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UPDATED: UK’s “novichok” claim exposed as lies: what is the current reality of the Skripal case?


Former UK ambassador Craig Murray has released the following information on his blog regarding Theresa May’s claims in parliament on Wednesday that Russia must be held responsible for the alleged poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter (our emphasis):

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation.
…Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.
Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.
It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.

Such an admission from such a source is damning, and devastating for the government’s bid to create momentum for fresh international action against Russia. We can doubt it’s a full admission, and it may well leave out much information that would even further reduce the credibility of the government’s position (it is, after all an internal Foreign Office source), but as such it is still enough to be sure Theresa May was effectively lying to the British parliament.
It’s an indication, if any more were needed, that extreme scepticism is required here. An undisclosed agenda is driving things and driving them so hard even members of the political establishment are concerned.
Until we know what the true aims are we simply can’t accept anything told to us at face value. Everything should be open to question.
So, what do we currently know with reasonable certainty?
1. We can be fairly sure a man called Sergey Skripal really exists. He has a well-documented history in Russia and in the UK prior to this event. We can equally assume he had a wife who died in 2012, a son who died in Russia, and a daughter called Yulia, who lives in Russia most of the time.
2. We can be fairly sure Yulia really was in Salisbury at the time of the incident and has been unable to communicate with the outside world since that time. If she had been in touch with friends/family in Russia they would have said so and the Russian media would have broadcast the fact even if ours didn’t.
3. We can be fairly sure two people were found in a state of distress and collapse on a public bench in Salisbury at the approximate time stated. Occam’s Razor would suggest it’s most probable these two people were indeed Sergey and Yulia Skripal, though with no photographic or film evidence that remains simply an informed assumption.
4. We know that neither Skripal has made any public appearance or statement since that time, and that they are currently alleged to be in Salisbury hospital ICU suffering from the effects of a “poisoning”. The complete lack of information about them has even led to suggestions by Yulia’s friends in Russia that she may be dead.
5. We know, thanks to a letter to the Times from a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Salisbury Hospital on March 14, that “no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning.” This statement, not only completely destroys the media claims of “21” or “34” or even “4” members of the public needing treatment, it also appears to suggest that the poisoning in question is not a nerve agent at all.
6. We know the third, and only other, person to have been contaminated by the same “poison” is an alleged local policeman, named as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. Considering how many people had been in proximity to the Skripals before, during and after their collapse on March 4, the fact Bailey is the only other person to become ill is obviously highly significant. Why has everyone else, including all the first responders, all the police, everyone at the restaurant, and all passers-by in the street, not only escaped becoming ill but shown no sign of contamination at all, even in their blood tests?
The paramount question would seem to be how and where did Bailey become poisoned? Unfortunately this seemingly easily answered question has become confused and at least two conflicting versions of how it happened have been offered.
a)A story from March 8 alleges he had been one of the first on the scene at the bench where the Skripals were discovered, and had been contaminated while trying to assist them.
b)A story from March 9 suggests Bailey became contaminated while visiting Skripal’s home.
Given the fact Bailey is allegedly a detective in the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) and not a uniformed officer, the claim he was a first responder on the scene seems to make little sense. CID detectives are dispatched to investigate known crimes and crime scenes. They don’t do patrol duty and are not sent as emergency responders.
The story that Bailey became contaminated while investigating the Skripal home seems to fit better with the claim that he is an officer in the CID, however the hard evidence for either version is completely lacking.
Bailey’s condition has also been conflictingly reported.
He was described as “seriously ill” by Home Secretary Amber Rudd on March 10.
But two days earlier, March 8, the “temporary Chief Constable for Wiltshire” said of Bailey “he’s well, he’s sat up.”
Can someone be described as both “well” and “seriously ill” at the same time?
And if Bailey has been awake and alert since at least March 8, is it not a little unusual that there has been no direct interview with him yet published anywhere?
Bailey allegedly has a wife, Sarah, who has been visiting him in hospital, though there does not appear to have been any published interview with her either at this stage.
No other family member of Bailey’s appears to have been interviewed either, apart from, his alleged father-in-law who has come forward on March 16 (12 days after the alleged attack) to criticise Jeremy Corbyn for asking for evidence before blaming Russia. No photographs of or filmed interviews with said father-in-law have yet been published.
7. We know that almost immediately upon this incident occurring a media campaign of almost unprecedented intensity began to generate what looked like a pre-prepared story that the Skripals had been poisoned by Russia. This claim has been “supported” by untruths and manipulations so questionable even anonymous FCO sources are worried about the wisdom and ethics on display. It has also been used to promote a number of agendas including:
a) finally ditching Brexit (because being in the EU would allegedly protect the UK from further “Russian aggression”).
b) closing down RT in the UK
c) moving/postponing the World Cup
d) imposing fresh sanctions on Russia
e) giving Theresa May her “Falklands moment” in a bid to revive her tanking popularity.
f) putting pressure on Trump to be more pro-active in condemning Russia.
8. We know Russia has completely denied any involvement in the Skripal poisoning. And the lack of obvious motive for them to initiate such an attack has been acknowledged even by members of the Uk establishment.
9. We know the UK has refused Russia’s request to give them samples of the alleged “novichok” for analysis. No specific reason for denying the request has yet been given.
10. We know the UK has blocked Russia’s Resolution in the UN calling for a “co-operative international investigation in line with OPCW standards”. Again no specific reason or this obstruction has yet been given.
11. We know, as of March 16, that “information” about the alleged Novichok used is now being “studied” by the OPCW. Exactly what that means is unclear at present.
Can we draw any conclusions?
Clearly we currently are in no position to know what really happened to the Skripals, how it happened, where it happened or who was responsible.
Just as clearly the government and media are lying, leaping to conclusions and propagandising. Their claims about novichoks are unsubstantiated and seem to fly in the face of all published research. There is no basis in their claim that “only” Russia could produce them and no evidence that, whoever produces them, they are even effective. Their statement about this seems to be nothing but an attempt to sensationalise and to blame Russia without the delay of due process.
In addition the media are trying to work up a jingoistic anti-Russia hysteria that has no parallel in recent times. Not even the 2003 media frenzy to get pubic opinion behind the illegal war on Iraq reached these heights.
The obvious conclusion from this, if Russia were not a nuclear power, would be that the British state machine is trying to prepare the people for war with Russia. Unless the entire British government has lost its mind this specific aim would seem unlikely. However that something fairly major in terms of escalation in the “New Cold War” is being planned seems a reasonable inference at this point.
It may well be that in future days or weeks Porton Down scientists will announce they finally do have proof of Russia’s involvement in creating this still largely mythical “novichok”.
We suggest taking any such future declaration with a great deal of scepticism.


