Saturday, April 21, 2018

WMD Attack in Salisbury, England: Nerve Agent, Russian Agent, Double Agent, Triple Agent, Spiked Blood Sample, Silent Witnesses, and Propaganda

According to former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray, Jeremy Heywood, Britain's Cabinet Secretary and Head of the UK Civil Service, does not believe that Russia attempted to assassinate Russian traitor, double agent, triple agent, whatever, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England with the nerve agent, Novichok. As evidence, Murray cites a message to civil servants by Jeremy Heywood which reads, in part:
... after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury just over a month ago, I also want to take this opportunity to renew my gratitude to the hundreds of public servants – at home and abroad – involved in the response to that attack and the ongoing investigation. Their work was instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility for the Salisbury attack and the participation of many nations in the diplomatic sanctions that followed.
There is a seeming weirdness in the head of the civil service expressing gratitude, and indeed renewing his expression of gratitude, to public servants for doing the jobs they are presumably quite adequately paid to do. It may have been Murray's point, however, or one of several points, that Jeremy Heywood was expressing gratitude not for the readiness of civil servants to perform their duty with the integrity that employment in the public service should surely demand, but for participating in a charade designed to deceive the public both at home and abroad with the object of stoking Russophobia.

 In any case, as Craig Murray points out, applauding the work of public servants as "being instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government's position" is rather different from, applauding the work of public servants in "establishing the truth of the government's position." This indicates, so Murray suggests, at the very least, skepticism among senior officials concerning the Government's claim that Russia committed an atrocity with a WMD midst England's green and pleasant land.

Based on claims by the Russian Embassy in London, and Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, that blood samples from the supposedly still unconscious Skripals, obtained under a court warrant several weeks after they alleged nerve agent attack on them, contained 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate, aka Buzz, or BZ, we proposed that the Skripals could have been poisoned with the relatively less toxic BZ, a paralytic agent and, to counteract its effect, treated with minute and controlled doses of Novichok, a convulsant with an action directly antagonistic to that of BZ. We, therefore, concluded that the presence of both nerve agents in the blood samples from the poisoning victims would preclude a definite conclusion as to which was the poison and which the medically prescribed antidote.

However, contrary to statements by the Russian Embassy in London and Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, even Russian sources now reject the claim that the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare (OPCW) found BZ, a paralytic nerve agent, in the Skripal blood samples. Reluctantly, but unavoidably, therefore, we are compelled to reject our elegant hypothesis that BZ was the not-very-poisonous poison and that Novichok was prescribed as an antidote.

Instead, OPCW claims to have found (actually the Swiss Federal Spiez Laboratory for Civil Protection to which the OPCW contracted the job)  BZ "in a control sample, not the sample itself."

What that means is not at all obvious, but it sounds as though they spiked the samples with a nerve agent. That is not altogether incredible, although even to a scientifically informed person it will likely seem remarkable. Certainly spiking samples with what you don't want to find would make sense, assuming you wanted to mask the presence of what you didn't want to find.

In saying that, I in no way intend to accuse that the Swiss Federal Spiez Lab. of involvement in a cover up. However, it could well be that the Swiss civil service, like the British, knows when it must put loyalty to the political authorities above loyalty to scientific truth. Indeed, almost every laboratory in the world that depends on government funding knows to do that in today's highly politicized and largely government-funded world of science.

Concerning the Skripal blood samples, what is not disputed is that they contained Novichok — proof positive to most people, surely, that the Skripals were indeed the target of a nerve agent attack with this WMD. However, that inference is unwarranted. Remember that the blood samples were obtained more than two weeks after the supposed attack from which the Skripals have now recovered. So even in the immediate aftermath of the attack, the analysis of the Skripal's blood would not have registered a lethal concentration of Novichok, and during the interim much of the original dose of Novichok would have been voided by way of the kidney.

How much of the Novichok assumed to have been initially assimilated would have been voided during the interim is open to question, but that almost all of it would, is certain. The blood passes the kidney approximately 400 times a day. As a result, about 180 liters of fluid is expelled daily from the blood vessels passing the kidney where it traverses the renal tubule that connects to the urinary collecting ducts. Virtually all of that fluid, plus vital solutes such as glucose, are reabsorbed by specific and highly selective mechanisms for each solute so recovered. In this way, the body rids itself of toxic substances, both naturally produced, such as urea, and foreign substances, such as drugs and drug breakdown products, which are not reabsorbed as they pass down the renal tubule to the bladder.

