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Russian to Judgment

Written By: - Date published: 5:55 pm, March 16th, 2018 - 517 comments
Categories: Propaganda, radio, spin, Syria, uk politics, war - Tags:

The possible poisoning of Sergei Skripal and the consequent  hysteria have all the signs of another false flag operation, as we saw before the second American invasion of Iraq. The chain of circumstantial evidence has more holes in it than a swiss cheese, and while  attempted murder (if that is what it is) is a criminal act Winston Peters and Jeremy Corbyn are sane voices calling for evidence before any attribution still less action.

Its not hard to see why the British government would like to draw attention away from the looming disaster of their bungled Brexit. The French and Americans are also unhappy about the continuation of Assad’s government in Syria. With the sudden firing of Rex Tillerson and the looming exit of McMaster, the neocons are firmly in charge in Washington and we know what that led to in 2003.

Helen Clark’s Labour-led government took a principled stance not to support George W. Bush’s  “coalition of the willing,” and no doubt had to withstand considerable pressure to do so. It is concerning to read that the British High Commissioner is briefing New Zealand media about Theresa May’s view of events, and sending out barely disguised threats in an attempt to interfere in our trade policies.

It is not as though we haven’t seen anti-Russian hysteria before. Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report seems to have gone full ‘Dancing Cossacks,’ following the lead of CNN which has led the charge in Washington since the election of Donald Trump.

We live in a very uncertain and dangerous world and New Zealand is not immune. The Doomsday Clock is at two minutes to midnight. Now more than ever we do not nee to seed tensions escalate on such flimsy grounds as the latest beat-up. We need to maintain our independence and our principles, and not be sucked into other people’s wars.

517 comments on “Russian to Judgment ”

  1. Ed 1

    Why has the world gone mad again?
    Didn’t we learn from 2002/3?
    Do we need another 2 million person March?

    For an answer to first question, Kok closely at the events of 1913-1914.
    World War 1 happened due a crisis of capitalism.
    This rush to combat is happening for the same reasons.

    BTW. – a bit trite given the seriousness of the issue, but this is a brilliant title.

    • james 1.1

      “Do we need another 2 million person March?”

      not going to happen.

      “For an answer to first question, Kok closely at the events of 1913-1914.
      World War 1 happened due a crisis of capitalism.
      This rush to combat is happening for the same reasons.”

      Is there anything that you dont blame capitalism for?

  2. Obtrectator 2

    Has anyone come up with alternative hypotheses that cover the facts with some degree of plausibility? If so, let’s hear them, or at least have a link to them.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Pfft. I’m not rushing to judgment – I’ve been following Putin since the Chechen genocide. He hasn’t changed a bit. But there seem to be a lot of people who haven’t followed him, recent devotees of RT and the like who think they know sooo much better. Laughable – were we not discussing a murderous tyrant.

    • Ed 3.1

      So you observed the Fascist coup d’état in Ukraine?
      The US support of ISIS in Syria?

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.1

        We have observed that you live in a fantasy world, yes, Ed.

        • Ed

          This isn’t a John Wayne film.

          • Stuart Munro

            “You keep saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
            Inigo Montoya

          • Stunned mullet

            Why are you so keen to fight in the Russian corner on this one Ed ?

            It seems you want published proof available to the public at large before you’re prepared to issue even the merest tut tut at Russia.

            • rhinocrates

              Because Vladimir Putin is the cool uncle and Hilary Clinton is the finger-wagging mummy. Everything is her fault, even dandruff.

              • Stunned mullet

                Seems fair..

              • Matthew Whitehead

                To be fair, there are those of us who think Vladamir Putin and Hillary Clinton are problems, but that she’s not in as serious a category as he is. 😉 Not everything has to be about “teams.”

            • mikesh

              Whatever Putin has, or has not, done in the past does not prove that that Russia was involved in the attempted assassinations of Sergei and his daughter. So, yes, I think we should demand proof before we start “Tut tutting” Russia.

              In fact the fact that the attempt was unsuccessful suggests that Russia was not involved. If Russia wanted the pair dead, they would be dead.

            • Winifred Kiddle

              Because Russia and Putin are so unfairly demonised by the Western powers and the mainstream media. Can you people get your heads out of your butts and do some reading and research about what is really going on in this world. WW3 will come and you will encourage it because you still believe the shit about Western invincibility and American hegemony. 27 million Russians died saving your arse in WW2 and 15 million Chinese. If it wasn’t for Russia and China you would probably be speaking German. The US didn’t win the war although no doubt you think they did. FFS. Grrr….!!

              • joe90

                27 million Russians died saving your arse in

                27 million Russians died saving your arse because Stalin’s shonky wee deal with his Austrian mate to roll over Eastern/Western Europe, enslave whole populations and divvy up the spoils, went pear shaped.


      • reason 3.1.2

        100% correct regarding the u.s.a/ NGO / Nato backed violent coup in the ukraine … they are the color of fascists …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6kw0hwZknc

        And the Al-quada / Bin laden affiliated ” Manchester Boys” who carried out the terrorist bombing of teenage girls on british soil …. http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/manchester-terrorist-wanted-maximum-carnage-british-pm-says/news-story/b47c5a33ac2c237b13ca31df4af84766 ,had been british government ‘assets’ through several administrations and well over a decade.


        “award winning journalist and author John Pilger said in an article on his website: “Britain, France and the United States effectively destroyed Libya as a modern state.

        “More than ‘giving rise’ to Islamic State – ISIS had already taken root in the ruins of Iraq following the Blair and Bush invasion in 2003 – these ultimate medievalists now had all of north Africa as a base. ” https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/838018/David-Cameron-freedom-of-Libya-victory-speech-ill-judged-Manchester-Bombing-ISIS

        Cameron was celebrated in Tripoli as a ‘liberator’, or imagined he was.

        “The crowds cheering him included those secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s SAS and inspired by Islamic State, such as the ‘Manchester boys’.”

        On September 5, 2011, Mr Cameron addressed the House of Commons praising and justifying British involvement in the civil war.

        • SPC

          “Had been british government ‘assets’ through several administrations and well over a decade.”

          The link says no such thing and given the perps were in their early 20’s, clearly nonsense. MI5 thought one of the brothers a potential threat …as he had been abroad to his fathers homeland Libya and may have gone onto Syria.

    • DO you mean following Putin from a Western mainstream 1 eyed view?

  4. The possible poisoning of Sergei Skripal and the consequent hysteria have all the signs of another false flag operation…

    Really? What are these signs?

    The chain of circumstantial evidence has more holes in it than a swiss cheese…

    Conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts for authoritarian regimes are certainly having a field day with the supposed Mirzayanov quote in your Moon of Alabama link:

    “Russia did it”, says Mirzanyanov [sic], “OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK”.

    As far as I can tell it’s not actually a quote, just something made up by people who’ve read a reporter’s paraphrasing of Mirzayanov:

    The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

    Assuming that paraphrase is accurate, it would apply not to “someone who read his book,” but “someone who read his book and had access to a chemical lab sufficiently advanced to safely manufacture, store and distribute a tasteless, odorless and transparent nerve agent without killing everyone in the vicinity.” That’s “a government,” to you and me.

    If you don’t think that government was the mafia kleptocracy running Russia, which one do you imagine it was and what evidence have you based that view on?

    • Mike Smith 4.1

      Signs of a false flag operation are those similar to the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I was in Canada in early 2002 watching hyped-up American television in my hotel room. I came back and reported to the Labour caucus that America was going to invade. A year later they did. One sign is heightened tone in the media allied with treating allegation as fact.

      As for the chemical, as far as I am aware it was manufactured in Uzbekistan which is no longer part of Russia and the factory was cleaned up by the US. See this from 1999 NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/25/world/us-and-uzbeks-agree-on-chemical-arms-plant-cleanup.html

      • SPC 4.1.1

        The PNAC proposed regime change in Iraq to GWB on his becoming POTUS. He rejected it as something he could not get public support for. After 9/11 it was back on his desk, and New Zealanders offering criticism of their foreign policy (I faxed their embassy in late 2001 saying leave it at Kabul and keep out of Baghdad) were visited by the New Zealand police in early 2002 (as suspects in the mysterious case of a threat to poison Tiger Woods while he was here to play golf, criticise their foreign policy, become an anti-American and thus a threat to the lives of Americans – that fake threat was probably CIA/staffer at the embassy).

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.2

        Yeah, I remember that lead-up to the invasion of Iraq well. It was clear what was happening and why, and the US government’s own intelligence agencies pointed out the lack of evidence. This case is very different – the WMD actually exists and was used, the Russian government has form for it (ie Litvinenko) and there are no intelligence agencies suggesting the British government is wrong in its claims.

        As for the chemical, as far as I am aware it was manufactured in Uzbekistan…

        How are you aware of it? I’ve seen people claiming this, but haven’t seen anything to back up the claims. The British government has the only sample – have they said it’s from Uzbekistan?

        • Carolyn_Nth

          The Guardian yesterday, said:

          Novichok was developed at a laboratory complex in Shikhany, in central Russia, according to a British weapons expert, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, and a Russian chemist involved in the chemical weapons programme, Vil Mirzayanov, who later defected to the US. Mirzayanov said the novichok was tested at Nukus, in Uzbekistan.

          The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who visited the site at Nukus, said it had been dismantled with US help. He is among those advocating scepticism about the UK placing blame on Russia.

          • Psycho Milt

            It was developed there, yes. That says nothing about where this particular example of it came from. The Russian government would be mugs if they didn’t still have a stockpile of it, let alone the facilities they’ll have that are capable of manufacturing it.

            • Colonial Viper

              Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons have been systematically and independently destroyed as per treaty over the last 5 years.

              The “Novichok” class of *proposed* nerve agents were designed to be manufacturable in typical lab settings using common compounds.

              In theory anyone could create these compounds.

              Including the UK chemical warfare experts at the Porton Down facility just a few miles away from the incident.

              • Stuart Munro

                Do tell us by what prodigy of improbability the Porton Down chemists are to have identified Skripal and conceived a sudden murderous dislike for him.

                This is rubbish even for you.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hi Stuart, not sure what you mean by this. I am not suggesting that chemists there murdered him. I am suggesting that the chemists there have full capabilities for producing “Novichok” agents if they so pleased.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Of course. Chinese chemists would have too, and US ones.

                    But these countries have no particular animus against Skripal either.

                    May would not have the kind of contacts to set up this kind of thing – she’s much too flaky. The US maybe – but not under Trump. The Chinese – not typical of them to be so adventurous with intelligence forces. But Russia? Yes – they love that stuff. So we’re back where we started – means motive and a pattern of previous offending.

                    • Winifred Kiddle

                      Hi Stuart, yes great timing for Russia. Elections on Sunday, the world cup soon. Yes I can see it now Putin in his Kremlin office scheming to murder this double agent whom the KGB had previously arrested, drained of all his knowledged, imprisoned, then swaped with Russian spies the UK had arrested. “If only” he is saying, ” we had killed him then. I think I’ll try and use that novochik? Novichok, or whatever the hell it is, stuff that we have stored in the cellar. It has strong links to us. No one will ever suspect.” Come on Stuart – even the French had their suspicions until they had to fall in line. This is the start of something big. If it was Russia the KGB would have killed him, and you wouldn’t be able to trace it. ( where are the victims anyhow?) But the West is using this as an excuse to….?? Same old play book.

              • Russian stockpiles of chemical weapons have been systematically and independently destroyed as per treaty over the last 5 years.

                So? The stuff used was mostly likely manufactured recently.

                The “Novichok” class of *proposed* nerve agents were designed to be manufacturable in typical lab settings using common compounds.

                This guy’s assertions on the subject are worth way more than yours.

                In theory anyone could create these compounds.

                In theory, anyone could mess with something that’s tasteless, odorless, transparent and can kill you in extremely small doses, sure – but they don’t, because most people don’t like dying unpleasantly.

                Including the UK chemical warfare experts at the Porton Down facility just a few miles away from the incident.

                Including lots of facilities owned by various governments around the world. There are a great many other completely irrelevant facts you could contribute to this discussion, but please don’t feel you have to.

            • Siobhan

              “The Russian government would be mugs if they didn’t still have a stockpile of it, let alone the facilities they’ll have that are capable of manufacturing it”

              ….as usual another factless conspiratory theory, presented on baseless assumptions.

              • More a response to one. The implied claim was that the nerve agent shouldn’t be linked to Russia because it was developed in Uzbekistan and the storage facility was dismantled. My comment just pointed out that the claim lacks validity.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                As conspiratorial as Skripol was killed under a false flag operstion?

                • mikesh

                  Conspiracies do happen, so calling something a “conspiracy theory” doesn’t mean it’s untrue.

        • weka

          “This case is very different – the WMD actually exists and was used, the Russian government has form for it (ie Litvinenko) and there are no intelligence agencies suggesting the British government is wrong in its claims.”

          That’s circumstantial right?

          Not sure what the point of the last one was, given there’s a bunch of side choosing going on.

          edit, btw, for clarity, I’m agnostic on the whole who is the most evil, Russia or US, thing.

        • francesca

          ” the US government’s own intelligence agencies pointed out the lack of evidence”

          Sadly, that wasn’t true of the UK intelligence services


          And that’s who we are relying on here

      • dukeofurl 4.1.3

        Its almost impossible to know early on whats happening with various toxic agents

        We had the Fonterra Botulism scare which was later found to be ‘the right sort of botulism’ and the Waikato family who were supposed to have eaten something, again another toxic substance which was finally put down to ‘unknown’.

        Common feature despite on going tests ? mass media hysteria . Sound familiar

    • francesca 4.2

      From Bellingcat..gag but someone has to do it

      Francesca – March 12, 2018
      Professor Stephens of Reading university seems to be suggesting that some types of the Novichok class would not require a sophisticated laboratory to produce

      milkshake – March 13, 2018
      these things are not that difficult to produce. You need well equipped synthetic lab, the kind you can find at major university or a pharma company. You need one experienced chemist and few weeks of work, if the chemist has the right experimental procedure – if not then few more weeks to work it out. The precursors are common, uncontrolled and cheap. One can find remarkable details just by a cursory search. And there is a lot more in the chemical literature. For example it appears that binary Novichok A-232 is from the phosgenoxime family and it takes just 3 synthetic steps to make the binary. The chemistry is not challenging, and if one needs just 100mg at the end and works at 1g scale, the
      accidental intoxication is not to hard to avoid (chemist are used to working with nauseatingly smelly substances and the same hygiene and techniques would apply in this case.)

      (For comparison, polonium production needs a nuclear reactor and automated remotely-controlled dedicated reprocessing plant. There are only two places in the world that make it, enormous capital investment and expertise would be needed to replicate it).

      What would help with the attribution is a careful analysis of trace impurities, which would inform how the thing was made and purified, and isotopic composition of different part of the molecule, done by mass spectroscopy. One can for example distinguish if a part of the molecule was made from corn fermentation-derived alcohol or came from oil or natural gas feedstock.
      Then one would compare it with what is known about the Russian Novichok program.

      DDTea – March 15, 2018

      • francesca 4.2.1

        and Bellingcat again ……. double gag…

        Francesca – March 14, 2018
        For you Dan
        Can you verify that the Novichok group of nerve agents is included in the OPCW’s list of prohibited chemicals?
        I am having trouble finding it
        As you are the expert perhaps you would be so kind?

        Dan Kaszeta – March 15, 2018
        The Novichok agents are not listed in the CWC schedules. One can read several things into that. First, they were not widely known at the time the CWC was being negotiated. (It was a long process.) Second, among the few (intelligence agencies, etc.) who knew of their existence, there was probably concern that by specifying the in exact detail it would give some countries bad ideas. Third, you must understand the the USSR and thence Russia were actively involved in the negotiations of the CWC. And we now know that one of the many motivations behind the development of Novichoks was specifically to evade arms control provisions. Read into that what you wish, but since the USSR clearly invented them, the burden on them was to disclose this and put them on the list, and they didn’t do it, knowing full well that these compounds existed.

        Whether or not they are specifically mentioned in the lists of scheduled compounds, their development, production, stockpiling is still prohibited by article 1 of the CWC. You can see for yourself. https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CWC/CWC_en.pdf

        If you find that answer convincing ……..

      • Psycho Milt 4.2.2

        Much an’ all as I wish the world’s terrorist organisations would take Bellingcat’s advice that it’s a doddle to make something that’s tasteless, odorless, invisible and can kill you in incredibly small doses, they’re not actually that stupid.

        • RedLogix

          For much of my working life in heavy industry I’ve been around things that would readily kill me given half a chance. Recently I’ve worked with large process machines using 1000’s kg of strong caustic cyanide solutions; just the one drop on exposed skin would do a job on me quite easily.

          Chemical processes the world over routine handle large quantities of all sorts of deeply dangerous materials. But with the correct procedures and awareness it’s all quite routine and while accidents do happen, they’re pretty rare in the wider scheme of things.

          • Colonial Viper

            Makes you wonder why the alleged Russians would use poisons which would immediately point the fingers at themselves. Are the Ruskies really that stupid? (And incompetent, since the alleged targets have supposedly survived).

            Why not some nondescript cyanide compound instead of some exotic Russian developed (but not necessarily Russian manufactured) poison?

            The whole thing stinks.

            • Stuart Munro

              Yes they are that stupid.

              The whole object of these murders – Skripal, Litvinenko, Kara-Murza et al, is deterrence. There’s no deterrence if the death appears to be natural causes.

              They are figuring on enough faux progressives like you muddying the water until people give up in disgust – it worked for them on their own people.

              • Colonial Viper

                The whole object of these murders – Skripal, Litvinenko, Kara-Murza et al, is deterrence. There’s no deterrence if the death appears to be natural causes.

                Hi Stuart, do you also believe that the Russians are so stupid that they cannot tell when their so-called “deterrence” (as you label it) isn’t working, because they are having to do it over and over and over again?

                • Stuart Munro

                  Doesn’t worry them in the least CV – any more than half a million dead Chechens did, or double tapping the Moscow Theatre kids.

                  It’s working well enough to keep Putin and his kleptocrats in power – and they don’t care about anything else.

                  Putin has returned Russia to a cold war footing – did it decades ago in fact. The west is gradually waking up however, in spite of the bought US president.

                  Nothing Putin has done is inconsistent with cold war politics, from his reinvasions of former satellites to propping up Assad and bombing the the Syrian opposition, and, most probably, triggering the coup in Turkey.

                  The deterrence plays well to Russian nationalism, and the mass of Russians are pretty vulnerable to manipulation along those lines. It will be interesting to see whether sanctions go as far as cutting off RT’s access – Russia long ago closed the foreign news operators in their legislative sphere.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes Stuart, Putin is a Cold War bastard for placing his country so close to roughly two dozen new NATO bases.

                    Doesn’t worry them in the least CV – any more than half a million dead Chechens did, or double tapping the Moscow Theatre kids.

                    And Madeline Albright said killing half a million Iraqi kids was worth it.

                    At least Russia was trying to crush CIA sponsored terrorism in its homeland, not wage a war of chaos half a world away.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      In fact there is no choosing between them CV – America dropped the ball fatally going into Iraq – and Russia took advantage of the sudden ethical vacuum. “CIA sponsored terrorism” pfft.

                      The Russians have been trying to complete a Chechen genocide since Lermontov’s day – neither Dulles nor his Gestapo recruits had anything to do with that.

                  • mikesh

                    “Nothing Putin has done is inconsistent with cold war politics, from his reinvasions of former satellites to propping up Assad and bombing the the Syrian opposition, and, most probably, triggering the coup in Turkey.”

                    He didn’t re-invade Crimea. The Crimeans, who were mostly Russian anyway, asked to rejoin Russia and Putin accepted. And why would he not support the legitimate government of Syria, a Russian ally, when the latter were attempting to defend themselves against terrorists whose aim was to replace Syria’s secular government with a Wahhabist theocracy, with all that that implies.

                    I don’t think it was Russia who restarted the cold war. Russia seems to be a threat to US hegemony, and the US wishes to maintain its hegemony at all costs.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      He would not support the legitimate government of Syria because a legitimate government would not want his support.

                      “I don’t think it was Russia who restarted the cold war. ”

                      Really. You need to read more and listen to RT less.

                    • mikesh

                      The legitimate government DID ask for Russia’s support.

                  • Brigid

                    “bombing the Syrian opposition”
                    How would you define ‘the Syrian opposition’?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      They are a large and diverse collection of ethnicities, religious affiliations, and civic nationalists who do not wish to live under a lifelong military dictatorship. Assad doesn’t want them to either; he kills them.

                    • francesca

                      The gentleman can speak for himself, but here’s my research
                      The parliamentary opposition of course are working within Assad’s govt.
                      The opposition in exile are behind the Syria Campaign, a cartel of very wealthy ,oil connected Syrian businessmen who stand to gain a lot from Assad’s demise
                      The “opposition” in the case of Syria, much like the word “rebels” is supposed to evoke in us a revolutionary, David versus Goliath
                      solidarity with all the amorphous groups
                      The main militant groups in Ghouta are variously Turkey, Saudi , and Qatar sponsored, and all desire Sharia law, which is the beef they have against Assad”not even a proper Muslim” as the Alawites subscribe to the mildest version

                      here’s a link the German newspapers picked up


                    • Brigid

                      Stuart, why do you call the Syrian Government a dictatorship? What were the conditions that the co called ‘civic nationalists’ wanted the Syrian Government to meet.

                      Incidentally I don’t think there are many Syrian nationals of Chechen, Mongolian, African or Asian decent. Why do you suppose these people have joined your so called ‘rebels’

                      Why, also. do you suppose these ‘rebels’ are using munitions identified as being manufactured by Saudi Arabia and NATO countries.

                      Such munitions left behind by the fleeing ‘rebels’
                      If you doubt this because I haven’t provided a link, prove me wrong.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Brigid – no credible democracy shells or bombs its own cities. By doing so they lose the right to pretend to a people’s mandate.

