empire watch, latest, Skripal case
Comments 80

UK’s treatment of the Skripals may be “violation of due process”

Alexander Mercouris at the Duran writes “the High Court Judgment however appears to confirm that the British authorities are doing all they can to freeze the Russians out of the investigation of the case – which involves an attack on a Russian citizen – and to prevent them from learning any of the facts of the case.”

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Those trying to make sense of the Skripal poisoning will have their work cut out following the news which have been coming out about it over the past week.

Firstly, the British police have announced that they now believe that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the deadly chemical which poisoned them because it was smeared onto their front door.

This announcement has come after weeks of speculation during which a bewildering range of competing theories explaining how the poisoning supposedly took place have appeared in the British media.

These theories have included claims that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were (1) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by a passer-by; (2) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by an aerial drone; (3) contaminated by the supposedly deadly chemical which was brought from Russia in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase where it had been hidden by some third party; and (4) were poisoned by having the supposedly deadly chemical somehow inserted into Sergey Skripal’s car.

The British and other critics of Russia have recently taken to citing as ‘proof’ of Russian guilt the fact that the Russians have supposedly been proposing various theories about who might have poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal.

The British – who unlike the Russians have control of the crime scene and samples of the poison – have however been at least as busy proposing various theories about how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned.

In both cases the fact that the Russian media and the British media – though not it should be stressed the Russian or British governments – have been busy engaging in their respective speculations about who who and how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned is not proof of guilt.

Rather it suggests ignorance, which if anything (especially in Russia’s case) is an indicator of innocence.

As I have said on many occasions, it is the guilty who so far from engaging in a variety of different speculations tend to come up with a single alternative narrative to explain away the facts, which they then pass off as the truth in order to provide themselves with an alibi.

As to the present theory – that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the chemical agent on their front door – note the following:

(1) The British police have not said whether the chemical agent was smeared on the outside of the door or on the inside of the door.

If it was smeared on the outside of the door, then it was an extremely reckless act which might have easily poisoned a delivery person to the house such as a postman.

If it was smeared on the inside of the door, then whilst it might have been placed there by a burglar, the greater probability must be that it was placed there by a visitor.

If so then it is likely that either Sergey or Yulia Skripal or possibly both of them have some knowledge of the identity of this person. That might make the fact that Yulia Skripal is said to be recovering and is now conscious a matter of great importance for the solution of this mystery.

(2) If Sergey and Yulia Skripal really were poisoned with the chemical agent by coming into contact with it because it was smeared on their front door, then that would mean that the chemical agent took 7 hours to take effect.

Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko has claimed that the British authorities have told him that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by nerve agent A-234, a Novichok type agent which is supposedly “as toxic as VX, as resistant to treatment as soman, and more difficult to detect and easier to manufacture than VX”.

I am not a chemist or a chemical weapons expert, but such a slow acting poison seems at variance with the descriptions of A-234 and VX which I have read.

(3) The suggestion that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with the chemical agent on their front door must for the moment be treated as no more than a theory. It does however appear to confirm the presence of the chemical agent in the house.

If the latest theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with a chemical agent smeared on their front door begs many questions, then the news that Yulia Skripal is apparently recovering well from the effect of her poisoning, and is now conscious and speaking and is no longer in intensive care, though extremely welcome, in some ways adds further to the mystery.

It suggests that her contact with the poison was either very slight, or – if the poison was A-234 – that its potency has been exaggerated, or that it was not A-234.

That of course adds to the questions raised by the latest British theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with the chemical agent on their front door.

Regardless, the fact that Yulia Skripal is recovering is very welcome news, not just at a human level but also because she is a key witness in the case.

Perhaps, once her recovery is complete, she can answer some of the many unanswered questions about the case.

However Yulia Skripal’s recovery highlights another extraordinary fact about the case.

In the recent proceedings in the High Court where a Judgment was obtained to allow blood samples to be taken from Sergey and Yulia Skripal in order to enable the OPCW investigators to research the chemical, Sergey and Yulia Skripal were represented by lawyers instructed by the Official Solicitor, a British official who regularly acts for parties who cannot represent themselves.

The High Court Judge who heard the case – Mr. Justice Williams – granted the Official Solicitor’s request for blood samples to be taken, saying the following

Given the absence of any contact having been made with the NHS [National Health Service] Trust by any family member, the absence of any evidence of any family in the UK and the limited evidence as to the possible existence of family members in Russia I accept that it is neither practicable nor appropriate in the special context of this case to consult with any relatives of Mr Skripal or Ms Skripal who might fall into the category identified in s.4(7)(b) of the Act

(bold italics added)

This is beyond strange given that no less a person than Sergey Skripal’s niece – who lives in Russia with the rest of Sergey Skripal’s family including his 90 year old mother – had previously been interviewed by the British media.

In fact Skripal’s niece was telling the BBC just days ago of her lack of knowledge of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s condition, and was even being reported as saying on Wednesday that she understood that they had no more than a 1% chance of survival – this just hours before the British authorities announced that Yulia Skripal was making an impressive recovery.

This failure to keep the Skripal family in Russia properly informed of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s condition and of the taking of blood samples from them, is matched by the refusal of the British authorities to allow the Russian authorities consular access to them notwithstanding that Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen not a British citizen (the Russians say that Sergey Skripal has dual nationality and is also a Russian as well as a British citizen).

