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?

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

Filed under: discussion threads, empire watch, featured, latest, Russia, Skripal case

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Kathy
Reader
Kathy

I don’t think just because you are a junkie you would pick something up in Salisbury and not be a little cautious about it. After all the Skripals and Novichok have been all over the news. A junkie who makes it into their 40s surely has some idea of hazards and self preservation. At the very least you would consider the possibility that it may be dodgy and keep whatever item you had picked up just in case something did come of it. It also doesn’t say much for the thoroughness or commitment of the clean up project carried out… Read more »

Jason Kennedy
Reader
Jason Kennedy

To be fair to the authorities, the cleanup was presumably limited to public spaces, not the insides of people’s homes/gardens/garages/vehicles, etc.

Of more interest, perhaps, is that, once again, due to the supposedly slow-acting nature of the ultra-lethal Novichok, the authorities claim they’ve not been able to recover the item bearing the nerve agent. Is this the world’s deadliest game of pass-the-parcel?

Sadly, I did predict that these two victims wouldn’t make it out of this narrative alive, perhaps because they now knew a little too much. One down, one to go.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Mr. C.Rowley went a dumpster-diving, and, luckily (or not) thanks to austerity, he found one not emptied for FOUR MONTHS, and not overflowing onto the street (unless he snorkeled). Poor Old Blighty.

Kathy
Reader
Kathy

The MSM still seem to be playing this down. The headline was taken over almost immediately by the resignation of David Davis. The latest is. The other victim is only days away from death. Of course they did release a similar statement about the Skripals. Who both miraculously rallied at the point the Russians started to demand access and repatriation of the bodies if they died. The whole thing has so many flaws.More questions then answers. How could an area that was so close to the Skripal bench. Not have been thoroughly searched for evidence by the police. How could… Read more »

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Completely as expected the May regime has liquidated one of these human guinea-pigs, so far, to drive the hate even deeper and further. Apparently dastardly Russian novichok grows MORE lethal (twenty times worse than VX?)as time goes by. And the heroic hospital that saved the Skripals could do nothing, this time. Just effing EVIL-as you’d expect.

jantje
Reader
jantje

I believe that governments are capable of anything,what I don’t believe is that medical staff in this hospital would lend themselves into killing one of their patients,let’s keep a bit of a level head here

PeaceCora
Reader
PeaceCora

No-one has suggested that it was the medical staff. Level head??

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

It only takes one nurse or doctor to administer a lethal injection. And you don’t think these sacrificial victims were nursed by ordinary staff, without police and or intellgence supervision, do you?

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

That’s right, Mulga. Let’s not forget ‘specialist’ staff who are experts in CWs were drafted in to supervise the care of ‘the Skripals’.

Jen
Reader
Jen

By Christmas this year the British government will have had to evacuate the entire population of Salisbury and thrown a huge Chernobyl-style concrete dome over the entire city to prevent the insidious fumes of the rapidly strengthening Novichok (now glowing a sickly Day-Glo yellow in the dark and emitting harmful levels of radiation) from escaping into the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Oh wait … you mean by Christmas Theresa May’s government will still be waffling over the expense of cordoning off Britain’s Ground Zero from the rest of the country?

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

I reckon they’ll just throw a ring of steel around the area, leave the chavs inside (the ‘better class’ will be evacuated) then watch as they die from rampant, fulminating, metastasising, mutating ‘novichok’ mass death. Think of the savings to be made.

Kathy
Reader
Kathy

My apologies. I hadn’t realized that Dawn Sturgess had died when I posted my comment and my condolences go out to her family. It is interesting that as you MM suggest. This stuff is obviously strengthening as time progresses.I still maintain that it would be unlikely that any drug addict would just pick up and use something that was found in the park so close to the Skripal incidence. It is also sadly no surprise that this time no recovery occurred as happened with the Skripals.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

“most of the MSM are playing this down now” – yes, even Dawn Sturgess’s death was second billing and relatively brief coverage on the BBC 10.00 news, after the rescue of the boys from the Thai caves.

Willie Wobblestick
Reader
Willie Wobblestick

Look, I do apologise but I think this might have been my fault. A week ago I posted the following poem at MoonOfAlabama and almost immediately “Novichuk II – Junkie Apocalypse” was released to confuse all the stupid people. Once again, I apologise and will try to be more careful in future. Nothing to See Here Rather like Janet Jackson’s nipples, It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Skripals. Not so long ago they were all over the news As official drones droned their official views. They said that in Salisbury wherever you look Lurked sinister types splashing novichuk.… Read more »

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

This is a very interesting new strain of nerve agent, it has various new astounding properties ascribed by our British “experts” that simply don’t exist in actual Novichok according to those who developed it or studied it. Let’s call this new nerve agent Portonchok or perhaps even Bolloxchok?

