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  • Salisbury

    Does anyone actually buy the bullshit that is being spouted by Theresa Maynevertellthetruth and her cronies, Why would the Russians bump off a guy after 6 years of knowing where he was with a murder weapon that linked straight back to them and worse still even fail to kill him - very amateur.
    Doesn't loom like a proffessional hit, why not stage a breakin or a hit and run

    It stinks.

  • #2
    Does Corbyn have a credible alibi?

    Comment


    • #3
      Russian to Judgement

      The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian “novochok” nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was “only”. She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been “developed by” Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.

      The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents. And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article.

      Incidentally, novachok is not a specific substance but a class of new nerve agents. Sources agree they were designed to be persistent, and of an order of magnitude stronger than sarin or VX. That is rather hard to square with the fact that thankfully nobody has died and those possibly in contact just have to wash their clothes.

      From Putin’s point of view, to assassinate Skripal now seems to have very little motivation. If the Russians have waited eight years to do this, they could have waited until after their World Cup. The Russians have never killed a swapped spy before. Just as diplomats, British and otherwise, are the most ardent upholders of the principle of diplomatic immunity, so security service personnel everywhere are the least likely to wish to destroy a system which can be a key aspect of their own personal security; quite literally spy swaps are their “Get Out of Jail Free” card. You don’t undermine that system – probably terminally – without very good reason.

      It is worth noting that the “wicked” Russians gave Skripal a far lighter jail sentence than an American equivalent would have received. If a member of US Military Intelligence had sold, for cash to the Russians, the names of hundreds of US agents and officers operating abroad, the Americans would at the very least jail the person for life, and I strongly suspect would execute them. Skripal just received a jail sentence of 18 years, which is hard to square with the narrative of implacable vindictiveness against him. If the Russians had wanted to make an example, that was the time.

      It is much more probable that the reason for this assassination attempt refers to something recent or current, than to spying twenty years ago. Were I the British police, I would inquire very closely into Orbis Intelligence.

      There is no doubt that Skripal was feeding secrets to MI6 at the time that Christopher Steele was an MI6 officer in Moscow, and at the the time that Pablo Miller, another member of Orbis Intelligence, was also an MI6 officer in Russia and directly recruiting agents. It is widely reported on the web and in US media that it was Miller who first recruited Skripal. My own ex-MI6 sources tell me that is not quite true as Skripal was “walk-in”, but that Miller certainly was involved in running Skripal for a while. Sadly Pablo Miller’s LinkedIn profile has recently been deleted, but it is again widely alleged on the web that it showed him as a consultant for Orbis Intelligence and a consultant to the FCO and – wait for it – with an address in Salisbury. If anyone can recover that Linkedin entry do get in touch, though British Government agencies will have been active in the internet scrubbing.

      It was of course Christopher Steele and Orbis Intelligence who produced for the Clinton camp the sensationalist dossier on Trump links with Russia – including the story of Trump paying to be urinated on by Russian prostitutes – that is a key part of the “Russiagate” affair gripping the US political classes. The extraordinary thing about this is that the Orbis dossier is obvious nonsense which anybody with a professional background can completely demolish, as I did here. Steele’s motive was, like Skripal’s in selling his secrets, cash pure and simple. Steele is a charlatan who knocked up a series of allegations that are either wildly improbable, or would need a high level source access he could not possibly get in today’s Russia, or both. He told the Democrats what they wish to hear and his audience – who had and still have no motivation to look at it critically – paid him highly for it.

      I do not know for certain that Pablo Miller helped knock together the Steele dossier on Trump, but it seems very probable given he also served for MI6 in Russia and was working for Orbis. And it seems to me even more probable that Sergei Skripal contributed to the Orbis Intelligence dossier on Trump. Steele and Miller cannot go into Russia and run sources any more, and never would have had access as good as their dossier claims, even in their MI6 days. The dossier was knocked up for huge wodges of cash from whatever they could cobble together. Who better to lend a little corroborative verisimilitude in these circumstances than their old source Skripal?

      Skripal was at hand in the UK, and allegedly even close to Miller in Salisbury. He could add in the proper acronym for a Russian committee here or the name of a Russian official there, to make it seem like Steele was providing hard intelligence. Indeed, Skripal’s outdated knowledge might explain some of the dossier’s more glaring errors.

