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Some Further Thoughts on the Skripal Affair

Barrister at Law James O’Neill offers some thoughts on the Skripal case and the recent judgement by Mr Justice Williams in the High Court

another restaurant photo of Sergey and Yulia Skripal

Let the jury consider the verdict” the King said. “No, No” said the Queen: “sentence first, verdict afterwards”. “Stuff and nonsense” said Alice.

The furore surrounding the alleged nerve gas poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia shows no signs of abating. It continuously puts one in mind of the quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland at the head of this article.

For those of us with fond of memories of some of the traditional virtues of common-law justice, such as the presumption of innocence, the onus of proof upon the accuser, a verdict based upon evidence beyond reasonable doubt, and a prohibition on prejudicial pre-trial comment, it all seems like a very distant past.

The latest development has been a group of nations, largely in the European Union, but also including United States, Canada, Australia and European minnows like Albania and Macedonia, joining the collective hysteria and expelling, at the time of writing, more than 100 Russian diplomats.

That action will achieve nothing, other than to the poison the cold war atmosphere eagerly promoted by the intellectual lightweights so prominent in the governments from United Kingdom to the United States to Australia. The few sane voices in this cacophony of nonsense, such as those of the governments of Portugal, Greece and Austria, or Die Linke’s Andreas Maurer in Germany who noted in various ways that not jumping to conclusions and actually waiting for the results of the now extant OPCW’s Technical Committee investigation, might be preferable to rushing headlong to a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia, are scarcely heard.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made similar remarks, only to be savagely attacked by members of his own party, as well as Tory leaders such as May, Johnson and Williamson.

The careful and cautiously worded judgement of Mr Justice Williams released on 22 March 2018 has been largely ignored by the politicians and the mainstream media alike.

Justice Williams was delivering the judgement on an application by the Secretary of State for the Home Department for permission to be given for the taking of blood samples from the Skripals for analysis by the OPCW experts in accordance with the terms of the Convention on the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

The Skripals were admitted to Salisbury Hospital on 4 March 2018 and it took until 14 March for the British government to invite the OPC W to assist in the technical evaluation of what had caused the Skripal’s illness.

The Judge did not comment on why it took 10 days for this invitation to issue, particularly as the Russian government had correctly pointed out that it should have been done much earlier in accordance with the article 9 of the Convention.

Indeed, May had issued peremptory demands for Russia to, in effect, prove its innocence within 36 hours. The application by the Home Department was necessary as the Skripals, because of their stated medical condition (in a coma, but stable) were unable to give an informed consent. The Judge presumed, probably correctly, if they were able to give consent they would do so. They have a greater interest than anyone else in determining who was responsible and holding them (or their government) to account.

The Russian government, which clearly was an interested party as among other reasons Ms Skripal was a Russian citizen, was not a party to the proceedings, nor, it seems, were they even advised that the application was being made. The Russian government have certainly stated that, and the British government has made no denial.

The absence of the Russians from the application would ordinarily have invited a query from the Judge. He may well have done so, but as the proceedings were held in camera, we cannot establish that. His Honour appears to have accepted a submission from Mr Sachdeva QC, acting for the Skripals, that the Russian authorities had made no attempt to seek access to the Skripals or their medical records.

This is prima facie highly improbable, particularly given the case’s high profile. The Russian government to the contrary has claimed that all their requests for access, medical details and related evidence were ignored or refused by the British government.

It is not possible to definitively resolve that conflict, but the weight of logic, common sense and the evidence we do have would tend to support the Russian position.

There is no reason at this point to question the integrity of the OCPW technical evaluation. It seems likely however, that they may well not be able to ascertain precisely what substance was used to affect the Skripals. Almost certainly, neither will they be able to specify its precise origins, much less who administered it. More than three weeks after the attack we still have no clear idea as to how the poison, if that is indeed what it is, was administered.

That qualified conclusion, which is surely known to the British government, may be a major reason why such a huge propaganda effort is currently being made before the likely inconclusive results are published. It may also account for the meaningless terminology used in statements by the UK government and others that the poison was “of a type developed by Russia.”

That statement in itself is inaccurate. It has zero evidential value, but is clearly seen as having a powerful propaganda effect. Most casual readers of the mainstream media or viewers of the BBC and their foreign equivalents will be unaware of any of the history of nerve agents, or their possession and use by multiple countries, not least the United Kingdom itself.

Perhaps the most depressing conclusion to be drawn from this saga is the one expressed by the commentator known as the Saker (What Happened to the West I was born in? 26 March 2018). He argues that during the previous Cold War, although the West was hardly a knight in shining armour, the rule of law did matter, as did some degree of critical thinking. Now, the West is ruled by an “ugly gang of ignorant, arrogant psychopaths”.

Their hubris will lead to making fatal miscalculations about the degree of Russian resolve, and the ability of Russia, (as was demonstrated so effectively by Putin in his address to the joint sitting of the Russian Parliament on 1 March 2018), that rather than “shutting up and going away”, as Williamson hoped, the simple fact is that Britain will be a heap of radioactive ashes long before Russia “goes away”.

It is significant that China’s Global Times, an official voice for the thinking of the Chinese government, sees the current attack on Russia as a prelude to a similar assault upon China as the crumbling Anglo-American Empire tries to maintain its hegemony. China has not joined the Western chorus of condemnation of Russia. Instead it sees what it describes as the “Russia China comprehensive strategic collaborative partnership” as the best safeguard against Western attack. It is for this reason that the Saker is probably too pessimistic. For the sake of our grandchildren one hopes that he was indeed wrong.

