Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 03, 2018

Operation Hades Blamed Russia - A Model For The 'Novichok' Claims?

(This is a 'working thread' to collect various items related to the alleged 'Novichok' incident in Salisbury and the fate of the British spy Sergej Skripal and his daughter Yulia. For a wider overview of the case please check our longer write-ups linked at the end of this post.)

The Russian government sent fourteen specific questions to the British government and thirteen questions to the OPCW. There seems to be some French involvement in the investigation of the alleged nerve agent and Russia ask why that is the case.

Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to Britain, further increased the pressure on Theresa May by publicly asserting that the Skripal case was a 'provocation' carried out by British intelligence.

Telepolis points out (in German) that this would not be the first time that a 'western' service would stage such a 'provocation'. The Skripal case is indeed quite comparable to Operation Hades.

On August 10 1994 German officials in Munich 'found' 363 grams of plutonium on a plane coming from Moscow. They immediately asserted, that the plutonium 'must' have come from a Russian reactor. There was a lot of media panic, international political noise and condemnation of Russia.

Time Cover August 29 1994

This put pressure on the Russian government to increase its security at its nuclear sites. The U.S. offered to 'help' with nuclear security and thus got easy access to Russia's nuclear secrets. The case broke in the mid of the federal election campaign in Germany and helped chancellor Kohl to get re-elected.

Months later first leaks appeared, reporters dug deeper into the story, it all started to unravel.

Der Spiegel filled ten pages (in German) with the explosive story.

"The BND's Nuke Hustle"
"How German secret agents invented the plutonium hazard"

SPIEGEL Cover May 10 1995

It turned out that the plutonium was not from Russia but had been planted by the German equivalent of the MI6, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).  More leaks and counter-leaks created a convoluted story of a sting operation gone wrong to hide the truth behind it. It was a fake incident from A to Z, a scam created for solely political reasons. A parliamentarian commission investigated the case but the Kohl government eventually shut it down without any political consequences. Shortly thereafter the deeply involved BND head, Bernd Schmidbauer, was sent into retirement.

The Russian depict the 'Novichok' case as a staged 'provocation'.  There is a historic antetype for such a 'provocation' by a 'western' intelligence service. That gives the Russian claim some significant merit.


It took only nine month for the 1994 'Operation Hades' story to fall apart. The 'Novichok' fairy-tale may now see an even earlier end. 

Sky News Breaking @SkyNewsBreak -

Chief executive of Porton Down research laboratory has told Sky News scientists have not been able to prove the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal came from Russia or establish its country of origin

Mind the gap, Mrs. May. Mind the credibility gap.

Video of Mr. Aitkenhead's Sky News interview. (Nice word play included: He only provides scientific evidence. The government may additionally have 'other' (i.e. unscientific) evidence to make a case.)

In light of the Proton Down statement we can now state that Boris Johnson, on March 20 on DW, proved to be an 'absolutely categorical' liar:

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?

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

So they have the samples …

BJ: 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.

In the interview Boris Johnson tried to preemptively put any eventual fault in the case on Porton Down. Today he received the response.

Payback is a bitch, Mr Johnson. A biting bitch.


The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, a number British academics, published an update to their briefing ‘Doubts about Novichoks’ at Tim Hayward's site.

The update carefully distinguishes and discusses the various chemical substances and research programs relevant to the British 'Novichok' claims. The 'Novichok' nerve agents Vil Mirzayanov describes in his book seem to differ from the substances other Russian scientists  talked about in their recent interviews. The U.S. though, as well as other countries, has evidently worked on some of the substances described by Mirzayanov and concealed these efforts from the OPCW. The Working Group concludes:

The UK government has asserted that “No country bar Russia has combined capability, intent and motive” to carry out the Salisbury poisonings. Published studies show that these compounds can be synthesized at bench scale (sufficient for an assassination) in other countries. The UK government’s declared case therefore rests only on subjective judgements of “intent and motive”, which are open to question. 


