The actions of the British government (that is the “deep state” – the forces which don’t change with the merry-go round of elections) has from the start had a very clear strategy in relation to the Skripal case. To understand this strategy one has to understand the political and economic backdrop against which it takes place. Continue reading “The UK government’s strategy on Skripal”
This is Craig Murray’s take on the recent Skripal case revelations (the naming of two suspects said to be working for Russian military intelligence).
His observant point about the timeline is interesting – based on the times now given by the police of the victims’ and suspects’ movements this leaves only a small frame between 12.00 and 13.15 on the day of the assassination attempt for the poison to have been applied to the “doorknob”.
It seems implausible that the would-be assassins turned up at a random time hoping that the Skripals would be out so they could calmly apply the poison to the doorknob and then leave. In the material presented by the police there has been nothing relating to other operatives or surveillance of the Skripals which could have helped the assassins know that the Skripals were out. We can posit then a meeting – the 2 would-be assasins met the Skripals on their doorstep. During this meeting they applied the poison to the door-knob. The meeting could have been by arrangement or not. (If not though surely the Skripals would have panicked having these 2 dodgy looking characters turn up on their doorstep unannounced – and called their MI6 handlers rather than popping into town for a quick coffee?). This modus operandi is similar to the assassination of Litvinenko – a meeting is set up and during the meeting the poison is administered.
We then have to assume that because of the method of administration – via a surface rather than direct application to the skin – the Skripals only came into contact with a tiny amount of the substance – which is why they were not killed.
If we follow this line of conjecture all we can suggest is that the Skripals were meeting someone / some people who they expected to look Russian and these people were their would-be assassins.
Do the revelations about these two suspects – who are said to have flown in from Russia – tell us who did it? Essentially no; all the three main theories (Kremlin ordered assassination; rogue elements in Russian intelligence and/or the mafia; a third-party state) remain in the running. The only theory which takes a slight dent from these revelations is the theory that the attack was staged by Ukrainian intelligence – as it would be quite challenging for Ukrainian intelligence to have sent two agents from Russia (and back again) with plausible fake Russian passports. If it was an unauthorised attack by Russian military intelligence that tells us that Putin is not in control (though of course we are continually told by the Western propaganda machine that Putin is fully in control). If it was a mafia hit then we might expect Russia to track down the perpetrators – why not? Of course the British position of trying to embarrass Russia by a series of media leaks rather than talking to them does not make it easy at all for Russia to say that it was done by the Russian mafia/unauthorised elements in their intelligence networks. – The British position – managed by MI6 and No. 10 – is aimed at extracting maximum political capital from this and trying to use it to discredit Putin personally. The British position – either confess you did it or confess to an unauthorised chemical weapons programme – has specifically closed off the door for Russia to admit that it was an attack by rogue agents – even if it was. Russia is only offered a single choice here – and all doors lead to the toppling of “Putin” – the main goal of the Western financial (“freedom”) elites at the moment.
In summary – we still can’t say who did it based on the actual evidence in the public domain. We can observe that the event is being used by No. 10 to try to attack and discredit Putin personally. To do this they are stage managing the media narrative in the British press. (This stage management of the ‘democratic’ media is a bit of an insult to the British public – but we know that these people have no conception of democracy so that is no surprise).
It is hard to keep up with the Guardian’s anti-Russia propaganda.
Here are two examples from recent reports on developments in the Skripal case – the release of photographs of the alleged perpetrators:
Dmitry Gudkov, a Russian opposition politician, tweeted: “Meet Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, suspected by Britain of the poisoning of the Skripals. Possible MPs in the next parliament!”
Gudkov’s tweet was an allusion to Andrei Lugovoi, the former KGB agent who was accused by Britain of murdering the Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko with polonium-210, a rare radioactive isotope, in London in 2006. Lugovoi was elected to the Russian parliament in 2007 and now earns a reported £400,000 a year as an MP. He was also awarded a state honour by Putin. 
To describe Litvinenko as a “Kremlin critic” is part of creating the narrative “Putin murders his critics”. In fact Litvinenko was an ex Russian spy, turned traitor, who was working for British intelligence at the time of his assassination. The narrative that Putin murders double-agents doesn’t have quite the same ring to it which is why Litvinenko is described as a “Kremlin critic”.
According to RT which is likely to be better informed than Marc Bennetts for the Guardian a State Duma MP earns about USD 80,000.00 p.a. Marc Bennett’s £400,000.00 “as an MP” appears to be “fake news”.
