empire watch, latest, Skripal case, UK

Skripal case: belief in Russia’s guilt looks to be based not on evidence but on a guess

by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran

British authorities admit have no proof poison made in Russia; entire case against Russia based on a classified assessment

On the eve of the meeting of the OPCW’s executive council – convened by Russia and scheduled for tomorrow – we have had a highly revealing succession of statements about the Skripal case from the British authorities.

The one which is attracting the most attention is the admission by Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, that whilst British scientists are able to confirm that the poison used in the attack and Sergey and Yulia Skripal was a ‘military grade’ Novichok type substance (the Russian authorities say the British have told them it is A-234), they cannot confirm that it was produced in Russia.

We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.

We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to Government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to…..

It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured.

(bold italics added)

Gary Aitkenhead did however go on to say that the poison used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal would have required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor”.

Gary Aitkenhead refused to say whether or not Porton Down had ever produced any of the poison used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal. However he categorically denied that the poison could have come from Porton Down

There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility

Before proceeding further, I should say that I expect that some people are going to seize on Gary Aitkenhead’s denial that the poison could have escaped from Porton Down as an admission that there are stocks of the poison in Porton Down.

That would be a logical fallacy. A denial of one thing – that the poison came from Porton Down – should never be treated as an admission of something else – in this case that Porton Down possesses stocks of the poison.

I say this as someone who thinks it ‘highly likely’ (to borrow a phrase) that Porton Down does possess stocks of the poison.

In any event, we now have clarity on one important point. The scientific evidence does not prove that the poison which was used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal came from Russia.

I expect that this is also the opinion of the French experts the British authorities consulted – if it were not I would expect Gary Aitkenhead to have said so – and of the OPCW’s experts.

The current position in the case can therefore be summed up as follows

(1) the British scientific evidence is that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by a Novichok type chemical agent (probably A-234) but does not extend to this agent having been made in Russia;

(2) the British police have not yet named a suspect in the case;

(3) there are various theories about how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned. Sputnik has summed some of them. It appears that the latest theory – that the poison was smeared on the door of Sergey Skripal’s house – is running into problems, and may be wrong.

(4) though Gary Aitkenhead says that the British have no knowledge of any antidote in a case of poisoning by the chemical used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, the British authorities have said that Yulia Skripal is now recovering, which suggests either that her contact with the poison was very slight, or that the potency of the poison has been greatly exaggerated.

Theresa May on 14th March 2018 said that Russia was ‘culpable’ of the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal. Previously, on 12th March 2018 she said that it was ‘highly likely’ that Russia was responsible for the attack. Since the EU Council meeting of 22nd March 2018 the British government together with the EU have reverted to Theresa May’s original 12th March 2018 position that it was ‘highly likely’ that Russia was responsible for the attack.

Gary Aitkenhead’s comments taken by themselves in my opinion make it impossible even to say that Russia was ‘highly likely’ to have carried out the attack.

His claim that only a state possesses the resources to have made the poison is not evidence against Russia given that various other states are known to have the means to produce the poison and may actually have done so.

Besides I understand that this claim is disputed by other scientists, who however – unlike Gary Aitkenhead – have not been involved in identifying the poison.

We are left therefore with our old friends, the British government and the British intelligence agencies who have secretly ‘assessed’ on the basis of ‘other’ evidence which since it is classified they will never show us that Russia made and possesses the poison which was used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal.

That we are dealing not with hard fact of the sort that can be produced in court to prove a case, but with a classified ‘assessment’ the basis of which will always be secret, is confirmed by the British Foreign Office, whose spokesman is reported to have said the following

We have been clear from the very beginning that our world leading experts at Porton Down identified the substance used in Salisbury as a Novichok, a military grade nerve agent.

This is only one part of the intelligence picture.

As the Prime Minister has set out in a number of statements to the Commons since 12 March, this includes our knowledge that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents – probably for assassination – and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks.

Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views former intelligence officers as targets.

It is our assessment that Russia was responsible for this brazen and reckless act and, as the international community agrees, there is no other plausible explanation

(bold italics added)

That this is so has also been confirmed by Porton Down

It is not, and has never been, our responsibility to confirm the source of the agent.

This chemical identity of the nerve agent is one of four factors [NB: what were the other three – AM] used by the Government to attribute the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury to Russia.

