To my knowledge, none of the questions I wrote in my previous piece – 30 questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case – has been answered satisfactorily, at least not in the public domain. Yet despite the fact that these legitimate questions have not yet been answered, and many important facts surrounding the case are still unknown, the case has given rise to a serious international crisis, with the extraordinary expulsion of Russian diplomats across many EU countries and particularly the United States on March 26th.

This is a moment to stop and pause. A man and his daughter were poisoned in the City of Salisbury on 4th March. Yet despite the fact that investigators do not yet appear to know how they were poisoned, when they were poisoned, or where they were poisoned, a number of Western nations have used the incident as a pretext for the co-ordinated expulsion of diplomats on a scale not witnessed even during the height of the Cold War. These are clearly very abnormal and very dangerous times.

I pointed out in my previous piece that it is not my intention to advance some sort of conspiracy theory on this blog. It remains the case that I simply don’t have any holistic theory — “conspiracy” or otherwise — for who carried this out, and I continue to retain an open mind. But since the Government of my country has rushed to judgement without many of the facts of the case being established, and since this has led to the biggest deterioration in relations between nuclear-armed nations since the Cuban Missile Crisis, it seems to me that it is more important than ever to keep asking questions in the hope that answers will come.

And so, for what it’s worth, here are 20 more important questions that I think that journalists ought to be asking regarding this case:


1. Have the police yet identified any suspects in the case?

2. If so, is there any evidence connecting them to the Russian Government?

3. If not, how is it possible to determine culpability, as the British Government has done?

4. In her statement to the House of Commons on 12th March 2018, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May stated the following:

“It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’. Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down” [my emphasis added].

In the judgement at the High Court on 22nd March on whether to allow blood samples to be taken from Sergei and Yulia Skripal for examination by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), evidence submitted by Porton Down to the court (Section 17 i) stated the following:

“Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent or closely related agent” [my emphasis added].

So the Prime Minister said that Porton Down had positively identified the substance as a Novichok nerve agent. The statement from Porton Down says that their tests indicated that it was a Novichok agent or closely related agent. Are these two statements saying exactly the same thing?

5. Why were the phrases “related compound” and “closely related agent” added to the statement given by Porton Down, and is this an indication that the scientists were not 100% sure that the substance was a “Novichok” nerve agent?

6. Why were these phrases left out of the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons?

7. Why did the Prime Minister choose to use the word “Novichok” in her speech, rather than the word Foliant, which is the actual name of the programme initiated by the Soviet Union when attempting to develop a new class of chemical weapons in the 1970s and 1980s?

8. When asked in an interview with Deutsche Welle how scientists at Porton Down had found out so quickly that the nerve agent was of the “Novichok” class of chemical weapons, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, was asked whether Porton Down possesses samples of it. Here is how he replied:

They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said there’s no doubt” [My emphasis].

If Mr Johnson’s statement is correct, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down has samples of “Novichok” in its possession, where did they come from?

9. Were they produced at Porton Down?

10. How long have they had them?

11. Why has the DSTL not registered possession of these substances with the OPCW, which it is legally obliged to do under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)?

12. Does this admission by Mr Johnson not indicate that “Novichoks” can be made in any advanced chemical weapons facility, as indeed they were under the auspices of the OPCW in Iran in 2016?

13. If so, how can the Government be sure that the substance used to poison Mr Skripal and his daughter was made in or produced by Russia?

14. In her statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday 14th March, the British Prime Minister stated that there were only two plausible explanations for poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter:

“Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country. Or conceivably, the Russian government could have lost control of a military-grade nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Other than the actual substance used, is there any hard evidence that led the Government to conclude these as being the only two plausible scenarios?

15. On March 26th, a number of countries expelled Russian diplomats in an apparent response to the incident in Salisbury. Yet at this time, the OPCW had not yet investigated the case, nor analysed blood samples. Why was the clearly co-ordinated decision to expel diplomats taken before the OPCW’s investigation had concluded?

16. Has this not put huge pressure on the OPCW to come up with “the right” conclusion?

17. It is reckoned that the OPCW’s investigation into the substance used will take at least three weeks to complete, whereas it took Porton Down less than a week to analyse it. What accounts for this difference?

