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The Skripal case and the misuse of ‘intelligence’


by Alexander Mercouris at the Duran

As the Novichok ‘evidence’ collapses, the criminal investigation into the Skripal attack has become corrupted

Mi6

The events of the last few days in the Skripal case provide an object lesson of why in criminal investigations the rules of due process should always be adhered to. The reason the British now find themselves in difficulties is because they have not adhered to them.

This despite the fact that – as they all too often like to remind us – it was the British themselves who largely created them.

The single biggest unexplained mystery about the Skripal case is why it attracted so much attention so quickly.

Within hours of Sergey and Yulia Skripal being found passed out on a bench the British media were feverishly speculating that they had been poisoned by Russia.

This despite the fact that no information at that point existed which warranted such speculation, and despite pleas for the investigation to be allowed to take its course from the police and from the government minister responsible for the police, Home Secretary Amber Rudd (who has ever since been conspicuously silent about the whole affair).

Within three days of Sergey and Yulia Skripal being found on passed out on a bench – and before any information linking the incident to Russia had become publicly available – the British government’s COBRA committee was meeting – a fact which caused me incredulity – during which a highly revealing article in The Times of London has now revealed it was already agreed that Russia was “almost certainly” responsible.

A Whitehall source added: “We knew pretty much by the time of the first Cobra [the emergency co-ordination briefing that took place the same week] that it was overwhelmingly likely to come from Russia.”

(bold italics added)

“It” of course refers to the chemical agent which poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal, with the clear implication that by the date of the first COBRA meeting on 7th March 2018 – three days after Sergey and Yulia Skripal were found in the bench – “it” had already been identified as a Novichok “of a type developed by Russia”.

If what this article says is true – and despite the fact that the article is full tendentious reporting (of which more below) on this one point I am inclined to believe what it says – then that must mean either (1) that Porton Down is highly familiar with the properties of Novichok agents if it can identify the agent used so quickly; or (2) the British authorities already had “other” information before Porton Down completed its analysis which caused them to think that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with a chemical agent “of a type developed by Russia”.

If it was the first then note that Porton Down took no more than three days to identify the poison as a Novichok despite the fact (1) that Novichok agents are not in general use and are supposed to be very rare and there is no known instance of their having been used before (it seems that contrary to previous reports the Kivelidi murder in 1995 in Russia did not involve use of a Novichok); and (2) that confirming Porton Down’s analysis that the poison is a Novichok is taking the OPCW’s experts two weeks.

If it was the second, and the COBRA committee came to its view on 7th March 2018 that Russia was ‘almost certainly responsible’ before Porton Down had identified the poison, then the last few weeks have been an exercise in smoke-and-mirrors, with the British authorities pretending that the reason for their belief in Russian responsibility was that the poison used was a Novichok, whereas in reality they came to that belief for some entirely different reason.

If so then that might partially why Porton Down and the French scientists were able to identify the chemical agent so quickly.

They were able to identify the poison as a Novichok by the weekend prior to Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons on Monday 12th March 2018 because they were told in advance what to look for.

I do not know which of these alternatives is true. However, for what it’s worth, I believe it is the second because it is the one which makes most sense in light of the known facts.

That this is the likeliest explanation of what happened finds support from The Times of London article which I cited earlier. It contains this highly revealing claim

“Security services believe that they have pinpointed the location of the covert Russian laboratory that manufactured the weapons-grade nerve agent used in Salisbury, The Times has learnt.

Ministers and security officials were able to identify the source using scientific analysis and intelligence in the days after the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal a month ago, according to security sources.

Britain knew about the existence of the facility where the novichok poison was made before the attack on March 4, it is understood……

Security sources do not claim 100 per cent certainty but the source has insisted that they have a high degree of confidence in the location. They also believe that the Russians conducted tests to see whether novichok could be used for assassinations.

[…]

The disclosure is the latest part of Britain’s intelligence case against Russia, which has been undermined this week by a series of blunders.

(bold italics added)

In other words the entire British case against Russia derives not from identification of the poison as a Novichok but from information about the supposed existence of a ‘secret laboratory’ making Novichok in Russia which British intelligence had obtained – or thinks it had obtained – before the attack took place.

That the British case against Russia is intelligence based and is not based on the fact that the poison used was (allegedly) a Novichok is further shown by one case of manipulation of language and one case of crude editing in some of the things which have been said.

The example of manipulation of language is the constant British harping on the fact that the Novichok allegedly used in the attack is “military grade”.

I am not a chemist or a chemical weapons expert but I cannot see how it is possibly to say such a thing given that no military – not even the Russian military – has apparently ever stockpiled Novichok agents for use as a military weapon. How can one say therefore that any particular sample of Novichok is “military grade” if no military has ever stockpiled or used it?

As for the example of editing, it is one which I admit I previously overlooked but which was noticed by the invaluable Craig Murray, whose commentary on the Skripal case has been nothing short of outstanding.

The editing is of what was said by Porton Down chief executive Gary Aitkenhead. Since it was Craig Murray who noticed it rather than discuss it myself I will link and quote to what Craig Murray has to say about it

“..It is in this final statement that, in a desperate last minute attempt to implicate Russia, Aitkenhead states that making this nerve agent required

“extremely sophisticated methods to create, something probably only within the capabilities of a state actor.”

Very strangely, Sky News only give the briefest clip of the interview on this article on their website reporting it. And the report is highly tendentious: for example it states

However, he confirmed the substance required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor”.

Deleting the “probably” is a piece of utterly tendentious journalism by Sky’s Paul Kelso.

I did not notice that the key word “probably” had been deleted from what Aitkenhead had said, and as a result my previous article wrongly quoted his words, saying them not as he had said them but as they had been wrongly edited.

