Second Salisbury Alleged Poisoning: Still More Questions than Answers

James O’Neill

Sajid Javid, British Home Secratary, speaking from Amesbury. Source: BBC.

It is symptomatic of the level of desperation being felt by the British government that the illness of two known drug addicts (Rowley & Sturgess) in the town of Amesbury, Wiltshire, only a few kilometres from Porton Down and the site of the Skripal incident in March of this year, is immediately attributed to Russia by the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid and the Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace.

Speaking in the House of Commons on 5 July Javid referred to the “decision taken by the Russian government to deploy [chemical weapons] in Salisbury on March 4 was reckless and callous……. It is now the time for the Russian state to come forward and explain exactly what has gone on.” Wallace for his part suggested that Russia “fill in the gaps” of what happened to allow the United Kingdom authorities to pursue their investigation and keep people safe.

What we most need to be kept safe from are the bizarre and groundless allegations made about the Skripal incident on 4th of March 2018 and the even more bizarre attempts to link that event with what may have happened to Rowley and Sturgess on 30 June 2018.

Making unfounded allegations, blatantly false statements, giving rapidly changing ‘explanations’ as to how the Skripals became affected, and disregarding all the basic rules is to evidence, logic, scientific principles and the fundamental precepts of what used to be called ‘British justice’ were certainly characteristics of the Skripal case.

Equally disregarding these same basic principles has been true of the failing government of Britain’s Theresa May, as well as some of its apologists such as the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter article of 6 July that was so riddled with false assumptions, fake ‘facts’ and unsupported conclusions it may well have been drafted for its author by MI6.

The English poet William Taylor Coleridge described poetry as “the willing suspension of disbelief” and it is clear that the UK government and certain sections of the media in both the UK and Australia see the willing suspension of disbelief is the modus operandi in promoting yet another anti-Russian storyline.

There was a four-day gap between what happened to Rowley and Sturgess and the first reports of this appearing in the UK media. Given the unusual activity where the pair were found, in a local park, and at the respective homes by people in chemical hazard suits, and the absence of reporting strongly suggests that the UK government had issued yet another ‘D’ Notice to prevent reporting of the events.

The police initially lied to neighbours and other witnesses about what was going on. This fact alone makes the ‘Novichok’ story highly implausible. If the highly dangerous ‘Novichok’ class of nerve agents were in fact at random locations in the greater Salisbury area, then public warnings would and should have been given at the earliest opportunity.

The attempts to link what has allegedly happened to Rowley and Sturgess in June 2018 with what allegedly happened to the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Bailey in March 2018 is a sure sign of the desperation attached to the British government.

I say “allegedly” because if what the scientific literature tells us about substance A234 (allegedly used in the Skripal case) is correct, and there has been no scientific rebuttal of that well established evidence, then none of the victims would be alive today.

That is quite separate from the reported findings of the Spietz Laboratory in Switzerland that carried out analyses of samples collected more than three weeks after the Skripal incident that were entirely inconsistent with A234 being the actual cause of their illness (or that of Bailey).

The police on this occasion have been more cautious than some of the journalists or politicians. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police stressed the importance of the investigation “being led by the evidence available and the facts alone,” a wholly welcome degree of caution on a topic more marked by political hysteria and manifestly false information than a cool appraisal of the classic means, motive and opportunity approach to crime solving, with a heavy emphasis on actual evidence as opposed to politically inspired rhetoric.

Even with that welcome degree of caution by the police, there are still some very curious elements to this latest case. If the Novichok class of nerve agents are as dangerous as the scientific literature incontestably describes them, why was there a four day delay between Rowley and Sturgess being found and hospitalized and the announcement of the cause of the illness? That delay would surely have exposed others to random phials of nerve agents carelessly left in public spaces.

The second curious element is that the nerve agents in question, the inappropriately labeled ‘Novichok’, have, again according to the scientific literature, a very limited life if exposed to the vagaries of the elements. Yet the Evening Standard in the UK quotes an unnamed and unaffiliated ‘security source’ as saying that “the poison could be kept deadly for decades” if kept dry. That complete contradiction of the known facts is simply ignored by the rest of the media.

