now. Both Lavrov and Putin have had enough of trying to reason with US and the EU. Wanting to trade with us and stay independent is not obviously not what US UK EU NATO will allow. Nothing short of capitulation, to our Neo Liberal, fake party politics and take over of all resources, companies, utilities, health, education, media privatisations will do. We will do anything to stop EU countries buying their vaccine, stop at nothing to stop Germany buying their gas, even if it means starting a war over Ukraine. Our economic and military domination however has reached its zenith. Aviation superiority has been countered by S400. Maritime superiority has been countered by much cheaper missiles. Anti Ballistic missiles have been countered by S500 and hypersonic missiles. Exclusive use of assassination by drones are no longer our preserve. Poor countries like Yemen can now use them against billion dollar budgets of Saudi Arabia for example. The Seven Hundred Billion dollar budget of the US can no longer guarantee full spectrum domination. Both Russia and China, in my opinion want us to respect their own spheres of vital interests and cooperation in Covid research, climate change and free trade. But we are on a path, headlong, to destabilise all the former soviet republic’s, colour revolutions, till we succeed in what both Napoleon and Germany failed at. How proud we were, when the RAF cleared our skies of the Germans at the Battle of Britain. So we must acknowledge how proud the Russians are, how they withstood the epic siege of Stalingrad and the millions of civilian deaths of just that one of many sieges. For that history alone we are fools if we think we can make Russia another Neo Colonial Colony, which we ourselves have become.

      • Pigeon English

        a) People defending their land will always win at the end

        b) Do you build your military to defend yourself or to conquer?

        According to defensive doctrine Britain is “Big Aircraft Carrier” ( no need for additional 2 )
        Obviously Uk has different (offensive doctrine)

      • Tatyana

        When you talk about Russia, you mean the wrong emotions.
        You are talking about being proud of victory, but this is not the complete picture.

        Emotions are best seen in art, and I mentioned once this song:
        “oh, my Sun! Have a look what happens to me! My palm turned into a fist.”

        Another example, Rammstein sang it in Russian:
        “My friend is leaving for battle. Native town beloved, you can sleep peacefully at night and be green again in spring.”

        Or, this one:
        A soldier passing by a town hears waltz music. He is embarrassed, he forgot how to dance.

        Really, is it that hard to see the main emotion – longing for a peaceful life ???

        Hardly would you find in Russia smth like “Oh, how brave our soldiers are, how beautifully they defeated the enemies.”
        Looking at Stalingrad Memorial we experience not pride, but rather horror, regret, sacred awe at the incredibly huge sacrifice. These feelings are more likely to be understood by Jews when they visit Holocaust memorials.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        “The Seven Hundred Billion dollar budget of the US can no longer guarantee full spectrum domination.”

        Henry Kissinger, still the smartest turd in the room after all these years, has told ’em that they need to cut their losses and adjust to a multipolar world. Its going to take a generational change though.

    • Tatyana

      Re. Putin’s speech:
      Jen Psaki was asked if the U.S. takes Putin’s words about Sher Khan and Tabaqui personally. To which she replied “No, we do not take it personally, we have tough skin”.

      Maria Zakharova turned to Jen Psaki with the comment “You must take it personally, yes, that was about you”.

      And people now amuse themselves, rhyming
      Psaki and Tabaqui
      never and very clever
      and also saying that Maria called Psaki a ‘Footless, yellow earth-worm’ 🙂

      • Goose

        Putin spoke of the book’s main antagonist, the tiger Shere Khan (US), and his underling Tabaqui (UK), the jackal.

        Pretty obviously referring to the leaders of Baltic states(Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and Ukraine and Poland, for all the wannabe Tabaquis.

        Amazes me how everything is described here (UK) in terms of Russian aggression. When I think Russia is quite restrained (thankfully) given all the provocations.

        Putin’s words could have something to do with this :

        Andrey Minin, a senior official at the Nord Stream 2 AG consortium, told Interfax news agency that the project’s fleet has been the target of “regular provocations by the foreign civil and military vessels”.

        In an emailed comment to Reuters, Nord Stream 2 AG said it could confirm Minin’s statement, which “underlines the necessity to abide by the requirements of marine security”.

    • np

      From Putin’s state of the nation speech yesterday: “Kipling was a great writer”.

      When was the last time a British politician praised a great Russian writer?

      • Goose

        I think Johnson probably would, being a classics scholar and keen historian. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, maybe?

        Although, he keeps saying he’s a Sinophile, but can’t stop himself joining in the current vogue of China bashing.

      • Tatyana

        They don’t know Russian writers, except for Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn.
        They don’t know Russian people, except for Putin and Navalny.
        Russia is a monochrome cartoon for them. They don’t see live people behind the picture.

  • M.J.

