Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 20, 2019

Putin Confirms: Sergei Skripal Wanted To Go Back To Russia

Filmmaker Oliver Stone recently interviewed the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The transcript was published yesterday evening. Most of the interview is about Ukraine. A separate piece will cover that country. There is also a passage about the U.S. election.

But the most interesting bits from Putin are about the Skripal affair.

The British and Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were impaired by some chemical substance in early March 2018 in Salisbury. Britain blamed the incident on Russia. CIA Director Gina Haspel, a former CIA station chief in London, used fake pictures of the incident to deceive Trump and to push him to kick out 60 Russian diplomats. (The NYT later ran cover for Haspel.)

We have speculated since the very beginning of the Skirpal case that the 'former' spy wanted to go back to Russia. Putin now confirms, to my knowledge for the first time, that this was the case (underline added):

Oliver Stone: What has happened to Skripal? Where is he?

Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. He is a spy, after all. He is always in hiding.

Oliver Stone: They say he was going to come back to Russia. He had some information.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back.

Oliver Stone: He knew still and he wanted to come back. He had information that he could give to the world press here in Russia.

Vladimir Putin: I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?

The information Sergei Skripal possessed might have been related to the U.S. election and the Steele dossier which alleged that Russia had dirt on Trump. On March 8 2018, only a few days after the Sergei and Julia Skripal were allegedly poisoned, we discussed the connection in our first post on the Skripal affair:

[Christopher] Steele was an MI6 undercover agent in Moscow around the time when Skripal was recruited and handed Russian secrets over to the MI6. He [later] ran the MI6 Russia desk so anything about Skripal will have passed through him. It is very likely that they personally knew each other. Pablo Miller, who worked for Steele's private company [Orbis], lived in the same town as Skripal and they seems to have been friends since Miller had recruited him. Miller or someone else attempted to cover up the connection to Steele by editing his LinkedIn entry.

Here are some question:

  • Did Skripal help Steele to make up the "dossier" about Trump?
  • Were Skripal's old connections used to contact other people in Russia to ask about Trump dirt?
  • Did Skripal threaten to talk about this?

If there is a connection between the dossier and Skripal, which seems very likely to me, then there are a number of people and organizations with potential motives to kill him. Lots of shady folks and officials on both sides of the Atlantic were involved in creating and running the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign. There are several investigations and some very dirty laundry might one day come to light. Removing Skripal while putting the blame on Russia looks like a convenient way to get rid of a potential witness.

The British government issued a D-Notice which prohibited the British press from further mentioning Pablo Miller.

We also speculated that Skripal wanted to go back to Russia:

The most curious point in the affair though is the visit of the daughter. She had just come from Moscow to visit her lonely father when both were poisoned in a rather sensational way. There must be some reason why she was involved in this.

  • Did she have a bad message for him?
  • Did they both decide that suicide was the only way out?
  • Was locally bought Fentanyl involved as the local press had reported?


  • Was the lonely old man Sergej Skripal preparing to go back to his homeland Russia?
  • Did he offer a some kind of "gift" as apology to the Russian government that his trusted daughter would take to Moscow?
  • Did someone find out and stop the transfer?

The above questions are all highly speculative. But the connection between Steele and Skripal is way too deep to be irrelevant here. It certainly deserves more digging.

Putin now confirms that Skripal was indeed willing to come back to Russia. Oliver Stone thinks Skripal wanted to present something to the press. If Skripal had publicly said that he made up and wrote the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign by the Clinton 'resistance' would have been over. The whole Mueller investigation nonsense would never have happened.

Pablo Miller, the British spy, also appeared in the papers of the shady Integrity Initiative:

There is additional suspicion that the Integrity Initiative, whose primary function is to stoke Russophobia, was one of the brains behind the Skripal incident.

The Initiative was also involved in the Steele dossier and the russophobic anti-Trump campaign. Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow, is employed by the Institute for Statecraft, the shadowy parent organization of the Integrity Initiative funded by the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office. It was Andrew Wood who helped to disseminate the Steele dossier to U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain then gave the dossier to FBI Director James Comey. The FBI used the dossier first to get FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, and, after Comey was fired, to launch a counter-intelligence investigation (section 3) against Trump himself.

Here is a theory how all this may come together. Back in 2015 the Institute of Statecraft and its russophobic director Colonel Donnelly discussed how to increase sanctions on Russia. In 2016 the Steele dossier was created in an attempt to connect Trump to Russia. Steele's colleague Pablo Miller and his spy Sergei Skripal were quite likely involved in creating the dossier. The dossier was disseminated with the help of Donnelly's Institute of Statecraft.

For some reason the Skripals had to be taken out. Sergei Skripal probably threatened to spill the beans about the dossier after it became public.  The highly scripted 'Novichok' incident in Salisbury was staged to remove Skripal and to smear Russia with an alleged murder attempt. Colonel McCourt, the trusted army nurse, was asked to help on the scene. After the Skripal incident, and with no evidence shown, Russia was blamed and massive sanctions followed. The Integrity Initiative, the propaganda arm of the Institute of Statecraft, analyzes the media results of the Skripal affair and continues to stoke the anti-Russia campaign.

It might be possible that Steele's 'dirty dossier', the Skripal case and the Integrity Initiative operation are unrelated. But that chance for that now tends towards zero.

The weak part of that theory was always that we did not know for sure if Sergei Skripal really wanted to go back to Russia. We now know that this was the case. Oliver Stone seems to know that Skripal wanted to go public about something. That makes the theory fit even better.

Putin does not believe that the Skripals were poisoned to kill them:

Oliver Stone: Who poisoned him? They say English secret services did not want Sergei Skripal to come back to Russia?

Vladimir Putin: To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case.

Oliver Stone: Makes sense. You do not agree with me?

Vladimir Putin: If they had wanted to poison him, they would have done so.

Oliver Stone: Ok, that makes sense. I don’t know. Who did then?

Vladimir Putin: After all, this is not a hard thing to do in today’s world. In fact, a fraction of a milligram would have been enough to do the job. And if they had him in their hands, there was nothing complicated about it. No, this does not make sense. Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal.

Oliver Stone: I think it is more complicated. You know, you think I am much too much of a conspiracy guy.

Vladimir Putin: I do not believe this.

Oliver Stone: I have seen things. I do.

Vladimir Putin: You should not.

When and where will the Oliver Stone documentary about the Skripal affair have its premiere?

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the Skripal case:

Mar 8 2018 - Poisioned British-Russian Double-Agent Has Links To Clinton Campaign
Mar 12 2018 - Theresa May's "45 Minutes" Moment
Mar 14 2018 - Are 'Novichok' Poisons Real? - May's Claims Fall Apart
Mar 16 2018 - The British Government's 'Novichok' Drama Was Written By Whom?
Mar 18 2018 - NHS Doctor: "No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury"
Mar 21 2018 - Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated)
Mar 29 2018 - Last Act Of 'Novichok' Drama Revealed - "The Skripals' Resurrection"
Mar 31 2018 - Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats To Suppress 'Novichok' Discussions
Apr 3 2018 - Operation Hades Blamed Russia - A Model For The 'Novichok' Claims?
Apr 4 2018 - It's The Cover-Up" - UK Foreign Office Deletes Tweet, Posts False Transcript, Issues New Lies
Apr 5 2018 - Novi-Fog™ In Fleet Street - Truth Cut Off
Apr 6 2018 - The Best Explanation For The Skripal Drama Is Still ... Food Poisoning
Apr 7 2018 - A Very British Farce
Apr 12 2018 - New Developments In The Skripal Drama - Police Statement, OPCW Report Release
Apr 15 2018 - Were the Skripals 'Buzzed', 'Novi-shocked' Or Neither? - May Has Some 'Splaining' To Do
Apr 28 2018 - The Silence Of The Skripals - Government Blocks Press Reports - Media Change The Record
May 4 2018 - Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such
July 4 2018 - British Government Peddles Warmed Over Novichok Muck
Sep 5 2018 - The Strange Timestamp In The New Novichok 'Evidence' - UPDATED
Sep 16 2018 - The MoA Week In Review - Secret Bio-weapons - Skripals - OT 2018-47
Sep 27 2018 - British Intelligence Throws More Novi-Fog™ To Hide The Holes In Its Skripal File
Jan 9 2019 - Stuff To Read: Integrity Initiative, Skripal, Kaspersky ...
Jan 19 2019 - Coincidence? - Chief Nurse Of British Army Was First To Arrive At Novichoked Skripal Scene
Apr 16 2019 - CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump
Jun 6 2019 - Odd NYT 'Correction' Exculpates British Government And CIA From Manipulating Trump Over Skripal Novichok Incident


