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April 04, 2018

"It's The Cover-Up" - UK Foreign Office Deletes Tweet, Posts False Transcript, Issues New Lies

It's Not The Crime, It's The Cover-Up:

When a scandal breaks, the discovery of an attempt to cover up is often regarded as even more reprehensible than the original deeds.

The British government is trying to cover-up the lies it made with its false allegations against Russia. The cover-up necessitates new lies some of which we expose below.

Yesterday the head of the British chemical weapon laboratory in Porton Down stated that the laboratory can not establish that the poison used in the alleged 'Novichok' attack in Salisbury was produced by Russia. This was a severe blow to the British government allegations of Russian involvement in the poisoning of Sergej and Yulia Skripal.

Now the British government tries to hide that it said that the poison used in the Salisbury was 'produced in Russia' and that Porton down had proved that to be the case. The government aligned media are helping to stuff the government lies down the memory hole.

We all need to make sure that the new lies get exposed and that the attempts to change the record fail.

Yesterday the British Foreign Office deleted this from its Twitter account:


The March 22 tweet was part of a now interrupted thread which summarized a briefing on the UK government's response to the Salisbury incident given by the British Ambassador to Russia, Dr Laurie Bristow, to the international diplomatic community in Moscow.

After the silent scrubbing of the record was publicly questioned the Foreign Office admitted that it deleted the tweet:

After it emerged on Wednesday that the tweet had been deleted, the Foreign Office said the post was removed because it "did not accurately report" the words of Laurie Bristow, the UK's ambassador to Russia, which the tweet was supposed to be quoting.

Hmm - fool me once ...

All the tweets in the thread used quotation marks, but none was a literal reproduction of the ambassador's briefing. Only one of the tweets was deleted.  A look at the transcript and video of the briefing shows that all the tweets, including the deleted one, "accurately reported" the speech. The cover-up of the false statement the ambassador made thus includes at least one new lie.

The original tweet said "Analysis by world-leading experts at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down made clear that this was a military-grade Novichok nerve agent produced in Russia. .."

The transcript of the briefing in Moscow - "exactly as it was delivered" - is (still) available at the Foreign Office website.


The ambassador, reading from a prepared script, recapitulates the event and, according to the posted transcript, then says:

Four days later the analysts at Porton Down, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the UK, established and made clear that this was a military-grade chemical weapon. One of the Novichok series; a nerve agent as I said produced in Russia. Porton Down is an Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons accredited and designated laboratory.
First, there is no doubt that the weapon used in the attack was the military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok series. This has been confirmed by specialists, our specialists. An Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission is in the UK now to independently confirm this analysis.

There is also no doubt that Novichok was produced in Russia by the Russian state.

The last line in the -"exactly as it was delivered" - transcript is false. Here is my transcription from a short Foreign Office video of the briefing (saved copy) which includes the uncut passage of the last two paragraphs quoted above:

... there is no doubt that the weapon used in the attack was the military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok series. This has been confirmed by specialists, our specialists. On Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission is in the UK now to independently confirm this analysis.

There is also no doubt that the Novichok was produced in Russia by the Russian state.

The written "exactly as it was delivered" transcript of the briefing says "... that Novichok was produced ...". At 0:20 in the video I clearly hear the ambassador saying "... that the Novichok was produced ...". A tiny but very important difference.

The person who put the official captions on the official Foreign Office video agrees with what I hear and transcribed.


The ambassador referred to "the Novichok", the Novichok he specifically mentioned earlier in the speech. The Novichok that he said had been detected by Porton Down. The transcript on the Foreign Office website leaves out the definite article "the". It makes it look as if the ambassador referred to some unspecified batch of the substance.

The deleted tweet was a faithful rendition of what the ambassador said, it "accurately reported" it. The transcript the Foreign office posted on its website is false. The ambassador clearly accused Russia of having produced the very batch that Porton Down analyzed.

Three days earlier Bristow's boss, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, made the same false claim (vid at 5:32) in an interview with DW.

Porton Down has now said that it made no such claim. The ambassador's claim was false. The Foreign Office attempt to cover this up by deleting its tweet and by posting a not-so-exact transcript only amplifies the falsehood of the original claims.

The briefing continued to emphasize the "produced in Russia" meme. The phrase occurs four times.

Russia’s claims that Novichok could have been produced elsewhere have no credibility. We have no information to indicate that this agent could have been produced anywhere else except in Russia. So we have no doubt that the nerve agent was produced in Russia.
So the fact that the Novichok was produced in Russia, the fact that Russia has a history of state-sponsored assassinations, and the fact that Russia has responded with the usual playbook of disinformation and denial left us with no choice but to conclude that this amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.

