Questioning the Conventional Wisdom of Russian Spy’s Poisoning

The recent poisoning of a Russian spy has started a tit-for-tat of expelling diplomats between the US and Russia, an escalation of tensions that deserves serious questioning, explained former ambassador Craig Murray in an interview with Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico.

By Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray found out very quickly what happens when one contradicts the conventional wisdom regarding the recent poisoning of former Russian spy and double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Russian President Putin meeting with permanent members of the Security Council on March 15, 2018 (Official Kremlin photo)

Ambassador Murray, who in the following interview raises compelling questions about who may be responsible for the attacks, other than the Russians, has been the butt of a full-scale cyber attack on his website over many days.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects in the US and Western corporate press continue to fan the flames of a new cold war with Russia. Indeed, Russia will expel 60 US diplomats and has ordered the shuttering of the US consulate in St. Petersburg, according to an announcement by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov, who made the announcement in Moscow on Thursday, March 29, summoned US ambassador Jon Huntsman to the Russian Foreign Ministry to confirm the action.

Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico interviewed Ambassador Murray on March 26th, 2018.

Dennis Bernstein: President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials from the United States and the closing of the Russian consulate in Seattle.  The move follows the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.  Joining us is someone who knows a great deal about the matter and has come under fire for taking an oppositional position, former UK ambassador, author and activist, Craig Murray.  Mr. Murray, everyone says the Russians did it, no doubt about it, but you disagree.

Craig Murray: I’m not saying the Russians didn’t do it, I am saying there are other possibilities. We are not supposed to assign responsibility for crime in this way, saying there is a bad guy in the neighborhood and therefore it must be him. So far, there has been no real evidence at all that it was the Russian state that did it.

I find it remarkable that the very day this happened the British government was announcing that it was the Russian state that was behind this.  They couldn’t possibly have had time to analyze any of the evidence. It is as though this is being used as a trigger to put prearranged anti-Russian measures into place and to “up” the Cold War rhetoric.  You can’t help get the feeling that they are rather pleased this has happened and were even expecting it to happen.

DB: This is coming out of the European Union today: “The European Union strongly condemns the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England on March 4 that also left a police officer seriously ill.  The lives of many citizens were threatened by this reckless and illegal action. The European Union takes extremely seriously the UK government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible.”

CM: This phrase “highly likely” admits that they don’t have the evidence to back this up.  It’s a speculation.

DB: They say that the poison is consistent with what the Russians have used in the past.

CM: The claim is that this is one of a group of nerve agents known as a Novichok.  The Novichok program was being run in the 1980’s by the Soviets. The idea was to develop chemical weapons which could be quickly put together from commercial pesticides and fertilizers.  They came up with a number of theoretical designs for such weapons.

Until now, the official position of the British government and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was that there was doubt as to whether they actually produced any of these.  As of now, they haven’t been put on the banned list, precisely because the scientific community has doubted their existence. So the British government’s ability on day-one to identify this was quite remarkable.

Novichok is not a particular weapon but a class of weapon.  Russia is by no means the only country capable of producing this kind of weapon.  In 2016, the Iranians succeeded in producing several Novichok weapons and they reported their results to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  Their motivation was that they were concerned that they themselves might be attacked by chemical weapons, possibly from Israel. There are at least a couple dozen countries who have the technical capability to create this type of nerve agent.

In order to take blood samples from the Skripals, who were both in a coma, doctors had to get court approval.  And in giving evidence to the High Court, two scientists stated that the Skripals had been poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent or a “closely related agent.”  It looks to many people like this may just be a silly amateur mixture of different insecticides.

Other questions arise. The British government has been telling us that this is ten times more powerful than a standard nerve agent.  Thankfully, so far, nobody has been killed. Why isn’t this deadly agent more effective? Why is it that the doctor who administered first aid to Yulia Skripal was completely unaffected, even though he had extensive physical contact with her?

DB: But some people will say that the only country that would want to silence a former Russian spy would be Russia.

CM: Our foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has gone on record as saying that the Russians have been secretly stockpiling this chemical weapon for a decade and have had a secret program of assassination techniques.  But if you were Vladimir Putin and you had this secret nerve agent, why would you blow your cover by using it on this retired spy who you released from prison years ago? The whole scenario is utterly implausible.

Why would Russia wish to ruin its international reputation with this entirely gratuitous violence against an old spy?  Skripal was exchanged as part of a spy swap. If people are going to swap spies and then kill them, there won’t be any spy swaps in the future.  A KGB person like Putin is the last person who is going to destroy the system of spy swaps.

Randy Credico: Mr. Murray, there has been a concerted effort to defame you and undermine your credibility.  What effect has this had on you and your family?

CM: It has been really quite unpleasant.  The mainstream media has permitted no doubt at all.  All of them are just printing government propaganda. I went on social media to post my doubts about this story being too convenient and too easy.  My first piece on this, “Russian to Judgment,” had millions of viewers. That brought upon me the wrath of the establishment. I became the recipient of hundreds of pieces of Twitter abuse in which I was called a nut and a conspiracy theorist.

RC: Who stands to benefit from this attack?

CM: It adds fuel to the new Cold War.  The armaments industry are the primary people who benefit.  This kind of thing is very good for defense budgets. It is very good news for the spies and security services.  Here in the UK the industry employs over 100,000 people. In a country of 60 million, this is a strong and very highly paid interest group.  All of these people are seeing a major ramping up of their budgets. When the people feeding-in the intelligence are the same people who are benefiting financially from that story, then you have to worry.  And particularly for right-wing politicians this is a cheap way of getting support.

DB: Mr. Murray, I don’t think that we can separate this from the so-called “Russiagate frenzy.” Can you state unequivocally that there were substantial leaks from the DNC, as opposed to hacks?

CM: I can promise you that what came out of the DNC were leaks.  They were from somebody who legally had access to the information.  It was not an outside hack, not by the Russians, not by anyone.

