Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 21, 2018

Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)

A week ago we asked if 'Novichok' poisons are real. The answer is now in: It is 'yes' and 'no'. Several Russian scientist now say that they once researched and developed lethal poisons but they assert that other countries can and have copied these. 'Novichok', they say,  is a just western propaganda invention. They see the British accusations as a cynical plot against Russia. The people who push the 'Novichok' accusations have political and commercial interests.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May insinuated that the British-Russian double agent Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who collapsed on March 4 on a public bench in Salisbury, were affected by a 'Russian' nerve agent:

It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. It is part of a group of nerve agents known as Novichok.

Theresa May's claims are highly questionable. 


Maria Zakharova, spokeswomen of the Russian Foreign Ministry: "'Novichok' has never been used
in the USSR or in Russia as something related to the chemical weapon research" - bigger

A highly potent nerve agent would hurt anyone who comes in contact with it. But the BBC reported that a doctor who administered first aid to the collapsed Yulia Skripal for 30 minutes was not affected at all. Another doctor, Steven Davies who heads the emergence room of the Salisbury District Hospital, wrote in a letter the London Times:

"... no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only been ever been three patients with significant poisoning."

The name 'Novichok' comes from a book written by Vil Mirzanyanov, a 1990s immigrant to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union. It describes his work at Soviet chemical weapon laboratories and lists the chemical formulas of a new group of lethal substances.

AFP interviewed the author of the 'Novichok' book about the Salisbury incident:

Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin.
...
The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

"Russia did it", says Mirzanyanov, "OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK".


1, 2

A 'Novichok' nerve agent plays a role in the current season of the British-American spy drama Strike Back which broadcasts on British TV. Theresa May might have watched this clip (vid) from the series. Is it a source of her allegations?

The Russian government rejects the British allegations and demands evidence which Britain has not provided. Russia joined the Chemical Weapon Convention in 1997. By 2017 it had destroyed all its chemical weapons and chemical weapon production facilities. Under the convention only very limited amounts of chemical weapon agents are allowed to be held in certified laboratories for defense research and testing purposes. The U.S. has such laboratories at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, the British lab is in Porton Down, a few miles from Salisbury. The Russian lab is in Shikhany in the southern Saratov Oblast. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) audits these laboratories and their declared stocks "down to the milligram level".

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry and famous high heels folk dancer (vid) Maria Zakharova explains in a TV interview (vid, English subtitles) that 'Novichok' was not and is not the name of any Soviet or Russian program. The word was introduced in the "west" simply because it sounded Russian.

Western media claimed that Vil Miranzayanov is the developer of the 'Novichok' chemicals. It turns out that this is not the case. Interviews with two retired Russian chemists, both published only yesterday, tell the real story. The Russia news agency RIA Novostni talked with Professor Leonid Rink (machine translation):

Did you have anything to do with creating what the British authorities call the "Novice"?

- Yes. This was the basis of my doctoral dissertation.

At that time I worked in Shikhany, in the branch of GosNIIOKhT (State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology, during Soviet times was engaged in the development of chemical weapons), was a leading researcher and head of the laboratory.

Professor Rink says that:

  • 'Novichok' or 'novice' was never used as a program name. New Soviet formulas had alphanumeric codes.
  • Several new nerve agents were developed in Shikhany in the 1970s and 80s.
  • These new substances can cause immediate deadly reactions when applied to humans.
  • Vil Mirzayanov was head of the chromatographer group, chemists who deals with the separation and analysis of various mixtures of substances. He was responsible for environmental control and not a developer of any new substances.

The Associated Press summarizes other parts of the interview with Professor Rink:

Rink told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday that Britain and other western nations easily could have synthesized the nerve agent after chemical expert Vil Mirzayanov emigrated to the United States and revealed the formula.

Echoing Russian government statements, Rink says it wouldn’t make sense for Moscow to poison Sergei Skripal, a military intelligence officer who spied for Britain, because he was a used asset “drained” by both Russia and Britain.

He claims Britain’s use of the name Novichok for the nerve agent is intended to convince the public that Russia is to blame.

The English-Russian magazine The Bell interviews another Russian scientists involved in the issue:

The Bell was able to find and speak with Vladimir Uglev, one of the scientists who was involved in developing the nerve agent referred to as “Novichok”. [...] Vladimir Uglev, formerly a scientist with Volsk branch of GOSNIIOKHT (“State Scientific-Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology”), which developed and tested production of new lethal substances since 1972, spoke for the first time about his work as early as the 1990s. He left the institute in 1994 and is now retired.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that there was no research nor development of any substance called “Novichok”, not in Russia, nor in the USSR. Is that true?

– In order to make it easier to understand the subject matter, I will not use the name “Novichok” which has is now commonly used by everyone to describe those four substances which were conditionally assigned to me to develop over a period of several years. Three of these substances are part of the “Foliant” program, which was led by Pyotr Kirpichev, a scientist with GOSNIIOKHT (State Scientific-Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology). The first substance of a new class of organophosphorous chemical agents, I will call it “A-1972”, was developed by Kirpichev in 1972. In 1976, I developed two substances: “B-1976” and “C-1976”. The fourth substance, “D-1980”, was developed by Kirpichev in the early 1980s. All of these substances fall under the group referred to as “Novichkov”, but that name wasn’t given to the substances by GOSNIIOKHT.

All four chemical agents are “FOS” or organophosphorous compounds which have a nerve paralyzing effect, but they differ in their precursors, how they were discovered and in their usage as agents of chemical warfare.

The four substances were developed by Pyotr Kirpichev and Vladimir Uglev. These substances were not readily usable by the military as they could not be safely transported and used in the field like binary chemical weapons can. Once synthesized they were extremely dangerous. Professor Leonid Rink, working later in a different group, tackled the problem but did not succeed. Uglev confirms that Vil Miranzayanov was not involved in the development at all. His group was responsible for chemical analysis and for environmental control around the laboratory.


Vladimir Uglev, via The Bell - bigger

Vladimir Uglev, like Renk and Miranzayanov, notes that these agents "of a type developed by Russia" can now be produced by any sufficiently equipped laboratory, including private ones.

Uglev mentions a criminal use of one of the agents in the 1990s:

One of these substances was used to poison the banker, Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary in 1995. A cotton ball, soaked in this agent, was rubbed over the microphone in the handset of Kivelidi’s telephone. That specific dose was developed by my group, where we produced all of the chemical agents, and each dose which we developed was given its own complete physical-chemical passport. It was therefore not difficult to determine who had prepared that dose and when it was developed. Naturally, the investigators also suspected me. I was questioned several times about this incident.

Journalist Mark Ames, who worked in Moscow at that time, remarks:

This muddles the narrative a bit —"novichok" used in 1995 Moscow mafia poison hit on top mobster Ivan Kivelidi. So:
1) novichok [is] in mob hands too
2) used during reign of #1 Mobfather Boris Yeltsin, Washington's vassal

Uglev further notes that blood samples from the Salisbury victims, which Moscow demands but Britain has not handed over, can show what agent (if any) were involved and "where the specific dose was produced and by whom."

A new article in the New Scientists confirms the claims by the Russian scientists that the 'Novichok' agents which may have affected the Skripals may have been produced elsewhere:

Weapons experts have told New Scientist that a number of countries legally created small amounts of Novichok after it was revealed in 1992 and a production method was later published.

In 2016 Iranian scientists, in cooperation with the OPCW, published production and detection methods for such agents. It is likely that the various government labs secretly re-developed and produced these chemicals for their own purposes even prior to the Iranian publication.

[UPDATE] In an interview with Deutsche Welle British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson admits that Porton Down had (illegal?)  'Novichok' agents when the incident in Salisbury happened:

DW: You argue that the source of this nerve agent, Novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain possess samples of it?

Boris Johnson: Let me be clear with you … When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the laboratory …

DW: So they have the samples …

Boris Johnson: They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, "Are you sure?" And he said there's no doubt.

But Porton Down did not agree with the British government to claim that the supposed nerve agent was "made by Russia." It only agreed to the compromise formulation "of a type developed by Russia" i.e. it could have been made anywhere. [End Update]

The claims by the British government that a. the Skripals were affected by a nerve agent and that b. Russia was involved in the Skripal incident because it has some exclusive access to these agents seem both baseless. Unless there is significant further evidence the British incrimination of Russia looks like a cynical plot invented for political and/or commercial purposes.

As usual in the military-industrial complex the people who push such scares, are the ones who profit from them.

The British Morning Star points to one former British military intelligence officer, Colonel (rtd) Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, as a common protagonist in the Skripal case, in the claims of Syrian chemical weapon use and in commercial interests around chemical weapon defense:

Quoted daily by multiple media outlets on the Skripal case, de Bretton-Gordon has become a very public expert, relied upon for unbiased comment and analysis by the British and foreign media on chemical weapon threats from Salisbury to Syria.

He is a former assistant director of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Land Forces with the Ministry of Defence. Before that de Bretton-Gordon was commanding officer of Britain’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Regiment and Nato’s Rapid Reaction CBRN Battalion.

While his CBRN background is often mentioned, his military intelligence links are rarely referred to publicly.

Long before the Salisbury event, de Bretton-Gordon was urging greater government expenditure on chemical protection counter-measures and equipment.
...
de Bretton-Gordon is managing director CBRN of Avon Protection Systems, based in Melksham, Wiltshire.
...
In 2017, the company made £50m from its US military contracts and a further £63.3m from other “protection and defence” revenue.

The former(?) army intelligence officer is also deeply involved in the "moderate rebels" chemical weapon scams in Syria:

On April 29 2014, the [Daily Telegraph] reported that it “obtained soil samples collected from sites of chemical attacks inside Syria by Dr Ahmad — a medic whose real identity cannot be revealed for his own protection — who had previously received training in sample collection by western chemical weapons experts.

“Mr de Bretton-Gordon, a British chemical weapons expert and director of Secure Bio, a private company, was one of the trainers.”

And who carried out the tests? None other than de Bretton-Gordon himself.

The "White Helmets" propaganda group in Syria was founded and is run by the former(?) British army intelligence officer James Le Mesurier with British and U.S. government money. His former(?) colleague de Bretton-Gordon is running the parallel Syria chemical weapon scam. Both profit from their government financed operations.

Other British agents involved in the Skripal case are Pablo Miller who recruited Skripal for the MI6. He was a friend of Skripal, also lived in Salisbury and worked for Christopher Steele, the former(?) MI6 agent who produced the 'dirty dossier' about Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign. Both are involved with Russian mafia emigres in Britain like Boris Berezovski and the deceased Alexander Litvinenko who's father says that he was killed by an MI6 or CIA guy.

While the British government blamed the Russians just a week after the incident in Salisbury happened it now seems interested in delaying any further investigations. It took more than two weeks after the incident for the British government to invite the OPCW to help with the case. The head of the OPCW says it will take another three weeks for the organization to analyze the samples the British laboratory now handed over. The British police requires several months to find out what happened to the Skripals.

How could the British government be sure of "Russian" involvement within a week and even expel Russian diplomats when the primary chemical experts on the issue will need three weeks for their first analyses and the British police predicts a several months long investigation?

The Russian scientist and their government have explained their history and position in relation to 'Novichoks' and the Skripal incident. It is high time now for the British government, its scientists at Porton Down and its greedy mafia of former(?) British intelligence officer and their criminal Russian emigres to come clean about their own roles in it.

---

Previous Moon of Alabama reports on the Skripal case:

Posted by b on March 21, 2018 at 12:37 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Jayc @ 100: That's called getting their priorities right - they need a stiff drink first!