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Monica Tostig from Canada
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Monica Tostig from Canada

mr putin he so nice, he kisses babies, changes their nappies and save them from novichok; it not true about the trolls, he turn them all into stone and put them all under kremlin; he loves freedom and not a frightened dictator, he trys really hard to help poor russian people by diverting money from corruption, assassination, cyber attack, military spend, shooting airliners down,foreign invasions, nuclear and chemical weapons plus not having feud with other countries and puts all saved funds for orphaned trolls who fight in ukraine; he has not any complex about being a short man or about russia’s not very good gini coefficient. i think he is not so cute but maybe is a bit shy

Ross Hendry
Reader

It seems clear that the Skripal poisonings were a state-organised false flag event, complete with the dastardly “Russian” nerve agent “Novichok” and all, designed to demonise Russia . The idea that individual(s) (e.g. rogue Russian intelligence agents, embittered by Sergei’s betrayal of fellow agents) were responsible is not at all likely; in their vengeance they would surely have been determined that the pair were killed outright, and used simple, conventional means to that end.
In a false flag attack however the actual fate of any “victims” is incidental as long as the theatre and the demonisation succeeds. And it has, in spades.
While being careful not to make the kind of shrill, evidence-free accusations of our glorious leader, when it comes to cui bono, Israel/Mossad tops my list (with or without aid from the CIA, MI6 etc.). As Craig Murray has pointed out in a recent article “Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.”
Even The Times of Israel seems to be obliquely suggesting Mossad involvement by wondering if they were behind the mysterious death in 2002 of Anatoly Kuntsevich, one of the men supposedly behind ‘Novichok’ (whatever that may turn out to be).
https://www.timesofisrael.com/did-the-mossad-kill-a-russian-general-for-peddling- deadly-nerve-agent-to-syria/

Ken McMurtrie
Reader

Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
” Until we know what the true aims are we simply can’t accept anything told to us at face value. Everything should be open to question. ”
Makes good sense!
Yet our Australian government take unproven claims at face value and actually act on them.
Proof of an agenda in action. Entirely lacking any justification.
Another sad day for Australians.

annelawrie
Reader

Loads of interesting facts here. Let’s look at the big picture. How do we get Joe Public interested and enraged by a political incident? Easy – football – the national pastime. Many (including a certain Lord & a sprinkling of minor royals), were enraged that Russia won the right to host the world cup. Now they can boycott it with impunity.
JC seems to be winning the popularity stakes, so our propaganda broadcasters will photoshop a picture that will ensure he looks like a soviet sympathiser. This could seriously damage his prospects at the next ge.
We voted to spend multi-millions on nuclear weapons and now have the ultimate justification to do so.
There are rumours of an impending independence referendum in Scotland. Now we can shout loudly at how much safer Scotland will be under the protection of WM. Also there’s an excuse to park their nukes in Scotland when the majority of the population don’t want them.
Sanctions against Russia, which would include their oil, will delight the capitalist benefactors of the tory party who will be able to frack the UK with impunity – even in Scotland when they seize the powers that Scotland currently have to ban fracking.
There’s even been calls to return to conscription. That’ll take care of unemployment and give the impression that the UK is moving forward under the guidance of the tories.

rakoo290382
Reader

I’d recommend reading this article from 2004, if you haven’t already.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/may/06/science.research

Tog
Reader

Reblogged this on sideshowtog.

