empire watch, featured, latest, Skripal case
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OPCW collaboration in Skripal misinformation?

by David Macilwain

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At a recent press briefing, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in her inimitable style picked on the loose and unscientific language rattling round the corridors of Western power – “it was “highly likely” that Russia was responsible for trying to poison the Skripals with a nerve agent.”

She rightly questioned the sanity and motivation of a government prepared to take such provocative and dangerous actions based merely on this supposition of guilt, even if that supposition were true. (which of course it wasn’t – see below -) While “highly likely” appeared to be sufficient proof to satisfy the UK’s already determinedly Russo-phobic partners, who joined in the diplomatic expulsions with barely any encouragement, to anyone with a fair and scientific mind such a standard of evidence is little better than hearsay.

“Highly likely” has a history of use – or misuse – that led the IPCC to define “likelihood” in scientific terms when talking about climate change. Updating its predictions in 2013, the IPCC presented this scale:

  • Virtually certain: 99 to 100 per cent probability
  • Extremely likely: Over 95 per cent.
  • Very likely: Above 90 per cent
  • Likely: Above 66 per cent

Coincidentally, the IPCC’s upgrading of the likelihood of man-made climate change, from “very” to “extremely” likely, came only weeks after another case of “very likely” in Syria. Summoned to Damascus on August 19th 2013 to investigate the alleged use of a chemical weapon by “rebels” in Khan al Assal in March, a team from the OPCW was promptly diverted to investigate a “Sarin attack” reported by “rebel” groups in the nearby suburbs of Jobar and Moadamiya two days later.

While the OPCW was strictly and solely charged with establishing the presence of Sarin at the alleged missile strike sites, and in the bodies of alleged “survivors” supplied by local “rebel” groups, Western governments supporting the armed opposition declared it “highly likely” that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged Sarin attack and the alleged deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.

They did so on the basis of ZERO evidence, but purely on what was presented as evidence of Sarin exposure in videos released by militant Opposition groups occupying East Ghouta.

The extent of this deception registered on the populations of the Western world in late August 2013 set the precedent for subsequent false flag operations in Syria in a way that is now barely believable, such that transparently fabricated “chemical weapons attacks” like those in Khan Shaikoun and recently in Douma have still passed muster with most “experts” and academics in NATO-allied countries.

This belief in circumstantial and unverifiable video “evidence” is however restricted to its target audience in the West, who see its source – the White Helmets – as sufficient authentication that “Assad is killing his own people”, and that a Western military “response” is called for and justified.

Ask the residents of Douma, where the gas attack is alleged to have taken place, – as independent journalists have done – and you will get verifiable evidence, not just from witnesses but from the very “stars” – and victims – of the White Helmets’ latest hospital emergency drama. The presentation of these true Syrian witnesses, brought to the Hague by Russia to testify on the fraudulent pretext for the April 6th missile attack on Syria, will prove to be a turning point, not least because of the coincidental arguments over the Skripals’ poisoning at the OPCW headquarters.

It’s important to note now that there are two distinct classes of evidence involved in these allegations and claims made of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian and Russian governments – legal and scientific.

As explained above, “highly likely” is assumed vernacular for the statistical estimate of “90% confidence” that a hypothesis is true. It is probably no exaggeration to say that this statistical method underlies ALL scientific research, and certifies the truth of its results. No qualified scientist could argue otherwise, nor be unfamiliar with the demands of this method.

Most importantly, for a hypothesis to be seriously considered, 90% confidence is insufficient – equivalent perhaps to “circumstantial evidence”. 95% confidence is the accepted minimum in most scientific research – as in the IPCC’s “extremely likely” – requiring further certification to give 98.5% confidence that a claim is “virtually certain”.

In legal parlance this highest degree of confidence would be considered “beyond reasonable doubt” – the standard required for a trial before punitive action can be taken.

