Criminal Justice 101: Means, Motive, and Opportunity

The "Iraq has WMDs" level of hysteria being whipped up about the Skripal poisonings by the Empire's propagandists is bad news. Ignoring it will not work; but "proving a negative" is the classical dilemma created by a false flag attack. Nevertheless, there must be constant pushback against constant propaganda.

I offer the following conversational gambit for dealing with the Kool Aid Drinkers you may encounter: means, motive, and opportunity.

In U.S. criminal law, means, motive, and opportunity is a common summation of the three aspects of a crime that must be established before guilt can possibly be determined in a criminal proceeding. Respectively, they refer to: the ability of the defendant to commit the crime (means), the reason the defendant committed the crime (motive), and whether the defendant had the chance to commit the crime (opportunity).

- Wikipedia


1. No sample of "nerve agent" has been produced. The fact that neither victim has died, nor have any passersby or responders died, despite this being the "most virulent" agent ever invented, calls into question the characterization of whatever caused the incident.

2. There is doubt among chemical weapons professionals as to whether Novichok really exists.

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.

In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)

Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry

3. Even if the agent were shown to be Novichok, that formula has been in the public domain since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was a US company that closed the facility in Uzbekistan that supposedly produced the toxin. A loudmouth, disgruntled former Soviet scientist published the formula and the synthesis in a book freely published in 2008.

"Only the Russians" developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. "They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy."

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

"Russia did it", says Mirzanyanov, "OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK"

Bottom Line: A college chemistry major has the knowledge to make this stuff. "Determining" that it is of Russian origin is like determining a hit-and-run driver is German because the car was a BMW.

4. The British biological warfare establishment, Porton Down, is less than 10 miles from Salisbury. They certainly have as much "means" as Russia.


1. Russia has negative motive to undertake this kind of high-profile activity. The end result of such activity is to call down more sanctions, more military brinksmanship, more diplomatic attacks on Russia. There is zero upside for Russia to do this.

2. There is plenty of motive for The Empire to do this. It forwards their drive to conditioning the public to accept war on Russia as necessary.

3. The victim, Skripal, is a confessed double agent. Given his crimes, he received a lenient sentence of 17 years in Russian prisons, and then he was released, eight years ago. If the Russians wanted to kill him, they could have done it when he was in jail. What on earth is the motivation for killing him now?

4. However, it is widely reported that Skripal worked with the infamous Christopher Steele, both at MI-6 and at a private intelligence firm. If Skripal provided information for Steele's bogus report, and he was wavering, then killing him would tidy up a loose end for Mr. Steele and the people who paid for his garbage to be produced.

5. The government of Theresa May is a trainwreck. She only stays in office because no one else in the paralyzed Conservative Party can put together a majority to get rid of her. Being able to pretend she is Margaret Thatcher the Second is a godsend for her desperately incompetent stewardship of the British nation.


1. If you want someone dead, there are literally thousands of ways to arrange for it to happen in a "deniable" manner. They can have a "heart attack". They can have a car accident. They can be mugged. They can fall down a flight of stairs. For a supposedly professional and deadly nation-state spy organization to attempt (and fail) to kill a man in this public manner is simply beyond belief.


Perhaps it is asking to much for people to digest 10 facts. Maybe we just need to keep it simple:

This is Iraq WMDs all over again. This is Syrian chemical warfare all over again. How many times are we going to let the bio/chemical warfare boogeyman LIE stampede us into attacking yet another victim?

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As always, you have stated the case so very well. But I'm going to get into a stance here that will make me uncomfortable and possibly cause you and CB and others to throw bricks, chairs, paper airplanes or whatever at me, and I am ducking.

I see it exactly as you do. But if I were on the other side of this belief chasm, I could see a motive on Putin's part, like showing his enemies that they cannot get away with treason, and that by using a nerve agent easily attributable to Russia, he could have wanted his enemies and the world to know it. With the immediately previous statement that he has brought us back to Mutually Assured Destruction, that Missile Defense was always porous and now is no defense, he could have wanted to make the statement that he is able to settle scores with his Russian spy enemies and also remain defended internationally. I can see that logic.

The logic that you present is much stronger for me, that our corrupt, treasonous war machine is trying everything in their killer toolbox to commit a nuclear war in order to save the nuclear weapons industry, but I am at the point of feeling that trying to convince the people on the other side of the belief chasm is almost pointless when it comes to comparing motives at this level.

