No, no; not the GRU assassins board game! you remember them: the ones Eliot Higgins’ bell¿gcat ‘crowd-sourced online investigative services’ proved had committed the dastardly Novichok deeds? Many of you will be able to remember far more than I do about this, so I hope you’ll join the game. Gawd’s blood, we could we use some jocularity about now eh? First up:
‘Kept in the dark: ‘Novichok’ poisoning survivor tells Russian ambassador he got NO info from UK govt’, 6 April, 2019, RT.com
“Amesbury Novichok incident survivor Charlie Rowley has met with Russia’s Ambassador in London seeking answers, after the UK authorities kept him in the dark about any official details of the poisoning saga for nearly a year.
“Most of the information they have, they had read in the newspapers. And I got the impression that both the family of Dawn Sturgess and that of Charlie Rowley have not been adequately informed as to what happened to the pair in Amesbury and what happened in Salisbury before,” Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko said after the meeting with Rowley.
Whatever small information Moscow has managed to gather about the incidents, with a total lack of cooperation from the UK side, was passed on to the brothers – and most of it was a “total revelation” for them, Yakovenko said. “They are ordinary people, reading British newspapers. What could they know – only what they are offered by the press. So it’s good to have an alternative point of view and understand Russia’s line of reasoning.”
Rowley and his partner Sturgess were rushed to hospital from Amesbury on June 30, 2018. At first, police believed they might have overdosed on drugs, but then claimed that the couple was poisoned by Novichok, the same nerve agent allegedly used on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury four months earlier. Sturgess died in the hospital more than a week later, while Rowley regained consciousness but has been left disabled, and has been kept in the dark regarding his case ever since.”
Despite strong words coming from the British Prime Minister Theresa May that it was “highly likely” the Russian government was behind the attack, and multiple countries slapping Russia with sanctions based on that belief, the UK government made little to no evidence public as their secretive investigation drags on for over a year.”
RT seems to have gotten their dates jumbled; earlier the site had reported:
“It was on March 4, 2018 that the Skripals were admitted to a hospital in Salisbury.” and “The Amesbury twist
On July 4, British police reported that a local couple was poisoned in Amesbury, a town in Wiltshire not far from Salisbury. Charlie Rowley, 45, recovered. His partner, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess, died in the hospital.
Sturgess and Rowley reportedly fell ill after finding a bottle of Nina Ricci perfume in a waste bin. The perfume, which was still in the wrapper, was supposedly laced with novichok. The question remains how the bottle ended up there (still deadly, four months later). The UK police later said they were unable to confirm whether the novichok nerve agent to which the couple were exposed in Amesbury was from the same batch used to poison the Skripals in Salisbury. The plot thickened.”
All of which had led to the jokes that after the GRU agents had smeared the ‘novichock’ on the Skripal’s doorknob…they stuffed the rest into a Nina Ricci perfume bottle with an intact wrapper, and left it in a charity bin for Charlie Crowley to find…and gift to Miz Sturgess.
Were they poisoned with Novichock? Too bad the authorities had cremated her body, and Sergei Skripal’s cat before taking blood samples, isn’t it?
Perhaps it was due to my Spidey senses tingling, but I thought I’d look for other coverage of the meeting, and found many, but all with manifestly different content than RT’s. For instance this one, which seems to be the original source of similar ones in the UK media:
‘Novichok victim Charlie Rowley asks Putin’s man ‘did you kill my girlfriend?, EXCLUSIVE: Novichok poisoning victim Charlie Rowley struggles to believe waffle from Russian ambassador in London’, mirror.com, April 6, 2019
Readers are invited to ‘watch the video’ at the top, but as far as I could make up, none of the following quotes by either Ambassador Yakovenko, nor Crowley and his brother Matthew are in the video save for a couple crappily filmed minutes outside the embassy, although they report it was a 90-minute meeting at the £15million Russian Embassy in Kensington.
But onward with the (ahem) yellow journalism so bright it glows (some snippets and alleged quotes):
“Poisoned Charlie Rowley was yesterday told by Vladimir Putin’s man in London that Russia wasn’t behind the novichok attacks in Salisbury – because people SURVIVED.
Charlie said Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko told him Russian novichok “would have killed everyone”.”
““I said, ‘Well, my girlfriend did die, it’s only because I washed it off that I’m still here’. He didn’t know what to say to that.
“He said Russia only have small amounts of novichok because they use it as an antidote and don’t produce it any more.
“He said the only countries that produce it now are the Czech Republic and America. I asked if he really thought Britain had carried out the attack.
“He said he doesn’t know because the British Government won’t tell him anything, but America is the only place he thinks the novichok could have come from.
“He said Porton Down (Britain’s military testing base) have it too.”
Dawn died on July 8, a week after Charlie gave her what he thought was a bottle of scent, found in a charity bin in Salisbury, Wilts. It turned out to be novichok, first produced in the 1970s – by Russia.
Two suspects, Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga, both 39 and from Russian intelligence unit the GRU, are believed to have dumped the bottle.”
