An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

An alternative explanation to the mystery surrounding the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter may involve a possibility that neither the British nor Russian governments want to talk about, as Gareth Porter explores.

By Gareth Porter  Special to Consortium News

For weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have insisted that there is “no alternative explanation” to Russian government responsibility for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.

But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.

The credibility of the May government’s attempt to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered because of Yulia Skripal’s relatively rapid recovery, the apparent improvement of Sergei Skripal’s condition and a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

How a Crime Syndicate Got Nerve Agent

Vil Mirzayanov

The highly independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has published a detailed account of how Russian organized crime figures obtained nerve agent in 1994 from Leonid Rink, the head of the former Soviet government laboratory that had synthesized it.

The newspaper gleaned the information about the transaction from Rink’s court testimony in the 1995 murder of prominent banker Ivan Kivelidi, the leader of the Russian Entrepreneurs’ Round Table, an organization engaged in a conflict with a powerful group of directors of state-owned enterprises.

Rink testified that after the post-Soviet Russian economic meltdown had begun he filled each of several ampoules with 0.25 grams of nerve agent and stored it in his own garage. Just one such ampoule held enough agent to kill 100 people, according to Rink, the lead scientist in the development of the series of nerve agents called Novichok (“newcomer” in Russian).

Rink further admitted that he had then sold one of the ampoules in 1995 to Artur Talanov, who then lived in Latvia and was later seriously wounded in an attempted robbery of a cash van in Estonia, for less than $1,800.

In 1995, some of that nerve agent was applied to Kivelidi’s telephone receiver to kill him, as the court documents in the murder case reveal. Police found that there were links between Talanov and Vladimir Khutsishvili, who had been a board member of Kivelidi’s bank, according to the Kivelidi murder investigation. Khutsishivili was eventually found guilty of poisoning Kivelidi, although it was found that he hired someone else to carry out the poisoning.

But that wasn’t the only nerve agent that Rink sold to gangsters. Rink admitted in court in 2007 that he had sold four of the vials to someone named Ryabov, who had organized crime connections in 1994. Those vials were said to have been seized later by Federal Security Police.

But the investigation of the Kivelidi murder found that vials had also fallen into the hands of other criminal syndicates, including one Chechen organization. Furthermore, Rink testified that he had given each of the recipients of the nerve agent detailed instructions on how it worked and how to handle it safely.

The Mystery of the Non-Lethal Nerve Agent

The newly-revealed story of how organized crime got control of hundreds of doses of lethal nerve agent from a government laboratory sheds crucial light on the mystery of the poisoning in Salisbury, especially in light of the timeline of the Skripals on the day of the poisoning and their unexpectedly swift recovery.

Reports of their activities on March 4 show that they were strolling in central Salisbury, dining, and visiting a pub for several hours before collapsing on a park bench sometime after 4 pm.

Yulia Skripal from her Facebook page.

The announcements of Yulia’s rapid recovery on March 28 and that Sergei was now “stable” and “improving rapidly” about a week later appears to be in contradiction with the British insistence that they
were poisoned by a Russian government intelligence team. The Novichok-type nerve agent has been characterized as quick acting and highly lethal.

But the official Russian forensic investigation in conjunction with the Kivelidi’s murder, as reported by Novaya Gazeta, concluded that the Novichok did not take effect instantaneously but generally took from one and a half to five hours.

The Russian government has now made an official issue of the fact that the nerve agent used in the poisoning proved not to be lethal. In his news conference on April 14 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Swiss Spiez Laboratory, working on the case for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had found traces in the Skripals’ bloodsample, of the nerve agent BZ, which was never developed by Soviet scientists but was in the arsenals of the United States and Britain.

Lavrov also acknowledged that the lab had in addition found traces of “A-234”–one of the nerve agents in the Novichok series – “in its initial state and in high concentration”. Lavrov argued that had the assassins used A-234 nerve agent, which he noted is at least eight times more deadly than VX nerve gas, it “would have killed the Skripals.”

But if the poisoning had been done with some of the A-234 nerve agent that was sold by Rink to organized crime figures, it probably would not have been that lethal.

Vil Mirzayanov, the counter-intelligence specialist on the team that developed Novichok and who later revealed the existence of the Novichok program, explained in an interview with The Guardian that the agent lost its effectiveness. “The final product, in storage, after one year is already losing 2%, 3%,” Mirzayanov said, “The next year more, and the next year more. In 10-15 years, it’s no longer effective.”

Exposure to even a large dose of such a normally lethal poison more than 25 years after it was first produced could account for the apparent lack of normal symptoms associated with exposure to that kind of nerve agent experienced by the Skripals, as well as for their relatively speedy recovery. That lends further credibility to a possible explanation that someone with a personal grudge against Sergei Skripal carried out the poisoning.

An Absence of Nerve Agent Symptoms?

Also challenging the official British line is a statement by a medical specialist involved in the Salisbury District Hospital’s care for the Skripals revealing that they had not exhibited any symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

Davies: Letter to The Times

Stephen Davies, a consultant on emergency medicine for the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Salisbury District Hospital, wrote a letter published in The Times on March 16 that presented a problem for the official British government position. Davies wrote,“[M]ay I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury, and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning.” Obviously, Sergei and Yulia Skripal were “patients” in the hospital and were thus included in that statement.

The Times made the unusual decision to cover the Davies letter in a news story, but tellingly failed to quote the crucial statement in the letter that “no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury” or to report on the significance of the statement.

To rule out the possibility that Davies intended to say something quite different, this writer requested a confirmation or denial of what Davies had written in his letter from the press officer for the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Patrick Butler. But Butler did not respond for a week and then refused directly to deny, confirm or explain the Davies statement.

Instead Butler said in an email, “Three people were admitted and treated as inpatients at Salisbury District Hospital for the effects of nerve agent poisoning as Stephen Davies wrote.” When he was reminded that the letter had actually said something quite different, Butler simply repeated the statement he had just sent and then added, “The Trust will not be providing any further information on this matter.”

Butler did not respond to two separate requests from the writer for assistance in contacting Davies. The refusal of the NHS Foundation Trust to engage at all on the subject underlines the sensitivity of the British government about nerve agent that didn’t work.

There are many individuals in Russia whose feelings about Sergei Skripal’s having become a double agent for Britain’s MI6 – including former colleagues of his – could provide a personal motive for the poisoning. And it is certainly plausible that those individuals could have had obtained some of the nerve agent sold by Leonid Rink that entered the black market.

Neither the British government nor the Russian government is apparently eager to acknowledge that alternative explanation. The British don’t want it discussed, because they are determined to use the Salisbury poisoning to push their anti-Russian agenda; and the Russians may be reluctant to talk about it, because it would inevitably get into details of a secret nerve agent research project that they have claimed they closed down in 1992, despite Rink’s testimony in the court case that he was still doing some work for the Russian military until 1994.

Gareth Porter is an independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. He is the author of numerous books, including Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). 

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118 comments for “An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

  1. will
    April 23, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    “the nerve agent BZ, which was never developed by Soviet scientists but was in the arsenals of the United States and Britain.”
    Interesting, I remember reading about the effects of BZ in the excellent book Acid Dreams: LSD,the CIA and the 60’s rebellion, and they effects of BZ do seem to be more in keeping with what we heard these victims were doing when “found” by the cops-twitching and drooling in particular. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/260352.Acid_Dreams

  2. Matt
    April 21, 2018 at 9:35 am

    The consultant said clearly that the skripals and PC were poisoned by a nerve agent in the above quotes. He simply said the other 40 turned out not to be. Is the author really trying to pretend the skripals weren’t poisoned at all??!

    • Pedro Ghirotti
      April 23, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Use glasses…

    • Jerome Stern
      April 26, 2018 at 6:53 am

      Matt, I don’t understand how you can say something which is clearly contradicted by the statement to which you are referring. Davies actually says “no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury”. As Porter points out, since the Skripals were patients in Salisbury hospital at the time, that statement logically implies that neither the Skripals nor the affected police officer were poisoned by a nerve agent. The rest of the statement “and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning”, presumably refers specifically to the Skripals and the affected policeman. But far from saying “clearly” that these three were poisoned by a nerve agent, he actually does not say, clearly or at all, in that part of the sentence, anything about the nature of the poison by which they were afflicted. However, the first part of the sentence clearly (sic) denies that the poison which affected them was a nerve agent. I think I understand what you are getting at: I suspect what you meant was something like ” It is clear to me that what Davies meant was…”. About that you are correct, since that is merely a statement about your interpretation of Davies’ statement, not its content nor what Davies actually meant by it. My point is that statements have a literal meaning, which can (and in this case might be) quite different to what the author intended the reader or listener to understand. So your statement about Davies’ statement is objectively false, even though what you may have meant by it might contain some truth. Porter concedes as much, which is why he contacted the hospital to obtain clarification. This may seem very pedantic, but the implications, if Davies actually meant what he wrote and not what you interpreted him to mean, completely undermine the governments narrative. Furthermore, do really think that a consultant physician writing to a national newspaper about a very sensitive political matter, would express himself so badly and carelessly as to contradict his intended meaning or is it not more likely that he considered the content of his letter very carefully and meant exactly what he actually wrote, including the implication that the government narrative was wrong. It is true he doesn’t explicitly say this but that does follow logically from what he does actually say. Exactly how a clever man in a sensitive position might make his point, sotto voci so to speak.

