Tag Archives: OPCW

When wrong is right

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!


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The price of identity

We all have needs, we all have identities. It is important to us, as it is for many others. No one debates or disagrees with it. Yet what to do when identity hinders us? When we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-nsa-deputy-is-mattiss-leading-choice-to-head-the-spy-service-if-it-splits-from-cyber-command/2018/10/05/1be8d7a8-c73d-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html) giving us ‘Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command‘, we need to consider the impact of identity, corporate identity, governmental identity, military identity, projected and presented identity. They are not the same and can vary to a much larger degree. When someone is part of what used to be referred to ‘No Such Agency‘. We will get the impact of identity; we all know that and many faced it too. Look at any friend or co-worker you have ever known and ask him/her about the impact of a merger and they will tell you, there are changes. Some are subtly, some are not noticed, yet others are, usually in infrastructure and the way things were done. Now the change tends to be for the good in the long run but that is not a given.

So what gives?

It is my personal observation and a highly speculative one at that. Yet I believe that the Washington Post giving us: “The current head of both organizations, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has urged Mattis to keep the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command under one leader on the grounds that the nine-year-old military organization is not ready to stand on its own, these people said. In recent weeks, Mattis was close to a decision to separate the leadership arrangement, but Nakasone’s counsel has caused him to reconsider, according to two U.S. officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations“, is not entirely accurate. I believe that ‘military organization is not ready to stand on its own‘ is not the setting that matter. I believe that Stratfor who gives us ‘A New, More Aggressive U.S. Cybersecurity Policy Complements Traditional Methods‘ is very much at the heart of that. I believe that the general is not ready or perhaps unwilling to set the offensive and aggressive part in motion. Now, this is no bad reflection on the general, let that be a first. He is well decorated, he has seen the field in many ways and he has done a fair share of field events. He has earned his rank. I merely wonder that a man who has seemingly played a defence and protection game is the man for the offense. I think that this is a football moment, and as a non-football expert (and a 49ers fan) I would compare the General to DeMarcus Lawrence from the Dallas Cowboys against what the US seems to demand is a Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), or even a Tom Brady (New England Patriots), roles that are not really moveable. Even as a Quarterback might become a really good Derick Henry that Quarterback will never become a DeMarcus Lawrence. The defence and offense game is that far apart. This is where Chris Inglis comes in. He is an analyst (at heart), he is used to counter offensive strategies and introduce strategies of his own (effective one’s mind you). I believe that this is the game that is in the open at present and these two will need to find a way to make it work. Not merely because it is good for the needed strategy, but because the segregation of the two elements might hurt U.S. Cyber Command in a few ways, not merely funding, but the elements that U.S. Cyber Command currently have access to will partially fall away and getting two infrastructures like the NSA is unyielding, unaffordable and in the end will introduce flaws and dangers on both sides of the isle making the setting (as I personally see it) a non-option right of the bat. Stratfor gives us a few other items.

One of them is “A best-case scenario for a U.S. cyberattack would be disabling computer systems and networks being used against U.S. interests to prevent an attack from happening or to disrupt an attack that is in progress“. The problem there is that some of the opponents are getting to be really good at what they do and a few of them are not state driven, not by any state changing the dynamics of the solution. Even as I discussed the hop+1 strategy almost three years ago, settings like that require an expert layer one knowledge and the players cannot both have these experts changing the needs of the infrastructure overnight.

The second consideration is: “Perhaps the main challenge to U.S. engagement in tit-for-tat cyberattacks is that the United States is by far the biggest target for such attacks“. That might be true but that goes beyond mere true enemies, it includes a truckload of students wanting to finger the man (or is that giving them the bird)? Do they really want to waste resources to those people whilst the US has actual enemies in the world?

The larger issue is seen with: “Discussing the strategy, national security adviser John Bolton hinted that the administration had already taken steps to bolster offensive efforts in recent weeks, warning that the United States is no longer just playing defense when it comes to cybersecurity. But despite the Trump administration’s more hawkish tone regarding cybersecurity, it will continue mainly to rely on traditional measures such as the legal process, regulations and cooperation with the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity” It is here when we get the consideration of the resources required. The defence, offense and legal sides of it all becomes a real mess if the two split up giving the chance that targets and issues walk away on technicalities. How does that help?

The strategy s even more profound when we consider “Clandestine, discreet attacks are certainly already key elements of U.S. cyber tactics. There have likely been more examples of U.S.-launched attacks that have not come to light, perhaps because they were never recognized as cyberattacks. While the less known about U.S. cyber capabilities, the more effective they will be when deployed, this by definition limits the deterrence value of U.S. cyber capabilities“, at this point is the setting of ‘discreet’ that comes into play. With the two separated they will get into each other’s fare waters and more important give accidental light to the discreet part of the operation, there will be no avoiding it, only the most delusional person would think that it does not get out when more than one player is involved, because that will always introduce a third item being the intermediary, the cold war taught many players that part of the equation. And that is even before we get to the statement: “recent cases like the September indictment of North Korean cyber operatives, which displayed heavy FBI reliance on private security firms such as Mandiant and Alphabet to collect technical evidence and carry out investigations“, now we see the folly as Mandiant and Alphabet are mentioned, the entire matter grows further as soon as Constellis becomes part of the equation. That is beside the point of realising (highly speculative on my side) that neither three Mandiant, Alphabet and Constellis have the required safe servers in place to prevent names, places and facts from going out into the open. I might not be able to get in, but there are dozens who will get in and that voids the security of the matter to a much larger degree. For arguments sake I will leave Booz Allan Hamilton out of that equation, they have been snowed on long enough.

