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Evidence-based foreign policy

Written By: - Date published: 6:07 pm, April 2nd, 2018 - 99 comments
Categories: australian politics, Deep stuff, defence, Dirty Politics, exports, Free Trade, jacinda ardern, kremlinology, making shit up, Media, military, Propaganda, Russia, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war, winston peters, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

In the second stage of a false flag attack, facts go out the window and the sole issue becomes “are you for us or against us.” Our media and National Party politicians are well into this stage in the Skripal affair. But as questions mount and skeptics proliferate from all sides, it may well be that Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters may well be wiser than media advisers by not following blindly  the western herd. 26 countries is not the whole world. Update: Porton Down unable to establish Novichok of Russian origin.

While the media herd behaves like reef fish, many others, far from left-wingers,  are asking questions for which there are as yet not clear answers. As Tom Swizer in the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter asks, “The Skripal case escalates, but where is the proof?” He says:

Moreover, what is so wrong with establishing proof before the West escalates a very dangerous international situation? As the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war recommends, governments should carefully investigate serious crimes before coming to conclusions. Indeed, governments should always make evidence-based pronouncements rather than relying on assertion and bombast, which is what has happened in the Skripal case. We should bear that in mind during this month’s fifteenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, which was based on Western intelligence that purportedly showed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

And one doesn’t have to be a Putin fan to have serious doubts about this affair. Rod Liddle opines thus in the UK Spectator in an article headlined “Our response to the nerve gas attack has been an act of self-harm”:

I do not necessarily smell a conspiracy here. It is simply that the urgency with which our government wished to point the finger of blame was a case of jumping the gun, to our own eventual detriment. And perhaps, allied to that, a certain penchant for cherry–picking the available expert evidence in order to support an at least questionable thesis which already existed in the mind of the government and, I daresay, the military. We have been there before, of course, with those ‘dodgy dossiers’ which led us into an illegal and catastrophic war in Iraq.

For those who would like to delve into the details, Moon of Alabama and Professor Tim Hayward’s “Doubts about Novichoks”  are worth checking for the comprehensive amount of information they provide.

For a view from the public, this comment from today’s Independent:

The police now say that the Skripals were poisoned at their home. This means that after ingesting a “military grade nerve agent” they toddled about for over 3 hours, went for lunch etc before finally succumbing to this poison which is supposedly more deadly than VX. Does anyone believe  this nonsense?
When I hear the words “there is no alternative” and the ” coalition of the willing” I must confess I do become sceptical. We didn’t join the last coalition of the willing and I am very glad our leaders are keeping their distance from this one.

 

99 comments on “Evidence-based foreign policy ”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    Thanks, Mike. Hopefully comments here will stick to the evidence and not get into elaborate speculation.

    Shifting stories; disputes about whether the Skripals were poisoned by a Novichok agent.

  2. Ed 2

    Great post Mike.
    Craig Murray is also a must read to understand the story.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

  3. Muttonbird 3

    The state of NZ media could not be summed up better that Duplessis Allen’s cringeworthy call for ‘someone, anyone’ to be expelled.

    Ardern should have expelled Russian diplomats as soon as the Australians did. It doesn’t matter whether they’re spies or not. That misses the point.

    -Duplessis-Allan

    What was the point again? To stand with an under pressure Teresa May, bringing back memories of the worst mistakes in Western foreign policy over the last 20 years?

    Fascinating to see Dupisses Allan go all conformist on this yet very recently she fraudulently obtained a firearm…I wonder what has changed?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12022383

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    You talk a good game Mike – until you bring in rubbish like MoonofAlabama.

    From your link: “Way more likely are other explanations, for example food poisoning or an allergic shock soon after eating out at a fish restaurant.”

    When MOOA can explain how a seafood dish affects passers by like DS Nick Bailey, they may be able to recover the tatters of their reputation for truthfulness – if they ever had one.

    • aom 4.1

      Yes – but how was the DS contaminated with a nerve agent that probably had to be transferred via bodily fluids or close contact inhalation?

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        Bodily fluids? Now the Russian assassins tried to fuck them to death? Or whatever “close contact inhalation” is?

        Oh, “probably”. That means you’re “probably” not basing that on anything reasonable.

        If latent traces of chemical, especially a light dust, were in the house, and the cops went into the house, then there’s a good answer right there.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.2

        Who knows – we don’t know it required bodily fluids.

