Should we go to war because the newspapers and most commentators agree that it is “highly likely” Russia ordered the assassination of Mr. Skripal, a Russian expat and British citizen and his daughter Guilia, on UK soil?
Our Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, with his usual temperance of speech, suggests that it is “overwhelmingly likely” Putin personally ordered the attack. But while politicians are high on assumptions they are really low on evidence.
And the media are giving them a free ride.
Are we indeed going "over the top"?
Earlier in the week, the Guardian had a cartoon showing Putin as a blood drenched spider sitting on top of the world, with Theresa May flying up on a vacuum cleaner, to sweep him away (recalling both Nazi propaganda and a child’s nursery rhyme).
The last time this writer can remember such a frenzy of moral sureness, was when the UK were gearing up for an invasion of Iraq over the “overwhelming certainty” of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. At that time some of us doubted the narrative but our voices were easily drowned out by Tony Blair’s 45 minute threat and Intelligence Dossiers.
A little bit of history
Of course the newspapers quickly established that this theory had little to sustain it, and CNN, in a notable broadcast from the streets of Caracas, spoke of "fantasy so fantastical it is hard to believe a government would give it the least credence".
America, they said, had not and would never engage in a crime like this.
Do you remember this?
Well, not surprising, because it never happened. But the main elements are similar to the attempted assassination of two people in Salisbury, England, And here, we are accepting the official line without any serious questioning at all.
As we will see below, there are serious questions as to whether Novichok was ever made by the USSR.
There are perplexing questions regarding how such an unstable and dangerous compound could be transported and administered.
There are important questions regarding the assertion that only the Russian State could produce a nerve agent such as this.
There is little or no mention in the media of the decommissioning of the alleged source of this agent, in the 1990's by an American team.
Why is no-one in the main stream British media doing due diligence and asking the questions being posed by well informed journalists in the alternative media?
There are good reasons to doubt Mrs May’s conclusions, but no one chooses to air them.
So we goad a nuclear power, who may (or may not) be guilty. But we simply disregard the law (international and UK) in doing so.
This writer is not asserting that Russia is not responsible but is pointing out that the media are totally failing in their duty to inform. By so doing they become complicit in whatever may flow from this, especially if Russia are entirely innocent.
(And under law they are indeed innocent until proven guilty.)
Did you know, for example, that Russia had requested a sample of the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent, right at the beginning, but has had no response from the Foreign Office, even though this would be protocol for such events?
Did you know, for example, that the so called Novichok agent was described first by a whistleblower, Vil S. Mirzayanov? He wrote a book called State Secrets, that appears to give the formulae for the ‘Novichok’ agent. But experts, real experts, question if his book is simply a work of fiction.
Judith Miller, in a New York Times article in 1999, writes:
“Earlier this year, the Pentagon informed Congress that it intends to spend up to $6 million under its Cooperative Threat Reduction program to demilitarize the so-called Chemical Research Institute, in Nukus, Uzbekistan. Soviet defectors and American officials say the Nukus plant was the major research and testing site for a new class of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons called ''Novichok,'' which in Russian means ‘new guy’.”
In other words it was a US company that had the task of cleaning up the mess left by the USSR. If Novichok was made there, they would have had access, and samples, Her full article can be accessed, here.
She also pointed out that the Hague-based agency, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, doubted the Uzbek site and been used for chemical production.
Porton Down doubts Novichok Exists
Did you know that Craig Murray, the ex British Ambassador to Uzbekistan (2002-2004) has written on March 14th 2018, that:
“As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.”
You may wish to read that quote again.
Because as the drums of outrage boom, and we edge, perhaps, closer to a terminal crisis, we may be arguing about something that simply does not exist.
The full article by Craig Murray can be found here, with quotes in full from Dr. Robin Black’s publication.
Dr Robin Black, is the Head of the Detection Laboratory at Porton Down, or was two years ago, and he doubts the existence of Novichok. But Theresa May and Boris Johnson are sure.
How come no-one in the western main stream media is following this up with some level of incredulity?
Finally, anyone who has followed BBC dramas will understand the concept of ‘wet work’.
Is anyone who has read this far, so naive, that they do not know that states in the West seek to murder elected leaders of foreign powers? The failures with Fidel Castro, all 600+ of them, are explored here. More worrying, is Operation Gladio, the ‘stay behind armies of NATO', who were behind the Bologna bombings in 1980.
Daniele Ganser, in his book NATO’s Secret Armies (2004) describes how CIA funded military had arms caches all over Europe. The most clear example is Italy, but Ganser opines that the system operated (and perhaps still does) across Europe.
The secret Gladio army, as Andreotti revealed, was well armed. The equipment provided by the CIA was buried in 139 hiding spots across the country in forests, meadows and even under churches and cemeteries. According to the explanations of Andreotti the Gladio caches included 'portable arms, ammunition, explosives, hand grenades, knives and daggers, 60 mm mortars, several 57 mm recoilless rifles, sniper rifles, radio transmitters, binoculars and various tools'.
Andreotti's sensational testimony did not only lead to an outcry concerning the corruption of the government and the CIA among the press and the population, but also to a hunt for the secret arms caches. Padre Giuciano recalls the day when the press came to search for the hidden Gladio secrets in his church with ambiguous feelings: 'I was forewarned in the afternoon when two journalists from "Il Gazzettino" asked me if I knew anything about arms deposits here at the church. They started to dig right here and found two boxes right away. Then the text also said a thirty centimetres from the window. So they came over here and dug down. One box was kept aside by them because it contained a phosphorous bomb. They sent the Carabinieri outside whilst two experts opened this box, another had two machine guns in it. All the guns were new, in perfect shape. They had never been used.’
The greatest outrage was the Bologna bombing in 1980, that many still (falsely) believe was perpetrated by left wing terrorists, when the opposite was true, It was carried out by right wing functionaries of the State. Full background to Gladio can be found here in a BBC documentary, and here and here.
So what is the relevance of Operation Gladio to attacks on Russian citizens (past and present) on the streets of Salisbury? Few people in the West are familiar with Gladio and Gladio B, but this is no conspiracy theory. It is established as factual that quasi government bodies attacked their own citizens on European soil for certain geopolitical ends.
Did this happen in Salisbury, two weeks ago? The current writer does not know - but then neither does anyone (outside of Intelligence circles) know either. It is the evident fact that this is not even being considered in the UK media, that should be a profound worry.
Would fail as a scenario in McMafia?
The relevance of this is that if state operatives wish to murder they do. This includes NATO states. And this has demonstrably involved citizens of NATO countries as victims.
Probably all states have departments that do work like this, including Russia. Only, normally, we never know for sure. Good wet work teams have cut outs that make it hard to trace who gives the orders (it took many years to find the real perpetrators of the Bologna bombing).
We are being led to believe:
1. That Putin personally ordered a hit an a low level double agent who had received a full pardon from Russia
2. That the method used was so inept, it involved a nerve agent only “made in Russia”.
3. That the method used put innocent bystanders at risk (including a policeman).
4. That an attempt was made "by Putin or his cronies" to murder a Russian citizen who frequently is in Moscow (Guilia, the daughter of Skripal, lives there). Such an act would be against Russian law, and certainly repellent to most Russian citizens.
Well, maybe all this is true, and certainly it seems accepted as such by most, except maybe Jeremy Corbyn, who is counselling caution.
But if this scenario was suggested in a drama pitched to the BBC as part of McMafia, it would be thrown out as completely implausible for failing the simple test of Cui Bono.
Murray Morison is a novelist living in Crete
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