UK case against Russian spy poisoning falling over

By   /   April 4, 2018  /   37 Comments

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…Jacinda’s decision not to jump on the bandwagon is starting to look far wiser than pundits had originally mocked.

An important development in the Russian spy poisoning case, Britain has admitted they can’t trace the nerve agent back to Russia. The Washington Post reports…

British lab confirms Novichok was used in spy attack but can’t determine source

Scientists at Britain’s top military laboratory said Tuesday that they cannot yet prove that the nerve agent used to poison a former Russian double agent and his daughter in southern England came from Russia.

Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, told Sky News that researchers were able to identify the substance used in the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal as a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok, a class of chemical weapons developed by the former Soviet Union and Russia. 

But Aitkenhead said the British investigators have not been able to say where the deadly agent was manufactured. “We have not identified the precise source,” he said.

…Jacinda’s decision not to jump on the bandwagon is starting to look far wiser than pundits had originally mocked.

This entire event looks murkier and murkier.

It turns out that Skripal was recruited as an agent for MI6 by Pablo Miller. Miller’s MI6 controller at this time was Christopher Steele Steele was the author of the dodgy dossier that targeted Trump based on his Russian activities.

This dossier, while highly criticised as worthless hearsay, is forming the part of the current case against Trump by Mueller.

According to a friend however, Skripal had asked to return to Russia, so if Steele had built his dossier on false information that information may have come to him  via Miller who was Skripal’s handler.

If the information was false, Skripal could attest to that, undermining Mueller’s case.

Then again, if Skripal had been the source, the Russians most certainly would want him killed.

There are enormous interests behind all of this and it is not clear who is manipulating who. Until we know that, getting sucked into a geopolitical vortex is the last thing we should do.

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37 Comments

  1. Sam Sam says:

    There’re a hundred different agents of the Novichok family. Four of which are easily identifiable as Soviet Union. Seems the one that effected Skriples has no identifiable markers. If there are identifiable markers the wonderfull Boris would be crowing like a peacock.

  2. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    Jacinda kinda did “jump on board the bandwagon” though. She publicly said she would have expelled Russian diplomats if any of them had met the criterion of those the rest of the world expelled (i.e. “undeclared intelligence officers”). Yes, she could have started expelling other Russians, but that would have opened a whole new can worms diplomatically and would also have raised eyebrows as going beyond the actions taking by other countries.
    “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would expel Russian diplomats if any of those in New Zealand were considered undeclared intelligence officers.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12020803

    • Sam Sam says:

      At the very least the government would have had to put any one who’s expelled from a foreign country on a travel ban as a matter of course and do a bit of due diligence before falling in behind the muppet brigade.

  3. Francesca says:

    Martyn, I don’t quite get why you would think if Skripal was the source the Russians would want him killed.
    The “Golden showers” and all that bullshit supposedly took place in 2013
    Skripal had been in the UK for 3 years when that was meant to happen
    Before that he’d been in a Russian jail for 6 years, as a persona non grata I don’t think he would have been given any state secrets to do with Trump
    The more realistic scenario to me is that Steele made up the dossier on the cheap, after all , he hadn’t been in Russia since 1993, and his old contacts by 2013 would have, for the most part, moved on
    There’s Miller, working for him , having weekly lunch dates with Skripal
    Skripal probably just supplied a few names and acronyms to give the whole thing an authentic look, if he had anything to do with it at all, but maybe there was a lot of loose talk over the drinks
    There’s a good reason why no decent news source would touch the thing until Buzzfeed published, its still largely unverified.
    So both Skripal,Steele and the Russians would know it was utter crap
    This could have been the bait that Skripal was offering the Russians in the monthly trips to the Embassy
    There is plenty riding on the Steele dossier, M16 involvement, the FISA warrants etc, so many people would not relish the idea of Skripal flipping once again and going back home with proof that the Steele dossier is a load of old crap

      • D'Esterre says:

        Francesca: “thinking of the investigation going forward”

        An illuminating piece, Francesca! I believe that a lot of years ago, there was a law change here that prevented police from pulling stunts of that sort. But before that, it used to happen as a matter of course.

