latest, Skripal case

Further down the rabbit hole with Eliot, Boshirov, Petrov, his grandma & all


UPDATED with additional links. Bellingcat today released the second part of their “investigation” into the alleged real identities of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, the two Russians accused of attempting to murder Sergey Skripal. We offer some preliminary thoughts and open the subject up for discussion

What is going on with the Skripal poisoning narrative?

Anyone who thinks they have a definitive answer at this point had better pause and reflect. Very little of anything is clear and nothing makes much sense.

The “official” UK story (except not really official since the government has been careful to keep its distance and its wiggle room on the details) was initially, and remains, contradictory, factually implausible and bereft of corroboration on most important details.

Almost all of the initial questions and areas of puzzlement remain unanswered and unresolved at this time. We still have no explanation for any of the following:

  • Why Russia would want to murder Skripal at all let alone by use of something as exotic and untested as this still poorly defined substance known as “Novichok”. And why they apparently would do so at a time that dovetailed perfectly with UK/US plans in Syria, including a possible false flag chemical attack in Douma as a justification for a full-scale NATO attack on Damascus
  • How the UK authorities were able to be so certain so quickly of Russian state involvement or of the source of the alleged “Novichok” used.
  • What form the alleged nerve agent was in; was it gel (on the door knob) powder/aerosol (in Skripal’s car a/c system) or liquid (in a perfume bottle)?
  • How, when or where the poison was allegedly administered.
  • How the allegedly super-deadly nerve agent (supposedly many times more deadly than VX) did not kill either of the primary targets, or any of the secondary targets, save for the woman who allegedly literally sprayed it on her own skin.
  • Where the two Skripals and DS Bailey are and why they either can’t or won’t speak to the press or appear in public. While fear (either of their “protectors” or of Russian reprisals) may be a possible reason in the case of the Skripals, it’s hard to see why this would apply to Bailey.
  • Why the timing of the alleged poisoning does not fit with the itinerary of the two alleged suspects in the case, who did not arrive in Salisbury until several hours after the nerve agent was allegedly applied to the door handle (if indeed this is the one of many versions we are supposed to assume is true).
  • Why there is no released CCTV footage placing the two suspects closer than 500 yards from Skripal’s house. No footage of them even in a road adjoining or leading directly to said house.
  • Why two alleged GRU agents would behave in any of the ways Boshirov and Petrov behaved, including leaving a visible trail of their visit and browsing Salisbury high street for vintage coins.

To date these questions remain outstanding. But late last month we were treated to the added bizarreness of Bellingcat’s entry into the fray, culminating in the second part of their “report” released today (we discuss part one HERE), replete with a presser outside parliament by the man himself – Eliot Higgins.

Bellingcat/Higgins, as we know, is a patsy; a NED-funded front for UK intel agencies, through which they siphon the information – or more often disinformation – they don’t want to be associated with directly, either because it’s too weak, corrupt or absurd, or because they want to give the info a gloss of “grassroots honesty” by putting it in the hands of a (bungling) amateur.

What Bellingcat tell us, true or false, is what the UK/NATO security forces want us to hear. And what Bellingcat is currently saying is that they “proved” Boshirov and Petrov, the two apparently hapless Russian tourists snapped wandering around Salisbury last March, are actually Chepiga and Mishkin, elite military intelligence officers.

We can wonder about Higgins’ claims of how he acquired this information. It looks pretty clear his story of “discovering” their identities is completely bogus. It involves too many unnamed sources, lucky guesses and fortuitous bits of serendipity to be plausible. Bellingcat’s clumsy MO of Googling and reverse-image searching would in all likelihood simply not be up to the task anyhow.

What looks very likely, if not glaringly obvious is that they have been handed the driver’s licence and other alleged documentation by their “anonymous sources” (whoever they are) and worked back from there to try and sell what is essentially a data-dump as a piece of investigative journalism.

But all that’s moot anyhow. A bigger question is – is the story true?

The background narrative supplied by Bellingcat and its Russian allies for these alternative IDs is contradictory. Some people in Chepiga’s home town swear Boshirov is the man. Others say no, Chepiga was bald and had a different face. The same cloudiness is true of Mishkin/Petrov. Even Bellingcat admits only one anonymous alumnus of “Mishkin’s” alleged school was prepared to say that such a person with such a name had even attended there. All the other ex-students approached by Bellingcat claimed to have no memory of him at all. There are altogether too many anonymous informants here. Too many “my friend told me his grandma had a pic of him with Putin…” type memes for anything to be solid. What it amounts to is a collection of anecdote fed by alleged documentation, some of which of looks pretty real on cursory analysis:

Some a bit more questionable:

Many potential explanations have been offered.

Are these two gormless-seeming bozos really elite military intel officers sent by Putin to off an ageing spy for reasons that seem to defy analysis?

Were they intelligence officers sent to talk to Skripal for some reason, and was Skripal poisoned to prevent the meeting taking place?

Were they there unofficially, possibly at the bidding of some rogue elements inside Russia, to poison Skripal or perform other mischief?

Were they patsies, set up to take the fall for Skripal’s intended demise?

Are they just what they say they are, a couple of tourists, and is the entire thing a collection of clumsy and not so clumsy western fakery?

Or is this, as Craig Murray’s contacts seem to suggest, all some weird shadow play by both sides? An extended game of pretend, bluff and counter bluff for reasons we can’t fathom?

Well, right now, your guess is as good as mine. We’re almost certain to be coming back to this ATL in the next days or weeks. Meantime, feel free to discuss below.

And check out this cogent summary by Neil Clark over at Sputnik.