DB:  What if you were subpoenaed before Congress, would you take the fifth or would you tell that story?

CM: I’ve actually been in touch with them, saying I know what happened here and could perhaps save them a lot of time.  But they haven’t replied and I don’t expect them to. If called, I would turn up and I would gladly tell them what I have told you: That I know for sure that this wasn’t a Russian hack but a leak.  I would not give any further details because that might compromise others.

The other thing about the Skripal case, of course, is the connection to Orbis Intelligence and Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller.  The person who wrote the dossier on Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign was Christopher Steele of Orbis Intelligence. He was in MI6 in the Russian Embassy in Moscow at the time when Skripal was a key double agent.  The guy who was responsible for handling Skripal on a day-to-day basis was Pablo Miller. Pablo Miller also worked for Orbis Intelligence. The MI6 has never had the close-up access to Putin that that dossier claims to have.  Plainly, a great deal of it is fabrication.

I strongly suspect that Mr. Skripal was involved in the production of that dossier about Donald Trump.  I admit that this is circumstantial, but that dossier was produced while Pablo Miller was working for Orbis Intelligence.  Like Mr. Steele, Pablo Miller was a former MI6 agent in Russia. And Pablo Miller was also living in Salisbury, within a short distance of Skripal.  If you are going to produce a dossier which invents a lot of stuff about Donald Trump and his connections to the circle around Putin, you need a Russian source who can give you names and lend the dossier a degree of authenticity.  I believe that that kind of detail is what Skripal provided to the Steele dossier.

This would seem a much more plausible lead in investigating this case.  The idea that you kill someone for something that happened twelve years ago is frankly much less compelling than something that is happening now.  Of course, there is a possibility that Skripal revealed something in the dossier which the Russians didn’t want revealed, that they decided he was still a danger and should be eliminated.

The other possibility is that Mr. Skripal was a double agent who worked for money.  He sold to the British names of Russian officers and agents serving abroad. So he is not the most principled of people.  And once you’ve become a double agent, it’s not hard to become a triple agent. And if Skripal knows that this dossier is full of lies, he might come out and confess to fabricating all of this in hopes of making financial gain.

DB: You feel that you are under attack for taking this position?

CM: Yes, and it is not just the nasty tweets and emails.  My website has been under attack, at a rate of millions of hits per minute.

RC: Have any of the mainstream media in Britain reported anything other than the government line?

CM: Strangely enough, after I posted it, the BBC reported the fact that Skripal’s handler in Russia was now working for Steele and that Skripal and Pablo Miller lived in the same town.  But the BBC contacted Orbis and they said that wasn’t true. That was the end of that.

RC:  You have been attacked by foreign minister Boris Johnson.

CM: Interestingly, when talking to journalists, Boris Johnson and others have stated clearly that this poison must have come from Russia, but in their formal statements to Parliament and the United Nations Security Council, they write that it was “a weapon of a type developed by Russia.”  That is very different from saying that it is a Russian weapon.

RC: Are you concerned that this might be leading to nuclear war?

CM: I think that the Russians have the sense not to overreact.  All they have done so far is to match what is done rather than up the ante.  So when we expelled 23 diplomats, the Russians expelled 23 diplomats. And it looks like this sort of tit for tat will result from the other expulsions.

But I strongly believe that this is happening because there are a lot of people–in the military, in the weapons industry–who miss the Cold War.  They are seeing a threat to their budgets. We are entering a period where there is not going to be a lot of international cooperation and we are going to see a lot of militaristic posturing.   Of course, there is always the prospect that something can go wrong.

DB: What do you think of John Bolton being appointed National Security Advisor?  This is someone who has said that he would be happy if North Korea disappeared.  He doesn’t seem to be someone who would support the ongoing arrangement with Iran.

CM: I think it is very scary.  Bolton obviously is the hawk of hawks and he bore a huge responsibility for the Iraq War.  It is a very strange and irresponsible appointment. A couple days ago, I was reviewing Trump’s term in office and I realized that one good thing is that he hasn’t initiated a war till now.  I’m not convinced Hillary wouldn’t have gotten us into an armed conflict by this point. But then, now Trump appoints John Bolton, which leads me to suspect that war might not be far off.

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at

70 comments for “Questioning the Conventional Wisdom of Russian Spy’s Poisoning

  1. Bjjorn Jensen
    April 4, 2018 at 23:58

    Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok

    Defence lab unable to definitively say where nerve agent that poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter came from:

  2. April 1, 2018 at 14:07

    There’s something about the Skripal story that doesn’t feel right. Something doesn’t add up.

  3. BONO
    April 1, 2018 at 04:33

    Accusations of Putin and Russia seem really strange and prejudiced. Especially when all that is said in favour of this theory is that “it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible.”

  4. CitizenOne
    March 31, 2018 at 23:59

    Here is Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell presidential address to the nation on January 17 1961.

    Perhaps the most insightful speech by a president who went from Supreme Allied Commander in WWI to the leader of the free world.

    Interesting comment on Wikipedia: “During the Syrian Crisis of 1957 he approved a CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion by Syria’s pro-Western neighbors.”

    Also from Wikipedia: “Even before he was inaugurated Eisenhower accepted a request from the British government to restore the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) to power. He therefore authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. This resulted in an increased strategic control over Iranian oil by U.S. and British companies.”

    Eisenhower was deeply involved in the Middle East and was responsible for the then growing concerns that the region would fall to communism:

    There is also no doubt that the military objectives of the United States to secure its borders under Eisenhower produced major benefits for American industry. Interstate Highways were constructed and the infrastructure of our nation improved for interstate commerce just as the reasons for the construction of highways was justified for military purposes. The threats posed by our foreign enemies strengthened America and enabled our government to engage in building the infrastructure necessary for economic growth.