The Government’s assessment has been clear from the start. Our chemical analysis is a key part of the Government’s assessment, and this has not changed

(bold italics added)

The word ‘assessment’ may sound impressive, but it is essentially no more than a pretentious word for a surmise or at best an analysis. As such – like any other surmise or analysis – it can be wrong.

The famous 6th January 2017 ODNI Assessment – one of the foundation documents of the Russiagate scandal – contains a lengthy discussion of what an ‘assessment’ is. It contains these now famous words

Estimative language consists of two elements: judgments about the likelihood of developments or events occurring and levels of confidence in the sources and analytic reasoning supporting the judgments. Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.

(bold italics added)

If the British government thinks it knows that Russia carried out the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal – which is all that an ‘assessment’ implies – that is one thing.

However a criminal investigation by the British police into the attack is supposed to be underway.

The British government has preempted that investigation by making public claims of Russian state responsibility on the basis of an ‘assessment’ the grounds for which can never be shown to a defendant, and which therefore cannot be produced in court.

I cannot see how that can do anything else other than undermine the whole investigation process, and prejudice the conduct of any future trial.

Perhaps that is a matter of indifference to most people. It is not to me.

As for the famous formula that it is ‘highly likely’ that Russia is responsible for the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal, I do not see how that is sustainable any longer.

The most that can be said is that the British government thinks that Russia is responsible, about which however it may be wrong.

Perhaps all those countries that expelled Russia’s diplomats on the strength of a British guess should now be inviting them back?


  1. It was of no surprise that the UK came out with the same old fatuous and unsubstantiated claims of Russian wrongdoing in the Salisbury incident, and in recent history, at the UN Security Council yesterday. But what particularly jarred was that Pierce, for the UK, sanctimoniously (and with no hint of irony) declared at the outset that “only a court can determine culpability”. She subsequently said that to involve Russia in the INVESTIGATION [my emphasis] would be like “an arsonist investigating their own fire”. And the US Rep (name escapes me) stated that “the truth of Russia’s involvement still stands”. So, let me get this straight, neither the UK or US are claiming that Russia is guilty before the investigation is completed, but they can’t be involved in the investigation because they are definitely the perpetrators. Hmmm…do these people really think we are blind to the inconsistencies and contradictions in their statements?

    • George Cornell says

      Sadly for most people it has to be pointed out as you just did. And they are not wrong, wanting to live their lives in peace and attend to their families, until the threshold for patience is exceeded.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      It’s simply a foretaste of the ‘liberal values’ of ‘New Justice’ to be imposed when the State of Emergency is declared.

  2. The Indie h’s c,me out with RT’s intervi.w wiith Yulia’s cousin. Yulie ys feeling fine and ready to dischargeherself; Dad OK. Laugh a minute in the readers section BTL. Doc Martin swapped the Skripal’s Novichok for vit’mins. True Whitehall theatre. Exp.ct Maggie May’s knickers to come tumbling down below her skirts before End of Act 2. And Brian Rix-Johnson’s trousers for a rousing finale.

  3. What ‘belief’?
    The assertions of ‘Russian state complicity’ ie: Putin – are only believed in that they are felt necessary in terms of the power agenda that has effective control of assets in UK and internationally.
    No one in the freedom of the Right Mind would incite such an inflammatory hate campaign with a power that has much more capacity to defend itself than most of the ‘developing’ (sic) nations that can be fitted up with despotic regimes and then changed to suit.
    They would restrain from any accusation until certain as a result of a thorough investigation. And even so, might seek resolutions ‘out of court’ that is in some real-politik of mutual rebalancing of interests.
    So the tail that wags the dog is what is not in the picture.
    How are assets acquired and handled or controlled?
    Perhaps via proxies and in ways that not only mask of the hidden hand to the puppeted, but operate plausible deniability.

    The demeanour of those apparently operating under such intolerable stress of responsibility (sic) is more that of crisis actors than statesmen and women weighing the fate of millions. But such is the dissociation of humanity from its own true embodiment, that a catastrophic ‘outcome’ aligned with and executed as if an inevitable, or necessary precondition to the setting up of broad-spectrum global control.