The Foreign Office may want to claim that all the above uses of "produced in Russia" were only references to decades old research and development in the Soviet Union, not to the "Skripal" case. The highlighted details shows that this is not the case. Any listener to the briefing surely got the impression that the UK ambassador was talking about the specific batch analysed by Porton Down.

It highlighted paragraph of Ambassador Bristow's briefing includes several other lies. 'Novichok' agents can and have been produced in other countries than Russia.

In 2016 five nerve agents of the 'Novichok' series were synthesized by Iranian scientists in cooperation with the OPCW. Details of their production process were published. In 1998 the US Army’s Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center produced and catalogued 'Novichok' agents. It added the data for the substances to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Mass Spectral Library. The data was later removed and U.S. diplomats were ordered to suppress all international discussion about 'Novichok' agents.

The U.S. military chemical weapon laboratories work in close cooperation with Porton Down. Porton Down continues to receive tens of millions of U.S. military research money for its chemical weapon experiments including tests on animals. The UK government surely knew that 'Novichok' agents can and have been produced by other actors than Russia.

British and U.S. media aligned with the ongoing anti-Russia campaign now downplay the earlier claims of the British government.

BBC Radio 4 news at 6:31am today made this comical effort:

"... Russia requested the meeting to address the UK government's suggestion that it was behind the poisoning ..."

The British government did not make a mere "suggestion". Its ambassador and other officials stated outright that Russia was the culprit:

"... the fact that the Novichok was produced in Russia .. left us with no choice but to conclude... "

The New York Times today also uses the "suggestion" wording (one wonders who 'suggested' that):

The British authorities have blamed Russia for the March 4 poisoning, with Foreign Minister Boris Johnson suggesting it was “overwhelmingly likely” that President Vladimir V. Putin had ordered the attack.

On March 16, when the NYT first wrote about Johnson's claims against Russia, it surely did not convey that they were only 'suggestive':

Mr. Johnson’s remarks were a significant escalation in the dispute between London and Moscow, directly linking the Russian leader to the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.

The British Prime Minster herself went way further than just 'suggesting' that Russia was guilty:

[T]he Government have concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Based on that 'conclusion' the British government threw out 23 Russian diplomats from their embassy in London. There was nothing 'suggestive' with that.

Off-Guardian points out that another tactic to divert from the earlier false claims is to now declare Russia guilty of not cooperating with the investigation:

The UK’s flagrant hysteria of the last weeks, the war cries and spittle-flecked abuse is all being airbrushed away and being replaced with the idea the UK simply requested Russian co-operation and Russia refused – preferring to make nasty insinuations instead.

To claim that Russia did not cooperate is another lie told to cover up for the now debunked ones. The Chemical Weapons Convention, which Britain and Russia have signed, dictates the procedures that must be taken when chemical weapon allegations are made. They foresee the involvement of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

It was the British government that rejected the involvement of the OPCW in the investigation. It only agreed to do so after Russia insisted on it:

[Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov] added that a case of alleged use of chemical weapons should be handled through the proper channel, being the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – of which both Russia and Britain are members.

“As soon as the rumors came up that the poisoning of Skripal involved a Russia-produced agent, which almost the entire English leadership has been fanning up, we sent an official request for access to this compound so that our experts could test it in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention [CWC],” Lavrov said. So far the request has been ignored by the British side, he added.

The request from the British government to the OPCW was sent on March 14, ten days after the incident happened, two days after the Prime Minister made her "highly likely" claims against Russia and one day after Lavrov publicly insisted on OPCW involvement.

It is obviously the British government which at first rejected OPCW involvement and not the Kremlin.

The OPCW is by statute a technical agency, not a court. It will release a technical assessment of the involved agent and not a judgment on responsibility or guilt.

The attempted cover-up by the Foreign Office of the lies the British government spread about the case has already failed. To play down the original strong claims against Russia as mere 'suggestions' is comical. Allegations that Russia was or is holding up a serious international investigation are also false. It was Britain which at first rejected the CWC and OPCW involvement.

The fact that the British government even makes these attempts must be seen as acknowledgement that it has no case and lied in it its official statements to the global public. It now covers its trail with more lies.

What else is the British government lying about?

