Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 29, 2018

Last Act Of 'Novichok' Drama Revealed - "The Skripals' Resurrection"

It seems that the 'Novichok' fairy-tale the British government plays to us provides for a happy ending - the astonishing and mysterious resurrection of the victims of a "military grade" "five to eight times more deadly than VX gas" "nerve agent" "of a type developed by" Hollywood.

Happy Easter!

Yulia Skripal no longer in critical condition, say Salisbury doctors

The condition of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury along with her father, is improving rapidly, doctors have said.

Salisbury NHS foundation trust said on Thursday the 33-year-old was no longer in a critical condition, describing her medical state as stable.

Christine Blanshard, medical director for Salisbury district hospital, said: “I’m pleased to be able to report an improvement in the condition of Yulia Skripal. She has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours a day."
...
Her father’s condition is still described by the hospital as critical but stable.

Only yesterday the Skripals chances to survive was claimed to be 1 out of 99. Nerve agents are deadly weapons. A dose of ten milligram of the U.S. developed VX nerve agent will kill 50% of those exposed to it. The 'Novichok' agents are said to be several times more deadly than VX.

It seems less and less likely that the British government claim about 'Novichok' poisoning is actually true. Way more likely are other explanations, for example food poisoning or an allergic shock soon after eating out at a fish restaurant.

The claims of a nerve agent and 'Novichok' seem to have been taken from the script of the British-American spy drama Strike Back (clip) which recently ran on British and U.S. TV. The sole purpose of the 'Novichok' drama is to implicate and damage Russia.

As the former MI6 spook Alastair Crooke writes:

The evidence is beside the point: here was the opportunity to close-off Trump’s ‘illusion’ of a possible détente with Russia. The narrative is all. We will likely never know the full story.

Yulia and Sergej Skripal were found unconscious on the afternoon of March 4.

The U.S. State Department says that its campaign to use the Skripal incident as a tool against Russia started on March 6, only two days after the incident and six full days before the British government raised accusations against Russia.

In her press briefing on March 27 the U.S. State Department spokeswomen Heather Nauert talked about the coordinated ousting of Russian diplomats by some "western" countries:

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 – is a testimony of how seriously the world takes Russia’s ongoing global campaign to undermine international peace and stability, to threaten the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and to subvert and discredit Western institutions.

The above quote is from Nauert's prepared remarks, not the more free wheeling Q&A section.

The British prime minister made her allegations against Russia only on March 12:

"It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.

This is part of a group of nerve agents known as 'Novichok'."

(See our earlier pieces, linked below, for many details on 'Novichok' and its history.)

May's announcement was similar to Tony Blair's "45 minutes" claim. A lie, concocted in a common propaganda operation with the U.S. government. As the Downing Street Memos said of the preparations for the war on Iraq:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

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There are several details that debunk the 'Novichok' thesis.

The specialists in the British chemical weapon laboratory in Porton Down, which gets millions of U.S. military research dollars, did not agree with the 'Novichok' claim for whatever effected the Skripals. May's phrase "of a type developed by Russia' was politically negotiated. As ambassador Craig Murray provided:

I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation.

But was there really a nerve agent involved?

A doctor who administered first aid to Yulia Skripal for 30 minutes was not effected at all. The emergency services suspected the victims had received on overdose of fentanyl.

Doctor Steven Davies, who leads the emergency service of the Salisbury District Hospital, wrote in a letter to the London Times:

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

A Court of Protection judgment about the Skripals issued on March 22 quotes as witness a Porton Down chemical and biological analyst:

Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent.

"Indicated exposure" is a rather weak formulation. It means that no 'novichok' was found but decomposition products of something that may have been a nerve agent or not. A blood sample may "test positive" for all kinds of stuff but that does not say anything about the amount or about the lethality of any of the "positive tested" elements. The 'Novichok' nerve agents are organophosphates like many of the usual insecticides are. These break down relatively fast. A walk through a field freshly sprayed with some insecticide or the domestic use of such a product might leave similar decomposition products in the bloodstream as a nerve agent attack.

The Court of Protection also said that no relative or friend contacted the authorities about the Skripals. That was evidently false (ru).

Today, 25 days after the incident, the police say they suspect that the Skripals were poisoned from the front door of their home. Today, 25 days after the incident, they removed the front door. I believe that this decision was based on a "most plausible story" guess and not on material evidence. If the door had tested positive for a nerve agent it would have been removed weeks ago. This is, like those people in high protection suits roaming around Salisbury, just theater.

The Skripals were said to have left their home at 9:00am in the morning. They collapsed relatively sudden at 4:00pm in the afternoon. Is this seven hour delay consistent with being severely affected by a "military grade" highly toxic nerve agent? I doubt it.

But even if a nerve agent of the 'novichok' type was involved the jump to allegations against Russia is completely baseless. David B. Collum is Professor for Organic Chemistry at Cornell University. He really, really knows this stuff:

Dave Collum @DavidBCollum - 12:54 AM - 27 Mar 2018
I will say it again: Anybody who tells you this nerve agent must have come from Russia is a liar--a complete and utter liar. They are simple compounds.

The Skripals are getting better. Good for them. But their resurrection from certain death is a further dint in the British government's claim of 'nerve agent' 'of a type developed by Russia'.

The whole anti-Russian campaign constructed out of it is just ridiculous and deeply dishonest. The five page propaganda handout the British provided to other governments is a joke. It provided no solid facts on the case. To respond to it rationally, as Russia tries to do, makes little sense.

An editorial (recommended) in the Chinese Global Times captures the utter disgust such behavior creates elsewhere:

The fact that major Western powers can gang up and "sentence" a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling.
...
Over the past few years the international standard has been falsified and manipulated in ways never seen before.
...
It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another.

Resurrection or not - the result of the 'Novichok' nonsense will not be to our 'western' favor.

---

Previous Moon of Alabama reports on the Skripal case:

Posted by b on March 29, 2018 at 02:59 PM | Permalink

Comments
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this story was bullshit from the get go and a frame up of russia, but now the lid comes off to reveal more craziness.. wow..

thanks b.. it is deeply dishonest as you state... none of these state actors are going to take back any of there actions or words on any of this either... that is the really disgusting part... again, it is an issue of no accountability and actions absent facts that the west are operating on f/t... very disturbing.. white helmets is one thing... getting the leaders of western dumbocracy to act according to propaganda 101 is another thing... no one can take any of these western countries seriously again, but until the next episode - and there will be more, no doubt - it is the same as usual....

i note pat lang has nothing to say on it.. he seems too busy holding up his idea of the good ole' days when there were good people and bad people.. too bad the usa has sunk to such a deplorable state..

Posted by: james | Mar 29, 2018 3:07:44 PM | 1

Magic of Easter !?

Posted by: ex-SA | Mar 29, 2018 3:12:20 PM | 2

Her resurrection also comes not long after it was determined OPCW could take blood samples.
As it took three weeks with constant Russian pressure to have OPCW involved, her resurrection may not have been part of the original narrative.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 3:19:25 PM | 3

Remember, Trump, in his telephone call congratulating Putin after March 12, refused the instructions of his aides to bring up the Salisbury event.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 29, 2018 3:20:06 PM | 4

As the saying goes, the fun never stops!

A stalwart minority of "alternative" news and analysis sites like MOA has published compelling critiques of this rotten Western Hegemony-pimped Big Lie from the beginning.

The UK authorities' campaign of simultaneously suppressing factual information and instead bloviating a series of dodgy claims, outright falsehoods, and escalating scurrilous smears kept both critics and the public off balance for a long time.

But it was predictable that events-- facts on the ground-- would eventually emerge that could not be explained away by more facile nonsense and rhetorical Russophobic Sturm und Drang.

So I again pose the question I've been nattering on about for weeks now: since the UK government chose to put itself far out on a greasy limb, what is their anticipated endgame?

Unlike the US, older governments in the UK and EU have a tradition of resigning in the face of scandal-- once attempts to weather the scandal have been exhausted, at any rate.

It would be delicious to see the despicable Gorgon May and UK Village Idiot Laureate Boris Johnson get their well-deserved comeuppance. In fact, it would be too good to be true.

Thus, I assume that the Big Liars will somehow contrive to "tough it out", and double down on the facile nonsense and rhetorical Russophobic Sturm und Drang.

Posted by: Ort | Mar 29, 2018 3:26:52 PM | 5

Well, MI6, to move this farce along, must have given Yulia some of the

antidote for the nerve agent they gave her and her father almost a month

ago. The US and UK have been working on a diabolical 'coma inducing'

nerve agent since the CIA sent Otto Warmbier to Pyongyang with an early

version of what they poisoned the Skripals with.