This is despite the fact that both a bilateral treaty – the 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR (of which Russia is legally the successor state) – and an international treaty – the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations – both appear to require the British authorities to grant consular access to the Russian authorities to Russian citizens such Yulia Skripal who find themselves in difficulties in Britain.

The 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR was moreover presented by the British government to Parliament and came into legal effect in 1968, which presumably makes it a part of British domestic law.

Article 35 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention reads as follows

A consular officer shall be entitled to propose to a court or other competent authority of the receiving State the names of appropriate persons to act as guardians or trustees in respect of a national of the sending State or in respect of the property of such a national in any case where that property is left without supervision.

Article 36 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention reads as follows

(a) A consular officer shall be entitled within the consular district to communicate with, interview and advise a national of the sending State and may render him every assistance including, where necessary, arranging for aid and advice in legal matters.

(b) No restriction shall be placed by the receiving State upon the access of a national of the sending State to the consulate or upon communication by him with the consulate.

Article 5 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

Consular functions consist in:

(1) (a) protecting in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, within the limits permitted by international law;……

(e) helping and assisting nationals, both individuals and bodies corporate, of the sending State;….

(h) safeguarding, within the limits imposed by the laws and regulations of the receiving State, the interests of minors and other persons lacking full capacity who are nationals of the sending State, particularly where any guardianship or trusteeship is required with respect to such persons;….

Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

1.With a view to facilitating the exercise of consular functions relating to nationals of the sending State:

(a) consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State;

(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;

(c) consular officers shall have the right to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison,

custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation. They shall also have the right to visit any national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention in their district in pursuance of a judgement. Nevertheless, consular officers shall refrain from taking action on behalf of a national who is in prison, custody or detention if he expressly opposes such action.

2.The rights referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, subject to the proviso, however, that the said laws and regulations must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this article are intended.

(bold italics added)

Article 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention reads in part as follows

If the relevant information is available to the competent authorities of the receiving State, such authorities shall have the duty:

…..

(b) to inform the competent consular post without delay of any case where the appointment of a guardian or trustee appears to be in the interests of a minor or other person lacking full capacity who is a national of the sending State. The giving of this information shall, however, be without prejudice to the operation of the laws and regulations of the receiving State concerning such appointments;…..

(bold italics added)

(I am grateful to John Helmer for sending me copies of these two treaties)

In other words it appears that the British authorities as a matter of both international law and British law should not only have informed the Russian consular authorities of Yulia Skripal’s condition and granted them full access to her, but they should also have discussed with the Russian consular authorities the application to the High Court for the taking of blood samples from her, with the Russian consular authorities rather than the Official Solicitor representing her in those proceedings.

Mr. Justice Williams, the Judge in the High Court case, was clearly worried that the Russian consular authorities were not involved in the proceedings and that members of Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family had not been contacted or consulted.

This resulted was this fascinating discussion referred to in paragraph 12 of his Judgment

……As a result of my having appointed a Litigation Friend for Mr and Ms Skripal I raised the issue with the parties of whether this gave rise to any notification obligation pursuant to Articles 36 and 37 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963 as Ms Skripal is a Russian national although Mr Skripal became a British national. In the field of care cases in the Family Court the President gave some guidance on this issue in In Re E (A Child) [2014] EWHC 6 (Fam). Mr Thomas QC submitted that as there is no domestic implementation of Art 37 no obligation arises. He also questioned whether the court could be a competent authority. He noted that the Convention is implemented by section 1 and Schedule 1 of the Consular Relations Act 1968 and that this does not include Article 37. I note that at paragraphs 41 and 44 in Re E (above) the President noted the issue in relation to the effect of Article 37 in public international and English domestic law. Mr Sachdeva QC drew my attention to the context in which the President offered the guidance and that it was guidance only for the purposes of care cases in the family court. Both Mr Thomas QC and Mr Sachdeva QC also submitted that even if (and it is a very big if) that guidance could be transposed into the Court of Protection there was good reason for not imposing a notification obligation still less the other obligations the President identified in paragraph 47 of Re E. I am satisfied for the reasons set out above that there is no notification obligation in law on this court. The nature and extent of any good practice which might be followed in Court of Protection cases where a foreign national is the subject of an application may require consideration in another case. In practice, the Russian consular authorities will be made aware of these proceedings because this judgment will be published. I do not consider it necessary to list the issue for the sort of further extensive argument that would be necessary to enable the court to determine if any good practice guidance should be given.

(bold italics added)

Note that Mr. Justice Williams does not seem to have been told by the lawyers representing the Official Solicitor and the British National Health Service about the 1965 bilateral Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR (see above) whilst the discussion which did take place seems to have been narrowly restricted to a discussion of Article 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention – with the lawyers telling the Judge that this has not yet been made part of the law of Britain – with nothing however being said to the Judge about what look to me to be the equally important provisions of Articles 5 and 36 (see above).

I am no expert in this area of the law, but it seems to me that Mr. Justice Williams’s unease about the way the British authorities are handling the matter is made clear by the way he went out of his way in his Judgment to say that the Russian consular authorities would be “made aware of the proceedings because this judgment will be published”.

