193

Spiez Laboratory, the Skripal Case, and the OPCW

Tomorrow, April 18, the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will hold a meeting in its headquarters in the Hague, at which, judging by the information attached to a recent tweet by the Spiez Laboratory, the Skripals case will be discussed.

The meeting will be convened at 10:00 on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 in the Ieper Room of the OPCW Headquarters building (Johan de Wittlaan 32, The Hague).

In the immediate run-up to this event, we’d like to remind our readers that on April 14, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov revealed publicly that, “according to Swiss state Spiez lab” and contrary to British government’s claims that the Skripals were poisoned by a military grade Novichok-like nerve agent, the “substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ”.  As reported by RT,

The Swiss center sent the results to the OPCW. However, the UN chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. He went on to say that Moscow would ask the OPCW about its decision to not include any other information provided by the Swiss in its report.
Lavrov said that the Swiss center that assessed the samples is actually the Spiez Laboratory. This facility is a Swiss state research center controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.

The same day, April 14, the Spiez Laboratory itself reacted to Lavrov’s statement with the following tweet:
spiez lab tweet statement Screenshot_2018-04-16_19-09-17
Notice that in its tweet, the Spiez Lab neither confirms nor denies Lavrov’s statement explicitly, following a practice that usually amounts to an indirect confirmation of a piece of information the source cannot or does not wish to confirm directly.  Instead, either because of its contractual confidentiality obligations with the OPCW or on orders from the Swiss ministry of defense which oversees its work, Spiez Lab refers to the OPCW itself as the only body who can so much as “comment” on the claim, which it more neutrally terms an assertion, made by Russia’s foreign minister.   In the next breath, however, its tweet rather disingenuously refers us back to its own public statement of two weeks ago: “We have no doubt that Porton Down has identified Novichok.”
Let’s consider that particular sentence for a moment.  To begin with, Porton Down did not identify Novichok, as the Spiez Lab tweet claims, but a military grade nerve agent of the Novichok type, a distinction a laboratory of the type and caliber of the Spiez Lab must surely be very well aware of.  As Porton Down’s own deposition at the High Court hearing on March 22 shows,
Porton Down deposition at High Court 1 Screenshot_2018-04-17_16-00-42
Chemistry World also noted on April 12 that OPCW

has essentially confirmed the findings of UK government scientists, saying a ‘Novichok-type’ nerve agent was used, but has not released any specific detail on the identity or structure of the compound.

Secondly, the tweet’s slightly inaccurate reference to the findings of Porton Down scientists is itself a blatant act of diversion from the actual topic at hand: the detailed findings of the Swiss Lab itself.  More intriguingly, however, if the latter is certain that Porton Down’s analysis is reliable and that the blood samples it analysed did contain traces of a military grade Novichok-type nerve agent, two questions immediately arise:

  1. How could two people survive exposure to a military grade nerve agent which was not identified for over a week after their exposure to it and for which the victims could be given no proper antidote, if any such actually exists?
  2. Is the Spiez Lab, with its reference to Porton Down results, inadvertently implying that the samples it was given differ markedly from the materials previously analysed by Porton Down, the only scenario (barring deception on the part of Porton Down) that could realistically account for the different results of the two analyses?

Can the answer to the second question be yes?
We do know that on March 22, UK’s  High Court issued a judgment permitting OPCW to obtain fresh samples of Skripals’ blood which it could analyse independently of Porton Down.  In other words, information already in the public domain suggests strongly that the materials analysed by Porton Down and Spiez Lab contain different nerve agent substances, explained most likely by the fact that the latter was supplied with a set of blood samples taken after March 22, i.e. a different set of samples from the ones analysed by Porton Down.  I have to use the phrase “most likely” here as the only alternative to this explanation is that Porton Down deceived the public by issuing only selective results of its own findings.
Here’s how the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) describes the effects of BZ as a psychotomimetic agent:

This group of agents usually includes substances which, when administered in low doses (<10 mg) cause conditions similar to psychotic disorders or other symptoms emanating from the central nervous system (loss of feeling, paralysis, rigidity, etc.). The effects are transitory and cause inability to make decisions and incapacitation. Several such substances may be used to achieve these objectives and only a few examples are given here.