This is a piece of creative writing from Luke Harding. Whereas the police are content to present the facts such as they have them Harding is eager to join the dots with his fictional tale of a plane “trundling down an icy runway” (yes – it is always icy in Moscow Luke and that’s probably why they have ice in their hearts). “On hostile territory, Boshirov and Petrov operated in the manner of classic intelligence operatives” – that is on their way to a political assassination which would have massive repercussions for their country they allowed themselves to be captured without disguises by CCTV multiple times.
The Russian state may have been responsible for the apparent Skripal poisoning. It may have been a “rogue element” in Russia – or it could have been the work of another intelligence agency setting Russia up. There’s nothing wrong from a journalistic point of view of doing some reportage and arguing for one interpretation of the facts. But we don’t see this in the British press. We see these attempts to spin narratives – narratives which are fed to them by the State Department / MI6 + Downing Street – which they do by being selective with the facts, adding narrative glosses and relying exclusively on the views of Anti-Russia “think-tanks” and dissidents. And this rush to spin the narrative when any reasonable jury is still out should give us pause for consideration.
The British government case that Russia was responsible for the poisoning by “Novichok” of ex Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter initially relied on the argument that Russia had the “means, the intent and the motive” to do it and thus must have done it. The public was also told that the substance had been identified as coming from Russia – something which they subsequently had to retract. Subsequently it emerged that Porton Down had not in fact identified the sample they had as coming from Russia.
The government case fell apart. Also – most people can see through the argument that Russia had the means and motive. Yes; they have the means and one can ascribe a motive to them. But many others might have a motive as well. Not everyone who has a means and a possible motive to commit a crime is guilty of that crime. A simple piece of “fake logic”. Following the collapse of their case the government tried to shore it up with a series of placed stories in the press. One of these is that Julia Skripal (Sergey Skripal’s daughter) was under surveillance by Russian intelligence. Of course she was! She is the daughter of one of their major traitors of recent times – and was in touch with her father. Julia Skripal was no doubt being monitored by the British as well. Maybe there was even a hand-over when she arrived on a plane from Moscow? At any event that she was under surveillance by Moscow means zero as to whether or not Russia had a hand in the poisoning (by BZ and/or a nerve agent) in Salisbury of her and her father. Another attempt to fabricate a story out of thin air. 
(The fact that the British government is producing all these pieces of ‘evidence’ which any rational analysis can see do not support the claims being made on the basis of them itself shows that something very odd is going on).
The only piece of ‘evidence’ left is the claim that British intelligence has in their possession a training manual from Russia – dated to Russia not the USSR – which specifically discusses carrying out assassinations by smearing a nerve agent of the “Novichok” type on a door-handle – where the nerve agent was allegedly found in Salisbury. It is likely that British intelligence do indeed have some kind of a document which somehow can be construed as a “training manual” and which can somehow be said to be dated from post 1991. It could be anything e.g. a discussion paper of some kind. British intelligence won’t be too scrupulous about the truth.
At any event the question at the heart of this matter is – which came first; the “training manual” or the ‘Novichok’ on the door handle? To spell it out: if you wanted to commit a crime and frame Russia and if you had inside knowledge about this “training manual” and that it mentioned door-knobs – where would you put your (very pure) sample of ‘Novichok’?
In the recent aggression against Syria Britain used Storm Shadow missiles.
BAE is one of the producers of Storm Shadows.
What has the illegal UK aggression done for BAE’s share price?
On 13th April – when the bombing took place – it was 594 GBX. Today (17th) it is 601.40 – and climbing.
The idea that these obvious rewards do not create a driver for war is an example of the wilful naivety which the corporate and political “elites” in the “free world” cloak themselves in.
Things are not looking good for the British government at the moment. Their flaky story about Skripal cumbling by the day and now apparent confirmation that the “gas attack” in Douma was a hoax too.
This is the report from British journalist Robert Fisk. Robert Fisk doesn’t work for RT or the Morning Star. He has a reputation as a good, independent, journalist. He writes in the Independent. Fisk’s account of the “gas attack” is based on an interview with a doctor in the hospital used in the videos. It wasn’t a gas attack. Rather; people were suffering from smoke inhalation. Someone ran into the emergency room and shouted “gas” – this started the panic; which was then filmed and uploaded to YouTube by the White Helmets.
This account tallies with those produced by Russian state media – using different witnesses. Of course one can posit that Russia has somehow managed to persuade all the 22 eyewitnesses they have produced for the OPCW – some at least of whom are doctors – to tell a coordinated lie. But then: who is talking “conspiracy theory” now?
