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TEEEJ
12th Apr 2018, 14:22
Orac:
No they didn't. They confirmed the UK government's findings (So the Porton Down scientists are UK government now?). They failed to mention tha actual agent's name. Their published report states the name and chemical make up of the agent are published in their "classified report". For "classified", read "too bloody secret for you lot to know".
In a similar vein, President Macron has said France has proof of the Syrian government's guilt in the attack on Douma. He then failed to show it, or even allude to it!

Why is that such a puzzle to you? Why reveal sources and methods that may have been used to obtain the specific intelligence? Sources and methods that might involve HUMINT/SIGINT or a combination of both. That might include specific targeting of Assad and government/military communications referring to the details of the attack.

Perhaps it was a commander that overstepped the mark and the intercepts involves the discussions around it? Even if such a recording or intercept was revealed it would be immediately pounced on as being fabricated by die-hard conspiracy types.

The Russians will have access to the full OPCW report. Now think about it? if it doesn't name Novichok in the full report then the Russians will be all over it and it will leak.

In the interest of transparency, and because unlike the Russians we have nothing to hide, we have asked the OPCW to publish the executive summary for all to see and to circulate the full report to all state parties of the OPCW, including Russia.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/salisbury-incident-foreign-secretary-statement-on-opcw-report

flash8
12th Apr 2018, 16:23
Is it really so difficult to believe that maybe Yulia Skripal is simply being treated with kindness and compassion and offered appropriate support?


You are utterly naive if you believe her welfare comes first. If it is in the states interests, yes. If not, no. This isn't a Dixon of Dock Green world.

Edited to say: I'm sorry if this came across as rude. It wasn't meant to be!

Effluent Man
12th Apr 2018, 16:32
In fact it was the Dixon of Dock Green world that taught us to be very circumspect in believing what we were told by any of the players. People who characterise those of us as stooges or trolls merely because we don't swallow the government line, hook and sinker fail to see that we don't believe any of the parties involved unreservedly.

KelvinD
12th Apr 2018, 17:29
TEEL: Who mentioned a puzzle? Thanks for the link to the government output. Unfortunately, it emanates from a person with perhaps less credibility than the cleaner at Zizzi's restaurant.

TEEEJ
12th Apr 2018, 22:23
TEEL: Who mentioned a puzzle? Thanks for the link to the government output. Unfortunately, it emanates from a person with perhaps less credibility than the cleaner at Zizzi's restaurant.

Regardless of who it emanates from it is still accurate. The Russian will have access to the full OPCW report. Novichok and the A designation will be in that full report. If it wasn't the Russians would be all over it.

flash8
13th Apr 2018, 12:17
The term “highly likely” is one commonly used by the intelligence agencies when they believe something is 100% certain – since they are unwilling to express that opinion without a caveat in case of error.

From the Guardian today..... how can 100% certain have room for error?
More obfuscation.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/13/russia-tested-nerve-agent-on-door-handles-before-skripal-attack-uk-dossier-claims

VP959
13th Apr 2018, 13:23
From the Guardian today..... how can 100% certain have room for error?
More obfuscation.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/13/russia-tested-nerve-agent-on-door-handles-before-skripal-attack-uk-dossier-claims

Intelligence gathering works much the same in every state.

The media find it very hard to convert carefully-worded statements into news-worthy stories, and that is also true in every part of the world where the media is not controlled by the state. In particular, the media are very fond of both exaggerating and dumbing-down facts, recognising, perhaps, that dry facts do not sell either paid-for media or adverts.

Like all states we have covert intelligence operatives in many states, and we also make use of data correlation techniques. The latter is something we got pretty damned good at during the Troubles in NI, as well as during the Cold War, and more recently we've invested even more in this technology since we've been at risk from Islamic extremist terrorism.

Putting all this together, as an answer to the "100%" question, then I would argue that we can never be 100% certain of anything we obtain from any intelligence source, neither can any other intelligence service.

The reality is that no intelligence briefing will ever deal in 100% certainties, most often it will deal in levels of confidence with regard to every separate element being presented. Sadly, politicians are very like the media, they are prone to both exaggeration and dumbing down things they are told. The same is true of briefing politicians about science; they rarely understand the scientific method and assume absolute knowledge when we rarely have it.

However, the intelligence community had their fingers seriously burned over the way that information they provided in good faith, was twisted by politicians (well, let's face, one politician in particular) into a briefing document that was essentially a pack of lies at worst, and twisted and exaggerated half truths at best.

As a consequence, they are noticeably more cautious now, and tend to play down the reliability of data sources if anything, as they have no desire to get caught up in another dodgy dossier scandal.

So, if NATO are now being told, in writing, by Mark Sedwill that our intelligence is sufficiently robust to confirm all this information, in such robust terms, and he has been prepared to make this information public, then I would argue that we almost certainly have evidence that is even more robust than he has put in this letter: https://www.scribd.com/document/376270220/Letter-to-the-Nato-secretary-general.

The consequences of being caught out with another dodgy dossier just don't bear thinking about, particularly with regard to the credibility of our intelligence services. One of the issues we have is that much of our value to the US in the special relationship comes from the effectiveness of our intelligence services. Anything that undermines their credibility would be very damaging to the UK for years to come.

KelvinD
13th Apr 2018, 14:17
The OPCW no doubt do a good job with their analyses, inspections etc but a couple of things puzzle me:
They took approx 4 weeks to come to the Salisbury nerve agent conclusion. From a vague memory, I think it took Porton Down something more like 4 days.
And, didn't they say vis-vis the Salisbury attack that it is neither their job nor do they have the tools to determine the exact origin/location of the samples?
Yet we have politicians of all stripes talking about the arrival of OPCW in Douma with the implication that they will supply all the answers. I suppose I could go to Douma with a piece of litmus paper or whatever and come to a determination that chemicals have been used I wouldn't have a bloody clue where they had originated and how they got there!

VP959
13th Apr 2018, 14:41
The OPCW no doubt do a good job with their analyses, inspections etc but a couple of things puzzle me:
They took approx 4 weeks to come to the Salisbury nerve agent conclusion. From a vague memory, I think it took Porton Down something more like 4 days.
And, didn't they say vis-vis the Salisbury attack that it is neither their job nor do they have the tools to determine the exact origin/location of the samples?
Yet we have politicians of all stripes talking about the arrival of OPCW in Douma with the implication that they will supply all the answers. I suppose I could go to Douma with a piece of litmus paper or whatever and come to a determination that chemicals have been used I wouldn't have a bloody clue where they had originated and how they got there!

The timescales seem reasonable to me. The OPCW invitation came a few days after the initial identification of the agent by DSTL, and after the government had considered that information. It then took time for the four international labs to get set up to do these tests, fly inspectors to the UK, take their own independent samples whilst they were here and package those so they could be safely transported back to their labs.

They may not have been able to fly the samples back - they may have had to be transported by sea and overland, I'm not sure what the transport protocol would have been both for safety reasons and for the need to be able to guarantee continuity of the evidence chain (OPCW labs are often civilian facilities, like DSTL, so may not have had access to military transport). I would hazard a guess that, just for reasons of maintaining the chain of evidence, samples would have had to have been either in secure storage or physically in the possession of one of the OPCW inspectors during transport.

The analysis would then take a few days - perhaps longer for the blood samples, where they would have had to do more preparatory work to isolate the agent before analysis.

OPCW would then need to check and double check the findings of the four labs involved, particularly as each lab may well have been working in their own national language, so translations would have had to have been checked carefully, before drafting a response in English and the other approved NATO languages, and then releasing it as an approved statement. That would have taken another couple of days or more, I'm sure.

It all seems to fit pretty well with what we know of the timings of events, AFAICS.

Stan Woolley
15th Apr 2018, 12:10
https://mobile.twitter.com/EmbassyofRussia/status/985211728815411202/photo/1

ORAC
15th Apr 2018, 12:16
So now the OPCW is part of the conspiracy? :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Stan Woolley
15th Apr 2018, 12:24
So now the OPCW is part of the conspiracy? :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Getting back to the point. :ugh:

How do you explain Swiss Speiz labs findings?

VP959
15th Apr 2018, 13:02
Getting back to the point. :ugh:

How do you explain Swiss Speiz labs findings?

The Speiz lab reported that the samples they analysed contained high proportions of novichok A234, with a trace of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate.

AFAIK, no other lab found traces of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, but that could be for several reasons. 3-Quinuclidinyl benlzilate is pretty volatile, far more volatile (as far as I've been able to confirm from public domain information) than A234. It could be that the A234 was contaminated with trace elements of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, but that the it had not evaporated from the samples that the Spiez lab analysed.

There is also the possibility of cross-contamination, the constant nightmare scenario for every forensic lab dealing with materiel of this type. The 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate might be a trace cross-contaminant or have come from part of the sample preparation and refining process.

If I had to guess, I'd say that it's possible that traces of 3-Quinuclidinyl belzilate may well have been in the original A234, as a contaminant from the source. 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ, has been around a very long time. It originated in Switzerland in 1951, so that itself gives some credence to the possibility of sample cross-contamination in the lab - it may be that Spiez had also been analysing 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate. It was experimented with as a hallucinogenic agent during that phase of the US and UK experimenting with disruptive agents that might be used on the battlefield, but AFAIK it hasn't been produced or used for any military purpose in the West for several decades, primarily because it was pretty ineffective (as was LSD, if you remember the experiments done with that on soldiers many decades ago).

ORAC
15th Apr 2018, 13:07
What findings?

You are one of those always demanding proof - all I see here is an unsupported Russian allegation not supported by the only independent organisation which has examined the material - the OPCW.

Or don’t the same rules apply to Russian allegations? You know, like the Skripals’ Were abducted by the British?

stagger
15th Apr 2018, 13:25
https://mobile.twitter.com/EmbassyofRussia/status/985211728815411202/photo/1

The reasoning here is priceless - Russia can't be to blame because the sample contains a high concentration of (A-234) - i.e. a Novichok nerve agent.

Basically, there's far too much evidence that the nerve agent came from Russia - for it to have come from Russia.

Sallyann1234
15th Apr 2018, 13:57
Some of conspiracy theories circulating here and elsewhere are just plain bonkers. Why are so many people apparently desperate to find a reason why Russia might not be behind the Skripal attack?
Or are they just unwittingly propagating seeds planted by Putin's media mob?

Stan Woolley
15th Apr 2018, 14:07
Or are they just unwittingly propagating seeds planted by Putin's media mob?

You know, I may have written some daft things on Pprune over the years, but none so stupid as this.

I’ve been writing here since 1997, it would have taken some vision to have me waiting secretly in place so that I might argue Putin’s case on an aviation forum.

Haha :ugh:

Sallyann1234
15th Apr 2018, 14:23
I was making a general observation on the weight of speculation washing around the web. Your own contributions are of little consequence in that flood.
I suspect that many of the unwitting repeaters of Russian disinformation were not even around in 1997.

Edit: changed adverb to adjective.

VP959
15th Apr 2018, 14:28
Some of conspiracy theories circulating here and elsewhere are just plain bonkers. Why are so many people apparently desperate to find a reason why Russia might not be behind the Skripal attack?
Or are they just unwittingly propagating seeds planted by Putin's media mob?

I think the key is really to look at the most active and influential sources that are readily available to those who use search engines and are most likely to pop up in the first few dozen hits.

I've a vested interest is checking that anything I post here is already in the public domain, and as a consequence I waste far too much time doing in-depth searches from as many sources as I can find in order not to accidentally drop myself in the poo. A side effect of that is that these searches often uncover posts by people whose credentials that are a bit dubious, information that has clearly originated from an unreliable source, but been repeated many times (one of the consequences of the speed with which modern media are keen to get a story "out there", I think) and the occasional source that looks like deliberate misinformation pretty high up in the search engine rankings, which itself is a bit suspicious.

An attack like the one on the Skripals has all the ingredients for a story that will run and run in the media, spawn numerous conspiracy theories and I'm sure a few books in due course. None will be trying to find out the truth, that much is pretty much guaranteed, as truth doesn't usually sell well, either as a media story or a book.

I'm certain there is a concerted effort being made by different people, with different motives, to spin this story in as many ways as possible. The trace contamination found by the Spiez lab is just one attempt to sow seeds of doubt - ignore their main finding, that the agent they found in the sample was pretty pure novichok A234, and concentrate on the trace amount of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, an hallucinogenic agent discovered by the Swiss in 1951, but spin that so it looks like it was the US who came up with it. The US did experiment with it in the late 50's, as did the UK, and at the time of those experiments NATO gave it the code name BZ. However, the trace amounts found in the Swiss sample could be contamination, or could have been in the A234, but either way the level was so low as to not be enough to cause any symptoms by itself.

DaveReidUK
15th Apr 2018, 16:52
One of the most surprising aspects of both the Skripal affair and the Syrian attack is the sight of the normally urbane and super-smooth Lavrov reduced to clutching-at-straws/scraping-the-barrel mode.

It's almost as if he didn't actually believe in what he's been saying on Putin's behalf lately. If that's been the case in the past, he's done a good job of concealing it, but he certainly seems to have been slipping lately.

Effluent Man
15th Apr 2018, 18:45
Some of conspiracy theories circulating here and elsewhere are just plain bonkers. Why are so many people apparently desperate to find a reason why Russia might not be behind the Skripal attack?
Or are they just unwittingly propagating seeds planted by Putin's media mob?

I really don't think that it's a case of being desperate to find a reason that Russia might not be behind the attack. It's more a case of being unwilling to come to a verdict where the evidence falls short of proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.

I agree that a great weight of circumstantial evidence does point to Russia, and yet something still niggles. I think as I have said before it's the long history of Cold War 1 where Gary Powers was a meteorologist and Greville Wynne sold spare parts for washing machines. When I hear a cry of "Wolf" my reaction now is that I want to see the big teeth.

atakacs
15th Apr 2018, 18:59
Well I'm not claiming to know what happened to M. Skripal and daughter but having it linked to Syria is quite a stretch...

To get back to the thread I'd also like to thank VP959 for his always very interesting contributions, even if sometimes too close to the party line for my comfort.

With that in mind I'd like to respectfully ask two questions.

The first is about the absolutely atypical delay between exposure and actual apparition of the symptoms. As far as I know - at least from public domain information - all the nerve agent have an extremely quick effet. Do we have any reference to any situation where the contaminated subjects would suffer symptoms hours after the supposed delivery timing ? And how likely is it that two very different persons (age, body mass, etc) would pretty much develop symptoms at the same time ?

My second question is about synthesising those agents. Interestingly I have not seen much (any ?) actual chemists on MSM being asked that question so I went to an old friend of mine who is an organic chemistry professor. His take is that assuming you have the details of the products you want the actual process is definitely within reach of a well equipped commercial or faculty lab, ie it does not require any unique equipment or knowledge. Any comments ?

Slow Biker
15th Apr 2018, 19:27
What is it with the BBC. A news presenter referred to the 'alleged' poisoning of the Skripals. Perhaps they just had flu.

Andy_S
15th Apr 2018, 19:29
I really don't think that it's a case of being desperate to find a reason that Russia might not be behind the attack.

Maybe not with you EF. But there several amongst us who are.

I agree that a great weight of circumstantial evidence does point to Russia.......

Thank you for acknowledging this. The problem I have with the regular crowd of Russian apologists is not so much the demanding of irrefutable proof (although I suspect that no level of evidence would ever be satisfactory to them) but that they can't even bring themselves even to accept the circumstantial evidence.

ORAC
15th Apr 2018, 19:32
The first is about the absolutely atypical delay between exposure and actual apparition of the symptoms. As far as I know - at least from public domain information - all the nerve agent have an extremely quick effet. Do we have any reference to any situation where the contaminated subjects would suffer symptoms hours after the supposed delivery timing ? The onset of symptoms of powder or liquid nerve agents may be delayed up to 18 hours.

https://chemm.nlm.nih.gov/na_hospital_mmg.htm

You may indeed synthesise it in the lab, if you wish to die after doing so - as one of the original creators did according to reports.

The art is to safely synthesise it; confirm and refine what you have without contaminating your lab; test it (against human subjects to determine dosage against a variety of delivery methods; store it; then develop a means to weaponise it so that it can be safely transported and delivered without kllljng the courier.

Easy really.....

VP959
15th Apr 2018, 20:35
The onset of symptoms of powder or liquid nerve agents may be delayed up to 18 hours.

https://chemm.nlm.nih.gov/na_hospital_mmg.htm

You may indeed synthesise it in the lab, if you wish to die after doing so - as one of the original creators did according to reports.

The art is to safely synthesise it; confirm and refine what you have without contaminating your lab; test it (against human subjects to determine dosage against a variety of delivery methods; store it; then develop a means to weaponise it so that it can be safely transported and delivered without kllljng the courier.

Easy really.....


Spot on answer, all I'd add is that a deployment method using powder is tremendously risky for the attackers, so my guess is that it was deployed with some sort of viscous adjunct, so it was more like a thick gel, that would stay in place on the handle.

The big problem with both synthesis and deployment is that there is one hell of a risk to the people doing it. Fume cabinets are fine, but you then have to destroy the vapour extracted from the cabinet. This usually means using several treatment methods in the extraction system, to breakdown the residual agent during the synthesis and purification stages. One major problem to overcome is to both maintain airflow through the cabinet, so you need at least double backup flow systems, with airlocks on the doors to the room, plus a way to decontaminate the inside of the cabinet and flue near-instantly, as the last thing you want is a few ug of agent being left anywhere in the prep area. There are ways of doing this, but they are not commonly used in any normal lab. The labs that produce these agents have a means of decontaminating the extracted air near instantly.

This is not like a biohazard containment facility, where the emphasis is on containment, when prepping this stuff you want to destroy everything that comes off during the reactions instantly, whilst maintaining airflow through the prep area to keep the people doing the work safe, and to prevent blowing contaminated exhaust air out of the building. Fiilters don't work for long enough, given the airflow rate required.plus they need regular removal and decontamination, which adds yet another big risk to the people doing the work.

Sallyann1234
15th Apr 2018, 21:05
Not that we will ever know, but one wonders whether the person who applied the toxin to the doorknob was trained and equipped with a safe method of application, or was considered expendable and just quietly taken away for disposal after doing the job. Given the apparent delay for the substance to take effect, the second method would have been quite feasible.

flash8
15th Apr 2018, 21:43
Sallyann1234 - Some of conspiracy theories circulating here and elsewhere are just plain bonkers. Why are so many people apparently desperate to find a reason why Russia might not be behind the Skripal attack?
Or are they just unwittingly propagating seeds planted by Putin's media mob?

Perhaps some of of us question what is being told/fed to us? After all if you believed half the stuff the Government says... I doubt any contributor here (and most elsewhere) that question the official narrative are anti the West, but they do have independent minds unplugged from the Kool aid.

galaxy flyer
16th Apr 2018, 00:08
There’s a line, a bright one, between healthy skepticism of what government says and being bonkers.

GF

ORAC
16th Apr 2018, 05:57
Originally Posted by Stan Woolley View Post
Getting back to the point. :ugh:

How do you explain Swiss Speiz labs findings?

The Times:

....The laboratory declined to confirm the claim. “Only OPCW can comment on this assertion,” it tweeted. “We can repeat what we stated ten days ago: We have no doubt that Porton Down has identified novichock. Porton Down — like Spiez — is a designated lab of the OPCW. The standards in verification are so rigid that one can trust the findings.”

Effluent Man
16th Apr 2018, 06:19
There’s a line, a bright one, between healthy skepticism of what government says and being bonkers.

GF

No, it's not a bright one, it's a grey, fuzzy one. I would regard myself as healthily sceptic in my refusal to come to a decision on culpability until such time as incontrovertible evidence emerges as to the guilt of Russia in this. Refusal to see that potentially there are other forces at play in this really does imply giving total trust to our government.

I think that putting total trust in Boris is a step that I cannot take, given his proven history in such things as the Darius Guppy affair. May has made an unfortunate error in promoting him to beyond his level of competence. In fact I doubt that he could be trusted to make the Downing St. tea. To put it in terms that JB'ers may understand, the man is a cad and and a bla'gard of the highest order.

jolihokistix
16th Apr 2018, 08:03
The two women using VX at Kuala Lumpur airport claim they were trained to smear stuff on people's faces as a prank. After doing so to Kim Jong-nam, their employers told them to go directly to the washroom and clean their hands. Perhaps there was also some such intermediate amateurism at work on 4th March this year at the Skripal front door.

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 08:21
So far the only hard evidence we have, at least hard evidence that we can trust, is this:

- Sergei Skripal was a former GRU officer who spied for the UK intelligence services in return for money. He seems to have been motivated by money rather than any ideological views.

- Sergei Skripal is known to have passed on to the UK intelligence services the names of many people who were working for the Russian intelligence services.

- Sergei Skripal was sentenced to 13 years with hard labour, but his sentence was cut short when he was exchanged, along with three others, for ten Russian agents held by the US.

- The Skripals were poisoned with a nerve agent that has been identified as a pure form of novichok A234. One laboratory reported finding a trace of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate in one or more samples that it tested.

- The timing of the attack was during a planned visit by Yulia Skripal, from Russia, to her father, to both see him and commemorate the anniversary of her older brother's death. Both her mother and brother are buried in the London Road cemetery in Salisbury, which they both visited on the morning of the attack.

- The location of the attack was somewhere in Salisbury, possibly the home of Sergei Skripal.

- Neither Sergei Skripal or his daughter (or the police officer that attended the scene) received a lethal dose of A234.

- Yulia Skripal worked in London and Southampton before returning to work in Russia in 2014. Since then she has visited her father in Salisbury regularly.

That's pretty much the limit of evidence that we can be very confident of, in that it has mainly been confirmed by multiple sources who could have little or no collective interest in agreeing with each other.

The more speculative evidence we have, in that it has only come from a single source, and has not been independently verified, is:

- Traces of the nerve agent A234 were found at their home, inside his car, at the Mill pub and at an Italian restaurant, Zizzi, in Salisbury, as well as around and on the bench on the Maltings where they collapsed, which is nearby and on the route back to his car.

- The Russian government have vehemently denied having any connection with this attack, have made several statements regarding it, have suggested that the UK staged the attack and have suggested that the nerve agent used was not the Russian-developed A234 (apparently on the basis of the Spiez lab trace contamination of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate).

- Yulia Skripal is reported as having had a telephone conversation with her cousin Viktoria, who lives in Russia, whilst she was still in hospital, and that telephone conversation was recorded at the Russian end and released to a Russian media outlet.

- Yulia Skripal was reported as having refused Russian consular assistance whilst she was in Salisbury District Hospital.

- Yulia Skripal was released from hospital to an unknown location in the UK, and has reportedly issued a public statement. In that she repeated that she had not yet sought Russian consular assistance, thanked them for their offer, thanked her cousin Viktoria, and requested that she did come to see her in the UK.