        Little hope, then, of UK police running a transparent investigation.

        • Mjolnir says:

          Oh give it a rest, D’esrre. Your slavish devotion to Putin has attained a saccherine ickiness. Putin is an autocrat and a bloody wealthy one at that. There is nothing remotely heroic about the way he and his cronies have pillaged the Russian economy while poverty increases in that country. Poverty that nevef existec under the old socialist system. The USSR had its faults, but at least there wasnt the wealth disparity we see now.

          Chew on that for a minute please.

    • David Stone says:

      Hi Francesca
      Yes , the information didn’t need to be transferred through Miller either , the three were all close acquaintances. If Scripal had inside knowledge about the Steele document (Steele had not been in Russia for years and Scripal would have far more Knowledge of who’s who in Russia up to date than either Steele or Miller) , like had supplied it and knew it was crap, then it would be Hillary’s Democratic Party that needed him dead not Russia. And Russia would not have used an assassination method that would so strongly implicate them unless they wanted to leave a calling card. But they would not have survived then.
      And remember it was the US that was responsible for cleaning up the Uzbek lab where novichok was developed , not Russia.

      “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would expel Russian diplomats if any of those in New Zealand were considered undeclared intelligence officers.”

      Nitrium…
      That was a dig at the other countries that had expelled diplomats to go with the refusal to kick any out of NZ.The other country following UK had labeled those diplomats they were expelling as spies to add insult to the injury, Jacinda was calling them on that and at the same time using it to as an explanation of why we were not kicking anyone out while everyone else was, It was a cleaver twist.
      D J S

      • Francesca says:

        David,
        another thing I find odd is that Aitkenhead, the chief executive of Porton Down , claims there is no antidote for novichok,the poisoned three were not given any , and Yulia Skripal and presumably the policeman , have recovered spontaneously
        What??

        “DS Bailey will continue to receive intensive occupational therapy and occupational psychotherapy while his wife and their two young children are receiving specialist support to help them overcome the “horror” of seeing their father injured in the line of duty, it emerged”.
        Shouldn’t we be getting heartwarming photos of the policeman looking moody and noble while doing a spot of basket weaving surrounded by his loving family?

        Atropine is the antidote for organophosphate poisoning
        I know I shouldn’t, its probably not good for my health, but I’m like a dog with a bone on this one.
        Nothing makes sense
        Even Bellingcat’s gone quiet on this one, can’t get a peep out of them anymore
        https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/articles/2018/03/08/nerve-agents-what-are-they/

        • David Stone says:

          You had a good go on Bellingcat.
          I read somewhere that the OPCW asked the Iranians to see if the Mirzayanov recipe could actually be made which they previously doubted. Iran managed to prove it possible which was a prerequisite to listing it. Before that they were not sure it had ever existed or could exist.
          If the brits perpetrated this though I don’t think Yulia would have woken up. What is she going to say? They must be making frequent trips to the bathroom.
          D J S

          • Francesca says:

            Bellingcat is a horrible site .I might go back and tease them some more, but I think they’ve shut up now.They’re probably in the back room putting drawing red lines on dash cam photos and searching fsb facebook posts
            Yulia’s cousin Victoria has been in the process of getting a passport and visa to see Yulia and uncle Sergey and wants to bring Yulia home
            That’ll be interesting
            What if Yulia wants her own doctor?
            Surprising silence .If she was accusing Russia, the TV cameras would be in there in a flash’

            • Brewer says:

              Ahhh Bellingcat. The “I learned everything about Warfare from computer games” fellow.
              Ask him why a military with access to modern armaments would employ “barrel bombs” – the dastardly improvised weapon that no-one has ever seen or even described in detail!
              He’s a joke and the fact that the MSM constantly refer to him and the ridiculous “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” tells you all you need to know about their agenda.