It turns out that even what Aitkenhead actually said – that the Novichok agent would have required “extremely sophisticated methods to create, something probably only within the capabilities of a state actor” is almost certainly wrong.

Here is what Craig Murray has to say about that

Motorola sales agent Gary Aitkenhead – inexplicably since January, Chief Executive of Porton Down chemical weapons establishment – said in his Sky interview that “probably” only a state actor could create the nerve agent. That is to admit the possibility that a non state actor could. David Collum, Professor of Organo-Chemistry at Cornell University, infinitely more qualified than a Motorola salesman, has stated that his senior students could do it. Professor Collum tweeted me this morning.

The key point in his tweet is, of course “if asked”. The state and corporate media has not asked Prof. Collum nor any of the Professors of Organic Chemistry in the UK. There simply is no basic investigative journalism happening around this case.

That the entire British case against Russia depends on intelligence is further shown by a further strange development in the case today.

This is that the British authorities are now apparently claiming that the fact that the poison which was used to poison Sergey and Yulia Skripal was supposedly found on Sergey Skripal’s door knob is the ‘smoking gun’ which points to Russia.

Whether that is so or not – and I share Craig Murray’s deep skepticism about this – the alleged presence of the poison on the door knob cannot be the reason why on 7th March 2018 the British government’s COBRA committee had already come to the conclusion that the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal “was almost certainly” the work of Russia.

That is because the theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned when they came into contact with the poison on the door knob only appeared several weeks after 7th March 2018.

All the evidence points to fact that the ‘intelligence’ the British government used to come to the conclusion – reached within hours of Sergey and Yulia Skripal being found passed out on a bench – that the attack on them had been carried out by Russia must have come from a human source.

If the British authorities really do possess what they believe to be a Russian assassin’s manual (see Craig Murray again) then that all but confirms it. How else would such a manual have come into their hands?

If that human source really was able to identify the particular poison used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal in advance, then that suggests a very well informed source indeed.

That might be because the source does have genuine access to secret information about a top secret Russian assassination programme, in which case the Russian authorities will by now almost certainly know who that source is.

However given the complete absence of any other evidence of a top secret Russian assassination programme I must say I doubt this (as I have discussed elsewhere, the Litvinenko case does not provide such evidence).

The alternative – which of course is what many people believe – is that this whole affair is a provocation, staged by someone who then tipped the British off that Novichok – a poison of “a type developed by Russia” but which can in fact easily be made elsewhere (see above) – had been used, whilst misleading the British by giving them a trail of false leads which appeared to point towards Russia.

The claim that the fact that traces of the poison were found on the door knob is the ‘smoking gun’ which points to Russia to my mind rather supports this second theory.

If this claim was made before the poison was found on the door knob it suggests that the source knew in advance that it was there, which would tend to implicate the source in the attack.

If the source provided the information about the alleged ‘assassin’s manual’ after reports appeared in the British media about the poison being found on the door knob – which by the way is what I suspect – then that strongly suggests that the source is adapting its information to the changing news, which suggests manipulation of the intelligence in order to implicate Russia.

Whatever the case the fact that Novichok was probably used to poison Sergey and Yulia Skripal (we will only know with any measure of certainty when the OPCW reports its tests) is not proof that Russia was involved.

The British have got themselves into a total mess by pretending that it is.

They would have avoided getting into this mess – and avoided being manipulated by whoever is giving them ‘secret’ information, if that is what is happening – if they had instead done what their law and traditions dictate they should have done, which is allowed the criminal investigation to take its course.

It bears repeating that at this stage no suspect has been identified in the case and even the theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by touching Sergey Skripal’s door knob is pure conjecture.

Once again – as in the Litvinenko case and the Russiagate scandal – the course of a criminal investigation has been corrupted by the misuse of ‘intelligence’.


81 Comments

  1. Sav says

    Some have mentioned the use of weed killer as possibly being the poison. If you look at the symptoms they do tally with what was reported of the Skripals.

    What actual tests did Porton Down do? Were they based on first assuming this nerve agent was used and then simply looking for certain markers to match that claim?

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    • I think there are a lot of questions about the remit of the Porton Down input into all this; not only weedkillers, but also severe food poisoning toxins which by their nature are also classified as nerve agents. I’m sure many of these substances have common denominators with chemical weapon nerve agents. In fact I think that the production of the latter often involves synthesis of common organophosphorus pesticides. I recall learning of a report in the first few days of the investigation that Porton Down were simply asked, leadingly, to identify which RUSSIAN nerve agent had been used in the attack (obviously based on the opening hypothesis that it was a Russian nerve agent). Putting it simplistically, as I don’t know the technical details myself, PD to all intents and purposes confirmed that it wasn’t nerve agent ‘A’ or nerve agent ‘B’ so by elimination it MUST be ‘C’ which to their knowledge indicated a novichok agent. This was at the time the Govt stated it was Novichok’ but there was apparently no actual scientific data to back this up. I’m assuming there may be now, but that gets us back to the question of whether this is all a false flag anyway etc etc.

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  2. Sav says

    If the British government knew they had a solid case they would have taken the due time to get all evidence in place. When you know you haven’t and the end result is going to work against you – what do you do? Get the lies out there as quick as possible to take advantage of the situation now. Just bludgeon everyone with the Russophobia & if anything does come out later, well by that time most won’t even care. Especially when it comes to Russia. Most people buy all the drip drip nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • See also: The indecent haste to invade Iraq, based on highly cooked-up “intelligence”, just as the international weapons inspectors were verifying that there was no active Iraqi WMD programme.