The third puzzle is why, if the current explanation for the poisoning of the Skripals was an infected doorknob of Sergei’s home (as highly dubious as that claim is) why would the same nerve agent in an as yet undisclosed container be found in a public park well away from the Skripal House and any likely escape route for would-be assassins, four months later in a public park in a still dangerous state, and not noticed by any member of the public or the park’s maintenance workers?

Some long overdue skepticism about the whole Skripal saga and its alleged links to the latest incident in the mainstream media is to be found in an article by Simon Jenkins in The Guardian on 6 July 2018. Jenkins correctly points out many of the absurdities of the Skripal story and its many still unanswered questions. He points out that where knowledge is non-existent (as in both of these cases) ignorance is bliss. He says that does not apply to government ministers, for whom ignorance is not a sufficient condition for silence.

Apart from the aforesaid Mr Javid, most politicians have been relatively restrained in their public reactions to the latest incident. One might hope they learned something after the frankly hysterical and ill-informed over-reaction to the Skripal incident.

That may be unduly optimistic. The willingness to blame Russia in the absence of even remotely compelling evidence is a political instinct deep within the western political psyche. On the other hand, the Skripal experience and the British refusal to acknowledge the implausibility of the Skripal’s alleged poisoning and its even more implausible aftermath may have led to an awakening realization that it is one’s supposed allies and friends that pose the greatest dangers.

James O’Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au

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Ross Hendry
Reader

The whole Salisbury/Amesbury saga seems have gone the way of all dodgy government narratives – down the collective memory hole.

Still, poor Dawn Sturgess is being cremated today and the MSM reports that her coffin will have no pall bearers. Why? Surely there can’t be any risk of poisoning from the coffin? I wouldn’t put it past the buggers to wring every bit of terror out of this affair even now.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

Charlie Rowley released from hospital. After being dosed with nerve agent and, according to his brother a couple of days ago, on death’s door? Really? Really? As my mother used to say “I’m not as green as I’m cabbage looking”. This is truly going to take some explaining.

kingfelix
Reader

“… if the current explanation for the poisoning of the Skripals was an infected doorknob of Sergei’s home (as highly dubious as that claim is) why would the same nerve agent in an as yet undisclosed container be found in a public park well away from the Skripal House and any likely escape route for would-be assassins, four months later in a public park…” The most suitable explanation is that the doorknob was not the source of the Novichok. The details of the second attack destroy the official narrative anent the first attack. The discarded Novichok would presumably be close… Read more »

Jerry Alatalo
Reader

Meanwhile, Yulia and Sergei Skripal have vanished down the memory hole, never to be seen, heard or experiencing otherwise normal human contact on this Earth – apparently forever.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

It was their wish to just disappear, away from the prying eyes of the media. Their final wish.

Michael McNulty
Reader
Michael McNulty

Dawn Sturgess died after coming into contact with Britain’s secret services.

Cherrycoke
Reader
Cherrycoke

Not being a chemist, I tend to believe people who seem to know what they are talking about. Still, even if labs did such things (could anyone clear this up? RTJ1211?), the OPCW would/could not have added freshly produced A-234 to the samples it sent to the labs. To me this means that the “virgin” as well as the “degraded” A-234 was present in the authentic sample/authentic samples (whether biomedical or environmental, we don’t know). As I said before, the OPCW does not call into question the authenticity of the passage from the Spiez report which was quoted by Lavrov.… Read more »

Mulga Mumblebrain
Reader
Mulga Mumblebrain

So you believe a Western-controlled organ headed by a Turkish former NATO apparatchik. Credulous or disingenuous?

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

I believe they are lying because that is what they do. And this all happens very near the facility having and testing for Novichok? Duhhhh.

Dave m
Reader
Dave m

Just a point- Amesbury not Amersham (Bucks) – Or I’ll be very worried living there!!

tutisicecream
Reader

Again the MSM has missed the actual story.

Some how Novichok has leaked into May’s cabinet and the Brexiteers are dropping like flies.

Superintendent Commissioner Plod said the first signs are a ghostly white pallor and dilation of the pupils. Followed by a weakness in resolve to see any task through, and then running away screaming paranoid obscenities about foreigners controlling Britain…

reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

How could the MSM miss a story which they have made up themselves from the outset? :-)) Even the Daily Torygraph have booted this pile of russophobic cobblers off their front page now. (To make room for Why You Should Not Go To Russia, however).