    The key to the future is how our government will abandon the reasons for building infrastructure based on the last great war and the following cold war and base its decisions on supporting new economic stimulus around sustainability. That is the real enemy we face. In a growing World where resources historically relied upon are dwindling and pose a threat for our continued existence we must find a new economic model to counter the threats we now face from an old model which will secure our role as a leading nation in the new world economic order.

    By the way, we are failing that mission.

  5. CitizenOne
    March 31, 2018 at 23:01

    What is clear is that immediate blame is a sure sign of western conspiracy to frame Russia to advance the new cold war which is itself founded on nothing since the Mueller investigation did not indict any member of the Trump Campaign or administration for “collusion” with Russia to influence the election after a full year of investigation with all of the intelligence gathering muster that the FBI and CIA could muster..

    The western media have abandoned responsible journalism and have surrendered completely to serving the propagandists which feed them fake news.

    Craig Murray: “I find it remarkable that the very day this happened the British government was announcing that it was the Russian state that was behind this.”

    Similar one sided “immediate analysis” was broadcast among all the western media with instant guilt that Assad was responsible for the Sarin gas attack in Syria. Trump’s response to launch 59 cruise missiles at Syria was heralded by many nations as a just response. From Wikipedia: “The governments of Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel (suprize!), Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom generally supported the strike, some calling it a just response and strong message against the use of chemical weapons. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the European Union have also expressed support for the attack. During the April 10 European Union summit in Madrid, the leaders of southern EU nations (Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain) said that a US missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack was “understandable”.

    The lack of compelling evidence for Assad’s guilt which could have not possibly been proven in the scant few days from the attack and the universal conclusion that the attack was carried out by Assad and that the cruise missile counterattack was fully justified compresses the timeline for those nations to just a few days to reach a conclusion that Assad and Assad alone could be responsible.

    Given the trust that so many nations place in our ability to instantly find the guilty party on a complex world stage with so many possible motives and opportunities to commit the crime one thing stands out. That is Trump’s long record of not wanting to get involved in a Syrian conflict.

    The other long term Trump stance is to end the cold war with Russia.

    There is little doubt that the recent history of US national foreign policy has been to launch preemptive covert and overt military operations against perceived enemy states. It happened in Iraq, Ukraine, Libya and Syria each time vowing to change the regime in power and restore freedom and democracy. In each case that effort only destabilized the situation, resulted in backlash and turmoil and collectively has resulted in around a million deaths and many millions displaced and relegated to refugee status having lost everything. Hardly sounds like peace and prosperity.

    In both cases where Trump has vowed to end the US participation in the conflicts new emergency crises have emerged and gained instant worldwide attention via the western media which has been short on evidence but sure in their conclusions that our enemies are behind the crisis. The conclusions by academics and many analysts who have a credible record have been met with multi faceted attacks just as Craig Murray has experienced on his website for the mere mentioning that Russia might not be guilty of attacking Skirpal and his daughter.

    The deep state and the military industrial complex are flexing their muscles. They want nothing more than to have some foreign devil nation (or nations) they can frame for undermining the West and use that to justify their giant military budgets.

    This is precisely what Eisenhower warned us of when he gave his farewell speech to the nation:

    Dwight Eisenhower

    “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.”

    “Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.”

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

    “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet in holding scientific discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite”

    US foreign policy has indeed become captive to a scientific elite, government employed, technological illuminate who have taken upon themselves the power of the sole arbiters of truth about issues of science and technology as it revolves around the instant formation of guilt against foreign enemies it wishes to attack.

    Although Eisenhower warned us of this eventuality a long long time ago, it seems to be lost on our citizenry today and they appear to be sheep to be led astray easily by the government employed scientific-technological elite.

    One thing that Eisenhower did not foresee is the complete takeover of the press by the government’s influence when it comes to the analysis of the claims by the government that such and such nation developed technologically advanced weapons and used them on some innocent people. There is no analysis. There is no analysis locally, nationally or internationally among a whole group of nations that appear to be okay with being led by the nose with instant analysis and most assuredness from the western powers that have “20-20 vision all the time”.

  6. Leo
    March 31, 2018 at 20:00

    All I can say, follow the money. People, innocent or not, are being killed worldwide for much less reasons. Don’t you think that when billions of dollars of military spending are at stake with all those Trump’s campaign promises to normalise US-Russian relations, we could expect something like that.

  7. Luc Devincke
    March 31, 2018 at 18:19

    Strange, this British Navy training:

    Date article; 06/03/2018
    Place of happening: Salisbury Plain
    Reason : “casualty treatment was a key part”
    Did they know in advance?

  8. Delia Ruhe
    March 31, 2018 at 12:08

    This doesn’t make any sense. If the British government had doubts “as to whether they actually produced any of these” poisons, how did they know that one of them is “what the Russians have used in the past”?

  9. March 31, 2018 at 11:58

    John Pilger : “We Are Headed For War”
    Assange & Skripal Case Part of Propaganda War That Risks Real One – John Pilger

