Humour, latest, media watch
Comments 30

Don’t Panic! Lighten Up! Smiley Skripal case forces scientists to revise everything they thought they knew about Novichok

Rob Slane

skripal

Warning: This article is likely to contain traces of satire.

In the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4th March, scientists are currently re-evaluating their understanding of A-234 – or Novichok as it is more commonly known. Prior to the poisoning, it had been thought that the substance was around 5-8 times more toxic than VX nerve agent, and therefore that just a tiny drop would be likely to kill a person within minutes or possibly even seconds of them coming into contact with it. In the unlikely event of a person surviving, it was believed that their central nervous system would be completely destroyed, and that they would suffer numerous chronic health issues, including cirrhosis, toxic hepatitis, and epilepsy before dying a premature and miserable death, probably within a year or so.

However, according to an anonymous source at the Porton Down laboratory, which is located just a few miles down the road from Salisbury, scientists now believe they may have completely misunderstood the properties and effects of the chemical:

“All the available information we had about Novichok before March this year suggested that it was by far the most lethal nerve agent ever produced, and we had assumed that even the tiniest drop would kill a person within minutes. However, after studying the movements of the Skripals after being poisoned, we have now revised our understanding, and we now believe that one of its primary effects is to generate in its victims a strong desire to go out for a beer followed by a pizza.”

Yet it’s not only the effects of the substance that have led to this reappraisal, but also its mysterious ability to move about from location to location, seemingly at will. According to the source:

“At first, differing reports of the location of the poisoning baffled us. First it was the restaurant, then it was the pub, followed by the bench, the car, the cemetery, the flowers, the luggage, the porridge, and then finally the door handle three weeks after the incident. However, we now believe we have an explanation for this phenomena. When Novichok was developed, we think it may have been given the ability to appear in one place, only to then disappear and turn up in an entirely different place. This is what we saw in the Skripal case, where the media would assure the public that investigators had found the source of the poisoning, only to report a day or two later that it wasn’t in fact there at all, but somewhere else entirely. It’s all remarkably clever, and it seems to have been specifically designed to generate the impression to the uninitiated that investigators are simply making it up as they go along.

Another quality of the substance, which at first puzzled the scientists, is its apparent ability to multiply:

“We now know that the substance was poured on a door handle,” said the source. “Yet according to all our experiments where we’ve replicated this scenario, no matter how carefully we’ve poured liquid on a door handle, what we’ve found is that it has an uncanny tendency to run off, leaving a fairly insignificant amount. Yet we know that from this tiny amount, the substance has been turning up in multiple hotspots around Salisbury. The most probable explanation for this, we think, is that the along with it being developed to appear, disappear and reappear in various places, it was also developed with the alarming ability to replicate itself.”

Asked why this hasn’t led to the deaths of hundreds or thousands of residents in the City, the source pointed back to their revised conclusion of the effects of Novichok as being more likely to lead to a craving for beer and pizza than to death.

They also mentioned another surprising revision that they have had to make, which is the seemingly mundane way in which objects that have come into contact with Novichok can be decontaminated:

“Given our prior understanding about the toxicity of Novichok, we had of course assumed that cleaning it up could only be done by specialists wearing protective clothing,” said the source. “And so when Public Health England advised people who thought they might have come into contact with it to wash their clothes and wipe their phones with baby wipes, I must admit we were a bit surprised. None of the research papers out there mentions baby wipes as being an effective method of treating exposure to Novichok, and we did wonder whether they were perhaps talking about another chemical altogether. But of course they can’t have been, can they? Still,” he added with a wry smile, “I guess it all goes to prove the old saying: you learn something new every day.”

Yet, although the new discoveries of the properties of Novichok mentioned above have taken the scientific community by surprise, the one that is causing the most excitement is the revelation that it can apparently render its victims invisible:

“To be frank, this has created a huge buzz,” said the source. “I mean, the Skripals apparently came into contact with Novichok over two months ago, as did Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. And yet since then nothing has been seen of any of them. It’s almost as if they’ve vanished into thin air, a bit like Bilbo Baggins at his 111th birthday party when he slips the Ring of Power on.”