James O’Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au


  1. Basil P Jones says

    I think some years into the future a retired British Intelligence Officer struck with remorse and guilt in his old age is going to write a memoir that would reveal that the entire ‘Skripal poisoning affair’ was a creation of the hawks in the Conservative Government of Theresa May to force the unrelenting Brexit negotiators of the European Union to soften their stand and allow favourable and easy terms for the embattled Prime Minister whose survival both in the politics of the nation as well as in her own party hinged on how and with what the separation settlements are concluded. The ‘poisoning’ of the Skripals (note that whatever was used on them has not killed or maimed them, seemingly avoiding any culpability in deaths) is a show intended for the EU, to provoke them to worry and dread about what their eastern neighbour Russia could do reaching right on to the very ‘door handles of their homes’. This terrible fear should, according to the calculations of the hawks, compel the EU’s un-pardoning and uncompromising patriarchs to huddle together and decide that it wouldn’t be wise to antagonise UK, the most powerful military in the continent that can ‘stand up’ against a Russian aggression, any further in the Brexit talks and conclude a deal in which Britain has a favourable stake. All the drama, fury and sound displayed over the incident, all the amateurish behaviour that has raised more suspicions than evidences among its own allies and the trumped up media frenzy could be mere special effects to confuse the European Union leaders giving them no time to evaluate the situation but throw them into a ‘do now or die soon’ puzzle with the ‘Russians are coming’ hysteria. Even the British public are confused and unwilling to ask questions, even the opposition is wavering in its duty to bring the government’s claims to scrutiny. Theresa May and her hawks have managed to play their script well so far. Brexit is the trick they want and Russia is the trump they have.

    • Michele Cochrane says

      ‘Sometime into the future.’ ? Let’s hope we are alive to read about it. I disagree that the British have played their cards well; Quite the contrary in fact. O’Neill has argued his case, here and elsewhere, very well. I’ll leave it to him.

  2. Billy Bostickson says

    Talking of identification, here’s a nice little puzzle for Brother Cadfael or even Watson:

    I have been trying to identify the boyfriend and parents again after the information published in mk.ru by Lev Speransky and Ekaterina Sveshnikova (http://www.mk.ru/politics/2018/03/25/otravlenie-sergeya-skripalya-my-nashli-strannogo-boyfrenda-yulii.html) made me doubt my original identification.

    I identified a new person but would like someone else to have a go and see who they come up with.

    Here are the clues:

    The article states that they use a pseudonym for the boyfriend, “Stanislav”, although they know his name.

    Who is Stas?

    He is an economist by training, graduate of the State University of Management.

    In 2014 he defended his thesis at the Moscow State University at the Department of Economic Sociology and Marketing of the Faculty of Sociology.

    Later he published a number of articles on social investment.

    However, Stanislav writes not only scientific works, but also poems ..

    On the Internet there is a whole collection of his works. Verses here for every taste – there are philosophical, and love lyrics, and even religious.

    Stanislav’s mother before the country was marked by the government’s honorary diploma in 2008.

    she was in charge of the enterprise of the Federal Agency for State Reserves for the Central Federal District.

    since 2014, she heads an NGO with an authorized capital of 5 million rubles.

    area of ​​activity is development in the field of corporate security systems, integrated technical control, as well as scientific research in the core field.

    In the same structure, Stanislav himself works.

    We do not pretend to assert, but it is very likely that the enterprise is closely connected with the power structures.

    mother did not really welcome the son’s relationship with Julia.

    friends called Stas. He prefers not to discuss the situation and limited communication – his phone does not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers, he also ignores the messages from the journalists of “MK”.

    We visited the family of Stanislav in Podolsk near Moscow,

    Stanislav’s mother, as she told about herself, works as a chief accountant.

    Every morning at exactly 7.00 near the entrance it is waiting for a jeep with a personal driver.

    father had surgery on the heart, he sits at home. Now, probably, they are at the dacha.

    – What can you say about Stanislav?

    “A fine young man!” Helped us to repair the computer.

    The last time he was seen on March 20 in a black “Land Rover” on a paid parking near the house.

    Come on, resident Russian experts, see who you can find!

  3. Billy Bostickson says

    Thanks to John Helmer in Moscow for having the courage to report this (I asked him to help):

    The British public telephone is two years short of a century old. The Salisbury Hospital has dismantled the outdoor models because it is now possible for patients to receive and make telephone calls from their bedside. The hospital has contracted with a company called Hospedia to provide patients with personal access to telephones (television, internet, games too). The patients must pay.

    The business of overcharging them for incoming and outgoing calls was such a corrupt scandal, Hospedia’s predecessor company went bankrupt. The Royal Bank of Scotland took over the assets, and then went even more corruptly bankrupt itself. So the bank sold the hospital telephone business to Marlin Equity Partners. That company presently controls most British hospital patient telephones; it is an American group specializing in investment in signal and cyber operations of every sort. It is based in Los Angeles and London.

    If you are Yulia Skripal, you are likely to want to use Salisbury Hospital’s Hospedia telephone system to call home in Moscow. There she has a family consisting of a grandmother and a cousin; an uncle lives in St. Petersburg and another cousin in Primorye. All of them have been identified by name and address in the Russian press. Yulia Skripal also has a fiancé with whom she was living, and about whom considerable detail of his marital intentions, occupation, mother, father, home address and black Land Rover have also been published. Their 90-second telephone call before Yulia took off on her fateful Aeroflot flight to London on March 3 has been published. So have details of her father Sergei’s request that she bring him packages of kasha and bay leaf in her luggage. Even the address of the pet hotel where Yulia Skripal’s dog Noir is staying at Rb800 per day is reported in the free Russian press.

    Two Moscow reporters have specialized in this investigation – Lev Speransky and Yekaterina Sveshnikova. They have also published excerpts from the Skripal family photo album. Their evidence is that Yulia Skripal is human enough to want to call home.

    However, she cannot do so. Salisbury Hospital officials, who have confirmed her capacity to listen and speak by telephone, will not say why.

    On March 22, a High Court judge ruled in London that Yulia Skripal was almost totally incapacitated. She was alive, comatose, stable medically, but “unable to communicate in any meaningful way… It is not possible to say when or to what extent Mr or Ms Skripal may regain capacity.” For the court judgement, click to open. For the larger story of the court proceeding, read this.