    Perhaps it is the nature of those who are unaware of the way power operates in the world, to believe in freedom to wield it and thus become indebted. For the promise of power captures the minds of the unwary or diverted. Presumption to power masks the true with narrative distortions and denies the voice of a true enquiry, in over-protective possession of its own role at cost of its true function.
    The idea that governance or indeed true power is reducible and equivalent to control is the sacrifice of truth to lies asserted ‘true’. I am not calling moral shaming here – but inviting the consideration that we lie to protect something we hold more dear in the moment of the act. But protecting what we think we want against and at expense of what we truly are is not only an insanity, but a painful and terrible burden.

    No room for truth in a mind set in reactive identity.
    “War is truth – there is none but what we make war with” – says will-to-power.
    War and sickness operate the reset by which to lord it over the self-conflicted.
    “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men, can never put Humpty together again”.
    No matter how many kingdoms are bought or stolen.

    Wholeness of being is a true gift of presence and we will always value and defend where we assign our treasure. If you intend an entirely private monopole reality, why come into the world of a shared reflection in each other? The attempt to get rid of our shadow-self of feared and denied hate by assigning it away from self, is the way to keep it, and secretly use it under masked pretence – not least as the grievance that calls for sympathy to then use in vengeance.

    Wake up to notice the use to which ‘thinking’ is being worked and release it to a new perspective and growing a new habit by living a conscious choice.

    We need true governance to hold the balance points for the support and unfolding of truly human being – under guidance of awakened self-responsibility – as there is willingness to enter relationships as a joining in value – rather than seeking only for what we can ‘get’ and of course, ‘seeing’ only in terms of ‘getting away from’.

  4. Dmitry says

    Julia Skripal woke up, it is very interesting to know her testimony.

    • If she blames Russia, remember that she may be threatened into doing so by the authorities and would thus prove nothing.

  5. MichaelK says

    I think it’s highly likely that this attack was carried out by a small and similar group to the one that produced the Steele dossier on Trump’s sex orgy in Moscow and supplied it to the Democrats who embraced the narrative with open arms. The mass-media wallowed in the sexy juicy details and took the story and ran with it. Everybody was happy.

    There are influential and well-connected groups in the UK who seriously think Jeremy Corbyn is a threat to the defence of the realm and a gift to the enemies of the United Kingdom. The people, and a tiny group with the right connections could easily mount this opperation, are aware that the story would damage Labour, damage Russia and throw a lineline to the Tory government that looked to be falling apart over Brexit leading to an election where Corbyn’s Labour could come to power. That’s a plausible alternative explanation. Here, everyone that matters, gains.

    They are also aware that the UK media won’t cause any trouble by asking awkward questions or investigating the claims. On the contrary they’ll amplify everything beyond reason and lurch into full-on, wartime, patriotism, mode; staffed as they are, by rabid anti-Russians, who know a good story when the see it. That it’s mostly a grotesque and absurd piece of lying political propaganda clumsily put together, doesn’t matter in tabloid land.

    It does show an almost total contempt for the public and basic democratic principles, even bourgeois ones. I’m still struggling with the stunning stupidity and uniformity that characterizes the press coverage in this affair. It’s so like the mob surging forward towards some old hags hovel during the hysteria surrounding a witch hunt; where what the mob ‘knows’ ‘feels’ and ‘believes’ sweeps reality, rationality and critical thought aside, with potentially catastrophic results to follow.

    • mark says

      I think we can have “high confidence” that your “assessment” is “highly likely” to be correct.
      At first, I thought this had been cooked up with several objectives in mind, and it was a case of trying to kill several birds with one stone, or with one (watered down?) dose of novichok.
      1. Further vilification and demonization of Russia. 2. Disrupt and delegitimise the Russian elections. 3. Disrupt and ideally ban the World Cup. 4. Ensure that sanctions, due to expire shortly, would be renewed despite European opposition. 5. Sabotage the construction of the Nordstream 2 pipeline and secure a market for more expensive US fracked LNG worth billions. 6. To support increased military spending. 7. To increase military deployments on the Russian border. 8. To obtain revenge for frustrating western regime change plans in Syria. 9. To obtain revenge over the Crimea and Donbas.

