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The Skripal Case: One Year On

An Open Letter from Rob Slane of The Blogmire

Sergey Skripal with his daughter Yulia in their favorite Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury

Dear Assistant Commissioner Basu,

It is now a year since the events in Salisbury that shocked the nation, and indeed the world. Since then, your organisation has conducted an investigation into the case, and has laid out a case about what happened in a series of statements, notably those made on 5th September (no longer available on your website), in which two suspects were formally accused, and another on 22nd November, following the screening of the Panorama documentary: Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story.

To those who have a superficial interest in the case, the explanations you have presented for what happened on 4th March 2018 may appear credible, especially since the British media has largely repeated them verbatim, even when they have been self-evidently flawed and contradictory. Indeed the press has steadfastly refused (or been refused) to ask some very obvious and much-needed questions about them. But to those who have spent time looking at the incident, the explanations you have set out contain glaring omissions, factual errors (see here for more detail), and at least one scientific impossibility (more on this below). What I wish to do in this letter, is to set out some of the most important, and which I believe you owe it to the public to explain.

Why have we heard nothing from Sergei Skripal?

The most glaring problem with your case is the disappearance of Mr Skripal himself — and yes “disappearance” is the right word. It is now 12 months from the original incident, and about 11 months since it was announced that he had recovered. During that time there have been zero public appearances and — curiouser and curiouser — not even one public statement put out in his name. Additionally, it is known with certainty that he has not been in contact with his mother back in Russia — not on her birthday, not at New Year and not at Christmas — which has caused her great distress. This is not just odd; it is highly disturbing, especially given that Mr Skripal was said to be in the habit of contacting his mother every week prior to 4th March.

If I were to ask how you can account for this, I would anticipate an answer that includes the claim that any such statements, appearances, and contact are deemed dangerous to his security. Certain reports in the media have indeed stated or implied this. However, it will not wash, for two reasons:

Firstly, are we seriously expected to believe that the UK Intelligence Agencies are incapable of protecting Mr Skripal’s whereabouts and his safety, whether in a statement, a pre-recorded video, or in a call to his mother? The idea is self-evidently ludicrous.

Secondly, these apparent “security concerns” were somehow overcome with Yulia Skripal. Not only was a statement released in her name upon departure from Salisbury District Hospital, followed by a Reuters video of her reading out a pre-prepared statement, but she was also allowed reasonably regular contact with her family, including her cousin and grandmother — up to 24th July last year (that is, up to the point that she told her cousin that she “now understood everything”). If Yulia’s security can be protected, there is no reason that Sergei’s security can not also be guaranteed.

It is also worth noting that neither Sergei nor Yulia have once endorsed your explanation of the incident. Sergei has been silent, and as for Yulia, far from endorsing your version, in none of her statements or phone calls has she ever pointed the finger of blame at the Russian state for an assassination attempt on her and her father. In fact, she has repeatedly expressed a desire to go back to live in Russia — a very strange desire given what you claim happened to her, wouldn’t you agree?

To all intents and purposes, both Sergei and Yulia Skripal have now disappeared without trace — he since 4th March 2018, and she since 24th July 2018. In the absence of any plausible reason for this, it is reasonable to consider them both as being held against their will, without consular access, without legal representation, and without the ability to contact their next of kin. Needless to say these are very serious issues, and if confirmed would put the United Kingdom in breach of a number of international legal obligations. Yet there are of course very obvious steps that could be taken to assure the public that this is not the case.

And so I simply ask you this: what credible reason can you give as to why nothing has been heard from Mr Skripal since 4th March? Why has he been unable to contact his mother? And what credible reason can you give as to why Yulia appears to have been denied contact with her family since 24th July?

Why won’t you show where the suspects were going?

Your organisation has repeatedly stated that the CCTV footage of the two suspects at the Shell Garage on the Wilton Road shows them “in the vicinity of” and “on their way to” Mr Skripal’s house (or “the Skripal’s house” as statements bizarrely keep referring to it. Who, may I ask, is “The Skripal”?). This is misleading on two counts.

Firstly, the footage actually shows them some 500 yards or so from 47 Christie Miller Road, which cannot be conceivably described as “in the vicinity” in terms of proving that they actually went to the house. This evidence would not convince a discerning jury.

Secondly, it does not show them “on the way” to Mr Skripal’s house either. It is possible that they did go there, but the CCTV footage does not show this, since it gives no indication that they were preparing to cross the Wilton Road, which they would have had to do to get to Christie Miller Road (either via the passage to Montgomery Gardens or via Canadian Avenue).

However, there is more than this. The camera that was used to take footage of the two men covers the area where they walked past the garage, but does not cover those two routes to 47 Christie Miller Road mentioned above. What you failed to inform the public, however, is that there is another CCTV camera on the Shell garage, just past this one, that does cover these routes. As the following picture shows, it is located on the right-hand side of the front of the building (circled), facing the Wilton Road, almost exactly opposite the path to Montgomery Gardens (note: the camera that was used to take the footage that was aired is on the corner of the left-hand side of the building, just out of shot):

Had the two men crossed the Wilton Road to go through the passage to Montgomery Gardens, or even via Canadian Avenue, this camera would have recorded it. Had this camera recorded them going through either route, although it still wouldn’t have been conclusive proof that they went to number 47 Christie Miller Road, much less what they may have done had they gone there, it certainly would have been far more credible than the footage you did release. Yet you have chosen not to show it. Can you tell us why, and also whether the footage taken by this camera on the right of the building backs up your claims that they were “on their way” to Christie Miller Road?

