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Skripal case: Russia counter-attacks; Britain responds by tightening access to Yulia Skripa

by Alexander Mercouris

Britain struggles to respond to Russia’s diplomatic counter-offensive, stonewalls all Russian attempts to gain access to Yulia Skripal

If during the first three weeks of the Skripal crisis it was the British who made the running, over the last two weeks the initiative has slowly shifted to the Russians.

As is often the way, the Russians – caught by surprise by a crisis that seemed to come out of nowhere – initially responded reactively.

However as the weeks have passed they have gradually found their footing, and are now starting to score points.

By contrast it is the British – who apparently assumed that following the diplomatic expulsions the crisis would subside – who now look increasingly on the blackfoot as, contrary to their expectations, the Russians refuse to let the matter rest.

The result has been bitter recriminations in the British media – with much of the blame being placed on Boris Johnson – a flood of not always very consistent or convincing leaks to the media trying to bolster the British case, and ever more shrill denunciations of the supposedly ‘useful idiots’ who express doubts about it.

With hindsight the Russians took one step in the early days of the crisis which has paid handsome dividends.

This was their insistence – made as early as the UN Security Council session of 14th March 2018 – that Britain follow the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention and obtain confirmation from the OPCW of the nature of the poison used in the attack.

The Russians followed this up by convening a meeting of the OPCW’s executive committee on 4th April 2018 at which they presented a resolution which jointly sponsored by Russia, China and Iran for an international investigation of the incident, with law enforcement agencies from Britain and Russia both involved in the investigation.

This is by no means an absurd or outlandish proposal. On the contrary since Yulia Skripal is a Russian citizen it is precisely what should have happened.

However – as the Russians of course know – the OPCW has no jurisdiction to impose an international investigation of a crime which has happened in a sovereign state. That is a matter solely within the jurisdiction of that state, and the OPCW – which is not an investigative body – has no authority to order it. The only international institution which does is the UN Security Council.

There was no possibility therefore of the Russian-Chinese-Iranian proposal being adopted, or of being put into effect if it was adopted, and the Russians – and the Chinese and the Iranians – must have known this when they proposed it.

However the Russian insistence that the OPCW become involved and verify the British claim that the poison used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal was a Novichok, together with the Russians’ call for an international investigation of the incident, and the lists of questions with which in advance of the OPCW executive council session the Russians bombarded the OPCW, the British, and the French – whose experts the British consulted to verify the identity of the poison – set the scene for the admission by Gary Aitkenhead, Porton Down’s chief executive, that contrary to British Foreign Office claims Porton Down has not been able to confirm that the chemical which poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal was made in Russia.

Ever since then, because British diplomats – not just Boris Johnson – have for weeks been lying about this, the British have been on the defensive.

As it happens the OPCW executive council session, like the UN Security Council session which Russia called shortly after, also demonstrated another important fact.

This is that the Skripal crisis is an East-West confrontation – the West versus the Eurasian powers led by Russia and China – and not a confrontation between a ‘united world community’ and an ‘isolated Russia’, as British and other Western commentators like to claim.

It seems that all the sixteen states who at the OPCW executive council session voted against the Russian-Chinese-Iranian proposal for an international investigation of the incident are members of the Western alliance, whilst the six countries which voted for the proposal are all Eurasian states. Importantly all seventeen of the states which chose to abstain in the voting appear to have been non-aligned states.

The pattern repeated itself at the subsequent UN Security Council meeting on the following day, 5th April 2018.

Not only were Western ambassadors the only ambassadors pointing fingers at Russia during the meeting, but those non-aligned non-Western ambassadors who chose to speak during the meeting not only did not point fingers at Russia but appeared if anything to favour the Russian position: that the mysteries of the Skripal case be solved internationally by way of cooperation between Britain and Russia.

The comments of the ambassador of Equatorial Guinea – no ally of Russia – as summarised by the United Nations Press Office, may serve as a typical example

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) expressed hope that current investigations would both shed light on the facts and be fair and commensurate with relevant international norms and procedures. He reiterated a desire that, as permanent members of the Council, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom would set an example to the international community on the peaceful resolution of disputes. At a pivotal moment when international institutions were under constant attack, it was important the two members used their maturity and international political experience to handle the situation prudently, he said, hoping the diplomatic crisis that had broken out would soon be defused.

If Gary Aitkenhead’s admission that Porton Down cannot confirm that the chemical agent used in the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal was Russian made has been a public relations disaster for the British, the British authorities’ treatment of Sergey and Yulia Skripal looks increasingly like a public relations disaster waiting to happen.

The British authorities have maintained the tightest possible security around Sergey and Yulia Skripal. No photographs of them have been released and nor has any information been provided about the sort of treatment they are receiving. So far as is known they have been seen by no visitors. Access to them is tightly controlled.

The recent High Court Judgment permitting blood samples to be taken from Sergey and Yulia Skripal so that they could be passed on to the OPCW revealed that the British authorities had previously taken blood samples from Sergey and Yulia Skripal, which were passed on to Porton Down.

(2) …….on 14 and 16 March 2018 the UK government issued a formal invitation to the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a team of experts to the United Kingdom ‘to assist in the technical evaluation of unscheduled chemicals in accordance with Article VIII 38(e).’ This in effect is to independently verify the analysis carried out by Porton Down. In order to conduct their enquiries the OPCW wish to

i) Collect fresh blood samples from Mr and Ms Skripal to

a) Undertake their own analysis in relation to evidence of nerve agents,

b) conduct DNA analysis to confirm the samples originally tested by Porton Down are from Mr and Ms Skripal,

ii) Analyse the medical records of Mr and Ms Skripal setting out their treatment since 4 March 2018,

iii) Re-test the samples already analysed by Porton Down.

