Tag Archives: Yulia Skripal

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.

#OneStepClosertotheWeekend

 

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Could I be wrong?

That is a question I always ask myself. You see, I never proclaim to know the facts (unless I was a direct witness). I have tried to use the better journalistic sources as often as possible and whenever I look at issues I try to look into different directions, and from different directions to get the better view. It is not a perfect solution, and I have never claimed that my version is the only option. So as I have written in regards to certain steps in the entire Novichok matter, the pushed actions by Natixis as well as settings into Tesco, The Geert Wilders case, the Yemeni conflict and other matters, I believe that I did a decent job, and one that was a lot better than any of the Rupert Murdoch gossip hounds could have ever hoped for.

So when I am confronted with: ‘Novichok poisonings: what is the GRU and how does it operate?‘, as well as: ‘PM points to Putin as Russian pair accused of Novichok poisonings‘ I wonder what is going on, because certain matters do not make sense.

This is the initial setting we need to contemplate when we look into the entire Novichok case. When I see the mere 4 hours old article with “In a special statement to a packed House of Commons, the prime minister, Theresa May, revealed the two suspects who flew into Britain to murder Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March with the military grade nerve agent were officers in the GRU, Russian military intelligence“, I wonder what drives this train wreck.

Consider that this is true; now consider that in the entire Skripal matter, no evidence was ever revealed on HOW they got infected. Then we get the setting that they SURVIVED that part matters when we consider the part ‘military grade nerve agent‘, all whilst the operation was a failure. Was it intended to fail? Were they ever on any CCTV in the surroundings of the Skripals? Then we get the mention “Photograph issued by the Metropolitan police of the Novichok poisoning suspects Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov“. So tell me, where was this picture taken and WHICH metropolitan police had issues it? And when we get “The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command“, which is true, and no one opposes that, yet they could have been merely there as tourists (if it was actually them), that is wherever that shot was taken. You see, from the facts given, we can in equal measure consider the arrest and extradition of Major-general Charles Stickland for the alleged killing of a US Navy Seal in Djibouti. Let’s face it, when it comes to the training and ability to even wound a US Navy Seal, he might be one of the few persons with the skills to do that. How ridiculous does that sound? Well, in that same light, we need to see a lot more when it comes to the Novichok. I get it! We are not privy to national security investigations, that part is not in doubt. Yet the entire matter, the lack of evidence presented and the Media merely boastful setting the stage of events, whilst evidence is lacking is a much larger issue, it literally serves absolutely no one.

So when we are confronted with ‘The Salisbury attack has all the hallmarks of the audacious actions of Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency‘, my initial personal response towards the writer Shaun Walker would be ‘What a fucking idiot!‘ You see when you look at the two parts ‘all the hallmarks of the audacious actions‘ and ‘most secretive intelligence agency‘, we see hem cancel each other out. Audacious actions is in the light, most secretive is not. Oh, and before I forget, how successful was the operation? They are both still alive and let’s not forget that a 7.62mm bullet from a silenced Tokarev has no risks of biological agents and would NOT have failed. The article gives us historical anecdotes that are useless, especially as the first one was from BEFORE the Spetsnaz GRU was even created.

Then we get to the second part in this. With: “The GRU has been identified as the main culprit in hacking ahead of the 2016 US election. A recent indictment from the team of special investigator Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers over the alleged hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails. Like the US operation, the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations: ingenious and audacious, yet uncovered and publicised by the target countries“. Here again we see the issue of evidence. How was the GRU identified? I am not stating that the Russians were not part of it, but between political hacks (or is that hackers), optional Russian Cyber units and the GRU is quite the leap and what evidence has given that part? When we see ‘Robert Mueller named 12 apparent GRU officers‘, how did the identity of the members of ‘Russia’s most secretive intelligence agency’ even make it out to the open? Is that not a weird thing either? In that we get to the final art of the first article, and it is again given with “the Novichok poisoning fits an apparent pattern of GRU operations“, so is the GRU about failures? In that, how does the second attack fit, and there we get the different news articles where the victim is dying in one and to be released in the other (see Yesterday’s blog at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/09/05/the-target-is-killing-me/).

