THE SKRIPAL CASE: SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS
Most readers here are aware of the Skripal case, and the use of that case by the West as a crisis of opportunity to expel Russian diplomats and spies in retaliation for what they are saying is an attempt to assassinate a treasonous mole within Russia's intelligence networks. What has astonished me personally is the nearly unanimous behavior of the Western powers, beginning with Great Britain and ultimately involving the USA, France, Germany, and so on, in similar expulsions in retaliation for Mr. Putin's alleged perfidy in trying to assassinate Skripal.
My problem, from the start, has been the utter lack of real evidence that Russia would do this, and the utter lack of a motive for it to do so. Skripal served time in Russian jails, and became a part of a "spy swap" some years ago. It's that latter swap that intrigues, for it's something of an unwritten rule that one does not initiate "wet operations" against people one has traded in a spy swap. After all, who would swap spies when the practice was simply to kill them later anyway? The bottom line: if Russia wanted Skripal dead, they had ample opportunity to do so when he was in their custody. Don't get me wrong; virtually everyone in the "spy business" at some point conducts "wet operations" (to use the old KGB parlance for assassination of someone else's agents, spies, and so on). My problem with the Skripal case has been the usual one of means, motive, and opportunity: virtually everyone in the case has the means and opportunity to do him in, and most have the motive to do so (if recent revelations about his possible involvement in helping prepare the Trump dossier are true).
But in the wake of the exploitation of this affair as a crisis of opportunity to once again villify Russia and push the world into a dangerous confrontation with that nation, there are some bothersome questions, questions that have not been adequately explained by the West's leadership, according to this article shared by Mr. H. B.:
30 Questions That Journalists Should Be Asking About The Skripal Case
While all the questions raised in this article, I want to single out a few:
1. Why have there been no updates on the condition of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the public domain since the first week of the investigation?
2. Are they still alive?
3. If so, what is their current condition and what symptoms are they displaying?
4. In a recent letter to The Times, Stephen Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, wrote the following:
“Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14) may I clarify that no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning.”
His claim that “no patients have experienced nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury” is remarkably odd, as it appears to flatly contradict the official narrative. Was this a slip of the pen, or was it his intention to communicate precisely this — that no patients have been poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury?
5. It has been said that the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey were poisoned by “a military grade nerve agent”. According to some claims, the type referred to could be anywhere between five and eight times more toxic than VX nerve agent. Given that just 10mg of VX is reckoned to be the median lethal dose, it seems likely that the particular type mentioned in the Skripal case should have killed them instantly. Is there an explanation as to how or why this did not happen?
6. Although reports suggested the involvement of some sort of nerve agent fairly soon after the incident, it was almost a week before Public Health England issued advice to those who had visited The Mill pub or the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury on the day that the Skripals fell ill. Why the delay and did this pose a danger to the public?
10. The former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has claimed that sources within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have told him that scientists at Porton Down would not agree to a statement about the place of origin of the substance, because they were not able to establish this. According to Mr Murray, only under much pressure from the Government did they end up agreeing to the compromise wording, “of a type developed by Russia”, which has subsequently been used in all official statements on the matter. Can the FCO, in plain and unambiguous English, categorically refute Mr Murray’s claims that pressure was put on Porton Down scientists to agree to a form of words and that in the end a much-diluted version was agreed?
12. Why did the British Government issue a 36-hour ultimatum to the Russian Government to come up with an explanation, but then refuse their request to share the evidence that allegedly pointed to their culpability (there could have been no danger of their tampering with it, since Porton Down would have retained their own sample)?
13. How is it possible for a state (or indeed any person or entity) that has been accused of something, to defend themselves against an accusation if they are refused access to evidence that apparently points to their guilt?
14. Is this not a clear case of the reversal of the presumption of innocence and of due process?
19.On the Andrew Marr Show on 18th March, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, stated the following:
“And I might just say in response to Mr Chizhov’s point about Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons. We actually had evidence within the last ten years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but it has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok.”
Where has this intelligence come from and has it been properly verified?
20. If this intelligence was known before 27th September 2017 – the date that the OPCW issued a statement declaring the completion of the destruction of all 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by the Russian Federation – why did Britain not inform the OPCW of its own intelligence which apparently contradicts this claim, which they would have had a legal obligation to do?
21. If this intelligence was known after 27th September 2017, why did Britain not inform the OPCW of this “new” information, which it was legally obliged to do, since it allegedly shows that Russia had been lying to the OPCW and had been carrying out a clandestine chemical weapons programme?
