In her daily press conference on 5th April, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, mentioned a quiet resentment and fury that is building up amongst ordinary Russians over the way the Government of the United Kingdom has handled the case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Strange though it may seem, I sense a similar feeling of anger and resentment building up here in the UK, as it becomes clearer and clearer that the official narrative has little or no connection with reality.

The anger and frustration is increasingly being displayed on comment boards underneath pieces reporting on the issue. And the feeling is not confined to those who would normally be labelled “conspiracy theorists”. It appears that even many of those who would not normally question official statements can see that something is seriously wrong with all this.

More specifically, from whence comes this feeling? Here are just 20 of the many reasons for this growing anger:

1. It comes from being asked to believe frankly outlandish claims – such as the one that is central to the whole incident, that the Skripals, who are very much alive and well, were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent with a toxicity 5-8 times that of VX.

2. It comes from the way that our Government recklessly accused another country – a nuclear-armed country at that – of committing a crime before the investigation into the incident had established the most basic of facts.

3. It comes from the fact that the UK Government has prejudiced and politicised the investigation with their claims before facts, their verdict without evidence, their sentence without proof.

4. It comes from the fact that the UK Government refused to go through the internationally established protocols for cases such as these. For instance, it only wrote to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 14th March — the same day that Theresa May stood up in the House of Commons and formally accused the Russian Government of culpability.

5. It comes from the fact that the British Government, which repeatedly speaks about what it calls “British Values”, discarded some of the most basic legal concepts that have formed a part of real “British Values” for centuries, such as due process and the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

6. It comes from the way that the British Government has refused to allow those they have accused to see any of the supposed evidence against them, preferring instead to use spurious and circular nonsense such as the arsonist shouldn’t investigate his own fire.

7. It comes from the fact that the Government attempted to lead the public into believing that the Skripals were poisoned by a substance that must have come from Russia, because apparently only the Russians were capable of producing it – a claim that is demonstrably false.

8. It comes from knowing that Boris Johnson was quite prepared to lie to the public, and instead of facing up to his misdeeds like a man and resigning, he has instead behaved like the great supine, protoplasmic invertebrate jelly he is – to borrow his own phrase – slithering and twisting his way around his own actions by acting as if nothing has happened, and that anyone who raises questions about his fitness for office is working for the enemy.

9. It comes from the labelling of those who have questioned the increasingly preposterous claims as “useful idiots” or “Kremlin stooges” or even outright traitors, for even daring to ask for clarification on the most basic points.

10. It comes from the way that the media has marched lock-step in line with the Government, refusing to ask the most obvious and basic questions, such as the ones I set out here and here.

11. It comes from the curious way that events seem to “happen” only after other events appear to force them to “happen”, such as the announcement of Sergei Skripal’s miraculous recovery from being in a coma, which came a day after the leaked transcript of the telephone conversation between Yulia and Viktoria Skripal in which Yulia stated that he was well.

12. It comes from the way that attempts have been made to make “facts” fit the narrative, such as the theory, first touted more than three weeks after the incident, that the Skripals were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent at their front door – an explanation which looks to be contrived in order to explain the curious anomaly that Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was said to have become ill after visiting Mr Skripal’s house.

13. It comes from the fact that the Government and the media have refused to report in any meaningful way on the connection between Mr Skripal and Pablo Millier, his MI6 recruiter and fellow Salisbury resident, and on Mr Miller’s connection with Christopher Steele – author of the Trump Dossier. The connection may ultimately be irrelevant to the case, but it is surely of interest at present.

14. It comes from the illegal and frankly immoral way that the UK Government has repeatedly denied consular access to the Skripals, which it is obliged to give under Articles 36 and 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention and Article 35 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention.

15. It comes from the way that Viktoria Skripal, who is quite obviously keen to see her uncle and her cousin, has been denied a visa under some absurd pretence of her application not meeting UK immigration rules.

16. It comes from the way that the Skripals appear to be being denied consular access, denied access to their relatives, and – so far as I can work out – denied access to legal representation. In other words, it looks increasingly as if they are being denied the most basic of legal and familial rights, and Yulia’s comments in her conversation with her cousin on 5th April do not inspire any confidence that this is not the case.

17. It comes from the way that the existence of Mr Skripal’s pets was only mentioned by the media on 6th April, and this only after Maria Zakharova asked a pointed question about what had happened to them in her daily briefing of 5th April.

18. It comes from the fact that the condition of the pets – a cat and two guinea pigs – has been almost blithely reported in the media, despite the obvious truth that they died through neglect whilst Mr Skripal’s house was effectively in the care of the Metropolitan Police who are overseeing the investigation – did they not even go in and check!