Previous Moon of Alabama reports on the Skripal case:

Posted by b on April 4, 2018 at 20:18 UTC | Permalink

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@98 karlof1.. thanks for the link to craig murrays latest.. i was just going to go over and see what he has to say today... for anyone crazy enough to entertain that door knob story, craig tears it apart fairly quickly and easily... what is most interesting is what yulia knows and what she is willing or unwilling to say here... i am curious what will be revealed when she eventually gets back inside russia... of course - by then the story will be forgotten by most in the west and nothing coming from russia is ever believed anyway.. i guess that is britians thinking here...

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2018 16:39 utc | 101

As usual I am right to never believe the lying warmongering morons in the US and UK.
Usually near 100% right with that approach.
I remember those days when I used to believe and think the West was something 'special'.
Now the West looks like dog excrement.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 5 2018 16:55 utc | 102

Something has been bugging me since I watched the Aitkenhead interview, how he says the sites were "infected", which they would be had a biological agent been used. It only occurred to me today a possible connection with the US Air Force collecting samples of Russian DNA-

In which case it is plausible that this might have been a test of a new US bioweapon.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 5 2018 17:09 utc | 103

@101 I'll even write the headline for you james "Yulia Pressured In Moscow To Blame Britain."

Posted by: dh | Apr 5 2018 17:09 utc | 104

By removing that “the”, Bristow’s statement from a direct accusation about “the” [definite] novichok allegedly used to poison the Skripals, into a general statement about the novichok class of nerve agents.

A grammatical error? Poor command of English? Uncertainty about article usage? A typo, perhaps?

Reminds me of what the Western media and politicians have been repeating ad nauseam for the past 12 years, namely the translation into English of part of one of Putin’s speeches, which reads that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”, whereas the English translation on the Kremlin website reads that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “a major geopolitical catastrophe of the century”.

Posted by: Moscow Exile | Apr 5 2018 17:22 utc | 105

Canada ramps up Russophrenia fervor as NATO's Stoltenberg visits Ottawa...

Trudeau Links Russians Expelled Over Spy Attack To Nazi Smear Campaign Against Freeland

"At a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Justin Trudeau linked the expulsion of 4 Russian diplomats from Canada with a smear campaign against Chrystia Freeland.'Russia has underestimated NATO's soul and unity,' Stoltenberg said..."

The Canadian parliament unanimously supported condemnation of Russia for the Skripal poisoning and the diplomatic expulsions, despite the absence of evidence. What makes this poisonous Neo-McCarthyism worse, is the collaboration or outright cheerleading by the Canadian lacky-left. Scary times...

Posted by: John Gilberts | Apr 5 2018 17:22 utc | 106

@104 dh.. lol! yeah - that is pretty good!!

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2018 17:33 utc | 107

@106 john... trudeau has to come up with some lame ass excuse for the russian diplomat expulsion and that is as good as they have? wow... pathetic...

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2018 17:35 utc | 108

Bevin is correct.mossad.Russians are expendable.
ot;I've suffered a stroke on Christmas Day on '16.I've still not recovered.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 5 2018 17:39 utc | 109

Police read out a statement supposedly by Yulia Skripal. It is identical to the statement supposedly given by the policeman who recovered and was read out by Wiltshire police.
“I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”

I have only quoted the last sentence. Full statement at the link. It is very obvious that the Skipal's are being held, and if the policeman is actually free, he certainly wont be free to talk.

I doubt Yulia Skripal will be leaving UK alive, or at the least, with a functioning brain.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 5 2018 18:02 utc | 110

You have to love it, according to Stoltenberg, NATO has a soul! Who would have ever suspected. Maybe Freeland's denial of her grandfather's links to the Nazis is beginning to get more publicity. Otherwise why should Trudeau bring it up when there's no connection to the Scripal affair. I find him a real jerk.

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 5 2018 18:03 utc | 111

Reportedly, Yulia on the phone to her cousin saying she is fine and Papa is also Ok - resting.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 5 2018 18:19 utc | 112

George Galloway has just said on his Talk Radio show that if you believe the Government on the Skripal affair, you are an idiot, you are not a sheep, a sheep is cleverer than you.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 5 2018 18:22 utc | 113

Novichok was produced in Russia v.s. the novichok was produced in Russia:

A grammatical error? Poor command of English? Uncertainty about article usage? A typo, perhaps?

Posted by: Moscow Exile | Apr 5, 2018 1:22:31 PM | 105

It is not a grammatical error.

It is May's casus belli for World War 3!

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Apr 5 2018 18:37 utc | 114

The Syrian "other shoe" -- Assad's use of novichoks against his own people -- may have failed to drop precisely because Russia Minister of Defence explicitly stated that an American attack putting Russian forces in danger in Damascus would be answered with a Russian attack on the missile launchers (U.S. ships).