23. Is this a good enough legal basis from which to accuse another state and to impose punitive measures on it, or is more certainty needed before such an accusation can be made?
26.As Craig Murray has again pointed out, since its 2013 statement, the OPCW has worked (legally) with Iranian scientists who have successfully synthesised these chemical weapons. Was Mr Johnson aware that the category of “Novichok” chemical weapons had been synthesised elsewhere when he stated that this category of chemical weapons is “made only by Russia”?
27. Does the fact that Iranian scientists were able to synthesise this class of chemical weapons suggest that other states have the capabilities to do likewise?
28. Is the British Government aware that the main plant involved in attempts to synthesise Novichoks in the 1970s and 1980s was based not in Russia, but in Nukus in Uzbekistan?
29. Does the fact that the US Department of Defence decontaminated and dismantled the Nukus site, under an agreement with the Government of Uzbekistan, make it at least theoretically possible that substances or secrets held within that plant could have been carried out of the country and even back to the United States?
30. The connection between Sergei Skripal’s MI6 recruiter, Pablo Miller, who also happens to live in Salisbury, and Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called “Trump Dossier”, has been well established, as has the fact that Mr Skripal and Mr Miller regularly met together in the City. Is this connection of any interest to the investigation into the incident in Salisbury?
So, as the West's major governments have been involved in yet another round of the "Blame Russia and Putin" game, what these questions amount to are 1) there is no real evidence that Russia was involved that has of yet been forthcoming; 2) the investigation has been politicized from the outset; 3) any number of countries would appear to be capable of manufacturing the alleged nerve agent, (which, suspiciously, the British government did not warn locals about for a full week!), from Iran to the USA, which dismantled the plant allegedly involved in making it! and 4) the connection of Skripal to the Steele-Trump dossier affair at least raises the possibility that other motivations are operative in the incident than Russia wanting to "take care of" a one-time mole and double agent, which it had previously already done in Skripal's prison time in Russia prior to his swap.
If the latter is true, then what it implies is something so horrendous that it should give everyone pause, for in their willingness to ratchet up tensions with Russia yet again, the West appears to be trying to misdirect attention from aspects of the case that would suggest its own possible involvement.
Sorry, Mrs. May(and everyone else), but ratcheting up tensions with Russia, serving ultimata and expelling diplomats, on the basis of such a flimsy case, are not the way to go. Answer the questions. Even Mr. Corbyn, crazy as he is, knows there is something wrong with the story.
See you on the flip side...
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I am compelled to say how stunning and pleasurable it was, for me to read Dr Farrell’s back-handed compliment to Jeremy Corbyn. For many years I have been using “the metaphor”, albeit unknowingly.
I can, quite easily, see the ‘common ground’ where Trump, Putin, Corbyn and Xi Jinping would have meaningful talk. The West has pushed duality to the limit; ‘the people’ need to get off their ’roundabouts’ [carousels] and make that clear. Enough really needs to be enough.
There was a curious mention of VX nerve agent in an article published by The Guardian, Feb 24, 2017, [American edition] regarding the deadly attack on Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un where The Guardian claimed the VX nerve agent that killed Jong-nam was developed in the UK in the 1950s during research into pesticides but it was found to be too toxic to be used safely. I am wondering now if the dastardly Soviet Ruskies stole those secrets from the dastardly Brits?
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, and complicated business to say the least!
Speaking as a Britisher who detests all kinds of left-wingery, I was appalled to find that I was in agreement with Jeremy Corbyn (leader of our increasingly marxist Labour Party) when he suggested that we ought wait for proof before taking action against Russia. But he was shouted down, not only by his usual political opponents but, interestingly, also by many of his usual political allies.
Have you read this?
A political result of this would be to stop some high-profile spy swap involving Russia.
Cui bono? It’s hard to see how this benefits Russia, considering this incident should only serve to justify continued or further economic sanctions against them. That’s not to say there isn’t some possible benefit–but it’s certainly hard to see at this stage.
“What has astonished me personally is the nearly unanimous behavior of the Western powers.” Ditto.
“My problem, from the start, has been the utter lack of real evidence that Russia would do this, and the utter lack of a motive for it to do so.” Yes–it sure looks that way. If there’s such compelling evidence, why not make it public?
Questioning the official narrative of Western governments is not the same thing as saying you want to live under a Russian-type government. Indeed, the ability (if not the obligation) to question one’s own government is fundamental to Western concepts of a free society.
