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UPDATED: The Skripal Case: an open thread

The reality behind the alleged poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter remains murky and apparently contradictory. Six days in to the investigation and little more is known beyond the original announcements made mere hours after the supposed discovery of the crime. Questions proliferate and answers are few.

We are opening this thread as a place for posting links to aspects of the merging story. This is going to be particularly useful as the narrative develops and changes. Today’s headlines might slip down the Memory Hole tomorrow. So documenting them as they arise may be useful.

Here are a few of the questions currently outstanding that may be answered in future (or may simply vanish from the record):

What “nerve agent” was used?

Six days in and no statement about that has been made yet.
UPDATE 13/3/2018: The UK government has now claimed to know the identity of the “agent” used. It’s allegedly Novichok (“new stuff” in Russian). It was developed in the USSR in the 70s and 80s, and has never been used before – either militarily or for espionage. May also claimed that there telltale signs that this was definitely made in Russia.
The problem with this theory is two-fold:
1. Russia destroyed their chemical weapons in 2017. Reported here in the NYT.
2. Russia was not the only country to make, or have access to Novichok. It was made in Uzbekistan, and the Uzbek goverment has been working with the United States to “destroy” their chemical weapons since 1991. WikiLeaks tweeted evidence that Cuba also had access.

With these facts in mind…the following questions need to be answered:
1. How did the UK government identify the agent?
2. What proof is there it was made in Russia?
3. How is novichok manufactured? How easy is it to make?
4. What countries had the wherewithall to make it?
5. Why would the Russians use a poison that has never been used before, and could be easily traced back to them?

Where exactly were the Skripals poisoned?

a) Was the poison “sprayed” on them in the street as suggested by police March 6-7 quoted here?
b) Was it added to Sergey Skripal’s drink at a pub he allegedly visited that morning, also suggested as a police suspicion in the same article?
c) Was it in Skripal’s home as suggested March 9 here?
d) More specifically had it arrived there by “parcel” as suggested here?
e) Was it delivered in a bunch of flowers as suggested March 10 here?
At first glance it seems as if some of these theories are incompatible with each other, and it’s initially hard to see how the same evidence could point to all of them at once.

The poisoned policeman

The story of “Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey” allegedly poisoned during his investigation on March 5 remains currently another poorly defined aspect.
How was Bailey contaminated more than any other officer called to any of the scenes?
Was he poisoned while he was “attending” the Skripals on the legendary bench where they were found “collapsed” as alleged by the Telegraph on March 8? Or was he contaminated while investigating Skripal’s house as suggested by the Telegraph March 9? If the latter, doesn’t this establish beyond doubt that the Skripals were also poisoned there?
How is Bailey doing? is he currently much improved as stated by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire on March 8 (“he’s well, he’s sat up”).Or is he still “seriously ill” as stated by an unknown source two days later on March 10.
UPDATE 22/03/2018: DS NicK Bailey was apparently released from hospital on the evening of the 22nd. No photographs, videos or interviews were made available to the press or public. Instead, Keir Pritchard, the chief constable of Wiltshire police, read written statements from both Bailey and his wife. The statements requesting the press grant them complete privacy in this matter.
Bailey’s importance as a witness cannot be over-stated. We need to know HOW, WHERE and WHEN he got poisoned by the alleged nerve agent. When Bailey was first hospitalised – when he was still anonymous – it was reported he was one of the first on the scene, and that’s why he was poisoned:

Scotland Yard assistant chief commissioner Mark Rowley said the police officer who was first to the spot where Skripal was found in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon was “seriously ill” in hospital. His condition had deteriorated, Rowley said, adding: “Wiltshire police are providing full support to his family.”

This does not fit with our other witnesses – including a young doctor who treated the Skripals on the scene for over 30 minutes and “felt fine”. The Telegraph later reported that Bailey was infected when he visited the Skripals’ house. Neither has been confirmed.
Bailey’s statement implies he’s been able to talk for days – why haven’t the police made his story known? There is important clarification to be had.
1. Was Bailey the first officer on the scene, as initially reported?
2. If so, why was a detective sergeant sent to the scene of an unknown emergency?
3. Was Bailey dispatched to the Skripal house?
4. If so, when?
5. What was the condition of the house?
6. How does this tie in with the report that the Skripals were gassed in their car?
7. Was Bailey ever in/around the Skripal’s car?
8. Assuming Bailey was never sent to these locations alone, why was he the only affected?

Why was the Sarum House office block next to Zizzi’s restaurant closed off?

And who was the woman in her 40s who was taken from the office building to an ambulance? Was this one of the unnamed 18 other alleged victims?
If so, how did the office become contaminated?