See all our coverage of the Skripal narrative HERE

Co-founding editor at OffGuardian. Writer. Occasional polemicist. Lives in UK.

Email at


  1. Antonyl says

    Lets keep one issue glass clear: Russia =/ Putin. 70% of Russians are dead poor now, and Putin and cronies are filthy rich. Putin’s friend Alisher Usmanov is now UK’s richest man…….
    May should not act up with City customers to distract from her Brexit mess up.
    Putin = Putin, Russia = Russia.
    May = May, UK = UK, not UK = May.

    • Antonia says

      And of course under Yeltsin, the Russian people were rolling in money!!

      Of course the people in UK are not dying in the streets of hunger under this Tory Government. While Ministers and the elite are rolling it.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      As we all know, the Soviet Union was looted by a cabal of oligarch parasites, almost all of whom were Jews. This was, of course, denied for a time, with ritual screechings of ‘antisemitism’, but then the Zionazi propaganda shifted to boasting of Jewish ‘business acumen’ forged by years of Soviet ‘antisemitism’. Theft, corruption and fraud became ‘business acumen’. The economic policies that allowed this looting, that devastated tens of millions of lives, was crafted by the Jewish US economist, Jeffrey Sachs, and a gang of mostly Jewish economists from Harvard. And as we see from our resident Zionazi, the Zionazis would just love to feast on the Russian state and society yet again. The standard of living of Russians today is vastly better than it was under the drunken Quisling Yeltsin, as the Jewish oligarchs looted the country.

      • mark says

        7 Jewish oligarchs controlled 70% of the wealth of Russia until they were sorted out by Putin. Khordokovsky, Berezovsky, Abramovich, etc most of whom fled with the loot to Israel or the UK, the money laundering capital of the world.

    • BigB says

      Antonyl mixes fact and fiction – again. Putin IS Russia, in a sense. The Saker (no anti-Putinist) has called it a “neo-monarchy”. VVP survives because he has the mandate of the people. Otherwise, the “Atlantic Integrationists” would have precipitated an internal snow-white ‘colour revolution’ years ago: with or without Washington’s help.

      [See for instance “Searching for Russia” written for the Unz Review].

      VVP inherited essentially a neo-liberal American constitution from Harvard. I don’t read Russian, so I largely accept the Saker, Helmer, PCR, and Michael Hudson’s view. There is not much he can do with it, particularly with the AZC 5th Columns against him. The Kleptocrats are still the Kleptocrats: the surviving ones still in Russia have come to an uneasy arrangement with VVP to pay there dues. That said, they still control the commanding heights of the economy and some 89% of Russia’s wealth [World Bank figures; interpret them how you will]: and capital flight is still a massive problem [around $25bn a year since 1991 [MH]: rising to $31.3bn[RCB’s own figure via Moscow Times]]. By inheritance, the Russian Federation is one of the most unequal countries in the world.

      I share the Saker’s frustration that Russia does not follow its own civilisational model: and STILL appears to want to integrate with western capital. Opening up to further penetration by the $$$$ is a big mistake [see the speech PCR would have given at SPIEF this year: had he been invited]. Christine Lagarde was there on the plenary council, which should really raise alarm bells for the crypto-capitalists who posit a mythical eastern promisary alternative.

      The Russian Federation is neoliberal, and I’m not sure that anyones arm is being twisted to make it so. Even the Saker has reluctantly avered “Putin is a neoliberal”. So where does the crypto-capitalist alternative to neoliberalism come from?

      Yes, the Russian people are better off …for now. What happens after VVP? How are the Russian people being served by capital integration with the ‘West’? I agree, VVP would have to engage in a Stalinist pogrom to erase a whole class of entitled people …and he is no Stalin.

      So, I do not know the answer (a Marxist-Humanist ‘2017’ doesn’t seem to be on the cards). No one does: but the Kleptocrats just have to bide their time. Calling them “Putin’s Cronies” (largely on the basis of the US Treasury hitlist) seems an incredibly cruel distortion …but that’s the AZC take.

      As for Usmanov:

  2. Final word on Eliot: where I said the Bana El Abed account ‘purported’ to be from Aleppo so Higgy decloaked and quoted his own article as evidence 🙂
    My reply: “all you ‘prove’ is #BanaAlabed lived Aleppo once. BTW, Periscope video doesn’t work on 3G networks though I think it was posting his links to Fancy Bear/Ukraine Intelligence that earned me a block.

  3. Matt's Mom says

    Matt has asked me to say he can’t come out to play today because he isn’t feeling well, and not because he doesn’t feel brave enough to try to defend the latest pile of cowpats Bellingcat has produced.


    his mom

  4. How does one obtain a copy scan of a passport for example…they must be being fed all this stuff to create this fable to promulgate the agenda from hidden sources that seemed determined to take us down a road of conflict. a third person being named today …cooperation with “respected”Fontanka website…admission today of an investigative unit in Russia called “conflict intelligence team…”. are there any persons out there who can use the methods they have to unravel this charade?
    Who the heck really is Fontanka and this other just announced group…who are the goons that were protecting B. when Graham Phillips tried to confront B. at a public presentation?

    Do we not have or know of enough experienced I.T. people who can try to duplicate methods they use to check whether they are using real ones….or expose a false methodology …and even expose more truths who these investigative agents being claimed as legitimate are? Even becoming aware of blockages of “corroborative methods ” being used by truly independant investigators could expose who is really using them…protecting them…fabricating all this stuff.Surely? Amazing work is being done trying to debunk and check stuff….perhaps we need similar funding to B to commission a real investigation….probably more money than the 10m spent so far on uk police investigation….which seems amazing considering they cannot produce this B stuff…which means much much more is being funded by those agencies determined to push this agenda….now that is scary. Reading today usa and nato is very very concerned that european and ukraine infrastructure is not consistent and harmonised to enable instant blitzkreig by usa-nato forces “defending us” being transportable to Russian borders…. civil airports cannot all take giant transporter planes.. rail and road bridges and tunnels have different sizes and weight limits as well as different rail gauges…..usa is going to set up legislation for punishing europe for still using russian gas not usa lng because usa thinks it knows better than our poor deluded european minds……one day where is this going to end?

