Tag Archives: Salisbury

IQ versus PI

I could not believe my eyes this morning. OK, I admit I had a weird night. It was suddenly too warm (for winter) and I ended up cleaning my kitchen at 03:00, that’s how I roll at times. So when I got my morning routine together which was delayed by 30 minutes, I ended up having to wake up to ‘Moscow using UK as dumping ground for poison, says Sajid Javid’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/05/sajid-javid-uk-to-consult-allies-over-novichok-response-russia-poisoning), whilst having my first (and second) coffee. Now as a conservative, I am worried. For the most, I do not consider politicians to be overly intelligent. Now that is not really a big deal, my IQ test was around 12 point lower than Alan Turing, so I don’t have the biscuit on Intelligence, I know that much. Yet as a former boss of the Deutsche Bank, I would have thought that Sajid Javid had a decent handle on things (like common sense). So when I get confronted with “using the UK as a “dumping ground” for poison and urged Russia to explain “exactly what has gone on””, I do wonder whether Sajid is smitten with IQ or with Plenty Ignorance (PI). So as the article is giving us things like “Sources close to the investigation dropped a hint that they may now know the identity of the would-be killers who targeted the Skripals”, that whilst the transmission method was never determined, for either case, the fact that the goods cannot be traced as the individual parts were never found, we are confronted with ‘dropped a hint’ that comes across as an almost desperate attempt to shake the tree and wonder if anyone will be running away. The additional part where we are all still confronted with what the fans of the Hammers might regard as a ‘load of bollocks’, so when you see “the novichok that harmed them may have been in a sealed container left following the attack”, we need to realise that the operative part in all the unknown parts is ‘may have been’.

Now, this is nothing against the metropolitan police or the counter terrorism units, as this is not ANYONE’S cup of tea and we can add the CIA to that list as they are learning the issues that the Salisbury detectives are confronted with and with Salisbury with an utter lack of CCTV’s, the detectives get to work with a lot less than their peers in Sussex and Brighton currently have access to.

Now, the article also gives us “The incident in Amesbury is being viewed by the authorities as an after-effect of the March attack rather than a major new development. This would suggest the police do not regard the agent as being from a fresh batch” and that is important as I mentioned towards that yesterday (it was speculative at the time), and the fact that it might have been thrown out (if that is true) then it was a dump, but I feel certain that it was not done as a state driven action. People in that setting do not leave evidence behind. In addition, we need more factual data before we can draw on any speculative conclusions, yet it seems that Sajid does not have them either. The ‘may have been’ and ‘dropped a hint’ give us that much.

I do get it, they are all about smothering optional panic, but being stupid about it does not tend to be a solution, it pretty much never is. So when we see: “Our strong working assumption is that they came into contact with the nerve agent in a different location to the sites that were part of the initial clean-up operation”, we see to a decent regard a factual part, yet most common sense brains would have gotten us there, in addition, there were only two affected in both initial cases, so the investigators do not have anything and the additional police officer hit, would have been most likely from a transfer from one of the initial victims, which makes sense. In addition to that, the fact that the second pair was hit so much later, knowing that all the Novichok versions are highly unstable. Now in all regards, we cannot give Sputnik news the sentiment of being unbiased yet they gave us in April parts that were already known. “the Novichok is a very unstable substance, which depends on [exposure to] water, on alkalis, on everything”, So when we consider the rain and humidity in the Salisbury region, how likely are some of the presented facts? They also gave a part that I did not know (having no degree in Biomedicine or Ways of Mass Discomfort). The quote: “Mirzayanov said that the toxin did not kill Skripals since the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals”. I surmised part due to its instability, yet the given ‘the substance is vulnerable to humidity, and there was fog in the United Kingdom on March 4, the day of the poisoning attack on Skripals’ gives us that humidity is a much stronger factor in negating the efficiency of the substance, making it a lot less terminal. Something a state ordered visiting person would have been made aware of. So as we are confronted with more and more media outbursts, we are watching a show where the cast is unflatteringly (and undeserving) caught with their pants around the ankles doing the penguin.

The final part that is questionable is the quote: “scientists had said novichok degraded in the natural environment over time, adding to the notion that the substance Sturgess and Rowley came into contact with was in a container.” Yet when we accept that all the Novichoks are unstable and that humidity impacts it in a larger degree implies that there was no ‘degradation’ not after such a long time, not to remain this potent. So if it was a sealed container, there might be some reflection on that, but that requires a lucid person to answers a lot of questions and the victims are still “critically ill and doctors at Salisbury district hospital are trying to stabilise them”, so there is that part gone. In addition, they either have the container, or they do not. It might make most sense, but in the end it seems that some people of authority are setting a stage of implied emotion through speculation and half truth, so whilst they are all members of the Ignoranus clan and basically blaming the Russian government on this (this one time they might actually be innocent, so go figure), we see ‘The eyes of the world are currently on Russia, not least because of the World Cup’. It is a dangerous setting, not because of the fact that it is done, but merely because the people are not looking and perhaps realising that there was something that they missed which might have actually helped the detectives working on this.

