There is an issue, again. It is the same we saw earlier but in a new coat. As I stated on more than one occasion, the entire Salisbury issue with Novichok’s was extremely unlikely to be state driven. Now, with the second event, that evidence is all but a near conclusion. ABC gives us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-05/uk-police-confirm-couple-poisoned-by-nerve-agent-novichok/9942662) ‘poisoned by nerve agent Novichok’. The quote “Police said there was no evidence they had visited the same sites that were decontaminated after the Skripal case “I have received test results from Porton Down [military research centre] which show that the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok,” Neil Basu, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters“. Now first off Novichok is not a poison, or agent. It is a class of agents. This is important to realise when we consider this. Jonathan Tucker in the 2006 publication of ‘War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda‘ gives us that it is a binary formulation (it needs two components to mix, but we all already knew that), it is just too dangerous and unstable. We also get that a number of Novichok variants are believed to have been adapted for military use. So it is not one poison, there is a group of them and even as merely one was used (a speculation at present) there are more. The additional information that was published in 2016: ‘Iranian chemists identify Russian chemical warfare agents‘, which we got from http://www.spectroscopynow.com/details/ezine/1591ca249b2/Iranian-chemists-identify-Russian-chemical-warfare-agents.html. You see, the problem was already clear in the previous attack. The fact that the media largely overlooked the 1995 event where banker Ivan Kivelidi was poisoned could be set as evidence. In addition, Leonard Rink received a one-year suspended sentence for selling Novichok agents to unnamed buyers. All the evidence that was ignored of was kept quiet in Salisbury was an issue and in my eyes a big one. Now, this does not absolve the Russian government, especially when they can rely on Russian hitman JJones (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kg_BMAZLGk) to do the job.
Now you might get a giggle out of that one and it gives you the situation that is actually in play, or was in play. Even in the old days of the Союз Советских Социалистических Республик, where the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti was waving a sceptre, they were a little too pragmatic most of the times. Now that they call themselves the Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации (FSB) the have merely become even more pragmatic (as it is rumoured), so the entire consideration of Novichok agents was never impossible, yet massively unlikely as this requires too many parts, too many players and too much can go wrong.
The entire setting that we had initially was just too weird, too much effort to get to a person that never mattered to the degree required and the fact that the ‘hit’ failed made it even weirder.
You see, a state government might do it, yet it better not fail. Now we have a second setting and this is of course a nightmare for the police, let’s face it, no one wants this, not even Russia, if they wanted this than they would have wanted it on the other side of the Atlantic river (USA).
The quote that follows in the ABC is ““The working theory is currently that this exposure was accidental, rather than a second attack along the lines of that on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury earlier this year,” Mr Javid said” and I tend to agree. It could be left over materials form the first event, which makes it important to find out whether the materials were the same and more important is there any way to figure out how the toxins were administered, because that matters too.
My initial view (which was purely speculative) was the impression that this could have been a test run. Yet, without evidence we might never know. I do get that the police will be flooded with people in fear and that makes perfect sense. until the police discloses (and finds) the method of contamination, until then most people will be scared out of their minds, especially as the events were relatively close together. 8 miles apart yet with no large towns in between, merely the KalVista Pharmaceuticals labs in Porton Down. So, it is hard not to speculate, but the fact that they are ‘in between’ is an issue that requires investigation and a large one (not just them by the way). The problem is how labs are optionally a problem and that is for Scotland Yard to look at (or the counter-terrorism unit).