(3) Because Mr Skripal and Ms Skripal are unconscious and neither are in a position to consent to the taking of further blood samples for these purposes or to the disclosure of their medical records Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust have quite properly confirmed to the UK Government that a court order would be required to authorise (a) and (b) above.

(bold italics added)

There is no hint here of any previous permission being obtained from the High Court to take these blood samples. This is so, even though Mr. Justice Williams clearly says in his Judgment that such permission should be obtained

(3) Because Mr Skripal and Ms Skripal are unconscious and neither are in a position to consent to the taking of further blood samples for these purposes or to the disclosure of their medical records Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust have quite properly confirmed to the UK Government that a court order would be required to authorise (a) and (b) above

(4) Thus the Secretary of State has applied to this court for personal welfare orders in respect of Mr and Ms Skripal under the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 seeking determinations that it is lawful for the NHS Trust to take a blood sample for provision to the OPCW and to disclose the relevant medical records to the OPCW and for the blood samples taken from Mr and Ms Skripal to be subjected to testing by the OPCW.

(bold italics added)

Was permission obtained from the High Court before the blood samples sent to Porton Down were taken from Sergey and Yulia Skripal?

If not, then was the taking of the earlier blood samples unlawful, perhaps an assault, which is a criminal offence?

If permission was obtained why has the High Court’s Judgment granting this permission not been made public? What made it different from the Judgment of Mr. Justice Williams, which was made public?

Or could it be that no permission was needed because at the time when the blood samples were taken Sergey and Yulia Skripal were conscious and could therefore give their consent to have the samples taken?

Or might it be that it was judged at the time that the taking of the blood samples did not require the High Court’s permission because it was a necessary part of the medical treatment with which Sergey and Yulia Skripal were being provided? If so why is nothing said about this in Mr. Justice Williams’s Judgment?

Speaking as someone who has read many court Judgments, I strongly suspect that no previous permission was obtained from the High Court when the previous blood samples were taken. Had it been I would have expected Mr. Justice Williams in his very careful Judgment to mention it.

One way or the other I would be interested to have an explanation about this.

Publication of the High Court Judgment was followed shortly after by the sudden and unexpected announcement that Yulia Skripal was recovering well and had regained consciousness.

That the two events – the publication of the Judgment and the announcement of Yulia Skripal’s recovery – might be linked, I have suggested previously

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

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

Predictably enough, the announcement of Yulia Skripal’s recovery led to renewed Russian demands for consular access to her. The British have however failed to grant such access without saying clearly why.

Meanwhile photographs of Yulia Skripal have still not appeared. There is still no information about the treatment she is receiving. She still appears to have seen no visitors. There is no public word of any law firm representing her though the need for her to be provided with legal assistance – and to be allowed to consult with lawyers – is obvious.

Her cousin Viktoria Skripal has had only one telephone conversation with her that we know of, which she recorded.

As I have discussed previously, the impression provided by the transcript of the conversation is of Yulia Skripal being someone who feels very constrained in what she is either able or willing to say.

She does however know in advance that Viktoria Skripal’s request for a visa to come to Britain to see her is going to be refused (some British media outlets apparently deleted these words when they published the transcript).

That Viktoria Skripal’s request for a visa to come to Britain has been refused has now been confirmed by the BBC

Meanwhile, the UK has refused to grant a visa to Yulia’s cousin, Viktoria Skripal, the BBC has learned.

The Home Office said the application did not comply with immigration rules. A government source told the BBC it appears Russia is “trying to use Viktoria as a pawn”…..

Viktoria later told the BBC she did not have enough money in her bank account to satisfy the visa requirements.

The Guardian has provided further details of what “the government source” said about Viktoria Skripal

“It appears the Russian state is trying to use Victoria as a pawn,” a government source told the BBC, adding: “If she is being influenced or coerced by the Kremlin, she has become another victim.”

(bold italics added)

It looks as if the claim that Viktoria Skripal has insufficient money in her bank account to be granted a visa is just a pretext.

Just as her cousin Yulia Skripal told her, the British authorities have no intention of granting her a visa, not because she has insufficient money in her bank account but because they consider her to be “a pawn of the Russian government” (whatever that means).

Why that should prevent her from seeing her cousin, who is seriously ill, is left unexplained.

Incidentally I wonder whether the fact that the British authorities consider Viktoria Skripal to be “a pawn of the Russian government” also explains why she has been denied any role in the legal proceedings which affect her cousin, to the point where the British authorities appear to have failed even to inform Mr. Justice Williams of her existence?

All in all it appears that the British authorities are determined to prevent anyone from Russia – even members of Yulia Skripal’s family – from having contact with her.

That presumably accounts for the strange statement published in Yulia Skripal’s name by the British authorities in what looks like a rushed reaction to Viktoria Skripal’s publication of the transcript of her conversation with Yulia Skripal.

This statement – written in perfect idiomatic British English – appears to be intended to justify blocking access to her – either by the Russian authorities or by members of her family or by anyone such as a lawyer who might be acting on their behalf.

One effect of publication of the transcript of Yulia Skripal’s conversation with Viktoria Skripal has been that it has forced the British authorities to confirm that what Yulia Skripal told Viktoria Skripal during their conversation – that Sergey Skripal is not only alive but is also recovering – is true.