  5. flamingosarepink says

    Good morning all. I have posted this at blogmire and wish to to make the same point here. In an effort to condense this mystery into a more tangible form for our open source inquiry and to counter the other claimant to same method : blundercat.

    I say that we have only one demand: that all Salisbury cctv hours of the 3,4,5 March be released to the world so that the entire open source people interested in this topic can analyse and hypothesize. A sort of open source jury, defense or prosecution case sort of thing.

    Release the entire Salisbury cctv collection

    so that we can assist the police who have seriously asked for public help,
    so that we can open source analysis world wide and bring a broad view of evidence and interpretation to the public consideration,
    so that innocent persons dragged in to the crude accusation circle can be exonerated or at lest capable of responding outside of the star chamber established by blundercat and MI5 and its mates,
    so that we the humans on this earth can affirm the essential justice of ‘innocent until proven guilty’
    so that we can perhaps establish a case for prosecuting blundercat for conspiracy to subvert the course of justice,
    so that the public can restore confidence in the UK state that has worked so deviously to undermine the credibility of its Queen,
    so that we can establish a place where the two primary victims Sergei and Yulia, can be given safety to speak again and recover their freedom from the incarceration of vanishment,
    so that Sergei and Perhaps Yulia can be free to assist the world to defuse this situation and come back somewhat from the brink of belligerent state confrontation,
    so we can establish a place where the second set of victims can be adequately considered and some posthumous justice found for Dawn,
    so that we can shed a powerful light on chemical weapons development and the fools errand that goes with it.

    I am sure there are many of you willing to expand but first: release all the Salisbury cctv hours for 3, 4, 5 March 2018.

  6. I’m surprised nobody’s made a Ukraine connection somewhere in all this nonsense.. Or have they? See Galloway ;>

  7. Paolo says

    I still can’t get into Craig Murrays website, it appears for a fraction of a second to be replaced by a white screen. Anyone else having this problem?

    • Royd says

      I can get in to his website but I have to search for it. It no longer shows on my Fb newsfeed as it once did.

    • RealPeter says

      No problem to access Craig Murray (I have it bookmarked).

      For the last three months, I was unable to access off-g, however, but it seems to have been a problem with my home computer’s decrepit operating system, which has now been updated and lo-and-behold off-g is back.

      I don’t use FB.

  8. We should all ignore the Bellingtwat nonsense like Russia is doing. How can anyone take it seriously with so many holes? Real state murders (and murder attempts) are rarely solved within days and though Theresa May and Boris Johnson knew from the start of the Skripal affair that Russia was behind the attempt we know nothing about the method (there have been so many stories) who the specialists were who treated the Skripals for a “poisoning” that should have affected half of Salisbury or if the Skripals are alive or dead.

    I broke this story the week after the Skripals were allegedly poisoned. It would not surprise me if Russia was behind it, though I have no way of knowing. It was a real murder and not a shred of evidence about the perpetrators has been presented. Real state murderers leave no clues.

    • mail says

      No, you’re wrong, you have to believe everything unemployed underwear salesmen funded by Soros tell you without question.

    • Yarkob says

      I’m sorry, if you don’t suspect that that DL has been manipulated, then I think you may need to go to specsavers..there is so much wrong with it that I am actually amazed it passed muster

      • Yarkob says

        I don’t mean you,L..I meant if anyone etc

    • And not just the license itself. The photo appears to be photoshopped as well. My best guess is the eyes of “Boshirov” have been photoshopped into “Chepiga’s” head. Facial features don’t align at all. Not even close. And whoever did the license photoshopping forgery doesn’t understand graphic design layers at all, apparently. It wouldn’t be very difficult for your average graphic designer to make a much better forgery.

      • Although I am not an expert, I certainly agree with your conclusion. “It wouldn’t be very difficult for your average graphic designer to make a much better forgery.” This is in itself a puzzling fact. Why such a poor job? Regards, L

  9. Yarkob says

    “Matt” has been conspicuous in his absence in this thread so far. I suppose he’s been busy with all of those TV and radio appearances..

    Funnily enough, I’ve been joking about “Matt” being the same person as “Craigsummers” over on MoA. He’s been pretty quiet these last two days as well..hmm..

    Maybe I’m not so wide of the mark. Both of their “comments” take on a very similar format i.e as if they are cut/paste talking points or highly-scripted non-sequitur answers (usually to questions nobody has asked in that particular thread)

    Obviously they’ll be using a proxy or IP masking but I’d love to see their IP traces..”Matt” says he’s “in Canada”.

    I reckon he’s by the River Thames somewhere myself…

  10. Whatever the truth we will probably never know it but I am inclined to think it involves MI6 digging up the dirt on Trump, which right now Trump is keeping up his sleeve. What gets me is the high minded righteous indignation of the UK and other Western countries against Russian spying activities and cyberwar tactics when the West is just as actively engaged in them.