18. Will the OPCW be using the samples of “Novichok” that Boris Johnson says are held at Porton Down to compare with the blood samples of Mr Skripal and his daughter?

19. If not, on what basis will this comparison be made, since the first known synthesis of a “Novichok” was made by Iran in 2016?

20. If the OPCW discovers that the substance is indeed a “Novichok”, will this be sufficient evidence with which to establish who carried out the attack on the Skripals or — given that other countries clearly have the capability to produce such substances — would more evidence be needed?

17 thoughts on “20 More Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

  1. An excellent article – pity it can’t/won’t go Mainstream – the Western MSM are total traitors who publish whatever they’re given by Government. No questions -just jump on the wagon.

    May they rot in hell (pun intended)

  2. Remove all the ‘Evil Russia’ bluster surrounding this event and the most obvious explanation of the Salisbury poisoning is staring you in the face… The Skripals weren’t ‘attacked’ by anyone – they were the unfortunate victims of their own smuggling activities. Acting for the UK Government, the daughter was bringing small samples of Russian toxic agent into this country for the father to pass on the his contacts in (safely nearby) Porton Down for analysis. A compromised container on this run contaminated the contents of Ms Skripal’s suitcase and thereafter poisoned not only the Skripals but also (later) the unfortunate policeman sent to rummage through it for a positive ID of the mysterious woman found desperately sick on a park bench. Of course, the UK government will not now act in accordance with CWC procedures in meeting Russia’s requests to send a sample of the agent for their own evaluation. Why?.. because if the Russians positively identify the material it will likely also identify those connected to it being spirited out of a high-security lab… thereby ending a high-value espionage chain for the UK, and – far more crucially – leaving the UK Government directly responsible for an extremely dangerous nerve agent appearing on Britain’s streets.

  3. Another question to be tabled Mr. Slane-
    -Why does the leaked script submitted to EU and Nato , scan and is formatted & laid out
    so that it just reeks of Hill & Knowlton?
    That Perception Management ‘science” can detect anything! Even(particularly) when it doesn’t exist in this universe. Due to the Budget no doubt-the funding for which needs to be tracked-Yesterday.
    Before we are all to suffer another horrifying round of decanted zygotes skidding across the concrete as they are flung from the incubators.
    The next source of organo phosphates too be checked in this would be the residue in the dumpsters at the Tesco across the street from where the Skipails started the stroll- OP insecticides are after all diluted nerve agents and the synergies betwixt them and the new don’t degrade neonicotoides will prove-fascinating I’m sure.

  4. Thanks for an insightful list of questions.

    I live in Russia and one of the many things that distresses ordinary Russians is the evidence this case provides of massive intellectual decay in the West. Russians have long been aware that Westerners, in particularly in the US, to an increasing degree have lost basic abilities to do arithmetic, can no longer write a complete paragraph in their own English without errors in grammar and spelling, and have become gruesomely ignorant of geography and history. Those are dangerous trends for world peace.

    But in this case we see the UK government proceeding with a case that indicates disdain for the intelligence and common sense of citizens. The UK government thesis boils down to a claim that the detection of a nerve agent, that may or may not be similar to an agent researched 30 years ago in the Soviet Union, is proof the Russian government attempted to kill someone in the UK, sufficient proof to engage in acts of war against Russia.

    If the UK government has reason to believe the citizens of the UK are so massively stupid as to swallow that thesis, then the UK has far bigger problems than belligerence from Russia.

    For that matter, if the leaders of the EU also believe their citizens would accept a thesis that in no way establishes any logical connections, let alone proof, then the EU is doomed. No collection of nation states can survive such toxic stupidity in today’s highly competitive world. The Chinese and the rising states of Asia will see to that.

    By the way, those who believe that mistreatment of ambassadors, defaming a sovereign power or launching economic attacks are not acts of war should consider how precisely such acts have precipitated so many wars. Roosevelt, for example, famously achieved his objective of entering WWII by launching economic attacks against Japan. If war is what the UK government wants, then the citizens of the UK should consider what they shall have if their government achieves its objective.

    Russian patience is not endless in the face of mistreatment of our diplomatic personnel, defamation of our state, and economic attacks on our people. For the first time in living memory, more and more ordinary Russians are calling for a military response to such attacks, and the war party in Russia has succeeded in bringing weapons of mass destruction to a greater readiness for use against the UK. How is that in the interests of the UK?