To say that this stands in stark contrast to the facts of the case made against both Syria and Russia by the new Triumvirate – the UK, France and US, for which the punishment has already been administered, is a gross understatement. Consider the details of the alleged crimes in Salisbury and Syria. (partly established in a previous article here)

We may first observe that we don’t actually know the details of the crimes committed, or even if they were committed. Yet on the basis of this alleged crime in Salisbury, and an unsubstantiated allegation of Russia’s “highly likely” responsibility for “the first use of a chemical weapon since WW2 in Europe” – NATO powers are now engaged in renewed and unrelenting aggression against Russia and her allies.

As evidence for a “Skripal-Douma conspiracy” becomes overwhelming, particularly following the outrageously unscientific claims from the head of the OPCW (of which more below), it is time to turn the tables on the “likelihood” scale. The “unlikely” end of the IPCC’s scale reads thus:

  • Unlikely: Zero to 33 per cent
  • Very unlikely: Zero to 10 per cent
  • Extremely unlikely: Zero to five per cent

While the UK’s claim that Russia was “highly likely” to have been responsible for the alleged nerve agent attack on the Skripals in Salisbury on March 4th does not constitute a reasonable cause for action – as detailed above – the claim is actually mendacious and inverted. Any impartial observer, even lacking scientific or legal understanding, but having “common sense” would consider Russia “very” or “extremely” unlikely to have been responsible for the alleged attack on the Skripals.

Russia had no motive, no means and no benefit from committing such a crime – an “own goal” for the coming Football World Cup, and for the whole condition of Russia’s relations with the West. The same inversion of common sense applies to claims the Syrian government used chemical weapons against insurgent groups (“civilians” in NATO parlance), on all three occasions for which punitive action was taken.

The Russian president, whose understanding of science and law is evidently underpinned by some serious common sense, was quick to observe that these claims against the Syrian government following the 2013 Ghouta incident were “utter nonsense”. For others however, Russia’s subsequent proposal that Syria’s CW stocks be destroyed under UN supervision only seemed to certify Syria’s guilt.

Make what you will of the recent missile strikes targeting the very facilities that were removed and destroyed by the OPCW in that operation, and the total silence on this striking deception from Western authorities and media alike. “A lethal charade” seems to describe it, though the damage could have been incalculable had Syria’s air defences failed to stop most of the missiles reaching their targets.

In the end however it is only “science” that can establish the guilt of those in the UK, France and US who contrived and effected this complex scheme to frame Russia. Common sense has already indicated that it is highly likely that they were responsible, having the motive, means and ability to benefit from such an operation.

And it is the very body charged with adjudicating on the scientific evidence which has now provided the International Criminal Court with sufficient material for a conviction – beyond reasonable doubt. The Director General of the OPCW, Mr Ahmet Uzumcu stated that:

For research activities or protection you would need, for instance, five to 10 grams or so, but even in Salisbury it looks like they may have used more than that, without knowing the exact quantity, I am told it may be 50, 100 grams or so, which goes beyond research activities for protection.

It’s not affected by weather conditions. That explains, actually, that they were able to identify it after a considerable time lapse.

He added the samples collected suggested the nerve agent was of “high purity”.
Faced with a barrage of ridicule from independent and Russian media, the OPCW sought to issue a “clarification” on behalf of their evidently scientifically illiterate D.G., which merely cast doubt on the credibility of the entire organisation and its political allegiances.

While the LD-50 – the dose lethal to 50% of a tested population of rats – of “A 234” Novichok is uncertain, that of VX nerve agent is a mere 7 microgrammes/Kg injected intravenously. Assuming a 50% absorption of poison through the skin works out at roughly 1000 microgrammes – 1 Milligram per person, for VX.

But according to Porton Down, “Novichok” is 7 to 10 times more toxic than VX. Accounting for this, as well as the evidently sub-lethal dose the Skripals received, suggests a quantity of nerve agent ONE MILLIONTH of that proposed by Mr Uzumcu was used.