The 18 other alleged victims

The claim that 21 people in total (including the two Skripals) had been”treated following Russia spy poisoning” was first made around March 8 (see the Independent and CNN for that day). According to the Mirror March 11 the figure includes “members of the public and emergency staff, some of whom have had blood tests as well as receiving support and advice.” No further information seems to have been forthcoming.
Who are they?
How did they become contaminated?
Are they hospitalised?
With all the hysterical publicity surrounding this entire event why none of the usual “human interest” details about these innocent victims? Why no names, no background stories? Why no interviews to date with any of them or their families?
UPDATE 13/3/2018: The head of the unit investigating the Skripal case, Neil Basu, has made a statement on casualties:

The latest assessments reveal that 38 people have been seen in relation to this incident. Of those, 34 have been assessed and discharged from hospital. Three remain in hospital and that is Sergei, Yulia and [DS] Nick [Bailey], and one person continues to be monitored as an outpatient but is not showing signs at this time.

To sum up, despite the claims of victims, only three people are being treated in hospital: The Skripals and DS Bailey. The question of how Bailey was affected, when no other witnesses paramedics or doctors were, is still very important.
UPDATE 21/3/2018: On March 14th the doctor allegedly in charge of the A&E dept. where the Skripals are being treated wrote this letter to the Times:

Note he emphasises there have been NO OTHER VICTIMS except the originally reported 3 (who he does not name). Rather more curiously, he seems to be saying that – though people were poisoned – none were poisoned with a nerve agent. This could be clumsy wording, but in a correction letter to a national paper, on case of international importance, how likely is that the Consultant would fudge his words?

The 240 alleged “witnesses”

The story of “240 witnesses” emerged around March 10 (see Huffpo for that day)
What are they supposed to have witnessed and where?
With all these “witnesses” (plus CCTV footage from the most closely surveilled country in the world) how are the most basic facts of the case still proving so hard to pin down?

The spy who came back from the dead?

This was the headline today in the Times print edition:

Skripal isn’t dead, or so they tell us, so what does this mean exactly?

TOXIC DAGGER Chemical Weapons Drill

Sergei Skripal was allegedly poisoned on the 5th March, just fifteen days prior UK armed forces had been doing their “biggest ever” chemical weapons training exercise, “Toxic Dagger”.

The article, linked above, clearly states that Public Health England (PHE) was a major part of this training exercise, and yet it is being reported now that UK authorities – especially PHE – were “blind sided” by the attack, and handled it badly.

These are just a few preliminary thoughts. Please go ahead and add your own in the comments together with any links or other relevant material. We will add the most relevant to the article

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: discussion threads, empire watch, latest, Skripal case

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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John Marks
Reader
John Marks

It seems more important than ever to get witness statements from DS Bailey and the doctor who treated the Skripals for 30 minutes without being contaminated. An appeal should be made for her to come forward.
For justice to be seen to be done, it is imperative that these two presumably reliable witnesses be interviewed and free to comment.

vierotchka
Reader

This just in:
Published on 23 May 2018
Yulia Skripal – the woman poisoned in the UK alongside her double-agent father – gives her first media interview since the incident, saying her life’s been turned upside down, and that she wants to return to Russia.
READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/95×2

Ross Hendry
Reader

From The Telegraph:
“… A scar on her throat, presumably caused by a tracheotomy to help her breathe following the attack, is clearly visible in the video footage released on Wednesday evening.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/23/yulia-skripal-makes-first-public-statement-following-salisbury/

Ros
Reader

There was an interview with Gary Aitkenhead, the CEO of Porton Down where he was asked about the Russians saying the Novichok had come from the UK, not Russia.
The guy’s response was highly interesting – he didn’t at any point say there is no Novichok at Porton Down (or in the UK). Instead he talked at some length about security at Porton Down. ‘Strangely’ the interviewer didn’t seem to notice this was an odd response, and didn’t ask him if there is novichok at Porton Down.
Curious
Here is th moment, at 2.22 in this video: https://youtu.be/R23AQAFvZ-4

vierotchka
Reader

Published on 6 Mar 2018
The military and science worlds have joined forces to combat the threat of chemical weapons. Exercise Toxic Dagger brought together 40 Commando, the Defence Science Technology Laboratory and the Atomic Weapons Establishment. In the final stage of the exercise, Royal Marines must attack a building with a potential chemical threat…

vierotchka
Reader

I posted the following several times, both on OffGuardian and on other sites:
This happened on the Salisbury Plain at the time of the Skripal affair. A coincidence? I really don’t think so:
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-toxic-storm-for-royal-marines-in-major-chemical-exercise

vierotchka
Reader

As you can see by the date of the posting of the article in my above post, this exercise began on March 6 and not fifteen days before the alleged poisoning of the Skripals on March 5. 🙂

johnplatinumgoss
Reader

Having raised an E-petition on behalf of Yulia Skripal and waited more than a week for a rejection I used the same wording on Change. Please sign and share if you agree with it. Thanks.
https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-let-yulia-skripal-speak

vierotchka
Reader

Signed and shared on Facebook.

johnplatinumgoss
Reader

Thanks vierotchka.