        • Brigid says:

          ” I’m like a dog with a bone on this one.”
          I’m glad you are.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Francesca: “I don’t quite get why you would think if Skripal was the source the Russians would want him killed.”

      That doesn’t make sense to me, either. Nothing about this incident makes sense.

      • Francesca says:

        D’Esterre
        And isn’t the policeman’s name” Nick Bailey” a bit improbable?
        Might as well have called him “Bobby Peeler”

      • Mjolnir says:

        It makes perfect sense if an autocratic regime wants to frighten others Russisn citizens from even considering etraying their country. Skripal may’ve gained his freedom in a spy-exchange, but Putin wanted to make sure the long arm of Russian vengeance caught up with him in the end. The resulting publicity would make anyone think twice before betraying the Motherland.

        See. Makes perfect sense.

  4. Marc says:

    Funny that, I read the same, I heard the same, even on the old BBC, believe it or not, so there we go.

    Those on Kiwiblog have had wet dreams for days, they had endless orgasms arguing against Jacinda and Winston on this one, they are covered in their slime of group think style anti government group sex activities on their blog and with their nasty posts.

    So will they reconsider, rethink, perhaps, I believe not, you cannot have the truth, when it is inconvenient.

  5. Brewer says:

    I cannot verify this, it is an impression gleaned from many sources in part but I suspect that there is really no such “family” of nerve agents called “Novichok.
    The term is slang for “new stuff” and was used by a chemist (Mirzayanov) working at the Chemical Research Institute in Nukus, Soviet Uzbekistan who ended up in New Jersey (think German scientists after WWII). The institute was working on “several hundred” compounds. All were called “Novichok” as in
    “What are you working on Vil?”.
    “Aww, new stuff”.
    I doubt they were all closely related as in a “family”.
    I think it possibly significant that “Novichok” forms the central theme in an episode of “Strike back” (a British/American TV drama) that aired just four months ago.
    Vil Mirzayanov is an interesting character. In 2008, he published a book (State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program) that purports to give the formula for “Novichok” made from relatively easily obtained ingredients. The other day (after the Skripal affair brokehe announced that Russia maintained tight control over its Novichok stockpile and that the agent is too complicated for a non-state actor to make!
    Sounds like a plot designed for James Bond fans. Those of us who favour Le Carre have more subtle (devious?) minds.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Brewer: “I suspect that there is really no such “family” of nerve agents called “Novichok.
      The term is slang for “new stuff” and was used by a chemist (Mirzayanov) …”

      I’m fairly certain that Craig Murray has said broadly the same thing; so you’re in good company.

    • Francesca says:

      Another interesting thing about Mirzayanov is that he heads the Tatarstan govt in exile!

      https://www.rferl.org/a/Russian_Daily_Says_US_Supports_Greater_Autonomy_For_Tatarstan/1900885.html

      weirder and weirder,I thought he was an Uzbek, but maybe he’s a Tatar muslim!
      I personally think that Mirzayanov talked himself up and he’s a bit of a fraud

      • Brigid says:

        I agree.
        Vladimir Uglev, one of the scientists who was involved in developing the nerve agent referred to as “Novichok”, said
        “– Mirzayanov didn’t have any role in the creation or even testing of synthesis methods to develop the technology behind “Novichok”, as he was in GOSNIIOKHT, and as far as I know, he was the head of the foreign counterintelligence department. His role, just like his department’s role, was to develop methods for control and for controlling the air space around the territory of GOSNIIOKHT in Moscow. His role as a scientist was only chromatography. ”

        https://thebell.io/en/the-scientist-who-developed-novichok-doses-ranged-from-20-grams-to-several-kilos/

    • Nitrium Nitrium says:

