Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 05, 2018

The Strange Timestamp In The New Novichok 'Evidence' - UPDATED

Please read the Update highlighted below.

Today, in a politically convenient moment, the British government released new information about the poisoning of the British spy Sergej Skripal, his daughter, and three other persons. It claims to have identified two men with Russian passports who arrived in London from Moscow on March 2, went to Salisbury on March 3 on a 'reconnaissance' trip, came back to Salisbury on March 4 to put Novichok poison on the doorknob of Skripal's home and flew back from London to Moscow on the same day. The names of the men were given as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov which are Russian language equivalents of Joe Smith and Sam Jones. These names are likely false.

The police says that CCTV pictures were taken at several steps of the men's travel. The British news agency Reuters seem to distribute these. Several media have picked up copies.

Here are screenshots of two CCTV pictures, taken from an 18 picture gallery in a report by The Independent headlined Salisbury poisoning suspects are Russian state assassins, Theresa May tells MPs.

These are pictures 7 and 8 of a 18 picture gallery within that piece.

Pic 7 of 18 - full, uncropped screenshot
Pic 8 of 18 - full, uncropped screenshot

The pics are also available at the Metropolitan police site: 1, 2.

Notice that the time stamp on both pics is identical, 02/03/2018 16:22:43. But the pictures show two different men, each walking alone through the same part of a jet bridge as they arrive in Britain. How can it be that both of these pictures were taken at the exactly same second? And who tilted the permanently installed CCTV camera between the two shots? How did the camera angle change between picture one and two which were apparently taken at the very same place and at the very same time?

If these two pictures can not be trusted how much can one trust the other CCTV pictures the Met showed to support its claims?

UPDATE Sept 6 - 5:20 UTC

Here is the answer to the above questions. In the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport, at the northern end of arrival level zero, there are several parallel and apparently identical gates leading into the airport. Each of these has a camera.

Thanks to Bruce Leidl who found the above picture in Google maps.

The two pictures above with identical timestamps were taken in two of these gates with each of the 'Russian assassins' passing through one of them at the same time. Aeroflot flights from Moscow are serviced at the North Terminal.

End of the Update - the original text continues below.

The full statement of the Metropolitan police is here. Excerpts of Prime Minister Theresa May's statement are here.

While May claims the two men were send by Russia's military spy service GRU, the Metropolitan police makes no such claims. Theresa May does not say on what evidence she based her conclusion. There seems to be none.

It also seems a bit curious that a 'Russian assassin' team, allegedly from a highly professional secret service, would travel together and use direct flights from Moscow to London and back. That seems extraordinary careless. Why not fly separate and via a third country?

And why would a professional assassin team drop a cellophane wrapped, unopened perfume bottle with the same poison into a charity bin behind shops in Catherine Street in Salisbury where Charlie Rowley would find it some 14 weeks(!?) later?

The police says that it found traces of Novichok in the crappy hotel the 'Russian agents' stayed in between March 2 and March 4. It found those traces on May 4 but it waited until today to publicly ask other guests at the hotel to contact the police?

If the incident was a professional assassination attempt with a highly potent 'Novichok' compound why did 4 out of 5 people who came into contact with it survive? The 80% failure rate is inconsistent with the scary tale about the highly potent 'Russian' Novichok poison. A decent dose of Megachok is probably more lethal.


Sergej Skripal has not been seen in the public or even on video since the incident happened. His daughter Yulia Skripal appeared in a British government hostage video but then vanished. The Russian Embassy in London says that it has no access to them. The policeman, who allegedly was also injured during the incident, also never reappeared in public. Why are these people held incommunicado and under arrest?

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the Skripal case:

March 8 - Poisioned British-Russian Double-Agent Has Links To Clinton Campaign
March 12 - Theresa May's "45 Minutes" Moment
March 14 - Are 'Novichok' Poisons Real? - May's Claims Fall Apart
March 16 - The British Government's 'Novichok' Drama Was Written By Whom?
March 18 - NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"
March 21 - Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)
March 29 - Last Act Of 'Novichok' Drama Revealed - "The Skripals' Resurrection"
March 31 - Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions
April 3 - Operation Hades Blamed Russia - A Model For The 'Novichok' Claims?
April 4 - It's The Cover-Up" - UK Foreign Office Deletes Tweet, Posts False Transcript, Issues New Lies
April 5 - Novi-Fog™ In Fleet Street - Truth Cut Off
April 6 - The Best Explanation For The Skripal Drama Is Still ... Food Poisoning
April 7 - A Very British Farce
April 12 - New Developments In The Skripal Drama - Police Statement, OPCW Report Release
April 15 - Were the Skripals 'Buzzed', 'Novi-shocked' Or Neither? - May Has Some 'Splaining' To Do
April 28 - The Silence Of The Skripals - Government Blocks Press Reports - Media Change The Record
May 4 - Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such
May 24 - British Hostage Video Of Yulia Skripal Released
July 4 - British Government Peddles Warmed Over Novichok Muck
July 16 - The Magic Of Novichok - Deadly Agent Found In Perfume Bottle

Posted by b on September 5, 2018 at 01:33 PM | Permalink

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I haven't read all the thread so I may have missed others pointing out the same thing. In fact I find the never ending story of the Skirpals/Skripals or whatever, tedious in the extreme, and only ended up here today cos I'm fleeing that Jeff Bezos creature who at the moment and unusually has genuine wireless (not bluetooth nonsense) gaming headsets at the best price. Caught in flagrante accumsan, I opted for emptio interruptus* & raced to MoA to put the images of a potential shiny new 5 minute distraction out of my head by considering this tosh that keeps on toshing.
The englanders reckon that the wannabe murderers were traveling under false passports and that they do not know these types real identity. OK fair enough but if that is the case how can they then claim both were "paid up members of the GRU"? The two claims made by Terri May in Parliament yesterday cannot really work side by side can they? HTF can you know if someone is enemy state spy if you do not know the person's true identity?
I acknowledge that seems to be a minor issue, but it isn't because it goes to the heart of the matter. The englanders really only have something to be upset over if the pair were operating under instruction of the Russian government.
If they were merely just another mob of Russian crims like the couple of hundred 'expats' who the Russian government has requested be extradited home from London to face justice for crimes ranging from fraud, tax evasion, theft of state assets and perjury all the way to murder a request which has often included an offer of a swap *we will give you the bloke u incorrectly allege knocked Alexander Litvinenko if you give us Boris Berezovsky" - an offer that is always rejected outta hand despite truckloads of evidence against the Berezovsky which accompanies the request. That kinda makes the world wonder if the Berezovsky donations to the tory party machine could be better spent funding something more useful such as a 300 sq km floating island that every zionist could have a decent space on before renaming the new land mass 'israel' and towing it off somewhere that had neighbours who didn't mind being shot at, blown up and patronised all at once.