- It has been reported by the head of the UK NSA to the NATO Secretary General, and all NATO members, that Yulia Skripal's emails had been intercepted by the Russian security services since 2013, that the Russian government had been making small quantities of nerve agents, in breach of the CWC agreement, and that they had trained some of their agents in assassination methods that included applying toxins to door handles.

- The UK have denied any involvement in the attack.

- No other country or organisation has claimed responsibility, as far as we know, so it seems unlikely to have been some form of terrorist attack.


Next we have the circumstantial scientific evidence that comes from several public domain sources, and can be considered to be pretty reliable, given the independent verification from more than one source, including the state that many have speculated may be behind this attack:

- The publicly available information regarding nerve agent A234 is sparse, but it seems likely to be 7 to 10 times more toxic than one of the most toxic of the commonly known chemical agents, VX. It acts in the same way as VX on the nervous system, by disrupting the action of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and so preventing the normal breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

- The lethal dose of the A232/A234 novichok nerve agents has been reported as being around 7 to 10 times less than that for VX, the most toxic of the well-know chemical agents, so using the higher likely limit for the LD50 (the amount of agent needed to contact the skin that will kill 50% of those exposed to this dose) is likely to be around 100 to 150µg, depending on several factors, the most sensitive being body mass and skin thickness at the point of application. A dose likely to be certain to kill when applied though the skin could be around 3 to 5 times the LD50, so perhaps as high as 750µg for an adult male on the heavy side of the normal range, although age, general health, pre-existing medical conditions etc are all likely to cause a wide variation in lethality for a given dose. It seems probable that none of the victims received a dose as high as the LD50, based on their relatively rapid recovery times, and the fact that Sergei Skripal is diabetic and 66 years old, both factors that seem likely to make him more susceptible than a fit and healthy younger adult.

- To provide some sense of scale, a single small droplet of fine rain will have a mass of approximately 500µg, so well in excess of the LD50 range for this agent, and into the region that may well be certain to cause death for a person of low body mass or one with any pre-existing health issues. A single normal size rain droplet, of the size that might drip from a tap, may have a mass of around 5 to 50 mg, which, if it were this nerve agent, would have the capability to kill between 6 and 70 people if applied to their skin, most probably more for a normal population, geven the LD50, so the upper limit for a single drop of this nerve agent could be as high as 100 to 120 people killed, perhaps more.


We have no knowledge of who carried out this attack, or whether it was sponsored, or assisted by, any particular state. Here are some of the key issues:

- Given the extremely high risks involved in preparing this specific nerve agent and the facilities and knowledge required to prepare it, purify it, devise a deployment method, dispense the agent safely into the deployment container and, presumably, test that the chosen deployment method was effective, we can deduce that the perpetrator(s) had access to some sophisticated facilities and some specialised knowledge. They must also have had access to a test area, where they could assess the effectiveness of deployment methods and decontaminate those areas afterwards. This strongly suggests a state facility, but does not categorically rule out an expensive private facility.

- Who had a motive for attempting to kill both Yulia and Sergei Skripal? It seems likely that the timing of the attack, when Yulia Skripal was visiting her father, to commemorate the anniversary of the sudden death of her brother with him, may not have been a coincidence. Attacking a house containing a lone male would seem to have posed less risk to the attacker(s) than one containing two people, given that two people in the house pretty much doubles the chance of something untoward being heard or seen.

- There has to be a strong suspicion that the attacker(s) intended for both of the Skripals to have been exposed to the nerve agent, and that they did not care who else might also be exposed to it. By their very nature, highly toxic poisons of this type are indiscriminate, posing a significant risk to everyone from those perpetrating the attack to innocent people who accidentally come into contact with the agent. It seems to be pure luck that people like the staff at the pub and restaurant, any visitors to Sergei Skripal’s house, the operative from Ashley Woods who towed his car away for overstaying in the multi-storey car park, or more of the first attenders at the scene of their collapse, weren’t affected.

- The implication is that the attack was carried out by a person, or people, who had a very strong motive for wanting to see both the Skripals killed, who had little or no concern for the risk to themselves or other members of the British public, and who had a high level of skill in covert operations of this type.


For those keen to try and pin the blame on someone, or some state, or exonerate a particular state from any blame, then I suggest that approaching that question from the opposite direction might be helpful:

- Who had no interest in trying to kill both these people and had no concern if the method chosen put many ordinary British people at significant risk of being killed at the same time?

Sallyann1234
16th Apr 2018, 08:29
I think that putting total trust in Boris is a step that I cannot take, given his proven history in such things as the Darius Guppy affair. May has made an unfortunate error in promoting him to beyond his level of competence. In fact I doubt that he could be trusted to make the Downing St. tea. To put it in terms that JB'ers may understand, the man is a cad and and a bla'gard of the highest order.
I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of BoJo, and I have not seen anyone here put "total trust" in him. In fact there is little doubt that our current incompetent leadership only encourages other more efficient and dedicated administrations to take advantage, whether in round the table negotiations or in underhand machinations.

But there are basic facts of the case that are generally accepted. There is a long history of Russians unpopular at home being found dead in this country in suspicious circumstances. Another was found strangled to death a few days after the Skripal case. And Putin himself has publicly stated that traitors deserve to be killed.

All that tells me who is responsible, either directly or by a 'who will rid me of' comment.

I don't take Boris's word for this, and I'm certain that all the other countries who are convinced of Russia's guilt have sufficient reasons other than Boris's word.

Nige321
16th Apr 2018, 08:36
Perhaps some of of us question what is being told/fed to us? After all if you believed half the stuff the Government says... I doubt any contributor here (and most elsewhere) that question the official narrative are anti the West, but they do have independent minds unplugged from the Kool aid.

But you don't question what Putin feeds to you!

Effluent Man
16th Apr 2018, 08:44
Forty years in business taught me to be very circumspect about everything I was told. During that time I generally accepted high value personal cheques for assets that were driven away from my premises, potentially never to be seen again. I didn't once get caught out. I suppose I refused this method of payment in about 5% of cases. Probably half of those were ok. I would therefore say that my judgement in these matters was probably fairly good.

NutLoose
16th Apr 2018, 10:02
?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/independent-swiss-lab-says-bz-toxin-used-skripal-poisoning-usuk-produced-not?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=zerohedge.com&utm_term=68746&utm_content=2220835

Nige321
16th Apr 2018, 10:10
?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/independent-swiss-lab-says-bz-toxin-used-skripal-poisoning-usuk-produced-not?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=zerohedge.com&utm_term=68746&utm_content=2220835

Nutty

Read post #1267...

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 10:18
?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/independent-swiss-lab-says-bz-toxin-used-skripal-poisoning-usuk-produced-not?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=zerohedge.com&utm_term=68746&utm_content=2220835

That's just parroting the known to be misleading statement made by Lavrov that has already been discredited by the Spiez lab clarifying their findings, and has been answered earlier in this thread:

https://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/606204-sergei-skripal-64.html#post10119153

The bottom line is that the Spiez lab found pure A234 novichok agent in the samples they tested but found a trace of 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate in one or more samples.

3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate was discovered by a Swiss lab in 1951 and was experimented with as an hallucinogenic incapacitant by the US and UK in the late 1950s, during the time they were experimenting with using drugs like LSD to incapacitate enemy troops. It was given the NATO designation BZ as a consequence of these experiments.

Although volatile, it is known to be extremely persistent on most surfaces, and it seems that it is most probably a contaminant, that either got into the A234 during preparation or may possibly have been cross-contamination within the Spiez lab itself.

One questions why Lavrov made such a statement, as it is very easy to disprove, and so inevitably raises doubts as to the veracity of other statements he has made about this attack. I'm not singling Lavrov out here, other politicians from other states have made equally misleading statements, including our own infamous BJ.

racedo
16th Apr 2018, 17:23
But there are basic facts of the case that are generally accepted. There is a long history of Russians unpopular at home being found dead in this country in suspicious circumstances. Another was found strangled to death a few days after the Skripal case. And Putin himself has publicly stated that traitors deserve to be killed. .

Which police are putting it down to "activities" he and his male friend did on a regular basis in the privacy of his home.

PickyPerkins
16th Apr 2018, 17:34
both her mother and brother are buried in the London Road cemetery in Salisbury, which they both visited on the morning of the attack.

Did they go home after visiting the cemetery and before going to the park?

flash8
16th Apr 2018, 17:54
Putin himself has publicly stated that traitors deserve to be killed. .

Putin has never explicitly stated this.

However it doesn't detract that the man was a traitor, likely sent many of his compatriots to their deaths and deserved everything that came to him, harsh, but if this was a British agent and he betrayed the UK, people here would think exactly the same. I have no sympathy for him... if it were ideological perhaps a little, but it was for pure monetary gain.

I am encouraged that a significant proportion of the population disbelieve the official narrative. It really does look like things aren't going the way the government intended. Having Boris Johnson around doesn't help, and in fact may he may be the best assistant Putin could have had in the circumstances.

On the subject of Mr Johnson some of his "adventures" amongst certain female assistants in Parliament seem to be well hushed over. Genuinely wonder when the truth will escape there. Thoroughly nasty piece of work.

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 18:07
Did they go home after visiting the cemetery and before going to the park?

Yes, according to the information the police released regarding the movements of his car, presumably obtained by CCTV, ANPR plus witness statements. They drove from his home to the cemetery shortly after 09:00, then returned to his home some time later that morning, presumably after spending some time at the graves of his wife and son. The car was next picked up at around 13:30, driving along Devizes Road (which fits with having come from his home, which is in an estate just off Devizes Road) towards the city centre.

He parked in the multi-storey car park in the city centre (often colloquially referred to as the "Sainsbury's car park", but it's a part of the main Central car park operated by Wiltshire Council) at around 13:45 and they both had a drink in The Mill pub, adjacent to the car park in the area now known as The Maltings. They were contaminated at that time, as the car and The Mill both had traces of A234. The then had lunch at Zizzi, an Italian restuarant a short walk from the pub, and it was when they were walking back from Zizzi just after about 15:35, across the open area of The Maltings, that they collapsed on a seat that's adjacent to the path back to the car park.

The first emergency call was at 16:15, and was taken by the police initially, but a passer by (either a nurse or doctor, it's not clear which) had already cleared their airways and tried to get them into the recovery position. According to eye witness statements Yulia Skripal was not breathing when the passer-by intervened, due to a blocked airway. Both were vomiting and exhibiting jerking limb movements at around the time they collapsed, according to passers-by who spoke to the local media.

I've not read or seen any reports about the timing of the attack itself, so we have no way of knowing when they were contaminated. It seems most probable that they did not get contaminated in the morning, as there were no verified reports of A234 being found at the cemetery, where they had laid flowers on the graves. That may be because they left the house in the morning through the attached garage to get in the car, and perhaps when they returned home they may have left the car on the drive and only then used the front door.

It could equally be that the attacker(s) applied the agent to the door handle whilst they were out in the morning, although that doesn't seem that likely, given that they could have been easily spotted, and there has been nothing released or leaked about anyone seen around his home.

According to a local police report, 131 people were identified who had come into contact with the agent, presumably in very small amounts.

Jack D
16th Apr 2018, 18:16
Putin has never explicitly stated this.

However it doesn't detract that the man was a traitor, likely sent many of his compatriots to their deaths and deserved everything that came to him, harsh, but if this was a British agent and he betrayed the UK, people here would think exactly the same. I have no sympathy for him... if it were ideological perhaps a little, but it was for pure monetary gain.

I am encouraged that a significant proportion of the population disbelieve the official narrative. It really does look like things aren't going the way the government intended. Having Boris Johnson around doesn't help, and in fact may he may be the best assistant Putin could have had in the circumstances.

On the subject of Mr Johnson some of his "adventures" amongst certain female assistants in Parliament seem to be well hushed over. Genuinely wonder when the truth will escape there. Thoroughly nasty piece of work.

Steady Flashy ! you are slowly but surely revealing your true colours . It’s a lost cause .. give the BJ theme a rest .. Back to troll school , the minor inflections give you away

flash8
16th Apr 2018, 18:36
Back to troll school , the minor inflections give you away

Oh dear, perhaps that was because at Holy Trinity Middle School*, circa 1978 I had a teacher that originated from Russia... but I suppose that accusation is better than being told (on more than one occasion) that I sound like David Cameron ;)

*Bottom of Pewley Hill, Guildford... if you are interested.

Jack D
16th Apr 2018, 18:47
Oh dear, perhaps that was because at Holy Trinity Middle School*, circa 1978 I had a teacher that originated from Russia... but I suppose that accusation is better than being told (on more than one occasion) that I sound like David Cameron ;)

*Bottom of Pewley Hill, Guildford... if you are interested.

Origin makes no difference .. surely you know that . VP plays a very weak hand well, it’s one of his strengths but it’s all falling apart . You live in Moscow ? What’s the general vibe amongst the better informed ?

Nige321
16th Apr 2018, 18:50
Origin makes no difference .. surely you know that . VP plays a very weak hand well, it’s one of his strengths but it’s all falling apart . You live in Moscow ? What’s the general vibe amongst the better informed ?

You think flash8 is 'better informed'...??!

flash8
16th Apr 2018, 19:03
You think flash8 is 'better informed'...??!

Yes I do :) :) :)

And people here are becoming far more nationalistic.... although I haven't found any antipathy towards myself.... only the usual bemusement....

Jack D
16th Apr 2018, 19:53
You think flash8 is 'better informed'...??!

No I don’t at all, but some of his associates might be, but would they trust flashy ? Maybe not .. it’s a serial paranoid society where most people realize, after the false dawn of a freedom of sorts, that it’s safer to keep ones thoughts to oneself .
I truly don’t know, but would a thread like this with deeply opposing views exist for very long in the Motherland?

Hold on a minute.. was that a knock on the door it’s 3am for goodness sake !

dsc810
16th Apr 2018, 20:04
The other curious aspect to this business is that of the Police officer also contaminated.

We have had no real information about this aspect, the press have not chased up the officer, have not camped outside his house, got any interviews with the family, got any rent-a-quote comments from neighbours, friends etc

It's almost as if they have all been sat on from a great height to say nowt - and it makes me highly suspicious.

G-CPTN
16th Apr 2018, 20:08
Do D-notices still exist?

Sallyann1234
16th Apr 2018, 20:25
Putin has never explicitly stated this.
Really?
Just Google "Putin traitors"
Plenty of links to his speech.

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 20:25
The other curious aspect to this business is that of the Police officer also contaminated.

We have had no real information about this aspect, the press have not chased up the officer, have not camped outside his house, got any interviews with the family, got any rent-a-quote comments from neighbours, friends etc

It's almost as if they have all been sat on from a great height to say nowt - and it makes me highly suspicious.

Not really curious locally. He was one of the first responders (the incident was called in as a police matter initially - The Maltings is a known area for the homeless, drunks, drug abusers etc to end up). It has been confirmed that the scene was where he was contaminated, AFAIK.

When released from hospital he was far from recovered, and stated publicly that his life had changed forever. He also requested that the media leave him alone. My understanding is that the local police may be keeping the media away from him, at his request., and for his well being.

His friends and colleagues have made statements to the media that he is not the same person they knew, which suggests that the after effects of the exposure to the agent may be both psychological and physical. It's possible that he and his family have been moved to a location well away from the eyes of the media simply to allow him to recover.

He's not really a key witness, as I believe that he only attended the scene after the Skripals were seriously ill.

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 20:30
Do D-notices still exist?

No, not any more, AFAIK. The only prohibition in this respect is that the media are supposedly prohibited from breaching the OSA, but often they seem to get away with it by arguing that the information they received was already effectively in the public domain before they published it. An example would be publishing classified information that the media had acquired from somewhere like wikileaks.

Sallyann1234
16th Apr 2018, 20:31
We have had no real information about this aspect, the press have not chased up the officer, have not camped outside his house, got any interviews with the family, got any rent-a-quote comments from neighbours, friends etc

He's an innocent victim, and deserves protection from predatory reporters.

racedo
16th Apr 2018, 21:19
The first emergency call was at 16:15, and was taken by the police initially, but a passer by (either a nurse or doctor, it's not clear which) had already cleared their airways and tried to get them into the recovery position.

How strange that the medical person who cleared the airways when found was not contaminated, a police officer was.................. nobody knows of course what this officer did it appears.

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 21:26
How strange that the medical person who cleared the airways when found was not contaminated, a police officer was.................. nobody knows of course what this officer did it appears.

The person involved, along with other first responders, may well have been contaminated. 131 people were found to be contaminated, either directly or indirectly. 21 people received hospital treatment for contamination. Most were treated and released the same day,

racedo
16th Apr 2018, 21:32
The person involved, along with other first responders, may well have been contaminated. 131 people were found to be contaminated, either directly or indirectly. 21 people received hospital treatment for contamination. Most were treated and released the same day,

But the people who treated them first did not spend weeks in hospital did they.

WingNut60
16th Apr 2018, 21:35
.....that the man was a traitor, likely sent many of his compatriots to their deaths .....

How would that have eventuated.
Only if they were killed by non-Russian (Western?) governments, surely?
Why would Russia kill its own agents?

Skripal himself was only given 13 years by the Russian courts when he was outed.

Is that what we do when we discover the identity of a foreign spy? Kill them?

VP959
16th Apr 2018, 21:39
But the people who treated them first did not spend weeks in hospital did they.

No.

My guess is that it was pure luck as to who received a dose sufficient to cause symptoms or illness.

21 people, other than the Skripals, were treated for symptoms of exposure, one person, Sgt Nick Bailey, seems to have received a higher dose than others, causing him to become seriously ill.

I suspect he, as a police officer who was, perhaps, searching the victims for identification or, perhaps drugs or drink, as they were initially thought to be intoxicated, may have made contact with something that was more highly contaminated then the other first responders or people who came into contact with the agent.

flash8
16th Apr 2018, 21:51
Really?
Just Google "Putin traitors"
Plenty of links to his speech.

I have read his speech (in Russian, not the dodgy English translations) and understand the subtle translations of key components (i.e. “загнуться”, “прятаться”, “колом станут у них в горле”) and let me assure you, as a pretty fluent speaker of Russian they were twisted...

This happens quite a bit... whilst on the subject don't know why Putin doesn't sometimes use English... he is fluent enough... but rarely uses in public.

racedo
16th Apr 2018, 22:03
This happens quite a bit... whilst on the subject don't know why Putin doesn't sometimes use English... he is fluent enough... but rarely uses in public.

Aside from putting John Simpson down................. and even had he mangled it, nobody would have complained.

WingNut60
16th Apr 2018, 22:14
I am not being cynical here, nor am I lacking empathy.

But what are the chances that, for the 21 showing symptoms of exposure, if the doctors / hospital thought that the exposure and symptoms were confirmed, they would release them from hospital the same day?
Remember, by that time the use of a chemical agent would have been known or strongly suspected, if not yet identified.


When released from hospital he was far from recovered, and stated publicly that his life had changed forever.

As from my previous post, that is, to me, strange language.
To me it suggests psychological rather than physical, and possibly more about being exposed to the whole ordeal rather than exposure to the nerve agent alone.

Did he mean that he had been told that he will have symptoms and side effects for ever?
After all, nobody knows definitely whether his health will be forever compromised.

For the rest of this I am being cynical, or at least very skeptical.
It all has a ring of "tabloid press" about it.


When released from hospital he was far from recovered....Really? I don't remember seeing that reported anywhere from anyone credible.


His friends and colleagues have made statements to the media that he is not the same person they knew, which suggests ......which suggests ...... that his friends like making statements to the media.
Is there any confirmation that any of these friends and colleagues have even seen him?

galaxy flyer
16th Apr 2018, 22:42
Another thing, first responders from medical services are very cognizant of biohazards cobsequently wear masks, gloves, etc. Police respond8ng to a drunk likely don’t wear personal protection at a scene where there no apparent reason to do so.

GF

racedo
16th Apr 2018, 22:50
Another thing, first responders from medical services are very cognizant of biohazards cobsequently wear masks, gloves, etc. Police respond8ng to a drunk likely don’t wear personal protection at a scene where there no apparent reason to do so.

GF

But the people who cleared airways were passing by.............. not first responders.

Police are more aware of dealing with drunks and druggies and need to be careful for sharps.

Effluent Man
17th Apr 2018, 06:44
I would imagine that the affected policeman will have very good reasons for not playing down his symptoms and the effect that it has had on him. And I don't blame him at all, those exposed to risk in this way should be due reasonable compensation for what befalls them. Had he said. "I'm ok thanks, back to work on Monday" he would have got b****r all. As things stand he should get adequately awarded.

KelvinD
17th Apr 2018, 07:26
The affected policeman remains an enigma. No police force would dispatch a Det. Sgt to have a look at a couple of people initially thought to be possible dope users. It would surely be the nearest PCSO who would have, if thought appropriate, would perhaps ask for plod to attend to make an arrest.
Anyway, contrary to reports earlier in this thread, it seems nobody else was poisoned. And this comes not from Russian "trolls" etc but from the Consultant Emergency Medicine at Salisbury NHS Trust, Stephen Davies.
He wrote a letter to the Times on the topic as a rebuttal to a Times scare story of March 14th.
“Sir, Further to your report (“Poison Exposure Leaves Almost 40 Needing Treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."
That's a bugger, isn't it?

Andy_S
17th Apr 2018, 07:27
The person involved, along with other first responders, may well have been contaminated. 131 people were found to be contaminated, either directly or indirectly. 21 people received hospital treatment for contamination. Most were treated and released the same day,

I stand to be corrected, but didn't the unfortunate policeman visit the Skripal's home? Which is where the nerve agent was concentrated most heavily?

"No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."
That's a bugger, isn't it?

No it’s not Kelvin. It’s a good thing. What’s your point here? Are you trying to imply some sort of conspiracy??

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 07:29
There are very few case of people who have been exposed to nerve agents of this type and toxicity and survived, so I doubt that anyone has any real knowledge of what any long term effects might be. It's possible that some states may have more knowledge than we do about this, perhaps even very likely for any state than may have had people exposed to such agents at sub-lethal doses.

Salisbury District Hospital said in a statement that they had called in international expertise to treat the victims, which confirms to some extent what little we know about how best to treat this type of poisoning in the longer term after survival from exposure. We know a lot about how it kills, and enough about the immediate effects of it to have developed both a prophylaxis for military personnel at risk of exposure and an immediate treatment to be administered within seconds or minutes of exposure.

There are longer term treatments that have been postulated, but never, as far as I know used, aimed at "mopping up" the agent from anyone that survives, but I can't find any evidence in the public domain that these have even been properly tested and trialled at all, let alone whether or not they work. Other countries may well have done work in this area, though, as work in the UK has very much focussed on providing anyone at risk with adequate protection, not long-term treatment following sub-lethal exposure, AFAIK.

I think it's inevitable that someone exposed to a significant dose of such a toxic substance is likely to have both physical and psychological symptoms, just from the nature of it's mechanism of action. It effects all nerve synapses, not just motor system nerves, so it seems very likely that there may be a wide range of effects on the way someone's central nervous system operates, and may even result in changes to their personality and higher brain functions. On top of all that, being poisoned in this way, with all the horrors that nerve agents conjure up in the minds of those who know even a little about them, must leave psychological scars that almost certainly need time to recover from.

People seem to be trying to desperately seek conspiracy theories as to why so many people were contaminated but didn't fall seriously ill, why all three victims survived, why two of the victims, that have been released from hospital, are not in the public eye and talking to the media, etc. I can't see why this should seem so curious at all; it fits extremely well with what little we know about exposure to chemical agents of this type and toxicity.

There is a threshold dose, below which contamination has no obvious effect at all on the body, another threshold dose where there will be symptoms that can be counteracted quickly (probably just by administering atropine) and there will be some people who were contaminated below the threshold level but who will have suffered psychosomatic symptoms that will have been treated. Additionally, there will be some who were contaminated and who received no dose of the agent (because the contamination was on their clothing etc) but who would have needed to be decontaminated.

It's worth remembering that around 2 to 3 % of the population of Salisbury and the surrounding area work at Porton Down, that most people in the area know of the establishment and it's over 100 year history, that for decades there were protests in and around the area about the work carried on at Porton Down. I doubt there are many people in and around Salisbury who aren't aware of the place, so that inevitably means that just the word "nerve agent" is going to conjure up some pretty terrible images for anyone that knows anything about some of the work carried out at Porton. The death of Ronald Madison at Porton Down was a terrible thing that was covered up at the time but was in the headlines locally for a long time, not that long ago, when the enquiry was eventually made public.

dsc810
17th Apr 2018, 07:29
The person involved, along with other first responders, may well have been contaminated. 131 people were found to be contaminated, either directly or indirectly. 21 people received hospital treatment for contamination. Most were treated and released the same day,

Not so according to a strange letter to "The Times" from a consultant in emergency medicine at Salisbury Hospital who clearly stated that NO persons were treated for any symptoms of a nerve agent.
This interesting wording left the possibility that all were treated for symptoms of some other non-nerve type agent/poison and goes on to state that only 3 people are detained for poisoning symptoms.
Here is one link to the story/letter
https://off-guardian.org/2018/03/21/what-did-the-salisbury-physician-mean-by-no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning/

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 07:40
I stand to be corrected, but didn't the unfortunate policeman visit the Skripal's home? Which is where the nerve agent was concentrated most heavily?

There were reports that he did, but all the reports I've seen more recently suggest he was one of the first responders to the scene at The Maltings. Others were contaminated at the scene as well, including other first responders, but as someone mentioned earlier, paramedics always wear gloves, right from the instant they leave their vehicle, so may well have had more protection than a police officer who may have been looking for ID, keys etc on the victims.

We have no way of knowing which version of the story may be true, but it does seem there was a lot of confusion in the first 48 hours or so after the attack, and that some reports may well have been inaccurate.

If he had visited their home, then it was after they had been identified and their address found. Someone here who is better acquainted with police procedure than me might be better placed to say how police officers attending the home of the victims of an attack might act. I would suspect they would have taken some precautions to prevent forensic contamination if they thought that there was anything suspicious regarding the cause of the victims illness, or even if they suspected that drugs or a crime was involved, so it seems likely that he, and others, would have been wearing gloves, I'd have thought.

ORAC
17th Apr 2018, 07:49
It’s amazing how many trolls are still trying to make the case that no nerve agent was used and nobody suffered any effects (apart from those trolls insisting it came from Porton Down of course).

Rather than extrapolate from vague statements reported second hand from a letter sen to a newspaper, why not read the statement made by the Medical Director if Salisbury hospital and published on the NHS website?

Or are the NHS staff members of some Conservative party or other British conspiracy?

https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/2018/04/10/updates-on-the-salisbury-incident-7/

“....Following the incident on March 4, Salisbury District Hospital received three people who required inpatient care – Sergei and Yulia Skripal and DS Nick Bailey, who was discharged on March 22. All three had been exposed to a nerve agent – a highly toxic chemical which aims to prevent the nervous system from functioning.”......

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 07:51
Not so according to a strange letter to "The Times" from a consultant in emergency medicine at Salisbury Hospital who clearly stated that NO persons were treated for any symptoms of a nerve agent.
This interesting wording left the possibility that all were treated for symptoms of some other non-nerve type agent/poison and goes on to state that only 3 people are detained for poisoning symptoms.
Here is one link to the story/letter
https://off-guardian.org/2018/03/21/what-did-the-salisbury-physician-mean-by-no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning/

Read that carefully again.

As I wrote above, there is a threshold of contamination below which no symptoms will be experienced.

Note that the statement specifically states "no member of the public". First attenders from the emergency services (professionals, and not members of the public as far as the hospital was concerned) were given some treatment and released, that much we know. My guess is that they may well have been decontaminated and given atropine as a precautionary measure, as that is the standard emergency treatment even if there are no symptoms, so standard that there is an atropine auto-injector fitted to NBC kit to enable the drug to be administered very quickly in the event of suspected exposure.

I've seen no reports of any member of the public having any symptoms, but 131 people were found to have been contaminated to some degree, most probably on clothing and certainly at a level that was below the threshold for the onset of symptoms.

A great deal of clothing was bagged and collected from members of the public that had been in the area, or in either The Mill or Zizzi, and locally we saw urgent requests for anyone that had been in or around that area at the time to come forward. Advice was given on TV and radio as to how people should deal with anything they had been wearing or carrying if they had been around that area at the time. It has to be said that locally that advice was a bit confusing initially, and with hindsight it could have been a heck of a lot better handled.

Andy_S
17th Apr 2018, 08:01
There were reports that he did, but all the reports I've seen more recently suggest he was one of the first responders to the scene at The Maltings.

Fair enough. It's sad, though, that once again certain people are trying to imply some sort of bizarre conspiracy.

currawong
17th Apr 2018, 09:25
Contamination does not mean treatment required.

Contamination means decontamination required.

KelvinD
17th Apr 2018, 09:47
Andy S: At the time I posted my comment, I was wondering how long it would take for someone to mention "conspiracy". I think 1 minute is probably a record!
Now go back and re-read what I wrote. At no point was I implying conspiracy. I was merely asking a valid question (well, 2 actually, including the police officer).
In an earler post, VP posted the following 131 people were found to be contaminated, either directly or indirectly. 21 people received hospital treatment for contamination.
And I posted a rebuttal from the consultant who had been responsible for the treatment of the Skripals. How does that constitute conspiracy?
I have stated umpteen times previously but for the benefit of yourself and the one eyed Orac (one eyed as in a monocular view of life): I don't know who poisoned the Skripals. I don't much care for Mr Skripal. I wonder how much his treachery contributed to the demise/death of his colleagues while in the Russian government's service? My interest in this whole affair is the mysterious ways in which this case has been handled from day 1 by our government. It is somewhat reminiscent of the way Blair handled the David Kelly case with instant assumptions and announcements being made while the police were still unsure of what had happened. (Messrs Blair and Falconer had convened an inquiry 2.5 hours after an unknown body had been found). So, in summary, if asking a valid question is to be deemed conspiracy, then I will have to put my hand up.
Orac: I expect the usual "trolls" and "conspiracy" words from you. It is your forte. Now how about having a read of the link I supplied. You seem to be a great advocate of Murdoch's up-market rag. The NHS is all fine and dandy. However, it comes from almost a month after their consultant wrote to the Times. And he was writing in response to a Times article from March 14th in the Times stating “Poison Exposure Leaves Almost 40 Needing Treatment”. The Times wrote that and as the Times seems to be your infallible friend, you might want to go back and re-examine their attention seeking headlines.
It is not good enough to automatically go into "conspiracy" shrieks when someone points out something that may be considered food for thought. Calm down man!

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 10:19
In an earler post, VP posted the following
And I posted a rebuttal from the consultant who had been responsible for the treatment of the Skripals.

You didn't post a rebuttal, read what the consultant ACTUALLY wrote. He was very specific in referring to "members of the public" and made no mention at all of the first responders from the scene, (with the exception of Sgt Nick Bailey) or the staff in A&E who treated all the victims.

We know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that at least one contaminated ambulance was wrapped and sealed and taken away from the hospital - it was shown on local TV being sealed up and taken away for examination and that was done after agent had been identified as being in it. We also know from the hospital reports that they treated 21 people for suspected contamination, none of whom developed symptoms of poisoning.

Given that these 21 people were not members of the public, according to the consultants statement, and given that one of the first responders was contaminated to the point that he became seriously ill, it seems extremely probable that the remaining 21 people that were treated were first responders and A&E staff at the District Hospital.

Thankfully none of these people developed any symptoms of poisoning, which is most probably a combination of the standard barrier precautions they use every day, a fair bit of luck, plus, possibly, the administration of atropine as a precautionary measure, or at least decontamination followed by careful medical examination.

Andy_S
17th Apr 2018, 10:47
Andy S: At the time I posted my comment, I was wondering how long it would take for someone to mention "conspiracy". I think 1 minute is probably a record!
Now go back and re-read what I wrote. At no point was I implying conspiracy. I was merely asking a valid question (well, 2 actually, including the police officer).

Kelvin,

I apologise for suggesting that you alone were trying to introduce new conspiracy theories into the equation. However, there does seem to be a group of people who are on a mission to undermine the generally accepted version of the events that took place in Salisbury. You yourself have implied that the attendance of a Detective Sgt was sufficiently out of the ordinary to be significant and seemed quite pleased when it appeared that a spokesman from the hospital had refuted claims of widespread poisoning (although VP959 has since clarified that the hospital didn’t, actually, say this at all).

ORAC
17th Apr 2018, 11:21
Sky reporting remarks from latest official briefing.

Novichok was delivered in liquid form, not powder. Highly persistent - at least 9 sites are still showing detectable traces and will result in paving stones and earth below being removed and replaced. Some may be permanently blocked off.

Sallyann1234
17th Apr 2018, 11:25
BBC report :
Russian spy: Skripal poison 'was in liquid form' - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43798068)

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 11:27
Sky reporting remarks from latest official briefing.

Novichok was delivered in liquid form, not powder. Highly persistent - at least 9 sites are still showing detectable traces and will result in paving stones and earth below being removed and replaced. Some may be permanently blocked off.

This fits with the guess I made earlier about it being mixed with some form of gel or thick liquid adjunct. It also fits with the little I've been able to glean about it's chemistry, in that it probably behaves a bit like VX, which is a slightly viscous, oily-looking, liquid at room temperature, and that can also be very persistent.

My best guess is still that the delivery system may have been something like a dispenser with one of those "cat's bum" type nozzles, as found on some types of honey, and Marmite, containers. Such a nozzle would significantly reduce the risk to the attacker(s), who may well have been able to get away with just wearing gloves.

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 12:13
In this post: https://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/606204-sergei-skripal-65.html#post10120473 I tried to answer this question:
Did they go home after visiting the cemetery and before going to the park?

and speculated that they were not contaminated until after their return from their early morning visit to the London Road cemetery, where Sergei Skripal's wife and son are buried.

The BBC have now clarified that there is no contamination at the cemetery and it has been re-opened to the public, in the link that @Sallyann1234 has given above.

So we now know that they picked up the contamination during the time between their return from the cemetery (which hasn't been publicly released, if it's known) and the time they left to go for a drink and lunch in the city, at around 13:30.

That suggests that either they didn't use the front door for their morning visit to the cemetery, but did when the went out for lunch, or that the attacker(s) placed the agent on the front door whilst they were out during the morning.

Looking at the areas in the city where they are actively working on decontamination or sealing off, the biggest affected outdoor area seems to be where the bench was, where they were found. I understand that this area is to be closed for several months (which is a nuisance, as it's the main route from the big central car park to the city centre) and that they will be digging up the paving and soil, and removing it for disposal. It was reported by bystanders that at least one of them vomited at that spot, and it's normal with nerve agents for victims to also lose control of their bladder and bowels, so there would seem to be a reasonably high probability of excreted agent having soaked into the paving and soil around this area. Cleaning this area up will probably be an OTT job, too, as not only is it used as a play area for young children, often feeding the ducks on the river, but there are market stalls set out there selling foodstuffs, so DEFRA are almost certainly going to err on the side of extreme caution, as they should, in my view.

According to the BBC report, 200 military personnel will assist with the decontamination and clear up, The Mill and Zizzi will remain closed whilst it is going on, along with other areas of the city, and the cost is going to be "several million pounds".

Looks like our city is going to suffer big time right through the summer, when we have lots of visitors. It also means that our custom of having a quick dinner in Zizzi with friends, before walking across to the Salisbury Playhouse, will have to be suspended for a few months. That's a pity, as they are one of the few restaurants within a short walk of the theatre that have a speedy early evening service, plus a discount, for theatre goers.

I wonder if we can give the cleanup bill, plus a compensation bill for all the lost revenue, to the attacker(s), if we track them down?

Viper 7
17th Apr 2018, 12:17
"cat's bum"


In spite of the serious topic, thanks for the morning LOL, VP.


:D

flash8
17th Apr 2018, 12:19
Why hasn't the government (or police etc) asked (at the time or close to it) had anyone seen anything suspicious?

It might have been a long shot but they never even bothered asking. It's as if they weren't looking for anybody else in connection with this.

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 12:20
"cat's bum"


In spite of the serious topic, thanks for the morning LOL, VP.


:D

I don't know what the official name for these sphincter-like dispenser nozzles is, but everyone I know refers to them as "cat's bum" nozzles!

I'm sure whoever invented the nozzle must have been inspired from the way a cat's bum looks and works.

Deep and fast
17th Apr 2018, 12:22
Well apparently the cat died, so maybe he did it with his bum! Well thats what certain.....

I'll just leave it there :}

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 12:29
Why hasn't the government (or police etc) asked (at the time or close to it) had anyone seen anything suspicious?

It might have been a long shot but they never even bothered asking. It's as if they weren't looking for anybody else in connection with this.

They have asked around, a lot. There were enquiries made locally, they've been house to house all around the area, the local news has put out repeated requests for information, both regarding anyone seen visiting the house and anyone that saw Sergei Skripal's car that day, and as a consequence the police have received some private CCTV footage that shows Sergei Skripal's red BMW that filled in one gap in their movements at around lunchtime. If they have any other information about visitors seen at the house that morning then they haven't made that public.

flash8
17th Apr 2018, 12:47
Perhaps VP, but haven't seen anything nationally!

Many people perhaps (even local) only have the chance (or motivation) to watch national news. When there is a serious crime usually appeals are made at a national level by the senior Officer investigating.

It's this lack of a national appeal that surprises me.

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 13:53
Perhaps VP, but haven't seen anything nationally!

Many people perhaps (even local) only have the chance (or motivation) to watch national news. When there is a serious crime usually appeals are made at a national level by the senior Officer investigating.

It's this lack of a national appeal that surprises me.

How are you viewing the national news here? If it's via a non-UK internet connection or a VPN then you won't see the same BBC news, for example, as we see. I'm not sure why that is, but I use a VPN from time to time and have noticed that the BBC news site has a different front page when I do. I'm not sure if other UK news sources do the same thing or not, but suspect they may well do.

It could also be that the police already have information and at this stage don't see any merit in making a wider public appeal. If I had to guess, then I'd say the latter is a more likely reason for not making a national appeal, but I guess we either won't know whether that's true for some time, or maybe we will never know if it's true at all.

There hasn't been a request locally for more information for the past three weeks or so, as far as I can recall.

flash8
17th Apr 2018, 17:17
Fair point VP, I assume all the people who are "at risk" have already been warned (or hidden), after all it's hardly you or I that are at risk... as for viewing I just go to the (English version) news page... not that often now as it mostly spouts the same rubbish.

One assumes that any assassins or such would be on false passports as well, even of a complete different nationality (as has been seen in the past), and long gone. They do say the UK is the CCTV capital of the world however...

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 17:27
They do say the UK is the CCTV capital of the world however...

And Salisbury must be up there as being a place with an above-average number of cameras!

IIRC, when they were appealing for evidence of sightings of Sergei Skripal's car on that day they asked people to check their own CCTV and car dash cam recordings as well. It seems that, initially at least, they were trying to trace exactly where they had been that day.

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 17:39
... as for viewing I just go to the (English version) news page... not that often now as it mostly spouts the same rubbish.


For comparison, this is the BBC News home page right now as it appears if you're actually are in the UK and view it:

https://www.pprune.org/members/59439-vp959-albums-vps-photos-picture1137-bbc-news-uk-view.jpg


And this is what the exact same page looks like when viewed via a VPN that has an exit node in Germany:

https://www.pprune.org/members/59439-vp959-albums-vps-photos-picture1138-bbc-news-vpn-view.jpg

The BBC website seems clever enough to recognise a request coming from a VPN server even if that server is in the UK, as they will server up the international website if I choose to select a UK VPN exit node, so my guess is that they must have a list of known VPN servers and automatically send the international version of the website (which is a fair bit different to the UK site) whenever they suspect an outside of the UK request.

flash8
17th Apr 2018, 17:56
I don't know but when I just checked I saw on the front page of the Guardian...

Has a Russian intelligence agent hacked your wifi (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2018/apr/17/has-a-russian-intelligence-agent-hacked-your-wifi)

Yes, totally unbiased :)

Don't think they have a separate page for Russia!

VP959
17th Apr 2018, 18:17
I don't know but when I just checked I saw on the front page of the Guardian...

Has a Russian intelligence agent hacked your wifi (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2018/apr/17/has-a-russian-intelligence-agent-hacked-your-wifi)

Yes, totally unbiased :)

Don't think they have a separate page for Russia!

Frankly, when it comes to routers and hardware/firmware hacks, it's the Chinese that I suspect have that market segment cornered, not Russia.

I hacked my router to run OpenWrt, an open source router code package that will run on a fairly wide range of routers and has a lot of features not found on most commercial firmware packages. I have a small, USB powered, mini-router set up that runs OpenWrt and TOR, so that I can use any internet connection anywhere and be reasonably sure that there is no snooping going on.

I'm far from being very technically savvy when it comes to internet related stuff, but a former colleague put me wise to a few tricks and gave me a few tips. One of those was to install a packet sniffer programme to see exactly which servers around the world are being communicated with when you visit any website. I use WireShark, at his recommendation, and it was a bit of a shock the first time I looked at just how many dozens of servers around the world were exchanging information with my PC from any given website. Even when logged on to PPRuNe your PC sends data to a dozen or so servers that have no connection to this forum at all.

DaveReidUK
17th Apr 2018, 18:41
Even when logged on to PPRuNe your PC sends data to a dozen or so servers that have no connection to this forum at all.

That can only be done with the connivance of whoever maintains the PPRuNe site and who has approved the embedded hyperlinks and redirects that tell your browser to retrieve third-party content.

racedo
17th Apr 2018, 21:39
BBC report :
Russian spy: Skripal poison 'was in liquid form' - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43798068)


Another week yet another suggestion, so it wasn't a gel then attached to the door handles.

flash8
17th Apr 2018, 21:45
Another week yet another suggestion, so it wasn't a gel then attached to the door handles.

To be fair can liquid be squirted on door handles? Anyhow, if they now think it was liquid, they must have an idea of where it originated from, given that supposition. Saying that I must qualify with next week it might be something completely different. Not being obtuse here, but would it surprise anyone?

ORAC
18th Apr 2018, 05:16
A gel is a mechanism used to stop liquids evaporating (in CW terms to make them persistent agents rather than non-persistent) and to make them tacky - so they stick to things like doorknobs.

In short, if it’s not a liquid - you don’t need a gel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gel

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 06:41
ORAC is right again, I'm not at all sure why every detail released is being treated as untrue by a few. Maybe some have another agenda here.

From what I've been able to find out from public domain sources, it's probable that A234 is similar to VX in many ways, but may well be more toxic. A232, of which A234 is an ethyl analogue, is reportedly 7 to 10 times more toxic than VX. VX is a slightly oily looking liquid, with a high boiling point. Assuming A234 is similar that I suspect that mixing it with an adjunct to turn it into a gel would make it safer to handle, easier to apply and more persistent on any surface.

This is the same principle that is applied to detergents used for a wide range of purposes, from shower gel to dish washing liquid. The actual detergent is a liquid, that is thickened with an adjunct to turn it into a gel, so that it's easier to dispense and use. The same goes for a lot of products, and there are several different thickening adjuncts that can be used, depending on whether the liquid is polar or non-polar and whether or not it might react with the thickening agent.

longer ron
18th Apr 2018, 07:01
ORAC is right again, I'm not at all sure why every detail released is being treated as untrue by a few. Maybe some have another agenda here.


You are a master of understatement VP

Thanks again for all your info.

Some posters on this thread are allowing their political hatreds/obsessions to cloud their judgement/logic LOL

cheers LR

Effluent Man
18th Apr 2018, 08:12
It says quite a lot about the current situation that I don't know which posters you are referring to.

Sallyann1234
18th Apr 2018, 08:24
It says quite a lot about the current situation that I don't know which posters you are referring to.
We can all make our own judgements about that.

Effluent Man
18th Apr 2018, 09:27
We can all make our own judgements about that.

My point exactly Sally. Orac seems as committed to his viewpoint come what may as anyone who posts on the other side and gets called a Russian troll for it. In my opinion no conclusive evidence has been produced and, as things have developed it seems that our government has become very reluctant to divulge anything that they have that might be inclined to make up the minds of those of us who will not be rushed to judgement on the matter.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 09:56
In my opinion no conclusive evidence has been produced and, as things have developed it seems that our government has become very reluctant to divulge anything that they have that might be inclined to make up the minds of those of us who will not be rushed to judgement on the matter.

Not sure that this is wholly correct.

Firstly, DSTL Porton Down is not under direct government control, it is a Trading Fund Agency and is similar in many ways to other "arms length organisations", although it does have restrictions placed on it by it's only shareholder, the Ministry of Defence. It's worth noting that it is a specifically MoD owned organisation, not one owned by the FCO or Home Office, so isn't owned by any of the security services (although sometimes those services might wish it were, I think).

Secondly, independent OPCW laboratories came here, took their own samples and performed their own analysis. If the government have lied about the substance found as being a liquid, then I'm damned sure the OPCW would pretty quickly refute that if they knew that it wasn't. Given they have samples they know as much about the agent as we do, so I think we can safely assume that the statement regarding the phase of the agent as applied to whatever surface was the source that the two primary target victims made contact with is accurate.