During the 1950’s, studies were made of substances such as glycolic acid esters (glycolates). Particular interest was paid to 3-quinuclidinylbenzilate, BZ. The effects of this group of substances are similar to those caused by atropine. BZ causes poisoning at doses of 0.5-5 mg. Peripheral symptoms such as distended pupils, deteriorated short-distance vision, dry mouth and palpitations occur after about 30 minutes.
A serious effect of poisoning with BZ, as also with other atropine-like substances, is an increased body temperature. Deterioration in the level of consciousness, hallucinations and coma occur subsequently. Incapacitating after-effects may remain 1-3 weeks after the poisoning. Since the effect of glycolates was found to be difficult to predict, interest in continued research into this type of substance gradually decreased.

In a paper on the “Psychiatric Oppression of African Americans” produced by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, but no longer available online, BZ is also linked to experimentation on African American citizens of the U.S.:

At the National Institute of Mental Health Addiction Research Center in Kentucky in the mid-1950s, drug-addicted African Americans were given LSD, with seven of them kept hallucinating for 77 consecutive days. At this same center, healthy African American men were still being used as test subjects almost 10 years later, this time for an experimental drug, BZ — 100 times more powerful than LSD.  [cited in “The Story of the Drug BZ“]

Pressed by the public to address directly Lavrov’s claim, Spiez Lab has repeatedly refused to either confirm or deny that it had found BZ nerve agent in the Skripal blood samples.
Spiez Lab exchange with Winble Screenshot_2018-04-16_19-10-31
The OPCW has, to date, made no comment and issued no rebuttal of Lavrov’s assertion concerning the full findings of Spiez Laboratory and the presence of BZ and its precursors in the March 23 blood samples taken from Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
If Lavrov’s statement accurately reflects the actual findings of the Spiez Laboratory, and if the Skirpals were indeed given BZ in some form, this would account for both the state in which they were discovered on March 4, one of them unconscious and the other spaced out on a bench in Salisbury, and for the length of time Sergei and Yulia Skripal were comatose.  It would also further explain Yulia Skripal’s sense of disorientation, which she spoke about in the statement issued on her behalf by the Metropolitan Police on April 5.
While Spiez Lab advises the public to wait for a new statement by the OPCW following its meeting tomorrow, some public pressure may need to be brought on the OPCW itself to immediately release ALL the information it has from ALL the laboratories it has used in the Skripal case.  Without such public pressure — and it is certainly not coming from any Western MSM — the OPCW may again do what it did on April 4, when by a vote of 15 to 6, with 17 members abstaining, it rejected Russia’s proposal for “a new, joint investigation” of the Skripal case.
Here’s the composition of OPCW’s Executive Council for May 12, 2017-May 11, 2018:

Chairperson: H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed BELAL Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the OPCW. View list of previous chairpersons.
Vice-Chairs: Permanent Representatives of Chile (GRULAC), Spain (WEOG), Sudan (Africa) and Slovakia (EEG)
Members by region:
Africa: Algeria (2018), Cameroon (2019), Ghana (2018), Kenya (2019), Libya (2018), Morocco (2019), Senegal (2019), South Africa (2018), Sudan (2019).
Asia: Bangladesh (2018), China (2019), India (2019), Iran (Islamic Republic of) (2018), Japan (2019), Pakistan (2018), Republic of Korea (2019), Saudi Arabia (2019), Viet Nam (2018).
Eastern Europe: Azerbaijan (2019) Estonia (2019), Poland (2018), Russian Federation (2018) Slovakia (2018).
Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina (2019), Brazil (2019), Chile (2018), Colombia (2019), Guatemala (2018), Mexico (2019), Panama (2018), Peru (2018).
Western European and Other States: Australia (2018), Belgium (2018), France (2019), Germany (2019), Italy (2019), Spain (2018), Sweden (2018), Switzerland (2018), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2019), United States of America (2019).
OPCW’s headquarters are located at
Johan de Wittlaan 32
2517 JR – The Hague
The Netherlands

Their phone and fax numbers are:
tel: +31 70 416 3300
fax: +31 70 306 3535


can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

OffGuardian does not accept advertising or sponsored content. We have no large financial backers. We are not funded by any government or NGO. Donations from our readers is our only means of income. Even the smallest amount of support is hugely appreciated.

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Hot laddy
Hot laddy


The OPCW has, to date, made no comment and issued no rebuttal of Lavrov’s assertion concerning the full findings of Spiez Laboratory and the presence of BZ and its precursors in the March 23 blood samples taken from Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

This is a bare faced lie.
The OPCW have refuted it totally.