In fact it suggests nothing of the sort, but rather provides substantial evidence that the Skripals were never exposed to this super-toxic “military-grade nerve agent”, suffering instead only from the incapacitating agent BZ that was found in their blood samples. Given that no other victims of nerve agent exposure were reported in Salisbury it would also be reasonable to ask just where the OPCW discovered its samples of “Novichok”…

There is just one more brick to pull from under this edifice of lies; the testimony of the UK’s leading expert on Chemical Weapons Hamish de Bretton Gordon. In an article packed full of UK government talking points and lies about the war on Syria that reflects his own activities, agenda and vested interests, Gordon states that:

[Novichok]is thought to be ten times more toxic than VX and very persistent. Probably less than half an egg cup full of agent transfixed the world for two weeks and greatly increased the tensions between the West and Russia. The OPCW were called in to investigate and produce a report for the consideration of the UN Security Council, which they now have done to confirm the findings of Porton Down scientists.

I think Russia can rest her case.

David Macilwain is an independent journalist/writer & activist. A previous version of this article appeared in the American Herald Tribune

37 Comments

  1. Baron says

    The Skripals were poisoned by anything but a nerve agent, Novitchok or any other.

    The only piece of credible evidence in the whole poisoning saga is the Times’s letter from the consultant who treated them, that’s it, everything else is just a noise, a deliberate deflection to confuse, a clumsy diversion from the truth the letter, supported by the initial witnesses to the accident, says.

    If the Skripals were contaminated by the Novichok agent by touching the door handle of their house (the official version) they would have contaminated everything they touched subsequently, certainly in the restaurant, yet not one of the staff who must have handled the contaminated items (cutlery, plates, glasses, money or whatever else they may have touched) were hospitalised.

    The fact that the Times letter has been totally ignored by the MSM backs this up further, it has disappeared, nobody ever mentions it, and the Times rag has been publishing almost daily anti-Russian pieces (a sort of repentance for the ‘sin’ of publishing it?).

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      On our local Government controlled ABC Radio last week, on liar, possibly Luke Harding (he was one of two insanely biased guests)declared, bare-faced, that ‘ONLY RUSSIA’ can make Novichoks, ergo are guilty!!!!!!

  2. Victor David Rothschild = Cambridge Five says

    Due process should absolutely be done from as many bodies as possible in addition to the OPCW.

    However how is it correct to say Russia had NO motive to do the alledged Skripal attack?

    Is revenge against a defecting spy and “traitor” not enough?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      That bulldust has been so often refuted ie Skripal was LONG in gaol in Russia, there is an unwritten agreement NOT to target such swapped spies etc, that I doubt your sanity, or veracity.

    • “Is revenge against a defecting spy and “traitor” not enough?

      Skripal was not a defector. He did not, you know, secretly run away to the other country, without being punished for what he did. He was identified, he was arrested. He was sentenced, and he got his prison term. He spent a few years(!) in Russian jail. Then he was officially pardoned by the Russian government and sent to UK through a spy swap.

      You mentioned a “revenge motive”. Why you (and on the whole – people who think like you think) so stubbornly deny/ignore the simplest logic? Are you afraid of logic, afraid of common sense or what?
      I don’t rememer for sure, but it seems Skripal was arrested in 2004. He was sent to the UK in 2010. There are at least six full years from 2004 to 2010 when he was in the hands of Russian justice. If Russia would need “to take revenge” on Skripal – there were million ways and million possibilities to do it during these six years. For example, something could “accidentally” happen to Skripal in Russian jail..
      But nothing happened.

      More to say – if Russia would think that Skripal is still “dangerous”, the country would never sent him to the UK through a spy swap, of course.
      But he was sent to the UK. This means that Russia had absolutely no claims to him.

      And i will not even seriously discuss the thing (according to your “logic”) that Russia, for some fantastic, odd and ridiculous reason(s) decided to wait eight(!!) whole years (2010-2018) before taking “revenge” on Skripal.

      Sorry, “revenge motive” has nothing to do with this case.

