Will We Ever Learn the Truth about the Skripals?

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Skripal: One Year Later Some Things are Clearer’, March 9, 2019, James O’Neill, journal-neo.org

O’Neill first narrates the history of events  of the 12 months after the Skripal’s had become ill in a public space in the center of Salisbury, with Theresa May blaming Russia with no supporting evidence, and Boris Johnson’s having claimed that ‘the substance responsible for the Skripal’s illness had been identified as “A234”, ergo: Russians.  He notes that the UK has not deviated from that assertion, despite a wealth of contradictory evidence and absurd numbers of competing narratives.

He links to the Russian Embassy in the UK’s ‘Salisbury: Unanswered Questions’:[https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6762] and Rob Slane’s (the blogmire) March 3 analysis and ‘An open letter to the metropolitan police’ as well.

As the site notes that ‘Republishing of the articles is welcomed with reference to NEO; The views of the authors do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the editorial board”, I’ll paste in the rest.  O’Neill writes:

“The relevant international law in the Skripal case is first and foremost the obligations of State parties under the 1963 Convention on Consular Relations. Article 36 of that Convention (to which both Russia and the United Kingdom are parties) provides that consular officials “shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State.”

A later Convention, the USSR-UK Consular Convention of 1965 provides for similar rights, and Article 30 of that Convention defines a “national” as any person the “sending State recognises as its national”. That includes Ms Skripal, a Russian national, and Mr Skripal who has joint British and Russian nationality.

The British have refused consular access to the Skripals. This blatant breach of international law is apparently not worthy of mention in the western mainstream media.

A similar rebuff was given to Russian officials who sought information about the attack upon the Skripals under the terms of the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Russia’s repeated requests under this Convention were denied, with the UK Home Office advising the Russian authorities that the decision to not cooperate “was taken at the highest political level.”

As the victims are Russian nationals, and the alleged perpetrators are also Russian nationals, the British refusal sends an explicit message that they are not interested in solving the crime.

As Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov commented, “the gist of the British rhetoric is that they are not obliged to prove anything to anyone.” A perusal of the British government statements in the past 12 months abundantly confirms the accuracy of Mr Lavrov’s statement.

The kidnapping of the Skripals (and no other word is appropriate) violates both the law and the human rights of the two individuals on multiple levels. The overwhelming inference to be drawn from the known facts (not the nonsensical UK official version parroted by the mainstream media) is that the Skripals were the victims of a geopolitical power play. This strategy, again according to the Integrity Initiative script, was aimed at discrediting the Russian state in general and its president in particular.

The other victims in this sorry saga are the general public. The mainstream media has failed miserably, yet again, to perform its task of investigation, skeptical questioning of absurdities and irregularities, and keeping the public properly informed. Such dereliction of duty carries a longer-term price.”

(James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”)


Next, but only because it’s far longer, thus far harder to borrow from, although I was glad to finally find that Craig says ‘The blog will continue to be free to read, and free for anybody to copy and use/republish the articles without payment’, bless his heart.

‘Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative’, March 7, 2109, Craig Murray, craigmurray.org

“I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Boshirov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible. Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no “good guys”, as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:”

(I’ll simply borrow teasers from each of the Ten on his list)

1) PURE

“This was the point that led me to return to the subject of the Skripals, even though it has brought me more abuse than I had received in my 15 year career as a whistleblower.

It is in this mood that I received more information from my original FCO source, who had told me, correctly, that Porton Down could not and would not attest that the “novichok” sample was made in Russia, and explained that the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was an agreed Whitehall line to cover this up.

She wanted to explain to me that the British government was pulling a similar trick over the use of the word “pure”. The OPCW report had concluded that the sample provided to them by the British government was “of high purity” with an “almost complete absence of impurities”. This had been spun by the British government as evidence that the novichok was “military grade” and could only be produced by a state.”

“There is a final problem with the “of high purity” angle. First we had the Theresa May story that the “novichok” was extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces. Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts.

What we did not know then, but we do know now, is that Kaszeta was secretly being paid to produce this propaganda by the British government via the Integrity Initiative”.  https://bit.ly/2XPZh7H

2) Raising the Roof


“Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house in between did not. As the MSM never questions the official narrative, there has never been an official answer as to how the gel got from the doorknob to the roof. Remember that traces of the “novichok” were allegedly found in a hotel room in Poplar, which is still in use as a hotel room and did not have to be destroyed, and an entire bottle of it was allegedly found in Charlie Rowley’s house, which has not had to be destroyed. Novichok was found in Zizzi’s restaurant, which did not have to be destroyed.