Wot no CCTV?

The issue of CCTV is not just confined to what was and wasn’t shown of the two men on the Wilton Road, however. It remains a curious fact that aside from this and the other footage of them on the bridge at Fisherton Street — which by the way were released nearly nine months after the event — you have not released one bit of proper footage of the Skripals or other related events that day.

This is extraordinary, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, such footage most certainly does exist. For example, there exists “really clear footage” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal feeding ducks with some local boys on the afternoon of 4th March, next to the Avon Playground. The time of this footage was around 13:45 which — it should be noted — is approximately 20-30 minutes after the Skripals were said to have come into contact with a nerve agent on the door handle of their home (more on this below).

Secondly, in the early days of the investigation, a number of places in the city centre were mooted as possible locations for the poisoning (namely Zizzis, The Mill pub, and the bench itself). However, despite the fact that “really clear” CCTV footage of these areas undoubtedly exists, and despite the fact that the public were being asked to come forward with information, you showed not even a second of footage of the pair in that area. The public were therefore being asked to come forward with information about two people who were on CCTV and could be clearly identified by it, but without so much as a few seconds of this CCTV being shown so that they could see what they looked like, what they were wearing, and where they were going.

All this simply adds to the nagging suspicion that this CCTV shows things that would cast huge doubt on the explanations you have given. However, it is even worse than this. In the first few days after the incident, CCTV footage was released of a couple walking through the Market Walk at 15:47, and it was stated by more than one news outlet that the pair were the Skripals. Of course it wasn’t them, and yet — given some witness statements that followed — these people were undoubtedly somehow involved in the events that followed. Yet, important as they were, they were quickly forgotten about in the days after that grainy CCTV footage of them was released, and were subsequently never mentioned by the media or the police thereafter. Why is this, since witness testimony leads to the belief that they were something to do with what happened?

What we have, then, is what you have described as a “fast moving” and “complex investigation”, in which you repeatedly appealed to the public for information, and yet refused to show the public anything of the CCTV footage that exists, which may well have helped to jog memories and so aid you in your investigations. Furthermore, since the explanation you have given for what happened (poisoning at the door handle) implies that nothing of note happened in The Maltings (other than the collapse at the bench), reasons of “national security” simply cannot apply. Therefore, what reason can you give for not showing CCTV from The Maltings to the public when you were appealing for information?

The Skripals, the suspects, the ducks and the bin

I mentioned above the CCTV footage taken of the Skripals at 13:45 on 4th March at the Avon Playground, which is in The Maltings. This is one of the most interesting incidents in the whole case, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as already stated, the footage shows Mr Skripal and his daughter feeding ducks, with Mr Skripal actually handing bread to three local boys, one of whom apparently ate a piece, but none of whom became contaminated. This clearly suggests that Mr Skripal was not contaminated with nerve agent at that time.

Secondly, it shows Yulia carrying a red bag, which may seem inconsequential, but for the fact that the female caught on CCTV in the Market Walk (who wasn’t Yulia) was also carrying a distinctive red bag. Not to put too finer point on it, given Mr Skripal’s tradecraft, duck-feed plus distinctive red bag has a definite “signalling to someone” quality about it.

Thirdly, and most remarkably of all, given the nature of your claims, at the same time as they were feeding ducks, the two suspects — Petrov and Boshirov — were in close proximity. And when I say close proximity, I mean far closer than the distance from the Shell Garage to 47 Christie Miller Road, which you describe as being “in the vicinity”. How so?

According to the image you released of the two men at 13:08, they were standing at the entrance to Summerlock Approach, which happens to be the road that leads to the Sainsbury’s car park, which happens to be the car park where Mr Skripal parked his car approximately 32 minutes later. They were then seen on CCTV obtained by the media walking past Dauwalders (coin and stamp shop) on Fisherton Street at 13:48. Crucially, they were coming from the direction of the town.

What this means is that after being photographed at Summerlock Approach, instead of walking directly to the train station, as your timeline suggested, they went back into town, either by doubling back down Fisherton Street, or by walking in a loop through Summerlock Approach, across the car park, and through the Maltings, before heading back to Fisherton Street via Malthouse Lane.

Dauwalders, where they were seen at 13:48, is less than 200 yards from the Avon Playground, where the Skripals were filmed at 13:45. And so we have the intriguing prospect of the two alleged assassins passing less than 200 yards from the pair they are alleged to have tried to assassinate, within 3 minutes of one another. Furthermore, given that the two suspects were coming from the direction of town when they passed the shop, it is entirely possible (although by no means certain) that they had actually come from the area of the Maltings, and therefore that they had, just moments before, been in even closer proximity of the Skripals.

*

The fact that the two suspects were closer to the Skripals at between 13:45-13:48 than they were at 11:58 outside the Shell garage, is of course extremely interesting. But what is particularly troubling about this episode is what your organisation has done with this information.