“Charlie was left in a coma for 10 days, suffered strokes, contracted meningitis and now has a pacemaker. He has loss of eyesight, fears he will be left totally blind and has had awful flashbacks which left him suicidal.
“Charlie, 45, was accompanied at the embassy by his brother Matthew, 47 – after the Sunday Mirror helped arrange the meeting.
As they sat across a table in the opulent meeting room Mr Yakovenko handed Charlie a 51-page dossier titled Salisbury: Unanswered Questions.
The document accuses Britain of failing to provide information and cites supposed inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the UK Government’s version of events.”
More than a year later no official answers have come about the Skripal poisonings, and they still seem to be living in a deep dark badger hole, possibly on the moon.
But of course there are alternative theories on what Novickock is or is not, this one short-handing some of it at consortium news, March 30, 2018, including other plausible scenarios as this one by former Ambassdor Craig Murray, albeit having noted he has no idea if Russians were to blame, although ‘Why would they want to extend the cold war?’:
“The other thing about the Skripal case, of course, is the connection to Orbis Intelligence and Christopher Steele and Pablo Miller. The person who wrote the dossier on Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign was Christopher Steele of Orbis Intelligence. He was in MI6 in the Russian Embassy in Moscow at the time when Skripal was a key double agent. The guy who was responsible for handling Skripal on a day-to-day basis was Pablo Miller. Pablo Miller also worked for Orbis Intelligence. The MI6 has never had the close-up access to Putin that that dossier claims to have. Plainly, a great deal of it is fabrication.
I strongly suspect that Mr. Skripal was involved in the production of that dossier about Donald Trump. I admit that this is circumstantial, but that dossier was produced while Pablo Miller was working for Orbis Intelligence. Like Mr. Steele, Pablo Miller was a former MI6 agent in Russia. And Pablo Miller was also living in Salisbury, within a short distance of Skripal. If you are going to produce a dossier which invents a lot of stuff about Donald Trump and his connections to the circle around Putin, you need a Russian source who can give you names and lend the dossier a degree of authenticity. I believe that that kind of detail is what Skripal provided to the Steele dossier.”
This would seem a much more plausible lead in investigating this case. The idea that you kill someone for something that happened twelve years ago is frankly much less compelling than something that is happening now. Of course, there is a possibility that Skripal revealed something in the dossier which the Russians didn’t want revealed, that they decided he was still a danger and should be eliminated.”
He adds that Skripal might have turned triple agent for money, but that’s not nearly as compelling an incentive to me.
You might get a charge out of this recent ‘story’ I’d found accidentally a year after the Skripal Incident :
‘Unusual activity’ at Russian embassy before novichok attack, UK intelligence investigated ‘frantic comings and goings’ at time of Skripal poisonings’, March 4, 2019, the Guardian
“MI5, MI6 and GCHQ looked into unprecedented “frantic comings and goings” at the building in Kensington in the days leading up to the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, a source with knowledge of the investigation told the Press Association.
The source was quoted as saying: “The intelligence agencies have been investigating unusual and increased activity at the Russian embassy in Kensington in the days leading up to and after the attack on the Skripals.”
“As would be expected, the UK security services have eyes on known and undeclared foreign intelligence operatives,” the source said.
Skripal and his daughter collapsed after coming into contact with novichok at his home in Salisbury on 4 March last year. They recovered, but in July Dawn Sturgess, 44, died when she was exposed to novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle found by her partner, Charlie Rowley.
Britain has accused Russia of being behind the attack. In March last year, Theresa May expelled 23 suspected Russian spies from the London embassy, the largest mass expulsion of diplomats since the cold war.” [snip]
“On Friday counter-terrorism officers said they were still trying to find out where the perfume bottle was between the attack in March and the end of June when Rowley found it.”
We’d love to hear that explanation ourselves, wouldn’t we? Maybe at the bottom of the loo in the QE Gardens? There were indications of Novichock in the bog, remember? Maybe that’s where the Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey was exposed after he fell ill a day or two after searching the Skripal’s house? He didn’t die, but he sure did sweat and have the jumbers, or whatever he’d called the shakes.
And last but not least, this grotesque hilarity b at MOA’s featured:
‘CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump’, b at MoA, April 16, 2019, a few snippets):
“An ass kissing portrait of Gina Haspel, torture queen and director of the CIA, reveals that she lied to Trump to push for more aggression against Russia.”
“Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel’s relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA’s position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose:
Last March, top national security officials gathered inside the White House to discuss with Mr. Trump how to respond to the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian intelligence agent.
London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical.
During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.
To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.
Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.
Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.”
“The Skripal case was widely covered and we followed it diligently (scroll down). There were no reports of any children affected by ‘Novichok’ nor were their any reports of dead ducks. In the official storyline the Skripals, before visiting a restaurant, fed bread to ducks at a pond in the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury. They also gave duck-bread to three children to do the same. The children were examined and their blood was tested. No poison was found and none of them fell ill. No duck died. (The duck feeding episode also disproves the claim that the Skripals were poisoned by touching a door handle.)”
Yes, b’s oeuvre on the Skripals might only be rivaled by Craig Murray’s.
If it quacks like a dead duck…it must be a dead Novichock duck, no?