  11. Robyn says

    I don’t believe a word of the UK government line on this but there’s one thing which doesn’t ring true about the two ‘tourists’. We travel a lot, and never visit an historic or cultural site without, on the morning of the proposed visit, checking that the site is actually open and accessible. This would be even more important for anyone on a two-day (flying) visit, especially in winter, and given the high price of train fares in the UK. That part of their story suggests to me that they weren’t there on a cultural visit. If they’d done these basic commonsense checks on their two mornings in London they might have decided to save time and money and instead check out the Kensington museums.

    • popp12 says

      I also think that those two are not really tourists and I also think they either came to Salisbury on behalf of rogue elements within Russia (and foreign intelligence services) or on behalf of Russia to meet up with Skripal. But the Novichok story? No, not buying that.

    • Thomas Peterson says

      Ive visited a number of such sites in other countries and I’ve never bothered checking the site is open and accessible. I just went, and in all cases they were open. Quite reasonable to me that they wouldn’t think Stonehenge would be closed no matter the weather.

      • Robyn says

        In decades of travel we have numerous instances of cathedrals closed for hours for weddings, funerals, graduation and other ceremonies, and sites of all kinds closed for restoration, renovation, or repairs. And a lot of places, English Heritage and National Trust included, close altogether over winter. A quick internet check prior to setting out just seems like commonsense to me.

        • Thomas Peterson says

          Right, but Stonehenge is just in the middle of a huge open area, isn’t it, I never considered myself actually that it would be closed due to some snowfall, sounds ridiculous

          • Admin says

            I believe Stonehenge is now (since the 1990s?) behind some form of fencing and can be closed off if wanted. Others might be able to give better info on that

            • Thomas Peterson says

              yes I know that, but you just go there and see the stones from a distance kind of thing, that’s what we did when we were there

            • John A says

              You have to pay to access Stonehenge and it is closed outside normal opening hours. The entire area is fenced off. Plus it is not within walking distance of Salisbury so you either need a car, or take the bus. My understanding is the bad weather forced the bus service to be cancelled on that day.

            • mark says

              Correct. It is normally fenced off and you walk round the perimeter fence. It was better in the past before they built the fence and the visitor centre and you could just touch the stones. I think a couple of days a year they have to grant full access to the site for New Age/ Druid type people on religious grounds – there was a ECHR case on it with people claiming their religious beliefs weren’t being respected.

        • Except for museum hours, which now vary from country to country, I never check about any other of the places I visit when travelling and and have never come across a church, a cathedral, etc. closed for any of the reasons you list. The only similar experience to what you describe I’ve had was with a synagogue in London, which I couldn’t enter because of a wedding that was taking place. Rather disappointing as I’d never seen the inside of a synagogue at that point.

  12. I couldn’t care less. The truth of this is becoming clearer by the day, that it’s just a UK Government Secret Services [i.e. SS] distraction game. I have no interest in being played by a load of PR distractors. It always was a load of crap, and the UK can keep it.

  13. Robbobbobin says

    “Learn how your comment data is processed.”

    Interesting link. Could also be expressed as “Learn how we’ve realized how to filter commenting visitors with ‘plausible deniability’ that perfectly fits our phoney ‘no filtering’ and ‘anonymous posting’ posture”, or “Learn how we are so ignorant of basic technical webmastering that almost any reasonably competent ‘external’ agent can filter any of our commenting visitors behind our backs without our (or with our ‘plausibly deniable’) knowledge (thanks Akismet!)”, or even “Learn how we run an efficient honeypot for politically undesirable commenting visitors while appearing to be technically incapable of even running a mildly functional alt-news site (no, really Akismet – thanks so much!!!!)”.

    • Robbobbobin says

      In other words, if you, off-Guardian, are for real, you really need to up your web-hosting game. With friends using a platform like Automattic, a genuine dissident or group of dissidents really doesn’t need any mole-shaped enemies–Automattic is as good as holding the AGM onstage at CIA Convention plenary in itself. I’m surprised WordPress called their holding company ‘Automattic’ when ‘Automaticc is a so much more descriptive mission statement.

      P.S. I see Alphabet has just pulled the plug on Google+ because they got caught out covering up the fact that their usual crap-for-programming had compromised the privacy of hundreds of thousands of users (as discovered right in the middle of the Facebook brouhaha (which was directly referred to as unfortunate timing in internal emails), haha).

    • Admin says

      If we filtered comments do you think this OT abusive incoherent rant of yours would ever have made it or still be here?

      We work VERY hard to run and maintain this site and to keep comments free but also free from trolling and spam. If you think you can do better start your own site and when you’re getting thousands of visitors a day and hundreds of comments, come back and show us.

      Now stop diverting this thread

      • Robbobbobin says

        My posting was quite specific: it illustrated the sort of responses that the use of WordPress sites as run by WordPress themselves (i.e. also actually ‘hosted’ by WordPress/Automattic rather than just running WordPress software on other hosting services) could reasonably elicit, given that some of WordPress’s hosting sub-systems (such as Akismet) make hijacking of WordPress/Automattic hosted site functionality by moderately competent third parties for their own purposes (such as highly-specific BTL filtering and/or visitor tracking, including even personal identification behind your backs and without your knowledge, but not confirmably so in any way that definitively exonerates you). To–hopefully–make sure that that was clear, I even replied to myself, spelling it out directly.

        My comment/s had NOTHING to do with any effort you put into the site or how “free” your comment policy might be, but were SOLELY concerned with again (see below) pointing out that your choice of “web hosting” service ALONE ran a real risk (assuming your inputs to be genuine) of subverting both of those intentions, perhaps even–in this day and age of Khashoggis and Higginses–to the seriously Kamal-like detriment of one or more of your BTL correspondents.