Whether Yulia wakes up and starts screaming "Russia did it" or implies

it, remembering seeing a Russian diplomatic limousine speed off after

she and her father sniffed the gorgeous bouquet of poisoned flowers.


But we're just going to have to wait to see what the latest twist in

the plot PM Miss Marple has invented for the whole world to start

"oohing" and "ahhing" about.

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 29, 2018 3:31:54 PM | 6

A lot depends now on Yulia. Has she been following the news? Will she say anything to implicate Russia? A cynic might even suggest her recovery is conditional.

Posted by: dh | Mar 29, 2018 3:35:23 PM | 7

The "russians" are loosingit. Back in the USSR days the could avtually make a proper VX, not this falsified cat shit poison. Are these FSB guy's completely incompetent? Why not a bullet in the head? /
This story does more and more insane...

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Mar 29, 2018 3:36:09 PM | 8


"Why did UK court say “limited evidence” Skripals have relatives while cousin interviewed in UK media?"

https://off-guardian.org/2018/03/28/skripal-relatives/

Posted by: Neve | Mar 29, 2018 3:40:43 PM | 9

from b's last link:

There's no logic in it; it doesn't make sense, and I don't think it needs to make sense, because essentially what the media is doing is propagandizing the population in favor of the madman theory. That's critical to do when you're trying to start aggression against a country. We had it with Gaddafi, we had it with Saddam Hussein, with Assad, with Kim Jong-un. 'These are madmen who are irrational. We cannot do business with them. We cannot make a deal with them. They do crazy things that make no sense.' This is exactly what the propaganda is doing; I'm just surprised that more people aren't questioning it, [since it's been] done over and over and over.

Right on.

Posted by: Sid2 | Mar 29, 2018 3:43:20 PM | 10

b-thank you for staying on this who-done-it
Just a thought; only one of them would have closed the door, so how can two be poisoned??

Posted by: frances | Mar 29, 2018 3:44:13 PM | 11

@1 this story was bullshit from the get go..."

True, but this is bullshit with a purpose.

This is part of a media background buzz against which a false flag (probably in Ukraine) will appear just as the World Cup event gains world wide media traction.

I believe that rather than follow the previous two olympic models, where the false flag of country-sponsored doping was endlessly repeated with decreasing effect, this false flag attack will come during the event, creating a shame-filled spectacle of the semi-final teams withdrawing and flying home in protest against Russian response - no matter what it may be.

Posted by: les7 | Mar 29, 2018 3:47:16 PM | 12

The resurrection of Julia is a miracle. All resurrections are.In the night of easter , Mr. Skripal may recover also. I hope, there is a press conference soon.
A tweet said, her first words were :" It tastet not as chicken"

Posted by: Gerd Müller | Mar 29, 2018 3:49:32 PM | 13

My cynical guess is that the next twist and turn in this story will be that she becomes the Bana Al-Abed of the poisoning saga. The story was dying, and this is just the next phase.

Posted by: Les | Mar 29, 2018 3:53:45 PM | 14

6: Will May's hasty hysteria negate her chances of being made a dame?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Mar 29, 2018 3:54:55 PM | 15

The thought has occurred to me that perhaps Sergei and Yulia Skripal are being subjected to isolation, sedation and other forms of sensory deprivation that were the hallmark of psychological experiments conducted in the US, Canada and possibly Britain over at least two decades from the 1950s on as part of the MK ULTRA program and related programs. Keeping Yulia Skripal in isolation for three weeks while claiming that she was in critical condition and then announcing a change in her condition might fit the bill.

I should add that I have always suspected that what caused the Skripals to fall unconscious in the first place was food poisoning.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 29, 2018 3:57:18 PM | 16

"Stable" and "improving" do not exclude the possibility of severe brain injury and total disability. It is not unusual for such cases to be initially reported as "critical", and later stable or improving after immediate medical risks pass, but then one hears nothing more about them (in ordinary cases) because neural recovery stalls. Fingers are crossed however; there is still hope.

That aside, the reporting here on this case has been invaluable.

Posted by: DNJ | Mar 29, 2018 4:00:47 PM | 17

Perhaps Mr. Moon has already addressed this somewhere, >?, however I have a question. So they are moving all these criminals and families to Idlib; but that is still inside Syria, so what is the plan there ? Are they going to accede Idlib to these people ? Of course there are other problems like how to get Turkey and the U.S. out of country, and what to do with the traitorous Kurds aligned with the U.S., nothing very resolved there as to an outcome. I just keep reading they are allowing terrorists to vacate out to Idlib, but what could be the end game there ? Carpet bombing ?

Posted by: che | Mar 29, 2018 4:00:51 PM | 18

re: perhaps Sergei and Yulia Skripal are being subjected to isolation 16

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow that “we have again demanded to be guaranteed access to Yulia as she is a Russian citizen. I hope the British side can fulfill its obligations under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 4:01:52 PM | 19

#15

Good question. I don't think Orwell tells us whether or not the monarchy
survives the transition of Air Strip One to Big Brother's rule.

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 29, 2018 4:08:21 PM | 20

Posted by: dh | Mar 29, 2018 3:35:23 PM | 7

....A cynic might even suggest her recovery is conditional.

Then, call me a cynic...Indeed I have become one since 5 years already in the world of the "alt-media"....The first thing I thought of this "sudden" recovery is its possible relation with the claim by dozens of states on seeing proofs of the assertions of the UK officials, especially after many in the EU have "suffered", according with words whispered into Russian Foreign Ministry officials´ ears, an "unsurmontable pressure" to join the ferenzy in the expelling of diplomats...Take into account that some European countries have only accepted expelling one or two diplomats...
We are not sure that the Skripals were not into the play themselves...

Another possibility, in case they are not into the play, may be that Yulia could be being blackmailed for to corroborate UK claims, under the menace of her father not recovering ever....

To this point, I fear, any dirty trick/foul play by the UK / US must be taken into consideration.. I wonder whether they can fall lower already...

Posted by: Fatima Manoubia | Mar 29, 2018 4:08:55 PM | 21

The reports are that she is talking, which means that she retains a significant amount of mental capacity.

What excuse can now be given for refusing to allowances to a Russian consul?

Posted by: lysias | Mar 29, 2018 4:10:07 PM | 22

Refusing to allow admission. Blasted Autocorrect.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 29, 2018 4:14:04 PM | 23

Haha! "Happy Easter" Brilliant!:D

Posted by: Relament | Mar 29, 2018 4:18:01 PM | 24

Who needs evidence in a nation of outlaws?

NYTimes, Mar 29
The British government has not made its evidence public, but has shared it with major allies, who have said that they agree with London’s conclusions. -- here

State Dept Briefing, Mar 27
QUESTION: Another one on Russia. You talk about certainty about knowing that Russia was responsible. Can you say anything about the process that got you to – the U.S. to certainty?
MS NAUERT: Well, we stand strongly with our ally, with the UK. And when the UK tells us that they have proof that they know Russia was responsible, we have every reason to believe them. -- here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 4:18:02 PM | 25

The problem with this whole story is the complete lack of public information on the specifics. First, let’s consider the general case of poisoning with organophosphates - with range in toxicity from the common organophosphate pesticides, which many peopl have heard of, like malathion and chlorpyrifos (implicated in many farmworker posionings) through to the highly toxic German ‘G-Agents’ (invented by German chemists and stockpiled by the Nazis in World War II), i.e. sarin and tabun and soman, and further derivatives like VX and the claimed Novichok agents, synthesized by British and Soviet weapons programs during the Cold War. These vary in terms of the small carbon fragments surrounding the organophosphate core of the molecule

So, given a sample of clothing or something similar contaminated with an organophosphare, how does one analyze it and determine the molecular structure? It’s the same for the pesticide as for the nerve agent, you use analytical chemical techniques, which are found in the scientific literature, for example:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0026265X11001111

“A new single-drop microextraction (SDME) followed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry techniques were used to determine the dimethoate, methyl parathion, ethion (organophosphates) and permethrin (pyrethroid) pesticides in water samples. The parameters linearity, linear range, precision, accuracy, sensitivity and robustness were studied for validation of the SDME/GC–MS method.”