Firstly, you have left it out of your timeline, never once mentioning that the Skripals had taken a detour to feed the ducks — and it is indeed a detour if you are walking from Sainsbury’s car park to Zizzis or The Mill — and never once mentioning that the two suspects were in that area at the same time (which is really odd, given that you are trying to make a case against them).

But secondly, although this incident was ignored in your timeline, as if it were trivial, it was obviously highly significant. The reason we can be sure of this is that on the day following the incident (5th March), a large number of military personnel were extremely focused on the bin next to the Avon Playground as these videos — here and here — make clear. Why that bin, which is a significant distance from the bench (50 yards or so), and why was it such an object of intense focus?

To leave this location out of your timeline, and to fail to inform the public of the close proximity of the suspects to the Skripals at the time of the duck feed, is frankly bizarre. What credible explanation is there for this?

The absolute impossibility of your door handle explanation

I mentioned at the start that alongside the factual errors, glaring omissions, and inconsistencies in your case, there is also an impossibility. That is the explanation that the assassination attempt was carried out using a nerve agent sprayed on the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road.

Leaving aside the absurdity of what has been described as an “oily substance” being sprayed by an atomiser (how does that work?); leaving aside the ridiculousness of people actually spraying it without wearing proper protective clothing; leaving aside the silliness of supposing that the deed was done in broad daylight whilst Mr Skripal and his daughter were in the house; leaving aside the difficulties involved in having both victims touching the door handle on their way out of the house; and leaving aside the frankly preposterous notion that having apparently done their deed, instead of leaving Salisbury immediately, the two men then walked across town, and rather than dumping the open bottle of “Novichok” they had apparently used, they allegedly dumped a bottle they hadn’t used (remember, Charlie Rowley’s box was, according to him, cellophane wrapped) — leaving all those irrational propositions aside, as I say there is an absolute impossibility in what you are asking us to accept.

In the BBC Panorama programme, Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story, which was clearly made with official approval (the ex-head of MI6 and the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dean Haydon, both appearing and helping in the reconstruction of what is supposed to have happened), it was claimed throughout the programme that the substance used was not only incredibly toxic, but that it could kill even with the tiniest of amounts. One of the men who worked on the original Foliant Project to create these substances, Vil Mirzyanov, was asked how much was needed to kill a person. He replied:

To kill a person, you need only 1mg. To be sure, 2mg.”

Now this obviously gives rise to a problem, which is why didn’t it kill Mr Skripal and his daughter, since they were both allegedly contaminated with far more than 2mg of the stuff? The answer given on the programme was supplied by Mr Mirzyanov, who said:

Maybe the dose was not high enough. Salisbury was rainy and muggy. Novichok breaks down in damp conditions, reducing its toxicity. It’s the Achilles Heel of Novichok.”

Although this might sound plausible, it runs up against the buffers of the statement released on 4th May by the OPCW, who said this about the samples they collected at sites in Salisbury, including the door handle:

The samples collected by the OPCW Technical Assistance Visit team concluded that the chemical substance found was of high purity, persistent and resistant to weather conditions.”

These statements, taken together, mean that your explanation is an absolute impossibility. If 2mg of “Novichok” is enough to certainly kill a person, as Mr Mirzyanov stated (corroborated by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Haydon who said there was enough in the bottle to kill thousands), then Mr Skripal and his daughter should be dead. If the reason they aren’t dead is because “Novichok” breaks down in damp conditions, then it is impossible for the OPCW to have found a substance that hadn’t broken down, which was of “high purity”, and which is resistant to weather conditions.

There is simply no way you can square these things. If it didn’t kill the Skripals because it had broken down in damp conditions, then the OPCW can’t have found a high purity substance that is persistent and resistant to weather conditions. But since the OPCW claim that this is exactly what they found, then it can’t have broken down in damp conditions and lost its toxicity, can it? One or the other, but not both.

Unless you can prove that a substance can lose its toxicity in just over an hour due to dampness (from the time it was allegedly sprayed to the time it was allegedly touched), only to regain its toxicity and be found to be resistant to weather conditions two weeks later, no rational person can possibly be expected to believe this explanation. It is obvious nonsense, utterly impossible, and discredits your entire account of what happened on 4th March.

In Conclusion

Along with other members of the public, I would love to be able to believe that your investigation has been based on all the evidence available, and that its conclusions (so far) are credible. Sadly, however, this is not possible, as the above issues (and plenty of others) demonstrate.

It was quite obvious from the outset, when the Government came to a conclusion before any evidence had been properly assessed, that any subsequent investigation had already been politicised. There was therefore little hope that the investigation would be impartial, and that if evidence was found to contradict the Government’s assessment, that it would be presented.

However, there was always a glimmer of hope that your organisation would refuse to bow to this politicisation, and instead conduct a truly independent investigation. Amongst other things, this would have involved:

  • Mr Skripal and Yulia being allowed to give their account of what happened that day to the media, and the media allowed to freely ask questions
  • A thorough account of the two suspects’ movements, rather than two highly selective bits of footage that imply where they went, but which leave out the footage that shows where they did actually go
  • The release of CCTV footage showing what happened in The Maltings in order to appeal for witnesses to come forward
  • Important information, such as the duck feed and the close proximity of the suspects to the Skripals at that time, being given out to the public, and included in the timeline
  • An explanation of the poisoning that is actually scientifically credible

But since these elements have not been a part of your investigation, the public can have no confidence in your explanation and assessment of what happened on 4th March 2018, and has every right to suspect that they are part of what essentially appears to be a politically-driven cover up.