    What worries Russians is that our turning the other cheek is not enough. As students of history we know very well that countries in the West do not go peacefully into the long decline of entropy through stupidity. They make their way into failed state status through a serious of violent tics, lashing out at neighbors and rivals with wars and assaults, often based on false pretexts. France famously lost Alsace and Lorraine by foolishly launching the war of 1870 against Prussia based on false pretexts. Does the UK really think they will today profit from a war with Russia? Perhaps so, but also as students of history we Russians know that wars are to be avoided, as even for the winners the process is always harsh.

    As they say, a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day, so it could be that despite the phenomenal implausibility of the UK government’s thesis it is, indeed, against all odds, correct. We don’t know, but we can get closer to the truth by asking questions as you have done.

    Zeroing in on the technical aspects of this case, for which answers are difficult to fabricate, is one method to get closer to what actually happened while reducing the influence of war-mongering propaganda. Your questions are spot on. Here are a few more questions an enterprising MP might want to ask Boris Johnson and Theresa May. They too might well be caught up in something they do not understand, and just might be interested in discovering the truth if, against all odds, it is contrary to what they now believe.

    1. You have launched acts of war against Russia based on the claim that detection of a nerve agent that may be similar to agents researched in the Soviet Union 30 years ago is proof the Russian government today tried to kill one or more people living in the UK. What proof do you have the Russian government tried to kill Skripal, specifically what proof that is so compelling it justifies acts of war against Russia? Other than the detection of a chemical, do you have any proof at all that the Russian government tried to kill Skripal?

    2. Have you considered the possibility of a military response by Russia? What are the possible military responses from Russia that your planning has considered? What are the possible military escalations should your actions against Russia bring the war party in Russia into power? Have you considered the effects on UK citizens in scenarios other than “if nuclear war breaks out we all shall be incinerated, but many of them will be as well”?

    3. You say this nerve agent was “of a type developed by Russia.” By “Russia” do you mean the Soviet Union of 30 years ago or do you mean the Russian Federation of today? By “Russia” do you mean the country of Uzbekistan, where chemical weapons were researched and produced in the days of the Soviet Union? When you say “of a type developed by Russia” do you really mean, more accurately, “of a type developed in Uzbekistan”? What evidence do you have that the claimed molecule has anything to do with Russia or the Russian government, as opposed to Uzbekistan? Is the UK government aware that Russia and Uzbekistan are different countries, significantly more different than, say, France and Belgium? How has that awareness, if it exists, guided your implied claim that the country in which such weapons were researched and produced, Uzbekistan, could not possibly be involved in this matter, while a country in which no such weapons were researched and produced, the Russian Federation, was without fail the only party involved? How many criminal events within Uzbekistan have there been in recent decades involving military assets? Do you know?

    4. What, specifically, do you mean by “developed”? Do you claim Russia was the first country to create this molecule, or do you claim that Russia was the first country to discuss the possibility of this molecule? For the record, which countries are known to the UK government as having, or as likely having, researched or produced molecules that are a) nerve agents of any type, or b) nerve agents that are in any way similar to this molecule? Is the number of countries more or less than, say, 20?

    5. What, specifically, was the molecule detected? Please provide a structural diagram of the molecule, to erase all taint of lies told to date about what the UK government claims. No doubt Porton Down has a comprehensive bibliography of all industrial, academic, and military papers that mention this molecule or molecules that are similar to this molecule in structure or in action. Please provide a list of those papers. If the government’s thesis that the detection of this specific molecule proves an act of war by Russia, then it seems that list must be very short and will not indicate any work whatsoever in any other country.

    6. What are the technical characteristics of the molecule that indicate it is of “a type developed by Russia” and not a type developed, researched or produced by Uzbekistan, by Iran, by the UK, by the US, by China, by North Korea, or by any other country? VX, Sarin and similar nerve agents are widely known throughout the world and have even been produced by amateurs, as in the Aum Shinrikyo nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway. What are the boundaries to your phrase “a type developed by Russia” that would distinguish such a type as this molecule from, say, “a type similar to VX” or “a type similar to Sarin”? Have any other countries developed, researched or produced any molecules similar to VX or similar to any other nerve agent known to Porton Down? How, exactly, is that lethal zoo of hundreds of weaponized molecules at Porton Down and in dozens of countries different from this particular “type” of molecule, and in such a profoundly different way that only Russia at the government level and no other country or group could have created this particular molecule?