And even as we see the instance of legal preference, the US must realise that any attack from state or non-state parties in China or Russia has close to 0% of being successful (outside of the exposure part), the entire matter in case of the OPCW in the Netherlands is one. An attack was thwarted, yet was it THE attack? The guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/04/visual-guide-how-dutch-intelligence-thwarted-a-russian-hacking-operation) reads nice, and we see all these facts and from my point of view, things do not add up. You see, I would have used the car that we see mentioned “In the boot of their car was uncovered an arsenal of specialist electronic Wi-Fi hacking equipment” as a fire and forget consumable, use it as an access point, segregating the hacker from the accessing unit. When you have (as they stated) “cash: €20,000 and $20,000” getting a second car far enough to access yet not be directly linked is seemingly easy enough. Then there is the setting of the photo at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I am not debating the issue of the photo, it seems genuine enough. In this operation they did not fly to Germany and took the train, or take a car and cross at Oldenzaal, Emerich, or even via Belgium and enter via Antwerp, or Eindhoven. It almost read like they wanted to get noticed. They know that Amsterdam Airport is high tech and nothing escapes their camera eyes. To me (a paranoid me) it comes across as ‘Where did they not want us to look‘. A mere sleight of hand deception, and again the entire GRU mention. A phone outside of that building and they had the taxi receipt? No one merely driving them to the airport in Russia or even them taking a bus from any hotel in Moscow. No a taxi receipt of all things, is anyone buying that? So in this it is not the Dutch, it is the Russian side that makes no sense at all.

How did I get there?

This is the initial setting of offense and defence. The proper application of strategy in all this matters, because we seem to undervalue and underestimate the need of either in all this. Because we get to push a button anywhere and anytime we seem to underestimate on what is recorded, what is collected and what can we verify. That entire mistake is how any offensive strategy can optionally become folly from the moment the instigation of ‘press any key‘ to start gets us. Proper offensive is not about doing what needs to be done, it is about being able to prove who did what. Perhaps Sony remembers that part as they were given that it was North Korea did something, whilst their computers were not even close to PC gaming ready, the mere processor, which was about 25% (at best) of a 1994 Silicon Graphics Indigo system is not the system that gives you what you need to hack the night away. The tools are equally as important as the access and ability to negate identity. When you see that part, the entire hop+1 intrusion path makes a lot more sense.

This now gets us to the end of the Washington Post, where we were treated to: ““As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said in a statement in May. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available” to carry out successful cyber-offensives. Some former senior intelligence and defense officials oppose separating the “dual-hat” leadership arrangement, including former NSA Director Keith Alexander, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This week, former CIA Director David Petraeus, a retired Army general, said during a Washington Post cyber summit that he’d keep the dual-hat arrangement “for the time being.”” It is not merely the ‘we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available‘, you see, when we get to capabilities we see the need of offensive players and even as Cyber command might be aces in their field, the offensive game differs to some degree and even as we see that they are way above the student levels, we get back to the Football equivalent you see the application of defence and offense. It is not DeMarcus Lawrence versus Derrick Henry, the question becomes can DeMarcus Lawrence be a Derrick Henry that is good enough, that is the battle within. The mere realisation that if you fail this when the offensive is broken into a train wreck that makes the limelight in every paper, that is the game that is the dilemma that Gen. Paul Nakasone faces as I personally see it.

And when we see Stratfor with the one little gem we did not consider, the mere proposed fact that North Korea has a mere 9,000 IP Addresses, do you really think that they could have done this all, or are we in a setting where someone had the ability to act on BGP hijacking and was able to mask it to the level it needed to be masked at, because that was the offensive play that needed to be considered and there was no way that the evidence had been uncovered to that degree with a backdoor could be removed with a simple reset of routers.



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Investigating Self

I have always held myself to the highest degrees, I have always doubted myself. This has nothing to do with ego, or with the fact that I am better than others. This is about the setting that I am not perfect and I too make mistakes. I have never had doubt there. You see, the people claiming that they do not make mistakes are liars, plain and simple. It is not, or has it ever been about making mistakes or guilt. It has forever been about the ability to repair or adjust actions taken. I have forever stood by my words, whether wrong or right, and when wrong I have never opposed being corrected or adjust the view that I had. That is the responsible steps for any person to take.

And in the past I have given a very clear setting of the entire Novichok debacle and now, actually 6 daus later, I am taking a look at the US papers, you see, there are clear screw ups there. Yet there is also news that was never spread by the media to the degree that had to be given, was that not strange too?

So let’s take a look at the UN event (at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/you-dont-recruit-an-arsonist-to-put-out-a-fire-you-especially-dont-do-that-when-the-fire-is-one-they-caused).

On Sunday, 4 March, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city centre after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after having been exposed to a nerve agent. Following this attack, the United Kingdom notified the OPCW, invited them to confirm the identity of the substance involved, and we briefed members of the Security Council. The OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent.

Here in the first part we see that there is already one part (when you nitpick) it. The setting ‘the Novichok nerve agent‘ might be partially correct, we see that the BBC gives us two parts. The first: “The name means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed in secret by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s” and the second part is “One variant was reportedly approved for use by the Russian military as a chemical weapon“. When we see that Novichok is a group, which specific one was it? Some will say that this is merely Semantics, yet the UN and the UNSC are ALL about semantics, the specifics are very important here, because it allows for ambiguity, and that is not a good thing. In addition, when we consider ‘One variant‘, was that the one that was found? A lack of details is already seen from the very beginning from a whole host of media deliverers and that is not a good thing.