Posted by: Jen | Mar 22 2018 5:20 utc | 101

b, this article might be of interest for you - Deutscher Chemiewaffen-Experte über Bekanntes und Verschwiegenes zum Skripal-Fall This expert goes into some inconsistencies and thinks that the basic formula was developed by a german and is known as the "Schraderschen Leitformel", which was then used by other. Basically he is convinced that many had the know-how and the possibilities to develop the poison uses, even so he thinks what was used might have been a strange mixture of poison and not the so called novichok.

And a funny aside, didn't know that Berlin has a Spy Museum.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 22 2018 5:37 utc | 102

It's hard to imagine that Trump's congratulations to Putin was anything but a kick
in the butt to Theresa May.

Posted by: Scott | Mar 22 2018 6:50 utc | 103

Looks as if Sergei Skripal was the "Russian intelligence source" for the Steele Dossier and that he was planning to tell this to the media.

Gregory Copley, Editor of GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs, states flatly in his March 21 article for the World Tribune that Sergei Skripal was indeed Christopher Steele's "Russian intelligence" source for reports in the dossier.

http://www.worldtribune.com/murky-waters-the-attack-in-uk-on-sergei-skripal-the-assassination-of-kim-jong-nam-and-the-steele-dossier/

The article ("Murky waters: The attack on Sergei Skripal, the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, and the ‘Steele dossier’") examines point-by-point the British claim that 'Russia' ordered the hit on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (who surely knew all about about her father's involvement with the Steele dossier).

From the article:

BEGIN QUOTES
[...]
5. Again, what is significant is the obvious matter which has not been raised in any of the discussions of the attack on the Skripals: the ongoing links between Sergei Skripal and SIS [aka MI6].

It is worth bearing in mind that Skripal’s period as a double agent for MI6 overlapped the period when now-former MI6 officer Christopher David Steele worked under diplomatic cover in the British Embassy in Moscow (1990-93) and as head of the Russia Desk at MI6 between 2006 and 2009.

A number of sources have indicated a series of ongoing links between Steele and Skripal, and certainly, as head of the Russia Desk, Steele would have overseen aspects of Skripal’s handling in retirement in the UK.

Furthermore, Skripal was known to have undertaken freelance work “in retirement”, preparing reports on Russia. He was well known to be an “author for hire” for anyone seeking a supposedly authoritative assessment on Russia or on Russian intelligence issues.

He was, in short, the “Russian intelligence source” for the Steele Dossier compiled for the election campaign of Hillary Clinton on then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

This Service raised the issue of the witting compliance of SIS/MI6, or its tacit support of, the activities of Christopher Steele — by this time retired from SIS, and working from his corporate base, Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd. — in preparing what was clearly a document designed for political warfare use against a U.S. presidential candidate. Moreover, this was not an isolated example: ...

[...]

What seems clear is that the “rush to judgment” against the Russian Government seemed necessary to many parties because there were too many unpleasant realities — many of which had immediate political and legal consequences — to be faced by (a) the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC); (b) the Clinton campaign; (c) former U.S. President Barack Obama; (d) SIS/MI6 and Christopher Steele; and (e) the UK Government (which may have felt that it had no other alternative but to pay a price to sweep the actions of recent years under the carpet).

Moreover, the whole nature of the attempt to stop Skripal from talking to the media (and this was apparently being mooted, according to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs sources) was designed in such a way that the immediate “suspect” would be Moscow.
END QUOTES

Posted by: Pundita | Mar 22 2018 8:18 utc | 104

And a funny aside, didn't know that Berlin has a Spy Museum.

Posted by: Fran | Mar 22, 2018 1:37:51 AM | 102

Well, Berlin was the major exchange point between the USSR and the US/West. Throughout the cold war, spies were exchanged at 'Checkpoint Charly' and the Glienicker Brücke, which was a very picturesque switching point. I will never forget the dramatic scenes of spy exchanges on that bridge. Like from a James Bond movie - well it sort of was...

Posted by: notheonly1 | Mar 22 2018 9:23 utc | 105

"The name 'Novichok' comes from a book written by Vil Mirzanyanov,"

Don't think this can be correct, as Mirzanyanov's book appeared in 2008, and there certainly were numerous references to "Novichok" well before this time (notably in the early 1990s), as can easily be verified.

Posted by: Madeira | Mar 22 2018 9:24 utc | 106

Please take a moment to read this article on OffGuardian:

“aide-memoire” from the Russian Foreign Ministry “to clarify the state of affairs” in the ‘Skripal case’

Can't say "God help us", for two reasons. First this sort of belief got us into this mess, secondly I don't believe in that arbitrary world view.

The question is once more how to get off death's shovel we are all sitting on right now, and rid the better aspects of what goes for humanity from the shackles of corporate-fascist totalitarianism.

Well, not believing a single paragraph of what those usher whose motives are only to preserve and or expand their powers and economic dictate, must be among the first three necessary steps.

Followed closely by "The Power Is Still In The Purse" and the understanding that in 2018,

Clicks ARE Money

Treat Your clicks as if they were a cash donation. You don't want to donate to organisations that work hard to squish you, correct?

Then, of course, talk to people - especially those you don't know - and ask them if they are comfortable with the world inching closer to WW III. It works very well, as I have personally witnessed after the false flag ICBM missile alert (No Drill!) on Hawai'i island.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Mar 22 2018 9:38 utc | 107

Being loosely familiar professionally from the bioweapons side of things and commanding a combat field laboratory which had this responsibility I am somewhat familiar with the issues.

If we accept that the agents were in fact under development up until the collapse of the Soviet Union and they generated hundreds of potential agents, that these were subsequently field tested at their test range and from that 4 agents met the criteria for use. I will add that research and small batches is not a violation of the CWC. The US does this stuff all the time as we need "potential" agents for development of diagnostics, modeling potential attack scenarios, to develop countermeasures, and to predict casualty outcomes. The chemical agents developed under the program "Foliant" were not developed further due to lack of funding and probably a lack of interest as well. People must understand that these weapons have a single purpose on the battlefield and that is denial of terrain. You use them when you cannot defend sufficient territory in strength so you lay down an artillery (or aerial bombing) of chemical agents on the are you don't want the enemy to penetrate. To be useful persistence is a necessary requirement and the current nerve agents have a relatively low persistence. The goal of the Foliant program was to develop nerve agents with longer persistence. There is to date no useful information as to the actual effects on test animals and everything we are being told is from people now known to be puffing up their own stories for personal gain. Vadim Miranzayanov has made claims and apparently was paid well for his defection. It reminds me of Ken Alibek another safety officer claiming credit for things he never was involved in. He was equally paid handsomely but his story collapsed eventually. The same will happen for Vadim Miranzayanov.

None of these agents, including VX are binary compounds. Sarin was made into a binary by the US though. Also, none of the agents were ever termed Novichok by the USSR or Russia so any reference to Novichok is going to be met with a negative correlation to work done in the 60's through the 80's. Also, the country that worked on these no longer exists. So, accusing the Russian Federation is somewhat misleading. Any competent organic chemist with a moderate laboratory can recreate these agents. The basics were in the Iranian publication and it is sufficient to work off of. However, we also must be aware that the agents were wrapped up into the VX program and destroyed in Russia as verified by the OPCW. The test range in Uzbekistan probably had small quantities which were absconded by the UK and US. Every chemical agent is created form specific subcomponent chemicals. No chemical has perfect purity. in a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy instrument you are going to get the molecular weight of the agent (if you have it) or its breakdown products. Within this will be sub-components in tiny amounts and these are used to create a fingerprint. Depending on the persistence of the agent used (assuming one was used at all) it is very likely no actual agent was recovered at the site. Inside the human body it is rapidly broken down and only metabolites will be present. Again it depends on persistence and if the subject died. A dead subject reveals more than a live one whose liver is actively clearing the agent. It is very likely that this is the problem that the labs are facing.

If we assume the UK did it somehow (this remains very unclear when and how) using agent recovered from the lab in Uzbekistan it might explain the original accusation. However, they were unaware that actually proving it from the victims samples or environmental samples is proving impossible. Now we are seeing it unravel and several problems are evident. First the good samaritan who found them was not exposed. It is not clear she was even treated nor tested. The detective then (without a warrant?) invaded their home and subsequently developed symptoms. However, the household pets were not exposed. Then we have the car ventilation and suitcases as potential vectors. You cannot operate a car if agent is present as the first symptom is blindness. Same for the suitcase. So, how, where, and when exposure happened is a big question and I can think of no scenario which explains it. Hence to me it was a BS attempt which was supposed to kill them but didn't using agent recovered in Uzbekistan but was crappy, and now it has come off the rails. I will add that all the former soviet bioweapons we recovered in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were absolutely useless. Most were subcultured so many passages they weren't even infective any more and many dated back into the 1920's. I will assume the same is true for the chemical weapons although that was out of my purview. I do know that these weapons have a shelf life and must be stored under optimal conditions to retain potency. If you had seen the actual repositories in Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan you would understand how wretched these labs were. I have seen them and they were god awful. So, it is likely they were already deficient due to storage issues. Whether anyone ever actually tested them for potency and effects is a big question. It seems unlikely as they wouldn't have had a large enough volume of material originated from the Russian labs. Any testing would have been conducted using newly synthesized material on the assumption it would replicate the acquired (Russian fingerprint) material. If I am correct then these assumptions were wrong (as most assumptions in science usually are) and that the material used by MI-6 was somewhat impotent. Now they have to come up with a scenario which fits all the evidence.

If we go further we also have to examine the forensics. As this is a police investigation and it took some time to get going, it likely was botched from the beginning. The victims must receive adequate and precise treatment to survive. We can assume this happened but how would an ordinary ambulance crew know to do this? With the Porton Down facility so close and they have a clinic which specializes in these treatments (ordinary exposures occur daily in these labs due to common and manifest lab accidents despite the best training and safety planning in the world), why weren't they taken there for treatment once the nerve agent was suspected? As the ER doctor has claimed there were precisely zero nerve agent victims processed which begs another explanation and further clouds the events.

Now the OPCW is on the scene, filtering through the wreckage of the forensic evidence and laboratory processes. PDL are experts at this and we can assume their records are well done. However, were duplicate samples collected with a precise chain of custody for use in an independent lab analysis? I doubt it. Also, none of the processes mandated in the CWC have been followed by the UK. I will add one further issue which is a lack of reporting at any level about suspected nerve agent poisoning. I am a member of ICID and these types of exposure are always presented in PUBMED but there is nothing. I wonder if any reported nerve agents exposures were reported to the NAS as well? Where is the British press in all of this? How is it no one has seen the Skripals or received status reports? The entire incident stinks to high heavens.


Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 22 2018 9:45 utc | 108


@notheonly1 | Mar 22, 2018 5:38:33 AM | 107

Can't say "God help us, for two reasons......"

Thank you, for being honest - over 2,000 years this and others fake gods causes endless wars and regime changes (or misery?).