  3. david reynolds
    April 21, 2018 at 2:01 am

    novochock was not indicated in the report it was “secret”

  4. Tick Tock
    April 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    As a biochemical research scientist with 40 years experience since getting a Ph.D. and working on chemical weapons protection that last part of my career, I strongly suggest the author stick to politics or possibly military subjects. Way to many loopholes in this story and not enough facts to be certain of what actually took place. But some possibilities can be eliminated. The Skripals were not exposed to a military grade agent in public. Way too many survivors including them. Household bleach is the best agent to inactive almost all chemical weapon agents. Just spay it on and let it sit. The British are lying through their teeth. This was put together on the fly, way to many inconsistencies. And yes, nearly all of the so-called Political Leaders of the West are morons at best.

    • Svetlana Glavenko
      April 21, 2018 at 5:12 am

      Agree, also Novaya Gazeta is a “liberal” tabloid and I wouldn’t give a cent to trust them. All the facts are twisted in this article and quite biased.

    • Matt
      April 21, 2018 at 9:38 am

      You write with the syntax of an 8 year old. I strongly doubt you have a PhD or the experience you cite above….

  5. April 19, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I suspect the Skripals and the mysterious Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey were not poisoned by A 234. The sample of A 234 tested by the Swiss lab for the OPCW was taken two weeks after the poisonings. Yet the Swiss lab reported that the nerve agent was of high purity. This suggests that the A 234 was not left on site for days, let alone weeks. The finding of BZ suggests it was in fact the agent. This is much more congruent with the reported symptoms of the Skripals at the scene. It is also congruent with the Porton Down testimony to the Court of Protection, which merely asserted that the poison was a “nerve agent or closely related compound”. BZ could be the “closely related compound”. In the statement released by the police on behalf of DS Bailey, in the first sentence he describes his experience as surreal. This is congruent with BZ poisoning. Yulia Skripal’s statement similarly stated that she felt disoriented. The fact that all three recovered is also significant. If they were poisoned by BZ, this would also explain why the British government, contrary to international law, refuses to allow Russia to participate in the investigation or even access to the evidence and Yulia, a Russian citizen.

    • Svetlana Glavenko
      April 21, 2018 at 5:13 am

      True, spot on

  6. glitch
    April 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Since all we can do is speculate on information given to us by known liars, here’s mine fwiw:
    Skirpal in hiding to keep from having to expose his role in trump pee bed dossier. Cats and guinea pigs safe with him. Daughter covering for him. State involved witness protection, probably.
    Overly melodramatic hoax used to gin up antagonism against Russia. Twofer.
    Sure, clumsy and over the top, but these stories don’t have to be clever to achieve the chaos and disorientation required from their audience to pass long enough until the next implausible distraction.

  7. April 18, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    A weak story. Would the author like to speculate why the Russian mob wanted to kill Skripal? Or whether they would act so provocatively without Putin’s assent? Or, if it wasn’t a nerve agent, what might have caused their symptoms? And what he considers a rapid recovery? This 2 bit story may cause me to reassess renewing my support.

    • Obedience
      April 21, 2018 at 3:55 am

      Why should he? He is merely showing that there is indeed an alternative explanation, backed up by documentary evidence, counter to the UK narrative.

    • Matt
      April 21, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Well said

  8. Jayne
    April 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Interesting theory however the UK authorities are not doing a cleanup for a novichok poison (which as you point out degrades) and is also removable by water, but for something very much more persistant.

    This could be bz because its reported as being “extremely persistent in soil and water”

    Or some other agent which does not degrade easily and cannot be removed with water.

  9. ThomasGilroy
    April 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Exposure to even a large dose of such a normally lethal poison more than 25 years after it was first produced could account for the apparent lack of normal symptoms associated with exposure to that kind of nerve agent experienced by the Skripals, as well as for their relatively speedy recovery. That lends further credibility to a possible explanation that someone with a personal grudge against Sergei Skripal carried out the poisoning.

    While Mr. Porter provides an alternative explanation, what he leaves out is the possible connection between the Russian government and private Russian citizens (“The Kremlin’s Parallel State Is a Feature, Not a Bug” (Op-ed): https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/putins-parallel-state-op-ed-60616). Additionally organized crime may work for the government – according to Business Insider (Organized crime is now a major element of Russia statecraft http://read.bi/1iej8XT via @businessinsider).

    Vladimir Putin’s regime has become increasingly adept at deploying a whole range of practices that are more common among crime syndicates than permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    In some cases, as with the hacking, this involves the Kremlin subcontracting organized crime groups to do things the Russian state cannot do itself with plausible deniability. And in others, it involves the state itself engaging in kidnapping, extortion, blackmail, bribery, and fraud to advance its agenda.

    Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda has noted that the activities of Russian criminal networks are virtually indistinguishable from those of the government.

    “It’s not so much a mafia state as a nationalized mafia,” Russian organized crime expert Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and co-host of the Power Vertical Podcast, said in a recent lecture at the Hudson Institute

    Plausible deniability is an important part of Russian government policies whether in Ukraine (little green meen, unmarked military hardware like tanks) or in Syria (the Wagner soldiers killed by the US in Syria). In each case, there is plausible deniability for the Russian government – a layer of protection afforded Putin. Because organized crime may have attempted to kill Skripal, that doesn’t mean that the Russian government wasn’t behind the attempt. Organized crime in Russia works in service to the state.

    • John Sanguinetti
      April 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      Vladimir Putin’s regime has become increasingly adept at deploying a whole range of practices that are more common among crime syndicates than permanent members of the UN Security Council.

      In some cases, as with the hacking, this involves the Kremlin subcontracting organized crime groups to do things the Russian state cannot do itself with plausible deniability. And in others, it involves the state itself engaging in kidnapping, extortion, blackmail, bribery, and fraud to advance its agenda.

      Spanish prosecutor Jose Grinda has noted that the activities of Russian criminal networks are virtually indistinguishable from those of the government.

      “It’s not so much a mafia state as a nationalized mafia,” Russian organized crime expert Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University and co-host of the Power Vertical Podcast, said in a recent lecture at the Hudson Institute

      Plausible deniability is an important part of Russian government policies whether in Ukraine (little green meen, unmarked military hardware like tanks) or in Syria (the Wagner soldiers killed by the US in Syria). In each case, there is plausible deniability for the Russian government – a layer of protection afforded Putin. Because organized crime may have attempted to kill Skripal, that doesn’t mean that the Russian government wasn’t behind the attempt. Organized crime in Russia works in service to the state.
      Just like in the US. Think of the (9/11 false flag crime) .

    • Ralph Kramden
      April 19, 2018 at 12:12 am

      You mean Putin taking a page from the CIA?

    • English Outsider
      April 19, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Thomas Gilroy – I’m afraid I can’t find myself in agreement with your assessment. Here’s a key passage:-

      “Plausible deniability is an important part of Russian government policies whether in Ukraine (little green men, unmarked military hardware like tanks) or in Syria (the Wagner soldiers killed by the US in Syria).”

      The “Little Green Men” could scarcely have been denied. They made up part of the officially agreed contingent of Russian soldiers in the Crimea, that agreement dating from before the Ukrainian coup. From memory, I believe that contingent got swapped around, and I also suspect that at the end the numbers of Russian soldiers stationed in the Crimea exceeded the official limit. Nevertheless they were there so publicly that denial, plausible or otherwise, would have been pointless.

      I should state that I’m to a certain extent parti pris because I firmly believe that the Crimeans have been lucky to escape the lawlessness now prevalent in nearby parts of the Ukraine, and they’d have been roughly handled in 2014 had groups such as the Right Sector been allowed in: but allowing for my personal view I suspect you may be imputing more sinister motives to the Russians than was the case. Here’s a video from the time in which the Canadian academic, Paul Robinson, looked at the then situation in the Donbas. It is an examination of Russian support for the Novorossians. 1) if Professor Robinson is wrong (as far as a non-specialist can tell I don’t think he is) then he’s wrong by mistake, not deliberately 2) He seems to have picked up and evaluated the critical events, in particular the (rumoured, but I reckon probable) Russian cross border artillery barrage that broke up Ukrainian units on the border.

      It’s not a complete analysis. Doesn’t mention the effect of events such as the Khorsun incident on Russian public opinion both sides of the border. Doesn’t go into Western motivation and actions. Doesn’t examine the Russian belief that this was a prelude to later attempts to destabilise Russia itself. Nor does it overlap with Sakwa’s important examination of the EU negotiations that were headed by Lady Ashton. But as far as it goes, and looking at what came out later, I reckon he’s got that curiously muted Russian response to the mayhem on its western border right. (circa 1 min. 30)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjshHd1u-JE

      On Syria, the fog of disinformation (both sides) is so thick that finding out what happened, let alone attempting to evaluate it, is best left to the specialists; and as often as not they can only state that they’re in the dark too. If we grasp that the Russians are helping the Syrians against the Jihadists and we are helping the Jihadists against the Syrians, and neither side is too choosy about the tactics they employ, that gives us the general framework to work from.

