There is now too little doubt, I got it wrong, and I will happily and freely admit to it. You see, the entire Salisbury and Novichok was a shamble from the beginning. There was little doubt in my view, as I have been around the world twice, as I saw things on several levels, there was a massive issue with the entire Skripal case, as such I had a massive lack of faith in the reports all over the news. Not merely the setting where we see from the early setting that GRU players were mentioned, the fact that the hit was unsuccessful and the setting that I still see as an event framed in stupidity. A setting with a whole host of issues that could go wrong from the very beginning, how could anyone support it?
And I decided not to do it without clear evidence.
So I was in a stage of impressing denial, plain and simple. Apart from the setting that was brought by the media, there were issue with the evidence as Vil Mirzayanov gave clear evidence that was countered from day one with publications in all kinds of magazines, even the documents in the OPCW gave rise to doubt, but the media all ate it like flame baked chocolate chip cookies. The Guardian brought its version of doubt and also gave us valid questions and in all this the media machines continued with a mix of facts and speculations (as media would have done).
Yet we have seen that and in the stage of all this, the LA Times now gives us ‘Spate of fumbled spycraft may be laughing matter for ordinary Russians, but not for President Putin‘, now that we see that there is a chance that the FSB has messed up to this degree cannot be ignored. So as we are treated to both “Like Russian President Vladimir Putin, the GRU — the country’s military intelligence agency — is more accustomed to being feared than being mocked. But a recently exposed run of bumbling spycraft — think Austin Powers, not James Bond — has made the spy agency the subject of biting humor, at which Russians happen to excel“, as well as “the Kremlin is worried about its “brand, image and reputation as a great power.” And Putin, a former KGB officer whose approval ratings have been slipping, is doubtless “unhappy with the image of Russia as being incompetent, and the potential public perception of themselves as fools,”” Finally we get “Putin-watchers saw peril for the head of the GRU, Igor Korobov. Unconfirmed reports in the Russian press said that after the U.S. indictments of seven military intelligence officers, the Russian president summoned Korobov for an official dressing-down” It is the final part that makes for the entertainment as I wrote yesterday: “How badly are these ladies trained (me stating the need for a well-paid job and replacing Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov), I mean, I could hardly do any worse, could I? Let’s face it, in Australia a general’s pay starts at $235,595 with 0 years of experience in that rank. I’d accept that as a starting wage (LOL), even if it turns out to be merely for a year“. I wrote it in ‘Consideration for dinner‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/10/15/consideration-for-dinner/). So now we see that in the end, I would have been a better director of Russian Military Intelligence than Russian General Igor Valentinovich Korobov, who would have thunk it? Yes, I stated that expression and in light of history it would be quite apt.
So as we have been treated to all kinds of sources far, wide and speculative, I have tried to maintain to the facts as much as possible. A few years ago, the open setting of who were GRU officers, who would rely on an operation using unstable elements, the lack of investigating a certain laboratory. Yet, now looking back, there is additional implied evidence that there was a much larger issue and it is not with the UK, it is with Russia. We see this in the writing of Mark Galeotti. We see: “If Putin is showing his anger, it is not because they are spying and hacking and killing, but because they are not doing it well enough“, a statement from a senior fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague. He is correct. It is nice to see that there is an implied failure on the Russian side and it sets the GRU back to the age of the early cold war where they would walk in the US wearing a weird trench coat, thinking that everyone in the US looked and dressed like Humphrey Bogart. It makes counter intelligence exceedingly easy for the FBI and MI-5, so they should be relieved, but they are unlikely to be that. All these issues are pointing towards a larger game and falling asleep now is perhaps the largest of all failings to embrace. Part of this was tipped on in February by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42636245). Here we see the mention ‘Just weeks before Litvinenko died, Russia passed a law giving the FSB authority to act against “extremists” and “terrorists” abroad‘, yet the issue is not the statement, it is the Russian definition of what THEY consider to be a terrorist and an extremist. You see an extremist is someone who holds extreme political or religious views, yet in case or Russia is that a political view that is not their political view? Then we get the part of terrorist. Here we see that this is a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Yet is the word ‘violence’ mandatory? We have e-terrorism, which is still terrorism, is it not?
So as we were going into the entire Salisbury debacle, we were treated to two people allegedly called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and they were giving us: “insisting they were sports nutritionists on a holiday jaunt to Britain — and that with all the iconic tourist sites available to them in London, what they really, really wanted to see was the cathedral in a provincial city“. I was in disbelief! Someone was going to be this stupid about it? Now, I have heard and seen the folly of underestimating an opponent, yet until this week I had never considered that overestimating an opponent could be so equally deadly. It is like watching that old series The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, where I am thwarted by Briggs, in this case played by Igor Valentinovich Korobov, it feels that unsettling, to face an opponent you rigorously overestimate.