Ross Hendry
Reader

Thinking aloud (and allowed here, thankfully!), it seems to me that there are two possible scenarios
This was a real hit by Russsia and May’s startlingly quick and illegitimate accusation that Russia is likely culpable comes from a genuine anger/frustration that such an act be committed here. Also she may be privy to information not generally available. Perhaps for some reason time may be of the essence. Or Russia has so cunningly disguised its involvement that due process cannot be relied on to uncover the truth .
The purpose of the attack may have been, for example, to provoke HMG into blaming Russia, thus contributing to Putin’s strong election win (a senior figure in Moscow has reportedly already congratulated May for aiding the victory)
Or:
The whole affair is a set- up and a false flag arranged by some state(s) other than Russia, possibly including the U.K. The purpose would be to demonize Russia.
It seems that a nerve-agent wasn’t used at all, according to the consultant at Salisbury Hospital, but there was some other form of poisoning. This must surely point to scenario 2. Otherwise it’s hard to see how or why Russia would have poisoned the pair with some substance other than a nerve agent and yet somehow made it very likely that HMG would immediately react by identifying a “Russian” nerve-agent or substance as the cause.
Of course under scenario 1 the plan may have been to use an “ordinary” poison , knowing that we would suspect Russia anyway and thus cause May et al. to invent the details, the nerve-agent, and the rest. This could be prove to be a cunning plan when the U.K. is eventually humiliated for not being able to produce said agent. or any other evidence. Against this we have to credit HMG with some minimal intelligence (I suppose): surely they would have foreseen that the evidence would be demanded sooner or later?
My money is firmly on scenario 2.

TerryinDorset
Reader
TerryinDorset

You’ve hit the nail on the head with No.2……..

mog
Reader
mog

Nothing Theresa May or any member of her cabinet have ever done in government has been even remotely ‘genuine’, as far as I can tell.
If they really were seeing a perception management subterfuge from The Kremlin, then all they had to do to completely mangle it was to follow international law, reserve judgement on guilt, keep it quiet even. There has been very little risk to public health, the alleged poison is of questionable lethality. May could have found a scapegoat in the Russian ex-pat community and ruined ‘Putin’s re-election campaign’. The Russian government would surely have feigned indignation at the accusation and refused to co-operate, contributing to the ‘optics’ (NB Bastani) but instead they have been remarkably level headed and compliant, offering to help, demanding investigation, and an adherence to basic priciples of justice.
There is no urgency in any of this. The police have basically said that they will be months to find anything.
http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/16099146.Salisbury_spy_poisoning_probe_could_take_months__police_warn/

Mark
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Mark
Reader
Mark

It said on the news a few days ago there was 400 witnesses! Who the actual fuck are these people and why are they not poisoned!

TerryinDorset
Reader
TerryinDorset

There is no 400 & this assertion is fake news.

Pippa Hurley
Reader

ThinKing back to the first couple of days of TV coverage of this,if you remember there was cctv pics of the Skripals walking toward their final seated place, perfectly well, (about 100yds further on.) I immediately thought they looked very strange, they were both looking DIRECTLY into the camera. Also, if the table at Zizzis WAS indeed so contaminated that it had to be destroyed, and it was anything so strong as it is being made out to be, they would barely have had chance to leave the restaurant before showing symptoms, let alone get to the ‘Maltings’, (I know the place well, lived there for 3 years!) All VERY suss! Would not be at all surprised if this was a murder/suicide carried out by one of themselves, (probably the daughter).

Gav
Reader
Gav

By the Father more likely, he lost his wife, was downbeat, only had his daughter left, hates Russia, killed himself and his daughter, after all they visited her grave? People do such weird things it could be very likely he killed himself, and with Spy knowledge could make it look like a Russian poisoning!

Tom Welsh
Reader
Tom Welsh

The idea of going to war against Russia is an “interesting” one. Interesting enough that anyone who seriously proposes it should immediately be placed in protective custody and treated by a psychologist.
As the map at the following page clearly shows, two or three Sarmats (each with multiple warheads) would suffice to render more or less the whole of mainland UK uninhabitable.
In about 30 minutes.
Poking a bear is always unadvisable. But particularly so when your head is already inside its mouth.
https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2017/08/11/this-estate-agent-issues-a-guide-to-buying-a-home-outside-a-nuclear-impact-zone/

Lucky Joestar
Reader
Lucky Joestar

Yeah. Theresa May’s mouth is writing checks her people can’t cash.
It was bad enough when Phony Blair teamed up with Junior Bush fifteen years ago against Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Hussein was relatively weak, but lots of people got killed on both sides in the process. Now Theresa Mayhem is picking a fight with mighty Russia, which has over ten times as many nukes as the UK. Thankfully, we have social media spreading the word about such shenanigans and no shortage of people who still remember Operation Iraqi Quagmire and are now getting a sense of déjà vu.