    • Matt
      April 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Absolutely agree. Subcontracting to the Russian Mob is perfectly plausible

  10. April 18, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    This is a very interesting widening of the list of suspects to Russian gangsters (who seem to operate freely in the UK) but it is still very Russo-centric. Anyone, whether Putin, FSB or GRU agents, or gangsters, who wanted to kill Skripal for selling out Russian agents could have done so during the 5 years he was held in a Russian prison, where both official and gangland killings are relatively easy. Why wait so long and do it in the UK, in the one town where novichok could be identified rapidly, and where the political repercussions for Putin could be disastrous? It doesn’t add up. People are usually targeted for what they are doing now or going to do, not what they did 15 years ago. Litvinenko was an active, virulent anti-Putin propagandist, publishing books about Russia’s mafia state, and certain people wanted to silence him NOW for his present actions (he never betrayed any agents when he was in Russia, he only denounced FSB corruption, and was sacked for that.) So what was Skripal doing in Salisbury? Like Litvinenko and most Russian FSB or GRU defectors he was working for MI6 and for private intelligence companies doing research into shady Russian businessmen. His old MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller, lived in Salisbury (they became friends again) and worked for Christopher Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence. They produced the dodgy dossier on Donald Trump and Moscow prostitutes, which still underlies Mueller’s Russia probe. Miller certainly worked on this report as he was Steele’s main Russia expert. But just as Litvinenko outsourced reports to other Russian agents (like his accused killer Lugovoy) so Miller would almost certainly have enlisted Skripal’s help on background details. Skripal would know exactly how fake that report was. Now here is his daughter who has gone back to Russia and according to her cousin Victoria is dating a man she suspects of being an FSB agent. Is it too much of a leap of logic to imagine Yulia pressuring her father to come home again now that he has nobody left in England but a big extended family in Russia? His mother is over 90. Mothers count for Russians. He has information (about the Steele dossier) he could easily trade with the FSB or GRU for forgiveness and a cushy retirement near his family. Don’t forget this man betrayed the GRU for money, not ideology. Steele starts to hear vague hints of Skripal wanting to return to see his mother. If the FSB debrief him and Steele’s dodgy dossier is exposed as pure lies, it is political dynamite in Washington. The neo-cons and maybe Mueller will be discredited. Putin and Trump may get back together. And for Steele personally, it means perjury charges. Skripal has to be stopped from going back, and his daughter has to be stopped from telling the world he was wanting to go back. So they (either Steele alone or MI6 too, more probably) make the attack with novichok, which dozens of chemists have testified can be made in any decent laboratory, but which can still be pinned on Russia for historical reasons. It gives them a chance to whip up some anti-Putin hysteria. But being British they have scruples. They decide to use BZ, a British and US nerve agent that only incapacitates for several days, and simply to plant traces of novichok to make the world think it was used. Hence the finding of the Swiss laboratory at Spiez: BZ was the operative agent. But novichok was added to the sample afterwards, in a suspiciously pure form, given its tendency to rapid degradation. And hence the Skripals’ survival, and their display of the symptoms of BZ not novichok. MI6 were convinced they could terrorize the Skripals into going along with their story of a Putin assassination attempt, get them out of the way, send them to the USA, change their names, and the story would never come out. The fact they didn’t die from a “military grade nerve agent” that kills in seconds will just be one of those mysteries never solved. Doesn’t this make a lot more sense than your Russian gangsters? What would they really care about Skripal, unless he was doing some research on one of them? Given Skripal’s venal nature (betraying dozens of friends for $100,000) I would bet he was weighing up becoming a triple agent, selling on what he knew about Steele’s dossier to those who put a high value on that information. That is what led to him being silenced. And gave an opportunity for another round of Russia-bashing.

  11. David G
    April 18, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    The Skripal case is going to be a real test of Occam’s Razor: There are simply no likely scenarios based on the little we know. The U.K. authorities who are in a position to investigate and turn a superficially unlikely theory into a strong one are instead deliberately obfuscating and distracting.

    In this obscure situation, the suggestion made in this Gareth Porter piece strikes me as being less unlikely than the others I have thought of or run across.

    But the dominant reality in this case for us outsiders remains how little is known, and therefore we should be cautious about projecting their own preferences on these scanty and obscure facts.

    • April 18, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      David G,

      Among the suspects: a) Russia, b) Britain, c) another nation, d) a group of nations, e) someone with a personal vendetta, etc.. Which suspect pointed immediately at Russia? Which suspect has made certain – while fully in control of access to Sergei and Yulia Skripal – that no photos, phone calls (besides one 1-minute call between Yulia and cousin Viktoria), video and/or internet messages, nor personal visitations have occurred since the day of the incident? Which suspect helped the Syrian people in pushing terrorists from East Ghouta? Which suspect now refers to terrorists who’ve left East Ghouta for northern Syria as “internally displaced persons” (IDPs)? Which suspect stood to gain most by painting both Russia and Syria as “evil chemical weapons Monsters”?

      It is imperative that the world hears the voice, sees on camera, and otherwise knows the true condition of Yulia Skripal.

      • David G
        April 18, 2018 at 11:04 pm

        I have one for you, Jerry Alatalo: Which suspect *failed to kill the target*?

        It’s a lot easier for creatures such as inhabit the corridors of power in the U.K. and the U.S. to take advantage of events as they happen than to constantly stage these elaborate alleged false flags.

        Did the U.S. blow up the Maine in 1898? Did the Nazis burn down the Reichstag in 1933?

        There are many who will blithely answer “yes” to both. But there’s no strong evidence for either. The power elites were prepared to make the most of whatever happened.

        No one can know what happened in Salisbury based on what is available to the public. Craig Murray has done more than anybody to disrupt Whitehall’s miserable agenda in this case, and *he* doesn’t pretend to know what happened.

        So the people already confident of assigning guilt are satisfied to feed their prejudices rather than seek the truth.

        • Chimik
          April 19, 2018 at 5:52 am

          If it would be done by the U.K. and the U.S. Skripals will be dead already. Skripals are fully in their hands and pose a treat alive to those who would set up this action.

  12. KiwiAntz
    April 18, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    The latest news from RT Channel is that the Novichok nerve agent was made & patented in 2015 by the US! Blood samples of the Skripals, sent to a independent Swiss lab, confirmed that it was BZ poisoning, not a Novicok nerve agent as the cause of this event & BZ was made in the UK! If it was Novichok involved, the Skripals would have been dead within minutes! Theresa May & that buffoonish Bojo’s lies are coming back to haunt the UK Govt, as the real truth is finally coming out!

  13. Realist
    April 18, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Obviously, the proper behavior by the Brits would have been to allow a team of international doctors, including some Russians, to examine the patients. And, all the tissue samples and other material evidence would have been analysed by numerous chemical labs from several different countries, including Russia. In fact, I believe there are signed international agreements in place that provide for such responses. Britain should also have been forthcoming as to the origin of the novichok standard it presumably used in its assay procedure, and it should have been compared with other bona fide known specimens. The unexpected Swiss finding of BZ toxin in patient tissue should have been double-checked by other independent labs. A suspicious pity that the Brits destroyed the dead pets, which would have also had forensic value. Unless all the doctors and scientists engaged in collusion, a consensus should have emerged around the data. Russia would have looked as guilty as sin if their results proved the odd man out in every case. The only reason for not approaching this investigation totally above board would be that it probably risked exposing the Brits as liars, purveyors of false narratives and warmongers.

    Some of these things could still be done, unless the Brits destroyed the “evidence” or allowed it to deteriorate beyond usefulness. The way they’ve handled the pets and thoroughly sequestered the alleged victims suggests that such may well already be the fate of their secret evidence. And they have the audacity to accuse the Russians of prevaricating on the alleged poison gas attacks in Syria, when Russia has opened the “crime scene” in Ghouta to inspectors from the whole world? Which side would a rational person tend to believe? Those who make an accusation and hide all the evidence? Or those who gladly expose all the evidence in response to allegations?

  14. Rong Cao
    April 18, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    If a double agents were poisoned in Britain, the whole world must be watching. It is the British government’s responsibility to dig into the details and present it to the world about how it has happened and how to prevent it from happening again in their own soils which will have a chilling effect on other double agents, unless Britain government has something to hide

  15. April 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    It has been conjectured the last Russian agent who died from poisoning was also selling on the black market and poisoned himself not Russia.

    Blaming Russia is the easiest way to deflect any blame on the UK and create a false flag attack on which to push war with Russia.

    The U.K. helped Bush lie the world into war in Iraq and are just as eager to push the neoconservatives agenda again.

    Fool me once…

  16. dave b
    April 18, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    I am an analytical chemist with 30 years experience.

    You have to take other things into consideration when looking at half lives of chemical components and the rate of spontaneous breakdown in the medium in which they are held and the storage conditions etc.

    So I do amongst other things patulin analysis which is a mycotoxin produced by apples in molds etc.

    I wrote a paper up on it in 2016 for an improved method.

    I store the stock solution for calibration in acetonitrile in deep freeze at -20C as it is otherwise potentially much less stable.

    In chemical analysis eg pesticide analysis in particular analytical chemists who are congenitally lazy will often cheat, at first, and look for just the breakdown products of what they are interested in as it is easier.

    The presence a breakdown product can imply the existence of the ‘parent’ molecule although the Swiss lab seem to be using the ‘virgin’ metaphor which is new to me.

    Finding a for instance ‘captan’ (pesticide) residue breakdown product in an organic apple juice and not finding the parent molecule in an analysis more dedicated to pick up the parent or virgin molecule can generate problems with ‘interpretation’.

    As datasets on the half life of captan in an apple juice medium and captan residue in authenticated organic apple juice might not be available.

    The manner in which this novichok might breakdown in its storage medium/conditions may or may not be different to how it breaks down or what it breaks down into in a in vitro or in situ environment.