Posted by: OJS | Mar 22 2018 10:44 utc | 109

Now the OPCW is on the scene, filtering through the wreckage
no no no
did not bloater bullingdon boris friend of nat state clearly in legalize that the opcw where visiting the porton downers.
a visit you know cucumber sandwich and more tea vicar.
no sir this is not hi def cis ncis tv show state of the the art science investigation this is more like tellytubby boris and tinky wink mayday mayday all new childrens show.

the opcw will be shown blackmail video evidence of various sex parties in haiti,iraq,syria and kosovo and they will knock up a ststement that will be strong enough to save the careers of all the insane zionists involved in this sick and twisted gay affair

Posted by: simeon | Mar 22 2018 11:28 utc | 111

Simeon #111 Of course. They have a problem with the truth as evidenced in the findings re: the Syrian chemical attacks. But, this will eventually go to court as the Russians have filed a criminal investigation as both were citizens of Russia and killed in the UK. In the eventual trial evidence must be presented and it must pass muster. If it wasn't collected correctly then it is going to show that way.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 22 2018 12:39 utc | 112

Sorry, not killed. I am getting ahead of the story as it will unfold. If I am correct they must die.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 22 2018 12:41 utc | 113

113

MI6 is getting worried.

And, in a major blow to Theresa May’s government, Donald Trump sent his own congratulations to Russia’s President, while at the same time pointedly failing to raise the issue of the Salisbury attack.

Mr Trump, presented by Tory right-wingers as the most staunch ally of post-Brexit Britain, ignored the warnings of his national security advisors whose briefing material, it has been reported, said in capital letters “DO NOT CONGRATULATE”. He also dismissed suggestions that he should make clear the US’s concerns over the nerve agent attack. The President described his conversation with Mr Putin as a “very good call.”

Link describes MI6 fears of Russian retaliation. So Russian do think MI6 is responsible?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 22 2018 12:56 utc | 114

B
I urge you to check out the latest from Craig Murray
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/
The deep state breaks cover.
And then on to follow the link
http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2018/03/20/scl-a-very-british-coup/
It can be claimed that the Tory party has been using methods most Brits like me would find abhorrent in an election campaign - never mind to as good as brain washing day by day.
The links between this company and the MOD,NATO etc are shocking.
Both articles appalled me.

Posted by: Emily | Mar 22 2018 13:01 utc | 115

According to the official statement by Russian foreign ministry, UK has accused Russia of using agent A-234 - one of the 'novichok' chemicals in the book. Mercouris has an article on the statement including a copy of the full statement.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 13:57 utc | 116

Posted by: Emily | Mar 22, 2018 9:01:16 AM | 115

Some people are interested in a new cold war and others are not.

It seems Europe including Germany - this time - is interested in remaining neutral.

Britain is split internally. Economic ties to Russia are huge.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 22 2018 14:07 utc | 117

Not surprising that State-CIA-MI6 would be behind false flag attacks in an attempt to force the Pentagon's hand

http://www.voltairenet.org/article200232.html

Posted by: Les | Mar 22 2018 14:12 utc | 118

The bellacaledonia posted by Emily @115 is interesting. The photo of the Skripals which b used in a recent article appeared to be supplied to the media by a group called east2west news. The was no information on this group whatsoever, though it was clear they supplied a lot of original photos to the media for anti Russian pieces.
Reading the Bella Caledonia article on Strategic Communication Laboratories/Cambrige Anyalytica and their activities, it seems likely this is the group that supplies the photos to mostly UK and Ukraine media as East2west News.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 14:20 utc | 119

119 should have read - The bellacaledonia link...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 15:07 utc | 120

Old Microbiologist@108 - Thanks for that bit of sanity. Indeed, Vadim Miranzayanov was an analytical chemist in the Soviet CW program, but focused on detecting/avoiding environmental traces from development/production that could reveal the program's secrets. He had no part in researching, discovering or synthesizing any agents. Lots of insider knowledge? Sure, why not? He held a senior position at the main research facility. I don't think he's outright lying about details of FOLIANT though - other defectors/emigrants more or less agree (or at least have not openly disputed) his accounts and they are reasonable for such a program.

"...None of these agents, including VX are binary compounds. Sarin was made into a binary by the US though..."

The US had tons of existing stocks/munitions of all types with the unary formulations of Gx, VX and mustards. The US had also developed and put into production a binary formulation of Sarin (GB2) 155mm artillery shell by the mid-80's, but we already had tens (hundreds?) of thousands of unary GB and VX 155mm shells ready to use. I think we still managed to crank out a half-million GB2 artillery shells before the CW ban took effect.

We did have a workable, production-ready binary VX (VX2) formulation (QL + Sulphur) and in the late 80's we were completing the testing of the 500 lb. BLU-80/B Bigeye glide bomb specifically for delivery of VX2. We probably had several tons of the QL precursor for testing.

In part, the aim of the Soviet FOLIANT program was to catch up to the US in the CW race and develop a suitable binary formulation for 'their' existing unary version of VX - called VR.

FOLIANT supposedly developed one (Agent 33) and produced several tonnes for testing. Miranzayanov said that they nicknamed it Novichok. Makes sense that it would have been the first binary they focused on. Whatever residue the US found when they were helping dismantle the Soviet test facility in Uzbekistan would be worthless for fingerprinting since the same facility was used for development/production unary VR and probably several research binary versions. The Russians (at this point) were pretty paranoid about discovery of their binary VR research in light of the pending end to CW production agreement and would have at least destroyed any evidence of binary VR in their labs. It's not likely there were any bubbling flasks in storage labeled 'Agent 33' by time the Americans arrived. Plenty of VR residue samples to throw in the magic rainbow box? Sure. Identifying or fingerprinting decomposed VR originally formulated as binary Agent 33? That's kind of a stretch, and it would only have fingerprinted the existing R&D batch, not a 'production' batch. At best, the Americans may have been able to identify the specific precursor compounds.

New and different (so-called 3rd gen) agents and possible binary versions from FOLIANT labs? Why not? I shudder to think at the catalogue of toxic goodies the US and UK research labs have also 'discovered' in the ensuing 30 years. The problem with the supposed Porton Down findings is that it implies Russia either used 30-year-old VR2 (or some other 'Novichok' agent stock), or they're the only ones on earth that know how to make them to this day (preposterous).

BTW, 'blindness' was not (in my hazy recollection of mil training) a symptom of moderate exposure to AChE inhibitors. Everything from every orifice, duct or gland (SLUDGE symptoms) with Miosis a less reliable indicator. In the absence of gross neurological symptoms (seizures, unconsciousness/coma) we were generally cautioned to ignore the significance of dizziness, headaches or general craziness in a battlefield if things were blowing up nearby. Blindness must be some part of the nerve agent exposure severity, but I imagine that's somewhere closer to the stop breathing/heart attack levels. The self-reporting window for a severe neurological symptom like blindness is probably 30 seconds before the victims have other, more pressing issues that make them uninclined to chat about anything.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 22 2018 15:33 utc | 121

@ and re 115: "behavioral change/management" and "perception management" have been around a long time (back to the 50's)--stages according to Wikipedia:

There are nine strategies for perception management. According to Kegon Thomas, these include:
1.Preparation – Having clear goals and knowing the ideal position you want people to hold.
2.Credibility – Make sure all of your information is consistent, often using prejudices or expectations to increase credibility.
3.Multichannel support – Have multiple arguments and fabricated facts to reinforce your information.
4.Centralized control – Employing entities such as propaganda ministries or bureaus.
5.Security – The nature of the deception campaign is known by few.
6.Flexibility – The deception campaign adapts and changes over time as needs change.
7.Coordination – The organization or propaganda ministry is organized in a hierarchical pattern in order to maintain consistent and synchronized distribution of information.
8.Concealment – Contradicting information is destroyed.
9.Untruthful statements – Fabricate the truth.

Also assisting perception management is a person's resistance to being suspicious and wanting to cling to old idealisms such as "our government do this? no way!" type of denialism.

Suspicious? Then you're "a conspiracy theorist" and obviously mentally ill.

Taking just the recent 15 years or so since Invasion of Iraq in 03 we could make a considerable list of events falling under perception management/false flag.

Recently with the Skripal case, seeing all those people in their enormous chem-protection gear, reminded me of 03 when in the Saddam Hussein No WMD case, US residents were warned to cover their houses with tarpaulin in case of a chemical attack . . . I kid you not, as I remember this clearly.


Posted by: Sid2 | Mar 22 2018 16:03 utc | 122

Excellent article....great investigative work, excellent substantiating evidence...

Congrats b

Regards
OY

Posted by: oldenyoung | Mar 22 2018 16:11 utc | 123

The statement Russia's issued is known as an Aide Memoire, and it is damning.

Israel Shamir published an item culled from social media that Don Bacon initially brought attention to and I tried to help along. Given the excellent information provided by Old Microbiologist, I think it ought to be reproduced here in full so it can be remarked upon:

"This brief note by Andrey Lazarchuk has been published in the social networks. It is interesting, and it agrees with revealed facts. Whether it is true or not – remains to be seen. Here is his text in verbatim translation:

"Do not ask for the source of the information, I will not give it up. Everything written below is very different from what you can find on the web.

"1. Already in the early 1980s, the Soviet Army ceased to treat CW (Chemical Weapons) as a weapon that could be used in real war conditions: approximately in 1983-84 it was decided to cease CW supplies to the army, reduce operational reserves and take out CW from the troops to long-term storage warehouses and landfills for destruction. At the same time and until 1996, there were no new CW products supplied to the army, neither new instructions for use and protection.

"2. Mirzoyanov, majoring in chemistry and analytics, never worked at theoretical developments or practical synthesis. All 1980s he worked in the administration (First Department).

"3. In the second half of the 1980s, the KGB carried out a large-scale operation to dis-inform the enemy, which also had the side-line task of identifying information leakage channels. Twenty “fake” but very detailed projects were developed for “a new chemical super-weapon that is not detected by existing NATO detectors and from which there is no protection” (NOVA with indices, “Novichok” with indices, ASD and others). The Novichok passed through the hands of Mirzoyanov.

"4. The factory-laboratory in Kantyubek in the late 70′s was re-profiled from the creation and testing of CW and BW for the production and testing of herbicides and defoliants – mainly for the needs of the cotton industry.

"5. Mirzoyanov as a source of leakage was identified immediately. In the 1990, he was removed from all real work, through he remained a conduit of disinformation. In 1992, he revealed himself voluntarily by publishing the well-known article. From that moment, the Novichok attracted media interests. In the 1995, NYT wrote about the “new Russian super-weapon”.

"6. NATO had spent more than $ 10 billion on defence against this fake weapon.

"7. What actually happened in Salisbury is unclear; nor the behavior of the poisoned, nor the actions of the police, doctors, special services do not add up to the whole picture. More or less plausible is the poisoning with a synthetic neurotoxin, similar to the toxin of fugu fish.

"Brief summary: “Novichok” is not the name of the CW, but the code of the KGB operation carried out to identify the mole (the information leakage channel), as well as the supply of disinformation."

I think this was pulled from a Facebook page given its length. I haven't attempted to find the original. I also share Old Microbiologist's concern that the Skripals cannot be allowed to live and provide testimony. One wonders why May's government is allowed to continue.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 22 2018 16:15 utc | 124

You have an error.
Vil Mirzanyanov was not responsible for environment, he was responsible for security and resistance to espionage on the facility [he was checking surroundings of facility ensuring security said in article you refer to; environment/sorroundings could be easily mistaken one for another during translation].

This mistake in your article creates an impression that Vil is not qualified nor has data needed to write a book about Novichok. This is untrue as he participated in the creation of this agent in 3 ways: 1) as intelligence officer and overseer he had complete access to every part of facility, 2) as a scientist and member of chromotography group he has seen many samples, 3) as colleague he had casual/friendly disscussions with creators of Novichok about their job, as said in interview they had small talks all the time (and they had no reason to hide anything as far as he already had access to all data).
Though interviewee mentions that final formulae is known to researchers only and it consists of hundred of components and fine-tuned to penetrate most filters.It is not published anywhere and Vil has no knowledge of it.