The second part is even worse. With: “On 4 September, the OPCW’s independent, expert laboratories have again confirmed the UK’s identification of the Novichok nerve agent with a very high level of purity and to remind Council members, the very high level of purity means that it will have been made by a state“, we are now treated to ‘with a very high level of purity‘, as well as ‘made by a state‘. These two parts are important, the first one was not mentioned in the initial attack, the emphasis on the purity is important, because all parties hit by the initial attack survived, the third victim, the police officer was seemingly indirectly exposed, implying that his exposure was even less and we do get that he was lucky and that the indirect exposure gave him a much better chance, yet the ‘purity’ now gives the question on how the first two survived in the first place. and if we see the reference to ‘the use of such agents on door handles‘ later in their statement, was there evidence of that, merely an example and if it was the door handle, one would be exposed for certain, the second one would have more likely than not evaded exposure for longer, optionally exposed to a much lesser degree (an assumption on my side).

Yet the second part ‘made by a state‘ remains the issue. You see, in ‘Does it taste like chicken‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/) we see: “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 Iranian academics created the substance for detection 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)” we are given the prove that the evidence shows that this is not limited to state actors, hiding behind the term ‘purity level’ is just folly in several levels. The fact that this was done in 2016 also shows that the formulas had been out for a while, the Leonard Rink case is further evidence still, all elements ignored by too many players.

Let’s be clear, there it is not in question that there is more likely than not a Russian involvement, yet the evidence that it was Russian state remains debatable, that part has always been the case. In addition when we are confronted with “testing of the hotel the pair stayed in in London revealed the presence of traces of the Novichok substance in their hotel room” is clear evidence of the two persons being involved in all that, yet in opposition, the entire matter of  “Looking around in the security business, I have been confronted with quotes like “their lack of covert tradecraft seems kind of bizarre“, “The shitty tradecraft, not just with clothes but by traveling together, and by leaving a noticeable trail“, as well as “Arriving together??? Staying together??? Leaving together?” is a first instance in all this” is equally important. Open sources all over the place by people in the security industry are giving us the question on why these two remained so visible, so outspokenly noticed. Even as a non-Trade-craft person I would be more likely than not be able to avoid clear detection and identification for around 50% of that time, that setting in all this matters, because we are confronted with a government knowingly targeting the wrong player, more likely than not the wrong Russian player.

This now evolves into something more when the statement “The GRU has time and again been responsible for Russian interference in other countries’ affairs, and most recently, we saw US indictments of GRU individuals in relation to the 2016 Democratic National Committee PAC“, not merely connecting two events, we are given ‘we saw US indictments of GRU individuals‘, yet when we look deeper we see in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateoflahertyuk/2018/08/23/midterm-election-hacking-who-is-fancy-bear) “The group (Fancy Bear) – also known as APT28 and Strontium – is allegedly affiliated with Russian military intelligence agency the GRU. Fancy Bear’s aims centre around geopolitical disruption through cyber influence“, it is not merely the ‘allegedly’ part it is also the ‘affiliated’ part. What officially connects these two? What evidence is there that in the first they are officially connected, and in the second part where is the evidence? The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service has them too in their papers, and I am not debating their existence, yet the clarity of evidence is missing.

For example, we do not question the SVR, the GRU or the FSB. We know who they are and what they do, that was never in debate. Yet when it comes to hacktivists and cyber criminals, the line gets to be blurry, more important, either of them can be both and at that point, is it them, or are they doing what their government tells them, or even a third party? Now we see Ambassador Karen Pierce having her moment of folly connecting the two together, making matters worse, or perhaps better started ‘more impossible to prove‘. That was always the case, proving that it was all state driven. It was never on the Russian part, that part was easy enough (almost too easy), it is the state driven part that is the case and when we get to rely on that some parts were ‘almost too easy‘, you better believe that it is anything but that. It still gives me the stronger conviction that this is organised crime, most likely Russian organised crime. At that point the equation changes by a lot and that is where we are stuck. Even as we accept (with the evidence of trace), how come that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were not infected? Why would anyone be this casual in the usage of the material, but allowing for trace toxin in their room? That question also remains at present. So when we are given ‘we have clear evidence of Russian state involvement‘, we see the speech, but what evidence was handed over showing that evidence? Merely two names and two passports? If that is the evidence then it is evidence that is slimmer than a silk thread, no weight can be applied to it with any confidence, no matter how strong silk is regarded to be.

Yet there is other news too, interestingly not from a government source. We see (at https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/key-suspects-identified-in-novichok-nerve-agent-poisonings-/3009475.article), the acceptable parts come in two stages: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, as well as “Impurities in the nerve agent samples taken from the Skripals’ and the unknown storage conditions of the bottle have made it difficult for the OPCW to conclude whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch” elements I brought out before these articles were released. Now, we must also critically challenge these statements, because ‘impurities’ implies more. It could merely be the humidity it got exposed to, which is not strictly an impurity, merely a lessened impact. So the precision of ‘impurity’ could also spell as evidence that it is optionally not the Russian state, merely a Russian player and my much earlier opinionated assumption that it was not smuggled into the UK, but optionally made in the UK is more visible with ‘whether the two nerve agents originated from the same batch‘, or the UK would have to admit that it is lacks and allowed for Biological agents to get smuggled into the UK twice over, hurting everyone’s ego.