I very much doubt that much detail about the investigation is being released at all, other than the bare minimum needed to both reassure the people of Salisbury regarding the long term decontamination work, plus whatever information has been shared in order to convince many other states to support the conclusions that the UK investigation team have reached so far.

In particular, attributing this attack to someone from a particular state would not be something done lightly, and especially not if there was significant doubt as to whether that attribution were correct. Apart from the international embarrassment caused if this were shown to be untrue, there is a reasonably good chance that it would bring down the government.

After the infamous dodgy dossier, I strongly suspect that everyone in government is acutely aware of the risk of making any attribution with insufficient, or unreliable, evidence to support it.

It seems perfectly reasonable to question information and speculate as to whether it might be accurate or not, but equally it seems unreasonable to argue that evidence that has been thoroughly and independently verified is flawed in some way.

Effluent Man
18th Apr 2018, 09:58
I did say "conclusive" evidence. I still would maintain that it isn't.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 10:01
I did say "conclusive" evidence. I still would maintain that it isn't.

What would, in your view, make any evidence conclusive?

I would regard at least five labs independently collecting samples and testing them, and all reaching the same conclusion, as being as close to absolutely conclusive as it's possible to get.

What more could be done in your view?

Sallyann1234
18th Apr 2018, 10:29
Meanwhile, the broadcast regulator is investigating whether RT and its sister stations are observing due impartiality in their coverage of the Salisbury attack.

Broadcasting (http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/i-e-bthhuyk-mudydsuk-r/)

dsc810
18th Apr 2018, 10:48
Presumably they will be investigating the BBC for regularly reporting that another Syrian town/city 'has fallen'.
No actually the town/city originally "fell" to rebel hands some time previously and now has been "restored" to government control.

But no - I'd not imagine any investigation will take place

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 11:00
I agree that all broadcasters, including the BBC, should be subject to this sort of investigation.

However, in this case, I suspect that OFCOM will find it impossible to verify whether RT have actually been impartial, or even whether RT, as a state-owned broadcaster, with the state that owns it being authoritarian and undemocratic by any reasonable measure, has any requirement to be impartial at all. I can't see why RT has to be impartial, personally, and I've never viewed it as such.

How are OFCOM going to get hold of evidence to prove any allegation of lack of impartiality any way? To the best of my knowledge, regulatory bodies like OFCOM are not allowed access to highly classified information, and it would seem foolhardy if the government were to make an exception in this case and give them such information as they might need.

I strongly suspect this is just a token gesture, made in order to try and show that "something is being done", perhaps following some complaints that have been received.

Perhaps if some of us complain about the lack of impartiality by the BBC (something that seems all too apparent on a wide range of issues), OFCOM might investigate them in the same way?

Somehow I doubt it.

longer ron
18th Apr 2018, 11:04
It says quite a lot about the current situation that I don't know which posters you are referring to.

I would just refer to my earlier post when I said that nobody* on here knows for sure anything about what really happened/exactly how it was all planned/executed.
Perhaps it is best to wait until we know for sure before we comment on the situation.
You know very well who the obsessive Tory haters are on here - those were the posters I referred to - they let their hatred of the tories cloud their judgement/logic because they want to score cheap political points :hmm:

* except for VP of course

flash8
18th Apr 2018, 11:23
I think VP has been quite impartial opting for caution.

But I wholeheartedly agree that we know nothing for sure. Certainly although some view me as a Putin apologist I genuinely have no idea who did this. But saying that the whole way the government has dealt with this episode doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

Sallyann1234
18th Apr 2018, 11:26
I agree that all broadcasters, including the BBC, should be subject to this sort of investigation.

However, in this case, I suspect that OFCOM will find it impossible to verify whether RT have actually been impartial, or even whenther RT, as a state-owned broadcaster, with the state that owns it being authoritarian and undemocratic by any reasonable measure, has any requirement to be impartial at all. I can't see why RT has to be impartial, personally, and I've never viewed it as such.

How are OFCOM going to get hold of evidence to prove any allegation of lack of impartiality any way? To the best of my knowledge, regulatory bodies like OFCOM are not allowed access to highly classified information, and it would seem foolhardy if the government were to make an exception in this case and give them such information as they might need.

I strongly suspect this is just a token gesture, made in order to try and show that "something is being done", perhaps following some complaints that have been received.

Perhaps if some of us complain about the lack of impartiality by the BBC (something that seems all too apparent on a wide range of issues), OFCOM might investigate them in the same way?

Somehow I doubt it.
I don't see where access to classified information comes into it, since there is no requirement for broadcasters to be able to know the truth, however that might be defined.

Ofcom simply requires that in the case of controversial matters, the broadcaster gives equal coverage to both sides. So it is a quantitative rather than a qualitative judgment, and that does seem practical to enforce.

Whether such a balance should be a requirement is as you say a different matter, but it is written into the Broadcasting Act and so Ofcom has no choice but to enforce it.

And yes, the BBC is under the same obligation for 'balance'.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 11:43
I would just refer to my earlier post when I said that nobody* on here knows for sure anything about what really happened/exactly how it was all planned/executed.
Perhaps it is best to wait until we know for sure before we comment on the situation.
You know very well who the obsessive Tory haters are on here - those were the posters I referred to - they let their hatred of the tories cloud their judgement/logic because they want to score cheap political points :hmm:

* except for VP of course

Thanks, but I honestly don't know anything specific about this attack that hasn't been made public, somewhere, either nationally/internationally, or locally (I do live close to Salisbury). I did work as an organic chemist as my first job, before switching careers and joining the Scientific Civil Service (as it was known then), where I was lucky enough to receive a fair bit of free education in other disciplines.

My personal views are just that, my personal views. I think it's probably pretty apparent that I have little trust in any government, including our own, I don't hold any particularly strong political opinions, and I feel strongly that if someone states something as if it is a proven fact, then that needs to be questioned and investigated, especially if there is any hint that it may not be as it seems.

My personal views are inevitably coloured by my career, although when I took early retirement I was well and truly sick and tired of the way facts were being distorted by our own government - the "dodgy dossier", was for me, just the tip of a large iceberg that had been made fairly public, as for the last 10 years or so of my career I'd seen more and more examples of political spin being put on things to make them seem different to what they really were, so much so that my other half would get annoyed with me yelling at the TV when something I knew to be untrue was being presented as coming from a government source.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 11:55
I don't see where access to classified information comes into it, since there is no requirement for broadcasters to be able to know the truth, however that might be defined.

Ofcom simply requires that in the case of controversial matters, the broadcaster gives equal coverage to both sides. So it is a quantitative rather than a qualitative judgment, and that does seem practical to enforce.

Whether such a balance should be a requirement is as you say a different matter, but it is written into the Broadcasting Act and so Ofcom has no choice but to enforce it.

And yes, the BBC is under the same obligation for 'balance'.

I think the problem OFCOM will face is in knowing enough to make a judgement that RT has been less than impartial, especially with regard to the Salisbury attack they mention as being what seems to be the trigger for their investigation.

Very little hard evidence has been made public, and pretty much every media outlet has misreported information about the attack, or put a politically-influenced spin on it.

The key seems to be that there will be some hard evidence that the media have no access to, and that seems to being used to influence media reporting. Our government, along with other governments in the EU, US and a few other countries, are spinning the story one way, Russia and it's allies (I suspect - although I've not seen anything regarding this attack from any of them - perhaps because I haven't looked deeply enough) is spinning the story in several other ways.

I'm pretty damned certain that our government has hard evidence that we are unaware of, and almost equally certain that Russia also has hard evidence that is influencing the way they are reacting.

Our government seems keen to pin the blame on the Russian state, whereas I suspect that the reality may well be that this attack was one step removed from the Russian state itself. Looked at in the wider context, it looks more like a personal vendetta against Sergei Skripal and his family. I personally doubt that Vladimir Putin would risk so much for such a vendetta, but equally I suspect there are some within the Russian government who might well turn a blind eye to those who wished to carry out such a vendetta, and go so far as to cover up for them.

Effluent Man
18th Apr 2018, 11:58
That last paragraph sums up my position quite succinctly.

flash8
18th Apr 2018, 12:10
Putin wields an iron grip on government so anybody wandering off topic is dealt with pretty harshly. Rogue elements I personally doubt simply due to the fear factor. Reading the news here over the years you get a sense of just how powerful he really is...

If you had an issue with skripal there are far easier safer and undetectable methods of elimination. Why risk yourself in the process? Because you really are.

DaveReidUK
18th Apr 2018, 12:11
I think the problem OFCOM will face is in knowing enough to make a judgement that RT has been less than impartial, especially with regard to the Salisbury attack they mention as being what seems to be the trigger for their investigation.

Very little hard evidence has been made public, and pretty much every media outlet has misreported information about the attack, or put a politically-influenced spin on it.

You are still making the mistake of assuming that judging the impartiality of reporting requires knowledge of facts as yet unknown. It doesn't.

I don't see where access to classified information comes into it, since there is no requirement for broadcasters to be able to know the truth, however that might be defined.

Ofcom simply requires that in the case of controversial matters, the broadcaster gives equal coverage to both sides.

Exactly.

Andy_S
18th Apr 2018, 12:56
Putin wields an iron grip on government so anybody wandering off topic is dealt with pretty harshly. Rogue elements I personally doubt simply due to the fear factor. Reading the news here over the years you get a sense of just how powerful he really is...

While I tend towards the view that this was an officially sanctioned hit, I am open to the possibility that it may have possibly been either a state agency acting without top level approval, or a powerful faction or individual acting independently. But I broadly agree with the thrust of your argument – given the potential ramifications if something went wrong, anyone acting without some form of approval is taking a huge risk. Having said that, it would be in keeping with a strategy of plausible deniability to ‘empower’ someone to act autonomously; just give them a nod and a wink – nothing official, nothing formally recorded......

If you had an issue with skripal there are far easier safer and undetectable methods of elimination. Why risk yourself in the process? Because you really are.

I agree, but I continue to be quite convinced that this was not simply about eliminating Skripal. It was about sending out a message to any other potential ‘traitors’. A simple assassination wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 13:00
But how can you possibly know that any broadcaster is giving equal coverage to both sides without knowing and understanding all that lies beneath the broadcast story?

I'm sure that all broadcasters have "inside sources", sources that they will be unwilling to reveal even exist, let alone reveal their identity to anyone. For example, the BBC receives funding from the FCO, so it's inevitable that, over the years, people within both organisations will have developed personal, as well as business, relationships. Does this influence what the BBC broadcast? I honestly have no way of knowing, and doubt that anyone else does either.

I would guess that much the same situation exists with any state sponsored broadcaster, including RT, but not excluding several others whose content can also be freely read and viewed here in the UK.

DaveReidUK
18th Apr 2018, 13:15
But how can you possibly know that any broadcaster is giving equal coverage to both sides without knowing and understanding all that lies beneath the broadcast story?

Well there are two parts to that:

a) discerning whose "side" individual sources represent

b) measuring and controlling the amount of airtime devoted to each

Neither should be particularly challenging, provided of course that there is a will on behalf of the broadcaster towards ensuring impartiality.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 13:35
If you had an issue with skripal there are far easier safer and undetectable methods of elimination. Why risk yourself in the process? Because you really are.

As already mentioned, this seems to be, rather like the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, about sending a message to others, as much as just being a vendetta.

As a family man, it could be said that Sergei Skripal has had more than a reasonable amount of misfortune. His wife died in Salisbury in 2012 of cancer (nothing seems suspicious about that, AFAICS), his 43 year old son, Alexander, collapsed and died suddenly of "acute liver failure", in in 2017 whilst in Russia, and is buried in Salisbury's London Road cemetery alongside his mother. Now an attempt has been made to murder both Sergei Skripal and his only other child, Yulia.

It seems deeply personal to me, hence my suspicion that the person, or people, who are behind this have a very strong motive for wanting to see him, and perhaps all his family, wiped out, with him being killed in a way that would be as outrageous as possible, using a weapon that they could be pretty sure would cause great deal of pain and distress.

Various sources state that Sergei Skripal passed on the names of many Russian intelligence operatives, and my guess is that some of these would have a very strong motive for revenge, and may also have the means to gain access to the means for such an attack.

Could someone do this without Vladimir Putin being aware? I don't know, but Russia is a big country and I'm certain money still has a massive influence in parts of the country, even though Vladimir Putin has been working hard to stamp out the culture that developed before he came to power. One look at the way that some of the oligarchs who have moved here behave makes it clear that some have the view that money can get them anything they want, irrespective of any laws. They aren't alone in this, I know, it's a trait shared by some others who are very wealthy, including some from the ME that reside here, it's just hard to see why anyone other than a seriously pissed off Russian would have the motive to order, or carry out, such an attack here.

KelvinD
18th Apr 2018, 15:50
There's nothing new under the sun, as they say. My first 'proper job' as a technician, newly arrived in Aden was to bug the Aden Brigade Brigadier's office during a press conference. The Brigadier was, in his words, sick and tired of the press, particularly the British press, mis-reporting both his press briefings and actual events happening around the colony and he wanted to be able to hoick them in and point out their lies, once he had seen the following day's papers.
As I write this, a long discussion has been taking place on Radio 4. Robert Fisk was first defending himself against accusations he must have been conniving with the Syrian government in order to gain access to Douma. He explained how he was offered a bus ride into Douma, by the government, and then allowed to stroll off on his own to begin his reporting with no interference from officials.
Following him was Jeremy Bowen, explaining how he got his stories. Apparently he and his mate just wandered off when nobody was looking and had a day free of interference.

TEEEJ
18th Apr 2018, 16:16
https://mobile.twitter.com/EmbassyofRussia/status/985211728815411202/photo/1

OPCW rejects Russian claims of second Salisbury nerve agent
Canadian envoy to chemical weapons watchdog condemns ‘craven attempt to mislead international community’

Senior figures from the global chemical weapons watchdog have flatly rejected Russian claims that the watchdog’s laboratories had found a western military chemical agent in the poison that incapacitated the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

In a weekend claim widely picked up on social media, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that a Swiss laboratory used by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had discovered traces in the sample of the nerve agent BWZ and its precursors. The nerve agent is possessed by Nato countries, but not Russia.

The Russian embassy in London said it was “highly likely” that BWZ had therefore been used in Salisbury, adding that the OPCW and the British had questions to answer.

But at a meeting of the OPCW executive in The Hague, the Russian claim was refuted by OPCW officials, who said explained that BWZ had been used in the control sample, not the sample itself. It is also a breach of OPCW procedures to identify a laboratory involved in a test.

The UK said Russia had been caught out in an attempt to mislead the international community, adding the OPCW report showed the world was facing “a clear case of a new family of toxic chemicals intended to kill”.

.....

Referring to Lavrov’s claims about the discovery of BWZ, Marc-Michael Blum, the head of the OPCW laboratory, told the meeting: “The labs were able to confirm the identity of the chemical by applying existing, well-established procedures. There was no other chemical that was identified by the labs. The precursor of BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the control sample prepared by the OPCW lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW team in Salisbury.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/18/opcw-rejects-russian-claims-of-second-salisbury-nerve-agent

Blacksheep
18th Apr 2018, 17:00
given the potential ramifications if something went wrong,Something did go wrong. Very wrong. A military grade nerve agent was spread all over a UK town by agents from another country in such a way that it will take 2 years to clear up the consequences - including digging up public spaces and carting the grass, soil, railings and other things away for destruction. The pub and the pizza restaurant may need to be stripped out as well.

The result constitutes nothing less than a de-facto chemical warfare attack upon the United Kingdom. I find it hard to believe that such a botched job could have been authorised by or from the Kremlin. They're usually much more subtle than that.

...or are they? A Malaysian aircraft springs to mind.

flash8
18th Apr 2018, 17:42
I find it hard to believe that such a botched job could have been authorised by or from the Kremlin. They're usually much more subtle than that.

...or are they?

My dealings with Russian military officers (when a member of DTRA's Cooperative Threat Reduction Program based in the Moscow Office) found them to be quite professional, certainly they were at least as prepared as the US equivalents. Nothing amateur about them.

Certainly I don't underestimate their abilities.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 18:22
Something did go wrong. Very wrong. A military grade nerve agent was spread all over a UK town by agents from another country in such a way that it will take 2 years to clear up the consequences - including digging up public spaces and carting the grass, soil, railings and other things away for destruction. The pub and the pizza restaurant may need to be stripped out as well.

The result constitutes nothing less than a de-facto chemical warfare attack upon the United Kingdom. I find it hard to believe that such a botched job could have been authorised by or from the Kremlin. They're usually much more subtle than that.

...or are they? A Malaysian aircraft springs to mind.

Much the same could be said about the Litvinenko murder; a trail of Polonium 210 was left everywhere the suspected assassin(s) went and one of them is alleged to have received hospital treatment for poisoning when he got back to Russia, suggesting that the attacker(s) cared little for the safety of anyone, including themselves, as long as they got the job done.

I strongly suspect that little work was done on A234 back around the time that the novichok programme was active, which is around 30 years ago, as it seems the focus was really on four or five other novichok compounds that are closely related, but seem better suited to making a binary weapon. Coming up with chemical weapons that were difficult or impossible for the West to detect, plus weapons that did not contain a single compound that fell within the definition of being a chemical warfare agent, seem to have been the primary aims of the programme.

The general lack of information about the agent and the consequences of trying to use it as an assassination weapon may have led the attacker(s) to believe that it would be more effective than it was, and to act more quickly, which would have left a great deal less contamination around the city. Everything I've been able to find out relates to A232, rather than A234, but it seems that A234 should, from it's composition, behave very like A232. That is around 7 to 10 times more toxic than VX, the most toxic of the commonly known chemical agents.

The most unusual aspect of this attack, and the one that indirectly led to areas of the city being contaminated (albeit with pretty small trace amounts of the agent), is the delay between the Skripals coming into skin contact with the agent and the apparent onset of symptoms. This seems so unusual as to border on the bizarre. Accepting that transmission through thicker skin, such as that on the palms of the hands, can be much slower than other means of exposure, I'd have still expected the onset of symptoms to have been within minutes, perhaps a few tens of minutes at the most.

The timings we know of give the Skripals leaving his house just before 13:30, driving to the central car park and parking at 13:45, leaving his car contaminated, so they had already been in contact with the agent for at least 15 minutes. They then had a drink in The Mill, leaving contamination behind there, again apparently without any symptoms. They walked a couple of hundred yards to the restaurant, Zizzi, had lunch and again left contamination behind there. They left the restaurant at 15:35. There is CCTV of them walking from Zizzi's back through the walkway to The Maltings, with neither showing visible symptoms of the agent. That's well over 2 hours after they were most probably contaminated. It seems they collapsed a short distance further on (the distance from the last CCTV footage to the bench where they collapsed is around 50 to 80 yards or so). The first call to the police was made at 16:15.

I can't find anything, anywhere, relating to nerve agents of this type with such a slow onset of symptoms. Even the information that came from Russian defectors at the time makes no suggestion that any of the novichok agents were slow to have any effect, and as weapons it's unlikely that any slow-acting toxic substance would be chosen for development - the ideal chemical weapon is one that can be deployed as a very fine aerosol over the target area, kill and disable as many as possible in the quickest possible time, then degrade or disperse leaving little or no residue.

All I can think of is that perhaps the liquid agent was thickened with something that very significantly reduced it's rate of absorption through the skin, and that this was not something that the attacker(s) knew of. This fits what we know reasonably well, and also fits the chemistry of A234 (in the two variants that are in the public domain). Gelling and thickening agents can definitely slow the skin absorption rate of many compounds; it's how barrier creams work to protect the skin.

The more rapid effect on Sgt Bailey may have been because he came into contact with liquid agent from the bodily fluids of the victims, or as an aerosol from their vomit, perhaps, assuming that the reports that he was contaminated at the scene of their collapse are accurate.

racedo
18th Apr 2018, 19:04
Much the same could be said about the Litvinenko murder; a trail of Polonium 210 was left everywhere the suspected assassin(s) went and one of them is alleged to have received hospital treatment for poisoning when he got back to Russia, suggesting that the attacker(s) cared little for the safety of anyone, including themselves, as long as they got the job done.

The Russian state did npt support him, he became an MP because a right wing party leader with no great love for the West drafted him.

The material was in UK before the incident...................... just who brough it in has never been discussed.

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 20:01
The material was in UK before the incident......................


You sound very certain, so what do you know that hasn't been made public?


just who brough it in has never been discussed.

Could that be because there's no evidence to support that assertion?

Stan Woolley
18th Apr 2018, 20:11
“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.”

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 20:24
“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.”

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk


Why on earth would any Civil Servant risk being charged under the OSA, losing their job and pension, by talking to someone like Craig Murray?

If anyone took this as a credible claim, there would be an internal investigation immediately, and anyone suspected of being in contact with Craig Murray would be subject to an in-depth investigation.

So, how likely is it that he REALLY has "well-placed FCO sources" that are prepared to lose their job, pension and face criminal charges?

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 20:33
On the subject of the contamination sites in Salisbury, there is now more information that shows how contamination was probably spread around and who may have spread it.

The Skripals house, and the three areas in the city they visited, The Mill pub, Zizzi restuarant and a fairly large area of paving and soil around where the bench used to be in The Maltings, where they collapsed.

It looks like the car compound where Sergei Skripal's car was taken to is another site, as is the police station in Bourne Hill, the home of a police officer and the ambulance station.

So it looks like first responders spread the agent around to at least three locations, the ambulance station, the police station and the home of a police officer.

All told the stuff seems to have been spread a lot further than might have been expected, which is another indication that it may well have been something like a gel or something sticky, and that it is very persistent, like VX in many ways.

Sallyann1234
18th Apr 2018, 20:38
The Russian state did npt support him, he became an MP because a right wing party leader with no great love for the West drafted him.

The material was in UK before the incident...................... just who brough it in has never been discussed.
You complain about a lack of evidence to support the government's conclusions of Russian responsibility for the chemical attacks.

And yet you make your own wild assertions without a scrap of evidence.

I don't think we need to take much notice of your ramblings.

flash8
18th Apr 2018, 21:11
“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.”

A significant number of former senior Government/Military officials are coming out of the woodwork, along with numerous leaks from those still in, it is like a leaky barrel...

The noise is not something you'd expect in a strong case, it seems all we have is the governments word, couched in language that is ambiguous at best.

Oh, and we have BoJo's word...

It also looks like the Syria "assad attack" argument is also falling apart....

VP959
18th Apr 2018, 21:39
A significant number of former senior Government/Military officials are coming out of the woodwork, along with numerous leaks from those still in, it is like a leaky barrel...

The noise is not something you'd expect in a strong case, it seems all we have is the governments word, couched in language that is ambiguous at best.

Oh, and we have BoJo's word...

Who are these "former senior Government/Military officials" that are "coming out of the woodwork"?