      They call the class of chemicals “Novichoks” (plural), and you’re right they seem to be structurally very divergent:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novichok_agent#/media/File:Novichok_examples_trimmed.png
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novichok_agent#/media/File:Novichok_iran7.svg
      As a chemist I can assure you that those chemicals are nothing alike (it’s pretty obvious really), despite all being derived from phosphates.
      As far as I know, the specific Novichok agent used still has not been disclosed. It’s important, because it could help pinpoint the origin. This whole thing stinks.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Novichok was developed from 1976 up to 1992. The best of those samples were developed and tested in Uzbekistan. It is very toxic… According to some Russian sources 0,001 mg on kg of mass could kill in 3-5 minutes.

        But it was a series of agents that share common chemical characteristics and were developed all over Soviet Union. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus and of course Russia had a lot of the documents about development of those agents. Interesting, that Russia considered only sample A 232 as battle efficient because of it’s lethality and stability.

        So to recap the likely sources of Novichok is Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus.

        In addition Ukraine is currently in poor economic shape after years of a brutal civil war and sold banned R-14 rocket engines to Kim’s North Korea.

        It was not even the first case of transfering ‘sensetive’ technologies to rouge states. In 2000 (or it was 2001?) Ukrainians were transferring their last stock of X-55 cruise missiles back to Russia but they ‘lost’ five of them. Allegedly three of them went to China and two to Iran. Now you can guess from where Iranian cruise missiles originate.

        So now. The real question is. Why is popular opinion so sure about “Russia DID IT!!!’ with out mentioning Ukrainian interests. Little details like these ruins a lot of egos.

  6. Francis U. says:

    One of my favourite British dramas, was The House of Cards.

    One might suggest that the English have taken a leaf out of my namesake’s, Francis Urquart’s playbook, to divert attention from the highly contentious Tory Brexit fiasco. What better way to manufacture a strong leader in the mould of Maggie Thatcher (pun intended), than to galvanise the troops and allies against a common foe or enemy, like, say… The Argies or ….. The Russkies.

    One might suggest something fishier going on, than the smell of decaying “Novichok”…..

    One might suggest many Brexitian diversions, but I couldn’t possibly comment Marty…..

  7. Marc says:

    To be bloody honest, they will NEVER prove the origin, as that is part or the smart way of attack, that it would be impossible to determine that. This of course leave off Russia and Putin, nothing new, but it proves nothing else, and leaves the hyperventilating Brits under Boris Who and that other woman in power with a huge void and deficit.

    Lies there may be, but you told throughout history so many damned lies as colonial bastards, what is your fricking point?

  8. Christine says:

    Nothing about it has made sense from the start – the lion doesn’t bark at the jackal. But the speed at which so many world leaders have rallied around Teresa May and accepted Boris Johnson’s downright lie about Porton Down’s utterances is dismaying. So is the hysteria directed at Jacinda Ardern by NZ MSM, including flogging it off distorted to the Guardian – we still emerged ok, and we don’t matter in the big picture – at this stage anyway.

    Chances are Mr Skripal visited the embassy regularly because he wanted to go home; most of them do.

    • Francesca says:

      Thats been a large part of what I’ve been arguing Christine
      Another Russian exile friend of his said Skripal missed Russia and wanted to go back The letter to Putin is disputed…did Putin actually get it?.. but he would need to bring something pretty valuable for all to be forgiven
      A pardon’s one thing, he got that in 2010, but a welcome might require something more than a promise to be good
      Well, he was hanging around with ex M16 agents, doing consultancy as a cybersecurity expert and travelling widely.Involved in the Steele dossier? Who knows

      http://subscriber.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/07/poisoned-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-close-consultant-linked/

      the close consultant was later named as Miller
      What say Skripal was still working for M16 but decided to flip one more time.
      This , I fear, if it doesn’t bring down the May Govt, will join that long list of unresolved Russia dunnits
      Its like a gold card for anyone who wants to knock off a Russian in the UK

