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 (April 9 2022) — On September 27, 2018, Yale’s Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Poynter Fellowship for Journalism hosted Vladimir Pozner, the acclaimed Russian-American journalist and broadcaster.
Pozner spoke on the impact of US foreign policy towards Russia after the Soviet Union has been disbanded, and shared his opinions on a range of issues raised by the audience. The last question was about the Skripal’s case. Here are his thoughts on this incredible affair. Please, read carefully…
[1:44:29] – Yeah, you know, when this took place, so I was very, I was shocked and I tried to figure out for myself some kind of logic. Who would do this and why?
Let’s forget about the child, I means she’s lame, you know, she didn’t do anything. Skripal, he was a military agent, right? He worked for the former GRU, not to the KGB, Putin work to the KGB, he works for the GRU, which is military intelligence, and they can’t stand the KGB, and the KGB can’t stand their intelligence. That’s normal competition.
And he betrayed his country. Let’s face it, right. He went over to the other side and began to work for British intelligence. And he was caught, and he was tried.
And he was sentenced to 13 years. Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with what happens to spies, who to turn against their own country, and are then caught? Well, in wartime, they’re shot. But in peacetime, well, it’s usually something like 30 years. 13 years is a weird sentence.
Not only does he get this rather short sentence, considering, but he’s exchanged for Soviet, excuse me, Russian spies who were caught. Now if he was exchanged that means that he really didn’t know anything at that point. He was no danger to the Russian side.
So, you know, let him go and we’ll get ours back. Now, Putin doesn’t like traitors, who does? If Putin wanted to kill him, he was in prison, he would do it. And you could say that he had a heart attack or that he committed suicide or whatever. It was no problem killing him when he was in jail in Russia.
They let him go, they exchanged him. They could have exchanged someone else, they exchanged him. What sense would it make to poison this man under those circumstances? I mean logically. Putin is anything but stupid.
Not only stupid, it’s very risky. The risk of somehow this being found out is always there. Why do it, this is not a dangerous person. He can’t do anything. He can talk about what he knows, but it’s over. So I try to find out, I’m not saying he didn’t do it.
I’m saying I’m trying to find some kind of logic, logic, not emotions, logic as to why Putin would be involved in something like that. Alright, it’s not Putin. It’s one of those lower, you know, one of the GRU people who think that Putin would like it if they did it
But would Putin like it if it was discovered? No, of course not, they would get their head chopped down. So why would they risk it? They’re not going to get decorations for doing it. Because if Putin had ordered it, then yes. So why would they do it? So to me, it really remains a mystery.
Because it’s stupid, it’s counterproductive. It doesn’t do anything positive at all. So am I denying anything? I’m not denying, I’m saying give me proof. Please, just show me, yes, there it is.
Now this interview, did you see it? It was one of the most unprofessional pieces of work that I’ve ever seen. I thought what, who, why? And it happened, you know, the day after Putin had said these two men should go to the media. And so they come the next day, they’re there, you know.
It’s laughable except that it’s not, not really. So I would say to you that whole story is disgusting. I find it hard to believe that Putin initiated it, I really do, but somebody did. There’s no doubt about it.
And now I’ve heard a really nice story. You know that Mr. Skripal in Britain, every time he’d meet with his handlers, as they call them, he would be paid a certain amount, not a lot, you know, 5,000 pounds or 7,000 pounds, where if he felt he had something really interesting to say, 10,000 pounds. But again, he was of no real interest.
So I’m thinking, and now this is John le Carré, right? I’m thinking, British intelligence gets together and says, we don’t need this guy, and he’s costing us money. And he’s not kidding. Now, why don’t we poison him, and make it look like it is Putin.
Well, that’s brilliant Chap! You should do this, you know. So British intelligence poisons the guy, and the whole thing works this way. It’s not impossible. I kind of laughed at myself when I came up with that one.
And I’d like to talk to Mr. le Carré and see how he thinks. Incidentally, if you’ve not read his last two books, “The Pigeon Tunnel,” which is a story of his life as a spy. And the other one I forgot, “Legacy of a Spy.”
He writes with total disgust about that profession that he was in for so long. I mean, really. So, you know, there it is.
My answer to you is, I just don’t know. It’s such a weird thing. It really is. I see no reason for it. Invading another country, I can explain. But this one, I don’t know. It makes no sense. One day, we will know the real thing.
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…
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.”
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]
Four Years Ago — The Skripals Drama Begins (March 4 2018) [UPDATE — Vladimir Pozner : “Who would do this, and why?]