*Those who unlike me did not cheat their way through "Let's Enjoy Latin" (the cover of which was modified by thousands of 12 year old schoolboys into "Let's enjoy Eating" will know that I have tenses, declensions and conjugations all up the whoop - as they say in Aotearoa.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 6, 2018 12:05:03 AM | 101

I recall Israeli agents flying around the world killing people with Australian, Canadian and British passports, so the "Russian passport" means nothing. If these two are confirmed to have flown from Moscow, my money is on the Ukrainian involvement. Then incompetence and cheap hotel are easily explained. Strangely enough, official Kiev - never shy to accuse Moscow at every opportunity - is unusually quiet today.
In any case, Russia has to provide footage from the port of departure, and go from there.
Needless to say, if UK resists legitimate Russian request for these guys' fingerprints, then the spotlight must be turned on British special ops services.
One thing they've never been accused of is integrity.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 6, 2018 12:46:28 AM | 102

One has to admit Great sleuthing work here.
But still this answers none of the most important questions :
Why the F was the Skripals targeted?
And where the hell are they?

Posted by: Occidentosis | Sep 6, 2018 12:46:42 AM | 103

@101 That should be an important: if they flew straight from Moscow and then flew straight back to Moscow then they have no way of slipping away - they MUST have gone through Russian border security both ways.

So if Putin didn't do it (and I doubt that very much) then Russian law enforcement can work the other end of this investigation.

Something like, oh, I dunno... maybe a security video showing those two dudes catching the next available flight to Tel Aviv.

Or evidence that these two goons are long-time associates of some Russian mafioso with some verrry dubious business links in London

Something like that.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 6, 2018 1:17:30 AM | 104

@102 My best guess is that Skripal is neck-deep in the Steele/Trump dossier, and he was working a bit o' freelance blackmail by threatening to spill the beans unless his silence was bought.

Only he underestimated the ruthlessness of the people he was working for.

If not that, then some association with shady Russian gangster seems possible.

But the idea that Skripal was just minding his own business, and that he was living his decliing years in slightly-dottery satisfaction so enraged Putin that he demanded - demanded! - that this harmless old pensioner had to be assassinated?

Sure. Pull the other one.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 6, 2018 1:27:03 AM | 105


The piece above was updated with an explanation for the strange timestamps.

Posted by: b | Sep 6, 2018 1:49:29 AM | 106

I appreciate your honesty Moon, but I'm not quite convinced.

1. The photos of the 'assassins' that you describe as "full, uncropped" are not full and uncropped. They only show one side of the corridor. Other versions of the photos show both sides.
2. The arrival gates in your later photos are the final airport gates, after baggage collection. The corridors have to be wide enough to take a luggage trolley. They look much wider than the corridors the 'assassins' are coming through.
3. Just before the arrival gates there are clearly glass doors with a 'no entry' sign on them. Once open, these doors should obscure most of the rail in the next panel. In the 'assassin' photos there is no trace of these doors, either open or closed, and the whole of the rail is clearly visible.

I don't think they are the same corridors at all.

Posted by: Stonky | Sep 6, 2018 2:46:28 AM | 107

Why is no-one asking about the cat and guinea pigs?

How they survived exposure to Novichok only to die of hunger/thirst and were then given a Kellyesque cremation to avoid further examination.

Posted by: julian_n | Sep 6, 2018 3:10:29 AM | 108

Three not mentioned scenarios. Putin contrary to the western press is not an all powerful dictator in Russia. He has plenty of opposition many of which he has yet to weed out of the government. It could be that the would be killers were from Putin's opposition hoping to bring about his downfall even if it meant sanctions killing the Russian economy and causing unrest. Thus the obvious mile wide trail throughout the affair and no effort of the killers to disguise themselves.

Or the Brits themselves tried to knock off old man Skripal, because they felt in his regular trips to the Russian Embassy he was selling them out,and the daughter was collateral damage. When lots of the world demanded evidence the Brits had their two men fly into Moscow under a different name and in disguise and back to Britain for the "evidence" pictures. Then back to Moscow to finish the trail whereupon the "killers" assumed their disguise and flew back to where they came from. We don't know for sure when all the pictures were taken, could have been months after the affair, as time stamps can be altered.

Or, one of the first responders to come to the Skripal's aide said it looked like an opioid overdose. Daughter flies in from Russia both go out and have a last supper and end up at the graveyard where the wife and mother rested. It's possible the Skripal's tried to commit suicide with an opioid overdose and failed. Only they can tell us. The Brits not wanting to waste an opportunity handed to them created the fiction, with US consultation, of a Russian assassination attempt complete with bumbling assassins to stick it to Putin. It also explains the bumbling investigation and lack of victims, other than a propaganda piece fed to the press but soon debunked, which include the first responders who should have been sickend but weren't. Thus the Brits keeping the Skripal's in lock down to keep the truth from coming out. Before poo pooing the idea of suicide the vast majority of those that threaten to do so have no intention of killing themselves, even though they make half hearted attempts, but are looking for attention. On the flip side those that do want to kill themselves gave no indication of their intentions. Thus lots of conspiracy theories of those successful suicides being attributed to mysterious killers.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Sep 6, 2018 3:37:41 AM | 109

There is an eerie similarity. In the Skripal case, according to witnesses, the Skripals would have behaved as if they were hallucinating. After that they were in coma for several months. In the MK-Ultra program people were given hallucinatory drugs while they were being reprogrammed and after that held in coma for months - in order to erase the memory of the indoctrination program. I have no idea why they would do this to the Skripals and whether the MK-Ultra programming actually worked, it is just very strange.

Posted by: Antares | Sep 6, 2018 3:50:01 AM | 110


Not by the incompetent crap fantasy story peddled by Teresa May, which has long since ceased to surprise, but by the incompetent conspiracy theorising both in the original post and in the endless endless endless deranged comments on the total non-issue of the timestamp. WAKE UP MoA - you are in a BAD DREAM!!!

I never expected to find FAKE NEWS on MoA, but that is what this is. Please delete this page, b, including all the comments, it is embarassing.

Even after the correct explanation was given quite clearly twice by Køn, STILL people keep persisting with idiotic conspiratorial stories about the timestamp. Out of 109 comments there are only about 4 or 5 comments worth the ink they are written with, including the two by Køn and one by Fran.

Like all FAKE NEWS it only serves as a distraction from the real issues. There are thousands of blatent contradictions and fakeries in this tale, but the timestamp is not one of them. By concentrating your gaze on the non-issue you arer being distracted from the million-and-one real issues.

This gate has nothing to do with the arrivals area, it is an unmanned one-way gate entirely within the air-side of the airport, and prevents people from going up the corridor in the reverse direction. As Køn stated there are such gates installed in other airports also.

In the middle of a corridor between disembarkment and the baggage area there will be a series of parallel one-way gates across the width of the corridor, so that several people can pass through at once, one per gate. Each gate is only wide enough for one person, so if two people are walking together - surprise surprise - they will obviously walk through adjacent gates. From an installation pointr of view, it is cheaper and easier to install the cctv cameras in pairs, so that there is less cabling to install. The right-hand gate of each pair has the camera on the left pointing right, and the left hand gate of the pair has a camera mounjted immediately adjacent to the aforementioned on the right pointing left. Thus - surprise surprise - the images look like mirror images but they are not.