Sorry for grammar, improper usage of time and sentence structure as english is not my first language :)

Posted by: Steve | Mar 22 2018 16:15 utc | 125

Didn’t see the below linked (?) if it was - a second posting seems legit.. related to planned CW attack in Syria:

16 March '18.

Terrorist capabilities laid bare in an Eastern Ghouta chemical lab. RT. (see particularly the pix)

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/421515-ghouta-syria-chemical-weapons/

Meyssan was interesting, as he related the firing of Tillerson to anti-Russian moves - prop (I couldn’t understand why the Rex guy was fired), and lays out various moves by dates, etc. Maybe a bit too neat, Meyssan always favors a real stitched-together narrative, which is good, but the footnotes are missing.

> Old Microbiologist, thx for the 108 post.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 22 2018 16:21 utc | 126

@ 121 PavewayIV | Mar 22, 2018 11:33:58 AM

Respectfully, looking back at the timing of events creates problems. The incident (presumable afternoon) on 4 March was handled by local authorities. It was not until nearly a week later after news began widely circulating that (((The Met))) from London was brought in and assumed command of the sites, about 12 March, T.May and Boris (man-child) Johnson began their theatrics in a Parliament whose members could make a disorderly kindergarten look adult. The Met, a.k.a. Scotland Yard may be about the most corrupt by reputation of any police force outside Chicago. Once The Met took control, all information was also controlled by them. It seems once the investigation became outside local control, the public's attention was purposely directed exclusively to nerve-gas poisoning, a bright and shinny thing, the public having little clue or comprehension (outside a few video or film productions) of the effects or physiologic processes involved.

A few reports coming from the early period had reported, granted ambiguously, somewhat different circumstances encountered at the scene that have disappeared from later reporting. I have some suspicion that what has disappeared from the early reports may still have great significance in resolving this case, e.g. the first responder giving first aid to a non-breathing victim was the police officer who later became ill, then it was the officer making contact with the substance in the victim's home. Clearly the contact with the public was in great disorganisation until The Met took over and promulgated the story taken up by Parliament. It only makes one wonder if what the public is being told is any different this time. Thanks for your remarks.

Additionally: a video currently being shown on RT of the (((Army))) brought in to help, has all the appearance of the 'B-team' (stand-ins) from one of your favourite 'White Helmets' ('A-team') productions of civil defence in action. Have watched way too much stuff. YMMD

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Mar 22 2018 16:28 utc | 127

@Paveway IV It is "effective" blindness from the pinpoint pupils which is also the first sign of agent exposure. No way you can operate a car like that especially if it is blasting out the air vents while you are driving as they were alleging. You are correct about all the other symptoms and ultimately death through the failure of the diaphragm. I was a bio guy not a chem or nuke guy but as I said I had to command the unit (was later a PROFIS to the successor the TAML out at Aberdeen) and left the details to the scientists involved. I did get stuck on a Field Grade duty as disinterested officer inventorying the agents over at USAMRICD at Aberdeen so am very familiar with that aspect of things. But, these were laboratory samples and my job was to weigh them all. Not fun but interesting nonetheless.

I discount anything referring to Novichok and especially anything from Vil Miranzayanov. He is clearly baiting the news for profit (like he did to the CIA earlier). The only credible sources are those who actually did the development and most of all is that given by Vladimir Uglev who discovered 2 of the 4 agents under the leadership of Pyotr Kirpichev. His nomenclature refers to the Foliant Group names given officially by the GOSNIIOKHT and include A-1972, B-1976, C-1976 and D-1980. Where this A232 comes from is clearly out of Miranzayanov's book and is bogus as is his "formula". By the way Uglev retired after a fine career and has never, nor will he ever, given out the details of the agents. So, IMHO anything referring to anything other than those I listed are bogus.

If you look at this from the perspective of the laboratory it takes on a slightly different hue. They start with the agent from their repository. The immense pain in the ass requirements to sign out agent must be well documented internally. So, they knew exactly what agent was used. Then they receive samples which they are supposed to process as if they were unknowns. The problem is that they weren't unknowns at all so there is an automatic bias in the analysis which is impossible to eliminate. So, they start out looking to verify what they already knew but are having trouble actually proving it. The lab guys, even when operating under orders from the dark side, are still generally ethical people (in relative terms). Asking scientists to fake data is not going to sit well with them and they are going to balk. I think this is what is happening there and it is going to come back and bite the UK government as it will come out eventually, especially if some pencil necked geek at MI-6 orders them to lie. Personally, I detested everyone I ever met over at the CIA (DIA too) and all of those rascals had zero ethics. They were also down to a man, bad scientists, which is why they ended up at the CIA. I am assuming the same thing or worse exists in the UK. I can't speak for the chem folks but am assuming it to be the same thing.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 22 2018 16:34 utc | 128

karlof1 124
The Andrey Lazarchuk post was interesting when I first read it the other day. Old Microbiologist's comments makes what Lazarchuk is saying even more plausible. This will be interesting if this is the case as the UK may have stepped into their own trap. Or perhaps a trap set by the Soviet Union over 35 years ago.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 16:49 utc | 129

cassandra @36 never came back! now i see @110 AK linking to the same link that has been making the rounds the past week...

@ old microbiologist - thanks for your informative posts beginning @108...

Posted by: james | Mar 22 2018 17:19 utc | 130

Re MH17, Voloshin the Ukrainian pilot accused of downing the plane has committed suicide. Or has he? Perhaps May the Hapless or Boris the Chancer can pronounce.

https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/03/20/details-of-suicide-of-ukrainian-pilot-suspected-in-mh17-crash-revealed

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Mar 22 2018 17:20 utc | 131

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

UK Marines held huge exercises with chemical agents in the Salisbury area in the same timeframe: the signature of a false flag...

Posted by: The Genoese | Mar 22 2018 17:23 utc | 132

@132 genoese.. i was pointing out that exercise toxic dagger a few days ago from an article on it from feb 20th 2018... apparently it lasted about 20 days, but this article you link to does also mention the location of salisbury plain..

"It climaxes with a full-scale exercise involving government and industry scientists and more than 300 military personnel, including the RAF Regiment and the RM Band Service – casualty treatment was a key part of the Salisbury Plain exercise."

that was also what i thought.. i do find the juxtaposition of this toxic dagger exercise extremely odd timing..

Posted by: james | Mar 22 2018 17:37 utc | 133

It is not just a letter to the London Times; the London Times picked up on it https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-salisbury-poison-fears-allayed-by-doctor-vf9v0zg0m. I don't have a subscription and thus I don't know what else is in this article but it sounds pretty affirmative based on the first few paragraphs.

Posted by: BX | Mar 22 2018 17:48 utc | 134

The Salisbury story has changed again -

"The court also confirmed that blood samples from the Skripals had been analysed by experts at Porton Down, with findings indicating exposure to novichok or a closely related nerve agent."

From

https://news.sky.com/story/skripals-mental-capacity-may-be-compromised-after-nerve-agent-attack-says-court-11300358

So what is a closely related nerve agent? My guess is any type.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 22 2018 18:00 utc | 135

Formerly T-Bear@127 - Can't remember if you're from the US or UK, but as soon as 'the Feds' show up to take over the investigation / spin control on something big with international connections like the Las Vegas fiasco here, you can be sure that 1) they are lying about much of it (and apparently are not very good at it) and 2) we are never going to find out what really happened - ever. The Met sounds like they are cut from the same cloth and I have to believe Brits are equally tired of their government's awkward efforts to plant a particular narrative in such an obvious way. Sounds like they need some good old fashioned regime-changin'!

Old Microbiologist@128 - I'll take your word for it about the blindness and driving - seems reasonable. The eighth-grade vocabulary-level manuals used to learn us good about chemical warfare back in the day were, admittedly, a bit lacking. I prefered to avoid the ground anyway - it sounded dangerous. PROFIS! I have not heard that term in probably thirty years.

I would take Vladimir Uglev's accounts over Vil Miranzayanov's, but the naming or formulas are really a side issue as far as I am concerned. The Soviets were studying 'better' nerve agents right up to the point of the CWC (just like the US, I imagine) and probably produced dozens of different types in research quantities, but hadn't developed or produced any actual weapons with them. I'm just not seeing the line that May tries to draw between closely-guarded Soviet CW research 30 years ago and a vindictive Russia 'leaving a message' to other traitors. The Met might as well have announced that they found Putin's passport next to the bench. This has all the hallmarks of implausibility, similar to Assad waiting until the OPCW inspectors are in town to launch a nearby sneak CW attack.

I think the MI-6 pencil-neck geek already dropped a hint to Porton Down about what they should find, and it sounds like they're not going to listen. I doubt this actually comes around to bite the UK, though. The usual tactic here would be 1) tell Porton Down higher-ups to say nothing, and 2) get some other 'authority' to speak on their behalf, e.g., "A group of senior UK intelligence analysts today confirmed the Porton Down findings - Russia did it!"

And as I finish this post, I see TJ@135 has SkyNews providing the arms-length authority, the 'Court of Protection', blessing Porton Down 'findings'. I rest my case. Funny the article does not say if the OPCW blood samples can be taken or not - not that it matters.

Last job for the UK government is clean-up: whack the heavily-sedated Skripals properly this time, followed by a hasty government-conducted autopsy and cremation. The SkyNews story preps the little people for the sad news. Sounds like the hero victim cop won't be a problem, so he gets to live.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 22 2018 19:26 utc | 136

Paveway, breaking news in Sputnik a couple of hours ago. A UK court has determined that OPCW can take blood samples.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 19:40 utc | 137

I guess not that blood samples can be taken there will be a bit of a rush to pump some A-234 into Putin's victims.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 19:42 utc | 138

Peter AU 1@138 - Even more reason to send in the cleaners. What if either the OPCW or Russia gets their sample (as authorized) and finds something far more incriminating. Say, traceable back to the Israeli CW program? Oh, that would be a whole new dimension of damn inconvenient... kind of like if/when the Israeli connection to SCL is ever made. Doesn't SCL sound like something right up Mossad's alley? But that's all just crazy conspiracy theory.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 22 2018 20:47 utc | 139

@139 PeterAU......forgive my ignorance SCL? I know I'll probly go omg I'm dense when you/someone lets me in on the acronym.

Thanks

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Mar 22 2018 21:03 utc | 140

I read a theory in New Yorker, a worthy weekly magazine, alas, suffering from Russophobia overdose, and the motivation why that happen are explained in the recent issue. Namely, news of liquidating a traitor to Russian federation helped Putin in getting more votes. Similarly, infecting Western publications with Russophobia creates an image of The West as persistently hostile to Russia, necessitating a stern and experienced leader, to with, Vladimir Vladimirovich. It is still unclear how journalists were infected: hypnotic messages in social networks, nerve poison removing the victims ability for critical thinking, or a viral infection with similar profile...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 22 2018 21:11 utc | 141

One thing which is unclear to me is this: a sublethal dose of a nerve agent may lead to rather slow devastation of the health of the victim, but can it be totally asymptomatic for, say, two hours?

BTW, I was also infected, while it is hard to self-assess critical thinking, spelling is affected; I wanted to write "to wit, Vladimir Vladimirovich" (Putin), but what I got is "to with, Vladimir...".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 22 2018 21:19 utc | 142

@142 Me too apparently, I meant to address 139PavewayIV @140

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Mar 22 2018 21:28 utc | 143

Paveway, my apologies - Strategic Communication Laboratories

http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2018/03/20/scl-a-very-british-coup/

Craig Murray linked to it. His post 'The Deep State Breaks' Surface is also worth reading.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 21:31 utc | 144

Paveway - Israeli involvement? The more I look into this stuff, the more I think of the Saker's term - Anglo/Zionist.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 22 2018 21:35 utc | 145

Paveway & Peter AU

from the CA video expose :

Cambridge Analytica claimed to an undercover reporter posing as a potential client to have used Israeli companies and former Israeli spies in its intelligence gathering.

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix : “We use some British companies, we use some Israeli companies,” Nix said. “From Israel. Very effective in intelligence gathering.”

The data analytics firm ...was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state...


'former' Israeli spies??? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Posted by: pantaraxia | Mar 22 2018 22:22 utc | 146

The Skripals are both in a coma in hospital after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury and therefore unable to give their consent to blood samples being taken or tested.
A judge has given doctors permission to take blood samples from the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, so that tests can be carried out by chemical weapons experts.
The judge, David Williams, who is based in the family division of the high court in London, announced his decision on Thursday after analysing the case at a private hearing earlier this week.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/22/salisbury-attack-medical-staff-contacted-police-when-antidotes-failed-to-work
How come Doctors had to wait so long?
Doctors have been given the legal right to take blood samples from unconscious or incapacitated drivers without their consent.
The change – under the provisions of the 2002 Police Reform Act – comes into effect on Tuesday. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2288574.stm

A spokesperson for the Home Office said the provision, which took effect Oct. 1, gives doctors “a power, but not a duty” to take the samples.
The British Medical Association (BMA), which had urged the government to change the law, has issued guidelines for MDs. It says there should be “a clear separation between the ‘CLINICAL’ care the patient is receiving and any forensic procedures with which patients are asked to cooperate.” Dr. Michael Wilks, chair of the BMA’s Ethics Committee, says the association rarely supports taking samples without patients’ consent, but in this case there is “a clear public interest” in having it done. He also pointed out that the law would help clear the names of some drivers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC140489/
How much more of a public interest is it to save two peoples lives?

Posted by: harrylaw | Mar 22 2018 22:28 utc | 147

harrylaw @147--

"How much more of a public interest is it to save two peoples lives?"

Given the actions of the UK government regardless of party in control, they have no regard for any person's life.

I wonder what new twist will be introduced next?

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 22 2018 22:49 utc | 148

pantaraxia. Vice “News” posted a segment on Israeli Cyber Warfare. To show Vice how “good” they are, an Israeli “former” intelligence officer pulled up some emails from Senator McCain and another.

Brendon O’Connell has been investigating and posting about Israel’s Talpiot and 8200 Programs of high-tech espionage and “innovation” for a few years now. Basically, he argues that the Israeli’s have embedded themselves into most of the world’s internet and have made it clear that they can control it all.

From the show:

~ Israeli journalist and senior defense correspondent, Alon Ben-David to Vice News

“Do you think Israel’s private side of the security industry is essentially the child of the Israeli military defense?”

“Oh, absolutely! The whole of Israel’s cyber industry relies on knowledge gathered by people serving in Israel’s different Security Agencies and the military.”

“Going into wars and massive military operations bears almost unbearable prices….lives… economics… in terms of international legitimacy. So cyber war was the right answer for Israel.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca-C3voZwpM

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 22 2018 23:30 utc | 149

Clearly, Britain is the rogue state.
It was instrumental in fabricating pretext for the Iraq war. British operatives concocted Trump dossier. And now their intelligence services keep poisoning Russian turncoats in order to smear Kremlin.
The only good thing in all of this is that by now the whole world knows that nothing coming out of the UK can be taken at face value anymore.


Posted by: telescope | Mar 23 2018 1:30 utc | 150

Meanwhile:

"This is the situation in the eastern Mediterranean at the moment with both the fleets of Russia and NATO having assumed battle positions in view of the threats launched by Washington, that they are “ready to strike Damascus and the Presidential palace, irrespective of the presence of Russian personnel” and with Moscow responding that they will strike the positions any missiles are launched from."

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/03/escalation-us-assumes-naval-attack-posture/

OK. Back to the show. I see President Orange Fuhrer gave John Bolton the Rose. Trump fans? Can't wait to see how y'all bend this. Or will Trump-bashers now decide that Johnny boy is the newest hero because he shares hillary's plans to "obliterate" Iran?

It's so hard to keep up with the cast.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 23 2018 1:37 utc | 151

MoA is the first place I look for when I wake up (still in bed...) and the last one I check before sleep (already in bed...).
Thanks b and all the very well informed fellows who luckily post here and contribute to make MoA an indispensable site for me.

Posted by: Permafrost | Mar 23 2018 3:28 utc | 152

harrylaw@147 - I'm confused by your last statement. The doctors have already taken many blood samples from the Skripals for clinical reasons, including anything they sent to Porton Down for determining treatment.

As I understand it, the Court of Protection was ruling on the legality of taking forensic samples currently requested by the OPCW and the doctors liability for taking (or refusing to take) those samples. It's confusing because the article you linked as well as others I've seen only mentions 'chemical weapons experts'. That could be interpreted as Porton Down, the OPCW or maybe even Bellingcat. Well, ok... not Bellingcat.

I just assumed the courts were responding to the OPCW request in this case. Since the OPCW will just send the samples to a proper western-friendly, Russian-hating analytical lab - the Dutch or French one for instance - I seriously doubt the predictable inconclusive results will be of any real use to anybody besides the Brit tabloid press and our new Secretary of War, John Bolton.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 23 2018 4:11 utc | 153

@PavewayIV #153 I believe you are correct. They likely took a number of samples for clinical use. However, these cannot be used as forensic evidence so "new" samples must be collected under the court orders. I read that the OPCW took blood samples yesterday from both victims. I can't imagine any meaningful results coming from them. Normal pesticides such as spectracide look exactly the same in the blood weeks later. Perhaps a liver punch biopsy might reveal more but that is going to require a more urgent "need" than the risk of the procedure warrants. That is, if they really want to find out anything.

From the legal decision regarding their samples yesterday: “The precise effect of their exposure on their long term health remains unclear albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree,” Judge David Williams said in his ruling https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/sshd-v-skripal-and-another-20180322.pdf From the legal decision we can see that there is a legal attempt to turn non-forensically collected samples into "legally" collected samples using DNA to prove the samples were from the Skripals. However, the purpose of a chain of custody procedure is to ensure that samples collected were maintained in a secure setting so they couldn't be tampered with. If a court were faced with a challenge to the chain of custody the case would fall apart because the samples were handled in a non-forensic manner. I worked as a Clinical Laboratory Technologist and ran the chemistry department for the Orange County Coroner's Office in Calif before the Army recalled me to active duty. As part of my duties was forensic testing of various clinical samples collected during autopsy or from suspects (drug and alcohol testing) and spent time working as a volunteer with the US Olympic Committee doing drug testing during the LA Olympics. Anyway, if these samples were even for 1 second out of the hands and direct observation of the last person who signed for them and subject to testimony to such, they are inadmissible as evidence. So, it looks to me like they are trying desperately to resurrect something from the original samples.

That verbiage also seems designed to make it such that any testimony the victims might give in the future (assuming they are allowed to survive) is "incompetent" and thus inadmissable as evidence. Imagine how angry the Skripals are (or will be) when they realize their own "friends" tried to kill them as scapegoats or to silence them. That shifts Skripal from maybe giving information to definitely motivated to give testimony. I note they are still sedated to be rendered unconscious so it is interesting to see how their mental status is compromised if they are kept deliberately unconscious. This indicates to me they were combative.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 23 2018 6:29 utc | 154

Some relevant items I want to drop here for discussion until I have time to do a decent writeup:

The Russian FM aide-memoire
http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3134591
https://off-guardian.org/2018/03/22/aide-memoire-from-the-russian-foreign-ministry-to-clarify-the-state-of-affairs-in-the-skripal-case/

The British court allowing the OPCW to take blood samples from the Skripals. Describes their state as "sedated". Says that Porton Down claims "Novichock OR SOMETHING SIMILAR" was involved.
https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/sshd-v-skripal-and-another-20180322.pdf

And now the big news that I haven't seen picked up yet in western media:

Bryan MacDonald @27khv
Russian opposition newspaper @novaya_gazeta reveals a police interrogation of Novichok creator Leonid Rink in which he admitted poison resembling #Novichok was removed from a lab and eventually sold to gangsters. It has already been used to kill in Russia.

https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/03/22/75896-rezhim-novichka

It is in Russian and I can only glean from it via machine translation.
In short:
- Prof. Leonid Rink, describe above in my piece, was tasked with looking into binary production of the four new agents Vladimir Uglev and Pyotr Kirpichev had developed
- This was at a time in the early 1990s when the state would not pay its scientists
- Rink was asked by someone he knew for a poison to kill "a dog". He synthesized a small amount of one of the new agents and sold it
- The person he sold it to came back and wanted more. He threatened to otherwise send some mafia killers.
- Rink was afraid (he reasonably says) and created more stuff (enough to kill 100 or so) and sold it to that person
- Over a few stations some of this stuff ended up killing a mafia banker in Moscow (as described above by Uglev in his interview.)
- The police eventually traced the stuff back to Rink but the case was made top secret and he was never indicted. Later the case was picked up again but it was too late for a indictment.
- It is not know where the rest of the stiff made and sold by Rink ended up.

(all the above without any guarantees - the machine translation may be wrong or may interpret it wrongly)

Novayagazeta says they have old top-secret protocols of Rink's interrogation by police. Their reporting seems to be solid.

Agents created in the early 1990s will likely have fallen apart by now. Such stuff isn't even stable under very careful storage conditions and 25 years is a quite long time.

But if the stuff created in the early 1990s by Rink and in the hands of whoknownswho was the stuff applied to the Skripals it MIGHT explain why they were not killed. I don't for now think this to be likely but one should give it a thought.

Posted by: b | Mar 23 2018 10:17 utc | 155

@ 155 b | Mar 23, 2018 6:17:46 AM

Don't tell me the same sort of happening could not have happened just 8 miles up the road at Porton Down (but by 'old boy' networks instead of mafia). Suppose one of the major problems with nerve agents and particularly with binary delivery is assuring the stability of the substance over time (probable reason there are so few used in warfare weaponry). It would be hard to imagine something of that sort made about a quarter century ago would still be effective. It looks like this whole episode is entirely a 'Made in Britain' product, but that is Occ(h)am's razor sort of supposition.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Mar 23 2018 10:42 utc | 156

b -#155 Interesting and not all that surprising. Russia during that period was in a state of chaos and there was a market in Moscow known as being the most educated vendors as they were all Doctors of Science and Academicians selling lab equipment, books, etc. My wife was a former Soviet scientist in Moscow and her stories more or less validate the general conditions of the time. People were just trying to survive.

As a fellow scientist although not a chem guy but a bio guy instead, we typically develop a lackadaisical attitude towards the things we work on. Familiarity does breed contempt. I have always found it interesting that all of the supposed super secret highly classified biowarfare agents are commonly available in nature pretty much anywhere if you know where to look. Take a gander at the PUBMED reports and there is an anthrax, ebola, marburg, tularemia or plague case almost daily somewhere in the world. For chemical agents it is much the same. Most pesticides are in fact nerve agents of a type. Several are almost as toxic to humans as Sarin and are commonly available over the counter in garden centers. Chemists know this so to them cooking up something on contract is not an enormous extension from what they know to already be available should these idiots have decided to do a little research. They will gladly take their money for this. Of course it is illegal but they were fighting for survival so perhaps it is forgivable. It has to be looked at in the context of the time.

The other problem is that it isn't particularly difficult to synthesize these compounds if you know where to start. The Iranian paper, for example, lays out the basics enough to provide a starting point. But, why bother? There are a lot of far simpler ways to kill people which are a lot more reliable. Clearly, this attack was a disaster. This is what smells the most about this incident. The choice of a nerve agent is highly suspicious. A bullet or knife or even a car wreck is a lot easier to do and a lot less risky to the assassin. This leads back to the cui bono test. Who gains? It certainly wasn't Russia. But May has used this to choke off Corbyn, rally the EU to her cause, isolate Russia further, and endanger Nordstream 2. Assuming that the Russian MoD is correct and the 40 tons of chemical agents recovered in Ghouta lends some credence to their claims, then a false flag nerve agent use is imminent in Syria and will build on the flames ignited by May and the neocon deep state in the US as a casus belli to attack Syria and then advance on Iran. Clearly, they weren't listening to Putin in his speech about his reminder about nuclear weapons. Maybe we will finally get to see whose weapons systems are better? My bets are on Russia and China. I wouldn't want to be in the Ukraine, Taiwan, or Israel if this all goes down.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 23 2018 11:05 utc | 157

B asked:
"How could the British government be sure of "Russian" involvement within a week and even expel Russian diplomats when the primary chemical experts on the issue will need three weeks for their first analyses and the British police predicts a several months long investigation?"
The political answer is because this is a huge PSYOP where facts do not matter...
The logical answer might be this:

At first, I thought about this just like you did (other countries, labs can synthezise the FOP,etc.)but after having read the statements from Dr. Uglev there is another (heinous) possibility:

If MI6 could get hold of such a specific (really) „Russian“ batch („with its own complete physical-chemical passport“ as researcher Uglev said) thru Russian/ Eastern European organized-crime-channels they could have put the stuff in Skripal’s home , car whatever to IMPLICATE Russia („frame“ Putin).

But then .. why are they still alive? (just one more thought: the Special ops people could have "prepared) his car AFTER they got hold of it just in time for the OPCW to arrive ...)

I would also like to draw your attention the the latest statement from the "NA-affected" DS Nick Bailey (published by Wiltshire police):

„People ask me how I am feeling - but there are really no words to explain how I feel right now. Surreal is the word that keeps cropping up - and it really has been completely surreal.“

Posted by: Cassandra | Mar 23 2018 11:16 utc | 158

From b's 155 link
"I said that the signs of death would be like a heart disease. The dose of the substance in the ampoule is sufficient for the person to be lethal poisoning. "

"For the death of a man weighing approximately 80-90 kg when exposed through the skin, a hundred times less substance is required than what was sealed in the ampoule,"
......

The wording "would be like a heart disease" is interesting. From what I read, signs or symptoms of nerve agent poisoning are not like heat disease?

A lethal dose of a highly toxic substance is what .. 10 milligrams or so? One hundred times that is about one gram. To be smeared on a telephone mic or hand piece in sufficient quantities that the holder absorbs a lethal dose...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 23 2018 11:44 utc | 159

MoA & Denizens,

What kind of alternative news site is this?? Is the bezzle just to be "a site that props up the underdog Russia?" My gods, if you equate the West with Putin and his mafia masquerading as a guv, then you have drank too much of the kool-aid to put it mildly. The comments here. Wow. Wow.

Posted by: Rationalman | Mar 23 2018 11:46 utc | 160

@126 noirette

I'm still not buying it. Please see video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhIrtfS9kd0
They state there's chlorine in the blue plastic containers. Yes, maybe it's a chlorine compound(hypochlorite?) stored in the containers but definitely they do not contain elementary chlorine, since that'd be impossible for various reasons.
Now the question would be is/was there equipment for electrolysis on location?
If so then the most likely use of said chlorine compound would be as a precursor for perchlorate production via electrolysis.
In the video from 1:55 onward people talk about text written on the billboard. They state the text written on that board is dealing with perchlorate, aluminum, petroleum jelly and cellulose nitrate.
As I've explained in a previous post in another thread these compounds mixed together constitute a high explosive composition which can be tailored to meet a wide area of application - blast / blast-incendiary and EBX-type - the latter depending primarily on metallic fuel+nitrate content of the composition and particle size of the metallic fuel.
Example: AFX-757 (US manufactered EBX-type explosive in use by US military)
Replace cellulose nitrate by RDX and what one gets is an explosive formulation quite similar to AFX-757.

To my understanding it is way more likely this site was solely used for manufacturing explosives. Besides, it would be utter madness working on chemical weapons compounds in a facility handling explosive material - it'd be a major disaster in the waiting. Perchlorates such as potassiumperchlorate or ammoniumperchlorate are tertiary explosives capable of detonation on their own, no additional fuel required - See Henderson 1988. Aluminum powder tends to be pyrophoric if not phlegmatized properly.

Better one takes any statement regarding 'toxic chemicals' from either side with a grain of salt until proven otherwise, especially so if these statements come from non-chemists with no experience in the field at all.

Posted by: Hmpf | Mar 23 2018 11:55 utc | 161

Cassandra #158 That is my conclusion as well. I believe they have very old and probably poorly stored samples of Russian origin collected from Uzbekistan. They couldn't test those as likely there was insufficient amounts for animal testing. BUt, they could synthesize a small batch for that purpose, determine the effectiveness, minimum dose, various routes of exposure, persistence under a variety of conditions and pathogenesis (all required for a basic understanding of a given agent). They would be operating under the assumption that the Russian batch would have the same characteristics as the new synthesized batch(es). However, assumptions always bit you in the ass. Very likely the Russian stuff dating back to the 70's and early 80's would have been stored under less than optimal conditions. Assuming this stuff is as potent as when new is a bad assumption and it looks to me like it took them by surprise. To pull this off now they have to spike samples and locations to support the story. This will end up in court somewhere eventually and the evidence is going to have to be iron clad.

However, these perpetrators might not be very good at math and/or dilutions. I recall way back there was a certain military lab technician at the Wiesbaden Forensic Drug Testing Laboratory (USAFDTL) who noticed a certain laboratory officer's name on a drug urine sample. This officer was a commander of the parent unit and was required to take a monthly sample and had a history of issuing this particular soldier an Article 15 for destruction of government property (he got drunk and destroyed the dayroom furniture). The technician decided to spike the sample in revenge with cocaine (small standard amounts are kept in the lab for reference material) which then tested positive on the ELISA test. The verification was performed using gas chromatography and it was determined the urine had an amount high enough to kill over a hundred people (only tiny amounts seep through the kidneys at a predictable rate). Large amounts are suspicious. A retest from that officer showed it to be negative and the CID was called in to determine who violated the forensic process (a very serious crime). It was narrowed down and the soldier was convicted by courts martial and is making little rocks out of big ones at Leavenworth.

My point is that cheating on samples is a delicate operation requiring a very thorough knowledge of sample processing and expected amounts. If these are the same kind of guys I worked with who came to me from the CIA (I assume MI-6 has something similar) they are way too stupid to get this right. Just saying. They have been in a hurry to get this in place and when people rush they make big mistakes. It is just not as simple as the stuff was there so it is the cause. It has to be there in the correct amounts as well and must have the correct breakdown products. These agents degenerate over time at a set rate under certain environmental parameters. So, even freshly planted material is not going to have the correct breakdown ratios. So, this is going to be very tough once people who really know what they are doing take a hard look at the evidence. That is assuming I am correct about what is going on.

There are of course alternate explanations. One could be an FSB rogue operation. Another could be a Russian mafia hit. I am sure there are others as well but none add up to what we are seeing. But, IMHO looking at who gains it is the UK. We will see how this all unfolds over time. But, I am still waiting for the real story of MH-17 to come out as well so it might take a regime change (or several) in the UK (and Ukraine respectively) for this to happen.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 23 2018 13:11 utc | 162

Posted by: Rationalman | Mar 23, 2018 7:46:23 AM | 160

Sure, our governments never do evil things. Like Porton Down testing on British citizens.
They never lie. Like Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.

Oh, and they never kill civilians when they are going to war.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 23 2018 13:54 utc | 163

@ Old Microbilogist with the considered follow up...thanks for that

I had a thought when you asked why not a quicker or easier kill. I believe in this situation that the intent is to have an ongoing event that provides credence for another shady event also implicating nefarious deeds by Russia.....developing a preponderance of lies.

In that same vein, Trump is trying hard to crash the US economy and may be succeeding. It is during that crash period that the real bad shit will happen, IMO....its the old take advantage of a crisis strategy that has been used repeatedly.

I think those are the game plans but don't know if they will succeed this time. The geopolitical world has become farcical and it is losing traction with the public at large. This would be fun to watch if the future of humanity was not a stake.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 23 2018 15:20 utc | 164

I don’t know much about nerve agents but I find it strange that the Skripals didnt feel sick enough to seek help while Officer Bailey was sickened after much less exposure and either was overcome or sought help.

This observation leads me to entertain the possibility of a hoax (as already mentioned), or that the poisoning occurred shortly in the city with evidence planted in car afterwood to cover tracks. Has the possibility of officer Bailey as the poisoner been ruled out?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 23 2018 16:28 utc | 165

BBC Porton Down - there is no way ...

There is "no way" any nerve agent held at the UK's Porton Down lab could be linked to the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, the site's chief executive has told the BBC.

Gary Aitkenhead said suggestions by Russia that the proximity of the labs to the incident Salisbury might be somehow suspicious were "frustrating" .

He said the laboratory had the "highest levels" of controls and security.

In other words, there is no way to prove where the stuff was produced ...?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 23 2018 18:22 utc | 166

@ Rationalman 160

Do the concepts "presumption of innocence" and "burden of proof" not exist in your world? An accusation against someone, even someone as apparently imperfect as Putin, isn't sufficient to prove guilt.

The many excellent contributors at MoA are interested in discovering the truth about a situation, which is often not what's presented to us by the corporate media.

I hope that you're open to learning the truth, even when it makes you uncomfortable.

Posted by: View from UK | Mar 23 2018 19:51 utc | 167

more BBC - it is Friday night

However, the tests did confirm that a military-grade nerve agent had been deployed on the streets of Britain. A combination of this scientific analysis and other information would in turn lead to the government's conclusion that it was highly likely Russia was behind the attack.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 23 2018 20:01 utc | 168

global radio israel owned lbc radio london had ian dale on earlier caller after actor caller stated may has had her best 2 weeks as primeminister.
so who exactly has to come clean.
the tavistock country of the mind is a complex thing the muslim supermarket isis sim today terror gladio show horror in france means back to normal memes.one distraction after another the gerbil running straight ahead looking side to side causes confusion.

a few more folks awoke some of those understand the rape machine and just keep lookin straight ahead.

winning well not
as long as putin keeps hiding these little projects in his closet giving the rapists cover we have to assume he is on the masonic square

Posted by: simeon deleted | Mar 23 2018 20:23 utc | 169

What time exactly was the policeman admitted to hospital?
From news reports...

The officer, who has not been named, rushed to the site in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday.
He has since fallen critically ill.

and...
Fears were raised that Bailey had brought the deadly chemical home with him after troops swooped on Alderholt in Dorset last week


Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 23 2018 20:34 utc | 170

Cassandra, re. the "poisoned" cop saying it all seemed "surreal." If one explores the world of "hoax exposing," one will find that rather unusual description being used by one "witness" after the other. From mass shooting events to terrorist bombing events, one witness after the other offers up that the scene was "surreal."

They also frequently describe the scenes as "like a movie."

Relatedly, today - almost 3 weeks since the poison was allegedly released - British authorities have now shrink-wrapped and carted off the park bench where our victims were found and have told anyone who was at the scenes of the crime to wash their laundry. And if their clothing requires dry cleaning, they are told to wrap it up and call the authorities to come and pick it up. They will be compensated.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 23 2018 20:40 utc | 171

@cassandra and old microbiologist... thanks for the additional comments....

i picked this up off craig murrays site today, by a poster named WJ.. his comments are in response to the high court judgment that has come out in the past 24 hours... see john helmers link today on this for some background/A> if you haven't already... below are WJ's comments that i find very relevant..

"WJ
March 23, 2018 at 19:53

Regarding the ambiguity of some phrases in the High Court judgment, I submitted this comment further up-thread but since it directly pertains to your argument here I am re-posting here. I have found in my profession that in reading legal documents, one should always opt for the WEAKEST reading possible if there is ANY ambiguity in the language. Hence the following.

There are two non-identical sentences describing the Skripals’ test results in the high court judgment. How should we read them, individually and in combination. Here is my guess:

I think the truth behind the first sentence is that the Skripals tested positive not for a nerve agent, but for a “related compound.” (Otherwise this phrase would not have been included at all.) This could mean EITHER that they tested possible for everyday chemicals that in certain combinations could be used to produce a nerve agent, but in this case were not, OR that they tested possible for a poison that is not a nerve agent at all, but a “related compound”–i.e. a “compound” (and not a simple element) that causes effects “related” to (but not identical with) those of nerve agents.

The second sentence is designed to weaken my skeptical reading of the first sentence without actually stating a lie, under conditions of plausible deniability. The second sentence states that they tested positive for “a Novichok class nerve agent” OR “a closely related agent.” The key to understanding the second sentence is that the adjective “nerve” need not be taken to modify the second use of the word “agent,” even though that is the most natural and plausible way to read the sentence for a native English speaker. Rather, a “closely related agent” could refer to a non-nerve agent–a different kind of poison–that is “closely related” to a “Novichok class nerve agent” in precisely the way that the “related compound” is related to “nerve agent” in the first sentence: i.e. it is an agent that produces or is intended to produce “closely related” (in the relevant sense) effects–sickness, poisoning, etc–to those of a nerve agent (Novichok class or otherwise).

So the two sentences are designed to obfuscate the truth without stating an outright lie under conditions of plausible deniability. And the lawyerly way to read them is to read them in the weakest way possible: the Skripals tested positive for a non-nerve-agent poison.
This reading would also seem to fit with the facts–about nerve agents, about the Skripals’ symptoms, about the timeline–as we now understand them. It also matches up with the much discussed Salisbury physician’s letter to the editor, which differentiates “poison” from “nerve agent” in just this way."

Posted by: james | Mar 23 2018 20:56 utc | 172

welp - i messed up there! sorry... the link will take you to john helmers article.. you can read WJ's comments that are now in red!

Posted by: james | Mar 23 2018 20:58 utc | 173

@James. I concur with your assessment.

Posted by: Old Microbiologist | Mar 23 2018 21:42 utc | 174

Combining the linked comment posted by james with what I remember of the Doctors letter to the Times, the Skripol's have been poisoned with a substance that has somewhat similar chemical make up to nerve agents, although different mode of action (not AChE inhibitor), but causing symptoms somewhat similar to nerve agent poisoning?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 23 2018 22:00 utc | 175

@175 That is extremely likely. I appreciate your efforts Peter AU but does anybody think we will ever get the truth of what happened in Salisbury?

Posted by: dh | Mar 23 2018 23:13 utc | 176

Very interesting chapter and verse on today's ruling in the High Court in London on the taking of blood samples. This is a short excerpt.

The judge summarized the evidence of a witness he identified as a “Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst”. This source testified that “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.” No source for the nerve agent was reported by the judge. No Russian culpability was hinted in the judgement. For allegations of Russian manufacture and Kremlin culpability in the nerve agent attack by Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, read this.

After ruling that the Skripals lack the capacity to give their consent for fresh blood testing and for the disclosure of their medical records to the OPCW, Williams concluded “there may be some potential medical benefit in the tests being conducted by the OPCW in that they may identify some matter which sheds further light on the nature of the agent involved and thus the treatment that might be administered. I understand that the Secretary of State reposes complete confidence in the results of the tests carried out by Porton Down but I believe both that Mr Skripal and Ms Skripal would wish for the further analysis (and so s.4(6)(c) would be engaged) but that also objectively there is benefit in the expertise of the OPCW also being brought to bear even if the possibility of them uncovering something useful from a medical perspective may be slight.”

“Those matters therefore support the conclusion that it is in the best interests of Mr Skripal and Ms Skripal to have further blood samples taken and for their medical records to be disclosed.”

Williams also acknowledged that the OPCW might come to a different conclusion from the British Government. Accordingly, he said it was in the best interests of the Skripals that the blood sampling, DNA matching, and opening of the medical records should be allowed. “I am satisfied that an inquiry such as the OPCW will conduct which might verify Porton Down’s conclusion, might elaborate or clarify them or might reach a different conclusion is something they [the Skripals] would wish be conducted and they would want to assist in that by providing samples.”

http://johnhelmer.net/the-skripal-case-goes-to-court-for-the-first-time-new-uncertainties-for-the-british-and-russian-governments/#more-18920

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 23 2018 23:16 utc | 177

DH 176
There may be something come out of the OPCW investigation and be available to those who care to look.
As far as the MSM go Russia used Novichok is now a fact that they will refer back to as further evidence of Russia's guilt in any future false flag operation. The thing that cauld change that is what happens in the US. I suspect the Brits had Tillerson on side and worded up, but Trump wasn't the slightest bit interested in the UK schemes. UK will need help to push the narrative through, and from Mercouris's decoding of the legal speak, no help, from the EU or elsewhere is forthcoming.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 24 2018 0:36 utc | 178

Out of curiosity I looked up 1080 or Sodium fluoroacetate commonly used to control feral animals.

Not a related compound but symptoms for non lethal dose very close to Skripal's.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_fluoroacetate#Symptoms
In humans, the symptoms of poisoning normally appear between 30 minutes and three hours after exposure. Initial symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain; sweating, confusion, and agitation follow. In significant poisoning, cardiac abnormalities including tachycardia or bradycardia, hypotension, and ECG changes develop. Neurological effects include muscle twitching and seizures; consciousness becomes progressively impaired after a few hours leading to coma. Death is normally due to ventricular arrhythmias, progressive hypotension unresponsive to treatment, and secondary lung infections.[5]...
...Sub-lethal doses of sodium fluoroacetate may cause damage to tissues with high energy needs — in particular, the brain, gonads, heart, lungs, and fetus. Sub-lethal doses are typically completely metabolised and excreted within four days.[19]

Must be a few other goodies out there that give similar symptoms but could be described as a related compound. Most likely need to contain phosphorus.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 24 2018 0:55 utc | 179

Shocking that the Skripals didn't do it themselves aware of dangers of talking to Russia:


Sergey Kapchuk, a Russian businessman who claims he is on a 'death list', has fled from London and the UK.


He says that the real threat to his life comes from the British secret services.

Russian 'on Putin's death list' flees UK saying threat comes from Brit spies - Mirror.co.uk

He says: "The British secret service might organise some sort of provocation."

In the UK, his bank accounts and credit cards had been suddenly blocked.

Tony Rossini on Twitter.


It all looks like another false flag.

On 22 March 2018, in England's High Court, Justice David Basil Williams reports:

"Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analyzed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound."

Exposed: Court documents cast doubt on Boris Johnson's claim

Reportedly, military-grade nerve agents assure death in minutes at most.

The Unraveling False Flag Skripal Incident - Stephen Lendman

Russia's London embassy has said that the UK authorities refused a request to grant consular access to Skripal and his daughter, Russian citizens.

No information about their condition or whereabouts was provided.

The Unraveling False Flag Skripal Incident - Stephen Lendman


The Diligent Truth‏ @DiligentTruth

"NO Patient has experienced symptoms of Nerve Agent poisoning in Salisbury" - Stephen Davis - Consultant in Emergency Medicine Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

The three being treated are for the effects of poisoning - but NOT by a Nerve Agent.

Joanne Trueman‏ @trueman - "Why are these firemen standing at the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack with no chemical weapons protection clothing on?"

The Diligent Truth‏ @DiligentTruth - "Anyone see any of this at Salisbury Hospital ?

"No Neither did I

"No one in the Hospital, staff or patients, was protected. Yet no further casualties ! How odd is that?"

Above, we see Theresa May visiting Salisbury after the attack.


Any pictures of Sergei Skripal in hospital?

Russia's EU ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov has suggested that the UK research laboratory at Porton Down could be the source of the nerve agent used in the attack on Sergei Skripal.

Chizhov said Russia did not stockpile the poison, Novichok, and that the Porton Down lab was only eight miles (12km) from Salisbury, where Sergei Skripal lived.

Chizhov said that the scientists who invented Novichok are currently living in the UK.

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Mar 24 2018 3:14 utc | 180

@178 Teresa and Boris are looking for a conclusive statement from the OPCW of Russian guilt. If the OPCW investigation is impartial they won't be getting what they want. Which means the US and the EU could hang the Brits out to dry but I doubt they'll go that far. I can't see the British ever apologizing for making a hasty judgment but who knows? These are strange times.

Posted by: dh | Mar 24 2018 3:23 utc | 181

dh 181

Without US backing for the narrative and May's ultimatum, Uk was forced by Russia to have the incident investigated by OPCW.
On the Khan Shaykhun CW incident, OPCW were presented with some carcasses in Turkey. Analysis of biopsies showed they had been poisoned with Sarin. These as far as I can make out, were the victims delivered to Turk hospital at about the same time as the supposed CW attack took place. They stated what they had found. There is other political correct stuff in the statement, but no reason to think the OPCW analysis of biopsies did not show sarin.
From what I have been reading, if a person dies from poison, the chemicals remain as they were at the time of death. With the Skripals, because they have a non lethal dose, whatever poison was used would most likely have been metabolized and removed from the system or anything remaining of the substance so much broken down that it will be impossible to know what the original chemical structure was.

I suspect Trump's US will, and has already done so, left UK out to dry. EU is a nobody. They go with the flow.
Looking back now, it becomes obvious the Obama admin and the Brits were partners in MH17.
This time around around the brits are on their own and I think EU will be looking at which way the US is going.
..that's just my thoughts which may be wrong or may be right..


Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 24 2018 4:31 utc | 182

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 24, 2018 12:31:23 AM | 182

Merkel's policy is to help Conservative leaders in Europe. Her decision to back May probably has much more to do with that. Same way she tried to finish Tsipras politically in the Greek crisis.

It may have cost May a lot in terms of BREXIT negotiations.

There is not much Britain can do against Russia, with BREXIT making things worse, British business and finance are linked with Russian business and finance in a big way.

There is nothing in German papers about expelling Russian diplomats or recalling ambassadors, only in British papers or news quoting British papers.

If this was a secret service assassination than it represents special interests. The military industrial complex is a good guess.

Last time Trump said something about Russia was calling for disarmament.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 24 2018 9:29 utc | 183

add to 183

More and more countries are looking for "detente" with Russia.

