March 4 2021 — No one who has looked into the case in any detail can possibly be satisfied that the account given by the UK Government and The Metropolitan Police is correct. The narrative put out by the Metropolitan Police is not simply questionable, it is plain impossible. I believe that this affair is a carefully constructed drama to push Russia in a corner and justify Western foreign policies in various places such as Ukraine, Iran and Syria. Who really tried to assassinate Sergei Skripal? And why? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Skripal Poisoning : Medics Reveal Fears [Documentary]
UPDATE (March 4 2021) — Over the last 12 months, we have learned absolutely nothing new regarding this specific case. In fact, everyone seems to have forgotten the Affair.
But, according to a series of leaked documents, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have sponsored Reuters and the BBC — alongside intel contractors and Bellingcat — to conduct a series of covert programs aimed at promoting regime change inside Russia and undermining its government across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The story was always transparent nonsense. Yet, many in power chose to accept it as true despite a long list of “absurd, implausible and sometimes downright impossible things” that one has to believe to accept that story presented by The Met and the UK Government.
Let us consider for a moment the consequences of this nonsense. In March 2018, about 20 western allies ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats in response to this alleged nerve agent attack.
The EU members Germany, France and Poland each expelled four Russian diplomats. Lithuania and the Czech Republic expelled three, and Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands two each. Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Sweden and Romania each expelled one Russian.
Inside the EU, only eight countries — Portugal, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Luxembourg — chose not to expel any Russian diplomats, while Belgium and Ireland made no announcements at all.
Three years later, many of those countries are turning to Russia for help with their COVID vaccination programme which I have described as a “clusterfuck” .
On Monday, Slovakia became the second European Union country to buy Sputnik V after Hungary decided to do so in February.
[Sputnik V was shown to have a very high efficacy rate of 91.6%. The vaccine is cheap and no side effects have been reported.]
On Friday, the Kremlin reported that President Vladimir Putin had discussed “possible deliveries of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to Austria,” with the country’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Poland are also considering Sputnik V.
This week, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz described the EU vaccine program as a “Total Shitshow.”
“We know that the next few weeks will continue to be difficult as far as vaccinations are concerned,” Council President Charles Michel said after the meeting of EU leaders last Thursday.
The question is how many EU countries will break in the meantime. [Politico]
Either way, once again, after years of blaming Putin’s Russia for all the wrongs under the sun, European leaders are desperately seeking some help from Moscow to get out of this incredible fiasco.
END of UPDATE
On March 4 2018, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia Skripal were found unconscious on a public bench in the centre of Salisbury by a passing doctor and nurse.
Scientists working at the nearby Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory [DSTL] in Porton Down tested the substance involved in the case and established that it was a nerve agent belonging to the Novichok family.
The UK Government lost no time in accusing Russia. On March 12 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May said in the House of Commons:
“It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’.
Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, (…) the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”
Boris Johnson claimed that Porton Down scientists had told him Russia was responsible for producing this military grade nerve agent.
In a tweet dated March 22, the Foreign Office stated that analysis made by world leading experts at DSTL made clear that it was a military grade Novichok nerve agent produced in Russia.
On March 25, Boris Johnson claimed scientists at the UK’s military research laboratory at Porton Down had been “absolutely categorical” in telling him there was “no doubt” the novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack was manufactured in Russia.
On April 3 2018, Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of DSTL, corrected Mr Johnson.
“We have not identified the precise source. (…) we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured.”
The tweet from the Foreign Office was deleted on the same day as Mr Aitkenhead’s interview. The explanation for doing so was at best dubious…
“One of the tweets was truncated and did not accurately report our ambassador’s words. We have removed this tweet.
None of this changes the fact that it is our assessment that Russia was responsible for this brazen and reckless act and, as the international community agrees, there is no other plausible explanation.
No other country has a combination of the capability, the intent, and the motive to carry out such an act.”
Gary Aitkenhead is not a scientist. Previously, he held senior positions at Sepura and Motorola, where he had commercial responsibility for sales, services, operations and product management.
This being said, Mr Aitkenhead is entirely correct when he states that it is not the job of scientists to determine who produced a nerve agent.
Their job is to analyse it correctly. Attribution is the responsibility of Intelligence officers who will use the scientific imput to determine if the sample can be matched to a specific production technique and a known manufacturer. We shall come back to this important point.
Ahmet Üzümcü — the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — told New York Times journalists that as much as 50-100 grams of liquid nerve agent was used in the attack on the former Russian double agent Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
This false information was gullibly reported by the MSM. Seriously? That amount of Novichok — one of the most toxic nerve agents — would have been enough to kill most people in Salisbury!