        If one of those correspondents is unaware of that, that would not be surprising in a time where Everyman Populace has been conditioned by disingenuous multi-billionaires to assume that the giant commercial infrastructure of the “information superhighway” has been put in place solely to convey imagery of their latest dunked donut around the world in fully uncensored, over-coloured, high definition, but–in the same world where there is a plethora of web hosting services that offer WordPress utility without Automattic’s accompanying bottom feeding for crumbs from the corporate table, some of them for just as “free”, though not as in “beer”–a fractious response by an intentional facilitator of such easy communication, especially the sort of communication that some might perceive as more subversive than pictures of plebian breakfast cakes with holes, could be viewed as less than appropriate.

        Incidentally, you are the second person in my long life to suggest that I set up my own site: the first of generous intent in private correspondence by the remarkably foresightful Dave ‘9/12’ McGowan and the second publicly by–well–your good self. However, thanks but no thanks in either case. My milieux are public BTL (where, as it happens, I have previously suggested, in these very columns, for the above apparently but inexplicably contentious reasons, that you keep the WordPress but ditch the Automattic–and even offered, perhaps unwisely, to help in doing so with all three of effort, equipment and connectivity, after I have cleared some other commitments out of the way, hopefully by soon after the New Year–or private conversations of the antique sort that I still miss having with Dave. ATL is too heady for my little brain. I could get drunk on spiky self importance.

    • Who are the two stooges confronting GP …and the one besides B….???

    • Thomas Peterson says

      “These are proper journalists and you’re annoying them”

  14. Thomas Peterson says

    You know that ‘taxi receipt from the GRU building entrance’ supposedly seized from one of the ‘spies’ in Holland?

    It looks like it has a ‘GRU stamp’ on it, i.e. it’s been submitted to accounts and authorised.

    Maybe I’m a little slow, but how did that happen if this was a taxi journey to Moscow airport bound for Holland?

    • Robbobbobin says

      Taxi all the way from Moscow to Schiphol airport in Holland. Expensive, but necessary to help them blend in. Passenger: “Me? Spy? Certainly not. Him [points at taxi driver].”

  15. mark says

    Aren’t we lucky to have Bell-End Higgins to sort it all out for us?

    We don’t need the CIA and the $100 billion a year “17 US Intelligence Agencies.” We don’t need all the expensive MI5/MI6/GCHQ Spooks swaning round in Aston Martins. We don’t need expensive air crash investigators and experts.
    We don’t need any of them! We can disband the lot of them!! We can save a fortune!!!

    Who needs them when we’ve got Bell-End?

  16. Seagullsandwich says

    I resonate with Craig Murray’s sources, in that i feel there is a game of shadow play from both sides…

    It’s always in the interest of institutions of political power to keep the masses confused and conflicted.

    Behind the scenes i reckon the people who call the shots in the UK, US, Russia, Israel etc have certain carefully scripted agreements as to what they allow to play out, whilst their prime minister puppets play the roles of friends/enemies…. Happy enough for millions of their citizens to suffer, along with millions in other nations, if that’s what’s necessary to keep the masses disempowered through divisive thinking and fear.

    They all serve the same master so as to maintain the world pyramid of power..

  17. Your list of inexplicables is pretty comprehensive, yet fails to categorically debunk the UK government story as a criminal deception in which Russia played no part. Whether or not Petrov and Boshirov were somehow involved with Skripal makes no difference to the “Novichok” story, and it is this which betrays the whole conspiracy as – well a conspiracy.
    The key to this is that Dawn Sturgess quite indisputably did NOT die from the effects of ANY nerve agent on her hands, Novichok or VX or Sarin, because she would have died before the ambulance reached the house. That she died a week later proves that this was from something else, and proves that the alleged perfume bottle with which she allegedly sprayed alleged Novichok on her “wrists” certainly did not contain such a toxic substance.
    Anyone connected with the UK intelligence services who states that Sturgess died from Novichok poisoning is lying, and the government that accepts its advice knows this as well as the Russians know it.
    As for the identity of “Chepiga” and “Mishkin”, I would draw your attention again to Elena Evdokimova’s twitter account, and the article in which her findings are discussed – “The Framing of Russia” – on AHT

  18. Baron says

    John Helmer essentially confirms that no Novichok or a nerve agent of similar potency has ever been in the public domain in the UK, the blood samples taken and sent for analysis were spiked, the two individuals on the bench (whoever they may have been) were poisoned most likely by agent Buzz (BZ).

  19. I have just sent the following complaint to the BBC Complaints Dept.

    For the last two days, all the BBC News channels have been making reference to Bellingcat and his identification of the second of the two characters from central casting.

    I admit that for news, I rely on Russia Today and other alternative news sources as I find BBC News misleading and with a propensity to promote and repeat propaganda.

    I note that you are very careful to cover yourself by repeatedly referring to Bellingcat but in a manner to infer that this person is a respected and qualified news source.

    Has any BBC News reporter been instructed to check out the details of Belingcats accusations and if so what did they find?

    There are so many holes in the Government narrative that the Skripal case might become known as “The Case of the Leaking Collander”.

    To add yet more confusion, a thought occurred to me today when reading about the $2.1 billion research programme being conducted by the US Government into bioweapons and given the name “Insect Allies” or should that be “Insect Follies”. £170 million of that money went to Porton Down, to do what I would like to ask?

    This raised in my mind two thoughts. Could Skripal have heard about what was going on at Porton Down and perhaps the danger to Russia and therefore it was thought necessary to silence him and the other thought was that maybe these two Russian characters were involved in intelligence and had been suckered across to pick up information or samples from someone?

    I have read about the GRU in Soviet times and they came across as the very elite unlike the bunch of clowns that are pictured today. There again British Intelligence appears to be following the same path.