Hot laddy
Hot laddy

Referring to Lavrov’s claims about the discovery of BZ, Marc-Michael Blum, the head of the OPCW laboratory, told the meeting: “The labs were able to confirm the identity of the chemical by applying existing, well-established procedures. There was no other chemical that was identified by the labs.
The precursor of BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the control sample prepared by the OPCW lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW team in Salisbury.”
The Guardian, your sister site (!).

Hot laddy
Hot laddy

To be fair, the article does predate the OPCW meeting last Thursday.
Sorry

vierotchka

Excreta bovines.

vierotchka

Published on 20 Apr 2018
George Galloway starts his Friday night show with another classic monologue. Unhappy with the Windrush news and the continuing to develop Salisbury nerve agent story, watch and enjoy as George delivers in the only way he knows how, on the Mother of All Talk Shows.

And once again… This happened on the Salisbury Plain at the time of the Skripal affair. A coincidence? I really don’t think so:
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-toxic-storm-for-royal-marines-in-major-chemical-exercise

Hot laddy
Hot laddy

What’s your point about the drill?
That the Skripals were accidentally infected? But no one else?
Mighty handy that a traitor to Russia was knobbled, eh?
These comments are hilarious.
Who do you think would want to harm a traitor to Russia, who didn’t even serve his full sentence of hard labour (that a soft sentance, decreed under Medvedev, which Putin didn’t seem to happy with). See video of Putin in 2010.

vierotchka

My point obviously flew waaaay above your head, so there’s no reason to try to explain it to you because either you’re unable or unwilling to understand

vierotchka

Streamed live 13 hours ago
Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko is holding a press conference in London. The press briefing, followed by a Q&A, is expected to focus on the situation in Syria, cyber security, and the Skripal poisoning case.

Hercule
Hercule

Lavrov said that “Swiss Spiez Lab (an OPC authorised centre) determined that the samples from the Salisbury incident contained 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate … as well as high concentration of A-234 in its original form.” Has Lavrov produced evidence to support this assertion? If so can someone please tell us what that evidence is.

Peter
Peter

Please check official statement of OPCW. They say that samples with BZ were so called control samples. So, Lavrov did not invent anything.

Old Pepper
Old Pepper

Dear ladies and gentlemen!
Lifes of Skripals now already not in theatric staging, but realistically are under threat.
According to leaks from the UK Cabinet meeting, after exposing provocations with “poisoning” of Skripals and “chemical attack” in the Duma, her Majesty’s government seriously discussed the elimination of Skripals.
This should be the next step of the information war against Russian with tears of “all western world” on the theme of “heroic medical efforts were in vain, and our worst warnings about the irreparable harm caused to organisms Skripals by those monsters Russian, unfortunately came true”.
The UK governement decision on liquidation of Skripals is still pending.
Only a broad media campaign can save these people, who have become hostages of the British government, for whom human life has never cost anything.
It is necessary to demand that journalists be allowed to meet and talk with Skripals. We should also force the British government to hold independent of the authorities examination of the health status of Skripals in detail.

passerby
passerby

The official UK story is no longer credible. We may never know what the truth is, but we know the official UK storyline is not true. This does not necessarily mean it’s a lie; it could just as well be incompetence.

Hot boy, Brad Pitte
Hot boy, Brad Pitte

There is no uk ‘story’ as you put it.
The case is ongoing and Russia is prime suspect.

vierotchka

Ineptias!

Peter
Peter

Being suspect does not mean anything. Such an incident cannot be treated by pointing to “suspect”. SO far, they did not move single centimeter forward from pointing to “suspect”. That is at least irresponsible behaviour of the UK Government.

Peter
Peter

If you see patent https://patents.google.com/patent/US9200877 and in its pdf file with detailed description on page 13 you will see option to include Novichok in the bullet that can injur target and by having posionous substance it can inflict additional injury or death to target.
The patent is filed on May 02, 2012 and accepted as patent on December 01, 2015.
These facts pose several serious questions on Skripal poisoning incident.

Colin Davis
Colin Davis

Is the point that Novichok was presumed available in the USA in 2012?
That alone raises “serious questions” indeed. After all that has happened, I hesitate about rushing to judgement, but the UK government story would seem to depend on Russia being by far the most likely source of Novichok. (Unless, I suppose, the patent-holder aimed to sell those bullets to the Russians.)

Peter
Peter

There is no source of Novichok. Since the US Army has had access to substance, machines, technology they could produce it as well in their own lab. Comparing scientific literature we can say that more than 20 countries could produce it including the UK.