      All this is quite plausible. Interested parties would be:_
      1. The anti-Trump Russiagate campaign in the US, in which Britain and British Intelligence were intimately involved. DNC/ MSM/ Military Industrial Complex/ Deep State/ US Intelligence agencies/ British Intelligence agencies. 2. Saudi Arabia. 3. Qatar. 4. Israel. 5. Turkey. 6. Ukraine. 7. Émigré Russian oligarchs like Khordokovsky/ Browder/ others like the late Berezovsky, who have billions at their disposal, close links to the Intelligence agencies and Israel/ Ukraine, and who have been waging campaigns of political vilification against Putin. 8. Powerful corporate interests, like US energy companies.

      Any of these, or some combination, could have been involved, But it now seems likely that the prime movers were the British State/ Deep State/ Intelligence agencies. If this had been some external provocation (eg. mainly Ukraine or Israel) the official response would have been characterised by confusion and bewilderment. Instead, there was instant condemnation of Russia and a slick PR campaign moving into high gear.

      Like, you, I now think the main target was Corbyn (with some other subsidiary objectives.) The powers that be are terrified of a Corbyn premiership. He was previously dismissed as a joke, like Trump and the Brexit Leave campaign. He was unelectable, and May was supposed to win a 200 seat majority. It didn’t work out that way. Corbyn suddenly seemed a credible future prime minister. May was an unpopular and uncharismatic leader, leading a minority government clinging on to power through dodgy deals with the DUP, trying without much success to cobble together a coherent Brexit deal. The Tories/ Deep State/ The City/ Spook organisations/ Chatham House were suddenly horrified at the prospect of Corbyn entering No. 10. The MSM smear campaign against him was ineffective (14 pages of smears in the Daily Mail the day before the election.) Then we had the “Corbyn is a Czech spy” smear that nobody took seriously. Now we have the resurrected anti semitic smears, and Salisbury. Corbyn is now a Putin stooge/ Kremlin apologist, while May is some kind of Thatcher/ Falklands Mk. II, or bargain basement Boadicea, showing the evil Vlad and Johnny Russian what’s what in the run up to the local elections. There is a long history of MI5/6 targeting left wing politicians, journalists and trade unionists. They tried to undermine and overthrow Harold Wilson in the 1960s/ 70s, and were even plotting coups with military officers.

      So the British state and MI5/6 did it. The main target was Corbyn.
      I don’t know what other people think. At first, my money was on the Russian oligarchs.
      Where’s Poirot when you need him?

  6. sarmis2018 says

    We don’t know what kind of sample, how and were was collected and by who…Was a blood sample, or a body fluid sample or was collected from the surroundings of the “victims”? We don’t know and it is important. We are told that it is a military grade agent, which means it was weaponized, and that only a state actor would be able to produce it, meaning that only a sophisticated lab would be able to add stabilizers, inhibitors of decompositions, diluters or thickeners and so on…a process that is a lot more complicated than the making of the toxin. The lab was able to identify the additives usually used to weaponized the agent but not the specific impurities which constitutes the “fingerprint” of the manufacturer. In order to find the manufacturer one needs a sample to be able to compare against collected samples and here the problems start. It is one of the reasons Russians want samples and for the same reason the UK government refuse to provide any. It is a hoax fore sure…Cheers,

    • Rhisiart Gwilym says

      We don’t actually KNOW anything much about this scam. None of the stories about what trace was found where, and how it was then identified, together with watertight, actually-trustable chain-of-custody information, is available to any of we mere plebs. We do KNOW, if we have the brains that god gave geese, that we’re being told all sorts of stuff by known realpolitikal liars whom only a moon-calf would trust. And the current leakage of probably-sound information is that no-one has yet died of this super-powerful, “military-grade” alleged agent. It’s all a vast public-perception-manipulation lie-fest, and should be treated strictly as such. Trust none of it.

  7. James Scott says

    I totally agree with Richard Wicks comment.
    “April 5, 2018
    It wasn’t a guess.

    It was a LIE.”