If they agreed to a strong statement and the recall of the European amabassador, it could mean they agreed to do nothing else.

The OPCW statement will be inconclusive as long as the British cannot present a person who applied the substance. Finding it in Yulia Skripals luggage would open a new can of worms.

I guess, news on the Skripal case will slowly disappear.

There is, of course, this

Sanctions imposed on Russian state-owned companies by the U.S. and European Union after the country’s 2014 annexation of Crimea have reduced the country's debt and forced policy makers to adopt conservative measures to keep the economy and markets stable. A report published by the U.S. Treasury this year concluded that preventing American investors from buying Russian sovereign debt would hinder the competitiveness of asset managers.

The British and the US governments were taken over by hedge fund managers. Let's see where they can find crisis.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 24 2018 9:48 utc | 184

add to 184

The Skripal case happened the exact moment it was clear Cambridge Analytica engineered the US elections with facebook data, ie. the British deep state (with strong Russian connections) not the Russian deep state.

Plus the Steele dossier was British help for Hillary.

So two factions of the British security state were fighting it out in the US.

And yes, what people say is often very different from what they do.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 24 2018 9:56 utc | 185

@somebody... thanks for sharing your views and those links... the last one is especially contradictory!

Posted by: james | Mar 24 2018 17:13 utc | 186

@184 Hedge fund managers are just doing what their customers want i.e. avoiding risk and looking for profits. So they put their money into BRICS.... of course they probably have money in Lockheed Martin too. Should they be buying Facebook stock?

Posted by: dh | Mar 24 2018 18:03 utc | 187

@Hmpf | Mar 23, 2018 7:55:39 AM | 161
Would you expound on your comment more? It seems to me you have debunked "Fake News" which successfully (thank God) was used to thwart a faked chemical attack that would have been blamed upon Assad. I believe you have pointed out that nerve agents could/would not have been produced at that site shown by the info. you read on the chalkboard. But, no one else caught it so the perception was successfully implied. Great catch if that was your meaning! Nerve agents are not deployed with projectiles / explosives??

Posted by: mrd | Mar 24 2018 20:51 utc | 188

Interesting fact-cheking article and video:

http://www.stalkerzone.org/salisbury-lies-of-a-cosmic-scale/

Posted by: Fatima Manoubia | Mar 24 2018 21:48 utc | 189

@188 mrd

In this particular case I wouldn't characterize this as fake news, as this would imply intent to deceive, but rather a case of ignorance from people that do not know better. Of course I might be totally wrong.

CW payloads generally are being released by means of a burster charge of specific properties. Burster charges are supposed to be of relatively low brisance and low energy to not affect the payload (CW fill) during rupture and dispersion and, too, as insensitive to exterior stimuli as possible for obvious reasons. A mix of AP, Al, P.Jelly and NC does release a tremendous amount of heat due aluminum combustion and is quite sensitive to friction, impact and shock, particularly so should the Al particles be of the flaky type.
Never, and I mean never would any sane person deal with CW compounds in any way in an environment where explosive compounds are manufactured and/or mixed.

At 2.07 even PETN 'something' kg (Pentaerythritol-tetranitrate) is to be seen written on the billboard. - drone incident anyone? -. This explosive compound packs a lot of punch and, additionally, is quite sensitive against friction and impact when not phlegmatized properly. Handling organo-phosphates in that kind of environment - no way.

Additionally, I don't remember where I've come across a picture of a pilot plant sized mixer allegedly taken at that particular site, maybe it was on that Lebanese? female journalist's twitter feed, mixing operations of explosive compounds are of particular sensitivity and require great care as things can go haywire easily - this in close vicinity to chemical weapons compounds? - That'd be nuts.

Conclusion:
I'm not saying the head choppers don't apply CWs - quite the contrary, I'm convinced they do - see Th. Postol, Scott Ritter .... What I'm saying is it's highly unlikely they manufacture/assemble all components needed for a CW warhead (mainfill-burster-fuse) at the same location, simply because doing so would be crazy from a professional POV and, I guess, they do not lack professional support. The crazies cherish killing, but don't like to be killed themselves.
Furthermore, coming up with claims that are hard to believe(at best) hurt the credibility of the source, which I find counterproductive.

Posted by: Hmpf | Mar 25 2018 0:31 utc | 190

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I'm quite impressed with your insight and knowledge to be able to recognize the inconsistency from within this mountain of information that's being published to both confirm and to debunk the Novichok claim. I'm saving your and Old Microbiologist's posts for my future reference should there ever be a future scenario of alleged nerve agent assassination where I'm of the opinion that it might be true.

I have to say that this event doesn't qualify as far as I've concluded. The original details reported make the most sense to me as far as this Skripal event goes and I think I'll stick with them. I believe fentanyl laced crack was substituted for their 'usual' crack as the pair smoked a bowl on their way out the door to celebrate a reunion night on the town; most likely intended to prevent their upcoming debriefings of involvement with the Steele dossier. The timeline and symptoms and harm to the 1st responder all correlate. I'd also bet that MI6 Special Agents in Charge that are 26 years old and fanatical watchers of Strikeback are sitting thru many hours of Critical Thinking & Reasoning refresher courses this week.

Thanks again. That is great information.
Posted by: mrd

Posted by: mrd | Mar 25 2018 2:06 utc | 191

@191 "I'd also bet that MI6 Special Agents in Charge that are 26 years old and fanatical watchers of Strikeback are sitting thru many hours of Critical Thinking & Reasoning refresher courses this week"

Perhaps a crash course in John Le Carre novels would also be in order. These young folks need to learn some decorum.

Posted by: dh | Mar 25 2018 2:42 utc | 192

Thought this was interesting - found in a Radio Free Europe article, A Timeline Of Russia's Changing Story On Skripal Poisoning. The RFE article is a typical Russian hatchet job, but it does explain the seemingly inconsistent use of 'Novichok' by the Russians and Rink. Not that it matters to the overall issue in question, but it was dumb for Russia to spend time beating on the very existence of anything called Novichok. What was the point? They knew what the UK meant. This is the kind of cheap rhetorical trick I would expect from the UK, not Russia. In any case:

March 20: Novichok Article Redacted Russian scientist Leonid Rink gives an interview to RIA Novosti. He says that he helped create Novichok-series nerve agents. However, the article is later redacted.

In the earlier posted version of the interview, Rink said:

"As a matter of fact, Novichok is not a material. It is the whole system of chemical weapons. The chemical-weapons system adopted by the Soviet Union was called 'Novichok 5.' The title was not used without numbers."

The text was then taken down and edited. In the newer version, Fink said:

"As a matter of fact, in the Soviet Union and Russia there was no program for the development of chemical weapons that was called 'Novichok.' Programs for the development of chemical weapons existed, but not with that title. After any program was completed, it was transferred to the military, and they retitled it. They could choose any name, among them were titles that included the word 'Novichok.'"

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 25 2018 4:31 utc | 193

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 25, 2018 12:31:05 AM | 193

This timeline is silly. Russia is pretty autocratic but it is not a dictatorship controlling what people say. Or what their papers print, though sure the media's line is supposed to be patriotic.

They quote lots of Russians who do their best to refute the allegations. And some of them actually know about Soviet chemical programmes.

It would be different if official statements changed. I think Russia did not say anything officially except that they need a sample to decide where it came from. Which makes sense.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 25 2018 6:05 utc | 194

add to 194

For some reason the BBC opened a can of worms reporting on their Porton Down visit on Friday night. Russia is now asking for Britain to disclose their chemical weapons program.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 25 2018 6:51 utc | 195

The must-read transcript of the gathering of 150 ambassadors in Moscow at Russian request shows the bear is offended. The tone is rather insulting for those present and the silly way those bots (the French, German, US representatives) stand with their "we are behind the UK" let one think that somehow the sample might not be different from the one the Western coalition's rebels have been using on the ground in Syria. Wonder how many scientists are now thinking about retirement from the OPCW.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 25 2018 11:45 utc | 196

What an interesting, if underreported coincidence - https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2018/march/06/180306-toxic-storm-for-royal-marines-in-major-chemical-exercise and
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/exercise-toxic-dagger-the-sharp-end-of-chemical-warfare - "Toxic dagger" exercise in that "most peaceful city" of Salisbury

Posted by: AK | Mar 25 2018 16:47 utc | 197

somebody@194 - That's why I said the article was a typical hatchet job. The west/MSM loves to accuse Russia of something it wasn't involved in, then pounce on inconsistencies or incorrect detail as Russian officials awkwardly try to offer initial explanations or speculate on what really happened.

I don't think 'Russia did it', I don't buy any of the west's claimed or contrived evidence. I'm pretty damn sure the OPCW will find something in the samples that prove nothing, but leave open the (remotest) possibility that "it could have been made in Russia". Which is all the supporting evidence MI6 needs to finish up this part of the PsyOp.

Example: Remember how the OPCW investigated and confirmed that Assad gassed his own people in Ghouta? Of course they found nothing of the sort, but I would bet my bottom dollar that a substantial number of Americans remember something like that - at least from the small percentage of Americans who even remember the incident. By next year, their hazy recollection will probably morph into, "Didn't the Russians gas someone in Syria, and then try to deny it?"

As for 'Novichok', I wouldn't have even mentioned it if I hadn't read the denials initially from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (statement was less definitive) and then, as b noted,

Maria Zakharova, spokeswomen of the Russian Foreign Ministry: "'Novichok' has never been used in the USSR or in Russia as something related to the chemical weapon research"
Zakharova really jumped the shark in her Russia 24 interview, again noted by b paraphrasing Zakharova:
The word was introduced in the "west" simply because it sounded Russian.

She's Director of the PR unit in the Foreign Ministry, not a nobody talking head. So far, we have three scientists involved in the program that had no trouble using 'Novichok' to describe the agent(s).

I'm just pointing out that governments are governments, and Maria Zakharova (like her counterpart in the US, Heather Nauert) at times uses the same cheap tricks of carefully weasel-wording statements so they are not outright lies, but are deceptive and misleading nonetheless. I'm just surprised that they chose to do that in this case over use of the label 'Novichok'. FOLIANT isn't exactly a secret and everyone with a CW program was and probably still are, to some extent, researching newer/better toxins.

IMHO, the awkward attempt at implying no CW research on 'Novichoks' bought Russia absolutely nothing but damaged credibility in their wider argument that they didn't poison the Skripals.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 25 2018 17:28 utc | 198

@198 There isn't much point in issuing denials period. The Western media will always win the spin battle. But I guess Maria Zakharova has to keep trying if only for the benefit of interested third parties.

I think you're right about the OPCW finding 'something'. But it won't be enough to shut Teresa and Boris down.

Posted by: dh | Mar 25 2018 17:48 utc | 199

PavewayIV 198

I have also been wondering what is going on there. Russian spokespeople always come across as exceptionally well informed. This can be seen when being asked questions by reporters.
I do not see them as lying on something like this where their lies are easily uncovered. Something else is going on.
Novichok according to legend is five to ten times more potent than VX and penetrates CW protective wear. Has this ever been tested?

There is a short section tacked onto the bottom of a UNZ Revue article and linked to in one of these threads also the whole piece was copy pasted in a comment here.
That has it that Novichok was a soviet disinformation campaign, perhaps carried on for a short while by the Russian federation.
My thought is that the Novichok group may well be chemical compounds discarded during research, renamed and fed into a leak which had been identified as Mirzanyanov.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 25 2018 18:00 utc | 200

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