Directly after publication of the transcript I wrote that its contents appeared to suggest this, and now the British authorities themselves have been forced to confirm it.

In other words, just as publication of Mr. Justice Williams’s Judgment seems to have forced the British authorities to admit that Yulia Skripal is recovering and conscious, so Viktoria Skripal’s publication of the transcript of her telephone conversation with Yulia Skripal seems to have forced the British authorities to admit that Sergey Skripal is alive and recovering well.

Frankly the timing of these announcements, and the extraordinary secrecy about every aspect of the treatment and condition of Sergey and Yulia Skripal since they were first found on the bench, only reinforces the impression that the British authorities are in effect controlling them, and that they are being kept in a condition which looks suspiciously like detention.

Perhaps this is all being done in good faith and for their protection.

However John Helmer for one says that

The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family.

(bold italics added)

He makes a compelling case.

With the collapse of the Novichok evidence Sergey and Yulia Skripal are now key witnesses in the case.

Perhaps they have nothing of value to say. It is striking that a week after Yulia Skripal recovered consciousness the British police have still not identified a suspect, which suggests that her knowledge of the facts behind the attack is limited.

However in the meantime the Russians are stating what many people will doubtless see as the obvious

That the Russians may have a point is strongly suggested by the following very interesting words in this interesting article by the Guardian’s diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour, which appeared on 30th March 2018, shortly after news of Yulia Skripal’s recovery was made public

Russia has also responded to the apparent recovery of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned alongside her father. She may be able to provide insights into how the poisoning occurred, or even reveal whether she knows of some other motive by some other non-state actor.

The British intelligence services will be debriefing her as soon as her health permits. It would clearly be a huge embarrassment for the UK government if it emerged she believed the Russian state was not involved.

(bold italics added)

Perhaps it was not just rhetoric from Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia when he warned the British at the UN Security Council meeting on 5th April 2018

……that they were playing with fire and would be sorry. Politicians in the United Kingdom had no idea that their hyped-up statements might boomerang back at them.

Does Nebenzia and the Russian government know more than they are saying? Perhaps there are more surprises ahead in this strange affair.


63 Comments

  1. Etegere says

    There can now be no doubt that the Skripals are being held illegally by the UK government. The UK narrative is now completely collapsing, right up to the absurd “memo” released today that makes all kinds of claims with no evidence. Just more lies.

    The British public will not stand for these lies much longer. It is clear the UK is trying to generate a cause for war against Russia in Syria, and they have decided to use the same tactic as they used before the illegal Iraq War: made up chemical weapons and attacks. If they don’t stop now the government will fall and millions will march in the streets. It will be May’s head they want.

    • Mark Gobell says

      “The UK narrative is now completely collapsing, right up to the absurd “memo” released today that makes all kinds of claims with no evidence. Just more lies.” Well said Etegere.

      Today, in a marvellous example of transparent open government, befitting our advanced modern democracy, Mark Sedwill the UK’s National Security Advisor, wrote to Jens Stoltenberg at NATO. The entire letter is available for all to read.

      https://www.scribd.com/document/376270220/Letter-to-the-Nato-secretary-general#from_embed

      “During the 2000s, Russia commnenced a programme to test means of delivering chemical warfare agents and to train personnel from special units in the use of these weapons. This programme subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles.”

      He also used the “highly likely” phrase again.

      I admit to laughing, It is quite funny.

      The Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko’s impressive press conference today in London is worth watching.

      Alexander Yakovenko holds a press conference in London on Friday, April 13

      He made his audience watch the big screen, where Princess Tony was calling for war against Syria, followed by Princess Tony saying how sowwy he was for earlier war in Iraq.

      Master stroke.

      Yakovenko asked them all, how is it, in a country with a free press, that “not one of you had asked the same questions.”

      Silence.