And in the end Sajid Javid made it worse with: “We will stand up to the actions that threaten our security and the security of our partners. It is unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison” the mere fact that there is close to no evidence linking the Russian government to this event because they basically invented the stuff, is almost like blaming Alfred Nobel for all the blown up buildings in Syria in the last 5 years when dynamite was used. The fact that the man has been dead for almost 122 years is the smallest of issues that the media will find a loophole for. Adding: ‘Sources close to the investigation’ or ‘may have been’ usually does that trick.

Yet no one denies that there is an issue, there is one that needs a resolution and we need to realise that one of several Novichok nerve agents are out in the open. There is even the consideration that someone with an utter lack of common sense is playing with one (or more) of them. The fact that there are no terminal cases might imply this, yet the wielder and the reason are unknown. We can also agree that in the Skripal case there might have been Russian government employee involvement, yet no evidence was ever brought to light. In the second case it is so much less likely, yet there we do not know how the nerve agent was set upon the couple, the timeline clearly indicates that she was the initial infected and the setting of a third unharmed person implies with a level of certainty that it happened outside of their premises and that is about all we have been exposed to. There might be more, but the police will not and optionally should not reveal that for the longer of times, which is fair enough, they have a hard task ahead and they can do without the Monday morning quarterbacks called bloggers (including me) and journalists (pretty much every paper on the planet). I do hope that they can solve and close the case, yet until that point comes, I do hope that Sajid Javid gets clue and gets it fast, because the PI he is showing is getting to be exponentially larger than his IQ ever was.

 

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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.

 

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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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Slicing the Tiramisu

Perhaps you remember the old days, the days where France was ruled by Marie-Antoinette, as well as King Louis XVI. In days of hunger she stated “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, or for those who did not serve in Etrangere: “Let them eat cake”. Yes those were the good days. It was 1789 (it was April if I remember correctly). It was around the day when those bloody colonials (now known as Americans) inaugurated George Washington as the first President of the United States of America. You see, nowadays we fend of hunger by wallowing in greed, to set our stepping stones towards gaining a piece of the action, any action and what I predicted (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/24/losing-values-towards-insanity/) in ‘Losing values towards insanity‘, is now turning into a reality. You see, when I stated on February 24th “Both Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin are now perfectly placed to rake in billions” is now as we see in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-russia-and-turkey-meet-over-syrias-future-as-trump-mulls-troop-withdrawal/2018/04/04/c607e27c-3770-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html) becoming a reality. With the quote “The three presidents — including Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — gathered in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where they pledged to cooperate on reconstruction and aid” we see the present escalate for the facilitation towards President Assad, whilst they now are willing to state “The leaders called for more support from the international community and emphasized their opposition to “separatist agendas” in Syria“, you see now that they are at the table getting rich the rest of the Syrian oversight will be costly thing and now they are willing to let the US and the EU pick up the bill for those costs. It is the price of doing business with the wrong party, or basically staying out of it all.

In addition, with “It was the second time that Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani have met in recent months to discuss the conflict, underscoring those tensions and the extent to which U.S. power has waned in the region“, which is not news, it is a clear sign of making all the wrong choices and the US is about to make a few more. In regards of Syria, I do stand with President Trump. You see, the title ‘As Trump talks of leaving Syria, his top commander in the Middle East emphasizes the need to stay‘ (also the Washington Post) is deceptive, dangerous and not too bright. I do sympathise with General Joseph L. Votel, head of U.S. Central Command. His statement “A lot of very good military progress has been made over the last couple of years, but the hard part, I think, is in front of us,” is correct. Yet now that the Russians have delivered, the US is at the political mercy of the steps taken by President Rouhani, President Erdogan and President Putin. Each of these players with their own needs to play their games with the U.S. in any way they can and as much as possible. Turkey wants the EU membership, whilst knowingly endangering the EU values forever, Iran wants whatever Iran can lay their fingers on and Putin wants to screw with the Americans for all he can. So any US presence is like walking through a minefield day in day out for months, even years. In addition, there is no evidence that the rebels will ever stop, they will come back and by letting the Russians and Iranians and Turks take those reprisal blows is not the worst idea to have. The wise play is to move out of Syria altogether, the US can only lose here, it is almost the certainty of facing a ‘lose-lose’ situation whilst every blow delivered to the US will mean that the Russians and their Megaline LLC (or known as the delicious cake makers Prigozhin and Utkin).