      But the problem with double agents like Skripal, who give intelligence for money, is that they can easily become triple agents and you never know when a better offer is going to come along. When Steele produced his dodgy dossier, he had no idea it would ever become so prominent and subject to so much scrutiny. Steele is fortunate in that the US Establishment is strongly motivated not to scrutinise his work closely as their one aim is to “get” Trump. But with the stakes very high, having a very loose cannon as one of the dossier’s authors might be most inconvenient both for Orbis and for the Clinton camp.

      If I was the police, I would look closely at Orbis Intelligence.

      To return to Israel. Israel has the nerve agents. Israel has Mossad which is extremely skilled at foreign assassinations. Theresa May claimed Russian propensity to assassinate abroad as a specific reason to believe Russia did it. Well Mossad has an even greater propensity to assassinate abroad. And while I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grieviously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grieviously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.

      Both the Orbis and Israeli theories are speculations. But they are no more a speculation, and no more a conspiracy theory, than the idea that Vladimir Putin secretly sent agents to Salisbury to attack Skripal with a secret nerve agent. I can see absolutely no reason to believe that is a more valid speculation than the others at this point.

      I am alarmed by the security, spying and armaments industries’ frenetic efforts to stoke Russophobia and heat up the new cold war. I am especially alarmed at the stream of cold war warrior “experts” dominating the news cycles. I write as someone who believes that agents of the Russian state did assassinate Litvinenko, and that the Russian security services carried out at least some of the apartment bombings that provided the pretext for the brutal assault on Chechnya. I believe the Russian occupation of Crimea and parts of Georgia is illegal. On the other hand, in Syria Russia has saved the Middle East from domination by a new wave of US and Saudi sponsored extreme jihadists.

      The naive view of the world as “goodies” and “baddies”, with our own ruling class as the good guys, is for the birds. I witnessed personally in Uzbekistan the willingness of the UK and US security services to accept and validate intelligence they knew to be false in order to pursue their policy objectives. We should be extremely sceptical of their current anti-Russian narrative. There are many possible suspects in this attack.
      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...-to-judgement/

      Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
      "The gig economy is nothing new, its simply the reincarnation of an ancient evil."

      Justin Welby

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by raefil View Post
        https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...-to-judgement/

        Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
        Is this the guy who eloped with a Tashkent lap - dancer ?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pnematic View Post
          Is this the guy who eloped with a Tashkent lap - dancer ?
          Ha ha, did he really?
          "The gig economy is nothing new, its simply the reincarnation of an ancient evil."

          Justin Welby

          Comment


          • #6
            Russia has an election coming up. This will do no harm to Putin's campaign!

            That craig murray piece is very interesting. The paragraph that resonates particularly is the one where near the end where he does say he believes that Russia was behind Litvinenko and apartment bombings related to Chechnya... and the Crimea and Georgia.... (so he marks himself out as not a Russian apologist)... but he is alarmed at the stoking up of anti-Russian feelings.

            Me too. I agreed with the majority of that paragraph. And it is odd that he's (reportedly) the first spy swap to be killed by the Russkis.

            But in this case, I do think that probably it was the Russian state who did this. I think that this was about Russia overtly killing this guy, in spectacular fashion, to send menaces to the west... just a couple of weeks since that display of nuclear power. Also sends a signal that Putin is tightening his iron grip on the country.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by raefil View Post
              https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...-to-judgement/

              Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
              Always felt that there was something weird about this from the start - whether that is my old hack's instincts or just a sign that I have become way too cynical with age remains to be seen
              Soup is Good Food

              Life in Sparta, Greece

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sepp Blatter View Post
                Always felt that there was something weird about this from the start - whether that is my old hack's instincts or just a sign that I have become way too cynical with age remains to be seen
                It's all rather James Bond in the 60's type of stuff isn't it

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by raefil View Post
                  Ha ha, did he really?
                  I recall a few choice jokes about it at the time Raef.

                  I m sure she used him as a mule to get out of her troubled life and he fell for it- thing is they are still together many years later.

                  Which I think is quite sweet actually.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It may look like Putin has nothing to gain from this but if you think about it for a second, it is absolutely his orders. It wouldn't be the first time he's done this, in fact I believe this is the 16th ex-Russian spy murdered in recent years.

                    Putin has done it to stir up tensions with the west and reignite nationalism and patriotism in Russia for the upcoming election by acting as the "defender of Russia from the mean ol' west" accusing them once again of a crime he'll be adamant he didn't commit. Putin wants the world to know he sanctioned it.

                    Putin has violated the Geneva convention and used a WMD on British soil resulting in several civilian casualties. What can May do about it? Either she plays it safe and does nothing real and Corbyn can say several conservatives MPs have taken donations from Russian Oligarchs, or she enacts NATO article 5 in response to what is for all intents and purposes, an act of terror on sovereign soil. If she does enact article 5, the chances are the USA won't support us due to Putin's toadies in the white house, and NATO collapses from within. What's the point in NATO if the US refuses to help its closest ally against an act of terror from the country NATO was formed to counter? Trump fired Rex Tillerson earlier today after he condemned the attempted assassination against the official release from the White House, doesn't that sound fishy to you?

                    I'm struggling to see an outcome that doesn't benefit Russia. Either relations between Europe and the states are damaged, or May's rule is weakened, leading to a possible labour government which will be very soft on further aggression (say what you will about Corbyn but he would never play hardball with Russia).

                    Putin will do what he always does in these situation. He'll stand in front of a podium, cross his heart and hope to die, and say "It wasn't us". Then he'll walk out smirking because there's really nothing anyone will do about it. He'll play it off to his own people as nasty Russia-hating westerners out to get him and his people, and that he is there to defend their interests, and they'll eat it up, and vote in their thousands for him.

                    And anyone saying it's a "false flag" attack by the government to stir up tensions is an idiot. The tories may be heartless and greedy but they would never deploy a nerve agent in their own back yard. They're not that stupid.

                    For what it's worth, May's response has been as good as I could've hoped. If she has the evidence she says she has, she's backed Putin into a corner. Either it's a deliberate attack on British Soil by the Russian state, or the Russians have lost control of their chemical weapons supply and some rogue faction has got their hands on it. Either shames Putin on the international scale. If she's smart, she'll freeze the assets of the Oligarchs in this country. Hit him were it hurts. The moment they're threatened by Putin's recklessness, he loses the very people propping him up.

                    That won't happen though, because the Tories are greedy bastards who take bribes from the aforementioned oligarchs. The same thing will happen as always happens. A slap on the wrist, maybe a little sanction, and Putin laughs himself to sleep as he's reelected.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mancunian White View Post
                      It may look like Putin has nothing to gain from this but if you think about it for a second, it is absolutely his orders. It wouldn't be the first time he's done this, in fact I believe this is the 16th ex-Russian spy murdered in recent years.

                      Putin has done it to stir up tensions with the west and reignite nationalism and patriotism in Russia for the upcoming election by acting as the "defender of Russia from the mean ol' west" accusing them once again of a crime he'll be adamant he didn't commit. Putin wants the world to know he sanctioned it.

                      Putin has violated the Geneva convention and used a WMD on British soil resulting in several civilian casualties. What can May do about it? Either she plays it safe and does nothing real and Corbyn can say several conservatives MPs have taken donations from Russian Oligarchs, or she enacts NATO article 5 in response to what is for all intents and purposes, an act of terror on sovereign soil. If she does enact article 5, the chances are the USA won't support us due to Putin's toadies in the white house, and NATO collapses from within. What's the point in NATO if the US refuses to help its closest ally against an act of terror from the country NATO was formed to counter? Trump fired Rex Tillerson earlier today after he condemned the attempted assassination against the official release from the White House, doesn't that sound fishy to you?

                      I'm struggling to see an outcome that doesn't benefit Russia. Either relations between Europe and the states are damaged, or May's rule is weakened, leading to a possible labour government which will be very soft on further aggression (say what you will about Corbyn but he would never play hardball with Russia).

                      Putin will do what he always does in these situation. He'll stand in front of a podium, cross his heart and hope to die, and say "It wasn't us". Then he'll walk out smirking because there's really nothing anyone will do about it. He'll play it off to his own people as nasty Russia-hating westerners out to get him and his people, and that he is there to defend their interests, and they'll eat it up, and vote in their thousands for him.

                      And anyone saying it's a "false flag" attack by the government to stir up tensions is an idiot. The tories may be heartless and greedy but they would never deploy a nerve agent in their own back yard. They're not that stupid.

                      For what it's worth, May's response has been as good as I could've hoped. If she has the evidence she says she has, she's backed Putin into a corner. Either it's a deliberate attack on British Soil by the Russian state, or the Russians have lost control of their chemical weapons supply and some rogue faction has got their hands on it. Either shames Putin on the international scale. If she's smart, she'll freeze the assets of the Oligarchs in this country. Hit him were it hurts. The moment they're threatened by Putin's recklessness, he loses the very people propping him up.

