Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2018

Of PowerPoint presentations, chemical warfare exercises, and disarmed magic

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It was being said in UK corporate-media that Britain had divulged “unprecedented levels of intelligence” to countries outside the Five Eyes countries (UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada). The objective had been to convince “the world” (in reality, 25 countries), that “Vladimir Putin’s Russia had carried out the first nerve agent attack in Europe since the Second World War” (from the Independent).

But there was this particular document doing the rounds. It was a 6-page PowerPoint presentation. It appears that it was a slide show given by the British Embassy in Moscow to foreign diplomats, and it was also a hand out given to those who had attended the briefing.

The Russians seemed to be under the impression that this was the data that had been used to persuade the “international community” of Britain’s complaint against Russia, and to rebuke her for the alleged crime committed against Sergei Skripal and daughter. This is what Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova supposedly had to say about it:

 This is Theresa May’s failure. The largest manipulation of the world public opinion, in which the British authorities are involved, is revealed. Assess it. Based on 6 images, the decision on the state’s responsibility in the chemical attack has been taken.

The trouble is, the 6-page document is too stupid to possibly be the “unprecedented” intelligence. And yet, there seems to be an appreciation abroad that is exactly what it is. This is what the Oriental Review said:

The UK government’s presentation on the Salisbury incident, which was repeatedly cited in recent days as an “ultimate proof” of Russia’s involvement into Skripal’s assassination attempt, was made public earlier today.

This 6-paged PDF is a powerful evidence of another intellectual low of British propaganda machine.

The document in question is available to read here. The author is not convinced at all. Maybe, in the absence of any other information (and Russia would have more joy getting blood from a stone that data from the UK Government), Maria Zakharova has concluded that this is all the British could possibly muster. If this is true, then it is laughing stock territory [Update 29/03/18: Sputnik reports Zakharova calling it something “made be primary school students”] – and comes fast on the heels of the public admonishment that Russian Foreign Ministry official, Vladimir Yermakov, gave Emma Nottingham when Laurie Bristow (the British ambassador in Moscow), instead of attending himself, sent her along to that meeting of diplomats in Moscow of March 21st:

Aren’t you embarrassed to speak about this in the presence of this audience, ambassadors from 150 states? This is ridiculous. I feel sorry for British diplomacy.

So, whatever the truth is about the quality of the shared intelligence, we can certainly say that the “defendants” had started to dismiss and deride it based on what they knew about the terrible, dismal and derisory case of the “claimant” (who, in a county court, would probably get talked out of it by the judge); in other words, it was coming under harsh scrutiny of the sort that is not helpful when everything depends on impressions of flashness and gaslighting.

But then: breaking news! Skripals poisoned by contact with Novichok on their front door (or something to that effect)†. Twitter lit up; one opinion after another on the #Skripal thread. Lots doubted, but not many were asking the right question (not at the start): if the Skripals ingested a military grade nerve agent on their door step, how did they even manage to walk to the car to drive to the Sainsbury car park in Salisbury city centre, where they enjoyed a drink at a pub and a meal at a restaurant?

They wouldn’t have been able to do most of what they were supposed to have done – not according to the data on one page of that handout that the UK Embassy in Moscow gave to foreign diplomats. Picture a diagram of a human body, underneath the title: “What nerve agents do to the body”. There is a line to the brain, connecting it to this annotation: “convulsions, loss of consciousness, coma”. A line to the lungs: “wheezing, shortness of breath, excessive fluid secretion”. A line to the heart: “initially high blood pressure and raised heart rate. Later low blood pressure, and decreased heart rate”. A line to the digestive system: “nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea”. Death, it seems, comes through asphyxiation or cardiac arrest.

And so, did we ever hear about Sergei Skripal puking onto his plate at Zizzi? Did he mount the pavement with his BMW motor car as driving it became physically impossible? Did Yulia Skripal find herself not able to open the car door on arriving in Salisbury due to the onset of a comatosed state? Did she soil herself in the Mill Pub in the midst of a host of unsuspecting Sunday lunch time punters? Apparently, no. None of this happened. Even though they came in to contact with an extremely hazardous substance that should have made them drop down dead, the Skripals went on to enjoy several hours of leisure activity unspoilt by the symptoms of poisoning by a military grade nerve agent.

What should we conclude? This is it: If the Metropolitan Police found “nerve agent” at the Sergei Skripal residence, then it is not the poison that sent the Russian exile and his daughter to hospital – assuming that they are in hospital, and we’ll get to that shortly. In the first moments of this incident, everyone thought that the “Skripals” were suffering from some kind of drug-overdose, or drug abuse. The suspect substance was fentanyl. Potentially, this might explain the slower acting effect on the victims, though the author suspects it must have been administered in Salisbury city centre. That being said, how would we explain the unnecessary nerve agent at the Skripal house? We should not rule out the possibility that it has been planted as evidence after the fact. (And if we were law enforcement in a proper country, and we were hunting real culprits who were trying to frame another party for a crime, we would be looking for someone who had been poisoned incidentally to the main attack. Do we know anyone who fits the bill?)

It was hinted above that the Skripalsǂ might not even be in hospital. How can we say this? To be properly persuaded, the reader might have to revisit certain ideas and conclusions that have featured at FBEL across numerous articles (a list of source material is at the foot of the page), but what follows are the main thrusts of the argument.