It will rake in the massive wealth that they will most likely share with President Putin and a few of their friends on the inside. There is every chance that this is the year is the year where Yevgeniy Prigozhin becomes the second most important man in Russia for a very long time and with every contract that they score and deliver to the Syrian government means an additional ascension of his stardom. With the US gone they will actually have to deal with the matters themselves and as the EU stays out, their goose will be partially cooked with every act of retaliation the defeated rebels successfully make. The UK with the entire bungled Salisbury events are only the icing on the cake that Putin is lashing out with for all to see in the media. The fact that he is calling for the joint investigations on several levels whilst there is enough indications that his involvement might never be proven is one part that also works against the UK and the EU. There was never any doubt that Russia created and developed the Novichoks and as the world is seeing what a mess the OPCW and the SAB made of it all merely intensifies the need for other players to get their fingers on this technology and learn skills they never wanted earlier. That part was invigorated by the outspoken misses of the Porter Down and the bunny jumps by Gary Aitkenhead stating “we have provided the scientific information to the government, who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they have come to” only made matters worse. So the Russians are now slicing their Tiramisu which they will share (to some extent) with Iran and turkey, but the message is clear, the US lost massively here and staying behind is not a wise choice (as I personally see it). You see, I do respect the view of General Votel. Even as President Trump thinks short term (his ‘reign’) and General Votel has the right long term strategy view, It is the Trump action that is the wisest one. Syria is about to become cold war territory and the US military is not ready and even nowhere near trained to get into that field. The fallout of such strategic blunders would haunt anyone serving there for a very long time to come. In addition I think it is what the Syrians deserve, they wanted this, so let it be maintained in a ‘cleaned’ state by Russian troops. The US gearing up optionally against Iran by standing next to Saudi Arabia and gaining a better profile in that way is a much better option. It allows for a better humanitarian standing as they set their sights on Yemeni relief is a better option, it will set them against Iran, which is good, because at that point Iran will either back down against Saudi Arabia, or face the wrath of the Saudi, US and Israeli forces which would be quite the show, and I would love to test (for a fee of course) that solution I designed to sink the Iranian fleet (but that is merely my sense of humorous ego).

The second reason is that ISIS might have been dealt serious blows, but they are not out of the fight. The Sinai is merely one focal point, the fact that they are also in Yemen makes for a strategic need for the US to see if they can operate from Saudi Arabia. It would allow for other means to deal with ISIS and for the US to gain a much better foothold in the Middle East. With Saudi Arabia moving well over 500 billion towards a futuristic NOAM, the US have a lot more to gain, doing so before Russia gets options in NOAM is again the wise strategy to follow.

In the second view, it sickens me that ‘after the war‘ we are suddenly ‘allowed‘ to give what the Syrian four now regard as ‘aid’. That was a step they should have allowed 6 years ago. Let them solve it themselves now and live with the consequences of that aftermath and the costs that come with them.

They can have the cake, the crumbs and the table it stands on, that whilst we know that there are several players eager to set fire to that table whilst the 4 rulers are trying to eat the cake. Setting the US and the EU up as a decoy whilst they eat all the cake is a little too distasteful to my liking.

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The Red Flags

Today is a day where we are overloaded with actions on parties, yet there is little evidence shown, actual evidence that gives light to the danger. So first we see Russia, the old red with hammer and sickle. First we see ‘Expulsions of Russians are pushback against Putin’s hybrid warfare‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/26/expulsions-of-russians-are-pushback-against-putins-hybrid-warfare), as well as ‘More than 130 people could have been exposed to novichok, PM says‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/26/130-people-feared-exposed-to-novichok-in-spy-attack-says-pm). These two matters are shown to us giving two lights. The first is “The expulsions of Russian diplomats on Monday reflect how widely Vladimir Putin has attempted to wage his brand of hybrid warfare and how many leaders and their intelligence agencies he has angered in the process. Even before the Salisbury poisoning, many governments had lost patience with Vladimir Putin’s grey war for domestic reasons of their own. Their response is not just an act of solidarity with the UK but a collective pushback“, I am not denying any of this. There are indicators that Putin has been waging ‘war’ for some time. There is also the larger indication that he is moving on several fronts and he is gaining field in economic options in the Middle East, whilst America has lost footing. The US needs to appease Saudi Arabia to the maximum degree to avoid the dangers of losing even more footing in the Middle East.