A few days ago Victoriya Skripal, a cousin of Yulia Skripal, was interviewed by the Russian website MKRU (Ru). The Stalkerzone provides an English translation of the full interview. From it we learn that:

  • Victoriya Skripal tried to get information on her allegedly poisoned cousin Yulia and uncle Sergej from the British embassy in Russia since March 5. She also unsuccessfully tried to contact the hospital in Salisbury. She heard from the Russian embassy in Britain that Yulia is awake, can eat and drink and can say a few words.
  • Shortly before the incident Yulia had gained access to some $200,000 owned by her deceased brother. This, for now, seems to have nothing to do with the case.
  • Sergej Skripal is not a lone man but has a number of friends and family in Russia and in Britain who visited him regularly in Salisbury.
  • Sergej Skripal has two cats and two guinea pigs. Victoriya Skripal asks: What happened to them? (They licked the doorknob and turned into walking-dead?)
  • Victoriya Skripal wants to travel to Britain and bring at least Yulia back home with her.

Victoriya Skripal apparently also did an interview with the Mail Online (or the Mail plagiarized its piece from MKRU). There seems to be no additional information in it.


British officials spread various theories about where and how the Skripal's were poisoned. According to 'official' leaks to the British press the alleged nerve agent was smeared to the door of Sergej Skripal's car,  was in a pizza,  in Yulia Skripal's luggage or perfume, or in the car's air vent. I may have been sprayed by a mini drone, or the stuff was smeared onto to the doorknob of Skripal's house or maybe it was, as claimed yesterday, in buckwheat cereals brought from Russia on Sergej Skripal's request.

In my view none of these explanation is plausible. The multitude of the discussed possibilities alone shows that either no one has a clue of what happened and how it happened, or someone is trying to bury the case in a heap of misinformation. We shall call this phenomena 'Novi-fog'. It unmasks headlines like this one as mere propaganda: Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say. "It was on the doorknob (maybe)! Thus Putin himself did it!"


John Helmer, who reports from Moscow, documents that the British government is breaking several British laws as well as international agreements by keeping the family and the consular service of the Russian embassy in Britain away from the Skripals.


Previous Moon of Alabama reports on the Skripal case:

Posted by b on April 3, 2018 at 16:23 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

"Boris Johnson is facing embarrassment over his claims about the Salisbury poisoning attack after the Foreign Office deleted a tweet claiming Russia had produced the nerve agent."

Posted by: daffyDuct | Apr 4 2018 12:16 utc | 101

This sorry saga reminds me more and more of the last chapter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

Boris and The Maybot play King and Queen..

`What do you know about this business?' the King said to Alice.
`Nothing,' said Alice.
`Nothing whatever?' persisted the King.
`Nothing whatever,' said Alice.
`That's very important,' the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted: `Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course,' he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.
`Unimportant, of course, I meant,' the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone, `important--unimportant-- unimportant--important--' as if he were trying which word sounded best.
Some of the jury wrote it down `important,' and some `unimportant.' Alice could see this, as she was near enough to look over their slates; `but it doesn't matter a bit,' she thought to herself.

Then, a little later on..

`No, no!' said the Queen. `Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'
`Stuff and nonsense!' said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!'
`Hold your tongue!' said the Queen, turning purple.
`I won't!' said Alice.
`Off with her head!' the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved
`Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) `You're nothing but a pack of cards!'

After that, Alice wakes up. It was just a weird dream after all.

No need to "shut up and go away", just because a Pack of Cards turns nasty.

Posted by: Syd Walker | Apr 4 2018 12:56 utc | 102

I just spoke to a Russian who went back to Russia for a visit and reports very bad repression from Putin. I had to tell her about Soros and his colour revolutions. And of all of the ways that the US and others are targeting Russia. I think Putin needs to let people know about this because otherwise, they won't side with him. I managed to convince her but it took about 30 minutes of arguing.

Posted by: mischi | Apr 4 2018 13:14 utc | 103


Only one "Mike (b) Hammer" though ;-)

Posted by: morongobill | Apr 4 2018 13:26 utc | 104

"The British government is breaking several British laws as well as international agreements by keeping the family and the consular service of the Russian embassy in Britain away from the Skripals."

All Western 'law abiding democracies',(especially UK and US), seem to be doing this lately as Russia keeps pointing out.

Good analysis.

Posted by: ken | Apr 4 2018 13:47 utc | 105

Trump, the Russians, have said the expelled diplomats can be replaced with others.


Merkel said the same a few days ago. She signed Nordstream II at the end of March.