Posted by b on July 20, 2019 at 16:55 UTC | Permalink

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Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such. Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia, that makes no sense.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 20 2019 17:04 utc | 1

Thanks b

Posted by: jo6pac | Jul 20 2019 17:08 utc | 2

“Maybe they just wanted to provoke a scandal.” ... he is right

Posted by: DG | Jul 20 2019 17:11 utc | 3


Posted by: bjd | Jul 20 2019 17:21 utc | 4

On what do base your conclusion that the Skripals were most likely poisoned by someone in Russia?

Posted by: CD Waller | Jul 20 2019 17:28 utc | 5


this sounds like the most straight-forward explanation to me, as well...

Posted by: semiconscious | Jul 20 2019 17:37 utc | 6

@Zanon @1 Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such. Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia, that makes no sense.

Skripal was caught in Russia when he spied for the Brits. He went to jail for five or so years. Then the Brits wanted to exchange him for a Russian agent they (or the U.S.) had caught. Skripal was released from jail for having served most his time and exchanged. Russia has no more interest in persecuting him. Skripal did not 'deliberately move out of Russia'. There was no assault by Russia on him.

Posted by: b | Jul 20 2019 17:46 utc | 7

Zanon you statement it typical misinformation, you took only a part of Putin statement!Yes, he said that, but he also said, that he already served his time for that so he is of no interest to the authorities!

Posted by: padre | Jul 20 2019 17:50 utc | 8

@Zanon (1)

That's circular reasoning.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 20 2019 17:51 utc | 9

It's been a full year now since Yulia's last (controlled) appearance to the public. The notion that the Skripals are in some kind of "witness protection program" has been suggested but never confirmed. There's no indication as to what they may have been witness to, let alone any statement of fact from them at all regarding the Salsbury events. This is highly unusual since the UK government made such a high-profile international incident of it all. Is Putin asked of the apparent forced disappearance of a Russian citizen (Yulia Skripal)?

Posted by: jayc | Jul 20 2019 18:10 utc | 10

I followed the Skripal affair online at MoA since it broke and as a former newsman and sometime freelance writer, I have always believed that there is much more to this affair yet to come. In 1992 I voted for Bill Clinton and regretted that vote ever since. I have come to believe that both Clintons are corrupt, opportunistic and power hungry. I don't believe that neither Bill nor Hillary have an honest bone in their bodies. What then does this have to do with the Skripal's poisoning? The whole Russiagate affair was the creation of Hillary's 2016 campaign. The Skripal poisoning has been linked to the attempt at trying to make Trump appear illegitimate. I also have a gut feeling that the evolving Epstein sex scandal may come into play. Former President Bill Clinton and current President Donald Trump have been identified as passengers on Jeffrey Epstein's so called "Lolita Express" flights. Like it or not the American people may in for 'the mother of all political scandals.' Only time will tell.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Jul 20 2019 18:10 utc | 11

This adds some weight to the theory that the two Russian "tourists" were delivering something (paperwork? fake passports? ) that Skripal wanted, not trying to kill him. Or, perhaps, they picked up something FROM Skripal?

The sentence where Putin confirms Stone's idea that Skripal wanted to go back to Russia is oddly stated:

"Yes, I have been told that he wants to make a written request to come back."

1. Putin used present tense: Skripal "wants", rather than "wanted". Doesn't that imply some communication since the "incident"?
2. The bit about the "written request" part is way more specific than I would have expected. It sounds like Skripal wasn't just vaguely dreaming about going back to Mother Russia, but was taking steps to do so. Were the "tourists" delivering the proper bureaucratic Form that Skripal would need to fill out?

I may be reading way to much into this - it could just be idiosyncratic aspects of Putin speaking in English, or bad translation.

Posted by: elkern | Jul 20 2019 18:14 utc | 12

Comrade Brother P is being coy when he utters this> "What kind of information can he possess?"


Very clever, Mr P...

What indeed...

I do not believe Comrade President is naive...nor do I understand him to be rigorous about truth...thus he responds with a "question"...

Diplomacy is beautiful...ain't it?


Posted by: Walter | Jul 20 2019 18:21 utc | 13

Who would not poison him and his daughter? The Russians.

If he wanted to return, he would have to possess information that was worth taking him back and letting him live out his life in peace.
Would the crap Trump wanted to know be that information?

He was being handled by Mi6 and knew he had no way to communicate with the Russians.
He needed his daughter to cut a deal.

The Brits could have easily pierced Skirpal's communication with his daughter (even if it was a whisper in her ear).
Would he risk his life and his daughter's life for such a long-shot 'deal'?

And the foundation question in all this is "Did Skirpal work on the Steele Dossier, and what did he contribute to that document?"

It's all a MacGuffin.

The reality probably is thus:

The Brits cold-bloodedly poisoned him and his daughter to tar the Russians. Then a straight British fabrication story that holds no water anywhere along the way. They did it, and he had no value to them, so why not? His daughter? She's Russian. Of no use to them.

In the scheme of things, it was a trivial act of poisoning with a huge payoff, which they achieved.

Highly Likely it was a dirty trick by the Russophobic Brits. Nothing more. Sloppy Mi6 poisoning.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jul 20 2019 18:25 utc | 14

He speaks in the present, not in the past. And says 'he is a spy' meaning the guy kept working for the Brits in the recent years. The Skripal affair was possibly used by May when she was cornered during the Brexit negociation. No doubt it had other effects as well, such as forbidding any EU deal with the Russians over Syria.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 20 2019 18:29 utc | 15

CD waller

I believe the 2 russians named are the culprits.


What Putin is sayng is not necessary the truth, atleast not the whole of it.

If Skripal wanted to go home he would do that by now but he is a convicted traitor so there is of course threats against him in Russia. He wont go back ever.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 20 2019 18:31 utc | 16

Vladimir Putin: I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?
Vladimir Putin: You should not.

Strange, Putin distinctly appears to be actively leading the conversation away from Stone's suggestion! What would that imply?

Posted by: BM | Jul 20 2019 18:35 utc | 17


I mean, it is not as if Putin has never considered the subject before. He knew that Skripal had asked to return, he knew the potential for possible links to Russiagate, yet here he is pushing hard the notion that Skripal has nothing to say ... It is hard to believe that he really believes that! If that is the case, that would imply some kind of complication involving Russian interests ...

Posted by: BM | Jul 20 2019 18:41 utc | 18

Mina: Good catch.. IMHO all our speculations are futile anyway at this point. BOTH sides DO NOT want to know us the whole truth. Only time will tell, when those people directly involve actually talk and present hard evidence.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jul 20 2019 18:46 utc | 19

When and where will the Oliver Stone documentary about the Skripal affair have its premiere?

My guess is that it'll be within the next 4 to 6 weeks on SBS 1 or SBS VICELAND in Oz. SBS 1 broadcast The Putin Interviews 3 times and I'd bet no TV station broadcast them more times than that - which would make SBS a "preferred broadcaster" I hope.