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    • Mikalina says

      Wow. First time I’ve heard GO2 mentioned. My understanding is that one of their objectives is to embarrass state governments to the point that they are totally ridiculed and ineffective. They have certainly succeeded with Britain.

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  3. Kathy says

    So it now transpires that the boys and girls in blue of this great country of animal lovers have allowed the starving to death of beloved pets while military and police are in full knowledge that they had been locked into the house. Will the R.S.P.C.A take them all to task or is it just the poor the sick and the elderly that they prosecute these days. I wonder at the incompetence indifference and lack of compassion shown by any of the ones involved. What will they tell the Skripals about this. If any of this is true. On another point Is it possible that some kind health worker smuggled in a phone so that Yulia could make the phone call to her cousin as apparently her own cell phone has been inactive. Presumably it was not something that she was immediately offered by the hospital or any military staff in attendance. It is the first thing that I would want to do to let my family know I was OK and surely be a fairly normal request after coming round like that. It does seam to have prompted a degree of skepticism among the U.K media interestingly, and It would now seam that the hospital have suggested that Mr Skripal is now also on the mend following the phone call she made.

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    • Kathy, I simply wouldn’t believe a single word of anything reported about this event until we are provided with some evidence … and I’d lay bets that none will be forthcoming. Do you think Ladbrokes would take me on? Children and animals are notoriously used in these events to tug at the heart strings.

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      • Kathy says

        I do not really believe any of the narrative that is provided until there is proof but I do think it is possible that the Skripals may not be in on it. If this is the case it is quite possible that no one bothered about the animals. The state don’t care about any thing other then the agenda and compassion seems to be in short supply among the foot soldiers of the state. I am quite willing to be convinced that it is all a farce and the skripals are not even in hospital. Its not as if there has been any proof to confirm that they are but as things are progressing I am beginning to think that the Skripals may be unwilling participants in all of this. If the phone call is to be believed there seemed to be a level of resignation to it. Which again could well be staged. It is the fact that there is now a recovery story for the father. Yulia seemed keen to state her father was recovering even though the official narrative at that stage was that he was still critical. I think that would be a sensible thing to say if you wanted to ensure your fathers safety. Again I am only theorizing and am open to all other theories at this stage. I hope the pets are OK as I hope will be the case for the Skripals also.

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        • Fair enough, Kathy. My skepticism is such that I simply don’t believe a single word and will only entertain the idea of any truth in the story if and when evidence is forthcoming. To me, the story of the cat and the two guineapigs has a ridiculous quality that amuses me. I’d hate to think it was actually true and I was laughing at it. That’s what these bastards do to you.

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          • Kathy says

            For sure flaxgirl. Even when we are looking into the rabbit hole / looking glass and think were aware of our integrity we are still susceptible to being pulled in, and yes I agree this is what these bastards do to us but only because we allow it. This is why Binra often resonates for me personally. We need to stay so grounded and be so self aware. We have to try to be so finely tuned we can pick up every nuance, detail and manipulative trick they use and see it as the matrix it is but we also need to try and keep our integrity and open heart vibration Otherwise we will keep falling into the traps they set for us.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Lost For Words says

    What on earth are these 250 counter terrorism detectives (reportedly investigating the Salisbury incident) actually doing? My understanding is that the alleged nerve agent is both volatile and unstable so a rapid and thorough investigation of the Skripal’s house should be an immediate priority! It is after all currently the crime scene with no1 global significance. At least I would have expected the interior of the house to be forensically photographed and critical items bagged and labelled as evidence!
    Vasily Nebenzya’s questions at yesterday’s UN meeting revealed that the house was so completely sealed off that the Skripal’s cat basically starved to death without anyone noticing. This raises difficult questions. Are these 250 counter terrorism police genuinely attempting to solve or investigate anything? If only ¼ of these 250 counter terrorism police were actually visiting the alleged crime scene in Salisbury, there would be over 60 detectives wondering around a relatively small area for over a month. It is beyond belief that the house would be excluded from any forensic investigation to such an extent that the cat could starve to death unnoticed!
    Obviously, if someone wanted to hide evidence, waiting over a month before taking samples would be a good way to ensure any traces of chemical had either denatured or evaporated.
    Vasily made me laugh last night when he read out the Louis Carrol Alice in Wonderland story at the UN Security Council meeting. NATO allied countries have simply gone way too far with their unjustified accusations. The whole ritual has now become a farce.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Stonky says

    Three things that need to be rammed down the MSM throat at every opportunity:

    1: Skripal had plenty money. Where was it coming from? Who were his associates? Who was he working for? What was he doing? Why have you made no attempt to investigate and answer these questions?

    Why have you made no attempt to interview Dr Davies and clarify what he meant when he wrote that nobody has been treated for nerve agent poisoning?
    Why have you made no attempt to interview any qualified organic chemist who could give a professional view on the properties of the agent, the problems of manufacture, the potential sources, and the ease of identification?

    Forty years ago the British media had people called investigative journalists. They would have the answers to all these questions by now, and we would have a much clearer picture as to what actually happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Do you remember when the Sunday Times exposed Israel’s mass torture of Palestinians? That seems a million light years away, now.

