Four months to the day after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal the UK government and its mainstream media mouthpieces are launching a massive blame game and diplomatic crisis once again directed towards Russia.
Novichok has now been identified as the culprit in the hospitalization of an Amesbury, UK couple.
All of this has suddenly, and conveniently, unfolded as Russia hosts a massively successful World Cup, and as US President Donald Trump prepares to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in two weeks time on July 16th in Helsinki, Finland.
As Zerohedge rightly frames the latest anti-Russian smear campaign…”And here come the ‘Russians did it’ allegations…”
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the substance which has left two people critically ill in Amesbury was nerve agent Novichok.
The same agent that was allegedly used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal just a few miles away (who miraculously survived the ‘deadly’ nerve agent along with his daughter).
So why are “the Russians” now poisoning some random – non-former-Russian spies – British people?
One can only wonder at the timing of this second seemingly random poisoning with a deadly nerve agent coming so close to President Trump’s scheduled summit with President Putin.
Watch the video below to see how UK propaganda is developed…first by creating the connecting thread between the victims (novichok poisoning, four months removed), and then rolling out the government ministers, this time not discredited buffoon Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, but Home Secretary Sajid Javid leading the “blame Russia – blame Putin” charge.
Never mind the fact that just a few miles up the street from the location of both nerve agent attacks is Porton Downs, a chemical weapons factory that manufactures…you guessed it, NOVICHOK.
Two people, this time a British couple in their 40s with no link to Russian intelligence, were affected by a chemical substance on Saturday. Four days later, the UK’s counter-terrorism chief said the chemical that hit them was the same that sent former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, into a coma in early March. Back then, it took mere hours for the UK government to pin the blame on Moscow and unleash a massive diplomatic offensive together with its allies. Moscow, still waiting for compelling evidence to be produced, has been shut out of the investigation, and it has raised a number of questions about the poisoning – none of which have been answered.
Linking the two poisonings “is clearly a line of enquiry” for UK investigators, but the new incident doesn’t look likely to answer any of those concerns either.
Location, location, location
The new victims, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley and his 44-year-old girlfriend Dawn Sturgess were discovered in Amesbury, some 12 km (7 miles) north of Salisbury. Both scenes, though, are located around Porton Down, which houses a secretive government chemical lab.
Porton Down has been a crucial part of the Skripal case investigation. It was there that the chemical agent was identified as Novichok in both cases. Back in March, UK officials cited this as proof that the substance came from Russia – only to later be contradicted by the lab’s chief executive, who said they weren’t really able to verify the agent’s origins.
As for the location of the new scene relative to the old one, 12 km doesn’t seem like an improbably large distance. Plus, a friend of the victims said the couple had been to Salisbury before they fell ill. The UK Home Secretary’s working theory is that the exposure was accidental, which begs the question: how would that be possible after four months and a massive clean-up operation? Also, why were there only two random people in the whole 12km radius that were affected?
Investigators say it’s unclear if the supposed Novichok came from the same batch that poisoned the Skripals in March. But, according to experts, the nerve agents of the Novichok family lose their potency very quickly, which makes it unlikely that a trace powerful enough had survived for four months to strike again at this particular moment.
And the moment is significant for two reasons – two events key to Russia’s international image. One is the hugely successful FIFA World Cup, where the English team just secured a quarter-final spot. British fans seem to be enjoying themselves in Russia, and berating British politicians and media for their efforts to scare them away from the event.
The other is the preparations for a summit between US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. A date and a place for the meeting – Helsinki, Finland, July 16 – were set just last week, and a possible rapprochement between the two rival superpowers seems to be keeping British officials up at night.
Nobody died, again
One of the key questions asked back in March was: why did the Skripals survive if they were indeed exposed to a military-grade nerve agent? While UK officials peddle Novichok as a deadly nerve agent manufactured by the Soviets, claiming its recent use was the first chemical attack in Europe since World War Two, it appears to have a surprisingly low lethality rate.
A friend of the couple described Rowley becoming increasingly ill over the course of the day, before finally being taken to the hospital. There, the supposedly deadly Novichok gave doctors enough time to treat the couple for a completely different diagnosis: the medics initially believed that the couple had taken contaminated drugs (Rowley is a registered heroin addict). Samples from the two were only sent to Porton Down on Monday, two days after they were admitted.
Back in March, the Skripals were similarly discovered slipping in and out of consciousness on a park bench. They were also treated for an opioid overdose at first, before the diagnosis switched to nerve agent poisoning. Both ultimately survived and have now been discharged from the hospital.
Analysts have repeatedly questioned the apparent low lethality of the supposed “military-grade nerve agent.” Russian officials, as well, have said that if such a deadly substance had indeed been used, survival would be impossible.