    High Court Justice David Williams (right) repeatedly decided he knew what the Skripals would want if they could talk. He wrote that they “would wish for the further analysis [of blood samples]”; that testing for poison was what they “would wish be conducted and they would want to assist in that by providing samples”; that they “would be likely to want to support the work of the international body [Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons] set up by international law knowing that its processes are unimpeachable”; and “they would want to support the UK Government in taking steps on the international plane to hold those responsible to account.”

    Despite this volubility of the Skripals, the judge didn’t say whether they would wish to use the telephone to take a call or make a call with their next of kin. He ruled instead that in their comatose state, “it did not appear practicable or appropriate to seek the views of others who might be interested in the welfare of Mr Skripal (his mother perhaps) or Ms Skripal’s (perhaps a fiancé).”

    Williams wrote that on March 22. Three days later, Speransky and Sveshnikova reported in Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) how the court and the hospital could get in contact with both Skripal’s mother, Yulia’s grandmother, and Yulia’s fiancé. By then, and for several days earlier, Yulia’s Moscow cousin Victoria Skripal had reportedly made telephone contact with Salisbury Hospital and with the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko. Yakovenko requested proofs of Victoria’s identity and relationship, and Victoria has told reporters Speransky and Sveshnikova that she provided them.

    Justice Williams also ruled there was no legal obligation for the Russian Embassy in London to be informed by the hospital or the government “pursuant to Articles 36 and 37 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 as Ms Skripal is a Russian national.” The reason the judge gave was that because Article 37 had not been incorporated in domestic British law, it did not apply to the case of Yulia Skripal.

    Noone in court challenged this. Neither the court-appointed lawyer for Skripal, Vikram Sacheva, nor the judge appears to have known that a bilateral consular convention between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union was ratified by the British parliament and became legally binding domestic law in 1968; it is much more explicit than the Vienna Convention. The treaty text, signed in Moscow in 1965 and presented to the House of Commons in November 1968, can be read here.

    Russian Embassy access to Yulia Skripal is required by Articles 30, 31(f), 35 and 36. The last of these is the most explicit. In British statutes the word “shall” means must — obligatory, mandatory, required, no discretion allowed.

    For a detailed review of the law, read Alexander Mercouris.

    Article 36(1)(a) makes it illegal under British law for the British Government to prevent Russian Embassy officials from having access to Yulia Skripal in hospital directly or indirectly. One of the indirect measures the Russian Embassy has yet to take is the engagement of British lawyers to represent her in a court action for habeas corpus and to require the Home Office to justify to a judge the restrictions they have imposed on Skripal at the hospital; for details, read this.

    The second sub-section of the Article makes it illegal for the Salisbury Hospital to prevent Yulia Skripal communicating with Russian Embassy officials in London and their lawyers, or vice versa.

    On March 29, the hospital reported she was “improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition. Her condition is now stable. Her father remains in a critical but stable condition.” The British state radio has reported “separate sources that Ms Skripal is conscious and talking.”

    Following these reports, the head of the hospital Cara Charles-Barks (right) and her two press spokesmen were asked what telephone contact Yulia Skripal has made with her next of kin in Moscow. They are refusing to answer. They were also asked to clarify the hospital’s policy on contact between patients and next of kin, and to give their legal authority for blocking communication between Yulia Skripal and her next of kin in Russia. They do not reply.

    Yesterday Speransky reported that cousin Victoria Skripal is applying for her international passport so she can travel to Salisbury. She has yet to file for a British visa. “I hope I will be able to understand something there on the place,” Victoria Skripal told the newspaper.


  4. I am ashamed to be English as a result of the Skripal affair regardless of whom may have been responsible. The whole basis of Western law that one is innocent until proved guilty has not been given the slightest chance. One can only conclude as a result that the incident was contrived to throw suspicion on Rushas spiessia and President Putin as a pariah at a critical moment before his re-election and the hosting of the World Cup.
    Those who are gullible enough to swallow the obvious hypocrisy of the British Government’s cover up should understand that the US has access to the same nerve agents as said to be used the Russians and as Putin’s declared enemy are in fact the obvious suspects as any reason should dictate.

  5. John Marks says

    As an expat in Vienna, I’m proud my adopted country has refused to be taken in by May’s and the EU’s lynch mob.

    We may think Russia had abandoned the fraternal ideas of its revolution and long gone sour.

    But we have forgotten the ideal of our own enlightenment revolutions of 1688 and 1789.

    Arguably, Putin is trying to reverse the social decline to the level of ‘money is everything’ that pervades the EU and USA.

    We should remember Robert Burns:

    “But ye whom social pleasure charms

    Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms,

    Who hold your being on the terms,

    ‘Each aid the others’,

    Come to my bowl, come to my arms,

    My friends, my brothers!”

    PS there is still NO evidence.

    • Mikalina says

      No economic measures? The ‘slight of hand’ passing of the Magnitsky Act which presumably safeguards the 60 billion stolen from Russia.

      ‘Brexit’ is a manufactured circus designed to rejig laws in favour of the cabal. It will be revoked as soon as it has served its purpose. Macron and the Irish PM did as they were told by the eminence grises who put them into those positions. (Perhaps Macron was threatened with the action being taken about someone else who seems to be not playing the game, Sarkozy.)

      Putin not bothered about SWIFT system as Russia/China have developed one of their own.

      Southfront also missed the release of Fusion Document, which is the ‘rules’ of a totalitarian regime.

      Finally, as mentioned – East Ghouta. But I think it is not so much revenge as hiding the ‘truth’ of what happened: embedded state agents; support of the people for Assad; lies re: hospitals being destroyed; non-existence the White Helmets; and the real biggie:

      Israel condoning, and even building, gas chambers.

      • Billy Bostickson says

        Please stop polluting this forum with your nonsensical comments about “manufactured circuses” and “Israeli gas chambers”. You are merely generating more toxic Information pollution which, as you are well aware, leads only to analysis paralysis and cognitive dissonance.