As you enter the guide leading to the gate the gate opens, and as you pass through the gate it immediately closes behind you. It is a simple one-way valve, that is all (on secon thoughts, the one-way valve between disembarkment and baggage area is probably just the cover, while in reality it is pure and simple a means of getting good clear CCTV images of every passenger arriving at the airport, who are probably pre-scanned before reaching immigration to pre-select anyone of interest for further scrutiny).

Move along folks, nothing to see here, concentrate on the real issues instead.

Posted by: BM | Sep 6, 2018 4:25:23 AM | 111

Angry Panda @52

It might help if you read the Russian Constitution a bit more carefully.
You read the wrong section of the Russian Constitution, Article 61 concerns Russian Citizens, Article 63 concerns political asylum to foreign nationals and stateless persons. The translations are the official ones of the Russian Government.

Статья 61

Гражданин Российской Федерации не может быть выслан за пределы Российской Федерации или выдан другому государству.
Российская Федерация гарантирует своим гражданам защиту и покровительство за ее пределами.

Article 61

A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported from Russia or extradited to another State.
The Russian Federation shall guarantee to its citizens protection and patronage abroad.

Статья 63

Российская Федерация предоставляет политическое убежище иностранным гражданам и лицам без гражданства в соответствии с общепризнанными нормами международного права.
В Российской Федерации не допускается выдача другим государствам лиц, преследуемых за политические убеждения, а также за действия (или бездействие), не признаваемые в Российской Федерации преступлением. Выдача лиц, обвиняемых в совершении преступления, а также передача осужденных для отбывания наказания в других государствах осуществляются на основе федерального закона или международного договора Российской Федерации.

Article 63

The Russian Federation shall grant political asylum to foreign nationals and stateless persons according to the universally recognized norms of international law.
In the Russian Federation it shall not be allowed to extradite to other States those people who are persecuted for political convictions, as well as for actions (or inaction) not recognized as a crime in the Russian Federation. The extradition of people accused of a crime, and also the handover of convicts for serving sentences in other States shall be carried out on the basis of the federal law or the international agreement of the Russian Federation.

Posted by: Стивен | Sep 6, 2018 4:27:03 AM | 112

The Russian Federation shall guarantee to its citizens protection and patronage abroad.
Posted by: Стивен | Sep 6, 2018 4:27:03 AM | 112

That is something that the UK would NEVER offer to its citizens!!! At least, only to the selected few.

Posted by: BM | Sep 6, 2018 4:33:10 AM | 113

I know this is not very important, yet imho worth pointing out. The ‘narrative’ that has come out now is roughly the same one that was hinted at in a vaguer form on July 19 - 20 (date of most of the MSM stories.)

Here is one of the ‘longer’ ones.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 4:45:52 AM | 114

Sorry to backtrack in time! Here is an excerpt of what I have written up (about the Red Bag.)

There are good reasons to doubt that the Skripals were the pair on the park bench. The time-line used is that of Rob from Blog Mire (who has done some great work.) Descriptions of Skripals / pair on bench:

Note. > = copy-paste from media reports, for each person, which is why the inverted commas may appear random. References can be found by copy pasting into google. …. = cuts. //xy// my insertions.

time-place ? > But one witness who had seen the pair hours before they collapsed insisted Yulia was not blonde but had reddish brown hair.

Duck feeding. BlogMire: > she has confirmed that the duck-feeding incident was indeed caught on CCTV, and that this was shown to her, her partner and Aiden by the police … the footage was really clear … she remembers the time … on the CCTV as being 1:15, but her partner believes it was 1:45. … Mrs C. confirmed that he //Sergei// was wearing “a leather jacket and blue jeans”. When I asked about //CCTVc-d//, she confirmed that these are definitely not the two people Aiden had been feeding ducks with … the CCTV they had been shown of the duck feeding had shown a “really clear picture” of Aiden with Mr Skripal with Yulia standing behind. … asked if the female who was with Mr Skripal had a red bag, Mrs Cooper confirmed that this was indeed the case.

BlogMire - Ducks

Zizzis. > He was smartly dressed and had a thick Russian accent >The chef, who said Yulia had “shoulder length reddish brown hair” > They were both smartly dressed, she was in a black coat.

Bench. Freya Church from Snap fitness.

> “I just thought this is weird, especially as she was clearly quite a bit younger than him. “She had a red bag at her feet. He was gesturing at the sky, doing some kind of movements with his hands. He was looking up and his eyes were glazed.

: Shown the CCTV footage of a couple walking past the gym towards the bench just 15 minutes earlier, Ms Church said it was “definitely them, 100 per cent.” // Must be the CCTVc-d, there is no other possibility. 15 mins earlier = 16 mins before the first call to emergency for out-of-it bench victims or Skripals//

: It was a young, blonde and pretty girl and it was definitely the man that’s been pictured in the news – the guy that’s a spy …. To be honest, I thought they might be homeless but they were perhaps better dressed.

: She had a red bag with her, she didn’t look really raggy or anything. It was weird that she was much younger and he was an older man.”

(Who is the guy who is a spy? The man in CCTVd-c or Sergei Skripal in the media? Imho, Sergei.)

Freya may have been somewhat blinded by the red bag hung from Dawn’s shoulder on the CCTVc-d and the red bag at her feet of the woman on the bench. While Freya might be misinterpreting what she saw, or mixing up memories with news pictures and ‘facts’, the mention of the red bag on the ground can only be a correct description or a wilfull fabrication.

Other (exhaustive?), Bench:

> He was quite smartly dressed. > “There was some blonde bird laying on an old man's shoulder doing this hand thing in the air” > He said he saw M. Skripal, left and a blonde woman, believed to be his daughter Yulia, right, sitting on a bench and staring into space … I thought they were whacked out on heroin…the girl had blonde hair.. he looked too old to be with her. > “He was quite smartly dressed, which caught my eye. He had his palms up to the sky as if he was shrugging and was staring at the building in front of him. … He had a woman sat next to him on the bench who was slumped on his shoulder. She looked grey and had her hood up. …. She had a Parka jacket on with her hood up. I thought maybe she was asleep or passed out. He had a jacket and some smart trousers on. He didn’t look like the type to get high.”

Five other people who describe ‘serious’ type poisoning symptoms (foaming mouth, etc.) offer no description of the people at all beyond pronoun use: Dr Noname who ‘treats’ Yulia on the ground for 30 mins (much too long), a nurse I can’t find, Holmes, Paine, and Pearson - aren’t quoted here.

The descriptions of the pair sitting on the bench seem extremely consistent. The blondeness of the woman is a striking characterisitic, imho such a ‘mistake’ is impossible. For those who recall my first post on all this, I believe Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were there as well (at/near the Bench 16.00 March 4) - and some aspects are not incongruent with them, see specially Freya … we see a sort of blurry composite (or at least I do.) This all raises some very strange questions that I can’t go into now.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 5:29:24 AM | 116

The original discrepancy in the data presented was the fact that the same time
to the second
is presented on the the two images. One possible suggestion is that this
was due to the two people walking down two different parallel corridors
at the same speed having been walking alongside before entering.