  10. Curious
    March 31, 2018 at 04:02

    Thank you Craig Murray for a bit of clarity on this subject. My old media instincts tell me this was a pre-planned event, similar to the US 911 day of chaos and frenetic media coverage. I make this comparison because, since I was in the TV media at the time, it was surprising to me that Paul Bremer, at the same time the towers were falling, was on live TV news channels accusing Bin Laden of the atrocity. How did he know that on that very day? He didn’t.
    Part of the untold story for me here is Russia fulfilled their agreement to destroy their chemical weapons, and the US has not. One only has to research Fort Detrick and its history to know the US has many weapons undeclared, and perhaps a lot more than Russia ever had, or has.
    I agree with the commentators who have said there is absolutely no reason for Russia to do this ‘dirty deed’ when they had ample time when the man was in prison, or in the UK all these years. Did he have some proprietary info exclusive to himself after all these years that would threaten the UK or Russia? My guess would be no. The UK has set up a person to take the fall, and his daughter as well, because they don’t want Russia to be successful at anything, unless it goes through Wall Street. The Olympics was a farce, and a WADA and IOC bogus claim, and they needed something before the election in Russia, and now they try (who?) and strip any gilding off of the World Cup Russia has. The individuals (NATO included) who are involved in bashing Russia should be obvious to the world, and yet, sadly, they are unknown and believed. It’s only a short generation from WMDs in Iraq but somehow the story remains the same for the ignorant and those with amnesia are believers.
    Another quick point: if the US and the UK are so into human rights and all that belief system, why would they not allow the daughter to visit with the representatives of her country since she is a Russian citizen? This all stinks to high heaven. And, if she is getting better as some reports say, the substance used could not have been what they have declared since they both would not have survived the walk from their home to the park. As Novichok effects one as quickly as 30 sec to 2 minutes and the intensity was found at the door of the two, how did they manage to walk to the park in the first place? Why do the papers in the UK not even address a basic question as this?
    I read the report from one of the creators of this substance and he said it is easy to replicate in any country with a science department but there are signs, or signatures in the ingredients that are hard to mimic and that is why Russia has asked why the UK won’t send Russia a sample. His opinion was, with enough testing, they could tell which country actually made the copies. If the UK really cared they would include Russia in the discovery process, but instead we now see the world following along like ‘the paid for sheep’ they are.
    I suppose, since the UK can’t figure out Brexit, this is the next best distraction thing? Let’s blow up the world on a whim and a lie.

    • geeyp
      March 31, 2018 at 04:21

      Curious- Serious minds think alike. My earlier post mentioned the “Viceroy” and his 9/11/01 comments. And then I read yours. Cheers.

  11. Ralph Kramden
    March 31, 2018 at 00:29

    Later developments have the Brits searching an Aeroflot plane that had just landed in the UK. The Brits demanded that all crew members leave the plane while they would conduct the search. The captain refused and then Russian embassy personnel arrived to put an end to this outrage. Thank Zeus for that captain, give that fellow a medal.
    Now, if one were Ms. May (so far, the one to stand the most to gain by this debacle) and your case against the Russians were crumbling for lack of evidence, how about finding some nerve agent in an incoming Russian plane? In the USA, when cops want someone arrested they are not beyond planting drugs, guns, knives—whatever it takes. Then again, with this latest stunt, the Brits might have hopelessly contaminated their investigation.
    Another aspect of the case that Mr. Murray has not touched upon is the theft of nerve agents by workers at the unguarded labs once the Soviet Union collapsed. There was a case in Russia of a chemist who had stolen some samples and stored them in his garage. He ended-up selling some to a friend of his and this individual murdered his business partner with it. This man betrayed over 300 agents—he has lots of enemies.
    Because it was developed in the Soviet Union, it had to be the Russians. As someone remarked, if you get hit by a BMW you can be sure the German government is trying to kill you.

  12. March 30, 2018 at 23:00

    Another false flag like they did with Iraq and literally the same criminals and co conspirators.

    Remember Colon Powell at the U.N. with his vials of talc and artists renditions of mobile labs,nice brush work.

    The anthrax was made in a US military lab.They even tried to blame a Muslim scientists for stealing it. More lies.

  13. Randal Marlin
    March 30, 2018 at 22:36

    Craig Murray’s makes an important observation concerning the official language about the Skripal poisoning and the language used by media.
    Official language, as he notes, talks about “a weapon of a type developed by Russia.” But newspapers and some politicians use the expression “Russian weapon,” or “a weapon that could only have come from Russia.” I find it hard to believe that British and U.S. scientists could not duplicate or come up with an equally toxic equivalent to a Novichok nerve agent.
    What I do see is the same kind of repetition of the “Russians did it” meme to reinforce an anti-Russian and anti-Putin mind-set. The same kind of repetition was used to get people to accept the “weapons of mass destruction” deception supporting the U.S. second Iraq war in 2003.
    This forms one part of a collage of different Putin-implicating events all of which collectively propagate the image of a power-hungry, dangerous man who must be stopped. Georgia and Ukraine are cited, but without careful attention to circumstances, so that he appears much more evil than a full understanding of events would warrant.
    The outrage against Putin’s alleged “meddling” in the last U.S. presidential election seems greatly overblown when weighed against the U.S. meddling in the Russian presidential election of 1996, where U.S. advisors reportedly helped Boris Yeltsin get re-elected (Time Magazine, cover story, July 15, 1996). He turned out to be a disaster for Russia, leading to support of Vladimir Putin .
    What I like about Consortium News is that it seems to understand the danger of letting contestable factual claims go unchallenged, letting them crystallize into settled beliefs in people’s minds. The danger is that a set of beliefs will be widely enough held that only a few more prods, tied to deeply held beliefs about American exceptionalism, will lead the U.S. into war yet again, against more formidable foes than hitherto and with even more disastrous results.
    When alleged facts are contestable, and have bearing on important political matters, reasons for doubting them should be kept alive. The mass media prefer simplicity, because most people find complexity off-putting. But policies founded on illusions do not hold out much promise of a peaceful world.
    All of this is not to sing praises of Putin, who has a lot of blood on his hands, but to prevent misunderstandings that make another world war more possible.
    Thanks again to Craig Murray and Consortium News.

    • Skip Scott
      March 31, 2018 at 07:22


      You make a very excellent summary except for: “All of this is not to sing praises of Putin, who has a lot of blood on his hands, but to prevent misunderstandings that make another world war more possible.” I have yet to see a single case proven that shows that “Putin has a lot of blood on his hands”. To use an earlier portion of your comment: “When alleged facts are contestable, and have bearing on important political matters, reasons for doubting them should be kept alive.” The fact that Putin put a halt to the looting and capital flight enjoyed under Yeltsin, there is every reason to question who the perpetrators are of the many murders attributed to Putin. If you are including “collateral damage” civilian deaths in anti-terror operations, we Americans should take a good look in the mirror before condemning Putin.