  9. Francesca says:

    Bellingcat is a horrible site .I might go back and tease them some more, but I think they’ve shut up now.They’re probably in the back room drawing red lines on dash cam photos and poring through fsb facebook posts
    Yulia’s cousin Victoria has been in the process of getting a passport and visa to see Yulia and uncle Sergey and wants to bring Yulia home
    That’ll be interesting
    What if Yulia wants her own doctor?
    Surprising silence .If she was accusing Russia, the TV cameras would be in there in a flash’

  10. Red Buzzard says:

    re…”hysteria directed at Jacinda Ardern by NZ MSM…” and Winston Peters who was given a right mauling by Morning report for his cautious stance

    Where is the New Zealand Morning Report and mainstream media on this ?!…Not a peep…gutless propagandising chickens ( have they retracted?)

    ‘ ‘Egg on his face’: Labour rebukes Boris Johnson for ‘misleading public’ on Novichok source’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/423189-labour-johnson-russia-novichok/

  11. Francesca says:

    By now every one’s probably heard of this
    but anyway…
    Maybe something went wrong?
    The “realism” carried too far?
    It took place on Salisbury Plain

    https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-toxic-storm-for-royal-marines-in-major-chemical-exercise

    • Francis U. says:

      “”Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard, 40 Cdo’s Commanding Officer said:
      “Because the threat is a technical, scientific one, the ability to reach out to organisations with specialist skills greater than ours is crucial.”

      The three-week exercise included company-level attacks and various CBRN scenarios based on the latest threats for ultimate realism, such as a raid on a suspected chemical weapons lab.”

      One might suggest many very coincidental confluences of events, namely, that 19 days prior to Skripals being chemically attacked, Britain’s Royal Navy were training in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear warfare to make sure they could cope in a worst-case scenario, say the Ministry of Defence?”

      If only someone would rid the Tories of this meddlesome Brexit…
      …you might suggest a link between the Royal Navy exercises and the Skripal poisonings Francesca, but I couldn’t possibly comment Francie…

    • Team_Qanon says:

      *Coincidence: Guinea pigs at Porton Down and at the home of the poisoned ex-spy*
      Tests using nerve agents VX and VM on guinea pigs were carried out at Poton Down in 2015. The project was funded by the UK Ministry of Defence. Interestingly, ginea pigs were also found at Sergei Skripal’s home in Salisbury, just a few kilometers away from the secretive chemical and biological military lab….
      (Sauce…)
      SALISBURY NERVE AGENT ATTACK REVEALS $70 MILLION PENTAGON PROGRAM AT PORTON DOWN

      https://southfront.org/salisbury-nerve-agent-attack-reveals-70-million-pentagon-program-porton/

  12. Red Buzzard says:

    Not the mainstream media:

    ‘Porton Down: Lab behind Skripal poison probe has dark history of human testing’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/423190-porter-down-human-testing/

    …”During the experiments Porton scientists dripped liquid nerve gas on the bare arms of 440 men and at one point tested nerve gas on eight men without the trial participants knowing what it really was. Six men were exposed to mustard gas for five consecutive days – three of whom suffered burns to their scrotums. Around 450 men had their eyes exposed to sarin nerve gas.

    READ MORE: Did Boris Johnson lie that lab told him Russia was source of Salisbury nerve agent? (WATCH VIDEO)

    A 60-page government report released in 2002 detailed tests which exposed millions of people to harmful substances. The tests consisted of releasing potentially dangerous chemicals and microorganisms over vast areas of Britain – unbeknownst to the population below.

    It also revealed that military personnel were instructed to tell any “inquisitive inquirer” that the trials were part of a research project into weather and air pollution.