    Or in other words how it might breakdown when added to a blood sample and how or what it breaks down into in a poisoned mammal.

    These are questions I do not pretend to know the answer to.

    However the Lavrov interpretation of the alleged Swiss lab report seem to suggest that they thought there was something strange about the relative proportions of the parent or virgin Novichok and its breakdown products.

    Breakdown products and ‘precursors’ can be two sides of the same coin as something has the potential to break back down to its ‘precursors’.

    What appears to be missing as well is the potential for this A-234 to have been administered as a ‘binary agent’.

    So you for instance smear agent ‘A’ which is a harmless novichok A-234 ‘precursor’ on a door handle perhaps and clear off.

    It is on the hand of the victim and his loose change and everything else.

    And then smear acetonitrile on the outside of a beer glass that they are going to pick up and run for the exit.

    There is babble on chemistry forums about a ‘one pot’ synthesis of novichok A-234 from ‘A’ and acetonitrile.

    It looks ok to me but I won’t pretend that it is my game.

    I think however that they have knocked them out with BZ toxin.

    Spiked the blood samples with novichok A-234.

    And not expected the anally retentive German Swiss chemists to have noticed anything odd.

    • Kathryn Henniss
      April 18, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Terrific perspective, thank you!

      Have you given any consideration to the suggestion that the Skripals’ illness, non-death, and apparently quick recovery could have been due to seafood poisoning from the meal they’d just eaten? I have no reason to think that Russian mafia and British government officials have malignant agendas that could include poisoning, juking lab samples or results, etc., and of course if it was seafood poisoning, I’d expect other patrons of the same restaurant who had ordered the same dish should have been equally affected, and I’ve read nothing about other victims, though if news is being filtered/suppressed, there could be a reason for that.

      Here’s the link to an article suggesting TSP toxins from shellfish. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/the-best-explanation-for-the-skripal-drama-is-food-poisoning.html

    • Abbybwood
      April 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      I wonder about the theory that they both had food poisoning from seafood (mussels etc.) they had eaten 40 minutes prior to passing out at a Pizza/Seafood restaurant?:

      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/the-best-explanation-for-the-skripal-drama-is-food-poisoning.html

      • John P
        April 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        If it was indeed the seafood one might expect others to have come down with the symptoms. No guarantee though that others ate the seafood, but surely the investigators would have asked the restaurant.

    • April 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      @ dave b: “… half life of captan in an apple juice medium …”

      I spent over two decades litigating toxic substance issues (I had an emotional need to teach a lesson to the manufacturers of Agent Orange).

      I agree generally with your discussion, excepting the quoted passage above. Chemists often make the mistake of referring to a “half-life” when a linear half-life calculation is inappropriate for levels below the solubility level of the toxin in the medium in which the toxic substance is suspended. Once the solubility level is reached, the excretion rate will slow dramatically.

      Perhaps not important in most cases, but vitally important if faced with a substance that is toxic at the level of solubility. So I am interested in the toxicity of the substance involved at its level of solubility in mammalian media such as blood, body fat, etc. if the mammal comes in later contact with a substance that reacts synergistically, e.g., acetonitrile in your example. Without that information, I don’t think it can be ruled out that the Skripals were carrying the precursor for a longer period than has been generally discussed.

  17. Otto
    April 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I am surprised that as the scenario was that Russian agents or some other agents committed the Skripal poisoning that not a single mention has been uttered that all airports etc. have been watched/checked and their CCTV checked as well as manifests to try to identify possible suspects. Perhaps those ‘agents’ are still in the UK .
    Or as some UK agents did it there was no reason to make such checks. Just a cheeky idea, or is it?

    • April 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Interestingly the cctv wasn’t working that day

      And their cat and guinea pig were destroyed

    • Piotr Berman
      April 18, 2018 at 4:59 pm

      There was no person identified as the poisoner, so watching airports etc. would be pointless. Smearing door handle without being noticed should be possible, even though in the official British scenario it happened in the broad daylight, between 9 and 11 am. That scenario seems dubious because it posits that a poison was spread to both victims from one handle — usually when a pair of people exits a home, only one person closes the door, and afterwards the physiological delay of several hours was highly synchronized — if there would be a difference of 10 minutes of more, one of the victims would call emergency or ask strangers for help (not knowing how to call the emergency).

      • anita
        April 19, 2018 at 5:15 am

        yes, you are right. the door knob would not produce a uniform dose for the two of them.

  18. April 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    if the italian originating mafia of america wanted to “get” the two alleged targets, a hired hit man totally unconnected to them would have been driven to the park by an associate mob worker, walked up to the bench on which they sat, put a bullet into each of their heads, jumped back into the waiting car which sped off to an airstrip where he’d be flown back to shanghai, teaneck, new jersey or cairo or wherever he originated ,and on the way the gun would have been wiped clean and tossed into a river, bay, garbage dump or whatever other source of relative “outer cosmos” offered itself..the driver would sink back into the relative oblivion from which he came and that would be that…implying that a government agent, even from a government as screwed up as imperial central let alone its “enemies”, could be so stupid, unprofessional, etc, about getting rid of someone as to go through this comedy of errors with an even more comedic array of experts about “nerve” agents comparing notes about whether the tooth fairy is more lethal than the easter bunny implies that we are, hopefully, close to the end of the despicable and disastrous domination of the world by a master race of self chosen idiots.

    • Litchfield
      April 18, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Yes. That is how the JFK murder went down.

  19. andreluka
    April 18, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    If the Russians wanted to kill him he would’ve been mowed over by a stolen BMW. Full stop. Everything else is nonsense.

    • rosemerry
      April 18, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      I find it sad that someone like Gareth would follow this reasoning.
      1. Why would these “criminals” choose such a time to fail to kill these victims? Just before the election of Putin and the World Cup, when Skripal had lived in Salisbury for 8 years? What benefit is there to make such a fuss and cause such international conflict for a useless, already-exchanged double agent which means that now exchange of spies is no longer feasible?
      2. May’s words, accusation, punishment and her refusal to allow consular staff from Russis, relatives or friends to visit the victims, then their being hidden incommunicado show at least very bad faith on her part.
      3. The extension of May’s venom to the present, with the attack on Syria and the suggestion that the Russians are planning cyber attacks on the UK, follow on , and her Russia hatred, along with that of Boris “FM” abd “Defence Min.” Gavin, could be seen in earlier accusations in recent months before this happy chance for evidence-free blamr.

      • Gregory Herr
        April 18, 2018 at 6:53 pm

        The British government has had a strange approach with this whole affair from the get-go. They appear guilty because of the lack of protocol and all the concealment. I suppose it’s possible that the Skripal case or affair had a cause independent from British intelligence or foreknowledge and that they were quick to “take advantage” of a situation they could (not so feasibly….but so much b.s. gets passed around these days that feasibility seems no longer a concern when telling tales) somehow blame on Russia.
        But I think it’s more likely this thing was a setup–a poorly contrived one, but a setup nonetheless. I think if this was a case of a vendetta unconnected to the Brits, the Skripals would be dead. It seems they have at any rate lost their freedom, and the explanation for that is at the heart of the crime.

        • Jayne
          April 18, 2018 at 10:21 pm

          The substance was originally reported by local police as being “a fentanyl type poisoning” presumabably they would have applied the antidote for that. Either it worked or it didnt. The later supposition seems likely as doctors would then have started looking for a different cause (at which point our unpopular and beleagured government piled in)

          As I have mentioned in my post above, the authorities are not doing a cleanup for novichok using water but something very extensive involving removal of contaminated surfaces, so whatever it was, its not water soluable or degrades naturally.

    • Ralph Kramden
      April 19, 2018 at 12:21 am

      Stolen from some one else: “a stolen BMW?” Since BMWs originated in Germany, does that mean the German government is involved? According to May and Johnson the answer is “yes.”

  20. biologist
    April 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the article.
    First I’d like to comment on this quote by Mirzayanov: “The final product, in storage, after one year is already losing 2%, 3%. The next year more, and the next year more. In 10-15 years, it’s no longer effective.”

    Unfortunatly Mirzayanov doesn’t know his math. Given a decay of 2% per year the “Novichok” would still retain 81.7% of its toxicity after 10 years (exponential decay: N(t)=N(0)*(1-a)^t with a=0.02). That’s almost as toxical as the newly synthesized substance.
    (Radioactive Caesium-137 decays at a similar rate of 2.284 % per year and therefore has a half-life of 30 years.)
    Given a decay of 3% per year the “Novichok” would lose 51% of it’s toxicity within 23 years (1995 – 2018).

    And why shold the rate of decay increase over the years? That would be quite unusual.

    Secondly I find the reported latency of the nerve agent of “one and a half to five hours” quite astonishing. How would such a chemical weapon be useful? I mean these substances were developed to be used at the battlefield, but you would have to wait up to 5 hours for them to take effect?! (The White Helmets would have to completely overhaul their performances to simulate an attack with such a chemical weapon. ;))

    Thirdly: Did you notice in the report by Novaya Gazeta that the three russian labs, that used mass spectroscopy to identify the toxic chemical in 1995, were unable to come up with the exact formula? Two labs even missed that the substance had contained Fluorine. (I wonder why the OPCW labs and Porton Down were able to identify the chemical so easily without a reference, were they?)
    That goes to show how difficult it apparently is to identify an unknown (!) organic chemical. So in my view the report by Novaya Gazeta only proves that in 1995 an organophosphate was used and identified, but one can hardly be sure whether it was A-234.