I gather that the snippets & extracts currently being 'leaked' are part of Stone's appetiser campaign and that the new series is fully prepped and ready to go. If the new Putin Interviews is only half as good as the first series, I'll cancel my funeral to watch it :-)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 20 2019 18:47 utc | 20

Addition: I would asume the Interview will be worth a watch anyway. The "Putin Interviews" makes for an interesting watch.
Though stone seems sometimes more taken away by his own world view and narrative. But he has his hearth in the right place i assume, and provides some insights to western mass media watchers that they would otherwise never get.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jul 20 2019 18:49 utc | 21

OH FUCK. I can see the shitstorm on CNN coming up RIGHT NOW:

"Oliver Stone: Years ago when we were talking about homosexuality, you said that in Russia we don’t propagate it.

Vladimir Putin: Not exactly. We have a law banning propaganda among minors.

Oliver Stone: Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about. It seems like maybe that’s a sensible law."

Now the vultures are circling..

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jul 20 2019 18:53 utc | 22

There was no poisoning ... nobody died of Novichok ... Skripal and his daughter are alive and well ... the incident was staged ... it was a kabuki piece of anti - Russia malarkey poorly executed

Posted by: DG | Jul 20 2019 18:53 utc | 23

If Skripal had publicly said that he made up and wrote the Steele dossier, the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign by the Clinton 'resistance' would have been over. The whole Mueller investigation nonsense would never have happened.

I doubt that. The Russiagate-mongers have always been totally proof against any and all evidence of reality, from day one to today. In this case they would've just said he was lying, either to suck up to Putin and/or because Putin threatened him.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 20 2019 18:57 utc | 24

Boris Berezovsky wanted to return to Russia too...

Posted by: et Al | Jul 20 2019 19:01 utc | 25

Why has Skripal never given a public interview? Because he's dead? Nah, the idiots in the Conservative government would have milked that dry. My best guess is that the British government know that he'll say something very damaging to the Conservative government and that can't be allowed to happen. What that something could be can only be guessed at, but it could be that the Steele Report was authorised and approved by the Conservative government.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 20 2019 19:05 utc | 26

The Skripals are toast..

Posted by: ben | Jul 20 2019 19:08 utc | 27

"There are several investigations and some very dirty laundry might one day come to light."

@ GeorgeV #11 "Only time well tell"

I agree with you George, does thirty to forty years sound about right?

Excellent article b, i believe Trump should be reading this site daily.

Posted by: aye, myself & me | Jul 20 2019 19:12 utc | 28

This is one event I get nowhere with. In fact the only piece of information that gives me any info that I feel credible is how convinced a UK ambassador I am familiar with was about Russia being behind it, not by details given in person to me but just how they went about in reaction. There are ambassadors and ambassadors, and this one being a nicer person, quite meticulous, and not one to purposefully lie. That proves nothing though :( .

Did they move to the US in the end ?

Posted by: gzon | Jul 20 2019 19:19 utc | 29

The Swamp and it's tools, minions and cretins are getting stupider by the day. They remind me, almost daily, of that scene in The Blues Brothers wherein the Cops lurking behind a billboard hear the Blues Bros ripping along the highway toward them and one says to his partner...
"Uh-oh, it's that Shitbox Dodge again!!"

And things don't get much dodgier, or shittier, than The Swamp.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 20 2019 19:23 utc | 30

I may be reading way to much into this - it could just be idiosyncratic aspects of Putin speaking in English, or bad translation.

Posted by: elkern | Jul 20 2019 18:14 utc | 12

I understand Russian and I speak a language with a similar grammar, and I have no idea how to say "he said that he wants" in a way that implies something different than a wish made at the time of speaking ("he wants") or a wish that existed before he spoke ("he wanted"). Implication about wishing after the time of speaking would require some elaboration, you cannot make it by selecting tenses.

BTW, a (junior?) minister speaking on behalf of UK government just denied that the detention of Iranian tanker Grace 1 was inspired by US wishes, and explained that it was done solely on the request of the government of Gibraltar. Even establishment newspapers do not make a pretense of believing that. What I am trying to say is that HMG is not a reliable witness. And there are so many puzzles about the Skripal case that believing in Russian culpability requires this attitude "it seems not making any sense, but I am not an expert, so I will believe the official version because HMG is so reliable". That is outright stupid.

Now, one can also choose to pretend to believe on the assumption that a "moral position" of Western alliance is a supreme value, and we have to defend it even when not true (truth not being supreme here). That is probably the position of those media flacks, diplomats etc. who are not outright stupid.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 20 2019 19:26 utc | 31

b. Putin DOES NOT confirm.

He says that the was told that Skripal would write to him. He does not say who told him. It was in the media so someone told him. Actually Oliver Stone just told him.

And then he says "I doubt it"

And he explains why he doubts it "He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?"

And in the end he says a second time "I do not believe this".

Oliver Stone, by the way, is terrible. Reporters are not supposed to ask leading questions.

How about "What do you know of the Skripal case?"

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20 2019 19:28 utc | 32

Oliver stone is already attacked by liberals in the media:

"Oliver stone's latest piece of pro-putin-propaganda may be his most shameless move yet"

and second article startts with:

"Filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone has made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but now he has taken it to a whole new level by trying to make him his 22-year-old daughter’s godfather. "


Oliver stone is not a journalist, he asks questions he want to get exposure, is hidden in the western media.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 20 2019 19:45 utc | 33

@ pb 31

I think they are just more easily convinced by information coming from their own side, their position is based on trust in the information they are given, it doesn't imply they have applied any deeply critical thought to what they are presented, and it does not imply they have been given much greater detail than anyone else. Still, it would be quite a thing for the fco to have made fools out of the whole diplomatic corp.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 20 2019 19:45 utc | 34

So, the question remains: Where in the world are the Skripals at this very moment? I do not believe that Putin does not know the answer, but for reasons of his own, he is keeping it to himself. Possibly, he wants the whole affair to disappear quietly down the memory hole. Of course, the story may return to the public eye someday. Sort of like a cold-case murder that finally gets solved.

Posted by: Rob | Jul 20 2019 19:46 utc | 35

@33 said;"Oliver stone is already attacked by liberals in the media:"

These are not "liberals", they are pretend liberals. MSM personnel are totally CORPORATE.

Their job is to protect the MIC's profits, and as such, hating RUSSIA funnels more $ in to
the system.

Posted by: ben | Jul 20 2019 19:52 utc | 36

i read the whole transcript last night... i echo @12 elkern's comments and found putin was responding to stone in a way where stone misunderstood him at least a few times... maybe it is a challenge of the translation, but in the end i tend to agree with @32 somebody... it's vert ambiguous by my read in context of the whole transcript where other ambiguous moments appear..

however, i do agree with b in his january 19th post here - "It might be possible that Steele's 'dirty dossier', the Skripal case and the Integrity Initiative operation are unrelated. But that chance for that now tends towards zero."

@27 ben.. yes, and they have been for some time.. i can't see that changing.. there has been too much hay made off the skripal affair and it has fooled way more then not..

glad to see zanon disqualifying himself again for any newbies here who aren't up on that..

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2019 19:53 utc | 37

@35 rob.... the skripals are being frozen out by the same means at the uk's D-notice... do the math.. it is very clear.. it has nothing to do with putin, in fact they need to keep skripals out of the picture forever, or until that is way past it's by use date - 30 years??

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2019 19:56 utc | 38

@ james | Jul 20 2019 19:56 utc | 38

James: Thirty (30) years? That is a long time on ice. Would be cheaper keeping in Siberia, no?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jul 20 2019 20:11 utc | 39

I don't think the Putin statement makes any difference. It confirms the Theory that the Russians did it equally as well as it confirms that the Brits or Americans did it.
MRD applies.
And it won't convince anyone either.

