Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

Is this the face of the assassin Russia sent to kill Sergey Skripal? A British newspaper says so….

Media reports suggest British authorities still in the dark about the Skripal case

Alexander Mercouris

Published

on

4,582 Views

Two British newspapers – The Sunday People (which is a tabloid) and the Times of London (which is not) – have published very similar stories about a supposed breakthrough in the Skripal case.

The Times of London as usual is somewhat more measured.

Firstly it reports the interesting fact (based on a report drawn from the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets) that Yulia Skripal’s Russian fiancé is refusing to reply to her calls, causing her deep distress

The fiancé of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, works at an organisation with links to the Russian security services and has gone into hiding.

Stepan Vikeev, 30, has not been seen since Yulia, 33, and her father, Sergei, 66, a former Russian military intelligence officer, were poisoned last month, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported.

Mr Vikeev has not answered Ms Skripal’s calls since she was discharged from hospital and deleted all his social media accounts after the attack, for which the government has blamed Russia…..

The newspaper said that Ms Skripal was “hysterical” when Mr Vikeev failed to return her telephone calls.

This is curious since the Russians by their own account have been doing all they can to contact Yulia Skripal only to be prevented from doing so by the British.  Given that this is so one would expect the Russian authorities – if they are involved – to be encouraging Stepan Vikeev to reply to Yulia Skripal’s calls, and not to turn them away.

However far more interesting than this tidbit of information is news about a supposed breakthrough in the case which is discretely tacked on to the end of the article

The reports of Mr Vikeev’s disappearance come as the police and intelligence agencies have reportedly identified key suspects for the Salisbury attack, in part by searching flight passenger lists in and out of the UK, drawing on CCTV footage in Salisbury and using car numberplate recognition cameras.

I will say at this point that in my opinion the whole Times of London article about Stepan Vikeev is a cover for the real information in the article, which is the paragraph which I have just quoted.  Frankly, it looks to me like an attempt by the British to signal to the Russians that they know – or think they know – who were the assassins who tried to kill Sergey Skripal.

For a more colourful account of what the British know or think they know about the case we have to turn to The Sunday People, whose story appeared on 22nd April 2018, the day before the article appeared in The Times of London.  Its article is written in the usual breathless style of contemporary British tabloid journalism

Counter terror police have ­identified a Russian assassin ­believed to be connected to the Salisbury poisonings.

In a sensational new development the Sunday People can disclose that officers suspect he is a 54-year-old former FSB spy – codename Gordon.

The man is thought to use the cover name Mihails Savickis as well as two other aliases.

But police fear he has already flown back to Russia and they may never get the chance to question him.

Detectives believe there was a team of six behind the novichok chemical ­attack on double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33.

Our revelation follows reports that Britain’s intelligence services have ­compiled a list of key suspects involved in last month’s attack in the Wiltshire city.

Gordon’s cover name emerged ­during nearly five hours of questioning by police in London this week of KGB defector Boris Karpichkov, 59.

Boris told the Sunday People how he and Gordon’s paths crossed in the early 1990s.

The two men knew each other when Karpichkov was a major in the FSB, the KGB’s successor, in Latvia.

Gordon was a subordinate of Boris’s.

“He was a very intelligent, educated, ambitious and ruthless person,” Boris said today.

“He was handsome and personable and was quickly able to win a stranger’s trust.”

Boris said Gordon was trained in martial arts and specialised in ju jitsu. He went to university where he gained a law degree.

Our exclusive picture of the man police want to talk to – handed to us by Boris – shows the wanted spy three decades ago.

He is 5ft 9in with no distinguishing marks, fiercely ­intelligent and with a law degree from Latvia’s State University in Riga.

Gordon has used the cover of a ­successful businessman in the security industry. He was a captain in the KGB before joining the FSB after the Cold War ended.

He is on the FSB’s Officers of Active Reserve list, a kind of spy territorial army called out for special operations including “wet jobs” as Russian spooks like to call their assassinations.

And he is known to have ­murdered at least one man when he shot an organised crime boss in Latvia during the 1990s.

Gordon’s cover name was ­revealed during nearly five hours of questioning by police on Monday of Karpichkov, who is on the same FSB hitlist as the Skripals.

The ex-spy believes that if Gordon was involved in the Skripal attack he could have been leader of the ­special ops group carrying it out because of his seniority.

The two men knew each other when Karpichkov was an FSB major in Latvia – then part of the Soviet Union – and Gordon was a subordinate.

The codename Gordon was given to the spy by his FSB bosses.

It is not unusual to choose British names. Notorious double agent Kim Philby was codenamed Stanley.

Our exclusive revelation comes a day after it was reported that police and intelligence agencies have identified key suspects in the attempted assassination of Sergei and his daughter Yulia.

Counter-terrorism police are reportedly trying to build a case against “persons of interest”.

The breakthrough came after a search of flight manifests in and out of the UK yielded specific names in the hunt for the Skripals’ would-be assassins. Police have also drawn on extensive CCTV footage in Salisbury.

But officers know it is unlikely they will ever be able to bring anyone to justice.

The Sunday People article comes complete with an identikit picture of ‘Gordon’ – the reputed Russian master assassin – which is the picture used as a caption for this article.

