Will We Ever Learn the Truth about the Skripals?

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Skripal: One Year Later Some Things are Clearer’, March 9, 2019, James O’Neill, journal-neo.org

O’Neill first narrates the history of events  of the 12 months after the Skripal’s had become ill in a public space in the center of Salisbury, with Theresa May blaming Russia with no supporting evidence, and Boris Johnson’s having claimed that ‘the substance responsible for the Skripal’s illness had been identified as “A234”, ergo: Russians.  He notes that the UK has not deviated from that assertion, despite a wealth of contradictory evidence and absurd numbers of competing narratives.

He links to the Russian Embassy in the UK’s ‘Salisbury: Unanswered Questions’:[https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6762] and Rob Slane’s (the blogmire) March 3 analysis and ‘An open letter to the metropolitan police’ as well.

As the site notes that ‘Republishing of the articles is welcomed with reference to NEO; The views of the authors do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the editorial board”, I’ll paste in the rest.  O’Neill writes:

“The relevant international law in the Skripal case is first and foremost the obligations of State parties under the 1963 Convention on Consular Relations. Article 36 of that Convention (to which both Russia and the United Kingdom are parties) provides that consular officials “shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State.”

A later Convention, the USSR-UK Consular Convention of 1965 provides for similar rights, and Article 30 of that Convention defines a “national” as any person the “sending State recognises as its national”. That includes Ms Skripal, a Russian national, and Mr Skripal who has joint British and Russian nationality.

The British have refused consular access to the Skripals. This blatant breach of international law is apparently not worthy of mention in the western mainstream media.

A similar rebuff was given to Russian officials who sought information about the attack upon the Skripals under the terms of the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Russia’s repeated requests under this Convention were denied, with the UK Home Office advising the Russian authorities that the decision to not cooperate “was taken at the highest political level.”

As the victims are Russian nationals, and the alleged perpetrators are also Russian nationals, the British refusal sends an explicit message that they are not interested in solving the crime.

As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov commented, “the gist of the British rhetoric is that they are not obliged to prove anything to anyone.” A perusal of the British government statements in the past 12 months abundantly confirms the accuracy of Mr Lavrov’s statement.

The kidnapping of the Skripals (and no other word is appropriate) violates both the law and the human rights of the two individuals on multiple levels. The overwhelming inference to be drawn from the known facts (not the nonsensical UK official version parroted by the mainstream media) is that the Skripals were the victims of a geopolitical power play. This strategy, again according to the Integrity Initiative script, was aimed at discrediting the Russian state in general and its president in particular.

The other victims in this sorry saga are the general public. The mainstream media has failed miserably, yet again, to perform its task of investigation, skeptical questioning of absurdities and irregularities, and keeping the public properly informed. Such dereliction of duty carries a longer-term price.”

(James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”)


Next, but only because it’s far longer, thus far harder to borrow from, although I was glad to finally find that Craig says ‘The blog will continue to be free to read, and free for anybody to copy and use/republish the articles without payment’, bless his heart.

‘Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative’, March 7, 2109, Craig Murray, craigmurray.org

“I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Boshirov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible. Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no “good guys”, as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:”

(I’ll simply borrow teasers from each of the Ten on his list)

1) PURE

“This was the point that led me to return to the subject of the Skripals, even though it has brought me more abuse than I had received in my 15 year career as a whistleblower.

It is in this mood that I received more information from my original FCO source, who had told me, correctly, that Porton Down could not and would not attest that the “novichok” sample was made in Russia, and explained that the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was an agreed Whitehall line to cover this up.

She wanted to explain to me that the British government was pulling a similar trick over the use of the word “pure”. The OPCW report had concluded that the sample provided to them by the British government was “of high purity” with an “almost complete absence of impurities”. This had been spun by the British government as evidence that the novichok was “military grade” and could only be produced by a state.”

“There is a final problem with the “of high purity” angle. First we had the Theresa May story that the “novichok” was extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces. Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts.