Jen
Reader
Jen

The Russian language comes to the rescue with the word “Durachok”.

https://www.wordhippo.com/what-is/the-meaning-of/russian-word-ed13205c9d4d91291febf4c81c572b4e0d0862ef.html

Antonyl
Reader
Antonyl

Now that England won and Russia lost it will be too electorally expensive for the Tories to pull their successful team out now. Even MI5/6 can understand that. Novichok on the back burner now.

Jason Kennedy
Reader
Jason Kennedy

The real Jordan Pickford has been replaced with a Russian lookalike robot who is impossible to score past.

tutisicecream
Reader

You’ve been Skripalled Theresa!

Time to send Boris to Russia to support ENGLAND

Ha, Ha, Ha!

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

BoJo-the Kiss of Death!

tutisicecream
Reader

As England goes through to the next round …

Apparently Novichok is the only thing left in the arsenal for England doing so well in the World Cup in Russia!

The Graun faithfully reports the guff…

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/07/police-officer-in-hospital-over-potential-novichok-exposure

Joke- echok it truly is.

PeaceCora
Reader
PeaceCora

The Guardian these days is sickening shocking and unrecognisable. Spouting establishment bile on a regular basis, and feigning interest in and concern for social and world issues. It is a deluded person’s Daily Telegraph.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Once the Soros machine takes over, the filth streams in.

PeaceCora
Reader
PeaceCora

It is so true that the homeless have to seek drastic measures to be noticed by this government. Unfortunately though, the government only see this event as another opportunity to play the ‘Russia is our enemy game’.

‘Damned’ World Cup giving the British the opportunity to see some of the realities of Russia and the Russians.

Edwige
Reader
Edwige

From Hansard 5/7/18: Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op) The St Petersburg troll factories and the RT propaganda channel are already gearing up to spread misinformation. Could we not at least do a little bit more to expose this? In particular, would Members of all parties in this House not appear on Putin’s propaganda television channel? Sajid Javid The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise this issue. There have been far too many incidents when Members have sadly supported the Russia propaganda regime, and RT is one way in which they have done so. If any Member has an ounce… Read more »

Gordon Harman
Reader
Gordon Harman

Our government are either : #1 So brain washed they don,t know what day it is. #2 Been threatened with loosing their job or their life or ridiculed in some way and are spineless. #3 Embarrassingly stupid and have no idea how clued up and intelligent the people of Britain or the world for that matter are to see through this anti Russian fiasco. #4 Hoping to push the people into a condition of revolt and bring on some kind of marshal law like the fascist Nazis did. I have never been convinced from day one of the Skripal poisoning… Read more »

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

Gordon you are making the mistake of thinking that the parliament is representing the people. That kind of thinking went out years ago. Now the electors are just a bloody nuisance who have to have the wool pulled over their eyes at election time but at other times are dispensable. Its not just the UK Government as the Australian government has franchised out policy making to the USA and they privatise the task by giving it to their corporations. Australia like the UK is a perfect place to raise sheep.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Sheep generally have more intelligence and self-respect than Austrayans.

timfrom
Reader

Well said indeed.

The assumption that we’re all so punchdrunk that we’ll believe this shit is starting to get me really fucking angry!

Incidentally, if Russia beat Croatia tonight, we’ll have an England v Russia semi-final in the World Cup. The mind boggles as to how the British state will spin that one!

Einstein
Reader

Well said!
In answer to your four speculations on the government, I would think all four are true to a greater or lesser degree.

jantje
Reader
jantje

would you also suggest to withdraw the england squad from russia edwige?or would that be unsportsman like?

Einstein
Reader

I would suggest sending Gapes and Javid to the Falkland Islands for two years’ hard labour on sheep farms.

manfromatlan
Reader

That would be cruel and unusual punishment (for the sheep).

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

They’ll come back with their bellies covered in blue chalk.

jantje
Reader
jantje

and Boris

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

Boris could be one of the sheep.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

Thanks, OffGuardian admin, for making me chuckle! I see on your Twitter account you have drawn attention to the fact that even the Grauniad has relegated the Amesbury story below a story about a possum being rescued after getting his head stuck in a Nutella jar. Grauniad has got it right for once.