      MG

  2. Pat back says

    It seems that the “poisoning” of Skripal and his daughters may be much more related to events in Syria than at first glance. Consider the following situation. GRU Agent Skripal cheerfully reveals for several years the relatively important information of the British MI6. It is revealed and sentenced to 13.5 years. Together with him are revealed his clutches and contacts, which also go “rumble”.
    After a while, a group of Russian spies, operating in the UK and the United States, was unveiled. It also ends up behind the cathedral. Secret services, as is their custom, negotiate the exchange that will be held. In 2010, Sripal, a man with the reputation of the MI6 agent in the GRU, arrives in GB for asylum and citizenship. Nothing abnormal, the Russian community in England is very strong. As a contact person in both Russia and Spain, Britain, the USA and Germany, he will build a company involved in transporting dangerous goods after a while. Not only in Britain. And at someone’s urge, his company starts collaborating with the laboratories in Porton Down, where he has proven access. Then someone suggests a plan of false chemical weapon attacks in Syria. Someone from the US secret service. For the first time everything goes well. Khan Shaquin will almost become the start of the US attack on Syria. However, Russia is shooting down the incinerated Tomahawk and Syria discharges chemical weapons under international surveillance. It seems quiet. But then, on the scene, Russia is entering a much larger scale and is launching a military operation against ISIL in Syria. And wonder, it is successful. Something needs to be done. Why deviate from the proven patterns? But because chemical weapons are no longer in Syria, they need to be transported there. And who else would be more suitable than Scripal and his company? In addition, he is Russian, so in case of problems everything is good for Russia.
    Scripal agrees. Logically, it’s a good job. British and Americans supply chemical specialists, Skripal will provide chemical and chemical ammunition from warehouses in France, Germany and elsewhere to the destination and preparation of a “scene” for a chemical attack. This time in Idlibu. Perfect organization and directing, and because there is no one to point out obvious contradictions, there is almost a war going on. Everything goes out of the way somehow lost, only other sanctions are imposed against Russia and Syria.
    And because Russia is doing well in Syria, the successful plans of the “pro-Western coalition” to create Kurdistan and the disintegration of Syria in the area of ​​interest and gaining popularity, there is a need for “something” to do. “Something” is a war that would solve a lot of things. So, again, Skripal, taking over chemical and chemical weapons from the British and the French (Why the French have the largest capacity to dispose of chemical ammunition in Europe, ending with NATO-made containers, bullets and bombs, and well know the situation in Syria – involved in the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons) supplies materials to Duna near Damascus, and the scene seems ready. Specialists are in place, just “to start”. But … He seems to be not just a former GRU agent. As they say, old love does not rust. If this was planned from the beginning, or if the Skripal was a common “sleep”, waking up to this surgery, we probably will not know at this stage. But it is essential that he either handed over from the beginning or gave some impetus to himself to pass on information (perhaps not only) about these actions to his former employer. The way of delivery was simple – his daughter served as a link between him and GRU in Russia. Perhaps he wanted to return to his old knees, who knows. And we’re worth the point. Skripal provides preparation for the last action. His company will import Chlorine, Sarine and VX into Dune. He informs the Russian side about the preparations. He knows where the chemicals are hidden, how many are there, and probably the term of the attack. Perhaps he personally participated in the preparation of his plan.
    That’s why 13 March 3 rd defense ministry can afford to come up with information that there will be a chemical attack in the Dume under a fake flag to provoke Syria a war clash between the US-led coalition on the one hand and Russia, Iran and Syria on the other . The Russians know that this time it is really tough. They do not hesitate and act. A daughter arrives at the Scripture and tells him the place to meet the courier. All caution goes aside, the situation is very serious. Skripal goes to Porton Down, picks up or steals the top secret stuff about the upcoming operation, takes them out of the facility, and then hand over to the courier, who immediately takes off from the ground.
    Skripal knows that his and her daughter are probably arrested. He knows the interrogator will know the truth about his role in the upcoming operation, and that he is revealed. That’s why they’ll have a nice afternoon with their daughter, they’ll go through, maybe they’ll say goodbye if something goes wrong. Then they will both take the poison that will bring them to the brink of death, and for some time will completely disable their interrogations MI6 and CIA. And he’ll end up in the hospital. Unconscious but relatively safe, because of their fate, they are extremely interested in all the parties involved. At first, the British do not know what has happened.

  3. Mark Gobell says

    OPCW Summary Reort ( publicly available )

    https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1612-2018_e_.pdf

    The team was briefed on the identity of the toxic chemical identified by the United
    Kingdom and was able to review analytical results and data from chemical analysis of
    biomedical samples collected by the British authorities from the affected individuals,
    as well as from environmental samples collected on site.
    The results of analysis of biomedical samples conducted by OPCW designated
    laboratories demonstrate the exposure of the three hospitalised individuals to this
    toxic chemical.
    The results of analysis of the environmental samples conducted by OPCW designated
    laboratories demonstrate the presence of this toxic chemical in the samples.
    The results of analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and
    biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United
    Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and
    severely injured three people.
    The name and structure of the identified toxic chemical are contained in the full
    classified report of the Secretariat, available to States Parties.

    Ends.

    MG

    • flamingo says

      Thank you bigB, now that she is mobile and can speak for herself would she please provide the world public with a copy of all statements made to the British police and other investigators. I am aware that she desires her privacy but as she has contributed to bringing the world to the brink of serious global tension, even war, she does owe us all an explanation of events.

      I am not immediately alleging that she has mislead authorities but certain authorities may have mislead us. Either way there has been a direct attack on public order and sense of security. If the poisoning was an invention then there has been a serious public mischief. So serious in fact that millions have been spent mobilising for an attack on Syria following a similar curious chemical agent allegation in that nation. The combination of these events has caused extreme public anxiety both in the so called events but more so in the aftermath.

      If ms Skripal and her father colludud in fabricating this in an endeavour to get a new identity and stipend to live in New Caledonia, while the world went to war, they would be guilty of a crime against humanity. So lets hear a comprehensive explanation from the Skripals before someone takes this to the international criminal court.

  4. This is interesting:

    Tour: “It’s impossible to pin source of weapon to a country”

    Published on 9 Apr 2018

    “It’s impossible to pin source of weapon to a country” says James Tour as the fallout continues from Skripal case.

  5. Patrick Mahony says

    They are probably dead already. The relocation story is misdirection. If they had “died” after the attack the Russians would want the bodies. This way they can disappear without the embarrassment of another inexplicable Nash Van Drake cremation.

  6. Yonatan says

    Regarding the pending surprise, there is strong evidence that the Syrian Arab Army captured a number of British SAS troops amongst the terrorists in the recently liberated east Ghouta enclave. These troops were reportedly giving targetting information to the terrorists for the mortar and rocket attacks in Damascus. The recent targets included a school, a hospital, a crowded market, and also the Russian consulate.