Just to have to add a note of caution. Because, although people mean well, they don’t entirely understand some things. My partner was born in South Africa during apartheid. Not a “western country” like people reading this will be in. I agree with her now that people like us who live in western, “democratic” countries do NOT know what it is like to live in a country like South Africa.
She is now looking at the situation in Russia (she, by the way, has read all the Russian stuff, she was a communist at one point), sees it to be rather like South Africa was 40 years ago ie an extremely politically dangerous place to be. (oh and my partner knows how it can be, she had her phones tapped at one point in South Africa … most people in the west don’t have that happen to them).
So … a word of caution for those reading RT, Sputnik, Aletho News, The Saker etc … just because they put in some truth does not make them anything less than propaganda vehicles for the Russian government. Russia is not a fun place to live. Putin’s “enemies” have been KILLED. That is real. Putin is not out to help the western white man. He is in the style of an old Russian nationalist (although, he doesn’t really give a monkeys really about his people). He is not a benevolent dictator no matter how you paint him.
So be careful with what you read. I tend to take EVERYTHING from the mainstream media in the west with a jaundiced eye. I also take EVERYTHING from the east or Russia fan-blog with a far more jaundiced eye. I don’t see that with people looking at, I have to say, dodgy looking websites like The Saker (run by a “Russian” guy in New Zealand I believe(?).
Anyhow, my point being … I don’t see anything on the left or right of the spectrum being particularly clean or unbiased. However, looking at what Putin has been doing to people running against him in elections, I have to look on Russian media stuff with a lot more doubt than what is coming out of the West. Anyone who backs Putin smells to me of a government operative. Anyone 30 years ago who read such material would be castigated as being a “Commie”. Funny how Americans have forgotten that …
So be careful in what you read. You may further down the road find that you have been backing very scary people. The US, UK etc are slowly on their way to being a police state as we know, but Russia is another kettle of fish. They in a lot of ways are there already. They have no democracy. ALL media that comes out of Russia is state sponsored. It is propaganda. The MSM in the west is not any way perfect, but it is not anything like the Russia stuff yet. Keep your eyes open. Some things are real. Some people are murdered on foreign soil. Some are not … it’s a murky world out there … but don’t disbelieve everything you hear or see. That way leads to madness, and you may end up praising people who should not get your praise: Putin, especially.
(rather scattershot prose, and I guess people will not understand what I mean … I’ve been told off before for my thoughts here. But … that’s life I suppose …
Oh by the way … I’m not 100% Putin and Russia. I’ve always had an interest in Russia for some reason. I think the US is having payback for a lot it has done in the past: see every war/invasion since the WW2 … but Putin IS trying to destabilise the West, and that is extremely dangerous. You may end up having a “democracy” in your country that is like Putin’s ie … not one … and you will rue the day that you backed the strong man Putin, and his mates. Just saying …)
Just to set the record straight around “dodgy looking websites like The Saker (run by a ‘Russian’ guy in New Zealand I believe(?)” :
The Saker lives in Florida, and is married to a US citizen. He raised his kids in the US. He is descended from a White Russian family who fled the country during the Bolshevik Revolution. His family has truly-hated the Soviet Union for generations.
He earned a BA in International Relations (School of International Service, American University), then a MA in Strategic Studies (School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins) and then, years later, a Licentiate in Orthodox Theological Studies (Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies at the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery). His path began with chasing Communists and, with time, turned to spiritual matters. His bio, of sorts, is here (skip to Addendum for facts):
Note that The Saker started-out as strongly anti-Communist as you, and then had an awakening (the hard way) that the AngloZionist Empire was even worse…
Bravo and right on.
Thanks Goshawks for a deeper historical perspective.
The Russians did it, eh no that can’t be right, the Russians didn’t do it, that sounds better this time
Here is the background material that was forwarded from the Foreign Office, manned by Boris Johnson, to the other nations that gave them the reason to expell Russian diplomats, including Norway, one diplomat. The pages tell the story for itselves. Haven`t we seen powerpoint evidences before. It is embarresing.
It is looking like we have got a new Olga Marie. This video is dedicated to Theresa May.
To make the discussion more balanced and interesting I will come with views that support the Russians involvement, about which I have less doubts.