John Nicholas
Reader
John Nicholas

It was not just any Nutella jar it was one that Boris confirmed was traceable to a source in Russia and MI6 have information that it was exported to Britain by Vladimir Putin himself.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

Why would the Germans manufacture Nutella in Russia for export to UK? Isn’t Poland more sensible??

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

What has sensible got to do with anything propagated by the Tory Government.

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

I think something has alerted the Guardian hierarchy that their old readers are deserting them as faster than they can pick up right wing support in the USA. I was astounded to see the article titled “If the novichok was planted by Russia, wheres the evidence? This was written by Simon Jenkins. Could it be there is a stirring of panic by the editors or has Jenkins got sick of being exposed.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/05/novichok-wiltshire-poisoning-russia-putin-world-cup

PeaceCora
Reader
PeaceCora

I think that I saw the ultimate in betrayal just the other day; an opinon piece in The Guardian by no other than Paul Dacre. I was so disgusted, I closed the window down.

grandstand
Reader
grandstand

Is this the same Simon Jenkins who wrote in the Daily Mail back in March:

“Assad’s use of chlorine against civilians at the weekend in rebel-held Douma — assuming it was him — was against international law. …. sarin and ricin are beyond the pale.”

Didn’t seem to need much evidence then, did he?

Or the same Simon Jenkins who wrote this piece of gibberish in the Guardian in May:

‘Putin is riddled with what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences”.’

Too little, too late Simon!

Ross Hendry
Reader

Ha ha! That sad possum HMG has got its head stuck in one helluva Nutella jar with this recurring Novichok nonsense.

John Marks
Reader
John Marks

If you examine the Nutella jar, I’m sure you’ll find it was highly likely that it was made in Russia.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

Of a type made in Russia, surely?

rilme
Reader
rilme

Burgess!
Any relation to Guy?

mikael
Reader
mikael

Yeah, here we go again, the shitpal saga continues with new and surpising side tracks, if anything of this nonsenseical drvel is actuall, and what the MSM can do of an spin offs, headlines, buddyboy, is what they feed us with, short lines and that to create fale narratives, as an chemical weapon attack by an weapon grade nerve toxic comp. so bad if makes Sarin to an sweetner, and have an causality rate close to an nightmare, that is what they claim, and then have that, and their bonkers time lne and what and whom have crossed their paths… Read more »

Gordon Harman
Reader
Gordon Harman

Amesbury poisoning: Russia ‘must explain nerve agent incident’ I do not believe the incident reported by the government controlled media implicating Russia using Novichock is in any way more feasible than what I suggest is an accidental overdose by two known Heroin users and being used to bolster the governments previous fake farce of a Russian chemical weapons attack on Britain. WAKE UP PEOPLE Novichok vs Fentanyl Heroin users Wiltshire Police Home News Wiltshire Police and partners have this evening declared a major incident after it is suspected that two people might have been exposed to an unknown substance in… Read more »

bevin
Reader
bevin

The skwawkbox had an interesting video clip with the man’s brother:
https://skwawkbox.org/2018/07/06/video-bbc-ignores-amesbury-brother-hes-fine-im-not-sure-how-he-got-involved-with-that-lot/
Who are ‘that lot’?

Ross Hendry
Reader

I get the impression that the brother is rather enjoying his 5 minutes of fame, and wants more of it.

“I’m not sure how he got involved with that lot” was his straightforward, idiomatic reply to the interviewer wondering how his brother ended up being part of the same investigation as the Skripal event.

Anyway he goes on to say he hasn’t spoken to him yet and he’ll let the interviewer know when he has. I hope the interviewer follows up on this (though given the media’s total disinterest in proper investigation the omens aren’t good).

Paul X
Reader
Paul X

By ‘that lot’ he surely meant the druggies and Homeless, not international intelligence agencies? The development does improve the credibility of the original story BUT that makes it likely it was deliberately done for that very purpose.

Ross Hendry
Reader

I agree. I think in fact by “that lot” he just means “the whole Salisbury caboodle”, no necessary implication of his brother hanging out with spooks, etc.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

And he doesn’t exactly uphold the line that his brother is “critically ill”.

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

Behold, a new political innovation: A false flag incident on a false flag incident. A false flag squared.

tubularsock
Reader

AND IT IS CLEAR …….. you meant Red-Square!

