who was lying about Dead Ducks: gina haspel, julian barnes or MI6?

can’t get enough of that novichok, novichok, novichok...♫

Oops! New York Times corrects Skripal story, says no ‘dead ducks’ or ‘sick kids’ from ‘Novichok’, 6 Jun, 2019, RT.com

“The New York Times has corrected a report that UK officials had shared photos with the CIA depicting children and animals who’d been exposed to the so-called Novichok nerve agent after coming into contact with the Skripals.

The Times reported on April 16 that the British government had supplied images of “young children hospitalized” and of dead ducks, inadvertently poisoned after interactions with Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a park in Salisbury in March of last year. The paper pointed to the “sloppy work of the Russian operatives” who were blamed for what London calls a nerve agent attack last year.

While the original story claimed the images were used to convince US President Donald Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the Skripal episode, the Times now says no such photos exist.

“An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the photos that [CIA Director] Gina Haspel showed to President Trump during a discussion about responding to the nerve agent attack in Britain,” reads the correction, issued almost two months after the original story was published.

Haspel, instead, presented the president with generic images illustrating the harmful effects of some nerve agents, while the British claims of sick kids and poisoned birds were based on “early intelligence reports,” the corrected story says.

While the Times amended the story and added an editor’s note, the paper apparently forgot to scrub a photo caption describing a “slipshod attack that also sickened children, killed ducks and required careful cleanup.”

Prior to the correction, there were already signs that something was off about the story. Shortly after the Skripal incident, British tabloid the Daily Mirror reported that three children were indeed hospitalized after feeding ducks in a Salisbury park with the Skripals, but blood tests revealed that the children were fine.

One of the boys reportedly even ate some of the bread supplied by Skripal and intended as bird-food. According to UK authorities, Sergei Skripal’s hands were coated in a highly-lethal nerve agent at that moment; it is unclear how the child could have avoided poisoning.”

But still, nothing changes the fact that Moscow had officially sanctioned the assassination attempt on the Skripals, and never mind about all those expelled Russian ambassadors (60 from the US, plus 20 other nations).  They were probably spies in any event.  Good riddance!

Also see Neil Clark’s  ‘Hospitalized children & dead ducks? The ‘official’ Skripal narrative goes completely quackers’, April 19, 2019, RT.com  which includes:

“You can imagine the conversation, as scripted by Cleese, Chapman and Clark…

Haspel: ‘Look Mr President. I know a dead duck when I see one, and I’m looking at it right now’

Trump: ‘No, he’s not dead, he’s, he’s resting… Beautiful plumage!’

Haspel: ‘The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead. And its name was Donald!’

Trump: ‘Oh my God, let’s kick out the Russkie duck killers!’

Me, I think they were faking Novichok deaths…just for the ‘ell of it.

“There are so many unanswered questions, but arguably the most important one is this: why haven’t we seen or heard anything from Yulia and Sergei Skripal?

Yulia’s last video appearance was last May. Her father hasn’t been shown since his hospitalization, which we are told he recovered from.

If Yulia and Sergei accepted the UK government narrative, namely that the Russia state was behind their poisoning, then why haven’t they been brought out before the cameras, at a secret location, to say as much? Think what a great propaganda coup this would be.

Interestingly, a book published last year by Mark Urban, a BBC diplomatic editor, concedes that Sergei Skripal was initially reluctant to believe that the Russians had tried to kill him.

Even more puzzling is the fact that Sergei has not called his 91-year-old mother Yelena. If he is indeed being looked after by British security services, in order to protect him from another assassination attempt, then why hasn’t he been allowed to call home to say he’s ok?  A simple ‘Hi Mum, don’t worry about me, I’m being looked after and I’m fine’ would suffice.

She is waiting for his phone call. She needs nothing else. She needs one phone call from her son,” Skripal’s niece Viktoria said last September. The fact that he still hasn’t called home, suggests that Sergei Skripal is either dead, or unable to talk. If the latter, why haven’t we been told that he’s lost his voice? If the former, then how did he die?”