And it’s not just the scientific community that is excited about the potential this might have. The Magic Circle has also a expressed an interest in knowing more about the substance, since its ability to make those who come into contact with it disappear without trace could potentially be a huge addition to the illusionist’s toolkit.

However, any excitement that this might bring comes with considerable caution. According to a spokeswoman for the Magic Circle:

“Of course we’re bound to be interested in the existence of a substance that can make a person disappear. However, whilst making someone disappear is great, what we’d really like to see is their reappearance at some point. Otherwise, I think it unlikely that it will ever catch on amongst our members.”

by Rob Slane at the Blognire, via SottNet


 

30 Comments

  1. Humbaba says

    This is not a joke:

    The German state broadcaster ARD just reported that according to a parliamentary committee, the German government is still waiting for evidence from the British government in the Skripal case and that the German intelligence service has found no information implicating Russia:

    Machine Translation:

    http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/skripal-159.html

    Skripal case

    Berlin continues to wait for evidence
    Updated: 07/06/2018 04:57

    The federal government has not yet received any evidence from London on the Skripal case. The German intelligence services have no knowledge that Russia could be responsible for the poison attack.

    By Michael Götschenberg, ARD capital city studio

    The German government is waiting in vain until today: As the rbb Inforadio learned from parliamentary sources, the British government has still not presented any evidence to the German government that would prove that Russia is responsible for the poison attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

    Yesterday, the federal government informed the secret parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag about this. So far it had only been known that the poison was Novichok – a chemical warfare agent that had been produced in the Soviet Union.

    No findings in Germany either

    Furthermore, the British government has not presented anything so far. Neither could the British government prove that the poison used came from Russia, nor that the Kremlin was responsible for the attack. According to rbb information, the German intelligence services have not gained any information from their own sources that would allow such a conclusion to be drawn.

    Father and daughter survive attack

    After Julia Skripal, her father Sergej has left the hospital again. Julia Skripal made a brief statement to the camera in the UK in recent days: she still finds it hard to believe that she and her father were attacked in this way, she explained. Her recovery had been slow and painful.

    The doctors at the hospital in Salisbury said the recovery of the Skriptals was a miracle, assuming that they would not survive.

    Massive diplomatic consequences

    The Skripal case had led to a dramatic deterioration in diplomatic relations between Russia and numerous Western states. After the British government declared that it was convinced that Russia was responsible for the poison attack on Skripal and his daughter, more than 140 Russian diplomats from 26 European countries, the USA, Canada and NATO had been expelled – a unique incident of this magnitude.

    Germany had also participated and expelled four Russian diplomats. In return, Russia had expelled the same number of diplomats from these countries.

    Other countries also had Novichoks

    The fact that the poison alos existed outside Russia has been reported by the media. According to media reports from NDR, WDR, “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and “Die Zeit” a Russian scientist offered the Federal Intelligence Service a Novichok sample in the 1990s.

    Since then it has been known that the neurotoxin had been exported from Russia – at least to the West. It is unclear into which other hands it may have fallen. The behaviour of the British government is also putting the German government in increasing need of explanation.

    Beyond the fact that the poison was identified as Novichok, there is no trace leading to Russia, let alone the Kremlin. The decision to participate in the expulsion of Russian diplomats thus seems more than questionable.

  2. John Marks says

    How come the doctor reported (BBC 8th May) as giving Julia CPR for thirty minutes was not herself contaminated? Where is she now?
    And where is DS Nick Bailey, his wife Sara and their two children?

  3. A town sprayed with the deadliest poison known to Science but nobody died? Obvious: Saint Theresa worked a Miracle at Salisbury.

    O Ye Scientists of Little Faith, scoff on!