GC-MS is just gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, a common analytical method for the analysis of volatile chemicals. You want to use the clothing on the victim or hair or skin swabs, since once in the bloodstream, these compounds may be actively degraded after exerting their effects (i.e. you’d find metabolites). The results of the analysis are compared to known libraries of organophosphate toxins to determine their identity, If Porton Down scientists and technicians are competent, they will have created such libraries of all know OP toxins for the purpose of rapid identification (this is their job description)

So the first thing to do would be to isolate the victim’s clothing and conduct forensic analysis, right? So where is that data, where are those results? They exist, but have not been presented; this is understandable since such evidence should be presented at a trial or inquiry. In a public inquiry or lawsuit or criminal case related to pesticide poisoning, all this evidence would be presented to the judge/jury and the analyst who did the work would be called to the stand to present his or her forensic work, they’d be cross-examined in detail, etc. Only then would guilt or innocence be determined, that’s the normal course of events.

This has all been completely bypassed in favor of hysterical propaganda speeches, as far as I can see. There’s nothing reliable to base any opinion about what happened yet on. So everyone trying to use this event for their own PR agendas, they’re just playing some game. The only way to sort it out is to have a public inquiry, and the way things are going, arguments about ‘national security’ and ‘state secrets’ will be used to prevent the analytical data from being shown to the public.

Regardless, that’s what needs to happen.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 29, 2018 4:20:11 PM | 26

Seems to me the behavior of the British government, including the infantile stupidity of Boris Johnson, points directly at its (the government's) culpability versus say Russian gangsters with a grudge against Sergei. I base this on these behaviors of secrecy, inconsistency, incomplete information, leaping to accusations plus heroizing the officer and now the hospital staff. Indeed bless me "she is risen" b! How sweet! (BTW this last is sardonic; I'm very happy Yulia is making it.)

The context now stretches forward to failure of "diplomacy" coming up in April-May in North Korea as Kim gathers his alliance closer to his vest, and whether EU countries will back out of the Iran deal, with Mattis constrained to withhold much madder dogs in Bolton-Pompeo who will likely be calling for military response. The attitudes I detect in both British and US State Department "thinking" suggest a chortling hubris not ready for a very serious comeuppance. Donald, I think, will wilt further.

Posted by: Sid2 | Mar 29, 2018 4:20:40 PM | 27

So now Russia has said they will boot 150 westerners, plus close the St Petersburg consulate, and the US is claiming foul because . . .there's no reason to do so!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 4:21:14 PM | 28

P.S. An interesting example of a organophosphate poisoning scenario is here, it’s very similar to the course the case appears to have taken with the younger Skripal.
https://www.poison.org/articles/2010-jun/pesticide-and-nerve-agent-commonality

One of the child's physicians consulted the medical toxicologist at Poison Control to discuss the child's care and to ask how long the atropine and pralidoxime should be continued. The medical toxicologist explained that malathion can stay in fatty tissue such as the brain for up to 14 days and that there are case reports of needing to use these antidotes for up to 30 days.

Incidentally, claims that only state actors can make nerve agents are unreliable; this chemistry is widely known and is all based on the same general concept of organophosphate synthesis of pesticides. Sarin synthesis was conducted by IG Farben affiliates in the early 1940s on a very large scale; the main issue is making sure the chemists aren’t killed while making the stuff. The basic protocol and lists of required equipment can be found by anyone with a library card and an internet connection, and as long as they have the equivalent of a college organic chemistry degree, they’ll be able to understand it.

The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo managed it (they had an experienced chemist in the cult). In addition, small sealed glass vials of this stuff could have made it onto the international market after the breakup of the Soviet Union; that’s a normal means of storing small amounts of such toxic chemicals for analytical purposes.

Of course, if it turns out to have been sarin instead of some other mystery OP nerve agent. . . Wait and see, I suppose.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 29, 2018 4:30:51 PM | 29

Obviously a fake story and Novichok doesn't seem to exist.

But we are still debating the extent to which Russia is an aggressive nation - this is superb work by the black PR forces of the West.
We should be debating just how US&Nato are aggressive towards Russia. Very Very in any objective view.

Posted by: michael d | Mar 29, 2018 4:30:56 PM | 30

Daughter is conscious and talking.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/29/yulia-skripal-conscious-talking-nearly-month-chemical-attack/

Also from the story:

"NHS officials are also understood to be monitoring several people for signs of health problems after coming into potential contact with the Novichok agent. They are thought to include neighbours, postal staff, the first uniformed officers to arrive at the scene."

Weren't they supposed to wash their clothes weeks ago, or burn them? If the poison was still in the environment, then why are people allowed to walk about in town. Why was the town promoting free parking to lure back visitors.

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2018-03-24/free-car-parking-as-shoppers-return-to-salisbury/


Darn it, it's so confusing!

Posted by: daffyDuct | Mar 29, 2018 4:31:55 PM | 31

Sorry - mis-quoted the article. NHS is looking at just a few individuals a month after the incident.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Mar 29, 2018 4:34:43 PM | 32

Boris Jonhson and "a dead cat on the table" strategy
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9906445/This-cap-on-bankers-bonuses-is-like-a-dead-cat-pure-distraction.html

The term is attributed to Lynton Crosby, a political strategist who has managed campaigns of right-of-centre parties in several countries. Boris Johnson, who employed Crosby during London mayoral elections explains the term thus:

“There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.”
http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/When-the-dots-are-connected-you-get-a-dead-cat-147293.html

Posted by: AM | Mar 29, 2018 4:34:55 PM | 33

Are we supposed to believe that Russia brought a nerve agent into the UK just to attack the Skripals? Or did a Russian agent buy it on the street in London or even get it from a clandestine Russian chemical weapons factory in the UK? Someone has literally made this up out of whole cloth. I find it especially farcical that the chemical is always labeled 'weapons grade': now you must be looking under your bed every night before you go to sleep. 'Schoolyard grade' would be the most benign category. If Yulia Scribal fully recovers she will be subjected to one of the most intensive debriefing sessions of all time. Imagine her saying she wants to see the Russian ambassador or even Putin because she felt unsafe in the UK. Or causes the UK of attacking her!

Posted by: Quentin | Mar 29, 2018 4:37:00 PM | 34

@34 "Or causes (accuses) the UK of attacking her!"

In that case I think we can expect a dramatic relapse.

Posted by: dh | Mar 29, 2018 4:43:19 PM | 35

Side2 27
The Australian foreign minister equivocated on the Skripal case . She pointedly observed that non Russian government state players could have been behind the attack .
Australians - some of us - are acutely aware that the 'western ' world may be overextended and moving towards some sort of (catastrophic ? ) military defeat .
Australia , as in 1942 at Singapore may find herself very much alone . Many see the Skripal embroglio as a sign the US / Anglo world is panicking and malfunctioning !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Mar 29, 2018 4:46:55 PM | 36

WHen did the DI Nick Baily who fell ill, supposedly from the same poison as the Skripals, actually go to the Skripal residence?

Was there someone adding to the amount of whatever it was which made 3 people ill, ensuring that someone besides the two Skripals got sick to some extent

The Daily Mirror doesn't mention the DI in its timeline.

Business Insider simply skips directly from 4:15PM, March 4 to March 5th's local police declaration of "major incident."

The timing is good -- wouldn't want to claim Yulia has improved on Good Friday.

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 29, 2018 4:49:07 PM | 37

"To respond to it rationally, as Russia tries to do, makes little sense."
Exactly. Tit for tat isn't enough. It's a matter of dignity to stop completely any contact with governments behaving that low. The message delivered must be unmistakably clear.

Posted by: Pnyx | Mar 29, 2018 4:53:27 PM | 38

@7 dh... yeah. there are a lot of cynics at moa, including me!

@12 les7.. yes - that is how i see it too, and confirmed in the quote from the article @10 that sid2 posted as well..

les - not sure if your scenario at the end will play out that way... i sure wish the insanity from the west would stop, but i doubt it is going to... and yes to the question of how this story on yulia is going to play out.. it is ripe from supreme manipulation as well..

@16 jen.. it is hard not to think the way you do.. i share your concerns...

@22/23 lysias... thanks for the update...

@quentin.. your choice is to believe bullshit, or to believe bullshit.. not a lot of choices here, lol..

Posted by: james | Mar 29, 2018 4:54:46 PM | 39

It was food poisoning wasn't it ? Fish I believe. That's also Easter-ish eh !

Posted by: imoverit | Mar 29, 2018 5:02:35 PM | 40

Ew: #39 -- Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. Not DI

Also, has it been confirmed by any authority that Bailey did indeed go to he residence? Guardian reported they were told he did...so is this just being buried? Or it's an inaccurate report?