There is no photographic evidence of the Skripals being in Salisbury town centre on foot on the day that the poisoning was said to have happened. It wasn’t always the case: at one time the corporate-media, with information released to it by police, would have their audience know that the Skripals were filmed walking from Zizzi’s restaurant to the bench where they were found suffering from what everyone initially thought was drug-related illness. The sudden change in the official narrative whereby father and daughter had not, after all, been captured on CCTV, represented a major back-peddling. However, witness testimony, which described the female discovered on the bench as being in possession of a red bag, meant that there was an associative link to the female shown in the CCTV footage – whose red bag was very obviously on display. It was quite possible, therefore, that the people who had been taken to Salisbury District Hospital were not the Skripals.

Any suspicion of this being the case has not been allayed by the behaviour of the British Government, which finds itself in breach of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not giving the Russians access to either of the Skripals – as has been requested. As it turns out, it’s not only the Russian Government that can’t get access. Skripal’s neighbour, Ross Cassidy, has been having his own problems:

Last week, in a court ruling about the Skripals’ medical needs, a judge quoted the consultant treating them in Salisbury district hospital: “The hospital has not been approached by anyone known to the patients to enquire of their welfare.”

Mr Cassidy was upset by the suggestion there wasn’t anyone who cared enough to want to go and see the Skripals.

He said: “That is misinformation, because we care. I asked the police several times if we could go and see them, quietly and away from the media, but I was told quite categorically that we were not allowed. We asked the question and the answer was ‘no’.

“We were also upset that if his family and friends in Russia got to hear about this lack of concern it would cause them extra anguish.”

Speaking of those relatives, Viktoria Skripal, a niece of Sergei’s, said this:

I would like to know how [Sergei and Yulia] are – where they are…

We are all grown-ups and we don’t believe in miracles, but I can’t stop thinking maybe it’s not them.

Is there, in the public domain, any proof that the Skripals are in Salisbury District Hospital? Well, if you include the range to include Ross Cassidy, the answer is very definitely no. The family doesn’t even have a clue. The Russians evidently have not been supplied any “proof of life” – and they are entitled to it by a convention treaty. It is surely no wonder that they are actually themselves now talking in terms of the incident being managed by British intelligence agencies:

The analysis of all these circumstances shows that the UK authorities are not interested in identifying the real causes and the real perpetrators of the crime in Salisbury, which suggests a possible involvement of the UK intelligence services.

The extract is from a statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry, and it is clearly saying that there is a real story that the British Government is not interested in revealing – hence the public investigation is pretence, meaning that any information presented by investigators is not real. Presumably, it’s the nearest the Russians can get to calling the Skripal incident a hoax, without being undiplomatic.

This statement by the Russians also strives to inform its readers, correctly, that in the UK there was a big military exercise, called Toxic Dagger, regarding the management of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons warfare. A three-weeks long drill, it ended very close in time to the Skripal incident. Indeed, we are supposed to be impressed that Toxic Dagger prepared soldiers and marines for an Operation MORLOP – this appearing to be the assistance that the military gave at Salisbury. The relation between exercises and false flags or hoaxes is long established; knowledge of being in a drill helps unwitting participants do things that they wouldn’t normally do – like standing down when there is terrorist so that he is facilitated in his act of terror, or, let’s see, liberally sprinkling a powder sent down from Porton Down around the front room at Sergei Skripals house to emulate the scene of a poisoning?

So, let’s draw all this together. Rubbishy accusatory claptrap, in diplomatic circles, that is claimed to be hard evidence so that some kind of grand alliance can be constructed against Russia; a joint civil emergency services and military exercise, where nothing that happens is real; the sense, as expressed by the Russians, of the investigation into the poisoning of their citizens not being real; the unreality of the idea that the Skripals were contaminated with nerve agent, but could jolly around a cathedral city all afternoon one Sunday; the illusion of the Skripals having been taken desperately ill when there’s absolutely no evidence that can be verified in the public experience that they were poisoned and admitted, and remain in critical condition in hospital. None of it is real. It’s all sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors and deception. It’s the magic that the British ruling class uses to raise power to wield over men, and it is hereby disarmed.

The Skripal phony fake show ploughs on – because it must (link)
Novichok… or fentanyl? No proof of a crime points to Skripal poisoning hoax (link)
The Skripal circus rumbles on, unpacks big tent in the UNSC chamber. Roll up! Roll up! (link)
The Skripal incident: have Britain’s finest cocked up… again? (link)
Cluedo, the Salisbury version: the cards stay hidden, UK Government asserts solution (link)
The Russians must have done it, because the UK Government says so (link)


† Note, the investigation update released by police did not mention Novichok – but some of the corporate-media didn’t worry about that: “Salisbury nerve agent attack: Sergei Skripal and daughter were poisoned with novichok on their front door”, said the Independent, reminding everyone why no one can buy a copy at a newsstand these days. However, the best headline for unsubstantiated rubbish was from the Telegraph [now less popular than the Daily Star]: “Russian hit squad put poison on Sergei Skripal’s front door, police believe”. Needless, to say, the police update hadn’t featured the phrase “hit squad” – nor the word “Russian” for that matter. Furthermore, the door is not the only place that the police claimed they found a nerve agent – it was merely the location of most contamination, thus providing the greatest chance of being the source of the poisoning.

ǂ [Update, 29/03/2018, 15.50] Only a day after reports in the corporate-media that said she was very poorly and even brain damaged, and well connected alternative media was introducing the prospect of her certain demise, it now looks like Yulia Skripal is going to be resurrected – from an illness contracted by contact with a deadly nerve agent, believe it or not.

The  author has no doubt that that this would be an enforced narrative change in reaction to the scale of the incredulity in the country.

The thing to look out for is this: will the Russians be allowed to have access to her while she is ill? – not while she is hospital, but while she is ill. We will also note how keen she is to remain in the UK.

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