The fact that the North Terminal at Gatwick has parallel exit corridors
with their own cctv cameras is given in support of this.

As against that there is the following:
Meta data on the images released by met police
file CO1416-18-CCTV2
Thursday‎, ‎3‎ ‎May‎ ‎2018 13:46
692 x 366

file CO1416-2018-CCTV1
Thursday‎, ‎3‎ ‎May‎ ‎2018 18:43
695 x 363

So what was released was a pair of files produced by editing software
on the 3rd May not the date shown. This by itself could be perfectly
innocent, that just being the date at which screenshots were taken. But
that does show that there was some editing which at least adjusted the image
size. The question is how much editing.

If the images are from two different cameras of the same type,
looking down corridors of identical construction, tthen there could be a translation
or shift due to slight differences in positioning of the cameras,
However the most significant changes seem to be ones that can be compensated
for by rotation and mirroring as seen here

It is possible that the gain from mirroring is spurious, due to the two
sides of each corridor being mirror images. What would be surprising would be
if the cameras had been rotated in the way shown. A pan tilt camera system does
not have the ability to rotate the cameras to produce this sort of effect.
I measure it as an 11 degree rotation between the two views around an axis
centered on the faces of the two subjects.
If we suppose that the two cameras track the subjects via pan and tilt and
take images when they are in the same position as they go through the
passage, then where does the rotational error arise?
Concievably they have been screwed in loosely to their mounting brackets
but google images of the cameras show them to be in inverted domes about
10 cm accross. To have a tilt of this order the right side of one of the
domes would have to be down by about 2 cm, far more than could plausibly
be accounted for by sloppy fitting.

The alternative is that the rotation was done in the post processing when
the images were prepared on the 3 May and that the apparent time stamps
( which are pixel by pixel identical ) were added at that point.

It is not clear what the motivation for such post processing would be,
but it is evidence that the released photos are in several ways the result
of modification.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Sep 6, 2018 6:02:16 AM | 117

The descriptions of the pair sitting on the bench seem extremely consistent. The blondeness of the woman is a striking characterisitic, imho such a ‘mistake’ is impossible. For those who recall my first post on all this, I believe Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were there as well (at/near the Bench 16.00 March 4) - and some aspects are not incongruent with them, see specially Freya … we see a sort of blurry composite (or at least I do.) This all raises some very strange questions that I can’t go into now.
Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 5:29:24 AM | 116

Whilst I agree there seem to be questions of possible "blurry composites" relevant I disagree that a mistake over the blondeness is impossible. Different people see colour in different ways. Those who are "colour-blind" do see colour (contrary to popular misconceptions), but their perception is different. In particular, their perception of marginal colours is different, and that is the basis on which the colour charts used for testing colour blindness work. There is almost an infinite variety of blonde hair colour in the world, and an almost infinte variety of red colour hair in the world. If you take all the blonde and red hair colours available I think they would form a contiguous space, which would have a certain gray zone between blonde and red where the colour could be interpreted as either - even under identical lighting conditions. Add to that variations in lighting (bright/cloudy, early morning/midday, natural/artificial, direct/indirect, lighting from front/behind/above) and the hair colour can change even for a single viewer. Take different viewers with different colour vision and the hair colour difference is magnified manifold.

Colour blindness in its mildest forms is extremely common, by the way.

Posted by: BM | Sep 6, 2018 6:08:47 AM | 118

"Prediction 2 the 'Novichok' is decades old material obtained from the black market" This might explain the behaviour of the world's deadiest nerve agent, assuming it does indeed degrade in that way. But the OPCW and Porton Down both insist that it was at all times a very pure, military grade nerve agent. Their refusal to (a) use the term Novichok and (b) to release the detailed spectroscopic analysis, leaves only the possibility that it is a variant with similar chemical characteristics. This includes an enormous number of Acetylcholine inhibitors which disrupts the narrative about "of a type developed by Russia". It is also incredible that a fluid thin enough to resemble perfume so closely that Dawn Sturgess did not comment on it, is also so viscous that it would not wash off a door handle in the rain and remained "very pure" for days outdoors. Perhaps for this reason the variant stories about Dawn being contaminated after using the spray and Dawn being contaminated when the bottle broke? Being charitable, we might guess that there were two containers and one (Skripals) was never found. There is no evidential link to Russia.

It also seems obvious that ordinary spycraft would dictate the use of foreign passports. The use of Russian "genuine" passports offers two possibilities: (a) that the "hit team" were incompetent amateurs involved in a horribly amateur operation, or (b) that the passports were intended to attract blame to Russia.

The disappearance of all of the people who could offer insight (the Salisbury victims) for unspecified reasons, the fact that all the environmental chemical evidence chains start in UK control, and the general secrecy and furtiveness of all investigation except the police reconstruction of the movements of two unknown people, does not give confidence in pointing blame at Putin. Quite the opposite, especially considering the idiocy of the "agents" and their "plan", the lack of possible motive, the convenient political timing, continuing absence of the Skripals, and the persistent furtiveness and D Notice-mandated lack of investigative journalism. The interesting question is, of course, what is being scripted for the next episode of "Novichoks of Our Lives"?

Posted by: Loftwork | Sep 6, 2018 6:28:07 AM | 119

BM 118. Maybe. Yeah. I'm still figuring it out. When I conclude I will post.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 6:38:34 AM | 120

No one saw the RT story where the villains from 'red heat' get recycled as the skirpal GRU thugs?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Sep 6, 2018 7:23:40 AM | 121

I'm laughing at how impossible it is for some to accept the truth even when the author updates to admit it. It's two identical corridors, two individuals walking at the same speed down each of these and two cameras capturing each simultaneously therefore same time stamp. Mystery solved, case closed. Stop inventing crazy stuff and losing all credibility. This is done.

Posted by: Circe | Sep 6, 2018 7:57:39 AM | 122

Sergei Skripal did not collapse on his doorstop. That is all we need to know about the door handle poisoning method. The gentleman from Russia were present in Salisbury during the 4 hours Sergei and Julia's phone was turned off, and only then. The chances of a mutually agreed meeting are very high. Duck feeding in the park, pub going and restaurant eating all took place later in the afternoon.
Genuine nerve agent containers are subject to a rigorous decontamination process after packaging, a spray bottle is about as bad a choice of container for a liquid of this type as is possible. So bad indeed,that it would be only a matter of time before there were serious consequences from leakage. The immediate degradation product of nerve agents is very stable and much less toxic, but toxic enough to make someone very ill, but less likely to cause immediate death(which is why I believe it was an old sample).

Posted by: Phillip O'Reilly | Sep 6, 2018 8:04:38 AM | 123

The images were certainly edited, as the flight must have been completely empty or the two were specially checked at customs and noone else was left.
Its okay, as people need their privacy and don't want to be shown on photos of perpetrators.
You cannot trust images nowadays, you never could, but people are hardwired to it.

I tend to believe the account of the metropolitain police is correct though, as Russia could easily present the two, if they wished to, to explain what they did in Salisbury.