    • David G
      April 18, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      To take your first two points in order:

      1) One can credit the observation that the substance steadily loses efficacy without literally applying the inverse of the compound interest formula.

      2) I assume the latency period referred to the poison in its degraded form. But regardless, we still don’t know when the Skripals were exposed to it, the alleged secret Russian “door handle” manual notwithstanding.

      Also, to the general question as to how a chemical weapon with a latency period would be useful: Phosgene gas was the CW that accounted for the majority of such fatalities in World War I, and often its most lethal effects took hours, or a whole day, to manifest. (That’s a general response to your general question – one I’ve heard other people pose as well. I’m not saying it’s specifically relevant to this case.)

      • biologist
        April 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        1) A given quantity of a chemical compound loses it’s effect in as much as it decomposes into other compounds. It’s a chemical reaction with a certain rate under certain circumstances. Why shouldn’t we compute how much of the active compound is left after a certain time?
        2) No, as for the latency Mr. Porter cited the observations of the russian law enforcement agencies, that were reported by Novaya Gazeta. And in this case the toxic organophosphate had been more or less freshly synthesized.
        3) In the lungs Phosgene reacts with water to release carbon dioxide and hydrochloric acid. It’s the emerging acid that is the active compound as it’s destroying the alveoli (Chlorine works in the same way). This process of course can take some time, therefore the latency.
        It would be wrong to generalize this case as organophosphates work quite different and are much more effective. (After all Phosgene and Chlorine were the first chemicals that were used as weapons.)

        • David G
          April 19, 2018 at 2:20 am

          My point about phosgene was to refute this by you: “I mean these substances were developed to be used at the battlefield, but you would have to wait up to 5 hours for them to take effect?!”

          As I said before, I was making a general response to your (mistaken) assertion, which came in the form of that rhetorical question. But clearly the temptation to lecture about how phosgene is not an organophosphate was too much for you.

          I suggest you use your ostensible technical knowledge to actually try to understand and illuminate this and other situations, rather try to bury this tantalizing suggestion for a new avenue of inquiry (I don’t pretend it is more than that) that Gareth Porter and CN has brought us under a pile of counterfeit scientific precision.

    • April 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      @ Bilogist: ” How would such a chemical weapon be useful? I mean these substances were developed to be used at the battlefield, but you would have to wait up to 5 hours for them to take effect?! ”

      I have a bigger problem with the notion that a latency of one and half to five hours is absolute. Latency should depend on variable factors such as the level of the dose, the toxicity of the poison, its mode of pharmacological distribution in the body, its excretion rate, and individual suscreptibility of the person whose body bears the dose. Also, lethality studies are ordinarily performed on test animals other than humans with a very small number of test subjects. Results can vary wildly between species and because so few test animals are typically used, statistical significance is ordinarily of no assistance. Indeed, lethality studies are not intended as a method to predict lethality in human beings, but instead are used to roughly determine a dose at which tests with a larger number of animals for a longer period of time will result in most animals surviving but exposing sub-lethal toxic effects.

      • April 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

        I’ll also stress that analyses such as those done by the Swiss revealing BZ hallucinogen need to be replicated in other labs. Contamination of samples is a common occurrence, often the result of other samples being present in the analytical lab that are contaminated with another substance. And cross-contamination can occur at any point in the chain of custody where the seal of the sample is broken. To mishandle samples is human.

        • will
          April 23, 2018 at 7:18 pm

          do you think BZ is super common? I mean the US government literally squirreled away tons of it but is it common outside of military storerooms?

    • Ralph Kramden
      April 19, 2018 at 12:26 am

      You are assuming a constant rate of decay and that is a bit of a stretch. Some things have an accelerated rate of decay—leaks in a water dam for instance. You must also keep in mind the storage environment and someone’s garage is not the ideal environment for the storage of nerve agents. If I were to keep my ketchup in my garage, I should not rely on the “use-by” date.

    • Brendan
      April 19, 2018 at 7:44 am

      2% in the first year doesn’t necessarily mean 2% per year. The following year it could be, say, 4%, and 8% in the year after that.

      “Secondly I find the reported latency of the nerve agent of “one and a half to five hours” quite astonishing. How would such a chemical weapon be useful?”

      Yes, that claim contradicts everything we’ve been told for years about nerve agents attacking within minutes. Even the size of the dosage shouldn’t affect the latency by a huge amount. Maybe by some significant amount, but definitely not by a factor of about a hundred as is implied in this case (experts have said that Novichok takes less than two minutes to take effect). The main effect of lower dosage should be that the victim dies more slowly.

      I don’t see any source for those figure in the Google translation of the Novaya Gazeta article. I suspect that Novaya Gazeta is taking them from someone who is making them up to suit the narrative. It’s not exactly an unbiased news medium. It’s the newspaper that ran the headline “Forgive Us” after the crash of MH17. In other words, forgive Russia for what its government did.

  21. April 18, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Info on Syria at link below. A must watch.
    ——————————————————————————
    Independent Journalist Finds No Evidence of Chemical Weapon Attack In Douma

    Watch – One America News Network
    Pearson Sharp visited the war-torn town of Douma outside the capital of Damascus, looking for evidence of a chemical attack. However, residents there deny the claims of an attack, and say it was staged to help the rebels escape.

    There have been no independent confirmations that the bombed sites had any connection to chemical weapons.

    Posted April 17, 2018

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49250.htm

    • April 18, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      @ Stephen: “There have been no independent confirmations that the bombed sites had any connection to chemical weapons.”

      Yes. But the Barzeh research center is where OPCW investigators hung their hats when doing investigations in Syria. It had chemical analytical equipment used for testing of pesticide residues and other environmental contaminants. It is undoubtedly where Russia and Syria stored any samples they gathered in the Douma area, along with their chain of custody evidence, in anticipation of the OPCW folk’s arrival the day after the missile strikes. OPCW had certified that center in March as free of any banned chemicals or technology. There’s no excuse for it having been a missile target. There is, at least in my mind, only one explanation: destroy the samples and chain of custody evidence.

  22. Dorsey Gardner
    April 18, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Israel had the most to gain from demonizing the Russians since Russia stands between Israel and a full takeover of the vast water resources and energy reserves of the Golan Heights. The obviously bogus false flag claims that Assad gassed his own citizens fits together with the likelihood Israel is pulling out all stops to thoroughly destabilize Syria in order to eliminate potential opposition to expanding the Zionist footprint.
    Judith Miller’s promotion of Saddam’s WMD cost US taxpayers over two trillion dollars in national debt, to say nothing of flooding Europe with refugees and causing misery to millions of helpless and innocent Iraqi people, all for the pleasure and greed of the Jewish State. Not impossible that the US will face a nuclear holocaust , a real one this time, as a result of backstopping the Zionists.

    • Matt
      April 21, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Here come the anti-semites… You just can’t help yourselves can you?

  23. Empire of Stupid
    April 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Baloney! This ignores the crucial evidence from the Swiss lab, the agent used to dose the Skripals (and numerous cops) was BZ, a powerful hallucinogen. The effects are delayed which explains how they managed to walk all over Salisbury before succumbing and also how they recovered. The ‘Novichok’ was clearly added to the samples AFTER obtaining them since the Swiss lab also states that some was in an undegraded state (which is impossible if it entered a human body). The simplest method of doing this would be to contaminate the sampling equipment or containers.
    Questions that remain unanswered include why the police sergeant was affected–did he unwittingly touch something, or was he the agent that administered the BZ? Other police became unwell but rapidly recovered.
    The whole farrago was cooked up by the CIA, SIS and probably Mossad. It’s no coincidence that as soon as the official narrative began to fall apart there was another supposed chemical attack in Syria as a diversion. Anybody that believes anything that any western government says needs their head examined.

  24. Jonathan Marshall
    April 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    The criminal/Chechen hypothesis has been on the table since Theresa May said, “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.” Russia has not shown any interest in investigating this possibility.

    • April 18, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      If Russia was allowed a sample of the Novichok possibly used in the poisoning then Russia would be able to trace it through a spectroscope signature. Britain prevents the Russians from investigating.

    • rosemerry
      April 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      The quotation marks should extend to the next sentence. May rudely called the Russians either vicious or incompetent-answer which in 24 hours, then upbraided them for not saying, yes we are! She assumed they lied, while it was she who made up the story.

  25. Kalen
    April 18, 2018 at 11:48 am

    There was no novichok or any other nonsense like that, it could be temporarily incapaciting BZ , or Fenatyl as initially suspected or bad seas shell toxins meat they consumed, no evidence of nerve agents at all, that explains recovery since they have no antidote and cause death in small amounts.

    Like in Douma it was false Flag event and now they kidnaped those who may shed the light on that only because of Skripal Trump Dossier affair and now daughter wants to save her father from jail in UK , that is this charade all about.

    More facts here:

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/where-the-skripals-buzzed-novi-shocked-or-neither-may-has-some-splaining-to-do.html

  26. john
    April 18, 2018 at 9:45 am
    • john
      April 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      UPDATE:

      Lumberjack chunga Wed, 04/18/2018 – 15:25 Permalink
      Re-posting:

      BZ samples tested at Swiss lab in Skripal case ‘nothing to do’ with Salisbury – OPCW chief

      https://www.rt.com/news/424475-opcw-swiss-bz-agent-salisbury/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

      It was BZ. Were Swiss Banks about to be ‘inspected’ by us/uk tax authorities? Or were the “special club of US/UK banks” at BIS putting pressure on Switzerland and the Lab? You can bet on it. Ask Basel. Also watch ‘All The Plenary’s Men’ to understand that “special club”. The banks have a huge interest in this entire fiasco as they do in all conflicts.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2gK3s5j7PgA

      The symptoms of BZ exposure are exactly that of BZ no ands, if’s or buts about it…

      • john
        April 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

        Apologies for cut and paste error at top of post.