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  6. Alan says

    This dark comedy of errors does indicate a misuse of intelligence on certain levels, we however aren’t privy to the whole picture nor the cast. Among others, as a result there is scant attention to the chemical weapons caches being uncovered in East Ghouta implicating US,Israeli and Saudi intelligence, nor the recent murders of Palestinians during the great march of return. The current stupidity resembles a calculated error in order to prevent or enable something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • summitflyer says

      No we certainly are not privy to the whole picture .Some information that could shed light on why this charade is ongoing comes from a blog that I follow ,regarding Syria and East Ghouta .To be more specific the alleged arrest of UK officers imbedded with the terrorists in East Ghouta.
      https://www.syrianperspective.com/2018/04/alloosh-orders-execution-of-officers-5-hostages-freed-saudi-arabia-trying-to-hold-on-to-ghouta-how-zahraan-alloosh-was-killed-by-saf.html

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      • About 6 weeks ago reports were circulating in German media that the Syrian UN Ambassador was reporting that the Syrian Govt had obtained information that “terrorists in E Ghouta were under strict instruction from Western intelligence services to carry out a false flag chemical attack in E Ghouta before the OPCW session on 16 [?] March”. Things moved on apace prior to that date and much of E Ghouta was liberated with some rebels agreeing to give up their weapons, and of course a chemical factory with sophisticated equipment (marked with labels showing Saudi Arabian origin) and multiple barrels of chlorine was found. This progress by the SAA no doubt put paid to the false flag plan. None of this was reported by the West’s msm, and even the discovery of the ‘factory’ received little – if any – attention. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if these reports of UK military personnel being apprehended were true. I also heard somewhere suggestions that Rex Tillerson had instigated the false flag incident unbeknownst to Trump and when Trump found out what had been planned he sacked him – I don’t know whether it might have been because Trump wasn’t kept in the loop or whether he considered it immoral.

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  7. Stonky says

    I love the whole nonsense about “Hey everybody, we can prove it was Russia because we have an ASSASSINATION MANUAL!!!”

    Who over the age of five needs a manual to tell them how to smear stuff on a door knob? What’s on page 2- how to pull your trousers and your underpants down before you do a jobby?

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    • MI6 are probably working on writing it now. Well if it’s of the same calibre as the powerpoints ‘proving’ Russia’s guilt… No doubt, to pad it out, supported by a picture showing what a door knob looks like. Well the Daily Mail felt the need to publish a photograph of a suitcase when there were suggestions that Yulia brought the nerve agent over from Russia in her luggage.

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    • A. J. B says

      Probably compiled by Enid Blyton’s Five Find Outers.
      They knew how to make invisible ink, and how to get a key from inside the door
      of a locked room.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Yes-the Russians are SO dumb that they write everything secret down in a handy booklet, then leave it lying about so that some intrepid SIS agent can ‘discover’ it. This document is, naturally, far too ‘Top Secret’ ever to be released to the public. You just have to take their ‘word’ for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark Gobell says

    “It” of course refers to the chemical agent which poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal, with the clear implication that by the date of the first COBRA meeting on 7th March 2018 – three days after Sergey and Yulia Skripal were found in the bench – “it” had already been identified as a Novichok “of a type developed by Russia”.

    *

    Assistant Met Commissioner Mark Rowley, in his press briefing with Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies on 7 March 2018, confirmed the above in his answer to a question, thus :

    Journo Question : “You say that you are not going to give any more details about the nerve agent involved, do you yourselves know what nerve agent it was, have you worked out what nerve agent it was or are you still unclear what nerve agent it was ?”

    Mark Rowley : “I’ve been very clear, we’ve identified a nerve agent, that’s helping our investigation, but I am not going to give any further details at this stage.”

    Video of press briefing is here at RT, Q&A begins at 5:12
    https://www.rt.com/uk/420740-russia-spy-wiltshire-agent/

    Btw, to those who are speculating about the fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya ( aka Winter Cherry ) shopping centre in Kemerovo, Siberia on 25 March, you are correct to be suspicious of this event. Reports variously state that most of the victims were children in the cinema. Russian media reported that that it ws a public holiday and that children were given free cinema tickets to attend.

    The principal root event is the inaugural meeting of the Hitler Youth precursor, the Jugendbund der NSDAP, held on 13 May 1922, with a simllar Kabbalistic conjunction from Heinrich Himmler.

    I was fully expecting something to happen over the resulting date range, probably involving children,

    Russia is the latest enemy du jour so it fits, as does the choice of victims.

    MG

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  9. stevehayes13 says

    The British political media elite are relying, not on logic and evidence, but intuition. This can be seen over and over, but one particularly significant example is the leaked government powerpoint that was used to attempt to persuade other governments to expel Russian diplomats. The presentation does not even attempt to provide evidence or use logic. Rather, it is designed to appeal to the natural, unconscious, immediate, effortless way of thinking.

    http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/the-skripal-case-and-governments.html

    Like

  10. Re ‘intelligence’ (with apologies to Aldous Huxley):
    There are 5 grades of intelligence — Divine, Human, Animal, Artificial and Military.
    Lowest, the Military Grade.

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    • Yonatan says

      Where do politicians fit in that scheme? It is unfair to animals to group them together.

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      • I think I’d perhaps place them in the subset of Artificial Intelligence labelled “Faux Intelligence”.

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        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          The same ‘intelligence’ as a plant shows in growing towards the light. Vegetable (with apologies to our plant friends).

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  11. John Gilberts says

    “Empire’s are just like everything else going down the toilet. Bits always stick on the porcelain which require more flushing. Embarrassing bits. Now in its 5th week since the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, the bits that cannot be flushed away are producing an odour whose obviousness is embarrassing for Salisbury Hospital and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons…”

    The Empire Strikes Backwards
    http://johnhelmer.net/the-empire-strikes-backwards/

    Like

    • Jen says

      These days even the toilet has gone down the toilet: precious few toilets now have porcelain bowls and the flushing mechanism is weaker than what it used to be.

      Like

  12. Bob says

    Can we assume that Sergei Skripal was engaged in work for or against Russia, in the full knowledge of UK secret Services, and this is why UKGOV were convinced of Russian involvement before analysing any actual evidence?