  3. stevehayes13 says

    It does not matter that the official narratives are lacking in evidence and do not withstand logical analysis because no one expected to believe them: the narratives are simple loyalty tests: anyone who questions them is immediately construed as an idiot if not an outright traitor.

  4. i would boil it down to sense or nonsense! that which has sense has a narrative running through it ,eg bashar hates syrians, bashar decides chemical weapons will kill syrians, bashar invites the opcw to the place where he’s going to drop chemicals, bashar drops chemicals, bashar renounces chemicals, opcw agrees and praises itself for dealing with chemicals, bashar decides to drop more chemicals everytime the us government decides to leave ! as i said sense, no sorry i mean nonsense! always confuse the two, as does the us, uk and french governments!

  5. clip from today’s Saker: Something strange has happened in German media. After years of streamlined and very constrained news coverage of the Syrian war to form public opinion in the Warshington mould, German state media suddenly cracked the narrative shell around the fake gas attacks in Douma. As far as the Skripal case German MSM still in lockstep with the Anglo-American narrative. But when the White Helmets staged a fake gas attack in Douma for the next installment, at least some state media broke step. State news anchors used careful phrases like “alleged gas attack” or “possible gas attack”. That’s unusual, I thought. Every stupid helmet lie before was just repeated as fact, yet this time they seemed journalistically cautious. Then the unthinkable happened. Uli Gack from ZDF actually went to Damascus to visit a refugee camp and ask the locals about what happened. This was then broadcast on the daily news show Heute Journal. See for yourself:

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Big outbreak of ‘antisemitism’ in Germany, then.

    • JudyJ says

      Just watched Uli Gack’s report questioning the West’s narrative and came across another, even more damning investigative report by Pearson Sharp of One America News Network “OAN investigation finds no evidence of chemical weapon attack in Syria”.

  6. The UN the OPCW Human Watch Red Cross International Monetary Fund. etct etc.
    All industrial age modern anglo-zionist invention. White Helmets anyone!!!!!!!!!!!
    . Follow the money dwell into the rabbit hole and all roads lead to London/Tel-Aviv/New York, Brussels etct etc. Hence The UN is defunct and pointless organisation. It is only relevant to us western sheeple the singularity social media brain dead entities.
    Simple question how many Arab semites really believe in any of the aforementioned organisations.? How many people of the Maghreb regardless of religious origins believe in any UN or affiliated organisations.
    How often have NATO affiliated countries broken International Law IE Articles 50 and 51 Geneva convention based on Nuremberg Principles.
    With regards to the OPCW it is all a cover to give the west some sort of legitimacy.
    IE: Israel has basically flaunted , it is not signatory to NPT hence IEAE has no significance because Israel does not comply with the so called International rules and regulations of any sort . This is also the fact with NATO. So the rst of the world I mean majority of the world find the UN a false and fake entity . Just like the League of Nations before it tells the majority of the World THIRD WORLD that empires come aand go but its always the same players western white exceptionalist that dictate the rules .
    CONCLUSION:
    I find that in the post modern era such articles are not only gaslighting and obfuscating the real politik but are only giving legitimacy to western dying paradigm.
    Qadaffi had it right when he called them out in his famous speach post Obamber POTUS in 2009 just b4 they murdered him. Not one person has been held to account hence go ask the Libyans what they think of OPCW or anything UN /International Law.
    Might is right and as I was taught in my youth Talk is cheap Bullshit walks and money talks.
    Humanism /Human values.
    UN morally and intellectually bankrupt like all things west.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      There is an excellent article in Dissident Voice, by Paul Larudee, which outlines the Israeli regime’s role in promoting Islamophobia in the West. It outlines how the Zionists have used their unrivaled power and influence in the West, to push Islamophobia under the false label of ‘terrorism’ since at least the 1980s. The well-known Islamophobes are mentioned, like Pam Geller and her ‘American Freedom Defense Initiative’ in the USA, and many of these Zionist hate-mongering organs are also financers of illegal Zionist settler colonies on the West Bank.
      It also mentions the sayanim, concentrated in positions of power and influence, and so important in the 9/11 operation, once controlled by the MOSSAD, but now by the Israeli Ministry of International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs, a body that targets the BDS movement, and all pro-Palestinian movements throughout the West. Then of course there is Hollywood, with its invariably negative, often viciously so, portrayals of Arabs, Moslems and Palestinians, and adoration of Israelis.
      Nauseatingly, the Zionist stand-over thugs deny that Islamophobia even exists (rather as they deny the existence of the Palestinians). The CRIF, in France, (where you can be arrested for wearing a ‘Free Palestine’ T-shirt), the local version of AIPAC, ie the de facto Government, while decrying ANY criticism of Israel or support for the Palestinians as ‘antisemitism’, declares that
      ‘Islamophobia is not a form of racism. We have long drawn attention to the danger of conflating Islamophobia and antisemitism. To do so would impede all criticism of Islam, such that the fundamental rights of [other] religions could not be respected. The CRIF will therefore block all resolutions against Islamophobia’.
      Now if that doesn’t tell you who rules in France, and whose arrogance is far beyond stupefying, then nothing will.