Trump on Tuesday reprised his allegation that Germany isn’t “paying” its fair share for NATO, while throwing in a hit at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that directly links Germany and Russia. Germany will be paying “billions of dollars” to Russia, Trump said at the White House. “That’s not right.” .. “This is fake news,” Joachim Pfeiffer (says) “he (DT) is comparing apples and oranges”…


The diplomatic shuffle is showy theatre. Meaningless, except for the diplos themselves, but that is part of their job, they get paid to pack their bags. This would seem to indicate that some ‘pressure’ was applied but that various bodies know the Skirpal ‘attack’ was somehow fraudulent / hyped / incorrectly described. (Target = the public who consumes MSM.) And ‘fake news’ has become a blanket accusation - how convenient.

Trump wants better relations with Russia, so does Merkel, :) looks like a competition! - ;)

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 4 2018 14:04 utc | 106

The Guardian's attitude is interesting. . .poking holes in UK's flimsy story is "counter-propaganda"

Russian counter-propaganda exploiting UK weaknesses over spy poisoning
Scientific research and political rhetoric operate at different velocities, leaving a gap that Moscow has exploited
A diplomatic drive in the UK to corner Russia for the Sergei Skripal poisoning has been set back in the past 24 hours, due in part to self-inflicted wounds – notably Boris Johnson’s loose language – but also to Russia’s ability to keep up a relentless counter-propaganda assault that British ministers seem unable to match.
The controversy underlines how rapidly UK intelligence material becomes shop soiled in heated political debates. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 4 2018 14:21 utc | 107

And now The Guardian is trying to dig itself out of the deep hole it had dug for itself:

Russian counter-propaganda exploiting UK weaknesses over spy poisoning

So all the garbage that HMG came out with was propaganda. Nothing new there then. The same HMG has repeatedly glossed over the fact that as a result of its policies there will be more than 200,000 excess deaths as a result of its policies, and it is obsessed about three injured people.
Meanwhile the lies in The Guardian just keep on coming:
After all, no country other than Russia is known to have novichok.

Somebody must have some for Porton Down to use for tests and didn't the United States declare they had some at one point.
There has been a second, wider, problem for the UK. Ministers have been forced to wait on the painstaking criminal inquiry in which police, scientists and intelligence agencies cannot produce evidence to order.

ROFLOL. The problem wasn't that ministers waited for the painstaking criminal inquiry to reach its conclusion, it was that the arrogant dumb f**kwits started stomping all over the inquiry in their size thirties from the very beginning. They deserve all the tons of odure that should descend on them from a great height.
What seemed like a rapid diplomatic triumph for the UK is emerging over time to be an uphill struggle. For Russia and now the UK, too much of their mutual reputations are at stake to ever concede defeat. This may yet be a long, bruising, struggle in which the evidence gives neither side the vindication they crave.

Hasn't The Guardian heard of the Rule of F**king Law? As the accuser, it's up to the UK to prove its case. It looks like the only country that will suffer a defeat is the United Kingdom. Let's hope that the British are intelligent enough to kick the Conservatives very hard in their privates come the next election.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 4 2018 14:39 utc | 108

Caught up in lies. Act IV on cue early next week when the OPCW weighs in.

UK Foreign Office: No inconsistencies. MayJo "misspoke." We deleted the tweet claiming "Russia did it" because the tweet was truncated...err, we only discovered the truncate 2 weeks later; Uuurm after Mr. Aitkenhead, Porton Down's CEO jogged our memory.

HOWEVER, BUT with a stiff upper lip we are tripling down.


[A spokesperson said:] "One of the tweets was truncated and did not accurately report our Ambassador's words. We have removed this tweet.

"None of this changes the fact that it is our assessment that Russia was responsible for this brazen and reckless act and, as the international community agrees, there is no other plausible explanation.

"No other country has a combination of the capability, the intent, and the motive to carry out such an act."

The questions over the Foreign Office tweet came as discussions of the Salisbury poisoning at an extraordinary meeting of the OPCW further heightened tensions between London and the Kremlin.

Ahmet Uzumcu, the director-general of the OPCW, used the meeting to announce he expects to receive the results of his organisation's own independent analysis of samples from Salisbury by early next week.

(emphasis added)

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 4 2018 15:10 utc | 109

Russian and American diplomats going to exile.

Just two photos, just to compare

Posted by: Arioch | Apr 4 2018 15:20 utc | 110

I was born lived in the UK but haven't lived there for 10 years. I still keep up with the BBC and Guardian however along with mainly 'alt' news.
It is absolutely shocking what has been playing out over the last few weeks.
17 Palestinians murdered and not a peep from the UK government...
And the Skripal case?
My God!!
Anyone with half a brain can see how flimsy the accusations are from HMG and the harmonious chorus from the scurrillous 'free press'.
Iraq 2003 was low but this...
I haven't spoken to UK friends and family about this as I'm scared I will hear them parrotting the same drivel.
This sad parody of diplomacy.
I feel HMG and UK at large need to wake up fast before they really do sleep walk into something terrible.