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 29, 2018 5:09:49 PM | 41

@36 Ashley seems to me neocon-ism has been unraveling fast, a sign of it Trump's victory with follow-up the diminished success of the US military in Syria ("success" that is in terms of State Department Clinton-style regime change policies etc). At the same time, in the last year and a few months, a shift in the balance of power has been happening, global movement toward allying with Russia-China. The trend for the West and its State Department geniuses is downward, weakening, at which point the cornered beast may turn (or want to turn)even more vicious. So to the propaganda. If the Skripal affair is result of food poisoning, say, not something plotted, it has been (and will be) leaped onto with a very large and flush-faced "Aha!" type behavior to get JQ Public in line. It's particularly disturbing to find the low-level of "intelligence" being exhibited by these "leaders" who are stupid enough to provoke something really serious. The Russians meanwhile are enhancing their popularity by being rational and leader-like.

Posted by: Sid2 | Mar 29, 2018 5:14:29 PM | 42

I predicted early on in this affair that the Skirpals would amazingly "recover" - because there was no poison attack of any kind, just a shoddy attempt at a false flag event. The Skirpals were in on it from the beginning.

Posted by: mike k | Mar 29, 2018 5:35:01 PM | 43

@DaffyDuct

As wikipedia notes, the main difference between sarin-like OP agents and VX-like OP agents is that the former is more gas-like, and the latter more liquid-like:

“The danger of VX, in particular, lies in direct exposure to the chemical agent persisting where it was dispersed, and not through its evaporating and being distributed as a vapor (i.e., it is not a "vapor hazard"). VX is considered an area denial weapon due to these physical and biochemical characteristics.”

Since nobody has said anything about the claimed ‘Novichok’ agents. The (so far completely unsupported) claim is this (link below):
“The nerve agent used in an attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal was part of the Novichok family, the British government has revealed. This group of nerve agents was developed in Russia as part of a secret chemical weapons programme codenamed ‘Foliant’ in the 1970s and 80s.”

Not much of a ‘reveal’, more like a ‘claim.’ This is an interesting bit of Cold War history though; US and British bioweapons and chemical weapons programs were most active from the late 1940s to the late 1960s, while the Soviet ones were ramped up from the 1970s to the 1980s (see Foliant, Biopreparat). Crazy bastards,, wasn’t getting torched with nuclear weapons enough? Of course, the CIA and KGB were big advocates of the bio/chem approach, for dirty tricks, which extended to using drugs like LSD on unsuspecting politicians, etc. Sociopathic lunatics, the lot of them.

Regardless, nobody knows if the claimed agent was liquid-like, in which case, it could be tracked all over the place by people’s shoes, etc. None of it really makes much sense at this point, and without a public inquiry, it probably never will. No plans for one of those anytime soon, is there?

“Scientists at Porton Down would have been able to identify the agent, he adds, because the laboratory has been assembling information on potential threats for decades. ‘What they will have done is made these chemicals, suspecting they were part of the Soviet or Russian arsenal,’ Hay says. Then chemists at Porton Down would have ’assessed their structure and put them into a library of reference materials’, he adds.”
https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/russian-novichok-nerve-agent-linked-to-attack-on-ex-spy/3008773.article

So yes, some of these materials could have walked out of Porton Down, that’s possible. Wonder if they’re taking an inventory? Not that they’d ever say.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 29, 2018 5:35:53 PM | 44

@21 Fat Man

The Skripals must have been in on it. Blackmail not necessary.

Money Will do. Yulia wakes up first. She is more sympathetic

than him. Now there can be only one murder charge and if he

wakes, only attempted murder. I just read about Otto Warmbier.

In a coma for 16 months in North Korea; dead 6 days after being

returned home. Did anyone see his body? Open casket or closed?

Cremated? Given antidote and new identity?

THERE IS NOTHING CIA & MI6 WILL NOT STOOP TO

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 29, 2018 5:42:29 PM | 45

FSFF @ 45
the Warmbier family refused to allow autopsy

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 29, 2018 5:45:15 PM | 46

Farce is the primary thought, black farce. Sometimes I see May acting as Mr Steptoe Snr in that ridiculous British comedy, Steptoe and Son (decades ago).

I guess there will be savings for the western fools with less diplomats and then the Russian Federation will have many less meddlers to shadow around. So good economic outcomes all round, sigh.

There is no clown hat that I can imagine that would be silly enough to suit May, Johnson, or Nikki Haley. I can imagine the Australian foreighn minister wearing something inspired by a galah and kangaroo tail, with a hint of emu neck and head. It might be a fun competition to sponsor same though.

Posted by: flamingo | Mar 29, 2018 5:45:58 PM | 47

Novichok is said to be highly toxic and lethal when absorbed through the skin, but it's interesting that the young man Jamie Paine who first found the Skripals on the park bench got some liquid on his skin and apparently didn't suffer from it. From a March 8 BBC video -- ". . .man was frothing from the mouth, I got a little bit on my skin, it wasn't too much, I just brushed it off." That has never been mentioned in any recent news accounts that I've seen. We do have other articles mentioning Paine.

Paine is also mentioned in a March 6 euronews article:
Eyewitness Jamie Paine raised the alarm in the southern English city.
"It was like her body was dead," he said, of the woman, who police says was known to Skripal.
"Her legs were really stiff... you know when animals die, they have rigor mortis. Both her legs came together when people pulled (her), and when she was on the floor her eyes were just completely white. They were wide open but just white and frothing at the mouth. Then the man went stiff: his arms stopped moving, but he's still looking dead straight." . .here

And also in a March 6 CBS news article:
''When she was on the floor, her eyes were just completely white," said Jaime Paine, who found the couple and alerted police. "They were wide open but just white and (she was) frothing at the mouth. Then the man went stiff. His arms stopped moving, but he's still looking dead straight." . .here. . . and another on March 12.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 5:53:16 PM | 48

UK have stated A-234 was the agent used. According to the Russian scientists book A-234 is volatile, it would evaporate relatively quickly.
On the poisoning, food poisoning or deliberate depends on if the narrative was opportunistic or planned.
I think the narrative was planned before hand which would make it deliberate poisoning. From what I make of it, their symptoms are similar to organophosphate pesticide poisoning, and that would fit with Porton Down term of "or similar chemical".

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 5:53:56 PM | 49

MH17 was an anglo/US hit job. I start to see now why no Australian rep went with the Malaysians to collect the victims and the planes black boxes. The Dutch at least had the decency to go with the Malaysian's and pick up their own people.
With MH17 it took two weeks to push the EU into sanctioning Russia which and only then so called international team and Australian reps went to the site.
With Novichok, it only took a couple of days to get the EU on board so I think plenty of planning by UK and fellow travelers in the US before the Skripal's were poisoned.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 6:04:40 PM | 50

Posted by: dh | Mar 29, 2018 3:35:23 PM | 7

Last time I checked British private intelligence contractors followed opposite goals.
Not to mention the split in British "elites".

Theresa May waited before the jumped - or rather was pushed - from March 3 to March 12.

If she is lucky she can get rid of Boris Johnson over this.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 29, 2018 6:08:51 PM | 51

46 mauisurfer

Then Otto probably had a face lift and

is working in the ME now for the CIA.

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 29, 2018 6:44:25 PM | 52

As I repeated already many times here it is a moderate overdose, volunteer or not of fentanyl and then they were kept in medically induced coma for weeks not to be able repudiate their lies, even thinking of killing them eventually but when their narrative fell apart regardless they are no longer needed as props of this abhorrent false flag ploy and in fact they are suppose to recover somewhat otherwise they would have to send bodies to Russia which would authoritively debunk U.K. lies.

Posted by: Kalen | Mar 29, 2018 6:53:30 PM | 53

There is a lot of somewhat pointless discussion about nerve agents, do Novichoks exist, who makes them, feasibility of production etc, etc. To a certain extent, this is all irrelevant as the incident is a clear false flag to mark Russia as an aggressor nation. The issue serves as the dead cat on the table.

If setting up Russia as an aggressor nation is the aim of the exercise, how could organizers create the scenario? The story line apparently chosen is that the victims were poisoned with a military grade weapon that could only be produced by Russia.

The OPCW-sanctioned samples will show that the material given to Porton Down did indeed contain Skirpal DNA removing the prime objection of tampering as a possible means by which the supposed nerve agent was found in the sample. Ipso facto - the samples were not tampered with and 'Russia done it'.

The Skirpals are then no longer needed and their statements after recovery can be dismissed as the result of slight brain damage arising from OPCW-verifed posioning by proven Russian nerve agent.

The reality - they could have been posioned by common organophosphate weedkiller. These products are readily available and are capable of leaving traces in the blood stream similar to a real nerve agent, just waiting to be detected by the likes of Porton Down.

