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False flag poisonings

News History of American False Flag Operations Recommended Links False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Skripal poisoning Litvinenko poisoning
Douma gas attack Khan Sheikhoun gas attack White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Vault 7 scandal Operation Gladio - Wikipedia Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Deception as an art form Noble Lie Nation under attack meme Machiavellism Guardians of Power Label "conspiracy theorist" as a form of censorship
The Deep State Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Grand Chessboard Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Inverted Totalitarism "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Big Uncle is Watching You Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention
Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?   Allan Dulles Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Ray McGovern William Binney
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism Neo-fashism Humor Etc
 

In the UK case the decline of neoliberalism since 2008 was closely interconnected with gradual the loss of income from former colonies and the decline of North Sea oil and gas reserves. Staying in the EU against the will of the people will continue to further drain resources to Germany, which has structurally colonialized Western Europe.  So in 2018 the UK is in deep economic trouble Brexit or no Brexit.

That's why May government resorted to creation of an external enemy such as Russia: using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders. So this is British version of Russiagate: generating mass hate of Russia to deflect people's anger  from the neoliberal politicians and use Putin as the scapegoat.

The UK Royals weddings and babies also help, but they proved to be insufficient.  Meanwhile it is clear the UK government is up to the neck in Steele dossier with the solid trail of evidence such as Christophe Steele, Joseph Mifsid, and Gianni Pittella. See for example

It is important to make those leads disappear from public attantion and Skripal affair fits the biil. 

So something like Skripal incident  was badly needed and would happened even if Skriplas did nto suffer from ffod or some other  poisoning on march 4, 2018.

 

France, like the UK, has extracted the wealth from their former colonies and facing a reduction in tribute from these sources. Macron has attempted to maintain control of some colonies such as Mali and really wants to conquer Syria. I suspect the meetings between Macron and MbS will result in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy French weapons while France getting financial aid to expand French troop bases in Syria.

Somehow, the current revolution in France is blacked out in the Western Media. Videos of the current revolution are common on Youtube such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g21_myERteQ

Almost all sectors of the French society are protesting against the neo-feudal policies of Macron, FIRE economy participants and his dwarves in the National Assembly. There are strikes among:

For a schedule of the rolling strikes in France see: http://www.cestlagreve.fr/

Macron has already deployed the CRS assassins and the street war will begin when EU police and military invade to crush to protestors. This will be far more violent than May 1968 and may usher in the 6th Republic. Unfortunately, Macron would prefer the cities to burn rather than resign and turnover the government to the President of the Senate.

The EU is also experiencing internal dissent with the Visegrad four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) plus Italy and Austria and thus needs an external enemy to distract its members. I suspect that a Ukrainian invasion of DPR/LPR will once again be used as a flash point create "two minutes of hate" against Russia :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4zYlOU7Fpk

These EU conflicts will not end peacefully as the system will fight back rather than step aside.

 

There was three high profile poisoning cases which have several characteristics of a "false flag operation":

Skripal case is the most recent.  One of the best outline of such Gladio style-operation was given in UNZ review (The Unz Review):

Lies and the unapologetic denial of reality:

In a 2015 article entitled “A society of sexually frustrated Pinocchios” I wrote the following:

I see a direct cause and effect relationship between the denial of moral reality and the denial of physical reality. I can’t prove that, of course, but here is my thesis: Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With “principles” such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all “for the greater glory of God” the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof. Fast forward another 10 centuries or so and we end up with the modern “Gayropa” (as Europe is now often referred to in Russia): not only has God been declared ‘dead’ and all notions of right and wrong dismissed as “cultural”, but even objective reality has now been rendered contingent upon political expediency and ideological imperatives.

I went on to quote George Orwell by reminding how he defined “doublethink” in his book 1984:

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it (…) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality

and I concluded by saying that “The necessary corollary from this state of mind is that only appearances matter, not reality”.

This is exactly what we are observing; not only in the silly Skripal nerve-gas assassination story but also in all the rest of the Russophobic nonsense produced by the AngloZionist propaganda machine including the “Litvinenko polonium murder” and the “Yushchenko dioxin poisoning“. The fact that neither nerve-gas, nor polonium nor dioxin are in any way effective murder weapons does not matter in the least: a simple drive-by shooting, street-stabbing or, better, any “accident” is both easier to arrange and impossible to trace. Fancy assassination methods are used when access to the target is very hard or impossible (as was the case with Ibn al-Khattab, whose assassination the Russians were more than happy to take credit for; this might also have been the case with the death of Yasser Arafat). But the best way of murdering somebody is to simply make the body disappear, making any subsequent investigation almost impossible. Finally, you can always subcontract the assassination to somebody else like, for example, when the CIA tried and failed, to murder Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah by subcontracting his bombing to its local “Christian” allies, killing over 80 innocent people in the process. There is plenty of common crime in the UK and to get somebody to rob and stab Skripal would have probably been the easiest version. That’s assuming that the Russians had any reason to want him dead, which they self-evidently didn’t.

But here is the important thing: every single criminal or intelligence specialist in the West understands all of the above. But that does not stop the Ziomedia from publishing articles like this one “A Brief History of Attempted Russian Assassinations by Poison” which also lists people poisoned by Russians:

The only possible conclusion from this list is this: there is some kind of secret lab in Russia where completely incompetent chemists try every poison known to man, not on rats or on mice, but on high profile AngloZionist-supported political activists, preferably before an important political event.

Right.

By the way, the gas allegedly used in the attack, “Novichok”, was manufactured in Uzbekistan and the cleanup of the factory producing it was made by, you guessed it, a US company. Just saying…

In any halfway honest and halfway educated society, those kind of articles should result in the idiot writing it being summarily fired for gross incompetence and the paper/journal posting it being discredited forever. But in our world, the clown who wrote that nonsense (Elias Groll, a Harvard graduate and – listen to this – a specialist of “cyberspace and its conflicts and controversies” (sic)) is a staff writer of the award-winning Foreign Policy magazine.

So what does it tell us, and future historians, when this kind of crap is written by a staff writer of an “award winning” media outlet? Does it not show that our society has now reached a stage in its decay (I can’t call that “development”) where lies become the norm? Not only are even grotesque and prima facie absurd lies accepted, they are expected (if only because they reinforce the current ideological Zeitgeist. The result? Our society is now packed with first, zombified ideological drones who actually believe any type of officially proclaimed of nonsense and, second, by cowards who lack the basic courage to denounce even that which they themselves know to be false.

Lies, however ridiculous and self-evidently stupid, have become the main ingredient of the modern political discourse. Everybody knows this and nobody cares. When challenged on this, the typical defense used is always the same: “you are the only person saying this – I sure ever heard this before!”.

Willful ignorance as a universal cop-out

We all know the type. You tell somebody that his/her theory makes absolutely no sense or is not supported by facts and the reply you get is some vaguely worded refusal to engage in an disputation. Initially, you might be tempted to believe that, indeed, your interlocutor is not too bright and not too well read, but eventually you realize that there is something very different happening: the modern man actually makes a very determined effort not to be capable of logical thought and not to be informed of the basic facts of the case. And what is true for specific individuals is even more true of our society as a whole. Let’s take one simple example: Operation Gladio:

Gladio” is really an open secret by now. Excellent books and videos have been written about this and even the BBC has made a two and a half hour long video about it. There is even an entire website dedicated to the story of this huge, continent-wide, terrorist organization specializing in false flag operations. That’s right: a NATO-run terrorist network in western Europe involved in false flag massacres like the infamous Bologna train station bombing. No, not the Soviet KGB backing the Baader-Meinhof Red Army Faction or the Red Brigades in Italy. No, the US and West European governments organizing, funding and operating a terrorist network directed at the people of Western, not Eastern, Europe. Yes, at their own people! In theory, everybody should know about this, the information is available everywhere, even on the hyper-politically correct Wikipedia. But, again, nobody cares.

The end of the Cold War was marked by a seemingly endless series of events which all provided a pretext for AngloZionist interventions (from the Markale massacres in Bosnia, to the Srebrenica “genocide”, to the Racak massacre in Kosovo, to the “best” and biggest one of them all, 9/11 of course). Yet almost nobody wondered if the same people or, at least, the same kind of people who committed all the Gladio crimes might be involved. Quite the opposite: each one of these events was accompanied by a huge propaganda campaign mindlessly endorsing and even promoting the official narrative, even when it self-evidently made no sense whatsoever (like 2 aircraft burning down 3 steel towers). As for Gladio, it was conveniently “forgotten”.

There is a simple principle in psychology, including, and especially in criminal psychology which I would like to prominently restate here:

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior

Every criminologist knows that and this is why criminal investigators place so much importance on the “modus operandi”, i.e. the particular way or method a suspect or a criminal chooses in the course of the execution of his/her crimes. That is also something which everybody knows. So let’s summarize this in a simple thesis:

Western regimes have a long and well-established track record of regularly executing bloody false-flag operations in pursuit of political objectives, especially those providing them with a pretext to justify an illegal military aggression.

Frankly, I submit that the thesis above is really established not only by a preponderance of evidence but beyond a reasonable doubt. Right?

Maybe. But that is also completely irrelevant because nobody gives a damn! Not the reporters who lie for a living nor, even less so, the brainwashed zombies who read their nonsense and take it seriously. The CIA tried to kill Fidel Castro over 600 times – who cares?! All we know is that the good folks at Langley would never, ever, kill a Russian in the UK, out of respect for international law, probably…

That willful ignorance easily defeats history, facts or logic.

Here is a simple question a journalist could ask: “would the type of people who had no problems blowing up an large train station, or bringing down three buildings in downtown New York, have any hesitation in using a goofy method to try kill a useless Russian ex-spy if that could justify further hostile actions against a country which they desperately need to demonize to justify and preserve the current AngloZionist world order?”. The answer I think is self-evident. The question shall therefore not be asked. Instead, soy-boys from Foreign Policy mag will tell us about how the Russians use exotic flowers to kill high visibility opponents whose death would serve no conceivable political goal.

Hypocrisy as a core attribute of the modern man

Willful ignorance is important, of course, but it is not enough. For one thing, being ignorant, while useful to dismiss a fact-based and/or logical argument, is not something useful to establish your moral superiority or the legality of your actions. Empire requires much more than just obedience from its subject: what is also absolutely indispensable is a very strong sense of superiority which can be relied upon when committing a hostile action against the other guy. And nothing is as solid a foundation for a sense of superiority than the unapologetic reliance on brazen hypocrisy. Let’s take a fresh example: the latest US threats to attack Syria (again).

Irrespective of the fact that the US themselves have certified Syria free of chemical weapons and irrespective of the fact that US officials are still saying that they have no evidence that the Syrian government was involved in any chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, the US is now preparing to strike Syria again in “response” to future chemical attacks! Yes, you read that right. The AngloZionists are now announcing their false flags in advance! In fact, by the time this analysis is published the attack will probably already have occurred. The “best” part of this all is that Nikki Haley has now announced to the UN Security Council that the US will act without any UN Security Council approval. What the US is declaring is this: “we reserve the right to violate international law at any time and for any reason we deem sufficient”. In the very same statement, Nikki Haley also called the Syrian government an “outlaw regime”. This is not a joke, check it out for yourself. The reaction in “democratic” Europe: declaring that *Russia* (not the US) is a rogue state. QED.

This entire circus is only made possible by the fact that the western elites have all turned into “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” (to use the wonderful words of Boris Johnson) and that absolutely nobody has the courage, or decency, to call all this what it really is: an obscene display of total hypocrisy and wholesale violation of all norms of international law. The French philosopher Alain Soral is quite right when he says that modern “journalists are either unemployed or prostitutes” (he spoke about the French media - un journaliste français c’est soit une pute soit un chômeur – but this fully applies to all the western media). Except that I would extend it to the entire Western Establishment.

I would further argue that foreign aggression and hypocrisy have become the two essential pillars for the survival of the AngloZionist empire: the first one being an economic and political imperative, the 2nd one being the prerequisite for the public justification of the first one. But sometimes even that is not enough, especially when the lies are self-evidently absurd. Then the final, quasi-miraculous element is always brought in: hysterics.

Hysteria as the highest form of (pseudo-)liberalism

I don’t particularly care for the distinction usually made between liberals and conservatives, at least not unless the context and these terms is carefully and accurately defined. I certainly don’t place myself on that continuum nor do find it analytically helpful.

The theoretical meaning of these concepts is, however, quite different from what is mostly understood under these labels, especially when people use them to identify themselves. That is to say that while I am not at all sure that those who think of themselves as, say, liberals are in any way truly liberal, I do think that people who would identify themselves as “liberals” often (mostly?) share a number of characteristics, the foremost of which is a very strong propensity to function at, and engage in, an hysterical mode of discourse and action.

The Google definition of hysteria is “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people (…) whose symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior”. Is that not a perfect description of US politicians, especially the (putatively) “liberal” ones? Just think of the way US Democrats have capitalized on such (non-)issues as “Russian interference” (externally) or “gun control” (internally) and you will see that the so-called “liberals” never get off a high-emotional pitch. The best example of all, really, is their reaction to the election of Donald Trump instead of their cult-leader Hillary: it has been over a year since Trump has been elected and yet the liberal ziomedia and its consumers are still in full-blown hysteria mode (with “pussyhats”, “sky-screams” and all). In a conversation you can literally drown such a liberal with facts, statistics, expert testimonies, etc. and achieve absolutely no result whatsoever because the liberal lives in an ideological comfort zone which he/she is categorically unwilling and, in fact, unable, to abandon, even temporarily. This is what makes liberals such a *perfect* audience for false-flag operations: they simply won’t process the narrative presented to them in a logical manner but will immediately react to it in a strongly emotional manner, usually with the urge to immediately “do something”.

That “do something” is usually expressed in the application of violence (externally) and the imposition of bans/restrictions/regulations (internally). You can try to explain to that liberal that the very last thing the Russians would ever want to do is to use a stupid method to try to kill a person who is of absolutely no interest to them, or to explain to that liberal that the very last thing the Syrian government would ever do in the course of its successful liberation of its national territory from “good terrorists” would be to use chemical weapons of any kind – but you would never achieve anything: Trump must be impeached, the Russians sanctioned and the Syrians bombed, end of argument.

I am quite aware that there are a lot of self-described “conservatives” who have fully joined this chorus of hysterical liberals in all their demands, but these “conservatives” are not only acting out of character, they are simply caving in to the social pressure of the day, being the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” mentioned above. Again, I am not discussing real liberals or real conservatives here (regardless of what these terms really mean), I am talking about those who, for whatever reason, chose to place that label upon themselves even if they personally have only a very vague idea of what this label is supposed to mean.

Scripal case: assassination attempt without an assassin

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
 (Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio )

  Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 11) stipulates that "everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty" - one of the core principles of modern society

SKRIPALMANIA by Patrick Armstrong

1. It’s obvious nonsense brought to you by proven liars.
2. The point of propaganda is to leave an impression after the details have been forgotten.
3. To get involved in discussing the minutiae of the story is to help the propagandists’ aims.
4. Therefore treat it as a badly constructed story that is failing to convince.
5. Do this by analyzing the comments on the news stories which (at least the ones I’ve looked at) show that people are skeptical.
6. Also mock the meanderings of the story: At the restaurant! In the car! On the doorstep! Incredibly lethal but strangely ineffective. Miraculous recovery of daughter. Baby wipes as effective protection. Reminiscent of White Helmets and their flip flops, rubber gloves and paper masks; but, come to think of it, it’s the same authors in both stories. Who, after so many lies, are becoming overconfident and sloppy.

It’s a startlingly incompetent theatrical production and should be responded to with contemptuous mockery.

Sic Semper Tyrannis, Mar 29, 2018

There are multiple signs that "something is rotten in  the Kingdom of Demark" in case of Skripal poisoning. Among the most obvious signs that this was yet another false flag operation are:

Notes:

As the UK goverment  have a history of desperate measures to cling to power, as well as history of experimenting on humans (they killed one parson by injecting him with sarin) this whole incident & investigation has a clear sign of false flag operating which would primary not secondary hypothesis

No more or less realistic timeline exists

As both Skripal and his daughter carry a cell phone (probably expensive, as Skripal drove BMW and Yulia came from Moscow and worked for foreign companies were an upscale smartphone is a viewed as a norm ;-) all movements of this couple probably could be traced with absolute accuracy via GPS data from the phones (and you bet that such data were collected for both by appropriate British agencies). So all their movements  should be completely known  and timeline should be available. This is not the case. Looks like nothing substantial was published or I was unable to find it.

Available timelines suggest that initial poisoning took around half an hour to incapacitate them if we assume that they were poisoned at the Zizzi restaurant, which is not typical for a nerve gas. Also nobody else in the restaurant was affected so the only way such a fit can be dome is via food or drink which is strange method of application of poisoness gas which is designed to be dispersed and act via air or skin contact.

But MSM do not ask such questions. They just propagate official talking points. Which also change with time.

Typical time from poisoning to death for VX type gas is a minute or two. Here we are talking about hours (in case the poisoness liquid or grease was applied to the door knob --  the most recent version of the story -- full three hours 12:55 -- 16:00 or later). That does not look plausible, even if we accept that some idiot decided to bring such a dangerous substance into what is a national security state with immense number of cameras and use it against the person who lost any significance other that a scapegoat for some provocation.

Mark Hirst‏ @Documark · Mar 29

"#Skripal was poisoned in his car... No it was from a handbag.... No it was his front door...."
Who's running this "investigation"? The Keystone Cops?
Where is the nationwide manhunt for the real perpetrators?
Where is the obligatory CCTV in the most surveilled state on earth?

Here is timeline extended from the initial short  BBC timeline ( http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43315636   )

If we assume that they were poisoned at Zizzi with fentanyl or something similar they survived for more then an hour, which is not atypical in cases of narcotics overdose. Moreover Skripal lost emotional control at the restaurant which can be  because he has "fixed time" appointment  and it was in jeopardy (that suggests staged poisoning) or because he was a narcoaddict (he suffered from chronic pain) who wants to take his fix and can't. That does not explain why the daughter was also affected, though.

Here is also another timeline from

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning-in-salisbury.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b8d2e3cc6c970c

@25 peter.. I found this sequence of events timing from somewhere else - can't remember.. it seems they visiting the pub before the restaurant...

Skripal nerve-gas assassination definitely has multiple common elements with the “Litvinenko polonium murder” and the “Yushchenko dioxin poisoning“. The fact that neither nerve-gas, nor polonium nor dioxin are in any way effective murder weapons does not matter in the least: a simple drive-by shooting, street-stabbing or, better, any “accident” is both easier to arrange and impossible to trace.

Fancy assassination methods are used when access to the target is very hard or impossible (as was the case with Ibn al-Khattab, whose assassination the Russians were more than happy to take credit for; this might also have been the case with the death of Yasser Arafat). But the best way of murdering somebody is to simply make the body disappear, making any subsequent investigation almost impossible.

Finally, you can always subcontract the assassination to somebody else like, for example, when the CIA tried and failed, to murder Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah by subcontracting his bombing to its local “Christian” allies, killing over 80 innocent people in the process.

Skripal case: assassination attempt without an assassin

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
 (Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio )

In this case like in case on MH17 and Litvinenko poisoning Western MSM try to deceive public. No question about it. We do not know much about this assassination (if there was an assassination, which also is not given; can be completely staged event), but those tiny bits of information that we have suggest the MSM are deceiving us and treat us as idiots, who are incapable of independent thinking. 

UK financed/affiliated "White Helmets" have been routinely and regularly producing  'chemical weapons false flags' for years in Syria.

Theresa May accusations implies that the British authorities have both a control sample (to determine if the quantities found would be lethal) and samples from a few different labs to confirm that the fingerprint was from lab A not lab B for example. How did they got those ? But the whole hypotheses that a nerve gas was used is very weak even within the framework that is known from published information.  There are several questions that need to answered:

Of course we will never know preside answers on most of those question, but the list itself suggests that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio )

From a very scant information available the most plausible hypothesis is that it was a false flag operation which probably proceeded in two steps (with the first step not necessary accomplished by those who run the second step; it can be two different groups).

  1. Skripal visited police some time before the incident and stated that he fears for his life.  that can be an initial step for the propagation  for a stage incident or a real concerns.
     
  2. While being in the restaurant Skripal he lost emotional control.  may be he has to be at the bench at specific time and this schedule was in jeopardy.  Or he  sense some danger and wanted to leave the place (in this case why wait for the food). Or he  needed a fetanyl or some other narcotic fix (in this  case why daughter was affected too)
     
  3. A pretty plausible explanation of the  know facts for the case is that there were two different  poisons. First some poison like Fentanyl was mixed into food or drinks or taken by Skripals themselves either as masked as some other medication, or as a part of narcoaddict fix. This explains why nobody in the restaurant was affected (any military nerve gas would kill everybody in the room, so this hypothesis that the gar was "administered" in the restaurant is not very plausible; if it would be administered before that, for example in the car as the US MSM push, Skripal would never get to the restaurant and probably level get out of the car iether). That's  why the doctor who treated Skripal daughter for 30 min was not poisoned. So Skripal daughter hands and body was clean of both Fentanyl (which is highly toxic) and any nerve gas absorbed in the closing (which is deadly).  Fentanyl  is known for previous use in assassinations (for example by Israel). It killed more than 21K people in the USA in 2016

    Yulia recently lost a lot of weight which can suggest that she is on drags too. The initial reports put this hypothesis

    The two were urgently taken to hospital and in critical condition. They are supposed to have had contact with an unknown poisonous substance. According to unconfirmed information it is fentanyl. Two police officers were also hospitalized after they went to the scene of the incident.

    First responders can be affected by fentanyl too: Norwalk Reflector Norwalk officer rushed to ER after fentanyl poisoning

    A Norwalk police officers recently was rushed to the emergency room after experiencing what is believed to have been narcotic poisoning following an arrest at Wal-Mart.

    One of the scariest situation for first-responders is the possibility of drug poisoning from lethal substances such as fentanyl or carfentanil.

    Both drugs can be absorbed through the skin on contact, making them dangerous for medical and law enforcement responders to care for the increasing number of overdose patients. For non-drug users, coming into contact with even the smallest amount of either could be deadly since fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than heroin and carfentanil is considered to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine

    The incident resulted in a man’s arrest, but not before he gave officers a difficult time.

    “We arrested a guy out at Wal-Mart and (the officer) had to wrestle him around for a few minutes to get the cuffs on him,” Light said.

    Shortly after the incident, Light said, the officer said he “felt strange.” His heart rate elevated and his lips went numb. The officer was rushed to the Fisher-Titus Medical Center emergency room.

    “We’re pretty sure it was fentanyl poisoning that caused it,” Light said. “We think the possible fentanyl was on either his hands or his wrists.”
     

  4. On the second stage, which occurred when Skripals were already hospitalized a nerve agent was planted in several places, including home, somebody decided that this can be  tuned into a major attack of Russia and the false flag operation started. That's probably why the police investigator who visited Skripal home became the first victim of poisons gas.  This false flag poison plats could be performed by personnel in full protection gear, who arrived to those places.
     
  5. NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"
     
  6. Reaction of British authorities was pretty interesting. Especially speed. Scripals were  found unconscious March 4 around 4PM on the bench near the restaurant.  But already on March 5 Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Britain will "respond appropriately and robustly" if evidence emerges of Russia's involvement in Skripal's suspected poisoning. Of course Boris Johnson is a comic figure as the top diplomat and does not belong even to the second league in this area, but he is a long time politician and as such is not completely stupid. So there was probably a call from Washington, DC that forced this premature reaction.  Mar 21 - Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)

    The British government is milking the incident to push Russophobia and to divert from its failure in the Brexit negotiations and all its other problems. But the diversion will only succeed so long. The NHS doctor as well as court testimony by scientists from Proton Down contradict the claims made by the British government. Let's hope that the British opposition picks up on that.

Poisoning of "opponent of the regime" provides ideal conditions for a false flag operation as the cloud of secrecy can be used to subvert the investigation and pursue the agenda with the complete impunity. The government can essentially decree the "truth" in such cases. It also provides tremendous propaganda effect.

And British are not shy from experimenting on humans with poison gases either. It took 50 years for Porton Down chemical research centre to come clean on poisoning a British soldier with Sarin telling him it was a flu test. Poor fella. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1476722/Porton-Down-unlawful-killing-verdict-opens-gates-to-claims.html

Only this sequence of events can explain what the doctor who treated the daughter for 30 min and first responders suffered no consequences.

Poisoning of the "opponent of the regime" is a known British tactics first demonstrated in full glory in Litvinenko case ("Arafat and Litvinenko: an Interesting Turn to a Mysterious Story", http://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/arafat-and-litvinenko-an-interesting-turn-to-a-mysterious-story /.)

The first step can also be plot by some group connected with William Browder of Magnitsky death fame (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25190975), Berezovsky associates or some other "Russian mafia in London" groups. The fact that Skripal has such an expensive car suggests that he was participating in some business dealings, probably as a part of some London-based exiles group. UK government is not know for extreme generosity toward such people as Skripal.

The question arise why the UK government went this path. It well might be the USA pressure (like in case of Iraq invasion) or internal considerations that such step will be beneficial to the May government survival. Or both.

My impression is that his is just a first (and somewhat clumsy executed) step in multi step gambit in which Scripals were just sacrificial lamps. Pawns is a bigger game.

The next steps might be related to Would Cup and/or confiscation of assets of Russian oligarchs in London to put pressure on Putin and possibly initiate with their hands a "regime change" in Russia.

Was everything staged with Skripals as hired actors?

Both Skripals badly needed money.  Older Skripal might be involved in some criminal or semi-criminal activity with other Russian emigrants as it often happens in London with those who expected to live a plush  life in GB and then found that founds they can get can't provide this standard of living.

without evidence to the contrary we must assume mi5 were responsible, or skripal somehow got hold of a poison and mishandled it.

there are also comments that the whole thing look like state provocation from the beginning to the end and there were not any gas or poisoning at all.

mike k , Mar 21, 2018 9:45:34 PM | 88

I cannot understand why so many commenters assume that a toxic agent had anything to do with this obvious false flag charade. I wonder if Skripal or his daughter were actually sick at all, or merely doing a crisis acting job.

Curious that they have been spirited away from anyone who might assess their condition. And the notoriously deadly nerve agent apparently did not do it's job on them. Because there was no nerve agent involved. Now after a long lapse of time some concocted nerve agent may be produced to back up the whole scam.

Meanwhile Skripal and daughter will be held away from prying eyes in "protective custody".

CUE BONO question is the key question in Skripal matter

Why such a strange and dangerous method of killing was chosen and why anybody wants to eliminate old, used man who does not have any valuable information or contacts

There is plenty of common crime in the UK and to get somebody to rob and stab Skripal would have probably been the easiest version. That’s assuming that the Russians had any reason to want him dead, which they self-evidently didn’t.

Mar 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

likbez, March 16, 2018 at 3:48 am GMT

@Kiza

Kiza,

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked (by a Russian sounding chemical weapon Novichok), and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism (https://www.craigmurray.org.uk - Craig Murray has been most viciously attacked for not accepting the official story without any evidence) and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Göring

That's a perfectly applicable variation of the famous quote.

The most plausible goal of the whole "Operation Skripal" was poisoning UK-Russia relations and hopefully bringing the US and EU to impose new round of sanctions on Russia. In this sense it reminds Litvinenko case (which brought huge propaganda benefits to the UK and the hysteria lasted several months, if memory does not fail me).

BTW exiled Russian oligarchs like Khodorkovski ( https://www.voltairenet.org/article168007.html ) also could easily stage such a false flag operation using their interconnections with both Russia and Israel.

One thing I can't understand in "Operation Skripal" is how such an assassination (if we assume that this is an assassination) was accomplished.

The gas (if it really exists, which is yet another question) supposedly is really deadly. If this was not gas but some substance infused with this agent (which would be extremely strange and risky method), you need to get it into the drinks, which means 100% chances of your detection.

Moreover in case of the gas the difficulties look insurmountable -- to get it to the victim you need to mix components and shortly after spray it from a short distance, hoping the you mixed them correctly. The place where Skripals were found unconscious is a really bad place for such an exercise as there probably several cameras which record the events on the bench.

Unless it was the daughter who did this (in this case authorities have definitely all the necessary evidence of the crime committed) chances of an attacker to survive such an attack are slim, and changes not being recorded on one or more camera are virtually non existent.

If there was a human assassin, he/she risks to be immediately dead or severely injured as even in minimal concentrations such a gas reliably kills a person within two minutes or so. Antidote might help to survive, but how effective it is depends on the dose you can get.

If some robotic disperser was used, then it will be found as unlike in case of an explosive device the activation does no destroy it.

Also unclear why target the daughter, unless we are dealing with some botched amateur false flag operation in best traditions of ISIS Syria false flag operations.

Moreover, Skripals spent around an hour on a bench in a comatose state and were helped by a doctor who was not affected in any way. See timeline at

http://www.businessinsider.com/who-is-sergei-skripal-timeline-2018-3#march-3-240-pm-skripals-33-year-old-daughter-yulia-arrives-in-the-uk-via-london-heathrow-airport-relatives-said-she-was-visiting-from-moscow-17

But later a policeman was affected. Very strange.

So IMHO it looks like assassination without an assassin. There are some absurd statements that the poison was spiked in their drinks either in the pub or at the restaurant:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5742909/sergei-skripal-spy-russian-assassin-poison-hit-pub/

One possible scenario is that Skripal and his daughter were narcoaddicts and did it to themselves The initial reports (see, for example, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5733372/ex-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-poisoned-salisbury-feared-life-cops/ ) suggested traces of the opiate fentanyl -- a synthetic toxin many times stronger than heroin -- had been detected at the scene.

Later their collapse was used to stage a false flag operation, when in fact there was no any gas involved, and at this point, a grandiose propaganda show with the decontamination of the area started.

30 questions which will never the answered by neoliberal MSM

30 Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

Mar 27, 2018 | www.theblogmire.com

There are a lot of issues around the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal which, at the time of writing, are very unclear and rather odd. There may well be good and innocent explanations for some or even all of them. Then again there may not. This is why it is crucial for questions to be asked where, as yet, there are either no answers or deeply unsatisfactory ones.

Some people will assume that this is conspiracy theory territory. It is not that, for the simple reason that I have no credible theory -- conspiracy or otherwise -- to explain all the details of the incident in Salisbury from start to finish, and I am not attempting to forward one. I have no idea who was behind this incident, and I continue to keep an open mind to a good many possible explanations.

However, there are a number of oddities in the official narrative, which do demand answers and clarifications. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist or a defender of the Russian state to see this. You just need a healthy skepticism, "of a type developed by all inquiring minds!"

Below are 30 of the most important questions regarding the case and the British Government's response, which are currently either wholly unanswered, or which require clarification.


1. Why have there been no updates on the condition of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the public domain since the first week of the investigation?

2. Are they still alive?

3. If so, what is their current condition and what symptoms are they displaying?

4. In a recent letter to The Times , Stephen Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, wrote the following:

"Sir, Further to your report ("Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment", Mar 14) may I clarify that no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning."

His claim that " no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury" is remarkably odd, as it appears to flatly contradict the official narrative. Was this a slip of the pen, or was it his intention to communicate precisely this -- that no patients have been poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury?

5. It has been said that the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey were poisoned by "a military grade nerve agent". According to some claims, the type referred to could be anywhere between five and eight times more toxic than VX nerve agent. Given that just 10mg of VX is reckoned to be the median lethal dose , it seems likely that the particular type mentioned in the Skripal case should have killed them instantly. Is there an explanation as to how or why this did not happen?

6. Although reports suggested the involvement of some sort of nerve agent fairly soon after the incident, it was almost a week before Public Health England issued advice to those who had visited The Mill pub or the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury on the day that the Skripals fell ill. Why the delay and did this pose a danger to the public?

7. In their advice, Public Health England stated that people who had visited those places, where traces of a military grade nerve agent had apparently been found, should wash their clothes and:

"Wipe personal items such as phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in the bin (ordinary domestic waste disposal)."

Are baby wipes acknowledged to be an effective and safe method of dealing with objects that may potentially have been contaminated with "military grade nerve agent", especially of a type 5-8 times more deadly than VX?

8. Initial reports suggested that Detective Sergeant Bailey became ill after coming into contact with the substance after attending the Skripals on the bench they were seated on in The Maltings in Salisbury. Subsequent claims, however, first aired by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Ian Blair on 9 th March , said that he came into contact with the substance at Sergei Skripal's house in Christie Miller Road. Reports since then have been highly ambiguous about what should be an easily verifiable fact. Which is the correct account?

9. The government have claimed that the poison used was "a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia ". The phrase "of a type developed by Russia" says nothing whatsoever about whether the substance used in the Salisbury case was produced or manufactured in Russia. Can the government confirm that its scientists at Porton Down have established that the substance that poisoned the Skripals and DS Bailey was actually produced or manufactured in Russia?

10. The former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has claimed that sources within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have told him that scientists at Porton Down would not agree to a statement about the place of origin of the substance , because they were not able to establish this. According to Mr. Murray, only under much pressure from the Government did they end up agreeing to the compromise wording, "of a type developed by Russia", which has subsequently been used in all official statements on the matter. Can the FCO, in plain and unambiguous English, categorically refute Mr. Murray's claims that pressure was put on Porton Down scientists to agree to a form of words and that in the end a much-diluted version was agreed?

11. On the occasion that the FCO did attempt to refute Mr. Murray's claims , the wording they used included a straightforward repetition of the same phrase – "of a type developed by Russia". Is the FCO willing and able to go beyond this and confirm that the substance was not only "of a type developed by Russia", but that it was "produced" or "manufactured" in Russia?

12. Why did the British Government issue a 36-hour ultimatum to the Russian Government to come up with an explanation, but then refuse their request to share the evidence that allegedly pointed to their culpability (there could have been no danger of their tampering with it, since Porton Down would have retained their own sample)?

13. How is it possible for a state (or indeed any person or entity) that has been accused of something, to defend themselves against an accusation if they are refused access to evidence that apparently points to their guilt?

14. Is this not a clear case of the reversal of the presumption of innocence and of due process?

15. Furthermore, why did the British Government issue an ultimatum to the Russian Government, in contravention of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) rules governing such matters, to which both Britain and Russia are signatories, and which are clearly set out in Article 9, Paragraph ii of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)?