So we are talking about novichok in threatening quantities – more than the traces allegedly found in the hotel in Poplar – being in the Skripals’ roof. How could this happen?”

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army, who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!” [snip]

“I want to emphasise again that Col. Alison McCourt is not the chief nurse of a particular unit or hospital, she is the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army. Her presence was kept entirely quiet by the media for ten months, when all sorts of stories were run in the MSM about who the first responders were – various doctors and police officers being mentioned.

If you believe that it is coincidence that the Chief Nurse of the British Army was the first person to discover the Skripals ill, you are a credulous fool. And why was it kept quiet?”

4) Remarkable Metabolisms

“The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.”

5) 11 Days

After the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the Police cordoned off Charlie Rowley’s home and began a search for “Novichok”, in an attitude of extreme urgency because it was believed this poison was out amidst the public. They were specifically searching for a small phial of liquid. Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter – and only after they had discovered the clue of the perfume bottle package in the bin the day before, after ten days of search.”

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

“The BBC’s “Diplomatic Editor” is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC’s original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals’ back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world’s biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year.”

[Murray then adds the contents of a letter he’s sent to Mark Urban repeatedly with nine questions to which he’s received no answer.]

7 Four Months

The official narrative insists that Boshirov and Petrov brought “novichok” into the country; that minute quantities could kill; that they disposed of the novichok that did kill Dawn Sturgess. It must therefore have been of the highest priority to inform the public of the movements of the suspects and the possible locations where deadly traces of “novichok” must be lurking.

Yet there was at least a four month gap between the police searching the Poplar hotel where Boshirov and Petrov were staying, allegedly discovering traces of novichok in the hotel room, and the police informing the hotel management, let alone the public, of the discovery. That is four months in which a cleaner might have fatally stumbled across more novichok in the hotel. Four months in which another guest in the same hotel might have had something lurking in their bag which they had picked up. Four months in which there might have been a container of novichok sitting in a hedge near the hotel. Yet for four months the police did not think any of this was urgent enough to tell anybody.

The astonishing thing is that it was a full three months after the death of Dawn Sturgess before the hotel were informed, the public were informed, or the pictures of “Boshirov” and “Petrov” in Salisbury released. There could be no clearer indication that the authorities did not actually believe that any threat from residual novichok was connected to the movements of Boshirov and Petrov.”

8 The Bungling Spies

“There are elements of the accepted narrative of Boshirov and Petrov’s movements that do not make sense. As the excellent local Salisbury blog the Blogmire points out, the CCTV footage shows Boshirov and Petrov, after they had allegedly coated the door handle with novichok, returning towards the railway station but walking straight past it, into the centre of Salisbury (and missing their first getaway train in the process). They then wander around Salisbury apparently aimlessly, famously window shopping which is caught on CCTV, and according to the official narrative disposing of the used but inexplicably still cellophane-sealed perfume/novichok in a charity donation bin, having walked past numerous potential disposal sites en route including the railway embankment and the bins at the Shell garage.

But the really interesting thing, highlighted by the blogmire, is that the closest CCTV ever caught them to the Skripals’ house is fully 500 metres, at the Shell garage, walking along the opposite side of the road from the turning to the Skripals. There is a second CCTV camera at the garage which would have caught them crossing the road and turning down towards the Skripals’ house, but no such video or still image – potentially the most important of all the CCTV footage – has ever been released.”

9 The Skripals’ Movements

“Until the narrative changed to Boshirov and Petrov arriving in Salisbury just before lunchtime and painting the doorknob, the official story had been that the Skripals left home around 9am and had not returned. They had both switched off their mobile phones, an interesting and still unexplained point. As you would expect in a city as covered in CCTV as Salisbury, their early morning journey was easily traced and the position of their car at various times was given by the police.

Yet no evidence of their return journey has ever been offered.  Why has so little detail of the Skripals’ movements that day been released? What do all the withheld CCTV images of the Skripals in Salisbury show?

10 The Sealed Bottle

“Only in the last couple of days have the police finally admitted there is a real problem with the fact that Charlie Rowley insists that the perfume bottle was fully sealed, and the cellophane difficult to remove, when he discovered it.”
https://bit.ly/2GBrvyw

Why the charity collection bin had not been emptied for three months has never been explained either. Rowley’s recollection is supported by the fact that the entire packaging was discovered by the police in his bin – why would Boshirov and Petrov have been carrying the cellophane around with them if they had opened the package? Why – and how – would they reseal it outdoors in Salisbury before dumping it?”

Bonus Point – The Integrity Initiative

The Integrity Initiative specifically paid Dan Kaszeta to publish articles on the Skripal case. In the weekly collections of social media postings the Integrity Initiative sent to the FCO to show its activity, over 80% were about the Skripals.

Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth. The Integrity Initiative, with secret FCO and MOD sourced subsidies to MSM figures to put out the government narrative, is very plainly a disinformation exercise. More bluntly, if the Integrity Initiative is promoting it, you know it is not true.

Most sinister of all is the Skripal Group convened by the Integrity Initiative.
https://bit.ly/2GBrvyw

“This group includes Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 handler, and senior representatives of Porton Down, the BBC, the CIA, the FCO and the MOD. Even if all the other ludicrously weak points in the government narrative did not exist, the Integrity Initiative activity in itself would lead me to understand the British government is concealing something important.”

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences.” [snip]

“I do not believe the British Government. I have given you the key points where the official narrative completely fails to stand up. These are by no means exhaustive, and I much look forward to reading your own views.”

[wd here]: Just spit-ballin’ here, but it might be time to ask Prince William to find the answers, eh wot?


Want more?

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Anja Geitz's picture

(Along with a lot of other things)

The British have refused consular access to the Skripals. This blatant breach of international law is apparently not worthy of mention in the western mainstream media.

I'm only have way through your essay will return later. Thanks for culling this important info together and posting it here.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

wendy davis's picture

@Anja Geitz

so good on you. but yeah, it's long, no prizes for finishing this time. ; )

but if the 'guilty parties' were say...swedes, not roosians, it would all have been different from the start. boris and theresa didn't require evidence, of course, and still don't a year later.

one narrative i still have a photo for is that 'hordes of police found novichock in a bog (toilet) in a public garden (kew?) and sealed it off to sniff it; guess that one was the most absurd of all to me.

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around: so the assasins covered the door handle with a one-drop-kills-you poison. And they used a perfume spray to apply it. Well, I've sprayed perfume on my wrist and immediately smelled it even before putting nose to wrist. The drops are in the air once you spray. Maybe I'm missing something.

But however it was applied wouldn't you need at least a hazmat helmet and gloves, if not the whole suit? So where's the video of these Russians trudging through the snow packing a case large enough to hold that stuff? Maybe they were kamikaze assasins.

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snoopydawg's picture

@jim p

if you were spraying it on anything let alone a doorknob and I'd think that people in the neighborhood would have noticed two men dressed like that.

This story stinks to high heaven and it always has. Theee most deadliest nerve agent ever that kills almost on contact not only failed to do so with the Skripals, but the two others that got exposed to it. Dawn the girlfriend sprayed it on her wrist(s) and I think that would have been a higher concentration than what one of the Skripals received when hir shut the door. How'd the other one get exposed? Shut the door and then take the hand as you walked to the car?

Then there's the two highly trained Russian agents who contaminated their hotel room and not only they didn't get dead nor the woman with them, but neither did the maids who cleaned their room after they left.

But this is when I always decide that I'm being played.

it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack.

Highly likely, we believe and our assumptions is not proof. It's a way to start the propaganda nonsense that they want people to just take as fact. Some people do because it fits in with what they are already thinking.

Lots work here, Wendy. Good job!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

but you seem to saying dawn really did die from...novichok, then? or whatever was in the bottle that resealed its own cellophane once used... or was that bottle #2?

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

Dawn may have died but I doubt it was from the novichok. After she sprayed herself she too was able to continue living for hours as did her boyfriend. He didn't get sick until after 5 hours and after going to a fair or carnival. This detail has slipped my mind.

The perfume bottle getting resealed is a mystery to me so I have no idea what happened with this.

Bottom line for me is I don't believe any of this fairy tale. Putin doing that just before the World Cup makes as much sense as Assad gassing his people right after Trump said he wanted to pull the troops out of Syria.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

i hadn't meant to be casting aspersions. ; ) but the british papers do claim she'd died of
'can't get enough of that ♫ novichock, novichok, novichock...♫, although i dinnae click in to any hits.

before bed last night mr. wd and i were verbally paging thru some of phantasmagoric tales and decided that the whole thing is beyond surreal. i was trying the other day to remember the author of this allegory, and it turned out to be in:

george galloway’s july 20, 2018 'Curiouser and Curiouser': Salisbury, the Skripals & the epic failure of the British Fairy Tale’, rt.com, he opens with:

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" – Alice in Wonderland. The problem for the British narrative in the Skripal case is that one would have to believe way more than six things.”

in one of craig's integrity initiative links i tried to reproduce manually in the OP, he'd offered this:

“The Skripal Case happened to occur shortly after a massive increase in the Integrity Initiative’s budget and activity, which itself was a small part of a British Government decision to ramp up a major information war against Russia.
I find that very interesting indeed.”

i may try to unwind some of kit klarenberg's work on the integrity initiative in comments. as i remember it, he'd included a very creepy and illuminating video (musta been short, cuz iirc, i'd watched it).