19. It comes from the fact that despite culpability having been apportioned after a few days, it is clear that the investigation has still not established the most basic of facts, with no suspect being mentioned or hinted at, but rather we have been fed a steady diet of increasingly outlandish and spurious claims about the location of the poisoning – the bench, the restaurant, the car, the suitcase, the flowers, the door handle, the buckwheat.

20. But most of all, it comes simply from that feeling we are being taken for a ride, and are being treated like utter imbeciles by a Government that feels it can make extraordinary accusations and simply expect the public to “trust us”.
It pains me to say all that. But it is so. These are not the observations of some tin-foil hat wearing anti-Government anarchist. Rather, they are the sober reflections of a Burkean, small c conservative — one who firmly believes in free and responsible Government, in the rule of law, in due process, in innocent until proven guilty, and who hates anything like the whiff of anarchy in the air.

Yet my fear is that as more and more of this sordid affair comes to light, and as the bizarre and frankly reckless behaviour of the UK Government comes in for serious scrutiny, that quiet sense of anger which has been building up amongst a public that realises it has been repeatedly misled, is unlikely to go away.


My previous pieces on the Skripal Case:

30 Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

20 More Questions That Journalists Should be Asking About the Skripal Case

The Three Most Important Aspects of the Skripal Case so Far … and Where They Might be Pointing

9 thoughts on “The Slowly Building Anger in the UK at the Government’s Handling of the Skripal Case

  1. “… they are the sober reflections of a Burkean, small c conservative … who hates anything like the whiff of anarchy in the air.”

    Anarchy just means you run your own life and I run mine. What’s the problem with that?

    Excellent points re the Skripal affair!

  2. This article did resonate in relation to the MH17 incident. Most of the points mentioned have analogues with MH17.

    One might note that the UK exploited MH17 again by referring to it as proof for Russia’s nefarious conduct. Looks like one false flag exploited as proof for another.

    May’s role is also mirrored by Rutte. One ought to be aware of the referendum held in the Netherlands about the EU-Ukraine association treaty. Rutte’s role in that is beyond believe. First he tries to play it down in the hope that not sufficient voters (30% minimum) would actually vote. So he states not intending to campaign. To his shame then a ‘communication strategy’ surfaces. The the referendum reject that treaty.

    Being an advisory referendum Rutte breaks the law and refuses to voice the governments position. Refusing to understand what ‘No’ means presents a ‘solution’ as an annex to the treaty stating that this treaty is no first step to full membership. This treaty being part of the European Neighborhood Policy never had that intention, because the ENP aims to create a periphery of dependent non member states. Only in the end when having to defend this in parliament Rutte finally comes clear with ‘geopolitical interests’ (read anti Russia). It takes Merkel’s direct intervention to sway the Christian Democrats to support this.

    If one realizes how far Rutte was prepared to go in public contrary to a referendum one can imagine how far he was willing to go in manipulating the MH17 investigation for those same ‘geopolitical interests’ out of the public eye. Also with respect to this investigation the goverment hides behind secrecy and for instance refuses to release documents relating to JIT.

    The UN mandated the investigation to the Netherlands. Took the Netherlands two weeks to get there while a Malaysian team was there within 2 days. The Malaysians were excluded from the investigation for 4 months. Of course the Malaysians received the black boxes from the forces of Eastern Ukraine. One might take the disinterest in a real local investigation as an indication. Of course it was too dangerous, but individual journalist didn’t seem to feel endangered. However when journalist took some items found home a government crack down was immediate. A government can’t have journalist demonstrating its unwillingness to investigate.

    The Dutch and Australians seems to have used those first four months to arrange the investigation for optimal propaganda use. The first step was to separate a criminal investigation from a technical investigation. It definitely looks that Foreign Minister Timmermans demonstrated fealty to the neo-liberal word order in organizing this was a great help to getting the job of EU comission Vice Chair. The UN mandated transparent technical investigation refused to look into liability or guilt. So this liability aspect was intentionally transferred to the JIT. The Australian, Dutch and Ukrainian Joint Investigation Team is performing a totally nontransparent investigation with no result at all, but regular rumors how close they are.

    One ought to note that the Ukrainian ATC a joint civil military air traffic control authority UkSATSE must have been fully aware of the risks of guiding civil air liners over a war zone. Three days before MH17 a AN-24 (or 26?) was downed above that war zone from 6500 meters indicating serious air defense capabilities. The Ukrainians seems to have even briefed Dutch foreign office diplomats before MH17 about that incident. However UkSATSE continued to guide some 100 civil air liners a day over that war zone. Only after MH17 that air space was closed immediately.