Which leaves us with the final quote: “Consequently, the agency was not able to conclude from its chemical analysis that both poisonings were definitely caused by the nerve agent discovered in the counterfeit perfume bottle“, giving the UK a much larger problem, one I do not envy them to have. Part of me wants to examine all the CCTV footage myself (if it comes with a job). Too much in that does not make sense in the entire setting (yes I am happily paranoid). There is too much flim flam in all this. We see that with the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-45362840). When we are given “A number of vehicles which were used in the response to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning have been buried at landfill. Defra said the “potentially contaminated items” were taken to a site at Bishop’s Cleeve near Cheltenham before “being disposed of safely”“, all this whilst we have been told from more than one source that water and humidity dissolves and the Independent gave us last week: “Within the environment, these agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent“, such an overreaction is not merely stupid, it now implies that there is more, or perhaps a lot less and no one wants to open that can of worms. If you wanted to overreact, just drive it into a swimming pool and take it out the next day, fix the car and use it again.

Even if we accept that some overreactions are merely due to fear, a healthy dose of fear mind you, then still the entire Russian State part does not make sense. In the end, two targets that are still alive and two unknowns are dead. If I was either a ‘member’ of SVR, FSB, or GRU I would have been hurt in my pride and take one of at least two dozen of lethal solutions (not of them toxins) to remedy the situation. If you doubt me ask anyone in any of the NATO related special forces this simple question: ‘Can you live with your failed operation that left the enemy alive and innocent people dead?‘, some of these people do not accept failure in any way shape or form ever, I have the weird hunch that this ego driven sentiment is also present in Russian special forces. These people are weird that way (all of them, go figure), only fortifying my belief that we are dealing with another fish altogether and figuring out what fish we are dealing with is actually a lot more important than most think. Identifying that player should be the top priority before it is too late, merely because if I am proven right, it will also show that a lot of high end spokespeople will validly receive the limelight with merely one question ‘Show us that evidence!‘ At that point we will see soon thereafter a new option in Google Search:

Which one are you looking for?

  • WMD (US) Iraq
  • WMD (UK) Salisbury/Amesbury

What a legacy for these people to leave us.



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Paranoimia Extremis

I have been contemplating this issue for well over two days; I had a little relief when US hospitals united in creating their own pharmacy, but that only slowed matters down. I have been contemplating the open evidence as well as other sources and the setting does not add up. To give you a proper scenario in all this, we need to look at the timeline again. For me it started in March 2018 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/), I started the setting with ‘Something for the Silver Screen?

I gave the quote “we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain in saying Russia likely responsible for chemical attack against former spy‘, the mere title. Now, I am not saying that this is not what happened, not even implying that it is some figment. Yet, why would we see ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘? This is a simple murder, perhaps an assassination, or liquidation. Whatever word you use for the event, it does not matter to the person who got iced, he definitely no longer cares. But we, we should care, for us this entire situation matters.” The Washington Post woke us up and in all this, we got confronted with “She posited that either Russia was directly involved or it had lost control of a chemical weapon. Moscow responded to the ultimatum with scorn and sarcasm, ultimately blowing off May’s demands“. From my point of view, Russia had lost control of the weapon and it had done so a lot earlier then March 2018. The overreaction of ‘U.S., France and Germany join Britain‘ in something that had been known to be out in the open was weird to say the least. n that very same article on the 17th of March 2018, I also gave the goods on the OPCW. Who in their own documentation of 27th March 2013 (5 years earlier) gave us: “The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”“, we should all understand that a lot changes over 5 years, yet the Independent reminded us of a certain given. They gave us “In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks“, so at this point, we have direct information that optionally the Novichok was out in the open, we see that this happened 8 years before the OPCW statement and with the concluding statement “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see that Leonard Rink (patsy or not) is acceptable evidence that the toxin was out in the open, it got out 13 years ago, so in all this PM Theresa May already had verifiable intelligence, intelligence that was ignored by nearly EVERY intelligence party in this.

In ‘The Red Flags‘ (https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/27/the-red-flags/), I bring to light the article from the Guardian. Here we see the intelligent questions. Here we also see Jeremy Corbyn with his one bright moment when we see: “Jeremy Corbyn introduced a sceptical note, questioning whether there was any evidence as to the location of its production“, which fits the doubts that we get when we see “A Russian lawyer, Boris Kuznetsov, told Reuters he was offering to pass to the British authorities a file he said might be relevant to the Salisbury case“, this is the reference to the Leonard Rink case, something that should have been a clear fact much earlier, I already had that information 10 days before this publication. I am not alone here, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was equally in doubt, we see that with “advocating scepticism about the UK placing blame on Russia“. I never stated that there is no Russian blame, I am however decently certain that there is no Russian State blame (that part will become evident soon enough). The fact that we now also get: “Murray, in a phone interview, is undeterred, determined to challenge the government line, in spite of having been subjected to a level of abuse on social media he had not experienced before” implies that someone has activated trolls to keep him quiet, that is in my personal opinion a first clear sign of orchestration.

The fact that the attempted (and never successful assassination) of a Russian nobody (not meant as an insult) is weird beyond believe. Whilst the media is now hiding behind ‘may have been‘ and ‘possibly‘, we see an utter lack of any evidence on how it all happened. The fact that a policeman indirectly got infected and sick becomes a new elements in all this. We are all happy that he recovered, but it now gives additional setting on the strength of the poison, what was regarded by insiders as a toxic that is deadlier then VX has so far infected 3 and killed no one. The media steers away form that and goes into their emotional tantrums to gain circulation.