Hot laddy
Hot laddy

No, it doesn’t.
Russia could have done it with foreign Novichok, could it not?
I thought you said anyone could make it?
That doesn’t mean Russia didn’t do it.
The prime evidence is Putin saying traitors will have short lives, and have to hide, not the source of the Novichok.
I think you will find the trail will stop at Moscow anyway. See my post to Peter above.

Peter
Peter

Your argumentation ins infantile. The international relationships are not based on those things. MI6 and similar agencies could not allow in any way that anyone approaches Skripal’s house or street without being noticed and recorded. So far, no video surveillance details that anyone approached Skripal’s house to put poison. That is really strange and inexcusable mistake whoever was responsible for that.

Peter
Peter

I’d just like to point out that this Peter is not me. I’m the other Peter. As readers can see, we have different ID pictures. Maybe one or both of us needs to change pseudonyms?
This said, Peter’s point is pertinent.

Paul
Paul

If we assume, first, that the Russians are innocent of the Skripal nonsense but simply wrong about the veracity or authenticity of the Spiez lab leak, this would reflect very poorly, I think, on the competence of FM Lavrov and the Russian Foreign Ministry, the RF intelligence services and chemical weapons analysts, or, given Putin’s background in the KGB, Putin himself.
The same withering evaluation could be made if we assume that they were deliberately misled-–indeed “punked” by a maliciously inaccurate leak.
Given that either was always obviously a possibility, they could have played their cards more cagily, asking pointed questions of the OPCW about whether other substances such as BZ were found–without disclosing their source, potentially burning him or her, and putting Spiez into full damage-control mode.
But to attempt to be fair, this may have been a resort of desperation, the home-court advantage here being overwhelming, even without reading actual ill intent into what appears to me to be a very strange interpretation of OPCW obligations. The confidentiality of the findings (setting aside an understandable policy of protecting the labs from public exposure) and the selective incompleteness of what is disclosed strike me as entirely bizarre. I mean, we can’t even name unequivocally what the substance was? And on what basis is the UK automatically the wronged party, and the accused the guilty party, for the purposes of investigation?
What if Russia had demanded a challenge inspection of Porton Down right off the hop (which if the Russians had actually planned it, they might have been clever enough to have considered). Or at the very least Russia could have been the accusing party. A Russian citizen (or citizens) were attacked on British soil, by what looks like a chemical agent, with what would appear to be covering actions by the British state, etc.
Honestly, though, if the OPCW handling of this case is a arbitrary and contorted as it seems to my inexpert eye, would Russia itself not be filing some sort of formal protest (already or soon, if they were hoping to wrangle it out of them tactically, or are playing with an eye to East Ghouta)? The OPCW seems blithely indifferent to the possibility that the stakes–or at least fall out–of this game may be an acceleration towards nuclear war.
And if the OPCW is being as duplicitous as I suspect (based on recent form in Salisbury and in Syria last year), the Russians might very well believe the Salibury battle is lost, but may be hoping that the OPCW might throw them a bone in Ghouta…
Given the UK’s control over the crime scene (a crime of some sort has doubtless been committed), over the media (as with the BBC partisans in the “Information war with Russia” as it’s been put), over the precise form of technical assistance they were able to insist on, the OPCW’s apparently arbitrary control over procedure and disclosures, Russia simply can’t win, and by now if not from the outset, knows this.
Still, Russia’s handling of the “leaked” Spiez report is not a good look. If the goal was at least for the OPCW to discredit itself in the eyes of the world (or at least the chemical warfare and weapons interdiction communities), which may have been happening, the Spiez report was an own goal. Or what am I missing?
At this point, though, still presuming Russia’s innocence, as one used to do with the accused, and feeling a little sad for them (and sadder still for us), I find myself trying to recall the details of the Dan Rather blockbuster disclosure of Dubya’s appalling National Guard service record.
If I recall, Rather’s report was factually impeccable–every dereliction claimed on the record actually happened, but the physical report itself was a forgery. That is, a perfect or near-perfect forgery, entirely factually accurate, indistinguishable except in the smallest detail (say chemical composition of the paper), in ways Rather’s team could not be expected to have the means of detecting, for the authentic original, which documented these same derelictions.
But Rather’s report, and its accusations against a sitting President, were now demonstrably based on a forgery. (I know, it was a simpler time, when fake accusations against a President were considered a bad thing.)
And the substance of the report could now be summarily dismissed, as if it had become the task of journalists not to present evidence and claims offered in good faith as possibly true, in order to have the powerful answer to them, but now the standard morphs into a guarantee that every word is incontrovertible before it can be disclosed to the public.
The most powerful investigative journalist in America destroyed by the intelligence agencies in a master stroke. Sometimes when I ask myself how the media became so servile, so fast, I wonder if they were broken by the Rather frame-up. An inflection point, at least.
What journalist could ever again feel that they could stake their reputation on a document.
It’s entirely possible that the leaked Spiez lab report is essentially correct in all its relevant details, but may have been altered just enough in some insignificant respect that the Spiez lab could claim that it does not conform to the format that they use (for a single line item or paragraph, for example).
As with Rather’s blockbuster, once the authentic provenance of the document is discredited, the entirety of the (perhaps essentially accurate) BZ findings stands tainted, much as the samples themselves may have been. (Where, for example, BZ was added to the control samples, to match its presence in the test samples. All Spiez said was the former, and no one will ever force them to answer regarding the latter, now that the Spiez leak is seen as an embarrassing flop.)