The Article Two fiasco

The second one was from Marc Bennetts in Moscow. This gives us “Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree making information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret, two days before Theresa May accused Russian secret service officers of carrying out the Skripal attack in Salisbury“, this gives us merely two elements, it is implied to be connected, yet through what evidence? Basically we see the non-denied truth that ‘information about freelance agents working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agencies a state secret‘. That might be the case and that is fine, but is it related to any of this?

Now we get to the beef of the matter. It is seen with “The Fotanka News Agency appeared to confirm claims by the Metropolitan police that the men had used their Russian passports before. The force said the pair travelled regularly to Europe between September 2016 and March 2018, with trips to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and, repeatedly, Paris. Petrov visited London between February 28 and March 5 2017, the news agency said, citing its own unnamed sources“, now add to this “They purchased return tickets from London to Moscow for both Sunday 4 March – the day Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury“. So these two experts fly into Salisbury with no preparations time, no options to set anything up, infect them with a Novichok and get out (all in 48 hours)? This would essentially need a second team prepping it all (if it were them), this implies a team of at least 5 people in total. I admit that when I see ‘for both Sunday 4 March‘, there is something we need to contemplate, yet from my point of view they could have been used for a mere embassy courier drop, or any dead drop. However using that for the Novichok is ludicrous, so much could go wrong that failure was almost a given. A flight with zero leeway, that is not the acts of a secretive agency that is merely an advertisement of something else, what else? I have no way to know that. Oh, and for all the travels. That might be perfectly valid and true, but do we have any intelligence on where they went (exactly that is), where they stayed and which CCTV’s showed them? London and Amsterdam have a sizable CCTV system, also where did they go in Geneva? When we combine it all, there is a chance that they were optionally state security, no one denies that it is a possibility, yet the other side is that they might be the couriers or the personal assistant of one of these Russian billionaires, and if that is anyone related to organised crime we see my initial setting where I never stated that it was not Russian, merely that it was not Russian state and that does fit the bill. When you want your essential secrets to be transported, will you turn to the Randstad employment agency, or to Russian State Security offering people like that, offering a cushy job with a nice income that guarantees a lovely golden pension parachute, who would ever resist that?

Let’s not forget, we still have no actual evidence that these two (Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov) were GRU. They might be FSB, SVR, or perhaps merely intelligent and optionally well trained Russian citizens, where is the evidence? In finality Marc Bennets adds the anecdote of Dmitry Gudkov, for whatever value that has.

So far all articles that merely set optional allegations lacking evidence, so far when it comes to the Novichok, there has been a lack of evidence and even less cohesive evidence. The small parts that might have been an optional were overturned with the easiest of searches by me; all lacking the proper setting. Now I want to get back to the initial part, because I was not ignoring “assistant commissioner Neil Basu, laid out a compelling trail showing how the suspects travelled from Moscow to London and then on to Salisbury“. You see, when we see compelling as ‘not able to be refuted‘, it does matter, yet why not a mere CCTV pic of the Train platform or Bus platform to Salisbury? That is the part that is so weird, when a picture gives 1000 words and you rely on the one that gives merely 50 words, questions need to be asked and in that part the entire Novichok case (both attacks) is all about questions and no actual answers, mere allegations and accusations. So now we get to the quote “Police produced CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team during their 50-hour visit to Britain, entering at Gatwick airport at 3pm on Friday 2 March, and smuggling in the Novichok“, so where was the Novichok? It is another accusation that is lacking evidence. Apart from the fact that a biological agent got past Gatwick Airport which gives us a whole range of other questions too, but that is for another day.

I will also get us to the setting of the CCTV images. There were a few and I never ignored them. So let’s take a look at the setting (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/05/novichok-poisoning-what-we-know-so-far)

Arrival Friday March 3rd 15:00

There is no mention what was done between arrival and the first image, that part is actually important too. You see, that part might have supported or even denied the defence of mere tourists.

