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Sergei Skripal

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Old 6th Mar 2018, 07:52
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Sergei Skripal

Papers in the UK all have front page stories on Sergei Skripal and woman found poisoned in Salisbury town centre. Woman reported as either his daughter or sonís partner.

General round-up in POLITICO. What shocked me was the Buzzfeed linked story reporting 14 additional Russian connected murders in the UK which have, few whatever reason, been covered up or ignored by the police.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/...n-british-soil
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 08:06
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Papers in the UK all have front page stories on Sergei Skripal and woman found poisoned in Salisbury town centre. Woman reported as either his daughter or son’s partner.

General round-up in POLITICO. What shocked me was the Buzzfeed linked story reporting 14 additional Russian connected murders in the UK which have, few whatever reason, been covered up or ignored by the police.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/...n-british-soil
Close to home for me, as we've eaten in the same place these two did a few times, including the week before last.

No hard evidence yet, but there seem to me to be two probable causes.

There has been mention of Fentanyl, and locally the neighbourhood policing people have been warning that this may hit the streets in this area soon. However, Sergei Skripal was not a known user, AFAIK, although his wife died not that long ago.

The other possibility is that this was an attempt on his life by the FSB. There are a lot of Russians around here; you can't walk through Salisbury on a busy day without hearing people talking the language. Clearly there may well also be an interest in the fact that the HQ of the UK defence research organisation, and many of it's most sensitive labs, are a stones throw away at Porton (just 6 miles from this incident).

My money is on them having eaten food in Zizzi's that had been tampered with, by person or persons unknown. If that turns out to be the case, then I don't think we need to look very hard for a probable culprit, do we?
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 08:12
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
My money is on them having eaten food in Zizzi's that had been tampered with, by person or persons unknown. If that turns out to be the case, then I don't think we need to look very hard for a probable culprit, do we?
No, we don't. But I can guarantee the normal PPRuNe suspects will appear pretty soon to pour cold water on any suggestion of Russian government culpability.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 11:10
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The Russians haven't wasted any time in denying any knowledge...

Russian spy: Russia 'has no information' on Sergei Skripal collapse - BBC News
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 11:30
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Sallyann - may I remind m'learned friend of that well known quote by Miss Mandy Rice -Davies ...?
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 11:57
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Woman now confirmed as his daughter.

One of the members of the emergency services who attended to them, presumably from the ambulance service, has now also been admitted to hospital.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 12:00
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav View Post
Sallyann - may I remind m'learned friend of that well known quote by Miss Mandy Rice -Davies ...?
Absolutely, sorry if it wasn't clear but that was my inference - they were very quick to deny. As if they were prepared for the questions.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 12:08
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Russians, eh ?

Absolutely nothing surprises me when Russians are involved - both private gangsters or State gangsters.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 12:13
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Woman now confirmed as his daughter.

One of the members of the emergency services who attended to them, presumably from the ambulance service, has now also been admitted to hospital.
This suggests that whatever the substance/toxin was, it was easily able to be transferred from the victims to the emergency service personnel attending.

Lots of unanswered questions, but it's looking like a substance that may have been quick to deploy, fairly fast acting, and persistent enough to be transferred to others some time later.

That casts some doubt on the possibility of contaminated food or drink, perhaps, unless the emergency worker came in direct contact with the reported vomit at the scene. Given that most (all?) emergency personnel wear gloves etc, it seems a bit of a puzzle as to how any effective transfer might have occurred. It also suggests that the substance may well have been very highly toxic.

All told this is looking less and less likely to have been an accident, drug abuse or whatever, as the number of people able to obtain, and have the technical knowledge to use, highly toxic materials, such as seem to have been used in this case (based on the limited understanding we have from the media) is pretty small.