    Furthermore it must have been a Deep Super State planned lie cleverly aimed at getting Theresa May some breathing space from the disastrous Brexit negotiations and at the same time drawing in Europe to sanction Russia’s gas and oil industry and replace Russian gas with American. It was quite a brilliant plan except that it was poorly executed, and because Russia had no motive for poisoning a long forgotten and pardoned and exchanged spy. Had they pulled it off the doomed Theresa May and some Tory Light Labour MPs would have gained a lot of traction against the scrupulously honest, just and courageous Jeremy Corbyn who wanted to see the proof.
    The USA division of the DSS (Deep Super State) would have got a win too in that it would have made its push to sanction Russia’s gas and oil exports to Europe and replace it with USA oil and gas. Also by weakening Russia economically it would make it harder for it to maintain its increasing influence in the Middle East.
    The more serious Western MSM is scrambling to rephrase their direct claims that Russia has poisoned the Skripals with the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour saying that –

    “Russia seeks to discredit UK with special meeting of UN security council
    Moscow move follows blunders by Boris Johnson and Foreign Office over Skripal poisoning.”

    It seems that the lies that they repeated and Boris told are somehow Russia’s fault and that Russia has no right to point out that the British Government and the so called MSM repeated those lies without bothering to stick to the facts or seek out evidence.
    It seems that these days Wintour and his co-conspirators gets all his their facts from GCHQ or indirectly from GCHQ through the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights aka the Muslim Brotherhood.
    The Guardian is not alone in this new way of framing Russia’s guilt although the Australian ABC has handled their step back by conveniently forgetting their previous fake news and have now acknowledged that the proof against Russia is non existent. They do not however, acknowledge that they had previously misled their Australian audience and failed to demand evidence of the British Government before sprouting the lies of Boris and actions of May.
    Yesterday they joined the Murdoch press in mocking the Russian Ambassador and calling him a clown. I watched the interview and the Ambassador was trying his best to keep a friendly tone in his denials of their accusations despite the goading. I think Lavrov needs to talk to them to put them straight. Perhaps he should also talk to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to demand an apology for deporting the two Russian consular officials whom are being described as spies by Government MP’s and the media again without any proof supplied.

    • Kolin THUMBADOO says

      James you are quite correct to highlight the supine and servile attitude of the Australian ABC to Washington and Whitehall in its coverage of this absurd fiasco of Russiophobia. The ABC almost out does the BBC in its warped coverage of Ukraine,Palestine,Syria,Libya etc The Australian Guardian however demonstrates a more finessed approach but dares not contradict the US/UK narrative .

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        The ABC IS despicable Kolin,but the jihadist propaganda klaxon, the SBS, is truly insane. Why, escapes me? Hard Right management? Saudi money? Mere derangement/- but if I hear Nastasya whatever spitting out the hatred of ‘the Assad regime’, or cooing in delight at the ‘White Helmets’ butchers one more time I may sublimate with rage.

  8. Richard Wicks says

    It wasn’t a guess.

    It was a LIE.

    When are people going to start calling out this propaganda? Stop playing nice with them. These scum have been waging war after war in the Middle East for the last 16 years, and it’s ALL based on lies.

    Find that weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq yet?
    Oh, well, at least that “humanitarian crisis” was prevented by bombing Libya, right?
    Oh, and let’s not forget Assad keeps gassing his own civilian population.

    For 16 years, we’ve had literal fascists running the entire western world. When are you pussies going to call it out, directly? Stop pussy footing around this. If Skripal and his daughter were REALLY poisoned, the top suspects are CIA, MI-6, and Mossad.

    • Technically, the lie was about their level of knowledge, not about Russia’s guilt. Russia could be guilty, until we see some evidence anything is possible.

    • James Scott says

      Richard I was thinking that this may be Theresa May’s theme song.

      Said it is only a paper moon
      Sailing over a cardboard sea,
      But it wouldn’t be make believe
      If you believed in me.

      Say it is only a canvas sky
      Hanging over a muslin tree,
      But it wouldn’t be make believe
      If you believed in me.

      Without your love,
      It’s a honky-tonk parade.
      Without your love,
      It’s a melody played in a penny arcade.

      It’s a barnum and bailey world,
      Just as phony as it can be,
      But it wouldn’t be make believe
      If you believed in me.

  9. allthehardwayz says

    “or left the four walls of our facility” – Such a statement implies that there indeed is something within the four walls, so o do take it as a tacit admission that it is there. Backed up by the admission that they have samples to test against, no less.