    Only in case: When Bertrand Russell promoted pacifism during WWI he got 6 months in jail. But during that time he wrote “An Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy”. If they put you away, why not plan to write a book on how to evaluate historical evidence (maybe using the Skripal case as an example), perhaps called “How to be a Historian”?
    According to wiki:

    “I found prison in many ways quite agreeable. I had no engagements, no difficult decisions to make, no fear of callers, no interruptions to my work. I read enormously; I wrote a book, “Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy”… I was rather interested in my fellow-prisoners, who seemed to me in no way morally inferior to the rest of the population, though they were on the whole slightly below the usual level of intelligence as was shown by their having been caught…”

    While he was reading Strachey’s Eminent Victorians chapter about Gordon he laughed out loud in his cell prompting the warden to intervene and reminding him that “prison was a place of punishment”

  • Jack

    What is also constantly upheld is the notion that just because someone is russian they are somehow connected to a plot by Putin.
    It is always these alleged conspiracies that Putin manage, it is so stupid but people seems to buy it.
    It reminds me of the conspiracy theories of jews, which is racist, but claiming russians plot schemes everywhere is not according to the media.

    • Goose

      ‘Russia-linked’ has to be the laziest, most overused slander in the English speaking world at present.

      Who’d have thought the west would so easily fall back into 1940s – 1950s style McCarthyite paranoia, the absurdity of which we laughed at less than a decade before.

      And these days Russia doesn’t even have a discernible political/economic ideology. Back in the 1940s and 1950s the accusers could at least fall back on ‘communist sympathies’ as they pursued with their baseless suspicions.

      • Goose


        Election 2012 | Obama to Romney: Cold War Is Over – Third Presidential Debate

        That’s 2012 ! If someone said this today they’d be called a Russian bot. It’s the people making the wild accusations that have lost all good sense, not those who’ve remained consistent over the last 10 years.

        • Jack


          Exactly! Remember Putin prefered Obama in the 2012 prez election, but no hysteria was triggered painting Obama as a russian stooge (as they did with Trump). The rhetoric on Russia has been awfully radicalized past decade.

          MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin said the re-election of President Barack Obama could improve relations with the U.S., but that he was also prepared to work with Mitt Romney,

    • Giyane


      My late mum , bless her, believed Putin was a monster, but not from.listening just to the MSM. Putin is also a convenient scapegost for the Islamists, because obviously Communist agnosticism must be worse than Capitalist agnosticism. There are many ways to skin a cat. The application of brute power by the Communist nuclear deterrent and wmd has got to be a 1000 times worse than the same by Capitalist brute power. Innit?
      Politics is a dirty game. Erdogan is equally happy in bed with NATO and Putin at the same time, maybe with Xi as well to make up the hareem. They don’t care.
      Islamism is pure politics at its most cynical and military grade ” purity “. A factor which prevents most normal human neo vs from being attracted to Islam, if they have half a brain.

  • Jack

    Interesting also that the Czech, after 7 years, what to indict these two Russians for blowing up an arms depot.

  • Lapsed Agnostic

    (Not sure if anyone here has mentioned this before. Apologies if they have – no doubt to my detriment, I can’t be bothered to trawl through the 1000+ comments.*)

    With regard to point 5 in the original post, the following article may be of interest.


    Note how our security services appear to have been briefing senior Beeb journos about the deadly toxin just possibly being contained in a ‘perfume bottle or another luxury toiletry’ at least five full days before they claim to have discovered just such a bottle on a work surface in Mr Rowley’s kitchen. (It’s a short way down, under Frank Gardner’s by-line.)

    (*There can’t be many blogposts from UK-based – for the time being – bloggers that can boast such a tally these days.)

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      The Beeb article I linked to above also contains a short interview with Mr Matthew Rowley, Charlie’s doting older brother, who claims that Charlie would “do anything for you” – like relieve you of nearly £1700, for example.


      I’d imagine that if Rowley Minor is capable of taxing tidy sums from his disabled kith and kin – in my misspent youth, I’ve known people with fairly substantial bobby & barry habits who, whilst being perfectly happy to slightly reduce the profit margins of our leading supermarkets & department stores on a daily basis, wouldn’t even think about doing anything like that – I’m sure he’d be more than capable of lying ‘for Britain’ for a similar amount.

      The question is: why isn’t he saying that he found the deadly thing in a bin near Dawaulders coin shop in mid-March – like in the Beeb’s ‘Salisbury Poisonings’ drama – then forgot about all it until the fateful day with Ms Sturgess when he saw an ad for perfume on the telly-box? It’s a puzzler.

  • N_

    So all 30 attendees at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral were white. (For comparison: about 14% of the British population are non-white.) Prince Charles probably told Boris Johnson to say something about all those heroic Uncle Toms who gave their lives defending the British Empire. I find it hard to believe the prime minister’s media handlers would be so stupid. They must have been doing what somebody told them.

    It would be nice to think some Black British or British Asian public figures, even some who are politicians maybe, might actually dare to criticise or mock the prime minister for what he said. George Floyd was murdered by a policeman in the US, and Boris Johnson says at times like this we should all think of the black people who died DEFENDING THE SYSTEM OF WHITE RULE KNOWN AS THE “BRITISH EMPIRE”. At least, to be fair, no non-white figure has actually supported what the prime minister said, as far as I’m aware.

    It makes sense of course for no non-whites to want to go to the funeral of a vile white racist.