The hearing in which Mr. Justice Williams made his Judgment took place in private, but Mr. Justice Williams specifically decided that the Judgment itself should be made public, as its preamble makes clear

This judgment was delivered in private. The judge has given leave for this version of the judgment to be published on condition that (irrespective of what is contained in the judgment) in any published version of the judgment the anonymity of the witnesses must be strictly preserved. All persons, including representatives of the media, must ensure that this condition is strictly complied with. Failure to do so will be a contempt of court.

Perhaps I am wrong but my impression from the Judge’s words is that one of his reasons for deciding to make his Judgment public was because he was concerned that the Russian consular authorities should know about it.

In addition, as various people have pointed out, the lawyers representing the Official Solicitor and the British National Health Service seem to have told the Judge that there was only limited information about Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family in Russia, and that the Russian consular authorities had made no attempt to contact the hospital where Sergey and Yulia Skripal are being treated.

The claim that the British authorities have only limited information about Sergey and Yulia Skripal’s family in Russia is difficult to reconcile with the fact that Sergey Skripal’s niece had by the date of the Judgment already been giving interviews to the British media (see above), whilst the point about the Russian consular authorities not contacting the hospital looks to me something of a red herring since I presume that the British agency which the Russian consular authorities are contacting is not the hospital but the British Foreign Office.

Now that the Russian consular authorities know of the Court proceedings concerning Yulia Skripal which have been underway it would in theory be open to them to instruct lawyers to apply for them to be joined as a party to those proceedings so that they can represent Yulia Skripal in them.

I have no idea whether they are considering doing so, but I do frankly wonder whether the sudden announcement of Yulia Skripal’s recovery – welcome news that it is – might also in part have been intended to forestall such a step by the Russian consular authorities on the grounds that Yulia Skripal is now in a position to make her own decisions.

Irrespective of what happens in the British proceedings, the Russians are now convening a meeting of the OPCW executive council on 2nd April 2018 to discuss the Skripal case and to demand answers to the questions about the case that they have been asking.

It seems however that the only role the OPCW has in the case is to verify the identity of the chemical agent used. It is not a competent body to investigate what the British authorities say is a murder attempt on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, which is currently being investigated by the British police.

The High Court Judgment however appears to confirm that the British authorities are doing all they can to freeze the Russians out of the investigation of the case – which involves an attack on a Russian citizen – and to prevent them from learning any of the facts of the case.

That looks to me not just a violation of due process, but based on the texts of the 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR and the 1963 Vienna Convention which I have seen also a violation of both British and international law.

Given the increasingly strange look the facts of the case are taking (see above), it is however perhaps not so surprising that the British are reluctant to share with the Russians the full facts of the case.


80 Comments

  1. If the alleged poisoner gained access to the Skripal’s home – while they were also there or while they were not, which posits the possibility that it may have been done but they might not necessarily have any knowledge of who did it – why would he be such an imbecile as to smear the poison on the inside of the front door? Is that the best place to ensure exposure? Why not the toilet, or the taps of the sink, or inside the shower? The inside of the front door seems just as oddball to me as the outside. Nothing about this event makes any sort of sense, and it is as if the British are just making it up as they go along, reading the critique of their latest theory each day in the alternative press and then modifying the circumstances in an attempt to come up with a believable story. Each version so far is full of holes, and in the meantime the British authorities are systematically destroying all of the physical evidence so that it will eventually come down to “it’s so because thay’s what we say”.

  2. CUI PODESTA (BONO)
    Simple question that the legacy media never seems to ask.
    What is even more of this blatant black comedy as the narrative is falling apart the news papers are going on a Readers Digest fete. I am sure they will be putting in for this coming months publication.
    I find it so sad that all norms of International law once again get trashed by these wonderfully exceptionalist WASP (perfidious Albion). Hence the OCWP protocol states that a sample must be forwarded to the UN and the accused body(nation). No Stuff international norms we will give a sample to the French.
    WTF what do the French have to do with anything.
    The beauty of this last incidence is that Bafoon bobble head Johnson and Thatcher on valium May have just sealed their non political future to the dust bin of their disgusting history. Caio bella ciao The Torries are cooked.
    Conclusion the lad has been crying wolf one to many times.
    Lie lies and more lies but hell if we the sheeple allow them to get away with it then we only have ourselves to blame for we keep voting them in.
    I WONDER WHAT NEXT FALSE FLAG WILL BOB ITS LYING HEAD.

  3. “British scientists cannot prove that the novichok nerve agent used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter was made in Russia, the military laboratory which tested it has said.

    “Experts at the Porton Down research laboratory were unable to establish “the precise source” of the chemical weapon, the chief executive of the Ministry of Defence facility told Sky News. He added the government had used “a number of other sources to piece together” the conclusion that the Kremlin was responsible.”

    Read more at link:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/salisbury-poisoning-russia-novichok-nerve-agent-porton-down-proof-evidence-mod-latest-a8286761.html

  4. A most interesting MUST watch:

    Published on 1 Apr 2018

    The British authorities explicitly cite the poisoning of the former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London as circumstantial evidence in the Skripal case. The Russians did it before, they will do it again, that’s the essence of the UK’s allegations against Russia. But doesn’t London itself have the capability, the intent and the motive for this kind of national character assassination? To discuss this, Oksana is joined by Walter Litvinenko, Father of Alexander Litvinenko.