    • wardropper says

      The scoffing is all done by the people promoting these farcical “events”, since they really don’t care whether or not we see through them. The Narrative must go on:
      “Look, isn’t it just amazing fun to see educated, experienced people foaming at the mouth because of our literally unbelievable stories and manipulations! Like they seriously imagine they can stop us, or even slow us down… hah!”
      First the chaos in all parts of the world which might be useful to us, chaos duly amplified by the media, then Washington takes over. Why on earth didn’t we think of doing this 200 years ago? People would be completely used to it by now, and they’d stop complaining…

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        The pathologically psychically incontinent Nick Cohen has a truly ludicrous and hyper-mendacious (nothing new then) hate-spew against Russia in today’s ‘Fraudian’ shit-heap, but, intriguingly, it contains a nasty (does he do anything that is not nasty?)attack on his fellow ‘antisemitism’ witch-finder general, Anthony Julius. When the ‘Gods Upon the Earth’ fall out, we mere goyim are left to look on in horror and bewilderment.

  4. RealPeter says

    The Graun has this ‘opinion piece’ (signed by one ‘Alexey Kovalev’, described as a ‘Russian journalist’) on its website today (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/25/russia-skripal-poisoning-state-television-russian-embassy):

    Headline:

    Who, us? Russia is gaslighting the world on the Skripal poisonings: From state television to the Russian embassy in London, indignation, mockery and flat-out denial is the order of the day

    The first paragraph reads: ‘Russia’s reaction to Yulia Skripal’s bombshell Reuters interview has been boringly predictable. State officials, TV hosts, loyalists [sic] reporters, a host of experts and, of course, online trolls scrambled to cast doubt on Skripal’s statement.’ … and continues in the same way until the end, except that the first paragraph’s ‘boringly predictable’ becomes ‘depressingly predictable’ in the final paragraph.

    Boring, depressing and predictable indeed. Well said, Alexey.

    There are two positive points to the article, however:

    1) There is a photo of Maria Zakharova at the top.

    2) Comments are open (597 a few moments ago) and are highly contrasted. A few have been moderated, but as we don’t know what they said it is difficult to understand the moderator’s logic, given the large number of comments criticising the article, the official UK regime’s narrative about the poisonings and even the Graun’s constantly russophobic stance.

    A few comments even give links to Off-Graun and have not (yet) been deleted. Shome mishtake?

    • reinertorheit says

      Alexey Kovalev is a rent-a-gob shill, who left Russia long ago, and these days earns a living trashing his country’s reputation internationally. His dismal work has featured in the Guardian before – usually when they need a Haw-Haw to illustrate that folk here in Russia secretly adore Pussy Riot, the Calvert Journal, Masha Gessen, and the other hapless failures who’ve fled Russia in search of glory in the West.

      If comments are open, it must mean Simon Tiswas is enjoying a Bank Holiday weekend at NATO headquarters.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Gessen has been slithering around Austfailure recently, to the adulation of the brain-dead and the propagandists. She’ll not need to purchase toilet-paper any times she visits these shores.

    • Frankly Speaking says

      The Graun comments section has been closed now but i expect it to be completely removed. In a similar vein to this article on Off Guardian, a commenter called GeeDeeSea wrote this remark:

      ————-
      The advice given was interesting:

      If the substance is on your clothes then wash them in an ordinary washing-machine on a regular wash.

      If the substance is on your phone or handbag then clean with baby wipes.

      If the substance is on your hands then thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

      But if the substance on your front-door handle … then the whole house needs to be demolished!

  5. Andy says

    It also has the curious side effect of bestowing on the victim the minor superpower of idiomatic communication skills, perhaps Yulia will reappear in Avengers 234 – the perils of Sidmouth literary festival.

  6. Hertog Jan says

    I still want to know why Skripal-the-father kept guinea pigs.

  7. Harry Stotle says

    The article neglects to mention the powerful psychological properties of choccinov (because it definitely is chocolate flavoured).

    I mean what other agent reduces once rational, fair minded individuals into slavering Russiaphobes who tuck themselves in under a Union Jack bed spread with a poster of Boris Johnson beaming down from the bedroom wall?

    Anyone who suggests otherwise is a Putin-bot.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Mithradatism? After all, that Devil Putin sprays Novichok around like there’s no tomorrow, because he’s so Evil.