Colin Davis
Colin Davis

Someone on here suggested BZ could have an effect on A 234. So who would have dreamed of adding it to a sample to make a control sample?
I’m no chemist. Does this make sense to those who are? I’d love to know.

Ex Pat Swede
Ex Pat Swede

I’m certainly not a chemist, but adding BZ to a sample to make a “control” is totally crazy and I can’t conceive of any reason why the OPCW would follow this bizarre procedure. If Lavrov’s information is correct (and the OPCW has NOT said that the information is false), then it follows to my mind at least that this MUST BE a false flag operation. It probably is anyway.

Peter
Peter

Let give chance to experts to say something about the poisons concerned. Please check this link:
https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201804161063597524-uk-novichok-associate-russia-weapons/
and this
https://thebell.io/en/the-scientist-who-developed-novichok-doses-ranged-from-20-grams-to-several-kilos/
A-234 is patented by the USA in the USA in 2015.

Hot boy, Brad Pitte
Hot boy, Brad Pitte

There are many control samples.
Thé BZ sample was not also the A234 sample.
One imagines…

Ex Pat Swede
Ex Pat Swede

How do you know how many control samples there are Hot lad? Do you have insider information into how an OPCW lab operates? No? Thought not. The most obvious explanation at this stage is that the Russians have been fed misleading information about the BZ in the samples to discredit them. However, the OPCW statement is odd in several different ways, not least because it only talks about chemical precursors of BZ, when Lavrov was talking about BZ itself in addition to the precursors. Lavrov also seems to imply (but doesn’t clearly state) that BZ, its precursors and A-234 were found in the same sample. Plus the presence of BZ makes perfect sense – it would for example explain why the Skripals survived.

padre
padre

What I noticed in your comment first, is that you assume that Russians are stupid!

Paul 3
Paul 3

Actually no, Padre, I don’t consider the Russian professionals stupid. Given the professionalism they tend to exhibit, I wrote the post to elicit alternative perspectives on what the Russian strategy is. If they look “stupid” it may simply mean that I’m missing something, which is what I noted. But it may also be that the home-court advantage–territorial control, media control, corruption of OPCW and Spiez lab–may simply be too great. The Russians may be displaying a bit of desperation, or are making mistakes. I must say I haven’t found them playing even a weak hand particularly well (as opposed to militarily and diplomatically elsewhere, where they seem bold, flexible, creative). Have they brought a single issue before the British courts, regarding violation of consular conventions? Have they lodged a formal complaint that the OPCW is violating its own procedures? Have they lodged a case at the Hague over serial violations of the UN charter in Syria? Anyway, I haven’t found their work on this particularly impressive, given how poorly I think the British have played with all the aces.

Baron
Baron

Whatever the OPCW or any other body controlled by the Americans (or one the Americans can put pressure on e.g. the Spiez lab) say is neither here or there. The only reliable piece of evidence of what happened in Salisbury is the Times letter from the consultant that treated them, the rest is noise, if not totally fake than certainly contaminated.
The Skripals were poisoned by anything but Novitchok.

Hot laddy
Hot laddy

“… no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only been ever been three patients with significant poisoning.”
From letters The Times.

Hot lad
Hot lad
Hot lad
Hot lad

See the last 2-5 minutes
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tl06Ewe1ZIY
The uk Ambassador gets her own back with a literal reference to 1984!!!

vierotchka

Published on 18 Apr 2018
“The formula for these agents are out in the world” says Annie Machon as Britain admits Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) did not confirm ‘essential evidence’ on origin of Skripal poison.

Hot lad
Hot lad

Annie Machon brings up the BZ, today explained as being the control samples.
She also brings up the old ‘they would be dead’ cliché.
She is so weak.
The only ever fatal case of a Novichok took FIVE YEARS to kill.
Reference to follow via reply, ok?

Hot lad
Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain

It was your employers, May and BoZo, who claimed novichoks were ten times deadlier than VX. Try to keep the lies plausible, or the cheques may bounce.

Hot lad
Hot lad

See page 3, second paragraph in this OPCW report
https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-59/en/ecm59dg01_e_.pdf
Annie falls for Russian disinformation.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain

Oh, look-‘Brad Pitte’ fancies himself a ‘Hot Lad’. You will be mate, one day.

Amarige
Amarige

Ivan Kivelidi died in 1995 within 4 days. His assistant died within 2 days.

Hot boy, Brad Pitte
Hot boy, Brad Pitte

That case is not proven as a Novichok. Some still suspect it was simple cadmium poisoning, although I personally doubt that.
The case is classified by Russia, so all is here-say.
Even were it an early raw Novichok Kiveldi had greater exposure over days, via the respitatory system (more potent) and the dust had built up his office.
It is not an officially recorded case of a Novichok poisoning.
The case below, is, as I say, the ‘only ever recorded case of Novichok killing’, and that took over FIVE years, so that PROVES that a Novichok can take longer to kill.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/22/andrei-zheleznyakov-soviet-scientist-poisoned-novichok

Marcus
Marcus

I posted a question on Sushi’s latest (very good) break down of the Skripal story, and Sushi kindly responded. I was a little unsure and asked for clarification on a few issues. I think perhaps others here might appreciate my questions and Sushi’s reply.
I wrote:

can I ask for a bit of clarification.
1. UK originally said it was “novichok”
2. then said “A234”.
3. But novichok and A-234 are NOT synonyms.
4. A-234 is a known agent and non-binary.
5. novichok is still just a theoretical agent and BINARY.
6. the Iranian synthesis was of A-234-type non-binary agent
7. No one has ever synthesised a binary agent to date – that we know of.
Are these seven points correct?

Sushi replied:

Yes, except for point 7.
Binary CWA have been created. One of those is a binary version of VX created by the US.
A binary version of VX was used in the assassination of the brother-in-law of the Korean head of state.
The information on Soviet CWA programs is conflicting. Uglev claims no binary OP based weapons developed under the FOLIANT program. Myranazov claims binary OP based were developed with the first of those being being Novichok-5 which may or may not be an anlog of A-234.
My sense is that Uglev is more credible than Myranazov.

https://thesaker.is/a-curious-incident-part-x/#comment-513273

Hot lad
Hot lad

Enjoy:-
Senior figures from the global chemical weapons watchdog have flatly rejected Russian claims that the watchdog’s laboratories had found a western military chemical agent in the poison that incapacitated the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.
RT faces seven new investigations in aftermath of Salisbury poisoning
Read more
In a weekend claim widely picked up on social media, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that a Swiss laboratory used by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had discovered traces in the sample of the nerve agent BWZ and its precursors. The nerve agent is possessed by Nato countries, but not Russia.
The Russian embassy in London said it was “highly likely” that BWZ had therefore been used in Salisbury, adding that the OPCW and the British had questions to answer.
But at a meeting of the OPCW executive in The Hague, the Russian claim was refuted by OPCW officials, who said explained that BWZ had been used in the control sample, not the sample itself. It is also a breach of OPCW procedures to identify a laboratory involved in a test.
The UK said Russia had been caught out in an attempt to mislead the international community, adding the OPCW report showed the world was facing “a clear case of a new family of toxic chemicals intended to kill”.

Hot lad
Hot lad

From today’s OPCW report:-
As it was clearly shown in the detailed and technical presentation, we should not have an iota of doubt on the reliability of the system of the OPCW Designated Laboratories. The Labs were able to confirm the identity of the chemical by applying existing, well-established procedures. There was no other chemical that was identified by the Labs. The precursor of BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the control sample prepared by the OPCW Lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW Team in Salisbury. This chemical was reported back to the OPCW by the two designated labs and the findings are duly reflected in the report.
https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-59/en/ecm59dg01_e_.pdf
edited by admin to add source link

Cherrycoke
Cherrycoke

Why did the control sample that Lavrov supposedly was mislead by, also contain “virgin” A234?
Also, what is this about:
“The Technical Assistance mission carried out by
the Secretariat is over. However based on
the outcome of this mission in relation to the id
entity of the toxic chemical used in Salisbury,
the Organisation will need to consider some
follow up actions. I would like to inform the
Council that I will soon
seek the advice of the Scientific
Advisory Board on the issue under
discussion here today. Based on the SAB’s reco
mmendations we may consider other steps.
Meanwhile the Secretariat will also propose the in
clusion of the toxic chemical identified in
the TAV report in the OCAD.”
https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-59/en/ecm59dg01_e_.pdf

Paul 3
Paul 3

Hot Lad is on fire! Is there a link where we can fill out the survey to tell the GCHQ how enthusiastic you’ve been?