                      “What were the conditions that the co called ‘civic nationalists’ wanted the Syrian Government to meet.”

                      Their goals are as diverse as the people involved, but among them

                      Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
                      Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
                      Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
                      Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
                      Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
                      Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
                      Freedom of Belief and Religion
                      Freedom of Opinion and Information
                      Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
                      Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
                      Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
                      Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights

                      are no doubt prominent.

                  • Winifred Kiddle

                    Stuart as far as Putin, Russia and Chechnia you are talkingthrough a whole in your head. By the way do you feel as disgusted about what the yanks are doing all over the world destroying countries and killing people?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Winifred, I cannot help it if your ignorance of the Putin, Russia, and the Chechen genocide is total. Read more and watch RT less.

            • Psycho Milt

              Makes you wonder why the alleged Russians would use poisons which would immediately point the fingers at themselves. Are the Ruskies really that stupid?

              Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Or, instead of speculative bullshit aimed at obfuscating matters, we could just look at the evidence, which involves a Russian nerve agent used to kill someone considered a traitor by the Russian government using a method the Russian government’s known to have used before.

              Still, to answer your implied question “Why would the Russian government kill someone using a poison that would immediately identify it as responsible?” Possibly because the Russian government wants to make it clear to “traitors” and potential future “traitors” that it can kill them with impunity even if they live outside Russia. Or other reasons that we aren’t aware of. Either way, it’s idle speculation.

    • Bearded Git 4.3

      The latest I heard on the BBC last night is that the nerve agent was transport from Moscow by Skripal’s daughter in perhaps a present or article of clothing which they opened together when she got back to Salisbury.

      All sounds a bit flimsy/far-fetched to me.

      • xanthe 4.3.1

        actually thats a very plausible scenario

      • francesca 4.3.2

        I’m wondering when Porton Down got their sample of Russian Novichok?
        Which they will have needed to match the signature traces against the Salisbury sample
        Because as recently as 2016 a leading Porton Down chemist was saying its never been synthesised or analysed. They had no information on it apart from the word of Mirzayanov, which doesn’t seem to have impressed them greatly

        Say what you like, Russia bidding for the World Cup and getting it, is important to them for reasons of standing in the world community
        For much the same reason Britain was mightily pissed off that it didnt get it and has been bitching ever since
        For Russia to destroy its chemical weapons ahead of time under the auspices of the OPCW, is important to them for reasons of standing in the world community
        Russia’s adherence to the protocols of the spy swap system, where you get your valuable assets back in return for not knocking off any traitors within that swap has been consistent all this time
        Now for whatever reason, many would have you believe that Russia would destroy its good standing with the OPCW, risk boycotts of the World Cup, and undermine the spy swap system which has served them well, in order to kick over a hornets nest and bring the ire of much more powerful countries on its head
        Not that I’m saying Russia,s intelligence services aren’t as downright evil as any others, but …now.. of all times , to self harm in this way just doesn’t pass the sniff test
        Those who say he did it to boost the turnout numbers for the election are the same who insist the elections are all rigged anyway
        and frankly, some of those lame sending a message explanations are about as tin foil hat as it comes
        Comic book , Batman and Spectre stuff

        • Stuart Munro

          They are highly qualified chemists. They don’t need a sample of Russian Novichok to identify a compound as being one of the organophosphate nerve agents that comprise that group. They can do this from the literature.

          If they got a large enough sample they may be able to determine its probable place of manufacture from solvent residues or other precursor traces – but they have not claimed to have done so as yet.

          • francesca

            They need a representative Russian sample that has the signature tracers to identify it as an exclusively “Russian ” novichok
            Its like DNA samples
            You need a sample to match

            • Carolyn_Nth

              This Independent article says the composition of Novicok makes it easy to identify. They also quote people saying other countries would have produced small amounts of it to develop ways of countering it.

              Dr Lewis said that under chemical weapons convention and international law, it would be legal for countries to develop small amounts of Novichoks in order to build defences against them.

              “I would be extremely surprised if since 1992 the chemical weapons experts in a serious number of countries which had chemical weapons capabilities have not sought to make small amounts to defend against it,” she added.

              “It would be legitimate, legal and one would say they have a duty to do so.”

              Dr Lewis said the fact Porton Down scientists identified the substance known as Novichok suggested they had information on its chemical structure.

              However, the article also reports that such samples would be small and not weaponised.

            • Stuart Munro

              As with DNA evidence place of manufacture becomes a ‘high probability’ assertion, but it can be simulated.

              The open material, some of which you have presented, states that it can be made from common agricultural chemicals and industrial solvents. These leave traces in the finished product, as do other reaction products, which vary according to things like manufacturing temperature.

              If the starting compounds chosen were those originally used in developing the Novichok group, Russian fertilizer stock and petroleum derived solvents for example, and the reaction conditions were similar, then the product could not necessarily be distinguished from Russian product unless a large comparative sample was available. There would be some variation among Russian samples too, and a lab recreation would likely differ from mass produced product, though not necessarily in a way that allows a determinate identification.

  5. SPC 5

    One could also rush in to pose it as a false flag operation.

    What you have is a series of deaths of Russian exiles in the UK. With the suggestion of international crime, because of the agent used to do the killing. To send a message that Russian dissidents are not going to be safe abroad, and/or to set up the Kremlin (dividing the world between those who see it one way or the other).

    The latest one not far from and barely a week after a recent training exercise where UK troops were dealing with chemical/biological and other related threats. And the British may have seen it as a provocation.

    1. While it maybe the British have not proved the Russians did it, and yet jumped to presumed they did, one would have to doubt they wanted this to occur and to have to deal with it. As for beating it up to distract from their other issues, their difficulty to make an effective response just demonstrates how isolated they are – being trade sanctioned by their American ally, leaving the EU and facing economic decline and getting only lip service support from the EU and NATO. Bullying us to support them just shows a hint of desperation.

    2. The UK want NATO solidarity to be seen as important and to leverage this event for a better Brexit deal (applies regardless of whether the Russians or another player did it, politcs and all that). The Americans or Israelis want withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, and seeking the UK/EU to do the same and resume sanctions on Iran (the idea of threat from the Russia/Syria/Iran Hizbollah axis etc).

    Pick one, most people decide based on their predilection before the event in question. A bit like soldiers who fight the next war based on what they learnt in the last one.

    • In Vino 5.1

      Whom does the timing of this event suit? The Russians? (Why wait till just now to do what could have been done long ago?) The West? (The mind boggles..)

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      And it’s not just NATO solidarity which is seen as important.

      It is NATO *budgets* and the pressure placed on NATO members to approve *larger* budgets in response to these alleged threats.

    • mikesh 5.3

      It doesn’t seem a sufficient reason to impose sanctions, even if the Russians are guilty. After all, assassinations would have to be considered an “occupational hazard” in the espionage business; and the daughter was making regular visits to Russia.

      • Pat 5.3.1

        there may be an element of occupational hazard however the method chosen carries significant public risk and required the transport and application of an agent that is not directly controllable….I doubt there would be the same concern had they been shot say, though likely still the accusation,

        Like the plutonium the method is as much about the message as the result….IMO, of course.

  6. james 6

    So – People condemning Russia:


    People who wont:
    Corbyn and Winston.

    Says a lot really.

    • SPC 6.1

      There is wisdom in not condemning the accused until the case is proven.

      The rush to judgement suggests someone who needs to be excluded from any jury.

      • james 6.1.1

        That wisdom never seems to be applied when its Nats.

        Bit sad to pull it out only when it suits.

        • In Vino

          A lot of the truth is often spoken by minorities, and ignored by the majority.
          James, at the siege of Troy, I can see you among those who shouted down Laocoon and Cassandra.

      • Anne 6.1.2


        The world should wait until a full and thorough investigation has been completed before rushing to judgement.

        Theresa May and her band of merry men and women have jumped on the “Putin is guilty” band-wagon purely for political advantage. In fact, they must be thinking all their Christmases have come at once.

        I dislike Putin intensely but unassailable evidence has yet to be produced. There is so much corruption inside Russia that nobody can rule out an attack by the Russian mafia for reasons unknown, or some other rogue element who may have once been a part of the state apparatus and know where the chemical bodies are buried so to speak.

        • james

          “I dislike Putin intensely but unassailable evidence has yet to be produced”

          That has been made public – Im sure governments are sharing a lot more that what you read in the papers.

          • mikesh

            Theresa May stated in the House of Commons that it was “probable” that the Russians done it. In other words, she doesn’t really know.

          • mikesh

            What seems to have infuriated Mrs May is that Putin, when asked for an explanation, denied any involvement. Was she expecting him to “prove” his innocence? How does one prove a negative?

        • Anne

          I repeat this link I posted earlier today:

          Hard nosed with a sprinkling of humour:


          • veutoviper

            Thanks Anne for that link.

            It made my day and highly recommend that everyone here also read this article by David Townsend,

            “David Townsend is an ex-UK Parliamentary Labour candidate, a former Labour ministerial speech writer and special adviser and contributor to The Guardian, The Independent and The Times.”

            A calm, objective assessment – as Anne says “Hard nosed with a sprinkling of humour.”

            “RT, the Russian government backed TV station in Britain may have its licence revoked. That will have a greater fall out effect on a swathe of Tory and Labour MPs who trouser a few hundred pounds each time they appear on it, than on Russia.” Wow, LOL.

            Also francesca will be pleased to see that the UK have finally taken her advice (!) and referred investigation of the matter of the particular nerve agent to the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

        • Cinny


    • Stuart Munro 6.2

      It would be interesting to see what the Scandinavians make of it all – could find nothing in the Swedish papers but the Norwegians are running a story “Radioactive tea and toxic umbrellas. Several of Kremlin’s enemies have been poisoned under mysterious circumstances” which appears to have been cribbed from an earlier Reuters story.

    • mauī 6.3

      Ah the coalition of the willing, spreading democracy throughout the Middle east [sarc].

  7. james 7

    Seems Jacinda has rushed to judgement :

    Leaving Winston out on his own with Corbyn

    • SPC 7.1

      No not really, just game playing to our advantage.

      Brilliant politics, giving up Winston Peters Russian trade play as an offering of solidarity with the UK. She probably thanked him for the leverage their coalition deal gave her.

      And it means that we have been seen to have done our part, without doing anything but get the free trade talks with the EU back on track.

    • xanthe 7.2

      oh thats a pity, and a serious misstep, hope she can find a way back from that position

  8. Stunned mullet 8

    Corbyn has indeed been quite forthright on this incident.

    “The use of nerve agents on our streets is barbaric and beyond reckless.

    The Russian authorities must be held to account. And the Government must do more to tackle the oligarchs and their ill-gotten cash.”

    • Carolyn_Nth 8.1

      But, he doesn’t say it was an attack by the Kremlin. In the article by him, linked from the tweet, Corbyn says:

      Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise. If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain cannot be excluded.

      So, Corbyn says we need to wait til the investigation identifies the perps. It could be Russian state operators, or it could be rogue mafia-type criminals. If the former, it’s kind of an act of war.

      If the latter it means the Russian state has not kept the chemical nerve agents secure – and has allowed criminal elements to pilfer them. In that case, the Russian state needs to be held to account fore it’s lax security.

      • francesca 8.1.1

        He seems to have forgotten that according to the OPCW, Russia is not in possession of any chemical weapons, the last were destroyed in November2017, so how could they let them slip?
        Ah, some idiot will say, looks like the OPCW were fooled. Russia kept some back
        Yeah, and let the cat out of the bag less than 6 months later in the most ridiculously obvious comic book way?

        Like the dumbest DR Evil Hollywood movie

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Theresa May seem to be one such idiot. The Guardian reported a day ago:

          The question now is whether all of Russia’s chemical weapons were destroyed and accounted for. Theresa May – having identified the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack as novichok, developed in Russia – told the Commons on Wednesday that Russia had offered no explanation as to why it had “an undeclared chemical weapons programme in contravention of international law”. Jeremy Corbyn introduced a sceptical note, questioning whether there was any evidence as to the location of its production.

        • Stuart Munro

          So we could paraphrase this line of defense in the immortal words of Declan Leuvaardin:

          “Would I do it so clumsily as to implicate myself?”

          Well they did in the case of Litvinenko and quite a few others. They could have chosen less obvious poisons, ones that are more rapidly metabolized. But these killings are meant to be exemplary – they are to discourage future cooperation with western intelligence services. And Russian agents are not accustomed to dealing with competent well-funded investigating authorities. So of course they come across as buffoons. Murderous buffoons.

      • Anne 8.1.2

        And of course it doesn’t really matter which one it is because the Russian Federal government aren’t going to own up. Either they are guilty, or they are proven to be astonishingly slack or inept. Whatever which way, they will be the object of approbation from the rest of the world.

        • Stuart Munro

          Which is why I don’t like Corbyn’s line on possible criminal elements. Putin will fit a bunch up in a jiffy if necessary – whether or not they had anything to do with it.

          • Anne

            I accept that as a possiblity. Thanks for bringing it up. Scary days.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            I think that Corbyn picked that possibility up from something Theresa May said.

            Theresa May was right on Monday to identify two possibilities for the source of the attack in Salisbury, given that the nerve agent used has been identified as of original Russian manufacture. Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise.

            I think this was part of Corbyn just trying to wind down the rhetoric, and move away from some disastrous direct confrontation/conflict with the Russian Government.

    • And the Government must do more to tackle the oligarchs and their ill-gotten cash.

      That is of course how Putin has the Tories over a barrel on this. Imagine what would happen to May if she told the Conservative Party’s MPs and donors that money-laundering for the Russian kleptocracy was now off-limits – she’d be replaced overnight with someone better able to appreciate Conservative values.

      • SPC 8.2.1

        So true, and even more so with the City losing their place under Brexit.

      • francesca 8.2.2

        Putin would like nothing better than that money being repatriated

        • Psycho Milt

          If he gave a shit he wouldn’t let his pals export it in the first place. And the Tories most definitely do not want that money-fountain to dry up.

          • SPC

            Then there is the BP 20% stake in a large Russian energy company – providing a 1/3rd of its supplies to the market.

  9. francesca 9

    Thanks Mike
    But remember, most of your readers have been treated to just about 2 decades of pretty vile propaganda, and Putin/Russia are the perfect “other” to vent a bit of animus on
    Here’s an Independent columnist, thank god with a bit of courage and common sense


    Like her, I’m really disturbed by the lynch mob mentality that’s brewing,
    The Russians are coming!
    I can remember being 10 years old and scared to death by the Cuban missile crisis
    The first time I realised the whole world could be annihilated.
    A war between nuclear powers is not survivable


    (a good piece, thanks again Ed)

    Mike, good on you and I’m grateful, but stand back for some pretty putrid bile headed your way

  10. Muttonbird 10

    Laughable, isn’t it? The rule of law seems not to matter at the very time it should matter most. Guilt has already been assigned with not even a hint of a trial.

    • Stunned mullet 10.1

      Well at least you haven’t accused someone in the National party of doing the deed.

    • JohnSelway 10.2

      Guilt has already been assigned with not even a hint of a trial!

      Also Muttonbird:
      I’m hearing the mystery 20 year old man was a Young Nat plant!

      Open Mike 14/03/2018

      You’re kind of all over the map Muttonbird. At least try and be consistent

      • Muttonbird 10.2.1

        Weeeell, just a tiny bit of difference between a bit of groping and the pretext to a Western invasion of Syria and/or Ukraine.

        • JohnSelway

          No, it’s your commentary which I’m pointing out here. On one hand your bemoaning the rush to accuse Russia and on the other you’re rushing to wild statements about how there must have been a Young Nat plant involved in another case..

          Your cognitive dissonance is pretty well developed I see

      • james 10.2.2

        Guilt has already been assigned with not even a hint of a trial!

        Like when s/he said there was “obviously there was something inappropriate going on” regarding Bishop before it turns out there wasnt.

        Open Mike 11/02/2018

  11. weston 11

    Who really could trust any of the intelligence agencies anywhere in the world ???None of them appear to have very much oversight because by their very nature everything about them is secret .Couple that fact with having almost unlimited budgets in some cases and who would know what the fuck they were up to ?.Anecdotally brittish intelligence is known to be extra cunning extra devious so creating a false flag around the nerve agent attack probably wouldnt be terribly hard for them and there does seem to be a sustained attempt by a kinda deep state actor or actors to hurt Russia imo .

  12. JohnSelway 12

    I am completely flummoxed as to why anyone on the left can keep a straight face while giving deference to a oligarchy which demonises homosexuality, murders dissidents, bullies and imprisons journalists, ramps up it’s nuclear capabilities while keeping a nationalistic stranglehold on the country.

    The only excuse seems to be “But America/Clinton/ something something!”

    • Ed 12.1

      Innocent before proven guilty.
      Heard of that?

      • Psycho Milt 12.1.1

        Diplomacy isn’t a criminal trial. Heard of that?

      • JohnSelway 12.1.2

        I can pretty much guarantee, Ed, that if I were to look over your contributions at The Standard you will have assigned guilt to anyone or any government, person or agency that doesn’t meet your politics or beliefs without hesitation and only raise “innocent until proven guilty” when it comes to something you have a bias towards.

        The hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance is astounding.

        • Ed

          Your McCarthyite intolerance of dissent is concerning.

          • JohnSelway

            Huh? WTF are you talking about? Which intolerance of dissent do you mean?

            Calling you out for hypocrisy and questioning your logic =/= intolerance of dissent.

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.3

        Although that is the standard that applies in criminal law, the standard in civil law is proving by a preponderance of the evidence. The criminal presumption of innocence applies to individuals, but in the case of states offending it may be something closer to the civil law standard, because a state cannot be imprisoned or otherwise subjected to sanctions comparable to those that an individual may face.

        • Ed

          Your McCarthyite intolerance of dissent is concerning.

          • Stuart Munro

            Nothing McCarthyite in pointing out the legalities young fellow.

            McCarthy was more like this: https://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/mccarthyism2.htm

          • Monty

            Mate how about arguing the points. You continue to just throw out insults and diversions. You hide when asked questions or present fake outrage and demand bans.

            If you are actually interested in a better world make your points and allow debate as the way you act after making start to a debate detracts from the message you are trying to make.

            What you bring to the table is debate starters and that is to be respected your actions when faced with differing views or facts afterwards is not.

    • Cinny 12.2


      “a oligarchy which demonises homosexuality, murders dissidents, bullies and imprisons journalists, ramps up it’s nuclear capabilities while keeping a nationalistic stranglehold on the country.”

      It sounds like Saudi Arabia, haven’t we got a farm there? Not sure if they are nuclear.


      • JohnSelway 12.2.1

        What does that have to do with anything? Why don’t we stick with the issue at hand

      • rhinocrates 12.2.2

        “Look! Over there!”

        Yes, Saudi Arabia is evil. So does that make Putin good? Your point is… what? He’s a homophobe authoritarian too. Some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time, you know.

      • Stuart Munro 12.2.3

        Nope, we don’t have a farm there – Hmood Al Ali Al Khalaf does. But we’ve got a $52 million tent in UAE. A good posting for some retiring political hack.

    • Mike Smith 12.3

      Nobody’s giving deference to an oligarchy – just don’t want more war, and as for ramping up nuclear capabilities that’s more true of the US at the moment

      • JohnSelway 12.3.1

        Well, you are giving deference to Russia. And if you were serious about avoiding wars you’d call out Russia for assassinating people of foreign soil as well as everyone else.

        But – False Flag! etc

        • RedLogix

          You might want to examine your logic carefully. Yes Putin runs a thuggish country. Indeed all but a handful of countries on earth are thuggish, totalitarian kleptocracies to some degree.

          But just because this person/country has thuggish history is not proof that they committed any specific instance of thuggery. This is why courts go to considerable lengths to prevent juries from knowing a defendants prior criminal record. Each and every case MUST be tried on it’s own merits.

    • reason 12.4

      What you mean to say John …

      But … “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” -Martin Luther King

      Or … “”If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care.” https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-12-09/mandelas-shadow-fell-over-us-decade-ago

      • JohnSelway 12.4.1

        USA being a violent superpower =/= Russia’s innocence.

        Why people keep trying to make the argument “but America!” as if it is germane to the point at hand is beyond me.

        If I murdered someone and then I was murdered it in no way absolves the person who murdered me of a crime

        • Colonial Viper

          If I murdered someone and then I was murdered it in no way absolves the person who murdered me of a crime

          That’s why the legal defence of self-defence exists.

          The US and UK frequently attack and undermine Russian security and economic interests.

          The Russians have been taking carefully measured defensive steps in response.

          • JohnSelway

            Yeah – extrajudicial murders in foreign countries, imprisoning journalists, delegitimizing opposition parties and presecuting homosexuality… all done in the name of self-defense.

            Where do you get this shit?

      • Monty 12.4.2

        How about Cambodia, Maos political clamp down and executions the oppression of Tibet, North Korea and the USSR read now Russia. It’s not isolated to the USA.

        The pollution and poison that Chinese factories create and spew into the air.

        But those don’t fit your narrative.

        Rather than a blame game we need to work out how to save the plant. We only have one. Hell Nasa says we can’t stop a huge asteroid in 2135. The way we are going we won’t be here.

        But go on keep your blinkers on and let’s blame the US for everything.

        • reason

          with statements like … “USA being a violent superpower =/= Russia’s innocence.”


          ” keep your blinkers on and let’s blame the US for everything.” …. .

          you’ll both give me hay-fever …. Chucking all that straw around.

          • Monty

            So what about the multiple other atrocities committed. Is it your view the Us caused them.

            You seem to want to blame.

            How about focusing on solution and fact based (I would use the term reason but would hate to give you any credit of intelligence) conclusions.

  13. David Mac 13

    Walks like one, looks like one, makes a noise like one. It could be a seagull with a bill and webbed feet grafted on but until something more conclusive shows up, I’m running with ‘It’s a duck’.