      • Harry Stotle says

        “Mithridatism is the practice of protecting oneself against a poison by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts.” – so a bit like reading the Guardian!

  8. Novichok seems to have little effect on the public it only leads to a blank expression and a glazing over of the eyes.

    However it has been observed to have a profound effect on politician, MSM hacks and their handlers. Leading to group hallucinations and paranoia. Flashbacks to other narratives and a belief that everyone else is a subversive foreign agent.

    One common link has been observed and that is among this group it is clear they are all desperate to make money/political capital by milking such narratives for all they are worth.

    The good news is that after a period in which the general public were subjected to endless doses of Novichok based narratives via their government and MSM, they have suffered no ill effects and the Maltings will be open for business by the bank holiday.

  9. Fair dinkum says

    Thank God, it’s all clear now.
    I can remove this damn mask I’ve been wearing for a month (a bloody pain to sleep and shower in) leave my house, and go have a nice frothy latte and a bagel.
    Those cursed Russians.
    Why don’t they just leave us peace loving people to do our thing?

  10. Anandamide says

    I still think it had something to do with the 2nd pet cat of Sergie… I reckon it had been specially trained to administer nerve agents and had some sort of remote control device planted in it’s brain… Controlled by scientists at Porton Down and once it had delivered the nerve agent it was never to be seen again, having been called back to base.

  11. bill says

    so who is next and what poison will be used……? Operation Beluga ….

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Prince Phillip, of course. The most beloved man in the land, mysteriously taken from us, all too soon. Putin, naturally.

  12. rtj1211 says

    I think the fiendish Russians (or the dreadful Yanks/belligerent Brits) have actually developed some ‘nano-Novichok’, whose properties are as different to Novichok as nanothermite is to thermite:

    1) A thin layer of Novichok binding agent stores Novichok inside 3D caverns on a nanometer scale, so:
    i) The Novichok has put on its Goretex waterproofs, so rain does not break it down;
    ii) The release of the Novichok from its waterproofs is slow, so 2-4 hrs is required for enough to be released onto the skin to actually induce symptoms.

    2) The formulation was incorporated into brass polish, so a dodgy Polish cleaner was able to apply the nano-Novichok to the door handles under cover of an hour of hoovering, right under the noses of credulous MI6 spooks:
    i) The cleaner was supplied with DSTL-level gloves, a chamois leather and a pot of poison (which they dropped into a sewer later during heavy rains so no evidence would remain at ground level);
    ii) They kicked the door shut with their feet after priming the door handle.
    iii) The brass polish formulation is water resistant, stable at room temperature and the subject of no patent application.

    3) Pablo Miller deliberately did not shower for three days, ensuring that Skripals kept their distance from a rather smelly handler, thus saving Miller’s health from Nano-Novichok’s beastly properties.

    Having devised this fiendish weapon, DSTL shunned all knowledge of it, despite having fiendishly good diagnostics for Novichok.

    DSTL had also developed powerful antidotes to Novichok, whose side effects include weight loss. These were tested illegally on human guinea pigs, many of whom died or became permanently disabled, until titration of the antidote was professionalised. All records of those experiments were shredded and all staff conducting the trials were bumped off.

    Keeping this knowledge from Boris Johnson was absolutely imperative, as the silly sausage might tell the yanks about it, which would never do.

    • Nerve Agents in the Novichok class block the enzymes required for synapse function for nerves to transmit messages – to date there is no way to create an anti-dote & the block is irreversible. UK’s top toxicoligists & World scientists have confirmed this.

      Nano or not nano sounds very fanciful ? UK’s top nano expertise is in Belfast & there is no way to nano a binary molecular process – Can’t be done! Its easier for the West to lie like hell & create an OPCW cover up & get an MSM splash than to find a Nano tech.

      Assuming Nano is not the case then if an infinitesimal dose was successfully applied to not kill then 100% for sure it would permanently maim to a visible extent.

      Conclusion:
      Novichok my Arse ! It was another type of incapacitating agent most likely the BZ story is true as BZ fits what actually happened?

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole