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Urban’s Tale Clears Away Some of the Smoke and Mirrors in Salisbury

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 3, 2018

There’s enough smoke and mirrors in the Salisbury poisonings to make the Magic Circle blush. It is impossible for the public to understand what happened, and who did what to whom, not only because the details don’t add up, but because many of the so-called “facts” that have been released are suspicious in and of themselves. Whichever aspect of the case we look at to try to make sense, we can never quite be sure that we are not going down a rabbit trail, since the “facts” we base our case on may in fact not be facts at all.

What we can do, though, is to keep looking at the official claims. The investigators of the case obviously have access to information that ordinary members of the public don’t have, and they have made an accusation. But the big question is whether the claims and the accusation they have made stand up to scrutiny – not just to the “facts” that have been given out, but also to logic and to reason.

It is important to begin by defining exactly what the claim is. There are essentially two branches.

The first comes from the British Government, who have declared the Russian State to be responsible for an attempted assassination of Mr Skripal on 4th March (to begin with they hedged their bets between direct responsibility and indirect responsibility, but later statements are more explicit about direct responsibility). In making this claim, because they are not in a court of law, but rather in a Parliament full of remarkably incurious folk, they have been able to able to come up with vague and airy statements about the case, all of which may well be enough to satisfy the incuriosity of that particular audience and their chums in the media, but which are unlikely to satisfy the minds of the more discerning.

The second branch comes from the Metropolitan Police. It is by far the more important of the two, since it is the specific claim of those paid to investigate the case, and is therefore the one upon which the Government’s claim ultimately rests (it is, however, worth reminding ourselves that in the Alice in Wonderland times we now find ourselves in, the Government’s claim came prior to the investigation, not after it, which as anyone acquainted with logic, reason and justice will tell you, is precisely the wrong way around).

To understand The Met’s central claim, however, we must first hack our way through much smoke and navigate our way around many mirrors. So let’s do that by first establishing what the claim is not:

It is not that the Russian state was behind the poisoning (although the Metropolitan Police statement of 5th September does repeats the claim made by the Prime Minister on 14th March, it does so only as a prelude to what is then said about the two suspects, and is not central to its claim about those men).

It is not that Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov are GU Intelligence Officers.

It is not that Ruslan Boshirov is in reality Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

All these are peripheral to the central claim made by the Metropolitan Police, and in many ways just smokes and mirrors. The Metropolitan Police’s central claim can be succinctly said to be the following:

“That between 12:10pm and 13:30 on 4th March 2018, the two men named as suspects – Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov – went to the house of Sergei Skripal at 47 Christie Miller Road, Salisbury, on foot, and there applied a high purity, military grade nerve agent to the handle of the front door in an attempt to assassinate Mr Skripal.”

Now, astute readers will realise that the Metropolitan Police has mentioned nothing about the timing that I have stated: 12:10 – 13:30. Nevertheless, that this is what their claim entails is an incontrovertible fact taken from two pieces of information:

a) The image released by the Met of the two men on the Wilton Road at 11:58 (ten minutes after another image showing them arriving at Salisbury train station), which is a little over 5 minutes walk from 47 Christie Miller Road.

b) That Mr Skripal’s car was seen on CCTV driving away from his house at 13:33, towards the town, never to return.

In other words, the claims that the Government first made back in March, when there were still various conflicting claims as to where and how the poisoning took place, have now been distilled into a very particular location — the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road — and a very specific timeframe — 1 hour and 20 minutes.

To put that into Cluedo terminology, the Metropolitan Police have made an accusation, and it is as follows:

“We believe it was Boshirov and Petrov (perhaps not their real names), at the door handle of Christie Miller Road, with the Novichok, between 12:10 and 13:30.”

The whole of the Government accusations from March onwards are now indelibly connected with this claim, and its truth or otherwise.

Now, the first thing to say about the claim is that the information released by the Met so far has not proven this claim at all. The images showing the two men coming into the UK do not prove the claim. The images of the two men walking around Salisbury do not prove the claim (in fact, they tend to do the opposite, since the idea that two apparently highly trained intelligence officers would not only carry out their deed under cover of daylight, walking together at all times, but would then spend almost two hours traipsing around town are frankly not very credible). The image showing the two men on the Wilton Road does not prove the claim, since it is some 600 yards from the alleged crime scene.

It may all be enough to convince the nation’s MPs, but it ought not be enough to convince anyone still committed to reason and logic.

However, comments in a new book by the BBC reporter, Mark Urban, reveal a couple of things that are of crucial interest in light of the claim. Here is the first:

“Urban discovered that Skripal spent much of his day watching Russia’s Channel One, a pro-Kremlin state broadcaster. He adopted ‘the Kremlin line in many matters’, the journalist writes, ‘even while sitting in his MI6-purchased house’, especially over Moscow’s fraught relations with Ukraine.”

The key part I want to draw your attention to is that, according to Urban, Mr Skripal’s house was “MI6-purchased.” This may come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention, but it does at least clear away some of the smokes and mirrors. So the house that Mr Skripal lived in, and the one that he was apparently targeted in, was owned by MI6. And the reason for this, as the British media seem to have belatedly discovered, is that Mr Skripal was still working for MI6.

Mr Urban also says this:

“The people closest to him [Sergei] were probably what he called his ‘Team’ — the officers from MI5 and MI6 who looked after his welfare. He spoke about them with affection and had a special mobile phone that went directly to their duty officer.”

Hopefully, you’re beginning to get the picture. Sergei Skripal was not only active for MI6, and not only lived in a house which was purchased by MI6 but – according to Mr Urban – he had MI5 and MI6 officers assigned to protect him, as well as a direct line should he need to get in contact. As an aside, would it be cheeky to enquire whether this particular phone was one of the ones that was allegedly made untraceable on 4th March?

Given what Mr Urban says about the house, the phone and the protection, let me ask a few simple questions:

  1. How conceivable is it that the house did not have some kind of security measures in place, including CCTV cameras?
  2. How conceivable is it that Russian intelligence wouldn’t have assumed that Mr Skripal’s house would have had some kind of security measures in place, including CCTV cameras covering the front door?
  3. How conceivable is it that Russian intelligence would have chosen a method of assassination that was not only highly untargeted, but which was practically guaranteed to result in the filming of the assassins committing the crime?

To discerning persons, the answer to all three questions is quite obvious, though perhaps not to the nation’s MPs or media.

But let’s just suspend reason and logic for a moment, and imagine that despite the extremely high probability that Russian intelligence would have assumed Mr Skripal’s house to be well protected, and the absurdly low probability that they would then have chosen this particular method of assassination, they had still carried out the attack in the way the Met claims. What would it mean?

It would mean that there has been a massive failure on the part of British intelligence to protect one of their own assets in his own house — a house which they owned, and which should therefore have been made safe. In which case, why are there no questions being asked about this failure in the House of Commons? Or do we already know the reason for that.

Let me spell it out even more clearly. There only three options here:

Option 1: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house did indeed have the kind of security measures you would expect it to have had, given that Mr Skripal was actively working for British Intelligence. In which case, if the central claim of the Metropolitan Police is true, there must be CCTV footage of the two suspects, applying “high purity, military grade nerve agent” to the door handle.

Option 2: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house didn’t have the kind of security measures one would expect it to have had, given that Mr Skripal was actively working for British Intelligence. In which case, if the central claim of the Metropolitan Police is true, does this not constitute a failure of security of the highest order?

Option 3: Mr Skripal’s MI6-bought house may or may not have had the kind of security measures you would expect it to have – but it’s all neither here nor there because the door handle assassination claim is untrue.

The discerning amongst you will make your own minds up as to which of these possible scenarios is correct.

October 3, 2018 - Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | ,

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