Whereas Chief Nursing Officer (Army): Colonel Alison McCourt OBE ARRC QHN L/QARANC, has pretty much convinced everyone something was dodgy about the affair. That and the ducks and most recently "the Antidote" that saved Charlie Rowley's life and just happened to be carried by the ambulance staff that arrived at his door.

And of course the "believe 10 incredible things before breakfast" claims in the straits of Hormuz this month.

We are getting close to the point where May or Trump is going to flat out call their own intelligence services liars and creators of false flags.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jul 20 2019 20:13 utc | 40

@39 f t bear... just a stupid guess on my part... take it fwiw.. bottom line - they ain't coming out any time soon.. cheers

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2019 20:15 utc | 41

but yes! and anywhere north of the artic circle could probably work too.. free ice!

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2019 20:16 utc | 42

The Skripals were doped with BZ nerve agent. It is likely that Sergei has been maintained in a near vegetative state with psychotropic drugs since then as a means to keep him in storage.

There was no novichok other than the fresh batch made at Porton Down and used to amateurishly spike the sample sent to the OPCW for analysis.

Putin refers to Sergei being a spy in the present tense since Putin knows that once someone is a spook they are always a spook. It is not a career one can retire from.

The scenario b describes is the most probable of all that I've heard. Spook agencies such as the MI6 and CIA like to think of themselves as thrifty with their assets and thus accomplish multiple objectives with a single operation. They believe themselves to be clever that way. For this reason they would have been unlikely to have doped the Skripals for the sole purpose of implicating Russia. There are any number of other ways that they could have arranged an incident that makes Russia look bad. The operation would have had to serve other purposes as well, and silencing Sergei and preventing his embarrassing return to Russia would be suitable additional purposes. There were likely other objectives within the operation as well such as smoking out leakers.

Do feel pity for the Atlantic Council trolls who are tasked with trying to subtly reinforce the nonsense novichok narrative. Theirs is not an easy job.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 20 2019 20:17 utc | 43

add to 32

This here, by the way, was the rumour that Skripal wrote a letter to Putin asking to return.

Spread by the Guardian and the BBC.

The former Russian intelligence officer, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, regretted being a double agent and wanted to visit his family, his friend Vladimir Timoshkov told the BBC.

So HMG was embarrassed they could not protect their spy?

Posted by: somebody | Jul 20 2019 20:18 utc | 44

As for Putin's responses to Stone being more ambiguous than you would like, please consider Putin's position. He is trying to be diplomatic and is unlikely to come out and make blunt accusations even if he is certain about them beyond any shadow of doubt. He needs to leave his "partners" in Britain and the US the wiggle room to climb down from their nonsense if they come to their senses. Furthermore, if he gives signals that Russia is willing to repatriate the Skripals then that could sign the Skripals' death warrant. Best for the Skripals if the British and Americans feel confident that the Skripals are securely pinned down.

You have to be careful what you say when dealing with psychopaths that you don't trigger them into violence with a misplaced word.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 20 2019 20:29 utc | 45

I thought this made a lot of sense

Posted by: harry | Jul 20 2019 20:37 utc | 46

12# Elkern

Good that you bring this up.It might be a matter of syntax though.Do they speak Russian,or english both of them?Or with a translator between them?

"I've been told (in the past) :""He wants to make a written request to come back"" "

"I've been told (recently) [that] he wants to come back".

implicating indeed contacts after his recovery,but I don't think in such case mr.Putin would ventilate about it.But where is Yulia?The demands to see her emanating from the Russian Embassy in London were never met.Can Theresa May give some answers before quitting?And what about poor Dawn Sturgess most innocent and maybe the only deadly victim in the affair,should't there be a legal inquiry to find out who did put or leave or provide the sealed Nina Ricci flacon to Dawn and Charlie?Shouldn't her and her family's dignity be restored by bringing the perpetrators to the bench?Because She and Charlie Rowlings were staged as well as patsies,and I'am still angry at Lavelle and the Duran guys at that time referring to those two as kind of disposable drug addicts,which would be exactly the state of mind of those agents that go around poisoning people for the greater good of the country.

Thank you very much,b,for this reporting of you.The heart of the matter, I always find it over here.

Posted by: willie | Jul 20 2019 20:40 utc | 47

One suspects that Putin likes Stone, but also thinks Stone tends to take himself a bit too seriously. Part 4 of The Putin Interviews begins with some behind-the-scenes footage which probably belongs on the cutting room floor.
Stone is setting up Scene 1, Act 1. He tells Vlad to walk out of the room and out of sight down a corridor and emerge on Stone's "Action!" cue and "act like we're meeting for the first time."

When everything's ready Stone calls "Action" ... but no Vlad. Stone calls "Action" again...still no Vlad. Then we get a shot of Vlad winking (still out of sight of the main camera) and Stone is about to start the scene over when Vlad appears with two cups of coffee and as he hands a cup to Stone he asks "Sugar?"

My interpretation of that trivial event is that Vlad's friends have to cope with him pulling their leg occasionally AND reminding them Who's The Boss (even when we're having fun).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 20 2019 20:40 utc | 48


I am not here to post syncopath comments as you do, comments that conform to what b writes or what the majority think of a subject. Try having a real thought and post it, its not dangerous.

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 20 2019 21:01 utc | 49

It would be well to remember that in early March last year, about the same time that the Skripals were found collapsed on the park bench in The Maltings shopping centre by Alison McCourt and her award-winning heroic teenage daughter, that the Syrian Arab Army liberated Douma / East Ghouta (or most of that area anyway) near Damascus and captured 300 terrorists. Among the captured fighters were found British and French "military advisors". The British government (and probably likely the French government: do people remember that Moscow also thumped Paris over its role in the Skripal poisoning saga?) needed a diversion from that sorry tale that would have exposed Britain and France's sordid roles in the failed US-led invasion of Syria and the overthrow of Syria's government.

At the same time a military exercise in which troops apparently rehearsed a poisoning incident had just been completed in the Salisbury / Porton Down area. McCourt had taken part in that exercise.

It is possible that Skripal, living alone in his house and his pets, and facing a lonely future in Britain after his daughter, the other surviving member of his family, started making wedding arrangements that would have meant fewer visits to Britain to see her father, had contemplated returning to Russia and had made known his wish to a few people he thought he could trust. But whether he had information about his role (or no role) in cooking up the stories in the Steele dossier that Oliver Stone suggested he had, that he was planning to tell the Kremlin, is another thing. It might very well be that - unfortunately for the Skripals - Skripal's handler and British government spook agencies were and are as much taken with conspiracy thinking and the conspiracy mind-set as Oliver Stone was (in his interview with Vladimir Putin) and those agencies feared that Skripal was going to spill the beans about his (possible) involvement in the Steele dossier and implicate them.

These people are spies after all, and once a spook, always a spook. And spooks also look for a scheme that can hit two (and more) birds with the one stone; any consequences that arise, such as what to tell the public, can be dealt with later. Hence, the poisoning incident, that can be blamed on Russia and justify further sanctioning and arms build-up and expenditures (benefiting then PM Theresa May's husband financially), that deflects attention away from what just happened in Syria, and which removes someone from (possibly) telling the truth about supposed Russian involvement in the 2016 US Presidential elections, was a concoction too good to pass up.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 20 2019 21:13 utc | 50

@ Hoarsewhisperer 48

I vaguely recall, from many years ago, Putin pocketing Robert Kraft's super bowl ring and then acting like that's that, it's gone, while Kraft stood there looking confused and uncomfortable, not knowing what to say. I never heard if he gave it back.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 20 2019 21:16 utc | 51

I just did a search, and Putin never did give it back. Now that's a great prank.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 20 2019 21:18 utc | 52

Thanks b, a timely post. I sometimes suspect that the outing of Integrity Initaiative and Institute for Statecraft was a Russian payback for the defaming antics perpetrated by the MI6 morons. I have no proof as it was meticulously anonymous. Its a comforting thought here in the gaslit studio of humanity.