RAW
Reader
RAW

So why is Britain and the U.S. democrats trying to hard to paint Russia as the enemy? I just don’t understand it…
North Korea is the enemy… not Russia. North Korea is the one place you don’t want to be born. Everywhere else that’s bad, at least you can escape…

TerryInDorset
Reader
TerryInDorset

If you have a dastardly awful enemy it gives you the excuse to get more weapons to keep the arms makers you have shares in profits up……..an arms buying pitch.

Istvan Sollihull
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Istvan Sollihull

~> RAW – My guess is that the US sees a potential United Europe -i.e. including Russia -as serious competition.
and further down the line ,a United Eurasia has the potential to marginalise the US’s miliraryeconomic empire.

James Scott
Reader
James Scott

Raw you need to read this article it may provide you with information that opens your mind about North Korean motivations rather than their leaders being lunatics.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-war-against-the-people-of-korea-the-historical-record-of-us-war-crimes/5350591

TerryinDorset
Reader
TerryinDorset

North Korea only has nuclear weapons to stop American aggression. The yanks never attack countries that can vigourously defend themselves.

Tom Welsh
Reader
Tom Welsh

I question your assumptions. Exactly how have you learned about conditions in North Korea?
Did you know that, some 65 years ago, Washington deliberately killed over 3 million North Koreans – the overwhelming majority of them civilians – and utterly flattened the whole of North Korea’s built environment?
Do you think that might help to explain the North Korean government’s “paranoid” attitude?

Fae Donnelly (formerly Faith Rhodes)
Reader

Oil and gas competition, hence headline suggesting Russia will cut off our gas, thus priming uk public for the new provider…..naming no names but its not orange misogynist rocket science

Sara Browne
Reader
Sara Browne

I think you’re close to the truth here, if Russia cuts off our gas supply in retaliation for this smear by the Conservative establishment, then the Conservatives will make loads of money by convincing the British public we need to frack the British countryside. Guess whose fingers are in those pies?

Derek
Reader
Derek

Quite simply because usa and israel and, therefore, theenglish establishment want to topple Ukraine (see documentary by Oliver Stone), invade Syria and Iran….. All supported by Russia

bevin
Reader
bevin

The one great advantage of being born in North Korea is that one is far away from idiots who believe that its very many difficulties and horrendous economic problems result from choices made by its government. Unless, of course, one feels, as many people do, that one’s government should roll over and show its gratitude when subjected to seventy years of genocidal attacks.

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

capsch
Reader
capsch

You need to read killing bill browder for the real story if you can find it. Essentially the oligarchs stole state owned resources from ordinary Russians who then lived in abstract poverty for years. Putin came to power kicked them out (who then fleed to the city of London) and improved the lives of millions, hence the approval rating.
Bill browder and his minions want to reverse this situation and the neoscum get Syria in the process.

Mikalina
Reader
Mikalina

Too simplistic. The oligarchs FUNDED by the West and many other Western interests bankrupted Russia. Browder works/worked for those western interests to prevent Russia from ‘getting its money back’ from the western ruling cabal.
‘abstract poverty’? Different to real poverty?

M J BAILEY
Reader
M J BAILEY

Bill Browder was kicked out of Russia for money laundering and corruption. He is liar and if anyone deserved to be exposed to a deadly chemical agent – it should have been him.

bill
Reader
bill

the Labour Party as a whole dont seem to get this – i believe theres a chapter on it in Naomi Kleins Shock Doctrine …..this book should hugely help as have read introduction tdy

G Bng
Reader
G Bng

Thanks for book recommendation, for anyone interested the book, The Killing of William Browder, can be downloaded at: https://dxczjjuegupb.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TheKillingOfWilliamBrowder_PrintLayout_6x9-1.pdf

summitflyer
Reader
summitflyer

Would also like to add , that I have read it and would recommend it highly .I had no idea before I read it what the whole story was .Well written book .

Dave Blackburn
Reader
Dave Blackburn

North Korea has no involvement in the middle East. The west resents Russian involvement in this oil rich area.

James Scott
Reader
James Scott

Yes I agree Dave, and Russia supplies NATO countries in Europe 30% of its gas supply and the USA wants more of that pie. The supply from Russia is set to be supplemented by the Pars pipeline which will be built from Iran and yes through Iraq and Syria and through Lebanon to Europe. NATO which only exists to enforce Euro and American trade dominance and resource stripping of Africa and the Middle East. That is why we have had the coup in Ukraine the clashes in Georgia, Afghanistan and Chechnya and the current conflict in Syria. (And soon it will be Venezuela and Iran being democratized). They are all routes of Russian oil and gas pipelines that are out performing the West and their Saudi and Arab State allies. Its all about money, hegemony and resources dressed up as bringing Democracy when the opposite is true.
We all pay for the weapons and the redevelopment aid and the banks and armaments vultures make the profits. Our own democratic institutions are being dismantled so that Parliaments are corporate funded theatre and its a mixture of theatre of the absurd and theatre of fear and terror.
Modern civilisation is still just a dream. Ghandi was right when asked about what he thought of Western Civilisation and he replied that it would be a good idea.