        Please stop being a bystander and pay attention to the forum topic before posting your bizarre paranoid delusions!

  6. Francis Lee says

    The fact that the ‘official left’ and its globalist flagship propaganda outlets, The Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post, have been signed up to the Anglo-Zionist hegemonic war project should hardly be considered news. The fact was that these ‘progressives’ always were pillars of an imperial order traceable back to 1945 at least. To digress slightly, in terms of political delegation it was once the practice during the Nazi ascendancy in Europe that the day-to-day running of the concentration camps was delegated down to a class of trustees.

    ”According to Wikileaks A kapo or prisoner functionary (German: Funktionshäftling, see § Etymology) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labour or carry out administrative tasks. Also called “prisoner self-administration”, the prisoner functionary system minimized costs by allowing camps to function with fewer SS personnel. The system was designed to turn victim against victim, as the prisoner functionaries were pitted against their fellow prisoners in order to maintain the favour of their SS overseers. If they were derelict, they would be returned to the status of ordinary prisoners and be subject to other kapos. Many prisoner functionaries were recruited from the ranks of violent criminal gangs rather than from the more numerous political, religious, and racial prisoners; such criminal convicts were known for their brutality toward other prisoners. This brutality was tolerated by the SS and was an integral part of the camp system. ”

    Thus it has been that during the entire history of imperialism a posture of political kow-towing has been the practice of pseudo-left, traditionally playing the role of ‘ trusteeship’, a second eleven reserve team; acting in an impeccably responsible and politically correct manner having been thoroughly house-trained and ideologically conditioned to carry out the tasks of furthering the interests of the imperial bourgeoisie. This isn’t to say that on occasion there haven’t been tensions between the leadership and the rank-and-file, but the leadership has always been in firm control of the political/ideological apparatus. NATO socialism is the official doctrine of the pseudo-left, more so than ever (and I am not even sure about the ‘socialism’). And besides, There is No Alternative (TINA) to the imperial order (or should I say ordure).

    Orwell sussed this quite early on in his political life stating:

    ”In a prosperous country, above all in an imperialist country, left-wing politics are always partly humbug. There can be no real reconstruction that would not lead to at least a temporary drop in the English standard of life; which is another way of saying that the majority of left-wing politicians and publications are people who earn their living by demanding something that they don’t genuinely want. They are red-hot revolutionaries as long as all goes well, but every real emergency reveals instantly that they are shamming. One threat to the Suez Canal and anti-fascism and the ‘defence of British interests’, are discovered to be identical.” (Not Counting Niggers – 1939) Orwell’s words, not mine.

    Yep, when push comes to shove the loyalty of the official left can be counted upon, in fact it underpins the whole system. The inexorable drive towards a nuclear war is the ultimate betrayal of humanity by West’s liberal class.

    • mog says

      Fascinating quote from Orwell.
      There can be no real reconstruction that would not lead to at least a temporary drop in the English standard of life
      is so much more true now than when he wrote that.

      • bevin says

        It depends what is meant by the “English standard of life.”
        If you or Orwell mean ‘the way that I live and the comfortable classes including politicians of all sorts live.’
        Then you are telling us nothing more than that disruptions, from revolutions to new tax bills, disrupt and change things.
        But for many English people, in 1939 as well as today, there is little benefit, if any, from imperialism. To the millions living on the brink of homelessness, pauperism, ill health, malnutrition and other forms off insecurity change could hardly make things worse.
        For most people suffering from capitalism the major change to be worked for is the restoration to the individual and to our communities of power over our fate. Democracy is what would make the difference. And with it none empowered would be homeless or poor. The problem is that people have no power and that the best that Orwell could conceive of was the election of someone to exert power on one’s behalf.
        Suppose that, in 2008 all the ATMs had indeed stopped working does anyone suppose that we would have been worse off?

  7. John O'Donnell, Brisbane says

    There are many things wrong with the UK governments account of this story.
    Here are only three.
    1) If Russia (or any other intelligence service) wanted to kill someone, I am pretty sure they would be very dead very quickly.
    2) With a world cup coming up, the last thing that Russia wants is any political controversy. Apparently, the ex spy has been retired and living openly for many years. Why not wait until after the World Cup to do something.
    3) Why use a nerve gas and draw attention when a bullet is easier, cheaper and less hassle?

    • You should have added – and the re-election of Putin – which occurred last week. As far as trying to convince Russians to get rid of Putin it has certainly backfired in a big way. They tend to believe their Presidents and stand behind him against such blatant Western hypocrisy.

  8. The deep state actors from both sides of the Atlantic very obviously knew of and ordered the Skripal false flag. The appointment to the diplomatic battlefront of Hayley and now Bolton in the US and useful idiots like Macron and Johnson in Europe is testament to a preplanned change to highly aggressive global rhetoric that has always preceded major armed conflict.
    Trumps role is simply to confuse the issue and draw attention, and every populist utterance of his is part of the confusion. He is 100% puppet.
    The true hallmark of any major false flag since about the time Dulles headed the CIA, to the extent it’s a thing of pride to the planners, is to have multiple advantages in the greater plan. 9/11 is a hard act to follow but amply illustrates how such an event has it’s utility optimised. And after effectively getting away with that crime and others they feel a sense of impunity from scrutiny by the average Joe.

    I think Russia knew something was in the works hence Putin actively presenting to the world stage Russia’s new 4th generation weapons systems. Russia, with good reason, is scared. And however much I find myself scared for us all it’s Russia I fear for the most. Putin and his refusal to give over Russia to the neoliberal rape of it’s domestic product would have been crushed long ago if it were not for the Russian people and nukes. It’s ironic that Russia needed the fall of communism to embrace a society so united in a new socialist experiment, and doubly ironic it would take an ex KGB guy to champion that cause.
    China, in it’s media output, is supportive of Russia but I have no idea what will happen if Russia is attacked militarily. Will China get involved ? I am not sure it would want to.

