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Open Thread: The Amesbury Couple and the Reborn Novichok Saga

Obviously, by now, we’ve all read the news. Novichok is back, and this time it’s…even weirder than last time.

The “facts” so far:

  • Dawn Burgess and Charlie Rowley were admitted to hospital on Saturday June 30th.
  • Just as with the Skirpals, Burgess and Rowley were initially treated for drug abuse. In the former case fentanyl, in the latter either heroin or crack cocaine.
  • On July 2nd, the police reported that the two hospitalised people may have taken “tainted” drugs.
  • On July 4th Porton Down reported that the couple had been exposed to an “unknown agent”. Allegedly novichok, although no official statement has been made on this subject as yet.
  • On July 5th Sajid Javid MP, the Home Secretary, demanded Russia “explain” the latest nerve-agent incident. The Russian government have yet to officially respond.
  • As yet, no specific theory on how Burgess and Rowley are supposed to have come in to contact with this “unknown agent” has been released. We don’t know where, when how or why this (entirely hypothetical) event is meant to have taken place.

That said, the following questions need answering:

  1. Are we supposed to believe that this “novichok” incident is directly related to the alleged poisoning of the Skripals? How so?
  2. If this IS the same chemical, why is it suddenly affecting new victims four months after the initial “attack”?
  3. How come the emergency services and medical personnel, who spent ten weeks treating the Skripals and DS Bailey, didn’t recognise the symptoms of novichok poisoning immediately? Why was nerve agent poisoning mistaken for drug use AGAIN?
  4. Why and how did Porton Down get involved in this case? Is it usual for them to test the blood of suspected drug abuse victims?
  5. And finally, what on Earth is going on?