Hot lad
Hot lad

FROM OFFG EDITOR:
“Hot Lad” is “Brad Pitte” posting under a different name. Our policy with commenters who do this is to treat their comments as spam and delete them. We have deleted all the comments under this name.
@“BradPitte/HotLad”: please select one ID, post observations that are informative or sourced and you will be welcome to continue contributing here.

Hot lad
Hot lad

Ok.
I choose Hot lad
Why don’t you allow posts in Russian?

Vera
Vera

They are very keen to claim they don’t speak Russian.
The one you want to think about is “Catte” (aka “BlackCatte”). Don’t know about the others but she’s deffo a Kremlin agent. She speaks fluent Russian, and she reports directly to Putin. She could be a plant and the others are genuine, or Off-Guardian could be a Kremlin-funded operation.
Ask her how well she knows Putin. She NEVER REPLIES!!!!

Admin

You’ve been posting here for a while, nothing but one or two-sentence comments about one of our editors. We frankly didn’t see any need to bother refuting the nonsense you were claiming. Now you are encouraging another potential troll.
Here’s the deal. Post any evidence you have for your frankly ludicrous claims right here. Sources, documents, anything you have. Fail to do so, and you’ve made it clear you’re simply trolling and time-wasting.
Up to you.

Peter
Peter

There are independent thinkers, scientists, experts here. We do not need May, Johnson or Putin to make conclusions on our behalf. Let us be free from narrow ideological comments. Some of us know a lot on chemistry, toxicology including various languages. However, many people like that do have right to question statements of May, Johnson etc. not because of ideological differences or similarities. We question because we know what is reality about some substances. Physics and chemistry behave beyond ideologies. If Mirzayanov says that only idiot can use A234 in humid conditions that we can be sure that he is not ideological supporter of Putin. He knows how A234 behaves in humid conditions and it is OK to question how substance can be found without inpurities 2 weeks after the accident.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain

Mirzayanov is CIA property, He pretends to be the President of the Tatarstan Republic in Exile, a CIA front designed to foment strife, hatred and separatism in Russia’s Tatarstan Republic. In other words-an utter sh…..

Baron
Baron

Imanis metula es, Vera, go away.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain

Just delete the twit. Why give blatant disinformers a second chance?

WJ
WJ

Breaking on Sputnik:
https://sputniknews.com/world/201804181063676656-opcw-laboratories-salisbury-bz-substance/
UK appears to be doubling down at the OPCW executive meeting. Since the U.K. government account of the poisoning is patently ridiculous, they either have full confidence in their ability to control outcome of OPCW meeting or are bluffing and blustering. Has Russia played all its evidential cards, or does it still hold a hidden trump? We will see.

Pat
Pat

BZ is an antimuscarinic agent like atropine. Therefore, if it was present in the “poison mixture”, it protected CNS acetylcholine muscarinic receptors against the toxic action of a nerve agent like A-234. As a consequence, it exerted a prophylactic action that prevented irreversible brain damage. That could explain why the Skripals survived. In addition, no doubt that Salisbury MDs – working so close to DSTL – are very well trained in case of accidental exposure of DSTL personnels working daily with nerve agents. Thus, they knew how to treat such an acute poisoning.

rtj1211
rtj1211

There would appear to be a lot of unanswered questions here:
1) Was the ‘military grade agent’ an A-234/BZ combined concoction? This would indicate a need for sophisticated titration of the two agents to achieve the desired result, which might point to a bespoke weapons/behavioural control programme.
I am not saying it was, I am saying it is a thesis to be considered….and would certainly not limit suspects to Russia……certain to include Uk, US and Israel amongst others….
2) Can BZ and A-234 be separated and purified from a mixture in which both were present? Alternatively do antibody-based purifications and/or chromatographic techniques and/or spectrophotometric techniques exist to identify both in the same samples?
3) Based on half lives of A-234 and BZ in blood and/or other bodily fluids, would the best estimate calculations of actual dose exposures be consistent with the three patients remaining alive after initial exposure?
4) Based on half life of compounds applied to door handles, what are the purported amounts applied to the door handles likely to have been? Were concentrations consistent with patient contact with home door handle found on car steering wheels, external car door handles, door handles at Zizzis?
Not being in receipt of key data, one can only ask that these questions be addressed by OPCW or others in receipt of all information available to OPCW…..