    • MICHAEL LEIGH says

      In this current poisoning of the father and daughter, of the Russian Skripal family; VIEROTCHKA as well as the past fatal poisoning of the late Russian Alexander Litvinenko, there is the most secret fact that no member of the press has pointed out the criminal facts of the international criminality at the Porton Down research establishment ?

      For it is a fact that the Salisbury establishment is a part of the USA greater financed network of over twenty-five other Nation’s research establishments, by illegaly producing man-made Bacteria, Toxiins and Virus(s) in direct violation of the UNO convention – unfortunately the UK Courts have failed to rule against the gross criminality, and the Mass Media have similarly been silent in this horrible criminal matter ?

  5. FobosDeimos says

    According to this RT report, the OPCW is refusing to share its findings and to allow Russian participation in their ongoing investigation because “the UK does not want them to”. I am astonished by such a ridiculous answer coming from an international organization. It doesn’t bode well for the outcome of the OPCW investigation. However, there is one thing that Russia has apparently failed to do and I have been concerned about it since the day when PM May accused the Russian Government of staging a chemical weapon attack in the UK. Russia has not availed itself of Article 9 paragraph 5 of the CW Convention, which says:

    “Procedure for requesting clarification – . A State Party shall also have the right to request the Executive Council to clarify any situation which has been considered ambiguous or has given rise to a concern about its possible non-compliance with this Convention. The Executive Council shall respond by providing such assistance as appropriate”.

    In other words, the country accused of non-compliance by another State may force the Executive Council of the OPCW to act seriously and to refrain from playing hide and seek. The UK as avoided the application of Article 9 like the plague. The British refused to trigger Article 9 because they knew that in such case they should provide all the evidence and permit Russia to answer within 10 days (paragraph 4). Instead, they have invoked Article 8, which has nothing to do with the Skripal incident, as it deals with inspections and other stuff. Russia should have called this bluff long ago, by formally raising an Article 9 (5) request, as the (wrongly) accused party. It is becoming quite frustrating and I sincerely hope that thungs begin to go the rihht way on Wednesday, after the meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

    https://www.rt.com/news/422998-moscow-skripal-opcw-probe/

    • FobosDeimos says

      Excuse the many typos. I haven’t found a way to edit my comments before they are actually sent.

      • Write your comment in WordPad (or a similar tool) first, proof-read yourself, edit what needs to be edited, then copy-paste it here. 🙂

  6. Apparently Yulia “visited her ”Vkontakte” page – sort of a Russian version of Facebook – on the morning of March 7th, three days after the “assassination” attempt that put her allegedly in a coma, until just a few days ago.”

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=168151

    Nothing would surprise me now in this case.

  7. Estaugh says

    “Whereas I, firstname surname stand under the constitutional jurisprudence of Magna Carta 1215, Article 61, by its’ invocation on 23rd March 2001; constitutional law DICTATES that I cannot adhere to or comply with, a treasonous administration of governance or jurisprudence. A document,under the title of “Shoe-horned into the EU, ( in the public domain ), demonstrates multiple acts of Treason at common law. I am constitutionally obliged to refuse cooperation and obliged to take direct action to disrupt the treasonous regime.” —— Present day courts are pigs ears dressed up as silk purses and represent the Occupied Territory, ruled by the EU Corporate state. Of course they are in breach of the LAW, they have been since EEC entry in 1973; continuously, to this present day! The entire EU exercise has been a fraud from the first day of its existence. Let that sink in, but get a move on. The Fourth Reich is upon us and thousands of years of Albions ‘lexus non scripta’ is in peril of being irretrievably buried.

  8. Patrick Mahony says

    But the judgement infers someone was objecting, and the judge rejected that and cited reasons for allowing it. Surely he didn’t juggle the ball before shooting into an open goal?

  9. Patrick Mahony says

    The odd thing about the judgement was it would seem someone was arguing blood samples and medical records should not be given to the OPCW.
    The judge said the OPCW might come up with a different result and advise on a change of medical treatment. And voila, Yulia improves. Coincidence?

  10. MichaelK says

    One of the central points for me in this dark, disturbing, grotesque… farce; is, are the Skripals ‘in on it’? Have they been ‘in on it’ from the beginning? Sergie would be guilty of betraying his own people, his own country, all over again. This would be treason on the absolute highest level… paving the way for a Western attack on Russia. Is he really that kind of person? What of Yulia? Does she really want to participate in this kind of monumental provocation? How, given the British government’s narrative, could she then go home? Home to a state that attempted to kill her and her father? Will the public ever hear from her? Were they both supposed to die? Sacrificed to make a point about Russia today? Is Yulia a traitor too? Does she, or her father understand their roles in this ghastly event?

    • John Watwood says

      Excellent questions all. And I have all those questions as well. Perhaps they were complicit, perhaps not. But that is definitely need to know information. Information I believe we will never have. The Skripals will be killed first, or at least indefinitely detained and/or hidden away from public view first. They might already be dead, hidden, contained, or w/e.

      • MichaelK says

        I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to make Yulia Skripal… disappear, or suddenly make her illness… terminal. But who knows? The way the UK mass media have covered this affair, like puppies receiving treats from their masters in Downing Street, anything is possible I suppose.

  11. MichaelK says

    Poisoning them is definitely not part of… due process!

  12. P.E. Ace says

    I know it is April, 1st, but UK government seems to be testing a new theory about how Skripal got poisoned: via Russian cereal, brought by a friend asked by Yulia Skripal to bring it after Yulia had forgotten to pack it.