British officials are still investigating the incident. However, this time – now that Novichok has been brought up – they seem less inclined to point fingers, even as England fans frolic in Russia and Theresa May’s handling of Brexit continues to divide the public.
The Guardian tweeted…
“We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent novichok,” say UK police. “The same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.”
"We can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent novichok," say UK police. "The same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal." https://t.co/hDh8b0nWjM pic.twitter.com/mZv0wqQDqK
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 4, 2018
The BBC had this live coverage of the UK’s Home Secretary getting the “Russia Did It” propaganda rolling…
Home Secretary @sajidjavid: Russia must explain “reckless” Novichok poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, after nerve agent linked to new victims in Amesbury
Home Secretary @sajidjavid: Russia must explain "reckless" Novichok poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, after nerve agent linked to new victims in Amesbury https://t.co/hdcsARDd8k pic.twitter.com/vQmNdlVeM3
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 5, 2018
One hour later, BBC MI6 asset Frank Gardner gets the correct line to take from ludicrous government propagandist and military buffoon Hamish De Bretton Gordon. pic.twitter.com/7WcGaYkTji
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) July 5, 2018
Craig Murray delves a bit deeper into the novichok Amesbury Mystery…
We are continually presented with experts by the mainstream media who will validate whatever miraculous property of “novichok” is needed to fit in with the government’s latest wild anti-Russian story. Tonight Newsnight wheeled out a chemical weapons expert to tell us that “novichok” is “extremely persistent” and therefore that used to attack the Skripals could still be lurking potent on a bush in a park.
Yet only three months ago we had this example of scores from the MSM giving the same message which was the government line at that time:
“Professor Robert Stockman, of the University of Nottingham, said traces of nerve agents did not linger. He added: ‘These agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent.’”
In fact, rain affecting the “novichok” on the door handle was given as the reason that the Skripals were not killed. But now the properties of the agent have to fit a new narrative, so they transmute again.
It keeps happening. Do you remember when Novichok was the most deadly of substances, many times more powerful than VX or Sarin, and causing death in seconds? But then, when that needed to be altered to fit the government’s Skripal story, they found scientists to explain that actually no, it was pretty slow acting, absorbed gradually through the skin, and not all that deadly.
Scientists are an interesting bunch. More than willing to ascribe whatever properties fit the government’s ever more implausible stories, in exchange for an MSM appearance fee, 5 minutes of fame and the fond hope of a research grant.
According to the Daily Telegraph today, the unfortunate Charlie Rowley is a registered heroin addict, and if true Occam’s Razor would indicate that is a rather more likely reason for his present state than an inexplicably persistent weaponised nerve agent.
If it is however true that two separate attacks have been carried out with “novichok” a few miles either side of Porton Down, where “novichok” is synthesised and stored for “testing purposes”, what does Occam’s razor suggest is the source of the nerve agent? A question not one MSM journalist seems to have asked themselves tonight.
I am slightly puzzled by the picture the media are trying to paint of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess as homeless, unemployed addicts. The Guardian and Sky News both state that they were unemployed, yet Charlie was living in a very new house in Muggleton Road, Amesbury, which is pretty expensive. According to Zoopla homes range up to £430,000 and the cheapest ones are £270,000. They are all new build, on a new estate, which is still under construction.
Both Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess still have active facebook pages and one of Charlie’s handful of “Likes” is a mortgage broker, which is consistent with his brand new house. They don’t give mortgages to unemployed heroin addicts, and not many of those live in smart new “executive housing” estates. Both Charlie and Dawn appear from their facebook pages to be very well socialised, with Dawn having many friends in the teaching profession. Even if she has been homeless for a period as reported, she is plainly very much part of the community.
Naturally, there is no mention in all the reports today of MI6’s Pablo Miller, who remains the subject of a D notice. I wonder if he knows Rowley and Sturgess, living in the same community? It should be recalled that Salisbury may be a city, but its population is only 45,000.
The most important thing is of course that Charlie and Dawn recover. But tonight, even at this early stage, as with the entire Skripal saga, the message the security services are seeking to give out does not add up. Mark Urban’s piece for Newsnight tonight was simply disgusting; it did not even pretend to be more than a propaganda piece on behalf of the security services, who had told Urban (as he said) that Yulia Skripal’s phone “could have been” tapped by the Russians and they “might even” have listened to her conversations through the microphone in her telephone. That was the “new evidence” that the Russians were behind everything.
As a former British Ambassador I can tell you with certainty that indeed the Russians might have tapped Yulia, but GCHQ most definitely would have. It is, after all, their job, and billions of our taxes go into it. If tapping of phones is seriously presented as evidence of intent to murder, the British government must be very murderous indeed.