That really is a great shame, not only in terms of understanding what really happened in the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents, but also in terms of the denting of trust in your organisation, and the authorities in general, in the long-term.

I would like to hope that this potential denting in confidence in your organisation’s integrity in handling this case, which surely cannot give you cause for celebration, would lead you to take the initiative in now providing a more credible account of what took place.

Rob Slane dwells in the Country Formerly Known as Great Britain, now known as The Quagmire. He is married to the very best wife imaginable and so far they have been entrusted with the upbringing of 6 free-range little Slanes. Visit his blog or follow him twitter.

53 Comments

  1. Jo says

    © Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS
    UNITED NATIONS, March 4. /TASS/. There are no “backstage” contacts between Russia and the UK on the incident in Salisbury where former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned last year, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Dmitry Polyanksy told a press conference at the UN headquarters on Monday.

    Ambassador warns London will never allow Russian diplomats to meet with Skripals
    “It takes two to tango, you know. We are ready to dance, no problem, but we do not have a partner. I can assure you that there are no backstage contacts whatsoever,” Polyansky said. “The only two questions the British side wants us to answer are as follows: Has Putin himself poisoned them? Or did he lose grip of some group of individuals or of the substance?” he added.

    “We want to answer any questions, any serious questions about the investigation. But again, you cannot pinpoint, all of a sudden, two individuals that happened to be in Britain. No matter where they work or where they worked before. You cannot say that these people are to blame only because they happened to be in Salisbury,” Polyansky stressed.

    “I encourage those of you who are interested in investigations to dig further, because there are so many things that are not on the surface and, I do not know, maybe they will be embarrassing for the British side, maybe they will help to discover the truth, but we do not know the truth,” Polyansky said. “We are very much far from knowing the truth,” he noted.

    “I can also question the behavior and the interests, or rather lack of interest of some British journalists, who usually like investigative journalism, but it seems they do not want to delve into numerous inconsistencies that are issued by the media or by official sources,”

    More:
    http://tass.com/world/1047438

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  2. Gezzah Potts says

    I got so fed up with hearing about the Skripal concocted crap ad nauseaum in the media, and soundbites from acquaintances (who got them from the same media) I just tuned out – didn’t want to know anymore…. But, Rob Slane has to be commended for his dogged (British bulldog?) determined and meticulous efforts. He’s a damn good example to follow. We need another million like him.

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    • Ray Raven says

      Rob Slane’s efforts go way beyong doggedness.
      He is trying to throw light onto a very murky matter.
      Kudos to Rob.

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  3. ZigZagWanderer says

    Moving out of Salisbury things are just as flaky. The City Stay Hotel was a blockbuster for the official narrative. After weeks of stagnation the Met could now point at this hotel and say we found Novichok in the Russians room ….. this is the trail directly back to the Kremlin.

    They didn’t close the hotel … Novichok found inside but they didn’t close the hotel.

    Porton Down said they found tiny amounts of Novichok too small to be a danger to the public so they used swabs to collect and tidy up these samples of the worlds most lethal nerve agent.

    WHAT ? Small enough to be of no threat whatsoever … but large enough to be scraped up on swabs and then accurately identified as Novichok made in Russia .

    As far as I am aware there is no ‘geiger counter’ type device available to quickly detect nano sized particles of organophosphates so how were they able to declare the building both contaminated and safe at the same time ?

    This .. https://youtu.be/CZgGujo2h3A .. is essential viewing if you are a Brit with an interest in the Skripal fairytayle.
    It is the full 14 minute March 19 2018 interview with Boris Johnson on DW News with Journalist Zhanna Nemtsova (German Public Broadcast Service.)
    Johnson tells his now infamous huge lie @ 5.30. Great journalism from Zhanna Nemtsova .

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    • Haltonbrat says

      But why are comments disabled for the Boris Johnson interview on Youtube? What are Youtube frightened of? Google owns Youtube. Who politically has the most sway at Google?

  4. DunGroanin says

    Some random thoughts

    1. Salisbury at the end of 2017 had a new improved state of the art cctv system functioning according to council records.

    Where are the recordings why didn’t they make it to crimewatch?

    2. That lot of smartie colured telly tubbies all over town were not just advertising Hamishs’ companies NBC outfits – they were looking for something they knew existed! – the perfume bottle?

    How did they know they were looking for something dangerous?

    3. Whatever the Russians know – they are not saying. I guess they want to see what the end game is with regards the public fate of the Skripals.

    4. Blogmire has been on this since day one! Incredible effort, how have you avoided the state coming down heavy on you? Carry on.

