UK Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to exploit the incident in Salisbury as a ‘Falklands moment’ to save her lame duck premiership. A Corbyn government is a very real prospect at the next election and, for the ruling elite, a terrifying one.
A Member of Parliament on the investigative committee, speaking anonymously, told America’s Newsweek: “One thing that makes me cautious is that it’s just an incredibly dumb thing to do right now. Russia is on its best behaviour before the World Cup…. This was done in such a public manner. For Putin, there’s nothing but damage from this”.
Former UK ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood concurred to The Guardian: “it’s very hard to see what profit they can get from this”.
The West, on the other hand, has much to gain from this event: not only to get the UN to authorise its plan to invade Syria and salvage what’s left of its seven-year campaign to topple the Assad regime (having just liberated what was the last remaining Western-backed terrorist stronghold, East Ghouta, where both Assad and the Russian MoD uncovered a factory for an imminent false flag chemical operation to legitimate US intervention), but to (unsuccessfully) undermine Putin’s re-election and even engineer a boycott of the Russian-hosted World Cup in three months’ time: for the West, an intolerable opportunity for Russia to bolster its image on the international stage while it helps China and Iran counter the Anglo-American unipolar order ().
Finally, the incident serves to distract from and perhaps even reverse Brexit, a blow to imperialism and the potential cause of the UK Tory Party’s collapse. And of course, this incident happened to occur on the eve of Bill Browder’s “fake news” testimony before parliament.
Skripal was pardoned by Russia in 2010 as part of a big spy swap with Britain. If Russia wanted to kill him, why has it taken them eight years to do so? Even if Russia had done this kind of thing before (Litvivenko doesn’t count – the recent UK Inquiry was an utter farce), that would only provide a template for false flag operatives.
Novichok: WMD Lies
The UK High Court ruling on March 22 confirmed that “the [blood] samples tested positive for the presence of a novichok class nerve agent or a closely related agent“. Porton Down’s head Gary Aitkenhead reiterated this to Sky News, emphasizing that the lab could not determine the precise source of the agent.
The phrase “or a closely related agent” could literally refer to any nerve agent, most of which were originally developed in Germany and the UK, not Russia. As former UK ambassador to Russia Craig Murray has said, this is “irrefutable evidence” that the British government has been lying.
Murray provides the following intriguing account of the hitherto murky identification process:
I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed upon as a compromise formulation.
Novichok is said to be 3-8 times deadlier than VX, notes blogger MoonofAlabama, of which one drop alone will kill a person. Yet the Skripals are still fighting for their lives in hospital. It took nearly a week for Public Health to issue a safety advice – wash your hands and wet-wipe personal items – to those who visited the restaurant. Contrary to remarks by its scientific adviser Ian Boyd, Defra has declared Salisbury “safe for residents and visitors”.
Even if it was novichok that was used, moreover, that still would not prove Russian responsibility:
*Last year, the Organisation for Prohibiting Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the destruction of Russia’s entire stockpile of chemical weapons.
*UK weapons experts have told The New Scientist‘s Debora MacKenzie that, since the scientific publication of its formula in 1992, several countries have been capable of developing Novichok. The Soviet dissident who first disclosed the existence of novichok also reproduced its formula in his 2008 book State Secrets.
*According to a leaked WMD study by US private intelligence firm Stratfor, Cuba has successfully developed novichok.
*In 2016, Iran successfully developed novichok, in full cooperation with the Organisation for Prohibiting Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
*The Americans have been assisting Uzbekistan in shutting down the very Soviet chemical plant that produced novichok.
*In 1995, Russian banker Ivan Kivelidi was poisoned by Russian criminals using Novichok, having purchased it (complete with instructions) from Leonid Rink, head of the former Soviet lab that produced it. Rink’s stock, which he kept in his garage after the USSR dissolved, fell into the hands of other crime syndicates, the investigation learned.
*In last November’s episode of a UK TV drama produced by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, a Russian scientist poisons people using novichok: the obvious inspiration for May’s story.
The government’s Porton Down laboratory, moreover, is just eight miles from Salisbury and is not unfamiliar with testing biochemical weapons on UK citizens: Gruinard Island (1942), Lyme Bay (1963-75) and postwar sarin gas testing on UK servicemen to name a few examples.
Vlad Pasechnik, a Soviet biowarfare expert who worked at Porton Down following his defection in 1989, died in Salisbury in 2001, a year after his retirement. Perhaps MI6 was worried about him leaking the fact that the lab had been secretly resuming its production of nerve gas, the cause of multiple fatal accidents among its employees[<, since its official end in 1989 (the year he began there, placing him in a good position to know).
Who is Sergei Skripal?
Skripal was a double agent for MI6, not a defector: he was sentenced by Russia in 2006 and pardoned in 2010.
The Daily Telegraph reports that he was a close associate of Salisbury-based Pablo Miller, a known MI6 recruiter of Russians and ongoing security consultant for Orbis Business Group, the firm behind the RussiaGate ‘Steele dossier’. The latter connection was suspiciously removed from his Linkedin account even before the Telegraph article was published.
Based on the above link between Skripal and Miller, Consortium News’ James O’Neill has hypothesized that Skripal may have assisted the Steele dossier and was poisoned for threatening to talk amidst the current implosion of RussiaGate.
The unprecedented integration of the Deep State and the Democrats (see The CIA takeover of the Democrats, wsws.org) in response to Trump lends credence to O’Neill’s hypothesis, not to mention the CIA’s long and bloody history of covert terror and assassination.
1. If Russia wanted revenge for Skripal’s treason, they would have killed him during his jail term or during the eight years since his pardoning.
2. Russia is hardly likely to have done this three months before it hosts the World Cup AND ten days before the presidential election. As the main beneficiary, this makes the West the prime suspect.
3. The identification of the substance used as novichok is murky and clearly based on last November’s episode of a UK TV drama. Even if true, it would not prove Russian responsibility in the least. It is not inconceivable that some ex-Soviet states, especially the ultra-Russiophobic ones like Poland and Ukraine (the latter, rather than Russia, may have been behind the MH17 shootdown), have retained novichok.
4. German newspaper Der Spiegel cites a senior German official as saying that the documents the UK has shared with German intelligence provide “no definitive proof that the Russian state was behind the attack”.
5. Skripal may have been involved in drawing up the Steele dossier and was threatening to spill the beans amidst RussiaGate’s current implosion, providing a motive for the Deep State to bump him off.
For real news analysis of the Skripal poisoning, go to off-guardian.org.