The use of targeted highly toxic substances against individuals in the UK is pretty rare. My understanding from talking to former colleagues who work not far from me is that delivering any highly toxic substance effectively is potentially very difficult, and not knowledge that an ordinary criminal is likely to have, or even be aware of. The risk to those delivering the substance is often as great as that to the intended victim, unless they are particularly well-trained.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 12:38
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Originally Posted by Pitchpoller View Post
Would you write, or under-write or re-insure, a life policy on a traitor like Skripal?

Neither would I.

Did anyone expect SIS to protect him?


Given where he was living, and the fact that he was often around town with no apparent protection officer, I doubt he had any protection at all here in the UK. I live very close by, and tend to be reasonably observant (comes from years of having to look under your car every day, and watch every one around you when out and about) yet have seen no indication at all that there was any sort of increased police presence, and have been told (unofficially) there there were no SIS resources deployed in this area related to this individual.

It could as easily have been a very well-trained and organised criminal attempt to kill these two as an overtly sponsored state activity. I rather suspect the former, if only to give a particular government a degree of plausible deniability. I think they learned a lot from the aftermath of the Alexander Litvinenko affair, and made subsequent alleged state-sponsored assassinations on UK soil not only more deniable, but better hidden as deaths by other causes than murder.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 12:58
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Buzzfeed linked story reporting 14 additional Russian connected murders in the UK which have, few whatever reason, been covered up or ignored by the police.
In full speculation mode, I'm pretty much convinced we have not had the true story of the 'Putney Bridge Pusher'. Clearly seen by cameras, initial blame on someone else with details leaked to the press - fortunately he had a cast-iron alibi which was so obviously correct one wonders why the Police even bothered to try and accuse him. Nothing heard since of either victim or perpetrator.
Odd to say the least.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 15:17
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Interestingly, the police have handed this to the counter terrorism people, and it's been reported that two of the police officers that attended were treated for minor injuries, including itching eyes and wheezing. One of the emergency service personnel remains in hospital, along with Sergie and Yulia Skripal.

That suggests that the substance, whatever it was, was volatile to some degree.

My gut feeling is that it may well be some form of nerve agent, one that could be relatively safely deployed, which itself poses lots of further questions if true, as effectively and safely (in terms of not endangering the person or persons administering it) deploying any agent is very far from being easy; it's probably one of the hardest issues to overcome if trying to use a substance like this for this kind of purpose.

VX is too toxic, I think, for this sort of incident, plus it's pretty persistent, so the area wouldn't have been cleaned as quickly and re-opened to the public, and it's quickly and easily detected by those nearby with ready access to the kit. Sarin or soman may be a possibility, but I'm wondering if it may turn out to be some agent that we don't yet know of. Quite a few countries have the capability to develop novel agents, including some who may officially say that they don't do this.
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 16:40
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I have connections to one of the nurses in Salisbury A&E who attended this gentleman when he was first brought in. She has asked the powers that be whether she should be concerned and they’ve told her that they honestly don’t know...
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Old 6th Mar 2018, 16:59
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
Close to home for me, as we've eaten in the same place these two did a few times, including the week before last.

No hard evidence yet, but there seem to me to be two probable causes.

There has been mention of Fentanyl, and locally the neighbourhood policing people have been warning that this may hit the streets in this area soon. However, Sergei Skripal was not a known user, AFAIK, although his wife died not that long ago.

The other possibility is that this was an attempt on his life by the FSB. There are a lot of Russians around here; you can't walk through Salisbury on a busy day without hearing people talking the language. Clearly there may well also be an interest in the fact that the HQ of the UK defence research organisation, and many of it's most sensitive labs, are a stones throw away at Porton (just 6 miles from this incident).

My money is on them having eaten food in Zizzi's that had been tampered with, by person or persons unknown. If that turns out to be the case, then I don't think we need to look very hard for a probable culprit, do we?
As we know, R & N invariably solves accidents and incidents long before the AAIB / NTSB get involved

So it's nice to see JB now emulating this same level of self promotional expertise, thus saving the counter-terrorism branch all the hard work, and, dispensing with the need for a toxicology report at the same time.