    • Sorry to have to contradict you – the Red Cross is a Swiss and not a modern anglo-zionist invention. It was created by Henri Dunant (from a Swiss family in Geneva) who was neither Jewish nor a Zionist. He created the Red Cross in Geneva, in 1863, 155 years ago – hardly an anglo-zionist invention at all. The concept of Zionism didn’t even exist then.

      • Anglo-zionism is the progenitor to modern day Herzl Zionism. Further more the origins go even further back tied to the Black nobility from the dying days of the Roman Empire in the mid 450 BC. Moved to Venice. The term Zionismo its origins are from Mount Sion in Switzerland. Hence Dwell into the rabbit hole of History . The early 1800’s the British had a famous song called Jerusalem written by the first atlantacist zionist.

        • Don’t mix everything up and equate it to Zionism.

          Definitions of Sion

          1 n originally a stronghold captured by David (the 2nd king of the Israelites); above it was built a temple and later the name extended to the whole hill; finally it became a synonym for the city of Jerusalem

          Synonyms:
          Zion
          Example of:
          hill
          a local and well-defined elevation of the land
          n Jewish republic in southwestern Asia at eastern end of Mediterranean; formerly part of Palestine
          Synonyms:
          Israel, State of Israel, Yisrael, Zion
          Example of:
          country, land, state
          the territory occupied by a nation
          n an imaginary place considered to be perfect or ideal
          Synonyms:
          Utopia, Zion
          Type of:
          fictitious place, imaginary place, mythical place
          a place that exists only in imagination; a place said to exist in fictional or religious writings

          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sion,_Switzerland

          See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sion

          OMG – Zionism is everywhere… even in beer! LOL!

          https://imageshack.com/a/img184/9969/hahahahaig9.gif

          • Simple question. Do you know the history of the black nobility.
            Do you know the history of the term anglo-zionism. Do you know the rapping and ransacking of Constantinople in the 1200s by the Venician barbarians.
            Do you know the origins of the gold banking system set up by the black nobility in Venice post Roman western empire demise.
            Hence again yes the term has ME origins but also Monte Sion in Svizzera.
            History would be a wonderful thing only if it were true. Famous Tolstoi quote.
            There will always be an elite class famous Gianbattista Vico quote.
            History will always be recorded by the victors and not the vanquished. Giordano Bruno quote

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says

    The OPCW like all international organs is controlled by the West, and packed with its ‘assets’. To expect ANYTHING but lies and disinformation from the OPCW is madness.