On May 4 2018, the OPCW issued the following correcting statement:
“In response to questions from the media, the OPCW Spokesperson stated that the OPCW would not be able to estimate or determine the amount of the nerve agent that was used in Salisbury on 4 March 2018.
The quantity should probably be characterized in milligrams.”
What kind of scientist confuses grams and milligrams?
So, forgive me if I am not willing to trust the reports of Russian chemical attacks in Syria. Last year, I interviewed Carla Ortiz — a Bolivian actress, producer, documentary maker.
Here is a key part of the interview:
Intel Today — What is your conclusion regarding the latest allegation of a chemical attack by the Syrian Army in Douma on April 7 2018?
Carla Ortiz — There is not a single person in all of Douma who believes that this attack ever happened. In fact no one here understands why everyone keeps on asking this question. And why everyone keeps going to the hospital to ask the same thing over and over. They know it is a false story!
This was probably the “poorest set-up” in the last 7 years of the war. They [al-Nusra and other Salafist jihadist organizations fighting against the Syrian government forces] have tried to sell us these lies over and over, and this time it had no credibility whatsoever.
I believe that ordinary citizens around the world are finally waking up to the lies of the war in Syria. But above all, Syrians are done with this war.
Intel Today — Did you meet any of the OPCW investigation team members?
Carla Ortiz — I have privately — and unofficially — spoke with one of them. [Their situation is rather odd.] Although myself and other journalists have had access to all sites in Syria, they did not received permission (from their side) to access all the sites in order to gather all the information.
In that interview, Carla Ortiz gave the boot to the narrative of the Main Stream Media regarding the conflict in Syria. She spoke about the happiness of the liberated people in Ghouta and the true role of the White Helmets….
Most MSM reported that only Russia had the knowledge needed to produce the Novichok Agent. Seriously?
In the aftermath of the “Skripal Affair”, Professor Dave Collum — Cornell University — asserted that any credible organic chemist could make novichok nerve agents. It is fair to say that the good professor just made a strong point.
One question on the final exam (Spring 2018) of the organic synthesis course by Professor Collum at Cornell must have caused a bit of a surprise among the 1st year graduate students.
They were asked how to produce the Novichok agent! And yet… Fourteen of the fifteen students answered the question perfectly. So much for the “uniquely Russian technology”!
RELATED POST: Salisbury Incident — Making Novichok… For the Final Exam
The Elephant in the Room : DSTL
Despite the fact that the Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory [DSTL] — known to produce nerve agents , including Novichok — is located a few miles from the crime scene, hardly anyone suspected this facility.
In the light of the criminal and sinister history of this facility, such attitude is very difficult to comprehend. This facility is infamous for its history of crimes, unbelievable acts of gross incompetence and their “scientists’ have contributed to some of the most spectacular miscarriages of justice in the UK. Here is a quick reminder…
History of crimes — In 1953, twenty-year-old Royal Air Force engineer Ronald George Maddison died as the result of exposure to a nerve agent [Sarin] during an “experiment” conducted at Porton Down. In 2004 an inquest concluded that Maddison had been “unlawfully killed” by the UK government.
Unbelievable Incompetence — The Lockerbie trial is usually considered as one of the most spectacular miscarriages of justice in the UK. The SCCRC is currently reviewing the case and a new appeal is widely expected.
RELATED POST: Lockerbie & the Glorious ‘Conspiracy Theorists’
Only one piece of debris (a beam from the luggage container) — out of 4 million pieces collected — indicated the presence of SEMTEX. When I first saw these data, I immediately understood that something was badly wrong.
The spectrum indicated that all kinds of explosive residues were present in the swabs. This is clearly nonsense as some of these explosives, such as TNT and SEMTEX components, do not mix. Obviously, this was a case of contamination.
Years later, we learned that the laboratory that had conducted these measurements was indeed totally contaminated. One could find explosive residues in the offices, in the library, in the restaurant, anywhere. Over the years, that laboratory has been renamed many times: RARDE, DERA, DSTL. Many names, but it is the same damn institution.
Spectacular Miscarriages of Justice — Dr Thomas Hayes and Allen Feraday were employed at the Royal Armament Research Development Establishment (RARDE). In 1995, RARDE was subsumed into the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). In 2001, part of DERA became the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
Based on the forensic report Dr Hayes had supplied, an entire family [The Maguire seven] was sent to jail in 1976. They were acquitted in appeal in 1992. Sir john May was appointed to review Dr. Hayes forensic evidence.
“The whole scientific basis on which the prosecution in [the trial of the alleged IRA Maguire Seven] was founded was in truth so vitiated that on this basis alone, the Court of Appeal should be invited to set aside the conviction,” said Sir john May.
Allen Feraday’s reputation is hardly better. In three separate cases, where men were convicted on the basis of his forensic evidence, the initial ruling was overturned in appeal.