What matters is the understanding of what nuclear war really means. I believe that if the people who believe Putin is a nerve agent assassin also understand that going to war with him means the end of baseball, the end of babies, the end of birthday parties, the end of life on this planet, not a punch in the nose, not a far away conflict like Syria, where we understand people and babies are slaughtered but not us, if they get it that we will also die if we attack Russia, then I think they will understand what we're dealing with and understand how reckless our political leadership is.

They are playing Russian Roulette with our children. I don't think the American people understand that at least one chamber is loaded.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Linda Wood

...and tried in a court of law for treason, and sentenced to 17 years in a Russian prison.

I could see a motive on Putin's part, like showing his enemies that they cannot get away with treason, and that by using a nerve agent easily attributable to Russia, he could have wanted his enemies and the world to know it.

At some point, several years ago, Putin finally pardoned him. He was released and allowed to go wherever he wished. He had been living in London for some time. Skripal had no secrets. Russia knew everything that Skripal knew, and the UK did, too.

The only think that Putin could have shown the world with a grotesque, half-assed murder attempt like this is that he is a deeply stupid man with no instincts for international politics; a man plagued by petty impulses that he cannot not control and an appetite for ridicule.

I've never met that Vladimir Putin.

Of course, there are always unexpected surprises in life.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

@Pluto's Republic
I hear you, and I agree with you, and I hope I made it clear that I never see anything that comes from our warmonger CIA or MIC spokespersons as anything but warmongering. I saw their propaganda that way in 1967. I still see it. So far, I haven't seen anything out of the pattern. But then I'm only in my 70th year of paying attention. I guess something might change, but so far, nothing.

What I tried to raise as an issue is that if my mind were somehow reversed, I could probably come up with an alternate explanation for a dying ex-spy that had some kind of logic to a person from that vantage point.

It's becoming so frustrating to try to argue with or convince the opposite viewpoint however, that I advocate asking them whether it's worth killing every man, woman, and child here and in Russia because Putin supposedly embarrassed Hillary Clinton and the DNC. I just don't think those Americans who want Trump to DO something about Putin understand what war with Russia really means, and I advocate telling them about it, showing them the Missile Defense system is a boondoggle, a non-working, un-tested, multi-billion dollar scam, that we have no defense, even before Russia's development of new missile systems, and that going to war with Russia means mutually assured destruction.

I'm past trying to get such Americans to respect Putin or to understand Russian history or to remember WWII. I'm suggesting we try to get them to understand what they're dealing with. And if they think our political leadership would never brinksmanship our country into destruction, I want to point out to them that,

… During a recent interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity about the threat posed by a potential North Korean nuclear strike, he (Trump) declared that the United States has “missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time.”


It's time the American people grew up. This is not a Pokemon game.

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be lost on anyone that any leader who's on shaky ground domestically uses a war or at least a "hostile action" to bolster their credibility. Theresa May surely seems to fit that bill perfectly. And Russia is now a universal boogeyman so she's on solid ground blathering around empty accusations there.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

CB's picture

countries, Russia is capable of striking back. Fortunately for the world, Putin is an extremely rational man. He has always used Russian military in a cold, calculated manner that is designed to minimize any downside to Russia.

So far, Putin has weathered everything the US and it's NATO allies have thrown at Russia and has come out on top. The sanctions against Russia have only served to strengthen the country and to drive Russia and China together. China has been allowed to enter into partnerships with Russian uranium mining interests as well as energy production. They now conduct trade outside the US$ using currency swaps.

Meanwhile, the US and its satraps in Europe continue to lose their hegemonic military, economic and technological leadership in the world. We really are on the cusp of a new world order. This new world order will be multi-polar and will become apparent within the next decade The US will eventually have to learn how to become an equal among equals.

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snoopydawg's picture

as I've said before. With the eyes of the world on him, why would he have killed someone who was not in the picture? To send a message that no one should cross him? Scratching my head on this reasoning. The WMDs propaganda campaign makes more sense to me for what is going on, especially since the "intelligence agencies" are saying that he hacked the electrical system. If they wanted us to know that happened, they wouldn't have used anonymous sources to release the information. The NSA would have shown us the proof that that happened as well as the evidence for the DNC computers hack. They haven't shown us anything regarding the whole election debacles. But every comment I've read on this shows that people are believing everything they read. How very sad. I thought people were smarter than that.