  14. rhinocrates 14

    So this is a zero-sum game?

  15. McFlock 15

    “Possible” poisoning?

    So maybe he and his daughter both had some sort of seizure at the same time, all the tests from hospital, restaurant and dwelling were fabricated or false positives, and the investigator who was ill just had a hangover.

    Or maybe “Skripal” never existed and it’s all just fabricated propaganda.

    But if that’s the level of doubt you operate under, you can’t operate at all.

    • rhinocrates 15.1

      Judging by the indent, you’re replying to me. This is as good an opportunity as any to say that I apologise for our past conflict. I was drunk most of the time.

      Addressing your main point, you put your finger on it. We’re never going to know the whole truth In matters of espionage and international diplomacy, it’s always going to be a matter of likelihood rather than certainties. Just because Mummy and Daddy are bad, the cool uncle isn’t necessarily good. He’s the cool uncle because we don’t know as much about him as we do Mummy and Daddy and he’s leverage to use against them. The alt.left are trying standards of certainty for some quarters that they refuse to apply equally to DREADLORD897 blogging from his mother’s basement, because, he’s like, alternative.

      I suppose even mentioning Tui billboards is a cliche now.

      Information warfare now does not simply counter one narrative with another, but first sets up the idea of an absolute known truth versus any other idea and then with phoney egalitarianism, muddies the idea of any truth itself, leaving it all up to “I want to believe”, as The X-files had it.

      Pragmatically, we have to deal with probabilities, and looking for cui bono (“who benefits”),” goes beyond simply “follow the money” to finding out what the sources of raw power are.

      Then there is the principle that “all politics is internal”, meaning that external sanctions can strengthen a regime if those imposing those sanctions are successfully portrayed as the enemy when there’s an election this weekend. People who are stuck with daddy issues or purely ideological analyses (whatever that means, since Russia is not a remotely socialist state) are going to blind themselves.

      Now and in the future we’re going to have to deal with probabilities, not certainties, and certainly not what we would think would be true if it flattered us.

      You think “capitalism” is the only enemy” Oh you sweet summer child.

      • rhinocrates 15.1.1

        Sorry, McFlock, the majority of what I typed was intended to be general, not specific to you.

      • SPC 15.1.2

        Na, “15” indicates it’s a reply to the starter – the first sentence from Mike Smith uses the term “possible poisoning”.

      • mikesh 15.1.3

        “Now and in the future we’re going to have to deal with probabilities, not certainties, and certainly not what we would think would be true if it flattered us.”

        This will sometimes be true; but not if we are using one event as a pretext for another. The need for a pretext suggests that we need to keep the public onside, and for that “probability” is not enough.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      So maybe he and his daughter both had some sort of seizure at the same time, all the tests from hospital, restaurant and dwelling were fabricated or false positives, and the investigator who was ill just had a hangover.

      Almost 30 people were supposed to have fallen seriously ill due to this extremely dangerous “Novichok” class nerve agent.

      What is their medical status? Where are the reports and interviews with the doctors and nurses? Why are reporters not updating us with news from the hospital where these patients are? (In fact which hospital are these patients even at?)

      “Novichok” nerve agents are supposed to be many times more lethal than VX or Sarin.

      Why aren’t all these people, and many many more, dead?

      The whole thing stinks of falsehood.

      • Stuart Munro 15.2.1

        Why the low death count? Maybe it was a low end agent produced by spies rather than chemists – or, like the Tokyo sarin attack, incompetently dispersed.

        Yes, your falseness is as apparent as ever.

        • Colonial Viper

          Novichok agents are not “low end”. They are estimated to be 5x to 10x more lethal than agents like VX: which are already amongst the most deadly substances known to man.


          Maybe it was a low end agent produced by spies

          Explain yourself. If this was a Russian government operation to kill Skripal, they would have had access to the most potent forms. Only milligrams would have been needed to kill Skripal.

          • Stuart Munro

            If you or I, CV, were to produce Novichok agents in our basements without the sophisticated chemical equipment of a superior lab, they would likely be impure. We would be obliged to synthesize, not the best neurotransmitter blocker, but the one most readily produced from available chemicals according to the instructions supplied to us.

            A similar effect might occur from using a strictly limited quantity of smuggled material, which, depending upon how it was dispersed might achieve far less than the expected kill ratios, as was the case with the Tokyo Sarin attack.

          • Exkiwiforces

            It comes down to a range of factors and could be one of the following or a combination of the following-
            1 the dose given
            2 the quality of the argent refer back to 1
            3 was the in powder, liquid or aerosol form, refer back to 1-2
            4 the age of the argent since manufacturing, again refer to 1-3
            5 how the argent was delivered to the intended target again to 1-4
            6 what were the in environmental effects/ conditions at the time both inside and outside as this can effect steps 1 to 5 as well.

            There are a few more steps/ considerations/ factors to using or about to use any type of CBRN weapon system and those six are ones that pop out of head.

            Remember when old fat boy knock off his half brother using a aerosol version of VX and the two ladies who did it weren’t affected by the VX argent but had small traces of the VX on themselves and their clothing etc.

            Also we need to remember that an awful amount of money and time goes into developing these CBRN weapons systems so you want to get right the first time if you are going to use it someone or on some country/ countries.

        • francesca

          Oh, you mean it was the “over the counter domestic use” grade, not so efficacious, rather than the “military” grade.

        • francesca

          military grade does not equal “low end”

          • Stuart Munro

            Pretty much yes – this is speculative, but a nerve gas operation on foreign soil is likely to suffer constraints if the quantity or quality of the chemical agent is a factor.

            In a classical military use of chemical weapons – the US use of white phosphorus in Fallujah for example, or Assad’s gas attacks, the object is to kill everyone so the quantities of chemicals used are generous.

            Using nerve gas for assassination without a substantial kill of bystanders, which is a political necessity if war with Nato is to be avoided, means using much smaller quantities or perhaps using it in a confined space like a car.

            • francesca

              So Theresa and Porton Down got it wrong

              • Stuart Munro

                No, they have identified the family of agents to which the poison belonged.

                That’s actually pretty good going.

                • francesca

                  For something thats never before been analysed or identified this “military grade ” category seems to me to be nothing but empty bluster
                  Military use of CW, the whole point of it as a WMD ( screamed about high and low)is that it kills a large number of people.
                  What other grades are there for gods sake
                  Can I use them on my cabbages?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    I’d just as soon you didn’t – for all that I’m no fan of the white butterfly.

                    The whole point of any weapon rather depends who has their hands on it – some people think an AR -15 is best used to kill schoolchildren, others collect them or use them for target or sporting or even military purposes.

                    Notwithstanding the assertions of MoonofAlhambra, the Novichok group of compounds almost certainly has been synthesized and tested outside Russia. That’s one of the peaceful functions of chemical warfare laboratories, to assess and prepare to neutralize threats.

                    But you must excuse me if I don’t find the use of it for assassinations vastly better than mass killing. If Putin wants to metaphorically hide such material under his bed, I’m not thrilled about it, but I wouldn’t necessarily condemn it – there are lots of dangerous things in the hands of government. Someone however has let this out into the world to kill people, civilians. That’s not a good thing.

                    • Macro

                      francesca I know you are not a fan of the Guardian, but there has been an in depth interview with Vil Mirzayanov who (if anyone should know) gives a pretty good account of what is involved.
                      take aways are:

                      Vil Mirzayanov, 83, said the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it.

                      He said he did not see how a criminal organization or other non-state group could pull off such an attack.

                      “It’s very, very tough stuff,” Mirzayanov told the Guardian at his home in New Jersey, where he has lived in exile since 1996. “I don’t believe it.

                      “You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”

                      But the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said on Wednesday that the chemical agent identified in the Salisbury attack could have been used by someone else other than the Russian state, and a Corbyn spokesperson suggested a “mafia-like group” or “oligarchic interests in London” might have been responsible.

                      Mirzayanov said those theories did not make sense owing to the facilities and multiple layers of expertise that would be required to prepare such an attack.

                      Chemists synthesizing the agent would have to be working somewhere with an antidote close at hand, he said, and they would have to be working with someone who knew how to weaponize it, which, he emphasized, he himself did not.

                      “We had no idea how to weaponize it,” he said. “We don’t know because it’s not our business.”

                      Weaponization would also need to take place at a different facility from the one where the agent was made, he said.

                      Mirzayanov said the perpetrator of the attack must have been the Russian state.

                      “No one country has these capabilities like Russia, because Russia invented, tested and weaponized Novichok,” he said.

                      The theory that the agent was stolen for use in a crime was weak for similar reasons, Mirzayanov said.

                      “If you steal it, and after that, what to do with that?” he said. “You cannot weaponize, no exceptions, you cannot weaponize that.”

                      Mirzayanov further said that there was probably no current stockpile of novichok to steal, because it has a limited shelf life and the preferred form would be a binary version in which two relatively benign, non-banned substances were mixed to produce novichok.

                      “The final product, in storage, after one year is already losing 2%, 3%. The next year more, and the next year more. In 10-15 years, it’s no longer effective.”

                      There is another account on abc which has a short clip of him speaking about the nerve agent here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-14/only-russia-could-be-behind-uk-poison-attack-toxin-inventor-says/9546298

      • JohnSelway 15.2.2

        So not only do you think Russia wasn’t responsible and it is a false flag to implicate them you are now also suggesting there wasn’t any kind of agent used and the whole thing has been staged.

        Man, you’re well off the reservation now

        • francesca

          Yes , but I still read it, and the Independent, otherwise one’s just feeding existing bias.I read a lot.
          On Newshub tonight, the OPCW were saying Novichok has not been declared by any state and that “there is very little information about it”
          So what they do know must come from Mirzayanov, but they haven’t come across any samples, and its never been analysed, so presumably never used before
          This does seem to be the first time its been identified
          There is the possibility Mirzayanov has egged it all up a bit,you know, wanting to settle in the west he’d want to be bringing something to the table… and that there was a program but it was never successfully completed
          The Americans talked about it though , when they were helping Uzbekistan clean up the facility where trials were going on
          They would have had experienced chemists surely
          It may be a bit mythical
          the OPCW will be getting the samples anyway.
          I have noticed Boris Johnston has stopped saying Novichoks and is now saying “nerve agent”, which doesn’t have the same ring to it

          • Psycho Milt

            The number of things we could reckon about all this is a very large one.

          • Incognito

            I have noticed Boris Johnston has stopped saying Novichoks and is now saying “nerve agent”, which doesn’t have the same ring to it

            Hah! Not Russian enough or not Putinesque enough? Apart from the ring, calling something by a specific name or label makes it sound like you’re on top of things and know more than might be the case. In other words, bluff & bluster; something that seems common among so-called world leaders.

            • francesca

              And also backing off the “Novichok ” theme to something more generic
              Its possible they still dont really have a clue

      • McFlock 15.2.3

        Ah, the putinesca residentura has graced me with his attention.

        As far as I can see, you haven’t been banned again yet, so I’ll respond.

        Firstly Wikipedia reckons 21 people were checked for symptoms, not ill. Three police officers are ill and currently in hospital.

        As for why not everyone is dead, nerve agents do “dose:response” like any other substance.

        What stinks of falsehood is the idea that you know enough about nerve agents and other poisons to comment on the realism of the incident at all. I suspect you know less about it that you do about US electronic surveiilance aircraft operations in the Ukraine.

        At least most folks acknowledge the Skripals were poisoned rather than calling them crisis actors..

        • RedLogix

          What stinks here a lack of actual evidence. Hand waving assertions don’t count; repeating over and over that ‘Putin is a murdering tyrant’ doesn’t count, selectively ignoring all other possible actors and motives doesn’t count.

          Yes it’s entirely possible this is a Russian operation. I’d give it 50/50 odds. If I was running an authentic investigation the Russians would be at the top of my list of suspects. What I wouldn’t have is a list of just one. I’d want to understand every aspect of this and have a watertight chain of evidence, physical and logical that could withstand open scrutiny.

          That I can respect … but then what is due process worth these days? Not much it would seem.

          • McFlock

            If you think the British aren’t running a legitimate criminal investigation in this case, what do base that on?

            This isn’t a court of law. We don’t have access to the samples and analytical data, because investigation. We don’t have access to the raw medical information and blood samples. But then we also don’t have the power to arrest or imprison people, either.

            The story so far:
            1: two people came down with a mysterious condition at the same time;
            2:Three people investigating that occurrence also fell ill;
            3: tests indicate the presence in dangerous levels of a highly lethal and very rare artificial toxin;
            4: one of the first people to be ill was a Russian traitor who had spied for the UK;
            5: several other Russians who have opposed the state or challenged Putin have been murdered in mysterious but very difficult to contrive circumstances.

            Now, you say 50/50 it was the Russians. Do you have any particular doubt as to the accuracy of points 1:5 as I have summarised them? CV outright said the entire incident “stinks of falsehood”.

            Who else has a motive?
            Maybe it’s May looking for a distraction: she’s just won an election. She’s safe. And if it gets out that the British off their asets when the assets are no longer useful… massive own goal. And they could have just expelled the Russian diplomats for similar levels of distraction, no poisoning required.
            The yanks: why shit on Trump’s buddy?
            Yank deep state: undermine trump by reinforcing the idea the russians are playing dirty internationally, maybe? Fairly roundabout way of screwing with trump when all they have to do is spike his McD’s with low levels of LSD and make him look too unbalanced even for his base.

            Russian motive: vengeance and send the message that any traitor will be fearing for their life for the rest of their life.

            To me, it looks like the only party that has decent motive to bother. What do they care: what exactly are the UK going to do about it? Fuck all, that’s what. Any of the options short of war that will hurt putin and his oligarchs will also hurt the tories. And declaring war, as the Yes PM line says, might just look like an overreaction.

            • RedLogix

              And yet by your own logic the Russian vengeance motive, after all these years, using a method likely to blow back on them … would also be a massive own goal. While I agree it could be a motive, it just isn’t a sufficient and complete enough to be convincing.

              Ultimately the problem here is trust; the Western intelligence services completely fucked up over Saddam’s WMD’s…. in a manner most convenient for Bush and Blair right when they needed it …. and the world invaded Iraq on the back of a lie. Not a little lie, a great monstrous whopper that has killed millions and has led to a chain of consequences still very much live today in Syria.

              Nor has this incident occurred in a political vacuum, only a blind man could fail to miss the escalating propaganda war being waged against the Russian state by various Western media and political organs.

              So when an incident like this occurs … again so very conveniently suited to the declared purposes of many actors in the West …. only a fool would blindly trust the narrative without some skepticism and scrutiny.

              After all exactly what is it about this Tory govt under Theresa May that has so earned back our trust and admiration on any other point? A govt that pretty much exists on the back of a whole pack of lies told about the Brexit debacle.

              Lies are deeply corrupting slippery things and have corrosive consequences years and decades after their genesis. The worst lies being of course the ones we tell ourselves.

              • McFlock

                Why is it a Russian own goal?

                Brits killing their own assets would dry up their supply of future assets.

                Russians killing traitors is how intimidation works. It wouldn’t work if people thought it was an accident or some random street crime. So it has to be enough to give people a good idea of who was behind it, but preferably not enough to actually meet legal culpability thresholds for any individuals. And gives enough time for your assassins to catch the first flight out of there, either way. Unless it’s your territory where you can be assured of being able to destroy any evidence that comes to light, so just shooting them outside their apartment or on a bridge overlooking the Kremlin is a convenient option. The missing evidence speaks volumes. But overseas, you need to get exotic to make it clear that someone with means ordered the killing, not just some accident or street thug.

                OK, so you don’t trust May. Fair enough, neither do I. But where do you think she lied? Did the Skripals have dodgy seafood for lunch and she’s lying about the poison? Did she order their poisoning? Did they never exist in the first place and the story is a complete fabrication? What about the sick cops, if it was seafood? None of those seem likely, or even a sane expenditure of effort for minimal-to-zero gain.

                I think we’re on largely the same page, I just think the likelihood it was the Russian state that did it is >80%, not 50/50. There’s no real motive for the West, other than to make themselves look like impotent fools.

                • RedLogix

                  I accept your reasoning and acknowledge it makes a sound case. At the same time I don’t think it is a sufficient case; other reasonable possibilities remain in play. I think the intelligent course here is to pursue the main game, Russia, but to keep in mind that the real story is likely more complex than the simplistic tales the western media is prone to indulging in.

                  Otherwise yes, on the same page if not paragraph.

        • francesca

          3 police officers ill and in hospital !
          And you question Incognito’s grasp of the facts

          • Incognito

            Were they?? McFlock’s comment @ 15.2.3 was a reply to Colonial Viper @ 15.2 I thought.

            Only McFlock will know the truth 😉

            PS My grasp of the facts is a moot point because: 1) there are very few facts to go on; 2) my grasp is limited to (the) scientific aspects at most.

            • francesca

              Sometimes these threads are baffling, you hit the reply button but by the time it shows up you’re way down the page.

            • francesca

              McFlock quoted a transparently wrong Wikipedia claim that 3 police officers were in hospital
              If you’re using info, that anyone who’s been following the case knows to be untrue, …you are in no position to cast doubts on others grasp of the facts

          • McFlock

            Incognito seems pretty reasonable to me.

            I replied to CV, and I question both his honesty and his grasp of facts. As in I believe that even if he one day knew what he was talking about, he’d lie to defend Putin.

  16. Ed 16

    “Jeremy Corbyn defies critics and calls for calm over Russia
    Labour leader warns against ‘McCarthyite intolerance of dissent’ after nerve agent attack.”


    • From your linked article:

      “Corbyn backed May’s decision to expel 23 diplomats…”

      “[Corbyn] claimed Labour would be tougher on the Putin regime than the government…”

      • JohnSelway 16.1.1

        Yes PM, but the headline (which is obviously as far as Ed read) agrees with him so, you know, stop being so intolerant of dissent

      • Monty 16.1.2

        I am begging naming to wonder if Ed is a paid diversion. Throwing out stuff with the intention to derail. As he/she is so extreme and cause almost constant distraction and flame wars.

        Most in here want good honest debate. Talking about good debaters and a valuable contributor where is OAB.

        • james

          Well he has accused others of being the same thing many many many times. Perhaps this is why.

        • veutoviper

          Re OAB – last seen on OM 3 March. There was a lot going on re moderation etc in OM that day and 2 March including an Ed ban for 6 days by weka on 2 March and a warning to OAB at the same time which he acknowledged. Lots of OAB comments on OM later on 2 March, then early morning 3 March but the man with the hatchet pen came out of left field and banned OAB for 16 days and Andre for 1 week.

          Open Mike 03/03/2018

          So hopefully we may see OAB back Monday. Cannot find any sign (eg the TS Search box) that Andre has returned despite his one week ban being over on 10 March.

  17. Ad 17

    This post reminds me of the same kind of left-Pacifists in the US like California Representative dana Rohrbacher, who said in early 2017:

    “As far as dealing with the Russians, FDR, Churchill, and Truman cooperated with Stalin to defeat Hitler. In this generation, we need that same sort of cooperation with Putin to eradicate the Islamic State. We may even work with him to deal with emerging challenges from Iran and China.”

    Yup, warmly invoking Stalin, and make the direct parallel with Trump and Putin.

    Most of the worst arguments about Russia from this kind of weak Pacifist gutless left start with lines like:

    “It’s not definitely proven that Russia did… [Crimea/Georgia/Ukraine/Syria/Democrat email cracking] … so let’s … just … all … just … calm … down.”
    (I think this one is my favorite)

    “Russia is not all that different from the U.S. It has an opposition press, elections, free dissent, and so on, and the U.S. is far from a perfect democracy.”
    (count the Russian opposition candidates in jail or in concrete)

    “All this poisoning/Syria/US media attack on Russia is just Putin making sure he gets elected this weekend.”
    (elaborate conspiracy upon elaborate conspiracy in which Putin’s power cannot in the end be resisted at all, and it was his magic that made it all happen)

    “We may not love Putin, but there are in fact areas of common interest where the U.S. and Russia could be working together, such as defeating ISIS. Look at Syria, where U.S. policy was floundering as hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. It took Russia to bring about a peace.”
    (Therefore hold him accountable for none of his violence or assassinations)

    “The U.S. brought Putin’s meddling on itself, by squeezing post-Soviet Russia with the enlargement of NATO and intervening in Ukraine. Russia has always feared encirclement on its near borders. It’s only prudent to acknowledge that Russia as a great power has a legitimate sphere of influence.”
    (The difference between Belarus and Ukraine: one was a NATO member and not invaded by Russia)

    “There’s no real defendable U.S. or NATO or E.U. interest in Syria/Arctic/Crimea/Ukraine/Kazakhstan/Georgia, and it’s time countries like the US just stopped interfering.”
    (The Obama line. Ignoring multiple breaches of international law, multinational commitments to the UN, human rights, disarmament, and the entire concept of diplomacy rather than military invasion)

    There is indeed more than one way to deal with the Russians. Yet we can already see the Pacifist left are appeasing Russia as much as Trump has. So with that weakness he is stomping all over countries at will. We went through this in the 1920s and 1930s with Soviet Russia continuing to infect the left into submission, which continued right up until the invasion of Hungary in the mid-1950s.

    This is not a time for nuance. Not in front of Putin.

    This is a time to see the pattern of behavior from Russia and call it out.

    • Muttonbird 17.1

      Wouldn’t have picked you for a hawk.

      • Psycho Milt 17.1.1

        What hawks? No western country’s proposing military action against Russia (for excellent reasons like “it would be a complete disaster and horrendous defeat,” or “people prefer not being irradiated.” And certainly no commenter on here’s proposing it.

        • Muttonbird

          Ad nearly got to the point of relevance when he said, “there is indeed more than one way to deal with the Russians”.

          Disappointingly he didn’t even bless us with one way, let alone more than one.

