Interviewer: “If it is proven that the British allegations about Russia poisoning the Skripals are not true, should the Prime Minister resign?
Craig Murray: Certainly. And Boris Johnson should resign, the whole Cabinet should resign, and we should have a general election ….. “[from: Portonblimp Down Episode 2 – A Tale By Boris Johnson 501 8 Apr, 2018]
The Skripal Affair is the final nail in the coffin of the Western media. – Paul Craig Roberts
On March 4th, just after 1 pm, two people were found convulsing on a park bench in Salisbury, England. It turned out to be a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who had arrived the previous day from Moscow. They went to a cemetery on the morning of March 4th, then at some point went on to the Mill Pub, then Zizzi’s Pizzeria, near the bench where they were found.
Two days later, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson staked their reputations — both nationally and internationally — on brazen and unsubstantiated claims that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. They claimed that Russia alone could have used the toxic agent that they called “Novichok” although it was known that the US had also developed the A-234 agent (sometimes referred to as “Novichok”), the UK lab at Porton Down possessed it, and the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare) had certified in September 2017 that all Russian chemical weapons had been destroyed. (1)
To dramatize their claims, the UK government threw out Russian diplomatic staff and pressured the US and numerous other western countries to follow suit. The lack of any Russian motive was largely ignored despite the unlikely timing. As former Ambassador Craig Murray put it:
From Putin’s point of view, to assassinate Skripal now seems to have very little motivation. If the Russians have waited eight years to do this, they could have waited until after their World Cup. The Russians have never killed a swapped spy before. Just as diplomats, British and otherwise, are the most ardent upholders of the principle of diplomatic immunity, so security service personnel everywhere are the least likely to wish to destroy a system which can be a key aspect of their own personal security; quite literally spy swaps are their “Get Out of Jail Free” card. You don’t undermine that system – probably terminally – without very good reason. (2)
Despite the loud claims that the UK government had identified the toxic agent, it clearly had no clue where it came from; the stories changed from the park bench to Skripal’s car, to his house, or to the pub and restaurant they had visited beforehand. Supposedly to be on the safe side, the government (a month and a half later!) is now cordoning off many of these areas to the public with the theatrical help of 190 biowarfare- suited specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF who are installing “semi- permanent” barriers around Salisbury. (3)
Along with the UK government’s initial refusal to provide any evidence, questions started to arise:
- Investigators noticed that the Skripals’ cell phones were turned off and did not register their GPS locations for four hours before they were found. (4)
- There were apparently no CCTV recordings of their activities that morning despite the presence of cameras in that popular area. (5)
- The pair was taken to a local “District” hospital. Despite the continued government’s claims that they were expected to die, the Skripals were not taken to the larger teaching hospital in Salisbury that would have been better equipped to save their lives. (6) In fact, it appears that they were meant to die.
- On March 8th, the story of the “first responder” Police Detective Nick Bailey came out. While this was first spun as the policeman who found the Skripals, it was later admitted that he had been told to go to the Skripal home on March 8th, four days after the Skripals’ poisoning. The actual first responders were apparently fine! It is not known what Bailey’s symptoms were, or whether they resembled those of the Skripals. There is only one photo of Bailey, apparently before his illness. Police claimed that 18 other police were possibly affected; it appears they were simply checked out with blood and urine tests. (7)
- The Russian government, after being contacted by the Skripal family in Russia, notified the UK government that the Skripals had pets — a fact that should have been evident when police visited the Skripal home on March 8th. The Russians were soon informed that the pets had been euthanized, and their bodies incinerated — reportedly at the Porton Down chemical lab. Britain claimed that the two guinea pigs were found “dehydrated” and dead and a Persian cat “in distress”; it destroyed any evidence the pets might have provided. One cat is reportedly missing.