Old Pepper
Reader
Old Pepper

Completely brazen limeys continue to keep the rest of the world for idiots. The British special laboratory indicated that the origin of the poison for Skripals could not be established. Immediately not respected The Times publishes a fake that ” intelligence agencies have established that the poison was produced by the laboratory in Shihany.” It’s an old lie, the British dumped it on the allies immediately after the incident with the poisoning. First of all, this lies with reference to the data of special services was presented without any evidence. Secondly, identification of the poison may be carried out only in a special laboratory. In this way, the British continue to involve their allies in the confrontation with Russia. A crazy old mare, Theresa May, and her boyfriend-cretin Boris Johnson want the whole West bore collective responsibility for British stupid provocation. I don’t want my country to take the rap for the filthy limeys and came into collision with the Russians. I urge the West to say to the crazy old lady and her comrade-in-arms: fuck you, shut up and get out.

Old Pepper
Reader
Old Pepper

I am surprised by the behavior of the Russians-how long they can tolerate boorish behavior of the Brits. In place of the Russian authorities, I would recall the Ambassador for consultations.

Old Pepper
Reader
Old Pepper

I see the chain of “Great” Britain’s (Rothschild’s) crimes, three attempts:
1. smear Russia with shit – clumsy theatrical production “poisoning Skripals”, don’t worry, the Russian intelligence services have already received copies of the relevant British documents on the organization of this provocation. By the way, Julia told the nurse on the phone that healthy, well and her father too. After applying a chemical warfare agent that does not happen. Especially, according to messages of the Britons Skripals wandered around the city a few hours and were fine after contact with the poison. So poisoning HIGHLY LIKELY was not.
2. intimidate Russia – fire in Kemerovo-security guard locks the door to the cinema, turns off the alarm and smoke ventilation, and then disappeared.
3. in which the Brits had smeared shit on himself-sent to the aid of ISIS in the Eastern ghouta own military trainers for the organization of provocative the chemical attack, which would accuse Russia and Assad, but these soldiers were captured by al-Assad together with two trucks of chemical weapons marked “made in Salisbury”.

vierotchka
Reader

Yulia talked on the phone with her cousin in Russia, not with a nurse.
What happened in Kemerovo had absolutely nothing to do with the Brits.

Old Pepper
Reader
Old Pepper

HIGHLY LIKELY these two incidents were the work of the Britons. According to their approach to the investigation, it is the Brits who have to prove that they are innocent.

Mikalina
Reader
Mikalina

Touché.

johnplatinumgoss
Reader

Does anyone know who accessed Yulia Skripal’s Russian-type Facebook account two days after she was allegedly poisoned?

johnplatinumgoss
Reader
vierotchka
Reader

Three days, not two, and it most likely was Yulia herself.

Admin
Reader

What’s the basis for assuming it was most likely Yulia? I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong but from my experience of 20-30 somethings in the West it’s not really that strange on the face of it that someone in her friend group or family would know her password and check in as part of trying to figure out how she ended up incommunicado in the UK. I’ve once or twice logged in to family members’ FB accounts in semi-emergencies to check if they’ve left messages or whatever.

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

was probably just the police checking her phone.

vierotchka
Reader

Without knowing the password?

Admin
Reader

Lots of modern devices store passwords. If someone had her computer they could easily use a stored password option to get into her account. And if it was a boyfriend or close family member or friend they might know her pword or be able to guess it.
I’m aware of the favorite passwords of several people close to me.

vierotchka
Reader

It would be interesting to find out who did that – VK has the means to identify who it was by identifying the computer or phone as well as the ISP. Nobody in my family knows my passwords. My impression is that it is a very small minority of people who share their passwords with family members.