Estaugh
Reader
Estaugh

Why dress up in hazmat suits when ‘baby wipes’ are all that is recommended for civvies? No need even to wear gloves.

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

There was a budgetary audit upcoming and all that money spent on HazMat suits needed to be justified by using the damn stuff in the field.

vexarb
Reader

While the punters were laughing till they cried over the latest Whitehall farce, the real world where useful things are made and sold has been moving to stage Germany’s 20th century economic revival in 21st century China. Pepe Escobar of Asia Times: “It’s always crucial to stress that it was Germany that actually supplied the blueprint for Made in China 2025 via its Industry 4.0 strategy. Made in China 2025 targets 10 techno-strategic fields: information technology, including 5G networks and cybersecurity; robotics; aerospace; ocean engineering; high-speed railways; new-energy vehicles; power equipment; agricultural machinery; new materials; and biomedicine. For Made in… Read more »

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

I am afraid petty and juvenile regional- and subregional bunfights in the Noughties did for any thought of a National Strategy. Keeping Liverpool down at heel was far more important to London than national strategy.

mightydrunken
Reader

Investing in science and business is so 1950s and socialist. A modern democracy would cut finance regulations and reduce taxation, Simples.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

China has long had high-level committees investigating how to create an ‘Ecological Civilization’ and working with non-Chinese individuals and groups to that end. US policies to deny China US high-tech equipment will only hasten China’s own development of these technologies. The next US step will surely be to attempt to threaten or intimidate non-Chinese from co-operating with China in scientific/technological research. Already, in this sewer called Austfailure, the racist thugs of the US-ordered hate campaign against China are demanding that universities cease engaging in research with the Chinese because-well, basically because they are Evil Yellow Devils, completely untrustworthy and treacherous,… Read more »

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

And the place where such chemicals are stored/developed is just a few miles down the road. Must be the Russians !! (LOL). When did Britain become such a sad and pathetic island?

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

Around 410 CE, I’d say Paolo.

mog
Reader
mog

Q5. What on Earth is going on?

-I suggest some psychological version of Winston’s torture in 1984:

kingfelix
Reader

These two individuals may have been involved in the attack/stumbled across some evidence. Cleaning up the loose ends with another Novichok attack that they proceed to perish from, win-win.

tutisicecream
Reader

No one believes this Novichok reprise. They never believed the Skripal story “Sunday Afternoon at Zizzi’s”. “The Millers Tale” is what has been deleted by the Gov issuing a “D” notice. Obviously a dumb or dumbing-down notice! But this time the use of probable Special Branch ghosts or plants to try to revive the public panic – is nothing short of despicable. If a member of the public did this they would definitely end up in jail! No one is buying this. Not even Hackneyed old Jenkins at the Guardian who today appears to understand EVENTUALLY – that the Government’s… Read more »

wardropper
Reader

I wonder how long Jenkins will last… They don’t like Russian infiltrators at the Graun… lol.
I could hardly believe my eyes as I read his piece yesterday.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

The Fraudian is much more the home these days of deranged Imperial feminazis like the almost unbelievably odious Nonentity Nougatbrain, who takes Putin-hate to hysterical depths.

Einstein
Reader

Nougatbrain is just as treacherous on Syria.

Motive464
Reader
Motive464

Aaaand AGAIN: alleging exposure to “ten times more powerful than VX ” novichok that fails to kill its victims instantly.

Also – If I’ve read correctly about the effects of nerve agents they are instantly, totally and quite dramatically different from a would-be fentanyl overdose. It should not even be remotely possible to confuse the two.

D'Esterre
Reader
D'Esterre

Herewith a vivid illustration of why, whatever happened in Wiltshire, nerve gas wasn’t involved. Note the number of deaths and injuries in these attacks: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/06/national/crime-legal/aum-shinrikyo-guru-shoko-asahara-hanged-mass-murder-reports/#.Wz7LvaB5Y0M

theroyalsecretinfo
Reader

It has been admitted weeks ago in a letter to The Times by the head of Salisbury hospital dealing with the Skripals that no nerve agent was involved and so no “Novichok” which word is still being constantly used by the biased British media. For the British to say they are waiting on the Russians to tell them what happened is as daft as it is insulting.

Jo
Reader
Jo

What the heck ever happened to Dr Steven Black one wonders…….

Neil McCormick
Reader

Thanks for posting this – just saw it on our Free to Air News in New Zealand and I thought the same thing.