Posted by: adamski | Apr 4 2018 15:29 utc | 111

The OPCW [ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS] responsibility is the determination if a chemical weapon was used, and does not include determining the identity of the attacker.

Quotes from a speech by Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, Director-General OPCW, to the UN Security Concil, 20 March 2018. (In the speech Üzümcü recounted investigations in Syria without casting blame.)

The mandate of the FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] is confined to establishing only the fact of the use of chemical weapons . . .Those who use chemical weapons to perpetrate violence must be held accountable for their actions. This is the responsibility of the policy making organs that have been vested with the authority to ensure respect for international legal norms and to serve the ends of international peace and security. . .here

Possibly the UK & friends will push for the OPCW to send a FFM to look at alleged Russian chemical weapon operations.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 4 2018 15:45 utc | 112

thanks for the many interesting posts people...

craig murray has a few more posts up today.. .. this one is called "The Poison in our Body Politic" and it is right on.. until there is some type of accountability from our politicians and etc on the lies they tell - we are entering a dark phase... as for the guardian and bbc - they are proving themselves to be more then worthless.. and, when the truth of the matter is known - uk has no proof any of this came from russia - they are missing in action.. it is unacceptable and they need to be held accountable as well.. i for one refuse to open or read a guardian or bbc link at this point...

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2018 16:12 utc | 113

Craig Murray's on fire today with two new items that absolutely sink May/Johnson/Torries/Blairites. He makes the extremely important point that the failure to prosecute Blair for his aggressive war crime has paved the way for this recent round of lying to the world.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 4 2018 16:12 utc | 114

Ref 17 Palestinian murdered
They need to kill a few dozens once in a while so that no one bother them with "peace process" again. They have more urgent business to do with their friends in Jordan, Egypt and all over the Gulf.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2018 16:24 utc | 115

Re the Soviet non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany raised above, thanks to the magic of the Internet Hitler's declaration of war on the USSR can be read here:

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Apr 4 2018 16:24 utc | 116

Sinclair's Synchronized Fake News Broadcast Goes Viral

Posted by: ninel | Apr 4 2018 16:55 utc | 117

Who did it? Fair enough, a basic question. But another matter seems to be completely ignored. How did the chemical weapon/substance get into the UK? Russia sent it in a diplomatic pouch? It couldn't possibly have been sent from Russia by the usual public plane, air, train, boat links. Private plane or yacht then? This is the most fundamental question of all because the crime is a huge security failure on the part of the UK state: police, border officials (imagine the Irish border after Brexit!), surveillance and intelligence agencies as a starter. Will some individual or agency be held responsible? No, as Craig Murray says today the failure to hold Blair and Co. personally responsible for the ginned up Iraq invasion is one of the sources of our woes today. Blair and his US buddies committed a heinous act which has gone basically unpunished (Chilcot report my ass!). The Nuremberg Trials now seem so quaint in retrospect. Come to think of it, someone in the UK must be going around with some more of this toxic stuff. Will he/she strike again? The anthrax attacks in the US were never satisfactorily explained. The Skipral evet too will disappear in the memory hole if the government has its way---but I suspect Russia is going to rub it in and wring it out for all its worth.

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 4 2018 17:07 utc | 118

Me @ 119 In my previous comment I omitted to mention the possibility that the chemical agent was manufactured right in the UK itself and not smuggled in!

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 4 2018 17:10 utc | 119

The agent could also have come in in a diplomatic pouch of a country like the U.S. or Israel (or, to be fair, Russia).

Posted by: lysias | Apr 4 2018 17:18 utc | 120

"Russia is building its influence through alternative media sites" has T. May expressed.
Ok its official then: Den Lille Abe wil now post under new alias: PutinBot.

Posted by: PutinBot | Apr 4 2018 17:18 utc | 121

nyt;friedman says; Putin is a cia

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 4 2018 17:44 utc | 122

Full 16 minute interview with head of Porton Down!/link/GIIXEe6Lr

My notes / questions-

"... it was that team that were able to identify that this was actually a military grade nerve agent, which you can read now as from the family known as Novichok"

the weasel words-
" which you can read now as from the family known as Novichok"

Being able to read it in a newspaper or on the web and it actually being a true statement of fact are two different things.