It is with “In Lithuania, the government found Russian spyware on its computers. As far back as 2007, Estonia suffered a three-week wave of cyber-attacks” we do get a first issue, as well as with “US and EU expel scores of Russian diplomats over Skripal attack“. You see when governments start to react with “in a show of solidarity” you should all be aware that there is a lot more going on. This is not some form of ‘conspiracy theory’, this is merely facts that you can check. How much solidarity was shown when we all got screwed over by the meltdowns of 2004 and 2008? The economic impact was shown in several countries. Of course not as massive outside of the US, but we all felt the pinch, millions of us. So how much solidarity was shown AGAINST Wall Street? Please show me the evidence, because for the most, these people might have lost their jobs, but left so wealthy that these men could go into brothels for the rest of their lives, shopping for virgins. So when it comes to solidarity, i have merely seen that as a government sham over the last 10 years. In addition, even if we acknowledge that the Novichok is of Russian making, there is evidence that it was not uniquely in Russian hands. In addition, there are clear questions regarding Vil Mirzayanov as well as some of his statements as I showed in the earlier presented blog ‘Something for the Silver Screen?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/17/something-for-the-silver-screen/) where I gave the readers “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””. Now we need to consider that both the OPCW and the SAB are incompetent beyond belief, or that we are now getting a collection of Fish Stories. They presented the statements in 2013. Now TASS (I know, not the greatest source of non-biased journalism) gives us “As far back as 1998, we looked though a regular edition of the spectral database released by the US National Bureau of Standards, which has spectral data on about 300,000 compounds and is regularly updated, to find an agent that caught our attention as it was an organophosphorate chemical. We understood that it must have a lethal effect. Now it has turned out that, judging by the name of that agent, it was Novichok A234. It has surfaced,” Igor Rybalchenko, chief of the ministry’s chemical laboratory, said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel“. You see, this is something that could have been checked. Is TASS lying? If not than we get the additional of what some might regard as ‘fuck ups‘ by both MI5 and GCHQ. In that regard, the less stated involving MI6 at present the better. Now, that part could be easily verified, yet 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. Let’s be clear, that does not absolve the USSR (I love the old names) on many of their actions, it merely shows that painting everything with a single brush shows other levels of incompetence on several fields. Even if that was the Intelligence branch intervening for whatever reason, they went about it really bad and the wrong people end up getting scorched. It is the Guardian that gets credits here for asking the hard questions. With ‘UK’s claims questioned: doubts voiced about source of Salisbury novichok‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/15/uks-claims-questioned-doubts-emerge-about-source-of-salisburys-novichok) it asks the harder questions and in there we see the conflicts that Craig Murray brings. With ““There is no evidence it was Russia. I am not ruling out that it could be Russia, though I don’t see the motive. I want to see where the evidence lies,” Murray said. “Anyone who expresses scepticism is seen as an enemy of the state.”“. I am pretty much on his side on this matter. I found issues that gave rise to the blanket accusation within 30 minutes, perhaps better stated it took an hour because the OPCW documents read as smooth as sandpaper, more boring materials and meetings will seldom be read. Besides the questions from the Guardian, not one of the newspapers dug into the overkill matter. The entire exercise too overly complicated. I could have mugged, executed the two making it look like a robbery in mere minutes (excluding preparation time), it would be done in no time and no chemical risks at all, to no one. So as we saw PM Theresa May give us “More than 130 people could have been exposed to the deadly nerve agent novichok during the Russian spy attack in Salisbury, Theresa May said on Monday“, yet no one raises that it could be a mere individual or even the Russian Mafia. Two likely considerations in all this, and not one has raised that part. No matter how we see the opposing players in Special Forces or Intelligence. To set the stage of 130 bystanders getting in the crossfires is a realistic thing in places like Syria and Yemen, where there is open warfare, in places like Chantilly, Cheltenham, St Petersburg, or Lille is not where one goes playing like that. You see killing a target, a valid target is one thing, doing it whilst setting the stage for getting +100 plus knowingly in the crossfires requires an entirely different type of psychopath and governments tend to not hire those types in the first place.

That alone merely emphasizes the part that my view has been correct all the time. In addition to that, we still have seen no clear stated evidence on how it was done. The Scotsman (at https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/sergei-skripal-exposed-to-nerve-agent-through-car-vents-reports-1-4707852) stated “may have been exposed to a deadly nerve agent through his car’s ventilation system“, which they got from the US. You see, when we get ‘may have been‘ and ‘possibly‘, we need to realise that we are either kept in the dark, or they actually just do not know at present, which makes a case for blaming the Russian government a weird choice at best. And with every delay in this it merely shows that the entire mess is a lot larger, yet the media ignores that. I call that an actual problem.

I mentioned Lithuania earlier. Now, the following speculation does not absolve Russia, but when you realise that people like the Russian Mafia might oblige the Russian government at times, they are still in it for money, for simple profit and coin. So when we see: “In March 2016, Vladislav Reznik, a Deputy of the State Duma, has been put on the international wanted list and officially charged with membership in Tambovsko-Malyshevskie organized criminal group and money laundering in Spain. Reznik’s villa has been searched. According to the indictment, Reznik was among those controlling the gang operations and a member of Gennady Petrov’s business circle” as well as “€16 million have been received from the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Lithuania, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Russia. On the other hand, monetary funds amounting to some $8.5 million have been transferred from his accounts to Russia, Panama, Cayman Islands, and U.S.“, we see that Lithuania has larger players in the fold. If it is a vessel for transferring funds, having their cyber infrastructure under attack seems to be an effective way to keep the eyes peeled in different direction (extremely speculative), yet in support there is also “In July, Russian hackers were blamed for a similar assault on Lithuanian government Web sites. In Security Fix’s account of that attack, I posted a copy of a congratulatory letter sent to nationalist Russian hackers by Nikolai Kuryanovich, a former member of the Russian Duma. The missive is dated March 2006, and addresses the hacker group Slavic Union after the group had just completed a series of successful attacks against Israeli Web sites“, which is a first link from a ‘gov.ge‘ site. Cyberwar – Georgia