I end that article with the setting of: “The Russian government is not absolved in all this, yet Theresa May did not tell us: ‘we have strong indications that a member or Russian organised crime with links to the Russian governments are behind this. No! She went straight for the Russian government and offered no clear evidence, that whilst the clear evidence could be largely dismissed in most courts with merely the use of the documents of the SAB, the OPCW and the testimony of Vil Mirzayanov“. Using the designer of the toxin is not the worst idea, but when it comes towards ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ and the lack of evidence, I could have won this case in the Old Bailey against any seasoned QC that the British government can throw against me and as a law student I was NEVER EVER that good, which is saying something.

April 4th day (fool’s day +3)

Here in ‘Evidence by candlelight‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/04/evidence-by-candlelight/) we are treated to a few issues. The first is Gary Aitkenhead, even as the Guardian treated us to: ‘Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok‘, which is fair enough, we are also given “Aitkenhead said the government had reached its conclusion that Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack by combining the laboratory’s scientific findings with information from other sources”, which is window dressing at the most, but we also get “It’s a military-grade nerve agent, which requires extremely sophisticated methods in order to create – something that’s probably only within the capabilities of a state actor“, which is what I would personally regard as an outright lie. You see, the evidence can be seen as follow:

  1. The Novichok, from earlier sources give clear indication that it had been out for 13 years.
  2. It is a military grade nerve toxin that at that point had killed none!
  3. CLASSIFIED! (Will discuss this next)

The entire setting is getting ridiculous. You see, I am about to give you my speculation, but first some facts. In this I need to take care of the ‘state actor’ part. The fact that KalVista Pharmaceuticals is half way between the two incidents was ignored by pretty much EVERYONE. Why this part matters is that this is one place where the facilities are available where a Novichok could be made (there are several more, including close to a dozen in Europe), it would have to be an inside job, but it is an option. The press never went near that part and in equal measure it sets a different stage, the toxin was not smuggled in, it is getting smuggled out. Where to is impossible to say, but it is a much more likely scenario, placing Russian organised crime in the centre of this now. You see, the fact that the first event was without fatalities, and the second one was not is also important. It might have been the second batch, equal but better refined and stronger.

To support this I need to give you some evidence (of a sort). This is found in the July 5th article called ‘Does it taste like chicken?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/), here we see “GC/MS and LC-MS/MS used for ‘Novichok’ agent detection”, an article from January 2017. Iranian researchers give us “The Iranian researchers synthesised five ‘Novichok’ agents, along with four deuterated analogues. They were all O-alkyl N-[bis(dimethylamino)methylidene]-P-methylphosphonamidate compounds (i.e. molecules with the typical nerve agent phosphorus group coupled to N,N,N’N’-tetramethylguanidine). The O-alkyl group was varied, with the methoxy, ethoxy, isopropoxy, phenoxy, and 2,6-dimethylphenoxy derivatives being prepared. The syntheses were carried out on a micro-scale in order to minimize exposure“, the one part to take away here is ‘carried out on a micro-scale in order to minimize exposure‘, it is actually that toxic and it also gives us an earlier part that 5 agents were created, there is more than one, so that not disclosed part is also an issue not addressed. The fact that pretty much every University library with a chemical department has access to Spectroscopy Now is not important at all, is it? The independent gives us again (2 days ago) the part that was missing here; I forgot where I had the initial part from. It is given with: “Within the environment, these agents react with water to degrade, including moisture in the air, and so in the UK they would have a very limited lifetime. This is presumably why the street in Salisbury was being hosed down as a precaution – it would effectively destroy the agent“, consider the UK, humidity and the second event being more deadly. This was never about the Nina Ricci bottle; this was about the one part that I myself ignored as it was not logical. There was a second batch, a purer batch and it was tried on a person, now people died. The entire setting is one of locality now and at this point we get the setting, it was not smuggled into the UK, it is getting moved out of the UK. This now stinks more and more towards the Russian Mafia, and less of the Russian state but we cannot prove that at present can we?

Two tourists and a bag pack

The final part is seen with the two people CCTV’ed all over the place. The pictures looked wrong, they were out of place and red flags were rising all around me. Looking around in the security business, I have been confronted with quotes like “their lack of covert tradecraft seems kind of bizarre“, “The shitty tradecraft, not just with clothes but by traveling together, and by leaving a noticeable trail“, as well as “Arriving together??? Staying together??? Leaving together?” is a first instance in all this. This is not GRU; it is not even someone likely to ever become GRU. The more evidence we watch, the less it makes sense. Yet if these two were merely members of some goon squad, we see a different setting and one that is more likely. In finality, the Daily Mail brings the best part. They are on a mission and stop in a coin shop to go shopping? The Article (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6138541/First-chilling-CCTV-two-Russian-novichok-assassins-Salisbury.html) gives us a few more parts. But the big takeaway is not that they were seen. It seems to me that they were set on getting seen everywhere. And when it comes to ‘missions’, you take time to go shopping? Why to look inconspicuous into the camera? That too should be regarded as evidence, but not in the direction that the media and politicians are pushing us.

There is a larger play here and the Media has been part of it, not asking the important questions and merely trivialising what might have been essential. All, whilst a lot of verifiable facts are openly available, beginning with the OPCW document that are, and always have been publicly visible.

Have a great weekend!