Related:  from Jeffrey St. Clair’s July 20, 2018 July 20, 2018Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?:

I’d hoped he was Putin us on about the #TreasonSummit in Helsinki, and that he’d taken HRW seriously:

“When it comes to immigrants from the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Putin’s policies [< HRW Aug. 2013] of racial profiling, prolonged detention and interrogation are so stern that they would make J. Beauregard Sessions long for another “how-to” session with his old pal Sergey Kislyak.”

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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You mean they weren't taking ducks from incubators and throwing them in the lakes and ponds to die?

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

wendy davis's picture


whether any of 'the competing stories' were even based remotely in truth. hell, i'm startin' to wonder if there ever WERE skripals. but if there were, there sure bein' kept in deep dark badger holes under D notices.

i kinda wished the paper weren't behind a paywal for me so i could see the photo they'd forgotten to scrub. all i could see were some feet, but part of the photo may have been one that neil clark had used above. dinnae you love his wee dialog? ; )

Haspel: ‘The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead. And its name was Donald!’

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@wendy davis which may be far-fetched but not as far fetched as the various official stories, is that Sergei and Yulia were actually working for the Russians. Sergei was/is actually a bit of a Russian nationalist, who thought that Russia was being unfairly treated internationally. He was/is greedy so he took money to flip when he was stationed in Spain, but I would not be surprised if he flipped again upon his release (which I think would make him a tripple agent but it is hard to keep count). This would account for why Sergei and Yulia switched off their phones when they drove out of town the day of the poisoning so that they could not be easily tracked. The two Russian tourist/cathedral enthusiasts would then be couriers. So...Sergei who was an active MI6 agent and a Russian triple agent obtained info to be given to Yulia who would relay it to the cathedral enthusiasts who would take it to Russia. Something went wrong and Sergei and Yulia either poisoned themselves or were poisoned by UK agents and taken into custody. The UK agencies then developed a series of stories aimed at Russia that are contradictory and obvious nonsense. Yulia realized that her and her father's lives were in grave danger (since they were supposedly clinging to life and therefore no one would ask questions if they died) and managed to call her cousin who recorded the call (probably with help from Russian authorities). It no longer was tenable to say that they were clinging to life and so UK authorities "persuaded" Yulia to do a video (looking damned good, by the way, spawning fake internet adds for novichok beauty products) and then announced that they were in protective custody and would be in an identity protection program. Who knows where they are now, but probably not on a sunny beach in the Bahamas.

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wendy davis's picture

@Roy Blakeley

along w/ no paragraph breaks, id need to copy/paste your comment into a word document to read (crap vision). fascinating theory, seriously, but i have a few Qs: i) if he became a triple agent for russia, what info might he have been gathering; ii) i hadn't known that the day of the poisoning they'd split (i'd though papa was in hospital longer), but wouldn't they have had to take out their phone batteries so as not to be traced (UK is a major surveillance state); iii) but what poison might they have used o themselves?

now i'd needed to go find the video, and to me yulia doesn't look anything like the photo of her and sergei in the pub...but whoever it is is totally without affect, and is delivering a rote message.

i'd needed a refresher on the phone call, and that call as well seems to have been entirely scripted IF this is the actual transcript.

Viktoria: Hello?

Yulia: Hello. Do you hear me?

Viktoria: Yes, I hear you.

Yulia: It is Yulia Skripal.

Viktoria: Oh, Yulka [diminutive of Yulia] it is you! I recognise from your voice that it is you but cannot understand. So, they gave you a telephone, didn’t they?

Yulia: Yes, yes.

Viktoria: Thank God! Yulyash [diminutive of Yulia], is everything okay with you?

Yulia: Everything is ok, everything is fine.

Viktoria: Look, if tomorrow I get a (British) visa, I will come to you on Monday.

Yulia: Vika, no one will give you the visa.

Viktoria: Well, I thought so too. Oh well.

Yulia: Most likely.

Viktoria: If they give it, I need you to tell me whether I can visit you or not, tell me that I can.

Yulia: I think no, there is such a situation now, we’ll sort it out later.