    5. Conspiracies exist in reality rather than just theory, sometimes.

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    • There’s a little interesting detail on the CCTV that I came across when researching Nurse McCourt for my article “The Nurse’s Tale, how we poisoned the Skripals”. When Colonel Alison McCourt revealed her identity because her daughter had helped the Skripals on the bench, by chance, and was given a “local hero” award by Spire FM, a dozen others also received awards, with a few related to the Salisbury poisoning. I think you can find more about the past of the man in charge of the CCTV, but start with this link;
      https://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/2785273/local-hero-awards-salisbury-cctv-manager-given-lifetime-achievement-award/

      It’s a brilliant analysis Rob – with most interesting new deductions on the proximity of the patsies to the Skripals at that key time. But the question for me is, as with SDH staff – at what level of the police force is the knowledge that this was an MI5/Whitehall operation present? I don’t believe it possible that the mass of ordinary police, ambulance and even military men know what their own government has done, in terms of creating a completely fabricated event in Salisbury and occupying and destroying half of Salisbury over a non-existent chemical created in Porton Down. But it’s hard to believe that people in the leadership, like Basu, could do and say the right thing if they didn’t know, because they would know the truth behind Slane’s accusations.
      If we believe that somehow the counter terrorism folk and those from PD, and their colluders at the BBC and No 10 DIDN’T know they were just actors in a strategic political game, then we aren’t going to get far in exposing them!

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    • Einstein says

      I fear for Ewan Hope’s safety.
      Maybe there’ll be another “disappearance” – subject to MI6 D-notices.

  5. Grafter says

    The Skripals are dead. Dead as Dr Kelly, dead as Hilda Murrell and dead as all the innocent people who were sacrificed re 9/11 to the perpetual war mongering elite who pull the political strings in our “civilized western culture”. May and her little gang of Tory miscreants continue to promote this vile agenda on behalf of their deranged and corrupt American masters. They will never reply to the legitimate questions in this article. Continuing demonization of Russia is essential to ensure America’s weapons of death industry continues unabated. Blair, Bush, May et al should be jailed for war crimes along with those who promote this agenda. Our “western civilized values” however will prevent any objective enquiry into these crimes.If any brave journalist out there can expose May and her lying band of thugs re the Skripal “disappearance” they will be doing us all a great favour by ridding us of this corrupt system of so called democracy in the UK .

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    1
    • Einstein says

      Add Seth Rich to the list.
      And Aaron Swartz.

  6. Jen says

    There was an online article whose author and link I forget that suggested that Sergei Skripal was the third man who was to follow Chepiga / Boshirov and Mishkin / Petrov back to Heathrow and thence to Russia.

    Skripal had supposedly arranged through his daughter Julia to travel back to Russia in secret so he could meet with senior Kremlin officials and admit his role in writing Christopher Steele’s dossier on Donald Trump. MI5 / MI6 discovered through following social media the little plot and tried to stop it but bungled up parts of it.

    16
    • Portonchok says

      Dear Jen, you’re one of a handful of commenters here who are very informative, very objective and respectful of others, thank you.
      Sincèrement,
      Portonchok, aka Frankly Speaking

    • Ken Kenn says

      Excellent logic from Rob as usual.

      I didn’t know about the proximity and timings between the Skripals and the alleged assailants.

      I have read on his blog that he had contacted the duck feeding group and the mother had described the Skripals clothing and I assume she confirmed that indeed it was the father and daughter shown on TV reports.

      The Red Bag(s) are curious too.

      It would be good to know what the hair colour of Yulia was at the Duck pond. I say this as many descriptions of the young woman on the bench were of a blonde woman and not a copper hair coloured woman seen walking through the Russian airport on her way to the UK.

      The other woman with a Red Bag in the Mall video definitely had blonde hair

      If the Duck feeding videos were shown we could know for certain Yulia’s hair colour at that time.

      In fact what hair colour did the Salisbury Hospital Staff witness with Yulia when they both landed there?

      Blonde or Copper coloured?

      I like Rob think that the red Bag was a ‘signal ‘ but a signal for what?

      The tale of the daughter arriving on the scene at the bench as a first responder is strange too.

      She first rang her mother and not the ambulance service?

      Surely the ambulance first and then her mother?

      Apparently many helicopters arrived and all this on a wet Sunday in Salisbury.

      A cynic would think that this was pre -set.

      The Red Bags hint to me me that it was but not for The Skripals by 4pm they had gone already and not to Salisbury Hospital.

      Elsewhere.

      Where they may be now.

      By the way who switches their mobile phones off at the same time for four hours without a question from the police?

      Perhaps the police should o some triangulation on the day in question. Just to find out where they were.

      They have and they know where they were all day I’m pretty sure.

      • JudyJ says

        Ken

        “Perhaps the police should do some triangulation on the day in question. Just to find out where they were”.

        Or may be they should ask the Skripals themselves?? We are supposed to believe that the Skripals are innocent victims in this saga, and are safe and healthy and being cared for by our security services. Strange that there still appear to be significant gaps in the official narrative about their movements on the day in question. This doesn’t tie up. No doubt the official line, if questioned on this, would be that both Sergei and Yulia have [conveniently] suffered the same memory lapses since they were ‘attacked’. … anyone prepared to believe this? No, me neither.

        Let’s face it… D S Bailey and Charlie Rowley appeared to have little problem with recounting the smallest of details about the sequence of events prior to their respective involvement and at the time they were affected by the ‘Novichok’. . Oh, sorry, apart from Charlie not being sure where he found the perfume bottle(!). All right, their memories weren’t always consistent but, as we know from the continual inconsistencies in the official narrative, we shouldn’t pay too much heed to profound inconsistencies.

  7. Portonchok says

    It’s “highly likely” that the Skripals have probably been bumped off now.