I had a good laugh at one poster who had it on good authority from a trustworthy ambassador that the Skripals are in USA. The ambassadors of the world are usually well versed in gaslighting. More on that subject at Corbet Report or Thomas Sheridan.

The big problem with Skripals etc was that they would reveal the complicity of the UK in developing the Steele dirty dossier to get Hillary the vulgar elected. They backed the wrong team and got caught playing dirty.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 20 2019 21:30 utc | 53

Skirpal et fil poisoned by agent BZ.... not "novachoke" or whatever. BZ does not kill the subject. The Swiss said they found BZ.

Get real....

Putin's bullchitting Oliver, for the purposes of classical diplomacy.

It is obvious...Comrade S was about to spill the vodka, er, "beans"...about?

The delusion....the one they want ou to believe in....

The disbelief in delusion is basic to?

The end of Empire, and to "trouble"...

Posted by: Walter | Jul 20 2019 21:49 utc | 54

Finding ambiguity or evasiveness in President Putin's answers to Skripal-related questions is not surprising - after all he knows that anything he says will automatically be discredited by the MSM echo chambers. By keeping his answers open-ended he challenges the western public to ask questions and find their own answers. Sadly, few will read or view with the open minds often found here at MoA.

Posted by: Mike-O | Jul 20 2019 21:49 utc | 55

Comrade S et fil simply read the writing on the wall, realized that "the west" was not going to prevail, and their natural patriotic character brought about the choice to attempt to "buy" back into the Slavic Space, ie Ruskilandia...and they must have unintentionally shown their cards to their custodian MI6 keepers...und then? Agent BZ, a very bad trip (it is a psycodoper-bummer) they got taught a heavy lesson....because they were planning to double cross their "keepers"... that a sensational "case" could be fabricated was simply the lagniappe... (look it up)

Posted by: Walter | Jul 20 2019 22:04 utc | 56

@45 wg and @55 mike-o.. indeed... ambiguity comes with the terrain.. i personally wasn't expecting anything else, but generally when putin talks it is very clear, even when there's ambiguity built into it as well..

@50 jen... i remember you articulating this back then as well.. thanks.

@ 53 uncle tungsten.. that makes sense to me...i hadn't really thought of it, but makes total sense.. who else would out integrity initiative and etc? could be a few players for different reasons, but russia is a good guess too..

Posted by: james | Jul 20 2019 22:04 utc | 57

Russian and English transcripts are not identical. In the Russian version, they both speak in the past sense, literally:

-It WAS said, that he would return to Russia, that he has some information
-Yes, I WAS told, he wants to write a paper, ask to return
-It WAS said that he intendED to return here and to provide some information to the press

From grammar, that was all said in the past, and was accurate as of that past moment (: the present tense is used after "that")

The source was not explained by either of them (...and indeed FWIW it reminds of Berezovsky...)

Posted by: Don Karlos | Jul 20 2019 22:07 utc | 58

From an establishment mouthpiece

but it makes sense because they would be recognised everywhere in UK.

I don't get the insinuation from you Uncle T, I mean that is not what I said if it was me you meant. Same goes for WG insinuating there are trolls on board, it puts an air of uncertainty amongst commentators like they have to check what they say not to be called troll, and that is trolling. Why not just criticise a commentator directly and allow the discussion to continue from that instead if you are serious, of setting the whole board on edge ?

Posted by: gzon | Jul 20 2019 22:08 utc | 59

When I linked to the Putin-Stone transcript yesterday on the open thread, I purposely omitted the Skripal discussion and posted the bit about American culture. I did so because of its convoluted nature, as many have noted. I read it 3-4 times and I still couldn't make sense of it via my usual methods of discourse analysis. In fact, the entire transcript is a series of convolutions. It would be better to see the filmed original and go from there. Of course, the Kremlin seemed okay with the transcript's form otherwise it wouldn't have been published.

As for the kidnapping of the Skripals by the UK government, IMO that's now the real scandal, but there seems no interest in it as BigLie Media has dumped the affair down its memory hole. And the truth of the matter is yet another reason why the UK's Deep State cannot allow Corbyn to gain power. Somehow, the UK citizenry must oust the Tories and Blairites, install Corbyn, and regain control over their destiny. Until that happens, the Skripals's fate and so much more will remain unanswered.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 20 2019 22:22 utc | 60

As for the UK-sponsored Lie Machines, Kit Klarenberg continues his excellent work uncovering their schemes and continues to get his reporting published by Sputnik, as with the item linked within the above tweet:

"A reminder of when Integrity Initiative's bff @haynesdeborah, who'd been writing about #Skripal on an almost daily basis for over a year, believed an NYT story that totally contradicted the official Salisbury narrative and her own reporting on the subject."

Kit's just one of a small army of excellent online investigators worthy of following on Twitter and their publishing outlets.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 20 2019 22:54 utc | 61

IRGC spokesman says British tanker escorted by a warship

According to the news service of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) ‘Sepahnews’, the Spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said on Saturday that the British oil tanker ‘Stena Impero’ was being escorted by the British Royal Navy and it was seized after ignoring international maritime regulations by sailing into the Strait of Hormuz in the wrong direction, increasing the risk of collision with other vessels

Read full news at this link

Posted by: arata | Jul 20 2019 22:57 utc | 62

Saudi Arabia releases Iranian oil tanker, all crew members

 After two and half months, Saudi authorities have allowed an Iranian oil tanker, all its crew and two other ships to return to Iran as a result of related Iranian authorities' follow-up.


Read full news at this link

Posted by: arata | Jul 20 2019 22:59 utc | 63

"For some reason the Skripals had to be taken out".

Is in this case perhaps not the simplest provided reason not also the best candidate? Skripal f#@&ed his old KGB buddies and he got payed back while of course, for dual use purposes, Putin states now openly it helped "to cause a scandal" supposedly for various geopolitical reasons. Russia already see itself at war, it's not "hoping".

Putin 2010" “Traitors will kick the bucket, believe me. Those other folks betrayed their friends, their brother in arms" and "Whatever they got in exchange for it, those 30 pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them.”

Putin 2019 (FT interview)" “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished."

Now do we *really* need a complex theory when Putin calls it openly "the gravest crime possible"? Of course, some parties could have used this tension but sometimes we should not look for complexity when simpler solutions are there: motive, some evidence, perpetrator and murder weapon. Just not very *refined* but efficiency in terms of killing was perhaps not even the point being made. What is being demonstrated is willingness and means.

Posted by: John Dowser | Jul 20 2019 23:28 utc | 64

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?


Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 65

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jul 20 2019 20:13 utc | 40

Whereas Chief Nursing Officer (Army): Colonel Alison McCourt OBE ARRC QHN L/QARANC, has pretty much convinced everyone something was dodgy about the affair.
Her presence at the incident is regarded as part of the plot, but in all probability, it was a coincidence that she was there. She lives with her family on an British Army base just north of Salisbury where except for visiting the local Tesco Express, there is really not much to do. So her visiting Salisbury on a Saturday afternoon with her family is a pretty obvious thing for her to be doing. If she parked in the largest central car park on the north side of the city centre, which is where she'd most likely park her car, then she'd walk right past the location where the Skripals were found. As a qualified nurse, it's quite likely that she would render assistance if she could. That she did so, does not mean that there was a conspiracy, that her presence was not made public earlier does suggest some sort of conspiracy after the incident. Relying on McCourt's presence is a red herring and a waste of time.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 20 2019 23:45 utc | 66

Oliver Stone. Well, at least he tries. His most brilliant film, in my opinion, was Natural Born killers which was Kubrikesque as a sort of new take on A Clockwork Orange. But being a great film director does not make you a great researcher and analyst.

Putin most definitely has a sense of humour and I think that's what keeps him going.

Today I found a little tree that is a descendant of the oldest tree fossil ever recorded and is also species all on its own - and there are only 5. Ginkgo has been around for at least 280 million years. It has weird leaves. Professor Peter Crane says: There are only five living groups of seed plants, and ginkgo is one of them. When we think about flowering plants, there are about 350,000 living species. And in an evolutionary sense, they’re equivalent to that one species of ginkgo.

He then talks about the disgusting smell of the fruit they produce and believes now extinct mammals - possibly dinosaurs - had a totally different olfactory system and to them maybe they smelled great. So the Ginkgo has not quite adapted.

I feel like the Ginkgo.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jul 20 2019 23:45 utc | 67

Just to throw it into the bubbling pot, there was that single report in May that Sergei Skripal, like ET, had finally phoned home. IIRC, earlier (c. March or April) there was a story with an audio clip about a telephone call between Yulia and her cousin in Russia.

I'm providing this link to a Telegraph article about the Sergei call just as a starting point for anyone who may be curious. I certainly can't vouch for the Telegraph's veracity, and of course have no rational way to assess the account's authenticity and significance.

"Sergei Skripal heard for the first time since poisoning in phone call, relatives say"

True or not, like every other "development" in this riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma of l'affaire Skripal, it raises far more questions than it answers.

FWIW, I think Putin's intellect and statesmanship is impressive. But he's undoubtedly a bit of a Cheshire Cat.

Posted by: Ort | Jul 21 2019 0:23 utc | 68

Now here's a comment about US society that's more complex than Putin's:

"... what is actually the American essence: a society & economy built on pervasive and persistent structural racism."

Hard to fault that opinion. The overall context it was made in the reader can discover.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 21 2019 0:28 utc | 69

So Putin said:
"There's not a scrap that says I'd scruple to scrape a Skripal".

Posted by: Capn Mike | Jul 21 2019 0:44 utc | 70

As I understood it, Sergei Skripal was more mercenary than spook, in the business of selling info because he could profit from it. In other words, more Aldrich Ames or Hanssen than Philby.

He was selling info to MI6 in exchange for cash and a holiday home in Spain. He got caught, spent some time in jail and Russia swapped him because there was no further damage he could do.

It was probably that same mercenary spirit that made him want to go back and he would have known he’d have to make his wares really appealing to Moscow to let him back in. I’d think the Steele dossier and Russiagate seemed like a perfect opportunity for him to state - or perhaps — overstate the importance of his information.

He may have overplayed his hand - obviously, his plans leaked out - and UK intelligence (perhaps with the US involved) decided to stage the incident. Or perhaps - as is possible with someone who’ll play both sides - Sergei was the leaker in an attempt to gain more currency with Moscow.

I’d think that Putin knows exactly what went on and this would also explain why Russia hasn’t been making a stink about one of their citizens - Yulia - being held prisoner/hostage in the UK for well over a year.

Posted by: Rely | Jul 21 2019 0:54 utc | 71

Did Sergei Skripal dump the perfume bottle?

Michael Antony provides the best explanation for how the Nina Ricci box ended up in the charity box.

The Alternative Skripal Narrative - Michael Antony, The Saker Blog, February 17, 2019

Let’s take the famous Nina Ricci perfume bottle, laced with novichok, which was found in a rubbish bin or charity bin by a homeless man and given weeks later to his woman friend, who tragically died after spraying it on her wrist. The police/MI6 narrative is that this perfume bottle was used to transport the novichok from Russia in the baggage of one of the alleged GRU men caught on CCTV in Salisbury. The novichok was then sprayed on the door handle of the Skripals’ house. The assassins then callously threw away the bottle (which they knew contained enough novichok to kill more people) in a dustbin or charity bin, demonstrating their indifference to loss of life as well as their indifference to leaving clues all over the place. There are problems with this narrative.

The homeless man claimed he had found the perfume bottle still in its box sealed in cellophane, proof it was not reopened after it had been laced with novichok and professionally repackaged. The bottle could not therefore have been used (as claimed) to spray the novichok on the doorknob, or the cellophane seal would have been broken. Assassins far from home don’t usually carry around cellophane-wrapping machines to repackage opened perfume bottles, especially when they are just going to chuck them in the bin. Nor would they take the risk, having fitted the separate spray nozzle onto the bottle and sprayed the doorknob, of disassembling it again to put it back in the box, knowing that a drop on their skin would kill them. And where would they perform this delicate operation? On the street? This poisoned perfume bottle was therefore never reopened, never used and it affected nobody until it ended up in the hands of the homeless man. So who or what was it intended for?

Ladies’ perfume bottles are normally intended for women. How many women are there in this story? Only one. The only possible explanation for the existence of this unopened, unused bottle of perfume laced with novichok is that it was a poisoned gift meant for Yulia Skripal. Why didn’t she open it? Because she had a spy father who took one look at it and said: “Don’t touch it!”

So here is the alternative narrative. MI6 had the bright idea of putting novichok in a Nina Ricci perfume bottle and sending it as a birthday present to Yulia Skripal at her father’s house. Her birthday was on 17th March, but the present was probably delivered on the 3rd, the day she arrived, so as to nip their escape plan in the bud. It was meant to seem like a present from her family or boyfriend. No doubt the parcel had Russian stamps on it, designed to frame the Russian state when the Skripals were found dead in their house with an open perfume bottle in Yulia’s hands. Unfortunately for MI6, Sergei took one look at this Nina Ricci perfume bottle and his spy instincts smelled danger. He refused to open it, but instead went for a long walk with it and put it in a rubbish bin or charity bin half-way across town. There it was found by the homeless man and given to his woman friend, a victim of MI6’s murderous callousness. Even after MI6 knew it had gone missing, they did not warn the public to beware of picking up a Nina Ricci perfume bottle because they didn’t want to give themselves away as the assassins.

The British police knew of the perfume bottle early on. The first theory of the poisoning presented to the public was that Yulia had brought the novichok from Russian in her luggage. There was even speculation that it was in a perfume bottle that Yulia had suddenly decided to open on the bench. (This did not sound plausible at the time as it would not explain how the novichok hit Sergei.)

Suitcase spy poisoning plot: nerve agent 'was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal's daughter' - The Telegraph, March 15, 2018

The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.

Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent’s 33-year-old daughter.

They are working on the theory that the toxin was impregnated in an item of clothing or cosmetics or else in a gift that was opened in his house in Salisbury, meaning Miss Skripal was deliberately targeted to get at her father.

We know the police were all over looking for the missing perfume bottle. They could not find it, because Sergei had already dumped it in the charity bin. Maybe Sergei even told them where he put it, but Charlie had found it before MI6 could recover it.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 21 2019 2:07 utc | 72

@ William Gruff

Yesterday you posted an interesting heads up about state dept and Atlantic council trolls working here. The context being crowing about the Panamanian deflagging of the Iranian vessel.

There was one 'scotch bingeington' I believe who made it all sound rather above board.

Another one 'gzon' also chimed in in support.

Today this 'gzon' is somewhat 'puzzled' by the whole Skripal affair.

This is one event I get nowhere with. In fact the only piece of information that gives me any info that I feel credible is how convinced a UK ambassador I am familiar with was about Russia being behind it, not by details given in person to me but just how they went about in reaction. There are ambassadors and ambassadors, and this one being a nicer person, quite meticulous, and not one to purposefully lie. That proves nothing though :( .

Did they move to the US in the end ?

Posted by: gzon | Jul 20 2019 19:19 utc | 29

This guy must feel pretty smart that he's fooling enough people here to take him seriously and engage with him.

But alas the troll profession is not exactly known for their high intelligence.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Jul 21 2019 2:32 utc | 73

@65 john dowser... you have to remember putin worked in the secret service for many years.. i do believe there is a code of honour to it, so in this context i don't find his views seem to want to push the idea that putin was trying to get rid of skripal - in other words, the story on the skripals in not a fabrication and the work of russia.. as you know - most folks here aren't buying that... your post is noted..