          • McFlock

            1: Apply sanctions and maybe provoke escalation in defense expenditure (but take care to avoid an actual war), wait seventy years.
            2: Crack down on money laundering, see your own corporate backers also get caught up in it.
            3: Encourage infighting and destabilisation in the higher echelons of Russian society (lol give everyone decorations for espionage, leak it whenever someone gets too powerful/matey with Putin), wait for Putin to die without clear heir, hope nobody plays fast and loose with a nuke or what have you.
            4: Pretend that there’s not enough evidence to believe the Russians tried to murder someone on your own soil, frown at the possibility but let them keep doing it until they get solidly blatant about it, then formally announce that the rule of law in your land doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t give a shit as long as they have a nice pool of henchmen to do the work.

    • Mike Smith 17.2

      I don’t make any apology for being pacifist. Both my uncles were killed in the last major war flying bombers, one in a suicidal raid in Malaya, a stupid waste of life. I agree with the general who said that the only people who are in favour of war are those who have never fought in one.

      • francesca 17.2.1

        Me neither Mike
        I’m shocked to hear some of the rants above
        We could be back in the 50,s for all this
        “time we got tough , lets teach the chap a lesson”
        Nuclear annihilation back on the table and very few calm voices to be heard amongst the noise of sabres rattling
        I can’t help thinking the drink’s talking a fair bit tonight

        • JohnSelway

          I don’t think anyone has advocated getting tough or teaching anyone a lesson. More expressed bemusement at how someone could be so dense as to let Russia off the hook in favour of bizarre false flag fantasies

          • McFlock

            The choice seems to be “be adamant that there’s not enough evidence against Russia to recommend any action in response; or NATO goes to war with Russia”.

            Personally, I think there’s a lot of unexplored ground between those two extremes.

          • mauī

            “Let Russia off the hook”

            Russian body found with a kalashnikov next to it. Conclusion = Russian Government did it.

            What were you saying about fantasies? It would be nice to have some actual evidence.

          • mikesh

            Why bizarre? And why assume all ” false flag” theories” are fantasies?

      • Exkiwiforces 17.2.2

        Mike IRT your uncles death in Malaya, have you read “Bloody Shambles Vol 1& 2” by Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Yasuho Izawa? If not you should get these two books and there is a 3rd book to series, but it’s do with the Allied Air Offensive from 1942- 1945.

        • Mike Smith

          Thanks Kiwi I have read them. Vol 2 details the Endau raid where my uncle was killed flying an obsolete biplane. The title is taken from what one of the furious survivors told the officer who sent them out on what they all knew was a suicidal raid in daylight. The crews were experienced in night bombing and a couple of hours later might have been effective.

      • reason 17.2.3

        Ads got lots of “guts” … when it comes to other people getting killed in other peoples wars.

        He’s quite fine with the killing of children …. as long as he does not have to walk into a room with a hammer and do it himself.

        But he does have guts …. oh yes

      • weka 17.2.4

        “I don’t make any apology for being pacifist.”

        thank-you for this. Good to hear these politics being expressed.

    • SPC 17.3

      Neither Belarus or Ukraine are members of NATO.

      Sure the matter should go to international bodies, one to further investigate and maybe then others to hold Russia to account.

    • RedLogix 17.4

      Ad. Before we head down a literally dead-end path of confrontation between massively armed nuclear powers, I would very much like to see some rock-solid, incontrovertible evidence.

      Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of getting this wrong, relying on a circumstantial ‘pattern of behaviour’ just isn’t good enough.

      Nor, given their sorry track record with Saddam’s mythical WMD’s, is relying on anything the western media says much help either.

      I know this doesn’t help much. The fact is us ordinary people really rarely find out the exact truth behind this kind of event and we’re not likely to this time. We’ve really only ourselves to blame for this pathetic mess we’ve land in.

    • Colonial Viper 17.5

      There is indeed more than one way to deal with the Russians. Yet we can already see the Pacifist left are appeasing Russia as much as Trump has. So with that weakness he is stomping all over countries at will.

      Appeasing Russia?

      Appeasement presupposes that you are giving Russia major concessions that it values.

      Has the west suddenly given the greenlight to gas and oil pipelines that Russia wants to build?

      Has the west suddenly dropped sanctions against Russian produce, Russian companies and Russian personnel?

      Has the west suddenly stopped building more missile bases and areas of destabilisation right on Russia’s borders?

      Has the US suddenly re-signed on to the ABM treaty?

      Of course the answer is NO NO NO NO. So what is this “appeasement” that you speak of?

      All I can see from western leaders is hysterical unprofessionalism. Apparently there was after just a few days an “overwhelming mass of evidence” that Russia did the poisoning.

      Where is this evidence? How was it gained so quickly? Is Colin Power going to do another UN presentation for us?

      Frankly, the west has forgotten what actual war is like, we’ve gotten so used to waging it thousands of miles away from our own families.

    • Poission 17.6

      This is a time to see the pattern of behavior from Russia and call it out.

      of course the hot hand eg (godfrey 2001)

      It is a recognized characteristic of human psychology
      that people will find patterns in the world around
      them, whether or not those patterns result from coherent
      underlying causes. “The tendency to impute
      order to ambiguous stimuli is simply built into the
      cognitive machinery we use to apprehend the world.
      It may have been bred into us through evolution because
      of its general adaptiveness. . .” (Gilovich 1993,
      chapter 2). While this powerful human capacity to
      find order in nature has served and continues to serve
      us extremely well, it also sometimes leads us to falsely
      impute meaning to chance events. Gilovich nicely illustrates
      this problem using the statistics of consecutive
      hit or missed shots in basketball (the “hot hand”),
      where statistical independence can reasonably be assumed.

      You only see what you think you see Berezka

    • Ed 17.7

      These views belong in McCarhthyite America.

  18. Colonial Viper 18

    The Russians had Skripal in custody for 3 years. He had been sentenced by a Russian court to thirteen years in prison for treason, but had been released by the Russians as part of a spy swap amnesty with the west.

    Read that again.

    The Russians could have killed Skripal at any time. They could have passed down a legitimate, legal death sentence at his trial and executed him.

    Further the protocol around these spy swaps is very clear. You get your guys back, they get their guys back. And no one touches them afterwards, because to do so undermines every single future spy swap. And countries really like to get their top spies back if they have been caught.

    Instead we are saying the Ruskies did what? Let Skripal live for another full decade enjoying his quiet life in the UK just to kill him now as some sort of (illogical and long delayed) deterrent to future would be traitors? Plus no one has died, despite UK claims that a nerve agent far more toxic than Sarin or VX has been used.

    The idea that the Russians spread nerve agent around Skripal’s house or car to get him is laughable. It’s a great way to kill the housekeeper or the parking warden, I suppose.

    Even a car bomb, simple and reliable as, would have done a better job than this.

    In short, the Russians really are not this incompetent at killing someone, should they want them dead.

    • Stuart Munro 18.1

      You are aware of the comedy of errors that characterized the Litvinenko killing? The agents responsible are extremely lucky to still be alive – not from the arbitrary murderousness of Putin, but from their own handling of the polonium.

  19. Tricledrown 19

    Colonial viper Putin is the new fascist just like Trump.
    But Trump is envious as his time is running out unless he can seal a deal with rocketman.
    And the US economy delivers massive increase in jobs by November.
    Otherwise his only other option to hold on to power is for one of his fellow nutjob leaders start a war so he can sideline Congress.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Disapprove of their personalities or their leadership styles by all means, but neither Putin nor Trump are fascists – perhaps you have been rather too well propagandized by the western MSM.

      And the US economy delivers massive increase in jobs by November.

      US unemployment is at its lowest level in years, black unemployment is at an all time low, hispanic unemployment is at a 4 decade low.

      Exactly what more do you think Trump needs to deliver by November?

    • Carolyn_Nth 19.2

      Tricle, your first sentence needs a comma – otherwise it gets read, as I first read it, with a WTF? response.

  20. Ovid 20

    I am unconvinced by your position. I find the parallels to be much more along the lines of the Rainbow Warrior affair rather than a prelude to war. The British PM herself ruled out Article 5 consultations with her NATO allies and British military posture is not one of preparedness for war. Were they going on a war footing, there’d be signs of it – increased military traffic, servicemen recalled from leave etc.

    They haven’t even bought aircraft for their sole aircraft carrier.

    Secondly, you’re asserting a relatively weak prime minister suddenly found within her the steel to order the murder of Skripal and his daughter, not to mention the risks alongside it. So she won’t be blamed for a bungled Brexit. Apparently this poisoning is supposed to hold the public’s attention until the next British general election in May 2022. And then there would have to be a whole conspiracy to keep schtum over the next 4 years: police, hospital staff, scientists at Porton Down, the public in the immediate vicinity.

    On the other hand, Putin is facing a presidential election this weekend. And hey, he gets to stand up for Russia against all those unfair westerners. And he is ex-KGB, I think he’d be more steely than May. And I’m sure Russians at large aren’t going to weep much for someone who had spied against them, anyway.

    Now I can’t offer evidence either way but I do think one scenario is more likely than the other. Can you take it to court? No. Is it enough for war? Of course not. Is it enough to expel 23 diplomats and tighten border procedures over? Yes. I think so.

    • Stunned mullet 20.1

      Thank you. It is always nice when a thread ends with some sound calm reasoning and no name calling.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 20.2

      In your compelling scenario, a bungled murder attempt might play better than a successful one. Putin will, of course, be re-elected, but imagine the (national and international) value of increasing his 63.6% share of the vote in the 2012 presidential elections.

  21. Ed 21

    Martin Bradbury nails it.

    Do you ever get a moment when you sense something, look up, sniff the sky and just feel something is off?

    Is anyone else getting that sense with this whole Russian poisoning of a double agent spy narrative?

    The perfect timing of the spy being poisoned in NZ story appearing seamlessly into our news headlines, the regular media briefing the British High Commission is giving NZ journalists, the bullshit reasons given as to why Putin would murder a British resident on British soil – none of it adds up.

    The Novichok family of nerve agents are not as exclusive as the UK claims. Yes they were made by the Russians and their fingerprints are all over their creation, but other Intelligence Agencies, including Britain themselves, can produce these nerve agents. To pin an allegation as serious as this onto the Russians simply because it was created by them isn’t strong enough to conclude involvement. There are plenty of other players who would want this destabilisation.

    The argument put forward that Putin wanted to do this ahead of the Russian elections seems woeful as a motive. Putin is going to win those elections with the usual landslide a totalitarian regime can concoct, sowhy the need for chaos and mayhem for a result that’s already been made?

    The perfect timing of all the spy in NZ propaganda that swamped our media reeks of foregone conclusions.


    • Martyn Bradbury pollutes the blogosphere with his tinfoil-hat reckons, yet again. Ed distributes the bullshit more onto the The Standard, yet again.

      • Ed 21.1.1

        Saying tinfoil hat and conspiracy theory does not close down a discussion.

        Actually the people pimping the ‘conspiracy theory’ are May, Johnson, Piers Morgan, the corporate media, you, Stuart, Ad and others.

        I am questioning the Russian conspiracy, as is Malcolm Bradbury, George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn , Malcolm Evans, the Irish Times and most parts of the world except the leaders and media of NATO and 5 eyes countries.

  22. Ed 22

    George Galloway nails it.

    I think this will go down with the Gulf of Tonkin incident as one of the great hoaxes, with the most serious implications in all of history. The Russian president is facing reelection, the people of the world are headed to Russia in the summertime for the World Cup.

    In broad daylight, in public, this mastermind, capable of rigging the American elections, rigging Brexit, rigging the Catalan independence struggle and God knows what else, is stupid enough to attack with a nerve agent invented by Russia with Russia’s signature on it. In my opinion, you’d have to be crazy to believe that — but a large number of people, certainly in the media and even more depressingly in the Parliament, do.

    The only person in Parliament who tried to stand up against this was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and he was barracked and rubbished mainly by his own side, the remaining Tony Blair supporters. He’s being assailed as unpatriotic, as a Putin stooge, and so on. It is profoundly dispiriting that journalists by the hundreds are accepting at face value that Russia would do such a self-harming thing for no purpose that anyone has even yet speculated upon.

    These are big unexplained mysteries. If I just give you a hypothesis, only a hypothesis, I’m not saying it’s true, but it would be entirely possible that the nerve agent was being kept in the house of Skripal and it was somehow released. It affected the couple and the police officer, all three of whom became gravely ill in the ensuing hours — but that, too, is a mystery.”

    Listen to the whole interview.
    In 14 minutes you’ll find out more than the you would ever from the corporate media.


  23. Ed 23

    Craig Murray nails it.

    I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation.

    …Until this week, the near universal belief among chemical weapons experts, and the official position of the OPCW, was that “Novichoks” were at most a theoretical research programme which the Russians had never succeeded in actually synthesising and manufacturing. That is why they are not on the OPCW list of banned chemical weapons.

    Porton Down is still not certain it is the Russians who have apparently synthesised a “Novichok”. Hence “Of a type developed by Russia”. Note developed, not made, produced or manufactured.

    It is very carefully worded propaganda. Of a type developed by liars.


    • francesca 23.1

      Good on you ED
      Something is in the pipeline for us and its not good
      I predict a further”outrage” …Ghouta?
      the Donbass?
      Nikki Haley has suggested NYC, that’d be a good one
      Involving chemical weapons/ Russia in something so hideous that the International Community has no alternative but to kick Russia out of the Security Council, and strip it of its veto power

    • Incognito 23.2

      So far I have avoided commenting on this post because facts are so thin on the ground. Unless they find the container that held and still holds the alleged toxin with Made in Russia written on it [pun] it is near-impossible to identify the origin of said chemical. For this you’d need a fresh sample, an authentic sample or a database/library of authentic samples, and the right scientific instruments (that are mostly quite common in many labs & facilities). It is very similar to forensic science when trying to positively identify a fingerprint or DNA sample, for example.

      It takes very specialised skills to analyse a blood or tissue sample from the victims to even confidently conclude that they were exposed to a substance of a class of nerve agents. Again, it is tremendously helpful if you know what you’re looking for but if it is a hereto unknown substance the task becomes even more complicated. Time is of the essence too because the toxic adducts have a limited lifetime; the tracks/traces will disappear over time as is the case with everything that enters the body.

      Still, it won’t stop people speculating …

      • weka 23.2.1

        Does that mean the authorities are still speculating on what the actual agent was?

        • Carolyn_Nth

          There’s a run down on a lot of aspects of the case on the Independent:

          Investigations by military experts at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down identified the substance used as from a group of nerve agents known as “Novichoks”, roughly translating as “newcomer” in Russian.

          No details of the chemical analysis have been provided publicly but samples are being sent to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for verification.

          Dr Patricia Lewis, research director for International Security at Chatham House, said Novichoks could be identified because they have distinct chemical formulae.

          “There could be contaminants that would give away where it has come from,” she told The Independent, adding that high-resolution trace analysis could detect pollen and other clues.

          • Incognito

            What I take from this reporting in the Independent with very few actual facts is that the authorities don’t have confirmation (yet) of the exact substance that was used. As to the tracing of its origin, what could be possible is not the same as saying what will be possible. In other words, lack of confidence about the identity and no clue about its origin. In other words, (mostly) speculation on behalf of the authorities and MSM does the rest – how convenient, how textbook. BTW, pollen won’t be found in the actual chemical itself; it’s more likely a ‘passenger’ on the container used for its containment & transport.

            On a different note, my AV blocked 5 untrusted certificates when clicking on the Independent links.

            • francesca

              What does that mean Incognito?
              I mean the AV stuff?
              Thanks for a very succinct and informative post

            • weka

              cheers. That’s what I suspected. Either the UK govt doesn’t know yet, or it knows and isn’t saying. Either way, the speculation from media in particular is unhelpful.

              • Incognito

                Please note that this just my take on it; as more information comes in we may get more certainty about the actual substance – I do find it odd that they seem to know the exact class of compounds but not the exact molecular structure. Mind you, only real experts can tell whether the structural assignment is likely to be correct and only if they have access to the full data. If you have only a small sample of a reactive compound and no authentic standard available it is almost impossible to determine the exact structure (AKA structural formula); the best you can hope for is to narrow down the composition or chemical formula (AKA molecular formula) and the better the instrumentation (and the more sample you have) the more confident you can be.


                When public safety is at (immediate) risk you have to make assumptions (best educated guess) and take necessary precautions for risk-mitigation. Very similar to a patient arriving at A & E before a full and accurate diagnosis can be established; you have to act and handle quickly.

                However, it seems that this alleged poisoning case in the UK is not in this acute situation …

                • francesca

                  Have you come across the statement from Porton Down?
                  If there are weaselly words like “consistent with” or “cannot be ruled out”, and Theresa has come out with her own take on it..
                  It just seems funny that even tonight, the OPCW was saying there is very little information on the Novichoks, and no state has declared it
                  Had the Novichok program ended by the time CWC came round?
                  Or has it all been mythical
                  This may be the very first time its been identified and analysed
                  And I did notice Boris Johnston was using the words”nerve agent” when previously he’d seemed to relish getting his chops around “Novichok”

                  • Incognito

                    Have a look at the Feeds on the right-hand side of the man TS page; a feed appeared 43 mins ago and I think you might like it.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      That article makes the same point as an ex MI5 agent who I saw today on a recent Al Jazeera Inside Story video. i.e. Why would Russia want to kill Skripal now? The guy is old news and has not been of relevance for many years. She said he was never a “double agent” because he only ever worked for 1 agency (MI5). Skripal was a traitor to Russia but never spied for them.

                      She said it would be necessary to look at what Kripal has been doing in the last 8 years. She also threw into the mix, a random reckon that maybe Skripal had been a source for the Trump Dossier.

                      There is SO much random speculation going on.

                    • Why would Russia want to kill Skripal now?

                      That’s the least relevant question in any murder investigation. Why would the killer do it? Who the fuck cares? It’s the “did it” part that counts. As you say, all this why would X do Y is just random speculation.

                      In any case, there’s no shortage of possible answers, eg:
                      1. Sending a message to potential “traitors” within Russia that it’s not a good idea because you can be blatantly murdered with impunity wherever you go.
                      2. Sending a message to Russian expats in the UK that being a bit player won’t necessarily save you.
                      3. Finding out just how isolated the UK is now from its main allies (turns out the answer is “Not as isolated as it looked”).
                      4. Finding out how well the UK can respond to a nerve agent attack and what techniques it uses (eg, so you can plan a more difficult assasination).
                      5. Being able to portray Russia as being victimised by nasty western democracies but you’re standing tough and backing your country, right before everyone goes to the polls.
                      6. Taking care of Skripal because an investigation was getting close to something he knew.

                      No doubt there are others, but really, it’s a pointless question to ask. The only worthwhile question is, what evidence do we have and who does it point to?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    There is another facet to the UK investigation that we are unlikely to have access to, but may be influencing May’s decisions, and that is the intelligence community’s knowledge of Russian operations.

                    Information of that kind rarely appears in court, and may not meet evidentiary standards, nevertheless, when a rapid assessment of another country’s actions is required it can be very useful.

                    Just as Russia has form in previous murders, the UK has form in the use of such agents, and it might be their information that for instance had May state “Novichok” when the chemists might have preferred a more cautious “organophosphate nerve agent similar to the Novichok group”.

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Well, dang me, PM @ 17 March 2018 at 10:11 pm, I must just have been reading/watching too much crime/detective/PI fiction, because motive is one of the main things looked at in a criminal investigation.

                      And in this Inside Story from 8 March, Annie Machon – former MI5 intelligence officer, said that motive would be one of the things she’d be looking at if leading the investigation into the Skripal poisonings.

                      Machon said she’d be looking at what Skripal had been up to in the last 8 years, because that would provide some clues as to who might be the perp.

                      But, as Le Carre said in a recent interview, “Spies lie”. So, maybe Machon is just trying to lay a(nother?) false trail?

                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Oh, Machon is a 9/11 false flag, truther….. ho hum.

                      Still, motive seems an important consideration to me

                    • Oh sure, it being the least relevant question doesn’t stop investigators considering it, but the fact is we and the courts can only guess about the contents of people’s minds, even when people claim to be telling us the contents of their minds. And there are usually multiple possible motives – I was able to come up with six possible ones for Putin in this case without knowing much about the case at all. It’s the least useful evidence possible, even worse than witness statements.

  24. Ed 24

    Cui Bono?

    Not Russia it would appear…..

    We know that almost immediately upon this incident occurring a media campaign of almost unprecedented intensity began to generate what looked like a pre-prepared story that the Skripals had been poisoned by Russia. This claim has been “supported” by untruths and manipulations so questionable even anonymous FCO sources are worried about the wisdom and ethics on display. It has also been used to promote a number of agendas including:

    a) finally ditching Brexit (because being in the EU would allegedly protect the UK from further “Russian aggression”).
    b) closing down RT in the UK
    c) moving/postponing the World Cup
    d) imposing fresh sanctions on Russia
    e) giving Theresa May her “Falklands moment” in a bid to revive her tanking popularity.
    f) putting pressure on Trump to be more pro-active in condemning Russia.


    • Cui bono?

      Hmm, yes. Let’s have a think.

      Perhaps Teresa May thought her government really needed to be made to look weak and ineffectual right now and this was just the right way to do it?

      Maybe she thought sending a message to all Putin’s enemies that they can be blatantly murdered with impunity even if they leave Russia would further the UK’s interests?

      Could be that highlighting how isolated the UK is from its US and EU allies right now was a key motivator for the British government?

      Possibly, May thought that giving the Russian government insights into how the British government would deal with an attack like this might be of great strategic benefit to the UK?

      Those damn Tories!

      • Ed 24.1.1

        Actually a lot of UK Labour are also gunning for war.

        • James

          I haven’t seen any of them calling for war at all – got a link ?