        He may have come pretty close to determine whether CPR was required.

        But we do know that MOOA’s line rubbishing a nerve agent as the cause cannot explain the facts – which makes it at best spurious, and most probably, deliberately misleading.

    • D'Esterre 4.2

      Stuart Munro: “When MOOA can explain how a seafood dish affects passers by like DS Nick Bailey…”

      Who says he was affected by anything from the Skripals? Or anything at all, come to that? We have only claims by the UK that this was so. We’d be well-advised to be sceptical about everything we’re being asked to believe.

      On the other hand, if it was a Fentanyl overdose, it’s known for its toxicity, such that paramedics responding to overdose callouts need to guard against being themselves contaminated.

      But neither Fentanyl nor “Novichok” (or whatever) explains the female passerby who was unaffected, despite having cleared Yulia Skripal’s airway. Said passerby was interviewed; this was reported by RNZ, very soon afterward.

      And if MOOA bunches your undies, there’s always the eminently sensible Consortium News: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/31/26507/

      • Stuart Munro 4.2.1

        MOOA “bunches my undies” as you put it because they are both blatantly partisan, and, as I showed, cheerfully untruthful.

        “Who says Bailey was affected by anything from the Skripals”

        The hospital he was in for three weeks for one – and do you know, they have some grounds to do so, having examined and treated him.

        Now of course he could have serendipitously been infected by some other nerve agent attack that the FSB people responsible were conducting nearby to economise on travel expenses. Or poisoned by aliens, or have taken Fenatyl himself. But in the absence of evidence showing any of these conveniently contemporaneous coincidences it would be insupportable speculation to entertain them.

        You know, I’ve never heard of Consortium news – what does Reuters have to say about it all?

        • Bazza 4.2.1.1

          Thanks for you comments Stuart, I’m sure Ocams razor should be applied here. Clearly the Russians are involved, but the wider more complex conspiracy theories always have their supporters (e.g. never landed on the moon, 9/11 etc)

          • reason 4.2.1.1.1

            Ocams razor had Saddam Hussein s mustache trimmed down to a little Hitler one ( true ) …. but telling us he supported terrorist and had chemical / nuclear WMDs he could / would attack the west with ( false ).

            With the skiprel case my suspects would definitely include enemys of Russia … Like Israel for instance … ” 2003 (August) The Israeli government authorized the killing of Hamas’s entire political leadership in Gaza, ‘without further notice,’ in a method called ‘the hunting season’

            So much form https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_assassinations#2000s

            Israel, usa ,Britain, Nato etc have been fighting … mainly with proxies …. against Russia in Syria …. The fact Russia prevented Syrias destruction as a nation state , ala Libya … has pissed the aggressors off.

            And speaking of the 15th anniversary of ” those ‘dodgy dossiers’ which led us into an illegal and catastrophic war in Iraq.”

            This illegal and catastrophic war has made some people very rich …. Jeremy Scahill talks of ‘ Blackwater’, a mercenary / security company … who undoubtedly have had staff member commit murder … more or less with impunity.

            Mark Mitchell made millions out of the illegal murderous catastrophe visited upon the Iraqui people …. hard NZ questions need to be asked of him and his ‘firm’ in Iraq

        • D'Esterre 4.2.1.2

          Stuart Munro: “The hospital he was in for three weeks for one – and do you know, they have some grounds to do so, having examined and treated him.”

          D-notice.

          “You know, I’ve never heard of Consortium news…”

          Really? You surprise me. And only now do you come to it, after the great Robert Parry has died, god rest his soul. The world is the poorer for his passing.

      • McFlock 4.2.2

        Well, if you’re saying the cops are fakenews/crisis actors, why do you believe the passer-by existed? Or the Skripals? Maybe nothing happened at all!

        Heck, does the nation of Russia exist? The United Kingdom? How can we know anything? And if we can’t know anything, then we have no justification to do anything! Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

        🙄

        • Sam 4.2.2.1

          More conspiracy theories.

          • McFlock 4.2.2.1.1

            lol

            Just wondering why D’E chooses to doubt the existence of injuries to the police officers, but not the Skripals.

            • Sam 4.2.2.1.1.1

              There are only two people who know the truth. The assassin and God. Neither has a Standard.org.nz log in.

              • McFlock

                Oh, the cops, their doctors, and a variety of other folks would know if they’d been poisoned.