John Ward
Reader

Whereas it is hard to discern any motive behind Putin being so dumb as to pull such a stunt, the potential motives behind this EUNATO allegation are all too obvious: ‘how can we at a stroke pump up EU donations to NATO budgets – and create enough UK collective security fear to derail Brexit?’
We’ve surely been through enough WOMD fantasies and ‘Assad bombs his own people’ narratives to view this caper through a severely jaundiced eye. Set down the facts, and the May/Johnson case evaporates:
https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/skripal-analysis-the-collective-security-anti-brexit-motive-is-beginning-to-look-disturbingly-likely/

John Ward
Reader

The motive

David Matthews
Reader
David Matthews

Note the phrasing of the PHE statement … they are not using the name “Novichok” in relation to the advice they are giving to the 40,000 inhabitants of Salisbury.
“Our risk assessment is based on knowledge of the chemical used”
She doesn’t say Novichok.
Jenny Harries, deputy medical director PHE
It’s worth noting that PHE is based 7 miles from
Where this attack took place.
What is going on ? Certainly more than we are being told !
I’ve lived in Salisbury for over 20 years … I’ve seen this unfolding at first hand … there are many gaps in the official story – I’m glad I found this thread as It raised many of the same questions I have.

mog
Reader
mog
vierotchka
Reader

Novochoks don’t seem to exist.

As I pointed out to him in the comments here: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/03/russian-to-judgement/

mog
Reader
mog

Jeremy ‘Fuckwit’ Vine just had George Galloway on, opposite Davis Lewin (political director at The Henry Jackson Society). Lewin of course was disruptive and full of insane warmongering rhetoric.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09twf63 [1h 13min]
This convinces me that this operation, for sure, emanated from the Neocon Anglo- Israeli alliance, most likely Mossad. The choice of Lewin by the BBC and the phrasing that he uses [‘we’ and ‘finally’], together with the context – they are enough for me.

rogerglewis
Reader

The snivelling mantra from all sides of the House of Commons had very much the same Vibe. I think that there is a whiff of the Mossads about this.

rogerglewis
Reader

Test post, having trouble posting

Admin
Reader

email us if the problem persists

rogerglewis
Reader
rogerglewis
Reader

“To understand ‘Nebula’, one has to abandon the established path of logic as far as finances and politics are concerned. No longer can there be mention of nation states, of political party colors or of any economic coherence. Our conclusion would be that, over 20 years, some economical forces, some of which are of the mafia-type linked to the political power and organized crime structures, have reached the 4th level of money laundering, in other words: Absolute Power.”

Ross Hendry
Reader

Rather than focus on what happened in a crime it’s sometimes helpful to wonder what should have happened but hasn’t – to wonder like Sherlock Holmes why the dog didn’t bark.
Why aren’t we seeing any pictures of the victims from Salisbury Hospital? It will be said no doubt that the Russians are too ill for access to be granted, but Amber Rudd informed us that the policeman was less ill and “sitting up”. I seem to remember pictures of a clearly ill Litvinenko sitting up in hospital.
I know it’s heresy but without pictures people are bound to cynically wonder if the three are actually in the hospital.

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

no pictures, no interviews except with the policeman.
what is the status of the victims. we are told they are ‘stable’. shouldn’t they be awake by now?
why doesnt the Russian consul demand access to Ms Skripal, their citizen?

John Goss
Reader

Over the last few days I have noticed reporters referring to the Skripals in the past tense. For example yesterday there was a reporter on Sky said that Yulia Skripal “lived” in Moscow and Sergei Skripal “lived” in Salisbury. Are they dead? I have never seen a doctor from the hospital give a breakdown on the state of their health. Something is very wrong with this story.

mail
Reader
mail

He isn’t dead, he’s just stunned……pining for the fjords……pining for the steppes.

JJA
Reader
JJA

Litvinenko had his head shaved for a more dramatic effect for that famous photo, it was not a side effect of whatever he was supposed to have been poisoned with.

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

Thats right. They claimed they shaved it all off for hair samples.

Kaiama
Reader
Kaiama

Now Glushkov!
Another business man / criminal.
Looks like something is kicking off.

vierotchka
Reader

John Gilberts
Reader
John Gilberts

“In cases like the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the only way to proceed is by identifying the evidence which proves with certainty, what happened; or failing that, proves with certainty what did not happen. Perpetrator, co-conspirators, method, motive, intention – all come later, if they come at all…”
14 1/2 Certainties About the Case of Sergei Skripal – by John Helmer
http://johnhelmer.net/fourteen-and-a-half-certainties-about-the-case-of-sergei-skripal/

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

John Helmer’s piece should be compulsory reading for the 650 Special Needs children in adults’ clothing who call themselves MPs…

rogerglewis
Reader

Reblogged this on MUSO MUSINGS ON FATHERHOOD THEORY AND STUFF and commented:
Must Read Stop the war mongering May and Johnson should resign.