Signs & symptoms of weed killer poisoning

"Initially, this type of poisoning can cause watery eyes and excess salivation. Breathing difficulties often occur. Individuals affected by these poisons sometimes experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. In addition, the fingernails and lips can become blue. The person might develop a headache and feel both dizzy and weak. They might also experience anxiety, convulsions and possibly slip into a coma. Organophosphate is especially dangerous because it can be easily absorbed through the skin and cause paralysis and death in a short period of time. ... Severe poisoning can lead to permanent paralysis or brain damage."

Most of the publicly described syptoms before and after hospital admission are covered. It would also explain the presense of apparent nerve agent degradation products in the blood. And it would also not endanger the general public. Post-incident hype about passers-by being affected could be created safe in ther knowledge that there will be no problems from masses of people dying or overwhelming the medical services with associated high public/media interest and troublesome relatives.

One question - how could the hypothetical 'military grade nerve agent' aka weedkiller be applied to the Skirpals and the Skirpals alone without endangering the person who carried out the attack? If the person was known to the Skirpals, (s)he could get close without arising suspicion. (S)He would then be in a position to dose both with a suitable amount of poison.

How about accidental self-poisoning during the incident? The attacker might wear some kind of hand protection but the poison may be dispersed into his/her face, for example. The person would move away from the crime scene to avoid appearing to be a victim/witness and being questioned. The possible later appearance of symptoms would be planned for. The attacker could attend hospital some time later once the nature of the chemical agent was known publicly, allowing him/her to be treated with the antidote (atropine injection?) in hospital and probably make a safe and quick recovery. Maybe in these circumstances, (s)he would treat themselves at the first sight of symptoms using a disposable atropine autoinjector then call for help if necessary?

All purely hypothetical of course.

Posted by: TooMuchTruthiness | Mar 29, 2018 7:21:51 PM | 54

54
Accurate doses in their meals.

"How about accidental self-poisoning during the incident?" If it's a pesticide or herbicide organophosphate farmers would, or would have, used the shit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 7:36:50 PM | 55

And so at least one of the many Big Lies begins to unravel. Time for a No Confidence vote and subsequent change in government. Does anyone know what % of UK believes this May/Johnson Big Lie?

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 29, 2018 8:19:49 PM | 56

OT. For the SECOND TIME, a source for Omidyar's The Intercept has been arrested by the FBI for leaking information.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/03/28/minneapolis-fbi-agent-charged-with-leaking-classified-information

Once again I ask, what does "intercept" mean? I was frustrated by their stream of pro-Ukrainian coup articles already years back, but their recent hires and hit pieces on alternative journalists, etc. have left me unwilling to even visit their site anymore.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 29, 2018 9:10:39 PM | 57

b Tweeted out a link to James Corbett's Fact Checking Newsbud's "Syria Under Siege" Video:


BTW: James Corbett did an excellent video on Psychographics (ala Cambridge Analytica) last year.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 29, 2018 9:14:43 PM | 58

Speaking (OT) of Tweets,
This is the tweet the US-centralized empire doesn't want you to look at. Assange was cut off from the world for sharing this information; no internet, no phone calls, no visitors. #ReconnectJulian

@JulianAssange

“In 1940 the elected president of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, was captured by the Gestapo, at the request of Spain, delivered to them and executed.

“Today, German police have arrested the elected president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, at the request of Spain, to be extradited.”

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 29, 2018 9:19:27 PM | 59

The more I consider the Skirpal fantasy, the more convinced I am that the pending world cup final was one of the primary drivers behind the frame up.
Whenever a global sporting event is held sports journalists from all over the world are let loose in the host nation to file stories about how wonderful it all is. That sense of sporting bonhomie is essential for keeping the audience engaged enough to remain glued to their screens sufficiently long that the media corporations make vast profits from an expensive capital outlay to secure the broadcast rights.
Most sports journos lack the 'proper training' required to keep hammering home the message that they are being held captive in an oppressive dictatorial regime. The sort of stuff that trained political propagandists can summon out of thin air in the most benign environment.
There was a great danger that ordinary Jo/Joes might begin to consider "that Russia, it doesn't seem such a bad place, they're just like the rest of us, why do we hate them again?" Not much chance of that now this tosh has been propagated so far and wide immediately before the finals.

We already know that the officials who awarded the rights to Russia have all been fired, sued and imprisoned - by the FBI of all things WTF has amerika got to do with 'soccer'?
Sure the blokes in charge of FIFA were typical old school euro-socialists who did 'tickle the peter' to ensure they could live in the manner they had become accustomed to, but the few millions they pocketed compared to the billions they put back into football was small. Watch what happens now that football has been corporatised, all earnings will go to the apocryphal shareholder ie the same old gang of rich fucks who steal everything else.
Impoverished footballers will be lucky if as much as the old guard skimmed off ends up 'promoting the sport' much less the billions which were previously handed out.

Of course there are other reasons - very few big, controversial decisions are made on the basis of a single favourable outcome, but the football world cup final which will be viewed by most brits just had to be kyboshed if maybot and her wacky band of greedy derps have any chance of selling brits on the notion of hate russia hate.
maybot is still talking about how the england team should be told not to go. She won't do it but UK media networks will be forced to teach their ace propaganda talking heads the rudiments of football.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Mar 29, 2018 9:27:36 PM | 60

At this point there are so many points that are patently ridiculous about this whole Skripal affair it's hard to know how to summarize it...good job, b. A few random thoughts:

@ francis 11: Excellent point, a poisoned door knob should have afflicted only one of them. But more to the point, now that the killer plot du jour is the home door, it leads to more incompatible "facts." In order for May and friends to have even a speck of justification for rushing to judgment rather than investigating, they were stuck with the narrative that they were poisoned, and it had to be a "military grade" (implicitly ruling out all the regular people who wanted Skripal dead) "nerve agent" (really scary like only war criminals use) and "of a kind invented in the USSR" (implying this particular sample must have come from Russia). But by picking an obscure, originally Soviet agent, they are stuck with incredibly deadly, quick acting, volatile, etc. So if one Skripal was poisoned with something that the lab janitor said would have killed him or her before they could get to their car, and just the residue from this evaporating substance would seriously sicken a strapping young detective within minutes, forcing him to the hospital, how did the Skripal(s) getting the full dose traipse around town half a day, even feeling a bit peckish so as to stop at two different places to eat and drink? You simply can't have it both ways, May. It seems like every time the Brits try to revise the story, it gets worse!

Also, it's so easy to get caught up in the "means" of the mystery, because it is so laughably preposterous, but we should never forget the "motive." On the part of the RF, not only zero (hell, he only had a half dozen years left on his original sentence--not a death sentence), but less than zero to do something at the worst possible time from a Russian point of view (right before election, with EU support for sanctions fading fast, NordStream 2 finally looking to be past all hurdles, etc.). The flip side of that coin shows that this bad timing was indeed what was critical to the Brits and US--why else they just HAD to immediately expel diplomats, etc? After all, if they were indeed quite sure the Russians had done it, wouldn't there be every reason in the world to proceed with a very public investigation, dragging Putin's name through the mud, actually prolonging the affair, and THEN expel diplomats and anything else you want to do once you've proven to the world what shits the Ruskies are?

The hastily thrown together (and now falling apart) "crisis" might be because the other, more carefully planned black eyes for election eve Russia fell apart at the last minute. There was a major nerve gas false flag (serendipitous) and follow-up military strikes set in Syria, but the SAA advanced too quickly and probably along with special ops folks managed to prevent the three planned attacks. Not only did the US/Israel/NATO lose the chance to besmirch Russia and strike Syria hard, it was such a screw up some are saying it cost Tillerson his job. Then there was the attack on the Donbass, which was fully prepped to spring just before the election--troops and heavy weapons had massed at the borders, US weapons had arrived, even lanes through mine fields had been cleared, Porky had his orders. But then the DPR (with FSB help, no doubt) discovered the traitors in the LPR government who had planned to sabotage defenses, there are reports of a near mutiny among regular Ukie soldiers who didn't feel like getting chewed up again, and then an actual coup against Porky was barely foiled--all sufficient that the Ukrainian op fizzled. No doubt the US and NATO were aghast that their two carefully planned March surprises were no-gos. So when something happened to the Skripals, I suspect the powers that be thought "well, it ain't much, but we can make it work!"

Lastly, there are several reports that the US leaned on virtually everyone in the world very, very hard to attempt to drum up "support" for May. In my experience, you only get so many over-the-top favors to ask/demand, and the US had to burn one to try to save their sanctions. They may have got their wish short term, but they may hear a lot more "no"s next time they want something--especially if this ultimately turns out to be a massive embarrassment as is likely.