M Clifford
Reader
M Clifford

What can anyone do when the government tell us something dreadful has happened but refuse to tell you anything about it!!!!????? They throw out blame, yet not only refuse to show any evidence, they don’t even clarify what exactly has happened under the cover of so-called security. This is totalitarian insanity.

Tom Welsh
Reader
Tom Welsh

What you can, and should, do is disbelieve their claims until you see convincing evidence. (Which, in the Skripal case, will be never).

RAW
Reader
RAW

The question is… why are they doing it?

Sammy
Reader
Sammy

Perhaps this policeman who is ill (initially becuase he helped, though the first responders seem ok; then becuase he interacted with the car) was the person who administered the toxin?

patmann
Reader
patmann

Maybe the policeman himself administered the poison!

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

Interesting that 100% of the ‘news’ on this event now seems to consist of stories about diplomatic bluster, zero on any leads in solving the supposed crime

RAW
Reader
RAW

It’s crazy how many people are unreasonable and just want to “blame Russia” for everything…

milosevic
Reader
milosevic

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

passerby
Reader
passerby

There are 30 times more Russians in Germany than in the UK, but somehow all the poisoned ones live in the UK. Why?

TerryinDorset
Reader
TerryinDorset

Because they suffered from Food Poisoning with not a ‘chemical’ in sight.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

Maybe the sleazebag oligarch billionaires are more warmly welcomed in the UK – as long as they buy up their crap football teams and keep the price of London Mayfair/Kensington real estate high.

mog
Reader
mog

Again, just for the sake of inclusion:
The Financial Times published a letter from Stephen Davies (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust) on the 16th March.
‘Sir, further to your report (‘Poision Exposure Leaves Nearly 40 needing Treatment’), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.’
That first sentence….carefully worded or carelessly worded?

Andrew Burd
Reader
Andrew Burd

I think poor Dr Davies days are numbered. The Tories do not like Dr’s who speak truth to power.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

There is nothing in law or even in custom and practice to prevent Mister Davies from making public the information he did. It would take a bold chief executive or politician to sack a senior consultant for making statements which are easily verified by the records which the A&E department is required by law to keep and to make available for public inspection. Consultants are almost never timid creatures – if Mr Davies finds himself in trouble, I do hope that he will squeal very loudly.
BTW, consultants are always Mister, never Doctor, for historical reasons.

Naisy
Reader
Naisy

Only surgeons not physicians are referred to as ‘Mr’.

Dennis
Reader
Dennis

He wI’ll never be able to take a walk in the woods again…….

Admin
Reader
Admin

That’s a good question Mog. The most obvious way to read that is that though three patients have been poisoned, none of them have been poisoned with a nerve agent. In fact it’s hard to see what else he could mean.

mog
Reader
mog

Davies writes ‘…may I clarify….’
It just made it less clear to me.
However it is interpretted, it is deeply problematic. It is either a very slopily worded statement or one made in a very conflicted situation.
If three (and only three) people have been affected by poisoning, treated by a doctor and paramedics, brought to a hospital and handled in the proximity of dozens of others, and nobody else has been ‘contaminated by the agent involved’ then that agent involved is clearly not a powerful nerve agent of the Novochok family.
Likewise, we have to ask, where has the story come from that 38 people were affected?

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

You need to do a bit more chemistry.
Most of the really toxic nerve agents are organophosphorous compounds. They are extremely toxic ONLY when administered subcutaneously (via the skin) or orally (swallowed). They are liquid at room temperature and non-volatile; they are almost without fumes and present very little threat via their vapour. Only those people who touch the poison itself are at any significant risk. The policeman who went to the Skripals’ aid was almost certainly unaware of what he was dealing with and may well have failed to protect himself. The doctor who placed Miss Skripal in the recovery position may have been alert enough to recognise the risk or may have been fortunate in the way she handled her patient, we don’t know. By the time the paramedics arrived (wearing gloves as is standard practice) it would have been clear that the Skripals had been poisoned and some standard protective measures would have been enacted – providing the medics avoid direct contact with the poison, they would be at very little risk.
The fact that there were apparently only three people who suffered poisoning does not exclude the use of nerve agents, as I have explained above.
The time it took for the poison to take effect (apparently much longer than expected for typical nerve agents) needs careful consideration. It is not at all clear when the poison was ‘administered’ to the Skripals, but we can be certain of when the policeman first came into contact with it and I would expect there to be a reasonable amount of information about how his symptoms progressed. I would imagine that the assailant who delivered the poison would want it to be quite slow to act (a few minutes ?) so that s/he would be well clear by the time the victim started to show symptoms. I would therefore imagine that response time would be an important part of the design specification, so nerve agents should not be ruled out unless and until it is clear that nerve agents with such response times do not exist.

TerryinDorset
Reader
TerryinDorset

If it really was ‘military grade’ poison, why are they still alive……I understand the military stuff kills instantly.

M J BAILEY
Reader
M J BAILEY

Are you a government spokesperson?