Russian journalists were able to get the - similar - passport numbers from the Aeroflot passenger list, and found some - rare - traces in other databases.

They conclude that the two were indeed GRU.

Did they have a tourist visa? Tourism from Russia to London is huge.

The way official Russia acts at present means that they don't mind if they are blamed.

The British timing with Syria and Brexit is obvious. They are in a bind though. Britain wants to keep attracting Russian money.

Hostile western states are good policies for Putin. Just as "being strong against Russia" is good politics for Theresa May against Jeremy Corbyn.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 6, 2018 8:26:28 AM | 124

Thanks b for the sensible correction. Your credibility to me has increased. Agree with BM and Circe upthread. Many of the more shall we say Pavlovian posters might take a silent note and move on. We all fall into the trap from time to time.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 6, 2018 8:41:01 AM | 125

somebody says:

You cannot trust images nowadays, you never could, but people are hardwired to it

we ain't seen (hahaha) nothin' yet!!

Posted by: john | Sep 6, 2018 9:05:38 AM | 126

Checking some basics re. Neil Basu’s time-line.

(Btw Basu took office on Monday 5 March, a few hours after the Skripal incident.)

The very first timing given is seriously off:

“They arrived at 3pm on Fri 2 march ..”

the flight:

For context + history of flight, every day Moscow-Gatwick at the time, click at bottom ‘show more flights’
to view 2 March. Flight was always late, and arrived, i.e. touchdown, at 16.00 (near as dammit) on 2 March.

Could they have been at Victoria Station at 5.40 (17.40)? Haven’t travelled that in ages, doubt it,
Brits nearby/familiar will know (?) Note Basu says “it is believed they arrived .. at Victoria…” ha ha,
some functionary made out a ‘standard itinerary’ without verifying anything including … the weather!

The whole story is so fantastically ridiculous I can’t go on with ‘checking’, there isn’t any satisfaction in debunking it.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 9:23:04 AM | 127

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 5:29:24 AM | 116

I read the ducks linked by Noirette, it was quite interesting. But I am all the more tempted to suspect - as I posted here in July - that someone poisoned the Skripals while they were sitting on the bench by spraying them in the face and they immediately collapsed (obviously using a custom spray weapon not a perfume bottle). Then the government were forced to use this crap with the doorhandle as the narrative because any scent (pun not intended) of the spray-in-the-park narrative would directly incriminate the government (or perhaps a certain small country). Hence they stick resulutely to the doorhandle even though it causes so many contradictions. Then - rather like doctors using multiple drugs to treat the side-effects of the main drug - as countermeasure to the multiple side-effects of the doorhandle narrative, they invent multiple new twists in the story, each trying to counteract a particular side-effect (i.e. counterfactual, for example an inconvenient witness who shows up suddenly). Maybe the story about the 2nd set of victims weeks later was precipitated by a particular witness coming forward, so that they set up the new victims to disguise the evidence in danger of coming out.

In Noirette's link there was a brief mention of a witness claiming to have seen someone spray the Skripals in the park, does someone know when that witness came forward?

As to all the contradictions, I suspect that is partly also because the story is INTENDED to mean different things to different people, simply because it is a cover-up, and different witnesses witnessed different information, therefore they contradict the official story in different ways and so have to be counteracted in different ways.

The bottom line is that just about every 'fact' in the Skripal case is open to question (with the exception of the alleged culpability of the Russian government, which is too unbelievable). Whatever speculation you try to make, this is the obstacle by which you cannot get any further, that is apart from further demolishing the official story which in turn creates even more contradictions. There is also certainly a lot of covert disinformation put out by government operatives to multiply confusion amongst sceptics and to muddy the waters.

Posted by: BM | Sep 6, 2018 9:43:56 AM | 128

Commenters here are bipolar (specially after the update).

The important thing is this:

1) it very probably isn't "novichok". If it was, all the victims would be dead right now.

2) if it was a chemical attack, it wasn't made by professonals, given the very low kill rate.

3) it was not the Kremlin that did it. The UK government is probably blaming Putin because, given Brexit and Trump, it needs urgently to resynchronize its foreign policy with the USA's (among other perks that may or may be not with the package). There are no reasons for the Kremlin to have done that. The timing is striking: everytime Russia is at the gates of some geopolitical breakthrough (in Syria or some big international sports event), this story comes up. Everytime the tories need to deviate public attention, this story comes up. The timing simply always benefits the British -- and its not a matter of "good timing", it's almost perfect timing. Second Law of Thermodynamics taught us the lower level of entropy, the less likely it is to happen -- so, when perfect timing happens, it usually happens because an external force bring energy from outside the system to activelly manipulate it.

4) if it was not the Kremlin, then there are only two options: a) Russian (Eurasian) Mafia or b) the UK government itself.

5) if it was the Eurasian Mafia (as somebody bring it up here, a thesis by Seymour Hersh), then the MI6 is surely involved, even - like the Jo Cox murder at the eve of Brexit or in 9/11 - if by active omission (that is, they knew it would happen, had the means to comfortably stop it and didn't stop it by purpose).

6) the fact that the suspects are Russian doesn't eliminate the possibility of UK government autorship. It is a very well documented fact the UK has many Russian assets in the field -- Skripal being (was) one of them himself.

Posted by: vk | Sep 6, 2018 9:46:02 AM | 129

BM 128 when time I will get back to all this.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 10:32:15 AM | 130

The impact of fake news + aka, stitched-up narratives, the ‘spin’ and the ‘lies’ about events in GB, such as, the murder of David Kelly, the ‘Muslim’ 7/7 bombers, the Ariane Grande Concert terrorist, .. the Skripal incident, is two-fold.

1. the Public has to be kept in the dark, if given snippets of truth they will feel outraged and may rebel, they must remain dependent on the MSM, the BBC, their hopes for better lives, their adherence to their local reps / overlords / employers, ersatz ‘democracy,’ and on and on, all of which controls their housing, food, schooling, etc.

The lowly serfs must! be frightened into submission by various insidious threats. Vicious repression has to be both hovering and pre-planned (…hunger riots? serious refusniks? demos out of hand? outright targetted attacks? local terrorist sabotage, from the right or the left? infrastr. damage? unknown plots may be successful?) and simultaneously discrete - hostile environments are applauded (!!) for foreignors only, see T. May, yet they are applied to citizens *in spades.*

2. the tall tales and fabrications, in their implausibility, their unconvincing stabs at credibility, serve the PTB, the elites (=> those in charge + the 20%, roughly) in the sense that they represent the one method of control they have left. They need to demonstrate, to enforce, to reassure themselves, that they ‘control the narrative’, that whatever they spin or stupidly spew will be accepted. Thereby they are pushed to over-exploit these controls, flaunting them without restraint.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 6, 2018 10:38:45 AM | 131

I estimate the camera angles differ by 11 degrees of rotation. A difference in tilt and azimuth is plausible for a tilt pan camera, but not a difference due to rotation. An 11 degree rotation on a 10 cm camera base plate would be an offset of 2cm, nobody is that sloppy in fitting. Meta data makes it clear that the files have in fact been edited. This does not mean nobody went through the gates, but it may mean that the data has been prettified before release to the press and in the process of doing this, the last editor just overlaid the same time stencil on the images.
The time stencils are pixel identical in shape, but differ in brightness values of corresponding pixels between the two images with corresponding grey pixels on CCTV2 being 10% darker. One can accept that the overall colour balance and brightness of the background image could be different in two pictures from different cameras, but if a time stencil is digitally overlaid as the image is captured, then the interior of the characters will
a) be pixel identical in shape
b) be pixel by identical in brightness
If the shape is exactly retained whilst brightnesses of corresponding pixels are significantly different, then the most plausible reason is that someone has tweaked the gamma values after superimposing the stencil. There is unequivocal evidence of tampering in the metadata, there are artefacts consistent with mirror imaging and rotation, and there are alterations to the grey levels of the stencil. So there was certainly a substantial amount of editing.