First, about why they targeted Skripal, an obvious answer is in the last question posted by Dr Farrell:
-“The connection between Sergei Skripal’s MI6 recruiter, Pablo Miller, who also happens to live in Salisbury, and Christopher Steele, the author of the so-called “Trump Dossier”
Skripal might have used some old connections in Russia to help Steele to provide evidences that Trump is hand in hand with the Russians, or was helped by Russians to win the elections, and that Russians having some incriminating evidence on him and are blackmail him and so on, whatever was already discussed.
As the enquiry advance in US and maybe more info were released and Russians get some intel about, they decided to both eliminate a spy and make a point. Iirc a FSB general was found dead in his car at Moscow not long after Steele dossier was first revelead, so it seem they want to close all ties and leaks.
Skripal daughter maybe was a sort of courrier, transmiting informations from someone from Russia?
Another reason was that Russians maybe wanted to scare someone, they might have unknown double agents in their ranks and wanted to show them publicly that if they are discovered they will be in danger even if they manage to move outside the country.
Another reason is that Russia, encouraged by the lack of a serious response after several assassinations on UK soil and more and more affected by the sanctions and some economy problems, wanted to test the waters with a more spectacular action.
UK didn’t reacted much in the past, is an old rival, is in a difficult position with negociations with leaving EU and in US is president someone that might be at least partially controlled by Russians, blackmailed or otherwise. So Putin wanted to both humiliate UK at home by doing such stuffs on their soil and to test the solidarity and reactions of NATO and the relations betwen UK and US and UK and EU.
If the response should have been weak and show a lack of unity, Russia would consider to push further with other actions.
About why the nerve agent didn’t killed the Skripals right away, well, I suppose it depends on dossage and how was used (contact through skin, at touch, through air etc). Too much and they would have risked a larger contamination and more collateral victims that will provoke a bigger scandal. Too little and the victims might survive. It is unclear if they will ever make a full recovery anyway, and the intention might have been just that, cripple them permanently and make them suffer to make an example of them, for possible other double agents or so.
I have less doubts of Russians doing this since their reactions were at first quite gleefully, that TV journalist from their official state TV was talking about what traitors deserve and so on right after the news about the attack first spread. Even Putin said something on this regard when changed Skripal and few others for some Russian spies arrested in west.
The West’s lock-Step marching to the same tune shows that Intelligence is in charge[at least in part].
Like nearly everything else in this arena; it is manufactured:
from food to news to evidence.
Why not ask the West about how/why weapons grade anthrax that ended up in the two Senators against the PATRIOT ACT being passed? There’s a potential high-profile military grade weapon being used in a highly political theatre. It was later proven to originate at Ft. Detrick. That’s [The]De Trick question.
This is just another intelligence anthrax operation
that’s been crayon colored red.
F. William Engdahl’s take:
just go to this site and scroll down to
0316 William Engdahl War With Russia Coming
now go 8 minutes 30 seconds in and listen…
If Russia wanted to off Skripal they have more efficient weapon ryzin delivered via a piercing with an umbrella. This seems like a blood feud between Central European Scando-Germanic elites and Eastern Slavs with the rest of the World existence on the line as well.
The Saker tries to put the Sergei and Yulia Skripal ‘event’ in context (Mar 23 article, before the dual-expelling of diplomats) :
I have recently read that Yulia, the daughter, is now well enough that the Russian consulate is demanding access to her. She is, after all, a Russian citizen. Shortly after that, the bovine excrement should hit the rotary impeller. (I am pleasantly surprised that neither she nor her father ‘conveniently’ expired in the hospital.)
I wanted to point out something in another Saker article that caught my eye.
Note what the author states early in the article as I think its something to ponder:
All as punishment for Russia’s alleged nerve gas poisoning of a former Russian / MI6 double-agent, Sergei Skripal (66) and his daughter Yulia (33), who was visiting her father from Moscow.
As Dr Farrell pointed out in his blog there has been ample time for anyone to “remove” Mr. Skirpal. So I find it odd and far more than a bit of coincidence that this attack occurs as his daughter is “visiting” him from Moscow. Not living with him, but “visiting”.
So I wonder what Yulia knows or what information she may have been passing on and if she was perhaps the actual target.
It’s complete and utter bs, anyone with half a brain, taking the most cursory glance, can divine that in a nanosecond.
And it’s an embarrassment, too. Problem is, these nutjobs are shameless.
PYRAMID HAIKU 22
Giza gas chamber towel.
Flow my spying tears.
According to the Abel Danger website, Northwest University (located in the Illinois Soviet Socialist Republic) were conducting tests involving said nerve agent. And if this is true, they would have to possess some of the substance in order to conduct such tests, wouldn’t they?