    It’s “highly likely” the Skripal senior was involved in the Trump dodgy dossier. It’s “highly likely” that he knew too much and after doing the deed he’s no longer useful and is a liability.

    It’s “highly likely” that there will another nerve agent incident this year that will lead to more accusations against Russia.

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  8. JudyJ says

    For info: the Russian Embassy in London has today issued a comprehensive 52 page report on the circumstances of the Skripal incident from the official Russian perspective one year on.

    https://rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6762

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    • eddie says

      From this report, it is very interesting to learn that Sergei is actually Ukranian; a fact which had not been previously mentinoned. Another brick in the Wall.

      • Einstein says

        Before the CIA coup in Kiev in 2014, the invented (by the Germans in 1917) country of ‘the Ukraine’ was an integral part of Russia, indeed cradle of the Russian state as ‘Kievan Rus’. Khrushchëv was nominally “Ukrainian” but all saw themselves as Russian, just as a Geordie or a Scouser or a Cockney sees himself as English.

    • Jo says

      One wonders if they read Rob Slane and Craig etc…even had been articles on thesaker……should do. Hope so. Whether GSB have been continuing their criminal investigation too …..?

  9. mark says

    Litvinenko, Skripal, 9/11, David Kelly, Syrian Gas Attacks, Corbyn’s anti Semitism, Russiagate, Russian sports doping, they all follow the same general pattern.

    Concoct a very flimsy and highly improbable narrative with more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese, push it through the pliant media echo chamber, and smear anyone who points out its obvious deficiencies as a conspiracy theorist/ Kremlin stooge/ anti Semite/ racist/ Putin’s useful idiot/ whatever. Ad hominem smears the order of the day.

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    • bevin says

      This is a government/regime which has run out of ideas. What you say is true and what it signifies is that the political initiative is entirely in the hands of spies, secret policemen, PR Ideologists, amateur social psychologists and other such flotsam and jetsam. They are so important now to a clueless regime that increasingly they are rising to the surface and showing us not just who they are-Gavin Williamson, Javid etc- but what the ruling class has become , not unlike the opposition in Venezuela, sordid compradors, men on the make looking for scholarships/careers to the Americans or their Israeli partners.
      What’s next? A coup against Corbyn with thugs thrown in? Cops searching Galloway’s house at 3 am looking for Hezbollah receipts. The Blair/Campbell virus has spread throughout the entire political caste-They are all crooked now.

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      • mark says

        What you’re predicting is quite plausible. The Spook Organisations are more of a threat to our country than any foreign army or terrorist organisation. There is a long history of these hoaxes and false flags going back to the 1920s and before. There was the Zinoviev Letter, which mirrors the communist spy and anti semite smears against Corbyn. And in the 1960s/ 70s, the leaders of MI5/6 were so unhinged that they actually tried to organise a military coup to overthrow the Wilson government, Pinochet style. In 1994 MI6 carried out a failed assassination attempt against Gaddafi entirely on their own initiative. They are responsible for a lot of the bombings and terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland, like the Armagh bombing and the Miami Show Band. They are quite capable of anything, a law unto themselves and beyond any control. David Kelly and Skripal are all in a day’s work for them, like the Steele Dossier and who knows how many of the recent terrorist incidents, committed by their long standing assets.

        10
    • Einstein says

      Yes.
      The western “régimes” such as UK, US, EU could be accurately described as “neo-Goebbelsian”.
      They are certainly Orwellian.

  10. 0use4msm says

    The article refers to various things seen in the CCTV footage of the Skripals at 13:45 at the Avon Playground, yet I can’t find images of this anywhere online. How does Rob Slane know what the footage shows? Is he basing his info on what authorities have claimed the footage shows?

    • JudyJ says

      Vierotchka,

      I’m no expert but I would presume that atomisers come in different gauges depending on what they are spraying. If this is so, a cooking oil atomiser would have much larger holes in it relative to a perfume atomiser which emits an extremely fine mist and was purportedly deployed in the Skripal case.

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      • The quote from this Off-Guardian article mentioned an “oily substance”, hence what I wrote.

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        • JudyJ says

          Vierotchka

          I fully understand your point and certainly, without the benefit of the full context of Rob Slane’s comment, I can see why you made the point you did.

          But, firstly, when I google cooking oil atomiser all the products that emerge are commercially referred to as “sprayers” rather than atomisers…presumably because they do not (cannot) reduce the oil to a mist. Secondly, as others have said on here, Rob Slane and his fellow sleuths have since ‘Day 1′ been resolutely digging away at evidence and holes in the official narrative to this day. I have been closely following their findings and observations and I am pretty certain that their activities included practically testing whether various perfume atomisers would be capable of emitting “an oily substance”. (We mustn’t forget that the police have told us exactly which make of perfume bottle was used to poison Charlie and Dawn and possibly to apply to the Skripals’ door handle) The ‘Blogmire team’s’ categorical conclusion was that this was impossible, hence Rob’s seemingly curt (but soundly based) cynicism about the official narrative.

          J.

  11. AnneR says

    Mr Slane, thank you for this summary. It does seem rather incomplete to me, though.

    You have not raised the issue, for instance, of that British Army nurse (a major, I do believe) and her daughter who just happened (!) upon the Skripals sitting unconscious on the bench. This nurse-major sent her daughter over to them supposedly to check on them. Yet neither she nor, more significantly, her daughter were in any way affected. (Yet supposedly one – and one only – cop was on entering the Skripal house.)