    As far as I’m aware no facts as to Skripal’s movements in the weeks prior to the Salisbury attack have been released into the public domain. Is this because those details would reveal UK strategy against Russia?

    Three weeks into any other case we would know what Skripal had for breakfast on the Tuesday before the incident. We know nothing. What was he doing? who was he with? who was paying him?
    The MSM focus on Hybrid War scenarios at the expense of good old fashioned journalism. Why doesn’t anyone want to find this stuff out?

    Like

    • It is very plausible that Sergei Skripal was one of Steele’s unpaid intelligence “collectors” …part of a wide net of former intelligence officers that feed Orbis with snippets of information to compile their dodgy memos for profit. Or perhaps Miller met Skripal to run things by him? We will never know. Do NOT take this as an imputation of Russian motive: this was and is a Western intelligence plot aimed at both Trump and Putin …with an MI6 old boy (and girl) network at the heart of it. So little is factually established here: I could not rule out that Skripal is actively part of the plot …or perhaps he was “thrown under the bus” like Boris and Badri; or Alexander; or Nikolai; or thrown onto the railings like Scot Young? It is a bad time to be associated with Yeltsin era Russian oligarchs in the Home Counties “killing fields” …only I do not believe for one second that it is the Kremlin they need to worry about.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stonky says

        It’s perfectly possible that Skripal knew that the whole Trump dossier was true. There’s one very powerful interest group that has nothing to do with Putin that would be very keen to see him out of the way.

        It’s equally possible that Skripal knew that the whole Trump dossier was a load of shit. There’s another completely different very powerful interest group that has nothing to do with Putin that would be very keen to see him out of the way.

        This of course assumes that there was in fact somebody who wanted Skripal dead and tried to kill him – something that is becoming less and less certain as the days pass and news leaks out about how well he is. doing.

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        • The Trump dossier was a load of “piss” surely …prostitutes ritually desecrating the ‘Obama’ bed with “Golden Showers” for the sexual gratification of Trump. It is literally “taking the piss” that so many liberal Democrats contend that this dossier is verified. All we know is that Skripal was not poisoned with Novichok: so he may well have been intended to live, who knows? It’s all about the agenda: we are in an undeclared ideo-cultural Information war with Russia. Can that, that is part of the deception …externalizing the enemy. We are in the mother of all class wars against ourselves: this is all about the control of the information (cyber) space West of the Russian border. The Russians are peering across the digital Iron Curtain laughing. There is no need for “active measures” against the West: we are quite capable of culturally destroying ourselves with rumors and inuendo!

          Liked by 1 person

      • Another interesting detail about Sergei Skripal’s personal affairs is that, rather strangely, his front door opened outwards; this is evident from the hinges. As someone observed on another website “who on earth has an outward opening front door?” I was thinking about this and it struck me that you would do this if you might seriously be anticipating someone attempting to kick in your front door. Just a thought.

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  13. Kathy says

    We can only speculate in fear at the depths of atrocity the Western powers are prepared to go. Their past behavior gives this fear a greater sense of foreboding. It did cross my mind with the fire in Siberia. Could this have been an arson attack. I would not put anything past the western deep state. They are now loosing ground on all fronts and even the sleeping ones are becoming suspicious and less complacent. At some point the critical mass will be weighed against them and I hope this day comes soon. The credibility of the media has begun to collapse irreversibly and the whole Skripal case has become so convoluted with each day that passes even the most passive and complacent out there must be beginning to wonder about the whole narrative and how little scrutiny the press has given to it. This slipping of power makes dangerous bullies break cover and begin to show their true colours. I fear and suspect something more is to come as the story unravels. A new story to bombard the senses on a repetition loop of fear porn to take the rising heat away from this one. I hope I am wrong about this but they have gone into true psycho derangement and no longer seem to care what we think any more.

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  14. The investigation by the OPCW is crucial to clarify the Skripal ‘event’. However the chain of custody of sample locations has long been in the hands of the British Authorities.
    How can it be verified that the park bench scene of the crime ,the home.including door knob, the Skripal blood samples and car have not been ‘salted’ by the British authorities to give the ‘Novichok’ verdict.
    OPCW are latecomers to the event and their conclusions cannot at this stage be verifiable on present available evidence.
    The survival of the Skripals and involvement of DS Bailey raise more questions than answers. The death of the family pets is another unexplained incident., the reasons of undernourishment and lack of water do not compute.
    The tardiness in which the British involved the OPCW is suspicious and indicates a delaying tactic while the requisite ‘salting’ was prepared.
    Indications are that the Skripals were involved in this hoax,especially as Sergei Sripal was a prime candidate for Security Service ‘ pressure’
    The OPCW verdicts from previous investigations in Syria, where the chain of custody of samples was heavily corrupted does not inspire confidence.
    Many of our Western Institutions and Inspectorates have been corrupted by Political pressure, especially since Iraq WMD and have lost credibility.
    I fear the ‘Russia guilty’ verdict is a foregone conclusion under the present circumstances.
    Teresa May and Boris Johnson appear to have been ‘fed’ a very dubious story by the Security agencies and have been over hasty in their conclusions.
    There may be another deception behind the Skripal deception to embarrass the British Govt. Much similar to the Trump ‘dirty dossier’, where intelligence was constructed around an agenda,all for monetary gain.
    Heads will roll in our political ,FCO and Security agencies for this disaster in International relations.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What I simply don’t understand is going along with the story to any degree at all. How many articles on this story – with story being the operative word – now? Where is a skerrick of evidence for the tiniest bit of this story?

    The technique I’ve used in my website, Occam’s Razor on Terror Events http://www.occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com, is to challenge those who believe the media stories to provide pieces of evidence that support them. They cannot come up with a single one. Not a single one. What they desperately do instead is try to refute my points. Their refutations are bogus but at least they can produce some words whereas coming up with a point to support their own belief they simply cannot do despite the vehemence of their belief.