As I say this does not prove that the people questioned did not fly in via Gatwick and take a train to Salisbury. It does mean that we can not place great reliance on the timestamps in the pictures which may have been added for artistic/presentational effect.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Sep 6, 2018 10:45:00 AM | 132

Seems that the story reported in Russian papers about possible involvement of White Snow's nasty stepmother (the mother of her boyfriend, actually) has been completely dropped. After all, she could indeed have commissioned two friends to take care of the daugther. This does not mean "Putin did it", but we can see why the Brits would twist it this way.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 6, 2018 11:11:13 AM | 133

The alleged agents appear to have carry-on bags only at Gatwick and later at Heathrow. How does the alleged perfume bottle get smuggled in? Are there not strict security regulations against liquids and gels for the cabin of the airplane? Were their hazmat suits also folded up in their carry-ons?

Posted by: jayc | Sep 6, 2018 12:47:54 PM | 134

@101 debs.. thanks for stating that... if the uk- russian relations were any worse, i can't imagine what it would look like... the fact the uk is unwilling to consider some other alternatives seems to indicate they are quite happy with the arrangement..

@bm, circe and others.. instead of telling everyone who has commented since b's update are out to lunch, why not see how folks wish to continuing talking about issues related to this topic more generally? i am mystified by your negation of the ongoing conversations that can and are taking place, including the ones you continue to offer!!

Posted by: james | Sep 6, 2018 12:50:32 PM | 135

and on the topic of 'more to say on all of this' craig murray has a new post up today..

Posted by: james | Sep 6, 2018 1:00:31 PM | 136

The article above adds credence to the theory that the photo of the guy in blue is flipped/doctored. Look at the barrier horizontal U sections only one of them is very clearly distorted (not parallel to the top rail with the end almost touching the top rail) compared to the others and it is on the right side of the photo (to the passenger's left as he walks through) yet in the photo of the suspect in blue it has mysteriously flipoed to the left as we look at the photo. To me the article demonstrates both men walked through the same gate!

Posted by: Rex south | Sep 6, 2018 1:33:22 PM | 137

Bruce Leidl and Google Maps got the wrong doors: what they show are the doors between the baggage reclaim area, then the custom inspection tables into into the arrival hall, you will notice a lot of shops and waiting people when you rotate your Google view. The CCTV photos the Met Police proved were made at the gate between the immigration/passport control and the baggage reclaim area. Both gate system don't prevent two people entering the same gate at the same time, what they prevent is anybody going back into the high security zone. Yo can't enter from the arrival hall into the baggage area, and you can't go back to immigration once you went trough the gates.

Posted by: eyespy | Sep 6, 2018 3:20:54 PM | 138

OK, I'm late to the party on the 'flipped' meme. It bothered me yesterday that there wasn't enough detail to determine if it was the same hallway. Today, with fresh coffee, it hit me...just before I read comments here and at the C. Murray article that mentioned the flippage. Anyway, here's my highlighted comparison, with red highlighting the 'wonky railing' and orange highlighting the shoulder straps of their carry-on bags. The straps have a lower confidence score, but if the two are both right-handed (or both left) it's more likely they would shoulder the bag the same way.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Sep 6, 2018 4:44:40 PM | 139

not only vertical position of security sign significant. For arrives of EU citizens security sign is closer to the door than for others arrivals. On photo corridor for EU citizens. The security sign for other arrivals far away one white panel.

Posted by: Ivan | Sep 6, 2018 7:50:16 PM | 140

Different shoes, different blue jacket, different cap

Posted by: Ivan | Sep 6, 2018 8:14:34 PM | 141

The time stamp and cameras controversy make a nice distraction. Craig Murray points out some of the more important issues

Posted by: Pft | Sep 6, 2018 8:28:32 PM | 142

Bottom line is that the UK and Russia don't cooperate on crime. Neither Russia nor the UK extradite Russians. There are people interested in keeping it this way.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 3:12:53 AM | 143

Skripal worked for Spain fighting the Russian mafia

Spain opens trial for 18 gangsters linked to Russian mafia

So Seymour Hersh was right? Again?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 4:19:22 AM | 144

@40, S
I'd say the translation is fine in the Russian article you link to, I think they are being sarcastic. The term "the violins" or "the fiddles" appears in other articles about the Skripals on that website to.

To play (someone) like a fiddle or violin, or cheap violin.
Means to easily and deftly manipulate someone to suit one's own needs, ends, or benefits.

It's a good description don't you think?

Posted by: Deborah | Sep 7, 2018 4:27:30 AM | 145

As one poster mentioned earlier, images have different sizes and not identical, as it probably should have, now that would not be consistent with a security system that has to spit identical sized images down to the pipeline with othr connected systems for further real time analyses, that ought to be there since this is a big Londond airport. Just guessing here. Yet timestamps are both identical in shape and size and exactly possitioned in both photoes, which means tmestamps were added at a later date.

Also the google maps image in the update showing the possition of the cameras on all corridors, suggests these cameras were there probably to feed the images to a kind of image recognition program if you check the extensive lighting apparatus above them over each camera, a well lit image = better analyses, YET, the resolution of each image suggests their analyses quality might be beyond the threshold that an image analyses program would require. The one picture with the less pixels by size I believe would be inserted later in to the system database maybe by somekind of backdoor some affiliated agency would operate without the security stuff having to know anything about that feature. A kind of dual use system philosophy that seems somehow very british in nature. One known use and one hidden. I could speculate the lessened pixel format might have been in order to circumvent some other security system self check features and someone to be able to place the image in there a later date, originally. Can't find any other possible explanation.

Posted by: Greece | Sep 7, 2018 5:39:29 AM | 146

Below the threshold of an image analyses program, I meant, not beyond. My mistake.

Posted by: Greece | Sep 7, 2018 5:41:43 AM | 147

add to 144

Britain's contribution to fighting Russian organised crime is 'less than negative', says renowned prosecutor

'We have a very serious problem in fighting organised crime with the UK,' says Jose Grinda

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 5:58:42 AM | 148

Before they had any real evidence they blamed the Russians, they would not give a sample of this evidence for the Russians to test and now the British have got all their allies to agree with them, another false flag created by the Bristits target this time Russia!!