                      That won't happen though, because the Tories are greedy bastards who take bribes from the aforementioned oligarchs. The same thing will happen as always happens. A slap on the wrist, maybe a little sanction, and Putin laughs himself to sleep as he's reelected.


                      ^^^^ Send that one through to craig murray! ^^^ Interesting debate.


                      I'm less enthusiastic about British handling of making the accusation. First of all, you have Boris the Buffoon making a case - which is laughable whether or not you understand English.

                      Secondly, I'd have liked May to have cranked up the pressure a bit slower. It does all seem to be a bit of a rush.

                      Her line of 'explain how your Novichokolate was used on British soil' should not have been accompanied by a 36hr ultimatum to respond. I think the deadline is so short, for such a big question, that it lacks realism, so can be easily dismissed - indeed turned against us - by the Russians.

                      In my capacity as a global expert on these diplomatic matters, I would have summoned a Russian delegation of scientists to come and see the evidence for themselves - then tell them to explain. I think that would have appeared more reasonable - harder for Putin to dismiss it as pure propaganda - and put more pressure on the Russians. Of course, there would be risks in doing that... but it seems better than what we've done.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Regardless View Post
                        ^^^^ Send that one through to craig murray! ^^^ Interesting debate.


                        I'm less enthusiastic about British handling of making the accusation. First of all, you have Boris the Buffoon making a case - which is laughable whether or not you understand English.

                        Secondly, I'd have liked May to have cranked up the pressure a bit slower. It does all seem to be a bit of a rush.

                        Her line of 'explain how your Novichokolate was used on British soil' should not have been accompanied by a 36hr ultimatum to respond. I think the deadline is so short, for such a big question, that it lacks realism, so can be easily dismissed - indeed turned against us - by the Russians.

                        In my capacity as a global expert on these diplomatic matters, I would have summoned a Russian delegation of scientists to come and see the evidence for themselves - then tell them to explain. I think that would have appeared more reasonable - harder for Putin to dismiss it as pure propaganda - and put more pressure on the Russians. Of course, there would be risks in doing that... but it seems better than what we've done.
                        Well as far as her deadline goes, it's been ignored (unless you count the murder Nikolai Glushkov as a response) and thus extended to midnight tonight I think.

                        Interesting note on the scientist. I wouldn't want Russian scientists on the scene because there's always the risk that they're on the payroll and might tamper. Not likely if the scientists have the integrity that is commonplace in the community, but still a risk. The alternative is to finish our investigation then allow Russian scientist to inspect it. However, by then Putin can just claim that the British investigation themselves tampered, and no progress is made whatsoever.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Before trusting a politician's judgement about a dangerous situation with another country, its advisable to do a little research and see if that politician's judgement was correct in the past.
                          "The gig economy is nothing new, its simply the reincarnation of an ancient evil."

                          Justin Welby

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mancunian White View Post
                            Well as far as her deadline goes, it's been ignored (unless you count the murder Nikolai Glushkov as a response) and thus extended to midnight tonight I think.

                            Interesting note on the scientist. I wouldn't want Russian scientists on the scene because there's always the risk that they're on the payroll and might tamper. Not likely if the scientists have the integrity that is commonplace in the community, but still a risk. The alternative is to finish our investigation then allow Russian scientist to inspect it. However, by then Putin can just claim that the British investigation themselves tampered, and no progress is made whatsoever.
                            Obviously the invited scientists would be assumed to be on the payroll... and need to have a carefully managed scope, and not complete open access. But enough for them to understand where we're coming from. I'm sure they'd still refute it, but it becomes a bit harder to do it credibly.

                            As for the 'murder' you mention. I'd not seen news of that death. A bit early to call it murder?

                            For sure, I would not be sending in my team to investigate without wearing a lot of protective gear! But it seems that they are not doing so. Nevertheless, it's worrying... and counter-terrorist police to lead the investigation.

                            https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/13/e...ntl/index.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Regardless View Post
                              Obviously the invited scientists would be assumed to be on the payroll... and need to have a carefully managed scope, and not complete open access. But enough for them to understand where we're coming from. I'm sure they'd still refute it, but it becomes a bit harder to do it credibly.

                              As for the 'murder' you mention. I'd not seen news of that death. A bit early to call it murder?

                              For sure, I would not be sending in my team to investigate without wearing a lot of protective gear! But it seems that they are not doing so. Nevertheless, it's worrying... and counter-terrorist police to lead the investigation.

                              https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/13/e...ntl/index.html
                              My mistake on Glushkov, I thought I read he was shot dead but it appears I imagined that particular detail.

                              Comment

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