  8. Harry Law says

    Understanding what the policy objectives of the US/UK and France are is the important consideration here, if the intelligence matches the policy, that is a bonus, but it is not essential, the lies that accompanied the Iraq war is a case in point, the policy..remove Saddam was achieved, no one in the West was indicted nor will they be for this aggression, job done. The US/UK and France being veto wielding members of the UNSC [plus their friends] are above the rules of International Law for all time. In the case of Iraq and Libya the West could take action, even with false intelligence, without much consequence, as they could in Syria until Russia appeared on the scene in 2015. Now in order to achieve their policy, great risks are involved, which could culminate in WW3. Does Russia have the resolve necessary to thwart the West? The excellent Stephen Lendman argues in this article and open letter to President Putin that it needs to face down the West……
    “Passivity in the face of its aggression encourages more of it. Failure to supply Syria with S-300 air defense systems left it vulnerable to repeated attacks – in my judgment heading for something much more serious than already.
    The only effective way to deal with US, Israeli and allied aggression is by confronting it forcefully – something you haven’t done, encouraging escalation, I believe things likely heading for full-scale war you haven’t tried to prevent, relying on failed diplomacy.
    I’ve explained confronting Washington forcefully is high-risk. Failure to do it, I believe, is higher risk”. http://stephenlendman.org/2018/05/open-letter-vladimir-putin/

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      I’ve just watched a BBC report on the apology to the Libyan jihadist thug, Belhaj, by the May regime. NO apology of any sort, of course, for destroying Libya, killing 40,000 of its people, delivering it to the rule of the West’s jihadist stooges, and turning the most advanced state in Africa on the UN Human Development Index into a Hell on Earth.

  9. rtj1211 says

    At the very least, for due process to be seen to be done, Yulia Skripal should testify as to what happened to her between leaving Russia to visit her father and the present day. It would afford her the right to dispute official propaganda, if that is what it were; it would allow Russian officials to interrogate her evidence critically but fairly; and it could clear up,such matters as to ehether she was conscious when her social media account was accessed in the days after the incident in Salisbury.

    It is also imperative for Nick Bailey to be cross examined, since he is critical to the Establishment story.

    It is critical for the OPCW to be interrogated so it can be established beyond doubt that their protocols for analysing samples were not susceptible to foul play. Interrogating senior scientists in their testing laboratories may be necessary to highlight anomalies….

    It is critical for Boris Johnson to testify under oath in order that the nature of his grasp of reality can be critically appraised….

    It would be helpful to engage with experienced patent examiners at US and EU patent offices to appraise the nature of Novichok-related patent filings, awards etc on a global basis, to determine commercial activity in developing Novichok-related technology.

    It would be helpful to find operatives holding truth to be a higher loyalty than murder to cast light on the past- and current status of Sergey Skripal’s activities with Western Intelligence services. This may well be crucial in establishing motives to assassinate him, if an assassination attempt actually took place.

    Clearly, if political scheming is a higher priority than judicial judiciousness, those feeling threatened will do anything to stop such interrogations taking place.

    It will say much about UK/US commitments to justice and due process if such interrogations are actively resisted….

  10. bill says

    excellently argued and presented……interestingly only Baroness Cox and to an extent Jeremy Corbyn said on the day of Mays pernicious and deceitful address to the H/C on this point( there have been many) “lets slow down here and gather the evidence” ….the facts obviously show both have in the authors words ” common sense”

  11. Hertog Jan says

    The modus operandi is: stage some grotesque event, point at your target, let the media repeat what you’ve said, strike the target, move on to the next part of your plan.

    You can safely ignore anyone examining the event and exposing your lies, because you control both the government and the media, and most people don’t care anyway.

    • bevin says

      Common sense? May be that is it. What I can’t understand is how anyone could have believed the story that May told. It was full of holes and extremely improbable.
      Are MPs really so stupid or dishonest? All of them?

      • Yes I also have difficulty understanding how anyone can believe these stories, and believe that people so obviously having no motive for an attack MUST be responsible. However I also have difficulty believing that those in the seat of power – May, Johnson, Macron etc, and those leading intel agencies could operate WITHOUT knowing the truth of what they are doing, which makes them truly guilty. Their whole lives seem to be about deception and spin, but have they really lost touch with ‘reality’?

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