    And for us there are ominous consequences looming just for voicing dissent from the official line. As Teresa May unleashes the exclusively totalitarian Fusion Doctrine, https://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk-column-news-28th-march-2018-fusion-doctrine , we all face being branded terrorists for our critical thought and decades of research informing it.

    Anyone can be forgiven for thinking this is the most dangerous moment in human history.

    • Mikalina says

      “The true hallmark of any major false flag since about the time Dulles headed the CIA, to the extent it’s a thing of pride to the planners, is to have multiple advantages in the greater plan. ”

      I think the Fusion Document is a major ‘advantage’, of the Skripal debacle, for the cabal. It lays out quite clearly the actions it is taking/will take towards alternative news sites and ANYONE who disagrees in any way with the ‘official’ line. It widens its agents’ actions to all departments of the government – including health and benefits. Will we be refused help at hospitals or will our appointments suddenly disappear? Will our benefits be stopped if we actively support or visit an alternative website? The power in this document is unbelievable and I strong suggest that everyone reads it.

    • All Presidents since Kennedy have been Deep State adherents, and Kennedy’s vow to rid the Deep State sounded his death knell. Trump’s win and offer of friendship to Russia upset the cosy Deep State military/industrial alliance and so the CIA dossier was drawn up to smear him with accusations of treachery.
      It is a moot point that Trump may have become an unwitting pawn since the recent appointment of various generals and ex CIA men to replace his own pals or whether he has realised that to save his Presidency and possibly his own life he need follow their dictate. One way or another US policy appears to be back on track to prepare for a war with Russia. After Cameron’s British parliament turned down British participation in Syria the CIA needed to turn British opinion against Russia and what more could have incited British reaction than a re-hash of the London polonium poisoning ten years ago. It appears the British are the perfect dupes. WMDs being no exception.

  9. Robbobbobin says

    I’ve heard that the OPCW report has been delayed by the hangover some of the investigating team had after something was slipped into their drinks at Hans Blix’s 115th birthday party.

  10. I find it extremely frustrating to have to listen to, or read, our ‘representatives’, whether it be politicians or journalists, stating definitively – and purportedly on our behalf – that it’s obvious to EVERYONE that the Russians are guilty. In broadcast discussions there is rarely a dissenting voice and the occasional one that slips through is treated like the village idiot or a pariah for daring to suggest that one should base accusations on evidence. My question is does anyone have any bright ideas as to how we, the man/woman on the street, can have any influence in getting across to our ‘leaders’ that they don’t speak for us? Two years ago I wrote a lengthy letter to my MP drawing attention to facts contradicting accusations levelled against Syria and asking for a factual response to my observations and questions. I know from many years working in a Civil Service policy department, where I was, among other things, responsible for drafting replies for Ministers to send to MPs in response to constituents’ letters, that certainly in those days (10+ years ago) every letter had to receive a substantive reply – rarely would a simple acknowledgement be considered acceptable – and the specific questions raised HAD to be answered. Needless to say, my own letter didn’t even generate an acknowledgement…presumably it was consigned to the bin marked ‘loony letters’. I suspect, unfortunately, that there is little that can be done to remedy this situation other than to keep bombarding MPs with letters but I would welcome any ideas!

    • milosevic says

      I find it extremely frustrating to have to listen to, or read, our ‘representatives’, whether it be politicians or journalists, stating definitively – and purportedly on our behalf – that it’s obvious to EVERYONE that the Russians are guilty.

      It’s your job to prove them wrong, as loudly as possible. HOWEVER —

      does anyone have any bright ideas as to how we, the man/woman on the street, can have any influence in getting across to our ‘leaders’ that they don’t speak for us?

      They already know that, and have for a long time. They wouldn’t be in the position they are, if they didn’t very well understand who they represent, and who they don’t.

      “Speaking Truth to Power” is a complete waste of time and energy. THEY DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, although they are quite happy for you to labour under the delusion that they do. It makes your opposition much less effective and threatening than it otherwise might be. As you have discovered —

      Needless to say, my own letter didn’t even generate an acknowledgement… presumably it was consigned to the bin marked ‘loony letters’. I suspect, unfortunately, that there is little that can be done to remedy this situation other than to keep bombarding MPs with letters but I would welcome any ideas!

      What you SHOULD be doing, is talking to other ordinary people about what’s going on in the world, in the interest of detaching them from the delusional fantasy that the ruling class has constructed for them to mentally inhabit. Only once you have succeeded in constructing large social movements, of millions of people, is it worth talking to the ruling class and their hired thugs and stooges. And even then, only to present your demands, and explain what will be the consequences if they are not complied with.

      “Serious reforms are the by-products of revolutionary struggle.” — V.I. Lenin

      The entire history of the last two hundred years proves the truth of this idea. The last outburst of revolutionary struggle in western countries was fifty years ago. Since then, the process of reform has gone into reverse, and the degeneration is now clearly accelerating. There is no prospect for improvement, short of a renewal of revolutionary politics, and this will only happen when people discard their illusions in the existing political system.

    • It’s like living in a parallel universe. I try to explain to my colleagues, friends and family that the government claims are outrageous. Within days, they knew what it was, who it was and where it came from. Not allegations or accusations, they knew! The government eventually invite (albeit 10 days later) an organisation that previously oversaw the destruction of the ‘suspects’ chemical weapons.
      Even more puzzling is why they bothered to invite the OPCW in at all. May and Johnson have declared who it was and punished them already. It takes longer to take a drink driver to court.
      The dramatic scenes from Salisbury included roads gridlocked with police vehicles, protective clothing that looked like it was from a poorly financed sci fi movie and the best part of 500 emergency services staff. It was all theatre …… They already had the diplomat expulsion orders signed.
      I feel a little foolish constantly writing to my MP but I’m never surprised by his answers. He has persistently ignored my trickier questions and has stuck to his guns with regards the White Helmets. I suspect he must be thinking ‘Oh no, not that nutter again. What the hell have Syrians and Palestinians got to do with rural Lincolnshire?’.