I've not seen one single person who was in a position to know anything credible come forward about the Skripal attack. Anyone connected in any way with this type of work will still be bound by the provisions of the OSA, and can only reveal information that is already in the public domain anyway. Any who ignore this, no matter how great the temptation, risk a long prison sentence and the loss of their job and pension.

All I've seen are some general views expressed by some people unconnected with the work here on chemical agents, plus interviews with former Russian scientists.

I'll freely admit that I would like nothing better than to give chapter and verse on some of the ways that governments have misused information, it used to enrage me every time it happened. Some of my colleagues were convinced I'd write a book about them after I'd retired, but not even I'm that stupid - I'd like to keep my freedom and my pension.

We've certainly had some unhelpful remarks made by people like BJ, but then few ever take him seriously anyway, he's just a bit of a national embarrassment at times - I'm sure many countries also have one.

We seem to have a great deal more than noise and the government's words. I've spent a lot of time going over the synthesis and purification of A234, based not so much on the book Mirzayanov wrote (which seems to have several errors in, one of which is the structure of A234, I believe) but on work released by two other Russians who worked in the same chemical weapons lab at Shikhany back in the Soviet era. All the data I've found tallies with the evidence we know to be true (the victims symptoms, the effectiveness of absorption of agent through the skin, the toxicity, the liquid nature of the agent, it's very long shelf life (many decades) and it's subsequent persistence in the environment. Even the Russian decontamination method, using an acid plus a strong oxidising agent, is the same.

The one curious anomaly of the large time delay between skin contact and the onset of symptoms. This does not fit with what I've been able to find out (using public domain information), and remains a puzzle, especially as we know beyond any doubt that the agent was A234.

longer ron
18th Apr 2018, 21:45
A significant number of former senior Government/Military officials are coming out of the woodwork, along with numerous leaks from those still in, it is like a leaky barrel...


Oh, and we have BoJo's word...



You musta been on the vodka again Flash :)

Don't expect many people to take notice of Murray the banker (misprint) - he really is a dipstick - as someone previously posted - a bit of 'Woolley' thinking going on there.

Best to ignore political dogmas when logical thinking required old bean :ok:

longer ron
18th Apr 2018, 21:52
Thanks, but I honestly don't know anything specific about this attack that hasn't been made public, somewhere, either nationally/internationally, or locally (I do live close to Salisbury). I did work as an organic chemist as my first job, before switching careers and joining the Scientific Civil Service (as it was known then), where I was lucky enough to receive a fair bit of free education in other disciplines.

.

I know VP - but you approach the whole affair in a professional and dispassionate way and it is really helpful that you have a very good knowledge of the relevant scientific disciplines.

Some other posters are just airing personal and political hatreds/attacks without any logical thought to any motives behind this sort of attack.

racedo
18th Apr 2018, 22:03
You complain about a lack of evidence to support the government's conclusions of Russian responsibility for the chemical attacks.

And yet you make your own wild assertions without a scrap of evidence.

I don't think we need to take much notice of your ramblings.

You keep claiming a "we"..................... almost as if you operating as part of a group or seeking censorship of others.

Key person blamed for attack is an MP with Vladimir Zhironovsky's party, a right wing fascist who has a hatred of both Putin and the west, he got Lugovoy, the person alledged to have carried out the attack, onto a list where he was elected to the Duma. This done to give him immunity from prosecution.
Russia does not extradite its citizens a fact that would have been known to Zhironovsky, it how ever does prosecute Russian citizens for crimes committed overseas if specific country provides the info for a court action.
No attempt made by Russian govt to give Lugovoy any protection.
But in Zhirinovsky action he has immunity as an MP.

If you wish to dispute that please go ahead.

flash8
18th Apr 2018, 22:11
Lord West - Retired First Sea Lord
Peter Ford - Former Syrian Ambassador
Major General Jonathan Shaw - Former Asst Chief of General Staff
Craig Murray - yes... him (and I know him if that counts!)
Various current FCO staff at senior level - Murray has proved his sources are reliable in the past, and if he says they are very unhappy... they are very unhappy, but their hands are tied... hence the leak.
Various credible journalists, Fisk, Hitch...

On the UK side... May, BoJo... two pearls of credibility, who have no agenda whatsoever!
Note Amber Rudd (who should be at the forefront of all this) is saying absolutely nothing.... she is certainly hedging her bets.


racedo:
Indeed Zhironovsky makes Putin look tame on occasion... the only time I've ever seen Putin genuinely look amused was when Zhironovsky started on one of his tirades on the glory of the motherland... don't think it was laughter out of fear though.

On the subject of the poisoning of Litvinenko, I am more inclined to believe some rogue element of Russia was responsible, although much of the so called evidence remains classified, and Litvinenko's own father believes it was the British!

Krystal n chips
19th Apr 2018, 06:36
I know VP - but you approach the whole affair in a professional and dispassionate way and it is really helpful that you have a very good knowledge of the relevant scientific disciplines.

Some other posters are just airing personal and political hatreds/attacks without any logical thought to any motives behind this sort of attack.

Take a deep breath and please make sure you are sitting comfortably.

Professional and dispassionate ?......erm, no. Creating the illusion of such, yes.

From the onset, and introduction about this event being "close to home" we have subsequently been regaled with a rich and eloquent treatise, much of which was, strangely, readily available in the public domain.

In one post, Russia was mentioned numerous times by way of substantiation ...this could hardly be classed as dispassionate therefore.

Complexity.

Contained within the posts there has been an amazing amount of chemical detail and some complex maths. Most of us know nothing about chemical agents, or even chemistry, other than what we were taught many years ago and have long since forgotten. So it's nigh on impossible to dispute the content. However, you have to ask yourself why, when the content is aimed at a general audience, this level of complexity is included. Other than to impress that is.

Of late however, there has been a subtle change of tack ( that's possibly a bit too dry for you ) with "it's my guess " now becoming more, well, prominent. Whereas previously, the statements were quite emphatic.

Whenever links are posted which don't support the self promotional expertise. they are invariably ridiculed and disparaged. This is a well established technique for anybody, on any topic, who feels threatened when confronted with information which may contradict their own resolute stance. I'm sure you have encountered such during those interminable and catatonic briefings we all have to endure at times in relation to work, and indeed, hobbies.


There was a passing allusion "based on experience " ( which is about as unequivocal as it gets ) as to state sanctioned murders, but nothing more. Funny that. There's also been references to the selfless work undertaken on behalf of the military and yet, when asked politely for verification of the types of aircraft, the locations, flying hours and capacity for somebody with an obsession with data, thus far, this data which you would think would be readily to hand, seems to be inexplicably missing.

Away from making us aware of pathogens, and binary agents, there have has been the now standard personal experiences on other threads.

The pensioner who killed the burglar....well who hasn't been arrested ( allegation thoughtfully not included but implied as attempted murder ) due to a family dispute?...and "as it happens ", who doesn't have a bottle of some relatively obscure liqueur resting on the kitchen shelf only to come to light when a post on such gets mentioned on JB, and lets face it, what organic chemist worth his or her salt, doesn't deprive Boots or Halfords of sales by making their own concoctions of their products. Winter tyres ?....well there you are getting some new tyres and, lo and behold, there's a video playing in the waiting room on that very subject.

You may also wish to ponder as to how, and why, such scientific eminence was involved in a production capacity for two state broadcasters no less.

I know, it's terribly inconvenient and inconsiderate of me to point out these, amongst many others, " amazing coincidences " but, I'm sure there are perfectly plausible explanations that will appease those who seem infatuated with the "rich tapestry of life " that we are generously presented with.

You may, however, have noticed a distinct pattern emerging here, and not with my queries before you leap to the defence of the poster in question. After all, I'm hardly a Tory supporter so that alone constitutes grounds for having an "agenda".

There was the heartrending and stalwart "take it on the chin" stance about loss of anonymity on here, but, fortunately, being mentioned in the Sunday Mail, copies of which were seemingly posted around the office at work, negated any risk of this happening. And who can forget dialling 999 for an RTA almost outside the front door, and then being confronted with Royal Marines, in civilian clothing, being first on the scene when the subject of troops on UK streets was being raised.

Shame about gliding getting mentioned though...

Meanwhile, another enigma....

" Anyone connected in any way with this type of work will still be bound by the provisions of the OSA, and can only reveal information that is already in the public domain anyway. Any who ignore this, no matter how great the temptation, risk a long prison sentence and the loss of their job and pension.

This is true, most people connected to any form of high level security work are remarkably reticent to discuss their work, in public, and the OSA is always prominent in their minds...... or so you would think, because.....

" I have received some interesting snippets of info on possible agents "

Which rather narrows the sources down does it not ?....unless, that is, this comment was just to keep a rapt JB audience on their seats awaiting the next thrilling instalment.

DaveReidUK
19th Apr 2018, 06:41
Welcome back to the thread, KnC.

We've missed your streams of consciousness (I use the term loosely). :O

ORAC
19th Apr 2018, 06:46
I know, it's terribly inconvenient and inconsiderate of me to point out these, amongst many others Nit at all, just recognised as part of your ongoing obsession concerning VP959 and ignored as such. Just one of your known foibles.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 07:08
Lord West - Retired First Sea Lord
Peter Ford - Former Syrian Ambassador
Major General Jonathan Shaw - Former Asst Chief of General Staff
Craig Murray - yes... him (and I know him if that counts!)
Various current FCO staff at senior level - Murray has proved his sources are reliable in the past, and if he says they are very unhappy... they are very unhappy, but their hands are tied... hence the leak.
Various credible journalists, Fisk, Hitch...

On the UK side... May, BoJo... two pearls of credibility, who have no agenda whatsoever!
Note Amber Rudd (who should be at the forefront of all this) is saying absolutely nothing.... she is certainly hedging her bets.




But NONE of these people, other than the current government politicians, has any current and credible knowledge of the attack on the Skripals, they are primarily campaigning, in one form or another, in support of Syria, which has nothing at all to do with the attack on the Skripals as far as I can see, and that is my main point.

Specifically:

Lord West has concerns I share about increasing tensions with the Russian government, but has no specific or privileged knowledge of the attempted assassination method used against the Skripals. He's been strongly opposed to cuts in defence and critical of government policy in defence matters, and I tend to agree with much of what he's said in the past about this. He knows no more than you or I about the Skripal attack, though. Being a Labour peer doesn't give him access to current information - any counter-terrorism knowledge he has is now 8 years out of date.

Peter Ford we've discussed here at length, and is just a sacked former ambassador that is a strong supporter of Syria, and who again knows nothing more than you or I about the Skripal attack.

Jonathan Shaw retired as a 2* and is another who believes we should have nothing to do with getting involved in Syria. He knows nothing more than you or I about the Skripal attack. He will have good knowledge of our NBC equipment and techniques as they were around 7 years ago, but will not have been privy to the details of the novichok programme even then, as it was something from well before his time that we believed had been closed down. He has been careful to not comment specifically about information he has from his time working in the CBRN area, as he is still bound by the OSA.

Craig Murray is simply not credible, in my view, not least because, again, he knows nothing more than you or I about the Skripal attack. He has only used the attack as a justification, in his view, to support his own position of selling conspiracy theories to anyone who will listen, specifically anything, no matter how bizarre, that supports his strong views on human rights (and I agree with his aims, but feel strongly that by twisting any action by anyone around to support his views he actually does more harm than good). He has no expertise in chemical weapons, AFAIK, and is just another disillusioned former diplomat.

I've already made my views on our government, and BJ in particular, clear.

To be clear, the situation in Syria (which is what has stirred all of the non-government people you cited above into action) has NO connection to the attack on the Skripals, AFAICS, and I think we need to be careful to separate out the two. There is no possible reason for Syria to have even a peripheral involvement in the attempted murder of the Skripals - Syria has no motive at all, and seems to be putting all it's resources into regaining full control of it's own country anyway.

Those with an axe to grind, including politicians, will try to falsely conflate the two separate issues, but I believe that is both wrong and pretty damned stupid, for several reasons, not the least being that the attack on the Skripals has brought a world wide focus on the use of chemical weapons, something that has, if anything, made the political situation for the Syrian government worse than it already was.

Krystal n chips
19th Apr 2018, 07:23
Nit at all, just recognised as part of your ongoing obsession concerning VP959 and ignored as such. Just one of your known foibles.

ORAC, sadly I'm just one of those people who tends to wonder, and then wonder a bit more, when confronted with such a plethora of experiences.

We all have coincidences in our lives, as in "that happened to me as well " and it would be strange if we didn't.

However....when these coincidences appear for almost every topic / thread, as I've said before, as in the real world when somebody seeks prominence by virtue of offering their own involvement, then I take a closer interest as indeed does anybody when offered insights into a life that seems to have a rich abundance of such.

There's also the rather unfortunate matter of, erm, consistency. It tends to get a shade problematic when experiences are promoted as having extensive knowledge of, yet, in another, a disclaimer is made as to the extent of this knowledge.

Us mere mortals just can't even begin to emulate such really....how can we .

But I'll concede the experiences are very eloquently and articulated in their presentation.....which should also offer an insight.

longer ron
19th Apr 2018, 07:57
Craig Murray - yes... him (and I know him if that counts!)



Ah yes the Englishman living in Dundee who is obviously a legend in his own lunchtime.
The Englishman who is ultra keen on Scottish 'Independence' LOL
The Englishman who accuses Scots people who did not vote for 'Independence' as being 'Stupid' LOL

''I have no idea how to reach out to No voters because I find the majority of them stupid beyond my understanding''


Like - he has actually been out and talked to thousands of 'No' voters ? - no Murray is just another legend in his own lunchtime who thinks anybody who disagrees with him is Stupid (Like KnC of this parish ) and he obviously hates the Tories (just look at some of his 'blogs') so it would be fair to say that he has an agenda of his own.

I was born and raised in Scotland and I live in Scotland - so you may understand why I strongly dislike the bloke.

Flash - I know lots of people but that would not necessarily be a recommendation :ok:

rgds LR

Sallyann1234
19th Apr 2018, 07:59
You keep claiming a "we"..................... almost as if you operating as part of a group or seeking censorship of others.

Key person blamed for attack is an MP with Vladimir Zhironovsky's party, a right wing fascist who has a hatred of both Putin and the west, he got Lugovoy, the person alledged to have carried out the attack, onto a list where he was elected to the Duma. This done to give him immunity from prosecution.
Russia does not extradite its citizens a fact that would have been known to Zhironovsky, it how ever does prosecute Russian citizens for crimes committed overseas if specific country provides the info for a court action.
No attempt made by Russian govt to give Lugovoy any protection.
But in Zhirinovsky action he has immunity as an MP.

If you wish to dispute that please go ahead.
I don't need to dispute any of your speculations.

It is for you to justify them with evidence, just as you demand of others.

Until then you can be safely ignored.

longer ron
19th Apr 2018, 08:05
Take a deep breath and please make sure you are sitting comfortably.

Professional and dispassionate ?......erm, no. Creating the illusion of such, yes.



Excellent Rant/Ramble KnC - definitely 'up' to your usual standard - we know you have a 'thing' about VP LOL.
He has posted many times that he does not know for sure any more than the general public about the Skripal case - nobody on here knows anything 100% for sure about the case so we have the usual political agendas going on 'quel surprise'.

rgds LR

longer ron
19th Apr 2018, 08:13
@ Flash8

This is the Craig Murray comment I could not find earlier,he is talking about people who voted 'no' in the Scottish Independence Ref...

I am not going to reach out to you, No voter. You are either evil, or quite extraordinarily thick. You will forever be a long way beneath my notice. This will be the last thought I ever give you.

How is that for deep thinking and reaching out to the broader population,and being receptive to ideas other than his own narrow views :hmm:

That is why I dislike him intensely.

Stan Woolley
19th Apr 2018, 08:28
But NONE of these people, other than the current government politicians, has any current and credible knowledge of the attack on the Skripals, they are primarily campaigning, in one form or another, in support of Syria, which has nothing at all to do with the attack on the Skripals as far as I can see, and that is my main point.

Specifically:

Then you proceed to denigrate and play down the individuals like Lord West, Peter Ford etc, saying that they would ‘know nothing more...’ than anyone else.

What they all DO KNOW, much better any of us, including you, is the way things actually work within the military and the civil service/ government. What they DO HAVE, by being outside the previous constraints theymay have once had, is a freedom to be more honest to state their opinions.

I for one enjoy your writhing, squirming protests about these very informed, well connected individuals, it reveals so much for anyone willing to see.

Do carry on.

Andy_S
19th Apr 2018, 08:54
Then you proceed to denigrate and play down the individuals like Lord West, Peter Ford etc, saying that they would ‘know nothing more...’ than anyone else.

I don’t think VP959 has denigrated anyone. He simply points out that the people you reference as reliable and well connected commentators are actually no longer employed by the government or civil service and therefore are not party to privileged information on Skripal, Syria or anything else. Furthermore, to a greater or lesser degree they have very clear agendas of their own so may not exactly be impartial.

I get the feeling, Stan, that that the real reason you ‘trust’ these people is simply that they validate your own views.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 08:54
Then you proceed to denigrate and play down the individuals like Lord West, Peter Ford etc, saying that they would ‘know nothing more...’ than anyone else.

What they all DO KNOW, much better any of us, including you, is the way things actually work within the military and the civil service/ government. What they DO HAVE, by being outside the previous constraints theymay have once had, is a freedom to be more honest to state their opinions.

I for one enjoy your writhing, squirming protests about these very informed, well connected individuals, it reveals so much for anyone willing to see.

Do carry on.

There are many that use this forum that will know how things work within government, the military and the Civil Service, but what has that to do with the attempted murder of two people in Salisbury?

The investigation is not being conducted by the military, or anyone in the Civil Service, it is being conducted by the police, specifically the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, presumably because they have a great deal more experience of investigating complex and unusual attacks, that have some similarity with terrorist acts, than the local Wiltshire police.

I don't think anyone here can just assume that anyone who makes a statement about the attempted murder of the Skripals is well-informed about it, unless we have reasonable grounds to believe they are.

I cannot see how two former diplomats, a Labour peer who use to be the First Sea Lord and a 2* retired army officer are any better qualified to comment on an attempted murder investigation than anyone else.

How would any of these non-government people have access to what is going on within this criminal investigation, for example?

It seems to me that the investigation team are doing pretty well at keeping what they know and do not know pretty close to their chest, and I doubt if they are passing any sensitive information on to any other government department unless they have a good reason to do so. I've no doubt that limited information may have been passed to the FCO and Home Office, given that at least one of the victims is a foreign national, but I doubt they have passed on much more than has been released to the media.

I've done no "writhing, squirming protests", simply given my view that these individuals are no better informed than anyone else who takes the time to look at all the information that is available, and some of them, particularly Craig Murray, are not exactly well-respected sources of clear and unbiased information - something that is easy to verify. Others here have pointed out flaws in past statements made that undermines, or at least brings into question, their credibility.

Some of the other people mentioned are primarily making a point about Syria, not this criminal investigation, and by trying to somehow link two unconnected issues all they are doing is confuse things, in my view.

Stan Woolley
19th Apr 2018, 09:10
I don’t think VP959 has denigrated anyone.

Fair enough. Choose a different, more fitting word. :ok:

denigrate
ˈdɛnɪɡreɪt/Submit
verb
criticize unfairly; disparage.
"doom and gloom merchants who denigrate their own country"
synonyms: disparage, belittle, diminish, deprecate, cast aspersions on, decry, criticize unfairly, attack, speak ill of, speak badly of, blacken the character of, blacken the name of, give someone a bad name, sully the reputation of, spread lies about, defame, slander, libel, calumniate, besmirch, run down, abuse, insult, slight, revile, malign, vilify; More

Krystal n chips
19th Apr 2018, 09:37
Excellent Rant/Ramble KnC - definitely 'up' to your usual standard - we know you have a 'thing' about VP LOL.
He has posted many times that he does not know for sure any more than the general public about the Skripal case - nobody on here knows anything 100% for sure about the case so we have the usual political agendas going on 'quel surprise'.

rgds LR

Oh please LR, such fulsome praise is so :O for me....plaudit's and accolades have long been bereft from my life, both on here and in the real world.

I can only assume you were never a habitué of the less refined gliding club bars, the one's whose members would listen intently to newcomers extoling their prowess..... before starting to ask a few questions....

And yes, recently there have been comments about not knowing for certain, after all, who can other than those directly involved in the investigation ( and they are unlikely to post on here now are they ).....buuut, sorry about this, in the initial days, and subsequently, there have been several, lets call them, deductive reasoning and forensics analysis references which have inferred more detailed knowledge.

Dan_Brown
19th Apr 2018, 09:37
Forgive me please if i have repeated this, as i haven't read every post on this thread.

The Uk has had "democracy" for a little less than a 1,000 years. Russia has lived with a sort of "democracy" for 25 years. They are used to being bullied and they seem to respond well to being bullied. When people are bullied, some develope into complete bullies themselves. They have one in charge now.

Some little people are like little dogs. They can and sometimes do develope into nasty pieces of work. Nuf said.

longer ron
19th Apr 2018, 09:55
I can only assume you were never a habitué of the less refined gliding club bars, the one's whose members would listen intently to newcomers extoling their prowess..... before starting to ask a few questions....



Yeah I mostly avoided the GSA whilst in the mob (avoidance originally caused by a bicester 'character' LOL).
I never had any tolerance for gobshoits/legends in their own lunchtimes etc.
I could usually ID the BS merchants/dodgy characters within seconds of meeting them - which came in handy later in life when involved with lots of training/qualifying a large number of people for a/c servicing etc - indeed I had disagreements with management occasionally when I point blank refused to 'sign up' some people :)

Sallyann1234
19th Apr 2018, 10:01
Fine. Now can we get back to the subject please?

pulse1
19th Apr 2018, 10:08
"What they all DO KNOW, much better any of us, including you, is the way things actually work within the military and the civil service/ government."

Come off it Stan. How can you accuse a man whose lifelong career has been in the Scientific Civil Service of knowing less about how things work than any diplomat or military leader. VP is a typical scientist and his posts are almost always scientifically based. His opinions are usually qualified by his self professed limitations of his knowledge. As a fellow scientist I know how we get pressurised to go outside the limitations of our knowledge.

I can't help feeling that KnC is jealous of the attention that VP is getting because of his scientific expertise. All we get from KnC is widespread criticism of everybody wrapped up in his impressive gift of the gab.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 10:45
I can't help feeling that KnC is jealous of the attention that VP is getting because of his scientific expertise. All we get from KnC is widespread criticism of everybody wrapped up in his impressive gift of the gab.

I don't think that's the reason, it's just a personal issue he's had with me for a long time. I only get to read snippets of his posts that get quoted by others, as after trying to have a reasoned debate on another thread a fair time ago I just got fed up with the seemingly personal attacks and just clicked the "ignore" button.

