The incident has gained massive news coverage, mostly to the detriment of the character of Russians, particularly Vladimir Putin. Yet exactly how the alleged poisoning of Skripal and also his daughter, Yulia, who was visiting from Russia, was carried out has not been revealed.
For example, did someone slip into Skipal's house and spray the stuff around? Or did someone, unwitnessed, squirt them with the toxin in a public place, during their lengthy expedition from home ending with them incapacitated in a public park? Or what? No one seems to know.
There is a suggestion (e.g., "intelligence services now believe," i.e., another fact-free claim by the authorities) that the poison was carried in Yulia Skripal's luggage when she traveled from Russia to visit with her father in England, though no specific facts supporting this hypothesis have been published. It is a convenient theory for the British authorities, since it frees them of responsibility to apprehend an assassin. According to this intelligence service "belief" the victims, wittingly or otherwise, administered the toxic agent themselves.
But whether or not that theory is correct, it has been reported that there was nerve agent contamination at Skripal's residence, and in his car, which is remarkable since Skripal and his daughter went shopping, had lunch at a pub, and eventually went to a public park, which is where they were stricken, hours after leaving Skripal's contaminated home, and travelling in his contaminated car. Evidently this "as developed in Russia," "military-grade" Novichok toxin is remarkably slow acting stuff.
It's also remarkable that there seems to be no news on the condition of the victims, although the absence of the Skripals from the public eye does mean that whatever they might say about their poisoning (if they were poisoned, and if they are in a condition to say anything) cannot contradict the anti-Russian propaganda that is being made by the British authorities over a case concerning which just about every detail is assumed,with nothing substantiated by any publicly revealed evidence.
Indeed, in view of the following letter published in the Times newspaper yesterday, one has to question whether the Skripal's or anyone else was, in fact, exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury last week.
|The Times, 16 Mar 2018|
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 ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
The first sentence of that letter could be read in different ways, but it seems to say that no one in Salisbury was exposed to a nerve agent (i.e., no patients = no one). That the wording is so strange suggests editing by the Times to obscure the author's meaning. Indeed, if it was not edited, then is should have been to insure that the critical point of whether or not the Skripals had been exposed to a nerve agent was crystal clear.
All of which suggests the possibility that Sergei Skripal is, perhaps, still in the pay of the Brits and playing in this instance the role of a crisis actor: the fake victim of a fake Russian assassination attempt, intended to undermine Russian moral standing.
Alternatively, could Skripal have been always a loyal servant of Moscow, selling the Brits dud info. and, after serving a brief jail sentence in Russia for supposed treason, resuming service to Russia by feeding more dud info. to the Brits. In that case, maybe the Brits have just figured they had been had and decided to terminate Skripal with extreme prejudice, and in a way that would damage Russia.
In any case, what we are seeing is that public awareness of international relations has now reached the point of essentially complete fact freedom. The British Government, with the full collaboration of the corporate media, is dealing with the Skripal affair with total lack of integrity. False or misleading allegations are made explicitly or by insinuation in a way that suggests preparation of the public for open conflict with Russia. If so, the focus of such conflict remains unclear though points of conflict ripe for exacerbation include the struggle for control in Syria, US hostility toward Iran, and competition for European gas markets.
To sum up, the fact-free narrative that is being peddled by the British Government and the Western media is that years after Skripal's pardon and release from jail in Russia under a spy swap deal, President Putin decided to order Skripal's murder at a time of maximum awkwardness for himself, which is to say (a) in the immediate run up to Russia's presidential election in which Putin is the leading candidate, (b) just a couple of months before Russia is to host the World Cup soccer tournament, which will now likely be subject to some kind of boycott, and (c) within a year or so of completion of the Nordstream gas pipeline that is supposed to carry billions of cubic meters of Russian natural gas to markets in Northern Europe — a development opposed by the US which is seeking to get Europeans to purchase expensive liquefied US natural gas, a surplus byproduct of fracking for oil.
That would make sense if Putin decided that, since this is the worst possible time for him to personally order a pointless murder in Britain, it must, in fact, be precisely the right time for him to personally order a pointless murder in Britain, since no one would believe him to be that stupid, so he'd get clean away with it without the slightest blemish to Russia's reputation.
Craig Murray: First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran, in Cooperation with the OPCW
Zero Hedge: Another reason to smear the Russians on use of nerve agents
Craig Murray: On not being refuted
CanSpeccy: Novichick May's Military-Grade Big Lie
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