Saturday, March 3rd 16:00 Image one

Sunday March 4th 11:58 Image two, different outfit from image one, different shoes too, different hats. So are these the same people? (I wonder), the walk implies that the legs are slimmer too (what diet is that, please gimme some of that.)

Sunday March 4th 13:05 Image three seems to be the same as image two, yet now one of them has a backpack. Jeans of one of them looks different, could merely be the contrast of the two cameras.

Sunday March 4th 13:08 seems to fit image three, yet from behind, we can agree that it is most likely the people from image three, yet how certain are we that these are indeed the ‘culprits’? You see, from my (optionally wrong) point of view. We might have clothes to travel within 48 hours, yet two coats and two pairs of shoes? Also, in the end the mention of: ‘CCTV footage of the Russian assassination team’? Is there clear evidence that they were an assassination team? Yet the article gives one part that is the heart of it. That was given with: ‘For six months since the incident in Salisbury, the government has faced criticism over the apparent lack of evidence linking the crime to Russia‘, which was my case all along. I would love to get my fingers on that presentation and go over it with a really fine comb. I wonder what else I can find when I get access to all the raw data and raw footage, and let’s remain fair here, if there was a clear case of guilty in that mix, I would be able to find that too.

I am still willing to consider that I have been wrong, but the lack of evidence gives me the edge and some of the evidence seen is a little off, giving me the edge of my conviction even more. Oh, and in all this, the second ‘attack’ is still an issue and the fact that the second attack was a lot more lethal than the first one, in the light of humidity being a factor in making the Novichok less efficient remains a factor too, especially when we consider the time passed and the Charity bin part is just too vague on a few sides, as well as the setting that no one else got caught with any issues, too many parts are off there too (but that could be my lack of knowledge on how the entire charity bin path goes).

If I had to speculate on this, I would give the comparison of a factory making Jigsaw puzzles. Two different puzzles of the same size gives us two different puzzles with the same cut of pieces and someone mixed parts up so that we get a partial part of puzzle one in puzzle two and vice versa, that does not give us two puzzles, but basically 4 puzzles with an incomplete and incorrect view. In data we get the comical setting that: ‘to get any linear correlation, merely plot two observations’, yes it is 100% linear, as well as 100% unreliable mind you. I personally feel that the issues are pushed in one direction not because the evidence is there, but because the presentation was orchestrated, optionally by a third party, so who was this 3rd party?

I never stated that I was not wrong, I could still be wrong, but the evidence looks too tainted to be accepted as such we are all (including me) set on the wrong foot, you merely have to Google ‘Charlie Rowley’ and look for the news in the last week to see that (also mentioned in my blog Yesterday, as in the link given earlier). In the end, we must not forget the official government news (at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-statement-on-the-opcw-report-into-amesbury), where we are given “The police continue their investigation into the poisonings in Amesbury and Salisbury and we await their further conclusions”, when we read that on 4 September 2018, whilst we were given “Two Russian nationals named and charged over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury have been identified as officers from Russia’s military intelligence, Theresa May has said, saying the attack was clearly authorised by Moscow” the day after in the Guardian. So what evidence was added in those 24 hours?

The issue given in the government statement with: “The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK, and total disregard for the safety of the public, is appalling and irresponsible. Our thoughts are with the family of Dawn Sturgess and with Charlie Rowley” is the one in question. You see, no one ever denied the fact that Novichok is of Russian origin, yet there have been several sources in the past that showed that somehow Novichok got to be out in the open and that gives us the part where: ‘The recklessness of the Russian state in bringing a nerve agent in to the UK’ is the debatable part, merely ‘the Russian state’ as the setting whilst there is more than one alternative part in that trajectory. The push of that path is giving so much doubt and so much consideration towards a botched investigation on several levels. Even if we accept the optional two names to be Intelligence officers’ aliases, and if I was the Russian Mafia, I would definitely use names that at the mere sight of them would be intentionally ignored by border officers at Moscow airport. The fact that this path was ignored FROM DAY ONE is just too big an issue, add to that the failures of the events and we get something quite debatable.

I am always happy to be wrong, yet the presentations we have seen so far makes it more likely then not that this is actually not the case in the end.

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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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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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