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wendy davis's picture

@jim p

doorknob of the skripal house migrating to the attic/roof was ridiculous enough, but the competing and changing narratives on the novichock spray perfume bottles one used to spray the knob on the crowly residence...is so lame it reaches satire.

and the time periods in the hotel, bin emptying...OMG. but for me, it also begs the Q as to what dawn sturgess did die from? but maybe that's been proven....somewhere, and i've forgotten, so someone please remind me....

but you can't blame me for wondering, by the by, if this photo of the skripals in the pub before they sauntered into the park...is a psyop as well (just kinda kidding).

it was in a daily mail rag piece about niece viktoria having been refused a passport into the UK after saying her relatives said they were sick from food poisoning.

it really is as though they're ghosts....

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@wendy davis She was a drug addict as was Rowley and the speculation is that she died of an opiate OD. This would mean that the British PTB wanted to re-stoke the anti-Russian fires, if true. Note that Rowley has disappeared from public vision as far as I can tell.

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wendy davis's picture

@Roy Blakeley

i do remember hearing that she was an addict, so your supposition makes a lot of sense. how many of them have disappeared from public by now? was it craig murray who'd reported the rumor that either one or both of the skripals are actually living in the US?

thanks, roy.

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snoopydawg's picture

Destroying the whole house is a nice touch don't you think? Except for doing that they are just going to put a new roof on it. Hopefully they will think about replacing the front door too, but what if they don't?

Smile

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8 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

door knob, i heard. ; ) but maybe the rats in the house ate the novichock and took it to the attic, yes? but remind me of the pet inside. they'd sealed the house with the pets inside, yet they were still alive later but...dehydrated? gawds blood, where is the truth in any of it? w/ pablo miller?

on edit: when i saw the essay at RT about the new roof, i just hadda have that photo! (i'd used a few skripal naratives as bonuses on the 'final opcw doumas report'; i remember you laughed your ass off, lol. but yes on the craziness of the timing as well on both bits of agitprop.

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wendy davis's picture

but it's closing time for me. for some reason, easy copy worked even worse than usual, and i'd had to work way overtime to shake out some of the demons. sorry for all the flummoxed iterations, hope it's sorta right now, but i'll check in the morning, maybe start over.

tongiht's lullaby sorta fits, i think. the last song john trudell ever recorded, and when i warn you not to operate heavy machinery while you're listening, do take me at my word.
g' night.

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dystopian's picture

We don't know what happened, but we know the people telling us what did, are lying. And the media is a full partner, just like in everything else.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

wendy davis's picture

@dystopian

have it all under control, but thank goodness for anon at least publishing the Integrity Initiative files, although some seem to have been published in disappearing ink. dunno how that came to be, really.

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dystopian's picture

Here have some of this, you'll feel much better...

novichoclate_0.jpg

Look at the results!
novichok-before-after_1.jpg

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10 users have voted.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

wendy davis's picture

@dystopian

i needed some 'o those; will i look ten years younger with thicker hair, too? (is that really yulia, too?) we're plum outta novichock vodka, dang it.

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how JFK was assassinated. I doubt we will ever know the truth about this incident.

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wendy davis's picture

@on the cusp

the lone gunmen? you sayin' fox mulder's been lyin' to me?

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2 users have voted.

when I think the Deep State writers of propaganda and disinformation are laughing in hysterics at the stupidity of the general public. This is one of those times, and I'm sure the British intelligence services had a ball with this one. You have to admit it's one of the most Monty Python-esque of the various ripping yarns they've told. I have to salute the Brits for their wit and aplomb. Always fun.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Linda Wood

No matter what they do we just say okie dokie. I first started thinking that when TSA started and kept adding things that couldn't go on planes. After every false flag they added something else.

The shoe bomber? Take off your shoes. Good thing that they didn't make people take off their pants after the underwear bomber did his thing.

But more seriously look at how many people think that unions are bad and that the rich earn not paying taxes because they are the job creators and everything in between.

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7 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

laughter from bubbling up again and again:

'Good thing that they didn't make people take off their pants after the underwear bomber did his thing.'

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wendy davis's picture

@Linda Wood

yes to this. gotta say just now that i'm pinging the intercept having hired 'crowd-sourced online investigative journalists urinalists bellingcat to do a workshop for them.

ah, let's check in with them on twitter, see whassup...

yep, playing for the Oppo all the way....guaido as democracy!

oh, and by the way, weren't you considering writing up your reflections on actually having been on the steps of sproul hall w/ mario savio? as i remember it...you were less than enchanted w/ him in the end (or close to that).