  10. You simply can’t make this stuff up. Reality as theatre of the absurd. My personal theory is that Boris Johnson was in the fictitious hotel room with Trump when the fictitious Russian prostitutes conducted their much reported golden showers experiments. However, unknown to anyone else present, one of these said fictitious Russian prostitutes was actually a chemical warfare researcher and her particular “shower” contaminated Boris with a powerful urine delivered nerve agent rendering him basically senseless and incoherent ever since. However, given the tenor of our current political times, Boris’s total “lack of contact with reality” actually happens to dovetail nicely not only with Ms. May, but basically with the entire Western political class – so that no one in mainstream media even notices this amazing state of affairs – unless of course some un-electable-commie-anti-semite-spy like Corbyn points out reality to them. Mind you this is just my “theory,” but I can assure you that if I personally knew any Russian diplomats I too would swiftly expel them!

    • milosevic says

      You simply can’t make this stuff up.

      But somebody did. Their superpower is lying.

    • On its own level this is demonstrating that our historical or narrative ‘reality’ is made up.

      Moral outrage may assign agency to superpower deceit and of course cowardly allegiance to, but isn’t that what ‘self-justification’ is the intelligence agency for? Defending a Notional Security?

      Likewise the ‘cry foul!” device of using ‘grievance’ to invoke both guilt and sympathy of moral outrage to then direct the currency of hatred to a targeted agenda or ‘war by stealth and guile’.

      Establishing a currency of conflicted fear, scarcity and dependency as a means of control is a template running beneath the attempt to survive within its terms. But is this ‘power’ not in the likeness of its own fathering? That is, is it not enacting its own sense of self-definition upon its world – as if only dominion can ‘gratify’ a deep sense of lack driven powerlessness?

      But can fantasy enacted upon bodies ever truly satisfy? Or is this how to feed an appetite that become addictive, hollows and lays waste?

  11. Ben Wallace, UK Security Minister, in an interview broadcast on the BBC News tonight stated that Russia is still regarded as culpable ‘because Novichok was designed, made and stockpiled only in Russia’. I presume the interview took place today so has nobody kept his briefing material up to date or is he the next one to be found guilty of wilful lying? And why didn’t the interviewer, as far as we know, challenge this statement?

    • George Cornell says

      Oh Judy, Judy, Judy in my best Cary Grant imitation. Because the interviews at the Beeb are rigged to promote the prevailing “wisdom” of the government?

    • Betrayed planet. says

      MSM no longer challenge any report regardless of whether the truth in the report is obvious, even to the skeptics. The blatant refusal to accept a truth staring us all in the face is indicative of the Roman Empire on its very last legs. The cognitive dissonance this provides us with is an indication of the red pill / green pill matrix we now live in.
      I believe the MSM , corporate state and their obedient servants the political establishment have lost all contact with reality and live entirely in a perverse bubble of their own making.

    • James Scott says

      I understand that it was invented by the Soviet Union but not in Russia and that the Soviet stockpiles of all chemical and biological agents were destroyed by the USA under a mutual agreement on disposing of all such weapons. The particular nerve agent Novichok or Novice was not under production as it had not been fully developed. Given that a scientist working on this agent defected to the USA it means that the USA had the formula and scientific experience. We also know that both the USA and UK have not carried out there obligations under the agreement with Russia and have still got facilities like Porton Downs that are continuing to produce chemical and biological weapons. USA of course is still making or at least storing these weapons like anthrax.

      • George Cornell says

        The US and “honouring an agreement” do not cohere.

    • MICHAEL LEIGH says

      I am sure you JUDYJ must know that the job of the mass media including the BBC is to enhance the public relations case of the UK Government, and it is not aided by asking questions which are not pre-scripted by the advisory authorities – welcome to the world of “Public relations” JUDYJ and that definitely excludes the verisimilitude of realitity of new information – which is what is new !

  12. P.E. Ace says

    Aitkenhead said that “possibly only a state actor would have capabilities” to make the nerve agent. “Possibly” features in the clip of about 3 mins and 50 secs embedded in a SkyNews tweet yesterday. The clip most often linked to is about 1 min 42 secs long and lacks the comment about possible producer. Mind you, despite employing the inerviewer, Sky wrote in its headers that it was a state actor. But, to their credit, Guardian, The Times and Beeb included the word “possibly” in their reporting.

    Question following comments that Porton Down only had to establish what the poison was and not who or where it was made: it seems Porton Down has not checked for markers that could shed light on country of origin. Why? OPCW also seems unlikely to do that given today’s proceedings.