What we did not know then, but we do know now, is that Kaszeta was secretly being paid to produce this propaganda by the British government via the Integrity Initiative”.  https://bit.ly/2XPZh7H

2) Raising the Roof


“Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house in between did not. As the MSM never questions the official narrative, there has never been an official answer as to how the gel got from the doorknob to the roof. Remember that traces of the “novichok” were allegedly found in a hotel room in Poplar, which is still in use as a hotel room and did not have to be destroyed, and an entire bottle of it was allegedly found in Charlie Rowley’s house, which has not had to be destroyed. Novichok was found in Zizzi’s restaurant, which did not have to be destroyed.

So we are talking about novichok in threatening quantities – more than the traces allegedly found in the hotel in Poplar – being in the Skripals’ roof. How could this happen?”

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army, who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!” [snip]

“I want to emphasise again that Col. Alison McCourt is not the chief nurse of a particular unit or hospital, she is the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army. Her presence was kept entirely quiet by the media for ten months, when all sorts of stories were run in the MSM about who the first responders were – various doctors and police officers being mentioned.

If you believe that it is coincidence that the Chief Nurse of the British Army was the first person to discover the Skripals ill, you are a credulous fool. And why was it kept quiet?”

4) Remarkable Metabolisms

“The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.”

5) 11 Days

After the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the Police cordoned off Charlie Rowley’s home and began a search for “Novichok”, in an attitude of extreme urgency because it was believed this poison was out amidst the public. They were specifically searching for a small phial of liquid. Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter – and only after they had discovered the clue of the perfume bottle package in the bin the day before, after ten days of search.”

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

“The BBC’s “Diplomatic Editor” is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC’s original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals’ back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world’s biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year.”

[Murray then adds the contents of a letter he’s sent to Mark Urban repeatedly with nine questions to which he’s received no answer.]

7 Four Months

The official narrative insists that Boshirov and Petrov brought “novichok” into the country; that minute quantities could kill; that they disposed of the novichok that did kill Dawn Sturgess. It must therefore have been of the highest priority to inform the public of the movements of the suspects and the possible locations where deadly traces of “novichok” must be lurking.

Yet there was at least a four month gap between the police searching the Poplar hotel where Boshirov and Petrov were staying, allegedly discovering traces of novichok in the hotel room, and the police informing the hotel management, let alone the public, of the discovery. That is four months in which a cleaner might have fatally stumbled across more novichok in the hotel. Four months in which another guest in the same hotel might have had something lurking in their bag which they had picked up. Four months in which there might have been a container of novichok sitting in a hedge near the hotel. Yet for four months the police did not think any of this was urgent enough to tell anybody.

The astonishing thing is that it was a full three months after the death of Dawn Sturgess before the hotel were informed, the public were informed, or the pictures of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” in Salisbury released. There could be no clearer indication that the authorities did not actually believe that any threat from residual novichok was connected to the movements of Boshirov and Petrov.”

8 The Bungling Spies

“There are elements of the accepted narrative of Boshirov and Petrov’s movements that do not make sense. As the excellent local Salisbury blog the Blogmire points out, the CCTV footage shows Boshirov and Petrov, after they had allegedly coated the door handle with novichok, returning towards the railway station but walking straight past it, into the centre of Salisbury (and missing their first getaway train in the process). They then wander around Salisbury apparently aimlessly, famously window shopping which is caught on CCTV, and according to the official narrative disposing of the used but inexplicably still cellophane-sealed perfume/novichok in a charity donation bin, having walked past numerous potential disposal sites en route including the railway embankment and the bins at the Shell garage.

But the really interesting thing, highlighted by the blogmire, is that the closest CCTV ever caught them to the Skripals’ house is fully 500 metres, at the Shell garage, walking along the opposite side of the road from the turning to the Skripals. There is a second CCTV camera at the garage which would have caught them crossing the road and turning down towards the Skripals’ house, but no such video or still image – potentially the most important of all the CCTV footage – has ever been released.”

9 The Skripals’ Movements

“Until the narrative changed to Boshirov and Petrov arriving in Salisbury just before lunchtime and painting the doorknob, the official story had been that the Skripals left home around 9am and had not returned. They had both switched off their mobile phones, an interesting and still unexplained point. As you would expect in a city as covered in CCTV as Salisbury, their early morning journey was easily traced and the position of their car at various times was given by the police.

Yet no evidence of their return journey has ever been offered.  Why has so little detail of the Skripals’ movements that day been released? What do all the withheld CCTV images of the Skripals in Salisbury show?