- The contentions that no laboratory had reported any finding that Novichok had been used on Skripal and his daughter and that the British government had provided no evidence of any nerve agent was supported by a letter to The London Times in which a “Steven Davies – Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust” wrote: Sir, Further to your report “Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment“, Mar 14, may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only been ever been three patients with significant poisoning. (8)
After a month, Britain sent “evidence” to OPCW labs
One full month after the alleged poisoning, the OPCW told the UK government that in order to identify what substance had been used in the Skripal attack, it needed to get the original substance rather than the chemical residue found in the Skripals’ blood samples. (9)
Journalist Julie Hyland wrote on the OPCW report:
The full text is classified and has been made available only to “state parties.” The summary is extremely vague. The OPCW does not mention Russia. Nor does it use the term novichok …
The only time the OPCW uses the term “nerve agent” it is prefaced with the caveat “allegedly.” The description throughout is of a “toxic chemical” being deployed on March 4 against the Skripals. The OPCW does not name the chemical, nor does it identify its origins. On both counts, this fails to substantiate the claims that were at the centre of the British government’s misinformation.
All the OPCW summary does is “confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity [not the origins] of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.”
Oddly, the OPCW states that the toxic chemical involved was of “high purity” with an “almost complete absence” of any impurities. … … and highly diluted.. even if those properties directly contradict each other. (10)
But the results from Switzerland’s Spiez Laboratory, one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW, were explosive. As journalist Ben Birchall reported:
- “The experts of the Institute discovered traces of toxic chemical called ‘BZ’ and its precursors. It is a Schedule 2 substance under the Chemical Weapons Convention.” “BZ” is a chemical agent, used to temporary [sic] incapacitate people due to its psychotoxic effect which is reached in 30-60 minutes after the agent’s application and lasts up to four days. “According to the information the Russian Federation possesses, this agent was used in the armed forces of the USA, United Kingdom and several others NATO member states. No stocks of such substance ever existed either in the Soviet Union or in the Russian Federation,” the officer pointed out.
- the Swiss experts also “discovered strong concentration of traces of the nerve agent of A-234 type in its initial states as well as its decomposition products.” “In view of the experts, such concentration of the A-234 agent would result in inevitable fatal outcome of its administration.
- Moreover, considering its high volatility, the detection of this substance in its initial state (pure form and high concentration) is extremely suspicious as the samples have been taken several weeks since the poisoning,” [emphases added by KB] (11)
This Swiss finding implies that the Skripals were not poisoned by the Novichok/A-234, and that the sample it was given appeared to be fraudulent. The report supported the contentions of many observers that the British government’s claims were not to be trusted.
Yulia Skripal makes a phone call
As soon as Yulia Skripal (image on the left) was released from the hospital (with some articles claiming that she had already died!) police placed her in what they called “a secure location”. Yulia was able to borrow a cell phone, however, and quickly called her cousin Viktoria Skripal in Russia. Luckily for Yulia, her cousin’s phone recorded all calls and the conversation was recorded and broadcast on Russia’s Rossiya 1. Yulia was quoted in the brief call as saying that;
“[e]verything is fine, everything is solvable, everyone is recovering and everyone is alive.”
When the cousin told her she planned to visit London to see her soon, Yulia replied,
“They are not going to give you a visa, Vik.”
Yulia said that her father was “resting now, sleeping,” and “slightly choked up”, she added that
“everyone’s health is normal and there are no irreversible things.”
She then said good bye. Victoria said she knew she had been speaking to Yulia and that she sounded “healthy and normal”. (12)
Less then an hour after the recording aired in Russia, UK police published what it claimed was a statement by Yulia Skripal, in which she asked that no one contact her. The language used in the stilted police statement sounded like a script from a British bureaucrat (“At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services”) and it contradicted Yulia’s obvious desire to connect with her cousin. (13)
Russian embassy officials have not been able to meet Yulia Skripal and the UK’s Home Office rejected Viktoria Skripal’s visa application “because it did not comply with the Immigration Rules.”
The cause for alarm
Theresa May and her government cannot survive an uncovering of their Novichok fraud. A UK election in response to the truth will not only bring down the government, it should give Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party a healthy majority. Given Corbyn’s anti-establishment positions on many issues — including the Mideast — and his skepticism about this fraud, the British “deep state” will find that possibility unacceptable. A couple of Russian lives do not matter in this scenario.