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Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Pluto's Republic's picture

...let's look, perhaps, for patterns in Modus or Method.

In the past 24 months, almost all false flags involve toxic chemicals. The chemicals are supplied by the national sponsor of the attack. I think it is fair to say that all chemical attacks that receive "media publicity" in the past decade are false flag attacks. At the intelligence level, we can generally account for the location of chemical weapons stores, so when an exotic military-grade chemical is used against civilians, that is also a psyops attack on the general population. It is immediately followed by government accusations against a target enemy with "proof" that an enemy weapon was used. Generally, race is tied in as well. One of those involved is often of the enemy race.

This was a key element in the identical false flag attack against North Korea, where Kim Jong Un's half brother was killed with a chemical weapon in Malaysia. This same technique has been used against Syria and Assad throughout the US war against Syria.

Now, all of this plays out faster than it took me to type this. The Leader of the aggrieved state commences to bleat like a goat, draws a red line or makes an impossible demand of the "enemy state" who responds with, "Wait... What?" Aggressive retaliation instantly follows. Then they wait. The Hoi poppoi feasts on a free picnic of hate sponsored by the media, none the wiser.

Keep in mind, many attacks on citizens and obvious hits receive no publicity. Only when the victim state Media pumps the news with fierce intensity is there a likelihood of a deliberate false flag. At the UN, when it reaches that level, a more cynical script is followed. Every soul at the UN knows exactly what is going on — just like you and I do. But they are there to play a geopolitical game with more moving parts.

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The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

@Pluto's Republic

short but detailed version of they always accuse others of what they do themselves.

And they recycle their propaganda endlessly; as you point out, we've seen this all before.

Over and over and over again, ever since the US industrialist-sponsored Hitler and his Nazi horde attempted the previous global fascist takeover, using Germany.

What form(s) of brainwashing might potentially be used on the general population beyond the ever-repeated Big Lie and the decades of brain-conditioning propaganda that now so rapidly locks into the ridiculous and even previously and repeatedly disproven propaganda lines even seemingly better-informed minds on both sides of the carefully created political divide, when it seems that the created 'right wing' has been at least more obviously and apparently more 'fear/hate' programmed than the created version of the 'left wing' - those (apart from armies of trolls attempting to 'normalize' this, in part by making their numbers seem far greater than they are) too-often having their stronger innate capacity for empathy seemingly restricted to, by being redirected into, 'social' specifics while 'othering' all else to the point of their tolerating torture, invasions, resource and other theft and mass murders of citizens all over the world when 'their side' does it?

Not that this wasn't done to the German democracy the first time...

Have to subscribe to access this, but from the search page - surprise, the nearby 'secret' bioweapons lab, known for population and human experimentation and suspicious deaths among staff, among other things, gets rather a lot of lovely money after this effort, where they investigate to find that "The RUSSIANS!!! DID IT!!!":

Porton Down laboratory to get £48m boost after Skripal attack
UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson will on Thursday pledge an additional £48m for Britain's defence science and technology laboratory at Porton Down, in the ...
[Search domain]

Haven't looked into this project but so much was documented that there ought to be tons accumulated by this University project - even if charges against Porton Down scientists were surprisingly dropped in the midst of a relatively recent police investigation:

Cold War at Porton Down

The History of Biochemical Warfare Research and Human Experimentation, 1945 - 1989

Further Research

It is a considered and desired outcome of the project that information and understanding of the subject can be disseminated as widely as possible. This page contains a bibliography of further reading, archive sources and links to relevant websites of interest to this and the wider field of the History of Medicine. For a sample of selected material directly related to the project please refer to the 'Types of Sources' page.

Dark secrets of Porton Down: Inside controversial defence lab which developed VX nerve agent and used human 'guinea pigs'

More than 20,000 people have been tested on at the top secret lab which is concentrating on gas attack defences

ByAnna Verdon

16:25, 15 MAR 2018Updated16:51, 16 MAR 2018

It is one of Britain's most secretive sites, remaining shrouded in mystery for more than 100 years.