    7. Although you use the phrase “a type developed by Russia” you have also added the qualifier or “a closely related agent.” What, specifically, is the list of known agents that qualify as “closely related”? In which other countries have research, development or production of such “closely related” agents occurred? What is the bibliography of citations for industrial, academic and military publications that discuss the theory, research, development or production of such “closely related” agents?

    8. You refer to this chemical as a “military grade” agent. What are the technical characteristics that make a nerve toxin “military grade” as opposed to any other “grade”? Do you use “military grade” as a synonym for “scary nerve toxin” such that any formulation of, say, VX or Sarin, you would call “military grade”? Or, by “military grade” do you mean some other characteristic, such as purity of the substance, concentration within a carrier fluid, or physical characteristics such as formulation as an aerosol or powder?

    9. Given that there is no evidence at all that the substance known as Novichok was ever known to exist in anything other than laboratory research in Iran or, as claimed by the UK, at Porton Down, what technical basis is there for saying a given sample of Novichok is “military grade” as opposed to “terrorist grade” or “industrial grade” or “amateur grade”?

    10. Did Skripal ever attempt to sell information or services related to intelligence activities or opposition research or military information of any kind, to any nation state or any organization of any kind, while he was living in the UK? If so, what did he do? How did he earn a living? Did Skripal in any way try to profit from his former status as a spy? Has Skripal ever discussed or communicated with anyone in the UK or in the UK government regarding chemical weapons, for example, nerve agents?

    11. What is the physical evidence for the mechanism of dosing the victims?

    12. Many cases of people with former Soviet connections have emerged where samples of “weapons grade” materials were offered for sale to government agencies, at times under the pretext of exposing a plot, and other times simply as intelligence for sale, and often as a fraud to pick up cash from intelligence services which are eager to pursue all leads. Is it possible Skripal was involved in a plan to sell samples of a “nerve agent” and that he was sloppy in his handling of such samples? Would not such sloppiness be more likely to cause the health effects seen, wildly spread out over geographic distance and time, than a deliberate effort to use a “military grade” weapon to kill?

    13. No crime is credible without a credible motive. How does the UK government explain the motive of the Russian government in this matter, when all logic and self-interest provide a compelling counter-motive, that the Russian government could not possibly want to cause a public relations problem by killing Skripal in a highly exotic way, guaranteed to leave a trail miles long pointed at the Soviet Union, on the eve of the World Cup in Russia? What tangible evidence does the UK government have that the Russian government was compelled to act in this alleged way right now, as opposed to simply shooting Skripal the week after the World Cup finished?

    Well… that’s a very long letter, but then we Russians have a tendency to write at length. I want to emphasize that in no way do I condone assassinations in foreign lands, nor do I in any way wish any ill to the UK or EU, to their governments or to their citizens. I strongly believe that peace is in everybody’s interest and that something has gone terribly wrong within government in a way that serves nobody’s interests. I offer these questions so that the strong minds and stalwart morals of people in the UK, beginning with good people like Boris Johnson and Theresa May, can consider these questions themselves and, perhaps, see from them that they are going to war based on a thesis that is false and which does not serve their own interests.

    I could be wrong in my belief that the Russian government has nothing to do with this, of course, but only the hard path of answering necessary questions will lead to the true cause of this incident in Salisbury. Sweeping difficult questions under the rug will only allow the truly guilty to go free, while possibly precipitating a war with a country that did nothing wrong.

    Best regards,

    Dmitri

    1. Hi Dmitri,

      This is great. Just great. I don’t think there is a word of what you have written with which I could disagree. I particularly agree with the sentiments of your opening paragraph, about the intellectual decay in the West. This is a huge grief to me, and the Skripal case merely highlights very, very starkly what the problem is.

      I have tried pointing out to people who should know better, how the Government has acted not only recklessly, but with a complete disregard for the “values” which once defined us — adherence to the rule of law, presumption of innocence, regard to due process etc. But it all falls on deaf ears. It’s as if many have simply lost the ability to think rationally, logically, and to rely on facts, and now rely only on emotion and so are hugely susceptible to propaganda.