        The documentary I posted clearly shows the special relationship toward the end of the film but you need to watch all of it to understand the US/UK/BIS relationship.

      • April 18, 2018 at 9:35 pm

        john,

        Thank you for sharing “All the Plenary’s Men” by John Titus, an absolute masterpiece expose’ of the Bank for International Settlements.

  27. DHorse2
    April 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    This was a highly informative article thanks.

    However, given its depth there is a lack of discussion of the labs involved and their results.

    I’m going to mark this as suspect.

  28. April 18, 2018 at 9:16 am
  29. Brendan
    April 18, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Gareth Porter suggests that the nerve agent took so long to take effect because it had lost its potency over the years.

    Others, who support the official story instead, claim that the Russians deliberately used an extremely tiny diluted quantity. They allegedly did this in order to delay its reaction, so that the assassins could make their getaway back to Russia.

    However, neither theory explains why the poison finally struck so suddenly when it did, after such a long delay. You would expect the symptons to appear gradually over time since Novichok – like other nerve agents – takes effect as soon as it touches the skin. It doesn’t need to seep into the blood stream or any internal part of the body.

    The Skripals, however, showed no signs of any health problems in the hours before they were found slumped on a park bench. In the last CCTV recording of them, just sixteen minutes earlier at 3.47 PM, they are seen walking briskly on the street.

    They must have both become incapacitated in the space of a few minutes at most, and around the same time. Otherwise one of them would have had enough time to notice that something was seriously wrong, and would have called for help.

    This indicates that they made contact with the poison much later than the time when they left Sergei’s house hours earlier.

    • john wilson
      April 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      Brenda, had the fantasy assassin wanted to have time to leave the country after administering some poison, surely the most simple thing to do would have been to post the poison through the letter box, say, late in the evening where Skripal would see it the following day, thus giving him (the assassin) plenty of time to make good his/her escape! Trying to make sense of this ludicrous affair is like trying to do a Rubic cube blindfolded.

    • Brendan
      April 18, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Yes, another problem with the official British story is that the assassins must have been unbelievably incompetent.

      According to Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s national security adviser, Russia had already trained specialists for the same type of attack that was carried out against the Skripals. He said that Russia had a programme to research “ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles” and “to train personnel from special units in the use of these weapons.”

      So the hit-men were apparently given one of the world’s most deadly weapons and training in how to use it. But still they couldn’t kill anyone, and they left two witnesses who can now talk and help the police enquiry.

      And when the Kremlin organisers chose the ‘door handle method’, it did not occur to them that sometimes it rains in England in March, as it did in Salisbury that day. They did not consider the possibility that rain might wash away a liquid applied to a door handle? (the nerve agent was delivered “in a liquid form” according to an announcement yesterday by Defra, the UK Department for Environment.)

      Dumb Russians!

    • Brendan
      April 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      A third part of the official story that is hard to believe is that the investigators were extremely incompetent and negligent by accidentally leaving Sergei Skripal’s pets to die in his house.

      Sergei used to use a veterinary surgery practice in Salisbury to treat his cats and guinea pigs. When the vets found out that he was in hospital, they contacted the police immeditely and a number of times afterwards, and they also contacted Porton Down lab. A month later, the vets had not received any reply to their offers to help with the pets.
      https://www.facebook.com/thevetssalisbury/posts/1599229670125442

      The police should have looked around the house for clues anyway and noticed the animals then. It isn’t clear whether they did or not, but they sealed off the house. As a result, presumably after several days, the two guinea pigs died of thirst, and the one cat left in the house was so distressed that it to be put down.

      This investigation was a huge operation involving vast resources and great effort, due to its high profile and political significance. The investigators must have looked for every detail that might lead them to the perpetrator. Someone in the team must have at least thought of the animals as evidence that could be examined for the presence of toxic substances. Someone must have also commented on the issue of the animals’ welfare.

      The fact that, in a case like this, the police just ‘forgot’ about the pets in the house suggests that they did so deliberately. I don’t know if this was because of anything specific that they were trying to ignore. It’s possible that they were afraid of finding some evidence that would contradict the conclusion that they had already decided on.

    • sean the leprechaun
      April 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      The hit man, dressed as a ‘the cop’ is unsuspicious to the Skiprels, he can walk right up to them on the park bench. Something happened at the last minute, the old man fights back, maybe trying to save his daughter. Sergie gets the worst, the daughter doesn’t get as much because the hit man is also somewhat incapacitated. All three were exposed at the same time, same place.

    • rosemerry
      April 18, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      None of this helps explain why on earth the Russians (of any type) would bother to do this for no benefit.

  30. j. D. D.
    April 18, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Interesting, but still doesn’t address “cui bono?” Clearly not Russia. It has been noted that Skripal was recruited to MI6 by Pablo Miller, who was then working for Christopher Steele, with whom he later became a business partner in Steele’s Orbis. Was Skripal one of the “Russian sources” used by Steele in the infamous “dossier” used to launch Russiagate? Reportedly, Skripal wanted to return to Russia, and certainly knew too much.

    • David G
      April 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      I hadn’t heard that Mr. Skripal wanted to return to Russia. Can you elaborate?

      (Presumably you are talking about some affirmative measures, not just emotional attachment to his native land.)

  31. Derek Ryan
    April 18, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Gareth,
    Why didn’t you try to call Dr. Stephen Davies yourself.
    Google show his contact details:
    Middle Grade SIM Dr in Emergency Medicine – NHS Jobs
    https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/showvac/1/2/915028964
    It is an exciting time to come and join the team as a Middle Grade SIM Doctor in Emergency Medicine at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. … informal enquiries please contact Dr. Stephen Davies (Lead Consultant) on Tel: 01722 336262 ext: 4173 or email Nicki Clarke (Admin Team Leader) on nicki.clarke@salisbury.nhs.uk

    As you are a reputable journalist, he should be willing to explain to you exactly what he meant.
    Also, as recently as yesterday, The Independent is continuing to claim that more than 40 people were affected so his evidence is vital.

    Lastly, how can the OPCW claim that they had found traces of “A-234”“in its initial state and in high concentration” or elsewhere described as “extremely pure” when they were meant to collect their own samples from directly from the affected environments, e.g the door handle. Surely they will have some contamination or dilution from atmospheric moisture and dust.
    I have read elsewhere that analysis of the blood will only show the break down products after binding.

    Thank you for your excellent article.

  32. Brewer
    April 18, 2018 at 4:09 am

    A curious fact I’d like to throw into the mix is Mirzayanov’s about face. In his book he says the substance can be made in virtually any lab. Immediately after this incident he changed his tune:
    “Mirzayanov said the perpetrator of the attack must have been the Russian state.
    “No one country has these capabilities like Russia, because Russia invented, tested and weaponized novichok,” he said>”
    It looks like he was pressured to make this statement so as to implicate Russia but his further statement:
    “The final product, in storage, after one year is already losing 2%, 3%. The next year more, and the next year more. In 10-15 years, it’s no longer effective.”
    – contradicts that thesis unless Russia has a secret lab currently, for which there is no evidence whatsoever.
    I have also read that Mirzayanov was in fact not part of the development team, he was employed in a different capacity.
    It could be Mirzayanov is simply a prevaricator whose BS got legs and ran him over.

    • Anna
      April 18, 2018 at 7:51 am

      Mr. Mirzayanov is also a “president of Tatarstan” in exile. He is a willing puppet of the CIA. http://www.turkishnews.com/en/content/2008/12/22/the-declaration-of-independence-of-tatarstan/

    • DHorse2
      April 18, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      I note both statements don’t contradict each other and factually accurate from what is known.

      It’s interesting to observe the narrative each attempts to develop.

      No doubt borrowed from “How to Lie with Statistics.”

  33. Ron
    April 18, 2018 at 4:08 am

    There never was any nerve agent ‘drama’ – there never was a chemicla weapons attack in Douma – it is all stage manged theatre by the West to prove its righteousness – the powers that be are excited by the fact that so much time has been spent deliberating these ‘issues’ whilst they get on with the propaganda – the West is economically bankrupt, is a pathological liar and is militarily sociopathologically treacherous

    • mike k
      April 18, 2018 at 7:25 am

      You’ve got it Ron. Cut through all the bullshit, and that’s it. And even if Russia did it, which they didn’t – you don’t attack Syria with a hundred missiles in response.
      Everything the Empire has done in and to Syria has been totally illegal and immoral.
      The whole twisted narrative about the Skripal’s has just been a red herring to cover up the Empire’s crimes, and create some kind of phony excuse for them. That’s the real story, period. Let’s not get distracted by the infinitely elaborate side show.