In addition there is “The wave of attacks came after a row erupted over the removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in Tallinn, the Estonian capital. The websites of government departments, political parties, banks and newspapers were all targeted. Analysts have immediately accused the Russian Business Network (RBN), a network of criminal hackers with close links to the Russian mafia and government, of the Georgian attacks“, now remember that Tallinn is in Estonia, not Lithuania. Yet the methods that the Russian Mafia uses are quite often duplicated (an Amway solution) and that part is not so far stretched. It is another cog that is showing us on the acts of the Russian Mafia. 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 who seemed to be interested in upping the sold copies of his 2008 publication.

There are sides to my story as well, parts I am not happy about, parts that should be scrutinised, yet in all this, the current facts and statements seem to take down the UK case at present. More importantly it shows us that the US is also playing the fear game, it is now more afraid than ever that it loses more and more turf in the Middle East, whilst Russia is moving forward. That scares them more than anything, even more than any Novichooks (yup intentional typo) in play, especially when we consider the danger that these weapons are and additional could be down the line, is that not odd either?

Ready Player Two

And that is not the whole story. You see in all this the other red flag has a star and a crescent moon. Yes it’s everyone’s favourite humanitarian setting (or was that lack off?), it is Turkey. So when we are again treated to the marketing of ‘Turkey needs Europe, Europe needs Turkey‘, the people in Europe need to run to the Brexit, or any EU-Exit they can find. I stated it in a previous blog with ‘This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible‘. I did that in ‘A changing language‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/15/a-changing-language/) well over a month ago. Now we see “Turkey is not doing very well economically, it needs outlets” said Lamberts, “and it is very clear that bad relations with Europe are harmful to Turkey, so somewhere on the economic level Erdogan needs Europe and Europe in fairness needs Turkey“, which Euro news gave us yesterday. So we see how Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian Green MEP is willing to throw values overboard, the economy does not allow for any humanitarian values. So when I see any journalists hiding behind ‘constant attacks on transgressions of human rights‘, whilst attacking governments making any kind of economy based deals. Can they just kindly go fuck themselves? When we see the Turkish joke evolving on the EU field, no journalist gets to use the ‘Human Rights‘ card for a long time to come. If you want to do that, go visit Turkey and protest in front of those prisons that have journalists locked up for life. Until you can make that change there, do not come crying on other shores. If you need actual Human rights issues, then perhaps turn to Canada where we got “A French waiter who was fired for his “aggressive, rude and disrespectful” manner has claimed compensation, insisting that his behaviour is not unusual, but that he is simply French“, that is the story of Guillame Rey from Vancouver Canada. that is where the Human Rights have gotten us and that is a real win for the ‘15 children that were killed in an airstrike as they hid in the basement of a school in the town of Arbin‘, yes a real humanitarian win in this. So even as the financial Times reported less than 2 hours ago “The EU said it failed to win a pledge from Turkey to free journalists it has jailed and improve other rights for its citizens but that it will maintain talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their first meeting in almost year“, we see no place stating that turkey will not become a member of the EU. It is another side where the gross negligence of evidence is taking the toll of our humanity. So as the President of the European Council Donald Tusk gives us “Only progress on these issues will allow us to improve EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process” (at https://www.ft.com/content/dbefa9e6-313d-11e8-b5bf-23cb17fd1498), so I am proven correct yet again, they merely need to push the EU deeper in debt, which according to Bloomberg is coming for certain through “Draghi’s call for patience and persistence in delivering stimulus, suggesting bond-buying will be extended beyond September” or set the stage where the so called Humanitarian principles are ignored, which has been the case for close to a year. It has only strengthened my view that the UK is a lot better off outside the EU, because this entire EU mess will collapse onto itself and woe to those who are left behind paying for it all. It could set back the economic markers for close to two generations in Europe, which should scare anyone in the EU.