16. Given that the investigation, which has been described by the man leading it as being "an extremely challenging investigation" and as having "a number of unique and complex issues", and given that many of the facts of the case are not yet known, such as when, where and how the substance was administered, how is it possible for the British Government to point the finger of blame with such certainty?

17. Furthermore, by doing so, haven't they both politicized and prejudiced the investigation?

18. Why did the British Government feel the need to come forward with an accusation little more than a week into the investigation, rather than waiting for its completion?

19. On the Andrew Marr Show on 18 th March, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, stated the following:

"And I might just say in response to Mr. Chizhov's point about Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons. We actually had evidence within the last ten years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but it has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok."

Where has this intelligence come from and has it been properly verified?

20. If this intelligence was known before 27 th September 2017 – the date that the OPCW issued a statement declaring the completion of the destruction of all 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by the Russian Federation – why did Britain not inform the OPCW of its own intelligence which apparently contradicts this claim, which they would have had a legal obligation to do?

21. If this intelligence was known after 27 th September 2017, why did Britain not inform the OPCW of this "new" information, which it was legally obliged to do, since it allegedly shows that Russia had been lying to the OPCW and had been carrying out a clandestine chemical weapons programme?

22. Also on the Andrew Marr show, Mr. Johnson made the following claim after a question of whether he was "absolutely sure" that the substance used to poison the Skripals was a "Novichok":

"Obviously to the best of our knowledge this is a Russian-made nerve agent that falls within the category Novichok made only by Russia, and just to get back to the point about the international reaction which is so fascinating."

Is the phrase "to the best of our knowledge" an adequate response to Mr. Marr's request of him being "absolutely sure"?

23. Is this a good enough legal basis from which to accuse another state and to impose punitive measures on it, or is more certainty needed before such an accusation can be made?

24. After hedging his words with the phrase, "to the best of our knowledge", Mr. Johnson then went beyond previous Government claims that the substance was "of a type developed in Russia", saying that it was "Russian-made". Have the scientists at Porton Down been able to establish that it was indeed "Russian-made", or was this a case of Mr. Johnson straying off-message?

25. He also went beyond the previous claim that the substance was "of a type developed in Russia" by saying that the substance involved in the Skripal case "falls within the category Novichok made only by Russia "? Firstly, is Mr. Johnson able to provide evidence that this category of chemical weapons was ever successfully synthesized in Russia, especially in the light of the OPCW's Scientific Advisory Board stating as recently as 2013, that it has "insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of 'Novichoks ' "?

26. As Craig Murray has again pointed out , since its 2013 statement, the OPCW has worked (legally) with Iranian scientists who have successfully synthesized these chemical weapons. Was Mr. Johnson aware that the category of "Novichok" chemical weapons had been synthesized elsewhere when he stated that this category of chemical weapons is "made only by Russia"?

27. Does the fact that Iranian scientists were able to synthesize this class of chemical weapons suggest that other states have the capabilities to do likewise?

28. Is the British Government aware that the main plant involved in attempts to synthesize Novichoks in the 1970s and 1980s was based not in Russia, but in Nukus in Uzbekistan?

29. Does the fact that the US Department of Defense decontaminated and dismantled the Nukus site, under an agreement with the Government of Uzbekistan , make it at least theoretically possible that substances or secrets held within that plant could have been carried out of the country and even back to the United States?

30. The connection between Sergei Skripal's MI6 recruiter, Pablo Miller , who also happens to live in Salisbury, and Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called "Trump Dossier", has been well established , as has the fact that Mr. Skripal and Mr. Miller regularly met together in the City . Is this connection of any interest to the investigation into the incident in Salisbury?


If there are any journalists with integrity and inquisitive minds still living in this country, I would be grateful if they could begin doing their job and research the answers to these sorts of questions by asking the appropriate people and authorities.

Litvinenko case

Brits have decided to raise Litvinenko’s ghost just to keep the pot boiling about the Evil One so that the whole world will rally behind the exceptional nation’s sterling effort to have him vanquished.

See also Litvinenko poisoning

PaulR says: January 23, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Latest Litvinenko revelation: Putin’s contacts with Al Qaeda: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11364724/Is-this-Alexander-Litvinenkos-beyond-the-grave-attack-on-Putin.html

 Moscow Exile says: January 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Yeah, Ol’ Sasha could tell a tale or two…if you paid him.

Or three or four, for that matter.

I reckon he’d have given a 5% discount on a job lot., especially when he became strapped for cash after his benefactor gave him the heave-ho in London.

Here’s Alexander MacLitvinenko in one of his fantasy modes:

Britain Cans Case Against Russia

Well not quite. They seem to have decided to raise Litvinenko’s ghost just to keep the pot boiling about the Evil One so that the whole world will rally behind the exceptional nation’s sterling effort to have him vanquished.

 Moscow Exile says: January 23, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Alexander Litvinenko: Blackmailer, Smuggler, Gangster Extraordinaire


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[Sep 14, 2019] How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them. ..."
"... Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit. ..."
"... I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up. ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How The BBC's Quentin Sommerville Created Fairytales Of Underground Hospitals In Syria

In August 2013 the BBC produced a fake video headlined "Saving Syria's Children" about an alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria which it claimed was caused by the Syrian government. Robert Stuart has since pressed the BBC to admit the obvious fabrication of these scenes .

Today the BBC posted on its website another Syria clip under the title Idlib's secret hospitals hiding from air strikes :

Air strikes have been targeting hospitals in the rebel-held province of Idlib, Syria, despite the fact that it is a war crime. Medics have been forced underground in order to survive.

The UN accuses the Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes of conducting a deadly campaign that appears to target medical facilities.

BBC's Middle East correspondent, Quentin Sommerville, visits one hospital in a secret location.

Sommerville starts with standing next to a destroyed building claiming that it has been a hospital that was bombed. He says: "This is the only building that was targeted here."

It isn't the "only building that was targeted" there. It is the only building that was there. The building is standing within an orchard. There are no other buildings or infrastructure around it. Why would anyone have built a hospital far from a town? There are no signs that building ever was a hospital and is doubtful that it was one.

The next shot has been shown in other TV clips (on Channel 4?). It shows the entrances to some caves but no car, no persons and nothing else is around it.

Suddenly six explosions happen at the very same time. Immediately after the explosions, but not before them, the sound of a passing jet is heard. I have never heard or seen of a jet that manages to release six bombs that land in such a tight pattern and explode all at the very same time. Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent U.S. carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq. And why please was the camera in place that made such a tight shot of it? This was clearly a stunt made with some buried explosives that were centrally ignited at the same time. The jet noise was later added to the shot. In the next scene two people walk down a concrete stairway within a regular building.

The scene cuts to one filmed at the entrance of roughly dug cave while the reporter insinuates that both are the same.

The reporter claims that the cave is a hospital. He walks further down the stairs into the cave ... and ends up in a well built building with straight painted walls and a nice balustrade. This might be a hospital but there is no sign that it is one. What is certain is that it is not underground or in a cave.

The whole claim of the BBC clip is that the hospitals are underground because they get bombed. But the part that is supposed to prove that is clearly cut from a real building scene to a walk down into a cave scene and back to a real building scene. The sequence is clearly a propaganda fake.

The clip continues with Sommerville talking to some 'doctor' who answers in Arabic.

Then follow scenes from the Atmah Charity Hospital which is a real hospital. It lies north of Idleb city and right next to the Turkish border near the Olive Tree refugee camp near the town of Atmah . It is sponsored by Orient Charity , established by the Syrian anti-Assad businessman Ghassan Aboud who lives in the UAE, and is operated by the Muslim Brotherhood aligned Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Ghassan Aboud also owns Orient News which is a Jihadist outlet . There follow the typical pictures of injured children which are used to create more hate against the Syrian government and the millions of children it protects from the U.S. sponsored Jihadists attacks.

On his Twitter account Quentin Sommerville posted another version of his Idleb tale. It is longer and the cut differs significantly from the clip on the BBC website.

Some scenes are similar. The 'bombed hospital' is there. The fake 'bombing' of the caves is also in it. The interview scene with the Arabic speaking doctor in the 'underground hospital' is missing in this version but the same person reappears.

Sommerville speaks with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria about the coordination system for hospitals. The hospitals are supposed to tell the UN there geographic coordinates which the UN then hands to Russia with the request not to bomb those places. The UN's Pomos Moumtzis defends the system. Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

What is happening here is that the Jihadis, with whom Sommerville traveled and who he rightly says are seen as terrorist even by the 'west', report the coordinates of their headquarters and weapon depots as hospitals. The UN has no way to check their claims. When the Russian or Syrian airforce then bomb those places the Jihadis claim that their hospitals were hit.

There are more false sequences in the longer clip Sommerville tweeted.

At 4:27 the cameraman rides on the back of a motorcycle through a covered alley or basement into a 'hospital entrance'. More than a dozen motorcycles are parked there and there is professional ventilation.

It is the very same 'underground hospital' and the same Arabic speaking 'doctor' as in the first clip. Notice that the 'doctor' rode his motorcycle through town while wearing his supposedly clean clinic clothes.

Sommerville narrates: "This hospital is very deep out of reach of the bombs. We were told to move fast too."

The above scene cuts to two men running down a basement stairway seemingly from the hospital. It is the same stairway as in the first clip but filmed from a slightly different perspective and in a different take.

Summerville continues: "Even under this solid rock we await the next attack." The scene cuts to two men running down an underground tunnel with rough walls.

It is the same tunnel as in the first clip.

The sequence as a whole makes no sense. If the hospital is 'out of reach of the bombs' why run further down from it?

In the first clip the storyline around the same 'underground hospital' is the opposite of the storyline in the second version. In the first clip the reporter walks first down the stairway and then down the rough tunnel to allegedly reach the 'underground hospital'. In the second longer clip the reporters leave from the 'underground hospital' down the stairway and further down into the rough cut tunnel to be more safe from bombs.

Which is the real sequence Mr. Sommerville? Is the hospital at the lower end of the rough wall tunnel or is it at the upper end? Could you please make up your mind?

At 5:00 min Sommerville says that he travels further south towards the frontline escorted by the Jihadist controlled 'Salvation government'. The scene cuts to a drone shot of a refugee camp insinuating that it is in the same southern area. But the camp is like all refugee camps in Idleb in the north directly at the Turkish border. The border wall which Turkey erected can be clearly seen behind it. The place is far from the frontline.

The two Sommerville videos show how the BBC works. First a politically wanted narrative is created. Scenes are then taken and cut into sequences that fit that narrative. The same or similar scenes can be used to create a different version of the same narrative or even a completely different one. Neither of those narratives needs to be anywhere near the realities on the ground.

Unfortunately many people fall for such cheap propaganda junk.

Posted by b on September 13, 2019 at 19:36 UTC | Permalink


anna , Sep 13 2019 20:08 utc | 1

Underground Idlib Bit long.. https://youtu.be/i_5Cid-Po9k?t=32
Jen , Sep 13 2019 20:32 utc | 4
It seems that in its zeal to keep staffing costs down amid public calls to revoke the compulsory annual BBC licence fee payment required of all UK subjects who own TV sets, and to maintain its relevance, the BBC has told its crime and thriller drama script-writers to write the news plot narratives and gets gullible twats like Somerville to act them out with extras drawn from the Syrian White Helmets Academy of Dramatic Arts. Pyrotechnic effects underwritten by Saudi Arabia and ultimately by British taxpayers who should be asking for their money back: they should not be paying the BBC twice to produce such shoddy garbage.
b , Sep 13 2019 20:48 utc | 5
On yesterday's longer BBC piece not available to an international audience:

Ollie Richardson @O_Rich_

Thread on the @BBC
's latest (12.09.19) edition of propaganda designed to mask the UK's role in arming and financing Al Qaeda in Syria. A BBC broadcast was imposed on me, but I recorded this segment anticipating that a pack of lies was coming. Here is part 1/3 of the skit: ...
alaff , Sep 13 2019 20:49 utc | 6
Sommerville claims that 40 such hospitals have been bombed in recent months. Syria's Idleb governorate never had that many hospitals.

But... But... You forgot a map of hospitals in Idleb. :D

ben , Sep 13 2019 21:19 utc | 7
The disinformation is endless with regards to the Syrian war. Especially from the anti-Assad camp. We all know who are the most prolific bombers of hospitals and civilian infrastructure, and those are the empire and their minions.

http://www.brianwillson.com/the-us-american-way-of-war-intentional-killing-of-civilians-and-civilian-infrastructure/

goldhoarder , Sep 13 2019 21:27 utc | 8
Every terrorist hideout is a hospital so please don't let those mean Russians and Syrian army men hurt them.
Jackrabbit , Sep 13 2019 21:29 utc | 9
Why continue propaganda ops after US claimed to kill the Idlib Jihadi leadership in an airstrike? LOL. High probability that the airstrike was also propaganda so that they can claim that it's the people of Idlib that are resisting SAA+Russians now, not Jihadis.
Cochore , Sep 13 2019 21:53 utc | 10
The cameraman for this fabrication was Darren Conway. He is the same person responsible for the BBC Panorama faux-documentary "Saving Syria's Children" that was broadcast on 30th September, 2013 and which has been exposed as a fake by the tireless work of Robert Stuart. https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/
so , Sep 13 2019 22:10 utc | 11
How do these people live with themselves? Get up every morning and spew lies. Take the kids to school and feed the dog. Not knowing the ramification of their actions and the lives that their actions cost. I guess that's the life you lead when everything is attached to the value of money. So much illness in this world.
Choderlos de Laclos , Sep 13 2019 22:24 utc | 12
BBC is in hot contest for der Spiegel's Claas Relotius prize: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46624297

Keep it up boys!

Robert Stuart , Sep 13 2019 22:38 utc | 13
As noted above, this is basically the 2013 BBC Panorama Saving Syria's Children (SSC) team, with Sommerville substituting for Ian Pannell, who left the BBC in 2017 and now works with ABC, plus SSC cameraman Darren Conway (OBE) and SSC "fixer/translator" Mughira Al Sharif, who is credited with "camera" in the first Sommerville clip (in addition to Conway?), and about whom more here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/#Sharif

The SSC crew used then-ISIS partners Ahrar al-Sham for security in 2013 and filmed a vehicle bearing the ISIS flag at comfortably close quarters:
http://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bbc-panorama-team-embedded-with-islamic-state-partner-group/
https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/bbc-panorama-on-location-with-isis/

Ian , Sep 13 2019 22:40 utc | 14
so @11:
Their actions may not always be driven by money but by an ideology. Getting wealthy in the process would be a bonus.
karlof1 , Sep 14 2019 0:22 utc | 29
Outstanding work, b! This is exactly what's being advocated by Caitlin Johnstone, advocated by many of us barflies, and consistently practiced by you--Destroying the Empire's BigLie Media Narratives. ICYMI, here's her essay on that topic . The following is from a thread about a topic related to American Exceptionalism that as noted is seldom discussed American Privilege :

"American privilege is having your insane culture normalized around the world via Hollywood and other media so that nobody stops and wonders why we're letting this bat shit crazy nation rule our planet, and so no one makes you feel bad about your American privilege."

And before American Privilege there was the British version: The White Man's Burden. We get a taste of what the modern version of British Privilege would be from BBC propaganda. Both intended to globally project their Cultural Imperialism in both an offensive and defensive capacity with the Outlaw US Empire's efforts being the most successful. As shown by the BRICS efforts I posted and linked to, there's an increasing effort to promote a countervailing system of humanist values, which is a component in combating the Hybrid Third World War in which we're all involved .

james , Sep 14 2019 1:17 utc | 30
thanks b... great breakdown on the bbc bullshite... why is the usa-uk-israel-ksa clan paying so many millions for this cheap shit?? you would think with all their connections they could fabricate better bullshit... you link @5 is embarrassing for them.. i guess they figure only dim twats swallow the pablum bbc offers.. thanks for your work...
Anon , Sep 14 2019 1:51 utc | 31
Here's how it works:

You beg the "rebels" to grant you access and then you are escorted around shown that which they want you to see, and then they give you video clips to use and you do the story on their terms. Kind of like the days of Like North Korea where reporters are escorted by a minder and kept on a short leash. It will n North Korea, reporters push the envelope and report only on the oppressiveness of the regime, and never tell their audience things like there is fairly good education, healthcare, and their manufacturing base is sophisticated enough to make their own smart phones. In Syria, reporters never vary from the script the hosts present them. It's not only because they won't be invited back, it's because they will be murdered. Remember the early stages of the war? Remember how many journalists were being killed? What were those journalists reporting? Why the truth of course.

Trailer Trash , Sep 14 2019 2:18 utc | 32
Someone mentioned the White Helmets. Here's a picture of a White Helmet leader hanging out with "Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong" and a Ukrainian mayor at a shindig in Berlin. No doubt it was organized and paid for by Uncle Sam and his trillion-dollar-per-year deficit.

I wonder if Hong Kong protesters know that Wong is partying in safety and comfort while they are risking their lives by attacking police and getting beat up.

JW , Sep 14 2019 2:23 utc | 33
Don't these propaganda clowns know they the more desperate they are at creating false narratives, the more they are losing credibility? Everyone outside the western circle of sheeple are more wary than ever about the CIA's fingers on just about everything.
psychohistorian , Sep 14 2019 2:31 utc | 34
Thanks for continuing to write truth to power b

The mighty propaganda machine of the West continues to crank out fake news for the Plato's Cave displays of the brainwashed and addicted. Ongoing control and projection of the narrative is necessary to keep the weak holding on for dear life to the Merry-Go-Round of the Western "culture".

Blessings to those that keep trying to throw spanners in the works to make the insanity stop.

Montreal , Sep 14 2019 5:33 utc | 37
In the old days, in London, when I wanted to check current affairs from different angles, I turned to the Guardian, Channel 4 News, and the BBC. People may remember, for example, the fearful row about the BBC's reporting of the Falklands War - because it was trying to be even-handed it was accused by Thatcher's government of helping the Argentinians.

Anyone interested in these things knows that each of those news outlets has - over the last couple of years - been nobbled by the enemy. I don't even know what to call the enemy - NATO? The Neo-Cons? What is shocking is the ruthless, no-expense-spared, fury with which the enemy spreads its lies. They take this propaganda war very seriously indeed.

It is a slight consolation that the BBC is spending its capital - its reputation in the world for fairness and objectivity - at a tremendous rate., if it is fairness and objectivity in current affairs you are looking for, nowadays you don't go.to the BBC.

pppp , Sep 14 2019 6:29 utc | 40
anna@1
Underground Idlib

My first thought was who dug those tunnels and where are these people now. I mean, where are buried. I seriously doubt fighters would dug all that themselves nor they would set witnesses free. Yet reports about forced labor are scarce, which is not that surprising as a couple missing persons would go unnoticed in refugees rush.

As the reference research WW2 German Riese project tunnels, forced labor and killing of laborers when Red Amy approached.

Igor Bundy , Sep 14 2019 6:36 utc | 41
As the video posted by Anna shows, the terrorists had offices and hospitals in caves. Why is a good question since Anna clearly shows that the Russians watch and only bomb places where terrorists store ammo and rockets. Also why the terrorists defenses crumble so fast. Obviously there is no carpet bombing because Russia dont have the planes for it. And for the bombing to be so effective, those must have been stores for equipment. Bombing 40 hospitals wont make the terrorists crumble. But 40 stores of supplies would.

The bigger question is, some of those caves have tiled walls and obviously took great effort. Its like the pyramids of Egypt but without the slave labor of the jews to build it.. Who pays for it??? A few I can understand but there are hundreds of such caves. Obviously a single bomb to the entrance would kill everyone inside no matter how big it is by sucking out all the air and the concussion. The Japanese learnt of this the hard way.. It also leaves the equipment intact for later use by the SAA.

BM , Sep 14 2019 6:44 utc | 42
Has anybody seen a coherent explanation of the real situation on the ground at the Rukban regugee camp near Al Tanf? Especially one that gives a balanced view of the constraints the refugees are under, how UN aid is getting in, and what access the Russians are getting to the area?

This article states that some 17,000 refugees left in August with assistance from the Russian and Syrian governments, but some 25,000 remain:

"Back in August, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that over 17,000 civilians had already left the camp with the assistance of Moscow and Damascus.

The Syrian government and the Russian reconciliation centre have been assisting those wishing to leave the camp."

Given that the conditions are so bad, and the refugees are allegedly held against their will by jihadis, why would 25,000 still remain, if 17,000 were able to leave? Are they unable to make up their minds? Are they denied access to a part of the camp the Russians reached to help people get out? Are they actually jihadi families? There is something seriously missing from all the reports I have read.

Maximus , Sep 14 2019 10:35 utc | 50
Interesting from the Jerusalem Post ... interesting pic too...
john , Sep 14 2019 10:55 utc | 51
Compare the impact pattern and explosion timing with this recent carpet bombing (vid) of an island in Iraq

yeah, could these be penultimate eruptions, effete blasts from the man ostensibly on top? the Iraqi officers at 0:35 look kinda horrified to me, or at least a little worried.

....

only a psychotic culture does everything in its power to disrupt the physical and mental well-being of all sentient beings, while simultaneously striving to protect everyone from everything all the time.

Hmpf , Sep 14 2019 12:41 utc | 54
The cave attack, while having some issues, seems to be legit on a preliminary examination. A frame by frame examination shows there's 3 distinct missiles impacting the site. The first hits almost dead center (the missile itself is visible in a frame, its shadow in the following frame), the second one hits to the left at the edge of the compound (clearly visible in 2 frames) and the third one hits closer to the camera (visible in 1 frame), the one creating the expanding dome when exploding.
All warheads go off 4-5 frames after impact which suggests ignition delay of 0.15-0,2 seconds which would be reasonable for such a device.

Video properties of downloaded BBC clip (from Youtube)
1280x720, 25 fps

There's a couple of issues with the clip (some curious artifacts) that might suggests it's been tampered with but, I believe, that would need a qualified person in forensic analysis of such material to determine if this indeed is true.

NotBob , Sep 14 2019 13:14 utc | 56
Another humorous aspect to the BBC is even though they collect the fee from every British TV set, the 'sponsored content' and downright clickbait on each page is up to around 20%, plus the footer 'Why You Can Trust the BBC' .
arby , Sep 14 2019 13:19 utc | 58
A User

"What sort of an a-hole would you have to be to steal trillions from people then delight in keeping them impoverished, oppressed, without access to education, housing or healthcare? "

I have been thinking about that lately and not just the Saud's. Poor, hungry, uneducated, oppressed people are much easier to manipulate and easily bought to do the dirty work of terror, killing and war. Keeping people in that impoverished state is intentional for the elite that do not want to actually do the dirty work.

" I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Jay Gould

Canthama , Sep 14 2019 13:57 utc | 60
UK's link to al Qaeda is clear for decades, same link Israel, KSA< Qatar, Turkey and US all have, but the UK is definitively ahead here, very deep ties. By now the whole world knows BBC is UK' regime mouthpiece and made several fake news pretending Syrian & Russian Gov to be committing war crimes, where if fact the UK is actually deep sunk in war crimes or crimes against humanity in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine and most recently in HK. The only way this crimes will stop is to hurt the UK where it hurts the most, their financial industry, hit it hard and the lion will turn into sheep, maybe the recent attacks in Saudi Barbaria's oil facility will do just that, but a game change financial collapse must happen in the City so funds to support global terrorism is stopped.

Thank you b for this compelling piece.

Sam , Sep 14 2019 14:01 utc | 61
I saw this piece on BBC World Report, the free satellite channel, and even without doing any research, it struck me as incredibly weird. Notice even in your screenshot that there's a shot of the "underground" hospital with a window and some people walking around outside in broad daylight(!). Plus the reporter goes on and on about how the tunnels are all "hand-dug" but then they turn the corner and he's inside a very modern-looking facility.

One note - when I saw this on TV, they had captions underneath (black line at the bottom) naming the hospitals as the (perfectly stable, ground-level) footage of them "being blown up" rolled. Didn't see the captions on your screenshots, tho.

Reminds me of all those pure fantasies they used to talk about in 2001 about Osama's multi-level underground super fortress in Afghanistan.

Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:20 utc | 63
The proof is in the pudding, the propaganda is in the editing. My own cognitive dissonance was such that I used to view Panorama as a flagship
of responsible/respectable journalism. While knowing that the BBC is part of the Westminster pedophile ring and its coverup.
OMG witch-hunt! Must not witch-hunt! Bunch of anti-semitism-tossers, the lot of 'em.
Mishko , Sep 14 2019 14:24 utc | 64
It was a wise man who said:"The truth is in the movies, the lies are in the news."
All too often I find myself agreeing with him.
Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 14 2019 15:11 utc | 65
ABC.net.au broadcast this half-baked BBC tosh on 3 of its 4 TV Channels - ABC 2, ABC News24 and ABC Comedy22.

Forgive the levity but my reaction to having endured it for the third time was: "Whoa! Sour grapes? Much?"

The sleazy Poms haven't looked this frustrated, helpless and stupid since they were the recipients of a very skillful Massacre Lesson in Afghanistan in 1842. One wonders how much arm-twisting was required to persuade the producers of "Pointless" & "Would I Lie To You?" that making stuff up about Assad and Russia might help viewers to forget that Russia and Assad have been shredding the Judeo-Christian Colonial Conspiracy since Russia waded in 48 months ago?

CJ , Sep 14 2019 21:20 utc | 68
Hi,
I thought there was something really odd about this BBC piece. The opening shot shows a `bombed hospital'. So where is all the medical waste, broken equipment, beds, old dressings, gloves, IV sets etc. Even in a simple first aid post the medical waste sure piles up. In an emergency you need a team just to move this stuff and keep things clean and functional. There is nothing to suggest its a hospital or even a clinic. In future they should grab a bag of medical waste a throw it around! I sure am getting pissed off with this propaganda -- everything from WMD, yellow cake, aluminum tubes through to Russia gate-- its cost trillions and wasted so much time.
Arioch , Sep 15 2019 0:41 utc | 69
In a world first, renowned consultant David Nott gave remote instructions via Skype and WhatsApp which allowed doctors to carry out surgery in an underground hospital.

But, after footage was broadcast by the BBC, Mr Nott believes his computer was targeted, allowing hackers to gain the coordinates of the M10 hospital.

Weeks later a "bunker buster" bomb destroyed the M10

Posted by: Arod | Sep 13 2019 23:52 utc

Because, you know, everyone knows, when Russian Hackers want to break into someone's computer they just point their BBC TV remote on screen and preess the red button. And here we go, from TV to the computer filmed. Better than with Harry Potter.

And then, it is all because of Skype. Microsoft keeps broadcasting GPS coordinated (even of deeply underground facilities) of everyone talking by Skype. And Whatsapp too.

UK MSM: Mad Skillz meme meeting Cool Story Bro meme
UK population: target audience that ia worth nothing more reasonable

Sad...

[Sep 11, 2019] What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Sep 11 2019 15:50 utc | 60

What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

I know some here might say "Everyone would know it is a false flag if Smolenkov gets assassinated!" and that is certainly true if by "everyone" one means the regular readers here and at a few other analysis sites that are not controlled by the empire.

The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce?

[Sep 11, 2019] On possible Oleg Smolenkov connection to Steele dossier

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Sep 10 2019 19:54 utc | 19

Is someone brewing up some fresh Novichok nerve agent as we speak?

Don't touch those doorknobs, Oleg!

for future reference: this post was for amusement purposes only

[Aug 20, 2019] They just can't get enough of that Novichok

I never suspected that UK authorities will be such obvious idiots. This is a clear sign of complete degeneration of the UK elite.
Aug 15, 2019 | telegraph.co.uk

A new victim's been discovered!

'Second officer was poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury incident, police reveal', ,

"Counter Terrorism Detectives, who are investigating the nerve agent attack in 2018, have confirmed that traces of Novichok have been found in a blood sample which was taken at the time from a second police officer.

The officer from Wiltshire Police, who does not wish to be identified , was involved in the response to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

The Telegraph understands the male officer displayed signs at the time of the incident that indicated exposure to a very small amount of Novichok .

He received appropriate medical treatment at the time and returned to duties shortly afterwards.

A police spokesman told the Telegraph the officer was part of the initial response.

Forensic examination of the officer's blood sample, taken in March 2018, has since been carried out by scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

The forensic test – which uses a different method to that used to assess the clinical effects of nerve agent poisoning – has now given detectives confirmation that traces of Novichok were present.

The officer, the fourth person to be confirmed through forensic testing as a victim of the initial Salisbury attack, has been informed and continues to receive support from Wiltshire Police along with other officers and staff affected by the events in Salisbury and Amesbury last year."

Well, now that number depends on Gina Haspel's report about the dead ducks and sick children poisoned by the Novichoked bread the Skripals had been tossing to the ducks, doesn't it? But Officer Nick Baily was allegedly #5.

"The spokesman said: "some of the other police officers that attended the scene may have been exposed, but it is possible to find forensic traces [of Novichok] in blood that have no health implications at the time". [snip]

"The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and the US expelled 60 more in retaliation for poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March last year, blaming the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, for the botched assassination attempt."

From the link above:

'British authorities are confident they know "everything worth knowing" about the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal, including a trail right up to Vladimir Putin."


"The Russian intelligence agency behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been dismantled in the UK [<Moscow spins webb of lies] and will remain out of action for years to come, according to government sources.

The threat posed by the GRU, which carried out the attempted assassination of Skripal last March, has been severely curtailed as a result of the counter-terror investigation that exposed the agents who carried out the attack.'

"Counter-terror police working with the intelligence services were able to piece together the plot to murder Colonel Skripal, a former GRU officer who had sold secrets to MI6, using CCTV, including footage from the streets close to the Col Skripal's home in Salisbury, and from passenger flight manifests and immigration data at the time of the attempted hit."

(with photos of GRU Boris and Natasha)

'Novichok Sickened 2nd British Officer, Police Say', August 15, 2019 , nytimes.com, Anna Schaverien

"Another officer, Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, became critically ill after going to Mr. Skripal's home to investigate the attack. Mr. Skripal, a former colonel in Russia's military intelligence, and his daughter, Yulia, had been found unconscious and slumped on a bench.

Sergeant Bailey, who made contact with the nerve agent through the house's door handle, made a full recovery. Last Sunday, he ran a marathon to raise money for the intensive-care unit at the hospital where he was treated.

Two other people, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, also suffered high levels of exposure to Novichok as a result of the poisoning. They were accidentally exposed to residue in Amesbury, a town near Salisbury, months after the initial episode .

Both were critically sickened on July 1 when Ms. Sturgess sprayed a substance that she thought was [Nina Ricci l'air du Novichoque ] perfume onto her wrist from a bottle that Mr. Rowley, her boyfriend, had found. Investigators believe the vial was used to transport the Novichok that poisoned the Skripals. Mr. Rowley survived, but Ms. Sturgess died .

In the wake of the attack, tensions escalated to their highest pitch in decades between Britain and Russia, which London blamed for the poisoning. Moscow denied any involvement." [snip]

"The European Union placed economic sanctions on the two suspects and two senior Russian military intelligence officials in January. And this month President Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia over the episode."

From the Aug. 1 NYT : 'Mr. Trump has been reluctant to take punitive actions against Russia, instead seeking better relations with Moscow despite its well-documented interference in the 2016 election.

But in recent weeks, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have criticized his administration's delay in taking what they have called legally mandated action to follow up on sanctions imposed last August.' [snip]

On Monday, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a joint letter to the White House threatening new congressional action to force the administration's hand.

"Failure by the administration to respond to Russia's unabashed aggression is unacceptable and would necessitate that Congress take corrective action," wrote the members, Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York, and Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas.

The law provided the administration with numerous sanctions to choose from. The executive order released by the White House on Thursday banned loans or other assistance to Russia by international financial institutions and prohibited most loans from American banks to Russia's government."

"They are suspected groundlessly," the Kremlin's spokesman told reporters when the European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the suspects. " We have still not heard any evidence ."

A year after the poisoning, and after 13,000 hours of cleaning, the British government announced that the decontamination of the former Skripal home was complete. But the investigation into the attack continues.

"There are parts of the picture that we are continuing to piece together," the Metropolitan Police statement said."

All of which begs the question: what new sanctions will the US and UK levy on Russia? Of course we'll never know where Sergei and Yulia are, will we?

And sure we remember when they raised a new roof because some of that Novichok gel (or was it a spray?) on the Skripal's front door knob migrated upstairs into the attic or something

This may have been my favorite story, though: ' Public toilet in Salisbury 'may have been used by Russian agents to prepare deadly Novichok', themirror.co./uk.com , Aug. 4, 2018

"A public toilet may be where Russian agents mixed deadly Novichok used to try and assassinate ex-spy Sergei Skripal , according to reports .

It is thought Met Police counter terror cops are investigating the likelihood that the assassins smuggled the components to the nerve agent into the country then mixed it in a public toilet in Salisbury.

Forensic teams have discovered low-level contamination in toilets in the city's Queen Elizabeth Gardens."

But I'll turn it over to BBC news : 'BBC to dramatise Salisbury Novichok poisoning', 17 May 2019 , bbc.com/news

"The new drama is being written by Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn who said in a joint statement: "We feel extremely privileged to be telling this story.

"Extensive, meticulous research is at the heart of how we like to work and we've been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Salisbury who have opened up to us over the past few months and continue to do so."

Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, added: "The poisonings in Salisbury shocked the nation and had a huge impact on an unsuspecting community.

"This drama will capture the bravery, resilience and personal experience of the local people who faced a situation of unimaginable horror, so close to home."

Casting for the drama is yet to be announced."

An historical bonus from the good Ambassador: ' Pure: Ten Points I Just Can't Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative', March 7, 2109, Craig Murray, craigmurray .org; a few snippets:

"I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Boshirov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible.

Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the "good guys" and the "bad guys" in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no "good guys", as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army , who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!

The government is always trying to get good publicity for its armed forces, and you would think that the heroic role of its off-duty personnel in saving random poisoned Russian double agents they just happened to chance across, would have been proclaimed as a triumph for the British military. Yet it was kept secret for ten months. We were not told about the involvement of Colonel Alison McCourt until January of this year, when it came out by accident. Swollen with maternal pride, Col. McCourt nominated her daughter for an award from the local radio station for her role in helping give first aid to the Skripals, and young Abigail revealed her mother's identity on local radio – and the fact her mother was there "with her" administering first aid."

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

The BBC's "Diplomatic Editor" is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC's original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals' back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world's biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal's MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year."

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences."