Tom Welsh
Reader
Tom Welsh

Is “Sceptic” really a good handle for someone who sceptically challenges those who sceptically challenge the government story?
I would have thought that something more like “Establishment Apologist” would be more appropriate.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

Tom Welsh – you lose. I am not and never will be an “Establishment Apologist”. I did not challenge anybody’s view. I pointed out that we should not exclude nerve agents from the list of possible poisons. No more, no less. I did not state where in the list of possible poisons I place nerve agents. Be VERY careful before ascribing motives to people you don’t know who choose their words carefully.

k2hsharpe
Reader

with respect Sceptic, you present as a tad disingenuous. And Yes, as an Establishment Apologist. You claim to choose your words very carefully, and I’ll take you and your words at your word …

You offer a forced and contrived justification for false reports of 38 people allegedly affected by “nerve agents”. This both deflects from the more probable (in my opinion) explanation that the UK government is deliberately lying in order to justify it’s rising anti-Russia propaganda, and potentially undermines the significance of Davies refutation of those government lies.
There seems to be some doubt as to whether Detective Sargeant Nick Bailey actually was amongst the first responders “who went to the Skrypals’ aid”. You choose to ignore this and present it as fact, with no corroborating evidence. Again choosing to support the official government narrative.
Your explanation as to why the apparent time lag between possible administration of a nerve poison and collapse of the Skrypals also seems somewhat forced to me, relying on some unknown nerve agent to validate your opinion. This uncertainty I find interesting since the government, May and Johnson seem to state unequivocally that the substance used was a Russian Novichok nerve agent. Which in itself ignores the possibility that if these exist, Russia may not be the nation that has them.
So yeah, sorry – you do seem to present as an “Establishment Apologist”, at least to me. And yes, indirectly at least, you do appear to “challenge” others views – both in the article and in the comments
BigB
Reader

Sceptic: the off duty doctor who treated Yulia for 30mins cleared her airway. It is not clear whether she had PPE: possibly not. Yulia had lost control of her bodily functions. The idea she could not have been cross-contaminated seems remote to me. As cited below, Lord Blair tried to obfuscate the reported narrative to account for this glaring inconsistency. Now in all major communiques, the inconvenient doctor has been memory-holed.
BTW: subcutaneous means injection beneath the skin.

mog
Reader
mog

This is just plain wrong.
Sarin – the most famous compound of this type:
‘… has a high volatility (ease with which a liquid can turn into a gas) relative to similar nerve agents, therefore inhalation can be very dangerous and even vapor concentrations may immediately penetrate the skin. A person’s clothing can release sarin for about 30 minutes after it has come in contact with sarin gas, which can lead to exposure of other people.’ WIKI
With VX, although less volatile ‘fatalities occur with exposure to tens of milligram quantities via inhalation or absorption through skin WIKI
Subcutaneous means placed under the skin as far as I know. Transdermal describes a substance that is readily absorbed through the skin – a major characteristic of nerve agents for obvious reasons.

mog
Reader
mog

That above comment was a reply to ‘sceptic’ who I thought was being misleading.
I actually agree that the circumstances as described by Davies do not absolutely rule out nerve poisoning, and I was wrong to write it earlier.
It does seem incredibly unlikely though, unless it was a particularly non-lethal compound (which it seems to have been seeing as nobody has died). You paint a picture of these chemicals that is at odds with the extreme measures taken to handle them or anyone affected by them. The likelihood of someone receiving standard medical A+E treatment but yet nobody involved even suffering mild effects of poisoning seems extremely remote to me.

ro
Reader
ro

OK that’s interesting. But would that be relevant in relation to point 6 in the article above?
A while ago I had reason to investigate organophosphates and their link with failures of human and animal health. Given that wildlife in the Rockies (a testing site for OP nerve agents) began to exhibit symptoms of poisoning for quite some time after the tests (apparently) stopped suggests to me that it isn’t active merely when ingested or touched; or at least that in one way or another it lingers in the environment?

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

But they are claiming a solid form of novichok was used in powder form.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

Who is they ? Where are they claiming ? Is this official comment or press speculation ?

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

I have seen ABC quoted as the original source of the “38 people affected” story, but have yet to confirm or deny this. One interpretation of “affected” that would be consistent with Stephen Davies’ assertions is that the relevant authorities identified and contacted 38 people who they thought might have been in contact with the Skripals. Those people were given medical examinations and none showed any symptoms. It doesn’t take much sloppy thinking or sloppy writing for “affected” meaning ‘had to change their plans’ to become “affected” meaning ‘made ill by’. I have no evidence to support this suggestion other than frequent experience in my professional life of a clear and simple description of a set of circumstances undergoing significant transformation on its journey from the ears of a reporter to the ink on the newspaper. It is well known that most people (even reporters) are really bad at describing even a simple sequence of events clearly and accurately.

mog
Reader
mog

Davies is replying to a Times article which he quotes the title of in his letter, so not the ABC story which came later.
From the Times article:
Nearly 40 people have experienced symptoms related to the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning, it was revealed yesterday, as locals expressed anger about a lack of information from the authorities.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent who sought refuge in Britain after a spy swap in 2010, and his daughter Yulia are among 38 people who required hospital treatment for poisoning symptoms, Neil Basu, the national head of counterterrorism, revealed.