It is quite clear that the two articles – the one in The Times of London of 23rd April 2018 and the one in The Sunday People of 22nd April 2018 – draw on the same sources, which quite obviously are the British authorities.

What is one to make of all this?

Frankly ‘Gordon’ aka ‘Mihails Savickis’ sounds just a bit too much like a Russian James Bond to be wholly believable.  Note that he is said to be “handsome, personable, very intelligent, educated, ambitious and ruthless” and that he is also an expert in ju-itsu.  The only discordant note is that at 54 he seems a little too old for the part.  The identikit picture of him is however ridiculous.

More to the point the “evidence” upon which these claims of a breakthrough are based seems incredibly tenuous.

It looks as if the British authorities have been spending the last few weeks combing through the names and photos of individuals who have come and gone from Britain and comparing them with photos of people caught on CCTV wandering around Salisbury around the time that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned.  On that basis a number of individuals – or possibly photos of individuals – have been selected as showing possible suspects.

The possibilities of error are obvious, and I would add that this procedure neither directly links the individuals so identified with the crime itself nor does it prove that they were acting on behalf of the Russian authorities.  At best the individuals concerned are – as they are described in The Sunday People article – “persons of interest” whom the police would want to interview rather than actual “suspects”.

As for ‘Gordon’ aka ‘Mihailis Savickis’, the identikit picture suggests that he is was not one of the people allegedly caught on CCTV in Salisbury and his reputed connection to the crime has been largely inferred from the evidence of former defectors like Boris Karpichkov who is named in The Sunday People article.  Probably he is a real person though the James Bond qualities he has been given suggest that a certain amount of fantasy has been at work.

These nebulous claims about possible suspects in the Skripal case come alongside two articles, by Craig Murray and by Ben Macintyre in The Times of London (the latter a writer on intelligence matters) which suggest continuing doubts in Britain about Russian state involvement in the case.

Craig Murray – whose reporting of the Skripal case has been consistently reliable as well as outstanding – sees in the latest statements by British officialdom evidence of doubts about the theory of Russian state involvement in the Skripal case

Well-placed FCO sources tell me it remains the case that senior civil servants in both the FCO and Home Office remain very sceptical of Russian guilt in the Skripal case. It remains the case that Porton Down scientists have identified the chemical as a “novichok-style” nerve agent but still cannot tie its production to Russia – there are many other possibilities. The effort to identify the actual perpetrator is making no headway, with the police having eliminated by alibi the Russian air passenger on the same flight as Julia Skripal identified as suspicious by MI5 purely on grounds of the brevity of their stay.

That senior civil servants do not regard Russian responsibility as a fact is graphically revealed in this minute from head of the civil service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, sent to officials following the attack on Syria. Note the very careful use of language:

Their work was instrumental in ensuring widespread international support for the Government’s position on Russian responsibility for the Salisbury attack

This is very deliberate use of language by Sir Jeremy. Exactly as I explained with the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” about the nerve agent, you have to parse extremely carefully what is written by the senior civil service. They do not write extra phrases for no reason.

Sir Jeremy could have simply written of Russian responsibility as a fact, but he did not. His reference to “the government’s position on Russian responsibility” is very deliberate and an acknowledgement that other positions are possible. He deliberately refrains from asserting Russian responsibility as a fact. This is no accident and is tailored to the known views of responsible civil servants in the relevant departments, to whom he is writing.

(italics added)

As for Ben Macintyre, he has this to say

Russia has so far come up with more than 30 narratives for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal. It is a classic demonstration of the Stalinist disinformation technique known as maskirovka, or “little masquerade”, which is designed to sow confusion and uncertainty.

The British narrative, by contrast, remains fairly simple: Russia was behind the attack, which was carried out using high-grade, pure novichok, the Russian-made nerve agent. “Only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and motive for the attack on the Skripals . . . it is highly likely that the Russian state was responsible,” wrote Sir Mark Sedwill, Britain’s national security adviser, in a letter to Nato.

But behind the logical assertion of overall Russian guilt lie a host of possibilities and unanswered questions: who administered the poison, what was the level of Kremlin authorisation, and why now?

On March 12, a week after the poisoning, Theresa May offered just two possibilities: “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country. Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

Between those two poles lie an array of possibilities, in which the assassins were encouraged, facilitated, prompted, armed, nudged or protected, to an as yet undetermined extent, by Russia. There are several reasons why the attempted murder does not look like a typical Russian “wet job”, or mokroe delo, a state-authorised hit. For a start, it didn’t work and was done in a way that seems remarkably sloppy. The poison was easily traceable to Russia. It took out a member of the target’s family, something Russian (and Soviet) assassins have traditionally avoided.

Macintyre then goes on to speculate at inordinate length that though the Russian authorities may not have actually ordered the attack they are covering up for whoever did.

That is of course pure speculation which is based on no fact.

Nonetheless it is interesting that a well placed and well informed British writer on intelligence matters like Ben Macintyre is expressing doubts in The Times of London about the theory of Russian state involvement in the Skripal case.

Frankly, it looks to me as if despite all the claims to the contrary the police investigation of the Skripal case has made little actual progress.  The British seem to have little more knowledge of who carried out the attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal and why than they did when the investigation began.  Could it possibly be because they are looking in the wrong place?

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

Published

on

By

Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

Published

on

Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending