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Some Extremely Sloppy Detective Work Raises Yet More Questions

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 25, 2018

The more I look at the statement issued by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu on 5th September, in relation to the Salisbury and Amesbury Investigation, the more I am astonished at the sloppiness on display. Mr Basu took the trouble of informing the public that the investigation has involved around 250 detectives from across the Counter Terrorism Policing Network, “brilliantly led by Counter Terrorism Policing South East, and supported by officers from Wiltshire,” and that they have been meticulously following the evidence for six months. So the statement he read out and the accompanying images ought to be entirely accurate, right?

Except they are not, and in fact they contain numerous extremely careless, and sometimes downright bizarre errors. For example:

Firstly, the two images of the suspects in Fisherton Street are headed with captions describing them as being in a place called Fisherton Road. There is no location called Fisherton Road in Salisbury.

Secondly, we have the images of the two men at Gatwick airport, famously taken at the exact same second, 16:22:43. Yet the captions above tell us that the images are of the men at 15:00hrs. This is mighty odd, not just because the timestamp on the images shows otherwise, but also because the airplane the men were travelling in had not even landed at 15:00hrs. It eventually landed nearer to 16:00 than it did to 15:00, so they can’t have been going through the gates at 15:00hrs, can they?

Thirdly, one of the four points The Met makes in joining the Salisbury and Amesbury cases together is an incomplete sentence that makes no sense whatsoever:

“Fourthly, the lack of crossover between the known movements of the suspects and Dawn and Charlie’s known movements around Salisbury, and the fact that there is no evidence to suggest they have been targeted mean it is much more likely Dawn and Charlie found.”

Found…? Found what? Who knows?

Fourthly, the picture of the two men at Salisbury station on 3rd March has a timestamp of 16:11:27. Yet in the timeline The Met tells us that they left Salisbury at approximately 16:10. So they left at approximately a minute and a half before they were photographed standing on the other side of the turnstiles from the platform? Is The Met, with all its massive resources and 250 detectives on the case unable to find out what time the train actually departed?

Fifthly, there is the fact that at least one of the pictures they issued has been very heavily cropped (see here). Why was it cropped and what confidence can we have that the other images were not tampered with as well?

Am I nit-picking? Nope. 250 detectives working on what may be the biggest investigation this country has ever seen, with six months to get their facts straight, ought to be pinpoint accurate. And yet all we find is sloppiness and little regard to detail.

And not for the first time. We’ve seen it before in the fact that The Met has still released no footage clearly showing the Skripals or the two suspects on 4th March (still images don’t count). This is beyond bizarre given that on numerous occasions they have appealed to the public for help in piecing together the events of the day. And we have seen it in the incomplete and incorrect timeline of events released on 17th March (which now seems to have disappeared from The Met’s website altogether).

But I want to focus on what I consider to be the biggest issue with the statement released on 5th September, which is the astonishing lack of detail given about the two suspects’ movements in Salisbury on 3rd and 4th March. Here is the description of their movements on Saturday 3rd:

“On Saturday, 3 March, they left the hotel and took the underground to Waterloo station, arriving at approximately 11.45am, where they caught a train to Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25pm.

They are believed to have taken a similar route when they returned to London on the afternoon of Saturday, 3 March. Leaving Salisbury at approximately 4.10pm and arriving in Bow at approximately 8.05 pm.

We assess that this trip was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area and do not believe that there was any risk to the public from their movements on this day.”

So tell me, what did they do and where did they go in Salisbury on Saturday 3rd March? You have no idea whatsoever, do you, because Mr Basu has not mentioned it. We are treated to the absurd word “reconnaissance”, as if the two men were in Afghanistan staking out the Tora Bora caves, rather than in a quiet city in the South of England covered by Google maps, but there are absolutely no details of what this alleged reconnaissance actually entailed. More on that in a moment.

What of their movements the next day? Surely there’s some detail here, given the allegations against them. Judge for yourselves:

“On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with Novichok.

They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo Station, arriving at approximately 4.45pm and boarded the London Underground at approximately 6.30pm to London Heathrow Airport. From Heathrow Airport, they returned to Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2585, departing at 10.30pm on Sunday, 4 March.”

In both descriptions, there are more details of their movements in London than their movements in Salisbury. The only glimmer of detail around their movements in Salisbury on 4th March is the claim that there is CCTV showing them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house. But which CCTV are they referring to? Is it the image of the two men outside the Shell garage on the Wilton Road? If so, as I discussed here, this is highly misleading, since this location is some 600 yards or so from Mr Skripal’s house, and on a completely different street. Then again, perhaps The Met does have something more incriminating, but in which case why not show that, rather than the image of them walking past a garage on a different road?