"and essentially it was our people who detected that at the scene and verified that it was from that family of nerve agents"

weasel words-

"and essentially it was our people"

"essentially" does not rule out other people being involved, who if any?

"yeah well we have built up over many years deep expertise in chemical analysis using very advanced techniques that have been used over the years often in a military arena to try and then figure out what's the chemical composition of this particular nerve agent and then they were able to from that experience identify it as Novichok"

weasel words -

"then they were able to from that experience identify it as Novichok"

Just "experience" or were scientific tests used?

When asked about whether they might be able to definitively identify the source of the "novichok"-

"given you know we're in the middle of a Police investigation it's very difficult to kind of comment on that"

If he is so concerned with not interfering with the Police investigation why is he even giving the interview, it could well prejudice any legal proceedings in the future.

"we have been able to take samples from the scene"

What scene is he talking about, the bench, Zizzi, the door handle?

"and then used a number of advanced analysis techniques to be able to identify what the substance is, I can't go into real detail about the particular steps we go through to get to the conclusion"

Was any science involved at all?

Interviewer "is that confined to the vehicles, home, the site where they were found and a restaurant and a pub is that broadly right"
"Broadly speaking yes and we've isolated together with the police and the military we've either removed the items that were infected from the scene or we have secured those locations"

Before he spoke of "the scene" singular and chemical weapons do not "infect", biological ones do.

In short, he does not say that any science was used to determine what "the substance" was merely some sort of "analysis" whatever that means, he won't say, there is a "scene" but that could be any location and we can read it on the web/newspapers as being Novichok, though we still have no idea what the chemical formula is. If he was in a Police interview room my guess is he would be arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 4 2018 18:02 utc | 123

@123 "nyt;friedman says; Putin is a cia"

Friedman is much too crafty to say something definitive like that. I read the article. It's all suggestion and innuendo.

Posted by: dh | Apr 4 2018 18:15 utc | 124

@ karlof1 | 115
Craig Murray is always good, but his work on the Skirpal hoax is admirable. Thanks for the new links.

Aitkenhead's mendacious wriggling upon the horns of multiple dilemmas is obvious to a discerning observer, so I hope that less-discerning observers are at least discerning enough to read Murray.

Even a more skillful public-relations flack would struggle with this impossible, arrantly preposterous position. Surely he and his minders must see that his statements can't obscure or finesse their many inherent contradictions.

Here's another that hasn't been mentioned yet, I think: asserting that it isn't Porton Down's job to identify the manufacturer of the agent/toxin-- but belatedly smearing this "bright line" by speculating that it must perforce have been a "state actor".

Too bad Murray wasn't conducting that "interview". It would've gone differently from the start, and Murray might have responded to the dicey "state actor" innuendo by asking point-blank, "Does 'state actor' include Great Britain?" Then the room would've filled with the stench of weasel body fluids.

Posted by: Ort | Apr 4 2018 18:16 utc | 125

As the alien-possessed civil servants said in an episode of Quatermass II: "Those questions must not be asked!"

Posted by: lysias | Apr 4 2018 18:38 utc | 126

I think Inspector Finch from V for Vendetta might be onto something -

Posted by: TJ | Apr 4 2018 18:40 utc | 127

@TJ 124

"yeah well we have built up over many years deep expertise in chemical analysis using very advanced techniques that have been used over the years often in a military arena to try and then figure out what's the chemical composition of this particular nerve agent and then they were able to from that experience identify it as Novichok"

Yeah well how can your deep expertise identify it as something that doesn't exist?

Dr. Robin M. Black, formerly of Porton Down’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory — which reportedly confirmed the use of Novichok in the Salisbury assassination — sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the OPCW. Dr. Black: "No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published." On the basis of this sort of analysis, the OPCW’s science board, which included Porton Down’s Dr Black as UK representative, concluded that: “… it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of ‘Novichoks.’” . .here and here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 4 2018 18:54 utc | 128

Ort @126--

Thanks for expressing your fine thoughts on the matter. Sputnik is currently highlighting the massive Twitter row caused by Johnson et al's lies. Plus, Russia's UNSC Ambassador is demanding an open hearing on the matter. I must admit being rather satisfied that this Big Lie has blown up massively in the faces of its makers, but more serious fallout needs to occur, like the ascension of Corbyn to PM.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 4 2018 19:04 utc | 129