The last red flag is North Korea (it has blue too)

I mentioned it some time ago. The entire Sony mess and blaming North Korea was never really resolved. So when I got the news from ABC stating “Secret intelligence documents and photos unilaterally collected by the U.S. military were among the stolen cache of South Korea’s classified documents by North Korean hackers, but the totality of what was stolen remains unknown“, we should be starting to get careful. you see it implies one side, but to my view it gives an entirely different issue. It implies that North Korea is a capable cyber operator. Now, we know that one can do plenty of damage with a laptop (like in the movies). Yet when you see these pics you wonder what on earth is going on, because we now get the speculated but believable view that ‘the US gave documents to an ally that does not have its basic cyber protections in place‘, that is a very different kind of cheddar, isn’t it? Now, I have seen a few pics where the computers look a little more advanced, but nothing that an actual gamer would still be using two years ago. And that is the foundation of their hacking? Let’s be clear, there are situation where you can hack with a 10 year old laptop, but you need skills, you need access to documentation and the ability to get past the firewalls and past sniffers and network monitors. They do exist, yet that requires an equal incompetency on the South Korean side, a part that we are also ignoring, the use of Common Cyber Sense.

You see, when you get “Malware contamination of the intranet server of the cyber command that occurred in September last year was confirmed by the South Korea’s Defense Ministry in May but this is the first glimpse of the scope of the damage“, there is another layer in place, one that does make sense. Some of the European, Russian and optional US hackers are selling their stuff to North Korea. That is a very possible scenario, but in that case both the FBI (if the US was involved), as well as the CIA failed in their tasks. Perhaps better stated, the CIA seems to be unable to thwart North Korea from purchasing cyber hacking software from making it to North Korea, which is equally a failure on several levels. It is unfair to blame merely the CIA. It is fair enough to add the earlier avoided MI6 to the mix as they should have been watching that danger, because if these hackers can get to South Korea, they could in theory hit the UK in equal measure, the evidence is there. Even as we agree that North Korea does not have the skills (my personal belief) to create something like Wannacry. I already went there to some degree in ‘In light of the evidence‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/05/28/in-light-of-the-evidence/), the evidence given was compelling that was given by ICIT. In addition we had ‘when IBM cannot give view of any mail that propagated the worm’, which also takes North Korea out of the loop, yet they could have acquired the software. So even as the largest cyber player like IBM remains in the dark, there is still evidence that it was North Korea? That view was only enforced when a Dutch media team went to North Korea a few years back. In some places their cameras were locked up because no photographs were allowed. Yet most had them anyway, because the North Korean officers had no idea what a smartphone was and that it was able to take pictures. The Dutch NOS showed it on Television, so that is the place that hacked into South Korea, the birthplace of Samsung? It is not impossible and was never denied by me, but it was so extremely unlikely that unless clearly proven with evidence considering it was utterly impossible to the common sense mind. Yet as the source is not in North Korea, hunting that source down is more important, because the next time it will not be some version like Wannacry 2.0, it could be Stuxnet 7.1 and as the UK has 15 reactors and the US has 99 reactors in 30 states, it seems to me that waking up both MI6 and the CIA to actually get to the bottom of these North Korean ‘praised’ cyber skills and find out where those skills actually were (read: came from), because not doing so is a much larger issue. I hope that the South Korean bungle of their network security constitutes as at least some level of evidence.

Three red flags, none of them are innocent, I never implied that, but as we are changing the play, the marketing vibe and the need of what is real we need to carefully weigh what the media gives us and what those giving the media are actually after. I have seen enough evidence thrown about and have been able to ask questions to the extent that gives rise to many question marks and whilst some media are playing the emotional waves, some are seeking clarity and that clarity gives us additional options and views that we did not consider before. People all over the world are told to jump to the left, whilst there is no evidence that anything form the right was going to hit us in the first place, which makes us wonder why they did not want us on the right side to begin with.

These red flags are important, because even if we had any faith on the Russians trying to attack us, we need to consider that Cambridge Analytica is an English firm and even as Fortune now reports “A non-partisan watchdog group has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission alleging that the data firm Cambridge Analytica violated U.S. election law by having foreign nationals involved in the decisions of political committees“, we see that it was a British firm who scored that job.

So it is possible that the people in Moscow will be treated to a comedy in 22 hours, it will go something like “TASS Is Authorized to Declare that the accusations against the Russian government and its people were propagated by an English Firm“, in this I used part of the 1984 Soviet spy miniseries directed by Vladimir Fokin, because even with my weird sense of humour it seemed important to give it an Orwellian sling. Perhaps you should check out his new book. It apparently deals with life in the US after a presidential election.

 

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Something for the Silver Screen?

There is an issue in Europe, well, there are plenty of issues in Europe, but until now, I steered clear of one of them. Something does not add up and it is now more of an issue than ever before.