Hot lad (aka Brad Pitte)
Hot lad (aka Brad Pitte)

The BZ thing is BS
From today’s RT:-

Samples of the BZ nerve agent were tested at the OPCW-accredited Swiss lab in the Skripal poisoning case, but only as part of control procedures, the chemical watchdog said, adding they otherwise had “nothing to do” with the case.
Ahmet Uzumcu, the director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), made comments on Wednesday to the OPCW executive council. He and Marc-Michael Blum, the head of the technical assistance team that was deployed to the UK to assist in the high-profile case in Salisbury, delivered an update on the OPCW’s work related to the case.

Sergei Lavrov промахнулся
(edited by admin to clarify use of multiple IDs)

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain

Ahmet Uzumcu., the former Turkish( one of the jihadists greatest supporters in Syria) Permanent Representative to NATO (heard of them?) March-Michael Blum, a Netherlands ie NATO apparatchik, straight from work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where you are NOT employed unless the CIA decides you are totally ‘reliable’. The usual rogues’ gallery of Western stooges, whose ‘word’ in my opinion, is worth NOTHING.

Grafter
Grafter

OPCW ?…..Its NIST 9/11 all over again.

xipeng
xipeng

I found this article form the Neue Zürcher Zeitung two days ago.
https://www.nzz.ch/international/skripal-russland-zieht-schweiz-in-den-fall-hinein-ld.1377578?mktcid=nled&mktcval=107&kid=_2018-4-15
The core of the countering argument against Lavrov’s allegation is that it is OPCW procedure for external lab testing to provide the lab (i.e. the Spiez lab), besides the ‘real’ sample under investigation, also one or more control samples which could contain other substance, or substances mixed with the contentious substance. The testing lab in question doesn’t know which is the real sample under investigation.
If someone here is familiar with OPCW testing procedures, I would appreciate their comments.
If this NZZ argument is correct, Lavrov indeed slipped on a slippery slope. And it explains why Spiez lab abstains from commenting on their analysis results.
But it still leaves open the fact the identified type of ‘military grade novichok’ could have been produced in many more countries than Russia

aldapooh
aldapooh

https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-59/en/ecm59dg01_e_.pdf
“As it was clearly shown in the detailed and technical presentation, we should not have an iota
of doubt on the reliability of the system of the OPCW Designated Laboratories. The Labs
were able to confirm the identity of the chemical by applying existing, well-established
procedures. There was no other chemical that was identified by the Labs. The precursor of
BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the
control sample prepared by the OPCW Lab in accordance with the existing quality control
procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW Team in
Salisbury. This chemical was reported back to the OPCW by the two designated labs and the
findings are duly reflected in the report. “

Hot lad
Hot lad

You have completely misunderstood.
There was never any BZ found. That is from confused Lavrov, as are all of the other daft assertions, such as why had the Novichok not degraded, and Novichok can’t be liquid.
It’s all disinformation from Russia, I’m afraid.

Admin

Source please, a)for Lavrov’s alleged statement about “liquid form”, b) for the claim that no BZ was found. c) for the claim “novichoks” (which one?) don’t degrade.
You’ve been reminded about this. Please comply.

Kaiama
Kaiama

Kindly sod off.

Marcus
Marcus

That sounds a bit odd to say the least. Why add a completely irrelevant compound as a “control”?

Hot lad
Hot lad

Why don’t you ask the OPCW

pliszkablog

Why to add “an unrelated compound as control”? I know very little, but in another context, DNA/mRNA sequencing, poly-nucleotides are added to the suspension for calibration and quality control — we know exactly the concentration of the “spike”, and the procedure can inform about the ratio between the “spike” and other pieces floating in the soup-like sample.
That said, I do not understand why “raw data”, chromatography spectra and whatever else was obtained, cannot be disclosed. At worst, it would reveal the type of equipment that was used in the labs — why they have to be anonymous is mysterious anyway. It is not like Spiez Laboratory will be targeted by assassins, or Russians will threaten to “take care” of their children (what was attributed to a certain John Bolton, a non-Russian).