                • Sam

                  I’m not drinking the NHS kook aid. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is conducting an investigation. The have all the right credentials and access. And they’ll make there report public.

                  I’m not the one who called the nerve agent Novichok. The wonderful Boris Johnson did. Such an amazing fellow that chap. Just super duper.

                  • McFlock

                    ah, so now the nhs is lying, too.

                    • Sam

                      I’m inclined to disregard any and all official narratives until I’v had a chance to educate myself on any and all topics I talk about.

                    • McFlock

                      So you’ll also disregard the OPCW report. If it doesn’t suit your autodidactic pretensions, I mean.

                    • Sam

                      Are you deficient? I just said OPCW will do a report. And I’ll read it just to see if there’s anything that confirms your conspiracy theory that Russia Did It!!!

                      You never fail to amaze me the level of research you are prepared to put into your conspiracy theories.

                  • weka

                    Sam is currently banned. A permanent ban for ignoring the previous ones and refusing to abide by moderation on this site.

            • D'Esterre 4.2.2.1.1.2

              McFlock: “Just wondering why D’E chooses to doubt the existence of injuries to the police officers, but not the Skripals.”

              I don’t think you’ve read my comments closely. Or at all, perhaps.

              The Skripals have been injured. I am sceptical of claims about nerve agents, because a passerby, interviewed by reporters, said that she’d cleared Yulia’s airway, yet she was unaffected by whatever it was injured them.

              On the other hand, the government tells us that a police officer was badly-affected. These two narratives don’t tally up.

              Scepticism is in order, it seems to me.

              • McFlock

                How qualified are you to state where two medical stories tally up, when one is about exposure to a contaminated site and another is about someone administering first aid and not getting contaminated/infected?

                Maybe the first-aider knew enough about fluid-borne diseases that her treatment also avoided any secondary contamination (gloves, plastic bag, whatever).

                • D'Esterre

                  McFlock: “How qualified are you to state where two medical stories tally up, when one is about exposure to a contaminated site and another is about someone administering first aid and not getting contaminated/infected?”

                  That’s for me to know and you to wonder at.

                  “Maybe the first-aider knew enough about fluid-borne diseases that her treatment also avoided any secondary contamination (gloves, plastic bag, whatever).”

                  Passer-by, remember. How amazing would it be if said passer-by had been all prepared for an emergency of that sort!

                  We’re being told that it was a nerve agent attack. How remarkable would it be, if alleged nerve agent had severely affected one first responder and not another. Sounds like a miracle to me.

                  • McFlock

                    Ah. So not at all then. It’s not unheard of for people to carry ppe. Even without that, it’s not difficult to improvise something in this day and age. Even if secondary exposure from bodily fluids were a factor.

                    And the first responders weren’t injured, although loads of people were assessed/tested. Investigating officers were injured after they visited Skripal’s home. No miracle. Just the site of exposure.

  5. francesca 5

    Good on you Mike
    I just hope who ever did this gets caught
    But I fear throwing up a squid ink cloud of Russia!,Russia,! Russia! means someone may very well be out there smirking at his get out of jail free card.
    We’ve seen the guys in their army fatigues and hazmat suits ,(side by side)???!!! but so far no talk of viewing CCTV cameras., or conducting a manhunt
    I’m surprised there aren’t posters of a man in a cossack hat”Have you seen this man?”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      so far no talk of viewing CCTV cameras

      A simple Google search for “Skripal cctz” returns “About 423,000 results” including this one which is the top link.

      How did you manage to get that so wrong?

  6. Anne 6

    Broadly speaking I’m with you Mike Smith.

    Yes, Putin is not to be trusted. Yes, he has form dating back to his KGB days. Yes, we know he’s capable of running assassination missions but he’s not alone there. Some Western aligned countries are equally capable of bumping people off on behalf of their leaders… and that includes the USA.

    But until such a time as an investigation produces evidence that the Skripal assassination attempts lead directly to Putin’s government, then our government is doing the right thing by awaiting the outcome of the investigation before they start taking strong measures against Russia.

    • Stephen Doyle 6.1

      Spot on Anne. Sums up my thinking nicely.

    • D'Esterre 6.2

      Anne: “Yes, Putin is not to be trusted. Yes, he has form dating back to his KGB days. Yes, we know he’s capable of running assassination missions….”

      We know no such thing. We have been exposed to western propaganda claiming as much, but this doesn’t constitute incontrovertible evidence.