As for the "Russian disinformation" against Freehand, last I checked John Helmer was Australian (though living in Russia). The Canadian media performance is odd--not quite as predictably craven as one might have expected. Enough detail on the Chomiak story is revisited to keep the trail from growing completely cold, but not a hill any mainstream journalist appears ready to die on.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 5 2018 18:39 utc | 115

I feel a change in the wind
It now seems that the air of utter certainty which has distinguished the approach of the prime minister, the foreign secretary and the defence secretary from the start, and persuaded the vast majority of EU countries and a host of others to join a collective expulsion of Russian diplomats, might have been – how shall we say? – a tad premature.

And guess who was arguing this at the time? Why, the leader of the opposition, who was howled down in the Commons, including by some on his own side, for daring to warn against a rush to judgement and calling for the involvement of international bodies. These were timid enough reservations, which nonetheless earned him the charge of being “a national disgrace” from his own side and in the national media of being “a Kremlin stooge”.
. . .
I am sorry, but “highly likely” and a substance “of a sort developed by Russia”, and supposedly reliable information that Russia has created and “stockpiled” nerve agents “within the last 10 years” don’t do it for me. Such formulations – which seem to betray their intelligence origin by the way – wouldn’t cut it if the Russians used them, or the Americans or the Germans, or anyone. Just because the UK authorities say it does not – for me – give it unique authority.

What these non-qualification qualifications were designed to do – again, it seemed to me – was to encourage a public acceptance of Russian state guilt, while leaving open the possibility of an escape.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 5 2018 18:45 utc | 116

Looking at the transcript of the phone call, it was Yulia initiating the call to her cousin, rather than the cousin calling Yulia. It had to have been recorded on the UK end. The recording has then been sent to Russian TV channels.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 5 2018 18:54 utc | 117


When Russia says they will attack the missile launchers, they mean they will attack the missile launchers. Based upon the USS Cook's experience, the Russians have the electronic warfare capability to disable a warship's launchers, and probably all other electronics.

Posted by: DineroDProfit | Apr 5 2018 18:54 utc | 118

thanks harry @113
i spent 2 hours last weekend trying to get my sheep into a pen, with the help of 3 strong young men, + my border collie

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 5 2018 18:57 utc | 119

As a follow up to my @103-

Body Of Missing CDC Researcher Found In River

Posted by: TJ | Apr 5 2018 19:03 utc | 120

@John Gilberts 106

Completely agree. We are a pretend country with about zero sovereignty.

Posted by: spudski | Apr 5 2018 19:10 utc | 121

@109 dahoit... i hope you are able to recover fully from that.. cheers...

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2018 19:15 utc | 122

@ dahoit with the recent heart problem

Welcome back to the MoA bar and best to you with your recovery

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 5 2018 19:45 utc | 123

@ 109 dahoit | Apr 5, 2018 1:39:31 PM

Disconcerting news that, your accident on Christmas, horrible timing as well, must be better ways to see in the New Year. Was the damage limited or more extensive in effects and are there signs of some recovery yet? Hope you have good Doctors and physiotherapists working for yourself aiding your recovery. All the best.

@ 116 mauisurfer | Apr 5, 2018 2:45:19 PM

Want a chill up and down your spine? Am reading a new collection of essays by Gilbert Doctorow recently published. One, dated 15 June 2016 titled The Nuclear Clock is at Two Minutes to Midnight about military exercise Anaconda-16 in Poland would elicit a nuclear response that would not be limited to the European theatre but would be directed at the mainland United States should Russian territory be trespassed. Very clear words. Nothing in the media whatsoever; western population unaware of the warning.

Now the Russian government has again warned an attack will result in a nuclear response. Furthermore, weapon developments were revealed that would clearly neuter the west's supposed defences. Funny thing this second warning, try and recall any time this Russian government has ever threatened anyone; the Russian government does not do such behaviours - ever.

Russia has now been backed into a political corner and has not been given any recourse. The Russians have been denied all recourse to law AND treaty convention. Russia is not allowed even a voice in international councils. Russia has been on the receiving end of economic and political sanction. Russia has been deprived of its full diplomatic integrity to represent itself in host nations, an act of war unparalleled in diplomatic history without an active war declared. There are no adults in control of any social, economic or political function. What accident would it take to unleash armageddon? What misunderstanding? What misreading? Should you not have a chill up your spine, something is wrong, get it checked out. That clock is now sitting about 15 seconds to midnight - pleasant dreams.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 5 2018 19:50 utc | 124


wish you a prompt and complete recovery.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 5 2018 19:56 utc | 125

Re 134:

I thought the West would acknowledge Putin's warnings on
March 1st 2018 and take stock of the fact that the Bear has been
poked and stoked to the point of retaliation.