        • Psycho Milt

          “Also” promoting war? You haven’t even pointed out a Tory promoting war yet, let alone anyone from Labour. How about if, instead of spamming the thread with opinions that bolster your own pre-conceived ideas, you present an argument in support of your claims? In this case, you’re claiming that a lot of British Labour MPs and a lot of Tory MPs are “gunning for war” with Russia – that’s a very bold claim (I’d call it a “completely fucking ridiculous claim” myself, but let’s keep it civil), and the bolder the claim, the more compelling the evidence needs to be. Make your case.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Ed is probably stretching it here. Some commentators have acknowledged that the UK government’s responses have been careful and measured. However, in this article they argue the way of talking about it fits into what some see as a pattern of building towards a war-like position.

            The official British response to the attempted killing of the Skripals has been precipitate but measured.

            History warns us to distinguish the banality of a single incident from its wider contribution to an emerging crisis.

            Why elevate it, as May did this week, to the “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK”?

            The idea that Skripal may be the Franz Ferdinand of the next European conflict may seem ludicrous. Yet the west’s responses to post-Soviet Russia, however reasonable in the short term, have been disastrous in general. A war with Russia would be the west’s fault.

  25. Ed 26

    George Galloway.

    I have an absolute conviction that this is exactly the same kind of canard that led us to the disaster of the Iraq war.

    The reality is Russia has every right to be offended here. It is my view that the language of ultimatums and ‘you have 36 hours to say you’re guilty or kind of guilty’… was deliberately designed to fail. Russia was set up to fail this test that Theresa May set it.

    Just like Iraq and the WMD, this verdict has already been reached before this investigation ever began.

  26. Ed 27

    The Irish Times questions the propaganda being pumped out.

    Unlikely that Vladimir Putin behind Skripal poisoning
    Attack would have been counterproductive for Russia and jeopardise future spy swaps


  27. Ed 28

    Compare Piers Morgan and Afshin Rattansi in this interview.
    Who appears to be the more balanced and independent journalist?
    And who appears to be pimping propaganda?

    • Oh, here’s a surprise – Ed submits comment after comment featuring cut-and-paste or embedded YouTube clips with nothing to say what argument he’s trying to make or how. Read the fucking site policy, spammer.

    • francesca 28.2

      Afshin Rattansi is a journalist with broadcasting credentials as long as your arm
      Piers Morgan is a TV personality
      The bit where Morgan hammers Rattansi as to his nationality!!
      Subtext, well you don’t look British, what with that dark foreign colouring

      • Ed 28.2.1

        Yes Morgan looked like a bigoted fool.
        Like Hosking in this country, he is there to entertain, bully and at the same time pimp for the establishment.

  28. aj 29

    “Some people — most, it seems — will, under some circumstances, do anything someone in authority tells them to…. Government institutions, like most humans, have a reflexive reaction to the exposure of internal corruption and wrongdoing: No matter how transparent the effort, their first response is to lie, conceal and cover up. Also like human beings, once an institution has embraced a particular lie in support of a particular cover-up, it will forever proclaim its innocence”
    –Ron Ridenhour

  29. Ed 30

    Another perspective.
    We hear so little of the argument in New Zealand and just copy the news that Britain and America tell us to believe.

    Britain, in 2003, was a country that was sure Saddam had WMDs, creating panic over how he could use it against UK interests. We all know how the ensuing war based on that lie worked out. So why should we now accept an English accusation that Russia has poisoned a former double-agent in the UK? With no proof provided, except the British PM’s insistence that Russia was the only “plausible” perpetrator, many wonder if she is trying to lift her waning political star.


    • JohnSelway 30.1

      Every excuse except the most obvious and plausible. But hey – if you want to think May authorised it to boost her in the polls all power to you I guess.

      • Ed 30.1.1

        I have never claimed to know what happened.

        It is Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Piers Morgan, the corporate media, you, Stuart, Ad and others who claims to know what happened.

        I am questioning the Russian conspiracy, as is Malcolm Bradbury, George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn , Malcolm Evans, the Irish Times and most parts of the world except the leaders and media of NATO and 5 eyes countries.

        • JohnSelway

          Um, no one claims to know what happened. Just pointing out what is most likely to have happened.

          But hey, keep pumping the bullshit in support of a extreme nationalistic regime which persecutes homosexuals, opposition parties, journalists and anyone else in their way whom also has a history of assassinating rivals.

        • Stuart Munro

          And you are questioning it without a shred of evidence, going out on a limb in fact.

          All you have are vaporous suppositions – you can’t even come up with a credible alternative hypothesis – a lesson the Putin bots learned after embarrassing themselves repeatedly with faked materials trying to derail Bellingcat.

        • Stuart Munro

          You’re not questioning the Russian conspiracy at all Ed – you’re part of it.

          The investigation is ongoing but all the evidence points to Russia.

          You don’t seem to be able to admit that.

    • Carolyn_Nth 30.2

      Actually, I think the more apt parallel is 2001, when the NY tower buildings were attacked by planes.

      Pretty much immediately, Bush Jr started pointing the finger at Osama Bin Ladin. Most of us went Osama who?

      There’s a lot of opportunism operating at these times, drawing in some plans that may have been in the pipeline covertly for a while.

      Bush Jr then went to his “full on war against turrism” – and made plans to attack Afghanistan. And come 2003, in year 2 of Bush’s war aginst tourrism”, the whole WMD narrative was beat up with a strategic focus on occupying Iraq.

      There is often a mix of the unexpected, opportunism, with longer term plans in relation to these campaigns directed towards foreign soil.

      • Ed 30.2.1

        You are correct.

        9/11 is the smoking gun for everything that happened afterwards. We do not know what happened on that date. But we do know that what we were told is not true.

        People continue to try to close down discussion by using expressions like ‘tinfoil hat’ and conspiracy theorists.’

        For those people using the term, Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. This was organised by the CIA.

        This is just like the Russian spy thing.
        It is Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Piers Morgan, the corporate media, Stuart, Ad and others who claim to know what happened. It is they who have a ‘conspiracy theory.’

        I am questioning the Russian conspiracy, as is Malcolm Bradbury, George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn , Malcolm Evans, the Irish Times and most parts of the world except the leaders and media of NATO and 5 eyes countries.

        This very interesting event happened just after 9/11

        • james

          Let me guess – you think it was an inside job? A false flag operation by the US g’ment?

          To save you googling – here is a video to back up your argument:

          Its on the internet so must be true.

          • JohnSelway

            Don’t…please don’t start that

            • James

              Ed has edited his reply above – in short proving my point.

              • Cinny

                James, it’s cool as for someone to change their mind, call it growth.

                10min edit time rocks, gives one time to re read and re think, use it all the time

                Heard something today… everyone is so quick to jump to conclusions/end game, wiser to evaluate the facts as they present themselves, being wary of narratives pushed by certain media, murdoch v’s Russia? Who knows?

                For me this whole thread is fascinating.

                How freaking lucky are we to live in NZ?

                Wouldn’t want to live Russia with their system, that’s for sure.

                edit 🙂 making use of the weather, have a great day out there.

      • Psycho Milt 30.2.2

        Pretty much immediately, Bush Jr started pointing the finger at Osama Bin Ladin. Most of us went Osama who?

        Yeah, it’s almost as if the US government had an enormous espionage and intelligence network available to it and ordinary people around the world didn’t. Suspicious!

        • Cinny

          Off topic.. but re your comment…. PM, have you seen the tv series, Looming Tower, it’s about all of that. Am finding it really interesting.

          Link for the preview, have been watching it free via the putlocker.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          For the record. I was referring to a mix of planning and opportunism – not some suspicion of false flag or inside jobs.

          The planning would involve intense and sophisticated surveillance. But, the use of the intelligence in planning would also be incorporated with geo-strategic ambitions, power plays, and diverse aspects of geo-politics. So some of the related motives and propaganda would be pretty murky.

          \Very hard to sort out fact from fiction in these situations.

        • francesca

          And yet they failed to detect the plot!

          • joe90

            They knew it was coming.

            A Shock, Not a Surprise

            The 9/11 attacks were a shock, but they should not have come as a surprise. Islamist extremists had given plenty of warning that they meant to kill Americans indiscriminately and in large numbers. Although Usama Bin Ladin himself would not emerge as a signal threat until the late 1990s, the threat of Islamist terrorism grew over the decade.


            The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were far more elaborate, precise, and destructive than any of these earlier assaults. But by September 2001, the executive branch of the U.S. government, the Congress, the news media, and the American public had received clear warning that Islamist terrorists meant to kill Americans in high numbers.


  30. Ed 31

    Another perspective.
    The Jimmy Dore Show.

    Russia Convicted Of Nerve Attack Before Investigation

    Despite not having conclusive evidence, the Theresa May and the corporate media have already condemned Russia. Also, even if Russia is responsible, some of the response does not make any sense.

    • francesca 31.1

      Oh Ed
      But you see,
      All these predominantly western dissenters are just bought up Putin bots, misguided apologists and useful idiots
      Forget that amongst them are the most renowned historians and journalists
      Now is the time that we must really trust our foreign secretaries, our intelligence agencies, our allies for gods sake
      They know better than us
      I’ve had Jehovah Witnesses at the door with similar arguments
      “But why would God lie?”

      • Ed 31.1.1

        People are being manipulated to fear Russia.

        • JohnSelway

          And there you go again. Turn conspiracy to rumor to fact.

        • Stuart Munro

          Russia is being a murderous ass as usual.

          • Daveosaurus

            _Putin_ is being a murderous ass as usual. Don’t make the mistake of conflating the country with the tyrant.

            That said, the Russian administration is still as bad as the American administration (the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine are no better than the invasions of Grenada or Chile) and ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is still the dangerous fallacy that had that senile old fool Reagan supporting the Khmer Rouge long after its atrocities were made public.

            • Stuart Munro

              Though I largely agree, Russia the country does have some problems. It is not coincidence that it was the European power than succumbed to revolution, and it has yet to develop the kind of robust separate judiciary that would begin to constrain the oligarchs and espiocrats. I think Churchill hit upon something with “Russia is never as strong as she looks; nor as weak as she looks.” If she led with culture rather than ordinance she would likely find the world more welcoming.

        • Gabby

          Why would Pooty do that eddy?

      • Stuart Munro 31.1.2

        Yep that’s right – Putin routinely murders journalists because his regime is a virtual paradise and the vile forces of the CIA oppose that out of pure badness.

        Why won’t these stupid folk just roll over and swallow the RT line? It makes everything so much easier.

      • Brigid 31.1.3

        If Putin lies, why would May not lie?
        If Bashar Assad lies, why would Obama not lie?

  31. CHCOff 32

    New Zealand’s value system in terms of it’s prosperous characteristics and heritage, economic and societal, lays with Britain above all, if we want those, from the past and going into post bre-exit future.

    It is the sharing of the same classical traditions and understandings, that NZ’s pride and identity as a society has been based on.

    In relation to those type of things, Russia is a relatively new leading global actor in possibilities and potential to New Zealand’s position.

    Much else is the banality of necessity that is the leverage of systemic politics.

  32. Stuart Munro 33

    This Guardian column makes a point for a stricter line against Putin – that the protections of a modern humanist state need not indefinitely protect someone who opposes them.


  33. David Stone 34

    It seems like not many people here are much interested in facts or evidence, just like the MSM and Theresa May.
    There’s an agreed process to follow in this situation and the fact that May and her government are refusing to follow it says it all. Why are so many so willing, so eager to bypass the evidence and go to conviction without trial? Is it cowardice?
    But suppose it was an assassination by the Russian government which I doubt, How is it different from the multitude of drone attacks by Western governments on individuals in other people’s countries with unknown collateral casualties and no trial and god knows what evidence.
    The only difference I see is who’s country the atrocity is perpetrated on . Can anyone point to some other distinction apart from method?
    D J S

    • francesca 34.1

      I did warn you
      pretty ugly eh?

    • There’s an agreed process to follow in this situation…

      There is? What is the agreed process to follow in dealing with a foreign government murdering its dissidents in your country? As far as I’m aware, it doesn’t go past expelling diplomats and imposing sanctions, and oh look, that’s exactly the process that’s been followed in this instance. What’s this other process for dealing with murders by foreign governments that you think May isn’t following?

      How is it different from the multitude of drone attacks by Western governments…

      In many ways that are more efficiently covered by identifying the above statement as “tiresome whataboutery.”

      • RedLogix 34.2.1

        Keep saying it often enough PM and it will become the reality. Your political hero Donald Trump has taught you well. (I’m tempted to run this as an experiment to see how long it takes.)

      • David Stone 34.2.2

        The agreed process is to ascertain whether a foreign government murdered its dissidents in your country or not. And the number of times that assertion is made without any evidence or motive or advantage being offered becomes the inverse of the persuasiveness of that assertion. You and Stuart Munro are tipping the balance , so every additional time the unsupported statement is made convinces more people that it probably isn’t true.
        D J S

        • Psycho Milt

          The agreed process is to ascertain whether a foreign government murdered its dissidents in your country or not.

          Well, they’ve done that, and concluded that it’s “highly likely” that the Russian government was behind it and that “there is no plausible alternative explanation.” If you think the British government needs to base its actions on more than that, you’re confusing diplomacy with criminal justice.

          • David Stone

            They’ve not done that. They’ve made their “highly likely” judgement (no assertion, no judgement involved) without investigation. That’s the problem. The assertions and rounding up forced acquiescence is being invoked to stand in it’s stead.
            It’s not me thats confusing diplomacy with criminal justice .
            D J S

            • Psycho Milt

              I don’t know what you imagine the cops, the counter-terrorist unit and Porton Down were doing in the time between the Skripals being attacked and May expelling Russian diplomats, but the appropriate word for it is “investigation.” That investigation continues, but enough’s been found so far for the government to conclude Russia was responsible.

              Funnily enough, the most convenient outcome for all sides will be if the investigation fails to find conclusive proof of Russian government involvement – because, if it were to be conclusively proven, the British government would be under a lot of pressure to take more concrete action against Russia. Be careful what you wish for.

              • David Stone

                Don’t worry, There will never be conclusive proof of any source or any culprit. Not in our lifetime anyway. And I rate the chances of the Skripals waking up with enough wits left to tell their own tale close to zero too. Though they will well understand the need for prudence.
                D J S

          • mikesh

            They are supposed to involve the other country in a joint examination of the evidence. They have not done that. All that has happened is that May has demanded from Putin an explanation without presenting any evidence. I wonder how long it will take before Putin gets tired of picking up May’s toys and returning them to her cot.

            • Psycho Milt

              The British government is supposed to invite the country they suspect of carrying out a chemical weapons attack on their territory to participate in a joint investigation? Maybe there’s some alternative universe in which that would happen, but not this one.

              • mikesh

                If it doesn’t happen it won’t be Russia’s fault.

                • Stuart Munro

                  You are confused – it’s Russia’s fault so it won’t happen.

                  • RedLogix

                    You have zero proof of that assertion. It could have been Russia, but there is no logical reason to exclude any other possible actor.

                    Yes it would be nice to think we can trust the UK govt to be telling us the whole unvarnished truth about this affair; but frankly given their record, that is just naive.

                    So far no-one has really put forward a convincing motive for this attempted murder. Certainly the Russians may well want to ‘send a message’ to a former traitor, but after the passage of so many years it’s an attenuated one. Equally there doesn’t seem to be any other plausible motive for any party that we know of. Motive remains a mystery.

                    Means. It’s very clear from public record that the so called Novochik agents have been public domain for at least a decade, that the facility in Urbekistan where the Russians did some work, ultimately fell into American control, and their murky history as described by credible sources like OPCW … speak to caution concerning every aspect of these chemicals.

                    If the Novochiks are real then absolutely there is no reason to think they are a exclusively Russian. Certainly if you are going to declare by means of chemical analysis that the samples obtained have a “Russian fingerprint”, you would require some authentic Russian examples obtained prior the event to act as a reference. Is this at all likely? And if so it would mean the UK govt knew all about them anyhow.

                    On the basis of means, we cannot rule out any party.

                    Opportunity. Clearly the Skripal’s were living openly and pretty much anyone knew where they were. Again on the grounds of opportunity no-one can be ruled out.

                    Note carefully … I am NOT falling into the opposite trap of declaring this must be a ‘false flag’ operation. But I am crystal clear on one thing: a lot more humility about the limits of our knowledge and a lot less dogmatism is the sane response to this matter. The stakes are not trivial.

                    • Pat

                      not a bad case…..theres one problem with a false flag operation….that requires a belief that one of the government agencies (likely UK or US or both) are willing to risk/provoke an escalation with a nuclear power…to what end?

                    • So far no-one has really put forward a convincing motive for this attempted murder.

                      You don’t think the Russian government has an interest in making it clear to potential future “traitors” that it can, and maybe will, kill them with impunity even if they leave Russia? Because I’m seeing a big fat interest in that for them.

                    • RedLogix

                      Again I’m NOT going to fall into the trap of arguing this MUST be a false flag operation.

                      At the same time you ask about a possible motive for escalating tensions between major nuclear powers. You’re quite right, in terms of rational self interest it’s insane.

                      Yet only the blind could not have noticed the tragic history of bad faith by the West towards Russia since the end of the Cold War, the endless betrayals and wasted opportunities to draw Russia constructively into the European orbit. Nor can the escalating drumbeat of media jingoism attacking Russia at every possible moment have gone unnoticed.

                      Yes Putin runs a thuggish, kleptocracy. So in fact do most nations on earth. Of the 200 odd states in the world barely 30 or so qualify as civilised open societies. Putin may well be a nationalistic strong man, but he is no fool and remains popular with the Russian people precisely because he represents a leader willing to stand up to an openly hostile western hegemony.

                      To my mind it’s all crazy making; we no longer seem to even be able to act in our own best interests; so no I cannot rule out a false flag operation, however rationally stupid such a thing would be.

                    • RedLogix


                      In a prior thread with McFlock I accepted exactly that reasoning. It is a probable motive and one I’m not dismissing. But on it’s own, without strong corroborating evidence, it’s not sufficient.

                      We have to be very careful about these things; consider the awful consequences of a certain foolish act in Sarajevo 1914.

                    • Pat

                      there was no trap in the question…I could believe the possibility of a false flag operation if I could see even a glimmer of a purpose for one….I can’t.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ pat

                      Neither can I. But logic may not be the applicable tool here.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Things grow out of what went before them. The Cheka grew out of the Okhrana. The CIA grew out of the Gestapo that Dulles recruited. And contemporary Russia grew out of the soviet era, the experiment with glasnost, Yeltsin’s rather disorganized post-coup efforts, and finally Putin.

                      Putin is not a new thing. He is also not a ‘Russian Spring’, a move in the direction of more representative or inclusive politics. He is not internationalist. He is conservative and embodies what I would describe as unenlightened nationalism – the shorthand for which might be “my country right or wrong”.

                      If we want to predict his actions either forward or backward, we need only apply these tropes to those associated with the organization where he spent most of his professional life, the soviet era KGB. This portrays him as predictable, though odious.

                      It is only when people treat him as a western democratic politician, someone whose political future depends on at least a modicum of pretention to the public interest, that he becomes unpredictable. Because he is not one of those.

                      He is a cold war autocrat. Now, humour that designation for a moment – would a cold war autocrat poison the Skripals? Without a thought.

                      Of course nothing will be known for certain until the investigations have proceeded further, and likely not then. But there is more than Putin’s guilt or innocence in play. This act was a provocation. If it goes unanswered the malefactor will not be deterred – it may become a pattern. It may already have become a pattern in some places.

                    • RedLogix

                      You find a dead body; and it turns out the next door neighbour has record. Does this prove the neighbour was the killer? No. Nor does it prove them innocent either; and certainly the cops will have this person high on their list of suspects.

                      It’s also why courts go to considerable lengths to prevent juries from knowing a defendant’s past record to prevent exactly this kind of mistake from being made. This is basic, basic stuff.

                      And at no point have I tried to paint Putin as any kind of ‘Russian Spring’. But neither is he the reincarnation of Stalin either; Putin is a complex mix of autocrat and visionary. And remember that despite all his shortcoming in our eyes, he remains head, shoulders and bare torso a better leader than anything the Russians have experienced for two centuries or more.

                      Absolutely he could have ordered this poisoning. But then Putin is not the only person in the world who could have done so; there is no shortage of malevolent arseholes who were equally capable of something this crazy.

                    • Pat

                      well ill stick with logic and the likelyhood that the assailant(s) were Russian whether officially sanctioned or not….and if new information comes to light that will be appraised logically

                    • McFlock

                      If I find a dead body and the neighbour has a lot of form and had previously argued with the victim, I won’t be too surprised if the cops announce they have one in custody and aren’t looking for anyone else. Sure, the trial might throw up some curve balls, but on the balance of things, I’ll draw my conclusions now.

                    • RedLogix


                      Sure, the trial might throw up some curve balls, but on the balance of things, I’ll draw my conclusions now.

                      And that is where I do part company with you; the stakes here are not trivial and this modern idea that somehow reliable evidence, open scrutiny and due process can be cheaply sidelined is a very bad thing.

                      Or put it this way; if it were YOU on trial you would be fervently hoping for the system to apply these principles. The last thing you’d want is for the police, prosecution and jury to expediently shortcut their way to ‘drawing their own conclusions’.

                    • Pat

                      No I wouldnt be surprised…and importantly as Im neither involved in the investigation nor the trial my state of surprise has no bearing on the case.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, for me (and probably you) the stakes of our conclusions are trivial.

                      We’re not decisionmakers. We don’t have any power whatsoever in this matter. In the absence of any other information, yeah, fuck Putin. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me when straight off the top of my head I can think of maybe half a dozen of your enemies who have been killed in funny ways (and your news anchors joke about it on air), shame on me.

                      Either that or you’re the luckiest bastard on the planet, because someone seems to kill anyone who challenges you and you have no idea about it at all.

                    • RedLogix

                      Actually, for me (and probably you) the stakes of our conclusions are trivial.

                      BS. Why else has this post gotten to nearly 400 comments, and why are you bothering to be so persistent about something so ‘trivial’?