  34. Geoffrey de Galles
    April 18, 2018 at 4:07 am

    I consider it something of a moral duty to alert readers here to a succession of more or less recent videos posted @ YouTube by the so-called LaRouchePAC in which the UK’s MI6 is identified and exposed as the spiritus rector operating way outa sight (re: e.g., the Steele dossier & #Russiagate; the Skripal poisoning; and the White Helmets’ dildo chemical attacks @ Syria). It’s of note that, before now, both William Binney and Ray McGovern have participated in public LaRouchePAC events (see also @ YouTube). Enter: LaRouchePAC

  35. David G
    April 18, 2018 at 3:27 am

    There are still virtually no facts fully established in the Skripal case, but I think the reporting here marks some progress.

    The problem with it being a U.K. hit made to look like a Russian hit has always been the same as if it were indeed a Russian op, viz.: why did it fail to kill the target (or anybody else)?

    While I’ve been dubious that it would turn out any military nerve agent was really present, and many questions remain – such as the meaning of the Stephen Davies letter – I’m beginning to come around to believing the Novichok business in some form.

    But, if that’s the case – although I’d never rule out incompetence by any government’s “security” service – the mismatch between the alleged weapon used and the outcome is a glaring problem. Therefore the suggestion in Gareth Porter’s piece that it may have been the work of organized crime types with access to exotic stuff like Novichok, but unable or disinclined to deal with mundane limitations like an expiration date, has some plausibility to me.

    The reasonable question remains: how could the U.K. have identified the Novichok so quickly as to accuse Russia within, iirc, 48 hours of hospitalization?

    Firstly, one of the few things we *do* know about the Skripal case is that the U.K. government acted indefensibly. There’s literally no scenario that has them having done the responsible thing in this affair.

    But, that said, I don’t see why they couldn’t have initially identified Novichok within the first day or so, and then just run with it like the warmongering creeps they are.

    And – just to bring things full circle – one way to explain both the surprising ineffectiveness of the nerve agent and the speedy identification by the authorities is if the “client” of the private-sector goons who supplied and administered the poison was the U.K. state itself, with deniability ensured, naturally (and possibly the sample sent to The Hague juiced with new stuff from Porton Down).

    • Anna
      April 18, 2018 at 7:48 am

      “The reasonable question remains: how could the U.K. have identified the Novichok so quickly as to accuse Russia within 48 hours of hospitalization?”
      This look like an exposure of the British program of chemical weaponry. Congrats, Boris and Theresa.

      • Kalen
        April 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm

        Doctor that handled them in Salisbury hospital instantly diagnosed that it was not nerve agent and they are trained for that because of closely located Porton Down UK chemical weapons facility and they are trained to act when potential leak emergency occurred , they did not engaged nerve agent poisoning procedures.

        Do you think they would expose themselves if they had a shred of suspicion?
        They are not suicidal. This fact alone destroys May’s case.

        In fact all the charade with men in chemical hazard suits was for BBC ALONE WHOSE IDIOTS VIDEOD GUY IN YELLOW SUIT TALKING TO A UNPROTECTED POLICEMAN WITH HEAD GEAR OFF while insinuating wide spread contamination of deadly nerve agent.

        Also supposed killed pets were cremated without post marten analysis which would be critical for indentification of toxins as standard procedure of response to chemical attack calls for.

        Also in Swiss report so called Novichok specific agent was found in original state I.e. In a form before attack, and not decayed as expected in those few week after suppose event of exposure.
        It was just added to the sample directly from U.K. Porton Downs lab where they have it as officially admitted by government.

        • john wilson
          April 18, 2018 at 2:08 pm

          There is so much more we would like to know, Kalen. You are of course absolutely right about the doctors diagnosis and he was so indignant about the nonsense about chemical poisoning, that he actually wrote to a local Salisbury newspaper to make his claim such was his exasperation. I would like to know just WHO decided it was chemical poisoning and then decided to call in the jokers in big yellow suits. There is every reason to think this was probably food poisoning, or at the very least the ingestion of contaminated substance. Therefore, where does this leave the mystery policemen? Lets face it; his role in all of this is perhaps the most peculiar part of it.

          • Kalen
            April 18, 2018 at 2:32 pm

            I may say it was staged role or group psychosis when somebody tell you you are infected with deadly nerve agent about to die, you would have psycho somatic reaction like mass hysteria, anyway he was released next few days from Hospital, impossible if contaminated with nerve agent even in very small doses, while doctors who were unlikely to submit to fear since they knew better were OK all the time.

            Blatant provocation, May, Johnson should be disgraced, arrested and charged with treason trying to instigate war of agression with another state, a crime war according to U.K. Signed treaties.

  36. markBO
    April 18, 2018 at 3:07 am

    yet another path on the endless roads of possibilities comes from the swiss institute for abc protection:

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article200692.html

    BZ would be a good explanation:

    if the calculation on novichok is 0.25mg for 100 kills. then, even after 25 years, enought would remain in said ampules to wreak unrecoverable damage. i also remember the first ‘findings’ to be a pure novichok /wo traces of production (russia…). so, no novichok for the skripals. strangely the blood sample was so highly dosed with novichock that death would have been the immediate result. maybe the brits tried to hide the BZ with A234. all that makes for some tampering with the blood sample, which seems to fit the facts.

    cases of BZ poisoning recover after 2-4 days (don’t mind the timeline of the skripal narrative).

    i’d also know what happen to the third person, the police man, who, in the earlier stages of the story, was poisoned too. now he is … where and in what condition?

    M

  37. Den Lille Abe
    April 18, 2018 at 2:54 am

    What I find most suspicious is, is that an incident used to defame another nation is kept in complete wrapup. There has been no openness, no investigation at all, no public appearances of any of the involved.
    It all seems surreal, fictional, with an deus ex machina moving all the actors, the actors not speaking, but communicating through deus ex machina. This can done in such a way, especially in countries that have Secrets Acts or simmilar, where you effectively can silence a family, a group of people, under the threat of life imprisonment and personal ruin.
    I am no conspirational theori believer, but whistle blowers, “Leaks” and “declassified documents” through the years all the way back from Watergate, have shown that some governments are completely ruthless and capable in the execution of henious schemes. While you would expect a government not to be naive, you dont expect it to be criminal.
    I do believe the British government is implicit in the Skripal case, maybe other governments too. I do believe that part of the story is a concerted effort to defame Russia. ( I remember the Cold War well, from 1967 at least) and at no time have I ever heard the rhetoric and voice as shrill as now, which makes me wonder (Russia being a “visibly” much smaller “threat” than unified Warsaw Pact ), and in the light of the US build up around the world since those days.
    These things frighten me. It frightens me because I do not in a second doubt, that Russia knows it is in the reticle, and it WILL fight for its right to exist.
    We in the west have probably too long let our politicians run amok, ourselves cozy in our wealth, to lazy and uninterested to partake in real democracy, in real global cooperation. This has to end, and soon.
    We must try and wake and enlighten the next generation.

    • john wilson
      April 18, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Den, the wonderful Roger Moore, film “live and let die” has more credibility than the Skripal affair.

    • Martin - Swedish citizen
      April 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Yes, you are 100 % right the sick Western policy towards Russia must end now!
      Not only does it hurt Russia and our mutual unrealised cooperation and our own benefit from that, but it also degrades our own societies with the suffocating lies and propaganda and diminished intellectual freedom to a state of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    • Dave P.
      April 18, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Den Lille Abe – Excellent Remarks. Very true.

      “We in the west have probably too long let our politicians run amok, ourselves cozy in our wealth, to lazy and uninterested to partake in real democracy, in real global cooperation. This has to end, and soon.”

      Very cozy in our wealth. Exactly. The West lives in debt; exploiting cheap labor and plundering resources in those third world countries; sucking the blood of those Nations for four or five centuries now. This presumed rise of China in the future is a threat to their extravagant life style. The West wants to contain China, and Russia is in the way. Russia is weak against these vastly superior economic and military forces of The West.

      They have managed to isolate Russia in Europe. English being the world language, the West controls the Media – and the message – all over the Globe. And they are after Russia. All these supposedly Chemical poisoning events are staged. There will be more such staged events very soon and Russia and Syria will be blamed for it. The British are particularly very good at it. I wonder if they, The West will let the World Soccer championship take place in Russia. Most likely not. The next three months are going to be very rough ride for the whole World.

  38. Lisa
    April 18, 2018 at 2:12 am

    The picture of Leonid Rink in the article has a striking similarity to pictures of Vil Mirzayanov (the Soviet defector to US). Can it be just a coincidence or is there a mistake?
    Now, after some googling for the images of Vil Mirzayanov I found a picture of him sitting on the same couch, in the same clothing, with the same painting on the wall, as in the photo of Leonid Rink.

    • Lisa
      April 18, 2018 at 2:55 am

      I see that the name of the person in the picture has now been changed to Vil Mirzayanov.

      • Shahna
        April 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        We know now they read their comments …. nice catch :-)

    • Brendan
      April 18, 2018 at 3:28 am

      A number of other web sites also present that image as Leonid Rink, but Rink appears to look completely different. The person shown above is Mirzayanov, as can be seen in another image of him wearing the same clothes when he gave an interview to VOA.