Viktoria: I know it, I know it all.

ha, while i was fetching yulia's videom i ran into this AJE 'the inside story' and the two dudes were stupid, esp. the first /testified at the senate hearings on russian election interference, as was the idiot interviewer. but fascinatingly, annie machon (?) former MI brought up the theory we've heard that sergei might have been connected to christopher steele dossier dude, but she was the sole interviewee who posed alternate theories, and wasn't buying that 'moscow did it'. i started it when she came on; the rest of the interview was more about litvinenko iirc.

but how cool you've really been working on a theory!

2 users have voted.

@wendy davis I have been traveling and have not been able to look at C99. Concerning what info Sergei may have been gathering for Russia, there is a lot of evidence that he was continuing to work for British intelligence so he would likely have been privy to important info although I do not have any inside information as to what that might have been. It is fair to point out that it is very unlikely to be a coincidence that he happened to settle in Salisbury, 6-8 miles from Porton Down, the center of British chemical and biological warfare. Concerning the turning off of their phones, I don't know the mechanism, but multiple British newspapers of various persuasions have reported that they had managed to turn their GPS signals off for four hours on the day they were poisoned. They headed out of town and stopped their GPS signals (both of them) and they were activated 4 hours later after they had returned. There have also been multiple reports that the nurse that saved their lives was none other than Colonel Alison McCourt, Chief of Nursing of the British Army, who just happened to be walking by. As to the poisoning, they could have been conveying materials from Porton Down and screwed up, or they could have been poisoned by British Intelligence with McCourt functioning to save their lives but making sure they were permanently taken out of the intelligence loop (while conveniently whipping up anti-Russian feelings).

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wendy davis's picture

@Roy Blakeley

hope your travels were good. thanks for sharing your additional thoughts, even as to the phones. some of what you've brought is new to me, but yes, it was apparently the chief of nurses of the british army.

but yes, much of what you've written is plausible; thank you. apologies for being so off-my-game on this subject, but i've studied issues in too many locales since this. but we'll never know the truth, will we? D notices and all.

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wendy davis's picture


you may have been pinging the Madison Ave. advertising agency's 'Saddam and incubators' psyop. myownself, i'd reckoned that 'saddam's flying chemical weapons factories' (colin powell) would have been the Winner, but...i was wrong. do you know i lost a couple friends who just couldn't believe i didn't accept his justification for war testimony?

and do consider looking at the updates on my current 'abandon all hope...assange' thread. the last one at the bottom is darkness/darkness evil.

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wendy davis's picture

had covered this on june 6.

his conclusion (and he subscribes to the NYT of course):

"Barnes covers national security and intelligence issues for the Times Washington bureau. His job depends on good access to 'sources' in those circles.

It is remarkable that the CIA spokesperson never came out to deny the original NYT report. There was zero visible push back against its narrative. It is also remarkable that the correction comes just as Trump is on a state visit in Britain.

The original report was sourced on 'people briefed on the conversation'. The corrected version is also based on 'people briefed on the conversation' but adds 'a person familiar with the intelligence'. Do the originally cited 'people' now tell a different story? Are we to trust a single 'person familiar with the intelligence' more than those multiple 'people'? What kind of 'research' did the reporter do to correct what he then and now claims was told to him by 'people'? Why did this 'research' take eight weeks?

That the 'paper of the record' now corrects said 'record' solves a big problem for Gina Haspel, the CIA/MI6 and the British government. They can no longer be accused of manipulating Trump (even as we can be quite sure that such manipulations happen all the time).

In the end it is for the reader to decide if the original report makes more sense than the corrected one."

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis Is it still available? How much?

I also wanna believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. I await seeing a story debunking their existence in the NYT by Julian Barnes, followed three months later by a retraction. When that happens, I will still be able to believe in EB and SC. Whoopee!

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

yes, i've already decided. but you might get a Bang! (so to speak) out of this from RT today:

No Novichok B&B for you: Authorities may buy Skripal house to prevent it from becoming a business 9 Jun, 2019 , although i havent the time to unwind any of it, but trust me: too much fun.

nice to see you, gator man.

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