                      Indeed you could apply that same logic to everything ever discussed here at TS. But that should never stop any of us expressing our ideas; it’s how we work these things out for ourselves.

                      By all means keep Putin in your sights, keep the pressure on. But deal with the issue via professional channels, police, trusted forensic investigators and diplomats.

                      Politically exploiting it as an opportunity to ramp up confrontation between nuclear powers is stupid and dangerous beyond all belief.

                    • McFlock

                      People like triviality as a way to while away the hours. Some watch movies. Others read gossip mags. One chap I know can tell you all about the last five relationships of half a dozen singers and actors he likes. We like geopolitics.

                      We will never be in a position to “ramp up confrontation between nuclear powers”. If we were, we wouldn’t be talking here.

                      Yes, we’re all trying to make sense of the world, form our own opinions of what’s going on. But none of this will affect May’s actions, keep another spy/dissident/exiled oligarch alive, or whatever. All that will change is our perspective on the world.

                      So let’s suppose, for example, Iran is trying to shift the West’s focus from the Middle East towards a Eurasian confrontation by killing Russian exiles in the UK and letting everyone draw the obvious conclusion, and we fall for such a convoluted plan (that has every opportunity to blow back on Iran for minimal gain because with Trump in the white house he’ll look anywhere else to avoid confrontation with Russia, so will probably increase US focus in ME as his own distraction). We fall for it, and… what? Sanctions by EU and UK get passed that maybe would have been moderated if NZers had said they thought Putin was innocent?

                      Express all the ideas you want, and I’ll express mine. Neither of us will be changing the course of geopolitics with a sigh or an equivocation, so we can say whatever we want without fear of causing armageddon. Liberating, innit?

                    • Pat

                      @ McFlock

                      Nothin but a bunch of addicts

                    • McFlock

                      Ain’t that the truth. Keeps me awake while computers count stuff, though.

                  • mikesh

                    Smart Alec !!!

              • mikesh

                Something similar happened in connection with MH17. When a commission of enquiry was held in the Hague, Russia was not permitted to be present, and present evidence. Bloody ridiculous.

                • The Russians weren’t invited to participate in investigating the Katyn massacre either, and for the same reason. The western Allies (understandably perhaps) didn’t take a lesson from the Nazis and let Russia participate in the Nuremberg trials, which served mainly to make the Nuremberg trials a laughable exercise in hypocrisy. I guess by the time MH17 was shot down, the maxim “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time” applied.

                • Stuart Munro

                  That would have to do with Russia having previously presented faked evidence, including doctored footage of a Ukrainian jet shooting down MH17. Had that actually happened, the Dutch investigators noted, there would have been traces of cannon fire on the wreckage. The finding of the source video laid that lie to rest, and of course established Russia as a hostile witness.

                  • mikesh

                    One doesn’t suppress testimony just because one thinks it’s shonky; one allows it and then seeks to show that it’s shonky. Obviously the West feared that Russia’s evidence might be kosher.

                  • mikesh

                    Given that this kangaroo court eventually declared Russia guilty, it is not surprising Putin gave them the fingers.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      An aircraft crash investigation is not a court. The concern is to find what actually happened, both to prevent further crashes and to determine insurer liabilities. Representing Russia is no part of that equation.

                    • mikesh

                      OK so call it a kangaroo Commission. The argument remains the same.

  34. Brigid 35

    The conclusion I’ve come to is that people have a need to justify their bigotry or racism.

    It’s common to object to a person based on their race, after all humankind has been doing it for millenniar

    Embrace it I say.
    If you despise Putin, admit it, there’s no need for justification because nobody cares what you feel about anyone or why.

    • Stuart Munro 35.1

      Yep, and weak minded persons love a “strong leader” who will bomb dehumanized groups instead of meeting with them, resolving their concerns, and faithfully representing them, as anyone pretending to democracy must.

      We understand that you don’t care that Putin is responsible for the deaths of half a million Chechens. They’re not real people to you, black hair, bit of a tan, not your kind of people at all.

      • francesca 35.1.1

        Well then Stuart
        lets be better than that
        Lets strengthen those institutions like the CWC that the UK and Russia have signed up to
        Where protocols have been set out, to avoid dangerous conflict and to investigate without the hugely damaging noise and hysteria that is so counterproductive to finding the truth of the matter.
        If you prefer a good stoush, go down to the pub and get it out of your system
        I can see why you’re such a fan of Freedland, with his sneering at “due process”

        • Psycho Milt

          Lets strengthen those institutions like the CWC that the UK and Russia have signed up to
          Where protocols have been set out, to avoid dangerous conflict…

          Sure. In the meantime, how exactly does that help the UK government deal with Putin brazenly murdering Russian expats in the UK?

          • mauī

            Well seemingly yourself and May would quite like to start World War III with Russia. Some of us don’t like to jump to conclusions which could mean horrific consequences, à la Corbyn and now even Ardern.

          • Brigid

            Well you could offer your services to May I guess.
            I think there are daily flights to the UK. Hop over to May’s, grab her garden spade and then aeroflot your way to RUSSIA and whack Putin over the head with aforementioned spade.

            Which murders are you referring to?

            • joe90

              Which murders are you referring to?



              Stephen Moss, 2003. Moss, a British lawyer, had an apparent heart attack and died in 2003. US intelligence officials allegedly believe he may have been assassinated.

              Stephen Curtis, 2004. Curtis, a lawyer who represented an imprisoned Russian oil tycoon, was killed in a helicopter in England in 2006. Again, US intelligence suspects that Russia may have played a hand in his death.

              Igor Ponomarev, 2006. Pnomarev died shortly before Litvintenko, right before he was due to meet with someone investigating Russian activities in Italy. US intelligence may have evidence that the diplomat was assassinated, BuzzFeed reported.

              Alexander Litvinenko, 2006. Litvinenko’s death made international headlines after the defector was poisoned in 2006. It contributed to hostile relations between Russia and the UK. Polonium, a radioactive element, was slipped into a cup of tea that he drank. Russia has always denied any part in his death, despite a public inquiry formally accusing two Russians of carrying out the killing on the behalf of Putin.

              Yuri Golubev, 2007. An oil tycoon and friend to jailed political dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Golubv died in 2006 in London. An obituary at the time said he “felt unwell,” returned from a trip early, and subsequently “died peacefully,” though US intelligence suspects foul play.

              Daniel McGrory, 2007. McGrory was a foreign correspondent for the British newspaper The Times and was found dead at his North London flat. He had reported extensively on Alexander Litvinenko’s death. While his family believe he died of natural causes, British intelligence officials later asked US counterparts to investigate his death.

              Badri Patarkatsishvili, 2008. The best friend and former business partner of Boris Berezovsky, Patarkatsishvili lived close to his friend in Surrey until he died of a heart attack after a family dinner. British intelligence officials asked their counterparts in the US for information about Patarkatsishvili’s death, and any possible links to Russia.

              Gareth Williams, 2010. The body of Williams, a British spy, was found in a bag in his apartment in 2010. While police have said they think it was an accident, intelligence agencies allegedly believe he may have been assassinated.

              Paul Castle, 2010. A property dealer with flamboyant spending habits, Castle died by suicide after stepping in front of a tube train. BuzzFeed reported that he may have been threatened with a slow and painful death by people linked to the Russian (and Turkish) mafia if he didn’t kill himself.

              Alexander Perepilichnyy, 2012.Perepilichnyy was a financier who helped expose fraud by Russian government officials. He died in Surrey in 2012 after visiting Paris, and BuzzFeed News reported that there were “signs of a fatal plant poison” discovered in his stomach.

              Robbie Curtis, 2012. Curtis was a friend of Castle, and, like him, worked in property. He too killed himself, with US intelligence reportedly believing he may have been driven to suicide by Russia.

              Boris Berezovsky, 2013. Berezovsky was an expat businessman and critic of Putin. He was found dead at his home in an apparent suicide by hanging.
              Johnny Elichaoff, 2014. Elichaoff was a businessman and the former husband of TV presenter Trinny Woodall. He had battled painkiller addiction, and reportedly rolled himself off a shopping centre roof after a string of oil investments went wrong.

              Scot Young, 2014. Young was a wealthy “fixer” to the super-rich and often fronted deals for Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. He was part of a network of associates who funneled Berezovsky’s cash through offshore companies, and repeatedly worried about being targeted by the Russian mafia. He was found impaled on the railings beneath a London flat.

              Matthew Puncher, 2016. Puncher was the radiation expert who discovered that Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had been given toxic polonium. Five months after a trip to Russia, he was found dead by multiple stab wounds. A coroner ruled suicide.


              • francesca

                Allegations are one thing..
                Intelligence agencies suspect….believe…may have…
                fatal plant poison … yes , gelsemimum…commonly used as a homeopathic

                Litvinenko is your best bet, after a very foggy inquiry, where the autopsy report has never been released and the best Owen could come up with was”probably”
                London is awash with Russian criminals whose fortunes were made on the back of the Russian people during the Yeltsin era
                London has opened its arms wide, and turns a blind eye.
                When a city is awash with people of this sort, for whom money is everything, you can expect the thuggery that goes with it
                I’m picking a lot of the murders are turf wars

                • You’re free to pick whatever you like. The British government, on the other hand, has to act in the interests of the UK and that doesn’t necessarily involve proving things beyond reasonable doubt.

                  The Russian government certainly murdered Litvinenko and is highly likely to have murdered at least some of the other people on that list. Plausible alternative explanations for the attempted murder of Skripal so far number 0, which is why the British government’s accused Russia and expelled a bunch of diplomats. That’s how diplomacy works, regardless of whether you like it or not.

          • mikesh

            It might stop them making fools of themselves.

        • Stuart Munro

          Due process and acts of war belong to different spheres.

          Using nerve gas on the citizens of a foreign country is war, not merely murder.

          Putin, the fucker, is the guy sneering at due process by using nerve agents on people in the UK, and this calls for action of some kind. And he has done so in spite of being signatory to CWC protocols for which his country was paid handsomely.

          Perhaps you should consider why you have made it your mission is to rewrite progressive politics to a simple “Putin can do wtf he likes i don’t care”.

          I don’t want a stoush Francesca – go peddle your murdering dictator elsewhere.

          • mikesh

            None of which has been proved.

            • Stuart Munro

              Suggest a credible alternative superman.

              Were Russia actually not responsible they’d be falling all over themselves to help May find the real culprits. That hasn’t been their line at all.

              • mikesh

                I guess you have probably heard the term “false flag”.

              • mikesh

                The belief that “there is no alternative” is not something you can possibly be sure of, so that argument just doesn’t cut it.

            • McFlock

              You keep holding onto that.

              Maybe this time it will turn out to be that an IRA splinter group came out of dormancy and accidentally poisoned two Russians. Maybe.

      • Brigid 35.1.2

        The royal ‘we’ is it?
        Be sure Stuart, you have no idea what I (in fact anyone posting on TS ) cares about.
        Quit your arrogance, it serves no use whatever.

        • Stuart Munro

          Brigid – I neither know nor care what possesses you to try to legitimize murdering dictators except as a pathology among opinionated writers pretending to progressive values.

      • mikesh 35.1.3

        I’m sure Lincoln was responsible for quite a few deaths in his efforts to keep the US united.

      • mikesh 35.1.4

        So 75% of the people who voted are “weak minded”. I suppose that’s nice to know.

        • Stuart Munro

          Amazing the majorities obtainable by murdering opposition members and media who ask real questions.

          I doubt all 75% are weak minded, but you seem to be. What is it about autocratic government that appeals to you? The single party state? The rampant corruption? Or is it invading much weaker countries and killing and oppressing their citizens?

          • mikesh

            The 75% who voted for Putin did so because he is the main architect of Russia’s recovery after the collapse of the early nineties. His government is a parliamentary democracy like that of most other Western countries, so the contention that he is autocratic is absurd.

            It would be preferable if you stuck to the issues instead of accusing your opponent’s of supporting autocracy, or of weakmindedness.

  35. aj 36

    “The Vietnam War and the history that followed exposed the myth of America’s persistent claim to unique power and virtue. Despite our awesome military, we are not invincible. Despite our vast wealth, we have gaping inequalities. Despite our professed desire for global peace and human rights, since World War II we have aggressively intervened with armed force far more than any nation on earth. Despite our claim to have the highest regard for human life, we have killed, wounded, and uprooted many millions of people, and unnecessarily sacrificed many of our own”
    Christian Appy: American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity

    • Stuart Munro 36.1

      True – but this incident relates to Russia behaving badly, not America. One does not excuse the other.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 36.1.1

        This incident (like others listed by Joe90) relates to ‘Russia’ allegedly “behaving badly” in the UK.

        Don’t get me wrong, I reckon the Russian government did have “a hand” in recent events, but there is a rush to definitive judgement. As in so many previous cases, I may never know for sure, and (in the absence of facts) will be ‘guided’ by bias and prejudice.

        • Psycho Milt

          …but there is a rush to definitive judgement.

          Theresa May: “the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” (My emphasis).

          May, Macron and Merkel: “there is no plausible alternative explanation”.

          Nikki Haley: “The United States believes that Russia is responsible” (my emphasis).

          I’m not seeing much “definitive” judgement in there, just realistic assessments of probability.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Good points PM, and I’d add Boris Johnson’s observation that it’s “overwhelmingly likely” Putin ordered the attacks.

            Truth versus certainty – I’d settle for honesty. Hope this is trending in the ‘right’ direction.

            • Psycho Milt

              Johnson running his mouth in ways that should be horribly embarrassing to his government but apparently aren’t, is very much a known issue.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                This may not fit your definition of a definitive judgement, but it sounds closer to Johnson’s “overwhelmingly” than “a realistic assessment of probability.”

                “So Mr Speaker, there is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter – and for threatening the lives of other British citizens in Salisbury, including Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey.” – Theresa May (14 March 2018)

                Fairly conclusive? Pretty legal? Politicians sure have a way with words – just as well May’s one of us, and has a history of shrewd political judgement.

                • Diplomacy isn’t a criminal court – there’s no “proven beyond reasonable doubt.” In this case, May’s right – no plausible alternative conclusion exists. The government has to act on the basis of the evidence it does have, because not acting when foreign governments carry out this kind of attack in your territory is not an option. Those of us without the obligations of government on our shoulders can feel free to spout whatever bullshit we like about it, but that luxury isn’t available to governments (well, in theory at least – Boris Johnson seems to just blurt out whatever’s passing through his mind at the time).

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    May chose her words carefully; she did not say ‘no plausible alternative conclusion exists’. It might have been reasonable to state, on the basis of the facts made available to the public, that no plausible alternative conclusion can be drawn at this time, although I’m sure some would dispute even that.

                    Still seems to me that there was indeed a rush to definitive judgement of ‘Russia’s” culpability by UK politicians and media, so I’ll stick with that and hope we can agree to disagree.

                    There would have been pressure on the UK government to develop a rapid and defensible response, and ‘rapid’ and ‘defensible’ are often at odds. The situation is ripe with potential for misinterpretation and misrepresentation of ‘facts’.

                    Put it this way, while I reckon Russia is (somehow) involved, I’m a lot less certain of that than May (needs to and) appears to be.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Yes. And then they proced from there to aggressively wind up the rhetoric against the Russian government – as right wing columnist Stacey Kirk does in this OP piece today:

            She uses the same language of probability in her piece:
            UK High Commissioner to New Zealand Laura Clarke said the UK felt it was clear the Novichok nerve agent had stemmed from Russia.

            “felt” and “clear” are statements running in opposition to each other.

            All signs point to Russia

            “there is no plausible alternative explanation”

            But then Kirk is calling for the NZ government to take definitive action on this, as an independent nation that stands up for what’s right.

            The headline is: No room for diplomatic shades of grey on Russia – NZ’s choice is black and white

            And Kirk ends:

            Equivocations, as the world inches closer into what can only be described as a Cold War-type standoff, could jeopardise New Zealand’s trade opportunities and credibility on the world stage and it would be personal pride that does it.

            There is a right side, there is a wrong side and New Zealand has a reputation on the international stage for not confusing the two.

            If the UK asks for our help on this, we should accept the call and stand unflinchingly behind one of our closest partners.

            More than that, we should want to.

            So many logical twists and about-turns from Kirk she must be pretty motion sick.

            • Psycho Milt

              And then they proced from there to aggressively wind up the rhetoric…

              Well, yeah, that being just about the only option open to them beyond expelling diplomats.

            • francesca

              Carolyn Nth your link
              expresses it pretty clearly eh
              I reckon this is a grenade thrown in to our domestic politics
              This will force Jacinda in to having a black and white position, and scuttle any plans Winston had of a FTA with Russia, one of the agreements of coalition probably
              Could be a wedge
              But its suicide by media to express anything other than our 5eyes partners demand
              They’re not keen on Corbyn winning an election , and equally they’re making damn sure little NZ doesn’t get any clever ideas with a new government

          • mauī

            lol, you’re not seeing much rush to judgement?

            Warlike speeches against the accused.
            Variety of punishments for the accused discussed and acted on.
            Gathering of allies to punish the accused.
            Expectation the accused must prove their innocence in a short timeframe.

            No, these are all actions working from the balance of probabilities… righty-ho..

            • Psycho Milt

              Yes, expelling diplomats and implementing sanctions are all actions working from the balance of probabilities. It’s called diplomacy.

              Also: what’s “warlike” is carrying out assassinations on British territory using highly radioactive substances or extremely dangerous nerve agents. The British response to it has been anything but “warlike.”

        • Stuart Munro

          There are Russian links. More than one.

          Nor is it bias or prejudice to attribute bad behavior to a party with a long and well-established history of such behavior.

          At some point also, when a foreign group, be they Russians or an unprecedentedly chemically literate group of arab terrorists start killing people in a country for which one has responsibility, some action must be taken.

          The action to date has been very limited. Expelling embassy staffers, some of whom will have had intelligence training is far from draconian, and demanding an explanation from Russia, though futile, is not improper.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Can’t share your certainty, because I lack your knowledge of the relevant (verified) facts. Wonder if those who carried out the murder attempt are still alive.

            In time this incident will be added to the convincing list presented by [email protected] (“All the times Russia allegedly carried out assassinations on British soil”), unless it turns out to be the work of an unprecedentedly chemically literate group of arab terrorists, or other non-Soviet aliens.

            • Stuart Munro

              Supposing that they are Russian and have fled England they are likely to be rewarded in the fullness of time – Litvinenko’s killers were.

              It has been suggested that the Skripals themselves brought back a trapped item of some kind from recent travel, in which case those responsible never entered England. Of course we shall be waiting a while for full details of that kind to emerge.

              I saw Joe’s list, but I get updated from time to time by friends who monitor such events closely.

              • Brigid

                “I saw Joe’s list, but I get updated from time to time by friends who monitor such events closely.

                If what you’ve said on the topic so far doesn’t, this reveal certainly does, unequivocally, show your bias.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The UK Govt is assiduously ignoring all the mechanisms available to it in the Chemical Weapons convention to conduct a proper multi-lateral investigation of the Skripal incident, as well as declining Russian requests that the UK act in accordance with those stipulations.

                  In other words, the Brits are full of shit, and if it really was a ‘Novichok’ class nerve agent (rated at between 4x and 10x more lethal than Sarin and VX) there would be many hundreds dead in Salisbury.

                  As it is has anyone seen any footage, interviews or accounts of the 30 or so supposed victims who are said to have been exposed to this nerve agent? Any at all? If not, why not?

                  • McFlock

                    Given that you made up “30 or so supposed victims”, no.

                    Failure to provide evidence of your fantasies is not proof of a hoax.

                    edit: Try starting here. No “30 victems”. Where did you come up with that?

                    • JohnSelway

                      A quick (and admittedly not thorough) google search doesn’t bring up any other victims apart from potentially effecting 100s of others if the had been in contact and possibly years later.

                      So, yeah – CV is taking shit again.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      McFlock and John Selway, I do appreciate your efforts, but neither of you seem up to the play on this one. Let me assist you:

                      RNZ: “Of the 38 people who have been seen in hospital in relation to the incident, 34 have been discharged”


                      CNN: Russian spy attack inquiry widens as 21 receive medical attention


                      So where are these dozens of casualties? Anyone see any interviews with or footage of the friends and family of these 20-30-40 victims now discharged from medical care and home again?

                      If not, why not? Where are all these victims? Surely in a small town this would be a massive impact on the local community.

                      JohnSelway “So, yeah – CV is taking shit again.”


                      McFlock: wikipedia???


                    • JohnSelway

                      Why does there have to be interviews with these people? And as if this would change your opinion. You would still think it was a coverup anyway so it is immaterial.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @John Selway, yep: everyone who hasn’t been murdered by the Deep State is a crisis actor.

                    • McFlock

                      About fucking time.

                      and yeah, wikipedia was more than you bloody provided, and your CNN link agrees with it.

                      “Seen in hospital” isn’t the same as “treated”. “Tested” counts too, and yeah, that involves “medical attention”. Even one of the people still receiving medical care is “home again”. And you started with “Almost 30 people were supposed to have fallen seriously ill“. You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about, otherwise you’d lie better.

                      You’re asking for interviews with people who went to work, served someone lunch, got sent to hospital for tests, and were soon given the all clear. For what?

                  • The UK Govt is assiduously ignoring all the mechanisms available to it in the Chemical Weapons convention to conduct a proper multi-lateral investigation of the Skripal incident…

                    Apart from stuff like inviting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to come and test samples with them, you mean?

                    …as well as declining Russian requests that the UK act in accordance with those stipulations.

                    As well as declining requests by the prime suspects for full access to the investigation, yes.

                    …if it really was a ‘Novichok’ class nerve agent (rated at between 4x and 10x more lethal than Sarin and VX) there would be many hundreds dead in Salisbury.