Weird how literally every one of thes poisioning incidents keep happening less than 10 miles from the uk's largest and most notorious deadly chemical weapons factory. The fascist uk regime should really stop murdering its own people with chemical weapons https://t.co/zvIXrJ57eK

-- Handsome Man of Steel (@HandsomeSteel) August 16, 2019

(cross-posted from Café Babylon

MrWebster on Mon, 08/19/2019 - 2:44pm

Novichok is all these things

At first Novichok described as thee most deadilest chemical weapon in the world. It immediate kills anybody exposed to it and any unprotected first responders.

It failed to immediately kill to anybody exposed to it.
Seems more like a bad flu instead.

Novichok degrades almost immediately.
Norvichock can stay around for months in a perfume bottle.

Only Russians can and did make it.
For a few bucks, university chem majors made a batch.

wendy davis on Mon, 08/19/2019 - 4:52pm
arrrrr, matey!

@MrWebster

the nerve agent is a chimera in time, too! you can even pull it out of a hat, like a wabbit!

thanks for the great chuckle-worthy additions, Mr.Webster. ; )

p.s. it did kill dawn sturgess, as far as we've been told, but iirc, there were extenuating circumstances given her addiction history. i love it that officer bailey ran a marathon recently, too.

and the saga continues....will it ever end?

At first Novichok described as thee most deadilest chemical weapon in the world. It immediate kills anybody exposed to it and any unprotected first responders.

It failed to immediately kill to anybody exposed to it.
Seems more like a bad flu instead.

Novichok degrades almost immediately.
Norvichock can stay around for months in a perfume bottle.

Only Russians can and did make it.
For a few bucks, university chem majors made a batch.

Alligator Ed on Mon, 08/19/2019 - 2:54pm
The tweet says it all

Just so happens, etc.

Another well-researched article. Thanks.

Now where can I find l'air du Novichoque ? This could ultimately shorten my Christmans shopping list next year.

wendy davis on Mon, 08/19/2019 - 5:20pm
who on earth is on your

@Alligator Ed

xmas list, santa gator? looks like ya gotta either keep your eyes peeled for knock-offs, or head to the soviet union... light bulb! maybe they left a few bottles hidden in the roof of that bog in the salisbury park!

wendy davis on Mon, 08/19/2019 - 5:19pm
and all those bad pennies...

@travelerxxx

are addin' up to a fistful of dollars and pound notes by now, aren't they? i'd call it humiliating, myownself.

i did dig out more from craig murray on pablo miller, orbus, et.al., cuz i'd needed a refresher: Where They Tell You Not to Look , april 30, 2019 lots of tweets, plus this great aaron maté interview w/ luke harding.

by the by, i finally heard from Rosette Sewali, Producer & Membership Relations Manager after i'd asked TRNN why is might be that neither sharmini piries nor paul jay have been there since june 13; she wrote back:

'Thanks for your email. Paul and Sharmini have been on leave since early June. Updates will be available when we have more information .'

??????

'At the very beginning of the of the Skripal incident, the security services blocked by D(SMA) notice any media mention of Pablo Miller and told the media not to look at Orbis and the Steele dossier on Trump, acting immediately to get out their message via trusties in the BBC and Guardian. Gordon Corera, "BBC Security Correspondent", did not name the source who told him to say this, but helpfully illustrated his tweet with a nice picture of MI6 Headquarters.

'MI6's most important media conduit (after Frank Gardner) is Luke Harding of the Guardian.'
..................
'Given that the Steele dossier is demonstrably in large degree nonsense, it seems to me more probable the idea was to silence Skripal to close the danger that he would reveal his part in the concoction of this fraud. Remember he had sold out Russian agents to the British for cash and was a man of elastic loyalties. It is also worth noting that Luke Harding has a bestselling book currently on sale, in large part predicated on the truth of the Steele Dossier.

Steele, MI6 and the elements of the CIA which are out to get Trump, all would have a powerful motive to have the Skripal loose end tied.
Rule number one of real investigative journalism: look where they tell you not to look .'

[Aug 20, 2019] How the British Government subjected thousands of people to chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War

Notable quotes:
"... The research reveals, for the first time, that around 4600 kilos of the chemical, zinc cadmium sulphide (now thought to be potentially carcinogenic, on account of its cadmium content) were dispersed from ships, aircraft and moving lorries between 1953 and 1964. ..."
"... Professor Schmidt's investigation – published on 9 July as a book, Secret Science – has revealed that commuters on the London underground were also used as guinea pigs on a substantially larger scale than previously thought. ..."
"... The new research reveals, for the first time, that in another British imperial possession, Nigeria, a location was found for chemical warfare field trials. In an area called Obanaghoro in southern Nigeria, four British Cold War scientific missions spent a total of around 15 months dispersing, and assessing the effects of, large quantities of experimental nerve gas weapons. The advantage of the location was that it permitted field trials to be carried out in a tropical environment – and, of course, that it was not in Britain or Australia. ..."
"... Ulf Schmidt's book, Secret Science, is published today on 9 July, by Oxford University Press. ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | independent.co.uk

Substantial quantities were also dispersed across parts of the English Channel and the North Sea. It's not known the extent to which coastal towns in England and France were affected.

The research reveals, for the first time, that around 4600 kilos of the chemical, zinc cadmium sulphide (now thought to be potentially carcinogenic, on account of its cadmium content) were dispersed from ships, aircraft and moving lorries between 1953 and 1964.

Read more

Professor Schmidt's investigation – published on 9 July as a book, Secret Science – has revealed that commuters on the London underground were also used as guinea pigs on a substantially larger scale than previously thought.

The new research has discovered that a hitherto unknown biological warfare field trial was carried out in the capital's tube system in May 1964.

The secret operation – carried out by scientists from the government's chemical and biological warfare research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire - involved the release of large quantities of bacteria called Bacillus globigii. The scientists were keen to discover whether 'long distance travel of aerosols' in the tube network 'was due to transportation within trains' or through the tube's air ventilation systems.

At the time, the government thought that Bacillus globigii bacteria were harmless – but they are today regarded as a cause of food poisoning, eye infections, and even septicaemia. It is not known whether the authorities attempted to properly test the bacterium before releasing it into the tube system. An earlier series of tube field trials, in July 1963, has been known to historians for many years.

However, the new research has now revealed that some of the British scientists involved had grave misgivings about the field trials that had been carried out. Indeed some had long felt that it was not politically advisable to conduct large-scale trials in Britain with live bacterial agents.

One particular test – involving live plague bacteria – was carried out off the west coast of Scotland in 1952. It's long been known that a fishing vessel inadvertently passed through the cloud of bacteria and that the authorities were very worried that the fishermen might contract the disease.

The plague bacteria field trials, though at sea, took place only a few miles from the Isle of Lewis which had a population of several thousand.

The government scientists, carrying out the trials, banked on the fact that the prevailing wind normally blew away from the coast. If, however, the wind had changed direction, thousands of Hebrideans would have been at risk from plague infection, says Professor Schmidt.

Equipment for the isolation of patients in a germ free atmosphere, which was developed at Porton Down in collaboration with the Institute of Child Health (Getty)

Following the fishing vessel incident, the scientists were eager to carry out any further potentially very hazardous field trials outside the UK. Prime Minister Churchill therefore approved a plan to carry out tests in a British overseas territory, the Bahamas.

New research shows that the government scientists took the view that the Bahamas was the best place "on the surface of the globe" to carry out tests "without restrictions".

In 1954, the British government sent Cold War biological warfare scientists to an area of sea near an uninhabited island in the Bahamas to release clouds of dangerous Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis viruses. These organisms were capable of causing, in humans, high fever, long term fatigue, headaches and occasionally death.

The new research reveals, for the first time, that in another British imperial possession, Nigeria, a location was found for chemical warfare field trials. In an area called Obanaghoro in southern Nigeria, four British Cold War scientific missions spent a total of around 15 months dispersing, and assessing the effects of, large quantities of experimental nerve gas weapons. The advantage of the location was that it permitted field trials to be carried out in a tropical environment – and, of course, that it was not in Britain or Australia.

The extent that local people (including locally employed field trial personnel) were affected by the nerve agents is not known.

Historians have so far been unable to find out who did the particularly hazardous work of 'hand-charging' the nerve agent artillery shells, mortar bombs and aircraft cluster bombs. Likewise they have not been able to discover the extent to which local Nigerian soils were contaminated or whether nearby villages and schools were affected by any of the toxic clouds that would have been blown across the countryside.

"The government records I've been looking at are conspicuously silent on all this," said Ulf Schmidt.

"Officials had clearly good reasons as to why the kind of experiments undertaken in Nigeria were strictly prohibited on the British mainland, which is why the files and photographic records surrounding Britain's post-war nerve agent testing in Africa were regarded as particularly sensitive," he said.

Professor Schmidt's research has also revealed the vast scale of Cold War chemical warfare tests carried out on 'volunteer' British service personnel here in the UK – involving numbers of people much greater than previously thought.

His investigation now suggests that up to 30,000 secret chemical warfare substance experiments were carried out, mainly at Porton Down, on more than 14,000 British soldiers between 1945 and 1989. He believes that, in most cases, the servicemen were not given sufficient information to allow them to give properly informed consent.

Ulf Schmidt's book, Secret Science, is published today on 9 July, by Oxford University Press.

Spreading diseases: 'Harmless' proxies

Aircraft, lorries and ships spread 4,600kg of cadmium sulphide in one decade

Zinc Cadmium Sulfide ultra-fine particles

. This inorganic compound was used by Cold War scientists in the UK and the US as a supposedly harmless proxy to simulate the behaviour, in the lower atmosphere and on the ground, of biological warfare substances. However it is still not known whether particles of ZCS that may have become embedded in people's lungs for decades could ultimately cause disease.

Bacillus globigii . This bacterium was used as a supposedly harmless proxy to simulate the behaviour, in terms of dispersal and penetration, of biological warfare aerosols. Although not considered harmful when it was used in Cold War field trials, it is now known to be capable of causing fevers, food poisoning (occasionally resulting in death), peritonitis and septicaemia .

Pasteurella pestis (now known as Yersina pestis) . Clouds of this highly infections bacterium were dispersed only over areas of sea – but nevertheless very near to Lewis, a Scottish Island with thousands of inhabitants. In order not to infect the islands, it appears that the scientists relied entirely on the wind not changing direction and speed. This bacterium is the one that has caused plague epidemics worldwide in the past (including those of the medieval world's Black Death).

Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. Clouds of this virus were dispersed over an area of sea close to an uninhabited island in the Bahamas. The virus debilitates or kills horses and donkeys and can also cause severe fever and even death in humans. Mosquitos spread the virus further by biting equines.

G-series nerve agents. Clouds of this chemical warfare weapon were dispersed during field trials in a small part of southern Nigeria, some miles north of the town of Warri. G-series nerve agents were first developed by the Nazis before and during World War Two. The group includes substances like sarin and attacks the human nervous system, causing loss of bodily function and normally death. Survivors are likely to suffer long-term neurological damage and psychiatric disorders.

[Aug 19, 2019] Now where can I find l'air du Novichoque ? This could ultimately shorten my Christmas shopping list the next year

These idiots just keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into that hole they're in. It's almost embarrassing, even if I didn't wish them the worst.
Aug 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

[Aug 17, 2019] Where are they now? Who knows? Who asks?

Aug 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Sophie Siebert , August 14, 2019 at 13:30

I'm experiencing a virulent case of deja vu here, that usually leads to hopelessness. I, like many readers, eagerly devoured the news of the Scripals – every contradiction, reframing, new bit of evidence. It's fair to say I was obsessed. Where are they now? Who knows? Who asks? I expect the same here. Another step on our downward path, to be preempted by yet another.

The best one can say is that with every one of these "incidents" we all become a little less sure of our old assumptions, more skeptical. Leading where?

[Aug 03, 2019] US Imposes New Sanctions on Russia Over March 2018 Skripal Poisoning

Tramp is trying to lease neocons again and again
Aug 03, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

New sanctions are to punish Russia for not making promises after last sanctions

Jason Ditz Posted on August 2, 2019 August 2, 2019 Categories News Tags Russia , Trump

The White House has announced that President Trump has imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia on Friday . The sanctions are nominally about the March 2018 Skripal poisoning in Britain, which the US has already issued sanctions over.

According to spokesman Hogan Gidley, the new sanctions are being imposed because of the last round of sanctions. In the previous sanctions the US demanded Russia offer them assurances that they'd stop poisoning people.

Russia never made any such assurances, since they denied poisoning Skripal in the first place. But not admitting guilt and offering the US promises, the US felt the need to impose another round of sanctions, which are probably going to set the stage for more future sanctions for the same reason.

Officials claim Russia is "required" to offer the US assurances about poisonings under US law, and the White House insists these new sanctions prove that President Trump is harder on Russia than anyone else has ever been at any time.

[Jul 24, 2019] Have you all forgotten how BOJO leaned himself out of the window, outdoing himself and his degenerate former boss by accusing Russia of poisoning the Skripals and whoever else with 'Novi-shock'?

Jul 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

nottheonly1 , Jul 24 2019 17:59 utc | 178

After having read all of the comments, I like to ask a question.

Neither in the story, nor in the comment section, I found any remark about the Skripal affair.

Have you all forgotten how BOJO leaned himself out of the window, outdoing himself and his degenerate former boss by accusing Russia of poisoning the Skripals and whoever else with 'Novi-shock'?

And this pathetic liar and accuser of Russia with as much as ZERO evidence is now at the helm of HMS Titanic?

No wonder people can't figure out what's really going on in the world. Considering his rabid "The Russians did it" tripe as FM, he should have been barred from public office for the rest of his life.

Unless, of course, it's all nothing but low grade ham theater, with everybody playing their role - including the Russians. But I do remember the kind of actions this guy wanted to take against Russia, for 'highly likely' having been behind this fairy tale of a double agent and his daughter.

So, please humor me about how much you remember of the stellar performance of this utter joke calling for sanctions and worse against Russia.

Now what?

[Jul 22, 2019] Russians believe that the Skripal affair has been much more damaging to HMG than it has to Russia

Jul 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette , Jul 22 2019 15:15 utc | 154

....Russians believe that the Skripal affair has been much more damaging to HMG than it has to Russia, and have no interest in removing the mystery surrounding it - the more people delve, the more it stinks. Montreal @ 135 on Skripal thread.

I have heard similar, along the lines 'storm in a tea cup makes the Brits ridiculous',.. Putin knows what went down (or at least what didn't and the rough scenario.)

Remember when VP said in public that he encouraged the two Russians identified as 'culprits' (tourists in Salisbury..) to come forward - they promtly did so, correctly figuring that this was a protection guarantee for them. They hated, were afraid, to do it, and set stupid conditions with the Head of RT, trying to limit personal image damage. She couldn't refuse because of VP's advice.

Putin could publicly wonder why Britain is keeping them incommunicado. What are the Brits hiding? Even a devoted Empire supporter would have to agree that it is most peculiar. Yet Putin claims to have no knowledge on the subject, which is almost certainly untrue. Rob 136 that thread.

The Russians have made, and make, regular requests to have access to the Skripals via the usual channels, int'l etc. (+ by Red Cross if need be.) They are turned down everytime, but the situation is complex, as GB has various 'excuses' to hand: -> for protection of Skripals -> Yulia has stated she does not want -> Sergei is a swapped spy and etc. etc. (briefly and not 'legal' terms.) Conventional moves from the Russian side.

Putin has strenuously stated that traitors are the vilest scum, in harmony imho with his general principles as presented to the public, so why should he do SFA to help, or stand by, Sergei, who sold his country's 'secrets' for paltry sums and privileges .. (and Yulia, who is most likely? involved somehow? - maybe not .. -) On the other hand, Sergei did his time, has been pardoned, can do as he likes, where is the problem, the rule of law is such .. (alaff at 137 that thread makes that point forcibly..)

> The Russians sneer at this crazed hyped-up scenario of Novichok poisoning, re. some minor incident, rightly so, imho. Which does NOT mean the Skripals weren't targeted with some 'substance', hospitalized, etc. nor that Dawn Sturgess didn't die, and Charlie survived but has lost his agency and sense, nor that Porton Down was involved somehow.

The Skripals are kept incommunicado because they can't be allowed to speak out about what happened. Clue: nothing to do with Novichok or anything of world importance.

These local minor stories, situations, which may even be fabricated or 'engineered', are cynically upgraded to world-wide-media horrors by pols and the media, to manipulate the plebs with movie-script scenarios they can understand and relate to and take sides on and also at the same time 'be divided' endlessly discussing BS about this that the other and what more etc. etc.

[Jul 21, 2019] Putin Confirms Sergei Skripal Wanted To Go Back To Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Putin now confirms that Skripal was indeed willing to come back to Russia. Oliver Stone thinks Skripal wanted to present something to the press. If Skripal had publicly said that he made up and wrote the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign by the Clinton 'resistance' would have been over. The whole Mueller investigation nonsense would never have happened. ..."
"... The reality probably is thus: The Brits cold-bloodedly poisoned him and his daughter to tar the Russians. Then a straight British fabrication story that holds no water anywhere along the way. They did it, and he had no value to them, so why not? His daughter? She's Russian. Of no use to them. ..."
"... In the scheme of things, it was a trivial act of poisoning with a huge payoff, which they achieved. ..."
"... The Skripals were doped with BZ nerve agent. It is likely that Sergei has been maintained in a near vegetative state with psychotropic drugs since then as a means to keep him in storage. There was no novichok other than the fresh batch made at Porton Down and used to amateurishly spike the sample sent to the OPCW for analysis. ..."
"... The scenario b describes is the most probable of all that I've heard. Spook agencies such as the MI6 and CIA like to think of themselves as thrifty with their assets and thus accomplish multiple objectives with a single operation. They believe themselves to be clever that way. For this reason they would have been unlikely to have doped the Skripals for the sole purpose of implicating Russia. There are any number of other ways that they could have arranged an incident that makes Russia look bad. The operation would have had to serve other purposes as well, and silencing Sergei and preventing his embarrassing return to Russia would be suitable additional purposes. There were likely other objectives within the operation as well such as smoking out leakers. ..."
"... It would be well to remember that in early March last year, about the same time that the Skripals were found collapsed on the park bench in The Maltings shopping centre by Alison McCourt and her award-winning heroic teenage daughter, that the Syrian Arab Army liberated Douma / East Ghouta (or most of that area anyway) near Damascus and captured 300 terrorists. Among the captured fighters were found British and French "military advisors". The British government (and probably likely the French government: do people remember that Moscow also thumped Paris over its role in the Skripal poisoning saga?) needed a diversion from that sorry tale that would have exposed Britain and France's sordid roles in the failed US-led invasion of Syria and the overthrow of Syria's government. ..."
"... It is possible that Skripal, living alone in his house and his pets, and facing a lonely future in Britain after his daughter, the other surviving member of his family, started making wedding arrangements that would have meant fewer visits to Britain to see her father, had contemplated returning to Russia and had made known his wish to a few people he thought he could trust. ..."
"... It might very well be that - unfortunately for the Skripals - Skripal's handler and British government spook agencies were and are as much taken with conspiracy thinking and the conspiracy mind-set as Oliver Stone was (in his interview with Vladimir Putin) and those agencies feared that Skripal was going to spill the beans about his (possible) involvement in the Steele dossier and implicate them. ..."
"... Thanks b, a timely post. I sometimes suspect that the outing of Integrity Initiative and Institute for Statecraft was a Russian payback for the defaming antics perpetrated by the MI6 morons. I have no proof as it was meticulously anonymous. Its a comforting thought here in the gaslit studio of humanity. ..."
"... Putin states now openly it helped "to cause a scandal" supposedly for various geopolitical reasons. ..."
"... As I understood it, Sergei Skripal was more mercenary than spook, in the business of selling info because he could profit from it. In other words, more Aldrich Ames or Hanssen than Philby. ..."
"... He may have overplayed his hand - obviously, his plans leaked out - and UK intelligence (perhaps with the US involved) decided to stage the incident. Or perhaps - as is possible with someone who'll play both sides - Sergei was the leaker in an attempt to gain more currency with Moscow. ..."
"... The British police knew of the perfume bottle early on. The first theory of the poisoning presented to the public was that Yulia had brought the novichok from Russian in her luggage. There was even speculation that it was in a perfume bottle that Yulia had suddenly decided to open on the bench. (This did not sound plausible at the time as it would not explain how the novichok hit Sergei.) ..."
"... We know the police were all over looking for the missing perfume bottle. They could not find it, because Sergei had already dumped it in the charity bin. Maybe Sergei even told them where he put it, but Charlie had found it before MI6 could recover it. ..."
"... There is no Russian state component in it. Not even a Roque element. The claim is total BS. Short analysis shows, that management of this "case" is entirely in the realm of the UK. ..."
"... A lot of elements of this operation had to be prepared upfront and controlled while the operation is unfolding. It remains open, whether or not the skripals where in on the plot, probably not. But anyone asserting the "Russia did it/novichok" story does lack the sanity to be trusted with state matters. ..."
"... Both from interview transcripts and RT article it's clear that the part P. says he does not believe is that S. has been poisoned by the British services (in response to Stone's question floating such a possibility). ..."
"... if Skripal suspected that the bottle contained something dodgy, wouldn't you think the last place he'd dispose of it would be a charity bin, if he were an intelligent ex-spook? ..."
"... That remark by Putin was actually in response only to the question of whether UK spooks poisoned Skripal to stop him returning to Russia, not about whether Skripal wanted to return: ..."
"... However, since the "agent" found by Swiss was Agent BZ, it might be more interesting to hear what poster 101 has to say about synthesizing BZ... ..."
"... From what I have heard, the Russians believe that the Skripal affair has been much more damaging to HMG than it has to Russia, and have no interest in removing the mystery surrounding it - the more people delve, the more it stinks. ..."
"... As an inhabitant of the UK, I can say that a lot of us were very shocked when the Government was trying to stuff these obvious lies down our throats, and it is what got a few of us onto alternative media - sick to death as we already were of the Brexit poison in the MSM. So a belated thank you to b, and your colleagues, what would we do without you. ..."
"... Btw, just to remind - Boris Berezovsky also was going to come back from UK to Russia, he wrote a letter to Putin. But "suddenly" it happened so that Berezovsky committed a "suicide". We can only guess what he could tell if he returned to Russia. Someone really did not want this information to become known... ..."
"... The presence of HMG nurse on site, and the subsequent Monty Pythom-esque cover up, seems proof enough that the UK had foreknowledge and without question, worked to keep the Russophobia stoked high not only after the incident, but the later killed a UK citizen to continue the incident. Mr. P is being diplomatic. ..."
Jul 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Putin Confirms: Sergei Skripal Wanted To Go Back To Russia

Filmmaker Oliver Stone recently interviewed the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The transcript was published yesterday evening. Most of the interview is about Ukraine. A separate piece will cover that country. There is also a passage about the U.S. election.

But the most interesting bits from Putin are about the Skripal affair.

The British and Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were impaired by some chemical substance in early March 2018 in Salisbury. Britain blamed the incident on Russia. CIA Director Gina Haspel, a former CIA station chief in London, used fake pictures of the incident to deceive Trump and to push him to kick out 60 Russian diplomats. (The NYT later ran cover for Haspel.)

We have speculated since the very beginning of the Skirpal case that the 'former' spy wanted to go back to Russia. Putin now confirms , to my knowledge for the first time, that this was the case (underline added):

Oliver Stone: What has happened to Skripal? Where is he?

Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. He is a spy, after all. He is always in hiding.

Oliver Stone: They say he was going to come back to Russia. He had some information.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back.

Oliver Stone: He knew still and he wanted to come back. He had information that he could give to the world press here in Russia.

Vladimir Putin: I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?

The information Sergei Skripal possessed might have been related to the U.S. election and the Steele dossier which alleged that Russia had dirt on Trump. On March 8 2018, only a few days after the Sergei and Julia Skripal were allegedly poisoned, we discussed the connection in our first post on the Skripal affair :

[Christopher] Steele was an MI6 undercover agent in Moscow around the time when Skripal was recruited and handed Russian secrets over to the MI6. He [later] ran the MI6 Russia desk so anything about Skripal will have passed through him. It is very likely that they personally knew each other. Pablo Miller, who worked for Steele's private company [Orbis], lived in the same town as Skripal and they seems to have been friends since Miller had recruited him. Miller or someone else attempted to cover up the connection to Steele by editing his LinkedIn entry.

Here are some question:

  • Did Skripal help Steele to make up the "dossier" about Trump?
  • Were Skripal's old connections used to contact other people in Russia to ask about Trump dirt?
  • Did Skripal threaten to talk about this?

If there is a connection between the dossier and Skripal, which seems very likely to me, then there are a number of people and organizations with potential motives to kill him. Lots of shady folks and officials on both sides of the Atlantic were involved in creating and running the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign. There are several investigations and some very dirty laundry might one day come to light. Removing Skripal while putting the blame on Russia looks like a convenient way to get rid of a potential witness.

The British government issued a D-Notice which prohibited the British press from further mentioning Pablo Miller.

We also speculated that Skripal wanted to go back to Russia:

The most curious point in the affair though is the visit of the daughter. She had just come from Moscow to visit her lonely father when both were poisoned in a rather sensational way. There must be some reason why she was involved in this.

  • Did she have a bad message for him?
  • Did they both decide that suicide was the only way out?
  • Was locally bought Fentanyl involved as the local press had reported?

or

  • Was the lonely old man Sergej Skripal preparing to go back to his homeland Russia?
  • Did he offer a some kind of "gift" as apology to the Russian government that his trusted daughter would take to Moscow?
  • Did someone find out and stop the transfer?

The above questions are all highly speculative. But the connection between Steele and Skripal is way too deep to be irrelevant here. It certainly deserves more digging.

Putin now confirms that Skripal was indeed willing to come back to Russia. Oliver Stone thinks Skripal wanted to present something to the press. If Skripal had publicly said that he made up and wrote the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign by the Clinton 'resistance' would have been over. The whole Mueller investigation nonsense would never have happened.

Pablo Miller, the British spy, also appeared in the papers of the shady Integrity Initiative :

There is additional suspicion that the Integrity Initiative, whose primary function is to stoke Russophobia, was one of the brains behind the Skripal incident.

The Initiative was also involved in the Steele dossier and the russophobic anti-Trump campaign. Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow, is employed by the Institute for Statecraft , the shadowy parent organization of the Integrity Initiative funded by the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office. It was Andrew Wood who helped to disseminate the Steele dossier to U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain then gave the dossier to FBI Director James Comey. The FBI used the dossier first to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, and, after Comey was fired, to launch a counter-intelligence investigation (section 3) against Trump himself.

Here is a theory how all this may come together. Back in 2015 the Institute of Statecraft and its russophobic director Colonel Donnelly discussed how to increase sanctions on Russia. In 2016 the Steele dossier was created in an attempt to connect Trump to Russia. Steele's colleague Pablo Miller and his spy Sergei Skripal were quite likely involved in creating the dossier. The dossier was disseminated with the help of Donnelly's Institute of Statecraft .

For some reason the Skripals had to be taken out. Sergei Skripal probably threatened to spill the beans about the dossier after it became public. The highly scripted 'Novichok' incident in Salisbury was staged to remove Skripal and to smear Russia with an alleged murder attempt. Colonel McCourt, the trusted army nurse, was asked to help on the scene. After the Skripal incident, and with no evidence shown, Russia was blamed and massive sanctions followed. The Integrity Initiative , the propaganda arm of the Institute of Statecraft , analyzes the media results of the Skripal affair and continues to stoke the anti-Russia campaign.

It might be possible that Steele's 'dirty dossier', the Skripal case and the Integrity Initiative operation are unrelated. But that chance for that now tends towards zero.

The weak part of that theory was always that we did not know for sure if Sergei Skripal really wanted to go back to Russia. We now know that this was the case. Oliver Stone seems to know that Skripal wanted to go public about something. That makes the theory fit even better.

Putin does not believe that the Skripals were poisoned to kill them:

Oliver Stone: Who poisoned him? They say English secret services did not want Sergei Skripal to come back to Russia?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case.

Oliver Stone: Makes sense. You do not agree with me?

Vladimir Putin: If they had wanted to poison him, they would have done so.

Oliver Stone: Ok, that makes sense. I don't know. Who did then?

Vladimir Putin: After all, this is not a hard thing to do in today's world. In fact, a fraction of a milligram would have been enough to do the job. And if they had him in their hands, there was nothing complicated about it. No, this does not make sense. Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal.

Oliver Stone: I think it is more complicated. You know, you think I am much too much of a conspiracy guy.

Vladimir Putin: I do not believe this.

Oliver Stone: I have seen things. I do.

Vladimir Putin: You should not.

When and where will the Oliver Stone documentary about the Skripal affair have its premiere?

---
Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the Skripal case:


Zanon , Jul 20 2019 17:04 utc | 1

Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such. Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia, that makes no sense.
DG , Jul 20 2019 17:11 utc | 3
"Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal." ... he is right
bjd , Jul 20 2019 17:21 utc | 4
Ukraine.
CD Waller , Jul 20 2019 17:28 utc | 5
Zanon,

On what do base your conclusion that the Skripals were most likely poisoned by someone in Russia?

semiconscious , Jul 20 2019 17:37 utc | 6
@3

this sounds like the most straight-forward explanation to me, as well...

b , Jul 20 2019 17:46 utc | 7
@Zanon @1

Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such. Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia, that makes no sense.

Skripal was caught in Russia when he spied for the Brits. He went to jail for five or so years. Then the Brits wanted to exchange him for a Russian agent they (or the U.S.) had caught. Skripal was released from jail for having served most his time and exchanged. Russia has no more interest in persecuting him. Skripal did not 'deliberately move out of Russia'. There was no assault by Russia on him.

padre , Jul 20 2019 17:50 utc | 8
Zanon you statement it typical misinformation, you took only a part of Putin statement!Yes, he said that, but he also said, that he already served his time for that so he is of no interest to the authorities!
jayc , Jul 20 2019 18:10 utc | 10
It's been a full year now since Yulia's last (controlled) appearance to the public. The notion that the Skripals are in some kind of "witness protection program" has been suggested but never confirmed. There's no indication as to what they may have been witness to, let alone any statement of fact from them at all regarding the Salsbury events. This is highly unusual since the UK government made such a high-profile international incident of it all. Is Putin asked of the apparent forced disappearance of a Russian citizen (Yulia Skripal)?
elkern , Jul 20 2019 18:14 utc | 12
This adds some weight to the theory that the two Russian "tourists" were delivering something (paperwork? fake passports? ) that Skripal wanted, not trying to kill him. Or, perhaps, they picked up something FROM Skripal?

The sentence where Putin confirms Stone's idea that Skripal wanted to go back to Russia is oddly stated:

"Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back."

1. Putin used present tense: Skripal "wants", rather than "wanted". Doesn't that imply some communication since the "incident"?
2. The bit about the "written request" part is way more specific than I would have expected. It sounds like Skripal wasn't just vaguely dreaming about going back to Mother Russia, but was taking steps to do so. Were the "tourists" delivering the proper bureaucratic Form that Skripal would need to fill out?

I may be reading way to much into this - it could just be idiosyncratic aspects of Putin speaking in English, or bad translation.

Red Ryder , Jul 20 2019 18:25 utc | 14
Who would not poison him and his daughter? The Russians. If he wanted to return, he would have to possess information that was worth taking him back and letting him live out his life in peace.
Would the crap Trump wanted to know be that infrmation?

He was being handled by Mi6 and knew he had no way to communicate with the Russians.
He needed his daughter to cut a deal.

The Brits could have easily pierced Skirpal's communication with his daughter (even if it was a whisper in her ear).
Would he risk his life and his daughter's life for such a long-shot 'deal'?

And the foundation question in all this is "Did Skirpal work on the Steele Dossier, and what did he contribute to that document?"

It's all a MacGuffin.

The reality probably is thus: The Brits cold-bloodedly poisoned him and his daughter to tar the Russians. Then a straight British fabrication story that holds no water anywhere along the way. They did it, and he had no value to them, so why not? His daughter? She's Russian. Of no use to them.

In the scheme of things, it was a trivial act of poisoning with a huge payoff, which they achieved.

Highly Likely it was a dirty trick by the Russophobic Brits. Nothing more. Sloppy Mi6 poisoning.

Mina , Jul 20 2019 18:29 utc | 15
He speaks in the present, not in the past. And says 'he is a spy' meaning the guy kept working for the Brits in the recent years. The Skripal affair was possibly used by May when she was cornered during the Brexit negotiation. No doubt it had other effects as well, such as forbidding any EU deal with the Russians over Syria.
DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jul 20 2019 18:46 utc | 19
Mina: Good catch.. IMHO all our speculations are futile anyway at this point. BOTH sides DO NOT want to know us the whole truth. Only time will tell, when those people directly involve actually talk and present hard evidence.
DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jul 20 2019 18:49 utc | 21
Addition: I would asume the Interview will be worth a watch anyway. The "Putin Interviews" makes for an interesting watch.Though stone seems sometimes more taken away by his own world view and narrative. But he has his hearth in the right place i assume, and provides some insights to western mass media watchers that they would otherwise never get.
DG , Jul 20 2019 18:53 utc | 23
There was no poisoning ... nobody died of Novichok ... Skripal and his daughter are alive and well ... the incident was staged ... it was a kabuki piece of anti - Russia malarkey poorly executed
Russ , Jul 20 2019 18:57 utc | 24
If Skripal had publicly said that he made up and wrote the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign by the Clinton 'resistance' would have been over. The whole Mueller investigation nonsense would never have happened.

I doubt that. The Russiagate-mongers have always been totally proof against any and all evidence of reality, from day one to today. In this case they would've just said he was lying, either to suck up to Putin and/or because Putin threatened him.

et Al , Jul 20 2019 19:01 utc | 25
Boris Berezovsky wanted to return to Russia too...
Ghost Ship , Jul 20 2019 19:05 utc | 26
Why has Skripal never given a public interview? Because he's dead? Nah, the idiots in the Conservative government would have milked that dry. My best guess is that the British government know that he'll say something very damaging to the Conservative government and that can't be allowed to happen. What that something could be can only be guessed at, but it could be that the Steele Report was authorised and approved by the Conservative government.
gzon , Jul 20 2019 19:19 utc | 29
This is one event I get nowhere with. In fact the only piece of information that gives me any info that I feel credible is how convinced a UK ambassador I am familiar with was about Russia being behind it, not by details given in person to me but just how they went about in reaction. There are ambassadors and ambassadors, and this one being a nicer person, quite meticulous, and not one to purposefully lie. That proves nothing though :( .