    To me, the continued engagement with this story is like arguing with the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • @FlaxGirl. You mean, arguing the Emperor has no clothes, yes he has only you can’t see them because…,
      Instead of producing a verified Live video of the Emperor in his new clothes, and receipts for said materials delivered to said tailors, and chain of custody of said new clothes from tailors to dressers to Emperor’s August Person?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ivan says

      About http://www.occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com, I just think that putting everything in doubt because of what might be journalists mistakes, public officials incompetence and other causes, is not the right approach.

      I myself was a witness of cases (as probably almost anyone), where the initial version of events turned out later to be wrong and the guilt was attributed wrongly. My impression was that this happened not because of malice, but because people have their prejudice and are filling the missing information based on this prejudice.

      This is not to say that there had been no western governments actions which were crimes and provocations – there were. And about 9/11 there always was a feeling of lack of transparency. Nevertheless I still think there were indeed muslim terrorists who made the planes collide with the WTC. The buildings might have been taken down by the government and might have been not, hard for me to make a judgement. For me however the main question is whether this event was piloted by someone in american “secret services” or not, since it turned out to be a key factor to shape the western politics afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Ivan. You are right, the main question is how deep was the Bush regime piloting the flight of those planes with those Saudi terrorists on board? Two facts sprang up almost immediately to indicate top-down programming of that atrocity by Bush and Cheney: the Bin Laden family were in the Bush family ranch the night before, the only ones allowed to fly out the night after; what did they tell Bush that prompted Cheney to cancel US AirDefense on the very day? From then on everything is detail in the chain of evidence that leads from the heart of the regime in the White House — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, etc — down to subordinates like the B.Liar regime and the dancing Israeli “performance artists” who probably wired up thedemolition charges. But unlike your own experience, none of these suspicious characters have been brought to trial, nor even been made suspects in a police dragnet investigation. That’s how high the Deep Statecan penetrate our vaunted Western Democracy.

        Like

      • My approach is strictly logical and evidence-based, Ivan. So I put 10 points favouring the “independent researcher” hypothesis over the “media story” hypothesis and challenge those whose feelings are the other way to do the exercise in reverse. As I say, they cannot come up with a single point. So I have 10 points (could certainly produce more but I think 10 is sufficient) and the other side has not a one. Nor can they poke a credible hole in any of my 10 points. I think there can only be one conclusion on that basis, Ivan. Only one conclusion.

        9/11 is the easiest crime in the world to solve – at least, in terms of it being an inside job. The collapse of WTC-7 on 9/11 displayed all the unique characteristics of controlled demolition, including 2.25 seconds of free fall acceleration, while it displayed none of those of an uncontrolled collapse by fire – in fact, in the videos of the collapse there was not even a lick of flame – not that the presence of fire in a high rise steel frame building is any indication of causality of collapse in any case but just sayin’ – not a lick of flame. The only thing stopping people seeing it is the power of propaganda, the Hitlerian Lie (people cannot comprehend the audacity of massive whoppers so believe them) and fear.

        Like

  16. MichaelK says

    The dereliction of the most basic journalistic methods and standards by the UK press, typified by the Guardian, in relation to events in Salisbury and the hysteria surrounding them, marks a new, dark, low in the degeneration of the press into something that increasingly looks like a Ministry of Propaganda controlled by Downing Street.

    According to the Guardian, bursting with raging Russo-phobes like the dreadful and breathless Luke Harding… all dissent is now, basically part of a ‘conspiracy theory’ and more and more areas of public and political life a covered by the blanket label, which is rarely, if ever, subject to scrutiny or detailed examples, let alone the right of appeal.

    And it all seems to be getting worse and worse and easier and easier since Iraq and the edifice of lies presented as certainties about that hapless and defenceless country. Blair, and an invasion based on ‘intelligence’ fake WMDs stories have all been erased and cannot be mentioned today, and if one does, one is automatically smeared as a ‘conspiracy theorist.’

    It’s as if we’ve already declared war on Russia and the editors all agree, and are willing and eager to show how much they love their country and how patriotic they are, so any story, no matter how ridiculous and full of gigantic holes, is published without question as long at the target is Russian. Because, everyone is now involved in the war effort.

    This is a terrible state of affairs and incredibly dangerous. In a half-way democratic country this scandal should lead to the resignation of scores of journalists, the fall of the government and a public enquiry into the mass media’s role in this tawdry affair.

    Like

    • Harry Stotle says

      The Guardian has back-tracked a little bit over the last few days but instead of admitting they are a news outlet with any proper journalists they are instead blaming their abject failings to investigate the case on Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

      They really are acting like children who have been caught doing wrong but do not have the emotional maturity to take ownership of their bad behavior – its like they have already forgotten that just a few weeks ago columnists were aggitating for a co-ordinated attack (by the EU) against Russia, pressaged by anti-Putin propaganda.