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@wendy davis

And as a result of his and other leaders' efforts, a compromise was reached. But I felt there should not have been a compromise.

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wendy davis's picture

@Linda Wood

now iconic history (my stars), i honor your feeling, amiga. thanks for putting into words for me, and for all of us.

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wendy davis's picture

of kit klarenden's 'Integrity Initiative: The Sinister Chain of Events Leading Up to Salisbury', sputnik news, at the café a couple weeks ago:

'In several reports to date, I've documented how the Integrity Initiative - the shadowy UK government-funded military intelligence front - and its assorted operatives and media assets systematically shaped news reporting on, and Whitehall's response to, the apparent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on 4 March 2018.

Now, on the anniversary of that fateful and ever-mystifying day, I'll attempt to track some of the activities of the Initiative's parent, the Institute for Statecraft, and other key figures and organizations directly and indirectly connected to the body in the years immediately prior.

Troublingly, the information collected here inevitably represents but a negligible fragment of a much wider clandestine picture. The full extent of the British state's sinister and long-running secret machinations leading up to the Salisbury incident certainly isn't ascertainable at this time, and may well never be.'

yes, his report covers a lot of territory, individual and group players, from steele, mccain, victor madeira's Institute of Statecraft's warfare against russia & posits potential levers, IFS chief chris donnelly meeting w/ retired UK JFC chief gen. richard barrons, on and on...

but i'd added this from the bottom:

Kit’s exposé is about nine yards long, but after citing a lengthy and informative history from 2007 forward (steele dossier, buzzfeed series, other players, allies, and funding sources); his murders deemed suicides section is almost satire… he gets to the recent heart of the matter at about the half-way mark, although rest is almost mind-boggling:

“In 2007, covert recordings revealed three Georgian national security service officials plotted to kill ‘Georgia’s Richest Man’ at the behest of then-President Mikheil Saakashvili. In one recording they debate means of execution, and one operative suggests they use a poisonous substance which will “kill a person two hours after touching it”. “You smear [it] on the door handle,” they say — the precise method by which Sergei and Yulia were contaminated with novichok, according to UK authorities.

Whatever the meaning of that parallel, BuzzFeed’s series is highly significant, for it was fundamental to cementing the notion of frequent Kremlin-directed murders on British soil in the public consciousness in the year prior to Salisbury. Almost inevitably too, it was widely invoked following the Skripals’ poisoning as evidence, if not proof, of Russian state involvement.

Among those seeking to associate From Russia With Blood with the attack was none other than BuzzFeed’s Heidi Blake herself. Her various Twitter postings on the subject would be documented by Integrity Initiative in regular roundups of social media activity relating to Skripal — and an Initiative briefing document (likely circulated to journalists), Russian Lies and the Skripal Case, referenced the series, calling the “evidence” presented by her team’s investigation “compelling”. [long snip]

“Nonetheless, on 22 January [2018] General Nicholas Carter, UK Chief of General Staff, offered perhaps the most hawkish speech on Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union. Speaking at a Royal United Services Institute event, Carter described the country as the “most complex and capable state-based threat to our country since the end of the Cold War”, and warned hostilities could start “sooner than we expect”, particularly as he — ironically — claimed the Kremlin had “[convinced] ordinary Russians the West is a threat…We have been made to appear as the enemy”. [snip]

Not long after the [jan. 2018] speech, Operation Toxic Dagger was launched — a vast three week effort in which 40 Commando Royal Marines, Public Health England, the Atomic Weapons Establishment and Porton Down’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory collaborated to prepare Britain’s armed forces for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear operations by creating “realistic exercise scenarios based on the latest threat information”.

“The endeavour included “company-level attacks and scenarios concerning CBRN vignettes, concluding with a full-scale exercise involving government and industry scientists and more than 300 military personnel”, with a “chemical decontamination area set up not merely to treat ‘polluted’ commandos, but also wounded prisoners”.

It was convened on Salisbury Plain — several of the Royal Marines taking part would be seconded to Operation Morlop, a multi-agency ‘clean-up’ effort launched in Salisbury in the wake of the poisoning of the Skripals, less than a fortnight after Operation Toxic Dagger was completed.”

whoooosh; nice job, kit.

on edit: just to be clear, i'd grabbed that and a few other sites like the BlogMire from comments when craig murray had said 'more skipals coming', so i ='d parked them both here nd at the café.

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thanks.

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wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

thank for your reading and consideration of it's being so. ; )

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