Posted by: martus | Sep 7, 2018 6:42:05 AM | 149

Quintessential anglo-zionist vigliacca (coward) using parliamentary privaledge to defame gaslight deceive and all out lie.LIke you said the police report and narrative is not even close to the pile of lies this excuse for a human being has spewed out. Further more presenting their case at the UN with a straight face. Further more the legacy media are spewing out that the majority of world leaders believe the novella the UK government are spewing out.
I guess if one is going to lie big it a big one and keep repeating it.
Remind you of any other government who has done this in the not so recent past and in the 1930's?

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 7, 2018 7:22:29 AM | 150

For me, the only question worth considering is why this Skripal nonsense has been stirred up again NOW.

Of course the MSM BBC etc are full of indignation. Theresa May has called for a general debate on the Skripal affair in the UK parliament on Wednesday 12th September when the theme will be Bad Bad Russia = Chemical Weapons.

There can't be many people now who haven't at least heard of a planned "false flag" provocation being prepared in Idlib by Da'esh and the British contractors Olive Group who are their handlers. Thierry Meyssan in provides utterly chilling, horrifying details of what is planned and goes to write that the operation - which he says involves the cold-blooded murder of some Syrian children - has been approved by Theresa May. A couple of years ago I couldn't have typed that sentence but I have learnt a lot this year.

My fear is that such an operation is indeed planned for early next week, so May can use the inevitable indignation to get Parliament to approve whatever she - or to be charitable to her, Washington - wants it to approve.

Posted by: Montreal | Sep 7, 2018 9:37:13 AM | 151

151 is political fiction. It is very cheap to produce that way, you can dream it up in your bedroom, you don't need sources, collaborators, nothing.

There are a few outfits like that.

What matters is if the sponsors of the Syrian war tell their groups to wave the white flag - or not.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 10:56:16 AM | 152

bottles on airplains -- I have some personal experience.

I went to a conference once during American winter that took place in south India. As people were warning me about malaria, on the way to the airport I stopped in a tourist equipment store and got a bottle of bug repellent spray, and stupidly, I purchased a larger bottle because the price was lower. For a reason! As I was changing planes in Belgium, oversized bottle was discovered and nearly sized, I begged that I am in danger of malaria, so I had to spray it on myself and I passed, after a supervisor approval. So when in doubt, they ask you to spray it on yourself, which means, it is highly risky to smuggle a poison on board.

A tiny bottle sample bottle would not have attachable diffuser, so it had to be a regular bottle at risk of testing. Unless the agents underwent some obscure procedures making them immune to this not-so-lethal Novichok (but still not for drinking, mind you).

Some "conspiracy theorizing". Again, I have some personal experience in making a suspicious one day airplane trips. A friend needed a currency transaction that had to be performed in Prague in person, and I got a day of sight seeing for free. There are transactions that require to use couriers, it could be tax evasion etc. but also something actually legal -- some forms of tax evasion are legal tax avoidance, for example. For such purposes, such trips make sense, but for "cloak and dagger" espionage, much less so because they raise red flags. For a courier with some time to kill, making a day trip is rather normal. My conjecture is that some actual people who actually visited Salisbury were found, or at least London, and some evidence was fabricated, in particular, tampering with some dust samples is simplicity itself. Project Innocence, American project to investigate wrong death penalty conviction, is a veritable textbook on evidence tampering with such feeble motivation as prosecution wanting to notch more "success cases", police having racial prejudice -- this guy looks exactly like a culprit should look like! etc.

Reasons of state can lead to much more elaborate schemes, if you can poison hundreds in Syria for a "good cause", hard to see what you cannot do.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 7, 2018 2:02:25 PM | 153

153 Yep.

Finally comic relief. Forbes is making fun of the British.

Just a simple precaution. Off the top of one's head. A dozen years after Litvinenko died. Make it harder for assassins to breeze in and breeze out in two or three days. Anyone booked on suspicious return flights – grill them intensively upon entry and a fortiori as they attempt to depart. Did anyone bother to so with the two central-casting bozos allegedly carrying the Novichok nerve agent in a fake perfume bottle? You come in with a Russian passport, you don't look right, you get detained for a while or followed when you exit the airport. Put a bug in their luggage. On their clothing. Do it surreptitiously. Or even openly. Watch their every step via CCTV. In the Skripal case, we're told that 250 law enforcement agents spent 11,000 hours around the clock putting the pieces together after the fact. So much effort and expense. A fraction of that before the fact, wisely directed, and Kremlin agents bent on murder would stumble more often, even think twice before trying.

Astonishingly, embarrassing to say, none have been caught while on their mission. They never fumble it seems. Absent the applied pressure of extra scrutiny, there's no reason to. It's all too easy. How many times have we seen the words 'mysterious death' applied to suddenly expiring Russians in the UK? We have been conditioned to accept it as a law of nature that such things occur repeatedly and 'mysteriously'. In all these years, no instance of successful anticipation and prevention has come to light. .

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 3:47:21 PM | 154

You fucked up, Moon of Alabama. And an "update" isn't enough. It's equivalent to a WP or NYT article on say January 1 claiming 17 agencies, then afterwards, after that's in the public consciousness, doesn't make a new article entirely about why they fucked up. They instead do an addendum "update" which very few people would bother to go back to, since why? Why bother to go back to a claim from a supposedly trusted agency to see if it still holds up?

Own up. In a NEW post. Not an "update" or "correction". Unless you agree with MSM practices of letting errors only be corrected when no one will see them. Which is as you know a fine method of propaganda. Meh.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 7, 2018 6:28:14 PM | 155

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 7, 2018 6:28:14 PM | 155

The whole case is propaganda. People are manipulated by images. The whole bunch is - legitimately - photoshopped - to blur out faces, remove people for the sake of privacy. Enhance features.
What the police would do to get information, to make people remember the faces they are looking for. The time stamps don't mean much, both airport images time-stamped 16:44 were titled by the metropolitain police 15:00 hours.

The whole case that these two were headed for Skripal's house - and not Pablo Miller's, or anybody else in the Salisbury community of spies, and did indeed carry Novichok rests on "traces of Novichok found in a London hotel, which could not be found in a second test" and were considered so harmless, that neither guests nor the hotel manager were informed in May.

All this when tiny amounts are supposed to kill

KELLY: How much would you need to have a lethal dose?

HAY: Oh, you're talking about microgram quantities. Maybe 50 to a hundred micrograms, you know, and a microgram being a millionth of a gram - so tiny amounts really.

Britain does not extradite to Russia and Russia does not extradite to Britain. The Russian mafia are safe from the state in both countries.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 7, 2018 11:29:29 PM | 156

Is the MSM losing interest in the Skripal case? Here is the Russian reaction...

Warning: contains extreme sarcasm.