    Maybe the BBC is constrained in their reporting due to the D notice and so are unable to report accurately or defend themselves.

    Their reply might be interesting.

    • Yarkob says

      “Their reply might be interesting.”

      Their reply, if you get one, will be along the same lines as their reply to Craig when asking about Urban’s amazingly fortuitous book meetings with Skripal. i.e “we’ll tell you the very least we can get away with under FOI law. Now fuck off and mind your own business”

      The way to deal with this is to let them know that this is why you’re cancelling your license fee, and I’ll see you in court, Auntie!

  20. Paul says

    This whole story with the Skripals just does not have the face of being authentic. I think many people instinctively feel that they are being led by the nose.Very basically, that the Russian state would use a chemical weapon on UK soil for killing an ex-spy, (released from prison years ago), right in the middle of the whole kerfuffle about chemical weapons use in Syria, and not just any chemical weapon but Novichok, the secret weapon of the evil Russins as mentioned in a recent spy film series broadcast in the UK: it just does not ring true. And look at the trajectory after the initial events, the various pieces of information that have come out, each of them rasing questions. The fact that now the perpretators could miraculously be identified as decorated ‘Heroes of Russia’ sort of crowns it all (they needed that of course for implicating the Russian state and Putin). I’m sure those who constructed the whole thing (MI5, the Ukranian secret service) will be quite satisfied with their insertion into the communication process of the various pieces of so-called evidence but hey guys, I think you’re overdoing it. And also, putting your info out via the notoriously dodgy Bellingcat might be convenient for getting your stuff in the papers but in the end it just destroys your credibilty.

  21. I recently came across the $2,1 billion US programme into bioweapon research given the fancy cover title “Insect Allies” or should that be Insect Follies. The bit I found interesting was the £170 million given to Porton Down, just what are they doing for this money.

    However two thoughts came to mind, could Skripal have found out something that might have threatened his home country and thus was required to be silenced?

    The other thought was could it be that these two characters from central casting were fed the line that if they came down to Salisbury, they would be given some information about what was going on at Porton Down and maybe even the possibility of picking up some samples?

    If that was the case, then it would explain why they looked so pissed off in that interview.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      ‘Insect Allies’ either refers to the stooges of the US Reich eg the UK, Australia etc, or is a nostalgic reference to the use of insect and other arthropod vectors to spread disease during the USA’s germ warfare operations in Korea, during the Korean War. The use of arthropod vectors there was borrowed from the Japanese germ warfare expert and human vivisectionist, Shiro Ishii, of the infamous Unit 731 bio-warfare operation, who was given refuge after WW2 by the USA, in return for his ‘research findings’. The USA is spending tens of billions on preparations for bio-warfare, every year, and world-wide, particularly in the search for ‘ethnically specific’ bio-weapons.

  22. Why is anybody taking these fuckwits remotely seriously?
    Oz Katerji – another online regime change bozo, has a column at, and has quoted as an authority, Bellingcat/ Bellingshat/ Bellingtwat, Bellingcrap.
    His past was in terrible pop bands and articles about genitalia.
    Robbie Martin’s Twitter feed has the details:

  23. moscowexile says

    Following temporary employment reviewing orders at a Leicester UK women’s underwear manufacturer, the unemployed Higgins then “dispensed with looking for another job so that he could devote himself to blogging full-time” and has now pogressed to being a senior fellow in the “Digital Forensic Research Laboratory” and the “Future Europe Initiative”, projects run by the Washington, D.C based “think tank” the “Atlantic Council”.

    A “kept man”? His wife must bring home the bacon then.

    Well, probably not bacon: she is a Turk.

    The then 32-year-old Higgins started blogging about the civil war in Syria from his home as Brown Moses: “He had no formal intelligence training or security clearance that gave him access to classified documents. He could not speak or read Arabic. He had never set foot in the Middle East, unless you count the time he changed planes in Dubai en route to Manila, or his trip to visit his in-laws in Turkey”.

    As far as I am aware, he still has no credentials for his chosen field, albeit he is now a “fellow” of this and that. He has also since bursting into the bloggosphere considerably put on weight:

    Higgins belongs to an obsessive coterie of self-appointed military intelligence experts who use social media to piece together critical details of faraway conflicts, often well ahead of seasoned professionals. Frequently self-taught and operating far outside the military-industrial complex, these amateur analysts have honed a novel set of sleuthing skills that fuse old-fashioned detective work with new sources of intelligence generated by cell phone cameras and spread by social networks. Syria’s war, widely considered the most documented conflict in history, has turned social media into a weapon of mass detection — critical both for fighters on the ground and for faraway observers trying to make sense of the conflict.

    The mind boggles: he and his fellow “amateur analysts” are … often well ahead of seasoned professionals. Frequently self-taught and operating far outside the military-industrial complex!!!

    See: Inside The One-Man Intelligence Unit That Exposed The Secrets And Atrocities Of Syria’s War, by Bianca Boscar.

    Bianca Bosker is the Executive Tech Editor of the Huffington Post.

    Well who’d a-thowt!

  24. Have you not seen this below:

    Здравствуй, фейк! «Расследователи» дела Скрипаля подделали права «Чепиги – Боширова»</ a>

    Greetings, fake! Skripal case “investigators” have presented a “Chepiga-Boshirov” licence

    Amongst the latest gleefully presented Bellingtwat evidence, this alleged Chepiga driving licence:

    provided by this person:

    A certain Ruslan Leviev, an erstwhile Navalny rubberduckian.

    The photograph on the “Chepiga” licence above has the usual circular stamp, but which also has a strange, white semi-circlular area next to it, which suggests that in this case the original stamp has been removed so as to insert Khabarovsk Region stamp.