                    We’ll just bow to your eminently superior knowledge of chemistry and chemical warfare, shall we? Oh, wait, no – let’s not do that, because you’re a blowhard who just flings assertions about. Multiple citations needed, not least of them the ones demonstrating that it’s completely impossible to carry out a targeted assassination with a nerve agent, unlike, for example, carrying out a targeted assassination with incredibly dangerous shit like polonium-210.

                    As it is has anyone seen any footage, interviews or accounts of the 30 or so supposed victims who are said to have been exposed to this nerve agent?

                    I expect the people investigating the case have seen shitloads – how remiss of them to have failed to share those individuals’ personal details with an important figure such as yourself. Perhaps they’re aware that if they did share any video, you and a thousand other tinfoil-hat enthusiasts would be going through it frame by frame coming up with ways to discredit it as propaganda fakes?

                    • JohnSelway

                      And, like in the Sandy Hook case, spending years harassing the victims families and accusing them of being part of a conspiracy

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Apart from stuff like inviting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to come and test samples with them, you mean?

                      That’s minimal compliance more than a week after the fact.

                      As well as declining requests by the prime suspects for full access to the investigation, yes.

                      The mechanisms within the Convention are not optional, but they are flexible.

                      And there are mechanisms which take into account situations where one party to the Convention is accused by another party of using a chemical weapon.

                      We’ll just bow to your eminently superior knowledge of chemistry and chemical warfare, shall we? Oh, wait, no – let’s not do that, because you’re a blowhard who just flings assertions about. Multiple citations needed, not least of them the ones demonstrating that it’s completely impossible to carry out a targeted assassination with a nerve agent, unlike, for example, carrying out a targeted assassination with incredibly dangerous shit like polonium-210.


                      I made a very simple statement. Your response is both illogical and unrelated. ‘Novichok’ class nerve agents are 4x to 10x more deadly than VX or Sarin. Mass casualties would have been expected.

                      Unless it was not a ‘Novichok’ class nerve agent.

                      I expect the people investigating the case have seen shitloads – how remiss of them to have failed to share those individuals’ personal details with an important figure such as yourself.

                      So no footage or interviews available then.

                      Not even of the ~27 people who were supposedly treated and discharged quickly.

                      Why not? Why is the media not interviewing these victims or their family members?

                      Or asking questions about where these people are?

                    • JohnSelway

                      Can you give a citation to these 30… sorry, 27 other people afflicted

                    • I made a very simple statement.

                      You made a very simple unsupported assertion, one that no-one has any reason to accept, especially not when we take into account the examples provided by both me and ExKiwiforces of other assassinations using deadly agents that didn’t cause mass casualties. If you’ve some basis for your claim other than your personal opinion, do feel free to present it.

                  • ExKiwiforces

                    CV, I’m not sure if seen my comment from the 17 Mar?

                    It comes down to a range of factors and could be one of the following or a combination of the following-
                    1 the dose given
                    2 the quality of the argent refer back to 1
                    3 was the in powder, liquid or aerosol form, refer back to 1-2
                    4 the age of the argent since manufacturing, again refer to 1-3
                    5 how the argent was delivered to the intended target again to 1-4
                    6 what were the in environmental effects/ conditions at the time both inside and outside as this can effect steps 1 to 5 as well.
                    7 Lethally of the Chemical and Biological argents also depends on steps 1-6 – also
                    there are a few more steps/ considerations/ factors to using or about to use any type of CBRN weapon system and those six are ones that pop out of head.

                    Remember when old fat boy knock off his half brother using a aerosol version of VX and the two ladies who did it weren’t affected by the VX argent but had small traces of the VX on themselves and their clothing etc.

                    There was a wee bit on the tonight’s ABC’s report

                    PS- My internet connecting is playing up ATM due to some gezza by the name of Marcus blowing a lot of wind about and leaving the place a mess.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thanks for the recap ExKiwiforces; I hadn’t seen your previous comment but all of this makes sense. The new version of – which way was the wind blowing when the mustard gas shell hit, were you on high ground or low, etc.

                      Some people believe that Putin kills double agents and traitors to serve as a warning.

                      In this particular case, targetting a has-been spy a decade after Russian courts sentenced him to just 13 years in prison (not life or death), then agreeing to release him during a spy swap (around which there are very strict protocols as Putin well knows eg spy swaps depend on each side not targetting released spies after the fact) then failing to actually kill him but injuring dozens as collateral damage, while using a weapon which immediately implicates Russia as the prime suspect, all does nothing except make Putin and Russia appear both evil and incompetent.

                      In summary – IMO someone else did this, with the goal of making Putin and Russia appear both evil and incompetent. And to restart calls for more economic and sporting sanctions on Russia.

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      I wouldn’t call Mr Putin incompetent, but in fact a very smart man who is street wise than his western counterparts who are educated at university etc. Depending on OPV he is an evil man running circles around his western counterparts, but he will one day over play his hand and when that happens things will get very interesting.

                      Russian Military Forces and the FSB are really into this new form of warfare called Hybrid Warfare which suit themselves as it plays to their strengths and protects their weaknesses as they can’t match West in terms of technology or military training of the West.

                      I still believe this hit is straight out of the Russian play book of Hybrid Warfare and until it’s proven otherwise this will be my opinion. The key to unlocking this riddle will be down to the Chemical argent use in this hit as only Russian can make this argent no one else as all the “precursor ingredients” and manufacturing come from within Russia nowhere else in the world. The West can have crack at making it, but it won’t be the same as the real Mc Coy from Russia.

                • Stuart Munro

                  The same friends, you pathetic troll, who dyed their hair and went to Grozny during the Chechen war to chronicle those events at great personal risk.

                  Not everyone is so sad a flake as to get their entire worldview off RT.

      • mikesh 36.1.2

        This issue has nothing to do with Putin hanging on to Chechnya either.

        • Stuart Munro

          Oh I don’t know – it goes to character you see. When someone invades somewhere and essentially kills every male over the age of 16, that enables observers to draw certain conclusions about their character or lack thereof.

          When one looks at an ordinary politician who has not involved themselves in genocides, if an allegation involving, say, a murder using a WMD in a foreign country was made, we might presume that they would not ordinarily scruple to do such a thing. For Putin however, only murdering one or two is positively civilized.

          • mikesh

            Putin only fought rebels in Chechnya.

            • Stuart Munro

              If that were so rebels comprised 50% of the population – that’s what Putin killed. Have you spoken to journalists who were on the ground in Chechnya? From your stance it would seem not. The Russian practice of zatchistka is very similar to the crimes of Slobodan Milosevic.

              • Colonial Viper

                The CIA attempted to create a new Afghanistan within Russia’s borders.

                Unsurprisingly, the Russian forces crushed the Islamist rebellion. But their competence and abilities were extremely poor after the collapse of the Soviet Union and casualties on both sides were horrific.

                The Russian practice of zatchistka is very similar to the crimes of Slobodan Milosevic.

                Milosevic, while no saint, was also the victim of western scapegoating and propaganda. The ICTY concluded that Milosevic could not be found guilty of several of the major charges laid against him. (But which Stuart Munro happily parrots).


                • Stuart Munro

                  It’s always a joy to be criticized by an ignorant repeater of propaganda CV.

                  “The CIA attempted to create a new Afghanistan within Russia’s borders. ”

                  Absolute poppycock – the CIA had nothing to do with it.

                  ” the Russian forces crushed the Islamist rebellion”

                  It wasn’t an Islamist rebellion, though the Russians have confirmed the old Roman adage that suppressing religion spreads it.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Absolute poppycock – the CIA had nothing to do with it.

                    The CIA were intimately involved, just as they were in Afghanistan against the Russians.

                    The Americans attempted to destabilise Russia via recreating their very successful Afghanistan recipe, by supporting and supplying Islamist militants in Chechnya, Inguishetia and Dagestan.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Rubbish. Link or citation if you have one.

                      The Chechen war was started by Russia. I shouldn’t do your homework for you, but it went something like this:

                      There was a long history of antipathy between the two cultures.

                      More than once the typical poorly led conscript Russian armies were repulsed by Chechens, who were superior guerilla fighters.

                      Under Yeltsin’s reforms the satellites were promised as much autonomy as they wished.

                      Because Chechens had been transported in soviet times, and were lucky to escape complete annihilation, self-determination had considerable appeal for them.

                      So in the Chechen parliament there was almost unanimous support for leaving. Moscow didn’t like that idea. So they came up with the idea of sending in troops in force as they had in Czechoslovakia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Pact_invasion_of_Czechoslovakia which secured their desired political result with relatively low loss of life.

                      In Chechnya however, they sent a green tank division into the heart of Grozny. Many Chechens were veterans or spetznaz – prior to the Chechen war, in fact they usually provided the Russian equivalent of the US presidential secret service detail, being exceptionally good at hand to hand fighting. The Russians were slaughtered.

                      So Russia had an ongoing antipathy for Chechnya, and the fresh memory of a humiliating defeat. Enter the late Yeltsin government – a farce so tragic that only a “short victorious war” could redeem it.

            • Psycho Milt

              Putin only fought rebels in Chechnya.

              And the French only fought rebels in Algeria. You write this as though it made some point, but it doesn’t.

              • mikesh

                Stuart was suggesting that the Russians were committing mass murder in Chechnya, as though they were doing something equivalent to Hitler’s haulocaust. However, fighting against someone who, rightly or wrongly, is trying to take over a part of your country is not at all the same thing.

                • Colonial Viper

                  eg. the Arab Mujahideen in the first and second Chechen wars.

                  Many fighters and leaders with Afghanistan experience – and links to the CIA from that time.


                  • So, mass murder of Chechens was OK because some foreign Jihadis went there to try and help the Chechens gain independence from their imperial master. As usual, disappointed but not suprised…

                • However, fighting against someone who, rightly or wrongly, is trying to take over a part of your country is not at all the same thing.

                  That’s pretty funny. Maybe you should look up “The Russian Empire,” which might explain why Chechnya is full of Muslim Chechens. Spoiler alert: very similar vibe to Algeria being “a part of your country” if you were French in the 1950s.

                  • mikesh

                    My point was that, even if the rebels had justice on their side, it was not the same as “mass murder”, as implied by Stuart.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I wasn’t suggesting Mikesh – I was stating unequivocally that Russia was committing war crimes in Chechnya.

                  Look up zatchistka – that was the normal Russian practice – or read the accounts of Chechen rape survivors.

          • Brigid

            “kills every male over the age of 16”
            Now you’re making stuff up.

            From wiki
            “Russian officials and Chechen separatists have regularly and repeatedly accused the opposing side of committing various war crimes including kidnapping, murder, hostage taking, looting, rape, and assorted other breaches of the laws of war. International and humanitarian organizations, including the Council of Europe and Amnesty International, have criticized both sides of the conflict for “blatant and sustained” violations of international humanitarian law.”

            • Stuart Munro

              Have you spoken to people who were on the ground Brigid?
              I could explain it to you but I don’t think you would hear it from me.
              You might try https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chechnya-Small-Victorious-Thomas-Waal/dp/0330350757 though it will not support your uncritical admiration of the Putin administration.

              • Colonial Viper

                Several hundred thousand Chechens were displaced during the first and second Chechen wars, but the death toll of civilians was limited to tens of thousands at most. (Although some claimed up to 160,000 deaths including soldiers killed).

                Many of whom were ethnic Russians killed by rebels and Islamists.

                • Macro

                  You have a link to support that contention?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Which contention?

                    • Macro

                      I thought it was pretty obvious what you asserted above, but since you ask:

                      the death toll of civilians was limited to tens of thousands at most

                      Even if it was only tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands the killing of civilians is an atrocity which should never be condoned – and that goes for the atrocities carried out by the bombing of London. and “Bomber” Harris’s response in WW2, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Darwin, to name just a few, without even getting onto the atrocities carried out in the recent past and today.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Even if it was only tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands

                      I did also refer to a higher estimate in my comment. Some other sources on the web claim that 200,000 or 300,000 or more people were killed in Chechna but I would say those are very high and unlikely estimates given that civiliians were allowed to flee Grozny where most of the hardest fighting happened.

                      And the population of Chechna was less than 1M to begin with.

                      the killing of civilians is an atrocity which should never be condoned

                      Where did I do that?

                      When countries go to war then civilians get killed. That is an unhappy fact of history.

                      What about the culpability of the Americans who happily fuel, fund and arm these “colour revolutions” to try and take down unfriendly regimes?

                    • McFlock

                      Very Leninist – the killing of civilians by the yanks is a tragedy, the killing of civilians by the Russians is an unhappy fact of war.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Compare pre and postwar population of Grozny. Some made it to Ingushetia, but most were killed. Usually by bombing – the Russians did not proper at close quarters.

                  In daytime the Russians would kill the Chechens, and at night the Chechens would hunt their sentries and pickets.

                  “Many of whom were ethnic Russians killed by rebels and Islamist”

                  Nope – there were very few ethnic Russians there, they lived further north.

              • Brigid

                ” uncritical admiration of the Putin administration.”
                Don’t be silly.
                I know as little as you do of the Putin administration, therefore I neither admire nor not, said administration.

                You’re applying poor logic

                As there’s no such thing as poor logic I’ll just say, you’re simply making illogical statements

                • Stuart Munro

                  You know considerably less Brigid, but you seem to think that entitles you to oppose everything I say, and even to demand my support for Russian adventurism wherever it occurs, from the Ukraine to Syria. Had you any factual basis for disagreement I would give you more consideration, but I have yet to see any.

                  Is this really the best you have to offer?

  36. Sparky 37

    More anti Russian BS from the deep state. The reality is they are trying to shut Russia out of any trade deals now they have their economic blockade the TPP in place.

  37. Drowsy M. Kram 38

    Interesting BBC panel discussion, re-broadcast on RNZ today after the 4 pm news. Plenty of expert opinion and a wide diversity of views.

    Q. What will Russia look like, six years from now, at the end of the fourth Putin term?
    A. [Yevgenia Albats] I wish I knew, but I don’t.


    The Real Story: What Does Putin Want?
    Major Western powers are united in their conclusion. Russia, they say, carried out the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. The attack happened in the English city of Salisbury, where former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. This Sunday, the Russian people are expected to elect Mr Putin for a fourth consecutive term. So as Russia and the West begin a new diplomatic showdown, the BBC’s Carrie Gracie chairs a panel in London to ask what does President Putin want to achieve: for himself, for Russia, and abroad? (BBC)

    • mikesh 38.1

      The rest of the world don’t share the opinion of those so called “major Western powers”.

  38. Jenny 40

    The media seems to have lost all sense of perspective. Every bulletin, every news feed, every other news story has been pushed aside. Large segments of prime time viewing have been allocated to invited panels of special guests all earnestly weighing in with speculative commentary.

    As horrible as this crime was, there were over 900 other attempted murders last year in the UK to date.

    So why this attempted murder?

    Last Tuesday a United Nations investigation concluded that a Russian plane was behind an airstrike in November on a Syrian market that killed 84 people.

    Why not this crime?

    Why hardly a murmur in the news feeds? Why no expulsion of diplomats? Why no invited panels of guest commentators from all sides, not called to weigh in with their differing views?

    Are the deaths Syrians at the hand of the Russians not important, barely worthy of a mention?

    Why are world leaders, including our own Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, not being brow beaten into take a stand on these murders?

    Just as 9/11 was a pretext for invading Iraq.

    Just as the shooting of the Grand Duke of Austro-Hungary was a pretext for launching the First World War.

    The causes for this current dispute lie elsewhere, other than the tragic attempt on the life of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

    “History doesn’t repeat. But if it did what first came round as tragedy, repeats as farce.”

    Karl Marx

  39. remo 41

    The essential question is, could this be false flag provocation? COULD it.
    Oh yes. Oh very yes indeed.
    The elements in balance of that question, leading the review of the presented official narrative – the OCT – are many .

    We had the malevolent Bill Browder on RadNZ first up. A rabid antiPutinist long known seeking revenge and connected to neocon billionaire networks hurt most by him in the years of ‘national retrieval’ following Yeltsin. The event happened at the worst possible time for the Russian Federation on many levels. Elections. The World Cup. It was a public act with alleged materiel that apparently -so far – failed. Not the sign of spook ‘wet work.’ (Litvinenko was NOT proven an FSB assassination, infact independent investigators found evidence of it being otherwise.) ’The materiel used in Salisbury has suspicious genealogy and provenance cannot be established. The first non-military Medical responder spent 30 minutes with Yulia to no ill-effect, so as nerve agent, this was very selective. There are plenty of informed debates on-line reporting fabrication and availabilities that have nothing to do with ‘Russia.’ Dancingwithbears John Helmer, Moonofalabama, TheSaker, 21stcenturywire, UKcolumn..
    There have been reports of an exercise the day before involving similar narratives. We are in a time of intense anti-Russian Propaganda by the great Wurlitzer. By the military intelligence IIO propaganda machine. By BigBrotherBBCNN and plugin networks around the world, radNZ proudly among them. Perfidious Albion and its close allies are masters of deception. Orwell was not kidding. We know the WhiteHelmets®.con are MI6 Britprop controlled by Mesurier. Paid for by the UK/US and zionist alliance, so deep psyops are underway. That all ‘gas attacks’ in Syria have been found part of the western backed terrorist ‘false flag’ MO.
    http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/will-washington-launch-a-false-flag-on-russias-election-day/ That the US.UK and zionist mercenary terrorist proxy war in Syria is being lost by them and that asymmetric measures to inflame the home populations into wider confrontation in the ME are required a-la 911 false flag. The attack took place not 10 miles from the oldest nerve agent laboratory in the world. Porton Down is to receive a 48 million pound ‘refit’ as result of this tumult..(thanks boys!) International conventions and legal due process are not being followed by the British and no proof of the materiel used have been supplied for peer review. No sign of the victims has yet been confirmed. Incredibly boorish and insulting language being used by whatever is left of British diplomacy at the highest levels with little regard for consequence. They know they don’t have to worry about any investigation finding their narrative wrong because they own the crime (scene) and they own the narrative.

    Goring said? “the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

    99 to 1 its a con.

  40. remo 42

    Further: Salisbury serves as distraction. To distract from LACK of reporting on the victory of SAA and Russia and Iran liberating E Ghouta from the ghouls of mercenary Jihad; terrorist entities actually backed by the UK. Backed by the USAMO, Israel, Saudi Arabia, NATO. Nothing will be said of it by our broadcasters. It remains in the parallel unspoken universe of truth where 47,000 + hostaged citizens have escaped these most despicable terrorist enclaves to their freedom under protection of SAA. This is the crime. That our news casters continue the western ‘moderate rebel’ narrative after all these years of available information to the contrary.. nothing more than mouth pieces of empire.

    “Syrian Army on Monday found a clandestine workshop run by terrorists for the manufacture of chemical munitions.

    ‘The Russian Defense Ministry loudly warns that U.S. paid provocateurs plan a “chemical incident” to then accuse the Syrian government. The U.S. has sortied ships, say the Russians, to ‘respond’ to such an incident with a swarm of cruise missiles on Syrian government targets. If that happens, Russia said, it will attack any detected missile launching platform.’

  41. Cinny 43

    Saturday nights Listening Post covered the narrative from both sides, how British and Russian media are spinning the story. Russia loves putting the boot into western nations, makes Russia look strong….. and as we suspected theresa may is desperately clinging on as PM.

    It’s the first story up, article is around 9 minutes, worth a watch/listen.

    Covering the Sergei Skripal story

    “For the past two weeks, the story of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a retired Russian double agent, and his daughter in the UK has led news bulletins in Britain and around the world.

    Much of the coverage has been low on facts, high on conjecture and speculation.

    British headline writers have had a field day. Moscow meanwhile has denied any involvement and has claimed the British press is churning out “hysterical propaganda” to whip up anti-Russian sentiment.

    The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro reports on the diplomatic standoff being played out across the airwaves.”

  42. Colonial Viper 44

    John Pilger on RT: Skripal case a carefully constructed drama, Porton Downs has a sinister record of using nerve agents on the British public, no evidence nor motive apparent, Russia has no interest in destroying its own reputation just before the World Cup

  43. mikesh 45

    ?An article on Global Research reports Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russian general staff, as saying that the US, in collusion with the rebels, is planning a chemical attack in Syria and blaming it on Assad. The attack would then serve as a pretext for an attack on Damascus. He says that 20 tons of chlorine gas has been supplied, to the rebels, disguised as cigarette packages. He goes on to say that if Russian personal are put at risk Russia will retaliate, even to the point of attacking US ships which might be firing missiles from offshore. It all sounds pretty ominous.

    A further suggestion is that the Salisbury incident, going by its timing, may well be a “false flag” aimed at hardening public opinion against Russia in advance of any confrontation that might eventuate. This latter is of course speculation, but it seems very plausible.

    I’m sorry, but I’m using Android and I have not yet figured out how to cut and paste in that system, but the article can be found in GlobalResearch.ca

    • Stuart Munro 45.1

      This Valery Gerasimov seems incredibly well informed of US plans – his unsupported assertion is about as valid as any other made up story.

      Chlorine? What is this, world war 1? If the US were planning a false flag attack then they would have to use the Sarin variant Assad used on Khan Sheikhoun.

      • mikesh 45.1.1

        If the gas attack is to be employed mainly as a pretext for an attack on Damascus then it doesn’t matter what gas is used,or how much, or how little, damage it is likely to do.

      • mikesh 45.1.2

        Perhaps Assad might have used sarin at Khan Sheikhoun had he been the guilty party. However we are pretty sure he was not.

        Apart from that, there seems to have been speculation that the gas used at Khan Sheikhoun was chlorine gas.

    • McFlock 45.2

      A Russian general says the West is giving tonnes of chemical weapons to rebels in order to gas themselves as pretext for the West (read “US”) to bomb Damascus, but only the bit about the Skripal poisoning is “speculation”?

      Seems legit, lol

      • mikesh 45.2.1

        Of course it may not be “legit” but is there any reason to suppose that it is not “legit”. You haven’t actually provided a reason, particularly as Gerasimov doesn’t say the Americans intend to gas themselves.