    Some questions immediately arise:

    1) How did Salisbury policeman Bailey get poisoned if the cereal carried the nerve-agent? Did he try the porridge? (You saw this question coming, Boris Johnson.)

    2) Has it been established that one of the Skripals had porridge for breakfast on April, 4th? Yulia Skripal can maybe answer that question.

    3) Again the time between contamination and falling seriously ill confounds novichok characteristic of working imminently. (You could have thought about this, Boris Johnson.)

    4) Was complete bag of cereal eaten or have police and Porton Down tested the remaining cereal for the nerve-agent? (Highest concentration of novichok was found on the front door Boris Johnson, so think twice what you let metropolitan police write in the press release; just a tip.)

    5) Logisitics: Yulia Skripal arived from Russia on April, 3rd, at about 15:00 p.m. (I recall having read, not checked again). So if she forgot to bring her father’s favourite cereal, the logisitics were tight for her friend to get it to the Skripals. Yulia could have called her friend while Yulia was waiting for the plane to board. Still, her friend took a later flight. Did Yuila wait at Heathrow just for the cereal? Dit the friend travel to Salibusry after her arrival? (Questions, Boris Johnson, questions.)

    6) A property of novichok seems to be that it is unstable. Now, I am not a chemical expert, but I seem to recall to have read that this instability would make it near-impossible to get novichok to UK in Yulia’s suitcase, as one of the earlier stories alleged. That unstability would also make it challening to get the novichok to UK in a pack of cereal which was then used for porridge. (But not a problem for a gourmet chef like Boris Johnson.)

    After all the pictures with unmasked policemen at Skripal’s front door shown on the internet, the credibility of the front door story is waring thin. So the UK government puts the cereal story forward in what is along series of theories by now (someone spraying the Skripals, Yulia’s suitcase, car vents, front door, cereal).

    Even if story linked to below April, 1st, hoax, question 3 is very pertinent, 6 as well, while front door story seems incredulous following all those pics with unmasked policemen guarding it.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5946251/russian-spy-sergei-skripal-poisoning-claims/

    • tomlondra says

      Why isn’t everyone dead/in hospital who touched the door handle in the past 3 weeks?

    • MICHAEL LEIGH says

      Of course this world-wide accusation by Mde T May ; that the Russian Federation has attacked Great Britian by the launching of a known and chemically recognised ( Russian produced and manufactured Biological/Chemical Warfare Anti-Nerve Agent ) weapon, which attack has caused the near death of three peoples, one of which is still unconscious, and of the others: one has been saved and released to his family and home, and the last victim is still reportedly making a good recovery!

      In spite of nearly a month of a multi-million cost police investigation, the authorities have not been able to lay charges against any one, or party ?

      In spite of the widely claimed fact, that a combination of senior Government politicians, including the Monarch’s first Minister, and the First State Secretary’s of both the Home and Foreign affairs departments have determined that the crime was arranged by the Russiaian Federation.

      But in the likelihood or the certainty of evidence and facts to show that the true likelihood is that declaration and accusal of Mde(s) T May and A Rudd, and the Right Hon Alexandra de Pfeffer Johnson (who is more affectionately and popularly renowned as Coke-head Boris ) was false?

      Can the Russian peoples, ( as well as the British people ) be assured that those afore-named Ministers of the Monarch be according tried by the Crown for their false and evil evil claims, which among many other ills, could have resulted in a ‘ bloody fatal ‘ inter-continental nuclear war?

    • Richard Chandless says

      I will limit my reply to the area I happen to know something about, spray the victims is a possibility, albeit hazardous for the operative (suitable protective gear would be rather obvious ) from a drone is utterly excluded it would be near impossible not to infect others.
      Smeared onto a door handle seems credible as does insertion into the air intake of a car ventilation system, indeed this would seem a favourite. Unless the packaging of the cereals was very unusual this seems utterly improbable.
      What is perhaps the most disturbing is:
      a) The certainty and rapidity of the identification of the agent (nothing has been heard from the Dutch agency).
      b) The rapidity of identifying the Russians as offenders.
      c) The total uncertainty of the means of delivery, and the wild suggestions.

    • Jen says

      Dear P E Ace,

      Novichoks are binary poisons made from combining two normally harmless substances. One substance is in the cereal itself. The other substance to complete the creation of Novichok is in the milk or the sugar. That explains how Julia Skripal’s friend was able to carry the cereal to the UK safely in her luggage. The other part of the Novichok comes from the local grocery store or the milk delivery van. The delivery person probably opens the front door and deposits the milk on the floor just inside.

      • Jennifer Hor says

        Whoever thumbed down my comment … are you cooking up a better joke?

  13. George says

    This is interesting:

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/938027/theresa-may-space-war-Russia-RAF-GPS-satellites-Air-Chief-Marshal-Sir-Stephen-Hillier

    An excerpt:

    “Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hillier says of the Russians: “”We could look at it and say ‘ah yes that is the theory but they wouldn’t do it would they?’ Yeah well they would never launch a nerve agent attack on a city in the United Kingdom would they?’ but they did.””

    This Skripal matter is a most curious case. It started as a poisoning, morphed into a chemical attack and is now apparently a nerve agent attack ON A CITY. Tomorrow’s headline: “Full Scale Nuclear Attack On UK!”