Davies’ comments to the readers’ letter page is directly contradicting the national head of counterterrorism in saying that nobody but the three ‘significantly poisoned’ patients have shown symptoms or needed treatment.

Tom Welsh
Reader
Tom Welsh

On the contrary, I find it a very carefully worded letter indeed.
It says that
NO patient at the hospital in question has shown symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.
Only three patients have shown symptoms of poisoning.
The omission of “nerve agent” in point 2 is obviously intentional, and its significance is positively deafening.
Incidentally, by far the most common symptom of nerve agent poisoning is death.

roselle angwin
Reader

Yes, absolutely. With you on all your points.

fibaygirl
Reader

He’s not difficult to find. He’s on LinkedIn – I’ve just asked him to clarify his meaning. I’ll let y’all know if he gets back to me.

mog
Reader
mog

Maybe worth remembering some more about other historical alleged attacks that turned out somewhat different to the hysterical versions which first circulated.
E.g.
The US Anthrax Attacks of 2001:
https://www.corbettreport.com/anthrax-the-forgotten-iraq-war-lie/

vexarb
Reader

@mog. Yes, when the news flashed I remember saying to my wife, it takes only 15 minutes to sequence the DNA so by Lunchtime we shall know its origin. Dead silence about the sequencing, so I wasn’t surprised to hear (an uncoscionably long time after) that the strain of anthrax in question was found t, have come from a US Laboratory.

mog
Reader
mog

Corbett put the right title on that ….’Forgotten’.

seachranaidhe1
Reader

Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

Michael Skoruppa
Reader
Michael Skoruppa

The first and most important conclusion to be drawn from this whole story is that Great Britain is a simple bully. I don’t know when they will start behaving like a civilized country. The pattern of the so called community with their so called western values is the same since the Iraq war. You have a country you don’t like. You want to overthrow its leader. You start telling lies about his bad and cruel behavior. You then accuse him. You don’t let himself defend him. (In this case you send him an ultimatum of which you know that anyone with a little self-respect will ignore. Afterwards you will proudly say this is an admission of guilt.) You convict him. You hang him and loot his country. The Western Value Alliance is prosecutor, judge and hangman, all at the same time. But this time an important precondition is missing: The victim of the West’s self-righteousness must be a weak state which cannot defend itself, as was the case in the Falkland war with Argentina. Maggie Thatcher started it because her approval rating was falling, and won. I think May may not have that chance. The question is why she could persuade the other people in Washington, Paris, and Berlin to come to her support. Were they decent people they could have taken her aside and told her and her foreign minister how to behave. On the other hand
I don’t think that these people are any brighter than May. But will they really go so far as to risk a nuclear war to defend a childish bully leader and her country? There is another conclusion: in the Western value system there is no more place for the presumption of innocence. He who is accused by the Western Value System is automatically guilty. The Western Value System is now completely naked. It was always a fairy tale.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

I missed the bit where we looted Russia. Do please tell us more.
The Falklands War was started by Argentine troops invading British sovereign territory. It may or may not be the case that we provoked them, but the first act of aggression was clearly and unequivocally theirs. For you to try to suggest otherwise shows that you are both ignorant and a purveyor of false news.
It has clearly escaped your attention that with only the remnants of an empire and drastically reduced armed forces, there are very few countries which the UK can actually bully. Wales perhaps, Andorra, East Timor if we could find it. We only got a score draw with Iceland and Ireland, and Scotland has a nasty habit of raising its game against the Auld Enemy. Russia is most certainly not a country we would even dream of trying to bully, but if suits your narcissistic side to be a victim, then carry on.

bevin
Reader
bevin

“…with only the remnants of an empire and drastically reduced armed forces, there are very few countries which the UK can actually bully. ”
Except of course that, as in this case, the UK uses its status as a surrogate limb of the US Empire to bully. It did the same thing in Syria, Libya and Iraq. It is doing it in Yemen.
The UK has become worse than a bully, a cowardly hanger on who urges his bullying master to attack. As in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen…. The locals can’t feel the difference, which is merely that their anger is coloured with contempt for the sneak hiding behind his master’s coattails.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

It’s not a very long list, is it ? Kind of supports my suggestion.
There’s plenty of evidence that Blair expended a considerable amount of energy trying to rein in Bush’s gung-ho approach to Iraq, including a failed attempt to achieve a second UNSC resolution.
Tell me how HMG bullies Yemen.

Admin
Reader
Admin

Can you link to the evidence of Blair’s efforts to rein in Bush? Would a UNSC resolution have achieved that in your view?
Re. Yemen – should any civilised nation be supplying arms to an absolute monarchy with a brutal criminal justice system waging an illegal war of aggression on a sovereign country?

Mikalina
Reader
Mikalina

Could I recommend Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis, that is if you are really interested in factual information rather than trite soundbites.