      It’s actually part of a far, far bigger problem in the West, which is the complete and total loss of objective truth. You can see it in the movement to redefine the institution of marriage in a way that no previous society on earth ever tried. You can see it in the movement to override the biological fact of a person’s sex, as defined by their chromosomal make up. You see it in the rampant individualism where truth and reality is defined internally, and not objectively by what is.

      Actually, it’s worse than this though. It’s not just the loss of a sense of objective truth – its actually the loss of the idea that there even *can* be objective truth.

      But this rampant individualism has, ironically, now moved to produce a kind of hideous collectivism. If you object to same-sex marriage, for instance, you are an outcast. If you question the UK Government’s claims around the Skripal case, you are practically a traitor. The move towards subjectivism, rather than objective truth, has produced a groupthink of grotesque proportions, which those in power have moved to exploit.

      For me, one of the most important quotes of the 21st century so far was one uttered by Karl Rove, Chief of Staff in the George W. Bush administration. Here’s what he said:

      “That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      That’s basically it. After decades of Cultural Marxist ideas seeping into the collective consciousness of the West, the powers that be now feel confident in doing what they want, and how they want, essentially shaping their own reality. Only repentance and a return to objective truth will stop the rot.

      This is not me saying I know what happened to the Skripals. Like you, I keep open several possibilities. But it is my lament that Western civilisation has become such a disgusting, putrid mess, that many are now susceptible to propaganda on a level I doubt that the world has ever seen before.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

      1. Well said, Rob. What you write is depressing, but oddly enough I felt somewhat cheered by it, by knowing that astute people like you can see the thing and call it out for what it is.

        I believe the root of much of this is the failure of education in the West. Magical thinking thrives on ignorance. Where there is no knowledge people substitute beliefs, and beliefs are purely subjective. Absent any knowledge you can believe whatever you want, such as sitting underneath a pyramidal frame will cure cancer.

        This is nothing new. It has happened many times before throughout history, usually as a result of convulsive catastrophes that have eradicated the expectation of knowledge in society.

        At the height of Roman culture, a young man in the provinces, from Syria to North Africa to distant Britain to the wild frontier of the Danube, could look forward to a fully articulated education in Latin and Greek, knowing all the classics, the mathematics and the inherited knowledge of centuries. The entire world was literate, with the poorest Roman soldier writing letters home from distant marches.

        The catastrophic end of antiquity, the price paid for endless Roman civil wars, the self-indulgence of a welfare-state, parasite class in Rome itself, and, of course, the eager incursion into the Empire of tribes taught by mercenary service to Rome that their military skills would make them lords, no knowledge of Latin or Greek required, ended all that. For a few centuries, the basic ability to read and write hung by a thread. The subjectivism of brutes ruled.

        We see that again in the aftermath of the Black Death, when the prosperous, highly refined civilization of the high Middle Ages was eradicated in a series of plagues and replaced by misery. Many regions did not regain their pre-plague populations and prosperity until the early 1700’s.

        The catastrophe that eradicated education in our time was World War II, a second blow after the annihilation of millions of fine minds in the preceding Great War. I think what happened was that for decades the world lay in ruins, and that allowed the one empire left standing, the US, to go soft in the head.

        After the war, people in the US abandoned effort, reveling in the pleasures of superficial relaxation, much as how survivors of the Black Death often reveled in fornication and gluttony at the joy of finding themselves alive. In the US, instead of thinking about math they thought about cars and bobby sox. Happy Days, indeed.

        With the rest of the world in ruins, whatever inept and badly designed mechanisms the US created could be sold without competition. Horrifically incompetent automobiles, which could barely hold the road and corroded in a season, but which were equipped with chrome fins, could sell in all nations. Superficiality ruled. I think right then, in the ’50s, the lack of competition and the wish of Americans to escape the need to think led to the end of serious education in the US. And then, of course, that cancer metastasized to the rest of the world, riding on the wings of American cultural dominance, infecting a weakened and demoralized Europe and the American vassal states of Asia.