Fisk is an exception in British journalism. Today’s issue of the Independent carries another story on Douma in which it refers to the White Helmets as a “relief organisation”. The White Helmets are nothing of the sort. They are funded – with millions of pounds – by the Foreign Office. At the start of the Syrian civil war when William Hague was Foreign Secretary it was openly announced that the British strategy on Syria would be to help the “resistance movement” to document human rights abuses by the Assad regime. The White Helmets are the result. There can be no doubt that the White Helmets are managed by MI6/the SAS. This gives credence to Russian claims that the Foreign Office asked the White Helmets to stage last week’s “chemical attack”. But the British press continues to present the White Helmets – who are fully aligned with the jihadis in Syria – as some kind of humanitarian or relief organisation. It is an example of wilful naivety to believe – as the government and propagandist media does – that in exchange for all these millions from the Foreign Office, handed over no doubt in cash by the SAS, the White Helmets are going to be particularly objective when it comes to reporting “war crimes” by Assad.
There are a number of points which emerge from Robert Fisk’s first-hand reporting:
i) He is allowed to move freely around Douma even though there are Russia military around. This is not consistent with the narrative that the Russians are trying to tamper with evidence in Douma.
ii) He reports that the bombing by Syrian and Russian forces targeted jihadi (in this case Jaish al-Islam, a right wing Islamist group not part of the “free Syrian army” network) positions in the town. And that in some cases Jaish al-Islam fighters took up residence in civilian houses in order to try to avoid the bombing. This – eyewitness accounts gathered by an experienced reporter – blows apart the Guardian narrative that Russia and Syria are bombing civilians in Syria.
iii) The White Helmets all left town with the Islamic militants. Military fatigues were found in their base. (Bought with British tax-payers money?)
iv) Many people in Douma did not leave with the militants and are happy to be back under Syrian government control.
Fisk’s report cuts through the fog of propaganda which normally passes for “news” in papers like the Guardian and Daily Telegraph – and quite probably the Independent too. (This editor doesn’t read it).
But we are now at a point where the British political and media classes automatically believe their own propaganda to the point that anything else is immediately and in all sincerity, apparently, discounted as produced by “Kremlin trolls” and so on. They like to talk about the “Kremlin media bubble” which Russia apparently enforces on its citizens – but they themselves live in a bubble of their own making.
The first ploy was to tell the public (and possibly Britain’s allies) a lie. Porton Down had indentified the substance used as coming from Russia.
That was exposed as a lie.
What has happened since is exactly what we would expect from Britain’s intelligence services. They have leaked a series of claims to the press.
The leaks (better understood as planted information) concern this persistent claim about a Russian training manual mentioning smearing nerve agents on doors and the claim about a message being sent from Syria to Moscow about “the package has been delivered” and “two agents have made their egress”. (With reference to the latter Craig Murray suggests this is probably just a sexed up translation of “left”).
That is – they are scraping through their records to find anything, no matter what, which can be used to prop up the government line. This – information management – is a primary function of the intelligence services. This is what they do.
No doubt there was some kind of an intercept (by all accounts of an unencrypted communication) from Syria. No doubt there is some document which can somehow be described as a “training manual” and there are some grounds which permit it to be said that it dates from post-Soviet times (which is what they are claiming). But all this is just the usual titbits – without the details including the source of the alleged ‘training manual’ no one can independently come to any conclusion at all.
All this doesn’t stop the eager press from playing its part. For example, today’s Daily Telegraph has the headline: “Russia hacked Yulia Skripal’s emails for five years and tested Novichok on door handles, bombshell intelligence dossier reveals”. There is nothing “bombshell” about this. As we say above this is routine and the intelligence services are just doing their bit to prop up a government story. – As for the story about Russian intelligence carrying out surveillance into Julia Skripal’s emails – we would expect them to be doing exactly that. If a British spy defected to Moscow and his daughter continued to work in London MI6 would not be hacking her emails? Come on. What is going on here is little titbits of ‘information’ are being released as part of a studied news management campaign to prop up a failing story.
MI6 is doing what we would expect from them. Telling lies (or at least planting massaged information) to prop up whatever the government wants them to prop up.
But it is lamentable to see the “free press” quite so eagerly doing their bidding. We can note the Telegraph breathlessly says “it has been revealed” and “it has emerged”. The “journalist” will get some kind of a payback for further dressing up MI6’s planted stories. But it has zero to do with journalism.