The daft thing is that if we ever met face to face I suspect we'd find we'd agree about more things than we'd disagree about. I also have a suspicion that we both know one or two of the same people who were around in the gliding scene in the early eighties, and may well share a common opinion of one or two of them.

Getting back to the topic of this thread, then this:


As a fellow scientist I know how we get pressurised to go outside the limitations of our knowledge.

very accurately sums up my experience. In particular, politicians often seemed to take elements out of any brief they have been given out of context, and almost always without quoting the inevitable caveats. The media are worse, but not by much, in my view.

The problem is that you can be asked to look at a particular subject of interest, you do as good a job as you can to come up with theories, perform experiments to test those theories, and yet not be able to give the sort of definitive answer that was wanted. A good example regarding this topic would be the analysis of the agent. All of the labs that have analysed samples have reached the same conclusion. One lab, the Spiez lab in Switzerland, opted to synthesise and purify a reference sample, in addition to comparing the known spectral signature of A234 with the analysis of the samples they had collected from the scene. The reference sample they made turned out to contain trace contamination with 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, yet this was mis-reported widely as being in the samples taken from the scene and the victims, and even quoted by at least one politician as being evidence that A234 had not been used.

The Spiez lab had been wholly truthful in reporting it's findings, but someone seized on the trace contamination issue and for a time it became yet another issue for the politicians, and others, to argue over.

Some might say that the Spiez lab should just not have mentioned that the reference sample they chose to prep and purify contained a trace contaminant, but that would have been unethical.

flash8
19th Apr 2018, 12:59
Sorry the post was more appropriate to the Syria thread.

However if they lie about Syria (and that narrative is crumbling) then Skripal is just a short step away, my point is the credibility is seriously lacking all around with this government, and one would be foolish to think otherwise.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 13:38
Sorry the post was more appropriate to the Syria thread.

However if they lie about Syria (and that narrative is crumbling) then Skripal is just a short step away, my point is the credibility is seriously lacking all around with this government, and one would be foolish to think otherwise.

No argument from me on that at all. All I'd add is that, in my view, credibility in all governments is lacking to some degree.

I'm not sure that there is any government that I'd trust to always tell the truth, but perhaps I'm just being overly cynical.

It's the puzzles surrounding the science and technology of the Skripal attack that has piqued my interest, primarily as the known time line for the Skripal's movements that afternoon, and the time that they succumbed to the effect of the agent, doesn't seem to align with what is publicly known about A234, and doesn't fit the descriptions of its toxicity as given by Fedorov, Mirzayanov or Uglev.

Lascaille
19th Apr 2018, 14:00
It's the puzzles surrounding the science and technology of the Skripal attack that has piqued my interest, primarily as the known time line for the Skripal's movements that afternoon, and the time that they succumbed to the effect of the agent, doesn't seem to align with what is publicly known about A234, and doesn't fit the descriptions of its toxicity as given by Fedorov, Mirzayanov or Uglev.

If you are confident in the science then perhaps in that case the agent was delivered in a 'package' for later self-administration... A surreptitious addition made to a bottle of hand cream that would normally reside in a handbag, perhaps?

glad rag
19th Apr 2018, 14:32
@ Flash8

This is the Craig Murray comment I could not find earlier,he is talking about people who voted 'no' in the Scottish Independence Ref...



How is that for deep thinking and reaching out to the broader population,and being receptive to ideas other than his own narrow views :hmm:

That is why I dislike him intensely.

You know that facebook information scandal?

Who do you think used the same method first some 9 years ago??

The "utterly hypocritical" SNP have been compiling a database of every voter in Scotland for over seven years. It was the first political party in the world to introduce revolutionary computer software called NationBuilder, co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard roommate and funded by Facebook's billionaire co-founder.

https://www.express.co.uk/scotland/936592/Facebook-data-row-SNP-harvesting-data-controversy-social-media

Nicola Sturgeon has refused to reveal who the SNP consultant was that met with controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica.


Sturgeon refuses to name consultant who met Cambridge Analytica for SNP | Watford Observer (http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/national/16170952.Sturgeon_refuses_to_name_consultant_who_met_Cambrid ge_Analytica_for_SNP/)

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 14:49
If you are confident in the science then perhaps in that case the agent was delivered in a 'package' for later self-administration... A surreptitious addition made to a bottle of hand cream that would normally reside in a handbag, perhaps?

It's a good idea, but unfortunately it still doesn't fit the time line that has been made public (not saying that the time line is absolutely accurate, but it seems reasonable, given that some has come from known public sightings).

The puzzle is that the highest concentration of agent is allegedly on the door handle of his house, suggesting that was the point where it was administered (and accepting that the agent on the door handle could itself be from transfer).

They left home shortly before 13:30, and he left the car in the central car park at 13:45, so we can reasonably assume that they didn't return home again. That fits with what has been reported regarding the times they were in the pub and then in the restaurant, both places that they seem to have contaminated by transfer.

They didn't collapse until sometime after around 15:40, and it seems they went from being able to walk normally (there is CCTV coverage showing them walking back from the restaurant towards The Maltings, en route to where he'd parked the car) to collapsing on the bench in a matter of minutes. The time it would take to walk from the last sighting on CCTV to the bench where they were found is under a minute. It's a route I used to walk, pushing my bike back to the cycle path that runs through the car park, most Saturday mornings (it's been closed off since the attack).

So we seem to have this puzzle that they were contaminated before 13:30, spread that contamination around several locations where they touched anything, yet didn't collapse from the effect of the agent until some time around 15:40 or so.

Two hours is a long time between skin exposure and the apparently sudden onset of debilitating, and life threatening, symptoms, and that's what's puzzling me (and, I suspect a lot of others, who may well be doing experimental work to try and understand what caused this time delay).

For anyone with an interest in the Soviet/Russian chemical weapons programme, this Hungarian paper is as close as I've found to a reasonably accurate and reliable single source: archiv.uni-nke.hu/downloads/aarms/docs/Volume6/Issue1/pdf/15vasa.pdf

although without independent peer review I'd be the first to say that it may not be wholly accurate, all I can say is that parts of it align reasonably well with some other information that's I know to be accurate. It was written in 2007, and so cannot be biased by any more recent events, such as those in Syria or the attack on the Skripals, and that adds to its general credibility, in my view. My only note of caution is that it was written by former Warsaw Pact nationals, and I'm not sure whether that might put an anti-Russian spin on it. From reading it a few times I don't think it does, at least not to any serious extent.

Sallyann1234
19th Apr 2018, 15:19
VP, what's happening at Zizzi's?
AIUI they are closed indefinitely for decontamination. Who pays for the loss of their business? Their insurance may not cover issues like this.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 15:36
VP, what's happening at Zizzi's?
AIUI they are closed indefinitely for decontamination. Who pays for the loss of their business? Their insurance may not cover issues like this.

They, and The Mill, will probably be closed for several months, perhaps the remainder of this year, from what I've heard.

I've no idea who's footing the bill for their losses, but would hazard a guess that it may well not be covered by their own insurance. My best guess is that they may have to claim against the government somehow.

I received an email from our MP last week (he's started sending out regular updates to anyone that has ever corresponded with him) that mentions the disruption, but doesn't go into any real detail (I've deliberately left out the part about Syria - I don't think we need to deflect this thread in that direction again!):

John Glen MP
Member of Parliament for Salisbury and South Wiltshire
Salisbury and Syria
13 April 2018

Almost six weeks after the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the recovery phase in Salisbury is now in full swing. We need to be aware, though, that this will not be a swift process, completed in just a few days. It’s important that we have a very thorough decontamination of all the relevant sites in Salisbury and we get this right so that there is complete confidence in our city going forward. Each location will need a different amount of time depending on the specific circumstances of that site, and it will be a number of months before all the sites have been returned to normal.

I was on the panel at City Hall on Wednesday evening for a public meeting to update local residents on current developments. Sitting alongside Wiltshire Council leader Baroness Jane Scott, and a number of representatives from the council and partner agencies, I repeatedly made the case that we need to listen and take on board the expert advice. The Government is utilising the very best expertise in the country and we need to trust that decisions are being taken on the basis of the very best information.

I have picked up a certain level of frustration at the pace at which some sites will be returned to normal. However, I am encouraging people to trust the experts on this. There are obviously highly classified national security matters in play, and it is not appropriate for the public to be given all the information. Although I am a government minister, I am in the same boat as everyone else on this. I have though been making representations to Defra to ensure that the decontamination phase is completed as fast as possible.

I welcomed the announcement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) this week which confirmed the British government’s analysis of the nerve agent used on 4 March. We have asked the Russian Federation for a full explanation of what has occurred, but given pronouncements from Moscow’s representatives over the past month, I am certainly not optimistic that this will be forthcoming.

G-CPTN
19th Apr 2018, 16:02
Here's a thought - though it does have a weakness WRT the car and pub contamination - that the door handle wasn't the primary source (or, maybe, the couple were wearing gloves).
Just what might be the alternative source weakens that suggestion - how would the would-be assassins know where the couple were headed? - and how would they gain access to Zizzis (unless there was a mole employed there)?

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 16:18
Here's a thought - though it does have a weakness WRT the car and pub contamination - that the door handle wasn't the primary source (or, maybe, the couple were wearing gloves).
Just what might be the alternative source weakens that suggestion - how would the would-be assassins know where the couple were headed? - and how would they gain access to Zizzis (unless there was a mole employed there)?

I think the idea they were wearing gloves would explain some of the long delay, perhaps either one, or both, of them picked up the agent on a glove from the door handle, transferred it to surfaces in his car, at The Mill and at Zizzi's, and somehow they managed to avoid getting significantly contaminated themselves until around the time they left Zizzi's.

It fits the time line a lot better, but it's hard to imagine how they managed to avoid getting contamination on their skin for so long.

As far as theories go, it's one that fits what we know pretty well, but just seems a bit far-fetched. However, as Sherlock Holmes said, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

I'm not convinced that all the "impossibles" have yet been eliminated, though!

G-CPTN
19th Apr 2018, 16:32
For a long period of my working life I 'controlled' vehicle tests involving prototype vehicles.
As such there was no history of 'failures' and every occurrence was a first time one off, so my failure analysis (Kepner and Tregoe (https://www.toolshero.com/problem-solving/kepner-tregoe-method/)) had to consider every possibility until a repeat (or the failure could be reproduced).
I had a couple of real doozies that took a long time to solve (and I had to travel to 'quarantined' incidents across the country) before I began to be able to predict the symptoms without being first told.
I later recounted my experience with the consultant surgeon who was struggling to diagnose my unusual medical condition (he never did - it was only in the operating theatre that the solution was discovered).
So I never accept the obvious unless it can be absolutely proven without doubt.

Sallyann1234
19th Apr 2018, 16:40
It shows how incredibly powerful these substances are that a tiny smear, invisible to the carrier, can be left on multiple premises by him leaving those sites uninhabitable for indefinite periods.

It also seems to make them less than useful as a military weapon, since the usual notion of chemical weapons is to kill the enemy but leave their territory undamaged and available for occupation.

PickyPerkins
19th Apr 2018, 17:29
Lascaille
... A surreptitious addition made to a bottle of hand cream that would normally reside in a handbag, perhaps? (post #1414)
-CPTN
... (or, maybe, the couple were wearing gloves). (post #1419)

If the authorities have spent four weeks searching every inch of the quite large cemetery, they ought to by now have also surveyed the clothes, carried possessions, and bodies of the two victims, and hence know not only about gloves and hand cream, but also exactly which areas of the clothes, and probably the bodies, were contaminated. We have not been told.
VP959
They left home shortly before 13:30, and he left the car in the central car park at 13:45, so we can reasonably assume that they didn't return home again. That fits with what has been reported regarding the times they were in the pub and then in the restaurant, both places that they seem to have contaminated by transfer.
They didn't collapse until sometime after around 15:40, and it seems they went from being able to walk normally (there is CCTV coverage showing them walking back from the restaurant towards The Maltings, en route to where he'd parked the car) to collapsing on the bench in a matter of minutes. The time it would take to walk from the last sighting on CCTV to the bench where they were found is under a minute. It's a route I used to walk, pushing my bike back to the cycle path that runs through the car park, most Saturday mornings (it's been closed off since the attack).
So we seem to have this puzzle that they were contaminated before 13:30, spread that contamination around several locations where they touched anything, yet didn't collapse from the effect of the agent until some time around 15:40 or so.

Two hours is a long time between skin exposure and the apparently sudden onset of debilitating, and life threatening, symptoms, and that's what's puzzling me (and, I suspect a lot of others, who may well be doing experimental work to try and understand what caused this time delay). (post #1416)

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were seen on CCTV literally 2 to 3 minutes away from where they were found, apparently well and walking towards The Maltings. (post #18)


Even more remarkable than the two hour delay, is the fact that they collapsed suddenly and simultaneously. Two genetically similar people, one twice the age of the other, contaminated with the same toxin, probably at about the same time, collapsed within one or two minutes of each other, i.e. the time difference was about 2% or less of the delay. Possible, but like;y?

It easier to believe that there was a second application of the toxin in the Maltings, either self-administered, or by a second attack, the first having been seen to have apparently failed. If so, Yulia would probably have known this and told the authorities by now, but not us.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 17:44
It shows how incredibly powerful these substances are that a tiny smear, invisible to the carrier, can be left on multiple premises by him leaving those sites uninhabitable for indefinite periods.

It also seems to make them less than useful as a military weapon, since the usual notion of chemical weapons is to kill the enemy but leave their territory undamaged and available for occupation.

That's always been the problem with agents like VX, A232, A234 and the other persistent ones, they create a long term contamination problem. The other problem is that they are harder to atomise, so that makes the design of the deployment system more challenging.

Less toxic agents, like Sarin, are in many ways more useful as weapons. Sarin evaporates fairly quickly, it's a less viscous liquid, rather like water, so atomises fairly easily, which means that it can be deployed as a fine aerosol, using a small explosive charge, more easily, and as an aerosol it is significantly more effective at killing people - finer droplets are more easily breathed in, or coalesce on the skin, eyes, nose, mouth etc. The other advantage is that Sarin will evaporate away fairly quickly and is more easily decontaminated.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 18:18
If the authorities have spent four weeks searching every inch of the quite large cemetery, they ought to by now have also surveyed the clothes, carried possessions, and bodies of the two victims, and hence know not only about gloves and hand cream, but also exactly which areas of the clothes, and probably the bodies, were contaminated. We have not been told.


Even more remarkable than the two hour delay, is the fact that they collapsed suddenly and simultaneously. Two genetically similar people, one twice the age of the other, contaminated with the same toxin, probably at about the same time, collapsed within one or two minutes of each other, i.e. the time difference was about 2% or less of the delay. Possible, but like;y?

It easier to believe that there was a second application of the toxin in the Maltings, either self-administered, or by a second attack, the first having been seen to have apparently failed. If so, Yulia would probably have known this and told the authorities by now, but not us.

You're right, we've not been told very much at all.

I agree about the near-simultaneous collapse, after a delay of over 2 hours, being one of the things that strikes me as being really odd.

If we assume that A234 has an absorption rate through the skin that is similar to VX, which seems a reasonable assumption, as from what I've been able to find out the physical properties of A234 seem broadly similar to VX, then the time from normal skin exposure to death should be between 30 seconds to 10 minutes at the most, for a lethal dose.

I don't know much about A234, but I do know that VX behaves in a very non-linear way in terms of dose and effect. The difference between a dose that causes no symptoms at all, and a dose that is lethal, is extremely small. We are led to believe that A234 is around 7 to 10 times more toxic than VX, but I can't find out any reliable information on the relationship between dose and the onset of symptoms. My suspicion is that it may well behave like VX, and so have a very small difference between a dose that gives no symptoms and a dose that produces noticeable symptoms, or death.

I also suspect that it may behave like other persistent organophosphate agents, in that regular exposure, over a relatively short period of time, to a small dose that causes no symptoms, may accumulate to give a sudden onset of symptoms and death. There is limited human trial evidence that this is the case with VX, I believe.

None of this explains the near simultaneous collapse, unless it was not as simultaneous as we might think. There are eye witness reports that Yulia Skripal seemed to be leaning towards her father, almost as if giving him a hug. I wonder if one of them felt the effects of the agent earlier than the other, but put it down to something else. Sergei Skripal is diabetic, probably Type 2, as he was diagnosed fairly late in life, and they had both been for a drink and a meal. Perhaps he felt early symptoms that he put down to having had too much to eat or drink, or he might even have thought he was having a hypoglycaemic event. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia are very similar to the early symptoms of nerve agent poisoning. It seems that they must have chosen to rest on that seat for a reason, so perhaps this was it, they sat down whilst he rested and took a glucose tablet, perhaps. She sat with him, expecting him to recover, then she became ill herself some time later, and her early symptoms were such as to cause her to be confused about what was happening to both of them.

There is a gap between them being seen on the seat at around 15:45, with her apparently leaning against him, and the police being called at 16:15, by which time one of them had vomited and he was reported as having one hand up in the air and was making jerking motions.

Could that half hour possibly account for the difference in health, body mass, received dose variation etc, between the two of them?

racedo
19th Apr 2018, 18:36
I don't need to dispute any of your speculations.

It is for you to justify them with evidence, just as you demand of others.

Until then you can be safely ignored.

If is FACT that was posted.

Guess teh collective have kicked you to the sidelines now and you are on your own.

racedo
19th Apr 2018, 18:41
T
The investigation is not being conducted by the military, or anyone in the Civil Service, it is being conducted by the police, specifically the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, presumably because they have a great deal more experience of investigating complex and unusual attacks, that have some similarity with terrorist acts, than the local Wiltshire police.

Who report to the Home Secretary NOT Foreign Secretary yet he one making the announcements.

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 18:52
Who report to the Home Secretary NOT Foreign Secretary yet he one making the announcements.

Are you really surprised that BJ is being his usual self and appears to be "firing from the hip" over this?

I'm still gobsmacked that he was given that job; anyone less suited to be Foreign Secretary would be pretty hard to find, IMHO.

G-CPTN
19th Apr 2018, 18:55
Perhaps he felt early symptoms that he put down to having had too much to eat or drink, or he might even have thought he was having a hypoglycaemic event. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia are very similar to the early symptoms of nerve agent poisoning. It seems that they must have chosen to rest on that seat for a reason, so perhaps this was it, they sat down whilst he rested and took a glucose tablet, perhaps. She sat with him, expecting him to recover, then she became ill herself some time later, and her early symptoms were such as to cause her to be confused about what was happening to both of them.

There is a gap between them being seen on the seat at around 15:45, with her apparently leaning against him, and the police being called at 16:15, by which time one of them had vomited and he was reported as having one hand up in the air and was making jerking motions.

Could that half hour possibly account for the difference in health, body mass, received dose variation etc, between the two of them?
Speculation (partly explained by VP):-

If one of the two was suddenly incapacitated, why didn't the other summon help?

For both of them to be incapacitated so close together (in time) rather discounts that they both received their 'dose' only from the house door handle.

It would seem that there needs to be an accelerating event (vomiting?).

Nige321
19th Apr 2018, 20:06
Oh please LR, such fulsome praise is so :O for me....plaudit's and accolades have long been bereft from my life, both on here and in the real world.

I can only assume you were never a habitué of the less refined gliding club bars, the one's whose members would listen intently to newcomers extoling their prowess..... before starting to ask a few questions....

And yes, recently there have been comments about not knowing for certain, after all, who can other than those directly involved in the investigation ( and they are unlikely to post on here now are they ).....buuut, sorry about this, in the initial days, and subsequently, there have been several, lets call them, deductive reasoning and forensics analysis references which have inferred more detailed knowledge.

Which posts? Put up or shut up...:D

Sallyann1234
19th Apr 2018, 20:58
If is FACT that was posted.

Guess teh collective have kicked you to the sidelines now and you are on your own.
Sorry old fella, but shouting FACT doesn't make anything true. It just shows that you don't have anything more convincing to say.

Time now for your Ovaltine...

KelvinD
19th Apr 2018, 21:16
The Uk has had "democracy" for a little less than a 1,000 years.
Well, more like 90 years actually. Universal suffrage came with the Representation of the People Act 1928. So, if he was still alive, my Dad would have been older than our democracy. Come to think of it, the Queen is older!

VP959
19th Apr 2018, 21:26
Speculation (partly explained by VP):-

If one of the two was suddenly incapacitated, why didn't the other summon help?

For both of them to be incapacitated so close together (in time) rather discounts that they both received their 'dose' only from the house door handle.

It would seem that there needs to be an accelerating event (vomiting?).

It's pretty odd, isn't it?

Someone with more knowledge of medicine than me might be able to better comment of the effect of vomiting, but my guess, and it is just a guess, is that if the agent has been absorbed through the skin then I'm not sure that vomiting (or the loss of bladder and bowel control, which is another symptom) has any effect.

There's one report of a Russian worker who received an accidental dose of A234 and the first symptoms reported were visual impairment and hallucinations, but I can't find any verification of this at all, and it may well be unreliable. However, if it is correct, then perhaps this effect may have been enough to prevent one of them using a phone, or perhaps neither of them had enough control of their muscles to use a phone.

What would fit reasonably well is if both of them made skin contact with the agent either in Zizzi's, or shortly after leaving it, and that it then acted as expected within a minute or two to disable both of them pretty quickly. It's hard to understand how this is compatible with the contamination found in the other sites though.

Perhaps the best answer is that there just isn't enough information available as to the effects of agents of this type when the dose is sub-lethal, and how long it takes for cumulative effects to develop, and how dose-sensitive this may be.

G-CPTN
19th Apr 2018, 22:19
One of the facets of problem analysis is knowing when you have collected all the necessary evidence and are able to eliminate the red herrings.

In a production environment, where there is pressure to come to a rapid conclusion as to a fix - which really requires you to solve the problem mechanism correctly - otherwise your fix might not rectify the fault.

In this (Salisbury) case there is probably no absolute urgent deadline, but you still have to identify when you have garnered all the necessary evidence and know what to discard.

Sometimes you can just have too much information.

The best way to confirm that your analysis is correct is to reproduce the 'failure' - something that clearly isn't feasible in this current case.

VP959
20th Apr 2018, 06:59
One of the facets of problem analysis is knowing when you have collected all the necessary evidence and are able to eliminate the red herrings.

In a production environment, where there is pressure to come to a rapid conclusion as to a fix - which really requires you to solve the problem mechanism correctly - otherwise your fix might not rectify the fault.

In this (Salisbury) case there is probably no absolute urgent deadline, but you still have to identify when you have garnered all the necessary evidence and know what to discard.

Sometimes you can just have too much information.

The best way to confirm that your analysis is correct is to reproduce the 'failure' - something that clearly isn't feasible in this current case.