The Skripals are in grave danger. They were supposed to die before the UK was forced to present the evidence that would expose the anti-Russian fraud. With no family in Britain beside Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the Russian embassy barred from meeting with them, there is no one who can stand up to protect the lives of the Skripals.
It is clear that while the Skripals could make a fortune going to the media, the British government will never allow them to tell their story. According to the Sunday Times, there are plans to send the Skripals to the US where they “will be offered new identities and a new life.” (14)
Really? If the Russian poisoning story were true, the Skripals should be happy to return to their respective homes and make money from their stories.
In fact, their faces have been so publicized that they would be recognized anywhere in the world. And why would they choose to erase their past lives?
The message behind the “relocation” story is, don’t look for the Skripals again, because you will never find them.
The British government must not be allowed to erase them. Jeremy Corbyn must demand that the Skripals meet with a Parliamentary committee and be seen in public; if there is no demand to insure that the Skripals have their freedom, they may well face the same fate as their pets.
Karin Brothers is a freelance writer.
1. Ahmed, Nafeez. “The UK Government is Manufacturing its Nerve Agent Case for ‘Action’ on Russia”. March 14, 2018.http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48952.htm
2. Murray, Craig. “Russian to Judgement”. 13 Mar, 2018. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/page/2/
3. Dearden, Lizzie. “Salisbury poisoning latest: Police to place high security barriers around key locations for months to come”. Tuesday 17 April 2018.https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/salisbury-polisoning-latest-police-security-barriers-cordons-sergei-skripal-nerve-agent-a8308456.html
4. Nicholls, Peter. “Missing Hours: Skripals’ Cell phones Reportedly Turned Off on Day of Attack”. REUTERS. 12 March, 2018.https://sputniknews.com/military/201803261062902960-skripals-cellphones-gps/
5. “Was Salisbury’s CCTV on’ at time of ‘nerve agent’ attack?” SpireFM. 13 March, 2018. https://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/2526330/was-salisburys-cctv-on-at-time-of-nerve-agent-attack/
6. Unpublished letter to Guardian on April 7, 2018 from Dr. Ken Ranney:Now that the Skripals are improving, it seems reasonable to question what happened after they were found seriously poisoned. Why were they taken to, and kept in, a 455-bed hospital with an incomplete roster of specialists, the Salisbury District Hospital, when a tertiary specialist centre teaching hospital with 1100 beds, the Southampton General Hospital, was 24 miles away?
7. “Sergei Skripal: 21 people have been treated following Russia spy poisoning, police say”. The Independent. 8 March 2018. Accessed 15 April, 2018:https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sergei-skripal-how-many-people-treated-ill-poison-russian-spy-police-salisbury-a8246566.html
8. Moon Of Alabama. “No Patients Have Experienced Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning In Salisbury” 19 March 2018.www.informationclearinghouse.info/49030.htm
9. Dejong, Peter. “OPCW Needs Intact Substance to Identify Skripal Poison”. Sputnik International. 4 April 2018. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201804041063216559-opcw-identify-substance-skripal-poison/
10. Hyland, Julie. “UN agency fails to substantiate claims of Russian use of “military grade nerve agent” in Skripal poisoning”. World Socialist Web Site: 13 April 2018. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/04/13/opcw-a13.html
11. Birchall, Ben. “Russian Embassy in UK Doubts OPCW Skripal Probe as Swiss Lab Cites BZ Agent”. Sputnik International. 15 April 2018.https://sputniknews.com/europe/201804151063576783-skripal-case-bz-agent-opcw/
12. “The curious case of Yulia Skripal’s recorded phone call”. DW. http://www.dw.com/en/the-curious-case-of-yulia-skripals-recorded-phone-call/a-43287554
13. Murray, Craig. “Yulia Skripal Is Plainly Under Duress 775”. 11 Apr, 2018. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/
14. Hyland, Julie. “UN agency fails to substantiate claims of Russian use of “military grade nerve agent” in Skripal poisoning”. World Socialist Web Site. 13 April 2018. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/04/13/opcw-a13.html