      • With regard to the OPCW I think May reluctantly brought them in because to not do so would have appeared a little bit too suspicious, even to our ‘allies’. But I am under no illusion that they will come up with any conclusions that contradict the UK Govt’s allegations. As someone reminded us elsewhere on this website, they were more than happy to pass judgement on the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack based on samples ‘collected’ by the White Helmets and transported by militants for analysis in Turkey; the OPCW presumably regarded that as processing samples under fully controlled conditions. Their lack of regard for ‘due process’ in scientific terms where it suits the agenda begs the question as to what samples the UK Govt may have handed over to them. I fully expect that we’ll get the usual ‘…or related substance’ nonsense which will get them and the UK Govt off the hook in terms of being expected to provide conclusive evidence. And primarily, coming from the OPCW, it will be perceived to give added credibility to May’s accusations, thereby confirming to the world at large that Russia are indeed the villains of the piece.

      • @duplicitousdemocracy – I mentioned in my last post that ‘someone’ had referred to the OPCW’s contribution to the Khan Sheikhoun investigation. On scrolling through comments I see it was you so you clearly don’t need to be reminded of their duplicitous activities by me!

    • Maybe we need to do it the old way. Go back to pamphleting. Most have a printer or can afford one. Print cogent arguments off and leave them on buses, trains etc like the Metro. Hand them out in the street. If 100s of us were doing so we could reach 100s of 1000s.

      • Good idea – well worth considering. I am getting on in years and find I am becoming less inhibited and more cynical as each year passes so I will give this serious thought. I’ve little to lose and more to gain, if only to enable me to say that at least I tried.

    • Betrayed planet. says

      It’s frankly astonishing, I can barely believe the arrogance and downright ignorance of these awful people. They are the very antithesis of anything good or nurturing. How there are not people marching in the streets over this beggars bloody belief.

      • milosevic says

        — because, at least in the US and the UK, it’s the alleged “left” that’s LEADING the charge for anti-Russia hysteria, and the invasion of Syria.

        One might infer, if it wasn’t already sufficiently obvious long ago, that in western countries, most of what purports to be the “left”, is in fact a highly sophisticated ruling-class psychological-warfare campaign. They’ve spent decades building it up, and training its personnel, and are now, since 9/11/2001, cashing it in for maximum profit.

        Noam Chomsky and the Guardian being paradigmatic examples.

    • Mark Gobell says

      That is one of the planned outcomes of the Sergei Skripal fraud.

      The erstwhile antagonists, the EU and the UK are now united behind a common enemy.


      • jantje says

        I wonder if this whole affair is not geared against implementing brexit,stay strong against a common enemy etc.

  11. Michael McNulty says

    It seems Britain has reached the stage where evidence is rather…”quaint”. It’s another step towards fascism but this time it’s not a tip-toe but a jackbooted goose-step – much further along.

  12. James makes some good points: but in among them he claims “British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made similar remarks” (to the “few sane voices”) – did he? I was only aware that he asked Treason May to differentiate between Option 1 – Russia did it: or Option 2 – Russia did it. A fact he took out an article in the Guardian to reiterate. A position he has gone on to consilidate into “We can therefore draw no other conclusion than that Russia has a direct or indirect responsibility for this.” So no proof required: it was Russia …so sayeth our lone voice of sanity.

    He went on to use his platform to push the whole range of Establishment talking points: “military grade Novichok”; “of a type developed by liars Russia ”; lack of Russian response equals culpability; that OPCW verification of the destruction of Russian CW stocks is “contradicted by intelligence”; “that just over a decade ago Russia invested in the use of nerve agents and developed new stockpiles of Novichok”; “Does she [May] consider the expulsion of 23 British diplomats and the closure of the British Council a further provocation?”; Glushkov (a subtle inference to the “From Russia with Blood” Buzzfeed dossier); Magnitsky sanctions; support for Navalny; “the most important thing the UK could do to curb the power and punish the actions of Vladimir Putin is to hit his billionaire allies in their pockets”; cyber-warfare threat; Syria, “where Russia stands accused of supporting and committing war crimes”; “horrendous state-approved homophobia against the LGBT community, and for all the intimidation and banning orders against political opponents”; etc.

    Characterising Russian thus and maintaining a “robust dialogue” will make “for a better, more peaceful future—for the safety and security of all of us on this planet”. Can someone point out the sanity please? Or failing that, the logic?

    • milosevic says

      I hope you continue pointing out this kind of thing. It’s important for everybody who’s paying attention and relatively sane to know what the Fake Left was doing and saying when it really mattered.

      Much like the 9/11 scam, of course. With that well-established precedent, why would we expect anything different in any other case? As is ever more clear, that is THE litmus test that differentiates the real left-wing opposition from the “left”-flavoured ruling class social-control apparatus: identity politics, Noam Chomsky, the Guardian, social democracy, “humanitarian” NGOs, most of the “alternative” media, etc.

    • mog says

      This has been the most significant aspect of this whole affair for me.

      • Big B says

        That, and the Fusion Doctrine. As a Privy Councillor, no doubt JC knew that was coming? If not, he did a pretty good job of abstractly calling for it?

  13. summitflyer says

    All planned of course .With the help of their intelligence agencies .The same game they played with the MH 17.
    Point the finger before any evidence ,repeat very often ,get the NATO countries on side as much as possible ,keep pointing the finger ,then let the whole matter die down and people will forget the inconsistencies but remember of course that Russia is to blame . Are there better words than to call them weasels and liars .

  14. Based upon the current “evidence” and “who benefits” logic, this is my top 10 list of suspects who may have done the poisoning:

    The CIA; Mossad; NATO (operation gladio team; MI6; hired corporate contract ex-inelligence thugs; Mickey Mouse; Elton John; Donald Duck; the Three Stooges; or Russia – in that order.