10 The Sealed Bottle

“Only in the last couple of days have the police finally admitted there is a real problem with the fact that Charlie Rowley insists that the perfume bottle was fully sealed, and the cellophane difficult to remove, when he discovered it.”
https://bit.ly/2GBrvyw

Why the charity collection bin had not been emptied for three months has never been explained either. Rowley’s recollection is supported by the fact that the entire packaging was discovered by the police in his bin – why would Boshirov and Petrov have been carrying the cellophane around with them if they had opened the package? Why – and how – would they reseal it outdoors in Salisbury before dumping it?”

Bonus Point – The Integrity Initiative

The Integrity Initiative specifically paid Dan Kaszeta to publish articles on the Skripal case. In the weekly collections of social media postings the Integrity Initiative sent to the FCO to show its activity, over 80% were about the Skripals.

Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth. The Integrity Initiative, with secret FCO and MOD sourced subsidies to MSM figures to put out the government narrative, is very plainly a disinformation exercise. More bluntly, if the Integrity Initiative is promoting it, you know it is not true.

Most sinister of all is the Skripal Group convened by the Integrity Initiative.
https://bit.ly/2GBrvyw

“This group includes Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 handler, and senior representatives of Porton Down, the BBC, the CIA, the FCO and the MOD. Even if all the other ludicrously weak points in the government narrative did not exist, the Integrity Initiative activity in itself would lead me to understand the British government is concealing something important.”

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences.” [snip]

“I do not believe the British Government. I have given you the key points where the official narrative completely fails to stand up. These are by no means exhaustive, and I much look forward to reading your own views.”

[wd here]: Just spit-ballin’ here, but it might be time to ask Prince William to find the answers, eh wot?


Want more?

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

13 responses to “Will We Ever Learn the Truth about the Skripals?

  1. “Just spit-ballin’ here, but it might be time to ask Prince William to find the answers, eh wot?”

    I was in touch with Her Majesty’s ambassador Craig Murray years ago when he had already become ex-Her Majesty’s whistle blower and we continued a correspondence for a while until he evidently concluded I didn’t have enough to offer from my end for it to be worthwile sustaining it from his.

    Prior to that, in the 1999 referendum on the republic in Australia I voted for the monarchy and by implication against the two confused and contradictory republic proposals that were being put forward as a package deal at that time. I am rather proud of the quality of at least one of the articles I wrote then (“The Australian republic takes a nosedive”) but the website they were on has been deleted and I can’t find a copy.

    Craig Murray is no doubt putting forward his proposal facetiously. What else is it possible for a whistleblower to do?

    I would like to suggest removing the facetiouness. Don’t ask me for further possible details about the mechanics of it. Suffice it to say that I am open to suggestions and have quite a lot of my own ideas to put forward, but only to audiences who are able to keep a straight face, and already have cool minds. There must be a lot of people like that in the UK, not only in the Commonwealth (e.g. Tony Kevin).

  2. Yes, I missed the wd, being carried away by my own train of thought. Of course one would not expect any different stance to yours from an American citizen. Or a French citizen. They are having problems with their monarch at this time, not with their parliament. The closely related theme is the crisis of the political system, not only in the UK and France but also in the US now after the latest from Pelosi. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/12/pelosi-tacitly-admits-that-russiagate-is-bullshit/?fbclid=IwAR1KaB3IhgLG4VcuZQhOIyCSeCQ3BWjxzdV52p0GAtdfmBFosQ What do you say? I am in favour of the EU’s principle of subsidiarity being extended to heads of state, and heads of state being integrated into the European integration project. That said, let’s talk about Pelosi and Trump. We have more chance of being on the same page.

    • i’ve edited your change, but as to the rest, i suppose i’ll read johnstone’s thing, but not now. and who are the ‘they’ here, please: ‘They are having problems with their monarch at this time, not with their parliament. ‘

      and please tell me what you mean here, as well: ‘I am in favour of the EU’s principle of subsidiarity being extended to heads of state, and heads of state being integrated into the European integration project.’ i know nothing about brexit, for instance…

      i will say i pay far more attention to issues, not to politicians. hope you’re cold’s gone; more as i’m able.