Did they move to the US in the end ?

Zanon , Jul 20 2019 19:45 utc | 33
Oliver stone is already attacked by liberals in the media:

"Oliver stone's latest piece of pro-putin-propaganda may be his most shameless move yet"
https://www.thedailybeast.com/revealing-ukraine-oliver-stones-latest-piece-of-pro-putin-propaganda-may-be-his-most-shameless-move-yet

and second article startts with:

"Filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone has made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but now he has taken it to a whole new level by trying to make him his 22-year-old daughter's godfather. "

https://www.yahoo.com/news/oliver-stone-asks-vladimir-putin-031303288.html

somebody

Oliver stone is not a journalist, he asks questions he want to get exposure, is hidden in the western media.

Rob , Jul 20 2019 19:46 utc | 35
So, the question remains: Where in the world are the Skripals at this very moment? I do not believe that Putin does not know the answer, but for reasons of his own, he is keeping it to himself. Possibly, he wants the whole affair to disappear quietly down the memory hole. Of course, the story may return to the public eye someday. Sort of like a cold-case murder that finally gets solved.
ben , Jul 20 2019 19:52 utc | 36
@33 said;"Oliver stone is already attacked by liberals in the media:"

These are not "liberals", they are pretend liberals. MSM personnel are totally CORPORATE.

Their job is to protect the MIC's profits, and as such, hating RUSSIA funnels more $ in to
the system.

james , Jul 20 2019 19:56 utc | 38
@35 rob.... the skripals are being frozen out by the same means at the uk's D-notice... do the math.. it is very clear.. it has nothing to do with putin, in fact they need to keep skripals out of the picture forever, or until that is way past it's by use date - 30 years??
Michael Droy , Jul 20 2019 20:13 utc | 40
I don't think the Putin statement makes any difference. It confirms the Theory that the Russians did it equally as well as it confirms that the Brits or Americans did it.
MRD applies.
And it won't convince anyone either.

Whereas Chief Nursing Officer (Army): Colonel Alison McCourt OBE ARRC QHN L/QARANC, has pretty much convinced everyone something was dodgy about the affair. That and the ducks and most recently "the Antidote" that saved Charlie Rowley's life and just happened to be carried by the ambulance staff that arrived at his door. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/08/revealed-anti-nerve-agent-drug-was-used-for-first-time-in-uk-to-save-novichok-victim

And of course the "believe 10 incredible things before breakfast" claims in the straits of Hormuz this month. We are getting close to the point where May or Trump is going to flat out call their own intelligence services liars and creators of false flags.

William Gruff , Jul 20 2019 20:17 utc | 43
The Skripals were doped with BZ nerve agent. It is likely that Sergei has been maintained in a near vegetative state with psychotropic drugs since then as a means to keep him in storage. There was no novichok other than the fresh batch made at Porton Down and used to amateurishly spike the sample sent to the OPCW for analysis.

Putin refers to Sergei being a spy in the present tense since Putin knows that once someone is a spook they are always a spook. It is not a career one can retire from.

The scenario b describes is the most probable of all that I've heard. Spook agencies such as the MI6 and CIA like to think of themselves as thrifty with their assets and thus accomplish multiple objectives with a single operation. They believe themselves to be clever that way. For this reason they would have been unlikely to have doped the Skripals for the sole purpose of implicating Russia. There are any number of other ways that they could have arranged an incident that makes Russia look bad. The operation would have had to serve other purposes as well, and silencing Sergei and preventing his embarrassing return to Russia would be suitable additional purposes. There were likely other objectives within the operation as well such as smoking out leakers.

Do feel pity for the Atlantic Council trolls who are tasked with trying to subtly reinforce the nonsense novichok narrative. Theirs is not an easy job.

somebody , Jul 20 2019 20:18 utc | 44
add to 32

This here, by the way, was the rumour that Skripal wrote a letter to Putin asking to return .

Spread by the Guardian and the BBC.

The former Russian intelligence officer, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, regretted being a double agent and wanted to visit his family, his friend Vladimir Timoshkov told the BBC.

So HMG was embarrassed they could not protect their spy?

William Gruff , Jul 20 2019 20:29 utc | 45
As for Putin's responses to Stone being more ambiguous than you would like, please consider Putin's position. He is trying to be diplomatic and is unlikely to come out and make blunt accusations even if he is certain about them beyond any shadow of doubt. He needs to leave his "partners" in Britain and the US the wiggle room to climb down from their nonsense if they come to their senses. Furthermore, if he gives signals that Russia is willing to repatriate the Skripals then that could sign the Skripals' death warrant. Best for the Skripals if the British and Americans feel confident that the Skripals are securely pinned down.

You have to be careful what you say when dealing with psychopaths that you don't trigger them into violence with a misplaced word.

harry , Jul 20 2019 20:37 utc | 46
I thought this made a lot of sense https://southfront.org/michael-antony-the-alternative-skripal-narrative/
Jen , Jul 20 2019 21:13 utc | 50
It would be well to remember that in early March last year, about the same time that the Skripals were found collapsed on the park bench in The Maltings shopping centre by Alison McCourt and her award-winning heroic teenage daughter, that the Syrian Arab Army liberated Douma / East Ghouta (or most of that area anyway) near Damascus and captured 300 terrorists. Among the captured fighters were found British and French "military advisors". The British government (and probably likely the French government: do people remember that Moscow also thumped Paris over its role in the Skripal poisoning saga?) needed a diversion from that sorry tale that would have exposed Britain and France's sordid roles in the failed US-led invasion of Syria and the overthrow of Syria's government.

At the same time a military exercise in which troops apparently rehearsed a poisoning incident had just been completed in the Salisbury / Porton Down area. McCourt had taken part in that exercise.

It is possible that Skripal, living alone in his house and his pets, and facing a lonely future in Britain after his daughter, the other surviving member of his family, started making wedding arrangements that would have meant fewer visits to Britain to see her father, had contemplated returning to Russia and had made known his wish to a few people he thought he could trust. But whether he had information about his role (or no role) in cooking up the stories in the Steele dossier that Oliver Stone suggested he had, that he was planning to tell the Kremlin, is another thing. It might very well be that - unfortunately for the Skripals - Skripal's handler and British government spook agencies were and are as much taken with conspiracy thinking and the conspiracy mind-set as Oliver Stone was (in his interview with Vladimir Putin) and those agencies feared that Skripal was going to spill the beans about his (possible) involvement in the Steele dossier and implicate them.

These people are spies after all, and once a spook, always a spook. And spooks also look for a scheme that can hit two (and more) birds with the one stone; any consequences that arise, such as what to tell the public, can be dealt with later. Hence, the poisoning incident, that can be blamed on Russia and justify further sanctioning and arms build-up and expenditures (benefiting then PM Theresa May's husband financially), that deflects attention away from what just happened in Syria, and which removes someone from (possibly) telling the truth about supposed Russian involvement in the 2016 US Presidential elections, was a concoction too good to pass up.

uncle tungsten , Jul 20 2019 21:30 utc | 53
Thanks b, a timely post. I sometimes suspect that the outing of Integrity Initiative and Institute for Statecraft was a Russian payback for the defaming antics perpetrated by the MI6 morons. I have no proof as it was meticulously anonymous. Its a comforting thought here in the gaslit studio of humanity.

I had a good laugh at one poster who had it on good authority from a trustworthy ambassador that the Skripals are in USA. The ambassadors of the world are usually well versed in gaslighting. More on that subject at Corbet Report or Thomas Sheridan.

The big problem with Skripals etc was that they would reveal the complicity of the UK in developing the Steele dirty dossier to get Hillary the vulgar elected. They backed the wrong team and got caught playing dirty.

Mike-O , Jul 20 2019 21:49 utc | 55
Finding ambiguity or evasiveness in President Putin's answers to Skripal-related questions is not surprising - after all he knows that anything he says will automatically be discredited by the MSM echo chambers. By keeping his answers open-ended he challenges the western public to ask questions and find their own answers. Sadly, few will read or view with the open minds often found here at MoA.
Don Karlos , Jul 20 2019 22:07 utc | 58
Russian and English transcripts are not identical. In the Russian version, they both speak in the past sense, literally:

-It WAS said, that he would return to Russia, that he has some information
-Yes, I WAS told, he wants to write a paper, ask to return
-It WAS said that he intendED to return here and to provide some information to the press

From grammar, that was all said in the past, and was accurate as of that past moment (: the present tense is used after "that")

The source was not explained by either of them (...and indeed FWIW it reminds of Berezovsky...)

gzon , Jul 20 2019 22:08 utc | 59
From an establishment mouthpiece

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/sergei-and-yulia-skripal-offered-new-identities-with-cia-help-ztf896rnj

but it makes sense because they would be recognised everywhere in UK.

I don't get the insinuation from you Uncle T, I mean that is not what I said if it was me you meant. Same goes for WG insinuating there are trolls on board, it puts an air of uncertainty amongst commentators like they have to check what they say not to be called troll, and that is trolling. Why not just criticise a commentator directly and allow the discussion to continue from that instead if you are serious, of setting the whole board on edge ?

karlof1 , Jul 20 2019 22:22 utc | 60
When I linked to the Putin-Stone transcript yesterday on the open thread, I purposely omitted the Skripal discussion and posted the bit about American culture. I did so because of its convoluted nature, as many have noted. I read it 3-4 times and I still couldn't make sense of it via my usual methods of discourse analysis. In fact, the entire transcript is a series of convolutions. It would be better to see the filmed original and go from there. Of course, the Kremlin seemed okay with the transcript's form otherwise it wouldn't have been published.

As for the kidnapping of the Skripals by the UK government, IMO that's now the real scandal, but there seems no interest in it as BigLie Media has dumped the affair down its memory hole. And the truth of the matter is yet another reason why the UK's Deep State cannot allow Corbyn to gain power. Somehow, the UK citizenry must oust the Tories and Blairites, install Corbyn, and regain control over their destiny. Until that happens, the Skripals's fate and so much more will remain unanswered.

karlof1 , Jul 20 2019 22:54 utc | 61
As for the UK-sponsored Lie Machines, Kit Klarenberg continues his excellent work uncovering their schemes and continues to get his reporting published by Sputnik , as with the item linked within the above tweet:

"A reminder of when Integrity Initiative's bff @haynesdeborah, who'd been writing about #Skripal on an almost daily basis for over a year, believed an NYT story that totally contradicted the official Salisbury narrative and her own reporting on the subject."

Kit's just one of a small army of excellent online investigators worthy of following on Twitter and their publishing outlets.

John Dowser , Jul 20 2019 23:28 utc | 64
"For some reason the Skripals had to be taken out".

Is in this case perhaps not the simplest provided reason not also the best candidate? Skripal f#@&ed his old KGB buddies and he got payed back while of course, for dual use purposes, Putin states now openly it helped "to cause a scandal" supposedly for various geopolitical reasons. Russia already see itself at war, it's not "hoping".

Putin 2010" "Traitors will kick the bucket, believe me. Those other folks betrayed their friends, their brother in arms" and "Whatever they got in exchange for it, those 30 pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them."

Putin 2019 (FT interview)" "Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished."

Now do we *really* need a complex theory when Putin calls it openly "the gravest crime possible"? Of course, some parties could have used this tension but sometimes we should not look for complexity when simpler solutions are there: motive, some evidence, perpetrator and murder weapon. Just not very *refined* but efficiency in terms of killing was perhaps not even the point being made. What is being demonstrated is willingness and means.

Evelyn , Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 65
Vladimir Putin : Is there an American culture?

GOOD QUESTION!

Lochearn , Jul 20 2019 23:45 utc | 67
Oliver Stone. Well, at least he tries. His most brilliant film, in my opinion, was Natural Born killers which was Kubrikesque as a sort of new take on A Clockwork Orange. But being a great film director does not make you a great researcher and analyst.

Putin most definitely has a sense of humour and I think that's what keeps him going.

... ... ...

Ort , Jul 21 2019 0:23 utc | 68
Just to throw it into the bubbling pot, there was that single report in May that Sergei Skripal, like ET, had finally phoned home. IIRC, earlier (c. March or April) there was a story with an audio clip about a telephone call between Yulia and her cousin in Russia.

I'm providing this link to a Telegraph article about the Sergei call just as a starting point for anyone who may be curious. I certainly can't vouch for the Telegraph's veracity, and of course have no rational way to assess the account's authenticity and significance.

"Sergei Skripal heard for the first time since poisoning in phone call, relatives say"

True or not, like every other "development" in this riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma of l'affaire Skripal, it raises far more questions than it answers.

FWIW, I think Putin's intellect and statesmanship is impressive. But he's undoubtedly a bit of a Cheshire Cat.

karlof1 , Jul 21 2019 0:28 utc | 69
Now here's a comment about US society that's more complex than Putin's:

"... what is actually the American essence: a society & economy built on pervasive and persistent structural racism."

Hard to fault that opinion. The overall context it was made in the reader can discover.

Rely , Jul 21 2019 0:54 utc | 71
As I understood it, Sergei Skripal was more mercenary than spook, in the business of selling info because he could profit from it. In other words, more Aldrich Ames or Hanssen than Philby.

He was selling info to MI6 in exchange for cash and a holiday home in Spain. He got caught, spent some time in jail and Russia swapped him because there was no further damage he could do.

It was probably that same mercenary spirit that made him want to go back and he would have known he'd have to make his wares really appealing to Moscow to let him back in. I'd think the Steele dossier and Russiagate seemed like a perfect opportunity for him to state - or perhaps -- overstate the importance of his information.

He may have overplayed his hand - obviously, his plans leaked out - and UK intelligence (perhaps with the US involved) decided to stage the incident. Or perhaps - as is possible with someone who'll play both sides - Sergei was the leaker in an attempt to gain more currency with Moscow.

I'd think that Putin knows exactly what went on and this would also explain why Russia hasn't been making a stink about one of their citizens - Yulia - being held prisoner/hostage in the UK for well over a year.

Petri Krohn , Jul 21 2019 2:07 utc | 72
Did Sergei Skripal dump the perfume bottle?

Michael Antony provides the best explanation for how the Nina Ricci box ended up in the charity box.

The Alternative Skripal Narrative - Michael Antony, The Saker Blog , February 17, 2019

Let's take the famous Nina Ricci perfume bottle, laced with novichok, which was found in a rubbish bin or charity bin by a homeless man and given weeks later to his woman friend, who tragically died after spraying it on her wrist. The police/MI6 narrative is that this perfume bottle was used to transport the novichok from Russia in the baggage of one of the alleged GRU men caught on CCTV in Salisbury. The novichok was then sprayed on the door handle of the Skripals' house. The assassins then callously threw away the bottle (which they knew contained enough novichok to kill more people) in a dustbin or charity bin, demonstrating their indifference to loss of life as well as their indifference to leaving clues all over the place. There are problems with this narrative.

The homeless man claimed he had found the perfume bottle still in its box sealed in cellophane, proof it was not reopened after it had been laced with novichok and professionally repackaged. The bottle could not therefore have been used (as claimed) to spray the novichok on the doorknob, or the cellophane seal would have been broken. Assassins far from home don't usually carry around cellophane-wrapping machines to repackage opened perfume bottles, especially when they are just going to chuck them in the bin. Nor would they take the risk, having fitted the separate spray nozzle onto the bottle and sprayed the doorknob, of disassembling it again to put it back in the box, knowing that a drop on their skin would kill them. And where would they perform this delicate operation? On the street? This poisoned perfume bottle was therefore never reopened, never used and it affected nobody until it ended up in the hands of the homeless man. So who or what was it intended for?

Ladies' perfume bottles are normally intended for women. How many women are there in this story? Only one. The only possible explanation for the existence of this unopened, unused bottle of perfume laced with novichok is that it was a poisoned gift meant for Yulia Skripal. Why didn't she open it? Because she had a spy father who took one look at it and said: "Don't touch it!"

So here is the alternative narrative. MI6 had the bright idea of putting novichok in a Nina Ricci perfume bottle and sending it as a birthday present to Yulia Skripal at her father's house. Her birthday was on 17th March, but the present was probably delivered on the 3rd, the day she arrived, so as to nip their escape plan in the bud. It was meant to seem like a present from her family or boyfriend. No doubt the parcel had Russian stamps on it, designed to frame the Russian state when the Skripals were found dead in their house with an open perfume bottle in Yulia's hands. Unfortunately for MI6, Sergei took one look at this Nina Ricci perfume bottle and his spy instincts smelled danger. He refused to open it, but instead went for a long walk with it and put it in a rubbish bin or charity bin half-way across town. There it was found by the homeless man and given to his woman friend, a victim of MI6's murderous callousness. Even after MI6 knew it had gone missing, they did not warn the public to beware of picking up a Nina Ricci perfume bottle because they didn't want to give themselves away as the assassins.

The British police knew of the perfume bottle early on. The first theory of the poisoning presented to the public was that Yulia had brought the novichok from Russian in her luggage. There was even speculation that it was in a perfume bottle that Yulia had suddenly decided to open on the bench. (This did not sound plausible at the time as it would not explain how the novichok hit Sergei.)

Suitcase spy poisoning plot: nerve agent 'was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal's daughter' - The Telegraph , March 15, 2018

The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter's suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.

Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent's 33-year-old daughter.

They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father.

We know the police were all over looking for the missing perfume bottle. They could not find it, because Sergei had already dumped it in the charity bin. Maybe Sergei even told them where he put it, but Charlie had found it before MI6 could recover it.

Yeah, Right , Jul 21 2019 3:03 utc | 76
@1 Zanon posits a big ol' pile of tripe.

Zanon: "Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such."

He *was* a traitor, and he *was* treated as such: arrest, trial, conviction, imprisonment.

But business is business. Once the Russians had let him rot away in prison for years then there was still some residual value to be squeezed from him i.e. a spy-swap.

The rules of that game are very well-defined: you agree on the people, you do the swap-over, and then you walk away.

The dude you hand over goes into anonymous retirement, and both sides are content that they have done the right thing by their own.

Zanon: "Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia"

Oh, pllllllllllease. That sentence makes no chronological sense.

This is the sequence of events that makes the most sense:
1) Skripal is recruited by Pablo Miller
2) Skripal spies on behalf of the British
3) Skripal is caught and imprisoned by the Russians
4) Skripal is swapped for some Russian spies
5) Skripal "retires" to Salisbury
6) Skripal and Miller concoct the entire "dossier" in a pub, laughing uproariously
7) Skripal sees The Shit Hit The Fan in the USA over that "dossier"
8) Skripal thinks "Oh, crap, this could end badly" and puts out some feelers
9) Skripal's daughter brings a message: Two men are coming in a few days to talk to you, you can trust them, the deal they will propose is that you will be welcome back to Russia if you agree dump on the "dossier" in a press conference.

The two dudes turn up, but no meeting took place because someone else "novichoked" Skripal before he could get to that meeting.

Zanon: ", that makes no sense."

Pig's arse it doesn't. It. Makes. Perfect. Sense.

Skripal was swapped because as far as the Russians were concerned that was all the value he had left to him.

Once he got involved in the "dossier" then his value to the Russians skyrocket i.e. he could blow the lid off "Russiagate", but only if the Russians can get him back to Moscow.

They tried, and they failed. Someone else got to him first.

Yeah, Right , Jul 21 2019 3:17 utc | 77
@49 Zanon "I am not here to post syncopath comments as you do, "

Zanon, baby, you are here for one purpose only: to suggest - time after tedious time - that Vladimir Putin is to blame for everything that happens in this world.

A poisoning in Salisbury? Putin ordered the hit. Israel bombs Syria? That was Putin's idea. Iran is in Syria? Putin has already agreed to get rid of them. Blaming the Russians is your one and only trick.

Yeah, Right , Jul 21 2019 3:23 utc | 78
@65 John Dowser, your argument makes no sense.

Skripal was arrested and spent 5 years in a Russian prison. If "his old KGB buddies" had wanted him dead then that's when he would have been killed.

Why on Earth would they swap him, watch him go into "retirement" in Salisbury, and only then slap their foreheads and shout "Oh, shit, we gosh-darned forgot to kill him. Better send some guys over there and bump him off".

dltravers , Jul 21 2019 4:30 utc | 79
@ William Gruff

Yesterday you posted an interesting heads up about state dept and Atlantic council trolls working here. The context being crowing about the Panamanian deflagging of the Iranian vessel.

They fear this blog that much to commit resources in order to change minds? I an disappointed that Kissinger has not shown up yet. It makes me feel lowly and unimportant.

Even if Putin is perceived to be our enemy having a conversation would make some sense. The West fears that they could not stand in a room with him openly and beat him in a debate. His intellect would outclass them on every level. Minds would be changed and they fear that hence the fear of even having a conversation about him.

This garbage works on many but I have noticed that people do eventually begin to think differently if you softly point things out when the conversation turns that direction. They fear open conversations like this unless they can tightly control and edit.

curious man , Jul 21 2019 6:38 utc | 80
Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 66

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

GOOD QUESTION!

ABC News :

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that Russian agents could seek to further divide Americans by exploiting U.S. passions over whether pineapple belongs on pizza.

It's a cheesy, playful warning -- but it's trying to deliver a serious message. Posted online Wednesday by the department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the tongue-in-cheek warning aims to help Americans identify and protect against propaganda campaigns from Russia and other foreign adversaries.

After all, the DHS warning says, Russian agents are capable of simultaneously insisting online that "Being anti-pineapple is un-American!" while also pushing out posts saying "Millennials are ruining pizza!""

curious man , Jul 21 2019 7:03 utc | 81
Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 66

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

GOOD QUESTION!

Business Insider :

" A recent survey of 3,000 kids found that being a YouTube star was a more sought-after profession than being an astronaut among kids in the US and the United Kingdom.

Children ages 8 to 12 in the US, the UK, and China were recently polled in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which resulted in the first person to walk on the moon.

Kids in the US and the UK were three times as likely to want to be YouTubers or vloggers as astronauts, while kids in China were more likely to want to be astronauts."

Results of the Harris Poll survey https://tinyurl.com/yybydxhe

Norwegian , Jul 21 2019 7:14 utc | 82
Here's a simple hypothesis: Sergey Skripal was involved with the fabrication of the Steele dossier (we know this). Therefore, he was a risk to the UK government and security services, as well as the US "democrats". Quite possibly Skripal signalled that he wanted to return to Russia, but if he didn't he was still a risk because of what he knew. So TPTB made up the story that the "russians had poisoned the Skripals with Novichok". As always in these cases, it serves more than one purpose. In this case they got rid of the Skripal risk and they could blame Russia again.
Joost , Jul 21 2019 8:04 utc | 84
First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran, in Cooperation with the OPCW
This has always smelled fishy to me. Why Iran? One of the most sanctioned countries in the world is allowed to make nerve agents, supported by OPCW? Why not some top class western chemical lab like Porton Down?

Could it be that PD already made the stuf but did not want to take credit, just in case it ever proved useful in blaming some Douma-style incident to Russia? But before that happened, everyone and his cat must know what Novichok is and that only Russia can make it. It had to be introduced to the public somehow. And then the wrong President got elected.

Brendan , Jul 21 2019 8:17 utc | 86
@somebody, # 44
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly denied that claim last year: "No. That's not true," https://sputniknews.com/europe/201803241062856023-skripal-letter-putin-return/

I agree with what you said in #32. What Putin might have meant was that he was told the story, not that it was true.

moscowexile , Jul 21 2019 8:43 utc | 88
@ Piotr Berman

I understand Russian and I speak a language with a similar grammar, and I have no idea how to say "he said that he wants" in a way that implies something different than a wish made at the time of speaking ("he wants") or a wish that existed before he spoke ("he wanted"). Implication about wishing after the time of speaking would require some elaboration, you cannot make it by selecting tenses.

In Russian, as I have written above, one reports the tense as used by the person whose action one is reporting. Thus:

"I want to go back to Russia" [Я хочу вернуться в Россию] is reported in Russian literally as: Он сказал, что хочет вернуться в Россию [He said that he wants to go back to Russia], whereas in English, one should say: He said that he wanted to go back to Russia.

However, in Russian, one can add, for example, the term якобы in order to express one's doubts about the veracity of that action which one is reporting:

Он сказал, что хочет, якобы, вернуться в Россию [literally: He said that he, allegedly, wants to go back to Russia].

curious man , Jul 21 2019 9:23 utc | 90
Posted by: Joost | Jul 21 2019 8:04 utc | 95

First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran,
in Cooperation with the OPCW

This has always smelled fishy to me. Why Iran?

Cornell chemistry professor states 'Novichok so simple to make, many labs could do it' -- The Skwawkbox, 05/04/2018

Dave Collum :

I asserted that any credible organic chemist could make novichok nerve agents. Here is my final exam in my 1st year graduate organic synthesis course. Only one kid of 15 lost any points. Uniquely Russian technology my ass....

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DdvJfIgUwAE6u17.jpg

David B. Collum is a Prof of Organic Chemistry @ Cornell.
somebody , Jul 21 2019 9:25 utc | 91
Posted by: Brendan | Jul 21 2019 8:17 utc | 97

RT clarifies

Stone asked the Russian leader if he believes in the theory that Sergei Skripal wanted to return to Russia and divulge some secrets but was stopped by the British government.

"Honestly, I don't really believe it. I don't believe it," Putin replied.

curious man , Jul 21 2019 9:25 utc | 92
Sorry ...

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DdvJfIgUwAE6u17.jpg

curious man , Jul 21 2019 9:46 utc | 95
Files from the Porton Down military laboratory were found in a trash can in Northern London. It's the laboratory where, according to the British authorities, nobody could walk out with the poison on the eve of the Skripal poisoning. Classified documents are a terrorist's dream, according to British intelligence agencies. So, they managed to walk out with them but failed to walk out with the poison?

Political analyst Alexander Nekrasov is now speaking from London. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaee-URe04g

curious man , Jul 21 2019 9:56 utc | 96
Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia -- The Hill, 07/18/19

The Trump administration has not imposed a second round of sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain more than eight months after telling Congress that Moscow had triggered them.

State Department officials have repeatedly insisted the United States intends to impose new sanctions, which are required under a law passed by Congress in 1991 on eliminating chemical and biological weapons.

But several months have passed without news, and members of Congress say they have heard little from the administration on the topic.

A former government official familiar with the matter told The Hill that the State and Treasury departments finalized a proposed sanctions package by March at the latest, but top officials have yet to sign off.

"Options have been ready to go for several months at this point and senior folks in the administration haven't made the decision or given the green light to roll them out," the former official said.

Bloomberg reported at the end of March that the White House had received the sanctions package and that State and Treasury were waiting for the White House to sign off before they issued the new punishment for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

The reason for the lack of action is shrouded in mystery. The White House did not offer a comment for this story.

<...>

curious man , Jul 21 2019 10:06 utc | 97
Putin: Why Would Anybody Be Interested in Skripal? He Served His Time For Being Traitor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM4J8zwf7wU
Insane scenario , Jul 21 2019 10:27 utc | 98
C'mon guys, the handling of the case shortly after the event rules out any Russian induced poisoning, circumstantial evidence does not fit a nerve agent. Its an utmost hilarious propaganda narrative. The Russian state orders an attack with an internationally banned weapon of mass destruction on the territory of a Nato member? For late revenge, hurt feelings? Doesn't anybody realize how stupid that sounds? The scenario brought forward, with the perfume bottle, could (thinking opsec) have easily involve thousands of innocent victims. Imagine the opening of the bottle in a mall. There is no Russian state component in it. Not even a Roque element. The claim is total BS. Short analysis shows, that management of this "case" is entirely in the realm of the UK.

The opcw sampling, the coincidental first responder military nurse, Pablo Miller...

A lot of elements of this operation had to be prepared upfront and controlled while the operation is unfolding. It remains open, whether or not the skripals where in on the plot, probably not. But anyone asserting the "Russia did it/novichok" story does lack the sanity to be trusted with state matters.

curious man , Jul 21 2019 10:36 utc | 99
UK: Police threaten to treat the publication of leaked information as criminal -- Reporters Without Borders, July 15, 2019 - Updated on July 16, 2019

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns recent threats made by the London Metropolitan Police to treat the publication of leaked information as a "criminal matter" - marking the latest move to restrict press freedom in the UK in favour of national security.

Following a series of media reports containing details from leaked diplomatic cables preceding the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch from his post as UK Ambassador to the US, the London Metropolitan Police threatened to treat the publication of leaked documents as criminal.

[...] On 12 July, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu stated that "The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause, may also be a criminal matter...I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty's Government."

The following day, 13 July, Basu appeared to partially back down, stating that the Met "respects the rights of the media and has no intention of seeking to prevent editors from publishing stories in the public interest in a liberal democracy. The media hold an important role in scrutinising the actions of the state." However, Basu maintained that publication "could also constitute a criminal offence, and one that carries no public interest defence".

<...>

uncle tungsten , Jul 21 2019 10:37 utc | 100
They are most likely in a black site lock up in Swest of England. Life sentence for sure. There are plenty of suitable estates that are probable black sites. Every nation has them I guess for their special prisoners. Julia and Sergei are prisoners of conscience, no habeas corpus in UK.
Don Karlos , Jul 21 2019 10:49 utc | 101
previous page @97 Brendan, @ 102

Both from interview transcripts and RT article it's clear that the part P. says he does not believe is that S. has been poisoned by the British services (in response to Stone's question floating such a possibility).

On 24 March 2018 BBC posted a piecemeal-videoed interview with S. classmate named Vladimir Timoshkov, who said that sometime in 2012 S. called him from London for about 30 minutes, argued that he did not commit treason since his allegiance had been to the USSR, and "wrote to Putin" (timing not provided) asking for full pardon to be able to return to Russia on family grounds. Writing to Putin was denied by Kremlin to BBC, and by Peskov in Russian media the next day.

Exact meaning is unclear. Timoshkov recollection is not very confident, he is not entirely sure about the year when this conversation took place, or the exact wording. It's not impossible that S. only planned to write such letter, not actually wrote it, and that such a possibility is tentatively confirmed by P. (However Stone version is coming back with some 'information', not coming on family grounds).

It is also possible that S. wrote such letter few years earlier, around the time of the spy swap in 2010. He had to write to Pres. Medvedev asking for pardon, at least formally, and it is not impossible that he was retelling some bits from that earlier letter. (Pardon was granted after it was requested).

jen , Jul 21 2019 11:01 utc | 102
Petri Krohn @ 74:

The problem with Michael Antony's explanation is that the charity bin has to remain untouched and unopened or emptied from about 5 March to about 5 July or the first week of July at least. That would be roughly four months from the time Sergei Skripal pops the bottle into the bin to the time Charlie Rowley finds the package and gives it to Dawn Sturgess who then opens the package, applies the perfume to her wrists and promptly keels over.

Plus if Skripal suspected that the bottle contained something dodgy, wouldn't you think the last place he'd dispose of it would be a charity bin, if he were an intelligent ex-spook?

Brendan , Jul 21 2019 11:01 utc | 103
@somebody # 102 ,
RT is mixing two different questions in one sentence: "Stone asked the Russian leader if he believes in the theory that Sergei Skripal wanted to return to Russia and divulge some secrets but was stopped by the British government. "Honestly, I don't really believe it. I don't believe it," Putin replied."

That remark by Putin was actually in response only to the question of whether UK spooks poisoned Skripal to stop him returning to Russia, not about whether Skripal wanted to return:

Oliver Stone: Who poisoned him? They say English secret services did not want Sergei Skripal to come back to Russia?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case.

John Smith , Jul 21 2019 11:47 utc | 104
b: "Filmmaker Oliver Stone recently interviewed the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The transcript was published yesterday evening. Most of the interview is about Ukraine. A separate piece will cover that country. There is also a passage about the U.S. election."

The "passage" about Ukraine is no less interesting. For example,

Oliver Stone: I remember you were telling me about the Obama phone call, Obama and you had an agreement that there would be no firing on the last day. And he gave you a promise that he would

Vladimir Putin: You know, while Obama is no longer President, there are certain things we do not discuss in public. At any rate, I can say that the US did not follow through on the agreements that we reached during this phone call [ my emphasis ]. I will stop there without going into detail.

truth seeker , Jul 21 2019 11:52 utc | 106
b: "Filmmaker Oliver Stone recently interviewed the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The transcript was published yesterday evening. Most of the interview is about Ukraine. A separate piece will cover that country. There is also a passage about the U.S. election."

The "passage" about Ukraine is no less interesting. For example,

Oliver Stone: I remember you were telling me about the Obama phone call, Obama and you had an agreement that there would be no firing on the last day. And he gave you a promise that he would

Vladimir Putin: You know, while Obama is no longer President, there are certain things we do not discuss in public. At any rate, I can say that the US did not follow through on the agreements that we reached during this phone call [ my emphasis ]. I will stop there without going into detail.

Yeah, Right , Jul 21 2019 12:45 utc | 112
@109 Insane scenario "C'mon guys, the handling of the case shortly after the event rules out any Russian induced poisoning, circumstantial evidence does not fit a nerve agent."

I was always puzzled by how inept the British government's pronouncements were following the poisoning of the Skripals.

But once Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were fingered then the penny dropped.

Here are my two hypotheses:
a) Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were Russian intelligence officers sent to make contact with Sergei Skripal to parlay a deal.
b) British intelligence knew all about their upcoming visit (perhaps Yulia had been instructed to vouch for them, and was sloppy)

Easy-peasy: poison the Skripals at that park bench, then do some detective work to "discover" that those two weaselly-looking Russians were in Salisbury at the exact some time that Ol' Sergei was keeling over.

Open and shut case, m'lord.

Only the two Russians had left Salisbury (1:50pm) before the Skripals had even entered the Mill Pub (2:20pm). Therefore they could not possibly have attacked Sergei and Yulia at that park bench (4:15pm).

Shit, meet Fan.

Q: What do the Brits do once they find out that they had no fall-guy?
A: Scramble. Improvise. Wave their arms around like demented pigeons.

For starters, keep very quiet about Petrov and Boshirov until it is possible to come up with some way to squeeze them into the narrative.

And, for goodness sake, squash any suggestion that the Skripals had been attacked at that park bench. No, perish the thought, even if it is the obvious conclusion.

Errrr, how about the car! No, that's stupid. The poison was in Zizzi's? No, that doesn't actually help. The ducks... no, get a grip man, that's dumber than the car... ummm.. umm.. umm..