    • Mikalina says

      Check out the video Alaffcreator uploaded. The analyst there explains this quite clearly. Also, the successful targeting of ‘higher up’ military personnel, both Russian and Syrian, presumably, again, from intelligence ‘provided’ to the TERRORISTS (not rebels, Grundian) by US/UK/Israeli embedded illegal forces in Ghouta.

  7. Yonatan says

    The first set of blood samples had clear medical justification – to establish a cause for the symptoms allowing the Skirpals to be treated. The second set has no medical justification hence the court case to gain permission.

    • The Russians drew attention to the fact that France had been involved in the UK’s investigations. I have read since that they apparently reconfirmed the UK’s findings about the type of nerve agent. That aside, because I would have no confidence in what the UK may have provided them with, it begs several questions:

      Did they involve the French before calling upon the OPCW? If so, why? Porton Down, or so we are told, is a leading world authority on CWs. Do we take it that the French also have stocks of A234 to compare the samples with?
      Did they involve the French after calling upon the OPCW? If so, why? Porton Down…[ditto as above]
      What was the origin of the samples which the UK gave to the French? (a) If blood/body fluids, were the samples from the original samples taken for the purposes of medical intervention at the hospital? Would use of those same samples by France for investigative purposes be legal without a High Court ruling as per the OPCW samples? (b) if blood/body fluid samples were taken specifically to pass on to the French, then presumably a High Court ruling should have been obtained to do so as per the OPCW samples. Was one obtained in secret or not at all?
      We need answers to questions like these to give us further insight into the lengths to which our Govt will go to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes by whatever devious, immoral, illegal and corrupt ways possible. As so many others have said on this forum, why do we need to raise the questions that so called journalists should be raising?

  8. Kathy says

    So it would seam things are all panning out as so many people on here have been predicting. It is like Casandra,s curse in Greek tragedy. Seeing what will be and not being able to stop it rolling on,. The narrative twists and turns. I guess if Yulia had died the Russian government would have had some rights to repatriate the body but alive the Skripals can be said to have refused all visitors and Russian intervention. So again all very convenient for the UK agenda. It is scary how they could well be spirited away and no one may ever know if they are alive or dead. How would any one ever feel safe again. I guess this is why so many people dont even want to look under the bed. The more things like this happen the more some people will try to pretend it is not happening. Keep on watching the movie as it were.

  9. flamingo says

    They will most likely end up in Flint USA as the lead poisoning permanently destroys memory capacity and no one there will recognize them. There are at least 2000 equally contaminated cities in USA where they could hang out and no one would ask an intelligent question. So if exotic killer chemicals fail, there is always lead in some form.

  10. Well this idiotic psy-op is getting even smellier .
    It is rumoured that they have been offered protective custodial protection by pax-americana . They will e flown to the Un and that they are preparing prosecution case against . ?
    I will give you one guess and further more another country might be implicated as accomplice or the actual purveyor of the agent.
    Hence 1914 and the dying days of the League of Nations redux.
    Buckle down and better re stock your popcorn ,crisps beer and vino or soda cause who needs Netflix we got Pax-americana and their vassals .
    Just think of it just like Khan Sheikhoon Douma and the Skri[pals no evidence needed .
    The Empire just struck Homes airbase T4.
    Well kiss western civilisation good bye for they have become the purveyors of mendacity and death.

    • I have posted the following a number of times on Off Guardian:

      Published on 3 Aug 2017

      Renowned French security expert Paul Barril discloses the existence of Operation Beluga, a covert Western intelligence scheme intended to undermine Russia and its leaders.

      • Reposted the video yesterday (and credited you) and commented:

        If you have not already seen it: you must watch the testimony of Paul Barril. He was one of Frances top intelligence officers and he implicates an Italian/Chechen connection in the murder of Litvinenko. He names the Italian as Mario Scaramella. This is the same man Litvinenko named as his murderer. Lugovoi merely brought the Polonium 210.

        “According to Paul Barril, Litvinenko was himself working for the late Boris Berezovsky [a Russian fugitive oligarch that made London his home] who, according to Barril, was in turn working for and with the British intelligence service MI6. Barril said, ‘Litvinenko has betrayed his employers, Berezovsky and the MI6, and has pocketed large sums of money, millions of US dollars, that were destined for agent provocateurs within the Berezovsky clan. The sole goal was to globally discredit Putin and the Russian Federation. This Western intelligence operation was directed from Washington DC and London. Its code name is Beluga.”

        He also details the relationship between Berezovsky and Browder. When Berezovsky became unreliable, he was hanged in a mock suicide. Barril has documentary evidence he will supply to anyone who will conduct a proper enquiry (he suggests Carla Del Ponte). I hope he has good life insurance!

      • mog says

        Yeah watched that also, last time you posted it. Fascinating. Please keep posting it.
        The French intelligence organisations are clearly like the Americans, the British, The Saudis and the Israelis – i.e. they have more in common with each other than they do with any of their own populations.