Duck 1 @62

You are totally correct. I have no idea why I wrote 'weedkiller'. Maybe I have caught blojoitis.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 4 2018 19:18 utc | 130

Ghostship @96:

How the likes of Hamish de Bretton-Gordon and Boris de Pfeffel Johnson rise to the top of the UK establishment is a mystery to me. All I can think of is that it is an Evil Russian Plot (TM) to destroy the UK leadership. A very effective plot too.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 4 2018 19:24 utc | 131

blojoitis? LOL... you mean bojoitis? as it boris the bozo idiot johnson?

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2018 19:38 utc | 132

this is the best most thorough article about saudi that i have read
highly recommended
Dexter Filkins writes in NewYorker

> In late October, Kushner paid an unpublicized visit to M.B.S., his third trip to the kingdom since the election. Though Kushner was supposed to focus on a plan for peace between Israel and Palestine, he had evidently decided that the more pressing goal was to unite the region against Iran.
> Soon after Kushner departed, M.B.S. held a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, to discuss the prospects for peace in the Middle East. According to a former Obama Administration official, the Saudis presented a plan that was radically favorable to Israel. It would recognize Israel’s claims to Jerusalem and ratify nearly all of its settlements in the West Bank, offering the Palestinians only limited autonomy in areas under their control. A senior Palestinian official told me that Arab leaders have been applying intense pressure to Abbas, apparently in coöperation with the Trump Administration: “The whole idea is to settle the Jerusalem issue, so the White House can build a united front against Iran.” But, he said, “if Jerusalem is on the table, we will never do it.”
> Western officials, caught off guard by Hariri’s detention, rallied to save him. Tillerson released a statement, saying, “The United States supports the stability of Lebanon and is opposed to any actions that could threaten that stability.” Emmanuel Macron, the French President, visited M.B.S. and pressed him to release Hariri. According to a Western diplomat with knowledge of the exchange, M.B.S. opened the conversation by threatening to cut off trade with France unless Macron stopped doing business with Iran. Macron gently replied that a country like France was free to trade with whomever it wished. “Macron handled it very well, and M.B.S. backed down,” the diplomat told me.

if you don't know how to get around nyer paywall, here:

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 4 2018 19:40 utc | 133

@ Simple Simon, 103

I believe the rorshing tward did snarfel like glomids in the sun, but when the dap did heifel the smarking was begun. But soon the tword was klabished and the dap lay by the parf, --forever gargled and stiggled by the hoosgen on the larf.

Did the dap forglade its smiling? Did the hoosgen regret it's plang? Or perhaps did orphenhissle koosh the plyde and slib the twang?

Posted by: DineroDProfit | Apr 4 2018 19:44 utc | 134

@Don Bacon 129

Very good find. Thanks for links.

OPCW is waffling. Skripal Probe said stalled by the usual culprits. Miscreants.

OPCW said it can provide Moscow with data on the Skripal case only if the UK shows “goodwill,” says Russia’s permanent representative to the chemical weapons watchdog. London, however, is not expected to do so, the official said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has refused to provide Russia with any facts on the investigation into the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the permanent representative to the organization, Aleksandr Shulgin, said.

Any data can be provided only if the UK shows “goodwill” on the matter, which, however, is unlikely, given London’s behavior, Shulgin said.[.]

Russia, along with China and Iran, presented a draft proposal for tackling the Skripal case at the OPCW’s extraordinary session on Wednesday. The plan calls for two key actions: Launch a joint Russia-UK investigation into the Skripal case and instruct the director General of the technical secretariat of the OPCW to support such work, the Russian representative said.

“In response to our constructive, calm and emotionless proposition, we’ve received a flow of murky lies, based on a hard-boiled Russophobia,” Shulgin said.

During the extraordinary session, representatives of the UK, US and many of the EU countries released similar statements, claiming that the China-Iran-Russia draft was Moscow’s attempt to evade the “polite” questions of London. In fact, Russia has received nothing but a rude ultimatum, urging it to acknowledge guilt in the Skripal incident, [.]

FFS. OPCW follows the strong arms and succumbs.