  14. March 30, 2018 at 21:20

    March 30, 2018
    “Solidarity among War Criminals”

    “Because of the nerve poison attack, NATO also imposed punitive measures against Russia. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that seven employees of the Russian NATO representation would be deprived of accreditation. In addition, the Russian delegation will be limited to 20 of the current 30 employees. The NATO countries had already condemned the attack on Skripal earlier this month and expressed their solidarity with Great Britain….”…

    It must have been very heartening for the war gangs and war criminals of NATO [1] to see the solidarity of their members all voicing their criticism of Russia despite there being no proof that Russia was behind this attack in Salisbury, England. Oh well, to paraphrase an old saying, “war criminal birds of a feather always stick or fly, bomb, and kill together.”…
    [read more at link below]

  15. Jeff
    March 30, 2018 at 21:03

    Mr. Murray is a very polite soul. At this point, quite frankly, I’m terrified. Up to this point, the reality is that we have been beating up on little countries who don’t have a prayer of fighting back. Russia and China are not those countries. I don’t know how many nuclear weapons China has but Russia has enough to destroy the United States. Again, I don’t know about China but I know that Russia has non-nuclear weapons that can reach the US. Both separately and together they can seriously hurt the United States. I see no need to get into that kind of pissing contest.

    • David G
      March 30, 2018 at 22:39

      Regarding your feeling of terror, Jeff, to quote the comic/movie “Watchmen”: “Don’t be alarmed. That indicates only that you are still sane.”

    • DHorse2
      March 31, 2018 at 01:39

      Yes it’s called MAD for good reasons.

  16. Zachary Smith
    March 30, 2018 at 19:18

    CM: I think that the Russians have the sense not to overreact.

    Overreaction is bad, but if I were sitting in Russian ruling councils, I’d be pushing for either a severe restriction of diplomatic relations with the UK, or a complete cut-off. The “mother country” has gone ape****, and is clearly the ringleader for whatever it is that’s happening. The latest provocation by the Brits has been to order the crew off a just-landed Russian airliner, and conduct a “search”.

    Scotland Yard has denied its officers carried out a search of the plane.

    A spokeswoman told Daily Star Online: “I’ve spoken to our control room at London Heathrow and have confirmed that it is not our force.”

    The Foreign Office told the BBC that Border Force officals boarded the flight and Aeroflot was “willing to cooperate with UK authorities if explanation given”.

    The pilot refused to leave, so they kept him in the cockpit while the “Border Force” did whatever they were doing. Planting evidence? Wouldn’t put it past them.

    Again, at a minimum I’d cut the diplomatic staff of the UK in Russia to the Ambassador and maybe one secretary. But I’d favor sending them all home and doing any necessary communications second-hand through the Swiss Embassy.

    • Sam F
      March 30, 2018 at 20:19

      One advantage of diplomatic restraint in such a case is that the provocateur discredits himself, whereas escalation serves as distraction. So Russia may wait until the baselessness of the hysteria becomes clear to the public. The aircraft cockpit search shows hysteria and malice without reason, like the final stages of a witch-hunt craze. If not verified as CW, or nothing but “trust us” emerges, the witch hunters will be discredited.

      I like the hypothesis that a US/UK/Israeli agent/employee (at Porton Down lab if it was CW) did this on his own initiative, taking the Skripal house as a convenient target, just to make a splash and a provocation. For example, a zionist UK grad student at Porton Down. Others there or among his associates would likely have spoken about such incidents. Quite possibly a connection with the many false-flag CW incidents in Syria by US/UK/Israeli supported “rebels.” This would certainly be a focus of any serious investigation.

    • DHorse2
      March 31, 2018 at 01:38

      I don’t think that’s really Putin’s style even if warranted.

  17. Dick
    March 30, 2018 at 19:10

    Choose for yourself which of the following Seven Rules of Propaganda apply to the current Skripal affair:

    Avoid abstract ideas – appeal to the emotions. – When we think emotionally, we are more prone to be irrational and less critical in our thinking; making it easier for the citizenry to believe the absurd!

    Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases. – This could be stated more plainly as ‘Keep it simple, stupid!’ or ‘Lie, lie lie, repeat, repeat, repeat’.

    Give only one side of the argument and obscure history. – Any historical perspective is ignored keeping the citizenry focused on the here and now.

    Demonize the enemy or pick out one special “enemy” for special vilification. – Putin and Russia; enough said.

    Appear humanitarian in work and motivations. – Used this technique to validate foreign interventions or ongoing conflicts where the term ‘Right to Protect’ for justification.

    Obscure one’s economic interests. – For example, the invasion of Iraq was all about oil and the control over the resources; not WMD.

    Monopolize the flow of information. – This mainly entails setting the narrative by which all subsequent events can be based upon or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the narrative. The narrative does not need to be true; in fact, it can be anything that suits the monopoliser as long as it is based loosely upon some event. It is critical to have at least majority control of media and the ability to control the message so the flow of information is consistent with the narrative.

    • Sam F
      March 30, 2018 at 20:32

      The Iraq war motive was the Israeli plan to fragment surrounding states, as they have long done. Oil companies could expect no low price deals from a country in need of reconstruction, and in fact the US oil companies did not get much of the oil even at competitive prices. The “It’s the oil, stupid” concept is just zionist propaganda.

      • Skip Scott
        March 31, 2018 at 07:06

        Sam F

        In terms of the oil, it’s not about the oil as such, rather who gets to make money off the oil. Any country that doesn’t follow the western economic model is targeted. The resource can always be gotten at a later date, when the right people get to make the money. This doesn’t necessarily conflict with the Zionists wishing to fragment the surrounding states. There is a “long game” and a “short game”.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      March 31, 2018 at 01:28

      I think you make many important points; one in particular is how the truth matters very little. Can it be that the pushing people to accept untruths (gaslighting?) is a major objective – making them realise the “must” play along.
      Of course, as most of us, I don’t know who did this, Russians or some others, but the truth must be established before a sentence is passed. The // to Blair is clear.