This trip started in the Washington Post, after I saw several articles in the Guardian. You see, with one article it has become something else and that is very much an issue. So (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-to-respond-very-soon-to-british-decision-to-expel-its-diplomats/2018/03/15/89e27b4a-2839-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html), 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. So when we see in the very beginning “formally backed Britain’s claims that Russia likely was responsible for a chemical toxin attack against a former spy living in England“, I personally am not convinced. There would have been any number of actions that would have resulted in the demise of that person. To get a gun is usually not hard if you know the people. There was a person in the 90’s that one could meet near Ilford, would be able to get a whole range of guns, no silencers though. Still for £350-£500 (in those days) you could get something not too fancy and it would clean the clock of whoever needed to be done. Just make sure you do not do it in the wrong place and upset the local family guy, because that tends not to work. Still, consider the ease of a mere gun against the dangers, the risks and the trouble of getting VX into the country, than getting it to the location. You only need to see the movie ‘The Rock‘ to know that it requires several things, a lot of it dodgy and that stuff is not that stable to begin with. Now, as we see that there was a nerve agent in play, so I am not opposing that. I am merely stating that this kind of work is odd to begin with. That is beside the point of any SVR RF, FSB or GRU member freaking out having to take that shit with them. It is not merely overkill; it tends to leave you without options if you fail at first. And ask any Murphy that your shit goes wrong the first opportunity nature gets their hands on you. It is a fact of life. So in that regard it seems to me that Novichok is a weird choice to use. This is also me stating that I have no evidence that it was NOT used. So when I take a little lesson in Novichok, I learned the following:

  1. At https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/CSP/RC-3/en/rc3wp01_e_.pdf, we see “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”” which they state on page 3 in paragraph 8. Now this is 2013 and this is 5 years later. Yet, as some sources give us that it was developed in the 70’s up to the early 90’s, it seems interesting that there was nothing on the matter 20 years later.
  2. Yet that same OPCW gave us in April 2011, two years earlier the two following parts on page 7 at 11.1 and 11.2. With: “This has been attracting increasing attention in recent years, particularly among non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Although very little information has appeared in the public domain, there have been claims that a new class of nerve agents, known as “Novichoks”, has been developed. In December 2008, a former defence scientist published a book, which included information on structures reported to be those of the new agents. Some of these structures meet the criteria for Schedule 2 B4 (S2 B4); however, all others are non-scheduled chemicals. The author claimed that the toxicity of certain “Novichok” agents may exceed that of VX“, something that should have woken up the CIA instantly, something deadlier than VX and no defence? There is no way that they wouldn’t have been chasing that, even if it was merely to find a defence against it.

So now we have the play to some extent in view. The BBC gave first view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43377856) with “Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia“, yet it is the innuendo of News.com.au that takes the limelight. With “Investigators believe the nerve agent that poisoned former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, The Telegraph newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in the genteel southern English city of Salisbury on March 4“, so not only did they go the whole nine yards to get to both, the entire issue is that both could have been removed simple enough in Salisbury. The entire matter does not add up. Another source, The Jamestown Foundation gives us “Sergei Skripal (66), a former Russian military intelligence (GRU) colonel, was arrested in Moscow in 2004 for allegedly being an agent of the United Kingdom’s MI6 intelligence service. Skripal was convicted, in 2006, to serve 13 years in prison for treason. In 2010, he was pardoned, released and sent to the UK in a major spy exchange involving a big group of “sleeper” spies who had been arrested in the United States, promptly convicted and deported to Russia“, so if we accept these facts, than we see that he was shipped to the UK 8 years ago. So now we see such an overkill event? It does not add up!

This level of overkill implies (mind you I am saying ‘implies’) personal orchestration, this is a message, but for who the message is for (or ‘from’ for that matter) is not clear. There is enough evidence that the toxin was used, but there is a long road here. Even as we accept the Jamestown Foundation giving us “Other officials insist Novichok was never officially defined as a chemical weapon and was not destroyed, because it never officially existed (Interfax, March 14). Mirzayanov, who is apparently the main whistle-blower on Novichok, is being actively discredited by the pro-Kremlin press (Komsomolskaya Pravda, March 15). Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov categorically denied there ever was a secret nerve agent program named “Novichok in Russia or in the USSR,” while Russia has stopped all work on developing new chemical weapons and has completed the destruction of existing stockpiles. Ryabkov referred to Mirzayanov as a “defector,” who was not trustworthy (Militarynews, March 15)“. This now gets us to the crux of the matter. The whistle-blower Vil Mirzayanov is now living in the US. Now we get to the good stuff, which is given by The Guardian, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/russian-spy-poisoning-attack-novichok-chemist) gives us ‘chemist says non-state actor couldn’t carry out attack‘, that is a notion I can very well agree with. In addition, as I stated earlier “the chemical was too dangerous for anyone but a “high-level senior scientist” to handle and that even he – who worked for 30 years inside the secret military installation where novichok was developed and gained extensive personal experience in handling the agent – would not know how to weaponize it“. If this stuff has been weaponised it would be a novel usage and also a very novel situation. The fact that the luggage went from Moscow without setting off any alarms, the fact that it survived the trip (you know how luggage carriers tend to be), as well as the setting that it went off at the time it did gives rise to all kinds of technological options. Still we have the setting of who would have done it. Mirzayanov supports this with ““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.”” and let’s not forget the target, a former GRU agent who had been in prison for 4 years and then exchanged. It seems to me that it is not impossible that Russia was behind it, but I feel that the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind, moreover this was a test-run (a mere speculation) and the person decided to go after the one person he had hatred for and in that regard going after the daughter made perfect sense, even more so as it would hurt the person he wanted to get to even more. So was this the case?

Now the last part is all speculative but it adds up, the effort shown for stuff that is still material for denial from the original whistle-blower giving us ‘would not know how to weaponize it‘, and that is from the person who actually handled the stuff. It is the very last part that also matters; with “Mirzayanov thinks the Salisbury attack was performed with a binary version of the agent brought through customs and automatically mixed at the time of the attack“, so two elements, mixing and distributing, such a device was not seen when the luggage got to the UK?

There are too many issues and even as I agree wholeheartedly on the message that Vil Mirzayanov brought to us, I am not convinced that this was some elaborate scheme from the Russian government. Sending any officer of the SVR RF, FSB, GRU or even the Voyska Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya to go shopping in London with the message “Oh, and before you fly back, would you kindly put a bullet in the back of the head of both Sergei and Yulia Skripal?“, a simple mandate avoiding well over half a dozen of cogs that could be clogged with mere sand at any given time.

That is why it does not add up. In hindsight there is one additional part. Is it true that ONLY Russia has that stuff? The entire matter when we see some papers where the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was to some extent in the dark 5 years ago. In light of Vil Mirzayanov moving to New Jersey in 1996, so 15 years later the OPCW is still in the dark? That path makes even less sense. In addition, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) seemed to have been equally in the dark. From those parts alone, whilst one of the handlers was in the US for the last 22 years, the entire setting is a stretch. It does make sense that the US would have been part of the conversation, yet how do France and Germany fit in? Some presented unity on standing up against Russia?

There is little question on the timeline. So when we see the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43297638), they are found by a doctor and nurse at 16:15, both unconscious. So they had made it to the Malting’s shopping centre (or so the information implies). So when we learn “A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said“, which we get form the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43323847) we should be able to tell more. But we cannot, the News is too chaotic, BBC, SBS and other reliable sources give us the snippets, but not an actual slice of the cake. The timeline implies that they were poisoned on the spot, the fact that Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after taking part in the early response to the attack gives additional rise to the use of a toxin, but that implies that it was done there, on the spot. Even if the toxin was moved through touch, the speed at which Nick Bailey got it implies (speculative from my side) that the toxin worked fast, unless the location was less than a 4 minute walk from their house, that option would be taken away as the toxin would be pushed through the body via the bloodstream. In addition any longer would make the Novichok useless, nerve agents are that because they are close to lightning fast, even as we expect that the police officer was lucky and too little got to him.

Yet it was only a few hours ago that the Guardian is giving us a timeline (aren’t they just the best). So the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/16/skripals-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far) gives us a decent timeline. I particularly liked “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as a letter“, so perhaps it might be: “most likely in powder form and the means of delivery could have been as simple as the restaurant bill“, you see the hour at Zizzi as well as the fact that they were found 40 minutes later. A nerve agent will work fast, really fast so the 40 minutes would have been a stretch no matter what, yet the fact when they were found and when they were overcome is not a given, so they could have been smouldering there for over 20 minutes. It equally gives rise that the longer they were there the less impact it would have had on Constable Nick Bailey, his luck I might add. The Guardian is now showing the issues I had and that is good (for me), so as I finalise reading that article, I see a number of issues and even as I had seen most issues, the one part that they aren’t giving us (as It was not part of the timeline) was seen in the in depth of the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/uk-russia-nerve-agent-attack-spy-poisoning-sergei-skripal-salisbury-accusations-evidence-explanation-a8258911.html). Here we see: “Some analysts have claimed that Novichoks could have been smuggled out of chemical weapons and storage sites after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when facilities were abandoned by unpaid staff and security was low“, “if the precursor ingredients were smuggled out in the 1990s, stored in proper conditions and mixed recently, they could still be deadly in a small-scale attack according to some experts” as well as “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” give us a few things. In the first that the experts are kind of clueless, we might be blaming Russia on all this and it might be true, yet the latter part that involves Ivan Kivelidi takes away the ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. The fact that this stuff is out in the open to some degree is a much larger issue and when we see “Leonard Rink, told police he had been storing poisons in his garage and selling them to pay off debts“, we see part that takes the Russian government optionally out of the equation and gives us the part I came with earlier “the entire approach was too personal. I speculate that this was likely a Russian with a personal axe to grind“, it fits the bill of the restaurant one might state, that is, if the timeline of the events and the timeline of the toxin can be proven, because both are the axial in the issue.

No matter how this plays out, this could become one hell of a movie and when we see it on the silver screen, will Matt Damon play the person with the grudge, or the scientist who initially played a role in developing it? However we should reserve the role of Skripal for John Larroquette, it will be nice to see him again on the big screen.

 

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