I've been through Cheadle Hulme station quite a lot over the years, scene of a serious rail accident some years ago and I always pause for breath crossing Colwich Junction.....bit close to home that.

And as for being observant, looking under cars in particular, in my sheltered life I have met three people who were familiar with this form of terrorist attack ( they were the good goys I should add ) and who explained how easy it was for those planting the device to ensure they wouldn't be discovered. Sadly, they proved to be very effective.

Porton Down is 6 miles away it seems, as the crow flies or by road?, but, no matter. When was the last time the establishment was infiltrated and any of the contents removed ?....inspired guesses only please.

Last edited by Krystal n chips; 6th Mar 2018 at 17:51.
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 11:59
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The Govenment and media response to this "outrage" has the wiff of hypocrisy. They weren't even British.

A UK citizen was bumped off in Paris in the late '90's in a state sponsored hit.

It's known as house keeping, tieing up loose ends, or putting one's house in order.
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 12:14
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It's known as house keeping, tieing up loose ends, or putting one's house in order.
More like the drug cartels. First we'll come for your family - then we'll come for you......

Salisbury ‘hit’ on Sergei Skripal would rewrite the rules of espionage

If Russia is proved to be behind the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia it would mark a new high in hostilities with Britain and would be the first known case of the Kremlin trying to kill an agent exchanged in a spy swap. It would also be the first time that Moscow had harmed the child of a target since the son of Leon Trotsky was murdered in Stalin’s great purge.

Hunting down a spy who has been exchanged with an opponent for one of your own is a violation of the unspoken rules of spycraft which require that perceived traitors are allowed to live their life in safety once they have been pardoned as part of the swap, according to sources linked to the intelligence world. In 2010 when Dmitry Medvedev was president he pardoned Mr Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who was convicted of spying for MI6, during an exchange with the US, which comprised four western agents swapped for ten Russians...... Going after Mr Skripal.... would cast doubt over future spy swaps as Britain and its allies could no longer be sure their returned agents would be safe.

Deliberately targeting Mr Skripal, a former army colonel, and his daughter “would be a clear message to us: the informal guidelines long governing these matters no longer apply, and the proverbial [gloves] are well and truly off”, a source said on condition of anonymity. “If this is what’s happening, it’s highly provocative. It suggests Putin is sending us a message.” A second source thought it feasible that Putin would rip up the rulebook when it came to spy etiquette before elections this month. “Such a departure seems entirely imaginable, given the extent to which the Soviet approach is overlaid by a gangster mindset amongst the current occupants of the Kremlin, if Putin judged it in his interests,” the source said.

Yuri Felshtinsky, who wrote Blowing up Russia with Alexander Litvinenko, said the Russian state had not attacked the children of its former targets since Trotsky. “If proven this is a different level altogether. Previously the FSB would never touch the children. Family is the precious thing. Now [future defectors] know that they are responsible not only for their own life but also that of their children.”

During the Cold War the CIA, MI6 and the KGB had an unwritten code that if caught spying an agent would be expelled not tortured or killed. Even defectors to the West were not put on an instant hit list. There are numerous examples in which the KGB was known to have tracked down defectors to their new homes but without carrying through with an assassination. There was also a secret hotline set up between the CIA and the KGB, called the Gavrilov channel, enabling the two services to discuss urgent matters while continuing to spy against each other.

The channel was used in 1984 when the CIA appealed to the KGB for help in uncovering the fate of William Buckley, the US intelligence agency’s chief of station in Beirut who had been kidnapped by jihadists. The KGB agreed to help but Buckley died in captivity in 1985. The professional courtesies of the espionage game have also changed radically since Mr Putin, a former KGB colonel, took charge.

Early deaths of Russian spy’s wife and son to be investigated

The deaths of Sergei Skripal’s wife and son will be considered as part of Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism investigation, The Times understands. Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, had suffered a series of bereavements before the incident on Sunday in which they were left critically ill in a suspected poisoning.