      It is vitally important that we have news sources like Off-G because the MSM has ceded both independence and moral authority to their ever more derranged controllers.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thomas Peterson says

    The only known casualties are Nash Van Drake the cat and 2 guinea pigs who died of neglect after being left locked in the house by authorities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • reenmac says

      Do you know, thats what makes me angrier than anything
      All this self righteous condemnation of THE RUSSIANS..all this puffing up about European values, and the Skripals animals die of starvation and neglect because the British simply failed to take care of them

      Like

      • Absolutely unbelievable. Somebody was ultimately responsible for knowingly closing the door on these poor animals and condemning them to death without a second thought. Speaks volumes about the mentality of our investigators or security services. President Putin is well known for his love of all animals…I know he has bigger issues on his plate at the moment but I know how he would view this completely unnecessary disregard of innocent lives. No doubt someone would say that they couldn’t move them in case they were contaminated. Well, at the very least, if not fed, they should have been euthanised.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Fletcher BTL Indie 23 minutes ago:
        So all those sods poncing about in yellow suits would not go in and feed them. Wankers
        +10

        Like

        • So we have a photo. Can we class this as evidence? Really? I feel horribly, horribly guilty about it but I do experience a similar chortle, I think, to that of those in the power elite at the ridiculous nonsense they come up with in their staging of events. We don’t even have the dead bodies of the guinea pigs!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Actually, on closer inspection it seems that there may be a guinea pig in the cage that does not necessarily look dead at all and there’s fresh food in the bowl! See, they’re giving us a big clue here – they’re telling us something they’re really not showing us at all.

            Like

            • I’m silly, aren’t I? This was a photo taken before the “fatalities”. Regardless, it’s just a photo and we have no evidence of any pet fatalities – and even if we did – how could we be sure that the dead animals belonged to the Skripals. It’s just so completely ludicrous.

              Like

  18. MichaelK says

    It’s all so simple, really, just ask a few elementary questions and do a bit of clear thinking. Otherwise one’s emotions and beliefs, what one ‘knows’ can take over and before long one is tying some old woman to a stake and burning her alive because she’s a witch. Due process isn’t some theoretical luxury. It’s part of a process a strong tool, designed over centuries to strip away layers of confusion, contradiction and chaos and lead us calmly towards the truth. If, every time a crime is committed we knew who had done it, automatically, we wouldn’t even need laws or courts. We could just jump to the sentencing part and save an awful lot of time and effort, unfortunately an awful lot of innocent people would be wrongly convicted and loads of real criminals would go free, if we replaced due process and actually proving anything, by just hanging a label around the accused’s neck based on what we believe and know and dragging them off to the stake to be burned.

    One would imagine that this direct assault on due process and the rule of law and even basic common sense, all spearheaded by Downing Street, would cause liberals and others in the media to throw up their hands in horror, but no, they are totally onside for this process of undermining the rational and replacing it with the irrational fear, rumours, stories, prejudice, racism about Russians.

    It’s just very dangerous to employ the same kind of madness and hysteria that was aimed at witches, to entire countries, a country like Russia; that in contrast to some poor old woman with a black cat, is a powerful state with a huge and effective nuclear arsenal and the will to defend itself if atttacked.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Dave Hansell says

    The article still contains a key assumption which requires answering.

    This relates to the alleged agent used. The reports indicate widespread contamination from a claimed military grade chemical agent known to be several times more potent than previous known NA series. Yet no one has died, not even the alleged targets. This fact alone, at the very least, casts doubt on the claim that a nerve agent was used.

    Then we have the letter published in a national newspaper from a senior medic at Salisbury hospital categorically stating no one was treated for nerve agent poisoning.

    The door handle story is pure nonsense and has been demolished elsewhere as a viable and serious option.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed. The implications of the doctor’s letter are so significant I’m absolutely amazed that no ‘journalist’ appears to have attempted to seek clarification from the doctor, whose identify is known of course. There has been much debate on alternative media sites and by some more aware contributors to msm reader pages about whether he intended to express it in this way. In spite of this nobody appears to have followed it up. And, more significantly, the doctor himself has not gone into print anywhere to clarify the meaning of what he said in order to clear up the mystery one way or another. I have visions of discussions behind the scenes in which he was being pressured to retract his words, refused to do so, and has now been silenced with threats about his career etc… There is just a complete wall of silence over this potentially pivotal matter.

      Like

      • There no doubt are similarities in the effects of nerve agents and opioids such as fentanyl but one distinct difference is the effect on the pupils of the eyes. Nerve agents cause the pupils to constrict and opioids cause dilation. I was just looking at the account of the doctor who attended to them for half an hour before they were taken to hospital and she said that she definitely thought she was dealing with a drugs overdose; presumably she would have checked the eyes right at the outset to support that conclusion. So this potentially is an anomaly in the official narrative. I also recall at the time my brother, who has a medical background, saying to me, when the story changed from opioid overdose to nerve agent attack, that he had heard or read a witness account saying that the Skripals had noticeably dilated pupils so he (my brother) was sceptical about the nerve agent story. However I haven’t been able to find anything on the Internet to support any account of dilated pupils.

        Like

  20. Dmitry says

    Teresa May, in practice, rehearsed the declaration of war, based on not proven charges. If the accusations are not confirmed, she will say that then it was for sure that Russia sent Skripal, since the lack of evidence indicates that this is a carefully prepared and planned operation that could only be carried out by Russia. But if some kind of refutation comes about by some miracle, what will the British government do? Call Merkel, Alanda and the rest, I’m sorry, we hurried?
    What will happen if any Russian oligarch in England is killed? Diplomats were deported. They say the high-flying diplomats did not help, what remains?

    Like

  21. A sample from comments BTL on today’s Indie:
    TinCanMan 9 hours ago
    Princess under a bridge, WMD expert in a field, GCHQ man in a locked sports bag, folks in Salisbury. Why, the British Establishment’s agents are getting awfully busy these days!
    +2

    Tom Sharp 9 hours ago
    I presume Boris Johnson wants to keep the girl and her double agent father away from the public eye as long as possible!
    +8

    afurada 9 hours ago
    Indeed. They might well say something to undermine his version even more.
    +6

    Peter Permyakov 1 hour ago
    Skripals’ pets somehow survived exosure to military-grade nerve agent, but died malnourished. Guinea pigs died of thirst and cat was put down by Vets. All three were providently incinerated [like Dr.Kelly’s mortal remains], so no samples for cross-check.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sergey-skripals-cat-guinea-pigs-12311861

    [To which last Vexarb adds: She left them on the mat / But they paralysed the cat / The old red flannel drawers that Maggie wore / O Maggie, Maggie May ….]