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The man in the middle

There are a few issues going on, a few that should be looked at, yet because they are so in motion, looking at them now remains to be way too much speculation. What is interesting to look at is ‘How the GRU spy agency targets the west, from cyberspace to Salisbury‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/06/the-gru-the-russian-intelligence-agency-behind-the-headlines) and it makes me wonder more about Andrew Roth than anything else. The GRU, or as they are called Glavnoye razvedyvatel’noye upravleniye is known as the military version of what was the KGB and is now the FSB. The big cheese there is Igor Korobov. Now for something new, did you know that he is allergic to nuts? Well, it is true; he just cannot stand crazy people, and before he became Big Boss of Russia’s military spook central he was an officer of the Russian Air force. You might not realise it but it is an important fact, it gives shape to the man. The same as we see how higher officers of the Australian Navy and British Air force are shaped, so are the Russians in their setting and ego. Now, I cannot vouch for anything regarding Montenegro, I never looked into that (and not planning to at present). So when I see “A British security source told the Guardian on Monday that the nerve agent attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal was also ordered by the intelligence agency“, I merely see the media being played. The issue for me is simple; most issues on the Skripal event given to us via the media were largely wind and speculation. The actual poison was NEVER found, there was no evidence on where it came from or how it got there. There was ample evidence that the Russians invented that stuff and there was also evidence that the formulas were out in the open. This does not mean that the Russians were innocent, but the clarity of the event and the utter lack of anything remotely pointing towards evidence is important. We hears several sources, all making those claims that it needed to be state driven were debunked from the word go, so whatever Vil Mirzayanov stated was up for scrutiny, especially as there were too many references to his book (plug your papers when you can is perfectly valid). I discussed this in March in the article ‘The Red Flags‘, where I stated: ‘the clear evidence could be largely dismissed in most courts with merely the use of the documents of the SAB, the OPCW and the testimony of Vil Mirzayanov who seemed to be interested in upping the sold copies of his 2008 publication‘, so not what I thought was right, but what the documents of the OPCW clearly put forward making the setting on the state driven assumption questionable. I also mentioned (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/27/the-red-flags/) the setting “the US and the UK have not given any clear evidence, whilst several sources have clearly shown that Novichoks were out there. If any of the sources, that I mentioned on Novichoks (like Leonard Rink), are shown to be true than there is a larger issue in play. The issue is that some governments are in denial over the evidence and facts and that is a bad thing“, again, I was not stating that Russia was innocent, merely that the overwhelming evidence that the availability went beyond state driven access was ignored by all parties. I also mentioned (which was speculation) that there are easier ways to create panic as well as getting rid of certain members of the Skripal family, most involve the application of leaded devices, which are readily available in the UK. The entire setting was flawed and dirty. That is the part that got to me first. Most people work from their background. An Air force man, no matter whether it comes dressed with a lion (UK), or a hammer and sickle (USSR) they want clean results, a clean setting, it tends to be in their nature. So the entire Commando (Spatsnez) paragraph is nice, however they merely jump at the needs of their commander (who is one of them fly boys). In addition, the hit went wrong and those people really cannot accept failure. Try walking up to the SAS and telling them to do an operation that needs to fail, they’ll tell you to fuck off (or merely do that bird gesture), the fact that was given, that it was all about an unstable volatile chemical mix, makes the setting even worse. Then Andrew goes out on a limb with “Open source researchers have claimed that a GRU officer supervised the transport of anti-aircraft weapons to eastern Ukraine when the Malaysian jetliner flight MH17 was shot down there, killing 298 people“, which is really an act of stupidity (as I personally see it, that is). There are a few clear pieces of consideration (I shy away from the word evidence at this point). News (dot com dot AU) gave us long before this ‘Never-before-seen footage reveals Russian-backed rebels arriving at the wreckage of MH17‘ (at https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/neverbeforeseen-footage-reveals-russianbacked-rebels-arriving-at-the-wreckage-of-mh17/news-story/c5f6bc5e9629a22d17fe2680bfbd61a5), now I will admit, not the most reliable source of intel under most given days, but the wider accepted part: “THEY arrive at the smoking wreckage, thinking they’ve shot down an enemy jet. But the truth quickly becomes clear“. Two small points here; the first is that people on that level (Spatznez, SAS, Navy Seals, Commando’s) do not miss and they do not allow themselves to be filmed. These people shoot 10,000 rounds in targets so that when they have that one clip with 30 bullets, whatever they aim for will not be missed. It is the difference between the amateur and the professional and those teams are not amateurs. In addition, I have had a few issues with the MH17 situation from the get go, although in this case I will accept that many media were setting on speculations and rumours and creating emotions, whilst the actual investigative papers, as well as the classified attachments are not available to me or the media (for all the right reasons).

Then we see one addition, an interesting one. The quote: “Peter Zwack, a retired US army brigadier general, wrote about a series of meetings before the Sochi Olympics with the head of the GRU, Igor Sergun, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack in January 2016. “I found him soft-spoken, unassuming, complex, erudite and nuanced,” he said of their meetings, which largely focused on counter-terrorism efforts” is interesting (because it works in my favour), also in the given setting that they were commanders and equals in all this. The ‘unassuming, complex, erudite and nuanced‘ is what we expect from every top officer in any given army, and that setting that we expect as well as tend to see is not in line with the entire Skripal case. An article filled with anecdotes and one reference to the extradition of two Russians, the article raises a lot more questions and offers little to no answers.

Yet in all this, the views given here is the view that some officers have of their nightmare opponent, not an actual one. I doubt if there is anyone willing in the main armies (Russia, US, UK and Nato partners) to actually push for a setting of using a chemical attack on a target whilst knowingly endanger the population around that target. I have always seen that in the maximum field, the SAS, Commando’s, Navy Seals and Spatznez are precision tools. You do not use expensively trained people like that in an open setting or use them as a blunt instrument when there are alternatives around you. I admit that is merely my vision on it, yet consider that even in an army there is cost accountability. This applies to overt and covert operations and whilst there are less options in covert operations, setting the stage as we saw in Salisbury could have been done in a dozen different ways, all of them successful. It does not rule out the Russians as the optional culprit, yet the evidence as it was visible to all to check, gives enough rise to the question: ‘who else?‘, the fact that all parties walked away from that question makes the entire setting one of many question marks.

In the end, when we get back to “The British government is poised to submit an extradition request to Moscow for two Russians suspected of carrying out the Salisbury attack that left one person dead and three injured, including Skripal and his daughter“, whilst there was never any indication or any setting that the method of distribution was found (stated to be an unknown several times), whilst there was no CCTV or other options available to identify anyone in both attacks, we see: ‘two Russians suspected‘, questions should be asked. I am willing to state that the intelligence played this close to the chest and that there was indeed evidence never disclosed, we get that, yet the media setting going so far back basically stated the opposite. In addition, the attack was done on 4th March 2018, so now 5 months later there is evidence? How circumstantial is that evidence? I would love to be there when the lawyer presenting the extradition requests gives the goods on the evidence and where it came from. So not only is this a useless waste of time and energy, it seems to be one that is doomed to fail long before the papers were even served. This does not mean that they should not be served, I am merely going from the setting that not only will it be a setting that represents the existence of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘, I am certain that it likely fails ‘in the balance of probability where it is more likely than not‘, two settings that are planets apart. So failing both would be an interesting sight to behold.

All that information on the GRU, the Spatznez with all the lines to optional settings and possible attacks, yet in all this, where is the link to the two people requested to have a free life time vacation in the UK? Even as the Guardian stated in another article ‘Extradition request for Russian suspects has zero chance of success‘, which is very likely true. The entire Skripal mess seems to be a chain of failures and bungles on several levels. Now, in all fairness there was never much of a chance to get anything remotely useable in the first place, the setting was so far away from CCTV that the town of Salisbury offers plenty of actual privacy on several levels. Oh, and before I forget it. I mentioned it in ‘Does it taste like Chicken?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/07/05/does-it-taste-like-chicken/), is it not interesting that the KalVista Laboratories and Porton Biopharma, both advanced labs close to both Novichoks events, both labs that seem to have the required setting to make Novichoks. Yet the fact that neither got any of the limelight, not even by an inquisitive journo loaded with assumption and a ‘the people have a right to know‘ almanac (old and new testimony). They were all remained focused on Russia being the one and only culprit.

Again, the Russians are not saints (they suck at Cricket though); none of this reeks of a covert state action, it has the vapour of organised crime and in that setting if any of those people having access to either of these two places, there should have been a loud alarm on every street corner between those places and London.

It is merely my view, feel free to disagree. I feel like the entire setting was not one of parliament, or police, or justice. There is a man in the middle deciding on what is out there, there is a game strategist, an orchestrator in the field. I cannot state there is evidence, but there are several indicators in play, some are adhered to some are altered, that is how it all reads. I am not talking about the intelligence services, because that is merely a setting where we see embargoes and restrictions, it shows like an outside source telling others what to disregard. The Mirror for example used (whether valid or not) “ONLINE EMBARGO – The Times. Sergei and Yulia Skripal. No online before 12pm. Attempted murder of a Russian former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal”, the mere fact that larger pieces of evidence from the OPCW were initially completely ignored by most press outlets.

I know I am good, but I am not that good and several media covers have decent quality experts available, none of them had the OPCW on their brain in this? The docs I linked to, that defused several angles were all ignored? That is, what I personally believe to be a stage setting. And there is a lot more that I initially mentioned before anyone else. So in all this, the article from Andrew Roth leaves us with plenty of questions, the most important one is why such useless actions are taken in the first place and more importantly (as I personally see it), why the stares on one less likely candidate?

When the media is told where to look and telling us where to look, in light of all the visible evidence, is that not an even more worrying side in all this?


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Does it taste like chicken?

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.



Filed under Law, Media, Military, Politics, Science

The Sleeping Watchdog

Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor is giving us merely a few hours ago [update: yesterday 13 minutes before an idiot with a bulldozer went through the fiber optical cable] before the news on OPCW. So when we see “a special two-day session in late June in response to Britain’s call to hand the body new powers to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks“, what does that mean? You see, the setting is not complex, it should be smooth sailing, but is it?

Let’s take a look at the evidence, most of it from the Guardian. I raised issues which started as early as March 2018 with ‘The Red flags‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/27/the-red-flags/), we see no evidence on Russian handling, we see no evidence on the delivery, merely a rumour that ‘More than 130 people could have been exposed‘ (‘could’ being the operative word) and in the end, no fatalities, the target survived. Whilst a mere silenced 9mm solution from a person doing a favour for Russian businessman Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin would have done the trick with no fuss at all. And in Russia, you can’t even perceive the line of Russians hoping to be owed a favour by Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin. In addition, all these months later we still have not seen any conclusive evidence of ANY kind that it was a Russian state based event. Mere emotional speculations on ‘could’ ‘might be‘ as well as ‘expected‘. So where do we stand?

A little later in April, we see in the article ‘Evidence by candlelight‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/04/04/evidence-by-candlelight/), the mere conclusion ‘Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok‘, so not only could the experts not determine the source (the delivery device), it also gives weight to the lack of evidence that it was a Russian thing. Now, I am not saying that it was NOT Russia, we merely cannot prove that it was. In addition, I was able to find several references to a Russian case involving Ivan Kivelidi and Leonard Rink in 1995, whilst the so called humongous expert named Vil Mirzayanov stated ““You need a very high-qualified professional scientist,” he continued. “Because it is dangerous stuff. Extremely dangerous. You can kill yourself. First of all you have to have a very good shield, a very particular container. And after that to weaponize it – weaponize it is impossible without high technical equipment. It’s impossible to imagine.”” I do not oppose that, because it sounds all reasonable and my extended brain cells on Chemical weapons have not been downloaded yet (I am still on my first coffee). Yet in all this the OPCW setting was in 2013: “Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”“, I can accept that the OPCW is not fully up to speed, yet the information from 1995, 16 years earlier was the setting: ““In 1995, a Russian banking magnate called Ivan Kivelidi and his secretary died from organ failure after being poisoned with a military grade toxin found on an office telephone. A closed trial found that his business partner had obtained the substance via intermediaries from an employee of a state chemical research institute known as GosNIIOKhT, which was involved in the development of Novichoks“, which we got from the Standard (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html), so when you realise these settings, we need to realise that the OPCW is flawed on a few levels. It is not the statement “the OPCW has found its methods under attack from Russia and other supporters of the Syrian regime“, the mere fact that we see in regarding of Novichoks implies that the OPCW is a little out of their depth, their own documentation implies this clearly (as seen in the previous blog articles), I attached one of them in the article ‘Something for the Silver Screen?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/), so a mere three months ago, there has been several documents all out in the open that gives light to a flawed OPCW, so even as we accept ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, the fact that it did not result in fatalities gives us that it actually might be a non-state action, it might not be an action by any ‘friend’ of Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin or Igor Valentinovich Korobov. These people cannot smile, not even on their official photos. No sense of humour at all, and they tend to be the people who have a very non-complementary view on failure. So we are confronted not merely with the danger of Novichoks, or with the fact that it very likely in non-state hands. The fact that there is no defence, not the issue of the non-fatalities, but the fact that the source could not be determined, is the dangerous setting and even as we hold nothing against Porton Down, the 16 year gap shown by the OPCW implies that the experts relied on by places like Porton Down are not available, which changes the landscape by a lot and whilst many will wonder how that matters. That evidence could be seen as important when we reconsider the chemical attacks in Syria on 22nd August 2011, so not only did the US sit on their hands, it is now not entirely impossible that they did not have the skills at their disposal to get anything done. Even as a compound like Sarin is no longer really a mystery, the setting we saw then, gives us the other part. With the Associated Press giving us at the time “anonymous US intelligence officials as saying that the evidence presented in the report linking Assad to the attack was “not a slam dunk.”” Is one part, the fact that all the satellites looking there and there is no way to identify the actual culprit is an important part. You see we could accept that the Syrian government was behind this, but there is no evidence, no irrefutable fact was ever given. That implies that when it comes to delivery systems, there is a clear gap, not merely for Novichoks, making the entire setting a lot less useful. In this the website of the OPCW (at https://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria-and-the-opcw/) is partial evidence. When we see “A total of 14 companies submitted bids to undertake this work and, following technical and commercial evaluation of the bids, the preferred bidders were announced on 14th February 2014. Contracts were signed with two companies – Ekokem Oy Ab from Finland, and Veolia Environmental Services Technical Solutions in the USA” in light of the timeline, implies that here was no real setting and one was implemented after Ghouta, I find that part debatable and not reassuring. In addition, the fact finding mission was not set up until 2014, this is an issue, because one should have been set up on the 23rd August 2011, even as nothing would have been available and the status would have been idle (for very valid reasons), the fact that the fact finding mission was not set up until 2014, gives light to even longer delays. In addition, we see a part that has no blame on the OPCW, the agreement “Decides further that the Secretariat shall: inspect not later than 30 days after the adoption of this decision, all facilities contained in the list referred to in paragraph 1(a) above;“, perfect legal (read: diplomacy driven) talk giving the user of those facilities 30 days to get rid of the evidence. Now, there is no blame on the OPCW in any way, yet were these places not monitored by satellites? Would the visibility of increased traffic and activities not given light to the possible culprit in this all? And when we look at the paragraph 1(a) part and we see: “the location of all of its chemical weapons, chemical weapons storage facilities, chemical weapons production facilities, including mixing and filling facilities, and chemical weapons research and development facilities, providing specific geographic coordinates;“, is there not the decent chance (if the Syrian government was involved, that ‘all locations‘ would be seen as ‘N-1‘, with the actual used fabrication location used conveniently missing from the list? #JustSaying

It seems to me that if this setting is to be more (professional is the wrong word) capable to be effective, a very different setting is required. You see, that setting becomes very astute when we realise that non-state actors are currently on the table, the danger that a lone wolf getting creative is every bit as important to the equation. the OPCW seems to be in a ‘after the fact‘ setting, whilst the intelligence community needs an expert that is supportive towards their own experts in a pro-active setting, not merely the data mining part, but the option to see flagged chemicals that could be part of a binary toxic setting, requires a different data scope and here we see the dangers when we realise that the ‘after the fact‘ setting with a 16 year gap missing the danger is something that is expensive and equally, useless would be the wrong word, but ‘effective’ it is not, too much evidence points at that. For that we need to see that their mission statement is to ‘implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in order to achieve the OPCW’s vision of a world that is free of chemical weapons and of the threat of their use‘, yet when we look at the CWC charter we see: ‘The Convention aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties. States Parties, in turn, must take the steps necessary to enforce that prohibition in respect of persons (natural or legal) within their jurisdiction‘, which requires a pro-active setting and that is definitely lacking from the OPCW, raising the issue whether their mandate is one of failure. That requires a very different scope, different budgets and above all a very different set of resources available to the OPCW, or whoever replaces the OPCW, because that part of the discussion is definitely not off the table for now. The Salisbury event and all the available data seems to point in that direction.


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