        • After all this time (10years) after they got the documents from Germany: RT chooses to release this expose of the Litvinenko case. They too finger Berezovsky: but protect Lugovoy and Kovtun. Notice the very subtle inference of the headline: “Russians” – suggesting the Po-210 was in London before both Kovtun and Lugovoy …yet the document (as produced ) only exonerated Kovtun? Somehow I surmise we are unaware of the waging of an invisible intelligence war: a Clash of Titans to which we, as mere mortals, can only witness the distant clash of thunder?

          https://www.rt.com/news/423554-litvinenko-polonium-london-berezovsky/

  11. I think they will be detained for as long as possible until all traces of the poison leave their bodies. I don’t for one minute believe it was Novichok

  12. I’ve seen no evidence to make me believe a single word of the “Russia did it” narrative. Yet let us assume for sake of comparative response that Russian intelligence had poisoned these folks. How does the current Western response in any way resemble the West’s response to Obama drone bombing American citizens in the Middle East and killing literally hundreds of civilians in the process of these illegal activities? I recall no, none, nada, zilch expulsion of American diplomats; no calls for economic sanctions against America’s rouge regime; no critical Western response overall whatsoever. So “what” exactly would be the difference in these two scenarios which would lead to such totally different responses?

    The same comparison can be applied to the supposed Western outrage at the obviously false flag chemical attacks repeatedly attributed to Assad and Russia. The U.S. killed a half-a-million Iraqi children with our sanctions under Bill Clinton and yet his Sec. of State Madeline Albright stated on national television that we (the U.S. government) thought “the price was worth it.” No outrage from the rest of the oh so moral Western powers, no recall of diplomats or expulsion of American diplomats. One can easily imagine the Western response if Putin brought about the deaths of a half-million Chechen children and then stated in public media that it was “worth it.” The hypocrisy at play is of most Orwellian variety. This is because examining the Western responses to “alleged” Russian or Syrian mis-deeds and comparing that response to “very real” American lawlessness and mass murder leaves this entire nonsense exposed for the blatant fake war propaganda it is.

  13. When the UK breaks all treaty rules, international protocol, diplomatic niceties and keeps possible victims of harm in detention, against its own laws, then you know it is trying to cover up its own complicity in their harm. It is shameful and embarrassing to see such foolish and disturbing antics on the part of the UK government.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Not as far as the fakestream media are concerned it doesn’t. And the long expected fake ‘gas attack’ in Syria, with-you guessed it- a ‘nerve agent’ involved, has arrived, complete with a Fraudian editorial of psychotic viciousness, hypocrisy and mendacity. These psychopaths are going for broke. What price that the ‘nerve agent’ turns out to be a ‘novichok’. I see that the psychotics are blaming Iran, as well as Russia, so those Iranian experiments with novichoks in 2016 may be about to come back and bite them.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          One inherent, indeed hereditary, one a treatable condition? Is that your definition?

          • @Mulga. Difference: Psychotic — a medical condition which makes it very difficult for the patient to distinguish between dream /nightmare state and reality but is otherwise harmless (a sort of acting out a dream / nightmare while awake). Psychopathic — someone with an active, deliberate, intelligent and coldly manipulative tendency to harm society, preferably through falsehood and murder; think TB.Liar, think Clinton.

            Kudos to Vierotchka for calling this one out. Alfred Hitchock has a lot to answer for; he should have called his film “Psychopath” — it would have spared much additional suffering to many millions of harmless people.

            • Mulga Mumblebrain says

              I see-I’d still argue that the Western ruling class are psychopaths who exhibit psychotic behaviour during regular exacerbations of their underlying pathology. Indeed the gap between these exacerbations is shortening all the time.

  14. Chris osh says

    It sounds to me as though the Skripals will acquire new identities and a new location in the US shortly before they have a joint and fatal relapse to the alleged nerve agent.
    The Tin Lady can then say how unfortunate and how sorry she is.

    • MrTuvok says

      This was troubling news, indeed. It looks like they have plans to make them disappear.

  15. Francis Fuller says

    https://thesaker.is/a-curious-incident-part-viii/

    Gives an analysis of statements by Boris Johnson in which he admits prior knowledge of foreign state violations of the Chemcical Warfare Convention but took no action.
    Such inaction is against the spirit and intent of the CWC and Johnson should resign.
    Of Johnson’s statements are false and misleading in which case he should resign.

  16. Paul says

    Whereas it’s clear that Bojo and the Tin Lady are playing a weak hand badly–and have only been spared by the appalling complicity of virtually the entire panoply of Western media as information warfare adjuncts–which is in itself a stunning and sickening display of power–it’s not clear that Russia has played a stronger hand much more ably.

    In sum, the questions, criticisms and suggested avenues of response posed here, as well as at the Off-Guardian, John Helmer’s blog, the Saker, MoA, and strategic culture.org (anyone who hasn’t seen Rob Slane’s 50 questions there really should), has been much richer and potentially more efficacious than Russia’s official demarches have so far been.

    At the very least, can a writ of habeus corpus be filed? It will be clear to most of the world by now that the UK does not want the Skripals to be heard from directly unless and until their statements will not be those of “tools of the Kremlin.” (But it may be that the Russians are not so keen that they be heard from either, until what they will say can be determined.)

    I would have to think that this trial balloon to have the Skripals relocated with new identities would be recognized by them as a threat (since at that point they will have been disappeared). If the Russians are hesitating about what they might say, and about having a writ of habeus corpus filed, the implied threat from the USUK might be enough to persuade the Skripals that if they have information embarrassing for the USUK (or for Russia, for that matter), they had better speak out now, before they are disappeared.

  17. Mikalina says

    “As is often the way, the Russians – caught by surprise by a crisis that seemed to come out of nowhere – initially responded creatively.”

    Another case of framing the discussion with a personally invented non sequitur which you have to later qualify with an “in hindsight”.

    The Russian action was well planned, perfectly aimed and perfectly timed. I am sure they had no intention of validating the situation via an emotional response that we in the West accept as normal.