    Like

    • Ivan says

      I wouldn’t trust the upvotes too much (neither on Independent, neither on Guardian), I think these are manipulated easily. But yes, there are many comments skeptical about the British version of events.

      Some of the comments come from Labour voters, some from people generally skeptical about the government, some from people of Russian origin like myself, who live in the west and who saw the hatred campaign against Russia and the Russian people unfold over the years before their eyes, and some comments even, hear hear, from indignated Russian people living in Russia (which acccording to the western media and politicians in power should not be allowed to express their views so that not to contaminate the unbiased judgement of western public).

      Like

  22. And Pepe Escobar of Asian Times adds the EurAsian connection, in today’s Saker:

    “As presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey met in Ankara for a second Russia-Iran-Turkey summit on the future of Syria, Moscow hosted its 7th International Security Conference attended by defense ministers from dozens of nations.

    A more graphic illustration of the synchronicity drive towards Eurasia integration would be hard to find.

    Crucially, China sent not only a high-ranking delegation to Moscow, but most of all a loud and clear message. General Wei Fenghe, the new Chinese Defense Minister, side by side with Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, said: “The Chinese side came to let the Americans know about the close ties between the Russian and Chinese armed forces.” …Even before the meeting the Global Times stressed the point that non-stop Russia demonization coupled with the now rolling US-China trade war will only strengthen the “special character” partnership.

    And then Iran’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, expanded the scope, saying “foreign plans” related to security in the Middle East would inevitably fail….

    What happened in Moscow necessarily must be crossed over with what happened in Ankara. The final joint statement is unmistakable, emphasizing their common commitment to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.

    The fact that Ankara is Putin’s first foreign trip after reelection speaks volumes. …
    Northern Syria, however, remains a much trickier proposition, as we have a de facto NATO versus NATO subplot; Turkish NATO troops versus the YPG Kurds, a proxy US NATO force.”

    [Pepe and Ziad are revealing the real world that lies outside the Whitehall Theatre where a captivated audience guffaws loudly while Maggie May and Boris Buffoon play starring roles in a “carefully scripted farce of anti-Putin nonsense” (Ziad’s critical appraisal)].

    Like

    • Francis Lee says

      Given the Anglo-Zionist bull-in-the-china-shop foreign policy posture this development has hardly been surprising. The fact that an anti-hegemonic bloc is at present coalescing in Eurasia was always going to be the West’s self-fullfiling prophecy. For every action there is a reaction. In its insufferable hubris the west has brought about a counter-force that is growing in strength and resolve as each day passes. Exactly what it didn’t want!

      As Richard Sakwa explains:

      ”A disparate but nonetheless strengthening tide of anti-hegemonic of arrangements and organizations has begun to emerge … The creeping universalization of American law and practices of universal jurisdiction represented a new type of power that threatened the sovereignty of states everywhere. In response counter-hegemonic movements gained vitality and dynamism … In all of this Russia was in the vanguard.” (Russia Against the Rest, p.322)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yonatan says

      Russia is also accelerating delivery of the S-400s to Turkey. Once they are in place and their crews trained, Turkey can safely tell NATO to get lost.

      Like

  23. Ziad Fadel, editor of SyrPer, comments on the Syrian connection:

    “Folks, the reason for all this anti-Putin nonsense is the one fact that the Syrian government now holds over 11 British officers who were liaised with the terrorists in the Ghouta. They were captured 2 weeks ago by Syrian Army commandos and are being held in separate jails around the Damascus area inside heavily guarded military bases. The Brits want them badly before they are used to implicate England in the mess it helped to create in Syria. Damascus won’t budge on this issue and, evidently, the English are assuming Moscow is not putting pressure on Dr. Assad to release them to Old Blighty. Too bad. And they were caught out of uniform, such that they could be executed as spies under international law.”

    Ziad also speculates: “There is a rumor floating around which is quite credible to those of us who have studied British history [such as 911 WMD and Dr.Kelly]. The poisoning of the double-agent spy, Skripal and his daughter, Julia, is linked to the horrific fire in Siberia which killed scores of children. The fact that the alarm was turned off while the exits were blockaded all point to another MI6 atrocity.”

    Like

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      I reckon Syria should publicly sentence them to death as spies, but hold out the prospect of mercy if they make full confessions of all they know, that had better be corroborated by the others. Then release the confessions, and after an interval, release the thugs back to the UK as an act of mercy. Of course they’ll then recant their confessions, so the interlude might need to be a few months, but the swine could be told, after confessing, that they will not be hanged. No need to act as cruelly as Westerners, after all.

      Like

      • If the confessions are extracted intelligently, recanting would be of no use. It should be obvious from agreement between them (each person would have to deliver their confession independently, of course) and from the fact that the material of the confessions would make far more sense than the official story that the confessions tell a true story.

        It’s sad that extracted confessions always seem to have no credibility whatsoever because of the conditions they’re issued under – they always seem to be extracted by the baddies rather than the goodies and involve waterboarding or similar. Surely, there are humane ways to extract a confession so that it’s credible. I dream of extracting confessions from the baddies (without waterboarding … or maybe with) but it ain’t never going to happen. Besides I don’t really blame the baddies anymore anyway, it’s the alleged goodies who stay silent I blame far more. If the alleged goodies were doing their job properly all this nonsense would not be happening.

        In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

        Martin Luther King, Jr.

        Like

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