Posted by: J Swift | Mar 29, 2018 9:30:43 PM | 61

Also OT
"The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported late on Thursday that 2 Israeli F-35 stealth fighters had entered Iranian airspace over the past month"

I have suggested on two occasions that the expanded presence of US forces at Al Tanf was to provide the electronic fog necessary for this type of flight.

The question now is 'Why/how did this become public news?' Is this part of the psychological war game (by the US) to force Iran to accede to a re-negotiation of the JCPOA?

Did some sector of the US forces do this to forestall an Israeli attack that would keep US troops tied up in the region for many more years when Trump clearly wants them out?

Are some factions in Israel trying to keep Netanyahu from militarising the situation as a way of consolidating his slipping grasp on power?

ideas?

Posted by: les7 | Mar 29, 2018 9:34:36 PM | 62

reply to Les7 62
How about this, it never happened. Remember the supposed NK missile attack on Hawaii that wasn't which happened at the same exact time as the US was pushing a sale of the horrifically expensive THAAD system to Japan?
Same ploy here. Except this time they are going with a complete fiction; that 2 F-35s were able to fly over Iran undetected. That would be these F-35s (www.pogo.org/straus/issues/weapons/2018/f-35-still-no-finish-line-in-sight.html).
Could US systems cloak them well enough to dupe Iran, maybe but I kind of doubt it. I think it more likely that someone somewhere in the ME is having their arm twisted to buy a ridiculous number of F-35s.

Posted by: frances | Mar 29, 2018 9:58:51 PM | 63

Poison on the door knob is really weird.

1) This is a very unreliable method, people touch knowbs differently, with whole palm, with two fingers, some are slamming the door using their foot -- when you leave house you do not need to touch the outer know at all. This method may explain sublethal dose that the victims absorbed, but the very obvious unreliability suggests that it was not done by professionals -- Russian, British or anyone else. Either a hit or a black flag planned to look like a hit would be more reliable.

2) One aspect of this method is unpredictable amount of poison that is absorbed. And people react to sub-lethal doses differently. How come that few hours after leaving home both Skripals succumbed at the same time?3)

3) British police etc. may strive for a world record in ineptitude, but how many days after inspecting the home were needed to make this key discovery?

4) Combined suggestion of 2) and 3) is that the knob in question was contaminated some time after Skripals were poisoned, like a week or two. Although it could be the result of hundreds of agents that were working on the case, they could collect thousands of samples to check, and chromatographers at Porton Down were overwhelmed. Nevertheless, powerful money interests could be at play: what would happen to the British economy if the population developed serious phobias concerning drinking in pubs or eating pizza?

5) Whatever else the story revealed, British Government cares about its people, especially the children. A playground near Skripal's house was closed. Several weeks after it was in danger of contamination, but don't they say -- better late than never!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 29, 2018 10:06:40 PM | 64

A 'Confederacy of Dunces'... revisited.

Posted by: kpax | Mar 29, 2018 10:11:11 PM | 65

Door handles is where it's at....
Mar 14: Investigators are focusing on Sergei Skripal’s BMW amid claims the nerve agent could have been smeared on its door handle. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 10:13:26 PM | 66

J Swift 61
You have pulled together the relevant points from all the Skripal threads. Top post.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 10:28:52 PM | 67

"The sole purpose of the 'Novichok' drama is to implicate and damage Russia." Yes, I too think that's it in a nutshell. As to its actual as opposed to intended effects... ah well that may be an entirely different matter...

Posted by: John Gilberts | Mar 29, 2018 10:58:09 PM | 68

Mar 28
A Russian ex-spy and his daughter first came into contact with the nerve agent that poisoned them at their home, police have said. The highest concentration of the agent used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal was found on their front door.

The Skripal front door -- why didn't they think of that earlier?

Mar 9
DS Nick Bailey is seriously ill in hospital having visited the home of Skripal after the defector and his daughter were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday afternoon. Investigators want to know whether Bailey visited the scene where the two Russians were found and was poisoned there or by items there, or whether the officer was contaminated on his visit to Skripal’s home. Sources say that, while it is not certain, it is believed more likely that Bailey became contaminated on his visit to the home.

Mar 23
Investigators are examining the door handle and computer keyboard from the house of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, along with his daughter poisoned in British Salisbury. The Guardian reported that British investigators were seen near the building with a list entitled “Brushstrokes”. In addition to the keyboard means handles the input and interior doors and the door leading to the courtyard. As noted, the house of the former spy is still cordoned off [since March 7].

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 11:05:40 PM | 69

This from BBC March 5th.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-43289194
"A number of city centre locations were cordoned off and A&E at Salisbury District Hospital - where the pair are being treated - was shut.
Public Health England (PHE) said there was no "wider risk".
A major incident has been declared at the hospital."

I think that rules out food poisoning? Poisoned with something - "no wider risk" is interesting though.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 11:05:49 PM | 70

Add to 71 - no mention of the policeman at this point in time. Perhaps he was the unlucky plod that drew the short straw who had to be added to the drama?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 11:09:14 PM | 71

Piotr. I guess we are also expected to believe that both Skirpal and Yulia grabbed that door knob on their way out. And the deadly nerve agent politely gave them several hours to visit, shop, have a nice lunch and take a walk in the park before activating.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 29, 2018 11:13:48 PM | 72

Has anybody found when DS Nick Bailey was admitted to hospital? First reports I can find of him also being affected by the legendary Novichok is the 7th. I can find no mention of him before the 7th.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 29, 2018 11:19:34 PM | 73

Following on from the skepticism articulated by J Swift, Debsisdead and others, I'm greatly encouraged by the juvenile witlessness of the ongoing Skripal Saga.
I smell panic.
It can't possibly be coincidence that the Skripal Saga followed hot on the heels of Putin's "I feel it my duty to warn you..." speech.
(That, militarily, the West isn't just Fucked, it's up the the creek without a paddle, or a canoe).

If I were a Western Politician accepting bribes from the disgracefully incompetent, dishonest and profitable Military Industrial Complex, I'd want the biggest & Newsiest News Story of the 21st Century suppressed too...
But I hope I'd be fussier than to plump for the no-brainer proposed by the panic-stricken 5-Eyes-and-no-brain crowd.

For me, this means that WWIII has just been postponed for at least 5, and possibly 10 years.
Sincere thanks, Vladimir.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 29, 2018 11:37:15 PM | 74

@40

"the Salmon Mousse"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMBsZC-FJNE

Posted by: Salmon Mousse | Mar 29, 2018 11:40:17 PM | 75

@74
Has anybody found when DS Nick Bailey was admitted to hospital?
Probably Mar 4, then he was in hospital Mar 4-22 (18 days, referred to as "several weeks.")

Mar 10
So far it had been assumed Mr Skripal and daughter Yulia were exposed to the toxic substance during their visits to a Zizzi restaurant or a nearby pub on Sunday afternoon [Mar 4]
They were both found unconscious on a bench a short time later. But last night it emerged the police officer who also fell ill after responding to the incident, visited Mr Skripal's home before he collapsed. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey remains in a serious condition in hospital. According to reports, he tended to the victims at the scene and then visited both the Skripal home. A source told The Times: "He was at both places. "First he was where they collapsed, trying to help them, then he went to the house, in that order."

Mar 22
The police officer who was hospitalized after rushing to help a former Russian spy and his daughter suffering from a poison attack in Salisbury, England, was discharged Thursday [Mar 22]. Bailey was treated at Salisbury District Hospital for several weeks after being exposed to the same deadly and rare nerve agent that the U.K. government says was used to target former intelligence officer Sergie Skirpal, 66, and Yulia, 33.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 29, 2018 11:49:24 PM | 76

This is all meant to motivate the generals, of course, who wouldn't mind a proper excuse for getting a war on against Russia. That's what they want. But I suspect that even they will need more than this claptrap, rinky-dink hyped-up evidence-less nothing-burger to get a new war on.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 30, 2018 12:03:12 AM | 77

Interesting that there was a chemical weapons exercise in the area:
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-toxic-storm-for-royal-marines-in-major-chemical-exercise

To follow up with comments by the old microbiologist, It is impossible to prove that a substance reputed to have an LD50 of about 0.5-1 milligram was ingested even with a GC-magnetic sector mass spectrometer (MS).

The sample would be very degraded by the time a liver fatty tissue sample was taken in a biopsy. One would have to know the decomposition products and isolate them via solvent extraction prior to the GS-MS measurement and measure the isotopic ratios of the elements (N, H, P etc) in each degradation produce the "poison".