    I further have no doubt they knew exactly what was happening as it happened and are also aware that the Skripals are safely tucked away in the Bahamas.

    The establishment’s control of the alt media over this issue is mindblowing.

  18. rtj1211 says

    Here are the fourteen Johnson must answer upon pain of a bullet through his skull:

    1) When were you as FCO SoS fully briefed on the geopolitical warmongering of the US/Israel axis and at what point did you/the PM agree to carry out the Skripal false flag nonsense?
    2) How many dead Middle Eastern citizens do you consider to be acceptable collateral damage to ensure US control of strategic oil supplies?
    3) At what age were you when you realised that the lust for power trumped any conscience you might have been born with?
    4) Given your scientific illiteracy, how did you feel competent to interrogate spooks and scientists about matters of significant technical complexity?
    5) What sinecures have been arranged for you after you ‘leave politics in disgrace’, having served your non-UK masters so assiduously?
    6) If you thought it might neutralise the madwomen neocons, would you shag any, some or all of Nikki Haley, Gina Haspel and Victoria Nuland, assuming that any, some or all would be gagging lustfully at such a potential prospect?
    7) Are you enough of a simpleton to assign credibility to the White Helmets?
    8) How many of your legitimate children would you sacrifice to the principle of ‘just Middle Eastern Wars’?
    9) How many nations in the UN do you think regard you as ‘an appropriate example setter for dignified, compassionate, rigorous and humane diplomacy’?
    9) Given the humanitarian scandal ongoing in Yemen, would you explain how the UK position of backing the Saudi Arabians, including weapons sales, could conceivably be described as an ‘ethical foreign policy’?
    10) Given that we have condemned ISIS/Al Qa’ida, have you felt it germane to ask your American masters why they have been major funders of those terrorist organisations for at least 30 years?
    11) Would you not consider it more appropriate to be raising the issue of Chinese weather engineering both in London and in Beijing, given the potentially global unintended consequences of their inward-focussed policy? Or is gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea the extent of your interest in that part of the world??

  19. Ahab says

    Why has the Russian Embassy not commenced habeas corpus procedure on behalf of the Skripal family? I don’t understand this. This procedure can go all the way to EU Court.

  20. MichaelK says

    From what I can gather from the UK media, for example, the Sunday Times, it’s being argued that the Skripals are refusing visits from Russia or the Russian Embassy. That’s according to the British, of course. And that the British are negotiating for them to be given new lives and new identities in the United States, where they will be safe from Russian assassins. Are they serious!?

    This thing, whatever it really is, has been bungled by the British. The key factor is that the Skripals are still alive and now recovering. How is this possible? I almost forgot the copper. So the Russians send a crack team of Kremlin picked assassins to Salisbury with a deadly nerve agent poison that’s incredibly potent, weapon’s grade and all that. Carry out a brazen, risky, deadly and easily traced attack, apparently, merely to ‘prove a point’ about how evil they are; and all that effort is for nothing because the Skripals against all the odds, don’t die, but recover their health! And this absurd narrative is the one Downing Street is attempting to sell the public and the world.

    How plausible is it that the Russians would risk so much for so little and then not even manage to kill the targets because the chosen method is so imprecise, faulty and simply doesn’t work? Or are we to believe that the Russians went to all this trouble and never intended to really kill the Skripals in the first place, but only warn people that they could, if they wanted to, if they really used a military grade chemical agent, but they didn’t this time, only it all backfired on them!

    I think, looking at the British media, who seem to swallow this series of patent absurdities without question, a pre-war period, where the propaganda is being spread on thicker and thicker in preparation for war with Russia and the public are being softened-up for the coming conflict, perhaps in Syria or Ukraine, and the possible opposition undermined and labelled stooges of the Russians. Only that, this climate of hysteria and wartime dictatorship, within the media, seems to make any sense as a plan or even logically. Though, if I’m correct, it’s a terrible thought.

    • You are correct. No other hypothesis makes sense. Even without the Skripals there have been 5 years of unrelenting demonisation of Russia of a viciousness that can only mean preparation for real war. And if anyone is still pursuing the hopeful line of logic that it’s all just a cold war play for more military funding of NATO etc, please supply just one example from the Cold War of an east-west confrontation that was as devoid of any decency or restraint or legality or propriety as the behaviour we’ve come to expect from the West towards Russia.
      And if war broke out, could any future survivors among the western leasership ever be able to claim they hadn’t been pushing hard for it? They’ve been provoking Russia in every conceivable way and on every conceivable front, after all.

      This means that war with Russia is an eventuality for which, make no mistake, the West is preparing. The great irony, of course, is that were there any validity at all in the West’s portrayal of Russia, the West by now would have had its war, ten times over.

      Something’s got to happen soon or these jackals we all make fun of for their venality and incompetence will bear responsibility for the death of our loved ones and ourselves. They’ve already murdered fair play, justice, reason and morality, but it hasn’t sated their appetites, folks. They’re coming for the rest.

      • What thowe EU leaders have obviously not understood is that if it comes to a war with Russia, their countries will be the battlefield, not Russia.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      There is simply NO WAY that either Skripal will EVER be allowed to front the media, or either return home to Russia, or either be visited by relatives. That the fakestream media presstitutes are not just happy with this holding incommunicado says all you need, yet again, to judge just how hypocritically vile they are.

  21. Well the ONLY conclusion Tubularsock can make of this entire fiasco is while in England have a couple of pints of a strong English ale AND DON’T EAT THE PIZZA!