    • Richard Chandless says

      This is totally possible but is an overt and incontrovertible act of war, were the Russiansmto do this it would be as one part of an all out war effort amd since the GPS constellation of satellites is American not British it is to be hoped that it does not happen Especially as the most probable means would be exploding nuclear bombs in the orbit which would also in all probability fry Russian satellites as well.
      I would classify this as Express ignorance and invention.

  14. There is some back story starting to solidify around the CIA, MI6 and H Clinton involvement in the suppression of any recognition of Novichok by the OPCW which is interesting. Cables have been identified which point to this.

    See Moon of Alabama http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/clinton-state-department-discouraged-novichok-discussion.html#more

    So the question is what is the purpose of this blatant false flag? To wreck the World Cup? As it’s well known that the likes of John [madcap] McCain is hell bent on stopping Russia showcasing itself. And Russia has a lot to showcase.

    The collapse of Russia gate? Clearly there is some link here to the provenance of the Steele dossier which can be traced to Salisbury with Orbis employee Pablo Miller resident [former handler] and acquaintance of Sergey Skripal.

    Scratch the surface and lots of things seem to appear which point to an inside operation which is being used to fuel a few hares simultaneously to demonise Russia and save Theresa May’s neck in the UK.

    And then of course there is little old, Ukraine full of anti-Semitic Neo-Nazis of the most barbaric kind, which the Guardian seems to turn a blind eye to [preferring instead to focus on Jeremy Corbyn] . Think false flag chemical weapons [sarin] in Syria. Then consider false flag Novichok attack in Ukraine around the time of the World Cup.

  15. eddie says

    Wow, that is a delicious-looking lunch, with a decent vintage wine as well.
    In fact, it looks so tasty that I am now prepared to sell my soul to the Devil, or M16, to eat like that, at the UK taxpayers expense of course, forever.
    I don’t mind being a traitor to my own country, Trafalmadore, or my M16 hosts, if I can eat so well for being a basic non-entity.
    Will the British citizens accept me for doing nothing, but pay for my leisurely lifestyle? Or will they be asked?

    • Interesting to see the questions about France’s role in the affair. May et al have kept that quiet.

      • FobosDeimos says

        I wal also surprised to read for the first time that the French were involved in all this. Moscow has also asked explanations from Paris. What is this all about? It looks worse every day. I only hope that the OPCW is able to work freely and that their report on Skripal’s blood test is done independently.

        • FobosDeimos says

          French media is just a tiny bit more independent than British media, which really looks like a collection of propaganda outlets. Perhaps something finally leaks via Paris.

          • Peter says

            I’m afraid I don’t agree with Fobosdeimos that French media are even ‘a tiny bit’ more independent than British media – France’s MSM either belong to the state and are extremely anti-Russian (and anti-Assad) or belong to private oligarchs and focus mostly on titillating details and interminable speculation about ongoing murder and rape investigations, frightening the public about jihadist terrorism, and the family infighting over the late Johnny Halliday’s inheritance.

            Since the Skripal case began, I have neither seen nor heard anything in the French media about any possible French involvement – nothing, nada, zilch. The Russians are nevertheless asking A LOT of questions about it, and I’m impatient to hear the answers (although I’m not holding my breath about anything significant being revealed).

            The Skripal case isn’t just fishy – it stinks to high heaven and the smell keeps getting worse.

            PS – The Graun website has a story today saying the British are ‘considering’ giving the Russian consulate access to Yulia Skripal. For once, the tone is neutral and the story sticks to facts – qualities I thought had disappeared from their coverage of anything Russian. Curiouser and curiouser.

            • FobosDeimos says

              You may be right. Perhaps I was too optimistic about the French.

            • In my extensive experience – as I have for nigh on 70 years lived a stone’s throw away from France – there are quite a few French media which are highly independent and do not belong to private oligarchs. For example, Le Monde diplomatique and Le Canard enchainé come to mind. There are also many online independent blogs that are well written and well sourced.

              • Peter says

                You’re partly right, Vierotchka – Le Monde diplomatique seems fairly independent (despite being part of the Le Monde media group, owned by oligarchs) and the paper does not go along with the current anti-Russian hysteria or the unthinking, mendacious mainstream demonisation of the Syrian president and government. The Diplo’s recent articles on Russia and Syria, however, have been relatively few (considering both subjects’ global importance), and it’s one of the very, very few French media outlets not to go along with the MSM consensus.

                Le Canard enchaîné is independent, definitely, but I mostly don’t agree with its geopolitical stance, which does not really take issue with France’s NATO membership or overall foreign policy. It seems to have sources within the French intelligence services, but these services have their own agendas to push (cf. their apparent involvement in the Skripal affair), and geopolitics are not really the Canard’s main focus. It’s also fairly anti-Russian, and tends to go along with the usual Putin clichés.

                I still haven’t heard anything in the French MSM about France’s role in the Skripal hooha and the questions Russia is asking, but I’ll definitely look to see if there’s something in next week’s Canard.

                Could you give us the names of some of the independent blogs you have in mind?