    And note that the black lines on all four sides of the photograph. Normally, there are only such lines at the sides, not at the top and bottom of the photos — see genuine licences below:

    Now compare the perimeter of the alleged Chepiga licence stamp with genuine licence stamps:

    And finally, In the upper right corner is a bright area, which could be initially taken as a glare of light on the lamination, but for some reason the rest of the “Chepiga licence” does not glare and has a smooth tone without any reflections of light. Even the background of the photo is perfectly white.

    Oh, and by the way, glossy photos are not allowed in Russian official documents — don’t I just know that!

    I once had to make a 120 km round trip because I had not presented matt photos, namely the distance from central Moscow to the “Multifunctional Migration Centre, Moscow”, situated 60 kms south west of the capital.

    Note how Bellingcat states that it has “conclusively” established the real identity of Petrov on evidence gleaned from “multiple open sources” and “testimony from people familiar with the person” in question.

    How does Bellingcat this?

    First to the post again and well ahead of all the Western intelligence agencies, which are obviously understaffed with incompetents and not in possession of state-of-the-art means of gathering intelligence such as …. errrr, Facebook?

    • Admin says

      I’ll suggest we add a link to this in the article

      • moscowexile says

        i seem to have posted it twice in error, having thought i had pressed “send”. delete the repeat if you wish.

    • A hit, a very palpable hit!

      Now who could have been in disagreement with the linked information above?

  25. 0use4msm says

    The whole Skripal soap opera is a psy-op designed to spread a meme that, through repetition, firmly connects together in our minds the two notions “deadly’ and “Russian”. These two notions are psychologically cemented with a mythical chemical that stirs our imagination by its weaponised nature, its exotic name functioning like a magic formula: “Hocus pocus, Novichok focus!.” Whether we actually believe the psy-soap-op or not is irrelevant, as long as we debate it, we partake in the ritual, thus spreading the meme. Job done.

  26. Michael Cromer says

    The United States of America and the United Kingdom have never got over the fact that Russia virtually defeated Nazi Germany on it’s own in WWII – You don’t find Russian police officers hiding in their police cars and living to tell an Inquest their pathetic story.

  27. summitflyer says

    The UK intelligence agencies are keeping everyone dancing and for as long as they keep doing this ,I wonder what it is that they are doing behind the curtain as this whole charade is just that a charade that does not hold up to any scrutiny .What a joke these people are .For all we know ,bellincat is an intelligence agent working for MI-5-6 and just p[laying the music .
    Russia must be amused at the incompetence of theses clowns.

    • Admin says

      Bellingcat is beyond question a controlled outlet for UK and US intelligence. Catte says this in the article.

      • Can anyone expose who the goons are confronting Phillips and beside B? They seem to have a very decided interest in persuing the B agenda….

    • Royd says

      One wonders what the purpose is of such an inept construction as the ‘Russians did it’. Did what exactly? To whom? And, of course, why? It seems the ‘why’ might be that the masses are being ‘programmed’ to support a war with Russia. I wouldn’t quite have believed it a year ago but now…

  28. Harry Law says

    Where are the Skripals? They have been surrounded by the Metropolitan Police and other UK intellegence agents for over 8 months, and been refused Russian consular visits in breach of both International law and an agreement between the USSR and UK. 8 months of being propagandized by her minders [who only have her interests at heart, no honestly. Sarc]. Yulia has tremendous problems, not only with her affairs back home in Russia but her problems in interacting with UK security and how it impinges on her own rights. In such circumstances it is imperative she be afforded her right and the opportunity of being provided with independent legal advice and representation so that she can take properly informed decisions concerning her own welfare. Has she asked for this fundamental human right, or has she been refused by her minders. This is a disgraceful state of affairs, for which the UK government should be ashamed, the Russian Federation should also be doing more.

  29. Well the driving licence has been faked.

    Russia uses credit card size licenses similar to the the British ones to look at. I know because my wife has one.

    If you look at the presented document it has been tampered with.

    Look at the authorising signature and stamp at the bottom of the document, you see how the date 06.05.2019 and signature are very clear very bold. Where as the stamp is not – there are lots of inconsistencies with the stamp not being complete. It’s clear on the photo but in relief on the document.

    The usual procedure for this type of document if authentic is the stamp and authorising signature is the last thing applied to verify authenticity.

    Equally at the top the Family name and the other names on line 3 and 4 are not bold as the other data inserted. They appear in relief as the text of the proforma.

    Just to be clear.

    permis de condure french for drivers license.

    Wikipedia states: “the current licence style, introduced in 1999, is a laminated plastic card similar to the European driving licence card in dimensions and outward appearance, with the bearer’s photo and name (in Latin and Cyrillic scripts) to the left, place/date of issue, allowed categories and signature to the right.”

    No Latin… as well as the Cyrillic script for the names.

    A dead cat bounce on this one for the sofa surfing couch potato.

    • Kaiama says

      I too have a Russian driving license issued to me in 1998 in Primorski Krai. It is credit card sized. It beggars belief that Khabarovski krai 700km to the north wasn’t using the same credit card sized licenses 10 years later. It’s total bullshit that “document”.

      • Thomas Peterson says

        Indeed, all this stuff supposedly ‘found in databases’ is low grade garbage disinformation of the type churned out by Bellingcat’s friends Inform Napalm, CiT and the like.

        Just crude forgeries, but they serve their purpose I suppose.

  30. David K. Peers says

    This article touches on something I think could help unravel a few things, or at least point research onto an easier path rather than trying to determine Russian identities. It’s where is DS Nick Bailey (and family)? There is literally nothing on him since about the end of March other than I think the Wiltshire police website mentions he popped into their office first part of June but that’s it.