      It was the rise of the internet, coupled with my spending a few years in the academic system, which opened my eyes to how comprehensively we’ve been propagandised by the Washington Establishment, enthusiastically aided and abetted by western msm. We’d all be wise to treat with scepticism absolutely everything we’ve been told about global affairs, going right back to WW2 at least.

      I’d add that – on account of our alliances and so on – it took me a very long and painful time to accept that the major UK outlets – the BBC, the Guardian, The Times of London and so on – aren’t commentators of record, and haven’t been for many, many years. If these outlets tell me that the sun is shining, I’d look for corroborative evidence; I don’t believe a word they say. And neither should anybody else.

      • One Two 6.2.1

        The human mind was mapped aeons ago and has been targeted ever since. …the levels are mistaken for ‘life’ while the levels kill maim and steal…

        As can be observed on this site there are many who appear helpless to the ongoing entrapment of their minds…like a form of Stokholm Syndrome…

        That the default starting point is cynicism in so few (who then get attacked by the hive mind types)…

        Assuming the media industry and its arms are part of the military industrial complex could be described as, decerning…

  7. RedLogix 7

    More to the point, in order to be able to demonstrate the detected compound was of Russian origin Porton Downs would have needed verified reference material to start with. Very much the same as a fingerprint; it’s useless as evidence unless you have one on record already. And there is no suggestion this was the case.

    Chris Hitchens gave a pretty sane interview here:

    Jane Kelsey: Shane Jones’ AirNZ demands would breach the TPPA

    He doesn’t give the Russian’s a free-pass, but is scathing about the rush to judgement that has gone here.

    • D'Esterre 7.1

      RedLogix: “Chris Hitchens gave a pretty sane interview…”

      Say what? You do know that he’s dead, don’t you?

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Arrrgh … one Peter Hitchens of course. Total failure to read my own linky … 🙂

        • D'Esterre 7.1.1.1

          RedLogix: “one Peter Hitchens of course”

          Heh! You wouldn’t be the first to make that mistake.

          Apropos the late Christopher Hitchens, AND apropos nothing else in this thread: I wonder if you saw the marvellously creepy UK/Canada production “Tin Star”, which played on TV here last year, I think.

          The music tracks were very good. In particular, this one linked below: “Ode to Christopher Hitchens”, used in a scene where Whitey from a distance watches Jim kill Whitey’s friend, and burn said friend’s body in his vehicle.

    • Stuart Munro 7.2

      There are no doubt some US samples or records of testing samples derived from the decommissioning of the original Russian development laboratory. But unless they match, they don’t necessarily tell us anything, because Mirzayanov states that they degrade relatively quickly.

      This means that a cache retained from Nukus or Pavlodar would likely be quite degraded, and thus likely different to samples taken at the time of decommissioning. A sample that appeared to match those from the plant would also tell us little because the lack of degradation would suggest it was made more recently, though there may be ways (low temperature storage for example) to slow the degradation.

  8. Richard 8

    When the Daily Blog goes Infowars.

  9. Incognito 9

    If (or when?) the smoking gun that was to be Novichok turns out to be a cigarette bud the whole story starts to crumble just as with those mythical WMDs – but then it was way too late. It’ll be interesting to see how desperately and obsessively certain parties will be hanging on to and perpetuating the smoking gun story. The next question will then be what is their interest and agenda.

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?

  10. peterlepaysan 10

    It is highly likely that Russia (Putin) knows who did it and how.
    I would not be surprised if the Russians had shown whoever did it how to make the novichok in a suburban garage anywhere on the planet.

    Ed provides a link to Craig Murray above that is worth following.

    The puzzle to me is why pick on the Skripals?

    Russia does not need to flex muscles, Europe depends on Russian gas for power.

    • Ed 10.1

      Thank you

    • D'Esterre 10.2

      Peterlepaysan: “It is highly likely that Russia (Putin) knows who did it and how.
      I would not be surprised if the Russians had shown whoever did it how to make the novichok in a suburban garage anywhere on the planet.”

      And you’d think this for what reason? Sounds to me like western propaganda.

      “Russia does not need to flex muscles, Europe depends on Russian gas for power.”

      And yet, and yet….. you make the first claim that I pasted here. What?

  11. JohnSelway 12

    The Standard is starting to go somewhat alt-right (Deep State, Clinton! etc) as of late and highly conspiratorial.