        • I was just thinking about some of the possible implications of this. One thing that struck me, but I am not optimistic that honest answers will be given, is that should it transpire that samples from the Skripals were handed over to the French how was that done without a Court endorsement, as was required for the provision of samples to the OPCW? And what would the French be able to determine that our experts couldn’t, particularly as we supposedly had all the scientific answers and the mastermind behind it in only 48 hours? Anyway, I’m jumping the gun. Like everyone else, I await with anticipation the UK responses to the questions raised by the Russians.

      • Ivan says

        This is even more interesting if we remember Assad’s accusations that the ones who were responsible for staging (some of?) the chemical weapons attacks in Syria were the french special services. And as far as I hear, after US goes away from Syria (at least this is what they say they will do), France is going to move in.

        Of course I have no information myself, but the coincidences are still curious.

    • I can just hear Theresa on the phone to Macron “Emmanuel! Zuts alors! Our secret is out. How did those Russkies find out about this?” Methinks there must be a mole in the French ranks.

      • MICHAEL LEIGH says

        The French Emperor Manny told Ste Theresa it’s not serious, Julian’s leaks are only a foolish ‘ taupiniere ‘

  16. rtj1211 says

    There is an assumption underlying many articles here which should be peremptorily dismissed: that the British Establishment has respect for legal due process, even in those cases where its narrow interests may be threatened.

    British citizens capable of independent though know full well that politicians, judges, barristers, police officers, forensic scientists, medical doctors and coroners are all prepared to abrogate their fundamental responsibilities and principles to lie under oath, exert undue pressure on court proceedings, conspire to pervert the course of justice, direct juries in direct conflict with known evidence and betray the Hippocratic oath, when pressure is brought to bear on them by more powerful members of the Establishment.

    Under no circumstances should any foreign reporter start from the premise that the UK judiciary acts independently when Foreign Policy actions impinge upon a case.

    They should assume that justice is perverted from beginning to end, that all media utterances by public officials are lies until proven otherwise.

    In short, they should ask why such behaviour is consistent with the UK retaining a seat on the UN Security Council……

    • We don’t start from an assumption they do have respect for due process, we start with the awareness they should. If we take as a given they don’t and stop even bothering to comment on it we are actually conceding a point that should always be challenged. No matter how many times they disregard the law the fact they do it needs to be pointed out, freshly, every time.

    • There is a similar naivety to be witnessed when ‘the general public’ and Western media hear accounts of events in Syria. Testimonies which support the terrorists’ (and the Western Establishment’s) agenda are perceived as having credibility if they are given by ‘educated’ professional or white collar workers. Hence reports from carefully selected doctors, teachers, and of course ‘professional photographers’ on the ground in Syria carry weight for the anti-Assad/anti-Russian brigade and the reports emanating from ‘local eyewitnesses’ etc take full advantage of that. Those of us, as you say, ‘capable of independent thought’ are well aware that having education or a profession doesn’t automatically guarantee a person of moral behaviour.

  17. dave says

    It seems the uk have relented. Is this anything to do with her miraculous cure from the “lethal nerve agent”?

  18. Deb says

    Maybe they slyly poisoned the cop afterwards, like they did years ago to that soldier who ended up dying. Or maybe just shoved a needle in him and sedated him, knock him out for several days like they do in psychiatric hospital. The whole story is suss.

  19. MichaelK says

    Whilst Sergi Skripal may have turned against his own country for money or was it ideology? Yulia is a Russian citizen and lives in Russia along with the rest of the family. I wonder how she will react when she discovers that she is a pawn, being used, in a massive conspiracy to attack her country, Russia? I don’t think she’ll be particularly pleased, unless she really hates her own country with a passion; which seems unlikely in my opinion. Of course if the British offer her a big lump some of cash and a pension so she can stay in the West if she backs the British version of events, she might change her mind and follow in her father’s footsteps. Like her father, she had a value… dead, but alive? She’d have to be really quite extraordinarily naive and credulous, to accept the stories coming out of Downing Street and that seems unlikely.

    • They don’t need to offer her anything to back the British version of events. They simply need to threaten her family’s lives if she doesn’t.

    • And this is the 64 million dollar question.

      Will they be able to retain control of the narrative once she is able to access Russian consular services?

      Because if they can’t, they are in dogshit.

      And if they can control it then it starts to like highly fishy.

  20. MichaelK says

    Call me… an idealist. Only one would imagine that at least one journalist, a single… maverick that wanted to make a name for herself, would at least, even using humour as a lever, attempt to ask a few of the long, long, list of questions this bizarre episode raises. How can some many journalists agree on so much for so long? I thought they were trained to be curious, a the very least? It’s not as if I expect them suddenly embrace Putin and draw him to their hearts. That’s probably asking too much. But the astonishing level of reluctance to address or examine the absurd narrative emanating from Downing Street, leaves one stunned. The UK, almost overnight, resembles a totalitarian police state, where to even ask questions, to have doubts has become tantamount to treason.

  21. The writer presumes that the Skripals were poisoned by the material on the door.
    If this were an Agatha Christie novel, the assailant would smear the door hours after the attack (which may use other means) in order to distract the investigation. This is a “McGuffin”.