    • a tacit admission? dunno about that, aaron, caitlin, and unity4J. but no, this is no political crisi 4 amerikas, as i see it. but of course the final report (if it comes out) will show that there’s no there…in it. the only thing that might change it is this, imo: the whisper campaign of orange obomba’s insiders swearing that T is willing to sell nuclear secrets to the saudi clown prince bin salman. that might change minds right quick.

  3. “They” are the French. If you read French we’ve started a relevant forum. http://gj-anti-gj.freeforums.net/board/1/general-discussion
    It’s quite a climb from the Gilets Jaunes to the European Integration discussion as conducted by e.g. the Spinelli Group but I think its worth starting from where the action is and trying to move to where the action isn’t, but should be. Let’s try to follow it, and later for Prince William (and the other European monarchies and presidencies)

    • how many languages do you speak and read? my stars. my french was 4 years of high school, eons ago. and while appreciate your earnestness, i sense that for some reason i need to engage with subjects that aren’t really on my radar, nor do i desire them to be.

      it’s not as though i have one jot of extra time among: taking care of real life, researching for writing about my favorite issues, posting them here and cross-posting at c99percent, answering comments there (once i awhile here), and even commenting on a few diaries over yonder, as well as..once i a blue moon at other sites.

      by the end of every day, i’m exhausted, and often still have some chores that got left begging. ;- )

  4. Hi wd,
    I read somewhere a theory about the Skripal affair, the first to make sense to me. Skripal was involved in the Trump dossier through Pablo Miller and Christopher Steele. He also wanted to return to Russia and had arranged to do so, using his involvement in the production of the dossier to do so. The 2 “GRU” agents were jThere to deliver a passport and airline tickets. MI6 caught on and drugged the Skripals, likely with fentanyl.
    For reasons I do not understand the British establishment hates Russia, and felt threatened by Trumps stated goal of a better relationship with them. They were activly fighting against the Trump campaign, but the Skripal operation was a mess from the beginning, and it remains one now.

    Yesterday I was at work rebuilding a deck overlooking Trincomalee Channel and heard a loud sound…it was 5 Orcas, slowly moving north, very close to the shore. One youngster.
    Be well wd

    • the theory makes a lot of sense, esp. the 2 GRUs delivering passports, although i admit i’d needed to scan this whole diary to remember much about it. i also scanned the very very log piece of kit klarenberg’s in tweet at the bottom, but he did include this toward the end:

      “However, while widely marketed as the “definitive account” of the affair, most of the case’s central questions aren’t tackled, and the name Pablo Miller doesn’t appear once in the text — an amazing oversight given Miller was Skripal’s MI6 recruiter and handler, and neighbour in Salisbury, rendered all the more perplexing by Miller and Urban once having served in the same tank regiment.

      Miller’s connections to the Salisbury incident are unclear, and by design — immediately afterwards he deleted his LinkedIn account, which revealed him to be a Senior Analyst at Christopher Steele’s Orbis Intelligence, and on 7 March Whitehall issued a D-notice blocking mention of him in the mainstream media. Miller also has unclear connections to Integrity Initiative, his name appearing on a list of invitees to an event hosted by the organization, alongside representatives of the BBC, Porton Down, the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and US Embassy.”

      that the ‘definitive account’ hadn’t mentioned pablo miller once, seems to be a psyop within a psyop. oh, and i loved his section in which the georgian/ukraine bad-penny saakashvili had talked about smearing novichock (or was it just ‘poison’?) on a doorknob.

      oh, how fine that you saw the orcas, and a young ‘un to boot! and how envious i am. guess that’s a sign that spring’s on the way for you, yes?
      always lovely to hear from you, my friend.

  5. Actually no, our local orcas (j pod) stay in this area year round. Also, a bit of good news, the salmon fishing season is closed so they will have enough to eat! As much as I love salmon I have options and the orcas do not.

    • ah, not heading north for spring. here, we had a canada goose honking its way north the other day. good news for the orcas, indeed. gotta say my favorite salmon is smoked (really lox) and there’ve been a few times it was on sale and mr. wd bought several packets of it. w/ cream cheese and chives on toast, yum.

      well, hope your kids and miz colwell are all doing well, or at least tolerably well. our son never did get to come down, but in the end it was a good thing: so much wet snow and wind that lots of the passes had avalanched shut. but oh, what a way to break this multi-year drought! the drifts here were works of art, srsly.

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