Flunky: What about the doorknob?
Flustered: What?
Flunky: We can claim they smeared the poison on the doorknob.
Flustered: Oh, what the heck. OK, we'll go with that.
Flunky: And Petrov and Boshirov?
Flustered: Yes, yes [waves hand] release their pictures.

These are facts:
a) Petrov and Boshirov were on a train back to London by 2pm
b) Sergei and Yulia were found on that park bench around 4pm
c) The Brits therefore had to come up with a timeline that has the Skripals poisoned well *before* 2pm but only collapsing *after* 4pm.

What we see now is the result of that need i.e. it is an insult to the intelligence, but the only way for the Brits to pin the attack on their pre-planned fall-guys.

truth seeker , Jul 21 2019 12:51 utc | 113
Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 66

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?

GOOD QUESTION!

Yes, of course, there is.

NHL, NBA, NFL, KFC, McDonald's, hamburgers, hotdogs, coke and other junk food...

panem et circenses!

Joke!

Walter , Jul 21 2019 12:55 utc | 114
@ in re organic chem prof and novowhatever... The Prof is obviously correct, dd simple. There are guys in jails, busted for dope, who could make novowhatever...

However, since the "agent" found by Swiss was Agent BZ, it might be more interesting to hear what poster 101 has to say about synthesizing BZ...

"I asserted that any credible organic chemist could make novichok nerve agents. Here is my final exam in my 1st year graduate organic synthesis course. Only one kid of 15 lost any points. Uniquely Russian technology my ass...."

So, Professor Collum, speak, please, to matter of BZ, as this seems far more interesting and congruent with observations.

Thanks.

William Gruff , Jul 21 2019 13:06 utc | 115
Nothing wrong with paid work being tiring. It lets the employee know they have earned their shekels, or benjamins as the case may be. It helps keep the "impostor syndrome" at bay.

I wonder if Sergei got impostor syndrome when he was writing up his part of the Steele Dossier or if he was just enjoying an opportunity to be creative?

Noirette , Jul 21 2019 14:59 utc | 125
The weak part of that theory was always that we did not know for sure if Sergei Skripal really wanted to go back to Russia.

b top post.

Iirc, Sergei's desire to do so was reported from various sources, Viktoria Skripal (niece) in first place, Yulia perhaps as well. It was just a part of the story for those who were gripped by it, incl. me. Getting the quotes together would take hours, in any case they might be contested, be merely some 'option', etc.

Makes sense: his wife and son had died, his (one guesses beloved) daughter was established in Russia, he never adapted except superficially, was never successful, in GB. (i can't speak to steele dossier etc.)

Sergei holding Yulia post birth: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43353178

Guardian, by Luke Harding, published an article stating that Sergei did not at first believe that Russia 'poisoned him' - parts ring very true, and are counter to the MSM narrative.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/02/sergei-skripal-initially-did-not-believe-russia-tried-to-kill-him-book

Sergei is alive (I tend to believe that), just as Yulia said in her last phone call.

Sergei called Viktoria (niece) who is living with and taking care of his mother, May 2019.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/05/23/sergei-skripal-heard-first-time-since-poisoning-phone-call-relatives/

Putin knows pretty much what happened but won't say imho.

Here a report on upping spy vs spy stories to inflame international relations co. Putin.

https://tass.com/world/1065970

Formerly T-Bear , Jul 21 2019 15:07 utc | 126
Theresa May should be installed in the Tower of London until she habeas the Scripal's corpses or provides verifiable information as to their estate. Should said Theresa May expire in said Tower of London, she can do so in knowledge and consolation that so many much better than herself have done so already.

The Tower of London stands as the best monument to the liquidation of the British Monarchy and their Royal Family as well as the Aristocracy that supports that enterprise. May it soon be so dedicated. Maybe the lies will then stop.

Only an opinion (and prayer).

Russ , Jul 21 2019 15:11 utc | 127
Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 21 2019 14:45 utc | 123

"I tend to think they are deceased, or they would have been trotted out for more coerced interviews."

I disagree with those. As it is, it seems literally no one in Britain cares about this case. (I'm not there, but I'm assuming if there were a civil liberties group trying to make a public issue of their disappearance, loudly demanding of the government, "Where are the Skripals? Are you illegally imprisoning them?", that I would've read about it here at some point.) So why remind the people of their bizarrely disappeared existence?

As for killing them, though, if the government were smart in this case (I know they're stupid in general, yes), they'd still keep them alive just in case there somehow were public pressure to produce them. Look at the mistake Richard III made.

William Gruff , Jul 21 2019 15:15 utc | 128
Arioch @122 pointed out: "...maybe for Putin there is really nothing of importance that Skrypal could know and tell."

This is an significant distinction. Does it really matter to Putin or Russian geostrategic interests if Sergei Skripal wanted to announce that he was one of the authors of the Steele Dossier, and that he just did it for fun and profit? To the British and the Americans this would be a huge embarrassment, but aside from some sweet schadenfreude what would Russia gain from it?

From Stone's perspective this issue would be very important, but from Putin's, not so much. When assigning an issue importance, one must always consider to whom the issue is important as importance is rarely universal.

Bemildred , Jul 21 2019 15:55 utc | 132
russ @127: I said deceased, not killed by UK, that was some other posters.

The UK government has not showed a shred of intelligence for several decades now. They take orders from us, and we are not really their friends, we intend to rule, not ally. you can't get more naive than that. But I don't really care, like with Kashoggi, I want to know where there are now, before I starting putting emotional weight behind any stories I'm being told about how they got there.

(Not trying to get in your face, just like accurate representation of what I said.)

Don Karlos , Jul 21 2019 16:14 utc | 134
@ Arioch 124

Actually, he would have quite a number of ways to "write to P", if he really wanted.

E.g. he could (a) send an electronic message directly using electronic letter submission option on the official website, or (b) he could ask Yulia to do so for him, and she had a social media account (that's how his classmate established a contact with him), + almost surely a email address,+ able to visit (c) or similarly via Victoria (d) or that classmate (e) or come to any Rus. consulate anywhere and ask for it to be done --and one of his UK acquaintances was telling he visited the embassy 'often' (f) or do it in lots of other ways he could easily come up with, given his background in intelligence, + contacts and experience, even if his communications were monitored

Montreal , Jul 21 2019 16:15 utc | 135
From what I have heard, the Russians believe that the Skripal affair has been much more damaging to HMG than it has to Russia, and have no interest in removing the mystery surrounding it - the more people delve, the more it stinks.

As an inhabitant of the UK, I can say that a lot of us were very shocked when the Government was trying to stuff these obvious lies down our throats, and it is what got a few of us onto alternative media - sick to death as we already were of the Brexit poison in the MSM. So a belated thank you to b, and your colleagues, what would we do without you.

Rob , Jul 21 2019 16:30 utc | 136
@james (38) Not sure what your point is re Putin's silence on the Skripal's whereabouts. Putin could publicly wonder why Britain is keeping them incommunicado. What are the Brits hiding? Even a devoted Empire supporter would have to agree that it is most peculiar. Yet Putin claims to have no knowledge on the subject, which is almost certainly untrue. His reason for this is unclear, but Putin is nothing if not shrewd. In time, the story will come out one way or another.
alaff , Jul 21 2019 16:32 utc | 137
@ Zanon, #1:
Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such. Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia, that makes no sense.

It seems you just watch/read MSM too much. "would go Russia", "moved out of Russia", "by someone in Russia" etc. Russia, Russia, Russia...

The thing is that Russia has nothing to do with all this stuff (mean, "Skripal case").
Yes, Putin called Skripal a traitor. Why? Because Skripal is a traitor.
If you didn't know, Putin is used to calling a spade a spade, without prevarication or double meanings.

"Why Skripal would go Russia"

You reason in categories that you understand, although in reality people may have dozens of reasons to do what you do not understand.
Why Skripal would go Russia? Well, don't you think the answer may be that Skripal simply love Russia? Because Russia is his Motherland, his home, his country. Because he has his mother here, relatives, friends etc.
He can love Russia, his country, even in spite of the harm that has caused her by his betrayal.
He may experience shame, remorse, and other feelings. Don't you think about it?

And you don't understand the main thing. Because of Western MSM propaganda it may seems to people that something is "wrong" with living in Russia.
This is pure nonsense. Just to remind - Skripal was arrested, and he served his time in Russian jail, according to law.
Then he was officially pardoned and was released free. Since that moment he was free to do whatever he wanted.

The right to come back to Russia was/is his right.
There's no law in Russia that if you served prison term and was released, you can't come back from another country.
So, i repeat, Skripal can do whatever he wants.

The fact that Putin called him a traitor does not matter. Traitors can come back, bastards can come back, liars can come back etc.
If you have no problems with the law, the Russian state will have no complaints about you.
Since 2011, when Skripal was pardoned, he is clean under Russian law, so can do whatever he wants.

Btw, just to remind - Boris Berezovsky also was going to come back from UK to Russia, he wrote a letter to Putin. But "suddenly" it happened so that Berezovsky committed a "suicide". We can only guess what he could tell if he returned to Russia. Someone really did not want this information to become known...

Casey , Jul 21 2019 17:49 utc | 143
The presence of HMG nurse on site, and the subsequent Monty Pythom-esque cover up, seems proof enough that the UK had foreknowledge and without question, worked to keep the Russophobia stoked high not only after the incident, but the later killed a UK citizen to continue the incident. Mr. P is being diplomatic.
Don Karlos , Jul 21 2019 18:11 utc | 144
The guy who said that Skripal has been visiting the embassy "monthly" is Valery Morozov, who has a refugee status in the UK. He made the claim in interviews to Western and Russian opposition media, saying that he did not like that and stopped his contacts with S.

E.g. here https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fellow-russian-exile-claims-poisoned-12146023 and https://tvrain.ru/news/znakomyj-459957/ here. Video seems gone, the text is still there.

Apparently not confirmed by the embassy

FWIW

PS. For the official website submission, one does not need to "authorize" it, one needs to provide the full name, email, and phone number on electronic form, that's all. It may be not the best way but the office is required to confirm receipt and to answer. Of course it may not be the kind of answer which he sought...

Zanon , Jul 21 2019 19:41 utc | 145
alaff

Very easy, Skripal have not moved to Russia, nor has his daughter. he is not friend of Russian state, after the swap he kept working with intelligence services in the whole of the west, giving them information on Russia. You don't go back to live freely in the nation you repeatedly committed high treason against, then, you are just foolish, begging to be killed.

karlof1 , Jul 21 2019 21:11 utc | 150
flankerbandit @149--

Ditto your thanks! Zanon's been outed as a troll for months, yet he keeps being fed and FUDs with its fellows.

[Jun 28, 2019] The OPCW, Douma The Skripals

Notable quotes:
"... It seems that everyone is lying about the Skripal affair. The UK govt. version is riddled with inconsistencies. But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. Why? And the Russians are lying about that. ..."
"... The likelihood is that the GRU were there to discuss with Skripal his wishes to return to Russia. There is an alternative likelihood that they were there to quiz him on his contribution to the Dodgy Dossier. Both scenarios could well lead to the British secret services deciding to take Skripal out, even down, and blame it on the Russians. ..."
"... I would suggest that Skripal and his daughter are now either living somewhere else in Natoland under different identities and some money to keep them quiet, or else their existence became too awkward and risky and sadly they have been liquidated. ..."
May 17, 2019 | off-guardian.org

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma "chemical attack" were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.

You can read the whole article here .

Primarily UK initiative?

The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the "War on Terror" the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the "response".

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump's attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma "initiative" is a continuation of their longterm policy. It's also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma "attack", and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It's possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to "be seen to do something" and Trump's perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.

The Skripal consideration

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn't this way. Since some time in mid to late March it's been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it

2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.

3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the "toxic substance" found in the Skripals' blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government's public claims of "novichok" is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a "novichok" (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called "BZ", a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn't want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has "specially trained officers helping to take care of" her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it's hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can't completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma "gas attack" and subsequent drive for a concerted western "response" have to do with trying to fix that?

Is this what happened?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that's been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless "chemical attack", botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied "response" to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma "attack" seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the "reprisals" when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and "responded" to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren't bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it's unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more "reprisals"? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We'll all know soon enough.


andyoldlabour

D S Bailey was interviewed by the BBC after leaving the hospital, but that interview simply raised more questions. Why was his family allowed in the hospital without hazmat suits when the hospital staff were wearing them?

We were originally told that Bailey was contaminated whilst wearing police issue gloves, yet the BBC article said he was wearing a hazmat suit.
Nerve toxins kill thousands, yet only three people were initially contaminated and recovered.

Refraktor
It's beyond reasonable doubt that there was no Novichok: assuming that substance even exists. It could be that Sergei and Yulia were stooges loyal to MI5. It could be they were whacked with bz or fentanyl (by MI5) in the restaurant. That's all it would take. Of course army heads of nursing and CID officers would be circulating ready get a handle on developments. Perhaps it later became necessary to kill someone after the complete non-lethality of Novichok was revealed. Perhaps this death was really caused by heroin overdose or else something quite natural. Perhaps not. I concur that the most likely motive for this false flag was an attempt to escalate in Syria. Given the total barking insanity of the Skripal Saga it might be that NATO genuinely contemplated war with Russia at this time. When they lobbed those cruise missiles I thought their dreams were about to come true. Maniacs.
Stonky

Speaking of which, where on Earth IS Sergei Skripal?

Sergei was a double agent who could have had his finger in all sorts of dubious pies. There might easily be logical (if not legitimate) reasons for keeping him under wraps. Surely the more pertinent question is: Where is Yulia?

Because even if you swallow every fragment of the official UK nonsense, you're still left with this oddity:

Yulia Skripal is a young woman who was the completely innocent victim of a dastardly assassination plot masterminded by the evil Vlad. Having survived this attempt on her life, she has responded by deciding that she never again wants to see or speak to anyone at all. Ever.

Nick
It seems that everyone is lying about the Skripal affair. The UK govt. version is riddled with inconsistencies. But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. Why? And the Russians are lying about that.
Portonchok
Nick,

The likelihood is that the GRU were there to discuss with Skripal his wishes to return to Russia. There is an alternative likelihood that they were there to quiz him on his contribution to the Dodgy Dossier. Both scenarios could well lead to the British secret services deciding to take Skripal out, even down, and blame it on the Russians.

I would suggest that Skripal and his daughter are now either living somewhere else in Natoland under different identities and some money to keep them quiet, or else their existence became too awkward and risky and sadly they have been liquidated.

Stonky

But it does seem that 2 GRU officers were wandering around Salisbury. .. Why?

Nick, even accepting that the two guys were Russian intelligence operatives, there are a million explanations for their presence in Salisbury that day that make more sense than the official UK explanation: They came to assassinate Sergei Skripal by smearing the world's deadliest nerve agent on his door handle in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, while wearing no protective clothing

Jen
There is no proof that the two Russian men Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov were GRU officers. The so-called "proof" for that line of thinking comes from Bellingcat, a known propaganda outfit, who obtained the "proof" in highly suspect ways that suggest it was given cherry-picked information made to fit the narrative.

It is far more likely that out of the many tourists to Salisbury – hundreds perhaps, and many of them from Russia as well – these two men were picked out at random by UK government authorities as targets of suspicion because they happened to be travelling together and must have fit a preconceived template in which secret Russian agents (like Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi before them, when those two fellows were supposed to have poisoned Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006) are believed to travel in pairs.

John2o2o
Two Russians were wandering round Salisbury. That is all we know. Has it never occurred to you that the UK government and/or the people who poisoned the Skripals might be using them as convenient scapegoats? It may even be that they were deliberately lured to Salisbury to be set up in this way and had nothing to do with the poisoning.
OffG
Is there any solid evidence they were GRU? Has that ever been firmed up beyond Bellingcat's 'data dump' of largely unproven documents?
Seamus Padraig
The going theory is that the Russian agents were led into a trap. The GRU may have been made to believe somehow that Skripal intended to re-defect, and that's why they really went to Salisbury–not to assassinate him, but to help him arrange his escape. That's when the MI6 moved in for the kill, hoping to pin the crime on Russia.

To be sure, it's hard to get to the bottom of this cloak-and-dagger stuff when all we have access to is open-source information. But one thing is pretty clear to me: the idea that Russia would have allowed Skripal to defect, then waited all those years and taken crazy risks to kill him after having had him in their direct custody in a Russian prison for over 6 years, where they could have easily killed him at any time, is ridiculous.

John2o2o
They are not proven to be Russian agents.
Reg
John2o2o
No, not proven but is it possible they were low level couriers in a meeting set up by Yulia where information was to be swapped as the price as re-admittance to Russia for Sergei, particularly given Sergei's mothers advancing age.
It would explain the UK's panicked reaction as this was a meeting that must be stopped at all costs. How much would Sergei know of UK security service operations if he was still active? It would also explained why Yulia as also targeted and why there turned off their phones as they sought to shake off their UK handlers. A meeting is more credible in broad daylight than an assassination. An assassination with an escape route involving a train from Salisbury on Sunday is not credible.
It could even be that the UK security services carried out the attack in the hope of blaming Russia if the could convince them it was carried out by Russia. Having kept the OPCW away they could then interfere with the evidence at will with Novachock. They could be filmed propped up in bed blaming Russia (like Litvinenko), but they didn't play ball so have been kept incommunicado ever since apart from a a carefully scripted interview. The attacks on the other two months later could be to add credibility to a narrative that was loosing all credibility even among the general public.
JudyJ

"Having kept the OPCW away "

I always considered it was highly suspicious that the UK was most reluctant to involve the OPCW right from the outset even though that would be the normal internationally accepted practice in the circumstances; and when Russia was imploring them to do so.

Significantly, the UK only brought them into the picture (reluctantly) when they were given legal advice that Russia were entitled to invite the OPCW to investigate, and whoever issued the invitation first would have overall control of the final report (i.e. they could liaise with the OPCW in the drafting, they could redact it, and decide who was to receive copies of the full report as opposed to the summary report).

My suspicion now, knowing what we know about the OPCW Douma scandal, is that the UK were totally in cahoots with the US over the Salisbury events and when the prospect of having no option but to call in the OPCW emerged the US simply said "Don't worry about a thing. Just leave it with us. We'll sort things out".

Kathy
The British seem to me to act, hide and manipulate from behind the USA.
I think that Trump was really not meant to happen. Killery was supposed to take over the reins and continue the waging of wars in the Middle East. Syria being the immediate agenda.
The two above events both link up in an attempt to force Trump into complying. One of the connections is the attempt to try to smear Trump with the dodgy dossier. The chemical false flag was intended to provide the warmongers with enough pressure to force Trump to act and involve America against his better judgement in an all out war in Syria. luckily this became a short term token one off. Much to British annoyance.
It is the connection with the intelligence services that is key. All of these events seem to be designed to push Trump into compliance and conformity. It is the knowledge of /and his probable involvement with Christopher Steele, that suggest poor Sergey knew to much of both events, and so had to be silenced. The Skripal affair was, I think attempting a cherry on the cake demonizing of Russia with the Skripal narrative. A twist of the knife while Trump was under investigation over his supposed puppet status by/ collusion with Russia.
It seems that the latest persecution of Assange is also mostly being pushed by Britain. Assange certainly did play a big part in the narrative not playing out as planned.
crank
Remarkable that despite all that is known, an article (well, two really) like this does not meniton Israel once.
The extract from Catte's piece last year starts with the sentence, 'The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.'
The 'neocon faction' means what exactly ? Why not just say it ? It means Israel and the international power bloc aligned with Israel.
Perhaps Douma and Salisbury make more sense if they are put into a context of Israel writing and running US (and by extension, UK) foreign policies. And what of Russia's strange and often unmentioned relationship with Israel?
If anyone is serious about unwrapping the onion of lies and misdirection that passes for 'current events', then its time to consider Israel and its networks of supporters as the central focal point.
9/11 only makes sense, I would say, with this in mind. Ditto the Kennedy killings. If you think these events have significance in our present,and you genuinely stand against racist supremicism and crazed plans for world domination, then speak out about Israel before such speech is criminalised everywhere.
Dissidents_unit
Well said Crank. I have always believed Mossad had a hand in the alleged assassination attempt of the Skripals as Israel does have chemical weapons and has refused affiliation with the OPCW in order, I presume, to avoid inspections and having to decommission the chemical weapons they have. If anybody is to be accused of meddling in other nation's elections, politics etc Israel is right up there as the prime suspects – they obviously control Trump, they were caught on Video (at least a non diplomatic representative from the Israeli Embassy in the UK who branded himself as managing 'special projects') offering Joan Ryan – a Labour MP – £1m to run a smear campaign against Corbyn – which she gladly accepted. They have run continuous, spurious, ridiculous anti-Semitism claims against Corbyn and Labour which has only served to turn the public more against them and they are massacring and murdering Palestinians with impunity – all supported by the UK and USA.

I think Mossad were the Government (UK's) agents with respect to the Skripal affair. I am of the firm belief that the Skripals are both dead – after all, the UK Government cannot afford to release them so to speak. I say this because Sergei used to speak to his elderly mother in Russia if not every day, at least several times a week and he has not been in touch with her neither has Yulia. Yulia had a flat, a fiancé, a job and a wedding to arrange back in Russia – I don't believe she just walked away from all that.

Portonchok
And what of Russia's strange and often unmentioned relationship with Israel?
It's not strange at all. By far the largest group of immigrants into Israel are Russians.
John2o2o
Jews under the bed? I don't agree with your analysis. Israel has nothing to do with the Skripal poisoning. I understand your mistrust of Israel, but it is not to blame for all the ills of the world.
crank
How do you know that 'Israel had nothing to do with the Skripal poisoning' ?
You don't.
I know of no connection directly linking the events to agents of the Israeli state, but what does that mean? We don't really know any more than that the UK government story is a transparent fabrication.

If you conclude that Israel effectively runs US foreign policy then the Syrian situation has to be considered in that context. (Likewise Iran).
It's not called the Anglo-zionist empire for nothing.

Catte's article was basically a theorised link between Douma and Salisbury. Douma is in Syria, which is under attack from Israel, according to a plan drawn up in Israel decades ago, with proxy army from Neocon Washington (i.e. Israel)

mark
That's a good point. But I am struck by the leading role currently played by the UK in the recent litany of false flags and smear campaigns. The UK was a prime mover in setting up the "White Helmets" and the various Syrian gas hoaxes. Litvinenko. Skripal. The Steele Dirty Dossier. The Corbyn anti Semitism hoax. Admittedly probably with a large Zionist element.
crank
The Henry Jackson Society would be one obvious hub of neocon organisation within the UK political establishment. There surely are others that we are as yet unaware of (NB the recent Facebook revelations of political interference around the globe.)
In much the same way that the 'special relationship' between the US and Britain basically translates into Britain acting as America's de facto diplomatic poodle, HJS has long seen itself as an outpost to disseminate US neoconservative ideology in the British political establishment, media and civil society.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/the-american-far-right-s-trojan-horse-in-westminster-6799f442d6ce

http://spinwatch.org/images/Reports/HJS_spinwatch%20report_web_2015.pdf

JudyJ
O/T I know, but on the subject of the esteemed (!) Henry Jackson Society, I had to laugh the other day when I read about the pending departure of Alexander Yakovenko from the Russian Embassy in London.

A Dr Andrew Foxall, who (according to the Daily Mail) is the 'expert' Head of Russian Studies at the HJC, stated that it was clearly a suspicious move because ambassadorial positions are normally held for 5 or 3 years, not for the 8 years that Yakovenko had been there. He even spoon-fed us with the information that "8 is not divisible by 5 or 3" and therefore this has to be a forced move. I suggest that Dr Foxall needs to stop and think just a touch longer if he is ever asked to comment in public in future and not seriously damage whatever reputation he might claim to have. I ask you.

JudyJ
Sorry, should have made better use of my 'edit' time! HJC should of course read HJS. My proof-reading abilities are as questionable as Dr Andrew Foxall's maths!
crank
If anyone has not reviewed Christopher Bollyn's case against Israel for 9/11, I would suggest that now is the time.
Only a widespread revelation of the role of Israel in 9/11 can stop their war on Iran from proceding.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5H9RY1N2ljA

crank
https://www.mintpressnews.com/newly-released-fbi-docs-shed-light-on-apparent-mossad-foreknowledge-of-9-11-attacks/258581/
UreKismet
There are only two viable theories about Skirpal IMO. The first is that his daughter had persuaded the old man to come home and the englanders learned this at short notice.

Sergeant Nick Bailey the thug on call that day, really screwed up the attempt to off Skirpal even poisoning himself in order to 'get' Skirpal before he met with the Russian officers who had been sent to negotiate his return home.

Proximity to English chemical weapons determined the method.

The second is also dependent on the proximity of English chemical weapons manufacturing base at Porton Downs. That is the English were responsible for training Syrian headchoppers in chemical warfare and they taught their terrorists about Novichok to false flag in Syria in a way that would make Russia appear culpable.

One of the trainee terrorists went to lunch and overheard the Skripals talking Russian & became so upset the invasion and war had been lost, he decided to poison em.

The latter doesn't fit the known facts as well as the former, but it is more credible than anything the Englander spies have offered.

Dissidents_unit
URKismet – just a comment – it turns out that the first responder apart from Nick Bailey was, in fact, the Head of Nursing of the British Army! No coincidence there I think. Either she or Nick Bailey or both are surely suspects in the administration of the toxic substance?
Wilmers31
Many people forget that Skripal took (according to wikipedia) approximately 300 other agents down with him when he was busted in Moscow.

That makes about 600 individuals (only 1 relative for each) who must be his enemies. Someone was after revenge? Whether that one was in Britain in exile or in Russia we don't know. People ignore such a large group of potential enemies.

Seamus Padraig
So why did the Russians allow the Skripals to emigrate to the UK in the first place? They had Sergei in prison for 6 years; they could have had him bumped off at any time while he was their prisoner. But for some odd reason they chose not to. Strange
Wilmers31
It was a prisoner exchange before Skripal had completed his sentence. The UK must have had an asset which Moscow really wanted, persons or . don't know. It is now time that these prisoner/spy exchanges no longer happen in secret. Why they let him out earlier is not understandable from what we know at the moment.
Wilmers31
The one thumb down is surprising. If that is for the idea to cease prisoner/spy exchanges that is somewhat silly as these exchanges do not make for happiness, as we have seen. If exchanges are so good, why not exchange Kevin Mallory with the Chinese? People need to cop the complete punishment for their crimes, you do not exchange murderers or fraudsters, either.

If the criticism is about the hundreds of people who are tempted for revenge after their cover was blown through Skripal then this is bizarre. What purpose does it serve to sweep it under the carpet that Skripal was only one person in a system? Maybe wikipedia's figure of 300 was wrong – let's have the correct figure then.

We can read in memoirs like Brian Crozier's "Free Agent" and "Gold Warriors" (Seagraves) what operations there were in Chile, Africa, Philippines etc but the many people who were involved are never mentioned. The individuals like Skripal or Crozier are the visible tips of the icebergs and it is legitimate to ask who else was involved in the operations, covert or open, legal or illegal, and who funded.

davemass
Profumo was jailed for lying to Parliament.
Surely May, and all accomplices should suffer the samne fate??
wardropper
I expect the US secret service just asked our secret service to take the initiative for once, since the US were beginning to look like the bad guys
Paul Harvey
I have privately speculated that the raison d'etre of the Skirpal farce was simply to generate the belief system and memetic narrative that Russia is currently producing chemical weapons/ nerve agents and is willing to openly use them on their perceived 'enemies' abroad (and of course that the origin of these chemical weapons, ie Novichok can 'proved' to be exclusively of Russian providence.

Why is the above important? Because if there is ever a chemical weapons attack in Syria on civilians and hundreds die and the nerve agent is 'proved' by the OPCW to be Novichok then of course Russia would get the blame for supplying the 'Assad regime' with this chemical agent. (Sarin, anthrax etc cannot be exclusively traced back to Russia, only Novichok and it alone can be, if we believe the prior Skirpal narrative).

As a side note – the story that Trump was shown images of dead English ducks and hospitalised English children in relation to the Skirpal incident makes me wonder if this was an attempt by British psychological warfare operatives to pre-program Trump and his team, so when videos eventually emerge of dead animals and hospitalised Syrian children, the link is already fixed in their mind as to what a Novichok 'attack' looks like).

One has to admit the story that surfaced last month of dead ducks/hospitalised kids images shown to Trump in relation to the Skirpal narrative was very strange to say the least.

Just as the Skirpal case 'fixed' the Novichok narrative in the MSM as exclusively of Russian providence, one can also speculate that the Douma 'Barrel Bomb' meme (and the fake OPCW Report) was another key part of the narrative – if a speculative Novichok attack occurs and footage emerges of similar containers as used in the the fake Douma chlorine attack, the OPCW can already point to the providence of the delivery system as being exclusively of Syrian military origin and the Douma events as simply a precursor to a current 'Novichok' attack (just as the Skirpal events would be used as a precursor to Russian culpability and perhaps even the suggestion of active Russian involvement in a mass chemical attack on Syrian women and children using the agent Novichok.)

Maybe this is what the Russians mean by UK involvement in Douma – maybe they worked out that the Skirpal events were a precursor to a wider false flag event to be staged down the line by elements of British military and state intelligence networks in conjunction with elements within NATO and U.S. intelligence structures.

I know this is total speculation and I provide it as food for thought and grounds for further research in reference to this article.

Panopticon
All you need to know about Skripalgate : )

https://syrianobservatoryforhumanwrongs.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/an-idiots-guide-to-the-skripal-affair/

CoryP
This was such a treat. Thanks for sharing!
wardropper
That is a tremendous piece of work. It should go down in history, but people are already forgetting Skripal's name. A truly brilliant summary.
mark
Chemical weapons have been used against the Syrian military, inflicting casualties. They have also been used routinely by the British taxpayer funded head choppers and throat slitters to terrorise civilians indiscriminately for years. As for "scant evidence of jihadists weaponizing chemicals", they have been arrested in Turkey by the Turkish police in possession of canisters of sarin nerve gas. Just one of many documented instances. But maybe this just comes from a "conspiracist mindset." Maybe it's totally irrelevant to the issue when terrorists are arrested in Turkey in possession of nerve gas.
mark
The UK taxpayer funded head choppers and throat slitters routinely seize civilians as hostages, then murder them and blame it on Assad. They have massacred entire villages then called in their chums in the BBC to film the evidence of "Assad's latest atrocity." Like they film the devastation in Gaza and try to pass it off as rocket damage in Israel. All in a day's lying for the folks at the Botty Bangers Club.
John
Isn't it odd that you used opcw findings when it matched what you want but it doesn't fit now so you're having a hissy fit! I hope horrid things happen to you fake socialist
lundiel

isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?

No. Western media aren't going to get in a frenzy if some of Assad's soldiers are killed.

crank
isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?

– In a word, no. Anyone with even the slightest comprehension of how psychological warfare works would understand this.

Louis Proyec – 'reader'

Maybe read more widely, or start thinking more deeply, or stop bullshitting so lamely.

Loverat
I came across a similar post Louis made on another topic a while ago.

The political language and terms used in his posts always suggest his political position is his starting point then arranging selective facts to support it. First, the classic line of attack is accusing others of 'conspiracy theorists' – a tactic used by mainstream journalists and Bellingcat and el against the academics and experts of the Syria Working Group. As said below, that does not cut it – especially now the 'conspiracy theorists' have for the umpteenth time been vindicated.

Louis, comes out with stuff like 'Baathist troops' (he uses the word 'Baathist' three times in his post as if it was somehow relevant) whereas someone normal, of genuine intelligence and independent, would use the description 'Syrian Army'. Why would you say 'Baathist troops' or use other pointless labels unless you are trying to distract from the real issues while attempting to give the impression of having some knowledge. His political posturing offers nothing by way of getting to the truth and he appears to be another self-serving armchair commentator.

mark
Maybe we could get him a job with Bellingcat.
OffG
You're embarrassing yourself, Louis. Throwing out stale ad homs like 'conspiracist' isn't enough any more. You need to up your game, deal with the developing reality or retire.
Jen
We need the other anti-Assad troll back but the danger is I might get sick of hitting him again with Yassin al-Haj's article for the New York Times where the Syrian activist admits to having stayed with the White Helmets in Ghouta in mid-2013 before fleeing to Raqqa and leaving his wife Samira Khalil behind.
Ken
Take it easy on poor old Louis; what can one expect from a fellow who probably believes that 9/11 was not a false flag either? And that one is a complete no-brainer to see.
Rhisiart Gwilym
Come on! Let's encourage the poor old fart to go on posting here. He's always good for an incredulous laugh. And he's a warning too to anyone trying to make sense of Western criminal realpolitik, an object lesson in what happens to a supposed 'radical thinker' – hah! – who drinks too deeply of the Western propaganda kool-aid, and holds the stuff down, too, until it comes time to regurgitate it as if it were 'original thinking', the poor sucker. Don't off him. He's useful as light amusement.

PS: in case you think I'm being a bit ad-hominy, I'm a poor broken down old fart myself. But I still have my wits about me, and I can still smell the stench of the West's Permanent Bullshit Blizzard when I meet it. Catch up soon Louis! Till then – thanks for all the laffs! :O)

JudyJ
" isn't it odd that sarin gas or even chlorine has only been used to kill their own women and children rather than the Baathist military?"

No, not at all odd.

1. To be clear, when you say "their own" I presume you mean the Syrian women and children who the (mainly non-Syrian) terrorists hold as captives to ensure their men folk co-operate with them, or to be used in propaganda campaigns including 'false flag' scenarios.

2. In what form would you suggest the Jihadi murderers might be tempted to use chlorine in a way capable of killing opposition soldiers? Chlorine is essentially an unpleasant irritant if misused. To kill, it would have to be administered in an enclosed space where there was no means of escape for the victims.

3. We are constantly being fed the lie that the terrorists don't have sarin so it would be rather foolish of them to deploy it against opposition soldiers. Even they've worked that one out.

4. The terrorists are mercenaries paid by western agencies whose primary function is to carry out acts to discredit the Assad Government, thereby providing an ultimate excuse for military action to overthrow the Assad Government. The most obvious way to do this is to murder, as you so sensitively express it, "a bunch of Syrians" in a way that the West finds appropriate to point the finger at the Assad Government and its Russian allies.