  22. Harry Law says

    Serious questions need to be asked of the Skripals “Litigation friend” Vikram Sachdeva QC . Just who is he supposed to be representing?
    “Skripal and his daughter were represented in court last week by a London lawyer named Vikram Sachdeva QC. He refuses to answer questions about his role or his clients. His appointment by the British authorities does not establish his independence; according to last week’s court record, he “supported much that Mr [James] Eadie [lawyer representing the British Government] submitted.” Sachdeva’s case record shows he has been involved in cases of unconscious people in the past, but Sachdeva appears to take the side of the authorities. “A safe pair of hands [for the government]”, a source familiar with Sachdeva’s record says”. Does Yulia know [via her “litigation friend”] about her rights to Consular access and access to friends and family? It appears that she may not know, I doubt the UK Authorities will inform her either. In that case she may as well be a prisoner.

  23. Alan says

    Given the present regimes need for autocratic power can we really be surprised? How low can this gang stoop?

  24. Harry Law says

    “The High Court Judgment however appears to confirm that the British authorities are doing all they can to freeze the Russians out of the investigation of the case – which involves an attack on a Russian citizen – and to prevent them from learning any of the facts of the case.
    That looks to me not just a violation of due process, but based on the texts of the 1965 Consular Convention between Britain and the USSR and the 1963 Vienna Convention which I have seen also a violation of both British and international law”.
    Indeed it does, also the High Court asserted ”
    “Given the absence of any contact having been made with the NHS [National Health Service] Trust by any family member, the absence of any evidence of any family in the UK and the limited evidence as to the possible existence of family members in Russia I accept that it is neither practicable nor appropriate in the special context of this case to consult with any relatives of Mr Skripal or Ms Skripal who might fall into the category identified in s.4(7)(b) of the Act”.
    Section 4 [7][b] of the Act makes no such claim, there is no mention of relatives, all it say’s is “Anyone engaged in caring for the person or interested in his welfare”. In my opinion this includes the Russian Consulate.
    Many people are interested in the ‘Best interests of the Patient.
    Mr Justice Williams said.. “The most that can be said, therefore is that in considering the best interests of this particular patient at this particular time, decision makers must look at his welfare in the widest sense, not just medical but social and psychological” and “they must include non-exhaustively medical, emotional, social and psychological etc”.
    What are the Salisbury Hospitals responsibilities in all this which impinge on the best interests and welfare of the Skripals?
    As already pointed out above those clinical calculations include emotional, social and psychological considerations also legal.
    Visitors Charter. Of one NHS Trust.
    “We recognise that visiting a relative or friend in hospital plays a vital part in helping their recovery and we would encourage any visitor to socialise with our patients. To help this to benefit our patients,
    We will keep family members and next of kin informed of any information, which the patient wishes them to know”.
    It would appear the UK Government are in breach of both the Consular Convention 1965 between the UK of GB and NI and the USSR [now Russia legally the successor state] that Convention now part of UK law. And the 1963 Vienna Convention.
    The failure of the Salisbury Hospital Trust not to bother to find, [when the Press could] or enable Skripal family members or Consular access to visit, could have detrimental effects on the clinical and legal outcomes affecting the best interests of the patients [as the Trusts own charter indicates]. The Trust have a duty of care to the Skripals, they appear to be in breach of it.
    In view of the lack of access to the Skripals and because Yulia is able to talk and appears to be getting better, all the above indicates to me that the Skripals are prisoners of the UK state, with no access to friends or consular access. The Hospital Administrators and UK state Officials should be in no doubt that legal action will be contemplated sometime down the line.

  25. Annie McStravick says

    During the High Court hearing, one of the witnesses called upon was a doctor from the Salisbury hospital, identified only as “ZZ, Treating Consultant”. He stated that the Skripals are “heavily sedated following injury by a nerve agent”.

    The media have implied that they remained in the coma they fell into on the day of the incident, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Would one sedate a person who’s already in a coma??

    I’ve been puzzled as to why the court had to authorise those fresh blood samples, as it turns out that samples had been taken early on and provided to Porton Down.
    The judge declared that both Skripals “currently lack capacity to take a decision on the issue of providing consent to a further blood sample”. Do we therefore infer that they did in fact regain consciousness earlier on, and were thus able to consent to the initial blood samples?

    • Harry Stotle says

      “Would one sedate a person who’s already in a coma??” – yes, if the person can’t protect their own airway (because of reduced level of consciousness) then mechanical ventilation is indicated.

      The opinion of the anonymous consultant quoted at the court hearing contradicts the ealier report from Dr Davies (who I assume was the A&E consultant at Salisbury when the Skripals were admitted) who said nerve agents were not detected.

      Still, why worry with these bothersome issues when the British establishment prefers to forego basic legal principles in order to take down Putin.

    • Harry Law says

      Annie, The aim of the High Court case was to grant the chemicals weapons team permission to take samples from the Skripals since the ‘chain of custody had been broken’ when first samples were taken, this is important for legal reasons. Because the Skripals lacked capacity to make the decision, a litigation friend was appointed by the Official Solicitor, and ultimately the court decided that in the best interests of all concerned blood samples could be taken.

      • Patrick Mahony says

        But the judgement infers someone was objecting, and the judge rejected that and cited reasons for allowing it. Surely he didn’t juggle the ball before shooting into an open goal?

    • Ivan says

      Well, to me it appears they have what they call evidence, the main problem is that no one is allowed to see and question it..

      I am perfectly capable to imagine CIA agents doing the poisoning in order to promote the current western anti Russia hatred campaign. Without carefully examining the evidence one cannot in any way decide that the “Russian involvement is beyong any doubt”. However most of EU states did just that..

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