Admin
Reader
Admin

I missed the bit where we looted Russia. Do please tell us more.

Is that a real question or a rhetorical device designed to implant the idea this is not a widely known and well-documented fact even though it is?
if the former we’ll be happy to provide a reading list. If the latter please remember this isn’t the Guardian.

Sceptic
Reader
Sceptic

Real question or rhetorical device ? Both.

Admin
Reader
Admin

OK, well I apologise for assuming you ignorance to be feigned.
The question of how the West looted Russia in the 1990s is both simple and vast.
A group of Harvard economists were invited by the Gorbachev and later Yeltsin administrations to apply what they called “shock therapy” to the post-Soviet Russian economy All economic controls were abandoned and all state-owned industries were privatised, sold off at rock bottom prices, often to consortiums of “foreign investors”.
Most of the industry was subsequently asset-stripped and closed down (Russia lost something like 60% of its industrial base in the four years between 1991 and 1995). The oil and gas industries were soon the only remaining major producers of revenue, and these too were sold off.
In addition the corrupt/incompetent Yeltsin government entered into exploitative production sharing agreements (PSAs) with western oil companies, that allowed Russia to pay for overheads and risks, while the foreign companies pocketed more than 90% of the revenues (see Dr Ian Rutledge’s work on the grotesquely exploitive Sakhalin PSAs, available online).
At the same time the ending of of price controls for consumer goods and industrial goods saw prices jump a colossal 500% in a single year (1992), while inflation rose 2,000%. Domestic oil prices increased 80-fold. This effectively shut down a lot of the remaining industrial production because the fuel costs could not be met. People could not afford to heat their homes and people began to die of cold and hunger in a country that had not known such hardships in a long time.
The asset stripping alone netted billions for many foreign “investors.” Russia became a yard sale. The vouchers issued to every Russian citizen as a guarantee against shares were sold or exchanged for food by desperate people, and bought up en masse by consortiums of westerners and Russians (the future oligarchs) who were able to purchase controlling interests for pennies in Russia’s gas and oil.
This, in brief, is how Russia was “looted.” You’ll agree it’s a fairly accurate term.

John Marks
Reader
John Marks

Excellent analysis.
Agree with it all except the bit about the Falklands War. The Argentine dictatorship was as nasty an outfit as they get. And they had significant military clout, such as Exocet missiles, as our sailors know.
At worst, she (Maggie) may deliberately have set the Argentine up by withdrawing the Endurance, etc., and it certainly strengthened her for the tussle with the miners.

jimmy jitt
Reader
jimmy jitt

also the possibilty of oil/gas – if russia turns off the gas supply, then we have fracking and justification to continue action in the middle east, esp. Saudi Arabia.

chrisa
Reader
chrisa

As far as I can determine, we get just 1% of our gas from Russia. Norway, North sea, and qatar are our major suppliers.

Thomas Peterson
Reader
Thomas Peterson

They have been fracking for years in the UK and so far no viable gas well has been found.
It was the same story in Poland.
It may be that fracking is only effective in the particular situation of America’s oil and gas bearing rocks.

summitflyer
Reader
summitflyer

Correct me if I am wrong but fracking is all about extracting the last morsels of natural gas or oil out of the ground by pumping into the ground liquids .The added pressure is what does the so-called magic , but pollutes water systems along the way .There are some places where the water coming out of the ground can literally be lighted up coming out of the kitchen sink tap. All attributed to fracking in the area.I kid you not.

Johnny Hacket
Reader
Johnny Hacket

this lighting tap water is not due to fracking , it is due to sulphur and other gases that are released in well bores , it’s a common problem and is dealt with by ventilating the shaft ,it has been used as a scare tactic by anti frackers .there are adequate videos exposing this as deception.

Pauline Jones
Reader
Pauline Jones

The myth that we are dependent on Russian gas is one constantly bandied about by the pro frackers. The government’s own BEIS stated last week,
“Great Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply. Less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia and we are in no way reliant on it.”

thepunterspal
Reader
uncle tungsten
Reader
uncle tungsten

Stopping at nothing to stop NordStream 2.

always write
Reader
always write

yes absolutely, I’ve thought much the same, this is about controlling the EU ,who are terrified of losing their so called energy sovereignty which is exactly what America want to do to them by extending sanctions on the EU Russian energy sectors thus forcing them onto expensive American LNG, Poland seems happy to become a new energy hub for America, of course this will cripple the German economy, therefore reducing thd EU to vassel status in energy terms and reducingvthe EU as a competitor to the Americans, they even triad this in the 80s under Reagan
the whole thing stinks of a false flag with the purpose of forcing the EU to except a brexit deal that Britain and the USA want, i always thought that Britain would pivot to America to gain leverage over the EU, i never thought they’d stoop this low to do so
i think Britain is playing a very high risk game, which could blow up in the Tory government face

Lucky Joestar
Reader
Lucky Joestar

At this rate, the Tory government might get blown up the same way Hiroshima and Nagasaki did last century.