    There was of course no real motive for the East Ukrainians to down a civil air liner. Still it could have happened by mistake. That’s tragic but no crime.

    The Ukrainians themselves immediately identified the Russians. One may note that actually exposes a motive. The bullhorn propaganda initiated by US and its vassals was supposed to leave no doubt. Kerry told the press that the US had radar data, but the Ukraine’s radar were all down to maintenance.

    The technical investigation mentioned Ukraine failure to close that air space. However at no point in time the Dutch goverment held the Ukraine liable for this failure. Somehow this was treated as some clerical mistake and not as the criminal gross negligence of using civil air liners as human shields. No Ukraine was invited to join JIT. (objections to arsonist investigating a fire weren’t heard from the UK then).

    Given the rush to judgement of Rutte it looks he was to happy to exploit this. His first press conference he depicted even the local recovery effort of the human remains as despicable. He was forced to retract that, but never ever before has been organized such circus of a public funeral. Rutte keeps exploiting MH17 regularly.

    After supporting May on Skripal Rutte was asked if more proof was presented. His reaction tells it all: “no that wasn’t necessary because May stated it was highly likely the Russians”.
    Talk about bias of the Dutch vassal state. Might well be that not supporting May on Skripal might lead to leaks about the truth about MH17.

    1. Deep-state Chess:
      Probably ‘the establishment’ deliberately briefed fake story / recommendations to key Brit actors with the ultimate objective of causing the disgrace of May / Johnson & co when they are found to have acted precipitously / recklessly and consequently the downfall of their government, a general election, loss of majority, collapse of Brexit / Remain victory…
      May is a dimwit and Johnson a buffoon – they are suckers for being taken for a ride and May wouldn’t have been able to resist the chance to lead the charge of ‘the free world’ against arch-baddie Putin…
      Their previous attempt which May, Johnson & co swallowed hook, line and sinker – the briefing based on fake distorted intel that if they were to call a snap election May would have a resounding victory and win an huge majority when in fact she lost her majority, however she was propped up by Northern Irish MPs so the first attempt didn’t quite succeed, though it nobbled progress on Brexit.

    2. I have absolutely no clue Steve. In my mind I have pretty much ruled out Russian state involvement in the case, since it seems to me to be beyond ludicrous to suppose that they tried to poison a has-been spy, who they released from prison, using a chemical which supposedly only they could produce, smeared on a door handle, in rainy Salisbury, which totally failed to work. That leads me to speculate that:

      a) The whole thing was a very hastily cobbled together false flag / diversion (something to do with Syria perhaps), but the details were not thought through properly.

      b) Skripal himself was involved in something to do with nerve agents and Porton Down (although clearly he wasn’t poisoned by something of 5-8 times the toxicity of VX). Something went wrong and the British Government scrambled to find a convenient narrative to avoid that coming out.

      c) They’re just bonkers.

      Whether a or b are true, there’s definitely something to be said for c).

      Rob

      1. “although clearly he wasn’t poisoned by something of 5-8 times the toxicity of VX”

        Nonsense. Any toxic agent has a minimum lethal dose, and anyone receiving, say, half that amount, will get very sick, then (at least partially) recover.

        (I’m not saying I’m certain the Skripals were poisoned with nerve gas, only that the fact that they’re not dead doesn’t mean it didn’t happen)

  3. Your comprehensive incisive series of Skripal case analyses are much appreciated Rob.

    Thanks.

    British government leadership has to be insane to provoke war with Russia in this manner, which is where they are heading (us), à la Blair & co stoking war against Iraq using false scaremongering tactics, but this time against a country with overwhelmingly greater conventional forces than UK plus massive nuclear capability!…

    And, as if the unsubstantiated fabricated accusations weren’t enough, layering on insults as per our Defence Secretary telling Russia to shut up, our Foreign Secretary comparing Russians to German Nazis, which is just about the worst possible accusation that can be made from the Russian standpoint.

    At least the Chilcot Enquiry findings / recommendations seem to have deterred our Porton Down scientists from caving to political demands to agree that ‘It was Russia what done it!’

    George Galloway has also been doing a top-rate job of systematically destroying the British Skripal case each week-night on TalkRadio, in a non-party-political manner I’ve been surprised and pleased to note. His guests have including a key past UK Ambassador, a senior professor of organic chemistry at prestigious Cornell University, New York, who totally blew away the notion that Novichok could only be produced by ‘state-actors’, going on the record to state that it could easily be produced by eg the abundance of illegal drug manufacturing labs which proliferate most countries these days Although not a scientifically accurate statistical analysis, it is interesting how many of his callers report knowing nobody who believes the UKGov fiction.

    Keep up the good work!

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