It got to be even worse when they were caught ‘red’ handed, trying to hack into the computers of the OPCW, which in light of the fact that I got most their memo’s merely Google searching them. OK, they wanted the Skripal case documents, which were likely slightly more secure, yet in all that, when we are faced with such bungling, how can we lose sleep over any operation the GRU does when we can read it on page two of The Sun staring at the ‘lung’ section of a page three girl. It seems that the job (for now) for MI-5 is exceedingly simple. So as we are treated to the operandis modi of the Kremlin (according to the LA Times, where we see: ““Step No. 1 is deny; Step No. 2 is to undermine whoever made the allegations,” said Polyakova. “And usually Step No. 3 is to spin multiple versions of the story, to try to confuse the public narrative about what is the truth, and what is not.”” so, if we give a view to Alina Polyakova and her view in this, we need to compare that to the political field, the US political field might be the most apt one. So, the deny part, how did that work out for former president Bill Clinton? Then we see the undermining part, how did that work out for former (being the operative word) FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and the third and final part, the spin part? Well, the spin part is actually decently effective (usually it is), partially as most people can no longer tell the difference between journalistic news sources and morning TV shows that cast some version of the news on a malleable turntable. So that one the Kremlin is seemingly getting right (at least partially), although having a much better trained GRU might not be the worst idea in all this.
If we can keep a sense of humour in all this, we should take notice of Grigorii Golosov, a political scientist who stated: “thanks to the efforts of the two (Russian agents), the word “Novichok” was now better known to non-Russian speakers than “Sputnik.”” Yes, that is certainly true. The LA Times also re-staged the setting of: “the Kremlin not only vehemently denied involvement, but demanded definitive proof of the suspects’ guilt, which seemed at the time like a tall order“. That is where several insiders were, as well as myself, as we saw the train and CCTV footage and saw such a large lack of tradecraft that is seemed a joke to consider it at all, yet the egg is on out faces, I admit that! The fact that my skills surpass these so called Special Forces people at the GRU is just blowing my mind (quite literally). It gets to be even worse (or more hilarious depending on your placing on the table of intelligence) when we consider “seeing the cathedral in a provincial city“. So with the options ranging from Aldershot to Wrexham, they went to Salisbury? How could this be sold in any believable way?
There is one additional consideration and yet it is also a danger. As we are laughing at what the GRU is unable to do, we need to be weary that the SVR has not made these levels of blunders (a speculative statement, I know). In this, we need to recollect the words of Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergei Naryshkin: “Russia couldn’t have been behind the operation because it was done so unprofessionally“, me and several others agree on that, so if that is the setting of the stage then we need to consider that the SVR might be poised to take over that part and properly train those people, giving us optionally new waves to deal with. Now, in all honesty, one would think that this is never going to happen, yet Vladimir Putin is an SVR alumni, so the thought is not that crazy and being placed in a setting of such embarrassment might make him jump and demand success stories, just as Saudi Arabia has its own optional folly to deal with, getting on board selling non ethical solutions is not beyond any opponent of those relying on overly ethically accepting solutions.
You see as several sources are now all heralding “Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi happened as the result of a botched interrogation” into the media (CNN et al), I need to accept that I was wrong twice, considering that generals have a much better handle on things, so me getting proven wrong twice (so close together) is not the craziest theory to embrace at present. The fact that there is no reliability on the sources at present makes me a little cautious. As CNN gives us: “The Saudis are preparing a report that will conclude Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources“, there is not just the lack of who the two sources are, there is a larger setting that is still weird, so after we were informed on “Turkish authorities have an audio recording which indicates that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed“, we see Reuters give us: “A team of around 10 Turkish police investigators had already left after a nine-hour search“, so why not just publicly play the audio? It would have given Turkey huge bonus points with Iran, yet that part we do not see (or hear) do we? We get to hear no evidence for now, which is another matter of concern. As Turkey will not play the audio, they would if the audio is not openly played that they are merely showing that their claims cannot be trusted (here is me hoping that I am not played a fool a third time in a row).
And all the sources, the Sun being the weirdest one give us: “Audio and video recordings which emerged yesterday proved Khashoggi, 59, was tortured and murdered inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by a 15-strong hit team yesterday“, so where is that evidence? And a hit team of 15? This is part of the entire fake news matter and the UK newspapers (if you call the Sun a newspaper) is part of the problem, is it not?
So I might have been wrong, but in the setting where even the news is optionally fake news, I still think that I walked the right path in the end, even as I overestimated the abilities of the GRU to an almost unfathomable distance, I feel that I was bringing the news better, more complete and with the right questions, questions that some parties have never and will optionally never ever be able to answer. So, London School of Economics, I will happily and with a slight case of humility accept my master in Business Intelligence and Master of Journalism.
Thank you very much!
Elvis has left the building, until tomorrow that is!