  22. I suspect the Russians already had knowledge of Operation Beluga, but that they would still have been caught by a sense of incredulity, rather than mere surprise!

  23. Harry Law says

    Alexander Mercouris said.All in all it appears that the British authorities are determined to prevent anyone from Russia – even members of Yulia Skripal’s family – from having contact with her.

    John Helmer said.. The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family.

    Metropolitan Police said, on behalf of Yulia Skripal.“I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”

    Dr Christine Blanchard Medical Director, Salisbury district Hospital said..” as she can look forward to the day when she can leave hospital any speculation any speculation when that day will be, is just speculation, in the meantime Yulia has asked for privacy while she continues to get better, something i’d like the media to respect.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist but the totality of these responses looks to me that Mercouris and Helmer are correct, they are being illegally detained and kept incommunicado. What legal proceedings [habeas corpus for instance] has Russia initiated against both the UK authorities and the Salisbury Trust Hospital Administrators who seem to be working hand in glove with the Police and Government and against the best interests of their patient? Just like her litigation friend the so called lawyer Vikram Sachdeva QC, the Governments friend more like.

    • @Harry Law: “John Helmer said.. The evidence now accumulating is that the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals against their will, preventing contact with their family.”

      I wish people would stop repeating “the hospital is detaining and isolating the Skripals…”; the hospital staff are also being “detained and isolated”; they are as much political prisoners as the Skripals, held incommunicado and subject to the unaccountable whim of Her Majesty’s Government — aka the Theresa May regime and those dark financial powers that have been increasingly been seen looming behind the British Throne ever since TB.Liar used Royal Privilege to start an Unjust War on behalf of a few international bankers and oil companies.

      • Harry Law says

        vexarb, You make a good point, however both the Chief Executive Officer at Salisbury Hospital and its Medical Director Dr Christine Blanchard may have breached the Skripals Human Rights See this new John Helman article…
        “Salisbury Hospital’s chief administrator and chief doctor refuse to say they are holding consent forms signed by Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal. Without those forms, and proof the hospital has obtained them from the Skripals since they regained consciousness last week, the hospital is making claims about their privacy which are improper, according to the practice rules of the British National Health Service, and unlawful violations of their human rights, according to British and European law.
        Late on April 4, Cara Charles-Barks, the Salisbury Hospital chief executive, said by email: “Due to patient confidentiality, the [Salisbury Hospital] Trust is not able to enter into further correspondence about the clinical care of patients.” This was her reply to the request that she confirm her hospital’s standard practice for communication between patients and their next of kin; and the particular next-of-kin arrangements which the Skripals have agreed with Salisbury Hospital. If she is falsifying what Yulia Skripal has said, or if she has failed to get Skripal’s consent “in accordance with the law”, Blanshard can be called to account for her actions in court, according to this statute.
        She is also required to comply with the rules of the “Caldicott Guardian”, as referred to in the hospital website’s description of Blanshard’s duties. The Caldicott Guardian is the official role required to be assigned at every hospital by the British Health Ministry and the National Health Service since the adoption of the Report on the Review of Patient-Identifiable Information; that was issued in December 1997 by a committee of officials chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott;
        http://johnhelmer.net/salisbury-hospital-becomes-secret-rendition-center-for-yulia-skripal/

  24. You need to remember that Sergey Skripal’s mother is still alive who is arguably a very, very close relative. While she is probably not able to travel her existence was also hidden from the court. British intelligence absolutely knows everything about Sergey Skripal’s family so how do you explain this? Also there is now a report that Yulia and Sergey Skripal might be brought to the US and get new identities to “protect” them. Is this now kidnapping or human trafficking, I wonder.

    • summitflyer says

      Not so fast .The Skripals are both Russian citizens and I don’t think that the Russians will just roll over and let the UK continues to play their games .It is in the open now and at the UN ,I might add .The UK better play their cards correctly as it might not only be egg on their face but $hit instead .

      • “The UK better play their cards correctly as it might not only be egg on their face but $hit instead”.

        In fact, that’s more like what Nebenzia said at the UN.

        All the hacks spread the word that he said that the British “were playing with fire and would be sorry”.

        That’s how a simultaneous translator at the UN rendered into English what the Russian ambassador said.

        What Nebenzia actually said in Russian and translated literally into English was that Great Britain “had started a game and was not going to win”, or idiomatically: “Great Britain had overplayed its hand”.

        As regards use of idiom, Yulia Skripal’s alleged statement was not written in idiomatic English but in impeccable formal English. Most notably, she allegedly used the formal expression: “My father and I”.

        Shades of Litvinenko’s deathbed statement read out by Goldfarb?

        • Paul says

          We needn’t go so far back as Litvinenko (though it’s a plausible link). I’d wager that the same person drafted statements by Yulia and DS Bailey. His situation strikes me as no less precarious than that of the Skripals. Maybe the witness relocation offer can be extended to him.

    • lucdevincke says

      Indeed, they will tell the world that the Skripals hate Russia now for what has been done to them, never want to see it back, want to be safe with a new identity and hope the Russians will have enough respect to let them in peace in their new country… Can you imagine such a new identity? Their pictures have been all over the world!!! I all kind of media ! No, the real story will be that they have put a bullet in the back of their skull to silence them forever.

      • sarmis2018 says

        Put a bulet in the back of their shulls and blame Russia…is a perfetc crime isn’t it?

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