        • McFlock

          1: chlorine. Unverifiable, with legitimate uses in a war zone e.g. water. Convenient for the story with visions of WW1, not all that effective in most conditions.
          2: cigarette packets? Twenty tonnes of cigarettes would be more use, and more dangerous in the greater scheme of things.
          3: It’s no use unless it’s used, and if it’s used the West doesn’t care if chemicals are used on Syrians.
          4: why do they even need another pretext?
          5: delivery system for twenty tonnes?
          6: Russia has an “everyone does it” motive to lie
          7: Maybe it’s a precursor to a Syrian chemical attack the Russians have okayed, and they can say “told you so” and blame the yanks.

          • mikesh

            Yeah well, maybe this, maybe that, maybe something else; but on the other hand maybe Gerasimov is speaking the simple truth. Do we have any reason to assume he is not. After all he says he has reliable information.

            Maybe you are doing a certain amount of straw clutching.

            • McFlock

              I thought I’d listed half a dozen reasons why what he was speaking sure wasn’t simple and probably wasn’t the truth.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Do we have any reason to assume he is not.

              Yes, we do. Lots actually, but perhaps the most charitable one is that “warfare is practised by deception”.

              • mikesh

                Nice epigram. But of course it is hardly a reason in this instance.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes, it is. Not to mention that the sanctions against him provide him with personal reasons to lie as well as strategic ones.

                  Luckily the head of his crime family is more forthcoming.

                  Those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves.”

                  Vladimir Putin.

      • Bill 45.2.2

        You think Jihadists are poisoning themselves?

        Maybe it escaped your attention that all of the Jihadists are Sunni who have a deep hatred of non-Sunnis. That, and the general spread of population in Syria presumably or broadly reflects its secularism (ie – populations not overly segregated according to religious leanings). So…plenty of victims to choose from and lots of propaganda gains to be made by pointing the finger at….

        ….the head of a secular state ordering the country’s armed forces to launch poison attacks on the country’s own citizenry knowing that the citizenry includes relatives of the armed forces.

        Because, yup – that makes sense. And if it doesn’t, well who cares? Assad must go and he’s mad, so sane reasoning can’t be relied on to explain the inexplicable actions of a mad man directing the armed forces to kill their own families…or those armed forces carrying out the orders.

        And lets not forget the war crime of accepting the conditional surrender of terrorist factions occupying areas of cities and guaranteeing them safe passage in order to cut down on civilian casualties.

        • McFlock

          Ok, faction A gassing faction B and blaming it on Assad is an option. Provided Faction A can deliver it to faction B territory that neither Faction B nor assad expect Faction A to operate, but Assad can plausibly operate.

          But why would the west bother helping out? It’s not like they need an excuse to drop more bombs.

          I’m not sure anyone’s said Assad is mad. Just a totalitarian who doesn’t shy away from murdering his own citizens when they don’t want to be his own citizens. And if anyone’s planning anything, how do you know the armed forces doing it will be related to the target citizens?

          • Bill

            Not “Faction A” gassing “Faction B” – Jihadists gassing civilians.

            They (Jihadists) only have to traverse stuff around government held areas. Increasingly difficult I guess, but formerly pretty straightforward.

            A few reasons the west would help out Jihadists. The principle one being that western governments want Assad gone. They have already fronted up to supplying Jihadists with various forms of support.

            On the gas front, that doesn’t mean they have to supply the gas. Supplying wall to wall propaganda (as they have done) serves to soften up domestic populations and increases the chance they’ll be able to push military options through parliaments. (The UK already tried, but failed)

            If Syrians in general were so anti-government, then why is it that refugees seek sanctuary in government held areas and by every single video/interview I’ve seen/heard (lots of) people appear to be genuinely relieved when the Syrian Arab Army liberates terrorist held areas.

            Relatives? Well, just like the armed forces here running around the country would (I’d suggest) inevitably run across a town, a city suburb or part of the country where family or extended family of soldiers lived.

            At which point, (I’d suggest) meticulous ground advances while seeking to open “safe corridors” and even offering safe passage to terrorists would be a wise course of action. Y’know, so more “Aleppo” than “Mosul” say.

            • McFlock

              According to mikesh, the Russian said that the gas had already been supplied. If you’re going to doubt that bit, why not the rest?

              As for relatives, Assad could use the Hezbollah support from Lebanon instead of Syrian regulars.

              Oh, that’s right. Assad never did anything untoward in Aleppo. ‘Twas the model of how to protect civilians in wartime.

              If Syrians in general supported the Assad government, why is there a civil war?

              • Bill

                It’s a package deal? Like, if I eat “this” liquorice allsort, it must mean I like all liquorice allsorts and want to eat them all?

                I don’t see why it is that gas would have had to have been supplied. And if it was, I don’t see why it couldn’t have come through Turkey from any number of places.

                The Syrian government could have used Hezbollah instead of it’s own army, but hasn’t.

                Aleppo offered up some examples of how to lessen civilian casualties, yes. (Corridors and guaranteed safe passage for terrorist factions.) Same in Homs and elsewhere, including, it seems, eastern Ghouta.

                The historical cause of armed conflict in Syria has been the irreconcilable differences between Sunni extremism and the secularism of the state. Sans the Sunni extremists, which Syrian groupings are picking up arms against the government?

                Think “IRA”. (So Catholics, but by no means all Catholics). Then imagine there are some Catholic countries or communities from around the world supplying arms, finance and feet on ground. Not too much of a stretch to imagine, and not really quite a “civil war”, so much as a proxy war.

                In the case of Syria, we just have to throw in a handful of other agendas and unholy alliances formed for the sake of changing the government (at a fundamental level)

                • McFlock

                  Mike repeated some story a russian general said, and wanted to know why we shouldn’t just believe the general.

                  Now you’re saying that even if the general is wrong, we might as well believe the west is up to something nefarious anyway.

                  Fair enough. But by that measure, the Russians are up also to something nefarious, whether or not the specifics of any allegation true. Nefarious A said nefarious B was nefarious.

                  So I’m not sure what’s been added to the discussion by reports of a russian general’s reckons.

                  • Bill

                    I haven’t read the article Mike mentioned. But what I read from these comments was one of your comments introducing the idea that the suppliers were”the west”. I don’t know if that’s an accurate take of the General’s allegation or not.

                    “The west” has been deeply involved in some very bad shit in Syria – bad enough that I’d say “our” leaders should be on trial for supporting the very terrorists and terrorism they’ve cited as a threat and used to erode our civil rights.

                    That “the west” is up to its neck in it, is true regardless of any chemical/gas procurement allegations being made by some Russian General at this moment in time.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, passive voice is a wonderful thing, innit. Folks can pretend they weren’t making any allegations whatsoever.

                      I think this might be the article Mikesh was referring to:

                      The normal reasoning I employ when considering total annihilation is placed to one side when US special forces deliver 20 tons of chlorine gas to Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria order to execute a false flag for the purposes of blaming Damascus and Moscow.

                      So that author sure as shit made the same connection.

                      But let’s all pretend that the US was just supposed to be helping the false flag operatives sort out truck timetables or other “planning”. That’s even more dumb than being intimately involved in the supply and delivery of the weapons – they’d just as tainted, but with less oportunity to actually make sure it’s as effective as they need it to be (they’d have to kill a lot of syrians to justify a change in policy, because dead syrians are no longer newsworthy).

                      Not that they even need an excuse to bomb Assad, anyway – they’d just do it, if they wanted to. So if it’s consistent with their current policy of slowly escalating involvement, they don’t need it. And if they want a dramatic escalation all at once, it’s insufficient because nobody cares about dead syrians.

                      But if Assad were planning a CW attack, the russians have prepared the ground for you to argue that they were right all along, it must be a false flag op.

                      This is all speculation about the fragrance of unicorn farts, anyway. One nefarious team said another nefarious team was up to something nefarious. Big whoop.

                  • Bill

                    Having just newly read the Global flimflam piece, a less arm wavy and “Oh My Gosh!” take on what Gerasimov asserted has been reported in Haaretz. (link below)

                    Russia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext, and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack.

                    Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, said Moscow had information that rebels in the enclave of eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.


                    • McFlock

                      The GR article links to an RT youtube report on it which has film of the announcement, which reinstates the arm wavy stuff.

    • mikesh 46.1

      Thanks, Francesca.

    • Stuart Munro 46.2

      Seems to be a series of lies made up to defend Russia from criticism with respect to this series of attacks from January: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Syria-and-Russia-US-Lies-About-Use-of-Chemical-Weapons-20180125-0015.html

      There’s no disputin’ the lies of Putin.

      • mikesh 46.2.1

        I think it was shown that the stuff used at Khan Sheikhoun was supplied by Saudi Arabia. A young woman associated with the rebels said that the gas was released as a result of a cock-up by the rebel forces

        “There’s no disputin’ the lies of Putin.”
        Cheap jibes simply don’t cut it. If what Gerasimov says is true and a confrontation is imminent then the situation is too serious.

        • Stuart Munro

          “I think it was shown that the stuff used at Khan Sheikhoun was supplied by Saudi Arabia.” citation required.

          I guess you didn’t read the link which referred to chlorine gas attacks by Assad in January. So suddenly Lavrov and Gerasimov come up with a line of post facto bullshit about a forthcoming US false flag attack. How convenient – if your only defense is playground level bullshit.

          “Cheap jibes simply don’t cut it.” Neither do barefaced lies – except with dupes like you.

          • mikesh

            Yes. I read the link about chlorine attacks in January. I noted the bit where Russia denied that Assad was involved. You obviously missed that bit, or, for no good reason, you chose to disbelieve it.

            Khan Sheikhoun was quite some time ago and I am relying on memory so cannot provide a link. However my memory is pretty reliable.

            • Stuart Munro

              Your memory is neither here nor there – your honesty is in question.

              “Russia denied that Assad was involved” Russia denies everything. They wouldn’t tell the truth on a bet.

            • mikesh

              I won’t accuse you of lying. I ‘m charitable enough to assume that your falsehoods are due merely to ignorance.

              • Stuart Munro

                Yes yes – spare us your charity, deadbeat, and substantiate your assertion – that, in spite of the OPCW findings, some ‘young woman associated with the rebels’ done it – or words to that effect.

          • mikesh

            I believe them, not because Putin and the rest of them are saints, but because Putin would have had the good sense to make sure that Assad, for strategic reasons, would not employ chemical weapons. To do so would have crossed Obama’s imaginary line, and perhaps brought America into the war.

            Particularly when Assad’s lot were winning the war anyway.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You believe Gerasimov?

              The guy with the “information”? Not satellite photos, not intercepted comms chatter, not evidence of any kind, just “information”.

              Standard commenter BM employs much the same strategy.

              • mikesh

                “You believe Gerasimov?”

                Yes, provisionally. I have no reason to suppose that he is lying. And if, like that idiot, Munro, you tell me he must be lying because the Russians always lie, I would have to reckon you as much an idiot as he is.

                And on top of that the Americans must be getting pretty desperate. The war is not going well for their ISIS buddies.

                • Macro

                  The war is not going well for their ISIS buddies.

                  Yeah! That’s why they bomb the shit out of them

                  ps – if you are going to run a conspiracy – it needs to at least be consistent with some facts.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Once again you’re too stupid to follow a simple chain of reasoning.

                  Your buddy Gerasimov alleges a US false flag conspiracy involving chlorine. It transpires that his client Assad conducted a chlorine attack just before that. Just as he did in in Talmenes on April 21, 2014 and Sarmin on March 16, 2015. Among the shambling morons that you associate with, evidence of Assad’s attack is now sublimated by the mysterious forces of fake news and fuckwittery into evidence of a US conspiracy, which is otherwise absent.

                  I am still waiting for you to put up your evidence – you have made a claim and failed to substantiate it. Tell us more about this mysterious women who you allege with one jump gets Putin off the chemical weapons hook.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Good thing I didn’t tell you that then, isn’t it.

                  Pretty sure Stuart didn’t tell you that either. Dissembling doesn’t make your story look more credible.

                  There are innumerable reasons to be skeptical of anything a general says, especially when they have troops in the field. Exhibit a: Lt. General Tim Keating.

                  Still, since you’re inclined to believe the things generals say…

                  Diplomatically and militarily, Moscow plays both arsonist and firefighter: fueling tensions among all parties in Syria, the Syrian regime, Iran, Turkey, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the United States and other coalition partners, then serving as arbiter to resolve the disputes, attempting to undermine and weaken each party’s bargaining positions…

                  Gen. Joseph Votel.

                  I have no idea whether Votel is telling the truth or not, but I note that there are serious consequences for lying to the House Armed Services Committee. What penalty would Gerasimov face if his story turns out to be false? Nada.

                  • mikesh

                    Stuart’s arguments are underpinned by the proposition that the Russians, being a pretty evil lot, always lie. This is obviously silly because, whatever one thinks about their moral characteristics, one can be sure that the Russians will be speak the truth at least some of the time, presumably when it suits them to do so.

                    Nevertheless, whatever their moral status, they are no fools, so if Gerasimov says they have reliable information we can be fairly sure that what he says is true. Unless of course he is lying about the whole thing.

                    Is there any reason to think he may be lying in this particular instance? In other words is there any reason to suppose they have anything to gain by lying about something like this. Not as far as I can see. In fact what he says rings true. It is fairly certain that America’s main aim in Syria is to topple Assad, and, as time passes, success in this objective looks more and more unlikely so an attack on Damascus would seem to be a likely gamechanger. However they can’t very well attack Damascus when their ostensive reason for being in Syria is to fight ISIS, so some pretext is needed.

                    Of course one should be skeptical of what people tell one, particularly those in Authority. However that does not mean one should automatically disbelieve things when one can find no reason to disbelieve them but can’t be 100% certain.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      In fact my arguments are underpinned by the proposition that since axiomatically “truth is the first casualty of war” some evidence or rationale is required to make an assertion plausible.

                      If Gerasimov produced some reliable information I would believe him, but his naked assertion is meaningless. Trying to sell a naked assertion tends to indicate a want of actual evidence and an intention to deceive. But that’s enough for you – allowing Gerasimov to smear the US without a shred of evidence. The US is guilty of many things, but not all things.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Stuart’s arguments are underpinned by the proposition that the Russians, being a pretty evil lot, always lie.

                      I can read, you know. Stuart doesn’t say anything like that. He’s making a lot more sense than you are too, especially when you misrepresent what he’s saying. Did you do it deliberately?

                    • mikesh

                      Excuse me, OAB, but Start has said constantly that the Russians are a wicked lot who cannot he trusted in what they say. And this is what underpins all his (other) arguments.

                      See but that is not the only example.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Then you will have no trouble quoting him directly to prove your point. Take your time.

                    • mikesh

                      Sorry. Got the number wrong. Should have been

                      “Russia denied that Assad was involved” Russia denies everything. They wouldn’t tell the truth on a bet.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yes Mikesh.

                      They didn’t provide any counter evidence – they have discovered that their faked evidence is readily debunked – as it was in the case of MH17.

                      So they just denied Assad’s involvement – which suffices for the uncritical and the hard-of-thinking, people like you, the schmucks.

                      Without evidence – for they had none.

                    • mikesh

                      No. I didn’t provide any evidence. It is difficult to prove that you didn’t do something, and I imagine that applies to the Russians, so a simple denial was, I assume, all that they could, or could be expected to, come up with. It was really up to Tillerson to provide evidence of Russian guilt. However this was sadly lacking in the quoted article, and nor was it detailed in Stuart’s comment.

                    • mikesh

                      Here is another article from Global Research for you to rubbish. It suggests, among other things, that the source of the information claimed by Gerasimov came from documents seized by Russian security. All nonsense of course; because, as Stuart reminds us, Russians never tell the truth.


                      PS: I apologise for the sarcsasm.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Given that “global research” is clearly a Russian mouthpiece of course its utterances ought to be treated with ordinary prudence.

                      It would not do to become a pathetic dupe like Mikesh – who swallows and repeats slanders without evidence – which makes him not much better than a gossip in fact.

                      The Russians are a party to the conflict in Syria and have good self-interested reasons to pretend that all the misdeeds in that area stem from US action and that they are beyond reproach.

                      Your link claims “The Syrian and Russian armies have already seized two chemical laboratories on 12 and 13 March.” In the ordinary course of events this evidence would be presented to the OPCW, who would assess it and report to the security council, who might impose sanctions against the UK if there were any substance to Russia’s blackguardry.

                      By ‘coincidence’ however Russia vetoed the ongoing presence of the OPCW in Syria – so that this evidence will never be subjected to international scrutiny – and thus Russia will continue its campaign of disinformation, alleging that the UK is an active user of chemical weapons, the better to avoid responsibility for the Salisbury attack.

                      This is standard cold war behavior for Russia – and it wouldn’t surprise me if vehicles for Russian propaganda like global research must ultimately be shut down because of it.

            • Stuart Munro

              Putin is not scrupulous in matters relating to controlling Assad’s use or access to chemical weapons – hence the frequency with which they are used in Syria.

              Doesn’t really matter – they’re only черножо́пый after all – a little racism and Putin is off the hook completely.

              • mikesh

                Oh, pull my other leg. Even if what you say is true, it is not something you could possibly know to be true.

                You are spouting bullshit. Clutching at straws.

                • Stuart Munro

                  This from a deleted expletive who not only believes the random maunderings of Russian generals but thinks he knows more about chemical weapons than the OPCW – but conveniently forgets where he heard it.

                  You’ve made a claim (a nonsense claim I imagine) that some female associate of someone the Russian’s claim is part of the Syrian opposition stated something about chemical attacks.

                  Put up or shut up. Your unsupported opinion isn’t worth a hill of beans

                  “You are spouting bullshit. Clutching at straws.” In fact I spent getting on for ten years working closely with Russians, and I can tell you that the long decades they did without a liberal media have done little to erode the racism they came out of the 19th century with.

                  But the racism I’m referring to is yours. Doesn’t it concern you that Putin is supplying Sarin and Chlorine to Assad? Who is using it on his citizens. If not, why not?

                  • mikesh

                    It’s impossible to argue with a raving lunatic. I’m signing off. Bye bye.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Didn’t have a source for your lie about Khan Sheikhoun then. Bye.

                    • Bill

                      Khan Sheikhoun was projectile delivered from the air, right? (At least that’s what we’re told.) But air to ground projectiles explode outwards.

                      Go look at almost any photo of the Khan Sheikhoun rocket crater and you’ll see that the projectile was imploded.

                      In other words, it wasn’t an air to ground projectile. It was on the ground. And it was ruptured by an explosive being placed around or on it.

                    • Stuart Munro


                      Haven’t seen the details. But the OPCW probably wouldn’t have missed something as obvious as that – they found eight instances of Assad using gas, several instances of militia forces using mustard gas, and six instances where blame was not attributable.

                      It was Russia of course which vetoed their continued operation in the area.

                      This probably gives more detail:


                      an excerpt:

                      October 26, 2017: The seventh report of the OPCW-UN joint investigative mechanism found the Assad regime guilty of using sarin nerve agent in the April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhoun and the Islamic State responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh in September 2016.

                    • Bill

                      @ Stuart.

                      Just google search the images of the crater containing the canister that held the gas and you can see for yourself.

                      There was very expert opinion at the time pointing all this out, but did it get oxygen? Of course not (though google will turn stuff up) Hint. Look for the articles that are character assassination pieces and you’ll probably be on the right track.

                      I don’t understand people thinking there are objective institutional sources in this day and age. Have we not had enough decades of bullshit propaganda that would allow us all to dispense of such pollyannish notions?

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      @ Bill,

                      it depends on the fuse settings of any warhead weather it’s air to ground or surface to surface, but in saying that most CBRN weapons systems are delivered as a air bust as it spreads the argent etc of a large area instead of a ground bust.

                      From what I can remember (I may still have this on laptop as I sent some stuff to someone here at The Standard) this chemical attack was conducted during a bombing raid of barrel bombs which force everyone inside to shelter and the chemical weapon system had delay action fuse to off after the raid catching everyone in the open as it went off thence the small impact carter which you would get from CBR weapon warhead. Note I haven’t allowed for any environmental conditions as that can impact on the lethally of the chemical argent at the time.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      @ Bill

                      It should not be imagined that the OPCW had no access to satellite photos – they also had people on the ground collecting samples and interviewing people.


                      “I don’t understand people thinking there are objective institutional sources in this day and age.”

                      You will get a lot closer to objectivity by trying to achieve it, on average, than by being the passive receiver of either self-styled great powers’ preferred interpretation of events.

                      Note that Russia’s refusal to locate and time it’s alleged chemical weapon storehouse prevents satellite verification or rebuttal of their claim.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 47.1

      Helping Ed get around his ban probably isn’t a very smart move, especially since you just posted a link with no argument or original material.

      • Bill 47.1.1

        Don’t stir shit.

        edit – laughing at that comment from simonm that’s sitting a couple down from francesa’s linked comment.

        I checked.

        He had been banned for one month, and not for any of the reasons he spouted in his comment over yonder.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I like this comment the best:

          It’s been proven that Lprint, Bill, Weka and the standards entire economic thesis is nothing but a total scam.

          I have information that you and Lprent and Weka have an economic system, and I think it’s time you explained it to the rest of us 😉

          • Bill

            On the basis, verified by our very own independent and professional experts, that one plus one equals three and a bit over an average one month human life span, we can ascertain that bananas always bend to the left and that for ten easy payments of only $99.90, you too can discover the amazing economic secrets the world doesn’t want you to know about.

            • Pat

              do you take bitcoin?

            • Macro

              I’m not so sure about this – I just went to the fruit bowl for a banana – and there wasn’t one left! And they were fair-trade organic! Felt a right nana. Had they been Green I’m sure they would have been left – but you can tell by their yellow jackets which way they will Act.

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