Panopticon
Reader
Panopticon

At the risk of being overtaken by events… an idiot’s guide to Salisbury Poisoning #1:

https://syrianobservatoryforhumanwrongs.wordpress.com/

vexarb
Reader

@PanOptician. A little masterpiece of Logic in Verse. Could have been written by Lewis Carol himself — except that Prof.Ludwig Dodgson was a Conservative who would not have dreamt of applying cold Logic to statements from Her Majesty’s Government.

Thom Prentice
Reader

Did Theresa May authorize it to save her regime’s ass?

bevin
Reader
bevin

The WSWS has a useful summary of the story:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/07/10/stur-j10.html

Nitecore
Reader
Nitecore

Call me a con****** theorist but I doubt there has ever been any Novichok. I believe the Skripals were somehow contaminated with an opiate type substance administered by persons unknown (couple in the cctv footage…red bag etc????) for nefarious purposes. The Novichok came into play to blame Russia for reasons i think we all understand. Then the poor couple this time around unfortunately came across some bag drugs (cut with fentanyl/opiate of some kind) and the powers that be saw a way to shore up the narrative that had fallen by the wayside and produced novichok pt2. The whole story… Read more »

oldnis
Reader
oldnis

For what it’s worth?

If the reader is of any reasonable level of intelligence, this theory is worthy of the most careful consideration. I, for my part, think this is probably spot-on.

johnplatinumgoss
Reader

A good article though I suspect the author means Samuel Taylor Coleridge rather than William. My own view is that the Skripals are dead. We will never hear from them again. Yulia Skripal was probably dead at the time her statements in English and Russian were made public and her scripted announcement broadcast. It struck me that they were probably made at the same time as the police statement was issued which is almost identical to Yulia’s script. The secret services have no compunction in killing when it is not in what they perceive to be the national interest to… Read more »

wardropper
Reader

On a somewhat related note, this amazing picture was created using the Blender 3D app. We really must consider what an app like this might be, and almost certainly is, doing in the hands of dishonest media organizations… You can practically smell the mildew on these ancient shelves, and our expertise in perceiving the difference between such a picture and what we know to be reality is really going to be tested. I have worked with this app myself, in an abstract-artsy sort of way, and know something of its potential.
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/BZVdl

wardropper
Reader

Correction, this may have been one of the other 3D apps. I found the picture on a Blender-related site.

Jo
Reader
Jo

James…as a barrister…there is no way Russia ???? can be accused of this being a murder of a British citizen surely ie a deliberate attempt by a perpetrator…an inquest verdict would surely be death by misadventure due to her habits and no known means of delivery yet discovered. Apart from Russia laughing her head off and letting UK make utter fools of themselves…does Russia have any legal redress against the claims…eg slander…libel or an equivalent or other diplomatic forms of redress because say 100 years ago this would lead to military action maybe…..betchya UK is going to add this to… Read more »

reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

Oh, Russia can be accused of the murder… because a bent Home Secretary, without a shred of legal experience in his multi-billion pound banker’s career, can accuse anyone, anywhere, of anything, and not face the slightest comeuppance for his lies.

If Russia dared to remonstrate, the fireplace salesman would simply call the one-time failed Health Minister (with no international credentials) in support of the billionaire banker.

That’s how Britain is run.

By twits.

tick-tac-toe
Reader
tick-tac-toe

still more questions than answers ?….then lets look here . Charles Rowley = Crowley (Alistair) Thelema….”Dawn” Sturgess = Golden “Dawn” (Hermetic order – Geomancy/Patterns)….”Sturgess”, Preston “Sturges” – who’s mother, Mary Estelle, had an affair with Crowley – also worked/collaborated with him (Rituals) on his treatise on Magick. do you think nothing ?….then return to the Parsons Green train attack. Jack Parsons (Rocket engineer) converted to Thelema – Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis. Then there’s the two (msm) witnesses = Peter “Crowley” and a Lauren “Hubbard” – see his and Parsons friendship and Crowley’s (O.T.O) influence on L Ron Hubbard and his… Read more »

IAN COLVILLE
Reader

There’s a typo in the article, right up front in the first paragraph; it was Amesbury, not Amersham.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

Not even just the end of the wrong line but not the end of no line either. Things keep on getting worser.

reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

Sadiv Javid is utterly unqualified to be Home Secretary – a job he only picked up at all, due to the firing (ooops, no, it was ‘resignation’, wasn’t it?) of eager-beaver deporter-deceiver Amber Crudd. Prior to that, Javid was busy raking in banking billions in Singapore – where he claimed his Islamic birth ‘didn’t help him in the slightest’. As the head of Britain’s legal activities, he hasn’t even got a GCSE in law, let alone a single day’s experience. Another Conservative grandee fraud. His lifelong bigotry and hatred of Russia lie behind his asinine accusations. Boris Johnson had no… Read more »

rilme
Reader
rilme

“Amber Crudd”?
My kid had that in his ears.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

No, not really to do with Oxbridge, we just don’t like experts, because they know too much and tell us truths we don’t want to hear. We prefer dumb inbred toffs to rule over us, opportunists, vicar’s daughters and ex carpet salesmen.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

It all comes down to schpelling. The 99% schmexperts are to the 1% experts what Chris Rock is to blacks

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

Or maybe that should be “the 1% experts are to the 99% schmexperts”?? Mixed metaphor brainsprain.

reinertorheit
Reader
reinertorheit

Theresa May = St Hugh’s College, Oxford
Boris de Pfeffel Johnson = Balliol College, Oxford
Jacob Rees-Mogg = Trinity College, Oxford

Paula C Williams
Reader
Paula C Williams

If the first incident was without evidence blamed on Russia and the second even less plausible, similarly blamed,then I personally, see the British Government as the instigator.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Or the CIA or Mossad

theroyalsecretinfo
Reader

I have a feeling that somehow these two Salisbury drug addicts found the alleged Novichok substance in the now disappeared red bad seen with the Skripals in the park and may also be the two people mistaken for the Skripals who mysteriously could not be traced. Worse might be that the two drug addicts are being used to continue the ant-Russian hysteria.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

In the comments section of Craig Murray’s website, under his analysis of the Amesbury incident, one of the earlier contributors does a compellingly convincing comparison of the CCTV images and the photos of Sturgess and Rowley. To those who argue that Rowley is much younger than the CCTV image would indicate, we have to bear in mind that we don’t know when any of the published photos of Rowley were taken – they could be ten years old for all we know. I myself am coming round more and more to my previous suggestion that ‘S&R’, who were known to… Read more »

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“In the comments section of Craig Murray’s website, under his analysis of the Amesbury incident, one of the earlier contributors does a compellingly convincing comparison of the CCTV images and the photos of Sturgess and Rowley.”

Precise citation is usually more compellingly convincing than unreferenced assertion.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

OK. As I’m not proficient at putting links into my posts, I shall give you the details. Several contributors allude to the likeness but it is ‘Jack’s’ post at 11.14 on 9 July (page 1 of the comments) who provides a link to his comparison which itself iscomment image. Craig Murray’s article is entitled “Dawn Sturgess”.

nwwoods
Reader

Recent CCTV video of Rowley here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44768229

nwwoods
Reader

Sorry…I meant Sturgess

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

Just a further thought. Was the ‘air ambulance’ deployed to remove the unaffected Sergei and Yulia to a secret location?

Ross
Reader
Ross

Hi Judy – you will find a more detailed explanation along these lines in the comments on the moon of alabama blog: British Government Peddles Warmed Over Novichok Muck: The one thing we can be sure of is that the Skripals have disappeared (subject to the veracity of the reports above about Yulia returning to Moscow). It is therefore reasonable to assume that their disappearance was the desired intention all along. If Sergei was the author of the Steele dossier there would be a lot of people who would want him silenced – including May who knew the dossier was… Read more »

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“If Sergei was the author of the Steele dossier there would be a lot of people who would want him silenced – including May who knew the dossier was fake when she signed the FISA warrants.”

Why would May feel inclined to sign any “United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” Court warrants? Slow Brexit day? GCHQ on strike again?

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

Hi Ross, This fills in a number of my ‘gaps’! The only thing unclear to me is exactly how the mysterious DS Bailey would actually be involved insofar as him purportedly taking himself to hospital. At what point, and how, would he have been affected by any opiate or BZ? Probably impossible even to suggest a theory for this. Perhaps he was just suffering from the onset of flu but, presuming he was probably directly involved in organising the charade with the couple on the bench, he feared he’d been contaminated. Perhaps he was genuinely contaminated at some point with… Read more »