But this week Porton Down found itself at the centre of one of the biggest diplomatic crises the UK has faced in recent years.

The top secret defence base in Wiltshire was instrumental in helping identify the nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy in Salisbury.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a weapons grade nerve agent in the city last week, leaving them fighting for their lives in hospital.

And, not only have scientists from the specialist laboratory been at the centre of a clean-up operation following the attack, but its helped identify Russia as the source of the poison. ...

and after a series of pictures:

...What is Porton Down?

The 7,000 acre site, near Salisbury, is one of the UK's most secretive and controversial military research facilities and the oldest chemical warfare research installations in the world.

Scientists from Porton were among the first to create biological weapons as well as one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, but now its main purpose is to support the military and help combat terrorism.

Porton Down opened in 1916 as the War Department Experimental Station for testing chemical weapons during WW1.

Scientists at the lab researched and developed weapons agents used by the British military during the war such as chlorine, mustard gas and phosgene.

After the war the government decided that work should continue at the site and by 1930 it had grown and developed into the Chemical Defence Experimental Station.

During WW2 research concentrated on chemical weapons like nitrogen mustard and nerve agents such as sarin.

It then led to the development of CS - or tear gas- and VX nerve agent in 1952, one of the most lethal substances ever created which results in a painful death. ...

From comments:

David Kelly's assistant of many years dropped dead in a Porton Down laboratory not long after David Kelly supposedly committed suicide over the WMD dossier leak. Was the assistant terminated so as not to deny Mr Kelly would commit suicide??? The UK establishment stinks!!!

THIS IS 7 MILES FROM SALISBURY !!!!! they experimented on their own people and troops for decades - so what makes anyone think they wouldn't issue a noxious substance to a foreign national???

Article links to:

Double agent and daughter were poisoned by BRITAIN, claims Russia's former spy chief after May accuses Moscow

A top Moscow chemical weapons expert has even claimed the deadly nerve agent novichok does not exist

ByWill Stewart

06:54, 13 MAR 2018Updated08:05, 13 MAR 2018

... Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33, remain in a critical condition after they were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4. ...

Read More

'Odd' woman wearing black surgical mask spotted in Salisbury at time of Russian spy poisoning

... Meanwhile, chemical weapons scientist Dr Anton Utkin - a former UN inspector in Iraq - denied the existence of novichok, and echoed the claim that Britain maybe responsible for the poisoning.

He led the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia, and has worked for the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology which is suspected of being behind the development of novichik starting in 1973.

He said: “I was dealing with elimination of Russian chemical weapons and with all the responsibility I can say that we have never had a weapon under this name.

"Actually, it is very strange that British experts have found out the formula of this 'super secret' poison nobody knows about.

“It is not clear either how they managed to determine that it was produced in Russia.

“If you know the technology, it is not possible to find out who made a chemical weapon – if the method is the same, the formulas of the substances will be identical.

“So this news only provokes more questions.”

Utkin said the West had earlier made a “toxic noise” about Russia’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

He added: “And now right in the heart of Great Britain this traitor is killed with a neuroparalytic substance.

“All this happens at a very convenient time – before the Russian presidential election and World Cup.

“If I were British, I would not blame Russians but check my own security systems first.

“Something strange is happening there – it is not the first time when criminals are walking around the country with highly toxic and radioactive substances and the secret services have no idea about it.”

Kovalyov, now an MP, said the accusations by May were a “provocation” against Russia.

There was no sense for Russia seek to kill a spy convicted 12 years ago when the publicity would damage the campaign for the presidential election, he said.

He said: “Just be logical. There is no logic here. England is turning into a dangerous country.

“If I were to speak for the Ministry for Foreign affairs, I would have issued a statement that would not recommend our spies and traitors to live there because it is dangerous to these citizens.

“The chain is already rather long.”

He complained that Britain along with the US and Ukraine see Russian as “guilty a priori - the Russophobic mood is extreme, all politicians are pursuing their careers with the help of these tendencies.”

The incident was timed to harm Putin in Sunday’s election and Skripal was "not dangerous for Russia", he claimed. ...