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 4 2018 20:17 utc | 135

@ 132 Anonymous | Apr 4, 2018 3:24:00 PM

You inquired. BloJo, a.k.a. Boris Johnson esq. is what becomes from untreated ADD - attention deficit disorder. Before treatment was available or the condition was understood, those having this condition, through experience, found that by becoming the teacher's jester, the class clown and thereby hiding behind some seeming humour, could escape consequences of their behaviour. This is how BloJo made their way through elite over-priveledged British Public Schools and onto the universe of Oxbridge where, in order to end BloJo's assault on their ivory-towered peace, finally decided to give Boris a 'One' and tell him it was a 'First' in something or another that didn't offer a great chance of going amiss. From there, BloJo did the usual for his class and estate and obtained a seat in Parliament where his skills were not unnoticed. Thought in Parliament was to put Boris under the tutorship of Parliamentarian adults, meaning front bench and being front bench meant that he had some portfolio - who better than the FCO, an institution gunnel full of adults of all colour, shape and persuasion. This scheme became awry when for unknown cause, like lemmings, the adults disappeared (mostly found below in the kitchens playing cards) and Boris found himself heading the FCO as Minister, and up the proverbial creek without an adult canoe in sight. This is where the world now finds Boris, doing what he knows best, because if he cannot befuddle the others with his knowledge, he will brilliant them with his BS.

Notes on other cast members:
The body and sartorial language of the Prime Minister played by Theresa May MP; her usual adornment about the neck of a very large silvered logging chain devise offers insight into bondage, her public 'smile' at the opposition's Jeremy Corbyn suggest some SM as well.When not so adorned, alternative costume is either pearls the size of hen's eggs or rocks large enough to make anything the Queen has look puny (although real). As a supposedly 'Alpha Personality', typecasting with Theresa has been a failure and Theresa's capacity to act the rôle is not up to grade.
The Minister of Defence, a young has-been still wet behind the ears, who is so entirely forgettable their name escapes here and has shown themselves to be nothing more than a super-privileged, super-entitled British Public School willy-wanker.
Britain's future is so bright with this crew, one needs wear shades (or other eye protection from n-bomb blast).

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 4 2018 20:36 utc | 136

OCPW update, Apr 4 - quotes
>The OPCW experts visited the locations where two of the victims were reportedly exposed to a toxic chemical and collected several environmental samples. The team also took biomedical samples from these two victims, as well as from a third individual, a police officer reportedly exposed to a toxic
chemical. . . .The chain-of-custody was fully maintained.
>The results of the sample analyses are expected to be received by early next week.
>The OPCW team worked independently and is not involved in the national investigation by the UK authorities.
>No State Party is involved in the technical work that is being carried out by the Secretariat. . . .here

This is from a closed-door meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council in The Hague, convened at the request of Moscow. A diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, told AFP that Russia had tabled a motion asking the OPCW to "involve Russia in some way or another in the investigation." He described the atmosphere inside the meeting as "heavy." . . .here

Executive Council Membership
Each State Party has the right, in accordance with the principle of rotation, to serve on the Council. Regional groups are represented on the Council in accordance with a detailed formula stipulated in the Convention as follows:
Africa - nine members;
Asia - nine members;
Eastern Europe - five members,
Latin America and the Caribbean - seven members;
Western Europe and Other States - 10 members;
and by one further State Party, designated on a rotating basis, from Asia or Latin America and the Caribbean. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 4 2018 20:43 utc | 137

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
~ Edward Bernays, "Propaganda," 1928

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."
~ Karl Rove

And yet, here we are, almost a century after Edward Bernays wrote a book on how the masses are manipulated, and more than a decade after "Bush's Brain" mocked us, here we are "judiciously studying" Empire's past action.

Meanwhile, Empire is acting, and "the masses" are acting and reacting across the globe. And almost no one knows who pulls the strings, let alone are we organizing to overturn their rule.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 4 2018 21:00 utc | 138

If nuclear material is for sale, it means the Iran agreement is pretty much irrelevant.

Posted by: ian | Apr 4 2018 21:26 utc | 139

@Daniel 140
Let's see how this OPCW effort shakes out before we admit defeat. Russia has bested the US everywhere recently, will the streak hold?. . I think so.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 4 2018 21:37 utc | 140

Here comes the UK fighting out of its corner with it looks like the good old 'we know who dunnit but we'd have to kill you if we told you' defence of their position.

This is claimed to be the front page of the Times Thursday, tomorrow morning.

Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 4 2018 22:45 utc | 141

@142 Don Bacon - agreed

@140 Daniel

We are studying empire's past action because there is no current action of Empire to study. There's not even a future one worth predicting, except to say it will probably fail and even if it succeeds it will cost the empire far more than it gains. We are seeing amazing successes as the world becomes multi polar and the uni-polar prison walls crumble. Truly, there is no cause for despair.

I always remember a thing a guy told me once about when he started his own service business: "I knew when I started that people would expect a miracle. What I didn't understand was how they wouldn't recognize a miracle when you gave them one."

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 4 2018 23:28 utc | 142

Did they bring in an outsider with no chemistry background just a couple of months before this happened...

"...Gary will formally take up post on 1 January 2018. He replaces David Marsh, who has been Acting Chief Executive since the previous Chief Executive Jonathan Lyle left the organisation in September this year..."

... in preference over a PHD chemist who's been with the MOD for 25 years...

"...David has been with MOD for 25 years and has held previous appointments in a range of major project, programme and operational delivery leadership roles. He has wider responsibilities as the MOD Head of Profession for Portfolio, Programme and Project Management and the MOD champion for Sustainable Development.
David graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1986 with an honours degree in Applied Chemistry and was awarded his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1990...."

Posted by: theShadow | Apr 5 2018 0:04 utc | 143

Fellow posters,

IMHO there is a probable link between the Skripal incident and the fate of Nordstream 2.
The interested parties would be Ukraine, to consolidate their position as a ¨partenaire obligé¨,
The US to prevent the new pipeline from becoming a reality and therefore condemning Europe
to the obliged use of US LNG, to prevent Russia from spreading its ¨tentacles¨ to both Asia
and Europe making Russia a very important strategic partner in both theaters which in turn
reduces the relevance of the US and it's lapdog, "la perfide Albion" and its City Masters.

The Merkel Govt was to be prevented from signing the Nordstream deal and the ever so naive
Baltic Sates were to be given incentives to scuttle the deal.

So, the Skripal incident was concocted in order to accuse Russia of spreading the Plague on
British soil!

Were it not for recent events that undermined the credibility of the US and British Establishments,
or if its execution had been less shoddy, even Merkel would have jumped on the bandwagon.

But in failing to prove a motive, the case unraveled on the question of "cui bono".

And herein lies the crux of the matter. Motive could not be alleged. and the whole plot failed.

Merkel did sign the agreement making Nordstream2 a reality. She will now use all her persuasion
to convince the Baltic States to do the same on behalf of the German People and the prosperity
of all Europeans. So Europe will not freeze i winter.

America will be "great " again within its borders.

England's elites will still prevail at home, amongst the subjects of her Majesty, indentured servants
that worship the hand that whips their backs.

Europe will disentangle herself from the manipulations of the City, and survive; the US will free herself
from the tentacles of her elite or perish with the human race, if reason does not overcome greed.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 5 2018 1:10 utc | 144

Here's the thing.

The only true democracy you have is where everyone has free and unfettered information to true information, so they can have a proper factually-based opinion. Of course, that relies on educated people able to differentiate between propaganda and truth. That is quite clearly not the case.

There is no such thing as democracy. It's a lie. It's a system, owned by western governments and their media mouthpieces (and the financial systems) that abuse the unwashed masses, the 'useful idiots'.

It's become clear to me that western governments treat us all like brainless morons, unable to differentiate fact from fantasy.

Thank goodness there are websites like MoA, where the Goebbels-like media diarhhea is dismantled.

Thankyou b.

Posted by: Ant. | Apr 5 2018 13:19 utc | 145

Don, I am not "admitting defeat." I'm stating that we are "judiciously studying" this alleged Novachok attack while the Empire is busy wreaking havoc across the globe.

Grieved, Empire has not surrendered to this "multipolar world." Not even in Syria, let alone Ukraine, South America, Africa, Central Asia... really, anywhere.

In fact, believing we are just witnessing an inevitable collapse of Empire is pretty much exactly what Empire would want us to believe, so we don't take an active role in dismantling it.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 5 2018 21:52 utc | 146

Do we have any fluent Russian speakers? Anyone help Craig Murray out with the request in the last part of his Knobs and Kncockers article.

Someone may have answered in the comments section of that article but there are 870 comments, growing by the minute, so time consuming to scan them all. Craig's contact details are on the website.

Posted by: Carrie | Apr 6 2018 11:55 utc | 147

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