In addition, a neat sample of the original poison would have to be found (not planted) on the proven "hit man"or his possessions. The neat "poison" would then have to be subjected to "in vivo" degradation for the same period as the victim. The new victim (test subject) would then have to be biopsied and the degradation products ratios and the corresponding isotopic ratios of each the degradation products determined and compared to the original sample. Thia also assumes that proper chain-of-custody was followed and no tampering occurred.

Finally, given the dilution factors of the "poison" I seriously doubt that GC-MS would have a low enough detection limit. Even with ion-trapping (pioneered by the advanced inorganic group of Battelle, PNNL) prior to the magnetic sector mass spectroscopy detection of isotopic ratios the analysis would be not be fruitful.

Besides, the UK probably doesn't have the chemists and instrumentation to carry out the sample preparation and analysis procedures in a ultra clean room (PM=10) environment. The dumb politicians don't know this and I doubt that the chemist will speak up.

As further evidence of lack of skills in conducting analyses I present the MH-17 shoot-down study where crude low resolution energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence was used on supposed projectile fragments when argon sputtering magnetic sector mass spectroscopy was necessary to fingerprint the batch of projectiles from which the projectile came from. Note, that all metals show a trace of transuranic decomposition products if they were produced following atomic testing which would aid in confirming the source. I doubt that any lab in the EU is qualified to conduct such testing.

Posted by: Krollchem | Mar 30, 2018 12:23:13 AM | 78

Don 74. BBC report on the 5th from my link @71 states two people poisoned and emergency section closed. Earliest time I find plod entering the narrative is the 7th. If he was also poisoned on the 4th, with a sufficient dose to put him in a coma, he also would have been mentioned in the 5th March BBC report.

From the BBC link - "Two people are in a critical condition in hospital after being exposed to an "unknown substance".
The man and a woman were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping precinct in Salisbury on Sunday, Wiltshire Police said.
A number of city centre locations were cordoned off and A&E at Salisbury District Hospital - where the pair are being treated - was shut."

Doubtful plod was poisoned on the 4th. By the 5th there are pics of people in full protective gear, but plod doesn't enter the narrative until the 7th?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 30, 2018 12:24:26 AM | 79

Well, Peloponnesian War freaks, bring it on:
Athens invaded Melos in 416 BC and demanded that the Melians surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or face annihilation. The proud Melians refused, and after a siege the Athenians captured their city, slaughtered the men, and enslaved the women and children.
The witty insights from Thucyides will motivate our neo-cons to up the cognitive dissonance among the lesser population.

Posted by: Duck1 | Mar 30, 2018 12:41:18 AM | 80

@ PA 80
Bailey collapsed on March 4, was in serious (not critical) condition, and hospitalized for 18 days, not in a coma.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Mar 30, 2018 12:43:07 AM | 81

as is traditional meant "Thuycdides"

Posted by: Duck1 | Mar 30, 2018 12:45:01 AM | 82

Don 82
Do you have links for that. Not recent news reports, but from back around the 7th or earlier. I think May did her first speech on the poisoning around the 7th and this is the first mention I can find of the policeman being poisoned.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 30, 2018 12:48:26 AM | 83

The guys at Edgewood used to play with VX and get a buzz. Dip your finger in it, wait a few seconds, then dip it into alcohol and wash it off. Boys and their toys; you know how that goes. the buzz will last for hours. All of these agents have antidotes that are used daily in thousands of surgeries.

In other words, once in a hospital, it's quite manageable. Just give antidotes until the stuff wears off.

Posted by: Veritas | Mar 30, 2018 1:01:44 AM | 84

@ Don Bacon 78

There is only one way to get a new war on. And that is for terrorists to explode
a nuclear bomb in Russia, China, or America. Maybe even in one of their important
allies.

It has all the characteristics of the Strangelove Doomsday Machine, EXCEPT AI.


As long as all three of them realize that there's no way of immediately knowing
who detonated it, they must fly their missiles at the one they like the least.


And the leftovers go everyplace else for a huge Gotterdammerung finale.

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 30, 2018 1:16:13 AM | 85

"Yulia Skripal no longer in critical condition, say Salisbury doctors"

I read some place that she had been flown out of Salisbury. Anybody else see
that?


If so, do you have a link for her flying back to Salisbury for Salisbury
doctors to so opine?

Posted by: FSFF | Mar 30, 2018 1:23:19 AM | 86

I wonder if the Skripal case is floundering because the attempt to orchestrate a false flag CW attack in East Ghouta was stopped three times after the Russians and Syrians seized large caches of chemicals and several laboratories there. Not necessarily a direct link but an ongoing push to demonise Russia. A quote from Voltairenet's recent article Theresa May's Foreign Policy "and the attempt to exclude Russia from the Security Council and cut the world in two, which implies the on-going manipulation with chemical weapons in Syria, and the Skripal affair." If so get ready for perfidious Albion to commit more false flags before Britannia is crushed under a P 700 Granit. Crusin' for a brusin' as they say.

Posted by: Tom | Mar 30, 2018 2:33:35 AM | 87

I can remember my mother, a war bride saying this quote of Walter Scott a few times "O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!" This just about covers the whole sordid affair.

Posted by: Tom | Mar 30, 2018 2:37:47 AM | 88

Best ever from Saker, must read for yourself
http://thesaker.is/how-the-east-can-save-the-west/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 30, 2018 2:39:28 AM | 89


> Chas Freeman reiterated his views by stating that “these fruitless and counterproductive wars have so far cost the United States at least $5.6 trillion (…) We have paid for our lurching to widening warfare in the Muslim world with a combination of borrowed money and disinvestment in domestic physical and human infrastructure. The result is not just the imposition of a crushing burden of debt[12] on our posterity, but lost growth and declining U.S. economic competitiveness”. Furthermore, he lamented, Americans have become accustomed to life under surveillance and in an endless state of apprehension about acts of terrorism. Such an unusual condition has predictably eroded their liberties, aggrandized the presidency, reinforced “cowardly herd instincts in Congress”, and helped to impoverish the US middle-class “while enriching the military-industrial complex”. These, he concluded, are “structural alterations to the American republic and way of life that will affect both for decades”.
> there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.
> since the United States was founded in 1776, it has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars, and the only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression!

there is also a great quote from edw said
must read

http://thesaker.is/the-twilight-of-the-empire-age-whose-world-will-it-be/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Mar 30, 2018 2:40:36 AM | 90

james 1
Lang and the likes of TTG are firm believers of might makes right. Their only problem with a war of aggression is when they think their country will not profit or perhaps will be put in a worse position by it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 30, 2018 2:44:25 AM | 91

Regarding the concept that this is just one of the plays that lead to World War Three.

I agree that the Ukraine attack and the Syria chemical false flag and Damascus bombing plays were blown and preempted. Skripal is all that's left.

But this doesn't lead to the next world war, this IS the next world war. These and other ploys were all tactics in the war, and they have all failed. This is how lame it is. This is the end of the fight, when one fighter is so exhausted that all we see are a few wide and empty swings in slow motion, while the victor contemplates the finishing blow.

The war is ongoing and has been ongoing for practically 2 decades, since Putin arrived on the scene to carry the fight back and stop the plunder. Does any of this nonsense today compare in scale with Putin's success in Chechnya or Medvedev's failure in Libya? We are watching a war take place, but we don't recognize it as such because the west is so appallingly weak. This is all they have.

Does anyone think the US has anything more to bring out from its arsenal to apply to this contest with Russia apart from a few sacrificial diplomats?

March 1, 2018, changed the world. Every day that passes brings a quantum change in our perception of the weakness of the west. The whole world, in its secret councils, is watching this also.

Even to expel diplomats took favors the US can never ask again from Europe. And even this was whispered by Europe to Russia as a nothing, and please understand and forgive.

The US is over. We are watching it fall, in slow motion but incredibly rapidly. Let's be thankful for the domestic propaganda, that allows the empire to dissolve and fade into the past without ever having to face the reality of its true humiliation. And yes, there are business deals and smuggling arrangements with occupation and troop supply around the world. These things will take time to unravel, to wind down, and to recall.

But the US is empty. Skripal shows this above all things that it shows. The utter banality of the evil of the Skripal play shows above all that we should tread softly, and carry a big prayer of thanks for the absence of any stick held by the US.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 30, 2018 2:50:11 AM | 92

@59 daniel - re assange... i was thinking about this a lot earlier today...

britian and human rights... they don't have any.. if they did, they would be treating julian assange very differently.. they are one bullshit country, and this is further proof of it, in case the skripal example wasn't enough...