This, following, seems to be an older part of a version of a series I was listening to a while back; just got up so that will have to do while I go for that 2nd essential coffee for the other eyelid. Update: go for the Corbett Report Extra's linked to in the comments; leaving my trail here, so it's somewhere. And bear in mind the familiar spy-novel 'park bench' scenario used on the most recent victims - the one now useless to British Intelligence for outdated, 20-year-old information on a now-dead Soviet regime and the other a daughter who might also possess info they'd rather be kept quiet - used to accuse The Ubiquitous Super-Putin Villain (yet again) Of All Far-Reaching Evil.

Episode 192 – Requiem for the Suicided: Dr. David Kelly
Corbett • 06/25/2011

Famed microbiologist and UN weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly became the centre of a dispute between the BBC and the UK government over claims that the government had “sexed up” its dossier on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in order to sell the Iraq war to the public. He was found dead on Harrowdown Hill on July 18, 2003. It was ruled a suicide. Today we look at the troubling discrepancies, inconsistencies and questions surrounding that official verdict, and broach the question of what secrets Dr. Kelly may have taken to the grave…

For listeners with limited bandwidth, you can download a small, low-quality version of this episode here.

Ahhh, from comments:

Corbett says:
05/17/2017 at 12:09 am

In light of the fact that this video has just (May 17, 2017) been revived by video editor Broc West as an “Extra” video (thanks, Broc!) it might be worth noting my conversation with Dr. David Halpin from later in 2011:

And my subsequent GRTV report:

Keeping this due to interesting linked comments I lack energy to check out, although the updated 'Extras' videos linked to at source in the above comment should be viewed rather than this older one.


Pablo de Boer says:
05/17/2017 at 4:26 am

Hola aloha señor James,

Dr David Kelly is not only employee / scientist for chemical and biological weapons research at Porton Down, near Salisbury, who died under suspicious circumstances.

WMD expert killed in plane crash

A scientist working on weapons of mass destruction at a top-secret government laboratory has died in a plane crash, it emerged today.
Almost a year to the day after weapons expert Dr David Kelly was found dead, Dr Paul Norman was identified as the pilot of a plane that crashed in Devon.

Dr Norman, 52, was chief scientist for chemicaland biological weapons research at Porton Down, near Salisbury.

Pablo de Boer says:
05/17/2017 at 4:36 am

Air crash man was weapons expert

The pilot of a light aircraft who was killed along with three passengers when his plane came down in a Devon field was a chemical weapons expert.

Dr Paul Norman, 52, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, died when the Cessna 206 crashed shortly after taking off from Dunkeswell Airfield on Sunday.

Pablo de Boer says:
05/17/2017 at 5:48 am

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory – GOV.UK

Pablo de Boer says:
05/17/2017 at 6:35 am

List of Dead Microbiologists

The worlds top anti-virus microbiologists are being killed off. By 2005, 40 were dead. Today, over 100.

Many murdered, the rest died under very suspicious circumstances. It is known they were all working on highly sensitive or government-funded research projects tied to bio-weapons and viral pandemics.

Are these silenced ‘whistleblowers’ who knew too much?

Why didn’t the mainstream media report in on these stories?

Pablo de Boer says:
05/18/2017 at 1:17 am

Who murdered UK weapons inspector Dr David Kelly?
Dr Kelly’s intervention in the Iraq war adventure


Proximity to Porton Down appears to be hazardous to the health; no Russians required.

If I felt better, I'd be on this like a sweaty shirt - anyone else interested?

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

snoopydawg's picture

Craig is the person who met with someone to pick up the DNC computer files to give them to Wikileaks. He is also an ex U.K. spy and here's his take on Poison Gate.

The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

Putin has asked that May send him a sample of the drug so that they can test it which is the usual procedure. May has not done that.

Given that the OPCW has taken the view the evidence for the existence of “Novichoks” is dubious, if the UK actually has a sample of one it is extremely important the UK presents that sample to the OPCW. Indeed the UK has a binding treaty obligation to present that sample to OPCW. Russa has – unreported by the corporate media – entered a demand at the OPCW that Britain submit a sample of the Salisbury material for international analysis.

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Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel


how this kind of thing, the refusal to go through legal and customary channels and the boo-ing and sneering if challenged to do so, works for them. And by them, I mean our military industrial intelligence mafia and their corrupt government politicians. The more insolent and lawless they are the more credibility they claim to exhibit.

It's as if the chemical weapons conventions, the violation of which is their basis for outrage, is for sissies.

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