        In fairness to the US, new technology also played a role in laying intellectual waste in a population that completely lacked immunity to new threats. The Black Death is an example of how the genetic technology of microbes could transform an entire culture that lacked immunity. The arrival of European diseases likewise transformed a once densely populated North America into a land largely empty of aboriginal inhabitants.

        In the US the 60’s and 70’s brought a new technology into play, previously unknown, but brutally effective in the eradication of education and logical thought: the new technology of psychedelics. I think the effect of millions of young people “tuning in, turning on and dropping out” in those days is grossly underestimated. That will never be studied by the sociology caste, of course, since doing so would require them to examine their own failings.

        From a purely technical perspective, the great power of modern psychedelics arises not so much from the radical visual effects and scrambling of sensory processing, but instead from the profound alteration of subjective mental states such psychedelics induce, where the experience is one of absolute and genuine authenticity, the revelation of what at the deepest levels of cognition and self-awareness is known, without doubt, as consequential truth. It is revelation that in no sense is taken as false, because it summons that same wiring in the brain which our cognition employs to tell us in the very most important matters what is true and what is false.

        In the minds of millions of young people, there is no way the tediously acquired revelations or insights of mathematics, gained over many years, can compete with the far more powerful insights they are convinced they have gained immediately by tuning in and turning on. A few experiences like that and they start walking about wearing beads and talking nonsense about earth essences and the oneness of the universe. How do you keep them down on the farm after they have seen LSD?

        If you look at the wake of the early ’70’s in the US, what do you see? A generation of millions of former hippies who missed the rigorous process of forming intellects and the capacity for logical thought, who instead have been trained by all-powerful chemistry to know, to truly know, their subjectivism is better that what seem to be sophist phantoms from book-learning, and who have proceeded to retreat from their failures in the real world into an academic sub-culture of relativist psycho-babble. Right there and then, in the rise of fake scholasticism cloaking the babble of failed hippies, you see the death of education in the West, and the enmity to learned education in favor of individual, invented babble.

        That failed minds which gain political power create groupthink misery is a well known story to Russians. When the Bolsheviks came to power they annihilated educated people and in their place installed illiterate brutes. The result was the rise of Soviet faculties adept at political in-fighting but unable to tell Lysenkoism from authentic genetic science, very similar to what one sees today in Western universities.

        Well… another long letter!

        Best wishes,

        Dmitri

  5. Another question was who gains. It was reported that Skripal’s handling agent was Christopher Steele. If Skripal was involved in compiling the GPS Fusion report funded by the DNC and Clinton Foundation, his elimination might aid the cause of anti-Russian elements in the USA. If this event halts the completion of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Ukraine (as a US proxy) gains significantly. Always follow the money.

  6. When you say that the Skripals “were poisoned” you’re still not cutting out all of the unnecessary assumptions. The only thing we know for sure, thanks to other witnesses who were not part of the government, is that the Skripals were found unconscious in a park.

    “Were poisoned” contains the implicit assumption that somebody else performed the poisoning.

    In a normal situation without government fakery, the initial police assumption would be mutual suicide. And in most normal situations the initial assumption would be valid.

    1. Hi Polistra,

      I disagree. I carefully chose the phrase “were poisoned”, rather than, say, “were attacked” preceicely because I believe it can imply both scenarios — i.e. either that they were poisoned by another, or that the poison was self-administered, whether on purpose or by accident. So for example, if I say that “I had food poisoning”, you wouldn’t be able to tell from that phrase alone whether the poisoning was the result of my cooking, someone else’s, or indeed whether it was accidental. It simply states what happened. Likewise, in the absence of all the facts of what happened and how it happened, I think the phrase “were poisoned” is the safest bet.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

  7. Today the BBC reported that the police have cordoned off a children’s play area near to Mr Skripal’s house. The way the BBC reported the issue implied that the area is suspected of being contaminated. Yet, this is three weeks after the alleged event. This suggests a remarkable complacency about public health.

    Similarly, the police have reported as just discovered a substantial amount of the alleged nerve agent on Mr Skripal’s door. Again three weeks later. How many people could have had access to Mr Skripal’s door since 4 March? The question apparently never occurred to the BBC.