This all makes a lot more sense than the idea that the Syrian Government assisted by the Russians would choose to murder innocent Syrian civilians, not least by using outlawed chemical weapons, and incur the wrath of western powers at the point when they were succeeding in defeating the terrorists with relative ease.

WeatherEye
Fantastic piece. The leaked report confirms what many analysts on the left have been saying, including myself. https://flashpointssite.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/chemical-attack-on-dhouma-foam-lies-and-videotape-weathereye/

[Jun 28, 2019] Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 6 – Tying up the Loose Ends

Jun 28, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Over the last five pieces ( Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 ) I have, slowly but surely, advanced a theory of what happened in the Skripal case. I must confess to having done so with a fair amount of unease. I don't want to believe that my Government has been stating a case that is false. I don't want to believe that the public have been lied to. I don't want to have to think that there has been a lot of effort made to present an explanation that hides the truth.

And yet, given the fact that the Government story contains self-evident fallacies, and cannot be made to add up, I don't think that there's much alternative than to be hugely sceptical about their claims. I stated the two main fallacies in Part 1 , which are the claims that three people were poisoned by the nerve agent A-234, which is 5-8 times more toxic than VX, and that because A-234 was developed in the Soviet Union, the Russian State is responsible for what happened. The first claim cannot be true, because the three people are alive and well and have suffered no irreparable damage. The second claim is palpably untrue, because A-234 has been synthesised in a number of countries.

Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg of the absurdities and anomalies. I don't intend to go through all of them, but would simply point anyone who does believe the official story to concentrate on three words: The Door Handle. This was apparently where the poison was poured, so allow me to pose five questions about this claim to those who believe it to be true:

During the "clean-up" operation, there were lots of military chaps wearing HazMat suits, which are designed to protect against exposure to toxic chemicals. How, then, did the assassin apparently manage to pour this same lethal, military grade nerve agent on a door handle, without wearing a HazMat suit? On the other hand, if he or she was wearing a HazMat suit when performing the operation, wouldn't someone in Christie Miller Road have noticed and found it – shall we say – a bit odd? If the poison was administered to the door handle, how exactly did both Sergei and Yulia Skripal manage to touch it (people don't normally both touch the door handle if they go in the house together), and how did they manage to get exactly the right quantities on their skin so that they collapsed at exactly the same time, some four hours later? The door handle theory only reared its head some three weeks after the poisoning, at which point the substance was said to have been still present in a "highly pure" form. During this three weeks, many people went in and out of Mr Skripal's house using the front door. How did they manage to do so without using the door handle, or if they did, how did they manage not to succumb to poisoning? Part of the Government's alleged evidence pointing at the high likelihood of Russian involvement in the case, is an FSB instruction manual showing – amongst other things – how to assassinate someone by pouring Novichok on a door handle. Suspending our disbelief on this claim for a moment (and admittedly that is hard), did the Government have the manual when they made their accusations against the Russian Government on 12th and 14th March, and if so, why did the door handle theory not surface for more than a week after this?

Of course, a few moments consideration about the door handle theory will show that – like the rest of the official story – it is simply wrong. And because it is so plainly wrong, that is why we can safely say that the real explanation lies elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I am aware that in advancing another explanation, there are likely to be many holes in it too. Whilst much of what I have said throughout this series has been based on facts and eyewitness statements, the theory I have advanced from those facts and witness statements remains unproven. And so I would ask that where I have got things wrong, you would forgive me, and where things don't make sense, you would point them out.

Having said that, what I want to do in this final piece it to tie up a few loose ends and – most particularly – attempt to demonstrate how the theory I have advanced explains some of the other anomalies in the case in a far more cogent and rational way than does the official story. So here goes.

The Deafening Silence of Sergei Skripal

One of the least talked about points in the official story, yet one that really is very important, is that if it were a true account, Mr Skripal would almost certainly have no more clue about who poisoned him than the average person in the street. If it were true that an unknown assassin, appointed by the Russian Government, poured military-grade nerve agent onto his front door on 4th March, before fleeing back to the Motherland, Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, would be as much in the dark as to who did it than you or I.

Now, if that were the case, two things would naturally follow. The first is that Mr Skripal would almost certainly be inclined to believe the version of events given to him by the Metropolitan Police. Think about it. He wakes up one morning in a strange hospital bed, and has absolutely no clue why he is there or what happened to him. Then a kindly policeman comes and explains that he was the target of an assassination attempt using a lethal nerve agent, and that the British Government believes that it was ordered by the Russian Government. What is he going to believe? Fairly obvious I would think. At least he would have no reason to disbelieve them.

The second thing that would naturally follow is that, as soon as he was able, he would want to release a statement, either on paper, or in an interview, where he not only pledges his support for the Metropolitan Police and their ongoing investigation, and no doubt hints at involvement of the Russian State, but also – and this is crucial – where he also gives the public some information about what actually happened to him on 4th March: where he went, when he first started to feel ill, and what he last remembers.

Again, think about it. If you were in his shoes, wouldn't you want to catch the people who did it? And wouldn't you assume that the more information you could give to the public, perhaps even clearing up some of the anomalies (such as the reason for the agitation in Zizzis), the more chance there would be that someone's memory might be jogged and vital information given to the police?

Of course you would. And yet so far, Mr Skripal has released no such statement. Why?

It isn't that he is physically or mentally incapacitated. We know from Yulia Skripal's brief call to her cousin on April 5th (which almost certainly wasn't "meant" to happen), that Sergei was by that time fine. In response to Viktoria's question about her father, she said this:

"Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a nap. Everyone's health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok."

That was nearly three months ago, and yet the Sergei Skripal who was fine on 5th April, having suffered no irreparable damage from apparently being poisoned by the world's most deadly nerve agent, and who was discharged on 18th May, still has not spoken.

I put it that the theory I have advanced (see Part 5 in particular), suggests an obvious reason for his silence. Were he in the dark about the identity of those who poisoned him, as the official story implies, his silence would be inexplicable. Don't you want to catch the perpetrators of this crime upon you and your daughter, Sergei?

Yet, if we assume that actually he knows exactly who poisoned him and why they poisoned him – as would be the case according to the theory I have advanced – then his silence is very easily explained. He cannot be allowed to be interviewed about what happened, because he would blow the whole wretched business clean out of the water. He cannot be allowed to make an open statement, with the press there to ask free questions, because it would come out that he had been meeting someone at the bench in The Maltings, and that this someone whom he met was the person who poisoned him.

In addition, his (highly likely) authorship of the Trump Dossier would be revealed. And if this were to happen, not only would it be seen that the foundation upon which the whole Trump/Russia collusion hoax was based was made of straw, but it would become clear that the interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was never really about Russian interference to get Trump elected; but rather about British interference to stop Trump getting elected.

The deafening silence of Mr Skripal is therefore strong evidence of a number of things:

That the Government story, in which he was the unsuspecting victim of a Kremlin plot, is without foundation. That he well knows who his poisoners were and why they poisoned him. That he cannot be allowed to speak freely because if he was, a scandal of monumental proportions would be revealed. The Deafening Silence of Yulia Skripal

Deafening silence of Yulia? What am I talking about? She has released a number of statements through the Metropolitan Police, and in the statement (not interview) she made to Reuters. So what do I mean?

Many have pointed out a number of remarkable things about her Reuters statement. For one, she looked remarkably well. For another, the language of the statement she read was highly suggestive that it was first written in English – not by her – and then translated into Russian (statements like "I do not wish to avail myself of their services" don't normally trip off the tongue of native English speakers, let alone those who speak it as a second language).

But for me the most remarkable thing about all of her statements are not what they do say, but rather what they don't say. As with Sergei's silence, Yulia has nothing whatsoever to say about the day of the poisoning. Isn't that odd? She notes that she and her father survived an "attempted assassination". She notes that a nerve agent was used to do it. But she says nothing about her and her father's movements that day. Nothing about what they did and where they went. Nothing about when they first succumbed to the effects of the poisoning. Nothing to suggest that her father's agitation in Zizzis may have been caused by poisoning.

In short, she says nothing whatsoever about the poisoning itself. Zero. Diddly squat. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Why?

As with Sergei's non-statements, this doesn't compute. If you happened to wake up in a hospital to be told that you had been the victim of a nerve agent poisoning, you would almost certainly want to tell people as much as possible about your movements up to the point of the poisoning. Wouldn't you? Of course. Especially if not only you had been poisoned, but also your dad. You'd at least want to sound a bit more interested in actually catching the perpetrators than Yulia, who didn't so much as mention it, and instead sounded like she just wanted to move on and forget it ever happened.

Once again, this total silence on something so crucial just doesn't fit at all with the official story. That narrative suggests that Sergei and Yulia were innocent victims of a Kremlin-hired assassin. That narrative suggests they don't know who that Kremlin-hired assassin was. But it also suggests that they of all people have a huge interest in giving details of what happened to them that day. And yet there is silence.

Does it fit better with the theory I have proposed? You bet it does. If what I have suggested is anywhere close to the truth, just like Sergei, Yulia cannot be allowed the freedom to give a proper interview where any question is allowed. She cannot be given consular access by the Russian Embassy. Why not? Because she knows what her dad was up to; she knows why he was meeting people at a park bench on Sunday 4th March; and she knows that the two of them were poisoned by the people who they were meeting.

Why did she agree to an interview? No doubt she realises what a difficult and vulnerable position she is in. Despite claims to the contrary, she clearly has no contact with her family back in Russia, or indeed any contact with the outside world. She was almost certainly pressured into making a statement, and yet -- as Tony Kevin convincingly argues here -- it has many signs of being a compromise statement. And so she agreed to making a fairly nebulous statement -- one which is almost inconceivable from the point of view of the official narrative, but which fits perfectly with the narrative I have advanced.

The Deafening Silence of Nick Bailey

One final deafening silence that doesn't exactly do wonders for the official narrative, is the silence of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He has always been a big puzzle in this case, for a number of reasons. It was first said that he was poisoned at The Maltings. However, the problem with this explanation is that there was absolutely no reason for him to have been there. The case was treated by Salisbury District Hospital as a case of Fentanyl poisoning. Why would a member of the Criminal Intelligence Department (CID) be called to a bench to an apparent opioid overdose?

It was then said by none other than Lord Ian Blair that DS Bailey was actually poisoned at Mr Skripal's house. But again, the same question arises. Why would a member of CID be sent to the home of a person in a what looked like a case of opioid poisoning?

The story then swung backwards and forwards a number of times between a poisoning at the Maltings and a poisoning at Mr Skripal's house. These anomalies are very important, but even more important is that they could have been put straight by DS Bailey himself. If the official story was correct, not only would it have been super easy to have verified where DS Bailey was poisoned, but he himself could have testified to it. And yet like the Skripals, there has been nothing!

Given the absurd changes to this particular part of the story – and it is perhaps the easiest of all parts to verify – my assumption is that he was poisoned at neither The Maltings or Mr Skripal's house. Instead, just as I wrote in Part 5 that I believe it likely the Skripals were poisoned by an incapacitating nerve agent in the red bag that was then seen next to the bench, I think it highly likely that DS Bailey was poisoned from the same source.

But where? The red bag was removed from the scene by a police officer and placed in an evidence bag. Why would this have been done? Because the pair on the bench were suspected of overdosing on an opioid, and the bag would naturally be removed by police so that its contents could be examined. And whereas I think it unlikely that someone from CID would be called to the scene of a drug overdose, it seems quite likely that they might receive and handle evidence taken from such a scene. Therefore my guess – and I stress that it is only a guess – is that DS Bailey was the man who received the bag, and whilst looking inside to see its contents, was poisoned by the same incapacitating agent as the Skripals (possibly something like 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate (BZ), but definitely not A-234).

Again, if the official story were true, what would prevent DS Bailey from giving a brief statement or interview, confirming exactly what happened to him? But if the red bag theory is close to the mark, then it becomes plainly obvious why this hasn't yet happened.

Smokes and Mirrors

Which actually brings me on to the penultimate point I want to make in this piece, and indeed in this 6-part series. Everything in the official story, no matter how absurd, seems designed to point our attention away from the most probable source, place and type of poisoning: The red bag, at the bench, and an incapacitating nerve agent. And it does so because if our attention is focused on them, then a very different story begins to emerge. Which cannot be allowed to happen.

As stated above, claims about A-234 being used just don't add up. Neither the time delay, nor the symptoms, nor the recovery of the Skripals with no irreparable damage match up to what this deadly, military grade, high purity, lethal nerve agent that is so much more toxic than VX, is meant to do. What the claim does, however, is points our attention away from what is far more likely – an incapacitating agent administered to the Skripals between 3:45 and 4:00pm on 4th March.

As stated above, claims about the door handle just don't add up. Neither the fact that both Sergei and Yulia were poisoned, nor the fact that others went in and out of the house before the door handle theory was put forward and didn't succumb, nor the fact that the substance on it apparently remained of "high purity" weeks later – none of these things make any sense. What the claim does, however, is directs our thoughts away from what is far more likely – that the substance used to poison the Skripals was administered at the bench, and probably via the red bag.

The apparent motive put forward in the official narrative doesn't add up either. There is a general agreement among countries that you do not target spies who have been part of a swap. Why? Because if you do, you can kiss goodbye to ever getting any other spies swapped in the future. It's called shooting yourself in the foot big time! But what this frankly risible explanation for the apparent motive behind the poisoning does, however, is to point our attention away from what Mr Skripal was really up to. And as I set out in Part 4 , this was very likely something to do with authoring the Trump Dossier.

Nothing about the official story makes sense. None of it adds up. It is riddled with holes. But I would submit that the only thing that does make sense about it, is that the parts that go to make up the sum are all desperate attempts to divert attention. They are smokes and mirrors, designed to stop us from considering some of the more obvious aspects of the case, and some of the more startling aspects of the case – Mr Skripal's involvement with MI6; his likely involvement in or authorship of the Trump Dossier; the likelihood that he was due to meet people at the bench in The Maltings; the probability that this is why he was agitated and in a hurry in Zizzis; the likelihood that he knows who poisoned him and why.

And of course the reason that these things are not supposed to be considered is that if – and I acknowledge it is a big if – the alternative explanation I have advanced is true, and if it became generally known, then it would cause just about the biggest political crisis in British political history.

And Finally

Having said that, I have to say that I don't believe it at all likely that the British Government knew about any of this before it occurred. I get the impression that the intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are a law unto themselves, and I think it likely that some of their number wanted to send Mr Skripal a message, one which would look like an opioid overdose, one which he would recover from reasonably quickly, and one which would be forgotten very soon.

However, I don't think that the poisoning of DS Bailey was meant to happen, but when it did, it set off a series of events that quickly got out of control. I don't think the identity of Sergei Skripal as a Russian involved in a spy swap was ever meant to make it into the press, but it did and very soon what looked like some kind of opioid poisoning quickly became an international spy saga.

The British Government's reckless and extraordinarily quick reaction to the case was, apart from being a travesty of the rule of law, one of the biggest clues that the official narrative was not true. If it were true, they could have took their time, acted calmly, and let the investigation run its course. Instead, what we got was a lawless, irrational and absurd response. It all smacked of a panicked reaction, and whilst it made no sense in terms of the story they sold us, it makes perfect sense if the truth was that they were desperate to prevent news getting out about who Skripal really was, what he had been up to, and how the poisoning might well be connected with that work. And indeed the D-notices they slapped on the reporting of that stuff, and of Mr Skripal's connections to Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller, are further evidence that it is so.

And so they very quickly decided to turn attention away from the big clues of the case, by invoking the scary sounding "Novichok" and pinning the blame – without any evidence – on the Russian State. To this date, they have given us no evidence to back up their claim, much less a suspect, but have unwittingly given us a bunch of absurdities that can be blown out of the water through the use of simple reason and logic.

They should have remembered this:

"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7)

But I have a feeling they don't believe it applies to them. I have a feeling that it does.

And so there's my case. As I say, there are bound to be a good many holes and no doubt many errors and inconsistencies in it. Please do forgive me for those. As for the rest of it -- Make of it what you will.


Ross Hendry

' On Friday, Salisbury District Hospital's director of nursing Lorna Wilkinson announced Mr Rowley had been discharged and Public Health England said he posed no risk to the community She said "I would also like to reassure everyone that, despite many people seeking advice following these incidents, there have only ever been a total of five people who have been exposed to this nerve agent and admitted to hospital for treatment"'.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/20/novichok-victim-charlie-rowley-discharged-salisbury-hospital/

This whole Salisbury saga is a complete riddle. The A&E consultant wrote to the Times saying nobody had ever been treated for nerve agent poisoning, yet here we are months later and the director of nursing is totally contradicting him. Don't they talk to each other at Salisbury District Hospital? Or, more likely, was the consultant going off-script?

JudyJ
Ross, Yes, considering Sergei and Yulia were placed in medical comas for several weeks supposedly to aid their recovery, Rowley's treatment and speedy recovery appear to have inexplicably followed a completely different pattern. With regard to Dr Davies' letter to the Times, have a look at 'The Blogmire' website where there has been posted in the past two or three days a brief report on this, followed by interesting reader comments. Rob Slane, who also provides articles for this website, is 'Mr' Blogmire and he managed to contact Dr Davies but really received less than convincing information.
Antonyl
At the Guardian Novichok: police take away 400 potentially contaminated items https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/14/novichok-police-find-more-than-400-potentially-contaminated-items
JudyJ
"400 potentially contaminated items" is absolutely meaningless but sounds good. It is a useful means to imply that the police are on top of things. Even if they found contamination on any of the items, I'm not sure what it would prove. Basically all they mean is they have removed everything that Rowley and Sturgess might have touched since some randomly selected vague date or been told by Rowley was the date he 'acquired' the 'bottle'. It could be all their clothing, everything in the fridge or kitchen cupboards, everything in the bathroom etc etc If history repeats itself they won't even bother to test the items but will just incinerate the lot.
D'Esterre
JudyJ: "400 potentially contaminated items"

I was puzzled at this. I remarked to a family member that it looks as if either somebody at Porton Down has been very careless, or the spooks don't understand subtlety.

Mulga Mumblebrain
The brainwashed morons are impressed by big numbers.
D'Esterre
Jen: " .you have to explain why the UK authorities incinerated the Zizzi's Restaurant table where the Skripals had lunch ."

That's interesting. I hadn't known that. Curious though: if the authorities incinerated the table at which they had lunch, how is it that the front desk – where presumably they paid the bill – wasn't also incinerated? Come to that, what about whatever was on the table: cloth, utensils, plates and so on. Also waitstaff and kitchen staff: surely they'd have been contaminated as well?

Truly, the more we're told about this incident, the more farcical it sounds. Ditto the incident with the unfortunate couple in Amesbury. None of it makes sense.

Mulga Mumblebrain
When the Western kakistocracies and the Evil psychopaths who comprise them, in politics, the 'intelligence' apparatus and the fakestream media brainwashing machine, lie about everything to do with Russia ie about Putin's legitimacy, the nature of Russian society, the 'popularity' of fascist Quislings like Navalny, Russia' role in saving Syria from the takfiri death-squad armies sent against it, about Russia's non-existent role in Western installation of fascists in power in Kiev, Russian 'meddling' in US elections etc, etc, etc, on the balance of probabilities it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that these pathological liars are telling the truth about the Skripals. Particularly when we know that they are lying in asserting that ONLY Russia could make novichoks, only Russia had any motive, that only Russia bumps off inconvenient people and that only Russia had anything to gain from it, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup and with various Sorosian vermin braying that it be cancelled. How utterly galling it must be for these psychopathic Russophobes that it was the greatest World Cup, on and off the field, for decades, perhaps ever.
Jerry Alatalo
Yulia Skripal's agreeing to convey the message concerning her possibly meeting with Russian authorities – "I do not wish to avail myself of their services" -, raises suspicion that she and her father Sergei Skripal were "in on" an engineered false flag chemical event from the start. Perhaps others have already done the investigative research and verified Yulia Skripal did indeed undergo a tracheotomy, the neck scar seemingly over-exposed and the central focus for all who watched her short Reuters "interview". Has this been confirmed by the doctor(s) who performed the surgical procedure, nurses assisting those surgeon(s) in the operating room, medical photos, medical records, etc..

If Ms. Skripal indeed underwent surgical tracheotomy, our thought that the neck scar was the result of a covert conspirator surgeon's making a simple incision and immediately sewing it up – to appear as if Ms. Skripal underwent a lifesaving surgical procedure -, goes out the window.

Can anyone help in clarifying this? Has it been verified Ms. Skripal underwent the procedure and that her neck scar should not be perceived as anything other than from a truly necessary lifesaving action?

Thank you.

vexarb
@thorella: "The uk legal system and uk forensics are second to none."

Dr. John Kelly, RIP. Assassinated by MI6 by order of Prime Miniister TB.Liar of Dodgy Dossier, interred without mandatory Crown Coroners Inquest with Case Sealed for 70 years by order of Lord "Safe Pair of Hands"Hunt of Bloody
Sunday fame, and Dr.Kelly's bodily remains subsequently dug up and incinerated to destroy chemical evidence by order of Prime Minister St Theresa of Porton Down.

"Second to none" in what?

Jen
The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian embassy in London are too busy having a laugh at seeing the whole affair collapse under its own inconsistencies and at the British government and security services trying to prop up the whole mess and failing to distract public attention away from the shit-heap that Theresa May has made of Brexit.
Einstein
Why should the Russians bother commenting on it at all, when we can all see it's a false flag without the Russians having to tell us?
This is a domestic UK issue about MI6 being out of control.
BigB
The main corroboration for the Steele Dossier was Christopher Steele: briefing the press at the Tabard Inn, Washington – to set up a collaboration loop. Julian Assange tweeted that one of the journalists was Paul Wood who looks like a spook or an asset himself.
https://mobile.twitter.com/JulianAssange/status/976943588394323973

Another journalists was Michael Isikoff. His planted story war used to collaborate the Dossier as the basis of the FBI's FISA warrant to surveill Carter Page.

The Nunes Memo also states that Steele back-chanelled additional allegations into the DOJ via Bruce Ohr.

Another corroboration was the Trump Tower meeting: ostensibly set up by Trump linked Araz Agalarov could verify the piss taking allegations. It's well worth revisiting the Elizabeth Vos Disobedient Media article for background on this meeting set up Mifsud et al: who are linked to London – not Moscow.

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

Anyway, all these "experts" – and Wikipedia – seem to have got their information from one source – Steele: who both wrote and then corroborated his own dossier. With a little help from his intel friends

Einstein
"Genuine" in the sense that it was really written by a KGB insider (which Skripal was), NOT in the sense that what he alleged was true.
The point is that the source of the Steele-Clinton dossier would have been revealed and, of course, the source would have been a proven consummate liar and traitor. This would blow Mueller's "investigation" out of the water.
But I'll not engage with you any further on this, since there's none so blind as those who will not see.
Thomas Peterson
why exactly does it seem likely Skripal was one of Steele's sources? did Steele even need any sources to write his ludicrous 'dossier'?
Jen
Paul Roderick Gregory who has followed Soviet and Russian politics professionally for several decades has this to say about the Steele dossier:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/01/13/the-trump-dossier-is-false-news-and-heres-why/#5a2c34e06867

The Orbis report makes as if it knows all the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within Putin's impenetrable Kremlin. It reports information from anonymous "trusted compatriots," "knowledgeable sources," "former intelligence officers," and "ministry of foreign affairs officials." The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump's Russian connections. It claims to know more than is knowable as it recounts sordid tales of prostitutes, "golden showers," bribes, squabbles in Putin's inner circle, and who controls the dossiers of kompromat (compromising information).

There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two. The author of the Orbis report has one more advantage: He knew that what he was writing was unverifiable. He advertises himself as the only Kremlin outsider with enough "reliable" contacts to explain what is really going within Putin's office.

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. The report includes Putin's inner circle – Peskov, Ivanov, Sechin, Lavrov. The anonymous author claims to have "trusted compatriots" who knew the roles that each Kremlin insider, including Putin himself, played in the Trump election saga and were prepared to tell him.

The Orbis report spins the tale of Putin insiders, spurred on by Putin himself, engaging in a five-year courtship of Donald Trump in which they offer him lucrative real estate deals that he rejects but leaves himself open to blackmail as a result of sexual escapades with prostitutes in St. Petersburg and Moscow (the famous "golden shower" incident). Despite his reluctance to enter into lucrative business deals, Trump "and his inner circle have accepted regular intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals," according to the Orbis report.

This story makes no sense. In 2011, when the courtship purportedly begins, Trump was a TV personality and beauty pageant impresario. Neither in the U.S. or Russia would anyone of authority anticipate that Trump would one day become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, making him the target of Russian intelligence.

Sergei Skripal could fit the description of the "Russian" referred to in the third paragraph.

Thomas Peterson
I don't assume it. I see no reason to think Skripal had anything to do with the dossier. More likely in my view the sources, if there were any, were Ukrainians and Americans.

There's a stink of Ukraine about it.

Mulga Mumblebrain
After a history of intelligence lying in the West that includes the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Warren Commission, 'yellow rain' in Indochina, KAL 007, Lockerbie, Kuwaiti babies thrown from incubators, the USS Liberty, Saddam's WMD, Gaddafi's 'container-loads of Viagra', MH17, the Russian 'invasion of Georgia', the Russian 'invasion of Ukraine', the Tian An Men Square 'massacre' etc (I could go on ALL day), to credit ANYTHING that Western intelligence agencies state is sign either of intractable dementia, or duplicity-or both, probably.
Jen
Yes I suppose a document based mostly on hearsay, rumour and guesswork, and with an accuracy of 60 – 70% (where? in spelling?), ought to be taken seriously – to the kitty litter box.

I mentioned Paul Roderick Gregory and Craig Murray as two people who dismissed the dossier as fraudulent. What "experts" can you put forward, GB, who support the dossier's contents as genuine or accurate? I suppose you think Luke Daniel Harding and Eliot Higgins might qualify as experts supporting the dossier's contents as more or less accurate?

Jen
Gregory says the dossier fails the laugh test and is full of bizarre statements. Murray regards it as equivalent to the Hitler Diaries hoax. Where do they not find anything wrong in the dossier?
bevin
If all that you have to go on for now is a dossier put together by a mercenary for the use of a political party in attack ads, produced at great expense, and totally unsourced and uncorroborated, the world is in a worse way than you fear.
Or perhaps, it's not the world but you?
Mulga Mumblebrain
The utterly fraudulent 'dossier' was also used to gain an illegal FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, as part of the conspiracy to derail Trump's electoral bid, elect the blood-soaked feminazi Gorgon, Clinton, and further the hate campaign against Russia.
vierotchka
Do watch it on YouTube so that you can read the lengthy and informative video description:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

vierotchka

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Published on 10 Jul 2018

Three miles from Amesbury, six miles from Salisbury. 'Porton Down is the elephant in the room': former British ambassador who visited Nukus plant where Novichok was tested, Craig Murray dismantles Amesbury poisoning story on BCFMradio,

Porton Down : What is the experimental government facility in Wiltshire at the centre of recent poisonings?

The secretive laboratory has unintentionally become key in political developments and international relations

The major incident in Amesbury saw two people poisoned by the same nerve agent that almost killed the Skripals, government scientists have confirmed. The attack turns attention once more to Porton Down, the mysterious laboratory that has unintentionally become central to the response to the attacks.

The secretive government facility at Porton Down has been used for experiments involving deadly and often undisclosed weapons, and in the wake of the Salisbury attack has become indelibly associated with the nerve agent used in the attack. The Met – whose counter-terror police are now leading the investigation – confirmed that samples had been tested at the facility and that they showed "show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok".

Porton Down is often talked about in the singular, but is actually a site located near Porton village that is host to a whole group of different organisations. The two key ones are the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which is run by the Ministry of Defence and usually referred to as Dstl, as well as Public Health England – both bodies have been involved in the response to the recent poisonings, though it is the former laboratory whose activity is most mysterious.

Bullingdon Boris resigns, feigns matters of principle, limbers up for the top job he was promised at Eton. As 1922 committee cheers for Theresa May ring out to the rafters, British government prepares for controlled demolition.

vierotchka

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LbbxNkPDNrQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Published on 10 Jul 2018

Three miles from Amesbury, six miles from Salisbury. 'Porton Down is the elephant in the room': former British ambassador who visited #Nukus plant where #novichok was tested, Craig Murray dismantles #Amesbury poisoning story https://youtu.be/LbbxNkPDNrQ on @BCFMradio

Porton Down: What is the experimental government facility in Wiltshire at the centre of recent poisonings?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/porton-down-what-is-explained-experiments-salisbury-wiltshire-novichok-latest-a8431951.html

The secretive laboratory has unintentionally become key in political developments and international relations

The major incident in Amesbury saw two people poisoned by the same nerve agent that almost killed the Skripals, government scientists have confirmed. The attack turns attention once more to Porton Down, the mysterious laboratory that has unintentionally become central to the response to the attacks.

The secretive government facility at Porton Down has been used for experiments involving deadly and often undisclosed weapons, and in the wake of the Salisbury attack has become indelibly associated with the nerve agent used in the attack. The Met – whose counter-terror police are now leading the investigation – confirmed that samples had been tested at the facility and that they showed "show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok".

Porton Down is often talked about in the singular, but is actually a site located near Porton village that is host to a whole group of different organisations. The two key ones are the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which is run by the Ministry of Defence and usually referred to as Dstl, as well as Public Health England – both bodies have been involved in the response to the recent poisonings, though it is the former laboratory whose activity is most mysterious.

Bullingdon Boris resigns, feigns matters of principle, limbers up for the top job he was promised at Eton. As 1922 committee cheers for Theresa May ring out to the rafters, British government prepares for controlled demolition.

Einstein
There's another source of "deadly silence".
A doctor was reported (by the BBC on 8th May) to have given CPR to Julia for 30 minutes without being contaminated by the "novichok". Indeed, the doctor reported to the BBC that she 'felt fine' afterwards.
No-one has seen nor heard from this doctor since, yet a doctor should be easy enough to trace.
mike nagel
Considering the mendacity of the media on this and other matters has anyone considered the possibility that no poisoning of any kind took place in March? The whole story has been a giant load of road apples from day one. What we are expected to swallow by the powers that be cannot possibly be so, perhaps the Skripals never sat on that bench in the first place.
flaxgirl
I certainly have. My favourite part of the fairy tale is the cat and two guinea pigs.
Yonatan
The 'door handle' theory only arose as a means of explaining how the policeman was contaminated. He was allegedly present soon after the Skripals were found, and became contaminated, while others, including a doctor who closely examined the Skripals, did not. Occam's Razor suggests that the Skripals and the policeman were affected at the same time before other witnesses were present. This implies that the policeman was a witness to the attack.
summitflyer
Thank you Rob Slane for this study of the Skripal case.As an outsider from another country I am grateful for your work .Your assumptions are far more likely than what we have heard from the government officials .As ugly as the truth of the matter might be , it would be better if they found a way to fess up .At this point it does not look good for the UK credibility .
Paul X
I'm intrigued by why the White House or the Administrstion hasn't asked why an ex-Senior spy, Steele, was given permission by the British Secret Service to write his dossier at all, based as it was purportedly on his time as Head of the Russia Desk at MI6, let alone pass it over to the Democrats while carefully leaking it to the media all with Steele's stated opinion that he'd do anything to stop Trump getting elected. It's clear why the US Intelligence Services are unconcerned, they also deplored Trump's election but why is there nothing about British interference in the election from Trump himself? Is it a row he's saving up or does it does show that Trump v the Dark State is rubbish, they are all in it together?
thorella
The poisonings were most probably organised by the state within the state. This speech although almost twenty years old gives some idea of the powers of the deep state and how the government relates to them
http://zersetzen.wikispaces.com/file/view/Gerald+Reaveley+James.pdf
Paul X
Who knows whether the British had a motive to incapacitate Sergei and then keep him in custody so it's hard to see how it can be said so categorically. If Sergei was serious about returning to Russia to see his mother before she died (a not unnatural sentiment especially for such a sentimental man) then there may have been very pressing reasons to keep him here, notably what he would say in his inevitable 'de-briefing' by ex-colleagues. It isn't denied that he continued to work with MI6 and may have had a hand in the Steele dossier. Julia's arrival seems to have moved the game forward and 'action' became imperative. The story itself has the hall marks of Eton and Trinity, a good 'wheeze'. Hastily put together it would have unraveled immediately without the D Notice. Now they have to decide whether they can dare let either of them have their freedom; Julia has a long life ahead; is she to be held incommunicado for decades?
john2o2o
I don't know if it has been asked before, but: why poison Yulia Skripal anyway? If this was some sort of professional hit, it was very badly timed, given that Yulia was only visiting her father.

I personally do not believe that any of these 5 people had been poisoned by a nerve agent. And by that I mean an organophosphate compound. BZ is not that class of compound. (I have a degree in chemistry).

Those compounds are exceedingly toxic. If their use (or rather non-use) is military then they must kill enemy troops quickly and with minimal amount. Speed is crucial. Semi conscious enemy soldiers are dangerous.

What I find frustrating is that – because we are being so cynically lied to by our government – we have been seriously misled about the toxicity of these chemicals. You really don't stand any sort of chance if you are poisoned by them.

Paul X
Julia's boyfriend is apparently in the Russian Secret Service and his mother is a senior figure in Russian Intelligence. She may have been passing on Putin's reply to Sergei's request to return home to visit his seriously ill elderly mother? He was irritable because he'd realised he'd have to decide, UK or Russia. And if it was to be Russia then he knew he'd have to spill the beans on Steele; tough decision! I agree it would be odd to target her if she was 'just' his daughter on a brief visit. Julia may have been as much a target as her father?
Paul Carline
If they were poisoned by a 'Novichok' nerve agent they would be dead.
Who 'identified' the supposed Novichok? Porton Down.
Who provided the sample for the OPCW? Porton Down.
Who has stocks of all known nerve agents? Porton Down.
Can the OPCW be trusted? No.
Can Brad Pitte II be trusted? No.
George
"The Western forces conspired to do it" = "conspiracy stuff".

"The Russian forces conspired to do it" = "not conspiracy stuff".