  12. JohnSelway 13

    Parts of The Standard are going slightly alt-right (Deep State, Clintons! etc) and highly conspiratorial as of late

  13. Anne 14

    That may be the case on some other thread, but I don’t see anyone here going alt-right/deep state/conspiratorial here.

    [Not sure why your comments are being trapped. Sometimes the machine does what it does … – MS]

  14. Anne 15

    That may be the case on some other thread, but I don’t see anyone going alt-right/deep state/conspiratorial here.

  15. Anne 16

    My comments are disappearing into a hole. 🙁

  16. Hooch 17

    Some of the lines coming from May and Johnson sound like they have come straight from the Crosby textor meme factory and that’s a scary thought. That they are controlling foreign policy.

    • Anne 17.1

      Might not be surprising Hooch because we learnt recently that Peter Thiel’s Palantir group based in the USA is closely aligned to Cambridge Analytica in Britain. Both organisations are seeking to influence the outcome of elections and governmental decisions in one way or another, so it is likely Crosby/Textor has an association with them too.

      Also, Crosby/Textor has been used by the Conservative party before.

  17. savenz 18

    May is feeling the pressure on her pathetic Brexit negotiations and looking to distract with some foreign news….

    The UK government have learnt nothing from the lies and deception around the Iraq war and the international free for all we now see as countries rush into attack mode, dog whistling their friends to join them as ways to distract from internal events or to hob nob and gain favour with other international politicians.

    Who cares about democracy (and it’s not the fake news that Fox worries about, that I’m worried about, it’s the fake and hyped up news from government that is the threat to democracy….)

    • Wayne 18.1

      So what are the UK lies about Salisbury poisoning?
      I get that you are anti just about everything about the west, but you need to do better than just say they are liars, what are the actual lies?

      • Bill 18.1.1

        savenz mentioned lies around Iraq, not Salisbury. Salisbury, as per the comment you responded to, is dog-whistling.

        A huge difference there.

        So your question ought to be why savenz thinks Salisbury is a big dogwhistle.

      • savenz 18.1.2

        The lies that lead to the UK invading Iraq was that the other countries were under imminent attack because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed in 45 minutes.

        However the weapons inspection David Kelly always said that was not true, but he was hounded for his views and was found dead in a UK public park.

        The Blair government ignored the specialist views and later enquiries found that Blair has already given personal promises the Bush government that they would fight with the USA up to a year earlier.

        Therefore the whole premise leading up to the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war was found to be on a false intelligence premise “that there were WMD capable of an imminent attack”, and of course no weapons of mass destruction were ever found after the invasion and the later enquiry found that it was all ‘far from satisfactory’ reasoning.

      • D'Esterre 18.1.3

        Wayne: “I get that you are anti just about everything about the west, but you need to do better than just say they are liars, what are the actual lies?”

        This is a classic example of the complex question fallacy. I think that the one who needs to do better is you.

        If you believe any of the taradiddle that May and Johnson have told the UK parliament, I can only conclude that you haven’t applied logic to what they’ve said.

        And do I have a bridge to sell you!

      • francesca 18.1.4

        Wayne, What are the actual lies?
        I’m sure you will know by now that Porton Down has been unable to verify the novichok came from Russia

        Here’s Boris with a bald faced lie

    • Wayne 18.2

      So what is your evidence that the UK has lied on this issue, apart from your general prejudice about just about any western cause?

      • dukeofurl 18.2.1

        Has the UK provided any evidence at all?

        Apart from some sick people. And a whole lot of media walkups so must be evidence ? Right!

        You will remember a recent poisoning case in NZ, everyone at ‘first thought’ it was botulism ( including the hospital) but of course there are specific tests for that.
        After some weeks past its been classified as ‘unknown’
        Imagine if you can the uproar if it was a Russian kiwi rather than an Indian Kiwi family

        Another situation was the Fonterra botulism, massive effect on the company, and yet extensive tests proved it ‘wasnt what was first thought’ and wasnt a deadly strain. No one got sick of course. But it shows these sorts of poisons can sometimes not be what the first thoughts were

  18. adam 19

    Ask for caution, get attacked.

    It seems only a few took that opportunity to be total idiots.

  19. Bill 20

    I suspect the children might not behave and fall in line quite so willingly as previous years and past generations have seen.

    The fairly sizable “not buying it” section of society kind of goes in line with a fair number of instances that might be seen as the beginnings to a collapse of the centre.