    Also, it seems neither Porton Down nor OPCW will check samples were indeed from Skripals and nothing was injected in those samples on their way to the lab. Cynical? Perhaps, but Yulia Skripal has recovered and it took hours for the poison to cause symptons while most military-grade nerve agents work imminently and fatally.

    • Aitkenhead’s statement that PD has identified it as novichok contradicts High Court’s ruling that it was novichok “or a closely related agent” i.e. any nerve agent.

      Anyway, why we should trust Aitkenhead or even PD I don’t know. PD is a government source.

      Mercouris is therefore accomodating May propaganda by taking Aitkenhead’s word for granted that it was novichok and, most embarrassingly, that “the British government thinks that Russia is responsible”, when in fact they clearly do not. Especially since they’re the ones who really did it.

  13. bevin says

    Anyone with time might find it worthwhile to read this piece by Elizabeth Vos
    “All Russiagate Roads Lead To London: Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence ”
    and this, written by Joshua Funnell but turned down by Huffington Post
    “Skripal with Hindsight: Salisbury May Yet Be Corbyn’s Finest Hour”

    It seems to me that in this matter May and Johnson are simply ‘useful idiots’. And that their utility stems from the weakness of their political positions which has them constantly reaching out for straws, their amorality and their curious belief that Russia is responsible for everything that frightens them.
    The media, in Britain in particular, probably know much more about this case than the government if only because their power is presumed to be permanent to the degree, at least, that they will have time to cover up traces and destroy evidence.
    One of the indications of the crystalisation of a revolutionary situation is the utter corruption of government, indicated in this instance by the way that it is being left red handed to explain its lies by oligarchs who regard it with contempt.
    I think that the world awaits, breathless, the explanation of how it is that this dreaded nerve agent, chosen weapon of skilled assassins, doesn’t seem to work. Which is confirmation of the meaning of the term ‘military grade.’

    • Big B says

      Thank you Bevin, you are a gold plated star for the Mifsud link. It fills in a lot of blanks about the Anglo-American network behind this.

  14. Hertog Jan says

    The damage has been done. Russia was disconnected a bit more from the West.

    Now who cares for the details? The next hoax must be in preparation already.

  15. George Cornell says

    Any government responsible for the absurd conclusion that David Kelly killed himself by bleeding to death from cutting his tiny ulnar arteries (~no blood at the scene), and for the whitewash on the “non-weapons of non-mass non-destruction” in Iraq leading to the murder of 200,000 Iraqis has form.

    • summitflyer says

      And since they dug him up and cremated his remains ,it pretty well seals it .No one will ever know.

      • George Cornell says

        The autopsy was pretty clear but then the obviously manufactured bullshit began to fly with lots of air given to his coronary artery disease, nearly ubiquitous for men his age, but highlighted when they found his killers had cut the wrong side of his wrists, a mistake no suicidal person would make because there is no pulse on that side.

        Not quite no one. His killers and their masters know.

        • Blair killed him. Just look at his reaction upon being asked on Bbc breakfast about a possible new inquiry.

          • George Cornell says

            Indeed. But he got his lecture tour in the US, collecting millions of pounds from US neocons , anxious to repay him for carrying out Israeli imperatives, so as Madeleine Albright would say, it was worth it.

    • Rhisiart Gwilym says

      Erm – well over a million innocent Iraqis according to the most reliable, non-politicised estimates, George; and counting. A genocidal mass-murder in plain honest language. One of several to lay at the door of the Anglozionist empire.

    • Where do you get 200,000 from? Its 1 million according to desperate studies by ORB and PSR.

      • George Cornell says

        I used old estimates from the invasion not counting the later deaths from the internal strife. Heinous in the extreme, whatever figure is used, even if you got it from Paul Wolfowitz. And no one should forget how the disgusting Americans refused to count Iraqi casualties as required.

          • George Cornell says

            Ouch. Ok give me a link that you believe.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          The ‘internal strife’ was deliberately fomented by the illegal invaders, the USA and its stooges. In any case the Lancet Report asserted that most of the 600,000 or so victims at that time were murdered by ‘Coalition’ military action.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Over one million Iraqis have been killed by the illegal aggression of 2003. To say ‘200,000’ is the equ9ivalent of saying the Nazis murdered one million Jews, and that would get you into trouble.

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