You see the issue from the previous one and the present one is one that has a few more issues. When we look at the facts and when you realise that there were a number of agents, the statement that the OPCW gave is now an optional consideration. We see (at https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-issues-report-on-technical-assistance-requested-by-the-united-kingdom/) the quote “The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) transmitted yesterday to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) the report of the OPCW’s mission to provide requested technical assistance in regard to the Salisbury incident on 4 March 2018. The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people” is now an optional issue. When you consider that the Novichok class has 5 (some say 6) variants of the bat, we need to realise the question: ‘Why this one?’, it is important that we know that it needs to be set against the other 4 (or 5) so that we can see, or that we can consider why the choice was there. It might be convenience, it might be easier to make, or merely a random fact. It is in two liquids, both need top gear to make and they are unstable. When you consider them, why was that one chosen? The fact that we see: ‘confirm the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical‘ is very specific. That is seen when we reconsider the article from Spectroscopy Now. So when we are confronted with: “The authors succeeded in synthesising and obtaining detailed mass spectral data on a series of unusual nerve agents. The data have been added to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Central Analytical Database (OCAD). It is important that such databases are as comprehensive as possible so that unusual chemical weapons can be unambiguously detected. The task of ridding the world of all chemical weapons requires a great deal of painstaking work, but the ultimate goal is surely something of which we should all approve”, the fact that we now see clearly ‘a series of unusual nerve agents‘, we see that the other news is very specifically avoiding the issue of a series of agents. In addition, if the Leonard Rink setting is not the same Novichok the issue becomes even larger, because if there are more out there, then it is possible that they are ALL out there. Whether 5 or 6, the labs did not reveal the goods (I am not stating that they should), but it leaves the medical assistance in the dark on how to treat them for the mere reason that they might all set the focus on ‘molecules with the typical nerve agent phosphorus group coupled to N,N,N’N’-tetramethylguanidine‘, the end result might not always be cured the same way generically yes, but specifically is not a certainty. So in that what might cure one, might only partially cure the other (a clear assumption on my side).
Even as panic might hit Amesbury, I do feel that Neil Basu makes a perfectly valid case when we see “no intelligence to indicate that the man and woman had been deliberately targeted”, as well as the statement from England’s chief medical officer Sally Davies, who gives us “I want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low“, to be quite honest I personally would have gone with ‘the risk to the general public remains extremely low and highly unlikely to repeat itself at present‘, the latter part is a less given truth, but until the evidence gives us the opposite it is actually true. Whomever used it, and mixed it would not want to be anywhere near it, or have anything that was used to create it near them. So there is clarity in my reasoning. I will give you one other speculation that matters. If this was done by the same people, then it is extremely likely that they bought all the equipment required twice. I would have dumped everything the moment I was done making it, this stuff is just too scary, so the second batch would have been made from scratch again, this stuff is as other sources gave us unstable, anyone realising that would not be near it, which was the setting all along when I stated that a state driven agent would not be anywhere near it, not when there is an effective bullet driven solution (gun) available, optionally with a library accommodating system (silencer), both readily available for those in that line of work (or you call Jack Jones).
The one witness that can shed optionally more light is seen with “Sam Hobson said he was with them on Saturday, when Ms Sturgess fell ill first“, when we consider the speed at which it happens, would give a much smaller timespan to focus on towards the moment of toxication. More important, if Sam Hobson remained unaffected, the substance might not have been in the building to begin with, so what happened in the two hours preceding his arrival? The small speculation that we get from “Mr Rowley collapsed later the same day“, is a decent indicator that Ms Sturgess was directly exposed, whilst Mr Rowley was likely indirectly exposed, or exposed through transfer from Ms Sturgess. We get that from ‘later that day’, which is too large a leap from getting exposed at the same time, implying that there was a transfer of toxins at some point, yet decently likely that transfer happened outside the building like handing her the cup of coffee she was drinking (merely an example), whatever it was, there is a decent chance that Sam Hobson (if he remains healthy) never got near whatever got to the two, so it is less likely to be in the house.
No matter what happens next, I do hope that the media picks up on the danger of calling the event ‘poisoned with Novichok‘, merely because there are all kinds of variations and even as it reads nice and easy, the fact that Novichok’s are actually quite complex is an important part to realise as it does limit those able (and stupid) enough to rely on this application. That must remain an important consideration as this stuff (unlike a rifle) cannot be bought at any American outlet of Wal-Mart.
It will take a while for unrest and fear to settle in the Salisbury region, I merely hope that they will be able to put it behind them soon enough.