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The Achilles Heel of the Door Handle Theory

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | October 29, 2018

There are few certainties in the Salisbury case, but one thing I am quite confident of is that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were not poisoned with a nerve agent of “high purity” on the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road. I am also quite confident that Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was not poisoned in this way either, and furthermore that his actions, and the subsequent actions of investigators, are the Achilles Heel of the whole explanation. I shall come onto that in due course, but first the Skripals.

There are simply too many things which, when added together, make the door handle explanation at the very least incredibly implausible, if not downright impossible:

Firstly, they did not die immediately, or thereabouts, which is what you would expect to have happened had they been contaminated by coming into contact with what was said to be a nerve agent of “high purity”.

Secondly, they were fine for hours afterwards, so much so that they were able to drive to town, feed ducks, go for a meal, and then have a drink.

Thirdly, eye witness accounts of the couple on the bench suggest that they became seriously ill pretty much simultaneously. Certainly, there were no reports of one of the pair calling for help, or contacting the emergency services, which is what you would expect to have happened in the event of one becoming ill before the other.

Fourthly, during the duck feed, which took place just after the Skripals parked their car in Sainsbury’s car park, and prior to their visit to Zizzis, Mr Skripal handed bread to some local boys, one of whom apparently ate a piece. I cannot think of a plausible explanation why this boy did not become ill if, as claimed, Mr Skripal’s hands were contaminated at that time with a “military grade nerve agent”.

Fifthly, either Mr Skripal or his daughter must have touched the parking machine at Sainsbury’s car park, which was then touched by literally hundreds of people over the following days. Yet not one of these people were contaminated.

Sixthly, neither the door handle at Zizzis nor the door handle at The Mill were contaminated, despite the fact that either Mr Skripal or Yulia, or perhaps both, would have handled them when going into those venues.

In other words, in order to accept the door handle explanation, you need to ignore every one of these extremely improbable things. If it were someone on a website suggesting it, rather than The Metropolitan Police, you all know what they would be called and what they would be assumed to be wearing on their heads, don’t you?

Suppose you’d never heard about the case of the Skripals before, and someone told you that it involved two people collapsing simultaneously on a bench after being poisoned by some sort of highly toxic substance. Where would you assume the poisoning had taken place? Given the rapid onset of symptoms, and the fact that both fell ill at the same time, most rational people would assume that it was at the bench, or in the near vicinity shortly before. Not many, if any, would plump for a door handle four hours before, with the feeding of waterfowl and partaking of comestibles and beverages in between.

Yet the curious thing is that the near vicinity explanation — by far the most obvious and reasonable — hardly seems to have got a look in. The theories of the place of poisoning very quickly moved from the poisoning of food in Zizzis or spiking of drinks in The Mill to a timeline of perhaps hours before the collapse, including flowers, buckwheat, the car door handle, and luggage, before finally resting on the door handle of the house. But nothing much about the bench or The Maltings.

Nor were there any concerted appeals for more people to come forward with information about the Skripals’ movements after, say, 15:30. There were appeals regarding their movements between 9:00 and 13:00. There were appeals regarding their movements in the early afternoon from 13:00 to 13:45. But nothing much around the actual time and the actual place that logic and reason would suggest the attack took place.

This is all very odd, to say the least.

But there is something much odder than this, and it is something which — I believe — shows beyond all reasonable doubt that the door handle explanation is false. I refer to the movements of Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey, and the response of investigators following his actions.

There is some confusion as to when Mr Bailey was first admitted to Salisbury District Hospital. Some reports seem to suggest that he first went there on Sunday 4th March, and some suggest that it may have been 5th or even 6th March. Still other reports suggest that he may have gone there on the evening of 4th March, been given the all clear, but then driven himself back there on 6th March after feeling unwell. Certainly, the first mention of his hospitalisation in public was made by the then Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley on 6th March, who stated the following:

“Sadly, in addition, a police officer who was one of the first to attend the scene and respond to the incident is now also in a serious condition in hospital.”

For the purposes of what I want to show, it is enough to say that by 6th March, not only had Mr Bailey been admitted to hospital, but it was also known that he had somehow been poisoned.

As you can see from Mark Rowley’s comment, Mr Bailey was said to have been one of the first responders at the bench, and so it was initially assumed that he must have been contaminated there, perhaps by coming into contact with one of the Skripals. One of the glaring problems with this explanation, however, was that not one other responder at the bench was similarly contaminated. For example, one witness, Jamie Paine, described how Mr Skripal was frothing at the mouth, and that he got a little bit of this on his skin and jacket. Yet he was not contaminated.

Then on 9th March, the solution was forthcoming. Lord Ian Blair, former Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police, stated in a radio interview that Mr Bailey actually went to Mr Skripal’s house. Here is how The Telegraph reported this:

“Asked if there were any leads in the case, Lord Blair told the Today Programme on Radio 4: ‘There are some indications that the police officer who was injured had been to the house, whereas there was a doctor who looked after the patients in the open, who hasn’t been affected at all. So there maybe some clues floating around in here.’”

The phrase “some indications” is what is known as a weasel phrase. By that time Wiltshire Police and The Metropolitan Police must have known full well that Mr Bailey had been at the house, and there would have been no “some indications” about it.

Let us pause to consider what this means.