Mr Skripal, who was jailed in Russia for passing secrets to MI6 before being pardoned in 2010, had been struggling since the death of his son Alexander, 44, last year in St Petersburg. The family’s cleaner said yesterday that he died from liver failure while on holiday. He is thought to have been in Russia and the death was not investigated there. Mr Skripal’s wife, Liudmila, died aged 59 in 2012, two years after Mr Skripal was one of four Russians sent to Britain in the largest spy swap since the Cold War. Her death certificate stated the cause as disseminated endometrial carcinoma....... A source said last night: “Their deaths and how they came about will now come into the scope of the investigation.”....

The BBC also reported that Mr Skripal’s older brother had died in the past two years.....
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 12:39
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Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
Sergei Skripal was not a known user [of Fentanyl] AFAIK, although his wife died not that long ago.
Do you know something we don't ?
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 13:08
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Do you know something we don't ?
Some, given my former last employer is literally just up the road and is involved (not that they are releasing anything), but soon after the first reports were released there was a flood of suggestions (probably originating from social media) that Fentanyl had been involved. This seems odd, as it doesn't tally with the symptoms at all, or the timescale or the apparent transmission to others treating them.

What we know (from the media, mainly, so view that as you will):

1. 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.

2. They appeared to collapse on a bench in The Maltings, right next to the path they were walking on.

3. There are reports that one, perhaps both, vomited at the scene.

4. There are reports that Sergei Skripal had his arm fixed up in the air.

5. Emergency services personnel who attended were affected, one still being in hospital, two were discharged having suffered what were reported as symptoms of itching eyes, shortness of breath and wheezing.

What can we reasonable eliminate?

1. Any substance that was ingested or injected, or any natural illness - none would have been transmitted very quickly to emergency personnel.

2. Any relatively non-volatile or oily substance, for example something like VX, that is very slow to evaporate, especially in cool weather, as whatever it was affected at least three emergency personnel that we know of from reporting.

What does that leave us with as the most likely possibility?

That a substance was used in relatively close proximity to these two people, that incapacitated them fairly quickly, that was volatile enough to have been inhaled/reached the mucus membranes of some emergency staff dealing with them.

We can also conclude that what it wasn't was reasonably quickly identified, as the clean up and decon was quick and used mainly water, which rules out quite a lot of not water soluble/degradable substances. My guess is that they knew quickly that it was not a persistent agent, like VX.

The reported symptoms, plus the way the area was quickly decontaminated and much of it opened again to the public, suggests something like sarin, or a related agent, like soman, or even an agent we're unfamiliar with.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 13:17
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It was the reference to his wife, in the same sentence, that I was curious about.

Was Fentanyl implicated in her death?
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Old 7th Mar 2018, 13:33
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
It was the reference to his wife, in the same sentence, that I was curious about.

Was Fentanyl implicated in her death?
Her death is the one amongst his close family deaths that can be reasonably well attributed to a natural cause - she is reported to have died of cancer in 2012, and there seems to be little doubt that this is correct.

His son died last year during a visit to St Petersburg, of "natural causes". His older brother also died 2 years ago, also of "natural causes".

I think the Fentanyl thing was a rumour that spread very quickly locally, for reason or reasons unknown. I doubt that Fentanyl had anything to do with it - it simply doesn't fit the "facts" as we know them at this stage.

There are equally reports of thallium as the agent, but that tends to be a slow and often cumulative poison, and not one that would be easily transmitted to the emergency personnel so very quickly, nor would it have been decontaminated so quickly, especially as that bench is close to the river. My own view is that this is yet another red herring.

My money is it being caused by a pretty volatile agent that was directed at the couple, inhaled and perhaps remained on their clothing for a short time until it evaporated. It also seems to have been fairly toxic, but nowhere near as toxic as something like VX, as all those affected are still alive (as I write this).
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