I wholeheartedly agree, although I've never worked in a production environment. A lot of the flight test work I did was weapon/aircraft interface related, always with stuff that wasn't yet in service, and a lot of it was testing during development to make sure that everything worked as intended over the full weapon carriage and release flight envelope. It was common to have problems, and finding them was always hampered by lack of information. It didn't seem to matter how much instrumentation we had, or how many cameras we fitted to the A/C, often we'd just not gather the key bit of information to solve the puzzle for weeks.

I remember retarder failure problem, where the operating lanyard would sometimes fail at the length adjuster, and no matter how we tried to simulate this in the lab we could never get it to fail. In the end a colleague found the answer by accident. We were taking it in turns to stand on the line and watch carefully as the trials A/C was being armed, and he was eagle-eyed enough to spot that one of the armourers was left handed. This meant that armourer tied the lanyard stopper knot above the length adjuster the other way around to a right handed person, and that turned out to be enough to cause the failure, as the knot could then slide back into the adjuster, sear from friction and fail.

In this case I'm not at all sure that we can speculate any further without more information. I've been intrigued enough about the puzzle of the timings and the nature of the agent to find pretty much as much information as I think may be available, but I doubt that we'll get to know any more until, or unless, it's made public at some later date. It seems to have gone very quiet since the confirmation of the agent identification and the release of Yulia Skripal from hospital.

The focus seems to be on the decontamination now: Spy poisoning: Salisbury residents warned of toxic 'hotspots' - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43833582) with the contamination level at some of the "hot spots" being reportedly high.

Closing the Bourne Hill building for weeks will cause havoc, because, as a cost saving measure, they closed Salisbury police station two or three years ago, sold it off (it's now a college), and moved the police into the same open plan offices as the local council use (which already causes the police some problems, I've heard), so both the local police and the council will have no base to work from for a while.

glad rag
20th Apr 2018, 11:07
It shows how incredibly powerful these substances are that a tiny smear, invisible to the carrier, can be left on multiple premises by him leaving those sites uninhabitable for indefinite periods.

It also seems to make them less than useful as a military weapon, since the usual notion of chemical weapons is to kill the enemy but leave their territory undamaged and available for occupation.

So you don't like rubber then!

flash8
21st Apr 2018, 03:57
Yulia is caring a large red bag, maybe 12x16 inches. Is that a Russian custom to have a hand-bag that large?

Not unusual, in fact many men in Russia up until fairly recently also carried small "hand bags" (that looked a lot like a ladies handbag) although this practice is slowly losing fashion.


The focus seems to be on the decontamination now: Spy poisoning: Salisbury residents warned of toxic 'hotspots' - BBC News with the contamination level at some of the "hot spots" being reportedly high.

Whilst at the same time stating that there is no danger to anyone (i.e. visitors are safe)... another seemingly contradictory statement. Or perhaps they mean, we know all the "hotspots" so you are safe.. as long as you don't cross police tape. No wonder people are highly confused (and sceptical).

Perhaps I am at risk from Tashkent, given the prevailing winds? If it gained an ounce of political capital BoJo would soon whip up a suitable statement to that effect..

VP959
21st Apr 2018, 08:56
Whilst at the same time stating that there is no danger to anyone (i.e. visitors are safe)... another seemingly contradictory statement. Or perhaps they mean, we know all the "hotspots" so you are safe.. as long as you don't cross police tape. No wonder people are highly confused (and sceptical).

Perhaps I am at risk from Tashkent, given the prevailing winds? If it gained an ounce of political capital BoJo would soon whip up a suitable statement to that effect..

First off, this agent presents a very low risk from any vapour that might be given off. It has a very low vapour pressure (so tends not to release vapour from surface contamination at normal temperatures), a high boiling point (somewhere around 250 to 300 deg C I believe) and is hydrophobic, so won't wash away with water very easily. This means there is a negligible risk to anyone walking past an undisturbed area of surface contamination. In many ways it's a bit like an engine oil stain - persistent and hard to wash away and completely get rid of.

The people involved in the clean up are under tremendous pressure to try and resolve too conflicting issues. Firstly, they need to make areas convincingly safe to the general public, who are, quite rightly, seriously worried about nerve agents, secondly Salisbury is dying on it's feet at the moment and shops are currently said to be around 50% down on their normal takings. I've just come back from a trip in to town this morning and it's dead - normally I have to go in very early on a Saturday morning because otherwise the place is heaving.

From walking around the areas in the city centre 45 minutes or so ago, I can say that the closed off areas are specifically where they know that the Skripals went, from the place where he parked his car, along the route through The Maltings to The Mill pub, then through Market Walk (where that video was taken) to Zizzi's, then back through Market Walk to The Maltings, where they collapsed.

It's not a large area, but the route from the Central car park (also called the Sainsbury's car park in part) to the city centre, via The Maltings and Market Walk is like a footpath version of the M1, seems to still be closed off. To get from the Central car park to the city centre means taking a route that bypasses about half the city centre shops, including the big market square by the Guild Hall, that is also home to a big farmers market, as well as normal market stalls, and even the occasional French market, with producers driving over from France to sell their produce.

That car park also houses the coach park for many of the tourist coaches, and Salisbury is only a small city (population around 40,000) and survives very much on tourism.

DEFRA are heading up the clean up, as most of the city centre contamination is close to the river and on The Maltings park. The river runs underneath The Mill pub, for example, as the old water mill was inside the building that is now the pub, I believe. They are going OTT with the clean up, not just because of the slight risk to humans, but also because of the significant risk to the environment. This stuff is far more toxic to invertebrates than it is to mammals, so even very low concentrations pose a risk to wildlife, especially as it's persistent and cumulative to some degree (for example it may well have killed a lot of the grubs and worms around The Maltings that birds may then have eaten, and which may then either die or get eaten by larger mammals or birds).

Their action right now seems to be spending several weeks taking swabs from every conceivable area the Skripals could have visited after they were contaminated, analysing those to get a good idea as to both the extent and concentration of any contamination, then decontaminating or taking away anything that's contaminated.

Decontamination for this specific agent isn't as easy as I initially thought. Having checked. it seems to need to be washed with diluted acid, then treated with a strong alkali, then washed with a strong oxidising agent, then flushed with water and a surfactant. The decontamination materials themselves present a hazard too.

ORAC
21st Apr 2018, 09:17
Daily Telegraph: Police Identify Poisoning Suspects

Police and intelligence agencies have identified key suspects in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Daily Telegraph understands. Counter-intelligence police are building a case against “persons of interest” who are now believed to be in Russia.

The Telegraph has been told that the criminal inquiry, expected to take many more months, has made a breakthrough in identifying key people over the nerve agent attack. It is thought that a search of flight manifests in and out of the UK has yielded specific names in the hunt for the Skripals’ would be assassins. Police have also drawn on CCTV footage in Salisbury and trawled car number plate recognition cameras.

However counter-terrorism police will hit a diplomatic brick wall in trying to interview - let alone prosecute - the suspects.......

Yesterday, Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, claimed British authorities has injected the Skripals with nerve agent developed at the military research laboratory at Porton Fown, 10 miles from Salisbury.......

VP959
21st Apr 2018, 10:08
Daily Telegraph: Police Identify Poisoning Suspects

Police and intelligence agencies have identified key suspects in the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Daily Telegraph understands. Counter-intelligence police are building a case against “persons of interest” who are now believed to be in Russia.

The Telegraph has been told that the criminal inquiry, expected to take many more months, has made a breakthrough in identifying key people over the nerve agent attack. It is thought that a search of flight manifests in and out of the UK has yielded specific names in the hunt for the Skripals’ would be assassins. Police have also drawn on CCTV footage in Salisbury and trawled car number plate recognition cameras.

However counter-terrorism police will hit a diplomatic brick wall in trying to interview - let alone prosecute - the suspects.......

Yesterday, Alexander Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, claimed British authorities has injected the Skripals with nerve agent developed at the military research laboratory at Porton Fown, 10 miles from Salisbury.......

If true, then I don't think anyone will be surprised. However, like the Litvinenko case, there won't be a hope in hell of even getting to interview suspects, let alone extraditing them back to the UK.

I like the apparent claim by Alexander Yakovenko, though, that we deliberately injected the Skripals with A234. Perhaps he needs to check a few facts from his own country's work on this agent, note the miniscule dose needed to kill if given by injection (it's absolutely minute when compared to the dose needed when administered by skin contact, according to data that has been already revealed by Russia in the 1990's). He also needs to explain why we have contaminated sites around Salisbury, that have had samples collected and analysed by the OPCW. If the agent had been administered by injection then the Skripals would not have had it on their skin, gloves, clothing or whatever to could not have spread it around the city. They would also have collapsed and probably died very close to where they were injected with the stuff - when given by injection the time between injection and the onset of symptoms is a few tens of seconds at most.

If the Russian ambassador was stupid enough to make such an easily refuted claim, then one has to ask quite where he put his brain cells that day. All making statements like this will do is make the Russian state look as if they have something to hide.

What I find strange is that Russia has a get-out for the use of A234 in this attack, a pretty good one, too. Back in the 1990's they agreed to destroy their CW arsenal and sign up to the CWC. Several sources also made it clear that in the chaos after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a strong probability that weapons and materiel, including chemical agents, could easily have fallen into the hands of criminals. We know that Russian made weapons have turned up all over the place (even amongst gangs here in the UK) that almost certainly came from some of this "acquired" stockpile.

Also, it's not necessary to inform the OPCW if you keep or manufacture small quantities or samples of any chemical agent; 100g for samples and up to 10kg can be manufactured for "research" purposes. Given that even 100g of A234 is enough to kill around 2000 to 3000 people by skin exposure, then Russia could easily claim that when criminals took weapons etc during the chaotic period of the early 1990's, they may well have also taken samples of A234.

The one reason that I think they haven't argued this point is that they know full well that A234 was never manufactured outside Russia itself, even though it may have been tested elsewhere, and they still have the stuff, and have already accounted for their stocks. All the evidence available, including evidence provided by Russia itself, shows that the development took place at Shikhany, where the facility that developed it is still believed to be operational (Russia hasn't let the OPCW into all of it, which isn't normal behaviour for any state that has signed up to the CWC).

TEEEJ
21st Apr 2018, 17:32
Looking again at the last video I see that it’s time-stamped 15:47, later than the 15:45 time noted above for the collapse.

(a) if that clock is correct, that "half hour" can’t have been longer than 25 minutes before the call to the police.
(b) the video shows the pair not just walking along; they are striding along. Not a sign of flagging.
(c) Yulia is caring a large red bag, maybe 12x16 inches. Is that a Russian custom to have a hand-bag that large? She hasn’t been reported to have been shopping that Sunday.

None of those people in the that CCTV picture are believed to be the Skripals. These are just two so far apparently unidentified people that were caught on CCTV.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/nintchdbpict000390245711.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKRd40pQ0lU

The Skripals are believe to be in the following CCTV video. The woman in the front with the white coat is believed to be Yulia and the man behind her is believed to be Sergei. You can also see a dog walker pass by to the right of the pair.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP_fSX5QJ7c

G-CPTN
22nd Apr 2018, 16:31
Salisbury attack: Russian TV's claims about poisoning - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43835774)

PickyPerkins
22nd Apr 2018, 19:26
TEEEJ
None of those people in the that CCTV picture are believed to be the Skripals. These are just two so far apparently unidentified people that were caught on CCTV.
Thanks for the correction. There should be no doubt about identification, as the authorities know whether Yulia was wearing dark or light clothing on arrival at the hospital.

I have deleted my original post.

TEEEJ
22nd Apr 2018, 20:29
Thanks for the correction. There should be no doubt about identification, as the authorities know whether Yulia was wearing dark or light clothing on arrival at the hospital.

I have deleted my original post.

No problem. Thanks for the reply.

The Russians have released CCTV images of Yulia Skripal at Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-ys-DV-wUI

Nige321
25th Apr 2018, 11:23
This should get the conspiarcy brigade going...
Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke!
Novichok scientist run over... (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5655125/Scientist-developed-Novichok-poison-used-Salisbury-run-car.html?ito=social-facebook)

pilotmike
25th Apr 2018, 11:53
From the article mentioned above:He jumped on to the bonnet as he was hit to avoid going under the wheels and slammed his head into the windscreen, breaking it.

You'd think he'd have used his arm instead of his head, then he'd only be nursing a broken arm instead of a broken head!;)

VP959
25th Apr 2018, 11:58
This should get the conspiarcy brigade going...
Couldn't happen to a nicer bloke!
Novichok scientist run over... (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5655125/Scientist-developed-Novichok-poison-used-Salisbury-run-car.html?ito=social-facebook)

Interestingly, when I was looking at all the available data on the web about A234, Uglev seemed to me to be the most reliable source, as what he has said and written ties up extremely well with both what little we know for sure, and what seems most probable from the mess of information that's been flooding the web and other media for weeks.

I came to the conclusion, based just on collating data from public domain sources, that A234 had been produced at Shikhany when the novichok programme was known to have been active, and Uglev independently confirmed what can be derived from the most probable structure of A234, including it's very long shelf life, and hence, in part, its persistence in the environment. My personal view is that Uglev is a more reliable source than Mirzayanov.

I think that if someone wanted to kill Uglev then they would have done the job properly, and made it seem as if he'd had a heart attack, or some form of fatal accident, so I'm not at all convinced this accident was a serious attempt on his life at all. It seems more probable that it was just an accident, to me, despite his connection to the novichok programme many years ago.

atakacs
25th Apr 2018, 21:13
It is still quite the coincidence in a case full of them...

racedo
28th Apr 2018, 21:13
If true, then I don't think anyone will be surprised. However, like the Litvinenko case, there won't be a hope in hell of even getting to interview suspects, let alone extraditing them back to the UK.
.

Bearing in mind that UK fully aware of Russian law and Russian Foreign Dept offered to prosecute in Russia with UK cooperation but Uk did nothing.

The fact that the suspect met with Boris Berezovsky and his office was contaminated with Polonium.
Kind of strange that a supposed Russian Govt hit man would meet with a critic and opponent of Russian Govt.

racedo
28th Apr 2018, 21:15
UK Media seem to have gone quiet on the subject.

Almost as if editors afraid for their later Knighhoods are doing as they are told.

Stan Woolley
28th Apr 2018, 21:26
UK Media seem to have gone quiet on the subject.

Almost as if editors afraid for their later Knighhoods are doing as they are told.

Maybe reading the latest from Craig Murray might explain. At this point I’ve lost interest in the details, but fortunately others will not have.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

atakacs
28th Apr 2018, 22:02
Muss say that the D notice wouldn't surprise me the least.

Still quite a peculiar story.... I certainly don't claim to know what really happened but Im pretty sure that there is more to the story than we were told.

VP959
29th Apr 2018, 07:53
Muss say that the D notice wouldn't surprise me the least.

Still quite a peculiar story.... I certainly don't claim to know what really happened but Im pretty sure that there is more to the story than we were told.

First off it's 25 years since we did away with the "D Notice", or Defence Notice and removed the underpinning legislation. The D Notice was primarily a provision to prevent information being published that would jeopardise the Defence of the Realm, and was, in practice, very rarely used, and became pretty pointless with the end of the Cold War.

If Craig Murray still thinks that Defence Notices exist and have the power of law, then that just goes to show how badly informed he is. As a former diplomat I'd have expected him to know how this system works, probably everyone who has worked on any classified project in government knows that we did away with lawful suppression of the press via the old D Notice many years ago.

It's replacement, the Defence Advisory Notice, is voluntary and media outlets are not bound to respect it by any law, and anyway it only applies to UK media outlets, so in this modern age where the media is truly global it is of little real value. If you want chapter and verse then you can read it here: Agenda (http://www.dnotice.org.uk/) but suffice to say that I doubt the system is used, except for the rare occasions when there is a desire to ask the media to keep quite about something for a good operational reason, and my guess is that even then it would probably have a pretty short time limit, perhaps 24 to 48 hours at most.

ORAC
29th Apr 2018, 08:08
Kind of strange that a supposed Russian Govt hit man would meet with a critic and opponent of Russian Govt. Perhaps he hoped to take him out for a cup of tea or coffee......

clareprop
29th Apr 2018, 09:07
Still quite a peculiar story.... I certainly don't claim to know what really happened but Im pretty sure that there is more to the story than we were told.

Much like the Putney Bridge Pusher.....

racedo
29th Apr 2018, 09:31
It's replacement, the Defence Advisory Notice, is voluntary and media outlets are not bound to respect it by any law, and anyway it only applies to UK media outlets, so in this modern age where the media is truly global it is of little real value. If you want chapter and verse then you can read it here: Agenda (http://www.dnotice.org.uk/) but suffice to say that I doubt the system is used, except for the rare occasions when there is a desire to ask the media to keep quite about something for a good operational reason, and my guess is that even then it would probably have a pretty short time limit, perhaps 24 to 48 hours at most.

ROFL

Same name under a different guise.

Play along and Govt will still feed you stories, refuse and expect to get cut out.

The 2 paymasters for Journalists I keep highlighting is starting to show from UK media.

ORAC
29th Apr 2018, 09:41
You obviously have no idea about the relationship between the UK press and government - as examples by the Guardian and the Snowden affair. The idea that being sent a voluntary request to drop their reporting on the Skripals is risible.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/31/footage-released-guardian-editors-snowden-hard-drives-gchq

VP959
29th Apr 2018, 10:01
ROFL

Same name under a different guise.

Play along and Govt will still feed you stories, refuse and expect to get cut out.

The 2 paymasters for Journalists I keep highlighting is starting to show from UK media.

Not true at all - the underpinning legislation that allowed the government a limited amount of control of the media, by issuing a Defence Notice, doesn't now exist. Read the link I gave earlier, and the related information, as it does clarify the lack of control the government has over the media. Quite apart from anything else, there has been a great deal of debate over the past few years as to whether or not the media should be forced to abide by at least a code of conduct, yet even this has been rejected (rightly so in my view) and there are only voluntary restrictions that some sections of the media may choose to ignore if they wish.

A Defence Advisory Notice has no underpinning legislation that allows the government to suppress the media, it's a voluntary agreement that the media may or may not choose to abide by. It has been the subject of a fair bit of revision, as a consequence of changes in the way the media now operates. Given that a great deal of media news reporting doesn't come from journalists, but from the public, whose first reaction seems to be to pull out their phone and record anything, the government realised several years ago that, apart from control of the media being an anathema in this modern age, it was also completely impractical to do, as it was global, with so many non-UK media companies that no amount of UK law could exert any control, even if government wanted to.

The same cannot be said for other countries, where control of the media can be very rigorous indeed. There are several states where journalists who have tried to speak out against their own government have found themselves imprisoned, or killed, as well as states where there is no independent media at all, just that provided by, and controlled by, the state. The BBC is often accused of being under government control, yet seems to consistently have a political bias that is to the left of centre, no matter which party is in government. Apart from anything else, the BBC is just one media outlet here, and we are free to read and watch news from just about every country in the world if we wish, with the only restrictions being those that are imposed by other states.

We have nothing like the Great Firewall of China, for example, trying to restrict what we can find out, and we are free to browse the web completely anonymously, using legal means, like TOR and a VPN, so that we can exchange information freely, and with near-absolute privacy, with anyone in the world who has similar free access to these systems. The full and uncensored version of Wikileaks, for example, is available on TOR, and you and I can perfectly legally read that, and all the masses of related information, some directly posted by those from inside authoritarian states who are breaking the laws of their state by using TOR or a VPN.

Quite how the UK government is supposed to be able to control what we read, hear and watch I don't know, especially as there is no practical way they can exert such control, anyway.

atakacs
29th Apr 2018, 16:51
We have nothing like the Great Firewall of China, for example, trying to restrict what we can find out, and we are free to browse the web completely anonymously, using legal means, like TOR and a VPN, so that we can exchange information freely, and with near-absolute privacy, with anyone in the world who has similar free access to these systems. The full and uncensored version of Wikileaks, for example, is available on TOR, and you and I can perfectly legally read that, and all the masses of related information, some directly posted by those from inside authoritarian states who are breaking the laws of their state by using TOR or a VPN.
Well this is admittedly still mostly true but enjoy it while it lasts. There is a definitive and very clear push towards banning those technologies. Let's revisit this topic 5 years from now...
Quite how the UK government is supposed to be able to control what we read, hear and watch I don't know, especially as there is no practical way they can exert such control, anyway.
Well firstly more and more of the UK media (or what remains of it) is being controlled by a very small group of persons of an even smaller political bias. Your mention of the BBC or the Guardian being anything of an opposition media is nothing short of laughable. They are for all intent and purpose completely aligned on the globalist agenda, where there is in fact no effective difference. nor choice, between the Tory, Libdem or Blairite Labor program. The rise of M. Corbyn, for all his shortcomings, is a both a breath of fresh air and a welcome, if surprising, development. There still seems to some some modicum of freedom & opposition in the country, and that's very good news indeed !

But to get back to your point the way the UK government is exerting said control is with the infamous 5 eyes agreement. Don't fool yourself, everything of our life is recorded right now, down to this very exchange. Obviously and thankfully it is not being acted upon except in rare cases, but the UK government can know pretty much anything on you, legally, just by asking their US counterpart (and vice versa). Again, I'd say that at the moment this is used with some restraint, but you better continue to sing the party line. Your life could go much more complicated just by the flip of a switch if for whatever reason you'd stand up on the radar. To get back to thread's subject imagine just for one minute that you would like to bring out some non-conforming information on the Skripal case. (and I'm not saying doing anything illegal - just reporting something you happen to know that contradicts the official narrative).. how would you feel about going about it ?

VP959
29th Apr 2018, 17:52
Well this is admittedly still mostly true but enjoy it while it lasts. There is a definitive and very clear push towards banning those technologies. Let's revisit this topic 5 years from now...

Well firstly more and more of the UK media (or what remains of it) is being controlled by a very small group of persons of an even smaller political bias. Your mention of the BBC or the Guardian being anything of an opposition media is nothing short of laughable. They are for all intent and purpose completely aligned on the globalist agenda, where there is in fact no effective difference. nor choice, between the Tory, Libdem or Blairite Labor program. The rise of M. Corbyn, for all his shortcomings, is a both a breath of fresh air and a welcome, if surprising, development. There still seems to some some modicum of freedom & opposition in the country, and that's very good news indeed !

But to get back to your point the way the UK government is exerting said control is with the infamous 5 eyes agreement. Don't fool yourself, everything of our life is recorded right now, down to this very exchange. Obviously and thankfully it is not being acted upon except in rare cases, but the UK government can know pretty much anything on you, legally, just by asking their US counterpart (and vice versa). Again, I'd say that at the moment this is used with some restraint, but you better continue to sing the party line. Your life could go much more complicated just by the flip of a switch if for whatever reason you'd stand up on the radar. To get back to thread's subject imagine just for one minute that you would like to bring out some non-conforming information on the Skripal case. (and I'm not saying doing anything illegal - just reporting something you happen to know that contradicts the official narrative).. how would you feel about going about it ?