  39. Ralph Kramden
    April 18, 2018 at 2:10 am

    There are a whole bunch of other possibilities, false flags included. The story about the murder case in Russia appeared from day 1. A Russian reporter offered his files to British reporters. I read it way back then. I was also pointed out that these labs were left unprotected and unguarded when the Soviet Union collapsed. Some storage sheds were made out of wood and easily broken into.
    After all these incredibly lame excuses for bombing Syria, false flags are not to be discounted. Remember that agreement that Obama had negotiated where US and Russian troops were to co-operate in Syria? With 24 hours to go for the agreement to go into effect, the US military “accidentally” bombed and killed over 120 Syrian troops.
    Skripal is a wanted man, he has few pals. I understand this traitor betrayed more than 300 agents. He has lots of agents who are his enemies and some are bound to know about Novichok. Besides Novichok not being the exclusive property of Russia (there are about 60 different types to begin with) if I were Russian and were to poison Skripal, I would make certain that I would use something not even remotely associated with Russia. It is telling how May twisted her words making sure Russia, Russia, Russia was to punctuate her accusations. Never gave evidence or proof a chance to appear. Funny how quickly they knew it was Novichok.
    Yes, Sergie does live in Salisbury in the same town as that dossier chap and also his handler when he was spying in Russia. At one time, the three of them worked for the same company in Salisbury.

    • john wilson
      April 18, 2018 at 4:49 am

      Ralph, our lying government are now telling us the stuff was on the door handle! If it really was then the would be assassin was rather stupid because he could just as easily put the stuff in a letter addressed to Mr Skripal and put it through the letter box?

    • Anna
      April 18, 2018 at 7:45 am

      The author has indeed omitted the obvious fact that Skripal “betrayed more than 300 agents. He has lots of agents who are his enemies and some are bound to know about Novichok. Besides … there are about 60 different types to begin with.”
      There is more: 1994 is the time of a “glorious” rule by Boris Eltsyn, the darling of the US and a student of Harvard Boys. The selling out of everything, including the lethal chemical agents, was not a designed governmental program but the product of capitalism, the US style.
      Since then, Russian Federation was certified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as free from chemical weaponry: “THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 27 September 2017 – The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, made a statement today marking the completion of the full destruction of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by the Russian Federation.
      The Director-General stated: “The completion of the verified destruction of Russia’s chemical weapons programme is a major milestone in the achievement of the goals of the Chemical Weapons Convention. I congratulate Russia and I commend all of their experts who were involved for their professionalism and dedication.”
      In comparison, Russia’s main adversary the US and Israel are in possession of chemical weaponry; Israel has refused to ratify both bio- and chemical weapons conventions. One wonders, why…

      • Kalen
        April 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

        If they want him dead he would “hang himself in prison”.
        The story of private revenge does not pan out.

        In fact he outed some western agents unwittingly or not for Russia since he was under investigations for months or more. So outed U.K. agents my want him killed out of revenge.Unlikely.

        However his involvement in “dossier” would call for silencing him as would question of anti Trump narrative.

        If, what all evidences point out he was not a target of assasination since no lethalagent used it may as well be a ploy for him to stay silent under pretext of hiding from assasination.

  40. David G
    April 18, 2018 at 1:05 am

    This is fantastic reporting by Gareth Porter (as usual).

    I may chime in again if I have any specific thoughts, but for now I’m just a bit agog at seeing the first plausible step forward in understanding this case since it began.

    • Sam F
      April 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      The revelation that the Swiss lab found evidence of Both the BZ and Novichok-class CW agents proves both that it was a UK/US assassination attempt (because only they have BZ) and that they have Novichok to use in false-flag assassinations (and knew that it was old and might not be effective).

      It appears that Mr. Mirzayanov kept a few vials for his handlers, so helpful in qualifying for those McMansions.

  41. Tom
    April 18, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Skripal has also been linked to Christopher Steele he of the infamous dossier on Donald Trump. http://www.newsweek.com/russia-poison-spy-steele-dossier-836768, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/07/poisoned-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-close-consultant-linked/
    It has been speculated that as part of the 5 Eyes group of countries, that Great Britain helped to spy on Donald Trump in order to help US intelligence retain plausible deniability. I think it is more plausible that Skripal knew something about the Steele Dossier and was killed by British or US intelligence.

    • Tom
      April 18, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Not killed, but an attempted murder.

      • Bruce
        April 18, 2018 at 5:02 am

        Agreed. This seems to be the most plausible motive.

    • Vincent Storm WALKER
      April 18, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Interesting. Skripal had motive to sell information on the dossier that would embarrass western agency and be good for Russian position. Skripal was forlorn with his exile and had been petitioning for leniency and a right to go home and see family. He would have bargained for that. His tractable morality always bends towards himself, that’s clear.

      • Ralph Kramden
        April 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

        Skripal reminds me of that other traitor one Jonathan Pollard. They are sad specimens really as they both betrayed their countries not for the sake of some greater principle but for cold cash.

  42. Zachary Smith
    April 17, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Color me skeptical about this theory, for it appears to assume the Brits gave an untainted blood sample to that UN agency.

    In his news conference on April 14 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Swiss Spiez Laboratory, working on the case for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), had found traces in the Skripals’ bloodsample, of the nerve agent BZ, which was never developed by Soviet scientists but was in the arsenals of the United States and Britain.

    Please pardon my contrariness, but I’m presently at the point of not believing anything put out by the British government. If they had permitted immediate access to both the Russian government AND the UN agency, these thoughts probably would have never occurred to me.

    • john wilson
      April 18, 2018 at 4:42 am

      As a British citizen myself, Zachary, I can assure you that you are right. This ludicrous story falls down no matter how you look at it. If the stuff, as they say, was on the door handle but it takes five hours or so to be effective, why I ask was the policeman taken ill so quickly after he was said to have touched the door handle? Further, why did I see this policeman only a few days later leaving the hospital in full uniform looking a picture of health? Either he was affected by the Skripals on the park bench, in which case so should everyone else have been, or he was contaminated by the door handle, thus getting the same dose as the other two. Anyway, if it was on the door handle, surely the Skripals didn’t close the door together? Apparently, they are going demolish the Skripas’ house and demolish the restaurant where they had their meal, yet the hospital where they remained for weeks, is to be left alone. Absolutely none of the staff or other customers at the restaurant were affected nor was there any sign of this fantasy chemical agent found anywhere in the cafe, why pull it down? Obviously it doesn’t make sense because it isn’t true and our stupid government lost control of this conspiracy and are now just saying anything. I’m ashamed to be British. What with the awful weather………….

      • evelync
        April 18, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        sorry, JOHN, that you feel personally responsible? (ashamed) for this….but indeed, we should all feel personally responsible for the bizarre and ridiculous scheming behind the scenes of each of our “first world” governments….and instead start to ask on whose behalf do these leaders commit the wrong doing that they seem incapable of avoiding?

        just think – our most “esteemed” universities – the ivy league schools in the united states didn’t stand up against our invasion of iraq based on lies and, apparently, many of the “scholars” at these schools believe that “national security” justifies wrongdoing and keeping quiet about it.
        Harvard JFK school of government first invited CHELSEA MANNING to accept an honorary degree and then, pressured by a couple of political hacks, including pompeo, they withdrew the offer to a woman who sacrificed dearly to tell us the truth about abu ghraib and the black hole torture centers.

        the funny thing is how transparent and stupid these leaders are, often exposing themselves to scrutiny after the truth comes out.

        after tony blair buckled to george w bush, i learned that tptb in britain are not much different than tptb here in the u.s.
        it seems that decisions are pushed aggressively by a handful of powerful people strategically placed in high office who do not care about the unintended consequences of what they are driven to do.
        Eisenhower’s warning comes to mind….it’s really all about the money, isn’t it and we are powerless to stop it in the moment. it takes on a life of its own and our own governments believe that we are idiots and must be lied to.

        good luck to you in britain – i hope JEREMY CORBIN manages to somehow, with the help of decent British people become prime minister. Theresa may seems to me to just be a cog in the wheel greasing the skids for whatever serves the most powerful interests. she does not impress me as a very bright woman……

        what gives me hope in the u.s. is that our own idiot, mr trump is seen as so incompetent and flawed that the young people will come to understand that they can do better and they’ll run for office for the right reasons – just like the young highschoolers in florida are courageously speaking up and fighting to have military style weapons off the streets of our country.

        i know some people commenting on this web site hate BERNIE SANDERS because they attribute, wrongly, IMO, to him that he is a zionist – he’s not – and I agree with Noam Chomsky that BERNIE is a decent, honest NEW DEAL democrat who is the very opposite of the psychopathic leaders that behind the scenes wage these contrived wars for profit. And he IS, imo, a soul brother to JEREMY CORBIN.

        good luck to us all, JOHN! thanks for your honesty :) I agree that we can all do better.

        • Antonia
          April 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

          The tragedy is that Theresa May was a good MP, but totally inept and unimaginative since she became a member of the cabinet and PM.

  43. Toby McCrossin
    April 17, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    “a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.”

    This seems to undermine the author’s case.

    • Sam F
      April 18, 2018 at 8:43 am

      But we waste time on this case, because we know with certainty that Israel murdered dozens of peaceful demonstrators, the victims of their land thefts. This case is useful only to cast doubt on the Douma CW and the anti-Russia propaganda, all serving only the zionists. There are too many spook options and motives for certainty, so only the suspect UK handling and its benefits can be certain, and that all points to the zionists.

    • April 18, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Mirzayanov lives in Princeton New Jersey USA. RT claims he publish a book with the “supposed” formula for Novichok.RT also claims containers of Novichok were “sent forward”, in other words too Soviet controlled states on Russia’s border. Chemist blogger Busby stated any organophosphate chemist can synthesize it and the USA NIST had posted online it’s spectroscope signature of the Novichok the USA has syntesized. Also the British facility adjacent to Salisbury produces nerve agents.

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