Never mind the gadgets which were probably derided by the
exceptionalists as they "are the only ones capable of technical prowess"-

A chill should have gone up their spines when Mr. Putin said:
"Some are trying to eliminate Russia from the World. Well,
Russia does not see a world without Russia."

Means that Russia will not bow and will go to the extent of ending
the World as we know it if need be. Russia will not submit to the West.

The Powers that be, Deep State or whoever cannot understand that
their clinging to total hegemony is no longer possible.

They seem to believe that this is again going to be a CNN exclusive like
it was when Bagdad was under fire in 1992.

They do not realise there will not be enough time for them to go hide under Colorado's mountains. No. War will be in their laps before they can stand up from their easy chairs.

These western stooges will decimate Humanity because their greed
is stronger than their intellect.

ALAS, we are doomed.

So, enjoy what life is left. The end is near.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 5 2018 20:25 utc | 126

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 5, 2018 4:25:28 PM | 127


What if the decision makers are 91 and 96 years old respectively?

Posted by: Leroy | Apr 5 2018 20:52 utc | 127

Debsisdead writes:
"if Corbyn wins government and makes a decent fist of it, the 'disease' of voters expecting politicians to place the needs of citizens ahead of the needs of the elites, will spread."

Thank You!

Will The AZ Empire be able to "secure" the British electoral system as President CareBear Obama finalized by declaring elections "critical infrastructure," thereby handing them over to the Department of Homeland Security?

Speaking of continuity, this latest installment in the Reality TV Shown Presidency is terrifying:

"Trump to send military to Mexican border"

Of course, the "liberal media" is in need of a fainting couch because Trump is so different from anything we've ever seen before, so a reminder:

President Barack Obama sent some 1,200 soldiers to guard the boundary, while President George W Bush deployed about 6,000 troops to help Border Patrol in what was called Operation Jump Start.

And, since some in years past still remembered those pesky things called "laws" were upset, Congress and Obama took care of that, too.

On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. (To learn more about the NDAA, visit

The US has been a military dictatorship since September 14, 2001 when Bush II signed the Executive Order declaring a state of emergency, which each succeeded President has extended every year since. They just keep tying up loose ends to provide a facade of legality.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 5 2018 21:27 utc | 128

dahoit 109 all wishes for a strong recovery up the bad hill hang in there please take heart prevail

As for Justin Trudeau, words fail me, he is so hopeless it is beyond belief and actually very frightening. I believe he is mentally challenged - really. T. May and even that oaf Bojo are luminaries in comparison.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 6 2018 15:05 utc | 129

@jayc I don't understand Trudeau's comments at all. Is he saying Freeland is not Chomiak's granddaughter or what?

Posted by: S | Apr 7 2018 7:18 utc | 130

Boris Johnson on March 16, speaking at the Battle of Britain Bunker:

Let’s be absolutely clear that this is a nerve agent Novichok that was developed by Russia, that has been stored by Russia illegally ever since the… it was developed and has now been used against a former Russian agent who is identified specifically by the Kremlin as the legitimate target of revenge and retaliation. Indeed, it was not long ago that Vladimir Putin was himself on television in Moscow announcing that such people should be… should be poisoned.


What we have here is a whole array of unfounded claims made by Johnson:

1. “nerve agent Novichok that was developed by Russia” — Foliant program was pursued by USSR, not Russia.

2. “has been stored by Russia illegally ever since it was developed” — Russia signed the CWC in Dec 1997 and destroyed all CW by Sept 2017. Where is the evidence of Russia secretly storing Foliant nerve agents? The Kivelidi poisoning doesn't count as it happened in 1995.

3. “former Russian agent” — No mention that he was also a British agent. What if Sergei Skripal wanted to return to Russia, like Berezovsky? Wouldn't that give MI6 a motive to kill him?

4. “who is identified specifically by the Kremlin as the legitimate target of revenge and retaliation” — Absolutely unfounded claim.

5. “Vladimir Putin was himself on television in Moscow announcing that such people should be poisoned” — Direct lie. Putin said exactly the opposite, that he doesn't believe in the idea of revenge.

Posted by: S | Apr 7 2018 11:22 utc | 131

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