Trust me, when I choose to connect to the internet via TOR and a VPN no one can read what I write, know which websites I visit, or who I choose to communicate with. The encryption used is such as to be, as near as dammit, impregnable, and certainly strong enough to prevent anyone being able to decipher it in real time, or even weeks or months later.

All anyone in government can know is that there are times when I connect to the internet using a VPN, and when I do that they cannot get any further information as to which web sites I visit, as all that will be recorded is the VPN node that I'm connected to, and my traffic could be coming out anywhere around the world, and they couldn't easily find out where. When I choose to use TOR as well as a VPN, then I'm anonymous, and who and what I communicate remains secure and confidential.

Yes, GCHQ has the capability to tap into some (but not all, by any means) UK internet data, but it cannot, and has no realistic prospect of ever being able to in the short to medium term, break the encryption used by anyone using something like TOR, or even PGP, and, for those less well versed in the world of private citizen data encryption techniques, they cannot even decode everyday things like Telegram app messages.

Those who are interested in personal privacy regularly review and pen test secure protocols that are used by this community, and as a consequence we can be assured that the encryption is damned good. In practice, there is probably more expertise and effort available within the open source community than there is in any government, and all that expertise and effort is directed in maintaining the privacy and security of communications, and fighting to ensure that no government can access data that we, the people, wish to remain private and confidential.

flash8
29th Apr 2018, 19:55
All anyone in government can know is that there are times when I connect to the internet using a VPN

The thing is SSH traffic (and much SSL) is "hot" and is likely subject to significantly further processing than plaintext, as you say unlikely not breakable unlike the earlier DES56 weak key stuff, however the end-points may have been compromised and some sort of MITM attack can't be discounted (although offhand it wouldn't be a lot of use imho).

Some crypto-traffic has been broken in R/T, as I recall Blackberry traffic was in London during a summit (from a Snowden leak), although it is likely the private keys were passed over by RIM allowing this (given they did this surreptitiously in ME/Asia under little pressure) and extrapolating from that it is likely other leaks have occurred. GSM A5/1 can be broken in real-time with Rainbow tables and whilst it is likely 3/4G crypto is secure, the same cannot be said for any keys involved, assume compromised (down to SIM level, again a Snowden revelation) - and some Stingrays might have additional stuff that flips baseband functionality - a favourite topic of mine - (and this doesn't even look into the Trusted Platform).

Diverging a bit here, but the main thrust of my argument is Crypto can be double-edged.

As for Skripal - all Cell traffic from a wide radius no doubt has already been churned through ML algorithms looking for insights.

racedo
3rd May 2018, 21:53
https://apnews.com/08f7a9ff3329487e8dcb88e62a2111ba

Seems Czechs made Novichok last year........

G-CPTN
3rd May 2018, 23:31
https://apnews.com/08f7a9ff3329487e8dcb88e62a2111ba

Seems Czechs made Novichok last year........
But, presumably, the manufacturing facility was stringently managed and the Novichok was all accounted for (and subsequently destroyed) . . .

racedo
3rd May 2018, 23:34
But, presumably, the manufacturing facility was stringently managed and the Novichok was all accounted for (and subsequently destroyed) . . .

But accrording to Bojo there was no other place in the wolrd capable of making it............

VP959
4th May 2018, 06:46
https://apnews.com/08f7a9ff3329487e8dcb88e62a2111ba

Seems Czechs made Novichok last year........

It would be very helpful if facts were quoted here, instead of dramatically phrased half-truths.

The facts are:

Novichok was the name of the covert Soviet-era programme, not the name of the agents that it developed.

Somewhere between 80 and 100 different chemical agents were produced and tested during the novichok programme, only a handlful were ever developed into chemical weapons.

The agent used to attack the Skripals was given the designation A234 by the chemists that developed it.

The sample that was produced for analysis by the Czechs was NOT A234, but A230.

A230 was NOT used to attack the Skripals.

As an aside, samples of A230 were produced and tested by several states around the end of the Cold War, when defectors revealed it's structure and estimated that it was around 8 times more toxic than VX. This is perfectly legal and above board. Any state that is a signatory to the CWC is permitted to produce samples of up to 100g of any chemical weapon on their prohibition list.

It is a fact that the only way to definitively test countermeasures to chemical weapons is to produce samples and test to see if things like respirator filters are effective at neutralising them, which is the primary reason that states are allowed to make samples. Because of the extreme hazards that these compounds pose, normal practice is to destroy any left over material as soon as possible after using it for any experiment or test.

AFAIK, no one has produced samples of A234 until after the Skripal attack, for the simple reason that it wasn't considered to be one of the handful of CW agents that the Soviets had weaponised effectively. A230 was the better bet, in terms of being turned into an effective chemical weapon, along with a few others. One of the reasons that I suspect that the Soviets, and everyone else, didn't look too closely at A234 is that it's extremely persistent, has a low vapour pressure and high boiling point. This means that it will leave areas contaminated for many years after deployment, unless those areas are decontaminated. This effectively denies an enemy access to those areas after it's been deployed, which isn't generally desirable. In terms of desirable properties for a chemical weapon (sick as this may sound) Sarin is probably better than most, even though it's not as toxic as something like VX, as it behaves rather like water, and evaporates away fairly quickly and disperses to a safe level after an hour or two, so enabling an enemy to move to an area that has been attacked without needing to decontaminate it first.

VP959
4th May 2018, 19:06
As a bit of additional info, I was in Salisbury for an hour or so this morning. Getting from the Central Car Park to town is still a PITA, as the normal main walking route via The Maltings remains closed. The path that runs through The Mill is open, but The Mill itself is partially boarded up and seems to only be able to trade from the garden. The big barriers around Zizzi's are still in place, and there is still a heavy police presence (they looked pretty bored, having to man several cordoned off areas, still, as they've been doing for the best part of a couple of months now).

No sign anywhere of the army, my guess is that they are keeping them out of sight so as not to further deter tourists. The city centre is still pretty dead - very few people around, compared to what would be normal for this time of year, on the Friday before a Bank Holiday. Lots of signs all over the place pointing to shops down semi-closed off alleyways, that would once have had lots of passing trade from people walking from the big Central Car Park to the city centre. Market Walk is open, but instead of being a busy through route it really now goes nowhere, because The Maltings is pretty much closed off. I did spot the dome CCTV camera that shot some of the footage of people walking from the centre back to The Maltings, including, I think, the Skripals.

The good news seems to be that ordinary commercial cleaners were in pressure washing the whole upper storey (still closed off) of the car park, where Sergei Skipal's car was parked. This suggests that they have decontaminated the whole upper deck and are now just pressure washing away the harmless residue. They were certainly being through, from what I saw, washing every inch of the walls as well as the floor.

The bad news is that there was no sign at all of any activity actually in the area of The Maltings where they collapsed, inside The Mill, or inside Zizzi. If anything, these areas looked as if they will be cordoned off, with very substantial barriers designed to last for months, rather than just a few days or weeks. I suspect there will be major disruption in the city centre for many weeks to come, which will hit many of the businesses really hard.

Parking is still free, including the on-street parking areas as well as all the car parks and the two park and ride schemes. If anyone wants to visit Salisbury, then I suggest either using the park and ride schemes, or opting to park on the streets, in the Brown Street car park or in the main multistorey car park, and try to avoid the big Central Car Park if possible. Access to the city centre, cathedral etc is fine from any of these parking options, including the park and ride, which stops right in the centre and bypasses all the closed off areas. The city could do with visitors, so if you want a day out I'd encourage you to come and look around. As before, if anyone wants to fly in to Old Sarum for a visit to the city, PM me and I will arrange to give you a free ride into the city centre and back.

katya2607
4th May 2018, 22:48
I agree with VP959. Salisbury is open for business as usual.
Having had visitors last week we drove up there. Sadly I couldn't do the park and ride as normal, as I'm still walking wounded. Was recommended by a neighbour who'd been bought up in the Close; to park in the Cathedral Close at Ł7 for the day. Well I was truly amazed, firstly at how may spaces were available and secondly after entering the Cathedral as to how empty of visitors it was. So very sad.

atakacs
17th May 2018, 11:29
Seems the whole thing has completely fallen off the radar.

Anyone with updates on the whereabouts of the Skripals

VP959
17th May 2018, 12:22
Sergei Skripal is still in hospital, his condition was last reported as still being "serious", so his recovery is going slowly. Yulia Skripal is apparently still recovering in a secret location, and hasn't released any statement since the one shortly after she was released from hospital here.

It's far from "off the radar" here, with all the decontamination work that's still going on and the very much enhanced police presence. The main local news seems to focus on the cost and disruption to the city, with the government providing some grant aid, but nowhere near enough to cover the local costs and losses of income. I suspect the next major row will focus on this, as there seems to be a lot of discontent building up, especially from the smaller independent businesses, about the prolonged impact this attack has had on their revenue. Some are estimating that it could take a few years before business returns to the same level as it was before the attack.

As an advisory to anyone thinking of visiting Salisbury, due to abuse of the free parking by commuters to London, who have switched to catching a train from Salisbury, rather than their normal station with it's pay and display parking, parking is now only free after 12:00 each week day, but is still free all day at weekends. Apparently hundreds of commuters had switched to using the train from Salisbury as a consequence of the free week day parking, which explains why the Central car park has seemed full recently, even though the city is a bit like a ghost town.

Less Hair
17th May 2018, 12:28
German media reported recently that the german external secret service BND obtained some samples oft the poison used now during the cold war from the soviet union. The US and the UK had been informed back then by personal order of then chancellor Kohl. The germans had the samples analyzed not at home but in Sweden back then in order not to violate some chemical weapons treaty they had signed.
That old sample is said to have made it easy to track back the poison used on the Skripals.

Pontius Navigator
17th May 2018, 13:14
VP, thank you. That is Media, News not New is not News.

G-CPTN
17th May 2018, 14:17
Sergei Skripal still being questioned over Salisbury nerve agent attack (https://news.sky.com/story/sergei-skripal-still-being-questioned-over-salisbury-nerve-agent-attack-11375699)

VP959
18th May 2018, 09:41
Sergei Skripal has been released from hospital, which is good news: Ex-spy Sergei Skripal discharged after poisoning - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44165718)

No information on where he's been taken to convalesce, perhaps the same location as his daughter.

Warm Ballast
18th May 2018, 11:55
Sergei Skripal has been released from hospital, which is good news: Ex-spy Sergei Skripal discharged after poisoning - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44165718)

No information on where he's been taken to convalesce, perhaps the same location as his daughter.

... and the cats ...

G-CPTN
18th May 2018, 20:42
Putin has wished SS 'God grant him good health' and said that, if military grade poison had been used, SS would have died on the spot.

Do you think VP will invite SS round for a cup of tea?

VP959
18th May 2018, 20:57
Putin has wished SS 'God grant him good health' and said that, if military grade poison had been used, SS would have died on the spot.

Do you think VP will invite SS round for a cup of tea?

I thought you meant me for a moment there...

The theory that seems to be gaining some traction over the past few weeks is that this attack was carried out by someone in Russia that wanted to give the finger to Putin, by creating an international debacle. I suspect this may be closer to the truth that Putin having ordered the attack. Given the long life of this agent, it's quite possible that it was taken from the former soviet manufacturing facility during the chaotic years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when every crook around was trying to grab anything going. Putin seems to have had a tough job in reining in some of the maverick oligarchs, and it wouldn't surprise me if some of them hold a grudge against him.

racedo
19th May 2018, 12:29
I thought you meant me for a moment there...

The theory that seems to be gaining some traction over the past few weeks is that this attack was carried out by someone in Russia that wanted to give the finger to Putin, by creating an international debacle. I suspect this may be closer to the truth that Putin having ordered the attack. Given the long life of this agent, it's quite possible that it was taken from the former soviet manufacturing facility during the chaotic years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when every crook around was trying to grab anything going. Putin seems to have had a tough job in reining in some of the maverick oligarchs, and it wouldn't surprise me if some of them hold a grudge against him.

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/387625-mueller-may-have-a-conflict-and-it-leads-directly-to-a-russian-oligarch

Strange when different stories pop up that show connections that shouldn't be there................................ so it is clear both FBI and CIA have ties to Russian Oligarchs going back over a decade.

TEEEJ
23rd May 2018, 22:07
NgS6uAl_oBc

KelvinD
24th May 2018, 06:29
It is interesting that Yulia speaks of how keen she is to return to Russia, given the blizzard of allegations of accusing the Russian government of setting out to kill her and her father.
Hopefully, this will help persuade our government to have a rethink and start looking for the "real" culprit. (And perhaps say "sorry" to the Russians.)

B Fraser
24th May 2018, 09:11
As an aside, samples of A230 were produced and tested by several states around the end of the Cold War, when defectors revealed it's structure and estimated that it was around 8 times more toxic than VX

I always thought that VX was so extremely toxic that creating anything stronger was pointless. There was a programme on the BBC recently that was based on Porton Down and the rather nasty substances that they are involved with. The gist of the programme was that once VX had been created, the practical limit had been reached.

ORAC
24th May 2018, 09:20
KelvinD,

You mind and logic work in mysteriously ways.....

tartare
24th May 2018, 10:50
Many here are imagining elaborate conspiracies - perhaps without appreciating how utterly stupid and incompetent many government agencies of all kinds can be.
Someone in Russia wanting to embarrass Putin?
Really?
A little too complex for my liking.
All things being equal - I would humbly suggest the simplest explanation is the right one.
Vladimir ordered it.
And somewhere - deep in Lubyanka - a hapless assassin (or two) who didn't put quite enough Novichok (or whatever name it goes by) on the door handle was given a bollocking, before being shot in the head.

G-CPTN
24th May 2018, 11:12
And then there's MH17 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44235402) . . .

KelvinD
24th May 2018, 11:31
Orac: Maybe but it is good to have a mind that works at all, whether in mysterious or other ways. Now explain your comment please.

Andy_S
24th May 2018, 12:01
It is interesting that Yulia speaks of how keen she is to return to Russia...,....

Didn't she say she would like to return "one day"? That's a perfectly reasonable aspiration, but I don't get the impression she is planning on going back any time soon......

Why are you so determined to stand up for a murderous regime?

clareprop
24th May 2018, 12:28
It is interesting that Yulia speaks of how keen she is to return to Russia

As stated above, the bit you missed is 'one day'. There are many people who would like to return to Russia - when the current dictatorship, now approaching twenty years, is removed.

VP959
24th May 2018, 15:51
I always thought that VX was so extremely toxic that creating anything stronger was pointless. There was a programme on the BBC recently that was based on Porton Down and the rather nasty substances that they are involved with. The gist of the programme was that once VX had been created, the practical limit had been reached.

The main issue with VX, and also with A230 and, it seems, A234, is that they are very persistent. Persistent chemical agents aren't as useful as volatile ones, in terms of being used as weapons to kill people without damaging infrastructure that you may wish to occupy, because they require a great deal of decontamination work to make an area where they've been used safe. We're seeing that in Salisbury after the use of an estimated 100mg of agent.

Less toxic, but more volatile, chemical agents, like Sarin, are of more practical use, as they evaporate fairly quickly and leave little residue behind. Sarin behaves a bit like water, so tends to evaporate and disperse, or can be washed away and diluted reasonably easily. This makes it a "better" weapon, as unprotected troops can move into an area where there has been a Sarin attack within a few hours, perhaps a day or two at most, by which time the agent will have dispersed to a level where it isn't likely to cause harm.

In terms of toxicity, VX, or A230, aren't the most toxic substances around (mercury is around 10 times more toxic than VX, for example), they are just the most toxic substances that have been weaponised, which in practical terms means they are toxins that can be delivered in a form that can enter the body through the skin, mucous membranes, or by ingestion, and still be very effective. Even then, for the reasons given above they aren't "good" weapons, and if chemical warfare wasn't banned I doubt that any of these persistent agents would have been used much, if at all, in practice, other than as terror weapons, perhaps.

G-CPTN
24th May 2018, 16:09
mercury is around 10 times more toxic than VX, for example
I spent my childhood fascinated with mercury and accumulated a substantial volume that I spent hours chasing around.

VP959
24th May 2018, 16:17
I spent my childhood fascinated with mercury and accumulated a substantial volume that I spent hours chasing around.

Luckily for you, although very toxic, mercury isn't as easily absorbed through the skin as most chemical agents, and the main hazard is from ingestion or inhalation of mercury vapour.

If you want something significantly more toxic than mercury, then botulinum toxin is around 60 to 70 times more toxic, yet it's still injected intramuscularly, to sub-cutaneous muscles in the face, by some to hide wrinkles, in the form of botox injections.

G-CPTN
24th May 2018, 17:04
It seems foolish now, but I enjoyed the feeling of globules in the palm of my hand.

ORAC
24th May 2018, 18:38
The rumour was they made you go blind.....

Carbon Bootprint
24th May 2018, 20:00
It seems foolish now, but I enjoyed the feeling of globules in the palm of my hand.My father worked in a plate glass factory and brought some home in a small tube. I don't recall every putting one in my hand, but it was great fun splitting them in to smaller globules and chasing them around the floor until they could all rejoin and be returned to the tube.

pulse1
24th May 2018, 20:45
I was once commissioning a new electronics factory in India. An essential part of the equipment was a locally built bake out oven which was operated at 425 centigrade. Before we switched it on for the first time I noticed that the temperature controller was based on a mercury thermometer. As mercury boils at 396 centigrade I didn't think that this was a very good idea and had to insist that the oven was modified before it could be used.

DaveReidUK
24th May 2018, 21:13
My only experience of mercury, apart from the school chemistry lab, was chasing a spillage under the floor of a Trident (mercury and Al alloy are not a good combination).

VP959
29th May 2018, 07:14
There's an interesting BBC article here: Russian spy poisoning: How the Skripals were saved - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44278609)

It seems that the hospital not only provided care for the Skripals, but also acted to ensure they had an independent advocate, so that their interests were protected.

I experienced something similar years ago, after I'd had a serious motorcycle accident, where the hospital staff not only kept the police away whilst they considered that I may be vulnerable, because of shock and injury, but also reassured me that they would only allow the police to interview me when they considered that I was in a fit state. I gathered from later interviews that the police were pretty frustrated by this.

Salisbury is now starting to recover, as the main walking route from the central car park to the city centre, through The Maltings and right past the area where the Skripals collapsed, was opened at the end of last week, as was the top floor of the car park. This seems to have made a significant difference over the holiday weekend, especially to those businesses around The Maltings. Both the main part of The Mill and Zizzi remained closed, although The Mill can serve from part of the building. I suspect it may well be another month or two before those buildings are decontaminated and allowed to reopen, but in general the decontamination seems to be ahead of schedule, which is good news.

PickyPerkins
9th Jun 2018, 23:44
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.gmforum.com-vbulletin/576x377/wrightquote_cf9c3e1f78b42859c38ca6a796ed70dca2ddbe74.jpg
Maybe thirty years on all the hospitals and emergency services around Porton Down have these kits.

VP959
10th Jun 2018, 08:16
Maybe thirty years on all the hospitals and emergency services around Porton Down have these kits.

No, they don't, but they would have atropine to hand, as it's used as a first aid treatment for other adverse reactions.

The first aid treatment for all organophosphate nerve agents is the same; administer atropine and pralidoxime as quickly as possible, in order to reduce the impact the agent has in inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. In the field this would be by using the autoinjector that's a part of standard CBRN kit and would be injected through the clothing. Treatment after that consists of life support, and administering drugs to help the body gradually get rid of the agent and get acetylcholinesterase working again to allow synapses to function, by re-enabling the normal neurotransmitter function, where acetylcholine transmits a nerve impulse and is then instantly neutralised by acetylcholinesterase. There would also be treatment to mitigate the side effects created by the loss of control that organophosphate agents cause, everything from the loss of the ability to breathe to the loss of bowel and bladder control, with all the consequential impact these effects have on other systems in the body.

Mike6567
11th Jun 2018, 08:26
Thread drift with a very small point.
As "Spycacher" has been mentioned I always remember Peter Wright saying they never found a way to open letters (in an undetectable way) that had been sealed with sellotape.
As a result I always seal letters containing cheques with sellotape. Am I wasting my time?

VP959
11th Jun 2018, 09:10
Thread drift with a very small point.
As "Spycacher" has been mentioned I always remember Peter Wright saying they never found a way to open letters (in an undetectable way) that had been sealed with sellotape.
As a result I always seal letters containing cheques with sellotape. Am I wasting my time?

No, I don't think you are. The standard way of sending sensitive documents (ones that weren't so highly classified that they had to go by official courier) was to use a double envelope, with the inner envelope sealed with sellotape. The view was that a sellotaped envelope couldn't be covertly opened, there would always be an indication that it had been tampered with. We even used sellotaped envelopes in the internal mail, for the same reason.

VP959
4th Jul 2018, 09:41
Something strange is going on here again, road closures, areas screened off this morning and a high police presence. All that's being reported is that two people collapsed in Amesbury, but small areas all around are once again being screened of, it seems: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-44707052

No idea if it's connected to the Skripal case; seems improbable, but it may be. Be interesting to see what's revealed later. There's a small problem with drug abuse in the areas around Amesbury, so it may be connected with that, but equally it could be something else involving a CA, perhaps related to the Skripal case in some peripheral way (contamination not previously traced?, An attempt to make the Skripal attack look as if it was instigated locally within the UK?).

Effluent Man
4th Jul 2018, 10:15
Couple in their 40's, house on a new estate, been to a church social event. Drugs seems unlikely to me.

Mariner9
4th Jul 2018, 11:14
....An attempt to make the Skripal attack look as if it was instigated locally within the UK?).

That was my first thought too.

Andy_S
4th Jul 2018, 11:17
I don’t think there’s any evidence right at the moment to suggest this is anything other than a coincidence.

While I don’t remotely trust the Russian Government, I can’t see that they would want to provoke another international incident while they’re hosting (and making a pretty good job of it) a major international sports event.

Krystal n chips
4th Jul 2018, 11:55
I don’t think there’s any evidence right at the moment to suggest this is anything other than a coincidence.

While I don’t remotely trust the Russian Government, I can’t see that they would want to provoke another international incident while they’re hosting (and making a pretty good job of it) a major international sports event.

Whether this is a reprise, or isn't, will be solved here on JB long before the formal investigation announces the result.

However, whilst not totally internationally provocative, and mentioned on C4 a few days ago, the Russians have found time for the immortal "good day to bury bad news" statement c/o the World Cup

https://toinformistoinfluence.com/2018/06/16/russia-hides-bad-news-behind-world-cup/