    There has been mostly nothing but fearful and negative messaging these past years used to encourage people to remain in the safe arms of the status quo. And yet, in spite of running various “project fear” campaigns, it gets sorely challenged or defeated at every turn.

    It would be interesting to know the crossover in people who tend to reject the rationale of “project fear” domestically and those who are rejecting foreign policy posturings.

  20. Delia 21

    What a joke this is, glad we at least did not expel anyone. No more sabre rattling from the British, what really was going on here?

  21. SPC 22

    Back in 2016 Iran informed the international body that it had found a way to make this substance using commerically available materials.

    • Bill 22.1

      Not a challenge, but do you have a link to info on that?

      • francesca 22.1.1

        Here you go Bill

        http://www.spectroscopynow.com/details/ezine/1591ca249b2/Iranian-chemists-identify-Russian-chemical-warfare-agents.html?tzcheck=1,1,1,1,1&&tzcheck=&

        late 2016

        You’re probably also aware that Clinton was advising diplomats not to mention novichoks in chemical weapons talks in 2009
        (leaked cables from Wikileaks)

        http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/clinton-state-department-discouraged-novichok-discussion.html

      • Bill 22.1.3

        Thanks for the links.

        The spectroscopy one kind of puts the whole “musta been Russia” thing to bed imo.

        I can’t imagine such a publication reporting anything for reasons other than technical interest and general geekery (no offense meant).

        So by Jan 1st 2017 Iranian researchers had openly synthesised five ‘Novichok’ agents, along with four deuterated analogues. (not sure what all that means 🙂 ) and the data was added to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Central Analytical Database (OCAD).

        • Incognito 22.1.3.1

          Hi Bill,

          The research paper by the Iranian scientists was first received by the journal for peer-review on 12 July 2016 and first published on 5 October 2016.

          Herein, we wish to report a general microsynthetic procedure for these compounds (Scheme 1) along with possible MS fragmentation pathways elucidated from EI‐MS and ESI‐MS/MS data. The fragmentation pathways were confirmed by performing MS/MS on deuterated analogs.

          MS stands for mass spectrometry and it is basically a technology (instrument) to determine the mass (weight) of a substance and smash it up into pieces (fragments) in the MS instrument to get a characteristic ‘fingerprint’ for a given substance. Because deuterium has a mass (weight) that is one heavier than hydrogen the MS instrument (and software) can distinguish the fragments and so the scientists can piece together (literally, almost) the structure and fragmentation pathways for the given substance.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1.3.1.1

            Does that mean it’s possible to determine provenance? If not, is there a test that can do that?

            • Incognito 22.1.3.1.1.1

              Yes and no. With complex samples, i.e. samples that contain many different substances it is possible to look at the overall pattern and determine place of origin. It is used with oil samples, whiskey and wine samples (e.g. to determine authenticity and counterfeits), for example. But you always need an authentic sample, and a database or library of data to compare it with and find a possible match. It is possible that the other components in the poison provide such a pattern that can be used to trace the place of manufacture (better: the components/excipients) that made up the final product. A single small substance such as Novichok by itself is virtually impossible to trace IMO.

              • dukeofurl

                I have heard that too. You need a sort of ‘standard sample’ to truly identify what the technology is ‘saying’ ( oops putting words in the mouth of a machine)

                • Incognito

                  No two samples are truly identical, not even identical samples – think of testing A and B samples for doping in sports. This is why you have to match any (unknown) sample to an authentic standard to increase confidence in the assignment. That’s how science works or at least how it is supposed to work 😉

  22. dukeofurl 23

    Remember this Great Whopping Lie the UK Government told in 2002

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

    And when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed the British didnt lift a finger to help NZ, even thought it had been British ship ( then registered in Amsterdam).

    • Ken 23.1

      Yes, I too thought of all the French diplomats who were not expelled all over the world in solidarity with NZ when the French Government blew up a ship in our port.

      • Anne 23.1.1

        Their argument was: they were targeting Greenpeace not NZ.

        Uggh… they did it on our sovereign territory!

        However, at the time it was nice to learn that a large section of the French people were shocked and disgusted at what their own government did in their name.

  23. mikesh 24

    Another titbit on the Skripal affair:

    “On March 31, Fort Russ reported that Yulia Skripal, Sergey’s daughter, “visited her ‘Vkontakte’ (social media) page…on the morning of March 7” – three days after the alleged poisoning incident.