One would expect, therefore, that several weeks after being poisoned, during which time their blood would have been filtered by the kidney over five thousand times, the Skripals would have had an almost infinitesimally low concentrations of Novichok in their blood. That is not to say that those very small amounts of Novichok would have been undetectable. Chemical analysis by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry has amazing sensitivity and specificity.

However, what the passage of several weeks between the time of poisoning and the time of blood sampling means is that the concentration of Novichok in the blood samples would likely have been extremely low, and certainly orders of magnitude less than a lethal concentration, since even at the outset the concentration was not lethal. That raises the possibility that the Skripals were injected while in hospital with a miniscule amount of Novichok not for any therapeutic effect, but to fool those investigating the alleged Russian horror, WMD attack on British soil.*

For such medical malpractice to have taken place, it would have been necessary for there to have been collaboration of at least one member of the Salisbury Trust Hospital staff, something surely not beyond the power of the security services of the British state to arrange.

Alternatively, the Skripals may have been treated with a trace amount of Novichok with their full consent, whether obtained before the initial alleged attack, or on regaining consciousness following exposure to some incapacitating agent but prior to the blood sampling ordered by the Court of Protection. Supposedly, the court order was obtained because the Skripals were unconscious and could not give consent. However, whether this was in fact the case is open to question, since Russian sources have claimed that Yulia Skripal accessed the Internet within three days of the attack, i.e., several weeks before the time the blood samples were obtained.

Essential to this last interpretation is that the Skipals were a party to a scam, which is not inconceivable, since Sergei Skripal was a convicted Russian double agent, who betrayed Russia by working for British intelligence. That Sergei Skripal took up residence in Britain after being pardoned by the Russian state and released from gaol under a spy swap agreement, makes its quite likely that he resumed working for the British Intelligence services. In that capacity he might well have participated as a fake victim in a fake WMD attack that would, in the words of the head of the British civil service be, "instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility" for a WMD attack on British soil.

Some might argue that the risk to the Skripals in such an escapade would have precluded their agreement to the role of victims. However, Novichok is really not that posionous. Much less so, at any rate, than botulinum toxin which many women have injected into the face on a regular basis to smooth out the wrinkles. Thus in the controlled setting of a hospital, injection of trace amounts of Novichok would have entailed a negligible risk.

But of all the strange aspects of the poisoning of the Skripals, perhaps the strangest is the silence of the medical witnesses. Thus far, the public has heard from only two. One, a woman described as a doctor, who according to the BBC, attended on the Skripals where they were stricken on a park bench in Salisbury.

That doctor, or should we say "doctor," who "asked not  to be named" and told the BBC that she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway," is the only person to describe the Skripals of suffering symptoms of poisoning by a toxin such as Novichok. Specifically, she described the effects of a convulsant, which is what Novichok is. However, this description is completely at odds with the letter to the Times newspaper from Dr. Stephen Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust Hospital where the Skripals are said to have been taken for treatment. In that letter, Davies said:
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.
So, according to the only identified medically qualified witness, the Skripals were admitted to hospital for some kind of poisoning but not poisoning by a deadly nerve agent, such as Novichok.

The failure of the British state to conduct an open and transparent investigation into the Skripal affair; the apparent failure of the head of the British civil service to endorse the government's preemptive condemnation of Russia for the alleged WMD attack in Salisbury; the silencing of all useful witnesses other than the above-mentioned Dr. Davies; and the fact that the Skripals have fully recovered from an alleged Russian state assassination attempt by means of a weapon of mass destruction, suggests that the story is a farrago of British rubbish, with the full endorsement of Prime Minister Theresa May and her bizarre Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson.

* While it adds no credibility to the theory, the Russian Government is now promoting our hypothesis, claiming that the Skripals were injected with a sub-lethal dose of Novichok prior to the sampling of their blood.

CanSpeccy: The UK's Novichok Poisoning Cover-up
CanSpeccy: 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate: The Antidote to Novichok
CanSpeccy: Why Yulia Skripal, Released From Hospital, Is Being Held in UK Police Custody
CanSpeccy: Novichok: Russia's Antidote to Seafood Poisoning
CanSpeccy: Are the Skripals in Mortal Danger From the British State?
CanSpeccy: NoviJoke: To Russia With Hate

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