According to the narrative presented by The Metropolitan Police, by 9th March at the latest, three things were known for certain:

1. Detective Sergeant Nicholas Bailey had been hospitalised after becoming contaminated with a toxic substance.

2. He had been at the Maltings, close to the bench where it was reported that the Skripals had collapsed.

3. He had also been to Mr Skripal’s house at 47 Christie Miller Road.

This would have led to a logical deduction that the source of Mr Bailey’s poisoning must have been at one of two locations:

1. At the bench in the Maltings (or close proximity)

2. At Mr Skripal’s house.

(Note that I have said “the source of Mr Bailey’s poisoning”. It is possible that he was contaminated away from these locations, by an object he picked up. However, the source of his poisoning would still have to have been at one of these two places).

But as mentioned above, The Met seemed to rule out or ignore the bench and The Maltings as the place of poisoning from quite early on. And so according to their own account, Mr Bailey must have been poisoned at the Skripal house, or by something he took away from there. Indeed, this is what was stated in The Telegraph article in which Lord Blair’s comment appeared:

“The disclosure that Det Sgt Bailey was poisoned at the Skripal family home — rather than at the scene where the pair collapsed — strongly indicates that the nerve agent was administered there.”

So what would you have expected to happen next?

Here’s what I would have expected: 47 Christie Miller Road to be placed on full lockdown, with forensic specialists from Porton Down brought in to examine the house inside out, taking swabs in order to locate the source of poisoning. And so if the door handle was the location of the poisoning, it is not unreasonable to have expected it to be identified as such within 24-48 hours of knowing that Mr Bailey had been there. So by 11th March at the absolute latest.

But this is not at all what happened. What actually happened was as follows:

Firstly, we continued to get a number of speculative theories about the source of the poisoning, from Whitehall and intelligence sources. For example, the theory that the poison was placed in the flowers laid by Mr Skripal at his wife’s grave was mentioned on 10th March and continued to be seen as a possibility for a good while afterwards.

The car door handle was mooted as a possibility on 13th March:

“Whitehall sources last night said Mr Skripal was poisoned when he touched the door handle of his car, which had been smeared with a deadly nerve agent.”

And on 18th March, intelligence sources were saying that the poisoning may have taken place through the air ventilation system in the car.

But hang on a minute. These theories might have made some sense if it was just the Skripals that had been poisoned. But it wasn’t. By 9th March it was known that Mr Bailey had been contaminated too, and his movements were also known. And since there was no suggestion that he ever went to the cemetery, or that he ever went to Mr Skripal’s car, how could these places possibly have been the source of the poisoning? Of course they couldn’t, and given that investigators had apparently ruled out the bench or the near vicinity as the place of his poisoning, Mr Skripal’s house and his house alone by that time should have been the entire focus of the search for the location of the poisoning. And yet it wasn’t.

Secondly, the scene at the house itself continued after 9th March as it had done before that time. It continued to be guarded by unprotected, uniformed officers, just as it had been before Lord Blair’s remark. Why was this, if it had already been established that this was the place where Mr Bailey had been poisoned?

But thirdly, and most crucially, the door handle theory only appeared in public on 24th March, when it was revealed that forensics teams had taken swabs from the front door on 22nd March (the forensics team doing this was the OPCW, and it was the first time that the door handle had been a focus). In other words, it took almost a fortnight after Lord Blair’s revelation of Mr Bailey going to 47 Christie Miller Road for investigators to swab the door and the handle. That is simply incredible.

Interestingly, the article that first mentioned the door as “ground zero” in the investigation stated the following as the reason for this:

“Whitehall staff have seen evidence which shows Russians have researched administering poisons via door handles.”

What we can say, therefore, is as follows: By 9th March at the latest (but probably several days before), it was known that Mr Bailey, who was by then hospitalised after becoming contaminated, had entered 47 Christie Miller Road on 4th March. This means that – again according to The Met – the house must have been ground zero, because it was the only place, other than the bench, where all three people could have come into contact with the source of the poison. However, it wasn’t until 22nd March that the forensics teams came to check the door, and the reason they did so was apparently not because it was obvious that the house needed checking, but because allegedly an FSB manual had been found mentioning door handles.

So why did it take two weeks or more for investigators to swab the door and identify the alleged location of the poisoning, when according to their own narrative, Mr Bailey’s movements clearly pointed to the house as the location? Why was it that throughout that time other locations for the poisoning were put forward, even though Mr Bailey had not been in those places? And why did it take the alleged discovery of a manual, rather than Mr Bailey’s known visit to the house, before anyone got the idea to swab the door and the door handle?

I think there is only one plausible explanation, and it is this: Mr Bailey wasn’t actually poisoned at the door handle of Mr Skripal’s house at all. Had he really been poisoned there, immediately after it came to light that he had gone to 47 Christie Miller Road on 4th March, the house would have been swabbed from top to bottom and the door handle as location of the poisoning would have been identified by 11th March at the latest. Instead, there was a gap of two weeks or more before swabs were taken. Why? Because for some reason, which hasn’t yet been explained, and perhaps never will be, both Mr Bailey’s and the Skripals’ contamination needed to be explained away from The Maltings. And although his going to the house meant that this was a possibility, it took two full weeks, plus the invention of the door handle manual, to settle on a particular location. In other words, someone tried to straighten out what was undoubtedly a very crooked story. But far from straightening it, they only succeeded in bending it even more, out of all recognition.

October 29, 2018 - Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Russophobia |

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