When is a conspiracy not a conspiracy?

bevin
Whether "Russia" had a motive is moot. But there is no evidence that "Russia" had any particular means than any other potential culprit, such as MI6.
As to'precedent' the number of assassinations carried out abroad by Russian intelligence pales in comparison with those carried out by Military Intelligence in the UK, the CIA and Mossad.
You are reduced to citing the very unlikely 'precedent' of Litivenko which every effort of The Establishment has failed to produce anything more than a meaningless finding by a tame High Court judge. No legal proceedings have discovered any connection between the death and the Russian state.
On the other hand 'western' intelligence agencies are notoriously engaged in assassinations and have been on an industrial scale for seventy years. Cf The Committee chaired by Senator Church.
iafantomo
Let's see. An MI6 spy, known to be still actively working on MI6 deception, is involved in an incident in which a claim is made that he's been poisoned with a deadly nerve agent by the Russians, which is disputed by hospital staff and Porton Down people behind the scenes, and can't be checked out by investigative journalists in the mainstream media, because there aren't any investigative journalists in the mainstream media, and immediately the Government knows that Russia did it. Doesn't that suggest to you that Mr Skripal may have been part of the set-up right from the start?

As for his daughter, is that the same Yulia Skripal in the pictures after the event as the one in the restaurant before the event?

Cherrycoke
Of course, Christopher Steele was also involved in the Litvinenko case:

"Steele's already dim view of the Kremlin darkened in November, 2006, when Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian K.G.B. officer and a Putin critic who had been recruited by M.I.6, suffered an agonizing death in a London hospital, after drinking a cup of tea poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. Moscow had evidently sanctioned a brazen murder in his own country. Steele was put in charge of M.I.6's investigation. Authorities initially planned to indict one suspect in the murder, but Steele's investigative work persuaded them to indict a second suspect as well."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man-behind-the-trump-dossier

Mulga Mumblebrain
Did Steele develop a 'dark view' of Thanatopolis DC after the years of rendition and torture, the illegal aggression and genocide in Iraq, or the carnage of the drone missile terrorism, or the death-squad 'night raid' rampage by US Special Forces. If not, why not?
thorella
The UK legal system is utterly corrupt when it comes to cases involving state crime
BigB
Paul Barril named Mario Scaramella as Litvinenko's killer: and I'd put more faith in France's former top cop than our residential troll!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aLI-gXJ7T5E

binra
Circumstances unknown and withheld from public knowledge oblige people in 'power' or positions of influence under such power to act in ways that make no sense to anyone with sense.

News for mass consumption is a sideshow but also a conditioning to remain inside the framing of a narrative identity. The 'Western intelligence' could not do a better job of damaging their credibility by the WAY they operate as well as the what of it.

However "No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance." (Alan Bullock, in Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives).

While the what of it can be tested to some degree for congruency with itself and with all the factors involved, the WAY of it speaks of either desperation of from a conviction that intellectual criticism is powerless in a post truth coup.

My sense is of either the leadership class being captive to powers they do not feel able to challenge or are cornered in some way by their circumstance so as not to have any other recourse than – in this case – stirring up hatred in incitement to violence with Russia. This could all be a brinkmanship of geopolitical 'poker' or it could be that the only 'escape' from such a mess as we inherit and persist in is war.

My sense is that when we cannot or will not embrace change somewhat 'gracefully' or in some willingness – then we give power to whatever external 'crisis' ripens to force it – and seek to 'survive' at the expense of those we abandoned or indeed conscripted or made into targets for WMD.

Dictating terms to a world of 'united states' under broad spectrum dominance of a tyrannous rule is not justified by 'symbols and stories' of freedom.

National and International security rests on honest communication, backed by supporting deeds so as to grow trust in place of treachery. No one has a clean past, but if we persist in re-enacting it, we will forsake the presence of mind by which to choose not to.

The nature of politics has had all its goalposts moved to a rigged system of finance and law that pre-empt any movement of cultural development apart from corporate capture – and allow that corporations have only the power given them by such a systemic 'development'. No one HAS power but for an agenda larger than their own usefulness.

Worldly power has always operated a narrative control at some level – but technology has 'outsourced' our own will and consciousness to systems and machinery of our own attempt and intent to replace Life with our own making. I see a larger 'script' than power struggle – or rather I see an awakening 'script' running beneath the narrative identity conflict.

Whether we have a fated outcome or make our own (under a fatal condition), the framing of the physicalised sense of self is the 'life in the world'. But this framing is not itself physical so much as conditioned association and reflex that is hidden from sight while we engage within its framing as a sense of personal struggle under and driven by 'necessity' of survival in the terms we set or are forcefully and fearfully identified in.

Deceit is simply a weapon in a world of war – including the claiming of a moral high ground whenever it suits an invalidating of the 'other'. Loss of communication, trust and therefore integrity is the state of a lack of substance. However, 'claiming the moral high ground' as a personal right to power is the same old story. The complexities of deceits and entanglements increase with the persistence of identities and investments in them – which of course run as 'self-evident reality' by reactions that embody the beliefs.

[Jun 26, 2019] Guardian Working for UK Intel Services MI6 Tool Publishes Black Propaganda

Notable quotes:
"... Harding's avowed contact with Steele may also have contributed to another high profile blunder in April this year. In the immediate wake of the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, the UK government issued a D(SMA) notice , blocking mention of Pablo Miller -- Skripal's MI6 recruiter -- in the media. ..."
Jun 24, 2018 | sputniknews.com

On September 21, The Guardian ran an absolutely sensational exclusive, based on disclosures made by "multiple" anonymous sources to Luke Harding, one of the paper's leading journalists - in 2017, Russian diplomats allegedly held secret talks in London with associates of Assange, in an attempt to assist in the Wikileaks founder's escape from the UK.

The dastardly conspiracy would've entailed Assange being smuggled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge under cover of Christmas Eve in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to Russia, where he'd be safe from extradition to the US, ending his eight-years of effective arbitrary detention in the process.

In any event, the audacious plot was eventually aborted after being deemed "too risky" -- even for the reckless daredevils of Moscow -- mere days before its planned execution date.

Rommy Vallejo, head of Ecuador's intelligence agency, is said to have travelled to the UK around December 15 to supervise the operation, and left when it was called off.

'Extraordinary, Deliberate Lies'

The Russian Embassy in London was quick to condemn the article on Twitter, calling the claims "another example of disinformation and fake news" in the UK mainstream media, and noting the paper violated national media standards by failing to ask the Russian side for a comment prior to the report's release. "This publication has nothing to do with the reality. The Embassy has never engaged with Ecuadorian colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions of any kind on Russia's participation in ending Assange's stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador.

We're puzzled by the sensational attitude of the authors. As recently as September 18, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright called for increased efforts to combat media and online disinformation. [The] Guardian piece is a brilliant example of the kind of journalism British reader should be protected from," a spokesperson added in an official statement. In a subsequent statement , the Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the article for containing a "whole series of similar anti-Russia innuendos, and once again made clear Russian diplomats did not contact staff of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London or Assange's associates in order to assist in his escape from the UK.

However, a far more damning indictment of the article's extraordinary, evidence-free claims was provided by Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who denounced the "quite extraordinary set of deliberate lies" in a September 23 blog post. In doing so, he revealed he and Fidel Narvaez -- a close confidant of Assange fingered as the key point of contact between the Ecuadorian embassy and Moscow in the article -- had engaged in discussions with Assange in 2017 regarding a possible departure from the UK capital, and debated possible future destinations for the embattled Wikileaks founder.

As of today -- start of the 73rd UN General Assembly -- 957 days have passed since the UN ruled Julian Assange is unlawfully & arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released & compensated. https://t.co/zZGUOhNDvH #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/i08Ji9WF1g -- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 18, 2018
​"It's not only the case Russia didn't figure in those plans, Julian directly ruled out the possibility of going to Russia. I know 100% for certain the entire story is a complete and utter fabrication. I cannot find words enough to express the depth of my contempt for Harding and [Editor] Katherine Viner, who've betrayed completely the values of journalism. The aim of the piece is evidently to add a further layer to the fake news of Wikileaks' non-existent relationship to Russia as part of the "Hillary didn't really lose" narrative. I am, frankly, rather shocked," Murray wrote .

Friends in Spooky Places

The identities of Harding's alleged anonymous sources aren't even hinted at in the article, but Murray made a striking suggestion -- he "strongly suspect[ed]" that "MI6 tool" Harding's informants were the UK security services. If true, this would make the article "entirely black propaganda" produced by British spies. Whether MI6 agents are the source of the story or not, it's certainly true Harding enjoys a very close relationship indeed with British intelligence services -- a bond he has frequently, openly and proudly advertised in articles and books.

For instance, in his highly controversial 2017 book Collusion, Harding argued Donald Trump had a relationship with the Russian 'deep state' dating back to the 1980s, and colluded with the Kremlin to subvert US democracy. To support this conclusion, he frequently cited claims fed to him directly by Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 spy turned 'business intelligence' professional, who authored the utterly discredited 'Trump-Russia' dossier for Fusion GPS.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9Ikf1uZli4g

When challenged to provide any evidence whatsoever for his book's assertions by Aaron Mate of The Real News, Harding was left mumbling and stuttering -- he was also unable to defend his claim that an individual's use of an emoji was proof they were working for Russian intelligence, and terminated the interview prematurely.

Harding's avowed contact with Steele may also have contributed to another high profile blunder in April this year. In the immediate wake of the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, the UK government issued a D(SMA) notice , blocking mention of Pablo Miller -- Skripal's MI6 recruiter -- in the media. Individuals who conducted internet searches for Miller afterwards quickly found his LinkedIn profile, which identified him as a 'Senior Analyst' at Orbis Intelligence -- Steele's corporate espionage company.-

It is true, or was. As I say, this 2017 forum thread, which links to Pablo Miller's LinkedIn profile, states Orbis is listed on Miller's CV -- https://t.co/Fx0vu1qorJ . Stop regurgitating anonymous claims by your spook pals and do some research, Luke -- Kit Klarenberg (@KitKlarenberg) March 12, 2018
​Miller's page was quickly deleted though, and Harding took to Twitter to issue firm denials of a connection between Miller and the firm, going so far as to suggest "someone" was using search engine optimization techniques to dishonestly associate Miller and Orbis. However, enterprising Sputnik journalist Kit Klarenberg quickly and easily found an online forum thread dating from 2017 clearly identifying Miller as an Orbis employee -- as of September, Harding is yet to respond, or retract his claims.
Related:
Freudian Slip: Did Guardian Urge Two Tech Giants to 'Promote Hate and Division'?
Russian Embassy on The Guardian Article: 'Great Foreign Policy Planning'
The Guardian's Attempt to Save the White Helmets
UK Broadcasters to Be Urged to Face Up to 'Russian Propaganda' - Reports

[Jun 26, 2019] How the OPCW's investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled - Working Group on Syria by Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson

Notable quotes:
"... The Douma investigation included external consultations with engineering experts and toxicologists. The Final Report does not present the results of these consultations in their original form. The exclusion of the FFM's own Engineering Assessment raises suspicion that other assessments may have been omitted or distorted. ..."
"... As we have previously noted, if the Douma attack was staged the only plausible explanation for the deaths of the victims is that they were murdered as captives by the opposition group in control of Douma at the time. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media 25 June 2019

1 Summary
2 Introduction
3 The Fact-Finding Mission in Syria
4 The boss: Sébastien Braha
5 The Team Leader: Sami Barrek
6 The freelance: Len Phillips
7 The interim and final reports
8 Distortion of evidence in earlier reports where Phillips was FFM Team Leader
8.1 Idlib 2015: refrigerant canisters
8.2 Khan Shaykhun 2017: recorded times of hospital admissions
8.3 Ltamenah 2017: intact sarin persisting after months in the open
9 UK-led information operations associated with alleged chemical attacks
9.1 Ministry of Defence: Targeting and Information Operations
9.2 ARK, Basma, Mayday Rescue and the White Helmets
9.3 SecureBio and the CBRN Task Force
9.4 UK communicators
10 A next step: replication of the engineering studies
11 Role of external engineering experts and toxicologists
12 Acknowledgements

1 Summary

2 Introduction

In response to our release of the suppressed Engineering Assessment, OPCW management produced three explanations in the space of ten days:

  1. The Engineering Assessment "is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM" and Ian Henderson "has never been a member of the FFM". ( Deepti Choubey , 11 May)
  2. Henderson was "on the sidelines of the FFM", but his report was "a dissenting assessment" and "his findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written" (off-the-record briefings to Scott Lucas and Brian Whitaker , 16 May). The Director-General, answering a question on 6 June, confirmed that the Engineering Assessment "was considered and it was analysed, it was part of the investigation", thus contradicting Choubey's email of 11 May).
  3. Henderson was in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM" but the Engineering Assessment was excluded because it "came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate." (Whitaker's "informed source" , quoted 24 May). This was the explanation given by the Director-General in a "Briefing for States Parties" on 28 May: Henderson "was tasked with temporarily assisting the FFM" but his report was "outside of the mandate of the FFM with regard to the formulation of its findings."

These three mutually contradictory excuses bring to mind Sigmund Freud's story of the defences offered by a man who was accused by his neighbour of having returned a kettle in a damaged condition:

In the first place, he had returned the kettle undamaged; in the second place it already had holes in it when he borrowed it; and in the third place, he had never borrowed it at all.

This fumbling response to the release of the document casts doubt on the Director-General's statement that the OPCW first became aware in March 2019 that it might have leaked. No leak investigation was launched at this time. It is however evident that by 14 March 2019 several delegations at the OPCW were aware that there was dissent among FFM team members. A commentary by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the Executive Council on 14 March had blocked the Russian proposal to hold a briefing with "all without exception experts of the OPCW Mission" and commented that "such a briefing could reveal very serious inconsistencies in the anti-Syrian conclusions in the Final Report". A gloating tweet from the Netherlands delegation that the Russian proposal had been voted down with "only 5 votes in favour" was retweeted by the Canadian and UK delegations.

The explanations by the Director-General of how the FFM took into account the findings of the Engineering Assessment are somewhat contradictory. In a prepared statement on 28 May he indicated that the FFM report used the raw data collected by Henderson's sub-team but relied for analysis on the assessments of the three "external experts" who analysed these data:

This is what the FFM did with the information included in the publicly disclosed document; all available information was examined, weighed and deliberated. Diverse views were expressed, discussed and considered against the overall facts and evidence collected and analysed. With regard to the ballistics data collected by the FFM, they were analysed by three external experts commissioned by the FFM, and working independently from one another. In the end, while using different methods and instruments, they all reached the same conclusions that can be found in the FFM Final Report.

In an unscripted panel discussion at a conference on 6 June he appeared to imply that the Engineering Assessment had been considered but rejected as "not fit to the conclusion".

all the information given by any inspectors is considered but sometimes it is not fit to the conclusion. This information [the Engineering Assessment] was considered and was analysed, it was part of the investigation

Either of these explanations undermines the OPCW's credibility. If, as the briefing on 28 May indicated, the authors of the Final Report had excluded the OPCW's internal engineering assessment from consideration, relying only on the assessments of experts who had not inspected the sites or examined the cylinders, this would have been difficult to justify. If, as the Director-General indicated on 6 June, the authors of the Final Report had considered Henderson's assessment along with the three external assessments and decided in favour of the three external assessments, their failure to mention the existence of an internal assessment that was discordant with the other three assessments might reasonably be considered fraudulent. We might doubt also that the authors of the Final Report, having excluded the FFM's own engineering subteam, would have had the expertise required to make such a judgement. The rationale that Henderson's assessment was outside the mandate of the FFM appears to have been constructed at a later stage as a way out of this dilemma.

If we are to believe the Director-General, all three external engineering assessments independently reached the conclusions in the Final Report that at Location 2:

the damage observed is consistent with the creation of the aperture observed in the terrace by the cylinder found in that location.

and that at Location 4:

after passing through the ceiling, the cylinder continued altered trajectory, until reaching the position in which it was found.

As noted below, the Director-General has asked "civil society" to "believe in what we do". A first step towards restoring belief in the integrity of the OPCW's investigations would be to make the reports from all three external engineering consultancies publicly available.

The Director-General's briefing does not spell out how the Engineering Assessment was deemed to be "outside of the mandate of the FFM with regard to the formulation of its findings." The Technical Secretariat's response to Russian criticisms, dated 21 May, spells out more specifically its contention that to assess how the cylinders arrived at their respective locations was outside the mandate of the FFM:

the FFM report does not elaborate in any part on the "high probability that both cylinders were placed at Locations 2 and 4 manually rather than dropped from an aircraft". In fact, this type of information is deemed outside of the mandate and methodology of the FFM.

We reiterate that this argument is fallacious, and quote our last briefing note :

OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.

As Hitchens has noted , the contention that evidence that the cylinders were manually placed rather than dropped from the air would be "outside of the mandate and methodology of the FFM" contradicts explicit statements in the Interim Report and the Final Report. For instance the Interim Report had stated that "Work is ongoing to assess how the cylinders arrived at their respective locations". Hitchens commented that "I don't think the people who dreamed up this particular escape clause have thought through their ideas very well." the OPCW has not responded to his request for clarification.

In what appears to be a reference to the Working Group, the Director-General complained on 6 June that:

We are attacked with misinformation, with proxies that produced reports to undermine an official report of the Fact-Finding Mission about investigations in Syria, and I ask you, civil society, to believe in what we do.

The "misinformation" was not specified: we should welcome rebuttals showing, with direct quotations and references to original sources, where we have disseminated misinformation. The suggestion that we are "proxies" is a smear of the kind that we have become accustomed to. As for "civil society", if that term means anything it would include entities like the Working Group, whose members collaborate in their spare time unpaid to ask questions that academics in the field of arms control and all but a few corporate journalists have failed to ask. We are well aware that most staff in the OPCW continue to work professionally for the organization's mission of upholding the Chemical Weapons Convention. It should now be evident to OPCW staff, including those in senior management positions, that unless the capture of the Technical Secretariat by the France-UK-US-led alliance of States Parties is reversed, the future of the organization is at risk.

We now report on how the OPCW reports purporting to be the findings of the Fact-Finding Mission investigating the Douma incident were prepared. This is based on combining open source material with information communicated to us by OPCW staff members, whose identities we shall protect.

3 The Fact-Finding Mission in Syria

As we noted in an earlier briefing, the Chemical Weapons Convention (Part XI of the Verification Annex, "Investigations in cases of alleged use of chemical weapons") lays down strict procedures for investigations of alleged use, and does not empower OPCW management to interfere in such an investigation once the inspection team has been selected and dispatched. In April 2014, when the first alleged chlorine attacks were reported from opposition-held areas, the Director-General decided to create a new operation designated the "Fact-Finding Mission in Syria", with a mandate "to establish the facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic." This was announced on 29 April 2014, before any meeting of the Executive Council had considered it. The first report of the FFM stated that:

the establishment of the FFM was based on the general authority of the OPCW Director-General to seek to uphold at all times the object and purpose of the Chemical Weapons Convention;

This mechanism allowed the Technical Secretariat to set its own rules and procedures for the investigation of alleged chemical attacks in Syria. The first Team Leader of the Fact-Finding Mission was Malik Ellahi , who had been Political Adviser to the Director-General. After coming under fire in May 2014 when attempting an on-site inspection in opposition-held territory, the FFM resorted to collecting evidence in Turkey, with witnesses and materials provided by opposition-linked NGOs.

In early 2015 the Fact-Finding Mission was split into two: Team Alpha, headed by Len Phillips, and Team Bravo, headed by Steven Wallis. This arrangement was criticized by the Russian envoy to the OPCW who complained on 14 April 2017 that:

Under the mandate defined for [ the Fact-Finding Mission ] , its membership should be approved by the Syrian government, and it should be balanced. For some time, these provisions were observed somewhat, but then the mission was split into two groups. One [Team Bravo], led by Steven Wallis from Britain, works in contact with the Syrian government, while the other one [Team Alpha], headed by his fellow countryman Leonard Phillips, deals with the claims filed by the Syrian armed opposition. This latter group is working completely non-transparently. Its membership is classified, and no one knows where it goes or how it operates. They are allegedly using the same methodology as Steven Wallis's group, but they are clearly working mostly remotely, relying on the internet and the fabrications provided by Syrian opposition NGOs, and never go to Syria. At least, we are not aware of a single such trip.

In January 2018 Phillips was replaced as leader of Team Alpha by Sami Barrek. In January 2019 both teams were merged and Boban Cekovic , a former inspector who had worked as a decontamination specialist in the Serbian Ministry of Defence before joining OPCW, was rehired to become the Head of the Fact-Finding Mission.

On 23 January 2018 an initiative named the International Partnership against Impunity for Chemical Weapons was launched at a meeting in Paris. A leaked diplomatic telegram from the British diplomat Benjamin Norman indicated that the second meeting of the secret Small Group on Syria (representing France, UK, US, Saudi and Jordan) was to be held on the sidelines of this meeting, following the first meeting of this group on 12 January in Washington at which the US had confirmed its intention to maintain a significant military presence in Syria. On 4 February 2018 an alleged chemical attack was reported in Saraqib. We have commented elsewhere on the anomalies in the subsequent FFM report which concluded that in this incident "chlorine, released from cylinders through mechanical impact, was likely used as a chemical weapon". The International Partnership against Impunity for Chemical Weapons, to which 38 countries signed up, laid the basis for a UK-tabled resolution passed by the Conference of States Parties on 27 June 2018 deciding that:

the Secretariat shall put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons in those instances in which the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases for which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has not issued a report.

We note in passing that the FFM report on the Douma incident did not determine that "use or likely use" of a chemical weapon occurred, but used the more diffident wording "reasonable grounds".

On the basis of this resolution the Technical Secretariat established another operation that had not been provided for in the Chemical Weapons Convention, designated the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). The newly-appointed director of the IIT, Santiago Oñate, who had been the legal adviser and later special adviser to the OPCW since 2004, cannot be a line manager (under OPCW rules about tenure, he can be employed only as a consultant). This implies that the staff of the IIT report to the Chief of Cabinet. The Principal Investigator of the IIT is Elise Coté , a Second Secretary at the Canadian embassy in The Hague. This is an obvious conflict of interest, as the Canadian government is strongly opposed to the Syrian government and maintains that "use of chemical weapons" by the Syrian government is an established fact for which it should be "held accountable". 4 The boss: Sébastien Braha

OPCW management are collectively referred to as "the first floor", where they have their offices. The current Director-General has a mostly ceremonial role (as was evident from his confused answers in a panel discussion on 6 June), and the effective boss of the OPCW is the Chief of Cabinet, Sébastien Braha, who has been a French diplomat since 2006 and served as the deputy French Permanent Representative to the OPCW from September 2014 onwards. On 22 May 2019, when one of us tweeted a screenshot of his Linkedin profile, this profile showed him to be still in this diplomatic post. Within a few days his profile was updated to show that he left his diplomatic post in July 2018 when he took up his post as Chief of Cabinet. Our sources report that even before he took up his post as an employee of the OPCW, he was frequently in the building giving instructions on expectations from his capital to the Technical Secretariat. 5 The Team Leader: Sami Barrek

The timeline of the Final Report records that the Team Leader "redeployed for information gathering activities from all other available sources" on 17 April 2018 three days after the team had arrived in Damascus, leaving the Deputy Team Leader in charge. A posting dated 22 April 2018 by a pro-government Syrian journalist writing as "Military Zonex" had reported this with more details:

the OPCW special mission headed by Mamadou Yerbanga continues its work in Syrian Douma. The previous head, Saami Barek was called off to another mission, to Turkey, due to unknown reasons. Earlier, the Syrian opposition claimed that Bashar Al Assad used chemical ammunition in Idlib. They also said that the ammunition fragments had been sent to Turkey. It is likely that Saami Barek (from Tunisia) is now in Turkey or at the north of Syria to help the opposition in gathering 'evidences' to blame the Syrian government in using chemical weapon. The Tunisian is likely to have established contacts with "White Helmets" - the organization, which has many times been caught in making fake videos demonstrating 'outcomes' of use of chemical weapon by the Syrian army.

We have confirmed from other sources that the Team Leader who left Damascus was Sami Barrek and that he was subsequently seen in Turkey with the White Helmets. As we pointed out, it is surprising that the Team Leader was suddenly redeployed from on-site inspections to take charge of information gathering activities elsewhere that would have far less evidential value. We have not been able to confirm that the Syrian opposition claimed a chemical attack in Idlib at this time, as Military Zonex reported.

Sami Barrek, originally Tunisian, has a background in analytical chemistry. His affiliation on a paper published in 2009 was with a lab in France. He joined the OPCW as an inspector in January 2010. OPCW employment contracts are term-limited to seven years, though for some inspectors these limits were extended or they were retained on Special Service Agreements (equivalent to consultancy contracts). Some former inspectors were re-hired for up to three years.

The Twitter account @samibarrek was set up in April 2013 but has never tweeted. One of its few followers is @LenP91535865 , an account set up in June 2018. Examination shows that this is Len Phillips , the leader of FFM Team Alpha from 2015 to 2017. As Sami Barrek's account has never tweeted, there is no obvious reason for Phillips to follow it other than to allow private messaging. Phillips's twitter account @LenP91535865 has two followers excluding a relative and authors of this article: the second follower was Sébastien Braha. As the 48 brief tweets posted by Phillips from June 2018 to May 2019 are unlikely to be of wide interest, the most plausible reason for Braha to have followed Phillips's twitter account would have been to allow private messaging. Phillips also follows Braha's twitter account.

We can thus identify what appear to be arrangements for private communication between three people: Barrek, the leader of the FFM team investigating the Douma incident; Phillips, working for the OPCW during 2018 as a freelance; and Braha, the Chief of Cabinet. This itself is not necessarily anything untoward (unless they were using this channel to communicate on OPCW matters) but it leads us to examine the possible role of Phillips. 6 The freelance: Len Phillips

Phillips's Linkedin biography records that after obtaining degrees in chemistry and engineering he worked for twelve years in the chemical industry. His last job in industry was as a process engineer at the Associated Octel plant in Anglesey, which closed in 2003 with the loss of 100 jobs. In January 2008 he began working as an inspector for the OPCW in The Hague, and was promoted to Inspection Team Leader in January 2011. Phillips's bio records for this period that he:

Led fact finding mission team and reported on allegations in Idlib, Spring 2015; Marea, August 2015; Khan Shaykhun, April 2017, Ltamenah, 30 March 2017.

These investigations were based on interviews with White Helmets in Turkey and materials that they provided. We have been told that Phillips met regularly in Turkey with James Le Mesurier, founder of the White Helmets. His biography records that after a sabbatical during the first quarter of 2018 he was from April 2018 a self-employed "Chemical investigations Consultant, with particular focus on use of chemicals as weapons".

On 8 April 2019 Phillips registered a UK company named PhBG Consultants Ltd , with an address in Anglesey. Although the incorporation document records that Phillips is sole director and sole shareholder, the acronym "PhBG" and the plural form "Consultants" in the company name suggest that there may be a partner. The "Nature of Business" registered for this company appears rather close to what an OPCW investigation might commission from "engineering experts".

66210 - Risk and damage evaluation 70229 - Management consultancy activities other than financial management 71122 - Engineering related scientific and technical consulting activities

Phillips's Linkedin profile lists two "Interests" apart from his old universities and the OPCW: the UK Government's Stabilisation Unit, and Bellingcat. On Twitter, Phillips appears to interact with Eliot Higgins and follows three other Bellingcat-associated accounts. He follows accounts associated with three opposition-linked NGOs that have provided evidence of alleged chemical attacks to FFM Team Alpha: the White Helmets, the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria, and the Syrian American Medical Society. The first follower of the twitter account @LenP91535865 was Fahad Abu Waleed ( @c8ll08TZ3FM6e2s , joined in July 2018), who (front row, third from the right in a group photo ) had been based in Douma as a White Helmet and was affiliated to Jaish al-Islam, the opposition group in control of Douma up to April 2018. This affiliation is documented by a Facebook post dated 25 December 2016, in which Fahad commemorated "the first anniversary of the martydom" of Zahran Alloush, the notoriously brutal and sectarian leader of Jaish al-Islam, with the words "my sheikh and higher in the heavens". We note with unease that of the tweets during 2018 "liked" by Fahad, several were announcements of the evacuation of White Helmets to Jordan and their impending relocation to the UK. 7 The interim and final reports

As we pointed out in an earlier briefing note , when the Interim Report and the Final Report on the Douma investigation were examined together, there were several indicators of interference with the investigation:

Our sources have provided information that fills in some details of how the investigation was nobbled. An internal note shared among OPCW staff members dated 23 June 2018 stated that:

the OPCW report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma Syria on 7 April is currently under review by management. As it is currently drafted, the report indicates a high degree of probability that the alleged chemical attack was staged by an opposition group.

The note concluded:

I predict that the OPCW simply will not be allowed to issue a report that raises any doubts on the pre-judged guilty party.

What happened at this stage, leading to the release of an unsigned Interim Report with only lab results, was not transparent to FFM team members. From then onwards the investigation proceeded in secrecy, nominally led by Barrek, with all the FFM team members who had deployed to Douma excluded. The Director-General's statement that Henderson "was tasked with temporarily assisting the FFM" could be applied to all these team members; they do not know who wrote what was released as the final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission . It is presumed that Barrek as Team Leader up to the end of 2018 and Cekovic as Head of the FFM from the beginning of 2019 were the formal lead authors.

OPCW staff members have told us that the subsequent investigation involved consultation with Len Phillips, who was frequently seen in the building with Barrek during the summer of 2018. There is indirect corroboration of his role from his Twitter account:

8 Distortion of evidence in earlier reports where Phillips was FFM Team Leader

In the light of what we have learned about the role of Phillips in the FFM investigation of the Douma incident, it is relevant to examine his track record in three earlier FFM investigations of alleged chemical attacks where he was the Team Leader: these are Idlib (2015) , Khan Shaykhun (2017) , and Ltamenah where two FFM reports were issued: one on an alleged attack on 30 March 2017 (released 2 November 2017) , and the other on alleged attacks on 24 March and 25 March 2017, (released 13 June 2018) .

8.1 Idlib 2015: refrigerant canisters

In March 2015 a series of alleged chlorine attacks began in Idlib. The Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria regarding alleged incidents in the Idlib Governorate of the Syrian Arab Republic between 16 March and 20 May 2015 concluded that:

several incidents that occurred in the Idlib Governorate of the Syrian Arab Republic between 16 March 2015 and 20 May 2015 likely involved the use of one or more toxic chemicals – probably containing the element chlorine – as a weapon.

Larson has examined in detail the contradictions in the story of the most widely-publicized of these incidents: the alleged attack in Sarmin on 16 March 2015 that led to the deaths of the Taleb family. We shall focus specifically on the alleged munitions.

Images from the sites of these alleged attacks showed canisters of R22 (a hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant) and half-litre plastic bottles containing a purple substance that was later identified as potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate reacts with hydrochloric acid to produce chlorine; this is a convenient and safe way to produce small quantities of chlorine in a laboratory. R22 itself is non-toxic, with or without mixing with permanganate.

The FFM report included a drawing of the alleged munition, made up of R22 canisters and bottles of potassium permanganate wrapped in detonating cord and enclosed in a steel barrel. It should have been clear to Phillips, as a chemical process engineer, that this device was implausible as a munition, as there is no mechanism for the potassium permanganate to mix with the contents of the canisters before the device is detonated. Binary chemical munitions are designed to mix the precursors in flight or before launch. More specifically, the FFM report omitted a key fact that was later noted by the Joint Investigative Mechanism's report : the R22 canisters are disposable and their repurposing or refilling would require technical modification of the valve. Phillips's FFM report did not mention this, though the FFM had been provided with several canisters allegedly used in these munitions. If the canisters could not have been refilled with something else, they could not have been used in chemical munitions either on their own or with potassium permanganate. 8.2 Khan Shaykhun 2017: recorded times of hospital admissions

In the Khan Shaykhun incident on 4 April 2017, a Syrian jet was alleged to have dropped a sarin-containing munition on the town, causing the deaths of at least 70 people who were seen from about 7 am onwards being hosed down by the White Helmets outside their base in a cave complex near the town, and later laid out in morgues. The Joint Investigative Mechanism's investigation of the incident reported that a flight map (presumably provided by the US military) showed that the Syrian jet had passed no closer than 5 km from the town, effectively ruling out an airstrike as the explanation for the incident. Although the FFM did not have access to this flight map, it ignored other observations that should have cast serious doubt on whether a chemical attack had occurred as described. One of these observations was the recorded times of hospital admissions. The report of the Joint Investigative Mechanism noted that hospital records showed admission times before the alleged attack occurred.

The Mechanism received the medical records of 247 patients from Khan Shaykhun who had been admitted to various health-care facilities, Analysis of the records revealed that in 57 cases, patients had been admitted to five hospitals before the incident (at 0600, 0620 and 0640 hours). In 10 of those cases, patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 125 km away from Khan Shaykhun at 0700 hours, while another 42 patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 30 km away at 0700 hours. The Mechanism did not investigate those discrepancies and cannot determine whether they are linked to any possible staging scenario or are the result of poor record-keeping in chaotic conditions."

The FFM had reported that they received "699 pages of records (including autopsies, medical records, death certificates and other patient information)" and that:

The team collected a number of patient records, death certificates, and other medical documents from medical facilities throughout northern Syria, collected from medical NGOs, the Idlib Health Directorate (IHD), and the Khan Shaykhun Medical Centre.

The records from the Idlib Health Directorate covered 292 exposed individuals including 50 fatalities. If most of these fatal cases were recorded as not admitted to health-care facilities, the number of medical records collected by the FFM matches approximately the number received by the Mechanism, implying that these sets of records were largely the same. Whatever may be the explanation for the inconsistency of the recorded admission times with the time of the alleged attack, the failure of the FFM to mention it casts doubt on the reliability and integrity of the report. 8.3 Ltamenah 2017: intact sarin persisting after months in the open

The Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria regarding alleged incidents in Ltamenah on 24 and 25 March 2017 dated 13 June 2018 concluded that "sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in the south of Ltamenah on 24 March 2017" and that "chlorine was very likely used as a chemical weapon at Ltamenah Hospital and the surrounding area on 25 March 2017". Witnesses of the alleged incident on 25 March 2017 reported that a gas cylinder dropped from the air had pierced the roof of the Ltamenah cave hospital, causing three deaths. Chlorinated organic molecules had been found in samples from this attack but so had sarin degradation products on the clothes of one of the victims. The FFM attributed the sarin degradation products to secondary contamination from a previously unreported sarin attack the day before in which two munitions had allegedly fallen on agricultural land outside the town.