Posted by: dh | Sep 8, 2018 10:26:07 AM | 157

157 Likely

Lugovoy's interview on the Litvinenko case

I do understand why it took so long to accuse me. Accusing me the British anticipated that I would start talking and tell everybody what kind of unlawful actions Great Britain’s Secret Service, together with Berezovsky and Litvinenko, took agaist me. I suppose that British Crown Prosecution, by accusing me and not the Russian authorities and secret services, is practically offering a compromise to Russia. It means that Russia must keep silent on the British contacts with Berezovsky, Litvinenko and Lugovoy, while British Crown Prosecution in its turn would withdraw charges against the Russian secret service and the President. They know that Russian law prohibits extradition of Russian citizens, therefore they will close with pleasure this criminal case and everything will calm down to mutual agreement of both parties.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8, 2018 11:26:13 AM | 158

According to what Craig Murray wrote, the visit of Moscow duo in Salisbury was quite peculiar. First, they left a lot of surveilance footage, much more than other persons of interests, Skripals and the other victims. Second, since they used trains and we know their arrival and departures, plus there is some data on the movement of Skripals, there is no probable scenario of Petrov + Boshirov getting hold of the door handle of Sergey's residence before the Skripals departed, or an extremely chancy time window based on Skripals visiting Sergey's residence during the time when they switched phones off.

It is actually very confusing. Allegedly, the "Moscovites" came to Salisbury twice, so they could spear the door day earlier. Then at least one of Skripals would touch it on the previous day, I do not see how it can account for the symptoms. There is a possibility of pre-arranged meeting with Skripals, although that is quite weird. A delivery could use Yulia, so perhaps a pickup. Whatever the reason, the real mystery is who contaminated the door handle? What scenario other than evidence tampering can explain that?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8, 2018 11:48:57 AM | 159

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8, 2018 11:48:57 AM | 159

Skripals having the stuff on their hands when they returned from the cemetery or wherever they were in the morning. All that is known about the doorknob is that it held the maximum amount of poison. And then washing their hands in the flat.

It would also mean that they were on foot as their car seems to have been less contaminated.

For some reason Yulia seems to have been directly targeted as why use a perfume but not an aftershave? Or the perpetrator was a woman and the perfume was more inconspicuous?

The script is the same as in the Litvinenko case so assume the script writers are the same. But maybe it is copycat.

From the Lugovoy interview

Secondly, maybe journalists do not know this, but I stated officially that Litvinenko established contacts with the police of Spain on his own risk and assisted them by getting information about the so-called Russian mafia. We are talking about the arrest of Shakro Junior and his associate. I already said that in December to some journalists, but made them promise not to refer to me as the source of this information. Litvinenko told me himself that to get data on Shakro he had had to personally visit Israel to meet Leonid Nevzlin. Sasha boasted of earning money by helping Spanish police to disclose Shakro junior. I do not think his actions in Spain were not noticed by the bandits. Maybe that explains the awful way he was killed. The third version seems the most probable to me. I talk about Boris Berezovsky, who is a well-known expert of political intrigue.

It is highly embarrassing for the British government. They have given business visas to two guys from Russia who they accuse of having used chemical warfare in the country.

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley make it really bad. You can shrug off an attack on a spy but not chemical agents in the environment for everybody to find. Polices knew about the two with Russian passports on May 4, when they searched the London hotel. If they had traced the routes the two took through Salisburg they might have prevented the death of Dawn Sturgess.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8, 2018 12:36:50 PM | 160

"For some reason Yulia seems to have been directly targeted as why use a perfume but not an aftershave? Or the perpetrator was a woman and the perfume was more inconspicuous?"

Mental experiment: around noon you apply liquid to a door handle of a rowhouse (in USA they would say townhouse), i.e. a location visible from windows of many units even if there are no pedestrians at that moment. You pull a bottle of perfume or aftershave, unscrew the stopper and shake the upside down bottle, droplets falling all over the place including you. Only a mad genius working for one of the most reputable intelligence agencies would design such instructions, right? Really?!!! The only possibility would be some small apparatus that can be used quickly, safely and inconspicuously, presumably filled from the "bottle"? But then why would you shlep around with a bottle that can actually break if you fall down, say, being hit by a bicyclist? And why the hell having a bottle with volume orders of magnitude larger than what is needed -- there is only so much you can apple to a door handle -- or directly to victims. For example, there exist very small free samples of perfume etc. that you get when you purchase a brand name cosmetic. Such a miniature container would be easier to conceal, to use and to dispose.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8, 2018 3:50:11 PM | 161

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 8, 2018 3:50:11 PM | 161

I agree midday door knob poisoning is unlikely. As a matter of fact the two Russians were supposedly seen by a neighbour on a swing in the nearby children's playground. The neighbour thought it strange but could not find a reason to call the police because of it.

The perfume only makes sense as a gift. Which makes me inclined to think some very cynical person not satisfied with the effect this had had so far threw it into the charity bin at a much later stage.

For some reason the met do not blame the two Russians for Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley. I am still puzzled by the genderization.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8, 2018 4:20:20 PM | 162

They flew in from Gatwick and out from Heathrow, why? Far more flights to/from Heathrow plus their 'business' was in the west. What drew them to Gatwick? We knew they travelled on public transport, which means they would have transited Victoria station on their way from Gatwick. Guess who has offices right next to Victoria station.

Posted by: Figs | Sep 8, 2018 5:10:22 PM | 163

add to 162

Talking about genderization: Did they find out who this blonde women is
"Cops hunt blonde woman seen on CCTV 20 mins before ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia were poisoned"
This was March 6, before the Novichok spin started.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 8, 2018 5:48:47 PM | 164

I suspect that our two, 'GRU' operatives are in fact Ukrainians.

Posted by: barovsky | Sep 9, 2018 3:44:48 AM | 165

The surrounding propaganda suggests there is a link to Syria, that does not mean Ukraine is not involved.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 9, 2018 5:24:04 AM | 166

The Police media conference regarding Novichok in the hotel is carefully worded. They say levels of Novichok are below any dangerous point. That would include zero level. At no time do they say that actual traces of Novichok were found.

Posted by: Keltro | Sep 9, 2018 9:58:09 PM | 167

"They flew in from Gatwick and out from Heathrow, why?"

Connections can be like that. Once I had a ticket from Heathrow, the flight was cancelled and BA let us take the next flight which was from Gatwick and we had to pay something like 30 pounds per person for the bus. BA manage to loose our luggage in the process and we got it with a week delay. Truly BA is the monument of the decay of the former imperial glory.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 10, 2018 10:44:24 AM | 168

The New York Times tries to write the final version of the skripal story

They claim the two were importing a Nina Ricci perfume that somehow was found unwrapped in a charity bin many months later.

It does not make sense.

In the meantime the neighbour who drove Yulia from the airport claims Skripals were at home when the novichok was supposedly sprayed at their door knob. And Skripal thought they were trailed on their way back from the airport.

Israel needed 26 agents with different passports to kill one Palestinian in Dubai.

The methods of the two "GRU officers" are certainly a quantum leap in spy craft.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2018 12:26:54 PM | 169

Obviously two CCTV cameras can have the same timestamp; London has thousands more CCTV cameras than anywhere on earth! Why would any suppose that only one camera is available to investigators??

Posted by: Mark | Sep 23, 2018 10:13:03 PM | 170

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