@92 peter... i thought i was communicating in an ordinary american centric blog, but always get reminded of just how american centric it is sometimes... oh well... pat lang is pretty hard core.. that is why he views me and b and others are anti-americian.. one can't talk normal with these americans.. they are like crazed zealots when it comes to backing a lot of the insanity the usa is responsible for...

@93 grieved... this doesn't lead to the next world war.. this is the next world war.. that is probably a better way to put it.. just that the gloves haven't come off entirely..

Posted by: james | Mar 30, 2018 3:25:56 AM | 93

Grieved 93
Too much madness throughout history to be assured of a happy ending for this one. That madness is there amongst the 'people of influence' in the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 30, 2018 3:27:48 AM | 94

heather nauerts comments in the daily press briefing today... always enlightening seeing how deep the level of denial is at the foundation of of the usa..

"I want to remind you that there is no justification for the Russian response. Our actions were motivated purely by the attack on the United Kingdom, the attack on a British citizen and his daughter. Remember, this is a first time that a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, has been used outside of war on allied soil. We have not taken these steps lightly; we’ve taken these steps in concert with our allies across the world. Twenty-eight countries now join the United States backing our allies in the decision to have kicked out 153 Russian spies from the various countries. Georgia is the latest country that has joined us in this effort. I believe they announced today that they would kick out one spy, which is significant, given that Georgia is in the backyard of Russia."

how does one address this kind of ignorance? where to start???

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/03/279656.htm

"It appears that Russia has chosen to take the regrettable, unwarranted action to respond to our entirely justified action that I just covered. As I understand it, Russia plans to take the same unjustified actions against 28 other countries, countries that stood in solidarity with the UK."

the folks in the usa are so self centered, they are incapable of standing back and seeing how crazy it is how they think..

" MS NAUERT: Let me explain why I say there is no justification for that response. The United States, in concert with many other countries, made the decision to kick out Russian spies. We don’t see this as a diplomatic tit-for-tat. Russia is responsible for that horrific attack on the British citizen and his daughter. Once again, they have broken the Chemical Weapons Convention. It was a banned substance that they have used – Novichok. We take this matter very seriously.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: I wanted to let you finish. I thought you were --

MS NAUERT: (Laughter.) Thank you. That normally doesn’t happen.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) Yeah, well, there’s a first time for everything.

MS NAUERT: You caught me off guard. They don’t need to act like a victim. Russia should not be acting like a victim. The only victims in this situation are the two victims in the hospital in the UK right now, and the people who cannot go into the park, the medical workers, the first responders who are now having to be treated and watched carefully because they may have come into contact with that substance."

more insanity at the link for anyone interested..

Posted by: james | Mar 30, 2018 3:32:37 AM | 95

James 96
Poor US diplomats - tough biscuits.
A posting to St Petersburg has to be that much more exciting and uplifting than to Seattle.
Who wants to go to Seattle - threatened as it is by a half mile high tsunami at any moment?
What a loss of a real 'jolly' to the American spy community.
Frankly I would have emptied out the lot from Russia and left the First Secretary, his PA - and without a cleaner

Posted by: Emily | Mar 30, 2018 4:35:16 AM | 96

Daniel 59

britian and human rights... they don't have any.. if they did, they would be treating julian assange very differently.. they are one bullshit country, and this is further proof of it, in case the skripal example wasn't enough...

As a loyal Brit - I can only write - absolutely spot on - you are absolutely right and thats just the tip of the iceberg.
Under the May regime - its little more - propped up as it is by a northern Irish vote or two - we have lost the right to free speech and freedom of association
We are widely spied on and have a police force who regard a 'hate crime' on facebook (as long as its a white crime) as a higher priority than a violent assault.
Anyone like Tommy standing up against it are harrassed and arrested,
We are over run with islam into the bargain.
Few Brits would argue that May is the worse PM in our history.
She is making even Blair look marginally better.

Posted by: Emily | Mar 30, 2018 4:52:51 AM | 97

nonsense factory #26 I agree with you up to a point. The samples that were submitted to Porton Down were not forensically collected and apparently have no proper chain of custody which is why in the court decision about OPCW sampling they made some effort to include the clinical samples from the hospital using DNA to verify that they did indeed come from the Skripals. That, however; ignores that those samples were not collected forensically and also have no legal chain of custody so are inadmissible as evidence by any court. The OPCW said as much and were immediately lambasted by May saying that they likely would not accept the OPCW findings. The CWC also has specific requirements and none were followed by the UK which makes it a treaty violation and invalidates the UK membership in the CWC. This will take time and be a lengthy process but in fact at this point the UK is operating as a rogue nation (much like Israel and the USA have been doing for decades).

The OPCW sampling was taken roughy 3 weeks (20 days) after the incident. No agent persists that long in any form and especially in UV (sunlight). The subsequent "discovery" of agent on the front door of their house 2 days ago smacks of seeding the sample site. The OPCW Technical team is very competent and has a well understood library of agents and how they break down under a variety of conditions. A seeded site will be obvious based on those results. Additionally, the library of the Novichok agents made under OPCW supervision by Iran in 2016 is only for those agents mentioned as being part of the Foliant program. Agent A234 (that name also smacks of bizarre as it basically is agent 1234 if you substitute the number 1 for the first letter in the alphabet) was already well characterized by the US back in 1998 and was published in open literature and added to the OPCW chemical database. That completely debases the claim of Russian providence for the agent. Russian agents are a single letter and the year it was identified such as A-1976. I guess they (either MI-6 or the CIA or both) didn't do a proper literature search and didn't involve anyone in the know.

Now, the best the UK can do is hope it takes a long time for results to be forthcoming from the OPCW (which they will reject) and they can accomplish whatever goals this false flag was intended to cover for. Personally, I think this was a botched job by the Clintonites (and the IC that supports them) in an attempt to get rid of an embarrassing witness (Steele dossier association) while further demonizing Putin and Russia. That former obviously didn't happen as they are still alive (although anything is possible given the miraculous recover from a 1% chance of survival to being recovered in a single day) but the latter goal was accomplished as we see from the bromance of the allied nations. I think this sets up the framework for a subsequent WMD attack to be blamed on Russia. I would not be surprised to see a nuclear warhead go off in Ukraine against the Kiev military. After all, they have been blowing up their own ammunition dumps for several years now to cover up illegal arms sales and have no aversion to killing ethic Russian Ukrainian citizens everyday since they started protesting the illegal Nazi government. There was a rumor a few years ago that Ukraine back in 1998 sold Iran up to 250 nuclear warheads and that these were repatriated in 2016 back to Ukraine to take the heat off of the Iranian inspections. I don't know the reliability of this rumor and I admit I had my doubts before but but perhaps it will turn out to be true. These weapons are arguably "Russian" having been manufactured back in the days of USSR. Nuclear detonations definitely have a signature to them and that is very well understood. This is a perfect scenario to push the agenda forwards towards a war no one can win.

I am worried that the infinite patience of Putin and Lavrov is wearing thin. If one recognizes that Israel has started all but one war as apre-emptive strike to halt aggression from their enemies. This seems to have held up over time as a logical argument for acting unilaterally as a defensive move. Perhaps Russia will just start the dance to thwart what they see as an existential threat to Russia's survival. I doubt it would be nuclear and if I were in Putin's shoes I would eliminate every THAAD and Aegis firing platform on the planet simultaneously. I might add in a token sinking of an entire carrier battle group as emphasis (perhaps the one in the Mediterranean Sea?). This would leave the US and its allies completely vulnerable to a Russian first strike which I doubt Russia would do unless further provoked and then it would be a single token city, maybe something like Chicago or Indianapolis. China would take advantage of this situation (possibly without being forewarned) to take back Taiwan and maybe sink every US ship in Chinese waters. All of this really depends on just how threatened Russia feels and what intelligence they might have about US and its allies intentions.

These are very dangerous times.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 30, 2018 5:02:42 AM | 98

I don't suppose Yulia Skripal's improvement has anything to do with:
Russian investigators seek UK legal support in case of Skripal’s daughter

??

Posted by: carrie_ | Mar 30, 2018 5:09:08 AM | 99

Old Microbiologist @99:

Sinking of a CBG is not a trivial matter. Given the mental state of Washington, things can quickly escalate to an exchange of ICBMs. Currently Russia doesn't need to do anything that drastic. If reports of France sending troops to Syria, to stop Turkey from gaining more ground are true, it's best to not interfere with the infighting in NATO.

Posted by: Ian | Mar 30, 2018 5:21:15 AM | 100

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