    • Pat Penick
      March 31, 2018 at 10:58

      Nice. I would say that all seven of those Rules for Propaganda are in full play, hard to choose just one.

  18. backwardsevolution
    March 30, 2018 at 18:27

    George Galloway, British politician and former candidate for the mayor of London, said:

    “Why do I not believe you? Let me count the ways. You’re not looking for anyone in connection with the attack on the Skripals. There is no manhunt, no all points alert, no description, no identikit drawing, no CCTV. No suspects. That means you already know what happened. #Russia”

    • Dave P.
      March 31, 2018 at 03:24


      Yes, George Galloway is right. He was member of British Parliament for twenty five years; and of course he knows who most likely did it. Compared to our people in Washington, British Ruling Establishment is far more sophisticated in these kind of operations. George Galloway opposed the sanctions on Iraq, because of which, million Iraqis died mostly children. And later he opposed Iraq war. They, U.S. and U.K. cooked up a dossier against him blaming him for kickbacks from Saddam Hussein. The Senate subcommittee asked him to testify in Washington in 2005, thinking that he would not come. But George Galloway showed up. The following is the link of his testimony before the Senate Committee hearings.

      George Galloway’s testimony to the Senate committee is worth watching.

      One needs half a brain to tell that this Skirpal poisoning false flag event was staged one way or the other. When USSR imploded, there were twenty five millions Russians who found themselves outside the current borders of Russia. About four hundred thousand Russians migrated to U.K. and equal numbers migrated to Israel and U.S. All these oligarchs small and big are in these countries doing all kind of nefarious things. London is the world center of money laundering. The West can cook up anything on Russia. Also U.K. refuses to extradite about forty of these oligarch crooks back to Russia.

      World Soccer Cup is eleven weeks away and it seems like that the West is going to ratchet up pressure on Russia to disrupt this World Sports Event.

      • backwardsevolution
        March 31, 2018 at 05:00

        Dave P. – yes, I totally agree with what you’ve said. That Russian oligarch money and influence is coming back to bite them. I will watch the video of George Galloway. Thanks.

        I’m sure they’re just itching to interfere in the World Cup, but they had better not. If anything could cause a worldwide riot, it would be that!

        Here’s a short video for you: Lionel Messi. Speed, ball control, exceptional balance, toying. They don’t come better than that!

      • backwardsevolution
        March 31, 2018 at 06:15

        Dave P. – George Galloway is something else! He ran circles around them. Thanks for linking the video.

      • Martin - Swedish citizen
        March 31, 2018 at 12:03

        Very entertaining, uplifting and telling link. Thanks! The senators come out minced.

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          March 31, 2018 at 12:04

          Well, and it is all very, very sad.

    • Skeptigal
      March 31, 2018 at 16:40

      It is maddening that individuals like Craig Murray are attacked and discredited on social media for presenting logical arguments questioning the “Russia did it” allegation. Once again all the mindless sheeple have the wool pulled over their eyes, while bleating their approval of the excessive measures taken by the UK and allies that are disproportionate to the crime, especially in the absence of evidence. Officials can always rely on the MSM and the brain dead public to support them.

      The VX nerve agent was developed by the Chemical Weapons Research Center at Porton Down from a pesticide made by chemists at ICI that was deemed too dangerous to use. Kim Jong Nam was poisoned by VX nerve agent in the very public International Airport in Malaysia over a year ago. The UK should have been blamed for that one as they developed the agent. Also very peculiar is that on March 5, the day after the Skripals were attacked, the US imposed new sanctions on North Korea for the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

      In an article by Dmitry Orlov, he mentioned an American British television series called “Strike Back” and some episodes that aired not long ago involving a Russian scientist poisoning his colleagues with Novichok. Is this where the perpetrators got their idea from?

      Craig Murray mentioned in a previous article that if the Novichok agents were actually made then it would have been done in the lab in Nukus, Uzbekistan. That lab was dismantled and cleaned up by the US in by 2002. The scientist working on this type of nerve agent fled to the US with his recipe book. Too many cooks in the kitchen I think! Further, in 2017, OPCW stated that Russia had destroyed all of its chemical weapons.

      Just a thought, the 2018 and 2022 bids for the FIFA World Cup were surrounded by controversy and bribery allegations against Russia and Qatar. The British Football Association was quite aggrieved. The UK was eliminated after the second round of votes.

      A nice summary and other plausible explanations for the Salisbury attack are found in this article.

      But again, it doesn’t matter if the allegations can be supported by evidence, science, or a logical motive, the damage has been done and the endgame achieved.

      • backwardsevolution
        March 31, 2018 at 18:32

        Skeptigal – good post. Thanks.

  19. Benjamin aye
    March 30, 2018 at 18:08

    The truth concerning this skripal case is that the Russians are not involved in this poisoning.threr are some concept to understanding this situation.first after the incident the British government knew immediately the sort of nerve agent that was used to poison them.if the British on its own have not work on such agent it will be quite difficult to know immediately. This is because you must have a sample of the original so u can make comparison to ascertain your findings. Secondly there is a report that said that the skripal first had contact of the nerve agent at door post of his house,so how is it possible that they went to the cementary without having contact there,went to a cafe without having contact there and visited other places without making contact with the people there. As at these points the agent radiant level is still pretty high yet nobody had contacted the gas but hours later a police person that came to their rescue contact it.there is an irony to this case. Thirdly according to get experts concerning the novirchok nerve agents they are ten time powerful than the VX agents.if a VX agent that was use against the brother of north Korea takes 10minutes to die after been attack with the VX them with novirchok it should take a minute to end their how come they were Abel to survive,from the deadly reputation accord to the novirchok nerve agents where did the British get the antidote to the nerve agents. fouthly.this skripals case have have another conspiracy theory that is yet to be wasn’t by accident that skripals were order to removed the public attentions from the fallout of briext, to increased the defence budgets,to rally around the NATO sportive alliances which will show to the British pollution that after briext the UK can still muscle up allies to it aid.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      March 31, 2018 at 01:19

      All very valid points that the U.K. will need to explain – if they can.

  20. Tom Welsh
    March 30, 2018 at 18:02

    “What if you were subpoenaed before Congress, would you take the fifth or would you tell that story?”

    As Mr Murray is not a US citizen, I don’t think Congress has any power to subpoena him. And he certainly couldn’t “take the fifth”, which is a constitutional protection available only to US citizens.

    At a time when the US government is trying to set itself up as some kind of world government, it is extremely important to be perfectly clear about the limits of its power and authority.

    • Sam F
      March 30, 2018 at 21:38

      Congress could ask him to cooperate, or request his subpoena via diplomatic channels under bilateral treaties. I don’t know whether (under UK law) he could be penalized for claiming a bad memory, but coerced testimony could not be used against him in the US. Constitutional rights explicitly apply to all persons, not just US citizens.

      • john wilson
        March 31, 2018 at 04:50

        I loved it when they got George Galloway to testify before congress as he wiped the floor up with them and made them look even more stupid than they already are.

    • David G
      March 30, 2018 at 22:29

      “And he certainly couldn’t ‘take the fifth’, which is a constitutional protection available only to US citizens.”

      Just as a point of information, that is categorically false.

      But I hope the ambassador doesn’t find himself in front of any U.S. Congressional panel or grand jury if his position is that he will assert that the DNC documents were a leak and not a hack, and then refuse to go into any further detail. A person can get into legal trouble that way.

  21. Tom Welsh
    March 30, 2018 at 17:56

    “I find it remarkable that the very day this happened the British government was announcing that it was the Russian state that was behind this”.

    Exactly like MH17. I am surprised Mr Murray did not mention the parallel himself.

    • geeyp
      March 31, 2018 at 04:13

      And Tom, just like the presstitutes in the US repeated the future “Viceroy”‘s “Al Qaeda” did it remark on Sept. 11, 2001. Craig Murray could have drawn parallel with so many different events, though I am sure he just chose to stay on topic. I wonder if Craig’s site is getting pummeled MI6 (who I feel is still pissed off at the exposure of their existence not all that long ago) and CIA, or are also average right wing countrymen outraged that anyone would dare question the UK government, and therefore joining in with the threats. It stands to reason anyone feeling their future employment affected, should peace win, would feel threatened.

  22. Brendan
    March 30, 2018 at 17:56

    The official British narrative of what happened in Salisbury is just physically impossible, if you think about the supposed version of events:

    Someone, and possibly a second person, makes contact with an extremely powerful nerve agent that has been placed on a door knob. Several hours later, after travelling in a car, drinking in a pub, eating in a restaurant and walking through a park, the two people are critically injured when the nerve agent suddenly kicks into action. This effect probably happens within less than a minute, since neither of them was able to call for help. Nobody else at the scene is affected, not even a doctor who physically handles one of the victims while treating them.

    To top it off, more than three weeks later, one of the victims makes a rapid recovery, apparently in a single day, and is able to eat, drink and talk.

    This amazing recovery from a lethal nerve agent is the kind of event that would normally be expected to make headlines as The Miracle of Salisbury. However it only gets mentioned as a minor item in media reports, in spite of the huge amount of coverage given to the poisoning and its political consequences.

    The media seems afraid to even acknowldge that there’s something unusual about this whole story. If they did, they’d have to ask certain questions: Is that how military grade nerve agents really work? Are our governments telling us lies?

    • Zachary Smith
      March 30, 2018 at 19:35

      This amazing recovery from a lethal nerve agent is the kind of event that would normally be expected to make headlines as The Miracle of Salisbury.

      A drop of nerve gas will kill in seconds, and the Evil Russian Poison was at least ten times as powerful, and one of the Skiprals has started to recover. A blurb and a headline I saw recently:

      “She Is Risen!”

      Last Act Of ‘Novichok’ Drama Revealed – “The Skripals’ Resurrection”

      The people involved now have a problem of gracefully backing away from this nutty story.

      • ??????? ??????
        March 31, 2018 at 03:27

        To achieve better effect, “they” should have timed the Miracle to coincide with the Resurrection of Christ, now they are in the right Holiday but a few days off the right date; can’t one presume therefore, that “these people” are not worshippers of the God of biblical fame, but of some other god, God only knows which?

        • Skip Scott
          March 31, 2018 at 06:54

          Well, Good Friday is the day Christ supposedly died for our sins. Maybe it covers the sins of the British Gov’t?

      • Brendan
        March 31, 2018 at 08:02

        Zachary Smith : “The people involved now have a problem of gracefully backing away from this nutty story.”

        That would be a big problem for them, it would mean admitting that they lied, and that Russian diplomats were expelled – from countries all over the world – for no good reason. If that got out in the open, it could bring down the British government.

        So far, the mass media has helped the government by simply ignoring the glaring contradictions in its own reporting. When Yulia Skripal made her miraculous recovery, they had already forgotten what Theresa May told the the House of Commons just two days earlier:

        “Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain critically ill in hospital. Sadly, late last week, doctors indicated that their condition is unlikely to change in the near future, and they may never recover fully,”

      • Brendan
        March 31, 2018 at 08:04

        More here:
        Yulia Skripal “improving rapidly”: The unravelling of the Russian Novichok narrative

    • john wilson
      March 31, 2018 at 04:47

      Why should the media be afraid, they are supposed to be independent. However, the trouble is that the media ISN’T independent and no journalist will rock the boat and find he or has no job next day.