@67 ghostship... well, maybe it was just a coincidence operation toxic dagger was happening at the same time and the highest nurse to do with toxic chemicals also just happened to be wandering by salisbury at the time all this was going on too... do you really believe folks here are naive enough to let your comment pass the smell test? maybe ex-sa was onto something and i just missed it..

@69 ort... it's hard to know what to make of that link on skripal contacting his family.. the bigger question remains - where the fuck are they and why is no one allowed to have access to them??

as @69 karlof1 notes - until corbyn gets in power, the uk will not be an open society, especially on the level of knowing anything about the skripal affair and much more... i sure hope the people in the uk can find it in themselves to turf the horrible lot they have running at present - out...

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 2:55 utc | 74

69 - meant 61 karlof1..

Posted by: james | Jul 21 2019 2:57 utc | 75

@1 Zanon posits a big ol' pile of tripe.

Zanon: "Doubt that, Skripal's enemies is in Russia, Putin have earlier stated Skripal was a traitor and should be treated as such."

He *was* a traitor, and he *was* treated as such: arrest, trial, conviction, imprisonment.

But business is business. Once the Russians had let him rot away in prison for years then there was still some residual value to be squeezed from him i.e. a spy-swap.

The rules of that game are very well-defined: you agree on the people, you do the swap-over, and then you walk away.

The dude you hand over goes into anonymous retirement, and both sides are content that they have done the right thing by their own.

Zanon: "Why Skripal would go Russia after he deliberately moved out of Russia after an assault most likely carried out by someone in Russia"

Oh, pllllllllllease. That sentence makes no chronological sense.

This is the sequence of events that makes the most sense:
1) Skripal is recruited by Pablo Miller
2) Skripal spies on behalf of the British
3) Skripal is caught and imprisoned by the Russians
4) Skripal is swapped for some Russian spies
5) Skripal "retires" to Salisbury
6) Skripal and Miller concoct the entire "dossier" in a pub, laughing uproariously
7) Skripal sees The Shit Hit The Fan in the USA over that "dossier"
8) Skripal thinks "Oh, crap, this could end badly" and puts out some feelers
9) Skripal's daughter brings a message: Two men are coming in a few days to talk to you, you can trust them, the deal they will propose is that you will be welcome back to Russia if you agree dump on the "dossier" in a press conference.

The two dudes turn up, but no meeting took place because someone else "novichoked" Skripal before he could get to that meeting.

Zanon: ", that makes no sense."

Pig's arse it doesn't. It. Makes. Perfect. Sense.

Skripal was swapped because as far as the Russians were concerned that was all the value he had left to him.

Once he got involved in the "dossier" then his value to the Russians skyrocket i.e. he could blow the lid off "Russiagate", but only if the Russians can get him back to Moscow.

They tried, and they failed. Someone else got to him first.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 21 2019 3:03 utc | 76

@49 Zanon "I am not here to post syncopath comments as you do, "

Zanon, baby, you are here for one purpose only: to suggest - time after tedious time - that Vladimir Putin is to blame for everything that happens in this world.

A poisoning in Salisbury? Putin ordered the hit.
Israel bombs Syria? That was Putin's idea.
Iran is in Syria? Putin has already agreed to get rid of them.

Blaming the Russians is your one and only trick.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 21 2019 3:17 utc | 77

@65 John Dowser, your argument makes no sense.

Skripal was arrested and spent 5 years in a Russian prison. If "his old KGB buddies" had wanted him dead then that's when he would have been killed.

Why on Earth would they swap him, watch him go into "retirement" in Salisbury, and only then slap their foreheads and shout "Oh, shit, we gosh-darned forgot to kill him. Better send some guys over there and bump him off".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 21 2019 3:23 utc | 78

@ William Gruff

Yesterday you posted an interesting heads up about state dept and Atlantic council trolls working here. The context being crowing about the Panamanian deflagging of the Iranian vessel.

They fear this blog that much to commit resources in order to change minds? I an disappointed that Kissinger has not shown up yet. It makes me feel lowly and unimportant.

Even if Putin is perceived to be our enemy having a conversation would make some sense. The West fears that they could not stand in a room with him openly and beat him in a debate. His intellect would outclass them on every level. Minds would be changed and they fear that hence the fear of even having a conversation about him.

This garbage works on many but I have noticed that people do eventually begin to think differently if you softly point things out when the conversation turns that direction. They fear open conversations like this unless they can tightly control and edit.

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 21 2019 4:30 utc | 79

Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 66

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?


ABC News:

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning that Russian agents could seek to further divide Americans by exploiting U.S. passions over whether pineapple belongs on pizza.

It's a cheesy, playful warning -- but it's trying to deliver a serious message. Posted online Wednesday by the department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the tongue-in-cheek warning aims to help Americans identify and protect against propaganda campaigns from Russia and other foreign adversaries.

After all, the DHS warning says, Russian agents are capable of simultaneously insisting online that "Being anti-pineapple is un-American!" while also pushing out posts saying "Millennials are ruining pizza!""

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 6:38 utc | 80

Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 20 2019 23:44 utc | 66

Vladimir Putin: Is there an American culture?


Business Insider:

"A recent survey of 3,000 kids found that being a YouTube star was a more sought-after profession than being an astronaut among kids in the US and the United Kingdom.

Children ages 8 to 12 in the US, the UK, and China were recently polled in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which resulted in the first person to walk on the moon.

Kids in the US and the UK were three times as likely to want to be YouTubers or vloggers as astronauts, while kids in China were more likely to want to be astronauts."

Results of the Harris Poll survey

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 7:03 utc | 81

Here's a simple hypothesis: Sergey Skripal was involved with the fabrication of the Steele dossier (we know this). Therefore, he was a risk to the UK government and security services, as well as the US "democrats". Quite possibly Skripal signalled that he wanted to return to Russia, but if he didn't he was still a risk because of what he knew. So TPTB made up the story that the "russians had poisoned the Skripals with Novichok". As always in these cases, it serves more than one purpose. In this case they got rid of the Skripal risk and they could blame Russia again.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 21 2019 7:14 utc | 82


In fact the only piece of information that gives me any info that I feel credible is how convinced a UK ambassador I am familiar with was about Russia being behind it.

So you hobnob with UK ambassadors? Or perhaps you are both members of the same bird-watching club?

Your entire clumsy story sounds plainly contrived. But please do tell us the details. Don't spare the juicy parts. LOL

Posted by: flankerbandit | Jul 21 2019 7:46 utc | 83

First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran,
in Cooperation with the OPCW

This has always smelled fishy to me. Why Iran? One of the most sanctioned countries in the world is allowed to make nerve agents, supported by OPCW? Why not some
top class western chemical lab like Porton Down?

Could it be that PD already made the stuf but did not want to take credit, just in case it ever proved useful in blaming some Douma-style incident to Russia? But before that happened, everyone and his cat must know what Novichok is and that only Russia can make it. It had to be introduced to the public somehow. And then the wrong President got elected.

Posted by: Joost | Jul 21 2019 8:04 utc | 84

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 7:03 utc | 92

A recent survey of 3,000 kids found that being a YouTube star was a more sought-after profession than being an astronaut among kids in the US and the United Kingdom.

Children ages 8 to 12 in the US, the UK, and China were recently polled in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which resulted in the first person to walk on the moon.

Kids in the US and the UK were three times as likely to want to be YouTubers or vloggers as astronauts, while kids in China were more likely to want to be astronauts.

That sounds like a good sign to me, if kids in the US and UK are disregarding the system hype about "space travel", a stupid, worthless endeavor which will never accomplish anything except maybe to weaponize space.

Meanwhile it sounds like Chinese kids are still drinking the techno-necro kool ade.