    Nor did you mention the strange time dimension of this supposed poisoning. The doorknob is supposed to have had the poison on it. It was supposedly applied when those two Russians were around (circa 11.00 a.m. to 12.00) yet the Skripals, to my understanding had already left the house. Moreover, and perhaps more significantly, novichok is supposed to work very quickly, yet, even had the Skripals been in contact with the contaminated doorknob, they didn’t succumb to “it” until several hours later.

    Then there is the fact that there was no clear and obvious “de-contamination” of the areas in which the Skripals spent time, from the house to the park to the restaurant. No cordoning off of areas from the public.

    The notion bandied about by the UK-US etc that on the one hand the Russians are so devious, underhand, yet at the same time so blatantly incompetent is an intractable and idiotic contradiction.

    Frankly this is a UK “deep state” cooked up story to cover their disappearing Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

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    • George Cornell says

      And no more credible than the David Kelly fiction.

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    • Some Random Passer-by says

      I’m ex military. Was taught enough to know just how deadly military chemical weapons are.

      The chief nurse has forgotten more about chemical than I’ll ever know…to let her child go anywhere remotely near the Skripals is the smoking gun in this sorry episode.

      A pin head size drop of liquid on your skin is death (this is why Syrian footage is bullshit too, bare hands!?!?), much less than the pin head of liquid in aerosol form is also death.

      If the Russians had used chemical weapons like what our authorities tell us, then most of Salisbury would have been very very dead. (Not to mention pets and wildlife also)

      Apparently the daughter is to receive an award…

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    • Jen says

      The letter appears “incomplete” because it is addressed to Neil Basu, an Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police which presumably holds visual evidence of the movements of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, the two men suspected of placing Novichok on the front door handle of the Skripal residence.

      The London Met was not involved in providing first aid to the stricken Skripals. The question of the McCourts’ involvement would presumably be addressed to Salisbury District Hospital, the paramedics who attended to the Skripals or Alison McCourt herself.

  12. The only explanation must be that the two Russian guys met the Skripals briefly,to get some physical information.

    After Sergei’s wife’s recent death and his son’s a few year’s before he may have become very lonely and isolated in the UK. He wanted to go home. His mother was elderly and not in good health. His daughter was in Russia.

    I believe Skripal had something valuable which could be used as a bargaining chip so he made contact with the Russian government. Negotiations had to done through his daughter as obviously anything else would be monitored. The valuable information may well have been his role in compiling the Trump Dossier commissioned by the UK government/Establishment? to damage the chances of Trump in the election. Any evidence of this would have been dynamite for the Russian government.

    In Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 4 – The Dodgy Dossier https://off-guardian.org/2018/07/03/joining-some-dots-on-the-skripal-case-part-4-the-dodgy-dossier/ OffGuardian wrote:

    ‘In a recent blog, Craig Murray, the former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, linked to a very interesting piece by Paul Gregory that appeared in Forbes in January 2017. Mr Gregory is Professor of Economics at Houston University, and research fellow at both the Hoover Institution and the German Institute for Economic Research, and he also has extensive knowledge about Russia and the Soviet Union. Here’s what he had to say about the so-called Trump Dossier, just a few days after it was published by Buzzfeed:
    “As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex-British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition [my emphasis].”
    Now, we know that there is a link between the apparent author of the Trump Dossier, Christopher Steele and Mr Skripal’s MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller. And we know that Miller and Skripal met regularly. Not only this, but we also know that there is a direct link between Steele and Skripal dating back to the late 1990s, early 2000s. There is, then, a clear link between the man credited (if that be the right word) with writing the Dossier, and a certain ex-Russian intelligence officer, who would have been trained in the KGB tradition (he was actually in the GRU), living in Salisbury. In fact, the Daily Telegraph helpfully pointed out this connection a day before the Government slapped a D-notice on reporting on the issue.’

    Aware that something was odd was going on MI5/MI6 hurriedly contacted Skripal to tell him that they needed to meet at around 4pm in the park. It was necessary for them to put Skripal out of action as soon as possible to stop the role of the UK government/Establishment in the dossier being revealed. Trump might very well have cut off relations with the UK.

    If this is true, the UK government would never be able to release them. Not being able to contact his mother must show that Skripal is being punished. Russia, if it has the incriminating material, would be reluctant to published it with the British government holding the Skripals as hostages.

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    • Russian spy: Skripal asked Putin if he could return home
      24 March 2018

      Excerpt:

      Sergei Skripal wrote to President Putin asking to be allowed to return home, a friend of the former spy told the BBC.

      Vladimir Timoshkov said Mr Skripal denied he was “a traitor” and asked for “complete forgiveness”. The Kremlin denies receiving such a letter.

      Mr Skripal was jailed in Russia in 2006, but was pardoned and freed four years later as part of a spy-swap – which saw him come to Britain.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43523923

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      • grandstand says

        Note the “unbiased” BBC headline – Skripal was also, and much more effectively, a British spy. He wasn’t jailed in Russia or requesting “complete forgiveness” from Putin for spying for Russia.