    • Brendan
      March 31, 2018 at 08:48

      To sum up, I think that it can be said with 99% certainty that the source of Yulia Skripal’s illness was not some Novichok that was placed on a door knob of her father’s house.

      I’m being very cautious here by not saying ‘100%’ because I’m allowing for the possibility of some unknown way in which that could happen, which the British authorities have not told us about. But if we believe their version of events, that must involve some mechanisms by which that nerve agent would:

      – somehow, have a delayed reaction of a number of hours,
      – then strike two people suddenly and at the same time,
      – but not affect any of the people who come to their aid soon afterwards,
      – and have effects which put a victim in a coma, but which wear off rapidly a few weeks later.

      Well there’s only one explanation: Putin must developed an extremely complex and advanced version of Novichok !

      • Skip Scott
        March 31, 2018 at 10:12

        Time release caplets!

        • Brendan
          March 31, 2018 at 14:40

          Yep, to release both the poison (after a few hours) and the antidote (after a few weeks).

  23. john wilson
    March 30, 2018 at 17:14

    My concern is the chain of custody of the Skripal’s blood samples. I would hope that the UN chemical weapons inspectors would be present at the taking of the blood samples and take them away themselves. If they are just given the samples taken by the hospital earlier and these samples have been handled by ‘government people’, then they will most certainly have been spiked with the nerve agent in question. One way or another, May’s criminal government operatives won’t let there be any possibility of the sample being found not to have nerve agent in them.

    • Sam F
      March 30, 2018 at 19:46

      Yes, there should be a UN standard of evidence and provenance thereof, beneath which accusations cannot be made and retaliations are considered aggressions. That would discourage false-flag provocations.

    • Dave P.
      March 31, 2018 at 00:16

      john wilson – I agree with you, completely.

  24. Abe
    March 30, 2018 at 16:53

    “Considering the lack of actual evidence the UK has provided and the British government’s verified history of fabricating claims regarding the use of WMDs to advance it and its allies’ geopolitical agendas – the burden of proof never rested upon Russia.

    “Just as the US and UK did during the lead up to the Iraq War in 2003, an avalanche of propaganda is being produced to stampede the world into backing whatever long-ago elected course of action the West has decided to take against Russia.

    “In the hindsight of whatever course of action the UK and its allies decide to take in the coming days, weeks, and months based on the Skripal incident, who will play the role of ‘Curveball’ who supposedly duped Theresa May in making her Powell-style accusations before declaring her Bush-style retaliation?

    “And considering the ramifications for the West regarding its lies in the lead up to Iraq and the fallout the West has faced in the aftermath of Iraq’s destruction, what do Western policymakers expect to gain from an incident many times more transparently staged and self-serving against a world increasingly skeptical of their claims and actions?

    “Still, the accusations are serious and the prepared responses from the West will assuredly further endanger global peace and stability. That the alleged attack took place on British soil means that – unlike in Syria – there is no UNSC the West must pass through before taking matters into its own hands.

    “This fact alone – following years of frustration in the face of Russia’s veto power upon the UNSC in regards to Syria – makes the nature of the Skripal incident even more suspicious. The UK appears to have a pretext and a clear path toward escalation before it – how far it and its allies are prepared to go remains to be seen.”

    WMD Lies Strike Again: The Skripal Incident
    By Tony Cartalucci

    • jose
      March 30, 2018 at 21:30

      Dear Abe: you make very good points that can be easily verified. Personally, I believe that this article goes beyond lying and fake news: It reminds me of the term GASLIGHTING which “is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.” In a sane world, people should demand from the British government hard evidence so it’s accusation of Russia being the culprit could be credible. Instead, we only read innuendo, speculation, and fabrication. The burden of proof should rest on the accuser (England) not Russia (target). Good post Abe.

      • JWalters
        March 31, 2018 at 00:57

        I don’t think the British government has the ability to make anyone question their own sanity. I’d guess most people feel relatively safe criticizing the government to some extent.

        • Martin - Swedish citizen
          March 31, 2018 at 01:10

          I don’t know about Britain, but one could ask how many criticised Blair at the time (although there was more room for different opinions then), or how many dared criticise the coup in Ukraine.

          • March 31, 2018 at 11:39

            A great many is the answer. A million people protested against the decision to wage war on Iraq in one London demonstration, for example. The British people, as distinct from the political media elite, are opposed to foreign wars.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            March 31, 2018 at 11:47

            I am delighted to hear that, sincerely.
            It is regrettable that the British were not able to stop it. Or even put Blair in prison or The Hague tribunal, where he belongs.

          • Martin - Swedish citizen
            March 31, 2018 at 11:51

            Actually yes, I seem to recall the demonstrations in London.

    • JWalters
      March 31, 2018 at 01:13

      The Russians had no motive, while the Israelis did, Craig Murray discusses in “Russian to Judgement”

      And the Israelis are false flag experts.

      The war profiteers control the British government just as they control the American, French, etc. I can imagine a recent meeting where a top war profiteer said, “We’d like you national leaders to lead your people into a massive slaughter, please.”

  25. nonsense factory
    March 30, 2018 at 16:41

    Without a public inquiry and the presentation of the raw analytical data that whoever did the forensics collected, the method they used, the testimony of the technician involved under oath – standard criminal justice procedures – there’s really no basis for making any claims at this point.

    What that reveals is that the British tabloid press and the British government have some kind of agenda that they’re pushing with this story; Cold War 2.0 seems to be the name of the game. There’s nothing new about this strategy, it’s been going on ever since Putin rejected ExxonMobil’s bid for a 51% controlling stake in Yukos in 2003, and soon after, arrested Khodorkovsky and exiled Berezovsky and Gusinsky. Ho hum.

    • JWalters
      March 31, 2018 at 01:00

      The cover story always goes public immediately in a CIA operation, as Colonel Fletcher Prouty explained with the JFK assassination. It’s done to pre-empt questions, and the truth.

Comments are closed.