But I want to come back to the details about the Saturday, and the reason for this is twofold:

Firstly, it is one of the few places where The Met’s claims are refuted by some very specific, rather than general, testimony in the interview the two men gave to Margarita Simonyan.

Secondly, the claims made by the men in that interview, which refute The Met’s allegations, could themselves easily be refuted by The Met.

Here’s the crucial part of that interview:

Petrov: No, we arrived in Salisbury on March 3. We wanted to walk around the city but since the whole city was covered with snow, we spent only 30 minutes there. We were all wet.

Boshirov: There are no pictures. The media, television – nobody talks about the fact that the transport system was paralyzed that day. It was impossible to get anywhere because of the snow. We were drenched up to our knees.

Simonyan: All right. You went for a walk for 30 minutes, you got wet. What next?

Petrov: We travelled there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn’t work out because of the slush. The whole city was covered with slush. We got wet, so we went back to the train station and took the first train to go back. We spent about 40 minutes in a coffee shop at the train station.

Boshirov: Drinking coffee. A hot drink because we were drenched.

Petrov: Maybe a little over an hour. That’s because of large intervals between trains. I think this was because of the snowfall. We went back to London and continued with our journey.”

(As an aside, I can confirm that they are correct about the conditions. There was a lot of snow on the ground on the Saturday morning, and my children went off sledging, but by early afternoon they came back as it was rapidly turning to slush).

What we have are two versions of events, which are mutually exclusive.

On the one hand, The Met claims that the men arrived at Salisbury train station at approximately 14:25; that they left at approximately 16:10 (although as I say, they were still there at 16:11:27); and that during this 1 hour 45 minutes they went on a reconnaissance mission of the Salisbury area.

On the other hand, Petrov and Boshirov claim that after leaving the station (and they don’t dispute the 14:25 time) they walked about for about half an hour, before heading back to the station, where they sat in a café for more than 40 minutes and possibly up to an hour or so (this would be Café Ritazza in the ticket hall, shown at the top of this piece). This would therefore put them in the café from about 15:10 until about 16:10.

Now, I take it as obvious that for the reconnaissance claim made by The Met to be correct, this would mean the men visiting the alleged location of the intended poisoning — Mr Skripal’s house, or at the very least Christie Miller Road — since the purpose of reconnaissance is to survey vital locations, and this is the only really vital location in connection with the claims made against them. The only other possible location of interest to them, according to the claims against them, would be the back of The Cloisters on Catherine Street, where they allegedly dumped the poison. But let’s just say I would take an awful lot of persuading as to why anyone should need to do reconnaissance of a bin.

It takes between 20-25 minutes to walk from the station to Christie Miller Road. Double it for there and back, and you get 40-50 minutes. However, the very nature of reconnaissance means that it involves checking out an area, and so as well as walking there and back we could, at a conservative estimate, perhaps add 10 minutes to the walking times. Which means that we are looking at 50-60 minutes at least for a reconnaissance mission.

This entirely conflicts with Petrov’s and Boshorov’s claims. Of course, we have no way of knowing whether their claims are true or not, but the point is this: The Met knows exactly whether their claims are true or false, and they could easily disprove them simply by showing the two men walking through Salisbury when they say they were in the café.

Of course, it could well be that The Met does have CCTV footage of the two men in the city outside the half hour or so timeframe they have claimed. It could be that they have CCTV footage of the café from 15:10 to 16:10, and that there is no sign of the two men there. And it could well be that they have CCTV footage of the men on their way to or from Mr Skripal’s house.

Yet despite the very specific claims made by the men, the only evidence ever presented by The Met of their movements in Salisbury on that day is the image of them standing in the ticket hall at 16:11:27. Nothing else has been released of their movements. Nothing else has been stated. Other than the claim about reconnaissance, which has been backed up by nothing, there is nothing at all.

Some will say that The Met is under no obligation to publicly reveal any more CCTV footage than they want to. Ordinarily, I might agree. But not in this case. It was The Met that made serious allegations in public about the two men, and yet they did so without producing any evidence to back up their claims. But now that the two suspects have themselves publicly refuted The Met’s claims about what they did on 3rd March with some quite specific details, The Met now surely has an obligation either to show the evidence they have to back up their claim of “reconnaissance”, or withdraw it.

So here are the three questions that The Met needs to answer in connection with Saturday 3rd March:

    1. Do you have CCTV footage of the two men that contradicts their claim to have spent only about half an hour in the City that day?
    2. Do you have CCTV footage that contradicts the claims made by Petrov and Boshirov to have been in the station café between approximately 15:10 and 16:10?
    3. If neither of the above exists, on what basis has the claim been made that the two men were in Salisbury on 3rd March on a reconnaissance mission?

October 25, 2018 - Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia |

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