    • IntergenerationalTrauma says

      The Steele dossier seems to be at the heart of this latest bit of theatre of the absurd served up to us by Western “intelligence” services. It is of course unmentionable in the MSM (that are now simply the “delivery system” for the psyops and propaganda of said Western intelligence), that while it would be a criminal act for any nation to “try to kill” the Skripnals, the U.K. authorities completely and totally “disappearing them” from the face of the earth seems not to raise an eyebrow!

      Stunning how complete and uniform the thought control apparatus has become in the last several years. The global Western MSM seem rather amazingly uninterested in what has happened to the Skripnals, now that the proper demonization of Russia and Putin has taken place – making it of course impossible for the Orange One here in the U.S. to “normalize relations with Russia” as he had promised in his campaign. The fate of the Skripnals and the U.S. deep state “Russiagate” operation would appear to be intimately linked and a fine example of the “cooperative relationship” between MI6 and the CIA in their skullduggery and global psyops manipulation.

      I appreciate OffG continuing to “refuse to forget” what MSM seemingly now has suddenly no recollection of whatsoever – the safety and whereabouts of Yulia and Sergey Skripnal.

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      • Jo says

        A sub theme was -maybe still is-that Russia is a terrorist type state and power of veto system at UNSC must be changed to majority vote….and OPCW to have the power to attribute blame outside UN mechanisms…..hence excluding Russia and blaming them in order to continue memes of Assad chemical weapons etc ….encouraging white helmets to participate in further events…..and making Ukraine content with their claims as Russia as an agressor nation ….suiting their claims for more aid incl military support…Eu finances…Nato membership…and non payment of Russian bonds. All ties in together…..very scarily.

        • mark says

          Nordstream too. And sanctions renewals.

      • Einstein says

        I am old enough to remember such respected papers as the British Times, Guardian, etc. and such derided ones as the Soviet Izvestia, Pravda, etc.
        It is astonishing to see these accolades reversed with the British propaganda machine headed by the Banksters’ Brainwashing Cartel (aka BBC) contrasted with the sober, detached reporting from Russian sources such as RT and Sputnik.
        The erstwhile famous Manchester Guardian is now an absolute bad joke – and execrable to boot.
        The world really is a curious place – in time as well as space.

  13. The very fabricated and tainted official version of the Skripal Saga being laid bare. I don’t believe that the Skripals are alive anymore, they served their purpose and were gotten rid of(disappeared).

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    • George Cornell says

      Or they may be breathing the same air on a Chagossian island with Rodchenkov, the star of the – cheating at the Olympics – documentary Icarus, which “won” an Academy award. All should see this Goebbelsworthy film, which has two outstanding features. Almost every third frame contains the image of Putin, and there is no mention of the egregious cheating by American athletes, some of it systematic, as outed by Exum, Williams, and as in Balco.
      Attempts to put Icarus in perspective have met with the whispered nudge-nudge objection that the truth would interfere with the planned narrative.
      I think the Skripal case is similar, with the planned narrative preceding the “events”. So Skripal will not surface anytime soon, and if he has not contacted his worried mother, one could be confident this is involuntary.

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  14. audemanriver says

    Who is the photographer who selfied himself into the picture in the bar? In the mirror just left of Yulia.

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    • Michael Leigh says

      I have wondered for some time, why no one had commented on the ” photographer at Skripal’s favourite restaurant “. Obviously, he is part of the plot to defame the Russian Nation, otherwise the investigating police would have either identified the photograher or sought the public assistance in finding him.. And just as significantly the photographer’s photographic efforts would be of some solace to Julia as probably she will never see here father alive, again.

      Indeed Julia is being currently protected by special intelligence agents day and night in the Kingdom of Maroc. This part of the operation is provided by the central management in the CIA at their ” foggy bottom ‘ US headquarters,and they have sourced a team of Russian-speaking security assistants from the respective Intelligence services of Spain and the USA.

      Obviously, Sergie Skripal was told earlier of just his part, particularly during the visits with his MI6 safety
      team, and so when he visited Porton Down on the ‘ alleged chemical poisonng day ‘ it was just to give a so-called protected dose of medicine to both of them, although his daughter was probaly told a different tale by the retired Lt Col of the Queen Alexander Medical Corps who assured her that when she took the sleeping tablets, she the retired Lt Col would be by her side – with her daughter, in fact.

      Similarly, the ‘ Anglo-US plotters ‘ would ensured that the ‘ double-crossing ‘professional spy Sergie ‘ would be conveniently medically disabled, before his own final disembodiment. While. the British opratives are safe from exposure, well that were only doing their job, and if authorised prosecution of the SIS 6 and SIS 9 operatives would entail their higher-up superiors ?

      And should that day of reckoning occur earlier than later, the ‘ Government’s senior Ministers ‘ which would naturally include the current Prime Minister, and her advisory cabinet ?

    • Willem says

      This open letter reminds me of Vonnegut’s slaughterhouse 5 where the main character writes the following letter

      ‘I wrote the Air Force back then, asking for details about the raid on Dresden, who ordered it, how many planes did it, why they did it, what desirable results there had been and so on. I was answered by a man who, like myself, was in public relations. He said that he was sorry, but that the information was top secret still.

      I read the letter out loud to my wife, and I said, “Secret? My God — from whom?”

      The writer will never get answer. But we know…

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