    – Where is Bailey today?
    – Where is the Bailey family
    – What were Bailey’s injuries?
    – What is his health status now?
    – Has he retired from active service or will he return?
    – Why was he, as a Detective Sergeant, the first police officer on the scene?
    – How was he injured (indications were he provided CPR)?
    – What happened to the other injured, unidentified officer?
    – What happened to the ’21 injured people’ treated at the hospital and released?
    – Did Bailey also go to the Skripal home as part of the investigation?
    – Why did the government due a hazardous clean up at his home one week after the Skripal attack?
    – Why did the government take both Bailey owned vehicles away?
    – Why did the government buy the Bailey home?
    – Why have no media done any follow up stories on Bailey?
    – Why have no media done stories about Bailey and his ‘hero’ status. The British press are normally pretty relentless.

    It strikes me that delving into this aspect of the story could reap some pretty good dividends.

    If anyone knows these answers I would be very thankful.

    • Royd says

      I understand that Det. Bailey was from Special Branch – so, yes, a police officer but working the security services. I’ve always thought his role in this affair highly suspect. He’s (if in fact, Det. Bailey is his real ID) the obvious candidate for the application of the chemical agent, whatever it was, to the Skripals. It’s very unlikely that contact with a ‘deadly’ nerve agent would have taken three to four hours to cause a reaction. It’s much more likely to have been administered at the park bench?

    • mark says

      Does this “Nick Bailey” actually exist? Sounds to me a bit of a generic name, like “Dick Barton, Special Agent.”

  31. Yarkob says

    i’m sure Elliot, I mean Matt, will be along presently to see us all right with our pettifoggery about his funny little school project website. i mean Elliot’s website. I’m confused as well.

    sorry, hard day reading Luke Harding’s drivel at work

    p.s What a load of old novichok

  32. Nick Patterson says

    The whole story is bizarre, but the identifications of the Russian “tourists” as named GRU officers
    seems almost surely correct. If the identifications are false, all the Russians have to do is put Beshirov and Chepiga on TV at the same time. Wouldn’t that make the UK story look silly!

    • Thomas Peterson says

      They can’t do that if ‘Chepiga’ doen’t exist. Evidence for his existence is sketchy to say the least.

    • I proved to myself Beshirov is not Chepiga using Photoshop in a couple minutes. The Belling folks don’t know what they’re doing.

    • Jen says

      Can’t be done if there’s the very real probability that Eliot Higgins / Bellingcat and Roman Dobrokhotov / The Insider Russia scrounged around in a database looking for a photo of someone vaguely resembling Boshirov and then dug deep in another database looking for private personal information that would match someone born in 1979 with an appropriate military intelligence background.

      The sort of thing someone researching information for a novel or a movie script might do – except that the would-be novelist / scriptwriter would change real people’s names. Bellingcat and TIR didn’t even do that, the lazy bums.

      Ditto for Petrov / Mishkin.

      This is why the onus on proving that Boshirov is Chepiga and Petrov is Mishkin falls on Bellingcat and TIR.

  33. MichaelK says

    One of my uncles used to do this kind of thing; really several of them. Before WW1 and WW3 they too were just tourists. What they were actually doing was spotting, not exactly spying, but looking at the landscape around military and other important strategic centres in Germany and France, that in the event of war, would become targets. Everyone was doing it. It’s one thing to look at a map or something, but actually being on the ground has advantages.

  34. MichaelK says

    Luke Harding seems to think there’s only one kind of snow and because one is Russian and Russia is famous for its winters, the very idea that any Russian could find British snow… nasty, is ridiculous; therefore the rest of their story is false too. What a fool he is. If one is used to ‘proper’ winters and ‘proper’ crisp, hard, even, ice and snow that’s dry and refreshing, British slush does seem damp, cold and very nasty compared to what one is used to. So, even on this small detail Harding is hopelessly wrong and ignorant, which just about sums up his ghastly attempts as journalism. What happened to Britain, that pricks like this managed to secure such positions of power and influence in our media?

    • bevin says

      What happened ?
      The United Kingdom finally gave up the last scrap of sovereignty that it had: the ludicrous Skripal business is directly out of the old UnAmerican Activities Committee playbook. The UK is now engaged, under the direction of its Big Brother in Washington in an entirely alien McCarthyite exercise designed to shut down all dissent while the Empire takes its last gamble.
      All is to play for:

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        This was always inevitable once China surpassed the USA in PPP terms in economic power (2014)and Russia refused to be cowed, or be rid of Putin and allow itself to be vivisected under some New Yeltsin. It would be the same under Clinton, but managed differently. The dying rabid dog becomes most dangerous in its death throes.

  35. Smoke and mirrors as Craig says: He has good experience and can fathom their world view (to some extent at least) imo

  36. Mikaelvuo says

    An Israeli expert on international terrorism, writer Alexander Brass: “Let’s talk about the cameras. The UK on this some kind of fad. In no country in the world there is such a number of surveillance cameras per capita.

    If I’m not mistaken, about one camera for 15 people. Literally every meter is looked through. MI5, the British counterintelligence service, is considered one of the best in the world. And if Britain took care of Skripal, he was very well guarded. At least his house was hung with all the cameras, which are only possible.

    If, according to MI5, these agents visited Salisbury, they came to the house of Skripal and coated the door handle with this substance – so show the records from the cameras! How can it be that it was at this point that the cameras suddenly turned off?”

    • wschira says

      Remember the MH17 case. There were all primary radars on the ukrainian site off for maintenance operation. Rofl!


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