Posted by: Russ | Jul 21 2019 8:13 utc | 85

@somebody, # 44
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly denied that claim last year:
"No. That's not true,"

I agree with what you said in #32. What Putin might have meant was that he was told the story, not that it was true.

Posted by: Brendan | Jul 21 2019 8:17 utc | 86

@ Elkern

1. Putin used present tense: Skripal "wants", rather than "wanted". Doesn't that imply some communication since the "incident"?

I may be reading way to much into this - it could just be idiosyncratic aspects of Putin speaking in English, or bad translation.

Bad translation. In reported speech, Russians report the words as actually said and do not change the tense of the verb whose action is reported.

In English, "I want to go back to Russia" is reported objectively as: Skripal said that he wanted to go back to Russia.

In Russian,"I want to go back to Russia" is literally reported as: Skripal said that he wants to go back to Russia.

When speaking English, many Russian speakers fail to observe this "back-one-tense" English grammatical rule for reported speech.

Posted by: moscowexile | Jul 21 2019 8:23 utc | 87

@ Piotr Berman

I understand Russian and I speak a language with a similar grammar, and I have no idea how to say "he said that he wants" in a way that implies something different than a wish made at the time of speaking ("he wants") or a wish that existed before he spoke ("he wanted"). Implication about wishing after the time of speaking would require some elaboration, you cannot make it by selecting tenses.

In Russian, as I have written above, one reports the tense as used by the person whose action one is reporting. Thus:

"I want to go back to Russia" [Я хочу вернуться в Россию] is reported in Russian literally as: Он сказал, что хочет вернуться в Россию [He said that he wants to go back to Russia], whereas in English, one should say: He said that he wanted to go back to Russia.

However, in Russian, one can add, for example, the term якобы in order to express one's doubts about the veracity of that action which one is reporting:

Он сказал, что хочет, якобы, вернуться в Россию [literally: He said that he, allegedly, wants to go back to Russia].

Posted by: moscowexile | Jul 21 2019 8:43 utc | 88


Trolls don't develop a dialogue; what they do is it ignore everything written about an issue and rotate right back to the beginning.

Trolls present unverifiable, uncorroborated information.

Trolls present information that is irrelevant and not credible.

You did all these things @29.

Will you name the UK ambassador whose opinion you give so much weight to? Or are you just full of wind?

Posted by: ADKC | Jul 21 2019 9:18 utc | 89

Posted by: Joost | Jul 21 2019 8:04 utc | 95

First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran,
in Cooperation with the OPCW

This has always smelled fishy to me. Why Iran?

Cornell chemistry professor states 'Novichok so simple to make, many labs could do it' -- The Skwawkbox, 05/04/2018

Dave Collum:

I asserted that any credible organic chemist could make novichok nerve agents. Here is my final exam in my 1st year graduate organic synthesis course. Only one kid of 15 lost any points. Uniquely Russian technology my ass....

David B. Collum is a Prof of Organic Chemistry @ Cornell.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 9:23 utc | 90

Posted by: Brendan | Jul 21 2019 8:17 utc | 97

RT clarifies

Stone asked the Russian leader if he believes in the theory that Sergei Skripal wanted to return to Russia and divulge some secrets but was stopped by the British government.

“Honestly, I don’t really believe it. I don’t believe it,” Putin replied.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 21 2019 9:25 utc | 91

Sorry ...

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 9:25 utc | 92

Dave Collum:

I made a molecule with 18 asymmetric centers in 27 steps. Took 14 months as a 2nd yr grad. You don't think I could make a novichok with my eyes closed? My assertion is any sovereign state has the skill. That's where May et al. are complete liars. Lying up a storm.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 9:31 utc | 93

In English, both main and subordinate clauses use absolute(independent) tense, whereas in Russian grammar the subordinate clause is relative in time to the main clause.
Obviously, that was a negligence on the part of the translator.

Posted by: Belomor | Jul 21 2019 9:37 utc | 94

Files from the Porton Down military laboratory were found in a trash can in Northern London. It's the laboratory where, according to the British authorities, nobody could walk out with the poison on the eve of the Skripal poisoning. Classified documents are a terrorist’s dream, according to British intelligence agencies. So, they managed to walk out with them but failed to walk out with the poison?

Political analyst Alexander Nekrasov is now speaking from London.

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 9:46 utc | 95

Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia -- The Hill, 07/18/19

The Trump administration has not imposed a second round of sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain more than eight months after telling Congress that Moscow had triggered them.

State Department officials have repeatedly insisted the United States intends to impose new sanctions, which are required under a law passed by Congress in 1991 on eliminating chemical and biological weapons.

But several months have passed without news, and members of Congress say they have heard little from the administration on the topic.

A former government official familiar with the matter told The Hill that the State and Treasury departments finalized a proposed sanctions package by March at the latest, but top officials have yet to sign off.

“Options have been ready to go for several months at this point and senior folks in the administration haven’t made the decision or given the green light to roll them out,” the former official said.

Bloomberg reported at the end of March that the White House had received the sanctions package and that State and Treasury were waiting for the White House to sign off before they issued the new punishment for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

The reason for the lack of action is shrouded in mystery. The White House did not offer a comment for this story.


Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 9:56 utc | 96

Putin: Why Would Anybody Be Interested in Skripal? He Served His Time For Being Traitor

Posted by: curious man | Jul 21 2019 10:06 utc | 97

C'mon guys, the handling of the case shortly after the event rules out any Russian induced poisoning, circumstantial evidence does not fit a nerve agent. Its an utmost hilarious propaganda narrative. The Russian state orders an attack with an internationally banned weapon of mass destruction on the territory of a Nato member? For late revenge, hurt feelings? Doesn't anybody realize how stupid that sounds? The scenario brought forward, with the perfume bottle, could (thinking opsec) have easily involve thousands of innocent victims. Imagine the opening of the bottle in a mall. There is no Russian state component in it. Not even a Roque element. The claim is total BS. Short analysis shows, that management of this "case" is entirely in the realm of the UK.

The opcw sampling, the coincidental first responder military nurse, Pablo Miller...

A lot of elements of this operation had to be prepared upfront and controlled while the operation is unfolding. It remains open, whether or not the skripals where in on the plot, probably not. But anyone asserting the "Russia did it/novichok" story does lack the sanity to be trusted with state matters.

Posted by: Insane scenario | Jul 21 2019 10:27 utc | 98

They are most likely in a black site lock up in Swest of England. Life sentence for sure.There are plenty of suitable estates that are probable black sites. Every nation has them I guess for their special prisoners. Julia and Sergei are prisoners of conscience, no habeas corpus in UK.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 21 2019 10:37 utc | 99

@97 Brendan, @ 102

Both from interview transcripts and RT article it's clear that the part P. says he does not believe is that S. has been poisoned by the British services (in response to Stone's question floating such a possibility).

On 24 March 2018 BBC posted a piecemeal-videoed interview with S. classmate named Vladimir Timoshkov, who said that sometime in 2012 S. called him from London for about 30 minutes, argued that he did not commit treason since his allegiance had been to the USSR, and "wrote to Putin" (timing not provided) asking for full pardon to be able to return to Russia on family grounds. Writing to Putin was denied by Kremlin to BBC, and by Peskov in Russian media the next day.

Exact meaning is unclear. Timoshkov recollection is not very confident, he is not entirely sure about the year when this conversation took place, or the exact wording. It's not impossible that S. only planned to write such letter, not actually wrote it, and that such a possibility is tentatively confirmed by P. (However Stone version is coming back with some 'information', not coming on family grounds).

It is also possible that S. wrote such letter few years earlier, around the time of the spy swap in 2010. He had to write to Pres. Medvedev asking for pardon, at least formally, and it is not impossible that he was retelling some bits from that earlier letter. (Pardon was granted after it was requested).

Posted by: Don Karlos | Jul 21 2019 10:49 utc | 100

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