Environmental samples from the alleged incident on 24 March 2017 were received by the FFM team eleven months later on 19 February 2018, after the White Helmets had been prompted to provide them in an "interview process" that had started at the end of July 2017:

Based on information supplied during interviews, the FFM identified munition parts that were of potential interest in relation to the alleged incident of 24 March 2017 and arranged for their collection by an NGO. As a result, further environmental samples, including remnants of alleged munition parts, were received by the FFM team on 19 February 2018.

Surprisingly, despite the delay in obtaining these samples, they were found to contain intact sarin as well as sarin degradation products. Even if the White Helmets had collected the munition parts immediately after the "interview process", sealed them and stored them in a freezer till February 2018, they would still have been lying in the open for at least 15 weeks. A review of studies by western defence research establishments shows that intact sarin does not persist in the open for more than one or two days in warm weather. While it is possible that intact sarin could persist for longer than this, for instance between surfaces or adsorbed, the report does not provide any such explanation, or even record the date when these samples were purportedly collected. As chemistry graduates trained to inspect chemical weapons, Phillips and his successor Barrek could be expected to be aware that this was a key point in evaluating whether there had been a sarin attack as alleged.

As no reports or images of the incident on 24 March 2017 appeared at the time, sceptics might doubt that it happened, and might even suspect collusion between the FFM team and the White Helmets in coming up with this explanation, at least three months later, for the presence of sarin degradation products in the samples from the alleged chlorine attack on 25 March. A more plausible explanation for the presence of sarin degradation products in environmental samples from an opposition base on 25 March is that preparations were being made for the incident in Khan Shaykhun on 4 April.

In summary, in the reports of these three investigations by FFM Team Alpha when Phillips was Team Leader, there are indications that evidence favouring staging over a chemical attack was ignored or distorted. This strengthens the case for retracting all these reports, not just the Final Report on the Douma incident, and allowing independent reassessment of the material collected. 9 UK-led information operations associated with alleged chemical attacks

From combining all available information, it is now clear that several entities involved in reporting and documenting alleged chemical attacks have their origin in a covert programme launched by the UK government in 2012. In this programme, like a low-budget theatrical production, the same actors reappear in different roles. For instance Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) appears successively as covert agent collecting samples for Porton Down , as independent chemical weapons expert quoted in the media, as the founder of a small business setting up an NGO to collect evidence for the OPCW, and from 2016, described as a "former spy" , in the role of a humanitarian worker coordinating a network of hospitals . It is likely that this programme would have attempted to co-opt OPCW staff, especially UK nationals.

9.1 Ministry of Defence: Targeting and Information Operations

In June 2012 the UK government established a covert StratCom programme on the Syrian conflict, overseen by former Lt-Col Kevin Stratford-Wright in the Targeting and Information Operations directorate of the Ministry of Defence, later renamed as Military Strategic Effects. Stratford-Wright described this programme as "the UK's largest of its kind since the Cold War". Metadata revealed that tender documents for provision of media operations for the "moderate armed opposition", issued in 2013 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were created by Stratford-Wright. This contract was eventually awarded to a company named InCoStrat set up by Paul Tilley, another former Lt-Col who had been working with Stratford-Wright in the Targeting and Information Operations directorate. 9.2 ARK, Basma, Mayday Rescue and the White Helmets

An early step was the establishment in Istanbul of a company named Access Resource Knowledge (ARK) by Alistair Harris, a former FCO diplomat, together with a pro-opposition media outlet named Basma. Basma was the media source for the first alleged chemical attack in Homs in December 2012. As the "stabilisation and development" company ARK Group DMCC based in Dubai, ARK has received £19 million from the FCO since July 2015. The "Mayday Rescue" operation headed by Le Mesurier was spun out of ARK, where Le Mesurier worked . According to publicly available FCO expenditure records, a total of £43 million was paid to "Mayday Rescue" between May 2015 and October 2018, not to the non-profit Stichting Mayday Rescue Foundation registered in the Netherlands but to the company Mayday Rescue FZ-LLC established in 2014 and based in Dubai. 9.3 SecureBio and the CBRN Task Force

In April 2012, the company SecureBio set up a year earlier by HdBG became active with a new split of equity , and a separate company SecureBio Forensics was created. HdBG became prominent during 2013 in his overt role as an expert commentator on chemical weapons, and (as he revealed ) in a covert role collecting samples from Syria for analysis at Porton Down and its French counterpart at Le Bouchet. He went on to establish a CBRN Task Force that provided apparently fabricated evidence of a chlorine attack in Talmenes to the FFM in 2014. He subsequently became affiliated with the ostensibly humanitarian NGOs UOSSM and Doctors under Fire . Recently he disseminated a story of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May 2018, shortly after it was first reported by a media outlet linked to the rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. 9.4 UK communicators

We have noted the role of Brian Whitaker in 2012 when he promoted the blogger Eliot Higgins to prominence as a self-taught expert on the munitions used in the Syrian conflict. Higgins would later be acclaimed as the open source investigator who documented munitions found at the sites of alleged chemical attacks in 2013. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post. In May 2019 he took on a new role in channelling an "informed source" within the OPCW.

Professor Scott Lucas 's communications in support of UK foreign policy appear to date back to the establishment of his website Enduring America in October 2008, at a time when UK diplomats were privately expressing concern that the incoming Obama administration might seek an agreement with Iran. Lucas persistently attacked two US foreign policy experts, Hillary Mann and Flynt Leverett, who advocated a US-Iran rapprochement. He stated in a tweet on 16 May 2019 that he had been "developing info/contacts re OPCW process on Syria since 2013". In a tweet on 30 April 2019, he revealed that "One of privileges of this job is meeting a lot of wonderful people on ground who, at risk to themselves, want to get story out. So that is why I have 'facts', in and beyond OPCW report." It is not clear what he meant by "this job", or why anyone whose honest intention was to "get story out" would choose Lucas as an outlet. 10 A next step: replication of the engineering studies

As we have noted , the Final Report recorded that the Syrian government retained custody of the two cylinders used for the internal Engineering Assessment, after they were tagged and sealed by "FFM team members" (presumably the engineering sub-team) on 4 June 2018. With access to the cylinders, and to open source records of observations at the locations where they were found, it should be possible to establish whether the findings of the engineering sub-team can be replicated, and to determine which of the two alternative hypotheses – dropped from aircraft or manually placed – is supported.

Such a study could be undertaken by an international panel of impact engineering experts, hosted by a university department with access to supercomputing facilities, and published in accordance with modern scientific standards for reproducible research so that all raw data and computer code used to generate the results are made freely available. For such a report to be credible it would have to be independent of the OPCW, although the IIT could be invited to participate and to provide the measurements taken by FFM team members at the locations where the cylinders were found. The IIT has no expertise to undertake or assess studies in this specialized field. The forthcoming meeting of the Executive Council would be an appropriate occasion to table such a proposal, on the basis that the proposed replication study will proceed with or without OPCW participation. 11 Role of external engineering experts and toxicologists

The Douma investigation included external consultations with engineering experts and toxicologists. The Final Report does not present the results of these consultations in their original form. The exclusion of the FFM's own Engineering Assessment raises suspicion that other assessments may have been omitted or distorted. We are sceptical of the Director-General's statement that all three external engineering consultants "reached the same conclusions that can be found in the FFM final report". It is evident also that the opinions of the toxicologists have not been presented accurately. The explanation given in the Final Report for why the victims did not attempt to escape is that they were exposed to "an agent capable of quickly killing or immobilising". Toxicologists would have been well aware that chlorine from a cylinder on the roof could not have done this, and would have said so. We invite the Technical Secretariat, if it really believes that it can stand by the FFM report on the Douma investigation, to take a step towards restoring the credibility of the OPCW by making public all the reports provided by engineering experts and toxicologists who were consulted during this investigation. We do not expect the Technical Secretariat to do this, and therefore we appeal to those who have access to the records of these consultations to make these documents publicly available.

As we have previously noted, if the Douma attack was staged the only plausible explanation for the deaths of the victims is that they were murdered as captives by the opposition group in control of Douma at the time. The visual evidence of this has been examined elsewhere . In most civilian and military jurisdictions, the duty to disclose a cover-up of such a crime would override any confidentiality agreement with an employer or with another organization.

Emails sent from a Protonmail account to our Protonmail addresses are secure. Messages can be additionally encrypted with our PGP public keys. Our Protonmail addresses and PGP key fingerprints can be found on our individual home pages, linked here . 12 Acknowledgements

We thank the OPCW staff members who continue to communicate with us, some of whom have provided detailed comments on earlier drafts of this briefing note. We thank Carmen Renieri for open source research on the White Helmets, which made use of archived studies by the late Ursula Behr Taubert .

adrian pols , 26 June 2019 at 10:59 AM

R22, chlorodifluoromethane, a ubiquitous refrigerant used in air conditioning units worldwide. I've got a 30 lb cylinder of the stuff I use in various AC units I'm responsible for. Yes, a "Chlorine containing chemical". How sweet is that?

[Jun 24, 2019] Ottawa promised to bring 10 members of Syria's White Helmets to Canada. One year later, they languish in a Jordanian camp

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Smith , Jun 24, 2019 6:29:45 AM | 222

Ottawa promised to bring 10 members of Syria's White Helmets to Canada. One year later, they languish in a Jordanian camp

Last summer, Canada helped members of the famed rescue group escape from Syria and was supposed to welcome them to this country last fall. So why are they still in the Middle East and kept in near isolation?
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This shit is necessary for their Western masters only to do their dirty work in Syria and a beautiful staging picture for the media.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 19, 2019] The Warm War Russiamania at the Boiling Point by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible. ..."
"... Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. ..."
"... "War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war." ..."
"... Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy." ..."
"... The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted. ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it war yet?

Yes, in too many respects.

It's a relentless economic, diplomatic, and ideological war, spiced with (so far) just a dash of military war, and the strong scent of more to come.

I mean war with Russia, of course, although Russia is the point target for a constellation of emerging adversaries the US is desperate to entame before any one or combination of them becomes too strong to defeat. These include countries like Iran and China, which are developing forces capable of resisting American military aggression against their own territory and on a regional level, and have shown quite too much uppitiness about staying in their previously-assigned geopolitical cages.

But Russia is the only country that has put its military forces in the way of a U.S. program of regime change -- indirectly in Ukraine, where Russia would not get out of the way, and directly in Syria, where Russia actively got in the way. So Russia is the focus of attack, the prime target for an exemplary comeuppance.

Is it, then, a new Cold War, even more dangerous than the old one, as Stephen F. Cohen says ?

That terminology was apt even a few months ago, but the speed, ferocity, and coordination of the West/NATO's reaction to the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals, as well as the formation of a War Cabinet in Washington, indicates to me that we've moved to another level of aggression.

It's beyond Cold. Call it the Warm War. And the temperature's rising.

The Nerve of Them

There are two underlying presumptions that, combined, make present situation more dangerous than a Cold War.

One is the presumption of guilt -- or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.

The confected furor over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals demonstrates this dramatically.

Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible.

False certainty is the ultimate fake news. It is just not true that, as she says: "There is no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state is culpable." This falsity of this statement has been demonstrated by a slew of sources -- including the developers of the alleged "Novichok" agent themselves, a thorough analysis by a former UN inspector in Iraq who worked on the destruction of chemical weapons, establishment Western scientific outlets like New Scientist (" Other countries could have made 'Russian' nerve agent "), and the British government's own mealy-mouthed, effective-but-unacknowledged disavowal of that conclusion. In its own words, The British government found: "a nerve agent or related compound," " of a type developed by Russia." So, it's absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt, Russian-government-produced "Novichok" .or something else.

Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. It's a

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lErlHLCNM_s?autoplay=0list=WL

It boggles the -- or at least, my -- mind how, in the face of all this, anyone could take seriously her ultimatum, ignoring the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention , gave Russia 24 hours to "explain" -- i.e., confess and beg forgiveness for -- this alleged crime.

Indeed, it's noteworthy that France initially, and rather sharply, refused to assume Russian guilt, with a government spokesman saying, "We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made." But the whip was cracked -- and surely not by the weak hand of Whitehall -- demanding EU/NATO unity in the condemnation of Russia. So, in an extraordinary show of discipline that could only be ordered and orchestrated by the imperial center, France joined the United States and 20 other countries in the largest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats ever.

Western governments and their compliant media have mandated that Russian government guilt for the " first offensive use of a nerve agent " in Europe since World War II is to be taken as flat fact. Anyone -- like Jeremy Corbyn or Craig Murray -- who dares to interrupt the "Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!" chorus to ask for, uh, evidence, is treated to a storm of obloquy .

At this point, Western accusers don't seem to care how blatantly unfounded, if not ludicrous, an accusation is. The presumption of Russian guilt, along with the shaming of anyone who questions it, has become an unquestionable standard of Western/American political and media discourse.

Old Cold War McCarthyism has become new Warm War fantasy politics.

Helled in Contempt

This declaration of diplomatic war over the Skripal incident is the culmination of an ongoing drumbeat of ideological warfare, demonizing Russia and Putin personally in the most predictable and inflammatory terms.

For the past couple of years, we've been told by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Boris Johnson that Putin is the new Hitler. That's a particularly galling analogy for the Russians. Soviet Russia, after all, was Hitler's main enemy, that defeated the Nazi army at the cost of 20+ million of its people -- while the British Royal Family was not un-smitten with the charms of Hitlerian fascism , and British footballers had a poignant moment in 1938 Berlin saluting the Fuhre.:

"War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy."

Which is strange, because, since the Taliban emerged from the American-jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Russia have "enduring enmity" towards each other, as Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network puts it . Furthermore, the sixteen-year-long American war against the Taliban has depended on Russia allowing the U.S. to move supplies through its territory, and being "the principal source of fuel for the alliance's needs in Afghanistan."

So the general has to admit that this alleged Russian "destabilising activity" is a new thing: "This activity really picked up in the last 18 to 24 months When you look at the timing it roughly correlates to when things started to heat up in Syria. So it's interesting to note the timing of the whole thing."

Yes, it is.

The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted.

This is not a serious framework for respectful international relations between two sovereign nations. It's downright childish. It paints everyone, including the party trying to impose it, into an impossible corner. Is Russia ever going to abandon Crimea, confess that it shot down the Malaysian jet, tricked us into electing Donald Trump, murdered the Skripals, is secretly arming the Taliban, et. al .? Is the U.S. ever going to say: "Never mind"? What's the next step? It's the predicament of the bully.

This is not, either, an approach that really seeks to address any of the "crimes" charged. As Victoria Nuland (a Clintonite John Bolton) put it on NPR, it's about, "sending a message" to Russia. Well, as Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said , with this latest mass expulsion of diplomats, the United States is, "Destroying what little remained of US-Russian ties." He got the message.

All of this looks like a coordinated campaign that began in response to Russia's interruption of American regime-change projects in Ukraine and especially Syria, that was harmonized -- over the last 18 to 24 months -- with various elite and popular motifs of discontent over the 2016 election, and that has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with ubiquitous and unconstrained " enemization " [1] of Russia. It's hard to describe it as anything other than war propaganda -- manufacturing the citizenry's consent for a military confrontation.

Destroying the possibility of normal, non-conflictual, state-to-state relations and constituting Russia as "the enemy" is exactly what this campaign is about. That is its "message" and its effect -- for the American people as much as for the Russia government. The heightened danger, I think, is that Russia, which has for a long time been reluctant to accept that America wasn't interested in "partnership", has now heard and understood this message, while the American people have only heard but do not understand it.

It's hard to see where this can go that doesn't involve military conflict. This is especially the case with the appointments of Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and John Bolton -- a veritable murderers' row that many see as the core of a Trump War Cabinet. Bolton, who does not need Senate confirmation, is a particularly dangerous fanatic, who tried to get the Israelis to attack Iran before even they wanted to, and has promised regime change in Iran by 2019. As mentioned, he considers that Russia has already given him a " casus belli. " Even the staid New York Times warns that, with these appointments, "the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically."

The second presumption in the American mindset today makes military confrontation more likely than it was during the Cold War: Not only is there a presumption of guilt, there is a presumption of weakness . The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world; the presumption of weakness is one they -- or, I fear, too many of them -- have all-too blithely internalized.

This is an aspect of the American self-image among policymakers whose careers matured in a post-Soviet world. During the Cold War, Americans held themselves in check by the assumption, that, militarily, the Soviet Union was a peer adversary, a country that could and would defend certain territories and interests against direct American military aggression -- "spheres of interest" that should not be attacked. The fundamental antagonism was managed with grudging mutual respect.

There was, after all, a shared recent history of alliance against fascism. And there was an awareness that the Soviet Union, in however distorted a way, both represented the possibility of a post-capitalist future and supported post-colonial national liberation movements, which gave it considerable stature in the world.

American leadership might have hated the Soviet Union, but it was not contemptuous of it. No American leader would have called the Soviet Union, as John McCain called Russia, just "a gas station masquerading as a country." And no senior American or British leader would have told the Soviet Union what British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told Russia last week: to "go away and shut up."

This is a discourse that assumes its own righteousness, authority, and superior power, even as it betrays its own weakness. It's the discourse of a frustrated child. Or bully. Russia isn't shutting up and going away, and the British are not -- and know they're not -- going to make it. But they may think the Big Daddy backing them up can and will. And daddy may think so himself.

Like all bullies, the people enmeshed in this arrogant discourse don't seem to understand that it is not frightening Russia. It's only insulting the country, and leading it to conclude that there is indeed nothing remaining of productive, non-conflictual, US-Russian "partnership" ties. The post-Skripal worldwide diplomatic expulsions, which seem deliberately and desperately excessive, may have finally convinced Russia that there is no longer any use trying. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.

The enemy of my enemy is me.

The United States is only succeeding in turning itself into an enemy for Russians. Americans would do well to understand how thoroughly their hypocritical and contemptuous stance has alienated the Russian people and strengthened Vladimir Putin's leadership -- as many of Putin's critics warned them it would. The fantasy of stoking a "liberal" movement in Russia that will install some nouveau-Yeltsin-ish figure is dissipated in the cold light of a 77% election day. Putin is widely and firmly supported in Russia because he represents the resistance to any such scheme.

Americans who want to understand that dynamic, and what America itself has wrought in Russia, should heed the passion, anger, and disappointment in this statement about Putin's election from a self-described "liberal" (using the word, I think, in the intellectual tradition, not the American political, sense), Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT TV (errors in translation by another person):

Essentially, the West should be horrified not because 76% of Russians voted for Putin, but because this elections have demonstrated that 95% of Russia's population supports conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas. That means that liberal ideas are barely surviving among measly 5% of population.

And that's your fault, my Western friends. It was you who pushed us into "Russians never surrender" mode

[W]ith all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called "values."

We don't want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.

We have no more respect for you, and for those amongst us that you support, and for all those people who support you.

For that you only have yourself to blame.

In meantime, you've pushed us to rally around your enemy. Immediately, after you declared him an enemy, we united around him .

It was you who imposed an opposition between patriotism and liberalism. Although, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive notions. This false dilemma, created by you, made us to chose patriotism.

Even though, many of us are really liberals, myself included.

Get cleaned up, now. You don't have much time left.

In fact, the whole "uprising"/color revolution strategy throughout the world is over. It's been fatally discredited by its own purported successes. Everybody in the Middle East has seen how that worked out for Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the Russians have seen how it worked out for Ukraine and for Russia itself . In neither Russia nor Iran (nor anywhere else of importance) are the Americans, with their sanctions and their NGOs and their cookies ,going to stoke a popular uprising that turns a country into a fractured client of the Washington Consensus. More fantasy politics.

The old new world Washington wants won't be born without a military midwife. The U.S. wants a compliant Russia ( and "international community") back, and it thinks it can force it into being.

Fear Knot

Consider this quote from The Saker , a defense analyst who was born in Switzerland to a Russian military family, "studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all [his] life," and lived for 20 years in the United States. He's been one of the sharpest analysts of Russia and Syria over the last few years. This was his take a year ago, after Trump's cruise missile attack on Syria's Al Shayrat airfield -- another instant punishment for an absolutely, positively, proven-in-a day, chemical crime:

For one thing, there is no US policy on anything.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were "недоговороспособны". What that word means is literally "not-agreement-capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it. But to say that a nuclear world superpower is "not-agreement-capable" is a terrible and extreme diagnostic.

This means that the Russians have basically given up on the notion of having an adult, sober and mentally sane partner to have a dialog with.

In all my years of training and work as a military analyst I have always had to assume that everybody involved was what we called a "rational actor". The Soviets sure where. As were the Americans.

Not only do I find the Trump administration "not agreement-capable", I find it completely detached from reality. Delusional in other words.

Alas, just like Obama before him, Trump seems to think that he can win a game of nuclear chicken against Russia. But he can't. Let me be clear here: if pushed into a corner the Russian will fight, even if that means nuclear war.

There is a reason for this American delusion. The present generation of American leadership was spoiled and addled by the blissful post-Soviet decades of American impunity.

The problem is not exactly that the U.S. wants full-on war with Russia, it's that America does not fear it. [2]

Why should it? It hasn't had to for twenty years during which the US assumed it could bully Russia to stay out of its imperial way anywhere it wanted to intervene.

After the Soviet Union broke up (and only because the Soviet Union disappeared) the United States was free to use its military power with impunity. For some time, the U.S. had its drunken stooge, Yeltsin, running Russia and keeping it out of America's military way. There was nary a peep when Bill Clinton effectively conferred on NATO (meaning the U.S. itself) the authority to decide what military interventions were necessary and legitimate. For about twenty years -- from the Yugoslavia through the Libya intervention -- no nation had the military power or politico-diplomatic will to resist this.

But that situation has changed. Even the Pentagon recognizes that the American Empire is in a "post-primacy" phase -- certainly "fraying," and maybe even "collapsing." The world has seen America's social and economic strength dissipate, and its pretense of legitimacy disappear entirely. The world has seen American military overreach everywhere while winning nothing of stable value anywhere. Sixteen years, and the mighty U.S. Army cannot defeat the Taliban. Now, that's Russia's fault!

Meanwhile, a number of countries in key areas have gained the military confidence and political will to refuse the presumptions of American arrogance -- China in the Pacific, Iran in the Middle East, and Russia in Europe and, surprisingly, the Middle East as well. In a familiar pattern, America's resultant anxiety about waning power increases its compensatory aggression. And, as mentioned, since it was Russia that most effectively demonstrated that new military confidence, it's Russia that has to be dealt with first.

The incessant wave of sanctions and expulsions is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone's got the message now. Unclench or punch?

Let's be clear about who is the world's bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn't have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America's borders. It doesn't have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn't want or need to. That's not because of Russia's or Vladimir Putin's pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.

Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to "destabilize" and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn't responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.

All of this is fantasy politics.

It's the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

It must be hard for folks who have had their way with country after country for twenty years not to think they can push Russia out of the way with some really, really scary threats, or maybe one or two "bloody nose" punches. Some finite number of discrete little escalations. There's already been some shoving -- that cruise missile attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian jet, American attacks on Russian personnel (ostensibly private mercenaries) in Syria -- and, look, Ma, no big war. But sometimes you learn the hard way the truth of the reverse Mike Tyson rule: "Everyone has a game plan until they smack the other guy in the face."

Consider one concrete risk of escalation that every informed observer is, and every American should be, aware of.

The place where the United States and Russia are literally, geographically, closest to confrontation is Syria. As mentioned, the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey, have already attacked and killed Russians in Syria, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have a far larger military force than Russia in Syria and the surrounding area. On the other hand, Russia has made very effective use of its forces, including what Reuters calls "advanced cruise missiles" launched from planes, ships , and submarines that hit ISIS targets with high precision from 1000 kilometers.

Russia is also operating in accordance with international law, while the U.S. is not. Russia is fighting with Syria for the defeat of jihadi forces and the unification of the Syrian state. The United States is fighting with its jihadi clients for the overthrow of the Syrian government and the division of the country. Russia intervened in Syria after Obama announced that the U.S. would attack Syrian army troops, effectively declaring war. If neither side accepts defeat and goes home, it is quite possible there will be some direct confrontation over this. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there won't.

A couple of weeks ago Syria and Russia said the U.S. was planning a major offensive against the Syrian government, including bombing the government quarter in Damascus. Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, warned: "In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia's armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used." In this context, "launchers" means American ships in the Mediterranean.

Also a couple of weeks ago, Russia announced a number of new, highly-advanced weapons systems. There's discussion about whether some of the yet-to-be-deployed weapons announced may or may not be a bluff, but one that has already been deployed, called Dagger ( Kinzhal, not the missiles mentioned above), is an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that files at 5-7,000 miles per hour, with a range of 1200 miles. Analyst Andrei Martyanov claims that: "no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter." Air-launched. From anywhere.

The U.S. attack has not (yet) happened, for whatever reason (Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, citing "a military monitor," claims that's because of the Russian warnings). Great. But given the current state of America's anxiously aggressive "post-primacy" policy -- including the Russiamania, the Zionist-driven need to destroy Syria and Iran, and the War Cabinet -- how unlikely is that the U.S. will, in the near future, make some such attack on some such target that Russia considers crucial to defend?

And Syria is just one theater where, unless one side accepts defeat and goes home, military conflict with Russia is highly likely. Is Russia going to abandon the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass if they're attacked by fascist Kiev forces backed by the U.S.? Is it going to sit back and watch passively if American and Israeli forces attack Iran? Which one is going to give up and accept a loss: John Bolton or Vladimir Putin?

Which brings us to the pointed question: What will the U.S. do if Russia sinks an American ship? How many steps before that goes full-scale, even nuclear? Or maybe American planners (and you, dear reader) are absolutely, positively sure that will never happen, because the U.S. has cool weapons, too, and a lot more of them, and the Russians will probably lose all their ships in the Mediterranean immediately, if not something worse, and they'll put up with anything rather than go one more step. The Russians, like everybody, must know the Americans always win.

Happy with that, are we? Snug in our homeland rug? 'Cause Russians won't fight, but the Taliban will.

This is exactly what is meant by Americans not fearing war with Russia (or war in general for that matter). Nothing but contempt.

The Skripal opera, directed by the United States, with the whole of Europe and the entire Western media apparatus singing in harmony, makes it clear that the American producers have no speaking role for Russia in their staging of the world. And that contempt makes war much more likely. Here's The Saker again, on how dangerous the isolation the U.S. and its European clients are so carelessly imposing on Russia and themselves is for everybody:

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en mass e and they are feeling very strong and manly.

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war. For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

Mass diplomatic expulsions, economic warfare, lockstep propaganda, no interest whatsoever in respectfully addressing or hearing from the other side. What we've been seeing over the past few months is the "kind of stuff that happens when two sides are about to go to war."

The less Americans fear war, the less they respect the possibility of it, the more likely they are to get it.

Ready or Not

The Saker makes a diptych of a point that gets to the heart of the matter. We'd do well to read and think on it carefully:

1/ The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.

2/ The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.

Russia is afraid of war. More than twenty million Soviet citizens were killed in WWII, about half of them civilians. That was more than twenty times the number of Americans and British casualties combined. The entire country was devastated. Millions died in the 872-day siege of Leningrad alone, including Vladimir Putin's brother. The city's population was decimated by disease and starvation, with some reduced to cannibalism. Wikileaks calls it "one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history [and] possibly the costliest in casualties." Another million-plus died in the nine-month siege of Stalingrad.

Every Russian knows this history. Millions of Russian families have suffered from it. Of course, there was mythification of the struggle and its heroes, but the Russians, viscerally, know war and know it can happen to them . They do not want to go through it again. They will do almost anything to avoid it. Russians are not flippant about war. They fear it. They respect it.

The Americans are not (afraid of war). Americans have never experienced anything remotely as devastating as this. About 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 150 years ago. (And we're still entangled in that!) The American mainland has not been attacked by a significant military force since the War of 1812. Since then, the worst attacks on American territory are two one-off incidents (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), separated by seventy years, totaling about six-thousand casualties. These are the iconic moments of America Under Siege.

For the American populace, wars are "over there," fought by a small group of Americans who go away and either come back or don't. The death, destruction, and aroma of warfare -- which the United States visits on people around the world incessantly -- is unseen and unexperienced at home. Americans do not, cannot, believe, in any but the most abstract intellectual sense, that war can happen here , to them. For the general populace, talk of war is just more political background noise, Morgan Freeman competing for attention with Stormy Daniels and the Kardashians.

Americans are supremely insouciant about war: They threaten countries with it incessantly, the government routinely sells it with lies, and the political parties promote it opportunistically to defeat their opponents -- and nobody cares. For Americans, war is part of a game. They do not fear it. They do not respect it.

The Russians are ready for war. The Nazi onslaught was defeated -- in Soviet Russia, by Soviet Citizens and the Red Army -- because the mass of people stood and fought together for a victory they understood was important. They could not have withstood horrific sieges and defeated the Nazis any other way. Russians understand, in other words, that war is a crisis of death and destruction visited on the whole of society, which can only be won by a massive and difficult effort grounded in social solidarity. If the Russians feel they have to fight, if they feel besieged, they know they will have to stand together, take the hits that come, and fight to the finish. They will not again permit war to be brought to their cities while their attacker stays snug. There will be a world of hurt. They will develop and use any weapon they can. And their toughest weapon is not a hypersonic missile; it's that solidarity, implied by that 77%. (Did you read that Simonyan statement?) They may not be seeking it, but, insofar as anybody can be, they are ready to fight.

Americans are not (ready for war): Americans experience the horror of wars as a series of discrete tragedies visited upon families of fallen soldiers, reported in human-interest vignettes at the end of the nightly news. Individual tragedies, not a social disaster.

It's hard to imagine the social devastation of war in any case, but American culture wants no part of thinking about that concretely. The social imagination of war is deflected into fantastic scenarios of a super-hero universe or a zombie apocalypse. The alien death-ray may blow up the Empire State Building, but the hero and his family (now including his or her gender-ambivalent teenager, and, of course, the dog) will survive and triumph. Cartoon villains, cartoon heroes, and a cartoon society.

One reason for this, we have to recognize, is the victory of the Thatcherite/libertarian-capitalist "no such thing as society" ideology. Congratulations, Ayn Rand, there is no such thing as American society now. It's every incipient entrepreneur for him or herself. This does not a comradely, fighting band of brothers and sisters make.

Furthermore, though America is constantly at war, nobody understands the purpose of it. That's because the real purpose can never be explained, and must be hidden behind some facile abstraction -- "democracy," "our freedoms," etc. This kind of discourse can get some of the people motivated for some of the time, but it loses its charm the minute someone gets smacked in the face.

Once they take a moment, everybody can see that there is nobody with an army threatening to attack and destroy the United States, and if they take a few moments, everybody can see how phony the "democracy and freedom" stuff is and remember how often they've been lied to before. There's just too much information out there. (Which is why the Imperial High Command wants to control the internet.) Why the hell am I fighting? What in hell are we fighting for? These are questions everybody will ask after, and too many people are now asking before, they get smacked in the face.

This lack of social understanding and lack of political support translates into the impossibility of fighting a major, sustained war that requires taking heavy casualties -- even "over there," but certainly in the snug. American culture might be all gung-ho about Seal Team Six kicking ass, but the minute American homes start blowing up and American bodies start falling, Hoo-hah becomes Uh-oh , and it's going to be Outta here .

Americans are ready for Hoo-hah and the Shark Tank and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are not ready for war.

You Get What You Play For

"Russiagate," which started quite banally in the presidential campaign as a Democratic arrow to take down Trump, is now Russiamania -- a battery of weapons wielded by various sectors of the state, aimed at an array of targets deemed even potentially resistant to imperial militarism. Trump himself -- still, and for as long as he's deemed unreliable -- is targeted by a legal prosecution of infinite reach (whose likeliest threat is to take him down for something that has nothing to do with Russia). Russia itself is now targeted in full force by economic, diplomatic, ideological -- and, tentatively, military -- weapons of the state. Perhaps most importantly, American and European people, especially dissidents, are targeted by a unified media barrage that attacks any expression of radical critique, anything that "sows division" -- from Black Lives Matter, to the Sanders campaign, to "But other countries could have made it" -- as Russian treachery.

The stunning success of that last offensive is crucial to making a war more likely, and must be fought. To increase the risk of war with a nuclear power in order to score points against Donald Trump or Jill Stein -- well, only those who neither respect, fear, nor are ready for war would do such a stupid and dangerous thing.

It's impossible to predict with certainty whether, when, or with whom a major hot war will be started. The same chaotic disarray and impulsiveness of the Trump administration that increases the danger of war might also work to prevent it. John Bolton may be fired before he trims his moustache. But it's a pressure-cooker, and the temperature has spiked drastically.

In a previous essay , I said that Venezuela was a likely first target for military attack, precisely because it would make for an easy victory that didn't risk military confrontation with Russia. That's still a good possibility. As we saw with Iraq Wars 1 (which helped to end the "Vietnam Syndrome") and 2 (which somewhat resurrected it), the imperial high command needs to inure the American public with a virtually American-casualty-free victory and in order to lure them into taking on a war that's going to hurt.

But the new War Cabinet may be pumped for the main event -- an attack on Iran. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are all rabid proponents of regime-change in Iran. We can be certain that the Iran nuclear deal will be scrapped, and everyone will work hard to implement the secret agreement the Trump administration already has with Israel to "to deal with Iran's nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities" -- or, as Trump himself expresses it: "cripple the [Iranian] regime and bring it to collapse." (That agreement, by the way, was negotiated and signed by the previous, supposedly not-so-belligerent National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster.)

Still, as I also said in the previous essay, an attack on Iran means the Americans must either make sure Russia doesn't get in the way or make clear that they don't care if it does. So, threatening moves -- not excluding probing military moves -- against Russia will increase, whether Russia is the preferred direct target or not.

The siege is on.

Americans who want to continue playing with this fire would do well to pay some respectful attention to the target whose face they want to smack. Russia did not boast or brag or threaten or Hoo-Hah about sending military forces to Syria. When it was deemed necessary -- when the United States declared its intention to attack the Syrian Army -- it just did it. And American10-dimensional-chess players have been squirming around trying to deal with the implications of that ever since. They're working hard on finding the right mix of threats, bluffs, sanctions, expulsions, "Shut up and go away!" insults, military forces on the border, and "bloody nose" attacks to force a capitulation. They should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a "partnership," who has clearly stated what his country would do in reaction to previous moves (e.g., the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and stationing of ABM bases in Eastern Europe), whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine, who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QxWYIAtCMU

Notes.

[1] Ironically, given current drivers of Russiamania, this is a ref