After one of these cases in 2005, a Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, said that Feraday should not be allowed to present himself as an expert.
According to forensic scientist Dr Michael Scott — who was interviewed in the documentary The Maltese Double Cross — Feraday has no formal qualifications as a scientist.
The Nonsensical Narrative of the Skripals’ Poisoning
No one who has looked into the case in any detail can possibly be satisfied that the account given by the UK Government and The Metropolitan Police is correct.
The narrative put out by the Metropolitan Police is not simply questionable, it is plain impossible.
The most fundamental flaw in it (and there are many flaws), is that the poisoning took place at the door handle of Mr Skripal’s house, in broad daylight, with Mr Skripal and Yulia both inside, and using a spray (which would have released particles of nerve agent into the air).
Yulia and Sergei Skripal — two people of differing sex, different height, different metabolisms, different ages, and different state of health (he being a diabetic) — were contaminated with Novichok — a nerve agent said to be up to 10 times stronger than VX.
And yet they were able to go about their lives as if nothing had happened for over 2 hours, before collapsing simultaneously.
Seriously, how many Russians does it take to close a door?
First Clue — The D Notices
So we can feel rather confident that whatever happened is not what the UK Government would like us to believe. But what did actually happen? Although I do not know the answer, I strongly recommend to investigate the stories that the UK Government did not want the media to report. That is, of course, always a good place to start…
If you think that “slapping a D-notice” on a story the establishment wants to hide from the public is the stuff of thrillers, spy stories and conspiracy theories, you are in for a shock.
In the immediate aftermath of the Skripals poisoning, the “Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee” (DSMA) has issued at least two D-Notices to request the complicity of the UK media over crucial pieces of information related to the Skripal Affair.
On March 7, a DSMA-Notice 05 (Personnel and their Families who work in Sensitive Positions) was issued to all UK editors. On March 14, a second D-Notice was issued.
The UK government wanted to protect the identity of Sergei Skripal’s former MI6 handler Pablo Miller, who happens to live near Salisbury.
Pablo Miller worked as a consultant at the company (Orbis Business Intelligence) that compiled the “Steele Dossier” — the controversial dossier on Donald Trump and Russia – paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
On March 8, Gordon Corera [BBC’s Security Correspondent] tweeted that his sources were certain that no link exists between Skripal and Orbis or Chris Steele.
On the same day, Luke Harding [British journalist who is a foreign correspondent for The Guardian] claimed that Miller had never worked for Orbis, which is obviously untrue.
Pablo Miller had listed his employment by Orbis Business Intelligence on his LinkedIn profile.
In 2017, a D-Notice had already been issued against British journalists revealing the identity of the Trump’s Dossier author (Chris Steele).
Mark Urban & The Skripal Files
Mark Lee Urban (born 26 January 1961) is a British journalist, historian, and broadcaster, and is currently the Diplomatic Editor for BBC Two’s Newsnight.
Urban wrote a book — The Skripal Files — which tells the story of the former Russian spy and was published on October 4 2018.
How did he manage to write the book so quickly. Well, Mark Urban actually interviewed Skripal in 2017.
That is right. Mark Urban was investigating the Skripals’ case before there was a Skripals’ case! News before it is news, indeed…
Now think about that for a second… Urban decided in 2017 to write a book about a Russian spy that nobody was going to publish because nobody would be interested in reading about Sergei Skripal. And then, lo and behold, Sergei Skripal appears on the first page of every newspaper in the world!
How is it possible? As a young man, Mark Urban served in the Royal Armoured Corps. One of his “Brothers in Arms” was a certain Pablo Miller. Does that ring a bell?
RELATED POST: Skripal Case — Going from Weird to Berserk (UPDATE)
And by the way… I understand that Philip Cross has already edited the Wikipedia page of Mark Urban.
Who Is Pablo Miller?
According to Itar-Tass news agency (March 2000), Sergei Skripal was recruited by Pablo Miller, head of British intelligence in Tallinn working under the cover of first secretary of the British embassy in Estonia. Miller has also worked in Bogotá, Colombia, from 2006 to 2009.
Pablo Miller — aka Antonio Alvarez de Hidalgo — was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours on 13 June 2015 for service to British foreign policy.
RELATED POST: Who is MI6 Officer Pablo Miller?
Pablo Miller is not only connected to Sergei Skripal, Orbis and Chris Steele as well as Mark Urban. Miller is also, as we just learned, one of the persons on the email listing of the Integrity Initiative organization.
Can we just agree that this is quite a lot of coincidences for a retired old man?
Who Manufactured This Drama, and Why?