  15. always write says

    what the Russian government should do is go after one of the big so called “news” papers and take them to court, can anyone remember the case of Christopher Jefferies, the press of course went off on one about poor Mr Jefferies, and now they’re are doing exactly the same over this so called chemical weapons attack

    take the bastards to court i say, starting with the Guardian, or possibly the BBC

    • And there was Robert Murat who was a suspect (guilty in the eyes of the Press and possibly the investigators) in the Madeleine McCann case. I see that he featured in a newspaper article only last year describing how the accusations “destroyed his life and that of his family”.

      • always write says

        …yup, however these alligations against Russia could destroy the world, unfortunately the idiots in Fleet Street don’t seem to think this could happen

  16. R.M. Nugent says

    In Canada the entire Parliament approved to expulsion of Russian diplomats. Even the so called left party, the New Democrats, didn’t say a word, nor have I heard from the Greens on it. The fact it got to Parliament speaks volumes about Trudeau… he is clearly not the man his father was.

    • Jezz says

      An excellent article. I have been looking more at the lack of identification of the 37 locals who have allegedly been in contact with the alleged nerve agent. It’s now 24 days since the alleged incident and all we’ve been told by ‘the authorities’ is that there were 37 people being treated, some as out-patients. 39 hours after the tragic Manchester arena terrorist attack ITV had the faces of 22 victims up on screen in a collage, less than 2 days. So far we’ve not heard the names of these 37, their welfare, we’ve not heard from their worried friends family and relatives, we’ve heard nothing. The alleged policeman who was allegedly also infected with nerve agent, we’ve seen two photos of a man dressed in a police costume both taken at the same photo session. He has been released from hospital for several days now and yet not one TV company have scooped his interview, not one newspaper has ran with his scoop, we’ve heard not a jot from his friends, family or work colleagues. This deafening silence is not meant to be looked into, a bit like you’re not supposed to pull the curtain back on the Great Oz. We are so obviously being lied to here, and yet our media is busy making sure we don’t look in the right direction. Every time I write this on the Independent reply sections I get blocked from writing anything else.

      • According to the daily mirror the residents of Salisbury had a public meeting with authorities voicing their concerns about risk etc. In the same article it quietly stated:”The total number taken ill was confirmed as four, not the 38 previously reported.” Alas most folk don’t wanna hear the truth…..that they are being mugged.

    • archie1954 says

      I find the Canadian response to the accusations against Russia to be disingenuous and embarrassing!

  17. P.E. Ace says

    The Skripal saga helps to railroad the EU and esp Germany into abandoning Nordstream2, together with the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. Apologies for repeating myself. No Nordstream2 would also increase Ukraine’s future cashflow and importance to the EU and on the margin help gain support for an all-out war in the east of that country.

    Skripal saga is also embraced by politicians and media who allege the Brexit vote was swung by data firms that can be linked to Russian clients and the hardly 2 pounds of adverts on twitter and facebook that potentially can be linked to Russian twitter or facebook accounts.

    Trump and Brexit happened because of Russia. Damn it!

    • jantje says

      I totally agree with that comment on north stream2,the ultimate goal is to wreck rhe russian economy and sell much more expensive shale gas to the european market

      • always write says

        ….but what it will also do is effectively wreck the German economy, so America has every incentive to push for its closure, and Britain has every incentive to use the threat of this closure in its Brexit negotiations, not that any of this will be disclosed in public

        • jantje says

          and than you can ask yourself why the brits interfere in european affairs,I thought they brexit[ted]?or is there more drama to come?

      • ninetto says

        Actually just yesterday the final approval for North Stream 2 passed the German Federal Authorities.

        But this went through due to former Chancellor’s Gerhardt Schröder’s ties to Russia and Gazprom and Rosneft, where he holds board positions. Russia played its cards right on that one, securing a key power player in Germany.

        Perhaps the CIA let this one go, because otherwise Germany has been a perfect little darling, fulfilling all the USA’s other wishes regarding Ukraine, NATO, Israel, etc.

        • always write says

          for now perhaps, but the Germans are in a particular bind as they really fear the rise of China which they have little control over, also Chinese investments and the so called 16+1 format could pull the Eastern Europeans away, which would be a disaster for German hegemony over Europe

          apparently theres a foreign policy tug of war going on in Germany and it looks like the dominant theory is for Germany to swing behind Washington to help contain China. if this is true i wouldn’t be at all supprised to see the EU get back on board with TTIP, which unlike TTP Trump didn’t bin

    • Can envisage it now: Boris Johnson blubbering “How could we have been so fooled..?”

      Fraudian : Common Sense Finally Wins! (Now let’s get on with the next war chaps)


  18. Grafter says

    The OPCW will prove nothing. May and her little gang know this. A false flag is flying all over this vindictive cabal of CIA/MI6 lackeys and a minority Tory government of America’s little helpers. To accuse without hard evidence is a measure of how low UK and European administrations will sink. To base your economy on weapons of death shows how sick America is today and for the UK to play along with this charade without parliamentary criticism
    suggests that the greedy psycopaths are in charge.

    • rtj1211 says

      False flags continue because the perpetrators never suffer adversely, are never punished. If someone blew Boris Johnson’s head off, making it clear it was for false flag lying, it might make people think twice about it.

      But as long as people whinge on the sidelines and let the dirty scumbags keep on behaving like gangsters, it will never stop…..

  19. JJA says

    The British proof of the ‘track record’ of Russian evildoing to support their alleged culpability for the Salisbury incident includes:
    assassination of Litvinenko
    DDOS attack on Estonia
    Invasion of Georgia
    Occupation of Crimea, destabalisation of Ukraine
    MH17 shoot down
    Interference in US election
    Hack on Bunderstag
    Disinformation campaign against Germany
    Hack in Denmark
    Coup attempt in Montenegro
    Cyber ransomware attacks
    Attempted assassination of Skripals.