    Designed to test Britain’s vulnerability if deadly clouds were released over the country, in most cases trials used alternatives to biological weapons such as serratia marcescens bacteria or zinc cadmium sulphide, which was dropped on the public in huge amounts to mimic germ warfare…

  13. Red Buzzard says:

    Now even the Germans are getting stuck in…but I bet Morning Report and RNZ won’t report it! ( nah they have done their little hit propaganda number on the Russians…and too bad if it wasnt true)

    ‘Britain behaving like ‘mafia state’ in Skripal case – OSCE ex-VP Willy Wimmer’

    https://www.rt.com/uk/423234-britain-skripal-mafia-state-wimmer/

    “The UK is exploiting European solidarity and behaving like a ‘mafia state’ by pushing forward warmongering accusations and excluding Russia from the Skripal poisoning probe, the former vice-president of OSCE assembly told RT.

    Britain’s behavior in the Skripal poisoning scandal is “a major danger to international peace,” believes Willy Wimmer, who held the vp position with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) assembly from 1994 to 2000, and who had previously served as state secretary to Germany’s defense minister.

    “I think we would call this state a mafia state because it is against all European and international rules and regulations how the British government has behaved in a criminal case with regard to another country,” Wimmer told RT.

    The UK has a history of pressing forward warmongering rhetoric, Wimmer said, recalling Britain’s decision to go to war in Iraq. “We, as Europeans, have an experience with the British. We only have to look back to Tony Blair. They lie from one war into the next one.” The long awaited Chilcot report, published in 2016, offered a damning critique of Blair, stating that he deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime and had relied on “flawed” intelligence.

    “And that is why I think as long as the British don’t behave in a proper, legal, international way, I think we all should believe that this is another British lie, at least to go for war against Russia,” Wimmer added…

  14. Francesca says:

    I think Theresa got the EU and allies on board, not with the stunning evidence because thats a laughably 6th form prefect style presentation, but with the energetic help of the US state dept

    Nauert , State dept spokesperson:

    “Our Deputy Secretary Sullivan, Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell, and many others in the building across the interagency process have worked tirelessly over the past three weeks to achieve this unprecedented level of cooperation and also coordination. The end result – 151 Russian intelligence personnel sent home to Moscow”
    Phew! tirelessly “persuading” for 3 weeks ..You can imagine it
    But anyway, having pitched in ,in such an unequivocal way, all those European politicians now stand to lose enormous credibility themselves if the whole thing unravels, and they end up looking like fools.Electoral disaster
    So they will double down, no matter what a dick Boris makes of himself
    I find it unbelievable

  15. Ike says:

    From what I have read the whole sordid affair relates to Syria. The UK wanted to tar Russsia with the “Chemical weapons” brush. At the same time the Salisbury poisoning was afoot the UK had special services men in Syria assisting their tame “moderate” rebels to create an alleged chemical weapons atrocity in East Ghouta to justify an attack on Assad by the UK financial elites attack dog, the USA. Missile warships were positioned in the Mediterranean for just this reason. Unfortunately the Russians are way ahead of the USA/UK/NATO in intelligence (Both military and the more conventional sort) and they captured the British, US,and Israeli agents in East Ghouta before their devilish plan could be carried out. This left poor Boris and Teresa looking rather stupid as their lies were not superseded by far greater geopolitical events and they are left high and dry, exposed as the imbeciles they are.
    You may need google translate for this link

    https://tomgard.blog/2018/04/01/fall-skripal-die-einfachste-erklaerung-aller-relevanten-vorgaenge/#more-22451

    Meanwhile Boris has the enormous effrontery to criticise Corbyn for not signing up to his lies, even though he barely managed to get half-hearted support from his European allies. Poor Jacinda. I don’t think she signed up for this sort of shit. Lets hope she maintains some level of independence for NZ from the deadly machinations of the dying Western financial elite.
    PS. Isn’t it time NZ media retired “Security Expert” Paul Buchanan and got someone a little more clued up. The least they could do is point out he is a US citizen

  16. […] Russian spy & daughter are poisoned in the UK under highly questionable circumstances and there is mass diplomatic outrage and Russia has diplomats […]