    The official narrative claimed she and her father were in a coma, poisoned by a deadly military-grade nerve agent.”

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/was-the-alleged-skripal-poisoning-incident-an-elaborate-hoax/5634396

    Interesting, huh?

  24. mikesh 25

    An interesting titbit concerning the Skripal affair:

    ¨On March 31, Fort Russ reported that Yulia Skripal, Sergey’s daughter, “visited her ‘Vkontakte’ (social media) page…on the morning of March 7” – three days after the alleged poisoning incident.

    The official narrative claimed she and her father were in a coma, poisoned by a deadly military-grade nerve agent.¨

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/was-the-alleged-skripal-poisoning-incident-an-elaborate-hoax/5634396

    • One Anonymous Bloke 25.1

      You think this is significant because…?

      • Bill 25.1.1

        And “interesting titbit” was the phrase used.

        You want to ask someone why they find a particular something “significant”, then ask it of someone who is claiming to present something of significance.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 25.1.1.1

          It’s the way “a titbit” (sp?) is then supposed to have some relevance to “the official narrative” that caught my attention, because I thought “the official narrative” is that Yulia Skripal’s future mother-in-law is in the frame.

          For some reason I can’t stop thinking about Naomi Oreskes. I left her book on the bus, and then the baby ate it.

      • Stuart Munro 25.1.2

        That will be because the cops turned it on to see if any notes had been left that would give them a lead. Or maybe some vile unscrupulous Western Intelligence hacker broke into the account to frame good honest clean-living Russian hackers!

        • McFlock 25.1.2.1

          Or the British tabloids are back to hacking. Didn’t they listen to messages on a missing girl’s voicemail, giving undue hope and distress when she was already dead but unfound?

    • Wayne 25.2

      Do you really think the British would say a person was in a coma in a public hospital when they weren’t, in such a high profile case. Think of how many people would have to be in on this coverup, the doctors, the nurses, the police, numerous govt officials.
      Way more likely to be a computer hack into her social media account probably by the FSB.

    • Wayne 25.3

      Do you really think the British would say a person was in a coma in a public hospital when they weren’t, in such a high profile case. Think of how many people would have to be in on this coverup, the doctors, the nurses, the police, numerous govt officials.
      Way more likely to be a computer hack into her social media account, probably by the FSB.

      • D'Esterre 25.3.1

        Wayne: “Do you really think the British would say a person was in a coma in a public hospital when they weren’t, in such a high profile case. ”

        Yes. It isn’t at all implausible. This is the country that invented the D-notice, remember. And the system is still in use.

        “Think of how many people would have to be in on this coverup, the doctors, the nurses, the police, numerous govt officials.”

        Think, indeed. Amazing what the Brits can do under the provisions of a D-notice.

      • francesca 25.3.2

        This German govt. scandal would have required a lot of people to keep their mouths shut too
        Its possible
        I give you the link, not to suggest that Salisbury is a scam but to remind you that these things can and do happen

        http://www.fecl.org/circular/3301.htm

        • D'Esterre 25.3.2.1

          Francesca: “This German govt. scandal would have required a lot of people to keep their mouths shut too”

          Crikey! I have vague memories of that story, but it was not well-covered by news outlets here, surprise surprise…

          A cautionary tale indeed.

  25. D'Esterre 26

    Apropos D-notices and the like: the UK doesn’t have freedom of speech. See this:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-43478925

    Is it possible for Old Blighty to get more bizarre?

    • dukeofurl 26.1

      The pet dog maybe in bad taste but other stuff was hate speech-
      “Mr Brown told the court it was wrong to focus on the phrase “gas the Jews” when it had been taken out of context “

      • D'Esterre 26.1.1

        Dukeofurl: “other stuff was hate speech”

        Nope. It’s an ordinary citizen exercising his free speech rights. He’s offended some people: that’s what free speech often entails. Better that than the suppression implied by the notion “hate speech”. Even were it possible to properly define it.

  26. francesca 27

    Links please to the media reports OAB

    So far all we have is Skripal shopping days before and an indistinct image of a couple supposed to be the Skripals walking moments before their collapse
    A reference to the Skripals driving
    Your talk of 423,000 results, cctz?? are just repeats
    Someone we are told , put the novichok on the door handle
    I’m interested in who that someone might be and whether CCTV can help in that regard
    100s of1000s of CCTV to Sk images of Skripal shopping days before aren’t particularly helpful

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