    The common denominator for literally ALL the above is that they are not proven and in fact, compelling evidence in most cases that Russia was not involved. But hey, if Britain says so, who needs proof. Disgusting.

  20. Martin Davidson says

    Along with the disgusting and unproven “anti-semitic” attacks on the Labour Party, this is part of the Tories attempt to try and gain support for the local elections at the beginning of May. They do not want any proof that it wasn’t the Russians to arrive before the elections – hence the delaying tactics.

  21. It is so obvious that this whole affair is serving another purpose, that of setting up Russia as a scapegoat in order to unite a floundering western democracy consisting of the UK,, USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and some minor countries cow-towing to the former. it is so reminiscent of how WWI and WWII was set up, then blamed on Germany that eternal irritation of those beholden to the global capitalists from which, especially, Adolf Hitler liberated his Volk. This liberation is also again occurring with China on the move and Russia frustrating the plans set up to create a larger “from the river to the sea” Eretz Yisrael.
    Why are basic procedures in this police investigation frustrated. The Russian Ambassador to Australia on this evening’s news complained about the lack of transparency in the investigations where Russian requests that it participate in them has been rejected.
    Such one-sided affair offends against the principles of Natural Justice – Russia is blamed for having attempted to poison two people in Britain, but no physical evidence, no proof is offered to sustain such an allegation.
    It is reminiscent of what occurred during the infamous 1945-46 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, and more recently, in the allegation that Germans during WWII used homicidal gas chambers with which to kill concentration camp inmates. This particular murder weapon has never been forensically investigated, let alone found.

    • I used to be with Veterans Today but Ian Greenlagh was just a tad too enthusiastic about denouncing the holocaust. I’m a bit on the fence regarding to what degree the holocaust was exaggerated – I know it was not 6 million Jews but according to one Jewish witness involved in the count it was 1.5 million and that was, in my mind, 1.5 million too many, no matter what minority was victimised and remains the reason why I cannot be a holocaust denier. Ian(of VT) spent a lot of time and effort in disproving the claim, but there was little in the way of incontravertible evidence and he was right to question the veracity of the Nuremburg Wat Trials, just as you have done. I share your frustration though, I’m British(well nobody is perfect), so this whole scam of condemning Russia for what the CIA & MI6 likely instigated, along with so many others, is personally very embarrassing and humiliating.
      Keep on commenting!

      • jantje says

        How many jews died at the hand of the germans is not really the point,horrible war crimes were committed and most at the the neuremberg trials got what was coming to them,what bothers me is that since then many more war crimes took place and specially the ones done by the so called civilised world have gone unpunished

  22. Dave Hansell says

    It is curious that the UK Government has officially sight OPCW assistance here, seemingly outside of Article IX para 2.

    Last September the OPCW officially and publicly certified all CW stock destroyed and production facilities decommissioned in the RF.


    The implications of the official UK position and by extension those States who have supported that position is that this cannot be the case. Logically, the stocks canot be destroyed and production facilities decommissioned AND at the same time it be possible for the RF to have been responsible for this incident.

    However, this position, of the UK, USA, et al, goes further because it clearly implies the OPCW are incompetent.

    Consequently, the question arises as to why it is the UK Government are using an international agency they ready believe acid sufficient competence to carry out its functions?

    • I have no idea about nerve agents but inclined to believe that the ten day wait to introduce the OPCW will be critical in making the results of the blood tests useless. Will the delay make the results inconclusive? As you quite rightly say Dave, there is a contradiction in how we perceive the OPCW. On the one hand saying they did a crap job of removing Russian cw’s then on the other bringing them in to investigate the Skripals.
      Having said all that, the conclusions that the OPCW came to from the Khan Sheikhoun attack render the organisation useless if not corrupt. They ignored their own ‘chain of custody’ regulations and decided it was Assad that did it.

    • Dieter says

      The destruction of Russia’s known chemical weapons under the control of the OPCW plays an important role in the Skripal poisoning. The Novichok-type nerve agents are not on the list of the OPCW because the agency couldn’t prove that they actually exist. That doesn’t mean the OPCW is incompetent, it just means that the signatories aren’t necessarily acting in good faith.

      Following the destruction of Russia’s stockpiles, the US is to destroy its own stockpiles of CW, but probably doesn’t want to do so. Thus, the perpetrator clearly aims to tell the world that Russia still has secrete CW even if it’s known CW have been destroyed. That would relieve the West of its obligation to destroy its own CW.

      But the whole thing wasn’t thought out very well. I think it was probably carried out by exiled anti-Putin oligarchs or Mafia with or without the knowledge of Western intelligence agencies. The UK’s government’s propagandist use of the Skripal poisoning is probably opportunistic and doesn’t mean that it is in on the plot.

      This government seems to be particularly incompetent and it would not be surprising if it miscalculated. The problem is that samples of this type of nerve agent can be synthesized in many countries. Alternately, Novichoks from Soviet times could have been sold on the black market in the 90s. Thus, if different countries hold samples for testing etc., the Skripal poison could have come from anywhere. But if the UK can determine that the sample was originally synthesized in the Soviet Union, it would mean the UK also has/had secrete samples of Soviet-made Novichoks for comparison, since it’s impossible to tell otherwise. In any case, the government is lying. If the UK had samples of Novichoks, it would have had to declare those to the OPCW.

      I think the government originally intended to use the poisoning for propaganda purpose without involving the OPCW. Boris Johnson doesn’t care for such niceties. But to get support from its allies, it probably had to allow the OPCW to takes samples to show that it cooperated for establishing evidence, knowing full-well that conclusive evidence will never be produced.

      It also means that Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning can be excluded, because why would Russia disclose a secret weapon near the UK’s chemical weapons lab at Porton Down after it has never once admitted the existence of this secret weapon for the last 30 years? I know, some people will probably drag up some nonsense about the criminal having a secret urge to be caught …

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