    The BBC appear to be remarkably lacking in curiosity.

    http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/the-strangeness-of-skripal-case.html

  8. It seems to be that whenever international bankers screw up they take us to war. They were not interviewed regarding the reasons for WW1 or WW2 and they are not interviewed now. Iran , North Korea, and Russia do not want a certain bank in their country, and just like Gaddafi, are being played, prior to a probable false flag (a British invention) to gain popular support from all the usual fools. Pathetic , but then it always has been. Like spoilt children throwing their toys out of the pram when they meet ‘opposition’. No wonder they are never interviewed. Meanwhile China and Russia and Iran have started trading in their own currencies. The UK and the US are gradually being persuaded that Fabian Socialism is best for us silly people who know nothing. And the Tory party take their inspiration from Saul Alinsky, a fellow Luciferian old school Communist. I’ve given up trying to work out their childish and dangerous little games . Its quicker to say its all bollocks.

  9. Good questions but I prefer scenario analysis, maybe not because it’s better but it certainly is more fun.
    I hope you don’t mind that I write down a raw idea that popped-up this morning. It’s origin lies in an assumption (?) a Belgian ex-politician made on TV yesterday. He thought it was possible that the KGB acted alone and Putin had no knowledge of it. This morning I wondered why and I went back to the basic idea that one always needs to look for a motive, as well for the crime as for the consequential behaviour of the parties involved.

    Sergei was probably still involved in the British secret service activities, anyway one needs to make a living and maybe so was his daughter (one of his sons also died in odd circumstances). Now suppose for a moment that both were still spying and that the daughter carried some sensitive information and the KGB knew about it.
    And let’s assume that the KGB had one of its more humane days and drugged both to retrieve the information (another possibility is that they infected them with a brain damaging drug, something that is more KGB style) and left them on the bench.

    How it went is not that important, but how both parties, UK and Russia, can behave afterwards and what they can and cannot say, is relevant in this assumption.

    Theresa would know for sure that the KGB intervened but couldn’t really tell the public what it was all about. However she could in a confidential way inform her allies who also had to keep the real story hidden (I found it odd that first many were prudent but quickly changed their minds).
    Vladimir would find himself also in an awkward position. He could claim rightfully that the use of the nerve gas Novichok is an insane accusation and demand proof. But he too needs to be careful in his wording (here I should reread what the Russians said or better pay attention to what they didn’t say).

    It could also explain why Sergei and Yulia are kept in “quarantine”. Their fate will depend on how this case evolves, I guess. If necessary they could die.

    My imagination might be running wild and maybe I’d better start writing spy stories ☺

    1. I am afraid that you are right: your imagination is running wild. While “scenario analysis” (as I understand it, “making up stories”) is certainly fun, Rob’s approach is more methodical and reliable – in line with Sherlock Holmes’ remark about theorizing in advance of the facts.

      The UK government seems to be unfairly hogging all the facts, and refusing to let anyone else see them. That is no way to run a justice system. So asking Rob’s questions (50 now) is the first step in learning what one needs to know in order to develop useful theories.

      By the way, the KGB was dissolved (with the USSR) in 1991. Its successor, more or less, is the FSB (FSS in English). However, Colonel Skripal was employed by the GRU (military intelligence), which still exists and which would probably be the interested agency.

      1. Tom
        I do agree that Rob’s approach is far more methodical, but I’m afraid you missed my point entirely. Rob’s questions are highly relevant but their main goal is to question the credibility of May’s accusations and rightly so. But his articles are no attempt to unveil what has happened.
        My point is (and my three last comments need to be read together) is that if one wants to solve the case, the motive is the main lead. However motives can be very complex.
        I don’t like Sherlock Holmes but I do like Agatha Christies Hercule Poirot. Agatha creates characters who each of them have motives and many of them lie. It confuses and misleads her readers, something that is far closer to real life.
        By playing a kind of game, I created three motives: a symbolic act by the Russians (highly unlikely), a false flag operation (highly likely; I wrote “convinced” which means my mind is conditioned by what the West has done in the past years, not that I’ve solid arguments) and a KGB plot (KGB? I don’t have the intention to be precise) just to show that other actors can be involved and all parties would need to lie. Now I’ve three possibilities: the Russians, the West or another organization and all can have a motive.
        I’m sure other scenarios are possible but I’ve little hope that justice will prevail. Look at the MH17 crime that is doomed to die silently. I don’t want to be too serious about this anymore.

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