    As for Jeremy Vine, maybe the BBC will sack him soon, given that he mentioned in public that the funeral was whites-only. Apparently the BBC received “complaints”. The phone lines from the “royal households” must have been busy.

  • Wikikettle

    Russia has laid out its red lines. Secured its arms. Putins has now the time and space to “Pivot” to domestic matters : Health, education, infrastructure, transport and their own banking system. All our youngest and brightest are being hooverd up by think tanks, grants, scholarships ngo’s and political research degrees. With a clear path to well paid lobby fodder or media hacks. Well good luck with that…

    • N_

      I can’t work out what Cummings is doing. He probably isn’t defending himself. Nobody’s going to attack him for the sake of it, and to do it properly one would have to destroy him. If he’s attacking, then he’s got to have a goal. What is it?

      It’s peculiar that Johnson has accused him of undermining the Tory party. The civil service I could understand, but the Tory party? Is the Tory party in trouble then? They’ve got a Commons majority of 80. There’s no political opposition to speak of. As a leftwinger I dearly hope a huge Tory funding scandal is about to break, but that’s always true. And there’s no British general election around the corner. I share Aneurin Bevan’s view of the Tories as “lower than vermin”, and also his aim of “the complete political extinction of the Tory Party”. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean it’s about to happen…

      Everybody knows the Tory treasurers get a lot of dirty money from places like Hong Kong and presumably some comes in from Saudi, Russia, China, and India too. They’re a bunch of crooks, from the senior reaches of the party and the Carlton Club and so on, through the hoteliers and bookmakers, right down to the property scum and “small businessmen” and solicitors and medics etc. in the local golf clubs. These types will have raked it in during the pandemic. The Mohammed bin Salman connection with Johnson is interesting, but is now the time for a “filthy Saudi money in Britain” story to break, when for many decades one of the main British media rules has been “never upset the Israelis or Saudis”?

      But there must be some explanation for the Cummings story…

  • Bill Rattigan

    I think that because the skiprals did not die from this deadly agent, they needed a dead body to show how dangerous this mission was. Poor Dawn

    • N_

      Dunno about that, but they could have covered up the causes of her death if they’d wanted – or, for that matter, the causes of the Skripals’ illnesses.

      What events formed part of the Toxic Dagger “game”?
      What was the psychological warfare side of Toxic Dagger?
      If we knew the answers to those two questions, we’d be much further forward.

  • Yuri K

    Thanks, Craig, for a nice summary. There too many comments here to read now, but if nobody had mentioned this, Novichok has been already synthesized in chemical labs around the world and studied briefly. Thus, the US Army chemists from Aberdeen (the one in MD, USA; pardon me but I’ve almost wrote “the chemists from Ampurdan” :)) studied its hydrolysis by water and found that Novichok was way more stable to hydrolysis than Sarin (Harvey SP et al, Hydrolysis and enzymatic degradation of Novichok nerve agents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7002793/). A group from Korea also published a paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7923011/). The “military grade” BS certainly means nothing if there has not been a known standard established by some army, you are correct. What strikes me most in both Skripal and alleged Navalny cases is the discrepancy between the claimed toxicity of Novichok and the humble results of poisoning. Novichok was claimed to be “a chemical A-bomb” by its developers and, in fact, the known cases support these claims of its brutal toxicity. 2 people died in the case of Kivilidi poisoning; one was his secretary who accidently touched something in the office. Novichok is claimed to be so toxic, that even if you survive, some effects will be irreversible. To prove this point, Zheleznyakov, the chemist who exposed himself accidently, survived; however, he got liver cirrhosis, epilepsy and one arm paralyzed as result. We had no chance to see the Skripals but Navalny was smiling broadly 2 weeks after alleged poisoning. And, of course, both Bailey and Rowley would be dead if this was really “weapons grade Novichok”

  • Nicola Avery

    Hello Craig, a possible option could be to do an independent People’s Commission or inquiry. I asked a friend who has helped with the current Keep Our NHS public-led People’s COVID inquiry. Assuming we could find a QC to chair and legal colleagues to support it, I guess they are unlikely to offer services for free due to the sensitive nature and risk of this. To help bring down legal costs so that you can concentrate on your own and Julian Assange’s legal cases, a group of volunteers could compile and sort evidence. This could include extraction of all the Skripal blogs and comments here, blogs like blogmire, happy to submit my own posts (no comments on them) and anyone who has written in mainstream press or regional articles from around that time and anything since. Then sorting, categorising etc I can help kick this off as a project and support but can’t do it all. If anyone is interested and would be willing to help, please let me know.

  • Dafydd

    Apparently even before Dawn Sturgess’s inquest we apparently know
    1. That Dawn was killed.
    2. That she was killed with an organophosphorus chemical.
    3, That this chemical came from Russia (Novichok sounds very Russian to me.)

    Andrew O’Connor QC is Counsel to the Inquest and on his chambers profile it states –

    ‘In addition, he has been instructed as Leading Counsel to the Inquest in both the inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, who died in Salisbury from Novichok poisoning, ….’


    Perhaps he should wait until the inquest has heard the evidence before he makes these assumptions?

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