In November 2017, British journalist Luke Harding stated that Steele’s sources were not new:
“They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”
As I already pointed out, in the aftermath of Skripals’ poisoning, Harding — as well Gordon Corera — quickly dismissed Sergei Skripal had any link to Steele and Orbis. And we now know that he lied.
But the Telegraph went a step further. This newspaper reported that the trail of evidence linking Skripal to Steele was fabricated by Russian Intelligence!
Russian Intelligence certainly did not fabricate this link because it is very real.
Matthias “Matt” Frei — a German-born British television news journalist and writer — has discovered that Pablo Miller and Sergei Skripal were meeting in the same restaurant about once a month.
Matt Frei asked former ambassador Sir Andrew Wood if such meetings between a former spy and his former handler were usual?
The answer of Sir Andrew Wood was very clear: “Absolutely not.” Firstly it would send the message that Skripal was still active and secondly these meetings would have exposed Pablo Miller.
Contrary to some reports by MSM, Steele never worked on the dossier until Trump won the nomination on May 3, 2016.
Orbis was hired between June and November 2016. The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted.
How did Christopher Steele possibly manage to gather this information in such a short time?
Obviously, he recruited his old friend Pablo Miller who, in turn, re-activated his former agent Sergei Skripal.
A central thesis of the dossier alleges that Michael Cohen met with Russian spies in Prague sometimes in August or September 2016. [Since the very first day, I have suspected that this was a false information and we know today that Cohen has never visited Prague!]
However, Sergei Skripal is known to have visited the city to meet intelligence officers. Just another coincidence?
My views on Western Intelligence Agencies have been shaped by the Lockerbie Case [Pan Am 103].
There is no doubt whatsoever that the key piece of evidence — a tiny fragment of a swiss timer — was planted by the CIA in order for the FBI to blame the tragedy on Libya.
And I will remind you that Robert Mueller was in charge of the Lockerbie case…
Frankly, it would not surprise me a bit if we discover one day — 50 years from now? — that a Western Intelligence agency was feeding Skripal with a mix of information and disinformation regarding the alleged Trump-Russia collusion, knowing full well that this report would eventually end up at the FBI.
If true, that agency has played Steele, and therefore the FBI, like a skripka. Let us hope that Robert Mueller has learned from his past mistakes…
John Pilger : “Skripal case is a carefully constructed drama”
UPDATE (March 4 2020) — Over the last 12 months, we have learned absolutely nothing serious regarding this case. In fact, everyone seems to have forgotten the Affair.
The off-Guardian has posted the UK government’s version of what happened: “The Skripal Case – Two Years On.“
If you can’t see “any unanswered questions, logical gaps or peculiar coincidences,” you may seek some help from The Blogmire: The Salisbury Poisonings Two Years On: A Riddle, Wrapped in a Cover Up, Inside a Hoax.
In this anniversary piece, Rob Slane compiles a fairly comprehensive list of “absurd, implausible and sometimes downright impossible things” that one has to believe to accept story presented by The Met and the UK Government.
Russia Today — Salisbury poisoning unleashed Russian bogeyman … but where are the Skripals 2 years on? — asks a fairly direct question:
“Forget Where’s Wally, what we really want to know is where are the Skripals?
It’s exactly two years to the day since the Russian spy and his daughter were novichoked in Salisbury, and we’ve still not seen hide nor hair of them.”
Gordon Corera, the so-called BBC Security correspondent, wonders “What did the attack mean for the UK and Russia?” Obviously, very little…
“In the wake of the attack, there was also considerable talk of a tougher line over Russian money and influence in London. But there has been relatively little public sign of action.”
Indeed. On March 4 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted:
“Today, two years on from the chemical attack in Salisbury, my thoughts remain with all those impacted. It is heartening to see the historic city welcoming visitors and looking to the future, thanks to the strength and character of the community.”
No references are made to Russia, the Russian foreign military intelligence or even Vladimir Putin…
In 2019, British imports of Russian oil jumped by about 60% compared to the previous year.
US President Thomas Jefferson once offered a wise advice to a man who wishes to live a happy life:
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
Whether the spooks like it or not, Boris & Co have decided to swim with the flow. Backed by a strong majority, there is no longer a need to portray Putin as the archenemy of the West.
The Skripal case was never about Principles anyway. Quite the opposite…
RELATED POST: Did a “Novichok” programme ever exist?
RELATED POST: Skripal Poison Case Becoming British Hostage Scenario
RELATED POST: OPCW Report on Technical Assistance Requested by the UK
RELATED POST: Sir Mark Sedwill’s Letter On The Skripal Poisoning
On This Day — The Skripals Drama Begins (March 4 2018)
On This Day — The Skripals Drama Begins (March 4 2018) 
Three Years Ago — The Skripals Drama Begins (March 4 2018) [UPDATE : From Novichok to SPUTNIK V]